Chapter 66: The Flower Exchange
After two requested encores, Ms. Lotte’s Live Concert was finally over.
I messed up with my initial dance and cheer, but after that mistake, I understood the general boundaries I had to follow and just cheered her on normally.
I couldn’t make myself yell “Little Charu～!” though. It would be too embarrassing.
And Ms. Lotte’s songs were amazing, but being able to cheer as the entire fanbase congealed into one giant entity was a different kind of experience. I sort of understand now why Ms. Lotte’s most passionate fans get along so well.
[It’s too bad, but today’s Live Concert will end here～. Everyone～ Thank you for all your support!]
With a mic in her hand, Ms. Lotte wraps up the concert herself as the crowd roars back to life one last time with a “YEAH～!!”.
[Oh, but we also have gifts for everyone who attended～! Did you know? In Flowtier’s Flower Festival, it’s customary to gift flowers to people special to you!]
Oh～, that’s right.
I remember reading about that on the poster that was pinned to the wall of a Floral Stand. I almost forgot.
[That’s why, it’s a little sudden, but I will be giving everyone here a Blue Flower that represents our friendship! You can pick up at the exit so please make sure to pick up one～! See you all again!]
Ms. Lotte waves her hand, and a puff of pink smoke appears at her feet and with a <POOF!>, by the time the smoke cleared, Ms. Lotte was gone.
It’s a really cute way to exit, but the smoke only held for a second at most………..Ms. Lotte must have gunned it at full speed to the back of the Stage.
Henry: “So a blue flower, huh.”
Giving one to everyone here would be quite costly.
But I guess from Ms. Lotte’s pockets, it won’t even make a dent.
Or since this Live Concert was hosted by the Governor, by having the flowers come from Ms. Lotte, was it a marketing strategy to spread the Flower Gifting culture to people visiting from other towns and increase sales for flowers in the future?
………..I wouldn’t put it past the Governor and his conniving economic schemes….this seems more likely.
Cyril: “Wow～ that was so fun～!”
Jend: “Yeah, I had to do a double-take at first, but it wasn’t bad at all.”
Cyril and Jend seemed to thoroughly enjoy their very first Live Concert. The two of them were doing their best to copy the movements and cheers of the people around them the whole time.
Ferris: “How was it, Teo? Wasn’t Little Charu absolutely amazing?”
Teo: “Yes. Her dance on the stage……...though the movements were extravagant, I didn’t see any openings or weaknesses at all. It was almost creepy how smooth her movements were.”
Oh, so Teo’s focus was directed there.
Yeah, most definitely. When Ms. Lotte performs moves, she is on another level. In fact, there are traveling martial artists who will come to her concerts just to observe her movements and the way she carries her body.
And in most cases, those Stoic Martial Arts Pilgrims fall into her trap...I mean, "transform willingly" into Ms. Lotte’s fans.
Ferris: “RーReally? Well, yes, her dance was absolutely amazing too, but what about her songs?”
Teo: “? I do intend to withdraw some money tomorrow for a record player and purchase some of her records.”
Oh, she’s totally into Ms. Lotte’s music now.
Ferris: “WーWow….I didn’t know you had so much money.” Teo: “Of course, we’re hunting Demonic Creatures in the Altohern Mountains, so saving this much shouldn’t be that hard……...Miss Ferris, would you like me to let you borrow some money?” Ferris: “NーNo! I can’t! That would be going too far! My pride wouldn’t allow it!”
Ferris has been returning 90% of her Expedition earnings to pay back her father’s debts, but Ferris only wavered for a brief moment before she turned down Teo’s offer.
And in fact, I only heard the rumors about her father, but if he’s that much of a trash, she could have cut ties with him and then she would have plenty of money to buy whatever she wanted. I guess it’s hard to cut ties with family.
……….since I spent 10 years of my life practically at war with an enemy who destroyed my country and family, I guess I have no place to talk about cutting family ties.
Jend: “Haha…….well, don’t worry about that so much, Ferris. If you want to hear records, you can always come over to my place.”
Ferris: “But I’m going there so often to listen to your records. Isn’t that too much for your family to have to deal with?”
Jend: “That’s not true. You don’t have to worry about them.”
Ferris: “But they always serve me tea and cakes every time….I feel terrible making them do that.”
Jend scratches his head with annoyance and faces Ferris directly.
Jend: “Look, I’m the one inviting you to come over because I want you there. So don’t worry. In fact, stop griping and just come over.”
UGH, they started flirting, these two…
Cyril: “Wow, it’s gotten so warm all of a sudden. It’s autumn, but isn’t it unusually hot around here～.”
Henry: “Yeah, for sure.” Cyril fans her face with her hand in an exaggerated manner. I fully agree.
……..they’re really heating up over there!
Ferris: “Oh, yeah, um...well, isn’t it okay? We are dating, so please don’t tease us like that, you two.”
Ferris blushes as she quietly protests.
She’s usually a calm beauty and then transforms into a pitiable beauty when Ms. Lotte comes up, but the way she’s acting now is cute.
Cyril: “We didn’t say it was a bad thing～ right, Henry?” Henry: “No～pe”
Jend: “Hey cut it out…..gah, whatever…”
Jend was about to say something, but gives up on his retort and just sighs.
Henry: “........alright guys. The crowd’s thinning out. Want to go congratulate Ms. Lotte for her performance?”
Teo: “That sounds great. But please wait for a moment. I’m going to go buy some pen and paper for an autograph.”
Ferris: “Oh! Teo, wait for me! I’m going too! I want Little Charu’s autograph!!”
Teo left with light steps and ran towards the nearest stand where they sold various Ms. Lotte’s fan goods, and Ferris quickly followed behind her.
Weren’t you saying something about not wasting money…? Ah well, she’s fun to watch when she gets like this.
And after the two came back, we went to go see Ms. Lotte.
Of course, the path to go see Ms. Lotte was heavily guarded, but the Governor’s soldiers knew of our situation, so they let us pass.
And as we approached the giant tent where Ms. Lotte was….
Charlotte: “<glug glug glug!> FWEW～!! YES!! The drink after a Live is the best～!”
Runa: “Lotte, isn’t that your 5th drink?”
Charlotte: “Runa, isn’t that your 6th?” Runa: “NOPE! It’s my 8th.”
It makes you wonder about the difference you see here and at that stage.
Ms. Lotte’s outfit is dangling off loosely as you see the halfling chug down Flowtier Ale, and her manager was right beside her.
And next to them was a whole barrel announcing its presence loudly.
……….how much do they plan to drink, these two?
Henry: “Ms. Lotte～, we came around to say hi but…..”
Charlotte: “Hm?? Ohhh! It’s Henry! And the others too. Come now, don’t just stand there. Come sit over here, huh?” She gestures with her finger to come sit down near them.
Under the tent was a table and chairs. It was probably originally meant for the organizers and workers of the Live Concert to take a break here, so there were a lot of chairs scattered around.
I sit in one of them, and Ms. Lotte immediately places a full mug of ale right before me.
The others also get a mug of ale placed in front of them as soon as they take a seat.
Charlotte: “The ale is from the Governor as a congratulation for a successful Live Concert gift. There’s no way Runa and I could drink it all, so please have some.”
Cyril: “What is the Sir Governor thinking…...even if it’s Ms. Lotte, an entire barrel is way too much.”
Charlotte: “Hehe...he said it’s for the Heroes of our City. He guessed correctly that you guys would be coming. …….oh, and he told me to tell you, Cyril, don’t get too carried away and drink too much.”
Ohhh, it’s probably a show of gratitude for taking care of the Fenrir incident. Ms. Lotte didn’t accept the reward money, so the Governor must have pulled some strings to at least give her this.
Well, if it’s that, I’ll gladly partake. There’s also a lot of delicious looking food on the table as well.
Cyril: “Hmph. Miss Cyril isn’t that irresponsible of a woman. The Sir Governor can be so rude at times.”
Henry: “Well, it’s not like you drink ale anyways.”
Cyril: “I don’t like bitter drinks.”
Charlotte: “Oh, then have some Cider I made.”
Ms. Lotte takes out a bottle from her bag and places it in front of Cyril.
Cyril: “It’s a liquor made from apples, correct?” Charlotte: “Yup. This batch, I made it sweeter, so it’s easy to drink.”
Cyril: “That sounds terrific! Henry, here’s my mug of ale.”
And I get a second fully filled mug in front of me.
Well, I have no problems with that.
Runa: “Here, you three, have some more.” Even though she had already drunk quite a bit, with unaffected, precise movements, she refills Jend and the other’s mugs with ale and gives it back to them.
……..I thought this about her from last time, but she can drink more than anyone I know.
Henry: “Oh, is it really okay for a Celebrity to be celebrating like this where anyone can see?” Don't celebrities have to be careful about their public image? I know there are security guards so the civilians can’t come, but the security guards will most definitely see us. I don’t see any around us though.
Charlotte: “No worries. With Runa’s Magecraft, it will shut out the sound and hide us from plain view. Didn’t you notice it as you approached the tent?”
Runa: “Apologies, Lotte. I forgot to cast the Magecraft inscription around the tent.”
Charlotte: “HEY WHAT～?!?!”
She’s mumbling, “sorry, sorry” as Ms. Runa heads outside the tent and at various points, she writes down an inscription in the ground and sends Magic Power through it.
It’s not a Magecraft Style I recognize, but it’s not for combat use.
Runa: “Well, no one came to chide us for our behavior yet, so I think we’re okay.”
Charlotte: “Please be careful next time～ It’s my fault too for not noticing but～”
And as Ms. Lotte grumbles a little, she lifts her mug into the air.
Charlotte: “Alright, listen up….”
And Ms. Lotte clears her throat as she raises her voice.
Charlotte: “For the success of the Live Concert, for the friends we met in this city, and for Henry not carrying that pitiful expression on his face anymore! CHEERS!!”
Henry: “HEY! What pitiful…..UGH, whatever! CHEERS!”
Ugh, this woman…..she'll be like this to the very end…..
Ms. Lotte is laughing merrily and isn't showing any signs of guilt. She stuck her tongue at me and winked.
I sip the ale, and tear into the roasted leg of some bird.
Henry: “Mmmm～ wow, that’s good…”
……...but I guess after all that….
One of Ms. Lotte’s reasons for coming here and hosting a Live Performance was to come verify if I was doing okay.
(sigh)........I’ll never be able to repay her if she keeps stacking up debts like this on me….
Ms. Lotte left the morning of the last day of the Flower Festival to head to her next destination.
The fans who were still in town gathered to send her off…….and there were fans who ran with her for a bit as she was leaving. They were frantically trying to keep up but couldn’t. Apparently, this is a well-established tradition as well.
Even Ferris and Teo, who got their autographs last night, ran after her…….and after seeing her to the nearest town, they said their farewells and came back.
We all disbanded after that, and I am standing in front of the Floral Store once again.
“Hey boss, what’cha gonna buy? Do you want the red one?”
Henry: “.........all blues please.”
I was going back and forth, but I decided to purchase 6 blue flowers for all my friends.
I bought one for every party member, one for the Bear’s Keg Inn, and to Mr. Thomas who I got to know on the way over to Flowtier.
Receiving too much can be a bother, so apparently, you’re only supposed to get them for your closest friends. Well, Ms. Lotte is a Celebrity so I guess she’s an exception.
……..and as far as your love-interest and those you are dating…..or even those you plan to ask out, I was thinking about the red flower, but after some thinking, I decided that it was still too early. Well, it might not be a matter of whether it’s too soon or later anyways.
Henry: “Well, that’s that…” I go to the City’s Central Square where Ms. Lotte held her Live Concert.
This is where the Flower Festival’s Closing Ceremonies will be held. A lot of people will be gathering here, and this is one of the places where you can exchange flowers apparently.
Cyril: “Oh, Henry.” Henry: “Hey, didn’t think I’d run into you here, Cyril.”
As soon as I started walking, I ran straight into Cyril.
We were planning on meeting each other around this time, so running into her on the way wasn’t unusual……..but…...did she see me at the Floral Store?
There’s so many people at the Festival that all the people’s presence was jumbled up. There’s a chance that I wasn’t paying attention, and she was watching me from afar.
Seeing a man go back and forth between a blue and red flower in front of a Floral Store…
………...yeah, this got really awkward.
But brushing aside my concerns, Cyril presented me with a blue flower.
Cyril: “Henry, this one is yours.”
Henry: “Oh, uhhh, yeah. Here, this one is from me.”
Cyril: “Hehe, thank you so much!”
Henry: “Yeah, me too. Thanks.”
I look at the flower Cyril gave me.
Henry: “Cyril, this flower looks like a different species compared to the one I bought.”
Cyril: “Oh～ they must have sold out on the ones you have.”
And without a second thought, I went to the Town Square with Cyril.
The week-long Flower Festival came to an end.
I actually found out about this WA～Y afterwards but….
At the Flower Festival, the meaning of the flower you send to someone is in general, decided by its color.
That is true, and there’s no lies about that, but between the Flowtier girls, the meanings of the flowers slightly change depending on the species of flowers you send.
Teo isn’t interested in romance stuff, and Ferris hasn’t been in Flowtier long. And Jend, who’s a man, wouldn’t know about this, but Cyril did.
The flower she sent me meant, “I’m a little interested in you.”
………...although she can be so straightforward and direct most of the time, this was probably one of the few times I recall where she took her time delivering a message in a very subtle, round-a-bout way.
CHONKY TL Notes LiT (Lost in Translation)
Autograph Boards, shikishi (色紙) -- thick, square boards specifically designed for a single Autograph from anyone you like. Some businesses like café like to post autographed boards from celebrities as decoration.