Act 03: Cooking
Four months have passed since I’ve been summoned.
On that day, the Royal Palace bestowed a special reward to the research institute because the potions had saved many people from the 3rd Knight Order.
What’s more, the person who I made drink the Advanced HP Potion was the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order and also the 3rd son of the Margrave family. So a reward was also sent from the Margrave.
In addition the 3rd Knight Order purchased my potions, which couldn’t be sold to wholesalers, because of its efficiency.
Thanks to that, the Research Institute budget was abundant lately.
“So, is there anything you want?”
One day, I was asked if there was anything I wanted when I brought tea to the director’s room.
It was so abrupt that I had to think a little before answering.
“Well… I want a bath and a kitchen.”
“A bath and a kitchen?”
“Well ~, I like cooking.”
The reason that I answered with was true, but that wasn’t all.
After all, the cooking level of this world is low.
Or should I say, a lot of dishes were cooked without seasoning.
Sometimes food was seasoned with salt or vinegar, but it didn’t suit my tastes.
I went to the employee’s dining hall at the Royal Palace to eat and it was really horrible.
I went on a diet unexpectedly because the food was unappetising.
I have never worried about this before, but since coming to this world, I was strongly aware that I was a Japanese person who was picky about food.
Although I was crazy about food, I wasn’t very good at cooking. But I requested a kitchen, based on the idea that anything I made would surely be better.
“Cook? Will Sei be the one cooking?”
When I said that I would be the one cooking, the Director widened his eyes in surprise.
I don’t think it’s something to be surprised about though.
Or do I look like I can’t cook?
I tilted my head and the Director told me why he was surprised.
As I thought, he didn’t think I could cook.
Rich people such as aristocrats and wealthy merchants hired cooks so that women and children of those households didn’t have to cook.
Of course the wives in common households had to cook……
“Director, I’m also a commoner, you know?”
“Ah, now that you mention it, that’s true.”
The Director smiled wryly, he had completely forgotten about it.
The Director knew that I was summoned to this kingdom.
When I was assigned to this research institute, he had asked the High Official about me. But if he also wanted to know more personal things, he’d ask me directly.
Questions like: my social status in Japan, what kind of life I was living, etc.
At that time, I talked about me being a commoner and working at a company.
“When I look at Sei, I don’t think you look like a commoner at all.”
“I think that no matter how you look at me, I look like a commoner.”
“That’s not true. There are only a few commoners in this kingdom who have acquired high education like Sei.”
According to the Director, there were no schools for commoners in this kingdom.
The Royal Academy that Jude had told me about before was a school that aristocrat children attended. It seemed that only those with exceptional magic skills among commoners could attend as a scholarship student.
No wonder the Director was surprised when I told him that education was compulsory in Japan and even commoners have to attend school.
The Director finished his tea while we were talking about such things and the conversation ended. Two days later, the craftsmen came to the Research Institute.
To be honest, when I was asked what I wanted, I half-jokingly said bath and kitchen.
I didn’t actually think that the Director would get things ready in order to build it.
I was naïve.
Didn’t he already make arrangements beforehand? Things proceeded at a frightening pace and just like that the bath and kitchen were built.
The pace in which it was completed was fast enough that I thought it was comparable to that of Japan.
Thus the Medicinal Herb Research Institute was expanded.
The kitchen was very large and next to it was the dining hall, big enough to fit all the researchers.
Moreover it came with a chef.
In short, it was a dining hall exclusively made for the researchers but was popular with everyone.
I went to eat at the dining hall exclusively for employees at the Royal Palace up until now, but it was far away.
The shut-in researchers were overjoyed.
“What’re you making today?”
“Today is herb grilled chicken and salad.”
The Director called out to me while I was cutting lettuce in a corner of the new kitchen.
I went through great pains to get the Chef to agree with me and now I was allowed to make my own share of food when it wasn’t busy.
This kingdom’s food didn’t suit my tastes from the start so I requested this.
I was worried that the Chef, who had finally came all the way here, would be offended when I said I wanted to make my own food. Fortunately, this Chef was a kind person and didn’t have any complaints when he let me use a section of the kitchen.
However, while I was in the middle of cooking he gave me a frightening glare.
Apparently he was a very ambitious person.
I told him, “Please help yourself”, because he wanted to have a taste and he ended up eating the whole serving.
He became so engrossed in eating after a mouthful that he remained silent while he was eating.
Every time I made a new dish, I taught him the recipe since he wanted me to teach him by all means.
As a result, the food at the research institute’s dining hall became delicious and the employee’s dining hall at the Royal Palace was no match.
It was fine even if I don’t make it myself if the food had become this delicious. But since the Chef bowed his head asking me to teach him new recipes; recently I cooked for myself once a week and the Chef behaved himself.
“Is something the matter?”
I asked the Director, who was standing behind me, while grilling the chicken.
For some time now the Director was standing behind me with the Chef gazing at my hands.
I wonder if a hole will open up in the chicken if he keeps staring like that.
I guess it won’t open.
Whenever the Director was in the research institute he would always come here to see me ever since I started cooking in the kitchen.
“I was just thinking that it looks tasty.”
“What flavours are you using this time?”
“I only grilled it with salt. Afterwards I used medicinal herbs for fragrance.”
That was the extent of our conversation. When I looked behind me again, the Director’s eyes were still pinned on the chicken.
“Director, perhaps you want to eat this? I have a feeling I saw you eating lunch earlier.”
“Ugh…… Well, I did but……”
When I glanced behind me again, the Director had a shameful look on his face.
He still wouldn’t leave even though he was looking at it. It seemed like he really wanted to eat it.
Usually when he ate in the dining hall, he ate the same amount as everyone else, so I couldn’t see him being a big eater.
Was he lured in by the smell of the medicinal herbs smeared all over the chicken?
Well, the basil and rosemary were freshly taken from the herb garden so it’s really fragrant.
Even the salad was freshly made.
I placed the grilled chicken onto the plate and on the side was the salad I made, accompanied by a homemade dressing.
The two dishes set up for plating was for the Chef and me. But I prepared another small dish and arranged a little bit of chicken and salad from my plate onto it.
The Chef cheerfully picked up the plate and carried it to the dining hall when I finished arranging the food. He put the food down onto the table closest to the kitchen.
I too followed after him with a basket of bread in one hand.
“If you don’t mind, please eat.”
I said to the Director, who was following behind me, and point to where the small dish was placed.
“It’s tasty as ever.”
I smiled at the Director who looked as if he was going to melt even without that comment.
Above all else, it seemed to suit his tastes.
The Director had already ate lunch so I only served him a tiny bit of food, but it seemed that it wasn’t enough.
He neatly cleaned his plate, even going as far as to spread the chicken fat and medicinal herbs onto the bread.
“But I was surprised that you used the medicinal herbs for cooking.”
“In my hometown, we use various medicinal herbs for cooking.”
It’s called medicinal herbs in this kingdom but it was actually the so-called herbs.
Herbs itself meant medicinal herbs.
The herbs I used, basil and rosemary, were common herbs used for cooking in my original world.
But in this world, medicinal herbs were used as remedies and it seemed that it wasn’t used for cooking.
“By using medicinal herbs in cooking, you can prevent food poisoning and help accelerate digestion.”
“There are also medicinal cooking methods aimed at preventing illness.”
Medicinal cooking was a method in the neighbouring kingdom and since the Chef was also with us, I blurred out that I was from a different world and talked about it as my hometown.
Although the Chef might know that I came from another world.
Or he might not know, so just to be sure.
The Director was interested in cooking and medicinal herbs so he asked me questions, one after another.
It really makes me think that the Director is also a researcher when I saw him like this.
He was usually in the director’s office doing nothing but administrative work so he didn’t feel much like a researcher.
I didn’t know some of the answers to the questions that the Director asked me. In such cases he told me to take a guess and he also talked about what he’d thought.
The conversation got lively, but because we were only talking about medicinal herbs, the Chef couldn’t join in and I felt that we did something bad.
We were making sandwiches in the kitchen today in order to teach the Chef a new recipe when Jude came in.
“What is it?”
“There’s a message from the Director, he wants you to go deliver this document to the 3rd Knight Order barracks.”
“I’m in the middle of something right now, so can’t you go instead, Jude?”
“Nah, he said he wanted you to deliver it, Sei.”
“I wonder why? Do I have to go now?? Can’t I do it afterwards? I’m nearly finished with this”
“Isn’t it fine if it’s just a little while longer?”
“Got it. I just need to go to the 3rd Knight Order’s barracks, right?”
“Yeah, he’s in the captain’s office so bring it there.”
I arrived at the captain’s office in the 3rd Knight Order’s barracks and a knight next to the door immediately led me inside when I asked him to announce that I was here. He immediately led me inside.
Apparently the Director had let him know that I was coming in advance.
As I entered, I saw the Director and another person sitting on a lounge suite set in front of a splendid office desk.
He’s the captain, right?
“I am sorry to keep you waiting.”
“No, you’re very helpful. Thanks.”
“Then, I will return now.”
“Wait a minute.”
The Director smiled while thanking me when I passed the documents to him. I turned to leave the room once my task was done but the Director stopped me.
I looked at the Director wondering what it could be and he urged me to sit down next to him.
When I glimpsed at the other person, who was probably the owner of this room, he also urged me to sit down.
The Director spoke to the other person when I reluctantly sat down next him.
“I see, so it’s you. I’m the captain of the 3rd Knight Order, Alberto Hawk.”
“Nice to meet you. My name is Sei.”
I didn’t say my family name.
Only aristocrats have family names in this world and I wasn’t an aristocrat.
When I was assigned to the research institute, the Director taught me this when I introduced myself.
If an unfamiliar family name was untactfully given in this kingdom, an enquiry would pursue and that would become troublesome. I decided not to give out my family name since then.
The other person was the Captain after all.
I sat across from him and looked at him again.
He was a quirky man with blonde hair and blue grey eyes that gave out a cold feeling.
Is he the same age as the Director?
His physique was better than the Director’s but only because he’s a knight.
No, the Director is pretty tall and sturdily.
How can I say this, their muscle thickness is different.
He might be my favourite type out of all the people I’ve met since coming to this kingdom.
“Do you remember the things that happened during the 3rd Knight Order expedition?”
“You know, about the Salamander.”
I suddenly received an introduction, while I was thinking that it was odd for them to have business with me, the Director abruptly began to speak.
I was told that it was about the expedition and at first, I didn’t know what he was talking about, but when the Salamander was mentioned, I understood.
The other day the Knight Order who went to Ghosh Forest, located to the west of the capital, returned with a large number of casualties.
Since then I haven’t heard anything about it so I completely forgot. Was it the 3rd Knight Order?
“At that time, you made a guy drink an Advanced HP Potion, right?”
The Director said. Now that he mentioned it, I do remember that there was such a person.
At that time, I only made the most injured person drink the Advanced HP Potion.
The burns were terrible. It was hard to look at so I tried not to look too much and because of that I didn’t remember anything about that person’s features. I certainly remember the knight next to me call that person, Captain.
I see, so he was the person who nearly died at that time.
I saw his charred skin peel off and new skin regenerated from underneath immediately after he drank the potion. But, I didn’t see him when he was completely healed.
Since I went to distribute potions after that.
When I looked at the Captain again, there was no burn wounds from that time, only beautiful skin.
I think the potions from a different world are really excellent to be able to heal to this extent.
If it was like this, then wounds other than burns might completely heal as well.
Although I wanted to see the effectiveness of the potion, it was still impossible for me to ask him to take off his clothes so that I could see.
“Thanks, I was saved by you.”
Because I wanted to see the progress, I stared at him for too long and now the Captain was slightly blushing.
The figure of a handsome bashful guy had such destructive power. My heart throbbed while I gave a neutral answer and I heard the sound of light laughter next to me.
When I turned to my side thinking, what is it? I saw the Director put a hand over his mouth as he tried not to laugh.
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
He was still holding his laughter in although he said it was nothing. What was funny?
The Director was acting so suspiciously that it wasn’t just me but also the Captain who had a dubiousness look on his face.
No rather than dubiousness, he looked sullen or embarrassed.
Do you feel embarrassed?
I looked at the Director doubtfully and narrowed my eyebrows.
“Oh yeah, you wanted the ingredients for the Advanced HP Potions, right?”
“Yes. But they cannot be gathered without going to the forest, right?”
How vague. At the moment when the Captain tried to speak, the Director lost his urge to laugh and spoke while changing the topic.
I felt it was abrupt, but I’m glad it happened before the Captain got angry. I quietly stroked my chest.
About the Advanced HP Potion ingredients that the Director brought up, I certainly remember talking about it to the Director.
The meagre amount of medicinal herbs cultivated in the herb garden for Advanced HP Potions had considerably decreased recently due to overharvesting.
I wanted to rapidly make more potions to level up my pharmacy skill, but unfortunately, those medicinal herbs were difficult to cultivate and I was prohibited from using them any further by the Director.
Therefore I consulted with the Director about purchasing it from outside, but since cultivation was difficult, it was sold at a very high price.
Although the budget had increased recently, it was still difficult to purchase a large quantity of high-grade ingredients from outside.
It grew naturally in the forest outside of the Royal Palace, but it took time and effort to go there to collect it, although it saved on cost. It was difficult for researchers to go gathering alone since there were demons in the forest.
“Right. If it’s nearby then they grow in the forest to the south. Why don’t you go and gather them for a while?”
“Director, I want you to spare me from being attacked by demons.”
“About that, it seems that the guys from the 3rd Knight Order will protect you.”
“Apparently it’s the reward for the potion the other day.”
I unintentionally turned to face the Captain upon the Director’s words.
He looked calm, completely different from earlier. As the Director said, it seemed that they would guard me when I go to gather medicinal herbs as a reward for the potion.
“But I have already received a reward……”
I received a special reward from the Royal Palace and one from the Margrave household too.
Any more than that just feels too much.
“Captain-dono wanted to give you something personally.”
The Director said while grinning and the Captain stopped him in a panic.
But it was too late.
Was it fine to mobilise the Knight Order for personal gratitude?
I glanced at the Captain and he cleared his throat as if he knew what I was implying, and explained awkwardly.
“We’d originally planned to go to the South Forest for subjugation. So we talked about it in passing.”
“Is that so?”
It was originally planned.
If so, it won’t be any problem, right?
I certainly want medicinal herbs for Advanced HP Potions.
“If it is not a nuisance then please take me with you.”
I bowed my head and the Captain nodded as if to say it wasn’t a problem.
After that, we talked about practical business such as when the expedition would start, etc, and it was evening before I realised.
Today, I went to Saul forest located to the south of the capital.
The 3rd Knight Order had been regularly killing demons around the kingdom and they planned to expedite Saul Forest after the Ghosh Forest to the west.
It wasn’t normal for the Knight Order to go on subjugation missions so frequently, but the situation had been so bad in recent years, that the normal subjugation frequency couldn’t keep up and as a result they now constantly went out on missions.
Well, because of the 【Saint】summoned by the【Saint Summoning Ceremony】the situation was deemed to have gradually improved.
Do your best, Aira-chan.
This time the researchers from the Medicinal Herb Research Institute had joined the expedition.
The main purpose of the expedition was to subjugate demons, but the researchers have never come to this forest with the Knights before, so everyone wanted to go for the chance to gather a variety of medicinal herbs not available at the herb garden.
There were some researchers who wanted to survey the plants and not just gather medicinal herbs, but the Director firmly rejected their proposal because it would get in the way of the main purpose.
It was normally unthinkable for researchers who are good for nothing burdens, to partake in a Knight Order’s subjugation, but this was the Knight Order’s way of repaying the favour.
I thought that I could leisurely make potions at the research institute because there are researchers willing to participate in harvesting. But, the Director sadly made me participate since I was the one who used up most of the herbs.
“Oi ~, don’t separate too far.”
I found a medicinal herb I wanted in a place slightly away from the road and Jude warned me from behind when I went over to try and take it.
I quickly harvested the herb and Jude scolded me some more when I returned to where he was.
“Just because this forest is calmer than the West Forest, doesn’t mean that demons don’t appear. If you plan to separate, then say something before you do.”
The demons that appeared in the South Forest were weaker than the ones in the West Forest but that didn’t mean that they didn’t appear at all.
I knew I had to be careful but I couldn’t shake off my Japanese mentality. I unintentionally tottered towards things that interest me when I found them.
“I’m keeping a proper watch out so you should be fine if you don’t stray too far.”
The Captain called out from behind us while laughing abruptly.
The Knight Order and researchers were currently separated and acting in 3 groups.
This was because it was more efficient this way. Jude and I were a part of the Captain’s team.
The demons that appeared in the South Forest weren’t that strong, so the Captain didn’t normally partake in expeditions to the South Forest.
However, according to a knights in the same team, the Captain made a special exception for us.
Although it was a reward, I felt somewhat apologetic.
“Thank you. Even so, I have a feeling that we have gone considerably deep into the forest, but no demons have appeared.”
I think it’s already been two hours since we’ve entered the forest but we haven’t encountered a single demon.
Was this normal?
I questioned the Captain as I thought this and this didn’t seem to be the case.
“No, it’s usually not strange to encounter several demons already, but……”
“Is that so?”
“Ah, it is unusual to make it this far without encountering any.”
The Captain frowned as he said this and thought a little before talking to the other knights.
Yes ~, I wonder what’s up.
It wasn’t the calm before the storm but it would be nice if a strong demon like the Salamander doesn’t just suddenly pop up.
I picked up the medicinal herbs growing on the roadside as I thought this and headed towards the meeting point.
There was a little opening a short distance from where I was walking. We were joining up with the other groups there to have lunch.
We were at the meeting place for lunch, everyone had joined us.
I listened to the voices here and there, it was worthwhile for me to help out.
There was chatter about the lunch preparations being done by the Knight Order. But for me who grieved over this world’s cooking situation, I had to help out.
The soup I made by using herbs, which aren’t usually used, seemed to be popular.
“I heard that the food at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute’s dining hall was delicious, but…… are you perhaps the one who always prepares it?”
The one who had said this was the Captain. He looked at the soup in his spoon.
It was unusual, after all, to use medicinal herbs while cooking. I was asked various questions like: what kind of medicinal herb is that? Why are you putting it in? Even while I was making it.
That behaviour was exactly like some Director who always looked at me from behind.
The Captain and Director had been friends since childhood. I’ve heard from the researchers that they’re really close, but does being close mean that even their behaviours are similar?
“No, I just provide the recipe. The Chef is the one who always cooks.”
“To always be able to eat something this delicious, I’m envious.”
I saw him narrow his eyes and eat the soup delightfully, which made me happy.
But it was a bit nerve wracking to be in the middle of the group.
The knights and researchers seemed to have opened up to each other as a result of the morning’s subjugation. The Captain sat next to me while everyone else sat down where they liked.
The Vice-Captain sat on my other side. I’m the only researcher who has been thrown into this group of executives.
He escaped when I tried to drag him along with me.
I’ll remember this.
“I was told that various medicinal herbs were used in this soup, but my body is warmer than usual. Are there medicinal herbs with this kind of effect?”
“Well, that is right. Today’s soup is……”
I mainly spoke with the Captain but at odd times the knights would also call out to me, or rather many asked me about the herbs used in the dish. It was exciting.
The talk about herbs used in drinking side-dishes was especially interesting.
It would be delicious if you put it in sausage.
Just like that, there was a heated discussion about food. We continued subjugation in the afternoon and returned to the Royal Palace in the evening.
The people who went out to subjugate are supposed to gather at the 3rd Knight Order’s training ground upon returning to the Royal Palace.
The researchers in the training ground were gathering in groups of 3 or 5, talking as if they’d just returned from an outing despite being tired and maybe because the subjugation ended without any casualties.
They didn’t just talk about the medicinal herbs they’d gathered, they also talked about the demons they’d encountered and how the knights were at the time of subjugation.
Demons still didn’t appear in the afternoon on the road that my group took and the knight who was with me said, “They’re probably not coming because they fear the Captain’s strength”.
As the Captain of this Knight Order, his strength can compare with 1 or 2 people amongst his Order, right?
The knight had said that as a joke but he did say that this kind of thing has never happened once, ever.
Actually it seemed that the other group encountered demons several times in the afternoon. The researchers joined in with the knight’s subjugation.
The researchers at the research institute all have magic skills.
They supported the knights by casting magic from behind.
They haven’t subjugated demons since they’d left the Royal Academy so everyone had a bit of fun.
“I prepared myself since I was told that it was a subjugation, but we finished it so easily. I’m disappointed.”
“Ah, it’s been awhile since I’ve fought against demons, but considering all that, my condition is good.”
“You too? I have a hunch that my condition is better than when I was at the Academy.”
“All the same, isn’t that saying too much?”
Just like that, everyone was talking noisily and the nearby knight joined in when he heard it was about the subjugation.
“You guys as well?”
“Well, we were talking about how strange it was that we were able to move better than usual.”
According to the knight, at first everyone thought it was just them but when they saw that the other knight’s movements were also better than usual, they started talking and concluded that their physical abilities seemed to have risen.
“What’s the cause?”
A researcher muttered as if speaking to himself and everyone started expressing their opinions.
Well, they quickly realise what the cause was……
“Wasn’t it the lunch?”
When they thought about what they did differently than usual, everyone came up with the soup that they ate for lunch.
It was certainly the first time the knights ate soup with herbs but, the researchers should be used to eating it at the dining hall.
So was the herb the cause?
The researchers immediately become lively.
I managed to stop the enthusiastic researchers from returning to the research institute for investigation before they had received the break up signal. There was a big uproar when we returned to the research institute.
Even though everyone should have been tired.
Then one week later.
In order to investigate the cause, I made dishes with various methods at the research institute which we then ate and examined.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also had a midnight snack on top of that as well. We ate all day long.
As one would expect, it was too much for the researchers alone so we also asked for the cooperation of the 3rd Knight Order, who we’d become friends with during the subjugation.
The knights gladly cooperated since they could eat at the rumoured Medicinal Herb Research Institute’s dining hall. It was a great help.
The result was, when someone ate a specific dish made by someone who had the cooking skill, their physical abilities improved.
When using this cooking skill the magic power of the creator would decrease, just like with potion making.
All the chefs working at dining halls have this skill.
Of course our Chef at the research institute had this skill as well.
Holy attribute magic: Lv. ∞
Pharmacy: Lv. 28
Cooking: Lv. 5
And before I knew it, I had also acquired it.
This was the reason why everyone’s physical abilities was improved during the subjugation.
Even though the researchers ate this food every day, they rarely moved their bodies so they didn’t notice.
It was a knight’s job to move their body so they noticed straight away.
Actually I don’t think that was the only reason they’d noticed.
The accursed 50% increase that appeared when I made potions also appeared when I cook and the dishes I made were more effective than those made by the dining hall chefs.
Perhaps because of that the effects of the food became remarkably visible and it got noticed.
When the Director heard about it, he was incredibly shocked and forbade me from cooking in public.