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Chapter 203 – Bear-san Gives Princess Flora the Plushies as a Present

    Chapter 203 - Bear-san Gives Princess Flora the Plushies as a Present

    A few days had passed since the mochi pounding event.

    During this time, Noa kept pouting at me angrily (cutely) any time we came across each other, and I also taught Morin-san how to make red bean paste, so that we could serve anpan at our shop.

    I had been quite busy last few days...

    Hmm, maybe I should head to the capital for a quick breather?

    I still hadn't heard any news about the toad family. Maybe their trial wasn't finished yet?

    I was curious, but Cliff hadn't mentioned anything, and it was possible that he wouldn't tell me even if the results were out.

    Still, Misa's safety was depending on the toad family's verdict. Eleanora-san had said that the family's rank would most likely be stripped from them based on all the evidences collected, but I was still interested in the full verdict from the royal family.

    Even if their rank was stripped down, the toad family might return to Sheelin.

    Well, there was no point in worrying about it at this very moment. I could just ask Eleanora-san about it if I ran into her, so, for now, I decided to just go and visit Princess Flora to give her the plushies.

    As usual, I used the Bear Gate to go to the capital.

    I greeted the castle guards and headed straight to Princess Flora's room. Again, as usual, one of the soldiers ran off to give his report.

    It looked like they hadn't been given orders to stop me from entering. So, had Sheelin's mess already been taken care of?

    Well, there was no point thinking about it.

    As I walked through the castle, I realized that everytime I came here, I went directly to Princess Flora's room. Even if I ran into somebody along the way, they never stopped me. Did they not feel strange, seeing a commoner entering the castle and going straight to the royal princess's bedroom?

    Pondering the issue over, I arrived at Princess Flora's room.

    I knocked on the door, and just like always, Anju-san let me in.

    As I entered, I immediately noticed Princess Flora was studying at her desk.

    「Did I come at a bad time?」

    「No, it's fine. I was just thinking that it would be a good time for a break.」

    Anju-san turned to Princess Flora.

    「Princess Flora, Yuna-san has come to see you.」

    Anju-san called out to Princess Flora, and she immediately turned her small face to look over at us.

    「Bear-san?」

    She smiled and rushed to me.

    Sometimes, just seeing her smile was enough to make me want to visit more often.

    「Are you doing well?」

    「Yes!」

    She replied energetically.

    「I brought a present for you, Princess Flora.」

    「A present?」

    I took out the Hugging Bear and Swaying Bear plushies from the Bear Box.

    「It's Bear-sans!」

    The plushies weren't big, but when compared to Princess Flora, they seemed quite big.

    I had wondered which one she would take first, but she grabbed them both at the same time.

    The plushies slipped out of her hands, of course, but she got onto the ground and continued to hug them anyway.

    「Princess Flora, please don't play on the floor.」

    Anju-san sternly reprimanded her.

    Princess Flora looked as if tears would begin to well up in her eyes, so Anju-san gently tried to persuade her.

    「Don't the Bear-sans look sad lying on the floor like that? That's why you should get up.」

    Anju-san seemed to think the floor was dirty, but it looked quite clean to me.

    There was a beautiful carpet laid out on the floor, and the whole room seemed quite tidy. If it were me, I wouldn't be bothered about it and just lazed and rolled around. However, that was indeed an inappropriate behavior for a princess.

    Anju took the plushies out of Princess Flora's hands and placed them on the table. Princess Flora quickly sat back down in her chair and resumed hugging the plushies.

    「Princess Flora, isn't there something you need to say to Yuna-san?」

    Princess Flora looked back and forth between me and the plushies before standing up and coming over to me again.

    「Thank you.」

    「Please take care of them, okay?」

    Princess Flora nodded happily.

    I was happy to see that Anju-san was educating her properly.

    Not just her studies, but also teaching her how to behave.

    Princess Flora returned to the table and held the Swaying Bear's hand.

    「Yuna-san, thank you, as always.」

    I then sat down on a chair next to Princess Flora, and Anju-san served some tea.

    I quickly thanked her and took a sip. As usual, the tea the royal family drank was delicious.

    Since I had no other plans for today, I simply relaxed, slowly drinking the tea, until someone knocked on the door. As Anju-san walked over to answer the door, we could hear Her Highness's voice coming from the other side. Was the king here too, perhaps?

    The door closed right after Her Highness entered, however.

    Huh?

    Only the queen came?

    「Good afternoon, Yuna-chan.」

    After greeting me, the Queen noticed the plushies sitting in front of Princess Flora.

    「Oh, are those plushies of Swaying Bear-chan and Hugging Bear-chan?」

    「That's right, I got them from Bear-san.」

    「The other day, Princess Flora got upset because she had to part from Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear, so...」

    As I began to explain, Her Highness sat down next to Princess Flora and lifted up the Hugging Bear plushie.

    「How cute.」

    The queen then placed Hugging Bear plushie on her lap and started petting its head.

    Your Highness, I made these plushies for Princess Flora, so please don't steal them from her.

    However, Princess Flora did not seem to mind and continued hugging the Swaying Bear plushie with a happy expression on her face.

    Like mother, like daughter, I should say.

    Princess Flora didn't make a fuss, so this should be fine.

    「Good for you, Flora.」

    「Mhm.」

    Her Highness drank the tea Anju-san prepared for her and continued to pat the Hugging Bear's head.

    The two of them looked really happy.

    As Anju-san poured me more tea, she popped up a question.

    「Yuna-san, what will you be having for lunch today?」

    「Lunch?」

    Anju's question caught Princess Flora and Her Highness's attention.

    It was because I always brought something for them to eat when I visited that they associated my presence with food. Still, I had to inform Zelef-san if I were to treat them, or his food might go to waste.

    I had lots of food in my Bear Box, but the only new thing was the anpan I made with Morin-san as we had already eaten the mochi we had made.

    I should really make enough mochi so that I could eat it whenever I wanted.

    「I have something for you to try, but I don't know if you'll like it.」

    I brought out anpan and some other bread with red bean paste on top, too.

    「This bread is my latest creation. It has a sweet paste called red bean paste inside, and I would like to have your opinion on it.」

    「In that case, let me try some of your new bread.」

    「I want it, too!」

    Princess Flora and Her Highness reached over to grab one each.

    「Well then, I will notify Zelef-san.」

    Anju-san said and took one anpan with her to bring to Zelef-san.

    「Oh, how sweet.」

    「Yummy!」

    「Is this a trial product?」

    「I just need to adjust the sweetness a bit. I'm thinking of using less sugar.」

    A more moderate amount of sugar should still keep it delicious while also making it healthier.

    「I see. I also think it's a good idea to lower the amount of sugar. It's too sweet, otherwise.」

    She felt the same way, huh.

    The children at the orphanage seemed to like it as it was, though.

    While the Queen gave me her opinion, Princess Flora just ate the bread happily, while being careful not to spill any crumbs on the Swaying Bear plushie.

    「Though, the sweetness complements the black tea pretty well.」

    The Queen took another bite of the anpan then drank some tea.

    Maybe the sweetness was just right if you ate it with tea?

    I still thought that I should decrease the amount of sugar a bit, so I was grateful for Her Highness's critique.

    As I was lost in thought, Princess Flora grabbed a different type of bread and ate it just as happily.

    I was happy to see that the red bean paste was quite well-received. There were some people who didn't like it, after all.

    Just as the two of them finished, the door suddenly opened without anyone knocking.

    Startled, we all looked at the door and saw Eleanora-san arriving together with Anju-san.

    「Did I make it in time?」

    In time for what?

    Eleanora-san looked at the table, saw that there were only crumbs left, and murmured,「I didn't make it.」

    Ah, she was talking about the food.

    Basically, she didn't come to see me, but my food.

    「I have more, you know.」

    「Really?!」

    I took out more anpan and other red bean paste breads, while Anju-san prepared some tea for Eleanora-san. She then noticed that Princess Flora started to get sleepy after eating her fill, and brought her to bed.

    Princess Flora was still grasping the Swaying Bear plushie in her arms, of course.

    After Anju-san tucked in Princess Flora, I took out some bread for her as well.

    「Yuna-chan, so you came here to bring the plushies for Princess Flora, huh.」

    Eleanora-san looked at the plushie the queen was holding.

    「I did promise her, after all. They were intended as a present from the beginning. I also gave a set to Noa, so don't worry.」

    「Thank you. That girl... She just couldn't stop looking at the ones you gave Misana.」

    Yeah, her eyes had certainly been glued to them back then.

    She had been very happy when she received her own, but she did still intend to commission more...

    I was becoming a bit worried about Noa's future. I wanted to believe that I had nothing to do with her bear obsession... Yeah, I couldn't take responsibility for this.

    Anyway, without the king here, it was much quieter.

    I was sure that the soldier at the gate ran off to report that I arrived, but the king was still absent.

    「Eleanora-san, is His Majesty not coming today?」

    I asked Eleanora-san as she was eating the anpan.

    「Today is a little busy. Since we are still dealing with "that case", Zangu and Prince Elnart won't let him run off.」

    Eleanora-san managed to escape, though.

    "That case" was most certainly referring to the one involving the toad family.

    Would she tell me how the case was going if I asked her?

    「It wasn't just the kidnapping of Misa and the merchant's children. Gerardo Salbert committed many other crimes. We are still investigating and questioning witnesses plus those otherwise related. We have many issues to resolve before we can make the final judgement.」

    Before I even asked, Eleanora-san explained the situation to me.

    Was it okay to tell me, though?

    「That means he's going to be found guilty, right?」

    「We already have irrefutable proof against him; there's no way he'll be able to talk his way out of this.」

    I had figured that if nobles committed crimes, they did so in a roundabout way and used their power to hide their connections to them, but it looked like everything was properly coming out in the open now.

    He had kidnapped children; it would bother me a lot if they didn't punish him for such a vile act.

    Not to mention all the other evil crimes he had committed.

    「Gerardo really did as he pleased...」

    Eleanora-san then proceeded to talk about his illegal dealings with merchants, the threats he made, as well as the violence he committed.

    She was being quite vague, but it sounded like he was also a murderer.

    The maid, Ruufa-san, had mentioned something about a room in the basement, but Eleanora-san didn't say anything about it.

    「The Salbert family will be stripped off their noble status, that much is sure.」

    So it did come to that, huh. Based on all the crimes they had committed, would that be the only punishment?

    Anyway, he could no longer be a lord without his noble status, right?

    I decided to ask Eleanora-san about that.

    「That's right. The Faren Gramm family will now govern all of Sheelin town.」

    Gran-san must be relieved, then, as his family would no longer get harassed.

    Still, I couldn't help but worry about the toad family returning even after losing their noble status.

    I didn't know how the punishment system worked in this country, but if they returned to Sheelin, wasn't it possible they would go after Misa out of resentment?

    Eleanora-san tilted her head at my question.

    「They will be forced to forfeit all their assets. Gerardo will also receive the death penalty while his son will be taken in by relatives in the capital.」

    I was shocked when I heard about the death penalty and couldn't find anything to respond to that.

    Well, he had it coming.

    In this case, Misa should be relatively safe since the son would be staying in the capital, far away from her.

    I was still concerned about the spite he had against Misa. What if he tried to kidnap or harass her again, even from that distance?

    「That should be fine as Randall can never enter Sheelin for the rest of his life. Also, the people who are taking him in will be keeping a close watch on him. Even if Randall is an idiot, his relatives know that being negligent in their surveillance will put themselves in trouble as well.」

    That was good to hear.

    That kid would surely try something from the shadows with the terrible personality he had.

    He might try something like ordering an adventurer to attack Misa, but without any money or status, he shouldn't be able to do that.

    Now, it all depended on his relatives to keep him reined in.

    I was curious about the adventurer who kidnapped Misa, so I asked about him, too.

    「He is still under investigation since he may have committed other crimes, too.」

    That was all she knew.

    「That reminds me, has Gran-san returned home yet?」

    He had to go to the capital, if I remembered correctly.

    「I should probably tell you. Lord Gran will be stepping down as lord, and his son, Leonardo, will take his place in governing Sheelin town.」

    「Really?」

    「He is holding himself responsible for everything that happened. Not only did his own grandchild get kidnapped, the merchants he worked with had suffered as well, so he decided to relinquish his position.」

    「But none of that was Gran-san's fault.」

    He shouldn't feel bad since the Salbert family had been the one causing all the trouble.

    Well, he should have had some countermeasure to prevent such things from happening, though..

    He and his family had almost been the one ruined, from what I had heard.

    There would always be some trouble between neighbors, but it was a big deal when it came to a conflict between two lords.

    「Even so, it was a good time to pass the position to his son. It was his decision to make, and we can only respect it.」

    That was true. Cliff, who was around the same age as Leonardo, was also a lord. If Gran-san had already made his decision, there was nothing we could do about it.

    「Also, Gran-san is happy with his newfound freedom. He plans on bringing Misana over to your shop in near future.」

    What an energetic grandpa he was.

    I must make sure to welcome them when they come.

    I had been here for quite a while now.. Since I had already given Princess Flora her present and even found out what would happen to the toad family, I decided to head home.

    When I reached my Bear House, I noticed somebody collapsed against my door.

    Wait, why would somebody pass out on my house?!

    「Are you okay?!」

    When I took a closer look, I noticed that the person had very long, pointy ears. It was an elven girl with light green hair.
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