”Daikon soup today, huh?”


 I correctly guessed today's main course as I gazed at the pot cooking in the kitchen of the hut I borrowed from Gorilla-san.
Magoroku, who had been controlling the heat of the stove by blowing on it, turns to me with a sweaty forehead and agrees with my answer.


 ”Yes,” he says, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand.
“I mixed the leafy part with the wheat grains for the rice, and I combined the carrots with egg and sesame oil afterwards.”


 ”That sounds delicious,” I respond, smiling at Magoroku's informative report on that evening's dinner menu.
In this crappy world, meals were a precious form of entertainment and a source of nourishment.


 ”Hmm?” A voice calls out from the back of the room as I enter, having left my sandals outside in the courtyard.
“You're late, Yun-shoku-dono.
Did you get sidetracked or something?”


 I looked in the direction of the voice and made a reverse question with a stern look.


 ”You're the one who's doing the playing while Magoroku is cooking, aren't you?”

 ”I'm just a guest here, that's all.”


 The wolf-girl, who was sitting cross-legged and playing Go at the back of the room, was unperturbed by my remark.
After finishing the training with the servants, Iruka had returned to this hut earlier and had been losing track of time playing around without offering to help Magoroku.
…Well, if I asked her to help with cooking, she'd simply start eating all the food.


 ”Ah…welcome home, Tomobe-sama.
I'm terribly sorry.
I'll get you a change of clothes now….”

 ”Oh, don't worry about it.
I can take care of that myself.
Can you watch over her instead?”


 Mari, who had been playing against Iruka, rushes to move when I get home, but I stop her.


 ”But…” Mari protested.
“Don't be distracted, okay?” I said firmly.
“Look, she's trying to change the position of that Go stone.”


 ”Huh!?” Mari exclaimed in surprise.
“Hey, don't reveal it to her!” Iruka whispered conspiratorially.


 It seemed that the wolf-girl were at a definite disadvantage, and I revealed that she was trying to cheat against Mari, who was blind.
Mari frowned at Iruka with her eyes closed.


 ”Iruka-san, I may be a blind person, but please don't do such a cowardly act in the confusion,” Mari said firmly.
“It's really unbecoming of you.”


 ”Hahaha, my bad, my bad,” Iruka laughed sheepishly.
“It was just a momentary lapse, you know? You're really strong, though.”


 Mari scolded Iruka, her voice stern, and she weakly apologized.
At first, Iruka had challenged Mari to play Hanafuda (Japanese playing cards) or Karuta (Japanese card game), but her cheating was soon exposed and she was defeated, probably due to her memory, and recently Iruka had challenged her to play other games such as Go.
But as expected…
her winning percentage wasn't improving.


 ”What a childish thing to do in a non-betting game.”


 Laughing at Iruka's apology and flinching at Mari's anger, I took off my outfit and wiped away the sweat and dirt with a cloth dipped in hot water.
Then, I put on the clothes that Magoroku had prepared for me before something landed on my shoulder.


 'Good job, servant…
Looks like there won't be any problems today.'


 A hummingbird perched on my shoulder and scrutinized me with its beady eyes, checking to ensure I was still human.


 ”That's lucky thing.
…But I guess the spider needs to eat before dinner.”


 Seeing Mari and the others concentrating on playing Go for a moment, I and the hummingbird quietly slipped into the adjacent storage room.
I then closed the sliding door, locked it, and retrieved what I came for from the dressers.


 '(ノ≧∀≦)ノ Papaー!! (.
>д<) Ouch!?'


 As soon as I opened the insect cage with a number of charms attached to it, the spider jumped into my face, and I blocked it with my palm before it could stick to me.
I grabbed it by the belly and hung it up.


 '(⌣̩̩́_⌣̩̩̀) It hurt, you know?' The white spider stared at me with watery eyes.
Wait, is your emoticon some kind of power?


 'You should finish your feeding quickly.
There's no point in hanging around with that fool.' The hummingbird interjected, its voice full of annoyance.


 ”I agree,” I said with a chuckle, and I put a very fat white spider on my wrist.
The spider wandered around my wrist for a while, then stopped at one corner, stared at me for a while, and then aimed its small, pointed fangs at it.



 '(O_O) Yummy'


 I grimaced in pain as a dull pain ran up my wrist.
On the other hand, the white spider sucked my blood with a smacking noise.
I am annoyed at the expression on its face as it sucks my blood, but as something horrible inside of me removed from my body, I feel relief, albeit unwillingly.


 At the same time, I feel the sense that the divine power that lies within the spider in front of me is growing from the connection I have formed with it, and I feel heavy as I am confronted with the harsh reality of the situation.


 ”In any case, it's just buying time….” I said, my voice dripping with resignation.


 'However, it is necessary in order to prolong your immediate doom.
Until a way is found, there's nothing that can be done.
Would you rather take your own life?' the hummingbird asked, her tone compassionate yet unyielding.


 ”Well, if that's how it ends, it may not be so bad.”


 I was afraid of what would happen to Youbo (youkai mother), who slept inside me and the spider after that.


 ”…Well then, dinner is over.” I announced.


 '(ノ´Д`)ノ No, my food…' complained the spider, its tone petulant and whiny.


 I pulled the spider away from my wrist and tossed it into the insect cage like throwing garbage into a trash can.
Through the gap of the fence of the insect cage, the spider looks at me with moist eyes and says '(o ; д ; )o even though I am a big sister!' but I don't care and push it into the cage, and lock it again to seal it.
I mean, who is the little sister?




 Sighing after the unpleasant feeding, I regain my composure and return to the next room, where the appetizing aroma tantalizes my nostrils.
Dinner was getting ready.


 The table was set for four people, and Magoroku served rice in individual bowls.
But Iruka wanted to have a big serving, so she helped herself twice as much as she should have.
Magoroku didn't seem too happy about it, but he had no choice but to accept it.
This wolf-girl had a pretty thick skin.


 ”Well, I'll pour the white water.
Mari, be careful it's hot, okay?” Magoroku said gently.


 ”Yes, thank you,” Mari replied softly, her voice barely above a whisper.


 He then poured the clear soup from the teapot into each of the cups and placed it onto the table.
Mari, who couldn't see, had a small amount of soup so that it wouldn't spill or burn her.
Magoroku also warned her to be careful.


 After pouring soup for everyone, we gathered around the hearth and started eating.
We made small talk as we ate, our mouths full of warm soup.


 ”This year, the crops aren't growing well, and it's causing trouble for us.
With one more person who needs to eat, we have to buy more food, but the prices are rising, and our expenses are not enough to take care of the shortage” Magoroku grumbled, his voice tinged with frustration.

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