Pygmalion Is Planting Seeds V1, Chapter 3
The car drove onto the night street, under the pelting rain. The conversation between us hadn’t advanced since we exchanged introductions.
I was astonished knowing that this little girl, named Jinga Erisa, was the only manager of the flower stall, and even more, she had already acquired her driver’s license.
I had assumed she was from the same generation as me, or rather, given the composed manner in which she talked, she could have even been older.
“What an unpleasant rain. The rainy season seems to have started.”
Jinka Erisa did not open her mouth until we left the town’s main road and entered the industrial area. Her voice was as thin as a needle, but without it being erased by the sound of the rain pelting against the car, I could still hear it.
“Um, could you please tell me where we are going?”
“You are the same age as Misaki, aren’t you?”
“Yes, that’s correct”
“In that case, you can just talk to me in a more familiar way. It sounds unusual to use honorifics towards a girl with a young appearance anyway, so no need to be humble.”
“And so Miss Jinka, where are w-”
“Just call me Erisa, no need to tack on the ‘Miss’. I just told you, no need to be humble”
I scratched my head and resumed talking, only this time I made sure not to use honorifics.
“So, do you know about Misaki’s whereabouts?”
“Why do you think so?”
“You didn’t say that you don’t know earlier”
“Well done! You see, I’m running a small florist in the suburb, and she’s over there now.”
I felt as if my chest was stuck.
I had finally found out Misaki’s location. Not to mention, that I was already heading there. While I tried my best to control my excitement, I asked Erisa, “Misaki, is she safe?”
“The way you ask, sounds as if you’re inquiring about the welfare of a kidnapped hostage”
“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. It’s been a long time since I last saw her. I was bit worried”
“Don’t worry, I’m taking care of her at the shop. Though, it depends on you whether she will go back home or not.”
“Depends on me? What do you mean by that?”
Erisa’s final words, carried an unpleasant premonition. I asked her her meaning, but she just smiled as me with a puzzling look and kept quiet.
I thought about the hidden meaning behind what she said.
I understood the fact that Misaki was in Erisa’s shop. However, it was pretty dangerous to trust her proclamation so blindly. She might have been using this information as bait to drag me into some sort of plot.
Taking captives, commercialized abductions, accusing me as her crime partner, or maybe even murdering me for her own pleasure. All of those ideas were swirling around inside of my head. To top it all off, I was irritated by myself from carelessly accepted her invitation to ride with her.
The conversation ended, and thirty minutes had passed since then. We arrived at an elegant and refined western styled building that was nestled near a broadleaf tree forest.
“This is my shop.”
The front door opened, along with the light sound of a doorbell, right after we got out of the car. A young woman, wearing a white and light blue maid uniform, came up to greet us.
“Welcome back, Milady. I’m glad to see you safe under this violent rain.”
“I have been called this way for a long time, that’s all.”
I received a towel from the maid and wiped down my hair and clothes. She gave me the impression of a gentle spring sun.
“Her name is Kanade. She used to serve my father and is now working for my shop. Since I’m not very good at treating customers, you can say that she’s the real manager of this place.”
“Oh please, don’t say that, all I do is sit in front of the counter the whole time.”
“No need for modesty, you’re doing a splendid job.”
“Was it you who built this shop?” I interrupted.
“This place was originally made by a particular country’s diplomat as a shed. My father purchased it, and currently, I’m using it as a flower shop.”
‘And where’s your father right now?’ The words nearly coming to my lips, but I avoided asking. The questions was just too risky. Things would probably just get awkward, if I began to touch upon such delicate matters.
“Kanade, this person is Mamesaki Kuuya. He’s the classmate of Iruse Misaki, the girl I brought in earlier that day. Try not be too loose around him.”
Forgetting to greet back Kanade who was bowing her head to me, I went directly to ask Erisa, “is Misaki really over here?”
“Yes, I can assure you.”
Erisa led me into a room. Its interior design had strong remnants of its time as a residence, matching with her earlier speech.
The counter, that was supposed to be the former entrance hall, was overflowing with different flowers of various colors and shapes, their wonderful fragrance, floating around the whole place. Each flowers’ vases were holding a significant and deep artistic design.
Raising my eyes, I saw a large antique chandelier hanging from the ornate ceiling. The building’s insides were clearly far more luxurious than its outside appearance.
While I was observing the shop left and right, Erisa walked into the back of the counter and pointed to a small door buried inside.
“It’s pretty dark over here, so be careful of where you step”
The door was connected to some descending stairs. With Erisa in the front, Kanade in the rear, and me entangled between them, we advanced towards the basement, relying on the incandescent light from the ceiling lamps to see.
“This cellar seems to have been here, even before my father bought the house”
Erisa’s voice overlapped with our unlined footsteps.
“The top floor is neat and all, but this place looks like plain concrete. The floor and walls were left full of black stains. Fufu, I wonder what this diplomat was using such a gloomy basement for”
A cold chill ran down my spine after hearing Erisa’s unconcerned words. Is she perhaps trying to scare me? Or maybe there’s some kind of implication included along with her sentence? Looking at the slender back of her walking, I was unable to grasp her intention.
After descending the stairs, an iron double door stood before us. Erisa pushed the door open and an awfully chilly, white light drove away all the darkness in the stairwell.
The basement walls and floor were all lined with a pure white coating, leaving not even a crack, and a huge refrigerator majestically stood at the back of the room.
On the left side was a systematic kitchen, and close to it was a tatami sized stainless table.
Looking at the right side, I noticed a solid fireproof vault enclosed by a wide glass wall. With the fluorescent light barely reaching, it released the impression that something special was stored inside.
At the center of the room, a pure white round table and well-furnished chairs, with a curved design, were automatically arranged, as if I was the owner of the place.
Ahead, at the front seat, Erisa silently lowered her back and sat.
“Where’s Misaki? Is she over here?”
I inspected the whole room, but Misaki was nowhere to be found.
“Everything has its own order. Let’s have a little talk first.”
Since she was insisting, I couldn’t help but take a seat.
Placing her chin at the top of her crossed hands, Erisa started to talk.
“Answer me Kuuya, what if God appeared in front of you and proposed to bring one of your good friends, who had passed away, back to life, would you accept?”
I was at a loss for words after hearing Erisa’s question.
The figure of my late mother popped in my head.
The mother who took care of me after divorcing my father.
I was not able to remember her looks, nor the facial expressions she used to show me.
“I just thought I’d ask you about it.”
Silence had taken hold, but Erisa was the first to break it. “It’s only natural to regret not doing this and that, or not talking that much with one’s passed away beloved after all. It’s normal to wish for them to come back from the realm of the dead.”
“Is that so? I’d personally prefer to leave them resting,” I said, finally able to squeeze out an answer.
“Bringing someone back to life, means that you have ruined their last moments. Because life is limited, people give it value, and so they pay their respect toward those who already left for a journey to the other side. Don’t you think so?” [note] This really only applies for old people, if I got run over by a truck (not transported to another world) and was this guys friend, I would personally, escape the after life and come back to choke this guy for saying stupid s***. [\note]
“Sounds like something a priest would say.”
“Nobody can countdown the time someone has left in this world. Life is something that is illogically lost throughout time. The end abruptly knocks on the door, without any prior notice nor restraint. I wonder how many people living a peaceful life were touched by the unforeseen death of their beloved persons,” but as I said that, once again, I recalled my mother.
I do not know the cause of my mother’s death. I do not even remember what I was thinking on the day of her funeral.
The only thing I still remember, is the fact that the small coffin window didn’t open, until the end of her cremation.
In other words, I didn’t even have the chance to see her resting face.
“Kuuya, do you know about the story of ‘The Monkey’s paw [note] The Monkey’s Paw [\note] ’?”
I nodded to her question. It was a famous British story about an old couple who accepted the paw of a monkey that would grant them three wishes and resulted in a calamity befalling them.
“You see, the fact their son came back to life, wasn’t mentioned anywhere. From the couple’s conversation, it was hinted that he was involved in machinery and was revived with a torn body. Was it really their son who was striking the door late at that night?”
“If it wasn’t their son, then who would it be?”
“From the tale’s view, it is indeed the son who was knocking on the door. It’s a question of interpretation, you see. It’s more appropriate to explain the story such that, making a wish, which interferes with fate, comes along with an enormous price. Even if it was an unforeseen incident for the concerned person, it is still the fate God had determined beforehand and should not be overturned no matter what. The cost that comes along with opposing fate is inestimable. A cost that not even parental love could handle.”
“God is pretty unfair, isn’t he? Why not bring him back to life with his normal shape?”
“I think that God did give humans a bit of talent to overturn reason. What if the ability of The Monkey’s Paw was flawless, and their son was resuscitated back to his standard form? They would then, probably throw away the cross and start devoting themselves to worshiping the Monkey’s Paw instead. Although I’m not sure whether that would be a happy ending or not.”
I was irritated by seeing the cold Erisa exchanging an unreasonable discussion with me.
What’s her true intention for talking about this?
I didn’t come here to speak about life and death.
I only want to check if Misaki is really safe.
I tried guiding the conversation back to where it began, but I couldn’t grasp the initiative and was just writhing in agony instead.
[Admin: I would have just forced the issue of getting to the point. This MC.. just sitting down like that and listening to her babble. I would have been freaked out by now!]
[Proofreader: He’s a Jap MC, don’t forget]
I couldn’t just explode in anger in this kind of situation. I felt that the truth was lurking somewhere inside her words.
From the beginning, she was looking at me with an expression as though she were testing me. If it weren’t for a difficult conversation like this, I’d probably already be captivated by her shiny black eyes. She looks like she’s waiting for me to touch the core of the matter. I wonder? am I supposed to open this Pandora’s Box placed in front of my eyes?
“Let me change my question a bit. If one day, your beloved person suddenly died, would you think about bringing them back to life?”
And with that, a chill ran down my spine.
“Beloved person? As in..?”
“Anybody you want.”
“Look! I don’t understand what are you trying to imply here, and I don’t want to know either”
I destroyed the seal of Pandora’s box.[Proofreader: Sure you did]
“Is this perhaps about Misaki?”
I was patiently waiting for the next words coming out from Erisa’s mouth. The ten seconds that passed afterwards felt dozens of times, no, hundreds of times longer in my perspective.
“Perhaps I rushed things?”
Despite the way she said that, it didn’t seem she was reflecting on it at all.
Erisa turned her face towards Kanade who was standing near us
“Kanade, bring her here”
I was frozen after seeing the object that Kanade brought from the refrigerator and placed it on the table.
Over there was something that exceeded my worst expectations.
What was placed above that stainless table was Misaki’s head which had turned more pale than wax.
I involuntarily screamed and picked up that head.
I started thinking of the possibility of it being artificial.
However, the sensation transmitted to the palm of my hand was that of cold human skin and hair.
[Admin: That’s just nasty]
Both of her eyes were firmly closed, and her lips were slightly open as if she was trying to whisper something.
Misaki’s head didn’t answer my constant calls.
While calling out her name for a short while, I became aware of her condition.
Misaki was dead. [Proofreader: … Seriously?]
[Admin: >.> Just a head, and he’s just taking not of that?.. Becoming aware of her condition? It’s just a head! Of course she’s dead.]
“What the f*** is this!? What the heck is going on here?! How did she even end up in this shape? Why only her head? It was you! Wasn’t it?! You did this”
“Her death was an accident.”
Erisa interrupted me with a calm voice.
“Iruse Misaki was a regular customer of mine, she was the only client who visited very often. Even when I didn’t talk about when or where I planned to set my stall, she still found me every single time. As if she was looking for me. Sometimes I chose desolate places where people rarely would walk by, and she still found me. Did she like flowers that much? or maybe meeting me was her goal? I couldn’t tell.”
I heard the sounds of meat being grilled and then realized that Kanade was preparing dinner without giving any concern to the matter.
“Did you know, on the night when you discovered my stall, just a little bit before, she told me this, “I want to meet you in a different place”. The appointed place she chose was the new construction site near the suburb. Four days later, I went there while wondering what she needed from me”
I started calculating. Isazaki sent me the information about Misaki one week after I met Erisa, saying that he lost contact with her for three days. The puzzle pieces are coming together.
“At the time when I arrived, she was already crushed beneath the building materials. Did she collapse and fall off? or maybe the piled up material crumbled upon her? I’m not very sure. She lost a tremendous amount of blood and was breathing faintly.”
“Breathing faintly? Why didn’t you save her? Didn’t you at least try to call an ambulance?”
When I suddenly stood up, Erisa shrugged her shoulders and began explaining.
“It was useless. Her head was fine, but her body was totally crushed from getting squashed beneath the iron materials. It was certain that her leftover time was about to end. I gave up saving her and cut off her head to bring back with me.”
“I can’t understand your behavior. Why did you rip off her head then?”
“The main talk starts right now”
Hearing her quiet yet wicked and sharp voice, I ceased speaking.
“Regardless of the details, Iruse Misaki is now dead. And it is impossible for you to bring her back to this world unless a miracle happens. It is the same thing as trying to fix a broken egg by getting both the inside and the shell back together”
Erisa was looking straight into my eyes with her black glassy pupils.
“However, what if you had a chance to go against God’s divine providence? What would you do in that case?”
“You’re pretty dense aren’t you? I’m saying that there exists a way to revive Misaki.” [Proofreader: I like how even she realises how dense he is]
Bringing the dead back to life? Is that even possible? I mean, we’re not talking about the Monkey’s Paw or anything.
This is even worse than an immature girl who can’t accept the death of someone, and blindly believes in a way to bring them back to life. If she’s speaking to me seriously, I think she’s already crossed the level of mere craziness.
“You probably don’t believe me. Let me show you then, the way to revive the dead.”
Erisa stood up, approached the vault enclosed by glass and invited me.
By switching on the light, the inside became apparent.
Two potted plants were lined up on the floor. The one on the right was a thirty centimeters long stalk with a considerable puff on its center, taking the form of a woman’s upper half. Although it looked coarse as if it was shaved by a chisel, the eyes, the lined nose and lips were definitely those of a human. I could even see her collarbone, shoulders, small breasts and her two slender arms. The belly was absorbed into the stalk.
I knew about the natural objects that take the form of humans and such, the pareidolia effect if I’m correct. But the plant in front me right now held too many details, to the point where it could be confused with the real thing.
The one on the left took the shape of a grade school boy, sitting while holding his knees and gazing at space, absent-mindedly. He wasn’t wearing any clothes. From his closed thighs, his testes which looked like a peach were peeking out. At the top of his head, a brilliant flower petal was blooming like a spread scarf.
“Shishikuibana, that’s the name of the plant”
“Plant? This child over here is a plant too?”
“That’s right,” Erisa said. “It’s a species called as heterotrophic plants, and rather than photosynthesis, it feeds on outside organic matter to grow up. You can say they’re the same as saprophytic plants if you want. The Shishikuibana change into complex appearances when they mature.”
“Isn’t that the same as the mandragora?”
Mandragora is a poisonous plant. Its toxic root that takes the shape of a human was formerly used as an anaesthesia or sleeping pills. It has even made an appearance in the Old Testament.
From its nature and outward appearance, it is said that it was used to suck up sinners blood as an execution method, or that it screams until death when extracted from the ground and much more other stories that were used as materials for fantasy novels.
“They only look like humans to me though?
“You can try and touch them if you want.”
Following her suggestion, I touched the boy on the left.
I felt soft thin hair, growing on his tender skin. A weak temperature and pulse were transmitted to my hand as well. Without a doubt, it was the feeling of touching a real human body,.
“I wouldn’t understand anything by just touching them. Rather, it only increases my doubt on whether they’re really humans or not”
“The flower blooming at top of his head is proof enough that he’s not a human. If you lightly stretch it, you will realize that the calyx is unified with the cranium. I planted this boy’s seed four weeks ago. Since its hair and nails are already growing, it would usually seem like a naked child sitting on a pot for any outsider”
“By bringing Misaki back to life, you meant as a Shishikuibana?”
“Not exactly, but you did understand the idea.”
The absurd nonsense Erisa spouted had finally made sense to me.
This is certainly a ‘rebirth’.
However, It’s not a perfect rebirth.
After all, it didn’t reach the hope I had, after hearing that I could bring her back to the living world.
“In other words, it’s just a doll that takes on a human shape. In such a case, making a silicon figure resembling the corpse is much better.”
“It is indeed better if you’re aiming for a souvenir to keep around. You see, strictly speaking, the Shishikuibana is different from a doll. Whilst growing, its internal structure transformation closely resembles that of a human. Skin, blood, blood vessels, internal organs, bones, muscles. It possesses everything a human body should have. If you wound it, blood spouts out. A fully fledged life form. The only thing it lacks is will and intention.”
“That last point makes it entirely different. No matter how close the appearance gets to a real one, it is still a doll. There’s no meaning in reviving a person who wouldn’t talk back to you when you speak to it”
“Have you already forgotten about ‘The Monkey’s Paw’?”
Like a teacher who was at a loss by his disciple’s wrong behavior, Erisa raised her voice in shock.
“The fact that the son was revived with an imperfect form was the compensation for making use of a miracle. If he turned back to his former shape, the world wouldn’t be lacking peace and harmony right now. If you can turn left, you can’t turn right. This world’s various phenomena are all based on give-and-take relations. If you want to resuscitate her as a Shishikuibana, you need to abandon your mutual communication with her”
I want to bring back Misaki to life.
However, Erisa’s suggested method greatly differed from what I longed for. I am not interested in the least of making a doll that is a mere reflection of her.
But unfortunately, there’s is no other way to bring her back to her earlier form. I once heard of a doctor who made a grotesque doll out of his lover’s decomposed corpse, though, that wouldn’t even be possible in her case. In the end, her head is already separated from her body which, turned into a bloody lump of meat.
If I give in, Misaki will revive into an incomplete form.
If I don’t give into her, Misaki will be lost forever.
I wonder if either of these choices would satisfy me.
I wonder which choice Misaki would wish for me to take.
“How can I… revive her?”
My ego made a decision on the conflict inside my head.
I wasn’t ready to accept the abrupt death of Misaki.
“First thing you need to raise a Shishikuibana, is to plant the seed.”
Erisa indicated the Shishikuibana’s head with her index finger.
“……In her brain. By making a hole in her skull”
“In her brain?!”
“Don’t bring me those typical ethics like getting cursed by the dead. The brain is an indispensable seed-plot for the Shishikuibana. The seed sucks up the information accumulated in the brain in order to take a similar outward appearance of the corpse. Do you understand the reason I cut off Eruse Misaki’s head now?”
Erisa and I went back to those chairs and Misaki’s head was placed on the stainless table.
“Let me confirm this, Mamesaki Kuuya. After hearing me out, are you willing to revive Iruse Misaki?”
“Yes, I am!”
My hesitation had disappeared.
“Does it mean that you will carry on any risk following this action?”
“What do you mean by risk?”
“Will you take any measures to bring her back, and never give her up? You can call it your resolution if that fits you”
I wavered a little bit, but then strongly nodded. Erisa’s expression merely changed into a one of relief.
“That’s good, you finally made your resolve. I had started thinking about what to do if you had refused.”
“Why would you think so? I mean, you had the intention to revive her from the beginning, didn’t you? And in the case I didn’t meet you I’d still be looking after Misaki right now you know?”
“I could’ve just revived her on my own, but the Shishikuibana’s seed are precious. I can’t just go on wasting them. So I am indeed thankful for your arrival.”
“Then why did you cut off her-”
At that moment, my words were interrupted by the sound of someone knocking on the iron door.
Arrogantly, without the least consideration.
“We have an uninvited guest. A person who wastes these precious seeds,” Erisa said with a troubled look on her face.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.