c90: Thanksgiving

It can be quickly understood that this day is what’s called special, by watching the various people passing by.
The town has been animated since early in the morning, many street stalls can be seen in the plaza.
Moved by the spending on presents for the family or such, this the real deal itself to the merchants I suppose.
Rather than just selling or just buying, I’m unmistakably enjoying the atmosphere that’s different from normal.
Among the temporary stores there are also food and drink type stands, fragrant smells and cheerful voices wafting up from every direction are truly that which is a festival.
Giving thanks to family and home, friends, and neighbors, celebrating this year’s harvest by offering meals.
That is, Alseid kingdom’s thanksgiving festival.

「Great festival isn’t it, I’ve always liked these haven’t I!」

I became engrossed in a stall’s katanuki.
Chiku chiku chiku chiku, to speak of the sense of tension while carving out a candy bar with a thumbtack!
……Having them fall apart with the very first stab has happened more times than I can count.
In any case, I’ve set out with Ilya since morning, the town’s enthusiasm makes my heart dance.

「Ojousama, did you not call for Eclair-sama?」

Wasn’t I turned down?
And, please stop tilting your head, Ilya.

「……Kohon, I did. But it seemed like her store will be busy so. I told her to come stay at our house for the night.」
「I see, then everyone-sama will be staying over tonight won’t they.」
「Un.」

Aim and Rin-chan too right.

「And oneechan is also helping at the church since morning.」

And Saira is assisting the maid-sans at home.
This sort of thing might be the most fun with preparations.
So that I also will not be idle, it might be best to go around and do something.
But maa it’s not the case that I’m sadly attending the festival on my own, look, since Ilya is here.

「Fufu, this seems fun doesn’t it, ojousama?」
「Is it? It might be, because of Ilya right.」
「Those words are more than I deserve.」

As always the one hanging back one step and following after is, this child.
She only acts to elevate me doesn’t she.

「Ilya is stubborn isn’t she.」
「That which is called position isn’t something that should be made vague, ojousama.」

How far will we go on these sorts of parallel lines.

「If the two of us walk around town like this, in what manner will we be seen?」
「Master and servant, ojousama.」
「Rejected.」

That isn’t the word I desire, servant.

「Then, superior and subordinate?」
「Please separate from above and below.」
「Female and female?」
「……」
「……」

Female and female?

「You’ve gotten strangely, strangely literal haven’t you.」
「No, I have simply tried stating the facts but, is there a problem?」

Your specialty is moving out of my intended destination right, Ilya is……
Furthermore, this is purposeful isn’t it.
Even though friends who get along or, family or, that sort of thing are fine.
Ma~whatever.

「Let’s go about the festival together today okay, Ilya?」
「Hai, ojousama. On that note it’s grown rare for us to do the sort of things where it’s just the two of us hasn’t it.」
「Is that the case?」
「It is. When we set out on a journey, the pair of ojousama and I have always been acting together.」
「I suppose so……」

Till quickly vanishes doesn’t she……
Since we left Rinal, I’ve always been protected by this child.

「Thank you, Ilya.」
「That sort of appreciation……I am――」

It seemed like she would say those words so, I put a finger against Ilya’s mouth and stopped her.

「Don’t say that Ilya, since I’ll give you your freedom at any time.」
「I have no excuse for my actions, the sort of thing that would cause injury to ojousama’s heart……」

Taking the hand I used to seal Ilya’s mouth, she expressed apologetic words.
Certainly I may have fulfilled a transaction with a proper exchange but, that seems ethically heavy.
This transaction, hereafter and until now is only with Ilya.

「Nevertheless, it isn’t the case that I want to let go of my connection with ojousama.」
「……Actually, I’m the same. So I’ll never release Ilya.」
「That isn’t something that should concern you, ojousama. That’s something normal for a master and, to me it’s something to be happy for.」

Even though if not for the matter of magic power, this child could live on anywhere couldn’t she……

「Ojousama’s heart is very beautiful. It very tranquilly, makes peaceful feelings.」

Though that might simply be because I was raised in that sort of era.

「However ojousama, have you read the contract well?」
「From when I bought Ilya?」
「Hai, in order to release me ojousama’s will alone is not sufficient.」
「Eh! Is that so!?」
「Within the presence of the company, with ojousama’s acknowledgment, it is necessary that I pay back the monetary sum that was received in my purchase.」

I see, there must be an observer for the release, so that the master isn’t deceived or taken in her sleep I guess.
Since within this world there exists charm magic or the like right.
That occasion would, make Kran extremely angry……
Maa Ilya wouldn’t do such a thing so, this is just a general conversation.
In short……

「40 gold coins?」
「Hai, thinking about it normally it’s completely impossible, ojousama.」
「B, but the current me seems to have collected quite a lot……」

I provide wages for Ilya as well you know?

「That is ojousama’s authority, as it is ojousama’s power, it is not something that is mine. Something like 40 gold coins is to myself, extremely.」

In short that is to say that Ilya has no intention of using the money she receives from me.
On that note I’ve received platinum coins recently, I got a mansion, I got maid-sans, I earned even more in profits and I’m numbed by how incredible it’s become but, since a gold coin is quite the amount isn’t it.
……That is why, Aim broke her heart as she collected that sum.

「So, then, that means that Ilya will be at my side until she messes up and dies doesn’t it?」
「Hai. However to use this body to its end is, something I feel glad for.」
「Ilya……」

Without expecting to I placed my hand on Ilya’s cheek, and drew my face close.
Kiss……As much as I want to, looking closely Ilya’s expression is alluringly beautiful.
……But this is a public road beneath the open sky.
I clearly understand the gazes facing us from the people passing by.

「……Did you know?」
「Hai, but maa, it might be fine, so.」

Ilya is, an impressive child in a variety of meanings……
Still as I was constrained by common sense. I promptly left that place.





And so I’m currently――gambling.
In one section of the festival, there’s blue sky gambling.
Gambling stands seem impressive soo.
Setting myself at a table for a bit, a fishy seeming ossan is sitting facing me with focused eyes.

「Fuhi, nee-chan, if I win let me do as I like with nee-chan’s body kay.」

This again!

「Unfortunately, only Eclair and Kran and oneechan and I can do what they please with this body, for now.」
「Oh, ooh……That’s quite a lot isn’t it.」

Nn?

「Ojousama, you’ll be thought of as a bitch so it’s fine not to answer honestly there.」
「That, so?」

Ilya softly whispered into my ear.
By the way I’ve prepared myself to receive Shion-san but, there hasn’t been an event of having something done to me or doing something myself.

「Maa it’s fine, hihii, I’ll win big either way, let’s keep going.」

The ossan dealer nodded expressing a creepy smile.

「My apology, because of these idiots.」

The one to call out to me was glasses-kun.
He’s sitting in the player seat next to me.
Further to that side there’s the two men burdened with a massive debt that he brought with him.
This glasses-kun was at some point, eeto……A man who declared that girls being together were his favorite.

「Please don’t mind it, it’s just fine whoever wins.」

This is also some sort of fate.
Since it’s festival gambling, even though winning or losing is a personal responsibility it’s that which is called a boat that’s already left the port.
To begin with this stinks of fraud so, it’s human nature to want to do something when I see someone I recognize making a face like they’re going to die on this sort of festival day.

「If whoever this person is wins then you’ll really call it even for us?」
「Of course, I don’t tell lies. In return if this side wins, how about I take double? Fuhihi.」
「So, it’s been said but, is that okay?」

I tried asking glasses-kun, just in case.
Glasses-kun nodded without his facial color changing at all.

「Aah, either way at this rate heads will roll. There’s no choice but to win here.」

The men in the back nodded with teary eyes.

「Ah, is that so……」

Keep it in moderation, you guys……

「Then, in that manner.」
「Fuhihi, acknowledged.」

And as such, the match is blackjack.
I thought that it’s something rather like it in this other world so, nothing in this game is especially surprising.
The 5 players are me, Ilya, glasses, and the two men with him.
It’s fine if at least someone among these wins against this fishy dealer that’s dealing.

「I’m dealing then, gehehe.」

Already intent on winning are you, toad like revolting guy isn’t he.
He intends to defraud us either way I suppose but, is that something he can do quickly if he’s observed very carefully.

「Please wait, this is a one round match. So as to ensure fairness, please allow this side to cut the cards one more time.」
「Fuhyo, that’s~fine nee-chan.」

Revolting guy issn’t he, since coming to this world he’s the most revolting guy I’ve met.
I snatched the cards from the toad ossan and, promptly cut them.
……Maybe because my hands had become small, it was unexpectedly difficult for being card cutting.
After Ilya cut the cards for me beside me, the cards were returned.
The ossan set them in the card shoe.

「Then, let’s go with this~」
「……Go ahead.」

I thought the toad would do one more cut but, that didn’t happen.
Does he intend to be unexpectedly fair?
No, impossible……I can’t be optimistic surely.
The rules are the same as in my previous world so it’s a normal type.
So as not to pass 21, it’s a matter of approaching 21 by summing the points on the trump cards in the hand.
And so there’s the matter of those points surpassing the dealer’s.
The card points are, cards 2~10 are worth their numeric value.
All picture cards count as 10.
Ace is, 11 so long as the sum of the cards in hand is within the range that doesn’t pass 21, in the case that it does pass that it counts as 1.
As a result ace is a fairly strong card.

「Hihi.」

Un, this person is viscerally no good.
While raising a sickening laughing voice, toad distributed 2 cards each with himself included.
This time the dealer and players impartially displayed 1 card, with one distributed face down.
And so there’s a sort of special rule that that face down 1 card will remain face down until the time to face off.
That is the equal rule for the purpose of this time’s single round match.
There’s a significant sense of tension.

「Fumu……」

The first of the visible cards distributed to me is, 3 then……
Strange issn’t it.
I can’t avoid doing a hit can I.
A hit is, to have an additional card distributed.
In reverse when it’s said it’s already fine to face off, it’s called a stand.

「Do a hit.」
「Hit.」
「Hit!」
「It’s hit!」
「Fuhihi, hit.」

Under this time’s special rule the dealer also, made the same judgment as the players and, pulled cards in the same style.
For one round everyone hit――

「Stand.」
「Eh!?」

With a refreshingly familiar tone from the adjacent seat, she made a bold declaration of a stand.
Stand from the start!?
You’re already going to face off, Ilya!?
The 1 and only card shown in Ilya’s hand is a, picture card.
6 sets of cards were set in the shoe so, picture cards are the most easily dealt cards.
The probability that the face down card is a picture card is definitely high.
Has Ilya already read that she’s at 20?
Maa, it’s fine.
On the other hand, what was dealt to my hand after that hit is……a 5.
This is……what to do?
Are, these points still too low to face off with?
3, 5, and 1 face down card.
Just what is this 1 card, it’s that sort of matter but……

「……Do a hit.」

I’ll continue.
I’ve decided.

「Hit.」
「U……Guu, stand.」
「Hi, hit it!」
「Fuhihi, stand.」

The dealer has stopped has he.
The dealer’s hand is 8, 7, and his face down card.
……This, gives a bad premonition.
It’s called a bust if the point sum exceeds 21 and that automatically becomes a loss but, it most likely won’t become that sort of thing.
And so the points distributed to me this time are……a 2.
Ku……this is, too difficult.
Even if card counting is mentioned, predicting the one round match with 6 sets of cards set in the card shoe is pretty much impossible.
Should I trust to chance……
It would have been good if I’d brought Aim with me!
My current cards are, 3, 5, 2, and 1 face down card.

「……It’s, another hit!」
「Stand.」
「It’s, it’s stand!」

Everyone besides me did a stand.
And so the card distributed to me is a, 4!

「――」

Fu, fufufu!
Aah, so that’s how it is.
Now that I’ve come this far I’ll do it then!
Blackjack is definitely a game where it’s OK if 21 is put out but, there’s the matter of what is put out.
Depending on that the value is different even if both are 21.
Because of that, there’s nothing but to go on.

「――I’ll take, a hit.」

I announced it with an unbeatable smile.
Checking over my cards, cheers rose from the gallery that had assembled at some point.

「Fuhii, nee-chan, ace or six is it? That’s your aim issn’t it.」
「Fufun, since I’m a gambler.」

And so the distributed card.

――It’s a 6.

It caaaaaamee!!
All at once a massive cheer dominated the area.
Fufu, it seems that your luck came to an end when this me became your opponent, toad.

「It’s stand.」

With that, every move was finished.

「Fuhihi, then, we’ll reveal them starting with mine.」

Toad revealed his face down card without hesitation.
That was, 6, 7, 8’s――it’s 21.
A shriek came from the surroundings or maybe, a shout came up.
Fun, as expected isn’t it.
This sort of thing is within my predictions.

「It’s 19……」

Glasses-kun softly revealed his card and, murmured regretfully.
The remaining two men had what’s called a bust, a pitiable result that can’t be helped.
Oi you all, even though this is about you to be sure you all simply lost……
But leave it to me!
For revenge, I will strike him down!
And so the spectator’s attention focused on the one point of my card.
Within the spectator’s circle of observation, I softly put my hand on the face down card.
Watch, this is a gambler’s miracle!!

――Picture card.

「Nn?」

Huh?
It was, a picture card.
Oya?
This is strange isn’t it, picture card?
Picture cards were how many points?
10?
That sort of thing means, my sum value has……become 30.
In short――bust.
A silence that wouldn’t be expected during a festival, dominated the area.





「――Ehe, it was impossible.」





With that sort of thing I murmured to hide my embarrassment, the gallery broke down with a quality of enthusiasm sufficient to bring members of a theatre troupe to mind.
Voices rose here and there with 『She’s cute so I forgive her!』 or, 『Marry me!』 and the like but, no thanks guys.

「Fuhihi, maa nee-chan is special so it’s fine with just the participation fee, you’re a famous person after all. I’ll thoroughly get those patrons over there’s part paid.」

U~n, something like gambling is up to the luck of the time after all riight.
It’s pitiable but, I can’t do anything for you beyond this anymore……

「――Blackjack.」

And, a clear voice rang out there.
At the voice from the adjacent seat’s announcement, the gallery’s focus gathered once again.

「Eh!?」

And so, understanding the meaning of those words, a cheer came up all at once from the surroundings.
The revealed card of Ilya’s is an, ace!
In short, Ilya has……a natural blackjack!
That, sort of thing is……!

「Ri, ridiculous!」

Toad’s face became pale from surprise but, in short it’s that sort of thing!

「It’s Ilya’s win!!」

With that the festival’s section with the lively gambling tournament finished.





Going about the festival with the two of us was really fun.
Taking the win in gambling, glasses-kun’s group gave us their gratitude too.
……Maa, I didn’t do anything though.
The stands had clothes and small items and accessories and the like, there were also a variety of things like weapons there too, just looking at the goods with styles from foreign countries there was unexpectedly enjoyable.
……Maa, I feel that it’s fundamentally tough when it comes to going out together to do girl’s shopping.
Fortunately Ilya doesn’t do that sort of thing so.
Doing that, it became busy even though we went exclusively to the food type goods.
……Maa, either way, there’s a limit to this body.
There was this and that but, that we enjoyed the festival was definite.
Sitting on an open plaza’s bench right now, I’m just about to bite into a hot dog.

「Kusu, even though ojousama is beautifully elegant, that sort of aspect of yours is boyish.」

That sort of aspect?
The aspect of opening my mouth widely to bite into a hot dog is it?
I let my guard down, umu, certainly……

「Muguu, nn……does it cause disillusionment?」
「Not at all, I feel that has a very ojousama like charm.」

While saying that, Ilya wiped my lips for me with a handkerchief.

「Please don’t act like I’m a child.」
「Fufu, I have no excuse.」

I had become embarrassed so, I deliberately opened my mouth flamboyantly widely and consumed the remainder.
Watching the appearance of me as such, Ilya smiled like always.

「By the way Ilya? That blackjack earlier was amazing wasn’t it!」
「Aah, that was a fraud.」

Buhaa!
Ilya patted my back as, I unintentionally choked.
With a leather canteen we had brought with us, I wetted my throat a little.

「……Eh, fraud!? When!? When you cut the trump the first time!?」
「It could be said like that, that could also be called incorrect.」
「?」

I don’t understand, I made that sort of face and Ilya raised a finger as if to explain.

「Fufu, while ojousama cut the cards with great difficulty, I saw the ace okay. To start out with, when I cut the cards I skillfully hid that in my sleeve.」
「I totally didn’t know……」

Furthermore let alone the gallery, even the toad dealer’s eyes were deceived by that sort of thing.

「So, even so that’s just hiding a card right?」
「Hai, since in any case even doing a small trick at that point, I couldn’t know if that dealer would invalidate it. This side was hiding a trump card.」
「I see……」
「Next was what timing to use it with but, the dealer’s eyes were strict as expected so it was rather impossible to do the exchange well.」

I suppose it would be like that wouldn’t it.

「Furthermore, speaking frankly it wasn’t a match that had to be won so, I thought that it would be fine so long as it was fun.」
「That’s right isn’t it.」

It’s too bad for glasses-kun but, they brought that onto themselves so.

「However ojousama captivated everyone-sama’s eyes so, I finally ended up being pierced by temptation.」

Fi, finally gave in to temptation?

「As expected of ojousama, you have splendor.」
「He, hee?」

Ilya, terrifying child……
But well……

「……Ilya, you’ve changed since the time when we first met haven’t you.」

I unexpectedly, thought back to the time when we first met.
That period had this and that and, she had a slightly stiff impression.
That is now, I was pierced by temptation so, that sort of childish being-san you knoww.

「That might be so. It’s the sort of thing where there’s a matter that I could see a dream of tomorrow so, something that gave so much color to my regular day was……a pleasant thing.」
「You should hurry and use me.」
「Fufufuu! Please wait, just a little more. Until ojousama becomes, a little stronger.」

Ancient dragon is it……
Till said it at some point didn’t she.
Probably, doesn’t Ilya’s power surpass the ice dragon or white dragon?
The magic power just to sustain that.
……It might be impossible with two job changes I suppose.
Even though my magic power is already outside the human range at this pointー.
Nn?
Come to think of it……

「Hey Ilya! Can Ilya perhaps, transform!?」

I asked about the vital matter.
Since, isn’t that awesome!

「Transform? Fufuu, saa, can I?」
「Ehー, Ilya’s stingy isn’t she.」
「Ojousama is too cute.」

Che.
Maa Ilya’s habit of keeping secrets isn’t something that started just now.
And I don’t know what to think about persistently asking about every element of a person’s past.
But I wonder why a valuable seeming person like Ilya was driven out?
Like the elf village, is there a dragon village?
Is something there?
Or is it simply because what’s called an ancient dragon’s power was too big so, no one could handle it?
Whatever reason it was, probably, there was something sad wasn’t there……
With such a feeling……

「……Ilya! Since if something sad happened, I’ll accept it for you okay!」

You should jump into this breast!

「That might be a little too shallow to jump into……」
「It isn’t that shallow you know!?」

Dreams are packed into these you know!?
But regardless of whether it’s shallow or not, it’s certain that the overall physique is overly luxurious right.
It’s not the bulky physique for receiving girls.
In reverse, it’s easily carried like a princess isn’t it……
I have a sort of dream where I want to carry a girl like a princess for her.

「……Maybe I should do muscle training.」
「To begin with I can’t feel that ojousama is able to acquire muscle……」

I, I can’t acquire it?
But I feel like making a six pack with this body is transgressing upon a taboo.
It’s a difficult matter isn’t it……

「Saa, let us return soon ojousama. It has grown cold outside.」

I was prompted by Ilya after she stood up from the bench.
It’s a season where there’s such a thing as exhaled air turning white morning and evening.
Though the air temperature isn’t so cold at noon, I feel that if I stay out for long my body will be harmed I suppose.

「I suppose so.」

Looking at the hand proffered forth as if to escort me my mischievous heart boiled.
Taking that hand and standing up, I drew close while enveloping her entire arm in that manner.
Ilya made a little bit of a surprised face.
Rare.
Fufun, men are occasionally forceful beings you know, Ilya?

「Warm, Ilya.」
「……Eei, truly.」

The hand I held strongly grasped mine in return.

「That hurts, Ilya.」
「It’s ojousama’s fault.」
「Ehー」

The sun had been hidden away but, I couldn’t feel the cold with the festival’s enthusiasm and while being enveloped in Ilya’s warmth.
Today anyone and everyone is clinging to their family or lover so, I suppose we aren’t seen as being particularly strange.
Along with that the mansion is outside a quiet residential area, built further up a hill so the path home is difficult for people’s eyes to reach isn’t it.

「Ojousama.」
「Nn?」

Ilya put out a slightly serious, slightly dark voice.

「I have heard that the first reason why elves don’t travel outside their village is, the difference in the length of life between them and the other races.」

Is that, so?
Till is currently 287 years right?
She already brews up an air like she’s thrown the world away though.

「100 years, 200 years later, even oneesama or, Krancesca-sama won’t be here will they.」

That’s something which I have avoided thinking about but, having it pointed out hurts my chest.
It’s precisely by interacting with people, that separating is something that can be called harsh or such.
But it’s also said that when matters of the future are spoken of an oni laughs.
It can’t be helped if this and that is said of what’s to come.

「Thinking about such a thing, makes me worry a little.」
「Fufu.」

I was thinking about what she was saying with a gloomy face.
Hearing my laughing voice, Ilya made a puzzled face.

「While living such a long life, this me will already have become a legendary great magician I suppose.」

History’s strongest right.
I’ll have surpassed Till you know, no mistake.

「I might even have devised the magic of time travel.」
「Ojousama……」
「If I become lonely, I’ll return to the past and meet with oneechan.」

Will the appearance of the current me and, the me from 200 years later have changed?
From what I’ve seen of Till, I feel like such a thing won’t happen.
Then if I switched places with the me from the current era, I could return after being completely pampered by oneechan.
Furthermore won’t Eclair live for a similar time as me?
Demons have, that magic power.
I can’t think they have a normal lifespan.
I’m not that pessimistic about the future.

「I thought that you were a child who worried about herself more though riight, Ilya is.」
「I am……I also, change day by day.」

Her gaze wandered a little and, as such Ilya embarrassedly averted her eye.
Seeing that I became warm all the way to my heart.

「Thank you.」

That’s the reason for thanks for my normal days and, thanks for what is to come and, somehow a lot of various things all in one form.

「Please take care of me from now on as well okay, Ilya!」

Along with a natural full smile, I conveyed my feelings.

「――Hai……hai.」

Ilya murmured softly――

「Ha, nn――tsu!?」

Suddenly, that already is forcefully――our lips came together.
I certainly didn’t expect Ilya to do such a thing so, my thoughts couldn’t keep up.
Even if I’m called defenseless and full of openings, I’d like if I was forgiven just this once.
Since, it’s Ilya you know!?
As I opened my eyes widely in surprise with Ilya’s face that was projected into my field of vision from the extremes of the very close, it might have been my imagination that a shining object remained in the corner of her eye and, that cheek became flushed.

「Nnn!?」

Wai, long!
Furthermore……deep!!
This is what’s called a French sensation!
Recovering from my surprise, without being released even after confirming the situation, while having that done to me without awakening my desire to resist, around the point where it was like my head would boil this time, I was finally released.
――It was too deep so, a line of light stretched out when we separated a little.

「u, Ae……?」
「Kusuu.」

While Ilya made an impish face she looked into me as I was shocked, her tongue licked and crawled.

「You display too much cuteness, ojousama.」

……This day, the beginning of my contract with Ilya, and also when I received my greatest rebellion.
She’s normally obedient and, a servant with perfect conduct so, her strike was completely unexpected.

「Thi, this punishment will……be set high, so.」

Replying like that while hoping not to lose my dignity as her goshujin-sama took everything I had.

「Yes, my, lady.」

And, in the end the breaking down of Ilya’s delightedly expressed clear face was not possible.
Such a surprise on our day off together.
I can’t control my raging heart……
Aah, mouu!!
Really, that surprised me……





――But, it was really fun so, let’s give her forgiveness.

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