Drawn Mochi Volume 3 Chapter 12.3: Honey Trap and Trap Breaking *7

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 …The colors of the smudged watercolors are perfect for this kind of scene, a flower garden. It’s also perfect for Ms. Croix, who knits a flower crown there.


 The expression on Ms. Croix’s face is still a little uncomfortable. Is it because she is aware that she is being watched? Or maybe, after all, she is a person who doesn’t need much waste and there is no point in doing this kind of thing.


 But… because the expression on her face for a moment earlier was so good. So, I guess I’ll still have a few more days of taking Ms. Croix around.



“…Then I’ll give these to you guys.” (Croix)



 Ms. Croix was hanging the finished small flower crowns on the horn of the unicorns. The horses were quite happy and rubbed up against her. Yes, that was good.


 …I also knitted a flower crown and gave it to the unicorn after I finished the painting, but it gave me a look that said, “Yes, yes, thank you.” His attitude was so obvious.



 We spent the rest of the day relaxing in the flower garden and went home.



“…How is it? I wonder if I’ve become more like a forest.” (Croix)



 On the way home, Ms. Croix jokingly said this to me.



“Yeah. Just for a moment. Forest-like… hmm? Forest-like… or rather, what you had was a very nice expression.” (Tougo)



 So, when I answered honestly… Ms. Croix looked a little surprised.


 …but then she smiled beautifully again and said, ‘I’m glad to hear that.”


 Hmm…I don’t know her very well.


 But anyway… her hand caressing the horns as she watches the unicorns with flower crowns on their horns walk along in a good mood seems even gentler than on the way there, so, well, maybe this is it… I decided to think, well, maybe this was… a “necessary waste”.



 Then for a few days. I took Ms. Croix here and there.


 Next to the flower garden is a place like a small cave under a big tree. There were glowing moss and mushrooms in it, and it was quite beautiful. It seems that it was unusual for Ms. Croix, and she looked at it with some interest.


 Next to the cave is the ivy curtain. There were many soft ivies hanging from big trees in places, like curtains. We ate our lunch under a curtain made of ivy and woven the ivy into braids for fun. There is no particular meaning.


 Next to that was the spring. …Yeah. The spring in front of the house. The unicorns confidently showed me around like, “This is a magnificent place!” but it’s one I made. …It was a sunny and hot day, so we played in the water, and it felt really nice.


 In the spring, I washed the horses while we were bathing. When I was washing the horses, Ms. Croix helped me. Some unicorns were very happy. Yes, that was good.



 After a few days, Ms. Croix’s expressions changed little by little.


 I wonder if she is becoming used to the forest. I don’t know if she’s become more forest-like, but for the time being, I think she was more natural-looking.



“Your expression has changed.” (Tougo)



 After I was allowed to draw for today, I said yes. Then Ms. Croix looks shy and confused.



“…I wonder if my expression has changed that much.” (Croix)


“Um… yeah. I think so.” (Tougo)



 I show my sketchbooks to her, starting with the first one.


 The first sketchbook is filled up with only her… so I flip it up and show it to her, and then I show her the second one.


 What she sees there are my drawings of her. Naturally.


 But… gradually, as it becomes newer, her atmosphere changes.


 Maybe the way she smiles has changed. When I saw her at the party, she had a perfect smile that was very well put together… but it started to fall apart a little bit.


 The way it fell apart, wasn’t perfect, it was like it hadn’t been touched by human hands… Maybe it looks like a forest. I think it’s very good.



“I-I see…” (Croix)



 …However, when I told Ms. Croix that her expression had changed, I felt that she was a little upset, or rather, she looked a little troubled. By the way, Ms. Croix is touching her own cheek.


 Hmm… But it’s true, so it can’t be helped.



 That night.


 I was making a rough sketch of Ms. Croix on the drawing paper, which I had drawn in the flower garden. That momentary expression had appeared several times in the past few days, and now that I could visualize it properly, I wanted to draw her with that expression.


 I think I’ll finish the rough draft tonight, and tomorrow I’ll finish it up with a layer of color while looking at the actual Ms. Croix.



 …At that moment, there was a knock at the door. Laocles, I think. He sometimes comes to my place during the night and asks me how I’m doing. If I didn’t sleep the day before or something, he throws me on the bed without question. I just want him to stop doing that.



“Come in.” (Tougo)



 But after I replied… it was Ms. Croix who came in.



 “I’m sorry to bother you.” (Croix)



 She smiled a little and then looked at my hand.



“Oh… are you still drawing?” (Croix)


“Yes.” (Tougo)



 I replied, thinking that since the real thing was right in front of me, I would be able to draw more while looking at her. I added a few more lines. Thank you.



“I see. Then, did I interrupt you?” (Croix)


“No, it’s okay. I’m almost done. It’s fine.” (Tougo)


“Then do you mind if I wait a bit?” (Croix)


“Go ahead.” (Tougo)



 When I said that, she sat on the edge of my bed and began to wait patiently for me to finish.



 …Then, when the draft was finished, and I was satisfied with my work, I started to put away my painting materials. …then Ms. Croix said,



“You know, Tougo?” (Croix)


“Yes.” (Tougo)



 I correct my posture looking straight at Ms. Croix, who seems to have changed a little. …What is it?



“Would you like to try doing the painting soon?” (Croix)


“Eh?” (Tougo)



 Ms. Croix said… and put her hand on her clothes.



“The requested painting.” (Croix)






“Um… that is…” (Tougo)


“I can only stay here for two months. But it’s going to be almost three weeks.” (Croix)



 …I see.



“I know I know next to nothing about painting… but shouldn’t you at least practice soon?” (Croix)



 I guess that’s true… I’ve not been working on a commissioned nude painting even after all these weeks. I have to do the commissioned nude painting, and yet I have never done a nude drawing before. I’ve only imagined the texture and shape of a woman’s body by looking at her over her clothes.


 Or rather, the commission was completely out of my mind, and I was taking Ms. Croix out into the woods to draw what I wanted to draw.


 Then, as someone whose job is to draw pictures… I’m sure what I’m supposed to be doing. I know that. I’m sorry.


 But apart from the request… nude drawings make me nervous.


 I know in my head that nude sketching is the right thing to do as a painter, but I feel like I’m doing something wrong.





“Hey, why don’t we take the plunge? If you feel embarrassed, you can stop halfway through.” (Croix)



 Ms. Croix said so, and without waiting for my reply… She started taking off her clothes.



 Ms. Croix’s underwear fell to the floor.


 I watched her walk away and lay down on my bed, looking at it, unable to think of anything…



“What’s wrong? Aren’t you going to draw?” (Croix)



 …Seeing Ms. Croix wearing nothing but a perfect smile, I felt fuzzy like I had a fever, heard my heart pounding erratically, and my thoughts went round and round…



“…I’ll draw!” (Tougo)



 Half desperate, I picked up my pencil and sketchbook.



 If I don’t do this, I’m afraid I’ll run into trouble!




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