Editor: Thor’s Stone
“That was so delicious……!”
“Glad you liked it. It’s not good to do any physical activities such as swimming right after having a meal. So let’s take a little break first to give time for the food to settle down our stomachs.”
We left the maidroids to clean up after the meal, and we decided to lie down on the beach chairs for some after-meal rest. The stories about getting stomach cramps when one swims right after eating are pretty much fake, but it is true that one will sometimes feel uncomfortable when swimming with a full stomach due to the water pressure, and that can be dangerous in certain circumstances. And hurling the contents of your stomach because of that doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience at all.
“That was a great meal. I still can’t believe you had such a skill.”
“Like I said, all I did was grill stuff. Everybody can do it with a bit of practice. All you have to do is make sure you don’t grill the food too much, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, and eat them with some sauce. It’s pretty simple, really. And I still don’t think something as simple as that can be called cooking.”
“Do you actually know other more complicated cooking techniques, Hiro-sama?”
“I can show you as long as I have appropriate ingredients and seasonings.”
I’ve been living alone for quite some time back on Earth after all. But stuff like making dashi from niboshi and konbu to use for bouillon is a bit beyond my culinary skills. I can at least blend some spices to make curry though.
“Then, I want Hiro-sama to cook some food tonight!”
“We just ate lunch and you’re already talking about dinner…… Anyway, can I even actually do that?”
I turned toward the maidroids who have just finished cleaning up, and one of them exchanged gazes with me and nodded.
“Yes. Some of our guests here insist on only eating dishes that their personal chefs have cooked, so we always have ingredients and cooking equipment prepared to cater to them.”
“That’s right. For imperial nobles, especially those of high standing, often employ exclusive chefs as a sign of their status. I believe this resort implemented such a service in order to cater to those noble’s demands.”
The maidroid confirmed that it was possible for guests to cook for themselves, and Chris followed up with an explanation of her own. I see. So that’s how it is. Okay then. Guess I’ll consult with a maidroid in order to decide what ingredients I’ll use for dinner. After consulting with the maidroid, she also offered to assist me later.
“What should I cook then…? Well, since I’m doing this anyway, wouldn’t it be better to go all out?”
How about boiled fish…? Nah. The girls may not be used to eating fish with a lot of fish bones in the meat. I can already imagine Mimi, who’d only ever eaten synthesized fish meat via auto-cooker, getting teary-eyed because of a fishbone stuck on her throat. Should I make sashimi then…? But can the fish on this planet actually be eaten as sashimi? Guess I’ll just ask later.
So the main dishes are tentatively sashimi and fried food. I don’t know what meat they have available, but I should be able to make tonkatsu or karaage if they have pork or chicken. Since I’m planning to make sashimi and fried food, I would like some rice to go with them as well. I wonder if they have rice available? It would be better if they also had a rice cooker too… I’ll ask the maidroid about it as well. Miso soup would complete the meal, but do they have miso though?
“I have a few questions for you.”
“Yes. Go ahead.”
I proceeded to ask about the ingredients and the cooking equipment they have available, and the maidroid gave me some detailed answers. It looks like all the ingredients I wanted were available. They didn’t have a rice cooker, but they offered to serve us some freshly cooked rice instead.
“Thanks for the answers. They were very detailed.”
“I am glad to be of service.”
“Amazing. That sounded very professional.”
“Hiro-sama is a mercenary, but he’s also a skilled chef, isn’t he?”
“Well, considering Hiro’s background, I guess him knowing how to cook isn’t something so far fetched after all…”
“Are you familiar with Hiro-sama’s background, Elma-san?”
“Just a bit. But I’d like to refrain from talking about it freely since that would be bad manners.”
It seems the girls were discussing something as well while I was busy talking with the maidroid about this evening’s meal. I wasn’t really keen on talking to Chris about my background though. There wasn’t much merit to talking about it with her, and it would pose some risk as well. It seems Chris does hold some level of affection for me, but no matter how you look at her, she’s younger than Mimi. Or was she? I haven’t really found out her exact age yet, but I’m pretty sure she’s younger.
After I finished ordering the ingredients for tonight’s dinner, we hit the water again.
I actually wanted to do some fishing and use what I would catch as ingredients as well, but I’m sure Mimi and Chris would want to tag along if I did. And their current outfit, in other words, their swimsuits, would be quite inconvenient for such an activity. Coming to the reefs in just swimsuits and sandals wouldn’t really pose a risk to one’s life, but it’ll still pose a risk of injury. It’ll be even more so if one fell down on a bad spot.
And so, we continued to play in the sea in the afternoon.
“Kyaaah! Take this too!”
I splashed sea water onto Mimi and the others, and they hit me back. Afterward, we did some light swimming. Due to her experience using the float earlier, or maybe because of her two natural chest ‘floaters’, Mimi was able to master swimming in the water unaided quickly.
Once you’ve mastered floating on the water, learning to swim would be fairly easy. I wanted to let her get used to having her face immersed in the water, so I taught her the breaststroke first. It’s a form that allows people to get used to swimming at an instinctive level after all.
“I can swim! I can swim now!”
“That’s amazing, Mimi! You’re a very fast learner!”
I didn’t forget to praise her to build confidence. I praised her a lot even if she was only able to move forward by two meters. Praise is important after all. And anyway, I wasn’t really all that good at swimming myself.
It’s fun to watch Mimi having a blast. Yep. It’s quite fun. I could ogle at those chest floaters of hers as they bobbed up and down on the water as much as I wanted. There were also plenty of ‘skinship’ opportunities as well. Yep. It’s good. Very good.
“Don’t let it get to you too much.”
“Hiro-sama, please look at me as well!”
As I watched over Mimi swimming at a spot where the waves were gentler, Chris approached and pulled on my arm.
“Well, uh, y’see Chris… I have a nagging feeling I’d be arrested if I look at you wearing that swimsuit too much.”
After all, it was a classic style school swimsuit with『Chris』written on the white strip on the chest area. It was just plain criminal. Anyway, even if she wore a more standard swimsuit, I feel like I’d still be reported to the police if I ogled Chris unreservedly. Yes. It’s quite dangerous.
“We’re the only ones here, so who would even arrest you?”
“You won’t get arrested if you act within reasonable limits, you know…”
Elma let out an exasperated sigh. Well, that’s true. That’s true, but… Acting all excited after seeing an underage loli in a swimsuit just doesn’t feel right y’know. And I definitely won’t act like that no matter what.
“But it does feel unfair that I’m only focusing on Mimi.”
“It’s good that you’ve noticed.”
Chris and Elma nodded in agreement. Chris is one thing, but you also want me to pay more attention to you, Elma? She turned away with a red face when I tried matching gazes with her.
“……What? Isn’t it fine just for a little bit?”
“Yes. Please pay attention to us as well.”
I nodded at their request. But I only have one body after all.
“Okay then. I’ll start with Chris first. Can you watch over Mimi for the meantime, Elma? She’s a complete beginner when it comes to swimming after all.”
Elma’s maturity shines at times like this. I left Mimi with Elma and brought Chris to the rubber float corner.
“Are we going to play using rubber floaters?”
“No, my aim is that thing.”
What I pointed at was a rubber boat with a size that can easily fit Chris and me. It came with simple oars on each side that you can use to propel it on top of the water. And what was interesting was that the bottom was transparent. You can directly see what’s under the water even while riding the rubber boat.
“I’m sure it’ll be fun seeing what’s under the water while riding on this boat. The waves look weaker compared to earlier too, so the timing’s perfect.”
“It certainly does sound fun.”
Chris nodded in agreement at my proposal. It looks like she’s pretty interested.
I borrowed the boat from the maidroids, dragged it to the shore, and had Chris board it.
“Are you not boarding as well, Hiro-sama?”
“I’ll come aboard later. But I’ll push it out to deeper waters first.”
I pushed the boat with Chris riding in it further from the shore, and when we reached a sufficiently deep part of the sea, I went up as well.
“Let’s see. How about we go a bit further from the shoreline?”
I took up the oars and started propelling the boat. I was able to gain quite a bit of speed. Chris was on the lighter side, but there was way less water resistance than I first imagined, which may be due to the material used to manufacture this boat. It was high tech in the strangest aspects. Wait. This might also be the result of my daily training routines as well. Have I gained more strength than I gave myself credit for?
“Amazing. Hiro-sama is quite strong.”
“This isn’t all that hard. Oh, we came quite far out, didn’t we?”
When I looked at the transparent bottom of the boat, I was able to spot a number of marine creatures swimming about. I can see them clea…… Eh!?
“Uh, Chris, do you know what that is…?”
“That’s a fish called Salmon Fillet.”
Something that looked exactly like a piece of salmon fillet was actually swimming about down there. What the heck? Is that really a living creature? It’s not just a piece of fish meat? I feel like I’m going crazy, man. What was that saying again? When you stare at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you. Eh? The nuance is way different? Sorry. I lost my cool for a moment.
“No, uh, I just saw some mysterious creatures swimming about.”
There were fish with legs wearing fishnet stockings, fish with the lower body of a cat… There were quite a number of weird sea creatures that didn’t remotely seem edible swimming about in the water. I wanted to go fishing earlier, but was it really okay to fish here? Won’t my SAN points get shaved if I end up fishing out those weird things?
While I was preoccupied with such thoughts, I suddenly saw a beautiful mermaid who chased away those weird-looking sea creatures. And she even waved her hand at me. Ooooh, fantasy……!
“That’s a mermaidroid that’s tasked with lifeguard duties. It must be watching over us in the off chance that our boat capsizes.”
So the mermaid was actually an SF creature. That’s nice.
“They are also responsible for maintaining the ocean environment and procuring ingredients.”
“Hmm. They’re quite the hardworking bunch huh… Oh, there are some beautiful schools of fish over there.”
“They really are beautiful… There’s quite a lot of them.”
There were sardine-like fishes as well as colorful tropical fishes, and even rays the size of a floor cushion. Oh, and there are also some large shrimp-like crustaceans at the bottom. But man, those sure are huge. They’re not just giant lobster-huge, but were already rivaling seals in size.
“Those are some large shrimps.”
“Yeah. They look delicious.”
“But they seem a bit creepy somehow.”
I and Chris exchanged gazes after hearing each other’s words. Creepy…? Well, they do kinda look like bugs, so I guess I can see where she’s coming from.
“So you feel shrimps of that size are creepy……?”
“Eh? You don’t find them scary? Doesn’t it seem like they would eat us instead of the other way around?”
“Oh. Yeah, I guess I get where you’re coming from. It would certainly feel scary to get attacked by one of those.”
A blow from a clamshell that’s the size of a thumb can still knock people out after all. If we get attacked by a shrimp that size, we’ll probably have our bones broken at the very least.
“But one of the raw ingredients used in food cartridges are krill-like creatures, right? If you think about those as something similar, but just enlarged several times over, don’t they seem tasty?”
Chris tilted her head in puzzlement. It looks like she doesn’t get it. Kuh! If that’s the case, then you give me no choice. I’ll just have you taste one then. I called out to the mermaidroid swimming below us.
“Yes. How can I be of service?”
“Can those huge shrimps over there be eaten?”
“Yes. They’re certainly edible. I recommend boiling them with salt.”
“Okay then. I’d like to cook one for tonight’s dinner, so can you get one for us?”
“Yes. Please wait for a moment.”
The mermaidroid accepted my request, dived back into the water, and headed straight for one giant shrimp. She aimed her palm at it, and the shrimp quivered for a moment, then completely stopped moving. Did she use an electric shock to kill it off? The mermaidroid waved to us with one hand and swam back up carrying the shrimp. We should put the shrimp away somewhere until evening so I can cook it for dinner.
“I’m looking forward to tasting it.”
“Shrimps are delicious you know. There’s a lot of sea creatures with creepy appearances, but are quite delicious when you cook them, so I recommend trying them out. Oh, but you don’t have to force yourself, though. I just wanted to try one anyway.”
“No, I shall challenge myself and try it out. There’s a first for everything after all.”
“Okay. You really don’t have to force yourself, though. There’s also a risk of having an allergy as well.”
There are people whose throats become really itchy and have difficulty breathing as a result of eating crustaceans. Allergies can be fairly dangerous in certain circumstances, so one can’t be too careful.
“Let’s set aside the giant shrimp first and continue on, shall we?”
“Yes. I also want to hear more things about you, Hiro-sama.”
“Things about me huh…… Well, okay. But only the things I feel I can freely talk about.”
And so, Chris and I continued enjoying a relaxing time on the rubber boat.