Chapter 130: Food Wars
Translated by Zzonkedd
Edited by Gumihou
The treasure hunt at the Labyrinth went quite well. In that, we found five more chests in two days. However, while the items inside would have satisfied most hunters, we did not find any large magic stones that we were aiming for.
Over 60% of the map was marked in red, so we can only bet our hopes on the remaining 40%.
“Director, looks like we’ll have to explore the wider paths now.”
“Hmm, even with the increased firepower, it could still get dangerous if we are outnumbered.”
Hyurumi and Director Bear were exchanging opinions over the map.
Right now, we all know that the most reliable method would be to patiently explore the Labyrinth on the safer paths and wait for a magic stone to appear. However, I don’t want to waste too much time on this.
Everyone feels the same way. Kikoyu and the others want to negotiate with the King of the Netherworld, and we want to reunite with our friends and somehow normalize the various floors.
At the very least, if we could only know the situations of our friends, we could proceed more calmly.
“The places we’ve postponed are full of traps and have a high mortality rate. We haven’t touched them we don’t have enough information on those places,” grunted Director Bear.
“Even if we do explore those places, it would take time. What do you want to do, Director?” asked Hyurumi. “Even if we play it safe, we may not be able to get our hands on the correct magic stones.”
Director Bear looked deeply troubled. If we play it safe, how many more days would it take? It probably would take over a week, a month? Or… several months?
“If we’re going to face unknown danger, it would probably be better to take our chances with a Lava Demon.”
“A Lava Demon, huh. In that case, allow me to give the explanation to everyone. Please correct me if I am wrong in any of the details, Director.”
Hyurumi will be giving us the rundown on Lava Demons? Nice, I must not miss this. Kuroyata and Botan settled down next to me, both fully alert.
“The most troublesome thing about Lava Demons is their heat. They are so hot that even if you throw water at them, it will instantly evaporate into steam. By instantly, I mean the water evaporate so quickly that it basically explodes and splatter lava around, causing its surroundings to catch fire.”
I remember seeing a video stream of someone throwing a plastic bottle of water into a volcano and it literally exploded into a fire splatter. If I were to use water on that Lava Demon, I had better use a whole lot or not at all.
“Striking it with bare hands would only hurt you. It’s better to attack it with blunt force weapons like maces or hammers.”
Ugh, Director Bear’s claws would probably melt on impact.
“We don’t have anyone who could use offensive magic. If we’re doing this, it’s best to just douse the creature with a lot of water to cool it off quickly and beat up the solidified parts,” Hyurumi continued.
Kikoyu raised her hand and said, “It’s a good idea to cool it down, but  where do we get so much water? And I shall tell you now, my cooling power is very limited.”
Hyurumi smiled, “There are a few ways, but we shall be depending on Hakkon for most of it.”
Since all eyes were on me, I transformed into the much smaller <Ice Vending Machine> and with a little clatter, expelled some ice.
Kikoyu picked up a piece of ice that had rolled to her feet. She was staring at me with wide, shocked eyes.
“This is ice, isn’t it?! Hakkon can make ice too?”
My comrades’ reactions to my transformation had been pretty mild lately, so it felt good to see this kind of reaction now.
If I had to fight, I could transform into a <Giant Ice Vending Machine> and dump out all my ice on the creature at once. If I only maintain the transformation for a little while, it would also save on the points spent.
“Honestly, the surest way to destroy the Lava Demon would be for Hakkon to transform into something huge and crush it from above. The <Barrier> could block the heat, right?”
So, what’s the plan? If Ramis was here, she would probably try and stop me, but Hyurumi is more analytical and detached. Would she assess my ability objectively and send me out to attack?
“Even with that plan, we have to find a way to stop it from moving around too much. It would be great if the Lava Demon could conveniently fall into a pit trap for example.”
“If we decide to fight a Lava Demon, shall I ask Kuroyata to track one down?”
“Oh, would it be alright? We don’t need him to fight, but if we could locate one quickly and know what the traps and walls around it are like, it would be easier to plan our strategy.”
It must be great to be able to fly so freely in the air. While I could float in the air with balloons as a <Cardboard Vending Machine>, the difference in terms of agility is vast.
I shall leave the reconnaissance to you.
“Since we have decided to take on a Lava Demon, let’s call off the hunt and prepare to camp.”
The sun was setting anyway, with the sky getting dark it was just the right time to set up camp. Kuroyata flew in the dark of the night, his black feathers assimilating with the darkness, making it almost impossible for the enemies to detect him.
Hyurumi had casually asked Kikoyu whether it was alright for birds to fly at night, and her response was, “The third eye could see in the dark.”
Wow, I think a lot of my male comrades would be intrigued by the abilities of this ‘Third eye’.
“Who will be in charge of tonight’s dinner?” Hyurumi’s casual question changed the atmosphere around in an instant.
That’s right, we have now been transported to a battlefield. A battlefield to compete and see which of us provides the better food. Vending Machine Products vs vegetables harvested from the fragment of Mister Field.
“Yesterday, Hakkon was in charge, so today is my turn.”
“No, no, do take it easy today. Not to mention, fresh vegetables are good for your skin and for preventing illness.”
She was challenging me with a smile on her face.
We have been trading alternate meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. Kikoyu appeared to prefer vegetables harvested from the Field and wanted to be in charge of meals. I think, rather than being dissatisfied with vending machine food, I think it is her way of connecting with the Mister Field fragment. It was also a sign of great trust.
As for myself, I take pride in vending machine products. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people enjoy the goods that came out of a vending machine.
Also, after learning about the Field that seems to share similar circumstances as myself, a bit of a competition had sprung up. I don’t want to lose to this rival.
“I’m sure everyone wants some delicious vegetables too, right?”
Kuuhh— so, you decided to go on the offence first, eh? Baiting Director Bear and Hyurumi with your vegetables. I can tell from their expressions that they are not entirely indifferent to the taste of the Field’s vegetables.
Hyurumi was the first to react to my words. I know that she has a weakness for sweet things. Each time she overused her brain, she would start craving sweets. I think she had a hidden sweet tooth.
On the other hand, Director Bear’s reaction was a little dull. He appeared indifferent to the idea of desserts.
Fuh, here is where I shall demonstrate the difference that experience brings us. I already have a complete map of Director Bear’s preferences. He is one of my regular customers who made repeated purchases after all.
I quickly transformed into <Auto-vending Convenience Store>.
The bottom two rows of the products were lined with colourful pictures of various desserts aimed at female customers, but my upper two rows contained my secret weapon!
Salmon Onigiri, Red Salmon Onigiri, Mayonnaise Salmon Onigiri, various salmon sushi and finally, a Makunouchi bento with Grilled Salmon. When it comes to bears, it must be salmon! Could he withstand this sudden wave of salmon attack?!
“Th-this is-! F-fumu, Hakkon’s products are quite incredible today.”
“Th-that’s right, I have no objections either.”
I have hooked Director Bear and Hyurumi’s honest opinions, look at how they just stared at the rows of items with shining eyes.
“That is too unfair, Hakkon-san! Don’t lure them in with fancy-looking things.”
“Please come again”
She puffed up her cheeks and turned away.
Well, well, she looked sulky, but I managed to catch the little smile lingering at the corners of her eyes.
Kikoyu seems to enjoy the exchange between us. Even as she continued to complain, she properly savoured the food that I prepared.
Still, since I dealt her an underhanded move, as an apology I gave her an extra piece of dessert. We have these little spats at every meal, and Kikoyu is rapidly becoming accustomed to it and by default, our party. As a newcomer, she was a bit reserved but it looked like everything would be fine now.
That doesn’t mean I intend to easily give up my meal prep responsibilities! If I don’t provide good meals, my value as a vending machine will decrease significantly,
Whether it’s against girls or children, I refuse to lose!
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The next morning.
After indulging in the euphoria of victory yesterday, I decided to get some rare sleep.
Kikoyu and the others took care of the night watch from late night until early morning, so I woke up feeling refreshed when a steaming pot was placed in front of me with a thud.
“Good morning, Hakkon-san. I have prepared a lovely vegetable-packed soup, so there’s no need for you to prepare breakfast.”
I’ve been had! Was this her plan from the beginning when she decided to switch night watch duty? Kuuh— I refuse to give up my lunch rights!
Even as I was determined, Hyurumi stumbled out of the cart with sleepy eyes. She sat in front of the pot of soup, still trying to blink sleep from her eyes.
“A vegetable soup, huh? Well, I’m pretty happy with the dishes we’ve been having, but how about you two divide your contribution by task instead of meals? Like, splitting who gets to make soups, sides and main dishes?”
At these unexpected words, I locked eyes with Kikoyu… or, well, as much as I could since I don’t actually have eyes.
From that day onwards we split the task into mains and sides.
What happened next was… we started arguing about whether to serve desserts or fruits after dinner.
[Gumihou: Western-style desserts are called called ‘sweets’ in Japanese, candy/sweets are called ‘candy’]
 Aside from the fact that she could use ‘cooling magic’, I don’t know why she is questioning the ‘how’ of the cooling process and not the ‘lots of water’ part.
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