Section 4: Lap Pillow
I spent my first night in the capital sleeping in the same room as everyone else.
Getting to talk and play together with everyone before conking out in bed once we’re finally feeling tired. It’s a bliss I became aware of during our time in Rifront and how I always imagined a journey together with everyone would go.
We pushed two king sized beds next to each other so we could all sleep together, but because I ended up sleeping in the middle where the crack between the two beds was, my back hurt just a little when I woke up the next morning.
And so the sun rose on my first morning at the royal capital. After we finished our breakfast, Noelia-san stopped by to bring me, Saluena, and Carol to another room.
There had to have been nearly fifty seamstresses waiting for us on the other side of that door, and they recorded everything from our shoulder width to arm length to bust and hip size and even the size of our feet.
Once our body measurements had been taken, it was time to choose what kind of clothes and what kind of fabric would suit me best.
No, ‘choose’ isn’t quite the right word. I’ve never had any kind of clothes tailored for myself before, so I spent the entire time dumbly nodding my head as the seamstresses opinions and arguments flew in one ear and out the other.
[Iris]: “……..why am I suddenly so worn-out……..?”
As I plodded through the castle’s vast grand hall, my voice came out like a dead tree blowing in the wind.
[Carol]: “Me too……. Hey, should we just go back to our room and sleep for the rest of the day?”
[Toslin]: “What are you saying? You’ve only just finished lunch, and we have to visit the church next.”
Carol was walking right next to me with the same vacant stare on her face.
I’ve seen her like this once before. Back in Relton village. Having confessed an old sin of hers, Rose-san spanked her butt in punishment. The next morning she woke up with a swollen butt and spent most of the day with this exact same look.
[Toslin]: “Carol and Iris were used like toys by those seamstresses.”
Ah, she’s right. They used me like some display model and kept forcing me to change from one outfit to another.
Saluena was finished relatively quickly while Noelia-san spent the whole time gracefully drinking tea while silently watching us change clothes. I thought it was strange. Halfway through, it seemed more like the seamstresses were putting in their own personal requests instead of getting us ready for our meeting with the king.
[Rose]: “Please stay strong Iris-san, Carol-san. We have a carriage waiting for us at the entrance. If you can make it there, you can sleep on our way to the church.”
[Carol]: “Uuu, Toslin, carry me……..”
[Lapris]: “Pfft, you’re both a couple of weaklings.”
[Iris]: “I don’t want to hear that from Lapris, the fairy who rides on Unicorn’s back wherever she goes.”
[Carol]: “Agreed. Let’s have someone play dress-up with you for three hours like you’re some kind of doll. Then you can know our pain.”
[Lapris]: “I’m fine with what I have on. Besides, I doubt human hands could make fairy clothes.”
Well, I guess what Lapris says is true. The clothes she’s wearing now has a lot of lace and frills, and it’d probably be impossible to knit something like that with any tools that a human could handle.
After walking through the castle’s front doors, we found our carriage, right where Rose-san said it would be.
I mean, it’s not so much a carriage as the wagon that Goldmund always pulls for us, but still.
[Carol]: “Finally, our carriage. I don’t want to walk anymore~. Goldmund, I leave the rest to you…….*bleh*”
Carol collapsed, setting her head down on Toslin’s lap who had boarded before her.
[Toslin]: “Hey now, you’re making a scene.”
Toslin lightly poked her head, but Carol continued to lie there as if she were already a corpse.
[Toslin]: “Seriously……. It’s just until we get to the church.”
So in the end, Toslin decided to give Carol a lap pillow after all. How nice.
[Toslin]: “…….W-What? It can’t be helped right? What do you want me to do, toss her out of the carriage?”
Toslin hurriedly started firing off excuses when she noticed my gaze. Even though I hadn’t said anything yet.
[Iris]: “No, I was just thinking how nice it is that you two get along so well.”
[Toslin]: “That’s right. Carol worked really hard this morning, so I’m just giving her the chance to rest up.”
[Toslin]: “Wai-, oi…….you idiot, that tickles, stop rubbing your face in!”
The carriage began to move as I watched Toslin and Carol play with each other.
[Rose]: “I’m sorry to make you drive Noelia-san.”
It was apparently Noelia-san who grabbed Goldmund from his spot at the castle’s stable, and she was now taking the coachman’s seat to bring us to the church.
[Noelia]: “No, this is also part of my job. There’s nothing for you to be sorry for.”
There was a short clopping of hooves ringing in the air as the carriage continued over the city’s cobblestone roads.
Lapris was placed right next to Noelia-san while still straddling Unicorn. She told me before that she enjoys have the wind run through her hair.
As expected, even a reticent woman like Noelia-san couldn’t hide her surprise at a fairy and moving stuffed animal combo, and I occasionally caught her stealing a glance to her side as Lapris leisurely hummed by herself.
[Iris]: “Have you ever been to this church before Rose-san? What’s it like there?”
After finishing up lunch, Rose-san and Saluena asked me to visit the church with them.
I had already promised to spend the afternoon with them last night, but it wasn’t until then that I found out where we would be going.
All I know about the church in the capital is that it’s even bigger than the one in Soletta Ritta.
Also that it’s located somewhere between the city’s fourth and fifth wall.
[Rose]: “Yes, once before. It is a solemn yet sublime building you would not believe was built almost a thousand years ago.”
[Iris]: “Hmm, is that right…….fuaa…….”
I couldn’t stifle my yawn at the end.
[Iris]: “Ah, I’m sorry! I asked you a question, and now I’m…….”
I hurriedly threw my hands over my mouth, but it was too late. My huge yawn was clear as day for both Rose-san and Saluena to see.
[Rose]: “You must be tired. Would Iris-san like to take a rest until we arrive like Carol-san?”
That means resting my head on someone’s lap doesn’t it?
Saluena laughed happily as my eyes darted between Toslin and Rose-san’s laps.
[Saluena]: “Rosa, does that mean you’re willing to lend your lap to Iris?”
[Rose]: “……..huh? Ah……”
It wasn’t until Saluena said something that Rose-san noticed anything, and then just as I had done before, Rose-san’s eyes jumped between Toslin’s and her own lap.
[Iris]: “Ah, no no, you don’t have to do that. I can sleep just about anywhere…….”
To be frank, I would love to rest my head on Rose-san’s lap. But, there is a certain part of me that is hesitant.
That part of me emerged victorious from my inner conflict, so I bent over to rest my head on the wagon’s wooden seat. But before my head could touch wood, someone grabbed my sleeve.
[Rose]: “Ah, Iris-san!!”
I immediately sat back up. Rose-san was the one who was holding on to me.
Rose-san’s white cheeks were dyed a slight pink as she shyly gazed down at me.
[Rose]: “I-If you’d like……. You could rest on my lap?”
[Iris]: “Eh…….lap…….oh, um……”
I was at a loss for words for the second time in how many minutes.
[Rose]: “Oh…….sorry, I did not mean to sound like I was forcing you…….”
My gaze traveled over to Rose-san’s lap. It looked soft wrapped up in her robes.
Until now Rose-san and I have slept in the same bed together, taken baths together, and done all kinds of other things together, but has she ever given me a lap pillow before? No, never.
[Iris]: “Y-You’re not forcing me at all!”
My voice was louder than I had meant it to be. Rose-san is sitting right next to me, so I could’ve whispered and still gotten my message across.
[Rose]: “R-Really………? T-Then…….”
Rose-san gently patted the top of her lap.
[Rose]: “…..f-feel free.”
Hm? For some reason…….my heart is beating really fast.
A lap pillow should be a much shorter bar than sleeping together or taking a bath together.
As I slowly lowered my head, I caught Saluena’s gaze.
She was hiding her mouth with her hand, but it was clear from her eyes that she was trying not to laugh. Apparently she thinks it’s funny to see me flustered like this.
Acting nasty here even though she easily gets lonely and loves to be spoiled when it’s just the two of us.
[Iris]: “W-What is it?”
[Saluena]: “Oh no……it’s nothing.”
I twisted my body to the other side and set my head down in Rose-san’s lap.
[Rose]: “Ah, Iris-san!?”
Rose-san raised a panicked voice as my head was wrapped up in something soft.
Thinking about it, I should probably have my head be facing up. But the thought of Saluena being able to see my face was way too embarrassing, so I buried my face in Rose-san’s stomach instead.
I know I caused Rose-san some panic, but I didn’t move.
Hold on. With my face so close to Rose-san’s stomach, all I can smell is Rose-san.
A subtle, sweet smell like a sunny field.
The scent only became more intense when I buried my nose further into her stomach.
So this is why Carol kept rubbing her face in Toslin’s legs.
[Rose]: “Um, Iris-san…….?”
[Iris]: “Huh……s-sorry……..Rose-san. I……”
My heart, which had been ringing like a dinner bell until now, gradually steadied itself.
And that sleepiness, which had been all but blown away a second ago, now began to creep back.
My eyelids grew heavy, and my mind rapidly began separating itself from the rest of my body.
It felt like I was sleeping on a bed made from cotton candy.
And then I fell asleep, just like that.