Chapter 25: The Taste of Chocolate
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
Now that we loosened the frozen soil, it was now time to put nutrients in the field for the vegetables to grow.
We put fallen leaves that we collected in autumn, weeds, and reindeer droppings in the soil.
Those are then left for a month.
If it’s left for three months, they rot fully, but here in this region the period in which it does not snow is not long. So we can’t afford to wait longer.
Returning home later than me, Sieg looked tired, a state she did not usually show.
“It got late. I am sorry.”
“No, good work today.”
Sieg flopped down on a chair by the window, and frowned.
“It’s the first time you’re doing it, that’s why.”
“There’s that too, but,”
“It’s tough working with strangers.”
If Sieg said that, it must have been a tough work. I felt sorry for her.
“Are you okay?”
“Don’t worry. I’m just not used to the women.”
I really don’t know what I should say at these moments. If mother was here, she might have said good words of encouragement. It’s unfortunate that she’s not here.
I had nothing I could do for her.
Even if I hugged her, only I would feel better.
“You suddenly fell silent.”
“……I was just wondering where my parents are.”
It’s already been ten years since they started travelling. Mother sells traditional crafts all over the world, and father is working day jobs as the middle-aged couple enjoy their travels. A letter comes every half year, and sometimes they want to know how I am faring.
As I was deep in thought, I felt Sieg’s gaze, so I told her that there was nothing to worry about.
But she did not look satisfied.
“If it does not trouble you too much……”
Sieg looked like she was conflicted.
There might not have been any need to pry, but my curiosity won.
“There’s nothing Sieg can do that will trouble me.”
Indeed. I would even gladly receive a roundhouse kick…… probably.
“Then let me say it.”
“I like this village.”
“So I am planning to spend the rest of my life here.”
“I don’t lie.”
Excited from Sieg’s reply, the stifling feeling I had got blown away instantly.
Regardless of what happens with the marriage contract, Sieg will be here. I felt happy that she will not disappear like my parents.
“You look better.”
“Thank you, Sieg!”
“Did you think I’ll be going anywhere?”
“Well, we are a temporary couple.”
Maybe because she was dumbfounded at my excitement, this time Sieg fell silent.
To change the mood, I brought out a special alcohol. However, even that did not help.
And finally, the long-awaited tourist season came.
From what I heard in between work, everyone was talking about what silver ornaments they will buy.
Even the auroras, the objective of the tourists, seemed to have read the mood, appearing every night and entertaining those who were looking up.
Before this busy period came, we managed to finish sowing. Now watering, fertilising and weeding were up to the children.
Then, in an unexpected place, the Sieglinde effect showed up.
“Sieglinde-sama! I’m glad I could meet you!”
“I didn’t expect you to come out all the way here.”
“But of course!”
Sieglinde’s girl fans heard the rumours and came here. On top of that in droves.
Sieg felt sorry that she could not accompany them because of work. She was so busy that she did not have even the leisure to eat with me.
Though I complained about that, I also am spending very busy days.
“My lord! The baby bears sold out, can you do something about it?”
“What, really!? I delivered more just yesterday……”
And the dreaded souvenir shortage happened.
“I’m drying them now, I think they’ll be done by tomorrow.”
“Aa, that’s a relief.”
Even the birch tableware that are rip-offs were almost sold out. Since this wasn’t something that was to be made anytime soon, even the shop lady gave up on them. The wooden baby bears can be completed in half a day if I hurry, and with applying colour and drying the wax it takes about a day to finish. It could be made quicker compared to other traditional crafts.
“I wanted that too.”
“I wonder if it will be replenished soon~. How unfortunate.”
The crimson eagle carving that I modelled after Sieg even received requests from her fans. Even if the tourist season is over, the shop lady will probably put in orders.
“Sieglinde-san’s effect is quite unbelievable, all the villagers are surprised.”
“Somehow, I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s a joyful scream.”
We were standing and talking, but since another lady came in to deliver bracelets, I left the shop. I want to return home and quietly make more baby bears, but there are still many things to do in the village.
Meanwhile, the only restaurant in town looked like they were in distress. I peeked in from the back window, and then sneaked in to help wash the piled up dishes.
“Hey, once you’re done with dishwashing, peel the vegetables!”
On the table which had used dishes just then, a basket full of vegetables was placed with a thud. It seemed like they didn’t even notice that I was an outsider.
Inside the basket, there were root vegetables like potatoes and turnips. Since I they need to be put in water after peeling, I looked for a large bowl but unfortunately they were all in use. Left without a choice, I washed a pot that had burn stains to get a bowl.
Even after that, more work was forced on me. I think they lady might never notice that I am the lord.
Well, everyone’s eyes were bloodshot that it was scary, and it was no atmosphere to decline errands or announce that I am the lord.
After the lunch hours, when it was time for the restaurant workers’ meals, I managed to sneak out.
As for what the men did, they were butchering reindeers. In this period where hunting is banned, the meat of the season is reindeer meat.
There also people who went to the lake to fish. There are people who dislike the strong taste of reindeer meat, so there is also demand for fish.
There was more work at night. I guided people to the observation platform in the fortress, served warm drinks to keep their bodies warm and sometimes even lent fur clothing to customers who complained that it was cold.
However, work is not over yet. After returning home, I now have to carve more wooden figures.
Having worked like that for a long time, my body now felt shaky.
However, I could not possibly say that out loud so I worked while putting on a facade.
Today, when I was about to go to the restaurant to help again, I was dragged into a narrow alley by someone.
When I looked at who it was, it was someone I knew.
“Finally caught you.”
Sieglinde leaned against the wall and heaved a sigh.
I wondered when the last time we saw each other was as we faced each other.
“You look unwell.”
Well, I can’t deny that my condition is not normal.
Today again, there was bear-san, bear-san, bear-san, and though didn’t stay up all night, I did stay up late to work on the wooden carvings. I do think that my young body that has not seen thirty years is screaming in agony.
“Sieg, are you doing alright?”
“Well, it’s as you can see.”
Like she said, there was an atmosphere suggesting that she was tired, but her complexion was fine so I was relieved.
We spent the time quietly for a while. Then, remembering something, Sieg handed me something from her pocket.
“Where did you get it?”
“I got it from someone I know.”
“Did you have any yet?”
What Sieg gave me was a small box containing chocolate.
Contained in a small box that fit on my palms, there weren’t many pieces.
Since I was hungry, I unravelled the ribbons that were wrapped around the box finely. I then took out a piece of chocolate that was beautifully decorated like a jewel and held it in front of Sieg’s mouth.
“Please open your mouth.”
Because she obediently complied, I pushed a piece of chocolate into her mouth with my thumb.
Then I also had one for myself.
“Want one more?”
“Can I really have this?”
“I got two of the same thing.”
“I see. Thank you.”
Because my brain and mouth weren’t working normally, I tried to smile in gratitude but I don’t know if I did that well. Sieg was expressionless.
When I asked what her business was, she said that she was worried because she saw me wobbling in the middle of town.
“Don’t overexert yourself.”
“Go to sleep at night.”
“We don’t need more money, so don’t take unnecessary jobs.”
It realised that I was not at full condition because I was separated from Sieg for too long, and felt my heart healing as we talked.
However, since I thought that this busy period will continue for some time, I thought I would need to stock up for few days. In spite of myself, I was pressing my lips to Sieg’s.
I pressed her body against the wall, fixed her in place by holding her cheeks with my hands and was locking my lips with hers as though I coveted them.
My head was empty, I could not think. I could only feel pleasure.
Strangely, there were no people passing by in this narrow alley.
A while later, the bell signalling noon tolled. With that, I separated myself from her.
“Thank you. It really helped a lot.”
Since I had to go help the restaurant, I gave her a farewell kiss on her cheek and left the alley.
Then I spent more time working busily. I finally came to when I was exposed to the cold breeze under darkened night sky.
——Huh, wait, what did I just do to Sieg!?
Why do I taste chocolate in my mouth when I didn’t have any…… Can someone please explain……?