Chapter 257

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What he found.
“Vector, what are you so panicked for?”
(T, there’s a problem!)

Vector, who is nonchalant even when running, was unusually out of breath.

“I understand that there’s a problem, alright. What is the problem, though?”
(You see! There’s a place you can’t enter over there!)
“A place you can’t enter?”
(Yea! I could saw the scenery inside, but when I tried to enter——bam! There seems to be an invisible wall!)

If Vector is right, although it is certainly strange, I cannot say for sure that it is a problem.

“How curious~ But, now’s not the time.”
(Why!?)
(Right~ The sun will be setting down soon, after all~)

I would love to go check it out right away, but I don’t want to enter this mysterious place when it’s dark outside.

“Vector, did you feel something harmful or malicious there?”
(N? Erm… no, I did not feel anything malicious whatsoever?)
“Then we don’t need to be in a hurry. If that’s so, let’s go there when it gets brighter.”
“”Not going~?””
“We will. Let’s save it for tomorrow, though.”
“”Got it~””

We could also leave the forest, but I think we should go check it out. I’m quite curious about it.

“That being the case, I will go prepare dinner. What would you like to eat, everyone?”
“”Meat~””

Oh, it’s not the usual bread or sweets request today.

“A meat dish, huh. Then, sukiyaki… you wouldn’t understand what I mean. How about a sweet and salty Armored Buffalo meat with vegetables?”
“”Wanna eat!””
(((((Want to eat that!)))))

Everyone agreed, so I started right away.
The ingredients are thin slices of Armored Buffalo meat, a vegetable resembling a white-stalked green onion, and a Chinese cabbage-like green called whitebagge. Next is rook mushrooms, and shii mushrooms. It’s unfortunate that I don’t have any shirataki and tofu, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
After cooking the green onions and meat, I put in the sukiyaki stock I made with sugar and soy sauce, then I added the cabbage, mushrooms and cooked everything well together.
Which reminds me, the only beef-like meat I have gotten my hands on so far is the Armored Buffalo. I wonder if I should try looking for another cow-monster?

“”Smells nice!””
(Yeah, yeah.)
(Quickly, quickly.)

Allen, Elena, Joule and Vector were fidgety when I started cooking.

“Just a little bit longer. All that’s left is…”

I cleaned the eggs using light magic’s Purification spell. Even though I keep freshly picked eggs on me, I’m a little worried about eating raw eggs as they are.
I cracked the eggs into the pot and lightly broke them up, then I divided the meat and vegetables into the bowls.

“Alright, it’s done~”
“”(((((Yay~)))))””

As soon as I handed it out to the kids, they all started eating at once.

“”Nn~~~””
(Oniichan, this is yummy!)
(The meat and veggies soaked in a sweet and salty sauce are delicious~)
(Aniue, I love this.)
(Me too! This is delish!)
(It’s very tasty!)

Oh, it’s very popular. When it came to Allen and Elena, they were eating in silence, seemingly eating too busy to speak out their impressions.
N~ but I would definitely want udon noodles. Come to think of it, I never made them. Erm… udon is just wheat flour, salt, and water, right? I’m not going to make it now, but let’s do it next time.

◇ ◇ ◇

When the meal was over and we were preparing to go to sleep, I felt a presence approaching us from the front.

“… It’s not a monster, is it?”
(Yeah, that’s a person, I think?)

——Hearing the sound of footsteps approaching, we were a little cautious.

“Good evening.”
“… Good evening?”

It was an elderly gentleman. He looked suspicious in his gray-hooded robe, but for some reason, I couldn’t feel wary of him. Moreover, he greeted us so refreshingly.

“It looks like you are getting ready to sleep, but won’t you come over to my house? I can’t say it will be more comfortable as it’s not that spacious, but at least you can sleep under a roof?”
“House?”
“It’s right there by the barrier. That red child was there during the day.”

It seems that the invisible barrier Vector found was created by this person. And this person seems to have a house inside.

“Err… why did you come to invite us?”
“I observed you guys for a little, and you seem like an interesting bunch. Plus, I’ve got a few questions to ask you.”
“……”

It appears that we were being observed.
However, what is interesting about us? The kids and I were only picking berries and we ate dinner, nothing else, no?

“… Guru.”
“What? You came out too, Claudia?”

While hesitant to reply, a black panther slowly walked out from the direction the eldery man came from. It snuggled up to the old man.

“Is that child your familiar?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Which reminds me, I have not introduced myself yet. I’m Oswald. A retired old man who lives in this forest. And this child is called Claudia.”

When the senior introduced himself, he took off his hood, revealing white hair and long ears.
… Oswald-san? Erm………… ah, I thought it sounded familiar, but there’s a person among the Guardia Knights with the same name~

“”Oh, ears are so long~!””

When I appraised the senior, I realized that he was an Elf. Moreover, he had no Dark magic in his skills, so that black panther wasn’t a contracted beast, but a normal familiar. The senior is probably a tamer.
Moreover, he’s 421 years old! He’s the oldest person I have met so far! Ah, aside from Kaiser!

“Is this your first time seeing an Elf?”
“That would be so.”

I’ve met Andy-san and Kana-san who are humans with Elven appearances because of their mixed blood, but this is my first time seeing a pure-blood Elf. Uhh… if I’m not mistaken, then the average lifespan of humans over here is 80 years, while the average lifespan of Elves is around 500 years.

“So, how about it? Will you accept my invitation? Ah, of course, your familiars are most welcome as well. It’s just the red child won’t fit unless he gets smaller like he was during the day.”
“What do you want to do, guys?”

The senior——Oswald-san, was very calm and gentlemanly, and neither Allen, Elena or the rest of the kids showed vigilance against him.

“”Nniyu?””

I asked everyone what they thought, but Allen and Elena didn’t seem to understand the situation.

(Isn’t it fine?)
(Right. If we can let Allen-chan and Elena-chan sleep under a roof, that would be for the better, I think.)
(Indeed. I also think we should go.)
(Ehh~ I want to sleep together~)
(You just have to turn small, Vector! I agree, too!)

Joule and others gave their opinions in turn.
As a result, four were in favor. One opposed.

“Then, we will be in your care. Ah, I’m adventurer Takumi.”

Going by the majority vote, I decided to accept Oswald-san’s invitation to his house, and introduced myself and the kids.

“I see, thank you for accepting my invitation. Then, Takumi-san, please follow me. It’s this way.”
“Yes.”

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