Most recently Marco was in high spirits. Once he tried asking whether he could use the bread oven as he had nothing to lose anyway, the elven court ladies willingly agreed with his request. Being in a good mood because of that, he also tried asking whether he could also use the kitchen not only for bread, but also soup, which they cheerfully agreed with as well.
At first he felt as though the court ladies were looking at him with somewhat cold eyes, but apparently that had been a misunderstanding.
What a wonderful place this is for allowing me to endeavor in my beloved cooking to such an extent, Marco thanked the gods.
However, he couldn’t only work on his cooking all the time. Even Marco had tasks he had to do. If you were to speak of his biggest task among all of his jobs, it would likely be taking care of the dinosaurians’ meals.
Currently there were fifty dinosaurians in the feudal lord’s residence. Those dinosaurians usually didn’t do anything. They didn’t even try to prepare their own food. That’s because most of the dinosaurians in the mansion were of a tribe called warrior species. The tribe of the warrior species belonged to the privileged class among the dinosaurians and were probably equivalent with nobles among humans. In their eyes, such things as manual labor was only done by those of lower classes. In exchange, the warrior species’ responsibility during times of peace was to restore their energy in preparation for the next battle.
Their acting being permitted in the city of Bolnis was solely based on the dinosaurians’ outstanding combat abilities. Once they stood on the battlefield, they exhibited a fearsome strength because of their wild temperaments and their blessed bodies. It was appropriate to call their strength a match for a thousand. Also, their outward experience, which seemed scary to the humans, played a role in the city’s public order. By just seeing them swagger through the streets, even bandits, who gave a damn about the country’s laws, and ruffians, who acted like bandit wannabes, lost consciousness after causing disturbances in the city.
Given all that, the haughty dinosaurians were liable to turn into outcasts of Souma’s faction, but the reason why that didn’t happen was the strong influence of Jahangil Hesam Jalji who should be called their representative. The greatest warrior among those dinosaurians apparently had a notion to worry about Souma. He would likely never admit that if you were to ask him directly, but when he got tired of napping, he was often seen going to the office or audience hall, where Souma was, and roll up on the ground over there. Also, it wasn’t unusual for him to accompany Souma on trips like the one to the zoan’s Grand Festival Borollo. And those behaviors of Jahangil were the main reason why the other audacious dinosaurians showed their consideration to Souma alone.
With the situation being as it was, the dinosaurians were naturally recognized as something similar to Souma’s bodyguards or imperial guards by the people around them over the course of time.
However, the dinosaurians were still quite oblivious to the conveniences of others. The didn’t set up a special guard protocol around Souma, and mostly just napped at sunny places in the courtyard of the feudal lord’s residence. Bringing food to those dinosaurians was the major task of Marco.
The amount of food, which he brought to the gluttonous dinosaurians, was nothing to scoff at. Marco had to go back and forth between the kitchen and the courtyard many times over while carrying bread and soup.
“I have brought your meals～” Once Marco yelled so after having finished to carry over all the food, the dinosaurians, who had been idling around all over the courtyard, slowly got up and came over.
At the time when he started this job, the elven court lady had warned him, “Pay close attention to your speech and conduct, if you value your life.” After all, what registered for dinosaurians as light caressing was quite likely to become a fatal blow for other races.
However, the unabashed Marco faced the dinosaurians calmly from the start. And not only that. Most recently, when he had grown accustomed to distributing the meals, the dinosaurians’ manner of swarming to the food he had prepared made Marco remember goats and pigs herding to the fodder he had carried in when helping on farms, making him even consider them cute in some ways.
Yet, contrary to cattle, the meals for dinosaurians were luxurious. They sank their sharp teeth into the meat attached to bones, tore off that meat, and swallowed it just like that without chewing it almost at all. Something like bread they swallowed whole after softening it by soaking it in soup.
Marco liked eating himself, but he also liked watching others eat. He even secretly enjoyed gazing at the dinosaurians wolfing down their luxurious meals. And yet, he had one complaint to make. It was his lack of knowledge whether the dinosaurians considered the food to be delicious.
Dinosaurians showed few expressions on their faces to begin with. Guessing the dinosaurians’ emotions from their faces was difficult, and all the more so for other races. They didn’t voice a single complaint, but watching them silently eat the food without their facial muscles even twitching caused Marco to worry whether the dinosaurians really enjoyed their food.
“Excuse me. May I ask you a little question?”
The dinosaurians all stopped eating at once, gazing at Marco who had called out to them. Even though most people would very likely escape while screaming from just that, Marco fearlessly asked with a broad smile, “Is it delicious? If you have any complaints, please feel free to voice them out, okay?”
Silence dominated the place in response to Marco. A short time later Jahangil, who was in the center of the ring of dinosaurians, started to crunch the meat in silence. However, him hitting the ground with his tail in irritation looked to Marco as if he was scolding him with “Don’t ask such stupid stuff.”
Marco felt downhearted.
Apparently feeling pity with Marco, one of the dinosaurians spoke up. It was a dinosaurian with the name Palsharl who had paid attention to call out to Marco for a while now.
“It’s not bad. ――However, it’d be a welcome change if you could increase the amount of meat a little bit. In our country, we don’t eat much bread. Right, Meflazard, Niyusharl?”
The eldest brother Meflazard snorted at the words of the youngest, and the taciturn Niyusharl silently nodded.
Marco’s eyes suddenly sparkled upon hearing about the food in another country he heard to be unimaginable.
“What kind of food did you eat in your country?” Marco bent himself forward and asked in a straightforward manner.
Palsharl was taken aback by that. After all, the majority of the other races were afraid of them and didn’t even try to get close. The experience of being pressed for an answer with such shining eyes was a first, even for Palsharl who was said to be gentle among the dinosaurians.
“A-Ah, umm, we have cattle called meat dragons which closely resemble the niryu in this country…” He answered while bewildered.
Marco attentively listened to Palsharl with sparkling eyes.
“…Just what is this?”
What Eladia held in her hands was a copy of the letter Marco sent to the man who appeared to be his contact person. Sometimes Marco sent such letters to a man said to be his distant relative through the merchant for whom he had worked for beforehand. The elven court ladies enticed a human working at that merchant’s place with money and beauty, and obtained a transcript of Marco’s letter.
However, Eladia, who read the letter which was supposed to be the regular report of a spy, was confused.
“I suppose it’s…a secret message of that person?” It was only reasonable for the court lady to falter here.
Marco wrote in his letter about dwarves preferring grilled mushrooms grown in caves, whole roasted niryu being popular among dinosaurians, that he was scolded by the harpyians once he offered them grilled caterpillars that lived of leaves on trees after being told that they liked caterpillars, and so on. Most of it was revolving around matters related to food. The parts about the all-important internal affairs in the lord’s mansion were kept at the level of being no more than an excuse in his letter.
“Elder sister, this is…a secret code, right?”
Eladia had considered that possibility as well. But then immediately abandoned that line of thought. A little while ago, there was a bit of an uproar about a niryu, which Jahangil had taken out of the stable, having gone missing. Once she checked that with the contents of the letter, it was obvious that the niryu had disappeared into their stomachs.
Very likely all that’s written here is no secret code, but the plain truth. We had suspected that this letter might actually be a secret message. I believed Marco to be a spy, but isn’t that a terrible misunderstanding by chance? She even thought. However, drawing any conclusions with only this much is premature.
“Let’s watch the situation for a little while. Make sure to not relax your attention by any means.” Eladia ordered the court lady to strictly monitor Marco as they had done until now.
At that moment the fragrant aroma of meat being grilled tickled Eladia’s nose. Once she threw a quick glance up to the sky through the window, it was the time for the sun to start sinking towards the west from its zenith. I’m sure Shyemul has begun preparing a late for Soma who finally wrapped up the heap of governmental affairs that had piled up.
“It looks like it Lord Soma’s lunch time. ―Have someone who’s free brew his tea.”
The court lady, who received Eladia’s instruction, bowed and was about to leave the room, but Eladia called her to halt, “Wait. Everyone is likely busy with other things. ―It can’t be helped. I will brew Lord Soma’s tea myself.”
Unable to conceal a giggle at this excuse by Eladia who should be the busiest among them, the court lady glossed it over by bowing. Because of that, Eladia smoothed it over by clearing her throat, left the room to carry out her duty with a nonchalant expression, and cheerfully headed towards the kitchen.
Eladia, who had prepared the tea, made her way to the courtyard which was close to Souma’s office. On days with good weather, Souma and Shyemul usually took their meals over there. Eladia’s guess had been right. Souma and Shyemul were in the process of eating lunch in the courtyard. Other than that, Jahangil was lying sprawled on his belly, apparently having finished his lunch already, at a place not too far away. Eladia, who was reminded of Marco’s letter after seeing him, bore in mind to later give him a stern warning about not taking out yet another niryu from the stable.
“Is it fine for me to borrow the fire, seeing how I have prepared some tea?” Eladia obtained Shyemul’s permission while showing her the tea utensils in her hands.
“…Yeah. I don’t mind.” Even while saying that she didn’t mind with her mouth, Shyemul’s eyes were looking at Eladia suspiciously.
However, that was no wonder. Even Shyemul would feel offended if Eladia showed up almost everyday like this during her precious relaxation time with her beloved and respected Navel Master. Besides, there was also the matter of Shyemul having yielded the duty of brewing tea for Souma.
Just the other day, she was asked by her brother, Garam, “Are you fine with passing the duty of brewing tea for Soma to Lady Eladia?”
The words of Eladia that it was painful to watch me handle miscellaneous matters like brewing tea as someone who could definitely be called Soma’s foremost servant and friend in soul and mind are reasonable.
Once she answered with that, Garam said, “If you’re fine with it, it’s no problem,” while looking not fully satisfied, contrary to his words.
However, afterwards Shyemul also started to doubt whether she was really fine with this. She felt somewhat fretful about having committed a mistake she wouldn’t be able to undo anymore. Especially recently that fretfulness had gained in strength, because Eladia had begun to say things such as, “Doesn’t Lord Soma want to occasionally eat food other than zoan cooking as well?” or “As expected, watching Lady Shyemul preparing food is…”
But, the period of eating three meals a day and preparing those was, so-to-speak, precious time for her to spend with her Navel Master. She couldn’t afford to have that stolen away from her as well. Yet she believed that Eladia had a point.
Certainly with nothing but zoan cooking each and every time, Souma, who wasn’t a zoan, might get bored of it. Accordingly Shyemul had prepared a dish in advance for today’s lunch.
“Huh? This bread…?” Souma blinked his eyes at it not being the usual dumplings for a change as he chewed the bread baked by Shyemul.
“You noticed, Soma?” Shyemul smiled sweetly as if telling them that he was completely right with his guess.
“It’s the bread rumored to be delicious in the kitchen here recently.” Just as Shyemul said so proudly, there was a sound of porcelain clanking against each other next to her.
Once both of them turned their eyes towards the source of the sound, they found Eladia there. She, who always made the tea soundlessly, had hit the tea utensils against each other as her hand had apparently slipped. However, seemingly not having noticed her own rude conduct, Eladia stared at Shyemul with her eyes slightly widened.
“…Lady Shyemul. Don’t tell me, is that the bread said to have been baked by the person who was recently hired by any chance?”
Eladia had also heard the reports that Marco had been recently baking some weird bread. Eladia asked that question with the hope of being wrong on this, but Shyemul quite indifferently answered, “It’s probably that,” with her memory being vague.
“H-How could that…” Eladia felt the blood drain from her face. For Souma out of all people to be fed the bread baked by someone who was under surveillance and suspected for being a spy was something totally unexpected. In Eladia’s eyes, it was a fatal mistake. It would be a serious affair if Marco had rigged the bread with poison, which he obtained from somewhere, in the worst case, despite being under strict vigilance.
The elven court ladies, who were present, all went pale as well. They had seen Shyemul receive the bread from Marco, but they certainly hadn’t expected for Shyemul to hand that bread to Souma, her Navel Master, who was more important to her than her own life.
“Lady Shyemul! Even if they might work in the kitchen, it’s a really bad idea to have Lord Soma eat something that had been prepared by some unknown person!” Eladia shouted emotionally as it was also her own failure, but she immediately switched over her thinking. “I can’t leave it to you after all, Lady Shyemul! I will have you allow us to manage Lord Soma’s meals from now on!”
“Just a moment! Why is it heading this way all of a sudden!?” Shyemul fiercely protested about having not only the tea preparation, but even the cooking taken from her.
“Lady Shyemul, you are busy yourself as well, aren’t you? Besides, after all is said and done, you are Lord Soma’s first retainer. If I see someone like you working an odd task such as cooking…”
“I-It’s unfair to phrase it like this!”
The two continued their heated dispute for a while, but then they noticed that Souma’s state was weird. Even though he would normally mediate between the two with a bitter smile, he didn’t react as if having frozen on the spot with the bread in one hand.
“Hey, Soma! Is something wrong?”
“Lord Soma, are you feeling well?”
Even after being worriedly called by the two, Souma stared at the bite mark of the bread he chewed. The bread he ate in this world so far had always been unfermented bread which was basically wheat flour that had been kneaded with water and then baked. Because of that, the bread’s interior had a dense dough, and a weight, making it the very definition of staple food.
However, the bread he ate just now was completely different. The bread’s surface was as hard as that of the usual bread. But, inside it was soft with a springy elasticity if you bit into it. Besides, looking closely at the bread’s bite mark, it was a sponge with small bubbles which set a savory aroma adrift.
Besides, this taste…
At the time when Eladia and Shyemul started to look gloomy in anxiety as he didn’t show any reaction, Souma suddenly lifted his head, “Call the person who baked this at once!”
The instant he saw Marco as he was brought in front of him by an elven court lady, Souma welcomed him, being all smiles, “So it was you after all!”
The bread he ate a while ago was obviously the fermented version which had been allowed to grow before being baked. If it had been limited to just that, Souma believed that there might already exist techniques to ferment bread at places unknown to him in this world. And yet Souma thought that it was the bread baked by Marco from the taste he sensed when biting into the bread.
“I thought it might be the case after experiencing the taste of butter!”
What he tasted when he bit into the bread was unmistakably butter. Even if the technique of fermenting bread already existed, the idea of adding butter to it didn’t exist until yesterday. The probability of both methods suddenly appearing at the same time in this world was close to zero. Going by that fact, it could only have been the thicket boy ― Marco, whom Souma had told about it.
But, Eladia stared in surprise upon hearing that. “B-Butter? You made Lord Soma eat something like that?”
It wasn’t unusual for Eladia to be surprised. In this world, which hadn’t developed the technique of cooling ingredients yet, butter, which was worse to preserve than cheese, hadn’t spread as an ingredient much yet. And not only that. Being considered more of a substitute for balm that would be smeared into the hair and on the body than food, it was deemed uncivilized to eat butter.
“Ay…Yes, the bread baked by me contains butter.”
Marco had expressly gone all the way to the farmers keeping cows, and obtained fresh butter from them for his bread.
“Why something like that!?”
“I was taught by this person that bread kneaded with butter would be delicious…”
Souma, who was meant here with “this person,” nodded, proving it to be true. Now that it had come to this, even Eladia had no way to blame Marco. While she brooded about what should be done about this, Souma cheerfully addressed Marco, “So, what did you do about the yeast cells? How did you make the bread grow?”
“Since you…no, milord said that it was the same as the ones in wine, I added a bit of wine juice, and let it rest for a while.”
“Wonderful!!” Souma praised him wholeheartedly.
Even though he had fully believed that it wouldn’t be possible to make bread without yeast cells, he absolutely hadn’t considered that the yeast, which caused wine to ferment, could work as a substitute. However, because appropriate yeast fitting the purpose such as bread and beer had been used in modern Japan, Souma misunderstood the bread’s yeast and the beer’s yeast as being completely different, but yeast was a word pointing towards a category of single-celled fungi which created alcohol and carbon dioxide by decomposing sugar. If you translated yeast into English, it would be yeast.
In reality, sweets like sake manjuu, which were made by adding sweet half sake and sake lees to make the manjuu grow, existed as well.
However, that didn’t mean that it was easy to use it for baking bread. Compared to the modern era’s dry yeast which would be cultivated to fit for fermenting bread, the way of using wine would definitely take time to ferment. Because Marco didn’t know the necessary time adjustment for this, it was at first almost no different from unfermented bread as he didn’t ferment it long enough, or the dough became sour with a strong alcoholic smell as he let it rest too long instead. It was a chain of failures.
However, while silently eating those failures by himself, Marco finally managed to perfect it through trial and error.
Once Souma asked why he went through all those troubles after hearing about it, Marco answered as if it would be very normal, “I mean, I want to eat delicious bread.”
Souma was surprised by this. No, it might be better to call it deeply moved. Beginning with the idea of making bread grow by using wine juice, Marco had, above all else, a flexible way of thinking that allowed him to even use butter, which would be rejected as food of savages by other people even if they were told that it was delicious.
Being so greedy for delicious food in a world, where anything was fine as long as it filled the stomach, pointed to an amazing character. No, you might actually call it talent. Even the improvement of cooking that might be no more than his personal hobby must have been a great joy for him.
Souma smiled broadly.
Shyemul, who believed that his usual habit of coming up with eccentric ideas had come out because of this, was about to rein him in, but Souma, who was a moment faster than her, tightly grasped Marco’s hands, “Won’t you become my exclusive cook?”
This made even Marco bewildered, as might be expected. But, the next words that left Souma’s mouth made Marco come to a decision.
“There’s a lot more delicious food! I want you to make it!”
“Of course, gladly!”
The one whose expression changed as the two boys firmly grabbed each other’s hands with sparkling eyes was Eladia.
“P-Please wait a moment, Lord Soma! This person is a newcomer who just recently entered the kitchen! To select such a person as your personal cook is…!”
If there were occupations that needed special attention for a person who was in danger of assassination, it would be doctors who would prescribe medicine, barbers who would get close while holding sharp tools, and cooks who would make the food eaten on a daily basis. Those were occupations a person wouldn’t be allowed to work in without having their characters strictly scrutinized, not to mention everyone possessing clarified identities. For Eladia it was out of the question to assign a person, who not only had an unknown family background but was also suspected of being a spy, to such an important post.
Eladia shifted her attention to Shyemul, looking for her cooperation in firmly preventing Marco from becoming Souma’s cook. However, Shyemul, who she believed to oppose this notion together with her, seemed to ponder about something with her hand placed on her chin.
“Can’t I have you say something about this as well, Lady Shyemul?” Eladia stated while hoping for support, but Shyemul grinned broadly for some reason.
“Isn’t it fine like that?”
Eladia felt dumbfounded by Shyemul’s unexpected betrayal.
“The scruples over me, Soma’s foremost retainer, handling the cooking are reasonable. However, the elven court ladies are busy as well, aren’t they? In that case, I think it’s an option to let his guy handle it.” Shyemul folded her arms and said with an unconcerned look, but it was a statement stemming from her trivial rivalry over almost having Souma’s cooking taken from her by Eladia.
However, being confronted with that ridiculous rivalry now was troublesome. The moment Eladia tried to voice that out, support for Marco came from someone unexpected as second faster than she could speak up.
“It’s not like you need to particularly fuss over that guy, right?”
It was Jahangil. Eladia was surprised. That it had been Jahangil who said so.
As if having already lost his interest, Jahangil turned away, and quickly struck the ground with his tail while yawning deeply. Even so, it was unusual for Jahangil to interject on a topic other than battle. Much less to say that it was no exaggeration to call the event of Jahangil, who didn’t care about the feelings of others, supporting someone as truly earth-shattering.
Don’t tell me, he was won over by food? Eladia truly thought something that would cause Jahangil to throw a fit if he heard about it.
Just as Marco had written in his letter, there was a passage about him having won the favor of the dinosaurians around Jahangil by expressly preparing their home country’s cooking. Because of that, Eladia suddenly realized.
Well, I never! He infiltrated the residence’s kitchen while deliberately attracting my notice with his suspicious behavior, becoming the one in charge of food distribution for the other races. All in order to destroy Bolnis from within after winning their favor with food. I wonder, isn’t that the exact plan of Marco? No way! This boy is a spy with such a skill that he could fool even my eyes!?
Eladia stared at Marco while experiencing such a shock, but the person in question here looked on blankly, seemingly not understanding the current situation.
Because of that, Eladia had her poisonous thoughts extracted spontaneously. “…I see. So that’s how it is.” At last Eladia had grasped the situation as well.
Once she considered it calmly, Marco entering the kitchen, and him distributing the food to the dinosaurians was no more than coincidence. If it had been around once or twice, she might have considered it to be someone’s strategy, but anticipating this many things that wouldn’t happen unless coincidence piled upon coincidence would be impossible as long as one didn’t possess a godly insight.
He’s not enough to cause a problem. This Marco is really a simple, softhearted boy who likes cooking from the bottom of his heart.
Many of the humans, which Eladia had encountered so far, were men, who tried to lust after her body, and women who were mad with jealousy. Hence, Eladia knew the means how to read the thoughts of such humans and how to manipulate their behavior. However, occasionally those existed. People who tried to do something for others without considering loss and gain. And, people who frantically tried to save others without having any particular benefit from it, and who shed tears for complete strangers.
Eladia glanced at Souma. For her, who had lived in a world where people tried to manipulate each other’s feelings, doubted each other and were cautious if seen by others, he was a very tricky opponent. You might even say that she was weak against such people. For her, who had continued struggling through the swamp of muddy desires, they were too radiant. Once she understood the reason, it was trivial. She considered it funny how she had become all alert by herself.
Eladia let a sight escape, “…Got it. It shall be as you wish, Lord Soma,” and bowed elegantly.
“Is that alright, Elder Sister?” A single court lady called out to Eladia who had left after making a new tea for Souma.
Eladia didn’t answer immediately, and glanced behind her over her shoulder. There she saw Souma proudly talking about the cooking knowledge he knew, Marco attentively listening with gleaming eyes, and Shyemul who got panicked late in the game, saying, “Wait! Doesn’t that mean I lost my duty to make Soma’s food in the end?”
“It can’t be helped,” Eladia sighed. “――However, make sure to not loosen your surveillance of Marco. Even if that person himself doesn’t mean any harm to Lord Soma, people using him might crawl out.”
After giving that instruction, Eladia added one more thing she had remembered, “And, lower the number of people learning zoan cooking.”
She had prepared to be ready to assign someone else as Souma’s cook at any time, but that also came to nothing. That alone was regrettable to a tremendous extent.
“Where should those people be assigned?” The court lady asked.
After pondering about it for a short moment, Eladia revealed an impish smile, “Position them around Marco. Have them watch him so that he won’t make any suspicious moves. And, have them look for an excuse to drive him out by spotting his oversights, if possible.”
After all he had me go on a fool’s errand. So I’m sure this much revenge is permissible. Eladia stuck out her tongue slightly, which was unusual for her.
On a certain day, a while after those events.
A court lady rushed into Eladia’s office, where she did her daily tasks as usual, with a pale face.
“Elder Sister! Marco has once again done that…!”
Eladia immediately realized once the elven court lady mentioned “that.” It was something related to just last month. Marco, who had been taught about a certain dish by Souma, had caused a terrible incident when he tried to make it. Recalling the uproar back then, Eladia massaged her eyebrows.
“Even though I told him some time ago to not go this far… Have him stop at once.”
“That is…” The court lady hesitated to continue. “Lord Soma is with him.”
I see. I guess for a court lady it would be hard to speak up in such a case.
Eladia sighed. Given that she was reluctant to directly meddle with what Souma, her benefactor, was doing, she decided to request the help of a powerful reinforcement here.
A short time after the court lady went to call that reinforcement, Shyemul’s angry yelling could be heard from a far distance, “Soma! You spoiled the soybeans again! There are complaints about the bad stench!”
“I-It’s not that I have spoiled them. To create natto…”
Nothing but the voices could be heard, but Eladia smiled wryly as she imagined Souma desperately explaining himself to Shyemul.
“You said the same last time as well! In the end, they are just spoiled, aren’t they!?! Moreover, who was it that complained about having an upset stomach for many days after eating those beans? Who!?”
“But, if there are yeast cells, I’m pretty sure that natto bacterias should exist somewhere as well.”
“Stop saying such retarded things, and get back to work at once!”
Waiting for the situation to calm down, Eladia went to the kitchen that had been reserved for Marco. Once Eladia, who frowned her beautiful face due to the rotten smell wafting through the air, even in the corridor, entered the kitchen, she was greeted by Marco with a troubled look as he held a cask with rotten soybeans.
“Marco. I’m sure I ordered you to not overdo this the other day.”
“B-But, Lord Soma says that it’s possible to make delicious natto, so…”
Eladia sighed deeply.
“I don’t want to interfere much since it’s one of the few hobbies of Lord Soma, but at least keep it at a level that doesn’t stink so much.”
Eladia was about to return to her office after ordering Marco to dispose of the soybeans, which had become a seedbed for a great variety of multicolored microorganisms, by burying them somewhere, but Marco called out to her, “Umm…what should I do with those?”
What Marco pointed at were the roughly crushed soybeans which had been boiled just moments ago. Souma, who believed that natto bacteria might multiply better under some conditions, had prepared the soybeans so that the natto bacteria might propagate easier by crushing them finely.
“It’s no good to throw them away. Use this for some kind of dish.” Eladia left after saying so over her shoulder.
Marco was troubled by those words. He had already decided on dinner for this evening, and soybeans would have no use there. Helplessly Marco put the boiled soybeans in a barrel he found standing around. Since they wouldn’t be eaten right away, he added plenty of salt so that they wouldn’t rot, and mixed all of it. And then, once he tightly closed the barrel’s lid, he placed them in a corner of the kitchen so that they wouldn’t stand in the way.
This barrel where Marco shut in the boiled soybeans was the barrel which contained the mito that Souma bought in the pioneer village in the past. Afterwards Marco was busy with other things, completely forgetting about the soybeans in that barrel.
At this time Marco didn’t know. Because this barrel had continued to naturally be selected for making mito over many years, a certain kind of mushroom slept in there. And, it was a kind of mushroom that was extremely close to what was called a yeast plant in modern Japan. For the soybeans in this barrel to cause Souma to jump wildly in joy several months later as a result was something Marco didn’t foresee at this time.
Later on he was extolled by the Divine Child of Destruction Soma Kisaki with “If not for him, I wouldn’t have been able to survive.” Marco was referred to as the “Tongue of the Divine Child of Destruction” and the “Man who grasped Soma’s stomach” by the people.
Him distinguishing himself was a story that would take place a little while later.