The Prince Doesn't Cry From Mere Onions - Chapter 2.2
“Hmph, I don’t want to hear that from a guy who never chopped a single onion in his life. Do you know how hard that is? Even if you try to take care of it well by keeping its skin on—”
“Stop! With that strong nagging of yours, who’s gonna take you, huh?”
If it isn’t someone with a large heart like me—was what he was going to say, but….
Anna was no longer interested in Dieter.
“Ah, Mr. Bertram! Please don’t lick the bowl! I’ll give you more!”
“I am full. There is no need to give me more.”
“Ehehe, was it so good that you licked the bowl even when you were full?”
“……Ah, I see.”
“I did so because if it dries, it will become harder to wash. I will clean up now.”
After rendering Anna and Dieter speechless with one two-lettered word, ‘No,’ Bertram headed to the kitchen. Judging from the sound of running water, he seemed to be about to wash the dishes.
Dieter glued himself to Anna’s hip and began whispering.
“Look at those huge hands. Ya don’t think he won’t break dishes?”
“……I’ll have to believe in him, I guess.”
“More than that, I’m more suspicious of other things. That guy, from up close, he’s covered with scars. He’s gone through and seen so much, that’s why he wouldn’t bat an eye just by chopping mere onions.”
“Really? He must’ve gotten hurt during the war.”
“Was it really the war?”
Dieter narrowed his eyes.
Anna also knew what he was trying to say.
It had already been three years since the war had ended.
Most of those who’d lost their homes, even deserters who had nowhere to go, largely settled somewhere.
If there was someone who was still wandering around with injuries, there was a greater possibility that he was a criminal.
Dieter lowered his voice.
“I’ll come often. If he seems suspicious, then you have to tell me!”
“It’s fine, dad wasn’t someone who’d let just anyone borrow his stuff.”
“That right? Your mother doesn’t know yet, right?”
Anna’s mother was due to come back today after she’d gone to the market in the next village over. If it was her, then she wouldn’t let in that suspicious man into their house.
Without knowing Dieter’s expectations, Anna pointed with her blunt spoon and spoke.
“While you’re here, peel some potatoes before you go.”
“What’s the use of having a worker!”
“Bertram’s hands are so big that he keeps cutting the potatoes in half. The potatoes you peel sits most comfortably in my hands.”
Saying so nonchalantly, Anna stands up.
As incredulous as Dieter was, he grinned at Anna’s back.
The potatoes I peeled are the best? As I thought, you’re conscious of me, aren’t you?
The sole restaurant of this village had no name.
It was, in any case, a countryside restaurant that could go by ‘Anna’s eatery’ for everyone to understand.
However, to anyone who first saw the restaurant, they would be surprised by its size. After all, though they only had enough customers to fill maybe three or four tables, the restaurant was big enough to house your average squadron.
These were all traces of the war.
When the war aggravated, the nation had appropriated this entire village, to be used as a source of supplies for the military. In the process, Anna’s small restaurant had been renovated into the dining area.
How ridiculous had it been when, upon returning to the village after the war ended, Anna received this vast space as ‘compensation’.
Anyways, Anna prudently used this huge area as a storage-cum-restaurant, and she fed straggler soldiers alive for a while.
Of course, victims of war weren’t limited to only the straggling soldiers.
“Young lady, have you seen my son?”
A gray-haired old woman mumbled. Anna replied in a friendly voice.
“I’ll tell you once you finish your soup.”
“Heugh, there’s too many onions.”
“Hey now, they say other people would drink rain water if it’s free! Just drink it up, it’s good for your health.”
Even as she grumbled, the old woman drank up her soup.
Every time she moved, dirt fell from the rags she called clothes. It seemed like she had dug out the ground today as well in search of her son.
After she’d lapped up the soup to the bottom of her bowl, the old woman bowed her head down to Anna at the door.
“Thanks for the meal. But have you seen my son? He’s not a bad kid.”
“I’ll tell you if you don’t dig up the ground tomorrow.”
“I need to find him before he’s taken by the army…..”
After the old woman left, swaying, Anna held out a broom to Bertram.
“Please sweep up the dirt a little.”
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