Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
THE FLOWER CROWN THAT DOES NOT WITHER
The whole city was overflowing with the fragrance of flowers. The buzz that filled the city was so loud that it even managed to reach the usually quiet garden of the House Adina. In the clear and cloudless sky you could see the petals of the flowers slowly flying away. A true image of the Flower Festival, that was to be sure.
I was sitting on a bench in the courtyard, looking at the spectacle taking place in the sky. I may be just an eight year old, but my mental age is much higher, amounting to that of a fully mature person. Currently I was waiting for a visitor.
After waiting for a while, I could hear the sound of horse hooves clacking against the stone road and the sound of the carriage’s wheels coming to a stop. Could this be? …… After concluding that this was indeed the case, I jumped off of the bench and go straight towards the entrance.
When I got to the entrance, I saw a little boy wearing a hooded cloak getting off of the carriage. Taking his small, white hand in my own, I invite him inside the mansion.
When we finally get back into the courtyard I take “it” from the bench and place it on top of the boy’s glossy black hair.
「Fufufu, just as I thought. It looks good on you.」
This boy right in front of me was so cute and beautiful that nine out of ten people would be able to easily recognize his beauty. No, make that ninety out of hundred! I know that I made sure that this flower crown would be excellent in every possible way, but the end result exceeded even my wildest imaginations. Truth to be told, it might even be that the results were a little bit too excellent. His beauty right now was so radiant and blinding that my own skill started to freak me out.
To my prideful words the boy cocked his head to the side, looking first at the crown on top of his head and then at the clothes that I was wearing.
「What is this? And your get-up……」
The boy asked in his usual, mysterious tone of voice. The thing on his head was a hand-made flower crown, while the clothes that I was wearing for today were my special kind of outfit just for this festival.
「Today is the day of the big festival, you know? See this outfit? My mother and Suzette made it for me especially for this occasion. Also, during this festival you exchange flower crowns with the person you truly like. Many people must have worn them on their heads on your way here, right?」
「…… Now that you mention it.」
While to boy wonders about that, I come closer to him and whisper into his ear.
「Right? That is why this crown here represents my feelings for Edi. I’d be delighted if you chose to accept it.」
When I said that, the boy cocked his head again, keeping silent as if he was wondering about something. I know that boys think very little of the stuff like that, but I was also sure that he wouldn’t refuse the plea of such a beautiful young maiden like myself. So even if it wouldn’t make him happy, I would very much like for him to accept that crown from me.
「Edi, by any chance, is it possible that Uncle hasn’t told you anything about the festival? Nothing in the slightest?」
「…… Recently, my foster father has been quite busy with his work. That is why I came here alone today.」
Saying that, the boy took the crown off his head and turned back to me.
「That is why I’m returning it. I don’t have anything that I could give you in return.」
Having said that, the boy handed me my flower crown back. However, something was wrong about him. His face wasn’t adorned with his usual expressionless expression. There was something more to it. I could tell, because it’s been more than a year now since we’ve started to hang out together. No, I was sure that the words he spoke right now weren’t his true feelings.
It is exactly because of this twisted sense of morality that he was so difficult to deal with sometimes.
「In that case, why don’t we replace it with a substitute?」
In reaction to my words his big eyes blink a few time, as if he didn’t quite understand what I was getting at. I then leaned over to him, since he was slightly smaller than me, and lift his bangs from his eyes. Then I give him a gentle kiss to the forehead.
「Yes, replace. Now hurry up and let’s get on with it.」
Even though I told him to hurry it up, the boy didn’t seem to get what I wanted from him. Honestly, sometimes this kid could be so clueless and dull that I had no idea what to do with him anymore.
Apparently confused by my actions, I stood up and smiled at him, and the boy did the same.
In the first place, this festival was created in order to imitate the blessings that the Goddess was bestowing on her faithful children, and since the symbol of the Goddess was a flower, hence the flower crown. Now, before that custom came to be, my nanny told me that the people used to exchange kisses to the forehead in similar fashion. It was the perfect replacement for the flower crown.
In order to give the boy a clue, I lift my skirt up a bit and do a slight bow in front of him. As per custom.
「Thank you so much for the crown. I am really happy.」
Hearing my words, the boy turned his face away from me, his pale cheeks dyed crimson red. That reaction made me laugh, which in turn ruined the boy’s mood and I had to spend the rest of the day trying to fix it.