“Hmm… Which did you choose, Asagi?”
I pointed at the tomato pasta. Safety first.
“Which are you considering?”
“It must be either the ‘Winter Vegetables and Pepper Pasta’ and the ‘Alexia Mushroom and Olive Pasta.’”
Well…those did sound pretty good. I’ve never had Alexia mushrooms before.
“Do they grow in the mountains then?”
“Aye. They are hard as rocks. And so you must crush them with hammers and boil them until they soften. They are delicious.”
A rock-like mushroom that grows in rocky mountains. They would probably be difficult to find. Perhaps they were a rare delicacy then.
“Indeed, they are quite rare. …Alight, I will choose it. Since we are here.”
“Good. It’s settled. Waiter!”
I waved my hand and shouted until the waiter came out. Perhaps they were on break. Two cups were gently placed on the table.”
“Can I take your order?”
“I’ll have the Tomato and Dana Cream Pasta. And she’ll have the Alexia Mushroom and Olive Pasta.”
Phew. I said it without stuttering. The waiting jotted everything down and then retreated to the kitchen. I suddenly felt quite thirsty, and so I drank the water that was on the table.
“Dana milk…the livestock in that village must be doing well.”
“Aye, how nostalgic.”
Dana milk was from a place called Dana Village, that we had visited once. Their primary income came from their livestock. But they had been plagued by a lesser wyvern that attacked them. We just happened to be passing through. And the unlucky wyvern was killed by Daniela and me and also an Adventurer who lived there who went by the name Yis.
“I hope Mido and Marco are doing well.”
“I’m sure they are. Since there is no wyvern anymore.”
“And Marco is strong. Yeah, they must fine.”
As we talked about those old times, the waiter appeared in the corner of my vision. He was carrying plates in both hands as he threaded his way through the tables.
“Here it comes.”
Daniela’s eyes lit up and she sat straight.
“Here it is. Your Alexia Mushroom and Olive Pasta.”
The pasta that was placed in front of Daniela had large, brown mushrooms inside. But there was also a variety of other kinds inside as well.
“And here is the Tomato and Dana Cream Pasta.”
“Enjoy your meal.”
I looked down at the plate. It was a pale red. More of a pastel color than meat sauce or Neapolitan. It was because of the Dana milk that was mixed into it. There were shredded vegetables on top that looked quite nice.
I picked up my fork and rotated it, careful to get plenty of vegetables and sauce in the process. Then I brought it to my mouth. There was a mild tartness that went well with the firm texture of the pasta. And then the vegetables added a fresh crunch and sweetness.
“So is mine. Clearly I was right in choosing this place.”
“Let me have a bite.”
“Then you must give me two bites, Asagi.”
“That’s not exactly a fair exchange. One bite.”
Daniela pushed her plate across the table and so I did the same.
So, this huge chunk was an Alexia mushroom, eh? Yes, it did look kind of hard. I tried stabbing it with the fork and was surprised. It wasn’t hard at all. It was was just spongy. Well, it was a delicacy, after all.
The rich mushrooms were a very good match for the mild and refreshing olive oil sauce. I wrapped some of the pasta around my fork and stabbed a piece of mushroom before bringing it to my mouth. My teeth tore through the spongy texture of the mushrooms and my mouth filled with the sweet juices. The taste was quite strong, but it was a good combination with the olive oil sauce. And it was really enjoyable to eat. An interesting dish, to say the least.
“Your pasta is not bad either…”
“He-hey. That’s clearly a second bite. I’ve been watching you.”
You couldn’t let your guard down with her. I was about to be pasta-less.
We traded plates again and I was finally able to eat my safely recovered pasta. We both became so concentrated on our food that we didn’t talk anymore.
Before I knew it, the plate was empty. Daniela had also finished and was drinking her water.
“That was great… I underestimated Arkaroid.”
“I guess being close to Usk is a huge advantage.”
It was a trading city after all… They had everything you could want. Well, hopefully, that meant we would be able to get a boat to take us downriver.
It would have been nice to end the meal with drink and some idle talk, but we had wasted enough time trying to find the place. Ah… I had so wanted to order some coffee and relax there with Daniela.
“…Phew. Well, let’s go then.”
“We were able to eat, so I have no regrets.”
Yes, I was reenergized. And with that, we went through the Arkaroid west gate and headed to Usk. Our next destination was not so far away.