At that time, it never occurred to my mind that there might be something wrong.
“P, please wait, Director!”
It’s just, naturally, all I can think of is to run after him, running in the opposite direction of the flowing crowd. I desperately run after his familiar back.
There’s no way I’d mistake his familiar back that is coming into and out of my sight.
The one who had always been by my side for 18 years of my life where I became “Shikino Seiren”, the director of the orphanage that picked me up.
I chased and chased after him. And by the time I noticed it, that familiar back is nowhere to be seen anymore.
I stopped right beneath a Cheria tree. A reddish pink petal is being carried away by the wind, and then it falls down to the ground. There are still a lot of people, but the more I get closer to this place, the number of people is getting scarcer.
I tried looking around my surroundings, but Director is nowhere to be seen. Even though I could find him in the middle of the crowd just now, why couldn’t I find him in this place where there are fewer people?
Although, it’s no wonder.
After all, Director isn’t supposed to be here in the first place.
This world is different from the world where the Director raised me.
But, there’s no way I can mistake him for someone else.
Suddenly, I come back to my senses. Both of my hands are totally free now. Although Alica-san and Saryuu were supposed to be holding them.
Not only the Director, but Alica-san, Minoa-san, Saryuu, and Kanna-san are no longer here around me.
I haven’t noticed until now that our hands were separated.
It’s not good. Am I lost?
My shoulder got abruptly touched by someone’s hand, and I jumped back in response and turned back. In front of my eyes, there’s Alica-san who’s panting.
“It’s me, Seiren-sama. Please withdraw your fighting pose.”
Uuu, in my surprise, my body moved on its own and I braced myself to my fighting pose. Moreover, I’m withdrawing it, so please don’t cry.
Ah well, but getting into a fight would mostly make me cry, too.
…but, that isn’t the case right now. Alica-san came chasing after me who suddenly disappeared in the crowd. So, look, it must mean that… she’s really upset, she’s about to cry. It’s obvious.
“It won’t do any good if you were to be separated from us. For what do you think we came here together?”
“S… Sorry… Uhm…”
That’s right. If I were to disappear again, or if something were to happen to me, it would make my parents sad. That’s why they had everyone to accompany me, and there are the maids and servants here and there around the street.
If I were to disappear due to my personal reason, their efforts would have gone futile.
I tried to tell her the reason why I became separated from everyone else, although it seems to be useless.
“Since there was someone who looks a lot like the person I know, so I ran after him.”
“Yup. Although he isn’t supposed to be here in the first place… but I still can’t control myself after that.”
Alica-san and the others know that I returned from a very faraway place. I think they know around that much. That’s why, they might understand that it’s quite impossible for me to encounter my acquaintance in this street.
But, the only people I know around this street are none other than the people in the Shiiya mansion. Besides them, I don’t know anyone else, that’s why I chased after someone that’s familiar to me in the middle of the crowd… Aaah, it’s no good.
It’s not a perfect excuse at all.
“Haa… it’s good that I could find you, but don’t make us worried again. Please.”
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
As if to perfectly leaving behind the jumbled circumstances surrounding my disappearance, Alica-san decided to finish the conversation at this point. Anyhow, the fact still remains that it’s my fault, so I bow my head to apologize.
Incidentally, as I joined my hand again with her, I smelled something incompatible with the smell of the flowers around. Ah-, it is clearly the smell of alcohol, yes. When I turned my eyes tediously towards the source of the smell, I saw some delinquent Onii-chan who were wearing untidy kimono with, how should I put it… a very bad sense of color combination, grinning towards us. Ah, there are around 3 to 4 Onii-chan, eh.
“What are ye doing here? Ehh, you two young ladies?”
“If you’re free, let’s drink tea together, okay? Or is sake okay?”
“Ah, you’d prefer looking for flowers than sake, right? Ahaha!”
So it’s a common thing to have these kind of drunk delinquents around at places like this, even in this world, huh? Wait, there were shops that sold sake here?! Since I’m still not yet at the legal age to drink (or at least based on the other world’s standard), I didn’t notice it. Nah, besides, the mansion was abundant with water, and there didn’t seem to be any alcohol.
“Seiren-sama, please get behind me.”
Alica-san stepped forward to cover me. Errr, in this situation, it’s better for me to be quiet… right? In the first place, I have never practiced any form of martial arts at all, and I’m weak at fighting. But, Alica-san who’s protecting me is a female. If she can handle those delinquents, wouldn’t it be considered lucky?
This is bad. If only someone could come and help, that’d be great. But, the people around here seem to be immersed in walking through the road, they don’t even notice us. I can also raise my voice, but that can cause a panic, and since there are lots of people around, that’d be dangerous.
Eh, it’s getting more crowded than before. I wonder if the parade that we talked about before would be coming out soon?
“Come on, don’t be afraid. Oh, that’s right, that’s right! Soon, the parade will be coming out, so why don’t we collect the flower petals together?”
“And then, why don’t we make Hoshihana and get along together? We can take it slowly, too.”
“Let see, no need to be so reserved, alright?”
“That is unnecessary.”
Ugh, I have a bad feeling about this. Don’t sidle up to us! Both me and Alica-san are now being cornered.
This is bad. I thought I could push them away while showing off my cool or badass side. But I forgot about the changes in my body.
Ah forget it, it’s not something that I can explain well. Because this is something that you have to personally experience to understand.
Suddenly, someone grabbed my empty hand from behind. As I am being pulled forcefully like that, Alica-san who is holding my other hand also notices it and turns around.
“Hwa! Hey, let me go!”
“Let me go, she said! How cute~!”
Damn it, they got me from behind.
I tried shaking and waving around my hand in a panic, but it’s no use. My hand wasn’t allowed to be free at all. Or rather, his grasp on my wrist is tightening, it hurts. This bastard, why won’t he let me go?!
…Although, it’s obvious.
I’m a woman right now. My body is smaller than when I was a male, so naturally, my power is getting weaker, as well.
I didn’t win any fight when I was a male, and now I’m only getting weaker, it’s worse.
“There, there, soon they’ll scatter the flowers around. Let’s just go together, okay, Nee-chan?”
“Let go of the hand, you insolent!”
W, what is it?
Somehow, it’s scary.
I don’t really know what exactly is scary, but I’m shivering as I get goosebumps.
My head is getting blank.
“Before going to the flower scattering, how about eating some honey candies~?”
Along with a bright voice unsuitable to the situation, my seized hand was released.
More precisely, the man that was grasping my hand got knocked right overhead and fell down to the ground.
“Ah, the candies would be wasted on the likes of you!”
In the next moment, Alica-san raised her leg overhead. Ah, the toes directly hit the crotch of the man who was right in front of Alica-san. While her opponent was caught in voicing his pain, she did a somersault. Without even pausing, Alica-san continued to wave around her long legs, launching her kicks towards the other men’s shoulders.
“Seiren-samaa, are you alriight?”
Just right in front of me, there is Oriza-san who pouted her cheeks while perfectly trampling over the man who just fell down on the ground.
She then scowled. Now, now, she’s totally angry.
Aaah, I’m really not good.
Even though I was told not to be separated, I selfishly moved around by myself instead, and got into trouble.
I understand that I’m good-for-nothing.
“Really, *sigh*. If Saryuu-sama didn’t rush off to find you, it could have become a serious problem, you know?”
“Eh, Saryuu did?”
“Aah, thank goodness, you’re safe-“
“I’m alright. There’s no need to call the guard.”
“Fwohoho. It was a dangerous situation, wasn’t it?”
When I turned my glance towards the direction where Oriza-san pointed, Kanna-san and Minoa-san was running with Saryuu in the lead. And, behind them, an Ojii-san wearing a loose cloth with the star mark on it, followed with his unsteady steps. That alone is noisy enough, so I think it’s really amazing on how people who were immersed with the parade didn’t even notice it. Ah, I shouldn’t escape from the reality.
“We asked Jigen-sensei’s help to find Seiren-sama’s whereabouts-“
“The one who returned Seiren-sama who was separated in a faraway place was me, after all. I still remembered the magical power that remained in Seiren-sama’s body at that time.”
As to why Jigen-san appeared, Oriza-san did a good job in explaining it straightforwardly. As for Jigen-san’s explanation… Ah, uhm… I don’t really understand it, but, in short, he managed to find me using something like a magic radar, I think.
Jigen-san took a long sigh, and then extended his hand. His hand would then drop, only to stroke my head gently.
“I don’t really understand the situation, but you can encounter those kinds of people especially when you walk alone. You must be more careful.”
“Yes, I’m sorry. As to not trouble everyone, I’ll be more careful.”
“Nee-sama, I’m glad you’re safe.”
*Squeeze*, Saryuu hugged me. Ah-, somehow, I feel relieved. But, still…
I have troubled everyone, eh. With just a little of my selfishness.
…I feel really depressed.
With this, I think I should behave myself for quite a while in the mansion.