Saturday, November 6, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V4 (1 of 6)

 Chapter 1: Girl and Umbrella

Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro

Summer has always been short. The reason being the culture of summer vacation for students, and time seems to fly by when you are enjoying this culture.

However, I don't have summer vacation now. I had to run my own shop to make a living. To me, when the people around me took a break, that was when I started earning money.

Even so, this was still a pleasant summer. Caught in the torrent of tourists, I was so busy that my head spun. I changed to late night operations midway through, and the customer flow finally normalized.

My worries about customers visiting so late at night was unnecessary in the end.

There were people who went out late at night, and most of them were brimming with curiosity and few hesitated in visiting new places. After learning about my Café, there were repeat customers who came because they found the place interesting.

Opening shop late at night, then closing shop at dawn as if I was fleeing from the sun. I would then clean up and go to bed, and it wasn’t too tough after I got used to this lifestyle. And now, I could spare the effort to go out shopping in the evenings.

The streets were a mess as always. A lot of people gathered here in order to catch a glimpse of the Songstress. Colourful strings were connected between the buildings, with beautifully embroidered banners hanging on them. There were also decorations made with paper and scrap wood, which made me wonder how far they were actually going with that.

Whenever the wind rises, these decorations that extended right down the streets would sway together, and the tourists would cheer. In higher places, dragon-like decorations would move with the wind, and look down at the people squeezing below.

With so many people, there would be incidents. Pickpockets, thieves, brawls and molesters, there were no ends to such cries.

I didn’t get tired of the noise at all and could watch it everyday. The energy of the people in this world was boundless.

It took a lot of effort to buy things too. Squeezing into the crowd, finding the things I need, calling for a clerk then paying for the merchandise. When I bought everything I needed, my voice was hoarse and I was exhausted.

I was getting ready to push myself and go back home when thunder boomed. I could see dark clouds in the distance between the hills.

The weather changed quickly on these streets, and sudden downpours were common. I had gotten used to this, and thought it would rain as the clouds drew nearer.

There wasn’t much I could do even if I knew it was going to rain. The people around me were as informed as I was.

To avoid the incoming rain, the crowd started moving at the same time, forming a murky flow. The flow of people could mimic the forces of nature, and I could only follow, as if I was caught in the flow of people entering and exiting a train at full capacity. I tried to resist, but it was futile since I was too small. It was hopeless going against beastmen I needed to look up at to see their faces.

The sky was covered in thick clouds in a blink of an eye, and I gave up.

In the time it took for me to take a breather, it started raining hard. The sound of thunder, rainfall and yells were mixed together. But the rain didn’t care and drenched us all.

Fortunately, I didn’t buy anything that could get drenched. I was completely soaked, so I didn’t rush and followed the crowd slowly.

The people around me had resigned themselves too, chatting nonchalantly in the rain or haggling with the stallowners.

"The Songstress is already in the city, right?"

"Of course, they held such a grand parade after all."

"I didn’t go to that one. Too many people fainted from over excitement and got hurt from the massive crowds, so I didn’t dare go near it."

"…… I know. Do you know about the hotel the Songstress is staying in? They booked the whole building, and the guards stopped unauthorized people from entering."

"If they don’t do that, the Songstress fans would charge right in."

I could hear such conversations mixed with the rain. I see, so the Songstress was already here. I was sleeping during the day, and didn’t notice the parade.

"Did you hear about the newcomer Songstress?"

"I heard she is super cute."

"I want to see her too. But I’m not talking about that, I heard that Songstress can’t sing."

"A Songstress who can’t sing will just be a Princess. But I would like that too."

<TL: 歌姫, which means Songstress, consist of the words “Singing” and “Princess”>

"I didn’t ask for your opinion. I heard during the promotional concert held in the capital, that Songstress didn’t make a sound the entire time."

"…… Will this concert be fine? The tickets are really expensive. I queued for three days to get a standing ticket, I will cry if I can’t hear the song, you know?"

I listened half heartedly to their conversations as I slowly walked with the crowd. I finally reached the alley towards the Café and left the crowd. Only the labyrinth lay ahead, so the crowd thinned out greatly.

The rain continued falling, and I was completely drenched. So there was no need to rush as I thought about the past as I walked.

In elementary school, there was a time I braved the rain despite having an umbrella. My clothes and bag were completely soaked, and my mother lectured me about it. However, being drenched by the rain made me happy for some reason, and I felt the same way right now. Getting drenched occasionally wasn’t that bad.

I could finally see my shop. I wanted to take a bath after I got back. I didn’t want the rain water to dirty my shop, so I headed to the alley where the backdoor was. My field of vision was white and blurry because of the rain.

There was a girl in the alley.

She was wearing a white dress and sitting against the wall. She was hugging her knees to make herself smaller and protect herself. She was staring at the ground, and looked like a lost child who didn’t know where to go.

When she heard my footsteps, the girl raised her head. The rain obscured my vision, but I could see her clearly from this close. She had small white wings on her back, and seemed to be from the Bird Tribe. Her young face was as delicate as a doll, and she was more expressionless than one. I wondered if her hollow glass-like eyes really registered my presence.

"…… Erm, are you alright?"

I responded to her silent gaze. The girl didn’t say anything and turned her eyes back to the ground. Maybe she felt more intimate with the grains on the ground instead of me. It couldn’t be helped since this was the first time we met.

I gave up on the back door and returned to the shop front. I unlocked the door and entered, the water immediately dripping off me onto the dry floor. I put the things I bought onto the counter, entered the storeroom and took out an umbrella and towels.

I went outside again with my umbrella. The sound of the rain hitting the umbrella was loud. Careful not to let the towel get wet, I walked into the alley. The girl was still sitting there. I walked closer, but she didn’t look up.

I moved the umbrella over here. The rain fell on me, but it was fine since I was already completely soaked. The girl slowly looked up, and I placed a towel onto her white hair.

"You’ll catch a cold if you are wet."


Golden pupils looked up at me from beneath the towel. She looked puzzled, but didn’t take any action. A little anxious, I squatted down, holding the umbrella with one hand and drying her hair with a towel with the other. Her head bobbed as I dried her hair.

"W-What are you doing?"

I could hear a faint voice from her. I stopped when I heard her clear voice. That voice was as cool as the air hanging over the streets before dawn.

"Great, you can talk."

I dried her hair, trying to hide the fact that I was mesmerized by her voice. The girl’s head bobbed as she made sounds like "Uwah, ughh."

"This is my shop, so I would feel bothered if someone is sitting outside in the rain."


When I started wiping her face, the girl grabbed my wrist. Her grip was weak, but I still stopped.

"I-I will do it myself."

"I see, then I will hold the umbrella."

I let go, and she slowly wiped her face, and brushed her messy hair. She then looked up at me with a frown.

"…… I’m done." She said and pushed away my hand that was holding the umbrella. "You’re wet."

"Thank you for your concern, but I was already wet when I came here."

"I’m wet too."

"Your face and hair are dry because of the towel."

The girl held her bangs and looked at me with a serious face.

"…… Because big brother, you dried it for me on your own."

"I also held the umbrella for you on my own volition?"

The girl furrowed her brows a little as she looked at my face.

"I’m troubled. Even if you do that for me, I don’t have anything on me."

"It’s fine, don’t mind it."

I couldn’t help smiling at her honest character.

"…… Is something funny?"

"It’s nothing. So, are you going to sit here? You can avoid the rain if you go in."

I pointed at the shop, and the girl looked at me with a baffled face.

"What kind of shop is it?"

"A Café"


The puzzlement on her face deepened.

"It’s a comfortable shop where you can spend time leisurely while enjoying a drink and a meal. I recommend Coffee"

"…… Thanks, but no thanks."

The girl stood up, and I followed. I was short for a guy, but she was still a head shorter than me. She was around twelve or thirteen.

"Thank you for this. I’m going back."

She folded the towel and gave it to me. I took the towel and put it on the girl’s head again. While she was confused by that, I pushed the umbrella to her. People would naturally accept things that were suddenly pushed before them.

"Take it. The rain will continue for a while."

"……That will be troubling."

The girl with a towel on her head and an umbrella in her hand looked at me with furrowed brows. Her voice sounded very troubled, and I smiled:

"I will give you the umbrella and towel. Don’t forget them the next time it rains."

I went back after saying that. The girl didn’t say anything.

I took a hot shower after returning to the shop. Summer was over, so I would get a cold if I stay drenched. I hoped that girl wouldn’t get sick.

After changing my clothes, I wiped the shop’s floor and counter. Looking out, the rain was still falling. I peeked at the alley, and the girl was gone. The umbrella and towel were gone, she must have taken them with her. Feeling a little relieved, I started unpacking the things I bought.

Chapter 2: Coffee and Smoke and Humming

The surroundings were completely shrouded in darkness, and I started my preparations to open shop. Normal eateries had already closed, and the shops with their lights on were mostly bars. The people wandering the streets weren’t housewives or merchants, but adventurers in casual attire or labourers who had finished work. The sound of children playing were gone, replaced by the crude laughter of drunkard and their off tune singing echoing from somewhere.

After the downpour during the day subsided, the starry sky was in clear view. After looking at the clear blue sky, I flipped over the sign at the door and opened the shop for business.

“Oh, pardon me.”

Suddenly, I heard a faint greeting.


I turned around and saw a petite old lady standing there. Her grey hair was tied up, and she covered her body with a beige cloak. She was neatly dressed, and her posture gave the impression of a graceful and kind grandmother.

“I’m lost, may I ask you for directions?”

The old lady said with an uneasy face. Her face gave off the impression that she was really troubled. So she’s going with that today, huh. I adopted a guarded posture.

“Of course, no problem. Where are you headed?”

“A stable called Bollocks. Ah—”

The old lady approached me, then tripped and fell. I quickly moved forward to catch her. I wasn’t doing so intentionally, it was on reflex.

I thought in my mind that it was over. But I couldn’t stop my reflexive actions.

The old lady pulled away from me. Her helpless demeanour was gone, and she stood tall full of vigor. Her politeness was replaced by a crude expression, and she smiled arrogantly.

“Alright, it’s your treat today too.”

She tossed me my wallet that was in my back pocket.

“Damn it, I fell for it today too.”

“You’re too naive. Pay more attention.”

“I know that, but why can’t I control myself?”

I agonized over my own failure as I opened the door and let her in. Granny Bonnie said: “Ara,  thank you for being so considerate” and went in pretentiously. At a glance, she looked like an elegant old lady.

When I returned to the counter, Granny Bonnie already took out a smoking pipe at her seat, and was stuffing tobacco into it.

“Granny Bonnie, smoking is prohibited in my shop.”

“It’s fine, no customers will complain, right? At my age, time is limited. So just give me a pass here”

I was rebuffed by her in no time, and raised my hands in surrender. I already learned from experience that arguing with smooth talkers was useless. Especially her, she would return anything I said three folds.

Granny Bonnie bit the pipe with her mouth, struck a match and lit the tobacco. She narrowed her eyes and puffed out white smoke with a face of delight.

“Oh, having smoke after beating a young man feels great.”

“Good for you, I’m happy to be of service.”

“Thank you. Alright, hurry up with my Coffee.”

My sarcasm didn’t work at all. Whenever Granny Bonnie puffed out happily, a sweet scent would whiff over. The sweet fragrance made it a little hard for me to relax.

No one smokes in my home, so I wasn’t used to smoking. Was tobacco so fragrant? In my old world, there were problems with smokers and no-smoking zones, but this scent was different from the annoying smell I remembered. And of course, I couldn’t tell if it was harmful.

Leaving the fragrance aside, the water was boiling and I had to prepare the grounded Coffee. The water in the sphere beaker was bubbling. I extended the long funnel-like pipe into the beaker, and inserted the flask above.

The heated vapor forced the water up through the pipe and into the flask above.

When the Coffee powder comes into contact with the rising hot water, I use a wooden spoon to mix the powder with the water. As the water in the flask started bubbling, the fragrance of Coffee started to spread.

After confirming that all the hot water had risen, I turned off the heater, and continued stirring slowly. After extracting the Coffee, it wasn’t necessary to do anything more. But the actions of the brewer would affect the taste significantly. The taste would be unrefined if I was too rough, and the flavor would suffer. The second stirring would decide the taste of the Coffee.

I waited a while after removing the spoon. When the ripples were gone, Three layers could be seen in the flask. The liquid, the Coffee powder floating on top, and the bubbles. Having distinct layers like this was an indication of a successful brew.

The flask was starting to cool after I removed the heater. The Coffee started flowing down into the beaker. There was a cloth filter in the pipe, and the powder and bubbles were caught in it, leaving only the extracted Coffee.

I removed the funnel, then poured the Coffee into a cup. I then served the fragrant cup of Coffee to Granny Bonnie.

Granny Bonnie picked up the cup immediately and sniffed the thick aroma.

“Tobacco isn’t bad, but this aroma is great too.”

She blew on the beverage as if to push back the bubbles, then took a sip.

“The taste isn’t bad either. And after drinking this...”

She then gracefully picked up her pipe and took a puff. Granny Bonnie slowly moved it away from her mouth then leaned back with a relaxed face. She puffed out as if all the strength was gone from her body.

“—— This is it. I’m living for this very moment.”

“You’re really enjoying yourself.”

Her way of enjoying her vices filled me with envy no matter how many times I saw it. I could tell that she was indulging happily in both the Coffee and her tobacco.

“With this, there isn’t any need for food nor wine, right?”

“Wine aside, you should eat your food properly.”

“When you reach my age, you will grow tired of eating. Besides...”

She then took another sip of Coffee.

“After learning how delicious this thing is, I lost interest in restaurant food. This is all your fault.”

She pushed the blame to me with a terrible reason. I wanted to refute it, but it still made me happy that she loved Coffee so much. So I slouched my shoulders and decided to not say anything.

“Sorry for drinking something so delicious for free.”

Granny Bonnie said with a toothy grin.

“You can pay if you want to. Please, don’t hold back.”

“Oh, drinking Coffee after work makes it more delicious.”

Granny Bonnie didn’t seem to mind at all, and indulged alternately between her smoke and Coffee.

Even if I grumbled “This person is really...” loud enough for her to hear, she didn’t mind it at all.

Granny Bonnie looked like a harmless old lady, but she was actually a delinquent granny who bullies me and indulged in Coffee and smoking.

At this moment, the door opened a little, and the chime rang gently. The night breeze blew into the shop. The door opened slowly, and I could see white hair through the gap. That person slowly raised her head like the morning sun, and locked gazes with me. Illuminated by the light from the shop was the girl I met during that rainy day.

“Oh, welcome.”

I was surprised that I met her again so soon and greeted her.

The girl opened her eyes wide as if she didn’t expect me to talk, and hid in the shadow of the door. She peeked inside with a face wondering if she just misheard.

“Oh my, what a cute customer. Where did you con her from, hmm?”

“Don’t make me look like a villain.”

Granny Bonnie crackled, then twisted her lips and puffed out her smoke. She took out a small box and placed it on the table. It was an old metal container with a cover on top. She opened it, then turned her pipe and knocked inside. There was a clink, and the tobacco in the pipe fell in. It was a portable ashtray. Granny Bonnie would put out her smoke when another customer came in. She would do so even if she just lit a smoke, and she had too. She said herself that it was her principle as a smoking enthusiast.

“Don’t stand there, little girl, come on in. There isn’t anything in this shop, but nothing bad happens here either.”

“Sorry about not having anything.”

“See, there is just a shopkeep who can only rebut by saying that. Don’t hold back.”

Really now, what was she saying? If I got serious, I could snap back at anything thrown at me!

But I let it slide this time, since there was a minor here. It wasn’t good for her education. It couldn’t be helped, it didn’t mean that I lost.

After Granny Bonnie called out to her, the girl slowly entered the shop. She was holding an umbrella I recognized, and a cloth bag I didn’t remember.

The girl wasn’t wearing the gown she wore on that rainy day, but a dark green one piece dress and a black shawl on her shoulders. The ends of the shawl had an intricate design, and it was clear with a glance how good it’s quality was. The calming colours made her white and wings more prominent.

“Erm, this.”

The girl’s voice was quiet, but unexpectedly clear, as if she was whispering into your ears. It sounded different from what I heard during that rainy day, and reverberated pleasantly. Granny Bonnie raised her eyebrows with an “Oh.”

“You are here to return the umbrella? Thank you.”

I walked out from the counter, and took the umbrella from the girl.

“You have been a big help. Take this too.”

She reached for the bag hanging on her shoulder and took out a handkerchief I had never seen before.

“It would take some time for it to dry after washing it. So take this as a substitute.”

The girl’s eyes darted around as if she was watching my mood. I accepted the handkerchief, saying “You’re too kind”, and was shocked.

“The texture is incredibly good.”


It couldn’t be compared to the towel I gave that girl. Furthermore, the quality of the handkerchiefs in this world wasn’t that good. They were thin and rough. However, this handkerchief was different. It was soft and fluffy, and it took a lot of effort to stifle my urge to rub it on my cheeks.

“This is a very high quality handkerchief, right? I can’t accept this.”

This was definitely a top quality handkerchief. It was so good that I would buy all the stocks if not for the exuberant price..

The girl cocked her head.

“I don’t really understand. I just took one of the handkerchiefs that had been set aside,”

Handkerchiefs of such qualities were just lying around, huh. She must be a kid from a wealthy family. Was it really fine for me to accept this handkerchief?

“The girl already said she’s giving it to you. Be a man and accept it.”

Granny Bonnie advised. The girl’s shoulders shuddered as if she had been spooked. Her action looked just like a small critter with its fur standing on ends.

Maybe Granny Bonnie was right. If I suddenly returned it now, it would be trampling on the girl’s efforts. Besides, I didn’t want to let go of this handkerchief.

Or rather, I was holding onto it on instinct.

“Well then, I will gratefully accept this.”

“Okay.” The girl nodded. She then swiftly looked at Granny Bonnie who was in the shop, then bowed. “That’s all, erm, I’m going back.”

“Wait, wait.”

She was about to leave when Granny Bonnie stopped her. The girl turned back stiffly.


“Did you come by yourself?”

Oh right, I handled this naturally, but it was late night right now. It was dangerous for a girl her age to be wandering outside.

However, the girl just nodded without any hesitation.

“Do you have some time?”

“I do, but..”

“In that case, why don’t you stay a while.”

Granny Bonnie then gestured to her side with her chin, urging the girl to take a seat.

The girl made a troubled face, and looked at Granny Bonnie and then me. She was probably baffled by the crude invitation by the old lady.

“If it’s not too much trouble, please have a seat.”

I said with as kind a smile as I could manage.

The girl clasped her hands before her and swayed absentmindedly.

“But this is a shop, right? I’m sorry, I didn’t bring any money.”

Her voice faded towards the end.

“I see.”

Granny Bonnie snorted and said:

“Little girl, leave that to the boy here. That is a top quality handkerchief made from Garhee, so he won’t mind no matter what you order. So raise your head up high.”

She decided that by herself, but she wasn’t wrong. Since I took such a great handkerchief, I didn’t mind serving her anything she wanted.

The girl looked at me as if to confirm that, and I nodded with a smile. She was still a bit hesitant, but she still sat down beside Granny Bonnie. I returned to the counter and turned to face them.

“I’m Yu, the owner of this shop. That strange person is Granny Bonnie, a self proclaimed top class Pickpocket. Nice to meet you.”


The girl alternated her gaze between Granny Bonnie and me, with her head cocked.

“I hope you can say my skills are the best in this city. Pickpocket is a job where you relieve people of the excess things on their person.”

The girl didn’t seem to completely understand, and looked back puzzledly. She didn’t understand the term Pickpocket, and seemed ignorant about the world.

Granny Bonnie smiled wryly and sipped her Coffee.

“So, little girl, what’s your name?”

“I’m Tize.”

A name with an exotic pronunciation.

Granny Bonnie stopped her hand that was holding her Coffee cup. She thought about something, then smiled as always.

“You are wandering at such an indecent time. You have a great future ahead of you.”

“indecent time?”

Tize looked back at Granny Bonnie curiously. I explained with a smile.

“That’s Granny Bonnie’s catchphrase. She always says that late night is an indecent time.”

“Decent people will wake up in the morning and work under the sun. Those who are active late at night are all indecent people who can’t walk around with their chest held high.”

I couldn’t say if this view was accurate, but many of my patrons here fitted the bill. Granny Bonnie labeled all of them indecent, that was just how she was.

Tize tilted her head.

“Granny, are you indecent too?”

“Yes, that’s right.” Granny Bonnie nodded approvingly. “I’m very experienced with being indecent.”

From the way she put it, I couldn’t feel any pride or self mockery. She just stated it like a fact, as if she was reading disinterestedly off a book.

Tize looked up at me. Her clear golden eyes drew in my gaze.

“Then, big brother, are you indecent too?”

She was asking that with such pure eyes! She was saying I was indecent!

I shook my head immediately, but Granny Bonnie already answered in the affirmative.

“He runs a shop that don’t serve alcohol at night. That makes him wrong in the head. And he’s serving this delicious Coffee. Thanks to that, many indecent people gathered in this shop, so he is a great indecent person.”

“What an awful allegation. I’m a good citizen.”

I shook my head in refute. Granny Bonnie opened her mouth, ready to rebut me, so I quickly talked to Tize.

“Leaving that aside for now, would you like to drink something? Are you hungry?”

“Erm, well.”

Tize looked around the shop, then locked on to the Coffee at Granny Bonnie’s side.

“Please give me that beverage.”

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