Saturday, July 24, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V1 (2 of 5)


Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro

At noon, a few customers dropped by to have lunch in the shop. No one ordered Coffee, but there were people here for my cooking.

There were plenty of ingredients I had not seen before in this world, but after I tried them, the taste and appearance were exactly the same as the food I knew in my old world. So the dishes from my home town that I cooked by making do with the ingredients in this world looked out of place.

To the people in this world, my cooking was new and refreshing. I had many patrons that came to eat the unique dishes here, and others who came after hearing the rumours.

While I was chatting with the old grocer who was a regular, I heard the chime ring. I turned and saw a large man in black blocking the entrance. He was so buff that he might just burst out of his clothes. He had the face of his wolf, and his yellow eyes surveyed the shop before glaring at me.

「I heard this is the shop that serves weird dishes.」

He had a deep intimidating voice. The grocer backed away from my side fearfully.

「Erm, yes, this is the place.」

When he heard my timid reply, the wolfman nodded, then turned to open a path.

「Boss, this is the right place.」

「Is that so?」

I was wavering and couldn’t understand what was happening before me.

I heard a cool deep voice that came right from the diaphragm, but I could only see a cute hare in that space. It had white fluffy fur, droopy ears and red eyes, and looked just like a hare. However, it was dressed in a formal black suit and a red tie. It was standing on its hind legs with its hands behind it.

The hare and wolf approached the bar counter, unaware of my wavering heart. The hare was completely hidden behind the counter as they got nearer.

At this moment, the wolf standing beside the chair reached inside his shirt and took out a small red leather chair. There were golden embroideries on the feet and back of the chair, and looked extravagant. The wolf placed the chair on the bar counter’s seat, and the scene reminded me of a baby’s chair commonly found in restaurants.

The hare hopped onto the red chair, and checked me out with its beady eyes.

「You are younger than I thought.」

The deep and pleasant voice matched the lips of the hare, as if it would penetrate deep into my body. Have you ever heard a cute hare speak to you with a voice that you would associate with whiskey and cigars? That was what I was experiencing.

「I heard some rumours that I can eat never seen before foreign dishes here.」

「Yes, that is correct.」

「This is one of the cities that gather many ingredients. Chefs and gourmets gather from different nations, and it has a flourishing food culture. Since ancient times, people are attracted by beautiful women, great wine and delicious food, isn’t that right?」

「You are absolutely right!」

The hare was asking me, but the wolf was the one answering me.

「And what interests me the most is food, I just want dishes I have never tried before. So whenever I learn a new ingredient had been found in the Labyrinths, I will obtain it swiftly and find someone who can cook it.」

I gulped, feeling the cold sweat on my brows. I had never been a dense person, but I still hated how good my instinct was. I could already guess what the hare was going to say next.

「I would like to request you to make a dish using a certain ingredient. If you can satisfy me, I can pay you what you wish. Be it money, treasure or woman, you can ask for anything, and I will do my best to meet your request. But if it doesn’t meet my expectations, I will only give you the minimum payment.」

You would let me off with just that? I wouldn’t become food for that wolf behind you, right?

He ignored my stiff face and grabbed his drooping ear.

「You will cook delicious food, I will eat them, and you will get rewarded. How about it, isn’t this a simple request?」

I scratched the back of my head. That might sound simple, but I would feel uneasy when someone had high expectations of me.

My cooking was unique to the people in this world, but I wasn’t a professionally trained chef, just helping out in my family Café. I was just a normal person that often cooked at home, and wasn’t confident enough to take on this job.

The hare raised his fluffy right hand and gestured, and the wolf reached into his shirt and took out red fruits still attached to a vine. I counted around ten of them, each one the size of a fist. How did he keep them in his pocket? The wolf looked down at me menacingly with the vine in his hand.

Hare crossed his stubby arms before his chest, then turned towards me.

「This is the fruit found some time ago in the Labyrinth, I want to request you to make a dish with it.」

I couldn’t say anything.

When the wolf saw that, he snorted hard enough to flick my hair.

「This might look similar to Devil's Fruit, but it is something else. I tried some, and it isn’t poisonous, and doesn’t taste bad either.」

I remembered what Linaria said in the morning, and this must be the fruit the different organizations were researching. This unknown fruit might be poisonous, but the hare was so casual when he said he wanted to eat it, which surprised me a lot.

—— Oh shit, this hare is serious.

There was another thing that surprised me.

—— Oh shit, this Devil's Fruit looks just like a tomato.

It was longer in shape, and the stem was yellowish green, but the fruit was red. It might be shaped differently from the tomatoes that I knew, but it was basically the same. I was moved. In this unknown world, I would be moved to tears just by seeing something that reminded me of my old world. I never thought I would grow teary eyed from seeing a tomato.

「What say you? Will you help me?」

I nodded without any hesitation.

I wasn’t thinking about the cooking or the hare anymore, or even the wolf. I didn't care how my dish would be evaluated, I just really want that vine of tomatoes.

I want to touch the tomato and take a bite, and cook a dish that remains only in my memory and fill my stomach. That was the only thing left in my mind.

In cooking, the most important part was the preparation work, and that itself would decide the taste of the ingredients.

I diced all the ingredients, and even minced the meat. This took a lot of time, and the mean mug from the wolf was getting scary. The preparation work was important, but most wolves wouldn’t understand that.

The ingredients were simple this time, just three types of vegetables sold in the market. Just an onion-like thing, carrot-like thing, and a celery-like thing.

I added the diced vegetables to the pot, then added a lot of olive oil—— I wasn’t sure, but it was something like olive oil. I turned on the heat and covered it with a lid. Since the pot was thick, it would ensure the heat was spread evenly inside, and cook the ingredients evenly. That would make the dish even more delicious.

I would open the lid from time to time and stir with a spatula to stop the ingredient from getting burned. Five minutes later, the vegetables had turned soft, and its bitter sweetness had seeped into the oil.

I removed the lid and continued to heat it to remove the excess moisture. The lid of the thick pot was rather heavy, and the moisture would be trapped inside without removing the lid.

After waiting a while, the vegetable at the bottom and edges started turning yellow and was a little burnt. I quickly stir fry the vegetables with my spatula at this point.

This was repeated a few times, and the vegetables were all well cooked, so I turned off the heat and let it cool.

In the meantime, I started prepping the minced meat.

I took out my usual frying pan and poured the oil from the pot onto it. I wanted to fry the minced meat with the oil that had the sweet essence of the vegetables.

When steam came out, I dropped the minced meat into the pan. There was enough to make a huge hamburg steak.

The aroma from the grilling meat tugged at my heart strings, and the wolf was similarly affected. I felt as if I was sitting on needles. The hungry gaze from the wolf behind me was locked on the meat on the pan.

My grandfather taught me this dish, and he would stare at the meat with his arms crossed. When I asked if he was going to stir it, he would say with a straight face:

「If I stir it, the juice would come out and lower the temperature, and it wouldn’t have a good colour.」

So I mimicked my grandfather’s methods. I wanted to learn more from my grandfather, but obviously, he wasn’t here. I felt that my knowledge on cooking was still half ass.

While I was feeling nostalgic, the minced meat patty was grilled to a nice crispy brown. I used a spatula to flip the patty over, the pan was well heated, so the other side was grilled nicely too.

I took out the minced meat and added red wine into the pan to not waste the delicious juice of the meat. I let the wine boil to get rid of the excess alcohol.

I put the grilled patty and the wine into the pot of vegetables.

Next, the protagonist of this dish made its debut.

Devil's Fruit——tomato.

I sampled some when I was making the preparations, and found the taste to be wilder than the tomato I knew. The fresh taste of the vegetables and the thick fragrance of the tomato entered my nose, leaving a deep impression. When I bit into it, the intense sour juice spurted out into my mouth, and left a sweet after taste on my tongue. The texture was amazing too.

I had nothing but praise after taking a bite of the Devil's Fruit. It had a strong savory taste, and would probably taste better with some salt. I felt troubled by that, but I continued with my cooking.

In the end, what I wanted to eat wasn’t tomatoes, but a modern dish made with tomatoes.

I offered a prayer in my heart to the tomato, and crushed the tomato on top of the pot. The flesh of the fruit fell into the pot along with its juice and yellow seeds. I crushed two more tomatoes.

I then added a few herbs from this world.

The vegetables and meat in this world didn’t go through genetic improvements, and had a natural gamey taste to them. The people in this world were already used to this and couldn’t tell the difference, but I find it a little unpalatable. So I would often add in herbs to remove the smell.

I then took out a small bottle of light brown powder from the cabinet.

For convenience, I saw this 「Bouillon powder」, but it wasn’t really Bouillon powder. More accurately speaking, this was an instant soup powder adventurers would cook inside a Labyrinth. Because it was too convenient, it was more popular with housewives than adventurers.

I added a pinch of something called Saci sauce as seasoning.

It was a thick brown sauce with a strong taste. It had a condensed spiciness and saltiness, but also a unique fishy smell. It felt a little like fish sauce, a southeastern seasoning made by fermenting salted fish.

The Saci sauce was a popular seasoning that could be used in any dish. We could easily make any dish more salty by adding this sauce. Pairing such a dish together with bread or Pasta was the main way of eating it. It could replenish salt easily and goes well with wine, so this was the best sauce for an adventurer city.

However, this sauce would overwhelm the ingredients' original taste. Japanese might like the subtle taste of stock soup, but I didn’t really like it. The dishes in this world taste too strong, so I only added a little.

After reaching this stage, the only thing left was to simmer it.

I washed my hands and tidied up the cooking utensils. The wolf couldn’t stand it anymore and growled:

「Is it done yet?」

「It will be done in an hour.」

「An hour!?」

The wolf howled with the face of someone who confessed to a girl and was told that she already had a boyfriend.

「A mere dish takes more than an hour!?」

I wanted to yell 「what are you calling a mere dish, I’m even using a less time consuming method.」 But I chose to avert my gaze silently in the end. The buff wolfman was too intimidating, so it couldn’t be helped.

「What are you calling a mere dish?」

I thought I blurted out what I was thinking, but that was actually the deep voice of the hare.

「B-But, your precious time is……」

The hare raised his fluffy right hand to stop the wolf.

「Listen, Simot, art takes time.」


「And cooking is a form of art.」

His words were so cool that I almost started to tremble. This hare was too dandy.

The deeply moved me, the troubled wolf, and the hare sitting with his arms crossed in his chair.

Time passed slowly.

An hour later——

The ingredients in the pot combined into a dish, all their essence had been condensed.

I scooped up a spoonful and sampled it.

The sourness of the tomato and the strong taste of the minced meat danced on my tongue, followed by the freshness of the vegetables and soup, and the fragrance of the wine which left a refreshing aftertaste. More amazing of all was the strong sweet aroma of the tomato that came out at the end. Its tenacity from growing in the Labyrinth, left an impressionable flavour. I added salt and pepper to season it, and the simmered sauce was now complete.

And now, the Pasta I prepared while waiting finally made its debut. It was just Pasta I bought nearby, but the Pasta in this world was handmade and on the wider side, giving it a chewier sensation. I bought this to make my own dinner in the first place, so it couldn’t be helped.

I cooked the Pasta with a large amount of hot water, then poured the steaming sauce onto the plate. I grated some cheese on top of it, and top it off with a few basil-like herbs.

I finally finished this fantasy world’s meat sauce Pasta.

I placed the plate before the hare, and his nose started twitching as he sniffed the dish.

By the way, could hare use human utensils to eat? While I was thinking about that, the wolf standing beside him reached into his shirt and took out a rectangular box.

He placed it on the table and opened it, showing something covered in a black cloth inside. The wolf nimbly removed the black cloth, revealing mini silver utensils—— the knife, fork and spoon had intrinsic engravings on their handles.

The hare took out the handkerchief from his chest pocket and laid it on his knees. After offering a short prayer with his stubby hands, he took the fork from the box.


He curled up the pasta with the fork. It was a mini fork, so he only curled up one strand. That was still a big portion for the hare. The hare chewed the pasta carefully, then scooped up a piece of vegetable and ate it. He forked a tomato into his mouth, then tasted the pasta and sauce.

It was a really tense moment. I was satisfied with making a nostalgic dish, but I suddenly remembered that the important thing was satisfying this hare.

Would the people of this different world accept this dish?

And was it fine for the hare to eat meat?

It was too late for me to think about all that. The hare quietly chewed on the pasta, and my feelings of uneasiness started growing because of his poker face.

The hare continued chewing, but he didn’t stop moving his fork or make any sound. The wolf peeked at the hare confusedly, even the other patrons in the shop were observing us quietly.

「Is it not to your liking?」

I finally reached my limit and asked. The hare didn’t say a word, and I felt as if my heart was going to burst out of my chest. The hare put down his fork and looked at me with his crimson eyes.

「There is a strong sweet and sour taste, and there isn’t the usual bitterness from the vegetables, it also has an intriguing aroma… I don’t know if it’s because of the Devil's Fruit, or because of your culinary skills, it has a fascinating taste.」

He was a hare, but he still felt the vegetables taste bitter……

While I was thinking about that, I could also understand why he said this was a fascinating taste, since I felt the same when eating the cooking from this world. After all, the ingredients, cooking methods and the environment of the crops were completely different, so their taste preference would vary greatly. My standard for what was delicious might be very different from the people of this world.

It seemed the hare didn’t like the dish, and I slouched my shoulders dejectedly.

「However—— it’s delicious.」 The hare said with a gentle voice. 「Since this is the first time I tasted it, I couldn’t understand it completely yet, but it is still delicious. With every bite, my tongue, body and soul could slowly comprehend this delicious taste.」

The hare exhaled slowly.

「Without a doubt, this is a tasty dish beyond my comprehension. Simply exquisite.」

I sighed in relief since a load was off my mind. The wolf looked at the hare with a face of exasperation, then alternated his gaze between me and the hare several times.

The hare cleaned the plate of Pasta completely, the way he ate was a great honour to a chef.

When the hare was about to leave, he asked me what I wanted, but I declined to answer right away, since I didn’t know who the hare was, and couldn’t make a request lightly.

Besides, just getting the leftover tomatoes already satisfied me, they were more valuable than anything else.

The hare said 「If that is the case……」, then handed me a small gold badge, shaped like a bunch of grapes with the outline of a droopy eared hare in the center.

「This is the Corleone Family seal. If you get into any trouble in the city, you can use it to contact me at any time.」

「Boss! How can you give this brat a golden seal!」

「I’m in a good mood right now, so be quiet.」

The hare named Corleone stamped his leg firmly, and the wolf shuddered and then cowered away. The wolf looked stronger, but what was with this relationship hierarchy? But I didn’t have the courage to ask them about it.

The hare then left the shop with the wolf.

I started cleaning up the utensils and wiping the bar counter as I thought about what happened. The old grocer peeking at us from deep within the shop approached me and said:

「Yu-kun, you actually got away unscathed!」

「What do you mean?」

I asked with a frown, and the old man said with a wave of his hand:

「Well, they are from the Corleone Family after all! D-Don’t you know?」

Even if you said that, I still didn’t know anything about them. The old man shook his head with an incredulous face, and started to rant.

「They are a huge organization that controls the shady side of the city! Powerful people even the police don’t dare to mess with!」

「Oh, they are bad guys?」

Were they like the Mafia? The old man shook his head.

「There are many problems on the dark side of the city, right? Wandering adventurers confident in their abilities and criminals from other cities would flee there. And the Corleone Family would suppress and control them, and they are famous for their contribution towards the city’s security.」

「So they are the good guys?」

「But they are still the Corleone Family, a powerful underground organization. One wrong move, and your shop will get shut down, and you will lose your family! They are still a scary bunch.」

The old man said fearfully. I couldn’t comprehend the terror of all that, probably because I hadn’t truly become a part of this city yet.

「I heard the Corleone Boss is a gourmet before, but it’s actually true. It’s amazing that he acknowledges you! It’s scary, but still amazing!」

The old man smacked my shoulder and seemed really happy.

It was getting dark outside the window, the noise from the streets were getting louder. The later it got, the more pedestrians there were, every day seemed like a rest day in this city. To me, this city was too noisy.

I didn’t get many patrons in my shop, but to me, this was a relaxing place. Having too few customers was a problem, but I like this serene place.

My only customer right now was Linaria seated at the bar counter. She would often visit here to study. I tried to be quiet so I wouldn’t disturb her, but would also tell her what happened during the day whenever she took a break. It was normal for people to share their experiences when something out of the ordinary happened.

「What? The Corleone Boss was here?」

I told her everything, and that was Linaria’s reaction.

「Oh, so everyone knows Corleone?」

「Rather than knowing them, they are just famous. Criminals fear them since they won’t hold back.」

「I’m not sure if I should fear them or find them reliable.」

I wasn’t sure how to react after seeing the man in the flesh. After all, he was a white fluffy hare.

「You don’t have to worry.」

Linaria caressed the edge of the cup with her index finger and said:

「If Corleone visits this shop, that means criminals won’t target this place.」

「There’s no reason to target this shop in the first place.」

「You have a point.」

After a short silence, Linaria said: 「Hey……」, then turned to the window with just her blinking eyes peeking my way.

「Is there any more of that Devil's Fruit dish that Corleone like so much?」

I couldn’t help smiling when I heard that.

「You want to eat it? It’s made with Devil's Fruits, you know?」

「Devil's Fruits are my favourite.」

「Aren’t they poisonous?」

「I will pull through it with my firm will.」

Endure the stomachache with the power of her will? I tilted my head to think about it, but decided not to ask.

I learned a few things about Linaria shortly after she started visiting the shop—— For example, she likes eating tasty food and has an unexpectedly big appetite.

「Are there more?」

I paused to tease her a little, then said: 「There’s still some left, I will serve them up now.」

Linaria raised the corners of her lips in a child-like smile.

Chapter 3 「Bento on Rainy Days」

The sky was overcast this morning, and the mountain in the distance was covered in white mist. There wasn’t a single drop of rain yet, but that was just a matter of time.

It was great that the weather changes daily. When you didn’t know what to say to keep up the conversation, just mention the weather and you could keep going. Talking about the weather wouldn’t hurt anyone or make anyone unhappy, an all purpose conversation topic.

That was what I said to Linaria after greeting her in the morning. She said 「Are you stupid?」 Recently, she has been less and less reserved towards me.

「By the way, you are staying in the school dormitory right, Linaria? Isn’t it a hassle to come here every morning?」

When I asked that, Linaria looked away a little, then covered her mouth with her cup of Café au lait.

「This is like taking a walk, and I can use the time for morning self study.」

I saw Linaria’s shoulders and hands shaking suspiciously, and kept staring at her. After sighing loudly, she said:

「I know, I know, stop staring at me like that.」

「And the reason?」

I urged her to continue, and Linaria rested her cheek on her palm, then look out the window with a scowling face:

「It’s uncomfortable in the dormitory, everyone is staying away from me as if I have the plague, while the nobles like to bother me. There is also a troubling person.」

「Because of your excellent results?」

「That’s part of the reason.」

I already heard that Linaria was at the top of her academic year, and the nobles picked on her because of that. I didn’t know what kind of place the academy was, or what the nobles were like. But I understand that such things annoyed Linaria.

「So you would flee from there and come here.」

「Am I troubling you?」

She kept her chin on her palm and turned only her eyes towards me. She looked like a child unable to conceal her uneasiness, which made her look much younger than she was. And of course, I shook her head.

「There’s no chance that can be true, I still want to talk about the weather with other people. By the way, looks like it’s gonna rain.」

I said jokingly, and Linaria smiled. I couldn’t help wanting to praise myself for that.

「That’s right, it should rain in the afternoon.」

「I get lazy to go out when it rains.」

「I get that. I prefer reading in my room when it rains.」

「That sounds great, having a cup of Coffee and snacks will make that better.」

「We can make that come true if it is this place, that’s nice.」

「I will await your visit during rainy days.」

「But I will be too lazy to go outside, so never mind.」

Our conversation was as cozy as playing catch, and we both laughed. Topic about the weather could do anything.

The drizzle that started before noon was gaining momentum. Saying that the rain obscured visibility seemed a bit too much, but calling it a drizzle was too reserved. It would make you hesitate at the entrance of your door, wondering whether you should step out into the rain.

The nonstop rain made it feel like there was a natural curtain covering this space.

As if the shop had been cut off from the world. The few patrons in the shop who were here despite the rain were enjoying the afternoon in their own way.

An old dwarf sitting deep inside the shop had a thick cloth laid on the table. There were several fist-sized stones and metallic ingots with a dull silver gleam. Besides them were a small hammer, chisel and curved ruler.

He used a big magnifying glass to inspect a mineral that might be a rock or a gem, and was hammering or chiseling away at it. He had a beer mug filled with warm milk on his table—— since that was what he ordered, I served it as he wished.

At the window seat was my regular patron, Elf nee-san. She was reading a thick book, with water and a fresh fruit palette on her table. Elf nee-san might be a regular, but I had not had a proper conversation with her yet. Even though I had the topic about the weather as my weapon, and looked for a chance to talk to her, I couldn’t muster the courage. I could only lament how useless I was.

And in the bar counter before me was a girl lying on the table with her head in her arms.

「…… If everyone dies…… This world will be at peace……」

I could hear her slurred voice between her arms.

It might be true that the world would be peaceful without people. But that assumes the absence of life after death. That aside, it was strange for a girl in her early teens to say such things. No, it didn’t matter how old she was, it was just strange. That was what a great man once said.

I thought as I wiped the glasses, and the girl started to squirm. She lazily propped herself up like an old man waking up to a hangover. She took the small bowl of Café au lait with lots of milk, and started lapping it up.

The girl so gloomy as if rain was falling over just her head, was Nortri. It took me a week to ask her name, and another week to converse with her normally. That still left a deep impression on me.

「So, what happened? I thought you will go to school properly.」

I asked offhandedly. When she heard that, Nortri looked up at me with dazed eyes. She wasn’t glaring at me, that was just how her eyes were.

「…… It’s a pain……」

She said it so firmly that I had to agree with her:

「There are times when you feel this way.」

「I don’t want to go to school……」

「Because it’s raining.」

「I want to…… come here……」

「Thank you for coming despite the rain.」

「…… Why doesn’t everybody just die……」

「That will be difficult. If you learn an ultimate spell, you might be able to reduce this area to dust.」

You couldn’t handle Nortri by using the senses of a normal person. The key was to pretend you were a little tired of life, and not think about why a ten years old girl was thinking that way.

「…… It is…… really a pain……」

Nortri grumbled with sincere annoyance. Ah, wait, stop, it was making me feel a little tired of the world too, so stop. What was this influence? It makes you lose interest in your life, how scary.

I suppressed the emotions welling up within me, and continued wiping the glasses. Nortri was holding up the bowl lazily. She disliked hot beverages, so I specially made her Café au lait cooler. Even so, she kept blowing at her drink and taking tiny sips.

There were two small triangles on Nortri’s head that would move a little. That’s right, they were cat ears. Probably. At the very least, they must be the ears of a feline.

There were all sorts of Fantasy elements in this world, and the most prominent part was beastmen like Nortri. If you go outside, you could find them walking brazenly on the streets without anyone commenting on their ears and tails. To the people in this world, this was a natural sight.

I was really excited when I first saw her, a girl with animal ears… I could feel new emotions springing up from the depths of my heart. I could feel my chest constrict and my heart race. I also met a hare talking to me in a deep voice, so beastmen had slowly become a part of my life now.

Nortri was wearing an academy uniform, and her hair was blue like that of rain. She tied them in simple twin tails, which contrasted prominently against her white uniform. If she was more motivated and had more lively eyes, she would be a beautiful girl with a bright future.

「So, how was school?」

Notri’s ears twitched when she heard that, and she lazily shifted her gaze my way with a sinister smile. There wasn’t even a shred of charm in her smile at all.

「…… You want to hear about it?」

「…… No, never mind.」

「…… I see.」

Nortri giggled, and I shivered. Her laughter was scary, and people would lose their minds if they heard it during a late night TV show.

But this was Nortri’s style, so I didn’t intend to retort. The motto of this shop was to let the customers enjoy a tranquil time, so it was important to let them show their true character.

After laughing for a while, Nortri seemed satisfied and looked out the window with a wag of her tail.

The window facing the road was crowded as usual, everyone was going about their day despite the rain. Housewives carrying groceries wrapped cloth around themselves to shield the rain, the guards patrolled in grey cloaks. There was an adventurer with a great sword on his back walking briskly with an umbrella, and a mother and child walking in matching raincoats.

Whenever I saw the people walking outside the window, I could feel that this was really a different world. The world wasn’t so narrow that I would be an abnormality, but there were times when I felt uneasy. Where should I go in this world? Would I end up dying in this world?

According to my investigations, there was no way for me to return to my original world. Even the idea of a different world was treated like a fairy tale. Hence, I would probably spend the rest of my life here—— running a Café looking out of this window until the day I die.

Walking out of the shop still felt scary to me, and I was afraid of getting involved with the School of Wizardry that produces adventurers and sorcerers, and the Labyrinth in the middle of the city. I was afraid I would become a complete native in this unknown alternate world.

I still couldn’t let go of my old world. My head told me to be decisive, but my heart still hung on to the hope of returning one day. This might be an instinct to return back to my roots one day. Thinking about it that way, I could understand the theory that humans were also a type of animal. Because you couldn’t suppress your homesickness with logic alone, this might be a primitive emotion carved deep inside us.

Ohh, being lost in melancholy must make me so cool… As I immersed myself in narcissism, someone tugged on my sleeve. I turned and saw Nortri looking at me with an uneasy expression. Stop, don’t look at me like that.

I concealed my emotions and asked her with my head tilted.

「What’s wrong?」

「…… N-Nothing.」

Nortri was hesitant to speak, and stopped vaguely.

I waited for her to continue, and she stared at the bowl of Café au lait in her hand and asked with a stutter:

「Yu…… are you going somewhere?」

「Not really, just a trip to the market soon. I need to restock on my seasonings and stuff.」

When she heard that, Nortri looked up at me. There must be a reason for her uneasy face.

「…… Really?」


「…… Really, really?」

「Of course.」

「You’re not lying……?」

「Have I ever lied to you?」

Nortri nodded firmly at my question, brimming with confidence. Well, I did lie to her before……

「But it’s true this time, I’m not planning to go anywhere, and there isn’t any place I want to visit. Besides, there aren’t any other employees here, so I can’t run off and abandon the shop. There will be complaints if I close the shop suddenly.」

That was a lie, the only regular patron who would complain because of a sudden closure was Gramps Goru.

But, Nortri nodded happily, seemingly convinced. I was confused by how relieved she looked, but the contents of Nortri’s head was a mystery, so I didn’t think any more about it.

「……Yu, don’t…… run off to some other place, okay……?」

「Ehh, what about my freedom?」

「Doesn’t exist.」

「An immediate answer?」

Weird. Why? Why was she only so motivated when she asked that question? She always looked so lethargic and tired of this world.

But seeing Nortri drinking Café au lait happily was a rare sight, and I don’t mind that.

「…… I feel so relaxed here……」

Midway through her second cup of Café au lait, Nortri said with a sleepy voice. The way she lay on the bar counter resembled a cat dozing under the sun, which healed my soul.

「The pace here is very slow after all.」

This was true for me and my patrons. Time felt different from the world outside, filled with serenity and calm.

All sorts of things happened in the outside world, and everyone lived their own life, and had their own troubles. Urged forth by the time that flowed pass so easily, they lived on desperately. So I hope they could at least have a good rest when they visit my shop. This shop was like a perching tree, a good choice for the people soaring in the bustling world.

That was what my grandfather said.

I asked my grandfather when I was young why our shop was called 「Perching Tree」, and that was his answer. He looked a little bashful but proud but then.

This shop wasn’t as serene as the 「Perching Tree」 yet. I was too young and I just started this shop, but I will be happy if the people enjoy a quiet time here.

I started humming a familiar tune with a smile. This was the music played countless times in the Perching Tree, a song I had been listening to since my childhood days. I have listened to many types of music, but this was my favourite. So did my grandfather and father, so maybe it just ran in the family.

Oh right, it would be great if I could play music in the shop, that would make the place more relaxing. Yes, let’s do that, but how? Were there Gramophones in this world?

I hummed as I thought about my future plans for the shop. I listened to myself, looked out the window, and saw that the rain was letting up.

A peaceful time.

Nortri who had been peeking at me from time to time, the patrons resting in the shop, a man scurrying away outside, and the people pursuing him—— 「Thief!」「Hey, get him…… Ah, don’t cast magic on the streets, retard!」—— I didn’t let such noises enter my ears, this was a really tranquil time.

As I was thinking about what to eat for dinner, Nortri was getting too fidgety, so I asked curiously:

「What’s wrong?」

When she heard that, Nortri started mumbling vaguely.

But that wasn’t enough for her to stall for time. She turned to the bowl on the bar counter, and started tilting it one way and another. The tilting bowl fell back on the counter with a thud, and that sound made Nortri resolve herself. She perked up her cat ears and looked at me.

The door suddenly opened when she was about to say something, and the chime let me know I had a visitor. Nortri immediately swallowed back her words.

Nortri cast a death stare at the door as I walked that way, and I found a maid standing at the entrance.

「Good Afternoon.」

Nina bowed at me when I saw her. Her shoulder length straight brown hair swayed freely, and she had a white frilly head accessory and a dark blue maid uniform. The design of the uniform was plainer than what I saw on a Maid Café TV special. Speaking of which, Maid Café was just people cosplaying, but Nina was a real traditional maid.

「Welcome, you want the usual?」

I knew why Nina was here, and after excusing myself from Nortri, I walked down a passageway behind the bar counter. This place was like a warehouse where I put my ingredients, rarely used utensils and a large refrigerator.

That’s right, a refrigerator.

I adapted to this world better than expected because of the convenient appliances that were similar to that of my world. And this refrigerator was one of them, it had a mana stone or something that could supply cold air as long as they were mana. Thanks to this refrigerator, I could run this Café and eat delicious meals everyday.

But the thing I was getting wasn’t in the refrigerator but something like a storage room. The objective, my special blend of Coffee beans, were in a knee high porcelain pot. I filled a white sack with the beans.

I brought the heavy sack back to the counter, and turned speechless at what I saw.



「What are you two doing?」

Nortri glared at Nina with a growl, intimidating her.

「Yu, Yu-san! Please save me——!」

The teary eyed Nina waved her arms and cried to me frantically. Weren’t you around my age? How did a ten years old girl make you cry?


「I don’t know why, but I’m very sorry!」

I sighed and placed the bag on the counter, then walked to Nina and Nortri. The cornered Nina was holding her head with her body curled up, while Nortri was still threatening Nina with her imposing aura.

「Hey, hey, stop scaring her.」

I put my hand on the hissing Nortri, and her ears twitched as if they were trying to clamp my hand. I then patted her hair and ears as if I was soothing a child, and Nortri finally relent and started purring happily. I felt an urge to continue patting her.

「Why are you hissing at her?」

I squatted down to Nortri’s eye level and asked. She looked away awkwardly and stuttered:

「…… Because she got in my way.」

「She did?」

Nortri didn’t say anything, and I waited for her to continue. Nortri’s eyes started wavering, and her cheeks were blushing. She hesitated a while before curtly saying:

「…… It’s nothing.」

Before I could say anything, Nortri glared at Nina who was looking at us timidly. Nina wailed again and held her head in fear.

Nortri then returned to her bar counter seat. What happened? This was out of the norm for Nortri. And I still didn’t understand what was going on.

Maybe I could learn the details by asking the other party—— I approached Nina who was shivering in the corner and patted her shoulder.

「Erm, Nina.」

「I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry——」

She had completely lost it, and I was getting worried. I shook her shoulders and said:

「Hey—— Look, it’s me.」

Nina stopped shivering and looked at me meekly.



We stared at each other for a moment. What were we doing?

When I was thinking how long Nina’s eye lashes were and how petite her face was, Nina started shaking with tears in her eyes again.

Hug? Why?

The next moment, Nina disappeared from my field of vision.

「I was so scared——!」


Nina slammed her head into my stomach. Instead of a hug, it was closer to being a tackle. I should be happy that a cute maid was embracing me, but I dropped to my knees right then.

Nina started tending to me after calming down, but it would take some time before I could get up on my own. I was feeling relieved when Nina apologized.

「I’m really sorry!」

She bowed deeply as if she was trying to bury her face in the ground. Her long hair whipped through the air and into my face.

「Ahh! I-I’m sorry!」

The teary eyed Nina pressed her hair against her nape and bowed towards me again.

「…… Don’t worry, it’s fine.」

I returned to the counter and sat beside Nortri, nursing my sore stomach. I would be lying if I said I didn’t mind at all, but if I reproached her, she might try to atone for this with her life.


「It’s fine, I’m used to this.」

And I could never say something like 「That really hurts, I think I broke a bone, how are you going to compensate me, lady?」 to the pretty maid girl standing there with teary eyes.


Nortri offered me her Café au lait. I could still feel my stomach churning, but I still gratefully accepted the drink.

「Thank you, I will just take a sip.」

I drank the sweet Café au lait, and my stomach felt better. There was endless kindness in this Café au lait.

I returned the bowl to Nortri. She took it with both hands, and carefully inspected the spot I drank from. Was something there?

「I see…… Yu doesn’t really care about such things……」

「Ehh, what did you say?」

I asked, and Nortri just said it was nothing before nonchalantly sipping on the bowl. What did she mean?

「E-Erm, Yu-san, the money.」

At this moment, Nina, who was watching my interaction with Nortri, said timidly. I apologized for neglecting her, then told her the price for the Coffee beans this week.

「I’m curious, but can’t you buy better quality Coffee beans from other shops? Nina’s employer is wealthy, right?」

He didn’t need to go out of the way to buy from a small shop like mine. Couldn’t he order better products directly from the merchants?

「Master says the Coffee brewed from the Coffee beans in this shop taste the best.」

「I’m happy to hear that.」

On the recommendation of the maid who tried Coffee for the first time in her life in my shop, Nina’s employer noticed the allure of Coffee, and started buying Coffee beans from my shop to brew at home.

「He said that it’s great that there are subtle differences in each week’s batch.」

「Because I tried different roasting methods.」

「Yu-san’s Coffee is popular with my colleagues, even that head maid looks forward to it!」

「I’m sorry, but I’m not acquainted with your head maid.」

I said with a wry smile. Nina blushed and apologized. I said with a smile: 「No, you don’t have to apologize for this.」 Her face turned redder, after she waved her arms around frantically for a moment while stammering, she finally said:

「Erm, anyway, well, what I want to say is…… really love Yu-san!」

The first girl that confessed her love for me was a cute maid. However, I had already grown used to her klutzy way of speaking, and didn’t misunderstand anything.

She must be saying that (everyone) really loves Yu-san’s (Coffee). I knew that.

I waited for her reaction with a mischievous smile, and saw Nina stopped moving suddenly. She finally realized what she said, and a red tint raised from her neck up to her stiff face.




「I should be the one screaming.」

Nina screamed, and I couldn’t help retorting. She turned as red as a cooked octopus, waving her hands with tears in her eyes.

「…… Tch.」

Nortri glared at Nina and clicked her tongue.

Just like the phrase ‘after the storm’, Nina who made the shop so lively left with a smile as if nothing happened.

Nortri laid exhaustedly back onto the counter. I placed the last glass I wiped back onto the cupboard, and realized that I was free, since there weren't many orders at this time of the day.

I didn’t really want to eat or chat with somebody, but just sitting there was boring. It would be great if I could listen to the music in the shop, and even better if I had a cup of Coffee. Just that was enough to let me enjoy a luxurious time. This wasn’t because I was very busy all the time, I just liked the peaceful atmosphere.

I want to provide such an environment, but music couldn’t be played easily in this world, since there wasn’t any music playing device.

With nothing to do, I decided to chat with Nortri. With no music, the only entertainment left was chatting with people. I took out a bar stool near a corner of the bar. It was tiring to stand all the time, so I had a bar stool nearby for me to rest.

After putting the stool down, I sat opposite Nortri with the counter between us.

「Nortri, I’m bored, so let’s chat.」

Nortri laid weakly on the counter and only turned her ears towards me.

「Do you need more rest?」

She just twitched her cat ears in response. Seemed like it would take more time for her to recover.

As Nortri couldn’t talk to me, I sat on my stool and looked up at the ceiling in a daze. The lights hanging on the ceiling were a type of mana stone called Light stones. Oh, speaking of which, the mana stone should be running out of mana soon.

I stared at the yellow mana light for a while, then heard someone softly call my name. I turned to find Nortri already up.

「Feeling better?」

Nortri nodded at my question.


Nortri was still hesitating, but she made up her mind and spoke up. That reminded me, she wanted to tell me something before Nina visited.

I waited for Nortri to say her piece.

Was it something that hard to say? Nortri kept fidgeting and darting her eyes my way before finally speaking. However, her voice was drowned out by the door chime and a visitor’s loud voice.

「Yu-kun! Give me water!」

The one pushing the door open was Gramps Goru. He was speaking with ragged breath, and his wrinkled face was covered in sweat. The reflection of his moist bald head stings my eyes. I noticed Nortri’s eyes were saying 「I will toss you into an antique shop for carbon dating, old fool」, but I still prepared a cup of iced water.

「Hah! That hits the spot!」

Gramps Goru took the iced water at the bar counter and drank it all before slamming the glass back onto the counter. That would damage the glass, so I wish he would stop doing that.

「Oh, that is a big help, I couldn’t think of any other shop where I can just drink iced water for free. And I get to see Yu-kun’s face too, two birds one stone!」

「…… Get lost and go home, old coot.」


Nortri said to Gramps Goru who was laughing weirdly with a cold glare. She was really bold and didn’t hold back.

After being called an old coot, Gramps Goru looked at Nortri in surprise, his eyes filled with intrigue.

「Ohh, what a cute girl. Are you Yu-kun’s little sister?」

Gramps Goru walked to Nortri with quick steps, sat down beside her and offered his right hand:

「Everyone calls me Gramps Goru, 」

Nortri looked puzzledly at his hand, then at Gramps Goru’s face, and finally, she looked at me

Well, Gramps Goru was an interesting person, so she didn’t need to be afraid of him—— I nodded at Nortri with a smile, and she cautiously shook Gramps Goru’s hand.


「I see, nice to meet you.」

Gramps Goru shook her hand and wrinkled his face into a smile. Nortri seemed unsure about what to do.

People would usually stay some distance away from others, especially people they met for the first time. They would think about how intimate they should be, and how close they should let the other party approach.

But Gramps Goru ignored such common sense and would approach out of the blue and shake hands enthusiastically. He would skip the tedious process of building a relationship bit by bit.

For Nortri who was very conscious about her distance with others, he was a difficult person to handle.

Gramps Goru smiled brightly while Nortri looked annoyed. The sight of them shaking hands made me smile. But Nortri was asking for help with her eyes for a while now, so it was about time to push the conversation onwards.

「So, what brings you here today?」

「Well, I’m being pursued.」

Gramps Goru let go of Nortri’s hand and said off handedly.

「Being pursued… Did you run away from work again? Don’t cause trouble for Ms Secretary, okay?」

「No! When I want to play outside, I will play outside!」

Don’t be so childish, how old are you?—— I wanted to say that, but my retort would be ignored, so I just sighed.

He was usually guarded by Ms Secretary or men in black, but this grandpa could still sneak out from time to time. Ms Secretary did have countermeasures to prevent his escape, but he would succeed every time. I thought about asking him to spend his effort elsewhere, but that would just be a waste of time.

「…… Useless bum?」

Nortri stated directly.

「No, Nort-chan! I’m a free spirited tanager! A bird that soars and sings in the vast blue sky!」

Gramps Goru swung his arms to mimic the wings of a bird.

「…… Hah.」

「She’s laughing at me! She actually laughed at me, Yu-kun!」

「Not my problem.」

「Ah, how depressing! No one except Yu-kun will retort me so directly! I have high hopes in your future, kid. How about it, Nort-chan, want to bring Yu-kun home?」

Why was I being treated as a gift?

I couldn’t say anything while Nortri touched her chin in deep contemplation.

「…… If possible, I want to use my own strength……」

「Yes, I see, free love is better, huh. Don’t ever force others into marriage.」

「Didn’t you said you want to marry your granddaughter to me?」

I couldn’t help retorting, but Gramps Goru brushed it off and said: 「Huh? Did I say that? I don’t remember.」 He would only pretend to be demented when the situation was against him.

When I was clenching my fists and wondering what to do with this old coot, Gramps Goru suddenly stood up.

「Tch! They found me!」

Nortri and I looked at him in a daze as he said tensely:

「Yu-kun, I need a favour. My pursuers will be here soon, and if they ask if you have seen me, tell them I headed for the Central district. In the meantime, I will go to the Commercial district.」

「Sigh, got it, leave this to me.」

I decided to agree for now.

「Thanks a lot! Farewell, Nort-chan! Let’s meet in our next lives!」

It wasn’t funny for him to bid farewell like that at his age. Gramps Goru ran off in a hurry, similar to the way he came, with the chimes echoing in the shop.

Why did he come here anyways?

「…… What a weird person.」

「Yes, just like what his appearance suggested.」

In the end, he drank a glass of water, shook hands with Nortri, and then left. How baffling.

A while later——

Before the storm stirred up by Gramps Goru cleared, the door was gently opened. When I heard the chime, I saw a platinum haired woman in a blue suit standing there with her white cheeks a little blushed. Her breathing was even, but she must be running around in search of Gramps Goru.

She bowed before approaching me.

「Sorry for bothering you, Yu-san, have you seen the Master?」

「I think he is in the Central district.」

「Thank you very much.」

She bowed respectfully, swiftly changed directions and walked out smoothly. Unlike Gramps Goru, she had great manners.

While I was nodding at the back of Ms. Secretary, I felt someone tug at my sleeve.

「What’s wrong, Nortri?」

「…… I didn’t think you will actually do it……」

I could understand why she said that. Considering Gramps Goru’s character, he wouldn’t go out of his way to say where he was actually going on, so I should assume the opposite and say he went to the Commercial district.

However, this was Gramps Goru, who was different from your normal old man liar. He would leave the impression that he was heading to the Commercial district, then go to the Central district. Or maybe that was a diversion, and he really went to the Commercial district…… Would it be the Central district? Or the Commercial district? Or maybe a completely different place? That would throw you into a loop.

However, I was confident this time.

It was evening, and the sun set early in this season, so it was dark and almost time for the older students to leave school. The female school uniforms had short skirts, and Gramps Goru was a lecherous old man, while the Academy was in the Central district.

After I explained all that, Nortri made a face saying 「that old man is hopeless」. This was the moment Nortri decided to keep her distance from Gramps Goru in the future.

A while after Ms Secretary left the shop, the shop reverted to its serene mood.

Nortri laid onto the bar counter lazily again. She suddenly stood up and shook her head so hard that her ears were shaking.


She noticed that she hadn’t ask her question yet. Gramps Goru caused such a big change in the mood that she took some time to remember her original goal.

「What is it?」

Nortri looked down, hesitating to speak as her tail swayed sideways to cheer her on. It would be harder for her to speak if I waited for her with a tense face, so I showed a relaxed face.

She opened and closed her mouth a few times before squeezing out her words:



「I…… hope you can…… make a lunch box for me.」

Lunch box? That sort of lunch box?

「You want a lunch box?」

Nortri nodded at my question.

「Ehh, are you going to eat it yourself?」

She nodded again.


She shook her head.

「Two person?」

Head shake.



I see, she wanted a lunchbox for three, what a simple request.

「Why is it so hard for you to ask?」

「…… Because……」

She curled her petite body even smaller. Nortri stared at the bar counter, as if the key moment had yet to come.

「……Jijo dishes……」

「Jijo dishes?」

Hmm…… That Jijo, huh? An island nation located to the far west, also known as the land of gold. I remember that the people there had raven hair and black eyes.

「The thing…… you made for me before…… can you make it again……?」

「Is it the rice ball and egg rolls I made for you last time?」

Nortri nodded firmly. Since I wasn’t from Jijo, so I wasn’t making Japanese food instead of Jijo dishes. Maybe Jijo dishes were just like Japanese dishes, but I had no way of knowing.

But for the people in this world, rice dishes and my cooking was rare and special. Instead of saying the dishes were from another world, it would be easier to claim it originated from a faraway nation. I thought about a few dishes that would be suitable for a lunch box, and felt this was very feasible.

「No problem, I can make it for you.」

Nortri looked relieved when she heard that, her ears perking up from nervousness was drooping now.

「By the way, why Jijo dishes? And enough for three?」

「…… No reason.」

She shook her head. Hmm, she didn’t want to answer. It bothered me a little, but I decided to let it go.

「Can you wait until tomorrow? I will get it ready in the morning for you to pick it up.」

Nortri nodded firmly with a pleased face. Nortri’s smile was a rare sight, and I started smiling too.

「The academy’s chef is ill?」

The rain had subsided and the sky was completely dark, and the shops all turned on their lights. Nortri had returned home too, and there was no other customers. No, Linaria was still here. She was wearing her dark school uniform and seated at the bar counter.

「The chef took care of the Academy canteen alone, so it can’t operate without the chef. Because of the chef’s sudden illness, there wasn’t enough time to find an alternative to meals, so the academy told everyone to bring their own lunch. The school operated shop is in chaos too, so students in the lower grades will bring their own lunch box.」

I see, but why Jijo dishes? And enough for three? I asked Linaria for the reason, and she looked at me with a knowing smile.

「She want to show off to her classmates.」

「Oh, because Jijo dishes are unique.」

I nodded in agreement, and Linaria rolled her eyes. What was with her gaze? Did she have a problem?

「…… You are so dense.」

「I don’t want to admit it, but I’m often told that. Where am I dense this time?」

「If you don’t get it, then just stay that way. It won’t be much help if I tell you my deductions any way.」

I clicked my tongue, then added a little sugar and milk to the Coffee I extracted with the Vacuum Coffee maker, and served it to Linaria.

Linaria couldn’t take the bitterness of Coffee and was always drinking Café au lait. But I hope she could enjoy the original taste of Coffee, and requested her to drink some in the guise of trying out a new Coffee mix.

After all, Linaria visited the most often, so if she got used to drinking Coffee, I would have a poison taster for my original blend—— I mean, I would have a comrade who loves Coffee.

「…… Do I have to drink it?」

Linaria stared at the steaming cup and asked, her voice filled with dread and resistance.

「As the saying goes, fortune favours the brave.」

Linaria looked into my eyes with wordless accusations, but she gave up and took the cup. I told her she didn’t need to drink it if it taste bad, so she just had to endure a single sip. Damn it, I will make her say it tastes good.

I stared at her. Linaria’s lips touched the brim of the cup, and she slowly tilted the cup.

「…… Bitter.」

She said on the verge of tears. From how much her brows were furrowed, this was clearly too bitter for her. I even added so much sugar and milk. I need to improve the Coffee beans.

If I added more sugar and milk, it wouldn’t be Coffee, but Café au lait. That was tasty too, but it deviated from my original goal.

「I can’t drink it after all.」

She pushed the cup to me. Linaria wasn’t picky with food, but she couldn’t accept Coffee.

How weird, I already made it pretty sweet.

Maybe I had a high tolerance for Coffee in the first place.

I took Linaria’s rejected cup, and took a sip.

The bitterness that encapsulated the fragrance of the Coffee had been neutralized by the sugar, and the sour after taste was smoothened by the milk. This was an easy to drink Coffee, but Linaria still couldn’t accept it.


Linaria yelled.

I looked at her in a daze, and saw her pointing at my mouth and stammering 「Y-Y-You!」Her cheek was as red as her hair.

「Why you! How can you do something so dense!?」

「Ehh, what happened?」

「You are asking me!?!」

Linaria glared at me with murderous eyes. But I had no idea why she said I was dense, and didn’t know how to react.

She slammed her palm on the bar counter and tried to say something, but couldn’t finish her sentence. Linaria forcefully swallowed her surging emotions, then sighed deeply to vent her feelings.

「…… Never mind, I give up, that’s just how you are. I will just look silly if I’m the only one bothered by this.」

In the end, Linaria came to a conclusion in her heart and let the matter go.

Hmm, was there any need to panic so much over drinking from the same cup? I even took the effort to drink from the other side of the cup. I guess girls in puberty would be bothered by such things.

I took small sips of the sweet Coffee as Linaria put her palm on her forehead with a sigh.

「By the way, do you need a lunch box, Linaria?」

I kept the empty Coffee cup, then asked nonchalantly. If she couldn’t dine in the canteen, then Linaria would need a lunch box, right?

「There’s no need, I will make do by buying some food, and will be fine even if I don’t eat.」

She didn’t look concerned. Linaria usually ate delicious meals, but was the type who would skip a meal if it was too much of a hassle.

I thought for a moment and said:

「I will make a lunch box for you then, Linaria.」

「I-I don’t need one.」

Linaria averted her face.

「Why are you so bashful, Linaria?」

「I’m not bashful at all.」

「Then it’s settled. I will make your lunch boxes. Hand made lunch boxes, school life, afternoon breaks. Hmm, how salty and sweet.」

「It should be bittersweet.」

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

We bickered for a while more. Linaria kept turning down my offer, she was probably worried about me pulling a prank on her, what a sad misunderstanding.

In the end, she couldn’t persuade me, so it was decided that I would make her lunch boxes.

I would meet the expectations of others properly, and do my best.

After Linaria went home, I closed the shop and laid out the ingredients in the kitchen. Before me was the Devil’s Fruit still fresh on my mind—— tomatoes. Since that time, Corleone-san would often visit with tomatoes in tow, he seemed to like meat sauce Pasta a lot. Thanks to that, there were plenty of tomatoes in the shop, and I planned to use them in the lunch boxes.

I prepared the multi layer lunch box for Nortri and the slightly larger lunch box for Linaria.

What should I make?

I didn’t have much experience with lunch boxes, so I thought about the lunch boxes my mother used to make for me. But the problem was whether I could use the ingredients in this world to recreate those dishes.

First, there was rice in the shop, so I could make rice balls. There were tomatoes and Pasta too, so I could add meat sauce Pasta as a potential dish.

… Oh right, and egg rolls. I happened to have an egg as large as my fist, a complimentary gift from my ingredient supplier. They had successfully raised the giant birds found in a Labyrinth, and started selling these eggs. Since they gifted it to me, I should use them to make an egg dish.

Sent together with the egg was the meat of those birds. I thought about making Oyakodon, but I could also make chicken nuggets too, which was the best choice. Nuggets were a staple for lunch boxes after all.

<TL: , referring to the dish, not the fetish.>

I held the tomato and thought about the dishes. Tomatoes…… Tomatoes?

「I can make tomato sauce too.」

How about meatballs with homemade tomato sauce? A kid Nortri’s age will probably like it, and I like them too.

I thought about it with the ingredients in hand, and the menu started to take shape. I plan to add in fruits and vegetables too. Hmmm.

In order to make the lunch box quickly in the morning, I made the preparation before going to bed. I took out a pan and turned on the heat.

「Somehow, I feel like a househusband.」

The weather was clear with a bright sun. The rain yesterday felt like a dream, and the sky was cleared of any clouds.

The lunch box was already done. I got up earlier than usual and quickly finished the lunch boxes. I already made the preparations last night, but it still took a lot of time to make so many dishes. One of the reasons was my insistence on including making rice balls with fillings.

I already arranged to meet them, and Nortri even came early. I served her breakfast using some of the dishes used in the lunch boxes. She ate them with sparkling eyes, and as I expected she really liked my meat balls.

「I will show this off… to my friends……」 She nodded firmly, then wandered off to school with the multi layered lunch box with a motivated face. It was a pity that I couldn’t see who and how she would show them off.

Linaria came a little later.

She looked a little peeved, but when I gave her the lunch box, she still thanked me properly and headed right back to school. The academy was having self magic training today, and I was impressed by her studiousness. If I was Linaria’s parent, I would boast about her to the neighbours.

It felt as if I had two kids. Making lunch boxes and handing it to them personally, then watching them go to school. It wasn’t a bad feeling.

I walked out of the shop and stretched my back. The sky was clear and the breeze was comfortable.

「I will work hard today.」

I could see the clouds drifting leisurely across the sky. I could chat about the weather turning clear today.

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