Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cooking with Wild Game Volume 2 Chapter 2

Where is the Signpost?
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Deus Ex-machina, Ruzenor

The next morning

I opened my eyes, but couldn’t find Ai Fa.

The clan Wu vacant house we were staying in was twice the size of Ai Fa’s place and was grand and spacious. The floor was laid with rug, and we slept on the floor as usual. But Ai Fa was nowhere to be found.

「Hmm?… Where did Ai Fa go?」

I got up anxiously and knocked the doors in the house.

I checked the rooms, and still couldn’t find her. All the rooms were empty.

Where did she go?

I felt uneasy.

Did that second brother came to find trouble with her again?

I couldn’t sit still with that thought in mind.

I grabbed the white towel I took off before I turned in, and hurried to the entrance.

The bar lock had been removed.

… Which means, she left out of her own will.

The sun had just risen over the hills.

Normally, we would have washed our clothes by this time. But as we were staying here as guests today, we escaped the hassle of doing house chores for the time being. I got even more confused on why Ai Fa left.

Outside the house was an empty plaza surrounded by seven houses. I walked there and looked around me.

Inside the plaza, a stout woman was carrying an iron pot, an old lady was drying pico leaves on a large piece of cloth, and a group of young children was either helping or getting in their way.

Each family was getting on with their morning chores, but there wasn’t anyone in the Wu clan main house situated at the deepest end. I didn’t see Ai Fa here either.
However —— judging from the atmosphere here, it didn’t seem like anyone had taken Ai Fa away by force. With such a serene scene before me, I felt stupid for holding such dangerous delusions.
In that case, what is going on? Did she leave me here and went back by herself?

I couldn’t string together a cohesive statement about that incident with Vena Wu last night,

In the end, I insisted on the point that 「she was drunk and I wasn’t sure what she said」, so Ai Fa shouldn’t be mad about this. Even though Ai Fa was suspicious and cold towards me, I didn’t think she was angry enough to just leave me here.

Or was she actually that angry?

I had a guilty conscience because I was hiding things from Ai Fa. Did she see through me?

Sigh, if I knew I would be so troubled, I shouldn’t have kept her in the dark. I should confess everything—— no, I should change some slight detail—— and report all of it to her!

… No matter what, I think I’m panicking too much?

I was like a toddler separated from my parents.

However, it was true that I felt more uneasy from such a situation in this different world.

Oh… Speaking of which, last night was the first time I acted separately from Ai Fa.

If I included the times I watched the house, we often acted separately. However, I promised Ai Fa that I would 「only act under her supervision」, so I had never wandered around outside by myself.

And even if we were apart, we didn’t have anyone else to interact with aside from each other. We spent five days in this small world where we only had each other.

But Rimee Wu appeared and destroyed this balance.

After the balance broke, it led to this incident.

Vena Wu proposed to me, and Darum Wu wooed Ai Fa.

This must be fate.

… Wait, now wasn’t the time to talk to myself!

I had to find where Ai Fa had gone.

Anyway, I had to visit the Wu main house.

But if Ai Fa had bid them farewell and went on home, then I could only chase after her in tears.

「… Yo, why are you standing there by yourself, guest?」

When I was about to take a step forward, someone called out to me from behind.
I turned back and a blonde youth was looking at me confusedly.

That was the youngest brother of the Wu clan, Ludo Wu.

「Ah hello… you too young chap, what are you doing here?」

I was in the Wu main house which was in the innermost part of the plaza. Since he was standing behind me, that means he came from the outer part of the village.

「Hmm? For some reason, I got up really early tonight, so I strolled around aimlessly. If the women finds me, they will nag and ask me to help.」

Ludo Wu gave a big yawn after answering.

My height was exactly 170cm. This youth was shorter and thinner than me, and had a cute appearance.

And of course, he might be slender, but didn’t look weak at all. He was like a young deer, swift and nimble.

His round eyes had a tenacious light about them, and his expression always seem fearless.

「The women’s job should be done by women. They kept ordering me around just because I’m the youngest man… So, what are you doing guest? You’re Asuta, right?」

「Well, Ai Fa was gone when I woke up, so I came out to find her. Young chap, have you seen her?」

「Don’t know, she is probably helping the women with chores. They should be doing the laundry at the water source at this time… This way, follow me.」

Ludo Wu walked towards the Wu main house with brisk strides.

Although he spoke in a casual tone, his nature might be unexpectedly kind. Out of the Wu men with unique personalities, this youth felt the most righteous, and he was the only one who acknowledge my cooking.

「Are you two really going back today? What a shame, I want to eat more delicious meals.」

His words filled me with joy. My affection for him kept rising.

「I have taught the cooking method to the women of your clan. They will definitely cook delicious meals for you even if I wasn’t here.」

「The women of my clan aren’t that skilled! And dad won’t permit them to make that 『hamburg steak』 dish. Even if they do cook a delicious meal, only Grandma Jiba will get to taste it.」

He looked at me with eyes of dissatisfaction.

「Asuta, you really don’t want to marry into our clan? Whether it’s Vena-nee or Leina-nee, just pick one and devour her.」

「Aren’t you their brother? You actually said something so scary… young chap, are you fine with your important sisters being treated so badly?」

「They will marry sooner or later, so it’s the same anyway. And instead of marrying away from the family, they can stay in the Wu clan forever if they take in a husband. So doing this will be better.」

Hmm, looks like he really care about his sisters. But as someone from a different world, I find it hard to understand his thinking. If a man laid his hands on the sister he treasured so much, could this really respect and treat that man as his brother-in-law?

「Leina-nee is already seventeen and Vena-nee is already twenty. The people around us are really noisy, asking why the women of the Wu main house has yet to wed at their age. They want them to marry soon, increase our clan members and nurture the next generation. That’s an important task of women too, right?」

「Right. By the way, how old are you young chap?」

「I’m fifteen. Finally old enough to get a wife… And can you stop calling me 『young chap」? It gives me goosebumps.」

「Sorry about that. Ah, is the water source that way?」

「This way.」

What a friendly youth.

Aside from the third sister Lala Wu, I have spoken with every other member of the Wu clan now. The personalities of the siblings in this family varies very widely.

The intimidating eldest brother Jiza Wu, whose personality was hard to figure out.

Like a feral wolf with dangerous eyes, the second brother Darum Wu.

The youngest brother who seemed wild but was actually cheerful.

Vena Wu, the eldest sister overwhelming with sexiness.

The pure and serious second sister, Leina Wu.

The only woman who refuted my 『kiba steak』, Lala Wu.

The innocent and cute Rimee Wu.

This family had all sorts of personality.

I was really curious about how one couple could give birth to children that were so different in character.

「You don’t intend to marry into our clan? In that case, I just have to help you entice Leina-nee and the others.」

We passed by the houses and walked down the path to the right where there were more trees.

「Or maybe you can barge in while Leina-nee is bathing. You know about that weird rule, right? If a man saw the naked body of an unwed woman, they will need to take her as his wife, or be rendered blind. Leina-nee actually has a weak personality, and she will definitely split hairs and think she has to marry you.」

「I don’t want Leina Wu to split hairs over this! I think I will just be blinded for this anyway.」

「Instead of assaulting and impregnating her, this will be simpler, right?」

「I think your precondition is already wrong… Ludo Wu, you should really think seriously about what you need to do to bring happiness to your sisters.」

「But this is happiness too. That way, she can eat delicious meals everyday!」

His words were cunning, but I couldn’t bring myself to hate him when he mix in praises when he speaks… Was my thinking too shallow?

Donda Wu completely refuted my cooking last night, and that left a deep scar in my heart. And what Ludo Wu was saying right now heals the wounds.

「Hmm, that leaves the final method… Getting my stubborn dad to acknowledge you.」

「Didn’t I already told you? I have no intention of marrying…」

「I’m not talking about that, I mean making him acknowledge that your cooking is delicious.」

I looked closely at the youth’s side profile.

Ludo Wu didn’t notice my gaze, placing both hands behind his head as he walked in large strides and swinging his legs out forcefully.

「I think that kiba meat is super delicious, but my dad complains that it is too soft and sweet, right? So if you make a meal that isn’t soft or sweet, then dad won’t be able to complain about it. If dad acknowledge your cooking skills, he won’t protest if our clan’s women copied your cooking —— This method is the least likely after all.」

Even if it was hard to pull off, I still wish things could develop in this way.

But I didn’t know how to do that.

「… But Donda Wu won’t let me tend to the hearth anymore.」

「Hmm? That’s not true. If you tell him 『I will make a delicious meal for you, so let me take care of the hearth』, he will definitely agree. If my dad hears that, he won’t let the matter rest.」

「… Is that so?」

「Hey hey, don’t do it! One wrong move and your fingers might be sliced off! Then I won’t be able to eat your cookings ever again… I don’t want things to turn out like this.」

I really felt like kissing his smooth cheeks.

However, I would be troubled if this kiss open a brand new world for me or the youth, so I didn’t do that.

I see… If he accepts, then I can restore my honor with another dish…!

While my motivation was burning, Ludo Wu sighed beside me and said:

「From the current situation, the simplest way would be to let you marry into the clan. I recommend Leina-nee, you two are the same age, right?」

「No, even if we are the same age, it is strange to marry for such a reason. I wish to be more true to myself in living my life.」

Being true to oneself.

True to my heart.

Ludo Wu answered lazily:「Right.」

「Ah, you see that board erected over there? Behind it is the water source. I don’t want them to give me chores, so I will be leaving first.」

「I got it. Thank you… Ah, it’s a bit late to say this, but thanks for the tusk and horn you gave me yesterday, it made me very happy.」

「What do you mean? Those are the blessings I gave you, and you’re thanking me? You earned those blessings through proper means, right?」

He stuck his tongue out a little wilfully, then turned and left.

They were blood related after all. Just like his cute youngest sister, he was lively and suited for onomatopoeia. Alright time to move on. I looked before me and saw several boards leaning against trees and forming a wall.

I didn’t know why they left these boards here, but there were sounds of water splashing and rowdy voices of women on the other side.

I need to get Ai Fa’s permission before going on about regaining my honour.

I walked towards the water source as I thought about how to convince her.

The voices sounded really cheerful. That was probably Rimee Wu laughing, she’s lively so early in the morning.

「Sorry, but is Ai Fa here?」

I looked in from the shadow of the boards.

The next instant, the subject herself was standing before me.

Ai Fa was right there.

She was rubbing her golden locks with a large piece of cloth, and looking at me in surprise.

Ai Fa’s entire body filled my vision without any gaps.

Her skin had a smooth chocolatey colour that filled my entire vision.

—— After coming to this different world, the first person I met was Ai Fa.

That’s why I thought in the beginning that Ai Fa was a standard denizen of Forest's Edge.

I was absolutely wrong. Ai Fa wasn’t a standard denizen, but a very special existence.

This woman actually wield her sabre and hunt kiba beast deep in the forest. Aside from Ai Fa, no other women did this..

I had never met anyone like Ai Fa. She had the eyes of a wild cat, and her movement was as decisive as a man. In Forest's Edge, there wasn’t any other girl as brave, strong and full of life and fighting spirit as Ai Fa.

Just her appearance was completely different from the others.

The women of this settlement, especially the young unwed girls were always wearing clothes that show a lot of skin, so I could easily tell that she was different from any of them. No one except Ai Fa had such a shapely body figure.

And of course, since the other women also needed to pick firewood and herbs from the forest, chop wood and carry heavy pots and water flasks, no one was fat out of laziness.

Even so, they were still different from Ai Fa.

In order to sprint in the forest and wield a steel sabre to hunt the ferocious kiba… Ai Fa had to keep training to keep up with these demands. Her body looked as if it had been forged from iron.
In actual fact, Ai Fa’s stature was slender, and her arms, legs and torso wasn’t too thick. She wasn’t as well built as a man.

But her body was trained and filled with strong muscles with live combat experience.

There wasn’t any fats on her, just like a leather whip.

She didn’t go through any unnatural diet, and maintained her slender figure through hard work as a hunter.

However, she didn’t lose the softness of a young woman. Her strong back muscles, small waist and the curves of her legs gave a sense of agility. Her figure made my heart thump.

Ai Fa was beautiful, like a wild leopard.

Her body was graceful like an athlete.

Ai Fa was a woman filled with charm.

No matter if you look at her as an animal, a human or a woman —— her body was beautiful and well proportioned. I had always thought so.

And then…
Ai Fa’s wonderful body filled my entire vision.

Even though there were faint white scars all over her brown body, there was still a smooth luster about her and there wasn’t any impurities. And now, her body was shown right before me.

Simply put, Ai Fa was naked.

With her legs apart as she stood on top of a boulder, Ai Fa was using a large cloth to dry her wet hair, and stood stiffly still. Ai Fa’s front was exposed before my eyes.
There were several nude girls playing behind her. When they noticed me, several of them screamed, but I wasn’t aware of all that.

Want to know why?

Like a high speed reel, the mistress of my house quickly blushed, her face a complicated mixture of shame and a demon. With all her might, Ai Fa struck my temple with a right hook.


「You really stir up a lot of trouble…」

This was an empty space some distance away from the Wu residence. Someone sighed heavily.

Standing over 180cm tall, a well toned body, slit-like eyes and a smile that made it difficult to read his thoughts —— This was the eldest brother of the Wu clan, Jiza Wu.

The youngest brother Ludo Wu stood beside him and looked into the hills in the distance, as if this didn’t concern him at all. Ai Fa and I stood before the two of them.

This scene was like a disciplined master lecturing Ai Fa and me. In reality, the seriousness and urgency was on a completely different level. This secret meeting would decide the future of the Wu clan and the Fa house.

「Seeing the naked body of an unwed woman is a serious taboo, do you understand that?」

「… Yes, I know that very well.」

「According to the rules, to redeem for one’s crime, those who infringe on this taboo has to hand over an eye or marry the girl, and watch over her for her entire life. Unfortunately, we don’t even know where you hailed from, so we can’t let you marry anyone from the Wu clan.」

「… Yes, that is clear to me.」

「Vena, Leina, Lala and Rimee, all four sisters were there. We can’t let all these girls marry you.」

「…Yes, I wouldn’t dare do that.」

「That might be so, but you don’t have four eyes. So what should we do...」

「W-With regards to that, I already told you right in the beginning!」

Even though this was a secret meeting, I couldn’t help raising my voice.

「I only saw Ai Fa’s naked body!」

Someone kicked my foot.

「Because Ai Fa blocked my entire view, I only saw Ai Fa’s naked body!」

I was kicked again.

「Because my attention was attracted to Ai Fa’s naked body, I didn’t see anything else around me! I only saw Ai Fa’s naked body!」

She kicked me in quick succession.
But I would be very sad if my eyes or any body parts were taken from me, so I dispute this desperately.

By the way, after my left temple was hit by that full powered right hook, I could still feel a sharp pain. There wasn’t any bleeding, but I was worried about any hair fracture in my skull.

「Hey, don’t get distracted by the woman from your own family. Wouldn’t that waste my effort for this plan?」

Ludo Wu muttered without any concern about the seriousness of the situation. Jiza Wu turned towards him slowly.
「Ludo Wu, do you know how serious the consequences are?」

He narrowed his eyes to a slit and looked at his younger brother quietly.

Ludo Wu was shocked and after shrinking away for a moment, he raised his brows and said:

「What!? This is making a mountain out of a molehill! This is just an archaic rule made a long time ago. Frankly speaking, no one follows this meaningless regulation in the settlement anymore!」

「You might be right, but with the Tsun clan that leads the entire tribe becoming decadent, we the Wu clan has to be an example for Forest's Edge. Even if the rules are archaic, we must not take them lightly.」

I couldn’t see any changes to Jiza Wu’s expression. His face was gentle, and no matter how stern his words were, he still had a smile on his face.

But after hearing what Jiza Wu said, the face of Ludo Wu who acted like a barking puppy suddenly turned deathly green.

「I… I get it. It’s my bad… I already said I was wrong! Jiza-nii, don’t get so mad!」

「I will deal with you later.」

Jiza Wu ignored his pitiful brother and faced us once again.

All of a sudden, I could feel an invisible force pressing on my head.

Where did this man’s intimidation aura came from? The pressure was heavy, and I felt as if I was facing a very skilled martial arts practitioner.
「Ai Fa of House Fa, what are your thoughts on your family member who violated this taboo? I will decide after hearing what you have to say.」

Jiza Wu said quietly.

「To block views from the outside, there are door boards set up at the water source. The door board represent the door of a house, and no one is permitted to enter through the door without permission from a family member, which is a rule in Forest's Edge. So Asuta of House Fa broke two taboos—— If it was you, how would you punish him?」

「……Asuta is a foreigner. As the head of House Fa, I accepted this foreigner into my house, but allowed him to visit another house before teaching him all the rules of Forest's Edge. The fault is mine.」

Ai Fa said emotionlessly, then lowered her head quietly.

「If there is a need to atone for this crime, I’m willing to offer my own eyes. But I won’t be able to live on as a hunter in Forest's Edge without both my eyes, so please allow me to give up just one eye...」

「Hey, Ai Fa!」

When I started shouting, Jiza Wu stopped me with a gesture, and held his firm jaw with his hand.

「Ai Fa of House Fa, are you mistaking something? If you lose an eye, you won’t be able to make a living by 《hunting kiba》. The forest isn’t a playground.」

「… If I fall in the forest because of this, then I will accept that fate.」

「I see.」

Jiza Wu nodded and looked at the anxious me.

「I will ask one more time. Asuta of House Fa, did you see the naked body of the Wu clan’s women?」

「I only saw Ai Fa’s naked body!」

Even at this juncture, she still kicked me.

「I see.」

Jiza Wu exhaled.

「Asuta, I will believe what you said then… Since you claim to have only seen Ai Fa’s naked body, then that will be Fa house’s problem, and nothing to do with the Wu clan.」

「… You forgive him?」Ai Fa asked.

「I’m not forgiving him, I’m believing him.」Jiza Wu answered.

「Ai Fa, you are a trustworthy person. Since Asuta is from the Fa house where you are the house head, I will believe what he said… Asuta, you mentioned that you didn’t take one step beyond the door boards, right?」

「Yes! Because Ai Fa was standing right behind the door board without any clothes on!」

She kicked me again.

I was relieved for being vindicated and didn’t mind.

If Ai Fa had to offer one of her eyes, I would rather they take both of mine.

「Since this matter didn’t cause any harm to the Wu clan, I won’t pursue it further… If blood is spilled over something so trivial, we will be accused by others of using devious schemes to harm the members of another house.」

After Jiza Wu said that, he turned towards Ludo Wu who had turned rather docile.

「Ludo Wu, do you understand now? Your actions not only caused trouble for the Fa house, but will also bring harm to the Wu clan too. You are already an adult who can tell right from wrong, so you have to abide by the rules as a member of the Wu clan.」


Ludo Wu answered simply, making him look more pitiful

「W-Will he be punished harshly?」

「Hmm? Asuta of house Fa, why are you asking that?」

「Because… Even if he deserved it, I still feel bad about this. If I was smarter about this, I wouldn’t have caused such an incident.」

「Hmm… I won’t punish him. If I do that, then this matter will reach the ears of the clan head.」

Even though the sun was up, clan head Donda Wu was still sleeping.

「No matter what the rules are, if my father Donda Wu learns this, he will never forgive you. He really dotes on my youngest sister Rimee Wu. Not just your eyes, he will ask for your beating heart.」

「…I see…」

「If things turn out this way, outsiders will think the clan head is a bloodthirsty man and look down on the Wu cla. I hope you can keep this from my other family members aside from the clan head Donda Wu.」

I could only answer: 「I hope you can do the same.」

Not only was their clan reputation at stake, it could cause our house members to lose our life too.

「Well then, let’s make peace. The clan head is still resting, so I, Jiza Wu will bid you farewell. May both our houses be safe.」

What he meant was 「if you have no other business then get out」.

I was a little sad that I couldn’t bid Rimee Wu and the others farewell, but it couldn’t be helped in such a situation. We quietly walked towards the Wu main house with our heads low to collect our blades.

「Oh right, clan head Donda Wu has a message he wants me to relay to you. In order to deliver it accurately, I will repeat exactly what he said.」

With his usual kind smile on his face, Jiza Wu stopped us.

「『Thank you for your nasty tasting meal. Thanks to you two, the Grand Elder is saved. I offer you my blessings for the medicine that corrodes the hunter’s soul』… That’s the entire message.」


「Hey, Ai Fa!」

I called out but she didn’t answer.

We have already collected our blades and cape, and were on our way back to the Fa House.

This dirt path in Forest's Edge had been packed tightly by the constant travel of its denizens, and we met a few other people along the way.

This place was about an hour away from the Fa House, and this was the first time I met the people from around here. Every one of them looked at me in surprise. No matter where I was, foreigners in Forest's Edge attire was an intriguing sight for everyone.

I wasn’t concerned at all.

For the current me, the most important thing was Ai Fa who was walking in large strides, and had an air of anger and rejection about her.

I had something to discuss with her, but couldn’t find the chance to speak.

… Even if I keep quiet, that won’t solve the problem.

After making up my mind, I said to the back of the enraged Ai Fa:

「Listen! If you are angry about what happened just now, I admit it’s my fault! I’m really sorry. But I don’t want this incident to fracture the trust in our relationship. Given all these days we have spent together, can you give me a chance to explain?」


「I didn’t mean to do that. Ludo Wu told me the water source was there, I never imagined that the Wu clan water source is an incredibly wide river, and big enough to bathe in. I thought everyone was washing the dinner utensils happily, that’s why I looked inside.」


「And this is the first time I heard about the marriage part… This is the second time I have seen you naked, how I should take responsibility for that?」

Even I myself felt embarrassed and troubled after saying that.

That wouldn’t do. I tried to say in a frivolous voice:
「If I can marry a beauty like you, I will be so blissed. As you know, I’m not in a position to have this honour! But if this is against the rules, I don’t mind marrying into your house...」

My end is nigh.

Ai Fa turned towards me, kicked off the ground and pounced. Her explosive burst was incredible, just like her blow that killed the kiba beast seven days ago.

I was pushed down easily. Ai Fa put her knee onto my stomach, and grabbed at my chest with all her strength, which pressed onto my neck, making it hard to breath.

「H-Hey, Ai Fa…」

「Shut up! You— You jerk!」

I have completely stepped on her landmine.

There was an intense fire burning in Ai Fa’s eyes. She bit her lips tightly as if she was going to draw blood, and her face was completely red.

「You… Do you know how much resolve it took in order for me to live my life by 《hunting kiba》? And you say you want to marry so easily—」

Ai Fa’s voice was trembling from her pain, and she kept tightening her grip on my chest.

When I saw the substance slowly dripping from her eyes, my heart was filled with regret.

「I’m sorry! It’s my fault, I shouldn’t have joked with you! I just want to lighten the awkward mood! I don’t mean any harm!」

This was 200% my fault. There was no question about it, it was obvious.

Not because of a proper argument or friction from clash of emotions. I made a girl’s eyes filled with tears because of my frivolous tone. I have lived for seventeen years, and felt a very strong sense of guilt over this action.

「I’m sorry! I’m really sorry! The guilt from making a strong girl like you cry is suffocating me! Please don’t cry!」

「Stop kidding around! Who’s crying!?」

Ai Fa shouted when a drop of warm substance fell onto my cheeks.

The emotional fire in Ai Fa’s eyes was like the flames of hell, I even thought that her tears would evaporate because of that. Unfortunately, such a miracle didn’t happen, and my heart breaks with each drop of her tears.

I thought I was going to die.

If Ai Fa broke down and wail like Rimee Wu the day before yesterday, I would definitely die from pain and regret over my own foolishness.

But the honourable female hunter Ai Fa didn’t wail loudly. She pushed me away, then after walking some distance away, she turned and wiped away her tears.
I slowly pushed my upper body up, and called out to Ai Fa who was sat down with her back facing me.

「Eh, Ai Fa…?」

「I’m not crying.」

「Yes, you’re not crying! I saw it wrong! I heard that when someone is strangled tightly, his vision will become blurry due to the lack of oxygen!」

Ai Fa stood up quietly, rubbed her face with her arm and continued striding forth.

After a heavy sigh, I chased after Ai Fa.

Fortunately, there wasn’t any other pedestrian during this period of time.

That’s right, she isn’t a woman who only has a cold side.

Ai Fa just stared ahead and alternate her footing.

There wasn’t any more tears in her eyes, but her cheeks were still blushed and her expression was more bitter than usual.

I didn’t plan to say anything unnecessary to her before she revert back to her usual fearless expression. After making this decision, I cast my gaze to the front.
As if she was waiting for me to avert my gaze, Ai Fa whose mouth was shut unhappily opened:

「… Why have you been showing a face as if you are splitting hairs since just now?」

「Ehh? Because I’m troubled, and wondering how I can make up with you.」

「I’m not asking that. Are you troubled by something else? If not, you wouldn’t be filled with so much regret.」

Even though she was really mad, she still noticed that, which surprised me.

「Yes, I actually have something I need to discuss with you. But it is a little complicated, so I will tell you when you regain your composure.」

「Stop kidding me! I’m always calm and composed!」

Her tone felt even more childish.

Would this really be fine? I was worried, but started talking in order to respect her wishes:

「Erm, then I will begin. It will sound very sudden, so don’t be mad. If you stop me, I will just give up the idea.」

「… It had been just a few short hours, but I feel that I have been provoked for years. Are you going to continue with your nonsense?」

「If you think there isn’t any need, don’t hesitate to stop me… I want to let Donda Wu taste my cooking again.」

Ai Fa narrowed her eyes slightly, and cast an icy gaze at me.

I tried to describe my feelings sincerely.

「If Donda Wu don’t acknowledge my cooking, the Wu clan won’t learn how to bloodlet. Then from tomorrow onwards, Grandma Jiba will have to eat meat with a strong stench again, right? Leaving that aside, I feel vexed that someone criticized my food to be poison and foul tasting.」

Ai Fa didn’t answer.

Her eyes were half closed as she glared at me.

「Things have finally ended nicely, and I also know it’s better to not be too involved with that clan. Aside from Grandma Jiba and Rimee Wu, it’s better to not get too close to the other members of the Wu clan… But, it’s still very vexing.」

「…So that’s it.」


「After hearing someone put you down that hard, it will be strange to not be troubled. It’s not something worth nagging about.」

「That’s right. But we can’t get involved with the Wu clan right? That’s why I’m troubled.」

「…Don’t be.」 Ai Fa said.

She then continued: 「Just do what your heart tells you to.」

「Huh? You mean you won’t mind if I give that eccentric old man a challenge letter?」

「If you wish to, I won’t stop you.」

「Why are you acting like it doesn’t concern you!? You will be troubled if you fail, right?」

「If you don’t want to trouble me, then sever your relationship with me.」—— Will she say that again? If she did, I will protest even if she shouts or cries.

But she didn’t bring that up at all.

「Donda Wu doesn’t intend to let me marry into the Wu clan anymore. Going by that man’s nature, he won’t permit a girl to hunt Kiba. All that I feel from that man is hostility and mockery.」

「Erm, since he is hostile towards you, then we shouldn’t get involved with him right?」

「Why? Since he is the enemy, we just need to make him submit, right?」

Ai Fa said without hesitation.

When she saw how troubled I looked, Ai Fa snorted.

「I’m not asking you to defeat Donda Wu with a sabre. I’m asking you to subdue his heart with your delicious cooking—— Isn’t that true?」

「Instead of subdue, that’s getting him to acknowledge me, right? Never mind, I’m full of drive right now.」

「In that case, do as you wish,,, I also hope that Grandma Jiba can continue to taste delicious meals in the future too.」

Ai Fa’s voice got softer towards the end, and I couldn’t hear her unless my ears were right beside her.

「However, before you explain the reason why you are doing this, I have to ask you one thing.」

The gleam in Ai Fa’s eyes became more dangerous.

「Can you win?」

「My chances huh…」

After considering it for two seconds, I answered 「There is a chance.」

「There is?」

「Yes. I still need to research it for a bit more, but there is still plenty of meat left at home for me to do so.」

「Then, can you win?」

「Hmm? Ara, sometimes, it’s a matter of luck…」

「You have to win. You are not permitted to lose.」 Ai Fa turned her face away.

「When I heard him disparage your cooking with such terrible words, I almost couldn’t stand it anymore. If Donda Wu shows such an arrogant attitude again… I will definitely blow my top, I don’t know what I will do.」

When she saw me stare with my eyes wide open, Ai Fa blushed again.

「Do you know how humiliated I felt when I listened to what that man said last night? I felt like splashing his face with the boiling soup in the iron pot.」

Didn’t you show a cold expression the entire time yesterday?

I thought about it again. Ai Fa’s mood swings wildly, but she would always seem expressionless when facing different people, and even look a bit cold.

She actually had such burning passion under her pure and cold exterior.

「But, we’re dining in the house of someone else—— and the Wu clan at that. If I acted so insolently, the Fa bloodline will have ended right then. And so, if you want to challenge this task, be prepared to shoulder the reputation of the Fa house.」

「I got it.」 I nodded firmly.

I felt a warm itch squirming in my heart.

「Thank you, Ai Fa. I didn’t know you were so upset.」

「Hmmp! Because you are still a member of the Fa house for now! As the house head, it’s only natural for me to be mad when others disparage my house member unreasonably!」

After Ai Fa said her piece angrily, she pouted like a child.

「… And no matter what nonsense other people say, that dish is definitely delicious.」

Why did she say that?

Was Ai Fa trying to make me cry to get back at me for earlier?

I didn’t cry, and was all smiles instead.

「Ai Fa, you always give me a push at the last crucial moment. I could feel fighting spirit overflowing from my heart.」


「Well, it’s great that boring incident didn’t harm the relationship between us. I will be in your care from now on too, Ai Fa!」

「…You violated two taboos and still have the cheeks to say they are boring.」

The way she scowled her nose make her look like an angry wild cat. Ai Fa was already back to her usual self.

I became even more happy at the sight of her scary face.

「That’s right, there’s no way it can be boring since I saw your naked body, Ai Fa! That’s my sincere thoughts!」

I was getting too conceited and Ai Fa whacked me in the back of the head with her full force.


In the following days, I spent my time researching the ways to grill kiba meat—— When I put it this way, it might sound like I just kept grilling meat all day without rest, which was not the case of course.

In Forest's Edge, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. So I have to finish my daily chores properly. And I also need to gather the materials in order to conduct research and perform a lot of physical labour.

For example securing firewood.

Without firewood, I wouldn’t be able to grill meat.

Filled with drive, I wanted to use this opportunity to find a way to adjust the heat in a stove.

It would take years to make it work, but I couldn’t take it so easily.

First of all, there was only one stove in the Fa house, and I have to cook under such a restricted setting. If I boil the 『kiba meat soup』 with strong fire, I would need to reduce the number of firewood I add later, and let it boil slowly. This was the limit of my heat control.

However, the Wu clan has many stoves. By shifting the pot around during cooking, I would be able to use strong and weak fire respectively. That was why i didn’t make any mini hamburg steak during dinner in the Wu clan, but normal sized one—— 「maintaining a weak flame」 was difficult for cooking.
This was different from using a flat frying pan on top of a gas stove. The shape of every piece of wood differs, and the amount could only be a rough gauge by eye. The iron pot used in Forest's Edge was thicker than flat frying pans too, and the heat transfer was slow. But once it heats up, the intensity was very strong. This was a troublesome feature too.
My focus yesterday was to not let the hamburg steak get burned. There wasn’t any failure, but was the fire too weak, resulting in the juices leaking out? I couldn’t wipe away my uneasiness. I hope I didn’t need to be so worried the next time I see Donda Wu.

Hence, the first obstacle for me was 「adjusting a weak flame.」

How much firewood should I add? How big a fire should I raise? I need to watch how much firewood I use, how intense the fire and smoke was and grasp the condition of the grilled meat at the same time. This was a match of patience, and beginning of a journey with no end in sight.
Anyway, I kept burning firewood and grilling meat.

The entire house was filled with smoke and it was hard to breathe.

I really envy the Wu clan’s environment during times like this, allowing them to build an outdoor stove. But it was useless to envy the rich—— So I could only keep staring at my hand like Takuboku Ishikawa . But someone wasn’t pleased about this.

That person was my only other housemate, the mistress of this house, Ai Fa.

That afternoon after returning home from the Wu clan, Ai Fa finished her hunter’s work and came home. When she saw the terrible state of the house that had been smoked by firewood and meat, she roared:「What the hell are you doing!?」

In order to defeat that kiba old man, I have to research. I protested in a soft voice, and tried to use my natural cuteness to curry the female house head. But she didn’t care and lectured:

「Are you stupid? Just make a stove outside.」

Ai Fa said as she flicked her blonde hair back.

I felt enlightened.

Forest's Edge didn’t have carpenters, architects or interior designers. The denizens made the houses  and furnitures by hand.

「We will starve to death without stoves, so I more or less know how to build one.」

Ai Fa’s father passed away two years ago, and she was fifteen at that time. She then broke off ties with everyone else and lived by herself. Having came from a different world, I never imagined she was so knowledgeable.

And I didn’t think every fifteen year old youth in Forest's Edge would know how to erect a stove.

Ai Fa’s father seemed to have foreseen that he would die young, and hastily imparted all his knowledge to his daughter—— Such a thought even occurred to me.

But there wasn’t anyway to confirm this now, and I have no intention of doing so.

I just keep praising Ai Fa:「you are amazing」, and felt blissful for her existence.

And so, one day after we returned from the Wu clan, Ai Fa and I started working hard on erecting a stove.

I knew it would be tough, but this was really back breaking work. We pulled our tow board to a quarry, and bring back rocks that was the right size. We kept bringing back rocks and piled them on the ground. It was a battle of stamina and determination.

We erected a stove right behind the Fa house.

We needed to keep adding firewood into the stove while the sun was still high in the sky. To keep it away from the gaze of outsiders, it would be prudent to build it in a place not visible from the main road. More importantly, there was a tall tree behind the Fa house, which could protect the stove for us even if it rains suddenly. I planned to erect a roof in the future with this tree as its base.

We kept ferrying rocks.

And piled it higher and higher.

We piled it in an oval shape, like a small hill. It had holes in the front and on top, and the center was completely empty. Obviously, it was impossible to erect a stove just by piling rocks. Ai Fa brought back 「sticky clay」 from the forest and used it to plaster every rock.

The grey stone she brought back could only be found in a special quarry. After smashing the rock into pieces and dissolving it in water, it would be ready for use. As it would make our hands sticky, we had to struggle with it as we pushed it into the gaps between the rocks. When the stove’s outline had somewhat been formed, we tried burning some firewood.

If it wasn’t airtight or if some parts crumbled when the fire was burning, we would reinforce it with more clay.

After repeating this for five to six times, we finally stopped the smoke from leaking out from the crevices. We then mixed in sand into the clay, and after making it gooey, we applied it evenly to the inside and outside of the stove.

We then baked the entire stove, and the erection would be complete when the clay hardens.

「Uwah!! I’m covered in sweat! This took us half a day.」

The sun was at the western edge of the sky, and white smoke of family cooking their meals were rising all around us.

「……Asuta, I’m hungry.」

Ai Fa who was sitting down couldn’t hide her fatigue.

「That’s true. We built a stove today, so let’s cook with it. Do you want meat soup or hamburg steak?」

「Hamburg steak.」

With my body still collapsed onto the ground, I turned towards Ai Fa.

Ai Fa showed a scary face and asked: 「What?」

「Nothing, I just thought your answer is really quick. But we ate hamburg steak last night too, and this will be the fourth night in a row eating the same thing. Is that fine?」

「………… It’s fine.」

You don’t need to answer after such a long pause.
I already took some time off during the stove construction to grill poitan, so she could pick any dish she wanted. Mincing the meat would be slightly more of a hassle, but Ai Fa spent half a day to erect this stove for me, so cooking that dish for her as thanks for nothing given my gratitude towards her.

While I was groaning, Ai Fa called out to me again.


「What’s the matter Ai Fa?」

「The hamburg steak we ate in the Wu house two days ago was bigger.」

「Oh, in my hometown, that’s the normal size.」

「… Why is the hamburg steak you make in the Fa house so small?」

「Oh, didn’t I tell you? In order to make it that big, I would need to grill it twice with both a strong fire and a weak fire. If I only use a strong fire, the surface would be burnt. Just using a weak fire would make it hard to cook, and the juices would leak out. So I can only make it into the small and cute size.」

「So that’s why.」

「Yes, that’s the reason.」


「What is it, Ai Fa?」

「… The Fa house has two stoves now.」

「Yes, I’m really happy about that. But one is inside the house, and the other is outside, so it will be hard to shift the iron pot. It will be hard to use these two stoves separately when cooking one dish.」

That also meant I wouldn’t be able to use my skills to maintain a slow fire in cooking. This would be a problem. As I was thinking about that, Ai Fa’s eyes were burning with the setting sun as a backdrop.

And so, we erected a second outdoor stove the very next day.

I collapsed onto the ground in front of the two stoves standing side by side like twin brothers.

「Uwah! I’m completely beat! Building stoves for two days in a row is too tiring! My arms are swollen! Can I even cook like this?」

After I laid down on the ground and whine, Ai Fa whose eyes were moving around suddenly stared right at me.

「It’s fine, I will still cook. I will serve up a large 『hamburg steak』 for you… so don’t cry.」

「Who’s crying!?」

「That’s great then… And I can finally start researching grilled cooking tomorrow. Ai Fa, I’m very grateful.」


「By the way, from tomorrow onwards, I want you to try the grilled food I will be making to defeat Donda Wu. This will be the last hamburg steak for quite a while.」

「Last meal…」

「If you want to eat that, I will cook it for you in the future… Hey, don’t cry, alright?」

「Who’s crying!?」

「Right. You really like hamburg steaks. If you eat hamburg steak everyday, your jaw strength will really degrade just like Jiza Wu says...」

At this moment, I felt something was wrong.

Jaw strength, degrade…?

If it degrades…

What would happen?

「I see.」

I pressed the middle of my brows and fell into deep thought.

「That’s… true...」

「What’s the matter, Asuta?」

Ai Fa leaned in with a serious face.

Her golden brown hair was sticking to her sweaty face a little, and how should I put this—— she looked a little sexy.

「I-It’s nothing! I’m just confirming the direction my cooking should take. I will work hard to make something chewy and as tasty as hamburg steak, so look forward to it.」

As the tentacles of my thoughts spread in all directions, I asked Ai Fa something that had been troubling me:

「Speaking of which, we have spent two days building the stoves, you have been a great help, Ai Fa. But is your hunting going well? It has been about ten days since we have hunted down a kiba, right?」

「It’s fine, I got an unexpected reward in the Wu clan.」

Ai Fa clasped the necklace hanging before her chest.

Like me, Ai Fa obtained eight horns.

Ai Fa was already wearing a large number of tusks and horns, so she kept the additional ones in the pocket of her cape.

「Eigh horns is equal to two kiba beast, or twenty meals of aria and poitan… this is an incredible amount for tending the hearth just once.」

「This is an adequate reward for you.」

Ai Fa stared at the fire burning in the stove and said softly:

「If it is the lull season for kiba, I won’t be able to hunt any kiba no matter how long I walked in the forest. The forest might be vast, but the area we can venture into are limited. The furthest we can wander is restricted as we have to return home within the same day.」

「Yes, that make sense.」

「But if we hunt down all the kiba around the settlement, and the fruits and small animals which the kiba likes start to flourish, the kiba hiding deeper in the forest will move in to forage for food. There will then be a never ending supply of kiba to hunt.」

「I see, it has become a fixed cycle.」

However, Ai Fa’s burden doubled after I appeared, so I don’t think this matter was this simple.
Just hunting one kiba every ten days was enough to sustain one person, but hunting one every five days would be needed for two people. May the bountiful season come before Ai Fa’s saving decreases—— I prayed in my heart.

The next day, Ai Fa came home with huge horns and tusks in tow.

「A kiba fell into the trap you were caught in last time.」 she said.

The day after, she came home with large horns and tusks again.

「It’s a big one today, my knife almost broke.」

She needed to risk her life to hunt kiba.

I felt ashamed for praying for her to have a bountiful season.

Another day passed—— Ai Fa actually carried a 50kg young kiba home.
「I tried bloodletting like you said. It bled and spasmed for quite a while, it should be okay.」

I was burning firewood in the stove outside at that time. Ai Fa collapsed onto her butt.

She was covered in sweat and dirt, and seemed to be in pain as she panted.

Of course she would be so tired. Even a small kiba weighed at least 50 kg, which should be around Ai Fa’s weight.

「A-Are you okay? You did something so reckless...」

「I’m fine… water.」

I hurried into the house and scooped up a full ladle of water.

When Ai Fa tried to take the ladle, I noticed that her arms were shaking. So I moved the ladle right to her lips, and tilt it slightly.
After Ai Fa finished it in one gulp, she exhaled and laid sprawled onto the ground.

Her shapely breasts rise and fell violently. I was a little troubled, and wondered where I should look.

I shifted my gaze to the kiba beast laying side by side with Ai Fa.

The head and throat of the carcass were stained with blood, and its small eyes seemed to be shut tightly in sadness. It wasn’t very tall, but it was chubby and round, and probably full of fats. As its horns were bigger than its tusks, I assumed that it was a young male kiba.
「… We still have half the meat left, you don’t need to force yourself.」

After I said that, Ai Fa continued to lay sprawled out as she looked at me unhappily:

「What are you talking about. The meat will start rotting in another five days.」

「Right. In that case, you can just bloodlet it in the forest and just bring the legs back——」

「Aren’t you the one who was always yammering about 『discarding the torso is a waste』 , right?」

Ai Fa said with her eyes closed and breathing still a little ragged.

「Why are you finding fault with me? Did I do something unnecessary?」

「Not at all…! I’m very grateful, thank you Ai Fa.」

Ai Fa opened her eyes and glanced at me:

「… If you want to thank me, then show it through action.」

「H-Huh? What should I do?」

Ai Fa got up slowly, and with her mouth slightly pouting, she looked up at me.
「… I want to have hamburg steak tonight.」

I only asked her to eat grilled meat for two days, and she was already showing withdrawal symptoms.
I nodded firmly:

「Got it! I will start preparing it after butchering it! Just wait for me and look forward to it!」

Ai Fa nodded. She looked a little weird.

Her expression was rather unnatural, as if she was suppressing her smile.

When I saw her like this, I could feel my motivation burning. I looked up to the sky and sighed.


Ten hectic days passed in a flash

Which means, it had been two weeks since I got transported to this different world.

I spent the first five days with Ai Fa alone, and met Rimee Wu on the 5th night. We visited the Wu clan on the sixth day, and went home the very next day. Another ten days had past—— to be more precise, it had been sixteen days.

I felt I had been in this world since a long time ago. On the other hand, I was surprised that it had been so many days.

No matter what, this had been a busy sixteen days.

Especially this week, I spent every day burning wood and grilling meat. I finally figured something out, and planned to visit the Wu clan tomorrow morning to issue my challenge letter.

No matter how hard I try, there was no end to the study of flame intensity. I needed to find the right moment to stop, and that time was now.

Ai Fa’s dinner tonight was my final prototype. She tasted it, and guaranteed that: 「It’s as tasty as a hamburg steak」.

A meal befitting the denizens Forest's Edge—— a dish that the denizens of Forest's Edge could enjoy happily. That was the key of the dish I came up with. When I see Ai Fa’s contented expression I sincerely thought: 「This dish will definitely be fine.」

「To be honest, if I didn’t meet you, I would have died somewhere without achieving anything.」

After dinner, I tidied up the utensils and laid on the rug contentedly, then said this out of nowhere.
Ji ji ji… The soft sound of the candle burning could be heard. Ai Fa showed an unhappy face:

「If it’s you, no matter how dire the situation you end up in, or who brings you home, you will definitely be able to overcome it… Is that what you want me to say?」

「I don’t think so highly of myself, and I don’t plan on underestimating this world either. You are the first person I met in this unfamiliar land. How lucky is that? After spending two days here, I was very aware of this fact.」

「… Why do you always start talking about serious things at night, or bring up melancholic topics? It’s troubling to be influenced by you one sidedly.」

Ai Fa flicked up her blonde hair under the candle light.
When it was time for bed, Ai Fa would always let her hair down.

I watched her beautiful long hair gleaming in the candlelight and smiled.

「Is that so? I have been in this world for some time, but I couldn’t shake off my habits of my life in the other world. To me, talking quietly with someone in the dark isn’t something that happens naturally, so I will definitely feel melancholic.」

Speaking of which, I feel as if I was participating in a graduation trip everyday.

I couldn’t see her face clearly under the orange candle glow, but we still chat slowly until we drift off to sleep. Since I think this situation was unique, that means I haven’t gotten used to this world yet.

「If you think I’m gloomy and it makes you unhappy, I apologize. But when I talk to you with this feeling in my heart, how do I put it—— it feels comfortable.」

「… Didn’t I tell you? This serious tone don’t suit you at all, it feels disgusting.」

Ai Fa leaned against the wall lazily, and and kicked at me who was lying even more lazily on the rug. In order to conserve the candle, we would light only one candle after dinner. And to keep each other in sight, we would usually stay close to each other.

With Ai Fa relaxing beside me, this feels really comfortable.

I felt uneasy about spending the night with a girl, but it was calming now. After living together for a long time, a sense of family was budding between us. Ai Fa’s existence was as natural as the air itself—— but that wasn’t the reason.

It did plays a part, but I don’t completely think of Ai Fa as family. If she was my family, I wouldn’t be so shaken when I see her beautiful face, smooth brown skin, her occasional sad expression and childish actions.

I was from another world—— If not for this negative element, I would fall in love with Ai Fa right away.

No, I have probably fallen for her.

In the seventeen years of my life, aside from my family and childhood friend, no one has occupied my heart like she did. We have only been together for a few days, and she managed to make me fall head over heels for her.

However, I still didn’t want to break the relationship between us.

I couldn’t predict what tomorrow might bring—— I might be pulled back to my original world one day, and be engulfed in flames. With such worries and fear in mind, I didn’t intend to take any irresponsible actions.And so, even if Ai Fa’s bewitching body would cause a stir in my heart, I could still spend the night peacefully.

Why did these feelings of mine become so clear? The sexy Vena Wu assaulting me probably played a part.

How did the members of the Wu clan spend this night?

Aside from Rimee Wu, I have only spent one night together with the other Wu members.

I think they weren’t bad people.
And of course, the second brother Darum Wu wasn’t someone I could open my heart to, and I have reservations towards the eldest son Jiza Wu and the eldest daughter Vena Wu.

But except for them—— I have not spoken to many others, and they didn’t leave too bad of an impression on me.

The wife of the clan head Mia Lei Wu was a bold and generous mother.

The spouse of Jiza Wu, Sati Lei Wu was a quiet and gentle woman.

Grandmother of the seven siblings, Ditto Min who tended to the stove together with me, was a warm and dignified grandmother.

Second sister Leina Wu was a cute and honest girl.

The youngest brother Ludo Wu gave me a lot of trouble, but I still find it hard to hate him.
I had almost no contact with the third sister Lala Wu and never seen her smile at all. But my impression of her wasn’t bad.

I think Rimee Wu is a good kid. Just seeing her smile was enough to cheer me up, that’s how lovable she was. And she was an important person for Ai Fa. I really hope her character will stay the same when she grows up—— Rimee Wu makes others feel this way.
And next, Grandma Jiba—— their most important Grand Elder.

This grandmother was incredible, like a character straight out of a tale. Her turbulent life was hard to imagine, and coming into contact with her in such a great way made me proud and happy.

And the leader of the Wu family was the clan head Donda Wu.

Personally, this man shattered my pride as a chef.

I want to fill the Wu family’s dining table with happiness to redeem for the mistake because of my shallow thoughts. Similarly, the urge to surprise that eccentric man was equally strong—— I don’t deny that.

In that case, I feel that I shouldn’t handle this matter with a heart of anger and hate.

Even if that burly man was not as violent and arrogant as his appearance suggests, I wouldn’t want to become close friends with him. But he was still Rimee Wu’s father, and Jiba Wu’s grandson.

And a chef shouldn’t bear any hostility in the first place.

I wanted to have this battle for the sake of my pride and dignity as a chef. But I wasn’t aiming to subdue that man, but to be acknowledged by him.

Also—— I have never heard of a chef barging into someone else’s house and forcing the other party to eat his cooking. I’m still a half baked chef that couldn’t suppress the regret in my heart. And so, I hope to at least bring a harmonious atmosphere to his family, not create a rift in their relationship.

What kind of ending was awaiting us?

That would depend on our meeting tomorrow.


I heard the sound of a soft object plopping down. I raised my head and saw Ai Fa who was leaning against the wall had laid down.
「Oh, you are sleeping? If you want to sleep, I will turn off the light.」

「No… I’m still up.」

There wasn’t any need to be stubborn over such a trivial matter. I smiled wryly, pushed my body that was exhausted from the day’s work, and closed the candle stand by the window.

Darkness engulfed my vision immediately —— my eyes adjusted to the moonlight in no time.

Ai Fa remained in the same position, leaning by the wall.

Her long golden locks spread on the ground softly under the pale moonlight.

Careful not to step on her hair, I laid down some distance away.

「… If it’s you, no matter how dire the situation you end up in, or who brings you home, you will definitely be able to overcome it…」

I could hear a hardly audible voice say that.

I replied in the same volume 「that’s not true」, then closed my eyes.

We spent some of our time quietly like this, and some of times noisily as we work towards the moment we settle our differences with Donda Wu.

No comments:

Post a Comment