Part 46: Jessica and Kanon
October 5th, 1986, 6:43 AM
"We still don't know who the culprit is! And Beatrice-sama is an important honored guest to the Master...!"
"So what?!! If we grab her by the collar, she'll definitely confess!! If we can look her in the eye, we'll know. I'll see through her!! A witch?! Beatrice?!! I'll expose her for who she is!!"
Jessica never stopped moving. Gohda and Kanon chased after her, doing their best to convince her, but Jessica never lent them an ear. Eventually, the 'honored guest room of the witch' came into view.
The honored guest room that was forbidden and never used. No matter what kind of guest came, Kinzo wouldn't let them in this room. And yet, the servants were always made to clean this room, so that it could be used at any time. So the servants had started calling this room the 'honored guest room of the witch', their other shapeless master. Jessica also knew this. And she couldn't forgive the arrogance of the one who called herself a witch and stayed in that room.
Question them, make them give painful excuses, spit it out painfully, breathe painfully. No matter how hard she pretends to be a witch, I'll teach her that she's just a stinking, sweaty human!!
As Jessica yelled with all of her strength, she hit the door to the honored guest's room. It definitely wasn't a knock. That sound was the beating of her anger's hammer, as though she was saying that if they didn't open the door, she'd break it down.
"Open it, Beatrice!! Come out!! You hear me, right?! Open up!!!"
There was no answer. Jessica grabbed the doorknob without any reservation, but she felt the resistance of the lock. Jessica turned around to look at the two servants, and spoke.
"The master key opens this, right?! Open it!!"
"Milady...! That would be horribly rude...!!"
Although Gohda was flustered, he still tried to somehow calm Jessica's anger.
"Kanon-san...! Is that alright?!"
"...If she is there, then I agree that it would be rude. Still... If Beatrice has nothing to do with this, she just has to explain herself so that we can believe her."
"Th... that's right, exactly!! Give it here!"
Jessica snatched the master key from Kanon's hand, and violently shoved it into the keyhole. Immediately, there was a light sound and she felt the lock open. And without excusing herself, she flung open the door.
Jessica rudely stepped into the room. The witch wasn't anywhere to be seen.
"...That bitch!! She's not here!! Where the hell did she go?!"
"...Sh, she isn't here..."
Jessica, thinking that she might be hiding somewhere inside the room, peeked behind the curtains and under the bed, but she couldn't to find anyone. However, there definitely were signs that the bed had been used... it's an odd way to say it, but the atmosphere in the room grew a little softer. It wasn't the hard atmosphere of a place normally devoid of people, like the chapel. You could definitely tell that someone had spent the night in this room. But she could not be seen.
In reality, neither Jessica nor Gohda had met Beatrice. They had only been told by those who had met her that she looked like a double of the character in that portrait. So they were doubtful about what her face really looked like. However, Kanon alone had met her. And he understood what kind of being that witch was, and what kind of character she had. So he knew that if they were to force their way in here searching for her, she wouldn't let things go as they planned.
She must be watching us bitterly flail about in vain from somewhere, sneering at us. She's that kind of person. Because he was looking at things that way, Kanon was the first to find it. The other two were concentrating on finding the shadow of a person, so they hadn't noticed.
Kanon understood the witch. The witch would definitely scoff at them, as they found the bodies, forced their way in here in rage, and were unable to find her. Scorn cannot be fulfilled unless it is communicated.
So in other words... this was definitely, that...!
"...Milady. There's something written here."
"Written, what is it?!"
After Jessica quickly dashed over, she violently stole the piece of paper. She probably wasn't trying to be violent. She just couldn't control her strength now.
"...What the...?! D, don't fuck with me!!!"
As soon as she read the message, Jessica went into a wild rage, crumpled the paper up, and threw it. Then, she grabbed an interior stand by the bedside and violently swung it around, mercilessly hitting the walls and furniture with it. The lightbulbs all shattered at once, and the fragments were scattered across the room.
"Milady, please calm yourself...! You'll hurt yourself!!"
"Let go!! Damn it, damn it! Come out, Beatrice!! How could you do that to Mom and Dad!! You think you scare me!! I'll kill you, I'll kill you!! I'll beat you to death, so show yourself!!! I told you to let go of me, damn iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!"
This was written on the paper...
Because the text on some of the letters is small enough to be a pain to read at this resolution:
Did you think I'd waste my time waiting comfortably in this place for you to barge in here?
You're too wild to be suitable for this intellectual night.
What kind of faces must your parents have had after raising you to be such a hapless fool?
Yeah, I saw them, they had perfectly stupid faces just like you.
Now they are in Candyland with their bellies all full!
...It sounded like something that witch would write... It meant that she had predicted that one of the children who had lost their parents would come running in here. If she was hiding somewhere in this room, she would surely be rolling around with laughter... The witch was that kind of person. She sneered at people's misfortune, using it to stave off the boredom of a thousand years...!
"Hand it over...! I am saying that you will hurt yourself...! nnnnn... nnnn!!"
"I told you to let go!! Damn iiiiiit, damn iiiiiiit!! ...au!"
Gohda grabbed the interior stand Jessica had been swinging around. Because if she kept swinging it around, she might hit something and get injured. To Gohda's eyes, Jessica probably looked mad with rage, burning with the flames of anger... But Kanon's eyes saw it differently. Those were probably, tears of sadness, hidden by rage... Therefore...
At the moment the interior stand was taken from her, when Jessica started crying on the floor, scratching at the carpet almost as though she was groveling... Gohda was surprised, but Kanon was not. Her way of crying by brandishing her anger, had been stolen from her, so this was inevitable.
...Considering that she was a daughter of the Ushiromiya family, she was in a very shabby state. She scratched at the carpet with her fingernails, and even her feet were scratching. Jessica cried very, very hard... Because if she didn't, her rage would start building up again, and swallow her up.
But over and over again, she remembered that humiliating message... What kind of faces did your parents, who raised you to be so stupid, make?
"They aren't stupid!! Both Dad and Mom were smart!! Unlike me, they were really smart!! They aren't stupid! Take it back, take it back!!"
"Ooooooooooooooohhh, damn iiiiiit!! I'll kill her I'll kill her, I'll slice her stomach and make her meet the same end!! Uuuuaaaaaaaaaaaa, waaaaaaaaaaaaaa...!!! Hic, *cough*cough*, *cough*cough*cough*!!!"
As Jessica cried and screamed, she triggered an asthma attack... The servants watching over her hurriedly ran up to her and rubbed her back, but that only provoked Jessica's wrath...
"*cough*cough*!! 'the hell!! If you have the time to do that, search for that bastard!! Find them and bring them to me!! If you won't go, then I will!! And I'll kill them with my own hands, I'll slice their stomach!! *cough*cough*cough*cough*!! *cough*, *cough*!! Don't touch me!!! Damn it, damn it, *cough*cough*!! *cough*cough*!!"
Jessica got up unsteadily, and as her asthma continued, she went out into the hallway...
"Milady, your medicine, quickly...! I will call Doctor Nanjo!"
Kanon had noticed. Gohda, who was much older, probably couldn't feel the tears in Jessica's heart. Kanon, who had noticed that himself, had to support her.
"K, Kanon-san. Is that alright...?"
"...I believe that Milady needs some time to cry for now. After seeing her parents, when they were killed like that..."
Gohda also understood. And he also knew of the vague relationship that Jessica and Kanon shared. So he understood everything, and left it to Kanon.
"...Understood. I will go back to Rosa-sama. Please, take care of Milady."
"Yes. Leave it to me."
Kanon's voice was frail, but he nodded forcefully. After looking at his eyes, Gohda also nodded forcefully.
...Gohda was a veteran with many years behind him. He had seen a great number of people in his life. So he knew of the vigorous sparkle that could be found in the eyes of those who had self-control. He had surely seen that in Kanon's eyes. Therefore, he would leave this to Kanon. When you think about it, maybe this was the first moment that Gohda had trusted Kanon and relied on him for a job...
...Kanon chased after her wordlessly. If she had asked for a hand, he would have jumped over and supported her. But as long as Jessica didn't ask for that, he hid himself, watching over her from a distance where he could come to her rescue at any time. As Kanon remained in that spot where ten billion people would want someone else to be when their hearts felt like they would explode from sadness, he silently watched Jessica's back...
Then, finally, she was crouching in front of the door to her own room. The asthma attack had stolen all of her strength. And her thoughts had gotten hazy from the lack of oxygen, so that she could no longer stand up. But right now, Jessica wasn't thinking that she wanted someone to lend a hand. Because she still hadn't been able to overcome the flames of anger. Because even if someone had offered her a hand with good intentions, right now, Jessica would start wanting to tear it off... And she understood how unreasonable that would be. Until she could overcome the flames of her anger, she definitely wouldn't ask for help. Probably, Jessica no longer had the willpower to call for help.
But Kanon heard it. He definitely heard it. Kanon definitely heard that voiceless call for help, which is shared by those from across the world who are grieving, and which cannot be heard by anyone even though they scream and scream.
...Even though Jessica kept coughing painfully, she accepted it, opened the lock to her room, and entered...
"...*cough*cough*cough*...! ...*co-, ...*cough*cough*cough*...!!"
Jessica had often said that when her asthma got serious enough, it hurt so bad that it felt like she would vomit her whole stomach. Her face was pale, and her gaze wavered. And yet, the coughing continued... Even so, her sadness was probably even stronger...
After having her kneel by the bed, Kanon took a bronchodilator from a cute basket on a side table by the bed, and handed it to her. Jessica sometimes forgot to walk around with her medicine. When it seemed that this was the case, Kanon would take notice and secretly carry around the inhaler from the first-aid kit in the servants' room, but he hadn't done so today. He scolded himself, as though wondering how he could call himself furniture after failing to bring it with him on a day like this.
Then he remembered the day when he had said that, and somehow betrayed Jessica's feelings, which jarred Kanon's heart... but he thought that compared to Jessica's sadness now, that would be a very indiscreet emotion, and he suppressed it to the depths of his heart...
When she inhaled her medicine, Jessica's wild breathing calmed down bit by bit, and she was finally able to regain her composure. But the strength and willpower she had lost wouldn't allow her to rise up from the bed.
"...Are you alright? Milady."
"...I'm... alright... I'm all messed up over Mom and Dad, but... after I cry a little longer, I'll be alright..."
Kanon regretted misspeaking. He had said "Are you alright", to her? Was he really unable to notice the pain in her heart? Therefore, he was furniture after all. Therefore he couldn't become human...
Kanon understood that she still needed some time to cry alone. He told her to call him at any time, bowed, and tried to leave the room.
"...Is there something?"
Jessica had spoken as though she wanted him to stop, so Kanon had stopped. If she asks it, I'll do anything to help her.
If it could heal the pain in her heart, right now, I would even become a cane or a chair. If by doing that, I can repair the pain in her heart I gave her that day...
...For a while, Jessica stared into Kanon's eyes. As though she couldn't put into words her reason for stopping him.
For a while, neither spoke. Jessica broke that silence. With a small voice.
"...I'm sorry. ...It's nothing. ...Could you tell Aunt Rosa that I want to be alone for a while...?"
"I won't... let you be alone. So, I will be in the corridor. At any time... call me."
For just an instant, it looked like some kind of hope flew to Jessica's eyes. But it was very faint, and disappeared like the first snow does on the surface of a river.
"...Thanks. For just a while, let me cry alone..."
"...Yes. Excuse me."
Kanon bowed once again, and closed the door...
...Why? He didn't know. Surely, that was because... he was furniture. So even now, he couldn't grasp human sadness.
"...In the end... am I nothing more than furniture after all...?"
It was still pouring outside, a dark, gray world. Even on days like this, Shannon would surely see the ocean and know it was blue.
...But to my eyes, even if it cleared up, I would only see gray... As long as I cannot understand the blue of the ocean, I am nothing but furniture imitating a person...
BGM: Organ Short #600 Million in C Minor
There shouldn't have been a trace of anyone in this corridor. It had been empty and cold. But those scoffing words approached Kanon from behind.
"There are three ways to hurt a woman. Let me teach them, just for you. One is to hurt them with a knife. Another is to hurt them in their heart. And the last one is the most difficult, and the most effective way of hurting them. And yet it can hurt them without you even realizing it. Do you know what it is...?"
"H... how could I know, I don't even want to know!!"
"It's to betray their hopes. No living being is more of a dreamer than a woman! They see their own dreams, and hurt themselves. A distant man like you hurts women the most! You couldn't understand. You don't have a clue how much you have injured Jessica."
"...Because you're furniture! *cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*!"
"I, I have no intention of going along with your nonsense! Did you appear only to sneer at me?!!"
"Don't be so full of yourself, furniture. You aren't worth sneering at! *cackle*cackle*! Still, even though you may not be worth it alone, if the two of you are gathered, that's more than enough. I never get tired of the pleasure that comes from laughing at the fate of a young couple."
"What did you say... Y... You aren't thinking... not Milady..."