Web小説 「.hack//bullet」


   I'm going to tell a fairy tale. Maybe you've heard it before?
   It's about a snake who lives at the top of the world.
    There's a place far off in the mountains where nothing is heard, nothing is permitted. There are children here. The children spend all day dancing, laughing, playing. The air is sweet and the outside world does not exist. At night they rest in the palace, where their beds are always ready, the food is always delicious, and the toys are all new.
    Their parents are there, but they are silent. This is a child's ideal world. Green grass flows through the meadows, and mountains wrap all sides like a warm embrace. The sun passes over between the peaks each day and says hello as it goes by, and then the moon softly cradles the children to sleep. The days pass on like this without care and they play and play. They are comfortable and bathed in light, and their instincts tell them their parents are close, so nothing is out of balance.
    Their parents are there, but they are silent.
   That's why nobody can stop the snake.
    The snake comes on the full moon. It slithers down from the place where the world does not spin and fills every orifice of the palace. The children are not afraid of the snake, because it is all they know. The snake slithers through and refreshes the facilities. The snake provides, and despite its inherent terror, the children are content. It hisses at no one and receives no protest in turn. This act is not charity, however.
   They pay the price each time.
    One disappears.
    No matter how good you are, no matter how kind, no matter how pure, the snake comes all the same every full moon.
    Their parents are there, but they are silent.
    This is the price of living without care. This is the price of freedom. One always disappears.
   And then one day, the snake came and made its rounds as usual, but one parent stood up and said:
    “You will have no child,” and the snake laughed. The palace shook. This time it took the parent too.
    Good deeds have no value, says the snake, so live without inhibition.
    It's a dark fairy tale, I know, but where I'm from it's the only one we know.

next ch.55: INVENTORY