After warming up to the perfect degree in the hot spring, they got changed and went out to discover a delicious smell coming from the village.
“They have prepared a feast for you tonight. The whole village is waiting, so we should go.”
“Yes, let’s go!”
There was no way that they wouldn’t go to a feast.
“Oh, so you are fond of meat, Maki?”
“Of course! Chiharu loves it as well.”
“Meat! The juices spread out over your tongue after one bite. The smells and intricate flavor put me in a trance.”
Maki frantically stopped Chiharu as she began to talk about meat.
“Didn’t we eat meat in the elf lands too?”
“Yes, the food was great there. But Alyssa, I’m sure the food in the beast lands is completely different?”
“Well, I wouldn’t really know how different. Still, that is today’s main dish!”
Alyssa said as she pointed ahead.
“A whole roast!”
“I’ve never seen this before!”
There was a large skewer with several masses of meat on it. And it was being roasted above a fire.”
“Yes, this is roasted wild boar!”
Alyssa said in a proud voice. Just then, they heard cheers from the people close to the meat.
At the same time, there were small footsteps, and then small figures started to jump on Maki and Chiharu.
“It’s the Saintess!”
“She has black eyes!”
“She’s like a night god!”
They were the cat children. They held onto Maki and Chiharu’s waists and looked up with adorable eyes that came in various colors. And on top of their heads, were cat ears that twitched!
Maki and Chiharu muttered, and the children all tilted their heads to the side at the same time.
They really could not find another word to describe them.
“These Saintesses are weird.”
“They have weird faces.”
Now that was harsh. And then a young boy came towards them from the fire.
“Hey, you kids. Can’t you see the Saintesses are troubled? Go and wait for the meat.”
The children left Maki and Chiharu and ran off.
Maki and Chiharu muttered. The boy shrugged his shoulders.
“Still, you two ladies do look pretty weird.”
“Hey, now that’s hurtful.”
“Look here, boy. Uh, you could have worded that differently, you know?”
The boy looked at them with exasperation.
“Anyway, the feast can’t begin until we make a toast and you eat the meat first. Also, while I am considered a boy among cat people…”
He looked at Maki and Chiharu with a serious face.
“At the same time, I’m over thirty years old.”
“You’re older than us!”
Now that they thought about it, Dilon was also around a hundred years old. And they had never met a beastkin who was younger than them.
“Humans grow up so quickly. But since you’re younger than me, I’ll hold your hands. Now hurry up.”
While he was shorter than the two, he grabbed Maki and Chiharu’s hands and started walking right in the middle of them.
“Mother, you hurry up as well.”
“Irias seems to have inherited his personality from his father. He likes to rush things.”
“He’s Alyssa’s son?”
She was so surprised that her heart almost jumped out of her mouth.
“Oh, yes. He is.”
Alyssa said with a laugh.
“Now, here it is.”
“Ah, Maki and Chiharu. The meat has just finished cooking. Sit down here and let’s make a toast.”
She looked very happy. Maki and Chiharu sat down on either side of her. Zynis, Ortha, and the bridfolk also sat close by.
“Uh, where are the birdfolk who came to the hot spring?”
“It’s not possible to trap birdfolk in one place. But they will be judged by the chief later on. At the very least, they will not be participating in this feast, so don’t worry. Really, they may be young, but that is no excuse.”
“I’m sorry. I am not capable enough to control the younger birdfolk.”
It was rare to see Sauro looking this sad.
“Now, now. You are not the chief yet. It is up to Miragaia to do better in controlling them. However, Miragaia is too gentle. And the falcons have a tendency to get carried away.”
They didn’t ask for any more details, but it did sound like controlling all those free birdfolk would be very difficult. When they thought about it like that, perhaps Sauro and Saikania were actually more impressive than they looked.
“But more importantly, let’s make a toast.”
Granny said as she tried to get up. As Maki and Chiharu helped, everyone else got to their feet. And then they all raised their wooden cups into the air. They contained drinks like ale or honey wine. Some had non-alcoholic beverages. Maki and Chiharu had asked for ale.
“All of you. In just a few hours, the miasma has thinned considerably. This is all because the Saintesses visited the beast lands. And we cat people of this village are the first to have the honor of greeting them!”
There was loud cheering and applause. They all looked at Maki and Chiharu with glimmering eyes. There was something very heartwarming about it.
“And now, a toast, to Saintess Maki and Saintess Chiharu!”
Cheers! Everyone raised their cups and then tilted them into their mouths.
“Now, you two should get some of that meat. The children are waiting.”
Maki and Chiharu grabbed their plates and went over to where the wild boar was cooking. Here, a large cat person was waiting with a knife.
“So, which part do you want?”
They had not been expecting this question.
“The fattiest part.”
“I’ll have the thigh.”
He then stuck the knife into the meat and cut out thick slices and placed them on their plates. Maki and Chiharu had expected him to just carve off thin slices, but they took their plates and returned to the table. Immediately after, the children happily created a line in front of the meat.
The cut meat had a crispy skin on the outside, but it was fatty underneath, and then the meat below that was firm.
“That’s why he cut such thick slices.”
“So we can taste every part.”
“Now, stop looking at it and eat it.”
Granny encouraged them. And so they stuffed their mouths with the meat. The crispy skin was enhanced with herbs and salt, while the meat was textured and juicy. And all of it was enveloped by a thin layer of fat that seemed to melt.
Their cheeks almost hurt.
“This isn’t the season for the fattiest boars, but there is a sweetness to the meat, and it really is delicious.”
Granny looked quite happy.
“Well, we have plenty of other food that was picked from the mountain. So keep eating!”
Everyone took advantage of the occasion. There was eating, drinking, laughing, and a little fighting. The kids were so excited to be allowed to stay up late, and they ran around the tables. People kept asking for more meat. And while the beastkin did not have their own special wine, Maki and Chiharu felt like tonight, they had gotten very drunk with happiness.