Villagers were already starting to gather around the tables. A boy who looked to be about twelve approached me.
“Um, thanks for getting rid of Black Speckles. That thing killed my dad.”
“I see… I’m sorry about your dad. So eat plenty of that guy’s meat to get even, okay?”
The boy then went over to the dismantling spot.
“How many people were killed,” I asked Zack.
“He got six people. This year, there were three. We were almost unable to come further outside the village lately. We’re really grateful ta you two fer bringing it down.”
“I see. I’m glad we could help.”
It seems they’ve butchered quite a few portions already. A group of village women were starting to cook the meat on a stove made of stones on one side of the village square.
Cleria talked to Zack’s wife for a time but excused herself just now. Seems like she needs to go on a bathroom break. Zack saw it and moved closer to me afterward.
“Hey, that knight-sama is a **, right?”
Hm? Seems like I wouldn’t be able to understand the word without updating the language database. Anyway, knight huh? She’s a knight since she’s wearing armor? Do knights have a higher social status or something?
“Why do you think so?”
I need more info.
“Well, the way she speaks is like that of a **, so isn’t she one? Are you her *** Alan?”
There’s another word I can’t understand.
“What’s a ***?”
“Ya don’t know? It’s someone who takes care of a knight’s wellbeing and daily needs.
I performed a language update. So the meaning of *** is ‘attendant’ huh? Well, it’s true that I’m basically taking care of her daily needs. I’m even cooking for her. So like I’m her attendant huh?
“Well, I guess it’s something like that. I’ve only met Ria recently, so I’m still not that familiar with her.”
“So, how’s the knight-sama’s skills with a sword?”
He sure was asking about some unexpected stuff.
“Hm, let’s see. She should at least be able to take on two Gray Hounds at the same time.”
Well, it may be a little tough on her though.
Our conversation was interrupted because Cleria came back.
The village women carried over a large serving of a dish on a large plate. There’s also some bread. I’m kinda looking forward to eating other people’s cooking after so long.
The dish seems to be cooked out of Poto tubers and a lot of other vegetables I was unfamiliar with, coupled with lots of meat. It was a type of vegetable stir-fry.
Zack picked up his plate and started getting a portion of the dish on the large plate. He took quite a lot. So it’s that kind of system? Cleria and I also picked up some wooden plates and scooped out portions of the dish. Cleria took quite a lot for herself.
It’s delicious! It lacked a bit of salt, but they used a generous amount of that garlic-like herb. It smelled unique. They must be using some more herbs I was unfamiliar with. I feel that the saltiness of the dish was a little too thin, but it’s plenty tasty as it is.
“This is delicious!”
Cleria was busy stuffing her cheeks full.
It was a fun banquet.
All of the villagers began to eat the food. It became quite lively.
Hey, that’s right! I managed to find some of those leafy salad-use vegetables before we came here. I reached for my ingredient bag and took some out. It’s fresh so it was still quite crisp. Oh, and there’s some leftover Blackbird meat as well. Let’s cook some then.
“Whaddya have there? Oh, are those sappa leaves?”
“I found some earlier. You can have some if you like.”
It seems the salad vegetable is called the sappa. The sappa leaves were torn to small pieces and were put in on an empty wooden plate. Afterward, the plate was placed in a corner easily accessible to everyone participating in the banquet.
I wrapped some sappa leaves around the meat and started eating it. Yep, that’s delicious alright. When some of the villagers saw me, they started imitating what I was doing.
“It’s delicious! We’ve never eaten meat like this.”
“And here’s some meat from the bird I managed to hunt yesterday. Does anyone want some?”
The meat left was about five kilos worth. It would be better to finish it all tonight.
“Oi, oi! Ain’t this Black Bird meat!? Ya sure we can eat it?”
So the Blackbird really was called “Black Bird”. A simple but fitting name.
“Yeah. It’ll go bad if we don’t eat it tonight.”
More meat was served to the villagers. More cheers rose from the gathered crowd.
The bread looked a bit hard. But when I tried it, I found that it wasn’t as hard as I thought. It was about the size of my palm. It looked like it was freshly baked.
I cut the bread into two halves with my knife. I lined the inside with some sappa leaves and placed a large amount of meat in between. Now I had a homemade meat sandwich.
Do you want some Cleria? She was staring hard while I was preparing the sandwich after all. I handed it over to her and proceeded to make another one.
Yep, this is also tasty. The bread is softer than expected, and the meat was overflowing with juice.
“That looks good too.”
Zack also started making his own. Zack’s wife followed suit.
Oh boy. The village women brought out something like thick steak slices this time. I’ll get myself a smaller piece. Mm, this was also made with plenty of garlic. Delicious! Cleria got herself a huge slice. Talk about oversized.
I ate my fill. I couldn’t stuff myself anymore. Both Cleria and Zack were eating like crazy and it didn’t seem they planned to stop anytime soon.
“That was truly delicious. This might be the first time in my life that I got to eat this much meat.”
Zack’s wife brought out an earthen container and placed it on the table.
“Do you two drink alcohol?”
“Yes, I’ll have some please.”
Cleria also nodded in response. It resembled red wine. Mm. That hit the spot. The sourness was a bit pronounced, but it was still quite good.
“So, are you two goin ta Gotania by any chance?” Zack inquired as he drank.
I might have answered his question a little too readily.
“Hey, Beck! Come ’ere son!”
Zack called out to the young man with him earlier.
“Can he tag along with ye two as well? This lad here’s my son Beck.”
Come to think of it, their faces practically resembled each other.
“Alright. But why is he going to Gotania as well?”
“Y’see, we come to Gotania every six months in order to sell the products made in this village. It’s about time for us to head over there again. We always go in groups of fifteen as a countermeasure fer bandits and monsters, but it wasn’t very efficient and we failed to make profits. We couldn’t pack a good number of wares as well. Now we have a knight with amazing sword skills and a mage able to kill a Big Boar with one spell here. And you both are also heading to Gotania. So I was thinking if maybe we could tag along as well and hire you two as our escorts.”
Cleria blushed red upon hearing her being described as ‘a knight with amazing sword skills’.
“Are you going to Gotania using a carriage?”
“That’s right. Can ye escort Beck here, along with another young man to the city?”
Hm, it doesn’t seem to be a bad proposal. We need a guide after all, so this saves us the trouble of looking for one.
“What do you think Ria? I’m fine with it though.”
“I don’t mind as well.”
“Alright then. We’ll accompany them. But only for going to the city. What do you plan to do when it’s time to go back?”
“There’s no need to worry because we’re going to hire adventurers by then.”
Adventurers? Those are people who go on adventures for a living, right? Are escort services also a part of their duties?
“I see. But is this really okay? You’re entrusting your safety to people you’ve just met today.”
“I have confidence in my ability ta judge people. Ye two are people we can trust.”
Cleria nodded in agreement. Well, we’re definitely not villains so Zack’s eye for people is pretty spot-on.
“Understood. We accept your request for an escort to Gotania. We promise to keep Beck and the carriage safe along the way.”
“Thank you. But I can’t give ye much compensation for yer troubles though.”
“You don’t have to. We get to go to Gotania on a carriage after all. That’s enough of a reward.”
“Even if you say that… Oh, right! How bout that set of clothes I mentioned earlier? The clothes we make in our village our fairly reputed y’know.”
“Thank you for your consideration then.”
I did need to get a new set of clothes anyway. As expected, it would stand out too much if I entered the city wearing my jumpsuit.
“Alright, now that that’s outta the way, let’s drink!”
Hey, that’s right! Speaking of alcohol, I have the perfect snack to go with it. I retrieved the dried salmon fillets from the backpack. Since they were quite hard, I cut them into strips with my knife, put them on a plate and placed it on the table.
“Here’s some dried fish. I can’t guarantee the taste since I’m the one who made them, but these should be good snacks to pair with the wine.”
“Hooh, now this is something unusual. Let’s see.”
“These are delicious! You’ve used plenty of salt on them, and they do seem like the perfect snacks to go along with the wine.”
I also gave some to the rest of the villagers. Looks like they liked the taste, judging from their excited reactions.
The bonfires continued to burn, and the banquet lasted until late into the night.