113. The Lunar Banquet
Silence filled the kitchen as we got ready to cook.
First up on our list of things to prepare was spices.
Not all the spices we had on hand would actually serve to improve the flavour of our curry bread, so we had to sort them and put the ones we weren’t going to use aside. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that our choice of spices could either make or break the final product altogether. Next, we began mixing the spices with as much care as humanly pos—
— Or not. I’d planned on proceeding with caution, but Urushi totally chucked that out the window by sniffing at our ingredients. Normally, that alone wasn’t much of a cause for concern, but it caused a chain reaction by sending a few spices flying towards Fran, who in turn sneezed and then caused more spices to go all over the place.
『Alright, how about you guys go do something else while I get all the spices prepped?』
I’d honestly wanted to use a doppelganger so I could check the taste and smell as I went along with the whole cooking process, but I ended up dropping the idea altogether. I couldn’t maintain my doppelgangers for all that long, so it’d be better to keep the skill off cooldown just in case we happened to run into some sort of emergency.
I asked Fran to focus on prepping the other ingredients. It’d not only prevent any additional incidents, but also help a lot in the long run, as I wouldn’t have to deal with nearly as much prep work myself later.
「Will prep well.」
『Hmm, yeah, it doesn’t really look like there’s anything for you to do. Sorry Urushi.』
『Yeah, I know you want to help, but it is what it is.』
「Woof woof woof!」
『I know, I can see that, but I’m not really sure how trying harder’s going to change anything.』
『It’s not a matter of how many limbs you use to walk so that’s not going to help either.』
Urushi seemed to be trying to stand on his hind legs as if to demonstrate that he could use his front paws in much the same manner as a human being. His legs were clearly shaking though, so it evidently wasn’t what you’d normally call the best idea.
That said, seeing him act all gung ho really made me want to find him something to do.
Let’s see… he’s much pretty limited to using only his mouth and front paws. The former was much more reliable than the latter, so we’d need something that wouldn’t suffer from him holding it in his mouth all the time.
『Oh, I know. How about helping me make the butter?』
I grabbed a barrel out of the dimensional storage. Inside was freshly squeezed milk, obtained from none other than our friend at the Luciel Conglomerate. The plan was to use it in order to create butter which would then be used for the chicken broth we needed to flavour the spiciest variation. I was originally planning to just use of space/time magic, but this was one of the few things that Urushi could actually do, so might as well leave it up to him instead.
To begin, I had him return to his usual size.
『Hey Urushi, open wide.』
『Make sure you don’t bite down, alright? The barrel’s made out of wood, so it’ll probably break if you do. 』
『Alright, you don’t actually need to do anything super complicated. All you have to do is start shaking it as hard as you can and not stop till I tell you to.』
『Hey, you’re the one who said you wanted to help, so get to work already.』
Urushi obediently started to reproduce the ever so well known phenomenon of violent headbanging in response to my commands. All he had to do was keep that up for an hour, and we’d have butter! Though, he’d also probably be a bit more than just a bit dizzy, but hey, whatever. He asked for it.
And with that, both Fran and Urushi had something to keep them busy, so I went back to working on the spices.
Time flew as we concentrated our assigned tasks; the evening had almost seemed have blindsided us.
Urushi was, as one would expect, no longer able to stand on his feet. He’d been wobbling about in one of the room’s corners ever since he completed his task.
『You guys want to take a break and go check out the Lunar Banquet?』
「Nn. Will visit food stalls.」
『That’s not really what I meant. There’s going to be a parade and stuff. I was thinking we might as well go see what it’s all about.』
「Nn. Lots of delicious food.」
『Well, that works too I guess.』
The city had already shifted gears into festival mode. The streets were lined with stalls, and filled to the brim with people.
『Things sure did get lively around here.』
「Nn. Nom nom.」
『Wait a second, you’re eating already!?』
「Nn. Grilled Squid.」
『Man, and now Urushi’s even got himself a chunk of bone-in meat? Aren’t you guys being a little too quick about this? It hasn’t even been a minute since we got outside, you know?』
And wait, wasn’t Urushi totally about to collapse because of how dizzy he was just a second ago?
「Heard the call of tasty food.」
I guess stuff like that doesn’t matter so long as their stomachs are involved, or something like that.
Fran moved through the street whilst weaving in and out crowd and going back and forth between the two sides. She visited every stall she pleased, and didn’t let anything stop her food-filled advance.
It didn’t take long for us start to hear the sound of music, and I wasn’t talking Japanese style festival music. It most closely resembled something out of Europe, but seemed to have a bit of an African-ish flavour mixed into it as well.
We started moving towards the sound’s source, and eventually found a five member band playing a performance by the roadside. Their instruments actually looked quite like what I used to seeing back on Earth. That is, the musicians were making use of violin and pipe-like objects to create their melodies.
Enjoying ourselves once again caused time to fly right by, and before we knew it, the sun had vanished below the horizon.
Dusk was promptly followed by a loud cheer from the festival’s participants.
『Oh? Looks like something’s happening.』
「Over there. Really big.」
『Looks like a float. Wait, is there someone on top of it?』
『Huh, now that you mention it, her clothes do give off that whole sacred type of vibe.』
Appraising her informed me that she was an oracle. Wait, so can she really hear the gods’ voices? If so, then I guess they really do exist, or at least they do in this world anyways.
We wanted to follow the float because they were apparently going to perform a dance for the sake of some sort of ritual, but everyone else seemed to be thinking the same thing, so it ended up getting a bit messy. We ended up more or less being stuck because of all the human traffic, and at this rate, it looked like we’d probably end up missing the ritual altogether.
『Let’s get ourselves a birds eye view so we don’t have to deal with this anymore.』
Fran slipped out of the crowd and leapt atop a nearby building. She continued to traverse from rooftop to treetop to rooftop whilst skipping ahead of the float. I felt like we were kind of cheating seeing as how everyone else still had to put up with the crowd and all that, hey, might as well use what you got.
Our final destination ended up being on top of a clocktower that oversaw the square in which the ritual was to take place. I had to say, we had a pretty damned good view.
It seemed that our timing had been pretty much spot on. The float turned into the square right as we finished settling ourselves down.
It didn’t take long for them to start the ceremony. The shrine maiden began to offer her prayer in the form of a song, to which the crowd immediately responded by quieting down. Soon the square was filled with nothing but the the sounds of the priestess’ voice and the instruments that supported it. This time around, the melody was much more gentle, and seemed to have a bit of a Japanese quality to it.
Six beautiful dancers entered the spotlight as the priestess sang; their silver, shoulder-length hair swayed through the night as they wholeheartedly immersed themselves in their performances.
I couldn’t help but note how practiced and efficient their movements were. It felt as if the dance itself was something usable in battle.
Job: War Dancer
Status Level: 30/99
Evasion: Lv 6
Singing: Lv 5
Wind Magic: Lv 3
Blink: Lv 3
War Dance: Lv 7
War Dance Techniques: Lv 6
Hand to Hand Combat: Lv 3
Close Quarters Combat: Lv 4
Dancing: Lv 8
Water Magic: Lv 3
Priestess of War
Magic Steel Ring of Combat
Macaque’s Cold Resistance Wear
Pearl Wolf’s Mantle
Pearl Wolf’s Sandals
Ankle Bracelet of Beauty
It looked like the dancers all had the War Dancer job. I assumed that the job’s main skill would then be War Dance. Hmm, let’s check a few things out in a bit more detail.
War Dance: A martial art that allows one to fight while dancing.
War Dance Techniques: A dance that charms onlooking enemies and invigorates one’s allies.
Captivating Dancer: Amplifies the effects of any dance-related skills.
So apparently they can fight at dance at the same time. What’s with all these manga-like abilities that’ve been showing up lately? I mean, their weapons were literally the metal rings they were wearing on their persons. I honestly can’t say I’m not interested. That looks hella awesome.
Fran pulled out a warm glass of ginger ale as she continued to watch the ritual. She really seemed to have taken a liking to the stuff as of late.
This world’s ginger wasn’t as spicy as the ginger we had back in Japan. It was much sweeter overall, so most people just straight up ate it as a vegetable instead of using it as a spice. I’ve never actually seen anyone cook with it, and apparently, Fran had never even heard of ginger ale or ginger pork before.  
Fran’s facial expression relaxed as she leaned onto Urushi and sank into his fur whilst drinking her ginger ale. She was showing a rare, happy smile.
And so, we continued to watch. We watched the singers sing and the dancers dance; we observed the ephemeral scene play out as we overlooked it from what could what could only be described as a VIP seat.
『Looks like it’s over.』
「Nn. Was really pretty.」
That wasn’t a bad show at all. The ritual ceremony was beautiful to behold, and I felt as if it’d really drawn me in. Seeing it made me feel both relaxed and invigorated enough to return to the kitchen and keep up the ever arduous task of preparation.
 Grilled squid is a really common thing at Japanese festivals. They normally roast it over a stove, put on a bit of sauce and then serve to you on a skewer. Tends to look something like this.
 Japanese ginger ale is a bit different from its western counterpart in the sense that it tends to be closer to something homemade than the soft drink you buy from the store in the west. You also normally have it warm instead of cold. It’s good for people with stuffy noses apparently. Take this with a grain of salt though, as I’ve never actually had it myself. All this is second hand information that indirectly came from a pos slurping a cup of the stuff on the other side of the Earth.
 If you go to a Japanese restaurant, you can probably get this. It’s called shogayaki, and it’s one of Japan’s most popular pork-based dishes. I think you can make it with other meat instead, but I s2g that’s blasphemy and you deserve to be hanged for it. It’s pretty good, and basically, you pour a bunch of ginger sauce on top of a bunch of thin pork slices right when you finish frying them. It’s often served with a few greens, and pretty damn good. Oh yeah, it’s basically a rule that you have to eat this with rice. Even if you’re allergic or something, eat it with rice. It’ll be worth it.
Suggestions for the War Dancer job and the War Dance skill are more than welcome. They are apparently real terms in English, but they look weird to me. Maybe it’s just me? I’m a foreigner though, so if you guys don’t find the terms to be weird at all, then I’mma just blame that.