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After leaving Gazar-san’s smithy, I was finally able to go to the castle.
Like usual, I was able to enter without even having to show my guild card, which had my castle entry permit on it. It was great being well known, or rather, being a bear. Also, one of the guards ran off when I entered. Yup, the usual treatment.
There was no point in even having the entry permit. The only time I might need to use it would be if I took off the Bear Suit. Still, if I did take it off, it felt like something bad would happen.
As I walked through the castle, the people I passed all greeted me with slight bows.
Normally, if someone were to walk through a castle dressed in a Bear Suit, people would report it, not bow, right? This would be comparable to walking through the Japanese Parliament building while wearing a costume, right?
On my way to Princess Flora’s room, I was approached by one of the women passing by.
「Thank you for making the picture book; the children really enjoy reading it.」
Having said that, she bowed and left.
I was wondering why she would approach me, but it was about the picture book, huh. Now that she mentioned it, I had allowed for it to be distributed throughout the castle.
Still, had the fact that I was the one who had made it leaked out?
Hmm, I had told Eleanora-san not to reveal that it was me. Maybe I should complain to her about this?
As I was about to reach Princess Flora’s room, another woman approached me.
「The children are very excited about the next book.」
Had my job changed to that of a picture book author?
No, no, I wasn’t a picture book author. I didn’t plan on making another book either.
Eleanora-san would hear about this. She must not spread it any further.
Still, how did people know that I was the author when I didn’t even write down my name?
People not knowing it was me was the very reason I hadn’t written it down.
Well, there was no point in thinking about things I couldn’t understand. I finally got to Princess Flora’s room and knocked on the door. I heard Anju-san’s voice from inside, and soon, the door opened.
「Oh, Yuna-sama, welcome.」
「Hello, Anju-san. Is Princess Flora here?」
「Yes, please come in.」
As I was about to enter the room to greet her, Princess Flora appeared next to Anju-san.
Princess Flora cried out with a huge smile on her face and hugged me.
「It’s been a while, Princess Flora.」
「Yes, it’s been a while, Bear-san.」
Flora-sama returned my greeting properly.
Her cuteness made it hard to believe that she was related to the king. Oh, she did look more like the queen, so she would surely become as pretty as her in the future.
「Well then, Yuna-sama. Please enter.」
I was about to do so, but then a sudden idea stopped me in my tracks.
Both of them asked in confusion.
「Princess Flora, the weather is nice today; why don’t we go to the garden instead?」
If we stayed in her room, the king was bound to show up; we might be able to avoid him by going to the garden.
Yeah, since we ate in her room every time I came to visit her, he would surely come to look for me there.
So, the solution was easy: just eat somewhere else.
Because of the king and Eleanora-san, Fina had taken a lot of mental damage, so I wouldn’t be happy until I got at least a bit of revenge.
「You’re right, not being outside in a weather this nice would be a waste. Flora-sama, shall we head to the garden and eat there?」
「If Bear-san wants to go, then we should go.」
Anju-san went along with my vile plan without any suspicion while Princess Flora also accepted with a smile.
A pang of guilt hit me when I saw her smile like that, but since they both agreed, we headed to the garden to execute the 『King goes to Princess Flora’s room, but nobody is there.』 plan.
I could almost imagine his troubled face, once he walked into the room, and not a single person was there.
We could call this just a tiny bit of harassment, right?
「Yuna-sama, is something wrong?」
Anju-san asked, noticing the change in my behaviour.
Oops, I must have loosened my expression while thinking of my evil deed.
「No, everything is fine.」
「You sure? Well then, Yuna-sama, I’ll go prepare us some tea. Could I ask you to look after Flora-sama while I’m gone?」
I had no reason to refuse, so Anju-san bowed and ran off to prepare the tea.
「Princess Flora, we should head to the garden.」
I offered her my Bear Hand, and she took it, so we headed to the garden, hand in hand.
While it would have been ideal to reach the garden without being seen by anyone, we did meet three people. I just hoped that none of them would report seeing us on our way to the garden to the king.
When we finally arrived at the garden, we were greeted by a wide array of beautiful, blooming flowers. As expected of the royal garden. I had seen it before, but it was still breathtaking. Fina had seen this sight as well when she had visited the castle with Eleanora-san the other day.
Usually, the only people who could see this beautiful garden were those associated with the castle. That was just a waste. Not to mention the fact that everyone here worked the whole day and couldn’t come to see it.
So, it made sense that Princess Flora and I were the only ones here. Princess Flora was looking at the flowers happily, and based on that, I judged that she didn’t come here often either.
Tugging at her hand, I took her to the center of the garden, so we could sit down at the table there. We could enjoy the flowers all we wanted there, while also being able to chat and eat snacks.
There was even a roof set up over the table, so we didn’t have to worry about getting wet if it rained. I could just think of all the romantic things people could do in this place, like looking at flowers on a rainy day, but who here would do that?
The king was absolutely out of the question, but maybe the queen spent some time here.
When we reached the center of the garden, that very certain someone was already there.
「Oh my, it’s Flora and Yuna-chan. What are you two doing here?」
The queen was sitting at the table all by herself, looking at the garden.
Was it really okay for the queen to be left alone?
Well, we were inside the castle, so it should be fine?
「We were planning on having a meal out here today. Would that bother you?」
「Of course not. May I join you?」
There was no way I could refuse the queen, so I agreed. Still, was it okay to just give food to the queen like this?
Well, it was too late to think about it at this point since I had already fed Princess Flora so many different things.
「Bear-san, what are we having today?」
Princess Flora asked while sitting down on a chair next to her mother.
Now, everytime I came here, it was always about food. Well, I did bring her something every time I came, so it couldn’t really be helped. It still felt like feeding a baby chick, though.
「It’s something sweet and delicious, but wait a moment.」
I had to make it so that nobody could join us before I brought the cakes out, so I summoned my Bears in their cub forms and sat them down on the remaining chairs.
With this, the king would have no seat even if he managed to find us.
When I had to sit down, I could just pick one of the Bears up onto my lap.
It was a perfect plan.
Sadly, it fell apart in an instant.
「It’s a small Bear-san!」
Princess Flora jumped up from her seat to hug and pull Swaying Bear of its seat.
Hmm, I hadn’t expected this to happen.
To make the matters even worse, the queen also stood up and took Hugging Bear into her arms.
「My, how cute.」
I definitely couldn’t tell them to let go of the bears, so we were now left with empty seats.
「Bear-san, is this Big Bear-san’s child?」
Oh, was this the first time Princess Flora had seen the bears in their cub forms?
「No, I just made Big Bear-san smaller.」
Princess Flora said and kept hugging Swaying Bear. Somehow, this visit was no longer about cake. Well, it was fine as long as she was happy.
Princess Flora started running around the garden together with Swaying Bear. I started to fear that she might fall, but the queen just watched her while embracing Hugging Bear.
She was hugging it quite tightly, in fact. Hugging Bear seemed to be suffering, so I hoped she would let it go soon.
After Princess Flora played with Swaying Bear for a little while longer, Anju-san finally came, but not alone.
「You’re eating here today?」
「Yuna-chan, what did you bring today?」
The king and Eleanora-san both accompanied Anju-san, and with that, all the usual members had gathered. Just like that, my 『King goes to Princess Flora’s room, but nobody is there.』 plan fell apart.
「What are you two doing here?」
I asked, despite more or less knowing the reason.
「Oh, it was reported to me that you were at the castle. I ditched my work to go to Flora’s room, but I ran into Anju on the way there. That is how I learned you were planning on eating here today.」
Where should I even start?
First, it would probably be the best to tell him not to abandon his job!
「So, Yuna, what’s with the bear that my daughter is playing with?」
The king asked, glancing at Princess Flora and Swaying Bear.
「It’s my summoned beast, Swaying Bear. I did show him to you before.」
「The size is different, though?」
「Oh right, I heard that you can make them smaller.」
Eleanora-san knew about the bears’ cub forms?
She had probably gotten the information from Cliff.
Anything I talked to Cliff about went straight to Eleanora-san.
「Swaying Bear, come here.」
When I called it, Swaying Bear immediately ran to me, with Princess Flora right on his tail.
「That bear can get this small?」
The king picked up Swaying Bear when it got to us.
「Ooh, how soft.」
「Father, don’t take him from me!」
Princess Flora said and clung onto his leg in protest.
You shouldn’t be the one to say that; Swaying Bear was my family.
「Okay, but he’s heavy, so take care.」
The king said and returned Swaying Bear back to Princess Flora.
She was slightly bigger than Swaying Bear but still wasn’t able to hold him and ended up falling on her back. She didn’t care, though, and kept hugging Swaying Bear happily.
She would give him back, right?
The only outcome I could see was Princess Flora crying after I took Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear away from her.
Ah, I replenished my bear dose. w
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