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I took out my guild card and held it above the crystal board. After I was cleared, I was given a piece of paper. Looking around, I could see that other people who were entering also received one. I took a look at the paper’s contents and realized that it was a survey; it was asking me to note down which programs I thought were interesting.
So, manga magazines were not the only ones that did this, huh? I wondered if surveys were a common thing here. Tallying all the results from different slips sounded like a pain, especially since people’s honesty could always be questioned. Some might just write something quickly, not caring about how that affected results.
Just as we entered the academy, some of the children who had surrounded me earlier also got past the check. They noticed me, and since we were all walking along a single path, I realized I had nowhere to escape to. I quickly walked over to Shia so that I wouldn’t get separated.
「If we are walking, I don’t think they will try to surround you again. Anyway, let’s head to our stand first.」
Everyone nodded in agreement to Shia’s suggestion.
「By the way, I’ve been wondering this since the moment I spotted you, but why is Noa’s hairstyle different?」
She must have been surprised to find out that Noa’s hair had changed, huh. She had seen her just this morning, after all.
「Does it not suit me?」
Noa touched her hair in worry.
「No, it’s cute. Still, you made your hair just like usual this morning, so why is it different now?」
「Yuna-san took Father’s words seriously.」
Noa then proceeded to explain why I had changed her hairstyle.
「Well, Father and Yuna-san worry too much. I understand Father and Mother being concerned about the marriage thing, but those people won’t directly approach Noa to discuss it.」
「Still, you never know if one of those people really fancies Noa. For example, if they saw Noa at a party, thought she was cute, and wanted to talk to her when they had the chance, then they might try to get close to her if they spot her today.」
Noa was a very cute girl. Also, she attended parties wearing beautiful dresses, so it might have been love at first sight for someone. However, Noa’s reply to that was quite frank.
「I’ll reject any guy that can’t bring up the courage to talk to me during a party.」
She flat out rejected them before they even came up to meet her. Did she prefer guys who were more open with their words?
Still, womanizers often behaved that way, and I didn’t think she would like them, either. Although there shouldn’t be any boys around her age who were like that, the thought of it being a possibility was terrifying enough.
「Also, if they couldn’t talk to me during a party, there’s no way they would approach me in a crowded place like this.」
That was true. The kind of guy I was thinking about wouldn’t call out to her in a place like this. Not to mention, we were here with her. It should be fine as long as we didn’t get separated.
「I think it’s good to change your hairstyle once in a while. It’s less likely that some annoying person you know will come up to you, and the hairstyle also fits you.」
Many nobles attended this academy. It was possible that some annoying person could try to chat her up. We had to proceed with caution in case someone similar to that stupid noble we had met at Misa’s birthday party appeared.
「Still, with this many people around, I don’t think I would be spotted either way.」
There were already quite many people walking ahead of us, not to mention the trail of children from earlier following behind us, many of whom were around Noa’s age. Trying to pick out Noa amongst this crowd should indeed be quite difficult.
「Where is your stand, Shia?」
「We are at the Number 3 Practice Grounds.」
Shia proceeded to explain that each program had its designated location. Related activities were grouped together so that people wouldn’t have to search for them all over. With how large the academy grounds were, I kind of wished for an information pamphlet of some sort.
Instead, I noticed that the academy had placed signs at various areas, which displayed a map of the campus and the information on where each program was happening.
The Number 3 Practice Grounds was one of the places used for sword and magic training around the academy, but for the festival, it was home to Shia’s cotton candy stand.
We continued to chat about hairstyles as we followed Shia and took in the surrounding sights. After walking for a while, we reached the Number 3 Practice Grounds. In the open plaza, many food stands were lined up, as well as various clusters of chairs and tables. It looked like a fine place to sit down and eat something before rushing onward to see more attractions. Since it was already approaching lunch time, the place was starting to bustle with customers.
「The food stands are split into various locations on campus, so it shouldn’t get too crowded, I think.」
Numerous attendees were lined up at the stands and many others were already sitting or standing around while enjoying their food. Once we arrived at the cotton candy stand, I noticed that unlike the other stands, there were no customers here. Had they not begun selling yet?
Cattleya greeted us when we arrived.
「How is it going?」
「Everything is in order. I look forward to how much we will sell.」
Their enthusiasm was good; they clearly believed that the cotton candy would sell.
I looked around, and while some of the other stands didn’t have many customers, at least they had some. Turning back at this stand, which had no one coming to it, I was beginning to worry a bit.
「Fufu, we will definitely be the best among the food stand groups.」
「Food stand group?」
「The academy is giving out rewards to get us, students, all fired up. If we win, we can get many luxurious prizes. You received a survey at the entrance, right?」
Oh right, we had received something like that.
I took a look at it again. It asked us to write down three of the programs we found interesting and liked the best. It seemed like this was how the students would compete for the prizes.
「You have to write down the number of the program you want to vote on, so remember the numbers of the programs you enjoyed the most. Our food stand is number 90, so be sure to write it down.」
「Well, only if there are no better places.」
I didn’t plan on being biased towards family and friends. If I had to vote, then I would do it fairly. At least, that was how I felt.
Fina and the others, on the other hand, took out their surveys and began writing down their number, which I promptly stopped. I told them they shouldn’t write down it yet when we hadn’t even tried their cotton candy or looked at the other stands.
「Shia-san, shouldn’t you introduce me already?」
A girl standing behind Shia tugged on Shia’s twintail.
I had noticed that the girl had been staring at me for a while now. She wore the same uniform as Shia, so she must be a student as well. Her face looked familiar, so I might have seen her somewhere before. Well, I didn’t think I would forget about such a cute girl like her, so it must have been a very brief meeting.
「I get it, so please stop pulling my hair.」
The girl released Shia’s hair, and Shia immediately fixed her hair. Hair was a girl’s life, so nobody should pull on it, even lightly.
「You guys were leaving me out of your conversation.」
「I’ll introduce you, so don’t pull on my hair anymore. Yuna-san, this is Tilia-sama. She is helping out with our stand.」
When Shia introduced her, the girl stepped forward.
「I’ve finally got to meet the rumored Bear-san. My name is Tilia. Nice to meet you.」
「Um, I’m Yuna. Nice to meet you, too?」
The girl named Tilia extended her hands towards me, so I did the same. She immediately grabbed my puppets with both hands. It seemed she knew about me, but this was my first time actually speaking with her. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had seen her before, though. Had I passed her by sometime I had been at the capital? When I had accepted the student escort mission from Eleanora-san, I had come to the academy, so it was quite possible I had seen her there. However, what the girl said next was entirely different from what I was expecting.
「You really do go around wearing a Bear-san outfit. Thanks for always taking care of my little sister.」
Um, her little sister?
She had said I often took care of her little sister, so she must be the older sister of someone I knew, right?
Out of all the girls I knew, I couldn’t think of many who she could be an older sister to.
There were Noa and Misa, and if this girl was older than she seemed, then Cattleya could also be a candidate. Going by her appearance, though, I couldn’t imagine a younger version of her would look similar to any of these girls. Well, I knew there were sisters who didn’t look alike, but that was quite unlikely right? Well, they might have a different mother or father, so maybe…
My first thought turned to Cliff being a cheater and neglecting to mention that he had a daughter with another woman. That would explain why this girl didn’t look like Eleanora-san at all.
「Yuna-san, I don’t know what you’re thinking of right now, but I think it’s wrong.」
Shia rejected my in mind speculation. I thought it was a plausible story, though.
「My sister is always saying Bear-san, Bear-san, so I thought you were someone who wears bear fur around, but I guess I was wrong. I didn’t think you would be such a cute bear. Your hands and feet are also bear-shaped.」
Tilia petted my Bear-san Puppets and then even moved to my feet and torso.
「Um, sorry, but can you stop touching me?」
「I’m sorry. Can you let me hug you at least?」
I thought saying it like that would be enough to make her jump away from me, but instead, she opened her arms for a hug. Why was this happening?!
「You’re so soft, just like my sister said.」
She squeezed me tightly as she hugged me, not even waiting for me to allow it.
「This feeling might get addicting.」
She kept rubbing her hands all over me, and finally she pressed her face against my chest.
「How unfair, me too!」
Shuri ran up behind me and hugged me, too. This was no different than the situation I was in earlier at the entrance.
I grabbed Tilia by the shoulders and pushed her off of me.
「Just what is going on here? Shuri, you let go, too.」
「I’m sorry. My sister would tell me how soft and good you feel when she hugs you, so I’ve been wanting to hug you ever since.」
「Even so, you shouldn’t suddenly hug someone like that.」
Tilia apologized and finally stepped away from me.
She kept mentioning a little sister, but really, just who was she talking about?
No matter how hard I racked my brain, I still couldn’t figure it out. If it wasn’t Noa, could it maybe be Misa? They didn’t look alike at all, though.
「Father and Mother told me many stories about you as well.」
Her father and mother? I had only met Misa’s parents once, and that was at her birthday party. I hadn’t seen them since.
「Especially how you always bring my sister delicious food.」
Food? I didn’t recall ever bringing Misa food. The only thing I had brought her was a birthday cake.
「Still, I don’t get it why you always come when I’m not around? When I get home, they all tell me all about how delicious the food Bear-san brought them was, and I feel very left out each time. Also, Nii-san told me that when Bear-san comes, Father always stops working, which causes him a lot of trouble. Why can’t you trouble me?」
Wait, could it be?
This person’s sister called me Bear-san, and I brought her food often. Her father would slack off from work whenever I came, and her brother would be troubled by that. All the pieces of the puzzle slowly fell into place.
I turned to took a look at Noa, and it was clear that she was very nervous being in the presence of Tilia.
With that, there was only one possible answer left.
「Could it be that you’re Princess Flora’s older sister?」
「Correct. You didn’t know?」
Of course I hadn’t known!
I hadn’t even known that the king had another daughter, much less knew her name. Nobody had told me, and I hadn’t thought to ask.
I knew that his oldest son was around twenty years old, while Flora-sama was only four to five years old, so thinking about it now, it wouldn’t be strange for there to be another child between those two. I took another look at Tilia and could immediately tell why she looked familiar to me; her features were very similar to Princess Flora and Her Highness.
「So, all in all, when I heard that Shia-san knew Bear-san, and that Bear-san would be coming to the festival today, I asked if I could help out at her shop in exchange for introducing me to Bear-san.」
Just what had Shia been thinking?
Making a princess help out at a food stand? Noa was also looking at Shia and Tilia like she couldn’t believe what she had just heard.
「So, Flora-sama has an older sister, huh…」
「Oh, and I wanted to thank you for taking care of for my sister so often.」
「No, it’s fine…」
「Also, I wanted to tell you that she really loves the bear plushies you gave her. Oh, and the picture books are nice, too. Everytime I heard about you from Flora, I wondered just what kind of girl you are, making all these things for her.」
I made food and drew picture books for her, but the plushies, I hadn’t made those. Well, I hadn’t specifically told her that, so no wonder she thought I had made them.
「I also appreciate your willingness to teach recipes to Zelef. The pudding is really delicious.」
「Yes, it is.」
「Mhm, it’s really delicious.」
「I want to eat more of it sometime.」
When Tilia started talking about the taste of pudding, Marcus and the others also joined in.
「If everybody works hard, I will treat you to some, then.」
「Okay, Timor, let’s do our best.」
With pudding as a reward, everybody’s spirit rose. Well, giving them some pudding was nothing if that was what it took to motivate them…
With this, Flora’s older sister has finally appeared.
I decided to make an older sister when I wrote about the eldest son, but there wasn’t any good opportunity to have her appear… so I used the chance here. lol
Next chapter will be some sightseeing, I guess.
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