Volume 10 Chapter 15 The princess' melancholy
"Sorry to have kept you waiting."
Princess Lieschen came in. She had already changed clothes.
"Waa, princess! Pretty!"
Hanna was entranced.
She was wearing a comfortable dress and not her outing clothes. It was a pink dress with white lace.
"I, for one, do not like this kind of clothes, though."
Wearing a bitter smile, she said those words. However, that behavior was polished and it could easily be understood as not being pretension.
"The preparations for dinner will be done soon. Please do not worry about etiquette and have fun."
"Yes, thank you very much."
And then before long, two attendants and two automatas, came in carrying dinner.
No, the ones who came carrying it were the automatas and the ones who lined it up on the table were the attendants.
An elderly man, the grand chamberlain, was standing at the corner of the room and was overseeing the affair.
(Ah, this automata is pretty worn out...)
Looking at the automata's behavior, that's what Jin thought. Jin could understand just by looking.
(I can't just fix it as I please, either...)
He could not help being bothered by it. It's what one would call the mechanic's saga.
The lined up dinner was moderately extravagant and one could tell it was a menu which isn't pointlessly luxurious.
A small boiled pot, which had various vegetables in it, was there, like a pot-au-feu.
On a mouthful-sized steak were red and yellow vegetables cut into small cubes with sauce on top.
A marinade made with a tinge fish-salmon.
A boiled food, which looked like rusk but was not rusk, cut into small pieces with sugar smeared on top.
And a salad with a lot of fresh vegetables.
For drinks, they served fruit juice.
"This menu is similar to the one I normally have. Well, it might not fit your tastes perfectly but please, dig in."
Hanna started eating at once. Similar to Jin, Hanna was not a picky eater either. It seems like Elza does not like Cokarisk's meat but looks like it wasn't served this time.
And so, the three of them were normally enjoying dinner but then the princess asked with a curious expression,
"Is that 'itadakimasu' an Egelia kingdom manner or something?"
To that question, Jin answered,
"No, that's not quite right. It is like a greeting said before having meals in my house."
Hearing that, the princess looked very curious.
"Hou, looks like Jin is from a very unique household. I'd be happy to hear all about it when there are no hindrances." said the princess.
Moreover, she smiled and said she wanted to know many different customs of many different kingdoms.
Jin decided to talk about the automatas.
"It looks like your automatas are being used quite a bit, princess. Do you know their manufacturer?"
"No, I do not know. It was given to me by my father."
"I see. From what I saw, one seems to be from Egelia kingdom and the other from Selroa kingdom."
As Jin said that, the princess, who was impressed, said, 'Hou, you can tell just by looking?' and continued,
"How do I say this, it feels like their movements are getting sloppier. What do you think?"
Hearing that, Jin thought that the princess knows her stuff as well. And said frankly,
"It is as you say. I think they are not undergoing maintenance."
He even went on to say that there is a need for the required materials and someone who can do the maintenance. But that was asking for unnecessary trouble.
"Ohh, is that so? I will make arrangements for the materials tonight. Jin, rest well today. And tomorrow, please do maintenance on them!"
Elza, who was listening beside them, let out a sigh and gave a look at Jin saying 'Even though we had to stay over tonight because you said something unnecessary, you had to do it again..'.
But Elza doesn't hate such sides of Jin. She was just a little worried. After all, she knows Jin's interests towards automatas and golems are not normal...
"Hanna, looks like you took quite a liking to that. Here, have mine as well."
"Wah, thank you, princess."
She shared her pelshika with Hannah, making her even happier.
As for Jin, pelshika equals peach, so he was wondering why they were here at this time.
He had not yet done a detailed research of Hourai island yet but it feels like the underground's Ether has something to do with it-but here, in Kurain kingdom....?
He won't come to an answer no matter how hard he thinks so he decided to make Quinta investigate it later on.
While Jin was pondering such a thing, Elza was having a heartwarming feeling that, while they were not connected by blood, the three here were definitely her family.
"Hanna-chan, I will give you this as well."
"Wah, sis, thank you!"
Elza also shared her peach with Hanna. Seeing that spectacle, Lieschen princess made a slightly jealous expression.
"You guys really get along well. I am a bit jealous."
Hearing that, Hanna said,
"Princess, do you have someone you don't get along with?"
It is Hannah's special privilege to be able to ask questions like that. For good or worse, she had been living in a village without any ulterior motive.
Hearing that question, the princess didn't take any offense, rather she wore a somewhat sad expression and answered,
"Fufu, it isn't like I am on bad terms with someone. Just that I don't have any family I do get along with."
A similar but different expression. Elza had a rough idea of the situation. Princess Lieschen was disconnected from the royal family.
Jin also understood from a different perspective. That the opposite of like is not hate here, but rather apathy. It's not that she is liked or hated, she is just ignored and she has to bear with it.
Automatas won't ever betray their master. But can that be said to be the automata's will? Weren't they just created like that? When he was thinking about that, he felt kinda empty. Feeling peace by being served by just automatas is no different than secluding oneself from the outside world.
"Your Highness, your siblings..."
When Jin started to say that, as if the princess had guessed it, she went ahead and answered,
"My eldest brother is Edmond. He will become 28 this year. Younger than him is Arthur, he is 26. My eldest sister is 30 and married a duke. My other sister is 22 and she too married a duke."
"......Your siblings, are all, separated quite a lot by age.."
Elza was also much younger than her brothers, so she somewhat understood. That if you are close in age, you can't really get along in the real sense.
"Mother... died almost as soon as she gave birth to me. That might also be why my brothers and sisters are cold towards me.."
Jin felt like he understood it a little. In the current royal family of Kurain kingdom, there was no queen. As because the queen died right after giving birth to the youngest child, the youngest princess is neglected by her siblings.
"Only father is kind to me... but he is always busy...."
But Jin couldn't possibly do anything. He could only wish this smart and lively princess grows up to be an upright adult.
'No, at the very least, I could make her feel at ease while I am here.' Jin thought again. Even if it is by the help of automatas.
Although it contradicts with what he thought before, he gave a bitter smile and decided that he was going to give his all to fix the automatas.
There, Jin borrowed writing materials and wrote down all the materials he would need and requested to get them ready.
"Hm, I got it! If you have all this, it will be enough, right? I will prepare them by tomorrow morning."
The princess handed over the sheet to her attendant and gave instructions.
"I am excited about tomorrow."
After dinner, he avoided serious talk and let her listen to some stories of Egelia kingdom.
After all, Jin had traveled from Elias kingdom all the way to Serroa kingdom and also through the main road of Egelia kingdom.
"Hoho, I had heard the rumors but to think the golem incident was that horrible."
Among all the stories, the princess was the most interested in the golem incident. Being involved with the incident, Jin and Elza summed up roughly all there was to it.
But eventually, the princess noticed Hannah was dozing off so she expressed her gratitude for letting her hear the stories and left.
And instead, an attendant came to guide Jin and the others to the bedroom.
This attendant did not seem like she liked to talk, being the quiet elderly type.
"Guests, thank you very much for today. It has been awhile since I have been able to see the princess enjoying herself that much." she left saying just that.
All three of them were in the same room. Even then, it was about as big as 20 tatami mats and they had their own beds, with curtains, ensuring private space.
Putting Hannah to sleep on one of the beds, Jin told Elza and Reiko,
"That princess is a better kid than I had thought. Tomorrow, I am thinking of making all the automatas here better before I go."
"Nn. I knew Jin-nii would say that."
"As father wills."
Both Elza and Reiko did not oppose. And then, Jin gave Reiko instructions.
"Reiko, contact Laojun and make him send over some materials needed for repair."
And then Jin counted up the materials needed for repair. Which will probably be taken in by the SP who are always with Jin.
He probably wouldn't need that much but he instructed them to pack it so that it's like hand luggage and does not stand out.
"Alright, everything will be done tomorrow."
Saying that, Jin threw himself on the bed.
"Sightseeing somehow turned into this, huh?"
"No, this is interesting in itself."
Elza also sat on her bed and answered.
"I know that Jin-nii is not only kind towards humans, but towards automatas and golems as well."
Hearing that, Reiko wore a very small, gentle smile.