As she felt the morning light warming up her chest, Schnee woke up.
She remembered yesterday’s event vaguely in her head. The things where Shin returned. The situation where Wilhelm and Rashia were surprised. The time when they sat down at the dining table in Tsuki no Hokora.
“If I’m not mistaken, I definitely put Tiera in my bed…Eh!!?”
As she muttered that, she noticed that there was somebody next to her. She was also holding somebody’s arm.
She desperately suppressed the loud voice which came close to shouting. Schnee confirmed that it was her master’s arm that she had been holding.
The curly black hair. The deep black eyes under the closed eyelids, it was something that Schnee knew well.
That person was Shin, the master of Tsuki no Hokora.
The state of their bodies being so close and the sensation of their skin touching each other, caused Schnee’s face to turn red. Even she herself was aware of her ears turning bright red. She was aware that she had been intoxicated last night.
However, she never thought that she would do something like step into Shin’s bed in a natural fashion while being drunk.
“W-What a blunder…”
While her face was flushed red, she reproached herself, since she never had the intention of releasing Shin’s arm.
When she got out of the bed without waking Shin up, she let out a small breath. The reason was that she didn’t know when Shin would wake up. If Shin was to wake now, she couldn’t come up with any excuses.
Somehow she restrained her desire of wanting to look at Shin’s sleeping face, and she left the room.
After changing her clothes in her own room, she washed her face and cleared her consciousness. She felt refreshed due to the cold water, and her reflection no longer showed her face flushed red from a little while ago.
“First of all, I will prepare breakfast.”
As for the time, it was only a little past 5:30. Because she always finished tidying up before 7:00, this was pretty much her daily routine.
Schnee went to the kitchen, and as she looked at the fridge’s contents to decide the menu, Tiera came over.
“Ah, Master, good morning.”
“Good morning, you were quite drunk yesterday, are you okay now?”
“Uhh…I caused an inconvenience last night. For the time being, I have no hangover.”
Tiera seemed to remember, and she apologized while dropping her shoulders.
“Then, please help with the preparation for breakfast. Because it is likely that we will need to prepare portions for 4 people.”
“Yes…huh? For 4 people?”
“Well, just in case.”
“Ah, I see.”
Tiera seemed to have some doubts about the 4 people part, but she obediently wore the apron and began to help. Schnee also put on her favorite apron. Schnee’s was light blue, and Tiera’s was light green.
“What would you like for the menu this morning?”
“Let’s go with a Japanese-style meal. For the other ingredient beside the miso soup, take out the treasured fish.”
“Huh!? Master, don’t tell me, it’s THAT?”
Tiera couldn’t hide her surprise due to Schnee words. That super high-quality ingredient was said to be worth a large amount of Jul white gold coins. The name of the ingredient was ‘Diamond Horse Mackerel’. The special food was opened and dried in the sun, and it was best to be used at this time. In other words, the breakfast at Tsuki no Hokora today was the dried and opened horse mackerel, along with the miso soup which is a must in Japanese cuisine.
As for the Diamond Horse Mackerel, it was a fish type monster, like the horse mackerel, and had scales that shined like a diamond. However, regardless of its appearance, it boasted a strength level of 450 – 600. They were usually found in a school. It was a monster that ate low-level Krakens and a shark type monster that exceeded level 500 instead of normal bait. Only a few were caught, when they weakened and got lost from their school, and occasionally ended up on the market.
Among the food ingredients from the sea, it was recognized as a high-class food material with a tremendous price. What would happen if such a Diamond Horse Mackerel was processed with Schnee’s cooking skill? It was already needless to say.
“Though the mackerel has the appearance of a dried and opened fish, somehow it is sparkling.”
With the keen sense of an elf, Tiera seemed to have caught the hidden life force in the horse mackerel.
“Now then, I will prepare the miso soup first. Tiera, please cook the rice.”
The fish, which emitted the shine of a diamond, was first put on a plate, and Schnee took out the ingredients for the miso soup. The ingredients were miso paste, wakame seaweed, and three kinds of fried tofu. It was said to be a classic style with Dashi* and dried bonito and kelp. (T/N: Japanese soup stock)
“Master, the rice is ready.”
Tiera who finished preparing quickly called out to her master. Because it was obvious that she cooked her own meals when Schnee was away, Tiera too could prepare basic dishes. She didn’t need much time in preparation for cooking rice either. The magic stove was ignited, and the preparation was complete. In a few minutes, the aroma of the boiling soup stock from the miso began to fill the inside of the room. For Schnee, it was a smell she was very familiar with nowadays.
It was already past 6:00 at the time. It was time for breakfast soon.
Suddenly Tiera opened her mouth.
“Master, may I go outside for a moment?”
“Since the mackerel is almost roasted, try to make it brief.”
“Yes…I will return in about 10 minutes.”
Tiera excused herself from Schnee and headed toward the doorway of the store. What was Tiera going to do? Schnee knew and encouraged her. This was because Tiera needed to get over the final defense line with her own power.
Tiera opened the door and went out. Then, the morning sunlight enveloped Tiera gently.
“This time, it’s still only a little chilly.”
Was it the remnant of the night? She felt the air was still cold with her thin clothes. Tiera then walked slowly toward the boundary of the magic barrier that was erected around Tsuki no Hokora.
“It’s alright…it’s alright…”
As she approached the boundary, Tiera felt her heart beating rapidly. Shin was together with her when she went out for the first time. And she was able to come forth alone on the second time around.
Still, the fear that lasted 100 years was cultivated and wouldn’t disappear so easily. She might get attacked again by monsters if she went out. In addition, someone else might fall victim to it, again. That sort of unreasonable idea clung to her.
Schnee certainly noticed it, because she encouraged Tiera to keep at it.
While regaining her breath, Tiera advanced forward step by step. She already understood that there was nothing ahead. If there was experience, Tiera was able to advance beyond that.
She recalled the hand that Shin held out. In order to grasp that hand, Tiera stepped forward outside of the boundary.
She stayed in that place for about 1 minute, and confirmed that there was no change in the surroundings. While it may be true that she was outside of the boundary, there was nothing that abruptly appeared or anything unusual. However, she still felt that the air that surrounded her was unusual.
“…Phew. After all, I’m still nervous.”
Together with her voice, she entered the barrier again. Once again, this was obviously only for her to get used to the outside.
“Now then, let’s do this quickly.”
Aiming toward the corner of the trees that surround Tsuki no Hokora, Tiera began to walk. She moved until there was grass that grew thickly to about the height of Tiera’s waist, and went around sideways there.
A blooming flower with an appearance that was similar to a Cosmos flower, was in Tiera’s line of sight. Only its shape was similar, the flower’s petals were varied in manner, such as, red, blue, green, and purple.
The name of the flower was ‘Repika’. According to the elves’ belief, the flower had a meaning of gratitude and sincerity. When she was not yet able to come outside of the barrier, Tiera knew when it would bloom at this place in the current season. She didn’t look after the store for 100 years just for show. From the windows of the store, she looked casually at the blooming Repika.
Though she could see and was unable to touch it, those things were in the past now. She picked several flowers to decorate the dining table, and returned to the store.
“Flower vase, which flower vase~~”
“Have you become accustomed to it a little?”
Schnee called out to Tiera who was searching for a vase with a reasonable size.
“Somehow or another, though it is only a little.”
Tiera replied with a calm face, and Schnee had a gentle smile on her face. From her words, there was no sign of overdoing things.
“…It will be ready soon. Please go and wake Shin.”
Schnees’ smile deepened a little as she sent off Tiera. The figure of Tiera disappeared into the depths of the passage and after a while, a sound of something falling was heard by Schnee.
Before long, the appearance of Shin and Tiera turned up, and then a young girl with fox ears and silver hair.
Though Schnee was extremely embarrassed when she recalled that they laid in bed together last night, she managed to keep herself calm somehow. She just hoped that Shin would say nothing. On the corner of the table, in that little noisy situation, a Repika flower watched the scene.
~Volume 2 End~