|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“Of course. If anything, an outsider such as I shouldn’t have…”
“What are you talking about? You’re practically one of the village kids, Jill.”
“What he said. Kids like you shouldn’t worry about us adults. Eat a feast, kick a riot, and have some fun.”
Some words of excuse escaped my lips, but then both Andy and Chad opened their arms, all smiles welcoming me into their village.
“Now, pick it up.”
“But no alcohol for you! You’re too young for that.”
“Thank you very much. I will head back before it gets dark, but I heard the ceremony gets merrier after that. I wish you two good luck with the rubrum flos.”
Immediately, their smiles froze over. Oh dear? Did I just short-circuit their brains?
“Aah……. Right. It’d be great if we get any at all this year…”
“Tell me about it… I won’t even ask for the red ones, at least give us a white one…”
Sorrow was already nestled on their backs as they looked at each other and gave empty smiles. In this case, poorly trying to console them will only backfire…right?
“—I, uh, if you’ll excuse me.”
I quickly scooped up Vier, who was gazing at the two unlucky bachelors in innocent puzzlement and left the place after leaving a word of greeting.
At the very least, I’ll pray to the God Emperor in Heaven to mercifully watch over them so that they won’t sleep in cold, sad nights for the rest of their lives.1
“Jill! You came!”
With a cheerful voice, a petite girl with chestnut-colored hair cut just below her chin came running out from the main gate’s guardroom—a shack that served as an office. She was wearing a polka-dot one-piece dress that was prepared for today.
“Eren! Long time no see. Are you well?”
“I’m swell! Jill, are you getting thinner?”
“Ehh, really?! Yay!”
As we were chatting amicably, Vier shifted uneasily in my arms and gazed at Eren with interest.
“Eeeehh, so cute!! So this is Vier? Nice to meet you, I am Eren, Jill’s bestie.”
As Eren was speaking in baby language for some reason, she brought her index finger to the tip of Vier’s nose and began twirling around it. “Myuu.” Vier squealed a cry of interest and stretched out her paws, flapping and waving her short legs to catch that finger.
As expected of a predator—a demon beast, to be exact—her instincts just couldn’t leave something moving in front of her. But then, something about what Eren said bothered me as well.
“How did you know about her, Eren? Ah, did Andy or Chad tell you about it?” To be honest, I had wanted to surprise her with the Sirius pup, so it was a bit of a letdown that she had known about her beforehand.
“Auntie Emily next door told me about it. She was told by Miss Isabelle who lives across the street, while Miss Isabelle was told by the general store owner, and the owner lady said that auntie Janet from the ranch told her, so I guess the whole village already knew?”
Eren simply revealed the truth with a poker face as she was playing around with Vier. It had only been a week since this pup was born, and the whole village already knew about her… Auntie Network, how fearsome!
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By the way, Mrs. Janet was the wife of Mr. Dan the rancher, and she and Mr. Dan were like parental figures who would never miss a chance to spoil Vier with melted smiles on their faces. …Considering she’s a wolf pup demon beast, is that even the correct attitude for people who run a ranch?
“Oh right, I forgot something important. Jill, come with me to the general store!”
Eren, who had been playing with Vier to her heart’s content, came to her senses, grabbed my hand, and started walking briskly towards the heart of the village—well, even if I called it the heart, there were only the general store, the tinkerer, and the apothecary there.
“Are we buying something?”
“Nope, the owner said she prepared something for you.”
What could it be? Some kind of order for Regina? With a question mark still floating above my head, Eren practically dragged me away to the general store.
As I was cornered, what my mouth could say was a question coming out in the form of a muffled scream. “Wh-, what is this?!”
“It’s a dress, what else?” The general store owner held a white dress —its skirt part embroidered with green grass patterns— against my chest, checking its size before she declared what she saw. “Yup. Thank goodness, I don’t need to do any last-minute resizing.”
“I understand it is a dress. I just don’t understand what is happening!”
As soon as I reached the general store, its owner abducted me and brought me into a room in the back and fetched me this simple but expensive-looking dress as she said “take off your clothes and put that on.” Everything’s happening too suddenly, I can’t keep up! (By the way, Eren and Vier were playing on the storefront, watching out for customers.)
“Oh dear, Mrs. Witch didn’t tell you? A couple of weeks ago, she came here and tossed me her secondhand dress, and then left with the pay and the order to fit it to your size for the festival.”
The owner looked puzzled as she offered her explanation, and I could only exclaim “Wha…?!”
She keeps threatening me that I can’t go to the festival unless I finish four batches of amrita before today, and yet she went and prepared a dress for me behind my back…?! That’s a hit below the belt, it’s unfair!
“Ah! Shoot—I was supposed to keep it a secret… Oh goodness. I’m such a clumsy little ditz.”
She put on a sorry face, but something told me that she did it very, very intentionally.
“Well, water under the bridge. Just don’t tell Mrs. Witch, kay? —Either way, come on, change your clothes!” She then once again pushed the dress on me while her other hand was on the binding of my robe, practically urging me to undress.
“W-, wait a second! Erm… It’s the regulation that half-baked witches are forbidden from exposing their faces.”
When I offered the same excuse I gave to Eren, the owner stared at me with a dubious expression before she said “—aah” and nodded in understanding. Thank goodness! I still could tolerate a one-piece attire for working, but putting on a dress is a door I’d rather not open.
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“Now you said it, I remember that Mrs. Witch also prepared a veil to cover your face. It slipped my mind…”
She then produced a veil not so different from a wedding veil, one that hid up to the shoulders. Noo! The bridge is burned!
“After you’re dressed, you still need to get your hair done too.” The owner then took out a comb and gave me a smile, her eyes much like the eyes of a bird of prey.
“Ah ha ha…” Clutching on the bright white dress, I could only let out a bitter laugh at the impending inescapable horror.