Hagakure Sakura Does Not Lament - Chapter 163
Till Time Do Us Part
“Bell-sama, you’re back! If you had told me, I would have come to get you.”
“Hmph, you went overseas so you couldn’t have come even if I called you anyway. –Indeed, I am amazed that they have abused my contractor so much in my absence. I’m so embarrassed by the incompetence of the government.”
Bell said that with his usual brazenness to Tsugumi, who smiled when he saw Bell released from the government. …Apparently, his dislike of the government had accelerated even further.
“If Bell-sama had called me, I would have come back even if I had to push myself. But I’m really glad that the house arrest was lifted… It was originally Toono-san’s contract God’s fault, but he’s really brazen.”
Tsugumi said this with a sly smile.
Bell’s period of house arrest in the government was about a month. The government had forbidden Bell to leave the basement, but Tsugumi was free to visit him, so they frequently kept in touch.
But it had been a long time since he’d seen Bell in his room like this. That made him feel a little bit emotional.
“Hmph. Just because I was trapped by the government doesn’t mean that I have been defeated. I could have done anything I wanted with the Far East’s subordinate Gods, but I let them off the hook this time.”
Bell grumbled, and Tsugumi laughed, saying that he never changed.
“Ah, yes. Bell-sama is in the main God class, right? If only there were no restrictions, you would be stronger than most Gods… I asked Toono-san about it, and she said that she would tell her contract God not to interfere too much in the future, so I shouldn’t worry about it anymore. I feel like I’m the one missing out on something if I’m the only one who gets angry.”
When Tsugumi said so to calm his anger, Bell snorted and said.
“You are no good because you keep trying to get things done properly like that. You have to be angry with unreasonable people. If you keep on being lenient, they’ll go easy on you.”
“…That may be true. I thought about it during the British expedition, there’s nothing good about being looked down upon.”
Tsugumi didn’t know all the details, but it seemed that face was especially important in a place like that. Making himself look bigger might be necessary.
“Hmph, a country that worships that usurper is no good. If you have learned your lesson, don’t help them.”
Listening to Bell’s words, Tsugumi smiled wryly, thinking that it was Bell in the end who authorized the expedition. He didn’t tolerate others’ unreasonableness, but he didn’t think his own words and deeds were unreasonable at all. Because he was such a free God, he didn’t like Tsugumi.
Fufu, Tsugumi smiled slightly. The casual exchange made him feel lighter, as if his heart, which had been exhausted from various things recently, had been lightened.
“…Hey, what’s with that face? Was it really that hard living abroad?”
“Huh? It’s not that it was hard. …Why am I crying?”
Regardless of his will, a few tears trickle down. It was as if his lacrimal gland had malfunctioned.
Fortunately, the tears stopped immediately, but the fact that he had cried didn’t disappear.
Wondering the reason, he wiped the tears on his cheeks with his hand messily, and when he looked up and saw Bell–Tsugumi finally understood his feelings.
The God in the form of a black cat, sitting on his familiar bed, looking as if he owned the place. It was a sight that had been commonplace until about a month before Bell’s house arrest.
–What’s this? Did I miss Bell-sama?
Such a thought came to mind. Apparently, Bell’s absence was more painful than he had thought.
I act a little kid, Tsugumi thought as he opened his mouth.
“…You know, Bell-sama.”
“What is it?”
“Please, don’t do anything that will get you suspended again. I know that Bell-sama was angry for my sake, but even so… I still feel lonely when Bell-sama isn’t by my side.”
When he encountered the Demonic Flower, when he confronted the Goddess, and when Higoromo discovered his true identity, Bell was not next to him. …In retrospect, he might have been really lonely all along.
Before being sentenced to house arrest, Bell had always been behind him, watching over him no matter what kind of enemy he was fighting. At the time, he didn’t think anything of it, but after Bell left, he realized just how much Bell’s existence had become his source of emotional support.
And it wasn’t just in battle, but in everyday life as well.
Until now, Tsugumi had always resisted the idea of relying on anyone. Perhaps, he had a strong awareness that he shouldn’t cause trouble to others. …Maybe he subconsciously realized that his own existence was a heresy.
–Nanase Tsugumi was living in the present by repeating a layer of lies. No matter how many beautiful things he said, that fact would never change.
In that kind of situation, Bell consistently didn’t change his attitude even when he learned about Tsugumi’s dark past and circumstances. On the contrary, he was always the same, no matter what he said, to the extent that it puzzled Tsugumi.
…Although he never said it out loud, Bell probably didn’t have much interest in Tsugumi’s past.
The only thing Bell wanted from Tsugumi in the first place was his aptitude as a Magical Girl and his will to fight. The past attached to Tsugumi was probably unimportant as long as it didn’t become a nuisance. It was open-minded in a good way and God-like in a bad way.
But to Tsugumi, Bell’s indifference was more precious than anything else.
–The guilt of lying to Chidori would never go away, no matter how inevitable it might be.
There was no way he could talk about such a serious situation to his friends, and even Higoromo and Toono, who knew a little bit about the situation, would never have gotten involved if Tsugumi had been an ordinary person with no past. To put it bluntly, the world’s perception of Hagakure Sakura herself was nothing more than a false image.
But Bell was different.
Only in front of Bell, Tsugumi’s God, he could be himself without pretense. He could be allowed to be just “Nanase Tsugumi”: Only Bell, who would never change no matter what, seemed like salvation to Tsugumi.
But even if he honestly revealed such shallow feelings, it would only be annoying from Bell’s point of view.
To tell the truth, he was a little hesitant to even mention that he was lonely. It wasn’t Tsugumi’s intention to cause Bell any trouble.
“I see that you have become quite spoiled after being away for a while. Is something wrong?”
“Well, if I have to explain, I’d say that I’ve come to understand how pets feel when they’re away from home. Once you pick up a pet, the owner has to be responsible for taking care of it.”
Bell looked serious as Tsugumi said this mischievously.
“…Hmm, I am sure you’ve eaten some bad food in the land of the evil invaders. I told you not to randomly eat anything you see.”
It was a terrible thing to say. Moreover, Bell was not joking and seriously thought so. He muttered in a low voice, “Should I prepare some kind of medicine… I just got a contact.” …Maybe Bell mistook Tsugumi for a kid or something.
“No, I didn’t randomly eat anything I see.”
“I wonder about that. –And you’re my property in the first place. I’m going to use you until the day you die. Don’t talk nonsense to me.”
Bell laughed scornfully, and Tsugumi also laughed with a relieved look.
“–Yes, I’m glad to hear that. That’s just how Bell-sama is, right?”
He had a bad way of saying it, but to summarize what Bell said, that would mean that he didn’t intend to let go of Tsugumi until he died. That was clear from the very first contract they made.
The contract that was made when Tsugumi was rescued from the brink of death, a contract in which he would be the price of his own life. From Tsugumi’s perspective who was forced to absolutely obey Bell, it looked like a one-sided contract, but because it was a contract that put his life on the line, its binding power was extremely strong.
It couldn’t be broken without the mutual consent of both parties, totally different from the stray Magical Girl contracts in general, which could be one-sidedly broken by God.
…The first time they met, he thought it was a tricky contract, but now it was more convenient.
Normally, there were a few cases in which a subordinate like Tsugumi didn’t want to break a contract, so the decision on whether or not a contract was right or wrong was left up to the higher-ups. But there were always exceptions.
–Even if the higher-ranking person, Bell, wanted to break the contract, the contract couldn’t be broken without Tsugumi’s consent.
Tsugumi couldn’t imagine letting go of this hand that had been extended to him. The only thing that the cowardly Tsugumi could do was to try not to be unwanted by this benevolent God.
“I’ll do my best. You’ll have to put up with me for a while, Bell-sama.”
When he laughed and said that, Belle said in amazement.
“I don’t think there are many people who can replace you. Well, I’ll take your word for it.”
The answer was curt, but it still seemed to reflect a certain trust in Tsugumi. At least, for Tsugumi, it was a good enough answer.
“Haha, I appreciate you saying that.”
Saying that, Tsugumi placed his right hand on his chest determinedly.
–Let’s make an effort. To become the “Nanase Tsugumi” that Bell can be proud of. If he did that, he probably wouldn’t be thrown away.
Even if the time comes for me to quit being a Magical Girl for some reason, I hope I can still be by his side in some other way. –He couldn’t help but wish so.
Bonus from Author in their notes:
From Bell’s point of view, Tsugumi is the most beloved pet. He doesn’t dislike the fact that he can be a bit brash and a bit of a handful (tsundere).
If Tsugumi had been the type of person who didn’t want to fight or who was addicted to power, he would have cut the deal early on. He especially likes the image of Tsugumi happily fighting.
He is a rather arrogant God, so he is not really interested in what people are going through. In other words, he only evaluates things as he sees them, so you could say he is fair in a sense.
Basically, he thinks that humans should respect him, so no matter how unreasonable he may be, he thinks he will never be hated by his contractor (Tsugumi). (However, out of concern for the burden on Tsugumi, he refrains from being selfish.)
if his contractor was not Tsugumi, he would have gone bankrupt early on, so in a sense, he is the luckiest God.
From Tsugumi’s point of view, Bell is somehow a gentle owner. He is a revered God, an absolute Lord, and in a sense, a father figure. The people around Tsugumi are sweet to him for some reason, so it is quite refreshing to have Bell around to scold him for various things. There is no reason not to miss it no matter how it turns out.
He strongly believes that once you pick up a child, you have to take care of it until the end. However, if he were to be abandoned, he would take Bell’s feelings into consideration and silently withdraw from the situation. He can’t become a yandere no matter how hard he tries.
He is used to Bell’s unreasonable behavior because of his relationship with Yukitaka, so he doesn’t mind it too much. He is the type of person who would say something if someone is being unreasonable to him, but he’s vulnerable to pressure, so he often does things reluctantly.
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