「—Hey!? Is it really like that!?」
Seeing Valeria showing an angry expression like he had imagined merely two hours ago, Dimitar inadvertently laughed.
Valeria who had observantly spotted that,
「You! There’s nothing funny! Or rather, this is an issue of our motherland’s honour!」
「You hadn’t thought of this until you’re explained to in detail; what are you getting angry at now? Rudbeck-geika had realised this on that occasion, you know?」
When Dimitar muttered coldly, Karin who had set herself onto a cushion looked at Valeria fleetingly as she concealed the lower half of her face with a plume folding fan.
「I thought for sure that you were suppressing your anger after knowing about it, …but I’m sorry, it looks like I’ve overestimated you too much again」
「Hey! Is that something which you’ve to purposely say to me now!? In the first place, what does “again” means; “again”!」
Karin’s “I’m sorry” wasn’t filled with apologetic feelings as usual. For Valeria who knew her well, it could only be heard as a provocation phrase that angered the other party instead.
Bettina, who had been opening her visor and throwing food into her armour with a “gashan mogumogu, gashan mogumogu”, spoke to Valeria who was pacing around a little inside the spacious tent.
「Valeria-samaa, please calm down at any rate. It’s already late at night, and there are people on the lookout in the surroundings, so if you scream in an overly loud voice, everything could be heard」
「Maa, it’s not that I don’t understand Valeria’s anger as well though~」
The tent, which the Seal Chivalric Order had carried for the sake of stopping one night here, had the same size as the one that the Crown Prince used during expeditions; it was fully furnished with a low table at its centre, cushions which substituted a sofa for the Dominas to relax, and even assembly-type beds. Petra, who was sitting on one of those beds and polishing her glasses’ lens, looked at Valeria with upturned eyes.
「It’s natural to get angry if you’re being treated like an extra of that stern Her Eminence. It’s just as if Amaddo had submitted to Haiderota~」
「Right!? If it’s a condition like this from now, we don’t know what kind of harassment we’ll encounter after arriving at Aurillac!」
「…That’s enough, so don’t make a loud voice at each and every thing」
Storing the sword which he had done maintenance on into its scabbard, Dimitar stood up. Turning over the rug which was suspended at the entrance for insulation with a “perari”, he peeked at the situation outside. Although it had lasted somehow while he was eating his dinner, the rain had been sprinkling since just now. When considering that the journey would still continue by carriage for a while, it was unpleasant that too much heavy rain was falling.
While listening to the “sara sara” sound of rainfall, Dimitar spoke.
「His Highness knows that easy-going His Excellency well. Therefore, thinking that such an incident might be possible, it seems that he had prepared a plan from the beginning」
「…It appears that the plan has arrived」
Dimitar greatly turned over the rug again and invited the visitors who had come in the middle of the rain inside.
「Excuse us for coming here at night」
The ones who had said so and carried in a black long chest were the Seal Chivalric Order’s substantial top and its right-hand man, the Lucius Richternach and Derek Lindegoa pair.
Valeria, who had been pacing around inside the tent with an irritated look until then, hurriedly sat on a cushion and fixed the untidiness of her hair.
Lucius and Lindegoa placed the long chest onto the ground, sighed with a “hoo” and smiled.
「These are presents from His Highness to both Her Eminences」
「”I hope that you’ll pulverise Sigibert-kakka’s ulterior motive for me with these tomorrow”; His Highness did say it like that」
Lucius spoke proudly in some respects and opened the cover of the long chest.
The girls looked into the long chest and raised voices of wonder respectively.
「Fuwaaaa…! T, this is amazing~!」
「Ah~…when seeing things like these, as expected, it’s frustrating that I didn’t become a Dominas~」
Valeria looked up at Lucius,
「T, thank you very much for going out of your way to do this! We’ve specially troubled Lucius-sama’s hands—」
「Iya, it’s all right. …If I’ve to tell you the truth, then it’s because the members are slightly disputing among themselves on who will carry this here」
「Other than this Dimitar」
Lucius thereupon poked Dimitar lightly on his elbow.
「—Generally, men are living things who are thinking about wanting to become acquaintances with beautiful and clever women. Especially if the other parties are active service Dominas; after all, they’re flowers on a high peak whom they wouldn’t have the opportunity to exchange words with easily」
Valeria was blushing in the cheeks and shaking her body with a “furi furi”. Although Valeria was being shy like this in front of Lucius, if one assumed that Lucius didn’t know what her usual form was, then one couldn’t help saying that this was fairly joyous.
Dimitar leaned against the tent’s prop and sighed quietly.
Valeria was the sole daughter of the Costacurta House, and Lucius was also the son and heir of the Richternach House. When considering the circumstance where both of them must continue their family names, no matter how Valeria lavished her charm on him, it was impossible to take Lucius as her husband. The figure of the girl who continued her pointless endeavour was humorous, and even though he also felt just a bit of pity, Dimitar didn’t say anything particularly.
Lucius spoke to Dimitar in a whisper.
「…Haiderota will most likely carry out small harassment like this from now on as well. As expected, they won’t act in a behaviour that will become a diplomatic issue, but it’s better to think that it’s natural that they’ll do things which they’ll politically use」
「I guess so」
「Though we’ll return to the capital tomorrow, we’re relying on you only hereafter. Valeria-jou is an innocent lady, and Karin-jou is intelligent, —but how should I put it, they’re different from you」
「They don’t have the craftiness?」
「I didn’t say it to that extent. …I just wanted to say that unlike you, they lack the maliciousness, so they may not notice the plans of those people who have evil intentions」
「Ma, I won’t deny that though」
Dimitar was thinking that it was fine that his role was a part like that. Rather, for these girls who—could be called “pure” in a sense—were ignorant of the ways of this world, if there wasn’t someone who was conversely well aware of the world’s dirtiness beside them, they’d be easily deceived and get caught in a plan; anyway, they’d probably stumble somewhere. It might unexpectedly be because of such a thought that Orvieto pushed him to be Valeria’s Hiera Glaphicos too.
「—Well then, we shall leave soon」
「Ah! Lucius-sama, at least leave after you’ve drank a cup of tea or something…」
Valeria looked back to the table while saying such thing.
However, there was no way that she could prepare tea of course. Since Dimitar knew that Lucius would bring over the Crown Prince’s secret plan, he had driven the maids out from the tent for the Dominas beforehand.
Dimitar softly informed Valeria who was looking around her surroundings with an “awa awa”.
「…If you wish for it, shall I go and get hot water and tea leaves? The maids’ tent is right next to us, and if it’s for covering up the face of Her Eminence who likes Lucius-sama very much, I can at least endure going in the middle of the rain and coming back」
「Hey!? W, why are you purposely using such a way of speaking—」
「To be worked hard by Her Eminence is my job after all. I don’t mind that you thrust an unreasonable demand at me without reservation like you always do. I’ll accomplish it even if I’ve to clench my teeth」
「I-I-I-I-I! I, I didn’t! I, I, I! Be it that sort of unreasonable demand or working him hard, I, I didn’t do such things! I, I didn’t do it!」
Shaking her head with a “buru buru”, Valeria’s face turned bright red and she appealed to Lucius.
Lucius nodded with a bitter smile mixed in and struck Dimitar’s back with a “bashin”. Keeping the smile which faced the girls as it was, he lowered his voice again and spoke to Dimitar.
「…You, be moderate in teasing her too」
「That’s because she’s strangely in high spirits even though she’s in the middle of an important mission. Her self-consciousness is insufficient」
「Even if that’s the case, causing her to be embarrassed and making her have unpleasant feelings is wrong, you know? I won’t tell you to get along with her, but cease the behaviour which will purposely create the cause of discord」
Shrugging his shoulders, Dimitar nodded. If he did any more than this, the serious Lucius might really start to get angry.
「Well then, we’ll be leaving」
Lucius and Lindegoa courteously bowed and left the girls’ tent.
「—Oi, Gacha Pink」
Dimitar carried Jagieruka’s scabbard on his shoulder and called out to Bettina, who was looking inside the long chest with a pose which whether or not she had a greedy countenance—was unclear, but gave that sort of feeling somehow, once.
「You’ll stay up all night here. Don’t forget that you’re acting as a guard officer too, all right?」
「Ufufu, I’m so happy~」
Hitting Bachururus’s sparkling helmet with a “pechi pechi”, Petra laughed with a “nihe~e”.
「We’ll hold a big chatting meeting for fellow girls with everyone tonight, won’t we?」
「That’s right! So don’t sleep! I’ll keep night watch tonight!」
「…There’d be no point in you keeping night watch if everyone is staying up all night though」
Putting his hand on his forehead, Dimitar went out underneath the sky that was drizzling rain.
Although he was an exclusive Hiera Glaphicos, Dimitar couldn’t sleep in the same tent as Valeria and party. Dimitar had gotten a small tent prepared for him in the nearby vicinity and would intentionally pass the night there without sleeping until morning.
Dimitar, who had entered the small tent where even one person couldn’t lie down satisfactorily, held Jagieruka including its scabbard in his arms, sat down and put on a blanket from his shoulders. While wearing his boots, he didn’t change his clothes or lie down so that he was ready for the worst case and could rush out any time. Spending one night in this posture was, contrary to expectations, tiring, but coming to a clean decision that it was also within his job, Dimitar quietly closed his eyes.