Chapter 54: The master plunged her disciple into the depths of the valley
「A cooking battle, you say? …Yes! If you’re okay with me, then please let me help you!」
After those events, we told Mina-chan about our current situation and asked her to participate with me in the cooking battle in the Demon Lord’s Castle. Mina-chan gladly accepted it.
「Kyou. With Mina-chan, you finally have five participants.」
「Yeah. But, I’m still hesitating about bringing my father into this.」
「I’m your dad, so don’t say that. It makes me sad. 」
My father decided to do this with light-hearted feelings. I felt that he wasn’t serious about this. However, my father’s cooking ability had already been proved at the famous large-scale event, the Grand Cooking Tournament. He was indeed a remarkable cook. Therefore, he was the best trump card we could possible get. There was no reason for me to refuse him. So, there should be no problem for my father to cooperate with me in the upcoming cooking battle.
「For the time being, the participants have been decided. But, since we have only one month for the battle, I wonder if we have enough time to grow a new monster or learn a new cooking skill. What do you think?」
「By the way, Kyou. Is it okay for Amines to be absent at this meeting? 」
「Ah, I think so…She said to me that she would find her own way of success. So, it will be just us for now.」
After the direct confrontation with the Demon King, we tried to pick up the participants and assemble them together. On that moment, Amines said that she would take another course of action in order to prepare for the cooking battle in a month’s time.
『Leave it to me. I’m going to hunt the finest monsters! Yes, in a monster that’s thick and hard so I can fully apply my strong abilities!』
At that point, I felt that she was heading towards another place. Well, I tried to think positively in case she got lost. We just needed three of us to win. When I was thinking about that, the door of Mina-chan’s restaurant opened with a sound, and I heard a cheeky, but familiar voice.
「Oh my, oh my. This place is dusty and shabby as always. How about rebuilding this place as a luxurious building?」
It was Shendo Bird, the Genius Hero, whom I fought against at the Grand Cooking Tournament. I noticed that behind him stood Miss Katherina, the Sage Hero. She was also Fitis’ master.
「Hi. I’ve heard about it. By the way, Mina. It seems like you will participate in the cooking battle as well. Things have gotten extremely amusing around here, huh.」
Where did he get this piece of information? On this instant, Shendo took something out of his pocket. Eh, what were those?
「These scales are called Tarragon. I obtained this by cutting the scales of the Tara Dragon, which resembles a salamander monster. I also have Basil Leaf with black and white pepper spices. Ah, and I’ll give you some of the Scorpion Dragon meat, Cactus Ball flowers and a Burning Crab as well. If there is anything else you want, I’ll give it to you at a reasonable price.」
He spoke about many ingredients and spices. He put them on the desk. More importantly, where did he get these ingredients in the first place?
「Then, does that mean that are you willing to cooperate with us?」
「I…I’m not that foolish, you know. I…I just can’t allow you to lose after you defeated me in the Grand Cooking Tournament. I am just doing this for the sake of my honor. Do…Don’t get me wrong.」
What the hell. I wondered if this fella became sort of tsundere type. But, I’m sorry, Shendo. Even though you looked rather girlish, I didn’t have that kind of crush…
「Thank you very much, Mister Shendo. I will use these ingredients with care!」
While I thought about something thoughtless, Mina-chan took both of Shendo’s hands and thanked him. In response to Mina-chan’s appreciation, Shendo’s cheeks became slightly red and he replied with his head down.
「Ah, yes, well, do your best… 」
I wondered if he reflected seriously about what he did back in the Grand Cooking Tournament. Well, either way, I was grateful for his kindness to come here and give us these valuable ingredients.
「Miss Katherina, did you come to cooperate with us as well? 」
「Well, you could call it a cooperation. 」
After saying that, Miss Katherina approached Fitis.
「Fitis. Give me your seat at the cooking battle that it’s going to held in the Demon Castle in a month from now.」
All of us inside of Mina-chan’s restaurant froze for a moment after we heard her words. However, Fitis answered immediately and clearly in front of her master, Miss Katherina.
「I refuse. Despite my master’s request, my mission is to contribute to the next cooking battle. I need to be focused for Lord Kyou’s sake.」
「Fitis, you cooking skills are certainly well accomplished. But, you know this very well. You haven’t surpassed me yet. Isn’t it reasonable for you to give up your seat to someone who is more likely to win?」
There was a point in what Miss Katherina just said. Certainly, if one simply wanted to win, it would better to give up a seat to someone who had a great cooking skill. However.
「Miss Katherina, I am happy for your offer. But, I trust Fitis’ skills. I don’t know how much she has improved since the last time we confronted her at the regional contest. But, right now, Fitis has probably changed the value and applicability to cooking by getting along with us. Besides, we don’t know what is in store for us in the cooking battle. So, it’s not reasonable to measure who is generally superior with skills of cooking dishes.」
「Lord Kyou… 」
Fitis let out an emotional voice upon hearing my words. She was clearly touched when I said that I chose her instead of her master. It was a fact that having a partner with amazing cooking skills would be a great advantage.
However, I didn’t think that having an amazing cooking skill was the sole reason for winning. For me, that wasn’t the main reason for victory or defeat. Just like what happened during the Grand Cooking Tournament, this cooking battle could judge the dishes on its entirety. Which means that just cooking skills wouldn’t be enough, each participant’s culinary decisions would be carefully weighted in each of their dishes. That’s why I wanted to choose a reliable partner instead. Fitis spent the last few months with me. She experienced many adventures with me and saw me grow as a cultivator and as a person. She had the very right to be one of my partners in the upcoming cooking battle.
Miss Katherina smiled positively upon hearing my strong remarks.
「That’s fine. If you’re willing to go that far, then prove it to me directly. Fitis, I want you to compete with me in a food contest. If you beat your own master, then I’ll admit my defeat and let you participate in the upcoming cooking battle. However, if I win, you will have to give me your seat. If you lose against me, means that your strength hasn’t grown that much even if your resolve is high.」
Fitis declared without hesitation in response to Miss Katherina’s offer.
「I understand. I accept your proposal for a cooking match.」
In response to Fitis’ answer, Miss Katherina smiled as if she knew her answer beforehand.
「Okay. So, the match will be held in three days from now. The theme of the match is…an “Egg Dish”.」
Miss Katherina’s offer was met with applause from the surrounding crowd. Everyone, including me, looked forward to the showdown between these two.
Ohh, a master and a pupil match. It should be interesting.