So much for going back to the usual schedule… I guess I'll just go back to the previous schedule when I finally get my sh*t together…
Also, because of the lack of time, my interest in this novel is starting to fade. I really should find a way to remedy that…
Chapter 39: That time when I played around while calling it training
The next morning, I woke up and ate breakfast at my usual time.
Even though I prepared myself for the possibility of the village chief coming by, there's still no sign of him so I thought about exploring the village for a bit. I don't think a lot has changed in just a month though.
Hnー? I was thinking of fixing the spot where I removed the traces of blood from yesterday, but it seems like somebody already did it for me. Was it father? Well, that's fine. I'll just tread on it for a bit as well.
Well then, I guess I should head over to Suzuran's place.
Un. As expected, Suzuran still hasn't woken up. There's nobody by the pond and birds are begging me for their food. Although I feel bad for the ducks and chickens, I'd also feel bad for waking her up so I guess I'll just go to the distillery for now.
Hmm~ I like being greeted this way. It's like a true craftsman's greeting.
「Yo, Caam. What's up」 1
「Hn? Ah, I was just wondering how the change from coal to charcoal that we decided on last time went. I'm also curious about the state of the charcoal production」
「Ahー, we had some difficulties with the charcoal at first, but the workers are starting to get a hang of it somehow, so we're gradually shifting to that. We were pretty devastated at first, though, since we just ended up with ashes」
Well, of course, I mean, I may have told them to do it but I still think they would fail the first few times.
「Well, it's fine if they're starting to get used to it. What about the distilled liquors?」
「Production has steadily increased. We just don't have a place to put them. We've already expanded the warehouse but as a precaution, we've started discussing building another one in a different location」
「It seems like everything is going smoothly, so that's good. I've even seen Beryl Sake in town you know? I didn't drink it though」
「I just thought it would be good to try something else since I can drink it anytime I want whenever I come back. By the way, if you have time, I can give you pointers on how to construct the charcoal-making hut」
「We can do it right now since I'm free all morning. We'll start transferring the distilled liquor into the barrels once the sun gets a bit higher, so let's just do it now」
「Hm, then I'll leave it to you. Where did you decide to put it anyways?」
「Ahー, it's at the place you used as a training area. Or was it called a practice area? We're planning to expand it once we clear the area」
「Why? Do you have anything you don't want to be seen hidden there?」
「No, it's not that. It just seems like there's a lot of things you need to consider nearby」
「That may be true, but we had to put it someplace discrete. Well, you could probably see the smoke though」
We continued our conversation while changing our location. He confirmed that there wasn't a lot of things that have changed since my last visit.
「Hmmー I guess it's okay. It won't get wet because of the rain and it doesn't seem like air would leak out. You made it just like how I told you right?」
「Well, yeah, but they were surprised when we told them to make the smoke vents at the bottom, but they seemed to understand why when we actually tried making it. All the fumes would just escape and the charcoal wouldn't be made after all. Actually, we made two at first, one for the people saying, 『Why is there no chimney on top!』. The stuff made from those guys' kiln ended up being useless, so we had to destroy them」
「Well, even if you do make a mistake, you can just learn from it after all. They'll eventually come around once they inevitably fail, so you can just go ahead and let them do what they want」
「Also, cracks would seem to decrease after washing our hands and feet in a mixture of that liquid you said would come out after the fumes settle and hot water, so it's becoming even more popular. The beastkin people say that it causes their noses to crinkle up though」
「Well, it smells terrible after all. Ahー that reminds me. Are you planting saplings after you cut the trees?」
「Why should we do that?」
「Ahー, I forgot to tell you this earlier. There may be a lot of trees in the forest right now but if you just keep on cutting them, you would eventually cut through all the trees. They need around 20 cycles of seasons to fully grow right? That's why, if you don't replant the trees you cut, the forest would get destroyed.」
「You're certainly right… I'll pass this on to the village chief」
I don't want to see treeless mountains and ruined forests after all. Even more so in my birthplace.
「I'll leave it to you. By the way, the village chief didn't come to our house today. What's up? If it was like usual then he would have been there first thing in the morning. I'm not his parent, but is he finally going to stop depending on me?」
「The village chief isn't here right now, you know? He went together with the others who are in charge of making charcoal to the dragonkin's village. They say that it's for when they run out of coal to dig out」
「Well, they certainly would run out eventually, so I guess they went there to teach them」
「That's right. I don't think they know about that thing about planting seedlings so they would still have to go back, wouldn't they?」
「I feel bad about it since it's my fault」
「It's fine, isn't it? They said they have to go back to the dragonkin's village a lot anyways」
「I guess it's all good if it doesn't cause any trouble」
「Right. I have to go back soon but, what are you going to do Caam?」
「I'll try going to my training area since I haven't been there in a while, so I'll be there till noon. It might be in bad shape right now, but that's fine since it's going to be cleared out anyways. And besides, I didn't have a lot of opportunities to use that place」
「Is that so? Well then, I'll be going now」
「Ou. Do your best at work」
Now then, what am I going to do about this mess? There's barely anything even left… The chairs have rotten and the color of the stone I used to grind the poisonous plants faded over time. Well, I may feel sentimental, but it's just the chair and stone going back to nature so to speak. I just used them when I came here to practice my throwing or a new technique after all.
『Was it like this?』
I thought that as I stepped 30 meters away from the usual tree and started throwing my obsidian knives and axe at full strength in turns.
*twok!* *thud!* *thunk*
Such sounds can be heard as the stuff I threw at full strength hit the spot where I aimed it. It doesn't seem like my skill has grown dull.
Let's try applying the image I use when I use my 【Waterball】 to it next.
『Image・an obsidian kunai without the handle・created above my head・and maintained there・shot forward at the speed of 150kph fired at will』
As I did that, the diamond-shaped object appeared and is floating on top of my head. After thinking 『shoot』 in my head, the kunai started flying towards the tree in front of me.
Together with that sound, it pierced the tree. That thing hit the exact place I aimed at. Who would have thought I would get it the first try. It's like when you use a special technique in a fighting game where you don't have to press any buttons to aim it.
Ten seconds later after that, the kunai naturally vanished as usual. I repeated that magic multiple times, but it would always vanish 10 seconds later. I guess the time for it to disappear would depend on how much magic power I put into it or how strongly it hits, but, well, there wouldn't be any problems as long as it hits.
I guess I should try to increase the number next. This time, I produced three knives above my head and then shot them.
Hmmー, it's within a 5cm radius of each other. I guess that's good enough. Let's try lining them up vertically this time.
It deviated a bit but it pretty much still hit the middle. It went askew by more or less 5cm but it still lined up. I'm sure it would be a bit cleaner once I get used to it.
After that, I tried shooting while walking and running but, surprisingly, it still went to the place where I looked.
Ahー, the next one would have to be 'that', wouldn't it…? Like the less severe kind of FPS syndrome where you always see a dot from those reticle sights. Or at least something close to that.
I guess it's worth trying it.
『Image・a small red dot of light at the center of my gaze・Activate』
「Oo, it came out! Cool. It's like looking through a dotted sight」
While thinking that, I once again tried shooting the kunai but this time, I was doing it like a character inside a game in my previous life.
While activating my mock red dot sight, I produced a kunai on top of my head at the same time. While focusing my gaze on a spot of the tree that I wanted to hit, I shot it.
After hearing that sound, I went closer to confirm the hit. The kunai got stuck at the place where I was looking at so, even though I was by myself, I shouted for joy.
Getting carried away, I continued firing around ten more kunais.
I activated it while saying a certain hikikomori young man who just received a sandwich from his childhood friend. It's not going to let out beams though! 2
All of the kunais hit a spot within 10 cm radius of where I aimed it. This is pretty useful, isn't it?
I've already done 『Ka M* H* M* Ha』 and 『M*n's beam』 before, but it was just something along the lines of those flashlights that you use to see when there's fog. Let's try mixing that up.
『Image・obsidian kunai・shooting out after a powerful beam of light from the tip・activate』
Light stretched out from the tip of the kunai that's floating on top of my head but as expected, it neither burned or punched a hole through anything. Still, it's kinda surprising to see a light come out from the tip of the kunai.
What I called training before has now completely turned into play time.
I created an obsidian sword and covered it in a red light. While making 『*vvvuum! vvvuum!*』 sounds as I swing it around, I lifted my left hand with the palm facing forward like I was using the force. It seems like I've fallen to the dark side.
「I am your father」3
What the hell am I doing?
After that, I came across 3 rabbits by chance so I used my kunais to kill them. It's going to be noon soon, so I have to go back to the village.
By the way, I'm able to turn my dot sight on and off at will. It would have been unpleasant if I just left it on all the time after all.
Before going home, I passed by Suzuran's place since I thought I'd share the rabbit with them but, when I got there, she was in the middle of strangling a chicken. I saw the chicken's head fly off as it cried out in agony while I was presenting her the rabbit.
The smile she had on her bloodstained face made me feel nervous.
「What are you going to do for lunch? Want to eat at one of the vacant rent houses? We're going to use it tonight anyways」
She cutely tilted her head as she said that. I didn't have a reason to refuse so, while she was wiping the blood off her face, I agreed.
「Then I'll leave this rabbit at home first before I head there」
「Got it. Until then, I'll strangle the ones we'll eat today」『kokeーー!』 *thud!*
Because the chicken struggled, she pushed it down. Then, like a hatchet, she hit its neck with the knife.
I let out a conflicted smile as I saw the chicken's head fly off while I was placing the rabbit at home. That one is probably for dinner.
While carrying the utensils and the chicken who was still dripping with blood, the two of us headed to the rent houses.
「Caam, you're bad at plucking the feathers」
「Try not to tear the skin off」
「Make sure no feathers are left on the pores」
I thought that it would be good enough if I just simply pluck it out, but that doesn't seem to be the case. You have to skillfully pull it out towards the direction where the feather grows while making sure it doesn't break under the skin. It'll be troublesome if those get left behind after all. Because of that, you need to carefully pluck the feathers and take your time if you aren't used to it. It looks like Suzuran's already used to it though since she looks really skillful with her hands.
With that over, she burned the remaining hairs away from its skin and then cut its stomach open to deal with the entrails.
After that, she placed the rose-colored meat into a bowl, seasoned it, covered it in wheat flour, then turned it into karaage.
She really is only good at meat dishes. It would have been perfect if only she ate her vegetables with this…
As usual, Suzuran is eating nothing but the karaage. Even though I bought vegetables and made them look pretty, she's completely ignoring them. Should I just give up?
「Un? What is it?」
「Did anything happen after I went home?」
「Ahー, one of the residents who I haven't met before came back. That person was from the human race you know?」
She doesn't seem that interested in it. Or rather, don't just end the conversation like that.
「Yesterday, father asked me to have a serious fight with him because of 'that'」
「He went to our house to drink with my father so I know about it. Caam has become pretty strong」
「He kept saying things like『If you're going to take those two as your wives, you need to be able to protect them. That's why, show me your strength』 as he faced against me in front of our house. I nearly lost my left arm because of that you know?」
「But you won right?」
「Well yeah. I really wanted to just talk it out but it seemed like that was impossible once he got into that state」
「Father was surprised too you know? He was like 『He won against Hail!?』」
「It makes me somewhat happy that Ichii-san said that. I mean, that person is a symbol of fear and power for me after all」
He's really scary with that face and those thick arms after all.
「He's still pretty much my father so don't say such sad things」
Well, he'll certainly be my father-in-law after all of this.
Our meal ended after we consumed that karaage mountain.
「Thanks for the meal」
「Well then, what are we going to do next? Should we just laze around?」
「How about a light work out on the bed?」
She blushed a little while saying that. That's bad for my heart you know?
「That's a really attractive proposal, but let's just leave that for this evening」
It's not like I don't want to do it, but it would be pretty awkward if somebody walked in on us while we're doing it since it's still broad daylight. Or rather, Suzuran, what's this all of a sudden? Didn't you tell me you don't want your body to be seen when it's bright?
「Then, how about I teach you another simple way to prepare chicken」
「Hmー, that's fine I guess」
Suzuran washed the tableware while I was out buying the necessary ingredients so I was able to immediately start cooking once I got back
「Okaーy. Good afternoon everyone~」「……eh!?」
「For today, we'll be making something that I think anyone can make. A simple roasted chicken. Here are the ingredients」
「One whole processed chicken, butter, onions, carrots, and potatoes. The vegetables here are just the ones that I wanted to eat. You can add other vegetables you like as well. You can also pick seasonings of your choice to mask the smell as well aside from salt and pepper」
「First, lightly pierce the chicken with a fork. Next, rub salt and pepper on the outside as well as inside the stomach then place it into a bowl with some fruit wine and fragrant herbs. Let it sit in there for a while to soak in the flavors. You can now start preparing the vegetables you want to eat at this time」
「To give it a uniform taste, you should turn it over from time to time. And here's one that we let sit for a while」
「After that, we'll now put the vegetables inside the stomach but first, you should spread the butter all over it to prevent it from sticking to the pan, as well as making the vegetables inside taste even better. Once you start roasting it, you should take it out at times and use a spoon to scoop out the juices that came out and pour it over the top of the chicken. Then, by the time you think "It should be completely baked soon I guess", it should be done」
I just ignored Suzuran who's giving me some weird looks.
「Well, something like that」
「There were times where I felt like the time just flew by. What was that?」
「I don't know as well」
「Hmmー, close, but it's not really magic. Probably」
It's movie magic (editing) I guess.
「Un, it might be a bit early for dinner but it will no longer be delicious once it gets cold so let's just eat it now. Look, the sun is already hidden behind that mountain you know?」
Suzuran had a look like she didn't understand anything I said as she glanced at me.
I cut the bird in half. I also divided the vegetables evenly between us as I arranged our food on the plates.
With that said, while ignoring the fork, knife, and vegetables, Suzuran immediately went for the meat, grabbing it with her bare hands and sinking her teeth on it. Are you a pirate or bandit or something?
ah, geez… Your hands and mouth are already dirty. You won't make such a mess if you just ate it a bit more carefully.
「Hey Suzuran, can't you be a bit more refined when you eat?」
「It's easier to pick up using my hands and it's easier to eat if I can directly nibble it」
「That may be true but you're going to be hated if you don't eat a bit more elegantly you know?」
「It's okay as long as Caam doesn't dislike me」
「Okay then, if you don't eat more elegantly, I'm going to dislike you, you know?」
Hearing me say that, she dropped the meat she was eating on top of her plate. She's about to cry and has a look on her face that makes it seem like the world is about to end.
This is pretty cute in and of itself.
「Fine fine. I won't hate you but if there are other people around or we're eating with somebody else, don't eat like that okay?」
After saying that, I gave her a towel to wipe her mouth and face.
「I won't tell you to use a fork and knife but can't you at least eat it like this?」
After saying that, without using a fork and knife and while making sure that I don't make a mess with my hands and mouth, I ate it like how you would eat chicken from Sanders-san's to show her.
「Like this. And also, nobody's going to take it away, so you should calm down when eating」
「Yes yes, I'm not angry and I don't hate you so eat it slowly okay?」
What am I, your mother?
「Hey, couldn't you eat it if it's just something like a potato? The juices from the chicken and the butter have absorbed in it so couldn't you at least try it?」
I picked up the potato with a fork and was trying to get Suzuran to try it.
「Is it tasty?」
Why are you so doubtful?
「Well, it's pretty bland by itself but you can easily change the flavor since it absorbs the water or oil around it. It's really tasty now because of the salt and melted butter you know?」
It's cute how she looks like a squirrel or a hamster while she's nibbling it in silence.
「Then, could you try the carrots next?」
Please stop showing me that disgusted look.
「It also absorbed the same taste as the potatoes so I think it's easier to eat right now you know?」
She tried nibbling on the carrots a bit but she immediately stuck her tongue out and spit it out on the plate. How slovenly. And also, the look on your face is kinda erotic so stop it. I mean, if you hate it so much you don't want to eat it, then just don't.
「Yeah yeah, just leave it there together with your onions. I'll eat them myself」
I wonder if she would eat glazed carrots.
「Thanks for the meal」
「Sure, you're welcome」
While the two of us were washing the dishes, I tried asking.
「Would you eat the carrots if they're sweet?」
「Do you mean like candy?」
「I'm just going to boil them in sugar water」
「I can't imagine the taste」
「It still has the taste and smell of a carrot but it's sweeter, I guess…」
「I'll try it next time so make it」
「Yeah yeah, but you have to finish it all okay? I won't do ecchi things with you for a while」
As I said that, she retorted by sending a sharp elbow to my side. Because of that, I swore in my heart to never do that kind of joke again. I'll also try to avoid standing at Suzuran's right side as much as possible. Well, it's going to be the same either way I guess.
While we were lazing around after dinner, Suzuran said.
「Caam, prepare the bath」
After giving that replying, I immediately went to the bathroom.
「Which one do you prefer, hot or warm?」
「I can just add water if it's too hot right?」
I guess she's right. Because of that, I started filling the tub with water that's probably a bit hotter than usual. I didn't check the temperature though since I thought we could just adjust it after we get in.
「You can go in nowー」
「Well, magic is just that convenientー」
「Only Caam can do something like that. Caam is amazing as expected」
「Yeah yeah. Well then, should we go in together?」
I wonder, why is it that she can act aggressive at times, but still get a bit shy when I'm the one inviting her? Well, I haven't really been that proactive about it I guess.
Our fingers and toes are now wrinkled and puffy.
I continued regulating the heat as we soaked our bodies after we finished washing it, but I wasn't expecting that we would stay there for that long.
「Aaahー, bath too long, body feels heavy」
「Here you go, fruit water」
(She might be wearing a shirt now but it's loose so I can still see her breasts and the nape of her neck. At this rate, I'm going to want to push her into the bed even more)
She seems to have noticed me looking at her breasts. Is this the part where I tease her?
Forming her hands into an X, she hid her breasts by covering it with her knees.
「Iyaー Suzuran, ecchi~」
Her face was completely flushed as she hit me in the stomach. Be a bit more gentle when hiding your embarrassment, please.
After that, while her face was still completely flushed, I grabbed her hand and forcibly dragged her to the bed. The date already changed by the time we went to sleep.
Entering the bed after getting into the mood is nice, but forcing Suzuran to the bed doesn't feel half bad.
This is during the time Caam rolled into the thicket to hide from Schinken's arrows.
There was a male cat-eared beastkin with a medium build and without any distinctive characteristics who visited Caam's workplace.
「Excuse meー. I heard that there's a person named Caam who's working here」
「Ou, that's right but he's not here right now. He's going to be away for 3 or 4 days」
「Is that so? Do you know a way I can get in touch with him even faster?」
「Let's see… I guess I can tell you where he lives. Is that fine?」
「It's a place called "Clinochlore"」
「Ge!… Is that true?」
「Yeah, it's true. If I remember correctly, a slightly taciturn cat-eared woman runs the place. You can just tell that person to tell him once he gets back」
「I… I understand. Thank you very much」
「"Clinochlore" huh… That place was called "Den of Weirdoes" wasn't it…? This is terrible. Would a letter be okay I wonder?」
(Is that black-haired cat-eared person the landlady? She's prettyー. This is starting to make me nervous.)
「Uhmー, excuse me. Are you the landlady of Clinochlore?」
「Yes. We're full right now. You're better off finding someplace else」
「No, I just have something to give to a person named Caam」
After saying that, I handed over the letter and was going to leave but the landlady just stared at it.
「A relationship between men won't be productive you know? Of course, that's the same for women as well」
「Haa!? No, you're wrong. This letter is about a designated quest from the guild desu. I heard he was away after all」
What a terrible misunderstanding this woman is making!
「…really? Then I'll certainly hand it over」
「If you would please」
(Geez, if just the landlady's like that, then what about the other residents here… Good grief. She's still pretty thoughー)
With that, the cat-eared man will just have to wait until his message reaches Caam.