The red roses swayed silently in the breeze as their shadows lengthened. It was sunset; people were leaving to get back to the city on the bus line, so the atmosphere was, for the most part, quiet, save for one voice.
“We're gathered here today to commemorate the life of Prince Demando.” Minako presided over the small matchbox which contained a tiny pile of ashes, and read from a scrap paper. “He was an evil person for most of his life, but only had his people's best interests at heart in his designs. And, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel near the end of his life, so that's ok.”
There were only eight others at the hastily-done state funeral: four of Demando's cousins, and four sailor soldiers, all with white somewhere on their clothing. All were forced to stand as they presided over the tiny burial hole; they had no way to get seats into the rose flower and iris aquatic beds that were nestled inside the Jindaiji Botanical Gardens. Having seats would make people suspicious as to what was happening, as burials were obviously illegal in that area.
On the other hand, given Prince Demando's own sense of beauty and love of flowers, it would have been silly not to bury him anywhere else. The remnants of Safir's ashes had already been buried under a grove in Hikawa Shrine, despite everyone's belief that the brothers should have been buried together. There were many different reasons for it, among them the fact that Demando's ashes had only been found just recently – over a month after Wiseman was defeated.
“He was the last of the royal family of Nemesis,” Minako paused at this. “He was powerful, he had magic powers, and, um...he had the uncontrollable hots for Usagi-chan.”
The congregation moaned at this last part. Cooan, standing next to Usagi, could only shake her head at the blonde's eulogy. Petz and Calaveras both looked ready to kill Minako, and Beruche said nothing.
“And, um...well, he was pretty hot himself-”
“Ok!!” Cooan waved her hand. “That's enough.”
“What? It's true.”
“Someone else needs to do this.” Before Usagi knew it, she was gently pushed forth by the purple-haired woman. “You, Usagi-chan. I bet you can pull off a better eulogy.”
“That's not fair!” Minako pouted. “I'm not even finished!”
“But, Cooan...” Usagi looked nervous. “I-”
“Go on!” Cooan nodded. “I know you wanted to do something anyways, right?”
“...Fine.” Minako stepped aside. “You can do it.”
Usagi turned towards the congregation and gulped as she saw all the eyes looking at her. She looked down at the little matchbox, then at the little hole that it was to be placed in, then back up at the congregation, her left hand clenched.
“.....Well.....” She looked down at her clenched fist. “When he died, Demando-san told me that his greatest wish was to....look upon flowers that grew on Earth. So, I thought....I'd send him off with some.”
She opened up her hand, revealing some small peony seeds in her palm. Bending down as best as she could in her white dress, she picked up the matchbox, opened it, and placed the seeds into the ashes.
“So when they bloom, he'll get to gaze on them forever and not be sad. And...” she placed the little box into the hole, pushing soil over it and gently patting it down, covering it completely. “I hope he'll also be happy to know that...he didn't die in vain.”
Everyone was silent as Usagi stood up, wiping her hands. No one else could think of a better thing to say after Usagi, and even Minako was stunned to silence by Usagi's frank words. Cooan was right; hers was inevitably better.
No one who visited the Jindaiji in Crystal Tokyo knew where the peony bush came from. All that was known was, only after the victory against Nemesis, the bush suddenly appeared, and bloomed white blossoms, like diamonds.
And when it did, there had never been more beautiful flowers.