𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟔: 𝐅𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐨𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠
『”𝙰𝚠𝚎𝚋𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚜.𝚌𝚘𝚖” – 𝙳𝚒𝚜𝚌𝚘v𝚎𝚛 𝚊 𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚝𝚒v𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚕𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚕𝚘v𝚎, 𝚙𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚊𝚍v𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎, 𝚠𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚌𝚊𝚗 𝚒𝚗𝚍𝚞𝚕𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚗 𝚊 𝚌𝚘𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚜𝚕𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚗𝚘v𝚎𝚕𝚜 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 “𝚍a𝚒𝚕𝚢 𝚞𝚙𝚍𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚜” 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚎𝚡𝚌𝚕𝚞𝚜𝚒v𝚎 𝚊𝚌𝚌𝚎𝚜𝚜 𝚝𝚘 “𝚊𝚍v𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎𝚍 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚙𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜”.』
“By the way, where did you two learn to cook? You said demons don’t
eat much, but the dish earlier was really delicious.”
“We learned that dish from one of the humans we captured.”
“We were born into a family that serves as palace chefs and have been serving meals mainly to prisoners. However, even work can become monotonous when you’re just making the same things every day for decades. That’s when Master came.”
The person they refer to as master is a certain noble’s personal chef who came to the Demon Realm in search of monster meat.
He was found by the officials of the Demon King’s Castle when he was about to be eaten by a monster and was brought back to the castle.
Those officials, who were rare among demons for having a habit of eating food, suggested to Migi-san and Hidari-san, “Why not learn human cuisine?”
So, they decided to learn human cuisine as a condition for their release.
Perhaps they readily accepted my presence because there was a precedent.
“Although he was trembling in the cell, once he stood in the kitchen, he became a person who gave us precise instructions. We called him master and he taught us many dishes.”
“Master was quite a picky eater, so most of his dishes were meat dishes and dishes that complemented them.”
“He didn’t teach us anything else until the end because he wanted to maintain the difference in quality.”
“He had such a strong obsession that he would rather spend his whole life in prison than serve a dish that wasn’t up to his standards. Now I understand how Master felt at that time.”
As they narrow their eyes and gaze into the distance, their corners of the mouth are slightly upturned. Surely, those are memories of joy.
When I recall past happy memories, I must have a similar expression.
I feel like I’m being blessed with happiness just by watching them.
“It seems you both respect your master.”
“Yes. Every year, on his death anniversary, we always visit his grave together.”
“I’m sorry. He has passed away. . .”
“Human lifespans are short. It’s inevitable. But even though he’s gone, his presence will never be lost to us.”
“We have a portrait drawn by a talented demon hanging in our room. . .Oh, wait a moment.”
Saying that, one of them leaves the kitchen.
I’m not sure if it’s Migi-san or Hidari-san, but the remaining one seems to know the reason for their departure. Judging from the swaying motion, it must be something enjoyable.
Although their expressions are hard to read, they seem to be the type to take action rather than show it.
The one who came back was holding a portrait of a man.
“This is our master!”
They hold the portrait and tell me about their memories with their master.
They talk about how strict he was with the doneness of meat and the circumstances leading up to his encounter with that dish. Each story seems to be a treasure to them.
But the greatest treasure must be the meeting with their master. It sways in their hearts.
Their tone gradually becomes faster. Perhaps they never had anyone to boast about their master to.
As I listen with a warm feeling, they place the portrait on a nearby chair. Then, they make a fist with their free hand.
“Thanks to Master, we were able to learn about human cuisine. Even now, our interest only grows year by year.”
“But we can’t cook by following recipes. We’ve never seen the real thing, and above all, it’s difficult to judge if it’s delicious when there are few people to eat our food.”
They clench their fists with determination, and I can sense a hint of artificiality. But in that, their master must have been touched.
“That’s why we want to see your cooking! We want to hear your stories! We want your feedback!”
“Tyran has no interest in cooking at all, so you’re our only hope!”
Their eyes are unwavering, and it seems like they truly love the art of cooking from the bottom of their hearts.
“I may not have a wide repertoire of dishes, but I can learn together with you!”
“Let’s do our best together.”
The three of us raise our fists together.
“By the way, I haven’t shown Daili-san the pantry yet.”
“We still have some time before snack time, so can I briefly explain it to you first?”
Led by Migi-san and Hidari-san, we headed underground. There, after descending the stairs near the kitchen, was the pantry.
Similar to the kitchen, the pantry was disproportionately huge, with all kinds of vegetables and fruits lined up, far exceeding the number of people needing meals.
Just a quick glance revealed a considerable amount. There were many things I had never seen before.
“The entire pantry is enchanted with a preservation spell, so the food inside will not spoil. The same spell is also applied to the refrigerator, but we use fresh milk and eggs harvested daily at the Demon King’s Castle.”
“While we gather food from all over the continent, there may be many things that are not available here. If you let us know what you need or want, we will procure it for you.”
“We have received instructions from Demon King-sama to prioritize creating and enjoying delicious food, so please don’t hesitate to speak up.”
How reliable they are.
Perhaps I can even make the snacks I used to make in my previous life. My heart leaps with excitement.