Third chapter (this week) complete! I had something to say here, but I forgot, so yeah. I think I’ll continue with the weekend chapters, so expect the next chapter on Friday at earliest again. Enjoy the chapter.
“That’s right. It’s not an easy story to digest. Let’s get through the troublesome stuff first”
When I responded, Ai-Fa snorted a “fu-n”, and then sat down beside the Kamado.
She sat cross-legged with one knee up.
She looked very dignified, but not in a way that’s appropriate for a girl wearing such light clothing.
“……I’ll be lightening up my clothing a bit too alright?”
After declaring that, I untied my apron.
Of course, it’s not that I had any sleazy thoughts, it’s just that when the Kamado’s fire was lit, it got hotter.
Still, compared to what Ai-Fa’s appearance and the jungle-like forest suggested, it’s not actually that hot. Since it only feels a bit hot for me who is someone that came from Japan during June, it’s probably more or less 30 degrees celsius.
Now that it’s late at night, it might be even cooler. When I took off my upper cook’s clothes and apron, leaving only a t-shirt, the night breeze blowing in from the window was very pleasant.
“……that’s a weird outfit. I’ve never seen anyone dressed like that, not even in the inn town”
“Yeah, well, I‘m sure that’s true. This is the first time I’ve seen a person dressed like Ai-Fa as well”
On top of the stiff fur rug, I also sit cross-legged in front of Ai-Fa.
“And? What do you want to ask me? Honestly, I can’t grasp this situation myself, so I’m not confident that I can explain it very well”
“……you, where did you come from?”
That question, I’ve been asked twice now.
The country of Japan, from the Chiba prefecture……if I try to explain them, the story probably won’t be able to keep moving.
I stared back into the eyes of Ai-Fa which were glowing like that of a wildcat’s in the dimness, and said.
“Ai-Fa. You saved me, and invited me into your home. You were nice enough to pick me up when I had nowhere to go, and I’m grateful to you. To that feeling, I will not lie”
Ai-Fa tilted her head as if to ask “And”?
“That’s why, I will tell you everything honestly. After that, you will be the judge”
And then I, told her everything without hiding anything, even the things I didn’t completely understand.
That in a relatively peaceful country, I had lived for 17 years.
One day, when a disaster happened, I had ended up jumping into the flames.
I died, was what I thought, but then I woke up in that forest from earlier as if nothing had happened.
“……Possibly, I could have been blown to some completely strange place in the same world. But even if we ignore the biggest problem of me, who should have died, being alive and kicking, there are still too many things that don’t add up”
And, I said the doubt that was swirling in my chest as it was.
“For example, the language we’re speaking right now, these words. You, don’t know anything about the country Japan do you, Ai-Fa?”
“Yeah, I don’t understand either. How can someone who doesn’t know what Japan is fluently speak in Japanese, that was unthinkable in my world. So why can we communicate like this without any problems at all?”
“So, in this world, it’s not just the people of the forest, but there’s also the Stone Capital and Western Kingdom right? About how big of a country is it?”
“……I have, no use for the Stone Capital. I only sell the Giba horns and tusks, in the inn town on the way towards the stone walls of the Stone Capital. Everything else was heard from other people”
After thinking for a while, Ai-Fa spoke quietly.
“However……within the stone walls live thousands of people in the Jenos territory, which is governed by the Kingdom of Selva, and that there are as many people as stars in the sky, or so I heard……”
“Hmm, that’s a lot. ……Do you know what kind of gods the people of the Stone Capital worship”
To this question, I got a very puzzled look.
“The people of Selva must worship the god of the west Selva. There are 4 great kingdoms on the continent of Amshorn. 4 great kingdoms and four great gods. There are no people who live on Amshorn without the blessing of one of the four great gods. People without blessings are beasts. ……Don’t tell me, there’s no way you wouldn’t not even know about that would you, Asuta?”
“Unfortunately, I don’t know. A continent, country, or gods with names like that, I’ve never even heard of any of them before”
I smiled bitterly, and covered my face with my towel.
“A total of 500 hunters, a wild boar with horns, if that’s about all, then there was still a small chance that I was just ignorant……but that’s no longer possible. Unfortunately, the conclusion seems to have come out”
Well, such a flimsy possibility, is something that I had given up on since the beginning, so I didn’t receive any shock.
But, even though I knew that there was no possibility for me to see my old man or childhood friend ever again, now I was forced to admit that it was the truth.
Looking into Ai-Fa’s beautiful blue eyes, I said.
“For the moment, let me tell you my conclusion. ……I’ve probably, due to God’s whim or something, been blown away to another world. We have no problem communicating, I wonder if it’s because of God’s invisible influence”
“I don’t know if it’s a super ancient, super far into the future, or a parallel world that has evolved differently from my world, or if it’s a world that exists in a completely different dimension……regardless, this place isn’t the world I was born and raised in”
“I’m, a person from another world”
And, after spitting out a line that didn’t suit me, I shrugged my shoulders.
“Either that, or I hit my head somewhere, and now I’m crazy. ……the answer, is one of those two things I think”
“……that you aren’t sane, are you admitting to it?”
“I’m not. For me, the only things I know about are from the 17 years of my life that I have lived. If I say that that’s all a lie, then my very existence is a lie”
Swallowing a sigh that was about to spill out, I said that clearly.
I could only say that, there was nothing else I could do.
“I’ll ask you just in case, there’s isn’t anyone else like me right? People who died in my world, they aren’t all reincarnated in this world, or some other story like that……”
“……Such a ridiculous story, can’t possibly be true”
“That’s true. If that were the system, then this world would be full of dead people”
I imitated Ai-Fa and pointed one knee up, leaning my cheek against it.
“That’s all I can tell you. The rest, is up to you to decide”
After glancing at my face one last time, Ai-fa stood up.
“……well then, it’s about time”
“The meat has finished boiling”
After saying that, Ai-Fa removed the stone weight and the lid of the pot.
Pure white steam, exploded and climbed upwards.
“uwa, that smells delicious”
I got up quickly, and peeked into the pot over Ai-Fa’s shoulder.
At the bottom of the round pot, were hot water and pieces of meat dancing around.
The steam was amazing, but the amount of scum was also amazing. It was as if the entire thing was covered in soap or something.
“……uh, of course, cooking is also important, but are we done talking about me?”
I asked, from up close. Ai-Fa gazed at me.
“You, are a human from another world. Or a madman who thinks so. ……if it’s that, then I understand”
“Understand, are you going to believe in such an unbelievable story?”
“……At the very least, I can see that you’re not trying to deceive me”
Ai-fa turned away while making an annoyed face (pls help: ぷいっと顔), and picked up the vegetables that were at my feet.
Uh, the one that looked like a green onion.
Ai-Fa held it out in her hand and cut it with her knife, the inside was also green, but the texture was as expected just like that of an onion.
Removing only the thin dry skin on the surface, Ai-Fa tossed it into the pot. She only split it vertically into two halves, then splash.
“You’re, not some amazing liar. That’s why, you’re probably a lunatic”
All in all, there were about 5 to 6 onions thrown in one after another.
While looking at a scene that looked like a boiling hell, I muttered a “thank you”.
“What with that? Are you happy to be called a lunatic, you?”
“Yeah. At least, it makes me happier than being called a liar. It means that you believe in my words, at least for now”
“……I really don’t get you!”
Ai-Fa said with an angry voice, while this time picking up the cream coloured potato. This time she didn’t even peel it, she only made a single small cut onto the surface, and splash.
Even though it’s a fairly deep pot, the scum rose to just barely inside the very edge of it.
As she stirred it with a large wooden stick that looked like a pestle, Ai-Fa gave me another stern look.
“……so, what are you going to do from now on?”
“Nn? What am I going to do?”
“From now on, how do you plan to live? Are you going to look for a way to return to your original world?”
“Well, about that option? If I were to return to my original world, then it may be in the middle of the fire. The moment I return, I’ll be turned into a flaming Daruma doll, and then I’ll just go back to being dead. ……it tedious but, in that world, I’m supposed to be completely dead”
Still, if I can somehow return the Santoku knife to my old man, then it’d be worth trading in my life. But when I become a flaming daruma doll, the Santoku knife will probably also be on fire.
“Well, I can’t wrap my head around it right now. I mean, regardless of my intention, there’s a possibility that I will suddenly be pulled back into my original world. Since I don’t even know what kind of super-theory caused this funny phenomenon to happen, I won’t be able to be surprised by anything that happens from now on”
“If you regret picking up such a troublesome person, just say so. I will leave immediately. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a terrible climate to camp in……”
“If you camped in this forest like that, then you will be trampled to death by the Giba, and have your corpse eaten by the Munto, the next day, you’d be nothing but bones”
Cutting off my words, Ai-Fa said that.
“Also, I’ve been seen together with you by Diga-Sun and the others. If you who didn’t even know about the existence of the four great gods were to violate some fatal taboo, everything would be my responsibility”
“eh? Yeah, but then……”
“For a while, don’t do anything out of my sight”
While stirring the boiling contents of the metal pot like a witch from a fairy tale, with a moody voice, Ai-Fa said.
“At the very least, cram the common sense of this world and the rules of People of the Forest into your head. After that, you’re free to die in the wild”
“All right. ……Seriously thank you so much, Ai-Fa”
“Like I said! Why are you bowing here! Are you happy to be told to die in the wild, you!”
“I am. It’s better than being told to leave right now”
I answered, being careful as to take a tone that was as serious as possible.
And then, I took a step away from Ai-Fa.
If I were to keep staring at that figure from that close of a distance, then I felt like I was going to end up hugging her with all my might.
That’s how much, I was worried about my fate.
That’s how much, I was in despair over losing everything I had knew up until this point.
But to this me, Ai-Fa said “Stay here”.
“You’re not a liar” she said.
I was told to carry this fate that wasn’t good at all, but even then, for the first person that I met in this world to be this weird girl, I can only give my thanks from the bottom of my heart.
Still sounding a bit angry, Ai-Fa turned her back to me.
This time she hid behind the door in the middle, and when she came back, she was carrying two sets of deep bowl-like plates and spoons, as well as a so-called oval shaped ladle (note: English)一一a utensil that looked like a “ladle” (note: Japanese).
Of course, they’re all made out of wood.
From the bottom of the pot which has turned completely white due to the steam and scum, she scooped up and poured the contents in the ladle into the bowls with a bodobodo.
My chest was full, but my stomach was hungry.
I gratefully accepted the bowl, and sat down on the fur rug.
While I waited for Ai-Fa to fill up her own portion, I curiously checked the contents of the bowl.
It was a white, thick soup. It looked like clam chowder, but it the smell is entirely that of a shishinabe (note: wild boar hot pot)
Through the white surface, brown meat and green vegetables peeked out here and there.
The onions had broken down into a reasonable size, and the potatoes一一are nowhere to be found. Did it boil down without a trace in such a short period of time?
Come to think of it, this soup’s broth is sort of a cream colour, it seemed to be the same shade as that potato from before.
(Well, even if they resemble them, they aren’t actually onions and potatoes. What do they taste like?)
The only thing that I was a little shocked about was that she didn’t remove the scum even though there was so much. Well, when you go to a town, you follow that town (note: when in Rome, do as Romans do).
The so-called scum, while it’s a messy taste that interferes with the taste of the food, is also a mass of umami ingredients. You shouldn’t just remove it unnecessarily.
(These guys have been living on these ingredients for years. I’m from another world, so it’d be awkward for me to interfere)
In the meantime, Ai-Fa sat down quietly.
“Why is it, that you aren’t eating? Did you reconsider that you couldn’t eat Giba meat after all?”
“No no. We all eat our meal together at the same time, that was how we did things in my old world. This looks really good”
Ai-Fa shrugged her shoulders as if to show that she didn’t really care about that, and started eating her portion of food.
After looking at her one more time, I chanted “itadakimasu”.
I took the wooden spoon, and scooped up a piece of meat and some of the white soup.
My first dinner in another world.
I gave my gratitude to this other world as well as Ai-Fa, and brought the contents in the spoon into my mouth.
And then, I shouted.
“It tastes bad!”