Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 3 Chapter 3 Part 3
Bel-chan, who was already waiting outside for her, noticed Sheffield’s presence and her expression brightened at once.
「I am looking forward to working with you, Sheffield-san.」
Seeing Bel-chan put her hands together in front of her and politely bowing her head as she said those words, Sheffield started to walk forward without really responding to that greeting.
「I wonder what kind of children the Meowofficers are, you know?」
From behind her back, Sheffield could hear Bel-chan’s voice as she was walking right behind her.
Not really knowing what to say to that, Sheffield remained silent and proceeded down the hill toward the center of the Academy.
「That one Mewofficer-san whom I met then, was so kind, so I’m sure the other children are all nice, too. I honestly think that Hood-san might have been over-exaggerating a little bit there……」
Bell-chan’s voice for some reason sounded a little bit farther than before.
Sheffield turned around to see what had happened.
Then she noticed that Bel-chan’s figure was farther away than she initially thought. It seemed that their stride lengths were completely different, and just by walking normally she seemed to increase the distance between them by quite a lot.
Sheffield was usually way faster than any other maid in the entire Maid Corps and she herself was well aware of that fact at all times. However, this time around that important fact must have somehow slipped out of her mind when she was not paying enough attention.
When she realized that she came to a stop right away, and soon enough Bel-chan was able to catch up to her, albeit she was visibly out of breath for the moment.
「What’s the matter, Sheffield-san? Why did you stop all of a sudden?」
Bel-chan asks her without actually paying any attention to the fact that she has gone way ahead of her, so her stopping like that must have felt weird and out of place for her.
And seeing the confused look on Bel-chan’s face, Sheffield only said,
「Bel-chan, give me your hand for a moment.」
When Bel-chan obediently brought her hand right in front of Sheffield just like she was asked to do, Sheffield gently squeezed her hand with her own and said,
「From today onwards, let’s go there like this, so that you won’t fall behind and I won’t get ahead of you too much.」
As Sheffield said that, the look on her face did not change at all, and her current demeanor was as professional and emotionless as ever.
「……… Y-Yes! With pleasure!」
But even so, Bel-chan smiled happily upon hearing that proposition.
Sheffield then started walking once again, even though the tempo of their walk right now was so slow that she thought she would go crazy because of that.
—— Every single time when she was getting herself involved with this little maid, she seemed to be thrown off of her pace more and more.
At first Sheffield thought that this was nothing, that even with Bel-chan around she would still be able to quietly do her job and everything that she was considering normal and natural, but instead of being able to just that she felt like she was somehow being successfully pulled away from her normal routine and having to adjust to Bel-chan’s pace.
「…… But it’s not about you alone. I guess that your sister is also the same when it comes to me.」
Abruptly, Sheffield opened her mouth and said something like that.
「Do you mean Edinburgh-nee-sama, Sheffield-san?」
When Bel-chan asked her that question, Sheffield immediately shook her head in denial.
「No. I actually meant your other elder sister, Belfast.」
After a brief moment of pause, Sheffield slowly looked down at Bel-chan.
「You and that woman might look nothing alike, but somehow at the same time you are exactly the same.」
「That’s…… Just whatever do you mean by that, Sheffield-san?」
It means exactly what she thought to herself earlier: that both versions of Belfast were easily able to throw Sheffield off of her game without fail every single time.
But there was no way that she would be able to tell Bel-chan that kind of thing straight away like that, so Sheffield was trying her best to find the right words that she could use here instead.
「It means that both of you sisters managed to make me feel strange at the most inconvenient of times.」
Bell-chan made an expression as if she did not really understand what Sheffield meant by that, but before she was able to ask her to clarify that matter some more, the two of them could finally see the Academy’s anchor fountain right in front of them.
「It seems that we have arrived at our destination.」
The building that they were going towards was located on the west side of the fountain. That was the location of the Cat Lodge. It was originally used as a gymnasium for shipgirls, but due to extensive renovations, both its exterior and interior were completely different from what they used to be.
「Let’s just go inside for the time being.」
Stopping in front of the main door leading into the building, Bel-chan turned towards Sheffield as she said that.
Sheffield, however, passed by and headed for the orange-roofed hut that was right next door to the Cat Lodge.
Bel-chan also chased right after Sheffield, wondering what happened and where she could possibly be going.
From a distance you would not be able to tell that at all, but the hut that the two maids were going towards appeared to be quite old.
As a proof of that fact, its outer walls were covered with red rust everywhere, making it look as if it was slowly rotting away. The iron door at the entrance was designed to open horizontally on both sides just like a fusuma (sliding door) that you could often see around Sakura Empire’s dormitory, and had a ridiculously large lock below its door handle, unsuitable for this era.
「Sheffield-san? This place is……?」
「It’s a storeroom. I heard that there are cleaning tools inside, so I asked about it in advance and I borrowed the key for it. However —— 」
Sheffield clanged the set of keys that suddenly appeared in her hand and looked at the lock on the iron door.
「——This thing is also pretty rusty, so I’m starting to worry about whether it’s really going to open, even with a key.」
「It also looked like it’s been a while since this place was last being opened. How about we try to insert the key and open the lock? We can test it out like that for the time being.」
After Bel-chan said that, Sheffield inserted the key into the lock and tried to lightly twist it.
「…… Do you think it’s going to open?」
Sheffield silently shook her head at Bel-chan, who was standing right next to her.
Even though the lock did not look rusted or broken at all, the key that was inserted inside of it moved so hard that it was almost impossible to turn it even for a little bit.
「How about you try turning it again, but this time around a little bit harder, Sheffield-san? With more effort being put into it?」
After saying that, Bel-chan took Sheffield’s place in a hurry and put just enough strength into her hand to be able to turn the key and not break the lock at the same time, and somehow after a moment of trying the key actually turned and the lock came right off of the door.
「…… Oh no, now I have done it, Sheffield-san! I can’t remove the key from the lock anymore!」
Bel-chan tried to pull the key out at least several times, but the key was still stuck in the lock and could not be removed anymore.
「Well ,we should probably not lock the door with this lock anymore. We must let the others know that they need to replace it with a new one as soon as possible.」
Reluctantly, the two maids removed the lock with a key from the keychain, and Sheffield then entered the storeroom just like that.
It was pitch black inside of the storeroom, and even though the two of them looked for the light switch everywhere, they were unable to find it.
Sheffield then struck a match that she had in her hand after pulling it out from her apron’s pocket, and with that source of dim light the two of them could finally see what was inside of the shed.
The storeroom was covered in a thick layer of dust because it hadn’t been cleaned properly in what seemed to be quite a while.
In a hut so dirty that you could almost be thrown into a coughing fit from all the dust and dirt in the air, somehow Sheffield and Bel-chan were able to find cleaning supplies such as a a broom and a mop. However, all of them were in such a state that it would be hard to call it use-ready.
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Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast
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