Japanized Western Dish [Part 1]
“So, in the end, what was it? Why did it turn out like this?”
Leaning against the wall, Oliver asked irritatedly while looking at Melsa, who was working busily in front of him.
He didn’t know what Melsa had requested from the Emperor and the Shogun as repayment, but the people on the Imperial Japanese side all looked very shocked.
“I want magic stones” was the only possible request from the Kingdom’s perspective.
But if that was the case, Imperial Japan shouldn’t have been so strangely surprised because they were the ones who had secretly informed the Kingdom about the magic stones in their country.
Seeing the Imperial Japanese side act somewhat hesitant to accept Melsa’s request had also heightened Oliver’s curiosity about the content of their discussion.
The Emperor and the Shogun exchanged troubled looks.
They were confident that Melsa would ask for magic stones.
In a country destined to perish, magic stones were just useless treasures.
That was why the Emperor was willing to give them to the Kingdom as long as his people could live their last moments without starving.
Everyone knew that it was the staple food of Imperial Japan, and that it was also the most stockpiled ingredient for emergencies in the country.
Even though Imperial Japan was currently suffering from a food shortage, it still had ‘stored rice’ kept safely in the storehouse.
It was rice for the people.
[T/N 1: 囲い米 “stored rice” is the term for the stockpiled rice in the shogunate, feudal lords’ quarters, and villages that would only be used for famine-relief funds, rice price control, and military needs during the Edo period.]
And while Imperial Japan had received a lot of food aid from the Kingdom’s Count Stuart, it was all food that the Imperial Japanese citizens were unfamiliar with.
That was why the Emperor wanted to let the people eat rice in the final days of the country at the very least.
If Imperial Japan really was suffering from food shortages due to the bad weather, like what Imperial Prince Tasuku had told the Kingdom, it would not have hesitated to give rice in exchange for heaps of food supplies.
Because in the following year, or the year after that, the weather would definitely stabilize and the environment would become suitable to plant rice again.
The Imperial Japanese people could still endure several years without rice in order to survive, but the fact of the matter was that Imperial Japan would perish within a year.
The stockpiled rice, the rice they ate every day, was one of the few emotional supports for the people.
“…The food given as aid is not the food our citizens are used to eating.
There are even some ingredients in this list that I do not know of and cannot fathom.
To rob the people of their rice… I… cannot bear to do that.“
The Emperor, who put his people first above everything, conveyed that he could not fulfill Melsa’s request.
“I will give you magic stones instead.
How large of an amount does the Kingdom want…“
Still, it was obvious that they couldn’t last a year on just ‘stored rice’ alone, which was why they sought food aid from another country.
The Shogun finally talked about magic stones publicly.
“…No, thank you.
There’s no need for magic stones.“
” ” “?!!!!!!” ” “
Melsa bluntly refused the Shogun’s offer that had been made with determination.
“The Kingdom does not have any magicians, so even if we possess them, they will only end up as mere stones.
They cannot replace rice.“
“You don’t need magic stones, you say?“
“Yes, my Stuart family doesn’t need them.
Please negotiate the transaction of magic stones with the Kingdom.
A count family being in possession of such things will only bring trouble.“
“It has to be rice no matter what…?“
“Yes, it has to be rice.“
Melsa didn’t back down.
“If the Imperial Japanese people are not used to eating the Kingdom’s food… I will make some dishes that suit the people’s taste using the ingredients brought from the Kingdom.
Will you be willing to give me rice then?“
‘If you can’t proceed with the negotiation, provide alternatives.
Don’t let go of your purpose, but still give the other party some room to think.’ Making the most of what she had learned long ago at the academy, Melsa stood her ground for the sake of rice.
The Kingdom and Imperial Japan have completely different cultures.
The climate, soil, and people.
A dish that the people can accept readily with ingredients from a country they have never associated with before is a bit…“
“I will make you one right now.
Even the Kingdom will find it a pity if that much wheat flour is only used to make dumplings and udon.
Ume-san? Can you show me the way to the kitchen?“
Melsa stood up directly.
“Eh??? Hey? Melsa? What are you—? Huh? Where are you going? Hey?”
Oliver was surprised when Melsa suddenly stood up after the conversation in Imperial Japanese, which seemed like it would never end.
He wanted to stand up and follow her, but couldn’t as his legs had gone numb.
“What the? I can’t feel my legs, ugh…”
Oliver, who had imitated Melsa to kneel on the tatami-matted floor, was now groaning in agony.
“This way, please.“
Oliver desperately dragged his numb feet to chase after Ume, who was leading Melsa down the stairs to the kitchen.
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