One Emerging Possibility

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The short story one emerging possibility is the prologue to BlazBlue Alternative: Dark War. It was written in two parts and released with the launch of the game's official website on August 8, 2017. It details Kazuma Kval helping Trinity Glassfille to research how to make robes for Nine's Canonization Ceremony, and then Kazuma being called out by Nine to escort a transfer student.

one emerging possibility

Author: Mako Komao[1][2]
Translator: Chao
Editor and proofreader: Orde

It was a pleasant afternoon. The sunlight was gentle and the sky clear. A cool breeze swept through the grass and flowers that grew on the hillside's gentle slope. It would make anyone feel as if they could stay there forever.

One such person, sitting on the hillside with both arms wrapped around his knees, had already been gazing at the view for more than thirty minutes.

The cityscape sprawled out below him, miniscule, all white-walled, green- and blue-roofed houses with cobblestone twisting in between. At the city's center, a large building sat with a pointed tower nestled on one side; he watched as a single large, white bird took flight from it.

"...How peaceful." Muttering the words idly, he spoke to himself.

The scenery from here was unchanging. During the seven years since he'd first arrived on this island, he'd always experienced same landscape and mild temperature. Even in the future, he was certain he would always be gazing at the same view: this view of "Ishana Island"[L/N 1] that he could see beyond the green fringe that reached down to his eyes.

Suddenly, he heard a voice. He stretched his spine with effort. It sounded as if the voice was calling his name. If so, the owner of that voice was immediately clear: he only knew one person who would come all the way out here, to the middle of nowhere, in search of him.

"Kazuma-saa~n." The voice stretched out lazily, lacking any hint of tension, from the bottom of the hill. It was as he'd thought.

Kazuma Kval watched the figure trot up the grassy slope and loosened his lips.

Approaching him was a single girl. She wore large, round glasses and a yellow mantle with a hood attached. Soft, platinum-blonde hair fell from under her hood, its gentle color matching well with her spring-green eyes.

"Hehe, Kazuma-san, you often come here around this time. I was correct~"

Looking up at Kazuma as he stood and brushed off his clothes, the girl in the yellow hood, Trinity Glassfile, smiled. Wherever she had come from, it was evident that exercise was not her strong suit: her breathing was uneven. Placing a hand over her chest as she caught her breath, Trinity turned her head to gaze over the city that Kazuma had, until just recently, been looking out over.

"It's beautiful... the Ishana you can see from here." Comfortably, comfortably—Trinity breathed the words as if singing a lullaby. Kazuma gave her no response, but thought her impression wasn't wrong. Ishana was beautiful. And, it was peaceful. Although there were many small squabbles, they were far from the sort that would cause a crisis. New days arrived as naturally as history piled up, the same as they would in the world beyond the island. It seemed as though the peace in the world would always continue, just like how they would always be able to see the view from this hill.

"Anyway, Trinity-san, did you need something from me...?" If she had been running, it meant she was looking for him.

At Kazuma's question, Trinity brought a marshmallow-white fingertip to her chest and turned her gaze back to him. "Ah, that's right. I was looking for you because I have a favor to ask of you."

"Oh... from me?"

"Yes. Actually, the Mage's Guild asked me to make robes[T/N 1] for the Ten Sages' Canonization Ceremony. I'd like to ask for your help with the research I'll need to do."

Oh, I see. He understood the situation.

On the island of Ishana, the Mage's Guild, an organization belonging to no country, governed the capital city. It worked backstage to govern the magic[T/N 2] inherited through blood, instruct in its usage, and gather people skilled in the Arts[T/N 3] to serve as cornerstones to support the world. From within the Guild, ten of the best mages[T/N 4] were chosen to form the pinnacle of the Mage's Guild and their governing body: the Ten Sages.

This aforementioned exclusive group, which currently numbered eight, was about to gain a member. Their ninth member, for whom the Canonization Ceremony would be hosted for, was a young girl who was currently a student, just like Kazuma and Trinity.

"It's true that there's no one better suited for the task, Trinity-san."

"I've been entrusted with such an important task." Trinity laughed happily.

A special type of alchemy was required to make the ceremonial robes. It would be hard to guess based on Trinity's appearance, but within the academy governed by the Mage's Guild, she was unmatched in her skill with alchemy. There was no doubt that she would be able to make robes of a quality recognizable by all.

"So, what do you think? Will you help me?"

Trinity looked up at him, her wide eyes shining with sincerity. Bewildered, Kazuma quailed at her steady gaze. Unlike Kazuma, who was plain and gloomy, Trinity was sociable and kind to all. She ought to have any number of friends who would be more than happy to lend her a hand.

"Oh, uh, well, about that—I don't really have a problem with it, but... why me?"

At Kazuma's reservations, Trinity gave a slightly mischievous shrug. "Well, you know..."


—Ishana, within the Mage's Guild

The building known as the Great Library was a special location where, even for members of the Mage's Guild, without first obtaining a permit, it was forbidden to peruse its books or even to set foot inside. The building had few windows and not a single archival storage room. However, its interior was lit by the light of sorcery[T/N 5] and thus was far from being dim or gloomy.

In the center of the Great Library, among neat rows of bookshelves made from ancient wood, countless books regarding alchemy were stacked onto a large table. Sitting among them, Kazuma, who had been allowed access to this vault of knowledge for the first time, looked around and breathed out in awe for the umpteenth time.

"It's amazing, truly amazing...! That all of these... that the Mage's Guild has preserved this many books!"

The amount of knowledge gathered here was immense; he would even say it contained all of the world's history and possibility. However, it wouldn't be easy to read through the entirety of it.

Kazuma had applied many times for permission before, as there were many things he wanted to know. However, perhaps because he hadn't clearly written out his reason for requesting permission, he hadn't been granted it even once.

But this time was a different situation altogether. With a reason like researching the method to make the Ten Sages' robes... to the Mage's Guild, the Ten Sages' Canonization Ceremony was simply that important of a ritual.

Placing a thick, heavy-looking book on the table, Trinity once again had a mischevious smile floating on her lips.

"Kazuma-san, I just remembered earlier—you said you've never received permission to read the books here before. I was thinking, since we're here together anyway, why not now?"

"You remembered that? ...No, thank you for bothering to remember. But wouldn't reading unrelated books get us in trouble?"

"Sometimes the research process leads us to open unrelated books too. So... just a few would be fine."

Trinity pinched the air with her thumb and index finger forming a gap, and Kazuma returned her gesture with a brief, powerless smile.

It never ceased to surprise him, that Trinity—a morally irreproachable, high-achieving honor student—would occasionally show such a side of her.

"Well, if that's the case... I'll read a few later, but first comes helping you, Trinity-san."

In any case, they would be looking separately. Kazuma sat down and opened his first book; in the seat across from him, Trinity did the same. Together, separately, they began searching for passages with the information they had come for.

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NEXT

"Um... we'll be in trouble if we don't find anything on how to make the Ten Sages' robes, right?" With the amount of alchemical techniques that they'd looked through, he thought they'd have found something already. He couldn't even imagine there being more. Kazama snuck a glance at Trinity, who paused in the middle of turning yet another page, lifted her gaze to his, and smiled bitterly.

"The fundamentals of the method are more or less here, though. It's just that this time, the young Sage[T/N 6] is shaped quite differently from those before her, and she's requested custom robes. Therefore, in order to meet her request, I'm looking carefully into the small details. I really want to do it justice."

Hearing that, it was Kazuma's turn to smile bitterly. The candidate this time—the one taking the name of the ninth seat of the Ten Sages—was a genius at sorcery. She towered above everyone else in the Arts, but when it came to her personality... she was well known for being quick to find faults in others. If this was her request, then it was most likely a complicated and extremely difficult one. However, it was exactly because this order was hers that Trinity was putting her all into it, since the girl who was about to become the ninth seat of the Ten Sages was Trinity's one and only best friend.

"...I see, so that's how it is."

"Hey, just now, you thought that I was making trouble for myself, didn't you?"

"Huh!? N-No, well, I didn't really..." This blasted situation again. The depths of Kazuma's heart gave a heavy nod.

"Hehehe, so you actually did. That girl really did make all sorts of requests, one after the other." As Trinity continued, her gaze contained an unusually childlike delight, as if she were enjoying herself. "It's going to be center stage for a dear friend of mine. That's why I want to bring out robes that are beyond her wildest dreams."

"A 'dear friend'..."

"Is something wrong?"

"No, I just thought it was a concept I don't really understand. You know, since I don't have any friends."

"What a sad thing to say! Don't say that about yourself. You are also one of my dear friends, Kazuma-san."

"Oh.... Yeah, I guess."

Trinity seemed just a little indignant, but she still spoke sweetly, leaving Kazuma unable to give anything other than a vague response as he scratched at his cheek. He didn't know how to feel, and the girl in front of him had probably noticed that. His response lacked sincerity or praise; yet Trinity said nothing, neither blaming nor resenting his state of mind, and simply smiled gently.

It was embarrassing, somehow. Kazuma returned a stiff smile and turned back to the book in his hands. He was flipping the pages to distract himself from the atmosphere when he realized something.

"This book... it doesn't seem to be a book on alchemy. It's more like... a history book, I guess," Kazuma said while turning a page. A strange passage appeared before him, catching his gaze as if it were drawing him in. A poem? He trailed his finger along the archaic words, the words slipping out of his mouth before he realized it.

"In a land far to the east, blackened calamity was birthed that blanketed the world. Six heroes struck that calamity down, and from black calamity's corpse chaos was born..."

—The eternal "hell known as possibility" begins—[L/N 2]

"That's part of a very old fairy tale." Trinity spoke up, as if sweeping away Kazuma's faltering words. "My parents were mages; I heard it from them often when I was young. If I remember correctly... The black monster had eight heads, and it ate everyone in the world. I think it went like that. I was so scared that after hearing it, I couldn't sleep alone at night." The contents of poem-like passage matched exactly with what she said.

"Haha... You wouldn't want to hear stories about monsters before bedtime." Recalling the past had brought a smile to Trinity's face, and Kazuma, swept up in the atmosphere, smiled back.

At that time—

"Found you."

He heard a voice.

Kazuma jumped and turned around. The voice came from right next to him, right by his ear, but before he turned, there hadn't been anyone there. He hadn't sensed anyone at all.

"Kazuma-san?" Trinity raised her voice in concern. What was that? A hallucination? Of course. It had to be. Strange occurrences were best left as parts of one's imagination. Kazuma slowly turned to face the desk again and slightly shook his head in disbelief.

"No, it's nothing. Sorry...." It was probably because he'd read that old poem about the monster. Kazuma laughed softly to himself and stood up, closing the antique book. "I'll put this book away. Although, I don't know where it originally..."

Kazuma turned on his heel and made to walk, but wasn't able to complete his sentence. From beside him, a sudden, extremely heavy force blew him away.

"Hguooo!" His stereotypical daily life had barely begun, and yet a classmate was already forcing him to spit out screams and groans as he flew lightly into the air, bent at his waist, and subsequently slammed into the cold floor. Immediately afterward, a mercilessly strong force trampled on his head a number of times. Experiencing this, Kazuma finally realized what had happened to his body.

"Ka-K-k-k-Kazuma-san!" Trinity hurriedly kicked back her chair, and Kazuma heard her footsteps as she rushed over. As if to prevent her from doing so, a voice spoke from above Kazuma's head. It carried a pressure that felt like it could force down anyone around them, but still clearly belonged to a woman in her youth.

"You shouldn't, Trinity. 'Worms' harm the books."

He couldn't even look up. Or rather, looking up was physically impossible.

The one pinning Kazuma to the floor with a sharp, high-heeled shoe and speaking with such pressure was Konoe Mercury. With gorgeous proportions that would turn anyone's head; long, flowing pink hair; and a piercing gaze, this young girl was the prodigy Mage about to become the ninth of the Ten Sages.

"K-Konoe, I can't. Kazuma-san is dying!"

"He wouldn't die from just this. Pests are nothing if not resilient." But although she spoke disrespectfully, perhaps because it was her good friend's word, Konoe removed her foot from Kazuma's head.

Kazuma, now released, reached for the back of a nearby chair and shakily rose to his feet, clinging to it for support. "Konoe Mercury-san... What on Earth..."

"Hmph!"

"Ouguu..."

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With a sharp movement, Konoe dug her knee into Kazuma's abdomen. On the verge of collapsing again, he heard her voice: that same voice that had addressed Trinity was so cold it was as if its owner wasn't addressing another human being.

"Don't say my name so freely, you worm."

"So...rry..." Kazuma managed to groan through the pain, even as he felt as though his organs were about to fly out. There wasn't a speck of resistance in him. At school, any who dared to defy Konoe Mercury were simply reckless idiots.

Konoe swept aside her long hair and lifted a hand from her shapely waist towards Trinity, palm up.

"Say, Trinity. Is your current work very urgent? I'd like you to help me with something for about an hour, if you can."

"Oh? That's.... Whatever should I do?" Looking between the pile of books and Kazuma, Trinity placed a pale palm against her cheek.

Following her friend's line of sight, Konoe glanced over at Kazuma, as if realizing he was there for the first time. "Ah... Also, you bug. The professor's looking for you. About some favor or something."

"Huh? O-oh, really?"

Oh, right, Kazuma thought. Someone did ask a favor of me. I completely forgot.

Konoe immediately lost interest in Kazuma and jumped lightly onto her friend's back. "If you hurry, I don't mind if you clean up here first. When you have time, come by; I'll be waiting in the workshop."

"Got it! Until then."

"See you."

With a pretentious wave of her hand, Konoe left quickly, the sound of her high heels ringing through the Great Library. After waiting until she was gone, Kazuma finally stood up completely. Even now, he could still feel the sharpness of her kick in his stomach. If it had been after he had eaten, the library's floor wouldn't have been spared.

"Are you alright?"

Trinity peeked at him in sympathy, her gaze full of kindness, and Kazuma gave her a pained smile, feeling a bit cold at the back of his neck.

"It makes me want to lecture on the virtues of adding a compassionate heart as one of the criteria for joining the Ten Sages."

"But, even though she treats you like that, she's very kind to her younger sister."

"Haha... I was only joking."

He knew Trinity wasn't a person he could joke around with, but he was in a joking mood anyway. He didn't want her to worry over him any more than she already had.

"Actually, I... as Konoe-san said, I have an errand to run for the professor. I said I'd help you, but... looks like I can't. Sorry."

"Then, would you like to join me again later? Konoe asked for me just now as well."

"Is that alright...?"

Most of the books in the Great Library were still unread. Trinity's proposal would grant his wish. Trinity smiled sweetly, her eyes narrowing.

"Of course it is!"


A peaceful world, a tranquil island, a slightly lively school, and a classmate who could create a kind atmosphere even for a gloomy classmate. Such was Kazuma's current, daily life.

Parting with Trinity at the Great Library, Kazuma walked alone towards the front gates of the academy. Devoid of any emotion, inscrutable, his golden eyes hid behind a long fringe; his closed lips gave away nothing. In their own way, the human-like bewilderment and laughter that he had displayed up until then seemed constructed. Dull to any senses, with a doll-like blankness, he walked forward indifferently.

The favor that the professor asked of him was to show around a transfer student. It was rare for students to transfer in at this time, but word was that due to missing documents, the paperwork had taken longer to process.

The school's front gates were grand. In the center of the front gates, on the wall of the entranceway, hung a large clock mimicking the design of a magic circle. Catching sight of the rarely-seen school uniform, Kazuma drew near at a jog. Even now, he had already put on his "usual" ambitionless smile.

"Sorry, I made you wait."

At Kazuma's voice, the person in front of the clock waved back. In that moment, the needle of the large clock moved forward silently.

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NEXT> the outbreak of...

Notes

August 18, 2018 (Chao)

Magic versus sorcery - My translation for majutsu as “sorcery” based on context clues was incorrect, and I have corrected it to “magic” and similarly changed the later reference to mahou to “sorcery”. (Although the latter change may not have been necessary if the author was using the words interchangeably in that sentence, see below.)

With help from Ogiga99, it was determined that the localizations for 魔術 majutsu and 魔法 mahou aren’t always consistent, especially in casual contexts where the difference between magic and sorcery aren’t important. Basically, the localization would use whichever word sounded better in English for the sentence being translated. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, since the original source material also seemed to use majutsu and mahou interchangeably (except for when it didn’t).

One instance where the difference mattered is a sentence from Rachel in Teach Me! Miss Litchi! Episode 5, where she explicitly ranks magic, sorcery, and Ars Magus — where Ars Magus (jutsushiki) is outranked by magic (majutsu), which is in turn outranked by sorcery (mahou). This sentence forms the basis of my correction in translation.

July 28, 2018 (Chao)

Black calamity - I can't tell if this is an important phrase or not, so I'm putting this note here just in case. In the passage from the history book that Kazuma reads, the "black calamity" mentioned do not use the exact words that were used for chapter 5 of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger's novel, which was titled "Calamity black—黒の終焉", where 終焉 shūen means "demise" or "end (of a world)" rather than the "calamity" that you'd expect. In Kazuma's book, the words used are 災い wazawai and 災厄 saiyaku, which both mean "calamity" as in "a disaster of nature or fate." Usually, the English half of the novels' chapters are used as second readings rather than as translations, meaning 黒の終焉 Kuro no Shūen isn't the official term for the calamity black (if there is any).

Magic versus sorcery - As I understand it, there's some confusion about the localizations for 魔術 majutsu and 魔法 mahou. Normally, majutsu would be translated as "sorcery" and mahou as "magic," but there are claims that BlazBlue has translated them in the reverse before. I went purely by context for this text, and chose to translate majutsu as "sorcery" since the sentence it appears in closely matches a description of sorcery (inherited by blood, and taught by the Mage's Guild); by process of elimination, that makes mahou "magic."

Feeling a bit cold at the back of his neck - This isn't a reference to the earlier mysterious voice or anything. Literally it's "felt the presence of sweat," as in the comical expression of a sweatdrop, but there's no way I'm going to be writing "he felt a sweatdrop," so have this instead.

Other translation choices
  1. 法衣 hōe - robes
  2. 魔術 majutsu - magic
  3. 技術 gijustu - Arts
  4. 魔術師 majutsushi - practitioner of sorcery, a Mage
  5. 魔法 mahou - sorcery
  6. 聖冠者 seikansha - young Sage (I thought about using "Sage candidate," but left it more literal since it seems Nine is less a candidate and more a Sage that just needs to go through Canonization)

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