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...