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I tied a thin linen string tightly to the trunk of a tree.
“How’s this?” (Yuri)
When I let go of my hand, the string that I was playing slipped and made a *pin* sound.
This was at a point about five meters back from the entrance of the village on the road that we came to yesterday.
The string extended across the road to the other side. Then, it was hooked on a hook screwed into a raw tree, bent upwards, hooked on a thicker tree branch, and headed downwards. And a large stone was tied up at the end point.
For the final finish, the string was shaved with a knife to the extent that it wouldn’t be torn by tension. If someone kicked this string vigorously, the thin string, that was supported by a stone at the end of it, would be cut, and the stone would fall.
Under the stone, there was a large tub for washing. There were many kettles and small pots collected from each house in the tub.
It had been verified if a stone dropped from this height, a loud noise would be produced and the sound would reach the village mayor’s house. In other words, it was a kind of alarm device.
“It looks good!” (Carol)
I could hear Carol’s loud voice. It seemed that the stone was hung properly over there as well.
She held the cane again, moved a little and went further back. I chose cotton material and cobblestones on the road for disguising it. It blended into the scenery and it wouldn’t be recognized from a distance. It would be even more so from horseback.
“Isn’t it alright?” (Carol)
Then, Carol said when she approached.
“Well, that’s it.” (Yuri)
‘If it gets hit by wild animals, I have to set it up again. It’s not low enough to get caught by a rabbit, but it’s possible animals like deer. It can’t be helped.’
“Phew, for now, we’re done with the first stage.” (Yuri)
Carol, dressed in work clothes, wiped her forehead with her sleeves. The temperature was rising as the sun rose and it was the season of this year.
Even so, it was strange that Carol was wearing the clothes that farmers wore for farm work.
“Is this alright?” (Carol)
“Yes. I’ve already stretched the rope, so… it should be fine.” (Yuri)
‘I’m not going to make many elaborate traps this time. I also made crutches for Carol earlier.’
‘After that, I was thinking of laying a bundle of straw as a cushion when she got off the rope, but since there was nothing wrong with it if it wasn’t there, it’s fine to postpone making it.’
“Then, shall we take a bath?” (Yuri)
“…! Oh, yes!” (Carol)
Carol’s voice sounded joyful. It seemed that she couldn’t suppress the joy.
“…Alright, let’s do that” (Carol)
Perhaps, she was embarrassed to say it loudly. For some reason, she cleared her throat and confirmed it again.
“Hah, hah… Dang it.” (Yuri)
‘Why is the well so deep? Is the dampness too far underground?’
When I let go the string, the empty well bucket was pulled up to the rope and hit the metal fittings with a rattling noise.
‘The well bucket attached to the well is shaped like a bucket of the same weight that is tied with a rope of appropriate length. It is shaped like a pulley attached to the top. If I let of the middle of the rope, the weight is balanced, but in the current state, the weight of the rope is unbalanced, so if I let go of my hand, it will go up like this.’
‘Needless to say, it is a facility that requires a great deal of labor to pump up.’
‘This seems to be a fool, and it makes me remember the time I made a manual water pump. It’s not a lot of work if it’s about water used for cooking, but it’s a lot of hard work when it comes to a full bath tub.’
“Are you alright?” (Carol)
Carol, who came to get the bucket, said. I put an empty bucket in exchange for the bucket with water earlier.
“I’m alright, but how much more?” (Yuri)
“Now… I think it’s about half.” (Carol)
“Half, is it?” (Yuri)
‘Uwahh. That’s how I felt. But I want to take a bath.’
“…Isn’t it fine with just half?” (Yuri)
“No… if you want to rest first, go ahead.” (Carol)
‘Anyhow, I want to soak my shoulders.’
“Do you want me to take over?” (Carol)
“It’s harder for me to walk. So, I’m fine.” (Yuri)
“I see. But don’t overdo it. If it’s too hard, I’ll do both tasks.” (Carol)
‘I wonder if that’s possible.’
“Let’s take a break. It’s fine if we can heat the water by night.” (Yuri)
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Using a fire-breathing tube to blow, the small bonfire that was burning the dead leaves gained momentum. A flame was born and burned the withered twigs.
After seeing the fire became stronger, I threw in cracked firewood. After watching for a while, the fire burned the firewood, and the intensity of the fire became stronger on the cast iron stove.
‘It’s fine with this.’
It would be difficult if the cane stood up and the fire burned, so I rolled the surplus firewood far away with the tip of the cane and kept it away from the source of fire.
‘It’s difficult to adjust the amount of firewood, and if I increase it, the hot water will boil over. Hot water that exceeds 90 degrees Celsius is quite unruly in a place where cold water cannot be easily added.’
‘It takes a long time to cool down by leaving the window open. Therefore, it’s easier to use less firewood and add more firewood when the water isn’t hot anymore, rather than cooling hot water.’
After boiling the water, I went around the house and headed to the kitchen. Carol should be cooking there.
Looking at the clock, it was almost 5 PM. It was a bit early, but speaking of dinner, it was dinner time.
When I arrived at the entrance, Carol seemed to be still cooking.
“Hey, did you make progress?” (Yuri)
When I called her out…
“Yes, I did… Aah… are you really hungry?” (Carol)
She said it while making a slightly troubled face.
“No… I’m alright.” (Yuri)
When I look at the pot, it was simmering. I didn’t know what was boiled with lye and foam on it, but from the faint smell that remained, it seemed that she was boiling meat with alcoholic beverages.
“”It’s still going to take a bit longer though.” (Carol)
“I see. Do you need any help?” (Yuri)
“No, it’s alright. All I have to do is to simmer it lightly. Then, I’ll take a break.” (Carol)
“Well then, I leave it to you.” (Yuri)
I was also tired because I was pulling the well bucket. However, it would be better to rest near the place on the second floor anyway.
By the way, the enemy wouldn’t come from now on. Of course, it was important for reconnaissance to look around well, so there was no way to do it at night.
It was quite stupid to come at dusk like now, less than an hour before the sun went down. However, the sun hadn’t completely set yet, so I couldn’t say that they would surely not come at all.
I took off my shoes and went up the front door. Then, I climbed the stairs to the second floor. After climbing up, I headed to the study room that I used as my room.
I entered Myaro’s bedroom and Carol’s bedroom before because I had something to do, but I hadn’t set foot in the study room yet since I came back.
When I opened the door and went inside, it was the same as when I left. When I looked at the shelf on which the horn was placed, I found a small figure that looked like a souvenir on a heavy stone and paper.
I looked at it in my hand, there was the coat of arms of the Gudanvier that was written there.
‘In a situation where you don’t get it on the first floor, you will understand when you come here. It seems to be Myaro’s, and it is elaborate.’
For the time being, I put down the paper, looked around the room, and sat down on the chair I was always sitting on. It was a comfortable chair that allowed a person to fall asleep as it was. I felt terribly at ease.
Suddenly, as I always did, I looked at the window.
There was something strange. Something black was hanging on the window.
‘Aah. It’s the gallbladder. I completely forgot about its existence. I left it dry and went out of the house.’
The gallbladder exposed to the dry air was quite different from when I went out, and it was completely drained. It didn’t look how it was when the whole surface was crumpled and looked like a fresh leather water bottle. It had shrunk to the point of being mistaken and it had a color close to black.
When I took it down from the metal fittings of the hanging window and touched it, it wasn’t completely hard yet, but it was soft. The fluidity had been lost, and it felt like dried mullet roe that was soft and wouldn’t collapse even when cut.’
‘Will it get any harder? However, even if the outer membrane is already torn, the contents won’t spill. So, it should be fine to eat it.’
‘The gallbladder is a medicine that improves gastrointestinal health and aids digestion. Therefore, in general, it should be dissolved in hot water and drink it before meals, or swallow it in pieces.’
‘Now that I’ve completed a long journey with hardly good food, it’s hard to find a time when I deserve to drink something like this.’
I went down the stairs.
Carol, who was scooping the lye, turned around and noticed the gallbladder I was holding.
“Aah… that is…” (Carol)
“It’s a gallbladder.” (Yuri)
“I completely forgot about it.” (Carol)
Carol seemed to have forgotten as well. After all, there were many things to think about.
“Me too. It’s said to be good for digestion if you drink it before meals. So, I brought it here.” (Yuri)
Since it eased the burden on the gastrointestinal tract, it would have been better if I had taken it before yesterday’s meal, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take it now, even though it was a bit late.
“Is that so? Then, it’s fine.” (Carol)
When I heard that line, I suddenly felt like I had forgotten something important.
I must have been looking forward to something, but I couldn’t remember what it was.
“…Yes? What’s wrong?” (Carol)
“No… I felt like I forgot something, but I can’t remember it.” (Yuri)
“I see. Well then, let’s eat it right away.” (Carol)
“We can do it after you finish cooking.” (Yuri)
“I’m done. All I have to do is to put it on a plate.” (Carol)
“I see. Would you like to try it immediately? Lend me a kitchen knife and a cutting board.” (Yuri)
I held the kitchen knife, put a black lump on the cutting board, and cut off a part to make two pieces. As expected, there was no sign that the content would spill from the cut end.
The remaining of the gallbladder was wrapped in a dry cloth and the pieces were placed on a small plate. I didn’t forget to prepare water for swallowing it.
“Is it like this? I was wondering if I can just eat it.” (Carol)
“No, why would you do that?” (Yuri)
‘What kind of thought is that? I would like to say something like that.’
‘If she does that, her mouth will suffer. It’s a lump of bitterness, so it’s not something that you chew, let alone bite. What kind of punishment game is this?’
“I think that way of eating is rather bad for you.” (Yuri)
“Is that so? Well, let’s do as you say.” (Carol)
“Then, drink it.” (Yuri)
I quickly put a piece of gallbladder which was about one centimeter long from in front of the cutting board into my mouth. I immediately put a glass of water in my mouth and swallow it.
Even so, the bitterness seemed to remain in my tongue.
‘It’s still bitter.’
I heard an indescribable sound from the side. It was like the end of a beautiful little bird.
When I turned to the voice, Carol had a look that I had never seen before. The expression that the hair stood upside down.
The moment I saw it, I felt an indescribable feeling of satisfaction, and in an instant, I remembered it.
‘Aah yes. I tried to deceive her. Surely, I think that I told her that it tastes sweet like candy. Oops. I completely forgot.’
Seeing Carol, who began to hold her mouth with a desperate face, made me tried hard to hold the urge to laugh.
“Geh… Are you alright? If you can’t handle it, it’s fine to spit it out.” (Yuri)
Carol was in tears, holding her mouth and shaking her head. The scene looked terribly exciting when viewed by a viewer.
I swallowed it immediately, but I supposed I tasted it when it rolled on my tongue. It would be the worst if she chewed it with the back teeth.
I handed Carol the cup I used earlier, which still contained half the water. Carol grabbed the glass in my hand, filled her mouth with water and spit it out.
When the remaining water was put in the mouth again in large volume, she rinsed the inside of the mouth and spit it out still.
“What the heck is this thing!?” (Carol)
She wiped her mouth and shouted. She was breathing with her shoulders, and stared at the gallbladder wrapped in a cloth earlier, in the form of hatred.
Apparently, she hadn’t been able to sort out the situation, and so far the hatred seemed to aim at the bitter-tasting food, not me.
“Did I drink… a poison?” (Carol)
I was worried that she told me something.
“…No. It’s fine to drink it.” (Yuri)
‘Phew Calm down, calm down. It’s not as interesting as it sounds. It’s not so much to laugh about.’
“But… it was rotten wasn’t it? It’s better to vomit it now…” (Carol)
“Aah… uh… uhmm… I forgot to tell you, but it’s actually bitter.” (Yuri)
She raised her head with a stunned face.
“I said it was sweet before, but it was a lie.” (Yuri)
When I said that, Carol’s face quickly became grim.
“What? Say it one more time.” (Carol)
“I lied that the bitter thing was sweet. I’m sorry.” (Yuri)
“I thought my heart would stop, you know?” (Carol)
“I’ve forgotten until now. I just remembered.” (Yuri)
“What do you mean? To lie about this…” (Carol)
“The medicine isn’t a lie… I just forgot that I told a lie about the taste.” (Yuri)
“Were you lying?” (Carol)
‘Ugh, she’s angry. It was a fact that she was deceived, so I can’t help it, but…’
“I’m sorry.” (Yuri)
I obediently apologized.
“Say sorry.” (Carol)
‘Uhm. Didn’t I say it? Well, it’s not bad to do it twice or three times if the anger hasn’t subsided.’
“I’m very sorry.” (Carol)
I apologized again.
Then, I did it for the third time, and the anger disappeared from Carol’s face.
‘Alright. She’s a bit tough when she reaches that point.’
“Seriously, why are you fooling around at such times…” (Carol0
Her anger seemed to have subsided like a low tide, but this time, she seemed to be somewhat astounded.
“No… I was looking forward to it when I lied, so yeah…” (Yuri)
“Don’t make excuses.” (Carol)
I was glared.
“Hmm… well, it’s fine if you reflect on it. Leaving that aside, let’s eat.” (Carol)
When I said that…
Carol suddenly made a voice as if she noticed something.
‘Did she spill the pot?’
“A-aah~~~… uhmm.” (Carol)
“What is it?” (Yuri)
“W-well. You’ve done something wrong, so… so… I’ll have you to recompense that.” (Carol)
‘This is weird? Recompense what?’
“I… I drained the water of the bath.” (Carol)
- Special thanks to the picture owner.
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