Long chapter hue (pressures of translating? idek)
14, Truth and Potato-mochi (Part 2)
(Author’s note: You’ve waited for this! I feel as I update)
Since I’ve been born, I have been obligated to live by “out of sight”.
I can never stand out. Days of being forced to do the dirty work behind the scenes.
Investigating the secrets of the chief vassal who works dishonestly.
An intelligence network at every place, establishing an espionage network.
Learning assassination techniques and detective techniques.
My everyday is completely doused in darkness.
My name is Gann Rubber.
Here, in the territory of Sounity I am the Head of Espionage in charge of the so called “Behind the scenes” work.
My name actually does not exist in the registry of the castle.
It’s not written in the logs for either soldier or office worker.
Even the name Gann Rubber is not my real name, just what I call myself because it is necessary.
Having my future decided ever since I was born, burying myself in the mud of the name, Darkness.
Getting dirtier, and dirtier…. For the sake of protecting what I ought to, I did nothing but continued to fight.
However someone like me, recently got something fun.
The job this time is on the orders of the second prince.
Monitoring the arrested man in the jail.
Originally offending the feudal lord and such would end with him getting beheaded.
However, the second prince, Gingus Sounity was being cautious.
Gingus-sama was afraid that Shuri who seemed to know something might slip something.
What that is, even I didn’t know.
“Gingus-sama. What is the information that guy holds?
If I don’t know that then, it can’t be helped even I am unable to deal with this”
Inside Gingus-sama’s room, I received his scolding.
This year Gingus-sama is 15. And if he improves his achievements, he can proudly become a candidate as successor of the feudal lord.
However, Gingus-sama is not skilled with the management of the territory.
He certainly has the talent for military services but, it is not shared with his talents for domestic affairs and diplomacy.
It’s because he understands this that he’s impatient, and it’s come to this.
“If that fucking cook knows of the information that only I know, kill him.
I too will do what I can, and propose to father and brother that he get the death penalty for his crime of dishonour. If it’s me, with my actual military strength, then even those two can’t ignore it.”
“Then is it alright to kill him behind the scenes”
“That won’t do. Even if we make him die a suspicious death in the jail, Ganglabe’s mercenary corp will rush over here and turn this territory into a mountain of wreckage, I can see it already.”
Gingus-sama gnaws at his nails, holding down his irritation.
“I will succeed in father’s remains and include Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corps who have been given land as part of my army, making them my pet dogs.
That is my plan. Despite that, that cook had to do something fucking worthless!! Every single one of you are in my way”
“Gingus-sama. Please calm down.
From here on I shall stay next to that cook as a jailor.
If anything happens, I shall report to you immediately”
“I’m counting on you Gann Rubber. Damn it, I have to revise my plan….”
I thought as I watched Gingus-sama continuing to gnaw at his nails and curse.
This person, is pitiful.
Even if he has a natural talent for war, without obstacles, without excellent subordinates who can prepare for military expenses, without elite troops, this territory cannot make use of this person’s talents.
Naturally, Gingus-sama, for the sake of changing the present situation is desperately giving it his best. Training soldiers, concentrating on nurturing his subordinates, spending his time acquiring the arts of war.
If it was a normal general then, he would be a wonderful talent capable of splendidly operating the army.
However, this person is taking over the lineage of a feudal lord. With just those talents, it’s not enough. The management of the land, diplomacy with the surrounding countries, from the management of taxes to its monitoring, and confirmation. The deployment of work. From the levying of taxes to the management of the tax rate, the management of the economics.
There are a mountain of things that he must do but, all this person can do to the bitter end is related to the army. When it comes to the management of the supply lines to constructing stratagems, he is the most outstanding in the family history of the feudal lords who sit in their territory. If he was born differently, he would most definitely be flourishing as a magnificent general.
His talents… aren’t enough. Even though it was just that, to this person, it was a fatal wound.
After exiting the room, I let out a sigh and headed towards the basement.
My target’s name is Shuri Azuma.
A talented man who treated the Feudal Lord to a wonderful whole roasted pig.
Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corps, Cook.
Right now, Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corp was waiting for orders on the streets.
The commanders were in their own inn while the other troops scattered and were cramped in the various inns around the street.
Here, in the Sounity territory, outside the castle was the castle town.
A fairly large town which at the moment functions as a large prison for Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corp.
Ganglabe, right now shouldn’t be able to stir his troops.
He should be receiving a territory but, because of the actions of Shuri Azuma, that position was lost in one go.
As it could an intention for rebellion, they are not allowed to move until the investigations are over. They were suppressed by Gingus-sama’s orders.
If it’s a rebellion, they won’t be receiving a territory. Additionally, we have the advantage as we are more familiar with the geography of the streets.
Also they shouldn’t be able to move at a moment’s notice.
However, it’s not certain.
Their bond is many times thicker than we had imagined.
All of them being orphans to raising an army, they who managed to come to this point.
Taking caution as a precaution, it’s definitely not a waste of time.
Ganglabe’s tactics are far above Gingus-sama. That resourcefulness and trickery, and that genius-like sword handling is a threat.
Ahrius’s magic can create flames which can even melt walls. In front of her, defenses have no meaning.
Riru’s inventions can turn around war situations. A nightmare is where you cannot even yield expectations.
Cougar’s existence, can scare off soldiers with just his swordsmanship, not allowing them to even display their power. Only he, is qualified to be called the Sword Demon.
Teg’s scouting and archery techniques cannot be underestimated either. Just thinking about how from such a far off distance, when that arrow can pierce through your throat is dreadful.
And then, the existence which made their bonds even stronger.
If there’s any mistake in dealing with him, these streets will becomes mountains of rubble just like Gingus-sama says.
However, I don’t understand the man known as Shuri Azuma.
Even after an investigation, there is absolutely no records or information of him before joining the mercenary corps.
I had bragged that there was no information which wouldn’t get caught in my investigation and espionage networks.
However the result was a crushing defeat. No matter how I investigate I don’t understand.
It’s full of mysteries.
Where did Shuri Azuma come from?
Where did he acquire those cooking techniques?
I decided to investigate even that.
Should we ignore the existence of Shuri Azuma, there’s no doubt that it’s possible, that not just this territory, but the entire continent of Sabreau will invoke huge waves of troubles.
That’s what my instinct tells me.
Now then, it’s fine to actually just work as a jailor but, looking at my target, I become troubled.
No matter how I see it, I can’t see him being such a threat.
Monitoring such a person, can I really search for the so called information that Gingus-sama did not want to leak out?
Taking out the alcohol, salted and dried clams I brought in, I decided to take a little break.
I decided to casually set up my chair in front of the cell.
“Ahhh, uughh, what should I do, if I prepare an excuse, no, but if I do a bad job they might kill me, but, ahhh-”
“Shut up criminal, be quiet inside the jail.”
At one of my warnings, Shuri Azuma ended up shutting up. And even sitting in seiza.
Damn, did I say too much?
If possible I want to seize the initiative and get him to spit out what he has to and end this.
However if I rush things, he’ll realise what I’m doing.
“Geez, I can’t even drink in peace….”
Drinking the alcohol, I get a little distracted.
Turning my head around makes it better. But, as soon as the alcohol runs out I end up irritated again.
Which is why, if I had a break I decide to drink alcohol to clear up my head.
“Excuse me, is it alright for Jailor-san to drink alcohol?”
This bastard had to hit where it hurts.
Obviously, there’s no way I’m allowed to drink.
“It’s nothing, I’m sorry!”
I wanted to let out a sigh looking at Shuri Azuma who spoke in fear.
Why is there a need for this sort of person to be in jail. It’s not like this guy can run away even if we throw him in the waiting room. He doesn’t seem to have any military strength and he doesn’t look very smart.
Which is probably why he asked. Wondering if I could stop his jailbreak in my drunken condition or not.
Looking down on me.
“….No matter what a feeble man like yourself does, you wouldn’t be able to defeat me.
Besides, those iron bars will definitely not break. It’s fine even without a jailor”
Those iron bars are engraved with Magic Reflection Magi Spells and the iron itself was specially made by the territory’s finest blacksmith.
There is no one who can break these and escape.
And even if there is, they are definitely monsters or things which we can never defeat.
That’s why, I too am able to gather my nerves to observe this guy without worrying about a jailbreak.
Casually setting up here, I’ll slowly suck up the information.
That’s what I had thought.
“The thing you’re taking out of your bag, what is it?”
Shuri Azuma inquired suddenly.
Somehow it seems he is interested in what I’m eating.
As expected of a cook, he has sharp eyes.
“Ah? Clams, you know, clams. Draining it off just like this, it’s a snack you eat while drinking alcohol.
You eat it with this fish sauce.
There’s none for you”
I don’t plan on giving any to him.
The alcohol won’t pass if I don’t have these. If the alcohol doesn’t go through then my head won’t spin.
If that happens, that’s the end of me.
“The alcohol you’re drinking, is it wine?”
“Rice wine. Just be quiet already”
It’s one the alcohols which have been circulated here from Newbyst recently.
The dry taste has been tightly sealed in, it’s a wine which goes down extremely smoothly.
With it being so good going down the throat, this wine is one I’m into recently.
A wine which also has a different complexion if it’s warm or cold.
I believe that this is the best of all wines.
But what he said blew away all of my expectations.
“Excuse me, I have a request”
“That, won’t you share some with me?
I can make a delicious alcoholic snack with clams and sake”
This guy, what did he say?
Did he say he’ll cook here?
No, rather than that…
A dish with wine and clams?
There are indeed techniques to add flavour to dishes with wine or so I have heard with the passing of the wind.
But with rice wine? Cooking with this transparent wine and clams?
“Yes. Then if we have a pot, and fish sauce, it will perfect”
Does he really intend to cook here!
After Shuri Azuma takes out a piece of paper from his break pocket, it expands inside the cell and he started to prepare.
That paper, was it not confiscated?
If I recall in the reports, Shuri Azuma uses a mysterious paper to bring forth fire and cooks.
In this jail which is built upon by laying stone, there are no flammable objects and as long as I’m on guard there is no chance he can escape.
Thus doing so, what is his purpose?
No, it’s just right.
If he plans to add poison then I can judge that they had the intent of rebelling against the Feudal Lord.
If that happens then I can cut off this man’s arm, executing him, imprison Ganglabe under legitimate reasons, and might even be able to take in the mercenary corp.
With my sacrifice, I can drive a wedge into the mercenary corp, and if they’re bounded by chains then it’s a simple transaction.
“….Try it. It’ll be good for killing time”
I hand over the basic cookware and Shuri Azuma began to cook excitedly.
This guy, did he really just want to cook?
Even though I’ve given him a knife, he’s not doing anything?
I had planned to realise this guy’s intent to rebel, advantage of that and torture him but, what a mood breaker.
When he had completed the basic preparations, the wine, clams and fish sauce were born again into one new dish.
Although I’ve seen the cooking process and it’s very puzzling, it didn’t seem at all like he had added any poison. Seriously, he only cooked up a dish.
Could it be, that I can not completely analyze a person like him?
That kind of thought suddenly popped into my head. This guy, as one of the important figures in the mercenary corp, should definitely be someone we need to pay close attention to.
Definitely…. even though that should be the case…..
What is it? Could it be that the smell and the sight of the food in front of me is just so wonderful that my head has stopped working?
The smell of the alcohol and the fish sauce were in perfect harmony, tickling your nostrils.
The flesh of the clams looked dull but, being dyed with a slight brown, it’s clear that flavour has been seeped in.
A dish which urges my sense of sight, even sense of smell, to EAT!!!
If I wasn’t holding back with my reason, there’s no doubt I would be biting at it right now.
“Oh, it smells good”
I see, this is his skill in cooking.
Seemingly more delicious than anything I’ve ever tasted, and yet it wouldn’t be strange at all as something common folk can eat.
A simple but, brilliant dish that integrates skill and craft.
That’s the impression this dish embraces.
Anyhow, for someone like me who can’t be without drinking, I forgot the alcohol and couldn’t take my eyes off the dish in front of me.
One bite, I pick it up and eat it.
No other words could come out.
The flavour of the fish sauce was properly there. And the taste of the alcohol livened up the dish.
In the dryness, the rice wine had a refreshing taste.
Just that, is enough to represent all the flavour.
Then, impatience, a feeling like I could not wait.
Even though it somehow represented it all, that was just a revived phantom sensation caused by the flavour. The sensation, becoming desperate like the taste of eating air.
However, settling this is the combination of flavours from the clam and fish sauce.
It wouldn’t make you badly drunk like alcohol either. However, a satisfying feeling like eating wine.
And yet this clam dish was like a polished rare jewel.
Even the dry and salted ones, were becoming better.
Anyhow those salty ones, being heated together with the alcohol brought out a good feeling, and compared to those dried ones, a thicker flavour was oozing out.
As cooking it was perfection from combining, calculating, and withdrawing all of them.
“It tastes alcoholic but it isn’t as strong as sake. The fish sauce also leaves a good impression.”
It’s a lie. It isn’t a dish which can be described with these words.
The truth would be like a minstrel spinning a tale of heroes, to describe this dish, and even piling up mountains of bundles of paper wouldn’t be enough.
This is, the cook of Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corp, the skill of Shuri Azuma huh.
If it’s poison, it was indeed there.
A poison called ecstasy.
Most likely, even Ganglabe was done in by this poison, then spreading to the other members, thus coming to win large numbers of wars whilst infected by this poison.
Making such a thing, is this ordinary looking man.
“You, you’re a pretty interesting guy”
“Is that so”
He is definitely an interesting guy.
That guy, seemingly looking embarrassed as he picks up a clam, I can’t think of him holding any decisive information which could lead to the downfall of Gingus-sama.
“Ah. Normal criminals wouldn’t do something like cooking”
“There’s also probably no Jailor-san who would hand over ingredients to such a criminal so they could cook either”
Casually joking at me.
Somehow I’m filled with a desire to laugh.
“No doubt about it”
I feel like it’s a been awhile since I’ve laughed.
Eating food, talking to someone and laughing.
Such a natural thing, making someone like me experience a person’s daily life.
It’s strangely happy.
Strange yet amusing.
“It seems that I won’t be bored anymore”
To me, who had despaired life and couldn’t have lived an idle life.
It seems that the gods have given me a wonderful present.
In the records, the me right now has become something like a jailor.
Considering that, the thing that that lazy jailor has been given.
It surprisingly feels like it has way too large of a value.
After that, within the territory, the two power struggles between the first prince, Ekress-sama and the second prince, Gingus-sama begins.
The topic being, the handling of Shuri Azuma.
The first prince, Ekress-sama is saying that it’s better to keep him alive.
The reason being, that the Feudal Lord-sama is exceedingly interested in that pigskin dish.
“No”, the words that Shuri Azuma said when knocking down the wine glass has always been stuck with Ekress-sama.
Perhaps, there might be some reason behind it.
Doing an investigation, Ekress-sama requested that, wouldn’t it be better to determine the underlying cause.
On the other hand, the second prince, Gingus-sama’s says that it’s better to kill him him. This I knew already so I wasn’t surprised.
Except, even now I still don’t know that information that Shuri Azuma supposedly holds.
“Have you still not been able to get the information out of him!”
That night, Gingus-sama calls me to his room and scolded me.
“Apologies. He is unexpectedly tight-lipped.
He will not let it slip easily”
“Fuck! If you don’t hurry, then older brother and father might interrupt again!”
Gingus-sama get annoyed and started biting his nails.
No matter how many times I warn him, he won’t fix that habit. That’s why his fingertips are worn-out.
I bow and planned to exit.
Behind my back, Gingus-sama called.
Turning around, Gingus-sama seems puzzled.
“What is it?”
“You, have you become healthier lately?”
? I don’t understand the intent behind Gingus-sama’s question.
“Now, what do you mean?
I am always watchful of my own health condition, carrying out my duties with the very best.”
“No, you’ve clearly become healthier.
You cannot fool my eyes. Your complexion is well, and you’re brimming with energy.
Have you stopped drinking?”
“…. What could you possible mean?”
“Don’t lie. As a general I even monitor all my subordinate’s physical conditions. With just a glance, I understand if they’re healthy or not.
I even know that you’ve been depending on drinking in the shadows.
Despite that, you’re body is perfect. It isn’t comparable to before.”
…. I, happen to know why.
But, if I say that, I might be judged here.
“Indeed, I have stopped drinking.
Because of my bad body condition, it wasn’t time to drink alcohol, I became like this before I knew it after I banned alcohol.”
“I see. However, becoming so healthy is…
As expected, the reason is alcohol. Be careful, Gann Rubber”
“It is as you say”
I bow and left, recalling what happened recently as I walk down the hallway.
Indeed I have stopped drinking alcohol heavily.
Thus mending my body’s condition, and my head can operate without relying on alcohol like before.
This is, most likely due to Shuri’s cooking.
The sake clams he made. Trying to copy that, most of them didn’t turn out very well but there was no need to drink alcohol.
After all it’s a food which uses alcohol. It goes well with alcohol but, even then I don’t over drink.
It was at that time. That he raised those words at me.
A few days later, I go to his place and he creates a masterpiece with a potato.
A simple dish using just potato and butter.
However, the deliciousness was nothing less than shocking.
The soft and flakiness of the potato, and the thickness of the butter.
And the slight sweetness of the butter makes it irresistible.
This goes well with the alcohol.
However, he said looking at me.
“If there’s oil, then I’ll cook up something even more interesting and delicious.
Something to go with the alcohol. Yet something that won’t make you drink too much”
I was so surprised my heart jumped.
I’m controlling my alcohol intake and he has indeed seen me drink but, he goes far and above my expectations.
“Over Drinking of alcohol. I can smell it all the way over here.
Always yellow-faced, and sluggish. So little stamina such that even climbing up and down the stairs leaves you heaving for a breath.
All of these are symptoms of over drinking. Sooner or later your limbs will numb and you’ll be vomiting of blood.
It’s impossible to just quit drinking. However, you can plug it with a substitution to fool your desires, which can make it so that you won’t drink as much alcohol. All of what I said just now were initial symptoms.
If you gain control of it now, I shall promise that you will live a long life”
He, Shuri, by looking at my face, made a precise diagnoses, and then even ended up correctly guessing my future symptoms.
Indeed, the symptoms he’s described have begun.
My complexion before Gingus-sama said that it’s gotten better, was indeed like that.
There were also times when I would get tired for no reason.
Even that for some reason I would be short of breath on the stairs.
I had thought that it was because I didn’t have enough stamina but, saying that it’s all because of the over drinking of alcohol.
Am I, broken?
Saying that alcohol destroys the body, I never thought I would be on the verge of that.
Being able to see so much with just at most one week of meeting each other, to be honest, I’m completely surprised.
But, for the sake of living, I guess I’ll have to do as he says.
After that day, I decreased the amount I drank even more.
After another few days passed, that guy made another masterpiece side dish with potatoes.
This time the potato was just sliced thinly, flavoured with salt, and deep-fried in oil.
Despite this I couldn’t stop.
It was a simple dish. Even I, who has just seen this once, could imitate this.
I can make it, but.
Exactly because that it’s such a simple side dish, rather than addictiveness, it’s nothing less than an unstoppable astonishment.
Furthermore, there are even variations of that guy’s potato slice fries.
And it’s even delicious when it’s cold.
Selling it in a food stand and the abundance of types.
Even if he were to put it on the market right now, there’s no doubt he’ll become a multimillionaire.
That’s just how delicious this side dish is.
“I can’t believe it, you know of a business that with just one potato can make you a multimillionaire….”
“It’s not that exaggerated!”
There’s no way it’s an exaggeration.
The unit price of potatoes are cheap. That’s why the commoners can easily get it and use it like it’s their staple food.
Plus, potatoes can even be cultivated in the wastelands and you’re able to harvest a lot of them.
Which is why in the rural villages, they grow potatoes for the sake of eating them during the winter.
Also speaking of the ways to eat potatoes, isn’t there just two options, steaming them or putting them in soups?
There’s no way they can take it out raw and of course none of them can change their way of thinking like this guy to deep fry them.
Shuri is laughing as if it’s an exaggeration but, I’ve changed my evaluation of him.
If I think about it, this guy can survive on his own.
And even completely break down that country from their foundation, that territory’s food culture, and build a new food culture on top of that.
It’s like both the gods of destruction and construction live inside him.
If this guy is left unwatched, that’s exactly what that country will end up being changed to from their foundations.
Food culture is a proof of human action that has been handed down long ago from that land and culture.
If we neglect this guy in a place like that, there’s no doubt he can destroy everything. That’s how good this guy’s food tastes. And the commoners can make it easily.
And the country he makes after destroying everything, will probably look like something I’ve never seen before.
This guy, is dangerous.
However if I kill him, I will be crushing the start of a new history of food culture on this continent.
“Well let’s eat for now?”
“Let’s. But I seriously can’t stop eating this”
But, I can’t stop this so called Potato chips.
It’s good, this.
It seems like all my worries are blown away when I eat this.
But I can’t let them be blown away.
Thus, from the next day I drew up a report concerning Shuri.
I even received permissions from Gingus-sama, earnestly putting together the inquiries and hypothesis concerning the person, Shuri, all into one document.
“….He’s a strange person”
In that process, the impression that comes to mind was, as expected, he is a strange man.
While sitting by an environment called the mercenary corp, his kindness and honesty of worrying about the condition of a person of the castle who tossed him in jail.
In some respects, soft-hearted, and saying it differently, a gentle smile.
His cooking skill is top class. Furthermore he can create masterpieces with common ingredients.
And, he has no ambition.
With skills like that, he can even successfully start a restaurant.
Developing dishes using his application in the art of cooking, he’ll probably be popular even as a small store.
Maybe, it’s possible that he can work for royalty with the development of new foods.
Despite that, he is satisfied with being the cook of Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corp.
It’s precisely because that he can only succeed that it’s strange.
Even though unlike me, he can seize glory on the face of the world.
“It’s no use even if I think about it huh”
I completed the basic report in one go.
Before I meet Gingus-sama, I guess I’ll meet up with him one more time.
Somehow, it’s fun to go see Shuri.
Because even just going to meet him, I can eat the best meals.
However, recently I haven’t even been able to do that.
I had to organise the reports and I even had work.
Above all, they’ve started buying up all the food for the sake of the power struggle between Ekress-sama and Gingus-sama, causing the town near the castle to fall into a food shortage.
It’s probably for the sake of that. Between the ingredients in the castle, and the food you can buy in town, there is a considerable difference.
Potatoes can be bought easily but, other things will usually not be lined up in the storefront, and such.
It’s troublesome. If this power struggle or rivalry between the two factions continues any further then, it’s possible that before long there will be an accident from the citizens.
I want to do something before that happens.
Going down underground, I could smell something good.
“That guy, he’s made something again….”
Even though I was stunned, I smiled from enjoyment.
Let’s see, I wonder what he made today?
“Oh, you’re eating”
Like always, I come down preparing my alcohol side dishes and fish sauce and, Shuri was eating something yellow.
By the way, this time I didn’t bring any alcohol. Alcohol, I’m sick of it.
The thing Shuri was eating, was a lump which seemed somewhat springy.
“….Something that looks good again”
When I have my chance I’ll process the food myself and eat it.
I’ve never seen a prisoner who makes their jailor cry this much.
But, since that jailor is me, if I can get some I would be happy.
“I have one. Want it?”
“Oh, can I take it?”
“If you add fish sauce to it, it tastes a lot better.
Therefore, please share some with me onegai”
“Are you actually kneeling?”
I wonder if he’s easily influence or all talk.
He’s often like this, doing things that invite you to smile.
Even his kneeling this time, the movement flow was somewhat strange.
Ahh, as expected I’m smiling.
It’s pretty rare, that I’m in such a good mood.
I took out the jar which had the fish sauce in it.
“Is this fine? Lessee, what sort of thing is that?”
“It’s called Potato-mochi. It’s a snack you eat, made from making potato springy.”
“Potato again. Do you want to become the entire country’s purveyor for it as well?”
“Eh? At most it’ll be with potato dishes?”
This guy, seriously has no self-awareness.
“Oh, you probably can become one if it’s with a potato dish this good”
“Then, you popularise it please, Gann-san”
I couldn’t believe my ears. In the moment that I was withholding my jealousy, I wasn’t able to understand what he had said.
Me? Popularise this dish?
This dish which is pretty much gushing up money to me?
Realising that, I remove the jealousy from my mouth and grasped the iron bars.
“Are you seriously saying that!?”
“Yes. After I’m free I’ll teach you. Potato cooking or cooking edible plants.
Since it’s pretty rare to have someone cook together with me, isn’t it fine because it seems fun?”
Not just potatoes but also edible plants?!
Edible wild plants are a necessary ingredient for getting over the winter. Depending if this was there or not, the harshness of the winter changes greatly.
However, the most you can do with wild plants is boil them and eat them. And it stinks of vegetables.
Maybe, maybe if this guy can make even wild plants taste good then.
It means that there’s a simple self-energising method of moving from village to village, and even journeys.
And not just that, you can become an indispensable figure to the village.
If he knows the method to cooking wild plants then, it’s possible that he might even know the way to prepare the wild plants and mushrooms that we’ve never eaten before.
That’s what this guy just carelessly said!
“You, do you understand just how much this is worth?”
“How much it’s worth…. It’s delicious, brings forth conversation, and fills stomachs. Isn’t that what cooking is about?”
It’s like my head’s been hit.
No, it’s not that. The attack assaulted me like, being rammed in the head by a battering ram.
Shuri’s words, were the truth.
As for food, ingredients, cooking, life.
All of those truths, were all expressed in just one phrase.
The person who said that, was looking unfazed.
However, that phrase was originally something that people like us, who have unified a territory had to know.
Protecting the citizens livelihood, their safety.
To the citizens who make meals, sitting together happily with their families, embracing the pride that what they’re doing is not wrong.
Is there a phrase better than this?
No, there isn’t.
And to him, that phrase is, just a normal act in a day, something obvious, ordinary and dull.
Something which ought to always be by your side.
Something, which the world ought to have.
Basically, no different from the pebble on the side of the street.
As obvious as wind blowing.
Something ordinary people around here ought to feel.
Something that exists as a repetition of an everyday act.
“….You, that’s the sort of person you are”
Being able to say that natural happiness is a blessing.
Having no ambition, he is just an honest guy who can be glad for little fortunes.
Things like acting appropriate due to status and age is completely unrelated.
He can be thankful for the happiness which is there.
He’s just a humane person.
“I don’t really get what you mean but….
I am me”
And it’s frustrating that the person himself has no self-awareness.
Even though I’ve finally realised this about him.
This guy has been doing this for a long time.
Which is why he can live aloof, and innocent.
“I get it. It’s fine”
It’s absurd to think about it.
Saying that this guy was planning to assassinate the Feudal Lord or, planning to offend him or that he’s polishing schemes and stratagems. There’s probably no way that any of that is true.
I let go of the iron bars.
And then I add fish sauce to the Potato-mochi I took, and stuffed it in my mouth.
It’s just nothing but delicious.
The texture is fresh as well. It’s fun to chew at its springiness.
“Damn it. Why do I have to watch over this kinda careless guy.
And why did I hand over a knife to this guy like it was normal. It’s like I’m helping him break out.
And yet he doesn’t break out. Such a totally carefree and idiotic guy.
However his food is good….
This potato thing has its unique softness and a mysterious springiness.
It doesn’t have the dryness of potato and crumbles and melts in your mouth.
And if you add fish sauce, it tastes even better.
The saltiness and tastiness being just right.”
“Sorry but, I only have the one.
There’s not enough”
“I’ll go and bring more! Make as much as you want!
Kaa~, I’m becoming senileee.
Why, why did you knock down the lord’s wine glass and get arrested”
I will probably never forget the words that came after.
Because, he said it so nonchalantly.
“Because if he had drank it like that, most likely the feudal lord would’ve collapsed and died”
The moment I heard that, I was frightened.
The Feudal Lord? Almost dead?
I interrogate about that to Shuri and he tells me in panic.
That the Feudal lord is afflicted with some strange disease.
That strange disease, it becomes worse every time it comes back, if it happens again.
Saying that the Feudal Lord’s body will definitely break down, if it goes on like this.
Towards all those facts, I was confused even as I was listening.
It’s true that, ever since the Feudal Lord started using that wine glass his body condition has been getting worse.
After he used the wineglass he scratches his hand because it’s itchy and even coughs.
If I recall, I think that those are probably the sign of the symptoms of the allergy that guy spoke of.
And then those symptoms, were actually symptoms which the Feudal Lord had been worrying about for many years.
Years ago, when he was using an iron sword, it seemed like that once he’s tired, the itching would be unbearable.
However, after he rests for a moment the symptoms lessen and he becomes just like normal.
Which is why, the person himself as well as the people around him, thought that it was a physiological phenomenon which comes out when he’s tired.
I gave a strict order to Shuri that he is not to tell another soul about this, hurriedly returned to the office and began to rewrite the report. Dipping the feathered pen in ink, finalising the received information on a new piece of paper.
Perhaps, the information that Gingus-sama was afraid of was this.
This is just a guess but, I don’t think that Gingus-sama would hurt the Feudal Lord, his father.
Except Gingus-sama was extremely flustered.
There isn’t enough time to accumulate achievements for the sake of succeeding this land. Causing the Feudal Lord to be in bad shape, seems like he wholeheartedly wanted to establish his position as the heir by splendidly bringing together the territory and army in that time.
That is because he is scared of the existence of his older brother, Ekress-sama, as the heir of this territory snatching away his legacy.
Getting his officers which he has trained and nurtured himself snatched away, can only be a nightmare.
Which is why, I was also ordered to spy on Ekress-sama.
In addition this information.
Gingus-sama might not be able to avoid his abolition anymore.
Wanting to kill his own father, the Feudal Lord who unified this territory.
I carried the report I had written and headed to Gingus-sama’s room.
Luckily, it was late and I didn’t meet anyone.
Because I must avoid having this information leaked to others.
“Excuse me, Gingus-sama”
I stand in front of his room, and knock.
I enter since a voice immediately came from inside.
“What’s wrong, Gann”
Gingus-sama was reading a strategy book in his room.
Despite it being so late, he is truly an enthusiastic person.
“I have written the reports. I apologize deeply for coming so late at night but, please confirm”
“Is it urgent?”
“Got it. Hand it over”
I give him the report and took a step back.
Scanning over that report, Gingus-sama looked at me.
There’s no change with brother. However I can see that he is expanding his faction.
And the guy in the jail has still not said a thing till now, huh”
I handed over a fake report.
There, I didn’t write anything about the information Shuri confessed.
It was harmless and inoffensive, but I wrote enough information to satisfy Gingus-sama’s pride.
Except for the vital information, everything was true.
However I completely omitted the information which he was not allowed to know.
“Expanding his faction, huh.
Damn officials. Abandoning me and joining brother huh”
“Your commissioned officers are the same as always, pledging alliance to Gingus-sama.
However, there are also concerns that if we turn hostile to the officials, they may delay the payment of their wages.”
“Hmph, there’s no need to worry. That is why we have gathered up the food within the territory.
Tell them that.”
“Yes. And about the monitoring of Ekress-sama but, it seems that Ekress-sama has still not noticed our state of affairs”
“Got it. I will polish my plans. You can leave”
“As you wish”
Bowing, I exit the room and walk towards my other target.
The place that I’m heading to now, cannot be caught by anyone’s eyes. Carefully, but quickly heading over.
I stood in front of the room, check the surroundings and quickly enter.
“I apologize for coming so late”
“I don’t mind Gann. Because to me, the time I have with you is important”
The one there was, a young man sitting in the office applying approvals.
Glamourous silver hair tied behind his head into a ponytail, a beautiful young man who if you didn’t look at carefully may even mistake as a beautiful girl.
Short with a thin body, that was the young man, Ekress Sounity.
My real superior.
“And? Have you come because there is information or reports of worthy importance?”
“Yes. Please look at this”
I take out the real report I had hidden in my chest and present it.
Ekress-sama received it and pondered as he read the contents.
Although I was ordered by Gingus-sama to spy on Ekress-sama, Ekress-sama’s information was concealed in the report, while Gingus-sama’s information was reported to Ekress-sama without covering it up.
The so called double spy.
And then Ekress-sama made a complicated face.
“If this is true then, then it’s decided that Gingus has wanted to kill father.
This is something that cannot be joked about.”
“Yes. However, I don’t think that Gingus-sama was going to go as far as murder”
“Hmm. It’s true that father’s condition, no, I wonder if it’s this strange disease? Well, it hasn’t been something life threatening so far after all.
It’s just that he’s bad with metals since long ago. But after reading this report, I wonder if even I was in danger.
This person is amazing, Nii-san”
“…. Don’t call me your brother, Erkreniss. I am your subordinate to the bitter end”
“It’s because of you Nii-san, that I am Ekress. Erkreniss is my childhood name, now I am Ekress Sounity. The eldest son of the lord who governs this land”
We both laugh wryly, earning each other a brief moment of rest.
I was born as the eldest child of the Feudal Lord.
However, my mother is a maid. A commoner’s status. Father made a move on her for fun and the one born, was me.
The Feudal Lord acknowledges me but, doesn’t claim to be the father. I too, have not called that man, my father.
In the first place, I don’t acknowledge that man as my father.
Banishing my mother behind the scenes, a guy like that who only gave me the skills to live on in the dark side.
And then, completely renouncing my right to be heir whilst keeping my existence a secret.
Which is why, the only one who knows about my existence is the “Little sister” in front of me.
Ekress is also a pitiful existence.
She was born as the eldest daughter from the Feudal Lord’s concubine.
When she was young, I had supported her as a bodyguard.
What was unfortunate was my little sister’s excellence.
Creating expectations for father by displaying her peerless talent in internal management and economics.
As a result, father, the Feudal Lord treated Ekress as a son, and decided to raise her as the heir.
Erkreniss died as a female. After that she existed as the heir, Ekress.
The one who opposed that was that witch of a legal wife.
The legal wife had birthed a son. That was our younger brother, Gingus.
Gingus had talents concerning war.
Nurturing him as a backup heir was the suggestion of the legal wife.
As a result it’s become a fight between two factions, the first prince and the second prince.
For me, I’m happy as long as Ekress is happy.
To me, Ekress is the only one I can call family. Real family who’ll be with you despite knowing everything and stay with you.
However, Ekress is also thinking of saving Gingus.
“Ekress. Gingus is…”
“Un, I know. I will punish him properly using this as an example.
And then, I will leave this territory. It’ll be my last job.”
Ekress, is thinking of leaving the inheritance to Gingus.
And she wishes to throw away her obligations.
That is something I wish to assist with.
“Perhaps he will fight with Ganglabe and the others”
“Probably. Before that I will persuade Gingus and deal with it properly. Since I’ll be conceding the inheritance, ne.
Before that, I sure want to meet him”
Ekress smiles .
“…If we go now, no one will be able to find out”
“Then, let’s do that”
Ekress stands up from her chair.
Shuri, I had planned to let you meet with Ekress-sama but.
It ended up being earlier than I had planned.
I pray, I pray that you’ll be able to save us.