189 – A Glimpse of the Imperial Princess’ Hobby
Editor: Thor’s Stone
It was now the second day of me spending my time telling stories of my misadventures to Princess Luciada. Because I’ve nearly run out of topics, I ended up blurting out some of the details of my meeting with Chris. It’s not like I revealed all the particulars though. I just told her we somehow got caught up in House Dareinwald’s mess, met the Earl’s granddaughter Christina-san and lived with her for a short while. I then showed her some of the souvenir holo-pics and holo-videos we took on Sierra III.
But it looks like the story really stoked Princess Luciada’s curiosity, and on the following day, she actually invited Chris herself to the palace for a tea party.
“Hics. Uguuuuuu, Chris-chaaaaan!”
After hearing Chris’s life story from her own mouth, Princess Luciada ended tearing up and gave Chris a smothering hug. Uh, it’s fine if you wanna hug her Your Highness, but Chris is already having trouble breathing cuz her head’s buried into your chest, so can you please let her off already– Hm?
“It feels like I’m experiencing déjà vu.”
“U-Um, Your Highness, Chris looks like she’s having a hard time, so–”
Mimi kept trying to pull Princess Luciada away from Chris. By the way, Princess Luciada was calling Chris ‘Chis-chan’ due to Mimi’s influence.
“You won’t be suffering if you just said no, Chris.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Chris, who had a bright red face due to being suffocated by the princess’ chest, shook her head in denial. Well, I guess it does seem bad for a Noble to spurn the actions of the Imperial Princess.
“But I was really surprised to get a personal invitation from Her Highness.”
“Sorry about this.”
“Fufu, you don’t really have to apologize. I got to meet Hiro-sama, Mimi-san, Elma-san, and Mei-san in person because of this after all. And I feel very honored to be introduced to Her Imperial Highness, Princess Luciada as well.”
“I’m gonna make it up to you. I promise.”
“Is that so? Alright then. I shall be looking forward to it.”
A smile bloomed on Chris’s lips. Well, what do you know? She really seems to have grown. Her height’s increased a little, and both her facial expressions and atmosphere have become much more mature compared to before.
“What are you two playing at by ignoring Her Highness and locking eyes with each other like that……?”
“Mumu…… I won’t lose, Chris-chan.”
Why are your eyes shining like that, Princess? I don’t exactly know what you’re expecting here, but it probably won’t happen, okay. It won’t, right? Uh, am I actually close to being screwed here? Will I get stabbed or something? It’s probably fine. Yeah. Probably.
“Ah– Ehem, ehem. Is it really okay to talk to Princess Luciada about what happened on the Sierra system, Chris?”
“Yes. It’s not like we can really hide the details of the matter anyway, and we’ve already made a report to the Imperial authorities. I’ve also gotten permission from Grandfather.”
“I see. Alright then. I’ll start talking about the events on the Sierra system in earnest.”
And so, we told Princess Luciada the entirety of what happened. However…
“You’re horrible. It seems I’ve misjudged you!”
“Why did you leave Chris-chan behind!? As Chris-chan’s knight, something like that is……!”
It looks like Princess Luciada homed in on the fact that I basically turned Chris down back then. I glanced over to Chris and our eyes met.
“Hiro-sama is a very bad man. He mercilessly left a helpless and innocent maiden like me alone after all.”
I can’t really retort to that.
“Fufu, I was merely joking. Your Highness, Hiro-sama has his own world, and it seems I cannot be together with him on it. And on the other hand, the world I’m living in will not allow Hiro-sama to continue being Hiro-sama. I and Hiro-sama cannot live in the same world. If I force him, I will only end up making Hiro-sama stop being himself. This was something I hadn’t yet realized at that time.”
“Muu…… But aren’t things hopeless if that were truly the case?”
After saying so, Princess Luciada gave me a scathing side-eye. I feel she’s implying everything would be resolved and everyone will get their happily ever after if I just gave in and brought Mimi and the others to live with Chris. Well, I admit that’s one option though.
“Your Highness, birds can’t live underwater. Fish, too, can’t fly in the sky. However, it is certainly possible for them to touch the other. Like this.”
Chris snuggled up to me and peered at my face with passionate eyes. The heat coming from her gaze was certainly real. Wait, wait! Hold up! What the heck is all this about, man? I did mercilessly turn this girl down without any hesitation back then, didn’t I? It looks like Chris was unexpectedly the type who’s bad at giving up.
“I only heard from some rumors, but it seems your reward if you win this tournament and prove your strength to His Majesty is being granted First-class Imperial Citizenship, Hiro-sama.”
“If so, you’d want to set up a base on a planet somewhere, right? Then how about setting up a mansion on Dareinburg in the Dexer system? We’ll be able to accommodate you quite well over there and grant you some very flexible terms.”
“Come to think of it, that’s true.”
Elma nodded with a serious expression on her face. It’s certainly true that we’ll be able to get some flexible terms and better deals in the Dexer system due to our connection with Earl Dareinwald. If Chris herself says so, then it’s probably the case. You could say the relationship between me and House Dareinwald was pretty good, I guess. Chris is a given, of course. But it looks like Earl Dareinwald himself has a favorable view of us as well.
“Even birds will get tired of flying someday. And when that happens, won’t they need somewhere safe to perch onto? If possible, I would like to be your perch, Hiro-sama.”
Chris declared boldly and locked eyes with me. I had a hard time giving an answer, so I chose to clam up. It would be incredibly simple to just say yes. It’s actually possible for me and Mimi to settle on a planet after all this is over since we were gonna get granted first-class Imperial citizenship. Elma’s a noble’s daughter, so she already was a first-class Imperial citizen. Mei’s an independent AI, so I’m not sure how it is for her, but I think it wouldn’t be weird for a first-class Imperial citizen to have a maidroid with him anyway. As for the mechanic sisters…… Well, I honestly can’t say anything about those two right now.
“Ah– ……Let’s just say I’ll give it some serious thought.”
“Your Highness, this matter wouldn’t only affect mine, but Mimi and Elma’s lives as well. I can’t just reply without giving it some due consideration. Or rather, can you give me a break already, Princess?”
I admit I was already thinking about establishing a base somewhere after gaining first-class Imperial citizenship, and that Earl Dareinwald’s place was one of the options I was considering. But relying on Earl Dareinwald would end up with me owing him big, and depending on how things go from there, it’s possible he’d even push me to marry Chris.
That’s actually not a bad way to end a journey, but I still don’t have any intention of stopping flying around in space. I still want to earn more money and have lots more stuff I want to try out. Mimi’s space gourmet journey is just starting out as well, and I haven’t even managed to find my ideal carbonated treat. And Elma hasn’t paid me back even a single Enel as well. Well, it’s not like I care about Elma’s debt at this point anyway.
“Muu…… That’s true as well. I’m sorry.”
“Y-You really don’t have to apologize for anything, Your Highness.”
“It’s alright, Your Highness. I don’t mind. However, it looks like you’ve really been touched by Hiro and Christina-sama’s story, haven’t you, Your Highness?”
Mimi became flustered when Princess Luciada apologized, and Elma seems curious about why the Princess was being such a busybody.
“Well, you see, isn’t it like a romantic holo-novel? Due to her uncle’s vile machinations, she ended up losing both her parents. She then drifted in space all alone until she was caught by pirates. And then, a passing mercenary suddenly swoops in and rescues her from their clutches. The mercenary then took her in, protected her, and helped her get revenge, but everything ends on a tragic note with their abrupt parting!”
“Your Highness, the story hasn’t ended yet.”
“Fufu, that’s right, isn’t it? In the sequel, the two star-crossed lovers reunite in the Imperial Capital and got swept in a plot by other Nobles. And then, they finally get their happy ending!”
Princess Luciada had a goofy grin on her face as her imagination went on overdrive. However, Mimi suddenly interjected.
“Muu…… Your Highness, I also lost my parents and fell to dire straits when Hiro-sama rescued me you know. I then got my happy ending.”
“In addition, you actually have a special setting of being the mirror image of an Imperial Princess.”
Elma played along with Mimi. Yosh, this is a chance to change the subject. I have no choice but to play along as well!
“If we’re going with that, then you’re not any different Elma. You’re a Noble girl who adored holo-novels about Celestia-sama and her search for freedom, and you ended up following the same path as her. It’s definitely holo-novel material.”
“Yeah. But then I messed up and ended up boarding your ship though.”
“That’s the sequel huh.”
“Mumumu…… It certainly does seem that Mimi-san and Elma-san’s stories can each be turned into riveting holo-novels or holo-movies…… And the central character of those stories will be Hiro-sama.”
“Hiro-sama…… is special after all.”
“He hit it off with Dr. Shouko back in the Alein system as well, didn’t he? Tina and Whisker seem to adore him too.”
Four pairs of eyes– no, it would be five including Mei’s, turned toward me simultaneously.
“……He’s a natural lady magnet, isn’t he?”
For the record, I wasn’t actively trying to pick up girls, okay. It wasn’t that, so stop staring at me with those judging eyes already.
“……It’s Hiro-sama after all.”
Oi, Mimi, don’t just give up like that. Seriously, don’t.
“……It’s said he has a special ability to attract trouble you know.”
Can you stop labeling a poor guy as a troublemaker, please? Even I’m starting to believe that crap recently, so stop!
“……In other words, all our personal encounters with him are special!”
You’re being too positive about all this, Chris! Well, I admit me finding the escape pod with Chris in it in a virtually undamaged state did have an air of a fateful encounter somehow, but still……
“Hookay then. I suddenly feel like working up a sweat. I’m going over to the Imperial Guards for a bit, okay?”
“So you’re aiming for Isolde this time!”
“You’ll really get stabbed from behind one of these days at this rate you know.”
“……Things won’t be simple with an Imperial Knight as a partner after all.”
That’s not it, okay! I just wanna hurry up and escape from this place already!