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Bear-san, Returns To Crimonia
The kimonos were hard to move in, and they were also warm, so we returned to wearing our original clothes.
After all, I would feel calmer in my bear suit. The comfort, texture, and temperature control don’t feel like I’m wearing a bear costume. I stop thinking about that much.
……Etto, am I finally settling in for the bear costume?
I may never be able to return to the pure-hearted me of those days……
I plopped down to my knees.
I embodied the letters ‘orz’.
(editor’s note: the infamous ‘dogeza’-like pose of “I just realized that I’m a loser” emote, but in some other sub-cultures, ‘orz’ is also used as “bow and kneel to respect”, which has been superseded by “press F for respect”)
“What happened, Yuna-sama?” (Sakura)
“No, it’s nothing.” (Yuna)
Summoning all my strength, I quickly stood up.
The bear suit is authentic top-quality clothing if you don’t mind how it looks.
(editor’s note: instant resurrection)
After I finished changing my clothes, I presented each of the girls with a picture I had drawn.
“Thank you. I will cherish it.” (Sakura)
“I’m going to hang it in my room. (Ruimin)
Sakura and Ruimin were happily looking at the picture I drew for them. They were in different poses, but they were drawn together. Well, it would be embarra.s.sing to hang a picture of only yourselves in your room, but a picture of you with your friends shouldn’t be embarra.s.sing at all.
If they were pleased with it, it was worth drawing.
“I wish I could also draw well.” (Sakura)
Sakura muttered while looking at her picture.
“If you keep practicing drawing over and over, you’ll get better at it.” (Yuna)
“That’s what people who are good at what they do always say. Some people can’t do it well no matter how much effort they pour in even if they try.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
“But, you know, Sakura is still young, and she’s just getting started. People grow up.” (Yuna)
Her height and body would grow without doing anything special. But knowledge does not increase without learning, and skills do not grow without constant polis.h.i.+ng. However, what s.h.i.+n.o.bu was saying was also correct. People have different strengths and weaknesses and develop at different rates. Some people advance more in less time, while others take twice as long.
It’s a matter of motivation.
“Even s.h.i.+n.o.bu wasn’t that strong from the beginning.” (Yuna)
“True, but I feel like Yuna can do just about anything.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
“I can’t do everything. Even I was not good at the beginning.” (Yuna)
Everyone is a beginner at what they do for the first time. But only a handful of people can do it well from the beginning. In the case of drawing, I was the former, and what I am not good at takes time. What I do know, however, is that if you don’t do it, you won’t improve.
“I agree. If you give up and say you can’t do something without even trying, you won’t be able to do anything.” (Sakura)
“Sakura, you have worked hard to save your country, so you can do it if you feel up to it.” (Yuna)
“Yes, I’ll do my best at drawing.” (Sakura)
Just when I thought the story was coming together nicely here, Shuri dropped a bomb.
“When you get good at drawing, I want you to draw a picture book like Yuna-oneechan.” (Shuri)
“A picture book?” (Sakura)
“Yeah, it’s bear-san’s picture book.” (Shuri)
Fina hurriedly tried to close Shuri’s mouth, but it was too late.
“Is it a picture book drawn by Yuna-sama? Yuna-sama, are you also drawing picture books?” (Sakura)
“Etto, I drew it for the kids.” (Yuna)
“I want to see it!” (Sakura)
“That’s right. I want to see it too.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
I knew this would happen.
“It’s not a big deal. It’s a picture book for children. It might not be fun for Sakura to look at.” (Yuna)
“I am a child, though.” (Sakura)
Sakura said it a bit sulkily.
……Well, she’s right, isn’t she?
“Yuna-san, I would like to see it too. My sister told me about it, but I haven’t seen it.” (Ruimin)
In Ruimin’s case, I gave the picture book to Retbel-san in exchange for her bracelet. So I thought Ruimin might know about the picture book, but I don’t remember showing it to her.
“Yuna-sama, I would like to see the picture book. Would you please show it to me?” (Sakura)
Sakura asked with puppy eyes.
I’m okay with it, but Fina might get embarra.s.sed. When I looked at Fina, she was still covering Shuri’s mouth and had a troubled look on her face.
“Etto, I don’t have it with me…” (Yuna)
For now, I’m going to pretend I don’t have it and try to work through the situation.
“If you don’t have it with you, you can get it right away if you use that door, right?” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
s.h.i.+n.o.bu blocked my way out. There’s no escape from the inevitable. Fina seemed to have given up and removed her hand from Shuri’s mouth. Seeing this, I took out the picture books from the bear box and handed them to Sakura.
“It’s an adorable little girl and a bear.” (Sakura)
Ruimin and s.h.i.+n.o.bu sat next to Sakura and peeked into the picture book. The three then began to read the picture book.
“I feel sorry for the girl.” “The girl is attacked by the Wolf.” “Oh, here comes the bear.” “Good.” “I’m glad she got the herbs.” “Oh no, the bear can’t enter the city.” “She has to say goodbye to the bear.” “But I’m glad she got the herbs for her mother.”
Even though I’m not Fina, it’s somewhat embarra.s.sing to have your picture book read before you.
When Sakura finished reading the first volume, she read the second and third volumes. She would give her impressions of the book each time, which was awkward and embarra.s.sing for Fina and me.
“Yuna-sama, isn’t there a continuation?” (Sakura)
“I have only drawn up to three volumes, so no.” (Yuna)
I can’t give you something that hasn’t been made.
“I’m sorry. I’m just wondering what happened to the girl in the new city.” (Sakura)
“Even so, I thought it was going to be a sad story at first, but I’m glad the bear showing up made the girl happy.” (Ruimin)
“Also, I was wondering, are these sisters Fina and Shuri?” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
I knew from the start that she would notice the minute details.
“Oh, so you noticed.” (Yuna)
“Because the characteristics are similar. Yuna, you’re good at capturing and drawing the characteristics of people. Also, unlike the pictures that drew us earlier, these were cute images.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
“Because it’s a picture book for children.” (Yuna)
“I’ve never seen such a cute picture book before.” (Sakura)
Sakura takes the picture book and doesn’t seem like she’ll return it.
“Do you want it, by any chance?” (Yuna)
“…Yes. I want it. The girl is trying hard to live, and the bear helps her. I can see myself in her.” (Sakura)
Sakura touched the bear in the picture book and looked at me.
It seems she also noticed that the bear was me.
“I’ll give you that picture book then.” (Yuna)
“Yeah, but don’t show it to others too much. Fina will be embarra.s.sed.” (Yuna)
“Please don’t tell anyone that the girl is me.” (Fina)
“Even if she told anyone the truth, n.o.body knows that it is you.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
That’s for sure. In the Land of Harmony, no one would recognize a girl named Fina even if someone told them she was the model for the girl in the picture book.
“But it’s still embarra.s.sing.” (Fina)
“I understand. I won’t tell anyone. I promise.” (Sakura)
Sakura made a promise.
I gave the picture books to Sakura. Ruimin, who was reading it, also seemed to want it, so I gave it to Ruimin as well.
“Thank you. I will take good care of it.” (Ruimin)
The bear’s picture book has finally reached the Land of Harmony and the elven village. I felt like I was strangling myself… or was it just my imagination?
But it’s nice to know that people were pleased with the picture books I have drawn.
“Can you give it to me as well?” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
“If I give it to s.h.i.+n.o.bu, it feels like it would multiply without me even knowing it.” (Yuna)
“I wouldn’t do that.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
Since I gave it to Sakura, she could see it anytime. Even in the orphanage, everybody can see it, so it’s enough that only Sakura had it.
In the meantime, I told them not to make copies.
Then I glanced outside, and the sun was setting, so I told them we’re leaving.
“Are you sure you want to leave? You can stay a little longer.” (Sakura)
“We can’t. If we stay here for too long, their parents would worry.” (Yuna)
But even when I took Fina to the royal capital or to the dwarven city, they didn’t worry that much. Moreover, Tirumina-san was even merrily sending her off. If anyone were actually concerned for the girls, it would be Gentz-san.
Also, in Ruimin’s case, we cannot fool Mumroot-san and say that it took us several days to return since he already knew about the bear gate’s existence.
“So we have to go home today.” (Yuna)
When I got up from the cus.h.i.+on, the polar bear puppet started crying `ku~u ~ n, ku~u ~ n‘. The bearphone was ringing.
I thought everyone who had a bearphone should all be here……, but then I remembered there was one more person.
I took out the bearphone from the bear box and lightly poured magic power into it.
As expected, the voice that I heard from the bearphone was from Kagali-san.
Oh right, when I was fighting the Orochi, I gave it to her in case something happened. I never got it back, so it’s still with her.
“What’s wrong, Kagali-san?”
‘I’m sorry, but can you come back tomorrow?’
‘Suzuran came, but she said she would stay here today. It will be troublesome if you guys meet. She promised to return tomorrow morning. I’m sorry, but stay there for today. If you need money, tell Suou. Suzuran is back. I’ll end the call.‘
Kagali-san spoke one-sidedly and then hung up the call.
“That’s what she said, but Fina, do you think you can handle another day?” (Yuna)
“I think it’s okay, but maybe dad would get worried…” (Fina)
“What about you, Ruimin?” (Yuna)
“Grandpa may think I’m lying.” (Ruimin)
That’s exactly what I thought.
And as a result of the discussion, the three had to return.
“That’s right. Sakura-chan, I’ll give you this.” (Ruimin)
As if remembering something, Ruimin pulled out a cloth bag that she was holding with both hands from her item bag.
“What’s this?” (Saura)
“It’s tea leaves from the elf village.” (Ruimin)
“Could it be from the sacred tree?” (Yuna)
Ruimin nodded when I asked. And she looked towards Sakura.
“Sakura-chan, you forced yourself to exert your magical power to protect the Orochi’s seal.” (Ruimin)
“Yes, but I don’t regret it.” (Sakura)
Sakura may not be able to use any magic in the future. Only a handful of people can use magic, to begin with. But even that possibility may have been rendered useless for her because she used up hers to reinforce the Orochi’s seal forcefully.
“Grandpa said you may be able to use magic again if you keep drinking this.” (Ruimin)
“Is that true?” (Sakura)
“I’m sorry, I don’t know if it really works. But this tea is made from the magical tree that has protected the elven village for many years. This tea has the effect of restoring magic power. So, you may be able to use magic again.” (Ruimin)
When she heard that story, tears welled up in Sakura’s eyes.
“You promised. Someday, we’re going on a trip, right?” (Ruimin)
“Yes, I promised.” (Sakura)
“So try it, it might work. Even if it doesn’t, I will protect you as I promised before.” (Ruimin)
“But I have to be strong for that too.” (Ruimin)
“I will drink it properly.” (Sakura)
“But don’t drink too much.” (Ruimin)
Ruimin and Sakura made a promise.
I don’t know how the sacred tree will work, but I hope it does. Oh well, whatever the outcome was, the two girls should be fine.
Ruimin went through the bear gate.
“Ruimin. Please come back again.” (Sakura)
“Yeah, I’ll come. Fina, Shuri, see you again. s.h.i.+n.o.bu-san, thank you for everything.” (Ruimin)
“You are always welcome.” (s.h.i.+n.o.bu)
Everyone said goodbye to Ruimin. I couldn’t keep the door open forever, so I closed it.
I have to remember that I have to retrieve the bear gate that Ruimin went through later.
After closing the door, I connected it to Crimonia next and opened it.
“Are you sure you don’t need me to take you home?” (Yuna)
“We’re fine. Thank you for inviting us, Yuna-oneesan. It was fun.” (Fina)
“Yeah, it was fun” (Shuri)
I handed over the pictures of Fina and Shuri in kimonos.
“I knew it. You want to show it to mom?” (Fina)
“I drew it with so much effort after all.” (Yuna)
I’m sure Tirumina would love to see her daughters looking so pretty.
In the drawing, Fina looked shy, and Shuri looked happy. Looking at their hands, they were holding hands amicably. Actually, Shuri was holding Fina’s hand to prevent her from running away, but they seemed to be holding hands in a friendly manner.
“Well then, I’ll be back tomorrow.” (Yuna)
“Yes. Thank you, Sakura-chan and s.h.i.+n.o.bu-san, for everything.” (Fina)
“Please come again.” (Sakura)
Fina and Suri also returned to Crimonia through the bear gate.
“What about you, Yuna-sama?” (Sakura)
“I’m going to stay the night and return tomorrow. I can’t leave the bear gate in Sakura’s room.” (Yuna)
“Then please stay here.” (Sakura)
I’ll take her word for it.
At night, I let Sakura sleep with Hugging Bear.
I left Sakura and s.h.i.+n.o.bu the next day and returned to the mansion with the hot spring.
“Kagali-san, I’m back.” (Yuna)
“Oh, you’re back.” (Kagali)
Kagali-san had a futon laid out in a large room and was dexterously drinking her drink while lying down.
Near the futon was a small wooden cask that even a woman could carry.
“Did Suzuran-san go back?” (Yuna)
Well, just in case, I checked with my detection skills before entering the house. If Suzuran-san were still there, it would be troublesome to explain, so I checked before entering.
“Yeah, she wanted to stay for a while, but I sent her home because she needed to do something.” (Kagali)
She must have been very worried about Kagali-san.
“I wonder how it went. I had her carry my luggage because I had a lot of it.” (Kagali)
Kagali-san drank her sake while looking at the distance.
“So, what are you going to do now?” (Kagali)
“I’m thinking of going home, but were you going to miss me, perhaps?” (Yuna)
“What are you talking about? I have lived longer than anyone else. I have been separated from someone so many times. How can I be lonely now?” (Kagali)
Perhaps she chose to be alone because it’s hard to say goodbye. She remained alone on the island and did not even try to stay in the castle.
Maybe she has parted with many people in her lifetime, and perhaps she has been sad all along. I cannot understand that feeling. But I do understand the sense of loneliness.
“If you want to live in the elven village, let me know. I think you can live there Kagali-san.” (Yuna)
Kagali-san looked at me with a surprised expression.
Unlike us humans, elves live long. If she lived with them together, I think it would make her happier to be with people of the same longevity.
“…I appreciate your kind words. But there are some here who will miss me.” (Kagali)
She’s looking out the open window with her eyes looking into the distance.
I put the souvenir wind chimes that Fina and the others picked out for me in the window and returned to Crimonia.
This is the end of the Land of Harmony arc, including the epilogue.
I feel that I have rambled on a bit, but the more characters there are, the more stories I want to write.
And now that the break is just right, I will begin work on volume 11 in earnest.
I hope to have about two weeks off from the 10th.
Please take care of yourself during these hot days.
I added the story of the tea leaves of the sacred tree.
I was thinking of writing it and forgot.