Chapter 17. A Place Where Warm Light Gathers (5)
The “opposite” Eos mentioned becomes clear the moment Astraea enters the store.
“Oh, isn’t that Eos? Seems like you’re being called a great hero now, but… I- I can only laugh at that? I can laugh, right?”
“Please don’t ask when you’re already laughing. The spot in the corner is empty, right?”
“Yeah. You told me to keep it open, after all.”
A lively man at the counter says, “Your usual?” and starts pouring liquor into a glass before Eos orders anything.
“…Are you a regular here?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“More like, this guy, on his first day here from the capital, was brought over by his commanding officer-dono and drank, pupu. You got absolutely wasted, right?”
“Stop, stop. Isn’t that more than you should say to a customer?”
The shopkeeper, who is cut off by Eos flustered intervention, lets out a hearty laugh.
“Eos… you’re, unexpectedly an idiot.”
He doesn’t look like the type who’ll drink much at a tavern, but judging from how panicked he is, what the shopkeeper said is proven true. Is he a weepy drinker or a sad drinker? Since it’s something people laugh about when talked about, then it didn’t require military discipline… for example, it wouldn’t be something obscene.
Eos smacks his palm against forehead and protests in a low voice, “Master.”
“Ooh, sorry, sorry. I’ll give you some extra meat.”
“Did you think I’ll overlook this with that?”
“Then this drink is also my treat.”
Despite the shopkeeper’s gestures, he doesn’t look apologetic at all. To it, Eos heaves a deep sigh.
“Our orders today will be on Morga’s tab, so that won’t work at all.”
“Then I’ll increase his bill. He won’t know anyway.”
“I’m just joking.”
Even though Astraea is overwhelmed by their conversation, she follows Eos’s lead and sits at the furthest seat in the counter. While she can lean against the wall there, she doesn’t find the place cramped.
“What do you want to drink?”
“…I’ll leave it to you, I suppose. What goes well with today’s menu?”
Telling Eos she can’t read the menu is difficult. After deceiving him like that, he groans.
“…Since you just recovered, I don’t recommend any liquor.”
“I’m fine with liquor.”
“Nope. Master, what do you recommend?”
“If it’s not alcohol, then the best one ought to be water. It complements the meat perfectly.”
“Then, please bring me that.”
However, Eos looks a bit regretful at Astraea’s choice.
“A toast with water, is it?”
I see. Certainly, that might not be very satisfying.
“…I can drink liquor, you know?”
“No, you can’t.”
“Rather than because I just recovered, is it because you have a record brought about from your drinking?”
Astraea teases him slightly. Eos continues to smile, although his cheek twitches. The proprietor brings a glass of water while laughing.
“Ahaha, miss, you can come here again. You’ll be able to drink then. Also, in the first place, isn’t this guy an idiot for drinking in the middle of the day?”
“So Master is saying that serving liquor in the middle of the day isn’t a problem?”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sensible, right? Anyway, eat some ham while I grill the meat.”
The proprietor, after joking around, returns to the kitchen while humming. The ham he placed on the table is stacked and her glass of water is brimming.
“He’s quite a lively person.”
“He’s like a walking sun, right?”
“Truly, an overwhelming presence.”
Just like that, Astraea and Eos toast their glasses. A bit of water spills out from the impact, but the drink is refreshing.
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“Is Eos’s liquor also delicious?”
“I’m pretty good at drinking. Well, Captain told me to limit my drinks to two glasses today, so I’ll also be having water after this. It’s not like I’m weak enough to get drunk with two or three glasses, though.”
While they are talking, the door opens, and another guest appears. The proprietor again starts a light conversation as he leads the customer to a seat. Then, just like before, he brings out a readymade entrée. Astraea feels strange watching how the number of guests gradually increases.
“It’s really full during peak hours. There are only a few customers right now since we came a bit early, but there are times a line will form outside. Everyone from the fortress likes this place, but they won’t come unless it’s their holiday.”
“I see. Ah, it already smells good.”
“Yeah. I honestly don’t think it would be all that strange if my stomach growled out.”
Eos, with a rather serious expression, puts a piece of ham into his mouth. He then presents the plate to her while saying, “You should eat too. It’s delicious.”
“I can properly serve myself.”
“That’s good then. You’ve just been looking around restlessly for a bit now, so I thought you might not have noticed the ham.”
“I properly noticed it.”
It’s not like I’ll complain if you eat it all. With those thoughts, Astraea puts some ham into her mouth.
“…Yeah, very much so.”
It’s so delicious, I might have to reconsider my previous thoughts. What a relief I didn’t say them out loud.
“You, sure really like eating.”
“I, too, didn’t know that until just recently.
Eos releases a small chuckle.
“T-to have not even noticed it yourself, that’s really unexpected.”
“Hold on, do you need to laugh that much?”
“Sorry, sorry, it’s just, I think it’s great you’re realizing it now.”
Eos says such, but his shoulders are quivering. Astraea pokes him.
“But, Eos also likes eating. You can even cook.”
“Making others happy is a joyous thing, after all. I know a very hun… I mean, I know many hungry people. Thanks to them, I naturally became able to cook.”
When Astraea thinks, he was going to say a very hungry person in regards to me, she can’t even laugh. To begin with, Eos should think of me as the woman who saved him in the forest. He wouldn’t be thinking of her as “a very hungry person” had she not done so.
“…It’s Eos’ fault for making me hungry. I blame Eos.”
“Sorry, sorry, but I’ll give you some delicious meat, so forgive me?”
“You can’t do that, Eos. This meat isn’t your creation, but mine. That said, here’s a large meat bowl, sorry for the wait. There’s still more meat after this.”
Eos’ apology is cut off as a hand lightly lines places bowls and a plate on the table, don don don don. Astraea herself is surprised by how robust the servings are.
First the bowls. They are filled to the brim with thick cuts of meat. They appear to have been grilled over a charcoal fire, but their centers are medium-rare. The color is appetizing.
Furthermore, the one plate has skewers of meat stacked on top of it. She can’t see inside of it. Even so, they are probably the same as the meat in the bowls, grilled to perfection.
“I seasoned them well, but if it’s not enough, they’ll also be delicious if you salt them.”
The proprietor’s voice has already become a distant sound to Astraea. All she sees is the meat.
With those emotions, Astraea puts some meat into her mouth. The deliciousness of the meat spreads from the tip of her tongue and satisfies her whole mouth in an instant.
“I’m happy to hear that.”
“Eos, what are you doing? Hurry and eat! This, is incredibly delicious. You have to eat before it gets cold!”
Had she been calm, she’d have realized that Eos already knows such a thing. However, trembling with excitement as she is now, she’s unable to make the connection. She greedily and vigorously eats, and even grabs a skewer. The skewer makes eating a bit difficult, but the meat is as exquisitely grilled as expected. Furthermore, eating the meat freshly grilled supplements the taste.
“I’m glad. You’re really energetic.”
“You slept for two days before waking up. It was a complete mystery.”
Although Eos swallows down saying he was worried, the words are still transmitted.
From Astraea’s perspective at having been sleeping, she could only feel things like, “my waist hurts”, “being locked up like this is boring.” Yet, had Eos slept for two days straight, she’d have also been worried.
“…seriously, I’m fine.”
“I know. Rather, I’d be worried if you said you weren’t fine.”
“Whatever. Hey, can I have another serving?”
“Sure. No need to hold back. Everything will properly be paid for.”
Astraea calls the proprietor after hearing Eos’ answer. Then, while wave a skewer, she orders another serving. The proprietor gives a powerful affirmation and begins to prepare new skewers.
“Say, if you’re better now… I’m planning to take a bit of a walk after this. Will that be alright?”
“Hm? I’m fine, but where are we going?”
“Well, not too far from here.”
As Astraea wonders, why is he being so vague for? Eos laughs and says, “The meat is getting cold.” In the end, she eats the meat.
Well, I don’t mind going anywhere.
At any rate, even if she is going to return to the forest, she’ll do it when no one is watching her. She’ll postpone it for today.
That’s why, regardless of where we go, it’s not a problem.
 As in bar master/Owner
<Chapter 16. A Place Where Warm Light Gathers (4)
Chapter 18. A Place Where Warm Light Gathers (6)>