Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cooking with Wild Game Volume 3 Interlude & Chapter 4

Interlude: An Unexpected Reunion
Translator: Skythewood
Editor:Rockgollem

The four days before the banquet went by in a flash.


I worked hard to develop new dishes, taught the men to blood let and butchering, and impart my cooking skills to the women. I even need to figure out the work flow for the banquet, and it was hard to describe how busy I was.


Even so, the men and women of Forest's Edge were very diligent and quick to learn. They weren’t exceptionally smart and capable, but because everyone did their very best. It stemmed from their strong sense of belonging to their 「family」, which affected their attitude towards 「work」.


They worked tirelessly. For their family and for survival, they didn’t have any complains. They didn’t give the impression of a machine working coldly. When they do their work seriously as if it was their second nature, they showed emotions of joy and pain.


「Work」 and 「Survival」 were closely related. They were so honest because they were a tribe of hunters living in Forest's Edge.


No matter work, I’m very satisfied with such a work environment, and I think they are the best companions.
Worth mentioning were the women of Forest's Edge.


On the second day of the wedding preparation, aside from the Wu main house, the branch houses also sent a few women to help me.
However, their workload were very heavy. A platform and simple stoves had to be erected for the wedding, and people were needed to gather firewood and stones. As the men had to hunt in the forest, this job fell squarely onto the women.


Despite their heavy and laborious workload, they still needed to take time out of their schedule to learn some unknown cooking from me, which showed me deeply how much thought and effort they put into this. As a normal banquet only needed to serve the usual kiba soup and grilled meat, so they would just need to prepare the ingredients, and ensure there were sufficient food and firewood. There were probably many who thought that I brought them unnecessary hassle for the preparation of this wedding banquet.


However, after they test tasted the steaks and hamburg steak, they were astonished and happy, and started helping me in earnest.


As the men would bring two or three successfully bloodlet and butchered kiba everyday, I obtained enough meat for the banquet in no time. In the end, I gave the excess meat to the five branch families of the Wu clan, and the women almost cried tears of joy.


Compared to the men, the women cared more about 「delicious cooking」. I felt the same way when I stayed in the Wu main house last time.


This wasn’t anything surprising. If their work could bring happiness and serenity to their family, it would be a great joy to the subjects themselves. If everyone shares this feelings with their family, their job would feel meaningful. As an outsider, I worry all the time that I would bring about an negative impact to the food culture of Forest's Edge —— But now, the satisfaction I feel was far greater than my fear and unease.


I had probably chosen the same path as Kaslan Lutim.


I hope everyone could be happier, and have deeper bonds with their families—— after hearing me say something so overreaching that night, he probably wanted to use his wedding to prove those words.


The men hunted kiba, bloodlet, skin and butcher.


The women forage for firewood, pick herbs, raise hearth fires and cooked the meat.


Without just one of these steps, and there wouldn’t be any delicious dishes.


Everyone had to work together to achieve this goal.


That youth wanted to share this joy with his hundred odd kin, and obtain deeper bonds and greater strength.
I had to give it my all to meet his expectation.


In order to give greater joy to even more people in such a harsh environment, I felt a deep obligation to do my work properly.


Two days before the banquet, a small incident happened—— On the third afternoon of my stay in the Wu clan village.






「A-A-Asuta! It’s terrible! Come with me for a while! The men are in trouble!」


Rimee Wu was the one who informed me of that commotion.


That day, I shut myself inside the stove room in the morning, and when the sun was at its apex, I started teaching the women how to make hamburg steak.


「What happened to the men? They will be setting off for the hunt soon right?」


Five women were in the stove room. They were Leina Wu, Ditto Min Wu and women from the branch houses.


Rimee Wu charged in with teary eyes.


「A strange man is here! There’s a dangerous air between him and the men Darum-nii already drew his blade! It, it’s really bad!」


A feeling of tension rushed through my chest.


「Who is that strange man? Is he from the Tsun clan?」


「No! It’s someone from Rock City!」


「… What?」


「That man has a head of beautiful hair like Ai Fa! He even asked us where is the Fa house!」


I stood stiffly in shock.


A man from Rock City with blonde hair—— That must be Kamyua Yost. I couldn’t think of anyone else.


But why was that man in Forest's Edge?


「—— Sorry, I need to leave for a while. Ditto Min Wu, can you explain to everyone to the best of your knowledge?」


「I can do that, but——」


「Asuta, it’s dangerous for you to go!」


Leina Wu pulled at my hand.


Her expression was even more teary than Rimee Wu.


I regulated my breathing a little, then gently pulled away her soft shoulders.


「It will be fine, I won’t do anything dangerous. Don’t worry, I will be back.」


Rimee Wu and I charged out of the stove room.


We ran past the Wu clan’s buildings, headed into the plaza and saw that scene immediately.


The entrance to the plaza was filled with people.


It was the time for the men to head into the forest. Since Ryada Wu retired, the Wu clan’s men had been reduced to sixteen. They were all gathered here.


And then —— I could see the colour of that familiar cloak from between the group of strong men.


「Wait—— Please wait!」


I shouted as I ran.


However, no one turned back or responded to me.


I could only feel Donda Wu who was a head taller than the others stole a glance at me.


「… Get lost! This is not a place a man from the city should visit!」


I finally heard a familiar voice.


It was the second son of the Wu clan, Darum Wu.


Darum Wu raised his sabre and faced off against that man.


And that man——


He was about Donda Wu’s height, but he was really skinny, his body covered by a long leather cloak. This weird man who had the eyes that looked like an elderly and a child at the same time —— Kamyua Yost stood casually there.


「… Hi, we finally met, Asuta of the Fa house.」


He stared at the blade at his nose as he answered in a pretending to be retarded tone.


Darum Wu was close enough to lop off his head in just one step.


Despite that, Kamyua Yost still didn’t reach into his cloak, and was still smiling leisurely.


「I’m just asking for the location of your house, but the situation became like this. I’m still glad to see you though. Ehh, we haven’t met for four days right?」


「Shut up! I’m talking to you right now!」


Darum Wu roared.


A fire seemed to be burning in his eyes, which gave the image of a feral wolf twisting its face agitatedly. His entire body was giving out dangerous killing intent.


I went around the human wall formed by the men, walked to a position where I could see the two person facing off and stopped.


The next moment, Rimee Wu grabbed onto my left arm.


She actually followed me here. I turned my body to keep her petite body behind me.


「Asuta, can you plead for my case? I have no intention of harming them. As a 《guardian》, I just want to scout out the route, and pay you a visit since I’m in the area.」


「Stop talking! That will only complicate things!」


I might be panicking, but I wasn’t retarded enough to speak with Darum Wu directly. I looked up at Donda Wu’s gigantic body and said:


「Donda Wu! I have met that man once before! Four days ago, we got acquainted when we visited the post station town to procure food ingredients! I don’t know if he is a good or evil —— but I don’t think he is the type who will resort to violence!」


「Hey hey, you are saying a model citizen like me is——」


「Enough! Didn’t I tell you to not speak?」


Donda Wu cast a sideway glance my way, then walked to Darum Wu’s side.


「City man, you said you came to the Forest's Edge settlement for work.」


「That’s right. I will be escorting a caravan from Genos to the eastern kingdom. I plan to pass through this settlement for the trip.」


Even though Donda Wu was intimidating as usual, Kamyua Yost maintained his normal attitude.


Their heights were similar, but the girth of their body had two times the difference. This was like a black bear facing off a praying mantis.


「I had not seen anyone so naive for ten years. Those people from a decade ago were also attacked by kiba during their journey there and got wiped out.」


「Yes, I heard a starving kiba would even attack the provisions of travelers… But who knows if that group was really attacked by kiba.」


Donda Wu narrowed his eyes.


His face and attitude didn’t change, but just closing his eyelids slightly was enough to increase the sharpness of his gaze.


「Hey, what are you doing, retards?」


At this moment, someone poked at my head from behind.


I turned back, and saw Ludo Wu standing behind me. He pulled at our arms, his eyes almost turning completely into that of a hunter.


「Back off a bit more. Don’t go so near someone who had drawn their blade—— Bratty Rimee, what are you doing!」


「S-Shut up!」


A smile appeared on Kamyua Yost probably because he heard our conversation.


This made Darum Wu’s expression turn into more ferocious, and Donda Wu’s eyes became even more narrow.


「… The chief Tsun clan is responsible for works related to the city. Why are you wandering around here without anyone guiding you?」


「They did offer to be my guide, but I told them 『It’s fine, I’m just here to scout out the road, so I will go alone today.』 They agreed to this unhesitantly. Didn’t the Tsun clan contact you?」


Anger immediately flared in Donda Wu’s eyes, he was probably referring to someone not present when he cursed: 「Damn you.」


「So what business do you have with the Fa house? What’s the relations between you two?」


His latter sentence was directed at me.


I had to make a choice here.


Should I spin a harmless tale? Or be direct and spill all the beans—— Which choice would be right for Ai Fa?


「……Asuta, you can just say the parts that is convenient for you.」 Kamyua Yost said to me quietly. And of course, everyone else could hear that.


With the thought 『Damn it, things will be much easier if Darum Wu cut him down right here!』 flashing across my mind, I made my decision.


「… When we were in the post station town, Ai Fa and someone from the Tsun clan got into an argument, and we were almost arrested by the guards. Mr Kamyua Yost here mediated for us.」


The next instant —— the blue flame in Donda Wu’s eyes exploded.


Despite that, he still asked in a collected and low voice.


「What’s the Tsun clan member’s name?」


「He call himself Doddo Tsun. He wasn’t tall, but was rather bulky. A young man with an indistinct face.」


「Doddo Tsun—— the second son of their main house.」


Donda Wu’s beast-like eyes shifted from me to Kamyua Yost.


A happy smile appeared on Kamyua Yost’s face.


「Asuta, aren’t you being too humble? You didn’t explain it clearly, so no one knows whether Ai Fa or Doddo Tsun was in the wrong… Well that Doddo Tsun was drunk in broad daylight, and brandished a knife against someone in town. And Ai Fa stopped him—— that’s the truth behind that incident. It was wrong for the people in town to talk behind his bad, but drawing a blade is still too much. The laws in Genos prohibits such actions.」


「……」


「That man from the Tsun clan then abused his privilege and attempted to deceive the guards by pushing the crime on Ai Fa. When that happened, I testified what actually happened to the guards, and the incident ended peacefully. That’s the gist of it.」


「… So, what business do you have with the Fa house?」


「Ara, spending time with Ai Fa and Asuta is very comfortable, so I wanted to meet with them and chat some more… Ah! I forgot to tell everyone that Asuta acted bravely and rescued Tara! Asuta, Tara wants to see you again too.」


I felt like screaming at him:「Enough with you, shut your mouth.」


This man didn’t tell any lies, but the words he said sounded so superficial.
「… This brat still needs to work, he don’t have time to speak to a man like you.」


「Ah, I see. That’s a pity.」


「Scram on home.」


「You are right. In that case, I will give up on that thought… Can I visit the Fa house another day?」


「… According to the rules, citizens of Rock City can’t enter Forest's Edge as they please.」


「I see. Then I will make up a work related reasons the next time I visit.」


「Why you…」


Darum Wu said through gritted teeth.


When Kamyua Yost was speaking with us, Darum Wu’s sabre was pointed at his nose.


However, Kamyua Yost just smiled at me as if it was nothing.


「Asuta, when will your job end?」


「The day after tomorrow. But——」


「Then, I will come again three days later.」


Kamyua Yost’s strange purple eyes stared at Donda Wu.


「I’m a citizen of the western kingdom, the 《guardian》 Kamyua Yost. Hunter of Forest's Edge, can you tell me your name?」


「… I’m the head of the Wu clan, Donda Wu.」


「Wu clan’s Donda Wu, thank you. I hope we can have a drink together some day.」


Kamyua Yost stepped back nimbly.


When Darum Wu wanted to pursue, Donda Wu’s thick hand fell on his shoulder.


「Well then, I wish everyone to stay safe and healthy.」


Kamyua Yost left just like that.


Not just me, his appearance created a large ripple in the hearts of the Wu clan’s men.


Chapter 4: The Lutim Banquet (First Half)


1


The sun rose from the east.


It was finally the day.


The wedding between Kaslan Lutim and Ema Min—— My first job has finally started.


「Yo… Oh, you’re already up?」


When I woke up in an empty house within the Wu clan village, Ai Fa was already seated cross legged in the middle of the room and braiding up her blonde hair.


「… You are awake? It’s still too early for work, sleep a while more.」


「No need, I can’t sleep again once I get up. My fatigue is completely gone.」


I said while I stretched my back.


It was a nice morning.


And I was in a great mood.


「The banquet will last deep into the night. You won’t have a chance to rest from afternoon until the banquet ends, so sleep a while more.」


Hmm, she was gentler than usual.


She was probably concerned because of my heavy responsibility today.


I had only woken up and her attitude made me really happy.


「It’s fine, compared to the hardship for the past five days, this is nothing. We just need to follow the plan… That might be so, but completing the planned tasks isn’t that simple.」


「In that case, you should conserve your energy. Just sleep.」


Strange?


I felt that she wasn’t being considerate towards me.


「By the way, Ai Fa, you will be focusing on helping me today right? You won’t have anything to do either if I don’t get up.」


「……」


「Where are you going so early in the morning?」


「… Before work starts, I plan to borrow their water source to cleanse my body.」


Her wild cat-like eyes glared right at me.


「So, go and sleep.」


「Hey… Since you have told me that beforehand, that previous accident won’t happen again right? Do I look like a man who will repeat the same mistake?」


「……」


「You think I do!? What a shame…! I get it. If I violate that intolerable taboo again, I will hand over my eyeballs like the rules dictate.」


「… Who will want your eyeballs.」


You want me to marry into your family then? —— Before I let these words slip, I stepped out of the room alongside Ai Fa.


Speaking of which, Ai Fa was planning to stay in the Wu clan village until this morning, and then return to the Fa house until the next morning. She said: 「I’m from the Fa house, and don’t have the rights to attend the Lutim house banquet.」


Hence, I told her:「That’s too retarded!」, and appointed her as my assistant chef in an attempt to make her stay.


While Grandma Jiba and Rimee Wu were both participating in this grand banquet, Ai Fa would be home alone, drinking the kiba pot she cooked for herself… Just thinking about this scene breaks my heart.


When I told Kaslan Lutim about this, he agreed without hesitation and said:「Let’s do what you proposed.」 He was even surprised about this, and seemed to think that Ai Fa was going to attend the banquet in the first place. Kaslan Lutim was willing to let someone not related to him by blood to tend to the hearth on his wedding day, and was part of the reformist denizen of Forest's Edge. Compared to him, Ai Fa was stubborn and inflexible.


Ai Fa was reluctant at first, but after I sincerely implored her to:「Let me perform the task of a Fa house hearth tender on that day.」, she finally relented.


And so, we could head to the Wu clan now side by side.


We surveyed the plaza that had been prepared for the banquet, then strode forth slowly.


There were about ten stoves in the plaza.


All of them were simple stoves erected from white stones.


Their design would result in the heat leaking out, and couldn’t meet my requirement for heat control. Hence, the family members would cook the dishes at their own homes, and these stoves were only used to keep the food warm.


A large stage for the newly wedded couples were erected in front of the Wu main house. As a bonfire would be needed for the ceremony, planks were piled up inside the plaza. These were all made by the Wu clan women during these few days.


This space was about the size of half a school field, and would definitely be a crowded event if a hundred or so people came in here.


Just the thought excites me.


So my emotions got even more tense.


That many people would taste my dishes.


I felt gleeful about that—— and fearful at the same time.


My heart started racing, but I calmed down when I glanced at the side profile of Ai Fa walking besides me.


Ai Fa had her usual expression.


「Hmm~… Can I say something mushy?」


「Allow me to refuse.」


「Spending time with you from morning made me feel at ease.」


「… Which means, you want to follow me to the water source?」


「Not that! You should forget about that already!」


Ai Fa shrugged, unlike her usual self and answered:


「That’s because these five days are special. We will be back to our usual routine tomorrow anyway.」


「Yes, that makes me glad too.」


Ai Fa glared at me with her face slightly blushed.


It was rather embarrassing for me to say that too, but it felt like a victory for me.


「But Kamyua Yost will probably visit the Fa house tomorrow.」


「That’s right… Speaking of which, he actually dare enter Forest's Edge alone, just how thick insensitive is he? He might really get cut down by Darum Wu.」


「……」


「Hmm?」


「Darum Wu can’t kill that man.」


It was so early in the morning, yet the conversation was heading in a scary direction.


While we were chatting, we went around the two meter tall stage and reached the Wu main house. We ran into Grandma Ditto Min who was just walking out of the entrance with a hand axe.


「Ara, it’s Ai Fa and Asuta, you two are early today. The girls had gone off to the water source, aren’t you going too, Ai Fa?」


Ai Fa’s gaze stabbed hard into my cheek.


I will absolutely not go there! I wanted to emphasize that, but Grandma Ditto Min was here too, so I couldn’t rebuke openly.


「Asuta, you are going to the stove room right? I’m on my way to the back of the house, so I will bring you there.」


「Thank you. You are chopping wood so early in the morning…? Sorry for burning so much wood.」


「That’s right, it’s the first time I have seen the firewood deplete so fast. No matter how much I chop, I couldn’t keep up with your rate of burning.」


「I’m very sorry.」


「I’m just kidding, this is all for the sake of delicious food.」


Grandma Ditto Min smiled a little, or should I say smiled gently? Anyway, it was a relaxed smile.


My father was on bad terms with his family, and my mother’s parent passed away early, so I didn’t have any memories of my grandparents. Grandma Ditto Min was always gentle, kind and always composed, giving off an air of silent dignity. I think she was an incredible grandmother.


Grandma Jiba’s son married Grandma Ditto Min, and fathered Donda Wu. Donda Wu and Mama Mia Lei then had seven children. Their eldest son Jiza Wu and Sati Lei Wu sired Kota Wu—— The Wu clan’s bloodline thus passed down through the generations.


When the other six children marry, I hope to care take the hearth just like today.


But as long as Donda Wu remained as the clan head and Jiza Wu was still the heir, this was unlikely to come true. In this five days, I have grown to respect and like the Wu clan members, that was why I had such a daydream.


「Well then, I will be intruding the water source for a while.」


Ai Fa glared at me once last time before disappearing at the end of a path covered in vegetation.


This wasn’t laying the foundation for something or anything ominous, but I swore in my heart that I would not go near the water source before they come back.


Grandma Ditto Min didn’t know what I was thinking and open a small gap to the stove room, food store and butcher room. She then told me:「Please use them as you like.」


This practice was a bit cumbersome, and a family member had to open the doors for me so early in the morning. But as the doors in Forest's Edge wasn’t locked, there was such a custom.


Well then——


The banquet will start in the evening.


And so, I had to cook all the food before evening. At this point of time, I had to prioritize one job.


Which was the new dish I developed just for today—— 『Kiba and Tarapa stew』.


What should I do to make the liquid poitan delicious?


This was the answer I found.


In the end, the tomato-like 「Tarapa」 became my companion instead of the yam-like 「Gigo」.


Compared to the other dishes, this stew needed to be cooked for a longer time, so I had to prepare it early. Once it was done, it just needed to be reheated when the banquet begins, a dish suited to be prepared early.
I brought out the bag I prepared yesterday from the food store. It was filled with the aria I picked yesterday, and all of them needed to be diced.


Adding these aria was for the sake of increasing its fragrance, but the amount of aria needed was astounding. There was more than a hundred guests, so I had to start by dicing 50 aria.


Even if it was just one plate, I hope all the participants could taste this dish. With that in mind, I estimated that this dish would require four pots.


I repeatedly cut the onion-like aria. If they were real onions, I should be crying my eyes out now. But aria didn’t sting the eyes, so I worked hard in dicing them.


After ten or so minutes, I realized something after dicing all the aria——


There was no pots!


Right, the women would wash the previous night’s cutlery when they went to bathe.


Yes, that was right, and if I head to the water source now, they would think I’m an absolute madman. Fortunately, Leina Wu whose hair was dripping wet brought over a freshly cleaned pot in a panic, so there wasn’t any tragedy.


「S-Sorry! I heard that you have started cooking, so I washed one pot first and brought it over!」


「Thank you Leina Wu, you are a big help.」


She probably haven’t finished bathing, her long black hair wasn’t tied in her usual low pony tail, but flowed down her shoulders freely. Her completely different look surprised me.


She covered her body with one large cloth like a married woman, which felt really refreshing.


「Ah, s-sorry! I’m dressed so shabbily…」


Leina Wu said with a red face, although her dressing was less exposed than usual.


「Erm… I will bring the rest of the cooking wares back after I clean them all…」


「It’s fine, I won’t go near the water source.」


Leina Wu sighed in relief, then hurried out of the stove room after saying 「I’m going off now.」


She was that worried… While I was feeling a little hurt, I started a fire in the stove to heat the pot. After adding in kiba fats, I tossed the diced aria into the pot.


As 50 aria was really too much, I split them into five batches.


I carefully fry the aria until they were caramel coloured. To add fragrance, I poured in fruit wine, and scooped everything out once the alcohol evaporates.


After repeating five times, it was time to deal with the meat.


I prepared 15kg of thigh meat and shoulder meat each, totalling 30kg. It was an amazing amount, and I cut them all into bite size.


When I chopped all the meat, an iron pot wobbled in.


Rimee Wu was hiding beneath it.


「Sorry for the wait! The others will bring the other two pots later!」


「Yes, thank you.」


Rimee Wu seemed to have bathed properly. Her red hair looked really soft, and she was wearing her usual attire.


「You are already preparing the stew? Rimee will help too!」


「Ah, really? In that case, can you help bring the Tarapa over? I asked for eight more yesterday.」


「Tarapa huh, got it…! Heehee.」


「Hmm? What is it?」


「Nothing. Asuta, you are a nice person. That’s great.」


Rimee Wu said that, and then ran off into the food store.


Hmm?


Because I started working so early in the morning?


It would be great if that was so… I started grilling the kiba meat.


I just need to grill the surface of the meat until it becomes golden. I nimbly grilled the meat with the large pot, and then scoop up the grilled meat onto the wooden plates.


I might sound simple, but there were 30kg of meat. After a while, the entire stove room was filled with the thick aroma of meat and fats.


Next would be aria. These complements the stew, and wasn’t added to increase the fragrance. There were fifty of these too, and I repeatedly cut them into semi circles.


While I was doing this, eight tarapa were placed on the other work station thanks to Rimee Wu’s efforts.


They were a vegetable that looked like tomato, but had the size of a pumpkin.


It had an uneven surface, so it looked really similar to a pumpkin.


But it had the taste and colour of a tomato.


I originally said that this vegetable wouldn’t play a big role this round, but in the end, it formed the main taste of this dish.
「There are so many aria! Should Rimee help to cut them too?」


「Ah, can you help me bring the tino leaves and chachi over? Bring everything packed in a bag.」


「Got it!」


It was still early, but Rimee was really energetic, forthright and cute. If she was my daughter or sister, I would definitely dote on her.


While I was thinking that, the other sisters of the Wu clan and Ai FA returned with the pots and cutlery.


Seemed like I didn’t need to gouge my eyes out.


「Look, we brought it back… Really now, when we heard that you have started preparing the food, we got really nervous.」 Lala Wu whispered to me.


So they really heard about this, and sent Leina Wu over—— I showed a vague smile.


「… You didn’t visit us today huh…?」 Vena-nee said softly into my ear.


What was she saying? If I really showed up, she would be blushing til her ears turn red though.


「I will switch with Mama Mia Lei. We will help you when we are finished over there.」


「Thank you, Lala Wu.」


「… You should know right? Mama Mia Lei and the others will be showering next.」


Of course I know, I know that from the bottom of my heart.


Speaking of which, who did they think I was?


「Phew, it’s heavy.」


At this moment, Rimee Wu came back.


Her bag contains six tino leaves. Each tino was about the size of a slightly larger cabbage. But Rimee Wu could carry an iron pot, so such a weight wasn’t too much of a problem for her. The bag was probably too bulky, which made it hard for her petite body to carry.


There wasn’t anyone more likeable than her.


「Asuta, sorry for the wait! Next is the Chachi right?」


「I will get it. Rimee Wu, why don’t you help him cut the vegetables?」


「Yes!」


Ai Fa walked quickly to the food store, and Rimee Wu took a vegetable knife from the wall.


That was how diligent the denizens of Forest's Edge was.


Once they grasp the steps, they would proceed with the task with amazing efficiency.


「Rimee Wu, I will leave the tino to you, you know what size to cut it?」


「Yes, bite saizu! I don’t know what saizu means though!」


Rimee Wu wield the kitchen knife happily.


After settling the crockery the three older sisters went out of the door. Ai Fa who pass by them came back with a bag of Chachi.


「Is this Chachi? What should I do?」


「Ah, please peel them. It can be peeled easily by hand.」


Chachi was a fruit that was very similar to mandarin with yellow skin.


After peeling it, the smooth white ball on the inside would be revealed.


When Ai Fa squeezed it unintentionally, the white liquid inside ejaculated out.


「Uwah!」


Ai Fa screamed, then kicked my leg.


「Why did you kick me!?」


「… Shut up.」


「Ahaha!」


Rimee Wu laughed.


When I realized it, only me, Ai Fa and Rimee Wu were in the stove room.


I felt more at ease now, so I will ignore her unreasonable kick.


「After peeling them, wash it with water until the sticky fluids are gone.」


Chachi was a new member I discovered in the food store.


It had the appearance of a mandarin, but the content was like that of a potato. Ignoring poitan that looks like a potato, chachi had the exact same texture and taste of a potato.


After splitting the chachi Ai Fa washed, I cut them into bite size of about 3cm wide.


And so, the preparation was complete.


After dicing the fifty aria, I fried them before hand to enhance its aroma.


The other fifty aria was cut into semi circles.


Thirty chachi was cut into bite size.


The 6 tino was also cut into bite size.
The kiba shoulder and thigh meat that had been grilled on the surface weigh 30kg in total.


And—— eight giant tarapa.


Before dealing with the accursed poitan, I needed to handle this smaller items.


Conversely speaking, I couldn’t tackle the poitan if I didn’t use that many ingredients.


I already did what I can.


The poitan soup that was like flour water, thick and hard to swallow.


Why was the poitan so difficult to deal with?


I first assumed that the variety of spices available in Forest's Edge was too limited, so the poitan soup tasted so bland.


Aside from rock salt and pico leaves, the only other seasoning in Forest's Edge was fruit wine. Hence, their food had a lighter taste. They could cook high quality stock from the meat and vegetables, but that wasn’t enough to neutralize and unique texture of the poitan.


At this moment, I remembered the existence of vegetable stew.


Vegetable stew made used of flour to give it a thick texture.


It would be difficult for me to make beef stew or cream stew with the ingredients in Forest's Edge.


Right then —— I noticed the tarapa’s strong taste.


Tarapa was even more sour than the tomato I tasted in the past, but by using aria that enhance the aroma of the dish, fruit wine that was similar to grape wine, and pico leaves which was akin to pepper, I could replicate a tomato sauce like taste. I decided to use this taste as the foundation to cook a unique vegetable stew.


In other words, I combined the popular 「beef stew」 and 「hamburg steak with tomato sauce」 that were popular in 《Tsurumi restaurant》, and create a completely new dish.


「Okay, please help me start the fire in the other stoves. It has to be strong, but not too strong.」


As I said that, I tossed in about a quarter of the ingredients into the heated pot.
They were the aria which was a substitute for onion, the substitute for cabbage tino, and the replacement for potato Chachi, these three vegetables.


After the aria softened, I put the kiba into the pot, and added an entire bottle of fruit wine, filling the entire stove room with a sweet fragrance. After the water was brought to a boil, I scooped up the foam and added large amount of water with a ladle.


I added water until the pot was 80% full.


After adding a certain amount of water, I weakened the stove’s fire.


I had to cook this dish for two hours, and evaporate half of the content.


Since Forest's Edge didn’t have ready made stock for sale, I had to make full use of the ingredients.


I dealt with the three iron pots one after another, but stopped when I reached the last one.


「Erm, Rimee Wu, I plan to use this fruit wine in another dish. Sorry, can you give me another bottle of fruit wine?」


「Hmm? Huh? Now you mention it, the shape of the bottle is a little different.」


In her hands was the fruit wine Kamyua Yost gifted to us.


I had been thinking about how to use it to cook. I asked Ai Fa to bring it here from home three days ago, and it will still be some time before this thing makes its debut.


After pouring in another fruit wine Rimee Wu got for me, the last pot was done, and the work was finished for now.


We wiped away our sweat and cooled off at the door.


As we needed to scoop up the foam and add firewood periodically, we couldn’t go too far away from the stove room.


「This is great. Not only did you add poitan, you also put in tarapa! This is the first time Rimee see a kiba pot with so many vegetables.」


「That’s probably so. We will be celebrating tonight, so I added a bit more.」


The pot that cooked all the meat and vegetables together was a representation of life.


The aria and poitan were vegetables the denizens of Forest's Edge had to eat in order to live healthily.


As these two vegetables were cheap, this practice took root in the life of the people of Forest's Edge—— however, this had been passed down in Forest's Edge for eighty years, and I had no intention of changing it. What I should do, was to cook the unpalatable ingredients into delicious food.


That was why I thought of grilling the cooked poitan instead of boiling it in the pot. However, poitan in solid form might look very alien to people who had only drank poitan soup.


I racked my brains for their sake—— after that, Grandma Jiba and Donda Wu told me that 「cooking all the ingredients in one pot is a symbol of life」, inspiration struck me, and I came up with this 『kiba and tarapa stew』.


Right now, I was using the techniques of cooking beef stew to simmer these vegetables.


Next, I will be cooking tarapa next to make tarapa sauce, which would become the base of this dish.


After that, I will add poitan and create the texture of a stew.


I thought of adding cream in the flour to make coffee coloured batter, but had no luck so far. After all, there wasn’t anything like cream in Forest's Edge. When I tried frying the powdery poitan with kiba fats, it would just burn the poitan.


However, even if I add the poitan into the soup, it could still achieve the thickening effect.


Furthermore, this also match the concept of 「cooking the symbol of life」.


I felt that doing this was too frivolous, but the end product was rather good. As long as the ratio of poitan was right, I could achieve the texture of a vegetable stew.


Within the five days limit, this was the answer I got after doing all I could.


This dish was an appetizer.


Before serving the hamburg steak, spare ribs and grilled poitan that might look weird to them, I plan to use this dish to open their hearts.


Only god knows how this would end.


「I normally won’t use large amount of expensive vegetables to cook lavish dishes either. I only relented because this is an occasion worth celebrating for.」


「I think it’s great! This dish is super tasty… Of all the dishes you taught us, this might be Rimee’s favourite!」


「I see. Then when your sister marries, you can cook them for everyone.」


「Huh! Asuta, won’t you cook it for me!?」


Rimee Wu was taken aback with surprise written all over her face.


「You know too right? Considering the temperament of your Papa Donda, he will never let me tend the hearth when the Wu clan host a wedding.」


「Ah! It’s fine! Because…」 the innocent girl said with a mischievous expression:


「… The day before yesterday, when Papa Donda ate the vegetable stew, did you see his expression? He said 『Woah』 you know?『Woah』.」


「He did make a sound, I thought he was going to flip the pot over from rage.」


「Not at all! Because the vegetable stew was too delicious, that’s why he made a sound! He almost said 『delicious!』」


「Really? That’s hard to imagine.」


「That must be it! Rimee knows very well…! When Rimee marries, you must cook it for me alright?」


I was at a loss for words.


I stole a peek sideways—— Ai Fa was watching the small flame within on hearthstone quietly.


As Rimee Wu looked at me with expectant eyes, I placed my hand on her small head and said:


「That’s true… when the time comes, I will definitely cook it for you.」


If I was still in this world when that day comes.


2


The three of us chatted mindlessly, and added firewood into the stove occasionally. A while later Lala Wu and Leina Wu came back.


「Hey, we brought the pots here!」


Like what they said, each of them had an iron pot in hand.


This was the iron pot they borrowed from the Wu branch family.


Of the seven Wu houses, the main house has the widest stove room, so I used this place as the base. But there were only four of the crucial pots here, and I had to use pots to cook the stew first, so we decided to gather all the people and pots from the branch houses in the main house.


So far, the women from the branch house had been taking turns to help, but all of them would be available on this day. They were already drying the poitan and cutting vegetables in their own homes right now.


I had to set up a roster for this, and assign the dish each house would be responsible for. I also needed to estimate the crockery and number of people needed, and calculate when the dishes would be done. For me, this was the hardest job.


「What will these pots be used for? Making the tarapa for the stew?」


「That’s right. Since we have enough people, let’s do this first. After finishing this, we can relax a while before noon.」


I left the job of simmering the vegetables to Ai Fa and Rimee Wu, and followed Lala Wu and Leina Wu outside to make tomato sauce, no, tarapa sauce.


A lot of tarapa would be used, but the cooking method was rather simple.


I mixed the fried diced aria, large chunks of Tarapa and fruit wine together to simmer, and seasoned it to taste with salt and pico leaves, and its done.


I think adding some garlic and lilo would make it better, this was already acceptable sauce. Making this into stew requires quite a bit of effort, but I hope the Wu clan could make use of it in the future by pouring it onto their meat dish or simmering vegetables with it.


「How incredible! That super sour tarapa is so tasty now.」


Lala Wu said quietly as she stirred the contents to avoid the boiling red tarapa from burning.


「This is thanks to the aria and the sweetness of the fruit wine. I should have thought up this dish sooner.」


In this five days, Lala Wu’s hostile attitude gradually softened.


She always speak sarcastically because of her nature, but if you don’t anger her, she was a frank and cute girl.


「Ah, Lala Wu, you mentioned that you hate tarapa right?」


「Yes, but now, it’s my favourite.」


That was how she was.


I thought she hated me with a passion, but talking to her now filled me with warmth.


At this moment —— I felt a vicious gaze fell on my cheek, and turned to check.


Leina Wu averted her gaze with a lonely expression on her face.


… How should I put this, I thought glaring at me coldly during situations like this was Ai Fa’s trademark.


While I was feeling troubled, Ludo Wu appeared with a yawn.


「What, you all have started working already? It’s so hot—— hey Asuta, let’s go and bathe. The girls already bathed right?」


「No, I will go later. After I finish the dish, I can take a break.」


「There are only two stoves, why are the three of you sticking together here? Or they can’t help at all if Asuta isn’t here? All the men learned how to butcher the kiba already you know?」


「Shut up! Go bath if you two want to! We don’t need Asuta!」


Why must I suffer damage in this situation?


「Please go, we'll watch the pots.」


Leina Wu’s eyes had a hint of loneliness and gloom, but she still spoke to me with a smile.


「I get it, I will accompany you… Have the mothers finished bathing?」


「If it’s a wedded woman, you can’t marry into the family okay?」


「What I mean is…」


「You will just be killed by dad and Jiza-nii.」


「That’s why I’m checking with you!」


「E-Erm, Sati Lei and the others have already come back, that’s why we can come here…」


Leina Wu blushed a little, as she said timidly.


No good, out of everyone present, she was the one who will suffer in silence the most, I should hurry on to the water source.


After telling Ai Fa and Rimee Wu who were also in the room, I left the building with Ludo Wu.


「Ludo Wu, it’s rare for you to invite me to the bath.」


「Well~ I wanted to ask you something.」


Ludo Wu walked as if he was kicking out his legs alternately, and looked at me with her pale coloured eyes.
「Have you asked that thing yet?」


「Ask what?」


「『Sacrificial hunting style』.」


「Ah.」


Oh no.


I completely forgot about this.


That was careless of me!


I was really busy recently, but that wasn’t an excuse.


Ai Fa hunted alone, but her kiba kill count was rather high. Ludo Wu hinted that Ai Fa might be using the 『sacrificial hunting style』—— and if I wanted to know what 『sacrificial hunting style』 was that I should ask her.


How could I forget something so important? I wanted to grab my head and shout because of my own retardedness.


I still didn’t know how serious this matter was. The phrase 『sacrificial hunting style』 sounded ominous, and Ludo Wu’s abnormally serious expression when he said this term made me uneasy.


In that case, I could only interrogate the person who made me worried.


「Sorry, I completely forgot about that… Can you tell me what 『sacrificial hunting style』 is?」


「If you didn’t ask, then forget it. Ask your house head if you want to know.」


「There will be people around me for this entire day, is it fine for others to hear about it?」


「It’s fine for the woman to hear it. They won’t know what that is anyway… But I will suggest you don’t let dad learn about this.」


「Then I can’t ask Ai Fa, I don’t want to seal Rimee Wu’s lips.」


Ludo Wu glanced at me sideways again.


He was making an incredibly annoyed face.


「Really now…『sacrificial hunting style』, is an archaic way of hunting by using fruits that attracts kiba. When those fruits are smashed, it will release a scent that the kiba loves, and lure them out. That’s all.」


「Hmm? It sounds simple, but it has a terrifying name.」


「… I heard that the kiba will become ferocious when they smell that scent. Normally, they would flee if they saw a man appear from far away. But if that man had this scent on him, they would attack agitatedly.」


「What…」


「This hunting method uses yourself as a living sacrifice, that’s why it’s called 『sacrificial hunting style』. It doesn’t matter how many lives you have if you resort to this method. Hence, no one uses it anymore.」


「……」


「It is unlikely for Ai Fa to use that method, but she managed to hunt so many kiba. I’m curious how she managed to haul in so many wild games.」


「… The fruit that lures in kiba…」


「Hmm?」


「Does it have a sweet flowery fragrance?」


Ludo Wu didn’t just look my way, he turned his entire face towards me.


He narrowed his eyes slightly in surprise.


「Who knows, I have never seen that fruit before.」


「That’s true…」


I have only smelled that sweet flowery fragrance from Ai Fa.


If that was the scent of the fruit that lures in kiba…


「Dad hates people who don’t cherish their lives the most. If a hunter ever use it, he will definitely show a face of scorn.」


「… Yeah.」


「But I respect someone like that. I think anyone who will go so far for the sake of hunting kiba is amazing. Acting like this might seem foolish, but it is also cool, so I will respect such a person.」


「……」


「Asuta, listen to me.」


Ludo Wu suddenly grabbed me by the chest and pulled me over.


The youth’s face was right before me.


「If you encounter such hunters, you should respect them. Not worry, but respect.」


「… I know.」


Ludo Wu let go without hesitation and sauntered forth once again.


I couldn’t help sighing, and scratched my head through my bandana.


At this time, we could see the wooden board that represents the Wu clan’s water source.


「Ah~ looks like today will be a hot day.」


Ludo Wu said and went to the other side of the board.


I thought about Ai Fa who was waiting for me in the stove room, and went in after Ludo Wu——


And I almost screamed.


「Hmm? Jiza-nii, Darum-nii, you are here too?」


Yes, Jiza-nii and Darum-nii were here.


In a way, the eldest son and second son of the Wu clan were harder to get along with than Donda Wu.


Ludo Wu tossed his clothing aside without hesitation, then carefully placed his necklace on the ground.


This was a knee deep stream.


The terrain in the vicinity were rocky. Behind the stream was a tall cliff, and the woods could be seen on top of it. The two hunters were sitting in the stream and using a palm size cloth to wipe their bare brown bodies.


「Wah, icy!」


Ludo Wu jumped into the stream and yelled excitedly.


I wasn’t excited at all.


Jiza Wu glanced at me, then quietly wiped his body.


A fire burned in Darum Wu’s eyes, and he wash his body silently too.


Who could get excited in such a situation?


I couldn’t flee just like this, and had no choice but to strip.


I took off my vest, t-shirt and the rest of my clothes, then placed my necklace onto the ground.


I walked downstream to the back of the two men, and sat down quietly.


「Darum-nii, why are you showing such a scary face!? Today is a day of celebration!」


After saying that, Ludo Wu kicked out his right leg that was in the water.


The huge amount of water all splashed onto Darum Wu’s head.


Arrggghhh, I almost fainted from panic.


Darum Wu stopped all his movement for an instant, then continued wiping his body nonchalantly. I couldn’t see his face from where I was, so that was even more terrifying for me.


Even if I couldn’t see his face—— the bodies of the Forest's Edge men were really shocking.


In this one month, my body loss its fats due to hard manual labour, and my muscles grew. Although my body turned lean, my weight increased, and I became a hunk for the first time in my life. However, compared to the men of Forest's Edge, I was just a skinny monkey.


First of all, our skeletal structure was completely different. The men of Forest's Edge had wide shoulders, thick chests, long and slender necks and limbs.


Their build was lean, but they had incredible back muscles.


Because their muscles were balanced, their bodies feels proportionate when they were clothed. Their body only had necessary muscles without any fats. Like Ai Fa, their torso was a combination of functional beauty and streamlining.


On a closer look, their wrists were thick and had big hands. Not only were their fingers long, their palm were massive too. They could definitely crush my hands easily in a handshake.


However—— just like Ai Fa there were numerous white scars on their brown skin.


Getting gored by a kiba was likely to be a mortal wound. These injuries were probably inflicted when they were moving in the dense woods or rocky terrain.


They were hunters of Forest's Edge.


「Why are you dazing out? This is an once in a lifetime big project.」


With these words, a torrent of water splashed onto me.


Ludo Wu jumped into the water in front of me.


「Wash your body thoroughly! This is a day of celebration for the Lutim house!」


「I-I get it… Ludo Wu, you are energetic so early in the morning.」


「Hmm? Fufufu. Of course! I get to eat delicious food everyday, which fills me with energy! I feel that I can lift a kiba with one hand!」


Ludo Wu had a happy smile on his face.


When he make this face, he looked as cute as a girl.


Even though his body was toned like a feral beast, he was shorter than me, and not as buffed as his brothers. Even though I was weaker than him in strength, his child-like appearance made me feel at ease.


「The Wu clan women are fine now. I didn’t do much for dinner these five days, and they had practiced how to make hamburg steak repeatedly. From tomorrow onwards, they will definitely continue to cook delicious meals for you.」


「……」


「Hmm? What’s the matter?」


「Asuta, no matter what you say, you will do so on the precondition that 『things will be fine even if you are not around』, that makes me so mad.」


「Huh? But I shouldn’t be tending to the Wu clan’s hearth in the first place. Isn’t it a good thing that the Wu clan women can cook a delicious meal?」


「I know! That’s not what I mean!」


Splash—— Ludo Wu slapped the water surface.


He really was like a child.


「Asuta.」


At this moment, Jiza Wu spoke for the first time.


「I was thinking about discussing something with you today.」


「Alright, what is it?」


「… You will be meeting that man from Rock City, Kamyua Yost right?」


Jiza Wu turned his burly body halfway, and looked at me with his eyes that was as narrow as a slit.


「Yes. If he comes to visit, I will meet with him.」


「I see… Forest's Edge didn’t have restricted areas. We made an agreement with the lord of Genos to stop anyone from entering Forest's Edge wilfully, but that is for the sake of keeping the people from the city safe. If that man visits again, we won’t have any authority to stop him.」


「… Yes.」


「However, I won’t permit anyone from the city to interfere with Forest's Edge. You should have realized after seeing the people from the Tsun clan right? The city’s culture would only lead Forest's Edge down the path of depravement.」


「……」


「Asuta, I could feel the aura of a city dweller from you. You should be living inside Rock City—— That’s what I feel, am I wrong?」


Jiza Wu talked about the treatment I should receive.


Kaslan Lutim went against the custom of Forest's Edge, just what did Jiza Wu think of this matter? Was he against this even more than Donda Wu—— Such a thought arose in my mind.


「I don’t know if you are right or not. But—— compared to the post station town, I prefer the Forest's Edge settlement.」


I could only give such an answer.


「I see.」


Jiza Wu stood up.


「To me, Kaslan Lutim is a very important kin. I wish more than anyone else for his wedding to proceed smoothly.」


After that, Jiza Wu used a cloth hanging on the door board to wipe his body, then left after putting on his clothes.


「…Asuta, you actually dare to talk to Jiza-nii in such a situation. I couldn’t do that.」


Ludo Wu said in an exasperated tone.


「Well, I still don’t know what’s so terrifying about him. Aside from his outstanding aura, I don’t know what I should be afraid of.」


「What do you mean? Compared to Dad, Jiza-nii is much more dangerous… Darum-nii, why do you detest Asuta? He cooks tasty food for us, and there are some things I don’t really get about him, he is still a nice guy.」


Ludo Wu’s words reached the depths of my heart. But seeing Ludo Wu interacting with Darum Wu fearlessly, I felt he was much stronger than me. They were brothers after all, so it was a given that they would get along.


As I expected, Darum Wu didn’t answer. He didn’t even look at me and left the water source just like Jiza Wu did.


「Hmm~Asuta, they really detest you.」


「Yes, I’m aware of that.」


「How should I put this... Asuta, Darum-nii seemed to be afraid of you.」


「What? Impossible! No matter how hard I try, I won’t be able to beat him.」


「The men in Forest's Edge will never lose to you…  unless it isn’t a contest of strength.」


Ludo Wu sat crossed legged in the water, then turned to face me.


「How strange Asuta, you are so weak, but don’t fear anyone. That night during the pre-wedding banquet, you looked even stronger than my Dad」


「Ahaha, I’m honoured.」


「Hand.」


「Huh?」


「Let me see your hand.」


「Hand?」


I reached out my right palm.


Ludo Wu placed his palm on top of mine gently.
「Your hand is small, just like a woman.」


I felt my face showing astonishment just like Rimee Wu earlier.


Ludo Wu was shorter than me, but his fingers and palm was twice my size.


In a year or so, I might need to look up at Ludo Wu. Just the thought filled me with gloom.


But even so—— How blissful it would be if I was still in Forest's Edge one year later.


3


After two peaceful hours, the food in the four pots were successfully cooked.


Half of the water had evaporated.


At this moment, I added in the tarapa sauce.


The content of the pot was slightly red because of the fruit wine, but it was completely crimson now.


Even though aria food was added for taste, the strong sourness and aroma of the tarapa still spread inside the stove room.


「Alright, I will be adding the poitan now. Don’t mess up the numbers okay?」


Ten poitan had to be added to each pot. If we exceed that number, the texture would be powdery and terrible.


I slit the skin of the potato-like poitan, and toss them one after another into the pot.


Even with the small fire, the poitan break apart and dissolved immediately.


What an incredible ingredient.


It bore some resemblance to flour, but it was as close as kiba was to pork, onions to aria or tomatoes to tarapa.


Which means—— I wouldn’t have tasted this food if I didn’t arrive in this world.


As there wasn’t any food that resembles it in my old world, I was troubled about how to cook it; and being so troubled made it hard for me to give it up.


As I was in deep thought, the ten poitan melted away without a trace.


The tomato red gradually turned into a colour between pink and orange.


After carefully stirring it and adding rock salts and pico leaves to taste——


It was finally done.


After simmering it for two hours, even the inside of the chachi turned soft and tender.


Tino and aria were soft, and it melts in my mouth without even needed to chew it.


Next was the kiba meat.


The bite sized meat was really tender.


The shoulder meat slowly melts in the mouth, while the thigh meat retained its toughness.


The strong sourness of the tarapa complemented the taste of the ingredients on many layers—— which spreads an indescribable fresh taste in my mouth


As expected of a dish that took so much time and effort, of all the kiba dishes I had developed, this stew might be the best of them all.


However, this was a luxurious dish prepared for a banquet, not a family meal.


Such a lavish meal could only be ate during a banquet.


This dish would make the wedding even more joyous.


For the sake of enjoying high quality food, the people of Forest's Edge would perform their jobs as hunters even harder to earn copper plates—— That was the idea I had in mind.


I wish to convey this to Kaslan Lutim and his kin.


「Okay, put out the fire after a while more. Everyone, please stir it carefully so it won’t get burned.」


Ai Fa, Leina Wu, Lala Wu and me stood in front of the four pots respectively.


The idling Rimee Wu was staring hard at me.


She didn’t say a word, but her large eyes were sparkling.


「… You want to try——」「I wanna!」


She cut off my words.


I used the spoon for taste testing to scoop up some stew. I looked down, and found the cute girl waiting for me with her mouth open.


Ara, this reminds me of that night when I met Rimee Wu for the first time—— I felt nostalgic as I send the spoon into her mouth.


「It… It’s yummy…」


She was squinting from her smile.


She then stared at me again.


Now that I think of it, she also pestered me to feed her a second time when we met for the first time.


Rimee Wu wasn’t greedy, so she wouldn’t ask for a third time. As I was thinking that, I added some thigh meat and chachi pieces onto the spoon. When I was blowing to cool it, someone whacked the back of my head.


「Don’t spoil that bratty Rimee! We won’t have enough for the guests!」


「I’m not eating that much! Tomboy Lala...」「Don’t fight, don’t fight.」 I said as I stuff the spoon into her wide open mouth.


Rimee Wu held the spoon in her mouth with an expression as if she was melting. Lala Wu raised her eyebrows and said:


「I can’t even! How sly! I have been bearing with it and not steal a bite!」


「Huh? You are restraining yourself? You should at least try the taste, that’s the privilege of a hearth tender.」


「Tell me that sooner! Bratty Rimee, hand over that spoon!」


「Ah~? Let me think about it.」


Even trivial arguments like this were cute. As I watched them happily, someone tugged at the corner of my t-shirt.


Leina Wu was looking carefully into the pot next to me just now, but she was looking at me bashfully.


「… Erm, I already said it is fine to try right?」


Leina Wu’s face lit up.


This atmosphere feels rather comfortable.


However, we could only take it easy now. In the afternoon, this place will turn into a warzone. I probably wouldn’t suffer any retribution for spending some heartwarming moments with these three close sisters.


「… Is the morning’s work done?」


Ai Fa finally spoke.


「That’s right.」


When she heard my answer, she nodded and waved Rimee Wu to her.


「I will make a trip home then. Rimee Wu, can you take over for me?」


「Okay! What are you going to do at your place?」


「I have to turn over the meat in the food store. If left alone for the entire day, the pico leaves would get damaged.」


I see, so there were chores to do at home too.


「Wait, I will finished soon. Let’s go back together.」


「But why?」


Ai Fa tilted her head quizzedly.


「I’m just turning the meat, so I can do that alone. You can rest for now.」


After saying that, Ai Fa left the stove room quickly.


「Hmm~… Does Ai Fa dislike us?」


Lala Wu asked.


「No such thing.」


I refuted her.


「She don’t dislike you. Ai Fa is just slow to warm up to people.」


「But aside from Rimee Wu and Grandma Jiba, I have never seen Ai Fa speak with anyone else. If she don’t dislike us, then she is just uninterested in us.」


Lala Wu’s showed a displeased face.


Was Lala Wu hoping to get closer to Ai Fa?


「Speaking of which… Lala Wu, you know about that marriage proposal two years ago? After that day, the relationship between Donda Wu turned awkward, that’s why she got used to keeping her distance from the Wu clan.」


「But your attitude towards us is normal.」


「Because I’m retarded.」


「Yes, I know.」


So she already found out.


「But Papa Donda didn’t mentioned that marriage thing again. Since she already got along well with Rimee and Grandma Jiba, so she has no reason to avoid us. Therefore, she must not be interested in us.」


「Not really, like I said—— she’s slow to warm up to people.」


「Did you get along well after spending a lot of time…? Or rather, are you two close at all?」
「Hmm~ What a troubling question!」


Leaving how close we were aside, I had never felt trouble about not getting along with Ai Fa. I even told her anything I want without hesitation, even though we didn’t know each other for very long.


Even though we stayed under the same roof as if that was the most natural thing, when I first came to Forest's Edge, I only decided to stay in Ai Fa’s house temporary to avoid getting into trouble which would make Ai Fa responsible.


That might be so, I had only known Ai Fa for a week, and I already said I wanted to surprise Donda Wu with my cooking. That must be a troubling action for Ai Fa—— But Ai Fa actual bore the same grudge, and was maybe even more agitated than I was. When she heard Donda Wu disparage my cooking, she was angry on my behalf.


Ai Fa always show a cold face, but her mood swings a lot, so I think this is only natural. But speaking of which, Ai Fa seldom showed her emotions to a group.


Ai Fa once told me——「I don’t want you to suddenly disappear.」


Hmm~... This is bad.


I don’t think I could explain the relationship between Ai Fa and myself clearly.


And discussing such things when Ai Fa wasn’t around felt like I was betraying her.


I could only apologize to Lala Wu:


「Sorry, I don’t know how to explain it.」


Lala Wu clicked her tongue, then turned her gaze to her sister tending to the pot diagonally away from her.


「Leina-nee, what do you think? We seldom talks to Ai Fa right?」


I thought Leina Wu would be troubled by this question, but her answer was faster than I imagined.


And her answer actually was:「I still hope Ai Fa can marry into the Wu clan.」


「But why?」


When she heard Lala Wu’s surprised question, Leina Wu smiled with her teeth visible, and glanced momentarily at me.


「Because Rimee and Grandma Jiba admires her, and I think she is an outstanding person… Furthermore, the Fa house will become a kin of the Wu clan」


Hmm~… Doubts arose in my heart once again.


I was happy that Leina Wu opened her heart to me, but compared to Rimee Wu and Lala Wu who had a big age gap from me, I wasn’t sure how to interact with Leina Wu who was my age.


I couldn’t thank her sincerely after hearing what she said.


「Rimee thinks it’s fine.」


Rimee tried her best to stir the pot Ai Fa entrusted her, and said cheerfully:


「Even if Ai Fa and Asuta aren’t our family or kin, I still like them! It will be great if our houses are nearer!」


That was what I like about Rimee Wu.


I hope she could stay by Ai Fa’s side forever and spread her cheerful smile.


「If you get along with the other party, you will naturally become friends.」


After giving this mediocre advice to Lala Wu, I ended this topic.


4


After that, the war started.


Noon just passed.


「Well then, we will proceed as I explained yesterday, team Ditto Min Wu will cut the meat, team Leina Wu will dice the aria, team Mia Lei Wu will grilled the poitan.」


Eleven women gathered in the Wu main house.


Half of them were the women staying in the Wu clan village.


I splitted the eleven people into three groups to handle different task.


Grandma Ditto Min, Vena Wu and three others was responsible for cutting the steak and preparing the hamburg steak.


Leina Wu, Rimee Wu and two others will dice the aria to be used in the hamburg steak.


Mia Lei Wu and Lala Wu will use the stoves outside to grilled the poitan.


Sati Lei Wu will head to a house with young children, and they would take turns watching the children and grilling poitan.


There would be a hundred guests today after all.


And the men could eat almost twice the amount of a woman.


Just calculating it this way, I had to prepare enough meat and grilled poitan for 150 people.


I added a lot of ingredients in the vegetable stew, but I didn’t know how the guests would allocate the meat in the stew. If I calculate the poitan in the stew, everyone would have less than half a poitan.


I heard that the custom in Forest's Edge was to provide more than sufficient food during big feasts, so I decided to omit the ingredients in the stew from my calculations.


The denizens of Forest's Edge usually live a plain and simple life, but it was different during a banquet.


In that case, I had to keep grilling the food.


And so, assuming there were one hundred and fifty guests——


Allocating 500g to one person, that would be 75kg.


One person would require two poitan, so that was three hundred.


So I decided to grill that many poitan.


On top of that, I asked next two biggest branch houses to cook the simple new dish 『fried vegetables』.


Since the ingredients in the stew was omitted, and everyone needs to eat three aria, we had to expend 450 of them.


After boiling it or frying it, the aria would shrink a lot. But just using one ingredient would not be appetizing for everyone.


And so, I chose a few vegetables that were suited for frying, being tino that resembles cabbage and pula that looks like green pepper to complement the aria. I fried a large amount of vegetables as a side dish for the steak and hamburg steak.


As everyone needed to consume three aria a day, the numbers still fell short even if I fry them. Having just one stew as a soup made me uneasy too. So I decided to add a soup with the three aforementioned vegetables and meat, so everyone could consume one entire aria from this soup.


And of course, kiba meat was also added to this soup. We used more than 120kg of meat in the soup, meat dishes and stew.


Going by rough estimates, there were 800g of meat for each woman, and 1.6kg for every man. I think—— this was a very sufficient amount.


The menu for today were as follows——


·Kiba steak(thigh, shoulder, ribs)
·Kiba hamburg steak
·Vegetable stew made from various vegetables, tarapa and kiba meat
·Grilled poitan with gigo mixed in
·Three types of fried vegetables
·Soup with three vegetables and kiba meat


As the hearth care taker for this wedding banquet, this was my final conclusion.


Given how oily and simple the dishes were, I considered adding a cold dish of kiba meat. But I feel that it didn’t seem to fit well with the banquet of a hunter tribe. After discussing with the Lutim house, they told me that 「compared to cold food, everyone prefers hot food more」, so I gave up on that idea.


By the way, when I asked them if we should removed the bones from the ribs, Dan Lutim said「you absolutely can’t!」, and completely rejected my proposal.


「Eating it with the bone is what makes it good!」


I was worried that someone would make a scene like Dan Lutim that night when they see the torso of a kiba. But Dan Lutim even said:「If there are any leftovers, I will eat them all!」, seemed like I was worried over nothing.


In this five days, the concept that 「throwing the torso of the kiba away is a pity」 had gradually taken root in the Wu clan village. The women from the branch family here to learn and practice cooking took back the leftover meat happily, and cook it for their family, and succeeded in clearing the stubborn views of the men.


As the representative of the reformist Kaslan Lutim obviously wouldn’t ditch the kiba’s torso when they hunt kiba. And so, I didn’t need to worry about the Lutim house.


When I discovered that Ai Fa didn’t have the view that 「the torso of a kiba is monta feed」, I realized only the Wu clan and the equally powerful Lutim house harbours such views.


There would be guest from seven houses, with over a hundred people. Of these seven houses, only the Lei house could match the Wu clan and Lutim house in scale. The Min and Mamu house were significantly smaller, while the Lilim and Mufa house were even smaller. These houses probably wouldn’t mind that.


「If the Lei house people don’t eat, then I will!」


Dan Lutim roared loudly.


Simply put, if everyone could only get one ribs, the guests would probably feel dissatisfied.


In the end, we prepared 150 spare ribs as a service for the father of my client.


And so—— noon passed, and the Wu clan village turned into a war zone.






「Asuta! We finished cutting all the aria!」


「Wah, that’s fast! Please mince the meat next!」


「Mince meat! Got it!」


Rimee Wu’s knifework could rival her mother and sister, and she started mincing the meat.


I set the weight of each hamburg steak to be 200g.


If eaten together with the steaks, this portion would be plenty. But the men might hold reservation on this dish. So far, I had only tried making this dish in the Wu main house, and two of the four men there gave negative reviews. Hence, I was mentally prepared that half the men would not be able to accept this dish.


That being said, I still thought up a new way of eating it.


If they didn’t like the soft hamburg steak, I would suggest they put the hamburg steak into the soup, and return it into minced meat.


That was the result of my research.


On the second day of my research, in order to fulfill my promise with Ai Fa, I decided to serve hamburg steak for dinner, but I didn’t want to have different dishes for the men and the women.


Research aside, dinner was still dinner, and I think a family should eat the same meal.


And so, I developed hamburg steak soup.


Everyone was free to decide if they want to put the hamburg steak into the soup. If they do, they should stir the hamburg steak so it breaks apart before eating them.


They only like to eat tough meat when eating meat by itself. When they cook kiba pot, they would boil it with strong fire, and eat the meat that had turned mushy.


It was ruse I thought up, but the Wu clan men didn’t express any dissatisfaction.


When I tried it, the meat soup would have the aroma of grilled hamburg steak, which increase the complexity of its taste.


And so, I decided to use this eating method in the banquet.


I also prepared fruit wine sauce, so those eating hamburg steak could add the gravy freely, and the same would apply for the banquet.


And so, as I cooked dinner for the Wu clan, I gradually completed the menu for the banquet.


Returning to the topic.


Back in the Fa house, I would mix in a lot of diced aria into the hamburg steak. But as the Wu clan village had many pots, I wouldn’t be troubled over how the aria was used. And so, I would only use a quarter of an aria for every 200g of hamburg steak. This was the same ratio used when cooking hamburg steak in 《Tsurumi restaurant》.


Next, I prepared one hundred 200g hamburg steak. To preempt any that get burned during cooking, I prepared 20 more as spare, so that would require 30 diced aria.


「We will fry the aria. Ai Fa, please start the fire in a stove.」


Ai Fa nodded, then raise a fire in a stove nearby.


When so many women were gathered together, Ai Fa’s presence became diminished, but she was actually supporting everyone. As the Wu clan’s women were trained by me, Ai Fa couldn’t use a kitchen knife as nimbly as them. Her job was to start fire, carry the ingredients and other miscellaneous work.


She brought a large number of ingredients from the food store, then carried the prepped food back into the food store, shift the heavy pots and refill the water in the flasks ——Ai Fa took on all these unglamorous but tough work.


「Thanks, you are a big help.」


I said quietly into Ai Fa ears. She tilted her head, then mimicked me and whispered into mine:


「Since these are the dishes that will be served in the Lutim house’s banquet, we should let their kin do the cooking right? That will be better for me.」


I tilted my head in doubt, then said quietly to her again:


「That might be so, but I’m not their kin either.」


Ai Fa tilted her head and moved her mouth even closer to me:


「You are working for them because you are paid to right? Don’t lump our position together.」


While we repeatedly argued over this, Rimee Wu who was working hard on mincing meat suddenly interjected:


「What are you whispering about?」


「Nothing, it’s a secret meeting.」


「Huh!? How sly! Rimee wants to have a meeting too!」


「Just kidding, we are just chatting idly. We are just lowering our voices so we won’t disturb the others.」


I answered with a smile —— and locked eyes with Leina Wu who was staring at us.


Leina Wu was acting strange.


I was just whispering with Ai Fa, she didn’t need to look at me with such sad eyes. I greased the heated pot with fats, put the diced aria into the pot, and felt a little gloomy.


Leina Wu was a capable girl. She was honest, innocent, kind, good at studying and has an outstanding appearance.


To be honest, if this charming and capable girl expressed a liking to me beyond friendship, it would make me feel more terrible than the allures from Vena Wu.


I didn’t plan to find a partner in this world, and if I really settle on anyone here—— that person would definitely not be Leina Wu or Vena Wu.


「… Don’t you need to add fruit wine?」, Ai Fa’s voice pulled me back to reality.


「Uwah, I forgot! Ai Fa, can you——」


She waved a bottle of fruit wine before me.


「This is the first time I saw you make a mistake while cooking.」


When I hurriedly poured the fruit wine onto the aria that was turning caramel coloured, Ai Fa’s laughing voice echoed in my ears.


What kind of face was she making when she said that!? When I wanted to check, Lala Wu yelled:「Ai Fa, please bring the additional poitan over!」, and she disappeared from my sight.


Damn it! I’m so uncool!


I used the spatula I made myself to scoop the fried aria onto a wooden plate.


After doing so, I raised my head and——


Leina Wu who was mincing the meat looked at me once again with a pitiful face.


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