[86 Side Stories] Lena’s Birthday

“Lena. Happy birthday.”

Saying that, Raiden suddenly took out a large canvas tote bag.

It had the sewing of a light pink spotted cat. While the design was cute, it seemed to be for something else. It was made with firmer fabric, and seemed to be something used by housewives buying groceries, not a gift.

“Thank you very much. Speaking of which, is it today…”

She forgot as she had been busy recently

“Yeah…so continue to work hard today.”

…Why?

 

Of course, it seemed Raiden got her this shopping bag for this purpose.

 

“Ah, you’re here, Lena. Here.”

Theo called for her as she walked down the corridor. He handed her a scenery collection with a ribbon upon it.

 

“S-since I received a present last time, this is my thanks. Just this.”

Kurena was blushing for some reason as she handed over a cute kitten print photo frame.

 

“It is a nice smell, so I will put it on your desk…just to make sure you will not lose it, I suppose?”

Anju gave an impish smile. She was delivering a heart-shaped basket containing a rose potpourri.

 

“In that case, what I shall give is this. This, to be accompanied with tea.”

Frederica gave boxes of candied rosewood sweets that were lined together like jewels.

 

“Yes, Lena. This is from me. If only we have a party.”

Arnett gave little gemstones of red and silver, along with a thin choker made from orange flowers.

 

“Colonel, happy birthday. This does happen from time to time.”

Grethe’s gift was a wine red rouge with a bright brand logo.

 

“Ah, Colonel. It seems you’ve been bogged down by many things. Erm, this is from your subordinate.”

Dustin was looking bashful for some reason. He handed over a handkerchief set.

 

“Ahh Your Highness. A certain someone~~~~~ won’t be giving this thing, for sure, so put it on for the time being!”

And Shiden, snickering away for some reason, handed over a cloisonne ring.

 

“Colonel Millize. I heard that today’s your birthday.”

“A token of our appreciation. The Federation has few tea sets. It was difficult trying to find one.”

 

Major General Richard and Chief of Staff William arrived at the headquarters for some reason. Their gifts were a can of synthesized tea and a white porcelain tea set.

“Pi!”

 

Even Fido gave her a gift. It was a Lira flower stalk plucked from the forest in the back, a rarity for this season.

 

Every few steps she took, someone would stop her, and she would greet. For every person conveying their well wishes to her, the presents in her hands increased in numbers.

Lena never expected that everyone would be celebrating her birthday. While embarrassed, she was really delighted. Ah, there’s a birthday menu for you today, Colonel, so the massive head chef said as he passed her by.

She returned to her office, carrying the filled tote in her clutches.

Huh?

She was wondering why her Aide, a second lieutenant, was standing at that peculiar position. The aide’s slender position so happened to be blocking a white marble low table.

The female bespectacled officer with red hair and some bangs continued flatly as she stood at that strange position,

“The bouquet is from me.”

“Th-thank you very much?”

So, why was she standing at such a mysterious position.

“This thing is a little delicate, and somewhat heavy for a female. I thought I should wait until you bring your items here.”

“…?”

The aide did not respond to Lena’s questioning look, took the Lira flower from Fido, slipped it into the vase behind her, and hurried off.

 

The blocked low table finally entered Lena’s sight. There were lilies and various strange flowers inserted into the crystal vase, forming a faint flowery silhouette under the dim sunlight.

And right over there was an extra thing she never saw when she left the office in the morning.

There was a square plate of antique design, with a round disc ornamented with little gemstones, a round, oblique mirror and a cylinder reaching into the disc. The closest thing resembling it would be a microscope.

There was also a large screw on the desk, probably a music box. Lena twirled it as it creaked, not knowing what would happen. For some reason, a nostalgic melody rang from the music box, and the disc spun at the same rate. There was a mirror in the cylinder, so it probably was a kaleidoscope. The images displayed in the round mirror opened like a peacock, or a window of roses, the vibrant floral patterns everchanging before her.

So pretty it was, she was completely mesmerized before she knew it. It had nostalgia-inducing curves, the moving light and colors flickering around.

She lost count of time, and forgot to breathe. She did not know why the sender chose to give this. Beneath the paw of the stand was a note with the twin headed hawk emblem of the Federation.

The handwriting was a little erratic――but Lena could recognize his neat words.

 

“Happy birthday, Lena.”

 

Fufu, so Lena gave a wry smile.

He, as the battalion commander, was hassled by various matters. He was cooped in the hangar with the research team and the mechanics, busy testing the “Reginleif” system updates. However,

 

“Seriously, can you not have waited for me a moment…Shin?”

 

Lena herself had once ran away, so this time, she would let this slide.