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My Cabbages! [Houren]

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#1Houren Vanadis 

on Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:09 am

It was a sad day when one of Fairy Tail's finest mages had to resort to crating cabbages for money. It wasn't as though he actually needed the money to survive, but at the same time, it wasn't in Houren's character to reject a job. The effort needed to complete the job might not have been worth the money he was going to get, but his farmer needed the help so why not? According to the locals that Houren spoke with, Farmer Jim was the most respected in Marigold, a constant in a town that was always changing with each and every year. He was the kindly old uncle that everyone knew in their respective hometowns, only that this one seemed to be a quirk; that is, he was in love with cabbages, the feel of them, the taste of them, the way the word rolled off his tongue, the very concept of cabbages made him happy, and while Houren was happy for him, that didn't necessarily mean he wanted a lecture on the history of the cabbage. That was precisely what Farmer Jim gave Houren though, when he approached him in his farmland and told him that he was the farmhand for today's cabbage crating.

The farmer's eyes lit up immediately after seeing Houren. He seemed to be inspecting his body, and made a offhanded comment about how Houren reminded him of himself when he was young, muscles and all. He was kind enough to insinuate that with his current body, crating a hundred or more cabbages would be a cinch. It made the Fairy Tail mage both happy and uneasy. He had trained hard throughout his life, but the monotonous job that was crating cabbages was a new thing for him, and when you considered the way this Farmer Jim guy talked about cabbages then you had to consider the consequences if you were to, say, drop a cabbage of crate it improperly. "Do you know what it is that they say about cabbages, boy? It's an absolute nutritional powerhouse, and it tastes great no matter how it's cooked! Manganese, vitamin C, K, fiber, it has it all! If you manage to do a good job, I might even let you taste my famous cabbage soup. That'll get you working hard, eh?" he nudged Houren in the ribs as though he had just given him the best news of his life, who was less than enthusiastic. He imagined that, after crating so many cabbages for such a long time, he would be famished enough to eat anything, even if it was some bland sounding soup.

"I'll hold you to that promise, Jim," came his reply, tinted with feigned happiness.

The farmer was nice enough to demonstrate to Houren just how cabbage crating was done, and fortunately for everyone involved in today's request, the Fairy Tail mage was an incredibly quick learner. Although Farmer Jim's teaching method was incredibly convoluted and full of silly metaphors and facts about cabbages, Houren was able to pinpoint the essentials and narrow everything down to three essential steps; put the cabbage in the crate carefully, and make sure that the box was airtight so that mold would be unable to grow. The last step was to make sure you didn't open up these crates again, that was the retailer's job for when they put the cabbages up for sale. That was pretty much it, and the packing went along fairly smoothly from thereon out. There were times when he almost dropped a cabbage or two, but somehow his reflexes were good enough to catch them before they hit the ground. There were a few cabbages that didn't grow quite right and Farmer Jim had instructed him to those ones aside; if they seemed to be rotting, or if they were deemed too small to sell. Apparently, cabbages were sold by weight, but Farmer Jim had his own standards. For example, he absolutely refused to sell cabbages that were below a certain weight because only low quality farmers did that. At the same time, he loved cabbages so much that he thought they all deserved to be eaten, so it was with these rotting, stunted cabbages that he kept to create his cabbage soup. For some reason, Houren wasn't very excited at the prospect of eating a soup consisting of all the rejects.

"I'm really happy you're doing this for me, you know? I have a son who's slightly older than you; great kid, was on his way to being a great cabbage farmer. In the end, he packed up his bags and went to Era to become a Rune Knight and my daughter did the same, but to marry some guy, although she wasn't nearly as cabbage inclined as my son. I need the hands, you know?"

The sad backstory made Houren somewhat wistful, but at the same time, he couldn't admit that he could relate to the story. After all, he didn't have children of his own, and if he did, they certainly wouldn't be old enough to go to Era to train to become Rune Knights, or even get married. The farmer did not mention his wife, but likely, she was deceased or at the very least, divorced from him. Houren made a comment about how it was natural for children to leave the nest eventually, a line that seemed to cheer the farmer up somewhat. The Farmer Jim did not really speak after that, but did make some comments whenever he saw a particularly splendid cabbage and tutted when he noticed one that he could not sell. Houren kept quiet, putting the ones that were not fit to be sold to one side, while crating the rest. At this point in time, he didn't even need to think anymore and his hands just moved by themselves when he crated. Jim seemed to have noticed this and commended Houren at the end of day, right before he paid him the money.


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