Shara, the maid, brought Fran and Aurel their meals shortly after they finished discussing evolution. She was accompanied by a pudgy man, who I presumed to be the chef Aurel had mentioned earlier.
「I’m sorry about having kept you waiting.」
「No worries, Asuto. The dish you’ve prepared has quite the delicious smell to it.」
「It’s one I learned of during my time in Barbra.」
Asuto, the chef, lifted the pot’s lid and started to stir its insides with a ladle.
「Oh? I’m looking forward to giving it a try.」
「Don’t expect too much. I’m still in the process of tuning the recipe.」
「And you’re still serving it in spite of that?」
「I’m serving it to you because I know you’ve a very sharp sense of taste. I’d love for you to help me figure out what the dish is lacking. The version I tasted in Barbra was much more complete, and also the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.」
「Well, now I’m really looking forward to trying the dish.」
「This prototype is already quite delicious in and of itself, but it seems to be missing something, so I’d really appreciate your opinion on it.」
「Hah hah hah. I’ll give you as many opinions as you’d like so long as it means I get to enjoy delicious food.」
「I was also wondering whether or not it’d be best for me to make several of my regular dishes for the guest. Should I?」
「Well? What do you say?」
「Nn. Don’t need.」
「Then please do give me your opinions on the dish as well.」
「Leave to me.」
Urushi simply couldn’t stand for missing out on a free meal, so he made sure to make his presence known.
Oh God damn it Urushi, stop drooling! We might have to pay for it if you mess it up!
「Some for Urushi too.」
「The taste might be a bit too strong for a dog.」
「Not problem. Urushi, Magic Beast.」
「Oh, he’s your familiar? He seemed so friendly that I didn’t even realize. Alright then, I’ll get some ready for him too.」
Asuto scooped the pot’s contents, a thick, syrupy, brown liquid composed of potatoes and other vegetables, onto a plate of rice.
The dish the chef had created was one I’d seen before. Rather, it was one I had a vast amount of tucked away inside my dimensional storage. Hell, there was no way I wouldn’t recognize it. It was the dish I’d popularized back when we visited Barbra.
「Wow, I’m surprised you knew. You hit the hammer right on the head, it’s the dish that took this year’s cooking contest by storm, curry.」
「Oh, right, you did say you were just in Barbra, right Fran?」
「Then I take it you’ve had it before?」
「Great! That’s just perfect.」
Yeah uh, it was more like she ate the stuff every single day, but apparently that didn’t matter, seeing as both she and Urushi were looking at it with their eyes sparkling regardless.
「It looks a bit odd, but smells delicious.」
「Worf worf. Bork bork.」
「That’s a good appetite the two of you have there.」
The chef complimented Fran and Urushi with a smile.
「Hmmm… The taste is… unusual, but really fuels the appetite!」
Curry seemed to suit Aurel’s palate. He’d initially started off eating at a rather slow pace, but soon began shoveling it into his mouth as quickly as he could.
Fran and Urushi finished three plates each by the time Aurel finished his meal.
『Is it good?』
She ended up eating five dishes despite not really being satisfied with the taste.
（Nn. Still tasty, but bad compared to Master’s curry.）
「This is pretty good. What did you say it was called again?」
「It’s called curry. Barbra’s actually currently in the midst of a curry boom. Everyone’s developing recipes for curry bread, curry pasta, and other things that make use of it. Dozens upon dozens of stores have also started putting it on their menus.」
「Given its taste, I’m not surprised. You said this recipe still needed some work?」
「It does. It can’t hold a candle to the original I had in Barbra.」
「The original’s that good?」
「Everyone there has been saying that it would’ve won had the cooking contest not been cancelled due to the incident.」
「Nn! Guaranteed victory.」
Fran nodded happily in order to assent to Asuto’s statement.
We hadn’t managed to win, but we’d still at least managed to get that one dude to acknowledge the dish, which in and of itself made me quite happy. Likewise, the fact that the recipe had started becoming more and more widespread did the same. It looked people were already starting to come up with decently interesting spin offs too, like curry pasta, for example.
「Well, you sure seemed to suddenly get all giddy. Why the change?」
「Master? Master who?」
「Oh, are you talking about the Master that everyone’s been talking about? The Curry Master?」
Wait. Wait what? Did he just say what I thought he did? He was referring to me, right?
「Was your cooking Master the person that introduced curry to Barbra?」
「Not just cooking. Master for everything.」
「Magic and swordsmanship included?」
「Nn. Master capable of anything.」
「That’s one impressive Master you’ve got right there. Wait, didn’t you enter the city all on your own?」
「Nn. Master elusive like phantom.」
「Well, you’re just as skilled as any full fledged adventurer, so I can’t say I’d be surprised if you were going around without any supervision.」
「Huh? So you really are the Curry Master’s disciple?」
Okay, yeah, apparently I actually heard him right. God dammit! Why did I end up with such a stupid sounding nickname!?
『Hey Fran, you mind double checking that by the Curry Master, he means me?』
「Asuto. Curry Master, who?」
「Wasn’t he your Master?」
Aurel raised his brow; he was a bit confused.
「Oh, that may be because he doesn’t actually refer to himself as such. The person responsible for inventing curry remained anonymous, and otherwise went only by Master. That’s why people started calling him the Curry Master to begin with. I myself chose to follow the trend because a group of adventurers I am acquainted with calls him that, and because I only managed to get my hands on a recipe through my connections with said group.」
「Yeah. They’re a party by the name of the Scarlet Maidens. Do you acquainted with them?」
Oh god damn it! It was them? Zzz… My bet’s on this all being Lydia’s fault.
「So, what did you think of the curry I made?」
Asuto’s face clouded over; he immediately caught onto the fact that Fran hadn’t been complimenting him.
『Why don’t we give him a copy of the recipe?』
We owed Aurel, and we were probably going to be relying on him much more going forwards as well, so I figured we might as well do him a favour.
Fran told Asuto our curry rice recipe in exchange for his own. It turned out that some spices were rather hard to get in Ulmutt, so he’d been using different ones to fill in for the missing flavour.
I wasn’t able to actually try what he’d made, but I was at least able to imagine it to some extent by making use of the Cooking skill. That, in turn, made it possible for me to give him a bit of advice.
As a result, we were able to create a type of curry that varied greatly from the one we made in Barbra, an Ulmuttian original.
I couldn’t help but look forward to the possibility of curry spreading through Ulmutt as it had Barbra.
And so, an hour passed.
During said hour, Fran had asked Aurel about a few more things, most of which were with regards to the Beast Lord that Dias had told us about earlier in the day.
「And here’s what I owe you for finishing the request I gave you, as well as a bit of an added bonus as thanks for the recipe.」
「Don’t really need.」
「Please just accept it. You’d leave me feeling awkward if you didn’t.」
Aurel handed us a leather bag containing 300k Golde.
I didn’t really think we deserved it. He’d only given us the request so he could acquaint us with Rumina. Likewise, us giving him the recipe was just more or less our way of thanking him for what he’d told us, so I felt like we were still in his debt. That said, cash was cash, and he was kinda just giving it to us, so we decided to just accept it anyways.
「No problem. Do stop by again.」