Master's Smile - Chapter 104
Ritter was clinging directly to her master.
Such a thing would often bring full-throated envy and complaints from the members of
“Salvation Army (Yelquchira)”.
That was how close Ritter was to her master.
However, there were still others who would naturally be glued to Master more often than her, like Laladi, who represents a pampered child, and Vampir, who represents an attention-seeker.
Hence, apart from the stalker Sorglos, who would rather sneakily watch Master from the shadows, it was Ritter who frequently tried to approach him.
Of course, this was partly due to her deep affection towards him, but more so to her longing as if she was a pet that became attached to her owner.
The girl named Ritter was a loyal dog who would do anything just to see her master happy.
Such a girl was now standing right in front of Neena’s estate in full gear.
However, her doing so was not meant for escorting the princess.
Although it was good enough for her to be able to recognize Neena, the princess was still not the target of her top priority of protection.
The only reason Ritter would go to such great lengths was for her master’s sake.
Though, it wasn’t as if impious people were coming after his life.
Instead, she was about to dive into the nearby forest to catch some prey.
The reason for this was….
“…Master will praise, if I make food.”
Ritter was expressionless yet determined.
All she could picture in her mind was her days at the headquarters, to which she would return from time to time.
Although each member could cook and prepare meals for their master, it was Schwarz, the maid, who was basically adamant that she would take care of Master’s personal needs.
She often prepared meals for him, and whenever Master ate her food, he would always pat and praise her.
Seeing this, Ritter was extremely envious.
Hence, she took a certain action.
She asked Schwarz to teach her how to cook.
At first, Schwarz looked blatantly discontent.
Yet, setting aside the likes of Vampir, she was not such a demon that could refuse Ritter’s pure and innocent request.
Nevertheless, Schwarz did not give up her meal duty, but in the end, she managed to teach Ritter how to cook for Master.
“First, find food.”
Saying so, Ritter went into the forest.
“Ingredients, fresh is better.”
It was this kind of teaching from Schwarz that led Ritter to not buy the ingredients from the city market.
Unfortunately, she interpreted it in an unexpected direction.
As she walked through the forest in high spirits, she occasionally killed monsters with a single blow. She searched for ingredients and found an abundance of various things, which one would expect from a bountiful forest.
For instance, plenty of mushrooms were found growing in the damp places.
“…Delicacies, more appreciated?”
Ritter recalled Schwarz’s lesson.
She wasn’t too sure what a delicacy was, but judged that it would be good to have ingredients that wouldn’t normally be eaten.
Thus, instead of plain colored ones, she collected mushrooms that were bright red in color.
She also found eggs in every color of the rainbow.
Ritter had no idea what kind of eggs they were as she had never seen them before, but thought that her master would be pleased, so she collected them as well.
In addition, she sliced a strange giant bird that attacked her and shoved it into the basket as an added bonus.
The place she wandered next was a fairly large swamp.
She lightly applied her bloodlust into the pool, and sure enough, the master of the swamp, a huge fish-like monster, appeared.
It did not look like the kind of fish favored and eaten by the kingdom’s citizens, but a fish is still a fish.
She cut the fish monster that tried to attack her with its large mouth, and shoved it into the basket.
She forced it into the basket and, surprisingly enough, it managed to fit inside.
Ritter gathered a lot of ingredients and looked satisfied for the time being.
She then decided to leave as she had no more use for the forest.
The forest was a highly dangerous place, once you entered, you couldn’t get out, but for Ritter, it was not much different from having a picnic.
She released a light bloodlust to keep animals and monsters away, and then killed any low-ranked monsters that were foolish enough to attack her.
Thus, Ritter’s ingredients procurement came to an end.
Now that the ingredients were gathered, it was time to cook.
Ritter was now standing in the kitchen, having obtained proper permission from Neena, the owner of the estate.
When she told the princess she was going to cook, Neena looked expectant and asked if Ritter could share some of the food she made with her.
Ritter was not happy with her request as she was cooking solely for her master, but since she borrowed her kitchen, she decided to use her as a taste tester.
Neena said she would come back later, so Ritter was ready to start cooking immediately, but….
“…What to cook…?”
Ritter had no idea what dish she would make.
It was a good thing she had picked fresh ingredients as Schwarz had taught her.
However, since she had not decided on the dish before gathering the ingredients, she had no idea what to do next.
She pondered which ingredients to use and came up with a great idea.
“Use all of them.”
She went to the trouble of gathering all of them, so she certainly wanted her master to taste them all.
And soon after, she wanted to be praised.
According to Schwarz’s advice, it is suicidal for a beginner to try cooking several dishes at once.
If that’s the case, then all she needed to do was combine all of the ingredients into one dish.
“Let’s make soup.”
Ritter prepared a large pot and poured the ingredients inside.
Bright red mushrooms, rainbow-colored eggs, a strange bird that might have laid those eggs, and a fish-like monster.
The latter two were chopped into bite-sized pieces so that it could be eaten easily.
Then, she filled the pot that was tightly packed with the ingredients with plenty of water.
All that remains is to let it simmer.
Ritter brought a chair over and settled down in front of the simmering pot.
She continued to stare at the flickering fire without batting an eye.
The pot started rattling by itself, but Ritter still didn’t move from her spot.
After a while, she put in some unknown condiments, which Schwarz had given her as a parting gift.
Steam with indescribable color was spewing out from the gap between the lid and the pot, but Ritter simply stared at it.
“Oh, is it done yet, Ritter?”
Ritter looked at Neena, who had casually entered the kitchen.
It seems that a lot of time had already passed while she was in a daze.
“Then let’s have a taste, shall we?”
Just as Schwarz had said, tasting is very important.
She couldn’t let her master eat something that tasted bad, so she tested it with Neena.
Ritter took the lid off the pot and took only the soup from inside.
She poured it onto a plate and went to Neena, who was smiling and happily waiting for her.
Ritter knocked on the door of her master’s room, which was provided by Neena, and informed him of her visitation.
He gently smiled at Ritter after opening the door and learned that she came to visit.
Ritter felt warmth inside her chest, and while cherishing it, she went inside with a small pot held in her hands.
She would have normally entered on her own without knocking and immediately stuck next to him, but now that both of her hands were busy, she decided to ask him to open the door.
(KR: but wouldn’t it be fine if she just… put the pot down first like how she knocked on the first paragraph…?)
Master asked what she had brought as soon as she placed the pot on the table.
“…Home-cooked. Brought it, for master.”
To be precise, she did so just to be praised by him.
Yet, Master’s smile shined many times brighter.
It was a homemade dish from a guild member who he thought of as his daughter.
He always eats home-cooked meals that contain various things, including Schwarz’s love, but he was delighted to see that Ritter, who doesn’t usually cook, did it for him.
Ritter only said one word and poured the soup onto a plate.
The soup had a beautiful rainbow of colors.
Master’s smile seemed to freeze, but Ritter thought it was probably just her imagination.
Neena, the taste tester, fell asleep immediately after just a sip, but it must have been from the warmth of the flavor.
Ritter scrutinized Master intently.
Master nodded as if he was prepared for something and smiled at her.
Then, after saying his thanks, he scooped up the soup with a spoon and drank it.
Ritter couldn’t wait and asked her master who went stiff.
Schwarz had told her not to do so, but she couldn’t help it as she wasn’t able to hold it back any longer.
Her master did not react for a moment to her words, but….
Master smiled and patted her, saying it was delicious.
Ritter slightly trembled with her cheeks blushed a tinge of red from being gently stroked on her head.
More, she wanted more compliments.
With that one thought in mind, Ritter offered her master more of the soup, which he said was delicious.
Master shuddered, but said “thank you” and patted her again.
Ritter was filled with happiness and decided to cook again next time to receive more of his praise.