12-8. Under the Sakura Tree
Satou's here. There's the saying, "A corpse is buried underneath the Sakura tree", but I don't know whether it's from a novel or a fable, let alone the source's title.
"It looks grand seen from below isn't it."
"It sure is. It's eerily beautiful."
I muttered while looking up at the Sakura tree.
Someone's pulling my sleeve. It's Mia.
The beastkin girls have moved to the borrowed luggage carriage as its guards, so Mia and Lulu have moved to the vacant seats of this carriage.
"--the 『eerily beautiful』 part?"
Mie ecstatically closes her eyes and pushes her mouth. When I shift my line of sight to the opposite side, Arisa is also taking the same pose.
Astonished, I seek help to Lulu who's sitting in front of me, but she quietly closes her eyes after blushing sakura-color for an instant.
--You girls, did you conspire for this beforehand?
The carriages arrives at the place Baron Muno is staying unaffected with the trifle inside.
We're missing one carriage.
Apparently, the luggage carriage that the beastkin rode had entered through the back entrance.
"Welcome to the Royal Capital."
Guided by the way that's formed from the maids who are standing in rows, we enter the mansion.
It seems these maids aren't Baron Muno's servants, but this mansion's.
As the proof, these maids aren't wearing the maid uniforms, but elegant one-piece-type uniforms.
Pina who's in maid uniform is waiting in the entrance hall.
"We have been waiting for you. Chevalier-sama, Karina-sama."
"It's been a long time. I'm glad to see you're healthy."
"News about Chevalier-sama's activities had also reached Muno territory."
We would obstruct the maids' job if we chat too long, so I cut it off appropriately.
Unlike the battle maids I've seen in Muno territory and the Duchy Capital, Pina is acting gracefully like it's natural, "I've been a maid for a long time", while guiding me to the living room.
Checking on the map, Baron Muno and Consul Nina seem to be in the northern conference room of the royal castle. It seems to be quite an exhausting conference, the Baron's stamina has been greatly diminished.
This is the first time I saw the abnormal status, [Overworked].
"Baron-sama and Consul-sama are currently out for a prior engagement, so please relax in this room until they get back."
The maids are putting several tea sets and tea-cakes on the table. The tea cakes are of still-warm baked sweets and white-candy like things put on small bowls.
The bell on top of the table is probably for calling the maids. I let the maids who are waiting near the room entrance to fall back.
After a bit, the beastkin girls who have entered from the mansion's back entrance meet up with us.
"Mumwu~? Illegal occupation~?"
"First come, first served."
Tama is aiming to recapture the lap that Mia has taken.
Today, the positions of these two are reversed. But, I don't think it's something that need to be competed so much. Pochi tries to climb and sits beside me, she doesn't seem to be interested with my lap.
When my eyes meet with Pochi's who's sitting beside me, she smiles, "He".
That was too cute I involuntarily patted her head.
Now then, I want to talk about our policy from now on, but since Lady Karina is naturally in the room, it's hard to do it.
I guess I'll talk about it once we get to my own mansion I've prepared in the royal capital.
I had prepared a mansion for Chevalier Pendragon use while acting as someone called Akindou when I was delivering the airships and the magic swords here. I've announced that Akindou is the purveyor of Pendragon's house beforehand so it's quite convenient. Echigoya is for big things like airships when I act as Nanashi or Kuro, so I'm making use of Akindou for Satou's businesses.
"Still, even though I had thought that you were strong, I would've never guessed that you would even win against Julberg-shi of Shiga Eight Swords."
『It was truly splendid.』
Lady Karina and Raka are praising Liza.
Pochi and Tama look happy like they're talking about them.
Mia who's won my lap from Tama is humming in good mood, unrelated to it.
I don't think that place is that comfortable though....
"But you know, although we've dodged it with the Pendragon Seven Braves thing, won't Liza-san or Master get to become Shiga Eight Swords like this?"
While drinking the cup beside me, Arisa asked anxiously.
Oh good. That [Pendragon Seven Braves] thing wasn't serious. I was sure that she was when I looked at that proud-looking face.
"Pendragon Seven Braves nanodesu!"
"Seven braves~? Karina is included too~?"
Pochi and Tama said so without minding, are they not embarrassed with that name?
Lady Karina tilts her head after hearing Arisa.
"Liza will surely be, but they won't recommend Sa, Satou right? If it's swordsmanship, aren't Pochi and Tama stronger?"
"That's not true at all nodesu!"
"Master is stronger~"
Pochi and Tama deny that while shaking their heads.
"But", and so Lady Karina looks unconvinced.
She's been thoroughly beaten by Pochi and Tama in the Labyrinth City's mansion.
From Lady Karina's perspective, I probably am not comparable to the two.
"....I-is that so."
I wonder what?
My crisis perception kicks in when I see Lady Karina who has seemingly consented about something while looking down.
I can't see her face, but the corner of her lips feels like Arisa's when she's laughing "Guheguhe". Although there's some difference with hers looking slightly more refined.
"Satou! I understand well what you feel!"
She declares so while looking at me happily.
That must be a misunderstanding.
I couldn't said that since her whole face is smiling gleefully.
"H-hey. Isn't Oppai-san misunderstanding something?"
"That seems to be so."
Arisa whispers to my ear.
Looks like Mia and Lulu think the same.
I asked Nana who was feeding Shiro and Crow, and she gave her opinion, "Rather than misunderstanding, it's mis-recognition from maidenly revision, so I conjecture."
There's a high possibility that Lady Karina misunderstands that I will, "lose on purpose", in the fight to hide my true strength.
It looks like it'd become troublesome if I don't quickly dispel the misunderstanding.
"This is the kingdom-style sakura salmon meuniere."
A person wearing butler-like clothes says so after putting some refined-looking salmon meuniere dish on the plates before us.
This salmon has pink scales like sea bream so people call it [Sakura Salmon].
It seems to be often eaten during the sakura blooming season as a good luck charm in the Royal Capital.
"Pochi-chan, don't start by stabbing it with the fork. Use the knife properly."
"I can eat this much in one bite nodesuyo?"
"It's awright even without a knife~?"
"It's not alright!"
Teaching Pochi and Tama manner seem difficult for Lulu and Arisa.
"Shiro, you hold it like this."
"Like this? Crow?"
Shiro is being taught the table manner by Crow, they master it without great difficulty.
The corners of Nana's eyes are coming loose as she sees the two. They look like a mother and her daughters, but age-wise, Nana is actually the younger one.
While giving a sidelong glance at them, I talk to Mia who's looking at the meuniere with a grim face.
"You too try eating it Mia."
"I hate fish."
"The bones are few, eat it while thinking you're being deceived."
Mia scowls at the meuniere.
Groaning while holding the fork on your mouth is a breach of manner, but it's hard to point that out since it looks cute.
After appreciating it for a bit, I pointed it out to Mia.
The Baron and the others haven't come back even after we've eaten the dinner and taken a bath.
The Baron's parameters shown on the map are looking dangerous. His stamina has become zero and alternating between fainted and awakened.
I want to give him nutrient and stamina recovery magic potions. Unfortunately, I can't readily show up there since only upper nobles and their associates are allowed to attend the conference.
I hand over some healing potions to Pina. I want her to give it during the conference's break.
At that time I conveyed to her that we would like to leave today, but she tearfully entreated me, saying that Consul Nina had instructed her to absolutely keep us here.
It couldn't be helped, so I was going to take everyone in a night tour of the sakura trees, but it was stopped too.
Because they don't have the mean to contact us.
"What is it Mia."
I went to the balcony to enjoy the night sakura tree there instead, but Mia who was already there said so to me.
Mia is looking at the huge sakura tree.
"Do you want to go to the base of the huge sakura tree?"
Mia is looking unusually serious.
"Arisa, sorry but could you contact me with Telephone when the Baron has returned."
"Okkey. I'll join Mia's sleeping together session once."
I put a Carved Seal Board for [Return] magic in one corner of the room.
Sleep-sharing huh, Arisa is unselfish. Sexual harassments are forbidden of course.
Leaving Pochi and the others who look like they want to tag along, I go with Mia toward the base of the Sakura tree.