68: Chameleon Plants, Chameleon Plants
I felt like I could finally understand the outline of my work from Earl Noir’s explanations and the dictionary. I could find meaning to my work by knowing what I was involved in. Well, in my case, I don’t get to state my own opinions. My job was to make sure everyone made progress with their work.
I was happy that I was able to guess what the place was from just the enumerations of characters. And then, when I went to visit those places once I understood more about it.
I felt like my work was coming to me bit by bit, and I finally felt as if I was getting to know myself. But it was still not enough.
One day, after having a delicious, yet unsatisfactory lunch at the dining hall, like usual. “I wonder if there are any flowers that I can use for my embroidery sketch…” and I wandered to the Royal Palace garden and found it.
In the shade of a tree where the sun doesn’t hit, a little further away from the sidewalk. The air felt cool.
It was a place where chameleon plants grew.
Chameleon plants, chameleon plants. It was a cute white flower with heart shaped leaves. In the middle were four small white petals. It was a flower with a fleecy point that was as long as a pinky finger. However, it emitted a peculiar scented juice that stuck to your hands, it was that. It was the thing that was good for your skin when it was made into tea and could be used in substitute for salves.
(There’s a lot of them. Is someone cultivating them here? When did it grow so much like this?)
I approached it and looked around but no one was there and it was closed off like a flower bed. It seemed like they just grew all at once recently.
“Mm, let’s ask about it.”
I, who had managed to get free time, trotted back to the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room to question His Highness, Ludens, my superior.
“Excuse me, Your Highness Ludens. I have a question that has nothing to do with work, is it alright for me to ask it?” I broached the subject when I judged that His Highness Ludens was taking a break from his work. I, who rarely talked about anything other than work, was making conversation with him. His Highness immediately made a face that said, “What is it?” as he faced me.
“May I prune and take back the weeds from the Royal Palace garden?”
“What are you going to use it for?” He immediately responded. “What is she thinking?” was shown on his face. Roberto-sama, who came to this room at noon, and the other escort knights in the room also made a weird face.
I told them about the chameleon plants. “It can be made into tea and is also considered a medicinal herb to the masses,” I’d told them. I also told them that a large amount had grown in the gardens. I explained that I wanted to take them if they were going to be treated as weeds and disposed of.
“So, what are you going to do with those chameleon plants?”
“I’m going to make medicine for haemostatic and rough hands. I’ll ground the leaves, soak it in alcohol and extract the contents. I’ll dry the parts that aren’t extracted and make those into tea.”
And if that feels good when I use it then I’m going to sell some in town.
I didn’t tell His Highness that I wanted to sell it.
“I’ll confirm whether or not we’re using those chameleon plants in the Royal Palace. If it’s not being used, then you can take as much as you want.”
Yay, I have His Highness Ludens’ confirmation.
Then, Roberto-sama went to work to get that confirmation. He works fast, doesn’t he? He’s making a strange face like usual though.
The next day, I worked on getting the chameleon plants.
This was something I wanted to do, so it was worth the trouble. I was extremely hyped up for a while.
I had my lunch in half the time, so that it wouldn’t interfere with my business and finished up all my work early. First of all I became Aisha and went shopping.
I changed into a red tunic and blue trousers, so that people would only see me as a commoner and went to liquor store to buy cheap alcohol called High Shochu. I bought a mortar, wooden pestle and a large pot from the sundry store and returned home. It got dark in no time even though I only went to two stores.
Ah, it’s so nice to have money I can use freely at times like this. But in order to carry all the luggage, I tied the pot to my back with a string, I had the alcohol in my right hand and the mortar and wooden pestle in my left. My appearance was something that commoners rarely looked like and the rasping sound in my mind somehow disappeared. I wonder what people think when they see me like this, and chose to go back into the Royal Palace through the gate that the servants used. In the Royal Palace, I chose roads with the less amount of people so that I wouldn’t meet anyone and went back to the government residence.
The next day, I finished my work early and quickly returned to my room. I changed into Ayesha and went to where the chameleon plants were.
I spread a little yellow sheet on the floor, extracted the root and flower from the chameleon plant and put the leaves on top of the sheet. I did nothing but this… I was extremely thankful that the sun was out longer than it was in winter. I extracted enough leaves to cover the sheet. Then, I somehow managed to collect the sheet and carried it on my back.
It was a little bulky and the government residence was a little distance away, but I somehow managed to carry it even though I was weak. I put it near the back door of the government residence. Susan-obasan was looking at me curiously.
I quickly had dinner and continued to work on the chameleon plants. I can only work until curfew.
I worked under the small light of the lamp. I quickly washed the heart leaves under the water at the back entrance, and put them in the mortar. Then did nothing but grind them. I put the paste into the pot which I had poured shochu in beforehand. I kept repeating these actions.
My fingertips were dyed a greenish-brown colour probably because of the leaves. The colour didn’t go away even though I washed my hands with soap. But His Highness wouldn’t find out if I wore gloves, now would he? But a peculiar smell was softly radiating from my body… Nope, don’t mind, don’t mind. I have to work on the chameleon plants while they’re still fresh.
“Susan-obasan, what is this smell?!”
A beautiful woman with a tall stature, freckles and dark reddish-brown hair that was tied up and ran to her waist was staring at the back entrance. She was covering her nose and mouth with her left hand. Her blue eyes were shining.
(This is the first time I’ve seen someone else at the government residence!)
I explained to the freckled beauty that I was extracting from the chameleon plant. Her name is Natasha. She was one of the few female knights. When I returned from eating, she was looking for the smell that was drifting about and it eventually lead her to here.
“Can I help since you’re going to make it into a salve? You can give me some medicine as thanks.”
I let her, who was confident in her skills, join in and soon the pot was full. This was wonderful.
The next day, I went to work at the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room like usual… His Highness Ludens frowned every time he approached me. He couldn’t stand it anymore after he’d approached me five times and called out to me, “I smell something strange from you. Leave early and bathe.”
(Ex-excuse me, this isn’t something a gentlemen should say towards a lady.)
I was speechless. But it wasn’t like I didn’t know what he was talking about so I couldn’t answer.
I bowed and left the room… Well, I was mixing the extracts of the chameleon plant, so it’s probably a good idea to take a bath after mixing them.
The smell was so strong that His Highness had to say something about it. There were some people who saw me mix the contents of the large pot while the smell drifted in the air. It might have been inevitable that the rumours of 『a witch living here』spread around for a while.
Honestly, everyone’s so rude.