Sunday, November 9, 2014

Volume 2 - Chapter 7 - Small Separations

There's only two meals a day for those that live on Amoaltz. This is due to the fewer amount of hours in a day and the unique bio-rhythm of the creatures living on it. The Academy is no exception. A hearty "brunch" is their first meal while a "dinner" will be served at night, with numerous single snack-sized servings of food throughout the day. Due to the sudden population growth within the academy, a cafeteria was constructed to handle the food production necessary to feed the literal army. To alleviate the stress on the kitchen, individuals can sign up for meals at their preferred time within the 3 available time slots -early, normal, late- and the kitchen staff will include their share during preparation. Normally, the schedule is fixed permanently unless there's a request for a change. But tonight is an exception.

"What smells so good...?"
"Argh, I'm so hungry..."
"You are an early eater eh? Poor guy. Have some bread first!"
"No way...! You are just trying to trick me!"

The cafeteria is beyond full capacity, all the long benches are packed, as well as the smaller round tables. A normal dining session would usually fills it to around 3/4ths of the way. But due to the option of the 4th slot tonight, the other serving periods were quieter than usual while the last slot requires additional chairs and tables placed outside the building to accommodate everyone.


"Hello everyone! I'm 'm 'm 'm..." *koho* "I'm Mak'ra, I will be your host tonight. The dishes tonight will come in courses, there will be a lot more dishes than usual, but the servings will be smaller. Please-"

"Shut up and give us food already!"
The crowd at the tables shouts, stomps and hammers the tables in unison.


Someone behind Mak'ra coughs with a deep, loud voice, the crowd immediately silences themselves after recognizing their commander. Once the voices quiet down, the man nods toward the youth.

"Please give us any opinion that you have. Thank you."

As soon as he finished speaking, a line of cooks and helpers appear from the double door of the kitchen from front of the building. Each of them is carrying a large, shallow, round wooden containers of some sort. Each of these individuals walks to the front of a bench, takes the dish from whoever is sitting down and serves the food to them. For the smaller table, the individual will move from one table to the next until all food is served. Due to the smaller portions, the train of cooks and helpers never stops, slowing down only between sets. The foods are served at the table in front of them, so the crowd never bothers to cause a ruckus again.

Most of the students of the Academy were seated near the front, since they are younger and are basically children, the men and women of the brigade had no issue with it. To be accurate, they had to consciously hold their enthusiasm back in order not to scare the students when they were working together. Meals were often served in 3-4 sets regardless of brunch and dinner, they consisted of an “opener”, usually a fruit or salad. A light “soft and moist” course consisting of potherbs, light meat, potages, or broth. An optional “heavy” course for richer food such as red meat, hard to digest vegetables, roasts, and so forth. Finally, a “closer” which consists of aged cheese, wine, and other foods that aid in digestion.

[T/N: Wowee… get to learn about medieval meal times o.O Potherbs were pretty much any plants that can be thrown into the pot, this includes things like wild flowers. Potherbs are mixed together into one pot and boiled until they are soft and tender. ポタージュ -Potage- can be anything from porridge, thick soup to full on stews. The main requirement really is “thick liquid”.]

The courses being served, in order, are: Herbs and lettuce dosed with herb vinegar, honeyed dry fruits with trail mix, egg white porridge, zinnia flower chicken stew, wild flower and root vegetable stew, steamed minced meat leaf-dumplings, roasted minced meatloaf served in a leaf, hardboiled egg in tea, grilled vegetable and meat, meat and vegetable between two piece of baked dough, nuts and grain casserole, ale with prepared bone chips and marrows, shredded preserved vegetables, wine with a sliver of old Sardonian sheep cheese, apple soaked in diluted sweet wine vinegar, and finally a small cup of tea.

The expressions on the diners' face range from tear-eyed elation to confused looks. The students on the other hand are happily eating their food.

“What is this?”
“I don’t know, but it’s pretty good.”
“If you don’t want it, I’ll take.”
“No way!”

“Is this [Namakemono] egg in this porridge?”
“Damn, I want more!”
“But where did the yolk go though?”

“Stop crying you idiot!”
“Bu--but I am eaffing lighe a noble… I’mm efen eaffg a flowa... ”
“And I ate like a peasant since I joined you guys! Who cares! But what’s with this hardboiled egg...”

“Woah! Is this supposed to be so crunchy?”
“And it’s so rich, it’s like I’m eating a nut stuffed egg!”
“Hey, you guys… what are we supposed to do with the bones?”
“I think we are supposed to just eat it…?”

The meal ended without a hitch, the kitchen staff starts clearing the table while the diners lazily shuffle out the front door. Something seems to be blocking the passage of the door though as the diners march out slowly in a single file.

“So what’s the occasion Mak’ra?” Rick asks while drinking his second cup of tea.

“No occasion, this is from Bell-sensei’s lessons um… ‘market restock’?”

“‘Market Research’.” De’muel corrects him while nibbling on the preserved vegetables.

“Right, ‘Market Research’. Excuse me a moment.” Mak’ra heads towards the kitchen for a few moments before coming out and heading toward the front door as the line of diners dwindles. De’muel excuses himself as well as he heads toward Mak’ra.

“What is this… ‘Market Research’, if you don’t mind me asking?” Sekn, who happens to be sitting at the same bench as them, asks with curiosity. Echo stops licking his fingers and turns toward his commander, likely due to the same curiosity.

“It’s eh… umm…”

“It’s a practical experiment to extrapolate data to perform a hypothesis in regards to demands~”
Till stops nibbling her small cube of cheese to help the stammering youth. “Pretty much to see what will likely sell.”

“Wait… they don’t have a contract with a merchant guild to bring goods to them?”

“Nope, they are on their own~”

The two caninoids show a shocked expression. Before they can say anything, a fairy-like student immediately unfolds some vellums on the table after his companions clear it. He gives a bow before grabbing some plates from a nearby table and disappears back into the kitchen. Mak’ra comes waddling with a large wooden board with De’muel helping him, setting it carefully on the table with a soft “ka”.

“Till-ne, I think we should bring some [Namakemono] eggs, zinnia flower, earthnut and earthnut root along with the tea.”

The girl merely waits, taking her cue, De’muel takes over for the younger Mak’ra.

“Out of the um… ‘exit survey’, the egg related dishes were ranked highly. And eh…” The bull-horned youth inspects the board quickly before resuming. “The zinnia chicken was well liked for its novelty and smell. The earthnut was noted for ‘tasty and filling’. The vinegars might be good too, but we don’t have enough at the moment.”

“You don’t have to tell me anything, we said we would leave it to you two, so do what you think is best, okay~?”

An odd, heartwarming scene of an older sibling watching over their younger siblings with a caring smile can be felt, the odd part being the supposedly older one looking much younger than the rest.

* * * * *

“Take care~! Just send a message back here if you need anything~”
“Just remember everything we taught you, you guys should be fine.”
“Bye Niichan!”
“Remember to bring us some souvenirs!”
“No Daun, it wouldn’t be a souvenir if we can make it here.”

De’muel, Mak’ra, the students from the “baggaged traveller” class, as well as several fox-eared soldiers, acting as escort and security, are gathered at the front of the Academy, preparing to leave.

“Bye everyone, we will be back in a month!”
“Be good okay? Listen to Dosnak and Isnic, otherwise no souvenirs for anyone.”
“De’muel-ni, we are ready.”

“Okay, let’s go Sammy.”

*kero kero*

The two carts advance steadily away, with Sammy pulling the leading cart with a custom-made rein. 6 Gray Cadejos, with 3 on each side of the carts, mounted by fox-eared demihumans, escort them.

Dosnak, Isnic, Rick, Till, and the rest of the students continue waving until the group disappears into the morning mist. Shortly after, all the students went to get their morning snack before starting their class and work.

“Rick-ni, I’ll be busy for a little while, but I will still log in once a day~ Leave me a message if you need anything, okay~?”

“Geez, Bell’s stuck with work again and we still have no idea when Kun’s going to get back. Guess I’ll have to hold the fort until then.”

“Don’t worry Rick-ni, I will only take a few days~”

“Got it, kiddo.”

The two go their separate way after the short talk, with Rick going off to start one of his lessons while Till goes to log out in her room.

* * * * *


I stand up after getting off the bed and give myself a stretch. I woke well before sunrise to see Makki and De’my off, the time difference between the day and night cycle can be a hassle at times. It seems mom didn’t come back home last night, but that’s to be expected since she said there’s going to be some new features coming in for Second Phantasia. I get to my desk and turn on the lamp and the UV light on the lowest setting. Getting a few more books from the bookshelf, I pile them neatly on the longer arm of the L shaped desk.

Hmm… Right, I was here yesterday. Now to build up my vocabulary.

I put aside the opened book on the desk as I sit down, making sure I bookmarked the correct pages. The computer that’s on the shorter arm of the table gets a tap before coming to life. I request various information in English via audio command after it finished loading. Various tabbed icons appear on the search engine, I randomly tap one of them to begin my study. Words with pictures are lined up on the monitor.

[T/N: The following was originally in English]

“Pronoun and verb pair. He is. She is. They are. We are. Negative form. Is not. Are not...”

“Colour. Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Purple...”

“Fruit. Apple. Banana. Currant. Date. Elderberries. Fig…”

“Metal. Aluminum. Bismuth. Brass. Bronze. Cadmium. Cobalt. Copper. Gold. Iron. Lead. Lithium. Nickel. Platinum. Silver. Steel. Tin...”

*pipi pipi*

The alarm clocks on both the computer and the desk ring at the same time. I pause my study and turn the alarms off.


I stand up from the chair and stretch myself before heading to the kitchen. Filling a pot with water, I set it to boil. I peer into the refrigerator before grabbing a pack of shirataki, some preserved vegetables, and a pre-prepped slice of fish set in a ceramic container. Following the instructions on the container, I fill the ceramic container with the fish, with a centimeter of water, set it next to the pot of boiling water, and turn on the heat. I then open the pack of noodles and put into the boiling water. *fuuu* I sigh as I think of the cheese from the night of the market research and the food Kun-ni made, I can only curse silently at my own body. The body that is unable to handle the so called excitable food. Shaking my head to clear away the depressing thoughts, I start a mental review of the English language.

[T/N: Shirataki is noodles made from the root of the Konjac plant, aka Devil’s Tongue. The more well known form of food from this plant would be konnyaku and fruit jelly with a cube of nata de coco in the center.]


The unique sound of the ceramic container’s “completion” snaps me back to reality. I quickly turn off the heat for the pot and the container before draining them with a colander. I put the drained, bland food onto a shallow plate and place a serving of preserved vegetable on it before starting my bland tasting meal.

I chew my food thoroughly and quickly to get it over with. Making quick work of the clean up, I resume my studies. I started learning english just the other day, I hope to finish learning by the day after. I still don’t understand why people felt the need to have multiple languages, it seems so inefficient and stupid. I vent my frustration to thin air as I sigh again. I still need to learn market theories, merchant laws and a bunch of other stuff. I better hurry if I am to fulfill my promise anytime soon.

* * * * *

*shu* *zudon* *shu* *zudon* *shu* *zudon*

A youth is throwing balls of ice at a large target 15 meters away. The archers training nearby had stopped their shooting a while back and watched with interest, their tails waving all the while. It would be nothing special if the youth is merely throwing them straight on, but the balls of ice rarely travel in a straight line. There are balls that that travel in a curved path. There are balls that look to be thrown to the side or above the target that will cut sharply before striking the target, the strangest ones seems to break in the opposite direction of the ball’s lateral direction. The distance is insignificant to the bow and arrow, but the amount of control being displayed mesmerizes everyone who sees it.

“What’s the Headmaster doing?”
“No clue, but how do the ice blocks move like that?”
“Is it magic?”
“No… I don’t sense any spells at all.”

Rick winds up again, except this time, it’s an underhanded pitch that’s pitched from ankle height. The ball of ice climbs gradually in a straight line with a *shu*, reaching its peak of 3 meters before diving diagonally downward toward the target. In a smooth motion, after the initial pitch, Rick spins around using the pitch’s momentum and winds up again while spinning before releasing an overhand pitch with a sharper *shu* than the one before.

*zudon* *zudon*

The pitches hit the target a split second apart, with the first pitch hitting the top of the target while the second ones hit below it around knee height.


The youth breathes out a long breath before wiping the sweat from his forehead with his hand.

*pachi pachi*

The watching caninoids start clapping after the end of the display.

“Eh…? Ehhhhhhh…….?” The blonde youth turns red unexpectedly and starts scratching the back of his head with a “what the hell is going on” expression.

One of the older caninoid archers approaches him from another lane, “Headmaster Rick.”

The youth looks ill at ease as everyone seems to focus on him and the middle-aged archer. He squawks out an odd “Yes?” before coughing and correcting himself with a more dignified “Yes?”.

“What was it that you were doing? It looked like you were battling… yet… not.”

“Ah… It’s a sport in my country. It’s um…” Rick crosses his arm and scrunches his eyebrows as he tries to explain it. The impromptu audience waits patiently for his response. “Ah! It’s a mock battle between a thrower and a defender.”

“A thrower?”

“Tsk! It’s like, okay, you are the archer, you are trying to kill someone important that’s represented by the target. The defender is someone that’s standing between you and the target and trys to block your shot. Now, replace bow and arrow with balls or stones and sling. Although the sling version hasn’t been played in years.”

“Oh! I see, so Headmaster Rick is a warrior even at home?”

“Eh? What? No, no, it’s a sport! It’s played for entertainment!”

“Headmaster is a gladiator?”
“Wow, no wonder he’s a Headmaster at such a young age!”
“Well, his group did give [Cerebus] trouble...”

“... You guys didn’t hear a word I said… Did you…?” *fuuu* Rick sighs and slumps his shoulders before retreating from the small, gossipy crowd. The older gentleman that was talking to him is silent with a contemplating expression.

Rick goes on a quick tour of the Academy grounds to make sure everything is in order. Aside from delegating some students to help with the [Namakemono Chicken] and the expansion of the new coops, there was nothing else that was pressing. Happy that everything is in order, he heads to his assigned room within the top floor of the academy before logging out.

* * * * *

Rick gets up from the bed in his 3rd story studio apartment and jumps in space a few times to loosen up. He quickly uses the washroom to do his business, combs his hair in the mirror and changes into a set of shirt and shorts. He pours a glass of water from the pitcher on the small dining table, drinks it, grabs his keys and exits his apartment. After locking up, he starts a slow jog down the exposed hallway and takes in the late morning sun. He stops and does some light stretches at the bottom of the apartment complex before starting his daily routine from a few weeks ago.


  1. "sec, checking raw, might be brainfart"
    Shouldn't this be in [ ] with "T/N:" at the front?

    Thanks for the chapter.

    1. ... lol I was talking to ishman, I forgot to remove it, oops, thanks for spotting it

  2. Thanks for the chapter!
    Oh, ok now I know more about Rick.


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