CHAPTER 49: HERBS, CLOVERS, AND THE MYSTERIOUS HAIRPIN
We’re at the entrance of the forest specified in the request.
It’s about east from the royal capital, so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of forest wolves here.
While I don’t feel any forest wolf-ish presence, I still sense so many monsters to the point that I don’t even want to count.
A D-rank hunter might be able to complete this request if all of these are just goblins or kobolds, but if these monsters are all above D-class, then it would be nothing short of reckless.
Though in my opinion, it’s nothing special compared to that stampede from before, so it’s not really a problem.
If anything, the problem here would be the current time.
『We’re really well into the night now.』
「We weren’t too concerned about timing after all.」
『Shall we camp out around here tonight』
「In that case, I’ll start a fire.」
While I did say camp out, we won’t be exposed to any danger thanks to my barrier, so we generally don’t have anything else to prepare.
I think a sleeping bag would likely be enough to give Ciel a pleasant sleep, but since it’ll simply add to our luggage as of now, we don’t have one.
Still, the reason we start a fire isn’t to ward off animals or monsters—it’s meaningless since they aren’t really scared of flames—but to prepare for dinner.
And while Ciel said start a fire, all she’s doing is using a magic circle to keep a constant flame burning.
After this, we simply add dried vegetables, dried meat, and some salt in a small pot of water and heat it up.
In this situation, we could probably make something pretty delicious if we had some bouillon cubes but that doesn’t exist in this world.
Even so, the dried vegetables and meat already add flavour on their own, and it’s completely edible for people that are used to gentle flavours.
And with the finished soup and the hard bread we have, today’s dinner is served.
「Even with just these, it’s already good enough to eat, huh.
Why did the food at that mansion taste so bland then」
『Like, at that point, they definitely made it taste bland intentionally, don’t you think』
「They really went through a lot of trouble then.」
As Ciel brings the soup to her mouth, I naturally taste the flavours as well.
Our dinner tonight is by no means delicious.
If this was served on earth, people will likely rate it as completely terrible.
Still, this is a staple meal in this world.
The delicious food here can taste as good as the food on earth though.
This world has quite the disparity.
「By the way, how are the monsters」
『There’s quite a lot inside the forest.
Not as many as the stampede though.』
「What about our safety」
『There doesn’t seem to be any B-class and above, so it should be fine.』
Unlike humans, a monster’s strength is easy to measure.
After all, the stronger a monster is, the stronger a monster’s equivalent of human’s magic power is and they don’t put any effort in hiding it.
「Then that’s a relief.」
『Leave it to me.』
After saying so with a smile, Ciel gulps up all the remaining soup.
It’s morning and the skies are clear.
Ciel wakes up at sunrise when sleeping outside, so we’re able to act without wasting any time.
Still, what would people normally do if it was raining instead Since they probably have tents, would they spend their whole day inside or would they go outside while getting wet
In our case, the barrier also acts as a raincoat, so we won’t have our energy whittled by the cold rain.
Although since it’ll worsen our footing and visibility, it’s not like we’re completely unaffected by it.
Still, the barrier is honestly convenient.
We haven’t seen anybody else use barriers like this, so maybe my way of using it is just abnormal.
Anyway, as for today’s schedule, we’ll be searching for the herbs in the morning, eat lunch, and hopefully go back to the capital immediately after that.
『Well then, please do your best.』
「This time I’ll definitely find them in an instant.」
Ciel psyched herself up as she entered the forest.
While I do want to return early, it won’t be necessarily good for Ciel if I just find the herbs and end this as soon as we can.
Many herbs have magic power in them but since it’s only in small quantities, searching for them is a perfect way to train one’s ability to detect magic power.
My role here in the forest is to tell if monsters are coming.
After doing that, Ciel reaps their necks in one strike.
It’s just simple routine work.
What a depressing world.
Anyway, about this herb gathering request, it’s not that difficult if we just ignore the monsters.
After all, herbs seem to be growing just about everywhere here.
I guess the request didn’t get ranked up, after being ignored for so long that the monsters increased, for nothing.
Rather, since there are herbs everywhere, finding our target herb might be annoying.
As I’m concentrating on the monsters, all I can barely sense is the herb’s general location.
I can look more closely into it, but if I do that, I’ll end up accidentally hinting it to Ciel.
And then Ciel’s going to scold me since it’ll defeat the meaning of this practice.
「If we bring everything here, we should be able complete the request, right」
However, it’s impossible to bring all of these, so please do your best.』
Ciel clearly feels down now, but I understand the feeling.
I continue watching over her with a strained smile.
Nonetheless, this forest has a large variety of herbs.
Potions should be valuable to both hunters and knights, so if this was abandoned to the point that it’s overgrown like this, do they actually have enough potion reserves
Come to think of it, I barely saw any potions in the tool shop.
If a shop of that level only has that few potions available, then it might be difficult for low-ranked hunters to even come by one.
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While people could just have their wounds healed in the churches within town, they can’t do that outside.
There are times when healing a wound could become a matter of life or death.
Though it isn’t necessary for us, so it’s not really our problem.
For the nth time, Ciel once again squatted down to closely examine some leaves.
This time, it’s a plant that looks like a clover back on earth, similarly having three heart shaped leaves sticking to one another.
But compared to the one in my memory, it’s awfully thick and juicy.
Its flower is also different, it looks like a small roundish rose and is white in color.
「Is this it」
『It seems like it.
The request form only had the sketch of its flower, but its features does match.』
「In that case, it should be fine to bring as many of these as we can.
There is a lot of it, after all.
There shouldn’t be any problem as long as you don’t damage its roots.
With this many of them, it really makes me want to find a four-leaf.』
「Do you mean that there are some with four leaves on them」
I unintentionally ended up saying so, but the four-leaf clover being a symbol of good luck isn’t something from this world.
It might mean the same here too, but since Ciel had no idea about it, I naturally wouldn’t know if it does as well.
Even in my past life, they could be seen differently depending on the country and culture, so I decided to explain it as is while just hiding the fact that what I’m talking about is that of another world.
『It’s about a plant that’s similar to this one.
In where I was in the past, the plant that originally has only three leaves would occasionally have four, and it’s said that if you find it, it would bring you good luck.』
「Should we try finding it then」
『There’s no assurance that it exists, you know』
「To tell the truth, I probably found one already, you know」
Ciel triumphantly smiled, confidently moved several steps forward, and squatted down once more.
And right before her eyes, there surely was a four leaved pseudo-clover glimmering with morning dew.
You did really well finding this.』
As I honestly praised her in amazement, Ciel had a bashful look, which then turned into a strained smile.
「I think Ain would find one immediately, you know
After all, it has more magic power than the others.」
Now that she mentioned it, I tried properly sensing its magic power, and as Ciel said, it has more magic power than the others here.
Also, I feel that it has a slightly different property as well.
『It really is different.
Since we actually found one, why don’t we keep this for ourselves』
「Right, why don’t we.」
This time, Ciel showed a somewhat teasing smile, and seeing her really enjoying herself makes me feel relieved.
Keeping something that was asked for in a request somewhat feels like I’m doing something bad, but I hope they’d forgive us for taking one for our share.
Rather, harvesting herbs that we need while accepting a request on the occasion is actually more efficient to be honest.
『In that case, there’s one more thing I’d like to bring back with us as well.』
Let’s bring it back then.」
Ciel cheerfully approached a certain flower.
Even among all of the herbs here, this one has a conspicuously large amount of magic power.
Maybe even reaching the same level as a low-class monster.
It seemed light green from a distance but up close, I noticed that the flower is actually transparent.
Close to the ground, it has leaves as big as Ciel’s palm and on top of them is a lovely flower.
The flower has a shape similar to that of a cherry blossom, but its petals are devoid of color, only having the tenderness of a plant.
I lightly checked the area, but there doesn’t seem to be any other like it.
『It really is.』
As we approached it, we were captivated by its presence.
「If we take this flower back and it wilts, it’s just…… right, somehow sad.」
『There are ways to maintain its current state as much as possible, but……』
For example, pressing it and such.
Pressing it inside a book is all I know though.
If we had a flowerpot or something, we might be able to move it and bring it around as well, but that’s difficult with our current lifestyle.
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「You mean processing this flower, right Ain」
『Drying it will make it last longer, you see.』
As I answered her question, Ciel began to brood about it.
Then in the quiet forest, a gust of wind suddenly blew.
The wind almost made me close my eyes in instinct, but then it all happened in an instant.
The flower rode the wind and flew gently towards Ciel.
Almost feeling some sort of intent from the flower, it left Ciel absolutely puzzled.
On her hand, the flower is there without its stem and its petals seem more inorganic, unlike just seconds ago.
The shape of its leaves has changed as well, making it now look like a hair ornament.
Do plants… do this」
『This is my first time seeing it.
I’ve never heard of this happening as well.』
「I know right This… what should I do with it」
『Since it turned out like that, I think you can put it on your hair, but with it being transparent, it won’t really shine too much, will it』
It’s not like I’m an expert with colours or anything, but even if you put something transparent on top of something white, it’ll just become white and won’t stand out.
「I don’t really understand it that much, but it would be better if it had colour, right」
『Concerning fashion, I think having some colour would make it cuter on you, but in the sense of not standing out, the transparency might be good too.
Though, if people notice you wearing a transparent flower, that could make us stand out in of it self.』
「What colour would suit me then」
『On colors, I think black would make a good accent.
But if I base it by this flower, then a dark tawny or green for the leaves with the flower being a blue that turns lighter as it reaches the tip would be nice, I suppose.』
「That’s awfully particular, isn’t it」
Ciel giggled so, but if given the chance, I’d really like to dress Ciel up.
While a part of the reason I chose blue is because of her eyes, it’s also because I’ve seen a cherry blossom of that colour before.
I’ve only seen it from a picture, but I remember it looking strangely mystical.
If it’s that, then it should be capable of bringing out Ciel’s beauty without losing to her.
「Then perhaps we should try finding a blue flower hairpin when we return to the capital.」
『In that case, it would be better to ask the people working in the clothing shop.
I’m just giving an amateur opinion after all.』
「Ain, I want it exactly because it’s the colour you just said.
I don’t care about other people’s opinions.」
Hearing Ciel’s straightforward words, I couldn’t say anything back.
Well, yeah, I am making this 『Uu, aa……』 incomprehensible whimpering though.
At times, Ciel’s purity really troubles me.
What’s the right way to react in this situation
Before I could say anything, she says 「I’ll put this on so it doesn’t get in the way.」 and brings the transparent flower near her hair.
In the next instant, the flower, or rather it’s leaves, entwine almost longingly to Ciel’s hair.
It then turns dark and its flower turns into a blue that gets darker as it approaches the center.
With the flower being translucent, it seems just like a gem at first glance.
And while it’s only in small quantities, it looks like it’s absorbing magic power from Ciel’s hair.
Though, since it seems to be absorbing my magic power, I don’t really mind it much.
After all, even after considering the barrier and detection’s maintenance needs, my magic power balance is still in the black.
「Umm, Ain What happened」
『The flower turned into a hairpin of sorts and changed to the colours I said earlier.』
「Will this… still turn back」
As she said so, Ciel brought her hand close to the flower, which then undid its leaves and landed on her hand.
What a mysterious hairpin.
As it landed on Ciel’s palm, its colour also turned back to normal.
「It seems like it’s back to normal.
It’s a shame that I can’t see it for myself, but did it suit me」
『Yes, it was beautiful.』
「I see, I see.
In that case, I’ll wear it for a while.
Will that be fine」
『It doesn’t take that much magic power, so it should be fine.
Also, since it’s absorbing magic power, then that could mean that it won’t wilt.』
Upon hearing my words, Ciel puts the flower back on her hair.
And as before, it attached by itself.
Seemingly satisfied by this, Ciel went back to harvesting the requested herbs.
Heya~! Our princesses are doing good work and then suddenly, mysterious flower
Anyway, today was a blessed AinCiel chapter it seems.
Wholesome bonding from our main pair and Ain just straight up blushing from Ciel.
Ain be best girl as usual it seems.
A rare but fine trait for the main characters to be honest (Definitely just my opinion).
On the other hand, seeing Ciel come in contact with the world is just… yeah, great as usual.
Just seeing her relatively normal experience is really satisfying to see and the back and forth between Ain and Ciel is always a treat.
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The flower part was honestly funny though.
Yes Ciel, plants don’t usually do that.
Still, the flower is quite enigmatic.
And speaking of enigmatic, really, first the forest wolves, now the overgrown herbs issue.
Smells like our familiar friend “trouble”…
By the by, this is the Blue Cherry Blossom Ain was talking about.
It definitely fits with silver or white.