Chapter 59: My Friends Today
The Flower Festival Day 2.
As I guessed, yesterday, after the Bear’s Keg Inn was closed, the overly excited Ms. Lotte shouted, “To the next we go～!” and she took me around multiple taverns.
……...because of the festival, many businesses decided to extend their business hours, and she made me drink till the sun rose.
Charlotte: “Oh, c’mon Henry! What’s with you!”
I keep myself from hurling last nights drinks.
Henry: “.......anyone would feel this way after a night like yesterday….”
It was past noon.
Ms. Lotte, who drank as much or even more than I did, came and woke me up. My head pounded from the hangover, and my stomach was outraged by last night’s treatment, and I held my stomach as we walked the city streets.
Charlotte: “It’s almost our promised meeting time….fine…..here, take this.”
And Ms. Lotte looks through her robes and brings out a small ball the size of a pinky.
Henry: “What is that….?”
Charlotte: “It’s a Halfling Medication for hangovers that’s been passed down the Fine Family Lineage. Here, you can have some of my water.”
Henry: “Thーthank you…”
It was a hard, spherical medicine….
I threw the black ball into my mouth…….UGH, IT’S BITTER!!
I hurriedly gulp down the water from her water bottle.
………..ugh……….I can still taste the bitterness in my mouth….”
Charlotte: “It’s a stinging sort of bitterness that wakes you up, right?” Henry: “....you could have warned me….”
Charlotte: “Sorry, sorry. But that medicine works really well. You’ll feel better in about half an hour.”
Well, if it’s like that, I guess it can’t be helped.
We walk through the very crowded main streets of the festival.
Although it's difficult to walk with so many people around, Ms. Lotte is weaving through them effortlessly. She is even humming a song and seems to be in high spirits.
Charlotte: “Look at all this! I love festivals. I don’t get to enjoy them much, but there’s so many people having fun here.”
Henry: “I guess you attend festivals as a job more often than just for leisure.”
Charlotte: “There’s that, but it’s never fun going to a festival alone. Luna doesn’t like crowded, busy places, so she won’t ever come to these things with me.”
Oh really? I didn’t know that.
Henry: “I would think you would have many people you know, Ms. Lotte.”
Charlotte: “Sure, I know plenty, but even my kinsmen never stay in one place long, so it’s rare that I bump into them.”
Henry: “Any Adventurers then?” Charlotte: “I’ve been doing things on my own for a while now.”
Ohhhh, yeah, I didn’t think about that.
She has to keep touring different parts of the country to keep up her celebrity fame, so she really wouldn’t be able to work with most Adventurers who settle down in a single area for long periods of time.
Charlotte: “All my old Adventurer friends either retired to the countryside or passed away.”
Henry: “..........I see…..”
Charlotte: “Yup. The only human I knew from way back and is still active is Ezeal. But I guess he’s a Knight now.”
Oh yeah, Sir Ezeal started off as an Adventurer in the beginning, and he told me that he became a Knight in his 30’s.
Charlotte: “I know many in Ligaleo but……...I guess, over there, every day is a Carnival Day, now that I think about it.” Henry: “That’s true but not funny…….”
Yeah, it’s as noisy and busy like this Flower Festival….
But instead of flowers, there’s other red things that bloom all the time. To put it bluntly, there’s blood spraying everywhere.
But Ligaleo, huh…….
The daily fights are almost a distant past that I can look back nostalgically. Every day, someone got hurt or died. We fought tooth and nail to preserve our lives, and I don’t regret retiring back here in the countryside but…….
Henry: “I know I shouldn’t say this kind of stuff, but was it really okay for me to leave?”
……..oh crap. I accidentally spoke my thoughts out loud. It’s a concern that I would never be able to say to Sir Ezeal or Ageha who’s still fighting on the frontlines, and because Ms. Lotte who is just as strong as Sir Ezeal doesn’t fight there year around, I accidentally let my tongue slip.
Charlotte: “......don’t get so cocky, son.”
I knew it was coming, but she cut me off just like that.
Charlotte: “How many Knights and Adventurers do you think are there? Yeah, Henry, you’re strong. But the folks there aren’t so flimsy that one person leaving cripples them.”
……….yes, very true.
When I was first leaving Ligaleo, she told me the exact same thing as my friends. I really haven’t matured at all since then.
Charlotte: “Besides, that place isn’t somewhere where someone with no motivation can survive for long.”
Henry: “.......yes, that’s true.”
I left there because I couldn’t see any reason to keep fighting with my life on the line.
Very clearly, I also felt that “Oh, if I don’t leave soon, I’m going to slip and die.”
Charlotte: “Well, it’s a festival, Henry! We’ll leave all the depressing stories behind us for now. Look, they’re giving out free alcohol from the Governor over there.”
Henry: “You’re still going to drink?!”
I’m still hungover from yesterday so I’ll pass. I’ll look forward to the next time.
Charlotte: “If you want to spill out some complaints, I can listen to you tonight if you want.”
Henry: “.......thank you.”
Yeah, she’s taking care of me as always like the old days.
Charlotte: “Is this the house of one of your Party members, Henry?” Henry: “Yes. It’s the Sagiri Merchant Group’s Flowtier location…...didn’t I talk to you about this already? Ageha’s relations run the store.”
Charlotte: “‘Course I remember. …….oh, look at that. They’re selling some interesting stuff.”
The Sagiri Store handles many rare imported goods from Rishu.
But during the festival, they take up the opportunity to setup a food stand in front of their store, and there’s a sweet aroma in the air.
I take a quick glance, and I see that they’re cooking something over a grill. It’s some sort of round food.
I think I remember Ageha making some from scratch. She called it “Dango”.
The ones Ageha made incorporated some sort of edible grass and made it a green color, but Teo’s family is serving white Dango’s with a syrup covering it. The syrupy parts that are slightly burnt give off an amazing scent, and it looks delicious.
Teo seems to be busy helping her family, so I didn’t greet her directly and just nodded at her briefly from afar.
Charlotte: “.....that looks good. Henry～ Can you get some for me～?”
Henry: “There’s a ton of people in line though….”
Maybe it’s the delicious smelling aroma or because it’s not a food usually served in this area, but there’s a crowd of customers who are pressing in, and there’s a long wait before you can be served.
Charlotte: “But you’re the one responsible for my Quest, right?”
Right now, I’m on a Quest to tour(?)....guide(?)....Ms. Lotte around the Flower Festival.
Henry: “......I feel like standing in line in your place is outside the scope of the Quest…..”
Charlotte: “GAH! Stop bickering and get in line!”
She kicks me in the butt and sends me off on an errand.
………..that’s right. Ms. Lotte is the type to delegate tasks she doesn’t want to do. But she will pour all her strength into things she loves to do.
She sent me to stand in line, and then told me “I’ll walk around a bit～” and left me.
…….hmmmmm, she’s basically paying so I don’t have complaints there but…...I’m so bored just standing in line. I don’t even have anyone to talk to.
I stand there mindlessly as I wait for the line to move.
And maybe it was about 5 minutes later.
I saw some familiar faces come towards me.
Cyril: “Oh! He～y, Henry! Good morn….wait, I guess it’s good afternoon now.”
Jend: “Hey Henry.”
Ferris: “Hello, Mr. Henry.”
Cyril had a promise with Teo to meet with her, but Jend and Ferris were with her too.
Henry: “What? Jend, Ferris, weren’t you two on a date today too?”
Jend: “.....well, yeah. We are, and we heard good things about the Dango they sell here, so we wanted to drop by.”
Ferris: “And while we were on our way, we met Cyril but…….um…..Mr. Henry…...is Little Charu…..”
Ferris whispers the end of her sentence at a barely audible level.
……...so at the very least, she has the sense to not throw her boyfriend to the side to chase down her most beloved celebrity during the festival, but…..she’s only barely keeping herself at bay.
Henry: “She didn’t want to wait in line, so she’s taking a look around this area.”
Ferris: “Oh, iーis that so? What do you think, Jend? Since we coincidentally ran into them, shouldn’t we at least say our greetings?”
Jend: “........ohhhhh, yeah yeah. I was thinking about how I wanted to meet her too.”
And as we gather and talk, of course, our group will stand out.
Since I’m waiting in line, I thought it might cause a fuss and trouble to Teo’s family when Teo peeked her head out from near the food stand.
With quick steps, she approached us.
Teo: “Hello everyone. I’m on break now, so would you like to come inside instead of talking out here?”
Henry: “Oh, Teo, so I’m on an urgent, critical mission to purchase your Dango….”
Well, I guess it’s not urgent or important, but Ms. Lotte asked so….
Teo: “If you don’t mind, we have test products that are slightly out of shape inside that you can have. If you warm it up, it really shouldn’t taste that different from our main product.”
………...all that time I wasted waiting in line…..
And as we talked, Ms. Lotte came back.
I can’t even start explaining how she’s able to walk through that crowd without anyone noticing her, but she’s visible to my group.
Ferris: “.....!!!!!!!!!! LITTLE CHAーー”
Jend: “CALM DOWN, FERRIS!”
Jend holds Ferris back by the shoulders.
Good job, Jend～ Keep her under control～
Charlotte: “Wow, it got lively while I was gone.”
Henry: “These are my other party members. Ms. Lotte, Teo is inviting us to step inside, so let’s take her offer. They have Dango waiting for us inside too.”
Charlotte: “Ohh! That’s great! Thank you.”
Ms. Lotte bows politely to Teo, and Teo bows back.
……..well, I wanted to introduce the group to Ms. Lotte during the Flower Festival, so this is great that I was able to do so earlier than expected.
Better sooner than later, I guess.
Teo: “Here’s your tea.”
Henry: “Thanks, Teo.”
I sip the tea Teo served.
It’s green tea. It’s popular in the Rishu area, and the tea leaves processing is different from regular tea, but the source is all the same. Because of that, it’s been made and distributed around here.
It’s a bit bitter, but when served with the sweet Dango, there’s an incredible balance in taste that’s hard to express.
You just can’t help but sigh at the combination and relax a little in satisfaction.
Charlotte: “Well, let’s get introductions out of the way. I’m Charlotte Fine. There’s some who already know me here, but I received a Hero of Legend Title as an Adventurer. But my main job is a Bard.”
As she enjoyed the tea and Dango, Ms. Lotte opened up the conversation.
Charlotte: “I’ll go ahead and add the Adventurer’s side of things. I sing to buff my allies and favor bare-handed combat. I don’t think we’ll have a chance to team up, but it’s nice to meet you all.”
Cyril already made her introduction yesterday, so there’s three left but…..
Henry: “......ummmm, Ferris. We’re doing introductions but…..are you going to be okay?” Ferris: “HA! Mr. Henry. Don’t underestimate me. I am most definitely a huge fan of Ms. Charlotte, but as a fan, I would never think to do anything that would cause her any trouble.”
…….then why are you suppressing those arms down as they tremble……
She realizes the shaking and tries to hold it down with one hand but…….everyone already noticed….(sigh)....
Ferris: “Oh, umm, yes. I’m Ferris. I’m a Warrior with Healing responsibilities. So um, I’ve been a fan of Ms. Charlotte from a while back. It’s a huge honor to be able to meet you like this.”
Charlotte: “Of course I remember you. You came to every one of my Live Performances in Centralio. You’re the girl that would always wave your arms till I thought they’d rip off.”
Ferris: “.......yーyou remembered me?!”
Charlotte: “Well, um, yeah. …...there’s a ton of passionate fans, but there’s not a lot of young girls, and none were as…..energetic as you so…..”
Ms. Lotte is popular with both young and old, men and women.
But her looks are that of a young girl. Most of the hardcore fans are dominantly men.
…….and there are many women who love Ms. Lotte’s songs, but there’s none that I know that would completely lose their mind like this….
Charlotte: “I haven’t seen you after a while so I was worried, but I’m glad you’re doing okay.”
Ferris: “Yes, thank you so much!!”
Her replies are too energetic～
Charlotte: “Are you overflowing with Little Charu Energy～!?” Ferris: “YE～S!!”
I don’t know if it was a service to her fan, but Ms. Lotte put on her stage voice, and Ferris jumped on board with both hands raised and answered back.
……...it doesn’t look strange during a Live Performance and with a huge group of fans, but seeing it done one on one, it made me cringe into a corner. Of course, I don’t want to ruin the moment for Ferris so I keep my mouth shut tight.
And I don’t know if it’s because Ferris had such a…..intense greeting but…
Jend: “Oh, I’m Jend. I play the Vanguard.”
Teo: “I’m Teo. I am the main Scout.”
The other finished with extremely brief introductions.
……….well whatever. Let’s just get on with this, yeah….
CHONKY Notes LiT (Lost in Translation)
Traditional Japanese dessert made from rice flour, and covered in a sauce made from soy sauce and sugar. It has a squishy, sticky, doughy texture. It is a representative dish during many kinds of festivals all around Japan, and the sauce and base rice can be modified by adding certain colorings, flavorings, or additional ingredients (i.e. “yomogi” leaves to make it green). The above dango will be seen in samurai shows when a samurai goes to a “tea stand” that serves tea and dango (historical accuracy unknown, but it is a popular tv trope). In anime’s they have “full-moon observance” (tsuki-mi) (月見) - a tradition to observe the full moon together, and the “tsukimi-dango” comes out in many animes.
Finally, there was a Dango craze and fad when the following ending theme song for Clannad went viral in Japan.
Semi-retired Adventurer Lives Leisurely
Written by Hisagushien
Translated by: ChonkyTranslator
Book 5: Flowtier Flower Festival