She and the Outing 3
“Isn’t it great that you are always so close? Hm, then, let’s have these ohagi.”
Ms. Delris also sat down, and we all enjoyed a tea break.
I was unexpectedly lucky that not only Ms. Delris was able to eat ohagi, but also Freed and Cain. I was very curious as to what kind of reaction they would have.
— How is it? Did you find the ohagi to be delicious?
I observed the situation with a thumping heart.
First, Ms. Delris put a smooth bean paste ohagi in her mouth. She chewed on it and muttered to herself.
“Oh… This is…”
“H-How is it?”
I had asked, while trying to stop my voice from trembling unwillingly. I was nervous. As always, the first mouthful was the most worrisome.
Ms. Delris grinned and answered.
“The taste is incredible. It goes perfectly with the glutinous rice inside. Aah, it’s so delicious. The taste is indescribably gentle. It gives me a strange and nostalgic feeling.”
When I heard the word “delicious,” I posed victoriously a little.
I’d thought that since Ms. Delris had liked daifuku, she’d be pleased with this.
Although she’d told me that kohakutou and youkan had been delicious, they hadn’t received enough of a reaction from her, so as a matter of fact, I’d been searching for something she’d like at least as much as daifuku.
“The sweetness is just right. I could eat this every day.”
Ms. Delris’s expression was soft, and I could tell at a glance that she found it delicious.
While I was delighting in my first possible bulls-eye in quite some time, Freed also spoke up positively, “Ooh.”
“… It’s not bad. I’m bad with sweet things, but this is mild and not heavy. Yeah, this is fine for me.”
Oh my, it seemed Freed was okay with ohagi too. I was worried it would be too sweet for him, but he seemed fine with the sweetness of the red bean paste.
Freed suddenly became curious, and turned his attention to a roasted soy flour ohagi.
“What’s this one? How does it taste?”
“Er… it’s roasted soybean flour.”
Freed ate that one, too, and nodded.
“I think I like this one more.”
“Oh! I see!”
Freed had always enjoyed Japanese confectioneries, but this might have been the first time he said the word “like.”
— Freed must’ve really approved of the roasted soybean flour ohagi.
I etched my husband’s preferences into my mind. Ms. Delris seemed to prefer the red bean paste variety, and happily stuffed her cheeks.
“Ah, is it not to your taste, Cain?”
Cain had a complicated expression. For some reason, he had peeled off the bean paste and only ate the glutinous rice inside. I laughed at how he was eating just like a child.
“Why does the red bean paste stick so much to it? The white glutinous rice part inside is delicious, so if you made it thinner, it would be more edible.”
“There’d be no point in doing that, Cain. It’s so peculiar you’re fine with daifuku, but not ohagi.”
He had eaten daifuku many times over in the past, and didn’t seem to have a problem with it. So, why did he hate the ohagi?
“Hm, I dunno, but I don’t like this…”
While looking at Cain peeling off the bean paste like his life depended on it, Ms. Delris picked up his plate.
“If you aren’t eating, I’ll take it. If you can’t understand how delicious the red bean paste part is, how can you say you’re living your life properly?”
“How can I-… But how would eating it help me-… Princess, I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. Everybody has foods they aren’t good with.”
I could believe that he had trouble handling it. Cain seemed relieved that the plate had been taken from him. Perhaps due to wanting to wash off the ohagi taste in his mouth, he drank Ms. Delris’s tea.
“Haa… I now understand that I may be unsuited for Japanese confectioneries.”
“You know that daifuku are also Japanese confectionery, right? Besides, even if they’re all called Japanese confectioneries, there are many kinds of them, so you might like at least some, Cain. But you don’t have to force yourself, either.”
He seemed to like glutinous rice, so maybe he’d like sanshoku dango, too. For the time being, I was satisfied that at least Ms. Delris and Freed had taken a shine to the ohagi.
“I used smooth bean paste this time, but there are other types of ohagi. I’ll bring more varieties, next time.”
“Are they kind of like strawberry daifuku?”
When I explained that ohagi also has the coarse bean paste version, and can be obliterated or half-killed, Freed replied with,
“I’m curious about the ones with coarse bean paste.”
“I’m curious about the half-killed ones. I’d like to try a green laver one too.”
I nodded in response to both of their requests.
I was grateful that they told me what they wanted to eat.
“Every person has their own preferences. I’ll make a different kind next time, so Ms. Delris, please choose which one you want the most. Freed, I’ll cater to you another time.”
“Honestly, no matter what you make, it won’t be a disappointment.”
Ms. Delris said happily.
“I hadn’t been interested in food until very recently. However, ever since you’ve come here with your Japanese confectioneries, I’ve been impatiently looking forward to them. Actually, I ran into a slightly troublesome matter yesterday and became frustrated, but that feeling went away quickly.”
“A ‘troublesome matter’?”
I, of course, asked her.
However, I didn’t want to force the information out of her. Ms. Delris had a special position as a witch. I was aware that there were many things she couldn’t tell us, and we were the same in that regard.
It was necessary to draw the line to maintain our comfortable friendship.
I didn’t mind letting go of the matter, if she didn’t want to say anything.
That’s why I was surprised when Ms. Delris continued.
“… Yesterday, another witch paid me a visit.”
“A witch? Er, was it Meissa?”
‘The Witch of Connections Meissa’ was someone who I’d met before. When I recalled her name and asked about her, Ms. Delris shook her head.
“No, it was a different witch. Have you ever heard of the Iron Witch?”
“The Iron Witch?”
It was said that there were seven witches in the world, and each of them had a different epithet.
Each of them were named after what they excelled at.
For Ms. Delris, it was ‘The Medicine Witch’. For Ms. Meissa, it was ‘The Witch of Connections’. And so on and so forth.
However, even though I knew there were seven witches in the world, most people didn’t know their epithets or any other particular details. Even I didn’t know what all of their names and epithets were.
I had especially never heard of the ‘Iron Witch’ person before.
“Freed, do you know anything about her?”
Since he was the Crown Prince, he might have information that the rest of us didn’t have access to. When I looked at Freed with that in mind, he shook his head.
“Unfortunately, I only know that there is a witch called that.”
“She’s a stubborn eccentric. She suddenly decided to arrive and take residence in Wilhelm. Because I’d lived here earlier, she came to offer her greetings as per our custom, but… I wonder what in the world happened.”
“So you’re saying Wilhelm has gotten another witch?”
“Yeah. Basically, the tacit agreement is that we wouldn’t live in the same country, but she wanted to live here while knowing that… Or rather, she’s already here.”
My eyes sparkled when I heard about the third witch living in Wilhelm.
I wondered what kind of person she was. While I was getting excited, Ms. Delris said, while sounding annoyed,
“I don’t think you’ll ever meet. She said she’ll be living in a seaside town, not the royal capital.”
“Yeah. She’s an artisan who produces things. So she seems to prefer a place with lots of water.”
“So that’s why…”
The third witch called ‘The Iron Witch’ was an artisan. I was intensely curious, but it would be impolite to pry too much about her at this current point in time.
Ms. Delris seemed just a little irritated, and she wasn’t particularly happy to welcome the new witch in town, so I decided I was better off changing the topic.
“Good grief… Recently, every time I’ve looked into the crystal ball, the future has changed again. I was getting irritated that I couldn’t predict the future, and on top of that she shows up… If witches move, the future will get even stranger.”
“Ms. Delris, well, please have more ohagi.”
I quickly offered Ms. Delris, who was muttering to herself, more ohagi. She appeared genuinely irritated. I hoped eating some sweets would calm her down at least a little.
“… I’ll do that”
Ms. Delris picked up a smooth bean paste ohagi and chewed on it.
Maybe eating an ohagi had indeed calmed her down, as she drank tea and exhaled afterwards.
“I’m sorry. I was a little upset.”
“Don’t worry about it.’
“She’s not a bad person, but you know, it’s the first time something like this has happened.”
When I replied, Ms. Delris smiled. She had her usual expression, not the frustrated one she had earlier, and I was wholly relieved to see the smile on her face.
“Ah, that’s right. I completely forgot. I have to give you compensation.”
I tilted my head and stared at Ms. Delris at her sudden change in topic. After finishing the ohagi, she stood up, walked up to the medicine cabinet, and grabbed a medicine bottle without hesitation.
“… Here. Catch this.”
She threw the medicine bottle so casually that I stood up and caught it in a flustered manner.
The bottle was familiar. It contained the stamina recovery medicine that I’d always received from Ms. Delris.
Ms. Delris grinned upon seeing that I understood what she gave me without needing an explanation.
“I’m grateful for the seeds, so don’t hesitate and just take it with you.”
“Thank you very much.”
I was honestly grateful, so of course I thanked her. No amount of stamina recovery medicine was too much.
Or perhaps I should say that it was a necessary item for me since I’d married Freed. Fundamentally, I’d be all right thanks to the Royal Flower, but there were times even the Royal Flower couldn’t keep up with my needs. The medicine was convenient for those times.
I didn’t like to laze all day in bed at those moments, so I was always grateful for Ms. Delris’s medicine.