Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Ch. 42: Reunion
As they walked by, the next thing that caught Ashiyowa’s eye was some fruit for sale. Nukumori bought some. Originally, Nukumori was entrusted with the money for their outing, but Ashiyowa insisted on paying for things himself.
After eating the fruit, Ashiyowa rested at an open-air tea shop. On the table was a silver pot, about half the size of his palm. He picked it up to examine and when he gave it a gentle shake, a blue flower popped out of it. He shook it again, and this time, it was an ornament shaped like a green snake. Each time he shook the pot, either a blue flower or green snake would appear.
Ashiyowa was intrigued; he was sure it would bring a smile to anyone’s face.
“Is this to your liking, Ashi-dono?”
“I… I was thinking of buying this to give to Leshe…”
“I am sure he will be happy.”
Having made up his mind, Ashiyowa reached for his purse inside his belt, but paused before pulling it out.
“But he’s always been surrounded by beautiful things. Something like this…”
“You certainly could say he’s got everything. But what he doesn’t have, is a gift from you, Ashi-dono,” the young chamberlain said with confidence, flashing a reassuring smile. It was decided: Ashiyowa would buy the pot.
To keep it safe, he stuffed it inside his purse. The purse was black, decorated with pearls, and shaped like a drawstring bag.
He turned around and grabbed his cane, about to leave.
“Excuse me―” He crashed into someone and fell backwards into the chamberlain’s arms, which caught him from falling.
His straw hat almost fell from his head on impact. As he readjusted it, the guards accompanying him had gotten to the man, twisting his arm to his back.
“Take out everything in your pockets.”
“Ouch, Ouch! My arm’ll break! What are you trying to do!”
“The purse. You stole it from this man, give it back.”
Ashiyowa reached to his belt, checking ― It wasn’t there. Ashiyowa was speechless.
W-When did he…
He was surprised that someone would deliberately steal from others.
“What- What’s going on?”
“It’s a thief.”
“Looking close at you, aren’t you a fine, able-bodied adult.”
“Our country is rich and plentiful. If you worked seriously, you would have enough to feed yourself and your family. To think someone would resort to stealing.”
“Someone call an official here!”
Koseki retrieved the purse from the man’s sleeve. Anyone could tell the purse was valuable at first sight. Around them, voices of admiration grew louder.
Not long after, an official and his subordinates emerged from the crowd, and captured the thief. The official bowed to the Imperial guards, then glanced at Ashiyowa and his chamberlains and left in a hurry. The chamberlains insisted they leave the place immediately, and so they did.
On a less crowded street, the purse was returned to Ashiyowa.
“This… This is our fault, Ashi-dono, we were careless. The purse doesn’t stand out much in the palace, but it sells for enough to buy a mansion.”
Ashiyowa paused in the middle of tucking the purse back into his belt. He looked at the young chamberlain, eyes wide. “I-It’s worth that much?”
“The royal government office is full of treasures.”
“Ah, but… This is a little too much for me. I’ll give it back once we return to the palace.”
“Ashi-dono, everything that belongs to the royal family belongs to you too. This purse is but a small drop of the royal family’s wealth.” Ashiyowa stiffened at those words.
“Everything? That can’t be. T-This is all Lesheine’s.” The chamberlains bowed and said nothing else.
The chamberlains were troubled. Ashiyowa had a sudden desire to buy souvenirs for all the servants back at the palace.
Ashiyowa wanted to get something not only for those who served himself, but also wanted to gift each and every person who served the Emperor, including the Imperial guards, bath attendants, doctors, kitchen staff and gardeners.
“That would be too many people.”
Ashiyowa lowered his head in disappointment. As a chamberlain tasked to the Emperor’s brother; to a member of the royal family, Nukumori couldn’t help but give in, remembering his duty to fulfill his masters’ wishes.
“W-Well, maybe we could order some sweets and have them delivered to the palace. Getting everyone something different might be a little too hard.”
“That’s wonderful. Well then, I just have to decide on which sweets, don’t I. Ah, but the price― I only have two silvers on me now. That’s not going to be enough, is it?”
“Ashi-dono, let me use the money we’ve been given. Let me pay for it; it’ll be fine.”
Still, Ashiyowa was hesitant.
Let’s think of this as borrowing some money from Lesheine…
The money that Nukumori was given was that of the royal family’s, the Emperor’s in other words. He’d think of it as borrowing from a relative… He was Lesheine’s half-brother after all.
A strange feeling crept through him. Ashiyowa had always thought he was alone, but the realisation that there was now someone he could call family warmed his heart.
Ashiyowa nodded, then began walking. The chamberlains and guards trailed behind.
“Ashi-dono― Could it be? You’re Ashi-dono, aren’t you?”
He turned around and behind him was Wang. He was dressed in black clothes fitting of his position as an official and as before, was neat with his appearance.