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Chapter 33 The Rattling, Long Journey on the Carriage
On the first day of the Summer Purification Week, we headed to our family villa in the mountain.
Since we will be returning home at the end of the week, so I packed my baggage with the changes of clothes needed. There's supposed to be a bag for it, but for some reason, I'm using a basket woven from a plant vine with a lid instead. It is kinda similar to the ones I saw in the historical dramas. Having a ventilation is good, but I wonder if it's alright to arrange the clothes there?
Well anyway, in a world like this, in order to travel a long distance, we would use carriages. This journey seems to have a distance where you can arrive by the evening if you leave in the morning. …It's fairly close? This is not a world where there are fast transportations such as Shinkansen and airplanes, after all.
"…Whoa, it's cool!"
"This is the carriage that your family usually rides in. As for the employees' wagon, we have prepared another one, as well."
"Ah, I see. So that's how it is… thanks for explaining."
The carriage that is led by Yuzuruha-san who stayed behind is, well, its appearance is blackening, or perhaps should I say it feels as if it's lacquering, and metal fittings are used at the key places, and it feels calming to look at. It's cool, and it is sized to fit around 4 people riding. I won't know before I come inside, but it looks like that there will still be a leeway even if all people are sitting face-to-face.
Also, the horse is fairly huge. From what I know, it is around the size of the other world's thoroughbred1 horse, but perhaps it is one size bigger than them. Overall, the horse looks tough, and all four of its legs are fat.
However, it has a fat beak on its face just like a bird's, and there are small wings on its back.
"What are these wings, Saryuu?"
"Aah. The wild ones have bigger wings, but since it would be a hindrance for the ones who'll be pulling the carriages, it looks like that they are cut during when the horses are still small."
"…So that they won't fly away?"
"Yes. There are also the types that won't have their wings cut off, for example in cases of the horses used for delivering express mails."
Wait, is it the kind of monsters that usually appears in games and myths in the other world?
Well, the type in the other world certainly has a head that looks like an eagle, but now, standing right in front of my eyes, no matter how I look at it, it looks more like a crow. When I look at it, I think that this is really a different world.
When I look at the distance, there's another similar horse pulling another wooden carriage that's easy to understand. The two of them are standing in a line, and the smaller one seems to be used for the luggage, as it's steadily being loaded with baskets. Eh, isn't it just a week? Just how much luggage is being piled up? I only bring a basket, you know?
"Is it really that much? The luggage, I mean."
"There is also the employees' luggage. Seiren-sama's luggage is only one, but is that really alright?"
"In the first place, I don't use too many things. Even that luggage has been packed with other necessary things by the maids."
Since it has been a while since I came here, I remember to include cosmetics and other stuffs. I was wondering whether this was enough or not, so I had the maids check them for me.
Because it's summer, various things such as sunscreen, parasol, a thin cardigan to conceal the skin, other accessories and grooming set are being thrown in, as well.
When I said that, Yuzuruha-san smiled bitterly.
"I see. From now on, it might be better for us to sort out and select only useful things."
"I think there's no need to worry about that. Besides, in my case, I was brought up in another world."
"Even so, it's also due to our stiff mind.2"
I don't think so, though. In any case, asides in public, I still say "Ore3" as usual, and they still continue to watch over me attentively despite that. But I think I should also say "Watashi 4"properly even in front of my own parents. But, if I were to do that, somehow I feel like the "Shikino Seiren" will disappear completely from inside of me.
"It's because Yuzuruha-san and the others having soft minds that I've been totally helped. Thank you."
"If Seiren-sama said so, then I will also continue to work hard."
Towards Yuzuruha-san who deeply bowed his head, I really felt sorry.
Please don't overwork yourself.
Before long, the luggage stacking is finally over. Our carriage and the carriage that the employees will be riding on also seem to be ready.
It was my first time seeing a carriage up close, and from my position and my guardian, Yuzuruha-san's position, we can see my parents and Saryuu who are wearing the noble clothes styled for summer outings. It seems that Kaya-san will come along this time, as she followed my mother, and then headed to the employees' carriage.
"Seiren, was it fun to look at the horse carriage?"
"Yes. It's my first time being so close to a horse."
"Speaking of which, we do not use horses that much at home. The barn is quite distant from the mansion, too."
It seems that the carriages have come to the mansion several times, but I haven't seen them because usually, I was studying most of that time.
…That's it. The me right now, is just like a kid who's excited to see the lions and elephants during her first time visiting the zoo.
Well, I won't deny that. After all, it is really fun.
"Then, shall we go now, Nee-sama? There are small horses in the villa, if I'm not mistaken."
To put that in the terms I'm familiar with, it's a pony, huh? So they also exist here.
Because they are small, I wonder if they are at a pettable size? As I thought, it is a bit scary to pet the huge cart-horse.
"Oh my, oh my, please be careful. Saryuu, you approached that horse before and it pecked you, right?"
"T, that's because I have a fodder!"
My younger brother who's being teased by my mother is so adorable.
Or rather, wasn't he being rejected outright by the horse? Also, being "pecked" by the horse, as one would expect from a horse whose head is a bird's, huh.
Anyway, it's a waste of time to talk about it like this, and it'd be better to continue the conversation after we are in the carriage, so everyone is boarding into the carriage. Tou-san is getting in, followed by Kaa-san.
"Now, please go ahead, Ojou-sama."
"Yes, thank you."
I'm vaguely getting used to being called as "Ojou-sama". I took the hand of the coachman who's wearing a beret, and then got into the carriage by using a small stepladder. Since Saryuu is the last to get on, I think that the priority is based on the age, but it might also be an insurance just in case I fall over. I'm sorry for causing you to worry, dear little brother.
Besides that, the interior of the carriage is gorgeous, as expected. There are fine sculptures of plant patterns carved thoroughly on the floor, wallpaper, and even the ceilings, and etc, being rich is awesome, huh. Just how much many times have I rolled my eyes over this?
We went forward until lunch time, and took a rest in a village en route. There is a big restaurant, and we have our meals and go to the toilet there. In some way, this is not so different from a bus trip.
Well, the shaking is harsher than a bus, and to begin with, the road wasn't paved with asphalt, but it has a stone paving. My back hurts because I've been sitting for quite a long time. For the time being, I'm slightly feeling sick. Ugh.
As one could expect from a village, the toilet is a squat toilet5, but it can't be helped. Before going into the toilet, I was given a string, but since I didn't understand its significance, so, Oriza-san who accompanied me to the toilet told me that it was used for rolling up the skirt and tying it together so that it won't get dirty.
"The villa's toilets are the same type as the ones we use at the mansion, so there will be no problem there-"
I smiled bitterly towards Oriza-san who smiled and said that. Nah, wearing a long skirt is very bothersome, huh.
After feeling refreshed and going outside, I breathed in heavily. Oh-, as expected, the air is tastier since we are approaching the mountain. No, in overall, the air in this world is clean, though.
"Ah, Seiren-sama. The horse is coming-"
"Wrong-, it's up there, up there."
Oriza-san pulled me by her hands towards the edge of the road. Immediately afterwards, there was the sound of huge wings coming from up there. And just like that, landing smoothly in the middle of the road with its huge wings, was a pure white horse. Well, its head is still a crow's head, though.
Also, there is a person riding its back. He has a bright light brown hair, and seems to be a middle-aged man who is reasonably older than me, or should I say, a young Onii-san. He wears a thin jacket and pants, and has the image of the refreshing blue of the summer.
"Please excuse my impoliteness. Are you alright, lady6?"
The onii-san who seemed to notice us shortly after his landing, descended from his horse in a panic. After clapping the horse's nape of the neck once, he quickly approaches us.
Hm? Somehow, his face is familiar. Nah, this is definitely my first time meeting this Onii-san, though.
"Eh, ah, yes."
"Then I'm glad. I was in a hurry, so I didn't pay a close attention to my surroundings."
"Haha. Please be careful next time."
His troubled expression is somehow familiar, too. Well, I wonder why?
While thinking about that, I heard a loud voice from behind.
"Ane-sama, it's about time to go-"
"Ah, Saryuu? Sorry, I'll be there soon."
Saryuu who was running in a hurry, instantly jumped in his surprise and stopped. Eh, did something happen… nah, wrong.
Perhaps Saryuu stopped because he saw this Onii-san. After all, this is what he said afterwards.
Me and the onii-san looked at each other. Since he's calling me "Nee-sama", then the one he's calling "Nii-sama" is in other words.
I thought that I had seen him somewhere. Turns out that he is similar to Saryuu.
"…which means, you are Saryuu's…"
"…So, you are the Shiiya family's himegimi7. Excuse my rudeness."
The one that I assume to be Saryuu's big brother, kneeled before me. How should I put it, himegimi?
I heard that we have a little of royal family's blood, though. Even so, I don't think that makes me a princess, Onii-san.
"I'm the Shikino family's eldest son, Taiga. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
"Wa, yes… I'm Seiren. Pleased to meet you."
It's my first time meeting him, moreover he's the first person from outside that I've ever met, so I tried my best and lightly picked up my skirt as instructed, and lightly bowed my head. Whoa, I'm so embarrassed. Please just let me greet him normally.
Is it cute if I do it this way? Will the others who look at it think so? I'm so embarrassed now.
"Seiren-sama, welcome. It's an honor to be able to meet you."
"Aah, uhm, please don't be so formal to me. That, I(Ore), no, I (Watashi), am not used to that."
I became flustered and requested that, as the person who just told me his name— Taiga-san, stood up straight after bowing his head. Whoa, so tall. He is around two heads taller than my height which shrunk during when I came here. Saryuu who's 4 years younger than me isn't much taller than me, but he will also grow up to be this tall, huh?
"Nii-sama, why are you here?"
"Ah. I was told that the people of the Shiiya house will be coming to the villa, so my father instructed me to come and welcome all of you."
…Shikino Touya, huh.
I wonder why does that name appear every now and then?A horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. ↩ I think the whole point of the conversation is that Yuzuruha feels bad that the employees bring more luggage than Seiren and the maids adding various things to Seiren's luggage. ↩ Means "I". Frequently used by men. Establishes a sense of masculinity. ↩ Means "I". In formal or polite contexts, this is gender neutral; in casual speech, it is typically only used by women. ↩ The original Japanese is "田舎だけあってトイレはボットンだったけど, but looking at the context, I think it's a squat toilet? Please correct me if it's wrong. ↩ He's saying "lady" in English, as it's written as レディ in Japanese. ↩ Daughter of a person of high rank, such as the king, a noble, or aristocrat's. "Hime" also means princess. ↩