Thursday, 21 February 2019

Ch 125 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Chapter 125 -- I Tried Out the Oven

I borrowed the inner courtyard of the Labyrinth City Inn and set up my newly-purchased "Latest Model Black Magic Cooking Stove" while I gave some thought to what sort of meals I could prepare with it.  Since Fer, Sui and Dora-chan insisted they were dying of hunger I got some fried pork cutlets out of my Item Box and put them out for the starving creatures. I had been so busy shopping we had missed lunch so I felt a bit guilty but it couldn't be helped.

Once everyone was eating I fired up the stove's oven as I had decided to make a number of dishes using it. Oven baked recipes with meat and vegetables would be simple and not take much time. I opened the Net Super and bought cooking parchment, olive oil and herb salt to start with then I started preparing vegetables.

I kept things simple, a recipe I had made before with potatoes, onion and carrots as the base vegetable ingredients. I added shimeji and eringi mushrooms and some paprika for colour and a little spiciness. I had to buy the mushrooms and paprika from the Net Super. I looked over the ingredients and nodded. Yosh, that would do fine.

For the meat, I figured I'd use Rock Bird. I cut it into large bite-sized pieces and punched holes with a fork before adding salt and pepper and then I started preparing the vegetables. The more solid veggies like potatoes and carrots I scraped and peeled then I cut them up into pieces so they would cook more evenly. The onions I sliced into circles after peeling them. I broke up the shimeji mushrooms and split the erengi mushrooms down to an appropriate size too.

Now for the baking. I put down cooking sheets on the top shelf of the oven and arranged the meat and vegetables, topping them with the paprika and mushrooms before adding olive oil and finally sprinkling everything with herb salt. I closed the oven door and fired it up with a touch of my finger and a little magical energy on the ignition button. I didn't know just how this oven behaved since the controls were unfamiliar so I cooked while anxiously watching the condition of the food on the parchment sheets inside, judging the food was ready when the vegetables seemed a little scorched.

"Oh, that looks like it's working well." I mused, peering in through the oven's glass door. "The vegetables and meat are nicely baked and, yup, ready now." I took the cooked vegetables and meat from the oven and dished them out to Fer, Sui and Dora-chan.

"Took you long enough..." Fer grumbled and then he caught sight of the food. "What, vegetables again?" Fer, don't complain about eating vegetables. They're good for you, honest.

"Something smells funny..." Dora-chan's muzzle was twitching as he sniffed at the food. That was probably the herb salt, I reckoned. I pushed the dish at him.  "Go on, try it." I said, watching darling Sui-chan diving in as usual.

"This isn't just salty, yeah-? It smells nice and it's delicious." Sui thought it was good, obviously.

Dora-chan ate the roast meat and vegetables in his dish with growing enthusiasm as his suspicions of the herb salt flavouring wore off. It was clear his one serving would fill him up but I knew from long experience that Fer and Sui would be demanding "Seconds!" soon. I'd be able to satisfy them with one more serving of roast meat and vegetables, probably. This time around I melted a lot of cheese on top after cooking, letting the remaining heat do the job. It looked really delicious. I ate my portion while the second batch cooked and planned out what to do next. The oven was working out well, I mused as I helped myself to a mouthful of the roast Rock Bird meat. How would it do as a stove though? Time to find out.

Fer and Sui gobbled up the oven-roasted vegetables and meat covered in melted cheese until they were finally satisfied.

"It was delicious-" Ah, Sui-chan...

"Well, it was okay." For Fer that was high praise, I told myself. I noticed he had actually eaten all his veggies like a good boy, ummm puppy? uh ravening country-destroying invincible boss monster... I resisted the temptation to pat him on the head and scratch his ears. Time to do some more cooking.

"It'll be a while before it gets dark so I am going to prepare food for our dungeon exploration." I explained. Everyone went off for a nap, their bellies full. I would have liked to join them but I had work to do and getting them out of the way would simplify things for me. I knew that if I was cooking with them around they'd be hanging over my shoulder, asking questions and drooling.

Rice. First I have to cook rice, a lot of it. I'm Japanese after all. Rice is important.

I had been using a big earthenware pot to cook rice before but just one wasn't going to be enough to cook the amount of rice I intended to cook. I opened Net Super and bought another ten pots just like it. I also bought a lot of rice and stored it in my Item Box to save me from having to buy it from the Net Super in the dungeon. I washed the rice in water, letting it soak while I prepared some fried food. Both Fer and Sui liked fried foods and Dora-chan probably would too given his eating habits. Kaarage would work very well as stored ready-to-eat food for the dungeon exploration.

For the meats I used up most of the remaining Red Serpent, Black Serpent, Rock Bird and Giant Dodo in my Item Box, dressing them with a soy sauce rub and a salt based rub alternately. I put pots of rice on three of the stove's burners to cook while I dedicated the fourth burner to deep-frying meat. I also fried up all the minced meat cutlets I had left over in my Item Box while I was at it. I cooked rice, I deep-fried meat, I cooked rice, I deep-fried meat, I cooked rice...

"Fuu," I said, finally finished putting all the cooked food away in my Item Box where it would stay fresh and hot. "That's enough fried food and rice." What next? It still wasn't dark, I could cook something else. How about gyuudon beef bowl? My three contracted monsters seemed to like it, and Elland-san too, I remembered. I wondered how he was getting on with the disassembly of the Earth Dragon. OK then, beef bowl it is. Nice and easy and a real treat over rice.

"What sort of beef bowl should I make?" I had lots of Bloody Horn Bull meat which was the obvious choice but I decided I'd use Wyvern meat as well this time as an experiment. It seemed a bit wasteful to use such high-quality meat in a cheap dish like gyuudon beef bowl but I had lots of it, even more than my stock of Bloody Horn Bull meat so it wouldn't be a disaster if it didn't work out.

 I looked at my Black Magic Cooking Stove. The burners were a lot bigger than the little gas-bottle portable cooking stoves I had been using before so I could use a bigger stockpot to cook the meat for the gyuudon. Sadly the Net Super didn't offer a real restaurant-sized cooking pot, the largest pot I could find was about half that size. They were still quite big though so I bought two of them to start with. I might buy more stockpots later if I needed them, I decided depending on what I might cook next. Stew? Fer had really liked the stew I had made for him before. However I was making gyuudon today. I cooked up a half-size pot full of Bloody Horn Bull meat beef bowl and used the other half-sized pot to prepare Wyvern meat beef bowl. I tried undercooking the Wyvern's meat a little since it was so tender compared to the more robust Bloody Horn Bull meat.

After that I made a roast for dinner. I still had some Giant Deer meat left over and I decided to use that up. I cut the meat into large pieces, covered them in olive oil and added more herb salt before laying them out on a cooking sheet and putting them in the top shelf of the oven where there was plenty of space so the meat would cook evenly. I turned the temperature up high to scorch the surface and once that happened I took the meat out and wrapped it in aluminium foil to let it cook through with residual heat. Once it had cooled a little I sliced it thinly. The meat was cooked through but still pink in the middle as it should be, soft and tender to the touch. Yosh!

I could have left it as it was but I added sauce, a commercially available sour-citrus ponzu and onion flavoured steak sauce since I didn't want the hassle of preparing a sauce from scratch. It was totally dark by the time the Giant Deer roast was completed.

"Dinner's ready..." I announced, rather pointlessly since when I turned from the stove all three were waiting attentively behind me.

"Oh, isn't this delicious?" Fer said after swallowing his first mouthful of sliced ​​Giant Deer roast.

"This sour-tasting sauce is yummy." Dora-chan liked the flavour of the ponzu sauce, it seemed.

"The meat is soft and delicious-" Sui commented. Hearing sweet gourmet Sui say that made me happy as I bit into my own serving of Roast Deer, letting the meat juices fill my mouth. MMMMmmm! Not overbaking it and let it cook through with residual heat was the way to go and using the oven made that easy to achieve.

Although Fer and Sui requested "Seconds!" several times I could serve them immediately since I had roasted a lot of Giant Deer meat to start with. It was a big help not having to make more servings from scratch as I usually had to with the small portable stoves I had relied on before. Buying the Black Magic Cooking Stove had turned out to be a really good move on my part, I congratulated myself.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Ch 124 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Ch 124 -- Latest Model Black Magic Cooking Stove

We went strolling through the streets of Doran. The folks we passed took less notice of Fer and Dora-chan than I had expected, with fewer startled looks and exclamations compared to the other cities we had visited. Doran was a Dungeon City, of course so there were lots of Adventurers around. Although Tamer isn't a common job, contracted monsters accompanying their Adventurer masters were not an unfamiliar sight to the locals. Fer and Dora-chan were something special of course but still not enough to cause the sorts of alarmed shouts and brandishing of weapons that had happened elsewhere. It was something of a relief.

"There sure are a lot of people around." I muttered, looking around with interest at the crowded streets. "Then again Rodolpho-san did say Doran is this country's fifth-largest city so I suppose that's not too surprising."

I noticed quite a few shops as we wandered through the city. Many of them were selling weapons and armour, not surprisingly since this was a Dungeon city. I looked at some of the items on offer in such stores with interest but I didn't really need such things myself, having Fer and now Dora-chan with me. Besides, since Sui-chan had been blessed by the God of Blacksmiths she could make things like weapons and armour for me for free. The knife she had made as an experiment was of excellent quality, "[ Mithril knife + ], a high-quality Mithril knife" according to my Appraisal earlier. It felt good to hold, something I had learned to appreciate from the cooking knives I had bought from time to time at home. A knife that felt good in the hand was a knife that made it easier to do a good job preparing food.

I would have liked to carry the knife Sui had made in the sheath on my belt but being a high-quality blade and made of Mithril it was incredibly sharp. The knife sheath was made of strong Giant Deer leather but the knife's keen edge would easily slice through that leather so unfortunately I had to keep it in my Item Box for the moment. I had an idea though, if the inside of the sheath could somehow be coated with a thin layer of Mithril then that would probably protect the leather. I'd ask Sui-chan if she could do that to the sheath if I took it off the belt and gave it to her to "tickle", as she described it, maybe tonight. Thinking about that I idly wondered about maybe getting her to make me a Mithril sword too as part of our preparations for entering the dungeon. A helmet as well? Caves often have low ceilings so a protective Mithril helmet might be a good idea, stop me bumping my head and hurting myself. Safety first after all. Hmmm...

While strolling around aimlessly and thinking about various things a shop front display caught my eye. It appeared to be a store which sold magic tools of various sorts rather than weapons and such. Oh? Was that what I thought it was? I stopped to take a closer look after reading the large sign above the item in question.

"Latest Model Black Magic Cooking Stove"

In terms of size the stove on display was about 2 metres long and about 80 centimetres wide, with four cooking rings on the top in a row and a very large oven below. I knelt down to peer into the open oven. This looked interesting...

"Welcome. I see you're interested in our new magic cooking stove." The shopkeeper came out out to greet me.

"Excuse me but how well does this stove heat things up?" I inquired. Because it was a magic stove I surmised it would be using a magic stone to power it but would it provide enough heat to cook things properly? It wasn't worth considering if it was too feeble to do a proper job.

"As you can see here," the shopkeeper pointed to the central part of the stove, "the magic stone installed in this latest model black magic cooking stove was specifically chosen and perfectly inlaid to provide all the heat required."

There was a black manastone about 2cm in diameter embedded in the centre of a deeply-inscribed magical circle on the top of the stove. Ah, 'Black Magic' referred to the colour of the manastone used. As the storekeeper explained, the magical circle invoked Fire magic and the manastone provided the energy to create the fire. Clever, I thought to myself.

"In addition to that the temperatures it produces can be easily adjusted from low heat to high heat." When I asked how long it would last he added, "A manastone of this size can be used every day for ten years before it needs to be replaced." Ten years? That was truly incredible.

"Please watch while I demonstrate how it works." he said. He touched a button on the front of the stove and the burners lit. "You push here and put a little magical energy into the stove to start it up. After that it runs off the manastone and you don't need to add more magical energy. When it's lit you can adjust the heat with these knobs. It's very simple."

Turn the knobs next to the button to the left for a low heat, turn it to the right for a high heat. There was a knob for each burner on the top. As the owner said it looked easy to use and the heat from the burners was more than sufficient to cook on.

"Since you can adjust the heat on each burner you can make various dishes at the same time." he explained. Hmmm, this was looking better and better. The gas-bottle portable cooking stoves purchased from the Net Super I been using till now were serviceable enough but I was attracted by the sheer awesome firepower of this magical stove. It didn't need replacement gas bottles on a regular basis either.

"Then, under the stove-top burners it has an oven." The shopkeeper pointed to a remarkably familiar-looking control panel at the right side of the open oven door. "Here's a button to light it, just like the burners, and a knob for heat control which works the same way. There's even a timer device so you won't overcook things."

He waved his hand around inside the oven, demonstrating how spacious it was. "With this size oven you could even roast a whole Cockatrice." I peered into the oven again, remembering the Cockatrices Fer had subjugated back when we were travelling with the Iron Will party of Adventurers. A Cockatrice's body was about 1.5 meters long so yes, it would just fit once the head was removed. Mmmm, roast chicken, that sounded good.

"I've made soup with this cooking stove while baking bread in the oven below," the shopkeeper went on, obviously noting my increasing enthusiasm and interest. Fresh-baked bread? That sounded good as well. I can get bread-making flour and bread yeast from the Net Super so baking my own bread was a possibility too. Having something like this would allow me to increase my range of cooking possibilities enormously. I wanted this stove, I decided.

"Sounds good. So, how much is it?" I said. That was the most important thing. It used a magic stone and that would mean it was expen---

"It is 860 gold coins." The shopkeeper said with a smile.


"It is 860 gold coins." he repeated.

Even if he was smiling he had still said, what was it, 860 gold coins? That was mind-bogglingly expensive. But I wanted it. But it cost 860 gold coins. But I wanted it. But- my mind ran in circles as the shopkeeper stood waiting patiently.

"Hey, you finished here yet?" Fer grumbled.

"Yeah, let's go back. I'm getting hungry." Dora-chan added. Fer and Dora-chan's comments brought me out of my stupor. (by the way, Sui-chan was asleep in her leather bag as usual.)

"Hold on, I'm just wondering if I should buy this stove or not." I explained, still unable to drag myself away. It was a wonderful stove, but 860 gold coins?

"Nuuu, why are you wanting such a big useless-looking thing to drag around with you? It looks like it would just get in the way." Fer said.

"It's not useless. This is a magic cooking stove, I could use it to cook lots of dishes." I sighed. "The problem is that it's incredibly expensive."

"So it's just something to cook on but you've been managing to cook really well already?" Dora-chan inquired.

"Yes, but you see if I get this stove I could cook more and different things even better. It's got an oven, I can roast and bake and, well, but it costs 860 gold coins. That's why I can't decide."

I had the money to just buy it, I was incredibly rich by any standard this world might use to measure my wealth by, but being asked to pay 860 gold coins for one thing like this was almost painful. It's more than twice as much as I paid for my bath and I thought that was expensive. Should I-

"Okay then, buy it." Fer said bluntly.

... ....? What?

"Can you use it to make delicious new dishes for us to eat?"

"Well, yes, but..."

"Then there isn't a problem. You have the money to buy it? Then buy it." Fer ordered firmly. Well, I have the money but I'm still undecided, Fer. But as you said, if I buy it then we can all eat more delicious food.

"I've eaten the delicious food you've cooked for us and you say you can cook even better food with this thing? Then buy it, like the big guy said." You too, Dora-chan? That settled it, I wanted it, they wanted me to buy it. Let's buy it.

"Excuse me, but I'll buy it." I announced out loud to the shopkeeper.

"You'll buy it?" he replied, surprised. I presumed he thought I couldn't afford such an expensive thing going by my appearance.

"Yes, I will buy the stove. 860 gold coins, right?" I got three cloth bags of gold coins out of my Item Box, 300 gold coins in each bag. I took out 40 gold coins from one bag and handed the bags over to him.

"There should be 860 gold coins in these three bags, please confirm." I said.

The store owner wiped the surprised expression from his face at the sight of the heavy bags and started counting the gold coins they contained, ten in each stack as seemed to be the common way to verify payments in this country. It took a bit of time, not surprisingly.

"Sorry to have kept you waiting," the shopkeeper finally announced, a broad smile on his face as he stacked the last few coins from the final bag. "I confirm I have definitely received 860 gold coins." He glanced at the stove. "Where should we deliver the magic cooking stove to? Delivery within the city of Doran is included in the price."

"Oh, that's not needed. I can get it into into my Item Box, just about." Actually I could fit a lot more in there but I didn't want too many other people to know how big it really was.

"Oh, is that so?" the storekeeper was still smiling as he started to put the piles of gold coins away in an iron lockbox. "This is a big city so there's more than a few folks around with Item Box, Adventurers and Merchants mostly but yours is really big if you can fit that stove in there."

Many of the monsters Fer and Sui had subjugated were much larger than the stove but I only brought such monsters out of my Item Box in front of people like the Guild Masters and the disassemblers who also worked for the Guild. I had to be more careful around other people I encountered outside the Guild.

After being shown how to extinguish the magical burners with a touch of the button and another small amount of magical energy, I put the "Latest Model Black Magic Cooking Stove" in my Item Box and left the store. The shop owner's broad smile accompanied his fulsome thanks and a wish for me to return any time to see his other wares.

After that, I went looking around an area where the shops mainly sold food. I was looking for raw materials for cooking and I had a sudden desperate urge to economise for some reason. I spotted various vegetables that looked familiar, cabbages, carrots and small onions and even what looked like potatoes. They were not as fresh as the vegetables I could buy in the Net Super but they were very cheap. A big sack of these vegetables cost about one silver coin each.

My plan was that if I was in the dungeon I could cook with these vegetables, taking them from my Item Box which a lot of Adventurers would know of and accept rather than having to use my Unique Skill of Net Super to buy them. And they were cheap too. I decided that I'd buy these kinds of vegetables from such shops in the future. It was good for the local economy after all I told myself, and I would save money.

I also bought lots of black bread. It was hard and chewy and not very tasty but it would last indefinitely in my Item Box and again it wouldn't be a surprise if I had to take it out from there in front of others in the dungeon.

I looked in some more shops in other streets without buying anything more. Both Fer and Dora-chan were getting bored by this time so I declared "I'm hungry too" and we headed back towards the inn. I'd give the "Latest Model Black Magic Cooking Stove" a good workout right away, I decided. Now what to cook...

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Ch 123 Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Ch 123 -- A Small Problem at the Dungeon Entrance

Fer and Dora-chan headed off towards Doran's dungeon with me following behind carrying Sui in her bag. Elland-san had given us simple directions, go out the gate we had come in, follow the city wall to the right and we'd arrive at the dungeon entrance.

About 500 meters from the gate we reached a place where a lot of people were gathered. There was what seemed to be a marketplace with stalls and small stores selling all sorts of food, goods, weapons and the like. What I took to be the entrance to the dungeon was surrounded by a stone wall with an opening guarded by two knights in armour.

"This looks like it." I said, looking around. It wasn't like the small dungeon Fer had dragged me into to face Kobolds and such, that had been a simple cave entrance out in the countryside. This was, well, organised, almost like a business operation.

"Umu, no doubt about it." Fer said, licking his lips, his eyes focussed on the opening.

There was a long line of Adventurers at the gateway waiting to enter the dungeon. Next to them was a small building and as I watched more Adventurers came out of the building's doorway and joined the end of the queue. Elland-san had mentioned in passing that there was a branch office of the Adventurers Guild where Adventurers were required to register otherwise they would be refused entry to the dungeon. That building was presumably the branch office.

"It seems we can't enter the dungeon unless I register at the branch of that Adventurers Guild so we'll have to go through there first." I said as I led the way into the building. Inside there were three windows and I stepped up to one that was not in use.

"Excuse me, I'd like to register please." I said to the receptionist, handing her my Guild card.

"Yes, dungeon entrance registration, oh, would you be the Tamer, Mukouda-sama? We've been expecting you." the receptionist said.

Tamer, me? Expected? Huh? What?

"Oh, I'm sorry." the receptionist hurried to explain, seeing my confused face. "We were informed by our colleagues in the Adventurers Guild in the city that a certain strong Adventurer named Mukouda-sama accompanied by his Tame contracted monsters was expected to come here, wishing to enter the dungeon."

Eeh, really? Being expected like this was kind of troubling...

"Well, in my case, it's not me that's really strong but my contracted monsters." I explained. I was no match for Fer or Dora-chan or even Sui, really.

"Despite what you say, Mukouda-sama, they are part of your party's assessed strength and are counted as such by the Guild." the receptionist explained. "Moving on, I see you don't have much baggage with you. Is that right?"

Baggage? How was that a problem? The receptionist noticed my expression and continued.

"Perhaps this is the first time Mukouda-sama has planned to enter a dungeon?" Well, there was that time a certain Someone, I glanced down at Fer pretending to sleep beside me, dragged me unwillingly into a small dungeon to level-up my Earth Magic against a horde of Goblins and Kobolds but this was my, well our first big dungeon.

When I nodded, the receptionist explained that certain preparations were necessary to enter Doran's dungeon since even a short journey exploring only the upper reaches of the dungeon would take at least three days. A full exploration of a large dungeon with many floors like this one might take up to a month depending on the abilities of the Adventurers in question. Collecting valuable drops meant a lot of searching, defusing traps and locating hidden passages and that added to the time spent underground, not to mention the encounters with various monsters along the way. There were no convenient supply points or places to obtain food etc. in the dungeon either thus any party of Adventurers had to take sufficient supplies with them to support themselves. Indeed, parties sometimes failed to come back out of the dungeon having perished there -- it was not an uncommon story for such parties to have run out of food if they were insufficiently provisioned.

"The street vendors and shops in the market outside sell preserved food and other essentials for Adventurers who are intending to enter the dungeon. There are also maps of varying accuracy covering the first fifteen levels for sale. If you go beyond the fifteenth level you have to be much more careful, of course, but taking sufficient food with you is a basic necessity."

 I see. I asked if we couldn't get our own food in the dungeon such as meat from monsters but it depended on them dropping meat randomly after they were subjugated -- dungeons absorbed the monsters killed within them, I recalled from my own combat experience in the small dungeon a certain Someone had dragged me into. Rather than relying on lucky drops it seemed better to prepare enough food to take with us before we entered the dungeon in the first place. That sounded like the proper thing to do, I agreed. Safety first, after all.

The helpful receptionist went on to tell me that this dungeon consisted of thirty floors. One high-ranked Adventurer party was fighting on the 22nd floor at the moment, well ahead of all the other Adventurers currently exploring the dungeon but it had never been totally conquered. It seems that there had been a party of particularly strong Adventurers which had almost conquered the dungeon in the distant past. The receptionist's description of that party's members suggested to me that Doran's Guild Master, Elland-san had been one of them along with his companion Rodolpho-san who was of course now Claire's Guild Master. They had apparently reached the last floor's final room and discovered the Last Boss was a Behemoth. They discussed what to do before entering the room and triggering the boss fight and sensibly chose to make a strategic withdrawal at that point. Wise decision, Elland-san, Rodolpho-san, I agreed. A Behemoth, brrrr... that was a top-rated Last Boss in many games.

"Huh, a Behemoth? That might be fun." Fer's intrigued thought resonated in my head as I saw his ears prick up at the receptionist's words.

"Fer, the words 'fun' and 'Behemoth' don't go together," I answered him telepathically but I feared that a flag had been raised.

 I considered what the receptionist had told us. Fer and Dora-chan had rushed off here ready to enter the dungeon right away but it seemed we weren't actually ready to do so. We'd have to go back to the inn and return here later. I was fairly confident Fer and Dora-chan (and Sui-chan too) could deal with any strong enemies within the dungeon but we had to eat. Our real enemy would be hunger and the only weapon I had to defeat that kind of boss monster was cooked food.

In the worst case we wouldn't starve because I had Net Super but I couldn't use it in front of other Adventurers we might encounter in the dungeon. For that reason I'd have to make lots of food beforehand and store it in my Item Box before we entered, I decided.

"Excuse me," I said to the receptionist, "but we won't be entering the dungeon today. Listening to your explanation made it clear our preparations are insufficient and we need to take some time to get ready. You have been most helpful, thank you."

"I'm glad you agree, preparation is important if you wish to succeed in exploring Doran's dungeon." She handed my Guild card back to me. ​​Fer and Dora-chan objected telepathically to my decision, of course.


"Well, we've come all this way and we're not going into the dungeon?! Meanie-!"

"You both heard what the receptionist said, didn't you, Fer, Dora-chan? We need to prepare properly or we'll not have enough to eat when we're in the dungeon."

"What are you talking about?" Fer complained.

"Yeah," Dora-chan interrupted. "The big guy told me we eat food from another world that you can just order when you want. Right?"

"Ah-" Fer looked down guiltily. Blabbermouth, I thought at him.

"Hmm?" Dora-chan looked between us. "Oh, is it that square box thing that always appears before you? I thought that was part of your magic."

"Right, I haven't explained things to you yet, Dora-chan. You see, I was Summoned from another world. As for the box thing, Net Super, it's a Unique Skill I have, I can buy things from the world I came from and have them delivered here. I use a lot of condiments, spices and sauces from that other world to make the food you like so much. They're the reason the meals are so delicious. However-" I raised a warning finger, "what do you think would happen if I used my Net Super skill in front of others in this world, people like Adventurers?"

Dora-chan thought for a moment. "Greedy humans, they would threaten you to get their hands on other-world things you could get for them, I suppose." I was surprised, Dora-chan seemed to have a better grasp of human beings and their habits than I had expected from a creature that mostly stayed out of sight. He brightened up, continuing "Just don't let them threaten you then!"

If Fer was around all the time it wouldn't be a problem but in the dungeon I couldn't be absolutely sure he'd be able to protect me all the time. There could be blind spots, we might get separated or Fer might be busy fighting while I was being targeted. I explained all this to Dora-chan.

"I don't even know how many Adventurers are in the dungeon so I don't want to use the Net Super skill down there unless I absolutely have to." I decided to appeal to his stomach, and Fer's stomach too. "We can buy lots of the food they sell here in the market and enter the dungeon right now but it's things like preserved salted meat, raw vegetables, powdered soup, hard bread and the like. Are you OK with eating that sort of food for the next few weeks? If so-"

That 'offer' convinced Fer and Dora-chan. They'd wait and let me cook lots of food for the dungeon exploration so they could eat delicious meals rather than having us subsisting on basic travel rations.

"So just wait a little. I'd say it'll take me about three days to do a good job of the preparations and then we can go into the dungeon. How does that sound?"

"Isn't waiting three days too much?" Fer complained. He wanted to go to the beach- the dungeon right away! It wasn't fair! Waah!

"I think so, too." Dora-chan chimed in. "Surely one day's cooking will be enough? We can come back here tomorrow." C'mon Dad, why wait? Let's hurry!

"Eeh-," I tried to explain to the two kindergarteners. "Look, I don't know when we're going to be coming back out when we enter the dungeon. I want to look around Doran and do some sight-seeing before we go in. Besides we're going to need a lot of food and I absolutely need three days to cook it all and get it ready." 

"Nu, making meals is fine I suppose but what is this 'sight-seeing' you're talking about?" Fer was still annoyed.

"Fer, I noticed how you reacted when you heard there was a Behemoth in the dungeon. You're planning to go all the way to the bottom of the dungeon, to the 30th level and fight that Last Boss, aren't you?"

"Of course." Fer's simple agreement was tinged with excitement and bloodlust, more than I'd ever felt him express before. Never mind, I'd deal with that situation when it happened.

"The Guild receptionist said it could take a month to get there. I don't know when we'll be able to return to the surface in that case." I suspected it might not take Fer that long to clear the dungeon but it was still going to take a week at least, maybe two. "I want to look around before we enter the dungeon. I was really looking forward to exploring this place all the way here, it's such a big city." I wasn't planning to cook for three days morning and night and then enter the dungeon immediately afterwards while I was tired out after all that effort. I intended to take it easy instead, wandering around the city streets and seeing the sights between bouts of cooking.

"You can wait for three days, can't you Fer, Dora-chan? That way we can all eat delicious food even when we're in the dungeon."

"Nuuuu, It can't be helped," Fer moped, finally giving in. "But only three days though."

"We can't say no when you promise us delicious food, boss." Dora-chan finally agreed. "It can't be helped like the big guy said but just three days, right?"

"Now that's decided, I'm going to explore the city of Doran today." I declared. I started on the way back to the city gate and the streets of Doran. Fer cast a single long glance back at the gate to the dungeon and turned to follow me with Dora-chan buzzing along beside him. I caught a faint telepathic thought from him as he caught up... "Behemoth".