Chapter 559.2

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Plum work.
I loved the umeboshi my grandma used to make in my previous life.
Unlike the store-bought ones, they were very salty and sour, and oh-so delicious.
I remember making onigiri (rice balls) with the chopped red shiso leaves we pickled together, and they turned a gentle pink color, adding a special touch to the bento box for school trips.

Ah, and I even used to feel like something was missing if I didn’t have my grandma’s umeboshi in my iwashi no umeboshi (sardines simmered in soy sauce and plum).
When I can use plenty of umeboshi, I’d like to make some for everyone.
The umeboshi-making process is enjoyable, and this waiting time and the satisfaction of enjoying the finished products afterward make it worthwhile.

“Hey, Ojou. Do you have any of that alcohol left that you used for the plum wine?”

It seemed that Byakko-sama was regretful that he couldn’t have any shochu, and he gave me a resentful look.

“I have a bit left, but…”
“Then give me some!”
“There’s really just a little left, and I plan to use it for cooking, so I can’t.”

At my denial, Byakko-sama put his hands on his head and threw himself backward.
I didn’t have enough of that strong alcohol for Byakko-sama and Kurogane’s consumption.
I intended to use it to marinate chili peppers and as seasoning for Big Boar simmered dish.
I mean, opportunities for me to obtain such strong alcohol in my previous life as a child were rare.
Well, I believe Kurogane could buy it for me if I asked…

“You’re so noisy, Byakko. You occasionally sneak out in the middle of the night to go to a tavern, don’t you?”
“Hey, wait a second! That’s—”


Seeing Byakko-sama in a fluster from Kurogane’s revelations, Sei nodded.

“Come to think of it, you’ve been going out occasionally at night after I’ve fallen asleep.”
“Wait, how do you know… Ah, Suzaku! Was it you!”
“Can we really call ourselves contract beasts if we don’t fulfill our role to protect our Lord, just because the Lord is sleeping? Ah, this is why you’re a silly tiger…”

With a sigh that seemed to say “Oh, brother,” Suzaku’s response left Byakko-sama unable to retort… Sei chuckled at the sight.

“Well, considering we have protective barriers set up around the special dorm, it should be fine. Suzaku, you should rest when you can, too.”
“Oh my! Thank you for your kind words… But if my Lord were to wear the outfit I recommend, I’d feel even more rejuvenated. Oh, but if it’s too much trouble, never mind.”
“I decline that request.”
“That can’t be…!”

When Sei flatly turned down Suzaku-sama’s plea, Suzaku-sama, who had been so delighted a moment ago, suddenly changed, looking almost like she was about to cry.

An outfit recommendation… Could it be that it’s a women’s kimono?
Suzaku really loves playing dress-up… Although Kaguya is currently her target, it seems she hasn’t given up on trying to dress Sei up as a girl.
Considering how Sei has grown taller since we first met and that he no longer needs to disguise himself and hide, he probably doesn’t want to wear women’s clothing anymore.
What a shame… It would suit him so well…

After the plum work, we spent a peaceful time enjoying tea together.

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