Takowasa (Part 1)
「Another glass of ‘Toriaezu Nama’ please! Nevermind, this is troublesome. Please bring two glasses instead!」
Godhardt ordered a lager enthusiastically, then rubbed his palms together while facing the appetizer in front of him.
Today’s order was an unagi zukushi.
There was eel kabayaki, eel shirayaki, umaki and kimosui.
(TL note: unagi zukushi = all eel meal; kimosui = eel liver soup)
~From top left clockwise: Kabayaki, Shirayaki, Kimosui, Umaki~
The eel craze had settled down in Izakaya Nobu recently, instead food carts with eel gyosho yaki on the menu had started to become popular.
Even though his subordinates loved it, Godhardt felt that it still had a long way to go.
Nevertheless, since various stores competed to come up with it, so recently they were coming up with foods that could be eaten quickly.
(TL note: eel gyosho yaki = grilled eel with fish sauce)
In the end, no matter who sold eel in the Old Capital, Godhardt would always make a profit.
The fishing rights of the Old Capital currently belonged to Godhardt.
「Since we don’t have to worry about money, we shall feast!」
The one who cowered in front of his eyes, but was brazenly eating the shirayaki and drinking the atsukan, was unexpectedly, Reinhold.
Like Godhardt, he was also a Master of a Water Transportation Guild, but he had not made any significant profits recently, so his guild was weakening.
Since Godhardt became rich after ripping off Reinhold’s guild and obtaining the fishing rights, it seemed like there had been some shady things going on.
atsukan is hot sake
Godhardt hadn’t swindled it from Reinhold, but the value of the fishing rights before and after the exchange had changed greatly.
Nowadays, there was no one in the old Capital who treated eel as a worthless fish.
Without Izakaya Nobu, eel would still be a worthless fish that could only be made into edible jelly, but this had changed over time.
While waiting for Shinobu to serve the lager, he brought a piece of umaki to his mouth with a fork.
The flavour of the smooth egg and the eel sauce, blended together in perfect harmony within his mouth.
This. This was eel.
「Sorry to have kept you waiting, here are two glasses of ‘Nama’.」
Just as he was eating the kabayaki, Shinobu brought out the lager at just the right time.
This was too good.
Izakaya Nobu’s eels were fluffy but still contained a strong flavour.
Could it be the fat accumulated over autumn? Godhardt preferred this over the ones he ate during summer.
「Reinhold-san, this eel is really a delicious dish, huh. I think I could eat this every day if it’s like this.」
「Godhardt-san, your voice is too loud. There are other customers as well. Also, I think I would get tired of it if I ate it every day.」
After being told that there were other customers around, he looked around and saw that there were a lot of customers in Izakaya Nobu today. Among the faces, he recognised the sentry guard pair, the deacon, and the tax collector with a monocle.
Gernot was also eating Napolitan today. There were also a few unknown faces here and there.
There was one who looked so large, it seemed like he was going to burst.
The girl in charge of the dishes, Eva, and the young wife of the Company Commander also worked here.
「This is a big deal. It has not even been a year since this store opened for business, Reinhold-san.」
「That means that the customers think well of it. It is very important for a restaurant, you know.」
「It is that way for the Water Transportation Guild too.」
The reason why Godhardt was able to speak on such familiar terms with Reinhold now wasn’t because of the big difference in the sizes of their guilds, due to the matter of the fishing rights.
Reinhold, who judged that it wasn’t possible to conduct business by himself alone, had recently started working as Godhardt’s subcontractor.
Even if both were from Water Transportation Guilds, they had their own respective expertise.
As the oldest Water Transportation Guild in the Old Capital, the technological strength of the remaining guild members under Reinhold was high.
With Reinhold’s cooperation, they could undertake a whole new level of work that would not have been possible previously.
Since they began working as a team, it had come to a point where their reputation to their main clients, who were ship owners and companies, had become better, so Godhardt had been in a good mood recently.
「Reinhold-san, we had various issues in the past, but I’m glad we are working well together now. I would be grateful if you let bygones be bygones.」
「It’s the same with me. Ever since Godhardt-san sent jobs to me, I have finally been able to take a breather. Once again, thank you very much.」
After making a toast with their glasses and sake cups, they downed their liquor in one go.
Delicious liquor taken together with delicious appetizers.
There was nothing happier than this for a body that was fatigued from work.
「So, Reinhold-san, I heard that you had something serious to discuss with me today.」
「Yeah, that’s right. Well then, I’ll tell you the story soon.」
Even though Godhardt did not know of the contents of the talk, he understood that it was business related.
He figured that it would be about the business arrangements that Reinhold had made with the fishing village in the north previously.
Reinhold had a feeling that Godhardt would agree to almost anything today.
However on the contrary, he wanted to stop it if it became a ridiculous gamble.
Reinhold, who had succeeded the Water Transportation Guild from his father, believed that he was still young and wanted to become successful in one shot, but he couldn’t deny the fact that he lacked experience.
Before his mind became dulled by becoming drunk, Reinhold wanted Godhardt to listen to this youngster’s idea first.
「As you know, Godhardt-san, our guild can only maintain the water transportation on the scale of the Old Capital, and that is our limit.」
「That’s true. There’s Eleonora’s part as well.」
The three guilds had been able to coexist until now, but there were some circumstances as to why each guild had only employed a few labourers.
As a matter of fact, the second and third sons from the surrounding rural areas had come to the old Capital in droves recently, so it felt like the number of labourers had slightly increased. Naturally, the Water Transportation Guild, that operated a business, had interests in this area, but conflicts had appeared.
「Therefore, I’m thinking of starting a new business.」
「New business? That’s brave.」
「Since my guild is the smallest, I can say this casually.」
Even so, Reinhold’s guild was the oldest, and had some history as well. It was a shameful way of thinking to just declare that they were the smallest guild so casually.
However, Godhardt wasn’t that insensitive to point that out. It was Reinhold who had to make a decision about his troubles. There was also the feeling of wanting to support him.
「The Eisen Schmidt Company, that deals with grain trading, seems to have opened up the market in the North recently.」
「Yeah, have you begun handling Joosten wheat? Since Bachschouf was gone, I heard that there are many profitable opportunities appearing.」
The Bachschouf company that tried to make Izakaya Nobu theirs was dissolved on suspicions of lager smuggling. The aftermath of that incident was still felt in various places.
「This talk is about getting involved in that market.」
「Getting involved, huh. Briefly speaking, I think it’s difficult.」
「Yeah, I would have my company purchase their special products, which haven’t had any exposure in the Old Capital so far.」
「Are you saying you want me to lend you capital?」
Indeed, that sounded reasonable.
The dealings themselves were the company’s domain, but Reinhold would have a share in this in the form of financial investment there.
It was a small gamble to borrow some funds from Godhardt’s guild, but there was also the debt of gratitude.
「I feel really guilty, but would you please lend it to me?」
「I can’t really say an amount or a time interval, since we’re here. However, I think this is an interesting discussion.」
That was all Godhardt could say for now. However, there was one, no, two things that bothered him.
「Well, Reinhold-san. I have two things I want to ask.」
「What is it?」
Reinhold replied with a serious expression.
「First, why did you plan to deal with the Eisen Schmidt Company? And second…that thing under the counter, that strange pot that is moving from time to time. What is that?」
It was difficult to ask, as Reinhold had come earlier, but there was a strange pot underneath his seat, and it had been moving slightly all the time.
「I can answer both of your questions at the same time.」
Reinhold lifted the pot from the floor and removed the lid slowly.
The smell of the sea drifted through the air.
「This is the special product that will carry our guilds’ futures on its shoulders…an octopus.」