Kino no Tabi:Volume11 Frontispiece2
The Country of Flower Fields —Flower Arrangement—
When run-off water from the melting mountain snow were beginning to bestow energy upon the green of the forest.
With the morning sun upon their backs, Kino and Hermes looked down upon a country on the peak of the mountain.
All they had to do was roll down the road, cut through a certain forest enclosed in high walls, and then just get to the gate,
“Doesn’t look like we can get in, can we, Kino?”
But Kino and Hermes did not move from their spot.
From where they could see, points of fire bloomed here and there from several houses. Faint wisps of smoke and the cries of humans were aloft in the breeze.
Kino pulled out her telescope and gained a clear sight of people killing each other. In the cramped interior of the country, many people were hitting, slicing, sometimes shooting many other people. They killed each other without end beneath the morning sun and the blue sky.
Kino and Hermes bided their time by sipping tea, and then something moved over their heads.
It was a flight of Hovees (note: a Hover Vehicle; denotes a floating vehicle). In formation, they flew without a sound to the heart of the country but for one that landed beside Kino and Hermes.
A middle-aged woman stepped off. A young companion was with her and she wore a splendid military outfit. The rank insignia signified her to be a great person indeed.
“Hey, traveler and motorad. You were thinking of visiting this country and came this far, right? What a disaster, isn’t it.”
Kino greeted her, then inquired as to what was going on.
“That country, you see, was really a mash-up of three different ethnicities living together. They got along with each other pretty well, actually, but recently relations started getting bad. Someone spoke first. ‘We’re the best ones,’ or something.”
“So, three-way struggle, then?”
In reply to Hermes,
“Yep. It’s been a chain of massacres, neighbors and friends alike, all over a difference of blood. Can’t be helped.”
So said the soldier, shrugging. Then relayed to them, "Everything’s going to be resolved in due time, so we came from the neighboring country."
“How’s it going to end?”
“See for yourself.”
And the soldier casually waved her hand to the front.
The squad of Hovees poured over where Kino and Hermes looked down upon the country.
Then, they let fall many bombs, let rain a shower of shells.
The muffled cacophony of the explosions could be heard from the mountain peak as the country was enveloped in black smoke.
In this way, everything was over by noon. After the smoke cleared, there was no sight of a human, no shrieks nor screams nor laughter.
Done annihilating, the Hovees regrouped together in the sky, and a different assemblage swung downward. Something small pattered beneath them.
To Hermes’s question,
“Those, you see, are flower seeds.”
So said the soldier.
“Flower seeds of many, many kinds. Since after all, it’s due to rain starting tomorrow. Here, they’ll grow on plenty of nourishment, and by the time it’s summer, it will flourish into a round field of flowers. —It will be beautiful. I’m sure.”
After every Hovee departed, Kino mounted Hermes and sped away.
“It’s a fantastic place.”
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it, Lord Shizu? Tea?”
A different group of travelers arrived. Two people and one animal arrived in a buggy and looked down on the perfectly round, brilliant field of flowers, deeply impressed by this scenery.
“It’s wonderful. Life as a vagabond mustn’t be so bad if we get to see this often.”
And then the male traveler muttered to himself, I wonder who could have made something so splendid as this.
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