In Love With the Strongest Man

Translator: Shizukuku

Editor: Helen

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Arc 3 True Identity

Extra: Happy Meal Part 1

“Ah, Ideal.”

“Meeow.”

I was about to take Akane out because it was a nice day, when I passed Ideal in the hallway.

“Are you heading to your study now?”

“I was going to, but… is Shuka-san going somewhere?”

“Yeah, Akane said he wanted a home-cooked meal, so I thought I’d make one.”

“What!? I want to eat Shuka-san’s homemade food too!!”

“O-Oh…!?”

I was surprised by his unexpected response. Ideal’s voice was unusually loud.

“I want to see you cooking too…! I won’t get in the way, so please, Shuka-san!”

“Sure, but it’ll take some time, you know? It’ll probably take until evening or night.”

“That’s alright. Sounds good to me. I’m free all day today. It’s my day off.”

“If that’s the case, feel free to do as you please.”

I wasn’t sure if it was really Ideal’s day off. But since he said so, it must be true.

“But why are you wearing clothes for going out when you’re cooking?”

Ideal looked at me and Akane. Akane was wearing a piece of fabric like a cape, and I was wearing comfortable shoes and a robe.

“Oh, I was thinking of going to get some ingredients.”

“Ingredients…?”

His red eyes glanced in the direction I pointed. Before our eyes was a rich and lush forest.

* * *

Unlike the Dead Forest where my hometown was located, the forests in the human country were abundant and safe. There were beasts, but they seldom came out to places where there were signs of people.

“Meow! Meeoow!”

Akane began to frolic without rest as soon as we arrived. He played in a stream no deeper than a cat’s ankle, chased after birds, and the like.

Ideal and I were sitting side by side at the base of a large tree, making fish traps.

“Shuka-san, how do I tie this vine?”

“That’s where the fish will enter, so wrap it in a circle and tie it here… Yes. Good job, Ideal.”

“It’s harder than I thought it would be. Shuka-san, you make it look so easy.”

“It’s just a matter of practice. But I can’t handle these thick vines alone, so I’m glad you’re here to help.”

“You can always count on me for something like this.”

I used to live in the woods, so I knew a little bit about how to make tools from natural materials. However, there were many materials that I couldn’t handle due to my weak grip, so Ideal provided me with help for most of the materials.

“That’s surprising, though. I didn’t think you would make your own fish trapping basket on the spot.”

“Because the fruits of the ami tree have just ripened, their shells are perfect for the job. The fruit is sweet and tasty on the inside as well, so let’s have some for dessert.”

When ripe, the ami fruit would break open. The flesh inside was full of seeds, but it was rich, sweet, and delicious. The shell was hard and would only become mesh-like when it was fully ripe. The shell made a perfect trap for catching small fish.

“The only thing left is to cut the tips of this fluffy grass… Sorry Ideal, would you cut it for me?”

“Of course. All of them?”

“Just two will do. I’d prefer the ones that are quite withered. If we attach them to the fishing line, they’ll look like fish.”

“Got it.”

Ideal dexterously cut off the tips of the fluffy grass with a small knife. Meanwhile, I managed to make an incision in the end of a good stick I found nearby and secured a thin vine to it to use as a fishing line.

“Now all I have to do is put the hook on…”

I took out a folded piece of paper from my pocket. When unfolded, it contained several gray spines. They were bent into a semicircular shape, just right for fishing hooks.

I brought them from the mansion’s warehouse. Originally, I was only going to make traps, but I decided to make fishing hooks as well since I wanted to catch enough for Ideal too. However, making the hooks myself would take time, so when I asked him if he had any ideas, this was what he suggested.

“Curled spines of the ore boar porcupine… With just this, you could buy three barrels of fish…”

These were extremely hard and flexible spines come from monsters found in the Land of Demons. While easy to process, their flexibility and strength easily pierced through various materials, making them typically used for high-end armor fittings.

Not many people would use these as fish hooks.

“Feel free to use them since we have extras.”

“Uh… if I lose one, I might have to go for a swim to find it…”

“Haha, that would be troublesome. I’ll have to keep an eye on you, Shuka-san, to make sure you don’t jump into the water.”

Ideal was laughing, but he wasn’t joking.

If we were going to use something like this, I would have preferred to leave fishing for a later date and get the proper equipment. But before I could say, “let’s not bother with it now,” his eyes twinkled and he said, “I’m looking forward to fishing with Shuka-san,” so I ended up giving in and going empty-handed.

I tied it tightly so it wouldn’t come off. The hard, curved spines of the ore boar were surprisingly well-suited as fishing hooks.

“The trap is set. Now, all that’s left is to cast these hooks with the traps to where the fish are likely to be. Try imitating what I do.”

“Yes, sir.”

After we finished our preparations, Ideal and I stood by the riverside with our fishing rods.

“That shadow under that rock looks like a good spot. Here it goes… Whoa!”

As I swung the rod, it almost slipped out of my hand. Quickly, I grabbed it with my whole arm to secure the rod, or more precisely, to protect the hook.

I was about to fall over when Ideal steadied me.

“Shuka-san, are you okay?”

“It’s my fault… I thought I chose a branch that wouldn’t slip easily, but it seems even this is too much for me.”

“It’s not your fault, Shuka-san.”

Ideal stepped behind me and helped hold the fishing rod I was holding.

“If I support you so that it doesn’t slip away, will you try again?”

“Ahh, well then…”

I swung the rod as if it weighed nothing. Ideal skillfully assisted my movements like a divine craftsman, and the rod moved exactly as I intended, so much such that I felt like I was holding it alone.

Yes, I swung the rod overhead with all my might.

“Ouch!”

“Ah!! I-I’m sorry…!!”

With a dull thud, the fishing rod struck Ideal’s forehead. A firm red mark appeared on his fair complexion.

“…”

“…”

We froze and stared at each other for a moment— and then I couldn’t contain myself and burst out laughing.

“Haha…! Well, it was inevitable, given our height difference…!”

“Ugh… Sorry, I couldn’t help…laughing, but come on, you saw it coming at you yet you let it hit you…!”

“This is just too funny that neither of us noticed, and that I couldn’t avoid it…”

For a while, the forest echoed with our laughter.

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