“There’s a lot of stuff to consider like the how much grain your village can produce, and I’m sure a lot of work will have to be done.” [Ryouma]
“At the village, we plant many different types of grain to combat sickness. Barley makes up about 30% of all our crops, but we should be able to increase the yields starting next year. Still, is it really okay to sell the tea at the village?” [Fina]
“I feel like I’ve said this to someone before, but even if I try to sell the tea myself, it’s going to take a lot of effort. I might have a store, but my current goal is to go back to my village, so I don’t really have the time to sell Barley Tea.” [Ryouma]
But there are people who want barley tea, and there’s a village that wants to sell their barley.
In that case, it would be best if said village worked with the Saionji Company instead. At the very least, it would be a lot better than if the business just rotted in my hands.
“You once said that you would be willing to accept others who want to work at your store. If this works out well for our village, there might be less people who’ll want to leave.” [Fina]
“The store isn’t hiring right now anyway, so it’s fine if only those who want to go to town come. If I can’t get enough employees from your village, then naturally I will look elsewhere. Besides, it would only trouble me if the people who come to work here do so begrudgingly. Those who want to remain in the village should remain. There is also the saying that people only understand a parent’s love when it’s too late, so I believe if it’s possible to spend time with one’s family, then one should do so instead.” [Ryouma]
I’ll be fine as long they send me some tea from time to time.
“…Boss, can I send a letter to my dad about this? I want to ask the entire village to consider it.” [Fina]
“Of course, it’s fine. I’ll send a letter to the Saionji Company too, so they can plan for it from their end as well. After all, we’ll only end up troubling them if we just suddenly bring the topic up without giving them time to prepare.” [Ryouma]
“Fina! What are you doing!” [Jane]
“Ah, sorry!” [Fina]
Oops. Talked a bit too much there… Even though she was supposed to be in the middle of work.
“Sorry, Jane-san. I was the one who called her. Sorry to you too, Fina-san. Let’s talk again later.” [Ryouma]
I parted with the two and went back to help disassemble the stage.
At the food court, after most of the belongings within the store and on the stage have been put away, the same people from the previous social gathering were gathered.
“Boy, am I starving! Today, mom’s again g—!?” [Rick]
“Don’t say unnecessary things.” [Pauline]
Even the exchanges before the opening remarks were the same as last time. The party began with everyone smiling.
Last time the food served were those that would be served in the stalls, but this time around, we’re serving food that could be made from the leftover ingredients.
For example, Shelma-san cooked a hearty dish full of ingredients like the sausages meant for our stall’s hot dogs or the vegetables meant for our stall’s stir-fried vegetables.
As for me, my contribution was Shio Yakisoba (Salt Fried Noodles).
I used the noodles and vegetables meant for Reemiyen, and then turned the chicken soup into a special sauce by adding the juice of lamon into it and seasoning it with salt and pepper. I then fried everything on top of an iron plate I made using alchemy… A ‘JUU’ sound resounded as I cooked the dish and a fragrant aroma spread.
“Mmm! Smells great! I want a huge serving please!” [Maiya]
“Me too!” [Rick]
“Coming right up!” [Ryouma]
Their appetite stirred by the aroma, Maiya-san and Rick were the first to ask for a serving, but they were most certainly not the last, as more and more people followed suit.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting! Has everyone received their portion?” [Ryouma]
“There’s 7 more.” [Leelin]
“If you add us, that makes 10.” [Fei]
“Okay! In that case, I’ll cook it all at the same time.” [Ryouma]
I cooked the shio yakisoba (salt fried noodles) in front of the 10 people. Leelin-san and Fei-san were helping with the guests, but I made sure to prepare their portion too. Of course, I didn’t forget to cook enough for myself as well.
…Now then, I thinks it’s about time I ate too. But where to sit…
Oh, Carm-san is calling me. It seems he’s with Serge-san and Prenence-san. Let’s join them.
“Over here.” [Serge]
“First, a toast. But with what?” [Carm]
“Let’s see…” [Ryouma]
There are children my age too, so we should probably keep it to barley tea.
“Otsukaresamadeshita, everyone. Cheers!” [Ryouma]
“Cheers!” [Everyone Else]
The aromatic barley tea invigoratingly passed through my throat, leaving me with a pleasant feeling.
“Fuu… It’s only now that I can feel that the festival has finally ended…” [Ryouma]
“Indeed. But this is also a new beginning for us.” [Prenence]
“Oh, right. You’ll be traveling to another town soon.” [Ryouma]
“Yes. Tomorrow we will be departing for a town called Dovana. There’s another festival there.” [Prenence]
So they leave as soon as the festival ends, huh? Must be difficult…
“It wasn’t that bad this time for us since everything was already prepared for us, from the lodging to the venue.” [Prenence]
In order for them to make a living as traveling entertainers, they sometimes have to leave on the very night a festival ends just so they could find a good spot in the next town they’ll be performing at. Because of that there are times when they have to sleep in their carriages if they can’t find an inn.
In that case, I wonder if it was really a good idea that I called them out here. Aren’t they just being forced to attend this party?
“Please don’t worry. We have some room in our schedule. We can afford it. Besides, thanks to our contract with the Morgan Company, we won’t be having as much difficulty in securing a venue and a place to stay at.” [Prenence]
“As much as possible, we need to provide a good place for the troupe so that the announcement of the music box goes well. As such, I’ve already contacted the branch store and have asked them to secure a place.” [Serge]
“I see. So, that’s how it is.” [Ryouma]
“The music box we’ve prepared sold out too, so we should be able to expect much from here on. …And as far as things to look forward to go, there’s also the prospect of selling this barely tea.” [Serge]
“Huh? Did Fina-san talk to you?” [Ryouma]
Carm-san was the one who answered my question.
“She dropped by my place earlier, asking about the demand and the prospects of selling barley tea. She said you gave your permission. I don’t know what the people of their village think, but from the looks of things, they’re intent on convincing them.” [Carm]
“So, what do you think? The prospects, I mean.” [Ryouma]
“I think it’ll be a lot cheaper than black tea, which goes to say that the commoners will be able to enjoy it. Considering the sales from the stalls, there’s more than enough value in them to be sold in the store. At the very least, it shouldn’t net a loss. And assuming we’ll be cooperating with the Saionji Company, although I’m a mere amateur on matters regarding food products, I do believe this is a good business opportunity.” [Carm]
“I agree. Although Carm isn’t certain about being able to work with the Saionji Company, in my opinion, if it’s Pioro, there’s no way he’ll reject you. He’s not the sort of man to throw away any potential food product that comes his way.” [Serge]
When the two of them said that, I heaved a sigh of relief.
“A drink sold at the corner of the festival will save a village that has been wandering for a long time… Yes. I think I can make a song out of this.” [Prenence]
There was just one guy who was looking at something completely different. You’re going to turn this into a song?
“Stories of someone or something being saved are always famous. That’s why many people choose that as a topic since there’s a high probability that people will like it. But making a beverage the hero… Now, that’s really putting a new spin on a known formula, don’t you think? Would you mind if I wrote such a tale? With the barley tea as the topic, I mean?” [Prenence]
Things sure have taken an odd turn. A story about barley tea? What do I say to this?
“As long as you don’t put my name on it, I suppose. And I’ll have to talk to Fina-san and the others. They’re the ones who’ll be selling it after all. Them and their village.” [Ryouma]
In the end, I decided to just delegate the issue.
“In that case, please excuse me.” [Prenence]
He stood up and immediately looked for them.
“He’s serious, huh… No. Maybe he’s drunk.” [Serge]
“He hasn’t drunk that much though.” [Ryouma]
“I say just let nature take its course.” [Carm]
I wonder what’ll happen in the end…
“Ah, Maiya-san.” [Ryouma]
“It’s the last night, so how about you perform with us?” [Maiya]
Several of the people from the troupe were gathered at the area next to the stage.
The last, huh… Alright.
“Excuse me, I need to go.” [Ryouma]
“Do your best, Boss.” [Carm]
“Break a leg.” [Serge]
After that, I was able to show off the results of my training while being accompanied by the sword dancers.
The song emphasized the pace, and everyone would clap every time I cut the firewood.
When the song ended, the crowd broke into applause.
I got carried away and ended up taking out my guitar and playing anime songs that aired on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings.
But by happily performing with everyone from the troupe, I was able to make some memories with them before parting.