“Sorry to keep you waiting.” [Maid]
A maid different from before came to inform us that the duke was ready.
I’m a lot less nervous now thanks to Arone-san and Lilian-san.
I’ll finally get to meet the duke’s family.
“Let us be off then.” [Serge]
We followed after the maid.
The maid was apparently a member of the cat tribe, as a beautiful tail could be seen swinging from behind her.
She carried a box full of gifts with her as she silently passed through halls full of vases and paintings whose value I could not estimate.
“This way please.” [Maid]
The maid stopped in front of a white door and asked with her eyes if we were ready.
We nodded to her, and she pushed open the door.
“Welcome! Ryouma-kun!” [Elize]
“! …Madam?” [Ryouma]
On the other side of the door was a brightly lit room with a large window.
The madam waved her hand at me while surrounded by many decorative plants.
She was as candid as ever. That’s great.
But because of that I completely forgot about the order of greetings I memorized.
Fortunately, it was only a momentary lapse and I remembered it almost immediately.
“Welcome. Thank you for coming. Let’s dispense with the ceremonies. Please. Take a seat.” [Reinhart]
This time it was Reinhart, who was standing beside the madam, who spoke and skipped a lot of the steps.
“Ha ha ha… Since that’s what His Grace himself is saying, then we might as well do as he says. Ryouma-sama.” [Serge]
Another reason I came here was to practice, though.
“It’s been a while. I’m glad to be able to meet you again.” [Ryouma]
“We’re happy to see you too. We know you’re safe from the letters, but it’s still best to be able to talk like this.” [Elize]
“We were worried, you know? Like were you doing well in town? Were you pushing yourself?” [Reinhart]
“Serge-san, Pioro-san, and a lot of people have been helping me out, so I’m doing just fine.” [Ryouma]
As a friendly conversation began, the married ducal couple spoke to Serge-san and Pioro-san.
During that time the maid served us tea and sweets, then she excused herself, leaving only the five of us to ourselves.
Yes. Five people…
“The tea is delicious.” [Ryouma]
“I’m glad you like it. It’s my favorite brand. Have some sweets too.” [Elize]
“Thank you very much. By the way, where is Reinbach-sama? I was in his care too, so I would love to be able to meet him as well.” [Ryouma]
“Got away.” [Reinhart]
“He got away?” [Ryouma]
Reinhart-san wryly smiled.
“During this season, there are a lot of people who want to have an audience with him. There aren’t a lot of people like you who just want to meet for the sake of it. Some people do want to meet him purely out of admiration, but most have a hidden agenda. It’s troubling, so he ran off to the Fire Dragon Mountains. He took Sebasu with him. And just told us ‘Don’t always just rely on me!’” [Reinhart]
Fire Dragon Mountains… That should be the place I heard about from Branch Head Taylor. The dangerous region where Reinbach-sama formed a contract with a divine beast. It’s not a place a normal merchant could easily get to just to greet him.
“I see… That’s unfortunate.” [Ryouma]
“I’ll tell him you wanted to meet him when he gets back. I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear it.” [Reinhart]
We idly talked like that and when the place was starting to warm up, we began handing our gifts.
“With your permission…” [Serge]
Serge walked toward a chair, beside of which was a special pedestal. From that he took out a small box. It was white all over and had a luster to it like white porcelain, but it also had the smell of wood to it. It only had a decorative string to ornament it, so it was not by any means gaudy. One look and one could tell that it was a good product.
“This is the ‘music box’ that my store has started selling since this summer. This is the latest model. The music is composed by the famous Fletsch Marlin-sama. The box is made from Banando’s most luxurious Rock Skin Wood, and in the rarest color of them all, a pure white.” [Serge]
A lot of effort has been put in that music box.
“Music box, huh. I’ve been hearing about that lately.” [Elize]
“Dinome’s Workshop sure is famous.” [Reinhart]
“Yes. Dinome’s Workshop used the most skilled craftsmen from its main division to produce this music box.” [Serge]
“It’s pretty too. More than enough for it to be the talk of the party.” [Elize]
“This specific product is not up for sale, but we have already received many orders for those that are being sold in store.” [Serge]
There is a music box museum even back in Japan. It wouldn’t be strange if some aficionados were to develop around music boxes here.
Next up was Pioro-san. After a casual introduction, what he took out from the boss was—!! Could it be! Is that—!!
“Your Grace, I present to you… Chocolate! Made from Burwanato Cacao.” [Pioro]
So it was chocolate! I could eat whenever I want back in my past life, but this is my first time seeing one here. He started talking about getting his hands on some good beans, the best in the past few years, but who cares about that. I need to ask him later if he’d sell me some of those. I made sure to make a note of that in my mind.