「I can’t wait to try that alcohol! That mead we drank together last time was delicious…」
Lucy said in good humor once we returned home.
Up til now she had only been collecting maple leaves and cranberries because I said so, but now that she knew what the end goal was she was much more enthusiastic.
All the elves liked good alcohol. Before we fell under the control of the Empire we had sold excess food to purchase alcohol.
Since mead and wine were too expensive we bought ale made with wheat and drank it during the harvest festival.
「The alcohol I’m making will be even better than mead.」
「The cranberry alcohol? I wonder if it’ll taste sweet and sour…」
「Cranberries are only one of the ingredients…the main will be something else. Look forward to winter when you’ll find out.」
「Looking forward to winter huh? It’s the first time I’ve felt like that.」
Lucy said with a happy smile. Just seeing that made my feelings brighten up.
Truly Lucy was perfect with a smile on her face.
「But…..Cyril if we have the spare time to be making alcohol and stuff like that, we should be getting more things that can feed us during the winter since the village is low on supplies.」
Lucy’s cheerful face calmed down as she seriously spoke to me.
Lucy must have realized some things after seeing what I was working on and what was going on in the village. These were her serious considerations.
「Lucy’s ideas have some merit, but that’s no good.」
I told Lucy with a gentle smile.
「What do you mean?」
「Just like you said, people need to gather food to survive. But, if it’s only that then people will lose the will to work harder.」
「Is that so?」
「It is. They will tire of working only for the sake of survival. They can survive the tough times if they know there’s a better tomorrow with hope on the horizon. In my mind the Village Chief’s job is divided into two large responsibilities.」
These were the thoughts of Cyril who watched his father lead the village with admiration and my current thoughts after receiving great amounts of experience.
「First is to protect the livelihoods of the villagers. It is to use my power and everyone else’s power properly so we can live our lives to the fullest.」
This is why I had dealt with the immediate food concerns and improved everyone’s current circumstances.
「The second is to allow everyone in the village to dream. Let them believe that tomorrow will be better than today. Once I have accomplished that I can stick out my chest with pride and say ‘I am the Chief’.」
I needed to properly face the villagers.
That is what I believe constitutes a truly good Chief.
Everyone smiled in my father’s time as Chief. They worked hard while believing in their futures. That’s the kind of village I wish to have.
My words may have been naive, but Lucy’s eyes glittered.
It made me really happy yet embarrassed.
「Cyril just now…was pretty cool. I see, you’re right. Just surviving is boring. Once it turns winter, the fighting will end, the food will be plenty, and we’ll relax and sleep together then drink some alcohol in front of a roaring fireplace….can I dream of such a beautiful future?」
「Un, of course you can. I want to spend my time with Lucy just like that….Well if I had one thing to add I’d like to add some mouth-to-mouth activities too…」
「….you’re so bad.」
Lucy said as she blushed and turned away shyly.
I truly believe if I seriously ask her when the time comes…she’ll let me.
As we continued to chat happily lunch time arrived.
We still had work to do in the evening so we needed to eat properly.
「Maybe we should bake some bread today…」
「How rare…usually you say that we should have some suiton soup or noodles…you don’t make bread often.」
「It’s because I was missing an important ingredient.」
I said and took a container down from the shelf. Inside the container were cranberries soaking in water.
There was white foam floating on the top of the water.
「Uwaa Cyril there’s some gross bubbly stuff in here. Don’t use these throw them out.」
「Don’t even think of throwing this out! It took me a week to produce this stuff.」
I had taken the time to soak the cranberries to produce liquid yeast. It was quite useful for various things.
「Look Lucy you put in the ingredients for bread, mix them together, and put in the cranberry liquid.」
I said as I kneaded the wheat and turned it into dough one size larger than my fist.
「Ahh our precious wheat…can we really eat this?」
「Just believe me. Right, now we cover it with a cloth and let it sit.」
I listened as the fermentation began and the sound of air escaping let me approximate the correct timing.
Good, this should be enough for the first firmentation.
「Okay, it should be fine now. Take a look.」
「It’s much bigger than it was before. Almost three times larger!」
「This is the effect of the yeast fluid from those cranberries. The gas released by sweeteners degrading makes the bread rise. Then you do this!」
I cried out grabbing the inflated dough and dropping it on the cutting board. I started to slap it onto the board several times.
「Cyril you shouldn’t be playing with our food.」
「No no…this is food preparation. This is to remove the old gas inside and replace it with new air. Once I do that the yeast will reactivate and make the dough smoother. Now I can let it begin the second fermentation.」
「Sorry Cyril…but I have no idea what you’re talking about with ‘yeast’ and ‘fermenting’.」
「Putting it simply it makes the bread really fluffy and makes the nutrients from wheat easier to absorb…plus it makes it taste better.」
「Amazing. Just this little bit of wheat can become such a large piece of dough.」
I had recently began cooking for us, but before Lucy had always been the one in the kitchen. She must have tried to use as little wheat as possible back then.
Some day I’d make it so she wouldn’t have to worry about things like that.
「It’s too early to be surprised. It’ll get even bigger after baking.」
I cut the dough into smaller pieces and placed them on an iron pan before placing them inside the oven.
All that was left was to wait for it to be done.
「Yay I’m looking forward to it. If you could cook like this I wish you would’ve started doing so earlier and you should do it more.」
「Well I can’t promise that. I’ll be on cooking duty for a little while longer.」
「I feel complex about that…I do like cooking for you Cyril……little by little I’ll learn how to cook the things you’re making…I might lose to you right now but I’ll catch up.」
「I thought you might insist on making it anyways.」
「I can’t mess around and feed you bad food. I know you have plenty of things you want to cook, but once you run out of them let me try.」
「Don’t say your food is bad. I love your cooking Lucy. I’d like to eat them every day if I can.」
「Thank you, but I want to learn the delicious foods that you can make Cyril. Then I’ll arrange it with things I know how to cook and give you something truly delicious.」
「I’m looking forward to it.」
The fact that Lucy would be making it specially for me would be the greatest seasoning. I can’t help but look forward to it.