The next day.
I was woken by a sound, but when I looked out the window, I noticed that it was still early and the sun had yet to rise.
Maybe it’s because we’re close to a lake, but it’s really cold.
I endure the cold and prepare myself, then I leave my room.
Looks like the sound is coming from the kitchen up ahead.
“Good morning!” [Ryouma]
“Oh my! Good morning.” [Mother]
“Did we wake you up?” [Mei]
When I entered the kitchen, I found Mei-san with her mother. They were cooking with the little light they had from the fireplace and the small candles.
“I retired early yesterday, so I was able to recover my strength. If you don’t mind, I’d love to help with the breakfast preparations.” [Ryouma]
“My sons would do well to learn a thing or two from you.” [Mother]
“Well, since you’re offering… Do you know where the well is? If you do, then can you fill this jar with water?” [Mei]
The jar Mei-san showed me was about as big and deep as I was tall.
I know where the well is, but if she just wants water, then…
“In that case, ‘Water’.” [Ryouma]
“Ryouma-kun, you can use magic?” [Mei]
“Yes. Come to think of it, we didn’t really get to talk much yesterday, did we? All I really got to tell you was my name… By the way, will this do?” [Ryouma]
“Yes. That’s plenty. Next… Can you grind these using these?” [Mei]
Mei-san handed me a wooden pestle and mortar. The things she wanted me to grind was…
It looks just like wasabi, but the color is yellow.
“Wasabi? Is that what you call ‘Horas’ where you’re from? You also called the ‘Water Spider’ yesterday crab.” [Mei]
When I heard the word ‘Horas’, the relevant information on medicinal herbs appeared within my mind.
It’s raised in shallow rivers or in mud and has a peculiar sharp taste.
It has high sterilizing effects and is even used as a deworming medicine.
It’s not exactly the same as wasabi, but…
“It’s probably very similar to it. How much should I grind these?” [Ryouma]
“We’ll be sprinkling it over the soup, so make sure to grind it until it loses shape.” [Mei]
“I understand.” [Ryouma]
This must be that thing I tasted in the soup yesterday.
As I realized that, I started working.
I started by removing the leafy part, then I quickly washed the roots in water. After that I cut the them into small pieces and placed the cut roots into the mortar.
After grinding the roots with the pestle, I ground them again.
I’m just doing as she told me to, but this sure are a lot of ingredients.
Still, this peculiar and stimulating aroma…
“By the way, is there a dish here where you eat raw fish with this?” [Ryouma]
“There are people who eat like that, but there are worms that can hurt your stomach. Especially during this season, so it’s best not to.” [Mei]
That’s unfortunate, but I better take her advice since she’s the local here.
Besides, the worms can be dealt with by cooking and processing the food, so I think I’ll just enjoy those kind of food while I’m here.
As I thought that to myself, it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t able to give the souvenirs I was supposed to give yesterday.
“Souvenirs? For us?”
“Yes. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be right back.” [Ryouma]
I left the kitchen for a moment and entered my Dimension Home. My Dimension Home is already a little bigger than a gym. I walked to the corner where my new friends, the clever chickens, are staying.
“Kokeh! Kokeh!” [Clever Chicken]
The chicken that noticed me chirped loudly, and then a black chick came out of the brood huddled together.
“Good morning, Aniki! You sure are early today!” [Genius Chicken]
“Good morning, Kohaku. It’s a bit early, but can I get the eggs for today?” [Ryouma]
“Don’t worry, Aniki. It’s already been prepared.” [Kohaku]
This baby black chicken is the boss of this brood, as well as the only advanced variant among it. The genius chicken, Kohaku, rubbed his hands nastily while facing several clothed baskets that were lined up. Two of the baskets were filled to the brim with eggs.
“I’ll take today’s eggs then. I’ll bring you your food after I’ve checked the goods.” [Ryouma]
“Yes! We’ll wait in front of the feeding box as usual.” [Kohaku]
Not a hint of that oppressive aura from when we first met could be seen as I took away the basket of eggs. After the chickens, the next living space I went to was the slimes’. I had the big cleaner slime clean the eggs and made sure that there were no cracked eggs.
I had prepared several clothed baskets for the chickens, but they only used two and filled them to the brim. It seems the clever chicken don’t really care about the eggs they lay. Of course, these are all unfertilized eggs that won’t turn into chicks, but I still think they’re being too rough with how they handle them.
As the big cleaner slime extended its body like a tentacle and brought the eggs inside it one after another, I turned to the baskets that were lined up on the other side and sighed.
My relationship with the clever chickens is purely business now, so the situation has calmed down a lot, but it was really bad at first when I tried to treat them as friends. The employee of the Saionji Company tasked with taking care of the clever chickens knew about the original contract of the previous owner. The previous owner was a professional poultry farmer, and I agreed to continue the terms he had promised the clever chickens. The clever chickens were fine with that, but their living space became an issue.
I had brought them back home with me to the mines and tried to negotiate where they would be pasturing, but it turned out that forming a contract with every chicken, so that we could understand each other wasn’t the wisest course of action, as they just ended up demanding one thing after another. They were very picky.
In the end, it was agreed upon that they would be staying inside my ‘Dimension Home’ for the time being. As for why, apparently it’s because it’s too cold because of the winter. It turns out that they’d much rather live a carefree life inside the Dimension Home, where it’s warm, than be able to go out and eat earthworms or other bugs when it’s so cold. And besides, it wasn’t as if they wouldn’t be able to eat when I’m here to keep them fed.