In a Different World with a Smartphone Chapter 328: Egret, and Squid Cuisine.
Egret Kingdom is composed of two islands. The long Egrand Island stretching out in the North- South directions, and the smaller Mallet Island which is around one-third the former’s size.
On that smaller island, our four-people-and-two-animals group of me, Suu, Linze and Sakura as well as Sango and Kokuyou arrived via transfer.
The three Louf Tribe members had already gone through another [Gate] I opened to the capital, Letrabanba, ahead of time. The reason why we had come to Mallet Island instead is to check up on the sea dragon which had lost to the giant squid monster, the Tentakra.
The depth of the cave which the sea dragon resides in is connected to the [Laboratory]’s teleport gate. We transferred there, and got out of the small cave which feels like a secret base into an open area. It looks a bit like an underground lake from somewhere.
Linze who was besides me pointed towards the other end of the lake. Over there was the figure of the sea dragon lying down with wounds all over its body.
Its upper body (?) is lying flat on the ground, while the rest is below the water’s surface. The beautiful sapphire-blue scales were peeling off from its body here and there, and there’s bloodstains in various places as well.
The sea dragon that was having trouble breathing met its barely-opened eyes with my own. I then put my hand against the body of the sea dragon that tried to move itself. Wait a bit, I’ll heal you now.
“[Come forth light, the goddess’ solace, Mega Heal].”
The waves of light that began to cover the sea dragon healed it within the blink of an eye. Its scales too had regained their former sapphire-blue radiance.
“Are you fine now?”
“Yes. Thank you very much. The master of Ruli-sama, Mochizuki Touya-sama. My apologies for showing you such a shameful appearance.”
“I’ve heard the rough situation from the people of Egret. You fought with that Tentakra- whatever?”
“Yes. Since they had rudely intruded into my territory… Their tentacles hide fearsome power; it’s to the degree that they can even crush my bones.”
To crush a dragon’s bones… That’s serious, oi. Tentakras look like squids, but seems like they might also have some octopus elements mixed in. I think it’s said that 90% of an octopus’ body is made of muscles?
Furthermore, the squid is said to be the fastest among oceanic invertebrates. Jet propulsion… With the method of taking in water and spewing it out to propel themselves, they can apparently reach up to 40km/h. (Note: this part is true, as is the one immediately above. Science, bois.)
This could be a lot tougher than I imagined…
“I’ve been requested for the extermination of that monster, so you can take a rest here. Once I’ve dealt with that, you can continue protecting Egret.”
“Thank you for your kindness…”
The sea dragon lowered its head. As usual, what a human-like dragon.
Still, there’s one part I’m concerned about.
“Just now, you said ‘they’… Isn’t there only one?”
“No, there are multiple individuals. I had only fought with two of them, and was forced to escape when a third one showed up, so I’m not sure of the exact numbers either.”
So at the very least, there’s three… Another troublesome work.
While trying to clear away my negative thoughts, we bid farewell to the sea dragon and moved to the capital Letrabanba using [Gate] and the memories I received from Totora before.
“So this is the capital of Egret, Letrabanba. Quite the scenic place-ja no.”
It’s as Suu said: Letrabanba is situated on a small hill besides the ocean, and from the place we’re at, we can see a tropical resort-like landscape of coconut-like palm trees lined up in front of the glaringly white sands, and the emerald-green sea that gently sends waves onto the beach.
Within the city, verdant greenery is spread out all around, and rainbow-colored birds are flying about in the sky. The cityscape is made out of stone buildings, and far in the distance a tall tower and something like a shrine can be seen. There’s something like one of those ancient Aztec pyramids, too.
The mountains in the far-off distance are covered with greenery too. The blue sky, the blue sea; “one with nature” must be a phrase coined to describe this place, no doubt.
(Note: I couldn’t think of some fitting idioms here. The word in the raw is 水天一碧, and has the meaning of “the sea and the sky blending together flawlessly into one”.)
However, when I looked a bit more closely, several of the palm trees were broken in half, and a few of the stone buildings had collapsed as well. The damage from the aforementioned storm, huh. Seems like it did quite the number.
The large building in the center of Letrabanba is probably the royal castle. For the moment, we started walking down the streets while aiming for that place.
“The townspeople don’t have a lot of energy, do they…”
“Well, they are experiencing a food shortage. There’s the Tentakras in the sea, and the mountains are also a no-go due to the danger of landslides, apparently.”
Even without Linze pointing it out, I can see the figures of the Egret citizens walking around lifelessly clearly with my own eyes.
Of course, not every town is as hard-hit as this, but as expected as a country they had received some serious hits to their national power.
The capital still looks decent, but apparently the mountainous towns as well as the fishing- based northern port cities received devastating damage. With the landslides and also flooding caused by rivers overflowing, traffic between cities should be tough as well right now. If they still had large vessels that can go out into open sea, it might be… Oh, wait, there’s still the Tentakra.
All of a sudden, I noticed a horse-drawn carriage heading towards us. Er, wait, not a horse- drawn carriage; it’s pulled by birds instead of horses. The birds look like ostriches, but they are larger than Earth’s ostriches when comparing their head and necks.
The bird-drawn carriage stopped in front of us. On the drivers’ seat of the roofless four- wheeled carriage pulled by two birds is the younger sister of the Louf siblings, Lilicana, holding the reins of the birds.
“I’ve come to welcome you. Our king awaits in the castle.”
Ohh, thank you for coming to pick us up.
However, right when we were going to get onto the carriage, a loud cry was issued from the direction of the beach, and the surroundings became noisy immediately.
When we looked down from a cliff through iron fences installed at the edge, a giant squid-like magic beast had reared its head out from the water and was attacking the people there with its tentacles.
Those things, they can even get this close to the ground!?
The outstretched tentacles grabbed a man and raised him up. The Tentakras are carnivorous, and prey mainly on whales or sharks, but sometimes they feed on human flesh as well.
“[Come forth water, pristine blade edge, Aqua Cutter].”
The water blade released by Sakura cut through the tentacle of the Tentakra holding the man cleanly.
The man who fell onto the sandy beach ran away in a panic; meanwhile, Linze unleashed her own magic onto the Tentakra who’s spilling bluish blood.
“[Come forth fire, sphere of purgatorial flame, Fireball].”
The huge ball of flame exploded on contact with the head of the Tentakra that is above the sea.
While raising an unsettling roar, the Tentakra retreats into the ocean. I tried to get a few more hits in via [Fire Arrow], but the Tentakra had already sunk below the water’s surface before those hit, and disappeared from sight.
“It escaped. Unfortunate.”
“It was smaller than we’ve heard, don’t you think?”
“Could be a child or something.”
Even if it was a juvenile, it’s still a violent monster.
The tentacle that was cut off earlier is still wiggling around on top of the beach. Uwa, disgusting…
Yeah, I can understand why going out to sea would be an issue with those things around. Come to think of it, how many of them are there anyway?
“Search. The number of Tentakras in the seas around Egret Kingdom.”
“Searching… Finished. 53 found.”
I’m lost for words at the abnormal number reported by the smartphone in my breast pocket.
Even if that includes ones like the juvenile (although we’re not sure if it actually is one) earlier, isn’t that way too much!?
If I remember correctly, the book in the guild wrote that although Tentakras are egg-laying like regular squids, unlike squids which lay thousands of eggs in one go, Tentakras only ever lay a few dozen eggs for every reproductive cycle, and of those dozens of eggs, only less than 10 would grow up safely to become adult Tentakras normally…
Could this be another effect of the abnormalities caused by the merging of the worlds?
I got down onto the beach, and using Brunhild in blade mode, tried cutting at the tentacle left on the beach.
The sticky liquid on the surface of the tentacle diverts the trajectory of the slash somewhat on contact, making it hard to cut properly. I tried piercing it with the tip next, and although there was some resistance, I can pierce into the flesh normally.
The tentacle started wriggling again, probably because I hit it. Uee…
If it’s a swordsman on the level of Yae, I think cutting off tentacles shouldn’t be too hard, but the difficulty would jump if the opponent gets even bigger. Blades of magic seemed to work fine, though.
“What magic attributes are the Tentakras weak against again?”
“Fire attribute or thunder-based attacks from wind attribute, and light attribute offensive magics work too. For water attribute magic, slashing attacks like [Aqua Cutter] should work like earlier, but ones like [Maelstrom] would have little effect, I’d say.”
I see. However, if it’s used in the water, fire and thunder magic would have their power more than halved… And for light magic too, if it’s used to hit something within the ocean from above it, there could be loss of power due to refraction from the water.
Seems like the best option is to drag them out of the sea, after all. Is it time for some squid fishing as expected?
While I’m standing on the beach and thinking about various things, a man with a brown-ish skin tone and a golden feather decoration on his head came this way together with several soldiers. The Louf siblings, Totora and Lilicana, are together with them as well.
He looks to be a man around his thirties. Interesting patterns are tattooed on his lean but trained muscles, and he’s wearing clothing that evoke a distinct Native American feeling.
“Well done on repelling the magic beast. Thank you, Your Majesty the Brunhild Dukedom Sovereign.”
“And you are?”
“Son of Lelaure Kocha, Lefan Letra. The king of Egret Kingdom.”
His Majesty the King, huh. He looked like a veteran warrior, so I had completely thought him to be the Warrior Chief or something like that.
I accepted the hand he offered to me. That solid hand is the very image of the hands of a warrior who trained himself daily and devoted his all to bettering himself.
“Sovereign of Brunhild Dukedom, Mochizuki Touya. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Your Majesty Lefan.”
While I’m at it, I also introduced the three fiancées standing behind me. I stressed not on the fact that they’re my fiancées, but the fact that they’re all excellent magic users instead, though. I definitely don’t want the other side to think something like “What, are you coming here for a vacation or something? Bringing along multiple women too.”
Luckily, there were many witnesses to the fighting that occurred just now, so my explanations were accepted easily.
“I had casted search magic to check the seas around the island just now, and apparently there are over fifty of those Tentakras.”
“Fifty…! What a… With that number, no matter what we do it would be impossible for ships to go out to sea for fishing…”
“Our country has prepared new ships for you, so all that’s left is the extermination of the Tentakras. The opponents are within the sea. It’d be a lot easier if we can somehow drag them out of the water…”
King Lefan told me about the existence of a cape some distance away from the capital Letrabanba, and that it’s fine if we go all out there, so I’ve decided on that spot as the Tentakra extermination site for now.
Well, that aside…
“Kokuyou. Is this edible?”
“I wonder? It’s not poisonous, so it should be safe. I don’t know if it’ll taste good, though.”
Kokuyou replied from the back of Sango who’s floating around me as usual.
I tried using [Analyze] to check, and confirmed that it doesn’t have any poison. It should be fine to eat this. As expected, I wouldn’t know if it’s delicious unless I try it…
I cut off a portion from the tentacle that had finally stopped wriggling, rubbed some salt on it and washed it carefully to remove the slimy liquid on it. I then sliced it thinly before placing it onto a plate I took out of [Storage].
I also took out some soy sauce and ginger from Ishen out of [Storage], and mixed them together in a small plate after grating the ginger into a fine paste. And with this, I have a simple ika somen.
“Your Majesty the Sovereign King… Are you actually going to eat that?”
“It could become a substantial solution to the current food shortage, you know. I don’t really like it myself, but in Ishen as well as my birthplace there are dishes made with squid such as this, so I thought to try it out.”
In Ishen, they’re eating both squid and octopus cuisines normally, you know. It’s edible as long as it isn’t poisonous… Is what I believe. Now I just need to see if it tastes good or not.
While the Egret people are all shrinking back, I took up some ika somen, or rather Tentakra somen, with a pair of chopsticks, and slurped them up after dipping them in the ginger-soy sauce mix I made earlier. Hmm…
“How… Is it-desu ka?”
Linze asked with a worried expression.
“… Surprisingly workable. I’m bad with the *gyuni gyuni* texture it has, but it’s not too bad otherwise. The taste’s decent. It should be a hit with people who like such things.”
“I’ll eat too.”
Following me, Sakura also put some of the Tentakra somen into her mouth. After that, Suu, Kokuyou and Sango, and finally Linze also tried it out.
“I think I’m bad with this…”
“The firm texture is pretty nice-desu. If you change the sauce, I think you should be able to experience various other tastes too.”
Seems like their impressions were all different. Well, with this, we’ve confirmed that “it’s palatable, and depending on the person, could be delicious”. The taste is something like a squid and an octopus at the same time, a light taste with some sweetness to it. I think if I cut it into pieces with a bit more thickness and made sashimi, it would work too.
Among the people of Egret who had been looking at us with scowls, perhaps drawn by their curiosity, Totoro of the Louf siblings also tried out some of the squid cuisine, followed by his sister Lilicana.
“While it definitely isn’t very delicious, it’s something palatable to me at least.”
“I like this refreshing taste quite a bit, actually. It goes well with this ginger soy sauce too.”
Hmm, it really brings out the food preferences in people, eh? And finally, His Majesty Lefan also put some Tentakra somen into his mouth.
“… Fumu. Not as bad as I imagined. I was resistant to the idea mentally, but once I tried it out it’s nothing much, I suppose. Yes, this is indeed not unpalatable. For me, I’d like the taste to be a bit stronger than this, personally speaking.”
Seems like His Majesty didn’t really find it delicious. Well, it’s something he’s eating for the first time in his life, so I guess that’s natural.
Since it seems fine, should I try other squid cuisines too?
Fried squid coated in batter. Sweet-and-spicy squid and garlic sprout stir-fry. Butter-and-soy- sauce grilled squid. Ginger squid grill. (Note: Shogayaki. Search it up if you’re interested.) When I tried making various things like that, seems that the people of Egret also began to embrace the recognition that “this is an ingredient”; some professional cooks came along from the castle and started making Egret-styled cuisines out of the tentacle as well.
As expected of pros, they managed to cook up something that looks a lot more refined than what I’ve done so far. It was pretty delicious, the “Tentakra stir-fried with Palse Grass”.
You can make preserved food out of squids too. It should be possible to use that process on Tentakra, as well.
This is looking more and more like I’ll need to fish them out of the sea…
It shouldn’t be impossible using the Frame Gears of everyone present. Especially Suu’s Ortlinde Overlord which boasts the highest power of the Valkyria. Something like a Tentakra, she can easily pull them out of the ocean one after another.
(Note: I can’t remember, but was the term used before in the WN? Valkyria. It’s another name the author used to refer to the personal machines of Touya’s group.)
Oh, since we’re going to use them to solve our food supply problem, we probably shouldn’t hit their bodies too much. Hm? That reminds me, grandpa once mentioned there’s a method to kill a squid or an octopus in one hit or something like that…
Time to search it up on the net.
Let’s see, “Thrust an ice pick straight into the space between its eyes.” Uoo…