I cut off a piece of meat and put it into my mouth. My tongue burns. This is too spicy! Instinctively, I start breathing faster. But now, the spiciness travels up my nose! And then… it’s over?
“What do you think, Rowan?” Rory asks.
“It’s spicy, I think,” I answer, “it’s gone now, so it’s like it was just an illusion. There’s only a slight hint of bitterness left.”
“This is good! What do you call this spice?” Aster asks.
He’s right, I can’t help but stuff more meat into my mouth.
“It’s Mautgrass: it’s a purple root stalk of the flower with the same name,” Rory explains, “I’m glad you like it. It’s quite popular among the rich. Sadly, it only thrives in warm areas, so it’s rather expensive; we have to import it from other countries.”
Quite a pity, with Mittens’s help, I believe importing them shouldn’t be a problem, but I don’t want to burden Aster and Mittens.
“So unlike Mautgrass, Greenfruits don’t need a warm climate?” Aster asks.
“No, those are fine with our temperate climate,” Rory answers.
“Is it different to the ones you know?”
“Where I’m from, the fruits of the plant similar to Big Greenfruits are orange. They need a warmer climate to thrive.”
“Orange? That’s quite an odd colour,” I state.
“Is it?” Aster asks.
“It’s a rare colour indeed,” Finn answers, “I like it, even though father and Rory can’t see it that well.”
“I see, so that’s where Rowan got that trait from,” Aster states.
Trait? What trait if mine is he talking about?
“What do you mean, Aster?” I ask.
“You already know, you can’t distinguish red from green,” Aster answers. Oh, that’s what he’s talking about!
“Not being able to see orange that well is more or less the same trait.”
“So, I assume, Grace and Finn can see the colour just fine?” Aster asks.
“Yes, we do,” Grace answers, “rare as those colours are, for social gatherings, I still have some signs to communicate to Cian, what colour the dress the person we’re talking to. After all, if this were publicly known, we have to fear some people would try to use it against us. I suggest you implement some of your own.”
“Luckily, Aster gave me some glasses that help me with that,” I answer.
“Well, those glasses are hit-and-miss,” Aster adds, “they work for you, but that doesn’t mean they work for everyone. Come to think of it, are they the right size? You haven’t been wearing them.”
“Did you say only to use them when I need them?”
“Hmm? Oh, no, that was only for Dohal’s glasses. Yours should be fine to wear all the time.”
“You mentioned glasses?” Rory asks.
“Yes, they are glasses that can help people that have trouble discerning red from green,” Aster answers, “if you like, I try to make you a pair by next time we drop by.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
We finish the course. The servants bring in the next course, a green, transparent mass. It’s half solid and wobbly. You can cut it with a spoon. I take a bite; it tastes like Greenfruit, but it’s much sweeter. This is like Greenfruit juice, but you can kinda chew on it.
“It’s Jelly,” Rory explains, “it’s the juice of Big Greenfruits mixed with powder of Jellio seeds. When you cook it at the correct temperature, it becomes sweet and hardens like this.”
“I see, that also goes on the list of things I want to make.”
“It looks like this time, we’ll get culinary progress,” Cian says.
“Well, with Aster’s knowledge,” I answer, “we’re building an ice house in Dewick. If it works, we’ll gain a cold storage to store meat into the winter.”
“Dewick is certainly the best place to try out something like that.”
“How come?” I ask.
“Most people here in Tatilans are Ailuranthropes, similar people with similar views. Dewick is more mixed, very mixed. The villagers there think different. They’re more open to people, and new ideas.”
“To be honest, I’ve never thought about it.”
“You’ll notice as you travel during your pilgrimage.”