We had entered the Crimson Volcano in order to confirm the existence of the back door leading towards the boss room. Luckily, we were able to find it without much trouble. Otherwise, we would have to resort to brute forcing our way through the front.
The Crimson Hounds had quite a large number of members, making it easy to monopolise the boss by sending several members days before the boss respawns to the front door, claiming the right to battle the boss. Then, once the day arrives the main team battling the boss would advance, clearing the dungeon on their way to the boss room while the other members prevented other adventurers from proceeding towards the boss room. However, what made this tactic detestable was how they instigated other parties into using force to get past the door, playing the victim card as the battles occur. Furthermore, they would at least keep four parties, a minimum of 16 people at the door as the main force and although their individual wasn’t the best, having the numbers is equivalent to having the power. The adventurers in Crimson Hound was at best an average first-tier to second tier adventurers, however that wouldn’t matter when they had four times the number of people in the battle
Once upon a time, a party with a strong sense of justice decided to challenge the clan by collaborating with several other parties to launch a battle for the boss room. However, even after their successful battle and proceed to defeat the boss under the name of Crimson Brigade, they continued to be harassed by the public domestically and it became widely known, even inciting harassment from people all around the world. As a result, they decided to leave Flaregard. Therefore, the most ideal scenario for this dungeon would be for us to get to the boss room without coming into conflict with the Hounds.
Well, the last part could be impossible for all we know. Above all, running to be the first meant that we would be encountering more monsters than anyone else. And since the first party would be preoccupied with clearing the monsters, the second party would progress quicker than the first, meaning that they would catch up eventually. It’ll be bad if we don’t think of a way to overcome that.
[Youya, I’m hungry!] (Luna)
My thoughts were interrupted as Luna cried out while lying on my belly in the bed of the inn. Currently, her fluffy fox tail was tickling me as she was filled with expectations for the Beef (Excellent)
[Oneechan, what kind of dish will you be making with that beef?] (Til)
[I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard about how delicious Phil-san’s cooking is and I would like to try it for myself.] (Selene)
We had returned to the inn earlier and we’re currently waiting for Phil’s dish to be finished.
[Luna, it is immodest for you to be lying on top of a man’s body.] (Youya)
[Huh? But Phil was also on top of Youya naked.] (Luna)
I felt cold sweat run down my body as Luna mentioned what happened in the desert when she entered my tent. I tilted my eyes to catch Til covering her mouth laughing in hisses while Selene’s faced was flushed red.
[It looked fun for Youya and Phil. So Luna wants to do it too!] (Luna)
Naturally, it seems that Luna didn’t understand what was going on at the time.
[About that. It’s like this, you can’t do that unless it’s with your lover or boyfriend.] (Youya)
[In that case, Luna can just be lovers with Youya.] (Luna)
[That can’t be done. I’ll only date someone who is above sixteen and I’ve already decided to have just one lover.] (Youya)
Since Luna suffered from amnesia, we weren’t sure of her exact age. However, for the convenience with paperwork, we decided to register her at the guild as a 14 years old with the day we met as her birthday.
[It’s a shame. Then Luna will give up. If only I was sixteen.] (Luna)
Luna got off my stomach as she sat on the ground hugging her knees, her fox tail lightly tapping the top of the bed. It was the action she did whenever she was pouting and although I knew she was sulking, it still looked cute.
[Youya-niisan, it’s impossible for you to keep it from Luna forever you know.] (Til)
While this was happening, it was considerate of Til to control her laughter next to us rather than escalating the situation. Anyways, it’s good that Luna has given up for the moment. I do not intend to do anything towards a young girl who knew nothing about that.
The door opens as Phil entered the room with a large pot.
[What is going on here?] (Phil)
Phil was bewildered by the scene of a sullen Luna hugging her knees, constantly tapping her tail onto the bed while Til laughed at the side.
[Well. Luna said something selfish and it seems to have struck a chord with Til.] (Youya)
[It looks that way. It sounds interesting so tell me about it later please.] (Phil)
Phil smiled gently and Til began laughing even harder than before.
[That’s that. More importantly, let’s have dinner. We’re finally eating Beef (Excellent) after all, it’ll be a waste to let the food go cold.] (Youya)
The moment they heard the word “Beef”, Luna got up energetically while Til stopped laughing.
[Youya, hurry up and take a seat.] (Luna)
[Onee-chan, you’re still preoccupied with the dish right? I’ll prepare the table.] (Til)
Luna and Til’s rapid changes surprised us. It looks like the two of them were free in many ways.
Since we had rented a nice room, we had a large table with several chairs so seats weren’t a problem for dinner. Everyone was seated in their chairs as Phil’s special dishes was presented before us.
[Such a fragrant smell!] (Til)
[Looks delicious!] (Luna)
[I agree. I’m getting hungry just by looking at it.] (Selene)
Phil had prepared two beef dishes for tonight, a soup and salad.
[Since the meat itself was already delicious, I decided to make a standard roast beef and steaks so that we could taste the meat’s natural taste. You won’t know it until you try it but the meat isn’t just delicious, it is also interesting in another way. I’ve also made three sauces so take whichever sauce you prefer.] (Phil)
There is certainly no other better recipes for delicious cut of meat besides roasted beef and steak. Plus it’s nice to have a variety of sauces since everyone has their own preferences and you wouldn’t get tired of tasting the same sauce.
[Now then, shall we begin?] (Youya)
[We can finally eat it!] (Til)
The moment dinner started, the two girls’ cutleries had already begun clanking as they wolfed down the different dishes. It’s about time for me to begin eating as well.
Firstly, I placed my knife onto the thick steak, cutting the meat without any resistance, displaying its softness. What an amazing softness. Since the meat was prepared rare, the surface appeared cooked while the inside was pink. Placing the meat into my mouth, the meat felt like it was immediately disintegrated as the flavour of the meat spread throughout my mouth. The taste was so intense that it caused my brain to go numb with euphoria. Although the meat appeared full of fat, the meat itself didn’t taste heavy at all. It was so soft that it might as well be a liquid as my mouth and hands refused to stop. Even the rowdy Luna and Til are eating continuously without a break. I am surprised that such a meat could even exist, no wonder nobles and rich merchants were willing to go to such lengths to procure this meat and before I even noticed it, the steak had already disappeared.
The next dish was the roasted beef. It had a shining beautiful ruby colour, however it gave off a strange sense of irregularity as the steak gave off the impression that plenty of fat and flavour was present. However, just by looking at the roasted beef gives off the impression of lean meat that was healthy and full of muscles.
What does this mean I wonder. Let’s stop thinking about it since I could just figure it out through tasting it. The meat felt pleasant to eat as it was extremely tender, however at the same time it was chewy. Then, the thick and heavy taste of the meat completely different from the delicious fatty taste the steak had. It wasn’t bad as it gave off the strong taste of the wild and a sense of euphoria far stronger than the steak. Before we noticed it, the roast beef was gone.
By this point, I had eaten a total of 400 grams of food, however I still felt hungry. Normally I would prefer to have a balanced meal, with similar portions of bread, salad and soup along with meat. However the meat was so delicious that I had forgotten about them. This was a feeling we all shared. If a mere Beef (Excellent) was this delicious, I dread to comprehend how delicious could Beef (Special) taste like. Although our levels weren’t enough to obtain them, I would wish to obtain that some day.
[Youya! It was extremely, extremely delicious! I want to eat it again!] (Luna)
[It was such an intriguing meal. The steak and roasted beef were both delicious, however they both appeared to be completely different. Luna, which dish did you prefer?] (Til)
[Uhhh.. I loved them both.. However, I prefer the roasted beef! It felt like the most delicious meat I had ever had!] (Luna)
[Hmm I prefer the steak. That steak felt much more delicious as compared to the roasted beef.] (Til)
[Youya, what do you think?] (Luna, Til)
Luna and Til turned towards me as they both looked expectantly towards me. This is a difficult situation.
[Let’s see. For me, I prefer the roasted beef. The reason is the same as Luna’s. The roasted beef seemed to taste much more like the meat I’m familiar with as compared to the steak. Even so. Phil, just what kind of ingredient was that meat?] (Phil)
I asked Phil who was the chef as it wasn’t something that could be done just through different cooking procedures alone.
[Initially I was as surprised as you are, however, I realised that the meat was evenly distributed down the middle as red meat and marbled beef which I used to cook the roast beef and steak respectively.] (Phil)
That was a good decision as the red meat would had been too chewy as a steak while the marbled meat wouldn’t be very delicious roasted.
[I’m glad that tonight’s chef was Phil. Doesn’t matter what ingredient it is, you will always make the most delicious food out of any ingredient.] (Youya)
[Thank you very much for the compliment. The meat was a valuable ingredient so I was quite anxious about how it would turn out.] (Phil)
[My elder sister is amazing isn’t she. Youya-niisan, my elder sister will make a great bride you know. Please hurry up and get married! If possible before she turns 30.] (Til)
[Til! Stop poking fun at me!] (Phil)
Phil’s face turns red as she became angry towards Til.
[There is definitely some merit to Til’s words. It’ll be nice to get married once we retire from the adventuring life.] (Youya)
[Youya, are you serious?] (Phil)
[I wouldn’t joke about such a thing in this situation. Well in the end the decision falls onto you.] (Youya)
[Of course I would love to!] (Phil)
Phil got up as she raised her voice before sitting back down covering her face in embarrassment. Usually she appeared composed, however occasionally her facade would fade as she let out outbursts such as this. I felt someone else looking at me as Selene looked like she wanted to say something however as I turned towards her, she would avoid my eyes. It could be about the marriage, however I should avoiding asking her about this, it’ll be a mistake to push this any further.
[Sorry for showing you something embarrassing. Please enjoy the salad and soup. Once we’re done, there’ll be a desert for us although it’s been awhile since I made a cake.] (Phil)
[Hurray! Oneechan’s cake is seriously delicious you know!] (Til)
[Cake! Luna loves sweet things!] (Luna)
It’s been awhile since I’ve had Phil’s homemade cake. Although not as much as the two girls, I am in a pretty frolic mood as well. Let’s enjoy everything together, then I’ll be sure to enjoy my girlfriend’s homemade cake.
After dinner, we had a short break before proceeding with Selene and Luna’s daily training. Afterwards, we washed up before heading to bed. However, since I had a bad sleeping schedule, I got out of bed and sat on a chair near the window, drinking a glass of wine as I stared at the moon.
Selene and Luna were both developing quickly in their training.
Luna has already mastered three of the slashes. The thrust, yokonagi and kiriage. With just these three alone, she is capable of coping with any situation. For Luna who has a short stature, the remaining six slashes are only usable in specific situations, it may be better to focus her training onto landing critical hits against moving targets.
For Selene, she has already mastered about 60% of my techniques, however the only bottleneck is that her movements are far too rigid in actual combat. I’ll have to follow up on her actions carefully.
For people as talented as the two of them, I’ll probably teach them everything I know within a year or two. Their level were also rising at a sufficient pace. A normal adventurer would take at least a decade to achieve level 50, with my experience and game knowledge I might had achieved it within 2 years. However, with our current party and their innate talents, we may even achieve it within the year. I really can’t believe how talented they are. Not just her swordsmanship and level, Luna was capable of quickly picking up knowledge about exploration skills as well as the individual monsters, becoming equivalent to a first-rate adventurer in certain situations.
[Wh~~at are you doing? Are you reminiscing right now?] (Phil)
Phil hugged me tightly from behind. A move unlike her as the girls were just sleeping next to us.
[I was just thinking about how quickly the girls were developing.. Both you and Leonard were talented, however their potential wouldn’t lose out to the two of you.] (Youya)
[I think so too. Even after being a receptionist for so long, I have never seen adventurers such as them appear even once. You are a great teacher you know.] (Phil)
Phil grabbed a chair as she sat in front of me, pouring herself a glass of sake.
[I can only say it now due to our situation, but back when I was raising you and Leonard. I suffered an extremely harsh inferiority complex as I watched the two of you quickly overtake me, achieving heights that I could never achieve. As I watched the two of you achieve greater and greater things, I began cursing myself for being so small and wished that I hadn’t existed… It was this reason that I left the party. The two of you were far too amazing.] (Youya)
Although the two of them had immense talent, they were nothing except an amatuer adventurer, until they absorbed my skills and knowledge like a sponge, growing steadily until they surpassed me. Initially I was satisfied with their growth as I was loved by my students, and I loved them equally back.
However, no matter what happened, the flames of jealousy burned furiously in my heart.
Why was I born differently from these children?
Why didn’t I have the status that they had?
Even though I loved watching them soar to greater and greater heights, these negative emotions continued to swirl and build up in my chest.
[I didn’t know about that. Youya was always kind and strict, guiding us every step of the way.] (Phil)
[I was an adult after all. I wouldn’t let my real thoughts leak that easily.] (Youya)
Even I had pride. I couldn’t bring myself to carry a sour face in front of my disciples and the people I loved.
[Then, are you still jealous of Luna-chan and the girls right now?] (Youya)
I laughed as I brought the glass to my lips.
[Not anymore. Now that I have achieved a status greater than an average person, I feel comfortable rejoicing about my disciple’s growth. In fact, it is such a great pleasure that it feels impossible to hate myself anymore.] (Youya)
Watching the girls now, I couldn’t feel the emptiness in my chest. I wasn’t self-conscious about myself anymore. I was finally free from the curse of my status.
[Fufufu. It’s my first time watching Youya show his weak side.] (Phil)
[There’s no way I could say such things to a disciple can I.] (Youya)
[Then why are you telling me these things now?] (Phil)
[Because you aren’t my disciple, but my girlfriend now. Since we’re on the same level now, I can afford to show you some of my bad sides.] (Youya)
[I’m glad.] (Phil)
As Phil said that, she pressed her lips onto mine.
[We’ll be waking up early tomorrow, let’s head to bed soon.] (Youya)
[Yeah, let’s do that.] (Phil)
I held Phil’s hand as we headed back to the bed together. I’ve been storing those thoughts for so many years, and I felt relieved to be able to say that after all this time. I was saved by Phil’s existence as my equal, allowing me to let out my thoughts which I could never say to the girls. My heart felt lighter after our conversation. With this, let’s work even harder tomorrow.
<End of Chapter>
Next chapter will be posted tomorrow!
For the new readers, Youya’s name should actually be Yuuya as I had previously translated the name wrongly. His name will probably be reverted back in one of the later chapters.