Minnalis: Raising Flags
「Here’s your reward. Oh and congratulations. You and your party have now both been promoted to rank E.」
Ten days have passed since we murdered Barkas and his companions. I was currently out on an errand on Goshujin-sama’s behalf. Specifically, he ordered me to do random requests that seemed befitting of our rank so we could have it raised.
Today’s prey were hairy monsters known as Lesser Apes. I’d just finished hunting them, and was currently on my way back home.
「So how has Kaito been doing lately? I heard that he was injured and is currently resting at an inn.」
「He’s doing well. His wounds have been healing slowly but steadily.」
I smiled as I cheerfully replied to the hideous pig of a receptionist standing in front of me in. She, being someone incapable of reading the mood, had tried batting her eyelashes at Goshujin-sama when she first saw him. Lately, however, it she seemed to have had a change of heart, as she had finally began dealing with him as she would any other client. The reason for her sudden change was because she started seeing a different male adventurer. Her affections for him were obvious, as she would always go out of her way to give him extra information. The two really did seem to suit each other, seeing as how they were both pigs.
The first thing I did after leaving the guild was shopping for ingredients. In a sense, it was a task that required even more focus than taking down monsters. What I bought was what Goshujin-sama would be putting in his mouth, so I made sure I pulled all the stops and only chose the highest quality goods I could.
「Hey Minnalis. Nice to you see again. Let me guess, you’re out on another shopping errand?」
「Yup. Could I get… this, that, and that over there? Preferably for five copper pieces off.」
Though I did splurge in the sense that I would buy more expensive goods, I still did try to cut our expenses down as much as possible. I’d always haggle, and would only buy things that were within a reasonable price range. I’d never get anything too expensive.
「Well… you did make a few purchases yesterday too, so how about a three copper discount?」
「Please and thank you.」
I pulled my purse out from within the Round Squirrel Pouch and handed the vendor the money I owed him. The vegetables I bought were pretty high quality. This town was much bigger than all the others we passed on our way to it. Here, more luxurious goods were quite a bit easier to come by. I put everything I bought within the Round Squirrel Pouch, bowed to the store’s owners, and left. I then finally got back to the inn, went upstairs, and opened the door to see Goshujin-sama quietly lying on his side atop the bed with his eyes closed.
It went without saying that Goshujin-sama wasn’t actually even the slightest bit injured. We’d only told the guild he was so he could focus his efforts on gathering the information he needed.
I looked at the adorable expression that’d remained on his face as he slept and ran my hands through his hair. I would’ve gone even further, but refrained because I knew that he’d be able to sense that I did despite not actually being here.
「I’ll go ahead and get dinner ready since it looks like you’re still not back yet.」
I swallowed my laments, turned around, and headed downstairs so I could borrow the kitchen the same way I always did.
I’d planned tonight’s dinner to be a mix of bread and soup, with every single last bit of effort and technique I had put into both.
Goshujin-sama had spent a lot of time training me in the way of the sword since we left the capital. Each time, he’d also remind me that gathering intel and coming to reasonable decisions were a pair of skills that would prove just as important in combat as actually knowing how to fight. I immediately put lesson of his to work, and started carefully but sneakily observing his reactions to the meals I cooked him so I could figure out what I needed to do to match his taste.
To be honest, figuring out what he liked and didn’t like wasn’t actually as tough as I made it sound.
Eating things he liked made him loosen his expression and speak in a bit of a higher pitch than usual. He’d both chew and move the spoon to his lips much more quickly. However, he’d also try his best not to fill his spoon up all the way, just so he could enjoy his meal for even just a little bit longer. His gestures were so adorable that they almost made me want to think they were supposed to be some sort of trap! I felt that it wasn’t fair for him to be that cute. All the little things he did made it really hard for me to stop myself from letting my feelings show on my face.
「…I really shouldn’t be letting myself get carried away by my delusions.」
I continued to think as I prepared both the vegetables and plump bird I bought off the market.
My cooking wasn’t the only thing I’d been tuning to Goshujin-sama’s preferences, I’d been doing the same with his spoon. I’d made adjustments to its overall size, depth, angle of curvature, handle width, and shape just to mention a few. I only made the slightest of adjustments each time. But changed them out quite often. The spoon Goshujin-sama was currently using was his 29th.
All 28 of the spoons that he’d used prior to his current one were sitting in my inventory as a sort of collection. My favourites were the first, which I’d many fond memories of, the 17th, which he’d used for the longest period of time, and the 28th, which he’d only just stopped using. I would’ve loved adding the bed Goshujin-sama was currently using to my collection as well, but, after some serious contemplation, I ended up deciding against it, as taking it would effectively just be me stealing it from the inn. As of late, I’ve been dealing with that urge by switching my things with Goshujin-sama’s once every two or three days, with the reason for the lack of frequency being so that he doesn’t notice.
「Wait! I just did it again! I really need to stop so I can concentrate on cooking.」
I shook my head and cleared my thoughts so I could focus on making dinner.
Goshujin-sama liked his soup more on the meatier side as far as flavours went. He also preferred having recognizable vegetables to finely chopped ones.
I placed my fully prepared vegetables in a pot, got rid of the scum they produced, and threw in some goat milk and butter. All I needed to do now was let it cook for a bit and add a touch of salt. The end result would be one of the dishes my mother taught me, but it apparently resembled something Goshujin-sama called Cream Stew. Coincidentally, Cream Stew happened to be one of his favourites.
「Okay, time to check on all the other dishes.」
I lightly toasted a few pieces of rye bread and melted couple blocks of cheese on top of them. I timed it so that I finished preparing the last piece of toast right as the soup had cooked itself to completion.
The innkeeper walked into the kitchen right as I finished and nodded as if approving of my own work.
「Wow. Today’s looks just as good as usual. I’m guessing you had to prepare your Master’s share too?」
「Yes I did.」
「That’s… one tough life you’re living. Here, it’s not much consolation, but I’ll share one of these with you.」
She gave me a reddish fruit called a Eppla. I didn’t really understand why she did, but I was still grateful anyway because it was relatively expensive.
「Huh? Uhm, thanks.」
I cut the fruit into slices and trimmed the skin in order to make the individual pieces resemble bunnies before splitting the final product into two separate portions. 
（Goshujin-sama’s going to eat these bunnies right up… Kufufu. One day, he might just eat me right up too…）
I put a flat lid on top of the pot, placed everything else I made on top of it, and brought it upstairs. I didn’t have to carry any plates or spoons up with me because I had them in my Round Squirrel Pouch.
「Hey Minnalis. I just got back.」
「Welcome back, Goshujin-sama.」
Goshujin-sama happened to get out of bed right as I entered the room.
「Dinner’s ready. We’ll be having Cream Stew today.」
「It looks pretty good, as usual.」
The meal began after I handed him a bowl of soup with extra vegetables.
I nonchalantly observed Goshujin-sama as I ate. He seemed to be enjoying everything I made; tonight’s dishes were in line with his tastes. Knowing that made me happy, but I was too busy being jealous of the spoon to feel the full extent of my happiness.
Goshujin-sama was putting on a front and acting calm, but I could tell that his mood had been a bit sour as of about two days ago. He’d gone out hunting alone, came back covered in blood, and ended up really miffed ever since. Realizing that had caused me to want to squirm because of how adorable he was.
「How’s gathering intel going? Have you still not managed to figure out what you wanted to know?」
Goshujin-sama had used the experience he gained from killing all those Red Caps in order to gain yet another new weapon, one he called the【Heart Flame Ghost Blade.】Its ability allowed him to wander around as a ghost. He could go anywhere he wanted without being noticed, but he’d lose control of his body in the meantime, which was why we’d told the guild that he was injured.
Though Goshujin-sama would often seem happy, he’d actually be feeling quite the opposite. It wasn’t something that normally showed on his face, but I could tell because I’d always been watching him really closely. The reason he was almost always feeling down was because he was conscious of the fact that he’d gotten tricked prior to his reset.
「Gathering intel’s been going quite well. Today, I even managed to get my hands on a detail that supported one of my hypotheses.」
Goshujin-sama’s face suddenly clouded over in hatred. His expression had contorted the same way it always did when he lost control of his emotions.
「It’s just that I happened to see something Yumis keeps in her mansion. Seeing it pissed me off so much that it made me want to kill her right there and then. I never actually thought that I could grow to hate her even more seeing unless she tried doing something to me, but, I have. Observing her these past two days has really let me confirm that she’s nothing but the lowest of the low.」
He began smacking the plate his soup was in with his spoon as he spoke.
「Revenge isn’t something you can justify. It’s ultimately just an act of self-satisfaction, so I obviously won’t do anything that’ll leave me feeling unsatisfied. That’s why I wasn’t planning on letting anyone else take even the smallest piece of it from me, but…」
A dark smile appeared on Goshujin-sama’s face.
「It might be interesting to see what happens if I allow other people to join in on it this time around. I haven’t really plotted out the details of exactly what’ll I’ll have happen just yet. In fact, I think it might be worth running this one without a detailed plan, and just improvising.」
「Goshujin-sama, can you stop insinuating things and just let me in on your plans? I’ve been doing the Adventurer’s Guild’s requests all by myself lately, and even managed to get us promoted today. All this adventurer stuff is starting to irritate me. I want to hurry up and do revenge things, not sit around all day.」
Goshujin-sama never ended up punishing me for being off guard, but I still wasn’t able to forgive myself for it, so I allowed him to neglect me for a bit while I leveled myself up and honed my skills to prepare myself for when we finally began to put our next major plot into action. To be honest, I was hoping Goshujin-sama would eventually realize how I felt and give me an order that took my feelings into consideration, but I ended up becoming too impatient to let that happen. I couldn’t stand not being involved in his plot any longer, and thought I’d just about disciplined myself enough already. I was worried that I might actually miss out on everything if I didn’t start acting now. I wasn’t actually planning on being more than someone that helped out around the scenes this time around given that this particular slice of revenge was one with Goshujin-sama’s name on it, but that didn’t mean I didn’t still feel like I wanted to be a part of it, especially because our desires for revenged were shared. His hatred flowed into me, but I didn’t have anywhere to release it. It almost kind of felt like my mind was being manipulated, not that I particularly minded because it was Goshujin-sama that was doing the manipulating…
I realized the direction my thoughts were heading in, so I made sure to use the pokerface skill so my emotions wouldn’t show on the surface.
「My bad. I guess it was a bit cold of me to get all worked up in a vacuum all by myself like that. Wait, you said we ranked up? That’s some pretty good timing. I guess we should probably stop doing things for the guild for now. How about we iron out a few of the fundamentals after I double check a few things tomorrow?」
「Does that mean it’s finally happening…?」
「Yeah. I’ll fill you in on all the details after we finish eating. I’d love to tell you everything right here and now, but it’d probably spoil the meal.」
Goshujin-sama tossed the last piece of bread on his plate into his mouth as he spoke.
「Man, this stuff sure does taste good. I don’t know what else I should’ve expected from a cheesy piece of bread that looked like it came straight out of Heidi.」
I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about, but, it looked like my plan to make him fall for my cooking was proceeding really smoothly.
Goshujin-sama and I were also once again going to start spending more time together, as we were finally going to start plotting out our revenge. I wanted to get to the nitty gritty, but first, I would need to finish the meal I had set out in front of me.
 Rabbit-Shaped Apple Slices.
 Reference to an old Anime based off a Swiss novel. Here’s a link to it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.