Chapter 03: A Pleasant Shopping Trip and the First Day
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
Since we had an exchange of a firm handshake between men(?), I thought the talks were over, but I was stopped in an awkward posture, when I was trying to stand up. The talks were not over yet.
She told me, “Sit down,” so I did so like an obedient dog.
“Was there anything else?”
“No, I was just wondering when Levantret-kyou would be returning home.”
“Five days later.”
Since this was an opportunity to spend my time freely once a year, I took care of work in advance and was spending time here.
Others seem to think that I’m a workaholic because I’m working everyday, but that’s not true. I’m busy everyday in order to survive.
The money from the state coffers quickly disappear for fortress repairs and vermin exterminations, and to make up for the lack of funds, I have to hunt animals for their expensive fur or craft traditional figures.
Thus, the ball is the only opportunity I have to spread my wings.
However, since I could not find a woman, I was planning to just relax for the rest of the time.
Hearing my schedule, Sieglinde rested her head on her hand and made a serious expression. A moment later, she looked my way, full of determination, and made a saintly smile.
“Could you come to my home in two days’ time? I would like to introduce you to my parents.”
Indeed. Nobles require the blessings of their parents if they are to marry regardless of age. Moreover, I’m taking her away to another country. I have to explain properly and make them understand.
“……Yes, of course.”
I pulled up an unpleasant information from the back of my mind, that House Wattin was an esteemed noble family that ruled over the region of Thüringen.
(TN: Yes, I know it was House of Wettin in history, but it says Wattin not Wettin.)
“My family home is located past one state from the capital. About three hours by carriage, I suppose.”
Beads of sweat form on my brows. Her decorations somehow seem even brighter.
I seem to have proposed to some ridiculously high-ranking noble.
“Ah, by the way.”
“It is fine to talk normally around me. You may call me by my name.”
“……Thank you for your kindness. How should I call you?”
“Anything is fine. You could call me Sieg like others do.”
“……You can drop the -sama.”
That night, I ended up questioning myself whether it was good enough over and over again.
The next day.
A letter arrived for me at the inn. It was Sieg-sama, asking if I have some time. Of course, I replied, ‘Yes, surely!’
Outside, snow was piled up, but it was cute compared to our country’s snowstorm.
I prepared in advance that I won’t be late.
After shaving, I donned a headband as usual and quickly put on pants. I then put on a fluffy coat made of alpaca fur.
I also tied up my long hair, which extended to my waist.
For the men of this country, it was the norm to have hair cut short, so I would be considered strange to have my long hair braided like a woman.
In balls where people of many different nationalities gather, it’s not so bad, but it’s not the same in the streets.
When I looked at the clock, it was about time, so I headed to our meeting place.
Located in a few minutes’ distance, the clock square was bustling with people. Apparently, this place where one can see the cathedral is popular for the young people here as a meeting place.
I found the tall woman with unusual hair colour without much trouble. I waved my hands and approached her.
“Sorry, did I make you wait long?”
“No, I just arrived.”
Sieg told the lady next to her, “I have company.” To attract a woman in this short while, I grew somewhat envious.
A part of me knew it already, and indeed Sieg’s civilian clothing was masculine. It was a bit disappointing that there was no trace of anything feminine.
When she asked what we’re shopping for, I replied that we’re buying necessary supplies for moving to the north.
“Ah~, but I don’t think we can find winter clothing here.”
“Is that so.”
It’s best to get clothing made out of fur, but the clothes here are for fashion.
I don’t think they would sell things for keeping warm.
“I should have asked beforehand. You came all the way.”
“That’s not true. I’m glad you invited me.”
Sieg’s troubled expression was surprisingly cute so I ended up staring at her, to which she turned her face away. Too bad.
“Then, let’s browse around and……”
“Knives! Let’s go buy knives!”
“Right. For skinning and gutting.”
We talk while walking since time is precious.
Since there was quite the crowd, I held Sieg’s hand so that we won’t be lost in the crowd. Her hand felt cold, so I put her hand in my coat pocket and started walking.
This country’s blades are well-reputed for their sharpness, so I always bought something every time.
Chatting away, we manoeuvred through the crowd.
A while later, we arrived at a funny looking store in an old alley.
“A store that the butcher at the main road recommended.”
I tried to open the stuck door with one hand, but since it was too hard I released Sieg’s hand from my pocket and forced the door open with both hands.
The store was unmanned. The owner was probably sleeping at the back.
Full of knives and daggers on the shelves, it was a rather disturbing store. Since the shop was recommended by those who are wrestling with meat every day, I did not had no doubts on the goods, though.
“We don’t just use one knife for skinning and gutting, there are many different kinds for different purposes.”
There are specialised knives for cutting through the bones, strange-looking knives for rending the tendons, and even knives for splitting the belly. If we were to list all of them, then there would be dozens and hundreds of different types.
“Have you ever gutted an animal?”
“Yeah? I think this might be good for beginners.”
I grab a big one that was lying around.
This beautifully curved steel knife has many applications, from finishing the prey to butchering. Since it’s big, it can also be used for cooking outdoors.
Sieg held it up in one hand and spun it around before putting it into a leather case.
“It’s a good product.”
She seemed to have liked it, since she decided to buy it.
Since I was also planning to buy something, I grab a knife that was on my mind, a thin knife with a curved blade at the tip.
“What is that for?”
“For scraping out the intestines of a bird.”
Sieg was making an indescribable expression, but I bought it anyway since I would no longer have to dirty my hands if I had this.
After that unsettling shopping trip, we strolled through the streets for a while.
On our way, Sieg stopped me to go into a toy store.
“What are we buying here?”
“A little something of a game.”
Following her, I arrived at a place dealing with cards and other games.
“My count, do you see anything you like?”
“Um, nothing in particular.”
“Is that so, milord.”
Playing master and servant for some reason, Sieg explained each game earnestly.
“You really don’t know anything.”
“Mm. Well, I didn’t have a playmate, or should I say I didn’t have the time for it.”
I then realised at the toy shop that I had barely any memories of playing.
“There weren’t any kids my age, and I had to work from a young age.”
When I mumbled that, I felt somewhat empty.
My first friend too was a foreigner I met in high society.
“Ritzhard Salonen Levantret.”
For some reason, Sieg bowed her head reverently and held out her hand.
While I tilted my head in confusion, the crossdressing onee-san smiled wider.
In that state, what came out of her mouth was not anything too special.
“— May I have the honour of being your first playmate?”
It was about our relation.
I finally realised that she was worried about the gap in culture and customs between people of different countries. That maybe she suggested that we be ’temporary spouses’ because of this.
It’s fine, being just playmates in a relaxed atmosphere. We can progress from there on.
I held up her outstretched hand and gripped it tightly once more before letting it go.
My eyes grew teary like last night, but I dismissed it as just bone pains.
Holding hands already, eh?