To be honest, for a moment I considered allowing Surfania to return to the mansion.
It may sound a little cold-hearted, but I thought that I’d have one of the servants take Surfania back and have the remaining servant and guard accompany me and Mishuli. In other words, I did not think that it would be such a bad idea for us sisters to enjoy being incognito together without her.
Though, I would never have expected Surfania to come back crying in the way that she did.
Mishuli had almost never cried as a child, and so I had no experience with crying children. However, I was always up for new experiences. It was me who had thought that leaving the house was a good idea after all. It would look bad if I turned back on my words now, and so I tried to soothe the whiney Surfania so we could move on and look at the shops.
“Surfania. You must stop this crying already…”
“I’m not crying…” she sniffed.
“Miss Surfania, are you alright?”
“…I, I’m just fine!”
Well, she had no choice but to hold back those tears when not only a genius, but even Mishuli who was two years her junior, was looking at her with concern. Before we knew it, Surfanai had stubbornly started to move forward.
“Come on, I don’t have all day!”
She was as obstinate as ever. But seeing as she was tightly holding my hand this time, Surfania was at least capable of learning.
Even so, she was still quite stupid.
“…Where is she going?”
Surfania was pulling us with no particular destination. I and Mishuli wondered about this and giggled to ourselves. It would be the first time any of us had ever come here, so there was no way that Surfania would know where anything was. She was just moving off her initial momentum.
Well, it was not as if we had any plans ourselves, and so we followed Surfania and walked around.
“I’d like to eat something as we walk…”
“There do not seem to be any stores.”
At first, we had been shocked by the number of people here, but once we got used to it, we were able to inspect things more closely. There were extravagant stalls by merchants who owned stores and stalls that were just small tents that lined the road.
At a glance, the market looked unorganized, but there was apparently a set of rules in place. This was likely a district for selling household goods and entertainment items. But even then, there were so many things that we had never seen before.
Though there was nothing yet, that was appealing enough to buy. As we wandered aimlessly around, Surfania’s suddenly stopped in her tracks.
“What is it?”
I followed Surfania’s gaze and saw a street corner that was shaded by a large awning.
Its making was clearly very different from all the other stores we’d seen until now. What was it for? As I focused on it, a dry clicking sound entered my ears. Before I discovered what it was, I was able to guess why Surfania had stopped here.
“Sister. What are they doing?”
“It’s a board game. It’s a game where you move the pieces around and try to take each other’s pieces.”
It was the same board game that I and Surfania regularly played. There were round tables lined up under the awning with people playing at each one. It looked like it was a small game house. Likely, some of these tables involved gambling.
Mishuli seemed to have no interest in it. It was a normal reaction given that she didn’t even know the rules of this game she was being introduced to.
However, Surfania loved these sorts of games.
She was staring hungrily at this corner of the street. It was the longest gaze she had given to anything since we arrived at this market.
Good grief, I think as I shrug my shoulders.
“Surfania. Do you want to go inside?”
“…I don’t mind accompanying you if you are so interested.”
Why did she have to be so willful? In spite of her words, she was clearly restless. I couldn’t help but smile as I saw this.
“Yes, yes. I am so very interested in it. So please come with us, Surfania. Right, Mishuli?”
“Yes. I want to go in too!”
Mishuli had quickly caught on with what I was doing and nodded with a look of sincerity.
“I, see. I suppose I have no choice then. Let us go.”
I was feeling quite sorry for her at this point, and so I decided to allow her to have her pride while leading her to what she wanted.
And so we went inside of the shop and were immediately greeted by the endless sounds of game pieces being moved on the board. Surfania reacted the most by these sounds. She looked even more restless than before as her eyes moved here and there, scanning different boards.
Most of the people here were adults, but if given the choice, I’d rather play with people our own age. That would work better with my plan to become independent from my sister. As I was considering this, I discovered a table that was surrounded by children who seemed to average at about ten years old. People would often conflate age and skill, so the younger players had naturally been separated into their own group.
Luckily for us, it seemed that their game had just ended, and the person who had lost got up from his seat. Apparently, this was a kind of a tournament where the loser had to give up their seat.
“Surfania. Why don’t you give it a try?”
“…I think I will.”
She replied somewhat stiffly to my suggestion. Surfania had never come to such a place before, nor had she ever competed against anyone but me. So she was probably nervous. She was moving stiffly, but took a seat all the same.
Well, who was her opponent then? I and Mishuli joined the small group of spectators and looked to see who Surfania would be playing against. I let out a sound of surprise when I saw a familiar face.
Leon looked in our direction as he heard his name being called.
“Huh? Mishuli! …And…”
His face lit up as he first saw Mishuli, who had called his name. Then he looked towards the person whose hand Mishuli was holding and he immediately turned pale began to stutter.
“…Wha, what brings you here? My lady.”
“You have no right to be calling me ‘my lady.’”
I said flatly to Leon, whose voice was shaking rather pathetically. For some reason, he was shivering as if he were scared.
Surfania looked at this scene, which she had no prior knowledge of. She could only tilt her head in confusion.