“Alright, let’s dig in.”
It’s not like you’re getting any, Muu.
You’ve had dinner already. You can wait ‘til I’m done.
It feels like I’m enticing it, but I cut the steak with my fork and knife.
Oh? It’s super tender. I mean, I knew that before, but still.
Like a hot knife through butter.
It’s as if there isn’t any gristle at all.
You can see the nicely charred exterior and the beautiful pink center in the cross-section.
The juices flow out, showing that it’s not been overcooked. Actually, isn’t there too much juice leaking out?
I wonder if it’s not actually Mollifying Poison seeping out. I’ve gotta check carefully to be sure.
... mm. It’s definitely not poison.
But I can’t be sure with just sight and smell. I’ve gotta make sure by tasting it.
I skewer a big bite of the steak with the fork and just as I was about to bite into it... it starts melting in my mouth. It’s way softer than expected.
When I was a corporate slave, I figured I had to treat myself once in a while, so I went and got the best steak I could... this is just like that A5 Kobe beef steak I had.
The marbling would melt in your mouth and then perform a symphony of flavors on your tongue. By the gods, this is heavenly.
‘Hmm? I am not sure if I would feel the same as you if I were to eat it like that. Meat is best enjoyed by ripping bites off with your teeth, is it not?’
You could say we enjoy our steaks differently.
‘Aye, indeed... I am sharing your experience right now. The meat dissolves in the mouth... not unlike a high-quality White Buff roasted alive. How great it is to be able to relive that with an inexpensive cut of meat.’
I don’t exactly know the monster he’s talking about, but Veno’s demonstrating it to me.
He’s sharing the flavor with me.
I’d rather you cut that out. I don’t wanna taste the raw flesh of a monster just killed.
‘I understand. But, is this what you would call “well-marbled” in your world?’
Yeah, that’s it.
I take bite after bite of my meat, trying to dissect its deliciousness.
The Mollifying Poison had dissolved the collagen and fat... or something like that.
If it made this cheap slab of meat so juicy and tender, imagine how delicious it would be doing this to a quality monster steak.
Discovering new ways to enjoy the food around me might just be fun.
There’s still the stir fry and soup waiting for my taste test.
Hmm... the flavor and spice from the herbs are strong, but different than something like a curry.
Unfortunately, the soup is the exact same.
It’s got the texture of that ang’eld stuff I picked with Arleaf. It’s pretty alright.
I might be on the lam soon, but before that, at least I can enjoy a few more good meals.
“Oh, alright, I’ll make you some too since it tastes fine.”
“But once you try some of this, you’ll never want to have meat raw ever again.”
‘You should not feed it such delicious food. Monster will never go back once they have a taste for the good things in life.’
What are you monsters? Cats?
‘cause once you feed cats the good stuff, they’ll never want the normal crap again.
I remember back in the day, the cat my parents had was like that.
Well, it’s not like Muu’s a cat. And since he’s only had raw meat and mushrooms, it’d be nice for him to try something else.
Plus, he worked so hard today.
Feeling kinda generous, I cook up another Wild Boar Steak with Mimosa for Muu.
I even cut it up into bite-sized cubes so it’s easier for it to eat.
Muu wolfs the meat down and its eyes glimmer at me as if to say, “Is there more?” It happily tippy taps with its feet while the mouth on its cap drools like a waterfall. Muu really can’t contain its delight.
It joyfully calls out to me after inhaling the meat.
Seeing how happy he is means more than anything to me.
With the word “poison” in its name, it’d be common sense to think that eating Mollifying Poison-marinated meat would be dangerous to you... but all that matters is that it’s tasty!
I used Detect Poison on the steak inside and out and it came out negative.
Yeah, it’s super weak against fire and heat.
Not only that, but it even breaks down the protein and transforms the fat. This stuff is great for cooking.
The only problem now is what to do with the monsters we slay.
It’s a pain to dress the carcasses, but not only is Veno able to consume them, I too am able to eat them now.
‘Good on you. Our survival is essential, but you must not neglect your meals.’
Ah, but Veno can have the rotting flesh of zombie dogs.
It doesn’t matter how much it’s been soaking in Mollifying Poison, I still don’t want to anything spoiled.
Even if I can’t get food poisoning with Poison Absorption.
‘How dare you! Do not think that I would eat rubbish! I may be able to digest spoiled meat, but I will not overlook your attitude!’
Ah, Muu didn’t touch the stir fry and the soup.
Maybe it thought the anti-bacterial effects of the herbs would be bad for its tummy.
We sure had fun with our food today.
The man who spoke of dreams of reclamation brandishes his sword, retreating nary a step in the face of fiendish monsters.
Behind him lies the remnants of decimated elvish forces.
He has but little strength left to fight on.
The men had fought to protect the elves.
The man, riddled with wounds, props himself up with his sword and doggedly trudges towards the general of the monsters, showing his fighting spirit with each step he takes.
“I cannot stop here. But you and your selfish ideals to destroy humanity must be stopped!”
“I will brutally slaughter you for being such a pain!”
After an arduous battle, the man who spoke of dreams of reclamation lands a fatal blow against the monster general.
Like a flash of lightning, he dashes forwards and runs his sword through the enemy’s torso.
“Say your prayers!”
“Guh... I don’t believe it—me, being the one driven into a corner... however, I shall not die here!”
With a loud scream, the general creates a black sphere that all his minions get sucked into.
The leader of the monsters visibly heals with every minion that gets sucked in.
“Despicable! You would do this to your own kind?!”
“They become my strength! It is their honor to! Now that I am more powerful than ever and you on the verge of dying, let’s see if I can’t win!”
The general, after absorbing all his minions, shows off... only to have Bless casted upon him.
It was casted from the being whose point of view I’m looking through.
“Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah! B-Blasts! Damn you! How dare you betray us?!”
“Do not lump me in with you. I am a dragon. I will not stand for you treating me as your equal. Furthermore, you have gone overboard. To sacrifice your own subordinates for your victory? You are even more of a fool than the foolish humans. You have vowed to make a world for monsters, yet you act like such?”
“What are you saying?! If I die, we lose everything. They can be replenished, so what is sacrificing a few pawns for the world? For the world, for the end of this war, for the extermination of the human race—at any cost. Yes, I shall be the one to found a new monster empire.”
“How foolish to absorb all monsters and their powers into your own body and then to use it as the framework of the world. It would be a stagnant world. Even as a neutral party, I must do what I can to oppose that.”
“Heh. You have lost to that man. What makes you think you are a match for me?”
“I wonder. I do have this in my hand though.”
A sapling appears in a flash of bright light.
“Th-The sapling! What do you think you’re going to do with it?!”
“Stop feigning ignorance. You must know. After all, if there are two things to which you are weak to, it is barriers and the power of the world tree. All I must do right now is to use that power. Once I call upon the powers of the world tree sapling, you shall be annihilated.”
“H-Hmph. And then what?! What will happen by defeating me? You will end up in another foolish war against the humans. What do you stand to gain from this?!”
The dragon amiably fixes his eyes at the man who spoke of dreams of reclamation.
There is nothing greater than for such remarkable humans to rediscover normalcy and their everyday lives amidst times of turmoil.
“Silence. At the very least, my influence on the world tree will change its power. It will not function in the same manner as before.”
“Wh-What are you going to do?! Don’t tell me you’re going to something that dangerous! I’ll never allow it!”
The man who spoke of dreams of reclamation bluntly shouted at the dragon.
It is certain true that he is stronger than the being through whose point of view I’m looking. It is a sore spot, but the dragon would not deny it.
“It is nothing particularly dangerous. I am merely changing forms in order to change the world tree and awaken its powers. Aye... I know not when, but I shall surely arouse. There are no guarantees that you shall still be alive when I do so but let us make a promise. A man with foolish dreams goes on to create his own nation, and that nation—”
“Stop joking! That will bring happiness to no one!”
“I know. But I no longer have any other options. The future of this nation and my domains... I leave it all up to you.”
The sapling coils around the dragon’s chest in a blinding light, absorbing all the strength and mana he has.
Finally, the dragon unleashes the power of the world tree, something universally hated by all monsters.
“Ridiculous! You bastard! You’re nipping the future of all monsters in the bud! Mark my words! May it take centuries or millennia, we shall come for you! Consider that a prophecy! Prepare yourself! Gaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
The being whose point of view I’m looking through savors the monster’s death throes before finally losing all consciousness.
What remains are hopes for the future and memories with the people. The dragon drifts into a peaceful slumber, into calmness.
A dream within a dream... or at least so thinks the dragon. It is world in which nothing happens.
The man who spoke of dreams of reclamation—still devoted to helping all problems around him—joyfully enjoys his meal, engaging in friendly conversation.
Seeing how things went better than expected, the smiles on people’s faces, and how they lead happy lives, the dragon is satisfied with his modest accomplishment.
Though slightly sad that he is not able to join them, he is able to see this blissful dream unfold... unfolding in his deep slumber.
It’s been three days since Muu’s joined the party.
I realize that our fights have gotten much easier thanks to Muu,
We can even venture deep into the swamp now.
However, leveling up has proven to be difficult.
Though we’ve prioritized hunting in the swamp, we’ve encountered noticeably fewer monsters in these past few days.
We should consider heading deeper into the dungeon too.
Or perhaps we could take on a few slaying requests...
But then that comes with its own problems too.
I may be able to recover in the swamp water, but Muu’s doesn’t have that luxury.
What we can fight in a day is limited to however much stamina Muu can regenerate.
If we engage in a battle for too long, I can visibly tell when it runs out of stamina. And that’s a tough fight if it does.
Muu may be tough, but it still needs some way to recover.
With the fertilizer Veno gave us, Muu can keep on fighting for a little longer, but what if he tires out in a critical moment?
I worry about Muu and his recovery.
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