Chapter 258

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Oswald-san.
On our way to Oswald-san’s house, Allen and Elena were beginning to doze off as we walked.

“Come here.”
“”… Uniyu.””

I picked Allen and Elena up in my arms and they genuinely fell asleep.

“My, oh my, they seem to have fallen asleep. Sorry about that~ I wish I had gone to meet you sooner, but I had to confirm what kind of people you were~”
“Well, you can’t just invite someone who you don’t know or what kind of person they are into your home, so I think it was required. It is your place, after all.”

If I was to meet someone in the middle of a remote forest, I would check to see what kind of person they are first. I wouldn’t just go say hello without any precautions.

“Come on, this way.”
“Is this the place of the barrier?”
(It’s the place I couldn’t get past earlier!)

As we walked through the forest with Oswald-san’s guidance, I felt a sensation of passing through something like a thin membrane. Because I experienced it before, when visiting the Blue Waters Shrine——the mermaid settlement, I immediately understood what it was.
The location of the transparent wall that Vector found was this place.

“… Which reminds me, is this forest managed by you, Oswald-san?”
“I got a housemate who’s more plant-oriented than I am, doing all sorts of things in her spare time.”
“I am greatly sorry!”

Hearing Oswald-san’s reply, I immediately apologized.
This forest was filled with so many berries, that it couldn’t be said that they were simply “growing wildly”.
Before meeting Oswald-san, I had thought that it was possible, but when I entered the barrier, I was convinced that it was not the case.
Because the trees and bushes inside the barrier had even more fruit growing on them than outside!

“Hm? What are you apologizing for?”
“We have picked the berries growing in the forest without permission.”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. This is not really my plot of land or anything, and there’s more than what we can eat ourselves anyway. The rest was just going to decay naturally, so my child would be happy to hear that you found them delicious.”

Oswald-san didn’t seem to take offense at all, but told me to pick more instead.

(That’s right. Don’t hesitate to eat more.)
“Whoah!”
(Oh my, did I startle you? I am a dryad, Marshelly. Oswald’s companion.)

A woman with green hair suddenly appeared behind me, which caused me to leak out a startled voice.
Dryads are tree spirits, right? Oh, she’s a bit transparent. However, other than that, she looks and her voice sounds (through telepathy) like a normal woman.

“Now, now, Marshelly. The children are sleeping, so stop startling people.”
(Oh my, it wasn’t on purpose.)
“I know that, but you are not used to dealing with children, are you? If not, you need to be paying attention.”
(Fufu, that’s true.)

As with Claudia, it can be clearly seen that Oswald-san gets along with Marshelly well.

(Oz, the back room is ready.)
“Thank you, Marshelly. In that case, Takumi-san, please use that room to rest.”

As soon as we passed through the barrier, we were guided to a room that will be lent to us.

“Thank you very much. Can I talk to you for a little after putting them to bed?”
“I don’t mind, but it’s okay to leave that for tomorrow, no?”
“I’m quite curious about your situation, Oswald-san.”
“Oh, of course you are. Then, I will make tea and wait for you, so come to the living room I have just shown you after you are done with the children.”
“Yes, thank you very much.”

After seeing Oswald-san head to the living room, I entered the room and put Allen and Elena to bed.

“Then, Joule and Vector, please stay with them here.”
(Okay, got it.)
(Leave it to us~)

Vector, who had declared that he was going to sleep, was already using his small form as a pillow for the kids, and Joule, also in his small form, was already settled between Allen and Elena, so I decided to let them take care of things here while I’m away.

(Takumi Nii, I will also stay here and make sure the two are quiet!)
(Then, Bolt and I will accompany Niisama.)
(Indeed.)

Mile will remain in the room, and Feat in her small form and Bolt will accompany me to talk with Oswald-san.

“You were quick.”

When I entered the living room, I smelled a very nice fragrance of herbs.

“I have got some herbal tea ready for you, but feel free to let me know if you don’t like it. I will get you something different.”
“I’m fine. Thank you.”

I took a sip of the tea and then asked Oswald-san frankly what he wanted.

“What can I do for you, Oswald-san? You don’t like to have much contact with people, since you live in a forest enclosed in a barrier, do you?”

If he lives in the forest far from any towns and villages, it’s easy to imagine that he doesn’t like to socialize very much.

“Just as you said, I live here because I am bothered by the company of people. At first I wasn’t going to show up, I was just going to wait quietly for you guys to leave.”

It seems that I have guessed right.

“But, you had quite a number of familiars accompanying you, so I got interested by them at first.”
(Oh my, by us?)

Feat spoke up, but Oswald-san and Marshelly-san didn’t seem to be able to hear her.
So, was Marshelly-san talking normally instead of using Telepathy? Or, as you become more proficient in the Telepathy skill, will you be able to be heard by an unspecified number of people?
For now, I’ll just pat Feat who was in my arms.

“Well, that wasn’t enough to make me want to meet you, but the fact that you were cooking something I’ve never seen before made me even more interested.”
“… Cooking?”
“It seems like you were using a condiment I didn’t know existed.”
(I wonder if he’s talking about the shoyu?)
“Right.”

He was talking about a condiment, so I’m pretty sure it was the shoyu.
Shoyu is truly wonderful because it could attract even someone like Oswald-san, who doesn’t want to interact with people very much~

“What I was using is called shoyu.”
“Shoyu? So, do you know what it’s made of? To tell you the truth, I cannot eat meat or fish at all.”
“Are you a vegetarian? Is that a racial trait?”
“No, it’s unrelated to Elves as a race. I just cannot withstand it myself.”
“Oh, so it’s like that.”

Heh~ so not all Elves are vegetarians, huh.

“I get plenty of vegetables and fruits from the forest, and I can ask an acquaintance in the town to supply me with salt and bread, so I am not troubled with that, it’s just… I’m getting a little tired of it.”
“… Of course you would.”

A life of only eating bread, vegetables, and fruits, moreover, having salt as the only seasoning on top of it~
Although eating is necessary to keep living, I would get bored too if I had been eating the same diet for more than four hundred years.

“This shoyu I have is made from the sap of a tree, so it should be all right for you to eat, Oswald-san. Also, there are things called miso fruit that can be used as a flavoring, are you aware of those?”
“Miso fruit? That’s a new one! Does it come from a fruit tree?”

Oswald-san’s cheeks were flushed and happy. He seemed to be quite exhausted by his eating habits.

”The rest, yes~. There are new kinds of salts that have been developed recently, with a variety of flavors.”

The Easy Salt Series is also not made with meat and fish, so it should be fine.

“Oh! I didn’t know there were different kinds of salt! That’s great information, thanks! I’m so glad I decided to meet you! But even if I hear information this good, it is a question whether that guy will find it and buy it for me…”
“I can give you some?”

I thought that he approached me because he wanted the condiments, but it seems that Oswald-san just wanted information.

“I would be happy to try it right away if you could give it to me. Also, if you can, I’d like you to teach us how to use it. Of course, I have abundant rewards for your trouble, can I request this of you?”
“Teach? You, Oswald-san?”
(No, it’s me.)

Marshelly replied to my question.
Apparently, it’s not Oswald-san who does the cooking, but Marshelly-san. I didn’t know that spirits can cook~

”I can teach you if it’s just something simple, so how about we make tomorrow’s breakfast together?”
(Yes, please.)
“But how much should I teach you?”
“I’d like to say to teach her everything you know… but that’s not how things work. Let’s see, I’d like to ask for a few dishes each made from shoyu and miso. What do you think?”

N~ then, if we make breakfast and lunch together, we could possibly achieve it in terms of the number of dishes, right?

“That’s not a problem.”
“Really? Thank you, Takumi-san!”
‘No. In lieu of that, may I pick some more berries from the forest? I’d love to be paid with that.”
(Oh my, that’s not a problem. In fact, you should pick everything that’s ripe.)

I was given the right to pick as many berries as I could in exchange for a handful of seasonings and instructions on how to use them.

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