Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cooking with Wild Game Volume 1 Chapter 3

Apprentice chef in a different world
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Deus ex-Machina


Part 1
「… Maybe you’re the incarnation of disaster.」


After she tied her hair, dressed herself and put on her cape with a smooth move, she made that comment.


「I’m honoured by your words, but what makes you say that my lady?」


「Giant Madarama snakes won’t appear at the foot of the mountain normally, but one got washed to this place by the river. The sun have not yet reached above our heads, and a Kiba beast was already roaming in the woods and even attacked us. What a series of ill fortune.」


Oh I see.


By the way, there were more than two ill fortune. You had yet to marry, but I saw your naked body. I wanted to retort that, but I didn’t want to die, so I held my peace.


My judgement seemed to be on point.


Because when Ai Fa saw me fell silent, her expression changed, as if she regretted what she said.


「… It was unexpected, but I was still careless to not notice that Madarama. And you did save me — I want to thank you for that.」


Ai Fa lowered her head a little, but her eyes were looking up at me as she fidgeted with the necklace on her chest. She said in a soft voice that was barely audible to humans and said: 「… Thank you.」


Her actions were just like that of a child.


My heart raced for some reason and I replied stiffly:


「It’s fine, don’t worry about it. I should be the one saying that, I didn’t notice the Kiba beast that was so close to me. You saved me… Thank you.」


As long as Ai Fa got her spirits back, nothing else matters.


If that snake killed Ai Fa… I feel like dying just thinking about that.


「No matter what, this is still a Kiba beast. Let’s deal with it while it is fresh.」


The head of the Kiba beast was smashed by Ai Fa, and it was still lying by my feet while spasming.


Compared to the Kiba beast I ran into yesterday, this one was smaller. But it was still about 150 cm long and 70 kg heavy. It had huge horns and tusks, but Ai Fa defeated it in just one blow.


「That’s true, let’s cut off it’s leg first.」 Ai Fa raised her blade, but I stopped her in a hurry.


「Wait wait, before dismembering it, we need to bleed it out first. Don’t just cut it up so suddenly.」


「Bleed it out… What do you mean?」


「What!? You have never bleed them out before? No wonder their meat stinks so much!」


Ai Fa had a face of complete bewilderment when she heard my yell.


Yup, I love her bewildered look the most. For the people of Forest’s Edge, this was a huge problem.


「Let me tell you then. The reason why meat stinks, is because of the blood. By bleeding them out, the Kiba beast’s meat will not be so pungent.」


「… I don’t understand what you’re saying. Wouldn’t the blood flow out during dismemberment?」


「You can’t get it all out that way… Now isn’t the time to discuss this leisurely. It will be too late if the Kiba beast’s heart stop pumping. Hey, I will explain later, lend me your knife.」


Ai Fa handed me her knife with a face full of doubt. The Kiba beast was down on the ground on its side. I bent down behind it.


Well then — Despite acting all professional, I had only seen the members of the hunter hobbyist group perform exsanguination before. And I wasn’t sure if the internal makeup of the Kiba beast was similar to a boar, everything was dependent on luck.


The position of a boar’s artery and organs are similar to that of a human.


Recalling the words the hunter said, I leaned onto the huge body of the Kiba beast.


I aimed the blade at the point where the Kiba beast’s thick neck connected with its chest.


And stabbed in one go.


Blood — Only a few drops came out.


It failed.


Well, things usually won’t be so smooth.


With no other choice, I slid the knife slowly down its chest.


I just need to cut the carotid artery or the aorta.


As I struggled against the Kiba beast’s tough hide and inched my blade forward — fresh blood finally flowed out.


I pulled out the knife in a hurry, and more darkish red fluid gushed out.


If I didn’t wound the heart directly, then it probably… worked.


「The heart is an organ that will circulate blood around the entire body. By cutting a large artery and not hurting the heart, we can bleed the beast out efficiently.」


Hence, it would be better to slit the carotid artery, but it was risky. If I hurt the throat or breathing organs, the Kiba beast would suffocate to death, and its heart would stop pumping.


「It is actually better to hang it from a tree, but lifting this fellow would be a lot of work. This should be enough!」


As she didn’t reply, I turned my head back and found Ai Fa with a confused expression.


「… We’re just bringing the meat on its legs back, why do we need to bleed out its entire body?」


「Hmm?」


「If we bring back a Kiba beast of this size, the meat would spoil before we can even finish. Large families would bring an entire Kiba beast back in order to skin its hide, but everyone else will usually just take the legs.」


「Leaving such a delicacy is such a waste!」


「If we leave the rest of the carcass here, the Manto that only eat rotting meat and other beasts would finish it. If we bring it home and it rots before we can finish it, that will be a graver sin.」


「I see, then there’s no problem. But why bring back the leg meat? Thigh meat aren’t bad, but there are many other parts that are more delectable.」


「That’s not true. Kiba meat is very pungent, and its hind leg doesn’t taste as strong.」


I understand now. If they didn’t know about bloodletting, then the torso would indeed be more pungent than the limbs. After all, its veins would be cut when they take the legs, and a lot of blood would flow out.


Even so, after spending eighty years hunting Kiba beasts for a living, they must be really crude to not even consider draining the Kiba’s blood. Since the meat taste bad, they should spend more effort to make it more delectable. Such greed and ambition was the reason why the food culture of humans could develop so rapidly.


As I was thinking about all that, the blood stop flowing.


The Kiba beast that was spasming had completely stopped.


It was dead.


I offered it a prayer in my heart.


The fur of the Kiba beast was covered in mud, grass and its own feces. After I cleaned it with water from the river, I turned to Ai Fa:


「Okay, time for the next step… Erm, can I insist on my own view and bring it back whole?」


「Do what you want, just don’t damage the Horns and Tusks.」


Ai Fa showed a complicated expression, not sure if she should be excited or not care at all, and just shrugged.


I ignored her reaction and stabbed the knife into the Kiba beast’s belly.


This knife was sharper than the one I used during the farm experience camp. Careful not to cut too deep, I carved open the Kiba’s stomach.


In order to extract its organs.


This wasn’t hard, but there was one point to take note of. That was to not cut the large intestines, gall and bladder which had a horrible stench. If the stench from these organs got onto the meat, it would render the blood letting meaningless.


I cut into the diaphragm with my blade and started taking out the organs.


First were the small and large intestines.


Next were the guts, liver, pancreas, lungs and heart.


I extracted them one at a time easily.


The Kiba beast’s body structure was not much different from a boar.


After emptying its upper torso cavity, the hardest part awaited me in the lower cavity. Its bladder.


I moved my knife cautiously, careful not to break that organ.


… Hmm?


There was an organ I had never seen before beneath the bladder.


Was it an organ unique to the Kiba beast?


I carefully cut off that organ.


The oval organs were huge, with one on either side and felt really solid.
… Ah.


These were probably its testicle.


The one I dismembered before was female, so it didn’t have such an organ.


I placed the testicles on a boulder to show my respect.


And the extraction of the organs came to an end.


I turned back and Ai Fa still had a look of surprise.


「This looks just like the ritual performed by the rumoured voodoo priests. Is this process necessary for the sake of eating meat?」


「It is. But I can’t perform the next step here. We need to find a way to bring it back like this… how can we do this?」


Ai Fa sighed, and disappeared into the woods after saying  「wait right here.」


While she was gone, I used the river water to wash the Kiba beast’s empty cavity.


Fortunately, there wasn’t creatures like leeches here. The Kiba beast’s body temperature was falling, so if they were here, they would probably jumped onto me since my temperature was higher.


「Here, use this.」


After about five minutes later, Ai Fa came back. In her hands were a long wooden stick that was about my height.


The stick had a deep colour, looked really straight and there were signs of branches being cut from its surface everywhere. It was about the thickness of my wrist.


「This is Krilee tree. It’s hard and won’t break easily.」


「Alright. How do we use it to carry the Kiba?」


Ai Fa bent forward quietly and took out the ropes from the inside of her cape. She then tied the limbs of the Kiba beast onto the Krilee tree.


「I see now! Your movements are really practiced.」


「I’m just imitating others. The men from large clans would use this method to bring home an entire Kiba beast to skin their hide.」


「Okay. Aifa, don’t you need to tan hides too? The cape on you is made from the Kiba beast’s hide too, right?」


「Tanning hides requires effort from a lot of people, and that’s women’s work.」


「You’re a woman too.」 I didn’t say it out loud, but I was probably showing it on my face, so Ai Fa stiffened her face as if I was annoying.


「I can buy tanned hides with the Kiba’s tusks. So, instead of wasting time tanning the hides, it is wiser to hunt Kiba beasts. In the first place, I will starve if I don’t hunt Kiba beasts… Also, there’s no one at home to tan the hide with me. You got any problems with that?」


「I have no problems of course. I’m just thinking… You said that tanning hides is the task of women, and hunting Kiba beast is the job of men?」


「Of course. Women won’t hunt Kiba beast.」


「B-But you’re a woman.」


In the end, I still slipped my tongue.


Ai Fa looked away unhappily and started tying the Kiba’s forelegs.


「I might be a woman, but I’m also the head of the Fa House. My father taught me how to make a living by hunting Kiba beasts, so I could support myself.」


「I see.」


But what kind of emotions did Ai Fa’s late father harbour when he taught his daughter the skills to 《hunt Kiba》?


That night when Ai Fa’s father passed away, she offended Diga Tsun, who had authority in the settlement, and was ostracized the next day.


And so, Ai Fa lived by herself without relying on anyone. Thanks to the skills to hunt Kiba imparted to her by her father, she didn’t fall into despair! Did her father foresee his daughter being ostracized after his death? That was unlikely.


Don’t… Don’t need to think too much about this.


I was the same, my old man taught me how to cook since I was young. He even encouraged me to find something more interesting than cooking. Every parent would want their children to learn more skills.


But she...


Unlike me, she probably didn’t have a choice.


She could only make a living by hunting Kiba beasts like a man.


Even though she was such a beautiful and gentle girl—


「… Hey you, why are you looking at me with weird eyes.」


Ai Fa said as she stood up slowly.


A fire was burning in her cat-like eyes, and her brown cheeks were blushing a little.


「Listen up, you commited a grave taboo. You can’t complain even if I gouge out your eyes. I’m only not pursuing the matter on the account of you saving me from my desperate situation. Don’t get the wrong idea, or you will suffer one day.」


「What?」


I tilted my head and denied frantically.


「I-I’m not thinking about your naked body! Just who do you think I am? I had already buried this in the deepest part of my mind, but you are making me remember again!」


「Shut up! You want me to cut off your tongue before I gouge out your eyes?」


「Sigh, just let it go, it’s retarded! We are all set, right? Let’s bring it with us!」


To flee from the fuming Ai Fa, I bend my waist in front of the Kiba.


The pile of organs entered my field of vision.


「I would like to cook these, but we don’t have a refrigerator. And with my skills right now, I couldn’t handle these organs.」


「… Are you serious?」


「Of course, aside from it’s grunts, every part of the Kiba beast can be eaten.」
<TL: Proverb from Okinawa.>


This proverb should be talking about pigs, not boars. But no biggie.


After putting the front of the stick onto my shoulders, I could feel an astonishing weight.


As expected of something on the level of 70 kg,


「If you complain about being tired mid way, I will leave you behind.」


Ai Fa picked up the rear end of the stick deftly, and the weight on my shoulders lightened slightly.


「I will work hard for the sake of a delicious meal. What about you, is your body fine after going through that unfortunate incident?」


「Shut up! Don’t bring that up again!」


Hmm, did that incident scarred Ai Fa more than I expected?


Even though her skills in 《hunting Kiba》 could rival a man, she was still a girl going through puberty. Leaving the taboo aside, she would naturally feel embarrassed.


Leaving that aside for now, I would need to do the preparations for a delicious dinner soon.


「Let’s go! I will cook something delicious to reward you for the hardship you suffered today, look forward to it!」


Part 2
A few hours later, inside Ai Fa’s place.


「Alright! Let’s get started!」


I stood before the large body of the Kiba beast and yelled. Ai Fa sat cross legged and leaned against the wall, muttering 「whatever」 unhappily.


She probably wasn’t unhappy and was just tired. Actually, I felt exhausted too.


First, carrying that Kiba beast back home from the river was already a demanding task. After that, we had to complete our original job — collecting pico leaves and firewood, and returned to the river bank.


No further mishaps happened after that, but it was almost noon when we finished.


Which means to say we had been working diligently from morning to noon, aside from that deadly duel with the giant Madarama snake episode in the middle.


Our schedule for noon was supposed to be hunting Kiba beast, and there wasn’t any other pressing tasks at hand. Hence, I could start dealing with the Kiba beast we encountered in the morning.


Ai Fa started the fire in the stove as I requested. After finishing her task, she sat down heavily and munched on some jerky, her expression saying very clearly that 「what happens next is none of my business」.


After peeking at Ai Fa, I raised the knife she loan me.


As bloodletting was done and the organs were extracted, the next step would of course be 「skinning」.


There was a broken door in the store room, so I used it as my working platform. As there wasn’t any furniture that looked like a table in the house, I had no choice but to sit on the floor and proceed. I turned the belly side of the Kiba to face up, and placed the wood I prepared beforehand on either side to steady its posture.


I started with its hind leg first.


Using the knife, I went one circle around the ankles of its trotters, and cut from the inside of its leg up to its stomach.


Next, I slice the skin off its meat, removing its hide.


Hmm, it had plenty of fats.


The fats between the meat and the skin was about 1.5 cm thick.


Appraising it as an ingredient, the condition was excellent, but it also made the job more difficult. For animals with less fats such as deer, skinning could be done faster.


But this was for the sake of enjoying a delicious meal. I turned my knife and stripped away the hide quickly. I tried my best to not cut into the skin and not remove the fats.


The meat on both hind legs were finally unveiled.


The thigh meat covered by snow white fats bulged out under the stripped hide. This was an interesting sight.


At this time, the blade of the knife turned rather dull.


It was covered with sticky fats.


I dipped the blade into the boiling water inside the iron pot to dissolve the fats.


This was the reason why skinning couldn’t be done in the wild.


The house was filled with the thick scent of blood and meat.


After wiping the knife with the cloth Ai Fa gave me, I continued with my work.


Using the same method, I skinned the fore legs.


It might sound easy, but it actually took me an hour.


But this was just the beginning. After finishing the limbs, it was time to deal with the torso.


Since I already gutted the Kiba beast, I started working from the cut I already made.


Similar to how I skinned the limbs, I slit the blade between hide and meat, then peel away the hide as I cut.


However, the surface area of the torso was much bigger than the limbs. The fats made the handle slippery, so my hold was less firm than before, making it harder to strip away the hide.


In that case, I had to make holes at the edge of the hide for my fingers to grip onto.


Because the hide was very thick, it wouldn’t tear easily even if I pull at it with all my might.


I repeatedly clean off the fats on the blade as I peel away the hide.


When the right half of the Kiba beast was finally stripped clean, I was already covered in sweat.


My body told me that about two and a half hours had passed. The light shining in through the window was still bright.


「Phew. Time for a break.」


I placed the knife beside the head of the Kiba and sat down on the rug exhausted.


I looked back at the family head — Ai Fa, who was showing a shocked expression as expected.


Her eyes were wide open which looked really child-like. It felt healing just looking at her.


Because she always had a fierce expression, the difference felt really wonderful.


「…Asuta, your hands sure are nimble.」


「Yes, but only when I’m cooking.」


「And you are really serious in your work.」


「Yes, but only when I’m cooking.」


「… There’s no need for such troublesome procedures. Kiba meat can be eaten after cooking it. Why are you putting in so much effort for such unnecessary work?」


Her words didn’t upset me, I wasn’t that narrow minded.


And so, I replied to her in a mature manner: 「I just like to eat delicious food, and cooking them for others to eat.」


I would ask her to judge if this was an exercise in futility after she had tasted my dishes.


「Alright, time to continue.」


I thought of something while I was resting.


Before skinning the left half of the torso, I needed to do one more thing.


To cut off the Kiba’s head.


It had many organs on its head, such as the eyes, mouth and nose.


Hence, it was hard to skin.


So I had to chop off its head, it would be easier to deal with the head separately from the body.


And so, I started the preparations to cut off its neck.


This Kiba’s skull was smashed in, dying in a horrible way. After thinking in my heart 「I will make you delicious」, I stabbed the knife into its jaw.


The Kiba beast’s carcass was stiffening gradually, compared to the time I bled it out, it felt much harder.


And when I cut it open, a large amount of blood gushed out.


This couldn’t be helped. Even though I drained its blood earlier, that didn’t mean all the blood was gone. Furthermore, I didn’t have any experience before this. I was just an apprentice chef who was working haphazardly from my memory three years ago.


A seventeen years old apprentice chef who tried dismembering a boar just one time. The only tool I had was just a hunting knife, no work station and I had to prone on the ground and work hard in cutting off the Kiba’s neck.


Not just Ai Fa, anyone who saw me like this would probably laugh.


But I was happy.


Despite being covered in sweat and animal blood, I could feel that I was alive.


If they heard what I just thought, some people might think I have some sort of fetish. But the fact was, I hate lunatics who dismember animals just for the fun of it, and not for the sake of eating them.


I like cooking.


I had grown up watching the back of my father. When I entered primary school, I was already helping out in the restaurant. Maybe I didn’t choose this path out of my own conviction, and maybe I was just walking on a path someone else paved for me. But even so, I have no complaints.


And then, my dad’s catch phrase was 「go find something more interesting than cooking」.


「If you can’t find any, then it can’t be helped. You will have to take over the family business.」 My old man would say with a smile. He made me attend high school because he was worried about this.


However, I spent all my time in the kitchen.


Cooking was so interesting, so why would I need to go out of my way to find another hobby? I couldn’t understand the need for that.


I spent all my days cooking dishes that would impress my dad.


I really love cooking.


「Phew, this is tiring.」


When I cut the Kiba beast’s neck halfway, I poured out a lot water from the water flask to drink.


As I was drenched in sweat, even lukewarm water tasted great.


Time to continue.


The back of the knife was jagged, probably used to cut the Kiba’s tusks and horns. I used it to cut its collar bone.


And so, I cut off the rest of the parts and that head fell onto the broken door.


After a groan, I only skinned the parts I needed, and took the meat around and neck and cheeks.


Other parts could be eaten too, and the tongue was also enticing, but I could only cook these ingredients. If I knew, I would have asked the hunters to explain more thoroughly.


Next, I skinned the left half of the torso, flipped the Kiba over and peeled off the hide on its back.


The skinning was finally complete.


There were holes all over the place, but the I managed to peel off the entire hide beneath the neck.


Because this Kiba was 150 cm long and about 70 kg, spreading out the entire hide looked impressive.


The body of the Kiba beast was covered in fats, a looked like a huge lump of white meat.


A lump of white meat that was missing the head.


It was impossible to tell what animal it was like this.


This was also an impressive sight.


But I didn’t have time to indulge myself in this. It was finally time for the final steps.


After the skinning was done, the last task would be 「dismembering」.


I laid the bare body of the Kiba beast on its back once again, and stabbed into the inside of the hip joint.


I cut into the joint between the hip and the hind leg. After reaching a certain point, I twisted the joint in the opposite direction. With a dull crack, the joints between the pelvic bone and femur became visible.


The unveiled bare bones looked white and beautiful.


I sliced off the rest of the muscles and tendons, then pulled in the other direction, and the meat started coming off.


The right hind leg was cut off after I run the blade across the joint.


It was a huge piece of thigh meat, about 10 kg heavy.


After the right hind leg, I worked on the left hind leg.


After the left foreleg, I worked on the right foreleg.


The forelegs weren’t connected to a complicated joint like the pelvic bone, and could be removed after cutting through the ligaments.


It was time for the final climax.


I didn’t know how much time have passed, but the sun was turning a shade of orange.


It had been four to five hours since I started this project.


「… Oh right. Ai Fa, where is the saw?」


It had been a while since I looked at Ai Fa. When I turned towards her, it was a pity that she didn’t show a confused expression.


Or rather, the moment I turned back, she was looking back blankly, and didn’t show her usual face.


「Were you sleeping? Sorry for waking you up.」


「I’m not sleeping! Who will sleep when the sky is still so bright!」


If that was so, why was she so angry? Ai Fa stood up with a pout, and disappeared behind a door.


She went into the room in the middle. That should be the place where the utensils and kitchen wares were stored.


When Ai Fa walked out from the room, she was holding a saw with a blade about 30 cm long. If this saw was kept inside a sheath, it would look just like a sword. I could only tell it was a saw if it was drawn out.


The saw was about 5 cm thick and 5mm wide. I had never seen such a thick saw before. But it should be fine, since the people of Forest’s Edge used it to build their stylish houses.


「After I finish this, the job will be done for today. Wait for me a while more.」


I told Ai Fa that after receiving the saw from her. She turned her head away with a hmmp, and didn’t answer me.


I really don’t get women.


Anyway, I disinfected the saw with the boiling water in the iron pot.


This was the climax of the dismembering, 「vertical cut」.


I will be sawing the backbone in half.


Not top and down halves, but left and right halves.


The carcass would then be split into the left and right half. This was 「splitting」.


After doing this, I would be able to dismember the rest easily… This was something I learned directly from the hunters.


This animal was huge, so it would be best to use an electric saw. But it couldn’t be help since there wasn’t even electricity here. No matter how physically strenuous it was, I had to accept it.


And so, I started my work.


As expected, this was the most strenuous part.


I worked hard with my saw in hand, and regretted my actions. No matter how difficult it was, I should have hung the carcass up before starting, it would have made this task much easier.


The saw was sharp and performed perfectly. If I was a weekend carpentry hobbyist, this would probably be a piece of cake.


But I didn’t have such a hobby and fell into a tough battle. The fats on the backbone was very slippery, and sawing it in half was unbelievably difficult.


I would dissolve the fats on the saw with hot water from time to time, and took several breaks — I took at least an hour to finish the work. I kept separating bones from meat, picking out the back bone sawed off by me. I pulled out the ribs one at a time, and the waist was mostly meat so I just need to cut it off.


And finally —


「… It’s done!」 After yelling that, I laid down with my limbs spread out, then stood up immediately.


The job was finished, but I still needed to take care of the aftermath.


「Well then, it took so much work to cut the meat, I have to prevent it from spoiling and cure it with Pico leaves immediately.」


With Ai Fa’s assistance, I marinated the mountain of meat with spices.


From the 70 kg Kiba, I cut out more than 40 kg, but less than 50 kg of meat. For an apprentice chef that’s not a professional yet, this was great results.


「Ahhh, I’m beat! I can’t raise my hands!」


I could finally lay down sprawled out on the ground.


The light shining into the room was that of an evening setting sun.


From noon to evening, I worked for five to six hours. From my estimate, the time difference wasn’t too big. A day in this world should be around 24 hours. I thought blankly as I laid down exhausted.


「… Hey, how are you going to deal with all this?」


I turned my head when I heard someone talking, and Ai Fa was standing beside the stove with her feet wide apart.


On the broken door beside her feet was a large hide folded in half, a head with its cheeks carved out and a pile of bones.


「Oh right. It’s a pity, but we can only throw the bones away… How do you usually deal with the hide? Even if you only take the legs, you will still peel it off, right?」


「I will strip off the fats on it and throw away the rest.」


「So you will throw it away, what a waste. The other families tans hide, right? Can you give it to them?」


「… If they get involved with me, that means antagonizing the Tsun clan. No one will offend the Tsun clan for the sake of some hide.」


「Tchh, such narrow minded people… Ah, fats can be used as fuel, right? How do you strip it off?」


I wanted to prop myself up when I said that, but Ai Fa stopped me coldly from getting up.


「Asking an exhausted person to help will just be trouble for me. Just lie down.」


「But…」


「My job is to strip the fats and collect the tusks and horns. Your job is to prepare dinner. Rest now before that.」


Her tone was cold, but her words made me grateful.


I had been working since morning, and I was literally exhausted now.


To be honest, my eyelids felt really heavy since a while ago.


I couldn’t even tell if I said out loud「you are really gentle」, and doze off into my dreams as if I was knocked out.

Part 3


When I opened my eyes, it was already dark.


Ai Fa lit the light stand with fire from the stove, and threw a sharp glare my way.


「You’re finally up. If you slept any longer, I would have thrown water on you.」


「Don’t go that far… How long did I sleep?」


Ai Fa tilted her head in silence and threw firewood into the stove.


Maybe the people of Forest’s Edge didn’t have the habit of demarcating time. They work when the sun rises and sleep when the sun sets, which was probably the unspoken rule of their routines.


「I threw the remains of the Kiba beast into the valley and spend some time washing the board… I’m getting hungry.」


「Understood. Then it’s my turn to work.」


Splitting work this way wasn’t too bad, and I walked happily to the food store.


Six fake onions.


Four fake potatoes.


And one Kiba hind leg was placed on what looks like a rubber tree leaf.


It goes without saying that this wasn’t the preserved Kiba meat from before, but meat from the one I slaughtered earlier.


By right, I should use the preserved meat first, but I want Ai Fa to experience the joy of tasty food as soon as possible, and how delicious my cooking could be. So I ask her to let me use the freshly prepared meat.


「Are these vegetables the standard portion for one day?」


I wasn’t sure if she understood what 「standard portion」 means, but Ai Fa simply answered 「We will die if we only eat meat.」


If humans didn’t eat a balanced diet, they would fall ill.
However, I had not studied how to deal with these vegetables yet.


Nevermind, I will just give my best shot.


I washed the board used as a pot cover with water, then placed the Kiba meat on top of it.


And then — I picked up the Santoku knife from 『Tsurumi restaurant』.


This knife was a symbol of my old man’s soul.


Grabbing the black handle, I drew it out from the plain white sheath to reveal its steel body.


The blade was 21 cm long. Despite over two decades of usage, the carefully crafted blade didn’t warp at all. On the blade was the words 『Tsurumi restaurant』.


Dad, I will be using this.


I placed the blade on the Kiba meat.


Compared to aged pork, this meat was hard. The Santoku knife — sinked into the meat without any resistance.


I was filled with joy when I looked at the sharp blade, but my movement was steady when I carved the meat off the bones.


Although white fats covered the surface of the meat, the inside of the thigh was a deep red.


In order to keep the blade from touching the bone, I kept a generous distance. After carving out the meat, I sliced it as thin as possible.


The texture of the meat might be hard, it was still raw meat in the end and couldn’t be sliced too thinly. At my current skill level, 7 or 8 mm was the limit. This thickness should be just nice for a hot pot.


After cutting out around 500 grams, I placed the rest of the meat back into the storage room. I just need to to carve out the remaining meat on this large femur, and it would be enough for the two of us to eat.


「Right, I forgot to ask you one important thing. Ai Fa, is there any other ingredients or seasonings in this house?」


Ai Fa was observing my every move quietly, but she raised her head in surprise.


「If you eat Kiba, aria and poitan, you won’t fall sick.」


「Yes, but there is another scent on your body. I can’t tell if it is a flower, fruit or herb, but you’re using something else, right?」


When she heard me say that, Ai Fa’s cheeks turned red.


「Asuta, I wanted to tell you since yesterday, don’t say things like 「you smell nice」, it’s weird.」


「It’s not a big deal. Telling someone that they smell nice is a compliment.」


「… But I can’t take it if I almost get eaten!」


Ai Fa pressed the left side of her neck with her palm and stood up with a start.


That bite mark was still there. I felt a little embarrassed.


Ai Fa then disappeared into the food store with crude steps. She then returned with something strange in hand.


It was a round pot with a huge lid, and a fake rubber tree leaf that had been curled up into a ball.


The pot had a volume about 1 litre, and that ball of leaf was about a size of a human fist.


「This is fruit wine and salt.」


「Salt!」


Ai Fa looked displeased when I shouted loudly.


「I use the salt to make jerky. One Kiba horn worth of coins can only be exchanged for this much.」


A horn sounded in my mind when she opened that leaf ball. Inside it was pieces of beautiful blue crystals. This was probably rock salt.


I had only seen pink and yellow rock salt before, but I did hear that a type of blue rock salt exist.


I scraped off a small piece with my nails and after licking the powder, a strong salty taste exploded in a tiny region of my mouth. It taste great. Maybe because I sweated the entire day and loss plenty of salt, so I thought it was delicious.


「… Salt is expensive, don’t waste it.」


「You are absolutely right! And this is fruit wine?」


I pulled out the cork made from softwood, and grape wine fragrance that had a strong hint of sourness whiffed out.


「Give me that.」


Ai Fa snatched it from my hands after saying that. After taking a large swig, she shoved it back to me.


「Eh, by the way, how old are you, Ai Fa?」


After saying  「Seventeen」, she licked her lips.


「I see, I’m seventeen too. We are the same age. Is this fruit wine expensive?」


「If I have spare coins after buying my necessities, I will change it for fruit wine. I don’t like to bring coins back to the settlement.… There is nothing that is more valuable than salt and food ingredients.」


「Okay. I think the fruit wine would be of great use too… But all these seem unrelated from the scent on you.」


「Who knows! Aside from these, I only touched fruits that keep poisonous insects away, and the herbs used for making jerky!」


She didn’t have to be so mad.


But from the looks of it, these ingredients would be enough. I was really happy to see 「salt」 appearing.


「Ai Fa, can I borrow your knife again?」


After getting the knife from the stiff faced girl, I carved off the remaining meat on the bones.


And we were all set.


The thigh meat on the Kiba was about 500g.


The meat carved from the bones was about 400g.


Fake onions, 6.


Fake potatoes, 4.


One dry Pico leaf that smells like black pepper.


And rock salt.


That was the ingredients for today.


And under Ai Fa’s instructions, I grounded the rock salt into powder, and poured one large spoonful of it into the boiling pot.


That amount should do for today. Even with just one spoonful, adding salt would bring out a completely different taste.


Like last night, the pot was half filled with water. I think having less water would be better, but I could only figure things out regarding this through trial and error.


I then tossed the 900g of Kiba meat into the pot.


The red and white meat slices danced in the boiling water.


「Ah, Ai Fa, don’t add firewood for now.」


Ai Fa was walking towards the stove, and she turned her head my way in surprise.


「If the Kiba meat isn’t cook thoroughly, it will be very tough.」


「Yes, I plan to cook it with a small fire to make stew.」


Ai Fa started a large fire and cooked it for about twenty minutes. Although the meat was soft enough to chew, the texture was like rubber.


Boar meat would become softer the longer it was cooked.


That was the largest difference from pork raised in farms.


「Uwah, it’s here.」


Tens of seconds after putting the meat into the pot, a large amount of foam appeared.


I took out the wooden ladle and container I prepared beforehand and carefully scooped out the foams and bubbles.


Because the meat was filled with fats, the amount of foam was much greater than yesterday.


Yes — Thinking back now, the thigh meat last night was all red without any fats.


It was the same for Kiba and boar, they only have fats in their thigh between the meat and skin. When Ai Fa cooks, she would slice the meat starting from the surface, so she would exhaust all the fats from the very beginning.


Boar meat without much fats wasn’t suitable for hot pot (it should be the same for Kiba). That was why last night’s meat was like rubber. As I kept on scooping up the foams, such thoughts filled my mind.


「Okay, the problem is, how should I deal with these.」


After clearing most of the foam, I replace the lid and left it alone for a while.


I sat in a position where I could check the stove fire, and faced the vegetables that looked like potatoes and onions.


「Fake onions, no, this is aria. It looks likes an onion, so there should be a way to deal with it. This one is the problem — I want to ask, what exactly is a poitan?」


「… It’s a poitan.」


Ai Fa sat down with her back against the wall again. She supported her cheek with her hand and kept a stiff face.


「Two poitan, three aria and Kiba meat seasoned with Pico leaves. Eating these will provide you with the energy to work for one whole day. This is the knowledge we gain after living in Forest’s Edge for eighty years.」


They probably get their salt from the jerky they eat during the day.


「Hmm.」


I nodded,


「By the way, how long is the average life expectancy of the people in Forest’s Edge?」


「Average life expectancy? If you want to ask how long everyone lives, it’s different for everyone. Many of us lose our life because of attacks by Kiba and other beasts, not because of illness or old age.」


Ai Fa lowered her gaze.


She was probably thinking about her father.


「Leaving that aside… aside from those who starved to death or died in the forest, everyone should live more than 60 years. The grand elder of Forest’s Edge is Jibae from the Wu Clan, she is more than 80 years old.」


「I see. Compared to my world, the people here live quite a long life.」


Her brown skin glisten under the glow of the orange light. There were white scars on her skin, but she still looked really soft.


With a 「Hmm」, I reached out to check how tender her skin was.


The next instant, she hit me in the head with her fist.


「My bad. Your muscles is tight and soft, very impressive. For athletes, this type of muscles is the best.」


I wanted to make the mood less solemn with a joke, but I seemed to have gone about it the wrong way. In the end, it only made Ai Fa show a vicious face, like a wild cat.


「I just want to know the health of the people living in Forest’s Edge. At the very least, your diet isn’t a problem.」


As expected, they eat the required amount of vegetables every day.


「Hmm, that will be my homework! I will study how to deal with poitan tomorrow. I already spent today working on Kiba beast.」


Ai Fa’s eyes were still fierce, so I immediately fled back to the stove. I scoop up the new foams, add firewood, and kept the fire from becoming too weak. I repeated these tasks for quite a while.


「… I’m hungry. When can we eat?」


「hmm? I think it will take 60 to 90 minutes… About three to four times as long as yesterday.」


Ai Fa showed a shocked expression, and sighed depressedly.


「Sorry, I’m hungry too… I should have started preparation for dinner right after the butchering was done.」


「… I was the one who asked you to rest, and left the dinner preparation to you. You don’t need to feel responsible.」


Ai Fa said seriously. But her expression look really sad.


Was she that hungry? I think that was really amusing.


An empty stomach was the best seasoning.


If I couldn’t satisfy her, then my cooking skills would be too terrible.


Would I win or lose? In another hour or so, the match would be decided.


Part 4
「Alright, it’s finished!」


Going by my rough gauge of time, it had been one hour and twenty minutes since I threw the Kiba meat into the pot. I finally announced its completion.


During this time, I scooped up the foams, adjusted the fire, checked the toughness of the meat, soothed the starving Ai Fa and occasionally talked about serious matters with her — These 80 minutes were happy and at times frustrating.


The house was filled with the fragrance of the Kiba meat.


It smelled stronger than the hot pot last night. Having fats played a huge role as expected.


But these trivial stuff didn’t matter. Anyway, let’s dig in!


「Sorry for the wait, have as much as you want.」


I stirred the pot with a ladle and filled one bowl for Ai Fa.


In the end, I didn’t throw the fake potatoes, also known as poitan, into the pot.


After cooking for 60 minutes, I tried throwing slices of fake onions (which was aria) and fake black pepper (or Pico leaves) into the pot.


But even so, the soup stock was still very white and murky. The translucent bowl of soup was filled with the essence released from the meat. Yes, this wasn’t a 『Kiba beast pot』. I dubbed it as 『Kiba meat soup』.


On second thought, this dish was indeed soup stocking from cooking meat, seasoned with just salt and spices. Instead of 「pot」, it was more fitting to call it 「soup」.


Since it was 「soup」, it was fine to complement it with onions. If only poitan was just like its appearance and be just like a potato.


Anyway, self suggestion played a big part in enjoying food too.


And so I presented this dish that I secretly dubbed 『Kiba meat soup』 to my beloved mistress.


「… It feels strange to not add poitan.」 Ai Fa smelled the soup suspiciously after saying that.


However, the hot pot yesterday smelled delicious too. Everything up until now was not very different from yesterday.


After scooping my own portion, I sat down opposite Ai Fa.


「This is my experimental work number one. I’m actually not very confident. I plan to use this dish to set my foundation and improve on it in the future. Please tell me your honest opinion after this.」


「…I don’t think food being tasty matters at all. It will be useless for me to tell you my comment.」


「I get it I get it… Then I’m digging in.」


Ai Fa closed her eyes, her left finger moved to her mouth and drew a line to the side as she mumbled to herself..


In this world, that gesture probably mean 「I’m digging in」. But I don’t remember her making this gesture yesterday. Forget it, I was fine with it either way. It would be depressing for a chef if a world didn’t have the concept of 「I’m digging in」 or 「Thank you for the meal」.


Anyway, let’s eat.


I scooped up a spoonful of soup.


The black powder was spread out in the soup and could be seen everywhere. That was the powder from the pico leaf.


Both the presentation and fragrance was excellent.


However, things weren’t that different from dinner last night so far.


I already test tasted a few times, but what kind of flavour would be brought out after the ingredients were combined? With a heart filled with expectation, I drank a mouthful — It was a success, very delicious.


This soup was rather plain, without any miso or soy sauce. The unique taste of the kiba meat and pico leaf were full of flavour. It was faint, but the stock was very fragrant and stimulated my appetite.


About a third of the water I poured into the pot had evaporated. The soup was rather thick. And the result of not adding water was a delicious pot of soup.


The next important thing was the kiba meat.


I only used a stick in lieu of chopsticks to checked its toughness, and this was my first time tasting it.


I didn’t scoop up the pieces of meat I carved off from the bones, only going for the thigh meat for now. It had been dyed the colour of ivory, and the white fats were shaking minutely in a cute manner.


The thigh meat was squarish and its sides were about 4 cm long, and 5mm thick. I sent it to my mouth in one go.


After chewing, the tender meat spread quickly.


How soft, the texture was softer than I expected.
But it was rather chewy.


The rubbery fats mixed came together with the elastic lean meat, and the fresh taste kept spreading in my mouth.


Ah — As expected, this was a high class ingredient.


Even though the meat wasn’t aged, its taste could rival the boar pot I ate three years ago.


And of course, this was the crystalization of my effort in the slaughtering process, the day’s hard labour and famished stomach, that’s why it was so delicious — Even so, I wouldn’t change my evaluation of this dish.


I could taste the fresh flavour of the meat directly because I didn’t use any seasoning.


The primal taste unique to wild animals gave off a strong sense of presence… I had tasted wild beasts only a few times so it might be arrogant to say that, but just thinking about it in my heart shouldn’t be going too far. I tried the aria too, and it was just right for the soup since I cooked it softer than yesterday.


When I sent the aria, meat and soup into my mouth at the same time, the taste became more complex. This onion (although it wasn’t an onion) had a more prominent sweetness than spiciness. As its taste and texture wouldn’t overwhelm that of the main dish, it greatly increased its quality.


Hmm, for experiment dish number 1, this is great.


When I thought this far, I looked in front of me and saw Ai Fa stood up with her dinnerware.


Her face was serious as usual as she walked to the stove in silence.


She already finished a bowl?


I’m happy to see that she found the food appetizing, but I was worried that she didn’t savour the taste properly.


After refilling her bowl, she returned to her seat.


Ai Fa didn’t meet my eyes at all.


At this point, the uneasiness in my heart had already grown to an unbearable stage.


「Let me ask you, what do you think? I think I cooked it really well.」


Ai Fa took a sip and tilted her head confusedly.


「What do you mean…? I already told you, it is meaningless for me to give you my opinion.」


「That might be so…」


I felt a sense of quivering from somewhere near my pelvis.


As if an unknown feeling was squirming about, seeking an exit.


Was it anger, sadness, depression or uneasiness — I wasn’t sure what that exact feeling was, it was definitely  「negative」.


「J-Just to be sure, after I spent so much time cooking this meal is it… meaningless…?」


Ai Fa’s expression turned even more confused.


She then looked into the content within her bowl.


The orange light made the shadows of her long eyelashes waver on her cheeks.


What should I do?


My heart was racing.


An ominous feeling creeping in my mind.


「… For me, eating is just for survival, and there isn’t any difference whether its tasty or not.」


「… Yes.」


「I will feel troubled if you ask me to comment on the taste of your food, I won’t know how to express it.」


「Yes, that’s true.」


「But one thing is clear to me…」


Ai Fa raised her head slowly, her beautiful blue eyes staring straight at me.


「This is probably… what deliciousness feels like.」


Her pink lips revealed these words slowly.


「Eating is enjoyable now… comfortable… blissful. Is this how it feels to eat something delicious?」


I was speechless.


Ai Fa frowned a little painfully.


「I finally understand why you put in so much passion into cooking, and is stupidly serious about it… I think I understand now, it might be arrogant for me to think so, but at least I won’t refute your actions.」


「Ai Fa…」


「I don’t know how to express this. I can only say this much, but I think you did the right thing.」


It was slight but Ai Fa… raised the corner of her beautiful lips.


「So, don’t show such a pained expression. This dish is delicious.」


I nodded in response, and focused on eating quietly.


I couldn’t understand anymore.


The uneasiness from the depth of my guts had vanished, and had been replaced with the inside of my neck heating up and my back turning cold.


If I wasn’t careful, I would have difficulty breathing.


I was probably — overjoyed.


The wide emotional swing made my emotions intense.


I must be hoping very much for Ai Fa to acknowledge me from the bottom of my heart. The intensity of this thought was stronger than I imagined.


In this world, only Ai Fa understands me.


She was my benefactor, and I hope she could acknowledge me.


On the surface, this mysterious beauty called Ai Fa might appear eccentric, forthright and barbaric like men. But she was gentler than anyone I knew. She probably had an emotional scar deep within her heart, so she didn’t want to rely on anyone and live by herself. She was strong, beautiful, brave and delicate — And I hope she would accept me.


Damn it… But that’s not my full power yet!


This spurred my competitive spirit and I chewed crudely on the Kiba meat. My fight wasn’t over yet.


With my resolve set again, I glared at the enemy.


The fake potato — poitan was left on the ground beside the stove.


Intermission: Everyday life in Forest’s Edge


The day in Forest’s Edge settlement begins early in the morning.


The people start work at dawn, beginning immediately after getting up from bed.


Their work varies, but if they didn’t have any pressing work at hand, they would start by tidying up last night’s dinner.


They would place the used pots, utensils and cloth stained with fats into an iron pot, and clean them to the water source to wash. As for why they didn’t clean it the night before? Although this was the territory cleared out by humans, they might still encounter dangerous wildlife when night falls.


The Kiba beasts were cautious and didn’t appear often. But if they were hungry, they would still invade the residence of the humans. They would pass through Forest’s Edge and head to Genos’ western territory where the farmland was.


Aside from the Kiba, there was also the Manto, also known as the 「rotting flesh scout」, which had the appearance of a giant rat. Furthermore, venomous snakes and scorpions were very dangerous too. There wasn’t any large predator that prey on humans, but a bite from these beasts would cause illness that would be hard to recover from.


And so, they would clean their kitchenwares in the morning, at the water source nearest to their respective homes. For Fa House, that would be one of the streams that branches out from Lanto river, about ten minutes walk away.


The stream passes through a stony riverbed. It might be a stream, but it was just like spring water that flowed through the mountains.


They would clean their pots and kitchenware there, using something like a brush, made by securing dried Kiba bristles. The pots and wares might be stained with oil, but they could be cleaned unexpectedly well after brushing it with the short bristles.


The stained clothes would be cleaned during this time too. As they had more time to spare, the denizens would use this time to do laundry too.


When their water flask run dry, they would refill it during this time too.


As the iron pots and water flasks were heavy, they would use something call a 「tow board」.


It was a large piece of wooden board used to carry cargo. The denizens would stick bristles on the reverse side, and coat it with solid fats.. They would then braid vines into ropes, securing them to the board and create handles from similar material. It could then be slung over their shoulders to tow the board.


As the board had been greased, the friction was reduced which ease about half the load. But if the water flasks were full, it would weigh about a hundred kilogram, and would be tough to pull.


The people from other families that I would run into at the water source were all women.


Most of them were middle aged housewives stronger than I was, but there were lots of old grandmothers and young girls too. Even they could pull the boards nonchalantly. I was sure that out of everyone there, I showed the most strained expression.


「What a weak man.」 And of course, that was the words of my dear mistress of the house.


By the way, early in the morning at the water source was the place where we could come into closest contact with other families. But as I expected, no one came near Ai Fa. Some women would greet her, but won’t communicate further than that. We didn’t hold much expectation either. The Tsun clan ruled Forest’s Edge after all, so doing that would probably incur their wrath.


On top of that, a weak man suddenly appeared by Ai Fa’s side, wearing a white chef uniform and T-shirt that was out of place with Forest’s Edge, so the other denizens looked at Ai Fa with even more suspicious eyes — I thought that would happen, but no one did that. Everyone only looked from afar at me who was staying by Ai Fa’s side, but no one met my eyes.


This might be a little off topic, but all these women were dressed in pretty clothes like the one Ai Fa wore. In order to not appear too prominent, most clothes had dull hues such as dark green or brown as its base colour. However, they made use of these colours to add complicated spiral patterns on their clothes, giving them a traditional yet fashionable look.


The married women would wrap their body with a large piece of cloth, covering themselves from their chest to their knees.


Unmarried women would dress just like Ai Fa, covering their chest and waist with two separate pieces of cloth.


And of course, the other women didn’t wore capes or secure large blades to their waists. Except when entering the forest, Ai Fa would carry a knife when she leaves the house. A lot of young girls would carry knives too. Even if they didn’t hunt Kiba, these knives could be used to harvest herbs or cut vines, a very practical tool.


Everyone in the settlement had brown skin. They had varying hair and eye colour, but the most common was light brown hair and blue pupils. I had seen redheads and black hair too, there were many blondes like Ai Fa too. There should be women with black or brown pupils too, but they kept a distance from me, so I couldn’t confirm.


However, no one had yellow skin like me.


Anyway, after finishing the work at the water source, what’s next would be house chores.


We would maintain our blades every day.


We would check the condition of the blade and hilt. And if necessary, we would repair it. Grinding stone in this world looks like obsidian, a rough rock with a dark glister about it.


After that, we would check the ingredients in the food store.


Checking the aria and poitan was important too, but the main focus was still the Kiba meat.


As we checked the Kiba meat for damages, we would use the pico leaf to rub and knead them. If the pico leaves were just left there, it would absorb the moisture from the meat, so we needed to knead it once a day. This stops the meat from losing too much water to the pico leaves, which in turns depletes its preservation effectiveness.


Like the meat, the jerky was also buried in pico leaves. We would cut the needed amount of jerky at this time, and finally have breakfast. As we chew on the rubbery jerky, we would head into the forest.


Our goal was to collect herbs, firewood and to bathe.


The sun would have risen completely by this time.


Which means that Ai Fa did all these chores when I arrived at Ai Fa’s place. In order to head into the forest, she completed all these chores before waking me.


However, not only did I slept so deeply, I even did something mean to her, a terrible shame. When I apologized again after the fact, she kicked my leg thrice. Damn, that hurts.


After dealing with all that, we headed into the forest.


First, we headed downstream of Lante river to bathe.


Yes, bathe.


The consecutive attack by the Madarama snake and the kiba the last time traumatized us. But my beloved mistress told me 「it is almost impossible for that to happen again」, and even looked at me coldly, as if contemplating how weak this man from another world was.


However, that Madarama snake was indeed the nemesis of the kiba. Because of its presence in the mountains, the kiba could only stay at the edge of the forest at the foot of the mountain. If the Madarama snake appears near the foot of the mountain, the kiba could only escape elsewhere, or their numbers would dwindle sharply.


Hence, it was rare to find Madarama snakes near the foot of the mountain. The one we saw probably lost its footing — or rather, its scalings and fell into the river. It was probably washed here by the current. What a troublesome snake.


After concluding that, I could finally enjoy my bath.


The average temperature here was about 30 degrees, and bathing in this climate was really comfortable.


I didn’t have the habit of showering in the morning, but after a short while, I find this bathing time to be really blissful.


Going off topic again, I want to emphasize that since that accident, I had not breached any other Forest’s Edge taboo. I swear on my very soul that I would not do that again.


After finishing our bath, we would forage for herbs.


The crucial pico leaves.


Pico leaves were our preservatives, and its effectiveness would deplete when it absorbed the moisture from the meat. Even if we stir it every day, it would last for just a month at most.


The meat storage was about 2m x 2m x 30cm. As we need to replenish such an amount of pico leaves monthly, we would collect a certain amount every day.


Without pico leaves, there would be no meat. This concerns our survival, so we needed to keep a careful count every day. If we didn’t meet the necessary amount, we would prioritize our time to forage for pico leaves.


After foraging pico leaves, we would collect krilee fruits and lilo leaves.


Krilee fruits were used as repellent for harmful insects.


Many poisonous insects and venomous snakes lurk in the forest. In order to protect themselves, the denizens of Forest’s Edge would weave wrist bands with these fruits. It gets in the way of my cooking, so I hung them around my neck. And by scattering them around the house, it would keep such insects and snakes from invading the house, so we needed to pick these plants periodically.


Lilo leaves were herbs needed to make jerky.


By the way, one of the fragrances from Ai Fa came from this herb. Its scent was calming and refreshing, and smelled elegant enough to be perfume. It also neutralized the stimulating smell of meat and fats, which was great.


However, I didn’t tell Ai Fa all this. She would kick me if I did.


After the foraging was done, the last part was to gather firewood.


If there were enough branches on the ground, we would tie them up with vines growing nearby and bring them home. If not, we would break off smaller branches from the trees and leave it to dry at home.


There would be sudden downpours several times a day.


This natural phenomenon was unpredictable, and would sometimes drench all the firewood we gathered. But we weren’t disheartened and would continue to gather more branches. Even if they got drenched by rain, we just needed to dry it. Such optimism were needed when living in Forest’s Edge. And my cooking method would use up more firewood, so gathering them was an important task.


Which meant — all the work we do were important.


Even though I emphasized the importance of the pico leaves, it was just a matter of priority. If we didn’t go about each tasks in order, we wouldn’t be able to survive here.


Be it washing dishes, drawing water, grinding blades, food stock management, foraging herbs, gathering firewood or hunting kiba beasts, all this was for the sake of survival.


If we skip even one of these steps, we wouldn’t be able to survive.


For the sake of survival, labour was mandatory. We can only survive after working the entire day.


Because the denizens of Forest’s Edge lived such a life, they never thought about 「raising the quality of their food」.


Be it meat, aria or poitan, all this could be eaten after cooking them in a stew. No other procedure was needed. Eating was just for survival. Just like the other jobs, this was just a  「means」 to live on. It didn’t hold any value as entertainment. The 「taste」 wasn’t important.


They will die if they don’t eat, so they eat. There’s no other reason.


For living beings, that was the correct attitude.


Be it the kiba pot prepared by Ai Fa or the kiba meat soup cooked by me, both had nutritional value. Hence in this world, opting for the convenient and faster way was the right choice.


But I’m from a different world. I came from a world that understands the joy of 「eating」.


Therefore, I will strive on in my own path.

My battle in this different world was just beginning.


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