I thought the inn Ilya and I had stayed in was fancy, but that place was nothing compared to Ilya’s home. She has so much food! There’s a refrigerator similar to the one that was inside the carriage, but it’s huge. It’s almost like a separate house that I could walk into. I actually got lost and had to use my mini-map ring to show me the exit. There was even a section of the refrigerator that was so cold it froze things, mostly meats, but I saw a few bodies inside there. I’m not sure if I was supposed to see them, but whatever.
And the kitchen is ten times as large as my previous owner’s. Even though I was still a child when I was enslaved and had to use a stepstool to reach the stove, Ilya’s kitchen makes the current me feel even smaller than I did back then. There are super-sharp swords on the walls to cut things with. The cutting board is as large as a table made for a banquet. Okay, maybe that was actually a table saved up for a banquet, but I’ll pretend those cut marks weren’t made by me. And most importantly, they have a grill! Barbeque is the only way to go when you’re cooking divine meats! It’s crude and meant for commoners, but everyone can enjoy a good ol’ barbeque.
The best part is I have free access to all the food since I was told to make myself at home. I did have to shoo away an annoying person with a white hat, but that was pretty easy. There’s so many different kinds of dead animals stored away, and a few of them look as imposing as divine beasts. Obviously, I chose those first. And don’t even get me started on the spices! I didn’t know what some of them were or if they were poisonous or not, so I grabbed a few servants and sprinkled them on their tongues first. I had to grab a few servants because some of them died, but luckily, there was already a pile of bodies in the refrigerator anyways. No one would notice a few more, right? In the end, only the salt wasn’t poisonous, so I threw away everything else.
I had another few servants check the finished products for poison, but there wasn’t any, so I told them to invite Ilya and her dad over since I said I was going to make their meals too. I hope I wasn’t supposed to make the servants theirs. I don’t think I was.
Ilya’s dining room is even more amazing than her kitchen. First off, the size is absurd: the doorway is three times my height, a normal person would probably break their legs if they fell from the ceiling to the ground, and it’s about two times the size of the training field of the Ravenwood army. I wonder if there are giant demons; the scale of things would make sense if there were. But at the same time, despite the open space, it feels so lonely. The table’s big and proportional to the room, but you can’t touch the walls if you lean back in your chair. You have to practically walk the length of a field if you want to leave the room. It’s too big; there’s no sense of coziness at all.
“Esteemed guest,” a servant said to me. “Are you sure you don’t want us to help?”
“Nope. I got this.”
The maid stared at the towering plates of food stacked upon my head. “If you say so,” she said and lowered her head before backing away.
Obviously, I’m carrying all the food to the table by myself. All the poison tests would go to waste if the servants poisoned the meals in transit! But I wouldn’t mind some help from Ilya if she were here. She wouldn’t poison good food, but I wouldn’t trust her to make me any. Her cooking’s worse than Durandal’s if she doesn’t use magic. Footsteps echoed behind me. Think of the devil, and the devil appears! “Ilya! Grab these for me and bring them to the table.”
Ilya’s face darkened as she trudged over to my side and helped me carry some plates. The maid who I just rejected glared at me with wide eyes, looking a little like a ghost. She could contend for first place with Durandal in a scary-face contest. Ilya glanced at her dad, but he just smiled at her and said, “Excellent. Developing a hardworking foundation that refuses a life of luxury, no wonder why you could advance so far in such a short time.”
I think Ilya felt a little aggrieved, but I wasn’t too sure. Well, she’ll feel better when she eats.
After the plates were set up, Ilya’s dad took the seat at the head of the table while Ilya sat to his right. I sat beside her, causing her face to make a strange expression. Was that happiness mixed with confusion? “Lucia,” she said. “You’re supposed to sit across from me.”
“Don’t tell me where to sit.” I flicked her forehead. How am I supposed to steal her food if I’m sitting all the way over there? Despite her inability to cook, Ilya’s very good at picking out the most delicious portions. I always force her to trade, but recently, she’s been taking the suckier parts and trading those to me for the better ones. She’s too sneaky, have to keep a close eye on her.
“You shouldn’t offend your master over a minor matter like seating positions,” her dad said and smiled at me. He glanced at the table, and his smile faltered. His head turned towards a sweating servant. “What are you doing? Bring out all the dishes.”
The servant’s expression when he smiled was uglier than a crying person’s. “All the dishes have been brought out, sir.”
“But there’s only meat,” the duke said.
“The esteemed guest prepared the meal,” the servant said.
Ilya’s dad stared at me. I’m not a rabbit! Vegetables aren’t made for me. But Ilya’s dad does look a bit upset even though he’s trying to hide it.
“Yeah, Lucia,” Ilya said and nodded so hard her hair was bobbing up and down. “Balanced meals are important. I can’t believe you’ve served us this.”
Wow. I’ve been betrayed. Mm, what’s the best way out of this? I’ll copy Durandal, talk nonsense while stating it as fact! I slammed my hand on the table, causing the plates to rattle. Ilya flinched while her dad jumped. “If you want to be as strong as a divine beast, you have to eat like a divine beast! If you want to live your life as a tiny rabbit, I’ll make you a meal of lettuce and grains! What do you want to be?” I glared at Ilya while unleashing my Unrelenting Path of Slaughter. “A rabbit or a divine beast?”
“A, a divine beast,” Ilya said with a whimper. I continued to glare at her because that’s what Durandal did to me a lot. I’m not sure why, but it’s intimidating! Ilya slipped out of her chair and lowered her head to the ground. “I’m sorry! I was wrong!”
Wow, that’s usually how I react. This feels great! No wonder why Durandal’s such a bully.
“If you want to be as strong as a divine beast,” Ilya’s dad muttered and rubbed his chin, “then you have to eat like a divine beast.” He nodded. “Well said. Why should we aspire to be lower than what we can be? If you behave like a rabbit in everyday life, when the time comes for you to behave like a divine beast, you won’t be able to. Amazing.” His eyes closed as he crossed his arms and legs.
Ilya’s eyes widened at her dad’s posture. “H-he’s breaking through,” she said. “He’s breaking through the eighth circle to the ninth.” Her eyes widened even further when she stared at me. “Your nonsensical words enlightened him!”
Damn. I’m amazing. …Wait a minute. Wait just one minute. Isn’t that it!? The way to break through to the realm of divine warriors? I understand! I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time!
“Lucia!?” Ilya shouted as two dozen divine beast cores appeared next to me. “What are you doing?”
“A divine warrior should be able to easily absorb all of these at once! If I want to be a divine warrior, I have to act like one.” And thus, I proceeded to absorb all the cores at once.
“Don’t listen to your own nonsense! You’ll explode!”
Those were the last words I heard before my vision went black.