New chapter for today.
Chapter 26 – Fear Behind A Delightful Moment
I slowly left the basement with Pino-san, leaving the three of them alone. When I saw Hiroki and the others crying, I thought it would be better to leave them alone for now. I’d save my congratulations to Ren-san for when they calmed down.
Pino-san looked at me curiously. “Weren’t you supposed to be with them too, Lusha?”
“Yeah, but those three are from the same hometown, so I’m going to let them have a moment.”
“Oh, I see.”
Back upstairs in the living room, Pino-san started stretching. It was natural that her fatigue would accumulate and make her stiff after concentrating so hard for more than an hour to make the curse-cleansing potion. I thought I’d prepare some tea or something in a moment, but I heard a cheerful voice from outside saying, “I have returned!” I looked at Pino-san.
“I asked Hassan and Liliana to do something,” she said, before opening the front door and heading out. I followed her, and there were Hassan-san and Liliana-san, along with the body of a griffon that likely reached a height of three meters.
With white colored feathers around its face, large and strong brown feathers on its body, and terrifying sharp talons, its presence exuded a kind of royal dignity. I hadn’t even been the one to fight it face to face, but looking at it was unnerving. Wide-eyed, I did my best to endure it without screaming.
Uh, wait, I mean… that’s a griffon, you know! As an elf who used to live in the forest, I’d never seen a griffon before, and I heard it was hard to find them unless you went very deep into the mountains or forests!
Liliana-san smiled at my inadvertent praise. “We’ve returned, Pino. Since we brought this griffon, you need to cook it.”
“Huh… you’re going to eat the griffon!?”
“Yes, it’s sort of a habit of Pino’s to eat monster meat. But griffon is delicious, you know.”
Griffon is delicious. Wait, are they serious? Is it really? Actually, do you really want to eat such a rare and unusual monster? I guess so; it was unavoidable that I’d have doubts at first.
“Well then, let’s handle―” Liliana was interrupted when the griffon suddenly twitched. “It’s still alive!”
“It sure has incredible life force! I thought I already gave it the final blow, but… it used self-recovery, didn’t it!?”
The griffon roared in a low voice, and swung its sharp talons at Hassan-san. Even though he blocked it with his hammer, he still got blown backwards from the momentum. What should I do? I’d like to help them, but I’m more likely to shoot Hassan-san and Liliana-san than the monster. In fact, I’d probably hit them nine out of ten times. Without Hiroki, I’m helpless.
In contrast with my panicking, Liliana-san looked very calm. But she doesn’t have a weapon… I wondered if she would use magic skills, but instead she used Create Arrow, the skill I used all the time to make arrows.
If she has that skill, she should be an Archer. But she doesn’t have a bow! Liliana-san smiled, still composed, and looked at the Griffon. “I guess I’ll hit it even harder than last time. [Enhancement Arrow] [Auto Arrow].”
My breath caught in my throat. “No way, she fights without using a bow!?”
Both were skills that I was hearing for the first time. Seven arrows floated around Liliana-san, and seemed to have a special effect provided by the enhancement. I could tell the arrowheads were sharper and imbued with a higher attack power.
The griffon groaned as all of the arrows hit home. I thought it was a brilliant battle, simply spectacular. The griffon’s demise echoed through the mountains.
Is she an Archer? No, she might be a higher rank job, a Hunter. If so, that would make more sense given how much strength she’s shown off.
Hunter was a higher ranking job that I yearned for… it could make me stronger. While clenching my fist tightly against my chest, I resolved once again to do my best and try even harder from now on. Now that Hiroki had also given me Ishtar’s ring which further increased my attack power, the path to becoming a Hunter must have been closer than ever.
Name: Lusha Plum
Attack: 51+17 (Equipment)
Magic Power: 1
Skills: [Create Arrow] [Wind Arrow]
Yup, my level was going up nicely. I was on the right track, I just had to keep it up.
“All right! Well then, we’ll get ready for the barbecue before Hiroki and the others come out! Let’s go, Ossan!”
“It’s not Ossan, it’s Hassan!”
I did a small guts pose, and Pino-san clapped her hands and gave out instructions. “I’m going to prepare the other ingredients, so I’ll need Liliana and Lusha to get the equipment ready!”
Pino-san went into the house saying they’d also prepare a lot of vegetables, while Hassan-san mumbled complaints as he properly prepared the griffon. I apparently needed to prepare the equipment with Liliana-san, but what did that actually entail? Liliana-san beckoned to me while I was uncertain. “Over here, Lusha. We keep the cooking equipment in a shed behind the house.”
Liliana-san walked to the back of the house and I followed in a hurry. There was the shed, and inside was a pile of iron skewers along with an iron mesh for grilling meat. There were a lot of skewers, and they obviously used this stuff on a regular basis.
“I’ll take this, and we’ll need this… Lusha, hold these skewers. We need these to pierce the meat for grilling.”
“Okay, I’ll take them all right now.”
There were nearly 100 skewers handed to me, and it took me both hands to hold them all. I went back to the front of the house, put the skewers on the table, and immediately returned to Liliana-san. There were also tongs, the grill mesh, a small furnace, and some other necessary things that needed brought over.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting, Liliana-san.”
“Thank you. If you take this with you, we’ll be finished getting the tools ready.”
I carried the furnace and left the other tools with Liliana-san. The only task left was to stick the meat and vegetables onto the skewers. It reminded me of when I was living in the forest, so it felt a little nostalgic.
◆ ◆ ◆
“Whew, I feel like such a kid for crying this much. It’s embarrassing…”
After a while, Ren started laughing to hide his embarrassment. He looked at peace now; the crying must have refreshed his spirits. “Oh jeez, my eyes are definitely red. Hiroki, please give me a Heal.”
I used Heal on all three of us ― yes, even myself. My eyes had been a little painful to rub, so they needed refreshed as well. Above all, I couldn’t show up in front of Lusha and the others with red eyes…
Ren took a deep breath and did a seiza. [TLN: The formal, polite way to sit in Japanese culture.]
Caught unprepared, Ruri and I also performed a seiza. We looked at Ren to see what happened, and he laughed again, almost in tears. “Thank you, both of you. The reason I was able to do my best like this was thanks to you two. If I was alone, I might have gotten killed by monsters.”
“You guys saved me as well, getting me out of prison.”
“That’s right. You’ve also always protected me.”
We hugged each other again, vowing to do our best from now on.
We went up from the basement to the living room, but I couldn’t find Lusha or Pino. I thought it was strange, but I could hear a cheerful voice from outside, and figured they were out there.
“I hear voices out there… they seem to be having fun.”
“I hear them too. For now, let’s go over there. I want to thank Pino again.”
Ren was worried about the outside situation, and I told him, “Let’s go!” while pushing him along. As we opened the door and went outside ― all at once, we were greeted by overlapping voices.
“Congratulations on recovering from the curse!”
“Everyone, th… thank you!!”
Lusha, Pino, Hassan and Liliana greeted us as soon as we came out, the four of them applauding and sending congratulatory words, expressing happiness that Ren has recovered. Then, right before my eyes, the barbecue was ready.
“It’s a barbecue, in celebration of Ren’s recovery from the curse! Griffon meat is exquisite, you know!”
When I asked Pino, she replied with a grin. I mean, a griffon is a monster, isn’t it? Pino really should think about what’s good to eat, it sounded grotesque… but they said it tastes like chicken. I wouldn’t want to be asked to eat kobold or orc, but if it’s griffon…
“It’s been seared to perfection! Come on, all of you, have a glass!”
Pino held a glass in her hand and hurried us to take ours. Liliana gave me mine, and Pino cleared her throat and nodded when everyone was ready.
“Well then, a toast to the lifting of Ren’s curse, and the success of my first curse-cleansing potion ― cheers!”
“Cheers… hey wait, that was your first time?”
Before I drink, I couldn’t help asking about it. Who could have imagined it was her first attempt, after she was so confident she could make it? When I looked at Pino suspiciously, she laughed. “I’m certain of my skills, it’s just that I never actually made it. I was sure I’d succeed. That’s why I did it.”
“…Well, I guess it’s fine because you did succeed after all.”
Suddenly I felt very tired from that conversation… but when I went to take a sip, it turned out to be carbonated water with honey and lemon flavoring. It was refreshing and delicious, and I felt my fatigue melting away. Next, I looked at the skewers grilling over charcoal. Was that the griffon meat? “It smells… kind of delicious, actually.”
There was no odor peculiar to the monster, and if you were told that it was chicken, you would have eaten it without any doubts. Each skewer was a mix of alternating meat and leeks, so what I saw right now really was like a normal skewer at any old barbecue. When I tried the meat, the skin on the outside was crisp, and the inside was soft and juicy. The rich juices filled my mouth, and any doubts I had before were dispelled.
“Amazing… it’s delicious.”
“Right! I wish everyone could eat monster meat.”
“Ah… well, griffon would be fine, but I wouldn’t want to eat any weird monsters.”
“Really, now? Did you know that slime is also delicious?”
Her intense praise of monster food caused me to accidentally swallow before I was finished chewing. I drank some more lemon soda and managed to catch my breath.
…For now, let’s not ask.
“Hiroki, these mushrooms are also delicious!”
“Oh, there’s a bunch of different kinds, huh.” The mushroom skewers Lusha brought had three different colors: white, orange, and brown. I took one because they all looked delicious, but I was surprised.
Come to think of it, Pino also ate the mushrooms from mushrent… wait, are these colorful mushrooms originally from a monster? Are they even from the same monster, too? Nope, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. Pino served it as food, and Lusha said it’s delicious, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
I didn’t want to think about monsters I hadn’t seen yet, so I took a bite of the mushrooms. “It’s hot, but delicious…!”
“Is that so? I’m glad then! We still have a lot of it, so eat as much as you want! Mushrooms from mushrino are really delicious after all!”
Lusha reacted instantly, spitting them out and turning blue. “Are these mushrooms from a monster called mushrino?!”
Ruri, who was trying to eat in the back, saw our reaction, and gently put it back onto her plate. I also tried to put it back gently, but it went without saying that Lusha had already eaten a lot of it enthusiastically. Please, please ― I hope I never encounter the terrible monster called mushrino for the rest of my life.
[ED: What a bunch of pansies. Food is food!]