Our next excerpt takes us to Chapter Three, to one of the sections in the game that translates powerfully into novel form: Happy Happy Village. Fittingly, we find ourselves in a temple that basically resembles a school gym, and in this gym-like stadium we have a stage with a zushi–essentially, a small buddhist shrine shaped like a cupboard that holds a statue of Buddha. This time, though, the doors are housing none other than a small statue of Mani-Mani–there is a mini version of the statue that appears in the book, and here it is.
Carpainter and the Happy-Happyists (a fantastic band name) have just completed their Outstanding Believer Awards Show, wherein believers win awards for outstanding acts of innovation and courage in demonstrating unparalleled faith such as setting free 300 blue coral snakes in a neighborhood area, striking down 50 people–pitiful, unknowing sheep astray from the ways of Blue Blue–with loving smacks until they were covered with so many bruises their skin turned black and blue, and, most Japanesely of all, rewiring every single traffic light in town so that all of them would always display that lovely color of blue-green at all times.
It’s always bizarre when this game novelization, which takes place in the very epitome of America, throws out strictly Japanese cultural cues. I’m not even talking about the Buddhist props being used by Happy-Happyists. I’m talking about the fact that Japanese people, to the chagrin of all non-native Japanese speakers, call the green light of traffic lights “blue”, not green. And now I’m trapped having to convince people that a traffic light has even a vague tint of blue to it.
Anyway, interrupting this village-wide major event is our heathen red-capped hero. Carpainter, who is our host on stage, flies into a rage and throws the doors of the zushi open to blind all the robed men, women and children in the crowd like some kind of Pokemon episode.
“So, the little bug likes to fly into fire, eh? I’ll show you who’s Happy!” A fierce, dark grin crept onto the priest’s face. He dashed over to the zushi behind him and threw his hands onto the doors. “You’re not getting out of here alive this time! Taste the Super Aura of our holy ghost, Evil Mani Mani!”
BANG! The doors were flung open so violently they smashed off into pieces. A concentrated blue light was reflected off of the golden statue and shone bright enough to induce blindness. Shards of gorgeous, brilliant light radiated out from it.
Father Carpainter took the statue and hoisted it up onto his back. The ominous rays of light spread out from behind his back gave him the splitting image of an enormous peacock. Shrieks and moans from the crowd of believers echoed throughout the hall. The large crowd, as if being physically struck, began to fall to the ground from the overwhelming power and blinding light.
“Carpainter, you coward!” Ness roared at him. Just as the altar doors had opened, Ness had happened to have his head down with the bill of his baseball cap shielding his eyes, clenched shut, protecting him from most of the shock. All around him, people had fallen to their knees and were now scrambling wildly to escape. The entire hall was a pile of squirming bodies. Just imagine, for a moment, that you are standing entirely still on a staircase in the middle of a downtown train station at the peak of rush hour traffic. “Leave these people out of it!”
“Mwaha, mwahahaha! Say what you will, boy!” The priest’s face, lit up now with a bright blue light, was that of a demon. Any remnant of the timid, good-natured priest had completely disappeared. “I will not forgive scum who defy me. I am the priest. I am the leader. This world shall become awash in blue, and it shall all be mine! Hohoho! Ahhhahaha! Oh, the power—this feels so good! Everyone, come, bow at my feet! I’m so powerful! I am the best!”
“Oh, Lord Carpainter… Our Dear Lord Carpainter!” Next to Ness, a woman with dark circles under her eyes whispered as tears welled up in her eyes. “I will follow you. I will follow you to the ends of the earth.”
“Everything will be blue!” A brawny woodsman-looking man spat on the ground. “Blue is wonderful! It’s beautiful! Everyone will live happily on a planet enveloped in blue!”
“Mwahahaha, you see this, boy? My power?!” The priest became more and more ecstatic, and the blue light around him grew even stronger. “Ohh, I can’t sit still! I feel it crawling in me! I’m just getting started, I’ve got a lot more where that came from! There’s so much power I can’t even keep it all in! That’s it. I’m sick of this. All you people can have this supreme blue power. Take it and go to Mani Mani’s heaven! I can get another batch of believers afterwards, anyway… Ah, here it comes, here it comes… Mani-Mani!”
“It’s too much! Gahh!!”
A tidal wave of Happy Blue gushed out and swallowed the swirl of people it enveloped. Some people began twitching from an overload of happiness, some people’s eyes rolled to the back of their head as they screamed. Then, suddenly, a thick bolt of lightning sliced through the air across the room! But.
At that moment, the small amount of people left who still had their senses watched what happened. The boy in the bright red cap had stood firmly in place, without flinching, as the blue torrent charged straight at him. As if protecting as many people as he could, he even had his arms outstretched protectively, chest stuck out, and took the blunt of the lightning bolt. It was then that the small, silver, coin-like item pinned to his chest took the brazen spear of light straight on—the bolt bounced off with a sharp ‘ching!’. Seems he had survived the heavy impact. But not only that… the bolt was instantaneously reflected back, and the priest standing up at the altar was hit with his very own lightning bolt! The form of a skeleton shone through the blast of light like an x-ray image. There was an explosion of blue.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with our illustration excerpt:
The glass of the windows and lights shattered instantly, and an enormous crack dashed along the walls of the temple. Peeled-off plaster and loose boards shattered and let loose a shower onto the people below like a cold, quiet rain. The unsettling blue color that had lingered stagnant in the air now scattered downward and disappeared into thin air. Suddenly everything became quiet, and the air began to clear with a refreshing transparency. One by one, people slowly began move around and slowly get up. They raised their eyes.
Then they saw it. The soft, gentle, natural sunlight shone a single beam of faint-orange light onto the podium, where a young boy softly held the fallen priest in his arms.