Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 3 Chapter 2 Part 1

CHAPTER 2: The Endless Friendship

It was an early afternoon in mid-April when the warm spring breeze began to blow outside.

At the south end of the corridor on the third floor of the Royal Navy’s Dormitory, two maids stood next to each other with their hands tightly clenched in the handles of their mops.

「Ready? Just to let you know, I am always ready when you are, Suffolk.」

The name of the thin and slender shipgirl with blue hair was Kent, a Heavy Cruiser of the County Class, and the first ship of that class. At the current moment she was staring at the corridor that stretched to the north of where she was standing and putting a wet mop on the floor.

「Fufufu, and I must let you know that I was born ready to do this.」

The pink-haired shipgirl right next to Kent was Suffolk, and just like Kent she was a Heavy Cruiser of the County Class, the fifth ship of said class. And just like Kent, she was twirling her mop in her hands while putting it to the floor. .

While the two of them were busy cleaning up for lunch, Sheffield had instructed them both to clean the corridor on the third floor as well.

At first, they were quietly working on it with a serious attitude, but gradually they both started thinking about how to get through this tedious task as soon as possible, and the more they were thinking about it, the more they were losing their concentration for the task at hand——

And so, the conclusion that they happened to arrive at was this: “Let’s see who can mop the north section of the corridor the fastest! A cleaning duel like that!”

「Do you really think that you can win this, Suffolk? You, with that speed of yours?」

「Hm, hm, hm~! You’d do well to not let your guard down, my dear Kent! You know, mopping is not just about the speed of one’s feet alone! It’s also important to push with the force of your arms!」

「Now, won’t you look at that! It’s really unusual for you to pretend to be so confident, dear Suffolk! I just hope that you won’t regret having challenged me to this race later on!」

Kent leaned back slightly and assumed the ready stance.

Then, all of a sudden Suffolk looked in the direction of the southern part of the corridor, and shouted at the top of her lungs.

「Ah! Kent, look! The Head Maid is right over there!」

「What!? Are you serious!? Suffolk, we need to stop this race for now! We will have our duel sometime later, okay!?」

「Got you~! You~! Are~! Wide~! Open~!」

While Kent was busy panicking about the supposed Head Maid, Suffolk jumped forward from her side at full speed.

In the next moment, upon finally realizing that she had been deceived by Suffolk, Kent hastily followed right after her.

「Unfair! That’s cheating, Suffolk! Cheating, you hear me!?」

In response to that Suffolk gleefully covered his mouth with one hand and laughed in a smug way, even more as she heard that Kent’s voice was full of disapproval for her action.

「Fufufufu~ It’s called a handicap, my dear Kent! A handicap!」

「God damn it~!」

Kent gripped the handle of her mop tightly in apparent display of frustration.

「If that’s how you want to play this thing…… Then don’t come crying to me later! Because Kent is about to get serious here!」

Saying that, Kent focused her undivided attention on the corridor right in front of her and started running at full speed from the get-go.

And as one might have expected it, the distance between the two Royal Maids began to gradually shrink with every single moment.

In terms of motor nerves and reflexes, there was almost no one in the entire Maid Corps who could hope to rival Kent.

So even though Suffolk managed to get a head start like this and was accelerating in earnest all the time, there was no way for her to be able to compete with Kent, no matter how hard she would try.

「Uuuwaaahhh~!!! K-Kent, you are way too fast!」

Since this was not their first mop battle like that, Suffolk knew it all too well from their previous duels that there was no way for her to actually win in a fair fight. That’s why she made sure that she would use her wits to give herself a nice head start, so that she would create a nice gap in between them. But Kent still managed to pass her by in no time with the help of her leg strength that was simply unrivaled.

「Kent, you demon!」

「You are the one who cheated in the first place! So don’t you dare to complain about it now!」

When Kent was about to run in front of the stairs leading to the lower floors while laughing her lungs out,

「——— Ah!」

Someone happened to run out of the stairs right into the corridor.

「Uwah! Collision imminent!」

Suffolk screams those words in panic.

At about the same time, Kent raised the handle of her mop and jumped up on the spot.

Like a professional pole vaulter, she twisted her body and jumped easily over the head of whoever it was that came into the corridor from the stairs.

「I’m really sorry! Is everything alright!? You’re not injured anywhere, are you!?」

After making a spectacular landing on the spot, Kent immediately turned around to confirm the safety of whoever it was that almost bumped into her.

However, as soon as she saw the face of the person that she almost happened to collide with, her entire body froze on the spot.

「……Well, since you are asking, I am fine, thank you very much. But Kent, do pray tell ——」

The other person slowly spoke to Kent while gently raising her head, her long black hair swaying from one side of her body to another..

「—— Where were you going in such a hurry, hmm?」

Seeing that gentle smile on that person’s face, Kent involuntarily backed away a few steps.

「Oh…… C-Curacoa-san, you see, umm, this is…… I mean……」

But the most important thing of all here, the one who Kent almost crushed into was none other that Curacoa, like Kent and Suffolk, a member of the Royal Maids, and a Light Cruiser of the Ceres Class.

Judging by her holding the laundry basket beside her, it seemed that she was carrying the laundry from the rooftop to the kitchen.

「In the first place, don’t you know that running in the hallways is strictly prohibited?」

Pointing at Kent and then holding her finger up, Curacoa said so softly, and Kent took yet another step back, her face twisted in fear.

「And you too, Suffolk. I bet that the two of you got bored while doing your chores and decided to have a race or duel to make the time fly by faster, didn’t you?」

「Hyah!? Y-Yes……!? I mean……!?」

Suffolk, at whom Curacoa pointed her finger next, straightened her posture in an instant while still holding onto the mop.

「Listen, I will forgive you for today, but the next time I see you slacking on the job or doing something dangerous like that, I will tell on both of you to Belfast, got that?」

「「…… Y-Yes, Ma’am! We are sorry……」」

The voices of the two Royal Maids overlapped with one another here.

However, the two were actually able to let out a sigh of relief in their minds. They were really fortunate that they happened to stumble upon Curacoa while she was in a good mood. If the one to find them here was Sheffield, they would surely get punished in some way for slacking off on the job.

While apologizing from the bottom of their hearts, the two maids placed their hands on top of their chests in a gesture of relief, when all of a sudden,

「——Nee-san, you are way to soft with them.」

A sullen voice came from behind Curacoa’s back.

Standing there with her laundry basket under her arm was Curacoa’s sister shipgirl Curlew, aso a Light Cruiser of Ceres Class.

And then she turned towards Kent and Suffolk and said:

「You know that you could have hurt someone if you were to keep on going with this, don’t you? As Royal Maids, you should be ashamed of yourselves.」

Curlew looked at the two maids with a sharp glare.

「Also, as the proper ladies of the Royal Navy, you should know all too well that we need to show modesty and moderation in everything that we do.」

Unlike her gentle older sister Curacoa, Curlew was a very serious and strict maid.

Kent and Suffolk’s actions earlier must have been too much for Curlew, who placed great importance on maintaining proper etiquette at all times.

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Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast

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