Behind The Feast


  「Seriously…they just keep on coming.
Did I overdo it by giving them all the orc corpses?」


  I groaned as I scratched my head after I left the feast with the excuse of having to use the toilet.


  Not only did the subjugation of the orcs end safely with the power of my wyvern and soul equipment, but I also ate every soul of the horde of orcs including a highly evolved one.


  But whether I should call it unfortunate or say that I saw it coming already, my level did not rise.


  Giving the village of Melte the bounties and the materials was supposed to be my final blow.
I thought that if I went that far, the villagers’ trust in me would become solidified.


  It was also because Iria came back ahead of schedule that I decided to try being a bit more generous.


  I am glad that the villagers are overjoyed like how I wanted them to be…but I’m a little troubled when they are making such a big deal out of things.


  Rather, isn’t it too cruel that I didn’t even get to eat one meat skewer yet since the feast began? Please stop surrounding me with only gold coin symbols in your eyes. 


  I’m going to take it all back in the end if you don’t stop.


  After I finished using the toilet, I went to the empty field in the back of the village because I did not feel like going back to that place.


  I was thinking about getting something to eat with the other benefactor of the village, Clau Soras, but surprisingly he already had visitors.


  「…Priest Sarah?」


  “And…the small brats”.

  After I said that, they started protesting to me like crazy.


  「I’m not small! And I’m not a brat!」


  「Not small!」


  「Not smallll!」


  「Bwahaha, I’m sorry.
You guys are just small brats in my eyes.
If you don’t like it then let’s see you surpass me in height and age!」


  「Dammit- Just you wait! I’m going to be bigger than you! And then I’m going to surpass you in age as well!」


  「That’s not possible, Ain」


  「Not possiibleee!」




  Ohh, Small brat #2 (Zwei) and #3 (Dora), you guys learned how to follow up with witty comments too huh? Small brat #1(Ain) was in shock.

  As those three children pestered me together, priest Sarah opened her mouth and spoke in their place,


  「These kids were like “since we are having a feast we have to give some food to the dragon as well”.
We have been preparing since this morning.
We wanted to call you as well before we come here, but…」 


  「Ahh, it’s because I was surrounded by all those people…By the way, Clau Soras didn’t do anything violent, did he?」


  I asked after I became worried.


  Then, priest Sarah replied with a peaceful smile and shook her head.


  「Nope, he was nice and docile.
He was probably being considerate of the children」


  「That’s great」


  I said and glanced at Clau Soras.

  He had his head in the barrel and he was stuffing himself with food without even paying any attention to me.

  From the way his tail keeps pounding the ground, he seems to really like the food they gave him. 


  …Isn’t that just him really liking the food instead of being considerate?


  Judging from the faint pungent scent that was coming from the barrel…that would be…


  「Pickled food?」


Since I heard he likes sour things, I tried to make something for him.
I’m glad that he seems to like it」


  Priest Sarah said as she puffed her chest up with pride, seemingly satisfied.


  According to her, they used the meat from the boars (Small sized and drained of blood) that we caught recently.
First, they removed their fur and organs, then they stuffed herbs inside them and pierced a large skewer through them and slowly roasted them over a fire for 3 hours while rotating them. 


  It wasn’t pigs, it was boars roasted whole.


  And while the meat was cooking, they also had to prepare the vinegar side of things, and that also seems like it took a lot of work.
They harvested vegetables from the village and then after boiling, grilling, and pan-frying them, the vegetables are thrown in vinegar while they did a variety of processing to adjust the flavor as the acidity of the vinegar and the flavors of the vegetables blended together.


  Yeah, I don’t really understand what they really did, but I can tell that it took a lot of time and work.


  Then once all the meat finished cooking, they cut the meat into sizes that would be easy for Clau Soras to eat and then added them to the barrel that was filled with that vinegar.
From there, it took about 3 hours again to pickle them.


  …Doesn’t that mean it took longer for them to prepare Clau Sora’s food than the food they put out at the feast then?


  「And just between you and me…」




  「It took longer to prepare that than food that’s on the village chief’s table」


  「I knew it」


  「It’s a secret, okay?」


  Priest Sarah looked very cute with her finger in front of her lips as she said that to me.


  Is this person really Iria’s mother? Really?


  …Well, actually, if I think back, I often saw Iria with that expression on her face too back when we were in the same party.
She only showed it to Larz though.


  Since I was kicked out of 『Falcon Sword』, Iria has only looked at me with a sour look, if not a look of hate, so I had forgotten all about that.


  Anyway, I’m a bit worried about what’ll happen after Clau Soras got a taste of food that took so much time and effort to cook.

  He’s not going to eat raw meat anymore after he learned how good food can taste.

  I’m sorry Clau Soras, but it’s impossible to feed you such fancy food every time.


  Although Lunamaria is good at cooking, she doesn’t like cooking meat as an elf.
Ciel came from a large family, so to her, “Delicious food = Large quantity”. 


  Then for Suzume who has been living in a forest by herself, cooking = just boiling or cooking it over a fire.


  As for me, I’ve been seriously considering hiring a housekeeper to live with us so that sums it up about my cooking skills.

  It would be impossible for us to recreate dishes on the same level of extravagance as the food Priest Sarah makes for Clau Soras.


  …No, wait.
Can’t I use this excuse to come to this village regularly then?


  It takes 7 days to get to the village of Melte from Ishka by horse carriage.
It’s not a journey that one could easily make, but it only takes about half a day to come here on a wyvern’s back.


  It would be suspicious if I were to frequently visit priest Sarah for no reason, but if I use the excuse of getting Clau Soras his favorite food, I could avoid that suspicion.


  It would save me so much time if I could just invite priest Sarah to my clan, but there isn’t anybody else who could use high-level miracles like her in these countryside villages.

  There would be an uproar if priest Sarah leaves the village of Melte.
It won’t end with just them putting the blame on me.


  Well, before that, I don’t think priest Sarah would accept my invitation anyway since she’s the head of the church and the person who’s taking care of the orphans.
It’s a shame but this proposal is-


  …No, wait again…if I could find a miracle user in place of her then wouldn’t it all work out?

Also, I could take in the trio of orphans as well.
Fortunately, the house we live in right now is unnecessarily big so there are enough rooms left for 3 or 4 children.


  Ah, but I heard the grave of her husband was in this village, I guess it’s not going to be possible after all…No no, this match will be over if I give up here.


  In the first place, I came here to get in the way of Larz and Iria.
Even though I got the village of Melte indebted to me, I can’t really call this operation a success.
I would like some more concrete results. 


  I opened my mouth and spoke to priest Sarah,


  「Um, this may be a random question, but…」


  「Yes, what is it?」


  「This pickled food…Would it last a long time? The meat for example」


  「Yes, as it stands.
It’s getting hotter nowadays so it’s best to not take too long to eat it…but you won’t really need to worry about that this time though」


  Priest Sarah said as she looked at Clau Soras with a smile.

  Well, it’s true the food this time will probably be finished in time.
Rather, it’s all done right now already.


  *Puuhh*, Clau Soras burped out in satisfaction after he pulled his head out of the barrel, then he looked at me with his eyes opened wide.

  He immediately came up to me with an apologetic look but…Acck, his face is covered in vinegar.
Although it’s only natural since he was stuffing his face in the barrel. 


  「Was it really that delicious?」


  「*Pugii!* *Pugii!*」


  Clau Soras screeched out energetically as he slammed his tail on the ground a few times after I took out a towel from my side pocket and started cleaning his face.


  It seems that he really loved the food after all.


  And it seems that it wasn’t just the food; he also became quite fond of priest Sarah herself.


  Clau Soras did not dislike being touched by her as she wiped the vinegar off his face with me.


  Even though he normally hated it when someone other than me touches him, he has gotten attached to her.
Is this what it means to be tamed by the stomach?


  I instinctively let out a bitter smile.


  「I think this guy will be bringing the things we hunt to you instead of me before long, priest Sarah」


  「If the savior of this village wants it, I’ll be happy to cook him food, you know? But it would be a bit hard to do it every day…」 


  「I would really appreciate that…Um, can I really ask you to do that then? Of course, I wouldn’t be unreasonable and ask you to make him food every day, and I’ll pay a suitable price for the food too」


  「Yes, of course.
In addition, it would be nice if you can donate to the church instead of paying me」


  Priest Sarah spoke with a bright smile on her face.

  I looked away in a hurry.


  …Oh no.
Just now, I naturally thought of “eating her”.


  A-anyway, results achieved! Good job, Clau Soras, now I don’t need to think of an excuse to visit here next time.


  With that, we can go back to Ishka without worries.


  After I let priest Sarah know that we’re going back, she looked at me in surprise.


  「…You guys are leaving?」


Somehow I’ve been gone for 5 days from Ishka’s forces.
I’m worried about my clan and the condition of the blight as well」


  The sea of blight should have been all burned down but something strange might have happened again.
Fedor told me that he would like me to return as soon as possible when I left Ishka.


  I’m also concerned about Suzume.
I don’t think there’ll be any problems since I told Lunamaria to not take her eyes off her before I left, but it would be a problem if Lunamaria or Ciel had run into some problems themselves.


  An elf (beauty) and a beastkin (beautiful young girl) with slave collars on their necks would stand out just as much as Suzume.
They might have gotten some idiot’s attention and got sucked into some weird trouble.


  If we go by that logic, I ended up overstaying quite a bit on this trip to the village of Melte.

  Since it might sound like she owes me a lot If I told her all that, I kept my explanation to her short, but priest Sarah seemed to understand that as well.


  She bowed her head deeply and thanked me.


  「Thank you so much.
Really, I cannot thank you enough」


  「No no, it’s nothing much, don’t worry about it.
It’s natural to help each other out when times are tough」 


  I made the most gentle smile possible that a nice young man can make…I wonder if that’s the expression on my face right now.
I hope I wasn’t making a face of a swindler who is fooling a widow and some young kids.


  After such thoughts crossed my mind, I suddenly realized something.
Oh yeah, the kids have been quiet for a while now.


  When I looked at the trio, they were all falling asleep.
It wasn’t unreasonable since they would normally be sleeping during this hour.


  Small brat #1, Ain, was yawning loudly and the younger two’s heads were nodding off.


  Priest Sarah then called out to the children,


Please take Zwei and Dora back to the room」




  Ain nodded as he rubbed his eyes.
Then, he firmly held Zwei’s hand with his right hand and Dora’s hand with his left one.


  I went into thought as I looked at the three’s backs as they walked back into the village.


  Yeah, Ain is a nice older brother.


  There should also have been a time where Raguna and I also supported each other like that, but that memory had already become hazy.

  I wonder when that was? I believe it was when my mother and Raguna’s mother were both still alive, so before I was 7 years old.


  While I was lost in thought, I felt an unexpected glance from my side.


  When I looked back, I saw that priest Sarah, who was supposed to be following the children, was looking back at me.


  It was a gentle gaze that showed she was thinking and worrying about me.
Even without me saying anything, she probably felt the loneliness that crossed my heart.


  I became extremely embarrassed by that and looked away in a completely different direction.


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