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Chapter 34 The Odd Long Trip on the Flying Horse
"Well, well. To be welcomed personally by Taiga-dono. I wish we were notified of it in advance."
"No problem. Because it's a sudden decision by us, I apologize I couldn't give a more proper greeting. Since my father was out of the territory to attend to a business, I have come here as the representative."
"No, no. We should be the one expressing our gratitude because the young lord of Shikino went out of his way to greet us. And we are also planning to go and greet your father directly."
Because Taiga-san wanted to meet our parents, we brought him over, and it turned out like this. I wonder why, even when it looks like a normal greeting, I get the feeling like my father is checking out Taiga-san, but is it just my imagination?
"Please do meet him. My father also wanted to have a frank discussion with the head of Shiiya's family, or so I heard."
"I'm looking forward to it. Oh right, we're bringing Shiiya's pepper as a present. Wouldn't you want to suppress the sweetness of Shikino's meat?"
"Oh, I appreciate your thoughts. As for us, we will be offering the wine that we've stocked up since last year."
In other words, the territory of Shikino family is specialized in wine, farm, and dairy products, huh? Since it's close to the mountain, do they also have lots of goats, I wonder?
However, why does it look like they are glaring at each other? Those two people. Also, Kaa-san, I wish you could stop being so obvious that you have fun watching them… or at least, I think, don't obviously show that smile.
"Well well, Ane-sama, it's fine, so… as long as they're only clashing with words."
"Saryuu, please don't tell me such scary things…"
Anyway, together with Taiga-san who picked us up, we headed towards the villa. I am told that our villa seems to be at the outskirts of Shikino family's territory. The boundary line is quite vague, huh.
Also, for some reason, I'm sitting in front of Taiga-san. In other words, on top of the horse. By the way, because I am wearing a dress, I'm sitting with my legs out to one side, and by doing so, I am clinging to Taiga-san so that I can hold my legs. I want to hide in my embarrassment, and if others see us, we are the perfect depiction of an ikemen1 older brother and a young girl riding on the white horse together.
"I got a little motion sickness when I was on my way here."
In the first place, it might happen due to the words I've said earlier.
"Forgive my insolence, but if Seiren-sama doesn't mind, would you like to ride on my horse? From here on, the road will get worse, and I'm worried you might get too sick if you are in the carriage."
That was what Taiga-san told me.
Tou-san and Kaa-san were reluctant, but considering the condition of my lower abdomen and generally speaking, it was an official offer he made out of a good will, and honestly, I don't have the confidence that I won't vomit if the carriage starts to rattle a lot after this. And that was how, well, I received his favor. Since I will be able to breathe in the air outside on top of the horse, isn't it better?
The other party is a man 10 years older than me, but he is also the next head of the feudal lord family and Saryuu's big brother, I think he wouldn't do anything absurd no matter what. For some reason, Saryuu's eyes were so dreadful, but hey, since when did you become a siscon2?
Just to be sure, even if the distance doesn't seem to be that far, Minoa-san is pulling the horse's bridle. Since we are going outside, so today, she's wearing plain clothes, and since it's summer, she's wearing mint green short jacket and a skirt as long as her calf, with quite tall heels, but solid short boots. She is a tall person, so these kinds of outfit really suit her.
"I'm sorry. My parents are being too overprotective, so…"
"I heard that Seiren-sama has a frail body. With that kind of situation, it's natural for your parents to be worried over their daughter."
When I reflexively bowed my head after riding the horse, Taiga-san shook his head and smiled a bit.
That's right. For the others, I am the frail daughter who's been recuperating in the countryside.
Well, it can't be helped that Tou-san and Kaa-san are excessively worried over me. That's why, I can only answer with, "Yes". Nah, I feel that if I were to speak excessively, I may leak something.
Now that I think about it, it's quite tall when I rode the horse. The horses over here are huge, and I feel like I would seriously fall over if I didn't cling to Taiga-san.
"It's alright. I will be sustaining you, so you won't fall over."
"If you let Seiren-sama fall over, I won't forgive you."
"Understood. I promise you that won't happen, in the name of Shikino."
While supporting my back, Taiga-san said that in order to make me feel relieved. And, Minoa-san who's been watching over me with all her might, dropped the words that were like stabbing the nails, as expected, I guess. Or rather, Minoa-san, your gaze over the shoulder is scary, it's scary.
The horse that was being pulled over by Minoa-san like that, it's quite bold, eh. Besides, since I don't know whether the horse could fly in the sky or not, I was determined to sit still in my position.
However, what is it with assuring that he won't let me fall over in the name of his family name?
Family name, huh.
"Speaking of which. I have heard that Shikino family are the distant relatives of Shiiya family, but I don't really know about the details. Could it be that because our villa is in close proximity to the territory, that some minglings happened?"
I got a little bit curious, so I tried asking. After all, today, he even went all the way to pick us up, too.
Well, thinking about it, there's no way we'd be adopting a son of a family with no relation to us at all.
"Yeah. Frankly speaking, my father seemed to be attracted to Maya-sama, but in the end, it seemed that he was defeated by Mondo-sama."
The cat was unintentionally out of its bag3. I tried to hide my panic. As expected, being too honest is quite dangerous.
Returning to the topic, they were love rivals, huh. Now that you mention it, Kaa-san said that her house was close to Shikino-san's house.
…I thought that they were strangers, but turned out their relationships were quite complex. The person with the same name as the orphanage director who raised me, was my biological father's love rival. Hey, think about it.
Or rather, before, when Tou-san seemed to be checking Taiga-san out, did he have Taiga-san's father in his mind? No way.
While thinking about it, Taiga-san examined my facial expression. This is close, too close.
"Is your body doing alright now, Seiren-dono?"
"Ah, yeah. I'm feeling okay."
"Ah, no. That's not what I mean."
Hm, did I get it wrong?
Ah, could it be that he was asking me if it was alright for me to go traveling outside because of my frail constitution?
What a weird thing to be worried over. I feel bad.
"…Yes. Fortunately, I've been able to live my life normally now. Ah, but since I didn't interact much with people, I was poorly informed regarding the circumstances of the family, common knowledge, and social etiquettes. If I was being impolite or bothersome, please properly tell me."
"No. You spent most of your life to recuperate, right? It can't be helped, and at least I didn't think of it as a problem or an annoyance."
If you say so, I feel relieved. It's not an excuse, because it's the truth that I am poorly informed of the common knowledge and social etiquettes here.
Nah, I've been studying hard at home to learn the common knowledge in this world. Kuon-sense who knew my circumstances, taught me lots of things by making comparisons with the common knowledge in the other world she heard from me.
But, it's only been 3 months. It can't be helped if it's considered as a hasty preparation.
"Seiren-sama. That necklace is quite cute, isn't it?"
No well, please don't suddenly change the topic. It takes time for me to change the topic, as well.
And, by necklace, he means… ah. Today, I am wearing the big ring on my finger, so the one hanging down as the pendant is…
"This small ring is a present that I received from my parents as soon as I was born. It was never been separated from me, and it's an important amulet for me."
"Is that so? The ring has been protecting you, huh?"
At the very least, I have certainly been protected by Tou-san, Kaa-san, and the orphanage director, so I firmly nodded.
And, thankfully, I have arrived around the evening without feeling sick just like that. The villa is small in comparison to the mansion, but it's a mistake to make the huge two-story to be the comparison target. Because it's located in the mountain, the villa uses tougher lumbers compared to the mansion's, and it gives off the vibe of being bulky and heavy. But still, this is the villa, huh? As expected, being rich is amazing.
Ah, in this world, the area where I'm living has the sun properly rising from the East, passing by the South, and sinking into the West, so I'm saved that I don't have to memorize a different common sense. Or how should I put it, there are lots of shared commonness that it's a bit dubious to say that this is truly a different world. It is on the level where it won't be strange to say that this is the earth in the distant past or even the future.
"Danna-sama, Oku-sama, Saryuu-sama. You have come again this year, as well."
"It's been awhile, Godou. Thank you for always taking care of this villa, this year, we'll be in your care, as well."
"As usual, the greenery and maintenance are perfect. I'm glad we left it in your care, that's what we think every time we come here."
"Thank you for your good words, but I think I'm unworthy of your praises."
"Godou, is it also available this year? The goat cheese?"
"Well, yes. I remember seeing Saryuu-sama eating it delightfully, so I've prepared plenty of it."
The one who welcomed us was an Oji-san who seemed to be the villa's manager. Perhaps he is a bit younger than Tou-san, I think. For some reason, this person gives off the vibe similar to the jewelry merchant, Coda-san. But he is thickly haired, as expected of the bodily adaptation from being in cold area.
He seems to be happily speaking with Tou-san and Saryuu, too, but somehow he looks the happiest when he speaks to Kaa-san. Is it just my imagination, I wonder?
And by 'this year, as well', it seems like they have been coming here once a year for who knows how many years already. As for me, well, obviously it's my first time coming here.
"And, this is your first time meeting her, right? This is Seiren. She will be coming here starting this year."
"I'm Seiren, nice to meet you. I will be in your care."
"Oh, so you are Miss Seiren. I am Godou, and I've been taking care of Shiiya family's mansion. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
Godou-san who deeply lowered his head, shifted his attention to Taiga-san who's besides me after he raised his face, and looked at him with calculating eyes. For a moment, it seemed as if he squinted his eyes, but I wonder if it wasn't just my imagination?
"Oh my, oh my. Isn't this the young master from the Shikino family? You're coming along, as well?"
"I went to greet the Shiiya family members in my father's stead. If you mind, I will quickly go away."
"Thank you for your consideration. Please be careful on your way home."
Uwaa, there are thorns in his words. It is completely different from when he is talking to me. Anyway, just like that, along with Godou-san's unpleasant atmosphere, we immediately went to the carriages. The maids and the employees are also coming this way, perhaps to take down and carry in the luggage.
The one who slightly sighed was Taiga-san. Eh, his expression turned to be slightly worried face all of a sudden, I wonder did something happen.
"…Taiga-san, did something happen with Godou-san?"
"To be accurate, it was my father. In any case, Godou-dono seemed to have been serving Maya-sama's house. It seems that he has a connection to Mondo-sama."
So it wasn't just my imagination, from a while ago. So, he was very familiar to my mother because he has been serving her family even before Kaa-san's marriage.
What's more, in short, between Shikino Touya and Tou-san, Godou-san was in Tou-san's faction. So, he wasn't very happy to see the rival's son.
Umm, why are you being so complicated in weird things? Why would the children be dragged into their parent's old love affair, anyway? Give me a break, really.
"Well, I think it's better for Seiren-sama to not be concerned about it. It's something of the distant past, after all."
"I think it's weird to be glared at for something from the distant past like that, am I wrong?"
Ah, the cat is out of the bag, again. Even though I tried to act and speak more properly, I didn't even notice the words that escaped from my mouth reflexively.
However, Taiga-san who heard my words just now, for a moment, he seemed to be wide-eyed.
"He is, indeed."
Somehow, he delightfully laughed.
Oooh, is this the early sign of… romance?!Cool or good looking man. ↩ A person having a sister complex. ↩ An idiom, it means to let out something without intending to. ↩