Saturday, March 3, 2018

Cooking with Wild Game Volume 4 Chapter 4 Part 2 & Mid Meal Snack

Translator: Skythewood

Editors: Ratorasepo

It was the second day of operation of the kiba food stall operated by the Fa house.
Although all the food was sold out on the opening day, the helplessness I felt was far stronger than any sense of pride and accomplishment. But it also spurred me on, so I felt hyped early in the morning.
I prepared twenty burgers today! It will be incredible if everything is sold out today! Vena Wu, let’s do our best!
Yes… Asuta, was this is all done by you…? Didn’t you need to handle the other chores…?
I made them all myself. I realized that making twenty burgers isn’t hard at all. I don’t mind preparing the food every day.
I wasn’t pushing myself.
Yesterday, I prepared the tarapa sauce and meat patty ahead of time.
I prepared the food while making dinner and finished my work after dinner was done. Previously, before the decision to open the stall, I always chatted idly with Ai Fa after dinner, but now we had to do that while I was preparing the food.
And so, I just had to grill the poitan and hamburg steak.
After the tribulations of the banquet at the Wu clan and the Lutim wedding, I accumulated a lot of experience in cooking a large amount of food. Now, I could prepare twenty burgers in no time. Even if I pushed myself to the maximum limit for one day— forty burgers, I could finish them easily without sacrificing time for sleep or stall opening.
It’s no problem at all! Let’s work hard!
… But there aren’t many people during this time…
There wasn’t any sudden rain today, but the streets remained deserted.
Our stall was on the northernmost edge of the Post Station Town. Aside from the Genos city, only the stone paved road and the woods could be seen if one ventured further north. Only real travelers would pass by here.
The south of the Post Station Town was filled with farmland, so there were many farming villages. Hence, many of the stalls were concentrated in the south. The inn was also located in the south, so those lodging there would head directly to the bustling south to purchase their goods. It was no wonder that the southern side was so crowded.
Before the number of pedestrians increases in the noon, we can only focus on the few sparse passersby.
Oh, other than the castle down to the west, where else does this road lead to?
I don’t know…? Probably the northern kingdom Mahildra…?
Mahildra is the kingdom in the northernmost edge of the continent, right? Genos is in the western kingdom, located on the southern side. That means there should be many cities along the way towards the north, right?
I don’t know… If I keep thinking about that, I might set off on a journey before I know it, so I try not to think about it…
… I see.
Yes… I see, so there are all sorts of cities in the western kingdom… If we head to the other cities, people won’t call us Kiba Eaters
Vena Wu looked to the north with a melancholic face.
Vena Wu, you want to go to a faraway place because you don’t like the people in the city calling you a Kiba Eater』, right?
No… Not because of that… Well, maybe… Anyway, I just want to live nakedly…
Yes… In Forest's Edge, I’m the eldest daughter of the Wu clan… In the Post Station Town, I’m a Kiba Eater… Only my family accepts the real me… I hope for more people to know the naked me… That’s why I want to go to a faraway place…
She glanced at me sideways with a flirty look.
That is why I’m attracted to you… You are not bound by the common sense of Forest's Edge and Post Station Town… You can see the real me…
W-When you did that barbaric act last time, you actually thought this far? I didn’t speak much with you back then.
Yes… I was drawn to you in the beginning because you came from a faraway place and didn’t even know the name of this continent… However, I wouldn’t have acted that way if you didn’t have a certain level of charm…
Vena Wu was hardworking, but when she became idle, she would become mischievous.
I really wished for Tara visiting us at a time like this. As I thought about that quietly, I scanned the road before us.
At this moment, I found a good target.
Ah! That person looks like a foreigner, is he a resident of Genos?
The target was a man who didn’t have brown or ivory skin, but white skin with a tint of red.
He had a plump body with short limbs and dark brown hair. I couldn’t see his facial features clearly because there was some distance between us, but I could tell he had a beard.
The man wore a sleeveless shirt and long pants. This western attire was similar to what Leito wore, and he kept heading north as he browsed the stalls on both sides of the street.
Which country do the white-skinned people come from?
Ehh…? They are from the southern kingdom Jaguar…
My guess was right.
The western kingdom and the northern kingdom were enemies, so people from the north wouldn’t appear in this town. Through the process of elimination, I concluded that this person must be from the southern kingdom. The denizens of Forest's Edge came from the south and had light brown skin, so I thought they would have similar skin tone with the other southerners.
The people with yellowish-brown skin are locals in Genos. There are many ivory-skinned people too, where are they from?
Both kinds of person are citizens of the western kingdom… When I was young, Grandma Jiba told me that Genos was exceptionally wealthy in the western kingdom, so many people will migrate to this land to search for job opportunities.
I see.
This meant that the ivory skinned people only settled down here in the past decades, and some of them were even born here. They didn’t look as uncaring as the southerners and easterners when they were facing the denizens of Forest's Edge and didn’t show fear or disdain like the Genos locals.
Hence, I should set my customer group to be the ivory-skinned people. I might be able to get through to the Genos locals through them.
That aside, the pressing thing right now was to run my business.
The man gradually approached us from the south.
He didn’t have any large luggage, so it was impossible for him to head off to the north. I quietly cut the mini hamburg steak samples and prayed in my heart for him to come near us, so we could have a chance to talk with him.
Asuta… It’s better for you to receive the southerners…
Ehh? But why?
Many elderly southerners still hold a grudge against the denizens of Forest's Edge… They think we are traitors of the southern god Jaguar…
Not disdain or fear, but hostility.
In the Post Station Town, the southern white people and the eastern black people were roughly equal in numbers, but I had never seen any southerners showing hostility towards us.
Well… The east and south are enemies, so they have their hands full being hostile to the town that is filled with Semu people…?
Ehh? The east and west kingdoms are on bad terms?
…Asuta, you really don’t know anything…
Vena Wu smiled, her tone was partially shocked and partially joyful.
Since ancient times, the east and south have been enemy nations, just like the west and north… As the west maintained cordial relations with both kingdoms, the east and south citizens are prohibited from causing any trouble here… Those who break this law will not be permitted into the western kingdom again, so such incidents are rare…
As the Fa house didn’t have much kins, Ai Fa didn’t have the chance to obtain such information. In contrast, the Wu clan were well-informed because of their many relatives.
Enough about that, let’s focus on business for now.
That southerner seemed to have plenty of time, but he didn’t seem like he was looking for anything specific and was just browsing each stall carefully.
When he finally reached the old man’s accessory stall beside us, I clenched my fists in a victory pose in my heart.
At this moment— my eyes met that man.
He was older than I thought, probably more than fifty years old.
The man had a large head, plain face, and short body. He looked bulkier than the Genos locals, and a beard covered his mouth.
Under his bushy brows were a pair of green eyes with a frightening sharp gleam.
He passed the accessory stall and took large strides towards us.
Kiba...? You’re selling kiba?
I wanted to reply with a smile, but he didn’t give me the chance and continued:
Are you retarded? Who will eat the tough and stinky kiba meat? Only people like you can stomach it. You even used tarapa on it, how arrogant. You don’t even understand what cuisines taste like, so aria and poitan are enough for you. I suggest for you to close the shop and go home before you spend all your tusks and horns.
His words flowed like a machine gun, not giving me any opportunity to interject.
After saying what was on his mind, he started turning to leave.
Excuse me, but I can assure you that kiba meat is delicious! Do you want to try it?
The man turned his head and glared at me unhappily.
Are you retarded? Why must I eat kiba meat? The city has Kimyusu, karon, and all sorts of meat that taste a hundred times better than kiba. Kiba won’t sell, retard! My skin will turn as black as yours if I eat kiba, and everyone will roll their eyes at me.
T-That’s just a misconception. I also ate plenty of kiba meat, but my skin tone is still the same.
I already predicted that I would encounter terrible customers like him.
This man didn’t fear or detest the denizens of Forest's Edge, so maybe he could be considered one of the better ones.
… Why is a brat like you wearing clothing from Forest's Edge and selling kiba? Did you get seduced by that sexy Forest's Edge lady? Are you retarded? Never mind, no matter how retarded, that’s a life that you chose. Since you like women from Forest's Edge, then just stay in the forest and no one will have any complaints.
No, kiba meat is really delicious! It’s a waste for just the denizens of Forest's Edge to eat them, so I decided to set up a stall here. The samples are free, why don’t you try them? It’s fine to think that I’m tricking you.
My retail smile was perfect.
The man sighed, then stood before the stall.
He leaned towards the sample plate on the table, then said:Even the presentation is bad.
He had been making disparaging comments since the beginning, but his tone was calm, so I didn’t feel any obvious hostility or malevolence.
I wasn’t angered by his attitude, but couldn’t help lamenting in my heart:He looks like a boorish man, but he is so well spoken.
This is free right? I won’t pay copper plates for this.
Of course, it is free.
I nodded with a smile.
He frowned his pale forehead and picked up the toothpick.
After tossing one-sixth of the mini hamburg steak into his mouth, he chewed carefully and swallowed it.
He glared at me once again.
… It tastes terrible. You lied to me.
Kiba meat didn’t stink like I imagined, and it isn’t too tough. But it is gooey and has horrible texture. I can feel a strange taste going up my nose. It can’t be compared to kimyusu and karon. Your tarapa is cooked well, it’s a waste to pair it with kiba. Are there really people who will pay for this thing? You actually thought that this food tastes good, no wonder everyone mocks you people as Kiba Eaters.
Could it be — this dish was really not to his liking?
So the problem was both the texture of the hamburg steak and how the kiba meat tastes.
I thought this might happen, but I didn’t imagine things would go bad so fast.
At this moment, Vena Wu tugged on my waist band
I still felt a little shocked, and after following Vena Wu’s gaze—
The familiar cloaked group was approaching with brisk steps.
W-What do you want!? Are you trying to start trouble inside the western territories?
The Jaguar man yelled.
The cloaked group stayed some distance from us and surrounded us in a semicircle.
Their numbers had clearly grown.
… We no intent, start trouble.
One of them answered stiffly in the language of the west.
We, want buy, kiba meal. Now, queuing.
That person walked to the front and took off his hood.
He had dark skin, the corners of his eyes were high, the bridge of his nose was thin, and he had thin lips.
He looked very similar to the youth who visited yesterday— but this man’s hair was silvery white, just like Grandma Jiba.
But he was a young man, with no sign of aging on his face. This was probably his natural hair color.
We, queue. We, buy, ten.
A-Are you all retards? You are willing to pay for such nasty tasting meat, you must be insane. That’s like throwing copper plates into the brazier. Kiba meat is food for the denizens of Forest's Edge. Your skin can’t get any darker, so eating bad tasting meat will just be a pain.
The young silvered hair man tilted his head quizzingly.
I, yet to try. But, seven, brethren, yesterday try. All say, tasty. So, ten brethren, come… Please, ten meals.
Okay, thank you for your patronage.
I was a bit shocked that someone disputed the tastiness of kiba, but I still started chopping tino.
At this moment, the ten customers quietly placed their copper plates on the table with loud clinking sounds.
This is unbelievable. Can’t Semu people tell the taste of meat? This isn’t food normal people will eat. If you want to eat meat, then try kimyusu or karon.
This man kept disrupting my business, but his attitude was calm and wasn’t scolding anyone loudly. The Semu people were expressionless and ignored him. As the stall owner, I was at a loss.

Anyway, I started making ten Kiba burgers.
The young silver-haired man was the first to take the meal. After finishing it with a blank expression, he nodded firmly, then turned towards the southerners.

Kiba, delicious. Red, two, satisfied.
How can something so retarded happen? There must be something wrong with your tongues… Hey, get over here you guys!
He shouted again.
A group of white-skinned men walked over, probably in response to his order.
The cloaked group quickly squeezed together and gave up space to them, with the Kiba burgers still in their hands.
What’s the matter, Pops? It sure seems tense here.
When the group of southerners got here, a young Jaguar man said in a crude tone.
This young man had brown hair and green eyes. He wasn’t tall, but he was burly.
All the men from Jaguar had small stature. Including the middle-aged man earlier, this group had eight people, and only two of them were taller than me.
But all of them were buff, with wide shoulders and faces.
Their hair color and age varied, but most of them had bushy beards.
Look at this lot. They claim that kiba meat tastes good. I tried it just now, but I don’t think it’s worth paying money for. Can’t people from Semu differentiate good and bad tasting food?
He sounded very indignant.
He was probably really triggered.
Pops, did you actually eat kiba meat? How can that ever taste good?
The Jaguar youth stole a few glances our way, then grabbed his companion’s thick arms.
… Besides, let’s not get involved with the denizens of Forest's Edge. They are more troublesome than those Semu people. We don’t know what will happen if things go out of hand.
I’m just preaching the truth. They are the ones who are weird… If you think I’m lying, then try it too.
I don’t want to eat kiba meat.
Alright, just try it… Hey you, let these guys taste this kiba meat.
His demands were unreasonable.
However, this was a precious opportunity.
There might not be many Jaguar people in town, but things would be serious if they couldn’t accept the taste of kiba on a biological level.
Kiba burger was just a changeup pitch. If people didn’t like its unique texture, I could just switch and sell simple grilled meat instead.
I already used the strong taste of the tarapa in my cooking, but Pops still complained about the taste of the kiba meat.
Was this the personal preference of Pops, or were all Jaguar people unable to accept kiba? Even though his tone was rude, I couldn’t let this chance go since he asked for samples.
I scooped the mini hamburg steak lying in the bottom of the pot, put it on the plate, and divided it into six.
There were still five samples from the first batch. I placed the plate on the platform and prepared toothpicks to match the number of people.
Please take one.
The three older Jaguar men took the sample without any hesitation.
Pops had to push the other young men and urged them to try it before they took the toothpicks.
By the way, the cloaked group had already finished their Kiba burger but didn’t leave for some reason. They didn’t look curious at all and just stood by the side with a blank expression.
How is it? It tastes horrible, right?
Pops crossed his arms and surveyed his companions.
And the men… showed all sorts of expressions.
Just be honest if you think it tastes bad.
Only two men answered him.
An older man said:Tastes bad. A youth said:Doesn’t taste good.
Only two of you?
Pops said with his eyes widened in surprise.
He was just like Donda Wu some days ago.
What do you think? Do you really think it tastes good?
Another older man shared:… It’s not awful. Some other youth commented:It’s kind of good.
And finally, the tallest of the older trio, a youth who looked younger than me, and the young man who spoke in a crude tone at the very start just stood quietly there.
… It’s good.
The crude young man muttered.
W-What is this? Hey, is this really kiba?
Yes, it’s 100% kiba. That’s neither karon nor kimyusu.
My heart was tense, but I still answered with a smile:
It’s priced at two red copper plates. Would you like to buy one?
Two red copper plates, huh.
The tall man pushed the youth aside and walked over.
He had a burly figure and was rather old. His face was as fierce as Pops.
He handed over the copper plates and said:Give me one.
Thank you! Please wait a moment.
Hey Arudas! Are you willing to pay for this nasty tasting meat?
The man named Arudas turned towards Pops impatiently.
Pops, I know the meat doesn’t suit your taste, but you can’t make a commotion in front of other people’s stall. The guards might take you away.
You think it tastes bad, but it’s heavenly to me. Everyone has different taste, so don’t be so alarmed.
Everyone has different taste—
That’s right, the taste of the kiba was unique. I thought kiba was more delicious than beef, pork, and kimyusu. With so many people here, it wouldn’t be surprising to find some people who didn’t like kiba meat.
I already told myself that way ahead of time.
But even so, I still felt a heat well up in me— I was still a half-baked chef after all.
Hey, give me one too.
The youngest Jaguar man who was standing there stiffly also handed copper plates over to me.
Thank you!
I answered and handed a completed burger to the older man who ordered earlier. At this moment, another man walked over and said:It looks delicious. He was the youth who saidIt was kinda good. earlier.
Bro, I want one too.
Okay! Thank you!
M-M-Me too!
The youth with the rude attitude finally made up his mind and handed over the copper plates.
Of the seven men— no, they were eight including Pops, only four of them bought a Kiba burger.
Half of them acknowledge my cooking.
I accepted this result a little vexingly.
It was popular with all the easterners, but only half of the southerners thought it is good. This meant that a person's preferred taste depended on their country of origin.
Lost in deep thoughts, I started chopping the tino and aria.
At this moment the tall Jaguar man Arudas who was the first to buy a Kiba burger said with a sigh:
Uwah, this is delicious!
His wide face that looked as hard as a rock was now showing pure bliss and surprise.
Kiba actually tastes this good. Strange, why do people say kiba is tough and stinks. It tastes much better than karon.
I stole a glance at the leader of the group, Pops. He was scratching his head with a frustrated look.
The tarapa is great too, the sourness is just right. What’s that thing mixed together with the tino?
That’s sliced raw aria.
Raw aria! It’s a bit spicy, but it complements the meat really well. I suddenly feel an urge to drink fruit wine.
That’s right. Hey, I didn’t see you here at noon yesterday. Is the stall closed in the evenings?
Yes. As Forest's Edge is some distance away from here, we close the shop in the afternoon.
Such a pity. Dinner in the inn costs four red copper plates, I would rather eat two of these.
The southerners looked fierce when they were quiet, but they were more expressive than the easterners.
When I saw people eating my food happily and saying delicious, my heart would sway with them.
Ahh, this is too delicious! Hey, will you be opening your stall at this time tomorrow?
Yes. We will be open for at least eight more days.
I see. We will stay in this town until next month’s end. I will visit every day.
Thank you! I will await your patronage!
The southerners turned and left.
Seeing how grumpy Pops looked, Arudas bumped Pop’s shoulder with his fist.
Pops, let’s go. It’s almost time for work.
However, Pops still wouldn’t move. He called out to me with a scary expression.
Hey, your tarapa is good, I will be willing to pay if you use kimyusu or karon meat instead.
… I’m sorry, but I don’t plan to use anything other than kiba meat for now. But I will introduce a new kiba dish in the future…
As long as you use kiba meat, that will just be a waste of effort.
Pops left after uttering these words.
Then— I quietly shifted my gaze and found the cloaked group standing in the same place without moving.
The young silver haired man standing at the front of the group walked over briskly.
They claim, kiba taste bad, strange. I think, delicious.
Thank you. Please come again.
Every day, will come. Nine days, passed, stop business?
No. If possible, I hope to keep the stall running permanently.
I’m happy, you continue operate. We, every day come. We, entire blue month, stay here.
Blue month— he probably meant the next month.
Kamyua did mention his work will begin on the fifteenth of the next month, so this month should be ending soon.
I, leader of Silver Vase merchants, My name, Shumimaru Ji Sadumutino.
Shumimaru Ji Sadumutino. Your name, tell me?
Oh… I’m Asuta of the Fa house.
Asuta, thank you. I come every day.
With these words, the Semu group left quickly.
Incredible… Did you just sell ten and a few moments later four burgers…?
Vena Wu stirred the sauce in the pot quietly and finally spoke.
There are six left…. We can sell them, right…?
That’s right, I’m really happy now.
… But, why do you look troubled…?
It’s nothing… I just feel vexed whenever someone says kiba tastes bad. The last time I heard that was Donda Wu claiming that hamburg steak is poison.
The people who think kiba tastes bad are the weird ones… Papa Donda just doesn’t like the soft texture of the hamburg steak. But from that man’s tone, he really thinks kiba tastes bad… There must be something wrong with his taste buds…
That’s not it. Everyone has their own preferences.
After my duel with Donda Wu, I experienced this obvious fact.
The denizens of Forest's Edge and the people of Semu probably only find it delicious because of the influence of their food culture.
I knew that very well.
But even so— my heart was still filled with a sense defeat.
I was depressed not because my pride as a chef was wounded, but because someone disparaged something I like, so my head was filled with childish frustration.
In that case, I should bury this feeling in the bottom of my heart… It’s strange, the southerners should be less biased than the westerners, but he still thinks that kiba meat is unpalatable. I must keep this in mind and think of a countermeasure later.
Ah… Asuta, the vegetable peddler is here...
I lifted my head and saw Uncle Dora and Tara walking towards us from the southern street.
I smiled with relief and suddenly felt troubled.
Two unfamiliar men were following behind Tara and him.
They both had yellowish brown skin and were about Dora’s age.
They wore a stiff smile, just like when Uncle Dora first met me.
Hi Asuta, how’s it going?
Hello, business isn’t too bad today. I already sold 14 meals.
Ehh? Are you almost sold out?
There are six left. It’s still some time before noon, but I already got my hands full.
I see, that’s great. Sorry… but you provide samples, right? Can you let them try?
After they stood before me, the faces of both men were tense from nervousness.
Of course, if they don’t mind. I want everyone to try my cooking… And who are they?
They are my old friends. This guy over here runs a cloth stall, and that guy is a pot dealer.
Ah! Did I buy a pot from you before?
Y-Yes. You have a good memory.
Most men in Genos had burly build, but the pot dealer was skinny, so he left a deep impression on me.
They don’t believe that kiba meat is tasty, so I dragged them here. Can you let them try some?
Of course! Please wait a moment, I will heat it up.
There just happened to be two samples left on the plate. After dipping it in the boiling hot sauce, I placed it on the plate again.
The pot dealer and the cloth stall owner seemed unsure if they wanted to cry or laugh. They looked at each other.
Tara didn’t care about them and kept tugging her father’s arm.
Papa, I’m hungry…
Right. Asuta, give us one each, please.
Thank you. I’m really happy that you like it.
I’m… happy to be acquainted with someone from the Forest's Edge too.
Uncle Dora stole a glance at Vena Wu.
Vena Wu showed a troubled smile.
We are all citizens of the west, but I can’t think of the Forest's Edge denizens as fellow countrymen. When I see the terrifying figures of the men of Forest's Edge, my knees will still go weak… But even so, I’m glad that there are kind people like you two in Forest's Edge.
Uncle Dora received the Kiba burger and showed his teeth in a smile.
Do visit our stall again, I hope you can try the aria I grew.
… Yes, I will tell my house members…
Dora bit into the Kiba burger with a gleeful smile.
Oh… This Kiba burger tastes wonderful. Asuta, you actually made such a delicious meal from my vegetables, that fills me with bliss.
No, I can only serve great tasting food because the ingredients are fresh. Uncle Dora, I will be counting on your tarapa and aria in the future too.
I will be proud to serve.
Uncle Dora turned towards his two friends.
Well? How long are you going to just stand there? You even left your work behind to come here, so at least try the samples.
Y-You are the one who dragged us forcefully here.
The pot dealer chided Uncle Dora and finally reached for the sample kiba meat.
With his slightly trembling fingers, he grabbed the toothpick and send the small piece of meat into his mouth.
H-How is it?
The cloth stall uncle grabbed his arm.
Delicious… No, the taste is strange…
Ah, I minced the meat, kneaded them into a round patty, and then grilled it. So the texture is a bit unique.
The pot dealer’s eyes started to waver.
Then, as if he had made up his mind, he reached his thin fingers into his shirt.
I-I want one! I need to eat some more to understand its taste.
Okay! Thank you.
H-Hey, are you serious…?
The cloth stall owner took the toothpick too.
Uwah, it’s actually this good!
He opened his eyes wide in surprise, and carefully studied the content of the pot.
Is this really kiba meat…? The tarapa is amazing too!
Of course, this tarapa was grown by me.
The cloth stall owner smiled when he saw Uncle Dora puff his chest proudly:
Why are you acting so smug? A-Alright, I will buy one too…! I-I want to ask, will I grow horns, and will my skin turn black if I eat this…?
「Do you still believe such superstitions? I have never seen horned denizens of Forest's Edge before. My grandmother said that their appearance hasn’t changed since they migrated here from the southern jungles.
I-I get it! Give me one!
… Thank you.
I could finally thank him sincerely.
When I heard people talking badly about kiba, my mood would go sour; when I heard people praising kiba, I would feel elated. My emotions swung because of the comments by others, proving that I was just a half-baked chef after all.
No matter what, the fight was just beginning.
Starting from tomorrow, I will prepare 40 Kiba burgers.
It was much earlier than I expected, but due to the sales of the burger rising to this extent, it was about time to prepare a menu.
There were countless problems that I needed to work through.
After a moment, Kamyua Yost appeared like a spirit, bought a share for himself and Leito, and we were sold out in less than an hour of operation.
The next day.
It was the dusk of the third day since my stall opened.
I laid sprawled out in the main room of the Fa house. Someone knocked the door twice.
Asuta, it’s me.
Ai Fa’s voice came inside of the room.
I was indescribably tired, but I still got up from the rug, walked to the entrance and took down the door bar.
When I opened the door, my beloved house head I hadn’t seen for half a day lashed out:
Why are you showing such a good-for-nothing face? No one patronized your stall today? Even if that is the case, you don’t need to make such a face, it irks me just to look at you.
Ugghhh, what about you? How’s the situation? Did the number of kiba decrease at all?
I got a kiba. But it suffered too many unnecessary wounds, so I couldn’t blood let it successfully.
I see. Thank you for your hard work, it’s great that you’re not hurt…
Just why are you showing such a face? You better stop that, or I will really get angry.
Leave me alone, I’m just a little tired. If I’m with you, I will cheer up in no time…
Don’t joke with me. Your face is spoiling my mood, cheer up right now.
My house head was merciless.
Just what happened? You look so sullen, there must be a reason, right?
I don’t know if this is a valid reason… But I was taken away by the guards today.
What?! What happened?
Ai Fa suddenly grabbed me by the chest.
What kind of trouble did you get into? I thought you were working seriously?
And I was! I sold all 40 burgers because of my serious attitude…! But that is also why I got taken by the guards.
… I’m still confused. Tell me the reason, quick.
She unhanded me, hung her cape on the wall and leaned the sabre against the wall.
My eyes followed her figure as she sat down beside the stove.
When I opened the stall today, the southerners and easterners were all crowded there. All twenty burgers I prepared were sold in no time.
I prepared additional ingredients today. When I made twenty more burgers, Tara came and bought four burgers for Uncle Dora and friends.
So there were 16 left… At this moment, the Silver Vase merchants and a group of Jaguar people appeared at the same time, with ten people in each group.
Hmm? Didn’t they visit before the shop opened?
No. The customers who visited early in the morning were all unfamiliar faces. They came to shop due to the recommendations of these two groups. To avoid seeing each other, people from these two nationalities have different inns they usually lodge in. Kiba burgers became a hot topic in those inns.
We only had 16 burgers, but each group had ten customers. I had no choice but to sell ten burgers to the Silver Vase who came slightly earlier. When I told the southerner customers:I’m sorry, there are only six burgers left, they started making a scene and demanded me to divide the 16 burgers between the two groups evenly.
But the easterners wouldn’t budge… Since I failed to quell the commotion, a passerby alerted the guards.
Is that so, then the guards had to punish the ones who started the unrest.
Yes~ But they didn’t do that. In the end, the guards thought I’m the one at fault, and must take full responsibility. I was almost barred from entering the Post Station Town ever again.
… Did they reach that conclusion in accordance with the rules of the city?
Rage was flickering in Ai Fa’s eyes.
I-I’m not sure. But don’t worry, I already convinced them to let me off. It was my negligence for not preparing an adequate amount of food… I have already reflected on that.
That… is a difficult problem.
Ai Fa gently shook her head, with her anger extinguished.
It must be hard on you— Asuta, I’m hungry.
… House head, you are really cruel to me….
I did comfort you. I know why you are so exhausted… Alright then, stop being depressed and cheer up.
Was my expression really that sullen? I pinched my cheeks with my hands.
I used up all my stamina and wits in the guard room before I was released, and my energy was completely used up.
I needed to consume nourishment during times like this.
Okay! I will start preparing dinner!
… I want you to cheer up, not be overly cheerful.
I see.
I added wood into the stove obediently and heated the soup I had already cooked.
This is the third day since you started selling Kiba burgers, and you have already sold 40 of them in one day, isn’t that an amazing accomplishment?
Ai Fa sat with crossed legs beside the stove with one knee up. She asked quizzically.
But you don’t look happy at all?
Of course I’m happy that sales were beyond my imagination. But I can’t afford to be happy, my position is already precarious.
Our main objective is to let the people in the Post Station Town understand how delicious kiba is, correct? So far, only four Genos locals have tasted the Kiba burger. The easterners and southerners held the Kiba burger in high regards, but they will leave the Post Station Town after some time. Even if we earned some petty cash, we still can’t achieve our goal.
After being interrogated by the guards, I finally learned the identity of my customers.
Like what the Semu group informed me before, they belonged to the merchant group Silver Vase. They hailed from their home nation in the east with precious metals and other merchandise, and visited the city in the west and north, spending a year traveling and conducting business.
The Jaguar group were famed architects, and many of the buildings in the Post Station Town were erected by their hands.
Pops, the one who rejected the kiba meat completely, was the boss, and this just happened to be the time for their annual visit to the Post Station Town to repair the aging buildings.
Next month, the Silver Vase and the architects will leave the Post Station Town. Ninety percent of the customers who bought a Kiba burger were travelers passing by Genos, or were here for odd jobs or labor, and not local residents. Very few Genos locals actually tried our burgers.
But— you wanted to promote the Kiba burger to the southerners and easterners in the first place, right?
That is true. But before the cooking can spread by word of mouth, all that will be for naught if I get taken away by the guards again. If there is another commotion, I will really be barred from entering the Post Station Town… My situation is precarious after all.
The icy gazes of the guards and Milano Mast were engraved deeply in my heart.
Their eyes seemed to be saying:Denizens from Forest's Edge are abnormal after all and will just disturb the peace in the town.
That was illogical. If we weren’t denizens of Forest's Edge, we wouldn’t be treated so harshly.
However, we were denizens of Forest's Edge, and we had set our mind on running a business in enemy territory.
I couldn’t afford to fail again.
The enemy in this battle was the entire Post Station Town, I learned this fact once again.
… You have finally reverted to your usual expression.
Ai Fa’s voice was very close to me.
I turned my head in surprise and found her right beside me.
Asuta, I didn’t know you are so greedy.
How much copper plates have you earned in these three days?
Hmm? I sold seventy meals in three days, so that’s 140 red copper plates. Minus the set-up cost, three days of labor and ingredient cost, the profit is 77 red copper plates.
So that’s like hunting more than 6 kiba in just three days?
You can’t compare it like this. No matter how many copper plates I make, the number of kiba will not go down. My work can’t be compared to that of a hunter.
By the way— my target was to sell at least 60 portions in the first ten days.
I never thought that I would reach this goal in just three days.
As I was stirring the soup, Ai Fa smiled beside me.
This is how the denizens of Forest's Edge think. The people in the city also worked hard to earn copper plates, right?
Our objective isn’t earning money anyway. I’m glad that we can buy new pots and knives with the copper plates though.
… You are really greedy.
Ai Fa said with a laugh. A calming light could be seen in her eyes.
But I still felt unhappy.
Why would you think that? Because I don’t look happy about the sales exceeding my expectations? I don’t think I’m a greedy person.
Not that. You don’t care about how many copper plates we earned and strive single-mindedly at our primary goal. I think you are a man who pursues success greedily.
… In that case, you should describe me with the term ambitious. Being greedy sounds terrible.
I complained as I stirred the pot that was slowly heating up, Ai Fa replied I understand, then walked to me.
She reached for my head. I already took off the towel on my head, so she ruffled my hair directly and lean her face towards me.
Asuta, you are really ambitious.
She showed a mischievous smile, and her white teeth were visible.
It was rare to see Ai Fa showing such a smile, which reminded me of Ludo Wu.
On top of that, she usually didn’t show such an obvious smile, so that surprised me.
… Asuta, I’m hungry.
Oh right. The soup is heated up. I will grill the meat; can you help me carry the pot over?
I just cooked the kiba soup earlier. The pot was still hot and there was only two person’s worth of soup, so it got heated up in no time.
There was a board behind the stove, and we moved the pot onto it. I put the new pot on the stove, took out the plates full of food. Ai Fa looked at the content curiously.
What are we having for dinner? There is an unfamiliar scent.
That’s right, I bought a new ingredient today. Well, actually, it’s some kind of spice.
The kiba abdomen meat was inside the plate, soaking in a red marinating sauce.
That was a sauce I made from fruit wine, diced aria, and the new ingredient, myam.
Is it Myam?
Yes, Myam. Remember the kimyusu meat bun I ate? Myam was added to it.
This herb had the fragrance of garlic and coriander. It had a complicated aroma that roused one’s appetite.
Myam had green straw-like stems and was really spicy when eaten raw. After cutting it together with aria into a pulp I added it to the marinating sauce.
I had always been curious about this ingredient, but I didn’t know its name. After asking Uncle Dora, I finally figured it out. Myam is suitable to be added to the tarapa sauce.
I explained to Ai Fa as I fried the thin slices of an aria.
After the aria turned soft, I spread out the marinated meat and put them into the pot.
The next instant, the room was filled with the fragrance of fruit wine and Myam.
How is it? You don’t hate this fragrance, right?
… I feel even hungrier now.
I know, right? I didn’t know coriander very well, but I thought the fragrance of garlic and grilled meat was the best stimulant of one’s appetite.
In my old world, there were many people who disliked such a strong smell. But Myam was different from garlic and eating it wouldn’t give you bad breath. Women and children also liked kimyusu meat bun after all. Hence, I decided to use this stimulating spice in my cooking.
By the way, this spice had to be bought at the stall that sells rock salt and dry goods, and not the vegetable stalls. I have never seen this ingredient in the Wu food store either.
Okay, the meat surface is seared, I’m adding it in.
I poured the rest of the marinating sauce into the pot.
This dish was cooked the same way as ginger-roasted meat.
Should I dub it Myam-roasted kiba meat? I thought to myself quietly.
I’m hungry.
Hmm, that’s the fourth time you said that. It’s already done, please wait a moment.
When the kiba was completely cooked, I scooped the meat and aria onto the plate.
The kiba meat was sprinkled with rock salt and pico leaves, so it didn’t need any more seasoning.
After drying the sauce remaining in the pan a little, I poured it onto the meat and aria, and it was done!
Ah, the grilled poitan is in the food store. Sorry, can you help me get the kiba soup?
I hurried to the food store, then carried the poitan I grilled in the morning and the tino shreds I just chopped onto the dining table.
This is the raw tino used in kiba burger, right?
Yes, I think it will suit this dish very well.
The ginger-roasted meat had to be paired with cabbage shreds.
So Myam-roasted meat and tino shreds should go together well too.
However, that was what I thought as someone who grew up in another world, I wonder if the people in this world would feel the same.
Alright! Let’s dig in.
…Asuta, there isn’t much meat on your plate.
Ah, right, I was comparing the ratio of aria and myam and adjusting the marinating time. I ate plenty of meat during my sampling sessions, so this much is enough.
Ai Fa was surprised.
You spent so much effort on developing this dish…? Are you planning to sell this in the Post Station Town?
Oh! You have keen senses. That’s right, making more than 40 Kiba burgers takes too much effort, so I have decided to start selling this dish tomorrow. Let me explain how to eat it.
I grilled the poitan thinner than the one used in Kiba burger, spread a layer of tino shreds, added the meat and aria, and rolled it up from below like a crepe. And the Myam-roasted meat was done.
Ai Fa, we are having dinner, so you have to eat too. I will use the rest of the aria to make soup, so don’t leave anything behind.
… Denizens of Forest's Edge don’t leave leftovers.
Yes. I just wanted to try saying that line. Here, eat this.
Ai Fa nodded, and after saying grace, she picked up the Myam-roasted meat.
When she noticed my gaze, she frowned a little.
… Don’t stare at me.
Oh right, my bad. I’m just curious about your reaction.
Ai Fa turned her face away and bit into the Myam roast meat.
She grabbed the grilled poitan with both hands. She looked adorable while doing this.
Leaving that aside— how’s the taste?
In my opinion, it wasn’t too bad.

There weren’t any ginger, cooking wine and soy sauce in this world, so I didn’t expect the dish to taste like meat grilled with ginger. The kiba meat was soaked in sweet fruit wine and spicy Myam, giving it a sweet and spicy taste after it was grilled. It was suitable to be eaten together with tino and grilled poitan.
The meat was less than 5mm thick and required thorough biting. If I messed up the heat, the people in the city wouldn’t be able to bite into it, so I had to be careful about that.
How’s the taste?
I asked Ai Fa for her comment as I made a wrap for myself.
Ai Fa’s answer was curt as usual.
No matter how the food tasted, Ai Fa didn’t use too many words to express her opinion. I had no way of making her speak her mind more—
This dish has a great fragrance, and the overall seasoning suits the kiba meat well. It’s as tasty as eating steak… Does steak match this kind of seasoning too?
It was rare for her to give such a specific comment.
But… steaks probably don’t match the sweet taste that well. I don’t want you to season the hamburg steak this way either. As for the Kiba burger and tarapa… I’m not too sure about that.
I-I see. Amazing, this is the first time you gave me such detailed feedback.
And I agreed with all the points she raised.
Ai Fa closed her eyes again, as if she was searching for the appropriate words.
Also… this is delicious, but my throat is parched after eating it. If… the seasoning is not so strong, I think it will taste better.
I see. After all, the denizens of Forest's Edge don’t use any seasonings aside from rock salt when making jerky. The taste is probably too strong for you. Sorry, I will adjust the seasoning time when I cook dinner next time.
Ai Fa sighed a little tiredly, then stared at me again.
… That’s all I have to say. Don’t ask me more questions, my head will hurt if I think anymore.
I got it. Thank you! Your comments are a valuable source of reference to me.
… Didn’t you already decide to sell normal grilled meat after the kiba burger? You mentioned that only those dishes can bring out the tastiness of kiba.
Yes, I did plan to do that.
I sat down properly again.
I told you already, right? When I let my customers try the hamburg steaks yesterday, they didn’t complain about its soft texture, but the unique taste of the kiba meat itself. That’s why I’m trying such a seasoning and flavor. I want to find a way to suppress the unique taste of kiba without destroying its deliciousness.
There were as many southern customers as eastern customers today. They probably came after hearing others discussing the tastiness of kiba. No one complained to me about the taste directly, but there had to be some who felt dissatisfied. If I’m unlucky, maybe half of them won’t like my cooking.
Besides, the easterners were always expressionless and silent. I couldn’t tell how many of them were actually happy with the food I was serving.
My patrons were increasing, but I didn’t know how many repeat customers the stall will have. Furthermore, not only did the easterners have similar appearances, they often concealed their face with a hood, making it harder for me to tell them apart.
Anyways, even if I used the strong tasting tarapa in the Kiba burger, there are still customers who dislike the unique taste of the kiba. Instead of steaks where the taste of the meat is the main accent, I think we should present a dish that suppresses the kiba’s unique taste. Since the salted meat I tasted in the Kimyusu’s Tail Inn was very salty, the townspeople are probably alright with strong seasonings.
… Hmm. You already thought that far.
Ai Fa quickly finished the first Myam-roasted meat and stared at me.
Then, why were you so depressed just now?
Hmm? I was just tired. I still need to finish this dish quickly after that commotion in the afternoon. And there are also many things for me to consider.
I started making another Myam-roasted meat for Ai Fa, and leaned towards her.
Ai Fa, I didn’t expect my stocks to run out just by selling to the southerners and easterners. I have decided to supplement the Kiba burger with this new dish tomorrow, but that won’t solve the root of the issue.
… Hmm?
We only have one cart right now, so I have to wait until the Kiba burger sells out, and then start selling Myam-roasted meat. But that would make having two different dishes meaningless… It’s earlier than I predicted, but I’m seriously considering renting one more cart.
Ai Fa accepted the Myam-roasted meat, then nodded seriously.
If that’s what you think, then give it a try. I trust your judgment.
This is an important thing, right? If we increase the number of stalls and helpers, our expenses will go up too—
But you think this is a shortcut towards success, right?
Ai Fa looked at me quietly.
I trust your judgment. Don’t make me say that so many times.
… I understand. Thank you.
After nodding firmly, a serene smile suddenly appeared on Ai Fa’s face.
… You are really a greedy man.
Like I told you, greedy is—
You are an ambitious man.
Since she changed her phrasing, I didn’t need to refute her.
Because of my inadequate planning, the results in these three days weren’t as good as I hoped.
If my judgment was wrong, the entire plan would fail. I learned that from the commotion that happened today.
The southerners and easterners bought all my food, and the westerners didn’t get to taste my cooking. It was rather strange to be troubled by something like this.
If business was good for the first ten days, I will introduce a new dish. That was the original plan, but I couldn’t afford to take it so easy. Demand had outstripped supply on the third day of the opening, so I had to solve this issue fast.
I already shared my thoughts with Vena Wu.
Once Donda Wu permits, the Wu clan could send me new helpers from the day after tomorrow.
If I could make it through tomorrow, I would be able to fight back the next day.
Alright! Time for round two!
What is a raundo?
I turned back when I heard Ai Fa’s voice. She was sitting with one knee up, resting her arm on her knee and supporting her chin, staring at me.
Ehh? Ai Fa, you are already done?
You are too slow. You still have work to do later, right? If you don’t act faster, you will lose out on sleep!
Don’t worry. I already used the excess time to knead the Kiba burger’s patty. I just need to cut the meat slices for the Myam-roasted meatand make the tarapa sauce, just trivial stuff. Grilling the poitan tomorrow morning is the hardest part.
Hmm? What’s the matter?
… I thought I will be the only one to benefit if you stay in the Fa house. That’s why it’s better for you to stay in the house Lutim.
W-What are you saying? Y-You’re not chasing me out, right?
Do you think I will say that now?
Ai Fa’s gaze was calm and steady.
I sipped the cold soup and scratched my head.
Then why bring that up? Don’t make me feel uneasy!
I’m glad that you want to stay in the Fa house… I’m also happy that you found a job that utilizes your strength even though you are staying in the Fa house.
Ai Fa crawled towards me as she said that.
She ruffled my hair.
When I patted her head last time, she punched my solar plexus. But she was doing something so intimate without any hesitation.
Y-You know, whenever you do that, I feel like I’m treated like a child.
Is that so? My father Gill always did this whenever he praised me.
It had been a while since I saw her pout.
Ah, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, I just feel a little embarrassed.
… I see.
Ai Fa lowered her eyelids.
Did I say too much? I started reflecting on myself.
The next moment—
Ai Fa knelt on one knee slowly and hugged my head with both arms suddenly.
Ai Fa’s body warmth, fragrance, and strength engulfed my body and soul.
I’m so happy that I didn’t lose you that night… I’m so happy you chose the Fa house.
Ai…  A-A-Ai Fa?
My voice was breaking from surprise.
She hugged me with all her might, her soft hair brushed against my cheeks.
My heart almost stopped.
There was a rainbow color glow in her eyes.
If this continued for a few more seconds, a nerve inside me might just break— as I was thinking about that, her warmth, strength, and fragrance suddenly left me.
Ai Fa sat down again and rubbed her nose childishly.
… That’s how I feel now.
D-Don’t… scare me like that.
I collapsed onto the floor and had to prop myself up with my arms.
Y-Your father is really passionate, right?
Hmm? What’s that about father Gill?
I’m doing this because I want to, it has nothing to do with him.
If my actions irked you, I will be more careful in the future. But I can’t hold back my emotions… Sorry for interrupting your meal. Eat up, I feel sleepy.
After saying this nonchalantly, Ai Fa pointed at my plate.
This girl… is a million times worse than Vena Wu!
Ai Fa didn’t notice me screaming in my heart and put her head down.
I think you already accomplished a lot. Since you don’t think so, then work doubly hard… I told you before that you may use the copper plates you earned as you wish. Tell me if you don’t have enough.
… Can I really believe your words? What if I buy a new hair accessory for you?
I will beat you up.
I see… I get it! I will decide if I should expand to two stalls depending on the sales tomorrow! So, don’t regret it, okay?
Why are you suddenly so angry?
Ai Fa who had let her hair down leaned in immediately.
… So, did I make you unhappy?
She still looked a little dissatisfied and uneased.
I still didn’t start eating and sighed heavily.
I’m not angry. Sorry...
… You really are a strange man.
I wasn’t strange at all.
However, I couldn’t refute her when I saw Ai Fa’s relieved smile.
No matter what— our war was just beginning.

Mid Meal Snack: A Girl in the Post Station Town
Tara, listen carefully. Don’t get involved with the denizens of Forest's Edge so easily, okay?
After Asuta and the others left the stall, Dora said with a slightly stern expression.
Tara couldn’t accept what her father said and asked:
But why? Asuta onii-chan is a good person, that’s why you thanked him, right? Why can’t Tara be friends with Asuta onii-chan?
Asuta isn’t a bad person. Even though he was wearing the garments of Forest's Edge, he probably came from some other city… Ai Fa who was beside Asuta must be a brave huntress. But getting close to the denizens of Forest's Edge is still dangerous.
Dora leaned in close to Tara.
You also saw the denizens from Forest's Edge who caused all those troubles, right? There are many barbaric people in Forest's Edge, so don’t go near them carelessly.
But… Not just the denizens of Forest's Edge, anyone who drinks and stirs up trouble is scary.
Despite Tara’s rebuttal, Dora still shook his head and dismissed Tara’s protest.
Even when the denizens of Forest's Edge commit crime, the guards will still let them off, that’s why they are acting so willfully. If you get involved with such dangerous characters, we will suffer too… I have already thanked them for saving you, so we have no need to approach them directly in the future.
Dora stuck his head out of the roof and checked the position of the sun.
It’s almost two. It’s still early, but help me promote our goods to our customer’s stall. Don’t run around, okay?
… Okay.
Tara left the stall. She still wasn’t convinced by his answers.
The streets were filled with all sorts of people. Aside from the residents of Post Station Town, there were some who came from the farms to work here just like Tara — there were also travelers from the south and the east, so there was a huge variety of people.
The denizens of Forest's Edge were a common sight too. The numerous people living in Forest's Edge often purchased their groceries in the Post Station Town.
Almost everyone from Forest's Edge were female, and hunters wearing kiba capes were a rare sight.
Ten days ago, Tara was very frightened when she encountered a hunter from Forest's Edge.
That hunter started drinking in the afternoon, drew his blade in town, and roared like a beast. The light shining in his blue eyes was no different from a beast.
And the one who saved Tara from that ruffian were denizens of Forest's Edge.
They were Asuta, who looked nothing like a denizen of Forest's Edge even though he wore their garments, and a young woman with outstanding looks, who wore a kiba cape despite being a girl, Ai Fa.
Ai Fa’s eyes shined like a beast too. To be honest, Ai Fa’s gaze was tougher and more terrifying than that ruffian.
Ai Fa stopped the ruffian’s violent act and rescued Tara.
But the guards treated Ai Fa and Asuta like criminals and attempted to bring them to the guard room. If the traveler called Kamyua Yost didn’t stand up for them, the guards would have released the ruffian and convicted Asuta and Ai Fa of the crimes.
Why is this happening? The drunkard claims to belong to the chief clan… Is the chief clan the bad guys in Forest's Edge?
Tara thought as she walked on the road.
Asuta had black, shiny eyes like the Semu people, and Tara liked them a lot.
Even though Tara felt Ai Fa was a little scary, she also thought she looked cool.
Her father Dora didn’t detest them but still instructed Tara not to go near the denizens of Forest's Edge. Tara couldn’t understand why and felt gloomy.
I want to try Asuta’s kiba cooking.
Dora would never permit her to do that.
Tara walked by herself in the crowded Post Station Town and sighed softly.

The next day, after Tara was done with her chores in the morning, she played with the kids in the city like usual.
As Tara worked in the Post Station Town, she played more often with the children of the city than the kids of the village.
The ones playing with her today was a boy from an inn and a girl from a kimyusu stall.
You know, my brother working in the castle town came home yesterday.
After they got tired of playing tag, the boy spoke as they rested.
And he bought meat from the karon’s back as a gift! Isn’t that amazing? Not thigh meat, but meat from the back.
The Post Station Town only sold karon thigh meat. Meat from its chest and back was expensive. That’s why it was sold only in the castle town.
That meat is soft and yummy! After eating it, I don’t want to eat thigh meat anymore!
Is that so? There is meat softer than kimyusu?!
Ah~ they are about the same. But not only is the meat soft, how do I put it… Anyways, it is super tasty!
Really? But the skin of the kimyusu is yummy too.
The girl seemed to be competing with the boy.
Meat with skin on it is expensive, no one will buy them, right? But if you roast the meat along with the skin, it becomes incredibly tasty.
Kimyusu skin is used to make jackets and leather bags. Karon is definitely tastier!
Not! We splurge on eating meat with skin once a month! If you don’t believe me, then try it next time!
Tara listened to their conversation happily, then remembered what happened yesterday and interjected:
Do you think kiba tastes good?
The two of them looked surprised and stared at Tara.
You mean the kiba that destroys the farms? How can that taste good?
That’s right! You will grow horns and your skin will become as black as the denizens of Forest's Edge, you know?
Ehh~ Is that true?
Asuta’s skin was the same as the other westerners, and he didn’t have horns.
His hair and eyes were black, but Semu people were black even though they don’t eat kiba. Even if her skin turns black, so what?
I heard that kiba meat is tough and stinky. Only the denizens of Forest's Edge will eat it. How pitiful.
The boy laughed out loud. At this moment, a woman fetching water happened to pass by and knocked the boy’s head.
Hey, don’t say that so loudly. If the denizens of Forest's Edge hear you, they will drag you into the forest.
Tara felt gloomy again.
She then yelped, stood up and said:
It’s already noon! I need to return to the stall! See you tomorrow!
Yes, bye bye!
Tara waved her hands and quickly rushed to the north.
She bought a kimyusu meat bun along the way. In the entire Post Station Town, the meat bun was Tara’s favorite snack.
… I want to know how kiba tastes.
She couldn’t get that thought out of her mind.
Karon thigh meat was tough, and she didn’t like karon meat unless it was a stew that had been cooked for a long time.
Was kiba meat tougher than karon thigh meat?
Kimyusu meat was soft and easy to swallow. But it didn’t have much taste and had to be eaten together with Myam and herbs to give it flavor.
Was kiba plainer than kimyusu?
Tara probably couldn’t ever taste karon loin meat or kimyusu meat with skin. Only a minority of the Post Station Town residents could enjoy such luxurious delicacies.
Even so, just getting to eat kimyusu and karon every day was already very fortunate. Her father kept saying that when they were poor, they couldn’t even afford meat and could only eat kimyusu egg all day.
… I want to try eating kiba meat.
Tara kept thinking about that as she ran on the streets.
When Tara finally reached her father’s stall, she saw a figure of a black-haired youth.
Ah! Asuta onii-chan!
She shouted happily.
She stopped suddenly when she saw the person beside Asuta.
It wasn’t Ai Fa.
It was a hunter from Forest's Edge who was about Ai Fa’s height.
The young hunter was shorter than Asuta, wore a kiba cape with a sabre and machete on his waist. He had yellowish brown hair and light chestnut colored eyes
With gaits as smooth as a wild beast, he walked towards Tara.
Brat! You are about bratty Rimee’s size. How old are you?
His voice was loud.
He studied Tara with a strong gleam in his eyes.
But Tara wasn’t scared at all.
Asuta stood behind the youth and was smiling even though he was looking at them worriedly.
Tara squeezed out a reply.
Eight… Eight years old…
That’s the same as Rimee. But you are much thinner, so you look younger.
The youth squatted down before Tara.
He alternated his shining eyes between Tara and the meat bun as if he was curious.
As Tara was thinking about something, she had not bitten into the meat bun yet.
Smell nice. Is it good?
… Yes.
Tara nodded.
I guess so.
The youth stared at the bun.
He looked hungry.
So, Tara asked if he wanted to eat it.
A strange expression appeared on the youth’s face, but he still took a bite.
Not good at all. Asuta’s cooking tastes much better.
The youth complained after taking a bite.
Tara wasn’t scared of him, but his lack of hesitation in criticizing the meat bun stunned Tara.
The young hunter was shorter than Asuta, but he seemed tougher than even the adults in town.
Is this why everyone’s afraid of the denizens of Forest's Edge?
And of course, Tara couldn’t keep her cool completely.
But the admiration in her heart outweighed her fear.
She thought Ai Fa and this unknown youth looked heroic and cool.
She didn’t know why. Both had forthright eyes, weren’t fazed by how others saw them and seemed so righteous.
After that, Kamyua Yost appeared too. They chatted for a while, then Asuta and company went home.
Tara didn’t understand what they were talking about, but Asuta seemed to be planning to open a stall in the Post Station Town.
That’s amazing, Asuta is really going to open a stall.
After Tara said that, Dora only gave a vague response.
Dora’s face was already troubled, and now, it looked bitter.
What’s the matter? Do you feel unwell?
Ehh…? No, it’s nothing. I’m just thinking that there are all kinds of people in Forest's Edge.
Yes. The people with Asuta are so cool.
Cool, huh.
Dora shook his head weakly.
Even though his father’s appearance made Tara worried, she wanted to tell him something.
Tara wants to try Asuta’s cooking.
Dora shook his head with a gloomy face:
Even if we tried kiba meat, we won’t find it good. If Asuta goes around and keeps telling people that kiba tastes good, everyone will think he is a conman.
Her father’s voice was filled with worry.
Tara held her father’s thick arms and leaned toward his depressed face.
We need to try it before deciding whether it tastes good or not. Can I buy Asuta’s cooking with Papa’s copper plates?
After staying quiet for a moment, he patted Tara’s head with his large hand.
Tara, when you help me with my work, the copper plates I give you is your wages, you can use them as you wish… But you can’t miss work with a stomach ache as an excuse.
Yes! Thank you, Papa!
Tara looked up at her father’s face and smiled.

Four days later, Asuta opened his stall in the Post Station Town.
After the short downpour ended, Tara rushed to Asuta’s stall.
Amazing! You really opened a stall here!
Asuta’s expression seemed more lackluster than usual but received Tara with a smile right away.
A girl from Forest's Edge was working with Asuta, she had a gentle smile on her.
Tara met this girl before, and she was more cold and indifferent. But she looked really kind and gentle when she smiled.
The tarapa smells nice! Is that the kiba meal?
Yes. I don’t know if you will like it.
The tarapa in the pot was boiling.
Aside from the tarapa, Asuta also used many other ingredients. The fragrance was really appetizing.
When Tara wanted to buy one, he asked her to try a sample first and offered her a plate.
It was a strangely shaped meat, covered in red tarapa sauce.
The meat was flat and circular in shape. After Asuta cut it into small pieces, he placed it on the plate. The cut section of the meat seemed uneven, which felt strange to Tara.
Oh right, what kind of animal is a kiba?
Tara had never seen a kiba before.
The traps around the farm did catch kiba sometimes, but Tara and her mother had never seen them. The old women living in the vicinity once said:You would be cursed just by seeing a kiba.
Kiba meat looked tasty.
The fragrance stimulated her appetite.
Tara put that meat into her mouth without any hesitation.
She then felt a great impact.
What is this…
The sourness of the tarapa was strong, but it was tastier than the tarapa she ate at home. Just like the small tarapa that could be bought in the castle town, they were sweet and wonderful.
The diced vegetable cooked together with the tarapa had to be aria. Did the aria bring out this sweetness?
Tara felt a tinge of spiciness and deduced that pico leaves were added to the sauce too. She heard that there were plenty of pico leaves in the Morga Forest.
To sum it up, Tara had never tasted such a delicious sauce.
However— the taste of the kiba was strong and on par with the sauce.
The kiba wasn’t tough and didn’t stink. It broke apart with a gentle bite and mixed together with the tarapa sauce. A strong taste spread inside her mouth.
Tara never imagined that such delicious meat existed in this world.
The taste lingered no matter how much she chewed. She only had a small piece, but her heart was filled with happiness.
Neither kimyusu nor karon was this tasty.
Could the kimyusu meat with skin or the karon’s loin meat taste as good as kiba meat?
Asuta-nii, this is delicious! Really delicious!
Asuta’s expression looked a little uneasy, but the lines on his face relaxed after hearing her words.
Ah, wait! Tara, I want your father to try it too before I can accept your copper plates with ease… Eh, I don’t have many picks like this, can you reuse it?
Tara nodded firmly, then ran on the street.
There was still happiness lingering in her mouth.
Tara could feel this happiness slowly spreading through her entire body.
Dora would definitely be overjoyed after tasting it.
Her father had been acting strange these days, as if he was troubled about continuing to interact with the denizens of Forest's Edge. He was drawn to Asuta and the denizens of Forest's Edge around him, but was hesitant about getting along with them so naturally.
Dora had his worries too.
Tara’s mother and elder brothers who worked in the village also said:Don’t get involved with the denizens of Forest's Edge.
When Tara refuted him, Dora would always fall into a bitter silence.
A complicated feeling that Tara couldn’t understand was troubling Dora.
There won’t be any problems now.
Asuta wasn’t a liar.
The chief clan was the violent ruffians who conned others.
After tasting the kiba meat, the gloomy face of her father would relax too. Tara was filled with joy just imagining that.
She dashed through the streets, splashing the puddles on the ground, and finally made it to her father.
Dora was sitting under the roof and glanced at Tara with a blank face.
Look, this is Asuta’s cooking! He used the vegetable you grew to cook such a delicious dish!
Dora took the piece of kiba meat on the toothpick with a weak smile.

How surprised would her father be? Tara waited in anticipation.

End of Volume 4

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