Salted - Part 2
Bet you weren't expecting an update on this, were you? I certainly wasn't! But after I made the animatic of part 1, a lot of people, my fiance included, wanted mooooooooore.... So here we are🥰
You can read Part 1 HERE if you want to refresh.
I Will probably do an animatic for this one as well, eventually
Garchi carefully rubbed his eyes as he sat back. He needed a break, he'd been at this for so long, he was getting screen strain.
Humans sure do love their strange measurements. Teaspoon this, liter that, and then all of the sudden there's something called metric and standard? Why were there two completely different systems of measurement? Why hadn’t humans just transferred to solaric? It made so much more sense!
“ Oh hey, Garchi! I thought I'd find you here,” Vera pulled the weary akeno out of his study-induced stupor. Her curly orange hair bounced slightly as she entered and carefully leaned her shoulder against the doorway with her hand behind her. That was a weird position. Was she holding something in her hand back there?
“Chris says you've been up here for hours. What are you studying for? I thought you already passed level 5 certification.”
“Oh yes, I did,” Garchi sat up straighter and tried to discreetly fix his skewed poncho. “I, well, actually, I'm not studying per se, I'm, uh, well I'm trying to wrap my head around this,” he gestured at the hard-copy book sitting open on the desk surrounded by datapads and notes.
Garchi nodded for a moment, then his heart froze. “Oh, it’s your book? I’m so sorry! There were a couple in the kitchen area and I assumed they were just stocked by the ship. I didn't realize they were private property!”
“Oh no worries, I was just wondering where it went. I couldn't find it and had to use Terri's to bake... this.” She straightened her stance while she pulled out what she’d been hiding behind her back.
Garchi stared for a bit.
Vera stepped fully into the room and held out the plate in her hand. On it was a yellow-ish cube that seemed to radiate the most delicious smell Garchi had ever experienced.
“It's safe, no chocolate in this one. It's my favorite, so thankfully I had it pretty much memorized. Just a simple sweet butter cake. Well, kind of. I replaced the butter with coconut oil because I know akenos are lactose intolerant. So… sweet coconut cake? I think it gives it a nice flavor, but you tell me what you think.” With that, she handed the plate over.
Garchi took the offered cake and gently pushed the cookbook and datapads over to make room to set the plate down in front of him. His heart was racing again as he looked at it. Was this safe for him to eat? Humans loved so many dangerous foods, would this be okay?
Vera leaned closer, and for a split tic, Garchi’s heart felt like it was going to beat its way out of his chest as her curly hair fell over her shoulder and briefly brushed him.
“Oh, here’s the fork. Nearly forgot.” She set the shiny utensil next to the plate and backed away with an expectant smile on her face.
And that was it. It was the smile. Garchi couldn’t imagine letting any hesitation or worry about the cake ruin that smile. Plus, Vera made it for him! She even altered her favorite recipe! He returned a smile and did his best to copy the way he’d seen her eat the terrible chocolate cake he’d made for her only a few cycles ago.
The smell of the cake had been amazing, but it did not do justice to the flavor itself. It was sweet and light and warm - not only in temperature but the flavor - the flavor itself felt warm. He didn’t even know flavors could be described by temperatures, but here was this cake, tasting warm! And the texture! It was soft and spongy and felt like he was eating pure fohbra fluff! On top of it all, the frosting was rich and tasted like nectar but it was applied thinly enough that it wasn’t overpowering.
“What do you think?” Vera prompted after a few tics. “I usually add a bit of citrus zest to the frosting, especially when I use tropical flavors like coconut, but I wasn’t 100% sure how the citric acid would affect you, so I didn’t want to risk-”
“It’s so good!” Garchi blurted out as soon as he swallowed the first bite. He froze. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. It’s just that this is absolutely delicious! It’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten!” And he took another, even larger bite. This slice was not going to
“I’m glad,” Vera laughed. “That’s a relief!”
Garchi was torn between trying to eat the cake as quickly as he could or trying to eat it slowly and savor it. Before he could really decide what to do, the slice was pretty much gone. Garchi poked at the last bits and crumbs, trying not to waste a single morsel. Whatever ‘coconut’ was, he decided he really liked the taste of it. He almost had the plate totally cleared when he paused and looked over to Vera questioningly.
“You said you used coconut oil instead of butter?”
Vera nodded. “Yeah, because akeno can’t eat dairy. You’re lactose intolerant.” She scanned Garchi’s quickly creasing face. “It’s nothing bad, it just means you can’t break down and digest the lactose in milk products. That happens to some humans too.”
By the stars, was this lactose stuff some more poison that humans loved to eat?!
“It happens to humans too?” Garchi asked. “What happens? Why only some humans?”
Vera shrugged as if this wasn’t vital health information. “Yeah, humans, and well, all Earth mammals can produce lactase enzymes that break down lactose and drink milk when we’re babies, but some humans thousands and thousands of years ago started being able to produce lactase into adulthood because of a genetic mutation.”
Garchi blinked slowly while listening. “Mutation?”
“Yeah, and for some humans back then, being able to get those extra calories and nutrients as adults helped keep them alive and spread those genes. I think the latest study said over a third of the human population can drink milk as adults.”
Garchi nodded. He should probably be writing this down, but he still had questions and wanted to ask them more than note-taking.
“Wait, so butter is like milk? Only some humans can eat it too?”
“Yeah. Same with cheese, cream, yogurt, and all that stuff. It’s all dairy. All made from milk.”
“Oh. I thought they were all completely different ingredients.” He gestured to the cookbook. “When they’re in recipes together, they’re all listed separately.” He paused and frowned. “I guess I don’t know much about milk. Akenos don’t do that, and I know only a very few species who do, and even then, each one goes about it so differently.”
“Yeah, it’s a pretty specialized evolutionary trait. I will say, making milk is one of the main things that sets mammals apart from the other classes of Earth animals.” She shrugged. “Don’t worry about it, though. It’s not like you can eat dairy anyway. It will make your stomach and guts really upset at you.”
Garchi looked down at his stomach. Upset? He figured it must be a human idiom for digestive troubles.
“I see. Thank you for taking the time and care to avoid that with the cake then.”
The beaming smile Vera gave made Garchi’s stomach act like it was “upset,” but in a good way. It was… a weird sensation, but he felt it a lot around her.
Vera nodded at the books and datapads that were still scattered on the desk in front of Garchi. “Should I let you get back to studying, or maybe help you clean up so we can go get more cake?”
Garchi shot to attention. “There’s more cake?”
“Well, maybe,” Vera chuckled, “unless Terri and Chris already found it. I did leave it on the commons table.”
Garchi was on his feet immediately gathering loose notes and study materials as quickly as he could. Vera grabbed her old cookbook and the used plate and fork. Soon, both human and akeno were out the door with their arms full and smiles on their faces.
“Yep,” Vera laughed to herself quietly as she followed Garchi’s hurried steps, “quickest way to the heart.”
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Valley of the Shadow of Death, Page 49
“Why so violent, hatchling?”
“You trained me to be violent.”
“All of nature carries violence inside it. But we trained you to be noble. Always remember that the duty of a noble warrior is toward peace."
For the translation on this page, I had the pleasure of working with @chozodian! He’s invented an entire conlang for Zebesian Chozo, complete with a big guide on spelling and pronunciation (including bird beak noises that can't be rendered in English), a unique grammar system, a ton of word translations, and even worldbuilding behind the origin of the syntax. It's really quite impressive.
To give you an idea of how deep his whole thing goes, the text on the page is a handwritten form of a script that was designed to be highly digital. Here it is in proper symbols:
In English, those symbols correspond to the pronunciation:
“ṭí ṣai'k'pitú petra'ṛā́, e'itsu'šhilu?”
“ecoṣeγó'ṣā ṭí γá petra.”
“nno-nełłērr ōŋ'γłeila'k petrā. ecoṣeγó'ṣā'kar γá ṭí aṛ. o'iłeneḍč'dzú tor'ṣa'i'khxte'pētor-ska'aṛ'k ūli'ni.”
Which if, like a madlad, you’re bilingual with a language that doesn’t exist, you can translate into English.
Anyway, yeah, his whole project is super creative and cool, and I’m honored to have been able to be a part of it. So yeah. @chozodian. Check him out.
(Minor Dread spoilers below)
Before you all start squawking, I am aware that Dread, which came out like a week ago, also prominently featured Chozo speaking aloud in places. However, the conlang they used in the game sounded very humanoid, and from what I can tell from what’s been translated of it so far, it has pretty similar syntax to our own. Plus, the sum total of what we know of it is what we hear in-game, which isn't a whole lot. Thus, in my eyes, Chozodian’s version is a lot more creative, interesting, and complete, and, of course, he was the one who did it first, soooooo I'm sorry Nintendo, you were just too slow, KaCHOw.
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