Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 93

Rose Liqueur and a Pleasant Party
Additional Chapter

One day, a lot of luggage arrived from father-in-law. When I opened it with Sieg to see what it was, it was the fruit liqueur I had made before.

“I completely forgot about it.”
“I thought about it.”

Well, they are drinks for Sieg.

The liqueurs were made from many things, such as apricots, plums, and citruses. Since I gave some to father-in-law and grandfather as well, about five arrived for us. In the letter enclosed inside, Father-in-law commented that they were delicious. I glad he enjoyed it.

“Come to think of it, what happened to the rose liqueur?”

Even when I peered into the box I couldn’t find it.
Could father-in-law have accidentally drunk it!? I felt a little uneasy.
The bright red rose liqueur is for Sieg. It’s a special drink for her.

“No, I brought the rose liqueur with me. It’s in my room.”
“Was that so!?”

I’ve been frequenting Sieg’s room so much that the door sill might get worn out, but I never realised.
Apparently, she’s been storing it in a dark place.

“It’s dyed in a vivid shade.”
“I see~”

It seems that Sieg was observing it once a day.

Though she said that it’s dyed in a pretty colour, I don’t want to see it.

The red rose in the language of flowers means, ‘I love you.’ It makes me feel as though I whispered that into her ear.

Thinking of that, it’s very embarrassing to see the drink.

Or so I thought, but then Sieg offered an unexpected invitation.

“Shall we taste it together tonight?”
“!”

Eh~ No way~ It’s embarrassing…… As if. I replied, “Gladly!” with a glint in my eyes.

◇◇◇

The season is summer.
It’s a season where the village ladies are busy picking berries.
This year, mother was brimming with enthusiasm, and filled the baskets full of berries.
Also, she made great amounts of jam, alcohol, sauce and cake.

Living with mother made a life a lot easier. Both physically and mentally.
She is also friendly with Sieg, for which I am glad.
However, even though I tell her to take it easy, to not overwork, she does not listen, saying that this is the norm.
She can even do gardening with Arno on her back, singing lullabies to put him to sleep. I couldn’t help but revere her as a superhuman housewife.

Fortunately, she was enjoying going out to the forest, cooking, and singing lullabies, so I am spoiling myself on her while thinking that it’s a relief.

When I thanked mother again, she gave me a blank look.

“Hey, Ritchan.”
“What is it?”

“Ritchan, you were overworking yourself.”
“I-Is that right?”
“Yes.”

When we turn 18 in this village, we have to fend for ourselves.
By then, we learn how to make traditional handicrafts, how to hunt and how to butcher animals.
It’s natural to work every day to support one’s family. I have been living a busy life for a decade.

However, mother told me that that is not a normal life.

“Ritchan, you have work as a lord as well, don’t you?”
“Well……, I don’t do anything important though.”
“That’s not true.”

“Thank you.”

Then, mother silently stared at her son’s face. It felt as though she was misty-eyed so I felt a chill.
The reason was revealed soon.

“I’m sorry.”
“Eh!?”

From the sudden development of mother apologising to me and hugging me, I froze up.
I’m turning thirty now, why am I getting hugged by mother?
It’s a mystery.

It seemed that mother was worried more about father than she was for me.
Of course, I can understand that.
He’s a man of amazing character, there’s no telling what might happen if he’s left alone.

“But you were lonely, weren’t you?”
“……”

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel lonely.
However, if I had my family with me, I might have been a different person than how I am now.
I might not have married Sieg.

Thinking of that, well, isn’t fine, I thought.

“Mother, from here on, let’s all work hard together.”
“Yes. With Linde-chan and Arno-chan, let’s all work hard together!”
“……”

I seriously wondered if it was alright to go ahead like this while excluding my father who was in a faraway land.

◇◇◇

For the fun banquet with Sieg at night, I made side dishes.
Still, the sky was growing dark so I decided to make something simple.
It’s hard to cook outside without sunlight.
If it’s summer, then it should be fish!!
From the nearby port, a merchant visits everyday hauling fresh fish.

First, I processed the salmon I bought today. I halved one half that we were having for ourselves.
I left the other half for Ruruporon to cook.

The thick piece of salmon is seasoned with salt and pepper and then I made slits to put cheese in. After that, it is wrapped in thinly sliced bacon, skewered on, and then grilled with butter. It’s best when it’s warm, but it still tastes good when it is cold.
The second dish is made by cutting up seasoned salmon into bite-sized pieces and frying them with bread crumbs.
This also goes well with alcohol.
Finally, there’s a dish of salmon, dried mushrooms, cheese and chopped potatoes in the oven. It looks like gratin.

The finished dishes are placed on a tray then served to the second floor bedroom. To not get dust on it, I placed cloth over it.

For dinner, Ruruporon served a splendid meal.

Arno can now eat bland semi-solid food. Since he couldn’t use the spoon yet, we are feeding him.

During that time, all the family does not eat and only watches Arno. It’s an enjoyable time.

“Arno-chan weaned early~ Good boy~”
“……”
“……”

It was almost as though she was comparing to someone else, but I pretended to not have heard. Sieg also cleared her throat to change the mood.

After the meal, we reflected on our work today, put Arno to sleep and relaxed.

“Mother, you’re good at this now.”

Mother, leading a well-regulated life, rests early.

“Arno-cha~n~ sleepy time~”
“No, mother, it’s alright.”
“But~ still~”
“You’ve been sleeping with him for five days now, haven’t you?”
“But’s it’s alright~”

Sometimes I want to take care of my son.
However, mother argued that she wanted to sleep with Arno because she’s lonely.

Maybe it could be that she was being considerate for our nighttime fun (drinking). Still, there wouldn’t have been a problem since Arno does not wake easily once he goes off to sleep.

But I decided to gladly receive mother’s kindness.

Sieg and I sat down on the bed and opened bottles of alcohol on a round table.
First was the plum (pflaume) liqueur.
Sieg drank it straight, while I had it with sparkling water and lemon juice.
The colour was light brown like black tea. Apparently it’s good for recovering fatigue and for shoulder pains. It might be fitting for summer.

“Ah, it’s delicious.”
“It’s sweet.”

Maybe because I had it with sparkling water, it had a refreshing sweetness to it. When I got a sip from Sieg’s cup, which had the unadulterated drink, it had a different taste. It had a deep flavour along with a sweet taste.
We also tried other fruit liqueur. The neat tasting citrus liqueur seemed to be to Sieg’s liking. I thought that it was a failure because of the bitter flavour, but Sieg was okay with it.
She also liked the side dishes. I felt happy. I worked hard to see this moment.

We drank the rose liqueur at the end.

“It’s dyed nicely.”
“It has a rosy tinge.”

Maybe because we used only a bit of alcohol, it was dyed nicely in red.
When I opened the bottle, a rich rosy scent flowed out. I recalled that rose liqueur was also called drinkable perfume.

When I poured some into a glass and squeezed some lemon into it, the colour turned into an even deeper shade of red.
Sieg took a look at the glass by the light from the lantern, and then tilted the glass.

“H-How is it?”

Sieg smiled without saying a word.
From seeing such a rare expression, I ended up clutching my chest.

What is it, what was with that mysteriously alluring smile!?

It makes me want to flounder around in the bed.

“Ritz, you too.”
“……Waa, thank you~”

I somehow managed to calm my raging heart and took a sip of the rose liqueur.

The moment I took a sip, the sensation of a deep rosy scent flowed into my body. It was slightly sweet and bitter, and had an adult’s flavour to it.

Sieg murmured about the time she received the bouquet. She said that she was so happy.

Meanwhile, I wrapped my head in my arms, wondering why I was being so pretentious.

“Can I have this?”
“Please, please”

If possible, please enjoy it alone, or so I conveyed.

But that wish could not come true.
After that, Sieg enjoyed the rose liqueur while watching my embarrassed expression.

To become a side dish for alcohol, how regretful.



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