Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 4 Chapter 1 Part 9

「Thank you so much! I have gained some actual confidence! Now, I am going to write a whole lot more, so please be kind to me as we work together for now!」

Belfast and Edinburgh answered her at the same time as Echo lowered her head in her plea.

「「Thank you very much for your hard work. Here’s to a fruitful cooperation for the foreseeable future!」」

And so just like that the morning preparations began as usual.

Starting with lighting the fire under the stove, the next thing to follow was setting the table cloths on every table in the large dining room. While arranging the dishes prepared in advance for today, the maids then went on to prepare the soup and prepare the cooking utensils. After preparing the tableware, napkins, and the serving carts, the maids could switch to cooking using the fire, and at the same time, they started arranging the other dishes as well.

Normally when it comes to preparing breakfast for everyone, out of all of the above steps, Belfast would have been more than enough to do about thirty to forty percent of those tasks all by herself, but since today was a slightly special day, she decided to change her usual routine in order to accommodate that..

「Alright then, you two. I am looking forward to working with you for today.」

After Belfast directed those words at them, both Edinburgh and Bel-chan began their preparations as well after nodding their heads with enthusiasm.

「So, does this mean that the three of you start working like this every single morning?」

Upon hearing Echo’s question, Belfast answered it honestly.

「No, I usually do a lot of things by myself first thing in the morning, before anyone else gets here. When I can’t be in the kitchen due to military consignment or urgent business, I leave my responsibilities to other maids, just like this. Today is a busy day because of your research and interview, so I thought it would only be appropriate for the three of us to handle things here.」

「Hmm, I see.」

「Also, in cases of emergency when I can’t be here for any reason, usually I will leave Nee-san in charge as an Acting Head Maid in my stead. She tends to underestimate herself quite a lot when it comes to her responsibilities, but Nee-san is also highly relied upon by everyone in the Maid Corps.」

While Belfast was keeping Echo busy with providing her various information that the Destroyer might happen to find interesting, both Edinburgh and Bel-chan let out a small sigh, seemingly at ease. Then they resumed their preparations, swiftly moving about the place.

Following them with her eyes, Echo frantically ran her pen on top of her notepad.

「Y-You seem to be really busy first thing in the morning, I hope that I am not getting in the way……」

Seeing her panicked like that, Belfast let out a slight chuckle.

「You may think that it is a tough job to perform when you see it for the first time ever, but surprisingly, you can get used to it really quick. Even you would be able to do it swiftly with enough practice, Echo-san.」

「I-Is that so……?」

It was then, when Edinburgh was adjusting the flames under the stove while Echo was looking at everyone at work with disbelief in her eyes.

Suddenly, with a quiet creak, the wooden door connecting the dining room and kitchen opened and two maids appeared inside of the kitchen.

「…… Hm? What happened today? For Bel-chan to be here this early in the morning? And Edinburgh as well?」

It was the Light Cruiser Sheffield that arrived in the kitchen.

Arriving at her usual time, she looked at Belfast with a suspicious look on her face, seeing that the situation inside of the kitchen this morning was unusual, to say the least. Then, right next to Belfast, she found an unfamiliar ‘shipgirl’ with a notepad opened and narrowed her eyes in suspicion.

「Belfast, who is this girl? Is she a new maid-in-training?」

「No, it’s nothing like that, Sheffi. This is the new Destroyer, Echo, that came to the Home Port just the other day.」

It was not Belfast who answered Sheffield’s question.

It was another Light Cruiser, Newcastle, who came into the kitchen alongside Sheffield.

Newcastle, being a former Head Maid that she was, looked at Echo’s face and spoke to her in her usual, calm tone.

「Hello, little one. My name is Newcastle. And what’s your name?」

「I’m Echo! It’s nice to meet you, Newcastle-san!」

While Echo greeted Newcastle in an enthusiastic way, Belfast hurried with an explanation to the other two that just came to the kitchen.

「Actually, Echo has been assigned to observe and interview the members of the Maid Corps for the whole day today at the request of Her Majesty.」

Sheffield twisted her neck slightly at the sound of those unfamiliar words.

「His Majesty wants to use that information as material for a stage play script about the Maid Corps, you see.」

Edinburgh, who has just finished adjusting the fire under the stove, hurried with an explanation while coming to pick up the ingredients placed on top of one of the cooking tables.

Then, the next people to arrive in the kitchen were Curacoa and Curlew, another pair of sister Light Cruiser shipgirls of the Ceres Class.

「Good morning, everyone. Did my ears deceive me? Or did I just hear the words “stage play”?」

Curacoa put her hands in front of her chest with curiosity, and Bel-chan pulled a serving cart from right behind her.

「It seems that the Royal Navy’s performance at this year’s School Festival is going to be a stage play, out of all things.」

「Oh my? It’s not going to actually be a movie? Because I thought that we are going to be making a movie.」

Hearing Bel-chan’s quick explanation, Curacoa stuck out her tongue in a show of embarrassment.

「You see, when I happened to hear the word “play”, I must have misunderstood what it was going to be all about.」

「You might not know this, but Nee-san here is a serious nut when it comes to movies and the way in which they are made.」

Hearing Curlew’s words, everyone let out a small “Oh!” from their mouths.

Curacoa then made a small square with her fingers and began to speak in a nostalgic way, peering through her finger square with one eye at the same time.

「I can talk about things like ‘What kind of angle should I use to create an expression that makes me look attractive?’ or ‘How to relieve tension during filming,’ and the various other experiences I was worried about pretty much all day, if you would ever need an expert on the subject.」

「Then, it sounds like a story that seems to lead to some acting guidance, so why don’t we talk about it when the preparations for the play are actually progressing forward?」

When Belfast suggested that Curacoa nodded her headin agreement.

「That’s right, even if you don’t know the script and its contents, when it comes to acting, I’m sure the movie method will be really helpful here.」

「Hi! What are you guys talking about?」

「We are talking about acting and movies, and it sounds like it’s going to be really fun to actually be a part of the stage performance~.」

Kent and Suffolk, who had finished tending to the flower bed, also came to the kitchen after they were done with their other duties.

At that point, Echo stopped moving her pen that was writing in the notepad and turned towards Belfast.

「I just realized that I have simply too much to write, so I haven’t been able to properly say hello to everyone at all! I am really sorry for that!」

「No problem. Let’s just say a proper hello to each maid sometimes later, how about that?」

Just as Belfast said those words kindly,

「…… I am really sorry for being late, everyone.」

Finally, the last one to arrive was Sirius.

「Oh my, it’s actually rare to see Sirius being the last one to get somewhere —— I mean, huh!? What’s wrong!? You are totally drenched, Sirius!」

The moment when Edinburgh shouted those words in a panic, everyone present turned their heads towards the newly arrived Sirius all at once.

For some bizarre reason, Sirius was soaking wet from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.

「I won’t go into that much detail here, but…… This is what happened when I was holding the hose while cleaning this morning.」

「「How!? How did that even happen!?」」

It would seem that something must have happened while Sirius was cleaning as per usual, but even the pair of Suffolk and Kent that were escorting her, even though they were able to provide a good retort to her words just now, were of very little help to actually explain what happened.

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Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast

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