“—And that’s the gist of it.” [Ryouma]
When I talked about the things that happened today, cheerful laughter spread through the living room.
“And so you promised to meet up tomorrow too.” [Kei]
“He sure has taken a liking to you.” [Mei]
“Well, there was that incident yesterday too.” [Kai]
Kei-san, Mei-san, and Kai-san all pointed out that Niki-kun had taken a liking to me.
I was just talking about my hobbies with him, but if that’s how he feels, then that’s great.
“Ryouma-kun. Are you going to be collecting trash with that kid tomorrow too?” [Mother]
“That’s the plan.” [Ryouma]
“In that case, take the trash from our house too. You don’t mind, right, dad?” [Mother]
When the mother asked that, the taciturn dad put down the glass of liquor he was drinking and nodded.
“Thank you for your help… I think the food is about ready, so I’ll go and serve the table now.” [Ryouma]
Tonight’s supper is on me. Mei-san and her mother have been taking care of me all this time, and they’ve even given me various food goods like rice, so as thanks, I made them the dish that’s perfect for winter, the boneless daikon, a dish based on the buri daikon dish.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!” [Ryouma]
I moved the pot from the kitchen stove to the sunken hearth, and then served everyone their plate.
I served the head of the family, Hoi-san, first, followed by the rest of the family in order. When everyone had been served, they all started eating with interest.
“Mm! Delicious! The flavor has really soaked in.” [Kai]
“The hard root vegetables have been boiled soft too. It’s delicious.” [Kei]
Oops. I forgot.
“Add these too if you’d like.” [Ryouma]
I offered the wasabi-like and mustard-like shredded ‘horas’.
“As I thought, it’s different when you melt it in soup.” [Mother]
“It’s not bad… Fu… It goes well with liquor.” [Dad]
The dad quickly emptied the glass of liquor that the mother poured. Due to the liquor’s effects, the dad was finally starting to talk. The pace he ate the boneless daikon and the liquor sped up too.
Anyhow, it seems that everyone likes the dish. That’s great.
“Ryouma, you should eat too. If you just keep watching, you’ll run out of food before you know it.” [Kai]
“Right. In that case, itadakimasu!” [Ryouma]
First, let’s start with the fish, the boneless…
As it overflowed with juice, my chopsticks penetrated it.
This fish is called boneless because its bones melt when cooked in heat.
There were definitely bones before boiling it, but after being boiled, the bones vanished.
I took a portion of the fish and placed it into my mouth. The texture was strangely thick, but… It’s mellow and delicious!
“Fuu, fuu… Mm!” [Ryouma]
Next comes the daikon. Warm steam rose, carrying with it a relaxing fragrance that tickled my nose.
When I placed the daikon inside my mouth, it softly crumbled and released a juice with a deep tinge of seafood. Perfectly done, if I say so myself.
I take another bite, but this time add the mustard, and… Yep! Delicious! Just the right amount of pungent flavor!
…Alright. I’ve made my mind. I’ll open that.
“Excuse me… ‘Item Box’.!” [Ryouma] ！」
“Huh? Is that sake?” [Dad]
“Yeah. It’s something I got from a dragon newt friend of mine.” [Ryouma]
A top quality sake I got from Asagi-san a long time ago. Top quality sakes are seen as luxury goods around here, so I’ve kept it stored all this time. But now the time has come!
I poured myself a cup and wet my throat.
After the clear taste passed, the spirits comfortably passed through my nose.
I ate the flavorful daikon while drinking this top-quality sake.
“Fuu… Delicious. Hot sake might make it even better.” [Ryouma]
I prepare the magic stove to heat water…
“Oh, if you guys want, you can have some too.” [Ryouma]
“Oh? Are you sure? In that case, I won’t hold back.” [Kai]
“Don’t drink too much, Kai onii-san.” [Kei]
“…Didn’t take you for a drinker, boy.” [Hoi]
“I was raised by a dwarf and I received the divine protection of the God of Wine.” [Ryouma]
“The divine protection of the God of Wine! I see… in that case, why don’t you have some of our liquor until your liquor is ready? It’s not first-class, but it’s local here.” [Dad]
“Thank you. I’ll have some then.” [Ryouma]
I accepted the offer of the dad that has finally started to become talkative.
He filled a vessel that resembled a large-sake cup. When I looked inside, it was white like milk and was also quite thick. It was like Japan’s doburoku (unrefined sake). When I took a sip, I felt the fine grains on my tongue – that’s probably from the ingredients used – as I tasted the subtle sourness accompanying the potent sweetness of the liquor. The taste reminds me of amazake (sweet sake), but there’s also a familiar bitterness mixed in.
“Is this made from kotsubuyarikusa?” [Ryouma]
“Oh? You can tell? That’s right.” [Dad]
“Oh? That’s a surprise. So you can actually make sake from that.” [Ryouma]
The Identify spell didn’t mention it, and I’ve been eating it for so long, but I never realized that.
“Ahh, but you can’t make it with just kotsubuyarikusa. You need a herb to turn it into liquor.” [Kei]
“Is there such a thing, Kei-san?” [Ryouma]
“It’s not particularly rare or anything. You can find it anywhere.” [Kai]
As soon as he said that, Kai-san went to the front door and opened the door. Or at least I thought he was going to open the door, but instead he bent his hips and plucked the grass growing by his feet. After that he came back.
“Brr… Cold! Look. It’s this one.” [Kai]
He really just pulled it from there…
I don’t see how this grass is any different from the ones growing in the corner that dogs pee on, though.
At the very least, nothing I know regarding medicinal and poisonous herbs says this thing is any more special than what it appears.
“We also see it as just weed, but it can be used to make liquor.” [Mother]
“I wonder just who it was that thought of combining weed with food to make liquor.” [Mei]
Weed, huh. I wonder if the weed slime can cultivate it if I feed that to him.
Looks like I should experiment with that too while I’m here.
And if I can make sake using kotsubuyarikusa, that would be a huge help since it will make it easier to procure feed for the drunk slime. I won’t have to go town anymore just to buy liquor for it!
“Where can I learn how to make this sake?” [Ryouma]
“Interested? In that case, I’ll just show you tomorrow.” [Mother]
“Huh? Mom, you know how to make it?” [Mei]
“Mei, if you can’t even make wine, what are you going to do as a woman?” [Mother]
According to the mother, up till her generation, every house being able to make this white sake was normal. It was an essential skill before being married off.
But it took skill to make the wine taste good, which in turn meant that it took effort to hone the skill, so as the village grew wealthier, the villagers started buying from those who could make it well instead of making it themselves.
“Our family has also stopped making it ourselves… Mei, I’ll use this as an opportunity to teach you the taste of our family’s sake.” [Mother]
“We have our own brand? I never knew that.” [Mei]
“Well, if it were more delicious than what you’re drinking now, we would have started selling it long ago.” [Mother]
“That’s not very reassuring!” [Dad]
Laughter broke out again when the dad said that.
After a while, I was able to make my hot sake.
“It’s ready! Please eat and drink lots! Here you go, Kai-san.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you… Wow! Hey, Kei. This sake tastes great. Have some too.” [Kai]
“Really? It tastes that good? Alright. I’ll have some then. Just a little, though.” [Kei]
“Of course.” [Ryouma]
Like this we talked merrily into the night while enjoying delicious boneless daikon and liquor.
It’s cold outside, but our hearts and our bodies are warm.
I was also feeling fulfilled thanks to being able to procure new feed for the slimes, so I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed.