Chapter 89: Zoltan’s winter solstice festival
At the harbor, the seafarers were making a racket on their moored boats celebrating their own homeland’s version of the winter solstice festival.
“Oh, from Veronia, they are probably from the Kuvashino Chieftain Country.”
Atop the small stage, browned-skin sailors were dancing while swinging harpoons in circles.
That was the dance of the southern Kuvashino people that was the vassal state to Veronia.
“Onii-chan, you are familiar with the Kuvashino? Even though we’ve never traveled there?”
“During my time with the Knight Order, there was a subjugation mission for a Dust Dragon. The Kuvashino dispatched people to help their parent state Veronia so we cooperated with them.”
During that time, due to the rapidly expanding Pirate King Veronia Kingdom, the traditional Avalonia Kingdom and the Franberg Kingdom forged friendly relationships and there were many small countries that wanted their protection.
In addition, before the invasion of the Demon Lord Army began, many of the lords and lawmakers of the countries voiced their opinion saying that the Veronia Kingdom was the biggest threat toward the Avalonia Continent.
“Kuvashino was a sea town. Made up of the Kuvashino island and the port on the continental side. The economy and culture of the two towns were closely tied and the two towns eventually combined into one. Every day, more than 10 regular ferries connect the island and the mainland, transporting goods and people.”
The harpoon that the sailors were holding was Kuvashino’s iconic weapon.
Kuvashino developed with fishing as their main sector so their brave fishermen even hunt Sea Drakes which was not seen in any other regions.
There were countless casualties but in the past, there was a time when the fishermen had to take a single rowboat and subjugate a Sea Drake to prove their ability to become the Chieftain. The weapon they used then was the harpoon.
Now, the Chieftain was elected by votes but they retained the past practices where he had to serve as the captain of a rowboat to fish in the coastal waters during the inauguration ceremony.
“Now, Kuvashino is known for their fishing industry and shipbuilding of small trade ships while the hunt for the Sea Drake happens once every two years. It has become a sort of a festival.”
“Ooo, Kuvashino was a town that I only knew of its location on the map but it has such colorful history.”
“All towns have their own history.”
Naturally, even Zoltan had a history.
I heard a voice calling Ruti’s name.
A High-Elf flew out from behind an Oden stall.
It was the High-Elf working at the Oden stall, Oparara.
Ruti and Tise once helped her in the past and she has been friends with them ever since.
High-Elves were highly skeptical people who hardly open their hearts to trust others but once they were on friendly terms with you, they would trust you until the bitter end.
Oparara intimately hugged Ruti and Tise.
“You’re opening your stall here today?”
“The location I usually set up stall has been taken up by the festival decorations. It happens every year though.”
“More importantly, how about it? Since you’re here, have something to eat. I got my hands on some good quality octopus. I recommend trying the minced fish too.”
Octopus oden huh?
“Sure, I’ll have that and some burdock as well.”
“I will have the octopus and egg.”
“I will have the same as Ruti-sama. In addition, I’ll have minced fish, squid ball, radish, and two chikuwa please.”
Lastly, Lit finished making her decision and ordered octopus, burdock, egg, minced fish, squid ball, radish, and beef tendon.
“You eat so well.”
“That’s because it looks so delicious.”
Lit had ordered alcohol as well and she seemed a little tipsy as she ate the oden deliciously.
Tise was stuffing her cheeks with the daikon with sparkling eyes. She looked like she was in bliss.
Ruti seemed satisfied too.
We originally planned to stop by only for a short while but we ended up ordering additional orders before we knew it.
“By the way, it seems that the marine products have increased.”
“Yeah, the distribution volume has increased recently. Thanks to that, I have been able to obtain cheap and good quality ingredients so I’m thankful.”
“The fish in winter are delicious. Not just oden, I can make salt-grilled fish as well.”
“Sounds nice. We’ll have that too.”
It had totally become a full lunch course.
Enjoying alcohol and oden at an oden stall in the afternoon, what a luxurious slow life!
Oparara took out a few warm charcoals from the oden and placed them in a stove with a wire net atop it.
Then, she took out a fat threeline grunt fish and skillfully fillet it before she removed the moisture with a cloth and dusted it with salt. Zoltan’s salt was not famous but I found that it was pretty high in quality.
The moderately salted fillet was placed on top of the wire net. The fragrant scent of grilled fish washed over us along with the sizzling sound.
“Here you go.”
The fish placed on the plate was grilled to a brilliant golden color.
Ruti quickly broke the fish into smaller pieces and ate it with a fork.
“How is it?”
Ruti calm eyes wavered all of a sudden.
“I see! That’s great! Here, this is on me, have another one!”
Oparara was able to tell with just that and she happily started grilling the remaining fillet.
“Isn’t that great.”
Lit gently smiled as she looked at Ruti and Tise.
I agreed with Lit’s words with all my heart.
We ended up staying at the harbor for longer than expected but we still had plenty of time to spare.
“I wonder where is the 『Winter Demon』 now?”
“If I recall correctly, he should be around the north ward around this time.”
The 『Winter Demon』 which plays a leading role in the festival pretty much had a predetermined route to travel around the town. But this was the sloppy Zoltan after all so it was nothing more than a rough plan.
“I’m bloated so let’s not rush and take our time to wait for him at the central ward which is scheduled after the north ward.”
“All right. That sounds like a good plan.”
“It’s decided then.”
Normally the Zoltan residents would bundle up and hide in their homes to avoid the cold but today everyone was out making a ruckus.
When the guards holding trumpets show off a splendid performance, the South Marsh thieves would respond with light steps.
When the Magician Guild magicians set off dragon fireworks that run across the skies, the children who hate to study will pester them to teach them how they do it.
The Half-Orcs would march while beating large drums. With the drums that originate from the Dark Continent and the three string violins, they played a cheerful tune.
Following behind them, the human youngsters who normally make fun of the Half-Orcs were joyfully dancing as they followed them.
Turning the corner, the Half-Elves were playing a refreshing tune with their wooden Elven flutes. Even the central nobles would stop and fall in love with the beautiful timbre.
In front of them was an overturned vessel. It indicated that they did not need any payment today.
As such, the audience thanked them with resounding applause.
Then, the Half-Elves would hold their flutes up once again and fascinate the people who look forward to their music.