Flower Spelling - Chapter 4
Chapter 4 – Parting
After a hectic day yesterday, the day had come to a close. Ito came to Sogetsu after he had finished breakfast.
“Sogetsu, you have a guest.”
“A guest? Could it be Ms. Eikichi?”
Ito merely said, “You’ll understand when you come,” and led Sogetsu to the tatami room facing the small garden in the back. Once she stepped in, the person who was waiting for her was the very person Sogetsu wanted to see the most.
“Sogetsu, thank god. You look slightly pale, but everything seems to be okay. I heard you were safe, but I didn’t feel at ease until I saw your face.”
“Me too. Ma’am, what about Ms. Eikichi and the rest of the staff?”
“Oh, don’t worry, they’re not so vulnerable that they’ll be overwhelmed by that.” The landlady flashed a dignified smile.
There was something that had been bugging Sogetsu for a while.
“I don’t want you to be blamed later for sending me on the run…”
“Rest assured. Regardless of the truth behind it, you’re the one who broke all ties with us in the public eye. They will think you have nothing to do with the Tatsumi Residence and the officials will be powerless to intervene.”
She was relieved yet at the same time, a thought suddenly arose. Takasugi may have made such a calculation during the time of escaping.
“I have been informed of your situation by a man called Katsura. He bowed to me and said that he would take responsibility for you and protect you. I’m sure you’ll be in good hands with him… Though, I’ll miss you.”
Looking at the landlady with a sorrowful smile, a sudden realization landed on her.
Yes, she could never go back to Tatsumi Residence again. She had never expected such an unforeseen farewell.
Sogetsu felt her eyes burning.
She thought they would stay together for much more longer. Even if she knew she had to leave, she thought that it will be the day she return to her own era.
Her chest was stuffed, her words were unable to come out properly.
“I’ve caused so much trouble. I’ve never been able to repay you for anything…”
“What are you talking about? You’ve done a great job.” The landlady gripped Sogetsu by the shoulders as if she were nursing a small child.
“You were there for me when the foreigners came and also when I was arrested.” She gazed firmly into Sogetsu’s eyes. “Remember this, wherever you are. No matter where you go, no matter what happens, Tatsumi Residence is your home in Edo. You can come back whenever you like. Understood?”
Tears welled up in her eyes and she could not refrain from crying. Sogetsu simply nodded.
“Come on, get going. I have a few more things to discuss with Master Katsura… Stay safe.”
“Yes, Ma’am too.”
Rising to her feet, Sogetsu turned in front of the doorway and knelt down on the spot.
“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. I will always be indebted to you!”
She lowered her head profoundly in a deeply emotional gesture.
As Sogetsu walked away in tears, Katsura arrived in the room.
“Am I interrupting?”
“No, not at all.” The landlady gently wiped away the tears from her eyes with her sleeves. “Master Katsura, please look after Sogetsu for me. Sometimes she can be a bit naive, but she is not dim-witted, nor is she crooked. She’s just a girl who doesn’t understand things. Please see her in a long view.”
“I can promise you that… However, I do wonder what this has to do with her being suspected of going abroad. I was told that she could speak English, but where did she learn it?”
“I do not know.” The landlady shook her head slowly. “She’s a mysterious girl.”
She looked in the direction of where Sogetsu had left.
“That girl, she abruptly appeared in the town of Edo. She came out of nowhere, without any warning, literally out of the air. I was the only one who saw that moment because the place during that time was so crowded. But the unusual appearance of Sogetsu soon made her the object of suspicion. I saw her like a little child, frightened and unable to answer, so I immediately told everyone that she was the daughter of a friend of mine. And that she came from Yokohama.”
“I know this is hard to believe. Even so, this is the truth. That girl came from another place. Even she herself did not know what had happened. She was in a place called a museum and the next thing she knew she was in Edo.”
“Does anyone else know about that?”
“I have not told anyone. I think Sogetsu would not have spoken to others too. I let Master Katsura know about this since I trust you.”
“I understand it. I can’t say I’ll believe it straight away, but I’ll bear it in mind.”
It was enough to hear him say that.
The landlady left the clan residence, expressing her wish that Sogetsu would be well looked after.
The soft rays of the autumn sun are soothing to the touch.
Eikichi and her friends were probably waiting for her in the shop. Who knows what their feelings will be when they find out that Sogetsu will no longer be coming back?
They still had more things to teach her. More things to converse with her.
But maybe this is her destiny.
Until recently, she had merely been looking after Sogetsu.
The wind gently brushed the tears from her eyes.
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