Hakkai the orc here.
We continue our journey led by Prince Arowana and have come across a village around sunset, so we inevitably decided to spend the night here.
Thanks to the written pass we received from the Demon King before we left the Demon Kingdom, we are welcome anywhere we go.
His influence reaches as far as this small village that’s away from the metropolis.
There’s a little incident…
Meals served in this village consist of barley porridge and vegetables simply roasted in the fire.
The barley porridge is bland in taste, completely different from the rice Lord Saint cooks for us.
The roasted vegetables aren’t seasoned in any way, either. It seems they’re roasted only for the sole purpose of ensuring safety since eating them raw would upset the stomach.
To be honest, it’s nothing like the food we eat at the farm.
“…I-Is this what’s considered normal food for this village?”
Still, it was served to us, so we can’t have leftovers.
We have to eat everything even if it means glugging it down with the water that was served with our meal.
“Bleurgh, this is crap. I can’t even eat this.”
You’re not supposed to think that out loud!
“Please, it’s nothing to scold her about…” apologetically says the demon village chief who provided us with our meal. “We are but a scanty village in the countryside that cannot afford to provide a grand feast for our occasional guests. After all, we have been at war with the human race for generations…”
I guess wars really do impoverish nations.
And the poorest of the poor villages are the first to suffer from their collateral damage.
“I strongly believe the world will get better little by little now that His Majesty has overthrown the Human Kingdom, but for now, we have to bear with this barley porridge…”
Hearing this, Lady Puffer ponders for a while, then abruptly stands from her seat.
“I’ll be right back, wait here!”
And with that, she vanishes after smashing a potion-filled test tube on the ground.
“What got into her?”
If she used the teleport potion, then she must have returned to the farm.
Just as she had declared, Lady Puffer returned immediately, a bucketful of something in hand…
“It’s a rice bran bed!”
She approaches the village chief.
“Even with limited ingredients, you can still make food taste good with some ingenuity. A hearty meal enriches lives, after all!”
It seems Lady Puffer is going to teach the villagers how to make pickles with the rice bran bed.
“If you can make barley porridge, that means you have barley with you! Lord Saint may only approve of rice bran, but I reckon barley bran shouldn’t make much of a difference!”
She then puts the bucket down.
“Lord Saint also said that food pickled in rice bran provides more nutrients than eating it as is. The village children also look quite malnourished, so I hope this will make things better even a little.”
What surprising turn of events is this?
Lady Puffer, the hard-boiled witch outlaw who doesn’t care about anyone else but herself, is voluntarily showing kindness.
“Their health also concerns me, do you mind if I examine them?”
“Huh? You know how, Puffer?”
“I’m not as good as Garra Rufa who’s an expert in it, but I can look at a patient’s superficial symptoms and prescribe appropriate oral medication. I’m sure medicinal herbs are growing around here, could you go into the forest and gather some for me?”
“And while you’re at it, catch some monsters if you come across any. There’s no better nutritional value than meat.”
“Not all monsters are edible!”
Nevertheless, Prince Arowana and I took some of the active villagers and went into the nearby forest to gather medicinal herbs.
The villagers didn’t seem knowledgeable about medicinal herbs, so we taught them how to identify plants that could be used as medicinal herbs and how to properly harvest them after Lady Puffer gave us a prior run-through.
Conveniently, a deer monster also appeared which Prince Arowana killed in a single shot, earning applause from everyone.
I, Hakkai, who was used to farm work, quickly dismantled its body and brought it back to the village for a barbecue party.
“Guys! How is the meat? Is it tasty?”
“Did you make the rice bran bed already?”
“Have you compounded the herbs?”
The hearts of Prince Arowana and the villagers have somehow united.
Beside him is Lady Puffer teaching the village women how to make a simple herbal formula.
“I’m surprised at the land-dwellers’ lack of knowledge of medicinal herbs.”
“This is unthinkable in the Mermaid Kingdom where magic potions are widely distributed. But realizing that what’s common sense in our nation doesn’t apply everywhere is what makes this journey significant.”
“The Demon King is a fine ruler, but he must have been so busy with the war against the human race that he hasn’t attended to every single internal affair.”
“It’s been a chronic issue for hundreds of years. Blaming everything on Lord Zedan alone would be unjust.”
“Even if the masses’ way of life is to be reformed in the future, the process will inevitably spread from the center to the provinces under the head of state’s leadership, delaying relief to remote villages such as this.”
“I’m sure that will be resolved soon. Lord Zedan is a benevolent ruler.”
Could you please stop talking about such heavy topics, Prince Arowana, Lady Puffer?
You’re acting like the future Mermaid King and Mermaid Queen!
“All right! Listen up, everyone! I’m going to teach you an amusing game called sumo!!!”
And so, Prince Arowana became popular with the village children and opened his heart to the villagers.
“Whoooo, keep at it, boyssssss.”
Songokufon cheers for them as she dozes off.
Hold up. She’s the only one who didn’t contribute one bit!!!
Thus, Lady Puffer passed down her knowledge of pickle-making and herb-compounding to every village we visited which they all thanked her for.
She is praised like a heroine.
After visiting several villages and towns, Lady Puffer was nicknamed “the evangelist,” and rumors spread far and wide. She was even welcomed with open arms in towns and villages that we have never visited before.
“Are the pickles good?”
“Are the herbs effective?”
“Do you want to know how to make it?”
She has become somewhat of a celebrity now.
Today, she is contributing to increasing the village’s cultural standard by giving a class on pickle-making and herbal compounding.
“I’m glad to see Puffer enjoying this journey.”
Are you fine with that?
“I first met her in mermaid prison. At the time, she had this terribly fierce look in her eyes, but as she worked on Lord Saint’s farm, she regained her vitality and is what you see now.”
Oh… Err… Yes.
“To think such twisted merfolk can open their hearts like this… Lord Saint’s farm never fails to impress me…”
I think Lady Puffer’s growth was more brought about by romance…
But the prince fails to realize this!!!
“At this rate, we may be able to cancel her charges by the end of this journey. Her talent is valuable to the Mermaid Kingdom. If she wishes to return home, then all the better.”
For Lady Puffer to return, one big condition must be met!
…But I, a lowly orc, don’t have the courage to tell the prince that.
Well, I’m sure Lady Puffer isn’t as rebellious as to refuse to return without becoming queen first. Still, I think she’ll do great if she does become one.
“All right! I’m also going to do my best to spread sumo’s magnificence! Those who are confident in their skills, gather round!!!”
The response for sumo varied depending on the village we visited.
Thus, we were praised by the people everywhere we went for popularizing pickle-making, herb-compounding, and sumo.
Our journey is still going well.