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As we continued to chat,Eleanora-san and I made our way to the center of the garden. We sat down by the table there and admired the flowers, with a nice cover above us blocking out the sun. It was a really pleasant place to take a break.
At the corner of the garden, we could see the girls playing together. It wasn’t just them, though. Princess Flora, Her Highness, and Anju-san had all joined the girls there as well. I could also see the Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear plushies sitting by a table next to them. It looked like Princess Flora had brought her Swaying Bear plushie, and Shuri had placed her Hugging Bear plushie next to it. I wondered what the reason for doing so was…
Eleanora-san and I decided to head over, and Her Highness was the first to notice us. When she called out as such, Princess Flora turned around immediately.
I greeted the princess first, then Her Highness, and finally Anju-san. Just as I was finished, Shuri came up to Princess Flora with her Hugging Bear plushie in hand.
Why were they playing with the plushies when they should be enjoying the flowers?
Looking over, I noticed Fina was also holding onto the Swaying Bear plushie while looking at me nervously. I lightly petted her head, trying to reassure her.
Noa also looked lost on what to do and looked over at her Mother for help.
How exactly did such a situation develop?
「Kitia-sama, Princess Flora, what brings you two here?」
「I was taking a walk with Flora, and then, these girls came by, so I invited them over for some tea.」
Laid out on the table were a few cups of tea, which Anju-san must have prepared for them. Eleanora-san took a seat next to Noa and asked for a cup of her own.
「Yuna-chan, why don’t you sit down as well?」
I sat down beside Fina and took a sip of tea Anju-san served me.
「Fina, what’s going on?」
I whispered to her.
「We were walking around, gazing at the flowers, when we suddenly ran into Her Highness and Princess Flora. Shuri noticed that Princess Flora was holding onto a Swaying Bear plushie and rushed up to her…」
「Shuri-chan called out「It’s Swaying Bear-chan!」and ran right up to us. I was so surprised…」
Apparently our whispers weren’t that quiet, so Her Majesty joined in onto the explanation, smiling as she recalled what had happened. Good thing Princess Flora and Her Highness were nice and kind… If Shuri had ran up to nobles with a bad attitude, she would have most likely gotten in trouble. I wished she was more careful…
Well, if there were many nobles like that here at the castle, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable visiting so often, much less bringing the girls with me.
「The girls introduced themselves and told us that Eleanora and you brought them here, so I invited them to join us for some tea. Also, Noire-chan and I have met a few times before, so we already know each other, don’t we?」
「Yes, we’ve met before…」
Noa replied rather timidly.
So even a noble like Noa would become nervous in the presence of the queen, it seemed. Then again, royalty weren’t people anyone could normally meet without being granted an audience, so that made sense. Noa also lived in Crimonia, so it must be rare for her to meet them. Wait, didn’t that mean I was the weird one since I met the king every time I came to the castle?
「Still, I was very surprised to see that the two girls have the same plushies as Flora.」
From further conversation, it seemed that Princess Flora had been uneasy with Shuri’s sudden appearance but had relaxed when Shuri had called out Swaying Bear’s name. Shuri had told her 「I have one, too!」 and had Fina pull out the plushie to show to the princess. Princess Flora’s wariness had completely disappeared once they had started talking about me.
Was it normal for royalty to get along with commoners over Bear plushies in this world?
In the fantasy stories I had read, that would definitely be impossible. Commoners wouldn’t be permitted to even get this close to royalty. Normally, this would be the scene where the commoners were grovelling on the ground and apologizing repeatedly.
Thanks to the Bear plushies, though, the three of them were now sitting and chatting together.
「Bear-sans… There are lots of Bear-sans.」
Princess Flora smiled happily at the set of plushies. On the other hand, Noa looked a bit depressed as she was the only one without a plushie. Feeling bad for her, I summoned Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear in their cub form and passed Swaying Bear to her.
「Swaying Bear-chan, Hugging Bear-chan!」
「Swaying Bear, Hugging Bear!」
The younger two strongly reacted to the Bears.
「I’ll lend you Swaying Bear, Noa, so please don’t look so sad.」
「Thank you very much.」
Noa happily placed Swaying Bear on her lap and hugged it tightly.
「Noa-neechan, you’re so unfair.」
Now the two younger girls were enviously looking at Noa. I could never win…
Their fixation soon moved from Swaying Bear to Hugging Bear, which I was holding.
「You two have your plushies, don’t you.」
「You’re mean, Yuna-neechan.」
Their envious looks were now completely directed at me.
「I will take care of it, so you can’t argue over it any more.」
But before I knew it, Her Highness had walked over to my side and lifted up Hugging Bear from my arms.
Her Highness held Hugging Bear cheerfully and returned to her seat.
Um, that was my Hugging Bear, so I hoped she would return it properly.
Looking around the table again, I suddenly realized how strange this situation had become. There were five Bears here now.
Aside from Eleanora-san, Anju-san, and me, everybody was holding onto a Bear of their own.
「Yuna-chan, I’m sad, too. I’m the only one who doesn’t have a bear.」
What did she mean by only her?
「I’m not holding one, either.」
Hugging Bear had just been kidnapped by Her Highness, after all.
「But Yuna-chan, you’re a bear, too, aren’t you?」
It seemed that I was already considered a Bear by other people at this point…
Well, right now, I somehow needed Eleanora-san to give up so that the amount of Bears didn’t increase even further.
「Fufu. This is indeed a unique gather-up. Fol wouldn’t be able to join even if he wanted to.」
By Fol, Her Majesty must have meant His Majesty, Follout. Well, he would most likely feel awkward sitting among a group of girls, so he might not even want to join in. There were a lot of children here as well.
I was also worried that Shuri would do something rude to His Majesty, so it would really help if he didn’t show up.
「Wait, if Yuna-chan is here, maybe Fol is waiting for her in Flora’s room?」
「Shall I call for him?」
Anju-san asked us.
「No, it’s fine. When we came, I asked the gate guard not to inform him, so His Majesty doesn’t even know that Yuna-chan is here. We’ve only planned on bringing the girls for some sightseeing around the castle and not stop by Princess Flora’s room.」
「Really? In that case, we’re not having any delicious foods today?」
Her Highness sounded very disappointed.
Could it be that this couple thought I only came here to bring food for them?
Granted, I did feed them every time I visited, but I was bringing food to Princess Flora, not them.
「Yuna-chan, why don’t you take out some cotton candy?」
Eleanora-san, noticing Her Highness’s crestfallen expression, suggested to me.
「My, what is that?」
「It’s a candy that feels like you are eating a cloud.」
Shuri answered while playing with the plushies.
Princess Flora tilted her head at Shuri’s explanation.
「Like the ones in the sky, you mean?」
Her Highness looked up at the sky from underneath the cover and gazed at the white clouds floating by.
「Mother, can you eat clouds?」
「Hmm, maybe. They are white and may taste delicious.」
Just what was with that answer?
Did the people in this world not understand how clouds worked and thought it was possible to eat them?
She must have only said that to mess with her daughter and didn’t seriously believe so herself, did she? Still, it wouldn’t be good if the princess really believed that, so I decided to make it clear.
「Flora-sama, you can’t eat clouds, but there’s this candy, which looks similar to a cloud. Here, let me show you.」
I took out the cotton candy machine from the Bear Box, poured in some granulated sugar, and turned on the switch. The middle dome began heating up and spinning at a high speed. Soon, a white thread began to spin out from the middle.
「Something came out.」
Princess Flora leaned over the table and watched in fascination at the cotton-like threads gathering on the inner sides of the machine. I quickly took out a stick to start wrapping the cotton candy around it.
「Yuna-neechan, can I do it?」
Shuri asked me just as I was about to begin.
「Okay, but make sure you do it properly.」
I passed the stick to her, and she began carefully swirling the threads onto it. On the side, Fina looked like she was about to say something but didn’t.
Shuri continued to move the stick around, letting the white threads slowly coil around it, and the shape of a cotton ball began to emerge. She had only tried making it once before at the orphanage and was this good already… Could it be she had talent for this?
Still, if she said she wanted to be a cotton candy maker in the future, I would have to tell her that wasn’t a good idea.
「It’s a cloud!」
「My, it really looks like one. It must be very fluffy to the touch.」
As the cotton candy grew bigger and fluffier, Princess Flora became more and more excited. Encouraged by the princess’s reactions, Shuri carried on until I realized it was getting too big…
「Shuri, stop, stop, stop!」
I cried out before it was completely too late.
Shuri panicked for a moment but quickly stopped the machine. The cotton candy now looked like a miniature mountain sitting on top of the small stick.
Well, even at this size it should still be considered a good final product.
「Princess, here, take it. It’s delicious.」
Shuri said and held out the large cotton candy to Princess Flora. As she reached for it with her small hands, I was worried she would drop it, but she managed to hold it up.
「How do I eat it?」
「Um, you pinch off small pieces and put them in your mouth.」
I couldn’t tell a princess to just bite it off as she pleased, so I suggested a more ladylike manner.
「Also, your hands will get sticky, so it’s best to set aside your plushie first.」
The moment I said that, Anju-san immediately moved the plushie sitting on Princess Flora’s lap onto the table, saving it from the impending doom.
The princess didn’t mind and pinched off a small piece of cotton candy with her little fingers before putting it in her mouth.
Flora-sama’s expression lit up as she said that. Us girls really liked sweet stuff, huh.
「Oh, is that so? Shuri-chan, can you make some for me as well?」
Shuri said with a nod and turned on the machine to make another one. This time she managed to make a regular sized cotton candy and passed it to the queen, who immediately tried it out.
Meanwhile, Princess Flora found herself unable to finish such a large cotton candy, so Shuri began helping out. Wow, they sure got along well. Was it thanks to the plushies connecting the two?
「So, what were you talking about before we came here?」
Eleanora-san asked Noa sitting next to her.
「We talked about Yuna-san and whether Mother has been causing any problems lately.」
「How rude. I’m doing my job properly, you know.」
Doing her job and causing problems were two different things, though. Or, were they all the same to Eleanora-san? Well, if she didn’t do her work, that would cause other problems, so maybe that was the correct way of thinking about it for her. Still, with that kind of declaration, I really wondered how much trouble Eleanora-san was causing Cliff and the king on a daily basis.
「Fufu, don’t worry about it. Fol is working hard, after all.」
「Kitia-sama, when you put it like that, it makes it sound like I’m indeed causing problems for him.」
「Do you think you aren’t?」
Noa looked at her mother with an exasperated expression.
「I’m doing my work properly. If I wasn’t, I would have been kicked back to Crimonia, wouldn’t I?」
What she said made sense. If she really was the troublemaker she appeared to be, she would have been sent back to Crimonia long ago.
「But wait, that might actually be a good idea. I could return to Crimonia and be with you, then.」
「Onee-sama would get mad at you if she heard you say that.」
「Do you really not want me back home?」
Eleanora-san looked a bit depressed.
「I’m sad that I don’t get to see you very often, but if you return to Crimonia, then when I attend the academy, I’ll be all alone at the capital.」
Noa said timidly.
「You’re right. Let’s live together when that time comes, then.」
Eleanora-san said and hugged Noa tightly.
「Fufu. So, Eleanora, you were guiding your favourite daughter around the castle, then?」
「Yes, I wanted to let the friends of my cute daughter sightsee the castle. I simply couldn’t refuse her when she asked me.」
Eleanora-san’s hug got even tighter.
Noa was starting to get embarrassed and tried to escape her mother’s grasp, but Eleanora-san wouldn’t let her. Swaying Bear, who was currently between Eleanora-san and Noa, looked like it was suffering. I really hoped Eleanora-san would lessen her embrace soon…
「So, why did the girls come to the Capital? They didn’t come just to see the castle, did they?」
「My daughter Shia invited them over for the school festival.」
「The school festival, you say? My daughter also mentioned it not too long ago.」
Her Highness said.
Daughter? Princess Flora knew about the school festival?
Did she want to go to the school festival as well?
We continued to chat and admire the flowers for a while longer. Eventually, Princess Flora and Shuri fell asleep while hugging onto their plushies, and we decided that it was time for the castle sightseeing event to end.
Also, I did manage to get Hugging Bear back from Her Highness.
I decided to name Her Highness Kitia.
I just kind of forgot to give her a name before. lol
In case I called her by another name already, I apologize.
Next chapter is probably going to be the start of the school festival.
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