Exclusive – Spirit Hunter: NG Novella ‘Urashima Woman’ Chapter 1
Noisy Pixel is continuing the Novella for Spirit Hunter: NG. This is a 5 chapter story originally posted to Famitsu for the Japanese release of the game. In case you missed it, read the prologue chapter first. Each day we will share a new chapter for readers to learn more about this haunting spirit, who is the first to be investigated in the game.
It should be noted that there might be some spoilers ahead so please read with that in mind.
Embryo ~Second month of pregnancy~
Author: Hitomi Amamiya
“—You’re six weeks in. What would you like to do?” Himeko Shimizu widens her eyes at her obstetrician gynecologist’s inquiry.
Me? Pregnant!? Really!? Struck speechless by the sweet whispers, she could only sit there and stare.
“Are you all right? Do you feel ill, Miss Shimizu?” a woman in nurse’s gear asks.
Looking up at the inquiry, Himeko finds herself looking into the eyes of a plump-faced woman holding Himeko’s medical chart.
“Miss Shimizu?” The doctor’s voice forces her gaze upon him and asks a question.
“Do you want to keep your child?”
Himeko exits the examination room and walks through the hospital that has been adorned in baby pink, feeling as if she were floating in a dream.
“I’m going to have the baby.”
Upon declaring that to the attending doctor, it sent a new resolve through her veins, down to her capillaries, and she felt it coursing through her body.
She bears a new life inside her. That fact rattles her to her core, and she can’t stop shaking. The strange exhilaration reminds her of that festival she and her family attended long ago.
Her parents and her sister, two years her elder.
The last place she ever went with her now-deceased family.
“What kind of festival was it?”
She was too young to remember what the name of the festival was.
But that festival was fun and exciting. So much so that, Himeko, who was known to be a quiet child, couldn’t stand still and kept wriggling around so much that her parents scolded her. The feeling she had right now is the same feeling that she had back then.
“Ahhhhh, finally, I’m not alone.”
25 years ago, Himeko lost her family in a murder-suicide.
They drove the car into the winter ocean.
As if their car had transformed instantly into a water tank that held humans, her parents and sister writhed in agony, gurgled out air like they were blowing bubbles. Amidst that horrible sight, Himeko alone was expelled through the open window and miraculously saved.
Afterward, she was taken in by a distant relative and spent her childhood unable to shake off the loneliness that haunted her. Now 28 years old, she lived with the anxiety of having no close blood relatives anywhere in the world.
The fear made her every moment feel like traversing a bridge over a bottomless pit. She felt helpless, directionless, drifting like a piece of garbage caught in the ocean currents, continuously tossed about in the water with no destination.
But now she would no longer have to fear.
The moment Himeko learned of her pregnancy, she feels a clear stream wash away her darkness. Thanks to this life now residing within her body, she finally feels free from the loneliness she believed would cling to her for the rest of her life.
Looking up, she notices a large stained glass window at the landing. It depicts a woman caressing a young angelic babe close to her chest. She looks upon it with tender love.
The Madonna and Child motif.
As if it summons her, Himeko walks up the stairs and softly places her hand on the gentle light shining through. Imagining her own future, mere months from now, and conflating it with the scene depicted on the colored glass, she can’t help but let a few tears fall.
This is a key moment in Himeko’s life.
“—Isn’t it lovely? That stained glass,” said a voice from behind her.
Flinching in surprise at the sudden voice, she looks behind her to find a woman with a glow to her cheeks, which are raised in a smile. It’s the nurse from the examination room.
“This building used to be a church. Since that Madonna and Child scene was perfect for an ob-gyn, they just kept it there.”
The woman keeps her bright smile up as she approaches Himeko.
“It’s also where the name ‘Angel OB-GYN Clinic’ comes from. The director… Oh, the doctor you had, I guess if you were kind, you would call him simple or straight-forward. Creativity isn’t really his strong suit.”
Himeko, unsure how to respond, wipes away the tears hanging on to the corners of her eyes and quietly smiles.
“Oh, dear, were you crying?”
Displaying surprising speed for someone with her plump stature, the woman rushes up to Himeko and produces a white cloth from her upper pocket. She quickly hands it to Himeko.
“I’m sorry, it’s medical gauze.”
She probably wants me to wipe my tears with it. Gratefully accepting the gauze, Himeko dabs the corners of both of her eyes.
The nameplate on the woman’s chest reads, ‘Yasuko Kuramoto, Midwife.’ Judging from the appearance, she seems to be a little over 40. She must have worked here at the clinic for many years, meaning she is an experienced midwife.
“Ah, I believe your name was Miss Himeko Shimizu? You zoned out a bit in front of the doctor back there. Are you troubled over something?”
Himeko immediately shakes her head no.
However, she did have quite a number of things to be troubled about.
After all, she had just been pronounced a single mother-to-be. With the ensuing pregnancy, delivery, and child-raising waiting in the wings, she had no idea how she could continue her job. She had no home to return to and no relatives she could rely on.
Despite that, these tears were not of sadness.
They were of joy for her pregnancy.
After Himeko explains her reason, Yasuko blinked her eyes in surprise.
“So, you were so happy over having a baby, you zoned out, and were overcome by emotion when you saw stained glass?”
Himeko’s honest answer causes Yasuko to drop her gaze even lower.
“If that’s the case, then I’m glad. Congratulations on your baby, Miss Shimizu.”
Himeko’s jaw goes slack.
“What is it now?”
“…Oh, it’s just that, that was the first time anyone has congratulated me. Ah, well, I guess that makes sense, seeing that I was only notified of my pregnancy just moments ago.”
“Oh, I guess so. We don’t say it anymore. Not all pregnancies aren’t always welcome, you know? Some women end up asking for an abortion.”
Taking into account people’s various situations, the hospital had adopted a policy of avoiding congratulatory words until the mother reached her second trimester.
“That’s why the doctor asked you if you wanted to have the baby or not.”
“Oh, is that why?”
“Yes. But congratulations are necessary for someone like you. After all, you want this baby from the bottom of your heart.”
Yasuko reached toward Himeko’s stomach without warning and slowly began stroking. Himeko is startled, and doesn’t immediately know how to react, but realizes that Yasuko is probably doing this due to her occupation. Deciding to take it that way, Himeko gazes down at her stomach and the plump hand.
“This womb must have been chosen by the baby.”
“Yes, chosen. Chosen by a baby who wanted to arrive inside a mother who would genuinely be happy about the pregnancy.” Yasuko glances towards the stained glass and says, “Just like this baby angel,” before turning her eyes back toward Himeko.
“Yes… I hope that’s the case.”
“Of course, it is. That’s why, until you meet this child, you need to keep a smile on your face and do your best.”
Come back tomorrow for the next Chapter.
You can read our review of Spirit Hunter: NG now.
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