Chapter 6: The Hero Lit and the Ordinary Red
News of the Hero Ruti assaulting the second Four Heavenly Kings, 『Gandor of the Wind』, at his residence, the Flying Castle, had finally reached Zoltan.
It was said that Gandor held supreme military strength with his aerial forces consisting of countless Wyvern Riders and that at least five times the number of troops were needed to be able to compete with him but that battle would definitely weaken the Demon Lord’s Army.
“Looks like Ruti that girl is working hard.”
I felt how distant the threat of the Demon Lord Army was from the remote frontier Zoltan. The people of Zoltan were also delighted with the victory of the allied forces but as it was a distant threat, it was more apt to call it a festive delight.
『Chime』 The sound interrupted my thought process. It came from the bell I attached to the door.
“Welco … oh, it’s Gonz and Tanta.”
“Yo, we came to visit, there aren’t any customers as usual huh.”
“Leave me alone.”
It was raining outside. A carpenter’s work would be put on hold whenever it rained.
Around this season, it often rained between noon and evening. The daytime temperature could even go past 37oC so basically during that time of the year, most of the people in Zoltan couldn’t put in the spirit to work.
Adventurers also didn’t want to work in the heat compounded with the fact that it might suddenly rain so many of them saved up money between winter and spring and chose to take a break from work during summer.
However, it wasn’t as if plundering races like goblins, bandits or outlaws would stop their activities either so in order to cope with that, the guild had to recruit high ranking Adventurers with a sense of responsibility like Albert.
I had just started procuring products for my own shop so I had almost not done any adventuring lately.
More pressingly, I had to do something about the urgent issue of my shop having rarely any customers come by.
“It’s only been half a year but your earning has gone up moderately right?”
“Well, it’s because of Nyuman’s recommendations that I’m wholesaling to the other hospitals too. But …”
“Regular customers aren’t coming huh? Well, during this season everyone’s probably hiding in their homes and they most likely don’t even have the willpower to walk to an apothecary.”
“Even though I went out of my way to prepare summer cold medicine.”
Even medicine have an expiration date too. After a couple of months, I would have to discard any compounded medicine or harvested medicinal herbs.
Even though the purchase price at the Adventurer’s Guild was below one-fifth of the selling price, my stomach still hurt compared to when I sold everything I harvested to the Adventurer’s Guild.
“Don’t worry, your number of customers will increase eventually.”
Gonz laughed loudly but to me, it wasn’t a laughing matter.
“By the way, Red, have you eaten?”
“Great, then let’s go eat somewhere.”
“It’s okay, I’m refraining from eating out. I make my own meals at home.”
“Eh? Red onii-chan can cook?”
“Yeah I can, you can’t call yourself an Adventurer if you can’t cook.”
Meals are important after all.
During a tough and arduous journey, many times I could only look forward to breakfast and lunch.
Having bland meals would be tough and I felt that I wasn’t useful in terms of combat strength so I learned just a little bit of cooking skill.
In the beginning, Ares opposed it vehemently but as it was well received by Ruti who was my first party companion, Ares stopped complaining after a couple of days. Or rather, he could still brazenly request for second servings.
Meal times were one of the few times I, the burden of the group, could be relied upon by those around me.
“Ooh, Red’s cooking?”
“Well, it can’t beat those who hold the Divine Protection of the Cook but it’s quite good for an amateur. Why don’t you give it a try?”
“Are you sure!?”
“Sure, give me a moment.”
The place where I stayed was located side-by-side to the shop.
The layout included, besides the storefront and the storeroom, there was a bedroom, kitchen, washroom, living room, a workplace to do compounding and also a garden to grow medicinal herbs.
Now that I think about it, it is quite spacious but was the number of materials I paid for actually sufficient? It’s possible that Gonz went ahead and forked out from his own pocket.
I opened the shelf I used to keep my food ingredients in the storeroom and thought about what to make.
“Potato salad and egg toast, tomato soup … ah, maybe I should throw in the chicken meat I bought yesterday too.”
I placed the ingredients in a basket and headed to the kitchen.
“Here you go.”
I placed the dishes on the living room table.
“Oo, I was wondering if something amazing would come out but it looks normal but delicious.”
“I’m not a Cook so all I can make is regular home cooked food.”
Maybe I raised their expectations a little too much.
I claimed that my food was tasty despite just being an amateur and my cooking skill not being a big deal … oh well, it doesn’t matter.
“Thanks for the meal.”
The drinks were iced water with floating bits of sliced citrus.
I’ll prepare herbal tea after the meal. I gathered both of them while I was harvesting medicinal herbs.
Tanta had bacon and eggs while Gonz had potato salad respectively on their spoons as they brought it to their mouths.
“How is it?”
” … Seriously?”
Gonz and Tanta’s movements stilled.
“Wha, what’s wrong? Does it not suit your taste?”
“No … it’s seriously delicious.”
“You’re amazing, Red onii-chan! It’s tastier than mom’s cooking!”
After commenting, the two of them started to move their spoons without saying a single word.
I was relieved and started on the soup.
Yup, it’s tasty.
After the meal, the two of them had satisfied faces as they drank their herbal tea.
“But why is it that tasty? The cooking itself looks normal though.”
“Ah, that’s right. It’s probably because the seasoning was good.”
The mountain had various other plants other than medicinal herbs.
Up until the middle part of the mountain was a tropical to temperate zone and if you go further towards the peak, the climate would switch to a subarctic zone so there were famous spices like mustard and garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg, and even some miscellaneous spices which I didn’t know the names of which grew in rich clusters on the mountain.
I believed … seasoning made with those ingredients improved the taste.
“Heh, I never imagined that you would actually be well-informed about cooking.”
“It’s the basis for cooking when camping out but I don’t know anything about fancy dishes or cooking using strange ingredients.”
“That’s plenty. If your cooking is this good, you can even open a shop.”
“Even if you flatter me, I can only serve you tea.”
“Even this tea is delicious too.”
The herb I used to make the tea also came from the mountain.
I guessed that the herbs that went through breeding selection by the wood elves who lived in Zoltan in the past were now growing naturally in the wild on the mountain.
In this continent, many of the vegetables, fruits, and livestock went through a long process of selective breeding by the wood elves. The previous great war with the Demon Lord resulted in the annihilation of the wood elves’ country so in the present there only remained half-elves born of the union between wood elves and humans.
However, the knowledge of natural sciences they left behind have been handed down to humans. My knowledge of medicinal herbs and medicine all came from reading books left behind by the wood elves too.
A chime came from the direction of the storefront.
“There’s a customer? I’ll go over for a second. You two can sit back and relax here.”
It’s rare to see a customer come in the rain.
I hastily returned to the storefront.
The person who entered was a strangely dressed woman.
Her whole body was wrapped in a black coat with a hood and her mouth and neck were concealed behind a red bandana.
Flowing golden hair peeked out from the gap of her hood.
And I noticed on her waist were the handles of two greatly curved shotels adorned with gryphon feathers. (TL: Shotel is a curved sword originating in ancient Ethiopia. See Wikipedia if curious.)
Every Zoltan resident would recognize her.
She was the other B-rank Adventurer. But her ability was far above that of Albert. She acted solo without forming parties with anyone else but could still obtain an evaluation corresponding to a B-rank party.
Her individual ability was probably A-rank or even above that.
Her name was Lislet. When people called her, they shorten it to Lit. It’s confusing as I’m called Red but … there’s no way I could complain about something so minor. (TL: In Japanese, Lit (Ritto) and Red (Reddo) sound quite similar)
” … Gideon, you’re really here.”
This time finally came as I braced myself.
Her real name was Lislet of Logavia. The second princess of the Principality of Logavia.
Although it was only for a short period in the past, she once formed a party with me and Ruti.