The Cherry Blossom Party — Part 1
It was a boring afternoon. I was sitting on the throne, doing literally nothing. The other residents weren’t all that better off either. They were more or less idling about in the throne room and passing the time in their own various ways.
After some consideration, I eventually arrived at an idea that would help brighten up our days.
“Screw it. We’re throwing a cherry blossom party.”
Though I had stood up abruptly and I raised my voice, the announcement’s response was underwhelming.
“It appears that our husband has once again begun speaking nonsense,” said Lefi, to the wolf girl beside her.
“Is somethin’ botherin’ you, Master? We can talk ‘bout it,” said Lyuu.
“Can we not treat me like I belong in an asylum or something? Thanks,” I grumbled. “Anyway, so as I was saying, the cherry trees I planted near the inn are in full bloom right now, so it’s basically the perfect time to throw a cherry blossom party.”
“I know not the specifics of a ‘cherry blossom party’ to begin with,” said Lefi.
Oh right, they’re not Japanese. No wonder the reaction was so lukewarm.
“A cherry blossom party is more or less a kinda picnic. You sit under a tree that has really pretty pink flowers, and eat and drink ‘till you drop.”
“I fail to see the reason for which you have refrained from referring to it as a picnic if that is what it is. What is the purpose in differentiating it?”
“You see, picnics are things you can have basically whenever. Cherry blossom parties are seasonal. They can only happen during the week or so that the cherry trees stay in bloom,” I explained. “Having the lovely pink petals flutter by while you’re chilling out with a cup of sake makes for one hell of a special mood. Though… I guess it’s a lot less seasonal as far as we’re concerned, seeing as how the dungeon doesn’t actually have seasons to begin with.”
I could very well use the dungeon’s magic in order to force the cherry trees to bloom all year round. Wait… if it isn’t spring, then why are the trees next to the inn flowering right now anyway? Pretty sure that’s not how that’s supposed to work. Weird.
“We’re having a picnic!? I can’t wait!” cheered Illuna. “I’ll be in charge of making all the rice balls!”
“I’ll cut the let-tuce!” said Shii.
“Mnnn…” Enne tilted her head. “What do I do?”
The kids started getting excited the moment they heard the word picnic. All three were raring to go.
“If you’re not sure, then you can be in charge of chopping up the broccoli,” I said. “But make sure you don’t slice up the cutting board while you’re at it, ‘kay?”
As a sword herself, Enne was an expert at drawing out a weapon’s potential, which unfortunately meant it was easy for her to dissect the cutting board. Leila had done the same in the past, but only when equipped with one of the crazy sharp adamantite knives I’d made in my spare time. Enne could very easily do the same with your average, run of the mill, dollar store fruit knife.
Fortunately, we didn’t have many cutting board-related incidents. We’d shelved the adamantite kitchen knife in favour of something I happened to get from a random demon that passed through the dungeon. It was really nicely decorated, especially for a kitchen knife, and just sharp enough to get the job done without having to worry about accidentally destroying things. Hmmm… Enne’s passive boost or whatever it is will probably make that knife a bit too sharp for the kitchen… I better swap it out for something duller before she gets started.
“If you are all excited, then I see no reason to refuse and sour your moods. I have nothing against such an event, but I find it a shame that Nell will miss the opportunity to participate,” said Lefi. “Though it cannot be helped, I find myself feeling guilty that we will be holding such an event without her.”
“It certainly is a shame she’s gotta miss it, ain’t it Master?” said Lyuu. “Can we try doin’ it a second time when she’s got a few days off?”
“I’m one step ahead of you there,” I flashed a toothy grin. “You see, I actually asked her about it, and she said that she’s totally down to drop by when it happens.”
“But is she not too busy? Was that not why she returned with such haste?”
“Yeah, she is, which is why we’re going to be picking a day that lines up with her schedule.”
She was incredibly interested, so we had come up with a plan to resolve any potential issues with her participation. The biggest concern was travel time. Fortunately, we had the Fluffrir Express. Our first class service wolf was several times faster than a horse-drawn carriage. Combining his speed with the secret shortcut provided by the Alfyro-Wicked Forest teleporter allowed her to shrink the commute down to something that would take no more than half a day. You know, Nell’s actually started getting better at being assertive and stating her opinion when she wants something. Definitely a good thing.
“Nell’s working really hard, so I want her to have lots of tasty things to eat!”
“Well said, Private Illuna. That’s why we’re going to get the mission underway ASAP. I’m going to get some meat simmering in the slow cooker right away to make sure it ends up as soft, tender, and delicious as it possibly can be.”
“Will we be making beef stew, My Lord?”
“You got it.”
“I can hardly wait to get started,” she said with a smile. “I’ve been meaning to put some of my stewing skills to good use.”
“If Leila’s passions have been ignited, then I have no doubt the result will be delectable.”
“But Master, we’re havin’ a picnic, ain’t we? Luggin’ a whole pot o’ beef stew ‘round sounds real impractical for somethin’ like that.”
“Heh. You’re only saying that ‘cause you don’t know jack. You see, Lyuu, as a demon lord, I’ve got more than my fair share of tri—”
“My Lord has recently procured a set of metal, tube-like containers capable of storing liquids and maintaining their temperatures. They’re really quite handy.”
“Uhm… Leila? I was kinda in the middle of saying something. You didn’t have to cut me off, did you…?”
“Oh my, excuse me. I didn’t mean to,” she smiled impishly, as if to say that she wasn’t sorry at all. And that it’d been fully intentional.
Is it just me, or has she been a lot less reserved lately? It kinda seems like she’s been trolling me a lot. Sometimes, she just straight out throws my opinion out the window. I mean, it’s not a bad thing, I’m happy she’s letting her personality come out, but at the same time, I’m not really sure how to feel about having to play the part of the victim…
“It has been some time since I have hunted a monster from the forest’s depths. I shall do just that for this occasion.”
“Thanks Lefi. Just make sure that whatever you end up dragging home is actually edible this time, alright?”
“T-that is not a mistake I will be making again.”
Alright, so FYI, the story here is that, last time she tried this, she done goofed. The silly lizard grabbed something too poisonous to eat. I smiled as I recalled the memory. One could certainly argue that its meat was chock full of delicious magical energy, given that it was a monster that not even two of me could’ve taken down. But it wasn’t edible, nor even something that could’ve been remotely classified as an ingredient.
“I’ll be makin’ some tamagoyaki,” said Lyuu. “I’ve been gettin’ real good at makin’ them lately! And I might even try somethin’ else too, since I’m feelin’ so confident.”
“You have? I can’t wait to try it then,” I said.
It wasn’t a lie. I really was excited to try her version of the dish. I knew that she was trying her best to learn the culinary arts from Leila.
“Just you wait, Master! I’ve been putin’ in plenty o’ work everyday to make sure I end up bein’ the kinda wife worthy of a demon lord.”
She took a flashy, idol-like pose with one hand on her hips, and the other in front. The index and middle fingers on the raised hand were propped up to form a V for victory. How adorable.
And so, with our roles decided, we began getting ready for the party to come.