A few minutes after the rescue party ushered Kazuya, Julie, and Victorique to safety aboard their ship…
The Queen Berry sank into the sea with a loud groan. It was a spectacular sight. But once the large ship finished slowly settling beneath the waters, and the waves it stirred up had vanished, only the quiet sea remained, almost as if nothing else had been there from the start.
Unlike the Queen Berry, the rescue ship was a plain and stout vessel. The deck looked well-worn, and the paint on the railing was peeling and splotchy.
From the group of rescue workers emerged two young men in rabbit-skin hunting caps, men who were, strangely enough, holding hands. These could only be the deputies of Inspector Gréville de Blois. Shouting, with faces pale, they rushed over to Kazuya and Victorique. When they saw that Victorique was safe, they began yelling excitedly.
“Thank God! You’re alive! It’s a miracle!”
“Wow, the ship sank! I never expected that! Oh, my God!”
Victorique leaned against the deck railing and gazed out into the sea. Strong gusts of wind from the ocean whipped the thin threads of her long, lustrous blond hair. The white lace of her finely-tailored dress was soiled and frayed. Her eyes were forlorn.
Kazuya stood next to her. “What are you looking at?” he asked.
Victorique raised her head, and smiled faintly. Then she brought her lips close to Kazuya’s ear as if about to tell him a carefully guarded secret, and whispered, “I don’t dislike beautiful things.”
And then she pointed with her small finger at the breaking waves, which blazed scarlet in reflection of the morning sun. The rain had finally stopped, allowing the sun to surround the ship in dazzling light. The powerful rays that stained the sea in such vivid redness bathed the two of them in the same radiance.
Kazuya realized that this marked the first time his tiny golden lady friend had ever expressed to him her likes or dislikes. He smiled, feeling as though she had let him in on something special.
They stood by each other, watching the scenery.
At last, Kazuya said softly, “Let’s do this again.”
“Yeah. Let’s come see the sea again, just the two of us.”
Victorique’s smile bore a hint of loneliness. “Again, huh…”
“Nothing, Kujou. Nothing at all….”
As the sun rose slowly into the sky, the blinding red glare shifted into a softer glow.
The ship steadily approached land.
And the waves continued to gently break along the shore.