Thursday, June 23, 2016

What If? A Hayate no Gotoku! Alternate Retelling: Chapter 3: The Stars That Night…

Read Chapter One
Read Chapter Two

Christmas Eve. December 24. Loser Park. Somewhere in Japan…

“Hey, do you think they were watching over us, ojou-sama?”

“The stars, I mean. Do you remember?”

“Oh yes. You mean when I told you the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi?”

Hayate looked fondly into the night sky.

“Yeah, I just feel that everything fell into place perfectly at that moment… like someone was watching over us.”

“Perhaps, Hayate… perhaps…”
It was sometime in August during the last phases of the Tanabata festival.

It was nighttime and Nagi had donned a flowing summer dress that perfectly accentuated her lovely golden locks. She had gone for a walk outside the mansion since Hayate and Maria were busy with their respective duties inside.


“Hahaha! Gotcha this time, Hayate! I learned this trick from our pink-haired miss-perfect Student Council President at Hakuo.”

Yes, because having become wary of Hayate and his naughty skirt-flipping ways, Nagi was wearing shorts underneath her skirt.

She wiggled her butt in front of Hayate to gloat at having thwarted his attempt to upskirt her once again.

Nagi felt a sharp stinging pain on her rear end.


“Ooh… soft! But you know, you were totally asking for it, ojou-sama! Hahaha! I still gotcha!”
And as per usual, Nagi chased after her mischievous kid butler on the hilly, grassy mounds of the huge Sanzenin Estate. Hayate ran with carefree abandon – totally confident that there was no way that his lazy ojou-sama could catch up with him.

Of course, if there is one thing constant in this world – it would be change… and Nagi had been through this route several times before after all. She might not be the fastest runner in the world and her endurance might be pathetic, but she was still much taller than Hayate and she of course knew the landscape of the estate much better than him.

Nagi tackled Hayate from behind with all her might – which would not be very significant at 29 kilograms – but having caught Hayate by surprise…

“Hah! Gotcha you little…whoa… don’t fall over or we’ll- Kyaaaaah!”

They fell over from the top of a steep hilly mound. Instinctively, Hayate curled his arms around Nagi’s head and back as they rolled over in order to protect her from injury.

Fortunately, the grass was rather thick in that area, so no injuries were sustained. They managed to safely roll to a stop at the foot of the hill – Nagi straddling Hayate underneath her.

“Bwahaha! That was fun! I almost feel like doing it again…”
“Well… I can’t say I disliked that… but, that could have been really dangerous, ojou-sama!”

Nagi’s face instantly turned red when she realized the position they were in. She sat up quickly and lightly dusted off her dress.

“I could help with tha-“
She held out her hand in front of him before he could finish.

“You’ll just use that as an excuse to grope me again, am I right?”

“Ahaha…” Hayate’s sheepish laugh could only serve to confirm his intentions.

“Hmm…” She looked up at the sky. “But the stars really are beautiful tonight, aren’t they, Hayate?”

But of course, Hayate was not looking at the sky but at Nagi Sanzenin’s moonlit profile.

“Say, do you know the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi?”
“No… I can’t say that I do, ojou-sama.”

Hayate sat up next to her.

“I see… didn’t your,” She had wanted to ask if his parents had never told him this story, but then she remembered Hayate’s circumstances and stopped herself.

“Right, well… be glad, because the one and only Nagi Sanzenin shall deign to tell you.”

“So, by Orihime and Hikoboshi, you mean the stars of Altair and Vega, right?”

Hayate looked up at the sky attempting to find the said stars. He felt some cold, soft hands around his temple from behind him, turning his gaze in the right direction. Hayate felt a little bit of warmth rise up to his cheeks. He was glad that the pale light of the stars and the moonlight were the only things that could expose his true feelings.
Nagi began to recite.

“Orihime was the daughter of the Sky King. She was a weaver who wove beautiful clothes for her father by the bank of the river… this river was the Milky Way. But she had a dilemma. Because she was kept so busy with her work, she feared that she would never meet and fall in love with someone for all eternity.
Sensing his daughter’s plight, the Sky King took pity and arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi the cow herder who lived on the other side of the Milky Way.

The two then fell in love at first sight and got married afterwards and that would have been our happy ending… but things never go as planned… do they?

Fate is whimsical. The Sky King was angered because Orihime refused to weave clothes for her father anymore and Hikoboshi himself refused to herd his cows and allowed them to roam all over heaven. In short, the two neglected their duties.

Thus, the Sky King separated the two of them by exiling them across the different sides of the Milky Way and forbidding them from meeting each other. Naturally, Orihime became very sad and pleaded with her father to allow her to meet her husband again.
Moved by his dauhter’s tears and realizing that her love was true, The Sky King allowed the two lovers to meet… but on one condition: that they could only see each other on the 7th day of the 7th month and only if Orihime could finish her weaving by that time.

When the time came for Orihime and Hikoboshi to meet for the first time, they found that there was no bridge and they could not cross the river… but then, a flock of magpies came and made a bridge for them using their wings. Thus, the two were reunited once again.”

Drip! Drip!

She looked sadly at the sky and then a faint smile formed on Nagi’s lips.

“Oh good… it’s just a little bit… they say that if it rains on the day when the two are supposed to meet, then the magpies wouldn’t come and they would have to wait another year to be reunited… not today, I suppose. Right, Hayate?”

He looked fondly into his mistress eyes.

“Right… ojou-sama. So, the story is one of unrequited love, right?”

“Hmm… that is one way of putting it… BUT, I like to think of it as a story of a strong and enduring love; one that can break down even the walls of time. I believe that is the true message of the story of Altair and Vega, Hayate… that if you really love someone, then time is never an issue and of course, you’re willing to work hard for this love no matter what problems may come your way.”
She smiled sweetly and although Hayate had already fallen for her at that point, he had surely fallen in love all over again just by staring at her face at that moment.

“Of course, ojou-sama…”
But… that was the last time. Darker days were soon to follow, and just like Orihime and Hikoboshi, the bond between the two would soon be put to the ultimate test.

It happened several weeks later. It was a seemingly innocent day… but many things do start out innocently enough.

“Nagi, that new painting we ordered just arrived. Can you tell Hayate where to place it?”
“Sure, Maria. Oh, there it is. So, Hayate, why don’t you make use of that monstrous strength of yours and hang it up over there on the wall of the dining room?”

The painting was huge and must have weighed at least 70 kilos, but Hayate Ayasaki picked it up like it was a child’s plaything.
“Yes, ojou-sama… eh?”

“Hmm… what’s wrong?”

“Well… I don’t know if I should say it but…”

Nagi pinched both of Hayate’s cheeks hard and stretched them apart so that his teeth were exposed.

“If you have something to say, out with it!”
“Umm… well, this painting isn’t very well done. I hope you didn’t pay a lot for it, ojou-sama?”

“Oh? Why would you say that?”

Hayate carefully placed the painting on the floor, making sure not to damage the frame. At 20” by 40” inches, it was quite an amazing sight to behold a small boy barely higher than 4’2” feet carrying it with such ease.

Hayate pinched his lower chin with his thumb and forefinger as his eyes moved expertly across the painting – scrutinizing every detail of it.

“Well, to start off, the strokes are very rough and hasty. Obviously, the artist did this within a day – maybe a few hours at most.  Most glaringly, there’s an error on the building to the far-left, the perspective is slightly off. That’s actually forgivable if the artist drew this without a reference, but there are also a slew of other amateurish touches to this painting such as the mixing of colors on the trees and the inconsistent choice of lighting...”

“Hmm… I see. Impressive.”

“Eh? You think the painting is impressive?”

“No, you are. Where did you learn to assess a painting like that anyway?”

“Umm… my father taught me, I guess.”

Hayate’s answer seemed just a little bit unsure.
“What? So those good-for-nothing parents of yours were good for something after all. But really, that critique was amazing, Hayate.”

Hayate would always tell Nagi about how useless his parents were, so hearing him say that his father had actually taught him something useful was new territory for her.
“Ah, I’m just glad I could be of service, ojou-sama.”

Nagi nodded with a satisfied smile.

“Anyway, I’m sending this thing back. Also, do you think you could teach me how to assess artworks like you just did? It could prove useful in the future.”

“Certainly. I’d be glad to ojou-sama.”

A few hours later…

“… and that’s all I have to teach you, ojou-sama! Honestly, I didn’t think you’d pick up everything so fast.”
“Well yeah, I’m a high-schooler in a prestigious school after all.”

“Wait, but you’re just 13! I thought we’d be going to Hakuo Jr. High together!”

“Well, I’m also going to Hakuo. It’s just that I’m in High School. Speaking of which, be glad that you got accepted into Jr. High. You don’t have to take the legendary Hakuo entrance exams that makes even Tokyo U’s exams look easy.”

“Aww… I wanted to go to school with Nagi onee-chan, though. Why are you in high school anyway?”

“Actually, that’s because she skipped grades. Nagi is a genius, Hayate-kun.”

“M-Maria? You didn’t have to tell him that much.”
“Wow! That’s really great, Maria-san. I never knew.”

“Hmm… yeah, it’s nothing special really.”
“What is it, ojou-sama? You don’t seem too happy.”

“Like I said, it’s not all that special. Anyway, I just thought of something. I’m going to take a little walk around the house. Why don’t you go help out Maria for a while, Hayate?”

“Yes, as you wish, ojou-sama!”

“Right, so come with me, Hayate-kun. I’ll need a man… err, a very strong boy’s strength for a few chores.”
“Of course, Maria-san.”

Later that night, inside of Hayate’s modest but comfortable quarters inside the Sanzenin mansion.

“When I think about it, I’m really glad that I became Nagi onee-sama’s butler. I can live a comfortable life and I’ve even been accepted into a prestigious school like Hakuo Jr. High. Life with Nagi onee-sama… sigh… I wish these happy days would last forever.”

“It’s really embarrassing when you say it like that, you know?”

“W-whaaaah! Nagi-ojousama!”

“Sheesh! Don’t act like you’ve seen a ghost! Do I look that ugly to you?
“No-no! Ojou-sama is always very cute. I was just surprised that you were in bed with me.”
“I-in bed with you? That sounds so wrong… but more importantly.”

Nagi sat up and brought her face closer to Hayate, the young boy’s face instantly turned red at being so close to such a pretty girl.

“I could almost steal a kiss if I moved just a little bit closer,” were his thoughts at that moment.

“Hayate… why did you steal them?”
“S-steal? What are you talking about?”

She looked at him with kind yet determined eyes.

“Are you really going to play that game with me?”

“O-ojou-sama? What are you talking about?”

“The paintings, Hayate. The paintings all over the mansion, why did you steal them? Those things you’ve hung up there are obvious fakes. I can’t be fooled… you taught me how to judge them, remember?”

At that moment, a look of shock registered in Hayate Ayasaki’s face. There was no doubt that he was guilty of the accusation being thrown at him.

“S-so that’s why you said you had something to do earlier.”

“Hayate… I trusted you.”


“Don’t apologize! Just tell me why you did it! Tell me right now, Hayate Ayasaki!”

There was a tinge of anger in her voice, but even moreso, Nagi felt pained -- stabbed through the heart with the sharp dagger of betrayal.

“I-I can’t tell you, Nagi ojou-sama…”
“Why not?”

“Yes, why not, Hayate?”

The voice that followed was not Hayate’s. Suddenly from out of nowhere, a middle-aged man and a woman had burst into the room. The man was armed with a .38 caliber pistol and had clearly evil intentions.
“Oh ho! Ho! Ho! Why not just tell her the whole truth, Hayate? About how you’ve been working for us this entire time?”
“W-what? Then you must be…”

“BINGO! We’re Hayate’s parents. Our little boy’s played you for a fool all along, little lady.”

“H-how could you… Hayate?”

Pools of liquid formed in Nagi’s eyes, but she refused to cry. Or perhaps one might say that she was beyond crying at this point.
“T-that’s not true, milady! Please don’t listen to them! They’re lying. I only did this to protect you!”

“P-protect me? How do you plan to protect me by betraying me?”

She screeched with a pitch that was high enough to shatter crystal.
“Ok, that’s enough talk. This is a kidnapping so you’re coming with us, young lady.”

“Dad, wait! You promised that you wouldn’t harm her.”

A crescent moon shaped smile slowly formed on the lips of the man whom Hayate called his “dad.”

“Well, I guess I’ll keep her safe… unless her grandfather refuses to pay the ransom.”

“That’s not what we agreed on!”

“Agreed on? You’re just a kid. You think you’re in any position to bargain with us? Now if you’ll excuse me, we’ll be taking your girlfriend along with us. Oh, by the way? We tied up the maid in the kitchen. You might want to check up on her on your way out… or not. Not like it matters for us. Bye~!”

With that, Hayate’s father fired several shots at the glass window of Nagi’s room and kicked it into powder, securing their escape route.
“Stop! Don’t take her, please! I’m begging you.”

“Oh now that’s just pathetic… you almost make me want to…ouch!”


Well, Nagi might be a weak, physically frail little girl, but she is definitely not helpless.

“AGH! Get her off me! Get her off me! Stop biting me you little…”

“Nagi! Nagi! Hayate-kun!? Are you okay? Hold on, I’ve called the estate security. A couple of burglars have broken into the house.”

“Ugh! We’ve gotta get outta here, now!”

At that moment, as Hayate watched the figure of his good-for-nothing parents disappearing into the horizon taking with them the most important person to him in the whole world, something rose from within him… something like rage… something a little bit stronger than determination… an indescribable hitherto of emotions surged from inside his tiny frame – filling him with power.

“Please… just this once. I don’t want to be helpless anymore.  God, Buddha, Altair and Vega… or whichever divine powers might be watching over us now… grant me the power. I want to reach her… faster than the wind. Faster than anything...!”
“Hayate no gotoku!”

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