After parting company with Rodolpho-san at the Adventurer's Guild we left the town of Claire and headed swiftly towards the Dungeon City of Doran.
As usual I was on Fer's back with Sui in her bag hanging from my shoulder while Dora-chan flew beside us, easily keeping up with Fer's incredible pace. It seemed Dora-chan's boast of being able to fly very quickly was not an idle one. After a while it started to get dark so I decided we should set up camp for the night and of course that meant dinner.
I wanted to check what I had ready to eat in my Item Box, hmmm... there was rice still hot from cooking and yes, the hamburgers made from Bloody Horn Bull and Orc General meat were in there too. That would make dinner simple, it would be Hawaiian style Loco Moco burgers.
First I bought eggs, lettuce, cucumber and cherry tomatoes at Net Super since I wanted veggies to go with the greasy main course. I chopped the lettuce up roughly, cut the cucumber in thin slanted slices and halved the cherry tomatoes. The eggs I fried sunny-side up, counting the portions out -- Fer and Sui would have three hamburgers so they'd each get three fried eggs. I estimated that Dora-chan would be good with two hamburgers going by what I had seen her eat previously so she got two eggs.
I put the hamburgers on dishes of white rice and then added the fried eggs with the raw salad veggies arranged around the side. I put out some mayonnaise to add if anyone wanted it but I left it off to start with.
"Dinner's ready!" I announced. Fer, Sui and Dora-chan all arrived in a rush. "Here it is, eat up." I said, putting the dishes down in front of them. "I'll mix it together a bit for you." It's a bit messy doing that but they couldn't use utensils so stirring everything up in the bowl makes it easier for them to eat.
"Can I eat it now?" Dora-chan asked impatiently, wings buzzing.
"Here you go." The Three Gluttons begin to eat.
"Tastes good, doesn't it? The veggies are nice and crunchy." Dora-chan commented as he stuffed his muzzle with food.
"Yeah, it really is!- It's got eggs too-" Sui and Dora-chan seemed to like it.
"Well, it's delicious but I prefer not having the vegetables." Fer grumbled telepathically but I noticed his jaws didn't slow down appreciably as his bowl emptied quickly, veggies or no veggies.
"Look Fer, vegetables are essential for Loco Moco. No vegetables, it's just not the same." I tried to explain.
"I think it's just tastier without the veggies." Fer harrumphed, obviously disagreeing with me on this point but I shrugged and dug into my own bowl of Loco Moco with extra veggies. Delicious! Fer didn't know what he was missing out on, I decided smugly.
After the first serving Dora-chan seemed to be full up, his little belly rounded out yet again. Fer and Sui had seconds, of course. I made Fer's dish without vegetables this time.
After we finished eating I took a little break then used earth magic to make a little box-shaped bedroom for the night.
"Everyone can go to sleep now. I've follow you later but I've got something to do."
"Well OK, but what is it you're up to?" Fer inquired.
"Oh, I was told you can eat Venom Tarantula but I've got no idea what it tastes like." I said. "Rodolpho-san said that the legs were delicious when they are boiled in salt water so I though I'd try cooking some to see what it tasted like. I can't really cook it properly if I don't know how it will come out after all."
"I see." Fer said. "I'm not that fond of eating bugs raw myself so I'm interested in how it might turn out if you boil it like the Guild Master said. I'll hang around and see what happens." Yeah right Fer, you just want to eat it, I thought to myself.
"What? Is there more tasty food? Sui will also eat it-"
"Hey, I'll eat it too!"
It seems that both Sui and Dora-chan wanted to eat it too, everybody volunteering for the tasting party. Ah well.
I had 64 Venom Tarantula legs in total. I decided to cook some of them as a test so I took 8 of them out of my Item Box, examining them closely. They were a dark purple colour, almost black and quite evil-looking. The hairs on the nape of my neck rose at the sight. Could I really cook something like this? They looked a bit like crab legs, I supposed, if I ignored the colour. Right then, to work.
I washed the legs then dunked them in a large pot filled with heavily-salted water and started to boil them as Rodolpho-san had suggested. As they cooked the hard shell of the legs turned red, looking more and more like a crab which was faintly reassuring.
"Boiling them is like boiling crab, but..." Don't think of it as a spider leg, this is from a crab, a crab right? Crab, crab, crab... I hooked them out of the pot and cracked the shells before cautiously nibbling on a bit of the meat inside. Crab meat. Crab -- oh, it actually tasted quite good, not unpleasant at all. Crab, maybe? Sort of, but not the same. The mouth feel, it was mushy, different to fibrous crab meat, what was it like? Ah, I got it, it was like kamaboko steamed fish paste, but crab-flavoured. Odd but not unpleasant.
"Hey, don't eat all of it yourself, give some to us." Fer demanded, eyes fixed on the pot.
"Oh, sorry, sorry." I apologised. I cracked out more Venom Tarantula meat and put it out for the three other members of the tasting committee who dug in with a will.
"Well, I think it tastes better boiled like this than the time before when I ate it raw." was Fer's judgement when he came up for breath.
"What the big guy said." Dora-chan chimed in. "I've eaten raw Venom Tarantula meat too and this is a lot nicer."
I bowed to their greater experience and decided I didn't want to try eating raw Venom Tarantula meat myself. Boiling it would be best, I decided.
"Yeah, it's delicious-" Sui chimed in. "But Sui likes red meat better?" Sui prefers animal-type meat, then?
"Like Sui says, I prefer the meat you've been serving up till now." Fer said.
"Me too. This insect meat is not bad but it's not the best." Dora-chan agreed.
I would definitely choose meat myself rather than crab-flavoured kamaboko, I must admit. However we still had 56 Venom Tarantula legs left in my Item Box. How could we use them up? Crab-flavoured candy? I shook my head, that wouldn't work. I decided to put off deciding what to do with the legs, they wouldn't go bad in storage. Say hello to Orthros-san and Chimera-san, Venom Tarantula-sans...
After cleaning up the cooking utensils and dishes I took a bath with Sui. I was surprised when Dora-chan said he wanted to take a bath with us. I figured it couldn't hurt so I wiped myself down with a wet towel while I got Sui to fill my bath (MY bath!) with water before heating it with a Fireball. Dora-chan floated around in the bath like Sui, obviously enjoying the hot water. It seemed Fer was the only one of us who disliked soaking in a bath (although I think he liked getting washed more than the mighty Fenrir-sama would admit).
After the refreshing bath everyone got into the futons I spread out and went to bed. Sleeping on futons on a journey is wonderful.