City Series:Volume5a Chapter10
Chapter 10: Umbrella
It all comes down To your decision.
May 13, 1944
Letter Left by Phillip: To Beretta
I’m writing this immediately after leaving your room. You probably think you’ve sent me away by placing that door between us. Maybe I shouldn’t have worried about your injury and not insisted on seeing you any further than the bottom of your appartement.
Yes. This isn’t good. I can’t seem to do this right. I keep bringing up irrelevant things. I really want to write about something else. I’m so bad at this. I bet someone like Mallette is good at this. I’m going to stop writing as soon as I can. But I will leave this letter as proof that I did write something. I’ll stick it in your room’s boîte aux lettres, so read it if you catch it with your Ajouter. After that, you can laugh if you want. My grandfather is making a fuss after you kicked him when he touched your butt at the mansion, but that’s just how my family is. If you like, come visit again later. Bye.
–From a poor noble who lost big
Letter Left by Rosetta: To Master
I will go to the school festival again today.
I have prepared breakfast. But I did not wake you because you have been busy with work lately – the work in the storeroom and the meetings outside.
Today is only something called the closing ceremony and cleaning up so I do not think I will be late coming home.
I only fixed a lunch for you. The plates are lined up in the oven so please pull them out with the oven mitts I will leave next to this letter.
I will be leaving soon. I would normally wait for Lady Beretta before leaving. But she does not seem to be coming today. It is already past 10 and I still do not hear her bicyclette. Maybe because it is raining. Or… I will stop thinking about this.
I thought about borrowing your umbrella. But you might need to leave the house as well so I will go without it. I should be fine in the rain since I am a Belle de Marionnette. I have never gotten a fever like you have. Bye.
Letter Left by Mallette: To My Beloved and Foolish Beretta
Are you stupid? Why did you have Phillip see you to your room last night but didn’t make any progress?
I had gathered all our friends and we had our ears against the wall because I thought something would happen, but then nothing. I honestly didn’t think you would actually just share some tea and then have him leave. During the Lourd de Marionnette battle, he announced publicly that he wants you as his wife – okay, I don’t actually remember if he went quite that far – so since he’s already made the reservation, what’s wrong with letting him take a test drive before the actual marriage?
I don’t know about Phillip specifically, but most guys are pain to deal with until you get the reins on them. It all comes down to your decision.
Also, it seems you had Rosetta go home on her own last night, but you should really have sent someone with her. The Paris nights are a dangerous place for any ladies who aren’t you. You have to take care of her. So go call for her as soon as you wake up.
It’s raining today.
But even though it’s raining, hurry to her place on your bicyclette.
And to do that, make sure you’re up in time for the midday closing ceremony. I’m not a benevolent enough person to wake you up and have to dodge that drowsy kick of yours.
Oh, right. I’ve heard a rumor about the closing ceremony. You know how they revealed my essay and grade during the opening ceremony? The Festival Committee has apparently gotten your essay for the closing ceremony. Yesterday really has made you popular.
And now I’m off to school along with everyone who’s still disappointed in you for last night.
Quick Message from the Sorbonne University Student Council: To the School Festival Committee
It is raining, but hold the closing ceremony as scheduled. We also have a test essay to read. The administrative office would probably notice if we Signe-d the contents, so I will only open it just before reading it. Personally, I hope it is Miss Mallette’s. Anyway, we would like to hold the closing ceremony as soon as possible.
Looking from the student council room right now, I can see a girl standing in a corner of the courtyard. That is the girl who was with Miss Beretta for yesterday’s Lourd de Marionnette battles, I believe. She is just standing out there in the rain, so what is with her? She spoke with Miss Mallette and received an umbrella earlier, but she hasn’t opened it. She just keeps staring toward the main gate.
She isn’t one of our students and is probably only here to enjoy the festival, but why is she alone? And who is she waiting for without opening the umbrella?
Sorbonne University PR Club Extra Edition: Post School Festival Report 1
The closing ceremony began in a surprising fashion. Right at the start, the Student Council President unfolded a document and then said this:
“Topic 3: A Nearby Industrial Product: Beretta McWild.”
And as soon as it was out of his mouth, he got this bitter look on his face.
Revealing a student’s essay made the opening ceremony as much of a hit as the previous year, but that was only because the taboo topic and the surprising side of the author made it truly hilarious.
But this time, the President was given something different. Miss Beretta McWild is an interesting enough person, but the topic was perfectly normal and with no room for humor. I imagine this happened because he could not check the contents in advance due to his Signe and Ajouter battle with the administrators. The administrative office apparently questioned the Festival Committee about the missing essay issue this morning and that probably caused some issues.
Then there was a second failure. You probably know if you were at the closing ceremony, but Miss Beretta was not present. That meant she could not make a response and the President simply read off the serious essay.
He looked hesitant, but then he started reading it in a stubborn sort of way.
We can only guess as to why he did that. Was he desperate, did he feel a real man had a duty to complete what he had started, or was it based on some other emotion?
And the action was rewarded in an unexpected way.
One reward was that everyone was caught off guard by the strangely humorless beginning, so they all fell silent. His voice, distorted by the loudspeaker, rang through the courtyard with only the sound of the rain as company. The following is a recording of it:
Beretta’s Essay: Industrial Markets Essay
Topic 3: A Nearby Industrial Product: Beretta McWild.
This might seem odd given the topic, but I am going to write about Belle de Marionnettes.
My family works as Belle de Marionnette technicians.
I know that Belle de Marionnettes have a will of their own. They can desire death or desire life. We can think of them as living beings just like us.
That raises a question. How am I supposed to treat them (since I know about this)? They can become human. But they start out as dolls. A craftsman makes them and sells them for money. But they can still become the same as us.
Can we really leave them in the market?
Even if it is a single market, we are buying and selling people.
What brings happiness to those Belle de Marionnettes who are being bought and sold?
I am approaching an answer to that.
All because I met a certain girl.
She is a Belle de Marionnette. A terribly sheltered Belle de Marionnette.
When I first saw her, I felt despair that she was a doll – just like the American Belle de Marionnettes – and I thought she was of few words and unassertive.
But I was wrong.
She had simply forgotten. No, all Belle de Marionnettes are that way. They will one day become more than a machine, but they have forgotten that fact within their functionality. That is all it is.
I intended to remind her of that and to give her so very much.
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point while I was trying to teach her, I realized that I was the one learning from her. In Europe, it is said that a Belle de Marionnette is a mirror that reflects the emotions of their master. But what I saw in her was more than just a reflection of myself.
She taught me the answer to a certain question: “What do you want to be?”
That is a question for me.
It is also a question for everyone else and even you, professor. At the very least, anyone who has at least once looked up to the lord in heaven has that question hidden inside their heart.
She has the answer to that question.
She is becoming something that is not a machine, not a human, and not me. But I do not know where that will lead.
“What will she use to create herself?”
She will soon experience that question I struggle to answer about myself. She will soon reach the same point as us, where I no longer have any answers for her.
I think that is a good thing.
I want to help her with that. This is no longer about my question. I want to help for her sake. Being with her makes me happy. It is a different sort of happiness than what you feel with a friend or a lover. It’s just unbearably enjoyable. I think the happiness comes from seeing her become the person she wants to be and not just what she needs for her Belle de Marionnette job.
We learn a great many things in university, but she has no school and she is learning to become herself from everything around her.
I feel happy just writing this and thinking about her. I know this is a one-sided feeling, but our feelings for people – be they machine or human – are always one-sided. Getting those feelings to interact is what we call understanding each other.
I want to understand her. In a way, that is an impossible wish. She is not just a machine, she is not human either, and I personally think she will eventually find an answer to what she is.
That is an important thing.
I care a lot about the people around me. And I care a lot about her.
I care so very, very much that I am sure this happiness will outlast even the end of this world.
Yes, this happiness will endure.
Those are my thoughts on the industrial product I know best and my feelings about her.
I have nothing more to say.
Today I will start by writing what I want to write.
I only just arrived back home after everyone escorted me here. But I have something I must write.
The closing ceremony was a gathering. I was in the rain as I heard a reading of a letter Lady Beretta wrote. It was about me. It was almost certainly about me.
My consciousness – something like the core of my being inside my chest – felt like it was going to collapse.
I tried to think about what that feeling was.
Then I heard the people around me speaking. Everyone looked to the courtyard entrance behind us.
I turned around as well. There were a lot of people and I could not move forward. But for just a moment I saw it clearly. Lady Beretta had ridden into the courtyard on her bicyclette.
I heard her voice. The noise of the crowd was too great for me to entirely make out what she said. But I recognized what she was shouting.
Lady Beretta was shouting my name.
Or so it sounded to me.
I tried to part the crowd to reach her.
But then everything fell silent without warning. Everyone stopped speaking. Both around me and across the entire courtyard.
I knew what had happened.
The person who had read Lady Beretta’s letter spoke loudly:
“Clear a path!”
The people in front of me did as he said and moved to either side.
My field of vision opened up and Lady Beretta ran into the center of my view.
There were a few seconds of pause.
She stopped in front of me and lowered her shoulders as she gasped for breath.
She was soaking wet. So I opened the umbrella I held and held it over her head. Then she spoke to me.
“I went to the mansion and you weren’t there. The old man gave me an umbrella.”
She looked up and opened that umbrella. Only then did she notice mine.
“Where’d you get that one?”
“It is Lady Mallette’s.”
She nodded, opened her umbrella, and held it over my head.
For some reason my heart shook without warning. It was a different shaking from happiness. It was much stronger.
It was a lot like the feeling I felt after eating dinner with Lady Beretta for the first time. The same feeling I felt when I remembered what the master’s thanks meant.
That welled up in me here.
I found some raindrops had dripped from my cheeks to my throat.
I looked up when I felt them tickling from my throat to my chest.
But Lady Beretta was holding an umbrella above my head. I was not wet with rain.
I looked back down and saw Lady Beretta staring at my face.
“Is something the matter?” I asked her.
But the question oddly did not come out as words. My throat shook just like my heart.
I could not draw out my voice properly. But I did manage to speak one word that came to mind.
“Why am I crying when I do not want to die?”
Right here, I am Signe-ing that I was crying.
I raised my voice and wept.
She soothed me by using her empty hand to wipe the tears from my cheek.
And she spoke.
“That’s just how it is. Rosetta.”
I do not know what that means. But I felt like I did not want to hear any other answer.
I dropped my umbrella. I looked up into the sky and cried.
I shed tears.
Applause rose from somewhere and continued on and on.
There is nothing more I must write here.
There is nothing greater than that within me today.
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