Even though exams were getting closer, I wasn’t able to focus on studying at all.
I was worrying about Toto’s prototype so much I ended up visiting the greenhouse almost every day.
Toto wasn’t any better though, “I don’t really care about my exam scores as long as I have my herbs.” or so he says.
Surprisingly, there was one more person who couldn’t focus because of their anxiety.
It was Iris.
“This isn’t any good, we have to focus on studying our exams.” I tried chiding her, but she ended up replying “I can’t help but worry about the vegetables though…” with upturned eyes.
In the end, the three of us spent all day, everyday taking care of the crops.
Iris seems to have been studying at late night to make up for it though, amazingly.
On the other hand, I can’t really concentrate because there’s always two strange people hanging out in my room.
I ended up asking them “Aren’t you two going to study?” and as if they just remembered the exams, the two of them put their training on hold to seriously review their notes.
…in my room of course.
Like that my peaceful day-to-day life continued on, until a certain incident happened.
It was just a normal day, but surprisingly I was the first one to arrive at the greenhouse that morning.
Toto’s always here when I arrive, so this is a first.
As I pushed that thought aside, thinking that I should get to work on the crops, that’s when I noticed it.
Iris’ field behind the greenhouse had been ransacked. Everything had been dug up, or simply trampled on.
It was more harassment against Iris.
I felt like I was going to vomit at that moment. I couldn’t forgive this, an immense amount of anger started to well up inside me at that moment.
Clenching my fists, I forcefully pushed those feelings aside.
It wasn’t completely ransacked though, if we worked hard today to repair it we could still bounce back from this.
After pondering the matter for a bit, I noticed that the door to the greenhouse was open and rushed in.
I had never run faster in my life.
What was left of the greenhouse was even worse than the field.
Every herb was shredded into thousands of pieces, there wasn’t a single one intact.
“What about the face pack?!”
Remembering the most important herb, I hurried over to the specially humidified room we made for it.
“This can’t be…” the face pack plant seems to have been stolen. The others were destroyed, but it seems that they took this one away.
I didn’t feel anything this time, just an echoing sense of depression rather than anger.
My violent feelings had disappeared, leaving me tired again despite it still being the morning.
I sat down on the spot.
First I thought it was harassment against Iris, but after seeing what they did to the greenhouse there’s no way that’s the case.
What was their objective?
Were they trying to get to me? To Toto?
I thought it over again, but I couldn’t think of a logical reason.
…I don’t know, I just can’t think clearly right now.
For some reason I can’t help but resent myself for letting this happen.
Outside the greenhouse, I took in a big breath of air, but my mind didn’t clear at all though.
After a while, Iris finally appeared.
She ended up leaking out the same voice of grief that I did when she saw the wreckage.
“Why would they do this…”
I also want to know, but my mind draws a blank when I try to think of it.
“I don’t know.”
Taking Iris’ proposal, we decided it would be better for the two of us to clean this place up first and then think about it later.
“This is depressing.”
“Kururi, that sad expression you’re making… I don’t like it, it doesn’t suit you. I’ll never forgive the people who did this.”
Iris called out to me a couple times with her gentle voice, but it didn’t really register in my mind.
Lets just go home and sleep already. I don’t want to think right now, that’s probably for the best.
“Toto?! What happened?! Are you okay?!”
Iris, who had been cleaning beside me until now, suddenly shouted out and ran off. Wondering what it was as I looked up, what entered my vision was the form of a completely tattered Toto.
“Toto?!” I immediately ran over.
“I’m so sorry Kururi… our important prototype is gone… but, but I can fix this! We still have the roots and the seeds! We just need to grow them again from the beginning! We can still do this!”
“That’s not important right now! What happened to you?!”
“Its nothing, don’t worry about it. Anyways, we’re going to be busy organising the greenhouse right? We can’t just leave it as it is, it’s almost summer vacation.”
Toto said so as he tried to enter the greenhouse, but I grabbed his hand.
No matter how you look at it, you got those wounds from a fight Toto, but if you can’t say it, I understand.
“Kururi… ” Iris called out to me with an uneasy face.
“Just leave it to me, but Iris, can wait out here for a bit?”
“Sure, of course I can.”
Passing through the entrance of the greenhouse, we started to work on the inside.
It was quiet for a while, the only thing that could be heard were the sounds of us busily moving around.
“…can you tell me what happened now?”
“This is great, it’s almost time for summer vacation to start. You really don’t mind me coming over to your territory this summer?”
“Toto, I want to hear about what happened to you.”
He hesitated for a second “…I-I can’t, sorry.”
We won’t make any progress at this rate, do you not want to talk about it that badly? And even so, can’t you at least look at me in the eye when we speak?
“Is there a reason why you can’t tell me anything?”
Toto sounded like he was about to cry. I wonder what happened to make him like that? But if he really won’t say, I’m not going to pressure him any farther.
For some reason I was starting to feel depressed again.
Fu~ I let out a large breath and calmed down.
“Well, can you tell me how to organise these items? We can’t leave them all cluttered like this, right?”
Really, I should be taking my time to think about this, but I guess I’ll just finish this for now. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up though.
“This sucks. We have to clean up this mess, and then after that regrow the face packs all over again. …sorry.”
“No, I understand.”
Toto was working while in tears. I didn’t want to see that expression on him though. Funny enough, it seems that before I knew it, I’ve grown really attached to all the weird people around me.
…and before we knew it, it was already nighttime. Iris herself stayed to help until late.
“I’ll stay here a little while longer, you guys have already planted the first seeds for the new batch of face packs, so you can go back already.”
“No, I’ll stay here to help.”
“Iris, you have exams to study for. You should go home.”
“No! I’ll stay!”
Iris face twisted in anger. This is the first time I’ve seen her truly angry about something.
She sure is considerate, she was probably still worried about Toto.
“Well, I guess the three of us are just going to stay and work then.”
“No, I alone will be enough.”
His voice was a little sharp, but it’s Toto afterall. That sharpness showed that he was starting to cheer up.
Much better than the sad face he was making earlier.
Well, as long as he’s okay, I’m happy.
“Okay, let’s do this then.”
After putting our hands on top of each other, we continued to plant the seeds with newfound fighting spirit.
I carefully followed the seed sowing procedures as I planted them.
The other two were the same, but maybe because it was nighttime we had all grown quiet.
I tried to concentrate on my work, but my thoughts would always turn back to the events of today no matter what I did.
Everytime that happened I could feel anger and sadness wash over me, I wanted to question Toto for more information at those times.
Though that’s no good right now. Even if he’s not ready to talk about this now, he might talk to us in the future.
What should I do? Should I just leave this alone? I guess I haven’t really matured yet if I’m this impatient.
Around the time when it was completely dark, Vaine and Crossy could be seen rushing over.
They seemed to be carrying something.
“You weren’t coming back even though it was this late, so we came to you.” said Crossy worriedly.
The wife is here!
“Thanks, but what’s that in your hands?”
“Its dinner, I asked permission from the dining room to take it.”
Is this guy great or what? It’s nice to have a wife that’s so attentive!
“Thank you so much!”
After that, Iris, Toto and I finished off all of it. Its great to have food after a hard days work.
I could feel my strength coming back to me from the break.
“Now that we have full stomachs, things should get a little easier.”
“Your welcome, and hey, what’s with this mess?”
“I don’t know.”
“How could they?! I won’t forgive anyone who messes with Shisho’s property! Just one word, and I’ll cut them down!”
What a horrible thing for Crossy to say. Completely different from what his cute appearance would suggest.
Well he is standing up for though, it’s not a bad feeling.
Sometimes you want to move the time being now, it does not have a movement so.
“I’d like to give the culprit a good slash myself.”
Well, I guess they’re lucky we don’t know. The scene of Crossy doing practice swings seems to have mortified Toto, who’s currently hiding the culprit.
It’d probably be best if I didn’t mention this now though.
“Well, I’m good for now Crossy.”
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen you with such a down expression Kururi. Just say the word, and my sword will go flying.”
As soon as I said I was fine without Crossy’s help, Vaine immediately decided to follow up.
Scary! These two guys are scary!
“I’m alright you guys, for now at least.”
“That won’t stop me from worrying, but if Kururi says so.”
“Oh, but can you guys help out with my work?”
“Of course! Anything for you Shisho!”
All five of us worked all night long that day.
By the time we had finally gone home, all the seeds were planted, and Iris’ field was restored.
The greenhouse was cleaned up, and Toto seemed to have gotten better “Now we’re done.”
* * *
The next morning though, my mood hadn’t gotten any better at all.
Rather, my body felt so heavy that day.
Did I grow fat again? Nope, I’d definitely notice if that was the case.
Was it because the weather was bad? No, it’s sunny outside.
I already know the real reason why but…
“What was this morning’s lesson about again?”
I wanted to sleep so bad, but somehow I was able to drag my lead-like body to class.
This isn’t good, the teacher’s lesson isn’t registering at all.
My body feels so heavy…
Maybe I should ask if I can leave early today.
“Kururi-kun, you almost look dead today.”
Rail approached me with a smile like usual.
Now that he’s here its going to be harder concentrating on today’s lesson.
Everyday he tries to approach me, and everyday I run away from him, but I don’t care today.
“Oh? You didn’t run away today? Does that mean that you’ve accepted me?”
What the hell is with that joke? Though I don’t really care today.
I mean, sure Rail does smell nice when you’re close to him, and he is handsome but, there’s no way he swings that way, right? It’s only a joke, right?
“A little bird told me something interesting recently. Apparently, a criminal going by the name of Toto Gapp-kun has recently vandalized the greenhouses. What’s your opinion on this Kururi.”
Rail told me a story, but it probably doesn’t matter.
He always goes on about useless stuff, why would it be anything different today?
I just don’t really care about anything today.
“Hey, what did you just say?”
“How terrible, you’re not interested in me at all. You’re only like this when I have information that you need. Am I that convenient of a woman to you?”
I grasped his shoulders and shook them, “Who cares?! Just tell me more about that thing you were speaking about before!”
“That hurts, please treat me gently! Its my first time!”
“Yeah I get it! You’re an idiot! So just tell me already!” This is important!
Even so, Rail continued to play around. ‘I really hate you, you know that?!’ I wanted to scream that out loud so bad!
“Because I’m the prince’s attendant, its only natural to have skills to collect information.”
He told me with his face flushed going ‘Kyaa~ it’s so embarrassing~!’ No, just tell me what you know already!
“I like you Kururi-kun, so I want to tell you, but it’s expensive to collect information you know? So I can’t just tell you for free.”
“Gold?! Do you want gold?! I have gold, so name your price!”
“Not really. What I really want is you Ku・ru・ri~”
I half strangled him at that comment.
“Sorry, I’m sorry! It was just a joke.”
I released my hand, but what followed sent shivers down my spine.
“Well for the information fee, how about one of Eliza’s letters you’ve recently received?” Rail said with a wink.
…you bastard, where did you hear this from?!
Goosebumps started creeping up and down my whole body.
“You’ve even seduced Eliza huh? You really are amazing Kururi, you continue to exceed my expectations every time. Of course I’d want to read the letters you’ve been exchanging.”
“…just the letter right? Understood.”
I was wavering. This is embarrassing. Really embarrassing, but I need to know the truth about yesterday.
My personal shame doesn’t matter compared to this!
It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter! I tried saying a mantra three times to convince myself.
“You’ll really do it? That was also just a joke you know? I was going to give you the information for free, and yup, here you go.”
Rail took an envelope out of his pocket.
“Don’t look at it until you’re sure you want to know the truth. I wrote all the details in it.”
“Is this okay?”
“It’s fine, I like Kururi-kun afterall.”
I received the letter from Rail, and stuffed it in my pocket.
It would probably bring trouble if I opened it in class, so I should check it out later.
I’m really curious though, what was Toto hiding?
After giving it serious thought, I realized that Rail had collected this information because he knew this was something I would want to know about.
And so, here he came.
I will surely look over its contents later on.
To Rail, I felt like I had to say this.
“Thanks Rail. I will definitely repay this kindness one day.”
“I’ll look forward to that day then. Oh, and if you take back those words, you’re definitely going to hell you know? Ahh~ I wonder what I should hope for.”
Shivers ran down my spine for the nth time.
What the hell have I just gotten myself into?!