Chapter 10 – Claire and The Bud
The holy bud growing from Liz’ pot grew bigger and bigger by day.
While there are candidates who have their buds grew, there are others who are flustered on how their didn’t. One of the candidates whose seed have not bud is the descendant of Eugene from the Haward house, Claire. This happened when she was visiting Liz’s room for an advice.
“Please teach me how to make the seed bud”
Liz was lost when Claire was asking for help, sitting on her knees on the wooden plated floor.
Since there is nothing to teach when it abruptly grew by itself. But Liz discern that was not what Claire is concerned of, hence she answer carefully.
“Although I’m not sure of the method, but I obtained the pot (obviously trash) from the garden within the altar, and using the soil (from the potato filed) from the altar. Maybe that could help”
The group of 3 ladies and the other candidates sneakily went to obtain them as well, and I heard a few of them was happy that their seeds bud.
But then, Claire’s face turned gloomy.
“I have done that already… But even so, the seed did not bud…”
What a disaster.
(What should I do)
Hesitating on how to answer next, Liz squeezed out everything in her head. Claire was hanging down her head while squeezing her hands on her knees tightly.
(This is bad…)
Even though I know it’s rude, but seeing Claire like this reminds me of Eugene.. and Keeva. As well as the pitiable self I am.
Seeing Liz who involuntarily made a troubled expression, Claire dejectedly stood up. It seems Claire misunderstood, thinking that Liz was angry about the rude request she was put up with.
“I’m sorry! When we’re both priestess candidates, and we’re also rivals, and to think I am such an idiot to ask for your help. I intent to do all I could, but I became impatient and… I’ll try to think it over by myself once again! I’m really very sorry!”
With a teary face she tried to exit the room, but was quickly stopped by Liz with a ‘Wait’.
What am I doing, me. An instant of regret. Claire has no connections to what happened between me and my previous life and Keeva.
“To be honest, I’m not sure of the method to make the seed bud. But we can investigate this together and ask others about this. If you’re fine with me, let’s go find out together” Liz who looked straight towards Claire and said so, while she replied tearily with a ‘thank you…’.
(Well then, what should we do)
Just in case, Claire decided to do some research in the altar’s library. There were methods written in growing plants by using magic, but common magic power differs from the priestess holy magic hence it cannot be used as reference.
Liz then thought of an idea. Until the candidates have succeeded in budding their seeds, they are not allowed to come in contact with their envoy-in-charge. Hence even where Claire is unable to ask them, Liz whose seed had grew could go and ask Lloyd. She does not expect him to fully answer her but, at least he could give out some hints. But..
“A method for the seed to bud? Of course I can’t tell you how.. Sorry, I was lying. I don’t know either. Envoys would not know anything about that. Huh? If the head envoy knows? That, of course not. If he did, the head envoy would’ve became the next priestess.”
Next, we went to ask the maids who have long been affiliated with the altar.
“Method to bud the seed? We do not know as well. The only one who knows how would be the current Priestess-sama herself. How did it go with the previous batch of candidates? Aa, you mean when the current Priestess-sama was a candidate, was it? But that was 60 some years ago, so the selection method seems to change each time… Sorry I could be of any help”
We even went to ask the other candidates whose seed have budded.
“Method? I don’t know that. It just grew after I planted it”
“Of course I won’t tell you! We’re rivals! ….That was a lie.. I just did as Liz did with the pot and soil and it grew by itself– No, it was definitely because of my holy magic! That’s why it budded!”
“I didn’t grow it in the soil though. Since the head envoy said to ‘plant it wherever you wish to’, didn’t he? So I filled a vase with water and sunk the seed in it. Then it budded. Huh? Tips? I don’t know, guts maybe?”
Claire had already tried sinking the seed, so there was nothing we could use as reference.
Claire’s expression turned even gloomier.
(This is bad…)
“Let’s check out the library one more time” Liz proposed.
The altar’s library is by no means very huge. History regarding the priestesses and articles about how the holy magic protects the country is classified as top secret articles, hence it’s kept deep within the altar, inaccessible to Liz and the other candidates.
But even so to check out all the books concerning the matter within the library would require a huge amount of time.
The two of continuously researched on articles about budding the seed with holy magic but to no avail. But even not giving up after so, Claire silently smiled seeing Liz searching for it with all her might as if blood would come out from her eyes.
“Thank you Liz. Even when yours had budded and there’s no need for you to search along with me, but for you to go as far as this to help me out. Liz really is a kind person”
“…..It’s my first time being told so”
“Everyone just didn’t word it out. If I was in your standing– even I myself know what a hateful person I am-, I wouldn’t help out in searching. Since that only increases the amount of rivals”
Laughing pitiably, Liz stared on Claire.
Even without using her ‘intuition’, looking from her side, being with her, there are things that become clear–.
“I’ll help though”
Bluntly saying so, Claire replied with “Eh?”
“I’ll help. If Claire is in my standing, Claire will definitely help in searching for that person’s sake.” She said so while looking straight into Claire.
In that instant, Claire’s eyes wavered, and continued with a very soft “thank you…”.
The two of us continued on looking through the documents silently, when gradually Claire broke the ice.
“Liz looks as if you could use magic even when you do not have magic powers. Seeing those red eyes feels like you could hear an oracle. You know, I- felt that having black eyes and hair and having magic powers has always been a burden to me. I barely have enough mana, which differs per person. And mine can’t be used to evoke magic, but others won’t know from just our appearance right, so they kept asking “why isn’t yours coming out (magic)? Which made become hateful of this hair and eyes.
But one day, they told me I’m a priestess candidate then, aah, now I think I understood why I was born with magic powers. As if for the first time, someone finally acknowledges me, which made me very happy. But… Looks like it’s just my imagination. It’s impossible for me to become a pristess”
Liz kept silent while listening on. For there’s no words she could say to reply her.
She knows well how hard Claire had tried. How she read almost all the books in this library, how she carefully waters and let the pot bath in sunlight, and how she thought of sinking it in water just like how some candidates did. But even so, her seed did not bud.
Seeing how Liz who felt powerless bit her lips, Claire came back to her senses and put up a smile in a fluster.
“Oh my, to think that I’m ranting here. I’m sorry. —Please become the next priestess, Liz. I-, i’ll cheer on you from my house”
Liz flung her head up.
“Wait, if we search a bit more, then maybe-”
“They said it’s until tomorrow. The first selection would be held tomorrow morning, and the candidates whose seed have not bud would be disqualified.. or so I heard about it just now”
That night, the night before the first selection will be held, Claire knocked on the door of Liz’s room.
“Liz? It’s me Claire”
Liz was not there. Claire who decided to turn back incidentally turned on the door knob. The door opened without a sound, looks like it was not locked.
A moment hesitation, but then she went in to sneak a peek. A few steps straight from the door, one could see a dirty pot by the window side. Liz’s seed who had budded can hardly be called a bud from its size. There were plenty of bright green healthy leaves on it.
“This is something”
Claire swallowed her breath. In the same time, her face turned gloomy. In the end, even until now her seed didn’t bud. She herself knew that it was of no use anymore.
“Why is it…”
Involuntarily she whispered.
Even when I did my best, why am I different from Liz. Then what did I-, what was not enough from me?
Hanging down her head, wanting to cry, she tightly grasped on both her hands to hold back her emotions.
After a while, Claire lifted up her head as if she have resolved on something. And slowly, but surely, she held out her hand, reaching for Liz’s plant.