Delusion Magazine ☆ Night Material Collection – Riding a Bicycle!
On a certain day in our club room, Asia posed a question to me with a subtle expression on her face.
“Ise-san, are you free this weekend?”
“I’m not doing anything in particular, so I guess I’m free.”
When I gave such a reply, a spark of determination seemed to light up in Asia’s eyes as she said,
“I want to practice riding a bicycle!”
For a terrible athlete like Asia, it might’ve been the greatest challenge.
On the weekend, Asia and I went to a nearby park. Naturally, the reason we came was so that she could learn to ride a bike. The bicycle that she was going to use for practice was one that I had with a front basket. Although I rarely used it, I made sure to prepare it so that there wouldn’t be any problems since Asia was going to ride it.
“Mmm, the weather is absolutely perfect for practice today.”
“Yes, it’s so brilliant that I wouldn’t even be surprised if Heaven had a helping hand in it!”
Beside me, Xenovia and Irina nodded in affirmation. When the two of them learned that I was going to help Asia with cycling practice, they decided to come along. …To be honest though, there was really no need for three people to be here on the sidelines….
“Well, let’s get started, Asia. I’ll support you from behind, so give it a try first.”
While I supported the bicycle from behind, Asia gingerly positioned herself on the bicycle’s saddle.
“Huwah, please don’t let go! Make sure you say so when you’re about to let go!”
Well, it’s not like I was going to suddenly let go anyway. In short, I was going to support her as she rode to the opposite side of the park, and then let go once she had gotten the hand of it.
“Kya! Ah! Ah!”
Asia made slight squeals as she depressed the pedals of the bicycle. However, because her control of the handlebar was at a mismatch to the rhythm of her pedalling, her centre of gravity swayed from side to side. …As a result, it was actually quite a physically demanding task to help her ride the bicycle. After all, until she got used to cycling, I had to support the weight of a person on it. After we finally made it across to the other side of the park, I paused to catch my breath and then began to give Asia some advice. At that moment—
“It’s almost time—”
“Yes, it’s almost time on my side as well…”
Both Irina and Xenovia frequently glanced at the clock in the park. …Huh? What were those two doing? I thought that they had come to help out. A sudden beam of light fell from the sky, leaving me with a befuddled expression as I watched on! Hey! What’s going on!? Upon seeing this, Irina clasped her hands together in prayer.
“Oh thank you, dear Angel-senpai!”
In the spot where the pillar of light landed, something appeared — it was a bicycle! Irina stood in front of the bicycle as she solemnly declared,
“Ahem! This is a specially customised bicycle produced by Heaven! Leaving the gears aside for now, the headlights utilise the power of light to ensure a safe riding experience at night! With this, Asia-san can also become a master of the bicycle! Fufu!”
Not funny! What on earth did you order from Heaven!? On the other hand, Xenovia gazed up and down at the bicycle with fervent interest.
“Mmm. It’s a great bike. The body even seems to have a holy glow encasing it. Can I give it a try before Asia does?”
“Of course, please experience Heaven’s technology for yourself! Lord Michael’s protection will surely be bestowed upon the devout Devil believer, Xenovia!”
The term ‘devout Devil believer’ was really odd…. In any case, Xenovia prepared to hop onto the heavenly bicycle.
“I wonder how it feels…”
The instant that she placed her fingers on the handlebar — there was a fizz……the sound of something being burnt was emitted, and Xenovia’s body also began to radiate smoke!
“Ah, my senior says [The bicycle is made with baptised iron and silver, so please be careful as Devils will be hurt when they ride it]!”
Irina said as she read out a text message from her mobile phone! Noo! Isn’t that bicycle too dangerous for us!? And then Xenovia — coughed as puffs of smoke escaped her mouth. She revealed a wide smile and said,
“Its effectiveness is excellent. I’d feel at ease even if it fell into the hands of wicked Devils…kuh.”
Aaaaahh! That idiot rode the bicycle and kept smiling even though it sapped away all of her strength!
“Xenovia-san! Please don’t die!”
Asia cried as she hurried over to heal her. …I was at a loss on how to respond to Irina and Xenovia…. I buried my face in my hands out of distress. Today’s practice session became much more troublesome than I had imagined.
“Sorry, I rode it on a whim.”
After being revived by Asia, Xenovia apologised as she lay down on one of the park benches.
“You seriously act too bold, Xenovia!”
Irina flicked Xenovia’s forehead with her finger and then made a slightly awkward smile.
“Did you two come here to flirt with each other in broad daylight this weekend!?”
I complained aloud. I heaved a sigh and then prepared to start practicing with Asia again — but another magic circle then appeared in the park. …Based on the emblem, it didn’t appear to be one that belonged to a Devil, rather, it was a Fallen Angel’s. It looked the same as the magic circle that Azazel-sensei always used…. I had an ominous premonition as soon as that thought entered my mind…. A bicycle then appeared from the magic circle. …Ah, here we go with the weird stuff…! Xenovia said ‘Oh, it’s here’ as she approached the bicycle. You too!? Xenovia walked the bicycle from the magic circle over to Asia as she said,
“Asia! This is the custom demonic-energy-assisted bicycle that I asked Azazel-sensei to build!”
…In that case, I totally disagree! Azazel-sensei built it!? As soon as I heard that, my trust in it completely vanished! Anything that mischievous evil teacher made was completely unworthy of trust! It might just have been my eyes, but it looked as though a dangerous aura emanated from that bike!
“Sensei made it just for me? I’m so happy! I’ll make sure I practice with that bicycle—”
The pure and naïve Asia reacted to the bicycle with sincere joy…. However, I felt duty-bound to keep Asia away from the bicycle (made by Azazel-sensei). So, I made a suggestion to Xenovia,
“Hey, Xenovia. Just the fact that Azazel-sensei was involved in the bicycle’s development makes it untrustworthy…so could I get you to try riding it first? See, the front and rear wheels have some weird protrusions that concern me.”
Indeed, the bicycle’s front and rear wheels had some oddly shaped protrusions attached to them. …There was definitely something in them. Given my experience in dealing with Azazel-sensei, I was almost certain that it was something dangerous! When I mentioned that, Xenovia made a slightly displeased expression as she sat onto the bicycle.
“Ise, why aren’t you satisfied with the bike that I went and prepared? No matter how evil Azazel-sensei may be, he’d definitely make a bicycle that’s easy to ride for our adorable Asia!”
After saying so, Xenovia promptly began to ride the bicycle. She rode around in the park, skilfully turning left and right in circles. Well, Xenovia was physically adept, so something like that was rather easy for her.
“See, Ise and Asia — this bike is great! It looks sturdy, and it’s more comfortable than anything else!”
Certainly, looking only at how Xenovia rode the bike around, nothing seemed off about it…. Irina then made a request to Xenovia as she continued to ride the bike around.
“Heeey, Xenovia! Try using that device on the left handle! I’m really curious!”
Just as Irina said, there was a mysterious device installed on the bicycle’s left handle. It was a device with a digital display and various buttons similar to one that could be found inside a modern car.
“Got it! Leave it to me!”
As Xenovia said that, she pressed a button on the device. At that moment—
The bicycle made a loud mechanical noise, and then something ‘clicked’ as if to signal the activation of a function! The mysterious protrusions on the front and rear wheels activated! They rotated towards the ground and then began to spew flames!
The mysterious protrusions, no, the rockets pushed out a fierce trail of flames as they pushed Xenovia and the bicycle up from the ground slowly!
“Oh, the bicycle flies? Look at this Asia, the bike has the ability to fly—”
Although it appeared that Xenovia still wanted to say something, she streaked across the sky at a tremendously high speed!
Asia, Irina and I simply stared as Xenovia progressively rose into the sky and eventually disappeared out of sight, much like the receding streak of a shooting star even though it was daytime—. …Seriously, what on earth was Xenovia doing…!? Was she saying that the bicycle could fly!? That didn’t even count as flying anymore! It was more like a rocket! A one-way bicycle ticket to Heaven! That was why I said that all of Azazel-sensei’s creations were dangerous! …W-Well, whatever! I lightly coughed to clear my throat and then recomposed myself.
“Come on, Asia. Let’s continue to practice.”
“—Wait! T-That’s going too far, Ise-san! Xenovia hasn’t returned from the sky yet!”
Asia pointed at the sky as she pleaded.
“T-There are lives that cannot be saved!”
All I could do was come up with something like that as I averted my eyes! After all, it was beyond my control! How was I supposed to stop a bicycle that flew up into the sky!? Especially one that suddenly zoomed off like a rocket!
“Xenovia became a shooting star in place of you, Asia! If you were the one on that bike, what would you have done? …Xenovia was sacrificed to sensei’s wicked plan…! To honour her memory, we must continue to practice, Asia!”
I uttered whatever words came to mind as encouragement for Asia—.
“There’s such a good bike here nyo.”
—What!? Those words were spoken by a familiar, tough-sounding male voice! Upon turning around, I found a large man with immense physique dressed in a gothic Lolita outfit! It was Mil-tan! Why is it always one trouble after the other!? As I covered my face in embarrassment, beside me, Mil-tan was captivated by the bicycle produced by Heaven, just like how Xenovia became fascinated with the other one.
“I can feel a magical presence from this bicycle nyo.”
As he murmured something about the mysterious magical properties of the bicycle, he mounted it as if in a trance. While I contemplated whether or not to stop him, Mil-tan confidently kicked the pedals and began to cycle—.
Out of nowhere, the bicycle began to shine with a holy radiance—. And then, pure white wings appeared from his rugged body, taking the bicycle straight into the sky.
—Mil-tan flew off along with the bicycle, looking like an angel in the distant sky! I was so shocked by the occurrence that my expression probably looked about as strange as one of those weird masks! He had become a pseudo-Angel flying through the air with divine protection—. It wouldn’t even be an exaggeration to describe the scene as a Hellish Ukiyo-e painting! So that’s what happens when a human rides that bicycle — they fly off with wings! Doesn’t that make the bicycle produced by Heaven and sensei’s rocket bicycle one and the same!?
“This bicycle is awesome nyo! Mil-tan finally has a vehicle to travel to a magical world nyoooooo!”
Letting loose a beast-like roar, Mil-tan (Angel version) continued riding the bicycle produced by Heaven as his wings fluttered—. The sight looked very much like a monster flying through the sky. Damn it! —Of all days, why was it today that so many problems had to unfold!?
“That’s enough! Can we just let Asia practice cycling please!?”
I was at such a loss that all I could do was bellow out my frustration towards the sky.
“Yes, okay. I understand what you’ve told me, but the bicycle that Xenovia rode was prepared by the Fallen Angel Governor…. Eh? A gothic Lolita monster? I seem to remember, but at the same time I can’t…. Something went wrong with Heaven’s [System]!? I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
Half an hour after Xenovia and Mil-tan had breached the skies, we were resting. Simultaneously, Irina held her phone up vigorously nodded and apologised to someone on the other end that we couldn’t identify.
Soon after the incident, we received a message from Heaven. They said that two people riding bicycles appeared to be attempting a break-in to Heaven. One of them was Xenovia who rode sensei’s shooting-star rocket bicycle. And the other one was Mil-tan who had become an Angel riding the bicycle produced by Heaven. It seemed that both of them had safely arrived in Heaven. …So their bicycles made it all the way to Heaven huh…. In other words, they managed to break into Heaven like that!? It was only supposed to be me and Asia today, so how did we end up with two bicycles arriving in Heaven!? It was just so ludicrous that Xenovia and Mil-tan had managed to arrive in Heaven on bicycles! The park had become a launching ground for those attempting to infiltrate Heaven!
“Bicycles are amazing, Ise-san! They’re such special vehicles that they can even reach Heaven!”
No, Asia-chan, no! Bicycles are peaceful vehicles that ordinary people use to commute every day! They’re definitely not kamikaze vehicles that go straight to Heaven! I powerlessly heaved a sigh and then finished my can of apple juice. After recomposing myself, I said to Irina,
“In any case, we just have to continue to Asia’s cycling practice. Please lend a hand too, Irina.”
“Aye aye sir!”
Irina responded with a salute. At last, we were able to begin practicing in earnest again. Irina and I supported the bicycle on each side from behind and only let go when Asia was confidently able to push the pedals. Although Asia was able to pedal the bike and ride decently well after we let go, she would always end up losing balance and falling over. Despite falling over time and time again, Asia didn’t give up — she got back up and continued to practice every time.
Having practiced in the morning and again after our break in the middle, it was finally dusk. At the beginning, it was an impossible task, but she had become somewhat competent at riding a bike. With a little more practice, she would probably get there. As long as she could master the vital element of balancing on the bicycle, it would be a cinch…. It was still a small challenge for Asia given her poor disposition for sports. …Why did she suddenly decide to learn how to ride a bicycle though? Although she cared about it, it had never been an inconvenience in her everyday life.
“Asia, why did you suddenly decide to learn to ride a bike?”
I abruptly asked. As a result, Asia blushed and fidgeted as she tried to come up with a response.
Irina gently prodded the hesitant Asia with her elbow.
“Asia, it’s better if you say it! If you let it out, you’ll feel more energetic and you’ll give yourself more momentum!”
Following Irina’s encouragement, Asia finally made up her mind to tell me.
“U-Umm! Ise-san! N-Next time, will you please ride with me to go on a picnic?”
—Ah, a picnic huh. But why go by bicycle? Timidly, Asia continued,
“I heard that some of our classmates went on a picnic with their bicycles…. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I wanted to go with you, Ise-san…. A-Also, Xenovia-san, Irina-san and Kiryuu-san looked really happy when they rode bikes to go shopping together. When I thought about all of that, I wanted to learn…”
…I see. It was indeed pleasurable to travel by bicycle. When I was in middle school, I went cycling with Matsuda, Motohama and some others to somewhat distant places during the summer holidays. When I was with everyone, no place ever seemed too far away or out of reach — that was what I felt to be the essence of riding a bicycle. The idea of going on a picnic with Asia by bicycle excited me!
“In that case, I want rice balls and tomato sandwiches!”
Asia was somewhat startled by my exclamation.
“A bento. Let’s go on a bicycle trip! If that was the case, then we should’ve started practicing earlier!”
After listening to what I said, a radiant smile spread across Asia’s face. Alright! Time for one more practice round then! Since it was sunset, perhaps it was an opportune time as the strengthened abilities of a Devil at night could help Asia learn to ride a bike! We’ll keep going at it until dinnertime! Once more, Irina and I supported the bicycle to assist Asia with riding. Just as we felt good about how Asia was riding and were about to let go—.
The sound of something erupting rattled our ears. Upon looking up, I saw Xenovia and the rocket bike! She was back! The last rays of sunlight projected over the horizon behind her as she returned from Heaven on the bicycle! Returning on the bicycle, Xenovia landed steadily on the ground and then removed a paper bag from the basket as she acknowledged us.
“A souvenir from Heaven. This holy bread is a specialty of Heaven. Uriel-sama, one of the Great Seraphim, personally gave this to me. He also told me to say hello to everyone in the Gremory household on his behalf.”
“No, please just go home! What’s with this ‘visiting relatives in Heaven’ attitude!?”
That was my only retort. What on earth had we come to the park for today!? Did this Devil just ride a bicycle to Heaven and return!? She was even wearing a crown of thorns that she didn’t have when she left! She was offered the protection of Heaven and also came back with a souvenir!? Was this some kind of ghost story!?
Huh? It seemed like Asia was calling out. When I turned around — Asia was riding her bicycle with poise! Speaking of which, Irina and I were both so startled by Xenovia’s sudden return that we had let go of Asia’s bicycle without realising! But Asia was riding her bike even without our support!
“Oh! Asia! You’ve done it!”
“Yes, Ise-san! I can ride a bike!”
Although her movements were still a bit stiff, she was able to ride it on her own! Success! Asia had finally learned how to ride a bicycle! Just as Asia and I ran towards each other in joy, a mysterious sensation raced towards us from the sky.
Accompanied by the sound of an object falling at high speed—
A familiar bestial voice screamed like a banshee! And from above us!? When I looked up, I caught sight of the brawny cross-dressing male figure that I had never wanted to see again! I had carelessly forgotten! That’s right! That man also went to Heaven! But, why now—.
“Why are you coming towards meeee!?”
…I was crushed by Mil-tan upon his descent from the sky. ……Urghh. This kind of stuff always happens to me. Although I had become an airbag for Mil-tan’s muscular body, I was still filled with warmth and delight at seeing Asia’s growth. You did it, Asia!
A few days later, Asia and I went bicycle riding with a bento box. I felt full of youth going on a bicycle date with a blonde girl! Asia’s bento box was also super delicious, there was nothing in it that I could complain about!
“Although it’s nice to sit in your back seat, it also feels good to keep pace with you, Ise-san.”
I felt overjoyed every time Asia smiled. Ah, of course, sensei’s rocket bicycle that was capable of going all the way to Heaven was sealed away. After all, if someone could just ride that thing and go to Heaven, it would cause all sorts of trouble. What about the one produced by Heaven though…? Well, stuff like that can wait! Asia’s bicycle training was safely completed anyway!
(All 3 of 3 parts) (10/4/20)