|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
In a grassy open space, around eight little girls —I spied that mostly they were the age of 5 to 8 years old, while the older ones were babysitting the babies and the toddlers— were gathering, with Eren amongst them. They had been diligently gathering flowers, but when Eren looked up to see me, her eyes widened, her cheeks rose, and she put her hands over her mouth, perhaps not to slip out whatever was trying to escape, before she softly let out a gasp.
“…Jill, you’re so pretty.”
“Thank you, Eren. I suppose fine feathers do make fine birds.”
I thought Eren would be more excited, but she was surprisingly silent.
(Well, I guess this is what it comes to be…) Seeing Eren was holding her chest and her eyes moist, wondering perhaps she was sick, my overzealousness was beginning to calm down.
“Oh, a princess~” “So pretty~” “Did she come from a castle?” “The dress is so cute” “She’s like from the books.” “Are those pearls real?”
The little girls, on the other hand, were looking at my dress with rapt attention. Well, young as they were, they were still girls after all, so I suppose they would be interested in the details of my dress and the pearl ornaments.
“Hello. If I may ask, what are you doing?” Well, with the red and white flowers in their hands, I could easily guess.
“We’re making rubrum flos. —Ah, forgive me, Jill. I found these girls on their way here, and I couldn’t let them all alone in the grassy field. I did tell the store owner, but you seemed too engrossed, Jill, so…”
“No, it’s okay. By the way, where is Vier?”
I didn’t even have to search for her, Vier jumped out from the circle of girls with a cheerful yelp, her head, her neck, and even her wings and tail were decorated with colorful flowers.
“Oh, someone is popular. You look cute, Vier.” I hugged her tight and rubbed her cheeks with mine… Aah, this is so soothing. It’s nourishment for an exhausted heart.
Bruno, who followed after me, pointed at Vier with his eyes wide open. “Wh-, what’s with that dog?! It has wings, is it a demon beast?!”
“What, Bruno? You’re here?” Eren then threw him a cold look, and their exchange of verbal abuse continued for a while.
When they saw their elders get into a quarrel, both the boys who followed after Bruno and the girls whom Eren was watching over didn’t seem particularly upset— on the contrary, they watched over them as if they knew it was going to happen. Looking at the younger kids’ reaction, I judged that, perhaps, these two had been at it just like this every year.
After they exhausted their vocabularies and their breaths, they were reduced to simply glaring at each other before Eren noticed me at the corner of her eye, and shoved me to the now frowning Bruno.
“Oh right, you said you wanted to apologize to Jill. Well, have you?!”
With how Bruno stuck to his words, Eren must’ve gotten her answer, and she wouldn’t let that go.
“—what, you haven’t? You’re all talk. That’s not manly, you know. You actually don’t feel sorry, do you?”
“Th-, that ain’t it. It’s just, the timing…”
“Hah! Fine, I’ll watch over you, you can apologize to her now. Come on.”
Eren’s tone was full of spite, as though to say “you don’t have the guts to do that, anyway,” while the children all around us were watching curiously. After looking around and finding that he had no escape, Bruno looked straight at me, looking cornered.
“Well, if you really hate the idea, then you don’t need to… I mean, I understand that boys have pride, and I don’t mind it either. I understand even if you don’t say it out loud.” A word of encouragement escaped my lips before I realized it.
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“…Aah, Jill, if you’re showing him you’re the bigger person now, Bruno will actually be put in a tight spot, so you better stop there.”
It was right then when Bruno, blood rushed to his head, took a big breath in with eyes steady— before he shouted. “Jill! A-, about yesterday… F-, f-, for-, forget what happened, and fight me again!!”
“Why would you do that—!!”
Enraged, Eren hit Bruno unreservedly.
“Ow! Why did you hit me, you punk?!”
“Better a punk than a dimwit like you!”
As another argument was about to break out again, I interrupted in “okay, that’s enough,” pushed Eren away, then faced Bruno.
“I don’t mind another fight, but I can’t fight in these clothes. Why don’t we push it for a later date, and today we agree on a truce?”
“F-, fine. I can get behind that. I won’t lose next time.”
I held back a smile that was about to creep up when Bruno’s bluff reminded me of Luke’s the other day, and I held out my right hand to him.
“So, for the truce, let’s shake it.”
Bruno stared at my hand with a puzzled look, but he hurriedly brushed his right palm against his pants before he gingerly took mine.
“Now we made up.”
After shaking it 2, or 3 times, Bruno somehow looked dazed. That was when Eren came to him with a smug face and whispered to him.
“…good for you, huh?”
“Oh shut up!”
And once again he yelled with his face as red as lobster. Seeing that his face got redder and redder every time I saw him, I began to worry if he developed high blood pressure at such a young age.
After that, Eren taught me how to weave flower crowns, and I started with the white flower that resembled white clover. For some reason though, both boys and girls wanted to have the ones I made, so I asked Eren to help me out and we mass-produced enough of them for everyone.
The boys seemed to have nothing to do while the girls were weaving, so I taught them simple games such as hopscotch, cops and robbers, shadow catching, and such, and those games gained popularity (apparently, the only game they knew around here was tag) with the boys and the girls, the whole field was filled with cheers of the kids.
Bruno, by the way, was in charge of watching over the little children. For some reason though, he’d occasionally give us glances while we were weaving flower crowns, and he looked quite expectantly.
And just like that, by near evening, I finished weaving flower crowns for everyone, and somehow also received a pile of flower crowns in return from the girls.
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“Here, Bruno. We made rubrum flos, especially for you. A white one, of course. You better be thankful.”
“H-, hmm. B-, by the way, umm… the red ones, who are you giving them to?”
Bruno, wearing two white flower crowns, was looking at the red ones that both Eren and I were holding.
“I’m giving them to dad and my brothers.”
“As for me, I’ll give them to Regina and Maya.”
Well, they were supposed to be exchanged between men and women, but we decided to give these flowers to them as a token of our appreciation. Not that I’m sure a certain someone will be happy to receive it.
“H-, heeh.” Looking somewhat relieved, Bruno turned away.
“—Well, I better get back then.” The sun was already getting very low in the sky, and it was time for me to say goodbye to everyone.
“””Eehh~~, you’re going home?!”””
“Ah, that’s too bad, but you can’t stay too late, after all.”
“I can’t. I’ll come back again later, so let’s chat a lot then.”
“Don’t forget the promise you made. If you win, I’ll show you this really cool hidden spot I found!”
“I can’t wait to see that.”
Waving at the kids who were reluctantly holding me back, Vier and I headed back to the general store to change clothes.
“The magical time is over. I have to go back to being the ragweed witch.”
Vier, adorned with flowers, followed behind me, wagging her tail in agreement.
“Also, I need to thank my mentor once I’m back.” Well, she’d probably just act senile and said she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
I could even imagine her snorting in displeasure as she accepted my rubrum flos, with a sour look on her face.
“Fufufufu,” My lips curved into a smile on their own.
I could hear the cheers and music of the villagers from a distance. Their cheerful atmosphere carried me along on my merry way home.