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Chapter 8 – “I seriously gotta protect Edim’s secret.”
My friend and future lover Remilia-san called me out. Apparently she had something important to talk about.
Huhu, something important, huh~ I wonder what? A confession of her love, maybe~?
At least I was hoping it was something like that.
When I arrived at the meeting place, I was in for a real shock! It wasn’t just Remilia-san; a bunch of other people were there too, from adventurer-looking dudes to guard-looking dudes. Either way, a bunch of skilled fighters. This definitely wasn’t some love confession.
When I entered the room, all eyes glared at me. I felt completely out of place.
Remilia-san, why on earth did you call me into a place like this~
Aahh, I kinda wanna run away. Anyway, should I just sit in some empty seat first? After giving Remilia-san a short greeting, I did just that and made myself as small as possible.
Uuu, for some reason I’m feeling all nervous now. What the heck is going to happen.
I looked around. There were four tables that sat four people each, and at each table there were three people already sitting there. Altogether ten people, and all of them seemed to be really intense in one way or another. Well, except me of course.
Anyway, everyone was on edge and waiting for Remilia-san to begin talking.
Not long after I had sat down, Remilia-san cleared her throat. Ah, she’s about to start talking.
“Thank you for coming, everyone. The people gathered here this evening are limited to only those I can absolutely trust.”
Remilia-san’s voice was so dignified…
Aah, Remilia-san, I’m happy that you trust me like that. Well, let’s leave aside that there are all these other people you trust as well…
“Mind if I ask somethin’ first? If we’re all ‘people you can trust’, what the hell is this girl doing here?”
pointed a bearded meatball.
Damn it! What the hell is his problem! It’s true, but do you have to say it like that! You damned bearded――wait, hey… I think I’ve seen him somewhere before…
“Watch your tone! Tilea is my good friend.”
“Just because she’s your good friend, you think it makes it fine to bring a total amateur here?”
“Tilea might not be able to fight, but she has been helpful in gathering information. Compared to her, what have you done? I have seen the reports. Care to explain your disgrace during the magic dog incident!”
“Uu, t-that’s… It’s fine.”
“I see. Then stop complaining, and shut up!”
Kyaa! So dreamy! Take me!
Thanks to Remilia-san, Beard Meat didn’t say anything further and reluctantly withdrew.
“I suspect that many of you do not know each other. Before I move onto the main topic, please introduce yourselves.”
In response, a muscular man stood up energetically.
“I’m Raiden Jaft, the Vice Chief of the 2nd Regiment of the National Army. During the demon attack I was going around pacifying the neighbouring umbrella states.”
Ooh, some amazing veteran just appeared. I wonder if he’d be interested in trying our restaurant. Along with Myuu, they’d make great publicity. The frequent haunt of an expert adventurer and an expert soldier.
After Raiden-san finished his introduction, next to stand was a slender young man who seemed like a magician.
“I’m Mose Denper, a member of the Sorcerers Regiment of the National Army. I suppose you could say that I’m aiming for Court Wizard.”
Another amazing elite. The Sorcerers Regiment huh. After Timu graduates from the Magic Academy, he’ll be like her senpai. It’d be great if he could lecture Timu on the conduct of a proper magician.
After Mose-san finished his introduction, we went around clockwise. Everyone was a member of the Guards, or the Guild, or some other important institution.
What an amazing group. Even that petty-looking Beard Meat was an amazing B-ranked adventurer.
The more I hear, the more I wonder what the heck I’m doing here. Aren’t I completely out of place?
Why is there a chef amidst all these battle veterans…
Even while I was puzzled, the introductions continued.
Next was――oh! A girl.
Besides Remilia and I, the only girl in this group of men. She had blonde rolls like an ojousama. Great proportions too. What a cutie.
“My name is Rozetta Pratoline. I am an adventurer, and a gourmet hunter. I am presented D-ranked, but one day I shall be S-ranked.”
“Oi, don’t tell me you’re from that Rozetta, that major noble family?”
“Yes. Rozetta Stole is my father.”
“Oi, oi, you’re kidding! The hell is a rich girl like you doing adventuring?”
People began to kick up a fuss.
Wow, so she really is a rich ojousama~
She certainly does exude elegance. She kind of reminds me of this rival anime character that was a rich ojousama too.
“Huhu, because of my upbringing I have a greater love of gourmet food than the average person. I can’t be satisfied with the average food that other people make. Thus, I had no choice but to become an adventurer, a gourmet hunter to provide good food myself. It simply couldn’t be helped.”
What a daring attitude. But I’m envious. If only I was powerful too, I’d go on adventures and look for my own ingredients.
“Hmph, making a mountain out of something like cooking. People like me are risking our lives just to make a living. Must be nice being a rich girl.”
It was Beard Meat again. Honestly, what an irritating guy. It’s especially unforgivable that he made fun of cooking.
“Huu, I’m tired of listening to that kind of slander. Why do so-called real adventurers like you always make light of cooking. I’m speechless.”
“Why wouldn’t we. Just having food to eat is enough, who cares what it is! Only the rich can fuss about what tastes good and what tastes crap. Gourmet hunter? Hah! You think something like that is an adventurer? Don’t make me laugh!”
“Tell me. Have you ever adventured in the Cold Regions?”
“‘Course. Far from just the Cold Regions, I’ve been in wyvern nests right by rivers of boiling magma, all sorts of fucking dangerous places. That’s what a real adventurer does.”
“Of course. Then during your adventures, I suppose you prepared gachalé?”
“Yeah. If you don’t have that, the Cold Region will freeze your food into blocks of ice. It’s common sense for any adventurer.”
“Huhu, so you managed to adventure there. Good for you. Incidentally, the one who discovered and improved gachalé was me.”
“If you look down on food, food will look down on you. Do you still want to say that you can adventure while looking down on food?”
Beard Meat was silenced again. He just exposes more of his pettiness each time he opens his mouth. Honestly, it would be better if he just stopped…
But still, to think that that girl was the one who discovered gachalé. That’s seriously amazing. You can use it to keep your food cool, and you can use it as flavouring too. And the ways you can flavour things with it are countless. The discovery of gachalé was a revolution to chefs. I can’t even say just how much it’s helped to bring more tastes to the world of cooking.
As I admired Miss Pratoline’s words, it became my turn before I knew it.
I’m feeling kind of nervous~
They’re definitely giving me weird looks. But I guess the die is already cast. It’s too late to back out now.
“Umm~ I’m Tilea. I run a restaurant on West Road. If it pleases you, please give us a visit.”
Uh, for some reason it turned into an advertisement.
Aah, I knew it. They’re looking confused like, ‘Why the heck is this girl here?’.
“My, was there a restaurant on West Road?”
Oh! Miss Pratoline reacted. As expected of the Gourmet Hunter.
“We just opened last month. I can guarantee the taste.”
“Hmm~ So what’s your restaurant recommended(signature) dish?”
“All of it. We handle everything from the Occident to the Orient.”
“…Well, perhaps I’ll go if I feel like it.”
What the! She isn’t expecting anything at all! What the heck! Just you wait! I’ll make you react like Ajioh.
Once everyone was done introducing themselves, Remilia-san began to explain why she gathered us here today.
“The reason I gathered you this time was none other than the search for the demon who attacked me and annihilated the Public Safety Force: Ortissio.”
GUHOH-! It’s here. It’s here, damnit. I knew it. I knew it would be this. I’ve been getting nothing but bad feelings about this the whole time. Well, considering all the stern people gathered here, I knew it had to be something scary…
Hahh~ To put it simply, the whole thing is just a massive misunderstanding. It would have been fine if she had just left him…
But it’s not like I can say that. If I did, Or would be jailed for interference with a public servant’s duties. And then I would be jailed too for sheltering him.
“Remilia-sama tasked me with the search for the demon Ortissio beforehand,” said Raiden as he stood.
“Then, Raiden, please report.”
“Understood. As of searching the Royal Capital as well as the surrounding states, we have found six individuals with the name Ortissio. Every one of them was human. Remilia-sama, the only one who knows the demon’s face, confirmed that they were simply people with the same name.”
“I see. It was different when I checked too. I suppose there hasn’t been any new information?”
“No, my apologies.”
“No, that’s fine. You did well.”
Yeah, well of course. After all, there’s no such demon as Ortissio. All you have is some wastrel rich boy.
Ah! That’s not right. He said there was someone named Ortissio in the Capital too, right? But anyways, I hope they just consider Or as somebody with the same name by coincidence. Still, apparently Remilia-san remembers his face.
“Tilea, do you know anything?”
“Eh-!? W-, Well…”
“Anything is fine. Even something you think is trivial is fine, so please tell us.”
What do I do? What should I say? …C-, Can’t be helped. It might be a little pushy, but I guess I’ll force her to believe some lies.
“A-A-Ah~ That’s right. Speaking of which~ I remember~ The demon that attacked you, Remilia-san, I don’t think his name is Ortissio.”
“No, I certainly heard his name.”
“But at the time you were heavily injured, weren’t you? I think you heard the name wrong.”
“T-, That shouldn’t be the case… probably…”
“See? You’re memories are in a jumble. T-, The truth is, there was this really obviously suspicious guy at my shop called Pistachio.”
“Pistachio, you say!”
Remilia-san was shocked. Will it work?
“Remilia-sama, the names certainly sound the same. Would it not be appropriate to search for a Pistachio as well while we conduct our searches?”
Some support fire from Raiden-san. That’s great. More please.
“Mumu… It is the truth that I was only semi-conscious at the time. Very well. Everybody, please cooperate with me to see if there isn’t anybody by the name of Pistachio.”
Phew, thank goodness. Looks like I made it work.
But still, to think Or shared his name with so many people. Ah, but he does come from a major noble’s family, so they have a lot of branch families that share the name.
Guess I can relax for now. Later on I have to tell Or to stay inside more until things calm down.
Anyway, is this the end of the meeting? No, looking at Remilia-san, it looks like there’s still something more. Fumu. This long meeting has made me kinda thirsty. It looks like they have a kitchen in the next room, so should I make some tea for everyone?
“Um, Remilia-san, since the first topic has finished, shall we have a short break? I can go make tea for everyone.”
“Good point. Thank you, Tilea.”
“Not at all.”
I headed into the kitchen to emphasize to her, “I can do housework. I’m considerate too.”
Now then, ummm, tea, tea… I looked through the cupboards.
Ohh~ Isn’t this a maybell fruit! And they’ve got laurel drops too.
Ku ku, I have a good idea. Let’s test out Miss Pratoline. I’ll add in just a little to enhance the taste. Let’s see if she realises~
I brought out enough tea for everyone.
Heh. I’ll show you the skill of a pro. There are knacks to brewing great tea. The temperature, as well as the timing in which you put in the tea leaves can make huge differences in the taste.
What you do is boil fresh water first. Once it’s bubbling, you enter the right amount of leaves before pouring in the boiling water. Immediately cap it with a lid, and then boil it with respect to the size of the tea leaves. Once the right time has passed, you gently stir it to bring up the tea leaves.
It’s at that point that the maybell fruit is the most effective, so the trick is to put in laurel drops at that moment too.
After that, you just pour out every last drop while making sure that the strength of the tea is uniform.
Yup~ I can really smell the sweet fragrance. The maybell fruit and laurel drops really form an exquisite harmony. Quite well done, if I do say so myself.
After finishing my preparations, I handed the steaming maybell tea out for everyone.
“Umu, it smells great.”
No, no, you smell much nicer.
“Here you go.”
“Hmph. I would’ve preferred alcohol.”
I’ll kill you, you bearded meatball!
After handing it to everyone else, finally it was the most important one. Miss Pratoline.
“Here you go.”
Miss Pratoline drank it. The way she would occasionally enjoy the fragrance was the very picture of an aristocrat.
“Hmm. Your taste isn’t bad.”
“Did you think I would not notice the laurel drops?”
Tsk, so she noticed. But it looks like she has what it takes to brag. I only added just a tiny drop…
“But if you were going to do this, then it would have tasted better to add barbar fruit to bring out the astringency.”
Mu! I certainly thought that at first too, but…
That kind of thing would make a chef cry. The balance needed to prepare that is just terrible.
“If you don’t use the barbar fruit properly, it’ll overpower everything, so…”
“That’s where the skill of the chef makes the difference. I can do it.”
“Y-, You’ve said it now. E-, Even I can do it if I try.”
“Then do so to begin with.”
“Damn it! J-, Just to let you know, if you think this is the limits of my ability, you’re sorely mistaken, okay.”
“Heh. Talking big takes no ability.”
“F-, Fine then. Fine. It’s on. I challenge you to a cooking duel.”
“My my. You think you can win against me? I have more skill than even the royal chefs, you know.”
“You two, enough fighting!”
“B-, But Remilia-san, this curly blonde butterfly girl…”
“W-, Who did you call a curly blonde! My hair has a long pedigree of――”
“Enough! Break time is over. We will be discussing tonight’s real issue now.”
No good, no good. Remilia-san got angry. I’m reflecting.
Now then, what might the real issue be?
But whatever it is, at least I can relax now that the Or thing is over. I guess I’ll just have some tea while I wait.
“At present, the invasion of our nation by demons has been progressing in secret.”
Remilia-san’s sudden jab caused everyone to tense up. And hey, another demon attack? I hope nothing bad happens.
“The royal family, the Guild, the Royal Guards… You can consider all organisations to have fallen under the control of the demons.”
“S-, So it’s true. This weird feeling I’ve been getting since coming back to the Capital really is…”
“Yes. Exactly as you suspect. The people gathered here were either absent from the Capital during the raid, or people who have only newly arrived. It is no longer possible to trust anybody else.”
Mn!? But I was smack bang in the middle during that attack…
“U-, Umm, Remilia-san, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I was in the Capital during the entirety of the demon raid…”
“You’re a commoner, so it’s fine. I was speaking of those related to organisations like the Guild or Public Safety Force. Combat personnel. And besides, most importantly, you’re my friend, and I trust you the most.”
――Hang on, this isn’t the time to be praising your lover. The people around us have started to get really noisy.
They’re all muttering stuff like,
“So the Captain really…” or “The Guildmaster truly was…”
I-, I’m getting a bad feeling about this.
“Silence, everyone! It is true. As you have suspected, the leaders of all public institutions have been turned by the demons. There are vampires lurking in my Public Safety Force as well. I also tried to discover the mastermind behind the vampires, but they chose suicide just before I could finish interrogating them.”
“Then we have no clues…?”
“We do! Before the vampire died, they screamed the name of their master.”
“Ohh! And what was that name?”
“I was caught off guard and could only hear part of it, but he screamed,
“Long live Edi-something!”
H-, Hang on, the most forbidden secret just got revealed. And the Guild? The military? Edim, just how damned cornered were you!
ABABABABABABA! This is a crime! A total crime! If this gets out, I’ll be hanged along with Edim.
“She kind of reminds me of this rival anime character that was a rich ojousama too.”
“B-, But Remilia-san, this curly blonde butterfly girl…”
Both of the above lines are references to Ryuuzaki Reika, of Ace wo Nerae! who is a rival character that is nicknamed Madame Butterfly. She’s the one with the curls:
Thank you, zoom, for introducing the manga to me.
“What the! She isn’t expecting anything at all! What the heck! Just you wait! I’ll make you react like Ajioh.”
This line is a reference to Mister Ajikko. The Ajiou character in question reacts to good food like this:
The one at 12 seconds is him.
Ah, also, yes, Rozetta is the surname, and this is what she looks like in the web novel illustrations: