Saturday, September 4, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V2 (3 of 6)


Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro


We decided to carry out the plan on a day when the Cafe was closed. That way, we could start preparing in the morning and change the Cafe’s layout.

That might be so, but decorating too much might make Kree-aniki nervous, so we preserved the usual atmosphere, and made it just a little special.

I laid a white table cloth on the table for the couple, and placed a candle stand on it. This was enough to change the mood.

I put in a lot of effort, but there was no doubt that Corleone-san went all out.

When the wagon filled with first class ingredients arrived at the shopfront, I wondered how many portions I was supposed to make. I peeked inside the wagon when taking the ingredients, and saw a humongous fridge and freezer inside.

「This is… amazing.」

I gasped in awe, and the chef who took out vegetables from the fridge said with a laugh:

「I know, right? There aren’t many ingredients ferrying wagons as good as this one. The thing on your side is a fridge, and over here is a heater box.」

「Heater box?」

「Never heard of it, right? Well, for example, Fergolle eggs found in the volcanic area would flow out like lava when cracked. It would be hot even without cooking it. However, the egg would solidify quicker if the temperature drops, making it unpalatable. The heater box is needed for ingredients like this.」

How particular… It must be crude to ask this, but how much does this cost……

「The Corleone house would ferry ingredients with wagons everyday to import and export within the city and with other cities.」

「Every day?」

「There are many shops asking us for help with their supply line.」

If you had already gone so far, why not quit with the Mafia business and focus on this trade? This was far above the level of a side gig……

That aside, thanks to Corleone-san, I had a mountain of ingredients, and only one chef who came here. Part of the reason was the cramped size of my kitchen, and we just needed to make a meal for two.

The chef had already started prepping. I wanted to help, but there was nothing for me to do. I could only watch in awe as the professional showcased his skills.

I decided to leave the cooking to the chef and focus on being a server.

The sky was getting darker outside, and Kree-aniki would be arriving with the girl he fancied soon.

What kind of person was she? … I was looking forward to meeting her.

「That was a delicious meal, thank you, Kree-san. You know a wonderful shop.」

Medello-san smiled warmly, while Kree-aniki waved his arms exaggeratingly with vague and mumbling answers.

「You’re flattering me, I’m just glad you don’t mind this cramped place.」

Sorry about my Café being a cramped place —— I wanted to interject, but held my peace. I just stood a short distance away with a business smile.

Their dinner ended on a good note as we hoped.

As expected of Corleone-san’s personal chef.

The appetizer used ingredients from the Labyrinth, and also foreign ingredients like vegetables, mushrooms and cheese. The chef served all of them separately on the same plates, every one of his cooking took a surprising amount of effort.

Next was a cold soup dish made with vegetables I wasn’t familiar with, and a fish fillet made from a bright yellow fish. This was followed by a Hamburg steak roasted by me. I felt embarrassed that it was served as the main dish. Having to follow up the act of a professional with my home cooking troubled me a lot.

The dessert was shaved ice with lots of fruits, to round up the luxurious meal that didn’t match this cramped shop.

Kree-aniki was nervous after seeing the extravagant dishes not seen in any bars. He clanked his utensils and dropped his fork, which hurt his cool image. Despite that, Medello-san had a sweet and charming smile throughout the meal, and didn’t mind him at all.

Medello-san’s beauty and character was beyond Corleone-san and my imagination.

She was a petite lady that could be completely hidden behind Kree-aniki, her brown locks swaying gently in the wind. Her slightly drooping eyes gave an impression of gentle bashfulness. The large wings drawn back behind her showed her identity as a Bird Tribeman. Her dress was open in the back, which was normal for winged races, but her demeanour was graceful and elegant like a maiden, and she could fit in easily at any high class restaurant.

On the other hand, Kree-aniki was convinced by us to not wear his tuxedo that was almost bursting at the seams. His attire was tidier and cleaner than usual, but that was his everyday clothes.

「Do you visit here often?」 Medello-san asked.

「Y-Yes, I come here all the time. I found this shop when I first came to this city. The signboard is really eye catching.」

「Yes, the picture on it is very pretty.」

「Isn’t that right? So I came in to take a look, and my bro said he will treat me to a drink, to wish me luck for my trip into the Labyrinth.」

From a bystander’s perspective, I could see that she was aware of Kree-aniki’s nervousness. Medello-san would keep the conversation going at adequate moments, and ask Kree-aniki easy to answer questions during lull time.

「And he treated me to something called Iced Coffee.」

「Iced Coffee?」

「Yes, I thought it was something common in the city at first, but I haven’t seen it in any other shops.」

「Is that so, this is the first time I have heard of it.」

「It’s dark, have a fragrant smell but taste bitter, that’s not something……」

Kree-aniki stopped midway and glanced at me.

I looked back at him with a smile.

「…… Something you can miss out on! The bitterness is different from that of beer, ehh……」

「It’s addicting?」 Medello-san finished his sentence.

「That’s right! It’s addictive, and the after taste is refreshing too!」

「I see. Kree-san do you drink this Iced Coffee often?」

I could see from where I was standing that Kree-aniki’s temples were twitching.

What a difficult question to answer. After that first drink, Kree-aniki wouldn’t drink Coffee no matter how many times I recommended it to him. But when a girl asked him that, not many men would admit they didn’t drink any. After all, half of a man’s heart was filled with vanity.

「Y-Yes, isn’t that right, owner!」

Kree-aniki was really bad at lying, and he knew that too, so he tossed the topic to me.

「That’s right, he would order it every time.」

I answered without batting an eye. Kree-aniki sighed in relief at that.

But it was still too early to relax. If we follow the flow of the conversation……

Medello-san clapped her hands and said:

「In that case, can we drink this beverage called Iced Coffee today? I’m very interested.」


Kree-aniki opened his mouth wide with a 「Oh no」 face. I suppressed my urge to laugh, and Medello-san was smiling happily.

Oh, she’s……

I felt a strike of inspiration.

「I will make it for both of you as a special service.」

「Thank you, owner.」

I locked eyes with Medello-san bowing towards me, and felt a sense of comradery.

She might look elegant, but she wasn’t a naive maiden. She had already seen through Kree-aniki’s lies, and was intentionally leading the flow of the conversation.

I smiled awkwardly before going to the kitchen.

I swiftly prepared the Iced Coffee to serve it, and found the two of them chatting away happily. The mood was great, and I felt guilty about disturbing them.

「Iced Coffee for you.」 I placed the two cups of Iced Coffee before the two of them.

Medello-san covered her mouth gently as she observed the Iced Coffee.

「It’s really dark, this is the first time I had seen a beverage like this.」

「Isn’t that right, I was surprised the first time I saw it too.」

Kree-aniki seemed haughty for some reason as he held the Iced Coffee. Seeing that, Medello-san held the cup with both hands too.

Both cups were the same size, but it felt small in Kree-aniki’s hands, while it looked as big as a beer mug when Medello-san was holding it. The optical illusion was really terrifying.

Kree-aniki gulped, closed his eyes and drank a big mouthful of Iced Coffee. This wasn’t poison though……

「Ugh! Guh! T-This is delicious……」


Medello-san watched with gentle eyes as Kree-aniki showed his manly side. Her mouth curved in a smile as she sipped the Coffee.

「Oh…… This is a fascinating taste, it’s bitter and refreshing at the same time.」

「Right!? This is Iced Coffee.」

「I see, so this is Iced Coffee.」

Kree-aniki was proud, and Medello-san smiled at him.

This was the first time I saw the two of them dine together.

After that, they often visited my shop together. So it was a matter of them before she found out that my place didn’t usually serve dinner. Medello-san really liked the dinner she had that day and felt it was a pity. She wanted to meet Corleone-san who helped Kree-aniki on that night.

On that day when Medello-san and Corleone-san were meeting for the first time, Corleone-san seemed uneasy.

When I teased him 「it’s not like your daughter is introducing her prospective husband to you」, he snorted with a stamp of his feet.

Things went smoothly after that. When Medello-san greeted him, she complimented 「that hat really suits you」, which put Corleone-san in a great mood.

「You’re a great girl who understands the good points of different interest.」

「So that’s your favourite hat, huh.」

I grew closer with Medello-san too.

Since she often ordered Iced Coffee, and said 「I can’t get enough of this fascinating taste.」

Those who liked Coffee couldn’t be bad, so she was a good person.

「So you use Coffee to judge someone’s character?」

I ignored what Corleone-san said.

We would go out for a meal together, and listen to her singing.

For me, this was an incredible experience.

Until recently, I had avoided leaving the shop, my shopping was done through deliveries, and there wasn’t any need to dine outside.

That was because I was scared of getting used to this world, and didn’t want my memories of the place I should return to to fade.

However, ever since Holy Fest, the melancholic feelings swirling in my chest seemed to have found an outlet of compromise. When I realized it, I had been dragged by Corleone-san and Kree-aniki to various places.

And the results?

I was so against it in the beginning, and felt surprised by how much I enjoyed myself.

Corleone-san shared his knowledge about cooking. Kree-aniki let it in one ear and out the other as he chow down on delicious food. Medello-san would ask him to keep it in moderation while answering Corleone-san from time to time. I watched this scene as I shared this moment with them, and naturally felt happy about it.

Life would keep on flowing with time, just like how my feelings changed.

These changes weren’t subjectively good nor evil, and we couldn’t stop this change. The only thing we could do was to think about how we should handle the change we would face.

And the turning points in life usually came when we least expected it.


One morning, Medello-san visited alone before I opened my shop with a melancholic expression.

I hadn’t seen Medello-san recently, so I was surprised by her visit, and heard her out with unease.

「Actually, I’m going back to my home town.」

Medello-san got right to the point.

「I received a letter saying my mother had fallen ill, and my father is getting old… And I can’t just abandon my sister.」

Medello-san then told her story in disjointed fragments.

To become a singer, she ignored the objections of her family and came here from her hometown, but had not realized her dreams yet. She thought that she was so close, just a little bit more. But it was time to end her dream.

「My family had watched over the farmlands in the village for generations, so… I need to go back, and find a husband to marry into my family… That’s what I have decided.」

Medello-san said as she caressed the brim of her Iced Coffee cup.

「Even so, I still want to pursue my dream. I like to sing, and this is my only good point. I want to become a dazzling singer in a big city filled with bright lights… But it didn’t work out.」

After saying that, she smiled sincerely without any wavering in her heart.

「I wilfully left my hometown to take on this challenge, and woke up from my dream, that’s all to it. But I met Kree-san, Corleone-san and Yu-san. The times I spent with you all were so fun and happy. Just that is enough for me to feel glad about coming to this city.」

I couldn’t say anything to her, since I wouldn’t be able to get through to Medello-san.

「And so, my youth and dreams will end here.」

「…… Have you told Kree-aniki about this?」

Medello-san lowered her gaze at that.

「I told him that yesterday.」

「What did he say?」

「He said 『I see』.」

I think Kree-aniki still couldn’t digest all that. He was a gentle person and loved Medello-san, so he couldn’t think straight after suddenly learning that she was leaving.

「He is really talented. I don’t want him to work in such a dangerous line, but he does have the talents to be an adventurer.」

When Medello-san was talking about Kree-aniki, she would smile gently like a mother.

「It seems a famous guild scouted him out, and he will become a first rate adventurer. He is happy about that, and I’m glad for him too.」

Medello-san put her money for the Iced Coffee on the table and stood up.

「I will leave him to you. He will always say proudly that his most important friends are Corleone-san and Yu-san.」

She covered her mouth with a giggle, but her smiling face seemed so lonely.

「I can’t stay by his side and watch over him… But I hope he can realize his dreams and live a blissful life.」

Medello-san lowered her gaze at the Ice Coffee on the bar counter.

The ice had long since melted, and the cup was covered with droplets.

「I will take the stagecoach at noon and leave this city. I don’t have many good memories in this city, but I had a wonderful time towards the end. Yu-san, I have been in your care all this while, please relay my thanks to Corleone-san too.」

She bowed and caressed the brim of the Iced Coffee reluctantly.

「I—— won’t forget this taste.」

Seeing her smile and her figure as she turned to leave, I couldn’t say anything to keep her from leaving.

Medello-san left the Café, and I couldn’t even say goodbye.


I sat weakly in my chair and stared at the window for a time. I didn’t even feel like running the shop, and the shop remained closed.

Medello-san, Kree-aniki, Corleone-san…… I thought back to the days the four of us enjoyed together. Those days ended so easily, and I felt weak. At the same time, my stomach started to churn when I thought about Kree-aniki’s feelings. How did Kree-aniki feel now?

When I thought that far, I remembered that I should report this to Corleone-san.

I checked the clock, and it was almost noon.

I walked out of the shop, and was drawn to a buff figure approaching from the other side of the street. That wobbling figure was definitely Kree-aniki.

When he got nearer, I was surprised by how terrible Kree-aniki looked. His clothes were torn with orange red stains all over him. The right side of his face was swollen and he had signs of a nosebleed.

And walking in front of Kree-aniki was Corleone-san.

「What happened?」

I muttered in a daze. Corleone-san answered:

「This fool wrecked a bar somewhere last night. The guards locked him up until moments ago.」

I see. Understanding the situation occupied most of my mind.

Kree-aniki’s eyes were vacant, its usual youthful light was gone.

Corleone-san walked right into the shop, and Kree-aniki followed without a word. I entered too, and the two of them sat in their usual seats.

Kree-aniki stared blankly at the Iced Coffee cup on the bar counter.

「Yu, do you know what happened?」

I knew what he was asking about.

「I learned from her directly that she will be leaving at noon.」

Kree-aniki slowly looked up, then lowered her gaze again.

「Hmm, really now, she didn’t even tell me.」

「She asked me to convey her gratitude to you.」

「Not that, she need to do this directly……」

「Corleone-san didn’t tell her where she lived after all.」

「…… That’s true.」

Corleone-san crossed his stubby arms and pursed his lips.

At this moment, the Café was silent.

The three of us didn’t say anything as time slowly passed.

「What do you plan to do now?」

The one speaking was Corleone-san.

「She is leaving the city, what will you do, Kree?」

Kree-aniki stared at the cup silently.

「…… Alright then, this is your choice. You can lash out and fight with drunkards, or waste time when she is leaving. Chasing after her or staying behind, that’s your life.」

「—— on’t know!」

Kree-aniki muttered.


「What do you want me to do!? Medello wants to return back to her village. I came here because I’m tired of the village life, so I came to this crowded city with lots of people! And, a big guild is scouting me as an adventurer, and things are finally getting on track! Everything! What do you want me to do!?」

He was yelling. This was the true feeling of the hurting Kree-aniki lying on the counter with his head in his arms.

What should he do?

I didn’t know either.

Should I convince him to give chase? Or should I console him that shit happens, and it couldn’t be helped? I knew there was no right answer, but still couldn’t decide what to say.

「—— Never mind, isn’t this fine?」 Corleone-san said cheerfully.

「You can find a woman like that anywhere. This is the Labyrinth City Albeta, the place where everything flows into. You will find a new girl in no time, I will introduce a few ladies to you too.」

Kree-aniki raised his head.

「I have been thinking that a woman of that level is beneath you, Kree. You have talent as an adventurer, and can climb even higher. You can get all the money or anything that you want. Good food, delicious ladies, isn’t that the life? Just like a dream, huh?」


「So you don’t need to choose a village girl who can’t even become a singer. Have you cooled your head? I will get you a nicer girl——」


Kree-aniki yelled sternly, his voice echoing through the shop.

「And you can never find a woman as good as her! She is gentle, hardworking, and cares about others despite her hardships—— there is no way you can find another!」

Kree-aniki gritted his teeth and gave Corleone-san a death stare.

Corleone-san touched the brim of his hat and said with a laugh:

「Oh—— so you already know.」


Kree-aniki’s jaw dropped.

「That’s right, Kree, you can’t find a girl like that anywhere else. She’s a great woman wasted on you.」

「Ah, what, huh?」

Corleone-san laughed.

「People say there are as many women as stars, and everyone will find the star that belongs to you one day.」


「Kree, in our lives, we would only have a moment to meet our star. The star will be gone in an instant, and you will never see it again. Living in the big city? That’s wonderful. Top class adventurer? Not bad. However……」

Corleone-san patted Kree-aniki’s arm.

「But what’s the value in a life where you lose your only star?」

Kree-aniki looked dumbstruck as he looked at his arms being patted. His listless eyes regained their light. It was the pure youthful light he had when he first came to this shop and sat at that seat.

「That’s right. I made a huge mistake… When I arrived in this city, I didn’t have money, status, or anything. So why do I need to hesitate?」

Kree-aniki covered his face with both hands.

「I will be happy as long as she is by my side.」

The bell tolled outside.

The sound from the city’s bell tower rang throughout the city, announcing that it was noon. This was the signal for Medello-san’s stagecoach to set off.

—— It’s already too late.

Kree-aniki’s shoulders trembled as he laid on the counter, and his moan echoed in the shop.

「Yu, give me Iced Coffee.」


I couldn’t help asking when I heard Corleone-san’s sudden request.

Why order Iced Coffee now?

「Doesn’t matter, just get me one.」

When I saw Corleone-san’s serious face, I shut up and nodded, and prepared with a faster speed than usual.

「Kree, you aren’t the type to give up easily.」

Corleone-san said.

「Will you continue to struggle even if there is no hope?」

Kree-aniki raised his head, tears flowing from his swollen eyes and blood mixing with his snot.

「What do you mean?」

I listened to Kree-aniki’s trembling voice as I added crushed ice into the cup, and poured in Coffee.

I placed the Iced Coffee in front of Corleone-san, and he gave it to Kree-aniki.

「Drink this, and then run. If you don’t give up and keep running, you might catch the meteor.」

They looked into each other's eyes. Kree-aniki then gulped down the Iced Coffee without a word.

「Ughh…… Hey, this is as terribly bitter as ever.」

He slapped his cheeks hard and turned to me:

「Yu, I have been in your care! I’m glad that I met you and this shop. It has been fun, thanks!」

Kree-aniki reached over the counter and pulled me to him.


He gave me a bear hug over the counter

Kree-aniki let me go, then turned to hug Corleone-san.

「Let go! How crude!」

「Don’t be so cold!」

I smiled at the sight of their usual bantar. Kree-aniki laughed too, and Corleone-san laughed in resignation.

The three of us laughed, thinking this might be the last time we met.


Kree-aniki said with a smile.


Corleone-san nodded.

「Take care of yourself, and send my regards to Medello-san too.」


Kree-aniki walked to the entrance, then turned back and said:

「I will never forget both of you until the day I die. The same with how that Iced Coffee taste.」

He smiled as he always did before leaving. We then heard the sound of his sprinting footsteps.

It all happened in a blink of an eye, but so refreshing— A farewell akin to Iced Coffee.

「…… Will he make it in time?」

I looked at the clock, and it was obviously past noon. There was some distance between the city center and the city gate, so there was no way he could catch up on foot.

「He will make it if this is a stage play. After all, the author, also known as the goddess who manipulates fate, can overcome any unreasonable situation.」

「What do you mean by that?」

Corleone-san touched the brim of his top hat, then leapt off his seat.

「I don’t believe in the Goddess of Fate, and that he might make it on time. I would do whatever it takes to let him be on time— If not, I will feel bad when I think about this in the future.」

He said with a meaningful smile.

「Anyway, your Iced Coffee seemed very effective in curing hangovers, why don’t you sell it as such?」

I shook my head with a bitter smile:

「If this becomes a medicine, then their memories will lose its colours.」

Corleone-san left the shop after saying「You are not wrong.」


I had run a Café in this different world for two years. At first, customers would visit out of curiosity, but I felt grateful that a few of them became regulars.

Some would drop in for idle chatter, others would enjoy their Coffee slowly with the principle that silence was golden. There was also the Elf nee-san who sat beside the window and looked out at the crowd passing by outside, as if she was waiting or searching for something.

Of these regulars, there was a youth named Terence. He would always wear a spotless clean white shirt, and had a pleasant smile and friendly demeanour. He quickly got to know the other regulars here.

When Young Terence wandered into the shop, he would talk about things that happened in the city. It seemed that he was taking special care of me after hearing that I seldom leave this Café.

「Shopkeep Yu, you heard what happened the day before yesterday?」

I responded to Young Terence’s question with a nod.

「Yes, it was big news. A wagon overturned near the city gates, spilling the fruits all over.」

Young Terence looked pleased by that and continued:

「That’s right. And it’s an ingredient cargo wagon owned by the renowned Corleone family.」

「Is that so?」

「Yup, those fruits were imported from overseas, and meant for a top class restaurant in the city. Since it couldn’t be sold because of the wagon tilted over, they gave it out generously to the citizens nearby. Everyone was talking about how much money they lost.」

「I see.」

I nodded.

「That’s not all. The road was blocked because of that accident, and a buff bandit-like guy barged into one of the stagecoach stuck in traffic, and proposed to a woman with a voice that could be heard everywhere.」

「That’s amazing!」

I stopped wiping my glasses.

「Did she accept the proposal?」

「Cheers and applause rang out nearby, so it should have worked. But there are all kinds of things happening in the city, like wagons toppling over and a sudden marriage proposal.」

Young Terence siad with a laugh, and I smiled back at him.

I glanced at the corner of the bar.

Corleone-san was sitting there, and before him was Iced Coffee in his small custom cup.

Corleone-san noticed my gaze and lifted his head. He smiled knowingly and touched the brim of his hat.

Intermission: Late Night Café Dining Hall — Egg on Rice

The shop was scheduled to be closed tomorrow.

I closed up shop, checked the stock of my seasonings and daily necessities, then planned to go to the market tomorrow to buy the things I was short on.

I tidied the cabinets and cleaned up the place, which took longer than expected.

I took a shower to wash away the sweat and dirt, and when I could finally relax for a while, it was already late at night.

The only thing left was to sleep.

I touched my tummy.

It had been a while since dinner, and I felt a little hungry, but I could still sleep on it. But the shop was closed tomorrow, so it should be fine to do something a little unhealthy, right?

With that in mind, I felt motivated and decided to have supper.

I left my living space on the second floor in my pyjamas, and went down to the kitchen and turned on the light in the kitchen and bar counter.

This felt a little like snacking late at night without my parents knowing, which made me a little excited.

I opened the fridge and thought about what to cook.

And since this was a cafe, the fridge had all sorts of ingredients. If this was a normal house, I would have to make do with whatever was available, but having so many choices was troubling too.

Anyway, I didn’t want to make something that took too much time.

Simple, delicious, and filling……

I checked out the ingredients in the fridge from top to bottom, and got a flash of inspiration when I saw a certain item.

「I choose you.」

I reached out for it.

It was rice.

The claypot on the top of the stove was giving out steam.

I always thought it was great that I could eat rice easily in this place. The grain was thinner and longer than the ones in Japan, but the taste was very similar.

Brown rice was the most common in this world, but I opted to purchase white rice. White rice was a high class ingredient, but I didn’t care too much. I wanted to eat white rice, so it couldn’t be helped.

Just cooking rice in a claypot was plenty good.

And also——

I looked towards the basket on the counter.

There were eggs inside, and not just any old eggs. They were eggs laid by the birds native to the Labyrinth. Just adding the term Labyrinth would make any ingredient sound extravagant, which was incredible.

These were the ingredients for supper. Simple, delicious, and filling.

You guessed it, this was egg on rice.


I could tell the rice in the claypot was almost ready and pondered.

At a glance, egg on rice wasn’t strictly a complete dish. Adding a fresh egg on freshly cooked rice, then adding soy sauce and seasonings made it a delicious meal.

However, for lovers of egg on rice like me, people fine with that were freaking casuals.

For example, would you cook a steak with the same logic?

Did you think anyone could grill the fresh meat on a pan, season it with pepper and make it a delicious meal?

It was different.

Egg on rice weren’t so simple.

Similar to how heat control would change the texture of the meat, or the water temperature would change the taste of the Coffee——

The taste of egg on rice would change depending on how you ate it.

It wasn’t a matter of which way tasted better, but which way suited you the best.

When the rice and egg was before you, you need to consider your current mood.

Did you want to be simple, and gulp the rice down heartily?

Or did you want to go slow, and taste the fresh egg properly?

Or did you want to use the egg to complement the sweetness of the freshly cooked rice?

In the end, this was a conversation you needed to have with yourself.

If you wanted to enjoy egg on rice, you needed to do some introspection.

The egg would just lie there, implying that anything was fine, but that wasn’t so for the one eating it. We would always face this battle seriously.

I could smell the sweet fragrance from the cooked rice in the claypot, and when I opened the lid, the white steam came towards my face, and I could only see a silvery white plain. Every grain of rice had swelled and cooked perfectly.

I used a scoop in place of a rice paddle, and with the feelings of a boy leaving footprints on fresh snow, I stuck it into the claypot. I put in a bit of strength to mix the rice, which was a tense moment.

「—— Awesome.」

The good thing about the claypot was the crust at the bottom of the pot.

The bottom was heated the most, so the rice would be slightly burned, forming a crust that had the vibrant colour of matured wheat. I liked the crispy texture of the crust, but the rice was already impeccable enough for egg on rice.

After stirring the rice, I scooped a bowlful of rice into my bowl.

I used the scooped to sculpt the shape of the rice in the bowl, pushing the sides towards the center and compressing it. And so, a hill of snow white rice appeared in my bowl.

I placed the rice before me, steadied my breathing, then picked up an egg.

I turned the egg in my right hand, searching for a good spot to crack.

All eggs were different, and the way I cracked an egg yesterday might be wrong today. I used my palm to feel the hardness and curve of the egg, thinking about the angle to crack this egg perfectly. This process could decide how well the egg was cracked.

「—— Right here.」

I felt the right spot, and at this moment, my palm covered the egg, combining it with my hand. The egg was now a part of me, an extension of my hand.

I raised my arm, and flicked my wrist to knock against the table. I didn’t hit the egg directly, but was hitting my fist against the table with a gently held fist. The movement was slow but hard, and my wrist needed to be flexible to absorb any excess impact.

I used the recoil from knocking the table to move my hand over the bowl of rice, aware once again that I was holding an egg in my hand.

Cracks on the egg radiated out from the point of impact, looking like a spider web after the rain today. The sun shone on the droplets on the web, and gave off a brilliant light—— now’s the time.

I pushed the crack with my thumbs, using even strength with both my hands without sticking my fingers in. The shell cracked when the balance of forces holding it together fell apart. If I stuck my thumb in too deep, it might damage the yolk.

The yolk would be stirred in at the very end. Even if the membrane of the yolk broke when cracking the egg, there wouldn’t be any problem at all.

However—— it would be less aesthetic.

The shell I carefully cracked made a crisp sound, and the egg white flooded out in an instant. The egg white fell on one side of the rice hill, its faint white colour gave it a layer of fog-like murkiness, like the clean forest air that turned brighter with the coming dawn.

I nodded again, and readied myself.

The yolk remained in the shell in one of my hands, with a little egg white around it.

To avoid disturbing its slumber, I gently tilted the shell as if I was handling glass art, and used the shell in my other hand to catch the yolk.

The remaining egg white in the shell fell onto the fog in the bowl.

And now, only the yolk was left. It maintained it’s arc with a glistening glow, filled with a seductive temptation.

I gently dropped the yolk on the opposite side of the rice hill.

The rice bowl was separated into the egg white side and the yolk side.

I picked up the seasonings I prepared. The fish sauce in this world tasted special, and was similar to soy sauce. I mixed it without seasonings, then added mushroom stock to complete my unique soy sauce stock soup.

I added it slowly over the rice hill to avoid adding too much.

The colour of the soy sauce dyed the rice, like a brush drawing on a white canvas on a whim.

It had just been 22 seconds since I cracked the egg shells——

I wasn’t too anxious, nor did I waste too much time.

I picked up my chopsticks and put my hands together:

「I’m digging in.」

I picked up the steaming bowl of white rice, and the egg white and egg yolk started to wobble.

I didn’t mix it, that was the last step.

I should start with a mouthful of white rice.

I dug a corner of the rice hill, and put the rice soaked in soy sauce soup into my mouth.

「Hah, hah.」

As expected of freshly cooked rice, I opened and closed my mouth a few times to suck in the fragrance, and blow out the white steam.

It was hot, it almost scalded me, but I couldn’t get enough of this heat.

I could only taste the rice after it cooled down.

The rice had just the right toughness, and I could feel every grain in my mouth. The moisture and sweetness locked within the rice was squeezed out, delighting my tongue. The saltiness of the soy sauce stock brought out the deliciousness of the rice even further.

It didn’t need any side dishes.

I could eat a few bowls of soy sauce stock over freshly cooked rice.

I was reluctant to swallow the rice. I chewed carefully, and the rice turned sweeter every time I chewed.

This was just the stuff.

While hungry in the middle of the night, there was nothing more delicious than this in the world.


I swallowed, and my mouth felt hollow with the warmth that was in there suddenly gone. I looked at the rice bowl, wanting to eat another mouthful of steaming rice. I started salivating.

I gulped, then shook my head.

Given the amount of rice in the bowl, there was only enough excess for me to eat one mouthful.

I had already decided on how to divide this bowl of rice.

If I lost more rice, then it wouldn’t be balanced with the yolk I would mix in later. I would grow tired of the thick taste of the yolk quickly if I didn’t balance it with the rice.

I perked myself up and waited attentively.

I then reached my chopsticks into the egg white zone.

There were few people who would only eat the egg white of an egg, since this transparent part didn’t have much taste.

However, that was a big misunderstanding.

I mixed the egg white into the rice, and put it into my mouth.

The coolness of the egg white neutralized the heat of the rice, bringing it to an adequate level. I could taste the sticky texture of the egg white and its slight sweetness. When I ate it this way, I could tell that the egg white had a taste.

The saltiness of the soy sauce stock wasn’t too strong, bringing out the taste of the rice and egg white. The warm and refreshing texture was a gentle secret to make one relaxed.

After chewing sufficiently, I swallowed, clearing everything in my mouth. That was how subtle it tasted.

I moved my chopsticks smoothly, sticking it into the other side of the rice hill, right into the yolk that looked like a pearl on display. I pulled the chopsticks away gently, and a liquid more vibrant than honey flowed out from the yolk.

There was a sea of yellow between the rice hill and the bowl. The land and the sea, this was a groundbreaking moment happening within the bowl.

I gently mixed the yolk into the steaming rice, to heat the yolk up.

It felt as if someone was urging me to stick my chopsticks in. I scooped the yolk covered rice into my mouth.

—— It was thick.

The thick texture of the yolk could only be tasted after separating it with the egg white. The thick texture of the yolk on my tongue made me want even more.

At the start, my mouth was filled with rice and egg white like a serene forest, but now, it felt like magma had flowed in. The clear taste of the yolk and soy sauce stock built the foundation to make the rice even more delicious.

I could hear a voice saying 「Hey, it’s in the middle of the night right now.」

Should you be eating something like this? I could feel someone murmuring that in my ears.

I could.

Even more so since it was the middle of the night.

Cooking rice late at night, adding an egg, and enjoying the thick yolk on rice, the depravity of this was the best seasoning.

I ate another mouthful of yolk and rice. This part had more soy sauce stock, and the sweetness of the rice was mixed together with the saltiness of the stock. The yolk covered the stimulating saltiness and made it gentler.

The yolk was amazing, it could take on the role of the protagonist or act as a side character.

But this thick texture would tire out my tongue.

「It’s almost time for some healing……」

I turned the bowl in my hand, moving the egg white part to the front, and digging into them.

Ahh, this was a gentle and soothing taste.

The heavy taste assaulting my tongue was washed away with a refreshing sweetness.

This was it. This was how important the egg white was.

Egg on rice normally tasted the same from beginning to end, even if it was delicious, you would grow tired of it when you get used to it. But if you separated the yolk and egg white, you could enjoy the best parts of both sides and offer more variety in taste.

I rested my mouth with the egg white, and resolved myself.

The rice hill that separated the yolk and egg white—— I broke a corner of it.

I tilted the bowl, and the yolk and egg white flowed slowly, gathering at the opening that had been opened.

I gently mixed it with the tip of my chopsticks.

The two colours were mixed well, but not so much that it turned into a different colour.

I pushed a mouthful of rice into contact with the splendid mixture.

The speed I sent them into my mouth hastened quite a bit.

「It’s tasty.」

The gentle egg white, thick texture of the yolk, delicious soy sauce stock and the sweet rice.

Everything was adjusted flawlessly in this portion, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the bowl.

From that moment on, I couldn’t hold myself back.

I moved my chopsticks in a trance.

I enjoyed the mixed flavours of the yolk and egg white.

After eating half a bowl, I finally mixed everything together. Each grained was dyed yellow with egg white mixed in. The colour of the stock made the yellow a tint darker. The bubbles in the rice made the egg in rice swell a little.

I moved the rice to my mouth and shoved the rice in.

The chopsticks hit the bottom of the bowl rhythmically, I chewed it before swallowing, then sent in a new mouthful. I couldn’t stop after things turned out this way, and I moved on my instincts and kept eating.

When I realized it, the bowl was already empty.

I finished it in a blink of an eye.

Feeling pity, I put down the bowl and chopsticks.

「—— Phew.」

I exhaled and touched my stomach.

More, just a bit more.

It wasn’t enough.


I looked at the claypot, which still had steaming rice inside, as well as the crust. But that was tomorrow’s breakfast.

I could make rice balls with it tomorrow, seasoning it with the salt from the Labyrinth was enough to make it delicious.

I could use stock and egg to make congee with it too. I could use a lot of cheese to bake the rice, which would be heavenly.

It was true that eating so much before sleeping wasn’t good for my body.

But… So what?

I could hear a voice say something.

That was what made it taste so good.

I gulped, and when I came to my senses, my hands had started moving by themselves, against my will. No, this was what I truly wanted.

I opened the clay pot lid, and scooped the rice into my bowl.

I picked up an egg—— how should I eat this? In a different way from just now… No, that would be a hassle, so let’s just crack it.

I cracked the egg and dropped the content onto the rice, added in a random amount of stock, mixed it on a whim and scooped the rice into my mouth.

「Oh, phew, this is good.」

In conclusion, egg on rice tasted good no matter how I prepared it.

It was even better eating it in the middle of the night.

In the end, I ate all the rice and rubbed my filled tummy, immersed in a little guilt and a sense of fulfillment that far surpassed that.

The problem was that tomorrow’s breakfast was gone… Never mind, that was tomorrow’s problem.

I was tired, and sleeping after eating was what made supper so blissful.

I yawned.

With the bottom of the bowl completely exposed before me, I put my hands together and said:

「Thank you for the meal.」

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