Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 4 Chapter 2 Part 2

「As it turns out, those little ones, they were developed with the intent of serving as the Commander’s assistant units to some extent, so they have learned letters to some extent as well, so I thought they would be perfect for searching for materials.」

Saying that, Sheffield joined in on the search for the book that they were all looking for in the same way as the Meowofficers did.

Now, even though Belfast was really curious as to what the history that Sheffield had with the Meowofficers was, there was simply no time to dwell on that. So, Belfast picked up the next book once again without hearing any more details about what had happened between Sheffield and the Meowofficers and got back to work.

And when she was finished with checking the sixth book,


Bel-chan suddenly looked all flustered for some reason, and she came over towards where Belfast was with a large book in hand from one of the back shelves.

「Bel-chan, the shelf in the back is not the one that holds the register data, you know?」

「Yes! I know that, but for some reason…… But this! Please take a look at this!」

For some reason, what Bel-chan handed Belfast was a torn and tattered picture book.

「The Meowofficer named Bugles was looking through the shelves when he found some children’s book that was placed by mistake there, and it brought it to me.」

Belfast still had her doubts about Bel-chan’s words, but it was all dispersed when she saw the cover of that picture book. It caused her whole body to freeze in place on the spot. Because the cover had a picture of a maid on it.

「This picture right here —— Is that a Maid in it?」

The appearance of the maid drawn on the cover was done in crayon, and it was very crude and not all that cute.

Right next to the maid was also a girl wearing a pendant with a blue stone placed on it. That girl was holding onto the maid’s hand, but for some reason the girl was looking away from the drawn maid, as if she was embarrassed by this situation.

The title of that picture book was “The Noble Maid”.

It looked like a hand-made picture book, and the reason why it was so damaged was probably because it was not properly bound or prepared to be protected from the elements.

「Nee-sama, do you think that this book might contain some sort of a clue as to the origin of the Ghost Maid?」

「……Maybe so. It would certainly look that way.」

Belfast nodded her head in agreement, although she was feeling confused for the moment.

Ever since Belfast saw that white prim that Erebus procured from the basement of her hut, there was a lingering suspicion in Belfast’s mind that the Ghost Maid might have really existed. And seeing that tattered picture book, it might have been the thing that started the Ghost Maid rumors in the first place.

So, Belfast decided to gather all those who were searching for clues around the library at once.

They had less than thirty minutes for their search before they would have to get back to their assigned duties, but that was beside the point for now.

Because Belfast could not get herself rid off of the feeling that this picture book contained the precious clue to the truth behind the Ghost Maid. And it was something that they could not omit.

* * *

「Everyone, I do realize that we do not have much time left, but please take a look at this.」

When everyone was gathered in the area where various books in the library were lined up on top of the table, Belfast made everyone sit in chairs and showed them the cover of the picture book that Bel-chan found.

「Please have a look at this picture book.」

「You believe that it might hold some sort of a clue as to the origin of the Ghost Maid story!?」

Elizabeth opened her mouth as she exclaimed in shock.

「We do not know that for sure at that current moment, but the picture on the cover is that of a maid and a girl from the family in which that maid must have presumably served. Over time, it was badly damaged considering its age, but it might also be because the past Destroyers either handed the book poorly or did not know how to put it together right. At least, that’s our working theory for now.」

Among the various Destroyers of the Home Port, there are quite a lot of shipgirls whose personalities reflect their young appearances, so it was quite possible that a situation like this could happen with this book.

「Anyways, I assume that you have not checked the contents of the book as of yet…… Alright! Belfast, could you please read the text out of this picture book?」

As Warspite suggested that action to Belfast, the Head Maid placed her fingers carefully on the cover of the book and started to open it up.

Just then, Erebus and Terror also came to the library to see what was going on. Seeing Belfast trying to read a picture book, both of them quietly sat down on a nearby chair so as to not to make any more noise than necessary.

「“When the rays of sun were starting to warm up, a very serious, hard-working maid came to our Home Port. Her name was —-」

For a moment out there Belfast stood silent, and then she raised her head up from the picture book with a worried expression.

「…… The characters here are almost completely unreadable because they are faded or covered with stains or something similar. I cannot even read the names of the characters on those pages, it’s just way too intelligible ……」

Saying that, Belfast turned the book and showed its contents to everyone gathered in the library. When they all saw it, the letters truly looked bleak and messed up, to the point that it was almost impossible to decipher one character from the other.

「If you look at the pictures, you can understand what they are doing to some extent, so I will try to supplement the parts that I can’t read from now on with my own assumptions. But please don’t assume it will be totally accurate. Is that okay with everyone?」

The first page was a picture of a maid girl holding a bag and standing at the harbor’s pier.

「Well… with this kind of content, I guess that it simply cannot be helped, right?」

Elizabeth took a look at the bleaked and stained letters for a moment before letting out a groan of dissatisfaction.

「Y-Yeah, this looks really difficult to decipher, no matter how you look at it? What is even that first letter? How do you spell it? Is it “Y”? Or is it “T”, perhaps?」

Edinburgh also tried squinting her eyes through her glasses and staring at the word that was most probably supposed to be the maid’s name, but she eventually gave up on that idea because no matter how long she would stare at the letters, she was unable to make anything sensible out of it.

「If we can’t read it either way, how about we give our Ghost Maid a temporary name ourselves?」

Belfast thought for a moment, before eventually agreeing with Kent’s words.

「That’s actually something that I wanted to propose as well. Let’s think of a good name, shall we?」

「Preferably, let’s make it something cute for simplicity’s sake. Like, Mont Blanc, or Chocolate, or something alongside those lines.」

Suffolk gulped hard as she spoke those words.

「To my understanding, the model for the Ghost Maid was some form of a Bound Spirit, so how about we call her Zashikiwarashi-chan for the time being? At the very least, that’s what I heard from Sakura Empire girls, they call being like that with that word.」

Hearing Curacoa’s proposal, Carlew bluntly followed along.

「Apparently the Dragon Empery faction has a similar term for a bound spirit in their own folklore, but even though it might be on point, Nee-san, I’m afraid that your proposal is going to be rejected.

「Oh my, Curlew? Mind telling me why?」

「It’s simple: because that name is not cute at all.」

Taking the current situation into account, that was actually a very solid and valid opinion.

As everyone else suggested one name after another, Belfast suddenly noticed that there was also some other name that was written on the back cover of the picture book she was holding in her hands.

Like all the other contents of the book, it was almost impossible to read, but it seems that it was the name of the author who wrote this very picture book.

She then tried flipping through some of the pages.

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