Hot water! Fluffy towels! Clean clothes! The most gosh darn comfortable mattress I’ve ever rested on! Well, it’s like the second mattress I’ve ever tried before, but I’m sure it’s incomparable to others. It’s like I’m lying down on a cloud—ah, if only Durandal were here, then I could light those scented candles, kick Ilya out of the room, put on some nice music, and have my way with him. …Of course, that means beating him in a fair fight. I didn’t get to win enough before he fell asleep!
“Lucia, um, are we really going to stay here for a week?”
Of course! I need to rest! It’s been way, way too long since I’ve had any time to destress. “Mhm.” Ah, I can splay all my limbs and not leave the boundaries of the bed. This is great.
“Don’t you feel a little bad for Mr. Shinx? His students’ deaths were directly related to you, and now you’re abusing his trust in me.”
“That’s your problem, not mine.” One day, everyone will have to give me face. People will be able to say, I know Lucia Fluffytail, and they’ll be treated as well as Ilya is when she calls upon Bartholomew’s name. Mm, that’s a good goal.
“But, Lucia, what if he gets mad?”
“Then you kowtow to him and apologize. Throw in some dukes and other noble sounding titles too.” Sheesh, Ilya has so much power because of her father, but she doesn’t abuse it at all. What’s wrong with her? If my dad could make people tremble in their boots just by hearing his name, you can bet that I’d wear a sign, blatantly saying I was his daughter, on my forehead.
I heard Ilya sigh. She muttered, “We could’ve gotten a normal room. Could’ve lived modestly. Stayed in good favor with everyone.”
I lifted my head and looked towards the side. Ilya was drawing circles on her mattress with her finger while sitting with her knees against her chest. She looked so sad. Was I a little too excessive? May—
“The grill is ready. Would you like me to man it?”
A student interrupted my thoughts. Apparently, you could even earn contribution points by doing mundane chores like cleaning and cooking. The student who asked the question was standing by a sliding glass door inside of our room that led to the roof outside. A sparkling pool and grill could be seen just beyond the puffy red curtains. I really want to make him man it, but I can’t guarantee he won’t poison me. “I’ll do it. You can leave.”
The student ignored me and looked at Ilya. I’m really going to smack the backs of these demons’ heads one day. They’re always ignoring me. I wonder if they’ll ignore a sword to the face.
“Thank you,” Ilya said. “You can leave.”
The student nodded and made his way out of the room. The door clicked and locked itself as it closed. Meat! I can finally eat after not eating for so long; I can’t wait. What do I have to cook? …Not penises, those are for sale. Hm. Ilya has all the corpses, I’ll take hers. What was I thinking about earlier before I was interrupted? I can’t remember. “Ilya! Meat!”
“You … want to eat a divine beast?” Why was Ilya backing away from me? I killed those things! Their bodies belong to me. “D-do you know how valuable their meat is?”
“Beasts are born to be eaten! Don’t tell me their price or you’ll make my heart hurt.” I held my hand out. “Ring, please.”
Ilya gulped. Why did she look so scared? “We can order uncooked meat from—”
“No.” She’s hiding something, or she’s just very reluctant to give up the corpses. It can’t be that she already ate them all, right!? If she did…, I might have demon for dinner. “Take out that manticore. I’m going to eat it, and you’re not going to stop me.”
Ilya pursed her lips. “What if I said it was poisonous?”
“I’ll let you try it first.” Obviously. I’d test it on Puppers, but he’s not alive yet.
Ilya tilted her head. “You … were going to share with me?”
What am I, a savage? “Of course, what the heck? Unless you’re not hungry?” I went through a life-and-death ordeal with Ilya. I won’t trust her to make me food, but I won’t be so cruel as to starve her. Plus, I really don’t know if manticore is poisonous or not, so it’s always good to have a trial dummy.
“N-no,” Ilya said. “Here.” She gave me one of her rings. Great! Let’s start! “But what if Mr. Shinx comes here and realizes you’re eating a manticore?”
Did she say something? I couldn’t hear her over the sound of the grill starting. This is a really fancy cooking implement, much better than a campfire. There’s some buttons you can press to increase or decrease the level of flames. And there’s even this handle that you can rotate to make the meat cook more evenly. Magic’s amazing. This probably counts as a magic tool, doesn’t it? Well, I doubt I’d need to use my mini-map, and Ilya can cast a better version of haste than my dress can.
I rifled through Ilya’s ring and pulled out the manticore. I better cut off a part of it and store the rest just in case Bartholomew comes in here and realizes we’re eating a manticore. Why am I so smart? I think I’ll eat the hind leg first; I think that’s the best cut of meat? I wouldn’t know. All I know is that I was never fed that part of an animal before. I was always fed with vegetables or the gross parts of animals like intestines. Until I met Snow that is, but I like pretending that part of my life never happened. Which part?
Anyways, I should ask Ilya why divine beast meat is valuable. I’m curious because she gathered enough courage to try to keep it for herself. “Hey, Ilya. What does eating divine beast meat do?”
“…Makes you feel full?” Ilya asked. She put on some slippers and stepped outside of the room, standing next to me by the grill and pool. She looked around. “I feel like I’m in a mansion. But we’re still in the desolate mountains; it’s a bit unsettling.”
“Stop trying to change the subject! Why’d you want to keep the meat for yourself?”
Ilya looked down. “Divine beast meat is very rich in nutrients. Of course, it’s nothing like absorbing a beast core, but for magicians, it’s a godsend,” she said. “We’re not good at absorbing beast cores, but we can, at the very least, eat the beast’s meat for a minor boost in our abilities.”
“But aren’t you rich enough to buy it since your dad is special and all?” A duke’s supposed to be pretty high up there in nobility, right?
“It’s very hard to kill a divine beast without damaging its meat,” Ilya said, “since, you know, explosions are what magicians are best at. My family only eats divine beast meat on special occasions, and only direct descendants of the emperor can afford to eat it every day. Like I said, it’s very valuable.” She smiled at me. “I really didn’t think you’d share any with me, but you’re a nicer person than I thought.”
…Maybe I shouldn’t eat this.