Author: Kaburagi Haruka
Translator: ShiroiKaze/Soyokaze Translations
2nd Act, Chapter 22: Dinner Meeting
Well then, Alec is coming by today, so let’s make a little extra food for dinner.
Except how much should I make? Alec is a growing boy, so I’m not sure how much to adjust it.
At times like these, I know the perfect thing: “nabe”!1
That way it’s OK to eat just the things you like in just the amount you want. If there’s not enough, then all sorts of noodles can be added to it.
I planned to make pot-au-feu today, but with these ingredients we can go in a different direction.
First, I fill an earthenware pot with water, and use a [heat ball] to boil it.
Then I peel the skin off of and cut the carrots, potatoes, onions, white cabbage, and celery into large pieces before adding them to the pot and heating them through.
Then I cut some of the pork fat off, and add it to the water in place of a soup stock.
While the fat is melting, I grab four tomatoes from a stalk in our garden, peel the skin and crush them roughly, then add them to the pot as well.
Add salt and pepper for flavor, then while skimming off the top, let it simmer and then I just have to wait!
… I’d really like some consomme mix right now. Our lack of seasonings is a serious problem.
Now before I finish I just need to dribble some beaten eggs from above, mix them in, and my tomato soup-like nabe is complete.
While waiting for dinner time, my Master is lazily relaxing on the sofa while browsing through history books.
Come to think of it, he’s been refraining from using the pipe he likes so much ever since I started living here, hasn’t he?
Maybe he’s worried about the second-hand smoke bothering me?
I sit down next to my Master and, while occasionally checking on the nabe, we read books together.
—This is nice, slowly passing the time like this.
I place my head on my Master’s arm, and relax in that somewhat poorly mannered position.
And my Master, without shifting his gaze to me, gently strokes my head, 2, 3 times, while he continues reading.
Aah, I’m getting kinda sleep… slee… py—zzz.
knock, knock, knock!
Ha! Did I fall asleep?
Moreover, right now, did I wake up in my Master’s lap?! I’m using his lap as a pillow?! For whatever reason I fell asleep; well done, me! Wait, I didn’t mean that!
“Looks like Alec is here.”
After I jumped awake, my Master gave my head one more stroke before going to greet our guests.
“Good evenin’! As usual, Master is the one answering the door. Yuuri, could you stop slacking off so much?”
“P-pardon me for intruding.”
“Hm. Marle came along with you, eh?”
“Yes, sir Alec told me, “Since Yuuri is the one cooking, she’ll probably make some sketchy dish that everyone can eat”… I hope I’m not bothering you?”
“Not at all, the more the merrier.”
“Mister big-shot brought his girlfriend along. How I envy you…”
I take Marle’s cloak for her and go to hang it up. What about Alec’s? He can take care of it himself!
“Even though I’m the one who was invited by Yuuri…”
“Guys who have girlfriends are the enemy.”
“I-I-I, I’m not… well, umm…”
“It seems our meal is prepared too, so you can take a seat. There’s been a nice aroma coming from it for a while, and my stomach can’t wait.”
“I’ll bring it out in just a moment, go ahead, have a seat!”
In a rush, I arrange the table with the tomato nabe as the main course, alongside bread and a salad.
My Master gets distilled liquor. Alec looked like he wanted some, but since he’s underage, that’s a no-can-do.
In place of it, I treat him to some grape juice with sugar mixed in.
“Well then… go ahead and dig in!”
“Puft, that’s… Miss Yuuri, that’s unbelievable.”
“… … …”
Alec burst out laughing, and Marle couldn’t completely stop herself from laughing.
Master, isn’t laughing to the point of convulsions a little weird?
—I won two prizes, one of which is Alec’s portrait!
“This is the work of a famous artist, so it looks like I can sell it for quite a bit though?”
“Even so, a painting of Alec of all things?”
“Well, I did do something kinda showy after all. Doing it with one arm on top of that made me famous.”
“Rumors of “The One-Armed Heavy Swordsman” even reached Mareba. You’ve done well.”
At my Master’s praise, Alec showed a rare moment of bashfulness.
Well, all that aside…
“I’ll give this portrait to you, Marle. If I hold onto it, I’ll probably just end up using it as a target for my spells.”
“Eh? Can I really have it?! Ah, I mean no, I couldn’t possibly take something so expensive.”
For a moment her face was colored with happiness; it’s all right to be upfront about it.
“I don’t mind. He said it was worth about 10 gold coins. That’s only one month of Alec’s payment.”
After Alec left the cottage, he passed about half a year in training.
During that time, he took charge of crafting rings for me, and as the price for that I gave him 10 gold coins per month.
A person living alone doesn’t usually spend much money, but in Alec’s case he spent most of the day at the cottage. Aside from dinner and utility expenses, he hardly used any, so it was kinda excessive.
Still, my Master, with his broken sense of monetary value, wanted to hand Alec 100 gold coins a month, which I desperately put a stop to.
Since having that huge an amount of money would actually cause problems; you know, like cause some not-so-good people to come knocking?
By the way, most of our income goes to me right now.
My Master takes 20% as the idea man, and I get 80%. Though there’s not much to spend it on…
“Let’s forget about the painting for a moment. What should I do with this?”
Saying that, I waved around 3 nights of luxury inn accommodation vouchers. Except they’re for a neighboring country.
We also have to pay our own travel expenses. Indeed, what should I do with this?
“An inn at Solkalis, in Novelius, eh…? From here that would take roughly two weeks.”
“The stay is only for three nights. At least it says here that families of up to four can stay though.”
“A round trip would be four weeks, so a whole month? It really is too far away. Guess I’ll dispose of them?”
“Ah, speaking of Solkalis… isn’t that place famous for their hot springs?”
At those two words from Marle, my lean towards disposal of the tickets suddenly reverses course.
She said hot springs! I wonder if they have open air ones? It would be even better if it’s mixed bathing! Well, I don’t have an easily excited rod right now though.
“Master, let’s go.” (Prompt decision)
“Well that was sudden. Eh, I’ve got nothing but time on my hands, so I don’t really mind though.”
“That means two more can stay. Alec, you’re coming too.”
“Wha, you’re just gonna order me?!”
Fuhuhu, I once had a dream of a “family bath” that was shot down, but it looks like the day it will be realized is at hand.
“I’m in the service of the court, so I can’t just take a vacation all of a…”
“Try applying for it by saying you’ll be escorting me. If you tell them that Master is coming along too, it’s sure to go through.”
After all, Mareba never had a dispatched knight before, and the only reason he was dispatched here was to try and reel my Master in.
And it’s not just my Master either; offers for me to become a court official have been coming lately.
If I don’t use this pointless influence now, then when will I?!
“Yuuri, you shouldn’t be asking so much of him. Alec is already independent of us, and…”
“I’ll go! No matter how hard it is, I’ll make it go through!”
When my Master chides me while looking lonely, Alec reacts strongly. He probably couldn’t handle the one who taught him about magic, and his master in swordsmanship, looking like that.
Oops, I forgot one person.
“Marle, would you like to come with us too?”
“W-would that be all right?!”
“Ah, but it’ll be a problem if you don’t have a guard…”
“Well, it’s up to your parents. If you talk to them and they give you permission to come along, then we wouldn’t mind.”
Come to think of it, I’m a Sage now. And since Alec got the ranking of a knight, we’ll probably make it safer than an incompetent guard would.
“But is it really all right for me to go with you…?”
“Marle, come here for a minute.”
I took the still hesitant Marle to a place a little ways away from there.
She’s still only 10 years old, but considering how thick-headed Alec is, wouldn’t it be best to give them a little push now?
“Listen closely now. It’s a hot spring. In other words, it’s possible that you’ll be able to bathe with Alec.”
“That’s a nice rap beat you’ve got going… but if you want to seduce that dullard who hasn’t noticed your feelings in these two years, then that’s how far you’ll have to push!”
“Is that really all right? You wouldn’t, umm, think that’s a shameful thing to do?”
“I do have some personal experience with seduction you know?”
Since I did seduce a whole town five years ago after all.
“I-I understand. I’ll give it my very best!”
“Indeed, I expect a good fight from you.”
Marle makes a small pumped-up pose.
Indeed, the role of the older sister really is to help with her little brother’s love life!
Now we just need the permission of her parents, but… Since Mr. Halt is covertly aiming for Alec, I’m sure that will turn out fine.
“And so, it has been declared that Marle is participating.”
“Why does it feel like you’re scheming all of a sudden?”
“With Yuuri, even if she’s plotting something, it’s sure to fail, Master.”
Since Alec was being rude, I tossed some hot vegetables into his pants to shut him up.
“Yuuri, you shouldn’t play with your food.”
“Awawawa, have to get it out quickly, b-b-but.”
You’re free to stick your hand in and take it out for him you know? I warmly watch over the panicking girlfriend, Marle, with a mischievous smile on my face.
“Well then, tomorrow I’ll go get permission from your parents, after that we’ll need to prepare for the trip, and… let’s see, how about we leave in a week?”
“Roger that, Master.”
“Whatever, could you hurry and help get these out—?!”
And like that, it turned into a family trip we were taking.
- Nabe: A type of Japanese hotpot, typically made with a fish stock. ↩