First Volume – Me and the Feudal Lord
7, Mapo Tofu of Unreasonable Demand (Part 1)
(Author’s note: From here on the stories will come out in parts of 1,2,3)
‘Time flies’ is a great phrase.
Wrestling with everything in a daze, time is a passing unnoticed.
No matter if it’s my job or my interests.
It’s already been half a year since everyone ate Oden.
A full year had flowed by by the time I had realised.
I’m also 21. Hahaha, I grew older.
Regardless, I am still a cook in Ganglabe-san’s mercenary corp.
Somehow because we took in assistants, there are currently four people around me.
The mercenary corp had also grown in size this year, with already around a thousand people.
“Ganglabe-san. Facing this amount of people with four people is pretty tough”
“But that’s why we made that huge portable stove and cauldron”
“Compared to that development, the consumption of beef is severe so restock it please”
“Got it. I’ll warn Riru properly”
It appears he was able to understand.
Now then, Ganglabe-san’s mercenary corp. It’s become famous with the public.
At any rate there are mountain-loads of feudal lords who scheme and want to include these ‘invincible’ elite troops into their own faction.
If my memory serves me correctly, we haven’t lost once this year. It seems like this can’t be achieved normally.
“Cougar-san, you also got a secret invitation right”
“Pretty much. I’ve become pretty famous too”
“Wasn’t the salary pretty good?”
“Well that’s… together with my two hundred infantry, I can say that our salary can increase by five times”
“It’s not good. It got leaked by my subordinate who was listening secretly, and now I’m showered with blame. Naturally I won’t be leaving the mercenary corp though.”
I’m a little relieved.
It isn’t just Cougar-san’s troops, all the commanders got an invitation.
However, no one wants to leave the mercenary corp. United by an unbreakable bond, it means that there is no one who would leave behind their comrades.
Now the commanders and I, who is a close associate, have become the senior soldiers.
There are also some arrogant newcomers, it’s going to be tough.
I also understand that the mercenary corp will have to pay. Ganglabe-san’s steel-like liver and heart deserve merit.
Ganglabe-san also refused the invitation stubbornly trying to do something for the management of the mercenary corp.
Wanting to invite but, not wanting to pass them into the enemy’s hands.
Outwitting such a feudal lord, diligently working to making money.
I was just surprised by Ganglabe-san’s trickery.
This time a certain country’s royalty gave a request trying to hire our entire mercenary corp.
I hear that it’s a concerning battle for the forest’s resources.
That forest had condiments as wildlife. It seems like a land where medicine made from vegetables and a large amount of resources and food sleeps.
I hear the battle happened because neighbouring country came to fight for the vegetables and medicine here.
In that neighbouring territory it still has mineral resources.
The scramble for resources is same no matter where it is.
And we became the the ones picked by the royalty who want to protect the forest’s resources.
“What sort of reason is that I wonder, Ahrius-san”
“We are already gathering the equipment such as armour required for the maintenance of the troops. Making a favour for the merchant and adjustments for the guild, and at the very least there will not be a problem with the armour.
However, food will be consumed daily. Even if we don’t pay, food will decrease.
That’s why, this time treat it as an opportunity and pile up on our food related items on this convenient route.”
“As expected of Ahrius-san. So detailed”
“No, food related matters must be known best by you or else…”
She shortened her words and I reflected on this.
As a result we won. Quickly too.
The preparation for battle were done to begin with, and the opponent wasn’t that big of a deal as well.
However, the problem happened after the battle.
Somehow, the additional reward is between the other two mercenary corps and ours, basically only one of the three corps will be paid is what they’re saying.
Just as I thought, ‘Impossible’, the King said.
“Our daughter is a gourmet. However, recently she is not satisfied with normal food.
Therefore if you people can cook up something satisfying, I shall pay the additional rewards to that corp.”
That self-important attitude is pissing me off.
However, Ganglabe-san is looking evil.
He was straining the limits of what he could do, the face of a demon king.
“What we wish to eat is something, sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and delicious.
Show me what you got”
A young, chibi princess. What? Does she mean I have to cook something which fulfills almost all of the human tastes?
The other mercenary corps couldn’t hide their bewilderment. Of course, neither could Ganglabe-san.
Normally speaking, there’s no way that kind of cooking could taste good.
Normally, that is.
The other corps were speaking to their cooks and urging them to succeed.
Those cooks were looking sad as they fight this losing battle.
“Shuri, can you do it?”
Ganglabe-san is worried as well.
Now that I’ve moved into the kitchen from the royal audience, I’m pretty worried too.
“Um, I’m not too familiar with it but, well I know the gist of it”
“Well, it’s quite a unique dish though”
This is sweet, sour, spicy and bitter, and delicious.
The only problem is the adjustment of seasoning.
“Is there anything I can help with?”
“Then can you please tell Ahrius-san that tomorrow’s Boiled Tofu will have to be postponed.”
“That… seems a little difficult”
“Please try. This dish uses tofu as the main ingredient so, we can’t start without tofu”
Lately Ahrius-san has been hooked on Boiled Tofu which no matter how much you eat will help you become healthier without gaining any weight.
It has already become a force of deep desire. Seemingly like how some female subordinate’s skin tone became nicer.
That’s why, I was delighted that Boiled Tofu day just up and went away.
Because postponing that would probably be quite tough.
“Then I’ll make it”
This time I’m making Mapo Tofu.
Eh? Just spicy?
Not at all, if you exclude the Sichuan from the Mapo Tofu, it’s sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and delicious
Skillfully making the Doubanjiang as well as the thing I made in the past, and the Mapo Tofu is complete.
“This looks pretty spicy though…”
“It’s spicy if you aren’t used to it. However, once you’re addicted to it you would be deeply moved by all the flavours”
Going back into the royal audience, it appears that there are already other mercenary corps waiting.
No matter how you looked at it they were shit.
The princess was also angry-ish.
Well of course anyone would be mad if you bring out something disgusting.
“You’re the last ones huh…”
Oh? The princess is completely exhausted.
Without realising it she took out the Mapo Tofu.
The princess looked puzzled.
“What, is this”
“Please try it. It’s good”
The princess timidly took a spoonful of tofu and paste and ate it.
“H-h-hot, so hot!”
“Little princess, please savour it a bit more”
A young princess in agony due to the spiciness.
She shut her eyes as if trying to endure it.
And then her teary eyes became ones of shock.
“That’s the sweetness of tofu”
“One of the flavours of Doubanjiang”
“Its also… bitter”
“Cause it’s been heated thoroughly in the pot”
“It’s the Japanese pepper and Doubanjiang”
The princess appeared to have gotten used to it and started heartily eating the Mapo Tofu.
“Good! So good!”
“Please wipe away your sweat while eating.
I thought it was just right for the chilly Princess.”
“After coming here, my feet have been constantly moving because of the cold, so that’s what I thought”
The princess was surprised but, she immediately smiled.
A smile similar to flowers blooming.
“You have peaked my interest. Become my cook!”
“Ah, I can’t do that”
Because I’m the cook in Ganglabe-san’s corp.
So in the end it turned out to be quite a mess.
We were able to properly receive the additional rewards, and regarding the sale of food, it went off without a hitch.
The princess seemed quite reluctant to separate so I wrote down the recipe and gave it to the imperial cooks.
Just in case I also put in the recipe for Sichuan Mapo Tofu, Mapo Eggplant and Mapo-don.
Having a repertoire is important after all. You’d get tired of eating the same thing.
The next day, I received a letter of gratitude and a knife from the princess.
I’ll use it with great care.