Saturday, October 30, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V3 (5 of 6)


Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro


I had never liked cutting my hair, because a weird piece of cloth would be wrapped around my neck, making me look like a dumb fine-weather doll. And I felt uneasy sitting there quietly and letting others touch my hair and head.

While I was saying that, Linaria said 「Alright alright」, then wrapped a cloth around my neck. It was a white table cloth kept in the store room.

In the past, a regular had dinner in my shop in order to woo a girl. To create an atmosphere, I prepared this table cloth. I hadn’t used it since, and a layer of dust had settled on it.

「So, why do you want to cut your hair all of a sudden?」

Linaria combed my hair with a brush.

「I always wanted to cut it, but the barber I last visited cut it really ugly.」

「Oh, did the customers from that shop recommend me to you?」

「It wasn’t a customer at the barbers, but someone did recommend you, and I trust you.」

Was this a sly way of putting it?

Linaria stopped her hands, then started moving again. My bangs were combed straight, covering my eyes.

「It’s really long, you’re not a girl, you know.」

「Please make me look cool.」

「…… That will be difficult.」

「Can you not say that with a serious face?」

I would feel hurt too.

「Jokes aside, my technique isn’t that good.」

「But you often help everyone cut their hair, right?」

「…… Did the Director tell you that?」

Linaria snipped the scissors in her hand, which sent a shiver down my back.

「I ran into him on the streets, and chatted a little.」

「I see… Is he well?」

I wondered what I should say. He didn’t look well, but it’s bad to say that about the Director.

「He is working hard in order to not worry Linaria.」

She probably sensed something from the way I worded that, or guessed the truth since she knew him well. Linaria was quiet for a well, then muttered quietly:

「Really now, all men are stupid.」

The Director’s prediction was right on the mark, and I had a hard time stifling my laughter.

Linaria sighed as she flicked up my hair and cut it off.

「Erm, are you really fine with giving me a haircut?」

「It’s fine, you have to be bold when cutting hair.」


「…… I suddenly feel uneasy.」

「Leave it to me, but I won’t take responsibility.」

「Thank you for being so reliable, but let’s stop this.」

「Hey, sit your ass down.」

I wanted to get up, but Linaria pushed me down by the shoulders, and I couldn’t move. She might be slender, but she was strong. This must be the fruits of her training during lessons, I definitely wasn’t weak. That must be it.

I gave up on running and Linaria cut my hair with practiced hands.



The sound of hair being cut echoed in the shop.

「When I was ten……」

My voice drowned out the snipping as I said:

「I had a friend, and I thought of him as my best friend. We were always playing together, going home together, playing pranks together, and getting scolded by the teachers.」

「…… You can play pranks? That’s hard to imagine.」

「I was a mischievous boy and would always——」

「Don’t lie.」


Well, it was a lie.

「But one day, we found an abandoned kitten. It was already evening and the sky was getting dark. We debated on what to do, but neither of our homes can keep pets. We just stood there as the sun slowly set. It was winter, and really cold, so the kitten would definitely die if we left it alone. But we couldn’t do anything.」

I could hear the snipping near my ears.

「My friend then picked up the kitten and said 『I will bring it home.』 I said 『Your home can’t keep pets, right?』 He answered 『But I want to bring it back, I won’t know if I don’t ask.』 I could only watch as he brought the kitten away.」

「…… And then?」

「In the end, he couldn’t keep a cat at home, but a neighbour adopted the kitten, and it should still be doing fine today.」

「I see, that’s great.」

「Yes, that’s wonderful. I will occasionally think back on that. Why couldn’t I be like him? I might still be a child, but I realized there are people who will give up before a problem, and those who will take action despite the troubles. And I’m not the type who will take action.」

I would remember the problem of the invisible bridge.

A group of people needed to move forward, but there was a cliff before them. It was said that there was an invisible bridge, and the people would split into those who could muster the courage to walk forward, and those who couldn’t overcome the fear of falling. I definitely belonged to the latter.

There was a brief silence between us, followed by the most intense snipping so far.


「Hey, you just said 『Ah』, right?」

「I didn’t, yup, it’s fine.」

「Hey hey hey, I’m feeling scared here, did you cut off a lot?」

「It’s fine, cutting it short is just right for summer.」

「So it’s really too short!?」

「You’re a guy, so don’t mind such details.」

No, that was too unreasonable. I was a delicate guy, and was crying in my heart.

「And then? What happened next?」

I worked hard to find a topic to talk about, but the atmosphere was ruined now. I was bothered by my haircut, and couldn’t focus.

So I gave up and just said on a whim:

「The story didn’t mean much, but it shows clearly what kind of person I am. I would always hesitate to move forward when there was something on my mind, and couldn’t take action. Right now, I’m troubled about what I should do with the shop.」

「What do you mean by that?」

「The Monte Company proposed that I should expand its operation, while Corleone-san wanted to buy my shop. He said he would provide the funds, and revert it back to the old peaceful shop.」

Linaria stopped moving.

「So things had turned out this way, huh? Isn’t that fine? You’ll make a killing no matter what you choose.」

She snipped her scissors in place of an applause.

It would be great if I could think about this so easily.

「I’m troubled because I don’t know which option to choose.」

「I see.」

Linaria went around to my front and flicked up my bangs. I could see her face as she moved her scissors. It felt itchy whenever my hair fell on my nose.

She focused on cutting my hair, while I closed my eyes. Linaria’s fingers caressing my forehead felt really cold and comfortable.

「About that abandoned kitten.」

Linaria said.

「What were you thinking back then?」

What did I want to do?

I thought about it countless times before, and always reached the same answer.

「I want to bring it home.」

However, I couldn’t do it, because my parents wouldn’t allow it. Or rather, I was using this excuse to avoid taking responsibility for that young life.

「I want to bring it home.」

As if to affirm my feelings, I said it again.

「Then it’s fine.」

I felt something cool on my cheeks, which made me open my eyes. Linaria’s eyes were right before me. She held my face with both hands and gazed right into my eyes. I couldn’t escape from her gaze like I did before.

「Those who really couldn’t take actions wouldn’t think that way, they wouldn’t even let it bother them, and would leave immediately. Just thinking about what you can do or want to do is already a great thing.」

Her voice was gentle and soft, as if she was speaking to a toddler, not accusatory at all.

「You might not have noticed, but you did take action. When I was in the library, who sneaked in to meet me? You did help an abandoned kitten before.」

Linaria joked with a smile.

She probably didn’t realize how her warm words soothed my heart.

「…… That’s true, and the abandoned kitten is all grown up now.」

「It’s helping out in the shop and even cutting its owner’s hair, what a capable cat.」

I couldn’t help grinning. She had a thing for caring for others, and ease the worries of others.

Linaria let go of my face and combed my bangs.

「It’s the same for the shop too, no one will force you. This is your shop, you just need to think about what you want to do.」

「Really now, that’s easier said than done.」

After Linaria said it so carefreely, I felt the same way too. How fascinating.

「That’s only natural, since it’s the problem of someone else.」

「You’re right.」

We laughed.

What did I want to do?

I had not considered something so simple all this time, and it was something so simple and yet important,

「Can I consult you from time to time?」

I said it out much simpler than I imagined.

Linaria stopped moving, and patted my head:

「Of course. Alright, I’m done.」

The cloth around my neck was taken away, and I regained my freedom. I reached out to my head, and felt a refreshing sensation.

「Yes, it feels great.」

「Of course.」

I turned to Linaria who was puffing her chest out proudly:

「The Director said he will be coming tonight—— is that fine?」

Linaria still had her hands on her hips, then gently lowered her brows and said:

「After saying all that, I won’t refuse him now.」

However—— she continued:

「Can you accompany me?」

「Of course.」 I nodded.

That night, I sat shoulder to shoulder beside Linaria at the dining table. She was distracted all this while, and kept fidgeting. I was wondering if she would start pacing around the shop when the Director finally showed up.

「Sorry for being late.」

「You’re too slow.」

The Director smiled wryly at Linaria’s barbed words, then scratched his head 「Well, the crowd is really something out there.」 His movements seemed exaggerated, maybe the fundraising wasn’t going well.

Director sat down opposite us, and said as he looked at Linaria and me:

「……Linaria, I’m sorry about last time for showing up suddenly and making you worry.」

Linaria shook her head.

「No, that’s fine.」

「If you aren’t ready mentally, we can do this next time.」

The Director said to Linaria out of consideration.

Linaria straightened her back at that, then looked right back at the Director. Her eyes were fearless and strong, even though the topic might be sad or depressing for her. She looked really brilliant in my eyes.

「—— It’s fine, please tell me about my parents.」

The place turned quiet for a moment.

The Director said with a smile:

「You have grown. I hadn’t seen you for a while, and you have completely grown up. You are just like Philia.」

I didn’t need to ask who that was.

「Linaria, your mother is a Medical Mage.」

Linaria nodded.

「I remembered that vaguely, she will heal me when I got hurt.」

「Do you know why Medical Mages are so rare? Why even a talented mage might not make it even after learning the skills?」

Linaria shook her head, and I obviously didn’t know.

「Healing spells are very special, it’s a technique craved by the masses, treated specially, and hidden from the public. In the past, those in power would keep the Medical Mages to themselves and forbid the technique from spreading. And the church I’m serving is the one who treats this technique as a miracle in ancient times.」

「Forbid it’s spread…… But……」

When he heard Linaria’s words, the Director nodded:

「That’s right, times have changed now. We now have official organizations to train Medical Mages. However, the original healing spells aren’t a skill, but something that can only be inherited. Those without the bloodline couldn’t wield powerful healing spells no matter how hard they worked.」

The bloodline of healing spells meant heritage was an important factor. This wasn’t a skill you could learn through effort, and the deciding factor was talent.

「People who can cast high level healing spells are rare, and only those from the pure bloodline can use it. And this clan is a target pursued by those in power—— your mother is one of the people who inherited the bloodline of that clan.」

When I heard that, I can’t imagine a pleasant development to the story. So Linaria’s mother was pursued by those in power before too.

「However, your mother is a mischievous and freedom-loving woman who can’t be tied down. After saying 『Who cares, retard!』, she fled from the Church’s tower.」

「That’s weird, why did it suddenly take a comedic turn?」

I thought it would be a heavy story, and was bracing myself for it.

Linaria nursed her temple and said:

「…… Wait, the image of my mother is crumbling.」

「Whenever she gets involved, everything turns into a joke.」

The Director smiled awkwardly.

「After that, Philia traveled around the nation and offered free treatment to those suffering from diseases and injuries. She then met your father and gave birth to you. The three of you continued the journey. But Philia’s reputation had grown so great, that people associated her powers with that of St. Eminem.」

I knew about St Eminem, who was a saint celebrated during Holy Fest.

「The nobles who noticed her powers sought to recruit her, but when they realized she wouldn’t budge—— they targeted you.」

The Director stared right at Linaria.


「Like I said, only those who inherited the true bloodline can use high healing spells, and they are after Philia bloodline that flows in you.」

Linaria looked down at her palms as if to see the blood flowing in them, and the scene that followed after that.

「You were still young and the pursuers kept coming. She finally made up her mind and entrusted you to my father who knew her well. My father had some status in the Church, and used all sorts of way to hide you.」

The Director was vague, and there must be things he couldn’t say to kids like us.

「…… Then I……」

The Director nodded at Linaria who looked up:

「You weren’t abandoned, Philia and your father had to leave you to stop the people after your bloodline. So you can live freely, far away from those people lusting after the power of the healing spells.」

Linaria bit her lips and clenched her fists.

「I’m sorry for hiding this from you, it must be hard on you. Not understanding your parents and thinking you have been abandoned, you must have had a lonely life. I’m really sorry.」

The Director placed his palms on the table and lowered his head, almost hitting the table.

「D-Don’t do that! It’s fine, I understand.」

Even so, the Director still maintained this posture, before slowly raising his head.

「…… I promised your mother not to tell you the truth before your seventeenth birthday.」

I see, Linaria just had her seventeenth birthday recently.

「But, why seventeen?」

When I asked that, the Director said with a smile:

「Because Philia escaped from the Church at that age.」

「…… She did that at my age?」

Linaria’s mother might be a big weirdo.

Linaria closed her eyes to absorb what she just heard, then took a breath before opening her eyes. She then leaned forward.

The air turned tense again. She was asking what she really wanted to know.

「Well then—— Where are my parents right now?」

The Director answered with a serious face:

「After entrusting you with me, she returned to the Church, but I don’t know if she is still there. My father has passed away, and I’m too far from the top management of the Church. Besides, information about Medical Mages are top secret.」

Linaria sat down disappointedly.

「I see...」

She mumbled softly, and I could feel the emotions she was hiding in her voice. I realized that was the kind of girl she was.

「Well then……」

She slowly said.

When was it? I remembered talking about her dreams during a rainy day.

「I will definitely become a Medical Mage.」

Back then, she showed a tearful face, just like how I looked when I first came to this world, lost and helpless.

「That way, I can learn the whereabouts of my parents.」

I stared at Linaria’s profile, and saw the fire of determination burning in her eyes.

The invisible bridge.

Even if you couldn’t see it, you still believed that the bridge was there, and stepped forward. She was someone who could do that.

And now, she had taken the first step in search of where her parents were.

She understood that healing spells were craved by those in power, but she still moved forward with her indomitable determination.

I looked at her back, and saw an invisible bridge before me. Could I take a step forward too?

Chapter 3: Until the Autumn Wind Sweeps Away the Summer


The day after we learned about Linaria’s parents from the Director.

The shop was bustling as always—— not, the shop was closed today, because Aina and Doddo had gone back to their mansion. I was surprised by the sudden turn of events, but Aina’s father had been searching for her.

「Ughh…… Esteemed father came personally to find me… There’s no escape now.」

Aina was crestfallen, and expressed her regret with her entire body.

「I’m sorry for leaving so suddenly when it’s so busy……」

「Don’t mind that, I’m grateful for all the help you have rendered so far.」

These were my sincere thoughts, they had been a big help and didn’t deserve any blame. Business was so good because Aina and Doddo were here, allowing us to make it through those busy days.

I handed Aina a small pouch I prepared ahead of time and said:

「For you.」

「This is?」

Aina asked as she looked at the pouch.

「The salary you have earned, thank you for all your help.」

I said respectfully and Aina replied with sparkling eyes:

「Oh my! This is the first time I received money like this, is it really fine?」

「This is the fruits of Aina’s hard work, you deserve it.」

「I will accept it gratefully then.」

Aina took the money pouch, and stared at it gleefully without checking the contents. The salary she earned through her labour must have felt meaningful to her.

I turned to Doddo who was watching Aina warmly, then offered a different pouch of money.

「Here, this is Doddo’s share. Thank you for your hard work.」

「…… For me?」

Doddo said dubiously.

「Because Doddo helped out too.」

「But I’m a maid.」

「That’s right, you are a maid working in this shop for the past week, so I need to pay you since I’m the shop owner.」

I said gleefully, and Doddo had a look of resignation.

I thought Doddo was emotionless, but after working together, she had shown different sides of herself.

And this was the first time I had seen a smile from her.

「Well then, I will accept your kind offer.」

Doddo accepted the pouch of money and bowed respectfully.

「Thank you for taking care of us. For the Young Lady and me, it had been a wonderful experience.」

「No no, I’m the one who had been in your care.」

I returned the bow.

I then turned to Aina who was squeezing the pouch:

「Aina, I want to ask a favour.」


Last night, I laid on my bed in the dark, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep.

What did I want to do?

Thinking about it carefully, I had never given it serious thought.

I wasn’t from this world, I came from a different world. A different world, I wanted to laugh just saying that term. No matter who I say that to, they would think I was joking.

This cafe was a place to protect myself from this strange world, and to close myself in. I recreated the familiar cafe I grew up in, acted like a shopkeep, and made my own world here.

But before I realized it, it had left my grasp.

All sorts of customers visited, including people who liked this place. This place wasn’t mine alone anymore.

To others, this place was an important refuge too.

The change in the environment caused by the Songstress’ visit improved the shop’s business greatly. There were lots of customers and every day was busy.

What did I want to do in such a situation?

I wasn’t forced to make a choice, so I didn’t need to consider which proposal was the better option. I needed to discard the unnecessary details and think about what I wanted to do instead.

I didn’t have an answer, and couldn’t sleep. So I got up in the middle of the night and stood at the bar counter.

Like I had done in the past, I surveyed the shop.

I felt flustered in the empty shop, and then glanced at the gold coin decoration on the cabinet.

The foreign gold coin covered in scratches was left here by a certain old timer, and he would flip this coin whenever he made a bet.

I was thinking that I should make a bet with this gold coin if I was too troubled to make a decision.

I put the coin on my thumb, and flicked it——

「…… So, what will your decision be?」

—— When I got to that point of the story, Monte Company’s Momon stroked his beard and asked.

「You decided by flipping a coin, huh.」

Corleone-san said exasperatedly.

「This is a way of relying on God’s will……」

The Director said with a bitter smile.

The four of us were seated at a dining table at the back of the Cafe.

I asked Aina to invite Momon and Corleone-san to the shop, and by a stroke of good luck, intercepted the Director who had dropped by before his return trip.

I felt that this great timing was truly God’s will.

I endured the stares from the three men, and straightened my posture to address them:

「Thank you, Momon-san and Corleone-san for your wonderful proposals, I’m really flattered.」

I said with a bow.

「Business has been booming recently, and many customers are willing to splurge here. This is like a dream, although I’m tired to the point of dying.」

「This is all because of the maids, Maid Cafes are wonderful. Actually, I’m drawn to Maids in the past too… This is simply wonderful.」


Instead of a business, does he just want to open a Maid Cafe?

「Oh, sorry.」

I cast a suspicious gaze towards Momon, and he scratched his head awkwardly, then gestured for me to continue.

If possible, I wanted to know the truth, but now wasn’t the time for that. I composed myself and cleared my throat:

「I have decided to accept your proposal.」

「…… Ugh.」

Corleone-san’s mouth twitched.

「Whose proposal do you want to accept?」

The cute hare stared at me. However, I could feel a painful pressure on the back of my neck, and he was obviously not normal. Even my armpits were sweating. I leaned back a little and answer:



「I accept both of your proposals.」

The place fell into silence.

Momon and Corleone-san looked at me quietly, trying to grasp what I meant.

The Director looked at each of us in turn and scratched his cheek, wondering if he was in the wrong place.

To avoid losing the initiative, I continued speaking.

「First, Momon-san.」


I looked at Momon, and he looked back with a strong gleam in his small eyes.

「I will sell you the creative rights to serve customers with Maids.」

「—— Oh?」

「You could have just copied my idea, but you went out of your way to approach me for a business venture. You said that creativity had its value, and did business with the motto of protecting the rights of the creators.」

「That’s right.」

Momon nodded.

「And so, I will officially hand this creative idea to you. You can make a contract or something similar to that, and I won’t provide services with Maids in my shop in the future.」

「Hmm…… Assuming do we make a contract, what will you get in exchange?」

Momon was smiling, but his eyes were serious, probing my true thoughts. That was the face of an expert living in the harsh world of merchants where everyone fought for great business opportunities.

I shuddered at the sight of that, but endured it by clenching my fist under the table.

I was an amateur, and could only pull off little tricks when facing a veteran merchant. Despite that, I hung on and shook my head:

「I will get to that part later.」


I breathed out in relief, then turned to Corleone-san:

「Corleone-san, you wanted to purchase my shop no matter how much it cost. Do you still feel the same now?」

「Yes, I will be satisfied if I can get the same peace and quiet as usual.」

「Well, I will work hard in that direction.」

Corleone-san slowly touched the brim of his hat.

「What are you planning?」

「I want to cut down on the visiting customers. Rather than cutting down, it’s more like not letting them in.」

「……Oh? And how will you do that this time?」

Corleone-san said with a cheerful voice. His words intrigued Momon.

「You said 『this time.』 So Shopkeep Yu did something similar before?」

「Yes, this kid once came to my mansion without prior notice.」

「What! The Corleone mansion!?」

Momon stared at me with wide opened eyes, his face saying 「A fool with no regards for his life.」

「I was wondering what he wanted, and he just wanted to celebrate a girl’s birthday. He wanted me to sell him food ingredients, and offered me a high quality Brilliant Dusk Gem in exchange.」

「Oh, he sure is generous.」

「That was the most enjoyable visits I ever had.」

Corleone-san looked at me with a happy, sincere laugh.

I wanted to hold my head and hide, there wasn’t anything more embarrassing than talking about my past.

「I will believe you if you say so. So, what do you want from me in exchange?」

If possible, I wanted to hide in a hole, but I couldn’t do that. I endured the shame, took a few deep breaths, and said using the strength from my stomach:

「I hope you two can lend me something more precious than money.」


I could tell that Momon was wary.

「Monte Company’s boss, you don’t need to be so guarded.」

Corleone-san said, and Momon patted his belly embarrassedly.

「Oh, pardon me. But it’s troubling to ask for something more valuable than money. After all, my only assets is a humble company.」

「This condition is an interesting riddle. So, what exactly is more important than money to the people in this world?」

I looked at the two of them in turn and said:

「It’s connections.」

The place fell silent again.

Corleone-san had a deep smile as he patted Momon’s arm.

「Like I said, he is a fun person to be with.」

「I see, I see, connections! I can’t fix a price to that if I try to sell it in my company.」

「What kind of connections do you want? What do you want to do?」

Corleone-san looked at me with an intrigued expression, and I felt troubled by how much expectations he had. I was troubled, but I had to say it.

「Erm, the thing is……」

I finally introduced the two of them to the Director sitting beside me.

「Actually, this is the Director of an Orphanage, but things are tough because he couldn’t raise any funds. If this continued, the children who have a bright future ahead of them will fall on tough times.」

The Director was taken aback by the sudden introduction.

「He came all this way to raise funds, however!」

I raised my voice.

「He isn’t good at persuading nobles and high officials.」

「…… I see.」

Corleone-san nodded.

「I understand.」

Momon stroked his chin.

Huh…? They already got it?

This went contrary to my expectations, and I suddenly felt weak. I was about to get into the meat of my request.

The Director looked at me, trying to comprehend what we were discussing.

「In other words, what you are saying is this—— You want us to introduce rich people willing to donate an Orphanage to this man who is bad with words.」

Corleone-san said.

「Or maybe nobles who want to show their philanthropic side by making charitable donations.」

「He is troubled because he can’t handle such people.」

「Leave that part to me then. If we can raise funds for charity this way, the Monte Company would earn a good reputation too.」

「How reliable.」

「Thank you for your kind words.」

The speed of their conversation increased, leaving no room for me to interject. The Director and I were left on the sideline while Corleone-san and Momon hashed out the details in no time.

「Erm, excuse me.」

I raised an arm to make my presence known, and the two of them stopped.

「I couldn’t keep up with your conversation… So, you will accept my suggestion?」

Corleone-san and Momon looked at each other, then nodded my way.

「We need to do some charity activities at times. And if this will revert the shop into a peaceful place, I’m not opposed to it.」

Corleone-san said.

Momon nodded in agreement.

「The goal of my company is to make the world a better place, and to pay an adequate price for outstanding creativity.」

They completely agreed with my suggestion.

I breathed out heavily, then leaned back on my chair.

I spent the entire night thinking of all the possibilities. What should I do if they reject me? How do I convince them? After such thorough thinking, the conclusion was surprisingly simple and worked out in my favour.

I relaxed my heart and loosened my tensed shoulders. That was tiring...

「Your negotiation technique isn’t bad, but you let your guard down towards the end, Yu.」

「Using our proposals as the base, and linking it towards a donation to another party is very well done. I felt as if my soul had been cleansed.」

「That’s… true. No matter what you choose, you could get a tidy sum of money.」

I raised my hands in surrender when I saw the complicated smile on Corleone-san.

「I don’t have anyone who can wear a Maid outfit in my shop, and I already have things I wanted to do.」

「Oh, I’m curious about what you want to do.」

With the atmosphere leaning towards an interrogation, someone poked my shoulder.

The Director looked at me in confusion and said:

「Erm, Yu-kun, can you tell me what is going on?」


The next day, I asked Linaria to help me write a notice, which stated what I wanted to do.

「…… Are you sure about this?」

When I told Linaria what I wanted her to write, she spun her pen and asked me in surprise.

「Yes, isn’t a good idea?」

「Rather than a good idea, it feels reckless… Never mind, it feels like something you will do.」

「Are you complimenting me? Or dissing me?」


She said nonchalantly and wrote on the paper. I felt refreshed when she said that.

I asked her to write a long paragraph. I took a lot of wrong turns before reaching this conclusion.

I walked out with the paper in hand.

The sunlight was bright on this summer day, and the sky was clear. I felt cheerful just walking along the streets. On such pleasant days, customers would be happy to splurge, and for me, this was a great day for business.

With the summer sky behind me, I pasted the notice on the door. A voice called out to me.

「Excuse me, is the shop open? This is the place with Maid servers, right!?」

It was an elegant lady wearing a necklace with large gems, with three similarly dressed ladies behind her. They must be tourists who came from somewhere else.

I bowed with a business smile:

「I’m very sorry, but there aren’t any Maids here now. The Monte Company will operate such a shop in the near future.」

The ladies looked at each other with a gasp.

「There are no maids here now? Such a shame, but turning back now feels weird too. Can we get something to eat and drink here?」

I was thankful for that, but I couldn’t invite them in either.

「Actually, that’s not possible either.」

「Oh, and why’s that?」

The lady was baffled.

I turned and showed them the notice I just put up. The lady went closer and read out the contents:

「The operation hours of this shop will now be in the wee hours of the night…?」

I nodded with a smile.

That might be so, but I couldn’t start the late night operation right after making the decision.

I wasn’t a morning person, but I couldn’t switch to late night hours out of the blue.

It was hard to change my habits after I got used to waking up early, I needed to work on changing my body rhythm first.

Because of how busy it had been, I had accumulated more fatigue than I expected. So I closed the shop and rested for a few days. Thanks to the excuse of preparing for late night operations, I could laze in bed as much as I wanted.

While I was resting, I could discuss the plan with Momon, Corleone-san and the Director, and push the plan further.

The Director pushed back the timing of his return.

He was invited to meet with esteemed gentlemen and conversed with them. Having Momon and Corleone-san accompany him was as good as having the help of a hundred men.

Momon was quickly training the maids, while Corleone-san excitedly awaited my reopening.

All of us were changing, and took action because of the changes.

And the wave of change came to my side too.

「The dormitory is livable again, so I will be going back tomorrow.」

It was before dinner, and I was holding a knife in the kitchen.

When I heard what Linaria said, I stopped my work and looked at her.

A few moments later, I acknowledged her with a gentle nod. Since that day when Linaria came to stay with her luggage, I knew this day would come.

And recently, Linaria had been heading back to school. The dormitory wasn’t ready then, but she could still visit the unaffected library. And obviously, she was heading to the library to study.

「Tomorrow, huh. It will be lonely.」

This was my pure, undisguised feeling.

The troubling cohabitation turned normal before I realized it. Looking back, the time we spent together was short, but it felt like we had always been staying together.

Linaria straightened her posture before me, put her hands behind her back, then said with her gaze slightly lowered:

「Erm, I have been in your care. The time I spent helping out in the shop, and dining together with you is short, but it was fun. Thank you.」

I suppressed an emotion welling up within me.

I was surprised by how strong that emotion was, and felt like crying. I swallowed it down as if I was sucking in air, and to hide my tears, I turned my gaze to my hands and continued cutting the vegetable.

「I should be the one thanking you, you really saved me by working in the shop. Sorry, but I can’t give you too much for your salary.」

In order to pay Linaria, Aina and Doddo their salary, I took a trip to the guild and asked them the market rate for a temp worker.

The money I gave might be too little given how busy it had been, maybe I should give them a little more?

Linaria shook her head:

「It’s already plenty. Besides, there’s also my lodging and meals fees too.」

「It’s fine, I already deducted those fee.」

That was a lie.

「……Alright then, erm, I will cherish the money.」

「That’s the money Linaria earned, so you don’t have to tell me that.」

I said with a smile.

「That’s true, but I still feel like saying that.」

Linaria answered with a smile.

Such idle chatter was precious to me.

There weren't any major incidents nor an exciting adventure. I came to a different world, and was just cutting vegetables in a kitchen.

But when I grew older and reminisced about the past, this would be the time that came to mind.

The sun shone from the window.

The noise came from the streets.

The coolness of the vegetables washed with water, and the droplets on my palm.

And also, the girl smiling at me.

I would never forget that such a day happened in my life, the scenes I saw and how I felt.

「Sigh, is there anything I can help you with?」

「Help me bring those to the table.」

I answered with a smile when I heard Linaria’s voice.

I plated the finished food, and Linaria took them away.

We were having Hamburg steak today, not the type stewed slowly over a low heat, but a simple Hamburg steak that was just grilled. Complemented with sunny side eggs, and steamed potatoes with butter. There was a large bowl of salad in the middle. Linaria ate french loaf, while I chose white rice.

After the preparations were complete, we sat opposite each other at the dining table, with the dishes placed before us.

I looked at them and thought 「Oh, what a normal and unassuming dinner.」

「…… How should I put this? The dishes are the same as always. If you told me earlier, I would have worked harder on the food.」

「What’s wrong with having the same dishes, that’s so like us. And it taste good enough.」

Linaria answered my mumblings cheerfully.

「That’s true. My cooking always taste great.」

I joked and then started eating. And so, the two of us spent time as usual at the dining table.

Not long ago, Aina and Doddo would have joined us for dinner, and the four of us would have a rowdy meal.

But now, it was just Linaria and me, and our conversation went on and off.

And tomorrow, I will go back to dining alone.

I was just reverting to the original condition, but it was hard for me to imagine how I dined by myself in the past.

For me, dining with others was just that memorable.

「Speaking of which, the Director spoke to me. He told me cheerfully that he found people willing to donate to the Orphanage.」

「Really? That’s great.」

Since Corleone-san and Momon were with him, I wasn’t that worried. Even so, I still felt relieved by this result.

「But when did the Director visit? I didn’t realize at all.」

「Because you slept until noon. I knocked your door, but you didn’t wake up.」

I couldn’t respond to that, since I had been sleeping till noon recently.

To hide my feelings, I cut the steaming potatoes with butter seeped in.

「Erm, about the Director.」

Linaria asked:

「Did you do something?」

I chewed my potato without a word.

Linaria got sharp instincts, and I thought she would find out immediately.

Because of my tendency to keep secrets, I made her mad a few days ago. With that lesson in mind, I thought I should be frank with her, but decided to keep a secret.


Because I wanted to be cool. I had my pride as a man, and this was just a small wilful side of me.

「No, I have no idea.」

I answered without looking up, and put the cut hamburg steak into my mouth. The juice gushed out when I chewed, and it almost burned me.

Linaria stared right at me.

I thought she would press the matter, but the atmosphere relaxed.

「Never mind. But thanks.」

I showed an expression that implied I didn’t know what she was talking about, and continued eating.

Linaria probably knew I did something, but magnanimously let it go. I couldn’t win against her.

And then, silence.

A short while later, Linaria tore the french loaf from the bread basket, then said cheerfully:

「I’m going to be a Medical Mage.」

I looked up. Linaria was holding the bread, but her eyes were looking into the distance.

「If I become a Medical Mage, I might learn more about my parents and meet them.」

In the past, when Linaria said she wanted to be a Medical Mage, that was just a dream, something vague that would be nice if she succeeded. And that vague feeling was gone now.

After all, she said firmly that she was going to be one, and not that she wanted to be one. That turned the flimsy dream into a clear goal she could work towards.

When the Director told her the truth that day, something must have changed inside Linaria.

「There is a specialist school to train Medical Mages.」

Linaria looked up, her eyes sparkling. My chest thumped at that, and it took quite a bit of effort for me to compose myself.

「I want to take the entrance test to that school. I heard it is very difficult, but I will definitely get in.」

「…… I see, is that school far from here?」

「Yes, it’s really far from here.」

I nodded and said: 「I see.」

I was relieved that I didn’t take it as hard as I imagined. Because I knew such a day was inevitable.

There were people who chose to stay in the same place, and those who would spread their wings. This wasn’t a question of maturity, but how people lived their lives.

Linaria was the type to spread their wings, she had the capability, a goal and the mental tenacity.

「—— Erm, Yu.」

She stared at me.

「Yu, you won’t go somewhere else, right? You will always be in this shop, right?」

I couldn’t answer her question on the spot.

Because I was thinking that I would return to my original world one day.

I came suddenly to this world, and might return suddenly too. Or maybe that was my dream.

To return to the place I grew up in.

This was what supported my soul as I lived in this world. I refused to be a part of this world in the past, refused to leave the shop, and even refused the goodwill of others.

What has happened since then?

I met the girl before me, left the shop before I knew it, and slowly changed after conversing with the customers that visited. When I noticed, I was 「living」 in this world.

I remembered what Corleone-san said.

People had to accept change. In order to gain something, you need to give up on some things.

Before me was a cliff, with the dark abyss below. However, there was an invisible bridge before me.

I couldn’t turn back, and I had squirmed here for too long. Making a crying face by myself without wanting to do anything, and resisting everything.

And now, I should take my first step forward, and wave goodbye to the past. The time I had to face a change for the sake of something had come.

I moistened my throat with water, stared at Linaria, and she stared right back. I said slowly as I held her gaze:

「To be frank, I was happy that the shop’s business was thriving. I was troubled when Momon came to me with a business proposal, but I was happy that someone acknowledged me.」

Linaria took in every word I said.

「When Corleone-san said he wished to revert my shop to how it was, I was shocked that someone cherished what I did in the past that much.」

I felt troubled because both proposals were attractive.

No matter which one I chose, I would feel that this world allowed me to continue living here, and I could immerse myself in the feelings of being needed.

I didn’t want to admit that feeling because I wanted to go back, I wanted to hide in my shop. I was frustrated because I couldn’t make up my mind.

While I was feeling lost, the words from the girl before me lit my way.

This was the first time I seriously thought about what I should do.

「In the end, I accepted both of their proposals. However, I didn’t go completely with what they proposed, but rather what I wanted to do, decided with my own will.」

「…… Because of the kitten you didn’t pick up back then?」

「Yes, I couldn’t do it back then, but I can do it now.」

I smiled. I felt that I couldn’t turn back if I said it, but it felt like I could recognize my change if I did.

I want to choose what to discard or give up on my own terms. It was scary to put down what you own, and hard to imagine how big a flaw you would bear if you lost it.

However, I sensed that for me right now, I need to overcome this fear.

And that was why I mustered my courage and said:

「I will be right here waiting for you. Here, in this shop. So if you think things are tough and want to rest, you can come back any time. Because this is a place you can come home to.」

Linaria opened her almond shaped eyes, then scrowled, before tears rolled down her cheeks.

I think her sobbing face was very beautiful.

Linaria sniffled, then covered her mouth and said:

「…… So, this is what you wanted to do?」

I showed a meaningful smile and answered her sobbing words:

「I have to take responsibility for the kitten I brought home.」


I always admired people who could soar high in the sky like birds. Since that day I failed to rescue the kitten, I couldn’t forgive myself.

But now, I felt that I could do so.

There was nothing wrong with being truly rooted on the ground and looking up at the soaring birds. I could stretch my branches for the birds to rest when they were tired. My leaves could shield the ground from the sun, offering shade to the horses galloping in the plains.

If I live on in this shop in this world, I could live out a life of my own.

That was my dream and goal right now.

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