Friday, December 22, 2017

Cooking with Wild Game Volume 3 Chapter 6

The End of the Banquet
Translator: Skythewood
Editor:


「Here it comes, this is really the last meat!」


The additional grilled meat was sent to the plaza.


Just how much meat did everyone eat today? I already lost track, but the men and women all cheered and gathered.


I stood at the side of the Wu main house, watching over the scene as I said to the girl besides me:


「…Lala Wu, aren’t you eating?」


「No, I’m already full. If I eat too much, I will get fat.」


I think she could fatten up a bit more. Compared to her two elder sisters, she was too slender.


Lala Wu was twelve, and from her body type, she would probably grow taller. A few years later, she would surely be a charming lady that rivals her sisters.


「Ah, the flame during the last part is impressive. What is that?」


「It’s a strong liquor that will burn when lighted, not the usual fruit wine.」


And that of course, was the fruit wine Kamyua Yost gave to us as a present.


I couldn’t think of any other way to use it, so I just used it to liven up the last part of the banquet.


「That’s true.」


Lala Wu said disinterestedly, closed her eyes and said:


「Ema Min Lutim looks so stunning. She is a beauty, and the wedding dress made her even more glamourous.」


「That’s right. I’m surprised too… But, Lala Wu, your dress is nice too.」


Lala Wu was also in banquet wear of course.


She might be young, but when she let her hair down, she looked very feminine.


I carefully avoided complimenting her looks and just her clothes, but she still punched my back hard.


The intense pain stung my exhausted body.


「That hurts… So, you are looking for me?」


「Hmm? It’s nothing special… Have you seen Shin Wu?」


「Shin Wu? I don’t know, he should be hanging out with Ludo Wu.」


「Ludo Wu is with my other brothers. Strange, I just saw him with Shela Wu.」


It couldn’t be helped, this was a banquet with over a hundred people after all.


Even after my work was done, I still haven’t met Ai Fa.


「Yo, Asuta, thanks for your hard work. Not only did you need to tend to the hearth, you also had to deal with the retards from the Tsun clan, it must be tiring right?」


Speak of the devil. Ludo Wu suddenly appeared before us.


「If Jiza-nii wasn’t beside me, I would have beat them all up by myself. Well, forget it, it’s a Lutim house banquet after all, we should show some respect for the father of the Lutim house.」


「Bratty Ludo, don’t cause trouble. You better not get involved with the Tsun clan.」


「Shut up tomboy… And so? What are the two of you doing? Asuta you want to take this thing of ambiguous gender as your wife after all?」


When the enraged Lala Wu wanted to slap Ludo Wu, he dodged her nimbly.


「Don’t fight, this is a wedding…  Ludo Wu, do you know where Shin Wu is?」


「Shin Wu? Ah, he is in the empty house you are staying in right now.」


When he said that, Ludo Wu frowned a little unhappily and continued:


「Speaking of which, Ai Fa is with him too… Damn it, I hope Shin Wu won’t say anything unnecessary.」


Unnecessary?


I found a missing piece of the puzzle in my tired mind.


「What do you mean? What did you instigate Shin Wu to do? By the way, why do Shin Wu want to speak with Ai Fa?」


「Shut up, it has nothing to do with you.」


Ludo Wu looked at me.


I nodded, and pulled back my shoulders that were leaning against the wall.


「Lala Wu, let’s go take a look. I’m also looking for Ai Fa.」


「Hmm? Okay…」


Lala Wu showed a weak expression. I grabbed her arm and walked to the plaza.


「Hey, what happened? What’s going on between Shin Wu and Ai Fa?」


「I don’t know yet. I don’t teally know Shin Wu’s temperament. Lala Wu, please help me talk to him.」


I went through the crowd with the puzzled Lala Wu, and headed to the empty house.


Everyone looked very pleased.


After the banquet ended, I could finally see everyone’s faces.


The men who always wore serious expression was smiling red faced now.


Meat and wine, family and kin, the orange burning flames, the strong groom and beautiful bride—— There was plenty of things for them to be intoxicated by.


I was happy to have taken part in this banquet.


I was proud for finishing my job.


In this world, only Ai Fa could share this feeling with me.


「Ah…」


Lala Wu raised her voice.


The plaza was bright, but the empty house was very dim, with no one in sight. Ai Fa and Shin Wu’s figure appeared behind the empty house.


Shin Wu’s figure mixed into the crowd, and only Ai Fa was left behind.


「Shin! Shin Wu!」


Lala Wu shook off my hand and ran in the crowd.


And I naturally ran towards Ai Fa.


「Asuta…」


Ai Fa opened her eyes wide in surprise.


「What’s the matter? Did something happened?」


「No, we are fine.」


I stopped in front of Ai Fa.


The next instant, my right knee buckled.


Before I fell, Ai Fa’s strong arms supported me.


「What’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?」


「No… I’m just too tired. In the end, I just grabbed some random things to eat.」


「Retard, you didn’t eat properly even though you have to do so much work?」


Ai Fa said angrily, then guide my body to lean against the wall.


「Wait here, I will bring some meat.」


「No, it’s fine. I can’t eat yet.」


I grabbed Ai Fa’s arm in a panic.


「The job is finally done, let me bask in the moment for a bit longer.」


After saying that, I slide down slowly and sat on the ground.


Ai Fa looked a little troubled, but she chose to sit besides me in the end.


But she didn’ prop up one knee like she usually does, but sat cross legged.


「Ai Fa, since you already dressed up, it will be fine if you acted more femininely.」


「Even you are saying such weird things. I only put this on because Grandma Jiba was very adamant about this.」


Ai Fa flicked her veil with her slender finger.


「I might be a woman, but I’m still the head of the Fa house, and a hunter. Others will just think it is hilarious if I put this on.」


「That’s not true. You might be the head of a house and a hunter, but you are also a woman.」


Seeing that Ai Fa looks unhappy, I smiled at her and said:


「This clothes really suits you. I’m not just paying lip service, you look really nice like this.」


Ai Fa’s cheeks didn’t blush. She looked as if she had choked on something, and looked very surprised.


Finally, she said:


「Don’t say something so ridiculous.」


She looked towards the plaza which showed no signs of ending any time soon.


「… Your work is done.」


「Yes, it’s over.」


「I don’t know what the future might bring, but you completed your job.」


「Yes.」


「Asuta, that’s your strength.」


Ai Fa had a thousand yard gaze.


How strange.


Up until just now, Ai Fa had been acting normally. But now, her existence felt very far away.


「Asuta.」


「Yes.」


「You should stay in the Lutim house.」


I stared at Ai Fa’s side profile.


Ai Fa still wouldn’t look my way.


「Kaslan Lutim acknowledged your strength. Even Dan Lutim did so. They might not let you marry into their main house, but just like how you are staying in my house, they will welcome you to be a part of the Lutim house even if you are not related to them by blood.」


「Hey.」


「When your bonds with them deepen, they might be willing to let you marry into the branch house. And then, you will have a place in Forest's Edge——」


「What are you talking about? Why are you saying this all of a sudden?」


I pressed her for answers.


Ai Fa still wouldn’t look at me.


「… Let me ask you instead, why are you staying in the Fa house?」


「You are asking me now…?」


「The Fa house isn’t as well off as the Wu house or Lutim house. I don’t want to eat such lavish food either. You can only use aria, poitan, kiba and just a bit of vegetable as ingredients, and cook meals for two—— will that be enough to satisfy you?」


「I’m very satisfied. I’m not cooking for you as a head chef, but as a family and Fa house hearth tender. The job of a hearth caretaker is to serve up a meal within the limited budget.」


「And you are satisfied just with that?」


「Yes.」


I answered unhesitantly.


「Working as a chef makes me glad. I feel happy, elated and blissed. But I don’t want to tend the hearth for the Wu clan or Lutim house, but the Fa house. You are the one who I want to taste my meat the most.」


「……」


「There might be another madman who wants me to care take their hearth for one night. I will welcome such a job. I hope to keep that anticipation in mind and continue cooking for the Fa house.」


「But…」


Ai Fa looked somewhere else and muttered softly:


「I deepened the grudge with the Tsun clan again today/」


「Me too.」


「I’m strong enough to protect myself. But when I enter the forest, I won’t be able to protect you who will be home alone.」


「In that case…」


「But the Lutim house and Wu clan can protect you. Even if they look for trouble like today, the Tsun clan won’t have the guts to clash with the Wu clan and Lutim house.」


「……」


「Asuta, it’s too dangerous for you to stay in the Fa house.」


「… Is that what you think?」


I pressed Ai Fa again.


But she didn’t waver.


「It’s too late for that now right? We already ran into Doddo Tsun seven days ago. So why are you only saying this now?」


「… Since that day, you have been staying in the We village.」


「That’s right. But you just told me this morning that 『we will go back to our usual lives tomorrow』, so why say all this now?」


「… We deepened our grudge with the Tsun clan again today. And you showed your capability to the Lutim house.」


「Is that all?」


「… Someone told me that you shouldn’t stay in the Fa house.」


「Was it Leina Wu?」


「……」


「That’s what I thought. I should be grateful to her for being concerned about me, but…」


Leina Wu’s sorrowful face flashed in my mind.


「That’s how she feels, not me. I just want to act according to how you and I feel.」


「……」


「I already made up my mind, I want to stay in the Fa house. Unless you feels frustrated by it and wants to chase me away, then I will leave.」


「… If I tell you to get lost, would you?」


I grabbed Ai Fa’s shoulder that was further away from me angrily, and forced her to face me.


Ai Fa could have brushed away my arms, but she didn’t resist.


Her blue eyes finally looked my way.


「I want to stay by your side. Until you grow tired of me, I don’t want to leave. If you want to chase me away, you can try with all your might… Although your strength is greater than mine.」


「……」


「You said you didn’t want me to disappear, was that a lie?」


A fire burned in Ai Fa’s eyes.


「I don’t want you to disappear, or for you to be in danger. That is why I am asking you to become a member of the Lutim house.」


「Is that so? Even if that is what you think, I still want to stay by your side. If—— the Tsun clan becomes a real danger, we will think of something. In the worst case, we can ask Kamyua Yost for help.」


「… That man is a citizen of Rock City.」


「 If you are not willing to, I will give up on that thought. If not, I will prostrate to the Wu clan and Lutim house, and beg them to protect me who isn’t their kin—— I’m willing to go that far in order to not leave you.」


The fire in Ai Fa’s eyes started wavering.


Was she angry? Or did some other emotions she herself didn’t understand had sprout forth?


Even though she was a woman, Ai Fa had the air of a hunter about her.


The female hunter Ai Fa was an unique existence in Forest's Edge.


And I ——


「… Why was Shin Wu looking for you?」


「What?」


「You spoke with him just now right? Did he asked you about 『sacrificial hunting style』? In order to feed his five family members, he wanted to use the 『sacrificial hunting style』 too—— Did he find you in order to discuss this?」


「……」


「Ai Fa, how did you answer him?」


「… I told him that 『sacrificial hunting style』 was too dangerous. If he succumbs to the forest, then who will protect his five family members?」


「I see. But you have me as your family too, but you are still using the 『sacrificial hunting style』 right? Is the sweet scent on you from the fruit that attracts kiba?」


Ai Fa’s face turned a little pale.


Despite her agitated emotions, she still felt embarrassed when I mentioned her scent.


I like the scent on her——


The sweet smell of the fruit that attracts kiba.


The refreshing aroma of herbs.


The stinging scent of the pico leaves.


The gentle fragrance of the Krilee fruit.


The delectable smell of meat and fats.


All these smell combined into the Ai Fa’s scent—— and I like this scent.


It was a scent unique to Ai Fa.


The unique scent of Ai Fa who took on the jobs of both the men and women by herself.


Only Ai Fa would have this smell that merges both the forest and a home.


「Don’t do something so dangerous for the sake of hunting—— Ai Fa, you won’t want anyone to tell you that.」


「……」


「It’s the same for me. I don’t want anyone to tell me that caretaking the hearth in the Fa house is a dangerous job.」


Ludo Wu’s words echoed in my mind.


—— Don’t worry about her, respect her instead.


Ai Fa craved hunting kiba so much that she resorts to such a dangerous method.


In order to live as a denizen of Forest's Edge—— to live as a hunter.


If she stop using the 『sacrificial hunting style』, she would need to give up on her identity as a hunter. And marry into some other houses as a woman.


If Ai Fa wants to reject this fate and live on as a hunter——


If Ai Fa could only become a strong, noble and elegant existence by doing so——


Then I wouldn’t refute Ai Fa’s choice.


I was attracted to her because Ai Fa was such a person.


Ai Fa had both the scent of a forest and a home, possessing the tenacity of a hunter and the gentleness of a girl. I want to stay by her side because that was the kind of person she was.


「I will think about how to deal with the Tsun clan. Ai Fa, let me stay by your side. I want to be with you.」


Ai Fa turned quiet for a moment.


She looked at me with the intense light in her eyes, as if she was probing my intent.


After who knows how long——


Ai Fa averted her face and muttered 「do whatever you want.」


She pouted her lips a little.


Her cheeks were still slightly blushed.


She was finally back to her usual self.


At this moment, a large figure walked towards us with a crisp sound of metal ringing out.


「Sorry for disturbing at such a busy time. Asuta and Ai Fa, can I have a bit of your time?」


The man before us was actually Kaslan Lutim.


This brave hunter wearing a cape that had the head of a kiba attached looked down at us silently.
「Ah, hello, we aren’t busy.」


When I answered, I realized I was still grabbing Ai Fa’s shoulders, and unhand her in a hurry.


Ai Fa had turned her face away with her cheeks beet red and lips pouting. No matter how you looked at it, we were in the middle of something.


And this guy could actually talk to us at such a moment, he was really brave.


「My apologies. It’s hard for me to leave the main event, so I still came to greet you despite it being rude.」


「Ah, it’s fine.」


I stood up.


Ai Fa also stood up, and elbowed my sides really hard.


「I don’t know if I can see you two tomorrow, so I want to bring you your payment tonight.」


He took out the outstanding payment—— the tusks and horns of ten kiba.


It must be a part of the blessings he received for the wedding. He strung them up carefully with a rope.


「Thank you for your delicious cooking. I believe I made the right decision after seeing how blissed my kin looked.」


「I want to thank you for believing in me… And congratulations on your wedding.」


「Thank you.」


The groom showed a bashful smile.


「Regarding the matter with the Tsun clan—— I’m sorry that you have become the subject of their scorn. Father Dan and Donda Wu both drew their blades in rage, and the men around them had to suppress them in the meantime.」


「No, we made a stand of our own conviction, I’m just afraid that this will bring trouble to the Lutim house.」


「No matter how much we worry, trouble will still find us at any moment. I realized this tonight.


Kaslan Lutim’s honest eyes showed a strong gleam.


「However, the Tsun probably couldn’t do as they please. Even if they think we are an eyesore, there wouldn’t be anyone hunting the kiba without us. To protect their peaceful life, they won’t clash with the Wu clan or Lutim house.」


「I see, are you refering to the prize money given to them by the city…? I can’t believe those people are actually from Forest's Edge.」


「You’re right—— But you are different. The Fa house only have two members, so the Tsun clan won’t hesitate in exterminating you.」


Kaslan Lutim said in a heavier tone:


「However, if the Wu clan and Lutim house are close to the two of you, they wouldn’t dare to go too far… That being said, they still did something so outrageous tonight. Ai Fa, Asuta, please take care of yourself.」


「Alright, we will keep that in mind.」


Kaslan Lutim nodded, and then looked at the necklace I received from him.


「By the way, is twenty kiba really enough? I wouldn’t mind giving you all the blessings I received tonight.」


「It’s more than enough. I’m very happy! I will spend it unhesitatingly in the next few days.」


After saying that, I turned to Ai Fa whose cheeks were still a little blushed:


「We can buy a new pot now! The Fa house can have soup and grilled dish at the same time. House head, all that hard work is worth it right?」


Ai Fa continued to pout and kicked me lightly.


Mid Meal Snack: The Young Sage


This youth has a strange air about him ——Kaslan Lutim harboured such a forthright thought in the beginning. This was the first impression Kaslan Lutim had of Asuta. During the pre-wedding party, Asuta of the Fa house tended to the Wu clan’s hearth.


The youth had dark hair, black eyes and ivory skin. His appearance was obviously that of a foreigner. Compared to the hunters of Forest's Edge, he was skinny and had a face as gentle as a woman. He probably couldn’t hunt kiba. From his frail appearance, Kaslan Lutim think he must hail from Rock City.


However, his eyes was different from the citizens of Rock City Kaslan Lutim saw in the past. He had a bright and shiny gleam in his eyes.


He wasn’t afraid of the denizens of Forest's Edge.


That was why he had such an unfathomable air about him.


This man from the city was staying in the Forest's Edge settlement, and was cool and composed despite being surrounded by the denizens of Forest's Edge. And he wore the attire of Forest's Edge, and claim to be a member of a house of Forest's Edge. With how the denizens of Forest's Edge were alienated in Genos, this was unbelievable.


But since this youth appeared before me, that means it actually happened.


Why did Donda Wu let someone like this tend his hearth? Kaslan Lutim couldn’t understand.


Since just now, his father Dan Lutim was enraged, and Ema Min lowered her gaze troublingly.


If this continued, the relationship between his father and Donda Wu might fracture.


That worried Kaslan Lutim the most.


In order to stand up against the nefarious Tsun clan, they needed to muster more strength. Hunt more kiba, bear more children and get more kins. They need to defeat the Tsun clan one day, If the elder Wu clan sour their relationship with their most powerful kin house the Lutims, the future of Forest's Edge would be shrouded in darkness.


However… Donda Wu looked just as mad as father Dan.


The young man named Asuta just had to serve the torso of a kiba as a dish for the pre-wedding.


There was nothing wrong with eating the kiba’s torso. Like what the head of the Fa house said—— the opinion of the rumoured female hunter Ai Fa.


Calling this body part as monta feed was an insult to the powerless houses. Even though 「weakness is a sin」 was the unwritten rule in Forest's Edge, disparaging the weak was no different from what the Tsun clan was doing. The weak should serve as a lesson that compels one to obtain greater strength. There wasn’t any meaning in insulting others repeatedly.


That might be so, he still couldn’t understand why they insist on him eating the kiba torso meat too.


「This meat is delicious.」


Even though the head of the Fa house said that, he still couldn’t understand what that means.


When he took a bite of the kiba spare ribs in this heavy atmosphere, he realized what she actually meant.


Kaslan Lutim put the meat in his mouth without much thought as he was concerned about his father and Donda Wu’s reaction, and felt an incredible impact——


This is…


It tasted different.


There wasn’t any stench.


What was this red and sticky liquid? It had the sweetness of fruit wine, and the fragrance of rock salt and pico leaves changed the taste of the kiba dramatically.


So this is… delicious meat?


The foreign taste spread in his mouth.


This was—— joy.


This was happiness.


The happiness of living.


Kaslan Lutim wasn’t exaggerating, this thought actually emerged in his mind.


When he see the happy faces of his family, when he hunt a huge kiba, when he lay his exhausted body in bed—— and when he hold his lovers in his arms, a feeling of joy would flow through his body. And now, a similar feeling of bliss had exploded in his mouth.


Before his brain could even understand it, his body and soul could already feel the bliss. It was an incredible sensation.


When he was thirsty, water and fruit wine would taste really good.


When hungry, meat and vegetables would be exceptionally delicious.


But what Kaslan Lutim was feeling wasn’t such routine emotions, but something deeper—— a bliss and happiness that shook his very soul.


He felt a gaze, and found Ema Min smiling at him when he turned his head.


She must be thinking the same thing.


Kaslan Lutim couldn’t digest the shock and impact to his heart, and when he realized it, he was smiling in return too.


He still couldn’t grasp what was happening at that moment.


But the premonition that a grand revolution was about to begin took hold of Kaslan Lutim’s soul.






The next day, Kaslan Lutim and Ema Min visited the Fa house together.


They were here to ask Asuta to be the hearth caretaker for their wedding.


When he heard his father Dan Lutim proposed that, Kaslan Lutim thought in surprised that his father had another outrageous idea. But strangely, when his father was turned down by Asuta, it sent a strange tremor through his emotions.


Asking someone not related by blood to tend to the hearth for your wedding was against the customs of Forest's Edge.


Even though it goes against the customs, there might be greater significance to found—— this thought made Kaslan Lutim feel uneasy.


When he shared how he felt with Ema Min, she answered:「I feel the same way too.」


And so, the two of them visited the Fa house.


They never thought that Asuta would reject them so adamantly.


「… I’m sorry, but can we give you an answer tomorrow?」


When they heard the head of the Fa house said that, Kaslan Lutim returned to the Lutim village with Ema Min.


「Don’t worry, we definitely conveyed our feelings to Asuta.」


Ema Min said on the way home.


「Asuta might be from another country, but I could feel a soul befitting a denizen of Forest's Edge within him. That’s why it definitely won’t be a problem.」


「Yes… He really is an amazing person.」


「Is that so?」


Ema Min answered:


「I can easily imagine Asuta being a fellow denizen. It will be more natural if Ai Fa is a man and Asuta is a woman.」


「That’s right. A woman who is a hunter and house head, and a man that tends to the hearth… Life is strange.」


「But they look very happy. In that case, maybe that is the way things should be.」


Ema Min laughed out softly like a child, contrary to her usual self.


「Do you remember how they looked when they just reached home? Ai Fa’s expression was unexpectedly gently, just like a normal girl. She will only show that face to her family member Asuta.」


「Hmm? I didn’t realize at all.」


「I see. I thought Ai Fa is a strong hunter who is stubborn and unapproachable. If a family like that is with her, she should be able to live a peaceful and stable life.」


Ema Min said. She had a smile on her face as she looked up at Kaslan Lutim.


「If I never met you, I might envy them a lot.」


「I see.」


Kaslan Lutim gave a short answer.


As Ema Min strode forth, she quietly embraced Kaslan Lutim’s arm.


「If  Asuta takes on this job, how blissful our wedding day would be. If they still reject us tomorrow, I will keep visiting the Fa house until he agrees.」






Luckily, Asuta agreed to take on the job of hearth caretaker.


Kaslan Lutim relayed his terms to Donda Wu, who accepted readily.


「Kaslan Lutim, I have heard! You asked Asuta to be the hearth caretaker for your wedding right? It must be tough to make that resolve!」


Inside the Wu village, Ludo Wu came to chat with Kaslan Lutim.


He had always been a cheerful youth, and now, a big bright smile could be seen on his face.


「And Asuta will be tending the Wu clan’s hearth everyday before the wedding right? I’m super happy!」


「I see. I asked Donda Wu to accept such a forceful request, so I feel more at ease after hearing you say that.」


「The way you speak is still so deadpan…! But you are going to gift twenty kiba worth of tusks and horns to Asuta right? He will gladly accept this job even if you didn’t do that.」


「But in that case, it wouldn’t sit right with our rules. I asked a non blood kin to tend to the hearth for my wedding, so i have to make the payment.」


「Is that so? We didn’t pay him anything though? We only gave him a tusk or a horn each as a blessing.」


「… Speaking of which, why did the Wu clan ask Asuta to tend to your hearth in the first place?」


And so, Kaslan Lutim learned for the first time what transpired between the Fa house and Wu clan.


Including how Ai Fa was good friends with Jiba Wu and Rimee Wu, how the Wu clan proposed to Ai Fa after she lost her father—— he learned all this for the first time.


「So Asuta’s cooking saved Jiba Wu…」


「That’s right. But even so, Jiza-nee and Darum-nii still wouldn’t accept Asuta. But that night’s dinner seemed to have changed my dad’s mind.」


Kaslan Lutim groaned for a while, then decided to talk to Jiza Wu and Darum Wu.


The sun was about to rise to the top of the sky soon, and Asuta will be reaching the Wu village at that time. He had to complete this task before that.


「Jiza Wu, Darum Wu, can you bother you for a moment?」


The two of them happened to be in a corner of the plaza.


To prepare for their hunter’s work for the day, they were resting under the windy shade of a tree, and were chatting.


「It’s you, Kaslan Lutim. I wanted to speak with you too.」


Jiza Wu stared at him with his slit like eyes.


「Our clan head Donda just told me about the arrangement for the wedding… Why are you entrusting something so important to Asuta of house Fa?」


「I think doing this will bring strength to our blood kin.」


Jiza Wu’s face was gentle as always.


But Kaslan Lutim knew very clearly that there was cruelty and passion in his heart, and such a character befits the heir of the Wu clan very well.


「If it could deepen the joy of living, it will strengthen our will to survive. I don’t think that is wrong—— but Asuta of house Fa is a foreigner.」


「Yes. But isn’t he a member of the Fa house now?」


「If the house head agrees, anyone can become a family member. However, in the eighty years since we moved to the edge of Morga’s forest, no foreigner had ever been taken in as family before.」


「That’s right, Asuta just happen to be the first foreigner to do so. Since there are no rules against this, there shouldn’t be any problems right?」


「……Asuta learned his skills from outside Forest's Edge. Can you be sure that it will bring positive change to Forest's Edge?」


「I can’t tell if this change is in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. Hence, I will choose to believe it its right.」


Jiza Wu crossed his arms without any change in his expression.


Darum Wu stared at Kaslan Lutim without any hint of hostility, and remained silent.


「Jiza Wu, I understand your concerns, I’m also worried about this too. However, continuing to reject strength from the outside world might not be the right move either. The world outside Forest's Edge is boundless, we can’t dismiss everything out there to be wrong.」


「All our brethrens will only spend their live in Forest's Edge. The outside world has nothing to do with us.」


「Is that so? Jiza Wu, we are born in Forest's Edge and bred in Forest's Edge, but we didn’t spring out from the trees.」


He knew that even if he said that, the other party wouldn’t agree with him, but he couldn’t help voicing it out anyway.


To Kaslan Lutim, Jiza Wu was an important kin, and the heir to his elder clan. Even if he acknowledge the other party’s views and feelings, he couldn’t hide what he thought and reach a compromise with him.


「Eighty years ago, when our ancestors still lives in the forest of Jaguar, they have never gotten involved with the people in the city before, and lived by ourselves in the forest. After moving into the Morga forest, they started selling kiba tusks and horns to the Post Station Town, and lived by the laws of Genos. Even so, we still stubbornly refused to mingle with the people in the city—— is this really the right path?」


「Your judgement is sound. However, hasn’t the Tsun clan that is closely related to Genos fallen into depravity?」


「That’s exactly why we have to interact with the city. We can’t harvest the grace of the forest, so we have to erect a bridge to the outside world in order to survive. In that case, we have to build our relationship with the outside world in a more correct manner.」


「Is that the reason—— why you accepted Asuta?」


「I didn’t thought that far. I just think it isn’t right to reject Asuta because he hails from a foreign land.」


Jiza Wu sighed softly, then shook his head that was supported by his powerful neck.


「No matter what, the clan head Donda has already acceded to your request, and we will follow the clan head’s orders. I can only pray that you are right, and that Asuta wouldn’t bring us disaster.」


「If anything untoward happens, I’m willing to pay with my live.」


And finally, Kaslan Lutim tried talking to the quiet Darum Wu:


「Darum Wu, do you harbour the same doubts as Jiza Wu?」


「I—— don’t understand such difficult things.」


Darum Wu answered unhappily.


「I just can’t stand the sight of that pale skinned guy.」


This seemed to be a simple problem.


Darum Wu was just being difficult like a child.


… Speaking of which, Donda Wu wanted Ai Fa to marry Darum Wu back then.


He probably still bear a grudge about that.


Kaslan Lutim would be marrying in a few days, but he still don’t understand boy girl relationship very well.


No matter what, I have already chosen this path.


He could only believe in himself and strive on.


Kaslan Lutim bid farewell to the two of them, and waited for the visit of his fellow denizen from a another nation.






The busy day went by in a flash, Kaslan Lutim could finally stand before Asuta with a heart of bliss and satisfaction. The wedding has concluded successfully.


「I’m relieved that it ended peacefully.」


Asuta said after taking the necklace that served as payment.


He seemed completely exhausted, his eyes half shut with his back against the wall, as if he would fall at any moment.


But a satisfaction that was on par with Kaslan Lutim could be seen in his eyes.


Ai Fa’s face was red for some reason and her face turned away. But the same emotions filled her eyes too.


… When she’s dressed like this, she don’t look like a female hunter at all.


Ai Fa was in banquet wear, and more glamorous than before. And she seemed to have opened her heart to Asuta.


The female hunter Ai Fa and the hearth caretaker Asuta. In Forest's Edge, they were the most unique couple. But Kaslan Lutim also realized that they were family with their soul closely connected.


「Asuta, you are amazing.」


Kaslan Lutim felt the incredibly rowdy banquet behind him, then said:


「You are a foreigner, but I think of you as a fellow denizen of Forest's Edge. Even though your strength, character and appearance are all different from someone in Forest's Edge—— that is the most incredibly point for me.」


「I see. I’m amazed that everyone can accept someone like me too.」


Asuta said in a sleepy voice.


「It’s all thanks to Ai Fa. She took me in, and that threaded my bonds in Forest's Edge.」


「Shut up.」


Ai Fa said with a sneer.


Her soft cheeks were still dyed red.


I see… If Ai Fa didn’t met Asuta, he wouldn’t be here today.


If anyone else discovered a foreigner in Forest's Edge, it was unlikely for them to take him home. Normally, they would just leave him where he was, or at the most, send him to the Post Station Town. Any outsiders who encounter ill tempered hunters would face even worse fate.


After Ai Fa took him in, he got to know the Wu clan and Lutim house because of the bonds between Ai Fa and Grandma Jiba—— and so, I get to meet him.


How would this encounter influence Forest's Edge in the future?


Kaslan Lutim wasn’t a prophet, and he had no idea what the future might bring. Even so, he had a premonition.


Asuta and I chose the same path.


Kaslan Lutim could feel this very clearly during the banquet.


Asuta brought him great joy and happiness, and had become an irreplaceable existence in his heart.


This had nothing to do with blood relations. Asuta of the Fa house might not be his kin, but he was a fellow denizen of Forest's Edge.


I will stand shoulder to shoulder with Asuta and head into the future.


He didn’t know what awaited for him ahead.


And instead of a premonition, this feeling was closer to being a deep belief.


If anyone attempts to harm Asuta, I will be his shield. If they reject him, I will speak up in his stead. After all, Asuta brought me such a great harvest today.


Tonight, Kaslan Lutim got a beautiful wife and an important friend, there wasn’t anyone more happy than him. He chewed on this thought quietly in his mind.


「Asuta, you——」


「Sorry, he’s asleep.」


Ai Fa cut off his words.


On closer look, Asuta had collapsed on the ground before he knew it, and fallen into deep slumber as he leaned on the wall.


His face was as innocent as a child, and filled with satisfaction.


「In the end, he slept without a word. He’s still half baked in this sense.」


Ai Fa said slowly.


But her eyes were filled with love.


「Sorry for disturbing you when you are so tired, please have a good rest.」


「Yes… Is the banquet still going on?」


「Yes. No one will sleep until the last drop of fruit wine is finished.」


「I can’t stay up that long. I will make a move first then.」


Ai Fa put her head under Asuta’s arm, then heaved him up.


Asuta was still sound asleep, and breathing steadily.


「Ai Fa, I want to thank you.」


「Hmm? We received proper payment for this job, you don’t need to thank us over and over again.」


「No, not for tonight. I want to thank you for bringing Asuta to Forest's Edge.」


「About that… You don’t need to thank me either.」


Ai Fa pouted and averted her face.


If Asuta wasn’t here, she wouldn’t be showing such a face to Kaslan Lutim either.


「Alright then, I’m going now.」


Their relationship with the Tsun clan had grown more adverse, and there was also that mysterious man from the city——Kamyua Yost… There will be more troubles waiting for them tomorrow.


Kaslan Lutim will not hold back and help them whenever he could.


Today, he just hope they could rest safely in the Wu village, and prepare to face what tomorrow might bring.


Kaslan Lutim thought as he burned the figure of his friends into his eyes, then turned and return to his lovely wife.


The ceremonial continued spewing out crimson flames, as if it was going to engulf the very night sky.


End of Volume 3

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