Saturday, September 18, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V2 (5 of 6)

 Chapter 7: Flower and Gold Coin

Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro


As the saying went, men had three major vices—— Being lecherous, indulging in alcohol and gambling

Being lecherous would require innate talent. It could only be a vice if you could get girls to fall for you regardless of your looks and character. And of course, there were many people in this world who were involuntary celibate.

People said that alcoholics were a handful. Some would change their personality a lot when they drank, others would lose their memory after doing something shocking. There were also people who couldn’t stand liquor, so it wasn’t a sure cut vice.

Gambling was even more of a hassle. There was no vice that had assimilated into everyday life as much as that. Everyone would raise an eyebrow if someone went too far, but most people would make small bets throughout their lives.

An example would be fortune telling.

Speaking of which, the origin of gambling was fortune telling, a basis to foretell what the future brings, and slowly evolved into the culture of gambling.

‘Don’t be too hung up on good or bad fortunes.’

This was a line cautioning others to not be too concerned with the accuracy of fortune telling, and not take it seriously. However, if it involved money and the likes, people couldn’t let it go easily. If you see your horoscope at the bottom of the rankings on TV in the morning, you couldn’t help feeling depressed.

No matter which era, people would go crazy over gambling.

Because of how addictive it was, the bureaucrats tried to prohibit it, but would always fall short, since politicians were the ones most passionate about gambling.

The tension of not knowing what will happen the next second, and the exhilaration of the moment of victory, or the regret of defeat. The volatile emotions and the benefits entices the hearts of men, making it hard for them to tear themselves away.

However, those who gamble would realize one day.

In order to gain something, they needed to use something else as a stake, and they would lose the things and people important to them without realizing it.

And when they finally realized, it would usually be too late.


It had been raining recently, and the weather had finally cleared up, and my mood turned cheerful too. I went outside to prepare the shop for opening, and found the streets to be lively because of the great weather after the rainy days. Wares were laid out at the stalls on top of pieces of cloth. An old cat eared man was pulling a cart along to sell congee for breakfast.

There were a few adventurers heading towards the Labyrinth early in the morning, and many food stalls were targeting their patronage. Their shouting drowned each other out.

This city was as vibrant as ever.

I nodded, and suddenly, someone offered me a flower.

「Would you like to buy one?」

I lowered my gaze and found a little girl carrying a flower basket, and offering me a bright blue flower. It was as bright as the clear blue sky today.

「I have never seen this flower before, it’s beautiful.」

「Yes! It bloomed in the Labyrinth, and is as blue as the sky, right?」

The girl smiled proudly.

「You’re selling flowers from the Labyrinth?」

I looked around me, and the woman in her thirties who usually sells the small bundles of flowers wasn't here today.

「Usually, my mother will sell them, but I’m selling the flowers on her behalf today.」

I see, she was the daughter of the usual flower seller, no wonder it’s the first time I was seeing her.

「I see, this is a flower from the Labyrinth, so it must be very valuable.」

I carefully inspected the flower I was offered.

I wasn’t familiar with flowers, and couldn’t really comment on them. I could only say something like 「It’s pretty and the petals have a unique shape.」 But if this was a flower that bloomed in the Labyrinth, it must be rare.

It must have looked strange for me to observe the flower so seriously, and the girl laughed.

「This is a flower from the second level of the Labyrinth, and isn’t that valuable.」

「Hmm, is that so?」

「Yes, even non-adventurers can go as far as the third level. However, people seldom head into the Labyrinth just to pick flowers, so my mother said we can sell the flowers here.」

I see, we could go as far as the third level.

Driven by my curiosity, I wanted to take a look, but would the day when I would take a tour of the Labyrinth ever come…? Probably not.

「I will buy one then.」

「Really? Thank you!」

I took out a few copper coins from my pocket and accepted the Labyrinth flower.

As I couldn’t enter the Labyrinth I had to obtain this passively. This was just a flower, but it didn’t change the fact that it was a part of the Labyrinth.

The girl bowed then ran off in search of a new customer. I watched her braid swaying as she left, then held the flower up to the sun to inspect it.

I was amazed that the petals growing underground had the same colour as the boundless sky.

As expected of a Labyrinth flower, it must have grown in an environment different from normal flowers.

「Hmm, now that I think about it, it had a different feel about it.」

「What are you doing at the entrance?」

I heard someone calling and turned back, and saw Linaria showing an exasperated face.

「Hi, Good Morning, you are early today too.」

「You too, and you are holding something that didn’t suit you.」

「Oh, this? I bought it from a flower girl just now. She said it’s from the Labyrinth, and I bought it since it seems peculiar.」

Linaria bent forward a little, leaning close to the flower in my hand. The way she pulled her hair behind her ears seemed so alluring. It must be because it’s sunny.

「This is a sky gaze flower, it isn’t easy going where they bloom. It feels like a piece of the sky is by your feet over there.」

「Is that so.」

I nodded, trying and failing to imagine that image.

「It must be beautiful.」

「It is one of the more popular tourist spot in the Labyrinth after all.」


「There are sightseeing tours?」

「There is.」

Linaria said matter of factly.

「Labyrinth aren’t that common after all, travellers and people with the money and time would come here to visit. The first to third levels are properly maintained because of that.」

「I-I see, it got turned into a tourist spot.」

「The plaza of the first level is always crowded with tourists and stalls selling souvenirs.」

「How do I put this, that’s different from what I imagined.」

I was thinking of a more perilous environment that was dark and murderous.

However, it was true that a unique place like the Labyrinth would draw in many sightseers. Those managing the Labyrinth would want to get more tourists, collect entrance fees and whatnot to generate a significant amount of revenue. And so, it was very logical to make it a tourist spot.

「But, how should I say this……」

I was hoping a fantastical place like the Labyrinth would have a more dream-like and romantic atmosphere.

「What are you mumbling?」

Linaria looked at me with a stupefied face, and I shook my head:

「No, it’s nothing, let’s go in.」

I collected my thoughts and was about to open the shop when I remembered the flower in my right hand.

After pondering for a brief moment, I offered it to Linaria.


「It was on a whim, but since this is a rare chance, I want to give this to you. Instead of a man holding it, the flower will probably prefer you.」

「Eh, you are giving that to me?」

Seeing me nod, Linaria timidly reached out and accepted the flower.

She pulled the flower to her breasts and observed it closely, then looked up with a slight blush on her cheeks.

「Erm, t-thank you, I’m very happy.」

Her bashful demeanour made me speechless. I was just acting on a whim, and never thought Linaria would show such a sweet and gentle face.

For some reason, that caused a stir in my heart. I replied casually and covered it up with a loud laugh. I escaped into the shop, thinking how uncool I was.

This must be the fault of the long awaited clear weather, the sky was really beautiful after all.


As a Café master, you would meet strange customers from time to time. Those with prominent appearances or strange demeanours, you would meet all sorts. And now, one such customer was sitting by the window.

He was an old timer who tied his messy faded blonde hair near his neck. His attire was unkempt too, with yellow stains near his shirt collar, and the threads loose on his rolled up sleeves.

That wouldn’t draw much attention, but he was pressing his forehead against the window and staring outside. He ordered 「water」, and remained like this for three hours.

Was there anything interesting outside the window?

The scenery looked the same as always. The stalls by the streets, people buying things, and the large crowd visiting the food stalls. You wouldn’t get tired of this crowded scene, but was there any need to be so fervent?

I sent off two high class ladies after they paid the bill, which left just me and the old timer in the shop.

At this moment, I heard a loud rumbling sound.

I glanced at the old timer.

The old timer was still pressing his forehead against the window as he rubbed his tummy. He was probably hungry, should I ask him about making an order? Or leave him be? I was a little troubled.

At this moment, the old timer who kept the same posture after entering the shop waved at me.

「Yes, you want to order something?」

On a closer look, the old timer had a skinny face with a bit of stubble, and didn’t look well. But his eyes were full of life.

「Hmm, sorry for just sitting here for so long, can you give me some food?」

The old timer’s voice was hoarse, but his tone and face had a lively energy.

He rubbed his tummy and took out a gold coin, covered with engravings I had never seen before.

「Actually, I travelled here from the south and just reached this city, and don’t have the currency here yet.」

I see, the harsh long travels would explain how frail the old timer was.

「So, want to make a bet with me?」


I tilted my head at his sudden proposition.

「This is……」

The old timer flipped the gold coin with his thumb, and it flew up with a crisp sound before dropping down with a bright gleam, back into the old timer’s hand.

「A gold coin from the country of sand and snow, Salashred. If you use this to change for this city’s currency, it will fetch a tidy sum.」

「I see.」

He ignored my disinterested answer and continued:

「Head or tails, choose a side. I will toss the coin, and you can have it if you guess right; If you guess wrong, you can let me eat til I’m full. How about it?」

The old timer said with a smile, and looked really happy.

I had met many customers before, but this was the first time someone made a wager like that.


And the terms were to my advantage. The coin could fetch a hefty amount, and no matter how much he ate, with the prices of the dishes in my shop, it still wouldn’t reach half the cost of the coin.

「Allow me to refuse.」

「Ehh, but why? You don’t want the gold coin?」

The old timer looked up as if it was a pity, but I tend to turn cautious when gambling was involved.

Or rather——

「It’s obviously suspicious……」

「No, not at all! I spent all my travel expenses, and need some money!」

「But you do have a gold coin though?」

「I can’t make a living without this gold coin!」

「And you’re fine with using it to gamble?」

When he heard that, the old timer raised the corner of his mouth. That was a confident smile, which sent a chill down my spine with seemingly bottomless guts.

The old timer said with that smile:

「Because I will definitely win.」

That intrigued me.

Tossing the coin and guessing head or tails.

Simple logic determines the chances to be half, but he said he will definitely win.

「I get it, I will take you up on that bet.」

I said with a mind to challenge him. Rather than winning, I was more curious about that old timer’s confidence.

「That’s right, be a man, do the right thing.」

The old timer showed me the coin.

「Head or tails?」


The old timer picked up the coin between his fingers to show it to me. That was the engraving I saw earlier.

「This is tails, if this side shows after the coin toss, I win. If it’s head, you win. We good?」

「Yes, please start.」

The old timer made a show of putting the coin on top of his thumb, then flicked it like before. I tracked its golden arc through the air, and it landed on the back of the old timer’s hand, and he put his other hand on top.

I leaned forward. Once you got involved, you would be curious about the results, that was how gambling was. The old timer moved away his hand slowly, as he observed my reaction bemusedly.

「Tails, I win.」


I really lost, huh. I couldn’t help feeling vexed, and wanted to have another go. I swallowed those words down, but couldn’t help saying:

「Can I take a look at that coin?」

「Oh? Your instincts are sharp.」

Despite saying that, the old timer handed the gold coin to me easily.

The coin was a little aged with many nicks and scratches. I turned it over, and saw a different engraving on it.

「It’s a normal gold coin.」

I gave the gold coin back to the old timer and muttered. When he heard that, the old timer laughed.

「You think I’m using this gold coin to cheat? That’s too cliche.」

「But isn’t that common? Like coins where both sides are heads.」

「That’s a third rate trick, and will be seen through if the other party asked to check the coin.」

Hmm, that’s true.

「Then why are you so confident? Your chance of winning is just 50 percent, right?」


The old timer put up his index finger.

「A secret.」

My knees turned weak.

I thought he would explain the trick.

「As agreed per our wager, treat me to a meal, I can eat anything!」

Seeing the old timer smack his belly with a smile, I lost the will to argue.

I answered with a grunt and headed into the kitchen.

Where did all the food go? I never thought I would make such a retort, and the old timer was a good talker, and praised all the dishes I served.

Unexpectedly, he dined like he was having a great time.

The old timer sat at the window facing the streets and looked like he was really enjoying his food, which was a great way to advertise. It made the pedestrians stop in their tracks.

Take the meat dish for example. The skin of the chicken would be grilled til it's crispy, teriyaki sauce would then be poured on top. Steaming hot potato would be served as a side dish, and it could be mashed and be eaten together with the sauce. The chicken meat could be put between two breads too. After seeing the old timer eating them, a carnivorous beastmen pushed the door open and said:

「Give me what he is having.」

After that, the shop started to get busy. However, this would turn this place into a normal restaurant instead of a Café. I only realized that when the last customer left.

I sighed before the piles of pots and plates.

It was getting dark.

While I was busy making the dishes, the old timer kept looking out the window.

What was he looking at?

Sensing my gaze, the old timer turned my way. His face illuminated by the setting sun seemed a little lonely.

The old timer stood up and came before me.

「Hey, are there any other employees in this shop?」

「No, it’s just me. What’s wrong?」

「Want to hire me? I don’t mind a lower pay, I’m looking for work right now anyway.」

Obviously, this sudden question was troubling for me.

I had no experience hiring others, and business wasn’t good enough for me to pay others a salary.

The old timer noticed my hesitation and smiled. He raised the corners of his lips and smiled like he did before.

「—— Want to make a bet?」

My face turned stiff.

「The same terms as before.」

I wanted to turn him down, gambling wasn’t good after all. Yup, it was no good.

「I will definitely win, you know?」

I snorted at his insolence.

You thought I wouldn’t learn from my mistake and fall for your obvious taunt? That was really rude, I hope he could change his mind and not look down on me.

「Alright, you can just sit there. Leave the dish washing to me, you’re the boss after all.」

I lost again……

But why? I chose tails this time, so why didn’t I win?

The old timer was in a great mood and started whistling. I collapsed into my chair with a feeling of weakness and held my head.

I shouldn’t have gambled.

「Oh right, want to make a bet? Actually, I hadn’t found a place to stay for the night——」

「No, it’s enough……」

I raised my hands and surrendered.


In the end, the old timer slept in the empty room on the second floor, and started working hard for me the next day.

「Oh, do you have a hangover, dear customer? I recommend our Iced Coffee, just one mouthful will wake you up completely.」

「There’s such a thing? Give me one.」

「Coming right up. Boss, this mister ordered an Iced Coffee!」

The old timer was great at doing business, which surprised me. And he was observant about the customer’s condition! Like their health, when they want a drink after eating half way, and the reason behind the fights between couples, he could see through all that. To me, that was on the level of a special technique.

I asked him why he knew so much, and the old timer answered:

「This is a habit of mine. The key to gambling is to observe your opponent. If you can understand your opponent’s situation, you will never lose.」

After tending to the customers, the old timer would walk to the window, press his forehead to the pane and look outside.

When I was curious about what he was looking at, he would brush it off with a smile and walk away from the windows. I looked outside too, and just saw the usual street scenery, and the people’s lives there. What was the old timer looking at?

However, there have been more stalls recently. There were people putting planks together and deftly building a frame, and hanging clothes with vibrant colours. A man in exotic clothes was selling mysterious pieces of wood. A boy around middle schooler age was grinding kitchen knives with a grindstone. The flower girl I met a few days ago was still selling flowers on behalf of her mother.


While I was watching, the girl fell onto the ground after someone knocked her over. It was an adventurer who seemed to be too engrossed in browsing the stalls. Her basket fell over, scattering her flowers everywhere.

I had to help her.

Just when I was thinking there, the chime rang, and someone opened the door crudely. I looked over and saw the old timer rushing out of the shop. While I was watching in a daze, he dashed to the girl with incredible speed. He helped the girl up, said something to the girl, and quickly walked up to the adventurer who knocked the girl over, trying to grab him by the collar.

「Now wasn’t the time to just watch.」

I rushed out of the shop frantically too.

「That’s why I hate adventurers!」

The old timer who was always cool and composed was shouting sternly.

「E-Erm, he already apologized, I-I’m fine.」

The girl looked up timidly at the old timer and waved her hands.

「But you got knocked down by such a burly man, are you really alright?」

The old timer looked worried and checked the girl’s entire body. I could understand his worry, but a middle aged man staring at a young girl didn’t look good, and the girl was shrinking away.

「Old timer, you’re being rude.」

I told him off. When the old timer heard that, he straightened his posture like a mischievous child caught by his parents.

「S-Sorry, I got carried away……」

「N-No, it’s fine.」

The two of them righting their postures side by side seemed really cute.

「Hey, don’t laugh.」

The old timer glared at me, but he wasn’t intimidating at all.

The old timer who almost got into a fight with an adventurer backed down because of my mediation. The adventurer apologized after realizing he bumped into someone, and the girl said she was fine.

The old timer picked up the girl and brought her into the shop. He asked if she was hurt anywhere, if she had any bruises, and dusted off her clothes awkwardly.

The girl was tense, since a man she had never seen before had brought her to a shop. Objectively speaking, she should be calling the cops now.

I decided in my mind to sell out the old timer if anything happens, and tell them 「I never imagined he would do something like that.」 Right then, the old timer asked while facing the girl:

「Are you hungry?」

「No, I’m good.」

「Not you! Why would I ask you if you’re hungry!?」

I was just answering frankly, but the old timer was slamming his fist on the counter repeatedly.

「How rude, you can ask me that any time you want.」

「And then what? I can’t cook.」

「There’s a food stall selling pretty nice food over there……」

「Don’t make an old man run your errands……」

A quiet bell-like laughter came from beside the old timer, and the girl was squinting her eyes in a smile. When the old timer noticed that. He scratched his head bashfully, as if things were going his way for once.

「Erm, are you hungry?」

The old timer looked at the girl and asked again.

「M-Me? A little, but I’m fine.」

「Children don’t need to hold back.」

The old timer patted the girl’s head. The girl cried out 「Uwah」 as her head and body swayed with his hand.

「Can you make something to eat?」

「You sure have guts ordering your employer around.」

「Please cut me some slack. You can dock it from my pay, alright?」

「Since you are begging so meekly, I will humour you.」

「Huh, that’s weird…… I’m not acting meek……」

After some pointless banter with the old timer, I got ready to cook.

So what should I make? I opened the fridge and saw chicken meat and eggs. These ingredients just came in this morning. Hmm, it’s been a while, so let’s make that dish.

I took out some ingredients and laid them out in the kitchen.

Chicken meat, four eggs, Labyrinth mushrooms, just a simple recipe using these ingredients and some seasoning.

First, add water into a pot and heat it up, and slice the chicken before it boils.

The meat was made of fibres, making it tough. Grilling or boiling would maintain its texture, which was the reason for tough meat. The secret to cutting meat was to observe the direction of the fibre, and cut it along them. That way, the texture of the meat would be more tender.

After cutting up two portions, I added a handful of Labyrinth mushrooms into the boiling water.

There were all sorts of things found in the Labyrinth, and the fungi there came in many varieties and had many interesting features. The Labyrinth mushrooms, which was like a treasure trove to me, were very popular amongst the chefs, since it could produce stock soup with a rich flavour. I had knowledge of modern cuisine, and the stock tasted like Kelp and Bonito flakes soup.

There were many mysteries in the Labyrinth and the people in this world were surprised by its produce and monsters. As for me, I was surprised that a mushroom can produce the taste of sea ingredients, but it was convenient and a big help.

When the stock changed colour because of the mushrooms, I took them out. If they were kelp and bonito flakes, I could brew a second batch of stock that would taste even better than the first, suitable for stewed vegetables or hotpot. However, Labyrinth mushroom would only produce a bitter taste if you overcooked it, so I could only brew one batch of stock.

I poured the stock into a pan, then added sugar and soy sauce stock I succeeded in making recently. Soy sauce stock was a proud product of mine, and thanks to it, my egg on rice could be elevated into a masterpiece.

A dark pool formed in the pan, and I spread out the sliced chicken into it.

And of course, this dish was Oyakodon.


The key to my recipe was to use less water than normal Oyakodon.

I heated the pan with high heat, then stirred it as it boiled. I then used medium heat for three minutes before sampling it.

Hmm, salty and sweet, the taste of the sea was great.

When I was about a third done, I cracked an egg and poured it into the pan in a spiral motion. Because there was less stock, the egg was half cooked without solidifying. The egg bubbled on top of the stock before slowly hardening. The egg liquid that flowed to the bottom of the pan quickly hardened, and I used a spatula to concentrate the egg into the middle of the stock, to avoid overcooking the egg.

I dropped the rest of the egg into the emptied space on the pan, and it made a nice sizzling sound. I shook the pan with my wrist to spread the egg out. I observed the egg mixed with stock slowly hardening, and slowly pushed them to the center.

This Oyakodon used less stock than usual, and the texture was less hard than grilled or fried eggs.

The key was the heat. It needed to melt in your mouth, without being too soft either.

I gauged the time, then plated the egg. If I had to explain, this was an Oyakodon style omelette.

I took out a large bun from the cabinet and sliced it thickly.

The sliced bread was placed on the plate as if it was a stage, and the Oyakodon omelette was placed on top. The omelette used less stock, and maintained its fluffy form on top of the bread, while the egg and stock that hadn’t solidified completely had been soaked into the bread.

The chicken and egg went well with rice, and was also a great match with bread too.

I prepare two portions, placing them before the old timer and girl.

「This is interesting.」 The old timer stared intently at the dish.

「I have seen all sorts of things on top of bread in many different countries, but… This is the first time I have seen this dish. By the way, you are splurging too much, just how many eggs did you used?」

In my old world, I could buy as many eggs as I wanted at the supermarket, and felt puzzled by what he said. In this city, the eggs were relatively expensive, but could still be bought easily. From the tone of the old timer, this was probably thanks to the Labyrinth. Eggs might not be such a common ingredient, and wasn’t something you could eat on a whim.

When the girl saw the Oyakodon bread which was as big as her face, she couldn’t help gasping in awe.

She then looked up frantically and looked between me and the old timer.

「Erm…… Can I eat this?」

I gestured to the old timer.

He was the one who placed the order, so ask him.

The girl stared at him, and the old timer smiled awkwardly.

「Oh, yes, don’t hold back.」

「B-But the money for the food……」

The girl slouched her shoulders depressedly. Seeing that, the old timer frowned and looked a little sad.

「Kids don’t need to worry about all that.」


The old timer gently patted the girl’s head, and she looked up at him and said:


「Really now, you have been raised to be so stubborn. How about this, want to make a bet——」


What are you trying to do to an innocent girl?

When he heard my admonishment, the old timer raised both of his hands.

「I know, I know. Give me your flowers in return for the food money.」

「The flowers? But……」

There was a flower basket on the chair beside the girl, but after being bumped by the adventurer the flowers that were picked up had been trampled, and some of the petals had fallen off.

The old timer took the flower basket and picked out the flowers that couldn’t be sold.

「This will do, I wanted some flowers.」

The old timer smiled at the girl and showed her the small bouquet in his hands.

「Those flowers……」

The girl noticed too.

「The food will get cold.」

Sensing that things will go around in circles, I interjected.

The girl snapped to her senses and looked at the Oyakodon bread before her, then the old timer, then the bread again.

She stared at the meal as if she could bore a hole through it, before resolving herself and staring at the old timer:

「Much obliged, I’m digging in!」

The old timer twitched the corner of his mouth.

「Oh, kids these days know some difficult words.」

「She has more manners than a certain old timer.」

「Don’t say it out loud……」

The girl held the bread in her small hands and took a big bite. But she didn’t get the omelette, and after chewing for a while, she took another bite>


She opened her eyes wide before closing them again. She raised her head up and swayed slightly. She seemed to be conveying her emotions with her entire body.

After swallowing her food, the girl smiled brilliantly.

「This is super good! It’s sweet and fluffy, erm—— erm——」

She hurriedly turned to the old timer and me, working hard to show how moved she was. I couldn’t help but smile.

She then bit into the bread heartily.

The old timer looked with a gentle smile at the girl stuffing her cheeks and chewing, supporting his cheek on his palm. I had seen this expression somewhere, but where was that? It seemed to be such a long time ago.

When the girl finished half of her Oyakodon bread, the old timer finally took his first bite.

「Oh, this is good.」

「That’s right!」

After that, the old timer locked eyes with the girl and they smiled happily. After swallowing his third bite, the old timer turned to the girl:

「Hey, how is your mother?」

「Mommy is sick in bed.」

The girl said without looking up, picking up the food that had fallen onto the plate with her fork, and carefully putting it back onto the bread.

「Is she ill?」

「I don’t know, Mommy said she is fine, and won’t tell me.」

「I see, how worrying.」

「I’m very worried.」

A while later, the old timer said:

「Do you have anyone else in your house? Like your father or a relative?」

「My father is in a faraway place, because he is a sailor.」 The girl looked up at the old timer and said: 「He will send letters back from all over the world! And he will post back special things like coins from that country too.」

A sailor who travels the world, huh. A job filled with romance.

「Where is Daddy right now? I hope he comes home soon.」

The girl said with a smile, then shoved the last bite of bread into her mouth and chewed. On the old timer’s plate was the oyakodon bread he had only taken a few bites of.

The old timer had been quiet since the girl left. He sat at the bar counter and stared at the flowers on the table. He didn’t seem to notice even when a customer came in, and I pondered whether to tell him to get to work.

I didn’t do so in the end since it wasn’t that busy. This Café wasn’t a bustling shop, which might sound a little pitiful, but it got to maintain its casual atmosphere. When it gets busy, it would get noisy and break the serene mood.

On top of that, during this time right before dinner, our shop would get even more quiet. There were usually no customers, and everyone was on their way home, wondering what to get for dinner.

This period of time always felt lonely to me, but it was fine today since the old timer was here.

「How long are you going to stay depressed?」

I said to him, and the old timer raised his head in a daze.

「Why the surprised face? You look like a father who noticed his daughter had grown a lot while he was away.」

That made the old timer open his eyes wide. He then smiled awkwardly.

「Your instinct is on point, though you sucks in gambling.」

「Do you need to mention my gambling?」

「Is my face really that easy to read?」

「Can you stop dodging the question?」

「Oh, you found me out.」

「Listen to me.」

Oh no, it wasn’t proper for me to speak to an elder with such a tone.

I took a deep breath.

「I was wondering what you were looking out of the window for, so you were watching that girl.」

The old timer spoke lazily with his palm supporting his cheek:

「My wife…… well, if she hadn’t gotten tired of me. She said she is selling flowers in this city, and I came searching for her to no avail. But I saw a familiar looking girl carrying a flower basket, and thought… could that be it?」

「Are you a sailor?」

I used the contents of the girl’s conversation to ask him, and the old timer shrugged:

「Do I look like one?」

「Not at all, you look like a idling bum.」

「Hey, that’s going too far… But you are right……」

「Why did she say you are a sailor?」

「That’s not me.」


The old timer smiled gently.

「I didn’t post those letters or send those souvenirs and coins from all over the world. I only sent her money.」


I wanted to ask who sent them, then realized it was obvious.

「She fulfilled my responsibility as a father too……」

The old timer picked up a flower and twirled it.

There were people from all over the world in this city, and the merchants would bring oddities and coins from everywhere. The girl’s mother bought those things, and pretended they were sent home by the sailor father traveling the world.

「Instead of someone addicted to gambling, and left the village vowing to make a name through gambling, a sailor sounds like a good father, right?」

「You are really atrocious.」

I didn’t hold anything back.

「…… No, I was planning to return home right away. But I heard there was a cards competition in the capital, and wanted to head home after earning some cash.」

「But you didn’t, right?」

The old timer averted his gaze guiltily.

「…… I lost everything and was too ashamed to go back. I don’t have the money to travel either.」

I face palmed and sighed.

「What happened next?」

「I did all sorts of work in the capital, and then… got engrossed in the joy of the big city. For a country bumpkin like me, everything seems so bright.」

「You make it sound so cool, but isn’t that terrible?」

「…… Yes.」

The old timer slouched his shoulders.

「You were in the capital all this while?」

「No, a good buddy of mine owed a butt load of debt, so we teamed up to earn some cash.」

「I see, and where did you get the money from?」

The old timer spread his arms and said:

「A casino.」

The old timer turned away from my scornful gaze, and said with a wimpy voice: 「I had no choice.」

「I didn’t have any other means to earn a lot of money, and if I didn’t pay back the money, he will be a goner.」

To pay back the debt, he risked his life in a gamble like some drama series. I couldn’t even imagine what kind of place a casino was.

「So? Did you earn the money?」

「Who did you think I am?」

The old timer said with a stern voice.

「Didn’t you lose all your money and couldn’t even get home?」

「…… Yes, but that was in the past. Back then, I won a lot.」

「That’s great.」


The old timer smiled cheerfully.

「It’s not a good thing to win too much in a casino where money flows freely.」

「Huh, but isn’t it a place for gambling?」

「Yes, the small bets don't matter. However, the house always wins in a casino, and it’s bad for them to lose a lot of cash. Veteran gamblers know that, and will keep their winnings to an acceptable level. But we were newbies, and if we win a lot in such a place……」

「…… What will happen?」

I gulped.

「On our way back, a scary bouncer chatted us up, and told us things would be settled if we gave back the money. But we didn’t know what was happening and ran away. And so, the casino turned serious. They were in the shady line of work, and couldn’t afford to be taken lightly. So they will find us even if they had to flip the entire city over. Sensing the danger to our lives, we fled the capital.」

It was a disaster.

This was their fault, but being pursued just from winning too much money was unreasonable.

「It will be great if they give up after we run, but the casino boss is relentless, tracking us and putting up bounties. It was so tiring, just how grave was our crime?」

「They have a deep grudge against you guys. Did you win a lot of money off them?」

「Well…… part of the reason is that we made a noble our mark.」

Here it comes, a noble. The mysterious nobility caste I still wasn’t used to.

「So I can’t return to the village like this. Well, that’s my own fault.」

The old timer squinted in a lonely way.

One day, he discovered a talent—— the talent for gambling. The youth who grew up in the boondocks wanted to try his skills, but his dream was crushed, and he couldn’t escape from the city. He continued living in the city, and tried to use his talent to help his friend. In the end, he couldn’t return to his hometown.

How should I empathize with how he felt? It was too difficult.

He might look lonely, but his feelings couldn't be expressed so simply.

「And now?」

When he heard my question, the old timer shook his head.

「Didn’t I say I’m broke? I finally paid back all my debts. On paper, it’s a peace settlement fee, but they took away far more than the original amount.」

The old timer grinned.

「It took me five years gambling in different casinos to regain my freedom. So I want to see the wife and kid I left at home… I know I’m being too optimistic……」

That much was clear, so I nodded.

「Then why are you working here?」

Just go and see them.

「It’s not that simple, do I have the right to meet them? I will post them mail occasionally, and they said they will wait for my return, but I still feel so ashamed. My daughter don’t even know my face.」

He covered his face with both hands.

What a wimpy guy.

「Her letter said they are waiting for you to come back, right? Then go see them and give them a sincere apology. Think about the rest later.」

I said to the old timer with my hands on my hips:

「And didn’t you hear that girl. She said she misses her father. Did you see her face? How long are you going to let her make that expression?」


The old timer held his head and groaned.

He then ruffled his hair with a low growl, then hit his head against the bar counter with a dull thud.

「Yes, you’re right, it’s as you say. I will go see them tomorrow and apologize! Just leave that to me! I’m the best at apologizing!」

I watched the old timer and nursed my temple. 「This might not work.」

「I have enough of gambling. I learned my lesson and paid my debts, so I will live seriously from now on. Who cares about the talent for gambling!? I will live a serious live!」

「You’re not going yet?」

「I-I still need to prepare mentally.」

Is this guy really fine……


The old timer looked on edge the entire morning, pacing from one end of the floor to the next. I told him to sit down and calm himself, and he followed my advice in the beginning. But he would then start shaking his leg, and it would get so bad that he would stand up and pace again.

Noon passed, and the old timer was still in the shop. The customers casted suspicious glances his way, but the old timer paid them no heed.

I was wondering what to do when the old timer suddenly stopped.

「O-Okay… I-I will go if it is heads.」

There were matters where you couldn’t resolve yourself to do without leaving it to the heavens, and instead of gambling, it was closer to fortune telling. People would rely on it to pray for things to progress smoothly, depending on the formless fate to muster the courage to take the first step. So it wasn’t just tossing a coin, he was putting all his fear and uneasiness into that coin.

The old timer stared at the coin on his thumb.

One minute, three minutes…… After five minutes, the old timer didn’t toss the coin, and grabbed it tight instead.

「…… Really now, how pitiful, I have already decided not to rely on this thing.」

The old timer muttered and looked at me.

「I will be right back.」

I nodded at that and couldn’t help but smile.

「Alright, all the best.」

I watched the old timer go.

It would all work out.

I felt that way and prayed it would be so. Because of gambling, the old timer’s life had been turned on its head, and his wife and daughter might lead an unhappy life. However, he said he had reflected on it and wanted to start over, so I hope there would be people who believed him.

I recalled the face the old timer made while watching the girl ate, and remembered seeing the same expression before. That was the face my father made when I was still young. When he saw the young me working hard to scoop rice into my mouth, my father stopped moving his chopsticks and stared right at me.

My father had that same faint smile on his face.

I couldn’t help smiling while thinking about that.

Yes, that must be the face parents made when looking at their child—— when they were looking at their absolutely cute child.

I watched the old timer step outside.

I hope everything will go smoothly.

The warmth of a family seemed so vibrant.

—— But that day, the old timer didn’t come back.

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