7-9. Karina and the Maid Squad
God is mean.
Even though the unpleasant male soldiers have disappeared, and it'd finally be comfortable, I have to accompany the young lady on a journey...
I dream of wearing that cute maid uniform again, but I endure it for now.
"Pina-san, Pina-san, Karina-sama has gone off, is it alright not to stop her?"
The subordinates are calling me who's deep in thought. As it turns out, the other maids who accompany the young lady with me are the problem children, Taruna and Erina, god is really mean.
I put off the grieving for later, and see at the direction Erina's finger points to, my face turns pale.
The young lady has been peeking on the cliff below since awhile ago, but then she jumps down it without hesitation.
"Y, young lady."
I rush up to the edge of the cliff in hurry, but it's probably too late now. Ah, how incompetent of me to not even able to stop the young lady's suicide. I'll be fired from my precious workplace too. I might be downgraded to be a slave. Considering the pampering baron-sama, he might even sentence me to decapitation out of grief. Ah, such misfortune.
"Pina-san, rather than indulging in your misfortune, you should look at that instead you know?"
Contrasting her calm outward appearance, the brash Taruna points on the foot of the cliff. Did the young lady perhaps only suffer from bone fracture and fall somewhere?
I brace myself and see under the cliff, the young lady is lively exterminating the thieves.
My neck is safe somehow.
"Young lady, please don't do such thoughtless action--"
"My, I'm protecting populace from thieves, it's our duty desuwa."
As if covering over my scolding, the young lady pushes her ideal. This person really doesn't listen to other people. In the first place, this is the dukedom, the young lady doesn't have to act for the populace here, but she's said that it's trivial even when I point it out.
"I'm sorry Pina-dono. I had thought of stopping her, but several lives were depending on us. I'd like you to overlook this."
Voices of a gentleman talks for the young lady, it's the very mysterious talking magic tool, Raka-dono.
Although, I think the restraint for the young lady's recklessness is gone ever since she's got hold of this magic tool.
The ones she's saved are merchants party who are going to the Daregan city. Their guards have been killed by the thieves, but they themselves are only suffering from minor injuries. Since there are no one who's dying, let's let them tend to their own injuries.
Taruna and Erina are stripping equipments from the half-killed unconscious thieves. It's annoying, but I'll help them. The smells from leather armors make me want to pinch my nose, but since they can be sold for some money, we're taking them before dealing with the thieves. Unfortunately, their swords and spears that seem to be made of bronze have been destroyed. The young lady used her superhuman strength to destroy them, it'd had been more profitable if she cut their throats instead.
After I've finished stripping off their equipments, I dispose the thieves one by one. The thieves have lost their way, they're probably prepared to lose their life like this. I stab their hearts in one go to at least not make them suffer.
Taruna and Erina have finished dealing with theirs too.
We go back toward the merchant who is troubled with the young lady's talk about hero's tale. The ignorant young lady refuses the merchant-dono when he's going to give her rewards, "Such things like rewards aren't necessary desuwa", she says. Since I can't ask for rewards now, I have the merchant-dono to buy the equipments we've got from the thieves. He buys it at higher prices than the market's. It probably includes the reward.
Due to the merchant-dono's earnest request, we're going to escort them to Daregan city. It's a secret from the young lady, but I think escort's job is attractive. With this, we don't have to do things like renting barn for everyone but the young lady when we're staying at the inn in Daregan city.
The traveling expense from Nina-sama is barely enough for a round trip to Daregan city. Considering the poor financial situation of the baron's territory, she could not give us more than this. If the head-maid hasn't given us one silver coin in secret, we might have had to hunt along the way.
Evening of that day, we're treated to the meal made by the merchant-dono's slave, but it's only cereals porridges. Moreover, 30% of it consist of brans. He doesn't seem to be a wealthy merchant. The young lady gives an impression, "What strange textures.", but I think it's a strong point of her that she would eat up food even if it's bad. She's been raised to be poor--er, economical since she's child in the honorable house.
I want to quickly arrive at Daregan city, and eat the popular fish dishes with relish.
"Now then, young lady, is it alright for us to not greet the viceroy?"
"It's fine, I don't have dress for the greeting anyway. It's not good to go meet them looking like this right? Or, are we going to tailor a dress?"
The young lady's words are reasonable.
Even though the clothes that the young lady wears is nicely tailored, it's a soldier-like clothes, not something that a lady would wear.
We're barely able to pay hotel fees, there's no way we have money to make dress.
"Pina-san, we've already got an inn, so let's quickly eat some fish~."
The suggestion is so, the gluttonous, Erina-like. However, first we have to straighten the clothes of the young lady. Since she hasn't been able to bathe until here, I'll dust her off.
"Taruna, go ask the inn's caretaker to bring hot water. Erina, go to the port and ask if anyone's seen someone that resembles chevalier-sama. Taruna should also go get informations from the market after you've done arranging the hot water."
I give the reluctant two works. Since there's still some time until evening, I'll make them work until then.
I receive the hot water from the inn's caretaker, and wake up the young lady who's begun to doze off on the bed. I take off the young lady's remaining clothes and wipe her body with a clean cloth that's been soaked in the hot water. They are violently-sized breasts no matter how many time I see it. As I'm perfectly flat, I occasionally feel hateful on it.
"Okay, I feel refreshed now."
The young lady falls on the bed while muttering satisfyingly. She's probably tired from her first long journey. She's sleeping just like that, while not wearing even a piece of string.
I put her underwear and night-wear while being careful not to wake her up. I wash dirty laundry until the two come back.
Even though I feel sorry to say that it's as expected, the two aren't able to get any clue about chevalier-sama.
If we still can't find any clue after searching for the whole day tomorrow, it'd probably be better to rely on Toruma-sama and head to the viscount Shiimen house in the dukedom's capital.
"It's not something you can often eat in Muno city."
The dining room at the first floor of the inn is quite lively. Since our purses have got a bit swollen from the rewards as escort, we order famous set of fish meal. The two are innocently frolic, but as for me who isn't good with fish bones, I'm not that excited. It's finally here. I move the cut white meat to a different plate, and present it before the young lady. It should have been the work of the two, but if I leave it to the rash Erina and the thoughtless Taruna, the young lady will choke on fish bones.
"My, the salt works well, it's delicious desuwa. This rice? This strange texture matches well with the fish."
I'm glad that it suits the young lady's taste.
This town has a staple food, a cereal called rice. Not unlike baking bread, it seems that it's difficult to make, but it's more filling than bread.
That reminds me, it feels similar to the snack called rice porridge that chevalier-sama's made during my night watch shift. That rice porridge should had been made only with rice, water and salt, but the deep taste really didn't make you think it was. I want to eat it once again.
Erina pulls my sleeves when I'm lost in thought.
"Pina-san, postpone your fun delusion for a bit, and listen carefully to the conversation of the female mercenaries behind."
Erina whispers rude things to me. Some punishments are necessary later.
It seems she's talking about a group of three girls. The clothes of one of them is quite worn. There are patches on the shoulder and the back, I wonder what kind of thing she's fought to get those rips? Or rather, it's good that she lives after going through situation that rip her clothes like that. Just at that time, a different female veteran mercenary who seems to be their acquaintance comes beside them.
"Hey, isn't it quite rare for you girls to eat in this kind of restaurant?"
"Nee-san, I'm sorry for not contacting you for so long. We've got a bit of money from wolves extermination, so I've thought of eating something nice once in a while."
"That so, since the wolves packs are getting larger recently, don't chase them too deep into the forest okay?"
What does Erina want me to hear?
It seems that the veteran's hit a sore spot, the three girls fall silent from her words.
"Ah, Nee-san, I'd have liked that advice a bit earlier."
"What's this, did you guys run into a large pack of wolves?"
"That's right. We were chased hard by 30 wolves in the forest, I thought we were going to die."
"How did you get out of that without even an injury?"
"Ah, you don't believe me huh."
"I was so greatly injured that my clothes becomes tattered."
Those rips are from wolves are they.
"Oy oy, there's limit to bluffing too you know? If you get injuries from that kind of rips, you'd have been dead now right?"
"Hehee, magic medicine! I've been given magic medicine. He must have fallen for me, no doubt about it! He looks good too, I wonder if I should aim for marriage~?"
"Magic medicine you say. How many gold coins do you think a magic medicine that could heal even the scar worth. If you're a peerless beauty then I understand, but there's no way there's such a good natured person willing to save a plain young girl like you."
I see, I have such a good natured man in mind.
I look at Erina who's also listening, and we nod our heads. It's most likely chevalier-sama. He has also generously given an expensive magic medicine to a girl who's been ran over by carriage in Muno city, it's quite enough as circumstantial evidence.
"Well, even if I give in to the story of the magic medicine, how are you girls able to escape the wolves?"
"That, the three demi-human girls that had tagged along with the person who gave that medicine defeated the wolves in a flash."
"They were great. Even though the dogkin and the catkin were children, they killed the wolf in one stab."
"However, the scalekin person was extraordinary. She defeats so many wolves with one thrust of the black spear with red glows."
There's no scalekin who wields a magic spear beside Liza-dono."
"Red spear? Isn't that a magic spear?"
From the veteran's words, the atmosphere of the dining room changes.
"""""Magic spear you say!"""""
The people who look like traveling nobles that have been eating fish set meals since awhile ago stand up all at once.
The nobles and their servants who have changed their facial expressions press on the young female mercenaries to inquire about it, but the veteran manages the situation, and charges for the information.
Three set of master and servants who have gained the information leave the dining room after finishing their meal in hurry.
I wonder what's going on? Magic tools are rare indeed, but I don't think it's rare enough to be chased that desperately. I think they should have dozens of gold coins if they're nobles, I wonder if they have some kind of reason for needing magic spear? I want to catch up with chevalier-sama before he's involved with troublesome things.
"Then, I wonder if the onee-sans that have been listening since awhile ago want to buy informations too?"
Looks like we've been found out.
"The ones you're talking about since before are acquaintances of me. The user of that magic spear is called Liza right?"
"Yes, she's said she is."
"What were the names of the little beastkins?"
"Wasn't it Pochi and Tama? At least remember the name of your saviors."
"But, we don't know the master's name right. I forgot to ask his name."
Normally, someone would have ulterior motive for saving people, it's really like chevalier-sama.
"I will teach you! He's a vassal of my father, chevalier Satou Pendragon desuwa! He's a master of both sword and magic!"
If you're boasting with such sparkly eyes...
"Hee, he's the young lady's favorite huh?"
"That's nice~ Chevalier-sama, that means he's a knight-sama?"
"Uwah~ I have to give up marrying into the rich huh, what a waste~"
Karina-sama says with red-face, "N, No. I don't have such relationship with that person." She's really unfamiliar with love stuff despite her age.
Erina and Taruna are also watching the young lady with warm gazes.
From the information we got from the girls, chevalier-sama was a stone throw away from Daregan city yesterday, and instead of entering the city, he had gone to the highway headed to the neighboring city, Gugurian.
I think his instinct is too sharp, it seems that the road of Karina-sama's love is going to be thorny. Bud might unexpectedly sprout on Erina instead.
Tomorrow, we're going on the boat to get ahead of him. If we don't catch up to him soon, the day where we have to stay in the barn might not be far.
I think it's alright for me to have a delusion of getting the home-made cooking of chevalier-sama.
Karaage, Tempura, Ebifurai, ah, there are too many. Crepes is nice too. However, I want to eat the rice porridge with just the two of us together once again after all.