Tsuki – Extra 63: The endless path of Mio ②

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The day of sampling the food of Mio.

There was no one sitting on the chairs of the sampling room. 

It is not like the residents shuddered and just came up with some excuse to refuse after hearing about the first tragedy.

The popularity of Tomoe and Mio in Asora isn’t something as frail as that. 

On the contrary, the brave warriors that heard of the first food tasting sesion’s tragedy would say tough things like they would have properly eaten and given their opinion.

That’s why, regardless of whether this is good or not, Tomoe…didn’t have any troubles gathering participants this time around.

The problem is that…the result was even worse than last time. 

The only one who was present from before is Lime, but everyone who took a bite of Mio’s dish was writhing on the floor. 

They were leaking vivid blood from their mouths. This is reminiscent of a mass murder through poisoning. 

Tomoe placed a hand on her forehead as if she was enduring a headache and was silent. 

“W-Why…?!!” (Mio)

Thus, there’s no one who could respond to Mio who was seriously shocked. 

Mio certainly learned from her previous failure and, this time around, made piccata of demonic beast meat and salt soup of greens. 

By the way, the participants and Tomoe were told that they would be having a salted skewer from chicken meat and vegetable soup in high orc style. 

That’s right. This is a change of menu right after. 

When a cooking beginner does this, it normally doesn’t turn into anything good. 

The result? A bloody tragedy. 

“Mio…why did the menu change suddenly-ja?” (Tomoe)

“I got better ingredients than the ones I planned on. And so, I thought of bringing out things even tastier than planned.” (Mio)

The chicken meat that circulates within the general hyuman population is prepared differently from meat of demonic beasts on a fundamental level. 

If someone from an establishment that provides manga meat were to hear this, they would lose their minds and say it is not on the level of the quality being good or bad.

“What about the ingredients of the soup? I heard from the orcs that it was stuff like potatoes and root crops.” (Tomoe)

“…Skin…” (Mio)

“Skin…?” (Tomoe)

“When I peeled the skin, almost all of it was gone. And so, I replaced it with leaves that just need to be cut.” (Mio)

“…You should at least have the orcs teach you how to peel the skin.” (Tomoe)

Did her pride get in the way? -is what Tomoe thought as she sighed.

But after seeing the expression of Mio, she was dubious about it. 

Because it didn’t seem like an issue of teaching or not. 

“…The high orcs and mist lizards didn’t seem to do skin peeling, so their hand movements were all awkward.” (Mio)

“Ooh, I see. I certainly do feel like, even if they do chop them, there’s a lot of cases where they still have the skin.” (Tomoe)

“They said they were impressed by the hand movements of Waka-sama.” (Mio)

“The persimmons-ja na! I was also shown that technique with the really thin skin once! That was certainly impressive.” (Tomoe)

Tomoe remembered the time when her master, Makoto, peeled a persimmon with a knife and raised her voice. 

It is true that there’s only really few instances where the residents of Asora would peel off the skin when eating fruits. 

They simply do some really rough preparations when it is too hard or has poison, but they usually just chop them into easy to eat sizes. 

The residents are getting used to the days in Asora while slowly learning the common sense of Makoto.

You could say this is one of the good examples of the many fields that haven’t kept up with that yet. 

“The difference between this and eating in a food cart or a restaurant is staggering. I am using ingredients that are far better in quality, and yet, I feel like the dots are not making a line… It feels vexing.” (Mio)

“Fumu…” (Tomoe)

“Is there a good way to improve one’s skills? Fuuh…” (Mio)

Seeing the taste testers that can finally move now and were desperately trying to take a seat, Mio sighed.

Mio was seriously with the intention of cooking up a dish that would receive high praise from the taste testers, but this is how it ended up. 

It was an incredibly displeasing result. 

“But well, you properly made them with edible ingredients without using poison, so you could say it is a bit of progress-ja ro? I think you are getting the feel of it in that area.” (Tomoe)

“I have somewhat of an idea of what’s not poisonous for hyumans and demi-humans. I at least confirm whether it can be eaten when I obtain it.” (Mio)

Mio’s instinct when it comes to ingredients is splendid. 

She was originally someone who was very far apart from the life of high cuisine and ate anything and everything.

She might have a sense that reacts to tasty things. 

“U-Uhm, Mio-sama, the moment I brought the soup into my mouth, the leaf rampaged in my mouth as if a knife was being stirred in it, and was cut everywhere.” (Lime)

Lime tried choosing his words as he cut into the conversation of Tomoe and Mio.

He is a senior that has taken the job twice now. 

He definitely has the right to give his opinion and ask questions about the food. 

It is plenty understandable that they would want to ask how everyone ended up writhing when Mio said as if nothing that she was using nice ingredients.

“That’s strange. That didn’t happen to me when I ate it.” (Mio)

Mio lightly tilted her head. 

From within the 5 taste testers, 3 of them stopped moving the moment they brought the soup to their mouth, and then their bodies trembled as if they were trying to not vomit. They then vomited blood and dove onto the floor. 

The remaining 2 extended their hand to the meat, and their teeth couldn’t do anything to it, so even when wondering and shuddering at their comrades that have stopped moving, they brought the soup to their mouths and reached the same fate. 

Tomoe resolved herself and tried taking a sip of the soup…and swallowed. 

The taste testers that had recovered were looking at her with shock.

“Hmm.” (Tomoe)

“Tomoe-san, you can eat it? How’s the taste?” (Mio)

Mio has not reached the point where the taste has been evaluated, so she was full of curiosity as she asked Tomoe. 

“Bad.” (Tomoe)

“!!”

“That grassy and stinging salty taste isn’t something that can be eaten. I swallowed out of duty, but I am honestly surprised by my own benevolence.” (Tomoe)

“Uguh.” (Mio)

“About the leaf in question. You got that from the wasteland, didn’t you?” (Tomoe)

“? Yeah.” (Mio)

Mio answers nonchalantly. 

Lime flinched at that response, but it doesn’t seem like they were bothered by it. 

If they are going to prioritize something that can be eaten by Makoto, the reaction of Lime should be the number one thing that they should be interested in, but Mio didn’t have the composure for that.

“Not a vegetable or a medicinal plant, but a plant type monster. It might be the type of monster that harms the prey that eats it even after death to protect their peers. It is a ruffian whose edges are sharp like blades-ja.” (Tomoe)

“…It gave the feeling of a really tasty leaf though.” (Mio)

“Tomoe-sama, Mio-sama, this is…hard to believe, but a Killing Weed is a rare monster.” 

This time it was a dwarf who joined in on the explanation while groaning. 

“Rare, huh. And, is it tasty depending on how you prepare it?” (Tomoe)

“I have not tried cooking with it, but if you process the bladed parts, it can become a splendid polishing material.” 

“So there’s a use for it.” (Tomoe)

“I-If it is okay, could you please tell us the location where you procured this…?” 

“So he says-ja, Mio.” (Tomoe)

“I…do remember, but…geez, I was sure it would be tasty. Pass me someone later. I will guide them there.” (Mio)

“Thank you very much!!” 

That’s not the kind of thank you I want -is what Mio thought. 

What she wants is a ‘tasty’ or ‘I want to eat more’, not a thank you for a rare material. 

After that, there were complaints even on the rock salt that she used, and the soup was given an evaluation close to 0 points. 

“Next would be the hardness, huh. No one has managed to taste the meat after all. You will need to be more aware of how strong a person can bite.” (Tomoe)

“The demonic beast meat, the oil I used, and the cheese gave me a feeling like they were really tasty. How did it end up like this?” (Mio)

“…Ah, right-ja.” (Tomoe)

“?”

“This is something really fundamental, but it is important to properly prepare the dish that was planned.” (Tomoe)

“Even when you have found something that’s surely tastier?” (Mio)

“Yup. There’s apparently prodigies within cooks, but aside from those few exceptions, cooking is about repetition-ja.” (Tomoe)

“Prodigies…” (Mio)

“You are air-headed when it comes to cooking. You have no talent and are not a prodigy, I’ll have you know. Anyways, you have to begin from the basics. You have to get the numbers-ja yo. Waka said that’s how he managed to somehow take shape.” (Tomoe)

“Waka-sama did?!” (Mio)

“Your eyes normally gravitate towards the strength of Waka, but despite appearances, he is good at all things like cleaning, washing clothes, and cooking, right? And so, I tried asking him a bit about cooking.” (Tomoe)

Those words of Tomoe were more shocking for the other taste testers than Mio. 

It was pretty dull information like being able to do all housework, but for them who were shown his overwhelming power at first, this was a really unexpected scoop. 

“I will do the repetitions! I can also do it-desu wa!” (Mio)

“Alright. Once you can bring out the skewers and soup properly, I will prepare another taste test. Work hard.” (Tomoe)

“By the way, Mio-sama, about the oil that was used for this piccata(?), could it possibly be from that illusory machine be—” 

There’s many cases where high quality materials don’t equally translate to high quality cooking ingredients.

There’s things that can become wonderful cooking ingredients for the first time after a special way of preparing it. 

The Killing Weed and Hepais Oil are both within that category. 

The sense of smell of Mio was technically right in a way. 

Tomoe tried to stop the dwarf who couldn’t read the atmosphere, but the 5th taste tester stood up there and stopped it instead. 

That small girl shook away the restraining aura from the surroundings and moved to where Mio, who is looking down, is. 

“What is it, Eris?” (Mio)

Mio asked the representative of the Forest Onis this time around, Eris. 

“Let me be clear here, Mio-sama!” (Eris)

Eris steeled herself and raised her face, her eyes showing tears. 

“!” 

“Don’t kill bananas!!” (Eris)

She thrusted out a sliced banana that was smeared in viscous beige colored oil and said this powerfully. 

And then, she threw that pinched slice into her mouth and turned back to her seat. 

Tomoe and Mio were dumbfounded by this. 

But there’s no doubt their opinion here was that this is bad. 

The sad reality that even the consideration of Mio to add bananas on the meat as service since a Forest Oni would be there had come back to bite her instead. 

“Mio, you shouldn’t add bananas to meat-ja.” (Tomoe)

“There was a place that said stuff like that was tasty…” (Mio)

“…For now, ya know, you could say that there’s hope of gaining the minimum required common sense-ja.” (Tomoe)

“?” 

After Tomoe wondered just how many diversionary battles she has to set, a suggestion that would save Asora was made. 

“How about going to a place you have taken a liking to in Tsige and having them teach you the basics-ja? Their cooking techniques are without doubt more advanced than Asora. I think it is a good option if you can lower your head to a cook.” (Tomoe)

“!!” 

“How about it?” (Tomoe)

Tomoe asks once again to Mio who is shocked. 

The taste testers were also wishing from the bottom of their heart for a positive response. 

“…It might have been a truly splendid blessing that I have struggled together with my friend Tomoe-san. You have thought of something impressive-desu wa!!” (Mio)

“Waka suggested that I travel and do a warrior’s training before. Mio, do you want to try that too?” (Tomoe)

“Of course!!” (Mio)

Mio tightened both fists, hardening her resolve and deciding to do a warrior’s training in cooking at Tsige.

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆

At the back of one of the eateries that Mio had taken a liking to in Tsige, two girls were sitting side by side. 

“There! That movement! Do it one more time!!” 

“Again, Mio-sama?” 

“We are doing the same work here, so there’s no need to add a -sama. We are of the same standing…no, you are actually the senior here.” (Mio)

“…If a cook apprentice were to call the strongest adventurer without honorifics in this city, I would be killed! Uhm, something like this?” 

“Here and there! Don’t use the tip of the kitchen knife, but the curve at the base. And then, move not the kitchen knife but the hand that is holding the potato to peel the skin! And after you peel the skin, you chop them into a size that’s suitable for the dish!! Wow…” (Mio)

“Preparing the vegetables is the basics of cooking though.” 

“Teaching those basics is difficult! It really is no good to do stuff half-baked like seeing how far you can go-desu wa. If you are going to do it, learn everything from the very beginning!” (Mio)

“That’s quite the impressive passion. Is it that mortifying that Tomoe-sama told you you have no talent?” 

Mio is talking to an assistant at the establishment. 

That said, it is only this employee and the owner though.

Mio suddenly appeared there, ate up the food, and lowered her head, asking them to let her learn there. 

Thinking about the confusion and mental state of the owner at that time, no amount of sympathy would be enough. 

The famed adventurer was lowering her head, asking to be taught harshly, but on top of that, she tried to pay a large sum of coin saying it was a tuition fee. 

The owner didn’t know what a tuition fee was, but judging from the context, they guessed it was her payment for being taught and scratched their head.

The large sum of coin piled up and the standing of both sides. 

They even shuddered thinking that this was a new way of blackmailing to steal away all the hidden recipes of their restaurant. 

But Mio said: ‘First, I would like you to teach me how to hold a kitchen knife and how to peel a potato’.

Alright, let’s stop thinking -is what the owner decided which no one can blame them for. 

They called Martha, who they had hired to be an assistant, and told her that she wants to work here for a while, so to take care of it. And so, after throwing everything onto her, they exited the restaurant. 

They get along well enough to do their best in the preliminary preparations, but Martha felt pretty conflicted about treating Mio as an equal.

Even with that, she still managed to adapt which is impressive.

“Not really. It is not like I am working hard because I am mortified.” (Mio)

“Really?” (Martha)

Seeing that Mio couldn’t even do the preliminary preparations for the vegetable or chop the meat in slices, Martha thought that the problem went beyond talent, but her passion was certainly outstanding. 

Even the tasks that were not all fun, when she looked at Mio at her side, she was always facing forward. 

Every time Mio saw a new technique, she would give high praise to Martha as a senior, but for her, Mio’s presence was dazzling. 

“There’s someone that I want to have them eat something tasty…no, I want to learn how to cook so that I can eat together with him. That’s all there is to it.” (Mio)

“…What.” (Martha)

“Martha?” (Mio)

Martha heard the reason Mio was facing forward without hesitation, and then she smiled at Mio as if she felt something being pieced together inside her heart. 

“Mio-san, you probably have talent in cooking.” (Martha)

“! Really?!” (Mio)

“Yes. At the very least, you will be able to make tasty food. I assure you!” (Martha)

It is not because of competitiveness, because of a trial, or because she is aiming to be promoted. 

It is because she wants to feed someone tasty food. 

Martha thought there’s no reason as pure as this. 

(This is not the time for me to be rotting here. At this rate, I will be surpassed by Mio-sama in the blink of an eye. I have to work harder so that I can stay her senior for as long as possible…and for the sake of my own dream. Even harder…!) (Martha)

Martha set her aims to become a cook after being shown the special dish of this restaurant, a soup. 

But the owner is the type that has a decent amount of connections, so even if it is not unreasonable, she was pushed into menial work for days to end, and her heart was being shaved off by this. 

Mio’s presence made Martha remember her dream, and it felt as if she had returned to her roots. 

“Martha! That. I will begin with that method!!” (Mio)

“Eh? Rotary cutting? Didn’t I show you this before? Then, since there’s the opportunity, I will also teach you how to prepare the salad.” (Martha)

“Please do!” (Mio)

Peeling a vegetable that’s similar to a radish. 

And then, after taking out the pit with the same process, you slice it thin as if you were making a side dish of radish. 

Mio observed with eyes nailed on it to the point that she wasn’t even blinking. 

“This can help as practice to get used to the kitchen knife too, but I don’t know about that…” (Martha)

Martha displayed her trivia knowledge as she showed the rotary cutting and the making of side dishes to Mio.

But she didn’t know…that this experience here and the unique view of Mio would eventually create the most fearsome of punishments that would make the residents of Asora tremble, the technique called as: Skin Peeling.

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