Cornelia the New Priest (新人司祭コーネリア Shinjin Shisai Kōneria) is an extra arc from Umineko When They Cry. It was first released on September 23, 2009.
- Main article: Cornelia the New Priest/Plot Summary
Cornelia is excited to get recruited into the Great Court of Heaven, but the workplace atmosphere is not quite what she expected.
Cornelia the New Priest was originally a text story released as a booklet at the "Higurashi When They Gather 3" event on September 23, 2009.
Cornelia the New Priest was adapted into visual novel format with Umineko no Naku Koro ni Tsubasa, released physically at Comiket 79 on December 31, 2010.
The First and the Last Gift
This arc was rereleased in Umineko no Naku Koro ni: The First and the Last Gift on December 16, 2015.
Umineko no Naku Koro ni Saku is a rerelease containing all previously-released Umineko content, which includes Tsubasa and thus this arc. Saku released on October 4, 2019.
Within the Repentance Enforcement Agency, the laws of the Great Court of Heaven are strictly enforced.
Its Inquisitors of Heresy are praised as Knights of the Law, and countless virtous youths dream of nothing but joining their ranks.
So when Cornelia became an Inquisitor Aide, no one that knew her was surprised in the slightest.
It was the dream of the future that she had written in her grade school yearbook, and now she had simply made it a reality.
There were things that surprised her upon entry, though.
The first and foremost was the amount of free time the job had.
While it's true that the top Inquisitors are incredibly busy, the department Cornelia had been assigned to was much slower in regards to workload.
And further betraying her expectations... the atmosphere could only be described as "loose".
"Please, allow me to speak. Cornelia, Minister Third Class, reporting for duty!`@` Senior officers, if you would give me the honor of your orders!"
"...I don't think there's anything right now. Oh, wait, could you get me a refill on my tea? And you don't need to use court language at normal times."
That was the answer given to Cornelia by her senior officer on her first day of work, as she stood at attention, ready to fulfill her duties.
"May I humbly bring to your attention that the usage of court language while on duty is mandated in the official service regulations!"
"Oh, well, it used to be like that, but the Seventh District negotiated with the union, and now, it only has to be used outside the offices. Don't you think court language is way too stiff? Ah, as much as I'd just love to keep talking about rules and regulations, I wanted to let you know that lunch break is actually from 11:45 to 1:00, instead of 12:00 to 1:00."
"M-madam! I was informed that our lunchtime was at 12:00 to 1:00!"
"At 3:00, we're supposed to have a fifteen minute break, right? All we did was add that time to lunch instead; the union said it was fine. This is a right your seniors in this office worked hard to get you, so stop complaining. Another thing, this wasn't decided by the union or anything, but traditionally, new recruits get to work thirty minutes early in order to clean all the desks and set out the tea. Well, I suppose it is your first day, so don't feel too bad. It's been nice talking to you, Cornelia. Oh, and one more thing, the union is throwing a welcome party for all the new recruits today at 6:00 at the Suzuki-ya next door. There'll be tekkadon!"
"I-I'm honored by your consideration, Minister Second Class..."
Court language is the archaic way of speaking that Cornelia uses.
Since the text of the law uses archaic terms, it naturally stands to reason that those that uphold it are obligated to use that language while on duty in order to properly utilize it.
But since it's so different from normal speech, using it all day isn't easy.
That's why the union of the workers from each jurisdiction were able to lobby for loosening usage policies in every department except when dealing with places outside.
And that's why all their normal conversations took place in colloquial language.
"Cornelia, your seat is over here. Your deskmat is new, so use it well."
"You have my deepest gratitude..."
"Wahaha, it's all right. Don't be so formal, no one's going to get mad at you!"
That was the biggest shock of Cornelia's first day.
To a girl who had hoped to join the Inquisitor Section no matter what, whose fervent desire was to mete out the death penalty to evil, court language was the largest symbol of all of those hopes.
This was the duty she wanted to devote the entirety of her life to, the Inquisitor Section. That meant equal devotion to using court language.
In order to use it properly, she had begged her poor parents — insisting that "I don't need an allowance" — to let her attend a weeky court language conversation class.
If court language wasn't used, then this couldn't possibly be called the Inquisitor Section.
In order to show her stalwart, singleminded devotion towards entering the Inquisitor Section, Cornelia had used court language in day to day conversation ever since she was a child.
She'd been so unnecessarily diligent in her studies, she had recieved top marks in court language on the Inquisitor entrance examination. She'd also recieved first prize for her usage of the language in an oratorial contest at her school.
Because of her exceptionally high marks on the personnel examination of the Great Court, accepting her into the organization was simply a matter of course.
In the ministry, usually those with exceptional marks got their choice of department.
However, Cornelia had not been assigned to the department she wanted.
It might have had something to do with her interviews.
Whatever the case, the truth of the matter was that she hadn't been assigned to Repentance Enforcement, as she'd hoped, but instead to the General Affairs Department.
The duty of General Affairs was to process various types of paperwork.
Of course, it was still an important department, but confronting and smiting evil was under the purview of other departments. Departments that she hadn't been assigned to, at any rate.
Her first choice had been the Eight District, the SSVD.
They were an elite band of Witch Hunters, under the command of Wizard-Hunting Wright, known for his rigid efficiency.
If that wasn't possible, her second choice would have been the Seventh District, the Eiserne Jungfrau.
That's where Dlanor A. Knox, famous for her ten wedges, resided.
...But instead of either of them, she ended up in the General Affairs paperwork department.
Cornelia spoke to herself. Of course, even inside her head, she used court language.
Be still, my heart. Listen closely, young Cornelia.
A journey of a thousand miles still begins with a single step.
Know that this journey we've undertaken will be long and arduous until we reach our goal.
She wouldn't be discouraged.
She told herself that she had been posted here because she wasn't yet ready for the grander offices.
But by building up achievements and recognition, the day would surely come that she could transfer to an enforcement department.
Through her immense effort in studying to become an Inquisitor Aide, she'd passed the examination, so it would take similar effort to become a fully fledged Inquisitor of Heresy.
Now, let us put forth our utmost effort, come what may!
With that enthusiasm in mind, she pulled open her desk drawer in order to see what materials her predecessor had left her.
There was a heavy folder packed full with documents. On top of them all, there was a book.
Being on top, it must have been the single most important one.
It was the crossword magazine known for its fabulous prizes, 'Crosswo!'
This was her predecessor's... most important material...?
"K-know that this is nothing to lose heart over. Sigh..."
She wouldn't be discouraged. That refusal to be crushed was one of her most redeeming features.
Cornelia threw 'Crosswo!' into the recycling bin. Of course, she removed the staples before doing it.
If the work she wanted hadn't been given to her, it must have been because she wasn't at the level needed to carry it out.
So, what she needed to do was learn the work of her senior staff members and be quickly acknowledged as an independent worker.
By taking on important work, she might be given more and more work with ever increasing responsibility. And then, much like how she'd passed the Inquisitor examination, she would reach greater and greater achievements until she would earn that dangling-eared cap!
The "dangling-eared cap" is a hat that only Inquisitors are permitted to wear.
It got its nickname from the two "ears" that hand at the cap's sides.
It's said the first time you have them hanging is when your desire to become an Inquisitor of Heresy has been truly granted.
So her current earless hat felt like little more than a nurse's cap.
"Listen closely, my regulation cap. Know that one day you too shall grow a pair of ears. Someday, surely, without fail."
Gripping her hat tightly with both hands, she made an oath for its future.
Now, we must do our best. Merely idling will not help us learn our tasks.
If we cannot learn, then we can't be entrusted with anything.
We cannot just learn by listening. We cannot just wait, slackjawed, for someone else to tell us what to do.
Learn by doing, take in what you see.
People that wait to be told are the ones that are always called idiots by middle-aged men, and branded the "lazy generation" out of irritation.
I cannot just appeal to those that are sympathetic to my passion for studying.
I'll carefully observe my senior coworkers at work, and steal their methods.
One of the staff members had the sports page of a newspaper out, and was circling things with a red pencil.
Another staff member was staring out the window into the distance while clutching a tea cup, lost in thought.
There was one tapping furiously away on their laptop computer, but as soon as Cornelia walked behind them, they quickly changed the screen of what they were working on.
...Of course, there were a few people doing paperwork, but they acted like they had just remembered they had work to do.
In other words, there weren't any working habits Cornelia could use as a reference.
"Hey, Cornelia, can I ask you a favor?"
"A-at your leisure, Minister Second Class!"
"Don't be so formal, it's embarassing. Just use my name. Now, about today's lunch. We were planning on calling Sweetfish River for noodles, did you want anything?"
"I-I have prepared a homemade lunch. Thank you very kindly, but allow me to refuse."
"...Oh, I see. Well, would you please place the order for us?"
Her predecessor had her left a list of telephone numbers under her deskmat, most of them for local delivery shops.
Cornelia dialed 0 to reach an outside location and then... beep, beep, beep-beep, beep-beep... beep. "Hello, this is Sweetfish River." "Madam, if I may humbly..." "Hello? You there?" "Madam, if I may humbly state that I wish to place an order for a lunchtime repast to be delivered to our abode!"
"Huh? Hey Pa, did you screw with this phone? You know a 'Mr. Abode'? Someone wants a re-passed!"
"Oh honestly, give me that. Yes, yes, you've reached Sweetfish River Noodle Shop!"
"Sir, if I may be allowed to present a list of things I wish to order!"
"Huh?! Oh, yeah, yeah, sure, order away! Ma, it's someone from the court, they don't want no re-passed! Yes, your order please!"
"K-know that my order is as follows. A serving of duck, one large order, tempura, katsudon..."
"A large order of duck?! Or did you want a large serving of noodles?! Soba or udon with the tempura? It's okay if the katsudon is Kantou style, right?"
"Huh, ah... Umm... Please abide for a moment while I confirm."
"Miss, you're a new one, right? You can just speak normally, you know. I'll wait, so go ask your superiors for their orders again."
Even the owner of the noodle shop she was ordering from was telling her not to bother with the court language...
Feeling like she had something stuck in her throat, she went to confirm the orders from the senior staff once again.
"Sir, the orders are as follows. ...One large order of duck. Tempura may be prepared in the Kantou style. As for the katsudon, if you would let me know which of the udon or soba would be preferable..."
"Hey, wait, I didn't want a large order of duck, just regular!"
"You got yours mixed up with mine, maybe? I ordered the large duck."
"Hey, what's with the tempura served Kantou style? Is that new? I'll change my order to that!"
"Make sure the katsudon isn't the set, I want it a la carte. I'm not young any more, so I can't eat a whole set. That's right, the other day I had to get my uric acid level checked. My old lady wouldn't shut up about it."
"...??? Y-your orders have been recieved..."
"Corneliaaa, that's why I keep on saying not to use court language. If you use funny phrases, the order will get messed up."
"Um... Be that as it may, the noodle shop is located outside of the department. According to regulations, court language must be utilized..."
"Hey, new girl, you doing okay?! Can you repeat the order?!"
"S-Sir, know that the orders I have humbly gathered are as follows. One large order of duck. One regular order of duck. One tempura prepared in the Kantou style. One katsudon."
"Huh?! Is the tempura udon or soba?! And about the katsudon, you can pick either Kantou-style that comes with an egg, or Kansai-style with sauce!"
"I-I beg your patience. Please, allow me to collect the particulars once more..."
Cornelia had never even been to a noodle shop before, let alone ordered delivery from one.
Her first order from a noodle shop proved to be considerably more difficult to her than the personnel examination of the Great Court (first class)...
"...Corneliaaa. I TOLD you. If you use court language, the order is going to get messed up."
This would have been the correct order: one large order of duck, one large order of morisoba, one tempura udon, and one order of katsudon.
Since she hadn't specified udon or soba for the tempura, the restaurant had assumed they wanted a sort of combination platter.
The only things she'd gotten right were the duck and the katsudon... She had misordered two things.
Cornelia hadn't been able to complete her first job... ordering lunch. The older workers that had gone shopping to the convience store instead whispered things like "kids these days" and "lazy generation" behind her back.
She had been told it'd be better for her to drop the formal speech, but she had obstinately refused.
As a result, the senior workers who had been expecting to welcome an easy-going rookie now thought of her as a hopeless weirdo. All in the span of just three hours since taking up her assigned job.
From the pampering during the morning to the exasperated sighs in the afternoon, the atmosphere at the workplace had taken a drastic turn...
And so did her life as a new worker continue.
There was a world of difference between the training institute that had rewarded her strict attention to duty with high marks, and the real world that quickly tired of her attitude.
Her plan to advance towards her dream had been thrown off course...
Looking at her face in the bathroom mirror, she sighed over the loss of ambition she saw reflected there...
"...It will escape."
She'd been staring into the mirror, as always, and naturally hadn't expected a voice to speak up from behind.
It'll escape? What? Where? Huh?
Turning around, she saw a staff member of a different department.
No, not just any staff member.
No mistaking it, the cap she was wearing had ears.
"I-I most humbly beg your apologies, Inquisitor of Heresy!"
"...I have ears, but I am not an Inquisitor yet."
"Oh? Ah... Excuse my impertinence, Senior Aide!"
"...It will escape."
For some reason, this conversation wasn't progressing very well.
But this woman with the beautiful, long blonde hair had to be a Senior Aide that had passed the Inquisitor examination.
Just passing the examination isn't enough to guarantee a place among the Inquisitors of Heresy.
Each jurisdiction has a fixed number of Inquisitors on staff, so one has to wait for a vacancy.
The Aides that still lack a seat despite having the qualifications are called Senior Aides by the department.
Those Senior Aides who would eventually become Inquisitors themselves acted as the right hand men and women of Inquisitors, assisting in important missions... and, of course, they got to work in the front lines...
I couldn't help but feeling a mixture of longing and envy swelling inside me.
...But hearing even a Senior Aide speaking this colloquially was sort of depressing.
"M-madam, forgive my impertinence, but if I may ask, what is it that will flee?"
"...It will escape."
"May I enquire as to why?"
"...Because you're sighing."
'Every time you sigh, a little bit of happiness escapes.'
She really took a roundabout way to express that simple sentiment.
It's hard to believe that someone who seems to be having trouble to even carry on a simple conversation is actually a Senior Aide.
...But maybe that isn't all bad.
Everyone thinks I'm weird now too.
And if there was a chance for someone as strange as her to become a Senior Aide, it's not so bad to think there might be a chance for me.
"...You should relax it."
"Are you referring to my posture?"
"...Yeah, that's right."
"Thank you very kindly for your advice. I will take it to heart."
"Y-yes, I understood what you said."
What a strange person.
Her way of saying one sentence fragment at a time is irritating in that it's difficult to understand.
...Of course, someone like me, who's practically obsessed with court language doesn't really have room to judge.
Maybe I'm the only one that bothers to fuss over court language.
I wonder if I'm just trying to impose it upon everyone around me because the service regulations say it's the correct way of speaking...
As I ask myself that, I can't help but hang my head and sigh again.
When that happened, the Senior Aide changed her tone of voice to a much faster... or rather, it might be more accurate to say it changed to the speed of a normal person, and admonished me.
"An Inquisitor's duty is to root out heresy, not converse in court language."
I was speechless. There was nothing to be said in response.
Perhaps if my lazy coworkers had said it like that, I wouldn't have given it a moment's thought.
However, it was impossible to ignore the words of a Senior Aide.
"M-My most abject apolo..."
"Umm... I'm... sorry."
It really had been a long time since I last used colloquialisms. ...It was almost embarrassing.
As I hanged my head low again, blushing in shame, this Senior Aide saw straight to my core.
Without a word, she gently smiled at my self-reflection and gave me an understanding nod.
She pointed at a notice attached to the bulletin board in the hallway.
It stated that the human resources department was taking applications for a proposal project.
It was a request for motivated staff members to come up with voluntary public project, and the department would consider outstanding proposals for actual implementation.
I had been so depressed earlier that my downturned eyes hadn't noticed the announcement.
"Please, allow me to speak."
Abruptly, the Senior Aide met my eyes and spoke in court language.
"In order to summon back your resolve, you must turn your eyes on your passion once more. ...I have high expectations of you."
That was my first meeting with Senior Aide Gertrude.
My first impression was of a quiet woman who was just as peculiar as me.
Knowing that someone so strange, with that choking accent, had managed to pass the Inquisitor examination gave me self-confidence. That was the extent of my thoughts.
But, really, she was an excellent aide. Anyone and everyone could recognize that.
She just had a dull, awkward way of talking.
She may not have had any real friends and people may have found her difficult to approach, but everyone acknowledged that she supported the seven official Inquisitors of Eiserne Jungfrau from the shadows as their honorary eighth member.
That's why I was increasingly inspired and decided to take on the challenge she had pointed out to me.
I might have had problems dealing with the people in my office, but studying and essays are my forte.
Since the deadline was soon, I decided to submit a short term project.
Halloween was just around the corner.
That's why I decided to make Halloween the subject of my proposal.
In the Human world, Halloween is a time when ghosts and other apparitions can intermingle with that world.
It was the same for those that weren't human.
Since the travel restrictions between the human world and hell, the spirit world and such are greatly relaxed during Halloween, it's a cause for much celebration.
As is typically the case with celebrations, some rowdy folks tend to come out of the woodwork. To the extent that some of them cross the line.
As such, petty crime always seems to abound during the Halloween period.
Cornelia's proposal eventually turned out as Project: Law and Order at Halloween.
Of course, in the absence of the necessary arrangements and manpower, her project did not get high praise.
Regardless, somehow she was elected for the jury's special award.
It was a prize awarded to a project that tried to challenge the boundaries but couldn't be implemented due to budgetary and regulatory reasons.
Well, it was no wonder that a hasty proposal wouldn't lead to a hasty promotion.
Even so, it had been a great opportunity to display her true self and passion.
If it affects her employee performance evaluation, perhaps her dreams of being reassigned to a more desirable department weren't so distant after all.
"For Cornelia, Minister Third Class. Congratulations on winning the special award. Here's your prize, a pencil set."
The chief clerk, a Minister First Class, publically awarded her the prize during the morning assembly.
Her coworkers clapped their hands, but she could also overhear them gossiping unpleasantries under their breaths.
"She spent all that effort writing and submitting that project too."
"Bet she just wants to seem diligent."
"They sure are lively, kids her age."
"It's that generation, you know."
For someone working here she sure has a lot of free time, submitting project proposals and all that, what a strange character. Or maybe she doesn't like her current workplace. ...Apparently, that's how she seemed to the others.
Not that this would be enough to dishearten Cornelia.
Burning with passion, she thought back to her first days at the job and clenched her fists.
The chief clerk did take some issue with Cornelia's interpersonal relationships at the office, but she also had an eye for her abundant passion and earnestness.
That explained why she had printed out copies of the proposal and handed them out to the whole staff, setting Cornelia up with the opportunity to present it in front of everyone.
"Please allow me to speak. May I please present to you my humble proposal, titled
'Project: Law and Order at Halloween'.
The room was filled with chattering.
Cornelia's chest puffed up with pride as she declared the outline of her project to the audience.
First of all, the troubling matter of the various misdemeanors frequently committed by the fickle and frivolous demons and apparitions during the Halloween period.
In order to prevent this, the various public agencies would each conduct campaigns from their respective positions.
This has not traditionally been under the purview of the Great Court, but as the defenders of the law, there is no good reason to overlook the situation.
The Great Court sees that its job is to simply judge and nothing else, when in fact more effort could be spent on preventing people from having to be judged in the first place.
Cornelia had written that the personnel of Great Court should raise public awareness on the issue in order to prevent crime and other sources of trouble.
Indeed, what she said made a lot of sense.
"As the first step, know that it is only natural that the personnel of the Great Court ought to act exemplary in upholding law and order."
"...Meaning what, in practice?"
The single most likely misdemeanor to occur at Halloween is violent behaviour due to intoxication.
It is impossible to educate intoxicated people about stopping acting violently.
Therefore, it is better to crack down on the source of the problem — intoxication.
"As officials of the Great Court, during the period of Halloween we are subject to exceptional scrutiny involving any kinds of scandals involving alcohol. Know that in order to set a good example, all Great Court personnel would be forbidden from partaking alcohol for the entire duration of Halloween. In addition, due to its troubling misuse among the delinquent youth, smoking tobacco would be similarly prohibited for all staff."
Simply put, most of the staff was heavy smokers. People who were more or less heavy drinkers weren't a small part of the staff, either.
As for the staff members who neither smoked nor drank... well, at least among those present, Cornelia was the only one.
"We cannot expect to sway people's hearts towards exemplary behaviour if we, members of the staff, do not first lead by that very example. Therefore, in accordance with this project, know that drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco has been heretofore prohibited for the staff of this department until the end of the Halloween period."
"...Ah, yeah, section chief approved that. Thanks for your cooperation, everyone."
"'Scuse me, there's that moon viewing party that the union's throwing next week, though... It was decided before Cornelia's project, so we get an exception for that, right...?"
"With all due respect, know that no exception from this project shall be made. To receive permission for drinking or smoking, it is required to individually submit a written application to the head of the department."
It hardly needs an explanation, but the moon viewing party was an annual autumn tradition, a get-together for the sake of socializing and building up friendships.
A loner like Cornelia might have trouble understanding it, but for the rest of the staff, it was like lubricant oil that kept the gears of the office spinning.
However, she couldn't see it as anything but a hotbed of evil where impulsive behaviour provided fertile ground for impropriety.
"In addition to serving as an example, staff members are also expected to engage in the distribution of materials pertaining to raising public awareness at train stations, shopping districts and other such places. The purpose of this is to seek cooperation and promote the Project: Law and Order at Halloween among the general public."
"That's... overtime work, right? Throughout the whole Halloween?"
"Do we get overtime pay...?"
"Section chief said it's okay to file it under overtime pay, although the current term is already kind of overpacked, so..."
"Umm, I gotta pick up my kids and whatnot, so doing overtime would cause me all kinds of problems."
It was supposed to have been a wonderful, passionate project.
If we want to demand law and order from others, we must first demand it from ourselves. Right?
Cornelia's chest may have puffed with youthful passion and pride, but that didn't lessen the pain of having to hear the nasty whispering and chattering of the other staff members...
Immediately that same evening, the chief secretary of the labor union had gone to talk directly to the head of the department.
He demanded the withdrawal of the cancellation of the moon viewing party and the bans on drinking and smoking.
He also wanted a swift response to the matter of withdrawing overtime work compensation.
With drinking and smoking being individual rights outlined in the Constitution, prohibiting them is exceedingly likely to be considered a human rights violation. He requested rewording the ban from 'prohibited' to 'endeavored to be prohibited.'
Regarding mandatory overtime work, he voiced a strict disapproval, citing public service regulations as well as reports of related court cases that had been stocked in the union office. He argued that in this case overtime work must not be mandatory but should be left up to each staff member's judgement, suggesting rewording the proposal so that everyone would 'endeavor to participate as much as possible'.
And as for the already planned moon viewing event, General Secretariat had already sent a donation and the event could not be suspended without informing the Cabinet. It would be quite enough to 'endeavor' to uphold law and order and simply proceed with Halloween as usual.
To ensure smooth negotiations with the union in the future, head of the department approved of all the demands.
The word 'endeavor' was added to every point of Cornelia's project, effectively defanging the whole proposal from all enforceability.
However, Cornelia happened to love the word 'endeavor', so without giving it much thought she agreed to all the amendments...
The day turned to the next.
Cornelia was astonished to see that the clouds of tobacco smoke hanging over the workplace had not lessened in the slightest from yesterday.
When reminding her co-workers that they should have been making every effort to abstain from smoking at Halloween, they told her:
"Yeeeah, I've tried that many times already but it's not so easy, you know. I'm endeavoring to stop, though."
"I work better when I smoke. Look, I've got to finish writing up this settlement by today."
"But I reaaally am trying to stop. It's just so hard, you know, wahahaha...!"
Same answers every time. Non-smokers wouldn't understand, now off you go.
Then what about abstaining from drinking at least? I thought they could at least apply self-discipline during the moon viewing party, but not a single member of the department staff present did agree to that either.
And although I hadn't explicitly said anything... my name had already been marked on the party attendance list as the sole absentee.
It did save me the effort of turning the invitation down myself... Maybe it was for the best.
"Hello. We're from the court department. Is Minister Cornelia here?"
"Sir, may I humbly inform you that I am Cornelia."
"We brought the public awareness tissues. They're all packed right here. Hey, guys, put 'em over there. Chop chop."
They were young police officers, but they made a lot of noise moving a bunch of large cardboard boxes.
The police were a large part of the Law and Order at Halloween campaign, so they had procured a lot of goods to distribute.
These goods were tissues for raising public awareness, with the slogan "Drink moderately for a fun Halloween! Don't let alcohol swallow you" printed on them.
Distributing goods daily in the station and in the shopping district adds up to a considerable number, so upwards of tens of thousands of items had already been arranged.
"...Cornelia, are you going to give these out?"
"That is indeed the case. All of these shall be distributed in the shopping district."
"Actually, that place where the boxes are now, it was cleared out in advance for next week's deliveries, so... Think you could get rid of them by next week?"
"As long as everyone help with them, an amount such as this will be cleared out in a matter of moments! Know that there will be absolutely no problems!"
As evening fell, Cornelia was waiting at the staff entrance with a cardboard box perched on a trolley and filled with promotional tissues.
Tissue distribution was to be done by volunteer employees only. Staff was expected to 'endeavor to participate as much as possible'.
...But, in her heart, she already knew.
She decided to wait no longer and started pulling the trolley with the huge cardboard box towards the shopping district in front of the station, all alone.
The orange sky of the evening was beautifully blending into the purple of the night.
As if remembering that the summer was already over, there was a slight cool to the wind.
Within the crowds of people rushing over to the station, she selected a suitable street lamp as her base of operations and opened the box.
Inside, she found it crammed to brim with tissues for raising public awareness.
...An unwilling participant giving them out couldn't convey their intent anyway.
That's right, in that case, it's better that they didn't come.
Besides, I had already resigned myself to carry this out with nobody helping me.
"Sir, I beg your apologies...! I-if it may please you, allow me to request your understanding and assistance in upholding law and order during this year's Halloween period..."
For the people walking down the road unaccustomed to court language, my speech was unusual enough to turn their heads. My uniform must have seemed strange, as well.
In order to get their attention through the hustle and bustle of the huge crowd, I had to speak loudly enough to strain my voice.
Even so, I had a lot of trouble distributing anything because people didn't seem to understand me. Even when they somewhat understood me, what I was saying sounded so stiff that they didn't feel it was worth stopping their feet. One by one, they all passed me by.
...Perhaps they were right about court language, after all.
But even if I changed to regular speech now, I'm so unused to it that I probably still couldn't communicate with the passers-by...
"For... for law and order at... Halloween... Please, your understanding and assis...tance..."
I can't do it. I can't raise my voice. ...It's just no use.
Because, for me, court language itself was a dream, a symbol of my ambitions.
It was my dream to become one of the Inquisitors of Heresy, those who mete out justice. I didn't want to let anything make me lose heart.
That is why.
So when I'm forced to speak colloquailly like this... I can feel it bending my beliefs... and it makes me sad.
The people hurrying home were momentarily curious about the unusual uniform, but whether they would accept a tissue was another matter entirely.
It would have been fine for her to distribute her goods in the local bars or karaoke places.
Unfortunately, Cornelia had no concept of such tricks.
Her difficulties in giving out the tissues made her remember a story she had read in her childhood... And when she realized that right now she was the very image of the little match girl, her depression only deepened.
...I've been clinging on to the same dream since I was only a child... Have I really come this far with my eyes blinded from the reality...?
Is this what happened to my age-long admiration of the Inquisition...?
Having lost her flow, not a single passerby made any motion to accept her offerings, as if they were all deliberately conspiring against her.
"...Law and order... at Halloween... your assistance... please..."
...Struggling with embarrassment, I resorted to regular speech in order to be understood.
On that day, resolutely keeping at it until late at night, I had finally managed to distribute half a box of tissues.
There were still a stack of five more boxes left at the office.
I have to distribute an entire box's worth a day, otherwise it'll be impossible to clear them all in just one week...
I had kept standing the whole time, so my feet were now feeling painfully exhausted.
From tomorrow on, I'll have to endure both my regular and overtime work on aching feet.
...It doesn't even need calculating... It's impossible for one person to distribute everything within a week...
Obviously. I had knowingly ordered that much, after all.
Because it was the right thing to do, so I obviously just assumed that a lot of people would want to help out.
So, if there's many of us handing things out, I thought it was necessary to make an order large enough for all of us.
...Nobody... came to... help me.
After working overtime until late at night every day for an entire week, I wanted to silently ask myself something.
What was that I really wanted to do?
What was that I had to do, no matter what?
I had learned how to give out leaflets, I had picked up some tricks like handing out two or three at a time and I had gotten faster at the job, but... despite all my efforts, I was still only halfway done as the final night approached.
Tonight was the night of the department's planned get-together, the "moon viewing gathering".
Immediately after the chime had marked the end of the shift, all of my seniors got on a rental bus and went to see the cherry blossom trees by a riverbed somewhere.
...And tonight, I alone was moving a cardboard box on a trolley to the station, preparing to give out tissues until the night falls.
Yup, and it's not just tonight... yesterday and the day before yesterday, too... or maybe... I've been doing this forever...
Speaking of the moon viewing, I heard that tonight it was going to be an especially large, bright white full moon.
I found myself thinking that maybe my coworkers would, just this once, cooperate by refraining from drinking.
...No, they have no obligation to that, either.
My purpose here is to appeal to the crowd to spend the night peacefully, not disturb my coworkers' social gatherings.
...An Inquisitor's duty is to root out heresy, not converse in court language.
The same logic applies to both, does it not?
I feel like I finally understood what Senior Aide Gertrude was trying to tell me that day.
Even so, I'm still stuck in the same rut...
I don't see any possible way to clear out this box by tonight.
And even if I did, there are still a few full ones left by the workplace.
...What should I do?
I mustn't just throw them away. ...I should probably ask if the police would take care of the leftover ones.
...Now that I think about it, even police told me I was ordering more than enough, didn't they?
I had proudly announced in clear court language that it was indeed the amount we required...
"...How goes it."
"...The thing you're doing."
It was Senior Aide Gertrude.
In the span of this entire week, I had not seen her even once.
In other words, she doesn't normally use this station... so she must have expressly taken the time to come look at me here.
She offered her outstretched hand.
...Before I knew what was going on, I was giving her a tissue that I had twisted from gripping onto it so tightly.
She accepted it... and took a sidelong glance at the cardboard box with all the numerous tissues still remaining inside it.
...She did not say anything.
Or no, maybe it was like before.
By deliberately not saying anything... she was silently admonishing me.
"...The dreams made during childhood are no more than childish dreams."
She must have read my resume. She knew I had written about that on my job application.
"...Reality is always different from one's ideals."
"......I have no room for rebuttal."
"...Changing one's ideals accordingly means changing oneself."
Ever since the first day of my assignment... my expectations had been betrayed.
Even though I got the job I always yearned for... it was nothing like what I dreamed as a child.
For that very reason... I ignored reality to keep chasing my dream.
...Right. The perfect job that I imagined... clearly only exists in the TV.
That drama series about Inquisitors that I watched in my youth... I was so excited about the world of that show that at some point I had turned my eyes away from reality.
"...Will you change the world?"
"...Or will you change yourself?"
"Imp... Know that doing it is impossible..."
If you're trying to promote your immature and unrealistic ideals alone, nobody will sympathize with you.
And... for someone like me who has been clutching on to those ideals — those childhood dreams — for all their life from cradle to this moment... changing them is just not going to happen.
Saying 'the world is wrong' and 'I am wrong' have effectively the same meaning.
Changing my misguided self is exactly the same as changing the entire world.
It's never going to happen.
"...You are not cut out for this."
"What... might you be referring to?"
Cut out for this job? For my ideals? What, for the reality?
The Senior Aide... did not answer.
Just like on that day... I silently posed my questions to nobody but myself.
"...On the floor."
"I... Beg your pardon, do you mean right here?"
In the middle of the crowd, Senior Aide Gertrude folded her legs underneath her thighs and sat up straight on the ground.
Thinking I was about to get scolded as usual... I followed her example.
I braced myself for the scolding, whatever may come, but she stayed as quiet as ever.
Once again, the silence just made me question myself.
But then... she abruptly held up a single finger.
As in the first point she was about to make...?
No... She wanted me to look at what she was pointing at.
But where was that? ...Above...?
"...A moon viewing"
A perfectly white, round moon.
Perhaps... all of my coworkers from the department were also seeing the same thing right now.
I could already imagine what tomorrow morning was going to be like.
Their conversations would probably be filled with phrases like 'the moon sure was beautiful last night' and so on.
I may not be present at the moon viewing party, but... perhaps I might be able to join those conversations, at least.
"...Please, allow me to speak."
Senior Aide Gertrude spoke, in court language besides.
She spoke using the words nearest to my heart.
"...Dreams, ideals. As well as their realizations... Know that these are not things that can be achieved alone."
"People will not listen to ideals."
"Madam, my humble apologies, but if I may inquire... If that is the case, in what way am I to achieve my ideals...?"
To that question, Senior Aide gave a quiet answer.
People will not listen to ideals.
People will not listen to others.
But people may listen to their friends.
So if you talk to your friends about your ideals, they might even offer you their help.
No matter how grand your ideals may be, if your words cannot convince anybody, you may as well be blowing hot air.
How does one convince others, then...?
There is no way other than for your hearts and minds to interact.
Regardless of your ideals, that comes always first.
...Without communication, nothing can be conveyed.
There we were, the two of us, in the middle of the nighttime crowd in front of the station... sitting straight up on the ground and looking up at the moon.
Somehow, despite the lack of sake and dango, and while feeling oddly calm in this congestion of people moving back and forth, numerous enough to be called a veritable forest... we were having this strange moon viewing party.
It's true that I may be inexperienced as a member of the society.
Perhaps I could be called one of those typical, uncooperative "youngsters".
Perhaps I'm all the worse for waving my aspirations around like a flag.
...Maybe I had already made some big mistake a long time ago.
Quit your job?
How do you plan on getting reemployed if you quit, in this day and age?
Just getting a job in the first place is difficult enough...
The time I had for quitting my job and reorganizing my life passed long ago.
Actually, the last chance you get for reorganizing your life is probably around the time you graduate middle school.
But... is that everything my passions amounted to?
Was is all really just a misunderstanding...? Am I not where I am today for the sake of the dreams I believed in...?
It turned out that Gertrude had taken care of the cardboard boxes still left at the workplace.
Now they didn't have to be in the way at work anymore.
I didn't know how, but it seemed she was aware of all the circumstances surrounding me.
Later on, I learned that she was an acquaintance of the chief clerk, who had some concerns and asked her for advice.
As a newcomer, Gertrude had been similarly eccentric and suffered her share of hardships as well.
The chief clerk must have thought that without it coming from another girl like that, I wouldn't take their words to heart...
Ideals, reality. Myself, the world.
Unless they all come together... nothing will be accomplished.
Perhaps that is what being an adult is about.
I'm sure an Inquisitor must have grown up to that extent at least.
...And for someone as immature as me, it's not a suitable job in the least.
On that day... I was finally able to let go of the most purely immature part of my childhood dream.
Or no, I don't want to call it 'letting go'.
I told myself to call it a fresh start.
My aim is to be an Inquisitor of Heresy. However, that is not what's important.
Before that happens... I want to become a full adult.
And if I can accomplish that... then perhaps I shall remember my childish dream once again.
Having said as much to her, that night was over.
"Wow, would you look at that. Did you hand out all the stuff from those cardboard boxes all by yourself?"
"Oh, you dropped the court language?"
"...I'm not used to speaking like this, so it's embarrassing... Madam..."
The chief clerk was smiling. Senior Aide must have told her about everything.
She probably knew all about my childhood dream, my conflict with reality and my decision to start anew.
I felt like my heart had been laid bare, and embarrassment rose to my cheeks.
"You know, being an adult isn't decided by age or employment. You gotta take a good look at the life after that. You gotta become mature, to figure out what adulthood is... Cornelia, you're young, so you might be frustrated, thinking you're running out of time to do that. But that's not true, alright? Life really is long."
"I hope that someday you can be what you really want to be."
The tedious, woefully inadequate and unchanging workplace... seemed just a little more relaxing than usual.
"Did you bring your lunch from home today? Tomorrow, let's get everyone on the shift and have lunch at the local sushi place."
"It's decided, then. Remember to leave your lunch box home tomorrow. Anyway, give section chief your project summary report later. Also, could you get me a cup of tea?"
This was a story from long, long before Cornelia became a member of the Eiserne Jungfrau...
"...This abundance of tissues is UNNECESSARY."
There was a heap of tissues piled up on Dlanor's paper tray.
Gertrude had divided the tissues between her colleagues, and that heap was a portion of it.
"...That's your portion. They're very useful... like for drying up spilled tea, cleaning a dropped piece of candy, wiping your nose, wiping ketchup from your cheek... All very relevant for you, boss."
"They are not NECESSARY. Stop treating me like a CHILD. I don't want THEM. You're annoying me to <ｄｅａｔｈ>."
The recent ketchup incident was still a sore point for Dlanor, who was now puffing her cheeks in disagreement.
"...In that case, they're not tissues, they're documents. Therefore, Madam, please allow me to submit them for your approval. Please stamp each and every one of these tissues."
"STAMP...! My stamping is FINISHED, FINISHEDFINISHED. FINISHEDFINISHEDFINISHED...!!"
Every hair on Dlanor's body was standing on end. It was like she was covered in rash.
Despite being in the management, Dlanor had a phobia of stamps. This was a torture, inflicted in order for her to get over it and start stamping things.
That young newcomer came to Gertrude's mind.
It made her remember her own time as a newbie. Such bittersweet memories.
Before I knew it, I had forgotten about my own passions. I wonder when that happened.
At what point did I become something resembling an adult...?
"Let me GO. The ketchup and seaweed won't be a problem today, I'll be FINE!"
Without realizing, Gertrude had been patting the head of her ever-youthful superior.
The Head Inquisitor of Heresy herself seems the least adult of us all...
- English translation by tiistai on SomethingAwful (part 2on lparchive)
- Japanese transcript on Japanese Umineko wiki