The Extraordinary, the Ordinary, and SOAP! – Chapter 03

Lucia Exchanges Tokens With Celes

“What of the Sacred Maiden?” I asked.
“Well, she’s finally completed her training, and soon she’ll be setting out to purify the Cristallo Sacro.”
“Truly!?” What happy news!
…Or so I thought, but Sir Celes’s face was glum. “What’s wrong?”
His shoulders slumped. “Well…it seems that I’ll have to go with the expedition.”
At his words, I hung my head. If he was setting out, then we wouldn’t see each other for a while, would we? No, I mean, I’m sure that being chosen to be part of the journey of purification is incredible, right!? Just as one might expect from a member of the Third Regiment, formed of the strongest knights. But the thought of not being able to see him in the meantime… Yes, that did make me feel lonely.
“I’ll miss you…” I let the words slip out without thinking, and Sir Celes whipped his head around to look at me. Doesn’t that hurt your neck? Are you all right? “Ah, um, that is… Take care, and come back safe and sound!”
Sir Celes grabbed my hands, which were still holding my sandwich. “Yes, I will come back!” he declared fiercely.
He definitely had a knight’s powerful grip. Ow.
After a few moments, Sir Celes released my hands. With a hint of hesitation in his voice, he said, “So, um… I was wondering, if you’d be okay with it, would you lend me your ribbon, as a token?”
At that utterly unexpected request, I set my sandwich down on my napkin and touched a hand to the ribbon I used to tie my hair back. “This? But it’s just a cheap little thing. Can something like this really be a token?”
It wasn’t silk, just simple cotton. It didn’t even have a design — it was just a plain, slightly faded violet.

“It can!”
“Well then, I have a new one in my room, I can give you that…” “Ah, but this is the one I want!”
Since he was insisting so seriously, I pulled my ribbon loose. Once it slipped free, I straightened out the creases, folded it, and handed it to Sir Celes. Now that I looked at it again, it really was worn and frayed. Did he really want this one? It was so battered and old, I felt a little embarrassed. But apparently Sir Celes really was satisfied with it.
“Thank you! With this, I’ll work twice as hard!” With a smile that shone like the sun, he held my ribbon as if it were something precious. A handsome man’s full-faced smile was not to be taken lightly! To get a smile like that for a single ribbon… Never underestimate the power of good looks! It was far too dazzling.
As he went to tuck the ribbon into the pocket of his uniform, Sir Celes said, “Ah, that’s right! I have something I wanted to give you, as well.” From the same pocket, he pulled out a small package. “This is hand cream. Someone gave it to me, but I don’t use flower-scented creams. I’d like it if you could take it.”
The cute little package, wrapped with a pale pink ribbon, came from Lily Blitz, a very popular store at the moment. I’d never seen one myself, but the logo on the packaging clearly displayed the name of the shop.
“Is this a Lily Blitz?”
“Yeah. They said it’s pretty popular with girls. So I thought you might like it.” So I wasn’t mistaken. It really was a Lily Blitz. Wow! I’ve never seen one before.
Apparently, Lily Blitz was a popular cosmetics shop in the capital, with their flower-scented hand creams being their most popular product. I couldn’t say that I wasn’t interested — I’d heard rumors of the cream, but it was incredibly hard to acquire — but…
“I can’t accept this,” I said, pushing away the offered package.
Sir Celes stared at me with a look of utter shock. “Eh? Why not!?” he demanded, flustered.
“You said it was a gift, didn’t you? It’s not right to give a present away to someone else.” If they’d gifted him something from Lily Blitz, then the giver was probably a woman. There was no doubt she’d put her heart into it. “If a present I gave you were gifted to someone else, I would be very hurt, Sir Celes.”
“That would only happen over my dead body!”
I was tempted, but I had to resist. After all, it was a gift from another girl… Sir Celes was a handsome knight, so surely there were many people who’d fallen for him, and there would be many young ladies who gave him gifts like this.
Odd. For some reason…I feel incredibly depressed.
Over hand cream? Certainly, my hands were very chapped, so I would love to accept it, but

restraining myself shouldn’t be that hard.
“It would be rude to the girl who gave it to you,” I said firmly.
“Girl?” Sir Celes looked startled. Why? “It wasn’t a girl! I… That is, a member of my regiment is a son of the Blitz family, I got it from him.”
“A man gave you this?”
“Gave… Oh, yes, it’s from a guy! So you don’t need to worry about it, Lucia. Please, accept
it!”
While I was gaping at the unexpected information, Sir Celes took my slack hands and wrapped my fingers around the Lily Blitz package. Atop the package resting in my hands, the pink ribbon ruffled in the breeze. Amazing. Even the ribbon was cute! No wonder their goods were so popular!
I gave in to greed.
“I understand. Thank you, Sir Celes! It’s wonderful!”
“Thank goodness…” At my thanks, a relieved smile drifted across Sir Celes’s face. It was as bright as the Lily Blitz itself.
“So I suppose we’ve traded, a ribbon for hand cream!” “Traded!?”
…Hadn’t we?
Was it my imagination, or did Sir Celes look suddenly crestfallen? Peering at his slumped form, I suddenly realized something, and paled. Now that I thought about it, calling this a “trade” was undoubtedly rude! There was nothing equivalent about my ribbon and the Lily Blitz hand cream! The exchange wasn’t on the same level at all. One was an unused and very popular product, while the other was a worn-out, threadbare ribbon. To phrase it that way, when it was practically like the difference between Sir Celes and myself!
“I’m sorry! That was very forward of me!”
“It’s fine! Really, Lucia, you don’t need to worry about it! Yeah, come to think of it, it is like a trade! You’re right!”
“You think so? Still, I really am sorry.”
When I lowered my head apologetically, the wind caught at my unbound hair, whipping it about. Without a ribbon to hold it back, it was a bit inconvenient. A ribbon… Oh! Come to think of it, the Lily Blitz box had a ribbon. It looked like it was better quality than my old one, even. It was a charming pink, with a pattern of transparent flowers. I undid the ribbon from the package, then finger-combed my hair back together and tied it back. There!
“Um, would it be all right if I tried the hand cream?” I asked Sir Celes.
He had been watching me with a slightly troubled expression, but at my question, his smile immediately returned. “Please do!”

Well in that case… I opened the wrapping paper. Inside was a round tin with the logo of Lily Blitz and the image of a pink flower on it. When I opened it, I immediately smelled the sweet scent of flowers. It’s so cute! And what a lovely smell!
“Oh!”
At my exclamation, Sir Celes looked down, pressing a hand against his face. Noticing, I asked, “Is something wrong?”
“No… I’m just glad you like it.” “…?”
I scooped up a bit of the cream inside and spread it onto my hands. It spread better than I’d expected. Unlike the cheap creams I had been using, it didn’t leave my hands feeling greasy, and once it had soaked in and vanished, it really did leave my skin smooth and soft. And it smelled so wonderful! Utter bliss!
“This is amazing!” Ah! I really should share this happiness with Sir Celes. After all, it had been gifted to him originally. “Here, Sir Celes — you too!”
“…!” I took Sir Celes’s hands and spread the cream over both of them. His hands were hard and callused from swordwork. “I’m…very happy, too,” Sir Celes said in a cheerful-sounding voice, as I spread the cream and massaged it in.
Oh, so he’d had the same reaction as me! The smell was so lovely, you couldn’t help but smile. Lily Blitz was amazing. Even men enjoyed the scent. No wonder it was popular.
“I’ll treasure this!” “So will I.”
We both laughed.


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