Oyako Nabe (Part 1)
「Dad, it’s not cooked yet.」
Hans lightly chided Lorentz, who had reached out for the chicken that had just started cooking.
Compared to Lorentz, who was trying to eat the chicken right after it was just put into the pot, Hugo had been eating the Chinese cabbage and enoki that had been added earlier. Hans had been putting the ingredients in, so he had not eaten much yet.
Hans was on leave today, so he was visiting Izakaya Nobu as a customer with his father and brother.
「Hugo, eat the meat too, or you won’t grow.」
「Eating meat won’t help you grow, you know. More importantly, Master has to eat his vegetables too.」
「Didn’t I say it’s alright to call me Dad when we leave the workshop, Hugo? Hans, since we’re celebrating today, I’m going to put in more meat. MEAT!」
「Yes, yes, I get it.」
He raised his hand and called out to Leontaine to order three more servings of chicken. Today’s hot pot was called mizutaki, and the chicken was delicious.
Surprisingly, it had been Hugo who wanted to eat something delicious as a celebration.
The lens polishing job from priest Thomas had been successfully finished.
Thanks to Hugo’s perseverance, they had managed to meet the requirements that even someone as skilled as Lorentz could not match. Hans and Lorentz both knew all too well that Hugo had been working deep into the night every day, after the usual work at the workshop was done.
Lorentz acknowledged Hugo’s accomplishment, so it was understandable for him to be happier about it than Hugo was.
「But you’ve really improved, haven’t you…」
Lorentz, who was in a good mood, had already downed several cups of liquor.
「Master, no I mean, Dad, this is the fifth time you’ve said that.」
「Don’t worry about it, Hugo. It’s okay to repeat a good story many times. Many, many times.」
Lorentz had been drinking from a mug that he had specially brought along with him. It was handcrafted by Hugo, and looked pretty good even to Hans.
If it was judged based on how thin and artistic it was though, Lorentz’s pieces were still better.
The fine tint on glass crafted by an experienced artisan like Lorentz was praised by nobles, and it was not something that could be easily imitated by other craftsmen.
On the other hand, the glasses made by Hugo were somewhat gentler. The thick glass had a simple design, so one’s hand could easily handle the weight of the alcohol after it was poured in.
Taisho seemed to have taken a liking to it too, as he had personally placed a few orders.
Lorentz picked up the soft-boiled cabbage, dipped it into the ponzu sauce, and blew on it to cool it down before eating it.
In this cold weather, hot food was a treat.
The feeling when the warmth would spread from the top of his body to the bottom felt comfortable.
「Commander, there’s not enough meat.」
「Yes Dad, wait a moment.」
Hans immediately put more meat into the pot at Lorentz’s slightly drunken request.
At Nobu, the person in charge of adding the ingredients was called the Hot Pot Commander or Commander.
According to Shinobu, it seemed to be an old word for an occupation similar to an office magistrate, but unexpectedly, it spread amongst the customers too, so many Commanders were born.
Incidentally, the best Commander in Izakaya Nobu was Eva, and customers who could not get accustomed to the hot pot would request her help.
(TL: Hot Pot Commander = nabe bugyo, Commander = bugyo)
「But seriously, today’s sake really stings.」
Lorentz happily gulped down the Kumanoji chilled sake.
After having lost his two wives, he had raised his two sons all by himself. Hans must have faced inconceivable hardships as well.
Although Lorentz loved to drink, he usually drank to distract himself from his loneliness.
However, tonight he was drinking joyfully, with no such burdens. Hans accompanied him in his drinking and also felt that the sake stung more than usual.
「In that case, don’t drink too much tonight, Mast-, no, Dad.」
「It’s alright, it doesn’t taste bad. It’s a good kind of sting.」
Hans scooped up a piece of tofu that was simmering at the bottom of the hot pot with a chinese soup spoon.
Of the ingredients in the mizutaki, Hans liked the tofu the best.
It was soft and not assertive, yet it had a strong presence. He wondered if there was something in there that resembled his brother, Hugo.
「Commander, I want tofu too.」
「Can’t you do it yourself, brother?」
「Come on, Hans. Just for today.」
The elder brother, who usually did not and could not drink, was drinking only sake today.
He was probably very happy with his success. Hans had heard that lens polishing was only done in the Holy Kingdom, and that Gernot’s monocle had also been purposely ordered from there.
If Lorentz’s workshop became renowned for polishing lenses well, the resulting profits would be huge. Since it was difficult to stand out with only skillful glass-making, this success had probably made Lorentz and Hugo even happier.
Shinobu and Taisho greeted the new customers.
It sounded like there were three people.
Hans could not see the customers from his angle, but Taisho and Shinobu seemed to be on good terms with them, judging from the tone of their greetings.
However, when Lorentz looked at the customers, who had sat at the back table, his chopsticks stopped.
「Hey… isn’t that the former Emperor?」