「Well then, let’s all eat together! 」
「I thought you were going to say that so I brought some salt with me!」
Toack answered to my suggestion as he took out a bottle of salt and some wooden skewers from his pockets.
I was wondering what kind of things he brought out from his house, but it seems like he had it well thought out.
「…Yeah, I’m hungry. Let’s cook them quickly and eat」
「You don’t get a share in this」
「That’s fine. I wasn’t going to ask you anyway since I feel sorry for you that you only caught five. I’ll ask Aldo since he caught way more」
Aisha provoked Toack to the point that he was grinding his teeth in anger.
Was she holding a grudge from the water fight? Her words to him were still full of thorns.
While I was having such thoughts, I started to clean the fish that we caught and killed, using the water from the stream.
Then, Flora approached me timidly.
「Umm, if it’s okay with you, can you treat me and Aisha to a meal? 」
「Oh, that’s fine. I can’t eat all of this by myself. Besides, I wanted to share this with everyone in the first place anyway」
「Thank you so much. I’ll help out as well」
I feel even more healed than usual from Flora’s kind words and blooming smile since the other two were just going at each other.
After we finished washing the five ayus that I caught and the three from Toack, everyone helped to put them on skewers and seasoned them with salt.
「We’re not eating the whiting[i]? 」
「That will be eaten by me alone at home」
Toack answered Aisha’s question bluntly as he set up a round stone fire pit and started the fire with a flint stone.
Well, it would certainly be too much work to cook the whiting here; just the ayus here would be enough.
The fire got bigger as Toack blew on it.
With the fire ready, we stabbed the skewers of ayus into the ground facing the fire.
There, I added some small finishing touches to the ayus.
「Oi, Aldo, what are you doing? 」
「Oh, if you grill them with their mouth open, it’ll make it easier for the moisture to come out through the head. And then, if you scrape out the gall bladder that’s located near their gills, you can tone down the unnecessary bitter taste」
「Oh, is that how it works? 」
「… I didn’t know that. I don’t really like it when it’s too bitter, so knowing that really helps, thanks!」
「I had no idea」
All three of them seemed to have no idea about that. I was starting to get a little embarrassed from them praising me.
「Well, it’s something that I learned in the past from a fellow adventurer」
It was something that Kiel had taught me. That guy really knows something about everything.
Ever since I started to live alone, I was finally able to see how attentive to detail Kiel was and how amazing the stuff he knew was.
I was supposed to know that already, but I couldn’t see it thoroughly back then.
If I meet him again, I would like to ask him lots more on cooking, everyday knowledge, tools and such.
He said that he might come visit me here in Nordende. I look forward to seeing him again…
As the stacked branches went *pak* *pak* as they burned, we waited for our ayus to cook.
Once the ayu’s moisture started to go, their bodies started to turn brown as their aroma started to waft through the air.
This fragrant smell of saltiness is irresistible.
「… Can’t it cook any faster? 」
Aisha said what was in everyone’s mind.
「…J-just a bit longer」
Flora was trying to calm her down, but her eyes too were glued onto the ayus.
「Ah! There you are, onee-chan! 」
I heard a voice of a young girl coming from behind me as I endured the aroma and waited for the fish to finish cooking.
When I looked behind me, there was a young girl with red hair styled in a side tail. She was wearing the same work clothes that Aisha wore for work.
「Ah, that’s Ena-chan, right? 」
Flora muttered as she looked at the young girl.
Ena is a name that had come up several times before.
She said onee-chan and that red hair with those work clothes…
「*chiit*… You’re here already, huh? 」
The “onee-chan” bluntly clicked her tongue.
「You’re saying that when you told me to give you until noon? When you just suddenly pushed all the work onto me and went to play?! 」
Ena walked over to us in quick strides.
Until noon she said.. well, even the afternoon is already half over. Aisha is slacking off by a wide margin.
「Your onee-chan is busy right now. Please come back later」
「Don’t treat me like a kid! Hora, we have to take care of the grapes so go back! It’s hard to do everything by myself when the field’s so big! 」
Somehow it seems that the family of the one who came up with the idea of this get together were the people who got screwed over the most.
「Ah, sorry for suddenly disturbing you guys. I’m Aisha’s little sister, Ena」
Perhaps she noticed us looking at her with bitter smiles, so she straightened her posture and gave us a formal greeting.
She is nothing like her older sister. She’s the serious little sister type just like I thought.
Maybe Flora and Toack were already acquainted with her; they returned her greetings comfortably.
However, Ena looked at me, who was an unfamiliar face to her, with a look of curiosity.
「Nice to meet you, I’m Aldo. I moved into this village recently. I’m currently working as a hunter. Let’s get along」
「Yes, nice to meet you, Aldo-san! 」
When I lowered my head, she also lowered her head in a hurry with a smile.
…She really is nothing like her older sister.
「It’s like she says, Aisha. You should go home. You have work to do, right? 」
Toack took this chance and said that to Aisha with a smirk. He did that not because he was thinking of Aisha’s family, but probabaly to get a bigger share of the salt-grilled ayu to bring home.
「Yeah! Thanks, Toack-san! Hora, let’s go home, onee-chan」
Ena was deeply touched by Toack’s words, as she tried again to get her older sister to go home.
「Hold on! I don’t want to go yet! At least let me eat this first! 」
「What do you mean by “this”…? Ohh! Salt-grilled ayu! 」
Ena said in a happy voice when she took a look at what Aisha was looking at.
Her tone completely changed from the one that she had up until now. This voice is one that better suited her age.
There’s no doubt that she is a fan of salt-grilled ayu. I guess for that part she takes after her sister.
Flora giggled, and Ena blushed in response.
「I’m indebted to Aisha, and there are still a lot of fish left, so it’s okay for you to join in too」
「…Ummm. Okay then… itadakimasuu」
Ena replied to my suggestion and then she silently took a seat next to Aisha.
「Hora, it’s ready」
Everyone’s faces lit up as they heard Toack’s voice.
The ayu that had been thoroughly cooked were golden brown in color and looked very delicious.
I can’t wait anymore so I took a bite right away.
The cooked, crunchy skin had a salty taste to it, but the white meat inside did not have a heavy taste at all. It was so good that it almost moved me to tears as I chewed. The combination of salt and the ayu’s mild flavor was a perfect match for each other.
「…Delicious. Salt-grilled ayu are the best, after all」
I muttered with a sigh of relief from it being too tasty.
「It’s really good, isn’t it?」
「….Ah, yeah it’s so good」
Flora was eating in small bites, while Toack was chomping it down.
And the remaining Aisha and Ena were silently eating as they sat next to each other.
They looked like copies of each other.
Looking at the sight of those two, we unintentionally cracked a smile.
Then, we also continued to eat as if we didn’t want to get left behind.
I could taste small hints of the unique bitter taste that belonged to the internal organs of the ayu, but it wasn’t bad since it was very mild.
「…Hmm? It’s not really bitter like it usually is」
Ena muttered as she finally took notice of that since she was fully absorbed in eating.
「Oh, that’s because I scraped out the gallbladder before we cooked it. The bitterness comes from the fluid that comes out of there, so you can tone the bitterness down if you take that part out」
「Heeeh~ I see. I like it like this!」
Ena said with a smile, and then she went back to eating the ayu.
Aisha, who was next to her, silently gave me a thumbs up. I also raised my thumbs in return. You can tell me properly with words, you know?
「Aldo, try using this」
Toack handed me some goji berries as he said that.
「Ohh, this sour taste is good with the ayu」
「Yup. What about you, Flora? 」
I squeezed the goji berries Toack gave me, and applied the sour fruit juice onto the ayu.
Then, I took a bite immediately.
The sweetness that came from the fatty portion of the body intertwined with the sourness as it weakened the saltiness from the fish. With this, I feel like I could go on forever and eat non-stop.
Flora also tried the same thing with the goji berries and then she took small bites of it.
She chewed with squinted eyes, as if it tasted like heaven.
「Heyy, what about me? 」
「Yes yes, here you go. Hora, you too, Ena」
「Thank you! 」
Toack handed some goji berries to Aisha and Ena.
It seems like eating the delicious ayu put him in a good mood. If you’re eating such yummy food, you would forget about the trivial things.
After that, we dispersed after finishing our ayu meal peacefully. And then, I went to share the big Ayu with Ergys-san.
Today was a fun-packed day. I would like to get together again with them sometime and have a chill day like this.
[i] just going to use whiting here for simplicity sake. It was the Sillago japonica, the big one that Toack caught last chapter