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Pygmalion Is Planting Seeds V1, Chapter 1
**Note, Ronin is used as an endnote. When you run into the word, use the [note][/note] around it**
The red-purplish flower silently withered away after a slight gleam.
At the top of the pot, overflowing with dirt, she was holding her knees while gazing at the empty space, her eyes crystal clear.
I gently leaned down and reached over her bare and smooth skin. Judging from the warmth, I could assume the time for her awakening was soon, and from her expression, I could feel her calling out to me to wake her up.
A bit more, and the daylight would vanish, making the room sink into the darkness of the night.
Before the sun sets, I must hurry. Otherwise, the people of the night will taker her away.
I took the dagger and inserted the edge, cautiously, between the sole of her foot and cut off the root.
Contrary to its appearance, the root was soft like a slender- spun silk thread which didn’t transmit the least bit of resistance to the dagger‘s blade.
After being released from her yoke, her sight did not stop wandering in the hollow.
Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes.
Similar to a child excitedly looking forward to the start of a circus, I kept anxiously waiting for her to speak. I gulped in anticipation.
However, she kept silent the entire time, looking no different from a delicately carved sculpture. The root that was holding her down had already gone, yet she didn’t show a sign of standing up and kept her eyes roaming straight ahead.
I started grinding my teeth.
A sad result again. It’s useless no matter how many times I try.
Where did I mess up? Is there something I’m lacking? I had no clue. Even after pouring all my efforts, time and everything for her sake, this is the result.
“Ah.. Why?!” I roared, but even though a boiling anger erupted in a loud roar, the girl did not seem frightened..
My legs became wobbled as I stared at her. My throat became dry, and my eyes were pained. The feeling in my hand had somehow vanished, and I could no longer sense the smell floating around the house.
This is was what people called hell, and I would be the devil. No, I’m not a devil.
I am a just a child, vainly picking up stones that I had diligently piled up, only for it to be mercilessly destroyed by the devil, over and over again, everytime I start. The eternal performance of a pathetic scene in a play.
But despite it all, I continued building up those stones, believing that one day, she will come for me and take me out of that spine-chilling wasteland.
It is the only thing that I can do after all.
I moved the blade of the knife directly across her outstretched neck and pulled it out in one go.
Brand new lines of blood started streaming out in this dimly lit room.
A flower that can trigger the memories of the graduation ceremony, you ask? The first thing that usually comes to mind are cherry blossoms. In the town where I live, cherry blossoms are quite unfashionable since they always die, along with their light pink color before they even bloomed. That’s why the image of the apricot flower, that blooms at the perfect time, has the strongest impact on me rather than cherry blossoms when I think back to the graduation ceremony.
Though, either way, the graduating students gathering in the front yard of the school didn’t care about what flowers were blooming; they were instead regretting having to part with their friends and say farewell to their usual school.
“Already graduating? Three years sure did go in the blink of an eye.”
While receiving the spring’s sunlight, my classmate, Isezaki Akira, was looking at the shining, white school building. I could see the deep emotions in his eyes. He had entered a prestigious private university early on in the new year, and was now enjoying the last moments of his high school life peacefully. A world of difference from me. I failed entirely in their first term exams, and am now waiting for the final test results. I’m utterly terrified of the result.
“Yeah, these three years passed by in just a moment,” I murmured, but among the chatter around me, it didn’t seem to reach anyone.
A few girls caught my attention when they entered the classroom and handed out an autograph collection form to the homeroom teacher.
I did not write my name, Mamesaki Kuuya, on it. I had not the least of an idea of what to write, and couldn’t possibly just bring myself to write generic words like, ‘Thank You for this Year. Take Care!’.
“Everyone, gather over here. We’re taking a picture.”
The one who called for us, while holding a smartphone in her hand, was yet another classmate of mine named Iruse Misaki. With her model-like figure and innocent character, many male students had fallen for her. But out of all of them, for the entire three years, Isezaki remained as her boyfriend.
“Isezaki and Iruse sit in the center. Ah, and everybody move a little bit to this side.”
As the male volunteer-photographer guided dozens of people, they all became cramped in one place. Making my way inside the crowd, I took the seat right at the back of Misaki and Isezaki.
Thinking about it now, Isezaki and Misaki were in the same class for three years. Which meant they had showed off their level of intimacy every single day in front of everyone. And with Misaki entering a local college, it was quite clear that their relationship would remain the same.
“Alright, I’m taking it!”
At the moment the shutter was pressed, a spring breeze blew the scent of Misaki’s hair around, and it tickled my nose. Looking at the photo, I could see a half strained and half shameful expression.
The eighteenth spring, youth’s frame.
A few days later, I failed to make it into a university, and my new Ronin[note] a person who failed every entrance exam for university and is waiting for another chance.[\note] life had begun.
My parents were divorced when I was in the sixth year of grade school. They never told me why.
It was my mother who left the house, taking me along. Since then, we spent two years together before she passed away. It’s been more than six years now when I last met my father.
The one who proposed to live with me after my mother’s death was my uncle, the little brother of my dad, Haruhito.
So, currently, I’m living under the same roof with him. Whether my father knew about my mom’s passing or not, he kept on sending 50,000 yen every month to my bank account as a child-rearing expense. An amount I entirely give to Haruhito as rent.
I was recommended to enter a preparation school, but I positively declined in order to choose the ronin path instead. I did this because the concentration courses and the trial examinations would end up costing a fortune.
“A kid like you doesn’t need to think about unnecessary stuff like this. If it’s about money, I’ll somehow manage it, just go!”
I was grateful for his words, but having someone paying for you thousands of yen for a single year didn’t feel right. At the end of a long discussion, the one who gave in was Haruhito.
Like this, my Ronin life had begun.
I sought the city’s library to study since staying in the house all the time just made me depressed. So my intention of going out was more to change my mood than about learning.
The library I go to is separated from the house by three train stations and is situated at the city center. Every time I make my way through traffic, I become obligated to witness the busy salarymen passing nearby and the active faces of the chattering youths strutting around. I had a hard time acting as if wasn’t annoyed being surrounded by them.
At nine in the morning, I would leave the house, devoting my myself to studying the whole day at the library, and when the sun set, I would take the train back home, leaving behind a town so vibrant with life and lust even at those times of the night.
My regular life was nothing but the repetition of those days.
As I continued to live this routine, full of ups and downs, something changed. It was an absolute coincidence when I ran into Misaki.
On the night of when the start of the new rainy season was announced, I chose to walk a different path to the station where fewer people were at the time.
Approaching a small park, surrounded by buildings, I noticed a flower vendor stall, established right below a street light. Gorgeous assortments of neatly cut flowers, garnished a sorrowful street corner.
….A flower stall at this time of night?
Getting curious about this unusual combination, I concentrated on the client who was squatted down, appraising the flowers.
It was Misaki.
Seeing her with normal clothes was a first time for me, however, after spending three years with her in the same classroom, there was no way I could mistake her for someone else. Not even two months had passed since I last saw her at the graduation ceremony and yet she already turned into a beautiful, mature woman.
The person who was dealing with her was a little girl wearing a black summer knit. Perhaps her parents left her to guard the store.
Gazing at her slender figure, I could only assume she was, at most, a middle schooler.
The little girl seemed to unintentionally turn toward me.
What drew my attention, even more, was her mysterious beauty that stood out despite being surrounded with all of those bright flowers in full bloom. Unblemished skin, not yet touched by anyone, black irises that seemed melancholic, and a well-ordered face starting from a small nose, and continuing down to her young lips resembling flower buds. Her type is different from Misaki’s, but she was indeed a beautiful girl. If Misaki was an elegantly blooming dalia under the sunlight, then the little girl is a night–blooming Cereus waiting for the dawn light, while quietly basking under the moonbeam.
However, somewhere inside those perfect looks of hers, I can also receive a somewhat cold impression coming out. That beauty reflected a feeling as if she had slipped out from an illusional painting, drawn by an artist who poured all of his heart and might into performing it, or in other words, a very unrealistic beauty. That is how perfect her looks were arrayed.
“How may I help you?”
Even though it was light, as if ringing a brass bell, the voice I heard wouldn’t stop resounding in my ears.
It took me a short while before I realized that she was speaking to me. I couldn’t act naturally. It’s only normal, I mean, my mind was so full thinking about a way to call out for Misaki while I was standing like a fool in front of both them.
“Hm, is that you Mamesaki?”
Misaki raised her head, and I instantly noticed the little makeup she had on her initially clear face.
“Yeah, I mean, I happened to pass by when I saw a familiar figure you see”
I was nervous, and trried my best to make a smile.
“Are you returning from a task tonight, Mamesaki?”
“Yeah, I was studying at the library.”
Although I knew very well that there was no meaning in putting on airs, I still vaguely obscured the fact of me being a Ronin.
Behaving as if she is not even interested in what I said, she answered with a simile ‘I see’, and stood up after seizing a plastic bag with a potted plant inside.
“I’d like to take my time and talk with you, but I’m kinda busy right now, so maybe next time.”
I waved as my eyes were glued on her departing figure. I started considering what to do after this. I never had the intention of buying flowers or even go near the stand. It was because I saw a familiar figure that I dropped by to greet them.
“Are you perhaps her acquaintance?”
Just when I decided to stick a random reason and leave, the little girl asked me, of course, I couldn’t just ignore her and go on my way.
“She was a classmate of mine back in high school, does she come here often?”
“Yes, she’s a regular customer who comes here every once in awhile. Countless people call out to me without even intending to buy anything, so visitors like her are very precious.”
Looking at her beauty, I wouldn’t have been surprised by the number of window shoppers. It’s a man’s nature to be attracted to a talking flower after all.
Thinking about such a thing I checked the price tags and was taken aback. All of them were absurdly expensive.
“Rather than not intending to buy, don’t you think they just lost the intention of doing so?”
“Despite these high prices, some people still buy from me. Like a drunk customer who lost control over his wallet, or a salary man returning home in the morning forgetting about his wedding anniversary. Even after noticing that the prices are higher than the ones in the market, if he can just buy it, then he would gladly pay up”
Throwing away the innocent character appropriate for her age, the little girl started speaking in a mature manner, exhibiting my first mysterious impression I had of her. Maybe taking this attitude which is contrary to her pure and innocent outward appearance is a result of dealing with different people at this kind of place and time.
I didn’t plan on buying anything from her in the first place, so I will probably get in the way of her work by staying here for too long. I randomly attached a few words and left the place behind.
“Let me know if you have a particular flower you don’t need, I can purchase it from you”
…..A flower vendor, buying flowers from a customer?
Walking my way back to the train station, the strange words of the little girl remained on my mind. While I was on the train, recalled the gossip I overheard in my high school days.
The rumor of the flower vendor in the street corners.
The beautiful little girl that appears on street corners during the night to sell flowers to bypassers.
Besides the fact that she opens her stall at the night, nobody knew how and from where she came from.
Taking the same approach as a phantom and manifesting out of the blue in unexpected places, it is said that all of those who see her gets visited by good fortune.
A silly story made to grab the interest of the youth. Until graduating, I didn’t hear anybody saying they encountered her though.
A little flower vendor girl carrying happiness along, huh?
Who knows? Maybe they are the same person.
While thinking about the little girl, Misaki’s face overlapped as well.
Not the face of the mature Misaki that I just saw earlier, but the one that still had the lingering feelings of innocence back in my high school period.