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Marcus and the others thanked me again before starting to discuss all the exciting events of the festival. They were quite disappointed they missed a few things, like the Bear’s rampage through the game stands, Tilia helping out their stand causing chaos, and my match against the knights.
「Yuna-san, next time, please have a match with me.」
「Sure, when we have time.」
It sounded like it would be a pain, so I only gave a vague response.
As we continued to chat about the school festival, the group started to discuss the friends who had helped them at their shop. They wanted to treat the friends and classmates who had helped them to some food, but there were more people than they had expected.
「So, which shop should we choose?」
「Well, with the number of people who came to help us…」
「Can we even find a shop that would be able to seat us all?」
Cattleya and Timor responded worriedly to Marcus’s question.
「How many people are coming?」
「Sixteen, I think.」
「If we include ourselves, that makes it twenty total. That’s indeed a bit much.」
「Well, it’s because we invited some people who didn’t actually help out, too.」
So many friends of their friends had come to help them. In my case, no one would come even if I asked. I had no one to call anyway, so there was really no point in comparing myself to them.
「Yuna-san, would you also like to join?」
Truthfully, I really didn’t want to go to a place full of strangers. I would also surely cause chaos if I showed up wearing my Bear Suit. Heck, even if I were to go wearing the school uniform, I would still cause an uproar in this case since the girl who wanted to become a knight should be there as one of Shia’s invited friends, not to mention the other students who might have seen me.
「Sorry, I won’t join this time. I would cause trouble no matter what I wore, so go and have fun with your friends, without me.」
I also knew that there was no room for me, an outsider, to join. Not to mention that they were planning to have the party during their next break from school and, by then, we would already have left the capital. I planned to return to Crimonia in the next couple of days, after all. It would be fine if I, alone, stayed a bit longer, but Fina and Shuri certainly couldn’t stay too long. Now that the school festival was over, they had to return home soon, or Tirumina-san would get worried.
「Certainly, with this amount of people, the gathering will get quite noisy as it is…」
「How about if we went to a big restaurant where the food is good, and it is also okay to be loud?」
「Yes, but big restaurants that serve good food are usually quite luxurious and fancy, so wouldn’t making noise there be frowned upon?」
「What should we do, then?」
Twenty students indeed meant a lot of noise. In that case, I could suggest my shop in Crimonia. There was a party room, so they could make as much noise as they want. Still, I couldn’t really ask everyone to come all the way to Crimonia… Wasn’t I forgetting something?
Wasn’t there a similar shop in the capital now?
「Shia, there’s a good place for you guys to go.」
「There is, Yuna-san?」
「Yeah. They have no customers at the moment, so you won’t bother anyone, and the food is also quite delicious. It is the perfect place for you.」
The way I put it sure sounded contradictory… How could there be no customers if the food was good? Maybe I should explain further.
「Can there really be such a shop?」
「Isn’t it weird if that shop has no customers even though it has good food?」
Marcus immediately pointed out the problem.
「It’s because the shop isn’t really open yet. They are still preparing for their grand opening.」
I proceeded to explain how Eleanora-san had made the shop under orders from the king. I also mentioned that the royal head chef Zelef-san had been actively supervising the cooks, so the food was very well made and delicious. I ended the explanation with the fact the shop hadn’t officially opened yet, so they would not bother any other guests even if they were a bit loud.
The only problem would be getting permission from Eleanora-san and Zelef-san, but I think it should be fine if I just asked Eleanora-san.
「A shop managed by His Majesty…」
「No, that’s definitely not an option.」
「We would not have nearly enough money to afford to eat there.」
The students rejected my idea.
「What if I asked Eleanora-san for you?」
「Ask me what?」
A voice resounded from the door, and we turned around to see Eleanora-san standing there.
All the students immediately stood up from their chairs and started to greet her.
「Mother, why are you home? What about your work?」
「Also, how long have you been there? You kind of scared us, speaking up so suddenly.」
「Well, I heard that Shia’s friends were coming over, so I wanted to surprise you all.」
There it was: that one action that parents always did which only resulted in their children hating them for it. Well, this was a guest room, so I suppose do it in this case should be fine?
As for why Eleanora-san was home early:
「Well, I forgot to bring something with me, so I came home to get it. Then, I heard that Shia’s friends had come over, so I figured I would at least say hello. Thank you all for taking care of Shia.」
「Oh no, there’s no need to thank us.」
「We’re also always being taken care of by Shia.」
「We apologize for coming without an invitation.」
「Fufufu, that’s fine. Still, what were you guys talking about? I thought I heard my name being mentioned.」
「There was just something we were thinking of asking you…」
As Shia trailed off, Eleanora-san suddenly showed a dejected expression.
「My daughter has finally reached her rebellious age…」
Eleanora-san said and pouted before glancing at Shia with a slight smirk on her face. Yeah, she was putting on an act alright.
「No, that’s not it! We just wanted to treat our friends to some food since they helped us out during the school festival, but the group got too large, so I wanted to ask you if we could go to that certain place.」
I then proceeded to explain to Eleanora-san that I had suggested letting them eat at 「The Bear’s Relaxation Restaurant」.
「Oh my. That sounds like a great idea.」
「But, that shop was made under His Majesty’s orders, wasn’t it?」
「Yeash, there’s no way we would be allowed to enter it.」
「Fufufu, if you come with the excuse of taste-testing the food, then I’m sure you will be let in. Just know we will ask you for your opinions on the dishes at the end.」
The four of them considered it a bit further before requesting Eleanora-san to let them use the shop. Eleanora-san then began discussing the number of guests and amount of food to serve them. Didn’t she have a job to do? In fact, didn’t she just come home because she forgot something?
I left them to their discussions and headed to the castle to visit Tilia. Noa, Fina, and Shuri also joined me so that they could thank her as well.
When we arrived at the castle, the guards, seeing my Bear Suit, didn’t ask any questions, but only checked our identification cards, just in case.
「We came to see Tilia-sama today. Will we be able to meet her?」
I didn’t mention Princess Flora today.
「Yes, I heard about that from Eleanora-sama. She asked me to guide the bear… I mean, guide Yuna-sama, once she arrived.」
It seemed like Eleanora-san had notified the guard of our arrival beforehand. Well, that helped us out quite a bit so we didn’t have to explain ourselves. This way, the guard was able to bring us straight to Tilia without having to notify her first.
I really appreciated Eleanora-san for doing these small things for us. Perhaps she just looked like she wasn’t working, but she actually was a hard, diligent worker? On second thought, recalling what had happened just earlier at her mansion, she was probably just trying to skip out on work.
The guard guided us to Tilia’s room and knocked on the door. After waiting for an answer, he told Tilia that we had arrived.
「You can enter!」
She called out to us without opening the door. The guard bowed and left while we made our way inside, where we were met by the sight of Tilia and Flora-sama sitting together in the room.
I didn’t think I would run into Flora-sama today, but here she was. Flora-sama jumped off her chair and ran straight to me.
「Princess Flora, why are you here?」
「Yuna-san, I heard you were coming, so I couldn’t possibly miss that. hence, I stayed inside my room and played with Flora who came to me.」
Had I upset her day?
「Were you planning to go out today?」
「Don’t worry, I had no fixed plans anyway, so staying in fit me just fine.」
Okay, at least I didn’t ruin her day. We had come without checking if Tilia was free or not first…
「Tilia, thank you again for your help over the past few days. We had a lot of fun.」
「It was no problem at all. I feel the same way: I also had a lot of fun, and finally being able to meet with the rumored bear girl was great. I was happy that I got to meet Noa, Fina, and Shuri as well.」
Noa and Fina were acting quite bashful at Tilia’s words, while Shuri only smiled at Tilia happily.
「By the way, I must say I was really shocked by what happened yesterday. You so suddenly decided to fight against Rutum, and Eleanora-san agreed to to it, while Father did nothing to stop it. Can you imagine how shocked I was when I saw things unfold as such?」
I didn’t know how I should respond to that… I had only fought the old guy because he pissed me off, but that wasn’t something I could tell a princess.
「A girl shorter than me was going to fight against a knight. Normally, anyone would think that it would be impossible for you to win. Yet, not only did you win against the first knight, you then defeated Rutum as well. I simply couldn’t believe what I was seeing.」
While the king and Eleanora-san had never seen me fight before, they knew that I was quite strong. Tilia, on the other hand, had no idea.
「Did the three of you know how strong she was?」
Tilia asked the girls.
「Yes, but it was the first time I had actually watched her fight.」
「It was my first time, too.」
「I’ve seen her fight a few times before.」
Well, there was no reason for me to drag them around me when I was fighting, especially since I didn’t want to bring them to dangerous places.
「I was so nervous while I watched the match. Every time your opponent’s sword swung at you, I barely held myself from not yelling out to stop the match, but Father noticed and kept telling me not to worry, so I somehow managed to get through.」
I seemed to have caused her quite a bit of worry…
「Father only told me about how strong you are afterwards, and it turned out that even mother knew about it, so I was the only one kept in the dark.」
「Well, that’s because we had never met before the festival. I actually didn’t even know that His Majesty had another daughter.」
「And here I was thinking that I’m pretty famous throughout the capital. To think that there are still people who don’t know I even exist…」
I kind of felt sorry for saying that now; it had been pretty ignorant of me. However, when I looked over at Fina and Shuri, their expressions showed that they didn’t know her, either. Well, not much we could do at this point.
「Anyhow, I came here because I wanted to thank you, Tilia.」
「I’ve already received my gift from you, though.」
Tilia said and threw a glance at her bed, where Hugging Bear and Swaying Bear plushies were seated around her pillows, just like they always were on Princess Flora’s bed.
「Well, if you’re willing, I do want to ask you for another favor. Could you please summon your bears for me?」
「Yes. Flora and Mother talk about them all the time, like how cute, soft, and fun they are. Hence, I really want to meet them as well. I heard that Flora got to play with them the other day, so I hoped you could at least show them to me.」
「Bear-sans? We played together.」
Flora-sama said, briefly looking up from the picture book she was reading. I also noticed Noa had been eyeing the book for a while now. It looked like she was quite interested in it.
「I don’t mind summoning them. Is it okay for me to summon them here?」
「Yes, it should be no problem, since from what I heard, your bears are very docile.」
Since I received Tilia’s permission, so I raised my Bear Puppets in front of me and proceeded to summon Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear, in their adult forms for now.
「They really are bears. Can I touch them?」
Before Tilia could even finish asking, Flora-sama dropped the picture book, cried out 「Bear-san!」and grabbed onto Hugging Bear.
「It’s okay to do it, I assume…?」
「Yeah, as long as you don’t hurt them.」
Tilia looked at Flora-sama before hesitantly reaching out to touch Swaying Bear.
「Their fur is very soft.」
Tilia stroked Swaying Bear’s fur once, and seeing that it didn’t do anything to her, she reached around to hug it. Shuri quickly used the chance to join in as well, and grabbed onto Swaying Bear from the other side. Fina tried drag Shuri away, but Tilia said that it was fine, so Shuri quickly joined Flora-sama in playing with Hugging Bear.
I looked over to see what Noa was doing, and I noticed that she was still standing by the table where Flora-sama had left her picture book. All three volumes of the picture books were laid out on it, and Noa seemed to be very interested in them.
「Yuna-san, could it be that you drew these picture books?」
There was a bear and a young girl on all the covers, so she must have guessed. Noa looked quite troubled, though. She clearly wanted to look through the books but didn’t dare touch a princess’s possessions without permission. When Tilia saw this, she called out.
「You can look through them. Those copies are mine.」
「I have them, too.」
Oh, didn’t that mean that they had managed to print out the third volume as well?
Noa looked at Tilia, thanked her, and reached her hand out to the picture books.
「Yuna, can I, maybe, ride on them?」
「Yes, you can: just make sure you don’t make sudden movements while on their backs.」
I gave Tilia permission and she responded with 「Of course I won’t do that.」before happily climbing onto Swaying Bear’s back and trotting around the room with it. They had enough space to walk around as the room was quite large. Once Flora-sama and Shuri saw her, they quickly climbed onto Hugging Bear’s back and proceeded to do the same.
Noa noticed them riding on the Bears but was still more interested in the picture books, yet a certain someone didn’t seem to like that.
「Noa-sama, instead of looking at the books, why don’t you play with the bears?」
Fina attempted to distract Noa’s attention from the picture books.
「No, this is my only chance to read them.」
Noa confirmed her decision, sat down on a chair, and started looking through the books. Fina looked at me with a troubled expression, but I couldn’t do anything about it, either. Even if Noa read through the books, perhaps she wouldn’t notice the similarity. After all, the girl in the picture books only looked somewhat similar to Fina.
「Who’s this girl?」
Noa glanced over at Fina before quickly returning her attention to the book. She flipped the page, and then glanced back at Fina again. Fina had a bitter smile on her face.
「Is it just me, or does this girl look like Fina?」
「It’s just your imagination, Noa-sama.」
Fina outright denied it.
「I see. I just thought she looked like you, Fina.」
Fina looked relieved, thinking she fooled her. However, as Noa read through volumes two and three, her eyes narrowed. She looked back over at Fina with suspicion.
「No, this is definitely Fina. Also, this girl is Shuri.」
She pointed at the younger girl who appeared in volume three.
「These Bear-sans should be Hugging Bear-chan and Swaying Bear-chan as well. Then, that means this is Yuna-san!」
Noa had guessed all the characters correctly. I could clearly see the defeat in Fina’s face; she had given up on persuading Noa otherwise at this point.
「Why did you keep quiet about this until now?」
Noa began questioning us.
「Well, the picture book is for little kids. You were not of the age to be reading picture books any more, right?」
「That may be so, but this is a picture book that Yuna-san drew, and you appear in, so of course I would want to read it. I want a copy of my own.」
Noa demanded as she approached us.
「Okay, fine. I’ll give you the picture books as a present, so calm down.」
「I have copies up to the second volume, but I might be able to also get you the third by asking Eleanora-san.」
I had to get some copies of the third volume for the orphanage, so I needed to talk to her anyway.
「Also, I would like to appear in the book.」
Now she wanted to be a character as well…
「I haven’t decided if will write another sequel, so I can’t promise anything.」
「That’s unfair! Fina got to be in it.」
「Noa-sama, it’s embarrassing to be part of the book. You sure you want to go through that?」
「You’re being unfair, Fina. Not only are you the main character, but you’re even drawn so cutely.」
「Yes, but these pictures books are distributed to quite a lot of people, so…」
Noa looked at me for confirmation.
「I drew the first volume just for Princess Flora originally, but soon more people of the castle wanted the book, so we got the book printed and distributed.」
「Yes, and that’s why I think you shouldn’t do it. It’s embarrassing to have so many people read about you.」
「Uuu, that’s true. Still, it’s still unfair if only Fina and Shuri get to be in it. A Yuna-san-like Bear-san appeared, too…」
She now seemed to be quite conflicted about this. At least she did have a little shyness left inside her. That was good to see.
Noa looked at the picture book, then at Fina and Shuri and then at the Bears. She finally looked over at me.
「No, I still want you to draw me as well. I don’t want to be the only one who isn’t included.」
Even though she requested it, I honestly didn’t know how I could add her into the story at this point. I was playing the role of the Bear in the story, so I couldn’t simply accept her request to become her bodyguard. It would also be quite strange to have the Fina-based commoner meet a noble out of nowhere. What should I do?
I decided to tell Noa,「I’ll think about it,」and escaped from the discussion, for the moment at least.
We then turned to the girls riding the Bears, and their happy expressions brought smiles to our faces.
This chapter was rather long. Perhaps twice the length of a normal one?
Shia’s group managed to secure a place where they will host their dinner party. Yet, somebody unbelievable might appear at the shop that day! lol (Haven’t decided on it yet.)
Noa also finally found out everything about the picture book. Unbelievably, she does feel a little embarrassed about it.
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