“–Holmes-san, you were seriously amazing again today!”
I exclaimed excitedly while we were walking out of the temple. In response, Holmes-san produced a wry smile.
“You’re exaggerating, Aoi-san.”
“No, I’m not. I was first surprised when you saw the calluses on his hand and deduced that he was a manga artist.”
“Ah, about that… that’s not the actual reason.”
“He had scraps of screentone stuck on his hair and forehead. I knew he was a manga artist because of that, but it was difficult to say that to his face. I then looked at his hands and noticed calluses there, so I decided to use that as the official reason.” Holmes-san shrugged.
I see, so it was because of screentone.
That is certainly unique to manga artists.
However, that power of observation was still amazing. I never noticed that at all.
“But how did you know that his father being opposed to his job, and that he was experiencing some popularity now?”
“As I said earlier, he didn’t want to tell us his profession, and in such cases it is common for parents to be opposed to their line of work. By the intonation of his words, I gathered that he was living in Kanto for quite a long time. Even though he had returned home, he had those bits of screentone stuck on him, meaning that he was still drawing for his manuscript. That is why I thought that he was a popular manga artist.”
“I, I see.”
As expected of Holmes of Teramachi Sanjou.
“Additionally, that explanation about Nonomura Ninsei is something that anyone in this world would know, so it instantly came to me.”
Holmes-san spoke as if his feat earlier was nothing special.
“But you were also amazing afterwards, when you said that ‘cherry blossoms are loved by everyone’. You read into the intentions of Kishitani-san’s father to such depth!”
“There is no evidence to support my claims, though.”
“Still, it was very persuasive.”
“While his father might have truly wanted to convey that message, it is also possible that my selfish thoughts could have gotten mixed in.”
“Yes. As I mentioned earlier, just creating what you like is in the realm of a hobby, and is not professional work. On the other hand, creating whatever is wanted by people of the world, no matter how much personal expression you put in, is considered professional work, I believe.
“I think that professional creators in all ages shoulder the fate of creating whatever is wanted of them, just like even Beethoven and Chopin were desperate to create music that would please the nobles who sponsored them. And that is because art touches the eyes of the people.”
With that assertion, Holmes-san stared at the five-storied pagoda in the temple grounds.
It was intensely elegant, making me think that it was a work of art.
The scene looked picturesque, especially with the fluttering cherry blossoms in it.
That pagoda was undoubtedly built with the intention of catching the eye of a renowned person and pleasing them.
As I had that realization, the spring wind blew through the gap between us and went on its way.
“… It’s great that we get to see cherry blossoms falling around that pagoda. I feel lucky to be able to witness such a beautiful sight.” Holmes-san said that with a serious look on his face.
Although I had already gotten used to his mannerisms, I involuntarily laughed at the rough words that no one would expect a handsome man to utter.
But it was true. It was indeed a beautiful sight.
“That reminds me of a poem, the one that goes ‘Let me die in spring under the cherry trees, let it be around that full moon of Kisaragi month.’ That’s just like Holmes-san, isn’t it? It seems to be talking about being under the full moon as well as a beautiful cherry tree, right?” I giggled, as Holmes-san gently met my gaze.
“You’re mistaken, Aoi-san. It’s ‘under the blossoming trees’, not ‘under the cherry trees’.”
“Fuheh?” A sound escaped from my mouth.
“‘Let me die in spring under the blossoming trees, let it be around that full moon of Kisaragi month.’ …That’s a poem by Saigyō Hōshi. As someone who greatly admired the Shakyamuni Buddha1, he apparently wanted to leave the mortal realm on the full moon of Kisaragi month, or the 15th day of the 2nd month2, which was the death day of Shakyamuni. Unfortunately, he died on the 16th day of the 2nd month, which was quite a shame.”
Holmes-san explained. I couldn’t say anything in return.
…So, I was totally wrong.
“O-Oh, so it wasn’t a poem about cherry blossoms and the moon, but about yearning for the Shakyamuni Buddha.”
That was really embarrassing.
I should stop revealing my half-baked knowledge in front of such an erudite person.
“However, in the world of poems, blossoms usually refer to cherry blossoms, so you might not be wrong there. Also, Kisaragi is a month in the old calendar, and refers to what we now call spring.”
“I, I see.”
“…Moreover, your version of the poem is also great and sounds really dream-like.
“‘Let me die in spring under the cherry trees, let it be around that full moon of Utsugi3.’ …To put it in modern terms… ‘I would be undoubtedly blessed if I could pass away in the light of the full moon, under a blossoming cherry tree, after burning many beautiful images onto my memory.’”
Seeing a gentle smile surface on Holmes-san’s face, my cheeks became hot.
Sensing that I was feeling ashamed, he said all that without any hesitation.
It was a kind move, but for some reason, I felt that his composure had a degree of mischief.
“…Holmes-san, you’re quite mischievous, aren’t you?”
I pouted. In response, Holmes-san’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Mischievous, you say?”
Being questioned like that, I couldn’t say anything.
That was because it was difficult to pinpoint exactly which part of him was mischievous.
And even so, he was always really kind.
Holmes-san then chuckled.
“Please bear with me, Aoi-san.”
“’Cos us Kyoto guys are wicked.”
That was the first time I heard him use his Kyoto dialect.
As he stood there in front of me with his index finger raised in the air and a mischievous grin on his face, my heart palpitated strongly.
“Shall we go, then?”
I gazed at the back figure of Holmes-san, who had put on his usual smile.
“Kyoto guy… that’s a good name.”
Thankfully, that unintentional murmur that escaped my lips was only known to me.
This post is made possible by our amazing patrons!
Editors (Tier 2) : Smash the Oni, Sam D., Steven Baltakatei Sandoval
Assistants (Tier 1) : Bennet Kilian, zqy47d, Mark Kochan, Daniel Betts, Jaime Cuellar, Gajusz Kubasik
Thank you very much for all your support!