Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 2 Chapter 2 Part 8
Belfast then said while looking at what she had gathered up until now.
「If Warspite-sama is making a wreath, then in order not to double the gifts I will make a Christmas tree.」
「They are all made from sea materials, after all.」
Hearing Warspite’s words, Belfast chuckled slightly.
「But for beings such as us, isn’t this a very fitting choice of materials?」
「Well, usually, I guess that might actually be true.」
It took longer than expected for the two of them to get the necessary permission to “go fishing” outside of the Home Port, and by the time they were all ready with their gathering, the sun was already starting to set behind the horizon.
「For the time being, how about we limit the number of materials we gathered to this exact amount and start heading back home, shall we?」
Belfast looked towards the general direction of the Home Port island as she was saying that.
If they won’t be back home before the sun completely disappears behind the horizon, Belfast was afraid that they might get late for helping with the dinner preparations.
「Belfast, do you have a moment before that?」
Warspite said so and started walking forward without saying anything more. Just when Belfast thought they were going to set for the sea, Warspite turned to the side and started walking alongside the sandy beach. The Head Maid cocked her head in puzzlement and followed right after her.
Since this island was pretty small to begin with, it did not take long for the two of them to actually end up on its other side.
When the two of them went to the opposite coast on the island, the sun was just hitting the sea cliff on the right side, and the sky was drawing a very beautiful gradation of blue shifting into purple that was then slowly shifting into orange.
「I must say, this place is really beautiful. It has a truly cool atmosphere to it.」
「You are actually the second person that I have brought here to witness that sight.」
Warspite then informed Belfast about that fact in a very casual tone of voice.
「This is actually one of my most favorite spots on this entire island. And today it will become even more special to me, since you were here with me to help me out.」
Saying that, Warspite looked at the slowly setting sun with a somewhat distant look in her eyes.
Belfast then asked her, after standing side by side with her and being lost in thought for a little while herself:
「Do you happen to come here often, Warspite-sama?」
After a short pause, Warspite answered while still gazing at the sun:
「No, it was only recently that I happened to discover that island…… But for some reason it feel as if it’s been quite a while since I last happened to come here.」
After saying that, Warspite fell silent for another moment.
Right above their heads, the stars started to twinkle one after another in the top of the sky that was dyed in a deep ultramarine blue.
Belfast thought at that very moment that this place must have been a really important place for Warspite for some reason.
They stayed like that for a little while longer before they decided to go back to the home port on the double.
After successfully returning to the Royal Navy’s dormitory, Belfast was unable to do anything about the wreath or the Christmas decorations because her usual maid duties would keep her occupied deep into the night.
Since Warspite also seemed to be pretty tired from her most recent mission, it was decided that the production of their Christmas presents would be postponed until tomorrow.
「Tomorrow is finally Christmas Eve……」
Since Belfast was going to make sure that her gift for everyone would be properly delivered shortly after the date already changed, everything would be fine as long as they would be able to finish Warspite’s wreath before that happens.
「But the real problem lies entirely on my side, huh……」
To be more exact: the problem here would be for Belfast to be able to bring the finished Christmas tree and the Christmas decorations into the kitchen without anyone else noticing her alongside the way.
Because as per the usual Christmas tradition, from today until the New Year’s there was always supposed to be at least one maid present in the kitchen on kitchen duty at all times.
Even though Belfast was only going to prepare some modest Christmas decorations, it was supposed to be a form of a present for everyone in the Maid Corps, so if possible, the Head Maid wanted to make it into a surprise for everyone concerned. That also meant that she had to finish her preparations by the time Christmas would arrive.
「If there will ever be a good time to actually decorate the kitchen…… It would have to be shortly after 11 p.m.」
The kitchen was supposed to be empty during that period of time, since Hood and the maids were supposed to go and pick up the presents that were to be delivered to everyone along with the usual Christmas supplies.
However, at that exact time, of course, both Belfast and Warspite would need to be together with that transporting group as well.
「Let’s see…… How can I possibly leave from there and go back to the kitchen without arousing any suspicions?」
Just as Belfast was starting to ponder that problem for real, she could hear Edinburgh toss around in her bed and mumble to herself in her sleep.
「Hehehe, Bel~…… That turkey surely is delicious, isn’t it?」
It seems that at the same time as Belfast worrying about her Christmas present for everyone, Edinburgh was having a very happy dream on the lower bunk bed.
Right next to their usual bunk bed, there was a new small bed, and Bel-chan was sleeping in it soundly.
「I must say, both of them have such cute sleeping faces that it is unreal.」
After letting out a small chuckle like that, Belfast climbed up the ladder of their bunk bed and lay down under her blanket.
* * *
When it comes to a maid’s duties and chores on Christmas Eve, both of those things are not all that much different from their usual day to day routine.
After finishing getting the breakfast ready, doing the laundry and cleaning the entire dormitory, the maids would all go to perform their assigned tasks for the afternoon.
「Nee-san, do you have a moment right now?」
Belfast called out to Edinburgh like that in the middle of lunch.
「I will be away from here until dinner time, so I’d like to leave this place to you for a while I’ll be gone.」
Belfast placed her hand right on top of Edinburgh’s shoulder as Edinburgh tilted her head curiously.
「Huh? What’s wrong? Do you have some urgent business that needs to be taken care of?」
「Yes, but it’s just…… It’s just a really small matter. Nothing serious.」
Said Belfast while letting go of Edinburgh’s arm, and then she looked at Bel-chan who happily rolled up the sleeves of her own maid’s uniform, her eyes all glittering with excitement.
「For you to actually go out of you way to ask me to be the Acting Head Maid on this particular day, I see that you are trusting me more than anyone else in here…… But I understand! Right now, leave everything to this dependable Big Sister of yours!」
「Y-Yes, well, umm…… I will be sure to be back before dinner.」
After getting that matter settled, Belfast left the kitchen and immediately headed to Warspite’s room.
「Excuse me, Warspite-sama.」
When she knocked on her door and opened them after a moment of silence, there was already a table in the middle of Warspite’s room and the owner of the room was already being hard at work.
「Yes, as you can see, I am all ready. We can get it started right away.」
And that’s how the two of them began their secret gift-making session, adding the wreath-making and tree-decorating to it while they were still being at it.
「First of all ––––––」
After arranging the seashells, corals and starfish on the table, Belfast looked for an appropriate wreath base.
「Shall we use this for the time being?」
Saying this, she cut off several lower branches of a particular tree, gathered them all together, and tried to round them into a ring-like shape.
「Can you let me do?」
Warspite then extended her hand towards the wreath. The wreath was indeed the base with which everything would start, so she thought it would be best to leave it to the person who wanted to make it the most, so she gave her the branches she was holding onto.
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