Part 4: Chapter 9 – Drinking
Euphie really was a talented artist. Tor thought as he looked at the picture she was drawing while telling Piam of their travels.
Even Kirish, who was a professional painter, was impressed as Euphie drew from her memory.
But while the girls were talking excitedly, Kirish then gestured to Tor, and they moved towards the kitchen.
“Have you eaten dinner?”
“No, not yet.”
“In that case, we will serve you something. We have some of the Crambarrow’s famous blood sausages. They contain some tart, dried fruits, and are easy to eat. Even if they are a little bitter.”
Kirish said as he began to prepare dinner. It was clear that he was used to handling a knife.
“You are not married?”
“No. I have never been close to anyone, before or after finding Piam. After all, I just stayed inside and did nothing but draw. When I first found Piam, I wondered how they even knew that a man was living here.”
“Sorry, but could you take this over there? I will prepare some drinks in the meantime.”
He took the salad, and plates and forks to the living room, where the girls were.
The twins were talking about the Flaretalia dungeon, while Piam listened with shining eyes.
“Mailey. Mr. Kirish made a salad.”
Tor said as he passed it to her. Piam was so absorbed in the story that she didn’t even notice Tor.
And so he retreated quickly, as Piam might later berate Kirish for making the guest carry the food.
As Tor returned swiftly, Kirish thanked him by putting his hands together.
“Thank you. I realized that Piam might get angry after you left. Sorry to ask, when you are a guest.”
“It’s nothing at all. You are letting us stay the night, after all.”
“You can stay for as long as you like…is what I wish I could say. But I am thinking about selling off this house and moving somewhere else after I finish my current painting. Well, it should be fine for the next two or three days.”
Kirish prepared some drinks and cups.
Tor looked at the red color and said the name.
“Ah, Bloody Aquavit.”
“Oh, you know it? It is quite rare, though.”
“I drank it once in a Durande bar.”
“Huh. I see. I suppose it was not to your liking?”
“No, it was delicious.”
Kirish was relieved to hear that as he poured the drink into the glasses.
They raised their glasses to each other and took a sip. Then Tor turned towards the living room.
The three girls were still talking happily.
“Mr. Kirish. You say that you’re going to sell the house. But weren’t you also talking about repairing the swing?”
“Aye. I was going to take it down at first, but I heard that it would be easier to sell the house with it. And so I’m going to leave it.”
“That’s surprising. While we were walking here, all of the houses seemed like they were advertising the fact that an artist lived there.”
Kirish burst into laughter.
And then he wiped his eyes and nodded.
“Aye, exactly. There are not many houses that feel like lived-in homes, I suppose. That being said, it is difficult to get rid of stone statues in gardens. And so properties like mine are easier to handle.”
Tor nodded understandingly as he took another sip.
“And where will you go from here? As an artist, I thought that Grambarrow was the ideal place to live.”
“Yes, there was a time when Crambarrow was the dream. It probably still is, for musicians, at least. But for a painter…”
Kirish shrugged his shoulders as he began to boil the sausages.
“Do you know Riskin Barrow?”
“I met him today. As an Accommodationist, he wanted me to contact him if we discovered the vampire, but we refused.”
“That is an interesting suggestion. However, I am not talking about Riskin Barrow the Adventurer or Lord, but the painter. Well, they are still the same person.”
Kirish cut the boiled sausages carefully so that they would not fall apart as he continued.
“Currently, blue has become incredibly popular in Crambarrow. So if you do not use a lot of blue, you may not get noticed in contests.”
“I bet a lot of people will go bankrupt from that.”
Blue pigments were from the stone lapis lazuli, which could not be found in the area around Crambarrow.
In particular, ultramarine, known for its vivid blue color, was only about two percent of the raw materials.
And so there should not be much of it in the market, and the prices would keep going up.
However, Tor’s guess was rejected by Kirish.
“While blue is very popular right now, Riskinan’s blue is not from lapis lazuli. It is a new blue pigment.”
“A new blue? Huh, so I guess the rarity helped it become popular then.”
He thought back on the Riskinan painting that he had seen. The twins had been surprised by the amount of blue that it used. But it made sense now, if there was a new, cheaper blue pigment.
Kirish continued while frying some potatoes.
“Well, it is only popular with people who view the paintings. Because Riskinan alone produces and sells the pigment, and so only a small number of people can acquire it. What do you think will happen then?”
“Only a small group will get attention at contests?”
“Exactly. On top of that, winning paintings are then reproduced and sold outside of Crambarrow. And Riskinan, the Barrow family, will profit solely from it.”
“And I guess you are not included in that?”
“Indeed. And so my income will drop no matter what. That isn’t the only reason that I am giving up this place, but it is part of it. I believe that the Barrow family wants to turn the blue pigment into a special product. Decreasing the amount of lapis lazuli imports would greatly lighten the weight on the city’s government finances.”
For Crambarrow, with an industrial structure that meant importing pigments and raw materials to create works of art and dyed cloth in order to export them to other cities, becoming self-sufficient with pigments could result in a great reduction in import costs.
There were many monsters and magitec beasts around Crambarrow, and due to the transportation costs being high, the import of pigments was a great burden on the city.
As the governors of the city, the Barrow family would have good reason to support Riskinan’s efforts as an artist.
“But why is he working as clan leader…?”
Came the question.
He had talked about it with the twins as well, but if his role was to help spread the special blue pigment, then the Barrow family were like his patrons. There was no point in working as an Adventurer, when he could just hire them. That way, he could focus on his work as an artist.
Tor determined that his own predictions had been wrong, and decided to discuss it with the twins later.
Kirish then handed Tor the plate of blood sausages.
Without saying anything, he delivered it to the living room and then returned to the kitchen.
“Since it’s not the kind of food that goes with liqueur, I prepared some red wine. Here.”
“Thank you. …That’s good!?”
It had a deep, rich smell of grapes, and was a refined, full bodied wine. Tor couldn’t help but exclaim in surprise.
“I thought that I’d open it before we left. I didn’t want to risk having it ruined while we moved.”
“Well, now I feel bad. Should I pay for it?”
“It’s fine. I wouldn’t have been able to finish it myself anyway.”
“But even then… Ah, then we could help with the moving. You could put your things in the magitec car, and we can take you to the new place.”
“Really? That would be a great help. Now, here is our share of the blood sausages.”
The blood sausages had a texture similar to liver paste and shredded, tart fruit mixed together. And while the bitterness and tartness was a little strong, it went well with wine.
“Is this the Crambarrow speciality? The blood sausage that even vampires like?”
“One type. About ten years ago, various stores started to sell their own version of the blood sausage. But as they spoil quickly, they are only made in small quantities, and are not exported out of Crambarrow. Not being able to eat them after leaving is one of my few regrets.”
Apparently, it was one of his favorite foods, and so Kirish looked a little sad as he took a bite.