Chapter 11 – Eve Night
That night, Liz was called out to the inner garden at the Second Altar by Lloyd.
“Tomorrow is finally the day of the first selection of candidates. I believe your- that big bud of yours won’t be a problem but.. As long as nobody fiddles with it that is..”
Lloyd let out a small laugh while sneaking a peek at Liz.
“Are you sure it’s fine to be in this kind of place? What if someone intrudes your room and pulls out your plant? For example, that Claire Haward who was always with you”
“Claire won’t do such a thing”
“How you do know about that? Intuition?”
“That’s not my intuition. It’s my conviction”
Liz who easily said so, Lloyd let out a dissatisfied “Hmmmph”. “Then if the other priestess candidates sneaks in, what would you do?”
Peeking up towards Lloyd, she answer once again with “It will be fine”
“How sure are you about that?”
In Liz’s room, Claire who was holding out her shaking hand towards Liz’s holy bud– stopped just before she reached it. And with a slightly sad, but a gentle smile on her face. Of course she felt anguished, as well as anger and sorrow of herself.
But Liz helped Claire with all her might to search for ways for the seed to bud. Even when Liz is not responsible or mandated to help Claire, she really tried with all she could. What’s important was that point. Even when Claire is fully filled with various negative emotions, jealousy and agony, what’s deep within her is something that she will definitely be unable to forget.
Claire slightly touched the small round leaf, gently, as if touching a very fragile thing.
“Please grow up healthily, Liz’s ‘holy bud’-san”
A kind voice came out. She was happy with herself about that. Claire then exited the room.
And there was someone hiding behind the corridor when Claire went out of Liz’s room. A priestess candidate herself, and similarly a commoner like Liz and Claire. The girl reconfirmed that there was nobody in sight, and sneaked into Liz’s room. She then approached the pot by the window side, and hesitatingly held out her hand.
The girl was one of those whose bud did not grow, and she had given up trying to make it bud. Although she was vexed seeing the other noble girls and daughters of famous magicians, as well as the other candidates’s seed bud one after another, somewhere in her heart she assented to it. For the world they live in and a commoner’s world are different.
But Liz was different. She was similarly a commoner, and to add an orphan from the countryside. And the main reason was that she doesn’t hold magic powers.
Isn’t Liz inferior to ‘me’? (referring to the girl)
So the girl thought. That Liz is ‘inferior’ to her. That Liz was supposed to be the one being looked down on, but she was the first one whose bud grew, and the biggest. Such a thing, it’s definitely weird.
“With this, Liz will also fail……”
Gulp, as she swallowed, making her resolve to pull out Liz’s bud from the root. And tear off its bright leaves and break its stem to two and throw it to the floor.
“It’s your just desserts”
Each is only given a seed. There is no second chance, since tomorrow is the selection day, and Liz has lost her qualifications as a priestess candidate–.
The girl laughed silently and wanted to swiftly exit the room before she is seen by anyone. Where suddenly, the tattered plant on the floor shone brightly in a white light.
In front of the girl who let out a scream, the bud came back to life.
Even when there’s no soil and water, the root stood back strong. Its leaves reappeared, in a fresh and healthy state, as if it was magic.
“Why did it…!”
Her eyes opened wide, the girl wailed in agony. As if she lost her mind and grabbed the bud, she once again broke its stem. She repeatedly broke it as if she had gone insane.
Done, the girl laughed scornfully, but the bud once again shone in a white light, and in no time the broken parts of the plant went back to its original state.
“..What is.. this…”
The girl who went pale, her sight seeing a shadow by the door. It was the higher class envoy who brought the girl as a candidate. The envoy made a strict face never seen before.
“What a shame”
The envoy said so in a cold tone towards the girl who stood frozen.
The conversation continued on in the inner garden of the Second Altar, where Lloyd listened on to Liz’s story.
“How can you be so sure that the bud will be fine even when the other priestess candidates fiddle with it?”
“Since I tested it before”
Lloyd’s face turned into an astonished expression.
“You pulled it? you? your bud? The holy seed given by the current priestess, the holy bud? You pulled that!?”
Liz answered hastily.
“Of course not from the root. Just a few leaves. And then, it grew back as if nothing happened. Though I do hope nothing happens to it, but if it does, it should be fine to a certain degree.. I think”
Lloyd was dumbfounded. But gradually, he was unable to hold back his laughter.
“Great.. That’s really amusing.. Ah, one more question. What will you do if the whole pot gets stolen?”
“Then what’s the purpose of the higher class envoys sticking close to us candidates? In a way, isn’t it to observe us? The roles of the envoys should have ended after bringing the candidates to the altar, but the higher class envoys still stayed behind in this Second Altar. Even Lloyd-san stayed close to me all this time”
“Well, that’s…” Lloyd surprisingly hesitated in his words, but he continued on quickly.
“That seed, it grows depending on the holy magic each candidates possesses. If one’s holy magic is lacking, it won’t bud. That’s why when you previously asked me, there was no difference in planting it in soil, water or anything else. Well, using a catalyst which best complement one’s power is also an important factor. But it all comes back to the candidate’s own power. Hence there’s no standard to how and what one should do”
(So that’s why…)
Liz bit her lips. That means there was nothing Liz could have done for Claire from the start.. There was nothing..
Claire’s kind smile floated on her mind.
(I’m so powerless)
How powerless I am…
With no way to direct her anguish, Liz could only look up to the night sky while gritting her teeth. Then Lloyd who was leaning on the wall with his arms crossed asked.
“Why, are you so into that Claire girl?”
I wonder why. Is it because she’s Eugene’s descendant? Or maybe to atone for having involving her because of the matter with Eugene and Keeva?
“–She said it was beautiful.. My hair and eyes, that is”
Amidst the candidates with black hair and eyes, she accepted Liz from the start for who she is. She complemented her. Which made Liz very happy. That’s why Liz wanted to be of her help.
“I see” Lloyd whispered, as he too looked to the sky. There was mostly no stars in the sky. Which made it feel even lonelier, as Liz desperately finds the shine of the stars in the dark sky.
Lloyd who was looking at the sky remembers something and looked towards Liz.
“Claire, that ring. The ring that was dug out from the ground, it was taken away by Prince Keeva but is that alright? Well, to begin with, it was his but according to Liz’s ‘intuition’ that was something important right?”
Liz suddenly frowned. The ring was similar to what the lady who was going to marry Eugene was wearing. A bitterness filled her heart, looks like the wound is still deep.
“It’s fine. That golden ring, it was a mistake that it was something important to me”
Lloyd then frowned his eyebrow in an instant.
“Golden? What a rare case for Liz’s intuition to be wrong. True that the ring has a blue jewel but, the ring was not golden. It was silver. Surely it was old and rusty but, it was definitely a silver ring.”