Yep, Kidan here.
I received a souvenir from Mr. Shax, the demon merchant.
“You’ve always been a valuable business partner to us. Please accept our gratitude,” he says.
It’s because of his skills that we can sell Batemy’s clothes and the elves’ handicrafts.
Mr. Shax is a wealthy merchant of the Demon Kingdom and is the only person allowed to do business with us. That’s why he’s trying to maintain a good relationship with us with the utmost care.
Today’s “souvenir” is probably part of his intentions.
“…So, what’s this souvenir?”
No matter how old I am, I can’t help but get excited when I hear the word “souvenir.”
“Gee, I was lucky to have gotten it; it’s just that rare to appear on the market! But now that I’ve procured some, I’d like to offer them to you, by all means, Lord Saint!”
Oookay, calm down.
Should you really be carelessly raising my hopes up like that?
You’re making me as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve!
“It’s praised as one of the world’s greatest delicacies, not even His Majesty could always eat. And that is…”
“Square boar meat!!!”
“The taste of its meat is said to be the richest and most flavorful of all monsters! Still, they are difficult to obtain due to the small number of dungeons they inhabit and their ferocity as monsters!”
“It’s a high-class ingredient that can’t be found even in the finest restaurants in the capital! I can’t guarantee that it will satisfy your refined palate, but I hope you accept my sentiments!”
“Wow, I’m SO happy…”
Square boars are the most common source of meat on our farm.
The monster, which I call horned boar, lives in abundance in Veil’s mountain dungeon.
So, for me, it’s just an everyday item…
But I can’t say that to Mr. Shax’s face, who was so confident that it’ll please me.
“T-Thank you very much! We will all enjoy eating it later!”
“Not at all! I’m glad it pleased you, Lord Saint!”
Besides, I could’ve sworn I had treated him to horned boar meat many times during his previous visits.
For dinner, I’m cooking the horned boar meat Mr. Shax gave us.
“What? Boar meat again?” sulks Veil. “I’m sick of eating boar meat. I want something better. Like cake!!!”
Veil, now a dragon with a refined palate, has grown tired of the horned boar meat she has been accustomed to eating since this farm was founded.
And she used to gobble up boar meat with a big smile on her face…
“I won’t give it to choosy children. No yogurt for dessert, either.”
“I’m sorry! I’ll eat it!”
Perhaps the presence of the dessert caught Veil’s attention and made her come back to the table.
“Well, wild boar is still delicious, so I guess it’s okay. Bon appetit…”
Veil takes a piece of the pork steak… gives it a few chews…
She made a very disgusted face.
“Er… How should I say this? It’s not that the seasoning is bad, but it’s totally different from the wild boar we usually eat. The flavor is just different!”
Even my wife, Platy, who is sitting at the table with us, has a subtle expression on her face as she contemplates the steak’s flavor in her mouth.
“Its flavor is different from the usual dishes you cook for us, Dear. I don’t think it’s because of the way it was prepared… Maybe the ingredient itself?”
She talks like a foodie with a discerning palate now.
But it’s the same as usual, guys.
I cook the horned boar meat like I always do, season it, and…
Well, the horned boar itself is different today.
It’s not what we usually hunt in the mountain dungeon, but one from another region that Mr. Shax brought us as a souvenir.
Maybe that’s what makes it different?
I ran to the freezer, took a slice of local boar meat, cooked into steak with the same technique and seasoning, and served it to them again.
“Delicious! Delicious! Yes! This is the true taste of a square boar! The supreme and characteristic flavor of Dear’s disheeeees!!!”
This is it!
This is exactly how they reacted the first time they ate boar meat!
It’s like the days of yore have returned that I can’t help but feel moved too!!!
“Are they that different?”
But Mr. Shax’s souvenir meat and our local boar meat are supposed to be the same type of monster.
I cooked two kinds of pork steak for myself and compared their tastes.
They were indeed wholly different.
One has a fruity sweetness imbued in the meat’s juicy flavor. On the other hand, the other has a muddy taste and smells a lot.
Sorry, Mr. Shax. I guess there is a difference in the meat.
“How can they be different when they’re practically the same kind?”
The first thing that came to mind was my Hand of Supremacy.
Just as I had evolved many of the monsters I had come into contact with, had I also evolved the horned boar into a higher species, which became evident in its taste?
“…That’s probably not it.”
Unlike the orcs, goblins, and adamantine silkworms, horned boars are hunted and consumed daily.
The horned boars spawning in the dungeon shouldn’t be affected by the Hand of Supremacy from their very birth.
Besides, with Orkubo and his team going into the dungeons nowadays, there’s no opportunity for me to come into physical contact with them until they’re on the kitchen counter.
“So, it must be something else…”
Is it their place of origin?
Back in my world, there were times when something was the same variety, but there would be varying degrees of differences depending on the region.
I think I get it now.
I planted a variety of otherworldly trees in the mountain dungeon.
We call it the “Dungeon Orchard,” and these fruit-bearing trees grow abundantly.
Some of the riper fruit probably falls off before we harvest them.
And maybe… the horned boars eat them.
Crops from another world seem to be tasty here, so the horned boars that consumed them would probably taste better than those from other regions.
My world’s animal husbandry used particular feed to improve the taste of the meat, too.
I also heard that in some cases, the animals eat even more luxurious food than us.
That’s probably what makes this horned boar different from what Mr. Shax gave me.
“Huh? But if that’s the case, then the boars in my dungeon should’ve been the same as the others. The meat dishes you cooked for us were super delicious right from the very beginning, Master.”
“Any meat tastes better if you cook it, Dear. The change in the boar’s taste because of the otherworldly fruit is slow, so we must have been accustomed to it unknowingly, don’t you think?”
And when we ate the meat Mr. Shax gave me, we became aware of the difference all at once.
It’s as good as Platy guessed.
I can’t believe we’ve been nonchalantly dining on gourmet food this whole time.
What an immoral act.
I should be more aware of our blessings and be grateful for them.
“The meat Mr. Shax gave us taught us something important. Let’s all express our gratitude!”
“THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!”
Me, Platy, and Veil bow our heads to the remaining meat.
“…So, about this meat,” says Platy, raising her head. “What are we going to do with it?”
Er, eat it, what else?
Mr. Shax gave it to us with that intention in mind. Eating the food given to us is always good manners.
“I don’t want to eat meat that tastes worse than usual,” says Veil.
She’s not wrong.
Food is the joy of daily life, so meals must always be delicious to feel fulfilled and energized.
Making bad food on purpose is just preposterous.
Still, Mr. Shax must have put a lot of effort into procuring all this inferior-quality meat from monsters dwelling in who knows where…
Even now, six whole pieces remain.