Chapter 38: Getting to know the horses! But then, the old man is way too versatile!
AN: You’re back my peaceful daily life! (´・ω・｀)
Today’s breakfast was vegetable terrine.
A terrine, to put it simply, is the western version of a nikogori.
It’s made in a completely different way from nikogori though. The original dish is usually baked inside rectangular-shaped porcelain pan called a terrine but fire was barely used in preparing the vegetable version.
The old man lined boiled cabbages inside a rectangular-shaped pan and stacked some baby corn, asparagus, zucchini, and other kinds of vegetables on top before coating it with a gelatin-like fluid that was made from chicken bone stock.
Vegetable, gelatin, vegetable, gelatin, that order was used until the layers reached the top of the pan where it was covered once more with the boiled cabbages.
After that, it was set aside in a cold and dark place, and once the gelatin has hardened, only then was it taken out of the pan.
With the way it looks, I can only see it as a large, rectangular-shaped cabbage roll. However, once you cut it open, a beautiful multi-colored design that is formed by the vegetables is shown, completing the beautiful look of a terrine.
「Gafu gafuu (Vegetables are tasty! Or rather, it’s sweet!)」
「Shaku shaku (Fumu, although the vegetables were properly heated with fire, it still has a crisp texture and shows no sign of falling apart in the slightest. Human food is formidable indeed nojya)」
There’s also the concentrated, unusual savory taste of the jelly.
Just as you start to feel like the vegetables aren’t enough, the thickened broth begins to dissolve on your tongue, making it seem like you’re eating a rich soup.
「Gafu gafu (Never mind the food review, all you need to know is that it’s tasty!)」
While we were wolfing down the food, old man James was looking at us while nodding. It would still be bad for anyone else to see Ren in her rat form so he doesn’t actually see her since she’s hiding in my fur.
「Wan wan! (Ou! It was really delicious, old man!)」
「Alright, since you know how precious these vegetables are, I have a question」
While saying that, the old man grabbed my head with his burly arms.
「Routa. Look at me in the eyes and answer me honestly」
「Wafuu!? (Fua!? Why are you angry!?)」
He can still exert such a menacing presence without saying anything like usual.
Even though I’m becoming more and more like a wild beast as I grow, I still can’t help but flinch whenever the old man does this.
His body is in no way bigger than mine but I don’t feel like I can win against the old man when he’s angry.
Chefs are really scary……
「W-wafuu wafuu! (W-w-what, what is it? Are you mad about me breaking into the cupboards? Or is it about the time when I took a lump of meat that wasn’t cured enough yet!? I was the one who caught that so I have the right to take it! Also, it was raw so I was not the one who ate it! I gave it to Garo and the others who were always doing their best! I’m sure they ate it to the bone so if you’re angry at someone, you should be angry at them! If you want, you can vent your anger on Nafra as well!)」
「Chuー (My dear, you really are the worst……)」
I just decided to ignore Ren who sounded exasperated.
This is a desperate situation after all.
You can only say something like that since you aren’t the one being covered in the pressure the old man’s exerting.
It’s like being a fish on the chopping board you know?
If I had sweat glands like humans do, I’m sure I would be sweating bullets right now.
Recently, he’s been looking at me while saying『You’ve also been growing a lot. I guess you’re ready to eatー……』
Why are you murmuring something like that!?
Were you just treating me like the perfect ingredient all along!?
Ojou-sama, if I suddenly disappear one day and you see meat that you’ve never eaten before served for dinner, that’s probably me.
Make sure you eat it properly okay?
No, well, the old man probably won’t do something like that.
……You won’t do that, right? You’re not going to cook the family’s beloved pet, right? Right!?
I looked pleadingly at the old man while thinking that.
「You, you don’t know anything about the fields, right?」
The old man released my face and asked me that.
「Wafu? (……huh? Fields?)」
It seems like he was mad about the fields.
I really don’t know anything about that you know?
My food snitching territory only consists of the kitchen and the storehouse after all.
I don’t even know where the fields are in the first place.
「I can see from your reaction that it’s not you」
「Wan (What’s the matter, old man? What’s happening to the fields?)」
The old man folded his arms and started thinking in front of me while I was sitting with my head tilted to the side.
「Alright, perhaps your nose will be able to help. Come with me for a bit」
「Kuーn? (What? What is it?)」
Although I still don’t have any idea what’s happening, I followed the old man.
I don’t have any plans right now after all.
Well, I was going to sleep until lunch but because of the old man, I’m no longer feeling sleepy.
The sun is still in the east so it’ll probably be a while till noon.
As for Ojou-sama, she has her lessons in the morning.
I’m not allowed to come into contact with her tutor so I can only meet with her once she’s done or during breaks.
And there’s still 3 hours to go till then.
I would usually just sleep and enjoy the sight of Zenobia-chan coming by to secretly pat me but I ended up having to come along with the old man.
I’ve been sneaking out of the mansion in the middle of the night after all so I can’t help feeling sleepy during the day.
「Chuー (You are usually just sleeping around after all, you freeloader)」
「Wafuu (You’re the one to talk, freeloader #2)」
By the way, we also have freeloader #3 who is Zenobia-chan.
She probably still plans to patrol the vicinity of the mansion as its guard, but how unfortunate, since there’s nobody who wants to cause harm to the members of our household.
There’s a demon wolf pretending to be a dog and an old dragon pretending to be a rat here after all.
…………we should be careful not to get subjugated.
「Chuー (Fumu fumu. I guess that’s the same as saying we are a couple1 then)」
I immediately denied her delusions.
Plus, that would mean that Zenobia-chan is included in that as well.
Zenobia-chan as a wife……? No way that’s happening.
「Chuー (Ku…… As usual, you are still playing hard to get my dear…… Well, let’s leave it at that for now)」
Stop trying to make passes at me whenever you have a chance. Seriously, stop it.
I feel like you’ll demand for us to copulate immediately when a day comes where I give you a vague reply.
「Hey, let’s go」
The old man opened the rear gate so I passed through it and then we continued along the path.
Once we reached a fork in the road, we turned right and kept walking along a slightly sloped passage. After a few minutes, the path opened up and we reached our destination.
「Wan (Oooh, it’s a field……!)」
It’s wider than I thought.
All sorts of vegetables were planted in the carefully arranged furrowed rows. There’s plenty of each variety as well.
These are probably more than enough to feed all of the residents of the mansion.
I wonder if the fresh vegetables in that terrine I had earlier were produced here.
Is the old man managing all of this?
「Heh. How is it? Pretty nice, right?」
「Wan wan! (Yeah! Old man! It’s amazing!)」
I wagged my tail as I admired the old man.
「Hihiーn2 (Oh my, is that the wolf? It’s rare for you to come here, isn’t it?)」
「Wafu? (Eh? Who is it?)」
Hearing a horse’s whinnying together with those words, I turned around to look.
There, I saw a fine looking wooden building that was built right next to the fields.
There were evenly divided rooms inside and two horses poked their head out of them.
I guess this the stables where the horses live.
Also, I wonder why he knows me?
「Hihiーn (My, oh my. You don’t know us even though we’ve been pulling you along all this time?)」
「Wan (Hmー? ……ah! I know you!)」
They were the horses that pulled the carriage we took every time we went to the lake.
The stable was wide and had a lot of partitioned rooms, but right now, only the two of them were here.
「Brrrrr (It’s the first time we’ve conversed, isn’t it? Let me introduce myself. My name is Illusive, and this is my wife Grace)」
「Hihin (Good day, large wolf-san)」
The horse right next to him said that with a quieter neigh.
I guess that means they’re a couple.
A brown horse is called Illusive, and a grey one is called Grace.
Okay, I’ve remembered it.
「Wan wan (I’m Routa. This little one is Ren. Nice to meet you. Also, I’m a dog, not a wolf. Anyway, once again, nice to meet you)」
I sat in front of the two horses with beautiful hair and introduced myself.
「Wan (Thanks for always pulling the carriage for us! ……it’s probably heavy with me in it though……)」
「Brrrr (Hahaha, it certainly becomes heavy when you ride it)」
「Hihin (We’re already quite old after all so we’re bound to tire more easily)」
「Brrrrr (What are you saying old woman. I’m still in active service you know?」
「Hihin (Oh you dear, we’re already over 20 years old you know? The day we retire is probably close)」
Is that already considered old for horses?
That makes me wonder about my lifespan.
How long do Demon Wolves usually live?
I’ll try asking Garo next time.
「Chuー (Horses’ have fairly short lifespans, don’t they? I wonder if it’s even one-fiftieth of mine)」
Ren went on top of my head and crossed her small forefeet while pitying the two horses.
「Wan (They’re different from you who’s ancient after all)」
「Chuー! (W-w-who are you calling ancient!? I’m still pretty young nojya! I’m still a young woman nojya!)」
「Wafu (Hahaha. Shut up you thousand-year-old spinster)」
「Chuー! (You’re the one who is noisy nojya! And stop calling me that!)」
「Giyan!3 (Ouch! Stop biting me!)」
「Chuー chuー! (I will if you stop hesitating and take me as your wife right now! Marry me! Then impregnate me!)」
「Wan wan! (No waー ouch! And what the hell are you saying to a two-month-old puppy!)」
「Chuー! (Age doesn’t matter when it comes to love nojya!)」
「Wan wan! (But we’re different species you know!!!)」
「Chuー! (Isn’t that why I took on the form of the humans you like so much!?)」
「Wan wan! (That was way too young okay! Also, either way, our species are still different!)」4
If you can put that much effort for love, you should try coming up with a cute pose that will make everyone want to pamper you instead.
「Routa! Over here!」
It seems like I got too absorbed into our conversation that the old man was already far away without me noticing it.
「Wafuu (Later you two. I’ll come over to play again! Try to stay healthy and live a longer life okay!)」
I said my goodbyes to Illusive and Grace who sent me off with a smile then hurried over to where the old man was.
† † †
「Ku~n…… (This is awful……)」
An entire row of crops had been completely ruined.
The soil that was pilled up had collapsed and there were several holes where the vegetables that were planted here should be.
「This happened. The carrots that I’ve been carefully growing were planted here……」
I didn’t like vegetables so I had an unbalanced diet in my previous life but thanks to the old man’s cooking, I’ve come to like vegetables very much.
I’m even excited to eat them these days.
I mean, I’ve eaten boiled carrots that were so soft that they seemed to melt and so sweet that you would think it was made out of sugar after all.
「Sorry for doubting you. I didn’t think it was you but I just wanted to be sure」
「Wafuu (Don’t worry about it. You would obviously get angry if your field ended up like this)」
You water it every day, catch insects that are stuck on the leaves, pull out the weeds, and fertilize it after all.
You probably have to pick out the carrots that were too small or have contracted diseases as well.
Farming is a really hard job.
Even an amateur like me is aware of that.
I now have even greater respect for the old man who not only does his cook duties, but also the farm work.
「Anyway, that’s that」
The old man grinned.
「I want to find out who stole my carrots. Of course, this incident will affect your meals so, you will cooperate, right?」
「You. Will. Cooperate. Right?」
His face got closer with each word.
You’re too close. Also, you’re scaring me.
「W-wafuu (L-leave it to me!)」
I had no choice but to reply like that to the old man right away.
Why do I feel like I’m going to end up being busy again!?
I was just about to go back to my life of living idly as a pet you know!?5
Do not want to work degozaru…… (´・ω・｀)