Chapter 16: Eating with everyone
"By the way, what are you cooking?"
Mildy peeks into my outdoor kitchen.
Richil seems to be interested as well, and she peeks over Mildy's shoulder.
I am in the middle of cooking.
I take out the meat that I am preparing.
The meat is marinating nicely while we are chatting.
I smiled at Mildy's question.
"You'll have to wait till it's ready."
I poured the oil from the dragon's fire bag into the pot. I put it on the fire and let it heat up.
I dip the meat I prepared earlier in the beaten egg and coat it with bread crumbs.
After checking the oil temperature with chopsticks, I threw the meat into the oil.
The sound of oil splashing echoed.
The sound is as sharp as a blade, but maybe our human instincts made it sound appetizing.
It smells good...
Mildy takes a breath, and her stomach rumbles loudly.
"Mildy, that's rude."
"I can't help it. It looks so delicious."
"Please wait just a little longer."
I smile and lower the heat a bit. I let the smaller heat cook it thoroughly.
Even with my back to them, I know.
Fletty and the others' eyes are fixed on this pot.
Fletty gulped down his saliva. Even Garner, who is usually expressionless, seems to be more relaxed.
Come to think of it, when was the last time I cooked for other people?
There was a time when I served fish to my father. I caught it when I went fishing with the Chief Butler.
I remember that I wanted my father to eat it, so I cooked the fish myself with the chef's guidance.
It was fun...
But in the end, my father never ate it. I remember him yelling at me that I should train harder if I had time to do such a thing.
"Luciel-kun. It is about time, isn't it?"
When I heard Mildy's words, I returned to my senses.
I look at the pot. The meat is already fried nicely to a golden brown.
I quickly take it and put it on a leaf plate with dried mandrake leaves.
I also take out koppe-breads (bread rolls) that I had baked in the oven and the crunchy grass I picked early this morning on my farm. I slice open the sides and put the crunchy grass and the fried meat in between.
"Sorry to keep you waiting."
Chicken fillet scissor bread.
Fletty and the others' eyes shine.
Even Garner, the only one who didn't join in the conversation gulped.
As the name suggests, scissor breads are breads with stuffing inserted between the slices.
Some breads are cut into slices like the one I made, while others are placed between two round sliced buns.
There were two different origins of the name. Some people called it "scissors bread" because they put it "in-between" the bread, while others said it was because in the past they used special "scissors" to cut open the bread.
"Here you go. Please try it."
"I'm really sorry, Luciel-kun. For everything."
"I am really grateful."
"Mildy, at least thank Luciel-kun before you eat."
Each of them holds their bread as they talk to me.
"It's quite heavy when I hold it."
"I thought since you're all knights, you guys would eat a lot.
Are they too big?"
"No, this is not a problem. I'm starving now. I can eat even a monster now."
I replied to Mildy's words with a chuckle.
We open our mouths widely.
We all chew on the bread, crunchy grass, and fried meat all at once.
A pleasant crunching sound echoed in this quiet mountain.
The four of them said in unison.
"It's so good! I've never had such delicious scissors bread."
When Fletty raises his voice, Garner looks as if he is about to cry and nods his head.
"It's delicious! I ate it without thinking, but this bread is freshly baked, right?
This fried food is also freshly fried. Isn't this a great luxury?"
Mildy's stomach also rumbled.
"The batter is crispy and the meat inside is juicy and delicious. Also, the bread is soft... The vegetables in between are also fresh and crunchy."
Richil also spoke up as she chewed her way through the morsels.
"Isn't this meat a little spicy? It doesn't taste like ordinary chicken..."
Fletty turned to me and asked a question.
"Actually, I don't know the name of this bird either. I think it's native to this area. Strange, isn't it? This bird has a slightly spicy taste."
"Such a bird exists? I see. No wonder I've never eaten one before."
I've lied to them again.
Fletty and the others are eating the meat of a monster called the Burn Prison bird.
It is a monster beast with flame-like red feathers, and fire rises from its crown. It is highly resistant against fire.
The feathers are particularly fire-resistant, but just eating the meat makes one more resistant against fire.
The skin of Fletty and the others should not be affected by the magic sword's fire.
Now they have countermeasures against the magic sword.
They should be able to beat that magic sword wielder.
The meat of the Burn Prison bird won't give them [skill] or [magic], so they won't know they've gained fire resistance.
Fletty takes a second bite. Mildy had already finished her food. She feels happy. As she pats her stomach, she is scolded by Richil again.
Richil is chewing her food repeatedly and seems to be taking her time to eat it.
Garner seems to be the same type. He slowly chews and enjoys his food.
When I see the four of them, my face breaks into a smile.
For the first time, I knew.
I never knew that eating with other people could make me so happy.
I've been researching monsters and cooking food to get stronger, but ...
I want to cook more food for these people.
"Come on, Luciel-kun. You should eat, too."
"Eh? Don't just eh... You're hungry too, right? Let's eat together."
There is still one scissors bread left.
I don't know how many times I have eaten this dish in the past 300 years.
Even though it was no longer a dish that could stir my appetite, my hand naturally moved to the plate.
When I lift it up, it feels heavy.
It feels different from the scissors bread I usually make.
I hesitate for a moment but open my mouth and bite my scissors bread.
I muttered to myself.
The warm, soft, chewy, freshly made bread.
The texture of the fried Burn Prison chicken and crunchy grass sandwiched between them is just too delicious.
I can't get enough of the fluffy, glutinous texture and the crispiness of the fried bird that goes straight to my brain.
The bread is warm and sweet with the spiciness of the Burn Prison chicken mixed in.
Sweet and spicy...
The taste that fascinates people floods into my mouth.
The meat's texture is also soft and gives my teeth just the right amount of bounciness, while the delicious juices start to invade my mouth.
What is it?
Although I have eaten this dish so many times, maybe even thousands of times, but the taste moved me.
Did I really make this? My heart is now trembling so much that I wonder if I really made this.
The first time I ate it, it was delicious. But when did I stop enjoying this scissors bread?
Before I knew it, I was crying.
It was very delicious.
I am so deeply moved.
"Was it delicious?"
Fletty and the others also look at me.
Instead of feeling sorry for me, they are laughing at me. But they are not making fun of me.
I can feel the warmth in their smiles as if they are my family.
Without wiping away my tears, I put on a smile and say...
I never knew eating together could make food taste so delicious.