Sighing as many ideas of combinations of taste, texture and whether it would actually be edible floated around my head, I felt a wet hand pat my elbow. Turning around, Sazzys concerned face popped into view.
[Sometimes going for a walk helps to clear the head. As long as you
e back before lunch, exploring the island might be a good change of pace from always thinking about recipes.]
Almost forcefully, Sazzy chased me off the counter chair and towards the door facing the beach.
[Come back before the clock reaches 13. The clock is on the top left when you pull up your personal terminal.]
After being forced out of the house, Sazzy gave me a big wave before she retreated back into her room.
I felt a small smile creep up my face as I put on my shoes. It would be better to walk along the beach front towards the left, since right was where I first headed on my first clam hunt in this world.
I walked past the Rain Powder Tree and the various plants we harvested our ingredients from. Further behind them, I observed the types of trees listening to the crash of the ocean waves. Occasionally, there would be cries from the local birds that roosted on the tops of trees. Putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes I would spot several crab like animals that would dig and hide in their holes the moment I got remotely close to them. There was one animal that didn run away from me though.
When I had set my eyes on it, I was immediately reminded of the piglets grown in pig farms in my previous world. With some black patches on its pink skin, it ran and hopped among the short bushes below the trees. Its small hooves stopped from time to time to dig at the tree roots, unearthing the root barks where it would then chew and nibble at them.
At first, it didn sense my presence. Caught up in playing in the dirt, I just stood still as I observed it. Then, as it spun around in delight, it met my eyes by accident. However, instead of running away like the other animals I had met, it just froze and stood still.
Just like that, for what seemed like a really long time, we both just stared at each other. Until finally, it broke the silence and opened its mouth to release a unsurprisingly not-pig-like honk. Like an irritated driver on a congested road, it honked non-stop until it ran out of breath. Then, panting badly, it sat down on the ground with a dramatic plop and continued to stare at me.
In this short silence, its ears suddenly straightened and it broke the stare again to glance at some bushes on our right. After a short while, those rustling sounds started to come from those bushes, and a tiny head with light brown tinted black hair emerged.
”Kelp! You called? ”
As she shouted, her short body pushed through the bushes. With cute brown clothes, she had a small pouch attached to her waist and several marks on her face.
Then, seeing that she and the pig-like animal was not alone, she turned her head to face me.
”Hello there! Im Jenny! Thats Kelp! Are you new around here? ”
Bending my knees to reach her height, I twisted my body to point towards our house.
”Hello! Me and a friend just moved in to that house near the beach. Nice to meet you, Im Alex! ”
Jenny tilted her body, attempting to see what house I was pointing towards. And when she failed, she casually walked over to the animal she called Kelp and grabbed one of its ears. She then peaked at me, before dragging Kelp in the direction of where she came.
”Its almost time for breakfast. Do you want to join me and my family? You look tall enough to reach some red berries, so if you can get some for me, my mom can make some red mudcakes for breakfast. ”
Following her, and a squealing Kelp, we walked deeper into the forest until we reached a tree with bark the shade of 99% gold bars. Stopping underneath that tree, she released Kelps ears and pointed to the bright red fruits on its branches.
”Thats red berries. Here, gloves for you. Be careful, they
e poisonous and cause a very red rash if you touch them carelessly. ”
Handing me a pair of gloves, Jenny dragged Kelp over to somewhere further away. Then, reaching underneath the collar that was hidden beneath the its neck folds, she pulled something out and unfolded it. It was a bag.
Putting on my gloves and making sure to fasten the buttons on the wrist, I easily plucked the red fruits from their green cup shaped petals. Then feeling a rough texture near my other hand, I looked down and saw Jenny handing me the bag.
”How many of these red fruits do you want? ”
I asked as I placed the four I had just plucked into the bag.
”About twenty should do. Make sure not to take the purple ones, those are too ripe and its hard to remove the poison from them. ”
Listening to the small expert, I plucked the remaining ones we needed and let Jenny take the bag from me. Taking off the gloves, I was about to hand them over to her, but she just raised the bag and told me to dump them in there.
Afterwards, we continued our peaceful walk through the forest. Occasionally, Jenny would point out edible ingredients, or ingredients that could be made edible with certain techniques. And as she talked, I would quickly note these useful points of knowledge down into my personal terminal.
Finally, we exited the thick forest into a space right next to the beach. It seemed to be a decently sized village, with mud houses build haphazardly but decently spaced from each other. Walking up to a particular mud house with flowers doodled on its walls, Jenny shouted as she entered with her shoes.
”Mom! Im back! And I brought a guest! She picked some red berries! ”
As she ran through the house, a slightly taller women wearing an apron and holding a ladle shook her head as she shouted back.
”You should have told me sooner! Also I bet you promised that I would cook them something if they helped you get some red berries! We already had red mudcakes yesterday and you still want more! You hungry little beast! ”
The woman turned towards me.
”Im sorry Jenny dragged you into making deserts for herself. Come! Come sit down and make yourself comfortable. Ill create an extra set of breakfast for you. ”
Saying that, without waiting for my response, the woman went back into her kitchen and left me alone in the living room. Correction, alone with Kelp in the living room.
The pig-creature honked a couple times, before it walked up to a small table and chair and laid down comfortably under the table.
Thankfully, I was not left alone for long as Jenny came running back with her clothes changed and her hands wet. She gestured at me to come over to the table.
”Sit! Sit! Let me tell you, my mom makes the most delicious red mudcakes in the village! Later, after we eat, shell bring us down to the river to get some mud so we can start cooking! After that, we can play around for a bit and then theyll be done! ”
She cheerfully sat down, and as I followed her action, I saw her mother come back with a plate of steaming clams.
”Come, you two! Eat up! ”
Placing the plates in front of us, she wiped her hands on her apron.
”Its a long standing family recipe, so you don have to worry about the taste. ”
She smiled at me as she herself sat down. Jenny beside me was already stuffing the clams into her mouth.
Since she said it was a long standing family recipe, I could feel my expectations rise for this dish. I wonder how it would taste?
Swallowing a sudden burst of saliva at the fragrant smell, I scoped one clam meat up and bit into it.
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