Chapter 57: The Master and Disciple’s Confrontation
「Hmm, at first glance it looks like an ordinary Omelet Rice, but let’s try it now.」
After saying those words, every judge grabbed their respective spoons and carried the Omelet Rice prepared by Fitis into their mouths. And the next moment, their lips and mouths were overflowed with a tremendous amount of flavor.
「This is…Is the sauce on top of this Omelet Rice a pumpkin sauce!?」
「That’s right. It’s a Jack O’ Lantern cream sauce. These pumpkins were harvested in Lord Kyou’s garden.」
Correct. The monster that Fitis chose as a base sauce for the Omelet Rice was Jack O’ Lantern, which was grown in my garden. Actually, Fitis had other options, such as the Killer Plant tomato sauce. But, of course, there was a reason why Fitis chose the pumpkin sauce instead.
「Sometimes, when the sauce is too strong, it overpowers the taste of the Omelet Rice. However, this sauce has a gentle taste. It feels like a guest of honor of the Omelet Rice. Moreover, the soft rice in the omelet matches nicely with the pumpkin sauce.」
Indeed. The star of this dish was the omelet itself, which was just a mix of eggs. For that reason, Fitis complemented the classical taste of the Omelet Rice with the gentle flavor of the pumpkin sauce. However, this wasn’t her only hidden card.
I noticed that all the judges, including the Lord, ate Fitis’ Omelet Rice with gusto. Then, they opened their mouths at the end of the meal.
「Now, let’s start the evaluation. All three of us will vote for the most delicious egg dish. Are you ready?」
The other judges nodded positively. After each one of them stared attentively at both Fitis and Miss Katherina, they nodded once again and wrote a name in a piece of paper.
When the judges opened their written papers, every single vote showed the same name. That person was…Fitis.
Lily and Mina, along with Dora-chan and Jack were all excited to see the result. I was overjoyed as well. On the other hand, Miss Katherina, who suffered a complete defeat, was taken aback by the results.
「Oh. It’s a bit unexpected that I lost unanimously.」
This attitude showed that she wasn’t entirely convinced about the results. Miss Katherina turned to Fitis and asked about her dish.
「So, you’ve made a dish that defeated mine. Is it okay for me to taste it too? Fitis.」
「I don’t mind. Please enjoy it. Master.」
Fitis probably expected her master’s reaction. She gladly presented the Omelet Rice to Miss Katherina. Then, Miss Katherina picked up a spoon and carried the food to her mouth. At that moment, her expression changed dramatically. She looked extremely astonished.
「It can’t be. This is… 」
“What kind of cooking method did she use?” Miss Katherine probably imagined this question before tasting Fitis’ dish. However, after eating Fitis’ dish, Miss Katherina realized the cause of Fitis’ victory and her defeat. Yet, the cause didn’t lie in a cooking method.
「This egg…Such deliciousness.」
In fact, this dish had a simple egg flavor. Probably the most outstanding egg she tasted in her life. The pure flavor of a simple egg that went beyond the taste of the colored fish eggs.
The frying pan Fitis used to make the Omelet Rice was rather special. Fitis asked Amines to make that frying pan, which ended up being extremely helpful. It was rounder than a normal frying pan and made it easier for Fitis to use. This newly made frying pan allowed the better use of fire underneath, creating a perfect layer of egg yolk and finishing it as an omelet without compromising the taste of the egg itself.
However, of course, that was not enough to reproduce the taste.
「Fitis, this egg. What kind of monster did you use? I bet you used a monster with a considerable rank that laid such a delicious egg.」
「This time, the monster egg that I used for this dish…Is this one over here.」
The main ingredient of this omelet was the eggs. Miss Katherina thought that this dish consisted of an extraordinary monster egg. However, Fitis showed her an ordinary egg that betrayed her expectations.
「A Cockatrice egg?」
Fitis showed her master with an awkward expression on her face. Of course, she would be embarrassed as her master expected something great. Speaking of Cockatrice, it was a mediocre monster of D-rank. The Cockatrice’s egg also had the so-called ordinary taste. There was no way that this type of eggs would bring out such deliciousness. Or so she thought.
「My master’s question is also very important. But, it would be faster and easier to show you rather than just answer it. Please, follow me.」
After saying that, Fitis guided Miss Katherina to the place where I raised my Cockatrices. Yes, Fitis showed her the free-ranging garden, and not the new hut that I built for other fellow Cockatrices.
「Hmm, this is… 」
「This process is a breeding method that gives Cockatrices the freedom they need in a large garden outside. It’s called Grazing*.」
I explained to Miss Katherina the scene that spread in front of her eyes.
Actually, I didn’t realize the usefulness of this method, since I used it because some Cockatrices couldn’t fit into the hut at first. But, thanks to Fitis, I also realized the true effect of this breeding method.
「Many creatures are often stressed when kept inside a structure. Especially for creatures that produce eggs. Keeping them densely populated in a small structure can lead to a great stress. Egg management and production is by far the best in a structure, but the quality of each egg deserves attention as well. The Cockatrices, who grew up in stress-free environment in the garden outside, are far healthier than normal, and their eggs are even better.」
I neglected such a basic thing because I put a lot of emphasis on the production volume. It was all thanks to Fitis that made me realize this error. Miss Katherine seemed to be satisfied with my explanation, but something bothered her.
「I certainly understand what you said just now. The quality of these monsters is higher than that of those domesticated in a small structure. Then, what about wild monsters? The Cockatrices you have here were, at first, wild monsters, so the eggs they lay here should be the same as those Cockatrices who roam free in the wildness. But why is there such a difference in taste?」
「The reason is simple. Most of the wild monsters are always under stress.」
「Think carefully, Miss Katherina. Adventurers and heroes like you always target many of the wild monsters.」
Miss Katherina realized the meaning of my words.
「Many wild monsters are always with danger. The adventurers and heroes are the ones who hunt these monsters, and their many different varieties. Therefore, these monsters are always on alert and they can’t sleep soundly because they have to protect themselves and their eggs. Also, there are many times when they cannot lay eggs.」
Yes, wild monsters were by no means calm. As wild creatures, they were always alert as if they had something hanging around them like an antenna. That’s why they lived under tremendous stress.
「In other words, the rank doesn’t define the true value and taste of said monster. In fact, some high ranked monsters may have lower quality, while others could have a hidden worth.」
「Ah? What does that mean? 」
Miss Katherina asked me that question when she heard my remarks. In response, I answered her by using the above explanation.
「In other words, the answer to your question is directly related with the previous reasoning. Many of the current monsters in the wild have their value undermined due to the stress of being targeted by adventurers and heroes.」
Miss Katherina was surprised to hear my answer. However, she nodded quietly, as if she finally grasped the true meaning of my words.
「I see. That’s why you are using that Grazing method on your Cockatrices, am I right?」
「You’re right. Here, by giving them the conviction that they are absolutely safe, the death and stress that many monsters suffer are eliminated. This brings the original taste and value of the monster that roams free without any danger.」
The result was this grazing-type Cockatrice. Perhaps, this was the true flavor of the Cockatrice, and their real value as a monster of that kind. Their food value was now comparable to B-rank.
「By the way, in the same reasoning, Jack O’ Lanterns, raised by my bro, are much more valuable as food ingredients than wild ones. I’ll show you.」
Jack also pointed to his own evidence and the way that he had evolved in a short period of time. Looking at it, Miss Katherina realized the secret of the pumpkin sauce taste made with Jack O’ Lantern. She was greatly impressed with the technique of evolving the taste of the monsters themselves.
「I see. That makes sense. I never thought that I lowered the original value and taste from the Cockatrices I’ve hunt in the past.」
After understanding everything, Miss Katherina quietly turned to her disciple, Fitis.
「You’ve done an amazing research on monster’s living bodies, Fitis.」
「…This is all thanks to Lord Kyou. I realized this when I saw that Lord Kyou was raising two types of Cockatrices in different environments.」
No, actually, I didn’t aim to improve their quality. Fitis was the one who realized this method’s significance. Well, let’s leave it like this. Miss Katherina smiled at Fitis’ words and looked emotional. In fact, it looked like Miss Katherina recognized that Fitis had finally reached her level.
「It’s splendid. My Fitis. If you go, you will be able to do more than me. So, just go there and show off your cooking skills to the Demon King as a worthy representative of us humans.」
Upon receiving her master’s words, Fitis held her master’s hand after proving to be a worthy disciple.
*In agriculture, grazing is a method of animal husbandry whereby domestic livestock are used to convert grass and other forage into meat, milk, wool and other products, often on land unsuitable for arable farming.