Part 9: Battle with Carp God
Chapter 43: Battle with Carp God
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Onionpi
They all looked around, but couldn’t find the source of the voice. Nor could they see anything out of place either.
“Wh- what was that just now…?”
“I- I don’t know either. B-but there was a voice…”
Hidden behind Haruna were Karen and Kokon, who were trembling so hard they could not stand upright.
The other tourists and priests were all yelling things like ‘It’s divine punishment, run!’ before gunning for the exit.
Haruna remained calm in the middle of all this chaos.
“Humph! Well, what business does Benten has with us?”
“The one who came from another world with great power. You, the goddess has called you from another place, is this not so?” somehow, this thing knew who Haruna’s true identity was.
“Are you here to bring happiness to this world? Or are you here to call down calamities?”
The question sounded rather ominous. Clearly, something bad would happen if Haruna says that she’s here to bring disasters. The two people behind Haruna shivered.
“I don’t know, wa.” Haruna did not answer one way or another.
“What kind of cocky answer is that, nen? Are you trying to look cool or something, ya? Just give us a straight answer, ya.”
“A cocky answer…?” Haruna sounded confused.
A cocky answer or ‘Ikiru’. If an Osaka local says this to you, it means ‘Your answer is so cool and ambiguous that I can’t understand it.’
As a merchant city who dealt with the facts and money, things like honour, samurai spirit and other ambiguous things are meaningless to Osakans. ‘If I can’t eat it, sell it or use it, it’s pointless’ type of thinking.
“Store manager! How could you say something like that! Will the goddess please forgive our rudeness!” Kokon was immediately horrified by her boss’ attitude and was quick to apologize.
“Well, if I don’t know, then I don’t know, right? It’s not like I go around thinking ‘Yoshi! Let’s make everyone happy!’ or ‘Mwahaha, let’s drop everyone into the pit of hell, wa!’ Isn’t it good enough to live normally and have some mild little fun while one passes their lives?”
Naturally, Haruna would prefer the people around her to be happy. However, she found it weird to express it so openly and went for an indirect answer instead.
“If lots of people want to join [Haru-chan Group] that means that it’s a good group that makes a lot of people happy, right? However, I also understand that with more restaurants opening up, there will be shops that might close down because they can’t compete. Because of this, there will be people with grudges against us. No matter what we do, good and bad consequences follow our choices. Because in life, both fortune and misfortune go hand to hand, ya.”
The goddess fell silent.
Perhaps they really had not expected anyone to retort back. After a long silence, the goddess said, “I understand what you are trying to say.”
“Well, it’s good that you understand. The first step towards understanding people is to talk properly, right?”
“Well, even if you do not wish to declare your intention properly, it is good that you still have the aim to lead this world into a more positive direction. Very well, I shall continue to observe.”
For the time being, it looked like disaster had been averted. Kokon sighed with relief.
Too soon, apparently, because the next thing out of Haruna’s mouth was, “I shall do my best as usual, ya. I will continue to make Okonomiyaki as well as other things. By the way, it would be nice if Miss Goddess could teach me the Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki you have on your plate. Would that be alright?”
“Wait. You, what did you just say?”
The entire atmosphere crackled with tension.
“Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, or Hiroshimayaki, whichever you like.”
“You! You bringer of disaster! I knew it! How dare you call the Okonomiyaki the Hiroshimayaki! Clearly, you’re an Osakan Demoness. A demoness who spread lies about Okonomiyaki being an Osakan product!”
The one phrase you must never say in front of a Hiroshima native is ‘Hiroshimayaki’.
“You! I knew it! You’re from Hiroshima, ya na! Also, what’s with that temper?! Do I have no right to call this dish whatever I like? Also, we’re not in Hiroshima now, are we?!” Haruna was clearly getting angry and was itching to fight.
“That is right. I, the goddess, used to hail from the land of Hiroshima. I was praised for my great virtue and enshrined within this temple as Benten-sama’s representative in this world. The artefact in my hand is also the great Okonomiyaki.”
“As expected, she must be the Carp Goddess, Benten-sama!”
“Though they call me a goddess here, I cannot spread the news of Okonomiyaki on my own. However, I can no longer hold myself back and allow the wrong Okonomiyaki to spread across this world and turn the locals into heathens!”
“Who are you to call my Okonomiyaki wrong!? Mine is the true Okonomiyaki, you know?!”
“Please stop making the goddess angry, wa!”
“Apologise to her now, please!”
The girls around her cried out, but Haruna did not seem to hear them.
A beautiful woman appeared before the statue of the goddess. Her hair was a bright fiery red, upon a closer look they noticed that instead of legs, her bottom half was a fishtail. In other words, the goddess before them was a mermaid.
“I see, it’s a mermaid because you’re a Carp Goddess. Very well, after defeating a Giant and a Dragon, it’s now time for me to defeat a Carp!”
“To dare test the patience of a goddess, just how stupid are you? As expected, I have been sent here to destroy all Demons from Another World, na.” Benten’s voice echoed through the inner chamber, making the whole room shake.
Kokon was on her knees, bowing and screaming, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
But her pleas went unheard.
“Who’s a Demon from Another World, ya? Aren’t you also from Japan too?! Very well, let’s have a battle. An Okonomiyaki showdown!”
Suddenly, Benten turned rigid, “An Okonomiyaki… showdown…?”
“Yeah, that’s right! In the fight for the honour of one’s hometown Okonomiyaki, the only way to do it is through a showdown! Let me tell you now, no adding high-end things like oysters! We’ll go basic! Crepe type vs Hot Cakes, which is better? Which is more delicious! There’s no better way to decide the winner of an Okonomiyaki than through deliciousness!”
When a student from Hiroshima encounters a student from Osaka on the street. This kind of conversation often takes place. Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki is often ridiculed as a crepe with stuff on them, while the Osaka Okonomiyaki is reviled as an over-ambitious hot cake because of the amount of batter used.
Somehow, the situation degenerated into seeing who makes the best Okonomiyaki. Favours were called, and Okonomiyaki was made and each party had to taste the Okonomiyaki made by their opponents.
“This is quite delicious, I guess,” Haruna said grudgingly.
“How dare you set up a game battle against a goddess? You sure have guts, na.”
The two seemed to have become friends after trying out each other’s food. Since both were undeniably delicious, they were unable to deny each other either.
“Okay, it’s decided. I shall put Hiroshimayaki on the menu, wa. What do you think, ya?”
“Since it could also help spread the religion of Benten as well, so I guess… So make sure to say you got the recipe from a goddess, alright?”
Kokon and Karen were busily being very thankful and deferential. Saying things like ‘Looks like they have settled their differences’ and ‘We’re saved…’
“Well, it might not be a fair exchange, but I can fulfil one wish for you,” said Benten-sama casually. “Anything you want.”
The two side characters were shocked. Unfair exchange? Unfair how? Oh, you mean getting a favour from a goddess?! Haruna could even wish into becoming a goddess herself!?
It merely took Haruna only a couple of seconds to decide, “A Tiger’s victory!”
“… you know that has nothing to do with our world or your Haru-chan Group, right?”
“I might no longer be there to support them, but I will still aid them in any way I can!”
“… after all, you are one who seeks the joys of others rather than your own. I guess this altruistic spirit of yours is why you’ve been chosen by that goddess, na.” That might not be the real reason, but Benten decided to see Haruna’s obsession in a positive light. “I shall fulfil your wish,”
“Let them win in both the league and the CS!”
And suddenly, the goddess disappeared.
After a long while, a voice asked, “Haruna, why such an odd wish…?
“I did think about wishing myself into becoming a goddess, but I thought that would involve too much troublesome work. Also, I really can’t think of anything else, naa…”
The two people with her looked conflicted. Their expressions clearly showed ‘what a waste of a wish, naaa.’
“What’s with that face, ya? I’m happy with it, you know?” Haruna was the only one happy with her decision if the sigh echoing around the chamber was anything to go by. She has achieved her target, “Alright, after Hiroshimayaki, let’s try making Hiroshima Style Noodles as well, naa.”
Later when the women were about to leave, the monks came in to hear just what had happened within the religious chamber from the witnesses.
The story that was later passed around was that God has Spoken to them (As recorded in the temple book, but the part about Haruna quarrelling with a deity was tactfully left out since it was deemed disrespectful. It would remain a secret until all witnesses died.)
Haruna’s reputation as an Adventurer grew again as someone who had ‘Spoken with God’.
By the way, Natalia who had been left outside with the tame deers did not seem to mind that she has missed out ‘all the fun’.
“Let’s go again some time,”
“I guess it would be quite peaceful if I were to go with just Natalia…”
[Gumihou: Lol, of course, it would be a ‘Cooking Battle’]
Also, the picture used for ‘Mermain’ here came from Japanese folklore. No, they are not cute or sexy… But do check out the story behind Japanese mermaids in the link below.
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