A Slice of Life From an Average Day
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
It was late in the afternoon. Evening was right around the corner, but dusk had yet to rear its head. The dungeon’s older residents were gathered around a table in the throne room, cards in hand. All five individuals were engaged in a casual, laid back battle of wits, a game of president. Specifically, it was a Japanese variation that provided many of the lower valued cards with additional effects.
“So, Lefi, guess who’s stuck skipping?” I smirked as I played a five and deprived the girl next to me of one of her precious turns.
“Nraaagh!? Again!? How many fives do you possess!? And why must you insist on playing them one by one!? Is forcing me to skip my turn your sole intention!?”
“How’d you know?” I said. “I’m surprised you figured out my strategy.”
“Strategy!? That is not a strategy! You are simply harassing me!”
“Can you two stop flirting already?” admonished Nell. “I’m going to play a seven, so I get to pass one of the cards I don’t want to the next person. Here you go, Lyuu.”
“Darn… I was hopin’ I’d at least get somethin’ useful, but this one ain’t helpin’ me…” grumbled the maid. “I guess I’m playin’ a nine then.”
“I’m going to play a two to end the turn,” said Leila. “I will then follow it up with a pair of eights to immediately end the following turn, along with a joker, and then a six, my last card.”
“Shit. You just ripped that win right out of my hands,” I said, astonished.
While I didn’t exactly appreciate Leila going from five cards to none in half a second, Lefi apparently did, as she began to cackle in satisfaction.
“You have done well, Leila. You have not only made this fool’s face contort with frustration, but also provided me an opportunity to not wind up as the ‘bum!’”
“Uhm… Lefi… I think you might want to aim a little bit higher than just not last…” said Nell.
“I had a feelin’ Leila would be winnin’,” said Lyuu. “She’s real good at games like these.”
“It was all the luck of the draw,” said Leila, as she got up. “I’ll have to excuse myself. I should really get to making dinner.”
“Is it really that late already?” I looked over at the clock hanging off the dungeon’s wall. Huh… it really is getting late. I didn’t even realize.
Normally, the kids would come home right around when it was time for us to make dinner. Them running a bit later than usual had thrown me off. Man, president sure is fun, especially if everyone’s playing. It’s a shame time flies as quickly as it does, huh?
“In that case, let’s call it a day, wrap up, and get started on dinner so the kids can come home to a nice warm meal.”
“Don’t worry about it, My Lord. I should be able to get everything done by myself. The four of you can keep playing.”
“Nah, it’s fine.” I shot her down. “We can’t be having you do all the work now, can we? Come on, everyone, let’s make Leila’s life a bit easier today.”
“Mmk,” said Nell.
“Okay!” added Lyuu.
“I am not satisfied with quitting while I am behind, but I suppose it simply cannot be helped,” said Lefi.
My three wives took a moment to put the cards away, then got up and joined us in our trek over to the kitchen.
“Thank you everyone.” Leila smiled. “I’m happy you’re all so willing to help.”
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to today’s episode of Yuki’s Kitchen!” I followed up the introduction by humming the opening to a certain classic cooking show that I often remembered seeing on TV.
“This must be yet another one of his bizarre skits. I do not know what to make of it.” said Lefi. She was decked out with an apron, and her hair had even been tied up in a ponytail in order to keep it out of her eyes. It was classic housewife attire.
“It sure seems like it…” said Nell, who was similarly equipped. “What are you doing, Yuki?”
It was worth noting that Nell’s ponytail was much shorter than Lefi’s. She had only recently started growing out her hair after discovering that I liked longer cuts better than shorter ones. And this is what I love about her. She’s literally doing it just for me. If that doesn’t tingle your heartstrings, Iunno what would.
“It seems a few members of our audience happen to be unfamiliar with the concept, so we’ll begin today’s show with a quick overview,” I said. “Yuki’s Kitchen is all about using inexpensive ingredients to teach you how to make simple delicious dishes right at home!”
“Uhmm… I think it might have made more sense if you explained that before you started humming,” said Nell. “And I’m not really sure the introduction was really necessary either.”
“I concur,” agreed Lefi.
“Wow uh, could you two do me a favour and not calmly analyze everything? Yeah, thanks.” I cleared my throat, and then continued as I would have if I had never been interrupted in the first place. “Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, first thing’s first, I’d like to introduce to you my lovely assistants, Mysterious Maid X, and Mysterious Maid Y!”
A certain pair entered stage left following the not so subtle cue.
“Mysterious Maid X is here ‘n ready to cook!” said a masked wolf girl whose secret identity was totally up in the air.
“D-do I really have to wear this mask? It’s a little embarrassing…”
While Mysterious Maid X was all gung ho and enthusiastic, Mysterious Maid Y was a lot less so. Her getup had her feeling more ashamed than anything, as evidenced from the way she put a hand on her cheek and ever so slightly turned her face away.
“So that is the reason he pulled you aside prior to entering the kitchen…” said Lefi. “Leila, if you dislike his antics, then it is best to voice your discomfort.”
“He was quite insistent…”
The mask hid the maid’s expression, but it was fairly obvious that she was wearing a troubled smile. That said, I chose to ignore it in order to keep the program on schedule.
“Today’s first dish is going to require tofu and green onions. Mysterious Maid Y, please chop up the onions. Mysterious Maid X, please cheer her on.”
“Understood, My Lord,” said Maid Y.
“Sure thing, Master!” said Maid X. “I’ll make sure I’m helpin’ her as much as I c—wait, why am I just cheerin’!? Ain’t I supposed to be cookin’ too!?”
I ignored Maid X’s protests as any decent employer would while cutting the tofu into large cubes. On the other side of the kitchen counter, Mysterious Maid Y prepared the onions with a technique so well honed it bordered on mesmerizing.
“The next step is to plate each piece of tofu individually and put some of Mysterious Maid Y’s beautifully sliced onions on top,” I said. “And voila! Your chilled tofu is complete!”
Silence followed. Apparently, neither member of the audience was all that impressed.
“Oh come on, don’t just stand there! At least react or something!”
Why are you guys looking at me the same way you look at the kids when they’re playing outside!? Come on, stop it. It’s hella embarrassing.
“It is simply that… the dish does not match the grand introduction with which you began.”
Only after being prompted did Lefi respond. “But I suppose there was little else to expect, given the short list of ingredients.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? You have a problem with chilled tofu or something? It’s super tasty!”
“I cannot deny that it is, but there is still much to be said about the presentation…”
“Hmmm… tofu is tasty and simple, but isn’t it something you used the dungeon’s powers to make?” asked Nell.
“I know we’ve been eating it like it’s just any other ingredient, but doesn’t that make a rare luxury?”
Technically, yeah. But at this point, that’s not saying much. All the stuff we eat is high class. And yes, I know that goes against literally everything the show was supposed to stand for. Shush. It’s not my fault we have access to all the high class ingredients we could ever ask for.
“Our second dish tonight will b—actually fuck it. I’m getting sick of this. Let’s just put an end to it and do things the normal way.”
“You are nothing if not whimsical…” said Lefi.
“Does that mean we ain’t gotta be Mysterious Maids anymore?” asked Lyuu.
“Yeah, at least not for now. I’ll probably ask you guys to do it again when we’re playing with the kids,”
“Okay! I’ll be doin’ my best to act the part of a maid that fights for peace ‘n justice ‘n stuff when the time comes!”
“Can I take this mask off now…” asked Leila hesitantly.
“Yeah, feel free. Alright girls, Yuki’s Kitchen is over! Now that Mysterious Maid Y’s taken her mask off and revealed her true identity, we’ll be renaming the show Leila’s Kitchen instead!”
I once again hummed the theme song to indicate that a brand new show was starting.
“What exactly is the purpose of that odd tune?” asked Lefi.
“I’m not sure… But it’s really catchy,” said Nell.
Yeah, it really is. I’ve had it stuck in my head all day.
The door slammed open as three little girls marched into the throne room.
“We’re home!” Illuna was the first to announce her presence, with the other two following suit shortly after.
“Welcome home, girls. Dinner will be ready as soon as you wash your hands,” said Leila.
“Be sure to extract any of the dirt that has been caught under your nails,” added Lefi.
“Okay!” said Illuna and Shii.
“…Mmmk,” said Enne.
As Leila had mentioned, dinner was just about ready. We were already in the middle of setting the table, and finished right as the girls made it to the table.
“Wow! It’s really fancy today. Are we celebrating something?” asked a wide eyed vampire.
“Nope. There just happens to be a bit more than usual ‘cause everyone helped out,” I said.
“Oh, okay! Seeing so much food makes me super happy! It’s like we’re throwing a party!”
“I was thinkin’ the same thing,” said Lyuu. “We don’t normally make all this food unless it’s a special occasion or somethin’. That’s why we gotta be real grateful to all the creatures that turned into our food, to all the luck we had gettin’ them, and to the people who made it.”
“Yup yup! I’m super grateful just looking at it all!”
“Me too! I’m always great full!” said Shii.
“…Mhm. Tasty things are important,” agreed Enne. “Gratitude is natural.”
“Say all you want, Lyuu, but the only reason we ended up with so much is because you literally dumped a pile of salt in the pot, and we had to pad it with more ingredients in order to make it taste right.”
“I-It wasn’t just me! Lefi was makin’ the same mistake too!”
“T-There was no need for you to inform them of that, Lyuu!” stuttered the dragon. “I demand that you cease your slander immediately!”
“Fortunately, we happen to have a fridge, so we can just chuck the leftovers in some tupperware and save them for another time,” I laughed.
“We’ll most likely be having them for breakfast tomorrow morning,” agreed Leila.
We each took our places at the table as we chatted. And enjoyed a nice, evening meal with the family.