|“||If you're feeling down, why don't you try this dessert I made~||”|
A diligent young woman who is always very forthcoming in taking on chores and who enjoys talking with visitors from all over. She learned some pharmacology from Calamus Wine and likes making desserts, so she often makes herself some pastries and tea to relax with.
Almond tofu isn't actual tofu; it's a jelly made by boiling sweet almond paste and water together and then freezing it. It is a unique Chinese traditional dessert with a sweet taste and slick mouthfeel. It is packed with nutrients, and was a famous dish of a Manchu-Han imperial feast, named after its tofu-shaped appearance.
How to Acquire
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|Contract||Hello, Master Attendant. My name's Almond Tofu, and my specialties are housework and cakes. Um, Food Souls don't count as child labor!|
|Log In||Welcome back! I made some dessert! This is just for you.|
|Ice Arena||So chilly! Convenient for making sweets!|
|Skills||You all just don't listen!|
|Ascend||I feel lighter. Will I be able to do more work now?|
|Fatigue||I can keep going... Almost done...|
|Recovering||Ha... Anything you need me to do, Master Attendant? I'm all rested up!|
|Team Formation||Coming, coming! Hold on a minute.|
|Knockout||Ugh... that hurts...|
|Notice||Food's ready! Take your time, there's still dessert after this!|
|Idle 1||The medicines that Calamus taught me can be used in food too? I'll try it next time~|
|Idle 2||Should I find another part time job? The boss lady is nice... but I've already learned everything there is to learn here...|
|Idle 3||Um... I need to speed up and try to get the food ready before Master returns.|
|Interaction 1||I'm finished all the work around the house. Can I go out and find some part time work?|
|Interaction 2||Master Attendant, the next time we go shopping, can I buy some extra supplies? I want to try making a new dessert.|
|Interaction 3||Master Attendant, did you like the tofu I made?! You liked it? Oh... then that's good!|
|Pledge||Um... You mean you want to be together always? Yes! I want to be together with Master Attendant forever too, and help you do many, many things.|
|Intimacy 1||Uh... Master Attendant, your hugs are so warm, it makes me feel all sweet inside, just like eating cake...|
|Intimacy 2||Master Attendant, you don't look down on me, do you? All I can do is housework and make sweets... Ah! Master Attendant, you're the best!|
|Intimacy 3||Master Attendant, Master Attendant! The housework's all done again today! Reward time! Yep! I want a pat on the head!|
|Victory||Aside from housework and desserts, my combat is pretty terrific too!|
|Defeat||Ugh... sorry... I don't know much about combat...|
|Feeding||Mmm!! Thanks, Master Attendant!|
This Story has been fan-translated. Official translations will be added when they become available.
The rising sun peeked above the horizon; the chickens greeted it brightly. As sunlight broke through the wavering morning clouds, it bathed the stone-paved road in light.
Daybreak in that little town was still shrouded in thin mist.
I stretched lazily, secured my apron, and began wiping down the tables and chairs in the store. When that was done, I went to the kitchen and took inventory of our ingredients.
"Good morning, Little Almond."
"Good morning, Grandma! Breakfast is over there - eat it while it's still hot!"
Saying this, I pushed open the store's main door and let the morning crowd flood in.
Oh, and as for this plainly-dressed, kind-faced grandma? That's my Master Attendant, the one who summoned me.
"Big Sister Almond, good morning! Mother said she wants to reserve five of your purple yam balls today!"
"Good morning, Little Wen! Okay, be careful on your way to school!!"
"Morning, Little Almond! I want a cup of peanut and almond tea!"
"Big Brother Aze, good morning! Here, don't burn your fingers!"
The customers were already bustling to and fro so early in the morning, but I took my time taking their orders. To see their overflowing smiles when they taste our desserts - it made me feel like everything I'd ever done was worth it.
I have to work hard so Grandma's sweets store does better and better, so even more people can taste these delicious desserts! With that goal in mind, my heart felt just a little fuller.
"Little Almond, what's making you so happy today? You're bubbling over just like this pot."
"Big Sister Calamus? Wah?! I forgot to turn off the stove!"
"Hahaha, seems like business is as good as usual. Oh, right - have you made any progress memorizing the medical theory I taught you last time?"
"Wow, Little Almond is really amazing!"
"Calamus, you're here." Grandma slowly hobbled in from the courtyard.
"Good morning, Grandma. Did you feel better after trying that last prescription? Should I adjust the formula?"
"No need, no need. I feel much better. Thank you for your work, Calamus."
Big Sister Calamus is just like me - she's also a food soul. But unlike our other customers, she comes by the store every few days to see Grandma and prescribe her some medicine.
Big Sister Calamus is always kind and generous, and a brilliant herbalist on top of that. Under her watchful eye, Grandma has stayed in good health.
But as Grandma's food soul, I can't always have Big Sister Calamus do everything for me. So, I resolved to learn some medicine from her. That way, I can take better care of Grandma in the future and develop nourishing snacks for her.
Gazing at Big Sister Calamus's back, I reminded myself - I must work even harder.
Night fell. As the streetlights enclosed the little town in a halo of warm yellow light, yet another busy day slowly faded into the chirping of cicadas on the breeze.
After cleaning up the storefront, I walked into the courtyard and saw Big Sister Calamus sitting by the stone table, head in her hands. Her brows were locked in thought.
"Big Sister Calamus... are you okay? Is something wrong... Do you want to try some of the new desserts I made today?"
I walked over and put down the date cakes I was carrying. "They're really sweet!"
"Thank you, Little Almond."
Big Sister Calamus smiled like she always did, as if what I'd just seen was simply a trick of the light.
"Big Sister Calamus... Why do you always come to see Grandma...?"
After a brief silence, I asked one of the questions that had long dwelled in my heart.
"Grandma treated me very well in the past - she always took care of me and gave me sweets to eat. Now that Grandma is old, I need to return the favor."
Grandma once told me that she used to be the servant of some very important person, but she never told me who or where. Big Sister Calamus's answer seemed to connect some dots.
"Oh - then Big Sister Calamus stayed there, too?"
"There? What did Grandma tell you?"
Big Sister Calamus wrinkled her forehead, and her tone turned a little more pressing.
"Grandma never told me... She only said that it's all in the past..."
"Did they... Did they bully Grandma there?"
I didn't know why, but Big Sister Calamus's expression looked just like Grandma's when I mentioned that place - a little strange.
A nameless foreboding welled up in my heart.
Yet Big Sister Calamus just patted me on the head.
"No, that person... they treated us very well. Look, all the medicine I know, I learned from them. That person also really liked Grandma's sweet desserts."
I felt the warmth from Big Sister Calamus's palm in each pat. Even though I still had some lingering doubts, my spirits perked up as I thought of everyone around me.
Grandma always says she wants her dessert store to bring everyone warmth and happiness. Here, everyone will be able to put away their fatigue and worries.
I quietly told myself - I cannot let down Grandma's expectations.
Some time later, Grandma fell sick. She had always been perfectly healthy before, but now she couldn't even leave her bed.
I could not find Big Sister Calamus, so I could only ask the big sister from the neighboring shop to take care of the store while I consulted each of the town's doctors in turn. But none of them could diagnose this strange illness. They only prescribed some medicine that even I could tell would be useless.
After saying goodbye to the last doctor, I anxiously paced about the room. I wanted to go out and find Big Sister Calamus, but I couldn't leave Grandma by herself.
Seeing the pained expression on Grandma's face as she lay prone on her bed - in that moment, a feeling of anxiety and horror crept over me.
Suddenly, loud shouting and clattering footsteps sounded from the store. Before I even had the chance to go and look, those footsteps were already at the door.
A few people in black robes roughly pushed it open and walked in without a sliver of hesitation.
I spread my arms protectively, guarding the bed.
"Who are you...?"
"You don't need to know that. You just need to know that we're here to punish a defector," the black-robed man, who seemed to be their leader, said coldly.
"There is only one outcome for a slave who dares to abandon their master."
A flash of silver light appeared as that man slashed towards Grandma.
With my weak soul power, I could only barely block it.
"Huh, so it's just a weak little food soul. Everyone, let's attack together."
The black-robed man seemed entirely disdainful of me. The others also pulled out knives and rushed my way.
There was no way I could let them hurt Grandma!
Just as I was about to make my last stand, a familiar figure flashed before my eyes and the black-robed men neatly toppled to the ground.
It was Big Sister Calamus!
"Calamus Wine? Aren't you afraid our master will punish you?" Their leader glared viciously at her.
"Huh? If I were afraid, I would not have come."
Saying this, she extended her hand and revealed several silver needles.
Seeing that they were at a disadvantage, the black-robed men scrambled up and scattered.
From the bed came the sound of cloth rubbing against cloth. With great effort, Grandma opened her eyes - she must've been woken up by the noise.
"Ah, ah, ah! Grandma!"
I rushed to her side.
"Grandma, Little Almond, I'm sorry. I came late..."
"Little Almond, Calamus... [cough] You're... all here... [cough]"
Grandma just barely managed to open her mouth before her words were buried in a spasm of violent coughing.
In unison, Big Sister Calamus and I let out shocked cries. Through Big Sister Calamus's administration of medicine, Grandma slowly stabilized.
"Big Sister Calamus, I..."
"It's okay. I know what you want to ask."
Big Sister Calamus sighed, then looked towards Grandma.
"Now that it's come to this, I can only tell you the truth."
"That person... was also my Master Attendant. They were someone with both great medical skill and great status, and they were also extremely strict. It was through them that I first learned medicine, and I was often scolded and punished by them."
"At the time, I had a strange medicinal smell about me, and most people would not go near me. There was just one old lady who was willing to speak to me and comfort me - and she would even make sweets for me to eat. That was when I met Grandma."
"Later on, I learned that from the very beginning, that person had poisoned all their servants. They were the only one with the antidote. This poison would take effect after a certain amount of time, depending on each person's condition. If it progressed quickly, it took three to five years; if it worked slowly, it might take ten years."
"When the poison took effect, they would not immediately die, but they would experience endless pain... Many people would willingly submit themselves to that person in search of the antidote, and that was exactly how they would control their servants."
"Of course, they wouldn't give this antidote to anyone who begged for it. If that person thought the poisoned individual was of no use to them, then they would let them die. As if... as if they were dolls to play with."
"Later on, they discovered that I was looking for the antidote for Grandma. I was afraid they would make trouble for me, so I lied that Grandma had already died and secretly sent her here."
"And so, Grandma set up this store front, and now she even has your help. At first I thought... everything was resolved, and all I had to do was find the antidote..."
"But who would've guessed, that person investigated my whereabouts. It's my fault for not being cautious enough. Don't worry, I will go and settle this matter."
Big Sister Calamus's voice seemed a little hoarse; she clenched her fists tightly.
And I had nothing to say for a long while.
"It was me... who brought this upon you..."
Grandma said with great difficulty, before raising her hand to gesture us closer.
"If it weren’t for Calamus helping me run away, if it weren’t for Little Almond helping me take care of the shop, how would I have had such a life? You are the ones who’ve worked the hardest... I'm old, I can't do anything any more..."
"What... it was never too much for us! Big Sister Calamus is so strong! She will definitely have a plan. Grandma will definitely live to be a hundred years old!"
I could not stop the shaking of my shoulders; my tears splattered on the edge of the bed.
Even Big Sister Calamus started to choke up.
"Grandma, I will definitely find the antidote formula."
"Silly kids, it's not like I don't know what that person is capable of... Thank you... You are all good children. I also know, my own days are numbered..."
Grandma reached out to hold us, gently touching us with that warmth.
"But I am already so very content... In the future, you must take care of yourselves.."
Not too long after, Grandma passed away.
Big Sister Calamus helped me take care of the funeral proceedings.
"Little Almond, you... What are your plans after this...?"
"I don't know... I want to keep on making Grandma's sweets."
Saying this, I thought of something.
"Big Sister Calamus... I want to know... the people like Grandma, are there many of them... Are they... are they also struggling..."
Big Sister Calamus stayed silent for quite some time before answering me.
"There's a place... Perhaps it can help them, and it will also let you keep making sweet things. I know the person in charge there - do you want to go?"
V. Almond Tofu
In a small town in Light Kingdom, there was a famous sweets store. The owner of that store was a kind old lady, and that old lady had a food soul named Almond Tofu.
Almond Tofu had a talent for making desserts and a hard-working attitude. She took on all the miscellaneous chores and errands of her own volition, whether they be big or small.
The two ran the store perfectly. The desserts they made were numerous in variety and delicious in taste - and so, they were very well-regarded by the townsfolk.
When the store owner passed away under unforeseen circumstances, the store was acquired by a businessman and later became a local specialty.
Meanwhile, in a place called the Ink Pavilion, Dongtang was showing Almond Tofu around.
"Chrysanthemum Wine, the ancient books say that excessive drinking harms the spirit and weakens the blood, with consequences being illness or even death. So on this day, how much wine have you drank?"
"Then you should also know that in the ancient books, they say wine can clear the meridians, purge cold humors, and fix chills. It is truly a one-of-a-kind treasure."
"You... I speak of quantity, not of quality."
"Ah, then what does it have to do with me?"
Almond Tofu looked at the yellow-clothed young woman and the white-clothed young man walking towards her, and blinked at them curiously.
"These are Chrysanthemum Wine and Laba Noodles. Ah, they're always like this - don't take it seriously," Dongtang said, smiling.
"Big Sister Chrysanthemum Wine, Big Brother Laba Noodles, hello! I'm Almond Tofu. If you want to eat sweets, you can always talk to me! And I can do a lot of chores, too!"
"Are you the Little Almond Dongtang spoke of? You certainly are a cute little sister. Ah... don't worry, you'll have Laba Noodles to help out with all the chores in the pavilion. By the way, do you drink wine?"
"Little Almond, let's go over there~"
"Ah? Oh, okay!"
- a bastardized version of li shizhen's notes on wine in the materia medica.
- this is likely paraphrasing tao hongjing's commentaries on the materia medica.