Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 97: The Hermit of Endsk (VI)
Adel here. I’ve decided that this beautiful work must go on! If you haven’t read everything leading up to this, go read that now, or you will be completely lost: (https://bit.ly/3NG88lr). First, a very huge thank you to Mii, who has done just a phenomenal translation so far. I hope to live up to their work. Second, a huge thank you to Sleepchaser and Perpetual Daydreamers for taking this as far as they did and allowing me to pick this up. Lastly, a big thank you to Yano Sutera for writing this fantastic thing! Let’s do this! <3
After leaving the magic store, Vio looked around for something to do next. It would be boring to head back to the inn right away, but he didn’t feel like sightseeing either.
It was then that a small temple caught his eye.
It seemed to be tucked away behind the magic store.
“Should we go visit that place for a bit?”
Vio made the suggestion to Legion, and Rille was thrilled by what he said.
“Ah yes, I would be happy if we did, Master. I haven’t been able to go to a temple the last few days.”
Rille had been born and raised in a temple so her faith in the Great Spirit was essential to her.
Vio did not think much of the gods or spirits. But when he saw them, he felt like he should visit them. He figured it was partly because of the influence of the tradition of visiting temples in his last life in Japan.
The carriage crawled up a gentle slope, accompanied by Legion and Jill. Children were playing around a picketed garden, so it seemed there was an orphanage attached to the temple.
A ball rolled into the middle of the road they were taking up to the temple.
Legion picked it up and handed it back to a boy who looked to be about seven years old. The boy replied innocently to the gesture.
“Thank you, mister! Hey, hey, did you come here to give donations?”
The boy’s eyes lit up with anticipation. In almost perfect timing, his stomach loudly growled as if it were prompting him to ask the question again.
“I came to pay my respects but… Are you hungry?”
When Vio had asked, the boy replied with a hasty nod.
“The manager is struggling. We don’t have enough money.”
“Hey, Eins! Don’t bother the guests!”
A woman wearing a green jacket and matching skirt—typical garments for the priesthood—hurried over. She was visibly distressed. Based on her appearance, she might have been in the middle of housework. Her hair was wrapped in a red bandana and she was wearing a white apron. She was a thin young woman, possibly in her 20s, with flowing, medium brown hair and brown eyes to match.
She pulled the boy behind her, looking panicked.
“I’m so sorry. He’s just a little boy. Please forgive him. You can blame me instead.”
“The young master was just having a chat with him. Do you happen to work at this temple?”
The woman nodded in response to Jill’s question.
“Yes. My apologies. My name is Adela, and I work at the orphanage. Please proceed to the prayer hall.”
When Adela pointed to the temple entrance, there was an audible gurgle.
When Vio and his servants looked at Adela’s stomach, her face flushed completely.
“Alright, everyone. This is Lord Violant Lesserhain, the second son of the Great Duke of this land, and he is the one who gave us all this bread. Now, what do we say?”
“Thank you, Lord Violant.”
All the children chorused their thanks in response to Adela’s cue.
After giving thanks to the Great Earth Spirit Yuglena, they all feasted on the meal. Adela and the priests bowed deeply to Vio before eating their share as well.
Vio smiled warmly as he watched over them. They were too focused on eating to chat, and he couldn’t help but lean over and whisper to Legion.
“Wow… They must have been starving.”
“Yeah. If you’re starved, there is no time to talk when food is in front of you.”
Legion looked on in surprise as he replied.
Once Vio saw that everyone had finished their meal, he went over to speak with Emma and Adela. Emma was the priestess of the temple while Adela helped the orphanage.
“I see that your temple has been struggling with funds… That seems unusual. Should you not have plenty of donations considering that this is a tourist town?”
“No… The donations we get from the town are very meager. The occasional donation we get when a noble comes to visit is the exception. For everything else, we have to get our food from the land we cultivate by the temple.”
Emma replied with a bitter smile. She was fair-skinned, slender, and beautiful, with blond hair and blue eyes. She gave off an aura of elegance that suggested she might have been the daughter of a noble.
“If it’s a good harvest, then we can survive… However, this year has not been so forgiving. The quality of the land was poor to begin with. Typically we can only grow citrus fruits and potatoes. By the grace of the Great Spirit, we’ve been able to have that much. However, this year we had many losses.
“We can’t even afford to bake bread these days. I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out how we will survive this winter. I have prioritized food so much that I haven’t been able to get firewood for heating and cooking,” Adela added.
Both sighed with deep anguish, and Emma’s sigh slowly transformed into sobbing with her face hidden behind her hands.
“I’m sorry, Adela. I know the previous priestess was good with field work, but I’m not from this land, ignorant of agriculture. It’s all my fault that everyone is suffering.”
“Priestess, please calm down.”
Vio started to understand the situation.
An utterly unfamiliar priest was haphazardly assigned to this temple which depended on the fields. To have someone so unfamiliar with agriculture caused the financial situation to deteriorate rapidly.
Rille, who had been listening quietly up until now, raised her hand gently.
“Um, Priestess Emma? Why don’t you ask for aid from a neighboring temple? If you ask an experienced priest or priestess for help, they should be able to guide you.”
“Aid? Is there such a thing?”
“Yes. Didn’t you report the situation when the auditor came?”
“Oh, I did… But I was told that it was expected because I was new and should try a little harder.”
Emma slumped over, defeated.
“If you are unskilled, you can just write to a nearby priest and make a formal request for guidance. Then you visit them and they will teach you.”
Rille’s suggestion brightened Emma’s face significantly.
“Then, maybe…! It makes me sick to think someone would have to come all the way out here. But I’d be happy to go there to visit!”
Emma was glowing with happiness at this new, hopeful venture. Adela also had a relieved face.
“By the way, a botanist was sitting in the back of the magical items store. He’s also a former priest, and I’m sure if you asked him, he could give you guidance.”
Emma and Adela nodded excitedly as Rille brought up the possibility of Dawn helping.
“Let’s go and ask for his help right away, Adela.”
“Yes, Priestess. If he could teach us here, it would be a great experience not only for us but for the children too.”
An event like this was what you could call a bridge over troubled waters.
Dawn might be caught off-guard to get a request like this. But after having seen the situation the children were facing, Vio didn’t think he would be able to bring himself to refuse them.
Vio couldn’t help but wonder though.
“You said you were worried about firewood for cooking earlier… but isn’t there a steam cooker here?”
I remembered that when I went with my family to a hot springs trip in my previous life, we rented a steam cooker to cook vegetables with the family. It was a special contraption placed over steam vents near the natural springs to cook food.
Emma was dumbfounded.
“A steam cooker? Uhh…”
“Look, there is steam coming from hot springs all over the place. Couldn’t you use that to cook vegetables and meat instead of firewood?”
“Instead of firewood? This is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. Please share your wisdom with me!”
Emma’s eyes had changed completely. She leaned towards Vio with glittering orbs.
“What? There isn’t one built already? I know that steam cookers exist as a concept, but I don’t know how to build one.”
“In that case, there is a carpenter I know. He can definitely make it. Adela, if you ask him with a sweet voice, I know you can talk him into it. I’m sure of it.”
“Hey, wait, Priestess Emma. Don’t ask me to do that. That’s embarrassing!”
Apparently, there was some level of intimacy between the carpenter and Adela.
Adela turned beet red, perhaps with anger, embarrassment, or maybe a little of both. She shot up immediately. Then she left the room, saying she would talk to him.
Adela’s carpenter friend seemed to be a young man in his mid-twenties. He had a bandana wrapped around his head with tufts of brown hair sticking out. He looked like a gentle person with a laid-back aura.
“I’m Nicoli. I look forward to working with you, sir.”
As soon as he saw Vio, Nicoli’s face went pale and he bowed his head in a borderline suspicious manner.
“I am Violant Lesserhain. I will be in your care, Nicoli.”
Nicoli’s eyes went wide with shock at the way Vio greeted him. Not knowing how to react to being treated so kindly by a noble, he gave several deep bows followed by a slight bow.
“I am sorry to make a request of you so suddenly. With your job and everything, is it okay?”
“Yes, I have permission from the master of the shop… So Adela, what is this you’re asking of me?” Nicoli asked Adela worriedly.
Adela began to explain the situation. As Adela’s explanation progressed, so did Nicoli’s face, into a state of morbid curiosity, that was. His gaze then shifted back to Vio.
“It’s a cooker that uses steam instead of fire? The whole thing seems interesting. Explain it to me in detail.”
“Ah, sure. Of course.”
Vio explained the form and function of a steam cooker to Nicoli as Emma and Adela watched on and listened.
He used a simple diagram to illustrate the concept, and Nicoli looked at it and began to nod with understanding.
“So you create a grooved lid so that all the steam is focused on that spot, correct? Then you put a lid over a wooden stove… This is ground-breaking.”
“Yes, yes. Well, the lid and the colander inside should be made of wood. Also, the lid needs to slide out horizontally. Otherwise, it will burn you with steam.”
Vio emphasized the last detail, and Nicoli nodded along enthusiastically, understanding how crucial that was.
“This is amazing!… Please let me talk to my master and make this for you. If you let us sell them exclusively, we will make this one free for you.”
Emma then spoke up.
“If this works, shouldn’t you be paying Lord Violant for the idea?”
Nicoli’s face was immediately overwhelmed with anxiety. Since Lord Violant was of the Lesserhain family, he thought this would be followed by an outrageous proposal.
Vio thought it over a bit and then shook his head.
“No, I didn’t build it. I only explained the concept. Instead, how about you donate two percent of all sales to this temple instead of monopolizing the profits?”
“Two percent, you say?”
“That’s right. Of course, selling these by the installation is an option, but alternatively, you could build several and rent them out by the hour at a low price. Profits wouldn’t be high at the beginning, but they would show a long-term yield.”
“I see… They could be built at different tourist spots and be rented out to the general public. Yeah! That’s genius! I can’t say yes right away, though. Please let me check with my master first.”
“Of course. May I leave the rest of the negotiations up to you, Emma? I was only stopping by here on a trip, and I cannot stay too much longer.”
In response to Vio’s question, Emma nodded emphatically.
“Of course! Thank you, Lord Violant, for your incredible compassion!
Although it hasn’t been officially approved yet, I will come thank you when it is.”
Vio suddenly looked up and realized that it was now 2’o’clock.
It seemed he talked so much that he had actually talked through lunch.
“Now then, since we are finished talking, I will go home. I am starving.”
“Oh my, look how late it is. I’m so sorry that we took so much of your time.”
“It’s quite okay. I had some time to spare. Ah, so then… Do you know any eateries around here with good food?” Vio asked.
“In that case, let me show you one that is on the way back to the woodshop,” Nicoli offered with excitement.
Vio was more than happy to accept his offer.
QC Note: Howdy, folks. I noticed that some people are confused about the numbering of this chapter. We are going by the chapter number (url) from syosetu. Perpetual Daydream actually misnumbered their chapter. The previous chapter, 94, actually correlates to 96 on syosetu. As such, we will be continuing with the correct numbering. [Fun fact: If we were to truly number it according to the headings/title provided on syosetu, we are currently at Arc 3, Chapter 14, Part 6.]
Editor’s Note: Jack Cat would have loved this.
Translator’s Note: Ew, Karam trash. (No Scrubs by TLC plays in the background)