Extra 02: Sunshine After the Rain
On an ordinary summer day, a year before us sisters left to go to the capital.
“Everyone, do you know the language of flowers?”
Fabian-sensei asked the students.
Today’s lesson was on etiquette. The lesson wasn’t only about bowing and mannerism, but also about the culture of nobles.
“What nation does that language belong to?”
When Theo raised his hand and asked this question, Sensei frowned and smiled awkwardly.
“It’s not a language, Theo.”
I was impressed that this kingdom also had the language of flowers, but it doesn’t seem widely spread among the common people. No one else in the classroom had heard of the language of flowers and they seemed curious about it.
“What about you, Aime? Do you know the language of flowers?”
Fabian-sensei asked me after he saw the students’ reactions. The attention of the dozens or so students in the classroom, including Rille-nee, who was sitting next to me, was immediately cast on me.
Rille-nee and I, who have already mastered most letters and are well advanced in our studies, are often asked last when no one else can answer. It seemed that today was my day.
“I’ve heard of it.”
“Can you explain it to everyone?”
“Yes. Well, the language of flowers is a language associated with a flower and is the meaning of that flower. I don’t know any specific examples though.”
I could have answered easily if he had asked me about a plant’s medicinal properties or its toxicity, but I haven’t learnt about the language of flowers in this world.
“Wonderful. Did you understand that everyone?”
Fabian-sensei nodded while smiling happily and looked around at the students. Theo, however, was still puzzled.
“The meaning of the flower?”
“Yes. Flowers can be used instead of words to convey feelings. For example, if someone isn’t feeling well, you can send them a flower that means, ‘I hope you feel better soon’. Choosing a gift that matches the person’s situation and your own feelings is what makes one a respectable lady and gentleman.”
“But why would this matter if the person doesn’t understand the meaning of what they’ve been sent~?”
The kid had a point. Well, there probably wasn’t anyone here in this downtown area that understood the language of flowers.
Fabion-sensei faltered for a moment, but immediately recovered with a cough.
“We are talking about being considerate. You have to make sure that you’re not being disrespectful to the other person.”
The kids’ reaction to this was ‘umm’. They weren’t really interested.
“It’s interesting that flowers have meanings.”
Rille-nee, on the other hand, quietly whispered in my ears.
“I wonder if herbs also have meanings.”
“Maybe? Even plants that don’t bear flowers have meanings.”
At least they did in the world I was in before I was reincarnated. When I found the name of a mushroom in a book on the language of flowers in my previous life, I thought that anything was possible.
Mushrooms aren’t even plants after all. They’re a fungus; they’re the same as mould.
“Things that don’t have flowers also have a meaning in the language of flowers. How strange~.”
“It’s really strange.”
Suddenly, Leni, who was seated behind me, raised her hand in class.
“Are there flowers that are perfect for confessing to a girl you like~?”
“Yes. Huh? But Leni. Aren’t you a girl?”
“I’m going to sell them to men.”
Leni smiled boldly.
“I believe it’ll sell better if I use those words to sell them.”
The little merchant has grasped something that the teacher hadn’t planned on teaching them. There aren’t any romantics in this classroom.
“I-I see. There are many flowers that represent love.”
Slightly puzzled by the evil expressions on the students’ faces, Fabian-sensei opened a large book at the front desk. The kids gathered around the book, including me.
The book contained sketches of plants, their names, habitats, and their meaning in the language of flowers. He seemed to have just ordered this book in. I’m grateful.
“For example, cresium. This flower is often used by the court nobles. In the language of flowers, it means ‘faithful love’. Faithful love means ‘I vow my love to you for all eternity’. It’s a rare flower that has small white petals blooming inside its pink petals.”
The sketch was black and white, so Fabian-sensei added a description of its colours. I’ve never seen this flower around here.
“I want one that’s blossoming nearby.”
“Hey! Don’t turn the page!”
Theo pushed Leni as she tried to reach out from behind him.
These little fights break out between kids sometimes when lots of them are looking at a book together, but this wasn’t a bad thing. It was a sign that everyone was eager to learn, and I think it’s a good thing.
“Hey, hey, don’t fight. Let’s take turns looking at it.”
Ignoring the teacher’s words, Leni stopped flipping the page when she turned to the next page.
“I think I’ve seen this before.”
“Which one? Ah, sansalem.”
I stood on my tippy toes and peeked at the page that Leni was pointing to.
It was a plant with round, ball-like flowers and thin leaves. I don’t remember anything about this plant.
“This flower means ‘gratitude’. It can be used as a gift for family and friends and is in bloom at this time of the year. If it blooms around here, then why don’t you try giving it to someone?”
I immediately turned back to look at Rille-nee. She seemed to have been thinking the same thing as me and nodded several times.
There was only one person to whom we wanted to give thanks to.
I quickly grabbed Leni after the lesson and before we went back to the apothecary.
“Say, where did you see that flower?”
I pointed at the illustration in the book and asked Leni, who played stupid.
“I wonder where I saw it~.”
I could tell what she wanted from the way she was glancing at me.
“Show us where it is tomorrow since the apothecary is closed, and of course, we’re not asking you to do this for free.”
“I like you because you’re quick.”
Leni laughed happily. She’s a cunning girl, but well that’s good too.
“Why don’t we celebrate while giving her flowers?”
I suggested this to Rille-nee when we got back to the apothecary.
We were sitting by the side of the apothecary on a spread-out cloth and steadily peeling the shells of pistachio-like nuts that were used in cold medicine. Gis-nee was inside.
“It’s been nearly six years since we’ve started living here, hasn’t it? Let’s have a party to thank Gis-nee.”
It was a pretty half-hearted idea for celebrating our six years here, but there was nothing wrong with having a party.
Rille-nee was very supportive of the idea.
“Let’s do it. Gis-nee has done a lot for us.”
“Okay. I’ll make her favourite dish. Ah, and we can’t tell her until the day of the party. Let’s surprise her.”
It was always more fun to surprise someone like this. This thought must have shown on my face since Rille-nee giggled.
“Yes, let’s keep it a secret. Gis-nee likes…”
Rille-nee directed her gaze to the sky and pondered while still working.
“She loves everything, but I think meat is her favourite.”
“I think so too.”
Gis-nee has a muscular body, so she must need a lot of protein.
We usually ate lamb shank at home. It’s tough, but cheap, and it turns out nice and soft if you simmer it for a long time. Sometimes, Gis-nee roasts the lamb shanks and heartily bites into it. Her jaws are really strong.
“Then, we’ll have a meat dish, and we’ll decide on the rest of the dishes depending on how much money we have on the day.”
“Alright. Ah, the butcher is supposed to have beef delivered to them tomorrow afternoon.”
A lot of farmers around here raise sheep, so that was what we ate most of the time. Cows probably cost valuable labour to raise, so beef was very rare.
“Why don’t we go look for flowers in the morning and then go shopping afterwards?”
“Let’s do that! ――― By the way, how did you know we were having beef tomorrow?”
“Rossi told me.”
Oh, so he knew about this because he’s the son of the owner of a transport company?
Oh yeah, I recall him coming up to Rille-nee this morning when she was drying herbs. I chased him away since he was annoying, but he came bearing good news.
“Hey, are you done?”
Gis-nee peeked out from the window behind us. We quickly shut up.
“Huh? What’s wrong?”
She looked down at us suspiciously. It doesn’t seem like she had heard what we were talking about.
I handed Gis-nee the basket of peeled nuts through the window. She frowned lightly but took the basket and went back inside.
We also tidied up the nut shells and went inside, then I immediately asked Gis-nee, who was mixing at the counter, about tomorrow.
“Say, Gis-nee, what are you doing on your day off tomorrow?
“I don’t know…”
“Will you stay at home? If you are, then Rille-nee and I will go out for a bit.”
Gis-nee felt something was off from our short conversation and asked, “Where are you both going?”
“I’m going to gather ingredients for an experiment.”
This explained all of my slightly strange behaviour.
“A girl from school told me she was going to show me where some rare plants are growing.”
You have to mix in some truth when you lie. I heard somewhere that a con artist tells the truth 80% of the time and uses the other 20% to deceive people. I’m not a con artist though.
“Where are those plants?”
“I don’t know since she told me she was going to show me where it is tomorrow. They might be growing downtown.”
“Are you going too, Rille?”
“Y-yes, I want to see them too.”
Rille-nee’s response was a little awkward. She wasn’t good at lying because she was an honest person.
“… Well, be careful on your way. Don’t go too wild, Aime.”
I replied cheerfully and that was the end of the conversation. She probably didn’t suspect anything. That’s good.
… What do you mean “go too wild”?