The Seirei no Tami village was one of many groups belonging to a country consisting of therianthropes, dwarves, and elves.
The human race ruthlessly expanded their influence by taking advantage of the Demon-God war which occurred over 1000 years ago. Lamenting over the conflict against the human race, the Seirei no Tami withdrew deep into the primeval forest and severed all contact with the outside world. There they spent an endless 1000 years in isolation cultivating their own culture and development.
Though the population of the Seirei no Tami could not be compared to that of the human race, in agriculture, industrial might, medicine, and architecture, they greatly surpassed the human race in every field of expertise.
The area which contributed the most in spearheading such advancements were the spirit arts.
As such, their accumulation of knowledge brought about longer life expectancies when compared to the human race.
Though Rio was amazed by the framework of their magic tools and arms craftsmanship, he received the greatest shock from their food and bath culture.
In the first place, the Seirei no Tami obsessed over cleanliness. Because they were able to freely produce hot water, a Japanese-style bathhouse was constructed.
Rio, who was enduring with a bathtub (bucket) up until now, was moved to tears and made full use of the bathhouse everyday.
In addition, the Seirei no Tami village was like a treasure trove of cooking ingredients for Rio.
With an enormous selection of ingredients, and by managing the soil with spirit arts, all the crops harvested were of exceptional quality.
Not to mention the crops could not be planted in the human race region. Even if they were to compare identical crops, the quality of the ones grown in the human region paled in comparison.
There existed many dishes unique to the Seirei no Tami. Yet, while requesting teachings from the elders, Rio continued to rack his brain attempting to reproduce a great numbers of dishes from his previous life regardless of their culture.
Initially Rio resided in a guestroom belonging to the governing body of the Serei no Tami. However Rio accepted the offer to move into Arthura’s house together with Latifa after deciding to properly settle in the village.
Due to a petition by Latifa, who was accustomed to Rio’s cooking, and the generosity of Arthura’s family, it was decided that Rio would be in charge of the cooking.
Alma, Sara, and Oufia became frequent guests after being invited over for dinner once by Latifa and were captivated by Rio’s cooking.
Rio began offering his cooking as gifts and the number of people who became aware of his cooking increased. News of the mysterious recipes unknown to even the Serei no Tami started to spread like wildfire.
Before long, the majority of the Seirei no Tami, including those who previously avoided contact with Rio, caught wind of Rio’s dishes.
Rio saw it as an excellent chance for Latifa to become acquainted with people from the village and to allow her to enjoy the dishes of his past life even after he left the village. Pestered by Latifa, he proposed to Arthura to regularly hold cooking classes.
Thereafter, on the condition that it was to be limited to only the elder council member’s families, he was permitted to conduct the experimental cooking classes.
On the day the first cooking class was to be held, many Seirei no Tami women gathered at the huge kitchen commonly reserved for festivals.
They were the women belonging to the upper-echelons of the Seirei no Tami village.
「Rice is an ingredient that can be served in a variety of ways. As most of you already know, short grain is suitable for steaming and cooking while long grain is better suited for boiling. However, this distinction does not always hold true.」
Due to discovering rice in the Seirei no Tami village, Rio decided to start with rice dishes for his first cooking class.
Rio stood in the kitchen surrounded by Seirei no Tami women. Among them, he could make out the figures of Latifa, Sara, Alma, and Oufia.
「There exist rice dishes where the choice between short and long grain doesn’t matter. Now, I’m going to explain how this dish is created. Depending on the seasonings and ingredients you’re using, you must fine tune how you cook your rice accordingly.」
To the women, Rio explained the cooking method in the the Seirei no Tami language.
「Thus, with that in mind, I intend to make a dish called omelette rice today. You can use whichever type of rice you prefer, whether it’s short or long grain. The minimum required ingredients needed for this dish are onions[tamanegi], salt, pepper, and a homemade seasoning called tomato ketchup. Also, butter is necessary to further enhance its taste. Afterwards you can also add other toppings such as green peas, ham, mushrooms, and so on to your liking.」
The ingredients needed to make the omelette rice were already arranged on the kitchen table.
「Then, let’s start cooking at once. The typical way is to first, prepare a rice called butter rice.」
Rio taught them how to prepare the butter rice.
Since the Seirei no Tami also knew how to add flavour to white rice, they did not seem surprised in that regard.
「Frying the butter rice with tomato ketchup will create chicken rice that will become the base for omelette rice. But, butter rice can also be turned into a different dish, called pilaf, by cooking it with different seasonings. You can enjoy this pilaf rice with different sauces and gravy added on top. I will save that dish for a future class.」
The women raised minute voices of admiration at the variety of uses for the butter rice.
Perhaps it was some kind of instinct for women, but they would not mind going the extra mile if it meant being able to prepare various dishes for their husbands and children.
「While waiting for the butter rice to be cooked, we will prepare tomato ketchup. The ingredients that we’ll need are tomatoes, onions[tamanegi], garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaf, cayenne peppers, consomme, and cinnamon.」
Glancing at the required ingredients arranged on the table, he skillfully began preparing tomato ketchup while explaining the required amounts and procedure.
「Tomato ketchup is very flexible as it can be used in a variety of dishes. Because it can be preserved for a long time, it’s convenient to prepare some beforehand and store it.」
While waiting for the butter rice to finish cooking, Rio answered questions from the gathered women.
「The butter rice is about to be finished cooking. We will begin preparing an omelette by battering and frying an egg. The omelette rice will be completed after wrapping the chicken rice in the omelette. Speaking of which, the chicken rice can also be served by itself as its own dish.」
Rio skillfully used the frying pan and spatula to cook the chicken rice and subsequently made a soft-cooked omelette. The omelette rice was completed by skillfully wrapping the chicken rice in the soft-cooked omelette.
「This is what’s generally called omurice. Furthermore, various sauces can be added to create different arrangements. Well then, everyone please sample the dish.」
Due to the aroma being released during the cooking process, the women’s appetites were stimulated to the point that they were staring at the dish [and Rio] like a pack of hungry wolves.
When Rio gave the signal to begin sampling, despite their proper manners, the women’s spoons fiercely competed against one another to obtain a larger helping of the omelette rice.
The moment the soft-cooked omelette, which served as a cover, was torn, a mouthwatering aroma permeated the entire room.
The plate was emptied in a flash. Although it was a larger serving than normal, Rio had made just enough so that none of it would be wasted.
Maybe each one of them got a bite.
All of the women alternated looks between their spoons and the now-empty plate as if they were regretting something.
「Is it to your liking?」
Rio asked the women with a FULL-BRIMMED SMILE after witnessing their gusto.
The women slightly blushed when they realized Rio was teasing them.
「I have taught you how to make proper omelette rice today, however you can also use cold rice in the event where you are pressed for time or only have cold rice. Do note that it will have an inferior taste compared to using butter rice. Omelette rice can also be prepared by just wrapping white rice mixed with tomato ketchup in a soft-cooked omelette. Well then, let’s have everyone try making one themselves.」
The women seperated into predetermined groups and started cooking.
The group of girls from the same generation consisting of Alma, Oufia, Sara, and Latifa, also challenged themselves to make the omelette rice.
As the women were cooking, Rio answered questions that arose when they were unclear about parts of the procedure.
「It seems several groups have successfully finished preparing the omelette rice. Those who’ve finished can go ahead and help yourselves to your dishes. Also, as today’s lesson has concluded, please clean up your areas and store any kitchenware you’ve used back to their appropriate locations after you’ve finished eating. Thank you for your hard work.」
After confirming all the groups had already finished cooking their omelette rice, Rio left the kitchen-cum-classroom.
Only to be greeted by Latifa and the group of girls.
「Is it really alright? Won’t I only make everyone feel rest—………. 」
For some reason everyone wanted to eat their omelette rice together with him. Rio, who was surrounded by dozens of girls from different tribes, pointed out that being near him would only give rise to discomfort for them.
Because he was of the human race.
Don’t they have the least bit of fear [because I’m a human]? Rio harboured these kinds of worries.
「Don’t say something like that. Latifa put her heart into cooking this for you. Isn’t it only right for onii-chan to eat the handmade dish made by his imouto?」
A pair of older catgirls intervened when they saw him troubled by the current situation.
Their ages were around 16~17 years old.
「Beside, it’s been almost a year since Rio-dono started living in the village right? Yet it’s rare for you to interact with others in the village. We’ve also felt uneasy all this time you know.」
「How much information about myself has already spread to everyone?」
「We’ve heard various things about you from Oufia-sama, Alma-sama, Sara-sama, and Latifa. You’re polite, smart too since you’ve already memorized the Seirei no Tami language, and to top it off, also quite good-looking. Your martial arts talent is on par with Uzuma-an, a brilliant spirit art user who has surpassed even Oufia-sama, binding into a contract with a mysterious spirit. Moreover, an exceptional cook! There’s no way we won’t recognize you.」
The chattering canaries (Sara & co.) raised surprised voices in hurry.
Since the image they held of Rio was revealed, it was only natural that they were flustered.
「I’m happy to hear that, even if it’s just flattery.」
Rio was being humble in order to ward off the words from the girl called Anya.
「It’s not flattery. I heard the human race mature quickly due to their shorter lifespan but, you’re too humble. Anyone who saw you in the cooking class today would’ve given you a high evaluation. No one’s narrow-minded enough to lower their evaluation of you just because you’re a human. Isn’t that right everyone? 」
Ignoring Sara & Co’s worried eyes, Anya instantly dropped a bombshell and the surrounding women nodded twice, as if giving their approval.
「That’s right, nanodesu! This dish is delicious! 」
A wolf girl part of the same generation as Latifa proclaimed such as she gleefully devoured the omelette rice.
「Ehehe, even Bella-chan said that onii-chan’s cooking is delicious.」
「YEAH！ As expected of Latifa’s onii-sama nanodesu!」
It seemed she was really intimate with Latifa.
Rio let out a wry smile seeing how close they were.
「Thank you. Please also take care of Latifa.」
「FUFU, of course I will！」
Bella nodded with a beaming smile while eating her omelette rice.
「Hey Bella, you can’t talk while eating, you know 」
Sara gently scolded Bella with her ane-san face.
「Wafu~, I’m sorry Sara-oneesama…」
Bella had become despondent, like a little puppy.
Oufia soothed her.
The other girls could not help but smile when they saw them.
「Nevertheless, how did Rio-oniisama bind a contract with a spirit-sama? 」
Bella asked Rio with a look full of respect and curiosity.
Though he was perplexed at being called such title, he didn’t hate it.
Somehow, the girl called Bella was quite sociable.
「Actually, I don’t know myself. For some reason it seems to be lying dormant, sleeping inside my body in its spirit form.」
Rio said that with troubled face.
「He~~. I wonder what kind of spirit it is. I’m slightly envious since it’s our greatest aspiration to bind a contract with a spirit.」
Anya said that with a wide smile and continued eating her omelette rice.
As she said, the greatest honour for the Seirei no Tami’s was to bind a contract with a spirit.
For that reason, people who bound a contract with a spirit received greater respect than others. Rio was no exception even if he was a human.
Approval for the cooking classes was also granted thanks to the members of the elder council learning about Rio’s spirit contract from Arthura.
「Well, I’ve wanted to talk to you about various things. Since this is a rare opportunity, I’m going to ask you lots of questions!」
With those words acting as a cue, various questions were thrown at him by the girls. Rio held casual conversations with the girls and took the opportunity to deepen his friendship with them. The atmosphere around them was lively from the start until end.