Chapter 439: Warming with Simple Chicken Hotpot
Author: Eguchi Ren
Translated by Zzonkedd
Edited by Gumihou
Gumihou: Mizutaki or ‘Water Boil’ simply means a chicken hotpot made with hot water or a simple dashi-based soup. So, ‘Simple Chicken Hotpot’ has the closest meaning.
Also, Mukouda’s reaction after 3 days of running through snow is rather lukewarm (heh). Embellished it a little .
““Oi, we’re stopping here today.””
““I-is that so? Well, it is getting dark…””
Fer had just stopped running,  but I hardly noticed it, having stuck myself onto his back through most of the three days we had been pushing through the snowy plains. Dora-chan was also oddly quiet,  it was strange not to hear his excited quip now and then.
I slid off Fer’s back and stretched slowly, arching my back and reaching for the sky…
Sui imitated me, stretching out her blob shape into a weirdly elongated blob with two tentacles reaching for the sky. She has no bones or muscles, so she was just imitating me for the heck of it.
Ah, my Sui-tan is so cute~
I chuckled at my lovely Sui’s action.  There was a grunt from my bag and I patted it comfortingly.
The cold had sent Dora-chan into something like hibernation. He nearly fell off my back, so with Sui’s permission, I tucked Dora-chan into the leather bag lined with an extra fleece jacket for additional insulation.
It was a little cramped, but I think Dora-chan appreciate the warmth more.
“Right,”  I said, looking around the featureless whiteness. It was cold, but still bearable, thanks to Fer’s barrier. “Let’s set up camp.  Fer, you stay there and keep Dora-chan warm, okay?”
First, I laid out a blue tarpaulin on the ground. [8a] This was to prevent moisture from soaking into our skin and fur. On the tarpaulin, I spread out a layer of furs Dropped by Snow Giant Horned Rabbits we encountered on our way here.
They were quite common on this floor, kind of a nuisance, really. We were doing our best to move as fast as we could, but these snow-white monsters the size of large dogs kept jumping in our way.
These B rank monsters blended into the snowy background very well and favoured sneak attacks. Not that they were much of a challenge for Fer or Sui. In short, this place was basically Snow Giant Horned Rabbit paradise.
Even though we did not really try, we managed to collect a lot of fur, horn, meat and even a few magic stones. The Drops were mostly fur though, which I’m not complaining about since they make our camp nice and warm. On top of that, the furs were rather water resistant, not that it stopped me from putting down an extra layer of protection against the damp ground.
To make extra sure they were completely clean of dust or parasites, I even had Sui clean them. Now I have a layer of fluffy on the floor and when topped with warm futons, this place was basically paradise in this -20 place.
It was only after the camp was properly set up that I gently shook Dora-chan awake.
“Dora-chan, I got your bed ready.”
“”Aahh…”” Dora-chan blinked slowly at me, before slithering out of the bag and curling up under the futon.
“We have to get out of this place, if only for Dora-chan’s sake,” I said solemnly.
“We should be out by tomorrow or two days from now. However…”
“Considering the previous dungeon floor patterns, we might encounter an even wider snowscape world on the 46th Floor.” I finished.
“Well, we can only hope for the best,”
“Yes, there’s nothing we can do about that. Rather, what are we eating today?”
“Hmm, how about another hotpot? That’s the best option for this kind of place…”
In fact, we had been having hotpots every single day. [5a]
“Let’s have Turtle Hotpot.”
“Again? We just had that yesterday?”
“Well, I can’t refute that, but we don’t have a lot of turtle meat left…”
“I don’t care so long as it’s meat. Lots of meat.”
“Yeah, yeah,” what do I expect from this group of meat, meat, meat party?
I still have to decide what to make. It has to be a hotpot of some kind, hmm….
“Hmm… should I try using this?”
The meat I took out was from this floor too. A chicken-like monster called a Snow Cuckoo. It stood as tall as my waist and was another pure white creature.
“The white bird? Didn’t you say that you’ll make yakitori with it?”
“Yes, but that’s for when we’re back on the surface. Since we have plenty of this bird meat, I thought I’d make it into the hotpot.”
“Muu, even so, it will reduce the amount of yakitori… Sui, let’s get more of these white birds tomorrow”
“”Okay~~ Sui will destroy lots of white birds tomorrow~””
Aahhh… I feel sorry for the Snow Cuckoo already.
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Since today’s hotpot would be Mizutaki otherwise known as Simple Chicken Hotpot. The preparations were pretty simple. Just a lot of cutting and prep work.
 Well, it’s the same for most of my hotpot dishes. Thanks to all the available hotpot stocks and broth from [Net Super], all I have to do is cut things up and then simmer them with store-bought stock.
 Well, there were times when certain ingredients needed a little extra prep, like the softshell turtle and bear meat. Otherwise, it was mostly just cut, arrange and simmer.
For this Simple Chicken Hotpot, I decided to go with the simplest of stock, just cold water and a piece of kelp sitting in a pot for 30 minutes while I prepare the meat and vegetables.
First, cut the skinned Snow Cuckoo thighs into largish bite-size pieces. Roughly chop up the Chinese Cabbage and trim the mizuna into 5cm pieces. Next, slice the green onions with a slanting cut. The tofu should be cut into 3cm cubes and stems of shimeji and enoki mushrooms taken away and break into appropriate pieces.
Once the prep work was done, I added some chicken stock granules into the pot with the cold water and kelp and started the fire.
 To make Hakata Style Mizutaki, I would have to boil chicken bones and feet for at least a couple of hours for a more authentic experience… never mind, this ought to be good enough. Chicken stock adds some richness to the soup. For a home-style hotpot, there’s no need to break the bank or do anything too complicated.
I took out the kelp before the water started boiling and plopped in the Snow Cuckoo meat. [10a] After skimming off the scum, I added in the vegetables and let it come to a simmer one last time before turning off the fire.
“Right, time to eat~”
As though it was a signal, Fer, Sui and Dora-chan shot out from their futon to gather around me.
“This should be eaten with a little ponzu sauce, here, let me…”
I ladled the meat and vegetables out, pouring a little of the ponzu sauce over everything before handing out the bowls.
“There we go,”
Everyone immediately started chowing down.
“Hot, hot, huuhhh, hot.”
““Ach, hot, yummy, fuuhhh, hot.””
“Fufu, hotpot is the best on days like this~” I remarked as I nibbled on a piece of Chinese Cabbage.
“Seconds, meat only this time.”
“”Seconds, I’m fine with lots of vegetables. They are juicy and warming.””
“”Sui wants seconds too~~ Want lots of meat~””
“Yes, yes,” I served up their seconds. While they were occupied with their food, I took out a little bottle from my [Item Box].
“Ponzu is great, but a little yuzu pepper goes a long way~”
I picked up a piece of Snow Cuckoo meat and blew on it a little before sprinkling on the yuzu pepper. Once it cooled down enough, I took a little bite, “Woohoo, yum~”
“Oi, what’s that thing? Gimme some.”
Ah, expected of Fer’s sharp nose. I shook the bottle of yuzu pepper over his Mizutaki.
“More? It’s kind of spicy you know?”
“I want more.”
Fine, whatever, your funeral.
The fine sprinkling turned into something closer to carpet bombing. I could hardly see the meat and vegetables under the layer of yuzu pepper…
In fact, [5c] I had to get a few more bottles of yuzu from [Net Super]
Naturally, Dora-chan and Sui wanted to try the yuzu pepper as well. I only gave Sui the barest sprinkling since she could not handle spicy food, but Dora-chan had a normal amount like a proper person. Well, dragon… being.
We close the Mizutaki hotpot with rice. I waffled between udon and rice for a little, but ultimately went with rice instead. It turned out to be a good decision.
The rice soup made with the Mizutaki broth was exquisitely delicious and warmed us to our souls.
After dinner, we all huddled together and sleep.
[Gumihou: I have to wonder, where and how they go potty in such weather? The bare butt would be super cold for one thing.]
 Structural Change: Combine 2 paragraphs
 Structural Change: Combine 3 paragraphs
 Structural Change: Combine paragraph & dialogue
 Structural Change: Change passive sentence to dialogue
 Delete Repetitive or Pointless Information… starting to delete pointless scenes now
[a] Meandering talk about turtle hotpot
[b] Repetitive ‘hot, yum, hot’
[c] Delete ‘secretly buying yuzu pepper’. Because, it serves no purpose? Like going to a KFC and ‘secretly’ adding ketchup to your fried chicken?
 Additional Information for Aesthetic Purpose
 Add Dialogue Tag
 Creative License – Put in more realistic reaction to days of being in the snow.
[a] Setting up camp details
 Extra detail about Mukouda’s hotpot practices. The ‘this Mizutaki hotpot is easy’ remark is… a bit odd? Since the majority of his hotpot dishes are pretty much the same thanks to pre-packaged broth.
 Weird trivia re Hakata-style Mizutaki, but let’s try to help it make sense.
[a] Mukouda did not mention adding the vegetables. It would be a waste to just let them sit outside and rot.
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