12. The farewell, of you and me. — II
As we were about to go, the rustling sound of someone moving through the bush came into our ears. Kaid stood in front of me and laid a hand on his sword.
The flickering light from the lantern enlarged the shadow.
It was Caron who came. Panicking greatly, she did not care that there were leaves in her hair.
She was about to say something in her panic, but seeing me behind Kaid her eyes opened wide.
“Master, no matter how Shirley is similar to her, this is inexcusable.”
“I’ll hear it later. More importantly, what happened?”
Flashing her eyes, Caron looked shocked as she was urged to talk.
“It looks like there was poison in the servants’ meals, and Tim is,”
Kaid’s voice quickly grew sharp.
How, did that. I was just having dinner with them.
“It seems like there was some in the confectionery Tim had.”
“We made him spit it out and took him to the infirmary. It’s not serious, but…… there is an uproar that Samua might have put it in.”
We unintentionally exchanged glances.
“At first, we assumed that it was the cook, but then all the food was poisoned. Then, the person closest is……”
Indeed, as Tim was being guided by Samua, Samua was with him the most. They were often together in meals too, but that doesn’t mean he’s the one.
While shouting, we exited the forest at a speed that was close to running. The commotion had spread already and people from other fiefdoms were seizing and interrogating the servants of the mansion.
Kaid started clicking his tongue.
“Sorry, I’ll go ahead. Carolina, please take of Shirley.”
“All right, sir.”
Without even checking that we were being respectful, Kaid kept running. From here and there, there were voices calling for Kaid.
As I stared blankly, Caron gently patted my back.
“You should go to the infirmary. Jasmine collapsed from exhaustion.”
I started running as if to repel the ground. Behind me, Caron sounded surprised but I had no room to look back. However, before and now, I had no experience in sprinting like this so my speed fell quickly but I did not stop and kept running.
While nursing my sides, I went into the infirmary. Of the six beds, the one furthest inside and the one opposite that had curtains drawn shut over them.
I approached the doctor who was scrutinising the diagnosis.
“Doctor, Tim and Jasmine,”
“It’s alright, so no need to come running with such a serious expression. Don’t you collapse too and increase my work.”
The woman doctor who was in her mid-forties adjusted her thick glasses and stopped looking at the diagnosis.
“For Tim, Samua made him spit it out immediately and the poison was not lethal so his condition should improve quickly. Jasmine…… had tranquillisers, but oh would you look at that, she’s up again. Looks like medicine won’t work if she’s that worked up…… I wonder if she woke up from hearing us talk. You’re her roommate. Go soothe her please.”
There were moans from the other side of the curtain, so I hastily entered.
“Jasmine, it’s Shirley. I’m coming in.”
When I went in, there was a very haggard Jasmine, so haggard that I almost suspected that she is not the same person I had been talking to just some time ago. She tried to get up, but possibly because her body wasn’t moving well, my elbows she was holding onto trembled greatly.
As I offered my body to support her, my elbows were clenched tightly and almost painfully.
“Tim, Tim, blood, spat blood, blood, his palms, were red, and,”
“It’s alright, it’s alright. The doctor said that he should be fine since he was made to spit it out quickly. It’s fine.”
“Samua, it’s not him.”
“Yes, that’s what I think too.”
The eyes that always glittered were clouded with tears.
“He said it was the first time he had a junior, he was really happy. That he finally became a proper butler, getting all excited even though he was quite fresh too. I’ll teach him lots, he said.”
“When Tim spat blood, he moved faster than anyone.”
“Even after Tim got poisoned, even though he shouldn’t have because of the toxin he didn’t care and put his fingers in Tim’s throat to make him vomit.”
“It’s not Samua……”
“Yeah. I think so too. Since, Samua is a good person. He’s very nice, so it’s definitely not him.”
“His tongue slips often…….”
“……Yeah, that’s true.”
“But that’s because I’ve been watching him properly, really, it’s not Samua. It’s not the head chef either. Because, he always, looks after everyone, saying that the food should be sweetened for this person, or saying that this person should have more vegetables since he only has meat.”
“Yeah…… Not him. It’s definitely not him. So Jasmine, you should sleep and rest a bit.”
She forced herself up. Jasmine’s eyes were blank. However, from those eyes, tears fell and desperately croaked out some words. She’s not someone to cry like this.
Someone, someone made her cry. Someone used a terrible method to make her cry.
Rage grew in me. The feelings that were rusted started heating up slowly like boiling water.
“The perpetrator, I’ll definitely catch the person…… and I’ll make the person grovel in front of Samua and Tim and the head chef, so, so,”
“Yeah…… but if Samua returns and sees that you’re so worn, he’ll be very worried. So you should sleep a bit. Then when we can, let’s find the perpetrator together, okay?”
After I rubbed her stiff body and gently laid her on the bed, her eyelids started closing, definitely from fatigue. From the eyes that blinked many times, tears fell.
Watching me laid a blanket over her, Jasmine smiled slightly.
“……Fufu, somehow, it feels strange.”
“Shirley’s talking a lot……. it feels like a dream…… and you’re like an older sister…… comforting, Shirley, you’re very wonderful…………”
With words that made me blush, Jasmine went off to sleep, making me feel relieved. I gently loosened the fingers that were clutching my sleeve and tucked them under the sheets.
I confirmed that she was asleep, but for some reason I sat down on the seat right there.
Currently, there are people coming from various places. So entering places is under stricter control. It’s the servant’s dining hall on top of that, so people other than staff members can’t enter. Since the place won’t cause much trouble it will inevitably end up there.
However, the people working at the mansion are hired after thorough investigation. As a matter of fact, it would be preposterous to think that anyone related to people executed fifteen years ago would be hired. Moreover, what would poisoning Tim achieve? Was it indiscriminate? Then that’s even more mysterious.
Maybe it’s just to tarnish Kaid’s reputation.
I don’t know.
I pressed my forehead and pondered.
I unconsciously rubbed the necklace I received from Jasmine. Blue hyacinth. Unchanging, “__”. Cecil knew. Adele knew as well, and what if there’s a suicide attack on Kaid from tightly grasping the hyacinth.
Unchanging…… unchanging…… unchanging?
With a clang I stood up.
As I dashed out of the curtain, the doctor let out a yelp. I started running as I shouted an apology. People who saw me looked on curiously, but I had no time for them.
I ran in a straight line with Kaid as the destination.
However, Kaid was running about here and there so I couldn’t find him. In the end, I found Caron and asked her to deliver a message to him.
After I waited a while in the hallway, rushed footsteps were heard.
“Master, I’m sorry in this urgent time. I have something I must tell you.”
“Ahh, I got it. Carolina, tell others that I’m in the office.”
“Understood, sir. I’ll prepare tea and some snacks. As you had not had dinner yet, master.”
After lightly bowing to Caron who had a strange expression, Kaid and I went into the room with tea leaves for two people. Inside, there were documents strewn about all over the floor. There was no time to pick them up.
Kaid collapsed into the chair and scratched his head. After a long sigh, he started making tea.
“My lady, what is it that you’d like to talk about?”
“I can only say that the change in stance is superb, but anyhow…… Kaid, I am your lady, yes?”
“…………Or so I believe with confidence.”
To Kaid who frowned as if to ask what I am talking about in this time, I handed him a cup of tea and got one for myself before sitting down in front of him.
“I cannot ascertain that there are not people who have memories of the past like me.”
“……That, is………… Then, even after thinking through about the current causal relationships, it still is not certain. The person would be…… around fifteen?”
“I believe so.”
“My lady, is there anything special, evidence, about people with past memories?”
Evidence. I wonder if there was something like that.
As I pondered, Kaid stared at me with a serious expression. For sure, I need something. As nothing can be gained from looking at the current causal relationships, all the teenagers currently hired are all suspect.
“……Come to think of it, I recall that the moles are on the same spot.”
Yes, moles. I had not checked my whole body so I cannot be sure though, I added. Kaid observed me for a while and raised his voice in realisation, so I got a bit startled.
“On the back of your neck.”
“On my groin.”
Silence fell for a while.
“…………There’s one on the back of my neck?”
“…………There’s one on your groin?”
I felt a little shocked since he told me a place I could not see, but then it was me who told him a place he never saw.
Kaid lightly cleared his throat.
“If two places match, then that’s somewhat credible…… My lady, do you know the location of the moles of people you were related to?”
“……Don’t ask for the impossible. To begin with, I rarely were related with anyone. Father did not seem to want me to greet guests. The only people who were related often enough to know the location of my moles were my family, you, Wil and his father.”
Upon hearing the name of my previous fiancé, this time I cleared my throat.
“Wilfred, his moles…… there weren’t many that were in noticeable places.”
“Indeed. Let’s think about that later. Anyhow, we will know once we catch the person who poisoned Tim’s food.”
It’s not Samua. Kaid too seemed to be sure of that, so I felt relieved.
From the silence that came after the conversation ended, I felt restless. I told him what I wanted, so I’ll return quickly after I finish the tea.
I want to visit Jasmine again and if he’s alright I want to see Tim and if possible I want to see Samua too.
Kaid too couldn’t sit still. He twiddled his fingers and had some tea.
I’ll drink it too. Then I’ll go quickly.
When I thought that and brought the cup to my lips, Kaid’s fist came swinging at me.
For a while, I didn’t realise what was happening.
Before the pain, the heat and the numbness came. The hot numbness assaulted my cheek and my hand.
Flying to the other side of the room, the cup shattered with a great sound. The tea set that still had content was thrown to the floor and shattered.
Without thinking to nurse my hurting cheek and hand, I stared at Kaid.
Kaid, who hit me with an awkward stance, smiled gently like a child that woke up from a nightmare.
A very dull and sticky sound came.
A red droplet from Kaid landed on my cheek.
From Kaid who quickly covered his mouth and turned his head great amounts of blood came pouring out from his mouth.
“Kai, Kai, d.”
I couldn’t move my limbs. I forced myself to crawl to approach Kaid, but Kaid too did the same to get away from me.
But then, Kaid’s movement halted for a moment. Then he stretched out his clean and diligently wiped away the drop of blood on my cheek.
After smiling faintly as if in relief, the red colour that came in streams burst out in a torrent this time.
“S-Somebody, somebody, the doctor, somebody!”
“Master, what is this noise—— Master!”
As I started running, people came running in at the same time. They all held their breath at the horrible scene.
“Someone, go to the infirmary! Quickly! Don’t touch the blood if possibly!”
“Master, please hold on, master!”
“Vomit out everything, please, quickly!”
People gradually came flooding into the room. Every time, I had to retreat to the wall.
“What happened with the poison tasting!”
“It always done right before the food was served!”
“What about the dishes!?”
“They were cleaned before usage!”
One of the people who was often with Kaid approached me with a fierce countenance.
“Wait! It’s not certain that it’s that girl yet!”
“Don’t, don’t get violent!”
By the man, whose eyes flashed like those of wolves, who shouted so loud that almost all his teeth were visible, I was seized by the collar and swung. Caron and other grabbed onto his arms and separated me from him.
Banged against the wall, I collapsed and crouched down. Through my dishevelled hair, between the people who were frantically shouting, I could see Kaid.
Maybe there was nothing more to vomit, as his body was lying still in the blood as if it would float away into the sky.
The world is red. Long time ago, I lost everything inside the red shade. That red colour is dyeing this land again. Even though it’s not that hot, even though it’s cold enough for the body lose its complexion.
That redness, again.
The hand I stretched out shook and there was no strength in my body.
Past the person that was trying to make him vomit without minding their hands getting dirty, a thin golden light saw me and slowly stretched his fingers towards me.
Those fingers too fell into the sea of blood.
“Get up, get up you bastard, what did you do to master…… oi,”
A confused voice came out from the man who approached again after tearing himself away from Caron and others.
The family I was chatting with about the tea and snacks for tomorrow.
The mansion that was like an ivory person.
The beautifully kept garden.
The person I truly loved.
Disappeared into the redness.
The redness, that redness.
It was taking him too.
I touched the place he wiped with a trembling hand. I clawed at myself with my nails, yet it did not hurt a bit. It did not hurt, yet it wasn’t a dream. It’s too much.
No, not the redness, not that redness.
It didn’t hurt, yet,
The red shade hurts.