Chapter 25, Wedding Night and Mead (Part 2)
“My head hurts…”
The next day, I headed over to the balcony as I complained about my ringing head.
After ending the afterparty with no incident, and in this I mean that I ended it right when everyone had fallen on the floor dead drunk but… apart from Princess Tebis, Wutin-san and finally me, everyone else were annoying levels of drunk and in addition to that, it would’ve been extremely tough to drag them over to their rooms to sleep.
Ganglabe-san told me something irresponsible like, ‘Just leave them alone’, but I couldn’t do that. If I just left them to sleep there, then there’s no doubt in my mind that they would’ve all ended up catching a cold.
Which is why with some persuading I got the grumpy Ganglabe-san to at least cover over them with a blanket. Honestly, I’m not too bothered as long as they don’t catch a cold.
And that was why I stayed back until the very end to pack up the afterparty. I had thought of asking other people to help out as well but, considering how extraordinarily improper it is to make our guests and today’s main act to do such chores, I decided against it.
Thus, explains why I was currently suffering the effects of fatigue, hangover and a lack of sleep. This really hurts.
“Geez, you guys really went hard… it’s not like I don’t get it though…”
I thought of going straight into work after waking up but everyone else was still dead asleep, and the ones who had drank themselves to sleep were still on the floor of the wedding hall, so I decided against making breakfast.
It was crystal clear to me that none of them would be able to wake up in time for breakfast anyway.
Which is why after getting myself a bit of water, I decided to head out to the balcony to get a bit of fresh air.
However, walking quietly through a castle like this… makes me wonder whether last night was a dream or not.
All the excitement of yesterday had yet to dissipate.
“…Well, that’s just how life is huh!?”
Pan. I slap my two cheeks and turn my mood around. It’s time to wake up! I think to myself as I bathe myself in the fresh morning breeze. Work starts again today!
As I think that, I reach the top floor of the castle and opened the door to the balcony.
“…Well what do you know,”
Unknowingly, I let out a bitter smile as I take a step outside.
“There was someone before me.”
I walk out onto the balcony, reaching all the way to the railings.
“Good morning, Ganglabe-san.”
“Hm? Oh, if it isn’t Shuri.”
Standing up here was a half-naked Ganglabe-san. Why was he only wearing his pants…?
Not thinking about it too much, I stood next to Ganglabe-san.
Mmm, this always feel good, no matter the hour. The early sun starts peeking out, shining a light from across the horizon. As it rose I felt like I could gradually see the streets down below begin to glow.
The colour of the sky begins to shift and the contrast of the two skies meeting at the halfway point was indescribably beautiful.
Even the wind, although it was slightly chilly initially, felt very soothing to my barely awake and burning body. The feeling of the breeze brushing against my cheeks, cutting across my shoulders, passing between the feet, all felt very refreshing.
This is why I love waking up early.
“You’re early. You know you can sleep in a bit if you want today?”
“What are you saying? I have to wake up early, so that I can get water or make some soup for the people suffering from hangovers, you know? Besides…”
With a smile I pointed at Ganglabe-san’s hand.
“It’s fine to relax all by yourself when you’re drinking but, I find it much more meaningful and enjoyable to be able to drink with another person and talk about the things you wouldn’t be able to normally.”
Ganglabe-san was holding the bottle of mead from yesterday in his left hand, and a cup in his right.
There’s a little less than yesterday, so I think he’s probably been drinking here, watching the sunrise here.
“I guess you have a point. Gotta apologize though, only got the one cup here.”
Ganglabe-san says before splendidly pouring himself another cup of mead and downs it in one gulp.
“I’m glad you enjoy it. It is, after all, a wine made of the honey I had pretty much begged Princess Tebis to bring here.”
I’m glad he enjoys drinking it so much. Truly.
Hearing me, Ganglabe-san pours another cup of mead and put it out in front of me.
“You drink too.”
“I only have the one cup so let’s just share it. You said so too, right? It’s fine to drink by yourself but that it’s more enjoyable and meaningful to drink with someone else, talking about all the things you normally wouldn’t?”
“Indeed. Alright, I’ll take you up on that.”
I take the cup from Ganglabe-san and then quickly drained it.
“Oh, you drink well, huh.”
Ganglabe-san said with a wry smile on his face.
“I didn’t think you would be able to hold your drink so well.”
“I can drink as well as the next guy. It’s just that I don’t drink very often.”
I say as I hand the cup back to Ganglabe-san.
Despite it all, I am a member of society. I’ve been dragged along to drink with people plenty of times.
Furthermore, my hobby is cooking. Sometimes I would even… drink at home alone, drinking something specifically prepared for the dish.
My go to is any meat dish with a red wine.
“Besides, drinking during work would dull the taste buds of a cook, it’s just a dumb thing to do.”
“You’re right about that!”
Ganglabe-san laughs heartily.
After letting it all out, he suddenly looks solemn, looking out at the scenery from the balcony.
“What is it?”
“If you were in my shoes how would you manage this country?”
Huh? What kind of question is that?
My first reaction was to laugh it off and move on to a different topic however I decided against it.
After all, Ganglabe-san’s current expression was the very definition of serious.
He had been thinking about this seriously, worrying seriously, and had asked me seriously.
Because I could sense that, I decided to not laugh and instead thought about it seriously.
…No, there’s no way I could. I’ve been working as a cook and as a result I don’t possess any of the knowledge, nor any of the capabilities necessary to be able to contribute to such a topic as managing the country.
I’m sure it might be alright if I just throw out some of my know how of Japan in its present state, but if I was asked to phrase it in a way that would be beneficial to Ganglabe-san then I would probably just go… (Crap) anyway.
In the first place, a lot of my knowledge about current-day Japan is built upon the current day of Japan, and how it came to be.
Even if I was to just casually bring up that sort of knowledge and make use of it, I really don’t really think it would be a sure thing.
In the first place, that isn’t even what Ganglabe-san is asking of me.
That’s why he asked me, what I would do.
I can’t help it that I only have the smidge of information that I’ve heard from classes.
I swallowed the words, I don’t know… and tried to come up with some things that I could say.
“First of all, I would up our food self-sufficiency.”
“Hmm, that is important. A country that is unable to secure food is bound to be weak at its foundations.”
“Secondly, I would open a cooking classroom.”
Ganglabe-san let out a dumb sounding remark, but I ignore him and continue.
“Even though I call it a cooking classroom, it isn’t just a class for teaching you how to cook simple and good to eat dishes. It would be a classroom to teach you how to cook and eat things that you normally wouldn’t be able to.”
“Increasing our self-sufficiency thus getting rid of famine, and then preparing for a bad harvest with a cooking classroom. The first thing I would do is to aim for a country where there’s enough for everyone to eat, a country that can eat anything we produce.”
“I see, sounds just like you Shuri!”
Ganglabe-san clapped his two hands together and said.
“To be able to guarantee food, and then increase the amount that you can eat. It really does feel like something you would suggest from your viewpoint.”
“Once that’s accomplished, I would develop roads.”
Hm? I thought I had suggested something relatively normal though….
Despite that, Ganglabe-san made a bitter expression.
“If we establish roads then they can be used by our enemies as well, letting them travel with ease. Once that happens we would have to separate a part of our country’s strength into a defense force.”
“On the contrary, envisioning a method to further our country’s strength, don’t you think that developing roads is a must?”
We both question each other with visible doubt on our face, but it does appear that we have reached an impasse.
Ganglabe-san continued to look confused, and though he was considering the idea, he didn’t seem to understand where I was going with my plan.
“…Alright then, can I start with my piece first?”
“Please, go ahead.”
And thus, it was decided that Ganglabe-san would be the first to speak out his thoughts on my idea.
Well, after all, it wouldn’t make any lick of sense if this would cause friction between us.
“Implementing roads. Am I right in the idea that it’s based on ease of travel for coming to and from?”
“Alright. However, the enemy can also use those roads. When the time comes, I would prefer it if there wasn’t a method to increase our enemy forces’ speed. Furthermore, on roads that we made ourselves, you know?”
“I see. So, what you are trying to say is that, defensive-wise, roads that have the possibility to be taken advantage of by the enemy are not worth their price to pay. Is that right?”
I see, so that’s the problem.
Basically, what Ganglabe-san wants to say is that, ‘Improving our transport options means it can be used against us by the enemy.’ That’s his point.
Hooooowever. One should not think like that, right?
“Well then, it’s my turn.”
“Yeah, go ahead.”
“We increase our self-sufficiency, open a cooking classroom… and yet how would we have been able to share that to all the citizens?”
Ganglabe-san’s eyes become like dots.
“To the citizens, there is nothing more important than being able to eat and survive. You understand this best, don’t you Ganglabe-san? To earn a living and to stave off hunger. That was how they spent their days, day after day. However, if you were able to improve their lives, then from that point onwards the citizen’s opinion of you would change from, ‘The Criminal who stole the seat of the Lord’, to ‘The Saviour who rescued everyone from starvation.’ For that goal, we must be able to smoothly spread the knowledge of food to everyone.
This is a battle of speed. The faster we can spread the knowledge the better. There will definitely be a rebellion on our hands.
We have to do this before those rebels can come together and cause true harm and chaos! We have to push through with our reform to improve their lives in one go! Isn’t that the best solution?”
Basically, what I wanted to say was, that was the reason why we have to make it easy for people and transport to come and go.
Furthermore, how people think of us is just as I had just said, mere thieves to the throne. Even now, there hasn’t been a single person who has returned from the strike, and we are being glared at every time we walk the streets.
For the sake of improving our public image and establishing a government, the only solution in our hands is to show the people that if we are the ones running the country, then we can lead to the prosperity of this land.
And the easiest, and quickest way to do this is by reducing starvation.
Promoting agriculture and improving on the speed at which food can arrive to the hands of the people. At the very least, it would mean that under Ganglabe-san’s rule, there would be no deaths from hunger. It would be desirable even if that’s all they know about us.
Hunger is a troublesome fellow. The state of hunger is followed by the danger of death.
The hungrier you grow, the more you lose in touch with your sense of self, reason and even your life.
If we can’t even prevent that then any talk of reform or rule is ludicrous.
If they can eat, then wouldn’t you agree that public safety would increase as well? At the very least, crimes related to food might decrease, right~? Is what I believe as a layperson.
Ganglabe-san fixes his hand onto his chin as he goes deep into thought.
“Improving our public image, speed of reform… I see.”
After a short while, Ganglabe-san looks over to me and laughed.
“Thank you, you’ve given me an idea.”
“Is such a simple and idealistic idea really helpful?”
“It’s because your thinking is so simple and idealistic that it isn’t bound by any rules or regulations. However.”
“I don’t believe that that Ekress wouldn’t have done something similar. Looking at our documents on hand, the roads had been improving albeit at a very slow pace, and it looked like she had pushed for agriculture as well.”
Guha, just as I thought… I was indeed naïve in my understandings as a layperson…
“However, there is a part of your ideas that she didn’t implement.”
“The cooking classroom.”
I see. To make things you can’t eat into something you can eat isn’t something that can be achieved very easily. There’s truth in that.
However, despite me making it seem like it’s something easy to achieve…. It would be difficult even for me, you know?
No matter if it was the edible wild plants out here or what not, the people who live in this area would be much better informed about it than I would.
However, Ganglabe-san appeared to be really motivated all of the sudden, as he began to stretch his shoulders.
“Alrighty then, in that case I’ll set up a meeting with Ekress and Gingus and start laying out the steps with them. We have to do all that we can, you know~.”
“You’ll be helping as well!”
“Eh? How would I be of any help?”
What are you suggesting of a mere cook?
“Cooking classroom. You’ll be the one in charge of it once it comes time to actually implement it.”
“Ah, you’re actually serious about that?”
“If I say I’ll do it, I will. Didn’t you say it’s best to move quickly and turn their opinion of us around?”
“Then it’s decided. Ah, have the rest of the mead.”
He says and then passes the bottle of mead and the cup to me.
Just as I was clumsily holding onto the items, Ganglabe-san was already heading back into the castle from the balcony. So quick!
“Hey, by the way.”
However, that’s when Ganglabe-san turned around and said to me.
With a wide smile on his face.
“I drank that with Ahrius and uh… well, we were both able to keep our energies up. Thanks.”
After leaving that sentence for me, Ganglabe-san went back inside the castle.
Alone on the balcony, I tried to decipher what he meant and… could only smile bitterly as I understood.
“Well, mead did hold that sort of significance…”
I’ll just come clean and say it.
Mead or Honey wine, as we used to call it on Earth, was consumed for the belief that it could increase your vigor.
The word ‘Honeymoon’ that the Japanese often say derives from this drink, Honey wine, and amongst the ancient German people, newlywed couples would drink this Honey wine to boost their vigor and not leave their premises for up to a month… and… you know? I heard that they would… make their heir… anyway that used to be one of their customs I hear.
I pour myself a cup of mead and downed it instantly.
While there’s an exceedingly sweet taste, it’s also easy to drink and refreshing. The taste is similar to Japanese sake however the sweetness is easier on the tongue.
“Now then, time to work.”
I turn towards the castle as I take a step forward.
The sun had already come up. It’s probably about time that people were waking up.
It was also a sign that I should start work soon.
I wonder what Ganglabe-san will do from here on out?
I look forward to it, despite my worries.
And I’m glad that we can take that step together.