Chapter 55: The Person Named Charlotte
With unmitigated and intense push from Ferris, we eventually accepted the City Tour Quest for Ms. Lotte.
…….she is someone I’m greatly indebted to, so I have no qualms over the decision. I just hate needlessly gathering attention to ourselves. It’s obvious that we might run into trouble with fervent fans like Ferris.
Well, now that we accepted the Quest, there’s no point mulling over it. Let’s think positively. Very positively.
Regardless, the Quest with Ms. Lotte is during the Flower Festival. As we planned at the beginning, we took on the Construction Quest to build the outdoor stage, and we’re currently drenched in sweat.
Jend: “Here you go, Henry.”
I took the wooden board from Jend, line it up and with three <conk conk co〜nk>, I hammer the nail into the wood.
I hammer 6 nails total per board, and by the time I finish, Jend already has the next board ready.
Jend: “Henry, you’re pretty good at this.”
Henry: “Yeah, I did this kind of work often.”
I was sawing a board as Jend spoke to me.
The work is simple enough where a little conversation and distraction won’t make me mess up, so we chatted as we continued.
Jend: “You did this kind of work on the frontlines?”
Henry: “Yeah, Demonic Creatures would enter the city and wreck buildings, so we were constantly patching and rebuilding the damages.”
The Demonic Creatures would enter the city several times a week, so of course, the buildings would be destroyed too. The “housing” right next to the wall was built knowing that it would be destroyed that day, so all of them were basic shacks. Its purpose was to have a place for the guards to get out of the wind and rain.
Adventurers were tasked with the construction, maintenance, and repairs. Adventurers with high combat capabilities were exempted from the rotations, but I still did construction work at least once every 2-3 months.
Because of that experience, I’m able to do stuff like this.
Jend: “I get it now.”
Henry: “You’re also quite adept at using the saw yourself.”
Swords and saws are completely different, but Jend cuts through the wood very quickly. He is pouring his Magic through the saw to make it sharper, but even still…
Jend: “Wood crafting is just my hobby. I like making stuff with wood, so I picked it up from that.”
Henry: “I see.”
Jend: “When I was a kid, we had some unused land, and I used the remains of demolished buildings to build a small shack. It was our secret hideout, but they demolished it because they were building a store there. I was pretty pissed when it happened.”
Building a small shack as a kid? Impressive.
But the word “secret base” tickles my instincts as a man. I go to the Flowtier Forest alone occasionally, and I wondered if I should build a safe house, but Demonic Creatures target man-made structures. I could use materials to repel them but then…...the cost of maintenance would outweigh any benefits.
……..wait. Maybe if I make it on the tree tops….?
Cyril: “Sorry to keep you waiting〜 Here’s your next wood supply.”
Henry: “Thanks, Cyril. Keep up the good work.”
And as I was letting my imagination expand, Cyril brought the next load.
They were 5 wood supplies that were roughly cut with markings of how it needed to be cut by us.
It would have been pretty heavy to carry, but Cyril’s training has been effective, and she’s now at the bottom baseline of physical strength for vanguards. She carried that much with ease.
Yup, this is a nice change to her usual training, and it’s helping her as well.
Cyril: “Okay, next, I need to carry that supply over there and…”
Henry: “Keep it up〜”
And with that, she quickly heads energetically away,
Alright, just a bit more, and it’ll be the lunch break. Let’s take care of this quickly.
We take the provided lunches included as part of our Quest reward and gather with our party to eat together.
Henry: “How did this morning go? I was with Jend, and I saw Cyril occasionally.”
Ferris: “Yeah, my morning was pretty uneventful. There weren’t many injuries.”
Ferris is not only adept at Healing Magecraft, but also has medical training, so she was handling all the injuries occurring on the construction site.
Teo: “I was performing tasks on high places so I enjoyed it a lot.”
The stage has many decorations on high places, and Teo who’s good at climbing was tasked with those kinds of responsibilities.
Teo: “They we're trying to tell me that kids shouldn't be doing such dangerous work….but I showed them a thing or two, and they agreed to let me do the job.”
They probably said it out of good intentions and worry, but yeah, sorry. Teo’s physical maneuverability is far beyond a regular Adventurers.
Henry: “Oh, we’ll run out of time to eat if we just talk.”
I open my lunch box.
Henry: “Well look at that…”
It looks delicious.
With rice, there is fried chicken and pickled cabbage in large portions. There’s not a lot of variety, but I like these simple meals too.
Biting into the fried chicken, the juice from the meat fills my mouth. It’s a lunchbox so the contents have cooled, but the meat is still juicy nonetheless. The cook must have done something to allow the meat to not overcook while it sat in the lunchbox.
And taking bites of rice while the taste of the meat still remained in my mouth was…...amazing. I’m not sure why fried meat and rice go so well together, but it’s a smashing combination. I can eat several portions of this.
And after the rice came the pickled cabbage. The pickling had extra vinegar and salt to cater to physical laborers, and it cleans out the palette.
I take a sip of the tea that came along with it, and take a deep breath of satisfaction.
Henry: “That was delicious〜”
It wasn’t like fancy restaurant food, but it was a very calming, wholesome flavor.
Cyril: “I think the mothers of the city gathered to cook this for us.”
Henry: “That makes sense.”
With Cyril’s input, I nod in agreement.
I gobble down my remaining meal.
There is quite a bit stuffed inside…..but not enough to satisfy a healthy Adventurer. Even Teo who’s the smallest and Cyril who didn’t eat much before she started training finished their lunches.
Finishing my meal, I sipped a refill of my tea, and relaxed and waited for the lunch break to be over.
A little distance away, I overheard the conversations of other people also taking their break.
“Did you hear? This year, that Charlotte is coming to do the live show.”
“Yeah, I heard that too. The Rainbow Singer, right? When I was a kid…...like, 30 years ago now? She came to the Flower Festival and did a show once.”
“That’s before I was born, huh. I’ve never been to her concerts, but I’m a huge fan〜”
“We'll, when you go to her show, you’ll have to scream, ‘Little Charu〜!’ as loud as you can and……”
Looks like word has already spread that Ms. Lotte is coming for the festival.
….I don’t know when it was decided, but maybe we could have dealt with her arrival if I’ve gotten hold of that info sooner.
Overhearing their conversation, Cyril turns to me.
Cyril: “So Henry. About that Ms. Charlotte who we’re going to give a tour around the festival…”
Ferris: “Are you interested, Cyril?! Then let me impart to you what I know of the amazingness of Little Charu!! Don’t you have an audio player in the Governor’s mansion? If you do, let’s listen to some recordings together and….”
Jend: “Stay, Ferris. I’ll listen to what you have to say.”
Jend intervenes as Ferris gets excited after hearing Ms. Lotte’s name.
Well, it seems that Jend didn’t know about this part of Ferris, so I’ll happily allow them to deepen their understanding (mainly Ferris) of one another.
A loud “HA!” rang inside my head. You have such a beautiful woman as your girlfriend. A little suffering will do you some good. Ke ke ke….
Cyril: “Henry, your face is darkening and twisting to the side of evil.”
Henry: “? What? I’m a man of justice.”
Teo: “....no, you definitely exhibited an evil aura just now.”
Henry: “Teo, you too?”
What〜 that’s not fair. There’s no way that’s true.
Cyril: “And so about this Ms. Charlotte. I know she’s a really famous singer and celebrity, and I've heard her records at the Governor’s mansion, but…how do you know her, Henry?”
Henry: “How…? Well...”
Cyril: “....like that [Saint], did you date her in the past?”
Henry: “<BUFUU!!>” (sfx water spewing)
I spewed out my tea.
Henry: “Wait, Cyril, why are you so intent on making everything about romance?"
Cyril: “Just my age, I guess!”
She emphasized that last point.
….well, I guess that’s normal for girls her age...
Teo: “….? What is it, Mr. Henry?”
Teo has zero interest in these kinds of things, but I guess it’s still normal for girls her age.
But why would you tie me down with Ms. Lotte. She’s well over 60 now.
Henry: “HーHey, just to get clear, the only girl I ever ‘dated’ was just Yuu, and that was when we were still kids.”
It’s sad, but true.
That’s why it’s absolutely natural for me to burn with jealous rage against Jend who is literally in the middle of spring with his love life!!
Henry: “So Ms. Lotte….I think if you summarize it simply is...a big sister?”
Henry: “Yeah, she usually tours the entire country, and I only saw her when she came to Ligaleo, but she would take the time to tell me stories about other cities. Everything I know about other towns came from her.”
…...when we first met, I was at my lowest in terms of mental and emotional well-being, and she was the one who lifted me out of those crags. But Cyril doesn't have to know about that.
Henry: "She’s always making tons of money, so she would pay for all the drinks. …..and she’s a small person, but alcohol has almost no effect on her, so she would keep dragging me to the next tavern all night long."
I didn’t have a say in the matter either.
I think it’s been about 1 year since we last met? Even then, she dragged me to the pre-celebration of the annual Ligaleo Support Live concert, and we hit 5-6 taverns that night.
Cyril: “It’s a little different from her stage personality….”
Henry: “Yeah, but on stage, she’s a perfect superstar. She just has an on and off switch between her personal and professional life.”
As soon as she’s done being a celebrity on stage, she turns into a lazy but albeit very generous big sister.
Teo: “But she’s also one of the 8 Heroes of Legend, correct? Is she strong?”
Teo follows up with her question.
Teo: “More than Sister Ageha?”
Teo’s very attached to her cousin, and her bias tends to easily sway that way, so this is important for her to know.
I think about this.
Of course, there is no absolute standard for strength.
It depends on the situation and also your physical condition. And it also depends on who you’re fighting.
But even if all these things considered, from a 3rd person perspective….
Henry: “I’m in the same category as Ageha, but comparing Ms. Lotte to us is just a bad matchup."
Teo: “That much?”
Henry: “Yeah, Ms. Lotte can cast buffs on herself and smash with her fists the Highest-Tier Demonic Creatures by herself.”
Both Ageha and I can defeat Highest-Tier creatures with relatively large safety margins, but that’s when we are grouped inside a solid party. I can’t say that it’s impossible for me or Ageha to do it aloneーーbut it would be one heck of a disadvantage for us.
But if you put Ms. Lotte or Sir Ezeal in the same shoes, they would be able to defeat the enemy with minimal risks. You can say that this is the wall we face when we try to climb to their level.
Henry: “Plus, Ms. Lotte’s Spell Songs have the ability to not just buff herself, but others too, so I wouldn’t be able to beat her if she did that.”
Unlike Magecraft, Sorcery doesn’t require the buff to be uniquely shaped for each individual…..she once told me, “I just tried it, and it worked”......
I don’t understand the logic or mechanisms, and only Ms. Lotte has the ridiculous area effect of “as far as my song can be heard.”
……..oh shoot. Teo seems pretty discouraged.
Henry: “.....well, to be fair, Ageha’s still young. She uses just assassin techniques, so she still has plenty of opportunities to get even stronger.”
Teo: “Yes...yes, you’re right.”
On a side note, I’m fairly certain that Teo could also reach Ageha’s level someday with proper training.
But I don’t want her to get too overconfident, so I won’t say anything for now.
Cyril: “Um...Henry, did you say she smashes enemies with her fist….? Like...she punches her enemies to the ground….?”
Henry: “Yeah, I’m fairly certain that no one can beat her barehanded….”
Being only about 140 cm (4 ft 7 in), she would punch and kick 20+ meter tall (65+ ft) Highest-Tier Demonic Creatures and defeat them. That’s Ms. Lotte for ya.”
Cyril: “And….she’s a singing celebrity?”
Henry: “Don’t worry. All of her fans know that part about her.”
Talking about Ms. Lotte brought back a lot of nostalgic memories.
…...when she comes to Flowtier, where should we take her?
CHONKY Notes LiT (Lost in Translation)
Lunchbox (bentou) (弁当) - Growing up in the U.S., I had my fair share of sandwiches and juice boxes and cafeteria foods, but maybe it’s because I’m Japanese American, but there was something dazzling and alluring about the Japanese culture of how they prepared lunches. Yes, there is fast food, and cafeteria food there too now, but the culture of “bentou” (homemade lunchbox) is something that still brings me a lot of joy and delight. It’s a lot of work no doubt, and many Japanese mothers would wake up very early in the morning to prepare a full course meal for their children to take to school. There would be cooked fish or meat, eggs (tamagoyaki), along with an assortment of pickled vegetables. It was sad that I grew up in a white community where the bentou I bring to school was ridiculed as weird or gross, but looking back, my mom put a lot of effort into it. It saddens me to think that I didn’t appreciate it more.
Semi-retired Adventurer Lives Leisurely
Written by Hisagushien
Translated by: ChonkyTranslator
Book 5: Flowtier Flower Festival