Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cooking with Wild Game Volume 2 Prologue & Chapter 1

Prologue
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Deus Ex-machina


One night, I had a dream after a long time.


A dream when I slept really soundly, and dreamt about things I had long forgotten.


And when I woke up, I would have no memory about them.


When I occasionally remember the scenes in my dream, it would have already ended.


In my dream, I was still a child in elementary school.


Dad watched TV as he drank beer and cheered for his favourite baseball team.


Mother cut some sort of vegetable in the kitchen, probably onions.


Our family runs a restaurant, so this must be the off day that happens once a week. If not for this, it was impossible for our entire family to be around for dinner.


It was a family scene commonly seen in Showa period dramas.


I wasn’t interested in baseball, and asked Dad during the commercials:


「Dad, your culinary skill is better, but why is mother always the one cooking dinner when we are home?」


「Damn it, you——」


Dad leaned in close in a panic:


「Why are you saying this all of a sudden? What if your mother hears this?」


「That’s why I’m asking so softly… Why?」


「You… Asuta, do you dislike the meal cooked by your mother?」


「No, I like it.」


The six years old me shook my head firmly.


I was a likeable child back then, even I myself thought so.


「But I like the dishes prepared by Dad more, because your food is the most delicious.」


A line that I would never say now.


Also because I have lost the person who I could compliment.


「Well… Because I’m a professional chef… My job is to cook delicious meals...」


Dad had a troubled and complicated expression. He was just past 30 back then.


He was probably wondering if he should deal out judgement with his fists after hearing my answer. But after hearing a six years old give such an answer, he stayed his hand and admit his defeat.


「By the way, you have been eating the food I cooked everyday, right? Don’t you want to eat mother’s home cooked meal once a week?」


「I didn’t say I don’t want to, I’m just curious.」


The match had started on the television.


But Dad was still facing me, with his arms crossed and troubled.


「Your thinking is still wrong. When we’re home, mother should cook.」


「But why?」


「You ask me why… Because I’m a chef.」


Dad said with a stern face:


「The chef’s job is to cook for customers, and cooking for a family is a mother’s job.」


「Hmm…?」


I was just six and didn’t fully understand the significance behind his words.


Since his words appeared in my dream in this way, that means it left an impression on me.


One year later, my mother passed away. I said in tears:「I wish I can taste my mother’s cooking a little more.」


Chapter 1: Interlude under the Moon



1

Grand Elder of Forest's Edge Jiba Wu praised my cooking, saying that it made her remember the joy of living and gave her blessings to Ai Fa and me.


I was very happy about this. Even calling this the 「best outcome」 couldn’t describe what I was feeling. Grandma Jiba Wu was someone Ai Fa cherished very much. I was honoured to have the chance to be present in such a moment of her life, and was deeply moved.


However—— a few hours later, I felt troubled as I stayed by myself in an empty room.


Ai Fa wasn’t here.


Neither was Rimee Wu.


In this silent room, I was drowning in rage and humiliation, and rolled around in agony.


Damn it! Why does it feel like an utter defeat!?


I wasn’t being held against my will. Because Ai Fa and Rimee Wu were chatting inside Jiba Wu’s room, they ordered me to watch the house.


This was a house inside clan Wu’s village, and the owner was supposed to be either Donda Wu’s brother or nephew. Several years ago, the number of clan members decreased and their life became hard. They moved in with another family and this place became empty.


「The Fa house is far, so rest here for the night.」 We accepted the Wu Clan’s hospitality gratefully —— But I was very very unhappy.


Despite that, I didn’t know who I should vent my emotions to.


Strictly speaking, I was the one at fault.


I rolled around by myself in agony while harbouring these unvented feelings.






A few hours earlier, we were in the the hall of the Wu clan’s main house.


「…Ai Fa, why don’t you spend the night in the Wu village…?」


While Grandma Jiba Wu was having her meal, she asked Ai Fa.


「It’s already dark outside… traveling at night is dangerous, so just rest in an empty house for tonight.」


「No, there’s no need for that. We just need a fire and we won’t face any danger. Just lend me a candle stand.」


「Ara ara… You have become an outstanding hunter. But for the sake of this old lady, please stay the night, Ai Fa…」


「But…」


「You must have plenty of work to do as a House head, and can’t visit the Wu village often, right? I don’t have the strength to walk to the Fa house anymore… In that case, at least accompany me for this night. It has been a few years since we finally get to meet again...」


Even the stubborn Ai Fa couldn’t turn down this request.


I was completely fine with it. The Wu clan clan head Donda Wu has no intention of asking Ai Fa to marry into the Wu clan now. Hence, Ai Fa could rekindle her relationship with Grandma Jiba and Rimee Wu—— such a foolish thought sprung up in my mind.


The real problem didn’t lie here.


But right after that.


Forest's Edge seemed to have the custom that they could only leave the room after everyone had finished their meal. Rimee Wu was accompanying Grandma Jiba for her meal now, while Ai Fa and I returned to our seats to eat ours.


During this time, clan head Donda Wu kept raging about my cooking.


「This is not hunter’s food.」「How dare you serve me Monta feed.」「This corrupts my life.」 His complaints fell like the rain.


However, I think this brutish man was only tarnishing my cooking for a reason. For example, resistance towards an outsider, or his position as clan head compelled him to do so. That was why I wasn’t too concerned. Grandma Jiba already gave me the best compliment possible, so I could still keep my cool and jubilant feeling.


After Ai Fa finished her meal and ate the last bit of my food, something caused a crack in my mood.


「Are you done!? Why are you demeaning Asuta’s cooking so maliciously? Isn’t it true that Grandma Jiba enjoyed her meal?」


Leina Wu who finished eating slightly earlier than we did shouted.


Donda Wu’s blue eyes were burning as he glared impatiently at the lovely second sister of the Wu clan.


「I’m merely stating the facts, what’s wrong with that? Grand Elder also said that everyone can have an opinion of what is right or wrong. This food is like the feces of Monta beasts, only old people who have lost all their teeth will eat this with gratitude.」


Leina fumed and was quiet for a short moment—— she then stood up slowly.


Then took off the tusk and horn from her necklace, and walked slowly to Ai Fa and me.


「Hey…」


A dangerous gleam came from Donda Wu’s eyes, but Leina was not bothered at all. With both knees on the floor, she offered the tusk and horn to Ai Fa and me respectively.


「Wu clan’s Leina Wu offer her blessing to Fa house’s Ai Fa and Asuta. Thank you for saving Jiba Wu’s soul and bringing serenity to the lives of the Wu clan.」


What? Hey, is this really fine, Leina Wu…?


I wanted to whisper that to her.


But before I did that, Ai Fa poked my shoulder.


「Just accept it graciously. For the denizens of Forest's Edge, the act of gifting the tusks and horns of Kiba beast is sacred. If you turn her down, you would be trampling on her dignity and pride.」


Ai Fa told me that, then accepted the white tusk after saying 「I’m honoured by Leina Wu’s blessing.」


I had no other choice but to mimic Ai Fa’s actions and thank Leina.


「Leina… Are you trying to tarnish the Wu clan’s name?」


Donda Wu said quietly. But his voice sounded deep and clear, which reminded me of the tremors before an earthquake.


「You are presenting a sham blessings to others for the sake of mocking me? Do you think I will allow you to do that…?」


Even though Leina Wu’s face was green from terror, she still looked at her father with determination:


「This is no sham blessing! Even without Grandma Jiba’s incident, I also think from the bottom of my heart that Asuta’s cuisine is amazing, this is the first time in my life that I have tasted such delicious Kiba meat. Food is life —— Just like Grandma Jiba, I felt the joy of living very strongly.」


「Are you… insane?」


Donda Wu muttered.


I was shocked by how surprised he sounded.


Before I realized why I felt so shocked, Rimee Wu stood up with a start and said: 「Me too!」


Rimee Wu looked by at Grandma Jiba, who nodded and said: 「Don’t worry.」. Rimee then left Grandma Jiba’s side and ran to us.


On her childish face was her usually brilliant smile.


「Asuta! Ai Fa! Thank you very much for today! The food was very very delicious, so I want to gift you my blessings too!」


She placed the third blessing gifts —— Describing it this way might be too casual… onto my and Ai Fa’s hands.


「That’s right… This meal is outstanding, and worthy of my blessing.」


With an overly sexy voice, the eldest daughter Vena Wu stood up slowly.


「I learned for the first time that 『delicious food』 exist in Forest's Edge… As a denizen of Forest's Edge, I have to offer you my blessings…」


「You are absolutely right, Vena.」


Grandma Ditto Min stood up next.


「Unbelievable! What’s going on!?」


Donda Wu yelled again.


The emotions in his hoarse voice —— wasn’t rage, but shock.


「Have my family gone crazy? Was Apaz poison that will make one lose his reason added into this shit-like food? But if that is so, everyone here should be mad too!」


I clasped the five tusks and horns in my hand and observed Donda Wu carefully.


Donda Wu seemed to be genuinely confused.


He really doubted the mental state of his family.


「Is there anyone who doesn't dare to stand up out of fear for my lectures? Don’t hold back, just do what you want!」


After he said that, the wife of the eldest son Jiza, Sati Lei Wu planned to stand up timidly.


She was about Vena Wu’s age, with her bright brown hair cut to shoulder length. A woman with a pure temperament about her.


Before she stood up, she looked her husband’s way. When she saw his frank and open smile, she showed a face of relief and walked towards us.


「Wu clan’s Sati Lei Wu wish to offer my blessings to Fa house’s Ai Fa and her family Asuta… Thank you for your incredible meal.」


After she returned to her seat, a plump woman beside her stood up this time.


There was a bit of grey mixed into her red hair, and she had dark brown eyes that seemed deep. Her bare arms and shoulders were big and tough, and she looked like a woman in her prime who could deal with any surprises calmly.


She was Mia Lei Wu. Mother of Rimee Wu and her siblings, and also Donda Wu’s wife.


「I don’t really get it, but isn’t it fine to express ourselves honestly when we taste delicious food? I’m so moved that my legs are turning weak.」


After glancing at her husband who was as still as a statue, she walked our way with firm footing.


Mia Lei Wu had a refreshing smile when she gifted us with a tusk and a horn.


「Your dishes are wonderful. Thank you for doing this for Grandma Jiba… Really now, why is our clan head so stubborn.」


Her smile seemed to be a representation of the phrase 「mothers are strong.」


Out of everyone present, seven of them were bored by her, which I find really impressive.


Anyway, this was the seventh blessing we received.


「… Dad, you are serious, right? Don’t single me out for punishment later, alright?」


—— The youngest brother Ludo Wu said with a voice that still bore a hint of childishness and stood up.


He scratched his head of blonde hair, walked fearlessly to us and sat down crudely.


「Hey, just who exactly are you? I heard there is a group hailing from the Eastern kingdom who seems to be sorcerers. Did you use magic to turn kiba meat delicious?」


「This isn’t magic, I just used kitchen knife… knives and fire. It’s just a skillset.」


Ai Fa was silent, and this was obviously a question directed at me, so I answered him like this.


After grunting disinterestedly, he turned his pale eyes towards Ai Fa and said:


「Fa house’s Ai Fa, you have turned into a good woman. It’s a pity, if you are more feminine, I don’t mind marrying you even if you can’t be wed to my brother.」


「……」


「Never mind. What they said isn’t an exaggeration, this is a delicious meal. Frankly speaking, just the thought of having to drink that never changing poitan soup from tomorrow onwards makes me feel like crying. If you are not Ai Fa’s husband, then marry into our family.」


「T-That’s fine, the woman of your family have the rights to choose their spouse too.」


「Hmmp, aside from that brat Rimee, pick anyone you like.」


Ludo said this last part quietly, then removed his necklace. He had lots of spoils of war, and was on par with Ai Fa.


「Dinner is absolutely delicious, so I want to gift you my blessing. This is the first time I am doing this, so be grateful.」


When the arrogant youngest brother returned to his seat, there was a strange silence in the hall.


「… Anyone else?」


Donda Wu stroked his beard as he swept his gaze across the hall.


「So only three other person feels that this is not fit for human consumption.」


「I don’t think the dish is that bad, don’t judge everything by your own standards.」


The third sister Lala Wu said unhappily.


Lala Wu had her red hair tied up at the top of her head, and her arrogant personality was on par with the youngest brother. Amongst the seven siblings each with their unique personalities, only the third sister and youngest brother seemed a little similar in appearance and temperament. She should be younger than Ludo Wu, and was at most twelve or thirteen years old.


「I think the grilled poitan and kiba meat soup are good, but the kiba meat that should be the main dish was gooey and look disgusting, so I don’t feel it’s good enough for me to gift my blessing… To be honest, just what they did for Grandma Jiba is already worthy of my blessing. But everyone seemed to think this thing is delicious, so I didn’t do so.」


「I see… Darum, what do you think?」


「I have nothing to say.」


The second brother whose style seemed as sharp as a wild wolf refused to comment.


「Hmmp, what about you, Jiza?」


「……Clan head Donda, please don’t mind it. No matter how the appearance of the food is like or how they taste, kiba will still be kiba, and poitan will still be poitan. No matter how much effort is put into it, they are the same once they are eaten.」


「You don’t need to tell me that now!」




A fire was burning in the eyes of the clan head.


The eldest brother looked at his father with slit like eyes, and smiled with ease.


「Are you asking me if it is tasty? Just like what Lala said, I never imagined there is such a way to eat poitan, which surprised me. The soup didn’t have the stink of the kiba, but I could feel the life of the kiba clearly from it… But the kiba meat with red sauce on it is too soft, I didn’t feel like I was eating kiba at all. If I eat this meat everyday, it feels like my teeth will gradually lose their strength, which gives me the chills.」


「Yes—— That’s exactly it! That’s why I think this isn’t food fit for the hunters of Forest's Edge!」


Donda Wu had an enlightened look, and life crept back into his face.


「My teeth exist for the sake of tearing through tough kiba meat! Just like my arms that hunt kiba, and my legs that allow me to sprint in the forest, my teeth are one of my survival tools in Forest's Edge! If I don’t use my tools often, they will rust. The food you serve me is an inferior meal that will corrode my life!」


「That’s…」


I wanted to refute, but Ai Fa quietly grabbed my arm.


Her steady blue eyes were telling me to shut up.


「And since I’m a man of Forest's Edge, a hunter of Forest's Edge, this food is harmful to me… But for toothless elders, this is the best meal.」


An arrogant smile slowly returned to Donda Wu’s face. He turned to the old woman and said:


「My grandmother, and the Grand Elder Jiba Wu, what you said is right. Since this food rekindled your spirit, I will take back what I said. This isn’t the feed of monta beast, this dish saved my beloved grandmother who had lived the longest in Forest's Edge, and had contributed generously her entire life, this dish is a medicine! It’s a treasure!」


「Hmmp… clan head Donda, you are more forthright than usual...」


「I’m always this forthright! Right is right, and when I’m wrong, I will admit it! If I don’t have this resolve, I won’t be able to take on the role of clan head.」


He turned his fierce eyes towards Ai Fa and me, then said:


「Ai Fa of house Fa, and family member Asuta! You have saved the Grand Elder of clan Wu, Jiba Wu! As the head of clan Wu, I apologized for my earlier rude actions, and I offer you my thanks once again!」


Ai Fa acknowledged the other party with her gaze.


As the feelings in my heart gradually turned clear, I was at a lost on what to do, and stared right at Donda Wu.


Donda Wu had a cheerful smile on his face.


He had a refreshing face, as if he had finally figured out doubts that had haunted him for years.


「Your cooking is poison to us, but good medicine for the Grand Elder. Just eating this poison for one night won’t corrode our souls, so I won’t hold you accountable for serving me poison. The tusks and horns you obtained are blessings you rightfully earned. You don’t need to feel bad about it, so utilize them fairly to become your flesh and blood!」


2


Back to the present.


After telling me to 「sleep first」, Ai Fa went to Grandma Jiba’s room, while I spent the night by myself. I laid in the large open room and annoyedly hugged my head.


How dare he say my cooking is poison! That damn kiba old man… showing such a smirk face by himself!


Donda Wu probably felt uneasy when he saw his family present us with their blessings one after another. He was suspicious of his family’s mental well being—— or if he was the one who had gone mad.


After hearing what the eldest brother Jiza said, he finally understood why his family acted this way. Like what Grandma Jiba said in the beginning, 「everyone has their own interpretation of what is delicious.」.


And so, he understood that his family didn’t go mad and was relieved.


However—— That meant he really thinks that the 『Kiba Hamburg Steak』 was unpalatable.


Everyone has different taste! Some people just hate Hamburg Steak. And that meal is meant for Grandma Jiba whose teeth aren’t good in the first place!


That’s what I thought.


However, I was the one who decided on hamburg steak for dinner.


After Ai Fa and Rimee Wu gave raving reviews for the hamburg steak, I selected hamburg steak as the main course without hesitation—— and served up this other worldly dish in Forest's Edge as if this was only natural.


If I put more care to consider the content of the meal, then I should serve other types of meal other than hamburg steak. And so, I was the one at fault.


But, even so——


Even so, was my cooking that terrible?


Compared to the kiba hotpot which the denizens of Forest's Edge usually ate—— made from kiba without bloodletting and gooey poitan soup, was my cooking really that bad?


That must be the reason why I felt so defeated.


Was I too arrogant to think that way?


Was there something wrong with my attitude to feel a sense of defeat because of this?
As I gritted my teeth and placed my hand onto my chest, the necklace Rimee Wu made for me —— which chained eight tusks and horns together made a pleasant clinking sound.


This necklace was the first wages I obtained in this different world.
Out of twelve people, eight thought my cooking was 「delicious」, which means I should be proud of myself. I didn’t want to exchange these tusks and horns for poitan or aria, but maybe letting it become part of my flesh and blood is the right way of using it. But I think it will be some time before I can resolve myself to do so.


This was evidence that the other party acknowledged my existence.


They think there was value in my existence.


I was overjoyed.


I was proud.


I could live on in this different world —— I felt that I have been given permission by them.


However, my work had also been refuted.
It made me so mad.


I was filled with regret.


As if my entire existence had been denied.


「Everyone have different taste」, this normal reasoning couldn’t liberate me from my depressed mood.


Furthermore, I didn’t settle the matter of Grandma Jiba’s meal adequately too.


I taught the women of clan Wu how to make minced meat. They could continue to make easy to chew meals for Grandma Jiba who had weak teeth.


However, I didn’t teach them about bloodletting, so they couldn’t improve the taste of the food.


And this had to be done right after capturing a kiba, or there would be no meaning in doing this. So this wasn’t the job of the women, but the men.


Judging from the current situation, Donda Wu had no intention of learning this technique.


In this sense, I also messed up—— I had completely lost.


I wasn’t thorough enough in my thinking.


But, what else should I have done——?


While I was thinking about that…


Knock knock knock—— Someone knocked the door three times.


「I’m here, please come in.」


I thought that was probably Ai Fa. But would she even knock?


By the way, so the action of knocking exists in this world. I learned about this for the first time.


Which means, that might not be Ai Fa.


「I didn’t bar the door, please come in.」


I had no choice but to stand up as I said that.


Who could it be? While I was thinking about that, Leina Wu’s innocent smile appeared in my mind.


The second sister of the Wu clan who had a head of lustrous black hair looked at me with eyes of admiration during dinner preparation and after we finished our work. My relationship with everyone else was still shallow, so I couldn’t think of anyone who might visit except for her.


However, she had a cute face, great figure and was dressed in an enticing outfit. I was hesitant about meeting such a girl alone so late into the night —— and opened the door slowly with a groan.


However——


「S-Strange? It’s you?」


The one standing outside the door wasn’t Leina Wu, but in a certain sense, someone much more dangerous.


「Thank you for opening the door for me… I’m really glad, Asuta…」


I knew who that was just by listening to this sexy voice.


From the small gap of the open door, a body so good that it borders on foul play slipped into the room.


「W-Why are you here, Vena Wu——?」


I thought about adding 「Miss」, but stopped myself. In this world there didn’t seem to be a custom of adding honorifics.


「I wanted to see you, Asuta… I have something to ask you…」


「You have a question for me?」


Vena looked at me with a teasing and flirty gaze, then took off her leather shoes that was simpler in design than the men’s. I didn’t give her any permission, but she was already bent on entering my room.


「Great, Leina didn’t come before me. I was so worried, wondering what should I do if you were busy…」


「L-Leina Wu has no reason to visit me, right? I only cooked a meal together with her once.」


And my relationship with you is even shallower! That was what my answer was implying, but Vena Wu simply laughed flirtatiously.


「Fufu, you have completely captivated that child’s heart. Do you really not know? Asuta, you are really dense...」


「No, what I’m saying is…」


「Don’t worry. I’m not here to persuade you to marry into my clan… Anyway, let’s sit down and talk…?」


Her body shape was just right, with adequate muscles and the right amount of fats on top of the muscle. Her right hand which was nice to look at and serve practical use smoothly wrap around my left arm.


WARNING, WARNING, an alarm sounded off in my head.


Anyway, this woman was letting out an excessive amount of feminine charm. Her limbs were filled with sexiness, and her body had serious curves. Just describing one of her arms would require a bunch of unnecessary terms to quantify it. I could only close my eyes to keep my sanity. Her entire existence was like pheromones itself.


She narrowed her eyes sleepily, her pink lips seemed to have just the right amount of volume to them. Her oval and smooth face, slender neck and clear collar lines with her long brown hair flowing down her tender right shoulder —— at such a close distance, I couldn’t shift my gaze down from her upper body. I felt that I would be done for if I did that.


「…Let’s sit down.」


She said again, and pulled me into the room.


As expected of a denizen of Forest's Edge who performed hard labour every day, she was really strong. If I resisted, my left arm grabbed by her might touch a dangerous part of her body, so I could only go along with her.


She stopped right by the window where the candle was lit, and her center of gravity shifted down smoothly.


Because of the reasons I described earlier, I could only follow suit—— In the end, I found out that my worries were in vain.


As I leaned onto the wall and sat down, Vena pushed her body onto me as if she couldn’t wait any longer.


「Erm, hey, wait!」


After shouting needlessly, her beautiful finger that was like a piece of art rested on my lips softly:


「Quiet… I don’t want my family to hear what I’m about to say next...」


Light breathing entered my ears with these words, which was enough for me to break into goosebumps. And it wasn’t because this was unpleasant, but the opposite.


But no matter how I felt, I wasn’t acting out of my own will, but was being forced by the other party. This filled me with an emotion akin to fear. In the dim light, a big sister who was the personification of sexiness and pheromones leaned in on me and blew air into my ears—— The remnants of my sensible side just felt that this experience was terrifying.


Ahh—— did she smoked kiba meat during the day?


This sudden thought flashed across my mind, as if I was escaping reality.


Actually, this was trivial and not worth mentioning. I only thought about this because the fragrance from Vena Wu’s hair and body was entering my nasal cavity. There was the refreshing smell on lilo and the sweet but stinging scent of pico leaves.


Smell nice… but something is lacking...


As I was thinking about this, a pair of burning cat-like eyes seemed to be staring at me in my mind.


My sensible side was on the verge of breaking down, but my sense of tension picked up all of a sudden.


I didn’t know when will Ai Fa be back. In such a situation, I couldn’t be so relaxed.


「What do you want to ask me? Since you don’t want your family to know, is it something dangerous?」


「Yes… I’m here to ask you something dangerous…」


She kept her left arm behind her body, and she placed something onto the floor with a thud.


It was a bottle of fruit wine.


I could smell a fragrance from Vena Wu, which was also mixed with the sweet scent of fruit wine.


「Sorry, I’m a little ditzy… I value my family very much… If I don’t drink, I won’t be able to muster the courage...」


「W-What are you saying? I don’t want to get into any trouble.」


It seemed safer to make her think I’m an unreliable man.


But Vena Wu shook her head slowly, and rested her head onto my shoulder.
「Asuta… Just who are you…?」


「—— What do you mean?」


「We often visit the Genos post station town, so we are used to foreigners… But your cooking is incredible… I tasted what happiness tasted like and felt like I have been reborn…」


So she wanted to ask about cooking. I didn’t mind, but I wish she could keep an adequate distance away. I managed to recover my reason, and the dangerous sensation pressing on my left arm was making my rational side scream.


「You said so before, right? You don’t know about the western kingdom and never even heard about the Amusehorn continent…? You are not from this land, but a faraway nation, right…? Just what kind of country is that…?」


「I-I don’t know. I come from an island nation, so it should be on the other end of the ocean. But since I don’t even know the name of this continent, naturally, I can’t find my way back!」




「Island nation… an island nation where…? ...That’s wonderful…」


Vena Wu’s warm finger tip pushed against my chest.


I felt a chill run through my body.


「Asuta… Will you take me back to your incredible home town…?」


After she said that—— Vena Wu started to entangle her body onto mine, like a giant Madarama snake.


3


「Wait, Miss Vena Wu…!」


I was so frantic that I unconsciously added in honorifics.


During this time, her smooth skin was wrapped around my body.


Her body was soft and tender, and huge strength was hidden within her lovely body.


「Please don’t marry into the Wu clan… Leina is a cute girl, but I’m not that bad either…right?」


No, this is bad! But on a completely different level!


She pushed me down onto the rug and groped my entire body. She didn’t use her fingers, but grind her entire body against mine. The soft but crude sensation feels as though my entire body was going to shatter.


Something that felt like fear kept me from feeling my back muscles.


At the same time, a strong feeling that was totally different from fear engulfed me.


My heart was beating so hard that it hurts, and I couldn’t catch my breath.


A sweet scent that differs from that of herbs gradually numbed my brain cells.


At this moment, I was like a lighter, swimming casually in liquid fuel.


Once the fire spreads—— I will lose myself.


「As a woman of the Wu clan, I had to meet all sorts of men for matchmaking… But I dumped them all… Because if I take someone into the Wu clan as my husband, or marry off to be someone’s wife, I won’t be able to leave Forest's Edge forever…」


Each word she said brushed against my neck with her hot breath.


「I don’t want to spend my entire life here… After eating your dish, my feelings are the complete opposite of Grandma Jiba… After tasting your cooking, it feels like there is another world out there. I want to visit that world… I want to go to your world with you...」


The sensation of the scorching heat slowly moved away from me?.


Vena Wu pushed herself up.


She was making the preparation to head for her goal.


「Let me be yours… and you be mine…?」


While illuminated by the orange light of the candle, Vena Wu reached for the cloth wrapped around her chest.


My rational side that had almost vaporized gathered once again, and I grabbed her wrist from below.


「You can’t! It’s a taboo for unwed women to bare their body, right? You can’t do that.」


Her pale brown eyes stared right at me.


Her eyes reflected the wavering flame… and was filled with tears.


I couldn’t tell if she was really on the verge of tears. But Vena Wu didn’t shake off my fingers or open her mouth, and just looked at me quietly——


Then, she finally moved away from my body.


「… Was my charm lacking…?」


She sat down slanted to one side, half her back facing me and her gaze on the ground.


I slowly got up and answered :「I think this has nothing to do with charm.」


「I don’t even know why or how I came to this unfamiliar place. Maybe I’m just retarded and all this is just my imagination. In this situation, I can’t… make a promise I don’t know whether I can fulfil, or get into a relationship with others.」


「… So you have no intention of marrying Ai Fa…?」


My heart that had finally calmed itself started racing again because of a strange feeling.


This night wasn’t good for my heart.


「How should I put this, I don’t really know either. But she is very important to me.」


「You are so honest… this is like asking me to die…」


「I-I don’t mean that.」


「Is that so… But in Forest's Edge, women who haven’t wed by 20 either have a nasty personality, or are harmful to their family...」


She pulled at the rug with angry fingers.


「I have been holding on to my chastity and even endured curious eyes. But when I want to give it up, you rejected me so coldly, I really feel like killing myself…」


「E-Erm, Vena Wu…?」


「If you really marry Leina, I might really kill the two of you…」


While Vena Wu said something horrifying so easily, she stood up with her fruit wine bottle in hand.


「If you take Ai Fa as your wife, what should I do… I might be killed if I made an enemy out of that girl… The best way to obtain happiness will be to entice you, and die together with you...」


「No, like I said…」


「Knocking three times and asking the other party out is an old tradition, which means setting a wedding engagement with each other...」


Vena Wu took smooth strides towards the entrance.


「To accept, you let the visitor in, if not, you turn her down directly. That’s the custom of Forest's Edge…」


She put on her shoes and opened the door. With half of her body leaning outside, she turned her face sideways towards me:


「You accepted me, so I won’t give up… Sweet dreams, Asuta, don’t forget our promise.」


She closed the door gently and the room turned quiet once again.


I collapsed onto the ground tiredly.


「Ah, really now, why is the elder sister the one who came!? I don’t understand her personality at all! I really wish she can give me a break…」


I had my fill of kiba just now, but the calories from that seemed to have been completely taken away.


While lying sprawl on the rug, I shook my head that still had some lingering lewd thoughts and snap back to my senses.


Now is not the time to indulge in relationships! My pride as a chef has been shattered…!


As I tried to steer my thoughts in the right direction——


Someone knocked on the wall.


What is it now!?


I took heed from the lesson earlier, and merely answered in my heart.


However, the sound came from the wall instead of the door.


It was the wall opposite me, away from the candle stand.


Since knocking the door three times was a code for wedding engagement, what did knocking the wall once mean? A signal for me to bring food over? Or some sort of protest against us getting too intimate?
No matter what, someone was knocking on the wall of this building. The cook house was behind, so they couldn’t have mistaken this. Someone had knocked his hand or feet on the wall. Was there some meaning behind this action?


Darkness engulfed the world outside the window, and I couldn’t see anyone.


Forget it! If you have business with me, sound out! Sound out!


I laid sprawled onto the ground once more.


After that, there wasn’t anymore sound from the door or the wall, and the serenity of the night returned to the room.


The next moment—— soft speaking sound could be heard.


Someone was definitely out there.


I couldn’t hear the content, but it sounded like an argument.


It was a man and a woman.


Did someone saw Vena Wu exit from here and was questioning her?


If that was so, there was more reason for me to not get involved. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. The candle was still lit, Ai Fa will take care of it when she comes back.


Speaking of which, Ai Fa sure is slow...


For the denizens of Forest's Edge, this was already late into the night. Grandma Jiba’s body is frail, so they shouldn’t push her too much. Or was Grandma Jiba the one stopping Ai Fa from leaving? As I thought about that, I drifted off into my dreams——


I suddenly sat up with a start.


I realized that might be Ai Fa’s voice.


I don’t think anyone will take a stroll in the middle of the night. But if someone laid in wait here for Ai Fa to return from the Wu main house, then everything fits.


After this thought arose in my heart, I didn’t think I could sleep if I didn’t check personally.


After all, the voice outside was obviously a man and a woman arguing.


I will just take a peek. If it’s not Ai Fa, then see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.


After making up my mind, I walked towards the entrance.


I quietly opened the door, and slipped out under the moonlight.


The voices came from the left side of the building where the Wu main house was.


I sneakily made my way to the wall on the left.


I peeked in the direction of the voices—— And the person was indeed Ai Fa.


She had her back to the wall, arms crossed over her chest and glared fiercely at the person facing her.


Opposite her was the second brother of the Wu clan, Darum Wu.


With eyes were just like his father, he was a handsome man like a young wolf—— He was leaning with one hand on the wall, looking down at Ai Fa’s face from up high.


So that sound just now was his kabedon.
<TL: http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/kabe-don-cafe-experience-20141130159.html>


Ai Fa was just shy of 170cm, but that guy was about 180cm tall, taller than her by half a head. Even so, Ai Fa showed no fear and glared at the other party coldly. That guy had a smile on his face.


It wasn’t a gentle smile, but one of mockery.


The cold man who was usually expressionless was smiling mockingly at Ai Fa.


「… Ai Fa, everyone just think it’s amusing that a woman like you is pretending to be a hunter.」


I could hear his faint voice.


「Everyone is laughing at you, saying a girl has been possessed by the dead spirit of her father, wearing kiba fur and pretending to be a hunter… Hey, why are you alienating the Wu clan?」


「……」


「You’re just lucky that this couple of years went well, but such a life won’t last long. If you look for someone to rely on now, you can live the rest of your life comfortably. No one will care about you if you become a old woman...」


Heated emotions squirmed in my heart. If his face gets 1cm closer to Ai Fa, I will speak up and stop him. After I made this decision, I managed to suppress the feelings in my heart.


A powerless man like me would just get in her way if I tried to help. I knew this very well, so don’t get any closer to her, damn it.


「Could it be… you didn’t resist the eldest son of the Tsun clan that night? That’s why you are reluctant to give up on that fool, and can’t bring yourself to marry others...」


「Hey, your delusions has gone too far!」


When I came back to my senses, I had already lashed out at him.


Darum Wu didn’t move at all.


But I couldn’t stay silent.


「Asuta, what are you doing?」


Ai Fa looked at me coldly.


「Go on home stupid, didn’t I tell you to sleep first?」


Ai Fa’s reaction was just as expected.


As for that man——


He treated me like a pebble on the roadside, just glancing my way once before turning back to Ai Fa.


「Ai Fa, if I’m not wrong, then just tell me honestly. No matter what, I won’t sympathize with that guy’s used goods. But if you really...」


「That guy is just a wimp, there’s no way Ai Fa would let him get his way! Are you blind? Or are you taunting Ai Fa? Are you wooing her? Or picking a fight? If you don’t make yourself clear, Ai Fa won’t know how to react too!」


「—— You monta, don’t talk with a tone of a man. If you can only tend hearths, then just shut up and keep cooking your food.」


He didn’t even look at me and said all that as if I was an annoyance.


I took a few steps their way.


「Are you referring to me when you say monta? I have never seen that animal before, so I won’t get mad even if you describe me as such. Enough, just leave. Can’t you tell that Ai Fa is troubled even though you are so close to her?」


Darum Wu twisted his lips coldly and leaned even closer towards Ai Fa.


So close that their nose were almost touching.


My agitated emotions turned into words, and spat out from my mouth:


「Hey! Then let me tell it to you straight! Since all you can do is hunt, then shut your mouth and hunt your kiba! Don’t pretend to be almighty and woo girls!」


Darum Wu turned expressionless.


His hand left the wall, and his balance that was leaning forward was straightened.


And then—— His fingers reached for the knife on his waist.


「Monta, are you making a fool of the hunters of Forest's Edge?」


「I’m not making a fool out of you all! You asked me to keep cooking my food, are you mocking me then? That’s right, I will tend to the hearth! That’s my job. If you can’t handle this job, then don’t go around wooing girls!」


「Why you…」


「Right now, I’m tending to the hearth in Ai Fa’s house. But until six days ago, Ai Fa was the one tending to the hearth! She hunts kiba and tends to the hearth by herself! She completed the task for both a man and a woman by herself, can you do that?」


I punched at the wall that was innocent.


「If you can’t, then don’t mock her!」


「Monta. Are you… taunting the Wu clan…?」


His words lacked anger and was filled as if he was dumbfounded instead.


「I’m not complaining about the Wu clan or the people of Forest's Edge, I’m saying this to you alone, Darum Wu. Ai Fa is my benefactor, so you can’t be so insolent towards her.」


「… Enough Asuta, you can shut up now.」


After saying that resignedly in a quiet voice, Ai Fa’s back moved away from the wall.


She uncrossed her arms, walked past Darum Wu who was clutching the hilt of his knife and came to me.


「Wait, Ai Fa! I’m not done yet…!」 Darum Wu said.


「I already understand very well. No matter what you say, my answer remains the same.」


Ai Fa stood beside me and acknowledge the other party with her usual stiff face and clear eyes.


「I’m honored by your proposal again. But I have decided to live as a hunter, so I can’t marry into the Wu clan.」


「You…」


「Also, going by the rules, the head of both house should decide on any marriage. I’m the head of the Fa house, but the head of the Wu clan is Donda Wu. If you wish to propose in the future, please do so together with your clan head… I will bid my leave.」


Ai Fa grabbed my arm and left in wide strides as if she was dragging me along.


Darum maintained the same position as his body shook and he stared into the air.


「Hey, is it fine to leave him like this?」


Ai Fa didn’t answer, she advanced along the wall, turned around the corner and shoved me into the open door. She then went in, shut the door and put up the bar lock. She was finally ready to lecture me.


「You moron! Why did you push that kind of small fry to the edge!? What are you going to do if he comes at you with his knife!? I’m a guest, and don’t have my knife with me!」


「Because he is too unreasonable...」


「He is spouting nonsense, so just ignore him! Without permission from his clan head, he doesn't have the guts to do anything dumb! But you incited him...」


Ai Fa pushed me onto the door and grabbed my chest hard.


The furious Ai Fa leaned in close to me, our distance was similar to how she and Darum Wu was just now.


Ai Fa’s scent that was a mixture of sweet fruit, refreshing herb and delicious meat entered my nose—— and my heart started to race.


It seemed that Vena Wu’s impact on me had yet to subside. I have to snap back to my senses, this was too dangerous.


Ai Fa didn’t understand my worries at all, her strong eyes stared right at me.


「… When I heard you say 『shut your mouth and hunt your kiba』, I really felt like punching you, Asuta.」


「D-Did you hear what I said completely? I’m trying to say that all jobs are equally important.」


「If I didn’t, I would have punched you.」


Ai Fa suddenly pulled away. Her fingers grabbing my chest had shifted to my right hand.


She grasped my hand tightly, and pulled it to about chest level.


After punching the wall just now, my hand was a little red.


「… Your hands exist for the sake of tending hearth fire, correct?」


She gently covered my palm with her other hand.


「If you hurt your hand and that stopped you from working, what will you do? Don’t be rash… This pair of hands saved Grandma Jiba after all.」


The anger gradually faded from Ai Fa’s voice.


She held my right hand with both of her hands and looked up slightly at me.


「Asuta, even though this is temporary, you are still a member of the Fa house.」


「Hmm? Of course. I’m the guest member tending to the Fa house’s hearth.」


My right hand felt really warm.
As if Ai Fa’s body warmth was injected into my body through her hands—— This incredible feeling felt really comfortable. Even though I felt a chill on my back when Vena Wu was on top of me, Ai Fa’s warmth calmed me down.


Ai Fa held my hand, looked into my eyes and said softly:


「That’s why I didn’t offer you my blessing. As a family, we can’t gift our blessings so easily… But you saved Grandma Jiba’s soul, as well as Rimee Wu and me.」


「Yes, I’m glad I was of help.」


「I’m very grateful, but I can’t give you any tangible reward—— However, I hope you can believe that’s how I really feel.」


We were some distance from the candle stand, so the light was dim and I can’t see Ai Fa’s expression clearly.
But her bright blue eyes and quiet words were warmer and gentler than usual, but had Ai Fa’s unique strength in them at the same time.


That warm, gentle and strong feeling was injected into my body alongside her body warmth, and slowly satiate my heart.


「I believe you. I’m very happy to hear you say that.」


I said this naturally.
Ai Fa gripped my hand tightly one last time before slowly letting go.


「… These hands saved the Grand Elder of Forest's Edge, so don’t hurt them because of that foolish man. In that sense, you are still a half-baked guy.」


「Of course, I’m a proper half-baked guy! That’s why I need to work harder.」


I smiled brilliantly, but when I recalled the green face Darum Wu made at the very end, I started to worry.


「Hey, was I being a busybody? Did I make him angry unnecessarily?」


「… You are a busybody a lot of the times, and does plenty of unnecessary things too. But what you said isn’t wrong, that’s why that man’s face turned green and he couldn’t say anything.」


Ai Fa lowered her eyes slightly, her gaze turned my way through her long lashes.


「But… I had been listening to him nag about these boring matters all this while, and felt better after seeing what you did.」


「I see, then my actions aren’t a complete waste.」


Ai Fa snorted, then reverted to her usual self and started taking her string-tied shoes off.


She asked as she took off her shoe.


「By the way, why was the eldest daughter of the Wu clan here?」


「… What?」


I tilted my head and cold sweat covered my back.


「When I came back, that woman just left the room. I wanted to speak with her, but that second brother suddenly pulled me to the shadows, so she didn’t notice that I was there.」


She kept her waist bent and started taking off the other shoe.


I watched the back of her beautiful blonde head and could only squeeze out the words 「I see.」


「Well, I don’t really know why she was here, she seemed to be drunk.」


「I see, she really did have a fruit wine bottle in hand.」


Ai Fa finally took off both shoes and stood up slowly.


She then put her hand heavily onto my shoulder.


「Then, what did she mean by 『promise』 just before she left?」


Reflected in Ai Fa’s beautiful blue eyes was a figure of a pitiful youth whose face was twisted from surprise.

And the day ended on a happy note—— let’s pretend that’s what happened.


No comments:

Post a Comment