Yesterday, they had started work as soon as they arrived in the beastlands, and then Chiharu had collapsed in the evening. Only Maki had had a light meal, so neither of them had eaten anything substantial.
And since Chiharu was just recovering, breakfast was brought to their room.
Ortha herself carried the large tray with something steamy on top.
What is this? It looks so delicious.”
Maki couldn’t help but say.
“Father told me that you’d want to eat something with meat. Well, this would usually be eaten for lunch or dinner, but we had some saved from last night.”
The first thing on the tray was a large plate with a mountain of meat slices. And it was surrounded by much smaller bowls.
“And here we have beans, pickled Oilia seeds, steamed vegetables, ham, fruits, and bread.”
The last thing that was brought out was some flatbread that resembled nan.
“You can eat it like that, but it’s also good if you put this on top of the bread. And then we have some tea here.”
A pot of tea had been prepared. Ortha raised an eyebrow and asked if they wanted some. They nodded. And so she poured the black tea into thick, white cups.
“Green tea isn’t very popular over here. But the tea in this area is also good, so please try it.”
That was how their breakfast started, and though it seemed a little heavy for someone who was recovering, it was incredibly delicious. There was no sauce on the meat slices, and yet they tasted of spices and light salt. It was surprisingly refreshing.
“This must be mutton.”
“We ate a lot of mutton in the dwarf lands! But it tasted different…”
“Don’t dwarves make a lot of stews?”
“Yes! There would even be large chunks inside soup.”
Answered Chiharu as Ortha looked at her gently.
“The beastland territories that are close to the sea are especially warm, and so they produce a lot of spices.”
“I would have thought beastkin would dislike spices, as they have sensitive noses.”
Maki thought about Rasche.
“It’s because we have good noses that we can tell if spices are good. What an odd child you are. Of course, it wouldn’t be good to use too much of it, though. Well, how is the meat?”
“Yes, it’s slightly spicy but also has a complex flavor that is very different.”
Chiharu said. Ortha nodded with satisfaction.
“If you get bored of it, try adding some of the beans and Oilio seeds with the bread. Yes, like that.”
“Woah! It tastes different!”
“I think I prefer it like this.”
The two continued to eat excitedly. In the end, the only thing that remained was the fruit.
“It looks like a watermelon.”
“Oh, very good.”
They had green peels while some were red on the inside and some were green. Chiharu remembered that anything that was similar to what they had in Japan was automatically translated into that name.
And so she picked up one of the pieces that were cut into small triangles and took a bite.
“Mmm! It’s good!”
They were very happy.
“It’s still only just the end of summer. These watermelons are in season until pretty late.”
“It was only the middle of summer in Japan.”
“Is that right? Here they grow from the beginning of summer until autumn. And you can find them anywhere in the beastlands.”
So they would be able to eat much more. Chiharu loved watermelons and was happy to hear this.
Chiharu ate as if to make up for the lack of dinner last night, and before she knew it, her headache had gone away. Ortha looked at her apologetically.
“We’ll head to the cave as soon as we wash up.”
They answered. Ortha nodded.
“Then I will be waiting in front of the balcony.”
After being told to come out from the balcony, Maki chuckled as she realized that she had yet to use the door. She felt like a bad person.
The two quickly took a shower and then went outside through the double doors. But it wasn’t Ortha who was there, but the birdfolk.
“Sauro. I heard that you carried me yesterday. Thank you.”
“Chiharu. So your fever has gone down.”
Sauro said as he picked up Chiharu as if she were a child. This meant that he had to look up at her.
Chiharu’s eyes were moving a little frantically. Sauro ignored this as he pressed his forehead into hers.
“It’s because your temperature is higher than humans, brother.”
Saikania took Chiharu away from him with exasperation and put her down on her feet. Chiharu’s face was bright red.
“Oh, is the fever coming back?”
Chiharu waved her hands in front of her face furiously. Maki was rolling on the floor and laughing.
Maki wiped away the tears from her eyes and explained in Chiharu’s place.
“You really don’t even realize that you’re handsome, do you?”
“Humans find you very attractive.”
Sauro’s eyes widened a little. Then he turned to Saikania, who was smiling.
“Am I handsome?”
“Don’t ask me. I don’t look at you like that.”
“Neither do I.”
They both looked puzzled. Ortha, who was also laughing, tried to explain.
“Birdfolk judge a person’s attractiveness based on their wings, skill at flying, and their ability to take action. They don’t really care about the face.”
“What? Then what about dogfolk?”
“Obviously, it’s about leadership.”
“What? That’s so different from humans.”
“That’s one way that father is a little different. He just does whatever he wants.”
“He doesn’t come off that way at all.”
Maki thought of Zynis as being responsible and reliable.
“He’s so reliable and cool.”
“Well, finding someone appealing is not the same as falling in love with them. Don’t you agree, Maki and Chiharu? After all, it’s just like how you may think Sauro is handsome, but you don’t fancy him.”
Sauro had been getting a little carried away by the initial compliment, and so he couldn’t help but object a little.
“We shouldn’t be standing here and wasting time. We need to go to the cave.”
“That’s right. Now that I think about it, the gazers are awfully quiet.”
Chiharu put a hand on her chest. Maki also frantically searched for the presences in the cave.
“Ahh, they seem a little worried. They were waiting for Chiharu to get better. Let’s hurry!”
Even though some of them treated Maki and Chiharu like baby birds, many were worried about them. And that made them feel warm inside.
That being said, a small part also felt that they were being made to work a little too much.