Chapter 240 Award and Honor Ceremony
Roland was currently designing the pattern of the medal for tomorrow's ceremony. It was reasonable to say that he should already have completed this not especially complicated work long ago, but since the beginning of the afternoon, he had felt somewhat ill at ease.
That’s right; it was because of Nightingale’s kiss.
Although there had been some indistinct signs before, since she had never acted on it, he had also never taken the initiative to speak about it either. But now, there was no longer any room for doubt, what would be the right way to respond to her feelings?
This question also let him understand that he didn’t dislike Nightingale at all. Instead, he even somewhat liked her. A beautiful and touching woman with a calm nature, and with whom he was together from morning to night, how could he ever hate her? The reason for Roland’s inability to respond positively towards her laid in the twenty years of ideology he had inherited, as well as the actual question he would have to face in the future... Anna's opinion. Especially the later point, he couldn’t ignore Anna, and only act according to his own preferences.
Perhaps only time could bring him the answer he was looking for.
Suddenly, a knocking sound came over from the other side of the door.
"Come in; it isn’t locked," Roland shouted while being surprised at the same time, who would stil come to his office at this hour?
Only to see that it was actually Anna who pushed the door open and entered the room, holding a tray with two dishes and an earthenware jar. Before she could even open her mouth to speak, Roland already smelled the alluring aroma.
"Yes," Anna let out a small laugh and placed the tray on the table, then removed the top of the jar and uncovered a milky white soup, "This dish is called honey roasted mushrooms, this plate here was made by me and Nightingale made the other one. And in the jar is mushroom soup, it is seasoned with some commonly seen herbs.”
"It looks very delicious," Roland licked his lips, "Come sit down so that we can eat together.”
Anna nodded and sat at the opposite side of the table.
"Why didn’t Nightingale come along?"
"She said... she didn’t know what kind of expression she should show when she sees you," Anna replied. "I do not quite understand why she cares.”
"..." So that’s the reason, Roland softly sighed within his heart, although she had bold and confidently said that she didn’t felt the least bit of regret, even shamelessly boasted "This is not your fault, I just did what I wanted to". However, in truth her ability to summon her courage and leave the cave to explore the outside world wasn’t any better than that of a squirrel. Really, in the end, was she daring or timid... "In that case, let’s eat first.”
When he picked up a piece of mushroom and put it into his mouth, the honey melted and within a flash spread its sweetness within his mouth, soon followed by the mushrooms own juice. In the absence of monosodium glutamate, it was still so rich and tasty that it made him completely speechless... a little salt further enhanced its freshness, and also, the mushroom's own chewy texture, of exquisite tenderness, the taste became simply impeccable.
"These... aren’t ordinary mushrooms right?" after swallowing, Roland immediately asked about the aspect of the meal that let it stand out from the masses of other foods. In general, it was already good when the mushrooms could keep their fresh taste when barbecued, but how could they be this juicy? As if they were filled with soup.
"Well, they are a specialty of the Concealing Forest, the town's people call them Bird Beak Mushrooms," Anna smiled and recounted the mushroom’s history, "That’s why I wanted you to taste them.”
Afterward, Roland also tasted the slowly cooked mushroom soup, which was equivalently matchless, the flavor of the juices was even more rich, it was just like eating tangbao in general, furthermore, with every chew a crisp feeling was invoked. Tasting this for a long time he couldn’t help but think of the in later generation extremely commonly used, seasoning which was added in vast amounts to all kind of dishes – MSG. In the time before MSG had appeared, chefs could only enhance the flavor of food indirectly, for example by using whole chicken bones, mushrooms and soybeans to create a clear soup stock. Although the preceding generations of cooks preferred once more the authentic flavor to show off their own exquisite culinary talent. However, it was still right to say that even if it was a bad or novice chef, as long as they added MSG, they could increase the dull flavor of their food by more than a level.
Supposing that the Bird Beak Mushrooms was naturally so rich and juicy in flavor, they would be the perfect material for extract MSG. They were just growing on top of the trees, making them hard to pick and thus weren’t widespread? For Roland, something like this wasn’t a problem at all.
"This type of mushrooms, do you know how many of them are there?"
"I am not sure... but I presume there should be a lot of them," Anna said, taking another small bite. "Maggie said that she only circled along the edge of the forest, but she was still able to help me pick a huge bag full of them.”
"That is great to hear," Roland already cleanly finished all the mushrooms Anna had roasted. Thus he stretched out his chopsticks to the second plate, "I was worried that there was nothing besides meat dipped in honey or pepper here, I was almost getting tired of eating – pff."
"No-nothing." His heart burst into tears, for goodness sage, this piece is salted too much, did Nightingale accidently drop it into the salt jar? Even though this were his thoughts, he still swallowed the mushroom. Afterward, Roland discovered that other mushroom pieces weren’t completely pasted or cooked, there were also other which were scorched on one side while the other side was left uncooked. Fortunately, the Bird Beak Mushroom were delicious in itself, in this way it covered up her bad cooking to a large degree.
"I... ate my fill," Roland said putting his chopsticks down, with great difficulty he had finished eating the second plate, and then he even had drunk the complete soup, until his belly already began to bulge up. "Thank you."
"Thanks, but there was also Nightingale," Anna said with a laugh, letting her look so incredibly adorable, that Roland couldn’t help but reach out and pinch her nose. The latter whimpered a small cry and then kissed the prince's cheek. "Then I'll now go and wash the dishes, don’t forget to go to bed early."
After the witch had left, Roland lightly sighed.
Although I don’t want to ignore Anna’s thoughts... but there are some matters which aren’t easy to speak about. He helplessly thought, probably this has also something to do with my former identity as a mechanical dog, after all, during my entire academic period, I rarely had any dealings with the opposite sex. And even after graduating and successfully entering a large-scale design and research institute, and having a considerable salary, my situation still hadn't changed much.
Luckily, there is still a long way to go before the Church is completely destroyed, so I have enough time to slowly consider what I need to do next. As for now, it is better to concentrate on completing the work in front of me.
On the next morning, Roland stepped onto a temporary erected wooden platform in the town's square, which was surrounded by a sea of ??people.
Comparing the current Border Town with the former impoverished and desolated town, it seemed as heaven and earth had been turned upside down, saying that it looked completely new wouldn't be an exaggeration.
The town's sparse old houses had been completely torn down. Instead they had been replaced by construction sites and the already finished brick houses scattered all over the place. Furthermore, the latter were constructed in accordance with the development plan of the whole district, giving it a neat and tidy appearance – although they only occupied one-third of the former town’s land, they still offered enough space to accommodate the original two thousand indigenous citizens.
By the time they began building three or four layered houses, as well as opening the follow-up district, the number of people living on the same piece of land would only become more and more. By now still calling it Border Town was no longer consistent with the actual situation, no town had a population of nearly twenty thousand people and a professional army of about six hundred people. However, Roland intended to wait until spring next year before officially promoting Border Town to a real city.
With the support of Echo’s ability, Roland's voice quickly quieted the crowd down.
"Today, is the day of Border Town’s award and honor ceremony, we will use this time to reward and encourage those people who had made a major contribution to all of us. More than half a year has passed since I have arrived here, since then we have defeated the demonic beasts, beat the Duke, and given this town its current appearance. To achieve all this, many people had to sacrifice a lot, among these, there are several outstanding people, they are not nobles, nor are they wealthy merchants, before they served me they were merely ordinary folk, just like you are!
He let his view wander over the people, and then loudly exclaimed, "But now they will be rewarded handsomely! Including a medal personally crafted by me, one hundred gold royals, and five acres of land!”
This news immediately stirred up the masses, sending waves of cheers through the crowd, not to mention the medal and the land, just the one hundred gold royals, was a sum to cause envy in the others.
"This isn’t a one-time ceremony – from now on we will hold this kind of ceremony each year, regardless of your birth, irrespective of your wealth, as long as you have achieved extraordinary merits you can all obtain this highest of honors!”
The moment Roland’s voice fell, Echo’s imitation of a gun salute suddenly resounded through the whole audience, and within the unceasing explosion, Iron Axe, Kyle Sichi, and Nana Pine arrived, escorted by the First Army, and entered the wooden stage.
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