“Welcome. Would it be a group of six?”
When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a small girl with an apron.
From the quick look of the girl, I estimated her age to be around 12 years old. However, her true age was probably not what it looked like.
Fundamentally, dwarves were a race with short height. They were also a race that was hard to estimate the age based on appearance.
Back in the game, they were called [Shadow Hobbits] and were originally the same species as the hobbits.
What created the distinction between the Shadow Hobbits and the Sun Hobbits depended on whether they decided to live in the caves or roam free on the land.
Fundamentally, when one imagined the Hobbit race, they were talking about the Floresiensis (in a fictional work it would correspond with species such as Grass __ner or Half__ngs), however, that was not accurate.
If you were to be specific, dwarves were also of the hobbit race.
Having said that, in the end, it was merely the background setting and no one really paid any attention to it.
As such even from now I will continue to call the Floresiensis as the Hobbits and the Dwarves as Dwarves.
Official names were just that. Even back on Earth, we called the hedgehogs as a needle mouse even though it was closer in species to a mole than a mouse.
But no one really cared about stuff like that and continued to call it the needle mouse.
In other words, it was similar to that.
In the fictional fantasy works, dwarves were usually short in height and had long and bushy beards. Dwarves in Midgard were not different in that regard.
Short height was the race’s trademark and the male dwarves all grew their beards long.
Notwithstanding, they did not age particularly fast and were not significantly different when compared to the human race.
Putting it bluntly, they simply did not shave their beard and thus the aging process was the same as that of the human.
However, I heard that, because the male dwarves often did more physical labour, they ended up looking manlier.
Most probably due to natural evolution based on that, just by working a little, male hormones gashed out making them buffed up and muscular very quickly, as well as making their eyebrows thick and bushy. As a consequence, beards also grew at an extraordinary rate.
Furthermore in dwarven societies, the chiselled featured or the so called “uncle face” is considered to be handsome.
As such, whoever they were, by the time they reached their thirties, they looked like they had turned into Santa Claus.
Needless to say, any cleanly shaven human that would be considered handsome by the human society would not even be taken into consideration by the dwarven women.
The dwarven women, on the other hand, preferred to look like a legal loli.
Though by the time they entered their forties, they simply looked like a short grandma.
“What would you like to order?”
To the woman’s question, I looked at the menu and answered.
In the past, I had wanted to try this if I ever had the chance to go to the world of Midgard.
Back in the game, food was considered to be a recovery item, and this soup was one of those.
It was a magical beast that had an interesting mutation and its origin was (probably) a plant.
It looked similar to the gourd and for some reason, from inside the plant you could harvest small lambs.
If nobody harvested the small lamb, the plant would mature into an adult and stick only the face out of the fruit whilst eating the nearby grass and eventually eating itself to death. It made no sense. In a way, the very existence of itself felt like a troll or a failure.
In any event, it was a convenient existence. Even its hooves were made out of wool, thus its whole body could be turned into a material to be used.
For the alchemists, it could be considered a strong ally of some sort.
It was considered basic for the low-level alchemists to start off by hunting barometz and turning its wool into equipment.
Well, in my case, since I had been serving as a vanguard before I became an alchemist, by the time I became one, I was able to casually hunt other magical beasts and dinosaurs.
To top things off, since I had Aries to provide me with highest-grade material called the rainbow wool, putting it bluntly, I had absolutely no need for barometz.
Anyways, those barometz had a nice flavour to them with its meat tasting like a crab… or so I read in the descriptions.
But, one could not help but think it was a gag by now.
No, it really was considered to be a joke back in the game. It was probably what the developers had intended to achieve as well.
Notwithstanding, to be stuck in that state in reality in this world… I could not help but pity them.
Well yeah, even if I said that, I was still going to eat it though.
Or so I was thinking, but I noticed that Aries was staring intently at me.
“……….Ah, no, actually I think I’ll have a mushroom soup.”
I noticed my lack of consideration and quickly changed my order.
I was being careless. To eat a sheep in front of Aries who was a sheep was not a good idea. Though there was a question as to whether barometz could be called a sheep in the first place.
Of course, I knew that he would not have blamed me for it, however, there was a scary thought that he would say “Ruphas-sama’s favourite food is a sheep” and begin cutting pieces off of his body.
Well, this was a problem, I should avoid eating the meat corresponding to the animals represented by the members of the 12 Heavenly Stars.
“I will have the salad assortment.”
“I will also have that.”
“I will have barometz soup.”
Whilst Dina, Aries and Aigokeros were making an order of salad, Virgo ordered barometz without reservation.
She paid absolutely no mind to Aries’s line of sight. Or more like, she did not even notice it.
“Ah, and I will also have goat milk porridge.”
And this time, she went for a goat.
Aigokeros’s stare was added on top of Aries, but still, she did not noticed it.
In a way, she was an amazing person.
“In any event, I’m surprised that there are ingredients inside this golem.”
“That’s because. Inside the golem…”
“Inside the golem, there are agricultural plants. List of things grown ranges from barometz and other easy-to-grow produce, such as Fruit of Eir as well as a variety of potatoes species and vegetables. Though, half of the ingredients are being imported from elsewhere.”
When I made a query of Dina and as she started answering, Libra cut in from the side.
Dina who had her exposition role taken away was making a vexed face, however, Libra was making an ‘I don’t care’ face.
You guys… why did you want the exposition role so much?
Well, whatever. What was important now was the food.
The soup that was carried to me had various mushrooms cut in different shapes and sizes making it look quite delicious.
There were a few things that I could not recognise, but to begin with, I was not too versed in mushrooms themselves.
I could not even distinguish the difference in taste between matsutake mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms, thus as long as it was not a poisonous mushroom, I was fine with anything.
And the taste…. Yeah, there was just a good amount of salt in the dish.
Although demons now occupied the majority of the land in Midgard, for the remaining lands that the humanoids had to be neighbouring an ocean could be considered a silver lining.
The place I had a little skirmish with the Demon King previously… in other words, around the country of Laevateinn. If I recalled correctly, there was an ocean connected to that place.
Salt was an important substance that the body needed. If all the land that was connected to the sea was taken away, even if there was no war, the humanoids would start dying.
Anyways, as I expected, the culinary skill in this world had not progressed as much as it had back on Earth.
It felt like it was boiled and seasoned with salt half-heartedly.
Well, it was how it was. After all, Midgard was currently in the middle of a world war. The nutrient and the quantity was given priority over the taste of the food.
There was no room to be able to pursue the taste of the food and there certainly was not an ingredient to be wasted in experimenting for the taste. As a natural consequence, the culinary field had not progressed greatly.
I remembered seeing a variety show on the television in the past, and in it, there was a famous but stubborn chef who owned a ramen restaurant. He was taking his son in as a disciple but due to his son’s inability, he was dissatisfied with the taste of the final product. As a consequence, after taking a single sip, he became angry and threw it onto the ground. If such an act was done in this world, he would not be able to complain even if he was punched.
Trying to pursue great flavour was splendid. It was no secret that everyone wanted to eat something nice.
In this world, however, there was simply was not enough to allow for such a luxury.
Furthermore, many seasonings were lacking or non-existent in this world. This was most likely a major factor in hindering the advancement of the culinary field.
Although it was a common fantasy trope, in this world, black pepper was considered to be a luxury item under the setting. In fact, back in the game, black pepper was sold for a great value as a cash shop item. I believe the origin of black pepper was limited or whatnot.
Notwithstanding, it was not as valuable as it was back in the Middle Ages back on Earth.
Back on Earth, black pepper was worth its weight in gold, however, this was the result of the combination of the great Age of Discovery and the lack of refrigeration.
If one were seeking to cross a sea, black pepper was indispensable for long-term preservation of ingredients.
Nevertheless, in this world, it was not undergoing the Age of Discovery and had a convenient existence called water arcane magic.
If one wanted to store an ingredient for a long time, all they had to do was to freeze something using water arcane magic.
Of course, ice created using arcane magic would eventually turn back to mana. When that happened, however, all one had to do was to use the arcane magic again. As a consequence, in regards to storing ingredients, there was no need for black pepper.
“I’m satisfied” would be going too far, however, it was a relief on being able to eat non-preserved food for the first time in a while. Once we were full, we made the payments and left the store.
What we should do next was without a doubt, to find Karkinos.
However, as we did not know where he was, all we could do was to search every corner.
Notwithstanding, to search every corner of this wide Blutgang would take a very long time. Additionally, as there were private dwellings here and there, thus it was impractical to actually search every corner.
We were not a Hero in an RPG game, as such we were unable to storm into whatever house we wanted.
“Libra, is it not possible to search for Karkinos’s location?”
“I have been doing so from before. If I am given time, I will be able to analyse every citizen’s breathing to find a one that matches with my memory. May you wait a while?”
“In that case, we shall wait until Libra finishes searching.”
It looked like the search for Karkinos’s location would be sorted out if Libra was here.
She had said that she would need some time, however, it would still be far quicker than finding him on foot.
At that moment, Dina raised her finger as if she thought of something.
“Ah, if that’s the case, would you mind if I go shopping? We’re about to run out of the stored food and water.”
“In that case, I will accompany you as a bodyguard.”
To Dina who said that she needed to do some shopping, Libra surprising offered to accompany her as a bodyguard.
I believed that if it was Dina, she would be fine, however, if Libra went with her, I would definitely feel at ease.
Or more like, I would have wanted to suggest that myself.
I did not feel that there would be a danger to Dina. As a level 1000, she would be able to handle most things on her own.
However, there was a scary feeling of not knowing what Dina would do if she was left alone.
After all, she was a double spy of the demons and I did not know what she would do in the background. Though she was added as a comrade knowing all this.
But if Libra was near her, even if it was Dina, she would not be able to take strange actions.
If I had to make an issue, it would be whether Libra would be able to direct her effort elsewhere as she was in the middle of searching for Karkinos. That was it.
“Please feel at ease. I am able to guard sufficiently even if I am searching for someone. If anything, as there are surveillance in every floor of this golem, it would be more efficient for me to get closer to the central command.”
“I see, then I will leave it to you.”
“Thank you for leaving it to me.”
To buy food, Dina and Libra left our group, leaving me with absolutely nothing to do.
I wonder what I should do until they come back.
We had just finished eating and there were no convenient stores here to kill time.
As such, the only thing I could do was to walk around.
“Ok, until Dina and Libra come back, you’re free to move on your own. Each should make sure you’re not causing a problem for the people in the city.”
“Ruphas-sama, what are you going to do?”
“I think I will have a look around the city a little.”
“In that case, I will come with you.”
“Ah, then me too.”
When I said I was going to walk around the city, the sheep, the goat and the maiden all decided to tag along.
What was this? Was this one of those things you often see in RPG where hero walked in a neat line with his friends and allies trailing behind them?
This made me feel hard to walk around.
“……… You guys can do what you like, you know.”
“Walking together with Ruphas-sama is what I like doing.”
“Umm, if I’m alone, I’m going to get lost so…”
I tried to tell them to go away in a roundabout way, however, all three of them showed no sign of wanting to separate.
I could understand the reasoning behind Virgo’s statement, but Aries’s loyalty felt a little heavy.
I did not know if it was just me not paying attention, but I felt as though Aigokeros had been saying nothing but “Me too” since a while ago.
Sigh, at this rate, it looked like I really would not be getting free time by myself for a while.
No, well, it was not like I disliked it but.
About these guys anyways.
(Author note)[Fruit of Eir]
Fruit believed to have been entrusted by the War Maiden Eir who had served the Goddess when people were pitied by her due to the famine.
Sweet, full of nutrient and sprouted regardless of the season even if there were only a little bit of soil.
Being enclosed by the green coloured skin, the fruit was very watery and could better reliably quench a thirst compared to raw water which may have been infected with bacteria or disease.
In the publication, this fruit is introduced in the 1st volume. In the web novel version, this is the first appearance.[Seasonings in Midgard]
It exists normally but is not abundant.
If anything, very sweet sugar are the main.
Fructose is mostly made from the Fruit of Eir.
Not really a valuable item.
The remaining land is adjacent to a sea, thus it could be harvested from there.
Transportation for the distribution either uses a bird monster that the tamers control, golems that can fly or the flugels. Thus even if the country was away from the sea, it was possible to have salt. As expected, it was not abundant.
A luxury item. The location that it could be planted was limited and it was on the demon’s land.
In other words, it was more valuable than Ruphas had believed in the chapter and could be traded for quite a high price.
However, Midgard is not in the great Age of Discovery and the ingredient preservation could be done using the water arcane magic. It was merely a very rare seasoning.
Does not exist.
Does not exist
Something similar exists.
There was a similar thing created in the past, however, people questioned and dissed its existence by saying “isn’t it just stupid to have the egg raw….?” and have disappeared as part of the history’s shadow.
As a side note, apparently, its taste was inferior to the mayonnaise in a foreign country and mediocre at best.
It does not exist currently.
There are tomatoes, thus if you teach people how to make it, it could be made.
Q: Are there sweets and snacks?
A: If it’s something at the level of grilled or fried fruit pie, it exists. There is no such thing as cakes or chocolate. Bluntly speaking, if a modern age patisserie makes a trip to Midgard, they could become very rich very quickly. AND they would quickly be targeted and be kidnapped by someone in power. Or more like, they would be instantly kidnapped by the Vampire Princess who loves sweet things.
(Author note end)
__ (フローレシエンシス) “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis”.  Reference to The Lord of the Rings. Grass-Runner and Halfing. The author blanked out the reference in this chapter, but Vecna has pointed it out to me that the author actually used both words without blanking out the characters in chapter 4.  So… In Japanese, mouse is nezumi (ネズミ), and mole is mogura (モグラ), hedgehog is called the harinezumi (ハリネズミ), literally meaning needle mouse. (Picture source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/uks-hedgehogs-and-other-mammals-are-danger-180969385/)  Umm… I google’d this but it wasn’t very useful haha. I imagine middle age man. Imagination is the key in fantasy novels :’)  ドワーフの女性はほとんどがおじ専の合法ロリなのだ。  “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable_Lamb_of_Tartary”.  Troll was not in the raw… but thought it was fitting.  I used vexed, the author used gumeme face (ぐぬぬ), for what the author meant see this link; “https://dic.nicovideo.jp/a/%E3%81%90%E3%81%AC%E3%81%AC”.  Shimeji mushroom = White Beech Mushroom “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimeji”. Matsutake mushrooms = … matsutake mushroom “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsutake”. Matsutake are those super expensive, super luxurious food in Asia. Though not the same thing, you can analogise to caviar. Ruphas is saying she wouldn’t even be able to distinguish between that and super cheap and common mushroom like shimeji.  “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Discovery”.  Convenient stores are exactly as it sounds. For people that are not aware of the term, it would be stores like 7-Eleven that serves as small stores that have everything (sort of..) you may need in a day. In Japan, some people would often “chill” in those stores and some students (and even adults if they’re free) would stand in the corner and read magazines for free without buying.  “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eir”.