Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 58
Chapter 58: Accepted One in the Flower Garden
How many times in a life
Must you give an answer no matter what that answer is?
Point Allocation (Judge)
Those words said that England would come to crush Tenzou whether his confession was a success or not, so he sighed.
…Well, it comes down to their circumstances.
However, he had come up with an idea while exchanging opinions with the others earlier.
It was the one and only way of saving Mary.
When he had told the others, Masazumi had told him to try it if he thought it would work, but he would need Mary’s help. Above all, he needed her to choose to live.
At any rate, that was the reason for his confession. A moment before he had called her “Mary-dono” without thinking, but…
…That’s fine, isn’t it? Isn’t it? It’s a natural progression!!
Tenzou had decided to clearly expressing his feelings first and then give his reasoning. That was an essay-writing technique. And so he clearly shouted his thoughts.
“I…I lilove you!!”
He stumbled over the word.
Asama: “It ended as soon as it began. Well, I guess he has no regrets now.”
Me: “Aren’t you being a little harsh, Asama? Of course, I managed to confess just fine.”
Gold Mar: “Is it just me or has a certain someone done a lot of unnecessary damage to people’s lives during this stay in England?”
Asama: “Are you referring to me!? You are, aren’t you!? Aren’t you!?”
…Wh-what have I done!?
At the center of attention, an unpleasantly warm sweat covered Tenzou.
He had stumbled over the word because, at the last second, he had hesitated over whether to go all out and say “love” or be more conservative and say “like”. However, the reason did not matter. He needed to follow through somehow.
…U-um, she grew flowers didn’t she? Those were…
“Th-that is to say, I think you are as beautiful as a lily! A water lily!!”
Mal-Ga: “Huh? He’s still at it?”
Worshipper: “A-aren’t you pretty close to there!? Try to actually watch it!”
—Vice President has entered.
Vice President: “Hey, this is my first time in the divine chat on my own. If I do anything wrong, just tell me.”
Almost Everyone: “Oh, congrats, congrats.”
Asama: “Um, we really should be watching. I’m starting to feel bad for him.”
That was pushing it, wasn’t it!? thought Tenzou.
But Mary suddenly brought her hands to her slightly flushed cheeks.
“What color of water lily? Red or white?”
He was unsure what to say, but her red cheeks just about made him answer red.
…But the red shows up so much because of how white her skin is.
And he recalled that was the color of water lily she had grown.
“I-I’ll have the white!!”
Noriki: “Is he talking about wine now?”
Flat Vassal: “I-I popped in here to take a break, but this is getting pretty serious!”
Asama: “But why did she ask about the color? I’ll look into it a bit.”
Novice: “I don’t know… Oh, this is Neshinbara. Um, I don’t know about the colors, but this is pretty interesting. After all, in stories, water lilies are closely related to fairies.”
Wise Sister: “Now, it’s time for tonight’s super nerdy talk time.”
Novice: “I ignored that after two seconds. Anyway, there’s a certain story about water lilies. Supposedly, a fairy will transform into one when it is pursued by a demon. For that reason, if you don’t pluck the water lily with a blade, you will be cursed by the demon hiding in the flower’s shadow and waiting for the fairy to leave. Also, Latin for water lily is Nymphaea. In other words, the nymph flower.”
Gold Mar: “The nymph is an M.H.R.R. fairy, isn’t it?”
Novice: “Yes. The Normans who conquered England had the same origins as the Germanic tribes who later became M.H.R.R. Their mixture with England’s Celtic non-humans created the people you see now.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. It may be wrong for me to say it, but how about you take a look at the scene now?”
Tenzou saw Mary hold her flushed cheeks with both hands.
However, she closed her eyes and shook her head.
“Ehh!? I’m being turned down after all this!? I knew it!”
Silver Wolf: “Couldn’t he at least say ‘How can this be?’ or ‘You have to be kidding!’ even if it’s just for show?”
Smoking Girl: “Really, it was out of the question from the moment he misspoke at the very beginning. I’m impressed he made it this far after that.”
Mal-Ga: “Do you even have to get to the misspeaking? Hiding his face while confessing makes it out of the question with his very existence.”
Me: “Oh, dear. The judgments are coming in from all the referees. This game isn’t looking good for Tenzou. But you’ve still got some moves left to play, so let’s make it work even if you have to force it. Right, Tenzou?”
“After all,” said Mary while raising her eyebrows and lowering her hands. “We have to carry out the history recreation! I’ve worked so hard for this execution!”
“A lot of other people have worked toward it as well. People have died and I’ve even killed people to get here! Three hundred people were killed by Bloody Mary! And after that, the two Marys brought chaos to the country and there were people who would have survived had that not happened!”
She continued speaking.
“I have a duty to sacrifice myself here!”
“No, you do not!”
Tenzou shouted back completely on reflex.
He realized what he had said only afterwards and the shout had been loud enough to make Mary’s shoulder’s jump a bit and make the warriors positioned around them and down below freeze in place. However, the Fairy Queen down below remained calm.
“You are intervening in our internal affairs.”
That may have been true, but he knew one thing for sure.
“Does England refer to people’s deaths as politics?”
This was something they had all confirmed at Mikawa.
“The people of the Far East wish to save anyone who is facing an unreasonable death,” he said. “And we will not force ourselves to view everything in a positive way and insist that such a death is salvation!!”
But a moment later, the Fairy Queen spoke with her eyebrows still raised in a smile.
“You are too naïve, Far Easterner!! That is the way of the world!! Life and death and even the offense and defense of a nation are nothing more than cards for politics! By recreating history, we have turned even war and history into bargaining chips!”
He said what their leader had said in Mikawa and what they had double-checked before leaving for London.
“Then we will conquer this world and change how it works!”
He then faced forward and spoke to Mary.
“I, Tenzou Crossunite, will assist the Far East’s world domination and take on the role of watching over Double Bloody Mary!”
“Eh? B-but if I don’t die…”
“That does not matter! If we are to eventually conquer the world, England is nothing but a bonus!! The Far East will be the entire world! We are not far from there! All that remains is conquering the entire world!”
I’m running completely on momentum, he realized.
…This is the same as making stupidly large boasts with Toori-dono and the others.
I can leave the responsibility for this commitment to the vice president, he decided as a way of escaping the situation.
“No matter who died or was injured for your sake and even if you had the option to die, you are under no obligation to die! Now choose!”
“The people who expected something of you may speak ill of you in their disappointment, but you have the right to live in this world with no interference from anyone else!!”
“Why?” The corners of Mary’s mouth twisted. “Why would you say that!?”
“Because I do not want to lose you!”
“B-but…” She covered her twisting expression with her hands. “I’m…covered in so many scars.”
“I don’t care!”
“I’m an indecent woman who has married and divorced several times for the history recreation!”
“I don’t care!!”
“You might make an enemy of everyone in England!”
“I don’t care!!! I know someone who has made an enemy of the entire world!!!”
He took a breath.
“I would never have appeared before you if I wasn’t prepared to at least bear the weight of England!”
“Enough! If I steal you away, any supposed responsibility of yours will mean nothing!!”
What a troublesome person, he thought.
…She was proud that she was sacrificing herself.
He was telling her to cast all that aside and come with him, so of course she would refuse.
That was why he made up his mind.
Whether it was a bluff, just for show, or a lie, he could say it here.
Even if he had to lie, he would bring her back alive.
He wanted to take her with him and spend his days working to live up to her pride and everything else about her. This was a soul attempting to support all of England and he wanted her to turn toward him.
“Even if you refuse and resist, I will steal you away!”
This was Phylargia. He wanted her to the extent that he would do anything and everything to get her.
And so he spoke.
“As long as I have you by my side, your scars, your marriages, and making an enemy of England are all irrelevant! As long as I don’t lose you, nothing else matters! Even if we lose our bodies of flesh and we remain as nothing but souls, as long as you are with me in the end, it does not matter! And I will become a ninja worthy of that!”
Mary clenched her fists and swung them down as she cried out.
“Then why didn’t you kiss me when we parted before!?”
Vice President: “That idiot caused an international incident all the way back then?”
Me: “But wasn’t it the lack of the kiss that made it harder to cut their ties?”
Mal-Ga: “And instead he got penetrated. I’ll have this storyboard done in no time!!”
Uqui: “But how is he supposed to respond? There’s nothing he can say if she insists he wasn’t serious because he didn’t kiss her.”
Almost Everyone: “I guess it’s over then.”
Me: “C’mon, that’s pretty pessimistic, everyone! Damn! I-I’m not gonna let you outdo me!”
Tenzou was certain those horrible people were having an ominous conversation on the divine network, but he was too busy sweating at what Mary had said.
…Sh-she’s exactly right!
Before his eyes, she almost seemed to be throwing a tantrum.
“I…! I…! I stretched up as much as I could back then! But…but you didn’t react, so I thought you had rejected me and tried to at least look good as we parted ways! You can’t come back now and try to turn that around!! If you wanted to draw me in this much, why didn’t you kiss me back then!?”
Her shouting seemed to explode in front of him.
“I made up my mind and settled all my feelings back then!”
Tenzou saw a divine text from Toori.
“It doesn’t have to make sense! Just come up with a reason why you didn’t kiss her! If you do that, you’ve won! Do you understand!? She wants you to convince her!!”
Yes, thought Tenzou as he recalled Mikawa. This must be where she and I are parallel.
But Toori had sent more text.
“Asama did a quick search on the divine network about water lilies. Do you know the language of flowers? Well, a red water lily means an innocent heart, kindness, trust, purity, or faith, so it’s pretty stiff and formal. But…”
“The white water lily means pure or innocent. Do you get what that means? She’s about to be executed, but you called her white. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lie or whatever else, just change her black guilt into white innocence. Even if you’re wearing black, show off a bit of white.”
Tenzou nodded and faced Mary once more.
She stood on the other side of Ex. Caliburn and he took a step toward her.
That step brought him within arm’s reach of her. Once he looked at her again, he saw she was on the verge of tears yet also had an urging upturned look to her eyes.
And for that reason, he nodded again.
“In the Far East, a careless kiss is strictly forbidden! After all…”
It did not matter if it was a lie.
“A kiss symbolizes a promise of marriage!”
For a moment, Mary was overcome by confusion.
She glanced down toward her sister as if to ask if it was true, but that sister was averting her gaze toward the subordinates to her side. That left Mary with no way to know.
…I-if that’s true…
She might have asked him something extremely inappropriate under the Far East’s rules that would be the future rules for the entire world.
“B-but in that case…! Did you not kiss me because you don’t want to marry me!?”
Even as she spoke, she wanted to cry. After all, that was what it would mean that he had not kissed her.
“So why didn’t you kiss me!?”
“It is a simple matter.”
Tenzou’s voice now came from directly in front of her. He lightly crossed his arms and raised his right index finger.
“I still had my doubts back then. I wanted you very badly, but I had not tested to see whether you were fully qualified!”
What kind of test was it? Was there some kind of strict series of questions a person had to answer before they could get married in the Far East? She had heard that Far Eastern society was based in academic ability. In that case, she might be unqualified due to her poor grasp of the Far Eastern language.
“Wh-what do I have to do!?”
“Judge. It is simple. First, take in a deep breath.”
She hurriedly spread her arms and took in a deep breath.
Just as she wondered what would happen, his hands firmly grasped her breasts as if pressing in from the side and lifting them up.
Eh? she thought while he lowered his head, paused, and took in a breath.
Tenzou was reluctant to remove his hands, so he kept them in place while he spoke. Mary’s surprised face was beet red and he now managed to speak boldly.
“You meet the requirements of my faith!! It was because I had not checked on this that I could not kiss you back then!”
“Judge,” he said. He was determined to say what he should have said from the beginning. “Mary-dono, I…”
He would say it clearly.
“I lilove you.”
He clearly stumbled over the word.
All motion and noise came to a stop.
Even the distant battle between the Musashi and Tres España stopped for some reason.
In the silence and motionlessness, Mary thought.
…I should lie right now, shouldn’t I?
For the first time, she would lie for her own sake. And it took only a single word.
She would act as if she had heard it properly.
And so she continued with a trembling mouth.
“And I love you!”
Tenzou heard a response to his confession and he saw flowers. They appeared around Mary’s back as she held her hands to her cheeks.
According to Masazumi and the others, giant wing-like flower petals had bloomed from the Fairy Queen’s back, but Mary’s did not simply come from her back. They were almost too large to wrap ones arm around and they filled the area behind her and around her.
…These are water lilies.
White water lilies were blooming. First five, then ten, twenty, and even thirty.
“Eh? Oh, um, uh…”
She looked utterly confused as a flower field filled the area as if enveloping her and him.
The blooming white water lilies were all missing or dropping their petals. They were imperfect, but they were indeed opening.
Mary gave him a troubled look from the center of the flowers.
She pulled a single long cloth from her pocket. It was a red scarf meant to be worn around the neck.
It seemed to have been knit recently. Tenzou realized the scarf fluttering behind him was on the verge of falling apart after everything he had experienced on his way here, so he let go of her breasts and spread his arms.
With Ex. Caliburn between them, she moved into the hands and arms that had been holding her breasts.
While half drawn toward him, she leaped into his arms. After a pause, his arms awkwardly wrapped around her back and waist.
But Mary wanted him to touch her more and to deepen the embrace, so she twisted her body around. She bent back, pressed the two targets of his faith against him, and wrapped the red scarf around his neck from behind.
“Master Tenzou, I lost.”
She closed her eyes, raised her chin, and stretched her head upwards.
“I have lost as well. I was never trained in how to kiss through a scarf.”
After a slight sound of scraping cloth, their lips met. She ignored how he went in too strongly and made their teeth clink together.
I will become a more selfish girl, thought Mary. I will become a horrible girl who is honest to her desires and abandons the people who have been so devoted to her for so long. And even if people talk about me behind my back or insult me – and I’m sure they will – I will work to remain a terrible girl and to remain aware of what I am doing.
Even if she was constantly criticized, her answer was to live on and gain her own happiness.
If she could blossom such that she supported this person who would help conquer the world, that was enough.
So in order to grow even closer, she traced her fingers along his back to feel the scars there and she held the scars on her own, chest, arms, cheek, and everywhere else against him as they exchanged breaths.
When we embrace, my scars are hidden while it looks like his scars are protecting me.
But as she stroked his back, she found the scar that had indeed protected her.
Finally, their lips parted, she gave one last reluctant peck, and she spoke.
“What is it?”
She found it odd that he had already wrapped the new scarf around his face, but that was just who he was.
Rather than truly asking, she asked for confirmation.
“Will you scar me?”
“Judge. If you will bear that scar with pride.”
“Judge,” she answered with a slight smile and a large nod despite the tears spilling from the corners of her eyes.
“Judge,” he replied with a nod of his own.
He pulled her to him and to the other side of Excalibur and she understood why.
There was a great presence behind them.
“Mary, your show is over.”
The Fairy Queen had climbed to the top of the Andamio de la Ejecución.
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