Side Story, Fighting with spicy food.
(Author’s note: Time period is from “A certain Summer day” and a little further)
“Dale, what is, that?”
Yes, when Latina was pointing at the plate Dale was eating from and questioning him, it was still during her first Summer since coming to Kroix.
“Hmmmm… You’re not ready for this yet, Latina….
With a tilt of her head, Latina was looking curious.
“That’s ‘cause it’s spicy….”
“Red things are yummy.”
Latina climbs up onto the seat next to Dale, looks up at him then says with a smile. Written in that expression of hers read a triumphant look, as if saying 『I know all about it』.
Even such a boastful looking Latina was cute.
“Well, it’s different from the red of a tomato so….”
Dale replied, thinking back to the other day when Latina was happily eating pasta with tomato sauce, and even getting some sauce get onto her cheeks.
“Latina wants to try some. Can’t I?”
“It might be…. Too spicy for you…. I don’t think you can handle it yet. So….”
Latina asks again, having a question mark on her face as if asking 『Why can’t I?』. Perhaps Latina didn’t understand the meaning behind the word 『Spicy』. Explaining taste is difficult. In that case, perhaps letting her experience it herself might be good.
There was also the problem of Latina looking way too cute as she looked up at him, requesting him to 『Gimme』. There’s no way he could say something like “No”.
“Only a little bit. It’s really spicy after all.”
Dale spoons up enough for a lick, and brought the spoon towards Latina, who had her mouth opened, ‘Ahhnnn’.
— The result. Latina, became completely red in the next moment, and rushed into the kitchen for some water.
Ever since then, Latina realized she was bad with spicy foods.
It seems that the person herself finds it disappointing because she couldn’t help it.
Given that she didn’t 『hate』 it, but was rather 『bad』 with it, Latina was thinking, that she would want to eat spicy foods if she was capable of doing so.
For the sake of being able to make spicy foods, she wanted to be able to taste it, and was thinking that she wanted to know what 『delicious spicy food』was, in order to make something even more delicious.
If she had told Kenneth about this she would probably have received a much different answer, but that was how forward thinking a person this fully motivated, serious young girl was.
The ten-year-old Latina, having such ambitions to improve, prepared herself for today’s challenge.
“Latina asked Kenneth to make my dinner tonight, no!”
“Is…. that okay?”
“Latina, will try her best, no.”
What does it mean to try your best when eating?
Dale frowned, looking at what was on Latina’s plate; Beans simmered with Chorizo, and chilies on top. This 『Ocelot』 was a shop known for their regulars being older men who liked spicy foods and drinking alcohol. It wasn’t uncommon for such food to appear as snacks on the menu.
However, Dale felt the hurdle was too high for someone like Latina who couldn’t handle spicy foods, and could only feel anxious. But, there was no way he would pour cold water on Latina’s heated motivation, and so kept quiet.
Going into a watchful stance, heart pounding.
As Latina slices the knife into the chorizo, its meat juices burst out as its delightful skin breaks open. Latina knew full well, the taste of the sausages, that Kenneth carefully handpicked for the store. They looked truly delicious.
She puts one into her mouth.
Shock. After her brows came together to form a frown, Latina started opening her mouth, huffing and puffing.
Dale’s heart pounding increased even more.
“I don’t think that it is 『Yummy』, with how hard you seem to be trying here.”
There was already sweat forming on Latina’s forehead. Rather than the umami of the meat juices being too strong, it was that the sausage was working well together with the spices and mustard, and it was more than spicy enough for her.
Waving off Dale’s worries, Latina then spooned up the chilly. It was a food that the Latina of the past could never overcome.
In front of her, dyed in red, looking like a plateful of mustard, was the umami of the meat and vegetables, something she, of the past, wasn’t able to understand.
She’s come so far.
She, of right now, should be able to do it.
Hah! Getting psyched, Latina brought the spoon over to her mouth.
Feeling Dale’s panicked voice from the edge of her consciousness, Latina reached out to her 『Secret weapon』 that she had very carefully prepared earlier.
Her stinging tongue, was being healed by the cold, sweet, milk.
Latina knew, more than anyone, just how bad she was with spicy foods. Which is exactly why, in order to neutralize such spiciness, she had prepared plenty of milk. Furthermore, she had even put honey inside it. It was this sweetness that would neutralize that spiciness, was what she had planned.
That reply, was not something to be said during a meal.
Dale kept his retort in his heart.
Just from that one bite just then, Latina became teary, and her brow was soaked in sweat. Even in such a situation, Dale had a part of him that wanted to support Latina, who was trying her best.
Latina resolutely, as it may be, picked up another spoon of chili.
Truly, the Sweetened honey milk, was something that could nourish the tongue and mouth, appealing to the pain caused by the spiciness.
— However, that was a double-edged sword.
The spiciness after that, was many times worse, and Latina, someone who was new to spicy foods had no way to know that it could be used to make it spicier.
It was amazing. She fainted. She couldn’t do it.
Latina put away the spoon, and downed the rest of the honey milk in one breath.
She was defeated.
“….It didn’t work out, just like I had thought.”
After a little while, Kenneth came out from the kitchen, holding up plates in both hands.
Koto. Placed in front of Latina was, was a plate with a large omelette. On top of that, in order to deal with the chili that Latina had given up on, was a lot of vegetables and a sauce, made to control the spiciness.
“Dale, you can have the rest of what Latina couldn’t finish.”
“I knew it. You planned that right from the beginning.”
Given that Latina didn’t eat a lot, there was too much on her plate. It seems Kenneth never believed that Latina would be able to finish eating that from the get go. On the other plate was some more food for Dale, and bread for two.
“Look, Latina, it’ll probably be fine if you have it with some egg.”
“….Runny egg… yummy.”
“I see, good for you.”
He gently replies to Latina, who was teary even now, as they ate their meal.
Kenneth probing Latina’s tastes, made a chili sauce which was just a tiny bit spicy, which added it to her favourite food, omelette, was extremely delicious.
Nevertheless, Latina felt down, being so utterly defeated. —
Regardless, her no good 『Guardian (Dale)』 was still thinking that, she’s so cute.
— Incidentally, from then on, you could make out the sight of Latina, trying to challenge spicy foods many times within the 『Dancing Ocelot』.
However, no one ever caught the sight of her conquering it.
Her challenges continue, even to this day.
(TL: so I’ve set up the facebook page which some people ahve been asking for. go look for it urself :P)