Saturday, August 14, 2021

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

 Chapter 7: 「A Home for Someone」

Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro

To carry out my plan, I had mountains of things to do.

I turned the signboard by the door to 「Closed for the Day」, closing the place early. There was just three days before Holy Fest. I told Gramps Goru I was closing shop, but he didn’t move. Judging that he wouldn’t do anything bad, I left him inside the shop. Ms Secretary was waiting outside as usual, so I asked her to keep an eye on Gramps Goru.

I headed to the market to buy ingredients, and if possible, I wanted high quality ingredients.

There were still a lot of ingredients for Café meals, but with the plan I had in mind, both the quality and quantity were worrying. The market carried a wide variety of ingredients, so I planned to purchase all that I needed here.


But I saw something unbelievable there.

The ingredients that were normally piled up in heaps in the market were basically gone. Some stalls weren’t even open, and the high quality ingredients had been swiped clean.

「Oh, Cafe Master. It’s rare seeing out in the day.」

While I was standing before the market stiffly, an old man passing by spoke with me. He was part of the couple who frequented my shop.

「Oh, erm, where are the ingredients?」

I pointed at the market and asked, and couldn’t even speak clearly.

「Ingredients? Oh, you are saying there aren’t many ingredients in the market?」

I nodded profusely.

「That’s to be expected! It’s almost Holy Fest, all the better ingredients have been sent to the capital.」

「Are you serious!」

「Yup, because Holy Fest is a holiday where we give thanks to our food. The high quality ingredients are sent to the capital, while the leftovers are bought out by the nobles, restaurants and the academy. We can only eat the good stuff one week later in the post festival.」

What’s that? I had never heard of that, no, I was lacking in common sense, damn it.

「What should I do if I absolutely wanted some ingredients?」

「Not normal ingredients, but high quality ones? Well you will need to negotiate directly with the shops. But if you don’t have special connections and loads of cash, you will be out of luck.」

I put my hand over my forehead when I heard that. I didn’t expect to run into a problem right from the start. I had no ingredients, and couldn’t do anything without special connections and wads of cash? Things wouldn’t align so well……


So well……


「Thank you, mister!」

「Hmm? Y-Yes, I will visit your shop next time!」

「I will await your visit!」

I ran towards the Café. If the market wouldn’t do, I had to use a special connection. I see, this was a good idea. I remembered I had a connection, and a super one at that.

Praying that Gramps Goru was still in the shop, I rushed back to the Café. When I entered the shop, I saw Gramps Goru sitting casually inside with Ms Secretary standing by the wall.

「Great! You are still here!」

「Huh? Oh, it’s Yu-kun, you are looking for me?」

「Not Gramps Goru, let me borrow Ms Secretary!」

「Eh? Isn’t that being too mean to me?」

Ignoring Gramps Goru, I walked towards Ms Secretary.

「Ms Secretary!」

「Yes, how may I assist?」

Gramps Goru’s secretary was a competent, beautiful big sister. She was perfect today too, without a strand of hair out of place.

「Please lead me to a place!」

「Lead you? Where?」

She cocked her head, her blonde hair rolling down her neck.

「Corleone-san’s house, he is very famous, right?」

This was a gamble, I heard the Corleone family was famous here, but was it to the extent that everyone knew where he lived. He might keep his residence a secret, and couldn’t be contacted without going through a lieutenant somewhere. That was a good possibility.

Ms Secretary looked at my face with a faint smile.

「If that is all, I might be able to help.」

「That’s great!」

Awesome, if she couldn’t do it, I would be out of ideas.

Ms Secretary bowed at me and walked to Gramps Goru’s side.

「Master, may I take Yu-san to the Corleone mansion?」

「Tch, now I look useless. Okay, I will just play by myself.」

「Apologies for intruding when you are throwing a tantrum, Master.」

「I’m just kidding, don’t be mad. Go on then, remember to give him a reminder.」

「Yes Sir.」

After their conversation, Ms Secretary returned to my side.

「Let us be off.」

Ms Secretary seemed more cheerful than usual.

「You seem very happy.」

「Yes, there isn’t much chance to barge brazenly into the famed Corleone family of the underworld, so this is really exciting.」

Ms Secretary said with a faint smile. She might be misunderstanding that we were going to pick on them? She was actually excited, was Ms Secretary from a war tribe? My mouth turned a little stiff.

I stopped Ms Secretary who wanted to leave the shop excitedly, and went into the storage room to take two necessary items from the hidden vault. I then returned to her.

After pumping myself up, I turned and left the shop.

Asking Ms Secretary to guide me there was the right choice, and I felt relieved.

When I heard the other party was a mafia boss, I thought we would be going to a suspicious bar in some shady street. But contrary to my expectations, Ms Secretary brought me to a high class residential zone with lots of tall buildings. I felt like going home right away. Why did the houses of rich people always seem so intimidating?

However, Ms Secretary was beside me, so I couldn’t act like a wimp.

I took deep breaths, and walked to the giant gates three times as tall as I was.

Two burly men in black were standing there, which looked like a scene out of a movie. Huge mansion, bodyguards, and me, the plebeian.

The men in black already noticed us, and called out when we approached:

「How may I help you?」

They were both huge wolf type beastmen, and I needed to lean my head back to look up at them. I remembered the wolfman attendant Corleone-san always had with him, and there might be many wolfmen inside the hare’s mansion.

I searched my pockets, and the two men took a stance. Oh, they were wary of me. I quickly fished out the thing from my pocket, showing it on my palm.

「I’m here to meet Corleone-san.」

「T-This is……!」

When Corleone-san visited the shop for the first time, he gave me a golden seal as payment for my cooking. He said 『use it to contact me』 when he gave that to me.

So I used it, and it was much more effective than I imagined.

「Pardon my insolence for not knowing you’re a guest bearing a Golden seal! I will open the door for you right away! Hey, notify the guys inside!」

「Yes Sir!」

The wild wolf turned tame in an instant and ushered us in, so Ms Secretary and I entered the gate. Being treated with so much respect felt as uneasy as sitting on a pin cushion.

He politely asked me to wait for a moment. Someone in butler attire jogged over and welcomed me in from the gate, and I entered the mansion. It was hard for me to calm down as if I was some important bureaucrat or noble.

Ms Secretary was amazing, acting the same way as usual without looking around her. She walked forward with a calm face, obviously used to this.

The butler brought us to a drawing room, with a table surrounded by couches on two sides. It was a small room, but the decor was elegant without being overly gaudy.

The butler ushered me to the couch, while Ms Secretary stood diagonally behind me. It seemed that the other party got the wrong idea, but I couldn’t stand up now.

After the butler left the room, it became deathly quiet. Why didn’t Ms Secretary sit down beside me? No, I was a guest, so this was the correct way of doing things. No, I didn’t get it at all, but I do know one thing—— I couldn’t get used to this. I couldn’t sit on the couch like some lord, and could only sit properly like a timid girl.

At this moment, the inner door opened, and I saw Wolfman-san who always accompanied Corleone-san to the shop. He was as big as ever. I then saw a petite hare by his feet, white and fluffy with droopy ears. This hare was Corleone-san.

「I’m glad that you’re visiting, young man.」

I could hear a deep voice in my ears. I learned later that Ms Secretary showed a perturbed face right then, since that dandy voice obviously came from that tiny hare.

I stood up immediately, feeling that was the expected etiquette.

「I’m happy to see you, Corleone-san. My apologies for the sudden visit.」

「It’s fine, it’s great that someone can visit comfortably. As I got on with age, I would be treated with unnecessary ceremonies, which can be annoying at times.」

He might look like a cute, small hare, but inside, he was a cool old man.

「Please, take a seat.」

He said to me, but I remained standing because Wolfman-san was staring daggers at me. He seemed to be saying 「You may not sit yet」, 「I will kill you」 and the likes.

Corleone-san walked closer and jumped onto the couch opposite mine. Wolfman-san’s eyes finally softened, and I sat too.

What kind of etiquette lesson was this? It was wrecking my heart.

「So, what brings you here today? You are probably not here just for a chat, young man.」

Fortunately, Corleone-san got right into the issue, and I felt relieved. I didn’t have experience with such negotiations, and wasn’t sure how to proceed.

After clenching my fists, I leaned forward and said:

「I heard Corleone-san is a gourmet.」


The hare nodded.

「I just learned at the market that all the expensive ingredients had been bought out by the capital, nobles and restaurants.」

「That is true, Holy Fest placed a lot of emphasis on extravagant dishes worthy to be served to St. Eminem, so it’s a day when the culinary world will develop the most.」

「Actually, I want to host a party in the shop.」


「But I don’t have enough ingredients, so I hope Corleone-san can share some with me.」

Wolfman-san growled, signalling that I was out of line, but I couldn’t back down now.

「How did you know that I have ingredients?」

「Corleone-san is a gourmet, and got your hands on a few Devil’s Fruit shortly after it was found in the Labyrinth… Your passion for food was stronger than anyone, and had the connections to get Devil’s Fruit. On this day most important to the culinary world, you must have gathered a lot of ingredients.」

Corleone-san stared at me when he heard that, and his nose kept twitching.

「You are absolutely right. I’m really happy that you know me so well.」

Wolfman-san growled a little sadly.

「As you said, I gathered many ingredients. But not because I like Holy Fest, but to prevent fools who don’t understand the taste of food from using these precious ingredients to make inedible garbage.」

He looked like a cute and fluffy hare on the outside, but his words were viscous.

「During Holy Fest, people will make a lot of dishes, which are then bought, and then discarded. This holiday has been degraded into entertainment for the rich, so I hate this day. I rejected all party invitations and stay home like this.」

He seemed to be implying something.

「Are you saying you can’t share the ingredients with me?」

「I’m not that interested, although I’m curious about the dishes you will make for Holy Fest.」

I chew on Corleone-san’s words in my mind.

He couldn’t stand huge amounts of ingredients being wasted on Holy Fest, which was why he hates Holy Fest, and couldn’t support my party.

I realized I didn’t explain the most fundamental point to him.

「Erm, Corleone-san.」


「The party might be on Holy Fest, but it isn’t a party for St. Eminem.」

「Oh, who is it for then?」

He asked confoundedly.

「It’s a birthday party for a friend.」

Corleone-san was momentarily shocked, and started laughing.

「Young man, are you gathering ingredients for a friend’s birthday party during St. Eminem, which is celebrated throughout the world? That’s why you came to my house? Really?」


When he heard that, Corleone-san started rolling with his hands on his belly, and I could hear him suppressing his laughter. This was totally a scene of a cute hare playing around.

「You are always acting outside of my expectations.」

The hare continued while lying on the couch:

「Is your friend a girl?」


「Is she a beauty?」

「She is absolutely stunning.」

「I see.」

The hare sat down properly.

「The ingredients I gathered are all top class, and it would cost you quite a large sum of money.」

He was testing me, wondering how I would answer. It would be great if I was a cunning linguist, but there was only one thing I could do. I stuck my hand into my other pocket and placed something on the table.

The hare leapt onto the table and looked at that thing.

「Oh! What a find, isn’t this the rough stone of a grey dusk gem?」

This was something I received from Falluba-san one particular evening, a fist sized grey rough stone.

Corleone-san lifted his head and said to me:

「Young man, do you know the value of this thing?」

「I’m not sure, is it not enough?」

「No no no, this is enough, very much enough.」

「I will pay with that thing then.」

When he heard that Corleone-san held his belly and laughed again.

「Hey Simot, have you ever seen a man who is willing to hand over a grey dusk stone just to celebrate a girl’s birthday on Holy Fest? And even came to the Corleone family to negotiate!」

I looked at wolfman-san standing behind him, and wolfman-san looked at me in surprise:

「I have never seen such a fool before.」

He put a lot of gusto when he said ‘fool’.

「But we have such a man standing before us today, Simot!」

After laughing to his heart’s content, Corleone-san sat down properly and looked up at me.

「My apologies for addressing you as a young man all this while. You are an incredible fool. Which means, you are a capable man.」

He then sighed.

「Good food and wine are enticing, but a good woman is another thing. They can fill your grey life with amazing colours. Without woman, a man’s life will have no value to speak of.」

I had no words. The thing he was saying was too deep for a young one like me to comprehend.

「Very well, it is a deal. I will send the ingredients to you tomorrow, you may use them as you please. By the way……」

Corleone-san’s whiskers kept twitching.

「You will invite me, I presumed? I like celebrations a lot.」

I nodded matter of factly.

When I left Corleone-san’s house, it was already evening, making me realize how much time had passed. After that, he said things like 「what dishes will you make?」 or 「Want me to loan you my chef?」 . I had a great time chatting with him and lost track of the time.

As Aina would be coming to the Café after school, Ms Secretary and I bid Corleone-san farewell, and went on our way back.

Liberated from the tense atmosphere, I relaxed a little, but Ms Secretary was as calm as always. On the way back, she bowed at me and said: 「Pardon me for failing to recognize your greatness.」 She seemed to have improved her evaluation of me greatly during my conversation with Corleone-san, but I couldn’t ask her anything and just acknowledged her with a grunt.

Back at the Café, Gramps Goru was slumped at his seat as usual.

Since I secured the ingredients, I told Gramps Goru that I would be hosting a birthday party for Linaria, and he said happily that he would definitely come.

I guess Gramps Goru was someone with a high status. I thought he would be busy on Holy Fest, but since Ms Secretary didn’t say anything, it should be fine.

I watched Ms Secretary drag Gramps Goru back to work, then sat down on a bar stool to rest.

My idea was simple. Since Linaria invited me to Holy Fest but got turned down by me, so this time, I would invite her to a party, that was all. And compared to a ball in the academy, having a party in my shop is more relaxing.

The lack of ingredients came as a surprise, but thanks to Corleone-san, that was resolved too. Next, I need to think about how to apologize to Linaria and invite her to the party. But that was impossible with just me alone.

While I was thinking about Linaria, the door chimed. The sign on the door said we were closed, so there could only be one person that would barge in.

「Sigh, so you are in after all. So why did you put up the closed sign.」

Short, marine coloured hair, school uniform and pale skin. A girl with an air of elegance and the one who saved my life——Aina.

「I was out just now.」

「That means you already thought up a plan?」

She walked to my side with brisk steps, and sat on a chair beside me.

「Let’s hear it.」

「I want to hold a party in this shop.」

「For Holy Fest?」

Aina asked with her head cocked.

「No, it’s a birthday party for Linaria.」

「That’s a splendid idea.」

Aina nodded in agreement.

「But do you have any problems with the ingredients? If you are celebrating a birthday, you can’t just serve normal dishes, even more so if it’s a party. By the way, why a party?」

「I want to go all out and hold a grand party, one that is more alluring than the academy, and I plan to invite all my regular patrons. I don’t know how many will come, but I already have the ingredients ready.」

When she heard that, Aina opened her eyes wide open.

「Can you even buy them now? Everyone’s hit hard by the shortage in ingredients.」

「Hit hard?」

「Yes, since the Corleone family hoarded it all, so the capital and the nobles had a hard time preparing the ingredients. Even if they negotiate directly with the Corleone family, he is famous for not compromising easily when it comes to food……」

It was my turn to be surprised.

「Is that so?」

「Yes, when it comes to food, even the nobles don’t dare to offend Corleone easily. He has an incredible passion for food, and the word on the street is, if you want top class ingredient, you need to find Corleone.」

I finally understood that when Ms Secretary said 「failing to recognize your greatness」 to me, she was complimenting my courage to purchase ingredients from Corleone-san. I knew that he was a great person, but I never imagined him to be this incredible.

「Under such circumstances, who did you buy the ingredients from?」

I groaned, then decided it would be easier to converse by not speaking the truth.

「It’s a secret.」

Aina glared at me, but decided not to pursue the matter.

「Anyway, it’s great that you can hold a party. So, how do you plan to make up with Linaria-san?」

That was a problem.

「Aina, can you bring her to this shop?」

「That will be difficult.」

Aina said with her fist near her lips:

「Linaria-san has a hard-to-approach air about her in school, so even if I invited her, she might not agree. Well… she is wary of me.」

I concurred with a nod. To Linaria, Aina was a stalker, and she probably didn’t like the idea of visiting my shop.

「The only way left is……」

I said, and Aina nodded.

「Yes, you have to find her yourself.」

I already considered that and wasn’t too surprised, but I still felt uneasy.

「But the school prohibits outsiders from entering, right?」

「Yes, students need to show their card when entering the school too, and there are sentries at the entrance.」

Since many nobles and wealthy children attend the academy, security was naturally tight. It would be difficult to infiltrate.

「Is there no other way?」

「No, it’s possible, I have an idea.」

Aina raised her hands to face level and clapped twice. With that signal, the door opened and a white flash entered nimbly. Most shocking of all, the door didn’t chime at all. How was that possible?

I turned and saw a girl in maid attire standing behind Aina. She entered through the door, but her posture there was so natural that I thought she had been there all along.

Aina stared at my shocked face with a cheerful face.

「Normally, it will be impossible to infiltrate into the academy, but since this is right before the Holy Fest ball, there is a way.」

「No, erm, can you stop pretending that nothing has happened? Who is this maid?」

Aina ignored me and said with her chest puffed up:

「Listen up, the ball is a battlefield for the nobles. It is a great place to get to know excellent people in the academy and build up connections. Depending on the situation, it is also a place to choose a prospective wedding partner.」

I listened to Aina as I snuck glances at the maid. She had her hands crossed before her abdomen with her gazes lowered, and didn’t move an inch.

「And of course, the students will put in effort to dress up, and there will be decor delivered from their homes and workshops. And the ones carrying these are the servants from outside the academy.」

Aina raised her left hand gently.

「Totto, give me that.」

「Yes, milady.」

The maid named Totto reached behind her waist and took out a white cloth bundle, and placed it on the bar counter. I decided to ignore the issue of the maid for now, and looked at the white bundle. It was quite sizable, and there should be something soft inside.

「Open it.」

Aina said, and I undid the bundle’s knot without any hesitation. Inside was a neatly folded set of black coat, black pants, and a white shirt.

「Could this be……」

This might be a different world, but the clothing culture wasn’t too different, so I immediately realized what this set of clothes could be.

「Yes, it’s a butler attire.」

Aina said.

「Put this on to disguise yourself as my servant, and infiltrate the school.」

Aina said decisively with her finger pointed right at me.

「…… You seemed really excited.」

「Milady has always admired the lives of adventurers.」


The maid said softly, and Aina wailed with blushed cheeks as she waved her hands at the maid. She then glared at me.

「That’s not true.」

「I think it’s great though, I like adventures too.」

「Anyway, forget about it right now!」

Aina puffed her cheeks. Totto really enjoyed seeing Aina throwing a fuss, and it was clear how the relationship between them was.

「Anyway, I will help you get into the academy! Listen, this is a special exception, so be grateful and tell Linaria-san how useful I am, and also……」

「And also?」

I asked, and Aina lowered her gaze as she poked the tips of her index fingers together.

「…… I hope you can invite me to the party.」

The answer to that was obvious.

We put the plan into action immediately.

Now was as good a time as any, and I had a more pressing need.

Simply put, there wasn’t much time left. To invite everyone to the party, I need to contact my regulars, and Corleone-san will be sending the ingredients over tomorrow, so I need to think of the menu too.

If I wanted to apologize to Linaria, I needed to quicken the pace, and invite her as early as possible. That fueled my desire to infiltrate the academy as soon as possible.

But I wanted to confess one thing, this plan seemed to be full of holes, since criminals wouldn’t be fazed if they could infiltrate the academy by just wearing butler attires.

I thought to myself as I changed clothes in the back room of the Café. The size was too big, but that couldn’t be helped. As expected of nobles, the texture felt great and I could understand how finely tailored it was.

According to Aina, Linaria had been visiting the library every day after school was out. It was already evening, so I should be able to make it if I rush over there now, so the three of us headed to the academy.

I felt a bit awkward wearing the butler attire I wasn’t used to, and infiltrating the academy made me feel tense. I reached the academy while thinking about all that.

I was dumbstruck by the grandiose of the academy building.

This was the first time I had seen such a gigantic building in this world, which could only be described as a castle rising into the sky.

With a spire rising in the centre, the walls and towers were erected on both sides in symmetry. Countless windows were lined up neatly in equidistance on the buildings, and white pillars formed the passageways. Behind them were huge buildings with roofs that had sharp angles, and looked just like a castle surrounded by city walls. How was this an academy? It would be weird if a king wasn’t living here. The wide open school gates were majestic, and the white walls that extended far to the left and right.

There was a non stop flow of pedestrians and elegantly decorated carriages, with a few guards inspecting the cargo. Aina passed through the entrance brazenly, with the maid and I following behind her. The guard glanced our way, but didn’t check Aina’s student pass.

「Eh, aren’t they going to check your pass?」

When she heard that, Aina smiled sweetly at me.

「I told you they would check our student passes, but that was a lie.」


「There are strict restrictions in the purchase of uniforms, so I can enter freely by wearing one.」

「Why did you lie……」

「Well, they won’t check for passes, but it’s the truth that you can’t enter without a uniform. Because I’m here, you can enter while wearing a servant’s attire.」

Since she said so, I could only accept it. Maybe I could have entered by just applying through the proper channels?

The academy grounds were large and the grounds were all stone paved, and there were huge fountains and courtyards too. I looked around me, and all the buildings I saw were grand with the majesty of history behind them. However, the high walls around us also felt cramped and suffocating.

There were many students in uniform in the academy, and they all looked around my age. I felt out of place and uncomfortable here, understanding once again that I was an outsider.

I tried to not look around me and walked with my head bowed.

I didn’t know how long I walked, it felt like a long way, yet short at the same time. When I realized it, Aina had stopped.

I looked up, and found a short flight of steps leading to a grey building. The other places were all white, and only this place looked as if its colours had faded, giving it a deeper sense of history. The two-storied rectangular building had a crude aura about it.

「This is the library, Linaria-san should be inside…… Are you alright?」

Aina turned to me, her eyes filled with worry. I said with a smile:

「Of course, I will be right back.」

I shook my head to perk myself up, then climbed the stairs. The stairs were deep, so I needed to walk two steps on each of the stairs. The library doors were wide open, giving it a cold atmosphere of a public facility and the smell of ancient history, like mold, dust and old papers.

It was like the grand chapel.

This was a rectangular space so wide that you could barely look from one end to the next. Book shelves were spread equally on either side, with a bookcase that reached the ceiling placed right next to a wall. The book shelves beside the passageway were so tall you needed to raise your head to see the top, and the shelves formed a sort of Labyrinth with ladders spaced out around them.

The large tables in the centre each seated 8 people, and they were all students.

Using a red head as a marker, I slowly walked along the passageway.

The students who tore their eyes away from their books to look at me were all puzzled. My butler attire stood out, but I tried my best to ignore that and swiftly headed deeper in.

After walking for a while, when I thought she had probably gone back, I finally found my target. She was seated in a corner of the innermost table. Her left elbow was on the table as she leaned slightly forward to stare at her book.

When I approached her, she didn’t turn to the next page. Her textbook was open, but she wasn’t reading it.

My heart started racing out of the blue. I became nervous, and thought about why I was here. I was always hiding in my shop, so what was I doing here in the library of the academy? And wearing butler attire at that.

The answer was stupidly simple.

I came to meet that girl.

She came to my shop like a stray cat, and when she was gone, I searched for her and ended up here.

When I saw her eyes that were looking at the book, her long lashes and the bright coloured hair on her shoulder, I felt that nothing else mattered. I felt small for holding firm to my wish to go home and refusing to integrate into this world. I just wanted to speak with her right now.

I walked to the seat before her, but she didn’t look up. I pulled the chair and sat down, then stared at her with my arms crossed, wondering when she would notice me.

At this moment, someone in another seat coughed, which caused a ripple in this silence. She lifted her head and opened her mouth wide when she saw me.

「…… Why?」

Of all the faces I had seen her make, this was the closest to her true self. I laughed happily and called her name.

「Hi Linaria, how are you doing?」

She opened and shut her mouth several times and looked around her.

「How am I doing…? No, instead of that, erm, why are you here?」

「Why? I’m here for you, Linaria, I came to see you.」

「How did you do it?」

I spread my arms wordlessly.

「…… What’s with your clothes?」

「It can’t be helped, Aina said I can’t come in if I don’t wear this.」

Linaria frowned at that. She seemed reserved towards Aina.

「Don’t make that face, she helped me a lot.」

「…… I will think about it.」

My worst fears didn’t happen, and I was happy that we could talk like usual.



I lowered my head in apology.

「I’m very sorry for turning you down even though you took the effort to invite me.」

I stared at the grains of the table, but Linaria didn’t react.

I didn’t know how many seconds had passed. I couldn’t help but peeked at her, and saw Linaria covering her face with both hands. Huh?

「Erm, Linaria?」

「No, stop talking about that, it’s embarrassing.」

She mumbled, and I felt relieved, and the urge of laughter welled up in me. I shouldn’t laugh at her, but she was just too cute, so it couldn’t be helped.

She noticed I was suppressing my laughter, and glared at me through the gaps of her fingers with one eye. I could tell from just that gap that her face was red from embarrassment.

「Why are you laughing, don’t you know how embarrassing it is for a girl’s invitation to get rejected immediately?」

「I’m really sorry, I don’t really understand things like that, so of course I don’t know.」

「If you know now, then don’t smile like that.」

She was going to get angry for real, so I held back my laughter, but couldn’t hide the smile on my face. That was why Linaria was glaring at me.

「I can’t do this, my mood has been messed up by you. Just what do you want? What are you doing here in those weird clothes?」

Linaria stretched her back like a kitten with her arms pulled forward, and buried her face between them.

「Actually, I’m here to invite you. And saying weird clothes is unnecessary.」


Linaria raised her head.

「To where?」

I took a few deep breaths, realizing that inviting someone was very nerve wracking. I am worried about being rejected, but I still met Linaria’s gaze and said:

「Will you be free in three days? That just happens to be Holy Fest.」

Linaria shivered.

「I-I see, I wonder if I am free? Hmm.」

「You are not going to the academy’s ball, right?」

「…… How did you know?」


「Damn it……」

Linaria buried her face in her hands again. And I could hear her mumbling something.

「I’m free.」

「I see, that’s great.」

I poked the back of Linaria’s left palm with my index finger.

「I want to hold a party in the Café on that day and invite my regulars to a meal.」

Linaria pulled her left hand back, and I poked her right palm this time.

「…… Ahem, not bad, sounds like fun.」

「If possible, I hope Linaria can come too.」

Linaria didn’t react.

「If possible, I hope Linaria can come too.」

I repeated myself, and Linaria’s shoulders quivered. I waited for her to speak, but she didn’t react and kept trembling her shoulders. There was no other way. I took a deep breath, using the voice I trained by serving customers to shout:

「If possible, I hope Linaria——!」

「Wait! I get it! I will go! I will go, so be quiet!」

I could feel the gazes of the students inside the library focused on us. I always avoided such gazes, but gathered them on my own violation this time without minding too much. If I could get this panicking goal to agree, then everything was worth it.

「Aina will pick you up in the evening three days later.」

「Pick me up? But why?」

To stop you from finding out that it was your birthday party. So I would ask Aina to fetch you only when we were ready.

—— And of course, I didn’t leak the plan.

Final Chapter

After completing my academy infiltration mission, my days turned really busy.

I invited my regulars to the birthday party during operation hours. I only limited it to those who knew Linaria, since I couldn’t invite everyone. If I had more people, I could ask more people, but it wasn’t possible at this juncture. Fortunately, many people, such as adventurers, took the day off on Holy Fest eve.

I needed to prepare the ingredients after closing shop, and the quantities sent by Corleone-san were amazing, which included many things I had never seen before. It was tough tasting each ingredient and thinking about what to make with them.

I didn’t expect it, but I was lucky that the Corleone family chef came to my shop with the ingredients. He was proficient in making party food, and I asked him to help me to prepare those, while I focused on my own dishes.

I also went to buy something, and it was obvious what it was for. It was lame to not send a present during a birthday celebration, so this took the most effort from me.

As I busied myself, prepared for the party, brewed Coffee and so forth, when I realized it, it was already Holy Fest.

Holy Fest was incredibly festive, with lucky strings hanging on all the buildings, banners with elegant embroidery and colourful frills in a mix of vivid colours. There weren’t high class ingredients, but the stall owners who used all the ingredients they had saved in one go were earning a killing. People flood in from all directions, and just walking on the streets was difficult.

The situation didn’t change too much close to evening. There were sounds of drums, flutes and some incredible brass tube instruments, and the voices of people were nonstop. There were bonfires everywhere, with bright lights in every house. There was this phrase that said “the city never sleeps”, and the night had disappeared from this city on this day.

It was the same in my shop.

The decor in the shop was completely different from usual.

The chairs were pushed to the walls or into storage, leaving just the tables. Large plates were placed on the tables and the bar counter with plenty of food, along with all sorts of beverages.

Almost everything was prepared by the chef Corleone-san sent over, and I didn’t have that much work to do.

That was because there were a lot more regulars joining the party than I expected.

I thought there would just be a few people, but there were enough people to fill the entire shop. Thanks to that, we didn’t have enough food and the chef was making more right now.

「Yu-san, the wine Corleone-san brought is really high grade.」

Ms Secretary whispered to me.

The shop was noisy because the regulars were conversing with each other, so it would be hard to hear her without doing this.

「Please put it in that corner, those who want a glass can help themselves.」

「Will that be fine? Even nobles can’t afford such good wine.」

「It’s fine. I won’t know what to do with it anyway, so let me treat you, Ms Secretary.」

「…… It’s been a while since I received such a troubling temptation.」

Ms Secretary furrowed her brows troublingly. She seemed to be a wine lover.

She was wearing something different from her usual suit. It wasn’t a gown, but her clothes looked more elegant than usual, which increased her mature charm and made my heart race.

「Don’t lay your hands on her.」

While I was mesmerized, I heard a voice from behind. I didn’t need to turn back to know it was Gramps Goru.

「I won’t.」

「Hmmp, how boring.」

Gramps Goru came as invited. He kept chatting with others and ate heartily, and was the one who was enjoying himself the most.

「Oh, a new dish! I must try some.」

He yelled and charged to the dish that had just been served.

「Can he stay here right now? He doesn’t have anything else scheduled?」

I asked Ms Secretary, and she shook her head.

「He skipped out on work as usual.」

「That can’t be good.」

「I already informed them that I will bring him back, so it will be fine for now.」


I checked out Ms Secretary from head to toe, she was dressed to enjoy the party.

Bring him back? Dressed like that?

「Well, there are times when I want to let go and enjoy myself. When I heard about an interesting party in this wonderful shop, of course I will participate. I always works seriously, so can you forgive me for just today?」

The usually cold, poker faced beautiful big sister smiled gently with a wink. There were no men in this world who could resist. It was impossible. I nodded firmly.

Ms Secretary looked at the wine in her hand, and went to the wine connoisseur corner of the shop. She was going to drink it, right? I wanted to see.

「Yu-san! The dishes are done!」

Nina ran over from the back of the shop. She usually works in the mansion of a noble, and would purchase Coffee beans here for the mansion’s use. She was a regular who would visit the Café on her day off.

「Thank you, and sorry for asking you to help on your day off.」

「Don’t mind it! I love to work!」

Nina, who was in maid attire, flexed her biceps, and was planning to help right from the start. She came early and worked hard from the layout, serving dishes and ushering the guests. I invited her as a guest, but she was working so hard. I felt bad about this, but she was a great help.

「Nina, please enjoy the party too.」

「Yes! I’m already enjoying it a lot!」

She smiled brilliantly before rushing off in a hurry with a pot to refill the guests’ glasses. What an amazing girl.

There was a large crowd in the shop, and I knew everyone here.

The usually deserted Café had drawn in so many customers before I realized it.

Elf nee-san was seated by the window wearing brighter clothing than usual. She braided her hair and read books as usual. The old dwarf and old grocer were discussing something heatedly. The beastman brothers were sharing a mountain of food. The girl delivering the ingredients and daily necessities to the shop listened to Gramps Goru’s stories with sparkling eyes.

Nortri was seated weakly in a corner, her mother was squatting before her and speaking with her. Mama Notri was smiling gently while Nortri averted her face bashfully, what a warming scene.

「Good evening.」

I greeted the two of them, and Nortri turned her face to the side.

「Café Master! Thank you for taking care of my child. Notri, say something.」

「He didn’t…… take care of me……」

Nortri shook her head.

「That can’t be? You keep talking about Café Master at home.」

「No I didn’t… You’re saying nonsense……」

「You sure are a handful.」

Mama Notri ruffled Notri’s hair, and Notri’s attempt to get away was futile. Mama Notri smiled, and Nortri seemed really happy too. Families are great, I thought as I walked away.

All the customers seemed very happy.

However, Falluba-san in human form and Arbel-san who tied up her silver hair into a bun glared at each other tensely.

And that created a deserted zone around them.

「Is something wrong?」

I asked, and they turned to me and said:

「Café Master! You came at the right time! Tell this big bodied taste idiot! Tell him that he don’t understand the delicious taste of Coffee!」

Arbel-san shouted.

「Oh, Café Master! Great! Knock some senses into this lanky taste retard! Tell her that it’s a waste to serve her Coffee!」

Falluba-san yelled.

They both had biased opinions about Coffee, so I decided to ignore this useless argument.

「Hey, Café Master! Where are you going!?」

「Right, Café Master! We are not done yet!」

I hoped the two of them would get along.

At the same time, a buff wolfman and a white hare with droopy ears were standing before the table with the dishes, with the hare chewing nonstop.

「Corleone-san, I’m really indebted to you this time.」

I bowed, and he looked up at me while continuing to chew:

「Pay it no mind, this is a proper contract, and I received just compensation. Speaking of which, what is this dish? It’s tender and springy, and the juice and sauce are delicious too.」

「This is grilled Hamburg steak, I’m planning to add this into the menu in the near future.」

「Hmm, that’s another reason to dine here. Do tell me if you are out of work, I will definitely hire you.」

I couldn’t help grinning. Even if this Café got closed down, I had another means of making a living.

「Simot, eat up too, this is delicious.」

「But Boss, meat with tender texture is……」

「What are you talking about? Even I am eating meat, as a representative of carnivores, why are you so picky?」

I turned to leave, and could hear their conversations from behind me. I went through the crowd towards the entrance, it was almost time for her to come.

The party should be held quietly, but because all the guests had strong personalities, it became unexpectedly rowdy. I felt uneasy, wondering if everyone knew the original goal.

While I was waiting worriedly, the door opened without the chime ringing. The one entering with such a mysterious technique was Aina’s personal maid, Totto.

「They will be here soon.」

「I see, thank you.」

I asked Aina and her to fetch Linaria.

That’s right, this was Linaria’s birthday party, and a surprise party at that.

I clapped my hands a few times, and the guests focused their eyes on me.

「Everyone, thank you very much for coming here on Holy Fest. On this day where the world celebrates Holy Fest, there is one person who is more worthy of celebration. That’s right, it’s Linaria.」

The shop broke out into whistles and applause. They were all eager to play along.

「Today is the birthday of our Linaria! This is a party to celebrate her birthday, the Holy Fest is just a sideshow! The star, Linaria, will be coming here soon!」

The place erupted into cheers, and the atmosphere was a little scary. I didn’t feel confident about leading everyone. My instincts were usually on point, especially at times like this.

「Everyone listen up! Don’t let your guard down!」

Gramps Goru jumped out with his hands held high.

「We are celebrating for our cute Linaria! Go all out! Get ready!」

Suddenly, lights filled the place, which was undoubtedly the light from a magic circle.

Hey, wait, could it be…

Before I could stop it, the door was already open and lights shone in from everywhere.


Someone yelled:


Everyone’s voices overlapped each other, and colourful lights flew inside the shop. This was either this way of celebrating in this world, or something like a party popper. But...

Everyone was very happy.

A few hours had passed, but the shop was as rowdy as ever.

With Gramps Goru’s mysterious show of talent as the cue, the shop held impromptu performances. I couldn’t keep up with their intense emotions, and quietly left the shop.

The sky had completely darkened, and the yellow street lights were lit.

I had an indescribable feeling.

When I first started this shop, there weren't any customers, and there was a lot of space. And now? It felt really cramped, the shop seemed small with so many people here.

When did the number of people increase so much?

When did he get so many willing customers for his Café?

Totto’s laughter came from the shop I started, and felt strange from outside the shop. In short, it was wonderful.

I showed a satisfied smile, and the shop opened at this moment, and the happy noises leaked out from inside.

「…… What are you doing?」

It was Linaria. She was wearing her uniform as usual, but she had let her hair down today.

「I’m here to get some air.」

「I see.」

With that, Linaria left the shop. When the door closed, the noises faded away. The two of us stood outside and stared blankly at the sky.



「Thank you for holding this party for me.」

「You’re welcomed.」

I felt a little bashful, but my feelings of pride outshone that.

「This is the first time someone celebrated my birthday for me.」


I turned to her.

「Yes, I got separated from my parents when I was young, so this is the first time anyone celebrated my birthday. I’m so happy, and it feels like this will make up for all the birthday I didn’t celebrate.」

I will never forget her smile today. I couldn’t describe how charming she was.

「I’m really grateful.」

I regressed to my grade school days and kept nodding. I suddenly became nervous, since anyone would get tense after seeing that smile. I hid the present for Linaria in the pocket of my apron, and now was the best time to give it to her.

「Oh, I became friends with Aina.」

I was thinking about how to switch topics when she said that to me.


「This is better than she following me around, I know she isn’t a bad person.」

「That’s great.」

Aina seemed very lively at the party, and this might be the reason. She must be overjoyed.

「And so, I can study in the academy now. However……」

Linaria said with her hands crossed behind her, staring at the ground.

「Can I still come here?」

I laughed at the sight of Linaria peeking at me to watch for my reaction.

I suddenly remembered what Gramps Goru said.

Home wasn’t the only place we could return to.

If my shop could become a place where someone wanted to return to, there would be nothing more blissful than that.

This was a different world, there were magic, Labyrinth, beastman and other races. However, the people here weren’t so different from us, they sought out a place to return to, love delicious food, and would gather to celebrate a friend’s birthday wholeheartedly.

I looked right into Linaria’s eyes.

「Of course, I will be waiting for you in the shop.」

「—— Yes.」

Linaria nodded firmly.

I finally had the feeling that I was integrating into this world a little, and understood what I should do. I couldn’t be a hero or adventure in the Labyrinth, but there were things I could do—— that was how I felt.

I still had the important mission of giving Linaria the gift, which was in my pocket.

I reached into my pocket with an invincible feeling.

「Hey Linaria! Where are you!」

When I was about to call Linaria’s name, I heard Gramps Goru call from inside the shop. The strength left my body at this instant, and Linaria smiled awkwardly.

「I wonder what’s happening? I’m heading back.」

「Yes, I will go with you.」

Her long vermillion hair swayed behind her and Linaria returned to the shop. The important mission was on hold for now, and I put the gift back in my pocket with a wry smile.

Never mind, I could probably give it to her smoothly next time.

And I could definitely live on in this world.

When I returned to the shop, I noticed the sign was saying 「Open for Business」. So I flipped it and hung it back.

I then open the door to the shop filled with laughter.

Bonus Chapter: Memories of Rainy Days

「It’s raining.」

Linaria muttered while looking out the window. She curled her bangs with her finger with a sighed.

「It is.」

I answered after looking out the window.

The rain that started out in the morning with a fog-like drizzle turned into a downpour that could soak the hems of one’s pants. On days like this, business would be slow. It was afternoon now, but there was just Linaria here.

So I had nothing to do, no customers to greet, and just waited blankly with Linaria for time to pass.

「I hate rainy days.」

「But why? Because you will get wet?」

「That’s one reason.」

Linaria reached into her long vermillion hair on her shoulder and flicked it behind her. She then fidgeted with her hair and said:

「I bid farewell with my parents on a rainy day too.」

「Hold it right there.」

That wasn’t a topic to bring out right now.

It was too heavy. For idle chatter, it was too heavy for me to respond with a 「Yes, it can’t be helped.」

「Just kidding.」

Seeing me panic, Linaria said with a devious smile.

「…… I completely understand that you have no talent for jokes.」

「Oh, how regrettable, I will think of a more interesting joke next time.」

Linaria said cheerfully, while fatigue washed over me.

She supported her cheek with one arm on the table.

「Rainy days makes me feel lonely, it has a feeling of solitude.」

「Solitude, huh.」

I thought about my past, and realized I had never felt this way before.

「I like rainy days though.」

「But why?」

I moved the Coffee cup in my hand to my face and said:

「Because I like holding a hot cup of Coffee like this and enjoying the scenery outside. The scenery on rainy days were completely different from what I have been used too, and the sound of rain is also healing for the soul.」

Linaria suddenly turned silent. I looked her way, and saw she had a look of surprise.

「…… What is it?」

When she heard me ask that, she said with an impressed voice:

「You sound like a bard, this is the first time I met someone describing rainy days like that.」

「You are praising me, right?」

「No, I’m taking a dig at you.」

At that, I rolled up my sleeves.

「Let’s take this outside. I won’t hold back against a girl.」

「You’re on, the results of my melee combat classes have always been great.」

I silently rolled down my sleeves.

「I hate the rain, it’s wet and moist, and my clothes won’t dry.」

「I should learn your speed at changing your pace……」

I ignored the dumbfounded gaze pricking the side of my face, and took a sip of my Coffee. Coffee tasted extra strong on rainy days, and it’s fragrance was more calming than on normal days.

We didn’t say anything to each other. We stared out the windows blankly, with just the sound of the rain inside the shop.

There were still pedestrians on rainy days, and quite a number at that. Some wrapped their coats tightly around them and others held large umbrellas, people passed by the window nonstop.

In our field of vision, there was a child in a bright red raincoat charging into a puddle and playing in it; a woman followed the child, squatted down and said something briefly. She then stood up and the two left while holding hands. They were all smiles, walking in the rain while sharing an umbrella.

They were probably parent and child. I peeked at Linaria, and she was looking out the window without any change in expression. But she seemed a bit more melancholic, probably because of the rain.

I wanted to say something to her, formulating words in my mind.

「I bought a new umbrella recently.」

When she heard that, Linaria looked my way.

「Speaking of umbrella, have you heard the rumour that the words you hear under an umbrella sound the nicest?」


「I only heard about it, and don’t know if it is true. Since it is raining, why don’t we give it a try?」

「You want to try now because it happens to be raining?」

Linaria looked at me suspiciously.

「Yes, that has been troubling me all this while, and I can’t confirm it alone.」

「Is there a need to confirm this?」

「I’m really bothered by this, so let’s go.」

I said while undoing my apron. Linaria opened her eyes wide at that, and then showed a gentle expression.

「Alright, I get it, it can’t be helped.」

I held the umbrella and left the shop with Linaria as the gentle drizzle fell.

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