The battle ended and Hiiro reverted the length of his sword by writing “original” on it . At any rate, the sharpness of the piercing could only be called first-rate . It easily went through the opponent like a hot knife through butter .
(Nothing less from a sword specializing in piercing)
“Y- You… what did you do?”
“Shouldn’t you be worrying about the shorty instead?”
He had no intention to explain it, so he quickly changed the topic . Then Arnold quickly shouted Muir’s name . She slowly appeared from a behind a rock, where she had been hiding .
“A- Are you hurt?”
“N- No . ”
As he was relieved from the bottom of his heart, he sunk down on the ground . After a glance at him, Hiiro sheathed his sword . At that moment, his stomach growled and he headed towards Arnold .
“Hey, old man . Keep your promise . ”
“……What are you talking about?”
Hiiro drew his sword from the sheath a bit with a clink .
“J- Just kidding! Put that away!”
The man shouted in a panic . Hiiro sighed in a bad mood .
“Just give me that addicting meat . My stomach is totally empty . ”
“…… . . Hah . Sorry, Muir . I never imagined we would eat it here…”
He dropped his shoulders with a boo-hoo-hoo, but Muir shook her head shortly .
“N- No . He helped us after all . B- Besides, food tastes better with more people . ”
“Uohhh! What a good child you are, Muir!”
He embraced Muir while shouting emotionally . Normally this would be a heart-warming scene, but Hiiro said while pressing onto his stomach .
“Just get on with it . I’m starving here . ”
A vein stood out on Arnold’s forehead due to his attitude, but he realized that it was no use saying anything to Hiiro, so he lead the two with a sigh .
“Come here . I’ll prepare it . ”
The two of them followed after Arnold to the earlier fireplace .
“Ehm~ I think it was… Ah, here it is . ”
He rummaged about behind some rock and got out some large bag . Opening that bag, he took out yet another bag . Something thick and heavy seemed to be inside that bag .
“Is that it?”
“Yeah, inside is… . this!”
What he pulled out was meat tied up with a string so that it wouldn’t fall apart .
“This is ≪Aqua Hound Meat≫ . Moreover, it’s the shanks, the most delicious part!”
He thrust it before him as if to ask for his opinion .
“Whatever, let me eat already . ”
“You sure are a self-important brat . Eat some fruits until it’s done . But leave some for me . ”
“…I’ll try my best . ”
“No, no . Leave some for me!”
Hiiro ate two out of the six red fruits with the size of a fist, which Arnold took out of the bag . It was a ≪Gorin Fruit≫ that he had often eaten before .
“More . ”
“Already! I gotta prepare the meat too, so show some patience . ”
Saying so, the man took out a big stone from the fire place . By the looks of it, the bright red stone was insanely hot .
The meat was placed on top of it . Then it sizzled appetizing and gradually changed colour brilliantly, releasing meat juice and an aromatic smell .
All three couldn’t help but gulp down their saliva . The young Muir was unable to take her eyes off the meat too .
“Hey, isn’t it good already?”
At the end of his patience, Hiiro asked, but Arnold shook his head .
“No, not yet . A certain procedure is needed to bring out the best taste of this meat . ”
The juice temporarily stopped oozing out of the meat, so the string holding it together was cut . By doing so, the meat gradually swelled up .
“O- Oh, what’s this!?”
“That’s meat swelling, unique to ≪Aqua Hound Meat≫! Letting out the excess fat from the meat, it swells up . It approximately becomes thrice as big . ”
Amazing . Its original size was already around the size of a volleyball . Three times of that was rather big .
When the swelling hit its peak, it was similar to jelly, not like meat at all . He questioned if it was really meat, but the smell answered it for him . Before he knew it, his drool overflowed .
“Okay, Muir, get the containers!”
Arnold was pretty excited too . Muir took out three containers from the bag while nodding happily .
Arnold quickly cut the meat in a straight horizontal line with the knife hanging from his waist . Surprisingly enough, the knife cut through it without any resistance as if it was pudding . After splitting it into three portions, he put it into the three containers .
“H- Here you go! Ah, don’t eat yet, brat!”
Hiiro tried to dig in without delay, but Arnold stopped him .
“What? Do you want to torture me?”
His stomach was giving the alarm for a while now . If left alone any longer, something might happen .
“Don’t be stupid . It’ll only be perfect with this!”
Saying so, he pulled out a long container with a sauce from the bag .
“And that is?”
“A special sauce made from the ≪Orczy Fruit≫!”
“Whatever . It’ll taste even better with that?”
“Yeah, forget about getting addicted, it’ll send you straight to heaven . ”
“Heh, interesting . Count me in!”
The sauce had a colour like ketchup, but was more fluid than solid . It had a faint sweet and fruity smell .
“Okay! Now it’s perfect!”
“Mhm . ”
Each of them responded .
“””Time to eat!”””
Hiiro used the received fork in place of a knife and cut into the meat very easily . It was incredible tender . He cut an appropriate mouthful and ate it .
“Ohh… . . !?”
A tingling ran through his head .
(It- It’s gone!?)
Yes, the piece in his mouth had melted and disappeared . Still, he was by no means unsatisfied . The meat had disappeared, but its strong flavour intensely stimulated his taste buds .
(Th- This is…!)
He took another mouthful . And yet another .
(I can’t stop!)
It was like his body was moving on its own . His whole body was craving for more meat . Each mouthful of the tender and juicy meat felt like his mouth was stuffed, but he didn’t become stuffed at all . He could still go for more . And it was emphasised by…
This sweet, yet somewhat sour sauce gave the meat a refreshing flavour, stimulating your appetite even more . He could really eat this with no end . The other two were devouring it in a frenzy too .
Then the quite large piece of meat was gone in no time . All three had an entranced expression . Hiiro never expected such an effect from it .
“… . Fuh, so what do you say about this meat, brat?”
Hiiro closed his eyes and immersed himself in the aftertaste . Then he opened his eyes a bit and leaked a tepid sigh .
“Well done, my servant . ”
“I know, right . After all, this meat, wait, who are you calling your servant!”
“Just a joke . Don’t make a fuss, you’ll just ruin the mood . ”
“It’s your damn fault!”
Seeing their exchange, Muir was bewildered .
“Hmpf, whatever . So, brat, what’s your name?”
“Name yourself first . ”
“You’re really so damn self-important! Geez, I’m Arnold Ocean . An adventurer and cook!”
“A cook? I see, that explains your cooking method . ”
“Yeah, I travelled all around the world for cooking receipts . Consider yourself lucky . ”
“And this shorty is?”
“Hey, listen to me!”
Arnold retorted, then continued with a sigh .
“She’s Muir Castreia . I picked her up during my travel . ”
“Oh, so in this world children are lying around . ”
“As if! They aren’t treasure chests!”
“Of course not! Some stuff happened in her village . ”
It indicated that he didn’t want to tell more about it . Muir also cast down her eyes somewhat sorrowful .
(Got their reasons, huh . Well, I ain’t interested anyway)
A rather pragmatic protagonist .