Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 3 Chapter 1 Part 13
—— I cannot lose here.
I absolutely won’t let the results be the same as last year!
With that in mind, Neptune glared at Belfast, who was already getting further and further away.
She picked up speed and desperately tried to catch up to the Head Maid and reclaim her top spot,
Right about now was that moment when Neptune thought: if she was to win here, she would have to give it her absolute best, and then even break past that and surpass her own limits.
So she focused all of her attention on pushing forward, and right now she was even unable to hear the cheers of great excitement that were echoing in the distance from the cheering crowd gathered in the galleries.
At that moment, when she thought the the goal tape was right in front of me, so close that she could reach it by sticking out her chest,
When she was finally able to slow down and she looked right next to her, her eyes met that of Belfast.
「Which one……? Which one of us won……?」
To Neptune’s frantic question, Belfast only shook her head.
「I was so focused on giving it my very best that I…… I don’t really know which one of us touched the tape first.」
『—— Thank you all for waiting! The final Judgment is out!』
Then the two racers heard Elizabeth’s loud voice over the loudspeaker from the stage.
Neptune turned her head towards the huge see-through screen that was placed over the pier.
The moment when both Neptune and Belfast crossed the finish line was recorded and then played in slow motion. Even with frame images of 1/1000th of a second, the moment when the tape was cut made it look as if both of them did it at the exact same time, and even if it was not the case here, the difference was so minimal that it was actually nigh impossible to spot.
「It’s both of us —— looks like its a draw.」
While the two anchors were stunned to see such a result, cheers once again filled the entirety of the Home Port island.
Naturally, Neptune turned towards Belfast, who was still right next to her.
「——It was a great race.」
Belfast smiles brightly upon hearing that.
Looking at her outstretched right hand, Neptune was really puzzled and thought really hard what could it be that Belfast wanted from her. It was only then that she came to realize that what the Head Maid wanted to a plain old handshake. She then looked up at Belfast in amazement.
「It was really cowardly to put up a smokescreen on that spot, you know?」
「Well, there was simply no time to dodge the bombing and all the airstrikes.」
After that, Neptune smiled softly and then reached out her right hand herself and squeezed Belfast’s right hand tightly.
—— You really are the kind of person who shakes up my entire sense of values.
With that thought in her mind, Neptune looked up at the sky.
Clear skies everywhere, as far as the eye could see. Seeing this, Neptune’s heart was similarly radiant.
* * *
A few days later.
「—— Come in, it’s open.」
「Please excuse me.」
When Neptune slowly opened the door to Her Highness’s office and found Elizabeth sitting at her office desk, she was still covered in piles of paperwork.
And looking at the amount of documents littering her desk, it was hard for Neptune to say if Elizabeth was able to make any progress with her work, or if it was staying in place all this time.
「I thought that you might feel tired by now, Your Majesty, so I brought you some sweets to snack on.」
「Hm? What happened?」
Elizabeth looked at Neptune while looking all wary.
「……It’s definitely your fault, Neptune. This morning, Warspite pointed it out and I weighed myself. And then ——-」
「You have gained some weight, Your Majesty?」
「AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Don’t do it! Don’t say that out loud!」
Elizabeth slumped over her desk, holding her head with her hands as if she was trying to cover her ears.
「And that is exactly why! I will definitely not eat your sweets today! Because your sweets are so delicious that it makes me drool all over! Just looking at them makes me want to salivate! And I want to devour them all without even thinking about the calories!」
「Oh, why thank you, Your Majesty. That is indeed a very nice compliment.」
「Yeah! And that is exactly why! My point exactly! So! I know that it might sound rude of me, but could you turn around and walk back the way you came right this instant and ——」
「Today, I thought about serving you your favorite “Jam Rowley”, Your Majesty.」
Elizabeth kicks her feet in frustration and then left her work desk.
「Oh, okay! Okay already! But today! Only for today! You really don’t have to bring it anymore, you hear me! I have had enough of those sweets of yours!」
Elizabeth said so, and then she sat down on her sofa in front of the small coffee table while blowing her nose.
「So, I wonder if you’ve prepared some tea properly for today?」
「Yes, Your Majesty. In fact, it’s right over here.」
While saying so, Neptune took Elizabeth’s teacup from the serving cart that she had brought with herself.
「Speaking of which, I’ve never had Neptune’s tea before. I’m looking forward to seeing how it tastes.」
「I must beg your pardon here, Your Majesty.」
Elizabeth looked up at Neptune in amazement.
With her usual confident smile on her face, she said as she brewed her tea.
「My tea is actually something the taste of which can never be served to anyone else.」
After the last drop of Golden Drop had been poured into the cup and Neptune handed it to Elizabeth, she chuckled slightly.
「You’re not the only one, trust me. You see, tea is something that works in such a way that everyone drinking it can taste the feelings of whoever it was that brew it.」.
While saying that, she slowly put her mouth towards the cup.
The tea leaves used for this tea came from cheap Assam tins, similar to what Belfast brewed last time.
After a while, Elizabeth slowly put down the cup and said,
“You’re very assertive, but…… I guess that’s just your taste, Neptune.」
She had a certain ambition.
That is, to be able to brew the best tea at the Annual Royal Navy’s Spring Tea Party.
At a place where such splendorous figures such as Queen Elizabeth and Hood would gather, she wanted to be able to serve them a drink that would give them the best impression along with the homemade sweets that she was so proud of.
Of course, not just once, but forever. Everything other than forever would not be enough.
「Thank you very much for your kind words, Your Majesty. It’s an honor.」
As she fluttered the apron part of her maid-like dress, Neptune showed her best smile to Her Majesty..
Although it is something that is often misunderstood, Neptune is not a member of the Maid Corps.
It’s just that she loves making sweets and she is good friends with the entirety of Royal Maids of the Maid Squad.
She was just that kind of girl. And she was just a very good waitress, at that.
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Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast
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