At last, it’s the day before the selection ceremony. I’m doing the morning session of my training. In my hands, there’s the naginata that Tina and I created together.
The naginata is a spear with a tip of Japanese sword-like blade. Mine is the unusual type with relatively less curvature. With larger curve, it’s easier to slash. With smaller curve, it’s easier to thrust. I leave the main function to thrust.
Reaching level III in Sword Ability is enough. Right now, it’s crucial to get used to this new weapon, so I’m getting my body used to the timing management.
I try the combination of consecutive thrusts then a slash. Without hesitation, I move my body until I can hear an air-splitting sound. I pay meticulous care in the center of gravity and grip sensation of the spear, my pal for more than ten years that became the base for naginata. I get my body to become familiar to the newly transformed naginata as much as possible.
At the end, I do the opposite combination, from slash to thrust. Assuming that the thrust can be dodged, I move while predicting how to attack a routed enemy who doesn’t have sufficient posture. Inside my head, I tear my imaginary enemy to pieces.
I stop my movement, then exhales a deep breath as I close down my eyes. Today’s training comes crashing down inside my head again as I revise the problematic points as well as the improved parts. The greatest problem is that my own movement becomes faster than I have imagined when being propelled by the Sword Ability; I haven’t made sufficient adjustment for that. I should make upward adjustment for my imaginary body movement.
From that, I open my eyes and try the improved movement. Yep, this feels good. It has become a little more preferable. Let’s stop today’s training session here.
“Kurt-sama! Thank you for your hard work!” Tina rushes over to me. I receive a piece of clean cloth from her to dry my sweat.
“Thank you, Tina.”
“Your movement becomes more and more fluid, and it becomes faster too.”
“Yes, I actually feel that, personally. Still, my body sometimes moves too fast to control. It’s like managing a runaway horse. Today’s form is not even my full strength, which I cannot display yet.”
Because my movement’s speed is raised several times all of a sudden, I feel a huge sense of discomfort. Therefore, I curb down my power to a manageable extent.
“If it’s Kurt-sama, you’ll be fine! You can do it soon.”
“As I thought, even for me, it’s impossible to do that in one night. But winning over Jörg with this is still no sweat. I can wield 60% of my strength without any problem.”
In order to display the martial arts ingrained in my body, I need to show that much. Still, if I’m not thinking consciously, I could show my full power with my whole body in one strike.
“It’s more than he deserves.”
“That’s true. Even if I show my full power, I’m going to train until it’s alright to do so.”
For the sake of becoming a pastry chef, perhaps strength isn’t that important. Still, as feudal lord, I want both the power to protect my people and to help those who are precious to me.
“I’m going to help secretly too.”
“Tina’s help doesn’t need to be done humbly or in secret. Just look at this naginata, I could make this thanks to Tina. That’s right, this guy was reborn through Tina’s and my hands, so it could as well be our child, huh?”
Tina’s cheeks become red as she looks at my naginata with dazed expression.
“We should grant this guy a name. I want to give it a name that fits Tina’s image. A silver-colored radiance. Ginsen (silver flash). I want to call it that way. Tina doesn’t mind, right?”
When my mind thinks of Tina, I can only see her silver-colored hair and tail. She’s my light. Her silver radiance, therefore it has to be Ginsen.
Tina is still inside her own world in a dazzle. Let’s pull her back to reality, shall we? I pat her head with my hand. Since that doesn’t seem enough to pull her away from her own world, I pinch her fox ear lightly.
She’s back, finally.
“The name on Tina’s image, Ginsen, can I give it to name my pal here?”
“Absolutely! Please use it without reserve!”
“Thank you. It feels like Tina will be there, fighting together with me.”
Tina lifts her head and smiles.
“I’m happy that it feels like Kurt-sama and I will always be together. Kurt-sama’s naginata… No, Ginsen-chan, please receive my feelings!”
Tina touches the blade of naginata with her hand, fervently pouring her thoughts inside it. Does she mean to inject power to it? Her silver fox ears are standing upright, and her long and fluffy tail is pointed straight to the sky.
“Please receive a lot of my power so you can help Kurt-sama!”
Tina’s breathing becomes rough. It’s no longer a joke at this point. With a wry smile, I caress Tina’s head. Her eyes narrow in pleasure.
“Kurt-sama, what else should we do today?”
“Today, I have to prepare for tomorrow’s selection ceremony, then rest, I think.”
“Is the special training over?”
“Yeah, I’ve done everything I could. The rest of it will be decided by putting myself in a perfect condition. Not only the physical body, but the mind too.”
I can heal all my fatigue to perfection with Recovery. Indeed, my body has become used to the naginata… to Ginsen from continuously wielding it without rest since the day I obtained it. If I use Recovery, I don’t even need to sleep. Still, I intentionally slept a few hours last night, and today’s rest is to heal the fatigue of my mind, for which play and sleep are important.
“Yosh, Tina. Let’s go on a date today. Will you keep me company, Princess?”
I put Ginsen leaning on the wall, then reverently hold my hand out to Tina.
“Where shall we go, My Prince?”
Tina bashfully takes my hand.
The mood is good. She matches her words to my joke right on spot. I grasp Tina’s hand and bring her outside, walking into the woods.
“Kurt-sama, I found yam (yamaimo)’s ivy.”
“Tina, that’s a great discovery.”
Tina and I gather the blessing of the forest. Even if I call it a date, we end up collecting edible stuffs while walking leisurely in the mountain. Even so, the both of us are having fun. It’s not bad doing something like this. Moreover, actually, I also have another objective, which is to collect ingredients for tomorrow’s pastry-making as a treat for everyone.
“Then I’ll entrust finding the bulbils (mukago) to Tina. I’ll be in charge for the yam.”
“Leave the bulbils to me!”
Unexpectedly unknown, yam appears as an ivy plant wrapping itself around a nearby tree, then bear small purple fruit. Yam’s fruits are called bulbils. They can be eaten by boiled with salt. They’re soft and flaky like potatoes, and has similar flavor to chestnuts. The flavor is extremely delicious.
I can use this as a staple food in exchange for bread for a while. I can save wheat flour this way. Tina diligently put the bulbils she gathers into the basket.
“Well then, I should pick up the pace too.”
If I dig on the ground around the yam’s ivy, of course there will be yams. However, I need to be absurdly patient when digging yam.
The reason is, yam’s size can easily become longer than 1 meter. In other words, I have to dig even deeper than that. If I just pull it out, it will probably be snapped. Therefore, I have to be quite careful in digging the area around the yam so it won’t get broken.
“Kurt-sama, the ivy is wonderfully thick, so it must be big, isn’t it?”
“I think so too. I’m digging with great expectations.”
Looking at the leaves and the ivy to begin with, I can imagine the size of the yam underground. This one is a big hit, which also means I must put a great effort in digging it up.
“Is it all right not to bring shovel here?”
I have earth magic. I can ask the earth spirit to work. I know that I can pick up the underground yam and the surrounding soil by hands.
[What is your request?]
As I ask the earth, the earth starts moving. The soil around the yam was kept out, leaving the bare naked tuber hanging alone inside the hole. Tina, who has collected the bulbils, peeks into this and her eyes lighten up.
“Amazing, Kurt-sama’s earth magic is really convenient! You can dig as many yams as you want this way!”
“Yeah, it’s simply convenient.”
Usually, we need more than 2 hours for roots more than 100 cm.
“How is the yam? Should we use it as soup ingredients? Or maybe grate it into a side dish? Ah, or like, like…”
Liking yams, Tina speaks up about many ways to process them.
“Tina, sorry. This isn’t for us. After the selection ceremony is over, I’m thinking to make some pastries along with the new feudal lord’s greetings. I want to make this into the pastry’s ingredients.”
After the selection ceremony, a festival will be held. The fief’s people as well as Marquis Fernandes’ attendants who will attend there amount to around 200 people. Marquis Fernandes will come with eggs, but I need to provide the rest of the ingredients.
As I thought, the ingredients currently in my disposal aren’t enough. If I use yam, I could reduce the need for wheat to just 1/3 the necessary amount. If I use yam and wheat in 2:1 ratio, I can make a moist dough. I could probably depend on my father to lend me some ingredients, but I’d hate to do that. I want to gather the ingredients with my own power.
“Uuu, I’m disappointed.”
Tina looks downhearted. Seeing that kind of her makes me smile bitterly.
“Then let’s look for another yam. If there’s a lot of them, we can secure enough for our own portion.”
“Yes, I’ll work hard!”
Tina’s fox ears twitch, listening around. She looks deep in search to seriously look for other yam.
“Still, it’s not really a problem, because we’re going to look for other necessary ingredients for the pastry other than yams in the forest.”
“It’s fine! I’ll find it soon!”
I chase after Tina, who looks really eager as she walks forward, with a wry smile. Well, then, there are still some ingredients left to make the best pastry. Let’s work on finding them.
Edit: Calling it Ginsen, and “our child”.
Also, I changed yamaimo and mukago to be yam and bulbil (air potatoes) respectively. I feel glad now that I know the English counterparts kinda fit. Though, you know, Japanese yams are more lengthy than thick, but well, I guess you could Google it anyways.
Hope you enjoy it!
P.S. It seems like I’m setting the schedule to Monday and Thursday. (Though the chapter before is set on New Year, because… it’s New Year, after all!) This chapter is done when it’s still 2016 so I hope the schedule will become regular again, though, lol.