CHAPTER 53 – EVENING FESTIVAL (1)
On a sunny day, sunbathing is the way to go.
Cloudless skies, the right temperature to dress lightly, and a walking recliner…
“Don’t swing your head so much, Su, or I’ll fall, okay?”
One faint “gyau” later, Su slowed her pace and kept her head and tail as level as she could.
I was lying on her back, leaning my head against the back of hers and letting my legs stretch onto her back.
The ride was surprisingly stable thanks to the blanket underneath me that stopped me from slipping off, and the glittering glimpses of sunlight through the forest canopy kept me entertained.
And above all, this was a precious paradise where perversity mushrooms couldn’t grow.
Even if they grew on the ground nearby, Su was there to snatch them up like a tasty snack, so this spot was perfectly secured.
Any and every day, I met those Halloween-looking, orange-purple, eyeball spirits, and yes, I was getting used to them, but I never wasn’t surprised when they turned up in unexpected places.
I avoid getting jumped by perversity mushrooms and Su satisfies her desire to have me ride her.
It’s a win-win deal!
“Ah, it’s Sumire-chan and Su~”
A soft voice came from the forest.
I looked around and found Liliana waving at us.
Marth and Leonardo were also there, carrying matching baskets on their backs, so they were probably on their way back from gathering something.
“We just finished a long day of work and Sumire is taking a nap?!”
“Hoh hoh, I’m only enjoying my well-deserved vacation, worker boy.”
“… Is Fikar not around today?”
“The guild called for him.
I think it’s about a request.”
For once, I had actually declined to accompany him, since this weather was too good to pass up.
He looked at me with puppy eyes, but there was no way I was going to trade away this mushroom-free zone.
“It’s dangerous to go out alone~ There might be perverts~”
“That’s right! Don’t you know?”
That reminded me of those「Beware of molesters!」signs posted near schools in my hometown.
I didn’t think I’d ever hear such unsettling advice in a peaceful place like Tortea – a place that seemed like a field of flowers all year round.
No, no, everyone went to sleep early here, so there was no such thing as a security issue at night.
When I tilted my head, Leonardo pushed his glasses up.
“There are strange people that have been hanging around Tortea lately… They aren’t adventurers or merchants.”
“Oh, there are?”
“Yeah, they’re really weird — don’t go near them~”
“Sumire and Fikar are already weird enough!!”
“What’s that supposed to mean~?”
How blunt, but then again, that’s just how kids are, right?
Still, don’t lump me together with Fikar and Su.
“But it’s true, isn’t it~? You guys are different.
Is it because you’re not from here?”
“But that’s okay!! Sumire-chan’s a little weird, but she’s not a total stranger!”
“Right… she’s different, but she lives in Tortea, so she’s not a stranger…”
I wonder why… Is this the feeling of being humiliated?
Su slowly made her way back to town with the kids following us from behind, chatting about how weird we were.
I was tempted to join them and defend my dignity, but by the time I’d made my decision, they’d already switched topics to Himeko, their himekoryuu buddy, and then to the client of today’s request.
What a pity.
Somewhere down the line, Marth shouted.
“Ah, there’s Fikar!”
Su also saw Fikar and cried for joy, meaning it was finally time for me to raise my head off of my now-unstable pillow.
Dressed in everyday clothes and carrying only a thin sword, Fikar walked over to us with big strides.
In the blink of an eye, Fikar appeared in front of me, picked me up, ignored Su, and started walking again.
“There goes my sunbathing…”
I grumbled as I waved to the children, who waved back, and Fikar thoroughly rubbed his cheeks against me as he held me up.
I won’t be fooled by something like that.
I pinched and stretched Fikar’s cheeks, but he kept on walking with no noticeable reaction.
Su crawled behind us as we entered the town.
The townspeople had begun to welcome her with open arms now that she’d learned to control her temper and use a quieter voice.
Maybe she could even be considered the town’s mascot.
When we arrived at the guild, a middle-aged man with striking pink hair in a 7:3 part ran over, wiping sweat from his face as he did.
Then, suddenly, he knelt down and began worshipping Fikar.
What a turn of events.
Could it be, is this man–?
“P, Pervert! Be careful!”
“You’re wrong! I am not suspicious!”
“Chief!1 You found him!”
“Fikar-san! Please! Please!”
Several more people with 7:3 parts gathered around and began worshipping Fikar.
Was some kind of Cult of the Hero spreading without my knowledge? Its idol was alive, He didn’t ask for money, and He listened to stories without judgment (or expression), so I guess it could be considered a favorable religion…
But, leave me out of it.
Being held up and looking down on the crowd of worshippers was kinda scaring me.
“We are organizers for Carcathia’s upcoming evening festival2…”
Fikar ignored them and stepped into the guild, but the 7:3 group came in too.
At last, everyone greeted each other in the large conference room that Tarina-san guided us towards.
Apparently, Fikar had been there until he’d suddenly left, leaving Gartis-san and Mesil-san to wait for him to return.
In the conference room, there were four sofas surrounding a low table.
Gartis-san and Mesil-san sat on one side, the 7:3 Brothers’ representative sat adjacent to them, and Fikar and I sat across from him.
I was allowed to sit normally after a brief struggle with Fikar, who’d tried to sit down with me still in his arms.
On the final sofa, a beautiful woman with rich emerald-green hair was sitting in a way that would make even the Devil turn tail.
“T-Tussa-san, long time no see…”
“Mm, long time no see.”
She replied in a very low voice.
I’ve already got a bad feeling about this.
I casually turned towards Gartis-san and the 7:3 representative to join their conversation.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see some kind of aura bursting into flames.
“Um, this evening festival, is it the summer festival we’ll be doing this time?”
“Right, it’s your first time participating, Sumire-san? The evening festival is the biggest event of the year and we’ll be holding it in about two months.”
With the rainy season behind us, the days were getting longer and the heat was creeping in.
This was the first summer Fikar and I would be spending in Tortea, though I heard that those days were exceptionally long.
I don’t know about the sun and the moon and the stars or how anything in the heavens affects this world, but the day-night cycle here was more or less the same year-round.
The only major exceptions were two periods of a month and a half: one in winter and the other in summer.
Over the course of three weeks, the winter days would get shorter and the summer days would get longer, and you could expect average temperatures to be much colder and much hotter, respectively.
The peak days, comparable to the solstices in the other world, were called “Great Winter”3 with four hours of daylight and “Great Summer” with four hours of nighttime.
I didn’t understand that a few months ago, so I was very surprised when we suddenly plunged into a dark cold spell.
Fikar was away at the time and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and lonely, but thankfully, I was allowed to live on the second floor of the guild’s office.
There were no special festivities in the winter because of snowfall, but by the sounds of things, there was going to be a big festival on the day of the Great Summer, whose long hours of sunlight let the townspeople enjoy the party to the fullest.
“Tortea and Carcathia jointly hold their evening festivals, with this year’s host being Carcathia.”
For towns that didn’t have a large population like the royal capital did, it was fairly common to hold festivals together and switch hosts every year.
The 7:3 Brothers were responsible for coordinating efforts in Carcathia, usually from a government office.
Shockingly, in this world, even the 7:3 gang could be bureaucrats.
This feeling of internal crisis, which no one else present would understand even if I explained, secretly rampaged in my heart.
“So, why did you worship Fikar like that earlier?”
“Ah, we’d love to have Fikar do a performance, which is the centerpiece of the evening festival.”
Being hit with Fikar’s sharp “I refuse”, 7:3-part-san wiped his furiously-sweating forehead with his handkerchief.
“W-w-well, you say that, but it’s an evening festival tradition that the strongest person in town plays the Hero…”
“That’s right!! You can’t refuse!”
Tussa-san, who’d been silently exuding her intimidating aura until now, abruptly stood up and made a declaration.
“Fikar is the Hero! And the other role will go to me!!”
I rather liked Fikar’s aloofness, but sometimes, I thought to myself:
Read the mood a little more…
1: Raws: 役長 — I couldn’t find any usages of this word, but “chief” seems fairly close.
2: This is a general term for “a small festival held the night before the main festival”, not necessarily tied to any specific date.
3: Raws: 大冬 (and 大夏 for Great Summer) — After getting my act together and starting to translate the second half of this chapter, I found a song by 大冬 (CN) and enjoyed listening to it on loop while I worked.
Give it a try! It’s pretty relaxing~
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