Atk 0 Crit All ~My attack stat is negligible, so I can't help but rely on critical hits to succeed!~
"Do I REALLY have to wear this stupid hat?" I grimaced as I stared in the mirror while putting it on.
"Yes. It's a formal event. You have to look like a proper servant of nobility," Eryn replied for the fifth time already.
I had been given a brand-new outfit, seeing as my previous one had been damaged and dirtied in battle. I was thankful that it had better stats than the other one, but I threw my hands up in rejection when it included the stupid, chef hat. Reluctantly, I put it on, as we were being pushed to attend a ceremony.
Eryn and I, along with many who participated, were being honored for our contributions in taking down the demon, which had been seen as a significant feat. A feat that resulted in the promotion of Eryn to that of a senior knight. Cornelius was so happy about the news that he wrapped Eryn in a hug with tears streaming down his face.
"I'm so proud of you! Now we can stand as equals once again!"
I probably will never get used to that guy. I didn't forget to glare daggers at him, which only elicited a smirk in response.
"So, how do I look?" Eryn spun around in her new set of armor. She was decked out in a white and blue outfit that highlighted her curves more. Her hair had gotten a lot longer since the time I first met her as it was now barely above the top of her skirt cape. The arm and leg guards she had on were of superior forged metal. It was a vast upgrade from the simple armor she had before.
"Like you could blow my heart away," I said bowing to her.
"Cheesy," Eryn said dismissively, "but thank you."
The two of us made our way to the front courtyard of the castle, where the recognition ceremony would be held.
A long-winded speech about the history of the kingdom and appearances of demons in the past given by Castia awaited us. Standing at the front with the other knights and soldiers made me feel very out of place. The anxiety made me start itching all over, but I decided to suffer as I was too self-conscious to scratch.
Trying to distract myself, I looked over to the side, where I saw Katsys sitting in a raised area, next to what appeared to be her father, the King, and her brother. Wearing a long lavender dress and her hair tied up, I hardly recognized her. She was cute before, but her current state was a world of difference. There was no denying that she was a princess.
Katsys looked over and waved with a smile.
"And now, we would like to congratulate Knight Eryn Faulkner, whose contributions have earned her a promotion to Senior Knight," Castia announced.
Eryn went forward and bowed to the crowd of cheering people.
"Lastly, though he may be dressed as a chef, his blade was the one that defeated the demon terrorizing this kingdom, Chef Claude Evers!"
I went forward as well to bow but froze as the crowd started chanting 'Demon Cleaver!'
It was too late. I'd never be able to rid myself of that atrocious nickname now. Though it looked like I was bowing, my head was actually drooping from embarrassment.
"Please join us for the banquet tonight, where we will have Chef Evers demonstrate his culinary skills!"
"Wait, what? I never agreed to – " I tried to object, but Cornelius put a hand on my shoulder.
"Don't worry. We've got you covered."
Eryn nodded in agreement.
After the ceremony had disbanded, the two of them led me to the kitchen located in the castle. There, the cooks that the Faulkner trading company had gathered before from the nutmeg incident had been waiting. Joined with them were the royal chefs of the castle.
"Let's get to it! We're going to serve up a feast the likes that no one can compare to!"
They were all raring to go. I couldn't help but be infected slightly by their enthusiasm.
"It's not every day that you get to cook for royalty. Make sure you leave an impression."
Cornelius winked at me.
"I'll do what I can. That's all I've been doing anyways." I shrugged with my arms up. Rolling up my sleeves, I went to join the crowd of eager and able cooks.
Retreating into the cool night air, I carried a goblet of wine as I walked out onto the balcony. I was eager to have a moment to myself after spending the entire afternoon working with everyone on the feast, and then having to deal with the endless people at the banquet trying to make conversation with me.
For the members of royalty, minus Katsys, this was their first exposure to cuisine that had been infused with the spice of nutmeg. The king went for seconds and even thirds of the dishes that I had helped to create, giving me a sense of pride.
The slight chill surrounding me felt quite nice after being cooped up inside. Taking a sip of wine, I leaned against the railing and exhaled in satisfaction, seeing the air condense into white puffs.
"Mind if I join you?"
Eryn showed up and leaned against the railing next to me.
"Sure. As long as Mr. Corny doesn't find us here, also."
The two of us silently gazed out at the courtyard below, where the ceremony had been held that morning. Beyond the gates was the city, still brimming with activity, and beyond that, the Faulkner residence. I couldn't see anything beyond that, but memories of the plains where I first struggled against slimes, the forests flooded with boars, the mines shimmering with the light of magic ore, and the hustle and bustle of the port town – all of them played clearly within my head.
"I never thought that so much would happen already." Eryn broke the silence between us.
"Honestly, I was a bit worried when I had summoned a familiar that couldn't fight."
"You, worried? I had no idea how I was going to survive when I started off not being able to do anything. Nothing at all went like the games that played in my home world."
"Hmm…why don't you tell me more about these games sometime?"
"What? And expose you to my pathetic side? I'd prefer to keep that part of me buried. That'll be a story I take to the grave!" I said crossing my arms in rejection.
"Pathetic? More pathetic than being buried in slimes?" Eryn added with a smile.
Eryn took a sip of her wine. "Story, huh? What would you call ours then? 'The Tale of a Magic Knight and Her Chef'?"
"You can do better than that." I chuckled.
"Then, let's see YOU try." She poked me in the chest.
Pulling out my notebook, I thought for a moment before putting pen to paper. The best I could think of was an absurd title similar to that of a Japanese light novel. Ripping the page out, I handed it to Eryn.
She took the page in her hand and stared at it blankly.
"That's stupid. That's so stupid." She turned around and placed a hand over her mouth, stifling some giggles.
"Yes. Yes, it is." I took another sip of wine before reaching over to pluck the page out of her hand. With a sigh, I tossed it over the balcony railing and watched it float down.
Just then, a snowflake fell on top of my extended hand. More fluttered around us.
"Oh, it's snowing." Eryn extended her arms in excitement.
The two of us spun around as the snow started collecting on our hair and bodies.
"Oh! There you are! We can't have a toast without our stars!" Cornelius called over, having located us.
"We'll be there in a moment!" Eryn responded back.
Turning to me, she held her goblet up. "To our story?"
"Yes. May we find a title fitting for it." I clinked my goblet against hers.
The two of us downed the rest of our wine before making our way back to the party.
A lone figure stood in the courtyard underneath the balcony.
"Well, things didn't go exactly as I had planned, but I'd be lying if I wasn't pleased by the results."
Though he had lost one toy in his experiment, another one had shown up right in front of him. He couldn't help but smile as he thought of what he should do next.
"It may be good to lay low for a little bit. Can't have anyone suspecting me." The man shook his head as he looked up at two figures leaning against the railing above him.
Though the distance was too far for him to clearly distinguish who they were, that was not what he was focusing on. Instead, what caught his eye was a small purple flame that was embedded in one of them. While it was so small that it was almost unnoticeable, the fact that another one existed excited him. He would have to take great care to cultivate it, so that it grows into a useful state.
"I've got pleeenty of time after all. No need to rush." The man walked away with a spring in his step.
As he walked away, a lone piece of paper floated down and landed gently on the ground.
Snow fell on top of it, gradually covering the words written on the paper. Fairly soon, it would be buried, and the words would wash away, forever lost.
But for now, anyone passing by could look down and see:
'My attack stat is negligible, so I can't help but rely on critical attacks to succeed'
End of Volume 1