Volume 1: Chapter 043: Makia Replaces Withered Flowers with White Roses
Translated by Zzonkedd
Edited by Gumihou
Only one chapter this week due to lack of time… even so, it’s late. Sorry…
This is Makia.
On the day before we leave for the Royal Capital to participate in the Holy Festival, Tooru takes a half-day vacation to visit his mother at a large hospital in Delia Fields.
I have seen his mother a few times. She is the image of an ill-fated beauty, very thin and sickly, with very black hair.
“What’s up with you? You don’t have to come with me.”
“I’m here because I have nothing better to do.”
“What do you mean by having ‘nothing better to do’? We’ll be going on a big journey tomorrow, don’t you need to prepare?”
Tooru keeps up with his litany of complaints, however, his eyes remain fixed on the carriage floor. To be honest, I am a little worried about him.
What exactly is his mother to him?
The Delia Fields Hospital is a place where patients suffering from all kinds of ailments come to seek reliable treatment and a peaceful, healing environment surrounded by nature.
Also, the hospital is famous for serving good food. Well, the food it serves is at least better than the rest of its peers.
“My, if it isn’t Tooru. Thank you for coming~ Oh my, Makia-sama too?”
Tooru’s mother, Aish Sagaram is quietly reading in her bed, in the middle of a white hospital room.
When we step into this white room, I have the strangest feeling that this person dressed in all white, on the white bed with her nearly translucent white skin would eventually become one with the whiteness and disappear from the world.
Tooru has a rather complicated look on his face. However, when his mother calls him, he laughs in that slightly troubled way that is rather…
“Auntie! That Tooru is too heartless. He left me alone in Delia Fields and went off to eat delicious food in Karted!”
“Oh my… Tooru, yes, I heard about this too. You were involved with the establishment of that new school in Karted? Something about… teaching the children and getting them interested in education… I was really surprised when I saw your name in the papers.”
Auntie giggles as she takes out a clipping of the article from a drawer next to her bed.
Tooru looks really surprised.
“That’s right, he even won the Green Treasure Award. He came here especially to tell you all about it. Right, Tooru?”
“… Ahh, enough already. Stop talking about it.”
Wait, don’t tell me you’re shy? Are you a teenage brat? Wait… I supposed, physically, you are a teenage brat.
“Oh my, Tooru dear, to speak to Makia-sama like that…”
“Ah, it’s fine, Auntie. I told him to be like that.”
Tooru is being very silent. To the point that it feels really weird. He has always been the type to be able to talk to anyone to a certain extent. At the very least, he’s good at showing some kind of superficial goodwill.
Well, as a former Demon King who is used to being above most people. It’s not like he could ever feel inferior to the ordinary people around him, adults or not. Which is why he could freely express his true feelings for them.
Still, I get the impression that he tends to be a little clumsy when he speaks to his mother. That reminds me, he was very cold to his Earth parents too.
Well, to be fair, his Earth parents had been a little problematic.
“… I’m going to change the water in the vase.”
“Well, since you especially brought flowers, might as well put them into a vase and brighten up the place, right?”
Whenever Tooru visited his mother, he would bring a bunch of small white roses. They really fit with his mother’s image.
“Oh my, surely that’s too much trouble, Makia-sama. I can’t bother you with something like changing the vase water.”
“It’s fine, auntie. I really like arranging flowers. Besides, my father built this hospital, so I want to take a look around too.” With a final grin, I stand up. Just before I leave, I flash another look at Tooru, he has a rather indescribable look on his face.
Anyway, I grab the vase with its wilting flowers and the small bunch of white roses that Tooru had brought and leave the room.
Right, with ‘Makia-sama’ out of the way, mother and son could have a proper chat together.
As for myself, I make my way towards a small area where I can get fresh water for the vase. There, I pull the wilting flowers out and sort out the still good ones. Not that there are many. I pick up a faded margaret with only half the petals remaining. It oddly reminded me of Tooru’s mother.
“Hey, hey, Madam Sagaram’s son is here to visit her.”
“That must be Tooru-kun, right? He has grown well into quite the young man, hasn’t he?”
“I’m sure Madam Sagaram-san is very proud of her child. … I feel really bad for her. Does Tooru know ?”
“Yes… I do believe they should have informed him…”
Hearing the nurses in white talking about Tooru and his mother, I naturally became interested in the topic.
“Hey, excuse me, miss nurses~”
“!? Makia-sama, you’re here too?”
“That little talk just now, tell me more about it.”
The nurses exchange looks with each other, looking troubled.
I swallowed a little, infected by their obvious anxiety.
Anyway, according to the nurses, auntie is only alive now thanks to the latest White Magic treatment. Even so, they estimate that she only has another half a year to live.
Also, it looks like Tooru had already been told about this.
As I make my way to the hospital room, I recall the time when my Earth parents died in my previous life. Their death had been an accident, a freak vehicular accident.
Tooru, what are you feeling now?
Are you anything like me?
Are you suffering from a terminal lack of feelings?
“I’m so sorry, Tooru dear. I am a terrible mother who has failed to give you anything in the end…”
I stop at the door, halted by the conversation happening inside the room. I can’t go in while this talk is happening.
Auntie is sobbing and saying something to Tooru.
“Even when you were little, you worked hard and swept chimneys to make money while your terrible mother just sleeps at home. I can’t even send you to school…”
“… No, that’s not how it was, mother. I decided to take on the work myself. You never made me do anything.”
“Tooru… you have always been like this. Kind, put together and sensible, you comforted me as though I am the helpless child. When your father died on the battlefield, instead of crying, you spent the whole time comforting me… You never cried, or rather, you couldn’t cry because you must be strong for your weak mother, right? I’m so weak, I’m so sorry, Tooru.”
The silence after that felt very long and deep. I hold my breath and count the seconds.
“I’m so sorry, Tooru, I never did mean to trouble you… Th-that’s right, I have something for you. It belongs to your father. It’s a little locket with our portraits in it. I would rather you keep it instead of me.”
“… That’s… Mother, but…”
“It’s fine, Tooru. Think of it as… as a little charm. Well, I say that but, it looks like you have managed to be recognised by Count Odille, and even repay the City of Karted who kindly took us in. What’s more, you will be receiving an impressive award soon. Now that I think of it, rather than a charm, this locket might end up being a burden instead.”
“That is… not true. Mother, I did not achieve all of this alone. Father went to the battlefield to protect us and you escaped the war, taking me with you to safety. So, don’t ever call yourself a terrible mother again. You are the only mother I have…”
Realization dawned on me.
I continue to hug the vase to my chest, the soft petals of the white roses brush against my cheeks and I inhale their delicate scent. With my back leaning against the door, I endure the silence that follows.
Tooru, you probably won’t cry, right?
Well, unlike me, you’ll probably feel some pain.
Your mother, whose existence is as delicate and ephemeral as a white rose might be weak, but to you, she must have been the best mother you ever had. After all, you have been protecting her all this while.
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“Are you… okay?”
“What is it?”
“Well… I heard about your mother…”
We are back in the carriage on the way home. I could not help myself and ended up asking Tooru about his mother.
“Aaa… hmm, well, I really don’t want to hear any comment from someone who felt nothing when their parents died back then.”
“You and I are different though, right?”
“We are not different…”
Tooru’s voice lowers and he looks out the carriage window. As the farmlands of Delia Fields rapidly pass by us, his voice is clear as he says, “We are not different. She said that I couldn’t cry because I had to be strong when she was weak, but that is not true. At that time, I felt nothing. When news of Father’s death came, it was just another piece of news to me. Another person dying in a war. That is all. It is the same for Mother… only, this time, I have some advance notice, so… there is even less to worry about.”
I understand his statement so much that it hurts.
We are like this because we do not know if it is alright for us to be sad.
Even so, this good-looking idiot. Look at yourself, you have been opening and closing that locket that you just received from your mother.
“It is true that we came to this world as infants with new parents and an opportunity to build relationships. Perhaps it is because we get to keep our memories, but sometimes, when I look at the people around me, they all seem so young. I wonder, what are our parents supposed to mean to us?
We are such awkward people.
It is not like we can just re-live our lives each time and redo every existing relationship. We could only stack up our accumulated lives and keep stacking our experiences like uneven blocks on top of each other.
Everything is gone aside from the memories in our heads.
That is why, even now, I have no idea what to say, what to think or even what I should do right now.
As the carriage rattles on, the sound of a locket clicking shut is heard.
[Gumihou: Woah, this chapter is deep]
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