Happy (early) New Year~ Yay~ Enjoy~
“……Please, this way”
The one who came over as our guide, was the Ruu clan’s second daughter Reina-Ruu.
Rimi-Ruu was inside the building to put away their guests’ blades, and their grandmother Tito-Min=Ruu was cleaning up the grease after the the oil pressing, the rest of the women returned to their respective tasks, and promptly dispersed.
The room for the kamado, was set up at the back of the building.
For families this big, it seems that the hall and cooking area were separate. A separate building about two times smaller than the main house was installed on its backside, which was the space for the kamado, the pantry, and it also seemed to be a giba dismantling room.
“Are? There’s also a kamado over there no?”
On one side of the building, a stone kamado built the same as the one in Ai-Fa’s house, stood imposingly. Moreover, there were 2.
Outside, there was even a roof made of wood overhead. The kamados were face to face and showing their gaping mouths to each other, it was kind of like some sort of staring contest.
However, neither had any iron pots or such resting on top of them.
“These are the kamados used when grilling meat. My father Donda, prefers to grill giba meat rather than boiling it”
The petite girl with long black tied in twintails, smiled sweetly.
“So that’s it! Giba meat lets off a lot of smoke when grilled. This is good. Well then today I’ll be using these 3 kamados”
“Eh? Will Asuta be grilling the giba meat?”
I had gotten surprised by nothing at all, as I looked back at the girl’s round eyes.
What was that. The name that the girl with the same name as my childhood friend called, somehow it felt weird.
Although, even in high school that Reina would still use “Asuta-chan” though.
“……Aah. Grilled food was today’s plan but, could there be something wrong with that?”
“Yes. I from Rimi, heard that she ate very soft meat. So surely, I thought it would be some sort of boiled giba meat but……”
“I see I see. However that one is something made of grilled giba meat. Well, it’s made using various unbelievable methods but, I’ll be in charge of the complicated parts, so I’m counting on your help okay?”
“Yes! For me granny Jiba is completely irreplaceable family, so I’m extremely grateful to Asuta! I will do my best!”
As expected this girl, may be pretty similar to Rimi-Ruu. She’s innocent, cheerful, energetic, and has a very straightforward look.
Compared to that, it’s something that doesn’t really matter but一一even though height-wise she was rather small, as for her build, it was quite, it seemed that she inherited the same genes as the mass of sex appeal-like eldest sister.
There was a splendid amount of fat on her arms as well as her legs, and her chest and bottom drew a very feminine line. Her waist was tightly pulled in so she didn’t have the impression of being overweight but一一I feel like my eyes were slightly troubled as to where to look, this.
In general, the girls in this village were too lightly dressed. It’s not only about hiding your chest and hips, those clothes are just thin cloths wrapped around, so their body’s lines show more than necessary.
And these girls, unlike the women I’ve seen in the village so far, wore “accessories”.
Arm accessories made of threaded grigi nuts were the standard equipment, but besides that, they decorated themselves with dull glowing metal hair ornaments, earrings, and foot ornaments, as well as一一
“……Ah. That necklace”
“You girls, everyone wears 3 fangs or horns as a necklace. Is it some sort of charm or something?”
“Yes. Because the women do not hunt giba. From the men, fangs and horns and given. It’s so that you can lead a healthy life in the forest, and such”
Holding the necklace that swayed around on her visible boldly undulating chest, the girl smiled happily.
“If you’re a child then from your dad, if a wife then from your husband. To prove that it wasn’t a giba that was hunted themself, it isn’t a complete set but rather with one is missing 3 tusks or horns are given”
“Fuun. That’s an interesting custom” when I replied with that, for some reason the area around my nape was tingling and so when I turned around to look behind my back, Ai-Fa was leaning against a wall of the building and was watching us with a very cold look.
Of course, I didn’t forget about you. I was simply distracted by the discovery of the kamados set up outside, Mai Masutah.
“Ee一to, there are four pots right? For now let’s only light the fire of one of the indoor kamados”
“Yes. I will guide you”
Smiling sweetly again, Reina-Ruu stepped towards Ai-Fa. After giving a nod with her sour face, Reina-Ruu slid open the sliding door right next to Ai-Fa.
“This, is the kamados’ room”
While advancing with a “hoihoi”, I tried to speak to Ai-Fa, but mine dear mistress made a gesture of turning her head away with a puitto, and went through the door before me.
What is it. I’m not really sure but, it might be very tricky to do.
Regardless, I also stepped in that direction.
“Hee. This is splendid as expected”
The room, size-wise was about 8 tatami mats at most, but since there wasn’t much furniture, it looked quite spacious.
In the center of the room, two of the four kamados were lined up. What slightly impressed me, was that beside those kamado, they were equipped with what seemed to be workbenches made of logs, and a water bottle full of water was placed at each one.
The firewood too, was stacked up high.
The ground at my feet was bare, and the wooden walls and beamed ceilings, there wasn’t much difference with Ai-Fa’s house.
Except, on the wall cooking knives of various sizes, ladles, pestle-like stir bars and such were hung, in the doorless shelves, tableware such as bowls and wooden spoons were tightly packed.
This is no doubt, the kamado’s room. It’s a kitchen. A cooking room.
Unknowingly, my chest began to beat a bit louder.
While I was examining the cooking equipment, Reina-Ruu who crouched down in front of the kamado again called out with a carefree smile.
“Is it fine to light the fire now? I shall undertake it”
‘I shall undertake it’ was it.
Innocent, but refined huh.
Incidentally the ignition method, was the same as Ai-Fa’s house’s. Attach shriveled dried rana grass’ leaves on the tip of narrow firewood, when it’s rubbed vigorously against other firewood, the rana’s leaves burn like matches.
While being careful not to extinguish the pilot flame, you wait for the fire to move to the firewood.
I still fail two out of three times, but naturally Reina-Ruu had succeeded in one shot.
“Un. Then please pour in water until about the middle of the pot. For the fire, put it on high heat”
“Yes” she answered, Reina-Ruu promptly transferred the water.
……Somehow I felt that gaze on the nape of my neck again, but I had no fault in this act you know?
“Yoshi, Ai-Fa, please pass me the giba meat. E一to, you, is it okay to spread out the meat on this table?”
“Yes, of course. ……Ano, if you’d like please call me Reina-Ruu”
“Nn, aah, that’s right. As expected with the same name as an acquaintance, it becomes a bit weird feeling”
Receiving the package of giba meat from Ai-Fa, I peeled off the pseudo rubber tree leaves. Then, Reina-Ruu tried looking at my face from the side, and smiled.
“Perhaps, is that Reina a very important woman to Asuta? Is that why calling me by that name is difficult for you?”
“……it’s not like that, that’s not the case”
If that’s the case then why. Such a thing, not even I know.
But, that’s right一一she’s probably, the person other than my family that I’ve spent the longest time with, I didn’t hold any romantic feelings in the slightest, but probably never seeing her again from now on, thinking about it一一always makes my chest painful, that feeling exists.
So, I don’t want to say that name too much, neither do I want to hear it too much.
What’s with this, I shouldn’t tell this to someone who just happens to have the same name, of course.
On my hand that was unwrapping the leaves, small brown hands were gently placed on top.
When I moved my line of sight in surprise, the face of Reina-Ruu who was smiling just earlier, was clouded over as if she were crying.
“I’m sorry. I’ve said something that I shouldn’t have said. I made Asuta make such sad looking eyes……”
“No! That’s not true! Really everything’s fine! I was just thinking a little!”
What the heck? I didn’t come all the way out here for the sake of doing a romantic comedy you know?1
Aah, the back of my head is hurting. It feels like a drill made of ice or something is being drilled in. Being able to perceive a line of sight as a physical touch, I wonder if I have the talent of a swordsman too.
“Thanks for the wait~! It’s Asuta’s knife~!”2
“Uwahh” I screamed.
I was suddenly stabbed in the back, and I thought that [someone] had really cut me with one of those kitchen knives.
“Maa, Rimi-Ruu, that’s no good! Don’t play with knives!”
“Eh一? It’s in a sheath so it’s fine!”
I wiped away my cold sweat, and swiped the santoku knife from Rimi-Ruu’s fingertips.
“Th, then now I’ll cut the meat, so could you bring the poitans for our number of people? After that, once the water in the pot starts boiling, pour them all in”
“I got it~! Big sis Reina, let’s go to the pantry~!”
When the close sisters left the kitchen, only me and my master were left behind.
I immediately brushed off the pico leaves that were stuck to the block of thigh meat, and while putting the knife on its surface, I glanced and sent my line of sight towards her.
My master, was leaning against the wall while cross legged with one knee up.
“……There seems to be no room for me or anyone else huh”
“That’s not the case! You’re my spiritual pillar! Because you’re watching over there, I can work hard and cook with peace of mind!”
“……what are you being flustered about, you”
I’m not flustered. If I seemed flustered, there’s no doubt that it’s because your voice is unprecedentedly low and cold and frozen.
But, this was a valuable chance to have a personal conversation with Ai-Fa. Although the cold glint in her eyes made me shrink back, I decided to let out the thoughts that had accumulated in my chest the entire time.
“……Somehow you know, they’re a more friendly group than I thought they’d be, the people of the Ruu clan. I was more like, ‘representatives of bloodthirsty hunting people!’ I was imagining something like that but”
“Dunno. Even for me, meeting face to face with the women other than Rimi-Ruu and Jiba-Ruu, this is the first time so yeah”
“Ah, you met with the men was it?”
“……When Donda-Ruu came to offer a marriage, he took with him his three sons. If you’re longing for a bloodthirsty person, wait till dusk”
“No, I’m not particularly longing for one though……”
We exchanged some words like that, and then the close sisters returned.
In the things that seemed like flat baskets that both of their hands carried fully occupying them, were piles of pseudo potatoes also known as poitans. For 14 people x 2 there are 28, so as expected it’s an impressive amount.
Even so, behind the sisters there was another helper. With a plump physique, it was the half greying-haired old woman, Tito-Min=Ruu.
“We’re sorry for the wait. I will also help. ……Ooh, that’s a splendid giba foot”
The wrinkles were deep but her face was glossy and smiling broadly, the granny looked back at Ai-Fa.
“Fa clan’s Ai-Fa. I heard that you are protecting the Fa clan by yourself, so is this giba also one that you killed?”
“Aah, that’s right” her tone not changing at all, while standing up properly, Ai-Fa nodded.
“That’s impressive. Moreover the Fa clan has lost it’s blood relation with other houses right? A woman like you protecting her clan by herself without any help, I couldn’t imagine such a way of life”
“……It’s not like, there’s anything wrong with it. Father taught me how to hunt giba. Taught me how to live in the forest. Without the help of any others, I am capable of living”
“Live, and then die?”
The old woman’s face, made an extremely clear smile.
Ai-Fa opened her mouth, and then without saying anything, closed again.
“If the women were doing [Giba Hunting], they wouldn’t be able to bear children no? Living alone, dying alone, and then the Fa clan will die out. ……Are you satisfied with that, Fa clan’s Ai-Fa?”
“……Clans that died out like that, up until now there have been numerous in this forest. Not every clan can be as powerful as the Ruu clan”
“Oh? What is power? Me and Reina and Rimi, we aren’t able to hunt giba at all you know? No no, even amongst the men, I don’t think that there are many people that could hunt giba alone. If you think about it, people that are as strong as you, there aren’t many are there?”
“But, the Fa’s blood is crushed, the Ruu’s blood remains. Why is that the case……if you think about it, perhaps the Fa’s blood won’t be crushed and will remain?”
“……Nee, what’s granny Tito-Min talking about?”
Rimi-Ruu who was boredly poking a poitan, curiously asked.
The old woman looked over to her, and for some reason happily squinted her eyes.
“A day when Rimi will understand as well will come. ……Now then, it looks that the pot is boiling”
“Ah! Rimi will put them in!”
Rimi-Ruu who seems to not use her surname amongst family declared that cheerfully, and took up a slender cooking knife from the wall.
And, while looking down at the pot that was boiling with a guragura, “arere?” she said as she tilted her head.
“Somehow isn’t there too little hot water? Asuta, we’re going to boil so many poitans in just one pot?”
“Aah, that’s fine. If you want to eat that poitan from yesterday, please toss everything in”
She made cuts in the piled up poitans, and they were tossed in steadily. By that time, I had also mostly finished cutting the thigh meat.
The fat was cut off for cooking use, and as for the lean meat it was cut appropriately to be minced easily, so it wasn’t a big effort. The weight, was around 5 kilograms.
After that this time granny Tito-Min was smiling at me.
“Fa clan’s Asuta. You use knives more dexterously than women huh”
“Eh? Ah, yes. I was an apprentice chef in my own country”
At my reply, granny Tito-Min “fuun” narrowed her eyes even more.
“A giba hunting woman, and a man who’s good at cooking. That’s an interesting combination. If that’s the case, maybe I didn’t need to interfere at all”
“That’s right, granny Tito-Min. To meddle with other clans, it’s not very nice”
In a slightly childish tone, Reina-Ruu complained.
Somehow, I felt at home.
However, my feelings weren’t so at ease.
Looking at how Ai-Fa was doing, my mistress was just biting down sourly.
- He’s purposely sounding rude to be funny.
- She’s ending her sentences with 一ssu.