Chapter 21: First time cooking

Finally, I can walk on my own.

But Gail-san is holding hands with me! 

Moreover, this doesn't look like the typical way lovers hold hands with their fingers interlocked.
Isn't the height difference so great that we may be mistaken as a parent and a child? 1

Apparently, it's been decided that when I walk around the town I will hold hands with Gail-san and Douglas-san alternately. 

It seems ridiculous… 

And when I ask the reason…

“What should we do if you get lost? The chances of being kidnapped aren't low at all, you know? The security in this country isn't very good.”

“If you don't want to hold hands, should I hold you or put you on my shoulder?”

There is no choice. 

I explain the ingredients and seasonings I know while they guide me through the market as promised, and I am taken to places that handle similar foods. 

As a result, I think I am able to get ingredients that are quite close to what I was looking for.

Most of the meat seems to be the meat of demon beasts, but as I hear the explanation, it seems that it can be roughly classified into beef, pork and chicken. 

There is also some light rabbit-like meat. 

As expected, I still can't remember the names of the demon beasts' meat, so I change them to their equivalent Japanese names to remember them. 

Many vegetables also have different appearances and colours from the normal ones, but even if they look different (their shapes are similar, but many have quite different colours, some of them very striking colours…) there are many vegetables with similar properties, so after hearing an explanation I get that this is an onion, this is a cucumber, this is a tomato, etc.
and I decide to memorize them in Japanese first.

As for seasoning, there are many well-known things such as pepper, salt, vinegar, oil, and herbs and spices. 

What surprises me the most is to find that there are seasonings used in Japanese food that I should have given up on. 

Of course, although details such as the names are different, there seem to be a specialty of fish reed, rice, soy sauce, miso, mirin, dried sardines and kombu kelp. 

However, they're hardly eaten except for the fish reed, and the two of them look with curiosity at my surprised look when I find it out.

Moreover, since it's imported, it seems to be quite a luxurious product, but since I want it they don't seem to care and buy large amounts of it. 

I feel sorry, but I can't resist the temptation of Japanese food…

I also ask them to buy a clay pot that will be needed to cook rice.

This will make cooking very easy.
Of course, Western food can also be cooked, but my specialty are the side dishes that can be found on Japanese tables.

Gail-san will teach me how to use the kitchen at home.

I wonder if I will have to use a stove or charcoal, but I'm convinced that there is a stove and an oven that work with magic and I will be able to cook without feeling any discomfort.

“I don't know what kind of way it will turn out, but can I try one of my world's most popular chicken dishes?”

“Ah, of course! I'm looking forward to any of Chika's dishes.”

“A wife's home cooking…
it's a man's dream, I can't wait for it!”

As I thought, it takes me some time to get used to working with the unfamiliar kitchen and tools, but I somehow manage to do it.

Although I think about a variety of things, today's menu will be fried chicken.

I think that no one will find this bad.

First of all, traditional fried chicken with a well-prepared seasoning, entwined with a bittersweet sauce made with soy sauce and sugar, and finally a sweet vinegar made with vinegar and sugar and thickened with potato starch to make it like a sweet vinegar sauce.
1

Naturally, the two of them are going to have four servings respectively, right? I will make preparations for it.

This'll be a challenge, but I want to give it a try, so I cook the rice and prepare it.

Miso soup is also a challenge.

In this world, simple soup made from the flavour of meat and salt seems to be the mainstream, so I try this as well.

I would like to use the simple method with tofu and wakame seaweed, but as one would expect, there aren't any, so I use onions and sweet potatoes instead.

After that, I prepare a salad with some vegetables and a base of Japanese soy sauce.

Boiled or pickled vegetables would be great, but these two carnivores wouldn't like it.

“Excuse me! I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.
This is a dish called fried chicken, which is commonly eaten in my world.
There're three different varieties to eat, and that white grain is rice.
If it's fine, try it with the fried chicken, I think they go well together.”

“Chika, what is this brown liquid?”

“It's called miso soup and is a sauce that is a national dish of my country.
I think it will be of your liking, but if you dislike it let me know, please.
I will immediately prepare something else.”

When I finish all the explanations and try to get into my seat, Gail-san grabs my arm and lifts me.

The destination is Gale-san's lap.

Why? For what reason? I look up at Gail-san with a feeling of curiosity and wonder what happens to him.
He then returns my gaze.

“Um, my arms and legs have already healed, isn't it OK if I don't sit on your lap? That's what I think.”

I look at him a bit puzzled.

“Chika, don't you like it on my lap? As I thought, touching me is…”

Gail-san has a depressed look that I have never seen before.

I feel that even the beast ears on his head are somewhat down.8

I would like to know if there is anyone who can say no after seeing him like this.

At least I can't…

“No, that's not the case.
I just think that it will be hindrance for you to eat while I'm on your lap, Gale-san.”

“Is that so? Then there's no problem.
This is your place, Chika, isn't it?”

“Ye- yes.”

I've been pushed out.

It seems like I can't escape from their laps.5

“Kukuku, give up Chika.
Bears like Gale have an attachment to their “mate” that isn't common.
It's not unusual for them to go to extremes because of their attachment and force a “mate” to live in captivity, isn't it?”

 

“Hey, don't talk about a tribe of people as if they were a bunch of criminals! Rest assured, I won't do that to you.
Rather, the ones who are more dangerous are Doug's types.”

What's wrong with Douglas-san? I turn my eyes to him.

“The lions have the habit of seeing a “mate” as their prey, particularly the powerful lions.
Their way of loving a “mate” is to entangle their prey in their own hands and harassing and tormenting them to the limit despite their fondness, I would even hesitate to call it love.
Those guys are dangerous.”

“Wait, wait, that's like saying we are a criminal gang.
Don't get me wrong Chika, saying that we harass and torment is a misleading statement…
That's right, yeah, it's a misleading statement…
It's just that a few guys get too fierce in bed, that's just what it is.”

Uh-huh.
Uh-huh.
Douglas-san nods as to convince himself.1

Is that the real nature of these two? It's true that a little chill ran through my back when I hear their habits, but I don't really mind what these two do, so I might be a little crazy.

“Chika, I don't think that's the case, but if you decided to change partners and be other guy's, he'll surely throw his reason away.
The only thing left would be an ordinary wild beast with an extraordinary obsession with its prey and an unconcerned cruel and lunatic behaviour.
I'm not confident I'd be able to stop Doug like that.”

“You don't have to worry about that, right, Chika?”

As one would expect that surprises me and I look at Douglas-san again, and for a second he looks like a carnivorous beast and seems to be licking his tongue, but I think it is just my imagination.

“Mo-more importantly, please help yourselves! It will get cold.”

“Ah, my bad.”

They reach out for the food and start eating with a slightly curious look.

I also take one fried chicken and eat it, it is crispy and savoury, and the seasonings are not bad either.

And white rice — how many years has it been…
I feel a little gloomy when I remember the miserable dietary habits of my time as a slave, but when I take a bite the sweet taste of tender white rice spreads in my mouth.

“How nostalgic……”

I am biting bit by bit while remembering the earth, but the looks of Douglas-san in the front and Gale-san above me are strange.

“Um, what's the matter? Don't you like it?”

“That's not it, sorry, it was just so delicious that I was a little surprised.
The fried chicken…
This is excellent, how much of it can I eat? It's amazing how different each taste is.”

“This miso soup is also very delicious.
I was a little surprised by the colour, but the more you drink it, the more unique the flavour that will spread.
Rice really goes well with fried chicken.”1

It seems that they like it.

The two of them are amazing.

They waste no time speaking, and one after another they reach out for the dishes and eat them up.

I don't remember how many times I've refilled the rice and miso soup, but all the things I had prepared to eat tomorrow morning are gone.

Both of them are about to serve themselves with helpings, but I don't give up and convince them to let me do it.

At that time, I have Gale-san take me down from his lap, he then holds me and carries me back to his lap again, and that scene repeats itself many times.

In the blink of an eye, all the fried chicken dishes I had prepared for them are empty.

“Chika, aren't there any more of this left?”

“Yeah, I want to eat a little more.”1

That amount is not enough…
is it…?

“I'm sorry, next time I'll increase the amount of food I prepare…”

The two are regretfully staring at the empty plates.

It's a little funny because their appearance resembles the dog I used to keep in the old days gazing at an empty food plate.

It is unexpected that the amount was not enough, but I am glad that they liked it.

“Oh, no, I just didn't think I would eat such delicious food.
Does everyone in your world eat such delicious food, Chika?”

“I am an amateur, so I think it would taste even better if a professional chef cooked it.”

“This is an amateur's? That's amazing.”

“Oh, but it was really delicious.
Thanks for the meal.”

“It was delicious, Chika.
Can you make it again?”

“Yes! I'm glad you liked it.
There are still various dishes I would like you to eat, so I will prepare them!”

I had been cooking for a long time instead of my busy mother, so I have some confidence in my skills, but I am self-taught.

It's embarrassing to be praised so much. 

“Well then, I'll do the cleaning.”

“No, that's fine.
We'll take care of it.”

“Yeah, Chika, we can't let you, who made such a delicious dish, clean up.”

I want to do what I can since I am still in their care, but after that dispute, it's been decided that I will cook and then they will take turns to do the cleaning. 

Then, as promised, I take a bath with Gail-san.

There isn't any fooling around like that time with Douglas-san, and I am very glad to have his whole body washed.

Of course, I don't forget the animal ears and the fluffy tail.

But I got carried away when washing his fluffy tail and regrettably I was stopped again. 2

It's a very happy time.

Then I get in bed in Douglas-san's bedroom and I'm hugged from behind.

Feeling Douglas-san's body temperature on my back, my eyelids become heavy while I double-check what I should do tomorrow.

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