Chapter 29: Was I stuck before the competition?
「Ma…Master. Why are you here? 」
「Hmm? I heard that my sweet disciple had become infatuated with some man. And then, I became curious and wanted to see what kind of man he was.」
Miss Katherina was not only a hero, but also Fitis’ Master. She seemed to be examining the situation with a slightly reddish look. I mean, this was the men’s bath. I wondered how she could behave so casually…?
「Well, anyways. If the both of you aren’t enjoying my company, then I guess we shall see each other again next month at the grand food tournament. We can say hello to each other then.」
Ah, speaking of which. She certainly told us that info a moment ago. Fitis’ Master was also one of the participants of the grand food tournament.
「But, I’d like to say my greetings first. I won the second place at the last grand food tournament. Therefore, in the next tournament, the first and second prizewinners will be able to nominate the cooking genre during their matches.」
Hmm? What was that? That’s such great benefits. That’s a great deal for the top winners.
「It has been decided by the competition committee that your opponent for the first round of the tournament will be me.」
「Therefore, I will declare it to you. In my culinary showdown against you the theme will be…To present a seafood dish.」
What did she say…!? This…This person decided on the genre of the first match out of the blue!?
But…But, when I looked closely at her, I noticed that she stared at me with a wicked smile! There was no doubt about it! She really did choose the cooking genre just now!
「Ahah. Your surprised look is a pretty tempting expression. I’ll look forward to what you and your representative will bring for the match next month.」
After saying those words, Miss Katherina got up from the hot water and headed to the entrance. But then she suddenly stopped walking and turned back as if she had remembered something.
「That’s right. I will give you one last piece of information. The main ingredient that I’m going to use for my seafood dish will be the meat of the Leviathan, an S-rank monster.」
「Leviathan!? Master, when did you get that monster!? 」
Fitis was astonished when she heard that monster’s name, Leviathan. However, Katherina didn’t answer, she just smiled and then turned her back to us and left through the entrance of the bath house.
「That’s not good news. 」
We talked to Lily, who was staying with us at the same inn, about the events that happened just moments ago. We consulted with her to get her help.
「Leviathan is one of the seven great gastronomical foods in the world. It has the same S-rank as a Rock Bird. I heard that it’s an ingredient capable of winning the tournament with just one dish.」
「Yes. And, besides that, capturing a Leviathan is extremely dangerous and difficult for adventurers because it is an S-rank monster. So, it seems that my Master is finally aiming seriously for the championship.」
「Well, as far as I’m concerned, the problem isn’t that… Even though I know the situation isn’t favorable.」
Certainly, the food that the opponents will bring to the tournament was also a problem. Yet, there was a bigger problem than that.
「The genre is seafood cuisine. That in itself is already a monster to me. 」
That’s correct. Seafood was food from the sea. And it was a monster genre that I couldn’t grow naturally on my farm.
There was no way of cultivating monster seafood. My monster cultivation was mainly grown on land. I’ve caught some seafood monsters, but I haven’t been able to cultivate or train them at all.
「Damn, that Master. She was definitely checking up on me. She probably knew that I wasn’t good at this type of culinary.」
「It was unavoidable. My Master other name is Great Sage. Ah, she is known as a beautiful and smart woman who is capable of breaking the opponent’s strategy. In addition, seafood is my Master’s specialty. I have never eaten any seafood dishes that were more delicious than her seafood recipes.」
Seriously. I was in trouble. How could I defeat someone that great?
「What are you going to do, Kyou? Do you have any ideas? 」
Well, I was starting to feel a little distressed about this. It felt like I was taken forcibly to the domain of my opponent. However, the only way to fight against this ordeal is by cooking seafood itself. Still, none of the monsters I’ve raised so far would be acceptable for the so-called seafood dish. Hmm.
Rock, who seemed concerned about me, pulled my arm and offered me the fruit of the Killer Plant.
「Papa, you can use Papa’s monster fruits and mix them on the dish. 」
「Eh, well. Listen, Rock. Seafood dishes are monsters and ingredients that live in the ocean. Even if Kyou gladly accepts your idea, it will be impossible to mix his current monsters with seafood monsters…」
「Eh? But, won’t it be delicious if you mixed it together with pumpkin, carrots and meat? 」
「No. Wait! That’s it! 」
Something flashed through my mind when I heard Rock’s words of advice. That’s right. If the opponent was going to compete against me by using her own specialty, then I had no choice but to mix my specialty with the proposed culinary genre. Fortunately, among the new monsters that I’ve been growing lately, there was a particular monster that could blend quite well with seafood dishes. And, if I could make the food that I envisioned, then I might be able to use the ingredients that I had available. However, in order to accomplish this dish, it would be necessary to ensure the same ingredients of my opponent.
「Lily. Fitis. We have no time to waste until the tournament. With that in mind, I have a favor to ask of you both.」
I turned my head towards the two of them and I quietly lowered my head.
「Can you bring me the Leviathan meat within one month? 」
The S-rank monster. In fact, I asked the both of them to bring me one of the world’s most difficult monster ingredients to capture.
「Well, only you would come up with such a strange request…Anyways, can you win by using the same ingredients as your opponent?」
「No. That would be impossible. That’s why I’ll do a small trickery on my dish. 」
「A small trickery, you say? 」
Fitis looked confused after she heard what I planned to do. I took a bottle from my luggage and gave it to her.
「I secretly made this seasoning the other day. When I made tea, I tried to make it by using several trials and errors in various ways. Please, just try it for time being. 」
After I gave them that bottle, both of them tasted the contents of that weird-looking seasoning. At that moment, their complexion changed.
「Ah, what’s this! 」
「This…This is the first time I tasted such a thing! 」
They had a surprising and interesting expression on their faces. And, the feeling of obvious shock was quite visible.
「I’m going to use this for a dish, but maybe it’s not enough. I mean. I would like to use this seasoning for the Leviathan, but it will not be enough to win the match. So, I’d like to improve this part with Mina until the tournament starts. If I can make it, then I think I can elevate the Leviathan meat to become the greatest ingredient it can possibly be and with that surpass my opponent’s dish.」
「To make a further improvement… 」
「To elevate the Leviathan as the greatest ingredient… 」
The two of them obviously changed their complexion after they heard my declaration. They were convinced and nodded positively after they saw my confidence.
「I understand. We will take care of capturing the Leviathan. 」
「Yes. So, Lord Kyou. Please, do your best to improve your other ingredients until the start of the grand food tournament.」
「Yeah. Thanks, both of you. 」
I renewed my determination after I got their support. A huge match awaited me at the grand food tournament. I’ll make sure to achieve positive results by then.