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「Okay, time to go to sleep.」
The three of them all replied.
I felt like a teacher in charge of a field trip. Thankfully, the girls were all manageable. Also, if this was a school trip, I would have had to watch over thirty kids, and not all of them would be as well-behaved as these girls. Being a teacher must be a difficult job…
Well, us adventurers risked our lives, so we both had our hardships.
「The three of you can share a room, right?」
「I want to sleep with Hugging Bear-chan.」
The older two agreed to share the room, but despite having been with Hugging Bear all day, Shuri still wanted to sleep together with it.
「Sorry, but Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear will be sleeping in my room.」
The Bears would want to relax at night as well, so I was planning on letting them sleep in my room. Also, if anything dangerous happened, they could alert me immediately.
「Uuu, that’s not fair, Yuna-neechan.」
Shuri looked a bit upset.
「Shuri, you shouldn’t bother Yuna-oneechan. You promised Mother, remember?」
「Okay… I’m sorry, Yuna-neechan.」
Fina scolded Shuri who immediately apologized.
I was glad she listened to her Onee-chan like that. What a good girl she was.
「Also, you have a plushie, don’t you?」
Fina pulled out the Hugging Bear plushie from her item bag and handed it to Shuri. She brought them along, huh.
Noa gazed enviously at the Hugging Bear plushie in Shuri’s hands.
「Shuri, you brought your plushie with you? I should have brought mine, too…」
「Noa-sama, I brought the Swaying Bear plushie as well. If you want, I can lend it to you.」
Fina said and took out their Swaying Bear plushie as well.
「It’s okay, Fina. Thank you for the offer, but I won’t betray my plushies.」
Even if all of the plushies looked the same, each owner treated their own specially, huh.
Well, I was glad she was treating her plushies well.
「Fina, Noa, I think you should already know this, but we still have a long way to go. Don’t stay up too late and go to sleep properly, okay?」
They all replied in unison and went upstairs to their room while I grabbed Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear and followed close behind them.
I didn’t really feel tired, but since we had to wake up early tomorrow, I decided it was best to go to sleep now rather than regret it later.
「Swaying Bear, Hugging Bear, make sure to let me know if anything dangerous comes, okay?」
I requested them to keep watch as usual.
Having aired out my blanket before the trip, it felt great when I slipped under it and curled up on my bed.
Feeling relaxed, I soon dozed off to dreamland.
The next day, Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear woke me up like usual.
I peeked outside the window and saw that it was still dark. Normally, I would still be asleep at this hour, but we had to head out early, so it couldn’t be helped. I felt like closing my eyes for a little bit longer, but I knew that would end badly and forced myself to get out of bed.
With the Bears following close behind me, I headed downstairs while yawning. I didn’t see the girls around this time, so they should still be sleeping.
I began preparing breakfast for everyone so they could have something to eat when they woke up. Well, it was just the usual bread, soup, and milk. An extravagant meal this early in the morning didn’t seem necessary.
Just as I finished setting the table, the girls came down groggily.
I immediately noticed that Shuri was still holding onto her Hugging Bear plushie.
「Good morning. We’re going to head out after eating breakfast.」
「Yuna-oneechan, sorry that we didn’t help you prepare.」
「I just took the food out of my item bag, so you don’t worry about it.」
Once we all ate our fill, I put away the Bear House, and we set out towards the capital again.
Another day flew by as we proceeded smoothly without encountering any monsters or bandits. All I had to do was to keep everybody in a good mood.
For some reason, I was feeling quite tired out mentally. At least the Bears would always feel better when I took turns riding them and slept with them at night.
The three girls also changed places, but why did they keep bickering about who would ride with me? This should only happen in the case of handsome princes on a horse. I was growing concerned with their future at this point…
After a couple more days on the road, we were very close to our destination. As long as nothing happened, we should reach the capital today.
Yet, as if the sky was cursing me, rain started to pour down while we were on our lunch break.
「Yuna-oneechan! It’s raining!」
「Everyone, grab your things and get to the Bears!」
We very quickly got onto the Bears and left the side of the road.
I quickly searched for a good spot to bring out the Bear House and rushed the girls inside.
「Is everyone okay?」
「Yes, we’re fine.」
「We got a bit wet, though.」
We managed to escape the rain before we got completely soaked. The Bears didn’t look like they got that wet, either.
Thank god for the Bear House; it was so useful.
I was worried someone might catch a cold, so I handed out towels to the girls and told them to dry themselves off before heading off to prepare the bath so we could warm ourselves up.
「It’s still raining.」
When I came out of the bathroom to call the girls in, I saw Shuri peering out the window with Noa peeking from close behind.
「We won’t be able to go any further today if it doesn’t die down.」
「We don’t have to hurry. We will still make it to the school festival in time even if we stay here for the night.」
I had reserved plenty of extra time for travel, so even if we were stuck here for another week, we would still make it in time for the festival.
It was completely fine to stop here and wait out the rain.
After taking a bath, the girls looked bored as they laid around with the Bears.
Since we were cooped up in the Bear House, there wasn’t much they could do, so I decided it was time to pull out the deck of cards.
I had planned on playing card games in the evenings, but everyday we would simply eat dinner, take a bath, and then go straight to sleep so that we could wake up early. There was never a chance to bring it out till now, especially since I didn’t want to encourage the girls to stay up late at night.
Now was the perfect opportunity to bring out the cards, though.
We began with Memory.
The rules were simple, so it was a good way to get them familiar with playing cards.
「So, this is a battle of who has the better memory, is it?」
「I won’t lose!」
「Hugging Bear-chan, let’s do our best.」
Shuri told Hugging Bear, which she was hugging in front of her.
「Shuri, you can’t play together with Hugging Bear.」
I didn’t know how good Hugging Bear’s memory was, but if the Bears joined in, I felt like they would most likely win. I had the impression that they could figure out which cards were which, even if they couldn’t see the faces of the cards, and would simply paw tap their way to victory.
Shuri let go of Hugging Bear and moved closer to the table. She looked a bit sad, but I still couldn’t let the Bears participate.
We took turns playing counterclockwise, starting with me, then Shuri, Fina, and finally Noa.
After playing for a bit, we discovered that Shuri had a really good memory. We all got to see a new side of her.
「This one and this one.」
Shuri flipped the cards over, revealing matching numbers.
「Also, here and here.」
「Ah, not that one!」
Noa cried out when Shuri flipped over the cards. The cards matched again, and Shuri happily took them while Noa brooded. Shuri had found three pairs by now, but I decided to let her take the lead. She was doing so well, after all.
Fina and Noa both flipped two cards each, but they couldn’t find a match. When it was my turn again, I flipped two cards, and, only by luck, they formed a pair.
The game continued, and I barely managed to beat Shuri. Wheew, that was dangerous. I won by only one pair.
I had successfully defended my dignity as the oldest in the group.
The other two who lost to someone younger than them were frustrated though, and wanted a rematch.
After playing Memory a couple more times, we moved on to Sevens next.
「Who has the 4 of water card?」
Noa looked back and forth at the cards she was holding and the ones on the table. She couldn’t place down any cards and passed her turn.
「I can’t put down 3, 2, or 1 of water then.」
She had all those, huh? She shouldn’t be telling us, though. Holding onto key cards to use until the crucial moment was one of the important strategies to playing Sevens. When she revealed which cards she had and wanted like that, nobody would put those down as they would help her win.
At least, that was what I had thought…
「Oh, I have it. I’ll put it down, then.」
When it was Fina’s turn, she played the water 4 card.
No, no, no. She shouldn’t do that.
「Wait, Fina. If you do that, the game won’t be interesting.」
Fina looked over at Noa apologetically.
Was this what happened when nobles and commoners played a card game together?
Playing well in Memory meant relying on your own memory, but with Sevens, the goal was also to stop others from playing their cards while trying to put down your own.
As expected, Fina had a hard time purposely interfering with other people’s plans. Her personality wasn’t suitable for Sevens while she was fine with Memory. Even though Noa treated Fina nicely after she helped her out, it wouldn’t be a fun game if it continued like this.
「Noa, I forbid you from saying which card you want placed down!」
I scolded while pointing my Bear Puppet at her.
「It won’t be a game otherwise, so play it properly.」
From here on out, since we didn’t know which cards Noa wanted others to place down, Fina couldn’t help her out intentionally.
Fina started off clumsily but eventually managed to shed her cards one-by-one. Finally, we were starting to have some fun with the game. Now that it was being played correctly, Noa was also starting to understand the point of the game.
「Fufu, I’ll play down the bear king of fire. Then, I can connect 『1』to it.」
Noa seemed to be enjoying it now, and the game was proceeding smoothly.
Following her, I placed down a card, and it was Shuri’s turn.
「I can’t place down anything…」
「Okay, then I’ll place a card here.」
Shuri looked at her hand and passed while Fina placed a card down. I noticed that Noa was also steadily shedding her cards away.
The game ended when Noa, who passed the least amount of times, played her final card.
Noa celebrated happily.
I was glad she took playing the game more seriously. If she had won while doing what she did earlier, I was sure she wouldn’t be nearly as excited. Victory was sweeter when battling it out on equal terms, after all.
Also, since they were learning the game properly, it was bound to get more interesting, even for me. It was no fun winning over beginners, after all. I only planned on trying harder once everybody became better at them.
As they had already gotten the hang of it, I decided to add in an extra rule involving the joker card, which could be used as a substitute for any card the person wanted. If the person used the joker for someone else’s card, that person would not be allowed to put it down anymore. This should make the game more interesting.
After we played enough of Sevens, we played Extremely Poor until dinner time.
Had we taken a break to look outside, we would have noticed that the rain had already stopped.
Well, we had more than enough time to continue the trip tomorrow, so there was nothing wrong with that.
We’ll begin the production of volume 4 soon.
The chapter submission time changes frequently, but I’ll continue to post every three days.
…If I don’t, I apologize.
The laid-back trip is coming to an end.
In the next chapter, they will arrive at the Capital.
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