Intermission: Sera's Misfortune
"Ara, Sera-sama. Have you finished your business with Duke-sama?"
"Yes, I was only confirming the attendant's schedule."
A female temple staff greeted me when I was at the side entrance to the temple staff room. The woman always serves as the guard during food distributions.
I was just at the duchy castle, as the esteemed grandfather had called me. The kingdom conference next spring will be attended by grandfather and Tisrad-oniisama, not father. It's been decided that I'm going to be his medic for when his physical condition deteriorates.
Even though the royal capital is quite far, it's only going to take a few days to go there with the airship.
Moreover, Satou-san should be attending the kingdom conference. I look forward to meet him after a long time.
That voices in my mind shouldn't have been heard, but.
"Right right, Sera-sama. I saw sir Pendragon just a while ago."
"Eh?! W, where is he?"
I raised my voice involuntarily from her remark, which made eyes to gather here. If it's the head miko-sama, she would have forgiven me, but chief miko-sama and the head priest are going to scold me for it.
I put my hands on my mouth, and confirm to her in low voice.
Since he was going to the north in a carriage, he must have been going to viscount Shimen's mansion. I decided to ask the waiting coachman who had escorted me to take me to the viscount's mansion.
"Please wait, I think the he's going to visit here...."
I heard such voice from behind, but since I'm not going to have any work until afternoon today, there shouldn't be any particular problem.
I apologized for my sudden visit and requested for a meeting with viscount Shimen Hosaris, but it wasn't possible since he was readying to go to the royal capital. He's busy like usual.
Since I can't go back just like that, I'm going to visit the annex where Toruma-ojisama resides. He's said that it's okay for me to visit anytime, and I've asked the maid to pre-announce my visit, so it shouldn't be inconvenient for his family.
"Heya, Sera. It's rare for you to visit us."
"Excuse me for the long silence. Toruma-ojisama."
Oh? I wonder why, his face is looking sad that doesn't suit the cheerful toruma-oji.
"Sera, won't you call me Toruma-niichan like you did in the old days?"
"Ara, Oji-sama. Isn't it rude to call a married man, who has already had a baby, Onii-chan. What's wrong? Toruma-ojisama."
"Kukuku, Se, Sera-sama, please excuse him for that."
My talk partner has changed to his wife, Hayuna-sama, from Toruma-sama who's begun to look like he's crying while clinging to oba-sama.
<TLN: Oji-sama= uncle, oba-sama=aunt.>
I'd like to ask about Satou-san quick, but it's rude for me to start asking during the talk, I need some kind of topic, topic.... That's right! There's that talk choice!
"I've heard from grandfather just now that oji-sama will be granted baronet title during the spring conference. Congratulations!"
"Thank you. It's a honorary baronet, so Mayuna won't be able to succeed me though."
That reminds me, where is Mayuna-chan I wonder? I've not heard crying voice since a while ago.
"Ah, Mayuna is sleeping. Thanks to the toy that sir Pendragon had brought, she was in good mood from the beginning when she was awake until she slept after getting tired from laughing. She's not being handful, it's nice."
Yes, I've been waiting for that name to come up.
"Has sir Pendragon come here? I believe he's not going to go back to the duchy capital for a while..."
"He said that he came here alone from a trade port for a business at the scroll workshop."
"Satou-san had gone to the duke castle. Apparently, he was looking for red pickles, so he was going to ask the chef-san at the castle about it."
Chefs at the castle! Then, we've passed with each other haven't we.
I was able to quickly leave since Hayuna-sama was smoothly leading the talk for it. As expected of Toruma-ojisama for trying to stop it dead at its track.
"I, if it isn't, Sera-sama. What would be your business in this place where lower-class people work?"
A lot of people are working busily in the castle's kitchen that I've visited for the first time. The maid who had guided me called the person in charge of this kitchen, but Satou-san doesn't seem to be here.
"Ah, Chevalier-sama should be going ta' the downtown after he heard about the pickles there."
This time it's the downtown! Mou, Satou-san is mean.
In the end, I wasn't able to meet Satou-san even though I went to the downtown. I couldn't concentrate during the practice that day, and got scolded many times by the head miko-sama.
"Sera, you see."
"Sera, masita was here."
"Hey! You guys, call Sera-sama with Miko-sama or Sera-sama."
Little sea lion children started talking to me when I was chatting with the wives after the food distribution was over. The official of goddess Forina who was there scolded the children for not using honorifics to call me. I think there's no need to scold over such minor things toward such little children.
"What is masita?"
I bend my knee, and match my line of sight with the children's. I'm imitating Satou-san. It seems that it's easier to talk with the children if I do this. I feel that the distance between me and the children at the orphanage on consolation visit has decreased after I started doing this.
"Masita is, Nana's masita."
The Nana that I knows is Satou-san's attendant. Come to thinke of it, didn't Nana-san call Satou-san with master? Moreover, I remember that Nana-san often carried these children on her arms.
"Have you perhaps seen Satou-san?"
"What I saw was Nana's masita."
It's not hitting the point well, but I'm going to follow the children for the chance. The official of goddess Forina didn't look too happy, but I made the official permitted it by having some guards follow me.
The children lead me by hand to the street that's left with very few people after the morning market is over.
"Sera, masita, was here."
"Hey, masita is?"
The children point to an elderly woman who's tidying up goods that look like pickles.
"Miko-sama, what are these children doing?"
I apologize to the perplexed oba-san, and ask about Satou-san.
"A 15 years old refreshing-looking black haired calm man, wearing refined looking robe who is also a young noble? Is he miko-sama's lover?"
"I, it's not like that! Satou-san is my friend."
"Right isn't it, you do have to value your friend."
I can't stand the encouraging very tepid gaze from the oba-san.
"Oba-chan, feed me something, I overslept too much and couldn't join the food distribution."
"You've worked every night right, buy something yourself."
"I don't even have one copper coin since I send them all as remittance for my hometown. The Kuhanou pickles I got from Sac-chan aren't satisfying to munch after all~"
A woman on her late 20s, with a slightly vulgar clothes, cut herself between Oba-san and my talk. I wonder if men are attracted to these kind of voluptuous person?
"There are many young men with black hair. Oh right, the nii-san that had saved Futsuna the other day was also a black hair."
"Hmm? The one Sac-chan's talked about? Sac-chan said that he had some great techniques even though he was young. Thanks to that, she had lack of sleep."
"What are you saying in front of Miko-sama. Here, I'll give you an onigiri, bear with that."
"Yay, I love you oba-chan."
I excuse myself since I'm in the middle of a work.
"Masita, not here?"
"Satou-san doesn't seem to be here."
"Ara? The one that Miko-sama looking is called Satou? Sac-chan said that he left the duchy capital with the very first ship in the morning."
N, no way... that's cruel, Satou-san. Won't it hurt you to show up for a bit. I thanked the woman who had informed me, and went back totteringly to the temple.
But, I wonder what kind of relationship they have?
It's 10 days afterward when I meet Satou-san.
『Today, light hill, your chevalier.』
I was given such letter during food distribution. I couldn't see the other party's face, but is this really from Satou-san?
Light hill is a hill at the edge of the downtown with beautiful reflection of the stars on the great river, it's famous for being a place for trysts between lovers.
I can't go to such place as a miko myself.... But, it's fine if I go just to meet him right?
"A star seems to have fallen into the great river."
The priest has asked the guards to go with me.
However, the one that waits in the hill is not Satou-san.
"Fuhn? As expected of the princess of the archduke to bring along guards during her secret date~"
When the boy with white hair pulls out his sword, the guards quickly make a wall in front of me. The grandfather's private soldiers that have guarded me from a distant protect me. Due to my kidnapping incident during the attack on the duchy capital back then, they've been protecting me from this kind of ruffians constantly.
"Ahaha, with such few number of small fries, you can't stop me you know~?"
"I've been in the imperial guard since my youth days. You brat won't be able to match me."
Silver flashes glitters, I can hear the sound of swords clashing.
Very slightly after that, the guards have all fallen to the ground. The dumbfounded guards are going to run away while taking me, but the white-haired boy cuts them in a blink of an eye.
"I need to take you a hostage to lure out someone. I will pluck off your feet and hands if you resist, so be obedient okay~?"
He slowly comes to me while shouldering his bloodstained sword. He moves like a weasel who's torturing prey.
"What are you doing on someone's garden?"
I wonder why, I mistook him for Satou-san for an instant even though that person's voice and height were different. That person who's wearing black clothes is about three fists taller than Satou-san, and his voice is different above all.
He's holding a beautiful sword that scatters blue light in the middle of the night, while overwhelming the white haired boy.
Is that sword a holy sword?
But, his physique is too different than hero-sama. Is he Nanashi-sama who has saved the duchy capital from crisis together with hero-sama?
After some exchange of blows, the white haired boy took some distances away. He's probably going to run. I thought that but--
"O Long Horn, feed on my hatred for the violent power!"
He was going to push the long horn that he had taken from his bosom to his own forehead, but a person with purple hair confiscated that away. Where did this purple haired person come out from?
"Give it back."
The white hair attacks the purple hair, but the purple hair evades the attack casually, and he knocks the white hair down with his fist like he's scolding a little child. The people who have guarded me aren't weak soldiers. To easily overpower the one who has slaughtered those guards like this, he must not be an ordinary person.
"What's wrong Nanashi. Weren't you going to just look from the back?"
『This guy took out something dangerous. I had to disempower him before he could use it.』
This purple haired person seems to be called Nanashi. Why does he has such stuffy voice I wonder? Nanashi-sama produced a rope out of nowhere which moved by itself to capture the boy.
With a wave of Nanashi-sama's hand, the wounds on the dying soldiers disappear.
Is that chantless magic?
『Well then, Miko Sera. I will excuse myself. Please send my regard to head miko-sama. The duchy capital sentries are coming here soon, but please don't approach that white hair."
So he said, and the two disappear like they've been swallowed by the darkness. Thanks to this miraculous encounter, it seems my life is saved.
The uninjured soldiers who have been healed by Nanashi-sama, gets up and captures the white haired boy. I pray for the soldiers who have died protecting me while looking at that scene with a sidelong glance.
However, I wonder why does Nanashi-sama know my name?