Aidi and Hotpot, and Studying Abroad
Today’s dinner was hotpot in the employee lounge.
As for why we were having hotpot… no particular reason. If I had to say, I dunno. I kind of just wanted to eat rice when I woke up.
Rokuko, Aidi, and Nerune joined me in the gathering.
As for why they were the ones joining me… also no particular reason. I kind of just wanted to have hot pot with people.
The hotpot consisted of fish from Pavuera. Mmm, warm and delicious. It went well with ponzu sauce.
“The technology involved seems simple… but this is a good magic tool. A mobile stove… I want one.”
“Ehehehe~, it’s part of our dungeon drops~, buuuut you know~, I made it~”
“I want one of these heaters too.”
“Ehehehe~, I made that too~”
“Village Chief, I think I want this girl too. May I?”
She’s our valuable technician. We can sell the portable stove and kotatsu, after all.
“Ah~, don’t misunderstand me though~, Master taught me about both of them, you know~?”
“… Rokuko, I think I want your master.”
“Nope, he’s mine.”
Rokuko claimed her ownership… she’s not wrong, though. I’m her Dungeon Master.
“By the way, this sauce is called ponzu, it’s also from the dungeon.”
“Hmm. It goes well with hotpot, or at least with fish.”
I guess it’s fine to call it a sauce? I mean, soy sauce is called a sauce, so…
“The way you eat from a hotpot is great, everyone has to fight to eat from the same pot, so there’s less chance that it is poisoned. Ah, I’m not saying that doesn’t mean no one could add poison though! Like you could serve some on a small plate.”
By the way, the Demonlands’ aristocracy were demons. Practically all of them were Dungeon Cores. Their territory was basically whatever their dungeon’s domain was.
Aidi, who was part of the 600 series, also had a territory. She only seemed to have two [Villages], but… ah, each of them were human ranches. Yeah. Rokuko, no going to visit.
I took the chance to bring out a portable stove and a kotatsu as we were chatting.
“Still though, my trip here has been very meaningful.”
Having finished eating her hotpot, Aidi spoke with a deep exhale.
“Ah, heading back already?”
“What do you mean [Already]? It feels like I’ve stayed too long, if anything.”
“Oh yeah, huh.”
Rokuko thought back.
… Honestly, it had already been another month since Aidi arrived… It still felt like the time passed by quickly, though.
“Which is why Haku-sama will be coming to pick me up tomorrow to head back.”
“So sudden—isn’t exactly right. I totally forgot about it.”
“Life here wasn’t bad at all, Rokuko! It was the opposite, even. Rokuko, I’ll do my best to welcome you to the fullest when you and everyone come to the Demonlands, so prepare yourself.”
“Okay, yeah… By the way, Kehma, when are we going to go to where Aidi lives?”
Oh yeah, I hadn’t asked about that at all.
“? Aren’t you coming with us?”
Aidi tilted her head to the side.
“Well, even if we went right away, I’ll have to prepare for a few days before we go. I’ll go ask Haku-san for a more concrete timetable. I’d appreciate it if you could prepare for our reception in the Demonlands in the interim.”
“Oh, alright. I’ll be waiting, Rokuko.”
Going through the imperial capital would be good. From our dungeon to the imperial capital, the fastest route would be via [White Beach]. Since it’s a route unique to [Cave of Desires] that Haku-san and Aidi couldn’t use, we’d be able to use it to get there a day sooner than what Aidi’s return would take.
“I suppose you will take two, no, three people since that puppy is also going to the fighting competition? Three in all, then?”
“Ah… right. I’d like to take Ichika as well though…”
I’d like to take Ichika as well as Meat, but the cost of our stay would be increased accordingly. How troublesome.
“It’d be different if they were contestants, but you can just treat them like the slaves they are, right? You could bring as many as you want like that, I’ll give them the appropriate level of service.”
“Not going to happen. They’re our important comrades.”
“… How lenient. So Beddhism-like, good grief.”
It looked like Aidi finally understood what Beddhism was like.
I guess it’d be correct to say that she learned many various things studying abroad.
“By the way, what would happen if we brought someone along who wasn’t to be treated as a person?”
“They’re be tools. You would be compensated if they were damaged, but if there were anything too extreme, it would be Rokuko and everyone else’s fault.”
“Sounds like trouble… what should we do, Kehma?”
“… It looks like it would be bad to bring something who isn’t to be treated as a person.”
“Isn’t treating slaves as people strange from the start though? Is it different in the empire?”
When I asked about it, that wasn’t the feeling I got at all. It was more like treating them as a person, or at least a pet.
… Huh? Isn’t it like that for me, too? I treat Meat as a hug pillow, even…
“Now that I think about it, Meat is Kehma’s hug pillow, so it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that she’s treated as a tool.”
Rokuko even said as much.
“… I’m a dungeon monster who exists for my master~, you could use me as a hug pillow too~? Okay~?”
Nerune, you’ve been worried about that?
“… Right. I’m going to miss those rats in your amusement center.”
“Oh, you liked the rat races that much, Aidi?”
“Yeah, I’ll probably making one of my own when I return to the Demonlands… right. Could I borrow a slave with some knowledge about that? You could bring it when you come to study abroad. I’ll take care of it.”
“Oh… What should we do, Kehma?”
In other words, I should bring Ichika, since she’s familiar with the rat races… It appeared that Aidi would take care of her.
“In that case, I guess I could take Ichika along as well. She already knows everything about the rat races.”
“How delightful, I’ll be looking forward to it.”
The next day, Haku-san came to pick her up, but decided to stay overnight, making it so that Aidi stayed another day… A simple trap to exploit her wallet for another day.