Tsuki – Extra 62: The endless path of Mio

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“Wait, Mio, what did you say just now?” 

“? I said I want to try making this thing called curry first.” (Mio)

“…”

“What is it, Tomoe-san? How about stating clearly what is it you want to say?” (Mio)

Mio had been freed from eternity and extremes. 

Having obtained Makoto (or at least that’s what Mio thinks) after becoming his follower, she was now satisfied, but it was only recently that another revolution came upon her. 

She was given the genius idea of making your own food by another follower of Makoto, Tomoe. 

Eating the things that you find -Mio thought that was the obvious and eternal reality, but this moment had destroyed her common sense. 

If she makes her own food, she will always be able to eat the ideal food with the ideal taste. 

For Mio, wandering establishments to eat is fun, and it is also fun to search for the things that are the closest to the tastes of her master Makoto, but she was also hit by the reality that it at the same time isn’t easy to find the food that perfectly fits.

But if it is making it…you can make any taste as you please. 

Mio is clearly one of the powerful entities in this world, so she can’t even think of an ingredient that she wouldn’t be able to obtain. 

Not only would she be able to satisfy herself, but also the stomach of Makoto.

For Mio, this is without a doubt a revelation. The perfect plan.

…Aside from the fact that she thinks she can create any kind of dish with any flavor she wants while ignoring all the process that comes with it. 

In the view of Tomoe, it is not like she herself will be the one making it, so she didn’t see any issues in Mio being interested in cooking. 

She instead thought that if she could use this as an excuse to throw Mio the work related to that area like the ingredients and the cooking, it would be most satisfactory. 

Until Mio proposed to try a hand at curry, gyoza, and ramen as her first dishes, that is.

They are all names of dishes brought out in Japanese households. 

There’s no doubt it came from the memories of Makoto. 

Mio doesn’t even know about the dishes of this world and has not held a kitchen knife either, and yet, she is suddenly trying to tackle the cuisine of a parallel world. 

Impending doom was clear to the eye -and a big one at that. 

You could say it was natural for Tomoe to try and stop this without hesitation. 

“Mio, you don’t even know what cooking even is yet, right? There’s order in everything. Even the people who have cooked for a decent amount of time find recreating the dishes in Waka’s world difficult. But that’s natural since it is not the cuisine of this world-ja. You get what I am trying to say, right?” (Tomoe)

“?” 

Mio tilted her head cutely. 

It is because she actually doesn’t understand what Tomoe is saying that she can do such an innocent face without a single ounce of bad intentions. 

“You gotta be kidding me-jaro.” (Tomoe)

Mio was not trying to pick a fight here, she was completely serious here, and that left Tomoe speechless.

She loves period dramas so so so so so so so so much…to the point that overlapping several adjectives wouldn’t be enough to express her feelings, but even with that, if she were to be asked whether she can do a great job in a sword battle using a katana, she would be modest and say that she can’t do it as well. 

But Mio is different. 

She believes she can do it and doesn’t doubt it. 

“I just have to follow the steps in the memories of Waka-sama, right? If I just imitate it with similar ingredients, I should be able to do it to a decent degree-desu wa.” (Mio)

“…No, how do you plan on imitating a taste solely from their looks-ja?” (Tomoe)

“Fufufu, what a strange thing to say.” (Mio)

“??” 

“If you use vegetables and meat to make it look the same, the taste will also be the same. It looks the same after all.” (Mio)

“As if!” (Tomoe)

“But…cooking is about cutting the corpses of living beings, grilling them, pouring oil, and mixing, right? As for taste, it would be salt? Just have to adjust the amount and we will manage somehow. You complicate things too much, Tomoe-san.” (Mio)

“…”

It was at this moment when Tomoe turned the gears in her brain to the utmost limit. 

She thought that she must absolutely avoid herself and her master Makoto from consuming this. 

Her thoughts first went through the route of having Mio give up on cooking, and at the end, she settled on how she would manage to make Mio understand her own lack of ability. 

“Then, I will go search for ingredients.” (Mio)

“Wait.” (Tomoe)

“…Geez, what is it?” (Mio)

“Right now, there’s a decent amount of races in Asora. Orcs, Lizardmen, Arkes, and even hyumans come and go to a decent extent.” (Tomoe)

Regarding hyumans, it is not plural, but actually singular. 

It is only Lime Latte who Tomoe is training to be a spy. 

“What about it?” (Mio)

“First, we will find people within the races that aren’t picky eaters, and have them taste test your most confident creations. It is something that will be entering the mouth of Waka. We must be careful of anything. Of course…hmm, it is not like I am doubting your skills, and I trust your taste testing as well. But just in case.” (Tomoe)

“Taste test?” (Mio)

Mio tilted her head cutely again.

That gesture of hers already looked like something unknown and fearsome for Tomoe. 

Taste testing is by no means a term that a cook would tilt their head at. 

“Anyways! It will be tough to suddenly make several dishes at once, so let’s narrow it down to one first! 10 people should work… 1/10th of what everyone would normally eat-ja. Got it?” (Tomoe)

If she were to bring stuff on Mio standards, things could get crazy with 10 people. 

Tomoe also tried to limit the amount in order to create a defensive wall before it enters the mouth of Makoto. 

It is sad, but that wall is almost certain to fall, so Tomoe decided it was fine for now as long as it didn’t reach Makoto and herself. 

“…Understood. Since the opportunity is there, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hear the opinions of others before Waka-sama eats. I wouldn’t be able to have him partake in it on the off-chance that it is not tasty after all.” (Mio)

“Yeah, yeah! That’s right-jaro. I am glad you get it.” (Tomoe)

“Then, I will be going.” (Mio)

“Be careful. You can take your sweet time testing, okay?!” (Tomoe)

Mio went outside in high spirits.

Thinking about it normally, she should be heading to the fields or the forests.

She might even exit Asora and go to the wasteland. 

Since she is trying to recreate the food of the parallel world, it is clear that the chances of it are in Asora. 

There’s no way Mio would leave to the wasteland…is what Tomoe thought as she scratched her head. 

She thought that she said something careless here. 

“First, I will get a number from the Orcs, Lizardmen, and…Eldwas…and let’s get one Arke. Lime as well. That guy should have tastes similar to Waka…” (Tomoe)

Tomoe began to select the sacrifices. 

She was also half prepared to take a bite herself at worst. 

The lucky ones that will be tasting the most auspicious first meal made by Mio had been decided. 

◇◆◇◆◇◆◇◆

There was a plate that far surpassed imagination. 

(I did ask Waka just what kind of dish curry is, and he said that it is a dish where you can eat tasty meat and vegetables with a spicy sauce. Honestly speaking, his explanation was so broad that I couldn’t tell what was the correct answer at all. There’s no choice but to have Waka and…a hyuman with a palate similar to him, and have them use their sense of taste to see which one is the closest to memory, and then recreate it from there. She has taken an interest in cooking, so if 10 or so people test it out, there should be at least 1 who remains sane…) (Tomoe)

Tomoe was somewhat interested in curry. 

That’s why she asked the details to Makoto because it would be necessary for the judging. 

Tomoe also tried probing Makoto to see if Mio had asked him about curry, but Mio hadn’t asked any questions about curry as if it were natural.

“Mio? Curry? What do you mean by that?” (Makoto)

The response of Makoto had dyed this day in despair. 

Preparations are perfect.

Mio didn’t mistake the amount needed and properly made enough curry(?) for the number of people. There was clearly a whole lot of white something wriggling around, and on top of that white something, there’s light brown sauce of something. 

For some reason, a shrill sound was heard from that thing.

The taste testers were speechless. 

There’s not a single trace of happy emotions from being in front of food.

Confusion and unease, and also full of fear. 

Even Tomoe was shocked speechless by this, and it was such a pitiful sight that it even made her think she should treat the taste testers (the sacrifices) to something nice later. 

Tomoe faced away at the sad gazes that were saying ‘this is not what we were told’ and looked at the corner of the ceiling. 

“This is one of the favorites of Waka-sama; a dish called curry rice. I plan on making this for Waka-sama too, but we decided to have you all taste test it first. Taste it well and give me your opinions without reservation. Now, dig in.” (Mio)

Favorite?

Waka-sama… Ah. 

Are we going to eat this? 

There’s someone who saw a sparkling something within the light brown that’s clearly not what you should be able to find in food. 

After hearing the word Waka-sama, there were some who noticed that this is not for taste testing or for poison tasting, but an emergency measure in order to protect him somehow, and that they are sacrifices for the sake of that. 

Even if they are told to dig in, there were some whose hearts and bodies were not moving at all, and were doubting if they could really come out of this alive after eating that. 

No one can move. 

The only one smiling is Mio.

“…*Cough*.” (Tomoe)

““!””

Tomoe made a very transparent cough. 

The pitiful lambs that had accepted the taste testing realized that they have no choice but to steel their hearts. 

And then, they move. 

The first one to scoop the thinly cut vegetable, sauce, and the white something with a spoon and trembling hand was an elder dwarf.

It was Beren who felt especially indebted towards Tomoe. 

“Guh! N-No…! Mio-sama, I’m digging in!!” (Beren)

“Yes, go ahead.” (Mio)

“Guboe!! Gah…t-this is…boagh!” (Beren)

Metallic taste, fishy, and wriggling things that you would probably never eat raw, and also a nauseating smell. A sweetness like that of medicine. 

“Judging from the video, I am sure the green thing is a gem. That’s why I chose a nice looking green one and I sliced it thin. It took a lot of work to make them soft.” (Mio)

“No…way. You used Soft Emerald as food…?! Even though it can rarely be found even in the wasteland…” (Lime)

Beren was already on the verge of falling from his seat and didn’t have energy to talk, so Lime took his place in explaining. 

When he tried scooping it with his spoon, the green thing certainly did have weight like that of a vegetable and was sparkling. 

It is a really rare gem, and it goes without saying that it is not used as an ingredient for food.

Lime wanted to cover his ears from the voices of anguish that could be heard. 

How can this be? There’s not a single one who has been able to take a second spoon of it. 

You often hear stories of people eating bad food out of love, affection, or loyalty. This falls exactly into those cases, and a variety of races took a bite of the dish with a good amount of resolve, and yet, even the Arke that has a deeper relationship with Mio was convulsing after a large spoonful. 

And the most unreasonable thing is that, as the tragedy spread, the mood of Mio was worsening. 

Lime Latte regretted from the bottom of his heart that he was a step late due to wasting his time in the explanation. 

He is the only one remaining.

(I owe them for picking me up. I owe them for training me! I didn’t accept the taste test here just to say I am sorry! As if I can embarrass Tomoe-neesan here!!) (Lime)

Lime was encouraging himself like that. 

The reality is that Lime was on the verge of having his heart broken from always being beaten half to death, so when he got an invitation for a meal in his free day by a strangely kind Tomoe, he jumped at the invitation completely, but he already cannot go back and redo it. 

He didn’t care what kind of excuses he had to use in order to make him accept himself from bringing that into his mouth.

“I am digging…in!!” (Lime)

The plate in one hand and the spoon in the other. 

The brave man, Lime, had resolved himself. 

His trembling hand was telling him ‘you have to stop’ with his fallen comrades at the corner of his vision, but he brought the curry rice of Mio to his mouth in one go.

Lime collapsed a few seconds later with his eyes rolling back together with his whole body. 

Right before he lost consciousness, he saw Tomoe directing a hand at him with a gesture of ‘Sorry’.

His throat didn’t recognize what was passing through it as food, and it was trying to flow back. 

Even so, Lime felt like he had answered the expectations of his superior even if only a bit…and he was happy about it. 

“…This is displeasing.” (Mio)

“Face reality. This is the result after gathering various people from different races that are not picky eaters-ja.” (Tomoe)

“Aren’t you just setting me up here, Tomoe-san?” (Mio)

Mio glared straight at Tomoe. 

Even when seeing everyone from the table out of commission, she seemed to still not be convinced. 

“…Then try eating it yourself. A taste test-ja yo. The cook would normally taste it first before serving it to others.” (Tomoe)

“Hmm…hn. It is true that it isn’t as tasty as I thought.” (Mio)

“…You can eat it? I see, right-ja no. For you, anything in this world can technically be food.” (Tomoe)

Tomoe suggested her to taste it herself in order to reprimand her, but Mio obediently ate it, and gave her opinion without any issues.

Her cooking path begins not from holding the kitchen knife, but from learning the basic skills of choosing what ingredient is edible or not. 

“But…is it to the point that they would faint in agony?” (Mio)

“Mio…the races here normally…” (Tomoe)

“?”

“Don’t eat minerals. Or more like, they can’t eat them.” (Tomoe)

“W-What?!” (Mio)

“By the way, sand too.” (Tomoe)

“?!” 

“That obviously includes Waka-ja.” (Tomoe)

“?!?! N-No way… Then Waka-sama was not joking…? He really hasn’t eaten ruins before?” (Mio)

“That goes without saying.” (Tomoe)

Mio falters. 

It was quite the shocking revelation for her. 

She thought that he meant he wouldn’t go out of his way to eat it or he was just making a joke there, but it was actually the truth, so that reaction of hers is understandable. 

Tomoe prevented the future tragedy of Mio inviting Makoto to rare ruins with the intention of it being a buffet. 

“Hey, Mio.” (Tomoe)

“…What? I am currently in terrible shock.” (Mio)

“There’s bread here.” (Tomoe)

What Tomoe took out from her bag was a small piece of bread the size of a butter roll. 

“…”

“Can you lightly bake these so that Ema and the others can bring them out for meals?” (Tomoe)

“Hah? Can’t that be easily done by warming them on a fire?” (Mio)

“Easy?” (Tomoe)

“Obviously!” (Mio)

“Then, please do.” (Tomoe)

“Hmph!” (Mio)

Mio snatched the bread away from the hand of Tomoe without being in that good of a mood and disappeared into the kitchen.

It would have been great if she could have done this from the beginning, but she probably wouldn’t have been able to make even a dent against that pointlessly high confidence of Mio unless she saw this tragedy with her own eyes. 

Whichever the case, it is also in part because she couldn’t let Makoto eat that thing that was an affront to all curry. 

Tomoe thought that she would be bringing out food like that of a child playing house, but what came out was something that went far beyond that. 

A sad tragedy. 

“Wakya—!! Why—?!!”

What rang from the kitchen was exactly what Tomoe expected. 

“So she really can’t even heat bread, huh. Even I can do something like that.” (Tomoe)

That was after being taught by Ema and burning about ten of them though.

“Hey, Tomoe-san! This bread burned away! What’s happening here?!” (Mio)

Mio came running back with jet black bread that still had fire sticking below. 

This is a cute sight for anyone aside from the person herself, but this is where the first big step of Mio as a cook began.

Dragging the experienced cooks of Asora and the famed cooks of Tsige, and at times the assassin-like girl…Mio slowly learned how to cook. 

Makoto doesn’t know that Mio’s ‘I worked hard’ had far more fearsome context than he could ever imagine. 

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