Chapter 3: Get the pot!
One year after eating the slime...
Six sharp legs are moving like a winding water mill.
A loud sound echoed through the forest, and a big ant monster rushing furiously towards me.
He made a sound and moved his antenna from side to side. What I see in his big eyes is a small child - yes, that's me.
A year after I ate the slime, I'm still living in the mountain.
Though I say this myself, I've grown a bit stronger.
I'm gaining muscle and my chest seems to be getting wider.
The seizures would come and go, but once I eat the slime, my condition is back to normal.
As I run, I take a slime candy in my pocket and throw it into my mouth.
It's time for my medication. It's a very, very sweet medicine.
I suppress my seizures in this way and finally ready to fight.
My opponent is an Iron Ant.
According to the Monster Ecology Research Guild, Iron Ant's rank must be "E".
Among the seven levels of danger, Iron Ant is the 2nd from the bottom. Slimes and Black Crows are rank F, so it's stronger than most small-sized monsters.
They are much larger than ordinary ants, about the size of a big-sized dog. Its outer shell is covered with iron armor-like skin, making it almost impossible to pierce or cut.
Perhaps it would be better to use poisoned arrows and aim for the gaps in his armor like I did with Black Crow, but I am not that great with archery.
So I prepared a trap.
I turn around and face the Iron Ant.
I kick a stone that I am using as a landmark with my foot. At that moment, the ground rises up and engulfs the Iron Ant.
The Giant Ant is caught in the net that I had set up.
He struggled and tried to cut it with his fangs, but his efforts failed. On the contrary, the Iron Ant kept getting tangled up in the net.
"Jii, jii." He made a creepy sound that sounded sad.
"It's a forest spider thread. You won't be able to get out of it."
The Forest Spider is a rank D, one rank higher than the Iron Ant. This rope is made from the threads of their nests. Once entangled, even a troll can't escape.
The sticky thread tangles easily.
But I found a way to use it.
I found some wild wheat and ground it with a stone to a powder. I covered my hands with it so that I could touch it.
I had prepared a spear made from a single horn beaver.
The horn of this monster seems to contain a lot of iron and is very strong. It's so tough that it can pierce through a steel plate easily.
I pointed my spear at the Iron Ant.
Stabbing a monster caught in a net was easy.
As usual, I used the poison from the silkworm plant to completely knock him out.
After a while, I cut the rope, put down the Iron Ant, and it stopped struggling.
In the beginning, I couldn't tell the poison's concentration, but recently I can tell the concentration. If the poison are too strong, I felt a slight numbness on my tongue, so now I adjusted the dose according to the monster's size.
As I carefully put it down on the ground, I couldn't help but smile when seeing the Iron Ant caught in the forest spider's net.
"I've always wanted to catch you."
In Iron Ant's compound eyes, I see the reflection of a child with a horrible smile that makes me shiver.
Yes. I've been waiting for this very moment...
All the work I had done in the morning on the forest Spider's nest to catch the Iron Ant had finally paid off.
Shall I eat it?
What I wanted to get from the Iron Ant is the armor that covers its outer shell.
This time, I took out a knife from my pocket. It is also made from the beaver's horn.
The single-horned beaver horn is hard, but it can be easily cut with my stone ax. This is a very important item for me now.
I use my knife to peel off the iron Ant's armor that covers its outer shell. It's like ripping off a fish's thick fins.
Finally, I get the Iron Ant's outer shell.
When I lightly flick it with my finger, it makes a metal-like sound.
"Thin and tough ....... And most importantly, it's light! Now I can make a hot pot dish."
Finally, after one year of hard work, the time has come.
I am tired of eating only roasted food.
I can make steamed dishes if I can get some bamboo, but it's difficult to make stewed dishes.
I've been using heat-resistant leaf plates to boil water, but I haven't found any plants that can withstand cooking for a long time.
But thanks to the Iron Ant's armor, my diet of only roasted food will end today.
I strip off all the armor that covers the Iron Ant. In addition to the pot, I can make a knife and weapons if I can process it.
It's difficult now, but I can make all kinds of things if I can melt the iron.
The oil secreted by Iron Ant is also important.
I learned that Iron Ants maintain their armor by spitting oil out of their mouths to keep it from rusting. This is the result of a year of research.
I drained the oil from the Iron Ant's mouth and gave it one last stab.
The magic stone fell down and shattered.
Of course, the armor part remained. The monster dismantling experiment was a success.
After the hunt, I decided to eat.
I quickly turned over the Iron Ant's head, the helmet.
It is perfect for a pot because it has an indentation that can hold water.
I tried to use some stones I found in the river as a pot, but they can't contain much water, and the ingredients can't submerge in the water. In addition, the stones are too thick to transfer heat and it would take too long to cook the ingredients.
But the Iron Ant's head is big, so its helmet can contain as much water and ingredients as I want.
Moreover, it is thin and strong, making it perfect for a pot.
I washed it carefully in the river and put it on the fire.
"Yes! I've successfully boiled the water."
It is not surprising, but something about it made me cry.
Thank you, Iron Ant.
Even though you disappeared a while ago, thanks to you, my food life will be colorful.
"Now, let's start with......."
I've already decided what I'm going to boil.
The name "baby" may remind you of a little boar, but that's a big mistake.
Despite its cute name, it is a monster as big as an adult boar, with a big round nose, sharp fangs, and a red mane that runs from the top of its head to its tail.
Over the years, it would grow and become a terrifying rank B monster known as Giant Boar.
The Baby Boar's rank is E. It's as dangerous as a boar, but it's so fast that if it bumps into you, you'll be blown away. They're usually accompanied by their parents, the giant boars. It's hard for me to get close to them.
This meat was cut from a Baby Boar that was accidentally caught in a Boar trap.
The meat has already been cleaned and seasoned with rock salt. I cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and put it in hot water.
Next, put water, herbs, and candy made from slime in the pot to sweeten it, and add the Baby Boar. Cover with a lid and wait for a while......
It's not just stewed pork; it's stewed Baby Boar.
The white steam covered my face.
This is the stew I've been waiting for so long. After a year of waiting, the Baby Boar in the pot looks sparkling.
I immediately stabbed it with a skewer and put it in my mouth.
The meat slides around in my mouth.
After feeling the texture of the meat, it melts in my mouth. It's irresistible!
The slime candy's sweetness was well absorbed into the Baby Boar's meat. When I chew it, it is squeezed and spread in my mouth along with the meat's flavor.
I am speechless. It was that delicious.
The herbs I added seemed to work well. Since I had boiled it once, it didn't have much of a stinky smell.
I had tried grilling baby boar once, but it has a strong smell and I think it's not suitable to be grilled.
I thought it would be great for stews, and I am right.
"Thanks for the food!"
I clasp my hands together.
As usual, I ate all the meat I had cooked. My stomach is full.
I touch my face with my hands, and my skin feels plumper. I guess its effect is anti-aging. I'm still a kid, so I don't really understand.
If I had fish sauce and sake, it would be perfect. Sake is one thing, but the fish sauce can be made by fermenting fish. I wonder if I can make it.
Ah. But this place is in the middle of a mountain (sigh).
I wonder if fish sauce can be made from river fish.
I remember reading about seasoning in a book, which can be made by fermenting beans to produce a taste similar to fish sauce.
I'm sure there are some wild beans around here somewhere, so I should try to make it.
I wasn't sure how it would turn out at first, but I'm starting to enjoy life in the mountains.
Hunting monsters and turning them into meat is interesting.
There are some magical plants and wild herbs that I only knew about from books, and there are plenty of edible plants growing in the mountains.
I'll try to cook them more deliciously.
This is how I got hooked on Monster Cuisine.