The Rain on The Veggie Garden and The Mysterious Peddler (Part 1)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

It had been raining since this morning. Obviously, I couldn’t go picking medicinal herbs in the forest in weather like this. So, automatically, I was confined to the hermitage for the day, facing Regina

“…Mentor, I’ve finished plucking 100 sets of bat’s eyeballs and tongues.”
“…hm.”
“…”

Gods, the pressure. No, I didn’t really dislike Regina—I mean, as a freeloader turned no-good disciple, I simply didn’t know how to interact with her.

On the other hand, while Regina was always swearing and yelling at me, that didn’t mean she hated me…I think. She made sure I was within her sight when I was doing chores, and she had Maya the familiar escort me when I was going out. Seeing that she was unfriendly towards everyone without exception, it shouldn’t be a stretch that she was actually expressing her affection, if nothing else, so…

“Honestly, you useless ragweed!”

Well, it was not the most comfortable having to be stuck with Regina and her ceaseless curses. Considering that the only time of the day I could mentally stretch my wings was when I picked medicinal herbs in the morning, this rain was an unwelcome guest.

That being said, a more unwelcome guest did come that day…

♢♦♢♦♢

“…” The thick rain clouds had completely covered the sky, blocking out the sun’s rays and showing no signs of letting up any time soon.

I looked up at the sky grudgingly. In the meantime, using a water-repellent spell to avoid the rain, I went around the hermitage to do the daily check-up on the barriers as well as the small experimental vegetable garden I had built above with Regina’s permission. By the way, what I planted were corn and pumpkins.

“I knew it, the ones with the humus are growing a bit faster. As for the ones that are supplied with mana… there is still no clear difference, I see.”

I wanted to give them fermented fertilizer if possible, so I went with what knowledge I had from my previous life and dug a hole in the ground, put food scraps and chaff in it, put a lid on it, and kept it there for several days—and lo and behold! Silky smooth fermented fertilizer was…not this thing was, as it was nothing more than a heap of rotten food wastes—so I buried it back and returned it to mother nature. I couldn’t seem to get the results I wanted with just half-a̲s̲s̲e̲d̲ knowledge. What a headache.

Right then, it occurred to me. Seeing that medicinal herbs and magical plants contained a lot of mana, perhaps if I feed my seeds mana, it would promote their growth. Based on that, I had been giving them mana on a regular basis, but there had been no noticeable change so far, perhaps because it had only been a few days since I started.

Once I was done checking all that needed to be checked, I looked up at the white smoke rising from the chimney and disappearing into the rainy forest. Under the eaves, I lightly brushed the water droplets from my robe and long hair (which I didn’t tie, since it was getting wavy from the high humidity) before I returned inside.

“I am back.”

When I opened the door, the smell of dust and mold peculiar to old houses, the smell of old books, medicinal herbs, poisonous herbs, the sweet and sickening smell of burnt carrion, the fragrance of various types of woods, and the pungent odor of unknown chemicals—a combination of all these smells surged into my nose.

The smell peculiar to a witch’s dwelling was quite unpleasant when I wasn’t used to it, but now I had completely adapted to it and it didn’t bother me anymore. I closed the door and headed for the living room with familiar steps.

In the living room, a pot filled with mysterious soup was sitting atop a flaming fireplace, while next to it there was Regina, reading a book with a black clover, sitting in an armchair to watch the pot. A huge wooden ladle as tall as an adult man was stirring the contents of the pot endlessly all by itself. You’d thought that an invisible person was handling the ladle, but it was actually Regina’s conjuring magic doing the work.

And said Regine passed her gaze at me as I entered before she lazily returned to her book, looking bored.

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“Looking after your potato farm in this rain? Good work.”
“No, they’re pumpkin and corn.”
“Same thing. You even gave them mana. Screw up once and they may evolve into pumpkin demon beasts, who knows. Well, why don’t you use them as your familiar when that happens? Pretty fitting for a ragweed.”

She chuckled at that, and in my mind, I pictured a pumpkin demon beast with the face of a halloween pumpkin with arms and legs growing out of it, following me as I walked along with a pitter-patter. It had been a little over a week since I got back from the pioneer village with my seedlings. I had been giving them mana as an experiment since then. Am I not supposed to do that…?

“…erm, could it really happen?”

“—Hmph. You need to magically attune your seedling first or else it’s impossible. Even so, we’re well within Tenebrae Nemus, no one can tell what could happen.” Regina answered in amused affirmation. No…well, I’d prefer if you deny it, though…

“Though, if it mutates it will most certainly be a demon beast… Well, you’ll be the one responsible for that, Jill!”

Next, a vivid picture of myself desperately fighting against pumpkin and corn magical beasts came to me. A cold sweat ran down my back. I immediately decided to abandon the experiment of growing plants with mana right then and there.

“I’ll stop feeding them mana then. —If I had a familiar, I don’t want one of grains or crops, I’d rather have one that is like Maya.”
“No chance. Familiars won’t serve anyone weaker than them. You’ve got a better chance fighting daikon and pumpkins,” she spoke, casually throwing me down the dumps.

“…umm, then, how did you get an S-rank demon beast as your familiar, Mentor?” It should be impossible for a human’s mana to surpass that of an S-rank demon beast.

“My good virtue, obviously.” And came a very not convincing answer. Am I supposed to laugh here?

“—Come to think of it, I don’t see Maya. Is she out running an errand?” I noticed I didn’t see the Caru in her spot at Regina’s feet, so I absently looked around the room.

“She’s out feeding in the forest. Her favorite food comes out in heaps in weather like this. Well, she’ll be back soon enough.”
“…”

I was curious about this favorite food Regina mentioned, but to maintain a frank and good relationship with Maya, I felt it would be better not to ask.

“Either way, from the looks of it, it will keep raining for 2 to 3 days straight. We’ll go collect mushrooms and mosses when it stops. You, Jill, will stir that pot of amrita for three days and three nights straight until then, and I will not see even a drop spill!”

Pointing to the pot where the ladle was stirring, Regina looked like the owner of a tonkotsu ramen shop who was proud of her exquisite pork stock as she assigned me yet another impossible task.

“…Mr. Ladle seems to be doing a great job at that, is he not enough?” I knew full well it was futile resistance, but I just had to ask.

“You ******* ragweed! Do you think you can control heat with a ladle?! The whole batch will go bad if it boils over! Don’t ever let it out of your sight!!”

Sure enough, Regina scowled in disapproval and raised her voice like a broken bell. In a world without Child Welfare Law and Labor Standards Act, what the mentor said was law. To take up the role of the stirring ladle, I took off my robe as it was in the way and replaced it with an apron, and rolled my sleeves.

Well, let’s get started then—but then, unexpectedly, I heard Maya’s grumpy bellowing growl amongst the sound of the rain, and with it, “UHYAAAAAAHH!! HEELLPP~~!!” the throaty scream of a man.

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