Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 18

Chapter 18: Season of Change
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife

Yet again, the sun did not rise today.

At the first day of the polar nights, the snow stopped falling. But soon afterwards, there was a stormy weather.
After a few days of that, the wind finally stopped and the sky became clear.

Today, we have to feed and clean the reindeers in the forest. Even if I am the lord, I have to take care of precious property.

After breakfast, I fed the dogs and took them out. The destination is of course the reindeers’ forest. Because they were going out after a long time, the dogs rushed out without holding back.
When I was about to tell Sieg, who was cleaning up the tableware, that I was going out, I soon heard a reply from outside the door.

“Hey, Sieg, watch your step…… hm?”

For some reason, Sieg was staring vacantly ahead.

“Sieglinde?”
“This is……”
“?”
“Beautiful.”
“!”

What Sieg was bewildered at was the world of faint light that could be seen only during the polar nights. In the whole day, only during this time we can see clearly. Furthermore, it can only be seen for a short while.

It was not the darkness but a clear blue silence that spread out before our eyes. This was the short moment between morning and evening, a fantastical world. I recall my father saying that.
For me, it was a sight I had been seeing all my life, so it was nothing special like auroras.

I wanted to let Sieg calmly watch the scenery, but the dogs did not let us wait. They were just running around me, urging me on, but ultimately they ended up running up to Sieg as well.

“Ah, sorry. Shall we go?”
“Sorry about that. The dogs disturbed you.”
“No, we don’t have much time. Let’s hurry.”

Taking a lantern, feed, cleaning tools, as well as a gun and a knife just in case, we started walking.

◇◇◇

The reindeer feed is a solid feed bought from a merchant. It’s round, and I mix berries, barks and moss in them as well.
Because of that, we have those foods stored in the village storehouse. We took all those to the fenced area.

Since the feed is packed tightly, it’s quite hard. The too was rather big, just a little bigger than a seven-year-old child, so we had to roll it to the forest.

I ordered the dogs to stay outside the fence and play, and Sieg and I rolled the feed in and entered.

There are four feed boxes. We have make two round-trips. But that’s not all the work.
Though it was being stored inside, as it was stored in a room without heating, the lump of herbage was frozen solid. We had to crack that apart with an axe.

“We can’t just pound it. We have make sure that the blade cuts in through the cracks.”

I passed some feed over to Sieg.
While beads of sweat formed on our brows, we finished putting the feed in the feed boxes. Then we cleaned up their excrements and went back home, calling the dogs by whistling.

On returning home, I took off my clothes and wiped my body with a cloth soaked in medicinal water. If I do this carelessly here, I’ll end up catching a cold.

When I went to the living, there was Sieg boiling some water.

“That, is that coffee?”
“I just remembered that I brought some from my house.”
“Ooh!”

In this country too, coffee is a loved drink. Us northern people might even have the highest coffee consumption rate. However, here we like to drink things that warm up our body. So we drink spiced strawberry juice or mulled wine, or tea from herbs in the forest. They’re all drinks made from ingredients harvested from mother nature from spring, the beginning of thawing, to autumn.

Our people, being a fundamentally self-sufficient people, try to not spend anything wastefully.
So even though it’s a drink that people of our country love we do not have many opportunities to try it.

Sieg started preparing the coffee.
She put some coffee beans in the grinder in grounded them finely. On a deep spoon with very fine holes, she laid on a wet cloth and put the ground coffee over it.
Then she placed the spoon on a bottle, fixing it in place so that it will not spill. She then slowly poured hot water over it.

That cotton fabric seemed to be something specially made for making coffee.
Since it was the first time I saw such a method, I ended up observing it a lot.

The coffee slowly dripped into the bottle, making a plop plop sound.
{TN: The Japanese word here for the onomatopoeia is potari potari.}

I stared at Sieg who was paying attention to the bottle. Her eyelashes pointing upwards through her hair was lovely. In this sunless season, her red hair shined like the sun.

I stared at my wife who was making coffee earnestly.

“Sugar?”
“……”
“Ritzhard”
“!”

I flinched at having my name called. I was staring at Sieg’s hands, so I was distracted. When I asked her what it was, she asked about what she should do about sugar.

“What should I do”
“?”
“No, I did drink coffee before.”

As he disliked the sweet spiced drinks, my father frequently enjoyed coffee, but he stopped drinking them when my grandfather said that it’s wasteful. The last time I had coffee was a long time ago when I was little. I can somewhat recall putting in lots of reindeer milk and sugar in them. In retrospect, it really was an extravagant drink as grandfather said.

The sugar Sieg brought from her house were cubical. They were in a ceramic container, and I was surprised from the fact that it even had its own utensil for grabbing sugar.

“Sieg, how much do you put in?”
“About three cubes.”
“Then I’ll also have three.”

Sieg stirred the sugar in. When I got my cup of coffee, I was surprised by the aromatic smell.
She said that by using the cloth, it gets filtered well that one can enjoy a purer taste and smell.

I calmly enjoyed the scent and then took a sip.

“Wow, delicious!”

It went down smoothly, and the taste was rich. I could say that it was the best coffee I ever had.

Sieg too must have been satisfied.
From one sip, her frown slightly loosened.

I continued observing her without ever tiring.

Seeing that she put in three cubes of sugar, I can assume that she likes sweet things. Here, there are no sweet confectionaries though. There are not enough leftover sugar, flour, eggs and butter to bake confectionaries.

I was forcing an inconvenient lifestyle on her. That thought crossed my head.

To relieve myself of that worry, I asked a question to Sieg.

“Hey, is there anything that you wish for?”
“Why so suddenly?”
“No, well, in this village, there is no custom to hold a large celebration for a marriage, and there is no custom to gift rings like in other countries. I was wondering if there was anything you wanted in lieu.”
“……”

I knew already that even if I asked, she would reply “Nothing really”.

Sieg said that she wanted us to be a temporary couple for a year.
In other words, it meant not expecting not anything from each other.

“Sorry, talking about something like this suddenly……”
“Please teach me the language of this country.”
“Pardon?”
“If possible, I’d like to be able to converse about daily life in this country’s language.”
“……”

From an unexpectedly modest wish, I was at a loss for words.
Seeing me like that, Sieg examined me worriedly.

“You don’t want to?”
“N-no, it’s not, that I don’t want to.”
“Then please teach.”
“Yes, I’ll be glad to.”

After that, she silently spent the time sipping coffee.

The silent space was somehow pleasant.

◇◇◇

The busy days continued.
Fermenting, butchering, processing fur and crafting.

In between times I worked, I also taught Sieg the language of this country.
As I taught a smart student, it wasn’t all that hard.

It’s already been a month since the days when the sun did not rise start.
I was worried because it was the first time, but Sieg remained unchanged.

The darkness makes people depressed.
I too also had that in the past.
Not wanting to wake up in the morning, spending too much time on just one cup, and not wanting to eat.
My father, who is a scholar, said that people start behaving strange if they do not receive enough sunlight.

However, this year, I did not feel at all depressed. It was all thanks to Sieg.

During that time, a letter, delivered once a week, arrived.
It was for Sieg.

Upon seeing the envelope, Sieg’s grey eyes went wide in surprise. I wanted to ask what happened, but I did not want to stick my nose in so I kept still.

A short silent moment later, Sieg talked to me.

“Ritz.”
“Hm?”
“My old comrade-in-arms wants to come out here for a trip……”
“Eh, really!?”

It seemed that it was a letter telling her about the schedule. Since it did not herald anything bad, I sighed in relief but ended up murmuring, “Really, Sieg’s country’s people really do like auroras.”

“It says that the trip will be a month later. It also says that the route is the same as the one I took.”
“Then I’ll have to go out.”

From the ice-free port Sieg disembarked at, there is no transport to my village. So I have to go out with a reindeer sleigh.

“……Sorry”
“No, tourists are always welcome.”
“But aren’t the inns closed at this time of the year?”
“It’s alright. Staying at our house is fine, right? We do have some empty rooms to share.”
“……Sorry, I’m at a loss for words.”
“Don’t worry. I also want to meet Sieg’s friend.”
“No, I don’t have that kind of relationship with him……”
“Hm?”

……Huh? Her comrade is a man.

And what do you mean ‘that kind of relationship’!? Hey, Sieg!!

But I couldn’t possibly say that, so I just said, “How interesting,” and left.

You know what, I’m gutless.



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16 thoughts on “Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 18

  1. ‘Our people, being a fundamentally elf-sufficient people, we try to not spend anything wastefully.’

    While it could be considered as an actual sentence in fantasy worlds, it probably lacks an s in this case.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Oh is this now the time they will acnowledging to be each other belonging now that some “rival” come to the picture? Jealousy is always nice seasoning to make thing more sweet.

    Like

  3. …omg it’s the dude who proposed to her who’s coming to visit. “Trying to win her back” or something…I’m quite sure he will try to make fun of Ritz but end up getting horrified by the brutality of their lifestyle, not to mention ask her to come back and live the pleasant civilized “lady” life-style. Sad for him that she’s loving this life style and wouldn’t want to switch. :p I wonder if he’s going say something to Ritz in front of her and how she will react to that.😮 oooh so much fun to come~

    Thanks for the chapter and the hard work~ You are releasing too fast that I’m beginning to become spoiled.😉 (not that I mind being spoiled :p)

    Liked by 1 person

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