Everybody turned their attention to the thing he was holding before us.
「That… Isn’t that the flower that was growing by the ruins?」
I was so surprised I couldn’t help myself and murmured those words thoughtlessly. He simply nodded. He was holding a white flower that grew here and there around the ruins. Falling pollen glittered faintly in the moonlight. As we gazed at the flower in wonder, Edi once again took something out of the basket. It was a book.
「The pollen of this flower is harmful to a human body, it’s all described in this diary. It’s all written in traditional characters, which were also written very badly, so it was a pain to decipher…」
It was Elizabell’s diary that had been found not too long ago. I always knew it was a big discovery, but I would never expect it to contain all this information. Had he been reading this long and thick diary all this time in the ruins? Now that I looked at him closely, I could see shadows under his sunrise colored eyes as if engraved in his features, not at all suitable to his youthful beauty. That showed me more than anything else, how hard the last few weeks must have been for him.
Ah, but the poison in the flowers… So the diary said that there was certainly poison in that beautiful flower.
「In Elizabell’s times the disease is said to have spread this way. It might have been bad luck. It could all have happened because it grew and blossomed by accident, with favorable conditions overlapping. The reason why my magician predecessors haven’t contracted the disease was merely because they didn’t spend enough time in the caves.」
Nobody dared interrupt his dignified voice, the islanders were exchanging glances. The discomposure between them was getting bigger and bigger, I could easily see it. But it was only natural for them to behave like this. A young boy was disproving a legend they all have been believing in for three hundred years. But… wait. In my mind, which felt faint from the fever, a sudden thought appeared and it made me shudder.
「Uh… Edi. If that’s the case, that means it would be possible that you also caught the disease…」
He would… Just like me… No, he spent more time in the cave than me. It’s way more possible that he would catch it. No way, was he secretly enduring the tiring symptoms now? I pulled on his cloak but he just shook his head slightly.
「Don’t worry. I didn’t catch the disease. Don’t underestimate the “darkness” within me. I am fine because this world’s mana or ether which is within me. 」
He said those words with sarcasm and then slipped a small medicine flask into my hand.
「To cure this illness, one needs to drink this mixture. It has been made by infusing the flower’s petals. If you drink too much it can turn into poison, but if drank in moderation it can be used as medicine.」
It’s strange, I remember the actress playing Elizabell saying the exact same thing. Destroy poison with poison. I silently looked at the flask handed to me and Edi peered into my face. Even though his mouth didn’t open, his sunrise colored eyes told me everything was going to be alright. Looking at his sincere face I wanted to smile so much, but I stopped myself. I shouldn’t laugh at this boy. I myself, was the one I wanted to laugh at. After all, trusting this person without any reason was even more foolish than Juliet giving up her own life after knowing Romeo for merely 5 days. Comparing it to such a masterpiece might have been presumptuous of me but I couldn’t help it. I opened the flask and drank it all in one swallow. My mouth filled with a strange, indescribable taste. I couldn’t tell if it was sweet or bitter. To say it shortly,「It wasn’t good.」. It’s not that it was unpleasant but it also wasn’t something I would choose to drink eagerly by choice, but I drank it to the last drop.I felt a weird sensation on my tongue, as if it was numb. When he caught a glimpse of my uneasy face, his confident expression finally faded.
「Filmina, how is it?」
I couldn’t decide how to respond to this question, when his voice was filled with so much anxiety and suspense. Even if he asked me, I surely wouldn’t be able to feel any results so quickly. I still couldn’t breathe easily, my head was still throbbing with pain, I was still feeling faint… If I was to be frank, it was the worst I had felt so far. But I couldn’t say that, could I? I wonder, did he notice my uneasiness? As if trying to withstand something, he bit his lip and took the empty flask from my hand. And then he repeated「It’s alright.」, this time in a loud voice so that the Islanders could hear it too.
「It will definitely cure the disease. And then it’s best to block the entrance to the ruins and destroy the remaining white flowers.」
To those words the Islanders, who until now have watched us with their breath held, stirred again. Someone mumbled 「No way!」. To this comment one by one, the Islanders raised their voices in agreement.
「Are we to believe such words?」
「You only say this to trick us! You’re going to destroy our island!」
「He’s trying to deceive us again!」
Edi clicked his tongue as if saying 「How obstinate.」. I understood. He could see why they didn’t obediently agree with his words, but it was a nuisance. I knew that he was trying to think of a way to make them understand, of course it was always doubtful that the truth would make them happy. He turned to the men and carefully assembling words, he spoke again.
「Supposing I was trying to bring calamity, what would I earn in destroying this particular island? I don’t have enough time to spare for such worthless actions. After graduating the Magic Academy I want to make a successful life without even a moment’s delay.」
「Ah, is that right?」
This was the first time I’d heard this. At the words he’d spoken without thinking of erasing doubts, he gasped and looked over at me and then quickly averted his eyes. I couldn’t see properly in the moonlight but I thought his white countenance had turned red. I’m sure it was only my imagination, though…
I see. ‘Making a successful life after graduating the Academy’, huh… For a matured magician it was only reasonable to have such a goal. At that point, as a boy starting the Academy his future wasn’t decided yet. Even though I told him he married me and started working in Black Lotus Court, I never said that he successfully became the youngest Head Magician in history, and on top of that a hero who saved the world by defeating the Demon King. Maybe not telling him that was a good thing. It would have been wrong to judge his potential at that point. But what did he mean by saying that he wouldn’t want to delay it even for a moment? Studying very hard and not allowing himself any time to be idle – that’s not surprising for me. Perhaps it was a kind of father complex which made him determined to please Uncle Lancent. I understood those feelings completely. Dear boy, embrace this ambition.
Ah, my thoughts have drifted away from the reality surrounding me. But nothing has changed, my fever was as high as ever and my whole body hurt. I was at my limits and I prayed I would get better. No matter how many times I tried to take deep breaths, as if wanting the fever to leave me with every exhale – it didn’t. Slowly my vision became blurred. I was about to lose consciousness, but I supported myself with difficulty by hooking my toes into the ground.
His ‘worthless actions’ remark was very reasonable from my standpoint. But the Islanders didn’t see it that way, their eyes said that they didn’t believe him. That they would not believe him. They seemed to be thinking that Elizabell’s curse must have been caused only by this black-haired magician. But I was beyond the point of caring about such things. My whole body was pleading: ‘I don’t care either way, just let me sleep’.
「All of you, what is the meaning of this?」
At that moment I heard a sharp, dignified alto voice that cut through the haze clouding my mind. I forcibly raised my head, that was too heavy to be kept straight up at this point, and saw the figure of the Governess standing there, slightly out of breath.
「If it weren’t for the wind spirit… You do realize you are under my jurisdiction, don’t you?!」
She briskly came in between us and the Islanders, and glared at them with her hazel eyes narrowed. Under this powerful and dignified stare, all those muscular and tough men started shaking at once. It was quite a sight to behold. The men looked at her timidly until one of them made up his mind and shouted.
「W-whatever you might say, governess, we beg to differ! 」
「That’s right! If we release the Elizabell’s curse’s child now, the island will be destroyed again!」
「The governess probably protects him because she also has darkness in her hair!」
This must have been said in the heat of the moment, surely. Somebody… nay, everybody gasped and stared at the men who said those words. The Islanders standing closest to him yelled at him angrily「You idiot!」.
「How dare you say such things to our Governess?!」
「W-well wait a moment! You didn’t say a thing but deep inside you all think the same, don’t you?!」
Nobody agreed with him. However, no one denied it, either. How unpleasant. It was horrible. Until that moment they all raised their voices talking over each other, but now, unbelievably they were all silent. Refusing to talk, they observed their Governess. Their eyes expressed trust and confidence mixed with contradicting doubt and suspicion.
「Leti… ciela sama…」
Somehow I managed to call her, even though I couldn’t properly move my tongue anymore. For an instant her shoulders quivered. I couldn’t tell from where I stood what her face looked like, but her tightly clenched fists told me enough.
Her voice was filled with concealed determination. Everybody focused their attention on her, including both me and the boy too. We looked at her, standing with her back turned to us. She was very tall for a woman. And then I heard those shocking and unexpected words.
「I heard from the wind spirit that Filmina-dono has already drunk the medicine. I believe in it. However, if she won’t make a recovery within a week, I will resign from my position as a governess.」
「That’s… You don’t have to go so far for their sake…!」
「Silence! I will not hear any objection.」
She declared it with such power that nobody present dared to disobey her. Suddenly, her slim silhouette that had been standing perfectly straight, started to fall down.
It wasn’t the Governess that was falling. It was me. The boy hurriedly stretched his arms and I fell into them. I didn’t know whats happening anymore. My vision went black.
After that, all I remember is rotating between dreaming and consciousness. Again I found myself laying in bed in the Nibbiela residence. When I happened to be awake, I forced my body to move and drank some water. Then I lost consciousness again for a while. This cycle repeated itself, nothing else ever happened. I didn’t feel any anger or sorrow anymore. The only thing I felt deep inside was the regret of being so weak. And while I was in this state, that men stayed by my side.
He didn’t accept the help of a doctor, nor the nurse. Even in high fever I couldn’t help thinking how sweet it was of him to take care of me so gallantly. I was such a lucky person. I had to get better for his sake. And for the Governess’ sake, especially because of what she did for me. I knew I had to get better, but… oh, why was my body so horribly weak! Had I known this would happen, I would have taken better care of my body and trained it for such an occasion. But it was too late for those thoughts now.