Melsa’s POV

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Early in the morning, a carriage left the mansion for Simmons county.

I had decided, on short notice, to take a trip to Imperial Japan because there was something I had to have.
Perhaps that was why my travelling companion in the seat before me scrunched up his face in annoyance, a sight that made me giggle.


“What’s so funny?”


My fellow traveler, Oliver, glared in a reproaching manner.


“Well, I was just thinking that you have always been grouchy whenever I see you…”


I smiled with nostalgia, but without lifting my eyes from the lacework I had brought along to keep my hands busy.

Sewing was never something I struggled with, but after I got married, I had to do it like my life depended on it.
The three children kept getting tears in their clothes one after another, and we never had money to tailor a new one.
It bugged me that somehow Emma, a girl, was the one who tore the most clothes, though.


From the day she was born, that girl was only interested in insects.
Every time she spotted an insect, she would rush directly to the bush, up the tree, or to the gap between rocks with no regard at all.
Because of that, I naturally trained my sewing skills.


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That said, they still couldn’t compare to my husband’s.


“I-It’s not like I’m in a bad mood! I just don’t understand how a woman has the nerve to say that she will go to Imperial Japan, a place that no Kingdom person has ever set foot into!”


It seemed that he was trying to say indirectly, ‘What if something unforeseen happens, or worse, if you were injured…’ but of course, few people could have seen past that expression of his and way of speaking.
Like how I used to be.


“No need to be concerned.
I can protect myself.”


Under the simple traveling dress I wore was Violet, lent to me by Emma, to protect me in her stead.
The spider was currently rustling around my thighs in search of a cozy spot.


“Of course that’s impossible, you’re just a woman!”


‘You’re just a woman…’ Words I hadn’t heard since I got married in Palace.

“Men, women, children, elderlies, work what you can for however long you like.” The borderland territory was more destitute than I had imagined.
Even the knowledge needed to rank first in the academy was easily mastered.


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“Won’t you say ‘Rest assured, I will protect you’ to me?”


I asked Oliver with a sigh that was starting to resemble my mother’s recently, or so I’ve heard people say.

While I was a little surprised at myself for being able to guess the true feelings he hid behind his impudent speech, I was no better, still unable to be honest, as always.


“Wha— What stupid things are you saying!”


Oliver, whose face turned red instantly, averted his eyes to the carriage’s window awkwardly and sank into silence.I laughed once again at his easily-understood attitude that said  ‘Humph, not talking to you anymore.’.

Back then, I would have thought, ‘He said something infuriating again’, but now, knowing that he was just shy, it simply amused me.


While knitting a delicate lace that still couldn’t be compared to my husband’s work inside the quiet carriage, I recalled how we came to the decision of me going to Imperial Japan hurriedly.


End of Melsa’s POV


Last night, as the family were sewing Emma’s friends’ dresses, they talked about some nostalgic Japanese food.

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“It’s nice that we can now drink miso soup.”


William was happy that there were some among the ninjas who could make miso and tofu.


The ninjas took turns to visit the Stuart House and would make miso, soy sauce, etc.
when the ingredients were present.
In exchange, the Stuart family would take care of their accommodation and meals.


The unused room they stuffed the ninja in before was now designated their break room.


“By the way… how about dashi[1]?”

[T/N 1: Dashi: Japanese soup stock made from fish and kelp.]


Melsa had been hearing about miso and tofu for a while now, but not about dashi at all.


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“Huh? Dashi?”


‘What is Mother talking about?’ George tilted his head.


“We need dashi to make miso soup, right? Kelp, katsuobushi[2], dried sardines too…”

[T/N 2: Katsuobushi: Japanese for dried bonito flakes (often seen as a takoyaki topping)]




The men looked at each other blankly.


“Hmm… I thought we could substitute it with dried scallops, but… I guess we need katsuobushi, after all?”


Emma, who got pricked in a painful place, stopped sewing and agreed with Melsa.

Bonito stock was the main part of the Tanaka family’s miso soup.
The katsuobushi that were taken out of the dashi automatically became the cats’ snacks.

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