“I’ll make the ending just a little stylish… and… I-I’m done! It’s finiiiiished!”
I finally completed it! The script for the play Saku asked me to write!!
One day of planning, one day of writing, one day for the final draft, a total of three days and nights spent to produce this masterpiece!
“Hey, Jessie, how do you come up with the song lyrics you’re always writing?”
“It’s easy. I just take the songs that well up from my heart and carve them into music! …Why do you ask?”
“So in other words, you take stories that bubble up from your heart and turn them into lyrics?”
“Yeah, that works too. In other words! I set the stories gushing from my heart aloft on wings of music!”
“Right, right! There’s stories in your songs, Jessie! I bet if you if you wrote a story or something, it’d be amazing!”
“Ahahaha, yeah, maybe!! If I wrote a story, I’m sure it’d end up being awesome!! …So, what about it?”
…In retrospect, I should have given it more thought before I promised anything.
It turned out there was going to be a play at next month’s culture festival. …I had no idea the conversation was going to end in me being asked to write the script with three days left before the deadline….
It’s just that I got caught up in the enthusiasm and atmosphere of the moment.
I started thinking to myself, “With my heart and good taste, maybe I can do it~”
…Come to think of it, Mom warned me about this, didn’t she.
“You and your father both have a bad habit of getting caught up in the mood of a situation and agreeing to things. You have to be careful.”
……Auuu, I’m sorry, Mom.
This was the result of the three days and nights of hard labor I’d brought down on myself.
I finished up the writing late at night, and flopped into bed with a thud….
How do… you like this…?
I slaved over it for three days….
I worked without sleeping… so my mind is kinda fuzzy….
Damn you, Saku….. You’re gonna pay dearly for this…. *Munya munya*
It’s my first time writing a play script… I’m sure there’s some rough spots here and there.
But all of my ideas and humor and heart and love and passion…
…Well, I cooked a bunch of things together, and mixed in apples and honey at the end, and the result is my big, moving, masterpiece script!
It’ll definitely get thunderous applause at the culture festival.
Who wrote this wonderful script?
Eh, it was Jessie?! Wow, that’s amazing~!
“No, no, it’s…. Well, yes, it is that great, but…. Fuhihi… *Munya munya*”
“Hmmm, is it really? Let me have a look.”
…Huh? Who’s that?
My head still fuzzy with sleep, I absently turned toward the voice.
…It was a young girl I had never seen before, clad in a pink dress.
She was standing there munching on popcorn while she read the script I had just finished writing.
When she had read it all, she let out a long, delighted cackle.
“Kya-hahahahaha!! This is hilarious. Especially the punchline, that was the best! Kya-hahahahaha!”
“Th-Thanks…. *Munya munya*”
……That’s weird. Did I really put in a punchline that would make someone roar with laughter like that?
Well, whatever. I don’t know who this girl is, but she did praise me….
That means the play will definitely become famous.
It’ll definitely, certainly be a huge hit, without a doubt….
“Hmmmm. ‘It’ll certainly be a hit,’ you say. You’re confident about that, huh?”
“…If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have started writing it in the first place. …*Munya munya* …Definitely, certainly.”
“…Very well. If this script was written with absolute certainty of its success, then I, the Witch of Certainty, Lambdadelta-sama, will bestow the magic of certainty upon it!”
“…The hell’s that? …Sounds fishy…. *Munya munya*”
“Hey! How dare you call it fishy! The magic I’m casting on this script is really amazing, okay?! It’s like, this script will actually…”
The childish girl in pink was boasting about something, but… My consciousness was fading in and out, and I couldn’t understand anything.
My awareness left me completely, and my soul began to sink into my fluffy feather futon and memory foam pillow…….
The next morning, as soon as I woke up, I dashed over to the guesthouse as fast as I could, barely able to control my impatience.
Battler was visiting the mansion for the first time in forever, and I wanted to have him read “the work I had certain confidence in.”
Shannon happened to be there as well, so I took the opportunity to capture her and made both of them read it.
“Wow, you wrote a play script, Jessica? Huh!
“You’re amazing, Milady. You can do anything.”
“No, no, not at all. It was my first time, and I only had three days, so it was a pretty close fight. Ehehe….”
“But in spite of that, it’s a great masterpiece that you have full confidence in.”
“*Giggle* So you want the two of us to read this script and give you our impressions, right?”
“It’d be kinda dry if we just read it. Wouldn’t it be better if we actually tried acting it out?!”
“Eh?!?! I-I’ve never, um, done any acting before, and…!”
“Man, that’s a great idea. If you guys actually perform it for me, I can watch and do a final check on it too.”
“In that case, it’s decided! Let’s do it, Shannon-chan! Or maybe you’re uncomfortable being my co-star?”
“N-N-Not at all. I-I humbly accept your request……”
And there we were.
It was sudden, but the first performance of my script was decided on.
With a red pen in one hand, I put on airs of being a scriptwriter.
“Hey! There’s a prince in this! Okay, I’ll be the prince then!”
“Then I’ll be in charge of the narrator and the princess.”
“Right, let’s get started. Your narration is up first, Shannon-chan!”
“Th-Then… I’ll begin. …Ahem.”
With that, Shannon walked forward and began to read the narration that marked the beginning of the story….
“This is a tale of a place deep in the world of fairy tales…. In this land, there was a country called Rokken Kingdom.”
“Rokken Kingdom is a pretty simplistic name.”
“Quiet, Battler. Not during the performance!”
“Deep in the mountains of Rokken Kingdom, there was a tall, tall tower, and in that tower, a princess was imprisoned……. Eh?”
- Rumble, rumble rumble rumble*
“Wh-What’s going on…?!”
“What on earth…?”
As Shannon began to read the narration.
The scenery around her and Battler… began to warp lazily, making a sound like the rumbling of the earth.
The scenery outside completely changed to that of a mountain range, and from among the mountains, accompanied by a loud rumble… impossibly, a tower was emerging!
Yes, a tower.
Not a bamboo shoot. It really was a tower.
It was just like something you’d see in a fairy tale illustration, made of stone and giving an impression of dignified strength…. A-Anyway, it was a tower.
…A tower, in the mountains.
“This is…. Your narration just now came true…?”
“M-Milady…. What on earth is this…?”
“……Th-That reminds me…. Last night, I sort of remember having a weird dream…. Something about magic being cast on my script…. But no, that’s ridiculous….”
“Heheh, interesting. Why not, full points for stage presence! Let’s keep going!”
“…Mi-Milady? Is it alright to keep going?”
“W-We can’t stop now. Being a woman is all about guts! Go ahead, Shannon, take it away!”
“R-Right. …Um…. The tower was surrounded by a dense jungle.”
“Whoa, this time a jungle popped up!! Awesome, it’s awesome!! What’s next?!”
“Th-The jungle was inhabited by a band of goblins, who… attacked the prince and his men….”
“……A band of…. Wait, what?”
…*rumble*… …*rumble ruMBLE RUMBLE*…
The low rumbling of the ground was gradually growing both louder and closer.
The jungle shook, and colorful birds cried as they took flight.
“…Uh, hahaha. I thought it’d be interesting if there was a climax right away, or something like that….”
“And I’m gonna wipe out those goblins with no sweat, right? Right?!”
“…I-In the script… it says you’re attacked by the goblins and m-meet a terrible fate.”
“W-Well, look. In this situation, you’d expect the prince to win. That’d be boring, right…?”
“The prince who's gonna meet with that terrible fate is me!! And what kind of terrible fate?! It doesn’t say in the script!”
While this argument was occurring, the rumbling continued to grow closer.
*RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE*!!!!
A large herd of goats was plowing through the jungle, straight toward us!
I say goats, but they weren’t running on four legs.
They were each wearing something like a black tailcoat and running on two legs like a person.
Every single one of them was excessively muscular, and gave off a horrible stench of manly sweat!!
But even more frightening than that were their flaming red eyes and messily drooling mouths!
“L-Let’s run away!! Battler-sama, Milady!!”
“We’re gonna get crushed underfoot!! Even before that terrible fate shows up!! Come on, Jessica, hurry!!”
“I-I am hurrying… …Uwah!!”
My foot snagged on the root of a suspicious-looking tropical plant.
I barely had time to think “Ah” before I had toppled to the ground.
The huge herd of goats swarmed toward me, and were on the verge of swallowing me up.
Even if there weren’t a whole herd of them, a single one of those huge bodies would probably be enough to crush me as flat as a pancake.
…Who ever heard of a scriptwriter being killed by their own script?
At that moment, a miracle occurred.
For some reason, the goats all simultaneously burst open… and, for some reason, changed into an infinite number of soap bubbles.
I was left standing in a fantastical storm of soap bubbles.
With a *pop*, *pop*, *pop*, I was soon covered in a soapy film.
What… the hell….
In Shannon’s hands, I saw the red pen and script I’d dropped when I fell down.
Basically, in a moment of quick-wittedness, she had amended the script so that “the goats turned into soap bubbles and disappeared.”
“I’m honored that I could be of service….”
“But… man, what the hell…. We should still be in the guesthouse, right? But this is totally some kind of jungle, right? It’s a tropical forest, it’s a fantasy, right?! We’ve been sucked into the world of the script!”
“…Perhaps this is Lady Beatrice’s magic….”
“That dream…. Maybe it wasn’t a dream. ……That suspicious pink witch cast a weird spell on my script….”
“Jessica. Just for future reference. What’s going to happen next in this story?”
“Um, let’s see…. It’s an adventure story full of twists and turns, and there’s lots of, uh… I mixed in some apples and honey and let it simmer…. Listen, I pretty much wrote without sleeping for three days, okay?! My head’s all fuzzy, but I still made it by the deadline! That’s why, um, um!!”
“……In other words, you don’t remember much of what happens in the story either, Milady…?”
If we turned the pages of the script, the “story” would progress.
At any rate. We discussed various ways of escaping from this jungle… no, from this story, and tried putting them into practice.
First, we tried physically destroying the script.
…It seemed that it was protected by magic or something, and no matter how much we stomped on it or kicked it, we couldn’t even put a crease in it.
Next, we tried writing “The End” at the bottom of the current page.
At that point, the letters disappeared by themselves, and a different message in red ink rose into view: “Unless it is performed to completion, the story will certainly not be ended.”
We tried various other experiments… but they were all useless.
Escaping this place by ignoring the rest of story was impossible.
“Isn’t that obvious? It’s a script of certainty with my magic of certainty cast on it, right? So it certainly can’t end in the middle!”
“Ah… Ahhhhhh!! You’re that witch who showed up in my dream!”
“Hi☆ Are you enjoying my magic? Ow! …Did you just hit me, Battler?! You hit me, the Witch of Certainty, Lambdadelta-chan-sama?!”
“If it’s your fault, then that makes things simple! Hurry up and end this crazy world!”
“No can do. After all, at this point I’m just an observer. The one spinning this story is Jessica. So even I can’t make the story end.”
“That’s so damned irresponsible!!”
“Who’s the one who wrote this irresponsible script?!”
“A…Anyway. What you’re saying is that we have no choice but to perform it all the way to the end, right?”
“You got it. Okay, good luck~! I’m off to get some popcorn.”
Lambdadelta vanished from sight.
…We had a pretty good idea of the situation now.
No way out. No choice but to go forward.
“But we do have a weapon….”
“We’ll have to rely on that red pen of Jessica’s, huh?”
The story would develop as written in the script.
However, it seemed that by amending it right away with the red pen, we could alter the story one page at a time.
We had no choice but to proceed.
…Even though we were afraid of what awaited us.
At any rate, I had written it while half-asleep, letting my pen be guided by my heart.
Even I couldn’t fully remember how the story would develop.
“Let’s perform it, then!! I’m the one who wrote it, so I’m sure it’ll have a happy ending!!”
“…It’s kinda worrying that person who wrote it can’t remember it.”
“L-Let’s just do our best….”
“Okay. …Shannon. Go ahead with the next bit of narration.”
Shannon prepared herself for the worst, and turned the page.
“Emerging from the dense jungle, the prince found himself in a snowy country.”
The jungle vanished without a trace… and we found ourselves surrounded by a vast snowfield.
A pristine snowfield, without a single footprint on it.
We could see glaciers in the distance, and an aurora glittered in the sky. It was a wondrous scene….
“…*Whistle* …This is some pretty awesome scenery….”
“Rather than just a snowy country… it seems more like the North Pole, doesn’t it?”
“Uwah!! Brrrrr!! Was it really necessary to reproduce the temperature?!”
“I-I’m the prince, aren’t I? Somebody bring me a warm coat!! Dammit, so what’s happening in the script now?!”
“L-Let’s see…. It says that the prince, who was on the verge of freezing to death… was attacked by a yeti, and met with a terrible fate….”
“AGAIN?!?! Jessicaaaaaaaaa! Do you have some kind of grudge against princes or something?!”
“N-No, it’s, um! …Saku pushed this awful job off on me, so I was kinda pissed at her, and then I heard she was gonna play the role of the prince, so, yeah, um… ihihi~!”
“Ugyaaaaa, it’s the yeti——!!”
*BOOM, BOOM*!! With a crash, the yeti swung an enormous club the size of a log!!
Uwah, Battler, look ouuuuuuuuut!!
Wait, this is no time to stand around looking surprised! Gotta revise the scenario!!
“Suddenly, the yeti mended its ways, and befriended the prince and his men!!”
“Rooooaaaaaaa——— ….?! *Cough cough*!!”
“Thank goodness…. That was close….”
“But now this guy’s being too friendly. Hey, my hair’s gonna get messed up, so stop patting me on the head. …A banana? No thanks. Where did you even get that from, anyway?”
“Milady, let’s write a bit more and make Mr. Yeti our guide.”
“Good idea…. If we don’t hurry up and get out of here, we’re gonna end up as popsicles…!!”
The prince and his men, having befriended the yeti, were guided safely out of the snowy countryside….
The next rough spot was a volcanic region covered with boiling magma….
“Wh-What the hell kind of scenario is this?! How were you planning to perform this at a culture festival?!”
“How should I know?! Ask whoever’s in charge of the scenery!!”
“And in the volcanic region, a dragon with massive wings attacked them, breathing flames from its mouth….”
“And in the cursed graveyard, they were attacked by a countless number of zombies….”
“In the deserts of hell, a giant poisonous scorpion raised its tail high….”
“In the demons’ swamp, hordes of bloodsucking leeches attacked, one after the other….”
“”Oh for God’s sake———!!!!”
“H-However, the prince and his men were protected by a magical barrier, and remained unharmed…. There….. *Huff, puff*!”
“Barely made it at the last second again…. Geez… I’m wiped out….”
The prince and his men had suffered many hardships, and were now wiped out.
And now the stage had returned once again to the jungle….
When they managed to push their way through the dense thickets of tropical plants….
“I-It’s the tower! We finally made it to the princess’s tower!!”
“S-So I’ll finally get to play the role of the princess…!”
“But before that, if I remember correctly, the strongest and most terrible sorcerer is going to appear, and he’ll be the final enemy standing in our way…!”
At the summit of the tower, there was a human figure.
He was wearing a large, jet-black cloak, and his silhouette had an imposing presence.
This was surely… the one who had kidnapped the princess and locked her in the tower, the strongest and most terrible sorcerer….
“Do it, Jessica!!”
“I’ve got the hang of this now!! …The great sorcerer leapt nimbly from the tower!”
The great sorcerer leapt nimbly from the tower, directing his fall toward the prince and his men.
“And just like that, he crashed to the ground and died!!”
And just like that, he crashed to the ground and died….
“Bwahahahahahaha!! What the hell, what the hell, that’s hilarious, ahyahyahyahya!!”
Lambdadelta had appeared when we weren’t looking, and was clutching her stomach and laughing uproariously.
“But that’s the end of your trouble-filled journey, huh. Okay, time for the emotional finale!”
“We don’t need you to tell us that! Shannon-chan, you’re the princess! Jessica, take care of the narration!!”
“…I’m the prince right now.”
“To be honest, there was originally supposed to be a kiss here, but I figured it’d be lewd, so I cut it and just had them live happily ever after. All’s well that ends well.”
“Ehhh, why’d you do that? I wanted to see Battler and Shannon’s kissing scene~. Well, whatever. That funny punchline is coming up next anyway.”
“Punchline? There isn’t any punchline. The story’s already over, see…?”
It was true. Jessica’s script had ended there.
There was no punchline. The prince rescued the princess, happy ending. …Supposedly.
And yet, Lambdadelta licked her lips, and gave them a cold smirk.
“…It’s over, Lambdadelta! Let us go already!”
“You know what? I’d really like to do that too, okay? …But there’s still a punchline waiting for you.”
“Yes, that’s right. Punch-line. …The whole reason I gave this script magic was because that caught my interest. Hey, Bern, are you watching?! The good bit’s about to start!!”
Bernkastel’s figure appeared floating in the air, still in the middle of a yawn.
“I’ve been watching it. This whole boring play. …So? Does this thing really have an ending that’ll amuse me…?”
“Yes, of course. I guarantee it.”
“…It’s stimulating enough to blow away my drowsiness?”
“*Giggle giggle giggle*. That’s right, Bern~. …The stimulating climax is just about to start.”
“…Oy. Sorry to interrupt, but… my script is all finished now. There’s no climax written anywhere. See?”
“*Giggle giggle giggle giggle*.”
With evil in their eyes, the Witches of Certainty and Miracles convulsed with laughter.
At that moment, the earth shuddered and cracked open. …What the— An earthquake?!?!
Rumble rumble*, *rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble*!!!
The tower crumbled away… leaving in its place a gaping, crater-like hole.
…Where did that hole come from?
When we looked into its depths… everyone was struck speechless.
A vast, howling whirlwind.
No…. An electric… fan…?
“What the hell is that?!?!?!”
“There’s a huge electric fan spinning away at the bottom of the hole…?!”
The enormous fan was rotating at an incredible speed, and every time a crag crumbled away in the depths of the hole, it was smashed up and reduced to tiny pieces by the blades.
It was a huge, enormous… killer electric fan!!
“L-Look out!! Kyaah!!!”
Cracks continued to open up in the earth, and everything began to collapse into the ever-widening hole, as if it were all being devoured by the fan!
If we didn’t get out of there fast… we’d end up falling into that hole too!!
“This place is collapsing too! Jessica, Shannon-chan! Run for it, hurry!!!”
“Battler-sama! Look out!!”
The earth yawned wider, and Battler was swallowed up.
Shannon just barely managed to grab hold of his arm… but she too was dragged into the hole, leaving her dangling by one arm from the edge….
“…L-Let go of my arm and climb up, Shannon-chan!!”
“I-I can’t…! If I do that… you’ll…!!”
One of Battler’s shoes slipped off and tumbled into the abyss.
It was sucked into the fan, torn to pieces, and scattered….
“Let go of my arm…! At this rate, we’re both gonna die!!”
“…I can’t obey that order!!”
“Shannon, hold on…!! I’m coming to pull you up!! …Ahhh!!”
Another huge fissure appeared in the earth, and Jessica found herself separated from the others.
The other two were in trouble, but she couldn’t even go and help them…!!
“Battleeeeer! Shannooooooon! Goddammiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!”
Looking down on Jessica, crying out in despair… Bernkastel sneered.
“Not a bad climax at all. …Since I get to see Battler and Shannon be turned into hamburger. Jessica will go the same way, right? …Not bad. It’s a fine punchline.”
“Isn’t it? *Giggle giggle*. I love you, Bern. …Because I know exactly what kinds of stories you love the most.”
“Screw you!! How dare you turn my script into something this horrible!!”
“Horrible or not, you’re the one who wrote it, you know.”
“I didn’t write anything like this!!”
“You wrote all that messed-up stuff earlier, though.”
It was true, everything before now had been her work.
That’s why she’d revised it.
But she hadn’t written anything at all about this killer electric fan to begin with.
Jessica tried over and over to write about Battler and Shannon being saved, but the letters just vanished, as if they had been written on a sandy beach and then washed away by the waves.
“What’s going on?! Why can’t I revise it?! Damn iiiiiiiit!!”
Shannon’s grip on Battler was growing weaker by the moment….
“The electric fan stopped!” No good!!
“The two were miraculously saved!” Still no good?!
“This story ended and we were saved!” …Why isn’t anything working?!
“Why?! After everything else I wrote before, why can’t I write anything this time?!”
“Well, the story’s already over, right? You can only make revisions within the story.”
“It’s impossible to revise anything outside the story.”
“”*Giggle giggle giggle giggle giggle!””
“Dammit to hell!! Are you saying this horrible punchline is the climax of the story?! …You damned witches!! How dare you, how dare you screw up my script… and make everyone suffer like this?!”
“The one wrote this whole screwed-up script was you, wasn’t it?”
“…Even this gruesome bad end, okay? *Giggle giggle giggle*.”
“I did not! I never wrote anything like… like everyone being swallowed up by this killer electric fan and dying!!”
“Oh, is that so?”
“…And here we were, just trying to explain things to you so you wouldn’t be made a laughingstock. Pity.”
“This girl’s pretty Paper-ish. She probably doesn’t understand.”
“Looks that way. …*Giggle giggle giggle giggle*.”
“…Battler-san… I’m sorry…. My arm is… about to….”
“…It’s fine…. Hurry up and let me go…. And then climb up, and don’t look back…!”
“I won’t go survive by myself…! …If you’re going to die… I’m going with you!!”
“Don’t be stupid, you have to live!!”
“You’re the prince who came to save me, aren’t you?! I don’t want to be alone anymore…!!”
One by one… Shannon’s fingers, clutching at the face of the cliff… began to lose their grip….
…It was all…… useless…….
Shannon and Battler tumbled downward toward hell.
In the moment of free fall before they were sucked into the killer electric fan… they embraced each other tightly.
So that at the very least, they would be able to meet their ends together.
The two steeled themselves, shutting their eyes tightly….
They weren’t in hell, nor were they in the middle of the killer electric fan.
…They were on a bed in the guesthouse.
For a moment, they sat there holding each tightly in amazement.
“…Was… Was that a dream?”
“No. …There’s no way it was a dream.”
Their bodies were still covered with scratches from the cliff face they had been scraped against just a few moments earlier.
That great adventure in which they’d risked their lives really had happened.
…The fact that they’d returned to their own world… meant that the story had safely reached its “ending”.
It was clear that Jessica had managed to end the story with some kind of revision.
…But Jessica was nowhere to be seen.
As for Jessica….
She was in front of the writing desk in her own room.
Lying on the desk were the script and the red pen.
Jessica had collapsed on top of them.
Lambdadelta and Bernkastel were standing on opposite sides of her.
At the very last moment, she had managed to revise one single line.
Because of that, the story had ended, and Battler and Shannon had been saved.
But… saved how?
Jessica hadn’t written anything about that huge electric fan in the first place.
No matter how many times she’d tried to revise it, the change hadn’t been accepted because the story was already over.
However, Jessica had definitely made a revision.
She had changed one single character.
…So in other words…?
“*Giggle giggle*. Good for you. Now you won’t be made a laughingstock.”
“Y… Yeah. …Thank you very much.”
Jessica, who was still slumped over the desk, timidly raised her head.
Her face was bright red with embarrassment.
“Since I’m Paper, I’m in no position to be saying this, but…. When you try to look cool by using English words, you should really make sure that you’ve spelled them right.”
“……By the way. FIN is actually a French word.”
“Y-Yeah…. …I thought something was off about it….”
“You just miswrote it because you were sleepy, right?”
“…No, um…… ahahahahahahaha….”
She’d thought it would be cool to write <FIN> at the end of the story.
…But she was far too embarrassed to ever tell anyone that she’d ended up writing <FAN> by mistake.
“…You just miswrote it because you were sleepy, right?”
“Of…. Of course…. …Ihi… ihihihihihi.”
5/3/2011 Higurashi Gathering 6