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In the early morning, the sun shone onto my eyes and woke me up. I had rested well, settled in between Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear.
Morning already, huh. Luckily, we had gone to sleep early, so I woke up easily.
「Good morning, you two.」
I greeted Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear then got up.
Sleeping between my Bears felt nice, but snuggling up in a bed was still the best.
Zelef-san stirred in his blanket next to me, most likely woken by me.
「Good morning, Yuna-dono.」
「Morning. Let’s eat breakfast and then head out quickly.」
We ate a simple breakfast, packed up, and headed out in no time.
I looked at the Bear Map and saw that we were already getting close.
Based on the distance we had already traveled, we should arrive at noon as long as nothing happened.
「Zelef-san, are you feeling okay? You’re not too tired, are you?」
「I’m fine. Riding on your bears is comfortable unlike horseback, where I get all sore in a couple of hours. I’m not feeling tired at all.」
Yeah, it seemed like everything would be fine as long as nothing bad happened.
We had plenty of time since we headed out so soon after sunrise.
Taking just one break this time, the gates of Sheelin were upon us before the sun had even reached its zenith.
Hmm. While I wanted to enter as quickly as possible, having to explain the Bears to the gatekeeper could be difficult.
「Zelef-san, I want us to walk from here on out; is that okay with you?」
「Eh? We’re going to walk from here?」
「It’s hard to explain the Bears to the guards, so it would be easier for us to get off here and walk through the gate.」
「Oh, I see. Okay, let’s walk then; I could use some exercise anyway.」
Zelef-san said and looked at his big belly.
He couldn’t lose that much weight by only walking a bit. Not to mention, this was going to be more like a stroll through the town, and with this distance, there was no way it would have any effect on his weight. Well, if he did it every day, maybe, but in just one day? No way.
Not like I should be the one to talk, though. I never took off my suit or exercised on my own.
My natural stamina was literally zero. I did remember taking the suit off once and trying to work out for a bit, but I quickly gave up. There was no way I could do it often enough for it to show any progress…
Anyway, I unsummoned Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear, and we walked to the gate.
「Aren’t you the bear from the other day?」
「Yes. Here’s my guild card.」
I didn’t want them to start questioning us, so I presented my guild card and rushed through the gate.
Well, they didn’t ask anything about Zelef-san, so they must have recalled Cliff saying that I was in his care.
Nobles really had a lot of influence, didn’t they?
「This is Sheelin, huh?」
Zelef-san said, his gaze passing over the town.
「Isn’t Sheelin rather close to the capital? Have you really never been here before?」
「I was born and raised in the capital, so I’ve rarely left. Instead, I’ve spent most of my time learning how to cook.」
So, that was how it was.
If he hadn’t been learning how to cook since his childhood, he most likely wouldn’t have become the royal head chef.
I wouldn’t be able to do that, since I couldn’t focus on just doing that one thing. I was the type of person who tried out a lot of things but never really finished one.
Doing new things was fun at first, but I also got bored of it soon and dropped it. Basically, I was a stereotypical, useless human being.
On the other hand, there were a lot of people in this world who focused on one thing until they finished it.
As we walked towards Gran-san’s mansion, Zelef-san was being pulled to every food-selling place we passed by.
「Zelef-san, you will have time for that after the party.」
「No buts. We need to hurry; the party is tomorrow.」
I had to keep dragging Zelef-san all the way to Gran-san’s mansion. I feared we might run into Randall again, but we managed to get there safely.
The guards at the entrance were surprised to see me return so quickly.
「Can we enter?」
「Yes. We heard about the situation from Gran-sama and were told to let both you and your guest pass.」
Since they had been notified, they weren’t suspicious of Zelef-san and let us enter.
Once inside, Meshun-san rushed up to us.
「I’m back. Can we meet with Gran-san and Cliff?」
「Yes. They told me to notify them as soon as you returned.」
「Zelef-san, are you tired?」
「I’ll be fine; no need to worry about me.」
「Okay then. Meshun-san, please take us to them.」
We followed Meshun-san to Gran-san’s study.
「Gran-sama. Yuna-sama has returned.」
Meshun-san said before entering. I followed her soon after, leaving only Zelef-san outside.
「Gran-san, Cliff, did anything happen while I was away?」
I said stepping through the door. With a quick glance around the room, I noticed someone else who I didn’t recognize was inside.
「Yeah, I just got back. Umm, who is this?」
I wasn’t sure if I could talk about Zelef-san in front of them.
「This is my son, Leonardo. He might be timid, but he is my son nonetheless.」
「Father, saying that I’m timid is a bit… Anyway, I heard that my daughter and father are both indebted to you. Umm, Bear-san?」
「You can call me Yuna.」
「Yes, that’s right. I’m sorry. My daughter and father always talk about a bear. When I saw that you really are wearing a bear costume, I ended up calling you a bear as well.」
Unlike Gran-san, Leonardo had a thin stature and seemed to have a rather timid personality. I almost doubted the fact that he was an actual noble.
「So, Yuna, did you bring us a chef?」
Cliff asked me, recalling the reason I even left in the first place.
Did that mean it was okay to introduce Zelef-san in front of Gran-san’s son?
「Yep, he’s here.」
As soon as I said that, Zelef-san walked into the room.
「At Yuna-dono’s request, I have come to prepare the food for your party, Gran-dono. My name is Zelef.」
Zelef-san said with a small bow.
「Zelef… Please excuse me. Due to my age, I am having trouble remembering things, but have we met before, Zelef-dono? I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere before…」
「Yuna, you… When you said you knew a chef, you meant…」
While Gran-san looked at Zelef-san with a pondering expression, Cliff only showed amazement.
Leonardo-san, on the other hand, wasn’t able to say anything and just stood there with his mouth open.
「Cliff, have you met Zelef-dono before?」
「Old Man Gran, you’re still too young to forget things. You know him as well. Even Leo noticed.」
「We’ve met already? I vaguely remember seeing him before, but I cannot recall when. Zelef-dono, I apologize for not recognizing you.」
Well, at least Cliff and Leonardo-san had recognized Zelef-san.
「Oh no, please don’t worry about it. This is most likely the first time we have met face to face.」
「Is that so?」
「I am currently working as the royal head chef. We might have exchanged greetings at the king’s birthday party, but even I am not completely sure.」
「The royal head chef?!」
Gran-san cried out in shock.
Meanwhile, Cliff and Leonardo-san didn’t seem surprised at all.
「Yuna, the chef you were talking about was Zelef-dono?」
「Yup, the only excellent chef I knew was Zelef-san.」
「Yuna-dono, I am honored that you think of me so highly.」
Zelef-san said, somewhat embarrassed by my praise.
Gran-san panicked a bit after learning who Zelef-san was, but managed to collect himself and asked us to sit down.
「Will you really be making the food for us?」
「Yuna-dono requested His Majesty for me to come with her, so I’m here on his orders.」
「His Majesty’s orders…」
Once the king was mentioned, the room went silent.
Gran-san and his son were shocked, while Cliff looked flustered.
「Yuna, how on earth did you manage to get the king to send his royal head chef here?」
「Hmm? I just asked him.」
「You can’t just waltz up to the king and ask something like that. I have never heard of the royal head chef cooking for another noble’s party.」
Well, it did seem a bit weird for the king to accept my request so easily.
「This is just…」
「Well, I believe we made it so that this is considered to be a request from Eleanora-san.」
「She said that Cliff attending Gran-san’s party should be enough of a reason for the king to consider her request.」
「That means I will have to personally thank His Majesty and also write a letter to Eleanora in the near future.」
Cliff said with a tired expression while Gran-san seemed troubled. Leonardo-san had been just standing there in shock this entire time.
「So, what were you three up to before I barged in?」
「We were discussing what to do in case you didn’t make it back in time.」
「We couldn’t come up with anything. There’s nobody left in this town who could cook for a noble party. Or, at least nobody up to par with it. We were ready to give up, basically.」
「We couldn’t delay the party because the guests have already taken time off to attend it. Our last resort was going to be holding an alcohol-only party.」
「I thought some children were attending as well?」
「We would just serve juice for the children.」
Just hearing about it sounded boring.
Drinks were great when you had some food to go with them, but only drinking from beginning to end seemed like a terrible party.
「Well, now that you’re here, Zelef-dono, we no longer have to worry about that outcome. Thank you for coming.」
「Oh no, please thank Yuna-dono. I too am indebted to her, so me coming here is just repaying a small piece of that debt.」
「Is that so… This is the second time you’ve saved me, Yuna. Thank you.」
Gran-san gave me a deep bow from across the table.
「You don’t have to worry about it. If your party got canceled, then Misa’s birthday party might have gotten canceled as well, which would end up upsetting her. I did this for the girls.」
While I appreciated him thanking me, the main reason I was doing this was because I wanted the girls to be happy. Well, Gran-san had helped me out in the past, but that wasn’t much compared to those girls’ smiles.
「Okay then… Zelef-dono, the party is tomorrow. Will you have enough time to prepare everything?」
「I have already gathered all the necessary ingredients from the capital. If I manage to do all the basic preparations today, we should make it in time for the party.」
「That’s great to hear. We are counting on you, Zelef-dono.」
Once Zelef-san mentioned the ingredients, I recalled the deal I had made.
「Oh right. About those ingredients, the king will send me a bill, which I will forward to you when I get it. 」
「A bill from His Majesty…」
「Yup, so please take care of it when I send it to you.」
「I will have to go and thank His Majesty in person. I mustn’t forget to set an appointment with him.」
「No, Old Man Gran, you shouldn’t do that. Don’t forget His Majesty did this on Eleanora’s request.」
「I should go and thank Miss Eleanora, then.」
They made this into a troublesome noble conversation…
The nobles sure had it tough, having to hide unofficial requests under official ones in order to mind their public appearances.
Cliff might have realized what was going through my head, so he spoke to me.
「Yuna, you see, normally you can’t just waltz in and meet the king. You have to send a letter a few days prior to secure an appointment. This is the proper way of doing it, so you are the strange one here, just casually walking in like that.」
How was I supposed to know that?
When I visited Princess Flora, the king always showed up without me making any prior appointments. Also, this time around, I was able to meet him just fine thanks to Eleanora-san.
Thinking of it like this, was I really the strange one?
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