As I entered the workshop I had provided to the Fire Foxes, Lucy suddenly appeared.
It appears she had been hiding inside the workshop for some time now.
「The Fire Foxes are here but what happened?」
「Lucy huh? I thought you went back to the village?」
「I intended to but I saw Cyril leading the Fire Foxes over here. I felt uncomfortable calling out so I decided to just follow.」
Lucy said awkwardly.
As expected of an Elf’s natural ability as a hunter, she was very good at erasing her presence. I was preoccupied and didn’t notice.
「The Fire Fox village was attacked and nearly destroyed by the Empire so they escaped. There’s various details but since they’re tired and hungry I decided to feed them for now. Sorry but could you go harvest around 10 potato plants Lucy? I won’t be using it for the lunch I’m making but I will need it for dinner. Also…I’m sorry that the Fire Foxes will get to try the potatoes we made together before the elf villagers.」
I bowed my head to Lucy in apology.
Lucy had done her best in caring for the potatoes so the Elves could eat them. I felt some guilt when I decided to use them for the Fire Foxes instead.
「Umm Cyril…do you intend to accept the Fire Foxes into our country Erucy?」
Lucy asked without any visible emotion.
「I intend to. I won’t abandon these girls. I want to integrate them into Erucy.」
「Un, okay then. I’ll go get the potatoes quick.」
「You’re not angry?」
「Un. After all I’ve been working hard for the sake of the citizens of Erucy. You decided that the Fire Foxes would be a part of Erucy right? Then as long as our citizens of Erucy are happier I will be too.」
I couldn’t hold back and tightly hugged Lucy.
「Uwaa, what is it Cyril!?」
Lucy’s face blushed a deep red and she panicked a bit.
「I love you.」
I said and Lucy’s body relaxed.
「I…I love you too Cyril. Okay…let go for now. If you don’t then you’ll keep the Fire Foxes waiting for their food.」
I reluctantly released Lucy from my embrace.
Maybe it was because she was still a bit shy, but Lucy hurried off to harvest the potatoes.
「Alright now that my Lucy energy is all charged up, let’s do our best.」
I said and poured water into the pot and lit up the hearth.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
By the time the baggage arrived from the village the charcoal inside the hearth was glowing bright red.
First was the dried jerky from leftover boar meat.
Boars had pelts that could be used to make cold weather clothes and meat that could be dried into jerky…but there would always be some meat that stuck too close to the bone and couldn’t be removed. This made it so there was always some leftovers.
Plus there was still back fat left over. A lump of fat and muscle/sinew couldn’t be eaten together like that.
However, using some methods I could use the meat on bones for lunch and the back fat and muscle for dinner.
The pot I had poured the water into was a business use, 60 cm deep, and 100 liter capacity item. It was a high quality good that I had made using iron that I commandeered.
「The water’s starting to boil so now I put in the bones…」
I took out a Chinese cooking knife made out of precious iron.
Once again this was a top quality good I had created with all my skill by abusing my authority to get iron for my personal use. I had first used my skills to create a high quality alloy and created a 30 layer multi-fold structure….the so-called Damascus structure. If I used the same technique to make a sword in this world it would be worth as much as a house if it was sold cheaply.
I used the back of the knife to strike the Boar bones.
Chinese knives have great utility. If you used its weight properly it could break and smash most ingredients. The base of the blade is thick and it has enough weight to cut through skin and muscle. Furthermore, near the tip it thins out allowing for thin cuts and delicate work.
「I’ve seen various cooking tools throughout the worlds, but there aren’t many as multi-purpose as a chinese knife.」
I broke the bones into sizes appropriate for the pot along with the meat sticking to them.
The water in the pot went from halfway full to two thirds after I threw these in.
I had thrown in almost all the bones with meat on them so I cleaned up the leftover bones, broke the rock salt with the back of my knife, and threw it in the pot.
I then added some plants and mushrooms that I had stored in the workshop to the pot as well. I then closed the lid and cast some magic.
The wind mana responded to my call and began increasing the atmospheric pressure inside the pot.
With that, this simple pot would turn into a pressure cooker. At first I had considered making an actual pressure cooker, but the inconvenience made it unfeasible.
As I was doing so some clean Fire Foxes walked through the door.
Their cheeks were flushed as steam wafted from their bodies. They had looked nearly dead a while ago, but now it seemed as if some life had returned to their eyes. As I thought, personal hygiene was important.
Fire Foxes specialized in fire magic so it was obvious they would use it to heat up their shower water as they washed. Since the weather was getting cold now they had to do so or they would risk freezing.
Washing themselves with hot water revived their bodies and minds.
Even their clothes were properly washed and dried using fire magic.
「Cyril-sama I’ll help.」
Among the Fire Foxes, the one who returned quickest was Kuu.
「Right now the food is boiling so I don’t need any help…well actually do you all have dishes? I made soup but I don’t have enough tableware.」
「We don’t have any deep dishes, but everyone at least has a cup.」
「I see, then could you tell everyone to get their cups ready so I can hand out the soup?」
「Okay, got it!」
Kuu said and ran off to tell her people.
I watched her as she trotted off and felt it was the right time to open the lid.
Once I did the delicious scent of boar soup spread through the workshop.
I suddenly felt like I was being watched. I turned and saw the Fire Foxes all staring at me drooling. I could even hear their stomachs rumbling.
They certainly wouldn’t have had any proper food for quite some time. I’m sure the soup must look heavenly to them.
「I wonder if it’s ready…」
I put my ladle into the pot and brought up one of the bones with meat on it. I took my knife and scraped it against the meat on the bone.
As I did so, the meat fell away with practically no resistance. Using a pressure cooker like this would make the soup much better and tenderize the meat so it could be removed without resistance.
I repeated this over and over. I made sure to remove all the bones that were too big to fit in the Fire Foxes’ cups and scaped the meat off of them.
Once I finished that I checked the soup once more, skimmed the scum from the top of it, and stirred the soup to finish.
I left the bones that were small enough inside the soup. I think it’ll be fine.
Like this I can distribute it properly and they’ll all have something good to eat.