Chapter 19: A Special Gift and Preparations for the Guest
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
As we continued working, Sieg’s wooden cup (kuksa) started taking shape.
“It’s a bit warped.”
“No, it’s good for a beginner.”
The neat semi-circular cup is completed by glazing it in wax.
The first completed product tilted slightly when placed on the table.
I told her that it can still be used if it’s filled with drinks, but Sieg only made a bitter expression.
“Since this is made by you, let’s gift this to your parents. I’ll make another one.”
“Is that okay? Isn’t this an important source of income?”
“Sieg, this is said to bring happiness. So I want your parents to have it.”
“Let’s send it with a letter.”
I patted Sieg, who was still looking worried, and went to my room to get a letter paper and a pen.
When I came back to the living room, Sieg was comparing the usual kuksa that we use and the kuksa she just made.
“Bringing happiness, huh.”
“Yup. Ah, the one you’re using is also carved after our marriage was decided.”
“It was made from a neatly grained birch burl kept for……”
“Was, that so. I didn’t know.”
“It’s well made, right?”
“Yeah, thank you…… Erm, I don’t know what I should say.”
“I also know the difficulty of making a kuksa.”
Ah, maybe I shouldn’t have told her about that.
I instantly regretted it. I cursed my own loose tongue.
In the end, I did not know what to say, so my face continued to stay pale.
It might have been a poor attempt to cover up for my miserable expression, but I said to her the thing that I had always been thinking.
“I want to do anything possible for your happiness, and this little work is nothing.”
Sieg made a rare expression, the troubled expression.
I didn’t mean to make her like that, I thought.
I don’t like depressing moods. So to change the atmosphere, I suggested something.
“Let’s write a letter to your parents, Sieg.”
We wrapped our kuksas in soft cloth and decided to put letters in them.
Gradually, the time where there is faint light grew longer. The polar nights were almost over.
Also, the time for Sieg’s colleague to visit came closer.
“Sieg, Teoporon and I will go and meet him.”
“Is that alright?”
“Yeah. Dogs and reindeer can’t run at the same speed.”
To go and meet him, I borrowed a reindeer from a neighbour I’m close to. If there are three grown men, there needs to be more reindeer.
Sieg can drive dog sleds, but does not yet know how to handle reindeer sleighs. Dogs and reindeer run at different speeds, and have different stamina. Thus, it was not practical for Sieg and I to go together.
“Alright. Then, I’ll write a message telling him to find a cute white bear.”
“Uwa, won’t he faint from that?”
“If he faints from just seeing the head of the Rango family, he’ll be having a hard time here.”
“That’s how it is.”
While saying that, Sieg smiled mischievously.
I laughed at how her former colleague was being treated so poorly, but at the same time I was envious of how close they seemed.
Once the polar nights are over, the hunting life will start again.
Soon, guests will be visiting, so I was putting more effort into hunting. We’re having a guest in a long time. Moreover, the guest time is an acquaintance of Sieg.
The target today is an elk, quite possibly the largest kind of hoofed animals around this area. It does not smell, so it’s a popular game for foreigners that visit this area.
Because of the season, there is little food so they are a little thinner than usual. Still, to prepare something that tasty for him, Sieg and I struggled.
It is said that the meat is tastier when the prey is caught before it’s blood gets hot. Thus, I set many traps around the forest, but there were no catches there. While petting a dog, I told Sieg that now that we have to hunt now that it came to this.
I signalled the dogs and the two of us hid in the shade.
It’s cold trying to not move from the spot in any case.
Sieg too knew that she can’t move because she had to stay silent, so she said that she couldn’t even rub her back.
Unable to endure the cold, I took a sip from the flask of alcohol I had on my breast pocket. The strong drink damaged my gums and my tongue, and gave a burning heat to my throat.
This alcohol that I bought from a merchant for its effect of warming someone up was a failure. Rather than warmth, I was more bothered by the pain.
I was staying silent for a reason, yet I ended up coughing violently. To such a lame me, Sieg just softly patted my back.
I told Sieg that it was a strong drink. After receiving it, she hesitated for a moment and took a sip. Without coughing, she drank it. She murmured that it indeed was a strong drink and returned the flask.
An hour later. Somewhere far away, I could hear dogs barking. It seemed that they were chasing after a deer.
I ordered Sieg to move a little back and then waited for the dogs, while holding my gun up.
After I waited for a while, two dogs appeared, chasing a deer.
I blew my whistle for the next order. Then, one dog circled the deer and stopped it in its tracks.
Now was the chance to shoot. Sieglinde took her shot first.
The bullet pierced the deer’s neck. It was also a spot that killed the creature in one shot.
The moment the deer collapsed, I ordered the dogs to disperse, then approached the fallen prey.
“Sieg, you did it.”
I went closer and confirmed the kill. The caught deer was a female one, about a year old.
The tastiest meat comes from small female ones. Male ones had uneven clumps of tasteless fat.
There was no time to just at the prey in admiration.
Because it is better to drain the blood and butcher the deer quickly.
Using the slope in the forest, we let it bleed from its neck as we took it home.
When we arrived home, we took it to the hut and asked Teoporon for help. We tied its hind legs and hung it up on a hook hanging from the ceiling.
The female deer’s fur shined beautifully. For later use, I skinned from the legs. Thanks to Sieg, I was able to do it in half the usual time.
After skinning it together, we then tore its belly with a big knife and gutted it. During that process, I checked if there were any parasites in is liver and bile duct, then threw it out. With a wet cloth, we cleaned the meat. Then a pouch full of snow was placed inside it, and it was left for a night.
The day after, I carved the meat by the parts.
Roughly by its body, behind, legs, and neck. It is then matured for about then days, then it is divided into more parts.
Normally, it needs to be aged for about a month to be perfect, but unfortunately our guest is arriving in two weeks.
“Well, like this, there’s no worry over meat.”
Other than that, we hunted rabbits and birds and froze them under the snow. I suggested to hunt one more reindeer, but Sieg stopped me from doing that.
In two weeks, I will be going out to meet Sieg’s acquaintance.
I took five hours to get to the port the before his arrival, then spent an awkward night with Teoporon.
The next day.
It was almost time for the ferry to arrive, so I waited at the pier.
Since he already knew who to look for, I told Teoporon that he will come for us and continued to wait.
A few minutes later.
Finally one man came and talked to us.
“——Er, erm, might you be, Count, Levantret?”
The man who spoke in our language, albeit rather poorly, was a tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed man of a refreshing disposition.
Next chapter will be in Sieg’s colleague’s perspective.