My perfectly laid out plan to rob these people was ruined. But that doesn’t matter! The only thing more enjoyable than robbing people is free food! Food always tastes a little better when it’s free; it’s like adding an exotic spice.
The door creaked open and the waiter poked his head inside the room. “The problem has been settled? The first dish is ready.”
“Bring it in!” I’m hungry! When was the last time I ate? Last night I had snake stew for dinner. I didn’t get to eat my midnight snack or before-dawn meal because of Durandal! I missed two whole meals; it’s no wonder why I’m starving. Ever since I reached the legendary realm, my food requirements jumped by a humongous amount. Luckily, all that food is converted into energy that’s spent somewhere and doesn’t accumulate as fat. There’s no such thing as a fat squirrel—they’re called slow-moving treats in hawk and owl language.
“Oh? The peacock’s already ready? I thought they took a while to cook due to their size,” Brother Bear said. Ah! I actually ended up calling him Brother Bear without noticing! Look at how old he looks! He’s balding with a white mustache and beard, and he’s super thin and bony too. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to sleep tonight and never woke up. How can someone this old be my brother? I’m youthful and vibrant and beautiful! Mhm. That’s right. I’m beautiful! Brother Bear said so. Ah! I called him brother again. I’ll call him Grandpa Bear from now on.
“No, the first dish is a fried river crocodile,” the waiter said as he pushed against the doorframe. The wall slid to the side like magic! Two people dressed in white walked into the room while holding up a lizard-like thing with a small roasted boar in its mouth. They placed it on the table before leaving the room, pulling the wall back into place. “Enjoy. Your refreshments will be ready shortly.”
“Ah…,” Grandpa Bear said as he stroked his beard. “A fried river crocodile. An interesting choice of appetizer. …At least it’s not very expensive.”
“That’s an alligator,” Ilya said. Hmm? Is there a difference? A fried lizard is a fried lizard. “You can tell by the snout.”
“Oh, this junior must be a beast tamer,” one of the women by Grandpa Bear said. What was that look of disdain in her eyes? I can tell when someone’s looking down on someone from a mile away! After all, I was always looked down on for the first two decades of my life.
Ilya snorted. “I’m not a beast tamer.” She met my eyes. …Then she looked like she was considering something. “Actually…?”
Hey! I’m not a beast, dammit, Ilya! And who tamed who!? If anything, you’re my pet encyclopedia!
Ilya shivered, and her shivering had nothing to do with my qi threatening to slaughter her. Nothing at all. “I’m not a beast tamer. It’s just common sense to know how to differentiate crocodiles from alligators.”
Is it? Sometimes I’m not sure which sock goes on my right foot and which goes on my left. But that’s only when I’m sleepy and just woke up! It doesn’t happen any other time! I swear. Anyways, time to dig in! I summoned two forks from my interspacial ring and stabbed them into the crocodile. Alligator? Lizard. I stabbed them into the lizard and tore off a chunk of flesh the size of Ilya’s head. This should be the right ratio to check for poison. If there’s too little meat, then the taster might get lucky and avoid being poisoned. If there’s too much meat, then there’ll be too little left for me to eat! “Grandpa Bear! Try this.”
“G-Grandpa?” Grandpa Bear coughed and pounded his chest with the fleshy part of his fist. “Who are you calling a grandpa!? I’m only two centuries old! If I—waguah!?”
Yeah, yeah. Only I’m allowed to call myself young when I know I’m not exactly that young. More importantly, is my meal poisoned or not? Of course, I only used one fork to stuff the head-sized piece of meat into Grandpa’s Bear mouth. I have to use the other fork for myself. Only Durandal’s allowed to share my spit! Wait, no, that’s not what I meant—I didn’t have any spit on my forks. I’ll only ingest Durandal’s spit! There we go. While Grandpa Bear is chewing, I’ll ready a piece of the boar too.
“S-Sister Lucia,” Grandpa Bear said. His face was red, and he looked a bit constipated. Hopefully, that wasn’t due to any poison. Now try the boar! “Th—aguck!”
“How is it?” Poison? No poison? He looks like he’s about to die, but I can’t tell if that’s because he’s choking or not.
“M-Master!” the annoying woman shouted. She glared at me. “What are you do—ingeh!?”
I’ve gotten really good at flinging food into people’s mouths. Ilya always tries to run away from me when I need a poison tester, so I developed a separate method of distribution! I call it the Unrelenting Path of Slaughter: Food Flinging Technique. Of course, that name’s a bit too long, so I don’t bother saying it out loud. Besides, people will expect it if I say it.
Ilya cut out a piece of the lizard and placed it onto her plate. Why did she look so happy? That’s definitely the kind of expression Durandal makes when someone else is suffering…. They’re both sadists. It’s sad how I’m the only normal person amongst my three companions. Puppers is a masochist, by the way, not a sadist. Anyways, time to feast!
Thirteen dishes later, Grandpa Bear and his disciples were groaning and frothing from their mouths. I tied them down so they couldn’t run away, and I had the waiter bring in some buckets in case my poison testers vomited. So far, the waiter had to replace four buckets.
“The first peacock is ready; it’ll be your next dish,” the waiter said after I cleared away the fourteenth plate. It was a giant centipede that I mostly fed to my guests because it creeped me out how its legs were still moving even though it was dead. But it’s finally time to eat my fake phoenix! Oh, and for some reason, I managed to plant seven new heart devils even though there were only six poison testers. I think I frightened the waiter.
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