New chapter~! Anyways, the only thing that I wanted to mention was what a “Kamado” is, so here’s a picture. Enjoy the chapter!
Ai-Fa’s residence, was about a 10 minute walk away from where we were.
Just like the rest of the houses, in a flattened area, with only a few small shrubs around it, lied a lone wooden building.
While there was a distance between the dwellings, as shown by the houses that we saw along the way, the area around Ai-Fa’s house was particularly deserted, it was a little too eerily quiet.
But that aside, from Ai-Fa’s wild attire to the name of “People of the Forest”, I had imagined a more primitive dwelling. But from up close, it was a surprisingly fine wooden house.
“Huh. This is a pretty nice place to live in”
A log house, though it’s not super fancy. The flat wooden boards and logs were combined together in a very beautiful way, regardless, it was very big. If we were to talk about the size of the area alone, it might even be as big as “Tsurumi-ya”
It’s pretty dark out now, so I can’t see the details. But as for what I can see, the roof is slightly sloped from left to right, and it seemed to be a wooden structure that was made without nails or screws.
Around the house, a 50 centimeter deep moat was carved into the ground, and a pathway made with wooden logs led towards the entrance.
Was it to ward off animals, or maybe something to contain rainwater. I got lost in thought.
“……what are you doing? Get in there”
The front door, was a type that opened by sliding to the side, reminiscent of the Japanese style.
Following the home’s owner, I stepped inside timidly.
“Sorry to intru一一de……”
Indoors, it was even darker.
But, I could still tell that it was spacious.
The floor was completely covered in brown fur, as Ai-Fa began to untie her leather sandals at the entrance, I hurriedly followed suit.
I wonder what I should do with my socks. Well, there’s no harm in taking them off, so that’s what I did.
Barefoot, the fur’s texture felt a bit ticklish.
Behind me, a heavy thud sounded out.
Ai-Fa, had put her huge sword in front of the door at the entrance.
(with this, even if I scream for help, no one will come, huh)
Well, I pray in my heart that I don’t fall into such a situation, and then I again look around the room.
As for the size, the room is about 12 tatami mats in width. (note: about 10.8 meters)
There are large windows cut into both the left and right walls, but as expected, there’s no glass or anything like that, and 20 centimeter long pieces of wood are arranged together in the pattern of a grid.
The back of the room is separated off by a wall, where 3 doors could be seen.
The ceiling was moderate in height, though the beams were all sloped, just like on the outside. It seems to be designed to shelter from the wind and rain. I’m not sure though.
But……honestly, rather than the things I could see, I was more curious and interested in the things that were picked up by my sense of smell.
The complex aromas that this girl was wearing, that scent drifted three times more strongly in here.
That is, the smell of meat, the smell of spices, and the smell of herbs.
“……does your foot still hurt”
“Eh? Oh, no, it’s nothing serious. It feels a bit hot, but it’s not swollen or anything. I’m sure it’ll recover tomorrow even if I don’t do anything”
Ai-Fa walked to the center of the room, looking like she was thinking about something.
“I wish I could talk with you right away, but I’m getting hungry too. For now, I’ll prepare a meal”
“Please do, as you wish. ……umm, let’s see, I don’t have anything to pay for this, but is it still possible for me to join you?”
“……with your stomach making so much noise, do you think we can talk?”
Gee, you don’t have to show your teeth while getting angry.
However, to be given a free meal, I’m very grateful. If I were to have been left alone in a room filled with such a wonderful aroma, I‘d probably pass out.
With that, she told me that she was going to start preparing the meal. Of course, as soon as I stepped into the house, I confirmed that the necessary facilities were near the right window.
It was the only place where there was no fur rug, and instead was paved with white stones over what was roughly 2 meters square in area. And, yellow rocks were assembled in a beautiful trapezoid shape as well.
There was a counter that was about waist height, and a black hole was carved in its front.
On top of it sat一一a shiny, black metal cauldron.
It’s a little bit primitive, but this must be a “Kamado”.
Next to it, there were many bundles of thin wood that looked like firewood piled on top of each other.
This hall, so it doubles as a kitchen.
Everyone cooks and eats together, it might be one of their customs.
However一一the only people who can be seen in this spacious house at the moment, are me and Ai-Fa.
“Speaking of which, do you have any other family members?”
“……I already mentioned that my father is dead. And my mother died a long time ago”
Ai-Fa said that bluntly while having one knee on the ground in front of the Kamado.
As someone who doesn’t yet understand the common sense and ethos of this world, “I see” is the only thing I could say.
In the meantime, the Kamado’s fire was lit.
How did it get lit? I should have watched her more carefully.
At any rate, the room gradually became brighter.
“……what are you standing there for? Because it’s annoying, sit down”
“Oh, yeah, umm, where do I sit? I’m sorry but, I really don’t have a clue about the culture and customs of this place”
Ai-Fa raised from in front of the Kamado, and looked at me with a puzzled face.
When I noticed that she was carrying a small firelight, I got a bit intrigued.
It was a small, candlestick in a dish with a handle.
After the sword and the pot, it was the third metal object I’d seen in this world.
And inside, it must be tallow. The room was filled with an increasingly appetizing smell.
After going in and out of the room, and putting one of those candle holders on each windowsill, Ai-Fa looked back to me.
“Did you think that there was a custom that you have to follow to sit down? You really are a clueless man, you”
While saying something that wasn’t cute at all, Ai-Fa took off the fur mantle on her shoulders.
In the room that had become much brighter, the lines of Ai-Fa’s slender limbs came into view一一somehow, I’m a bit nervous.
Afterall, underneath, she was only wearing a piece of cloth covering her chest, a piece of cloth covering her waist, and a necklace.
The degree of exposure, is basically the same as that of a swimsuit or underwear.
She might not be friendly, but a woman is still a woman.
And, she’s also a pretty bishoujo.
A delicate but well-trained body, with a suppleness like a leather whip, it was an exquisite combination of feminine and graceful lines, how do I say this……she was really, really beautiful and attractive.
If you take off your rugged mantle, then your destructive power is doubled.
“Yes ma’am! What is it!”
“Don’t be loud. ……the thing in your chest, hand it over”
With her fur mantle hung on the wall and her large sword under it, Ai-Fa glared at me.
“Even if I let a man as pale as you carry a knife, you won’t be able to hurt me. But, when you stay in another person’s home, it’s a custom of the people of the forest to entrust their blade to the house’s head”
I, didn’t know what to say.
Ai-fa narrowed her eyes in a way that made me feel a bit scared as to what she was going to do, while walking towards me.
On her slender waist, a small knife still dangled.
“Do I need to say it again? If you truly want to follow the style of the people of the forest, then hand over your knife”
“Wait a moment. This is, as expected, is a custom for confirming mutual trust……right?”
Ai-Fa remained silent, holding out her left hand.
After agonizing over it for 3 seconds, I made my decision.
“I get it. But this, is something that’s extremely important to me. And also, it’s structure is more delicate than a hunting sword’s, so can you handle it as carefully as possible?”
“……Are you making a fool out of me? People who would mishandle swords, do not exist among the people of the forest”
“No, that’s not what I meant, I meant that for example, if the blade slips out of the handle, it’s difficult to repair, it’s that kind of delicate knife. As long as you understand that, it’s fine”
I took out the Santoku knife that I had placed inside my shirt in front of my chest, and held out the handle to Ai-Fa.
Staring at the ebony handle, this time it’s Ai-Fa that stops.
“……this knife, is it a memento of your parents or something?”
“Yeah, well, sort of”
In reality I was the one who died but, there’s no doubt in the fact that we’ll never see each other again.
Ai-Fa received the Santoku knife, held it to her chest, and went to the back of the room.
“……a person who doesn’t care about their family, doesn’t exist among the people of the forest”
Muttering in a low voice, she opened the rightmost door, and disappeared behind it.
The next time she appeared, the Santoku knife was no longer in Ai-Fa’s hands, and in its place, there were a lot of things that seemed to be a pile of ingredients.
With great interest, I moved in front of the Kamado.
Then, when I looked from up close, I realized that the size of the metal pot was quite impressive.
As for its shape, the bottom is rounded, it’s about 60 centimeters in diameter, and the depth is about 30 centimeters. The bottom looked like it had a round ball cut out of its middle, it was a deep shape.
“What is it? It’ll still take a while before it’s prepared. You, sit down”
“No, I’m interested in this world’s food culture. I used to make a living in that field of work”
Ai-Fa was very suspicious, but she didn’t try to complain anymore, so she put down the ingredients at her feet.
“Ohh. This one is quite a big guy”
As for vegetables that I’ve never seen before, there were 2.
One one hand, even though it has a bright green colour, it looked just like an onion in both shape and size.
In the other, what is it? It’s a bumpy sphere the size of a fist, if I were to say, then I’d say that it’s a potato. However, it has a cream colour, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to sprout, so maybe it’s not one of those so-called root vegetables.
And一一as if to overshadow them, a chunk of meat was placed on the ground with them.
Probably, it was the hind leg of that wild boar that was called a Giba, I guess.
It was cut off from the hip joint, it seemed to have already been used, but there was still a lot of meat on the thighs. The meat alone weighed no less than 5 kilograms.
The fur was stripped clean, and the surface where the red meat could be seen, was covered in something that looked like black wood chips. It smelled as pungent as black pepper, it must be a spice for embalming.
Only the meat was placed on large tree rubber tree leaf sized leaves, while the vegetables were rolled directly on the floor.
This looks like a pretty good volume (note: he uses the english “volume” here)
“……what’s the big deal? You really don’t have any idea what life in the forest is like, do you”
While muttering something uninteresting to herself, Ai-Fa wrapped around to the back of the Kamado.
There, sat an old barrel filled with water, Ai-Fa used a wooden ladle to scoop several cups of water into the heated pot.
The fire was quite strong, so the metal pot was already very hot. When the water filled half the metal pot, it immediately began to bubble and boil.
After confirming this, Ai-Fa grabbed the chunk of meat.
Holding the ankle of the meat in one hand, she held the meat above the steaming hot metal pot.
Surely she wasn’t going to throw the whole thing in, was she? As I watched, Ai-Fa took the small knife from her waist, and started shaving away pieces of meat from the Giba leg.
You know, like those kebabs stands that you see in the street markets, that’s how the meat was scraped off.
The thinly shaved pieces of meat, danced about when they fell into the boiling water.
It seems that the parts that were covered in the spice were prioritized, and the meat in her hand gradually revealed the red flesh beneath.
Even though it looked like a small hunting knife, it was quite sharp.
The length of the blade was about 20 centimeters, 7 to 8 millimeters thick, and had a serrated edge. Looking at the blade alone, it seemed like a survival knife (note: he uses english here again)
Just like the barbarian knife from earlier, the handle was wrapped in leather so as to prevent slipping, and there was no guard.
The meat is shaved with the hunting knife. It was a very wild cooking method.
But, well, I’m the heir of a popular diner. I’m not interested in fancy food, and as long as it’s hygienic, then I won’t have any problems with how you cook it.
When it comes to food, whether it tastes good or bad, is everything.
The reason for arranging it, is to make it look better.
Hygiene is important, because even if the food tastes good, it’s harmful to the body.
In short, what I’m trying to say is.
Watching Ai-Fa skillfully and boldly shave off the meat, is only making me hungrier.
“……what are you doing making such a happy looking face?”
“Eh? Oh no, I just feel that it looks really good”
“……there’s no such thing as good or bad food”
While again speaking fiercely (not sure how to TL: 再び暴言を吐きながら), Ai-Fa covered the metal pot with a lid.
I say it’s a lid, though it’s just a wooden board cut into a square.
And on top of it, was something like a pickling stone, a big, flat stone.
The Giba leg, had slimmed down a size, and the surface that was covered in the black powder disappeared cleanly.
And yet, there was still a lot of lean meat left. I feel that we scraped off around 800 grams.
After putting the meat back into the pantry and checking the strength of the fire, Ai-Fa nodded her head with an “Umu”.
Then, she looked back at me.
“It’ll take a while for the meat to cook. ……In the meantime, let me hear your story”