The first breakfast that I had at the Shikino mansion was—it might be quite unusual here, but it was rice. The brown rice congee used a fish dashi, and it was delicious and nutritious, so I had no problem with it.1
Besides the brown rice congee, there were baked seafood fillets, vegetable salad, and scrambled eggs. The soup is a consomme, and since it's autumn, it's full of potatoes and other root crops. The menu seems like it can fill your stomach up. Also, it feels like the meal at Shikino's is more Japanese-styled than the Shiya's. Though we still use fork, knife, and spoon here.
At the end of the meal, the tea appeared. Perhaps they knew of what tea I liked, so the tea that appeared was the same as the tea that was often made at the Shiiya mansion.
Whoa—as I took a breath, Taigsan suddenly asked me.
"Speaking of which, what about the person who was staying at the Shiiya mansion?"
"Eh? Ah, Leo-san?"
"Yes. Because it was written in Seiren-sama's letter, I was a little worried."
I see, I see, I wrote about him in the letter, indeed. After that… well, as far as it goes, it seems that he has withdrawn himself from me.
Shall I at least tell him about how Leo-san said that he wanted to come and see the harvest festival here?
"When Saryuu and I went out of the mansion, he sent me off along with my parents. And vaguely, it seems that he wants to come and see the festival that will be held here."
"He also said something like how he'd feel bad if he were to disturb Nee-sama and Nii-sama."
"Is that so…"
At my answer and Saryuu's, Taigsan's expression turned slightly complicated. Eh, could it be that…?
"Taigsan, do you know Leo-san? The people at my house seem to have known him, but they wouldn't tell me anything."
"Ah, no. I also don't know anything about him. Yeah."
…Is that so? For a moment, his eyes flickered.
But well, I suppose that if Taigsan also hides it, it means that it is something that can't be helped even if I were to know about it, or it's just that Leo-san is someone that he doesn't really want to tell me anything about, or things like that, right?
There might still be various complicated things to consider. Ah-, so troublesome.
When the tea time was almost over, I left my seat. Since I have to go to the harvest festival's venue immediately after this, I have to change my clothes before that.
Taigsan seems to be doing that as well, and he's wearing outfit that seemed cool. Or it can be said that he's wearing rich clothes. The outfit is similar to what Taigsan wore before, but he's now wearing a robe with a slightly simpler color and hemmed pants.
At the entrance, Saysan has been waiting while holding burgundy—or dark red mantles. Eh, it seems that it has to be worn from the top.
"I apologize for my sudden request in relation to the harvest festival. I'm glad that you understood."
"Ah, no problem. I have roughly heard the situation from Fubuki-san."
"Yeah. Fubuki-san might look like this, but she is quite handy, so I chose her as she was the most suitable to be Seiren-sama's bodyguard."
"I've also said that everyone in our place also seemed to be quite strong."
The conversation that I had with Taigsan while wearing the mantle was about Fubuki-san. Ah-, as expected, she's strong, and just like that, I'm well convinced. Hearing my opinion of the maids, Taigsan also laughed happily while saying, "I thought you'd say that!"
"By the way, is this kind of outfit alright? Since it's a harvest festival, I was thinking about wearing outfit that wasn't too gaudy…"
After Taigsan finished wearing his mantle, I decided to ask him for now. It seems that there won't be any other words to come out other than praising words, but that's Taigsan's fault.
Perhaps taking into consideration that it's autumn, the maids chose a beige dress. I also wore an olive green stole at my shoulders, and it feels relatively plain. Nah, whenever some clothes with gaudy color was taken out, no matter what, I came to remember Leo-san. No matter how you put it, it doesn't seem quite good to be worn at the harvest festival.
"It suits you really well, Seiren-sama. It's perfect for your personality."
"…Taigsan, why do you always praise it whenever your opponent is me? It's embarrassing."
"But I'm only voicing out my true feelings?"
Ah-, as expected, even though I was prepared for it, my face still turned red until my ears. I mean, I'd like it if he can properly point the bad things to me instead.
However, before I could point it out, Saryuu suddenly hopped into the conversation and opened his mouth to talk as if he was exasperated, and his voice came from the other direction. Ah- sorry, he's still your biological brother, after all. …In the future, don't become like this, okay?
"Nii-sama is just that deeply in love with Nee-sama. Good grief, even though we've told you that it's embarrassing."
"Mu… Saryuu, is that so?"
"That's right. Perhaps the fact that you can't understand that is the reason why you've been single up until now."
"Eh? Seiren-sama, did I go too far? I'm telling you… Eh-."
Taigsan tilted his head from hearing that. My maids, Saryuu's maids, and even Saysan simultaneously heaved a sigh, oi. Why is he only saying, "eh-?", really.
However, as expected, it's not the territory of Shiiya. Therefore, I'm shifting the guilt to the Shikino. Being the main culprit on how he managed to grow up like this, the Shikino have to take their responsibilities.
"Please hear Saysan's lecturing, then. Perhaps that's the most effective way, I think."
"Gu. F-from Saya, is it…?"
"Please leave it to me, Seiren-sama. I'll be giving Taigsama a kind, careful, and thorough explanation."
"I'll be relying on you, then."
Oh-, she possessed an intensity that wasn't inferior to Kaysan when she is being serious like this. Go and lecture Taigsan severely, okay?
It seems like the saying about "love is blind" is true, huh.
I also need to be careful, though.
The harvest festival's main venue is a public square that's located slightly distant from the Shikino mansion. There's a water fountain in the middle of it, and I can see a clock tower in the area slightly further than there.
There's a stage that turns its back to the clock tower installed just in front of the water fountain. It seems that the head of the Shikino family has been giving their speeches there every year. But for this year, for some reason, I'm also supposed to appear there.
Since it's clear that we are the head of the Shikino family and his fiancee, the Shiiya family's daughter, the maids are wearing clothes that are also standing out, which is their usual maid uniform minus the apron. Saysan is wearing green uniform, while Alicsan and the others are wearing their blue dresses. As expected, since the outfits would look plain just like that, they're wearing ribbon or scarf at their collar. It's quite cute.
Taigsan and I are riding on Genjirou. Meanwhile, Saryuu and the maids are walking beside us, and obviously, we stand out conspicuously. Both sides of the road until the public square have been densely packed with the fief population who have gathered, and it feels like they're lining up just like the audience of a marathon or something like that.
"Hi, Young Master!"
"Congratulations on your inauguration as the new head of the family-."
Though it's not a kabuki show or something like that where people would usually shout enthusiastically, there are lots of voices from here and there.2 And each time, Taigsan answered by waving his hand as he looked at his surroundings.
"You're so popular, Taigsan."
"Well, I've been wandering around the town quite often."
Taigsan smiled in a good mood as he embraced my shoulders. Yup, well, since Genjirou is also walking slowly, I won't fall down anyway, but it makes me feel relieved.
Even so, for you to get this popular just by wandering around the town, are you some Hachidaime?3 Nah, since your identity is known, then you're different from them, huh.
Well, it would be better for a feudal lord to get popular rather than not getting known at all.
And just like that, we arrived at the public square. I went down from Genjirou and looked up at the clock tower. The size doesn't differ that much from the clock tower that's in the Shiiya, and as expected, there's a bell hanging at the top of it.
…Eh, there's a person there.
"Taigsan, is it usual for someone to be there near the bell?"
"Eh? No, people would only come there when it's time to ring the bell…"
"I saw a person just now."
"…Understood. Please just pretend that you haven't noticed."
The moment I mentioned that I saw a person, I feel like Taigsan's face turned scary. …Have I seen something that I can't see?
After lightly tapping my back that was quivering, Taigsan went up to the stage together with me. Ah, when we stand here like this, the clock tower will be at our back. Yosh, don't see, I shouldn't see, I'll just leave that matter to someone else to handle.
"As we all know, my father retired last summer. Then, as his successor, this Shikino Taiga has been appointed to become the next head of the Shikino family. Please give me your best regards."
Meanwhile, Taigsan began to calmly deliver his greeting in front of many fief population. But isn't this a greeting for his inauguration as the head of a family rather than a greeting for the harvest festival? But well, that's fine.
"I think that everyone here has known me quite well, and as you know, I'm still a greenhorn. If you see something weird, please do not hesitate to tell me. It will surely be useful for the sake of everyone in this fief. I want you to think that this festival is also held for the sake of everyone as well."
…Unexpectedly, perhaps Taigsan was under the stage, alongside with the other people until last year. And then, just like that, he might have listened to various talks from the people who gathered, and so he was able to stand on the stage like this.
As I was thinking about it, Taigsan lightly pushed my back. I reflexively stepped forward about 2-3 steps, and so I'm standing at a spot just a little bit to the front from Taigsan. Then.
"And then, I think that rumors have spread, but I'd like to formally introduce her in this place. She is a rare woman who is putting her expectation to me. She is the daughter of the Shiiya family, Seiren-sama."
"Young Master! You mustn't trick such a young girl like this!"
"Sorry! I wasn't such a good person!"
My introduction was fine, but Taigsan, would it be okay for you to answer someone else's teasing in such a manner? The surroundings got excited and bursted out in laughter, oh well, guess they accepted it just fine.
Or perhaps I should say, I wonder if that kind of conversational exchange here is fine? I'm still a brat, indeed. And my age is quite distant from Taigsan.
Also, don't speak so fondly of me in public like that. It was already embarrassing enough within the mansion, and now we have so many fief population watching after us.
"Now then, Seiren-sama."
"Ah, yes. …I'm Shiiya Seiren. It's a pleasure to meet everyone."
That's right, I've come here to greet everyone. For the time being, let's try reading the sentences that I've thought together with the maids yesterday. Nah, the whole passage is inside my head, though.
"Because of my frail body, I haven't gotten much opportunity to go out in public. Right now, I'm still in the middle of studying how to properly associate with people. However, Taigsan told me that it was fine."
More or less, that was how it looked like in public, that's why I said so. However, in reality…
Though I was raised as a man, Taigsan told me that it was fine.
Though I was raised in the other world without knowing anything of this world, Taigsan told me that it was fine.
That's why, I'm coming to this person's side.
"I will be living with my parents for a little while, and if things turn out well, I think that I will come here again next year. Please treat me well at that time!"
When I finished my sentence and bowed my head, I received a lot of applause along with voices saying, "Well said, Princess!"4 The way to use applause in this world is quite the same to the other world, so I feel relieved. Yup.
When I came down from the stage, there was a shadow that approached quickly. Eh, isn't that Fubuki-san? Since she isn't wearing her maid uniform, I couldn't recognize her for a moment there.
Fubuki-san who assumed an ordinary village woman's appearance knelt down in front of Taigsan.
"A stray magician had aimed at the clock tower, so I've seized and took them away."
"Understood. Proceed with the interrogation."
After lowering her head deeply, Fubuki-san stood up and left the spot. I admired the scene that happened before me for an instant. Well, the lord over here is Taigsan, after all.
Or rather, the clock tower?
I turned around to face the back of the stage in a hurry, at the structure that stood towering over the surroundings. Under the tower's feet, there were several garrisons gathered over there, they seemed to be doing an investigation or something like that.
Uhm, in short we seemed to be at the receiving ends of a long distance firing similar to a bow sniper, or rather, that kind of a magic spell? The figure of a person that I saw earlier was the magician, huh.
Or rather, the stray magician, huh.
"It's a deregatory term for magicians that have no master… that being said, it can also be used to address magicians who perform any dirty jobs without batting an eye for the sake of money."
Nah well, I understand that he couldn't have been hired by the likes of the feudal lords just like Jigen-san, though. Aah, but well, such kind of magicians exist, huh. The kind of people who'd do anything for the sake of money.
"Thanks to Seiren-sama's discovery, we managed to deal with it before anything happens. You have my gratitude."
"Ah, no. Me too, thanks for protecting us."
Ah really, when he pushed me out earlier, surely it was done so he could protect me from what's behind, right, Taigsan?"Dashi is Japanese soup stock made from fish and kelp. Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Hachidaime I think the author uses a term in Kabuki. Hachidaime means the eighth generation; the eighth holder of a name; the eighth actor in a lineage. But the author might be referencing to other historical figure or any famous figure in historical drama. If any of you know exactly what kind of character is Hachidaime mentioned here, please tell me! Yes, they called Seiren "Hime-sama" XD