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Fina stopped at the door, her cheeks puffed up. Shuri walked in behind her.
Had something happened perhaps?
I decided to first greet them before asking.
「Fina, Shuri, I’m back.」
「Welcome back, Yuna-oneechan. Wait, that’s not it! Yuna-oneechan, what is with this book?!」
For a single moment, Fina had broken into a smile, but she immediately puffed up her cheeks again. Behind her, Shuri replied with,「Welcome back, Yuna-oneechan,」but her words were drowned out by Fina’s angry voice.
Fina walked over to me and loudly placed a book on top of the table. It was a copy of the picture book I had drawn for Princess Flora. It must have been one of the copies I had given to the orphanage children as a present.
「What do you want to know about it?」
「What do I want to know about it?! This is me, isn’t it?!」
She pointed at a cartoonish girl riding a bear on the book’s cover. Oh right, I had used Fina as a reference when I had drawn the girl. It was a bit late to complain about it now, though. I was actually more surprised that it had taken Fina so long to find out about the book.
「The children asked me to read a picture book for them, so I did, and then… I saw the girl in the book…」
Fina seemed quite a bit angry. Still, if she didn’t know anything about the picture book before this, how did she find out that I was the one who drew it? I decided to ask her before proceeding with explanation.
「The story is obviously about the two of us.」
That was true…
In the first volume, I told the tale of a girl (very much like Fina) meeting Bear-san, and together they searched for medicinal herbs for the girl’s sick mother and brought them to her. I had changed the way we had met a bit to make the story more suitable for a picture book.
In the next book, the girl’s mother became more ill, so Bear-san searched deep in the forest for a precious flower that could heal her. Once Bear-san found the flower, she used it to cure the mother’s illness.
I couldn’t have possibly written that Bear-san had actually used magic to heal her, so I had changed it to a flower that could cure any illness. Still, no matter how I looked at it, the picture book was based on Fina and me, so it made sense for it to be quite obvious to Fina. The character in the story was created with her in mind even though I had put in some effort into making sure that character wasn’t a split copy of her.
「Fina, this is a fictional story and none of these characters exist in real life. See, I wrote that down right here.」
I said and pointed out a certain part on the picture book with my puppet. There, it stated:
『This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.』
I had made sure to clearly declare it was all fictional, so I decided to try and use this as an excuse to appease Fina.
「Still, this ribbon looks exactly like mine.」
Well, I had modeled the girl off of her, so of course it was.
「Also, this story is clearly about me.」
I had based it on our meeting so I couldn’t contradict that, either.
「No matter how I read it, the book talks about me.」
She declared, fully convinced.
It looked like the common legal statement from my former world had no effect on her. Also, since I had actually used her as a model for the picture book, it was hard to make up any good excuses.
「Why did you write a picture book about me?!」
「Well, I just wanted to make something for Princess Flora.」
After hearing Princess Flora was involved, Fina’s voice faltered.
「Okay, but why does the orphanage also have this book if you just made it for Princess Flora?」
Seeing there was no other way out of it, I explained the whole story about how the picture book got here.
First, I had drawn the picture book for Princess Flora.
Soon after, it had become a sensation within the castle, and many people had asked for copies, so I had agreed to have the book printed to satisfy the high demand.
「It was a request from both His Majesty and Eleanora-san, so I couldn’t refuse…」
I decided to dump all of the responsibility onto those two. Even though I was the author of the book, the ones responsible for copying and distributing it (within the castle) were His Majesty and Eleanora-san.
As expected, Fina wavered even harder when she heard their names.
I really was a malicious Onee-chan, wasn’t I?
「And back then, since I had seen the opportunity, I asked them to print some for me so that I could give them to the children here.」
「Does that mean there are a lot of people with this picture book?」
She asked me with concern.
I wouldn’t call it “a lot of people”… it was only the people in the castle.
「Only a few select people in the castle own them.」
The books might have spread, but it was still mostly families with young children who were interested in them; they weren’t circulating as widely as Fina thought.
Her response, however, was not what I expected.
「Uuu, I can’t go to the castle now.」
Fina dropped down to her knees and covered her lowered face in shame.
Would it be bad if I actually asked her, 「You were planning to go there?」here?
The old Fina would be like: 「A commoner like me won’t ever be able to go to the castle, so this is fine.」
She must have changed so much that she even started considering visiting the castle in the future. Well, if she kept traveling to the capital with me, there was a high chance that eventually she would tag along, willingly or not.
「It’s only been distributed to families with young children, so you don’t have to worry that much. Also, nobody should realize it’s you even if they meet you.」
Since the artwork was very cartoonish, nobody except for people very close to Fina should be able to make the connection between her and the character. It was similar to how celebrities on TV could walk around in public without anybody recognizing them. It wasn’t easy to recognize someone while casually passing them by…
「The children were all saying,「This girl looks like you, Fina-oneechan,」though..」
Well, I couldn’t really help her there.
「Fina, why don’t you forgive Yuna-chan for this? She drew you so adorably, after all.」
Tirumina-san had picked up the picture book to skim it after listening to our conversation and was now trying to help me out.
「No matter how I look at it, this is such a cute book.」
Tirumina-san said as she continued to flip through the pages.
「If the girl is Fina, then the girl’s mother must be based on me, right?」
She said, coming to a stop at a certain page. I glanced over and saw she was on the last page, which showed a girl and her mother smiling happily in an embrace. It was the scene just after the mother drank her medicine.
「She drew us so cutely. Look, the girl is just as sweet as you are.」
「Even if you say so, aren’t you embarrassed at all, Mother?」
「I wouldn’t like it if I was drawn weirdly, but since it’s this cute, isn’t it okay?」
「But still, we’re in a picture book…」
「I agree that’s a bit embarrassing but it’s not enough to make such a fuss over.」
Tirumina-san’s words slowly but surely started to convince Fina.
「Okay, but why does the girl look like me while Yuna-oneechan just looks like a bear? If you were going to draw me, you should have drawn yourself, too.」
For my character, I had simply drawn a cartoon Bear-san instead.
「That’s because Princess Flora said she liked Bear-san. Fina, you do still remember that, right?」
「It’s because of that that I drew the main character as Bear-san instead of me.」
Fina once again fell silent with the Princess Flora excuse. She couldn’t say that she disliked me using Bear-san anymore,
「Ugh, fine. Tell me before drawing me next time, okay?」
「I can draw more?」
「I really don’t like it, but the children seem to enjoy your books very much. Still, please make sure that the books don’t spread any further.」
「Okay, I’ll make sure they don’t spread. If His Majesty and Eleanora-san attempt to distribute the book to others, I’ll stop them even if I have to use my magic on them.」
Those two were most likely to try and spread the book around more.
「Yuna-oneechan, just keep it within reason.」
Fina told me to hold back after hearing me say that I would use magic on the king.
「I was just kidding. I’ll properly scold them but no more than that.」
Fina was somewhat reassured hearing I wouldn’t go as far as using magic. Somehow, with all of this, I even managed to get Fina’s approval to write the third volume of the picture book…
Just when I thought this conversation about the picture books was over, an attack from a different angle came flying right at me.
「Onee-chan, Mother, this isn’t fair.」
Shuri, who had been quiet this whole time, suddenly spoke up.
「Yuna-neechan, why am I not in the books, too? I want you to draw me as well.」
Fina looked troubled when she heard Shuri say that. I never thought that Shuri would get mad at me for not drawing her in the picture book. Well, she most likely just felt bad for being left out.
「You want me to draw you too?」
Shuri responded with a small nod.
I kind of understood where she was coming from. Of course it would make her feel bad, knowing that I was writing a story about her family, but she wasn’t included. She probably felt like she wasn’t a true part of her family in my mind. Shuri was still young, so it wasn’t surprising for her to feel that way.
「Shuri, I’m sorry for leaving you out. It wasn’t on purpose, I was only writing about how Fina and I met, and it turned out like that. When I draw the next book, I’ll make sure to include you.」
Shuri sounded really happy when she heard that.
「Yup, and I will make sure to draw you cutely.」
Shuri was even more delighted when I made her that promise.
For the third volume, I had originally planned on writing a story about Bear-san escorting Fina and Noa the Capital, but if I were to include Shuri, I had to change the plot.
I could maybe try writing about the two sisters playing with the Bears. Gentz-san and Tirumina-san’s wedding could also be a thing. Although, in that case, Bear-san wouldn’t really need to be a part of the story.
Hmm, I could also try changing it so that Bear-san brings Shuri along with Fina and Noa to the Capital, but that would mean three people were riding on top of the bear. Should I increase the number of Bears? I had to think about this a bit more before I decided.
With the picture book conversation finally finished, Fina also talked about Eleanora-san and Zelef-san’s surprise visit for a bit, and after chatting for a while longer, I decided it was time to go out and get some fresh air.
I wrote about Yuna giving the picture books to the orphanage back in May of last year. When I checked the date, I was surprised by how much time has passed. lol
I was even more surprised when I realized that the only things I wrote about since then was Yuna defeating the golem, making a cake, going to a birthday party, and going to the Elf Village. lol
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