5, Pot-au-feu of Nostalgia. (2nd Half)
(Author’s note: I didn’t manage to post on time.
I have never decided things for myself.
When Ganglabe wanted to start up a mercenary corp, I went along with it as long as we were able to somehow have something to eat.
Even the times when Riru-chan created inventions, I thought, ‘Well, alright’.
Even during battles, when the aide was issuing instructions, I never decided where to go
Always looking from the back, surviving with the flow.
That is my way of life.
I’m Teg. The commander of the archery unit.
As for the reason why I chose the bow, it was just because I hated being on the front lines.
Besides, it was also because Ganglabe said “You, think about the organization of your troops and use a bow”
That’s why somehow, I use the bow.
Fortunately because I had a talent for the bow I didn’t end up being a hindrance on the battlefield.
However, only one time have I regretted it.
In the past, a battle to retreat from the battle we lost, Ganglabe received a heavy injury.
As a commander as well as the corp leader, for some reason Ganglabe was working in the Shingari, the rear guard.
At that time, Cougar’s team was doing something separately, and wasn’t at that location.
In addition to having no infantry, the cavalry had no choice but to act as the rear guard. There’s no way Riru’s team could act as rear guard and the cost and risk of using Ahrius’ team as rear guard was too high.
At that time I ran as if I was washed away.
Even now, I see it in my dreams.
At that time, if my team had also participated as rear guard, couldn’t we have avoided the worst case scenario?
They stopped at a command somehow and, the corp was destroyed and ended without even being dissolved.
At that time, I made an oath.
“Everyone is family. Next time I’ll be the one to protect us.”
But my habit of many years, my quality of going with the flow, was quite a difficult one to overcome.
What I could do, was lightening up the atmosphere in the corp as a follow up.
Admist that, Ganglabe allowed a man to enter the corp.
A cook named Shuri.
Basically the guy’s cooking was delicious.
Up till now it was close to a situation where we all supported ourselves.
As for food, it was at a state where salt was used so much that we couldn’t tell one thing from another anymore.
But after Shuri came, everyone has been looking a lot brighter, and I get it.
Mealtimes are enjoyable, and happiness is being able to fill your stomach up with delicious foods.
Being able to eat Shuri’s food after winning a battle, you would think that it’s good to be alive.
Above all else, it becomes energy for the next battle.
But it’s a little frustrating.
The one who was protecting everyone I thought was family in the shadows was, Shuri.
Providing energy for everyone with delicious meals.
Even though I thought that it was frustrating, I also thought that if it’s his cooking then it’s inevitable.
It’s just that delicious.
Such a Shuri caught a cold.
It was because in the recent battles, we were battling in cold areas during the cold season, and responsibility as the chef were all forced upon him.
Shuri is weak. His physique was thin and he honestly can’t even swing a sword. And he had no stamina.
But, since he ate the same meals as everyone we thought he was fine, me as well as Ganglabe, we both underrated him.
Nobody could’ve imagined that Shuri was actually weak to such a degree.
Also Shuri himself, hid it way too well.
A face without complaints, he made everyone’s meal every single day.
Without complaining about how tough it is he would use water to finish washing the dishes by himself in this damn cold.
Then he suddenly collapsed with a thud.
Everyone rushed over to look after him.
Shuri said “Sorry”.
Even though it was our fault forcing him to do everything we found annoying, he didn’t say a single word to blame us.
“Soz. I should have gotten you an assistant earlier.”
Inside the tent Shuri was talking with Ganglabe alone.
I mean it’s no good if everyone crowded so, Ganglabe was visiting and I was standing guard.
“No… I should’ve taken better care of my body… then this wouldn’t have happened…”
“I’m responsible too, I was negligent of our emergency medical supplies… We relied too much on your cooking…”
“That’s because getting relied on… it makes me happy…”
Wrong, Shuri. That’s wrong.
If we had looked at you more then it wouldn’t have become like this.
“No more on me… what about everyone…? Are you all… eating properly…?”
“Yea. However, the taste is terrible. Everyone’s wishing for your recovery.”
“Such an exaggeration…”
It wasn’t an exaggeration.
Because Shuri collapsed, everyone is greatly troubled.
There is no one here who knows how to cook which is why we relied on Shuri.
If Shuri collapses then, everyone will regress back to bad-tasting food.
It’s not just our unit. The other team’s subordinates are also complaining.
“It’s not an exaggeration. There’s also no doctor nearby. No medicine. It’ll be frightening if an accident were to occur.”
Honestly, our corps’ emergency medical supplies are no good.
We have no knowledge on medicine, and from eating Shuri’s cooking, no one became sick.
If Shuri dies like this, it’ll be our fault.
“I won’t… die so easily…”
“I’ll believe you ok? Everyone really wants to rush over here and nurse you.
It’s because of you, that everyone’s here”
“Ahaha… tell them I said… thank you… very much”
Ganglabe looked severe as he exited the tent.
It was as if he was saying everything was his fault.
“Commander. How is Shuri?”
“He has a fever but, he’s conscious and he is also able to think. There’s no need to worry now”
I was a little relieved.
“But, if we had medicine then this wouldn’t have happened….!”
Ganglabe’s face seemed to have been distorted miserably from frustration.
“It’s my fault. I didn’t think of him properly.
The matter with the medicine, the cook, as well as his hometown.
Although I’ve received so much from him, I haven’t given a single thing in back…!”
The Ganglabe up til now had only thought about winning battles.
Regarding strategies and trickery he was second to none, however.
He wasn’t concerned about the pre-battle preparations.
Food, equipment, armour, pay…
Ganglabe was complaining that just that was eating up all the mercenary corp’s money.
And now, he is leading a mercenary corp close to two hundred people.
But, this time it was all a burden to Shuri.
This was our fault, everyone’s.
“Don’t say it Teg. Right now, no matter what you say it will just be licking each other’s wounds…”
With that Ganglabe quickly left.
I was a little worried so, I reached for the tent planning to take a look at Shuri.
I heard Shuri’s heartbreaking voice.
Shuri has a family.
In a place separated and far away, Shuri had a hometown and family.
So that he could meet those people again he had to desperately survive.
Even though it was that weak Shuri.
At first, I think I was jealous that he had family.
Because we didn’t have any.
But, in Shuri’s case, it wasn’t that he didn’t have one. He couldn’t meet them.
Not knowing if he could return separated so far away, he came this far without saying a single thought of loneliness.
Compared to that, how were we?
Did we understand Shuri’s pain?
Did we know what kind of people were in that family?
Shuri’s favourite foods, drinks, the type of women he likes, his interests.
We didn’t know anything.
Right now the harmful effects of going with the flow, being forced into a flow, became an enormous regret.
What, ‘Protect my family’.
I didn’t even ask about Shuri’s problems.
“Ah, hey, Shuri. You aight?”
“Yea, more or less”
At some point Shuri went out, and it was night time.
“It’s cold, aren’t you going to go inside?”
“Ah, no, it’s cool. You should probably go to sleep soon too”
“I’m feeling better so it’s no problem. Besides I kinda want to talk to someone.”
… It’s a good chance.
“I see… then I accept your offer. Besides I too, have something I want to talk about, su.”
Sitting inside, I turned to face Shuri.
“Shuri. Hey you, don’t you want to go back home?”
It was a straight ball, but I wanted to ask.
“Of course I want to return”
“Ain’t that right… “
“But I might not be able to return”
“I won’t go into too much detail cause it’s complicated but, it’s far away. It’s not very easy to get there.
And it’s not on this continent.”
“Not, on this continent?”
Not on this continent?
The continent of Sabraeu is an extremely large continent, and travelling from one end to the other would take about one year.
And so far there has been no one who has gone out to sea.
Outside the sea was called “Outer circle sea” and there didn’t appear to be other continents and nothing has ever returned.
Besides if you went out a certain distance there were “Sea monsters”, capable of capsizing boats.
That’s why there hasn’t been anyone who could leave for the outside.
And Shuri says he comes from that place?
“I’ll go make some supper”
Shuri said as I was lost in thought.
“Ah, then I’ll just…”
“No, won’t you come eat with me?”
“This dish. This dish was a dish that my family made for me whenever I caught a cold.
That’s why, it might be better for there to be someone by my side”
I realised that this was the first time I heard about Shuri’s family.
That kind of memorable dish, with me?
As I was thinking that, Shuri places the pot onto the portable stove and starts cooking.
For some reason he already had ingredients.
In the dark reddish-brown transparent soup he added sausage meat and potato as well as carrot and chinese cabbage to boil.
Ah, as expected even Shuri’s cooking smells nice.
Being satisfied with the smell, Shuri placed some soup into the plate.
“Come on, let’s eat”
“Is this… sausage meat?”
“Yes, it goes well with this dish”
Sausage meat was sort of an extravagant meat.
Even commoners can have it but, it’s expensive.
I too have eaten it several times but, I had a rough memory of the meat juices being as irresistible and delicious as the sake.
Trying it I ate one spoon.
The soup had a complicated taste, and I could tell my tongue and throat were delighted.
I understood that various ingredients were used to bring out the flavour but, I didn’t know exactly how many.
Even the flavour of the boiled sausage meat was ingrained deeply, as the meat juices and soup mix together creating even better flavour.
The chinese cabbage and carrot too, were soft and melted inside your mouth, falling into your stomach.
But what surprised me was the potato.
I thought that it was normal for potato be steamed to eat.
If my stomach was hungry I would trick it by eating a potato.
Actually, the potato in this soup had flavour, soft and melts gently in your mouth. This was the first time I felt that something like potatoes were delicious.
“It’s good. I always thought that potatoes were just used to increase your fullness, su.”
“It’s not just to make you full. Potatoes are highly nutritious and are good for your body.
The ones which have been soaked in taste, are special.”
“Ain’t that… the truth”
“This was, something my mom made for me”
“Rather than missing it a little. Rather than feeling sad…
After I entered this corp, everyone is nice. But it’s tough, unable to meet with your family”
“All of us!”
Before I realised I was shouting.
It’s not like they were dead. But they couldn’t meet.
Getting to a clean cut solution like us was wishing for too much, I’m unable to even say that.
I’m pathetic, what ‘I’ll protect my family’.
Couldn’t I just become a part of Shuri’s family!
“All of us, are orphans. Ganglabe, Riru, Cougar, Ahrius, me, everyone.
But we think of each other as family.
And in there is Shuri. You are there too.
That’s why, if you ever feel lonely, you can rely on us.
Because we are a family that live and die together.”
This time for sure, I promise.
I’ll protect my family, my comrades.
“Yes… thank you very much…”
“We will absolutely protect you Shuri.
That’s why Shuri. It’s fine if you come to our place.
These delicious meals. If we had parents, then I think this is what they would make.
We are the ones who should be thanking you”
“It’s good. This soup”
Shuri had tears flowing but, I pretended not to see it.
Because I finally felt like I came to an understanding with Shuri.
That’s why just now, this will be our secret.
The next day, Shuri became completely healthy.
Receiving ‘I’m glad’ from everyone and getting blessed.
I’ll no longer feel frustrated or jealous.
I won’t get washed away by the flow.
I’ll do whatever I can do.
“Come one, practise”
Stirring up my subordinates, doing nothing but repeating martial arts.
“It seems that the commander is motivated these days”
said my vice-commander as he looked at me suspiciously.
“I too, will do what I can when the time calls”
“I see, then as your vice-commander I’ll follow you”
My subordinates accompanied me to desperately train.
When I was suddenly struck with an idea for using the bow in close quarter combat, I refined it with my subordinates too.
I came to be washed away. But even I have a dream, rather I created a goal for myself.
Next time I won’t be washed away. This is my dream.
I want travel from one corner of this continent to the other, collecting information into one book.
Leaving out for the sea, looking for Shuri’s hometown.
To tell Shuri’s parents that Shuri is doing just fine.
For that purpose, I will try my best today.
Teg Valence is seen as a hero but he also holds another identity as an adventurer.
He established one of the two big martial arts of the united empire, Tegu Style (TL: Kanji has Tengu), bow combat technique, a combat style where the bow can be used in close range, mid-range or long range. The name originates from when his close friend muttered “It kinda looks like a Tengu” and is made from those characters.
He retired from his position as the commander of the imperial guards to his successor as quickly as possible and went on a journey.
Going around every place on the continent, looking at everything, eating everything.
After that, he wrote a single book.
Foreign country observation records.
That was the adventure log for everything in the Sabraeu continent.
The book enchanted many adventurers to go into unexplored regions, devil regions and gave birth to various discoveries.
Teg Valence as the pioneer for the job of adventurer, established the word ‘Adventurer’ itself.
In the future many adventurers had faith in him, he became a great person that gradually there was no adventurer who has not heard of his name.
However, in his final adventure, his whereabouts were cut off for 20 years.
In that time, he had actually went past the Outer circle sea and traveled to another continent.
With the sea road and the seamanship that he discovered, he created a trade route between the new continent.
Then he wrote another book. Becoming an invitation for many adventurers to go on a new journey.
Underworld Observation logs.
That was a record of all the food, culture and history of a country in the newly discovered continent.
In future years, even between scholars who wish to research about the foreign culture would come to use this book at this time.
After he returned from that continent, he lived out the rest of his days carefree with his wife and kids in the capital of the empire, blessed with a grandchild until the end of his life.
It’s said that he would often talk of a close friend he had who was a cook.
According to someone, at that time he would always be served a kind of soup.
Each time he ate it seems that he would say.
“A spoonful of soup, could connect me with the world.”