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This is the story of Suzuran. The one taking care of Kagali-san.
My name is Suzuran, and I am the one tasked with taking care of Kagali-sama.
Kagali-sama is a gorgeous woman with long golden hair. Her beauty had not diminished ever since I met her for the first time when I was a child. When I heard that she had lived for hundreds of years, I could not believe it.
Legend has it that a giant serpent, known as Orochi, was sealed on the island of Reenes. Legends said that the Orochi brought disasters to the country, and many people died. Legends told that the Orochi was sealed and that the fox-sama guards the seal.
I grew up hearing the story as if it were a tale. I thought the fox was a deity of sorts.
However, there really was a fox-sama on the island which has been guarding the seal of the Orochi for many years. That was Kagali-sama.
I was surprised when I first heard about it, but I began to believe it when I saw Kagali-sama’s fox ears and tail.
I crossed over to the island of Reenes and took care of Kagali-sama.
However, one day, Kagali-sama was acting strangely. Even when I talked to her, she seemed to be in a blank state of mind.
I spoke to Kagali-sama several times, and she told me not to come to the island for a while. I was surprised by her words. I asked her why. If you have any complaints about me, please tell me. If there is something wrong with me, I will fix it.
But what Kagali-sama said exceeded my expectations.
She doesn’t want me to go near the island because the seal of the Orochi may break anytime soon.
I thought she was kidding because she said it while drinking, but her face was not her usual mischievous or joking expression.
I felt those words were true.
A few days after I was not allowed to meet Kagali-sama, while working at the castle, I heard a story about many monsters appearing outside the city, and the soldiers were in a hurry to sortie. With that many soldiers, how many monsters were there?
But I am sure they will be fine. I always see the training after all.
A short time after the soldiers left, I overheard some of them talking. I heard the words, “The Orochi has returned” in that conversation.
I tried to listen in, but there seemed to be a gag order in place, and the soldiers were warned by their superiors to keep their mouths shut immediately.
The Orochi has returned. Those words repeat themselves over and over in my head.
Before I knew it, I was already running towards the harbor.
I almost fell down several times, but I ran to the harbor as fast as I could. There was a commotion in the city about the monsters, but not about the Orochi. It was not until later that I realized that I should have taken a carriage on the way.
When I arrived at the harbor, it was noisy.
I looked around. There were not many soldiers. I wonder if they went somewhere else because the monsters have appeared outside of the city.
I came to the harbor, but as I was walking around, not knowing what to do, I saw King Suou and Sakura-sama.
I approached Sakura-sama.
“Is it true that the Orochi has returned!?” (Suzuran)
“Suzuran, your voice is too loud.” (Sakura)
“I’m sorry. So is it true?” (Suzuran)
I asked in a small voice.
“It’s true, but it’s okay. The Orochi has been defeated.” (Sakura)
“It’s true.” (Sakura)
“So, what about Kagali-sama!?” (Suzuran)
When I asked, Sakura-sama looked troubled and turned her gaze toward King Suou.
“We have no information about Kagali. We are going to form a survey team to explore the island.” (King)
“Then, please let me join the investigation team.” (Suzuran)
Only women were allowed on the island. She has been there many times and knows more about it than anyone else. However, I did not get permission to go to the island.
“There may still be monsters out there. We can’t take people who can’t protect themselves. I will tell you as soon as I know more about Kagali.” (King)
These were the words of King Suou. I cannot disobey.
“I understand……. Please take care of Kagali-sama for me.” (Suzuran)
I bowed my head.
Kagali-sama, I hope you’re safe.
Several days pa.s.sed with no word on the whereabouts of Kagali-sama.
Hearing that the dismantling of the Orochi had begun, I asked King Suou to allow me to go to the island, but he did not grant me the permission to do so.
Even if I asked about Kagali-sama, he said her whereabouts were still being confirmed.
What was being confirmed?
Was it a confirmation of her life or death? Or was it not possible for King Suou to confirm it?
So I asked Sakura-sama, who seemed to know something.
“Sakura-sama, is there anything you know about Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
“That’s… I think my uncle would tell you about it personally. Could you please wait a little longer?” (Sakura)
Sakura-sama seems to know something. But she couldn’t tell me.
I may have to consider the possibility that Kagali-sama was dead. They would’ve told me if she was injured but still alive. But they’re not telling me anything.
A few more days pa.s.sed, and then King Suou summoned me.
I hope it’s about Kagali-sama.
I will be strong mentally, even if it’s not possible.
I took a deep breath to calm my mind.
With King Suou’s permission, I entered the room. There’s only King Suou in the room. Did he dismiss the other people in the room?
“You’re here.” (King)
“Yes, was I called because of Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
“Then, how was Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
I clenched my hands and suppressed the urge to scream as I asked.
“Long story short, she’s safe.” (King)
“Kagali-sama is alive!?” (Suzuran)
I asked while leaning forward at the words of King Suou.
“Ah, she’s alive.” (King)
“I, I’m glad.” (Suzuran)
I was so relieved to hear that Kagali-sama was safe that my body relaxed.
I had already given up on the idea that Kagali-sama was alive. I thought that today was finally the report of her death. However, I was wrong. But then, why just now? One possible explanation might be that she suffered severe injuries in the fight with the Orochi.
“Was she injured?” (Suzuran)
King Suou looked a little troubled by my question.
“……No, she’s not injured, not at all. But I can’t explain Kagali’s situation. If you want to know more, meet with Kagali and ask her yourself.” (King)
King Suou said so with difficulty.
“I understand. So where is Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
I can’t wait to see her.
“In the mansion at Lake Towa. You’ve been to Lake Towa before, have you?” (King)
“Yes, I’ve been with Kagali-sama when she went there before.” (Suzuran)
“Kagali is over there.” (King)
“I’ll head there immediately.” (Suzuran)
“Wait, if you’re going, do it tomorrow.” (King)
He stopped me from jumping out.
“Could I ask the reason?” (Suzuran)
“That’s what Kagali asked me to do. Do some preparations today and go tomorrow.” (King)
“I understand. So what would you like me to prepare?” (Suzuran)
“Just think that there’s nothing in that mansion.” (King)
In other words, I have to prepare everything.
I thanked him and left the room.
I am happy to know that Kagali-sama is still alive. I prepare things to take to Kagali-sama. She may be hungry, so she may need food, alcohol, and clothes. I think about what else she needs in my mind.
I would like to see Kagali-sama right away, but there were so many things to prepare, as King Suou said, so my departure will likely be tomorrow.
The next day, I put what I had prepared for Kagali-sama on the carriage and set off. On the way, I thought I pa.s.sed some children riding on something that looked like bears, but it must have been my imagination.
I drove the horse-drawn carriage and arrived at the mansion on the lake of Towa.
Kagali-sama is here.
I put my hand on the door.
“It’s open.” (Suzuran)
When I opened the door and entered the building, it was quiet inside.
“Kagali-sama, are you there?” (Suzuran)
I asked in a quiet voice from the doorway.
Where is she?
The first floor has the kitchen, warehouse, etc., so she should not be on this floor.
I went upstairs. There were several rooms upstairs. She might be in one of these rooms.
When I thought so, I heard a voice from above saying, “I’m hungry!”
That was Kagali-sama’s voice.
I ran up the stairs.
“I should have gone with them. When is Suzuran coming?” (Kagali)
I can hear it coming from that room. It seems that the voice was leaking out because the door was open.
“Kagali-sama, I apologize for the delay.” (Suzuran)
When I entered the room, Kagali-sama was not there……. What was there was a little girl with golden hair.
The little girl said my name.
How did she know my name?
I approached the little girl.
She’s a very beautiful girl. But I feel like I have seen her somewhere before.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Suzuran. Make me something.” (Kagali)
“You know who I am?” (Suzuran)
“What are you talking about?” (Kagali)
The girl looked at me curiously.
I looked at the girl carefully. This beautiful golden hair, this face. Could it be?
“Could it be you are Kagali-sama’s daughter?” (Suzuran)
The girl looked surprised.
“I didn’t know Kagali-sama had such a lovely daughter.” (Suzuran)
Why didn’t they tell me?
I lift up the girl.
The girl I lifted up is light. She’s so cute.
“Etto, what’s your name? Where is your mother? I came to see her.” (Suzuran)
I asked the girl, and she raised her arm and smacked me on the head with a pop.
“What are you talking about? I am Kagali. Are your eyes blind?” (Kagali)
“… Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
I look again at the girl in my arms.
“That’s right, I am Kagali. I used up too much magic power in the battle with the Orochi and ended up like this.” (Kagali)
I cannot believe it. I’ve never heard of someone taking on the form of a child because they’ve used too much magic.
“Are you really Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
“What, you want me to tell you something that only I know? Like, about how you failed at cooking, or how you got lost in the woods and cried?” (Kagali)
“You know that?!” (Suzuran)
“Of course.” (Kagali)
“Then is it really you, Kagali-sama?” (Suzuran)
“That’s what I’ve been telling you for a while now.” (Kagali)
Tears streamed down my eyes.
The moment I recognized that Kagali-sama was in front of me, I burst into tears.
“I’m glad you were alive.” (Suzuran)
“I’m sorry to have worried you.” (Kagali)
Kagali-sama puts her hand on my head with her small hand.
I hold Kagali-sama, who had somehow regressed into the body of a child.
She’s really alive. As I hugged Kagali-sama, her stomach made a small “kruu” sound.
When that happened, Kagali-sama and I saw each other’s faces, and we smiled.
“Well then, I’m going to cook now.” (Suzuran)
Let’s make Inari, which Kagali-sama loves so much.
But can she wait until then?
I went outside to the carriage.
While Yuna and her friends were in town, Kagali-san and Suzuran met safely.