Chapter 70 – Her First Kind Companions (2)
Max was awkwardly standing at the entrance wondering if she should enter or not. She didn’t expect to witness the dismantling of the fish. The half-cut fish’s body appalled her, so she slowly turned around to leave. However before she could take a step to turn away, her eyes met with Garow’s, who had been turning his stiff neck around to stretch it. She stood rooted in place. The boy waved his hand with a cheerful smile.
“Good morning, Madam Calypse.” Garow called out to her.
“Oh, hello Madam!”
Yurixion waved both hands towards her too like a dog wagging its tail. She couldn’t just act like she didn’t see both of them, so Max timidly waved back.
“G-Good morning,” she greeted them.
“You’re just in time! I caught these guys as thanks for you telling us that fun story yesterday. They are the most delicious fish in the Whedon!” Yurixion excitedly told her gesturing at the fish the were busily slicing up.
“Please wait for a minute, Madam. I’ll quickly prepare it and get it on the table.” said Garow, after cutting off the head of the fish.
Max blankly stared at the fish head that rolled onto the floor. She could see a tongue sticking out of it, the sight made her lose her appetite.
“While we prepare the Oakley, would you mind telling us the story about the werewolves?” Yurixion looked at her expectantly as he busily tended to the fish. Garow who was beside him seemed to have read the discomfort painted on her face and quickly turned to berate Yurixion.
“Madam might be feeling discomfort from all the blood, let’s not keep her here.”
Yurixion gave Garow a look of disbelief, “What are you talking about?! Madam Calypse is a courageous woman who even witnessed the heavily raining blood of Ogres! She’s the wife of the world’s bravest knight Sir Calypse!”
The boys then looked at her as if expecting to hear her agreement.
Max barely managed to squeeze out a smile in response when another fish’s head was cut off and rolled onto the floor again, marring the floors with its blood. She consciously tried to not look at it and replied,“O-Of course. T-this is nothing to me.”
“See? Hey, someone bring a chair for the Madam!” Yurixion exclaimed in pleasure and gestured for one of the kitchen servants to bring in a chair for Max to sit on.
There was no way out now, Max grimly thought. She bleakly looked at the chair that the kitchen servant had brought her.
It seemed like she needed to immediately come up with a story about the werewolves while the boys trimmed the fish. She sat on the edge of the chair feeling like she was about to cry.
In the middle of her internal distress, Yurixion had managed to grab and peel the thick and chewy looking skin of the Oakley, removed the fins on its back and stomach, and throw the softly sliced white fillet on the plate. The fish’s skeleton was quickly exposed and was set aside to dispose of later. He paused in his cutting to proudly share to the group what he knew of werewolves.
“I’ve also seen a werewolf once. Its head is a vicious wolf and the body is similar to that of a human. And it swiftly jumps around from tree to tree with its two feet!
Yurixion grinned in satisfaction when he saw his companions’ attention on him, “It also has long molars sticking out the mouth like a wild boar. I heard they stuff their head and hang it on the wall of their room in Valto.”
“Why would they hang such a vicious thing on their walls? I just can’t understand the northerners’ aesthetic preferences.” Garow told them.
“Wolves are a symbol of bravery to them.” Yurixion simply replied.
Max eyed the pinkish flesh of fish fillets stacked on the plate that had now begun to look like a small tower. Her feelings of disgust at the sight seemed to steadily fade as the fish’ forms slowly disappeared.
Max shook her head to dismiss the thoughts of the fish and secretly took a deep breath to regain her composure, her companions were expecting a story from her, this is why they wanted her to dine with them. They used that fish as bait.
Just as she let out a sigh she noticed that Yurixion was looking back at her and was wiping the water off his hands with a white cloth.
“Isn’t it funny that they’re showing off how brave they are by catching and stuffing a puny werewolf? Remdragon Knights can get rid of dozens of werewolves in a blink of an eye!” Yurixiom boasted and Garow who was beside him laughed heartily too.
“I’m also very curious how Lord Calypse fought them.” Garow chimed in as he waved the cutting knife he was using to cut the fish in the hair in an attempt to mimic how Lord Calypse must have fought with werewolves.
Max let out a shaky smile at the two.
She had no way around it because she knew they would never be satisfied until she fed their curiosity. So, Max started to squeeze out a story with little tears in her eyes.
The kids joyfully listened to her, their cheeks flushed with excitement. Max concocted a tale where Riftan cut off the heads of three werewolves in a blink of an eye and where the monsters’ heads poured down like black hail as he advanced towards them. Max tried her best to sound enthusiastic and made sure the boys were entertained. It seemed that they were because they were enthusiastically listening to her.
Max soon slowly forgot about the discomfort of seeing the dismembering of the fish because of the boys’ reactions towards her story. Never in her life did she imagine a day where she would joyfully talk in front of so many people. And they seemed to really like her story telling.
“Sir, the sauce is ready.” The group’s discussion was cut due to the Chef informing them of his progress in the kitchen.
“Hurry up and cook it then. I’m dying to eat!” Yurixion responded back. When that was down his attention was once again casted on Max’ story.
As the story was nearing its end, the head chef dumped the trimmed fish meat in a bowl and started to mix it with a dark sauce. On one side, he was heating an oil-coated pan and on the other side, he was making a salad with thinly sliced onions and herbs. Just like that, Max’s feelings of disgust disappeared, as if they had never existed in the first place and turned into hunger. Just as she wrapped up her story the Chef once again informed them of the state of their upcoming meal.
“It tastes incredible when it’s grilled and served with salad. Please wait for a moment.” The head chef spoke confidently and started to grill the seasoned Oakley on the heated pan.
A delicious smell started to spread in the air as the fish cooked with sizzling sounds coming from it.
They moved to sit comfortably on a table carefully prepared for them by the servants and they sat across each other on the small table. They sat at the other side of the kitchen, and despite this distance they could still hear the head chef arguing with one of the kitchen staff that instead of eating from a silver plate, having it straight out of the grill tasted the best for the dish.
Soon after hearing the slight argument fresh salad and a delicious looking Oakely dish was served before them. The two apprentices excitedly gave her a big chuck of grilled fish and its smell delighted Max.
Max reached out for her silver knife and fork and began to slice a small piece of the steaming hot fish and tried it.
As soon as she popped the fish into her mouth she could not help but let out an excited gasp. The soft meat, full of sweet sauce, melted in her mouth. Max’s eyes widened in amazement at its flavor.
“It’s de-delicious!” She exclaimed and the two boys looked at her proudly.
“Right? Nothing can compare to Fall season Oakley!” Yurixion said as he too begun cutting his fish and ate their meal happily.
It was delicious, Max couldn’t help but exclaim these words in her head each time she took a bite. The soft, tender meat didn’t taste much like a fish at all, instead it released sweet juices every time she chewed on it.
She had no trouble finishing two large pieces of fish on her plate. It seemed she finished them so quickly, the fish disappeared in a heartbeat.
Meanwhile, the two boys seemed to have been quicker than her for they had already emptied three servings of fish.
She took another slice and ate it with the crunchy salad.
“I-It’s really d-delicious.” She told them gratefully, the meal was exceptional.
“I’m glad you’re satisfied.” Yurixion, who had emptied his plates already and had left them clean, grinned at her after he told her his reply. Then with a proud smile, he said, “Next time, I’ll catch another delicious one for you.”
Max got caught up by his friendly grin and laughed along. The goodwill of the two boys made her feel elated and she was honestly touched by their gift.
“I-I’ll look forward to it, then.” She told them as she took another bite.
Max will not forget the taste of Grilled Oakley – that was for sure.