“Ah, Princess, Little Master. Welcome!”[1. Princess / Hime-sama: how Seiren is called, Little Master / Bocchama: how Saryuu is called.]
When I went to the shop where I ate the mitarashi dango on the festival’s first day, the shopkeeper auntie remembered me and gave a warm greeting.[2. Mitarashi dango is skewered rice dumplings in a sweet soy glaze.] It seemed that the bamboo broom that she used the other day was actively used to sweep the store’s front today, too. I wonder if it was fine using it to hit people and whether the bamboo broom was alright or not?
“I’m glad. You really came again, along with Little Master!”
“Yeah. I promised, after all.”
After we took out seats near the table, we quickly made our orders. Though the mitarashi dango was delicious, but today… ah-, looking at the menu, there seems to be ohagi.[3. Ohagi is a rice ball coated with sweetened red beans, soybean flour or sesama.] Let’s order this.
“Thank you very much. From now on, I can boast about how Princess has visited this store twice.”
“Hehe. If that’s really great, then feel free to boast it as much as you like. Ah, I’d like to order this and… this tea, too.”
“I will order the dango that I ate before. As for the tea, I’ll order the same one as Nee-sama.”
“Yes, yes. Everyone, feel free to order, too.”
After Saryuu ordered, the maids also made their orders one after another. For some reason, everyone also ordered green tea. Could it be because I ordered it first? Well, that’s fine, though.
The young waitress who brought the dango and ohagi to us seemed to be Saryuu’s fan, if I had to say it. She normally placed the ohagi that I ordered, but she placed the dango that Saryuu ordered with her glittering eyes as she said, “Here you go!” Haha, that’s good. You’re quite popular huh, dear little brother?
“Little master, your outfit today is so stylish!”
“Eh, really? Thanks, I went through the trouble of choosing it.”
“As expected! Little master, your fashion sense is so good!”
Yosh, Saryuu, that’s good for you to stop your words there. No matter what, if you were to say that you chose your outfit so that it could match your big sister’s in front of a young lady whose eyes turned into heart shapes from looking at the little master that she admired, I’m really going to retort and pretend I’d hit you, yup.
Well, if it were me, perhaps I might have said that inadvertently. Haha, even if I think about it after becoming a woman, that is still not good-. No matter even if it’s your own relative, it’s still not good to thoughtlessly talk about another woman in front of another lady. Yup.
“Speaking of which, Princess. What was going on with those rowdy people, in the end?”
“Rowdy people? Aah, the ones who were hit by the bamboo broom?”
“I apologize for showing such an embarrassing thing. After all, it was inconceivable for me that those foolish guys who dared to lay their hands on our young master’s princess actually existed in this territory.”
“No, it wasn’t embarrassing. I was saved instead. Thank you very much.”
Auntie, it is exactly because I’m Taiga-san’s fiancee that they chose to go for me. So, it’s not me, but this auntie seems to really adore Taiga-san, huh? Well, he is a good feudal lord, after all.
“Even I do not understand it very well. I guess they came to extort money or goods from a rich young girl? With the exception of Saryuu, everyone there were all girls.”
“Is it because I’m not reliable, Nee-sama?”
“It’s because they considered you as a child. In addition, there were quite plenty of opponents, right? I’m sure that they thought they’d be able to succeed even if Saryuu was there.”
Saryuu’s cheeks turned sulky, but well, it can’t be helped. I wonder why didn’t those guys take me seriously just because I am a girl? Though it’s true that I don’t have any redeeming feature, and I also can’t fight well.
“They have received their rewards for taking the Shiiya’s maids lightly.”
“As long as there are these dango and this tea, I’m invincible.”
Beside Oriza-san who was smiling as she stuffed her cheeks with the ohagi, Minoa-san ate up a skewer of mitarashi dango in one go. I see, she likes mitarashi dango, huh?
“Ah, excuse me. If there’s a trick to brew this tea to make it more delicious, would you mind telling me about it?”
“Saryuu-sama, there’s some food sticking on your cheek. It’d be fine to eat more slowly, right? The dango won’t run away, after all.”
“Ah, sorry, Maki.”
Alica-san received her second cup of tea after eating her dango quickly, and while she was at it, she asked for the method to brew the tea. I wonder if it’s all right for me to be expecting it for when we return to the mansion-?
Anyway, Saryuu’s cheek was wiped by Maki-san. Hey you, why is it that you’d eat messily in this kind of a place, when you could eat something neatly when you’re in the mansion? I guess that’s why he’s still viewed like a child, though.
“Really, this tea is so delicious, right? Uhm, where were these tea leaves sold?”
“Aah, it’s also being sold at our store. Since it’s like that, would you like to buy some?”
“Then, that’s good. I’d like to buy these tea leaves, please. Aah, I’m also buying some for Seiren-sama’s portion.”
Kanna-san and Tokino-san got the tea leaves. I’m really grateful for them to also buy some for my portion. Hoo-ray! I can drink green tea even after we return to the mansion, then-!
After taking a short rest, we went out of the shop and walked down the road. There are so many decorations made of the ear of rice on the wall, perhaps it’s something similar to a good-luck charm to pray for the abundant harvest or the well-being of a family, and there are also various things being sold.[4. Ear in botany means the grain-bearing tip part of the stem of a cereal plant.]
The cloth store is selling a tapestry with some patterns that just match the season right now, and also scarves that would be used in the upcoming winter. Since we’ve come all the way here, I let everyone choose one sheet for me to buy them. It can be considered as my return gift for the tea leaves.
I’m not sure if it can be worn or not, but I also bought Taiga-san a cloth that had different color from what I chose. The cloth had the same checkered pattern, and mine was blue, while Taiga-san’s was orange-colored. I’m not sure why I chose those colors, but oh well.
By the time I went out of the cloth store, suddenly I found an existence that caught my eyes. Eh, what?
“I finally found you, Princess-!”
“Whoa… Ah, it’s plain.”
No, sorry, before I could even greet him, my thoughts leaked out.
After all, Leo-san was wearing a plain monotone outfit. However, since the ones together with him, Ayato-san was wearing brown outfits and Maito-san was wearing blue outfits, for some reason, this person became conspicuous in a different sense.
“Oh my, is that your first words to me?”
“S-sorry. Long time no see, Leo-san.”
When he pointed that out with a slightly dissatisfied voice, I bowed my head in a panic. No, really, it was so surprising to see him wearing plain clothes after not seeing him for quite a while. Sorry.
“You see, the clothes that you wore when you flew to our house have been etched in my memories.”
“Ahaha, that’s my bad, then.”
He was literally flying, however it was because he was riding on a horse. This person then clapped my shoulders and shrugged his shoulders while smiling as if he was troubled. I wonder why, but this kind of gesture totally suited this person.
“As you can see, even I can read the atmosphere. I thought that it’d be weird to wear something really red at this harvest festival.”
“The red color would assimilate with the floral leaves, right?”
“That’s right, the cloth will flutter like the Cheria’s floral leaves. Wait, come on, Saryuu-chan!”
Why did you just go along with the joke? Well, in the first place, that’s just how this person is, so it can’t be helped, or well, the two people who are accompanying him are now making an apologetic face. Thank you for your hard work each and every time.
Anyway, there was a voice that came out from among the surrounding fief population that seemed like it wanted to tease someone.
“Oh my, Prince, are you trying to hit on our Princess?[5. Leo is called “Prince” or Ouji-sama in Japanese. Princess here refers to Seiren, as she was called as Hime-sama.] If that’s the case, then I won’t forgive you.”
“No way, I understand. I’m not that reckless to that extent. I was asked by the young master to escort the princess.”
Ahaha, Leo-san laughed as he answered. Eh, Taiga-san, did you really ask Leo-san to do that?
“What, so it’s that kind of thing, huh? Then, please escort her properly, okay?”
Towards the auntie who raised her voice just now, Leo-san waved his hand and answered. He glanced at me and then winked with his eyes that looked even plainer than before.
Come to think of it, his make-up was considerably thinner. And that’s how I thought it was plain, didn’t I?
Anyway, I’m a princess, Saryuu is the little master, and Leo-san is a prince, huh? The people here sure have interesting ways of addressing people.
“Well, therefore, can we escort you guys for a short while? Saryuu-chan is also included.”
“Did Nii-sama really ask you to do that?”
“Yes, of course.”
Immediately after Saryuu asked, he nodded and tapped his chest. Eh, did this person unexpectedly have a thick chest? Well, he practiced swordsmanship, so it wouldn’t be weird for him to develop muscles, though.
“I was asked by the young master to protect the princess. If I was asked of such thing, there’s no way I could not accept it, right?”
“T-thanks for your help.”
“No problem, don’t mention it, we’re also sorry for troubling you-.”
“It is us who should say so, sorry for troubling Leo-sama.”
“Sorry. I won’t hold you back.”
For this Leo-san who was smiling almost all the time to be a guard, I guess anyone wouldn’t have realized it, right? Regardless of Ayato-san and Maito-san’s presences. Or rather, Maito-san, I can understand even if you aren’t making such a troubled expression like that, so it’s alright.
Suddenly, Leo-san lowered his voice after turning his gaze around our surroundings. It was as if he deliberately did that in order not to let someone near us to overhear the conversation. In addition, his expression strangely turned serious. When you look at this person like this, he looks quite cool, though.
“Understand? You have to be careful tonight.”
“Don’t lock the louver door that’s facing the garden. If something were to happen, please jump out from there. We’ll go over there.”
…Leo-san finished saying that without even caring for Saryuu’s and my expressions which were full of question marks.
In other words, will something happen later? Leo-san was completely talking under the premise that something is bound to happen later.
Or rather, with his way of speaking, it was almost certain that someone would come to assault us tonight, or that’s what I felt from it. And, at Taiga-san’s mansion, too.
“Something is going to happen, huh?”
“Well, something like that.”
…We have no choice but to be prepared, huh? At any rate, there are still some remnants of Touka-san’s faction.
Darn it, don’t bother Taiga-san more than this, really!
“…Understood. Saryuu, do you also understand?”
“Y-yes. If Nee-sama says so.”
“I’m saved because you two are really sensible. Yosh.”
After Saryuu and I nodded, with just the word of “Yosh,” coming out of Leo-san, his serious expression vanished. His face returned to the usual smiley face, and then he asked us.
“So, princesses, you’re all going home tomorrow, right? I wonder what would be a good souvenir to give Mondo-ojisama and Maya-obasama?”