235 – I Didn’t Do Anything Wrong!!!
Editor: Thor’s Stone
Refill IV’s local cuisines weren’t served like Earth’s Western course meal where they’d bring out the appetizer, soup, and so on individually. Instead, all dishes were lined up on the table from the start, and each person could take a portion of whichever dish they preferred.
“They look gorgeous. It’s fun just looking at them like this.”
“Yeah, they sure are something alright.”
There were all sorts of dishes in front of us. There was something resembling regular and wild vegetable tempura, some kind of meat steak, and a piping hot pot of soup served in a small pot. The colors of each ingredient used were rich and vibrant, and just like Mimi said, just seeing the dishes lined up in front of you is already enjoyable. They gave me the impression of the dishes served at a high-class traditional Japanese inn.
“These are banquet dishes served to entertain guests even on Theta. They are more luxurious compared to our regular dishes.”
“I see. Judging from how meticulous each meal was prepared, I don’t think you’d be able to achieve such results if you didn’t employ at least three specialized chefs to cook and plate them.”
There were two kinds of tempura and stews, a soup dish, and even pickled vegetables and sweets. Moreover, the vegetables used in the stews were each cut into decorative shapes, and the color arrangement was also carefully considered. These dishes were definitely works of expert craftsmen.
“It seems you are quite knowledgeable regarding cooking, aren’t you, Hiro-sama……?”
Tinia tilted her head curiously. Since she lived on a residential planet, she probably regularly eats real meat and vegetables. But most people born in space ate dishes made from food cartridges from childhood. As a result, most people living in space aren’t knowledgeable when it comes to cooking and food preparation in general. So she must have found it curious that I was actually familiar with cooking.
“Hiro-sama knows how to cook dishes using raw ingredients.”
“That’s right. The dishes Hiro cooked for us back then were really delicious.”
“I see…… Although I’m only a novice myself, I’ve also been learning how to cook as well. If there’s an opportunity, I would like it if we could sample each other’s dishes.”
Tinia turned to me and gave me a gentle smile once again.
“Well, the ones I cook are all sloppy ‘man-meals’ so…… uh, don’t expect a lot from them.”
“On the contrary, I think you’re already quite skilled from the fact that you managed to recognize that these dishes were the work of expert chefs.”
“Yeah, Boss. You’re really great.”
“Big brother is really knowledgeable, isn’t he?”
Now it wasn’t just Tinia. Even Tina and Whisker began praising me. What? What’s with the excessive praise? Nothing will come out of it even if you praise me that much you know.
“Anyway, it seems all your crew members are women, Hiro-sama.”
“It just sort of happened…… I was solo at first, but Mimi ended up boarding Krishna, and Elma followed soon after. After a while, Mei joined us. Then Tina and Whisker were sent to us by the ship-making company we purchased our mothership from as part of a deal.”
“I see…… If you don’t mind, can you all tell me how you came to board Hiro-sama’s ship? I’m very interested.”
Tinia turned her gaze toward Mimi. After receiving Tinia’s curious gaze, Mimi turned to me to ask if it was alright, so I nodded in agreement.
“I don’t mind. I’ll leave it to you, Mimi.”
“Um…… Alright then.”
And so, Mimi started talking about herself and her circumstances. After Mimi, Elma also started talking about how she came to board my ship…… They told their stories to Tinia as we had our meal. Maybe it was rare for them to hear stories from people who lived outside their home planet, so the three elves showed plenty of curiosity.
“I’m sorry. It seems we’ve only been asking you to share your stories without talking about ourselves.”
“No, no. We’re enjoying talking to you as well since you’re showing such curiosity and enthusiasm. Right, guys?”
“Yeah. You go out of your way to tease us every chance you get though, Hiro.”
“C’mon. Don’t put it that way. It sounds like I’m bullying you. I’m just providing my own input from time to time, yeah?”
Tinia stared at Elma and me as we bantered playfully like usual.
“……I’m sorry, but have the two of you exchanged vows as a couple already?”
“Uh, what do you mean?”
If what she meant by vows was the physical kind, then the answer was a resounding yes. But it would be improper to say something like that in this situation.
“We haven’t made our marriage official yet. But my family already acknowledges our relationship. I suppose you can say we’re already engaged.”
“……I see. Then what about Mimi-sama?”
Mimi’s gaze was swimming around the room.
It certainly did feel that I’ve already gained the acknowledgment of Elma’s family, but it was a bit more complicated when it comes to Mimi. Well, Mimi did decline to join the imperial family and stayed with me instead. And I also want to stay together with Mimi as well.
“Mimi-sama and Master are already legally married in accordance to Imperial Laws.”
I and Mimi yelped in surprise at the same time.
Eh? What the heck? The ones involved have no idea though? When I turned a questioning gaze toward Mimi, she also gave me the same confused look. You didn’t know, Mimi? Really? I see. Yeah, that makes sense. She wouldn’t have been surprised earlier otherwise. What about Elma? Huh? She’s making a face like she already knew about it?
“The two of them seem confused though.”
“It’s because we didn’t tell them about it.”
“Now just hold on a minute. That’s strange. Really strange. Rather, just when did that happen anyway? Why didn’t you tell me?”
Mimi’s completely frozen up in shock. Hey, you okay, girl? You look like you’d fall over straight away if someone lightly poked you.
“……That’s news to us too.”
Tina and Whisker’s gazes turned piercing. Well, uh, yeah. It’s your first time hearing it too huh. Me too. So stop looking at me like that.
“So what is all this about?”
“To put it simply, it’s a measure against the meddling of other nobles.”
“When we stayed in the Imperial Capital, you gained a lot of attention from various nobles due to the peculiar circumstances at the time, Mimi-sama. Your civil status is an Imperial commoner. And furthermore, you no longer have any known relatives. There was a possibility of a noble using their privilege to forcibly become your guardian.”
“Therefore, we arranged for you and Hiro-sama to have a legal marital relationship to prevent that from happening.”
“I understand now. But why didn’t you guys tell Mimi and me?”
“It was my decision not to tell you. And it’s not like anything would change whether or not you did know, right?”
“Just why…… Well, I guess that’s true, but–”
Even if I’m now legally married to Mimi, it’s not like anything between us would change, and I don’t think it should. I want to stay together with Elma and Mei for as long as I live, and that goes for Mimi as well. And regarding Tina and Whisker……
The pressure oozing out of their gazes was amazing. But I won’t yield. Don’t think I’ll yield to pressure just like that. If I was so weak to pressure, I would have succumbed to Commander Serena and Chris already. I’m a guy who can say NO.
“I haven’t entered into that sort of relationship with these two for now.”
“For now, is it?”
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future after all. And I don’t want to talk about things like that lightly. I know my limits.”
Tinia-san suddenly displayed a broad grin. It seemed to say ‘So you’ve laid your hands on two women already, have you?’ or something to that effect, but I didn’t comment on it. I’m a man of endurance after all. Even if things turned out like this, I’m someone who places importance on picking my partners. If my decisions solely depended on the urges of my lower body, I would probably already be an Imperial Soldier or Knight working directly under Commander Serena or a vassal of Earl Dareinwald. Or maybe I’ve already become Chris’ husband by now.
But before all that, I would probably be done in by Marquis Holz and Earl Dareinwald though.
“We’re also scheduled to enter such a relationship with Boss y’know.”
“A big family is nice, isn’t it, sis?”
“Did you guys even listen to a word I said?”
Tina and Whisker began saying they’ve taken inspiration from the fact that Mimi and I were already legally married. Just calm down, will you? Here. I got you some alcohol, so drink up first. Cool down a bit, okay? Tinia and her attendant’s sharp gazes hurt.
For the time being, I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut.
I didn’t do anything wrong!!!