Because there was no table, large leaves were placed on the ground and on top of that were the dishes that Arnold had made.
Arnold: “Let’s eat! You’ll understand why I dragged you all the way out here when you eat this!”
Hiiro thought that the food quality was as expected of a chef. He was really impressed at the various dishes made from the Cow Crabs. Winka’s eyes also lit up and she was puzzled at how to eat the dishes.
Arnold: “《Sauté Cow Crab》, 《Fried Cow Crab》, 《Cow Crab and Nut Salad》, 《Steamed Crab Shell》and many others!”
Moreover the amount was really something considering there was only Cow Crabs.
Hiiro desperately tried to stop his saliva from overflowing. First he held the 《Fried Cow Crab》in his hands and put sauce on it.
“Om nom… Oh!”
The crunchy texture and the thick crab taste spread inside of his mouth. Moreover the sauce made from the crab paste matched nicely with the fried cow crab, even though it was miso.
Next he tried the 《Steamed Crab Shell》, he was able to eat the shell because it was steamed. When he took a bite it was like he was eating a variety of Chinese dumplings and the hot crab juices burst out from inside. Although it was hot enough to burn him, there were crab eggs inside of it so he couldn’t contain his excitement and his hands didn’t stop. He was indulging himself.
“How’s it Hiiro?”
Arnold asked while smiling.
“Your cooking’s the only thing I approve of.”
Arnold: “Hoohoohooh ~, that’s right, that’s right ~. Let’s discuss the only thing part later. As expected of me!”
Arnold was completely rapturous and was smiling annoyingly but Hiiro was feeling good right now so he ignored him. Besides, Hiiro was satisfied with all the dishes Arnold made.
Wi: “Om nom… Om nom… Om nom… Om nom…”
Eating wholeheartedly was exactly like this. Winka did not waver from people watching her and moved her hands at high speed while stuffing the food into her mouth. The antenna on her head was also bouncing around happily.
Muir: “A-ah… Hiiro-san…?”
When he’d noticed Muir had come next to him. In her hand was a long piece of bread that looked like a roll. The bread was cut at the centre and crab meat was tightly stuffed inside.
“P-pl-pl-please eat this!”
Muir said as she stuck the bread out to him.
“What? Are you not eating?”
Muir: “Ah, mhm… this is…”
Muir blushed as she glanced at Hiiro but Hiiro didn’t know what was wrong and frowned. Then Arnold said in a displeased voice.
“Tsk, that’s Muir’s 《Crab Cream Bread》… I’m jealous.”
While muttering, “Why’d she only make it for Hiiro”, he stuffed the food into his mouth out of despair.
“Hoh, so the Chibi made this.”
Muir: “Ah, ye-yes! Pl-please have some!”
Hiiro received it and took a bite.
“On nom nom nom…!?”
“H-h-h-how is it?!”
Muir asked anxiously.
Hiiro thought it tasted like a crab cream croquette. However there was more crab meat packed inside than he’d though. It was delicious.
“… Let’s see, it’s not bad. But if you bake the bread it’d be more delicious.”
Muir: “Ah… Is that so?”
Muir became disheartened. But Hiiro had eaten all of the bread in he was holding.
“But well, it’s delicious.”
Hiiro answered while licking the cream off his fingers. Muir brightened up upon those words.
Muir: “Re-really?! Ehehe! I will do even better next time!”
“Ah, I’ll be waiting.”
Muir: “Yes! Ehehe.”
Arnold felt conflicted seeing Muir smile so cutely. He was glad that his beloved daughter was pleased. However he didn’t like the fact that her smile was directed at a man.
“Damn… I won’t give you Muir! I won’t!”
Arnold was displaying a grand attitude of idiot parent-ness.
Muir: “Puh?! W-wi-san!”
Before Muir knew it Winka had appeared next to her and was staring so she was surprised.
“… Wi wants too.”
Muir: “Eh… Mhm…”
Wi: “Give me some bread…?”
Muir looked at Winka who gulped while titling her head and started getting flustered when she understood her real intention.
Muir: “I, I understand! I will prepare it now!”
Wi: “Ok… I’ll wait.”
While Muir went to go make Winka’s portion, Arnold was casually eating and said.
“Hey Wi, what race are you from?”
Arnold: “Ah, my bad. I worded it wrong again. Let me see, you’re half beastman, right?”
Arnold: “I wanna ask about your beastman race, in other words, your dad’s race.”
But before Winka could answer, Hiiro asked.
“Why’re you asking that for? Is something wrong?”
Arnold: “No, even if I look like this I’m from the 【Dog-kin】. So I have confidence in my sense of smell.”
Arnold brought up the story about him not noticing the oil smell before.
『Dog-kin’s』have an excellent sense of smell so he wanted to know why Winka noticed the smell when he didn’t.
“I see. So it’s about your hurt pride, huh?”
Arnold: “No, no. It’s not something that dramatic! It’s just well, I just wanna know Wi’s secret…”
Muir: “Uncle… Do you really want to know a girl’s secret…?”
Arnold: “Eh? Mu-muir…?”
Muir was holding bread for Winka in her slightly trembling hands.
She never thought that her guardian, Arnold, would say such a thing.
Arnold: “I-it’s a bit different than that, Muir! I-i-i-i-i-it’s a misunderstanding! I just wanna know what race her dad’s from!”
Muir: “Eh? Race?”
When Muir heard the explanation she was honestly relived and placed a hand on her chest before exhaling. But then she quickly looked anxious as she turned to face Arnold.
Muir: “But Uncle, Wi-san might not want to talk about it, you know?”
Arnold: “Now that you mention it that might be true.”
It was like the conversation between the two ended.
Wi: “I don’t know my race…?”
Winka, herself didn’t look like she cared at all. She wasn’t told anything about her father.
Arnold: “Come to think of it, Wi was still very young when your parents split up right?”
Muir: “B-but aren’t you curious, Wi-san?”
Wi: “About what?”
Muir: “About the 『Beastman』blood flowing in you!”
Wi: “Nope… Not really.”
Arnold and Muir’s feigned laughter resounded when they saw her frankness. Hiiro brought up a topic.
“If you take your sense of smell into consideration, isn’t your race above the Old Man’s? Aren’t there races like that?”
Arnold: “Well… There shouldn’t be any existing race with a better sense of smell than the 『Dog-kin』. Well even amongst 『Dog-kin』, there are various races like 『Blue Ears』like me or 『Red Ears』characterised by their red hair. But Wi has blonde hair. I’ve never seen a 『Dog-kin』race like that before. Since Wi’s has an excellent sense of smell, I thought she’d be from the same race…”
Arnold stared at Winka as if he was observing her and tilted his head.
Arnold: “But, I’ve got a feeling it’s something different.”
“When you say ‘existing races’ that must mean that there are races no longer around, right?”
Arnold: “Ah? Well yeah. Rather than old, there were races amongst us that have become legend.”
Hiiro’s intellectual curiosity perked up and his eyes shone.
Arnold: “They’re the 《Three Great Beastman》, but now they’re treated as mythical beasts who were our ancestors. One of them those races was the 『Golden Fox』, they had a better sense of smell than the 『Dog-kin』.”
“Hoh. It’s the first time I’ve heard that there were races like that.”
Arnold: “Well, in the end it’s just a legend. Within the 『Golden Fox』race, the people called 『Nine-tails』seem to be especially terrifying, you know? They can freely beastify and transform their body into something as big as a mountain.”
Even in Japan, where Hiiro was from, and 『Nine-tails』were special youkai spoken about in folklore. It was a powerful youkai and it seemed that even other youkais were afraid of its existence.
Even in this world people who were called 『Nine-tails』were special. It was unfortunate that it was already extinct and Hiiro couldn’t contain his disappointment.
Hiiro had something else he was interested in so he asked Arnold.
“Beastify… Can beastmans do something like that?”
Arnold: “Mhm? Well the 『Nine-tail’s』beastification is special. It’s normally impossible. On the contrary, some people who have beastman blood can’t control the power of the beast inside of them and go on rampages.”
“Hoh, that’s also a really interesting story.”
Arnold: “Well, it becomes a disaster afterwards.”
Hiiro looked at Arnold who was staring off into the distance and didn’t pursue it any further. He’d thought that Arnold probably experienced something like that before and judged that it was better to ask later.
Muir: “Ah, by the way is your conversation with Wi-san finished, Uncle?”
Arnold: “Mhm? Well, Wi doesn’t know anything about her race, her sense of smell probably developed like that from birth. Occasionally there are people like that.”
Arnold nodded his head as if he was trying to persuade himself.
From there Hiiro and co had enjoyed the rest of the crab dishes, cleaned up, and left 【Rogi Mountains】. Muir was on cloud-nine while walking.
(I’m happy that our companions have increased.)
From here they were going with Winka to the closest town so for a while it’d be a four person journey. Muir was getting really cheerful.
The fact that Winka was a woman made her smile because there were conversations that couldn’t be discussed unless you’re a woman.
While she was thinking what kind of questions she should ask, something bothered her so she asked.
“Wi-san, is your dad in the human world?”
“… I don’t know.”
“Is that so?”
“Do you have any clues?”
Winka pointed to the spear on her back (which was shortened), 《Bone Maiden of Victory》. Thereupon Arnold answered.
“Isn’t that just a spear…? Isn’t that the same as not having a clue…?”
There was no way that the spear could tell her which way to go, it was certainly tough to find clues with just the spear.
“Ah, yeah. What happened to your mum, Wi? Doesn’t she know something?
Winka shook her head in denial.
“Ma died a long time ago.”
“… I’m sorry, I must have brought up some painful memories.”
“Nah, it was a long time ago. So I’m fine now.”
“I-is that so, got it. You really don’t have any clues?”
Winka thought a little before speaking.
“Before Ma died, she told me that pops had wanderlust.”
“That’s why he’s travelling all over the world.”
“Puh, I see. If so then all the more difficult to find him.”
That was just the same as having almost having no clues. It would also be more difficult to find someone that often wandered around.
Hiiro interrupted the two’s conversation.
“What do you mean, Hiiro?”
“If he travels here and there, then there’s a high chance that he’d stop at various towns and villages. So you can always get clues about him from those towns and villages.”
“… That’s true.”
Arnold gave a big nod.
“If you follow those clues, won’t you catch up to him someday? You also came here because you heard rumours that he was here.”
“Oh ~, yeah. It’s just like Hiiro said.”
“Yup… Wi won’t give up. I’ll find pops.”
“Come to think of it, why’re you looking for your dad, Wi?”
This was the question Muir wanted to ask.
“When I was little… Pops said he was being targeted.”
“Eh? Yo-your dad was?”
It wasn’t just Muir, Hiiro and Arnold were also surprised.
“Yup… Ma said that’s why he left up and went off somewhere. He didn’t wanna be a nuisance to us so he left.”
It seemed like her beastman father was being targeted by someone and he thought that those people would also target his family so he left to go on a journey alone.
He’d concluded that if he did that, he’d be the only one targeted.
“I see, so your dad didn’t want harm to befall your family because of him. Wait a minute? Then why are you searching for your dad, Wi?”
Winka’s face slightly tensed upon hearing Arnold’s question.
Yes, she was going against the wishes of her father. Danger increased the closer she got to him. Still she’d continue looking for her father. Why?
“Wi will protect pops…”
“That’s the reason Wi became strong. I’ll protect him.”
There was no hesitation in her eyes, they overflowing with confidence. She was different from when she was younger, now she had confidence that she could fight together with her father.
Arnold deeply exhaled when he heard about how strong her determination.
“Hah ~, you’re amazing, Wi. There’s not many who can decide their goals at your age.”
“You’re amazing… Wi-san.”
Muir noticed that she was jealous of Winka, who was the same age as her, having firm goals and standing on her own two feet.
This won’t do. Muir can’t grow if she’s always being protected. She made up her mind to be strong like Winka.
Arnold folded his arms, glanced at Winka and asked.
“So Wi, have you been travelling in the human world all this time?”
“Yup… Wi started her journey when she was 7 years old.”
“Fr-from such a young age?! Do-don’t tell me you’ve been travelling alone… Right?”
“Nope, I travelled alone. Ah, but sometimes there would be someone else, like this.”
“We-well of course… Wait, how old are you now?”
“Mhm… 14 years old…?”
“No, even if you ask me… But 14 years old, huh…. Well I can kinda tell from your statue, still you’re well developed unlike Muir ―――.”
He incurred Muir’s wrath at the obvious slipup. He was laughing but his eyes weren’t laughing at all. Arnold was flustered and quickly changed the topic.
“B-but well, I’m glad you weren’t travelling alone!”
It was surprising to hear that she had been travelling alone at the age of 7 but if she had companions that she could trust then Arnold was honestly glad.
But her next words were unexpected.
“But, when Wi talked about herself everyone left to go somewhere.”
It went silent. Yes, Arnold had forgotten that in this world, she was a taboo, half-breed. The atmosphere became heavy but then she smiled warmly.
“That’s why Wi is happy that there are people who accept her like this…”
“That smile’s unfair!” Arnold shouted in his mind in amazement. He wanted to hug her but resisted and stroked her head.
“I see, well done, Wi.”
Wi felt good and narrowed her eyes. Then she thought of something and unsteadily headed towards Hiiro. She slightly leaned over and presented her head to him
“… What do you want?”
Hiiro couldn’t understand the meaning behind her actions. Arnold sighed at Hiiro’s thick-headedness.
“Oi, oi, you can’t do that, Hiiro-san.”
Hiiro made a displeased face.
“What do you mean?”
“Wi wants you to pat her head.”
“Hah? Why do I have to do something like that?”
“Isn’t it fine? Just stroke her head. Wi’s been working hard up until now.”
Wi’s eyes shine in expectation but Hiiro ignored her and turned away.
“I refuse. In the first place, the Antenna Girl isn’t the only one working hard. Certainly, there are things in her past that I sympathise with, but she’s the one who decided how she’d live. Or is she doing it because she wants to be praised?”
Winka looked into Hiiro’s eyes and shook her head from left to right.
“Oi, oi Hiiro, isn’t your reasoning weird? It’s just patting her head ―――.”
Winka interrupted Arnold.
“Eh… But Wi…”
“No, it’s just as Hiiro said, Wi didn’t go on this journey because she wanted to be praised for it.”
Everyone silently watched Winka.
“Hiiro isn’t wrong. Wi is the one who’s wrong.”
No one else could add anything further, if the person herself said so. But for some reason she was still turning her head towards Hiiro.
“… Oi, so then what’s this about?”
“I don’t wanna be praised. I just want Hiiro to pat my head.”
“Ouwah! So boldly?!”
“Wh-what’s wrong, Muir?”
Since Muir suddenly shouted while blushing, Arnold, who was nearby was surprised and looked at her, “I-i-i-i-it’s nothing!” She said while furiously shaking her head.
“There’s no way I would pat your head if I didn’t have a reason to.”
Arnold thought that it was fine to just pat her head but Hiiro stubbornly refused. Winka, who was despondent, said to Hiiro with upturned eyes.
“Then what do I have to do to get you to pat my head?”
“No, in the first place why do I have to pat your head.”
*GLIMMER GLIMMER GLIMMER*
*GLIMMER GLIMMER GLIMMER*
*GLIMMER GLIMMER GLIMMER*
Hiiro lost to the power of her cloudy eyes and shrugged his shoulders.
“In that case, do an especially good thing if you want me to pat your head. Then I’ll think about it.”
Hiiro succumbed to her persistence. Winka was enthusiastic about Hiiro’s compromise but she frowned and tilted her head.
“What kind of good thing?”
“Think for yourself.”
He didn’t say anymore and quickened his pace. Winka was desperately thinking about what was good while walking.
Midway Muir raised her voice and said something, “I, I want to be patted too!” But Hiiro didn’t notice because he was reconfirming his 《Status》.