Saturday 22 August 2020

Ch 177 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

 Chapter 177 -- Leaving The City Of Doran

After leaving the city of Doran in the early morning I was riding on Fer's back as he ran along the highway. Elland-san had been waiting at the city gate for us, crying "Dora-chan..." and "I will come with you" as we left. Thankfully I managed to persuade him to remain behind and not accompany us.

We were heading for the next town on our itinerary, Neihof. I had been told it was a city famous for its many pottery workshops. I was looking forward to exploring Neihof and discovering the varieties of pottery they made there. I thought it would be nice to have matching sets of dishes to serve food on and searching the town's shops for designs and patterns I would like was going to be very enjoyable. My inner thoughts about shopping were rudely interrupted by...

"Hey, it's about time to eat!" Dora-chan started circling my head as Fer's steady pace slowed.

"Umu, let's do that." Fer concurred. I looked up at the sun which seemed to be at its height, yup it was lunchtime. We stopped beside the highway as Dora-chan chanted "Lunch, lunch, lunch" before coming in to land beside Fer.

"Lunch~" Sui echoed, jumping out of the leather bag slung on my shoulder. Right then, what's it going to be? Let's see... I had various sorts of minced meat already prepared which gave me an idea. I bought some seaweed, white sesame and eggs from the Net Super before putting cooked rice in a deep dish and spreading the seaweed on top. I piled lots of minced meat on top of that and dented the center a little, added two egg yolks since it was a big bowl, enough for everyone and finished it off with a sprinkling of white sesame, and there you have it, meat soboro bowl. As an extra I got the stuffed peppers I had prepared the day before out of my Item Box and put them out on another plate.

"Food's ready!" I said and stepped back quickly as the Gluttonous Trio launched their simultaneous attack on the dishes I put down for them.

"Oh, this meat with the egg yolks mixed in tastes great," Fer said as he came up for breath, "but that green stuff over there, no thanks." Green stuff? That would be the stuffed peppers but how can you have stuffed peppers without, well, using bell peppers to start with? Ah well, at least the meat soboro bowl was to his carnivore tastes.

"The egg yolk goes well with this salty-sweet meat. The white grainy stuff makes it even tastier, kinda spicy too." Dora-chan chimed in. I like sesame seeds, they add a tang to cooked meat, especially if it was served over rice and it seems Dora-chan liked them for the same reasons too. I'd use sesame seeds more in the future when I was cooking, I decided.

"Sui's favorite, meat and eggs~. It’s delicious!” Sui-chan loves meat and eggs, of course and she really likes it when the egg yolks are mixed in with the meat.

Watching everyone enjoying eating what I had cooked for them gave me a warm sense of accomplishment but it made me feel hungry too. I dug into my own meat soboro bowl, as delicious as the others had said. The sweet and spicy meat melted in my mouth and the eggs tasted wonderful. This kind of cooking is easy to do and can't really go wrong. I tried the stuffed peppers Fer had turned his nose up at, topped with some ketchup to accompany the rest of the rice in my meat soboro bowl and they were tasty too.

""Seconds"" The usual call came from Fer and Sui-chan.

"Here you go". I put down more meat soboro bowls for Fer and Sui and added a bowl of the stuffed meat from some bell peppers for Mister Fussy. Dora-chan asked for a second helping of the meat soboro bowl so I dished up a serving for him too. Fer and Sui, of course had third ""Seconds"" and fourth ""Seconds"" too before they were satisfied.

After we finished eating and I cleaned up, I relaxed with some tea while the others drank cider I bought from the Net Super. I decided it was time to continue our travels after a short while.

"Right, will we get started now?" 

"Umu" Fer agreed, and once I was safely on Fer's back with Sui-chan in her bag we headed off in the direction of Neihof again, Dora-chan flying alongside.

* * * * *

Five days after we left Doran we were making good time with no interruptions when Fer told me telepathically that he thought we would arrive at the city of Neihof the next evening.

"In that case this is probably far enough for today." I said, looking at the evening sun sinking towards the horizon. There was a roadside campsite area just up ahead and it looked like a good place for us to stop for the night.

"Okay." Fer said, swerving off the road into the empty campsite before he came to a stop. Once I got down off his back I started preparing dinner with Fer and company keeping a watchful eye on my preparations. Suddenly Fer's head came up. I followed his gaze and saw a horse-drawn merchant wagon accompanied by an escort of Adventurers approaching along the highway. The wagon stopped where we were camped and the driver got down from the bench seat.

"Excuse us but can we camp next to you tonight?" The driver asked politely, glancing at Fer.

"Please do." I said. There was plenty of space, after all and it wasn't a problem for us. It had happened a few times over the past few days, we'd set up camp for the night at the roadside, and then merchants and travellers would join us as it got darker and darker. The night before there had been wagons and Adventurers from two different groups camped close by either side of us. I supposed that the road between Doran and Neihof was likely to be busy with travellers but it just felt a little odd. Did this sort of encounter on the highway happen on a regular basis? 

* * * * *

(Conversation between the Merchant and the Adventurers camped next to Mukouda-san)

"So there really is an Adventurer with Tamed monsters, then."

"Yeah. According to what I heard, they're the ones who conquered Doran's dungeon.''

"Really? That's quite something. Not that I don't trust you guys to do your jobs but I feel a lot safer having an A-ranked Adventurer next door. His companion monster looks strong too."

"I understand. Of course, we'll keep watch like we're contracted to, but just like you, having an A-ranked Adventurer around makes us regular Adventurers feel a lot safer too. I think it's okay to take advantage of a situation like this.''

“The news about this A-ranked Adventurer and his Tamed followers is a hot topic among Merchants right now. Knowing things like this and how you can take advantage of them makes travelling a lot easier, right?"

Unknown to them Mukouda-san and his companions were being used.

Sunday 31 May 2020

Idle Talk 12 - Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi (post Ch 176)

Idle Talk 12 -- 3 Heroes, Fleeing The Kingdom ②

Aaron had offered Kanon a Bracelet of Slavery to wear, as I had predicted. She had refused to wear it since we knew what it would do to her, but she wouldn't be able to refuse it the next time he offered it to her without raising suspicions. Kanon and I would have escape this country soon and we had made some preparations to that end. Our chance to run away came sooner than we expected though, and in a different manner than we had planned.

We were levelling up by hunting monsters as usual and the next day we received an urgent request from the Adventurers Guild to subjugate an Ogre that had been seen lurking on the road leading to the Royal capital. We left the city following the road, we three Heroes and the three knights who were our supposed mentors.

Eventually the Ogre appeared before us. It was alone and its subjugation was no problem for our party, given our levels and skills. We were returning to the city when suddenly a large wolf-like monster appeared in front of us.

"Grrrrr." The wolf bared its fangs at us.

"Aaaah, that's an A-ranked Great Wolf..." Leonard said.

"What's a monster like that doing here..." Louise muttered.

"We'll have to defeat it, there's no way to escape." Louise said.

Leonard and Aaron and Louise grasped their weapons and prepared to fight. It had to be a fairly strong monster given the reaction of the three experienced knights and Leonard had said it was an A-ranked monster but surely the six of us together could defeat it?

"Kaito, Kanon, Rio, attack it with your magic!" Leonard commanded.

"Blazing orb of fire, burn our enemies-!" we started chanting as Great Wolf sprinted towards us and then it leapt impossibly fast.

"AHHHhhhh-!" I heard Rio scream, disrupting our magic casting in mid-chant.  I looked around quickly and saw that Rio's left arm had been severed at the elbow by, what?!

"The Great Wolf used Wind Magic!" someone, probably Aaron, yelled. "Quick, hit it with your Fire magic before it recovers!"

The Great Wolf, hearing that shout turned to engage the three knights. I saw Rio's left arm lying beside her as she knelt, clutching her bleeding elbow in agony. But she had lost her Bracelet of Slavery... I decided to seize this opportunity, we could take Rio with us now!

"Kanon, give Rio a potion!" I snapped before restarting my magical chant. "Blazing orb of fire, burn our enemies to ash! Fireball!" and I followed that immediately with my most powerful attack magic, "Fierce-flaming arrow, pierce my enemy. Fire Arrow!" I aimed the two Fire magic spells at the Great Wolf... and the three knights fighting it. The area around the combatants exploded in flame and heat.

"Kanon, Rio, let's go! Now!" I shouted. Kanon dragged a stumbling Rio with her as we plunged into the forest beside the road and hurried away from the carnage. I called out to Rio as we kept going, I wanted to be well away from here before our escape attempt was discovered.

"Rio, how are you doing?" I was taking the lead in case we ran into another monster but the Great Wolf we had fought would have scared off any other lesser monsters in the vicinity, I was sure.

"........." Rio just moaned, unable to reply. I glanced around to check on her condition. The blood gushing from her severed arm had stopped and the stump was covered with new skin.

"I used a potion we were given and that stopped the bleeding. I tried applying Recovery magic and that helped too, a bit. I don't think she'll die." Kanon said.

"Kanon, we're heading west, towards the Kingdom of Marbert." I said, turning back to lead the way.

"OK." Kanon acknowledged. The Royal capital of the Kingdom of Leysehel is located in the centre of the kingdom, just about and the road we were on was the main highway to the south. From there if we just headed west we would reach the Kingdom of Marbert eventually. I got a magic compass out of my Item Box, something I had stolen in preparation for our escape and checked our direction often to make sure we kept heading west.

We hurried on but finally Rio collapsed, having lost a lot of blood before being healed. I picked her up and carried her on my back.

"Kanon, take the lead. Let's keep going west as far as possible before we have to stop." I said.

"Yes. Let's hurry." We proceeded through the woods without speaking, saving our energy for travelling while I thought back to what had happened and tried to make plans for the future. I had shot Fireball and Fire Arrow at the Great Wolf and the three knights and hit them all, the place where the spells had landed exploded and was covered in flames. Maybe I had killed not only the Great Wolf but also the three knights. I thought about that, they would be the first people I had ever killed... I tried to excuse what I had done, I was desperate, they were intending to enslave all three of us, they had already persuaded Rio to wear a Bracelet of Slavery but still...

What I had done was done, I finally decided. If we remained in this country Kanon, Rio and I would become slaves of the Kingdom. We would be at the forefront of any war, leading the fighting and unable to refuse. We had been trained to fight, nothing else. I definitely didn't want to spend the rest of my life as a slave like that. Given the chance to rewind time, I'd do the same again, I told myself. I looked at Kanon who was now leading the way since I had Rio on my back. She knew what I did, that I had aimed my magic at the knights but she didn't say anything, she just healed Rio and then followed me immediately. She too understood the situation we were in, that we were desperate, that we would be made into slaves by the Kingdom of Leysehel if we stayed. Kanon and Rio and I kept heading west through the forest, pushing on relentlessly.


When darkness fell we climbed up into the branches of a large tree to spend the night. Our dinner was black bread and water, food we had pilfered and stored in our Item Box in preparation for our escape. Kanon and I decided to take turns keeping a lookout.

"I'll take the first watch." I said to Kanon. "You get some sleep and rest."

"OK. Wake me up when it's time to change over." she replied. I stared into the dark night, hearing the occasional cry of some beast or monster.

"We must never get caught..." I whispered to myself. "And I must protect these two." My determination was absolute. I believed at first that we'd have to abandon Rio and that idea had pained me, I knew I'd never forgive myself for doing it even though it was necessary. Once she was free of the Bracelet of Slavery though we had our chance to escape together and we had taken it without blinking.

Our escape had cost Rio her left arm, but in this world of magic even an injury like that might be reversible, I told myself. There might be potions or healing magic that could restore her missing arm. If we survived and escaped, all three of us, then maybe we could find something like that to heal her. Until then I'd definitely protect both of them with all my might.

After keeping watch for a bit longer I woke Kanon and slept as she kept watch in my place. When I woke up the next morning, Rio was already awake.

"Rio, are you okay?" I asked.

"Yes, sort of..." she said quietly.

"Do you remember what happened to you?"

She hesitated then went on to recount what had happened to her after she received the bracelet from Leonard. Apparently about three days after he put it on her wrist she suddenly felt like she wasn't herself any more. It was difficult for her to explain how she felt, she said "It seems like I was watching myself in a movie from then on."

"Rio, that bracelet Leonard put on you was called a 'Bracelet of Slavery', only he could take it off and you would only listen to him and do whatever he said. You couldn't take it off, neither could we." I explained.

"Yes, that's right." she nodded. "I'd do whatever Leonard said to do, I'd only listen to him..."

"We were all going to be enslaved with similar bracelets, it wasn't just you." I tried to console her.

Kanon stepped in. "Yes, Kaito and you and me, we've all escaped together and we're heading for the Kingdom of Marbert. We'll manage somehow."

"Ah, isn't the Kingdom of Marbert on the verge of a war with this country?" Rio asked.

"Yes. That's why I think that even if they discover we are Heroes who were Summoned by the Kingdom of Leysehel I can't imagine they would send us back to this country." I explained.

Rio looked down, rubbing the stump of her left arm. "...But I've lost my magical skills. I- I'd just be in your way..."

"What are you talking about?" I said exasperatedly. "Your magical skills are fine, Rio. You don't need both hands to use your magic! Heck, you could lose both arms-" I saw her wince but I continued. "And you'd still be perfectly capable of fighting alongside Kanon and me." I patted her head. "Besides I think your Recovery magic is the best of the three of us. We need you, Rio."

"Yes, I wish my Recovery magic was anywhere as good as yours, Rio." Kanon chimed in. "But it isn't so you'll just have to come with us to the Kingdom of Marbert. We'd never make it without you."

"Kaito-kun, Kanon-chan ... Guaaaah..." Rio finally cried, the first time since she had lost her arm and I knew she would be fine now. We both hugged her for a moment then she smiled through her tears.

"We'll definitely make it to the Kingdom of Marbert." she said bravely.

"Yes", we agreed. I vowed to myself that we would successfully escape together to the neighbouring Kingdom of Marbert.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Idle Talk 11 - Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi (post Ch 176)

Idle Talk 11 -- 3 Heroes, Fleeing The Kingdom ①

Rio is behaving strangely these days. When we talk it's like she doesn't listen to us and it used to be that when we discussed things she'd put forward some good ideas by herself but now it's always "Leonard said that..." or "Leonard thinks..."

Rio loves Leonard, of course and it's understandable she'd tend to agree with his ideas and opinions like you do with people you like but going this far, it's just wrong. Rather than someone being in love it's more like, well... a master-slave relationship? I can't help thinking along those lines.

I talked to Kanon about it and she agreed that Rio is behaving differently but, "she's a maiden in love for the first time and that's just how it is." was her opinion and she added that I shouldn't worry about it. However Kanon was also acting a bit strange at this time. It's starting to worry me.

Round about this time we went on a mission to hunt monsters in order to level up. The request we received from the Adventurers Guild was for the subjugation of a group of Orcs who had been seen several times near a village close to the Royal capital. As usual Leonard came up with a strategy to attack the Orcs we were hunting since he was knowledgeable about monsters, but this time round it didn't go the way he had planned.

The timing of Kanon's magic attack was a little bit off and because of that what should have been a straightforward subjugation got messy. We did succeed in dealing with all of the Orcs in the end of course, but it took more effort and time than it should have. Kanon was told off by the knights for this error. She knew he had got things wrong and took their words to heart.

"I made a mistake today. I'll just have to do it right next time." Kanon said so herself, obviously regretting what had happened. Even so... when Kanon, Rio and I were alone Rio started berating Kanon for her error.

"Why didn't you do what Leonard told you to?! Are you an idiot, Kanon?!" That was only the start of Rio's diatribe, she went on to call Kanon a half-wit and worse. She verbally humiliated Kanon, irrationally furious in a way that worried both Kanon and I. We three were friends and Rio shouldn't have used that sort of language speaking to either of us. I know I would never have spoken like that to either of them. After that incident Kanon finally started to agree with me that Rio was behaving strangely but we couldn't figure out a reason for her changed behaviour.

"I've got a feeling that she's getting stressed out, maybe." Kanon suggested.

"That could be it." I mused, "After all, suddenly arriving in this world from modern Japan was a real shock."

"Saying that Kaito, both you and I had the same experience but we're coping with it, aren't we?"

"Ummm, maybe Rio's a bit more sensitive than we are..." We told ourselves that Rio's recent outburst and her growing coldness towards us was due to the shock of what had happened to us but I wasn't sure, at least that it wasn't everything. There had to be something else we hadn't taken into account and I worried about it all day.

And then that evening... I overheard the knights talking among themselves, not realising I was within earshot around a corner.

"Rio is working out nicely, isn't she?" Louise said.

"Yeah. She listens to everything I say and she's totally obedient." Leonard said with a laugh.

"It's about time for Kaito and Kanon to wear a Bracelet of Slavery too." Louise said.

"I'll go first and get Kanon to wear her bracelet, I want to get my part over with as soon as possible." Aaron said. "After all once it's done it can't be reversed, a Bracelet of Slavery can only be removed by the master who put it on their slave."

"Then, after Kanon, all that's left is..." Leonard said suggestively.

"Kaito, yeah." Louise said. "When I fit a Bracelet of Slavery on that boy Kaito as well, we'll all get promoted." She laughed. "It's as good as done."

I held my breath as I listened to Louise, Leonard and Aaron gloating. After the three had left, I finally exhaled, I would have sworn they must have heard my heart pounding in my chest as I listened to their words. A Bracelet of Slavery? Just from that name, it had to be something magical that made the person who wears it obey like a slave... Did you really put something like that on Rio, Leonard? I finally realised the intention of this country. They intended to use all of us like slaves.

As soon as we were alone I told Kanon about what I had heard the knights talking about. She didn't believe me at first, but when we got the chance we covertly used Appraisal on the bracelet Rio wore so proudly.

[ Bracelet of Slavery ]

That's all we could see using Appraisal, maybe because our levels weren't that high yet but both of us confirmed it to each other and Kanon finally believed what I said. Something with a name like that couldn't be good.

"I think it's best we escape from this country, and soon." I said.

"I think so too, but what about Rio?" Kanon objected. "If what you heard is correct, Kaito, the only one that can remove it is Leonard since he put it on her. We can't take it off her."

"That's what he said... but maybe there is a way? I'll try and find out if there is, but we might run out of time."

"If Aaron offers me a bracelet like that there's no way I'm going to wear it." Kanon declared hotly.

"Of course. But if it does happen, try to refuse him in a way that doesn't make it obvious that you and I know it's a Bracelet of Slavery, Kanon." I answered.

Kanon thought hard. "I can maybe refuse to wear it once, but if I keep on saying no he's going to realise we know what the bracelet does. Aaron's not stupid after all."

"When it happens, do your best." I said. "Louise will try to get me to wear one too. I'll have to come up with my own plan to refuse to wear it when that happens. When I do though that's going to make them even more suspicious."

"Yes, if both of us refuse it, the game's up." Kanon agreed. "When Aaron does offer me the bracelet I'll have to be ready with an excuse... "

A few days after this discussion Kanon reported that Aaron, as expected, had offered her a Bracelet of Slavery, ostensibly as a gift that would enhance her magical powers, the same ploy Leonard had used on Rio. Kanon managed to talk him out of it but she knew he'd try again and the next time she would find it impossible to turn him down without making him suspicious.

"Kanon, I'm really sorry to say this but we're going to have to leave Rio behind when we escape." I hadn't come up with any way to free Rio from her Bracelet of Slavery and we couldn't take her with us while she still wore it, even if we forced her. We couldn't watch her all the time, she'd try and escape from us or maybe attack us or denounce us to the authorities. The Bracelet of Slavery might even allow Leonard to track her whereabouts, I didn't know but it was a possibility. Kanon and I could get away before we were forced to wear the Bracelets of Slavery ourselves but only if we escaped without her, and soon.

Kanon didn't have any ideas to help Rio either. She just said, "I understand." in a dull voice, her face revealing her anguish at leaving a good friend behind.

I discussed with Kanon where we should go after we escaped this country, emphasising we were short of time now. I had sneaked into the Royal library to look at the maps held there and investigated the nearby countries to find out what they were like. I eventually reckoned we should head for the neighboring Kingdom of Marbert as our best bet. I would really have preferred for us to go to the Erman Kingdom or the Leonhart Kingdom but they're too far away.

They call us Heroes but anyone who believes that makes us invincible is being stupid. We know perfectly well that some humans and many monsters are much stronger than us. If we tried to travel to the Erman Kingdom or Leonhart Kingdom and we met powerful monsters on the way that would be the end of us. Another factor was that the countries between here and the Erman Kingdom and Leonhart Kingdom were generally on friendly terms with the Kingdom of Leysehel, the country that had Summoned us as Heroes in the first place. When we escaped it was inevitable we'd be pursued, and if we were detained in one of those other countries it was likely we'd be sent back to the Kingdom of Leysehel as prisoners. For that reason it was probably best for us to immediately head for a country that wasn't on good terms with the Kingdom of Leysehel and that made the neighbouring Kingdom of Marbert our best bet.

The Kingdom of Leysehel and the Kingdom of Marbert were on the verge of declaring war on each other and fighting could break out at any time. If we were found in that country the bad relations between the two Kingdoms would mean it was very unlikely we'd be sent back, especially if they knew we were Heroes who'd be forced to fight against them.

Talking it over with Kanon we decided that, when we got the chance, we would escape and head for the Kingdom of Marbert. We made other preparations, cacheing food, changes of clothes to disguise us and other things. We would not regret leaving this country, but abandoning Rio was going to be hard.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Idle Talk 10 - Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi (post Ch 176)

Idle Talk 10 -- Darryl and Eris, afterwards

"We're home." we announced together as we opened the door, but our mother was asleep. When she first got sick she couldn't sleep at all but recently she's been sleeping lots and lots.

"Brother, give her the medicine quick." Eris urged.

"Yeah." I called out to my sleeping mother. "Mother, I've got medicine for you. Open your mouth and drink it."

Mother heard me and she opened her mouth a little. I took the medicine I got from Uncle-san out of my Item Box and let mother drink it, a little at a time. After she had drunk all the medicine in the bottle her body started to glow with a white light.

"Brother..." Eris clutched at me in surprise.

"It's okay, I think." I didn't know why but I trusted Uncle-san. "It's definitely okay." The medicine that Uncle-san gave me would definitely work and it would definitely cure my mother. I waited for the light from mother to die down as Eris hugged me.

"...N ...Darryl, Eris?" Mother's eyes opened.

"Mother!" we both shouted.

"Darryl, Eris, I'm sorry I've been ill all this time." she said.

"Guuuah, motheeer, gwahhhh..." Eris clung to her mother and began to cry. She was so relieved to see our mother wake up. After a while Eris fell asleep, tired out from crying. Well, today we had walked deep into the forest away from the city and been chased by Orcs so it was no wonder she was tired.

"Oh, Eris fell asleep." Mother said, patting Eris' head.

"How are you feeling, Mother?" I asked.

"Ehh, I'm feeling a lot better." she told me. "Maybe this rest has done me good. I'm still a little sluggish but nothing more." She smiled. "I'll be able to work again tomorrow, I think."

"Ah, can you eat some food now?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm a little bit hungry." she said.

I put the food I got from Uncle-san in a bowl and gave it to my mom.

"Oh, this smells good. Where did you get this?" she asked.

"Someone who helped me today gave me this food for you." I said. "Eat it before it gets cold."

Mother started eating slowly but she kept going until the bowl was empty. It's been a long time since my mother had a good appetite. If she could eat this much in one go then she was going to be fine. I was relieved from the bottom of my heart.

"Eris and me, we'll eat later." I told her. "Lie down and sleep some more right now." She wasn't ill any more but she was still tired. After mother lay down again I carried Eris, still asleep, to our bed on my back.

"Mother's illness has been cured... The medicine really worked..." When no-one could hear me, I cried. When Mother got sick she lost her appetite and couldn't eat. Now she had eaten all the food Uncle-san had given me and not left anything. If she could eat that much then she had to be fine now. It was all thanks to Uncle-san. He gave me that medicine and it cured my mother's illness.

I'm not stupid, I know the medicine that Uncle-san gave me was amazing stuff. Mother was terribly sick and couldn't be cured. I was told that only a high priest from the royal Capital could cure her... Uncle-san saved Eris and me when we were being chased by Orcs and even after that, I was so desperate to save Mother that I was rude to him. Even so he treated Eris and me to a meal and Uncle-san's Big Wolf and Small Dragon and Slime were really nice to us.

So I'm not going to tell anyone about the medicine, and I'll tell Eris to stay quiet about it too. Mother wasn't really awake when I gave her the medicine and I don't think she'll remember taking it. I definitely won't tell anyone about getting the medicine from Uncle-san because that medicine is amazing and I think it's very valuable. Uncle-san is a kind man, he helped us when we were in trouble and he gave us this expensive medicine for free, almost.

But what if everyone knew Uncle-san had a valuable medicine like that? Someone might attack Uncle-san to steal it from him. I know there are bad people like that out there. My friend Stefan's father found some treasure in the dungeon but on his way home with money from the Adventurers Guild he was killed by bad people. I've heard other stories like that too. So I won't tell anyone anything about Uncle-san. I don't want bad people to go after him.

As I told Uncle-san, I'll definitely pay him back. I'll have my own shop someday and take care of mother and Eris and make them happy but I'll also repay my debt to you, Uncle-san. Thank you, thank you Uncle-san.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Ch 176 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 176 -- Home-made Sausage

After we left the Adventurers Guild we headed outside the city. Fer had told me he wanted to go hunting monsters today. He'd spent the past few days in the city and the lack of exercise was getting to him, he claimed. I agreed, reckoning that while he was doing that I'd take the opportunity to try making sausages. I stopped by a butcher's store before we left the city and, just as Aresh-san had said, I was able to buy White Sheep intestine quite easily. It had been pickled in salt to preserve it which was good. It was cheap too so I bought a lot of it.

"Right then Fer, you're heading off to hunt?" I said. Dora-chan buzzed around my head on hearing that, saying "Meeee tooo!" telepathically. It seemed that Dora-chan wanted some exercise as well. Of course, before we met he was a wild monster and not being able to hunt was apparently getting to him.

"Ah, hold on. You should take this if both of you are going hunting." I said. I took out the Magic Bag from my Item Box and hung it around Fer's neck. "Remember that we're leaving Doran tomorrow and we'll have to wait until we get to the next town to have anything you catch today disassembled for meat, so you shouldn't go on a rampage." I looked at the two murderous enthusiasts and sighed. "What I'm saying is, take it easy will you?"

"Nuuu, I suppose so." Fer said grumpily.

"Well, I want to hunt a lot." Dora-chan complained. "I'll just hunt different things instead, for the exercise." I couldn't understand why Fer and Dora-chan were so eager to go out and slaughter the local monsters, was it really enjoyable or fun? It didn't seem like fun from my perspective but...
"Any way, off you go. Come back before it gets dark, okay?"

"Gotcha." Fer headed off into the forest followed by Dora-chan who threw a telepathic "Will dooooo." behind him. Right, now they're out of the way I can make sausages. In fact, I'd made sausages before when I was at home but they had been skinless. They were tasty and I had always wanted to make authentic skinned sausages some time. I'd have to work from my memory of reading websites on how to do it properly now but I'd give it a go.

All of the sites emphasised you had to be careful to keep the meat cool as you minced it and kneaded the mixture. If the meat warmed up the meat got grislier affecting the taste and texture. The ideal temperature to work at is less than ten degrees, apparently. Thinking about that I realised I could get Sui-chan to make me something that would do the job of keeping the meat cool nicely.

"Sui, can you make me something like this, maybe a bit bigger?" I showed Sui-chan the big mixing bowl I use regularly for cooking. "And this too?" I drew a diagram of a simple funnel I'd need when filling the sausage skins later. I didn't have a funnel for her to copy but I reckoned the diagram was clear enough.

"I got it-" Sui-chan said after a few moments. I handed Sui-chan some Mithril ore from my Item Box and she quickly made a big bowl and a funnel for me. Yosh, I had everything I would need to make sausages now.

"Thanks  Sui." I said. Right then, the first step is to mince some meat. I fed lots of Orc meat through my Mithril mincer, collecting it in the big Mithril bowl Sui had just made for me. I cranked the handle round and round until I judged I had enough minced meat. After that, I bought seasonings at the Net Super, salt, sugar and lemon juice (in a bottle), coarse black pepper and herb salt. I also bought a large piping bag to use to pack the sausage mixture into the intestines later.

I planned to make two different sorts of sausages, one sort with coarse black pepper and another with a herbal lemon flavour. Firstly though I'd have to remove the salt preserving the intestines so I washed them out with fresh water before leaving them in a bowl of cold water to soak for a while. I got to work adding the seasonings and kneading the minced meat, starting with the coarse black pepper version.

Ice water is used to keep the temperature of the meat mixture low, I had read. Fer had made me ice before with his Ice Magic and I still had some left in my Item Box so I mixed water with lumps of ice then poured the cold liquid into the Mithril mixing bowl. I then added the minced meat, salt, sugar and coarsely ground pepper and mixed it well until it grew sticky. I was worried that the ice water would make everything soggy but it turned out such a small amount of liquid didn't make any real difference. I tried rubbing my hands with lumps of ice to cool them down as well. That wasn't pleasant but I thought it would be worthwhile to keep the meat mixture cool while I was kneading it.

Once that was done I quickly put the cold meat mixture in the Item Box so it would stay cold until I was ready to use it. I repeated the same process but adding herb salt and lemon juice to the minced Orc meat to make herbal lemon flavour sausage stuffing and put that away in my Item Box too.

Now all I had to do is fill the thoroughly rinsed White Sheep intestines with the minced meat. I started by attaching the Mithril funnel Sui-chan had made to the piping bag I had bought from the Net Super. I took the first sausage skin and stretched it out straight with no kinks before flattening it to remove any trapped air. I filled the piping bag with some cold minced meat mixture from my Item Box, carefully squishing the bag flat to remove air from that too. I then squeezed out some of the mixture and cut it off -- that was supposed to catch any air bubbles in the funnel -- before putting the funnel into the end of the intestine and starting pumping the mixture in. When it started oozing out the far end I tied it off, being careful not to tear the skin. I added a little more mixture, not too much and then twisted the skin repeatedly at about the right length to make each individual sausage by cutting them at the twisted part.

I repeated this process several times to make two kinds of sausage, coarse black pepper flavour and herb lemon flavour. By the time I was finished I had made a lot of sausages. I put them in a plastic container, snapped the lid in place and stored them away in my Item Box for now.

This kind of newly-made sausage is the sort that really needs to be boiled to toughen up the skin before it can be fried in a frying-pan to prevent it breaking but it should be perfect for grilling on a barbecue stove, so that's what I was planning to do with them. However, just grilling sausages seemed a bit lacking, especially given the generous size of my new barbecue stove so I decided to prepare some meat to grill with them. Yesterday's barbecued meat had been grilled plain and eaten with a sauce dip, today I'd try marinating some meat in a home-made sauce before grilling it.

I opened up Net Super again and bought the materials for the marinade. Soy sauce, sugar and sake, garlic bulbs and green onions, a pack of ground sesame seeds, sesame oil and 100% apple juice, I put them in the cart and paid for them. I went with raw garlic this time rather than my usual squeeze tubes of garlic paste because freshly-grated garlic tastes better in a marinade.

I chopped the green onions finely and grated the garlic bulbs and put them in a large bowl with the soy sauce and other ingredients as well as a splash of apple juice as the secret ingredient before stirring them up. After that I added generous cuts of Bloody Horn Bull meat and Orc meat and let them soak in the marinade for about 20 minutes, massaging them and poking them with a fork.

That was all the preparations done and the sun was starting to set. Fer and Dora-chan would be back soon, I hoped, so it was the right time to get the barbecue fired up and ready to cook with. Not having an obliging Dwarf blacksmith to hand today, after taking my custom-made barbecue stove from my Item Box I had to buy a large paper sack of charcoal from the Net Super. I put the charcoal in the removable tray under the grill and got it lit and let it come up to temperature and then it was time to try out my home-made sausages. I put some of both flavours on the grill, careful not to let them burn, turning them to brown evenly as the odour of cooking sausages wafted into my nostrils.

Suddenly I felt a weight on my shoulder -- it was Sui-chan, attracted by the smell.

"Smells good~" she said.

"You're right Sui-chan, they do smell good." I agreed, studying the sausages. Were they brown enough, had they cooked through yet? I broke one in half, yes that looked all right. Let's try it... oh yeah. Nice and juicy and the flavouring was just right. Really delicious.

"Is it good ~ Sui wants to eat too-"

"Yes of course, have a taste Sui." I picked another sausage off the grill with the tongs and passed it over my shoulder to Sui-chan, warning her it was hot.

"Wow, it's delicious! The meat juice comes out from the thin skin!-"

My first attempt to make sausages and it looks like they were really tasty. Yosh!

"Ah, why are you eating before we got back?"

"Nuuuu, you couldn't wait could you?"

Oh, Fer and Dora-chan have just returned. "No, I was just tasting the sausages I just made. I'll be cooking dinner soon." I explained hastily as the stares from the two hardened. "How did your hunting go?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

"Pretty well." Fer said off-handedly. "I dropped the ones we couldn't fit in the Magic Bag over there." Fer glanced over to one side where two big monsters were lying.

...What? I blinked a few times and then looked again but my eyes hadn't deceived me, they were still there... that one on the left had to be a rhinoceros, didn't it? And the other on the right couldn't be anything other than a sabre-toothed tiger, yeah? Appraisal, Appraisal...

Yup, they were a [ Gray Rhino ] and a [ Saber Tiger ], both of them A-ranked monsters.

I sighed. "Didn't I tell you two guys, 'don't go on a rampage?' Didn't I tell you to take it easy?"

Fer looked abashed but rallied bravely. "Well, uhhh, they were just there in front of us and..." Dora-chan in contrast was totally oblivious, buzzing around happily. "What's the problem? I beat the Saber Tiger. Amazing, isn't it? Yay for meeeee!"

Fer, you totally forgot what I said and ran wild, didn't you? And Dora-chan, stop behaving like you did a good thing. I sighed again but the two dead monsters weren't going to spring back to life or disappear. And the Magic Bag was full, apparently, but with what? I decided I would wait to find out later.

"Ah, tell me what else you caught after we finish eating dinner, okay?"

"Oh, that's a good idea." said Fer, eager to change the subject.

"All this hunting has made me hungry." Dora-chan said, concentrating on the emptiness of his belly.

Right then, I'd deal with the Magic Bag's contents later, after I'd had my own dinner. To start with I took cooked sausages off the grill and served them on plates to Fer, Dora-chan and Sui.

"Hmmm, these are pretty tasty. I could eat a lot of them." Fer gobbled up the pile of sausages on his plate with relish.

"When the thin skin on the outside goes Pop! the juices squirt out from the insides! Delicious!" Dora-chan was enjoying his serving of sausages too.

"The gravy comes out juicy and delicious~. Sui really likes these!"

The sausages are very popular, I'm glad I made them. I switched over to the lemon herb salt sausages to try them out, to see how the were different from the first ones I cooked, the black pepper flavoured sort. Oh yes, also really delicious in a different way, the scent of herbs and lemon tickling my nose with a refreshing tang. But I was missing something... ah, beer. When it comes to drinks that go well with barbecue, it definitely has to be beer as I had told Aresh-san yesterday.

I opened the Net Super and bought some beer, Company A's strong dark beer this time. A swallow of beer, glug glug, a sausage, munch munch, a swallow of beer, puaaaah... oh yeah. This was a great combination but the strong beer was dangerous, it was so easy to drink a lot of it when eating these sausages. While I was thinking about that, everyone said """Seconds!"""

I put out more sausages on the plates, the lemon herb salt ones this time and then got the Bloody Horn Bull meat and the Orc meat I had marinated earlier out of my Item Box and put them on the hot grill. From the moment they started cooking the smell tickled my nose. Boy, they smelled good. I kept a close eye on them, turning them over to cook through.

When I thought they were ready I tried a bit to taste. The outside was seared brown and crunchy, sealing in the juices and the delicious marinade inside, salty and sweet with a sesame flavour. It's a marinade I made a few times back home. I dished up the grilled Bloody Horn Bull meat and the Orc meat on fresh plates and put them down for the Gluttonous Trio since I knew they'd still be hungry.

"Right, here's some grilled meat." I said unnecessarily as Fer, Dora-chan and Sui-chan dived in.

"Oh, this meat smells delicious as well." Fer said telepathically, his jaws working overtime.

"I can still eat some more." Even little Dora-chan was stuffing his face with the barbecued meat on his own dish.

"Meat~" Sui-chan said simply.

Good, isn't it? Yeah, charcoal-grilled meat is delicious. I helped myself to some of both types of meat, alternating bites with sips of the strong black beer. Yosh, the beer went well with the meat too. Both the sausages and the grilled meat were really appreciated by all.

After we finished eating and I cleaned up the stove I turned my attention to the contents of the Magic Bag. Inside were another Gray Rhino, a Black Serpent, two Cockatrices and a Giant Dodo. I looked at the second Gray Rhino and back to Fer who pretended indifference. So, now I have two Gray Rhinos... were they edible, maybe?

"Hey Fer, can you eat Gray Rhino?" Fer looked away. "Hey, Fer?"

"Uh, no." Fer admitted after a long pause. Dora-chan thought that was funny, flying in circles around the Fenrir's head and taunting him.

"Fuhahahaha, Gray Rhino meat is way too tough to eat and yet the big guy went and hunted two of them. Hahaha!"

Fer's head snapped around. "Nuuuu, talking about hunting something you can't eat, aren't you the same Dora? You ever tried eating Saber Tiger meat? It smells terrible."

"Urrrr..." Dora-chan quietened down at that.

I sighed again. "Hey, Fer and Dora-chan, next time you go hunting make sure you only subjugate monsters that we can eat, okay?" Honestly, with the money we got from selling drops from Doran's dungeon they really don't need to hunt monsters we can only sell for materials. Monsters for eating are much more useful to us now.

I put the Gray Rhinos and the Saber Tiger away in my Item Box for now thinking I'd figure out what to do with them later. The Black Serpent and Giant Dodo and two Cockatrices, I'd get them disassembled for meat in the next town we visited.

"Well, let's go back to the city!" We followed the road back to the city as dusk fell. Tomorrow we would finally leave Doran, heading for the city of Neihof.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Ch 175 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 175 -- Announcing Our Departure

Having decided we would leave Doran tomorrow we went the Adventurers Guild to let them know we were heading off to the next destination in our itinerary, the city of Neihof. Of course when Fer, Dora-chan and Sui heard we were leaving they started badgering me to dive into Doran's dungeon just one more time but I put my foot down and said no. We had already conquered this dungeon and we didn't have the time to do it again if we wanted to get to Neihof any time soon. After Neihof of course was our final stop, the seaport of Berleean with its promise of seafood. After that, well, back in Carerina Lambert-san the leather goods store owner was making a Wyvern-skin cloak for me and I'd have to return for that once it was ready, another thing to consider.

Fer, Dora-chan and Sui grumbled and moaned at not taking a second trip through Doran's dungeon. I pointed out this country had other dungeons we hadn't visited yet which cheered them up a little. I didn't tell them I had no intention of going into any of those other dungeons though...

"Welcome Mukouda-san." Elland-san said, meeting me at the Guild's reception desk. I noticed Ugor-san hurrying to meet us, no doubt intent on preventing the Guild Master doing or saying something stupid.

"Mukouda-sama, welcome." Ugor-san said, a little out of breath. "Shall we go up to the Guild Master's office?" They prepared to lead the way but I demurred. My business today was only a minor matter after all.

"No, I just stopped by to let the Guild know I was intending to leave Doran tomorrow morning." I said.

"Eh, are you going already?!" Elland-san exclaimed. "Won't you stay here until I'm free to accompany you? I want to travel with Dora-chan." His eyes were fixed on the Pixie Dragon hovering beside me.

"Something about that guy creeps me out." Dora-chan said telepathically as he moved behind me to get out of the Dragon-obsessed Elf's line of sight. Are you telling me you're intending to ditch your important business trip to the Royal capital and come with us to Neihof, Elland-san? I was amazed just how irresponsible he could be, at least when Dragons were involved.

"Haaa," Ugor-san said as he shook his head wearily, "Don't talk nonsense, Guild Master." He turned to me and said "Just ignore the Guild Master's fantasies, please. Oh, and let me take the opportunity to thank you for the delicious cake. My wife and children and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a real treat, something we had never tasted before, so sweet." Ah good, I was glad the pound cake had been a success. It seemed there was nothing quite like it in this world.

"Oh, that cake." Elland-san said. "I had some of it when I got home and it was truly delicious." He sighed. "I'm extremely fond of sweet things so I ate all of it in just two days." Really, Elland-san? Maybe all that sugar explained why he was always so hyper...

"Those sweet cakes are made in a small country far away and I just happened to get some by chance. I'm glad you liked them." This was the same excuse I had used on Arend-san the dwarf to explain where the whiskey I had bribed him with came from. It seemed to work well in this world.

"Ehhh, is that so?" Elland-san said eagerly. "It was really delicious and I was looking forward to getting so more. Is there any chance-" Ugor-san's look of exasperation brought Elland-san back down to earth.

"I would like to thank you most sincerely for the valuable items you sold to the Guild." Ugor-san said, bowing politely to me.

I waved my hands. "No no, I'm grateful to both of you for all you've done for me while I've been staying here in Doran." Elland-san was a bit weird but he had disassembled the Earth Dragon for me, and Ugor-san had been the perfect Deputy Guild Master, helping me out with the Merchants Guild as well as restraining the flighty Guild Master when necessary.

I bowed to them, saying "I wish you both the best in the future." before turning to leave but Elland-san interrupted.

Please don't forget your promise, Mukouda-san.'' My promise?

Elland-san's face fell as he caught my look of puzzlement. "Did you forget already? If you capture another Dragon you promised to bring it here?" Oh, that's right. I did sort-of say I would do that, didn't I? Ah well, I knew Elland-san could expertly disassemble a Dragon so if I, well, if Fer caught another Dragon then bringing it back to Doran would be the obvious thing to do, I supposed.

"Yes, I remembered..." I thought for a moment. "But we're heading for Berleean and we're intending to catch a Sea Serpent there. Could you disassemble something like that for us?" Wasn't a Sea Serpent a bit like an aquatic Dragon? I didn't know much about such things.

"Oh, a Sea Serpent?" Elland-san brightened up. "I've disassembled a Sea Serpent before, I'm sure I could do that job perfectly for you." He looked at Fer who was standing beside me. "Leviathan too. If you can subjugate Leviathan I'll disassemble that monster for you as well."

Isn't Leviathan the absolute boss of the sea monsters? It seemed an impossible task but it would be up to Fer, not me. "Fer, could you actually subjugate Leviathan?" I asked him.

"Idiot. They're really rare, I've only ever encountered three of them in my life." Well, that settled it, no Leviathan- "And defeated one." Fer looked up at Elland-san's excited face. "If I run into another one I'll defeat it and we'll bring it back here for you to dismantle." So you've actually subjugated Leviathan before now, Fer? I sighed. Just when I started to think I know him...

"Really?!" Elland-san said excitedly. "Please do so!"

"W- well, as Fer said Leviathan is not that common." I tried to downplay Elland-san's expectations. "Please don't get your hopes up." Elland-san's head was full of images of Leviathan though and he wasn't listening to me. Instead he turned to the deputy Guild Master with an excited look on his face.

"U-, Ugor-san, can I go with..." Ugor-san made a chopping motion with his hand, cutting off yet another anguished plea to accompany us from Elland-san.

 "Haa-, please take no heed of this idiot's ravings, Mukouda-sama."

"Uh, well... We'll be off now. Thank you both for all you've done for us." I bowed respectfully and, with Elland-san staring off into the distance and dreaming of Leviathan we left the Adventurers Guild.

Friday 8 May 2020

Ch 174 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Ch 174 -- BBQ

I spent the next two days cooking and preparing food. Now we had finished Doran's dungeon I was intending to head off to the next town soon and we'd need a lot of food for the forthcoming road trip. Fer and the other two hangers-on wanted to go back into the dungeon of course but I refused since it would take too long. They'd want to go all the way to the final level again and one time was enough for me thank you very much.

I made all sorts of ready-to-eat items like the ever-popular kaarage, regular pork cutlets and minced meat cutlets as well as cheese-IN varieties of course, since Sui-chan really liked them. I also prepared lots of rice bowl toppings from Wyvern and Bloody Horn Bull meat, lots of beef stew and mountains of hamburgers, again some with cheese IN because Sui-chan liked them too. Gyoza dumplings were next, the Mithril mincer made mincing any kind of meat for fillings quick and easy, followed by pork soup and boiled-pork for ramen and soft-boiled eggs as extras. The pork soup had been really tasty, especially in the cold dank dungeon. I added the soft-boiled eggs to the pork soup and boiled pork and let them marinate in the Magic Bag to absorb the juices.

A new dish I tried making was stuffed peppers since I had a lot of minced meat to hand. I cleaned out the bell peppers after washing them thoroughly and cutting them in half then I packed the insides with some of the meat I had prepared to make hamburgers with and dusted them lightly with flour. I fried them in a frying pan with the meat side down and once they had browned I added oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar and a little water before putting the lid on to let them steam.

Those two days of effort had replenished my reserves of cooked food so I figured I'd be able to enjoy the forthcoming trip a lot more without having to stop at the roadside and make meals from scratch every few hours. Now that was done I was heading back towards the area of Doran where the blacksmith workshops were located to collect the barbecue stove I had ordered. I had already bought the ten bottles of whiskey I had bribed, ah promised the blacksmith for the stove's completion from the Net Super, famous square bottles from the Japanese S company. I was looking forward to seeing how the stove had turned out.

* * * * *

"Hello." I announced as I entered the shop. Fer laid down at the doorway and did his "pretending to sleep" act with Dora-chan snuggled up beside him.

"Oh, it's you," the dwarven shopowner said brusquely. "I finished up what you ordered. It's back here." He led the way into his workshop where a large barbeque stove practically filled the available floorspace. I made a close inspection of it, checking the details.

"Any problems? I made it just like you said." the dwarf said, standing with his arms crossed. The stove looked to be the right size and the drawer for charcoal could be pulled out to be emptied and refilled. The airholes were in the right place and looked good too, the top grill was also easily removable for cleaning.

"Yep, it's exactly what I had asked for, it's really well made." I answered him.

"'Course it is." he said grumpily. "I made it after all and I'm one of the top five smiths in Doran."

Really? When I came to the blacksmith's quarter to find a smith that would make this stove I just went to one smith's shop after another at random since I didn't know who was who. There were a lot of blacksmiths in Doran because of the number of Adventurers who came here to dive into the city's dungeon so being one of the top five smiths meant he was really top-notch. I had really lucked out, it seemed. After a gruff introduction I discovered that Aresh-san here was the son of the actual owner of this store, Aresh Blacksmith Workshop.

"Right then, how are you gonna get something this size home? You got someone to cart it away for ya?"

"Ah, it's okay. I have an Item Box I can put it in."

"Oh, it's like that? Okay you, did you bring THAT?" the dwarf's eyes were fixed on me. THAT was, of course THAT. I nodded. "Of course I did." I said, taking out a square bottle of S company's whiskey from my Item Box.

"I've been waiting to get my hands on more of that booze..." Aresh-san said, he plucking the bottle from my hand before he started rubbing it against his cheeks. Aresh-san really liked booze, it seemed.

"Let's see, I promised you ten bottles, didn't I?" I took out the other nine bottles and put them down on Aresh-san's workbench as his eyes widened.

"Waheey, I've got me some good booze!" He sounded happy, a bit like a couple of boozehound Gods I had the unfortunate acquaintance of.

"So how much is the stove costing me?" I asked.

"Ah yeah," Aresh-san said, reluctantly putting the bottle down and getting back to business. He tugged at his beard thoughtfully before saying "It's the first time I made something like this so I hadda guess a bit at the price. I told ya 350 gold coins first time but that was too much. Now it's finished, including the materials, hmmm... I'd say 300 gold coins will be enough."

Oh, that's less than he said before. When Aresh-san told me he was one of the top five blacksmiths in Doran I thought the price might go up, not down so I was perfectly happy with a final price of 300 gold coins. And the ten, no eleven bottles of booze it had taken to get him to make the stove for me, of course. I took out a hemp bag containing 300 gold coins from my Item Box and presented it to him.

"Here, that should be the correct amount." I said.

"Yup." He took the bag and put it away in a closet off to one side, not even bothering to open it or count the coins inside. I was puzzled, any other time I had bought something such as my Black Magic Cooking stove the storekeeper had carefully counted the coins I had handed over to check the payment was correct.

"Uhhh, shouldn't you check the contents of the bag?" I asked. Aresh-san gave me a hard look.

"You telling me you've short-changed me?" he said grumpily.

"No, I wouldn't do that." I protested. That sack contained 300 gold coins, it was one of the sacks the Guild had paid me with and I'd not taken any coins out of it so it definitely contained the agreed amount.

"Well if it doesn't turn out to be the right amount I'll come and get the rest from ya." Arash-san waved a hand at the recumbent figure of Fer at the shop door. "You're a famous Tamer after all, the Adventurer who recently beat the dungeon with your contracted monsters aincha?" Oh, so I was recognised, even by a blacksmith? "The Adventurers Guild ain't talking much about what happened for some reason but word gets around." Well, it was a bit too late to deny everything so I confirmed his suspicions.

"Yes, that's right, more or less. I don't really want to stand out or anything like that so I'm trying to keep quiet about it..."

"Yeah, I can see that. If folks know you're the guy that completed the dungeon they're gonna bother ya big time. You don't look like the sorta gloryhound that wants that sort of attention. Me, I don't really care about that kinda stuff." Aresh-san leaned in, conspiratorially. "Sayin' that, didya collect any special drops in the dungeon that would be good for making a sword with?"

Aresh-san made all sorts of weapons but, it seemed, he specialised in swords and he was interested to know what materials the Adventurer's Guild might have to offer for sale soon.

"What sort of materials would you be interested in? I did pick up some items..."

"Well," Arend-san tugged at his beard again. "Drop materials from monsters on the deepest floors would be best."

"Drops on floors near the deepest part of the dungeon?" I thought to myself, trying to remember the items Elland-san had wanted the Guild to purchase to make magic swords with, before Ugor-san rightly shot him down in flames. The Gustave's spine was one, I recalled, and the Vasuki's fangs, both S-ranked boss monsters... Aresh-san interrupted my recollection. "Ah, it doesn't matter. I'd never be able to afford them anyway. Still, I can dream can't I?" Those items were probably worth thousands of gold coins, out of the reach of an individual smith like Aresh-san. But ...

"About that, you're one of the top five blacksmiths in this town, aren't you?" I asked him.

"Well yeah, I'm not boasting when I say I'm definitely one of the top five." Aresh-san said confidently.

"Since that's the case," I went on, "I think you might be receiving an inquiry from the Adventurers Guild soon, Aresh-san."

Aresh-san's bushy eyebrows rose. "Muuuu, so you have sold some kinda material from the dungeon that could be used to make a sword to the Adventurers Guild then, huh?" I just shrugged and didn't answer him directly but Ugor-san had said the number of blacksmiths in this city who can use the Dragon's fang the Guild had bought from me to make a magic sword was limited and he'd have to consult with the best ones before deciding who should get the commission. If Aresh-san really was one of the top five blacksmiths in Doran then he was sure to be approached by the Adventurers Guild.

My non-answer seemed to satisfy Aresh-san who nodded before he slapped the top of the barbeque stove.

"So then, do you want to try this thing out right now?"

"Yes, I was planning to do just that." I was intending to barbeque food today for dinner.

"Right, you should fire it up here." Aresh-san waved at his forge. "We've got plenty of charcoal, after all." He slapped the stove again. "I'm confident in my ability as a smith but that's when I'm making weapons and armour, it's the first time I've made something like this. If you try it out here and there's a problem with it I can fix it up right away. Besides," he grinned, "I'd kinda like to see how it works myself."

Oh, that's a wonderful idea. I'll happily take up your offer, Aresh-san and fire up the barbeque stove here. I followed Aresh-san out the back door of his workshop into an open area where, he explained, his customers could test the sharpness of swords and spears and other weapons. It was the perfect place for a barbeque with Aresh-san. And Fer and Dora-chan and Sui too, of course, they weren't going to be left out especially when food was being cooked.

I took Orc meat and Bloody Horn Bull meat out of my Item Box but when I started to pull out assorted veggies I got a very emphatic telepathic "Vegetables are banned" from Fer and Dora-chan. I sighed but went with it, accepting that this was going to be an all-meat barbeque. Next time though... I loaded the tray with charcoal from the smithy and got it lit with Aresh-san's expert help. Once it was hot enough I put the Orc meat and Bloody Horn Bull on the grill where they immediately started sizzling.

"Can I give it a try too?" asked Aresh-san, holding out a bowl he had fetched from the workshop. "Put these on, will ya?"

"Help yourself, but what do you want to cook?" I peered at the vaguely-familiar objects in the bowl.

"These sausages are homemade by me." Aresh-san explained. So that's what they were. "I make 'em with lots of salt, they go great with booze. Wanna try some?"

Sausages, hey? He says they go well with booze and I was planning to do some drinking myself anyway so I put them on the grill. While they cooked I asked him how he made them and where he got the gut from. These sausages looked like the sort of thing I could make myself after all. As I flipped the sliced meat on the grill and turned the sausages to stop them burning Aresh-san explained that butchers commonly sold the intestines from a creature called a White Sheep for folks to make sausages with. That sounded promising... Oh, the meat was ready.

"The meat's cooked now, Aresh-san. This sauce here, it's from my home town and goes great with barbeque." I took a bottle of long-time best-selling meat sauce from the Item Box, put some in a bowl and handed it to the dwarf along with a fork.

"Thanks for the food." Aresh-san said. "Oh, watch out, the sausages are starting to burn." I quickly scooped them off the grill, reserving four of them for myself. Under pressure from the fixed stares from the Gluttonous Trio I put out lots of grilled Orc and Bloody Horn Bull meat on plates plus a sausage each and topped it off with sauce before putting the plates down for Fer, Dora-chan and Sui to help themselves.

Now for my own chance to sample Aresh-san's homemade sausage. Biting through the thin skin resulted in a nice crisp sound, a good sign. It was quite salty, as Aresh-san had promised but juicy too. Making my own sausages was definitely going on my to-do list.

"Kaaah-, the booze I got from ya and the sausages go well together." Aresh-san commented. He was already drinking the whiskey I had given him. Did whiskey really go well with grilled meat? Surely something lighter would be better, I thought to myself.

"Please wait a moment." I said and moved over into a corner of the yard where Aresh-san couldn't see what I was doing then I opened Net Super. I passed over the canned beer selection but the bottles, they wouldn't seem odd in this world, surely? I bought 5 bottles of premium beer from Company S and a couple of bottle openers.

"This is more suitable for grilled meat. Please try it." I poured some premium beer into a glass and gave it to Aresh-san.

"Muuu, ale?" Aresh-san squinted at the beer. "I don't hate it but this strong booze I got from yourself is a lot more tasty."

"This isn't exactly ale." I explained. "It's another of those special kinds of booze that's made in my home town."

"Really?" he brightened up. "Then I'll definitely try it." Glug glug glug, fuhahaaa. Aresh-san wiped the froth from his beard and held the glass up to the light.

"Cough! What is this stuff?! It looks like ale, but it tastes totally different." he shook his head in wonderment. "Where do you get all these different kinds of delicious booze?!" It's a secret, Aresh-san, I said silently as I popped the cap off another bottle and poured myself a glass. If it's barbecue then it's got to be beer. Glug glug glug, fuhahaaa. Oh yeah, definitely beer.

I put more meat on the grill while Aresh-san fetched more sausages and we spent the rest of the day in a barbecuing, eating and drinking tournament. There were no complaints from Fer, Dora-chan and Sui-chan either as they stuffed themselves on the plentiful dishes of charcoal-grilled meat I put down for them.