DARK MODE 

Monday, November 28, 2022 @

Chapter 20, Part 2

 The meal provided by Kizuki's family was barley rice. There was miso soup with only vegetables, pickles, and smoked meat. It is not too plain, but it is a far cry from what the Kizuki family eats, and it would be absurd to compare it to what I ate in my previous life. Especially white rice is something that I have only had a few chances to eat since I became a servant.
 
 In this respect, accompanying the princess in the capital certainly had its advantages. The Oumi family may have had some prestige, but the capital was a place where local products from all over the world gathered, and the land around the capital itself was fertile, so the price of rice was not so high.
 
 Therefore, ever since I came to the capital, rice was always white rice, and miso soup often contained tofu or deep-fried tofu, and fish such as sardines or willow leaf fish was often served as the main dish. To tell the truth, I was impressed. ...Hey, don't look at me like you pity people. In this world, the price of fish is quite expensive, you know.
 
 (Well, it makes me feel inferior...)
 
 I put my mask off in the corner of the room and silently eat my rice, staring at it with a stern gaze and letting out a small sigh.
 
 The gorgeous lacquered dishes were lined with an assortment of food that was incomparably more luxurious than mine. Soft-boiled rice with taro and lotus root simmered in dried bonito broth, clam soup with duck and turnip, fried egg and tofu, grilled salmon with salt, boiled spinach, seven kinds of pickles, and candied fruit with cold melon as sweetness... in this world, it was a feast itself. Not only the ingredients themselves, but especially the time and effort it takes to cook them in this world without electricity.
 
 "Stop looking at this food with such greedy eyes. You're not a child and I'm not going to give it to you."
 
 The gorilla-sama, who was enjoying such a feast with elegance, declared as soon as she noticed my eyes on her.
 
 Yes, our principal gorilla princess is in the middle of having breakfast in this room right now. There is no waiter in the room, by the way. Normally, there should be more than one waiter, but the only one in the room right now is a white fox who stands by the gorilla princess, except for me, who is eating silently with my weapon by my side in a corner of the spacious room as a guard... about 20 paces away...
 
 (...I wonder why this is happening...)
 
 After the gorilla princess went to my hut, I prepared myself and my first duty was to escort her during the meal. That in itself was fine, as I had done it several times before, but it was a different story when there was no one else around and I was also eating. Such a situation was unprecedented.
 
 "This is your punishment for making me come all the way here. You should stay there and watch me eat while you eat your meager food."
 
 The gorilla looks down at me with a condescending gaze while eating an omelet with elegant lacquered chopsticks. Oh, she has a bad character.
 
 (Although, it's not so bad for me...)
 
 Beside the gorilla, a half-youkai girl is sitting on her knees, staring at the food with a greedy look on her face. She had been punished by the gorilla for skipping breakfast at her own discretion and prejudice. It must be a hard punishment for a half-youkai, a growing child with a mountain of food in front of her and a sense of smell more acute than human. She was drooling. I mean, she's practically drooling.
 
 "Oh my, if she's looking at me with a pitiful gaze, why don't you share your lousy breakfast with her? Of course, I won't make it up to you."
 
 With a nasty smile and a provocative tone, the gorilla princess nails me. That's rather mean. What kind of villainess is she?
 
 "...personal attendant, come here....."
 
 I say this and beckon Shiro to come over to me, slightly dumbfounded inside, but not showing any concern. The girl who literally had her fingers in her mouth and a greedy look on her face pricked up her ears and tail at the sound of my voice.
 
 "Eeekk! Uh... well, I don't..."
 "Go on, quickly! You'll spoil my breakfast if you keep looking like a beggar there."
 
 The gorilla ordered the reserved half-youkai. The girl who comes to me as if running away, squinting her eyes and trembling at the predator-like look down on her...
 
 I offer her a bowl of miso soup with tofu, deep-fried tofu, and leek as ingredients.
 
 "I can't give you all of it. Just the soup."
 
 I can't be so forgiving as to be able to do everything for breakfast because of the training, the guards, and the gorilla's reckless demands. At best, I can only give her soup. If anything, an easily digestible, warm miso soup would be the best thing for a child.
 
 "Eh... But..."
 "Don't be shy. I have an agreement with Azuma-dono. I don't want to get killed."
 
 I'm scared to death that the overprotective former head of the Onmyou dormitory would find out about the no-food deal. It's a small price to pay to avoid it just by giving her some soup.
 
 "Ugh..."
 
 The fox glances at the gorilla. The peach-colored gorilla takes one look at the fox and begins to taste the clam soup as if she has lost interest.
 
 "There's no rush, just drink it and get back to work."
 
 I ordered the fox, who turned to me and looked up at me anxiously, then sipped the miso soup. I'm impressed, in a way, by the way, she sips the miso soup with such relish.
 
 "Hahh~... It's delicious."
 
 The girl sighs in satisfaction as she finishes the miso soup surprisingly quickly and her little red tongue licks her lips.
 
 She probably wasn't aiming for it, but the gesture was strangely glamorous. I was made aware once again that she was a beautiful fox with the good looks of an outsider, who had been chosen as a target heroine in the original game.
 
 "Are you satisfied with your hunger? Then get yourself back here. I didn't summon you here to play with you."
 
 The princess gorilla gives me a glare, somewhat unpleasantly. She shakes her shoulders and looks annoyed at the point out. I can't help her out with this.
 
 In fact, Shiro... considering her background and the harshness of this world, her current position is quite fortunate.
 
 The mere fact that she is a half-Youkai means that she could be attacked at any moment, but a nobleman named Kizuki Aoi has taken her into her service... it means that the half-Youkai girl is assured of her safety and, moreover, because she serves at her side, her treatment is much better than that of some random scullery worker. Well, her sudden recruitment is likely to cause jealousy among the people around. Moreover, considering that she was originally a part of a man-eating monster, even I, one of the few people who know the whole situation.... am stunned by what the gorilla princess did. In fact, knowing the whole story, I'm not surprised at all.
 
 (As was the case in the original game... she really is a moody person.)
 
 The reckless demands to the original protagonist, the randomness, the outlandish orders and decisions that she makes in her spare time without thinking of her surroundings... these are things that made her quite a trouble for me during my playing time. She always stirs up the situation with her outlandish suggestions and makes the likability of the heroine around the main character fluctuate so much that some of her fans call her orders "likability cyclone" or "flag crash" with a mixture of resentment. Of course, if all the flags and likability the player has built up are suddenly destroyed in one fell swoop, it's not so surprising.
 
 "...speaking of which, may I ask you something, Princess?"
 
 Suddenly, remembering her characteristics, I open my mouth with a slight feeling of foreboding. Of course, the laws of the game and this world do not always coincide perfectly. However, my intuition, or what I should call a sixth sense, based on my past experiences, has been alerting me. So, I ask her.
 
 "...It's very unusual for you to ask me. Will it be raining spears...or youkai tomorrow? I'm kidding. What is it?"
 
 Noticing my discomfort at the not-so-funny joke, the gorilla strokes the head of the white fox who comes back to her side, squinting her eyes with some amusement, and plays with her ears, prompting her to speak. The half-youkai whose ears are being played with has an itchy expression on her face.
 
 "I am sorry for not being able to respond to your early morning call. And what kind of a matter was it that you came all the way here yourself?"
 
 The only message that Shiro, the messenger, received was, "Call him and tell him to get ready as soon as possible." She did not mean to tell me to come here to eat. In other words, there must be a reason why she had to come to her early in the morning...
 
 "Oh, that. I was actually thinking of getting ready quickly and taking the ox cart out the back door. My uncle said I was too neglectful the other day. If you weren't playing such a 'nasty game,' I could have fooled 'her' into thinking I'd gone in the morning."
 "? What does that mean...?"
 
 As soon as I said that, I noticed the sound stepping in the distance. The sound that was gradually approaching was like a sprint down the corridor, and no one in this house could make that cheerful, somewhat joyful sound cross. In other words, it almost certainly belonged to a guest from the outside.
 
 "...truly, she's a very boisterous and noisy girl..."
 
 I heard the gorilla princess's low, contemptuous, cold voice. At the same time, I guessed who the owner of these footsteps was and why the gorilla-sama was trying to take me out so early in the morning. In short, it must have been a hassle.
 
 Someone stops in front of the sliding door of the room we are in. The not-so-large figure takes a deep breath nervously and opens the sliding door as if deciding to do something.
 
 "Good morning, my cousin (itoko-sama)! I am here on behalf of the Ako family, Murasaki!"
 
 The reddish-purple girl greeted the visitors with a simple, innocent greeting, her eyes shining with anticipation, longing, and joy. The daughter of the Ako family, a family of exorcists that has existed since ancient times and from which Kizuki Aoi's mother came, she is Aoi's cousin, the youngest of the seven siblings of the Ako main family... And there she was, the tragic sub-character, Ako Murasaki, who had driven many fans to the bottom of despair due to her miserable treatment in the game...

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