4. My Brother’s Friend
“When did you return?”
“I returned from the royal capital the day before yesterday. Well, I had a lot of things to do. I was finally able to come here today.”
With that said, he immediately stood up.
After he had stretched lightly, the sword on his waist made a clanking sound.
Part way, he stopped moving and he looked at me with a sad face.
“…Can’t you at least welcome me?”
“Alright, alright, I will do it…”
I sighed and put the basket on the ground.
Then, I bowed like a lady would to the man that was as tall as Alves. I gently bend my knees, and smiled at him.
“Welcome back, Phil. Thank you for your hard work.”
“That’s great. I feel like I’ve truly returned. All that hard work was not for nothing!”
As always, Phil was nitpicky about something strange.
When I noticed that he was staring at me, I awkwardly cleared my throat and corrected my posture a little.
“I’m home, Lucia. May I bother you for a while?”
“Of course, brother Alves will be very happy to welcome you.”
“What about you?”
“Who knows. I don’t recall Phil being very good at field work.”
“…Uu. Well, you’re right. I will do my best to hunt!”
“I’m looking forward to it!”
I lifted the basket again and entered the field.
Looking back, Phil also removed his coat and entered the field while rolling his sleeves up.
Alves and I were about seven years apart.
My brother, by the time he was in his mid-teens, had already joined the imperial knights. He started wearing the knight uniform starting from that time.
Phil had been with me ever since then.
He had a good-looking face, silver hair, and blue eyes. At first glance, he looked like another handsome man. However, the sword on his waist wasn’t a mere decoration. I heard that he was an excellent knight.
Since the time Alves joined the knights, Phil often came to stay in our territory.
After my brother had resigned from the knights, Phil still came to play.
He seemed to be busy these days, as such, he only visited for a few times a year.
“How long is your vacation this time?”
“Hmm, about a month.”
“Then, you’ll be at home all the time, right?”
We chatted as I harvested turnips. Phil nodded while carrying the basket.
The guest room exclusive for Phil was cleaned from time to time. It’d be okay if I were to lightly clean it and air out the sheets.
For the time being, I should focus on making turnip stew for tonight. What if I were to add some chicken? I had just delivered the eggs to the market yesterday… what a shame. For the stew, how about adding some milk and abit little cheese?
“Being greedy is bad.”
Phil said while putting the turnips in the basket.
“What about only adding salt to the stew?”
“Only salt? Is that alright?”
“Yes, actually, lately, I’ve only been in the North. I’m eating only dishes with dairy products. I’m hungry, and it’s just right in the cold places. But I was born in the royal capital—because of that, I want to eat a stew with only a salty taste.”
Certainly, the stew near the royal capital was salty.
However, various cooking methods had spread recently. It seemed that more wealthy people were eating stew with milk, if I wasn’t mistaken…
At my home, we ate traditional stew mainly because of financial reasons.
“But what if you get hungry?”
“I’m not going to perform any heavy training, so it should suffice. I also don’t need eggs. I mean, I’d like to eat beans. Bean soup, bread with beans, but after all, simmered beans and potatoes are the best—I like it.”
“Phil, do you like beans that much?”
When he heard that, Phil’s expression became serious.
“…Beans have been cultivated in the vicinity of the royal capital since the founding of the kingdom, but not in the North due to the climate. Therefore, they rarely cook beans. Sometimes, they serve beans, but being honest, it’s subtly unpleasant. Despite that, since they made it for me, I eat them all. Regardless, it doesn’t taste at all that good.”
Phil, whom was usually quiet, was getting more passionate with each word.
Did he like beans that much?
It seemed so. Anyway, I had been wanting to eat beans, too.
“Then, I will cook beans tomorrow. Tonight, we will have salty turnip stew!”
Phil looked very happy.
While carrying a heavy basket, I was happy to start washing the turnips in the waterway.
The field work was still poor, but he managed to wash the vegetables. It was a strange sight, for he still had a sword on his waist.
Ah, that’s right.
It might be better to clarify.
“You might’ve heard it from brother Alves.”
After he had cleanly washed the turnips, Phil rolled his sleeves down.
I looked around just in case.
There were no other lords, or Alves.
Despite feeling relieved, I said in a low voice.
“Actually, my engagement was annulled.”
***T/N: “…So let’s get engaged.”