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Chapter 26 – Labyrinth and Maou’s Cooking 3 [B]
“We did it—!”
“So this is the end?”
As they defeated the large demon at the depth of the dungeon, they arrived at a large clearing. Although Carol should have been tired for hours of exploring the dungeon, she still rushed toward the center of the room, without looking tired.
“Leonhart-sama! It’s a treasure chest! And it’s also a luxurious one!”
“That looks gorgeous indeed.”
Carol pointed at the treasure chest. They had found several treasure chests until they got here, but this one had a larger size and was beautifully decorated, it was as luxurious as Carol said.
They immediately imagined its content. They wondered what rare item might be inside of it. Leonhart immediately moved and opened it.
“Let’s open it for the time being… there.”
As he muttered that, he opened the chest with some expectations. Then inside of it was—
“Gold! It is made of gold—!”
Carol shouted as she looked at it. Leonhart slowly lifted it up and observed the item from all directions.
“It’s a gold… statue, isn’t it?”
Leonhart gazed at the statue with turbulent eyes.
Why did he give a suspicious gaze toward the gold statue? Because it had a peculiar shape.
Perhaps it was called a gourd shape? It was a statue with the shape of a gourd. It must be precious since it was made of gold, but he didn’t understand why it had such a shape. If they wanted to make statues out of gold, there should be a better shape to make it. [Tsukii Note: Anyone who is aware of the lore should know what statue this is, the role it served, and how it ended up becoming.]
—Well, isn’t it okay?
But well, he couldn’t help but make such an evaluation because he didn’t know the value of the treasure. I guess I’ll just give it to Ssulal and ask about it later, was what Leonhart thought about the statue as he took a breath and carried the statue.
Perhaps because she saw Leonhart’s expression, Carol made a worried expression. She seemed to have a hard time saying it, before finally deciding to ask Leonhart.
“Um, err… Leonhart-sama?”
“…What is it?”
Leonhart had a question mark on his head as he saw Carol’s expression when she asked him. However, Carol seemed to feel more depressed as she saw Leonhart’s unchanging expression.
“I mean, is exploring the dungeon not fun for you…?”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help Leonhart-sama vent your frustration…”
Carol seemed to feel down in an easy-to-understand manner. For her, Leonhart’s enjoyment was the most important thing. She suggested this as a hobby to vent his desire of fighting against a strong opponent. That was the reason she suggested this dungeon exploring, although it was the second idea.
However, as they reached the deepest part of the dungeon, Carol thought her idea was a failure since her master’s expression didn’t change much.
Leonhart saw his apostle who worried about him and gave a wry smile as he exhaled.
Then he told Carol about his thoughts.
“…Well, the battle itself is indeed boring.”
“I, I see…”
Hearing his words, Carol’s voice tone sank.
“However, the exploring itself didn’t feel bad. Let’s do it again if I feel like it.”
Leonhart’s honest feeling made Carol wide eyed in surprise. In fact, Leonhart did think it wasn’t a bad idea to explore an unknown place like this. Since combat also happened on the way, it wasn’t like there was no stimulation at all. Being alert for traps, finding treasures, and seeing rare things was a refreshing experience. He didn’t mind exploring another dungeon, and he thought it wouldn’t be boring. Therefore, he thought it wasn’t a bad experience.
“Well, you’ve done well, Carol.”
Therefore, Leonhart stroked Carol’s head as he praised her. Carol’s expression immediately turned to relief with that. Then her body shook in happiness.
“Thank you very much, Leonhart-sama… for, praising me… Hn.”
Leonhart drew back his hand when he saw Carol’s complexion became red. Carol’s gaze chased the hand with regret.
Looking at his apostle who was clearly disappointed, Leonhart shrugged and explained to her.
“That’s all for today. We need to return to the castle, we have business to do there.”
“…I’ll tell you now, but our business there has something to do with you, okay?”
“Ah, is that so? What are we going to do there?”
Carol thought it was something she needed to help Leonhart with so she switched gears as soon as she heard Leonhart say so. As an apostle, it would be bad to stay depressed just because her master didn’t praise her, perhaps she moved due to such thoughts.
However, the business that Leonhart told her was something that was not in line with Carol’s feelings.
“It’s something we failed to do last time — Your welcome party.”
Carol’s welcome party.
Leonhart and Carol returned to the Maou Castle from the dungeon, prepared themselves and headed to the place.
It was planned to be held in Leonhart’s room last time, but it was changed to be held in the Maou Ssulal’s private room for this time.
As they opened the door and entered the room, Ssulal and Galtia were already waiting for them inside.
“Ah, welcome Leonhart! And Carol-chan too.”
“Oo-… she really became your apostle.”
Ssulal and Galtia spoke their words of welcome. Ssulal happily rushed over, and while Galtia sat on a chair as he chewed on meat, he gave an impressed gaze.
“Thank you for your invitation, Maou-sama.”
“Uun, don’t worry about it. Also, you don’t have to be so reserved.”
“Is that so…?”
“Just do as she says.”
As Ssulal told Carol to not be too formal, Carol looked at her own master and received the confirmation. As expected, even she couldn’t be too rude to the ruler of demons. That couldn’t be helped.
However, as soon as Carol received her master permission,
“I understand! Nice to meet you, Ssulal-sama!”
“Hm, Nice to meet you.”
She immediately exchanged greetings with her usual attitude. Although it was unknown whether it was her natural personality or Ssulal’s atmosphere that made her do so, it was good that both of them could get along.
Leonhart approached and spoke to Galtia while keeping the other two, who were busy in their conversation, on the edge of his vision.
Although it happens all the time, Leonhart could only be astonished as he saw Galtia keep eating the dishes he brought along with him.
“You, we’re about to have a meal, but you’re already eating… Well, I guess it happens all the time.”
“It made me hungrier than usual once I knew I’ll get to eat Ssulal’s dish.”
“…I’m the opposite. My stomach and hand can’t stop trembling since earlier. My body has already began to reject it by reflex…”
“Hee, what a waste.”
“You’re the only one who thought of that…”
As Leonhart saw the dishes that lined up on the table, his expression paled. On the contrary, Galtia seemed to be hardly able to wait as he kept eating the meat he brought with him.
There were dishes made by Ssulal among them. Leonhart was capable of sensing it somehow. The reason was his body showed rejection as he saw the dishes in front of him.
However, as Galtia heard Leonhart’s words, he looked toward Carol.
“However, we don’t know how your apostle will take it, you know? Maybe she’ll say it’s delicious.”
“That’s impossible. That was killer cooking that was potent enough to knock majins unconscious. It no longer matters whether it’s delicious or not.”
“You never know, we’re the only ones who have ever eaten it right?”
“No, I know… those things are already a weapon. If the enemy were to consume it, they will definitely be incapacitated in one go. So much so I’ll immediately approve it if anyone suggests adopting it as a strategic weapon.”
“…It’s very stimulating and delicious though.”
“Perhaps it might be delicious if the stimulus didn’t knock people out beforehand.”
Leonhart had a thought as he saw Galtia looking at the dishes one after another. As expected, I can’t come to an agreement with Galtia regarding Ssulal’s dishes. Leonhart was unable to understand the sense of taste of the mushi user’s majin.
“…Well then, let’s get started. Everyone, sit down.”
Ssulal said so to tell people to sit.
Everyone took their seats and Ssulal called out to Carol.
Her expression and voice seemed nervous. She seemed worried about whether she would be alright with the result.
“Err, Carol-chan? You can go ahead and eat what you like, but you can also finish eating anytime, okay?”[Tsukii Note: as in, she allowed her to retire whenever she liked.]
“…? I understand.”
Carol received an incomprehensible warning but agreed anyway. Looking at the side, it totally looked like a contract with a devil. Because what lined up in front of her was Moau’s dish which was capable of crushing the common people’s minds upon consumption.
“All of it seems delicious.”
However, Carol who wasn’t aware of that fact had her eyes shone as she looked at the dishes that were lined up. If the taste were as good as it looked, I understand that the feeling of being moved was what Leonhart thought as he pitied his apostle. He also felt the same the first time he saw it.
Carol looked at the number of gorgeous dishes lined up on the table until she eventually picked one of them.
“I’ll eat this croquette first. Do you want some, Leonhart-sama?”
“…n, no, I’ll refrain. Go ahead and eat first.”
“I see… I understand.”
Carol sounded a little disappointed but recovered immediately. Leonhart felt a slight sense of guilt.
She picked up the croquettes. The fragrant meat and scent of the fried potato roused one’s appetite, and it seemed the crispiness and fluffiness of it could be felt from its appearance.
It was supposedly Leonhart’s favorite. However, it was hard to imagine it was actually just something that looked similar. Therefore, he refused his apostle’s offer.
Carol, whose request was refused, brought the croquettes into her mouth—
And put it inside her mouth.
Three other people watched as Carol slowly chewed her food.
“Ah, this is…—!!”
Suddenly, Carol’s words were cut short and she stopped moving.
“O, oi, are you okay?”
Leonhart worriedly called out to Carol, who didn’t move as if time had stopped as her eyes still opened.
“Huh? There’s really no reaction…”
“Did she pass out because it is too delicious?”
“Shut up, Galtia… but she really isn’t moving.”
Everyone looked at each other as they saw Carol still had no reaction. As for Ssulal, she became more and more panicked as more time passed.
Leonhart somehow had a bad feeling and approached Carol to shake her.
However, there was still no reaction.
Therefore, he brought his hand in front of Carol’s face to try something.
“…Ssulal, cast Healing on her.”
“Eh…eh? Does that mean… don’t tell me.”
Leonhart said so with a low voice.
Ssulal asked back to confirm her anxious suspicion. Leonhart then panicked as he shouted.
“—She stopped breathing! Ssulal! Hurry and cast healing magic!!”
“U, Uwaaaaaa?! My dish is already that deadly now—?!”
As Ssulal heard his words and approached Carol, she used divine magic with all her might as she was shocked about the deadliness of her own cooking.
“Her heart’s still beating, so we can still make it! Wake up, Carol!!”
“I I I’m sorry, Carol-chan!! Hurry up and wake up!!”
As Ssulal continue to use her healing magic while apologizing in tears, Leonhart continue to shake Carol’s shoulder as he kept calling her out. The peaceful welcome party turned into pandemonium in an instant.
As Galtia looked at them, Galtia went ahead and ate the dishes in front of them. The stimulus was spread to Galtia’s mouth.
“…It is very delicious though.”
Galtia’s regrettable muttering failed to reach anyone there.
—Afterward, Carol somehow managed to recover without any abnormality in her body, but she lost her memory about eating it, which terrified Leonhart and Ssulal.
At the same time, they came to learn that Ssulal’s cooking was unbearable for anyone less than a majin, therefore her dishes were forbidden from being served to anyone other than majin from that moment forward.
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