55 – New Year
Time passed, and it was the season when the snow that covered much of the Kingdom of Largofiely began to melt.
With this snow melt, the Kingdom entered into a new year.
In this country, it seems that it’s not a custom to have a specific birthday, and from the royalty to the
commoners, everybody in the country simultaneously accumulates one age.
Tatsumi and Calcedonia are also going to age one year, and when the New Year comes, Tatsumi will become 17, and Calcedonia will become 20.
And then, this means that close to a year’s worth of time has passed since Tatsumi was summoned from Japan.
“New Year’s Festival?”
“Yes. It’s this country’s celebration festival to welcome the new year and the snow thawing.
Walking along the almost-snowless streets of the royal capital, Calcedonia answered Tatsumi’s question.
As usual, the two of them walked while cuddling with each other.
The figure of Tatsumi intimately walking with the《Holy Maiden》 was initially seen with surprise, but now that a year has passed, the royal capital became completely used to it.
Today as well, the people of the royal capital warmly—and some curiously—looked at the cuddling couple and smiled pleasantly.
At times, people ridiculed him, but Tatsumi was already used to it.
Life in this world began with Calcedonia summoning Tatsumi.
Tatsumi had to carry out his duties as a priest at the temple, and also had training piled on top as a Temple Soldier.
They were going as magic beast hunters, from around the outskirts of the Royal Capital until a ways off, to hunt together with Jadokh and Miloulle to deepen their cooperation as a team and at the same time, to fill their purses.
Recently, Tatsumi and company started using armaments made from the materials of the magic beasts they’d hunted and had definitely grown in terms of both actual ability and equipment compared to before.
And the time spent together as such with the girl he treasured most on free days were also precious moments.
“A festival to celebrate the New Year…huh. Sounds a bit fun.”
“Yes. Every year, the festival begins with his Majesty the King’s declaration of the New Year, and it continues for three days and three nights.”
“Woah, a three day festival, is it. What do you specifically do?”
“Let’s see… The king and nobles host things like an evening party and martial arts competitions, but…for the commoners, there’s many events conducted at the Royal Capital’s Temples of the Four Great Gods.”
The Protector of Law, revered as a War God, the Sun God Golaiva.
The Guardian of Night, the Wisdom God, prayed to as the God of the Arts, the Moon God Glavavy.
The Protector of the Ocean, worshipped as the Guardian of Trade, the Sea God Dalagarvae.
And, the God of Good Harvest and Marriage, the Good Harvest God Savaiv that Tatsumi and Calcedonia have a deep connection to.
It seemed like the events with each of these four temples’ features were one of the highlights of the New Year’s Festival.
Also, merchants came to the Royal Capital in huge numbers to set up stalls, and the people wandering about enjoyed them.
It is said that throughout the year this is the greatest profitable time for troupes and bards, so they all show off their acting and singing.
“Temple events, huh… Since it’s like that, won’t we have work assigned to us?”
“That’s possible. But, in this case, I believe there was a discussion from Grandpa about something.”
That was Giuseppe’s favorite work in a festival like this. Most likely, he was scheming something for today.
And, they were almost correct, for Tatsumi and Calcedonia were bound to be dragged into this plan.
“Well… It seems fun, but also a bit scary…”
Seeing Tatsumi, who was giving a small frown, Calcedonia silently laughed in happiness.
“Isn’t that fine? Even if Grandfather is scheming something, we will surely be together when we get dragged into it.”
“I think so too. As long as we’re together, it doesn’t matter even if we get dragged into anything.”
At Tatsumi’s words, Calcedonia smiled happily and hugged his arm even tighter.
Tatsumi and the others almost always meet at The Elf’s Resthouse.
As for Eru’s cooking that suited Tatsumi, and in addition to Jadokh and Miloulle making this their regular inn, they frequently traveled there.
Eru came to this world around twenty years ago. While wandering the world, she was aiming to do a certain thing.
To reproduce Japanese food.
She lived in Japan for a long time and ate many Japanese foods that she liked.
“Even if it’s a different world, can’t I reproduce Japanese food?” she thought.
She also wanted to keep her memories of living in Japan forever.
Memories of the one who became her husband and of her new friends were treasures that couldn’t be replaced by anything to her.
She passed her days with her husband and friends. Japanese food was one of such treasures to her.
So, even in this world, Eru continued the endeavor to reproduce Japanese food.
On her journey, she often found things that tasted similar, but, over and over again, she failed yet another time.
Continuing to do trial-and-error, she finally made several types of “Pseudo-Japanese Food.”
Now, the pseudo-Japanese food became The Elf’s Resthouse’s signature dishes.
But, that doesn’t mean that her aspiration has already been completed. Eru always tells Tatsumi and the others that she’ll be trying to reproduce the perfect Japanese food until the day her long lifespan ends.
Naturally, Tatsumi started liking this pseudo-Japanese food, and eating Eru’s cooking at the The Elf’s Resthouse became one of Tatsumi’s most favorite things to do.
By the way, Calcedonia asked how to make pseudo-Japanese food, but Eru refused with a smile.
“The recipe is The Elf’s Resthouse’s trade secret, so no matter how much you wish, I won’t tell. When you want to eat this food, please come to my store and help with sales numbers, okay?”
Knowing that it was impossible to get the recipe, she too decided to stay at The Elf’s Resthouse and ate the signature food with relish.
Of course, Tatsumi and Calcedonia always came to Eru’s shop together and enjoyed the Japanese food that they both missed—Calcedonia never ate Japanese food, but she clearly remembered the smell.
Nanau was a worker at The Elf’s Resthouse, and from time to time, Verse would join up with Tatsumi. As for Tatsumi, he would fully enjoy time spent with his love, and friends.
In front of The Elf’s Resthouse.
Tatsumi and Calcedonia pushed open the familiar door and entered into the store.
And, in the store filled with the usual smell of booze and food, there was there was a sound, a sound that’s different from always.
“Nn? This sound…?”
“…The sound of a lalaena… is it?”
The lalaena that Calcedonia mentioned was an instrument that looked like a tiny harp and was one of the country’s most popular instruments.
Hence, one could commonly see bards play this instrument.
When they looked at the source of the sound, a man that looked to be a bard was sitting on a counter seat and singing while playing his lalaena.
The bard was directing a look filled with passion toward Eru who was on the inside of the counter, but Eru herself had a troubled look on her face while ignoring the bard.
“Oh, isn’t it Tatsumi-chan and Calcey-chan. Welcome!”
Spotting Tatsumi and Calcedonia’s figures, Jadokh beckoned for them to come from one of the tables.
Miloulle was also at the same table, and she was doing the same thing as Jadokh.
When Tatsumi arrived to Jadokh’s table with Calcedonia, he once again turned his eyes to the bard at the counter.
Tatsumi started, “An unfamiliar bard, isn’t he.”
“Yeah. It seems like he’s one of those bards that come to the royal capital ahead of time for the New Year Festival, I think,” Miloulle answered.
“Why the heck is that bard constantly staring at Eru?”
“Probably since he has a high fondness for women. As soon as he came in, he sang a love song to every single pretty girl.”
Miloulle continued, “Even to me, he said “To praise your beauty, please let me sing a song!” Heck, I still get goosebumps whenever I remember it.”
Jadokh added in, “But that man hasn’t called out to me even once? Isn’t this a complete discourtesy? Here is such a good woman, and yet…”
Jadokh deliberately made a flirtatious gesture.
Perhaps it was to soften the occasion, or unexpectedly, he seriously thought so; it was impossible to judge, but everybody smiled.
It was a general fact within this kingdom that some bards, regardless of gender, would work a side job as a lover for the night.
Perhaps that bard excelled in those kinds of side jobs.
With that thought, Tatsumi once again observed the bard.
The color of his long hair that hung down to his shoulders was a dirty blonde. His pupils were remarkably clear
with an amethyst-like color, and he was a man with a fairly good looking appearance.
Currently, that man was enthusiastically expressing his feelings in a song related to love between men and women.
However, within The Elf’s Resthouse, there was nobody concentrating on the song.
Not the magic beast hunter regulars, not even store workers, and not even Tatsumi and his party.
Everyone directed their cold gaze towards the bard.
Certainly, this bard has quite the skill with songs.
It would not be strange if he captured the heart of a young woman in a blink of an eye by combining his low resounding voice and his good looks.
However, the bard had a single fault to his looks.
It was the frivolous smile on his mouth.
With that smile, it was clearly displayed to the audiences in the store what the bard was seeking for.
It was mostly likely a wish for a side job as a “One Night Lover.”
In addition to that, not only was it a desire for a companion, but it was for his own lust that he was seeking for women.
The women in the store all directed their cold gazes at him precisely because they all clearly understood his reasons.
“…The point is, it’s like a third-rate host forcing a female customer to accompany them in the late hours”
Tatsumi muttered in a small voice, “Well, that certainly would make things unpleasant.”
His lalaena resounded with a piiiiiin, thus finishing the bard’s performance.
The magic beast hunters in the store pitied the bard, and threw a few silver coins to him.
The bard frowned for just an instant at the few coins, but after a smile immediately smoothed over his face, he elegantly bowed and began to gather the coins that were tossed.
Even though the bard looked at Eru seemingly reluctant to part, she, who had seen through his ulterior motive, completely pretended to ignore him.
With the uninterested Eru, the bard had come to a realization and direct his gaze toward the inside of the store.
And sweeped his gaze, looking around the inn.
And, his gaze stopped abruptly at a certain spot.
At that time, the bard’s face energetically shined.
Excitedly slipping between seats, he came around to Tatsumi and his party’s seats.
“Not noticing when a beauty such as you entered this inn… Who would have thought that I, Taland, would have made the great mistake of their life!”
Taland, which seemed to be the bard’s name, courteously kneeled.
“May I ask this beautiful lady for your name?”
“Oh my, a thing like a beautiful lady, aren’t ya an honest person. Ah, my name is Jadokh! Let’s get along, shall we?”
Jadokh talked to him from the side while smiling, but Taland entirely ignored him.
Presently, his eyes were staring at only one place.
“I’ll bet 30 silvers that bard’ll be beaten up by the Holy Maiden’s magic!”
“Then, I’ll bet the same 30 silvers that Jadokh will throw him out!”
“Okay! The great me will put 80 silvers on Landlady-san beating him black and blue and throwing him out of the inn!”
And at this moment, the magic beast hunters who were in the inn simultaneously began to gamble on the terrible fate of the bard known as Taland.