15. You and me, our,
A grey scenery was laid out. Rocks and stones were tumbled around on a mountain of a colour that one would suspect that there would be more pebbles than dirt. The nearby fields also had an overwhelming amount of dirt compared to grass, with only minuscule patches of grass.
The roads were uneven, causing the carriage to rock left and right. Joblin, who would usually be complaining, was actually enjoying the rhythm now.
However, the grey scenery changed drastically upon entering a village.
Like the previous villages, the veil of night had fallen on it.
A village of stone, silent as death. On sharp roofs, on windows, everywhere was covered with black cloth.
After looking outside through the carriage curtains, Wilfred whistled.
“Amazing, or should I say that it’s his hometown after all. It’s full of black.”
Take a look, he said and slowly raised my head up with his finger.
A village that fell silent even though it’s not midwinter nor midnight.
Located near the border between Laius and Darich, this is Kolkia, the furthest point north in Laius.
“Let’s go sometime.”
The land that he promised, the promise which I broke.
Even after the storm subsided and we were able to depart, the effect of the heavy rain was enormous. There were many landslides on the roads. The frequently used roads were blocked and people could not travel.
It took a more than a day where it would normally take just half a day.
On top of that, it was tough enough with the disasters, but Laius didn’t have a lord now. There is a person for such times, but no matter how much he tried he could not keep up with the amount of work Kaid had been doing alone. Moreover, people here and there who received the news of the assassination of the lord were demanding an explanation.
Joblin occupied one whole seat section of the wide carriage. It’s fine since it’s his carriage, yet it looked like it was tight even though he had the whole space to himself.
Sitting next to me, Wilfred rested his chin on his knee and looked at me.
“You’re making a terrible face.”
I was aware of it.
Without even thinking of fixing my hair, I looked at my dishevelled hair resting on my face. It looked much lighter than how I remembered it. I wonder if my hair will turn white at this rate. Then my face will age greatly too. I’m already making a depressing face, I wonder if I’ll become a witch with white hair then.
Almost two days passed since then. However, I didn’t sleep much. I couldn’t sleep.
“I thought that you would break down in tears.”
He noted interestedly to me who did not create a single drop of tear since the day the world was shrouded by the night.
You can’t cry if there’s too much sorrow. I knew that.
But there wasn’t even that. I didn’t even feel sad. I couldn’t feel anything. My heart was frozen.
I wonder if that was the last.
What did I last talk about with him…… right, moles. The mood grew awkward after we mentioned moles and became fidgety. It felt somewhat embarrassing.
But then, Kaid was dyed in red and smiled after wiping away the red on me.
That was all?
Kaid is not here anymore?
He’s not anywhere?
Kaid can’t be found anywhere in this world?
Helt disppeared and Kaid appeared. Yet nothing appeared when Kaid disappeared. Why?
I loosened the hard lock on my hands and stared blankly.
I brewed it with these hands. I brewed his tea. My hands poisoned him. Ah, why did I not drink first? If I drank first he would not have had it. Why did I not call the doctor immediately? I shouldn’t have panicked. Why was there no antidote? I really needed it.
Why did he have to die.
I didn’t do anything yet, I didn’t do anything for him.
Not, a thing.
Even though the land was vast, there was little space for people to live in. We passed through the village of small houses in the rocky field on a stony road that was barely in a fair condition.
The flowing waters of the river could be heard. The river that was overflowing from the rain that had falling until yesterday roared as it gushed. It was as though it was spiteful. A sound that was as though it maddened from losing a beloved child of the land came from the ground.
Enjoying Kolkia’s rage, Joblin spoke in a high-pitched voice as though he was going to hum.
“My my, Tim. You shouldn’t bully her too much.”
“Don’t you want to tease the girl you like?”
“A woman’s resentment is frightening. It’s vengeful and sticks even to unrelated things, reviving over and over again until it finally dies.”
Feeling good, Joblin let out a laugh that was shorter and lower than that of an owl’s.
“More importantly, discuss about the wedding. once we arrive, we’ll start preparing immediately. I’m also busy. Laius will be embroiled in a storm. Well, actually, it is like a place the wolf created on his own. I hope the place is full of foes. I hope disease spreads. I hope the flow doesn’t stop. I wish I could have done it again fifteen years ago.”
Among the things that pop up, I wonder if there’s even one thing this man will not try his hand on.
“He was a terribly unpleasant man. As he did it alone, it would have collapsed if he disappeared. However, it would not collapse unless he’s erased. Something will maintain it as long as that one man is there. He was the bothersome beast.”
Laius that escaped destruction fifteen years ago appeared. The place called Laius would be gone. The Laius he protected will be taken by the man in front of me.
When I looked straight ahead, a gleeful voice of “Hoh,” escaped the meat.
“……You’re making nice eyes. It’s as though you’ll tear out my throat. Are you truly not the partner of that wolf? Tim, take care to not be murdered at the ceremony.”
When I looked at him, Wilfred distorted his face without holding it in. It wasn’t a face that couldn’t hold it in. It was an expression full of delight.
“Nice…… exciting. As you are now, I think you’ll look very good in a bright red dress.”
If I have to wear something like that, I’ll be clad in flames to dye myself red. Then I’ll be satisfied.
“Still, let’s do the ceremony in black. We’ll be wedded while wearing mourning clothes. Isn’t it perfect for us?”
Not faint, but a thick black something rioted in my heart. All the suppressed feelings were sucked into that and scorched the inside of my body.
Wilfred smiled innocently like a little child.
“Do you want to die?”
“I want to kill.”
At the words that came flowing out, Wilfred laughed out loud this time. I couldn’t feel sorrow, yet hatred was there as though it was alive and breathing.
He was holding his belly button in laughter, but I continued.
“Give me a trial in Laius.”
In a blink, his face lost all expression. I was hit on the cheek. Not caring about it, I grabbed him by the collar. The body I pulled in close with my weight fell. The face was so close that the lips almost touched.
“The crime of poisoning the lord of Laius as people of Laius should be judged in Laius. Whatever happens, it doesn’t change that we’re from Laius.”
I will never forgive you if Kaid dies.
There was no lie to that. Not forgiving. Forever, even after death. Even if we return again.
I’ll kill you.
Words that were in some sense contradictory yet wishing for the same result were stuck in my head.
I hope your spine breaks that you vomit blood as though it’s the end of the world and feel the same, no, an even worse pain before you die.
Or so, I thought.
Even though I couldn’t mourn, hatred kept gushing forth. I can’t forgive him. No matter how I tried, that remained.
However, even if I killed him here it wouldn’t change anything. Killing won’t make me feel better, nor would it bring anything back.
Even if a miracle happened and I reunited with Kaid, his hands would leave me.
Kaid was a lord. For the people, for Laius, he worked as a lord to the end.
He protected the Laius that we destroyed. It was he who sacrificed himself, yet he protected even what I forced him to bear.
I wonder if I can live a life where Kaid can smile to me. When we meet again, I wonder if I won’t have to feel shame, not feel disheartened, nor run away. I wonder if I can smile to you.
I wonder if I can finally smile out of happiness.
Then, I might have shed a tear for the first time.
At least, he won’t be happy if I killed Wilfred. He will definitely make that lonesome smile and stare at me sadly. I can tell now.
I decided to not pursue unhappiness. I decided that I won’t bear it nor chase it.
It’s not the past that shouldn’t be seen. People turn around and advance. I stopped without seeing the future. I couldn’t see the hole and tripped, then I fell down as I couldn’t see the hand that was stretched out.
I won’t advance if I can’t see ahead, if I can’t see it in the future. Even if he’s only in the past.
I decided to take myself away. From the dim place I fell down to, to a bright place.
You gave me that road. You had to abandon that road because of me, but you made that road in Laius.
You rebuilt everything from the crumbled cobblestones, you levelled the greed of those clawing up, you repaired the collapsed walls, and you calmed the anger of the sky.
You gave candies to starving children, dreams to waning families, tomorrows to babies.
You gave love to a foolish woman.
I burdened you with so many things, yet I only offered you one thing.
It was the ruined necklace the kind girl gave me.
A blue flower to you.
A blue hyacinth.
Love to you.
Love from a foolish woman.
Wilfred grabbed me by the collar as well and he was stronger after all. He gripped me tightly and had me on my toes.
“Ah, I really like you now. You’re in a different league from that boring woman who was only beautiful. If you want to rub me the wrong way, don’t break. Don’t break and I’ll let you continue invoking my wrath. I had killed everyone who did that until now, but I’ll forgive you. Ahh, I’m glad you’re my fiancée. I love you. I love you from the bottom of my heart. You are the only one for me. The only person who knows me is you. The only flower I need in my garden is just you.”
I wonder if he just failed to cover it up with love, or if he really meant that from the beginning. The words spun a tale wearing an unfamiliar form that was like, or unlike, kindness. Wilfred kneeled on one knee like a knight and looked up at me from something that was like thick sludge.
“My toxic flower, please marry me.”
“No. No one will be happy.”
“At least I will be. I’ll be careful about making you mine. If it’s you now, I feel that you’d give birth to a birth.”
After saying something that I didn’t want to imagine in various meanings, Wilfred laughed joyfully.
“Now that’s what I call a love twin!”
Even though he wouldn’t know the actual meaning, Joblin laughed loudly after coming to a conclusion of his own. I didn’t know what was so funny, but he laughed with a sound as though his lungs were collapsing, causing the carriage rock greatly.
It would be amazing even from outside.
At first, I thought it was because of this that a polite voice called for Joblin from outside.
Not laughing anymore and showing a movement of meat that was hard to tell if it nodded or just shook, Joblin said something. Wilfred then approached the small window that was kept open so that we wouldn’t suffocate.
There, the butler from Darich was on horseback. Since he had bits of white hair, I could tell that he was rather old. He had been doing it for a long time. With a practised movement, he spoke directly to Joblin without talking to Wilfred.
“There are people from Gimii behind us. They request to see master. What shall I do, sir?”
“Hm…… Who’s the representative?”
Joblin clicked his thick tongue.
“Did he flee because his friend died? I would have ignored them if it wasn’t the man himself. No choice then. Stop the carriages. Tim, lend me a hand.”
When lords meet, one cannot not get out their carriage. However, I couldn’t help but think that Wilfred would be squashed flat when he lent his hand.
But I wasn’t worried too much. I gave up on the small window and stared at where the window was past the thick curtains.
Isador…… I don’t know what you’re planning, but I hope you won’t do anything strange. Even if you won’t be able to do anything to him after he returns to Darich, here in Laius he is just a guest. The only people who can wield authority in Laius are those from Laius.
And the only person who can wield authority over lords from other fiefs is the lord of Laius.
The lord of Laius, the post which is absent now.
In contrast to the hoof sounds that steadily approached, the hoof sounds from here subsided. The rocking stopped too. Joblin exited the carriage while holding on the hands of any squirming servants. Having finished lending his hand, Wilfred changed his position and bugged me from behind. Somewhere that I couldn’t see, a small bottle asserted its existence with clanking sounds.
“I think you already know, but unless you want an accident to happen to the next lord of Gimii stay still. That crybaby grew up. I want to keep him alive, don’t you know? ……Stop glaring at me like that. You’re making me excited.”
I immediately stopped glaring at him and focused my attention to the outside.
Built to withstand that giant, the walls were thick. After the doors were closed, all sound from outside was cleanly shut out. After frowning a bit, Wilfred opened the window past the curtains slightly causing sound from outside to reach in for the first time.
“My, Isador-dono! To what do I owe this pleasure?”
I could clearly picture how he was feigning surprise.
“I’m sorry if you were busy. As I couldn’t accompany you here, I was thinking of returning together, but I panicked after realising that you had already left.”
“My, I’m very sorry. An acquaintance informed me that he’s marrying. I thought that I had to run over to give a present, but then I received the news that he left this world…… I was considering that I shouldn’t meet him with such a sorry face.
From the tone of voice that delivered his condolences, I couldn’t even get goosebumps.
I started clawing. I tried to control myself but I couldn’t feel pain, but instead I heard a groan. When I looked down I had been clawing at Wilfred’s arm.
“……So it wasn’t on purpose.”
I regretted that I shouldn’t have apologised. In the indescribable mood that came from my reflexive apology, he rubbed at where he was scratched. As the sleeves moved, I saw the moles on his wrist. I hadn’t hurt him there, yet Wilfred’s fingers were rubbing there before I realised it.
He didn’t have to confirm it that much.
For some reason, I got a thought.
He was so much like me of the past. Clinging onto something, even without having to confirm that we are here. After we got away from the mansion I saw him do that often. I didn’t see him do that much in the mansion, so maybe this too was something he was aware of.
“……My friend too was worried until the very end. About not being able to see you off.”
My attention snapped back to reality from Isador’s croaking voice.
“Ohh…… I did such a sorry thing…… How nice it would be if I could tell him to not worry……”
“Even if he’s called the wolf lord, my friend is human. Let’s think of him…… yes, my friend is human. I kept thinking so………………”
“Ah, ah, what a regretful thing! Let me sympathise with you.”
The words seemed to stop from pain.
Isador, are you crying……?
It’s regretful that I couldn’t see him. It’s painful that I couldn’t get out. If I could rush out, I could have held him in my arms and think of Kaid, our precious person.
I bit my lips then the smell and taste of iron spread in my mouth. It was the same smell I sensed on the last day I met with Kaid.
How painful it must have been. How hurtful it must have been.
I always couldn’t be there beside him when he was going through them. I didn’t hold those hands, embrace him and share the pain.
I gritted my teeth and swallowed the thing that reeked of iron.
This red colour, what about it. If I had time to be afraid of that red colour, I should have hugged him and comforted him.
Right after I swallowed that red, my eyes opened wide.
Because, from outside,
“No, there’s no need for that, Joblin-dono. If I don’t see off the guests I invited, Laius would be ridiculed as a boorish place. Even if a lord left preemptively, a frown is not all that we’d received. I panicked and came rushing.”
I could not believe what I heard.