Hana and co. were back at the clearing. This time they were a bit further away from the green and brown coconut towers due to Shiro’s insistence. Shiro’s reasoning was simple; if all of the coconuts tumbled down, they would have to stack it back up, and it would be a pain to do that.
On Hana’s left was around eight large tapiocas. Each was as big as Hana’s calf; two of it were as large as her thigh. On Hana’s left were five big tubers of sweet potatoes the size of a rugby ball each. The aunty scratched her head and sweated. These number of tubers was a bit too much. In her small family of four, she would have to use these tubers at least ten times since essentially only Arash and her could eat the tubers. She could only cook half tuber for a single eating session. If her big family came over, at least she could cook two to three times for them before she ran out of ingredients (1).
Which one should she start with first?
Tapioca or sweet potato?
Does it even matter? Hana chuckled lightly. She’ll cook both! If there were a lot of leftovers, she’d just give them to her cute pets!
Hana turned to the tapioca, and then her eyes went to the sweet potato. Both tasted good in their own way. One was savory, one was sweet. There were so many preparation methods she could try. However, the easiest would be by boiling both tubers and ate them by dipping in grated coconuts mixed with a little sugar. This was how her mom, Madam Shaza loved to eat both tubers when she lacked other ingredients. It was actually the most basic traditional way of eating both tubers (2).
Well, back to basics then.
“Chomper. F1. Get ready.”
Hana cleaned one large tapioca by letting Chomper spray a tiny stream of water while she scrubbed with her bare hands to remove excess dirt and soil. She then proceeded to peel the woody tuber with her Clawknife. It felt slightly awkward; Hana used to peel by using her handy pink peeler. Nonetheless, the sharpness of her knife helped her a lot, though she really had to control her energy well. If not, the tuber could be easily chopped into tiny pieces.
Hana brought up the tapioca tuber. It was pristine white without the outer woody skin and was about two feet long!
“Ohhhhhhh..” The small birds, the large birds, the freshwater creatures, and even the higher classed Elemental Fiends made long ohhhhs as they observed the wood-like tuber turned into a white one. It was the first to many of them.
“Shiro! Cut it into six parts. Chomper! Prepare an elevated water bubble. F1! Heat it at 100 degree Celsius! Everyone, fine-tune and control your spiritual energy like how we practiced.”
Hana blurted out a series of commands. Everyone moved efficiently to prepare a floating transparent ‘cooking pot’ following their Mistress’ whims. Using an earthen clay pot was way too mainstream when you had magical pets who can make boiling water bubble midair and remotely control cooking ingredients midair.
Once the aunty already knew how to leverage the abilities of her pets, why would she waste time cooking using the conventional method? The head chef was the one who gave out instructions but not necessarily had to slough to do the actual cooking!
As usual, Hana threw the tapioca midair. It was controlled by Shiro in a timely manner. Shiro released miniature low-strength air blades and simultaneously cut the large white tuber into six equal parts of about two-inch each. All six pieces of tapioca landed inside the levitating water bubble created by Chomper’s Water-barrier Arts. The water bubble was just done being prepped by F1 by inserting its antennae within. The water produced vigorous bubbles within, indicating that the water was boiling. Hot air was released from around the bubble. Just like that, the tapioca pieces were left cooking as they were carefully being controlled within the bubble by Shiro.
“Alright, great job, everyone. Let’s make another one for the sweet potatoes. Ara, you’re up. Need to practice a little, alright? You wouldn’t be able to fine-tune your technique with no practice.”
Ara nodded like a pecking chicken, but she was panicking inside! She wasn’t good with spiritual energy refinement!
It’s alright. You can do it. Mistress know you can. Shiro and Chomper will be around to assist you if something goes wrong. Hana encouraged Ara gently through their telepathic channel. She knew little Ara disliked practicing. But she needed to do it to be able to make better poultices and medicine.
Ara finally found her courage and made a large water bubble above her!
“Steady. Big doesn’t mean better. Stability is key. Reduce the size. Yes, again. Smaller, smaller. Yes, this size. Maintain this at all times, alright. Concentrate. You have a higher spirit energy reservoir than Chomper, but what you need to practice on is the stability and finesse in spiritual energy manipulation. With better control, you won’t be wasting your spiritual energy and could use it at one hundred percent! Imagine what you could accomplish with that during a life-and-death battle! Who runs out of energy first dies first.”
Hana rubbed Ara’s pinkish head as she smiled helplessly. Although Hana was talking to Ara, every creature around took note of the Mistress’ pointer reverently and commit it to memory. The ones who did not understand her didn’t waste their time and asked those who did. This was the first step to greatness! Micro-control!
Shiro smiled. He was the second one in the family to receive the same guidance about enhancing control from Mom. Due to that, he improved his overall control over aerial techniques involving ice shards, javelins, or lances just within two months of practice. It was a crucial aspect but was sorely ignored by many, including him previously. Shiro realized, whatever Mom do, was for practicing Micro-control on every little thing. She called it ‘being meticulous’.
“Shiro, F1, assist Ara please.”
Both nodded. F1 crawled to Ara and heat up the water bubble she made while Shiro got ready to control the incoming sweet potatoes.
Hana threw two faint orangey tubers midair. This time, Shiro only sliced them into three parts each. Simultaneously controlling two sets of cooking was nothing for Shiro when he could control thousands of ice lances at the same time!
The same series of steps were taken; it was precise and straightforward like before. Hana nodded appreciatively.
Hana soul-linked to Shiro, Ara and Q-chan to tap into F1 out of curiosity. She wanted to observe their work within her Soul-hall Domain. Surprisingly, the partial souls of her three pets were showing signs of synchronization! All three were shimmering at the same rate! She never noticed this before! Additionally, she could see the strengthening of the pre-existing single chain she had with Ara! Even the second chain was about to form! This was without her directly merged with Ara’s partial soul. She immediately started chanting! The chain slowly appeared, disappeared and reappeared rapidly towards both Shiro and Q-chan!
It seemed that when working together like this, it brought about strong resonance between her and her pets. She had discussed this with Kuro and established a few important goals to achieve. Besides contracting more creatures as a shortcut to strengthen her soul, the other one was to form tangible links with all soul-brethren; a real Soul-link. She would know the link was permanently formed when she could share her pet’s senses, just like what happens to her and Ara. She didn’t notice this when she cooked the clams within the cave since she was too preoccupied with gaining her new ability thanks to Ara.
I see. We can do it like this. I need to ask all of them to help out and cook more then. Hana chuckled mirthfully. Even she could level up just by doing the things she loved together with the kids. It’s going to be a walk in the park!
Ohh.. I’m going to be sooo OP <3 (3)
Hana laughed heartily all of a sudden, making the spirit beasts around her jumped.
Hana was delighted with the new findings she got from the excellent cooperation exhibited by her pets. Even the clumsy Ara did very well today. She walked away from them to examine the brown coconuts. A few fluttering small birds helped fetch a few coconuts from the very top of the ‘tower’ for Hana even before she could ask them for help; it seemed that her every movement was carefully being observed by everyone. What can she do when she’s the star of the show?
Hana smiled jovially and thanked them; she didn’t forget to take advantage to grope, er..nah..to tickle the birds who came close. After that, she slashed the top part of the coconuts and drained the water out.
Obviously, the aunty obtained some coconut apples of varying sizes. It was like waiting for the lottery!! Sometimes you won’t get anything, sometimes you got small-sized crunchy ones, and sometimes, you got large spongy ones! It was very delightful. Each coconut made Hana anticipate for the tombong(4) inside. She munched the white spongy ‘fruit’ while peeling off each coconuts' hard shell, leaving only the white flesh.
While waiting for the tubers to cook, she hummed and collected coconuts' flesh bit by bit. It was so easy using the Clawknife! The hard shell was akin to eggshells! She needed to be as gentle as possible to stop herself from destroying the shell together with the flesh. With enough practice, Hana was able to ‘peel’ the shell while leaving the white flesh intact without breaking!
The smell of cooked sweet potatoes and tapiocas wafted into the air, whetting Hana’s appetite.
“Sniff~ Sniff~” Hana closed her eyes and took a deep breath in satisfaction. It reminded her of the large kitchen in Madam Shaza’s house.
Unwittingly, a droplet of tear rolled down. She thought that she missed Arash and the kids only, but it seemed that she missed her mom too. Ma’am Shaza was very strict, but she knew those were tough love.
The creatures around talked in hushed tones before. But once they saw the Mistress shed a tear, all noise disappeared utterly, and the surrounding became stoic and somewhat tensed. Through words of mouth, they knew that if water leaked from the Mistress’ eyes, it meant that she was very upset. The nasty white Lord who seemed like the Mistress’ retainer had exhorted multiple times that once the Mistress became upset, someone responsible will be dead! However, they have tried their hardest to be useful to cheer her up and didn’t know which of their actions sparked her sadness!
Should they be more proactive than this?
Everyone’s heart was in their throats as they took a few steps backwards in panic.
- her big family came over, at least she could cook two to three times = this is Hana’s own family, helmed by Madam Shaza. As a recap, she had 7 siblings (as mrs mooncat remembers haha, correct me if I’m wrong..it has been so long! 3 years to be exact)
- the most basic traditional way of eating both tubers = during the olden days when the people were poor and couldn’t afford rice, the staple food is actually tapioca. Mrs Mooncat’s mom told her, it was the era before Independence in 1957
- OP = overpowered, as a reminder.
- tombong = coconut apple; a reminder, it’s the prematurely formed coconut tree within the brown coconut. The bigger the coconut apple’, less water will be inside since it absorbs the nutrient from the coconut water for it to grow.