Chapter 51: Oden and mustard and chikuwa
Zoltan’s autumn was short.
Although my frequency of coming to the mountain to harvest medicinal grass had decreased, I did not have any time to feel the season of autumn in the mountain before the leaves dropped and it transformed into a winter mountain that gave a sense of loneliness.
“Even though the snow has not accumulated, the number of medicinal herbs I can gather will be limited as it is winter.”
While it was winter, polyp mushrooms used to make the medicine for Choleric Cold, snow stalks that were effective for wounds infected by Night Soil Fever and gray starfish grass could still be harvested.
However, it was painful that the henbane grass used for hemostatic agents and disinfectants as well as the koku leaves used for antidotes, materials for high demand medicine, could not be harvested.
I must harvest those two medicinal grass as much as possible today while it was still barely within the time frame to be able to harvest them.
“I want to build a greenhouse and be able to secure a supply of them to some extent even during winter.”
I’ll have a discussion with Gonz once I return.
For now, I’ll focus on harvesting medicinal grass.
I wished the Chimeras would help out since they were already watching me.
When I turned my gaze toward the Chimeras that were staring at me from far away, they anxiously fled.
I am Tise. In the past, I used to be an assassin but now, I am just a person wrapping my arms around my head in worry.
The reason was naturally Hero-sama.
“I am just a traveler, not anybody suspicious.”
Hero-sama explained to Zoltan’s gatekeeper.
That was not bad, not bad at all but.
Hero-sama was carrying a Greater Giant Frog which weighed over 500 kilograms.
Only 10 minutes have passed since I started explaining to the gatekeeper our fictitious circumstances as I bribed him.
Not more than 15 minutes had passed no matter how I look at it.
Even though I mentioned that I would do the talking so all Hero-sama had to do was wait quietly.
“Er, erm, Ruru-san.”
Ruru was Hero-sama’s fake name we would be using in town.
Incidentally, I was Tifa.
Our setting was that we were looking for our missing father.
Although we didn’t know much about the Alchemist man Hero-sama was searching for, if we were going to be looking for a man, I figured it would probably be better if we made our setting as looking for a family member. We won’t encounter any future problems as we could just brush it off as a case of mistaken identity.
Anyway, the problem was the situation in front of me right now.
“What is with the frog on your back?”
“It was hibernating in the ground nearby and I thought it would be a danger once summer came so I subjugated it.”
“O-okay, I understand. But why are you carrying it?”
“No, don’t tilt your head there.”
“Animals and beast-type monsters defeated near towns should be carried to the town’s trading post.”
No, well, that is true, but!
The gatekeeper tapped my shoulder.
I stiffly turned around, to the point that I could imagine I was making creaking noises, and then, I saw the gatekeeper’s surprised look with sparkling eyes.
“Your companion is amazing. I’ll call the butcher to bring a wagon so please wait here for a while.”
Hero-sama did not seem to mind and was staying aloof from the praises and curious gazes from the surroundings
“Ruru-san, the gatekeeper will bring a wagon from the butcher so you can lower the frog down.”
The frog was lowered to the ground with a loud slam.
Ah, I’m sure that with this, we would be the talk of the town.
There was no longer an option for covert operations …
The nights in the mountain were cold during this season.
I trembled as I covered myself with the sleeping bag.
The bonfire crackled as it burned.
I hugged a hot water bottle that I had heated up.
The mountain was close to The End of the World so the wind that blew down from the large mountain range was chilled to a great extent.
On days where the winds were strong, we could feel cold that was unimaginable in a subtropical region like Zoltan and sometimes the winds from the mountain might even carry with it snow.
Those were only carried over by the wind so it would not pile up but it was still cold nonetheless.
“I miss my bed.”
I didn’t use to miss home that much in the past.
I even thought of building a small hut here in the mountain.
Thinking that staying two to three nights in the mountain would increase the efficiency of my medicinal grass harvest.
But I no longer do now.
I want to return home as soon as possible.
“I see, I guess that means I have found a place to return to here.”
I fell asleep while thinking about the home where Lit was waiting for me.
The next day, I gathered medicinal grass in the mountain as well and descended down the mountain when it became dark.
I ran home at full speed when nobody could see.
I returned to Zoltan after sprinting on the road at night at full speed.
The gatekeeper looked back just as he was about to close the gate when I shouted.
“Why isn’t it Red, you’re back from harvesting medicinal grass?”
“Yup, please let me in.”
“So troublesome, just jump over the wall over there.”
“No way, that’s too troublesome.”
The gatekeeper complained lightly as he delayed the closing of the gate slightly.
Zoltan’s city walls were only two meter high stone walls.
Anybody could easily climb over it if they wanted to.
It was a tacit agreement to turn a blind eye to the adventurers who missed the curfew that return by secretly climbing over the wall.
It would be a huge issue in other cities but such cases were just laughed off in Zoltan.
“That was close.”
“Red, you are seriously good at barely making it in time.”
“I’m diligent after all.”
“If you’re diligent then come back with some time to spare! By the way, I’m done for the day so want to have a cup after this?”
“Ah~ Sorry. I’m going home.”
“Ka~ So unfriendly, you’re better at getting a bride than me huh?”
“Don’t say that with such a straight face … fine, how about just one cup?”
“Ah — well, I have not drunk all this while so all right, we’ll grab one cup from the food stand.”
It was important to catch up with friends too.
Although I did not intend to stay out late.
Leaving the castle walls, we entered the 「Oden」 food stand that was always open at the boundary of the harbor district and Downtown.
Working there was … not a dirty old man … but a sleek-styled High-Elf with silver blonde hair bundled into a ponytail.
When the old man was grumbling that he was well into his years and it was about time he shut down the stand, this Oparara said ‘It would be a waste to close down this stand, in that case, I shall succeed it!’.
The rugged-faced old man was extremely weak to beautiful people and although he refused for about 30 seconds, he lost to Oparara’s enthusiasm and from then on, the two of them worked the food stand but now, Oparara opens the stand alone most of the time.
The race of High-Elf possess the country called the Kiramine Kingdom and it was currently the only other Kingdom in the Avalon Continent that officially crowns a king apart from the human race.
The Dwarves living in Sir Beard Mountain was nothing more than a self-governing dominion given to an Earl.
Rather than a king from the definition of a country’s top leader, the humans and High-Elves were the only ones in the Avalon Continent with kingdoms true to the meaning of the word.
Because of that, they proclaimed themselves as High-Elves, noble Elves.
Humans did not question them in particular and just called them High-Elves.
However, despite being mixed with human blood, the Half-Elves, descendants of the once legitimate conqueror of the Avalon Continent, the Wood-Elves; and the Wild-Elves whom lineage can be traced back to the lost civilization of Ancient-Elves, apparently refer to them as Avant-Elves (City-Elves).
During the Wood-Elf era, they used to be called Gray-Elves due to the color of their hair.
Well, I just call them High-Elves like normal.
I am human after all and they would usually be put in a bad mood if they were called Avant-Elves.
The High-Elves fundamentally don’t put up a front. They always spoke whatever was in their heart.
If the mood turned sour, they would outright claim without mercy that the words you said hurt them so they were, in a sense, hard to get along with but also easy to get along with.
Of course, there were individual differences.
There probably were High-Elves that do not reveal their true feelings.
They only don’t put up a public face because they don’t like to but when they actually do, they could use it a lot more cunningly compared to humans.
The Knight Squad Captain always grumbled that the royal family of Kiramine could not be trusted.
“Radish and beef tendon, egg, hanpen. Beer as well.” (TLN: Hanpen = white triangle fish/meat paste)
The gatekeeper ordered by pointing at the ingredients floating inside the square pot.
“Then, I’ll get radish and wiener, ah and chikuwa. And a cup of beer.” (TLN: Chikuwa = cylindrical fish paste with a hollow center)
Oparara answered spiritedly with the bell-like voice of High-Elves.
She placed the ingredients in wooden containers with experienced hand movements.
“Now that I think about it …”
When she passed the container to me, she seemed to have remembered when she saw the medicinal grass bag that I placed on the floor so Oparara asked me.
“Red, are you no longer selling mustard?”
Even though it was Red-san all along until he opened the food stand, I guess that could be attributed to the fastidiousness of High-Elves as she even mimicked the way the old man called me.
“Yeah~ It’s because I don’t go to the mountain often now compared to before. I only gather enough spices for my own use.”
“That’s a pity. The supply in town is not stable.”
The market price of mustard at the trading post was 5 Peryl for one kilogram.
It would become even more expensive after it passes through the trading post to the market.
It went well with oden but it was naturally chargeable.
So the gatekeeper and I put up with the lack of it.
However, a young girl appeared.
“Daikon, beef tendon, egg, four chikuwa, and mustard.”
After picking up an ingredient, the young girl liberally dunked it into the small dish which had the mustard in it.
That eating style was the Oden King Style where she would order a second helping of mustard once it became thin!
Ordering four chikuwa was amazing too.
She probably loved chikuwa a lot.
Leaving that aside, that was the first time I’ve seen her.
She was short but her body was well trained.
Her clothes were worn from travel but they had good quality.
She had a short sword on her waist. Inside her clothes, she had three throwing knives on her flank.
The short sword had Strengthening Magic and some other special effect. And there was concealment magic to conceal all that.
A chainmail made of Mithril Silver was sewn into the inside of her clothes.
It was equipment that emphasized practicality. And she intentionally made them seem like regular items to keep a low profile.
That child had amazing skill. She should be an Adventurer used to traveling … but her presence was thin.
She probably had a job that required her to not be noticed.
Thief, Spy … or was it Assassin?
That was when the young girl suddenly turned toward me.
“Is there something?”
“Ah, sorry. I was curious as I had never seen you before. And you seemed to intend to ask for more mustard.”
“Mustard is required for oden.”
“I want to earn enough to be able to say that too.”
I was just glancing at her from the corner of my eye but that child noticed that my attention was on her huh?
She’s quite strong.
Who exactly is she?