“So, I’ve been informed that your reason for this visit is to go on a pleasure jaunt.” (Kurowaal)
Kurowaal, who guided Renya’s party to a place similar to a lounge, places a number of chairs fitting the number of people around the circular table in the room and sits down on one of them.
Glasses for everyone were placed on top of the table. They were filled with some white, cloudy liquid.
Rona has a disgusted expression due to the liquid seeming slightly thick.
As Renya sits down on a stool while pondering, What is she scheming?, Kurowaal offers those drinks.
“It’s a drink called Yolto (T/N: >> Youruto <<) and you mix it with a bit of honey. It’s good for the body, so please, go ahead.” (Kurowaal)
Having it offered like this, Renya picks up his glass from the table and brings it to his mouth.
Due to his non-cautious manner, Rona and Shion have surprised expressions and Kurowaal’s expression also becomes slightly astonished.
Without minding that, Renya pours the contents down his throat.
Certainly, the liquid’s substance is a bit thick, was his impression, but it’s not difficult to drink. It carried a little bit of sourness and sweetness, which is likely originating from the honey.
“That was rather unexpected.” (Kurowaal)
Kurowaal says while picking up her own glass and taking a sip from it.
“Only if it’s someone who has more alertness.”
“The elves won’t be as rude as feeding strange stuff to visitors all of a sudden, will they?” (Renya)
Renya puts his glass back on the table while giving his impression, “It has a refreshing taste, however it’s very unlikely that it will go well together with cooking.”
Watching him and after he finally told them his impression, Shion’s group reached towards their cups as well.
“So, I shall return to our first conversation.” (Kurowaal)
“What manner of things do you actually want to see? Though it’s something said by me, who’s an elf, but I don’t think there’s anything particularly interesting for humans here?” (Kurowaal)
“Let’s see.” (Renya)
After thinking for a short while, Renya continues his words,
“From the start I came here out of curiosity, but if there’s unusually delicious food or if there’s stuff that can’t be seen in a human city, I’d like you to show us those.” (Renya)
Renya didn’t ask for a guide, however, since the situation is like this already, it seems we will wrap up things with little difficulty if I ask Kurowaal to guide us around, Renya judges.
As he watches the state of Rona who looks uncomfortable, it’s impossible to pick the option of acting more freely in this situation where the encircling net of the elves appears to be going strong.
The situation doesn’t seem to rectify for her to go home by herself, Renya believed as if being almost certain.
“I don’t believe you should have too many expectations about the scenery.” (Kurowaal)
Neatly crossing her legs on top of the stool, Kurowaal answers while pondering with her gaze roaming through the empty air as she is holding her knees.
“As for food… since we aren’t fond of meat, shall I introduce you to dishes like seasoning made out of elven soya beans, I wonder?” (Kurowaal)
“It’s not like we are vegetarians, but elves basically don’t eat much meat”, Kurowaal explains.
As substitutes, they developed dishes and seasoning that use plants.
“I don’t believe that humans are accustomed to them, but things like fermented seasoning consisting of crushed elven soya beans and salt, or seasoning made by wringing out elven soya beans, are delicious and I recommend those. I believe that green elven soya beans boiled in salty water and eaten just like that are quite appetizing. Even changing it into a flour by crushing ripe beans has an ideal flavour to be used in sweets.” (Kurowaal)
“… Somehow all that you are talking about are beans though…” (Renya)
Aren’t the latter half of Kurowaal’s remarks about edamame* or roasted soybean flour? Renya wonders. (T/N: green soybeans)
If my guess is correct, the seasoning will be stuff like miso and soy sauce.
If I’m able to gather miso and soy sauce here, the basic 「sashisuseso」 of cooking will become completely available and it will increase my cooking repertoire in one go.
Renya doesn’t hate Western cooking, but he believes that soy sauce or miso with dashi from seafood directly appeals to the palate of a Japanese person.
Due to Renya sticking to her with sparkling eyes all of a sudden, Kurowaal showed a wry smile as if saying that it can’t be helped.
“It seems there are some good things around here. Can you guide us around the city while heading towards the market?” (Renya)
It was the first time Renya was able to see the townscape as he was led around by Kurowaal along the way to the market.
The entire residential area of the elves is in a forest. The buildings are surrounded by trees, embraced by them or being a part of them in a great diversity. It has a charm completely different from the stone-made townscape of humans.
In the case of humans handling trees, they either cut them, shave them or bend them in order to make them properly usable, but elves, making use of their long life spans, treat the trees as part of the whole by correcting things like the places where they can grow, and the direction in which they can extend in order to have them slowly, slowly function as part of the city.
Due to the sight which feels somewhat similar to the cultivation of bonsai though the scale is completely different, Renya believed that it was great of him to have come here for the time being.
As it’s the first time for Shion to see a townscape in the elven country as well, she walks while following behind Renya with an absent-minded expression. Frau hasn’t much interest in that? She walks in a state of clinging to Renya’s sleeve.
Only Rona hasn’t the leeway to enjoy the scenery of the surroundings. Sensing the lecherous gazes gluing onto her from who knows where, she walked while feeling ill at ease.
The passing-by inhabitants of the city aren’t facing Rona with such gazes.
Since that’s the case, it’s a safe bet to say that the criminals are elves who are hiding somewhere, however even with Renya using his eyes, he can’t conclude a full analysis of their numbers and location though he vaguely senses that they are there.
“What is it?” (Kurowaal)
Did she somewhat guess what he wants to say? Kurowaal’s voice is stiff.
I should state it nevertheless, Renya continues,
“As far as I know, such leering is called an extremely sleazy act by humans…” (Renya)
“Did you believe that they will say “How informative”?” (Kurowaal)
While clenching her fist to the degree of it making conspicuous sounds, Kurowaal says as she strives to remain calm,
“I will repeatedly apologize in regards to this matter.” (Kurowaal)
“No, well, I’m fine, but she is … can’t we do something for her?” (Renya)
“Although I’m an elf, the opponents are elves as well. Moreover, it’s very likely that their side is older.” (Kurowaal)
Frustration is mixed into Kurowaal’s voice.
“It will be difficult to find them within the forest.” (Kurowaal)
Renya groans lowly.
Renya had the confidence to immediately sense it if it was something like blood-thirst or hostility being turned at them. On top of it being Rona and not Renya at whom it is directed this time, the looks are free of strong emotions like hostility and such.
Moreover, as those filthy gazes are haunting their target, Rona is definitely feeling chills and discomfort, but on the other hand, you can also say that it stops at only that.
By all means, it’s wrong to release the spell <Investigation> within the city as well. Even if we were able to specify the other party with that, it would only allow us to see them and it’s very unlikely that we would be able to pursue them if they became serious.
They are troublesome opponents, Renya sighs.
As Renya thinks I will settle it right away if they try to kidnap Rona, Kurowaal who is next to him informs them that they arrived at the market.
A market in the elven country had quite a different atmosphere than that in human country after all.
Although an abundance of various types of fruits and vegetables are gathered, the meat was mostly unrefined.
There was an array of exquisite fishes, but there wasn’t a big variety of meat.
In places where people gather it’s correct to say that there will always be stalls. If it’s a human market, the smell of roasted meat will waft through it, but the elven stalls have mostly soups and boiled dishes while roasted dishes are pretty much missing.
“This way is a store dealing in the seasoning you showed interest in, Renya-san.” (Kurowaal)
The store pointed at by Kurowaal certainly was a shop overflowing with buckets, which were filled with a light brown paste, and jars, which also had a light brown liquid in them.
Shelving the matter of the gazes for the time being, Renya begins to fiercely investigate the lined-up goods.
Going by the smell and appearance there was almost no mistake that those were the soy sauce and miso Renya knew of.
However, the problem is the taste.
As it is a different world, I can’t definitely say that something outrageous like it having a chocolate taste although it has the appearance of miso can’t happen at all.
“I’d like to sample it a bit, but is that allowed?” (Renya)
Hearing the word “sampling”, the shop clerk’s expression turns sour.
I understand his feelings about that, but showing such face while doing business is no good, Renya assesses.
However, being the one who wants to taste it, Renya can’t strongly demand it either.
Especially since soy sauce is a seasoning that has to be used up as quickly as possible once you break the seal on it.
The longer it gets in contact with air, the more it deteriorates and loses its flavour. Renya understands that it’s difficult to offer it for sampling.
“Isn’t it possible to at least sample the light-brown paste over there?” (Renya)
It’s fine to say that soy sauce will have most likely the correct taste if there’s nothing wrong with the taste of the miso.
The ingredients are somewhat different, but it’s not like it will have a taste deviating largely from one’s imagination, Renya judges.
Due to the clerk showing disapproval even then, Kurowaal whispered a few words to him.
Since her voice was too low, Renya, who is nearby, couldn’t hear it either, but it seemed that the clerk heard it. He stares at Renya’s face and withdraws into the interior of the store. Bringing out something like a small, pure white stick, he scoops up a bit of the light brown paste with it and holds it out to Renya.
Renya, who took it, noticed that the pure white stick was something made out of some cut ends of vegetables.
Guessing that he is probably supposed to eat it just like that, Renya tosses it into his mouth.
Because the consistency of the food while being chewed was crisp, the juices of the vegetables spread within his mouth and blend there with the saltiness and the good taste of soy beans.
I have a feeling that the saltiness was a bit strong, but it’s probably a type of miso that takes a long time to mature and thus a somewhat larger quantity of salt was put in.
Going by the the taste, there’s almost no mistake that this is miso.
Renya unintentionally was about to collapse due to the the dearly missed taste from his previous life, but as it’s a public place, he endures with an effort and gives his thanks to the clerk.
“Thank you. I want to buy this, but what is this seasoning called?” (Renya)
“This is miso. It’s a seasoning taught to the elves by a Lost.” (Clerk)
Renya, who was surprised that miso (in katakana) is miso (in kanji) even in a different world, gets even more astonished by the following words.
It seems a pioneer had introduced the method of producing soy sauce and miso to the elves.
“Originally the elven beans were boiled and eaten in their green state, but the Lost, who fell on the elven continent, spread and taught us various processing methods to use the beans, and the seasoning has been loved by the elves for a long time now”, the clerk explains to Renya.
“That ojou-san over there said that you are a Lost.” (Clerk)
“That’s why I allowed you to sample the seasoning”, the clerk smiled.
While being grateful for the great achievement of the pioneer, Renya begins to count how much money he has on him right now. Seeing the appearance of Renya, Frau butts into the conversation.
“How much can you buy for one gold coin ~no?” (Frau)
“You are outsiders, right? There’s also the share of the regular customers. I’m not able to sell you too much since since they also take time to prepare, but… if it’s 3 casks of miso and 2 casks of soy sauce, I will sell them for 1 gold coin to you.” (Clerk)
A single casked had a size looking like around 10 liters would fit in, going by Renya’s estimation.
He feels that the price is a bit too high, but there are also parts where he can’t help but agree if he assumes that it’s the price correction of a different world.
While Renya is hesitating and pondering However, an expense of 1 gold coin is a lot, Frau promptly took out one gold coin from within the pocket of her apron dress and handed it to the clerk.
“I will buy it with this ~no.” (Frau)
“Oy, Frau…” (Renya)
“Master wants to eat this ~no. Thus I will buy it without hesitation ~no.” (Frau)
“There won’t be any problems, if I increase the sale of magic gems”, Frau brags.
Frau boasts of a strength someone like Renya can’t match in regards to raising funds and administrative ability.
While storing away the casks, which were laboriously moved from the stores’ shelves into his inventory in exchange for the gold coin, the ears of Renya, who earnestly believes Man, I’m no match, suddenly picked up the sounds of a disturbance occurring among the people of the city.
Once he turns his face in the direction of the sounds, he can even hear voices similar to the screaming of people and the sound of something heavy travelling.
As it seems that the elves, who also have good ears, immediately noticed it as well, everyone turns their looks uneasily in that direction and Shion and Rona, who don’t understand the situation, draw close to Renya.
“Renya, what the heck is going on?” (Shion)
“Somehow… it seems there’s an uproar over there.” (Renya)
“Those are the sounds of a horse’s hooves…” (Kurowaal)
Almost at the same time as Kurowaal mutters that, Renya starts running.
Shion followed one step later.
Once he starts running, he immediately sees the figure of the horse who’s the culprit of the uproar.
It looks like a single elf is straddling its back, but no matter how you look at it, the elves’ state was weird.
Both of the elf’s hands, which should grasp the reins, are dangling loosely at the sides. He isn’t moving even a twitch while their body has a posture similar to hanging onto the horseback.
As if that body couldn’t stand the horse’s swaying, it slides down little by little and in the end fell off the horse without readjusting its posture.
“Renya! The elf fell!” (Shion)
Even faster than Shion’s shout, Renya steps in strongly.
Changing the recoil into movement force, Renya, who abruptly accelerated, catches the body while running alongside the horse’s flank before the elf can crash into the ground from the horseback.
The horse, which lost its rider, rushed ahead without control and in Shion’s direction.
Don’t tell me she intends to take the charge head on, Renya wondered, but as expected, there’s no realistic method to do so if you consider the horse’s weight.
Shion dodges the approaching horse slightly and grabs the reins, which are swaying due to the force of the horse’s running, with her left hand. Using those, she jumped nimbly on the horse.
“Renya, this horse is quite difficult to handle.” (Shion)
Shion, who displayed that she was easily able to hold and manipulate the reins during the rampaging state of the horse, calls out to Renya who approached her while holding the fallen elf.
“It’s covered all over in wounds. I don’t know where they have come from, but those are quite serious injuries.” (Shion)
The horse, which is able to move despite having serious injuries all over, continues to shed streams of blood alongside its violent movements. Shion’s clothes have been soaked in that blood here and there, but she doesn’t look like she cares about that.
“Yea, I have a similar feeling here as well.” (Renya)
Renya, who replied, looks down on the unconscious elf in his hands.
The beautiful, well-featured looks made it difficult to distinguish whether it’s a man or a woman, even if looking from up close, but since the feeling of the body was reasonably firm, Renya judges that it’s likely a man.
Having a leather armour with a green jouge on top equipped, with a quiver hanging at his waist and a bow on his back made him out to be an archer.
However, his equipment is torn all over, he keeps shedding blood, and his quiver is empty.
The string of the bow he carried has snapped and it has lost its use.
“Oy, pull yourself together. What happened?” (Renya)
Shaking the body of the unconscious elf a bit, the elf opens his eyes, albeit dimly, once Renya calls out to him and looks up to Renya.
Moving the cracked lips just a bit, he leaked a hoarse voice.
“To the government… contact…”
Is his consciousness in disorder or has his field of vision not settled?
The elf, who is carried by Renya, doesn’t seem to realize that the other party is a human.
“Wait, don’t talk after all. It will shorten your life. Since there’s a priest who can cast healing magic, first comes the treatment…” (Renya)
“Please… the eastern defence fortress has fallen…”
Does he not hear Renya’s words anymore? The elf didn’t stop talking.
Clinging to him as if he wants to pierce his nails partly into the arms of Renya, who is holding his body, he musters his strength and continues to speak words.
“The Forest Labyrinth… has… overflowed!”
Stating that, the eyes of the elf become empty.
Losing strength from the arms which clung onto Renya, he feebly hangs his head. Renya had no other choice than to simply watch it happen.