Black Cat Chapter 21: Winter Fun

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“Hello, Mr. Zeol.” (Nyango)


“Hello, Nyango. I see you’ve got a red-winged duck. Did you get it?” (Zeol)


“I’m always grateful for your help, so here’s a little something for you.” (Nyango)


“Well, that’s good. I made noodles this morning. After training, I’ll make soup with it.” (Zeol)


“Sounds good.” (Nyango)



 After the new year, Mr. Zeol’s training continued.


 During the first month of the year, I have not yet been able to land a strike, let alone move a single step.



“Nyango, the snow is making it hard for you to stand on your feet, so I’ll only lift the ban on magic to make a foothold for you.” (Zeol)


“Thank you. I don’t know, you might regret it.” (Nyango)


“Oh, interesting, let me have a bit of fun with you.” (Zeol)



 In standing with Mr. Zeol, the use of both attribute magic and body enhancement magic is banned.


 It is simply to improve my staff arts and my base physical strength, but when I am usually swinging alone, I can use the void attribute magic in combination with my attacks.



 This one is for improving the amount of magic power and for training for actual combat.


 During last year’s chaos, I found out that even I could defeat Kobolds in a one-on-one situation if I could sneak up on them.



 I’d like to try eating the heart of a monster that is said to improve magical power, so I’d like to eventually take down a goblin or a kobold.


 Of course, it is not easy to defeat them, and even if I do, I have to finish dismantling them before my friends arrive.



 For that reason, I am training myself to make full use of the means available to me.


 Today, since I was given permission to use them, albeit only for [Steps], I want to surprise Mr. Zeol at least a little.



“Let’s go……” (Nyango)



 As usual, I use the spring of my knees to step straight and thrust.


 Mr. Zeol also casually parried my staff as usual.



 What is different from usual is from this point on, using the momentum of the bounced staff, I jumped up high and swing the staff in a big swing.



“Fool… what the hell!” (Zeol)



 Mr. Zeol’s expression was colored with astonishment the next moment as he launched a random thrust at my belly while I was in mid-air.


 I used [Step] to fly to the right to avoid the thrust and swung the staff down at Mr. Zeol’s shoulder.



 With a clang and a dry sound, my strike was parried, but Mr. Zeol moved his left leg back and turned to face me.



“This boy… I didn’t expect you to be this tricky.” (Zeol)


“Finally, finally, I got you to move just half a step.” (Nyango)


“Interesting, you’re very interesting Nyango!” (Zeol)



 The first time I saw Mr. Zeol hold up his staff, smiling to show off his fangs.


 To be frank, it feels like something like a fighting spirit is blowing out of his body, and if it was me a year ago, I would pee myself.



“Come! Nyango!” (Zeol)


“Uuuuuuuuuuuu!” (Nyango)



 I had planned to fully demonstrate the three-dimensional maneuvering I had been using when training alone, but it didn’t work at all with Mr. Zeol, who had begun to use his footwork.


 I could freely create footholds in the air, but if I receive a sweep under my feet, the footholds I created, I will have no choice but to fly up or backward.



 If I jumped backward, I would be crushed by a sharp step, and if I flew upward, my attack would not be able to reach him due to the difference in reach.


 In the end, I was knocked down, pushed away, and rolled around in the mud without landing a single blow.



“Okay, that’s enough for today. Go to the well and wash the mud off, then go inside and get the fire going.” (Zeol)


“Yes, thank you very much.” (Nyango)



 I knew I was going to get covered in mud, so I was wearing only shorts while we were sparring.


 While my body was heated, I bathed in the water to remove the mud and rinse my shorts.



 After draining the water from my body and wringing out my tail, I went into a separate room, and a large hand towel flew to me.



“Wipe your body well so you don’t catch a cold.” (Zeol)


“I will.” (Nyango)



 I used the hand towel to wring out the water and then used the wrung-out hand towel to wipe my fur.


 While I was bathing, Mr. Zeol was processing the red-winged ducks and beginning to make soup.



 In a large pot, he puts the neck and bones of the duck into the pot and puts it on the fire.


 The ducks at this time of year are very tasty because they store nutrients in their fat, but they are very wary and are difficult to catch unless you are a good archer.



“It will take a little while for the broth to be ready, while waiting, let’s have a cup of tea.” (Zeol)


“Thank you. Ah, this smells good.” (Nyango)


“I know…” (Zeol)



 The first time Mr. Zeol served me tea, it tasted like bitter medicine in my mouth, but today the tea smells good, thanks to the teachings of Grandma Carisa, the apothecary.



“Is there ginger in it too?” (Nyango)


“Hou, you noticed it. That’s right, it warms the body.” (Zeol)



 The ginger is not too strong that it detracts from the flavor of the tea, and when I take a sip, the aroma only slightly wafts in my nose.



“Even so, I didn’t expect you to master void attribute magic to this level.” (Zeol)


“But it was only the first time that I surprised you, and after that, I was left helpless.” (Nyango)


“Gahahahaha, of course. Although I’m immobile, I’m the one who’s holding the staff and waving it.” (Zeol)


“Well, even just having Mr. Zeol take a step was a step forward today.” (Nyango)


“Originally, I plan to improve your skills only with staff arts, but in your case, Nyango, I will allow you to use that foothold magic in the future as well.”



 For Mr. Zeol, teaching me staff arts is a way to relieve the boredom of living in the countryside, but I have no complaints since I am being taught by a skilled former adventurer.



“I see you’ve gotten used to being blind in one eye.” (Zeol)


“Eh……?” (Nyango)


“What, you haven’t noticed? During the fight, you were reacting to the attack from the left side.” (Zeol)


“Oh…” (Nyango)



 I had not noticed it at all.


 Now that you mention I had not noticed that since the beginning of making a step, Mr. Zeol had increased the range of his attacks little by little.



“You are still far from being in the master class, but you had started to cover your blind spot naturally by swinging your face a little to the left.” (Zeol)


“I was always so absorbed in myself that I didn’t realize it.” (Nyango)


“If you continue training as you are now, you should be able to handle most one-on-one fights. The problem is when you have to deal with many enemies by yourself.” (Zeol)


“Yes, since the strength of [Shield] I demonstrated before has increased, I think I will fight while covering my blind spots with [Shield].” (Nyango)


“I see. Well, even if you had both eyes, your blind spots would not be completely eliminated. So, even if you are an ordinary adventurer, when facing a large number of enemies, you should fight together with companions who can watch your back.” (Zeol)



 Indeed, even if I have both eyes, I cannot see from behind my head.


 It would also be difficult to cover blind spots with magic if you have the common magic attribute.


 In that light, it seems that my ability to use the void attribute gives me a big advantage over adventurers with common attributes.



“Well, the soup should be boiling by now, so let’s boil the noodles.” (Zeol)



 Mr. Zeol made a noodle dish similar to “Houtou” in Japan. [T/N: Stewed flat udon noodle soup.]


 The soup is boiled in a separate pot, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, green onions, and sliced red-wing duck meat are added.



 The starch from the noodles thickens the soup.


 The seasoning is simply salt and ginger.



“Well, it’s done. Let’s eat it before it gets cold.” (Zeol)



 The way to eat is to put a large pot on the table and eat with everyone.



“It’s hot, it’s hot, but it’s yummeow.” (Nyango)


“That’s right, that’s right… it’s hot!” (Zeol)


“Yummeow, it’s hot but yummeow, it’s so hot!” (Nyango)



 The food was hot and fresh, but Zeol, a tigerkin, and I, a catkin, both have cat tongues, so we couldn’t eat it without huffing and puffing.


 The taste was unquestionably delicious, but it took me a long time to finish it.




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