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Book of Flowers

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I must ask you…what exactly is Death?

 

Many perceive it as a state-of-being when the physical body loses its functions and becomes stiff—no longer functioning as a human. This is the basic definition of death. The entire, physical body is destroyed, mangled. The inside of our bodies can no longer follow their primary function to continuously sustain us with life, all of it has been terminated the moment your body and mind acknowledges death. There are many, many different variations of how we would die, but there is sadly, a limited amount of times in which we can understand death.

 

Others would mention how death is an amalgamation of regret, sorrow, happiness, peace. Is this true or is it false—no-one would feel regret, sorrow, happiness, and regret? What sort of thoughts and emotions surge through your mind, as you contemplate that question?

 

We cannot understand death unless we experience it ourselves. One can try to perceive it to the best of their ability, but in the end, they feel detached if the death is not personal.

 

“What are you writing?”

 

I jolt from shock, and quickly swivel around to see my friend, hovering next to me. He crosses his arms and starts examining me with scrutiny. Normally, one would falter at such an intense gaze, but I’ve gotten used to it.

 

“Ah…I’m writing the story—the one where we first met.” I reply, giving him a soft smile. “Then, I’m going to write out the story…stories? The aftermath of the war we were in, honestly.”

 

“…I see. And this aftermath is…?”

 

“It’s…something very dear to me,” I reply sheepishly, glancing back at the journal. “I was hoping to show this to the other Servants—Artoria, Zhuge Liang, Iskandar…and then EMIYA. Perhaps a few others, but that’s the few I can think of at this moment. I want to tell them my circumstances of who I was before all of…” I pause to find a word to correctly follow up on what I was about to say, but I eventually give up and give him a sheepish smile as a result.

 

“And what about me?” He asks, raising an eyebrow at me in confusion. He didn’t sound mad, but he sounded curious as to why he wasn’t listed like the others.

 

“Ah…I was planning on showing it to you when I finish writing it. To revise and the like. In other words, you’re the one who will look through my writing first.” I answer honestly, giving him a nervous smile.

 

He frowns at me. “Knowing you, however, that memory of yours will mess with the timeline of events. I hate that the most, I will have you know. Stories must be consistent.”

 

I laugh nervously at his words. “I…wanted to try…? This is my first time writing an autobiography, after all.”

 

He lets out an aggravated sigh and motions me to move over. “Move.” He commands. Once I move myself and the chair, he grabs a random chair from the side, drags it over so it’s next to mine, and sits down. “You will need someone with experience with you—chastising you for your grammatical errors, your memory for the timelines, and the amount of poor detail-work in those scenes. Knowing you, you will make a mess out of all three.”

 

“Hey!” I pout at him, “You didn’t have to rub it in!”

 

He chuckles at my words. “Now, like the rest of us fools who choose this life, write. I’ll sit here and oversee your work.”

 

I sigh and continue to write.

 

I, however, had died as a university undergraduate in a different world.

 

I still remember it vividly. There were students screaming—shouting in fear, shouting for the ambulance. There were…

 

I stop writing the scene.

 

“…I can write out the rest of the scene if you wish. I have witnessed it before, in those dreams of yours.” He mentions off-handedly, it’s as if what he had just said carries no weight. He can deny his own feelings as much as he wants, but I can see the concern in his eyes.

 

“I need to face this myself, it…appears that I’m still stewing in the past. I shouldn’t think about it. Hehehe.” I laugh nervously as I examine the words that I’ve written. I ignore the fact that my writing hand is shaking.

 

He huffs. “Don’t be a fool, everyone reminisces on their pasts—whether they like it or not, whether they think of it as passing fancy—all are reasons to look back, no matter how frivolous the meaning is. And…you rose above it, an arduous task that is foreseen in a novel where the star of the show, the main character, overcomes their fears and obstacles.”

 

He sniffs haughtily at his words.

 

“A cliché that the readers love to see in a foolish, average protagonist—how idiotic, is it not? If it were me, they would be continuously suffering, only to die with many regrets. No, rather—they would’ve exposed themselves so shamelessly in front of an audience, fumbling about like a man who knows not what to act as. A shameful man, a shameful show, a shameful story that the masses might adore, only to let it rot to the ground once their interest wanes.”

 

“…That sounds about right.” I respond with a strained chuckle.

 

He looks at me with those solemn eyes of his that I adored: full of understanding for my predicament. “I did not suffer as your Servant in the Holy Grail War, just to witness you—rip apart at the seams. To let your mind, unravel from your memories, all from your own death before the world took it. You have suffered far more in the war, I remember. Don’t be embarrassed—wait, no, I retract that statement. Be embarrassed and continue to flail about, that is what you do best.” He proclaims with gentle, warm eyes. “I write tragic endings, and I am accustomed to death. I can write it if you wish.”

 

 

I smile softly at him. “Thank you, but…I want to write it. I—yes, you’re correct. We tend to reminiscence of our pasts, even if we rise above it and even when we just think back towards it, regardless if we want to or not. But getting over it, in comparison to thinking about it, are two different things. I…wish to write it. Please.”

He closes his eyes, only to reveal them to me, and nod with a smirk on his face. “Of course. Go ahead, peruse about in your story.”

 

I nod and start writing.

 

I still remember it vividly. There were students screaming—shouting in fear, shouting for the ambulance, shouting for the police and for the government. A car sits at the side with the driver’s seat open, and the front of the car is smashed inwards. A red, conspicuous stain mars the indent of the front. A man is seen next to the driver’s seat, quivering from fear and shock, as he examines the scene in front of him.

 

I couldn’t move my body, it felt as if my entire body was numb. Just moving my fingers left me fatigued, and I couldn’t even spit out the blood pooling in my mouth. I felt terrified…only for it to disappear into a feeling of emptiness.

 

The coherent shouting turns into garbled white noise, and my eyesight becomes blurry. I can’t feel anything. I remembered having this feeling once, but how long was it that I’ve felt such emptiness? Was it when I was but a small child…? I couldn’t remember for the life of me at the time, I was dying. I have little need to think of it then when my life was even more dire than that frivolous thought.

 

My last thought as I was slowly dying: “I…can’t…die…yet…

 

There were no confessions, no apologies—nothing. Just regret.

 

I wanted to live for those who cared for me, for those who loved me, for those who I needed to care for. I still wish to discover new ideas, facts, worlds…and I haven’t seen the evolution of video games—I studied to learn this information, and yet if I perish here, I won’t be able to see it. Ever.

 

I.

 

Must.

 

Stand.

 

And yet, I can’t. My entire, physical body is broken. Even if I want to move it, there’s no possible way that I can move it with sheer, willpower alone.

 

…I can’t die here.

 

I can’t die here.

 

A ray of sunlight radiated upon an unfamiliar figure, and through the beam of light, I saw charred flesh.

 

I couldn’t even move my head away from the horrifying scene.

 

I saw multiple rays of light, disintegrating people, trees, houses. Searing, hot—death. The first thing that registered in my mind as I watched people, disappearing under the rays of light, was death. Death, destruction, annihilation—everything dying in front of me.

 

Forget taking death’s hand. This is akin to divine retribution from the gods themselves, punishing us for our wrongdoings.

 

But what did we do wrong?

 

No, please—don’t kill everyone. Why would you take our lives so easily…? We only have the one. Why? Why? Why?

 

Whoever, whatever, is out there. Please, please, please don’t kill everyone.

 

A desperate plea from my mind.

 

The remaining strength that I had in my grasp disappeared and my eyes shut.

 

I died, even as I tried to continue living. Even as I plead to the Gods for mercy on those who fell victim to the beams of sunlight. For mercy on me.

 

I stop writing and purse my lips, wracking my brain for what occurred next. “Right, he comes in here…” I mutter, peering down at the words on the page. My friend watched as I muttered to myself, tapping the tip of my pen against my cheek.

 

He rests his cheek against his fist.

 

My eyes snapped open, and all I see is the void.

 

My body felt heavy like lead, and I struggled to keep my eyelids open. My entire body feels sluggish, and so does my mind. It’s as if everything is moving into slow-motion.

 

Suddenly, my mind was filled with images of blue rings, circling a glowing, blue orb. It flickered on and off—the lights flickered faster and faster at a consistent rate. The lights made my mind throb. A headache slowly bloomed inside my head, and I felt as if…something, was pulling me. Not physically, but internally—I felt as if someone was tugging and pulling the insides of my body.

 

…No, 'body' isn’t the right word.

 

My ’inner-being’ sounds more accurate.

 

Strange…a woman such as you, losing to such fate? Such a shame too, you are quite beautiful~! Hmm, hmm~!

 

…I think I’ve lost it. I’m pretty sure my inner thoughts just sounded male. And playful. And…why does he sound happy?

 

Right as I finished that thought, a circle of light suddenly surrounded me. A small array of flowers rose from the lit-up ground and their petals unfurled, revealing their beautiful forms to the world. The flowers produced a gentle glow, showering me with light as I continued to lie against the flowers. The sweet smell emanating from the pure, white flowers somewhat eased my nerves.

 

“I am assuming those are his exact words?”

 

I jolt from my friend’s sudden interruption and shrug. “I think so? It’s something akin to it, at least.”

 

His deadpan expression makes me somewhat falter. “When was the last time you slept?” He inquires in a dry voice and looks at me with half-lidded eyes.

 

I make a face at him. “We’re Servants, sleeping is now a choice for us.”

 

He looks as if he’s about to start ranting at me for my recklessness, but my eyes widen when he instead, shakes his head in defeat. “And this reminds me why I need to constantly look after you, you fool.”

 

 

I can feel my cheeks heat up.

 

In retaliation, he starts glaring ferociously at me, like a cornered animal. “D-Don’t read into the lines, you idiot! Keep writing like the terrible magus that you were!” He exclaims angrily, looking away from me.

 

I wanted to say something to smooth his ruffled feathers, but I stop when I see that the tips of his ears are red.

 

I wisely decide to go back to writing.

 

I tried to move my entire body—my arms, my legs, my head…anything. Nothing worked.

 

Oh dear, this is not good. Not good at all—that small figure of yours has been mangled. Such a waste.The voice sounded disappointed. Hmmm, I’ll do that! It should ease my own amusement, for now, now who should I use…?

 

What? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve already struggled enough, just let me die.

 

…Hm?The voice made a sound of confusion.

 

Aren’t I already dead? Humans only live once, so let me live once. I have many regrets, more than what I can count on my fingers, but…I’ll overcome them. Eventually. Perhaps a few years or something in the afterlife will help me move on from them. If the afterlife has time, anyway.

 

…As much as I said that it would ease my own amusement, I do have an ulterior motive—your survivability is a testament to her belief. I can’t let you perish so swiftly when this opportunity is in my hands. Well, depends if you summon forth death instead of life…who knows, I’ll just play it by ear, for now~!

 

That has to be the most haphazard way of—wait a minute, what did you just say.

 

I wouldn’t worry about it~! Physically, you’ve already perished, but your spiritual form continues to live as it has arrived in my personal utopia…so please, forgive me for thrusting you into a new world—for my own amusement and motive, that is. May the World and the flowers watch over your progression, your growth, your development…let it witness who you are, soon-to-be Master. We shall meet in the later future, perhaps somewhere fleeting and beautiful~! A utopia, perhaps!

The voice didn’t give me a chance to finish my line of thinking.

 

Good luck, ■■■■■■■■…

 

Pain flooded my entire body and static filled my ears. I closed my eyes to the lullaby of white noise and the sweet smell of flowers.

 

I saw darkness once more.

 

He examines my writing, only to let an exasperated sigh escape and snatch my pencil from my hand. “On second thought, let me take over.” He grouses. I stare at him with wide eyes. “Let me write it, I will write a better version!”

 

“Ah, wait! Let me write, all you write are tragedies at this point!”

 

“Don’t compare me to that playwright, you fool of a woman!”