07. Gratitude

「How can I become someone like the older guys?」

In the early evening, when I came to share herbs in the kitchen, I asked about it incidentally.
The head chef who I was looking up at is robustly muscled, but the other cooks are also very muscular. Because I made bread with my mother, I understand that cooking needs muscles, but each person here can win with their fists. The older man, understanding that I am not talking about my cooking ability, laughs as he guesses my intentions.

「Why, boy? Did you lose a fight?」

「In the neighborhood, everyone is younger, so I don’t fight, you know.」

Ponpon, he pats my head with a large hand.

Because his thoughtless power is strong, I simply take damage.

「Then, is it a girl?」

「Hm? No……」

Is that what it seems like? I don’t really understand.
If you don’t deny that illogical question immediately, it’s expected that the chefs who are expected to prepare dinner will become cheeky and tease. 

「As expected, isn’t Ojou-sama, isn’t it!」

「That’s aiming too high, isn’t it?」

「No, a childhood friend from the neighborhood is also a possibility.」

They were saying various things as they pleased. It was like calling out the winner of a horse race. I, perhaps, am being used as betting material. A friend from the boy’s school I went to in my past life also humorously told me he made a bad bet. It’s looking like that situation.
Now, if I ask the cooks if they have a girlfriend, it’s no good, isn’t it?
That method of revenge came to mind, but I stopped it.

「Anyways, I want to become strong.」

I emphasize that abstract wish.
Ojou was the cause but, it does not mean the sense of helplessness I felt at that time disappeared.
For the sake of dispelling my self-awareness, I simply want to train, I thought.

「Or rather, you want to become a man among men! Hahaha!」

The older man laughed at something funny, and then, pashipashi, patted my shoulder. Because his power is strong, it generally hurts. Even without feeling exceedling bad, it’s painful. Anyways, can you teach me or can I disappear, which is it.

「What are you doing, everyone?」

When I try to object to the pain, the older guys from the other side hear a voice. The older guys completely surrounded someone I could not see, but the ones who reacted to that voice scattered in all directions and returned to their posts.

But, I, who was in the back door of the kitchen, standing near the entrance, can’t see the person near the entrance because of the ingredients on the table. Who is it, it seems?

「Heinz-san, you’re exactly on time. Can you train this boy?」

Oh, the older chef is diligently using polite language. The head chef’s polite language surprised me, but if I carefully think about it, I realize the tone of the duke’s house’s personal chef is strangely frank.

「What?」

It was an abrupt topic change and moreover because I can’t be seen, a puzzled voice is returned. It seems the question in his voice has a mood of 「why」.

「This guy, he wants to be strong.」

With his funny-seeming smile that doesn’t go away, the older guy takes me near the entrance, his voice primarily introducing me.
Looking up, it was Butler-san. Certainly, this is the first time we’ve met face to face. I heard Butler-san’s name is Heinz-san, but it’s no wonder he’s familiar with that voice.
I understood the true identity of the voice but, I, not understanding the reason for introducing me, vacantly looked up at Butler-san. The older guy taught me.

「Heinz-san rejected the invitation to be the assistant of a knight’s order, because he came to the Ernest house.」

My own self-teaching wasn’t as competent as an instructor, the older guy said, laughing.
A fighting butler isn’t only in games and manga, it seems. The truth is, I’m amazed. In the manga my sister from the previous world read, the fighting strength of the employees is crazy, and in the games I played, butlers and maids were equivalent to ninjas that flung dark abilities.
Servants don’t need that kind of fighting power. Ah, but I’m also one of those employees, aren’t I?
While I’m surprised, the older guy and Heinz were finishing the advanced arrangements for the change to the dinner menu for the next day. If I notice it, Heinz arrived from the hallway entrance to the kitchen.

「I was just introducing myself. I am humbly called Heinz Von Dries.」

Accompanying the hand on his chest, there are no weak spots in the bow he gives, and I also flusteredly bow.

「……Ah, I’m Isaac Baumgartner.」

「I know.」

Because it was the first time using direct speech, so when I introduced myself, I received a curt response. Yes, if it’s Heinz-san, like an electronic dictionary, could produce remarks for all of the servants of the house.
More than that, I don’t know anything good to say and several beats of silence go by. With the silence like calm water, I can only look up and tense up.

「Why do you want to become strong?」

「Ojou, sama, I want to protect her.」 [T/N: Comma intentional, in the raw it’s there, likely as a pause as he remembers to add “sama”.]

Because I was asked while looking into my eyes, I don’t turn away in order to look back and answer.
To protect, such a thing is like an extreme expression, however with the exception of that way of speaking nothing else came to mind. At least, only for when she’s close to me, she won’t be in danger or suffer, I think.

「……Then, when you are with Lydia-sama and encounter a scoundrel, what will you do?」

「Escape with her.」

At the immediate reply to the question, Heinz-san raised his eyebrow.

「Then, if you’re alone, what will you do?」

「Escape.」

At the me who immediately replied, Heinz-san widened his eyes a little.

「The reason?」

「The potential they are carrying a lethal weapon, or another one of their comrades are carrying a weapon exists. The current information on them is little, so for me, who is a child, fighting against them is reckless.」

In my life in the previous world, I played games where you kill zombies, but there you have specifications and equipment, so you can fight against them. But it doesn’t mean ordinary people can do the same thing.

「Besides, assuming I was alone…… I don’t want my family to mourn for me.」

I was always getting into fights with my father, and my mother often scolded me. With my sister,  we were always insulting each other. With my abrupt death in the past world, they’re sad, I think. I don’t want to cause any more sadness.
I don’t understand how to succeed in life, but this time I will live until my father’s peaceful death. I’ll make an effort to survive.
With that determination, I look at Heinz-san, and he breathes out a little.

「…….That’s good, isn’t it?」

「Eh?」

「Once or twice a week, for a few hours, if it’s fine I’ll teach you a classic form of martial art. I’ll make the adjustment to your schedule with Dennis-san. For you, to some extent, you also have stamina from gardening, you know. ……Because you’re still very young, please do fifty situps and squats, and exercise your back muscles every day.」

「Heh? Eh??」

Telling me to prepare with squats, my reasoning couldn’t catch up and fell into chaos. Just now, did he say the extent I should is fifty?

「Will you do it? Will you not do it?」

With my silent look, I am certainly asked. Now, if I don’t answer, there certainly won’t be another chance.

「I’ll do it, Master!」

I unconsciously straightened my back and bowed. Somehow, Heinz-san froze for an instant. But, because afterwards he said nothing like a farewell and was leaving, it might have been my imagination.
In addition, for leaving, when I went out by the kitchen, the old men said congratulations, and patted me on the shoulder. I, when did I take an exam?
From that day, I added weight training to my daily routine.

Several days later, what changed was that I was hungrier than before. When I can finish the quota my father set for me in the morning, near a tree root, I opened the bento box I had received from my mother

「I’m hungryyy.」

I don’t notice that mumbling is starting to become a habit, and when white fried fish and tomato come out, along with a rye bread sandwich with vegetables held inside, my eyes shine.
Without delay, I put both of my hands together and lightly say.

「I give my thanks for this meal.」

Both of my hands briefly separate, and then this time, they grab hold of the bread.

「Then, thank you for the meal![T/N: This is intentional and not just me inserting random Japanese.]

「……What is that? That.」

「Ah?」

Exactly at the moment the sandwich is in my mouth, a voice comes out. I look in the direction of the voice, and Ojou is there making a strange facial expression.
For me who’s become hungry, with using a gesture of holding out my palm towards Ojou, I convey a message. The intention is sent, it seems, and Ojou comes close until she is sitting slightly next to me. She waits patiently for me, who is earnestly eating.
For the two sandwiches, I properly bite into them and eat them. For the waiting Ojou, it’s bad, but because I am taking a break and eating, I want her to forgive me if possible.

「Thank you again for the meal.[T/N: No real good way to translate this one, as this is the “after eating” thanks.]

With the situation Ojou is staring at, I finish eating, and contently put my hands together.

「Then. What is it, Ojou?」

「That.」

Concerning the recent question she asks, she points at my hands that are clasped together.

「Sometime ago and now, what are you doing?」

「Something like saying thanks.」

「Thanks?」

In this country, before meals it is customary to give thanks for the king’s reign. Giving thanks after is a memory of a custom from the previous world. It seems I did it before realizing it, in my house, because everyone in my family did it, it was natural, I thought, but it seems mothers started to do what I did. That is to say, it is a custom limited to my house.
I give Ojou the answer I gave my mother when she heard my young self.
There are seven gods in one grain of rice, but because rice is not a staple food, it was decided not to communicate it. [T/N: This is a traditional Japanese saying, “Seven gods live in one grain of rice”.]

「For things like eating, it isn’t only the king, but various other people and nature’s blessings we should thank? Like that, I am a person who feels gratitude for everything.」

It might be a characteristic way of thinking for a Japan where things like mountains and anything becomes a god.

「That is an uncommon…… way of thinking, you know.」

Ojou, hearing that thought for the first time, tilts her head in confusion. Because giving thanks to the king is natural, giving thanks to something except for that is beyond her expectations, it seems. For my mother’s house, it was smoothly accepted.

「But……, that, that sort of thinking is not bad.」

Yes, while thinking that I nodded my head.
Without making fun of her, I diligently listened, so she’s glad, and I laugh.

「Wh…… what is it?」

Ojou, who doesn’t understand the reason I can smile, is somewhat flustered.

「I, well, Ojou’s way of diligently asking, I like it.」

She’s a good kid. From the beginning, even though she talked with a commoner like, firstly after she asked me about my thoughts, she answered. There are plenty of nobles who have no ears for something like talking with common people and servants.
Ojou, after staying still for a moment, like a thermometer turned red from bottom to top, reaching until the top of her face that I thought something like steam would come out.

「…………!!」 [T/N: It’s totally because of the “I like it”.]

She tightly closes her mouth and then is resisting making a frantic noise.

「? Ojou, what is it?」

Why did she suddenly turn red? I hadn’t seen that kind of red, and I completely don’t understand.
When I tilt my head to the side, Ojou shuffles her feet, starting to retreat.
Eh. I, did I do something she hates?

「Ojou……?」

A little anxious, I call out to her one more time.

「……whwhwhwhat are you saying, Zack!!」

「What did I say?」

What in the world was she hearing, I don’t understand. She was saying something with the sound of something like a protest, but what am I being blamed for?
Especially if I did something back, I want to apologize, but again when I ask Ojou she doesn’t give me a response. She’s subtly making distance, like a threatened cat raising its shoulders.
What is it?

「Ah. Which reminds me, Ojou, for what business did you come here?」

For now, the first objective is to confirm.

「……My mother, during tea at three o’clock, wants to also meet Zack. Wash your head and wait.」

When Ojou, someway or another, transmits a message from the princess, she thrusts her finger at me while throwing words at me and then running off.
For me, who had been left behind, I couldn’t go back to work immediately. I also didn’t have an answer to my question.

The expectation is it was an invitation for meeting over tea, but what can I wear?


Wew, there we ago, another one! I’m starting to gather some steam in translating these guys, as I’m already translating Chapter 11 and this is Chapter 7. I still keep the cadence of 3 weeks in case something happens and I need to buy some time between posts, but if I get far enough ahead, I might be able to do a two week cadence for a bit. But, really, these chapters do take about 2 weeks to translate, and then the long chapters take a little more.

Anyways, I’m back in the office 4 days a week, which has definitely made keeping up translations tough, but we’re chugging along. Not too much from my end.

And as always, thanks for reading, and if you want to help support these continuing translations from a one-man shop, then do think about helping spread the site around. Or, if you’d prefer to help keep the site up/domain registered so I can spend more money on Surtr Approved Ice Cream as translation fuel, then hit up my Ko-Fi which can be found at the top.


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Published by Toasty Wind

Novice JP to EN translator for Web Novels, mostly just translate stuff that I find amusing.

3 thoughts on “07. Gratitude

  1. Heh, that last line was a bit sinister. I know she said ‘head’ but it reminded me of “Wash your neck and wait,” which I’m pretty sure was a threat along the lines of “I’m coming to take your head and I don’t want to dirty my blade.”

    Liked by 1 person

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