The day before the Week of the Autumn Banquet, Saryuu and I headed towards the territory of Shikino by carriage. As usual, the servants are accompanying us in the wagon.
“Seiren, Saryuu. Give my greetings to Taiga-dono.”
“Don’t raise too much trouble for them, okay?”
When we were about to go out from the mansion, Tou-san and Kaa-san, and Leo-san who seemed to not go yet, they all went to send us off. However, let’s put aside Tou-san… Kaa-san, we ‘re already at this age, so of course we understand about it.
Anyway, Leo-san lightly tapped my head and Saryuu’s, and then he winked. Somehow, to put it frankly, this person is amazing enough because such kind of a gesture matches him so well.
“The two of you, have a safe tri~p! I will also go there soon.”
“I think it would be better to go there with a more plain look, Leo-san.”
“I will be careful, fufu.”
Nah, is it that weird for you to just dress a little more plain? No matter how I look at it, that’s what I thought as I saw Leo-san who was wearing a glittering clothes that was just as sparkling as a chandelier. Or rather, the reflection from the morning sun is too radiant.
Anyway, thanks to the carriage proceeding slowly, this time, I didn’t get sick at all. Compared to when we went to the villa, the road this time looked even bigger and was well-maintained. Though the road was without any stone paving, it was still properly made smooth, huh.
We took an afternoon break at a village en route and ate our lunch there. Perhaps due to autumn, there were lots of seasonal vegetables being cooked by boiling or stewing, and they were so delicious.
Oh, as expected, Taiga-san was so busy that he didn’t come here. Though I’d honestly get mad if he were to descend with Genjirou from above.
We went out of the village and arrived at the Shikino’s residence at approximately 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The fence surrounding the mansion was stone-built and its height reached around our shoulders, meanwhile there were the so-called iron bars lined up on top of it. Of course, the tip of it was made very sharp.
When I looked at the residence at a glance, the difference I could tell from our residence was that the Shikino-san’s residence was a single-storied house. In exchange to that, the residence was quite huge and that’s why, it might seem a lot bigger than our house. Well, our house is a 3-storied building, though.
“Hee, so the Shikino mansion is a one-story house, huh?”
“Yeah, that’s right. We seemed to start from an ordinary village headman, so whenever there was an expansion, it was built sideways from the main house.”
When I was admiring the mansion, Saryuu who was originally a child of this house told me of it. …Could it be that Touka-san had a complex towards the Shiiya family? When I still had the name Shikino, I also had something similar to a complex towards the other children that were rich, or rather, that had normal parents and came from an ordinary household.1 But now, I don’t have that consciousness anymore.
While we were conversing about that matter, the carriage entered the mansion grounds from the gate. It went forward for a little bit more before stopping at the mansion’s entrance.
A huge roof just like the one in our home was sticking out, and it was made like that in order to not let any guests get wet from the rain or snow. Under that roof, there were several servants and employees lined up in front of the door.
Anyway, even from a distant view, I could tell that Taiga-san was fidgeting around in front of them. Nah, I’m also fidgeting now, though.
When the door of the stopped carriage was opened, Taiga-san immediately extended his hand to me. Whoa, his whole face was smiling! I’m so glad I decided to come here.
“Taiga-san, long time no see.”
Without thinking over it, I took Taiga-san’s hand and went down from the carriage. Ah-, both of his face and his voice were bright, really, this Taiga-san.
“I missed you.”
“Me too, Seiren-sama.”
When I voiced my honest feeling, Taiga-san also nodded. Hehe, I’m so happy.
…Anyway, this seems to be the so-called [typical woman in love], huh? I become unable to see anything else in my surroundings, yup.
That’s why, it completely slipped my head that I was riding the carriage along with Saryuu.
“Ane-sama, Nii-sama. I understand very well that you two are happy to meet each other after such a long time, but doing that in front of the entrance, it’s a bit…”
“Mm. I-I will be more careful.”
It is terribly pathetic for a biological brother whose age is quite far older and for an elder stepsister to get lectured by the little brother who showed a stunned expression. Nah really, I seriously wasn’t able to see my surroundings.
After straightening himself in a fluster, Taiga-san faced us again. When he looks like this, it’s easy to see that he is really a young feudal lord. Uhm, it feels like his solemnity is coming out. Yup.
“Seiren-sama, welcome to the Shikino mansion. Saryuu, you’ve come as well, huh?”
“Yes. Since I’ve decided that I’d protect Ane-sama until Ane-sama gets married to Nii-sama.”
“Hahaha, you should find your own princess soon, okay?”
Yes, I also think so. Nonetheless, Saryuu doesn’t seem to socialize with women that much, other than me, Kaa-san, and the maids—I wonder what should we do? Will he find her during the Spring and Autumn Festival, or will he find her through a matchmaking?
…Since there’s the problem of his partner’s house, I bet it’d be through a matchmaking.2
“Now then, you must be tired from the long trip. The loading of the luggage seems to be finished, so let us guide you to the prepared room. Saya.”
When Taiga-san called, a nearby maid-san quickly stepped forward. The outfit used by the Shikino’s maid-san had a basic strong green tone, and I feel refreshed from looking at it, as I was so used to seeing blue uniform.
Since she was called Saya, that means… this person is Kaya-san’s little sister, isn’t she? Yup, her overall aura is similar to Kaya-san. Kaya-san has a bulky and heavy atmosphere around her, but this Saya-san feels like she has a solid core. Uhm, I can’t really describe it well.3
Wait, just when did the luggage get carried in…? When I thought of it, I came to realize… Just when did the servants who were lined up behind Taiga-san suddenly vanish? The servants and their wagon that came here together with the carriage where Saryuu and I was in—I also can’t see their figures at all.
Eh-, could it happen during the time when I was unable to see my surroundings? Awesome. Or rather, just to what extent did I doze off in my happiness? From the other’s point of view, it would seem like I was a young girl who dozed off in her happiness from finally meeting her good-looking fiance after a long time… I’m extremely embarrassed now, oi!
W-well, let’s set aside my own embarrassment for now.
“Saya, you look so lively as always.”
Saya-san was the one who worked as Saryuu’s wet nurse. To Saryuu, she seemed to be a foster parent who raised him. That might be why he greeted her in a very delightful tone.
Uhm, I somehow understand. I also got very happy when I met again with the orphanage director who raised me, after not seeing him for quite a long time.
“Yes. Saryuu-sama also looks to be full of spirit, I’m so glad.”
“Yes. This is Seiren-neesama. She’s my kind elder sister.”
“I wonder if I’m kind, though…? I’m Seiren, please take care of me.”
“I’m Saya. Welcome, and please enjoy your stay.”
When I bowed after Saryuu did, Saya-san also bowed her head deeply. Aah yeah, I feel like somehow I can understand why she was nominated as Saryuu’s wet nurse. It’s only my vague hunch, though.
When Saya-san raised her head, Taiga-san instructed her to guide us around. Hearing that, I received a little damage.
“Go and guide Seiren-sama and Saryuu to their respective rooms. I still have a meeting with a village headman that I should attend after this.”
“Eh, you still have some work to do?”
“Yes. I’m really sorry. Actually, I must be the one to guide you there, but…”
Is that so? Taiga-san seems to be seriously depressed. I can’t, I can’t, I must not let him get depressed. I must try to cheer him up.
“…No problem. Take care, and please do your best at work.”
“Yes. Then, I’m off.”
When I smiled with all of my might, Taiga-san’s face got brighter as well. Is it fine for him to be this simple even though he is already in his early thirties?
Well, for the time being, it’s good that he seems to get motivated. All of us sent him off as he went away while riding Genjirou—it’s a figure that I haven’t seen in a long time.
- Refers to when she was still a ‘he’, and when she was “Shikino Seiren”, the boy from the orphanage/institution. …though she is on the way to return to being a Shikino~! ↩
- If it’s not so clear, the problem of his partner’s house means that his partner should come from a house/family with an appropriate noble status or social standing. ↩
- Yes, it’s Seiren saying that she can’t describe her impressions of the sisters. I assume that Kaya-san exudes a more domineering atmosphere while Saya-san exudes an air of strictness. ↩