84-The Village of Surprises Part 2

"Miss Noemi, Miss Noemi! This village is too suspicious! It's time to work together to get through this.
"I am neither your sister nor your friend. I'm not your sister or your friend. I'm no more than an acquaintance, so please don't talk to me too familiarly.
Don't be so cold. Hans's old man will be very sad.
Hans has nothing to do with this!
Did you want to see me? Noemi.
No, I'm fine. I was just paying attention to her.
Yes, we're deeply sorry. So give me my food now!

 As soon as she entered the tavern, Tinya's nostrils were tickled by the smell, and she instantly flipped her hand.
 She slobbered from the edges of her mouth, grabbed Hans by the neck and began to shake him.

Calm down, please. We have plenty of food.

 As he said this, the counter and tables were lined with plates from one end to the other, and warm steam was rising from everywhere.
 Even though we were one step closer to spring, the amount of food was still a bit unbelievable for this time of year.

 What was even more surprising was the number of colorful items.
 In the cold season, when the harvest is scarce, the standard menu in rural areas consists of stewed beans or potatoes and hard black bread.
 The rest of the menu is lavish, with a few pieces of rotting salted pork on the side.
 In fact, that's what I had been eating for most of my life until I came to this village.

 But now.
 What was sizzling on the plate in front of me was a thick chunk of meat on the bone, dripping with blood.
 And it's not just cooked, it's also covered with a blue-colored, sweet-smelling sauce.

 Next to it, in a deep dish, a gratin filled with white sauce emits a savory smell.
 In addition, making a gurgling sound in a small iron pot is a small pot of jade oil, which was very popular in the royal capital.
 And the white glow that illuminates them.

 The catgirl's eyes widened at the size of the white shining stone that lay carelessly on the table.

"Miss, Miss, I can't believe it! I've never seen such a big shiny stone before!
"Stop pulling on my collar. Stop pulling on my collar. Look outside.

 I've never seen such a big shiny stone before!
 It was well past dusk, and the village should have been shrouded in darkness by now.
 However, lights were shining out of the windows of the houses, and even the well in the center of the square was illuminated by the bright light.

It's amazing. It's even brighter than the downtown area where we used to live. ......

 It was an unbelievable sight, but when you consider the abundance of foodstuffs, there was something special about it.

 As Paula's uncle Leocadio had guessed, it was almost certain that an underground labyrinth had been found.
 That would explain why there were some people with a certain air about them among the villagers.
 Probably, like Noemi, they were recruited to explore the underground labyrinth.

 Once you know the species, it's not so surprising.
 The demoness muttered inwardly, but she could only maintain her calm expression for a few seconds.

Now that everyone is seated, let's have a toast to Hans and the guests. Paula, can you do that?
"Yes, Mr. Ute. Yes, Mr. Ute. - Yo, Gobbi, please.

 Paula called softly to the back of the room, where the hostess had just shouted at Noemi and the others.
 Noemi's eyes widened to their fullest extent as a presence appeared without pause.

 They were small people, fluttering in the air.
 With jugs no bigger than her own body hanging from their hands, they started pouring amber liquid into cups one after another.

What the hell are these people? What are they, demons?
"They're fairies, Tinya. They're Mr. Paula's servants.
No, they're not. ......

 It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.
 In the event you're not sure what you're looking for, there are a few things you can do.
 She thought it was fruit juice, but it turned out to be alcohol, which irritated her throat.

"Well, well, well, you're a quick little thing, aren't you? Have you had it yet?
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. It's the village's new specialty, apple wine. You'd better taste it.
Miss Noemi is impatient. I hope you'll forgive her.

 Noemi's cheeks immediately turned red at the sound of laughter and the catgirl's unnecessary comment.
 When she looked up to argue, Noemi's eyes widened once again.

 A figure approached her to pour some more sake into the cup she had sipped from.
 At first glance, it looked like a serving boy dressed in black leather, but it was a very familiar demon.

"Where are you? Oh, you're pouring me a refill too. Thank you.

 Noemi watched with her mouth hanging open as the evil elf bowed dexterously and walked away.
 With at least two types of demons, and nearly a dozen more, it was a feat that only a handful of well-known demon hunters in the country could pull off.
 Noemi's usual calm thoughts had completely slipped away, but she regained her composure when she heard the loud voice of Tinya, who knew no restraint.

"Nya, nya, nya! This white one, with the red inside, is really delicious!

It's crab meat. Yeah, it's really good after a while.
Crab? I've never had it before! It's so good!

 Noemi, intrigued by these words, gently scooped out the gratin with a wooden spoon and put it on a plate.
 Noemi's eyes widened again as the creamy flavor flooded her mouth for the umpteenth time.

...... Delicious. The ingredients are great, but they must have used good salt.
"It's not bitter at all, if you ask me!

 Since the beginning of this year, the open sea has suddenly become muddy, and the salt we get has a bitter or sour taste.
 However, there was no trace of such bitterness in the dishes on the table.
 Intrigued, Noemi reached for a piece of carefully roasted chicken, took a bite, and let out a squeal at how delicious it was.

This sweet and sour sauce goes really well with it. ......
"Smell. This smell is green tangerine. I used to eat it in the mountains. Yes, it's all so delicious!

 It's all very surprising, but it's not so bad when you get such a wonderful meal.
 Thinking about this in a confused corner of her mind, Noemi drank the apple wine in one gulp and exhaled with satisfaction.

 However, what awaited them at the place they were taken to the next day was a series of further surprises.