After that point, well, things turned to be quite difficult.
No, after all, the people attending this banquet today had indeed come to see me, right? Then, I had to greet them in turns.
It’s good that the method of greeting by putting our glasses in a toast is the same as the other world’s, but that’s not the problem for now. Since my mother who entered together with me is now busy with greeting other people, and despite Yuzuruha-san is unexpectedly paying so much attention to me, in the end, I have to greet the people by myself.
Example number one. The uncle who’s standing out as a plump and fat merchant. I wonder why this person is wearing so many rings at once? I wonder if it’s because they can be converted into money whenever something happened? However, he seems to be a good person, uhm…
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Seiren-sama. I’m governing a territory that’s located at a western side from here, my name is Kushima.”
“Kushima-san, is it? Pleased to meet you.”
“Yeah. The dress that Seiren-sama is wearing right now seems to be made using the silk from our territory, huh?”
“Ah, is that so? I’m sorry for my lack of knowledge. However, it feels comfortable to wear and I like it.”
“Ooh, it seems to have won your favor already, Ojou-sama.”
I see, the silk, huh? Since there was enough demand from good houses, it seemed to be quite profitable. Actually, this dress can be used to move smoothly without any disturbances. Its texture is also good.
Example number two, the uncle with his tough short hair. Uhm well, at a glance, I feel like he seems to be welcoming customers at the riverside fish market, or so I thought.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Seiren-sama. I’m Kadzuki who’s working for the feudal lord at the east port city.”
“Kadzuki-san, is it? Pleased to meet you. Since it’s a port city, are the people over there able to catch a lot of good fishes?”
“Yes, and we’re also making money of it even in this town. To be frank, I was formerly a fisherman.”
“Hee, I see. Since the fishes are delicious, then it’s reasonable.”
My hunch was right. No matter in which world it is, the feeling that fishermen gives off is quite the same.
But well, thank you for the delicious fishes. The territory of Shiiya isn’t close to the sea, so perhaps it’s thanks to Kadzuki-san and the people over there that we can eat sea fishes, huh?
Example number 3, a normal uncle. Yes, he seems to be wearing good outfits with his utmost effort, but he looks like a normal uncle.
I clapped my hands together as I thought that it was somehow easy to see through, and well, that seems to be quite reasonable.
“I’m Kariba, the head of a town who’s in the territory of the Shiiya family. I should have greeted Ojou-sama earlier, but…”
“Kariba-san, is it? No, it’s also my fault for having a lot of things to do. I had a lot of fun at the Spring Festival.”
“Ooh, then I’m glad. There were talks about how the delinquents acted violently at that time, so I was afraid that something might happen to Ojou-sama…”
“I went there with the servants, so everything was fine. Leaving that aside, please take care of the townspeople.”
“Such a considerate words… This Kariba will definitely do his best for the sake of the city, and I’ll be wagering my life for it.”
To put it simply, he is a town mayor.
Oh, thank you for your hard work. That was my bad for adding more pressure, really, it was my fault. It might be late to say it now, but sorry.
Oh well, there were more patterns like this afterward. Incidentally, there seemed to be bachelors all over the place, but the oldest one seemed to have exceeded 30 years in age, while the gap to the youngest one was quite wide, as the youngest one seemed to be around the age of 1X-ish, and he seemed even younger than Saryuu. What the hell is going on with this? So I thought, but in the meantime… according to Yuzuruha-san’s information, the men of the marriageable age were mostly already married or were going to the army. I see.
Nevertheless, I feel tired.
As expected from my first meeting with them, although there was no one who said anything about being their son’s bride, it was still somehow quite obvious, well. Or should I say that I can tell from their gazes?
Well, I admit that I’m not unaffected at all by those men in that kind of a way. After all, I was a man up until last spring. But well-, it’s tough because I understand how they’d want to evaluate me.
If a conversation was prolonged to a certain extent, there would be some servants or maids who held a tray and approached me while asking, “Would you like some drinks?”, so using that chance, I’d leave after saying, “Then, if you’d excuse me”. Even so, their gazes were still running after me. Or rather, despite having lots of foods being lined up, I really don’t have any time to eat them, huh? It’s a right decision to have a light meal earlier.
Meanwhile, the guests whose first meeting with me were done somewhere else finally approached me.
“Aah, our turn finally comes. It’s been quite difficult, isn’t it, Seiren-sama?”
“Ah, Touya-san. And Taiga-san, too.”
I’m glad that Taiga-san came, but the person next to him is Touya-san, after all. Nah, if I were to look at him without any prejudice, then I’d think that they were a wonderful pair of father and son.
Even when I look at him again, he really resembles the orphanage director. Though I don’t understand what kind of face I’m making right now, for the time being, let’s smile. He came here as one of the guests today, after all.
“Thank you for going through the trouble to come here today.”
“No, no. If it’s for Maya-dono’s daughter’s debut party, then there’s no way that this Shikino Touya won’t be rushing to come here.”
Since it’s Kaa-san’s daughter’s debut party, huh?
I wonder if this person’s still pretty much in love with my mother? And somehow, I seem to take after my mother a lot.
This person, could he have something towards me who’s my mother’s daughter?
I sighed a little bit, and Taiga-san caught a glimpse of my sigh.
“Even so, Seiren-sama. You’ve worked hard today, but are you all right?”
“Eeh, well… this is my first time being in this place. In addition, since there are so many people coming here, I can’t seem to remember them that well.”
Since Taiga-san has been familiar with me more or less, it should be easy for him to understand that my face is having a cramp.
It’s hard to match their faces with their names and remember them. Though it’s not so bad when it comes to discerning which are servants and employees, which are fishermen, and which are town mayors. My first meeting with Taiga-san is impactful in a sense, and Touya-san has a familiar face, so there’s no way I’d forget them.
So, when I began to feel slightly troubled, Taiga-san told me, “Everything’s going to be all right.”
Touya-san took two glasses from Kaya-san who passed by exactly at that time, and handed me one while saying, “Here you go.” Taiga-san had already been holding a glass, so we made a toast as our glasses made a small sound. Because I’ve made sure that it contained only soft drink, it should be fine.
“Shiiya family’s butler should have known all people who’ve come here. Though it’s natural as they all had to show their written invitations.”
“Yeah. That’s why, it’s better for you to ask him later on. Perhaps he also has portraits containing their data.”
“Understood. Thank you very much.”
I see, I’m saved, then. By portraits, which means their pictures, right? [1. “Portraits” that Taiga said was written in Japanese as 絵姿，meanwhile “pictures” that Seiren said was written in Japanese as 似顔絵.] This world has no photos, so the portraits are the substitutes.
Once I was relieved, I drank up my drink in one gulp. The cider that contained Cheria fruits was very refreshing and delicious.
Suddenly, the music began to play.
As I looked towards the curtains in front of me, the red curtain was being pulled from both sides, and there was a stage over there. So, in no time, the orchestra that was called here—or I wonder if it’s alright for me to address them like that—anyway, those people began their musical performance.
The form of the musical instruments were fundamentally similar to those of the other world’s, like how one instrument was similar to a violin with their cylindrical container, and the wind instrument was slightly undulated.
Taiga-san who noticed the music playing just like me, smiled cheerfully while looking at me. Then, he brought his hand closer to his chest as if he was being all formal. Ah, this is…
“Seiren-sama, would you mind dancing with me?”
As I expected-. Well, this is my first time to be actually dancing, so it might as well be with the person I know. Taiga-san seemed to have practiced dancing just for this day, too. …How amazing, trying to appeal via our correspondence.
“I’m not good at it, but if you’re fine with me.”
“I will take the lead, so please be relieved.”
“…Then, sure. Please take care of me.”
That’s why I obediently took his stretched hand. Ah-, I felt relieved. Because I met him in summer, I felt somehow that it was fine being with Taiga-san like this.
…Yup. I seemed to be pleased with Taiga-san. Though I’m not even so sure in what kind of meaning.
“Then, see you later, Father.”
“Yeah. Go on, Taiga.”
When Taiga-san lightly bowed his head, Touya-san bent his glass slightly while nodding.
Touya-san seemed to have a happy face, but in my eyes, he didn’t seem to be smiling.
I wonder to what extent he saw me as [my mother’s daughter]?
It’s a bit scary.
“Are you all right, Seiren-sama?”
Suddenly, I couldn’t see Touya-san’s face anymore. Apparently, Taiga-san seemed to have used his own body to hide Touya-san’s face quite well. Really, I’m indebted quite a lot to this person.
“Aah-, well, somehow.”
Since I felt relieved with just that, I nodded honestly. Then, Taiga-san nodded and whispered to me while we continued to dance.
“…My father seems to be thinking of Maya-dono even now. His relationship with my mother was merely for the sake of producing a successor for the Shikino family.”
“I-is that so?”
Even so, I wonder how it will be? The feudal lord’s family, I wonder if it’s something like that?
…As I nodded, I noticed one thing. Why did he use a past tense for his last sentence?
“Uhm, about Taiga-san’s mother…”
“Roughly around 5 years ago, due to her illness…”
Whoa, I heard something unexpected. I-in any case, let’s continue to do my best in dancing, since it will be bad if I were to step on Taiga-san’s feet, so I have to match his rhythm properly.
Though my voice as I said my apology was quite low, Taiga-san managed to hear it well.
I wonder why this person likes me. There should have been a better person for him.
After all, I was still a man until roughly 3 months ago, you know?
“By the way, Seiren-sama.”
“Eh, ah, what is it?”
“You’re quite skillful at dancing.”
“T-thank you, very much.”
No, well, there’s no need to praise me that far. The fact that I’m quite poor at it was hidden because I could somehow match my rhythm with Taiga-san.
…I’m happy, though.