Three days later. Evening.
Most of the villagers had gathered at the village square. Bonfires, large pots, and tables could be found everywhere. On the tables were all sorts of dishes.
Just as I heard on the boat yesterday, the mouse inn blocked the river connecting downstream, and the numbers of the mud salamander greatly dwindled. Moreover, word from the Fishing Association came, informing Shikumu Village and the other villages and fishermen that the fishing season was finally coming to a close.
Presently, preparations are underway at the village square to celebrate the end of the fishing season. The ingredients to be used are either purchased from the town or from the last haul this year. It’s already mostly done though, and it won’t be long before the party starts.
And— Speak of the devil…
“The feudal lord is here!” [Villager]
A male villager ran into the square to announce the arrival of the feudal lord.
At that, the village headman and the rest of the village authorities gathered to welcome him.
I mixed in with the crowd at the rearmost and headed to the beach.
We got to the beach at roughly the same time as the feudal lord made land.
“Welcome!” [Village Head]
“Village Headman-dono, thank you for giving us such a warm welcome.” [Porco]
After the feudal lord greeted the village headman, he greeted me next.
“And Ryouma-kun. Thank you for the invitation. I’m looking forward to tonight’s festivities.”[Porco]
“Thank you too for going out of your way to visit.” [Ryouma]
A few days ago after cleaning the hot springs.
When the feudal lord had given the task to clean the hot spring, he mentioned that he was also hoping to find a local specialty for his territory, but this request was only said in passing, as his main concern was the hot spring.
After I cleaned the hot springs, I was reminded of the feudal lord’s request, so I invited him to the End of Fishing Season Festival, so I could give him a taste of my cooking.
Of course, the feudal lord could have refused, but fortunately, he did not.
Thanks to that, he can be with us tonight.
Accompanying the feudal lord were the two dragon newts and Piguu-san. There was also another male from the pig tribe with him. Along the way I found out that he was none other than the head chef of the count.
The End of Fishing Season Festival immediately started as soon as we got back to the square.
There was no fixed time for when the festival would begin. It could start whenever everything was ready and everyone was present.
This time the village headman and the feudal lord gave some opening remarks, but they were just perfunctory, and they didn’t take much time.
After that, at a corner of the village square…
The feudal lord and his escorts were led to the special seat placed beside the idol I prayed to before.
I had my special made magic cooking tool set placed on the side.
The head chef of the feudal lord was the first one to react.
“Ohh… A sophisticated and portable magic cooking tool set. There are four large pots and a large stove that can be placed on an iron plate. Amazing.” [Head Chef]
“I’m acquainted with a skilled craftsman, so I was able to get this custom made. I’m an adventurer, so there are times when I have to stay out in the wilds, but as much as possible I want to eat delicious food. Fortunately, I can use dimension magic, so carrying stuff that’s a little bigger isn’t a problem for me.” [Ryouma]
“Bufu, I see you’re quite the gourmand too. I’ve seen many adventurers, but it’s my first time seeing an adventurer walk around with something custom ordered like this. And that inscription. Is this from the recently renowned dinome’s magic tool workshop?” [Porco]
Looks like the feudal lord also knows about Dinome’s Workshop.
“Eagle eyes, Porco-sama. As you’ve said, this is indeed a product of Dinome’s Workshop.” [Ryouma]
“As a noble, it is only natural that I be aware of what’s in vogue. Otherwise I won’t be able to converse with other nobles.” [Porco]
He sent me a wry smile that seemed to say, ‘You understand, right?’ As I thought, being a noble must be tough.
“Now then, I shall be making the dish I wish to propose. Personally, I think it’s delicious, but I shall leave you gentlemen to be the judge of that.
I’ve already completed my preparations, so this won’t take long. That being said, I also have other dishes prepared here for the festival’s sake, so feel free to eat while waiting.” [Ryouma]
“I’m looking forward to it. What kind of dishes have you prepared?” [Porco]
“I would recommend the ‘oden’ over here. The villagers who tasted it say that it’s like the common soup made extravagant.
It has fish and tofu for its ingredients, as well as processed vegetables and root crops. If you eat it with grated horas, it has a taste akin to that of the soup common around these parts, giving it a familiar taste that’s easy to like.
Other than the oden, there’s also the Agedashi Tofu (Fried Tofu), the Hamburger Tofu, and the Inari Sushi. I was only able to make these thanks to the cooperation of the tofu makers—” [Ryouma]
“Inari sushi? Did you say inari sushi?” [Kichomaru]
“Ah, yes. Inari sushi.” [Ryouma]
? One of the dragon newts looked like he couldn’t wait anymore. If I recall correctly, he should be Kichomaru-dono. Just as I was wondering if he was fond of inari sushi, the feudal lord spoke.
“Kichomaru-dono can only eat certain food as part of his training.” [Porco]
“I see.” [Ryouma]
Well, it can’t be helped if that’s his belief. Would it have been better if I asked beforehand what they could and couldn’t eat? Just as I was thinking that to myself…
“But there’s an exception to everything. And one exception should be the inari sushi.” [Porco]
“Yes. Inari Sushi, Tempura, and Sukiyaki, de gozaru.” [Kichomaru]
That explanation shocked me.
The exempted food were akin to a foreigner’s image of Japan. It was then that I remembered about something I heard from Asagi-san back when I’d just gotten out of Gimuru.
The dragon newt village was founded by an otherworlder. And it was founded by a foreigner who had the wrong idea about Japan and samurai culture. Is that the reason why?
“That’s good to hear then. At least you have something you can eat. By the way, there’s sukiyaki too, and there’s oil too, so we can prepare tempura too if you want. The end product might not be exactly the same as you remember them, though.” [Ryouma]
“Oh my! I-In that case, could I have some inari sushi? And some sukiyaku and tempura too?” [Kichomaru]
“Of course. Also, there are still other dishes like the ones that use rice – ‘Chimaki (cake wrapped in bamboo leaves)’ and ‘Takikomi Gohan (rice seasoned and cooked with various ingredients)’. And there’s also ‘Kinpira Gobou (chopped burdock root cooked in sugar and soy sauce)’, ‘Deep-Fried Stuffed Lotus Root’, and ‘Mustard Filled Lotus Root’.” [Ryouma]
“We’ll have one of everything then.” [Porco]
“Alright then.” [Ryouma]
I passed the feudal lord’s order to the village headman and had him prepare it.
Meanwhile, those that were already prepared beforehand were either added into the soup or steamed or fried or deep fried…
“Hmm. I see you added the minced fish and crushed tofu as is and just mixed everything along with the vegetables before frying. With so many ingredients, one can never have enough.”
“This lightly deep-fried tofu’s coating is full of flavor. It has a gentle taste to it.” [Piguu]
“This deep-fried stuffed lotus root is great. I’ve always been a sucker for lotus roots.” [Porco]
“I’ve always found inari sushi mysterious since I never saw it back at my hometown, but I have to say, it’s pretty good.” [Kichomaru]
“The Takikomi Gohan and the Kinpara can be found at the village too. This taste. It’s so nostalgic, de gowasu…” [Tairyuzan]
As the feudal lord and the rest of his entourage gave their praise for the food, I prepared the sauce for the finishing touch. It’s ready!
“Sorry to keep you waiting. This here is the dish I wish to propose. It’s called ‘Gyoza’!” [Ryuoma]