Warning: Not recommended to read while eating.
Ina’s mood mellowed out after a while, and she suddenly said she wanted to cook.
I have barely done cooking in the game or reality, and Mitsuki’s cooking sense is catastrophic. It is not even clear whether Ringo understands the concept of cooking.
Until now, we have been eating all the food already there -for some mysterious reason- in the refrigerator of the mansion, but Ina volunteered herself here.
“You have helped me out so much, Souma-san, so I want to pay you back in some way with what I can do!!” (Ina)
Is the outstanding statement she gave me, but thinking about the history of Train-chan who has pulled a whole lot of problems for me, I can’t just straight up be happy here.
But Ina seems to be full of confidence here.
She said she has confidence in her cooking skill since she is always making food for her mom.
“Listen here, Souma-san. Cooking is magic. No matter the ingredients, it can turn into poison or medicine depending on how you prepare it.” (Ina)
“No, it would be bad if it were to transform into poison.” (Souma)
This is one of the reasons why I can’t trust Ina.
It seems the Bear also felt a bad omen from those words, it slowly got down from my head and walked off somewhere.
You can’t eat to begin with. Such a coldhearted one.
“A-Anyways, leave it to me!” (Ina)
Ina said this and headed to the refrigerator that is at the corner of the kitchen.
I may say refrigerator, but it is technically a big cooler box, and on top of the contents not rotting, a lot more can be stored inside than its appearance suggests.
And the reality is that there should be a lot of ingredients inside that have no use.
When Ina opened the refrigerator…
“T-There’s a lot of ingredients I have never seen before…! Could this possibly be the high class ingredient: Parara Squid?! And this one the illusory Confu Chicken?! Ah! This is the legendary Terror Tomato?! …I might be able to do this with these ingredients… That dish that was sealed by my mother in the past!!” (Ina)
She was saying something weird here.
Or more like, can she even make anything decent with squid, chicken, and tomatoes?
Leaving aside myself who was worried about a variety of things, Mitsuki was showing slight admiration in her usual expressionless face and said.
“Fumu, you have quite the spirit. Sword and cooking; our paths may differ, but I can sympathize with entering a new realm. It has been a while since my blood has boiled. I will go outside and move my body a bit.” (Mitsuki)
She stood up with strength and left the room with flowing moves.
I saw her off dumbfounded…
(…Wait, crap!!) (Souma)
It was such a smooth flow of events that it took me a few seconds to notice that Mitsuki had seen a chance to scurry away.
What a pointlessly skillful way to use her warrior spirit!
Now there’s only me and Ringo in the dining room.
But, as if seeing through my unease….
“…It is okay. I will protect you…Souma.” (Ringo)
She held both of my hands and said this confidently.
I don’t think it is that big of a deal, but I was a bit moved.
Ringo really is my angel and my last bastion.
I can overcome anything together with Ringo no matter how difficult it is!
That confidence that doesn’t really have much foundation to it welled up in me.
On the other hand, Ina was in a good mood, unbeknownst to this conversation at the back.
She must have decided on what ingredients to use, she was standing in the kitchen at some point in time, and was holding a sparkly kitchen knife.
“Watch me, Souma-san! My beautiful mincing technique!!” (Ina)
And then, she lifted up the kitchen knife, looking unexpectedly decent and…
The kitchen knife was swung down, making a nice sound.
That posture of hers is also fitting the position.
There might be some hope here.
That’s what I thought at that moment, but Ina was not moving no matter how long it passed.
While I was wondering what was going on, Ina looked back at me and…
“W-What is it?” (Souma)
And then, what was in the hand of the apologetic Ina was…
“…I sliced it.” (Ina)
A chopping board sliced in two…
I was speechless at this sight, and Ringo stood up with a resolute face by my side.
She stood in front of me as if protecting me from Ina and…
“…Souma. I will protect…Souma.” (Ringo)
“Eh? O-Okay.” (Souma)
“…That’s why, I will go get medicine for the stomach.” (Ringo)
And just like that, she left the dining room all too naturally.
Those were strides that held no hesitation.
By the time I noticed, I was alone in the dining room.
Well, how to say this…
“E-Even Ringo ran away…!!” (Souma)
My last bastion easily crumbled.
Ina said with a big smile while I was dumbfounded.
“Wait for a bit, okay? I will make something incredible that you have never seen before!” (Ina)
Ina must have thought I was bothered about something due to how I answered, she threw in some extra words.
“There’s no need to worry. I won’t be putting anything strange…like a l-love potion or anything like that. In exchange, I will be putting in a whole lot of l-love though.” (Ina)
Her telling me that all shyly made me remember the appearance of Ina last night at close distance, and it made me embarrassed too.
Even a thought like ‘the sight of Ina wearing an apron on top of her usual armor is cute in its own way’ surfaced in my mind.
(Anyways, I can’t escape now.) (Souma)
I resolved myself and answered the energetic Ina with a dry smile.
And then, after an hour.
“…Souma, are you okay?”
I was still at the table in the dining room.
I answered Ringo, who was patting my back from behind, while slouched on the table.
“Yeah, I am feeling a lot better now.” (Souma)
It seems like it wasn’t a lie that she was good at cooking. Her food was the normal kind of tasty.
It seems like she at least adjusted the amount made, and there was only mine and Ina’s share.
However, I was reeled in by the passion of Ina, and at some point in time, I ended up eating it all.
That said, eating the share of two people must have been too much, the result is as you can see now.
“I-I am sorry, Souma-san.” (Ina)
Ina apologized to me, most likely because she felt bad about it.
Her teary eyes were looking straight at me.
For some reason, my chest grew hot and my heart jumped.
I hurriedly deny it in order to hide my unrest.
“N-No, there’s no need to worry.” (Souma)
“…Uhm, even if you tell me that…” (Mitsuki)
But the one I apologized to was Mitsuki.
I was trying not to show how flustered I am here, but I instead made it more obvious.
Ringo was also looking at me in wonder from the side.
I hurriedly tried to deny it, but…
This time around, my tongue got tangled up and I said something weird.
Even stronger gazes of doubt were directed at me.
“N-No, I am not flustered at all, okay?!” (Souma)
I acted tough and tried to return my gaze towards Ina, but I couldn’t look at her directly for some reason.
Also, when I look at Ina’s face, my heart begins racing.
My pulse gets disarrayed and my breathing gets painful.
(What’s this…? It is as if…as if…) (Souma)
As if I am scared of Ina!!
Why did it turn out like this?
I was confused, unable to understand the reason for it.
“Hmph. How pathetic of you to be defeated by mere food! And you call yourself my rival?!”
The one who saved me from this panic was an unexpected person.
Everyone’s attention gathered at the person that was sitting at the dining table.
But I reflexively responded bitterly at that hateful voice.
“I am not your rival to begin with. In the first place, why are you here, Sazan?” (Souma)
That’s right. Sazan, who should have left yesterday, had come back, and was in our mansion at his own convenience.
“There’s a conferral of honors at noon, right? I will tag along as well. Also, you are talking to a flower vase.” (Sazan)
But Sazan shrugged off my complaint with a snort of his nose…no, with the flower. <A pun. Nose and flower are said in the same way (hana).>
I really can’t get back in gear.
Noticing the dangerous mood around, the one who intruded here was Ina.
“You also defeated the Demon Lord together with Souma-san, right, Sazan-san?! Thanks to that, I have been saved. Thank you very much!” (Ina)
“Eh, y-yeah. Uuh…” (Sazan)
Is he not used to sincere words of appreciation? Sazan was confused for a moment there, but he soon turned back to his usual self.
“Fufufu… Looks like you have pretty good eyes! I shall tell you then! The sacred duel that occurred for 3 days and 3 nights between me and the Demon Lord!” (Sazan)
No, you didn’t even encounter the Demon Lord…making that retort would be a pain, so I decided against it.
I don’t want to deal with Sazan right now.
I am sorry for Ina, but Sazan should be satisfied after spilling it all out.
I decided to have Ina deal with Sazan.
“I-I see? Eehm… Ah! If it is okay with you, I will make food for you next time too!” (Ina)
But I wonder why, when I heard Ina say that, displeasure welled up in me.
A hazy feeling.
“…Are you…not feeling well?” (Ringo)
The hand of Ringo rubbing my back felt good.
And yet, when I saw Ina and Sazan talk as if they were having fun, the prickling in my chest grew stronger.
Then, I should just not look, but my eyes couldn’t look away from the two of them as if my body was refusing to.
“Listen well. I am the descendant of a great mage and a chosen one. I have polished the wicked purposefully in order to smite the evil of this world. The successor of a sublime family!” (Sazan)
“T-That’s incredible…?” (Ina)
“Fufu. Well, you could say that. Fufufufu…” (Sazan)
It should be the usual harmless talk.
And yet, my chest hurts when I see Ina talk to Sazan, and my heart beats faster.
This bittersweet sensation…I just can’t take it.
(What’s this…?) (Souma)
It is really vexing.
It is right in my throat, yet I can’t tell what it is.
But Ina suddenly looked at me.
And I stood up all of a sudden.
I still don’t understand what’s going on with me.
However, I could feel a fire burning deep in me, and I reflexively stood up.
My chest stirred at the voice of Ina.
My heart was pulsing to a painful degree.
The hairs on my whole body stood and sweat came out.
I take one…two…three steps away from Ina as if running away from her and…
—Aah, I see.
I suddenly noticed.
This burning and irritating feeling welling up from my chest.
I have had a similar experience when I was in Japan.
Once you understand it, it is simple.
Why didn’t I notice?
And once I noticed, I couldn’t endure it.
It doesn’t matter where I am or if there’s the eyes of others.
My last brake was broken.
It was released without a care for my will.
Ina once again calls my name.
And then, she approached me, worried.
Unaware of what’s happening inside me.
“I-Ina! I…I…” (Souma)
I have to tell her. With all my hurry of wanting to tell her, my tongue wasn’t moving well.
But I have to tell her.
This sweet, sour, and a bit bitter feeling I have is without doubt…
—The churning of gastric juices.
But it was all too late.
The food I ate this morning flashed in my eyes like a revolving lantern.
And what came next was a messy waterfall coming out from my mouth.
“Uwaaah! A repulsive mass of chaos fell onto my clothes!” (Sazan)
“Showing quite a grandiose sight again.” (Mitsuki)
“Souma! Souma! Get a grip!” (Ringo)
And then, a hellish sight was born.
Even though I think I should do something, my body is paralyzed, my sense of direction is a mess, and I can’t even stand up properly.
(No good…) (Souma)
My consciousness was fading.
My body is falling.
The floor approaching right in front of my eyes was a sea of repulsive chaos.
Within that horrible situation…
(I will never eat Ina’s cooking again…) (Souma)
I firmly vowed this in my heart.
…After that, Mitsuki, who was the only calm one here, caught me just before I fell. I was made to drink the healing potion Ringo brought, and I recovered soon after.
You really gotta have reliable comrades.
It seems like, not only did I eat too much, but I was also hit with Paralyzed which doesn’t allow you to move your body sometimes, Confusion which makes it hard to tell what direction it is, and Fear which amplifies fear.
A whole feast of status ailments.
These status ailments that would make your skills and spells not work or have the aim messed up when it was a game, have now become things that truly affect you negatively mentally now that it has become reality.
I had prepared a number of countermeasures for those status ailments when it was a game, but now that they are like this, barely any are usable.
However, no matter how you think about it, the fault lies on the Parara Squid, Confu Chicken, and the Terror Tomato.
Having them in the refrigerator of the mansion is suspicious in the first place, and just the names alone should be enough to label them as trouble.
I myself am at fault for not stopping the situation because I got dragged by the flow, but this is what happens when you use ingredients you are not used to just because you felt like it.
Fortunately, I didn’t feel anything weird even when looking at Ina after that.
Ina was apologizing earnestly, but I gave her a merciless verdict.
“Cooking is prohibited!!” (Souma)