“……Mm, delicious. I never thought that I’d be able to taste fish and other seafood from the northwestern Fushobari region in the royal capital.”
“Is it good? I’m glad to hear that you enjoy it. As for the fish…… chances to eat it are limited, as it’s a bit difficult to transport fish all the way to the royal capital. If you go closer to the sea, there’s even more delicious foods that you can taste there.”
“It must taste even fresher there.”
“Yep. Cut the fish into thin pieces, grill it, and season it with rume vinegar. It’s out of this world, how delicious it is.”
“Gerberries and oinocera oil also go wonderfully with fish.”
Rumes and gerberries are some strongly sour fruits that grow in the northern Fushobari and Ugaria regions, they can be made into fruit jams, processed into vinegar, or even cooked into fruit pies.
“I see,” I nodded, and I remembered a similar taste from my previous world, a drink called lemonade. Even though I can’t recall the specific game scenarios clearly anymore, my mind is coming up with such an insignificant memory now, it’s amazing how it works. Well, in my past life I had only played this game as a way to pass some time, it’s only natural that it would be easier to remember things from my daily life.
“And, here’s a rume pie. You still have enough room to try it, right?”
“Ahh, I’ve heard of it, but never tasted it before. I shall try indulging myself.”
“Okay,” Zephyr gave me a slice of pie, and seemed to exchange an expression like he was trying to hold back his laughter with Lucius. Although I was a bit dubious, I placed the pie into my mouth, and chewed.
An unimaginably sour taste started spreading out in my mouth all at once. The sourness was stronger than anything I’ve ever tasted. It’s such a sharp taste. Well, it’s not so strong that it will linger on in my mouth, but it’s so acidic.
At seeing my reaction, Zephyr exploded into laughter. Although I almost thought about glaring at him, I changed my mind, smoothed out my facial expression, and decided to pick up the remaining part of my pie slice. Since the pie was also considerably sweetened, once I got used to the sourness it was actually quite delectable.
“Kaldia, what do you think? Is it savory?”
“……I was a bit shocked at how sour it was, but yes, it’s quite scrumptious.”
“Everyone who tries rume for the first time reacts just like how you did. I’m sorry, but if I told you how sour it was, you would have been mentally prepared and it wouldn’t have seemed as sour. That pie’s main flavor isn’t even the sourness of the rume, anyway.”
“Since young children are forbidden from eating rumes, everyone in the Fushobari region tries it for the first time around the time they become a teenager. I tried it for the first time myself just a few days ago, but unlike you, I gave a loud shout at how sour it was.”
“Ah, I see,” as I responded, Lucius offered me some wine to wash the taste out of my mouth. It was definitely delicious, but I definitely felt a need to rinse the sour acid out of my mouth.
……This, I have an idea. I absolutely have to make my double Ratoka try this. I won’t stand for being the only one to experience this sourness. Although, it was both sour and mouthwatering at the same time.
A girl that seemed like she was a teenager held the hems of her dress and approached us at this moment. Judging by the emblem embroidered in her dress, she must be from a branch family of the Moltons. Zephyr and Lucius welcomed their relative warmly, and briefly introduced her to me. However, is her social status a bit low I wonder, I only learned that her name was Irche.
“Alright then, Irche. What’s the matter?”
“The master is in the main hall and has a message for you. He says it’s about time to come to the ballroom for the dance. After the pavane dance, the two of you are to go to the great dining hall…… Especially Lucius-sama, since you’re the main character for tonight, please spend a little more time in the dance hall.”
Zephyr and Lucius were smiling ambiguously. ……Um, maybe I’m not good at reading this expression, but doesn’t this mean that they think it’s troublesome? I see Margrave Molton hovering around the House of Lords every time there’s a discussion about jewelry taxes on the agenda as well.
“……Well, birthday celebrations are basically dance parties at this age.”
As I muttered my concurrence with Irche’s statement, Zephyr took my arm with a smile as if he had thought up of some good idea. Huh?
“Earl Kaldia, please come attend together with us. Today there will be many beautiful young ladies gathering at the Molton residence tonight, so I would like to use this chance to announce to them all that there’s already a girl that I’m taken by.”
“……Very well. I’m saving myself for Rashiok, though…… Jokes aside, I might as well go to the dance hall together with you. Since Margrave Molton went to the trouble of inviting me, I’d feel bad about staying in the dining hall for the entire time.”
I made a joke that came from the classical literature I had been reading recently in class. While socializing in the dance hall is a bit bothersome, Zephyr and Lucius should be more accustomed to it than me, and it might not be bad to go with them as their friend.
Although come to think of it, aren’t those words that are usually said to a girl you intend to marry? I’m someone who always wears male clothing though, and I’ve never even thought about marriage.
“Earl Kaldia, who might be this Rashiok person you speak of?”
“Oh, he’s my draconis, a magical beast that I’m raising. Of course, I was just joking when I said I was saving myself for him.”
When I entered the dance hall together with Zephyr and Lucius, all the noble girls’ gazes gathered upon us at an amazing speed. I was being pierced by so many glares that I think I would have been dead if this had been a battlefield. In some ways, it’s scarier than armed enemy soldiers.
……Although they’re the hosts, I suppose I must acknowledge that Zephyr and Lucius were more popular with girls than I realized. At noble school, maybe Zephyr pales in comparison to the crown prince’s features, but his beautiful silver hair and azure eyes from his father probably cause him to be adored by many girls. Actually, it’s unusual for his appearance to be inconspicuous. Meaning, the crown prince just stands out by a ridiculous amount.
In order to not be bothered by all the noble girls, I took half a step away from the others.
“Uh, um, Zephyr-sama. Who might this be?”
However, before I could get any further, I heard Zephyr introducing me. Ehh, why me? As the hosts, they need to use me to block this wall of flowers, are they that desperate?
Zephyr ended up introducing me to the flock of girls as his classmate. I wonder if they know my infamy, the teenaged girls stepped back from me and some hid their faces with fans, but all the girls that appeared my age came closer to me for some reason……
“E, Earl Einsbark, could you dance one time with me……”
“No, um, please do me the honor of having this dance!”
“Hey! Didn’t you girls say you were going to dance with Margrave Molton first!”
“Earl, do you like the sarabande dance? I’m confident about my sarabande dancing!”
Oof, I was pressured with invitations to dance from all sides, as I managed to take another half step. Then I was able to put one step’s distance between us.
“As expected of the earl that everyone in the royal capital is paying attention to. You have so many other admirers, apart from myself.”
Lucius seemed to be pleased with all the adulation I was receiving for some reason. No, I think you’re the one that’s strange here for admiring someone with as bad a reputation as me. The reason why I’m a hot topic in the royal capital was because of my cruelty, there’s no reason to admire anything there.
Look at this, these girls all have expressions like they’re on the battlefield, fighting over me. This is probably nothing more than nobles that want to make a connection with me for their own ends, no matter if I’m good or bad, just because everyone has been talking about me.