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“Ugh, it’s cold…”
I blew at my hands in between preparing dinner.
The 44th Floor was a desert field dungeon and behaved as a desert should, screamingly hot during the day and mind-numbingly cold at night.
Luckily, I sort of did see it coming and prepared accordingly. Still, this dungeon was pretty harsh. A huge forest followed by a wasteland of nothingness and now an extreme temperature desert filled with monsters?
To top it off, the floors were so wide that it took Fer days to cross even at top-ish speed.
I rubbed my hands together again and adjusted my earmuffs.
Thanks to Fer’s barrier, the temperature difference had been negated somewhat. Also, thanks to the Blessings, I won’t get sick, but it’s still pretty unpleasant.
Dora-chan especially hated the cold and had quickly rolled himself into the futon and refused to come out until dinner is ready.
“Ugh, it feels colder today somehow… ah, since it’s so cold, I kind of want to eat Oden…”
I muttered to myself as I sorted through today’s dishes. I had planned to serve Beef Bowls with Minotaur Meat, but there’s no reason why we could not have Oden on the side.
Naturally, I opened up [Net Super] and considered my options.
“Hmm, pre-packed Oden sets are the most convenient for times like this.”
All I have to do is pour everything out of the packet and heat it up. I used to do this when I was living alone, since making Oden from scratch takes too much effort and left me with too much food. I used to keep a stock of these personal portions of oden in the fridge during winter for times when I’m feeling a little too cold or miserable.
I also picked out a few packets of wieners.
Oden and wieners? Really?
Fufu, you might think that’s an odd combination, but they are really good together~
The beef bowl had already been made, all I have to do was take them out and serve, but I’ll have to at least warm the Oden and boil the excess fat off the wieners first.
I got out my largest pot and emptied several packets of Oden in. Then, while that was simmering, I place a deep pan of water to boil. While the stoves struggled to heat things up, I made diagonal cuts on the wieners before dropping them into the pan of water.
When the Oden started bubbling, I added the blanched wieners-
“What’s this thing?”
“Hmm, it smells kind of like the sea?”
“It smells yummy~”
“This is called Oden, it has a bit of meat, tofu and fish paste product. It’s still simmering, have the Minotaur Meat Beef Bowl first. You can have the Oden afterwards, it’s good for warming up the body.”
I served up the Beef Bowls. While my familiars were chomping away, I ladled out the Oden in large bowls. [5a] [5a]
The Beef Bowl was very well received, naturally, especially since it was made with Minotaur meat. As for the Oden…
“Hohh… food with hot broth is nice and warming, too bad there’s so little meat in it.”
“Woohoo! Nice and warming~! In fact, I think I’m feeling a bit more energetic now~!”
Hmm? This comment sounded… kind of familiar? And… ominous?
““It’s so warm~”
Sui was trembling. She was trembling at an unusual frequency…
I quickly [Appraised] the Oden.
Oden made with ingredients from another world. Increases physical strength and magical power by approximately 12% for 20 minutes.
20 minutes? I think I can work with 20 minutes.
I whipped my head over to the still half-full pot of Oden and then at my familiars.
Right, let’s try and do this calmly.
“So, would you like another bowl of meaty Beef Bowl or a soupy Oden?”
“Umu, I shall have the Beef Bowl.”
“Hmm, I’m warm now, so a Beef Bowl!”
“Sui wants meaty too~”
Nice save, me!
Once my familiars were busy with their food, I served myself a bowl of Oden along with some lightly pickled Chinese cabbage and rice. I had pickled the Chinese cabbage myself with some commercially available pickling mix. Pickles are great breakfast items.
Speaking of which, there is no way I’m having Oden with Beef Bowl. Just… no way.
The daikon in the Oden is flavourful and tender, the boiled egg a delight as always. I slowly sipped the broth and enjoy little bites of various fishcakes and fried tofu.
“Hahh… this really warms you up~”
I took a bite of the wiener and paused. Hmm, something’s missing. I rooted through my [Item Box] and brought out a squeezy bottle of mustard.
“Wieners should be eaten with a little mustard~”
Naturally, the rest of the Oden went into my [Item Box]. I’ll enjoy them later with a glass of beer when I’m above ground.
It took us four days to reach the 44th Floor’s Boss area.
“This floor isn’t technically as large as the wilderness of nothingness, but it’s still fairly huge.”
“Umu, it took us several days to get here. Normal Adventurers would just die.”
“Ahah, well… that’s true…”
This dungeon was just too perverted in its choice of challenge. Monsters aside, there were never-ending forests, the everlasting wilderness and now the extreme desert.
I’m on the verge of going insane despite literally riding on my familiar throughout the whole journey. I was right to cancel the rent on the house. I don’t want to end up paying an extension on a house I barely get to stay in. [5b]
Anyway, these are surface-level worries. For now, the Boss of the 44th Floor was prowling in front of us on the altar/stage like thing similar to the one on the 43rd Floor.
As for the monster? The… creature had the head of a crocodile, a lion’s torso and a hippo’s lower half. There was no hair on it, I… guess it must be some sort of desert-related creature?
“This is my first time seeing this thing. Fuhahaha! This is why dungeons are fun.”
You would think so, Fer-san.
“Hmm, well, it’s a creature of the desert after all,” said Dora-chan a little more composedly.
“Sui is stronger~!”
While my familiars quarrelled over who gets to fight it, I decided to cast [Appraisal].
S-rank monster that lives in the desert. Has a voracious appetite and is very ferocious. It is feared by the people of the desert. It is known as the ‘Devourer’. It is said that if you meet it, it will be the end of your life.
What superlative descriptions. Should I be worried? [5c] [5c]
“O-oi, I know it’s probably pointless to say this, but, that monster is known Ammit the Devourer or something and is supposed to be really ferocious and dangerous.”
“Hold it, Dora, Sui, you’ve already fought two previous bosses. I get to take out this one.”
“Muu… do your best, Uncle Fer~”
“Let’s see who is the truly powerful one with this fight, Ammit,”
The crocodile/lion/hippo creature roared. It was hard not to be afraid since it was also three times bigger than Fer. [5c]
It charged at us with its crocodilian mouth wide open. I instinctively ducked and rolled away from Fer since the thing was aiming for him.
There was another roar in the air, this time, it was clear that it came from the elements. Fer’s Wind Magic howled, sending up loose sand everywhere.
When the sand finally settled, luckily not much came through the barrier aside from the bits I kicked up with my feet, I was able to see the fallen body of Ammit. There were three slashes in its side, deep enough to spill guts.
“I, am the stronger one here,” Fer declared triumphantly.
“Nyeh, as expected.”
“Uncle Fer is so amazing~”
Fer tried to look proud and dignified, but his wagging tail gave away his true feelings.
“Goodness, looks like you’re even more ferocious than the ‘very ferocious’,” I muttered as Ammit’s body disappeared.
In its place was something that looked like black skin, a large magic stone and… a box?
The box itself was very pretty with brightly coloured patterns and Egyptian-like hieroglyphics on it.
I opened the box.
I closed the box.
I opened the box again.
Inside was a pale blue jewel that sparkled a lot. It was the size of a golf ball. No matter how I looked at it, it can’t be anything simple…
A very rare gem. Legend has it that a queen of a certain country once manipulated a king to wage war and destroy a small country to obtain this jewel.
Yeah, I didn’t see anything.
I quietly close the lid on this possibly cursed jewel and stuffed it into my [Item Box] along with the other Drop items.
“Oi, what is it?”
“Nothing, nothing, don’t worry about it. Shall we head downstairs?”
Thus, our party made our way to the stairwell to the 45th Floor.
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