“Ha-, so tiireed.”
“Seiren-sama, your manner is slightly bad.”
Towards the words that unconsciously leaked out of my mouth, Alica-san commented. Nah, really, sorry.
I mean… I completely spent the time to choose the souvenirs such as scarves for my mother and neckties for my father with everyone else, including Leo. Along the way, we also properly ate lunch and I also ate a set of cakes as my snack, though.
Ah-, the reason why women needed a long time to go shopping, now I managed to understand it well. As the items were lined up in a horizontal line, this and that were equally good, and it was so difficult to choose.
“Oh dear? Princess is still so young, though.”
Leo-san also commented as he laughed happily. Ah- well, it’s true that I’m still young, but this and that are different matters. Ever since I came here, I haven’t been exercising that much. There’s this fat image branded to rich people, but well, I wonder if I’ve been gaining weight?
“That’s right, but I rarely exercise.”
“I see. Now that you mention it, you were recuperating, right?”
Leo-san interpretted my reply in a different way and nodded in understanding. That’s right, for most people, I’m a sick daughter who had been recuperating. I often forget that setting, so I wonder if it will be fine this way?
“Nee-sama, if you’re tired, shall we return to the Shikino mansion quickly?”
“That’s right. As expected, Seiren-sama might have overworked herself from being in such a high spirit-.”
At Saryuu’s words and at what Oriza-san pointed out, I began to think that they might be right. Now that they mention it, I’ve been playing around without any restriction, and isn’t this the first time ever since I came here? My stamina might have decreased ever since I became a woman, too.
“…Yes, that’s right. I still want to play more, but if I were to collapse like that, then I will only become a bother to everyone, right?”
It can’t be helped, then. There is still next year’s harvest festival, so it will be fine as long as I can come and play again by that time. Besides, these people won’t only be here during the festival, they will always be around this neighborhood because this is where they’re living.
“Understood. Kanna, prepare the carriage.”
“Ye-s, leave it to me!”
“Ah, Minoa-san, go accompany her. It’s dangerous to go alone.”
“I understand. Then, please come along slowly.”
After sending off Kanna-san and Minoa-san who ran together, Leo-san nodded and said, “Yosh”. As he turned to look at us, he also glanced at Ayato-san for a moment. When I looked at Ayato-san who nodded, it seemed like they could communicate their intention with just those gestures. That’s amazing.
“I’d like to tag along, but I still have quite a bit business to take care of from now on. I will be lending Ayato-san so that he could assist you with bringing the luggage until you reach where the carriages are at.”
“Eh, is that all right?”
Since he suddenly said so, I spontaneously widened my eyes. No, I mean, even if Maito-san is there, Ayato-san is also Leo-san’s guard, right? If we were to borrow him, then in the worst case that something were to happen to Leo-san… No, it’s not like I feel something wrong, though, but still.
“If something were to happen to Princess, I will be scolded by everyone here, especially by the head of the Shikino family. I’m also doing this for my own sake, so just obediently accept it, okay?”
Leo-san answered like that while smiling as usual. Uhm… that part about getting scolded by Taiga-san and the other fief population, that must be a joke, right? At any rate, Leo-san just said to bring Ayato-san with us.
It doesn’t feel right to refuse without any reason. Since it’s only until where the carriages are, I guess it’s fine for us to borrow him for a while. Yup.
“I-if that’s the case… Uhm, is Saryuu also fine with this?”
“Ah, yes. If Nee-sama is fine with this, then…”
“What about everyone else?”
“Yes-. To be honest, I’ll feel saved since he’s going to help us carry the luggage.”
“If that’s the case, then, please lend us a hand, Ayato-san.”
“Please leave it to me, Seiren-sama.”
Saryuu also seemed fine, and judging from Oriza-san’s words that leaked out the maids’ ulterior motive, there didn’t seem to be any dissenting opinion, so we obediently asked for his assistance.
Ayato-san received the luggage casually as if it was something natural and smiled with a nonchalant air. After that, he calmly looked at Maito-san who quietly stood to protect Leo-san’s back.
“Maito, I’ll be entrusting Leo-sama to you.”
“Leave it to me.”
Maito-san only said a few words and slightly nodded as he accepted Ayato-san’s gaze.
“Bye bye-! See ya-!” Leo-san said his farewell words which fell to the same type as Oriza-san’s “unable to read the situation” type, and then he disappeared among the crowd of people along with Maito-san. We also decided to quickly go to the carriage’s spot.
As we walked together like this, I vaguely felt the urge to ask something to Ayato-san who was walking behind me. Though I think that he may not answer me properly.
“…It doesn’t seem like Leo-san came here just to play around, right?”
“Why do you think so?”
Ayato-san calmly asked back. I answered, “I guess it’s my intuition,” and then I tried to stick another reason to my answer. I was more or less curious about it, so it isn’t like I’m fully fabricating my reasons.
“He seemed to have something to discuss with Taiga-san, and he also paid me a great attention, so…”[1. Attention here means care or looking out for someone’s safety—it doesn’t imply anything like a romantic feeling.] “Leo-sama has a slightly meddlesome personality. That’s why Maito-san and I are sometimes troubled.”
Ayato-san’s answer to my remarks was still quite ambiguous. But well, it seemed like he seriously paid a great amount of attention to me, so I was thankful for that. My first impression for him was quite bad, but it has been improved quite considerably. Yup.
As soon as we arrived at where the carriages are, my name was suddenly called. Since it’s a voice that I’ve gotten familiar with for these past dew days, I can quickly know who it is, so I felt relieved. Speaking of which, she was looking over us from a slightly distant place, right?
“Ah, Fubuki-san. Have you come to pick us up?”
“Yes. I thought that it’d be time for you to go back soon.”
“Thank you very much. Everything seems to be all right today.”
“That seems to be the case. I’m relieved that nothing happened. The carriages have been prepared over there.”
Though she was dressed in a village girl style, her mannerism when she deeply bowed was clearly a maid’s. Fubuki-san extended her hand and pointed at the direction where the carriages were waiting. Ah, Kanna-san and Minoa-san are waving their hands side-to-side over there.
“Seiren-sama, is it okay to place your luggage over there?”
“Ah, thank you very much, Ayato-san. We’re really saved. I think you can put them at where Minoa-san is.”
Ayato-san hadn’t taken the luggage down even once. He then brought the luggage and placed it next to where Minoa-san had been waiting. The two of them then began to load the luggage, so it seemed like they agreed to put the luggage there. Nah, it wasn’t something too heavy or too bulky, but even so, we were told that the luggage shouldn’t be placed on the carriage where Saryuu and I would be riding in.[2. If it’s not clear, it seemed like there are at least two different carriages being used (one by the masters: Saryuu and Seiren), and the other would be used by the maids—the luggage was loaded to the other carriage instead of the one that Seiren and Saryuu would be using.] They really bothered with strange things like that huh? Really.
When they were done, Ayato-san came back here. Then, he bowed his head at me and Saryuu.
“It’s finished. With this, I will excuse myself.”
“Yes. Really, thank you very much. Please give my best regards to Leo-san.”
“I will convey it to him. Seiren-sama, please don’t forget Leo-sama’s words.”
After he made sure of it, he bowed his head deeply at us again. After that, Ayato-san left us.
His way of walking, along with his posture that was similar to Yuzuruha-san’s, seemed pretty, and he barely made any sound of footsteps. I wonder if all of the male servants or employees are having that way of walking?
After his retreating figure disappeared among the crowd, Fubuki-san suddenly looked at me with a curious expression.
“Is he your acquaintance?”
“Yeah. To be more accurate, he’s my acquaintance’s escort, and he helped us to bring over our purchased goods.”
After answering, I remembered something and quickly took out one scarf from the luggage I was carrying, so that I could quickly hand it over. It’s a scarf with a deep crimson floral leaves pattern, and it’s overall a simple scarf. Strangely, Maito-san was the one who told me that this color might have matched well with the green-colored uniform that the Shikino maids are wearing.
“This is a souvenir for Fubuki-san.”
And I intended to give that scarf to Fubuki-san. She suddenly ceased to move, then she alternately shifted her gaze towards my face and the scarf many times over.
“Yes. Please consider this as a reward for protecting me.”
After all, I have brought something for everyone, and I’ve also been indebted to Fubuki-san.
When I said those words affectionately, Fubuki-san’s face showed a thinking expression for a little bit. And then, she obediently received the scarf.
“…Thank you… very much.”
Ah, she was being bashful. Her smiling face normally looks cute, so this is very unfortunate. Well, I will be wondering about what’s wrong if she were to smile without being able to read the atmosphere just like Oriza-san, though.
“Now, shall we go home?”
As expected, my voice becomes a sign as everyone begins to ride the carriages after that.
Saryuu, it’s fine for you to be the one who take the command, okay? Someday, you’re going to be the head of the Shiiya family, after all.
…At any rate.
Don’t forget Leo-san’s words, is it?