Luca and the Loving Husbands’ Mushroom Picking
Final Volume — [Story of the People who Live with Nature]
This is from Luca’s point of view.
In the morning, my mother commanded me to go out and pick some mushrooms.
Why me? I thought, but apparently my little brother’s wife has a baby. Since pregnant women shouldn’t go out to the forest, the job fell on me.
I think the work that my sister-in-law had been doing will now have to be done by me. Tomorrow, I might have to go picking berries.
Well, it is a joyous event, so I’m fine.
With a large basket holding leftovers from breakfast, I headed for the exit of the village.
At the reception window of the fort, I chanced upon a familiar face.
That person had a smile friendlier than anyone else’s and was waving.
“Ah, it’s Luca!”
It was the lord. Behind him, there was another man.
It was Aina’s husband. He’s a foreigner, and I can’t quite recall his name. I remember the village ladies getting excited that he was cute. I thought that it’s because he’s handsome, but it apparently his way of talking is what makes him cute, or so. Though I can’t understand why a poor language skill would be cute.
“Luca, are you going to the forest too?”
“Then, let’s go together.”
“The more the merrier?”
What’s up with this lord. What did he eat to become this simple and innocent?
He made a refreshing smile that belied his thirty years.
Before I noticed it, he was pulling my hand.
“It’s alright, it’s alright.”
What’s alright! I don’t get you! Rather, the lord is quite strong!
I left the fort by getting dragged out.
The midsummer forest was lush with greenery, and the bountiful nature glistened.
“Ah, right, Luca, use this.”
The lord suddenly turned around and handed me a bottle filled with some liquid. When I asked what it was, he told me that it was insect repellant.
“There’s something like that?”
“Apparently. I learned it from my father.”
When I opened the lid, a strong smell attacked my nose. Most likely, it’s mint.
There are many bugs in this period. When one returns from the forest, there are many itchy bug bites.
“Is it really effective?”
“Yes, it is. Right, Emmerich?”
Emmerich or whatever who was talked to silently nodded.
Well, better than nothing, I thought as I tried it.
“It hurts if it goes into the eyes, so be careful.”
He told me that it’s good to apply it where there’s exposed skin, so I applied it on my neck and hands.
When I applied the repellent, it was quite chilly. I’ll have to endure the stinging scent.
Though, it would be amazing if it really was effective.
“Did you apply it? Then, let’s go.”
We resumed our walk for mushrooms.
I don’t have much confidence about picking mushrooms, and it has been that way from a long time ago.
First of all, I can’t understand where they grow. I did hear that they grow in damp places, but that’s hard to find.
What’s more, there are quite a lot of poisonous mushrooms. There are many ones that look similar to edible ones so it’s annoying to differentiate them.
I looked around for mushrooms while walking, but I could only see colourful poisonous mushroom——.
The lord gestured that there are mushrooms.
The place of discovery is under a fallen tree. The tree had already rotted, and the inside was hollow. The mushrooms were growing there.
“There’s quite a lot. Why don’t we take them?”
It seems like the lord will be sharing the mushrooms he found.
The three of us crouched down and and picked the mass of mushrooms.
“Fallen trees, stumps and places under fallen leaves do not get sunlight. While it might seem difficult to see where mushrooms grow, it is easy this way.”
Emmerich was writing something on a piece of paper while listening to the lord talk. I seems like he’s writing about the characteristics of mushrooms. When I took a peek, the picture was very good so I got surprised.
Afterwards, the lord continued through the forest, picking more mushrooms.
“Luca, from here, it’s a secret place.”
What is it? Even when I asked that, he merely continued further into the forest.
We walked by the riverbeds and arrived at the spot I usually fished at.
“What about this place?”
“A little further.”
Emmerich didn’t seem to know either, as he had a clueless expression. ……Well, he always looks absentminded though.
When we walked a little further, there was a great amount of mushrooms growing on a slope.
It was a black mushroom called ‘cornet’. I think it’s called so because it looks like a black trumpet.
“What is this!”
“Isn’t it amazing~?”
The end of the slope led into a deep river. It would be tough if one slipped by accident.
“It’s somewhat dangerous, so I could only come sometimes.”
The lord explained about the mushroom to Emmerich.
“These taste good when dried and put into meatballs. They’re also good if fried with butter and eaten with meat.”
Hearing that, I ended up unconsciously drooling.
Of course, cornet tastes nice. However, they only grow in the wildest parts of the forest, or so my mum and my sister-in-law had said. I was always ordered to pick some when I go out fishing, but I never discovered them until now.
“Now then, let’s get as much as we can before it’s time for lunch.”
He said that it’s fine to get as much as want, so we started picking cornets.
When the baskets were filled to the brim with mushrooms, my stomach started growling.
The lord suggested that we should start eating.
“Luca, did you bring some food?”
The well-prepared lord brought a quilt from his house.
It was laid down on a sunny meadow and the three of us opened our packed lunches.
The lord boasted about his wife’s food. He showed us the content, but it was clear that she didn’t cook that well. To be honest, the leftovers I have are better. However, the lord looked at his food very happily.
“Emmerich, you had yours made by Aina, right?”
“Aina-chan, woke up early, and prepared, for me.”
It was the usually reserved Emmerich, but when it’s about his wife he speaks very well. Using our language, one which is foreign to him, he talked about his wife.
Smiling, no, grinning, is it——.
Seeing the two of them talk about their wife’s food, it felt disappointing for some reason.
Though I can’t tell why.
“Huh, Emmerich, looks like you’ve got bear meat, where’d you get that?”
Could he have hunted one!?
When I stared at the airhead-like man, he shook his head.
“Aina-chan, received, bear.”
“Could it be from Teoporon?”
Apparently, Emmerich’s place and the martial race family are quite friendly.
Come to think of it, I think I saw her (Miruporon) with Aina, or whatever her name was, rather often recently.
The two of them acted on their own for a long time, so it was a surprise that they became friends.
Though it might be that lonely people are drawn to each other.
As we ate while trading the contents of our lunch, lunchtime was over soon.
The baskets were full, so we soon returned to the village.
Before we could get into the fort, the lord warned me.
“Luca, the place where cornets grow is dangerous, so take someone with you. If possible, with another man.”
“If you ask, I’ll accompany you. Emmerich’s fine too.”
“I’ll invite you if I feel like it.”
When I said that, he smiled and pounded my shoulder.
——Seriously, you’re strong!
“Come to think of it, how was the repellent?”
“Ah, I don’t think I got stung anywhere.”
“I see, that’s nice.”
The lord told me how to easily make repellent.
Since it was just having herbs placed in alcohol for some time, I think I could make some myself.
“Don’t forget to shake it once a day. Also, store it somewhere dark.”
The lord and Emmerich seems like they’ll be chatting with the soldiers at the fort.
For now, I thanked them for the mushroom picking trip and parted ways.
The village women looked busy. They have to pick mushrooms and berries then process them, so it’s the busiest period in the year for them.
I strolled through the village amidst that.
Since cornets are tasty, I thought of taking a little to her house.
As I don’t want her to feel indebted, I won’t give it to her personally. Leaving it in the postbox should do. Then, her old man would just think that some faraway neighbour gave it to him.
I placed some cornets in a pouch and put it in the postbox while checking that there wasn’t anyone else around.
When I quickly got away from the house and was sighing, Miruporon suddenly appeared in front of me. I was so surprised that I almost jumped up into the air.
To quell by rampaging heart, I ended up saying things I didn’t really mean.
It was surprising enough to just meet her, but Miruporon was wearing the traditional clothes of this village.
That was, well, what should I say, cute.
Our eyes met, bringing me back to reality.
Miruporon looked absentminded too, so I grabbed her shoulder lightly, asking if she heard me, to hide my true feelings.
Then, Miruporon who usually did not react, made an expression of surprise.
It was rather frightening, so I ended up stepping back.
Miruporon told me that I grew taller.
I knew that I surpassed her height some time ago, but I didn’t know Miruporon learned to speak the language of this country.
When did she learn it?
Rather, when I realised that she would have understood those harsh things I have been saying, I felt as though I was struck by lightning.
Just what had I been saying. But it’s too late to regret.
I decided to apologise to her after organising my thoughts and feelings.
From that day, I fell victim to Miruporon’s counterattacks.
It seems like she learned the language from her new friend Aina, who is Emmerich’s wife.
Since she could only speak a little, she asked me a lot of questions and chatted with me.
I was thinking of apologising to her, but when I’m in front of Miruporon I can’t get myself to be honest.
It looked like she was enjoying talking to me with words that she was not very familiar with.
I was surprised at how unexpectedly talkative she was.
Also, that clumsy speech and tone, was also, well, cute.
——A little later, I realised that I was thinking the same thing as the village ladies.