Chapter 324 Signs of the sea
"Hey, girls, do any of you want a bowl of fish soup?" Captain Jack asked after stretching his head into the cabin, as smoke curled up from the pipe he held in the corner of his mouth, "A lucky fellow caught a large tailless trout just a moment ago.”
"Thank you," Tilly Wimbledon nodded. "We'll come over right away."
"Is it fish soup again?" Ashes said regretfully after the Captain left, "Where in the world is such tasteless fish soup even remotely tasty?"
"You can ask for a little salt if you want to add it to the soup," Breeze laughingly said. "Pepper would also be alright, but that’s more expensive. I'm afraid Mr. Jack won’t want to give it to you."
"Don’t put anything into the soup. Boiled soup keeps its original flavor, while also keeping the quality of the food itself," Andrea said, gracefully sorting her long light golden hair, "Lady Tilly, I would presume we were supposed to go to the captain’s room."
"As long as it is something warm we should go over right away," Shavi, who had the shortest stature of all of them, muttered, "My toes are stiff.”
Following along the stairs the group entered the captain’s cabin in the Charming Beauty. One Eye Jack stood near the porthole, looking at the white track of the rolling waves spreading out behind the ship.
"This damn weather, how can it suddenly become so cold?" He asked, puffing out a cloud of white smoke, "Oh You Three Gods, it's supposed to currently be mid-autumn, ah~."
"Maybe the gods just fell asleep?" Ashes said and shrugged.
"Pei Pei, you can’t say words like that when you are in the middle of the sea ," Captain Jack grinned, "The Emperor of the Sea is always keeping his eyes on us," he said and put his hands on his stomach before making a praising gesture, "Let it be for now, we shouldn’t think too much of it. Let’s first fill our bellies with warm fish soup."
In order to fully enjoy the warm food in the captain's room, he did not hesitate to open a big hole in the floor, put a brazier frame in the middle, and fill the space that was left with sand. In this way he could keep the heat isolated and avoid igniting the whole ship.
A large pot of soup was bubbling above the brazier, making a rumbling sound and filling the room with an overflowing fragrance.
The six people took their shoes off and sat in a circle around the brazier. They buried their feet in the warm sand, completely surrounding their ice-cold toes with the hot gravel and enjoying the warmth from the burning charcoal.
Tilly received the fish soup that the captain had offered her and gently blew on the piping hot soup to cool it. Compared to the milky white surface of boiled black tail fish soup, this bowl of soup was a deep yellow with oil bubbles floating on its surface, giving it a crystal sheen when reflecting the light.
When she occasionally saw some green and white specks within the soup, she knew that the captain had taken some goods from his own reserves. After all, due to frequently sailing for several months on end, it resulted in that the crew could hardly ever eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Thus, these soft green onions were obviously some vegetables which he had deliberately preserved within iced saltpeter. The fragrance of the green onions neutralized the fish’s own fishy smell, and harmoniously mixed in with the ginger and ale, making it taste all the more rich and delicious.
When the soup became cold enough that she wouldn't burn her tongue, Tilly drank a small sip, before pausing and gently blowing again. She could clearly feel every small mouthful of it, after drinking the soup a warm current flowed along her throat and into her stomach, where it rested, releasing a nice and warm feeling.
The chilliness soon faded, almost as if her body was experiencing a slight fever.
"Try and add some pepper," Jack said, pointing at the seasoning jar standing next to the brazier, "In addition to enhancing its taste even more, it will also especially expel the cold. It’s even more effective than wine.”
"Although tasting its original flavor is the true meaning of eating food, but I must say, the added ingredients are perfect, bringing out the flavor to perfection," Andrea praised.
"Won’t you drink something?" Tilly asked while looking at Ashes.
The latter waved her hand, "I would better let it be, I’m really unable to stomach the fishy taste."
At first, Tilly was also unable to accept the habit of the people of the Fjords who loved eating fish for every meal. They ate it in all kinds of variations, roasted, boiled, and not to forget deep fried. Furthermore, there was also something similar to frozen fish, fish sauce, caviar and other strange preparations… However, after she had forced herself to eat it several times during formal banquets, she’d discovered that its taste was quite good and that once she became familiar with the taste of the sea it could instead further serve as a contrast for the food’s tastiness. Like those sun dried fish, roasted cuttlefish and even the fried fish with its pungent smell, was something she could by now enjoy eating.
"Our High and Mighty Miss Ashes’ appetite has already been corrupted by Border Town’s barbarous cooking," Andrea said, "It is a pity that the taste of spices and fine salt not only made her lose her ability to identify what’s delicious. It now seems that not even any of her courage is left.”
"What did you say?" Ashes glared at Andrea.
"Why, isn’t it like this?" Andrea issued a series of laughs, "Just a little fishy smell is enough to make you flinch. Willful like a little girl, how do you expect us to believe that you will bravely step forward when Tilly needs it?"
"So it was actually like that… it seems you want to provoke me to play with you," Ashes voice suddenly became gentle, "Give up, Border Town has a terrible weapon. Far more powerful than your arrows. Even then, I was still able to win the duel. So, if you would like to take over the post of Tilly’s personal guard from me, you will still need to practice for a few more years...” She paused, “I misspoke, you would have to practice your whole lifetime."
The corner of Ashes’ mouth rose as she said, "Besides, the fine food that His Highness Roland invented was not only the layering of spices and salt, only when you try it will you be able to understand. Remember, don’t let your drool drip on your clothes, Lady Tilly cannot afford to lose face.”
"Nonsense, it will be you!"
Tilly could not help but smile. These two witches were Sleeping Islands most powerful combat witches. They would often fight against each other to determine who would be number one, Tilly knew however, no matter if it was Ashes or Andrea, they were also her best subordinates. During the time of danger, they wouldn’t hesitate to fight side by side, both working together to build the impregnable walls surrounding Sleeping Island.
The two’s quarreling lived up the atmosphere in the room, and as she saw the scene, Tilly couldn’t help but think of the five witches she had sent to Border Town. Are they doing well in my brother’s place?
At this moment, the Charming Beauty suddenly began to shake violently.
"Be careful!" Ashes shouted as she grasped the 5th Princess. The iron cooking pot on top of the brazier turned over and the soup that poured out put out the charcoal fire. The brazier standing on the wok was overturned to the ground, the soup poured out the charcoal fire, while the fish meat ended up on the ground.
A sharp whistle came from outside.
A sailor rushed into the captain's room and shouted, "Captain sir, Sea Ghosts are coming! More than one!"
Sea Ghost... isn’t that another name for demonic beasts Tilly got shocked, how can they even come to this place?
As the group ran out of the cabin, they could see more than a dozen fish monster with crabs legs entering the deck, and some that were still climbing up the two sides of the Charming Beauty. With their six legs they moved fast and nimble like cockroaches, wielding a humanoid arm on both sides of their head; their humanoid arms had an amazing strength, which could easily break a seaman’s neck.
"Since you are unwilling to accept my challenge, we will have to compete," Andrea shouted as she snapped her fingers. Her fingers began emitting a golden light which turned into a bow firmly held in her hand, "The one who kills the most monster is the strongest."
"No matter," Ashes countered as she pulled her strange sword from her back, "I’m on.”
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