Saturday, September 11, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V2 (4 of 6)

 Chapter 5: The Courier Who Delivers Happiness

Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro

My vocabulary wasn’t good enough to describe the complexities of chess.

It was hard to convey the charms of chess to those who didn’t understand. Japanese weren't familiar with this game, and their impression of chess was that it was fashionable.

However, chess had been loved by many since ancient times, and people could occasionally get more value than just entertainment from it.

「Chess is everything: art, science, and sport.」

It even gave birth to this famous quote above.

A war within these 64 squares, with unlimited possibilities beyond the frames of the game. It was a competitive clash at times, a beautiful art in another moment, or a scale to decide one’s intelligence.

However, this game didn’t have a high barrier of entry. After all, the game itself had to be fun in order to attract a group to research so deep into it.

I liked chess a lot too. One false move and you could lose a game that you were winning, I just couldn’t pull myself away from this tension.

「Ahh, wait! Hold that bishop!」


I pulled back my bishop that infiltrated deep into the enemy camp, and put it back in its last position.

After hearing 「wait」 so many times, the tension was all gone.

「Ughhh, weird, this is weird… Why is a plebeian like you so strong...」

「I was trained by a weird old man, and don’t call me plebeian.」

I looked at Aina who was glaring at me while biting her lips, and shrugged.

「But that is still weird, chess is a game for nobles, how did you……」

Aina nagged as she studied the board. She put her hands by her mouth as she thought, and looked more desperate than usual.

It seemed that Aina’s challenging me to a duel some days ago wasn’t a joke. She came to the shop this morning, and took out a board and pieces from her bag.

According to her, this was the elegant style of dueling between nobles.

「It shouldn’t be like this… I should be teaching you the rules and achieve overwhelming victory……」

「What’s so elegant about beating down a newbie?」

You were just looking for a sure win match.

Aina looked at the board, and then raised her head and glared at me:

「Hmmp, I can’t lose a match with Linaria-san on the line.」

「And this is the result.」

「You’re so noisy.」

Most of the pieces outside the board belonged to Aina, while my losses were minimal.


Aina reached out her trembling fingers for a piece, quietly retracted it, then reached for another. She was hesitating.

「My homeschool teacher praised my chess play……」

「I think so too.」

「…… Hearing that from you in this situation feels like sarcasm.」

She glared at me and said. But Aina’s chess moves were beautiful, more graceful than Gramps Goru and were as meticulous as a textbook.

However, it was easy to predict her next moves, and know where Aina wanted to move and her strategy. She didn’t set mean spirited traps like Gramps Goru, or engage in psychological warfare to deduce the opponent’s intentions.

「Are all nobles homeschooled in chess?」

「Yes, although ladies just keep it to a level of a hobby, while the men will research chess passionately.」

「I see.」

Aina’s chess lacked experience, but it made sense if this was on the level of a hobby.

「As chess was part of negotiations, if we want to make it big, we can’t have mediocre skills. The better your chess, the smarter others will think you are, and you can gain trust.」

「…… I didn’t know it was so important.」

This was like politicians trying to probe each other through shogi or go, right?

After hesitating for a long while, Aina retreated her Queen for defence.

「There were precedents of using chess as a proxy for war.」

I tilted my head puzzledly.

「A long time ago, there were two nations that had a long feud over its borders. The King of both nations were great chess players, so they played a 14 day long chess match in place of a war. Legend says it is the most elegant war in history.」

「I see, so there’s such a legend.」

Using chess in place of an actual war was shocking, but the nervousness of those playing should be incredibly heavy. Each move might determine the territory of your nation, my stomach hurts just imagining it.

I thought about all that as I moved my knight.

「Please wait.」


「That’s right, I will be troubled if you put your knight there.」

She said with furrowed brows, so I had to retract my knight in silence.

Why did I have to play such a casual game of chess before I even opened the shop? And I was hungry.

I supported my face with my palm and glanced at Aina who was grabbing her beret with both hands and mumbling, and suppressed the urge to yawn.

Aina then held her chin in a thinking pose, this would take a long time.

It was boring just waiting here like this, so I searched for a topic, and found a good one.

「Ehh, Aina, do you have a dream?」

「Why the sudden question?」

「Just for reference, I have been thinking about dreams and goals recently.」

「That’s a weird thing to think about.」

Aina kept staring at the board.

「Having dreams is your privilege, nobles don’t have any.」


「The freedom to choose one’s job, to travel and to marry. Nobles don’t have such freedoms. For men, the second and third son might have other choices, but daughters had to marry another noble for the sake of the clan.」

Aina said this so naturally that I could feel her determination. This was a culture I wasn’t familiar with. I was puzzled by a noble’s lack of freedom to decide their own life.

Aina pointed at the chess piece and said casually:

「I can only enjoy my free time like this before I graduate. If I can have a dream, I will want to go on adventures like the stories, or experience a spectacular love.」

Her chess piece fell heavily back onto the board, and I couldn’t find the right words to answer. I see, so there was such a lifestyle too.

My current position was vague, so I didn’t know what my future would be like. In contrast, Aina knew very well about her position and future, and could look at them head on.

We were the same age, but our mentality was on different levels. She was walking steadily on the path of life.

I felt impressed by Aina, but at the same time, I felt how small I was. I knew having an inferiority complex wouldn’t help at all, but I couldn’t help thinking that way.

「Good Morning!」

The door was opened, and a cheerful voice that cleared my troubled mind echoed in the shop.

Large dog ears could be seen through the fluffy head of orange hair. The energetic and always smiling girl had a large backpack behind her.

「Good Morning, Shilulu, you are as cheery as always.」

「That’s right! The weather is really cheery today!」

I wasn’t talking about the weather, but you. Shilulu was a girl that always had a brilliant smile, like the bright clear sky. I looked at Aina and saw her covering her mouth and staring at Shilulu.

「H-How cute.」

There was a bright spark in her eyes. Huh? What was she……

But Shilulu wasn’t fazed by this dangerous adult, and jogged to me with small strides.

She then bowed towards Aina:

「Oh, nice to meet you! Good Morning!」

「Hnng, G-Good Morning.」

Aina pressed her hands on her breasts.

「Who is this child, she is too cute.」

Aina said to me seriously. I didn’t answer and just shook my head. I agreed completely with her, but was hesitant to say it out loud.

「Yu-san, I’m here to deliver your packages again! Please tell me where to put it.」

「Oh, please leave it in the back.」

I stood up and Shilulu replied happily and followed with her tail wagging excitedly.

The small room behind the bar counter was the warehouse to store the ingredients. The cabinets by the walls held extra cutlery and dried provisions, there was also a large fridge in a corner of the room. We stopped near the empty space in the middle of the room.

「Just leave it here, you can just unload it any way you like.」


An energetic voice that was the model for freshmen came from behind me, and I couldn’t help looking back with a smile.

「…… Why are you here too?」

「Nothing, just a little curious.」

Aina was standing behind Shilulu with a nonchalant face, but her gaze was stuck on Shilulu.

Shilulu put her bag down onto the floor, opened it, and reached into the bag.

「Heave ho.」

With a cute voice, she pulled out a crate out of the bag. The size obviously couldn’t fit into the bag, or fit through the bag’s opening.


Aina was dumbfounded.

「This is from Goben-san!」

Shilulu put down the crate then reached in again to pull out a long and thin bundle.

「This is from Lulu-san!」

She wagged her tail as she pulled out packages from the bag.

「Space compression magic had been casted on the bag? How lavish.」

A stupefied voice mixed with awe came from Aina.

「Is that rare?」

「It’s not just on a level of being rare, there are very few sorcerers who can cast space compression magic. This small bag is valuable enough to buy a house.」

「Are you for real!」

I reacted directly without concealing anything.

So this was such an amazing thing, I thought it was just a magic tool.

「When grandfather was young, he asked a sorcerer he knew to make it for him! He has been using this bag to work as a courier ever since then!」

Shilulu stopped taking out the packages and said proudly.

She was a courier who delivered packages everywhere. Normally, this would require a wagon, but Shilulu had this magic bag, and could deliver everywhere in the city with those quick legs of hers. Her speed was so fast that I called her 「the fast and the furious」.

「Shilulu-san will take over the family business too?」

Aina squatted down and said to her with a sweet smile. Her attitude was so good, completely different from how she spoke with me.

「Yes! I’m still an apprentice, but I’m working hard!」

「I see, can I commission you with a job too?」

「Yes, of course!」

Shilulu showed an extra large serving of innocent smile, and Aina who saw that from close up clutched her chest and sat down onto the floor dizzily.

…… I understood how you felt.

Back on topic, Shilulu leaning her upper body into the bag looked surreal. 「Funyaa——!」 She made a confusing sound, then took out a large brown sack of rice.

I bought this for my own consumption, not as part of the shop’s menu. I was a Japanese through and through, and wanted to eat rice. I wanted miso if possible, but regrettably, I still couldn’t find any.

Shilulu put the sack down with a huff, and her dog ears twitched as she smiled proudly:

「This is the last thing!」

「Thank you for your hard work.」

I patted Shilulu’s petite head, and she closed her eyes happily, her tail swinging side to side. She was as cute as a puppy. Shilulu looked so comfortable when she was being patted, and I enjoyed patting her too, this was wonderful. Her dog ears felt a little rougher, and the texture was so enjoyable that I wanted to pat her all day.



We entered into a dazed state, but I swiftly composed myself. That was dangerous, I almost went into a trance.

This was addictive, so I had to keep it in moderation. If I didn’t I would develop the symptoms of wanting to ruffle any animal ears that I saw. That was a scary disease that would affect my image.

I felt reluctant, but I still withdrew my hand from Shilulu’s head.

Shilulu’s ears twitched, as if they were urging me to continue patting her. Ah, I wanted to pat her, it was really healing, but I couldn’t. I held down my squirming right hand with my left.

Shilulu opened her eyes and looked up at me coquettishly, but I couldn’t lose to her eyes.

After I desperately suppressed my right hand, Shilulu finally gave up, her twitching dog ears stopped moving along with the desire in my right hand. I feel at ease now. Shilulu still had pleading eyes. I didn’t want to stop either, you know.

After confirming each other’s feelings, we nodded quietly at each other. Next time, next time then.

I averted my gaze with a gut wrenching resolve, and saw Aina staring at us in astoundment.

「Erm, what is it?」

「I never imagine that you’ll do something… so wonderful...」

Aina opened and shut her mouth as she trembled, then muttered:

「Is that allowed?」

Aina closed in on me.

「There’s nothing to be allowed or not, right?」

Her reaction made my skin crawl, so I passed the baton to Shilulu.

The cute and docile Shilulu looked up at us in a daze. She then looked at Aina and touched her own head with both hands:

「Will you please pat me?」

She said bashfully. Seeing that, Aina clutched her breasts with a 「Hngg」 and then staggered.

That was close… If Shilulu said that to me, then I would die from the cuteness. Shilulu was a scary child… I wiped away the cold sweat on my brows.

Aina leaned her arm against the wall to collect her breathing. She then reached her trembling hand towards Shilulu who was waiting quietly.

Shilulu wagged her tail expectantly, then pushed her head into Aina’s palm.

—— Fluff.

Unable to say anything, Aina moved her hand wordlessly as she enjoyed the fluff.


Shilulu moaned comfortably.

Aina turned to me unnaturally like a rusty robot.

Surprisingly, she was expressionless.

「What is it now?」

I asked, but Aina didn’t answer immediately, and just looked me in the eye while patting Shilulu.

A while later, she spoke.

「—— I want to bring her home.」

「Hey hey hey.」

She sounded monotone, and I could tell she was serious.

「I can’t leave such a cute girl alone, it’s too dangerous. I need to protect her before some weirdo lay their hands on her.」

「That’s you! You are that weirdo!」

「Shilulu-san, want to come to my house? I will get people to prepare delicious food.」

「Delicious food? Food!」

「Shilulu! Don’t fall for it! It’s a trap!」

「I don’t like traps… Ughh.」

「Plebelain, why are you in my way? I have already decided to bring this child home.」

「Hey, calm yourself, you retard noble!」

It took me everything I had to stop Aina from leading Shilulu away by the hand. The abduction was happening right before me, so I needed to stop it.

If school wasn’t going to start soon, Aina would have abducted Shilulu back to her home.

…… How tiring.

The next day.

After finishing the morning preparations to open the shop, I noticed a figure running my way from a distance.

The figure kicking up dust and approaching with alarming speed got near enough for me to identify her.

「Good Morning!」

A brilliant smile flashed before me as she killed her speed by braking with her feet. She was going too fast and went right by me.

「Uwah, hyaa, ahh!」

She finally stopped with a wobble, then came back as she scratched her head embarrassedly.

「I overshot. Once again, Good Morning!」

「Hi, Good Morning, Shilulu, I haven’t seen you since yesterday.」

「Yes! Long time no see!」

So that was a long time for Shilulu, how cute.

「You have something for me today?」

「Yes, I have a mail for Yu-san!」

「What might that be?」

I thought the goods I ordered had arrived.

Shilulu reached into her bag and took out an envelope.

「Ainaleila-san handed it to me last night!」


I wasn’t expecting that name. I took the letter. The envelope had a smooth texture with a red wax seal. It looked so formal that I might mistook it for a banquet invitation.

Wondering if something happened, I opened the envelope and found a piece of paper inside.


「Erm, Yu-san? What’s wrong?」

I read the letter and sighed. This was really stupid……



「When you picked up the letter from Aina, did she treat you to a meal?」

When she heard my question, Shilulu nodded bashfully:

「She asked me to join her for dinner… Hehehe.」

As expected.

The letter said 「Let’s play chess through mail.」 We would write down our chess moves and send it to each other.

However, Aina was just using chess as a ruse. Her real goal was……

I looked ahead, and Shilulu looked right back at me while wagging her tail.

That was right, she really wanted to see Shilulu. By interacting with her through letters, she could legally see Shilulu who was a courier. Was she a genius……?

I folded up the letter.

「Shilulu, are you hungry?」

「Eh, yes yes! I’m hungry.」

Shilulu rubbed her tummy with a red face. She was in her growing phase, and ran around all day, so she would get hungry quickly.

「I will write a reply, but it will take some time. If you don’t mind, why don’t you eat something before you go? It’s my treat.」

When she heard that, Shilulu showed a cheerful face.

「C-Can I really!? Yu-san’s cooking are really yummy, it’s my favourite!」

The figure of her smiling and wagging her tail so hard was like the culmination of all the cuteness in the world. I couldn’t help patting her head.

I then ushered Shilulu into my shop, took out the ingredients from the fridge, wiped the wooden cutting board and prepared a meal. Shilulu stood beside a chair, her eyes looking at me while sparkling. She wagged her tail so hard that there were after images.

「…… Erm, aren’t you going to sit?」

「It’s fine!」




「Arf arf!」

Shilulu straightened her back and swiftly sat on a chair.

I nodded and turned to the ingredients again.

I sliced a round bread horizontally, then placed both parts of it on a steel tray. I then put it into a small stone oven. Every house would have their own stone oven for them to bake their own bread. However, I didn’t have any experience baking bread, so I only used it as an oven to toast or heat up the bread.

I put a pan on the stove, and grilled the hamburger patty I just made.

I kept watch on how well done the meat was grilled, then washed and peeled a vegetable. I then sliced a red tomato known as Devil’s Fruit here.

I took out a small jar from the fridge, inside it was teriyaki sauce I made ahead of time. This was made by simply mixing stock, sugar and red wine, and went very well with meat.

I poured the sauce over the grilled patty, and it made a pleasant sizzling sound when it touched the hot pan. A sweet aroma spread out.


「Huh, ah, yes!」

I looked up and saw Shilulu putting her hands on her knees and leaning forward, salivating as she watched me cook with a serious face.

「Do you have a dream? Or something like a goal.」

I didn’t tell her she was salivating, and just asked the question that had been on my mind recently.

「Dreams, huh?」

Shilulu wiped away her drool and looked at me with surprise.

「I want to be a great courier, and deliver smiles and happiness to everyone!」

Shilulu said with a bashful smile.

「She is a wonderful child……」

Her pure dream cleansed my polluted heart a little.

「I-I’m not that great.」

Shilulu waved her hands and tail frantically. She shared her wonderful dream with me.

Shilulu was still young, but she already had a grand dream. As expected, everyone was living their lives like this, huh?

Amazing, I couldn’t help but sigh.

I picked up a bun that looked a little burned, spread a generous amount of butter on it, then put the patty from the pan on top. The patty was bulging out from the sides of the bread, and the teriyaki sauce was flowing out.

I then put a big helping of sliced cheese, shredded cabbage and tomato, and topped it off with another piece of bread. The teriyaki burger was done.

I placed it before Shilulu, and she cheered happily, which was enough to make me smile.

「Yu-san, this! This is! So big!」


「And so thick!」

「That’s the key point.」

「And it smells super super good!」

「It’s my special sauce.」

「C-Can I eat it!」

「Of course.」

「Arf! I’m digging in!」

Shilulu held the hamburger that was as big as her face. It seemed too thick for her to hold it properly.

…… I might have made it too big, could she finish it? This was still a test product, so I hope she will forgive me.

Shilulu showed a brilliant smile, then opened her mouth wide to bite into the hamburger. The soft bread sank down, the vegetables made a crisp sound, and the teriyaki mixed with the juice from the meat flowed down from the other side……

After taking a big bite, Shilulu opened her eyes wide before closing them again, moving her ears and tail wildly.


Her tail wagged really wildly.

She chewed desperately before swallowing. She looked up and said:

「Yu-san! This! This is great! It’s very tasty!」

「Is that so.」

「The meat is mushy! The veggie is crispy! And what is this red thing!」

「It’s a commercial secret.」

「Commercial……? I don’t understand! But it’s yummy!」

Shilulu was all smiles, a blissful smile that was contagious.

The sight of her holding the large burger and chewing with her mouth full was really cute. I wiped the sauce from the corners of her mouth, and watched Shilulu eat with gentle eyes.

…… Fufufu, Aina’s plan to meet frequently with Shilulu by commissioning deliveries was an amazing scheme, so let me get on your ride too. I will show you how much of an advantage I had in feeding her, since I had the weapon of handmade cooking… Oh no, I let my real thoughts slip...

「Yu-san! One more!」

「Hmm? Finished already? Another one? Are you serious?」

I prepared two more special orders of hamburgers.

Chapter 6: Adding Sugar to Life

As the saying went, 「Don’t judge a book by its cover」, so what exactly was a cover?

Everyone was conscious of their looks, they would point at someone walking the streets and say he was handsome, and would say someone on TV was cute. Those with good looks would usually have a big advantage in life.

But looks were a matter of balance. Aesthetic sense would change with the times, and varied from person to person.

And beautiful people might not have upright characters, and the ugly ones might not be bad people either.

However, we tend to think that beautiful girls were correct, and those with fearsome faces were bad people. We tend to stay away from evil-looking people.

We knew it wasn’t good to judge someone from their looks, but couldn’t help doing so. We might conceal it with pretty words, but appearances matter a lot when we judge others.

Leaving that aside for now, my shop was located in Albeta, a city of the Labyrinth and adventurers. Most adventurers were single, they couldn’t cook and mostly dine outside. For a shop adequately close to the Labyrinth like mine, the adventurers tired of choosing what to eat would visit on occasions. This might be a Café, but it was still an eatery that served food.

So, what was I trying to say? Well, my shop was busy occasionally during lunch. However, the customers who came for lunch left quickly too, and there were just three housewives at a table, and the regular Elf nee-san was reading a thick book.

After washing the pots and utensils piling up in the sink, I finally sighed in relief. At this moment, the door was opened crudely.

At the entrance was a black and white wall. No, it was a huge body that looked like a wall. Speaking of which, the people in this world tend to be buffer than me, especially the beastmen.

He bent his body and entered the shop.

His black fur was lush. His face was literally that of a leopard. He had the majestic appearance of a predator, and wore white casual clothes with the sleeves rolled up. The pure white attire contrasted nicely with his dark figure.

He stood at the entrance and surveyed the shop menacingly.

The housewives noticed the new guest and abruptly stopped their conversation. Only the sound of Elf nee-san flipping the page of her book could be heard.

The black leopard didn’t seem concerned by the change in the mood, and slowly approached the bar counter. I greeted him:

「Welcome, Tooya-san.」

「…… Yeah.」

Tooya-san suddenly scowled his nose, and a quiet wail came from the housewives. Being over 2m talls and with his face of a predator beast, he was really intimidating.

However, Tooya-san wasn’t mad, he was just greeting me. And he was trying to be nice with his smile, although I felt scared before I understood that.

I ushered him to a seat, and he sat down slowly, feeling that the space was too cramped.

I felt uneasy, wondering if the chair could support his weight.

「What will you be having today?」

When he heard my question, he swept his gaze across the shop. At that, the housewives who were whispering while they glanced our way shut up, while Elf nee-san seemed unfazed.

Tooya-san looked at the housewives and Elf nee-san, then twitched his nose a little unhappily.

「…… I want that.」

「You want that?」

「Yes, that.」

He said with his arms crossed, glaring at me with his golden eyes with his fangs protruding from his mouth. Seeing that, the housewives screamed again.

I sighed quietly, took out the grounded Coffee powder and started the Vacuum Coffee maker.

I prepared the Coffee cup and said to Tooya-san:

「You haven’t visited recently.」

「I have been busy, I took out four people yesterday too.」

Sound of things tumbling came from the housewives, but I continued working without looking their way.

「That’s rough.」

「There are lots of reckless idiots, I had no choice but to amputate one of them. He’s lucky to be alive.」

I could hear things breaking from the housewives, but pretended to not notice.

The beaker was heated by the mana light, and the water inside started boiling. Tooya-san looked at me seriously while I added Coffee powder to the upper flask, and affixed it to the beaker.

「I had been wondering for a while now.」


「Is this equipment something that produce medical products or magic potions?」

Tooya-san said while stroking his chin.

As expected of Tooya-san, he noticed.

「You finally noticed, huh?」


「Since you know, I can’t let you leave here alive.」


「Just kidding.」

That was right. There weren’t people finicky about how Coffee was brewed in this world, and Coffee hadn’t reached the status of a fad yet.

Or rather Coffee beans were usually chewed directly to clear away drowsiness. At best, they were crushed and boiling water was added, and drank after scooping out the crushed beans. Coffee beans were treated haphazardly like that. It was classified as a type of medicine, and was naturally bitter.

In the end, adventurers and people on night shift would carry a pouch of Coffee beans, and chew on them when they were drowsy. That was the treatment Coffee beans had over here.

There was no way people would understand if Coffee beans were used like this.

After all, when they were in the Labyrinth or standing at work, they couldn’t use a Vacuum Coffee maker or Coffee pot with a filter to brew Coffee. That wasn’t a situation for them to enjoy the taste and fragrance of Coffee.

However, even normal citizens were uninterested in enjoying delicious Coffee, why was that?

Even in this city on the forefront of food culture, Coffee wasn’t valued.

I searched the entire city before finding this pharmaceutical equipment, meant for making recovery potions or experimental drugs. I asked a craftsman to modify it into the Vacuum Coffee maker I remember.

I prepared the Coffee, as I explained it’s history, and Tooya-san looked at me with a stupefied face.

「Incredible, just where is that passion of yours coming from?」

「Passion doesn’t come from anywhere, it burns from within.」

I poured the Coffee into a cup and presented it to him, and Tooya-san’s brows furrowed even further.

「Please enjoy.」


The housewives seated behind would peek our way every now and then, while Elf nee-san looked out the window melancholically.

Tooya-san grit his teeth and sent the Coffee into his mouth.



「It’s nothing…… Coffee tastes great, I can’t start my day without my usual cup of Coffee. Must be because I’m always drinking it.」

「It’s already noon.」

「It’s taste so good, that my head is aching and my heart is racing.」

「Are you fine?」

「Of course I am, I’m a doctor. I know my body’s condition the best.」

Tooya-san grinned, his scary face seemed to be saying 「There is nothing more fun than toying with my prey.」 He was probably forcing a smile after finishing the bitter Coffee.

The intimidation packed such a punch that a housewife fainted onto the table, but I pretended to not see.

「Hey, don’t push yourself, alright?」

I lowered my voice and said to Tooya-san.

「I’m not pushing myself, not at all, Coffee isn’t anything big.」

「Tooya-san, you don’t like bitter food, right?」

「Hey hey, there’s no way a man like me would be afraid of bitter food.」

It was true that Tooya-san looked tough and valiant, his muscular body and leopard face was majestic and manly. He would look just fine with a cigarette and bourbon whisky. In reality, Tooya-san wasn't into those things, and just looked like a tough guy.

「I don’t think you need to be too bothered by how others see you.」

Tooya-san groaned while stroking his chin with his huge palm.

「Having a face like this helps when I deal with adventurers.」

Tooya-san said.

「There are many ruffians amongst adventurers, and punks like them would visit the free clinic check up every time. They would put on a facade so people wouldn’t look down on them.」

「Yes, I get the gist.」

「People like that are a headache during free clinic check ups. Especially during amputations, and when they or their friends are beyond saving.」

I tried imagining, but came up blank. This was a different world from mine.

「No one could keep their cool during moments like that, not them nor their comrades. Some would lose their composure, while others resort to violence. The lives of medical personnels like us would be in danger during such times.」

They really put their lives on the line there. Not just the adventurers, even those providing the treatment too.

「I started training, just wanting to protect myself and people around me. When providing treatment to those ruffians, I learned how to intimidate others in order to stand up to their threats and intimidation. And so, I’m no longer afraid of adventurers, and can indirectly provide the people around me.」

「It must have been tough.」

「Yes, it’s tough. I will pay attention to those details even in my private life, and choose to drink Coffee when others are around, and order hard liquor in bars. And of course, meat dishes for my meals.」

I thought about whether it was necessary for him to drink Coffee, and recalled I was the one who brainwashed him by saying 「Tough guys drink Coffee, that’s common sense.」—— Ah, I mean, I explained to him passionately, and this was the result.

「However, I have been feeling troubled recently.」

Tooya-san glared at me with a predator’s gleam in his eyes, and looked nothing like the gaze of an upright citizen.

「Did someone cause trouble in your turf?」

「Right, the young’uns these days don’t know the rules on the streets… What are you talking about.」

I heard the housewives scream again.

「…… I’m an upright citizen.」

「So you quit the thug life.」

「I have been an upright citizen ever since I was born.」

Those weren’t the eyes of an upright citizen, but I still nodded.

「So, something is troubling you?」

「Yes, that’s right, I have always been troubled.」

Tooya-san lowered his gaze sullenly. What happened?

When Tooya-san was about to open his furry mouth, the door chimed, announcing the arrival of a customer. I turned to the entrance and saw a petite, unmotivated figure there. She tied her hair that was the colour of the blue sky and gloomy clouds into two ponytails, and was wearing a white academy uniform. She was a petite regular in my shop——Nortri.

「Hi, welcome.」

I greeted Notri who was approaching the counter lethargically. She looked as if she hadn’t slept for three days, but that was how she always was.

Nortri looked up, nodded at me, then glanced towards Tooya-san.

Tooya-san also looked at Nortri curiously.

They locked gazes.

And stared.

Nortri passed by Tooya-san silently, and got into her usual seat.

「The usual?」

「…… Yes……」

「Do you want biscuits?」

「…… No……」

「I have fruits too, want some?」

「…… No…… Hmm……」

「No school today?」

「On break.」

I wished you wouldn’t answer this question so decisively.

Amused, I prepared the Café au lait.

Nortri didn’t like any hassles, lacked motivation and often skipped classes. She would then laze around at this bar counter.

I was about to take Notri’s personal Café au lait bowl from the cupboard, when Tooya-san asked me quietly.

「Shopkeep, is this child from the academy?」

He didn’t explain further, so I answered:

「That’s right, she’s a student from the academy.」

「But the academy……」

「It’s open as usual today.」

「Which means——」

「It’s exactly what you’re thinking.」

When I answered that, Tooya-san crossed his arms with his mouth scowling with displeasure. It was as if he was grinding the words he was saying.

「I think it’s bad for someone so young to skip school.」

He was right, and I had to agree with him.

However, Tooya-san was also advising me at the same time.

「You are asking why I consented to her skipping classes?」

「…… That’s right, as adults, we have the obligation to guide our juniors, right? Unless there is a good reason for this.」

Tooya-san’s eyes were serious.

His eyes weren’t saying that this was common sense, or that he was right, and filled with concern for Nortri. Tooya-san might look scary, but he really likes kids.

I couldn’t help smiling.

「That’s right, I think we have that obligation.」

「Then, why?」

I looked up at the ceiling and thought about how to answer.

「Because that isn’t my responsibility.」


I glanced towards Nortri.

She laid on the counter without moving.

「Teaching, advising, admonishing… They are important, but I don’t want to do that to this child.」

Tooya-san frowned.

「Aren’t you shirking your responsibility as her senior? We should use our experience to help the growth of our juniors.」

「Yes, I think you’re right.」

I put a bowl in front of Nortri, then took out a small fruit from the fridge. The skin was bright blue, but the inside was yellow. The taste and texture was similar to a pear. I decided to prepare this first.

「But I think I should leave that to her parents or her teachers in the academy. I’m not qualified enough to teach others.」


Tooya-san nodded, but he kept his arms crossed, his face implying that he didn’t fully accept that.

「I think that there will always be people who don’t like a certain place.」

「That’s obvious.」

「Some people will change themselves to fit the environment, but not everyone can do that. They might need guiding and advising, and that can’t be helped. To spur them on by saying why they can’t do it even though others can, and that they aren’t working hard enough.」

I picked up a knife and cut into the fruit.

「And of course, some will change for the better, but there will still be people left behind. Why is that? Because they aren’t that type of people.」

「Not that type of people?」

「It’s like asking birds to swim or fish to run, it will never work. Since they are born different.」

「I understand what you’re saying, but that is different from skipping classes.」

「It’s the same.」

I remember a cousin I was close to back in the original world. She couldn’t adapt to her environment and the people around her, thought of herself as being useless and ended up quitting school.

「She is the most troubled because of that, since she knows very well that she isn’t suited to that environment. Why can’t she do it? Why can’t it work? What should she do…? It’s painful to force herself to adapt to an unsuitable environment, and it will be more painful if others can’t understand her struggles.」

「…… Hmm.」

Tooya-san stroked his chin as if he was remembering something.

「For the people pushing themselves and getting depressed because of the disparagement, they needed a place to rest.」

「A place to rest?」

「Some might say it’s not healthy and that it’s escapism, but if there are people responsible for admonishing them, shouldn’t there be people responsible for providing a safe harbour?」

In this world, compared to the people scolding others, there were less people providing a safe harbour. So in the end, they needed to escape desperately alone.

「The time one needs to escape varies, some need longer, others need just a brief moment. But they all had one point in common. They knew that they needed to battle one day.」

I arranged the fruit carved into rabbit shapes onto the plate.

「And so, I’m the one providing the safe harbour. You don’t have to battle here, there is no time limit, and you can rest as long as you want in a way that you like. You can rest and build up your strength here, then set off when the time comes. Don’t you think a place like this is necessary? Well, that’s limited to the opening hours though.」

I smiled at Tooya-san and handed the fruits to Nortri.

「Nortri, here’s some pet food.」

Nortri lazily looked up and said:

「…… Feed me……」

I was just joking, but you were actually fine with pet food?

Reluctantly, I forked up the pear-like fruit and sent it to her mouth. Nortri bit the edge of the fruit, chewed a while before taking a breath, then chewed a while more before sighing. She was even lazy about eating, what a charming girl.

「Nortri, do you have a dream about the future?」

I couldn’t help asking.

Nortri lifted up her eyes that seemed to weigh a ton, and looked my way.

「…… Yes.」

I wasn’t expecting that answer.

I wavered a little, and Nortri said firmly:

「I want to bum around… for the rest of my life……」

「Oh, right.」

That surprised me, I was wondering what I should do if she stated a grand dream. I felt relieved, impressed by Nortri once again and nodding my head. What a wonderful dream.

「You are Nortri?」

Tooya-san looked at us with a disheartened face.


Nortri laid her chin on the counter and turned her head as if it was a hassle.

「Can I ask you something?」

「…… What……?」

「Are you afraid of me?」

Tooya-san stared right at Nortri. His black leopard face and buffed physique gave us a menacing carnivorous aura.

Nortri checked him out and said:


When he heard that, Tooya-san turned slack jawed.

He then closed his eyes and laughed heartily.

Nortri furrowed her brows, her face saying 「What’s with this guy, how disgusting.」

「You will become a great person in the future. Shopkeep, I get what you want to say now.」

Tooya-san laughed heartily with his shoulders shaking, then scratched his head as he said that.

I waited for him to calm down and said:

「Speaking of which, what is troubling you, Tooya-san?」

Tooya-san shook his head.

「No, it’s fine, it had been solved.」

「I see, that’s great.」

I tilted my head puzzledly.

「Yu…… The thing I always order, is it done yet……?」

「Sorry, I will prepare it right away.」

Urged by Nortri, I started making a Café au lait.



I turned back and saw Tooya-san looking cheerful and relaxed, his face was gentler than usual. He then said:

「Give me what she’s having, with plenty of sugar.」

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