Ciel the Evol Slime guided the younger fox girl into the forest.
Due to the abysmal harvest last year and the villagers taking what little they had, the fox sisters were starving.
And so, Ciel took it upon herself to educate the younger sister on what could be eaten in the forest.
Even in Avalon, her knowledge database was top class. After all, each time she absorbed an individual’s body part to be able to copy them, she also absorbed their knowledge and experience.
“Ahm, it’s dangerous for the two of them to go to the forest by themselves. I should follow them.”
“You don’t have to; they’re going to be just fine. Despite her appearance, that girl, Ciel, is very powerful.”
“Really? Such a pretty and delicate-looking girl is?”
“That appearance is but a disguise. Her true nature is that of a powerful monster. If three dragon-slaying heroes showed up, she can beat them up without problems.”
Even without her trump card, [Perfect Trace], Ciel should be able to do at least that much. She was still an S rank monster with a high level, after all.
“I see. That’s a bit surprising.”
“So, don’t worry about them. Ciel will protect your little sister, I assure you. Not only is she strong, she’s kind and caring. Now then, why don’t you show me how you cook your food here.”
Even among my monsters, Ciel was particularly friendly toward humans.
My monsters could be generally divided into three:
The first group was those who were friendly to humans. These included my three [Monsters of the Covenant] and Ciel.
Next was the group who looked at humans individually, being friendly to those that were allies and hostile against those they considered enemies. My chief of staff Duke was at the head of this group.
Lastly, there were monsters who were indifferent toward the humans. This group had low opinions of humans and considered humans like mere insects. Yet, surprisingly, none had hate for the humans, just a lack of interest.
The best representative of the last group was Avalon’s biggest problem child. This problem child was reliable in battle, but their behavior was just terrible. For that reason, I pretty much only kept this problem child in my [Storage] until they were needed.
“I guess I can relax then. I’m now kinda excited to see what they’ll bring back. For now, we better turn all this barley into something we could eat.”
This girl truly is a good person.
I had nothing better to do, so I decided to help the older fox girl do some chores.
My monsters didn’t allow me to such things, so this was a nice change of pace.
I must say though, removing the husk of the barley is quite fun.
“It’s a bit late for introductions, but I guess it’s better late than never. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m [Creation] Demon Lord Procell. I’ve founded and manage a city called Avalon.”
“Oh, such formality. Ahm, I’m Cumin, and this is the Ryuzen village.”
“Cumin, huh. It’s a good name. Easy to pronounce, to boot.”
I liked short and simple names, as evidenced by the names of my monsters.
Of course, there were a few exceptions.
“And the other girl is my little sister, Ahri.”
“Ahri? The name kind of gives the impression of a free-spirited individual.”
“Yes, I think so too. But her worrying about our household has put a damper on that free spirit of hers, I’m afraid.”
Their life in the village was not great, to say the very least.
In an isolated environment like this, being ostracized spelled hardship.
“If life here is difficult, how about leaving the place? There must be a place this village sells its extra crops, right? Why not try living there? That way, at least you won’t have to worry about the harassment you’ve been getting.”
“It’s a bit hard for us to do that. It’s impossible for the two us to reach that other place, and even if we somehow were able to pull off that miracle, we simply don’t have enough to afford living there.”
…so, you choose to endure instead.
“But what if there’s a town or city you can safely and quickly travel to? Moreover, what if that city could offer a much better livelihood for you and your sister? Will you move then?”
“Well, if there is such a town, then I think I’d like for Ahri and I to live there. The two of us are awfully tired of this place, to tell you the truth.”
Good to know. Perchance, that could happen someday.
Around the time we finished preparing the barley, Ciel and Ahri returned.
The baskets they carried on their backs were now full.
“Woah, there’s so much. Are all of these really edible!?”
“Of course. I selected them myself, you know.”
With a smug face, Ciel then flipped her hair.
“Sis, sis! Look! I gathered as much I could. Hurry and cook these please!”
“Alright, alright. …wait, this mushroom, it’s poisonous! I thought all of these are edible!?”
“Yes, it is poisonous.”
“Then, it isn’t edible, is it”
“This is why humans are so foolish. It has poison, so it can’t be eaten? Please stop with that reasoning. If it has poison, then remove the poison so that it becomes edible. It’s not always easy, but in this case, it is. Look, first you wash these red mushrooms, then you chop them. After that, you set them aside.”
Ciel, took out a pot from her [Storage] and then put the chopped red mushrooms there.
The mushrooms indeed seemed poisonous.
“Those mushrooms are called hibukuredake. When eaten, they cause the throat and face to swell, which could lead to more serious concerns.”
“That’s pretty spot on. Well, next we also cut these blue mushrooms. Once done, we put these together with the red mushrooms.”
“Those blue ones are called mikkakudandake. Just a bite’s enough to confine a person in the toilet for at least three days.”
“My, you’re quite knowledgeable. We then add in some water and let it boil. This goes well with miso or something like that, so let me borrow some, ok? When it’s boiling, we add chopped up dried meat. We then let it boil for another few minutes. …and now, the mushroom soup is done. My Demon Lord, would you care to taste it?”
A mushroom soup made using two kinds of poisonous mushrooms.
If Cumin’s information was to be believed, eating this would not only cause my face and throat to swell, I would also be suffering from diarrhea for three straight days.
…eh, most poisons don’t work on Demon Lords anyway.
Moreover, even though most poisons were ineffective on me, I could still tell whether something was indeed poisonous. That meant I was the best candidate to check the food.
And so, I took a sip.
For something made of only mushrooms, miso, and dried meat, it had such a complex and deep flavor.
Aside from their taste, the consistency of the mushrooms was noteworthy.
Overall, it was delicious.
“Yeah, it’s delicious. Moreover, the soup isn’t poisonous at all.”
“How can that be? Those were quite potent poisons, you know.”
“Fufufu. By themselves, each shouldn’t be eaten at all, but together, they’re perfectly harmless. It’s because they neutralize each other. You humans don’t use your heads much, so it’s not a surprise you haven’t realized such a thing, but as long as you’re careful to use an equal amount of these blue and red mushrooms, they would cease to be poisonous. Favor one or the other and you’re back to square one though”
While saying all that, Ciel took the plates of the sisters, poured as much of the soup as the plates could hold, and served it.
The older sister was still a bit uneasy about the soup, but the younger one unhesitatingly took a sip right away.
“Ah, Ahri! You should have waited until I’ve tested it at least.”
“*nom nom*… wow, so delicious! Sis, sis, try it!”
Her fox tail swinging, Ahri enthusiastically took a mouthful of the soup.
She was a fox girl, but with her cheeks stuffed like that, she almost looked like a squirrel.
It was quite funny.
“Ahri, are you alright?”
“Yuppp. Actually, I think I feel much better now.”
“But of course. These mushrooms are full of vigor-enhancing nutrients as well as all sorts of other nutrients that’ll help the two of you be healthy.”
While saying so, Ciel added more miso, which deepened the flavor, and then some of the barley, which effectively turned the soup into a porridge.
At that point, the younger fox girl… Ahri’s bowl was empty.
“Here, try these too.”
“Whoa, it’s much tastier with some barley. Another please!”
In the blink of an eye, Ahri’s bowl was empty again.
“Nope. That’s enough.”
“What, but I still can eat some more”
“While these dishes are relatively easy to digest, eating more of it might cause more harm than good to your weakened stomach. You can eat the rest tomorrow.”
“…alright. It’s a shame I can’t eat more, but I’m really glad I was able to eat that much. Thank you, Ciel!”
“For Ciel, that was pyupyupyu nothing.”
Ciel seemed delighted.
It seemed like Ahri was thankful to me too, considering the pleasant emotion that was flowing into me.
In a way, I was also eating.
Cumin then timidly gave the food a try.
“Hmm. It’s true, it really is delicious. …oh, it’s been so long since I’ve eaten such a delicious dish.”
Unlike her younger sister, Cumin seemed well-mannered. However, her tail swinging from left and right exposed the emotions she was trying to hide. It was quite adorable, to be honest. Kinda reminds me of Kuina whose tail swings each time she eats something delicious.
“It’s almost like a feast. With these mushrooms, even if the village takes away our harvests again, we won’t starve. Thank you.”
“I have other ingredients and dishes to teach you, but some of them are like these mushrooms: dangerous to be eaten as they are. You have to do it properly. Until I’ve taught you how, refrain from trying to do it yourself.”
“Yes, we understand.”
The forest where they could forage these ingredients was a blessing. Granted, they needed the appropriate processing knowledge for some of these ingredients so that it could become edible, but the forest was a blessing nonetheless.
Even when we were gone, I was quite confident that the sisters would be able to support themselves.
Now that our bellies are full, I think it’s finally time to inquire about the other Demon Lords.
“Cumin, when I mentioned I was a Demon Lord earlier, you were quite scared. Is there a Demon Lord around here?”
“Yes, there is. Their place is about half a day’s walk from the village.”
“Ohh. And what kind of Demon Lord are they? I’m guessing from your reaction that they’re not really the benevolent kind, are they?”
“…no, they’re not. In fact, they’re the embodiment of fear around here. Each year, they would demand a sacrifice. If a village fails to meet the demand, they would send their monsters and destroy that village.”
Demand a sacrifice? Is that how the Demon Lords here feed on emotions?
Most of the Demon Lords that I knew made dungeons and lured humans into those dungeons with the allure of treasure and experience points from monsters. The Demon Lords would then feed on the humans’ lust for those things as well as their fear and despair during battle.
Maybe demanding sacrifices isn’t so bad??
Not only would there be a steady supply, the strength of despair from the sacrifices should be greater than average as well.
However, there was at least one major issue with this approach.
“But if they do that, wouldn’t the nation act against them.”
“That has happened several times before, but the Demon Lord has won against the nation’s armies each time. Nowadays, as long as the Demon Lord only demanded a few sacrifices from the villages each year, the nation tended to leave them alone.”
The Demon Lord here was quite smart.
They knew that the more sacrifices they demanded, the more serious the nation was going to take them. So, they held back their greed just enough to the point where the nation wouldn’t send in a major force.
Minor punitive forces would still be sent from time to time, but as Cumin mentioned, the Demon Lord had enough war potential to repel them. If anything, these punitive forces should be nothing more than additional food.
It’s hard to imagine such a Demon Lord is anything but strong.
“Sorry to be frank, but given your relationship with your village, I’m more surprised you and your sister haven’t been sacrificed yet.”
The two were orphans ostracized by the village. They were individuals who could be considered dispensable. Moreover, being young, beautiful maidens, a typical Demon Lord would enjoy them more than the usual human.
“…well, because the village leader’s son proposed to me, we were overlooked for last year selection.”
“So, the proposal saved you back then, but was then the cause of why you are being ostracized, huh. But then, why did you refuse? If you married into the family of the village leader, wouldn’t your life be pretty much secured?”
Cumin casted her eyes downward before forcing out a reply.
“Because then Ahri and I would have been separated. They told me that after the wedding, I would be living in the village leader’s residence while Ahri would be sent to another village. …Ahri and I discussed it and we decided that we would rather be poor and together than be comfortable but apart.”
“I would never trade in sis for any meal!”
I initially thought she just couldn’t force herself to be with the village leader’s son. I honestly didn’t expect such a moving story.
Not that I disliked those kinds of things.
“It’s only natural they wouldn’t have any love for Demon Lords after that.”
“My Demon Lord, what do you want to do? Help them? If possible, I’d like us to wait until I’ve recovered. That other Demon Lord sounds a bit dangerous, so it’s best to have my ability in case anything happens.”
“You’re right. I do have that fellow in my [Storage]… but I’d rather not rely on just that guy.”
Relying on Ciel’s adaptability was simply the better approach.
Besides, that other Demon Lord was close by. We could afford to leave as soon as Ciel has recovered. In the meantime, I should gather more information about this world.
However, Circumstances prevented me from gathering more information.
The next morning, visitors came to the fox sisters’ home and violently knocked at the door.
When Cumin opened the door, a plump middle-aged man and a skinny young man were there. None of the two seemed to be familiar with manual labor.
Based on the fox sisters, I thought everyone in the village would also have fox ears, but seeing these two made me realize that was not the case. The two were what some would call ordinary humans…actually, these two are more like monkeys, I think.
“Rejoice, Cumin and Ahri, you two could be of service to the whole village. This year’s sacrifices are going to be you two.”
The middle-aged man informed them, and Cumin quickly turned pale.
What’s with this timing? It’s as if this event waited for me to know about that Demon Lord before it happened. Looking back, even my meeting with the fox sisters feels too much of a coincidence.
It was possible, likely even, that someone was pulling the strings behind the scene.
But even if that was the case, it didn’t matter. As long as I could command the conclusion, I didn’t mind going along the flow they had set.
“Ciel, sorry but I don’t think we can wait until you have recovered.”
“I thought that’d be the case. You are, after all, [Creation] Demon Lord Procell.”
I had decided to meet with this world’s Demon Lord sooner than we planned.
This decision was not out of a sense of justice or anything like that.
The sisters were mine, and I really disliked having my things be stolen. That was all this was.
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