Chapter split into two(2) pages
Kaldia’s Budding Spring – Part Nine
The snow snake has a unique and smooth texture. The closest thing it can be compared to would maybe be the gray layer between the salmon’s body and skin? Though the former has almost no smell and the taste isn’t as strong… I almost never ate salmon though.
“Mmm, tasty….” Mefuri unintentionally murmured as she felt the soft texture.
Immediately after, I added a few herbs to the snake soup to change its taste, their citric feeling was quite refreshing… She took her time savoring it.
Vanita had a troubled expression as he looked back and forth between me and Mefuri while holding his bowl, though he stopped staggering with Mefuri’s words, and took a sip of the liquid.
“Y-yummy…!” He proclaimed after a small wait.
He murmured with an absurd amount of amazement. Could you please avoid being so expressive about it when talking about good food?
The snow snake is an excellent ingredient that can be much tastier than a rabbit if cooked properly. Well, it’s not a very common meal, so it’s understandable.
“Mefuri, could you share the herbs?” I extended my hand to receive them.
Vanita watched while Mefuri gave them after a moment of staggering, I wanted him to taste the snake by itself, so it would be meaningless to have added the herbs from the start.
“T-thank you.” Vanita said after I passed them to him.
As he received the herbs, Vanita kept on looking back and forth between me and Mefuri. After some hesitation, he tried talking to her.
“… Back when you grew up, was it common to eat snakes in the place you lived in?”
Mefuri seemed to be panicking at his attempt to start a conversation, she directed me a pleading gaze, but I couldn’t help her, as I didn’t know where she came from in the first place.
Considering the dark color of her skin, it is unknown rather she really is from Rindarl or not.
When I brought her to live here, I heard about what kind of life she went through while growing up, but I don’t know any details.
What I know is essentially that she was brought up as a spy, learned magic whenever possible, and had the knowledge of how to escape through mountains and forests drilled into her head.
When I shrugged my shoulders to her plea for help, Mefuri resigned herself to it, and bit by bit started putting an answer together.
“I don’t know if other people ate it, but whenever I got hungry, snake was the first thing I went after… It was easier to catch than other types of meat.”
That is certainly true, it’s the same reason I ate snakes in the first place.
“I started eating other types of meat recently, but… I think snake is the tastiest.”
“… Is that so?”
Vanita nodded awkwardly. Well, it’s hard to feel at ease when hearing about Mefuri’s past.
“What about you?” She asked.
“Eh?” He replied.
“What kind of things did you eat?” She pressed on.
Vanita staggered when being asked back, I’m amazed he didn’t expect it, his surprise seems a bit exaggerated.
He seemed unsure on how to reply, it’s understandable though, as Vanita still has things hidden even from me.
I didn’t question him about this kind of thing because I found no opportunity to do so, but perhaps my lack of probing is what made him talk so little about himself?
“Ah, I… I had to study a lot of etiquette, so I ate a wide variety of meals to remember how to handle each of them…”
Judging from his expression, I’m pretty sure he ate his fair amount of luxurious meals, which obviously led to an awkward silence when it was said right after Mefuri talked about how she had to struggle to fill her stomach each time.
… This kind of atmosphere ruins the snake’s taste.
“Maybe your positions will be reversed in the future.”
I couldn’t help intervening into their talk, they both turned towards me with confused looks on their faces.
“I’m still thinking on how you two will spend your future in here, but you’ll probably go to the lord’s manor, Mefuri in particular would only make use of lessons in etiquette, as she already knows basic survival skills. Vanita on the other hand might receive education in the army.”
They both trembled and started exchanging looks with one another, and with this, I dropped my eyes back to the bowl on my hand.
… Well, those are the most likely possibilities anyway, while I have no intention of mixing those two with the slave children, both Vanita and Mefuri will probably live in the same place, I can’t let them continue being scared of one another.
The children were all gathered from completely different places, so the death of others didn’t create a grudge between them, only fear.
However, that fear wasn’t the only thing to move the children, many of them followed Mefuri voluntarily, as they had no trust in Arxia, the possibility of escape would make them move regardless of Vanita. Considering this, it is pretty likely that he would be taken to the place she was supposed to bring him to.
I won’t say they should interact as if nothing of that happened, but they need to be able to make minimal conversation at least.
At the moment, both Vanita and Mefuri don’t have much in terms of personal achievements, but I have hopes they’ll step up to the task. When spring comes, the river thaws and starts flowing again, but we can never know if it will lead to a valley or a fertile land.
… I must be getting influenced by the spring, I never wanted work as a matchmaker like this. I would never had to worry about it if I was still looking for snakes every day.