Log Horizon Volume 8 Chapter 3.5
The concert they announced that night was the best.
Everything seemed to sparkle, to be warm, with Isuzu’s heart pounding in her chest, everything was wonderful, even the dirty walls and the clumsy innkeeper.
Her voice was more carefree than usual and An Die Freude was loyal to her.
The notes progressed along the top of the stave like putting on matching hats, in chorus with the rhythm that Tohya beat out. Serara’s portable organ gave a surprisingly extensive accompaniment, perhaps because of the white wolf cub pushing frantically at the pump. Even the song where she left the lute with Minori was fun.
There were mistakes, but they all vanished in the happiness like the foaming waves of the sea. At any rate, it was the best.
Roe2’s eyes were wide, and she clapped until her hands were raw, and Dariella discreetly complimented them. And above all, they got a standing ovation from the gathered people of the land, it was more than a bard could ask for.
She didn’t know how many times she’d sighed happily, but Isuzu relished the feeling of being so happy she could burst.
“Miss Isuzu, please go to far.”
“I’ve got it, I’ve got it.”
Rundelhous spoke out, sitting in a chair terrace café at the back of the inn as Isuzu sat her slender body in a large chair. Rundelhous looked like he was sparkling more than usual, not just because of carelessly drinking alcoholic drinks because of the concert.
It was already deep into the night.
The moon was high in the sky and a cold breeze was blowing.
Safiel had a large tavern, The Noble Mountain’s Snowdrop, it faced onto the main street and had a large terrace of seating. For the concert, all of the shutters were thrown wide and it was packed out with people even looking in from outside the building. The noise and excitement still lingered inside like embers, reaching Isuzu’s ears.
That said, the tides of that enthusiasm were turning.
It had already been five hours since the sun had set, Minori and Serara in particular had raised the white flag and retreated to the room they were borrowing.
After regretfully going back to the customer seating, Isuzu had drank the alcohol she was offered by the people of the town and been escorted to the cool back yard.
“Here, Miss Isuzu.”
In a slightly reflective mood, Isuzu took a mouthful of the well water that Rundelhous had given her. It was still March so the nights were early, and the well water of this town to the south of Sacred Mountain Fuji was extraordinarily cold, making her head hurt.
“Fu fu fu fu. Fu fu fu fu fuuu.”
Isuzu happily lay the top half of her body on the wooden table. The wood was cool against her cheeks, but it was a comfortable temperature against her flushed body. With Rundelhous drawing up another chair and sitting nearby, it was a nice mood.
With her upper body still on the table, Isuzu looked over the yard.
Unlike Akiba, even though this was called a town, it wasn’t crowded with residences. There were ruins that were used but they could be counted in Safiel and were limited to places like The Noble Mountain’s Snowdrop.
The rest were nearly all single story wooden bungalows, and there were large spaces between the houses. They had hedged off garden things, but they were more like vegetable gardens and copses in size.
This was one of those, a space of untended wild flowers and a vegetable garden, with a large well, a cattle pen and a grove of trees. The orange light leaking through the open back door and the moonlight raining down from the heavens gently illuminated the dark nature of the night.
She wasn’t tired, she just closed her eyes a little and her heart was exhilarated by the spinning of the world. She didn’t feel as cold as she thought she would, perhaps because the wind was weak, cracking open her eyes, Rundelhous was reflected there, brushing hair hair away from her forehead, wrapped in a cloak and sitting up-wind from her.
Their gazes met and Isuzu suddenly felt embarrassed.
Normally it would be nothing, but sometimes this mood appeared. It was probably the puppy’s magic power. Pretending she hadn’t noticed, she lightly kicked his chair away with the tips of her toes.
“Is that so.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“It was a good performance today.”
When the concert’s at an end—.
An old fashioned phrase passed her lips.
The festival was over, the concert at an end, all of the passion packed into Isuzu’s body came undone in the night. It was a heartrending feeling of loneliness but it wasn’t unpleasant. Today’s concert was great, but it was over. All concerts ended. That was certainly lonely but it was the interval to start the next.
She could hear Rundelhous’ gentle breathing.
Isuzu was satisfied, her stomach and chest were full.
“Today too, right.”
“Yeah, today too.”
Rundelhous’ voice echoed with a wry smile and Isuzu once again closed her eyes. She spread her arms across the table, it’s size made it look like a wood base, thinking of that, her smile chipped slightly and she moved her fingers.
Today was over, so tomorrow would come.
The concert was over, so she could play the next.
“Miss Isuzu, you really like music, don’t you.”
“I love it.”
“But you still won’t become a pro musician? Even though you’re particular about the tour?”
“Yeah, you see.”
Isuzu lifted her body and let out a satisfied sight, looking at Rundelhous.
The light leaked from the windows and added a border of light to his blond hair.
Facing a puzzled Rundelhous, Isuzu slowly began speaking.
“My dad. I might have said, but he’s a pro musician. He did studio music, how should I explain it… Umm, a pro among pros might wok. To help many people with music, he played at recording places.”
“Hmm, so you’re so skilled because of your father and his teaching.”
“Ahahahaha, no way, that’s not it. Dad is, hmm, a free man, a rock ‘n’ roller. He looks good, has long hair and wears stuff like leather jackets, and his legs are thin! We live in the countryside now, but even there he’s fairly famous. There are fans, and old fans.”
Isuzu took another mouthful of water.
It wasn’t something she normally talked about. A musician father. It was like a shoujo manga’s setting but Isuzu didn’t think it was that good. In other words, it was the same as her father being away. In elementary school, she was teased about it. The ‘difference in their surroundings’ was itself a cause of friction. Or at least, that was the common sense of the world she was born and raised in.
However, in this world, on a night with a concert containing all the secrets, Isuzu’s prideful different dimension puppy had asked to hear it. There was no need to stop these thoughts that she always felt.
“As a child, I was so proud of him, like those stories of heroes when you’re young? He told me about how someone worked and bought a beat up van and filled it with musical instruments, and went on a tour. He went on a tour too. He left high school and did that for so long. He was a band child, so when he left school his part time work was in live-houses, and when he ran out of money he’d work again and travel everywhere from Tokyo.”
“Like us now?”
“Yeah, exactly! Just like us!”
To Isuzu’s childish yearning, he was a hero.
“Back when he wasn’t famous yet, even if he did concerts he didn’t make much money, so he did a lot of part time work.”
“Umm, like bar-tending or being a guardsman.”
“But, going on journeys, he had to take long breaks from the work, so he had to resign. He resigned and went on journeys.”
“A challenge he risked his life on.”
Is that so? Rundelhous’ words made it sound like a cool, militaristic deed. Isuzu wanted to sat wasn’t, that he wasn’t that cool of a person… But it was hard for her to say that it wasn’t a challenge he risked his life on.
So she shrugged her shoulders and continued on.
“Geez, he was always going on about stupid stories. Like how popular he was in elementary school, how many girlfriends he had, how many times he went to live houses and got a good looking, long-legged girlfriend. Drinking booze and making a noise, eating ramen and rushing down the roads at night. He was proud of being poor, like he told me about taking out a loan to buy a fender, and breaking it in a fortnight. About taking a car down to the beach with his friends and stalling in the sand. Like buying oden at the convenience store and hiding from the rain under a bridge to eat it…”
Thanks to these stories, Isuzu would never forget her father’s face.
With a proud grin on her face, Isuzu would push her father away saying “That’s creepy, go away.” but she was really just jealous.
He seemed happy. If she were to put it into words, it would be that ‘special youth’. He’d lived his youth, and even now was running on the edge. To a normal schoolgirl like Isuzu, it could only be called a heroic tale.
An unattainable fairy tale.
“That sounds like fun.”
“No, not at all! It’s about how he’s an idiot.”
She got embarrassed and denied it, but even she had noticed it.
It was a story she was proud of.
He was frivolous, long haired, optimistic and a bad father, but she was proud of him even if she didn’t want to admit it.
“He didn’t have much money, and he’d go to live-houses, um, like the tavern today, he’d go to taverns and play music and get some money and sleep in the live-houses waiting rooms. Different from us, it was a male bonding trip, so they’d quickly get into fights. About like what kind of girl they preferred? It was stupid. Ku fu fu fu fu, but, then they’d not be able to do the next concert, so they made up and got in the van… got in the cart, and went to a different town.”
Just to show he was listening, Rundelhous nodded. Put at ease by that, Isuzu continued talking.
“Dad was a rock ‘n’ roller like that and had his major debut.”
“What’s a major debut?”
“He had his music distributed by a record company — Ah, umm, I mean.”
Isuzu couldn’t find the words to explain and completely stopped.
“In other words, he became a famous musician. Enough that his songs were played in town.”
Isuzu looked at her explanation and thought.
“It’s not a lie, right?”
In a world where they called things like “There’s a goblin swinging an axe!” It was very difficult to explain record companies, web stores and downloadable music. She wasn’t Minori.
But she probably got the nuance across.
Isuzu’s father was a musician.
Isuzu knew how people would react.
“It is, looking at it like that. Relatively… but.”
The moonlight was a pallid blue, the night was serene and enveloped Isuzu and Rundelhous.
“A major debut is amazing, but the world were were in, has lots of amazing people like that. Every year, over a hundred people have a major debut. Being famous just once is no good. There are lots of people who don’t sell well. Dad was one of those.”
Her sigh ended without starting.
“So dad became a studio musician. It wasn’t a major route, but he always wanted to. I never heard that, but that’s what I think.”
Even her mischievous father, her talented father, couldn’t stay in the light. He didn’t look bad, but to Isuzu, it was nothing but bad, there was no way she could do something her father couldn’t.
“I really think, that because you have the blood of your father, you’ll have a major debut.”
“No, major debuts are for pros.”
“But, at today’s concert, I was happy to hear your song. Today’s song was better than always, gentle and felt like it permeated you. Aren’t you happy to sing?”
“You see, I.”
She was lost for words.
“Compared to my dad, I’m not like that. I mean, of course, I like the lute, I love it, and I love singing too. But I wonder when I compare it to dad, that weirdo that slept with his guitar… And anyway, I’ve got no talent.”
“Dad… said that.”
Rundelhous’ presence was like a rebuke. She understood what he wanted to say. It probably looked like she was trying to escape. But, Isuzu had a point. Music wasn’t something ordinary people could do. You couldn’t become a pro just from wanting to.
Even talented people had to put in a lot of effort to stand on the start line. Her father couldn’t become a star after all.
Music was a wonderful thing, but the road was long and hard. She had heard her father’s troubles and complaints. It wasn’t something that could be easily guaranteed.
“But you know, I love music.”
To forcibly change the mood, she made her voice cheery.
“And today, was fun. Everyone was happy, and the old guys, even though we’re like this, treated us to a feast, they praised us and praised us, I’ll get conceited.”
“I love your songs too.”
“It’s because you said in the beginning. That I was interested in playing in front of everyone, and that I could suggest a tour like this. I’m… nothing special. But, I could play like this.”
“Your songs are wonderful. Everyone knows that. The one who doesn’t is you.”
Rundelhous interrupted her with a slightly angry expression.
His strained expression looked more grown up than usual.
Scared of that, Isuzu was about to say “Again and again, you’re kind, Rudy.” but Rundelhous’ extended finger stemmed her words.
“Instruments, songs, performance… sound, scales — the forty two is the forty two.”
“The forty two.”
“What do you mean, Rudy?”
A long time had passed, and Rundelhous’ too-kind smile was on his face, piercing Isuzu’s chest. With that expression, she just forgot his slightly lowered finger and could only stare motionlessly at him.
“Since becoming an adventurer, I’ve understood several things. Adventurers have the blessing of the soul of language, right? Adventurers can’t speak the language of the people of the land. They can only grasp the meaning and say words that the people of the land can understand. That’s the power of magic, the blessing of translation.”
Isuzu nodded without understanding the meaning.
She didn’t even slightly understand what Rundelhous was saying.
“For people of the land, Music and The Forty Two are the same word.”
He was talking about the automatic translation feature, she understood that, but she didn’t understand what he wanted to say, she tilted her head with a vague uneasiness.
“To us, there are only forty two songs. In this world, there are only that many songs. Our ancestors couldn’t make songs other than that, and we can’t make new songs… So Isuzu, your songs, that make us cry in happiness, all those songs, are important, they make us happy, and we really love them.”