After Liz and Eiri left, only me, Tina and Nanase-san were left in the church.
The atmosphere is overwhelming.
Liz left after whispering『Do well』into my ear.
She’s absolutely misunderstanding something.
It’s necessary to carefully talk with her later.
Apart from that, I should be thinking about the current problem.
“Umm, I was thinking about making dinner for Tina now, will you also have some, Nanase-san?”
“E, eh…… Then, I will have some?”
She probably didn’t think such unexpected development could happen.
Nanase-san looks slightly restless.
“Takuma-sama’s cooking is really delicious, you know~! Iori Oneechan will certainly love it too!”
I’m really thankful for her overwhelming innocence in this awkward situation.
Anyway, it already happened so it can’t be helped.
Since it came to this, I have decided to offer the utmost hospitality.
“So, what are you going to make, Kamijou-kun?”
We have moved to the kitchen.
Nanase-san inquires with great interest.
By the way, Tina is not here.
She should be tired from working in the hot springs all day, so I let her rest in the living room.
“N~, what I’m making today……”
I take out the ingredients.
Mouthful-sized bird thighs that I thoroughly pickled in liquor, onion, garlic, sesame oil, salt, and soy sauce.
Potato starch, vegetables, lemon.
A dish that ranked top three in the dishes you want your mother to cook──Karaage.
There’s no need to talk about its popularity.
“Do you like Karaage?”
“Yeah! Very much!”
Nanase-san greatly nods with a smile like a child looking at the kid’s menu.
I was taken aback.
“…… C, cough. I’m looking forward to it because I haven’t eaten it since coming to this world, yes.”
Her expression returned immediately to her usual, but her cheeks are slightly red.
I have decided to act as if I didn’t see anything.
“You can’t get it in the castle? Since you are a hero candidate I have imagined you would eat various foods.”
“Although it certainly is luxurious, it’s just steak or roasted pig, or anything similar to western cooking all the time.”
In other words, they don’t serve the Japanese family-oriented dishes.
“Well, let’s make it.”
I put the potato starch in a sack, then I drain the chicken of liquid and put it together with seasonings in the sack.
I close the sack and shake it.
“You look really used to this.”
“I made plenty at home. I was taught the recipe by a senior from my part-time job.”
“Part-time? Doesn’t our school prohibit part-time jobs if I’m not mistaken?”
I unconsciously stop shaking the sack.
Then I mutter.
“I don’t have parents, you see. I was receiving living expenses from grandmother, but that was quite unpleasant so I have received special permission……”
Nanase-san holds her breath.
“…… Somehow, I’m sorry”
“Don’t mind, don’t mind. They passed away when I was a child. I can’t even remember their faces anymore.”
Wait, this is bad, really bad.
What am I doing making the mood gloomy?
I shake the sack again.
“Well then, it’s time for the oil!”
I put the chicken into the frying pan I have heated beforehand with magic stones.
I steadily put in one after another.
I fry the chicken while rolling it with long chopsticks.
I remove it from the pan after it takes on a light color.
“Are, already done?”
“No, I will fry it again after two, three minutes. If you fry it twice, the outside becomes nice and crunchy.”
“Heeh, I didn’t know that. Ah, but certainly, Ageya-san from the shop near the school fried the Karaage twice.”
“It’s Charaage’s main shop, right? That place’s Karaage is so delicious, right?”
“The blonde-haired manager with sunglasses and pierced ears match with the shop’s name, right?”
The time passed while talking about the nostalgic hometown.
“Throw it in again!”
By the way, the main point is to raise the temperature when frying it for the second time.
I drain it off the oil when the color turns nice and completion!
“Now we have to add shredded cabbage, lemon, and mayonnaise on the plate……”
“You even have a mayonnaise!?”
Nanase-san leans forward.
“Yes. It’s homemade though.”
“A diligent cook, how terrific.”
“It certainly won’t match the taste of X mayo.”
“What a coincidence. I also like the taste of X mayo.”
Nanase-san seems to be a mayo lover like me.
I somewhat sense some strange affinity.
“All right, it’s done!”
Outside crunchy, the inside juicy.
A specially made Karaage with a wonderful scent of garlic.
“Wow~! It looks delicious!”
Nanase-san stares at the Karaage in admiration totally like me in a western restaurant.
“I’m glad you think so. Let’s eat quickly before it gets cold!”
Thus we begin a slightly late dinner.
“So tasty! Delicious!”
“Really…… it’s so delicious it wouldn’t lose to that store.”
The two stuff their cheeks with the crunchy Karaage.
Karaage, rice, Karaage, rice their chopsticks restlessly move between the two.
“I’m glad it suits your tastes.”
Let see, I take a mouthful too.
I avoid the delicious-looking ones and take a small one with a thin coating.
After a nice crunchy sound, a juicy flavor invades my mouth.
The meat’s juices flow into my mouth every time I chew.
However, tasting the refreshing deliciousness, my appetite grows shouting one more, on more.
The tender Karaage is having a parade with the liquor and onion joyfully dancing together with garlic and soy sauce.
“Next, with the mayonnaise……”
Pari. Mogumogu. Juwa.
No good, this has too much affinity.
I gulp down rice immediately.
The affinity of Karaage with mayonnaise and rice is the strongest.
Rather, this is seriously delicious.
After eating the Karaage with mayonnaise and rice, I squeeze a lemon juice on it for acidity and,
Hearing a sniffle, I raise my head and see Nanase-san with trembling shoulders.
“W, what’s happening, Nanase-san? Did you eat something stran……”
“No…… that’s not it……”
Nanase-san shakes her head.
“…… I have remembered…… Okaasan who often cooked Karaage for me.”
Nanase-san says with a tear in her eye.
I could see a face that could burst into tears at any moment through her smile.
(No wonder, huh……)
Unlike me who has no relatives nor friends, Nanase-san has a lot of people she has left behind.
While considering what should I say to her,
“Umm…… umm…… Iori Oneechan! Y, your Karaage will get salty if you start crying, you know?”
Tina extends her hand to Nanase-san and pats her head.
“Thank you…… Tina-chan.”
Goshohoshi, Nanase-san wipes her eyes with her sleeves.
“Sorry, Kamijou-kun. I showed you something disgraceful.”
“I don’t mind, though……”
Is Nanase-san alright?
I’m hesitant to ask.
I decided to keep quiet seeing Nanase-san’s silent aura.
“This lemon is delicious! Where did you get it?”
“…… Umm, a small store in the main street……”
“Heeh~ Should I buy it next time?”
The atmosphere returned to normal before I noticed.
It’s not like nothing has happened, though.
I stuff my cheeks with Karaage while keeping a touch of that atmosphere in my mind.