Chapter 21, A Present and Gyoza (First part)
(Author’s note: Long time no see)
“Shuri-kun. Let’s go somewhere.”
This was, in the morning.
Ekress-san, who had come for her breakfast, said to me as I was setting up the tables.
“You’re probably working all the time right? Why don’t you let your hair down and have some fun?”
Hmm, have some fun, you say?
h.e.l.lo, Shuri here.
I decided to go shopping since I was invited by Ekress-san.
Besides, I’ve been working so much as of late that I had wanted to take a day off soon anyway.
Actually, I don’t have any day offs.
“How about it Shuri-kun?”
“Should be fine. I will take you up on that offer.”
“Yay. Just as well, there’s something I wanted to buy.”
“Hoh. Something, you want to buy, you say.”
I wonder if I’m going to end up being the baggage holder….
“Ah, I didn’t mean to say that you’re going as the baggage holder. It’s lonely going by myself so I thought, maybe I should take someone with me.”
“If that’s the case then, did you invite Gann-san? If Gann-san says he wants a break, then I can give him permission for that.”
“No I can’t, this time I’m buying something for Gann-niisan.”
“….Ah, I see.”
So it’s a present.
“So you see?”
“Then, I’ll go get ready so, let’s meet up in an hour!”
Before I could stop her, Ekress-san left the dining hall.
Hmmm, this is a problem. Can I finish all my work in an hour?
Well, if it comes to it, I guess I can just leave the work to everyone else.
“Hmm, Oh It’s Shuri.”
The next to enter the dining hall was, Princess Tebis.
Following next to her was the maid…. the bodyguard.
Princess Tebis looked slightly sleepy, but as expected of royalty, she came here neatly dressed and groomed.
The only problem is… you’re royalty right? Is it okay for you to eat here?
“For some reason Ekress left here looking quite pleased, what’s going on?”
“After this, she says she’s going to shop in the city.”
“I’m going as well.”
Princess Tebis looked confused.
“Are you saying you’re going with Ekress?”
“Then what’ll happen to lunch?”
“I’m thinking of leaving it to Gann-san and others maybe.”
Hearing that Princess Tebis holds up her chin as if she was thinking of something.
Even her thinking posture, looked fitting for her somehow.
It’s as you would expect from an extremely talented person who, on a daily basis thinks about the royal matters in order to break down problems.
“We’ve got it. We’ll come back in the evening as well. After all, We are looking forward to Shuri’s cooking.”
“Ummm, alright. Incidentally, when it’s mealtime, will your attendants….”
“If you are here then, Our subordinate’s will help out, ja. It’ll probably be a good experience for them.”
“No that’s not what I’m saying. I mean, when you’re royalty, isn’t there like, a few things you ought to be careful with?”
Princess Tebis smiled bitterly.
“That’s for certain. However, We wish to trust you. A poison test… will probably have to be taken though.”
Obviously. Princess Tebis is a country’s princess after all.
Which means that if that wasn’t done then, there would be problems.
“In that case, in order to reciprocate that trust, shall I come back for dinner and make something delicious?”
“Yes, please do.”
Princess Tebis smiled as she says so.
Hmmm, that smile made her look just like the young girl that she was.
However! Even though she’s a young girl, she probably has many responsibilities as a member of royalty as well as various troubles coming her way.
I’m not sure just how much my cooking can help this person, but I sure want to try my best for her.
Well then, now that I’ve finished dividing down the work, I decided to leave for the city immediately.
In the outfit I’m always in, with the Magically Engineered Stove that I had already gotten used to carrying, I hurried over to Ekress-san.
It would’ve been fine if we left together, but for some reason Ekress-san said “When it comes to this, the best thing to do isn’t to leave together, but to meet up together somewhere!”, so we decided to leave separately.
It’s so hard to understand a woman’s heart.
As I was thinking that, I rushed over to our meeting spot, all the way to the center plaza’s water fountain.
Dodging through the traffic, going past the shops and houses, I arrived at the water fountain that she said was our meeting spot.
There were a lot of people here at the water fountain. From normal townspeople to merchants, guards etc.
Oh by the way, the current guards maintaining the order of Sounity and defending us from the surrounding countries are formed by everyone in Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corp, as well as the soldiers who accepted Ganglabe’s rule.
The people who couldn’t accept that all quit.
Just like all those cooks who couldn’t accept me being the Head chef and went on strike.
Seriously, what’s with these people. Saying that they “Had worked generation after generation for the Sounity clan” over and over again. Ekress-san and the others are still alive, so it just means that their main concern is that they can’t accept their head chef changing.
I can sympathise with them, but to completely toss away their jobs is just…
As I thought about some meaningless matters, a voice called out to me from the side.
Maybe it was because I had been thinking of some other things after coming to the water fountain, but I hadn’t yet checked my surroundings.
Looking towards where the voice came from, stood Ekress-san….
“Hm? What’s wrong?”
“Ah, no, nothing’s wrong.”
Sunlight reflected off the droplets of water splashing out from the fountain, sparkling. With that being in the background, it looked like Ekress-san was sparkling as well.
Right now, Ekress-san looked just like a girl.
A tunic reaching all the way to her ankles, a skirt….. suitable of someone from a lord’s family, and although you couldn’t say that it’s terrific, it was a quality outfit.
In addition, she was even wearing a headband and earrings, so it was totally clothes ready for a date.
Eh? Why is she wearing such a perfect battle outfit?
“Ekress-san… could it be… today’s shopping is actually…”
“Eh? Um, well you see…”
When I tried asking Ekress-san, her face turned red.
This is, without a doubt….
“I’m going to take a guess seeing those nice clothes…. After this, are you going to give the present that you bought to the person you like?”
“Saying that you’re going to buy a present for Gann-san and asking me, a man’s opinion, for a present recommendation, you’re probably going to go meet up with the person you like after we separate….. I see, in that case, BUFUN!?”
As I told her my deductions, Ekress-san’s punch struck into my collarbone.
The damage received to the bone that is said to be the weakest bone in the human body, almost made me faint. Wh-why?
“Shuri-kun. I know that you are a kind as well as a dense oaf, but don’t you think that those words are lacking too much delicacy?”
I, I see…. If I had revealed such a love affair in such a public location, then….
No wonder she’s angry…. I did something bad.
However, it wasn’t a great follow up to the stabbing pain running through my collarbone. It hurts so much, my collarbone.
“T-then, what’s with that outfit?”
Let’s ask for the sake of it. If I were to misunderstand once again, my collarbone may be in danger of breaking.
“Shuri-kun, I wonder… do you want to take another hit?”
“EH?! Ah, I’m sorry! You’re right! If you’re going shopping with a man then, as a woman, you can’t let your guard down, right!”
“Yes, that’ll do.”
Ekress-san lowered her raised fist. I’m so glad I’m not gonna be crushed…. If I got hit by that, my shoulder would probably shatter….
“That’s right. You see, when a girl goes out with a boy, they have to dress up perfectly.”
Ehhh, is that how it is? I should remember this. I don’t know when I would make use of this information though.
Ekress-san spins, then says.
“So? How’s my coordination?”
“I think it looks great on you. You’re more feminine than usual.”
“That isn’t exactly the best of praises, but whatever. I’ll give that a pa.s.s, although just barely.”
Wha-what did I do wrong….
In the end, I, who had concluded that a woman’s heart is like an autumn’s sky, went shopping with Ekress-san.
Our destination, west from the water fountain.
Several different shops lined up just like I thought, selling many well-made tools.
I wanted to ask her, ‘What did we come here for?’, but I stopped myself. Even someone like me knew that when you go shopping with a woman, you really shouldn’t question what they’re buying.
Besides, she had already said it. 『A present for Gann-san』.
There’s no need to kill the happy mood of the person next to me all of a sudden by asking her about this and that.
As we walk down a paved pathway, I took another look at the city of Sounity.
As a town built around the castle, it was fairly neat and you could see both houses and shops, neatly lined up.
It seems the only thing not uniform was the materials used to build the buildings; either stone or wood.
“Ekress-san, this city is quite beautiful, don’t you agree?”
“You think? Maybe it’s ‘cause I’m used to the scene so I can see all its flaws.
The materials used for the buildings are all old, the deterioration on public property stands out, and I want to start paving the roads with stone, and I have to watch out because if I don’t manage those businessmen properly then they’ll start establishing shops by their own means, and the public safety is still quite chaotic right now so I want to recruit guards, and if we get better then the neighbour-”
“Stop! Stop desu, I won’t understand even if you keep talking.”
What a mess. If I’m careless, this person would just start filling her head with work….. Maybe she just can’t get rid of her old habits!?
She had said that she used to cross-dress and finish her domestic management work at a mad pace, so maybe she just couldn’t get rid of that habit of hers no matter what.
I should… treat her better.
“Look, Ekress-san. How about we forget about work, and just enjoy ourselves today? How about it?”
“Eh? Ah, ok, thank you. Shuri-kun.”
Ekress-san notices my concern and responded with a smile.
Yes, this is good. This is how it should be. I’ll make her forget about work and let her have fun today.
She’s worked hard up till now after all.
“Somehow, you seem gentle, Shuri-kun.”
“I’m always gentle. I’m… kind.”
“Shuri-kun, you’re not thinking about something bad, are you? What are scheming at with that shifty smile of yours?”
She found out!!?
However, I won’t be stupid forever. Even I know how to flip this situation around.
“It’s nothing. So, Ekress-san, which way do you want to go? You said that you want to buy a present for Gann-san, but what do you have in mind?”
Here, we unleash the sealed question!
“Ah, un. I was wondering that it was probably about time that Gann-niisan would also need that. So I’m buying that for him. It would be good if there’s something good there.”
YES! A fantastic topic changer! I’ve grown!
And let’s end the ridiculous act here and resume being Ekress-san’s escort.
There’s no point continuing this strange tension anymore.
I followed behind Ekress-san.
The streets gradually changed and a shop that, if I had to say, belonged to a craftsman, came into view.
Basically, the items placed at the front of the store ranged from foods to handicrafts, and the place looked like it had been turned into a studio. I wonder if I could call it that?
Without a thought, I looked around restlessly.
I’m a cook as well, and there were some items of interest to me. Such as a pan.
However, most of the tools I use are made by Riru-san for me, and while I’m the one who cleans them, I leave it Riru-san to repair them. It’s quick and easiest to leave it in the hands of the person who made it.
Of course, the job of sharpening the knives and washing the tools, is left up to me.
“Ekress-san, this is…?”
“Oh that’s right, this area is the district where artisans set up shop. You could even think of it as our lifeline in our territory.”
“Shuri-kun. It might be hard for you, someone who has the skill, yet no ambition, to understand, but people with skill, no matter whose territory they’re in, or what country they’re in, conceal themselves and are cut off from the world.
At any rate, many of their skills such as architecture, smithing and crafting, cannot be bought with money. Skilled artisans are treated well by all countries.
Skills and technique, are just that valuable a thing for any country.
Shuri-kun, that’s why Princess Tebis, having seen your skill with cooking, wants you.”
S-so that’s how it was…. I finally feel like I slightly understand just what sort of position I hold.
I just wanted to show off the normal dishes of Earth, show off my normal skills. However, thinking from this world’s standards, they were abnormal.
Change with the abnormal, and then gain utility. That’s why, Princess Tebis is that devoted to me….
No, isn’t that just, her wanting to eat Mapo Tofu?
Seeing my worried figure, Ekress-san smiled wryly.
“But it’ll be fine. Ganglabe and the others, Gann-niisan, Gingus and even me. We’ve all decided to not put you in harm’s way anymore.”
“I-is that so.”
It made me relieved, having Ekress-san say that.
After all, Ganglabe and the others came here to protect me. And I repay that with my cooking.
It would be nice if that relationship of ours continues to stay the same.
“So, here we are.”
The place that Ekress-san took me was a shop that looked like a blacksmith.
A shelf was placed at the front of the shop, and blades were lined up. Further inside, you could see a light coming off metal heating up, and hear a high pitch sound from metal getting hit.
This is probably… a Blades store.
Looking closely at the goods, there were quite a few kitchen knives lined up next to each other.
This is my first time, since coming to this world, that I’ve seen such strangely shaped kitchen knives.
“Ekress-san, what kind of….”
“Well, it’s definitely a store that deals with blades, but strictly speaking, it’s a rogue blacksmith. I guess I could say he… processes metal and makes something of them.
Look, you see that shop with that large metal symbol modelled after it right? That’s also made by this kind of shop.”
Ahh, I see it now. So it’s a shop that uses metal to make miscellaneous useful goods or handicrafts.
Ekress-san said looking excited.
“While it’s true that in this day and age, if you give the request to a Magic Engineer, they may be able to make it for you immediately, however, there are only a few people with that capability. You either do it yourself, with your own talents. Or make a request with money.
However, blacksmiths won’t lose out either. Without relying on Magical Engineering, they trust their own skill, knowledge and experience to create a variety of items. It’s brilliant.”
“Ekress-san, do you like things like this?”
“Yes. I would often go take a look at construction sites during our territory’s development, and go visit the studios of the blacksmiths that we commission jobs to.
Seeing the beauty in the work of skilled individuals, specialised in their one field, fills me with joy.”
I see, so that’s why Ekress-san has been glowing since a while back.
It certainly is true however, and it goes without saying that the works of those with top cla.s.s abilities will be finished, but even the process itself is beautiful and produces no waste.
Furthermore, since they would naturally use the best method to create it, it really leaves you in disbelief.
“Ekress-san, it’s fine to be excited, but can you please answer the real question here?”
“Ahh, alright. Sorry, when it comes to these sort of places, I really can’t get sick of them.”
It’s not like I don’t understand your feelings, but please restrain yourself.
Looking at Ekress-san’s happy face, I’m also relieved, but for me, this was something I want finished as quick as possible.
If you ask me to stand next to Ekress-san all day just looking at some metals…. that would be a little troubling.
“Excuse me. Are you free?”
Ekress-san called out to the lady working out front. It seems like this woman was similar to a receptionist.
The woman looks over here and then looked surprised.
“Hi, is the order I placed finished?”
“Ah, yes. Of course. I apologise for the mess.”
“I don’t mind. Maybe I should’ve sent someone here first.”
“No, we’re deeply grateful for Ekress-sama’s patronage. There isn’t a shop in town that would refuse Ekress-sama’s visit.”
“I’m happy you’ll say that. I’m already half-retired though.”
“No, I would like it if Ekress-sama would, as always, come by the city. Even if the lord changes, our feelings of gratefulness towards Ekress-sama will not. It is because you are here, that we stay.”
The woman glances towards my direction as she said that.
Ahh… she probably thinks that we usurped the territory.
Even though it was Gingus-san who caused all the problems, and it was Ekress-san who wasn’t able to stop that, and the one who was in charge of monitoring that situation, the previous Feudal Lord, who had let it slipped by.
By that point, it didn’t matter who stood on top, they would’ve been greatly looked down upon by their neighbouring countries….
Which is why Ekress-san stepped down as the next heir. Which is why Gingus-san, being unsuited for domestic affairs, is now focusing more on the army. Which is why, the previous Feudal Lord took responsibility and retired.
However, the townspeople feel different.
No matter what was wrong, Ekress-san and her family had been toiling themselves for the territory.
Which is why it can’t be helped that Ganglabe-san, who looked like he stole the position out of nowhere, might be hated.
Perhaps, Ganglabe-san accepted all of that and still took responsibility for the seat of the lord.
Being seen as a throne usurper, there’s a possibility that people would flock to hate us because of what happened.
If it was Ganglabe-san then, he might be able to conduct himself much better….
“Well, let’s not talk about that right now. Rather than that, I just asked but did you finish what I requested of you?”
“Yes. It’s right over here.”
The woman takes out something wrapped in silk from inside the shop and handed it over to Ekress-san.
Ekress-san takes it, opens the silk and took out what was within.
She took out… a knife.
Even my eyes could tell that it was a good knife. I’ve seen knives made by people other than Riru-san, but none of them could compare with what I got from Riru-san or Princess Tebis, and so I’ve never used them before.
However, the knife in Ekress-san’s hand not only sparkled, but the splendid blade edge, was even installed into a plain wooden grip.
“Thank you. Please send the bill to the castle as always. We’ll send the commission afterwards.”
“Yes, thank you very much. We look forward to your next visit.”
The woman bends her waist and bowed.
“Thanks. Shuri-kun, let’s go.”
Quickly replying to that, Ekress-san walked out. I chase after her in a panic.
“That’s what you came for? A knife?”
Hearing my question, Ekress-san rewraps the knife inside the silk cloth as she answered.
“Yes. It’s for Gann-oniisan.”
“Gann-oniisan has found a new way of life. A path called cooking. Gingus has also reflected on his past foolish self, and has decided to redeem himself. I’ve decided to…. live the way I want.
This is the least I could give to my brother, who has always followed me…. No, supported me, until now. My grat.i.tude and encouragement for his life to be.”
So that’s what it was…. In order to give Gann-san his very own knife….
Hm? Wait, so that means.
“So, you going out on a date with someone was just, my misunderstanding….?”
“You’re still bringing that up?!”
I ate another hit…. To my collarbone. Ouch!
“I’m starting to get hungry, should we head back now?”
Ekress-san says, after yelling at me.
I’m already feeling groggy at this point, so I couldn’t do anything but follow her. My collarbone is going to break. You can only take so many hits.
“Yes. I understand.”
Following after Ekress-san, we walk towards the castle.
However, a present for Gann-san huh…. And to give such a splendid knife….
In all honesty I had imagined a scene where, after he had finished his training, I would be the one to give him a knife…. But it might be better for it to be a present from a family member.
Although, with this to encourage him, it would be good if Gann-san could focus wholeheartedly on his training.
No I mean, he’s giving it his best shot even now.
However, the person holding that present in their hands, Ekress-san, felt somewhat strange.
I wonder what’s wrong….?
“Is something the matter, Ekress-san? You’re don’t seem to look too well.”
“Ahh…. so you noticed, of course you would.”
Ekress-san smiled like she was embarra.s.sed.
“It’s nothing, I was just thinking about the words I just said. Gann-niisan is working hard towards his new path and Gingus is working hard to redeem himself yet, I’m just living the way I want to.
I was just thinking, if this is alright.”
“No, it’s fine. Shuri-kun, it’s really ok. This is a problem I brought upon myself after all.
If I look at it from a different point of view, all three of us are walking down the path that we had wished for. It’s strange right? That I’m the only one to be troubled by this.”
Wrong, is what I want to say, but it won’t come out.
Ekress-san is still, up till now, struggling in a different way to Gann-san and Gingus-san.
Faking her gender, doing things she didn’t want to, and now she has been released from that curse.
In my opinion, I think that right now, although Ekress-san has been released from her shackles, her curse, she’s lost her way seeing all the countless possibilities lying in front of her.
If this continues, it might be good for her to finish off half of what she has been doing until now.
If it comes down to it, it might be good for her to find someone she likes, and get married.
She even be able to find something new, by starting down a different path.
However, I cannot be the one to tell her that.
No matter how close I think we might be, there are still some things I cannot intrude myself in.
If it was just some normal worries then, I can help, but if you’re talking about her future then….
No, wait? Haven’t I already heavily involved myself in a bunch of people’s future?
…. To keep to myself and not say anything is, already absurd.
Thinking about thinking how I should tell her, we had already returned back to the entrance of the castle before I opened my mouth.
During the way here, although Ekress-san would be smiling, she would be giving off a gloomy atmosphere somehow.
I didn’t want such a gloomy atmosphere around Ekress-san.
“Do you plan to hand over that knife to Gann-san right now?”
“Eh? No….I was thinking of giving it to him after he finished work….”
“In that case, please wait in the dining hall for me.”
I run off, heading for the kitchen.
In the kitchen, Gann-san was preparing for dinner.
“Oh, you’re back. How was shopping with Ekress?”
Gann-san asks with a smile on his face.
“Yes. Well, I don’t think it went terribly.”
“I see, in that case I’m relieved.”
“However, I have something like a question for Ekress-san.”
Gann dubiously questions.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s a problem concerning her future. In order to solve that problem,”
I lightly tap on Gann-san’s shoulder and said.
“I need both you, and Gingus-san’s help.”
“So that’s why you called Ore-sama over. And? What do want from Ore-sama?”
We called Gingus-san over in a hurry. This was a job for everybody.
Explaining the situation, Gingus-san gladly accepted my task.
Even though the two of them fought that much, I’m relieved because it seems they were able to reconcile.
“I have something to say to Ekress-san, but in order to tell her, we have to do this quickly.”
What I had prepared for this was, a lot of skin and filling.
Yes, dumpling skin and filling, desu.
There weren’t any supermarkets or anything here, so I had to make the dumpling skin from scratch. Kneading, stretching, cutting and shaping the flour into a circular shape.
As for the filling, I’ve prepared three different ones.
The first is normal, bok choy and pork.
More specifically, bok choy, pork, garlic, and ginger.
Cutting the bok choy into tiny pieces then draining the water. The garlic and ginger were also finely cut.
And then we mix in the pork, and salt and pepper, which had been kneaded until it’s become sticky.
After that, we add wine, nutmeg etc. to season it up.
The second type is chives.
It’s made from grounding beef, pork, chives and leek.
After finely chopping the chives and leek, we add wine, salt and pepper, garlic, and ginger to the meat, chives and leek, and then knead it until it becomes sticky.
Lastly, we have the vegetable dumpling. We won’t add any meat, just vegetables.
The ingredients will just be bok choy and cabbage.
Eh? You’re wondering if it’ll still taste good without any meat? Tsk, tsk, tsk, even if you have no money, have no meat, as long as you’re creative with the filling of the dumpling, it can be as delicious as you like.
We finely cut the vegetables and then get rid of the moisture. Afterwards we add some salt and drain the rest of the water.
Then we add a soup made from ginger, garlic and chicken stock.
Truthfully speaking, it would be better to add soy sauce and sesame oil here as well, but this’ll have to do since there isn’t any.
That’s all three.
I laid all three out in front of Gingus-san and Gann-san.
“Now then, let’s start wrapping.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, let’s wrap these up like this.”
Leading by example, I take some of the filling with the bok choy and pork, and made a shape, folding in the dumpling wrapper.
To make this shape requires practice, lots of practice. In any case, it won’t work if we don’t make enough.
I made around five of them, as an example.
“Now then, please copy me.”
“Wait a second. I understand why Gann would do that, but why do I have to do it? I won’t be able to make them very well.”
Gann-san understood and accepted it, but Gingus-san hesitated.
What is he scared of at this point?
“Ore-sama won’t be able to make great looking dumplings like you.”
Hearing Gingus-san’s troubled tone, I reply with a smile.
“Even if they don’t look great, the whole point is to try your best.”
“Is that so…. Well, if this will help Ekress then, let’s give it a shot.”
With that, Gingus-san grabs the dumpling wrapper and filling, and started to learn by watching me.
Gann-san began in just the same way.
Seeing the two of them, I called out to the others.
“Come now everybody. Watch me, and make some dumplings please. I’ve made plenty of dumpling skin and filling. Tonight’s main dish will be dumplings. Since we need to make a lot, please work hard.”
‘Understood’ they answered and my subordinates started to work as well.
Yet, here stood a conflicted person.
“Um, uh, us… as well?”
That’s right, they were the helpers that Princess Tebis had been talking about this morning.
It seems that these people have been helping out since lunch time.
According to Gann-san, ‘In my eyes, they’re thugs who came here to steal our techniques.’
Well, since it would help me if they helped out, he tolerated it.
Although, Ekress-san did say in the afternoon about how important techniques, and skills were.
“Yes. This dumpling…. This dish is a type of “Dimsim”. It’s a dish where you use the skin, and wrap the filling, made with your ingredients, inside.
If you were to put this to use then, you could make various types of skin and filling and thus, Princess Tebis’ repertoire would also increase.”
“It’s just that, for these type of dishes, if you don’t make a lot of them, you can’t present them very nicely. Since you’ve come all this way, please practice making some here.”
“That’s a given. Our only purpose here is to learn after all.
Come on, let’s start!”
It seems that the helpers are also trying their best to make dumplings. They really are helpful.
At any rate, we have to make enough for the people who are working in the castle as well!
There really is a lot to make…. I would never be able to do it on my own. Even if I made the skin and the filling, the most important part, the amount, is not something a single person can accomplish.
Fuhaha, let’s make some dumplings!
“Now then, should I cook it?”
I had quickly made tens of dumplings, and prepared to cook them.
Using both a Magically Engineered Stove and a Frying pan, I added heat to them.
After heating the pan, I drip some oil in and fry the dumplings.
Is what I would normally do, but since the others would also be eating this time, I’ll make it in a slightly more normal way.
First I’ll boil some water.
Then, I heat up the pan, and pour some oil in, temporarily stop the heat and then lay down the dumplings.
After that, I pour the boiling water into the pan, turn up the heat again and put on the lid.
To steam before frying. Using a medium fire instead of a strong one. These may be the key here.
And then, once the water’s about gone, I lift up the lid to check.
Once it’s all gone, lower the heat, pour a little bit of oil on the rim of the pan and let it slowly enter in from the sides of the dumplings.
Afterwards, you tilt the pan to spread the oil around, and patiently wait until it’s finished.
Once it’s finished, you plate it, and it’s done.
“….Ah, that’s the one Ore-sama made.”
Gingus-san looked on from the side and said, seeing the finished dumplings.
“It looks a bit off….”
“And this one’s mine.”
Once again from his side, Gann-san contributed.
“At the very least, my ones look better than Gingus’.”
“Hah, Ore-sama’s ones are properly folded at the ends just like Shuri’s. Your’s Gann? They’re probably just squeezed closed.”
“The h.e.l.l you say? It looks more or less right.”
“Nope, it’s a failure if it doesn’t have these folded parts.”
“…..It looks so weird.”
Gann-san and Gingus-san laughed together.
“Ore-sama’s ones look better.”
“Hmph, then I’ll just quickly make a whole lot more.”
It made me relieved, seeing the two of them talking as they make their dumplings.
“And, is this the so called, dumplings?”
Since we made enough to give to Ekress-san, Gingus-san, Gann-san and I all went to Ekress-san’s room.
Ekress-san had changed in her room, and was looking at us suspiciously, but perhaps seeing the food we were holding, agreed to let us in.
This time, Gann-san and Gingus-san asked me, and so we all came together.
“Here you go, please try some.”
“Hmmm, I’m not quite sure what you’re thinking, but there’s no harm in trying some I suppose.”
I handed a fork over to Ekress-san and a plate which had the dumplings on it.
Ekress-san quickly brought the dumpling to her mouth, took a few bites and said.
“Yeah…. It’s good.”
And then, she brought another one to her mouth, this time looking shocked.
“Hm? This one’s different…. It has a very strong chive’s smell…. And this one doesn’t taste like it has any meat….”
Eating one dumpling after another, she smiled.
“I see. Although they all look the same, they’re different on the inside.
This is… how should I say this… rather normal. But it’s delicious. This one is bok choy and meat, right? I never thought that these two could taste so well together.
This one…. Has a very strong chives taste. It smells great…. Makes me happy when I eat it.
This last one… doesn’t have meat, right? However, even if it doesn’t have meat, it’s still a dumpling. Since it doesn’t have the fat from the meat, it’s quite refreshing to eat.”
“Yes, there’s a lot of variation and it’s very delicious. Every one of them are top-quality.”
And said that.
Hearing that, I pointed to two dumplings and said.
“This one, was made by Gann-san.”
“This ugly looking one?”
“And this one was made by Gingus-san.”
“Hm, this one looks better, but the amount of filling inside kept changing.”
Ekress-san smiled wryly.
“However, they were all delicious right?”
“Yes, absolutely. Leaving the shape of it alone, it seems this was made just for me as well.”
“….Ekress-san. This is what I think.”
Ekress-san is currently lost in her own path. I wonder if this should be allowed to go on.
“Dumplings are delicious, no matter what shape it looks like, or what filling it has. There are plenty of variations above this after all.
Gann-san found the path to cooking.
Gingus-san chose to walk forth a path of redemption.
No matter what shape is has, how they tread their life, that way of living is beautiful because it has a belief.
Ekress-san. I know that you’re lost, and don’t know what path to tread.”
Thinking and struggling. Getting lost, and stopping.
In that case.
“Why don’t you open up your heart for your precious family members, these two, who have already chosen their path to walk, and talk about your problems.”
Isn’t it alright to rely on your family, who will support you?
“Until now, maybe the three of you have always done your best by yourself. Because of that, you have a habit of always doing things by yourself. You’ve gotten used to having to somehow rely on yourself.
I don’t think you have to worry over things by yourself anymore.
Why don’t the three of you gather together like this, and speak your hearts out?”
In the end, even if the three of them are close, I don’t think they’ve ever met each other halfway before.
Right until recently, rather than rely on each other, they would order each other. Rather than trust each other, they would hate each other.
And now, even if it’s just a little bit, they’re losing their bond as well as their will to speak with each other.
Even if they don’t fight, they don’t look at each other.
That’s not good.
Once they make peace with each other, I want them to be able to compromise, not fight and be able to face each other again.
“Besides, I think you understand after eating the dumplings, but I think all the dumplings are delicious.
Just like that, no matter what path you choose, Ekress-san, all of them are bound to be wonderful.
Just like how dumplings are delicious because they’re dumplings.
You’re Ekress. That’s why I can believe in you.”
After I say that, Gann-san and Gingus-san escape, deciding to run out of the room.
“The three of you should talk later. We’ve made a lot after all. As the three of you keep poking at each other, don’t you think that you would be able to talk to each other about the things that you normally wouldn’t be able to?”
Leaving those words behind, I left the room.
“….Now then, time to clean up I guess.”
Muttering that, I head towards the kitchen.
It’s the three of them, and I’m sure Ekress-san would also want to clear away her worries.
Absent-mindedly, I hold onto that belief.
The next day Ekress-san looked completely refreshed.
Somehow, it seems that she’s found something she wants to do. That’s great.
Gann-san too, was holding onto a new knife, flaring with spirit.
(Author’s note: I truly apologize for not updating in such a long time.
On this occasion, this Web novel “Cook of the Mercenary Corp” is TODAY (i.e. a week ago) on sale!
There’s a different development from the Web version, a new character and been rewritten.
The artist is, Shiki Doushi(??). They have drawn some great art.
If you find it on the shelves, then please, take a look.
Also, I’ve started a twitter.
This name is Kawai Kou, ID is @game_tripper.
I look forward to seeing you there as well.)
(TL note: Hey look an update lol.http://omnivorescookbook.com/recipes/how-to-make-chinese-dumplings)
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