43. Katariona Meets the Former Earth Goddess
Every morning, Chris, Marie, and I have made it a daily routine to make lunch boxes for everyone who is undergoing the trials. This morning, I got up early and stood in the kitchen, thinking about the menu for today.
“What are we making today, Rio?”
“It’s been getting colder these days, hasn’t it? So, something warm should be good. However, by the time we eat our lunch, it will have gotten cold.”
If you use the fire magic stone, you can heat up the food. However, magic stones are a luxury item. You can’t just extravagantly use luxury items like that.
“It’s possible to keep the food warm by using fire magic stones, but it will be difficult obtaining them as the season gets colder.”
Marie puts her hand on her chin, contemplating.
Winter is coming in full force. The winters in the Marquis de Grandeur, which is located to the north of the Kingdom of Findalia, are very harsh. In order to prepare for winter, firewood and fire magic stones are essential. However, fire magic stones are quite expensive, so only wealthy merchants and aristocrats can afford them. In our family, we will only use fire magic stones when we are entertaining guests.
In the lord’s mansion, all the windows are sealed with double layers to protect us during the winter. And, in the rooms, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are continuously kept burning during the winter months. Although other aristocrat homes are slightly different than ours, they should have also taken similar measures.
“Then, how about a hot pot?”
Tojurou-san said, walking into the kitchen.
“Good morning, Tojurou-san. What is a hot pot?”
“Good morning, Yurie. A hot pot is a Hinoshima dish composed of stewed meat, fish, and vegetables.”
In short, it’s a stewed dish of sorts. I don’t know how to make it, but it’s……
There was a sign of a person at the kitchen entrance. Turning my face to look, I saw the head butler who greeted us, saying, “Good morning, everyone,” and then faced Tojurou-san.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you guys. But, there is someone here who claims to be an acquaintance of Tojurou-sama.”
It seems that there is a customer who has come to visit Tojurou-san.
“Do I know them? Did they mention their name?”
“It was a woman who calls herself by the name of Kujo.”
Tojurou-san frowned when he heard the name.
“Geez! It’s that guy! How’d she know I was here?”
Tojurou-san left the kitchen in a hurry with the head butler.
“Tojurou-san, do you know them?”
“You said it was a woman.”
Thinking a little bit, I came up with an answer. I looked at Chris and saw her staring at me, too. It seems that Chris and I came to the same conclusion.
Tojurou-san yelled, immediately interrupting us. He’s already back. He’s quick!
Behind Tojurou-san was a woman. She had lustrous black hair with beautiful eyes that looked like obsidian. She looks to be about 16-17 yrs old. And, she was wearing a long skirt over a long kimono similar to Tojurou-san’s.
“She is my childhood friend.”
Tojurou-san says, pointing to the woman in a grumpy mood. The woman smiled and bowed gracefully.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Kujo Gasumikikuno.”
She said, in a Hinoshima style greeting, with a bow rather than a curtsy. If she’s a childhood friend of Tojurou-san, does that mean she’s from Hinoshima? Anyways, what a difficult name.
“Kujo Gasmikikuno? It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Katariona Yurie Grandeur.”
I said, greeting her in the Hinoshima style rather than a curtsey style. It’s supposed to be a bowing gesture where you lean your upper body and bow towards the other person.
“Oh? You’ve got beautiful pronunciation. It must be difficult to pronounce my Hinoshima name, so please just call me Kikuno.
Kikuno-sama smiled and turned her head towards the kitchen entrance. Following Kikuno-sama’s line of sight, I saw Leon peeking at us from behind. Kya! So cute!
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it, God of the Forest?”
“I thought it might be, but it was your presence I felt, wasn’t it?”
Tojurou-san looked in wonder at Kikuno-sama and Leon.
“What? You two know each other?”
“I’ve told you before, didn’t I? There’s a god who transformed into a human. This is the former earth goddess.”
Chris, Marie, Tojurou-san, and I all shouted, our surprised voices overlapping.
After we had calmed down from the shock, we each introduced ourselves to Kikuno-sama. Kikuno-sama was very polite and smiled the whole time.
After the introductions, we decided to ask Kikuno-sama to teach us how to make a hot pot, as she knew how to make it.
“Haa, so Kikuno is the former earth goddess of this country? I couldn’t sense any divinity from her at all.”
Tojurou-san muttered while chopping vegetables. He doesn’t look like it, but he’s surprisingly a good cook.
“I’m concealing my divinity because it’d be troublesome if the gods of Hinoshima were to take notice.”
It seems that the Hinoshima Kingdom has its own gods. What kind of gods are they?
Kikuno-sama, the former earth goddess, smiled at me and looked at Leon, who was helping me silently in his boy form.
“Good for you. God of the Forest…… Leon, was it? I see you’ve found her.”
Leon’s response was curt. Who is the girl Kikuno-sama is referring to?”
“At any rate, Kikuno, how did you find this place? Ah, right, you’re a god, do I have to add “-sama” when I refer you?”
“It feels weird to be suddenly called with “-sama” by Hikoshirou. So, it’s fine to continue calling me as you did before. I knew Hikoshirou’s whereabouts a long time ago. The Toujuuin ancestors were once in-laws with the Marquis de Grandeur, so I figured that if you were anywhere, it’d be here.”
It’s quite a feat to be able to find Tojurou-san going off that much information. Is it because she’s a former god of this country?
“Excuse me, but doesn’t Kikuno-sama have something for Tojurou?”
“My family, the Kujo Gasumi family is the liaison sent by the Toujuuin family. It was my duty to find him because Hikoshirou left the country and crossed the continent’s borders without permission. Sorry. “
Liaison? Is it something like an escort?
“I’m telling you, but I won’t be coming back for the time being.”
“The King told me to leave Hikoshirou to his own devices. I’ll simply send word back to the country. I shall be staying in this continent for a while, so don’t worry.”
Kikuno-sama smiled at Tojurou-san, who wore a crooked smile, looking dissatisfied.
“No, sir. I haven’t been back to my hometown for a long time, so I shall be staying for a long while.”
Kikuno-sama was originally one of the guardian deities of this country. So, it can be said that this is her hometown.
“Kikuno-sama, have you decided where you will be staying? If not, please stay at our house.”
I ignored Tojurou-san’s attempts to stop me.
“Thank you very much, Yurie-sama. I’ll take your word for it and stay with you.”
“You may call me Yurie since Tojuro-sama also calls me that.”
Kikuno-sama clicked her tongue giving a thumbs up to Tojurou-san who was ruffling his bangs.
TL: Hope you guys enjoyed the chapter~!