Chapter 59: The Demon King Cooking Battle
The Demon Castle.
The castle of the Demon King was located in the western part of the continent, in a region named Vendidart. I imagined a dark-looking castle in a dark sky surrounded by jet-black miasma. However, in reality it was the exact opposite. Magnificent nature surrounded the castle, a vibrant green forest, a stunning mountain range, and a beautiful lake. The castle itself was white and regal. It stood in the center of a natural fortress.
This castle was the most beautiful castle I had ever seen since I came to this different world. All of us stood in front of the main door of the Demon Castle. Then, the door opened slowly at the same time. The person who greeted us was a beautiful woman with dark hair… My mother, the Demon King of this world, welcomed us with a big smile.
「Welcome my dear Kyou. Also everyone and you husband. I welcome you.」
When I went inside, I saw the brilliance of the polished marble. The inside had a splendid structure that resembled a royal palace in appearance. Dozens of women in maid-clothes appeared in the hall after the opening of the door, and greeted us with respectful bows. These women were humanoid monsters apparently.
「Well then, I will guide you to the venue of the cooking battle.」
When we went inside, my mother took the lead immediately. We all followed slowly after that, and I tried to know if my mother would keep her promise in case we won the cooking battle.
「Mother, if we win this battle, you will stop your invasion of the Valkyria Kingdom and make peace, right?」
「Yes, of course. I promise you that I won’t mess with it for at least a hundred years. However, if somebody comes into this territory to attack it, I will intercept it.」
I looked towards Amines upon hearing my mother’s condition. She nodded as if she agreed with my mother’s words.
「I don’t see any problem with it. There is no reason for me to attach this place as well, unless the demons tried to attack my kingdom. To be honest, I don’t wish to fight any of the demons living in the Demon Kingdom. After all, every demon has excellent fighting abilities, and I don’t wish to have causalities. That’s why I don’t see any problem with that condition if we can settle this peacefully. The security of my kingdom is my top priority.」
「Well then, if the Demon King party wins, you’ll have to accept our request no matter what it is. If you can accept this deal, then we have a contract.」
My mother replied with a calm expression and tone, but I felt an absolute weight on the contract we just made. If we lose the cooking battle and we don’t fulfill her request, then terrible things will surely come.
「Ah, that’s right. One more thing. Mother, I heard that you have the seed of the World Tree. Is that true?」
「The seed of the World Tree? Yes, I have.」
I knew it. So my mother had the seed of the World Tree. Was it because she was a demon? Or should I say, the Demon King? Was this battle similar to a game play? If I defeat the Demon King, will I have access to the legendary class item?
「Are you interested in that seed? 」
「Yes, if we win, can you give it to me? 」
From the beginning, my purpose was to collect the seeds of the World Tree scattered around the world. The way to end the war between the Kingdom of Valkyria and the Demon King was just a way to get those seeds faster. I made a promise with Amines. If I could stop the ongoing conflict, she would give me the seed from the Kingdom of Valkyria, and if I could get my hands on the seed from the Demon King side, then it would be killing two birds with one stone. My mother showed me a disturbing look after hearing my abrupt request.
「Dear Kyou, what do you plan to do with the seed?」
「Well, you see. I am thinking about planting it in a suitable location.」
「Ah, I knew it! So my dear Kyou is the one entrusted in saving the World Tree!」
I was surprised to hear my mother’s reply. However, I responded in a different way.
「Well, I guess so. I didn’t have much of a choice, really. This task was something that the goddess imposed on me.」
「Yes! Yes! So, that goddess has finally made up her mind! If that’s the case, then I’m okay with it. If my dear Kyou is planting the seed in order to grow a World Tree, then I don’t see any problem in giving it to you since it aligns with my purpose.」
My task aligned with my mother’s purpose? What did that mean?
「Anyway, if my dear Kyou takes the responsibility of raising the seed, then I will give it to you regardless of your win or loss.」
Ah, I did it! This meant that the seed from the Demon King side would be mine even if I lost. And if I win the cooking battle, I will get two seeds at once and achieve half of the target number. While I was happy with the good negotiations, I suddenly stood in front of a big door. When this door opened, what appeared was a venue that surpassed the usual large-scale cooking competition. And what awaited us at the venue were our opponents, the Four Heavenly Kings, three of them whom we met before in the battlefield.
「Is that Isu-chan?」
The Snow Witch Isu. Her best friend stood on her shoulder, the Doriad named Dori-chan.
「It’s been a while, Kyou-san. It is a pity to have this kind of reunion, but I, the Snow Witch Isu, will face you as one of the Four Heavenly Kings, according to the contract signed by the Old Great Witch. That’s all.」
Dori-chan talked as if she were the silent voice for Isu-chan, and Isu-chan nodded in unison.
「I see. Well, it seems that many things happened in the meantime. Okay, let’s do our best and have a good fight.」
Isu-chan held her face with her hand and turned her head down. I noticed that her cheeks were slightly red. Then, a goth-looking Lolli girl with an eye-patch appeared in front of us and pushed her away. This child was certainly one of the Four Heavenly Kings that appeared alongside my mother before…
「Hu, hu, hu. It’s been a while. Do you remember me? I am one of the Four Heavenly Kings. I am the “Dark Princess” Hell. I am a girl who invokes large amounts of darkness.」
Hmm. She was truly confident. However, it hurt when I looked at her. Or rather, when I looked at that child, the painful memories of my old days were revived in my mind. That’s right, when I was still an elementary school student, there was a time when I shouted that I was the reincarnation of a hero, and that I was summoned to a different world to become a brave hero…When I realized that I wasn’t a hero, I felt sad. It was a painful realization. Nonetheless… Did that mean that my dream as a kid has come true now? We…Well, it didn’t matter much now.
「Ah, yes. I remember you. I met you on the battlefield not too long ago. I hope we’ll have a fair fight this time.」
I said those words, but the girl looked at me with fearsome eyes and groaned. I wondered if we couldn’t be that friendly with each other since we were enemies after all.
「Ha, ha. I apologize. This child is the thorniest of us all, so don’t worry too much. I am one of the Four Heavenly Kings, the “Sacred Lion” Spin. Let’s have a fair cooking battle.」
A brown half-beast man stood behind that girl named Hell, grabbed her neck and pulled her away from him. Hmm, that pretty gentleman looked strong.
「Well then. We now have all players. We can create the competition table with each opponents and move on to the first cooking battle announcement. But before that, I would like to make a suggestion first.」
Oh, make a suggestion?
「In this cooking battle, all the players from our side will have the right to choose the theme for the dishes. This is, of course, just a small advantage for the cooking battle. You don’t have a problem with it, do you?」
I saw everyone’s reaction upon hearing the Demon King’s proposal. Everyone had his or her own points of view, but no one seemed to have such a strong opposition. Well, we had the strength when it came to cooking, and we desperately wanted to win this battle. This battle was in our interest. That’s why my mother had an advantage and played it to her rules. On the other hand, it didn’t really matter as long as we successfully accomplished the designated dish, regardless of the theme. After confirming everyone’s reaction, I nodded positively at my mother’s proposal.
「Okay then, dear Kyou. Thank you. Now then, let’s ask the invited judges of this cooking battle to announce the first round.」
After saying those words, the spotlight hit the back of the venue. From there appeared five judges, including the old man called Gourmet Master. You guys, what are you doing in such a place?
「Now, we will announce the designated food from the Demon King side against the opponent of the human side for the first round.」
Having said that, the Gourmet Master proclaimed the first round match of the decisive cooking battle. What a huge climax.
『First Round: Himuro Keiji versus “Demon King” Fafnir.』
『Designated Food: Mapo Tofu.*』
My father and my mother. This could be intense. Summing up, our strongest fighting force against the strongest opposing force.
*Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province. The classic recipe consists of silken tofu, ground pork or beef, fermented broad beans & soybeans (doubanjiang), fermented black beans (douchi), and Sichuan peppercorn to name a few main ingredients.