My initial plan was to set up camp in the jungle next to the cliff and wait for the rain in order to climb the cliff using a gimmick. We had no reason to return home as the hunting ground was right in front of our eyes.
A large number of Paradise Birds lived in the area beyond the cliffs and they were well known for their meat which was known to be so delicious that you’ll be sent straight to paradise. Additionally, their experience value was equally as high. Just defeating one of them provided a large amount of experience. Hence this area was dubbed the Bonus Stage in the game.
It may even be possible for us to raise our levels sometime today or tomorrow.
As a camping ground, there wasn’t a place any better than this deeper into the dungeon as there weren’t any other monsters here apart from the Paradise Bird. Furthermore, we didn’t have to worry about other adventurers in the area as we were the only people who had access to this area.
Trying to solve a mystery in the midst of a harsh squall when you could barely see anything in front of you, especially when the mystery was hidden on the cliff. It was something which could only be discovered if you had prior information about it which made this situation somewhat expected.
…. Although this time, the gimmick was bypassed by Phil’s ridiculous archery skills. A feat that could not be replicated by any other archer.
[Meat! Meat!] (Luna)
[Onee-chan. Hurry hurry!] (Til)
Luna and Til were making a ruckus while Phil began her cooking. Phil began unwrapping the Paradise Meat covered in bamboo skins. As she started to unwrap the meat, a delicious smell began spreading through the area. A strange smell that was uniquely delicious, as if the blood itself was sweet but there was no trace of decay in it at all.
[The meat looks so beautiful! Luna wants to eat it now.] (Luna)
The colour of the meat was a beautiful ruby red, the skin was extremely glossy while the fat was thick and appetizing.
[Please wait for a moment. I’ll begin cooking right away. I’ll prepare it the way Yuuya taught me to.. However I don’t have much confidence if it’ll be that good, making a broth without any stock.] (Phil)
Phil placed the Paradise Meat into a pan, lightly frying it as she began boiling a pot of water. Then, she placed several wild herbs into the pot before cutting the meat into bite-sized chunks and throwing them into the pot. Normally, Phil would prepare her broth by using several dried mushrooms. However, since we were using the Paradise Meat this time, she had skipped over this step.
It was said that the delicious soup made from the Paradise Meat would be ruined if other ingredients were added in excessively. Phil continued to watch the fire while carefully removing the skum from the top of the liquid.
[Yuuya, Yuuya. The delicious smell is getting stronger!] (Luna)
[I know right. I can’t wait to eat it.] (Til)
Luna and Til continued to stare into the pot as they noticed the fragrance of the soup. Luna’s fox tail was rapidly wagging back and forth while the tip of Til’s elven ears began to turn red. Just the fragrance of the soup alone were making these two children go crazy.
After deeming the meat to be cooked, Phil placed a piece of meat into her mouth as a test. The scene of Phil’s entire body stiffening as she touched her lips with the tip of her finger felt strangely erotic.
A moment after, Phil’s consciousness returned as she proceeded to test the taste of the soup.
Luna and Til became even more curious about the taste but Phil merely smiled playfully in response. The only thing I could decipher was that it tasted extremely delicious. Furthermore, the fact that the food-loving Phil had only added salt after her taste-test was a testament that the soup tasted perfectly fine.
Our expectations for the soup had risen to its peak.
[It’s ready now. Please take out the kitchenware.] (Phil)
It was finally time for dinner. We can finally taste the Paradise Meat.
Dinner finally began as a large bowl filled with vegetables and Paradise Meat and another pot of soup was placed on the table.
[My stomach has been starving!] (Luna)
[Uhn uhn, my stomach is running empty now too. I wonder if we’ll actually go to paradise?] (Til)
[Let’s start our meal before it turns cold.] (Selene)
[Please do so while it’s hot. You’ll be surprised once you taste it.] (Phil)
The girls began chatting as I decided to start the meal with the soup.
The soup made from the meat of the Paradise Bird and wild herbs produced a rich taste as the flavor of the meat and melted fat in the soup spread throughout my mouth.
Not only was it delicious, but it was an amazing tonic for the human body as well. As I was resisting the temptation to drink the soup in one go, a piece of meat accidentally entered my mouth. I felt the tenderness of the meat as more of the meat’s juices flowed out with each bite, spreading the taste of the skin and fat throughout my entire mouth.
I couldn’t help but agree with the ingredient’s ridiculously high price as this was a taste that the wealthy would travel just to have a glimpse of.
[Delicious! Luna thought that beef and pork were more delicious than chicken but, this chicken is special!] (Luna)
[I know right. Meat was delicious too but its my first time drinking such a delicious soup! I wanna drink more!] (Til)
Luna and Til were stuck together as they emptied their bowls and presenting it to Phil.
[Seconds! More soup please!] (Luna & Til)
They were perfectly in sync as they asked for seconds. Their large appetites wasn’t anything new as they were two growing children.
[I’m fine with seconds, however remember that there won’t be enough soup for later if we drink it all now. We won’t be able to try the delicious porridge that Yuuya told us about.] (Phil)
[Uuwuu, lesser soup then.] (Luna)
[Even though I would like more soup, I’ll endure it for more delicious food!] (Til)
Phil let out a wry smile as she took out a large serving of vegetables and meat.
However, the food didn’t last long as Til and Luna began gobbling down the food once more.
Would they even be able to eat the porridge after this?
As I turned to the other side of the table, Selene was done with her first serving without asking for a second serving as the matter about the porridge was brought up.
I wonder if it was okay to mention about the porridge.
[This soup is superb. Although the Paradise Meat was served to the royal family several times.. This tastes much more delicious.] (Selene)
[Of course, compared to a suffocating meal in the palace, it’s much more enjoyable to eat with your friends. Plus I’m sure the cooks were stressed preparing meals for the royal family making it difficult to serve a dish as plain as this. For this dish especially, it’ll taste much better without any excess preparations.] (Yuuya)
[It’s just as Yuuya said. As a chef this dish induces anxiety into me as it feels unsettling to serve a dish with so little preparation. Even now I have the feeling that I should have done more for the dish.] (Phil)
Regardless, even the stock for a normal soup base is excessive when dealing with this dish.
Thanks to the two gluttons, our soup became devoid of meat and vegetables as it was finally time for the main dish. Phil began pouring the rice into the pot of soup as the rice began to swell with the boiling soup. As the soup continued to boil, it gradually grew thicker as its delicious smell became even stronger.
The sound of someone swallowing their saliva could be heard as we were finally able to have a porridge made with a stock made of Paradise Meat.
Without anyone saying anything, Phil began preparing several bowls of porridge and handed them out as everyone began their second round of food.
No one said a single word as everyone was relentlessly gobbling up their food and in no time at all, everyone’s bowls became empty.
[Fuu, so this is the porridge made with Paradise Meat.. It’s even better than I expected.] (Yuuya)
Just this one dish was filled with all sorts of flavors.
Even if it was just a normal soup, it was still a perfect match for the freshly harvested rice from Grannel that I couldn’t get away from.
[It was delicious! Luna is going to paradise!] (Luna)
[Me too! Heading to paradise isn’t just a saying. It’s so delicious that it feels so good as if I’m in heaven.] (Til)
[This makes me wonder just what kind of cook prepared the soup I’ve eaten till now.] (Selene)
[It’s a shame that we don’t have seconds. However we do have some meat leftovers so we’ll be able to enjoy a good meal tomorrow.] (Phil)
We’ll be able to indulge ourselves tomorrow too.
However, there are still other dishes planned for tomorrow as this soup was capable of drawing out the hidden flavors of the Paradise Meat. The true charm of this soup has yet to be seen.
After eating such delicious porridge, the atmosphere felt lighter as everyone became excited.
Furthermore, even though Phil said that we had meat leftovers for tomorrow, she proceeded to present a lean cut of meat from the Paradise Bird that she secretly prepared. It was presented as a steak cooked rare with a special sauce which caused me to crave for sake.
It was going to be an enjoyable supper although people avoided late night food while camping out.
This was the luxury of a safe zone in the dungeon.
Since a squall was going to arrive, we proceeded to enjoy the supper in our tent.
With the Paradise Meat which could be eaten raw, when cooked rare with a delicious sauce it’s delicious meat presented a taste that could only be tasted with a high quality of meat.
Currently, the two girls were asleep as they both had a weak alcohol tolerance.
They each had extremely blissful sleeping faces while Phil began preparing another tent for Luna and the girls tonight, leaving me alone with Selene.
[Selene, there’s something I want to ask. Is your elder brother strong?] (Yuuya)
If possible I would like to know about my enemy before the actual battle.
[He’s very strong. He too received training with the stone from a young age and his level might even be higher than mine currently. Furthermore he had a good battle sense with smart intellect. He was someone I had idolized in the past.] (Selene)
It was surprising to hear that Selene had idolized her brother in the past. According to her, if her brother was to gain control over the Laluzulu Kingdom, the people would definitely suffer and thus she planned to challenge him for the right to the throne in order to pass it to her sister.
[If he was someone you had idolised in the past, then wouldn’t it be fine to leave the kingdom to him? That way you’ll be able to leave your kingdom in good hands while remaining in our party, for most likely the rest of your life? The Selene I’m seeing now looks much better than Princess Lutra from before.] (Yuuya)
[Fuu, that sounds plausible. I would definitely be happy if I could do that. However, my brother who was kind-hearted to everyone including me, has changed. Several years ago, rumors about his self-centered shenanigans had spread throughout the kingdom, replacing his initially pleasant reputation. Then, he began keeping his distance from me. My brother who was filled with greed and an obsession for power, began to respite me, who was born as the splitting image of Renoir-sama with her signature silver hair.] (Selene)
Selene looked into the distance with melancholic eyes as she began talking about her brother.
[For better or for worse, people change. I’m sure you’re still harboring hope that he’ll return to his old self. If that’s the case, then I’m sure he will return one day. However, there’s something strange. Is his level really higher than your current level? Furthermore isn’t the training he received the same training you did?] (Yuuya)
Ever since Selene joined our party, we began raising our levels several times faster than an ordinary adventurer which was why it’s surprising that her level was still inferior to his.
[Me and my brother are the same and yet we’re different. My mother was a concubine. After my brother left me, my brother could access the royal family’s dungeon and proceeded to receive training from the royal knights. On the other hand, I could only rely on my mother’s side for training and the only dungeons I had access to were the public dungeons.] (Selene)
I hadn’t realise that Selene had such a complicated family situation. This explained why we found her hunting inside Greenwood. Just as she mentioned, it was known that the royal family had an exclusive dungeon which could let you hunt to your heart’s content without dealing with other adventurers. In terms of experience, it was an excellent dungeon as well. Furthermore, he was taught by the royal knights who belonged to a family specialized in their sword skills, who carefully refined their sword over several generations.
[He definitely sounds formidable. The other party has so many advantages over our side. However, there’s something else I want to ask, is this instructor, the royal knight better than me?] (Yuuya)
[Fufu that’s not true at all. Yuuya-ojisama is the number one instructor in the world.] (Selene)
Selene let out a small laugh in response, displaying her beauty and her charm as a woman. Luna and Til were both cute girls however, in her case she was the definition of beauty.
[I pray for Selene’s victory. Selene will win the succession ceremony, and I’ll win the knight’s tournament and become the strongest knight. That is the reason why we’re heading towards the Laluzulu Kingdom.] (Yuuya)
That was what I decided. And I will do everything in my power to make that happen.
[… Ever since I decided to fight my brother, I’ve never been able to sleep. Regardless of how exhausted I was, just thinking about the future makes me anxious. But the moment I met Yuuya-ojisama again, I’ve started to sleep again. My anxiety seemed to just melt away.] (Selene)
[That is the confidence having a good teacher can give you.] (Yuuya)
[It isn’t just from a teacher. It isn’t just that. It’s because it’s Yuuya-ojisama that I can rest easy. Yuuya-ojisama. If I were to say my true feelings after everything is over, would you answer me?] (Selene)
Selene closed the distance between us as a sweet smell wafted past my nose, however it was also a smell of reason.
At that moment, the sound of footsteps began to approach as Phil was done setting up the tent for Luna and Til.
[Half of it was a joke. Half of it was serious, and the other half… was serious too. However, I don’t have the intention of troubling Yuuya-ojisama. It’s about time for me to head to the other tent.] (Selene)
Selene and Phil grabbed Luna and Til respectively and carried the two of them to the other tent.
… Sigh this is bad for my heart. That small princess Lutra has become a fully grown woman.
I felt like I was becoming old as I emptied another cup of sake.
It’s about time for us to head to bed. I should focus on everything I can do right now and focus on raising our levels by hunting tomorrow.
That is all that is on my mind now.
<End of Chapter>
I apologise for the sloppy previous edit. I’ve re-edited the chapter and hopefully its readable this time.