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The plushies we would be giving Misa as a present were completed the day before we would depart for her party. Since it would act as a present, we made sure to tie a red ribbon on each of them.
「It’s finally done.」
「Yes. I hope Misa-sama will like them.」
From what Noa had told me, Misa was already a part of the the Bear-san fanclub, so these plushies would definitely make her happy.
I put the plushies into the Bear Box so that we wouldn’t forget to bring them. It would have been bad if we had forgotten them.
Sherry and Temoka-san were both resting in a corner of the room, finally done with today’s work.
Sherry said something unusual for her while slumping against her chair.
「Thanks for the hard work.」
「Everybody just wants so much of them…」
Even though the children at the orphanage didn’t normally show their selfish sides, the plushies were something new and rare, so most of the younger children wanted one of their own.
Sherry had told me that the children who cried a lot stopped just by hugging a plushie. Getting the children to sleep was easier as well. Headmistress was very thankful for the plushies because of that. I was really happy to hear that the plushies were of use to them.
「Big Sis Yuna, how many more plushies do I have to make?」
「With the ones for the children at the orphanage…」
I had to give them to Princess Flora and the queen. Hmm, Noa would definitely want a set of her own, and I shouldn’t forget about Fina and Shuri. I also wanted some spares to keep as well… So, doing a quick calculation, I got to…
「Can you make ten more sets?」
「I need some spares as well. Well, I’m not in a hurry with those, so take your time. If Temoka-san has other work to do, please prioritize that instead.」
「I’m getting paid for making the plushies for you, so I can’t just neglect this job either, you know.」
Well, Tirumina-san had helped me negotiate, so I could ask them without any reservations, right?
The next morning, Fina and I arrived at Cliff’s mansion at the arranged time.
Cliff, Noa, and two escort guards were already waiting for us with three horses. Wait, there was no carriage?
「You’re here, huh.」
「Are we late?」
「No, we just came out a minute ago.」
「Yuna-san, Fina, good morning!」
「Noa, you’re so energetic even in the morning, huh.」
「Of course. I’m going on a trip with Bear-sans.」
She looked like a child on its way to the amusement park.
She was really looking forward to going on a trip with Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear, huh.
「Ready to head out?」
Cliff asked and got onto the horse.
「We’re not going by carriage?」
I asked just to make sure.
「There’s no point if nobody is going to use it, right?」
There were three horses, all already taken by Cliff and the two guards.
So, only Noa was left over.
「Noa said she wanted to ride your bears, so I figured bringing a carriage would be completely unnecessary, and we will also be able to travel faster this way」
That was fine and all, but what if it rained?
We would most likely just have to find shelter if that happened, huh.
「Can I ask one more thing?」
「Why are there only two guards coming with us?」
When he had gone to the capital previously, Cliff had brought five guards with him.
「We will be traveling a shorter distance compared to the time I went to the capital. Also, we have you with us. I was actually planning on going without any guards, but Rondo refused to let me go without at least two guards.」
「But, you aren’t paying me for escorting you, right?」
「Speak to Rondo once we come back and have him pay you.」
「I’m just kidding, I don’t really need payment. Still, keep it in mind for when I bother you with something later on.」
「I must warn you now: there are things that even I cannot do.」
「Okay, if there will be anything like that I will just ask the king instead.」
The king owed me one as well, after all.
「You say some scary things. Sadly, I know you’re serious, which makes it even worse. I guess I will have to take the bait since you’re indeed lending me your services. Just let me know if something comes up.」
I succeeded in getting Cliff to owe me another favor.
He didn’t realize that if I kept accumulating these small favors, I could turn them into a big one. I had nothing to ask of him at the moment, so I was just saving them up for now.
Once we got out of the town, I summoned Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear.
The thought of horses being startled by them crossed my mind, but the horses just stayed still. I worried every time even though past experiences had shown me that it should be fine.
「Looking at them again, they’re just amazing.」
「Swaying Bear-chan! Hugging Bear-chan!」
Since Fina and Cliff already knew about my summons, they didn’t react as much.
The two guards, however, were shocked when they saw the bears getting summoned.
One person got really excited, though.
「Yuna-san! Which one will you let me ride on?! If possible, I want to ride on them both!」
「We’ll do the same as last time then, and switch between them. Start with Swaying Bear for now, and we will switch halfway.」
「Also, you should already know this, but Fina will be joining you as well.」
「Of course. Come on, Fina!」
Noa grabed Fina’s hand and pulled her to Swaying Bear.
Swaying Bear lowered its back to let the two of them climb onto it. I got onto Hugging Bear, so I wouldn’t be the one to delay our departure.
「Okay, ready to head out?」
Like actual escorts, one of the guards took the front while the other took the rear, and we headed out.
Just a few minutes into the journey, however, I found our pace slow, and I had no trouble knowing why.
It was because we had to match the horses’ pace. I hadn’t traveled with a horse in quite a while now, but were they always this slow? Once again, I had to acknowledge that Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear were just too quick.
Now that I thought about it, what speed were Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear really able to travel at? I didn’t have a speedometer to gauge their speed, so I couldn’t really find out, but I did know that they were faster than horses at least.
「Noa! Don’t you feel like we’re going a bit too slow?」
「Really? Yeah, it does feel a bit slow. I’m just happy I got to ride the Bear-sans; it’s been so long since the last time.」
Noa said, clinging onto Swaying Bear’s neck.
「Oh right, Cliff?」
「What kind of place is Sheelin anyway?」
Sheelin was the town Misa lived at.
「It’s not much different than Crimonia, but we will pass by another town on our way there, and that town gets a lot of traffic since it’s closer to the capital. Well, thanks to you, there are more people coming in from Mireera, so Crimonia gets more traffic these days as well.」
Well, from what I saw, we were heading in a direction a bit west from the capital. That must have been how we had met Gran-san before on our way to the capital.
We moved towards Sheelin at a steady pace, stopping from time to time to let the horses rest. We switched Bears during these stops, of course. They would sulk for sure if I didn’t treat them equally.
Soon, the sun was already setting, and the guard in front turned back to speak to Cliff.
「Cliff-sama, I think this will be a good place to stop for the day.」
「You’re right. Let’s set up camp for tonight here, then.」
Cliff told everyone after speaking with the guard.
I thought it was still a bit early, but it was as good a time as any. The horses didn’t have unlimited stamina, unlike Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear. They had to rest, so they could travel tomorrow.
「Father, we’re camping here?」
We were on the main road with a dense forest on the left ahead of us.
「Yes. Monsters might come out from that forest ahead if we camp there. Since we didn’t go by carriage, we traveled quite a distance, so we don’t really have to force ourselves to keep going today.」
Cliff explained to her while getting off his horse and tying its reins to a nearby tree. The guards did the same with their horses, of course.
I also got everyone off Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear to let them relax a bit.
They weren’t speed maniacs (at least I didn’t think so), but having to slow down their normal speed stressed them out a bit; they had wanted to speed up countless times on our journey.
Hmm, this probably meant that I wasn’t really suited for escorting. Well, even if I ever got asked to escort someone, I would most likely refuse since it sounded boring.
「Yuna, you can bring out your house, right?」
「My house? Oh, the Bear House, you mean?」
「Yes. You don’t have worry about bringing it out in front of these two guards; their lips are sealed.」
Hmm, the Bear House, huh.
I did want to sleep in a soft bed and take a bath.
「At the very least, I would like my daughter to stay with you.」
「I’ll be fine, father. I’ll sleep together with the Bear-sans.」
It seemed like Noa was getting used to the fact that she could be ‘together with Bears-sans’.
Well, the guards had seen the Bear House before when I had taken care of the ten thousand monsters, so I had no real reason to hide it.
「Okay. Some people might pass by this area, though. Could we go to that spot there, with the three trees?」
I pointed out the spot a bit away from the road.
「Yes, that’s fine.」
After getting Cliff’s permission, I moved to that spot and took out the Bear House there, making sure to use the trees as coverage. When it got dark, nobody should be able to see it.
Cliff and the guards also tied their horse reins to the trees.
「Well, I knew you could store big things like the Black Viper in your item bag, but it’s still surprising to see a house brought out like that.」
「Uuu, I would have been happy with camping outside.」
Noa murmured while gazing at the Bear House with a sad expression.
「Don’t worry, Noa. I will keep Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear out to protect us, so you can still sleep together with them.」
「Big Sis Yuna, I want to sleep with them as well.」
Fina interjected happily.
「Then, how about all three of us sleep with them?」
I said and turned Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear into their cub forms then approached the door to the house.
「Well then, we will keep a lookout.」
The guards said and started to feed the horses.
I knew that they have their job as guards, but it felt a bit awkward having the two of them sleep outside while we stayed inside the house.
「These two will know if any monsters or people come near, so you don’t need to keep a lookout, you know.」
I said, pointing at the Bears by my feet.
The guards looked at the Bears before looking at each other.
The two of them looked at Cliff in the end.
「Yuna, are you sure? Just as they say, they are here to watch the surroundings.」
「There is no need for that at night. Instead, they should just work hard during the day.」
Traveling all day got boring, so the guards might fall asleep tomorrow if they stayed up tonight.
「Okay then, you two can rest for the night.」
The guards both bowed to thank me.
「Yuna-dono, thank you very much.」
After that, I led everybody into the Bear House to spend the night.
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