Chapter 30: A Sudden Reunion
Agastra, the central continent.
The grand cooking tournament was held on this continent once a year. The competitors were comprised of eight master chefs selected from eight different countries. It was the “gathering of titans”.
The master chefs had to highlight their skills as professional cooks. Moreover, they had to demonstrate their ability to select a careful amount of outstanding ingredients. But, in order to accomplish that, they had to possess the skill to hunt incredibly chosen monsters if they wanted to gain recognition for their unique ingredients. It was a world-class competition where people had an opportunity to see the appearance of extraordinary monsters from all over the world. Therefore, it was impossible to win based on skills alone. A dish with simple monsters wouldn’t get recognition in a large event like this one. Victory required an existence of a hero capable of presenting a monster dish made of high-ranking ingredients.
Nevertheless, it seemed that the theme of this year’s grand cooking tournament was “Food Cultivation”. I didn’t know exactly what they meant by that. It sounded rather strange and normal to me at the same time.
Finally, the grand cooking tournament was about to start. The “great battle” that was about to determine the top food and the top chef in the world.
「Wow, it’s so lively around here. 」
The place where the tournament was going to be held looked like a huge dome. It resembled the colosseum. The main stage was at the center of an opened arena. The audience was full of excitement. Loud cheers filled the whole place.
「Amazing! It’s the most prestigious tournament that decides the top food in the world after all! The winner will have their name engraved in history! And, if that person owns a restaurant, then it will be recognized as one of the world’s top seven stars! This tournament is so special that even ordinary civilians can obtain the title of heroes!」
Oh gosh. Mina-chan was talking continuously next to me. She was “burning” with a fighting spirit. I never seen her this excited before.
「Ah. You came, boy. Is that person your main cook? 」
I heard someone else’s voice. When I turned around, I noticed that it was Miss Katherina, Fitis’ master.
「Well, more or less. I provide the necessary ingredients for her. 」
「Ah, is that so. That’s fine. But, what about Fitis? Weren’t you coming with her today? 」
「She is currently on her way to search for some ingredients. She will arrive on time for my match against you.」
Miss Katherina smiled at me with a curious look on her face. In the meantime, while Miss Katherine and I were having a conversation, a person went up to the stage. That person was probably the announcer. He activated the magical device that caused the air to vibrate. Then, his loud voice echoed throughout the whole venue.
「Thank you for waiting! Welcome to the greatest event in the history of our world’s cuisine! This year’s theme is “Food Cultivation”! The largest food tournament in the world is going to start now!」
The audience screamed in excitement after they heard the announcer’s declaration. The announcer continued to speak upon hearing everyone’s cheers.
「First, I would like to introduce the contestants of this year’s grand tournament! But, before that, I would like to present you the winner of the previous tournament!」
Louder cheers spread throughout the arena after the crowd heard the announcer’s new declaration. Next to me, Miss Katherina whispered in a calm tone. She warned me about the winner of last year’s tournament.
「He’s here, boy. Take a good look. He is most likely the favorite candidate to win this year’s tournament.」
Miss Katherina pointed at the center of the arena. When I looked attentively at the previous winner, I noticed that a boy went up on stage. He looked younger than me. He had gold hair and brown skin. The beautiful boy had a pretty woman’s face rather than a child’s face. He looked at the audience with a fearless smile.
「The competitor from the Sand Kingdom of Arabiar! He appeared like a “comet” in last year’s grand tournament! He is the genius hero who defeated the Sage Hero in the final! I present you the previous winner, Shendo Bird!」
The audience cheered tremendously and enthusiastically. I could hear the loud voices of several women in the crowd. Well, that boy certainly had a very feminine face that even the women here were crazy about. However, to me, it looked like he had a very bad personality.
「As usual, he has that very cheeky expression on his face. Last time, I lost to him because I was off guard. However, I came fully prepared this time. I won’t back down just because he is a young boy. I am sorry, but I came here to get my revenge because of the insult I received last year. It’s too bad, but you won’t have luck against me in the first round.」
「I should be saying the same thing. You may want to get your revenge. But, I won’t waste the opportunity I was given to come to this tournament. Therefore, I won’t hesitate on the first round either.」
Miss Katherina laughed happily after she heard my challenge. Soon, Miss Katherina’s name was called and she went up to the stage. The only ones left behind were me and another contestant.
「Now, the next contestant! We have an unusual contestant participating in the grand tournament! They are a duo who won for the first time the regional contest of their region, the eastern Kingdom of Elks! I present you the Mina Restaurant! Chef Mina and her exclusive monster cultivator Kyou!」
The people in the crowd heard about our names for the first time. They whispered suspiciously about us rather than cheering for us. Well, it was normal. But, it will be just for now. I will do my best to show everyone here that I have an ability to cultivate monsters. I’ve been working hard on this agricultural field since I’ve came to this world!
I stood on stage with an awkward but resolute expression. On this very moment, I heard a voice that I even doubted my own ears.
「Oh, oh. I thought you were someone else. But, you’re actually my Kyouji. 」
I heard someone calling my name just now.
No, wait. Just wait a second. It can’t be. It’s impossible. Calm down. Just calm down.
But, I really heard something.
It was a very familiar voice. Yes, a voice of someone that wasn’t supposed to be on this kind of weird place.
「And finally, the “dark horse” of this grand cooking tournament! He is the second monster cultivator of this year’s edition! He made his amateur and unknown cook, Chef Kamase Nanashi, into a household name by winning the third place of last year’s grand tournament! I present you Himuro Keiji!!」
「Hey, long time no see. What are you doing here? 」
I screamed to the unsuspicious old man that came up to the stage.
「That’s what I should be saying about youuu!!! How the hell are you even here, Fatherrrr!!!」
1/3 Here is where the manga deviates from the WN