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The next day, when the sun was almost set, I arrived at the royal castle. I came at that time because I was told to do so.
‘It seems that the final match isn’t a single game as before but three games. If one of the competitors win two games, the match will end, but wouldn’t this change the day by the end? After having three matches that happened all day yesterday, the final would be done after sunset.’
I approached the entrance of the castle while worrying about that.
“You are Yuri-sama who will be competing in the final. I’ve been waiting for you.” (??)
Then, an unknown woman who was waiting at the entrance, suddenly called me out.
“I’m going to guide you today. Pleased to meet you.” (??)
“Aah, yes.” (Yuri)
‘I don’t get it, but is that what it’s supposed to be?’
“You may change your dress here.” (??)
When I thought about it, I went by a private room with a mirror.
That meant this person wasn’t a maid or an official, but a beautician.
‘Even so, what’s with changing dress? I’m not a wedding bride.’
“It’s alright. I’m fine here.” (Yuri)
I was dressed in the same way as yesterday, with the uniform of the Knights.
“If you can’t focus just because you can’t make up, concentrate on my coat.” (Yuri)
When I said so…
“Well then, at least let me wash your face. And please let me tidy up your bed hair.” (??)
I was told that.
‘What’s with bed hair?’
“Well, if it’s about that much.” (Yuri)
‘I wonder if it’s alright with my bed hair. This is just an amateur tournament.’
I was thinking so, but I supposed it was somehow high level tournament.
When the coat had been pressed with steamed water, my bed hair tidied up and my face washed up, I felt refreshed.
“Eh, what are you trying to do?” (Yuri)
The beautician was took grease-like oil from something like a bottle with her fingers. She was trying to spread it on my hair.
“Just a little.” (??)
“Didn’t I tell you I don’t need it?” (Yuri)
“Just a little. It’s only at the hair ends.” (??
‘For some reason, she looks strangely excited. I don’t get it.’
“Actually, this isn’t a big deal, but what kind of oil is that?” (Yuri)
“It’s a bear oil.” (??)
‘Eh. Bear oil, is it? Is she trying to spread that oil on my hair?’
“Please rest assured. This is the oil is from the refined fat of bears before hibernation. Unlike cow oil, it doesn’t smell bad. It will fall off in the hot water.” (??)
‘S-sure. There’s not even a part that I can feel relief. But it seems that beautician doesn’t feel concerned about not spreading it.’
“Understood. It’s fine.” (Yuri)
‘It’s more troublesome to refuse her.’
When she stroked the oil and put in a comb, my hair was done in a flash. In the end, it became a side parting hairstyle.
“Now, about your dress…” (??)
“Should I change the dress?” (Yuri)
“As I expected, that dress is…” (??)
‘That’s harsh. What’s wrong with it?’
‘I have changed the Knights uniform several times because either it becomes ragged while wearing it or my body got bigger and reached the size limit. I’m wearing the fourth one now, but this is the best uniform I’ve ever worn since six months ago.’
‘I took some care and lightly brushed my best uniform. There are no dust or bird wings.’
“Isn’t fine already?” (Yuri)
‘Seriously, what’s wrong with it.’
When I asked that, the beautician had a troubled face.
“Please forgive me. There are spots of food or something on outerwear, and the hem of the inside has faded. It’s all frayed.” (??)
I looked silently at the hem of the pants. The pants were properly washed, so it didn’t have mud stains, but it did have some stains. The hem was frayed, probably because I washed it over and over again.
The reason for the dirt was when I went to the upstream water mill that had no cobblestone pavement. It had become messy together with the shoes during the rainy days. So, every time I gave it the dormitory laundry woman, she made a nasty face.
That said, in the world of ordinary people, even a very wealthy merchant was fine wearing worse clothes.
‘I guess this is no good when it comes to the final. This is enough for the beautician to step in.’
“Please change your dress. Otherwise, they won’t forgive me.” (??)
I was told with a tone that invited pity.
‘It can’t be helped then. It’s not like I’m particular about it.’
“Well, please.” (Yuri)
I gave in.
‘I’m weak against pushing.’
“Understood. Then… please wear this.” (??)
The clothes brought by the beautician were rather old fashioned, even from my eyes.
‘Uhm… This is a traditional costume of the Great Kingdom era, and it is one of the best clothes. In Japan, such clothes are similar to the old ceremonial kimono, Kamishimo, worn by Daimyo during the Edo period.’
‘Now, nobody is wearing it. In our house in the rural area, I never saw Rook wore it whenever he went out to the ceremonial places. Oi, oi, give me a break.’
“Are you kidding me?” (Yuri)
“Eh? Uhm, no.” (??)
‘She doesn’t seem to be joking.’
“I’m not very particular about my clothes, but this seems too exaggerated. Is there anything as good as this uniform?” (Yuri)
“Aah, if it’s that…” (??)
What was brought back was something like a tailcoat that was beautifully dyed black.
‘I’ve seen Rook wearing it. The tail hem doesn’t extend, so the tailcoat is strange. However, it’s a formal dress for the night. Of course, there are no frays, distortion or scratches.’
“How about this?” (??)
“I’m fine with this.” (Yuri)
‘Yup, it should be fine, right? Compared to this, my uniform certainly looks shabby.’
“That’s great.” (??)
The beautician breathed in as if she was relieved.
“Why didn’t you bring this from the beginning?” (Yuri)
‘I really want to know why. If I go out wearing this uniform, I’ll be looked down by the public.’
“I heard Yuri-sama was born in a very prestigious house, so…” (??)
‘What a prestigious house? I was born in a small farmer family.’
I changed clothes with the help of the beautician and headed to the venue.
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There were so many people in the hall that it was incomparably to yesterday. There was a carpet-like flower path and for some reason, it was blocked with poles and ropes. It seemed to head toward the match board area. This had pulled my focus away.
‘What is this? This is only a competition for students. So, what’s going on?’
‘I haven’t shown any interest in this tournament for six years since I entered the Academy. I think that my classmates were talking about it in the dining hall, but I didn’t want to go to the royal castle to watch it. Was it such a big fuss?’
While still being surprised on the inside, I tried to walk to the board as dignified as possible. On the way there, the seven seniors I met yesterday, the people in the dormitory and many others were standing by the side, calling out to me.
“Good luck!” (??)
“Go for it!” (??)
“We’re rooting for you!” (??)
Soma boys leaned out of the ropes and asked for a handshake. Everyone was smiling.
As my back became itchy, I felt a terrible discomfort.
‘This isn’t like a place where I live. It feels darker and dimmer. It feels like a mole has accidentally gone under the sun.’
When I reached the board area, I saw Her Majesty the Queen was sitting a bit away from there.
‘…How big is this amateur student competition? This is not the Queen’s Cup or something like that, so she doesn’t have to come to see it. Is the Queen free?’
Next to her was Carol sitting dressed up. On the other side, there was Carya. Syamu was sitting some distance away.
‘Did somebody from the household bring her here?’
Then, there were a standing area and a separate noble sitting area.
There was no fence at the noble sitting area, but there is a waist-length fence at the standing area as yesterday. From my point of view, the right side was the noble sitting area, there was a small desk and chair in the standing area, and there was already a person sitting there.
‘Is she the timekeeper?’
Sitting there was a slender middle-aged woman with several hourglasses in front of her. If there was no time limit similar to yesterday, it tended to be a prolonged match. Hence, it was probably a decision that it shouldn’t be done when Her Majesty the Queen was presence.
I wasn’t particularly told about this, but I knelt on one knee and bowed to Her Majesty the Queen before sitting on the board area. When I stood up, she had a friendly smile while Carol had an unkind smile as if she found something interesting. Syamu was somewhat overwhelmed.
I wonder who brought her, but to begin with, she had no interest in Togi. It was just boring to watch and she didn’t even know what this place meant.
When I didn’t think Myaro would be here, she was actually presence.
She was watching at the standing area. When our eyes met, she waved her hand slightly.
Then, I sat in a chair. It was a soft chair where it was usually used. There was a cushion on the armrest. The chair was for adults, and it was a little too big for me who would still grow taller.
When I sat in the chair, leaning my back on it and looked at the board pieces that seemed to be even better than the ones in the secondary residence of the Hou Household, the opponent came over.
I almost laughed when I saw her. She was wearing very good clothes similar to the twelve-layered kimono, Junihitoe. It was similar to the clothes that I was proposed to wear earlier. In addition, she had a small crown made of silver.
‘Oi, that’s awesome. Are planning to be like a queen? It isn’t as flashy as Her Majesty the Queen’s.’
She bowed to the Her Majesty the Queen before the chair and sat down. It seemed a bit difficult to sit.
When I looked at the nearby Jura Lakramanus, she was a beautiful woman with a sharp face. Rather, it was a face that looked naturally sadist.
‘I am not 16 years old, but since Jura should be 22 years old, she might be underestimating me, thinking that I am young.’
Her Majesty the Queen said so.
‘Now, although there’s the order from her, how should I start this?’
‘Come to think of it, there’s no dice on the desk. Normally, dice are rolled between the participants. It has been done in this way until now.’
‘If there are no dice, you can’t decide who will make the first move. Oi, there are no dice. What is the official doing?’
When I was thinking about it, I could hear a slight rattling sound beside me.
“…The participant Jura will start first.” (??)
‘Eh?’ I heard an unusual voice. It was a middle-aged voice.’
Without a moment away, Jura moved her piece and made a knocking sound. The timekeeper, who made the decision earlier, turned the hourglass upside down.
My time was decreasing.
For a moment, I had symptoms similar to dizziness. Everything became spasmodically ridiculous.
‘Hey. Aren’t you a fool to not know that this is unfair? Why is the timekeeper rolling the dice?’
‘Did anyone see the dice?’
The only thing that I was looking was the timekeeper. From the audience sitting, they couldn’t because her back was blocking the view, and they couldn’t see the dice. Even I was the nearest to her couldn’t see the small dice in her hands.
‘Does the timekeeper decide everything?’
‘Do you want me to trust an unknown official whether this is fair or not? Do you want me to be convinced?’
‘I can be convinced if your intestines blow up and you die just because you are being unfair, but that’s not the case, isn’t it?’
‘Well, it’s fine. Just because she starts first, it’s going to be a big disadvantage. But doesn’t anyone think that this is wrong?’
Then, I moved my piece.
- For disclaimer purpose, all pictures shown in this chapter aren’t mine. Thanks to those who upload them in the internet.
- Please click on the link to know more about Kamishimo and Junihitoe.
- I think the author is trying to say morning coat rather than tailcoat.
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