Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:VolumeEF Chapter3
Chapter 3 - The Princess' Confidential Part-time Job
This happened on a certain day a couple weeks prior to the Blade Dance festival.
After attending a free elective lecture before noon, Claire and Kamito were strolling down a corridor in the Academy when they noticed a girl standing in front of a noticeboard and stopped.
"...Hmm? Isn't that Fianna?"
"Yeah, what is she doing there, I wonder?"
Kamito and Claire exchanged glances and quietly approached her from behind.
"...This one is no good. Not this one either, hmm..."
The imperial princess was contemplating something while staring at the noticeboard with a serious look on her face.
"What are you doing, Fianna?"
Kamito patted her on the shoulder, causing her to look back frantically, staring with her dusk-colored eyes widened.
"Kamito-kun... Oh, and Claire too."
"What do you mean, 'and'..."
Claire pouted angrily and looked at the noticeboard.
"What are you staring at so seriously?"
On the noticeboard hanging on the wall in the corridor, there were various "quests" organized according to difficulty level. Since most of these were low-ranked and safe quests commissioned by residents of the Academy town and nearby villages, there were almost no risky high-ranked quests.
Although there were some top-ranked quests about defeating superior archdemon-class spirits posted at the top of the noticeboard, these quests looked like they were reserved for senior students such as Velsaria Eva in advance.
"Are you telling me you're here to apply for a quest?"
Claire's eyebrow twitched.
"Let me make this clear first. Unless we win in the tournament, quests of this difficulty level won't be of much help in qualifying our team to compete in the Blade Dance."
"No, I'm looking at that side..."
Fianna turned her head to the side and pointed to another corner of the noticeboard.
Posted there were recruitment notices for students.
This time, it was Kamito's turn to feel puzzled.
"Fianna, why do you need to..."
Fianna was a true member of the imperial family. Based on status, she should not need to work.
Besides, in the Academy where the students were all young ladies of noble birth, it was unlikely for students to need to work part-time, but in reality, the number of part-time job offers were not few at all. This was because there were exceptions such as lower-ranked nobles who did not own vast territories or students with special circumstances like Claire.
"Eh, this is..."
Fianna looked hesitant.
She whispered, quite embarrassed.
"For money... But you still count as royalty."
"It's just an empty title. The stipend from the imperial house is no longer and I've already used up all the spirit crystals I brought."
In response to Fianna's self-deprecation, Claire and Kamito could not help but fall silent.
She was exiled by imperial family due to being the Lost Queen who had lost her power of the spirit contract. Without any wealth, her stipend cut off, she had truly abandoned everything to come to this Academy.
—All for the sake of meeting Kamito.
"But almost none of these offers seem any good..."
Turning her gaze back to the noticeboard, Fianna sighed lightly.
"...? You used to be a Queen candidate at the Divine Ritual Institute, right? Shouldn't it be easy to find a job if you use your princess maiden qualifications?"
This was obvious. Almost all the recruitment notices here sought the powers wielded by Academy students as elementalists. Examples included ritual dancing jobs to make offerings to spirits of the earth in prayer of bountiful harvests, or jobs asking powerful spirits to chop down forests. Indeed, as someone trained at the Divine Ritual Institute, these types of jobs should be very easy for her to get the hang of.
"Look, there's a dam construction job that's hiring. If that knight spirit—"
"U-Unacceptable! Using the imperial family's spirit for construction work."
Fianna shook her head. Then she looked down slightly.
"Moreover, this time, I don't quite want to use my powers as a princess maiden."
"You should be able to understand the feeling of not wanting to attract unnecessary attention, right?"
Showing slight sadness in her dusk-colored eyes, Fianna sighed.
"...Yes, that's right... Sorry."
Claire looked away apologetically.
Persecuted as the Calamity Queen's younger sister, Claire could empathize with the feelings of Fianna, who had been mocked by the imperial palace and called the Lost Queen. Perhaps Fianna still felt resistant against being exposed to the eyes of such snobbish people again after recovering her power as a princess maiden.
"Speaking of which, haven't you worked part-time before, Claire."
Claire nodded. Although she had stopped working in order to prepare for the upcoming Blade Dance, before Kamito transferred into the Academy, she had been working jobs. The vast amount of canned peaches hidden in her closet were apparently bought using her part-time wages.
"What kind of work did you do?"
"Private tutoring for children in upper-class families."
"...Jeez, what's with your reaction?"
"Oh, nothing, rather than unexpected, it's more like..."
Kamito scratched his head hesitantly.
"I was thinking you'd surely be working as a charcoal making craftsman..."
"I was thinking charcoal craftsman too..."
"What the heck!?"
Claire's red hair stood up like flames.
"Well, oh I see... It's because your grades are so outstanding, Claire."
Just as stated, Claire's grades were surprising top-class in the Academy. Since she was born quite talented already, combined with her own serious studying.
"Fufu, private tutor huh... That's not bad too."
At this moment, Fianna murmured to herself as though in contemplation. Then...
Boing. Suddenly, Kamito felt an elastic sensation pressing on his left arm.
"...!? W-What are you doing, Fianna!?"
"Since you're in remedial studies, Kamito-kun, let me tutor you privately♪"
"...Huh, wait, w-w-w-what are you doing, you pervert princess!"
"I am not the pervert princess but the pervert teacher♪"
"Stop changing the subject!"
Claire grumbled and entered a pose to pull Fianna away.
"What are you doing, may I ask?"
At this time, a voice called out from the other end of the corridor.
Kamito turned his head to see Rinslet holding a book in her hand, walking over with Carol.
"Fianna's looking for a part-time job."
While Rinslet listened with a slight tilt of her head, Kamito explained the whole story.
"...I see now. Seeking a part-time job to not depend on a stipend, how admirably touching."
Rinslet clasped her hands before her chest and nodded.
"Rinslet, I don't suppose you've really worked, right?"
"My, I'll have you know that I am quite an expert at folding advertising flyers."
Hmph, Rinslet puffed her chest out.
"Milady has received commendations at an advertising flyer folding convention."
"Why would a daughter of the Laurenfrost family be folding flyers..."
"I discovered it was fun while I was helping Carol out in her part-time job."
"Why is a maid taking on part-time jobs..."
Without paying attention to Kamito who was questioning with narrowed eyes, Rinslet turned to Fianna.
"Your Highness, if it pleases you, would you like me to introduce to you a shop I am acquainted with?"
"...Really? That would be a great help."
"Yes, after all, that shop is always complaining about a lack of manpower. I shall try contacting them after school."
"I'm so glad for you, Fianna."
"Yes, thank you. Rin... slot-san?"
"My name is Rinslet Laurenfrost!"
Rinslet went red in the face, offended.
"Seems like a lot of fun. I'll go have a look too."
"Me too, it's worrying so I'm coming too."
With this decided, the next day arrived. Kamito and company arrived at a certain stylish shop recommended by Rinslet, located in the busiest street in the Academy town.
"Hold on, don't tell me this place..."
Fianna whispered nervously after looking at the shop sign.
"Yes, this is the famous confectionery shop, the Royal Palace, whose main branch is located in the imperial capital."
Rinslet tossed her hair elegantly and spoke.
"...W-W-Why did it happen to be a cake shop, of all things?"
Kamito was so frightened that he was kneeling on the ground, clutching his head.
"Kamito-san, what is the matter with you?"
(...Speaking of which, I guess Rinslet still doesn't know how terrible Fianna's cooking is.)
Kamito stood up unsteadily.
"Kyah, w-what are you doing so suddenly!?"
Just as Kamito tried to whisper in Rinslet's ear, she shuddered slightly.
"...I'm sorry, but this place won't work. Fianna can't cook at all."
"Worry not. The cake chefs here will teach you hand-over-hand even if you have no experience in making confectionery."
"No, that's not the problem here..."
"Hold on, what are you two whispering about?"
"Y-Your faces are too close!"
Claire and Fianna angrily glared at Kamito.
Then the bell rang and the shop's door opened.
"Come, come, welcome to the shop, ladies."
Out from the shop walked a mature and reliable looking woman, dressed in a white chef's uniform.
She seemed to be the owner of this shop.
"I have already heard the details from Rinslet-sama. Yes, you will certainly be a great help."
"Thank you for looking after us today."
Rinslet bowed politely and introduced the woman to Kamito and the girls.
"She used to be the Grand Pâtissier at the imperial palace. She is also my teacher in confectionery making."
"Rinslet's teacher huh..."
"Calling me teacher would be too kind. Milady, you immediately surpassed me not long after you started learning—"
"My, such flattery is not needed."
Rinslet shook her head.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Grand Pâtissier."
Fianna stepped forward and curtsied politely.
Then Claire took a step forward too.
"U-Umm, is it okay... if I join in to learn?"
"You too, Claire?"
"Umm, I'd like to... learn to make sweets..."
Claire fidgeted with her fingers while speaking awkwardly:
"Also, t-the Valentia Holy Festival is coming up."
"...Ah, there is that, yes."
Fianna smiled lightly.
"S-Such a thing, what it is..."
"Hmm? Is this something to talk about it in front of Kamito-kun?"
Small sparks jumped out from the tips of Claire's hair while her face turned bright red.
The shop owner nodded generously.
"Why certainly. I won't reject you... You are the one contracted to a hell cat spirit, aren't you?"
"In that case, please head over to the oven to bake some cookie dough."
"Be careful and don't char the cookies."
"D-Don't worry, I know how to operate an oven at least!"
"So, Fianna-sama, please whip this cream next—"
Inside the kitchen of the classy confectionery shop, the Royal Palace, the two girls were now dressed in aprons and being instructed by the Grand Pâtissier.
Fianna whipped the cream in the bowl until it frothed whereas Claire arranged cookie dough in the oven tray one by one. She looked fairly experienced, actually.
(...Anyway, I guess there's no problem.)
Kamito watched them from a corner in the kitchen, finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Putting aside Claire, who still had not started using fire yet, Fianna did not seem to be doing anything weird.
(...That royal white stew last time must have been a mistake.)
It was supposed to be something created to kill Claire in the first place. Judging from the way things were going, the girls should manage to succeed with ordinary cooking.
After putting all cookie dough onto the tray, Claire activated the oven. The oven was an expensive model that used spirit crystals. Small salamanders were released to sustain a heated plate.
...A short while later, a very appetizing aroma drifted from the kitchen.
"...Wow, this aroma is amazing."
Suddenly, the sword at Kamito's waist glowed brightly.
Then a beautiful silver-haired girl appeared in the kitchen.
"...Est, what happened? Why now?"
"Yes, I woke up because I smelled a great aroma."
Est yawned while stretching.
"Kamito, I am hungry."
Est fidgeted and tugged Kamito's sleeve.
"Don't eat without permission. Be patient and I'll buy some for you to eat properly."
Est nodded and started staring at the cookies in the oven.
A few more minutes passed...
"The cream is done♪"
Holding the bowl in both hands, Fianna happily turned towards Kamito.
"Wow, it looks properly done."
The bowl was filled with fresh cream... Anyway, it looked fine judging from appearance alone.
"Fufu, Kamito-kun, would you like to have a taste? It is as soft as my bosom."
"Well then, let's try the taste—"
The shop owner cleared her throat and took the bowl.
Putting a spoonful of the cream in her mouth, she then—
...Froze, just like that.
Kamito used his finger to sample a bit of the cream too.
"H-How is it? Kamito-kun..."
...It was like eating fluffy air. What an unbelievable taste.
"...Your Highness, how on earth did you make this?"
"How...? I simply prayed for it to become delicious while stirring normally, that's all, I guess?"
Fianna explained with a troubled expression.
(...Don't tell me that Fianna's prayers even have the effect of altering flavors?)
Talented as an elite princess maiden, if she infused her thoughts into her cooking, perhaps there would be an effect like ritual magic, thus altering the taste.
"Hmm, this is slightly impossible to use..."
The shop owner remarked quietly with a solemn expression, but just at that moment...
A scream came from behind.
"What happened, Claire!?" "What's wrong?"
Just as Kamito and the others turned around...
"T-The fire spirit in the oven suddenly... Hey you, stop this right now!"
Inside the huge oven, countless salamanders were gorging themselves on the cookies.
"Claire, what did you do!?"
"B-Because it wasn't hot enough, so I just... added a bit more power... Uwah!"
With slithering tongues, the tiny salamanders ate all the cookies on the tray. Then they opened the oven's door and ran outside.
The countless fire spirits began to stuff themselves with their favorite cakes in the shop without restraint.
"Leave it to me. Fenrir!"
Rinslet swiftly raised her hand and summoned a gigantic white wolf.
"Freeze all of those fire spirits!"
"H-Hold on, Rinslet—"
Kamito frantically called to stop her, but it was already too late...
Fenrir opened his jaws wide and discharged a fierce blizzard at the fire spirits running amok all over the place.
The fire spirits were instantly frozen. Turning into particles of light, they vanished into thin air.
"Phew~ That probably does the trick... Oh dear?"
"...Ahhhhh, all the cakes today are ruined...!"
Inside the kitchen that was frozen in ice, the shop owner collapsed in shock.
...As a result, part-timing at the Royal Palace had to be suspended.
Since the owner fainted from shock, Rinslet and the remaining staff were currently rushing to make cakes desperately.
Feeling responsible, Claire bought all of the ruined cakes.
"...Sigh, am I unable to make anything other than charcoal?"
Claire was walking in the Academy town in depression. Her lively twintails also seemed wilted. Her mood was in the pits.
"Well, this does happen sometimes. Didn't I waste the cream too?"
Fianna patted her on the shoulder, trying to cheer Claire up.
"Ooh, Fianna... I never knew you were such a good person..."
"...There, there, don't cry. But what shall we do next...?"
"Well, let's look around patiently. We'll find something."
Kamito said. Then at this time...
"If it pleases you, would you like me to introduce you to the shop where I work?"
"...Carol, when did you arrive!?"
Carol suddenly appeared in front of Kamito's group while they were walking.
"Maids can appear any time, no matter where."
"Don't you have to stay with Rinslet?"
"Hmm, I can't help out much anyway."
Kamito narrowed his eyes to ask then sighed lightly.
"By the way, what shop do you work at, Carol?"
Claire frowned and asked.
"A cafe in the Academy town. As a waitress."
"Your job should be Rinslet's maid, right?"
"Just a side job and milady gave permission."
"Rather, I'd really like to become a Laurenfrost maid."
Fianna murmured quietly.
"But being a waitress seems quite fun."
"...Right. If it's just serving customers outside the kitchen, there shouldn't be a problem, right?"
"Great, Carol, could you introduce us?"
"Yes, leave it to me!"
The shop Carol recommended was a grand cafe named Annerose, located in the center of the Academy town.
Since the four of them looked respectable to begin with, plus Carol's recommendation, all of them were hired after a simple interview.
"Fufu, this is truly quite a cute uniform♪"
When Fianna twirled around, her uniform's skirt fluttered lightly.
"...But why, even me..."
Claire looked down at her tiny chest and murmured. Since the Annerose uniform featured low necklines, this outfit made the size of her chest even more apparent.
"How do you intend to pay for the wasted cakes?"
Claire was at a loss for words. Then...
"...I'm the most tragic here."
Entering the hall with a face of despair was...
Kamito in a waitress uniform.
"K-Kamito!?" "Dear me, Kamito-kun, this really does suit you..."
Kamito bellowed unhappily.
In any case, things had developed to this point. Kamito's original intention was to do dish washing and the like in the kitchen, so he accepted the interview, but for some reason, the shop owner immediately handed him a waitress uniform upon seeing him.
"Umm, Kamito... You're so... pretty."
"That doesn't make me feel any better."
Fianna smiled lightly and approached him, then...
"Your collar is a mess."
Standing on tiptoe, Fianna brought Kamito's ribbon together and tied it up.
"Hold on, what are you doing? You pervert princess!"
Claire angrily raised her voice in objection.
"Kamito, does this look good?"
Then a tiny voice came from behind this time.
Dressed in uniform, Est expressionlessly stood in front of the counter.
"The socks are too short... I feel so embarrassed..."
Pushing her skirt down, Est awkwardly covered her thighs. Instead of her usual kneesocks, she was wearing shorter knee-high socks.
Since the owner liked Est too, Est was also working here.
"...It looks really great on you."
"So happy, Kamito."
"...Muuu~, you spoil Est too much."
Fianna concurred with the pouting Claire.
"It's about time everyone, get to work!"
Carol clapped her hands and entered the hall with the owner.
"Wow, everyone looks great in these uniforms. Since Carol recommended you, I can leave the work to you without worrying!"
"Looks like Carol actually works quite seriously here."
"Yes, how unexpected..."
Kamito commented quietly and Claire nodded her head lightly.
"Please watch your behavior, you two."
Kamito and Claire could not help but straighten their backs in front of the smiling Carol.
A while after Kamito and company started working at the cafe...
"S-Should be fine, right?"
In front of the cafe Annerose, a disturbing figure appeared.
She was wearing a feathered hat and a fluffy wrap while her face was obscured by a pair of super large sunglasses. She was peering inside through the window. The blonde hair visible under her hat was swaying lightly.
Of course, this was Rinslet.
Using her power as the cake expert, it only took her an hour or so to finish all the cakes. Putting on a disguise, she secretly came over to check out how Claire and the others were doing.
Just as she was staring at the shop like a weirdo...
"What are you doing?"
A voice suddenly came from behind. Frightened, Rinslet's entire body shook.
"...I-It is not like it's because I am worrying about Claire... Huh—"
Rinslet looked back and was suddenly speechless for a moment.
Standing was a girl whom she was acquainted with.
Ellis Fahrengart. The captain of the Sylphid Knights who upheld public discipline in the Academy.
She looked like she was on patrol with a sword at her waist.
Ellis frowned and shifted her gaze into the cafe.
Then she noticed familiar faces inside.
"...What, the princess is working here?"
She murmured with a solemn expression.
"Although the Academy does not prohibit working part-time, b-but is that uniform not excessively shameless?"
Ellis thought slightly for a moment.
"Hmm, this calls for an investigation."
Nodding firmly, she stepped into the cafe.
Rinslet chased Ellis into the shop.
"...Hmm? Those girls, are they Ellis... and Rinslet?"
In the hall serving drinks, Kamito saw them entering the cafe and raised his eyebrows.
Putting aside Ellis, Rinslet's tastes were truly weird. Although she had disguised herself with a hat and sunglasses, her true identity was already fully exposed.
(...Could it be that she came to look because she's worried about Claire?)
Kamito walked over to the two girls near the entrance and called to them.
"Ellis, Rinslet, what the heck are you doing?"
"...Hmm? Why do you know my name?" "H-How do you know my real identity—?"
The two girls responded at the same time.
Kamito shrugged and whispered quietly so that only the two girls could hear.
They widened their eyes and stared at Kamito's face intently.
Then finally, they realized that this waitress seemed to be Kamito.
"T-That getup, what on earth is going on!?"
"I-I never knew you had such a hobby!?"
"...Y-You're totally wrong!"
Kamito suddenly yelled in panic, causing the surrounding customers to look to see what was happening.
"No, well, it's because of special circumstances..."
Cough. Kamito cleared his throat and explained the whole story to Rinslet and Ellis.
"...I see. Now that is truly unfortunate."
"And I was wondering whether you crossdressed regularly."
"All that happened three year ago..."
"Three years ago?"
Ellis looked in surprise at Kamito who had an accidental slip of the tongue.
"...Oh, nothing... By the way, Rinslet, are things okay on the cake side?"
Kamito hastily changed the subject.
"Fufu, of course. I made up for the ruined cakes properly."
Rinslet puffed out her chest proudly.
"I came to see whether or not Claire is working properly."
She looked at Claire who was working in the hall.
"You would like the beef stew set with omelet rice, the customer on the far side would like a seafood curry whereas the two on the side would like the bread and coffee set and the black tea and cake set respectively, no milk for either of you—"
Claire moved back and forth between the kitchen and the hall in a dazzling sight.
"She remembers clearly just from listening once..."
"Her grades really are excellent in school."
Rinslet commented proudly for some reason.
"Wow, this girl is so cute♪"
Shrill voices could be heard from the depths of the cafe at this moment.
"Here you go!" "This one too, this one~" "Here, say ah~♪"
Dressed in a waitress uniform, Est was being fed by customers.
"What is Est doing..."
"Come, say ah~ Yes, I'd really like to feed her more. Please, another order of cream puffs♪"
"One order of cream puffs, coming right up."
Taking orders on the side was the smiling Carol.
Kamito smiled wryly then looked at Fianna who was working in another corner of the hall.
"Eh, one order of orange bread and a cup of black tea, is it?"
"Wrong, I ordered milk tea."
"I-I am terribly sorry..."
Despite stammering a bit, Fianna looked like she was putting in a lot of effort. None of the customers probably recognized her face as the Second Princess.
(This job should be fine, I guess.)
Just as Kamito breathed a sigh of relief...
"Oh my, isn't this Her Highness the former Second Princess—"
Due to this sudden voice, Fianna was startled and stopped walking.
The one who spoke was a fancily dressed elderly aristocrat sitting on the far end of a table.
"Oh right, instead of the Second Princess, I should address you as Lost Queen, shouldn't I?"
The cafe suddenly fell silent because of the mockery in the elderly aristocrat's tone.
"...Who is that?"
"That would be Count Rondo."
"He is a high-ranked noble serving as the Minister of Finance in the imperial capital. He is probably inspecting the Academy town."
"A noble from the imperial court huh..."
Kamito clicked his tongue in his mind. Called the Lost Queen in the past, Fianna had been hurt by secret rumors among the nobles at the palace slandering her. Precisely because of that, Fianna had closed off her heart, deciding not to care about everything around her. For the past four years, she had shut herself away in the palace without going out.
"Seriously, how far you have fallen. To think that the princess who showed so much promise as a Queen candidate would be serving others in this kind of place—"
Fianna stood there frozen with her face pale. Her shoulders shook slightly and her breathing had quickened. These cruel words were tearing deeply into the scars formed in her heart when living as a recluse at the palace.
Just as Kamito was about to rush over to Fianna, Rinslet grabbed his arm.
"...Kamito-san, do not worry."
And just at this moment...
"Here's your red tea—"
In front of the count, a teacup filled with black tea was brusquely placed on the table.
This cup of black tea was boiling and bubbling like lava.
"What the devil is this!?"
"Drink this now and get lost. Or else I'll turn you into charcoal."
Since Claire was exuding anger from her entire body, the count involuntarily gulped.
"H-Hmph, like anyone needs to visit this kind of shop twice..."
After saying such dialogue in resignation, he hurried to settle his bill on the table and ran out of the cafe in panic.
No longer stunned at last, Fianna turned and stared at Claire.
Claire averted eye contact in embarrassment.
"H-Hmph, don't get the wrong idea. I simply hate guys like that—"
As though nothing had happened, Claire returned to her post.
After completing their work at Annerose peacefully, on the way back to the dorms...
Kamito and company were walking on a stone-paved path under the moonlight.
"Fianna, why don't you treat me something with your wages?"
"Didn't you receive a wage too, Claire?"
"M-My wages were all spent on paying for those cakes..."
"Oh, that's right..."
Fianna smiled wryly at Claire who was hanging her head in depression.
"Fianna, you look quite happy."
"Fufu, is that so?"
Fianna looked back, her expression was—
Compared to her mischievous smiles in the past, it was purely an innocent smile.
Just as Kamito could not help but stare at her in mesmerization...
"...Back then, I really was very scared."
Kamito and Claire both responded at the same time.
Fianna nodded firmly.
"...Yes. Truth be told, when I initially made the decision to work outside, although it was partially for money, I was also trying to bid farewell to my past self who kept hiding in the palace, escaping from reality—"
Fianna stared into the distance while she spoke.
In front of Kamito and the others, Fianna always acted cheerful and wise.
But in fact, she was a delicate girl who was easily hurt. Hence, when she abandoned everything to run away from the palace to come to the Academy, she probably sealed all those various memories at the bottom of her heart.
"But don't worry, because I am no longer alone..."
Fianna wiped her tears away then showed a usual impish smile on her face.
"I will treat you two tonight. Where should we eat?"
"Really? How about—"
Claire stopped and turned around.
"I don't really care, but Rinslet, your disguise failed a long time ago."
"N-Not at all, it's not like I am following you!"
Originally hiding behind a pillar, Rinslet appeared.
"Whatever, just come with us. Fianna says she'll treat us."
"Yes, I am fine with that."
"...I-If you say so, then I-I shall accompany you all♪"
Taking off her sunglasses and the weird hat, Rinslet ran over in elation.
Then the sword hanging at Kamito's waist glowed.
"...Kamito, I woke up too."
"...Est, weren't people feeding you just now? You can still eat!?"
Surrounded by her friends, Fianna then...
"I am no longer alone..."
In a voice too quiet for anyone to hear, she secretly whispered to herself.