Pygmalion Is Planting Seeds V1, Chapter 5
Two weeks after I took charge of the Shishikuiban- Misaki,,,, I was called by Erisa late in the morning. This would be the third time I would have met her.
Standing below the sunshine, her beauty did not change in the least. Her porcelain skin seemed to be illuminated by the sunlight, increasing her brilliance. Standing in this hot weather, she was the only person I felt didn’t belong in this world.
“I want you to meet someone.”
I was brought to an old residential area.
After making it through a series of hedges and block walls full of moss here and there, we finally arrived at an isolated old-fashioned house. The garden was full of withered grass and bushes, but what gave me the strongest impression, that we stepped the wrong place, was the brilliant hydrangea at the peak of it’s bloom. The name carved in the doorplate burned by the sun heat was Arisu.
The moment Erisa rang the bell, a middle-aged woman came to receive us.
“Oh my, Miss Jinka, what could be the matter?”
“I thought I’d visit and check on the situation.”
“And, who may this person be?”
The woman was apparently named Arisu, and she glanced suspiciously at me.
“My new assistant. I brought him with me for practical training.”
“Is that so? Well then, please come in.”
Completely believing in Erisa’s imprudent lie, Arisu started lining up slippers inside.
While the house was pretty neat, there was not a single decoration or sign of refinement. A house made for the sole purpose of residing in. Cardboard boxes and clothing (wrappers?) were piled up in the narrow corridor. Although some hints of living in could be noticed everywhere, personal possessions and valuable items couldn’t be seen anywhere.
“I will be bringing my husband now.”
We were guided to a living room where a low carved solid wood table and cheap looking dressers occupied most of the space. The woman went to the inner room.
“Leaving aside the random speech earlier, what did you want to show me?” I whispered to Erisa next to me. “I thought it is the suitable time. I mean, you will start pondering about your future actions soon enough, in any case.”
“And what do you mean by ‘the suitable time’?”
My question remained hanging due to sound of the door sliding.
Arisu walked in while carrying her husband from both his arms.
“Even if it’s just the tip, I couldn’t bring myself to cut into my finger, so I gave him the blood of a stray cat I caught instead.”
Arisu placed the pot on the table.
A forty centimeter stalk was puffed out, taking the form of a slender man with an expression of fastidiousness. His approximate age was the same as his wife, Arisu. Thin white lines were running all over his body.
“It looks like he was raised in a favorable condition.”
Erisa changed her sight from the Shishikuibana towards Arisu.
“Did you make your decision yet?”
“No, I’m satisfied with this for the time being.”
“If you’re content with the current situation, then you made the right choice. This way, you wouldn’t have to deal with any more unnecessary stuff.”
I remained silent as I overheard Erisa and Arisu’s riddle-like exchange. Sometimes, I caught the word of a forty-one, day old body mixed in the conversation. It seems that not too much time has passed since the death of her husband. After staying inside for twenty minutes, we took our leave from the Arisu house.
Erisa and I went on our way, below the dazzling sun rays. She didn’t use her car today saying, ‘My legs will become dull, if I don’t walk every once in awhile’. The small rattle basket she was holding in her hand was shaking in synch with her steps.
“Despite her looks, she is in her early forties,” Erisa said as we walked.
“Her husband fell into a massive debt due to his business failing and overworked himself until the end, to make up for it. One day he had a heart attack and that was the end of him. Trying to sustain the household like that, they both seem to have gone through a lot. Kind of explains her haggard look, no?”
“Even so, she must have been deeply in love with him to the point where she revived him as a Shishikuibana in order to stay together.”
“Did it seem that way to you?”
“Am I wrong?”
Erisa floated a wicked smile.
“On the contrary, she deeply detested her husband. He fell into depression because of his downfall and cleared it away by blaming everything on her. For her, it was probably something unbearable. Far from being thankful for her devotion, he even used her as a vent for stress relief. She was constantly in fear from his tyrannical rage” [Proofreader: Great… Another wonderful person]
“Why did she turn him into a Shishikuibana then?”
“For the sake of the revenge she couldn’t fulfill in his lifetime. For her to secretly put his headless body in the coffin and to choose an immediate burial, she should have harbored quite the grudge towards him.”
“By revenge, what do you mean exactly?”
“By looking at her husband, didn’t you notice something?”
Erisa referred to the small wounds on his body.
“Every time she gives her husband blood, she wounds his skin with a knife. Since he’s grown to this level, his body fluid composition is not much different from real blood, and so she’s making him taste pain as a human. The reason I visited her today was to check whether she went too far with it or not. She will continue carving him until she either clears away her resentment entirely, or he stops regenerating one day. I wonder which one will come first.”
That man….no, that Shishikuibana is kept alive for the sole intent of damaging it?
In my case, I’m raising Misaki just because I want her to be with me.
Leaving aside the Shishikuibana, I don’t think I would never go down the same road as that woman.
“Humans possess both love and hate. Their allocations may differ from person to person, but both of them equally exist.”
Erisa said that as if she read my thoughts.
“In any case, Kuuya, what would be your reason for pursuing Iruse Misaki?”
“Well, it is…”[Proofreader: I wonder too]
Erisa struck me with a teasing glance while I was faltering to give her an answer.
“It’s fine if you don’t answer. As long as you don’t lose sight of the emotions you’re holding for her.”
During our conversation, we ran into a public park near a kindergarten.
Young children were raising shrill screams as they played while their mothers were having a fun discussion, by the looks of it, on the distant benches.
A gift from the the rainy season break, a peaceful late-morning scene that makes you want to yawn.
“Let’s take a little rest.”
Erisa sat on a blue bench near the entrance. I sat next to her as well. Glittering sunlight made its way through the gaps of the poplar branches and leaves, and the occasional breeze gently stroked my moistened shirt making me feel even more comfortable.
“Kanade handed it to me when I was about to leave. Is it fine?”
Erisa took half a sandwich from the basket and bit into it, without waiting for my affirmation. The sound of biting into a fresh lettuce leisurely reached my ears.
“It’s a Panini made from the meat of that dismembered girl you saw before. This time, I’m using her splénius, the part that connects her head and back together”
Disregarding that, I said, “I want to bring back Misaki. But not as some plant or object. I want her to be human again. To be like us.”
But instead of a response, Erisa just fixed her gaze on me.
“I want to restore her to her former shape, just like that boy you showed me in your shop. Tell me the way to did it.”
“As expected. I was right about the time.”
I was finally able to understand the meaning of, “the suitable time”, which Erisa declared a while back.
Misaki’s growth was going favorably.
The day after planting it, the seed had quickly sprouted. Three days later, it had grown by twenty centimeters and begun to take on human shape. Since the plant’s growth was extremely fast, I found myself watching over her development, all day long, forgetting about leaving for the library. There is the saying that, “a watched pot never boils”. However, this proverb did not apply to her and I didn’t release my sight for a second.
On the evening of the fifth day, Misaki’s familiar face started taking its shape. Her face didn’t reach ten centimeters, with her eyelashes and eyebrows weakly growing up, but her facial features were clearly distinguishable. I cut my fingertip with a knife and pressed it against her lips, like I was teasing her for a kiss, then she started sucking the blood similar to a baby sucking on his mother’s breast.
Misaki is drinking blood.
My own blood.
Her body is absorbing the blood and incorporating it with its’ own.
For Misaki, my blood is an indispensable beverage for her to come back to the present word.
I was entranced by this feeling that gave me a sensation similar to having sexual relations with her. [Proofreader: Yes, this was what was actually written, no, I do not find it normal] [Admin: This guy… ]
By the seventh day, the stalk extended and puffed out more and more until her upper half came into sight.
The lower part starting from her hips was still connected with the stalk, but the upper body grew to look exactly like that of a young woman. Long and thin tissues were gathering on her head instead of hair, and an almond shaped flower bud rose on its top. I kept making the forty centimeters long Misaki drink my blood, while trying to shake the sensation of her biting everytime. [Admin: Things are finally making sense. This guy, in the words of the proofreader, is a Yandere.] [Proofreader: lol]
However, these blessed days did not last too long. [Admin: Blessed he says.]
Misaki stopped growing any further while continuing to drink my blood, looking no different from a doll.
The taste of cooked white rice is exceptional when being hungry, but gradually, white rice started to become unsatisfying for me. I want side dishes, my tongue wants something with a strong flavor, I want a sweet and delicious dessert after my meals. Every time I fulfill a desire of mine, a new one wells up.
To sum it up, I gradually became hard to satisfy.
I recalled the Shishikuibana boy in Erisa’s shop.
I doubted whether if blood is the only thing necessary for him to grow up to that extent, but now that Misaki has stopped developing, the answer became apparent.
Blood was probably not enough for a Shishikuibana to mature.
At the time I thought about contacting Erisa to get rid of any doubt, but she was the one to call me first. Of course I accepted her perfectly clocked invitation.
“Since it’s already been two weeks now, a flower bud should have grown on her head, am I correct?”
“It’s neither blooming nor showing a signs of withering away.”
“Even if you leave it like that, it won’t bloom. There’s a necessary condition for it to do so.”
“You need to change what you’re feeding it. I have already told you before that the Shishikuibana doesn’t create its own nutrients. It requires an organic matter externally. Although blood could be sufficient for it to keep on living, it still needs a different feed in order to take a complete form.”
As I thought. However, I felt something trigger at her words.
“That’s a weird term. Isn’t it usually called as fertilizer rather than a feed for plants?”
“That is if the Shishikuibana was a common plant. And you’re quite aware that it’s not.”
Of course a normal plant wouldn’t take the form of a human and doesn’t drink blood. It doesn’t use a person’s brain as a seed-plot either. [Proof reader: you dont’say]
“And so, what could this feed be?”
Erisa held up the Panini she was biting in.
Not only Erisa, but even the Shishikuibana eat human.
“Originally, it was my father who started the cultivation of the Shishikuibana. He was quite a dilettante person and spent an enormous amount of money for the sake of his occultic hobbies along with his work. For such a father, discovering the rumors of Shishikuibana was inevitable.”
Erisa stopped talking and bit into the Panini.
“He skimmed over every ancient document and archive until he learned of the existence of the plant and found a way to manufacture the seed. However, regarding the basic cultivation method, the only thing that was mentioned was drinking blood. Even so, the Shishikuibana was able to develop into a human form, which was enough to satisfy my father’s ambitions, in the beginning…..”
Erisa lifted her right hand and pointed to the sky with her index finger.
“But it gradually started to become unsatisfying for him. The same as you right now, My father thought that increasing the amount of blood given, would result in further growth, then gravely wounded his finger to advance the bleeding. And as you would expect, his finger’s recovery couldn’t keep up with this daily activity. My father’s finger became torn off with blood constantly dripping down. To the point where he didn’t need an ink pad for a thumb print anymore.”
He bent his finger.
“One day, my father bit off his finger. At that time, the flesh was all bare allowing the Shishikuibana to sense its smell. I guess it should be obvious now, that the Shishikuibana’s name originated from its’ eating habits.”
By hearing Erisa’s story, a cold chill ran down my spine. Maybe if she didn’t tell me all of this, I’d be walking down the same path her father did.
“For my father, this accident was like the first rain after a drought. The flower started blooming, and the Shishikuibana had a sudden growth. My father was very delighted by seeing this drastic transfiguration.”
“Delighted? Even though he bit off his finger? This might be rude out of me but, your father is a strange person.”
“This suggests how serious and eager he was with the Shishikuibana’s cultivation. Since the day he knew that the plant requires meat to grow, he commenced his long series of trial and error. Starting with pig, with cows and chickens next, then continuing with a deer, bear, horse, duck, whale, rabbit, dog, cat, raccoon, crocodile, snake, lizard, frog, turtle and every other animal you could think of. Despite trying all of them, the Shishikuibana didn’t react at all. And when he finally arrived at the correct answer, which is human flesh, his fingers had already decreased to seven. My father had literally sacrificed his body to leave behind a journal featuring the cultivation method, to which I am using currently. You can say that the fact you are keeping Iruse Misaki’s plant right now is thanks to my father’s fingers.”
“Isn’t there a different way for the Shishikuibana to mature without having to eat human flesh?”
“Unfortunately, there isn’t. The conduct of the people entranced by the Shishikuibana are generally the same. They get unsatisfied with the flower, and they’re then entangled in the dilemma of whether they should cross the prohibited path or remain clinging onto their humanity. Although, based on my own experience, most of them make the former choice.”
I stared at my hand and began ruminating on the story of Erisa’s father.
Misaki wants me to give her both my blood and flesh. I wonder how far I should cut myself just to bring her back to a human shape. Merely by imagining the knife blade cutting deep into my finger, my whole hand started itching.
“Obtaining human meat is not an easy task. However, even if that’s the case, thinking about giving her your own flesh is a foolish choice. The Shishikuibana is surprisingly gluttonous. If you keep on giving it what it desires, not even cutting your four limbs would be enough.”
Erisa interrupted my thoughts as if she saw through them.
“There is no need for you to offer it yourself. In the first place, if you tore off your entire body, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the Shishikuibana later.”
I understood what Erisa was trying to say.
If I want to resuscitate Misaki perfectly, I’m going to need to acquire another person’s corpse. A corpse I could offer it for hers in return.
For me right now, the only way to obtain human flesh was by relying on one person.
“Could you share some of the meat you have at your store with me?”
“I don’t have the resolution to continue fulfilling your sprouting desires anymore. In other words, I can’t do that,” Erisa refused after stuffing the last bite of panini in her mouth.
“I am not so soft, to the point where I would help you get an easy result. Human flesh is a valuable thing for me. I wouldn’t just go and offer it to you for free. If you want her to stay with you, then it is necessary for you to get blood on your hands… well, more than just your own. The ridiculous wish to raise a Shishikuibana without carrying any risks until the end is the same as a cat who wishes to catch a fish without soaking its legs in water.”
“Could you at least give me a hint in how? I can’t do this alone.”
“It’s your choice whether you will be stepping into our side of the world or not. But still, if you’re asking for advice, I can give you some. Although its execution is up to you.”
Erisa moved her face closer and lowered her voice like a demon trying to tempt. [Pr: dun dun dun]
“The measures don’t matter. You can just kill someone, search for the corpse of a person who committed suicide, or collect the scattered remains of a traffic accident victim. There is even the choice of sneaking into a morgue or a funeral hall, however, I wouldn’t recommend that one for you.”
“Leaving aside the recommendations, all of them are impossible for me.”
“If you think like that, then it will indeed be impossible. As long as you have the resolution, there’s little need for physical strength nor special skills. All that’s left is luck and timing. If you successfully obtain a corpse contact me. Although it would cost you a decent price, at least I can take care of the body recovery and dismantling”
I shook my head.
“If it’s about money, I can’t pay it. I’m just a freeloading Ronin after all.”
“I am not talking about money. I want half of the corpse.”
“Half of it?! Your extravagant prices don’t only apply to flowers, do they?”
Erisa somehow made a disappointed expression.
“In that case, you can make it on your own. If you can.”
I couldn’t even find any words to say against her.
No matter how I struggled on my own, it was quite clear that I would find myself relying on her in the very end.
It’s regrettable but, it’s reality.
“It’s up to you whether you ask me or not. All I did was show you the way. No matter what kind of result is waiting for you, it’s your own responsibility. If you do not like any of these choices, then just throw away the Shishikuibana, along with your resolve. I wouldn’t blame you if you did so. It is much more of a relief than getting crushed by your distress.”
Leaving it at that, Erisa left the park.
The “risk” that I heard of when I took in Misaki for the first time, along with what Erisa mentioned just earlier was overburdening me. An excessively large weight I could not carry on with some half-hearted resolution. [Pr: What’s with Jap novels and resolution anyway, a fly can have as much reslution as it wants, it’ss not gonna flip over an elephant (or become smart in outr protagonist’s case]
Sitting still on the bench, I remained gazing at the children playing and their mothers watching over them, their eyes filled with love.
Perhaps if one of those kids’ lives were to be abruptly lost, their mothers would wish for them to come back to life even if it means stepping onto the path Erisu laid out. My path.
After I spent an hour sitting on the bench lost in my thoughts, I eventually went back home with a low spirit.
I entered my room, wounded my unrecovered finger again, and gave it to Misaki to suck on.
I wonder if I can remain satisfied by just giving her my blood.
Or maybe, she will end up eating my finger after it gets ripped by the frequent wounding one day.
While pondering over such worries, I gazed down upon the plant… No, I gazed down on Misaki.
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.