Saturday, February 19, 2022

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V6 (5 of 7)





I bumped into someone for the second time. It might be due to me dazing off, or because that was a pickpocket. I wasn’t worried since I didn’t have my wallet.

I kept walking forth, and before I knew it, I was at the market I visited yesterday.

I squeezed through the crowd and kept walking. My shoulders were shoved, my back was bumped, and the people in front stopped suddenly. It was really hard to walk. I saw an alley and went in, then breathed out in relief.

The road ahead was dim, and I didn’t know where it led either. Even so, I didn’t want to go back to the crowd, so I headed deeper in.

I couldn’t sense any presence. Buildings lined both sides closely, and when I looked up, I could see ropes connecting the windows. It was snowing, but they were still hanging out laundry.

People should be living here, but I couldn’t sense movement or people talking. The noise from the streets echoed, and I could hear the faint festive sound. I headed deeper in. This alley would definitely lead to some other place.

I passed through a few junctions. Everywhere looked the same, and I was lost.

At times, I would chance upon an open space. It looked like a plaza with a signboard and an old door. I questioned whether customers would come this way, but the unknown shop seemed to be operational.

After walking down the crumbling stairs, there was another narrow alley. The path here was on a slope and uneven. I climbed up and walked down, wondering how far I went. My body was heating up. My breath formed white mist, and then, my field of vision widened.

I found a familiar stall leaning against the wall. It was the stall I visited yesterday with Granny Bonnie. I never thought I would see it here. I came closer, and it was empty.

【Erm, excuse me.】

I greeted. Rustling sound came from the shade of the stall, and a toad face from yesterday came forth.

【Yes, welcome.】

【Hello, we met yesterday. So you are still working here.】

I couldn’t read the emotions behind the eyes looking at me.

【Where did we meet? I don’t remember.】

【Well, I came with Granny Bonnie.】

【Are you an acquaintance of that weird granny?】

【… You don’t remember?】

【Bonnie did come yesterday, but this is the first time we met.】

I waited a while, but the stallowner didn’t seem to be kidding.

【So, are you buying?】

【Oh, yes.】

I reached hurriedly to my pocket, and then remembered.

【… Sorry, I forgot my wallet.】

【That’s a pity. Please come again.】

He went slowly back to the shade.

I stood stiffly in place, wondering what was going on. Was he someone else who looked alike, playing a prank, or really forgot about me… Forgot?

I recalled a few scenarios. Arbel-san who looked at me as if she was looking at a stranger. Levi-san’s deep words. The link was vanishing. And that there were no proper records of otherworlders.

No, could it be… That shouldn’t be.

My mouth was dry, and my temple was throbbing. My hot body suddenly turned cold.

I left in a hurry, and sped up without realizing it.

Impossible. That was impossible. I was mistaken. That must be it.

I repeated to myself, and was running before I knew it.

The scenery I thought nothing of suddenly felt scary in the dim light.

I wanted to meet someone. Anyone would do, and to hear my name.

I slipped on the snow while going down some stairs. My feet were off the ground, and my momentum pushed me forward. I was airborne, then felt an impact. The right side of my body was hit hard. I didn’t know what happened next. My vision kept spinning.

I looked up at the gray cloudy sky.

Snow was falling quietly,

Oh, I fell. Then the pain hits. I was assaulted by pain all over my body, and I curled up and clenched my teeth.

Finally, my pain subsided, and I lifted up my head out of the snow. Before me was a long staircase. I might have a fracture if not for the snow. No, without the snow, I wouldn’t have fallen.

I ran anxiously, and fell down the stairs. What was I doing? I laughed. I could only laugh.

【Are you alright?】

An unexpected greeting made me turn my head. I saw a small figure in a black suit standing in the snow.


【Looks like you didn’t hit your head.】

I pushed myself up with my right hand, and I felt a pain from my elbow to the back of my head. I barely stifled a groan.

【Do you remember me?】

【So you did hit your head…?】

He stroked his jaw.

【You are Yuu. A shopkeeper in a Cafe. This is the southwest zone of the dark alley. Do you remember?】

I relaxed and laid back down.

【That’s great… Looks like I was mistaken.】

He still remembered me.

【I’m glad to have put you at ease, but why are you here? It’s a rare sight seeing you here.】

【I have some business here. Some minor things.】

I could only answer like this again. A long explanation was needed for each of the problems.

With my mind on the pain, I carefully stood up. My field of vision widened, and saw the wolf faced Mota-san standing behind Corleone-san as his bodyguard. He was looking warily at me with sharp eyes.

【Corleone-san, do you visit here often?】

【I’m just taking a stroll and doing some patrol on the side. The closer Nightless day is, the more trouble there are.】

【That sounds really busy…】

【It’s a hobby of mine, I guess.】

Corleone-san then continued:

【Are you going to host something in your shop for Nightless day?】

He seemed to be expecting something. Corleone-san liked my shop and the dishes I made.

【I plan to gather the regulars and throw a small party…】

I didn’t know how long I would be here. Even if I was still around, I wouldn’t be in the mood to host a party. I wondered whether I should call the whole thing off.

Corleone-san was silent, and his round eyes looked at me, as if he wanted to say something.



His round eyes didn’t say a word.

【… If possible, could you join us, Corleone-san? It would be great if your schedule is open.】

【Of course, I will join.】

He answered immediately, and I smiled.

How troubling. I was thinking about calling it off, but ended up inviting another person.

But I felt happy too. From Corleone-san’s perspective, he should have numerous invitations to high class restaurants and hotels. My chest felt warm since he prioritized my shop.

【Can you sign this?】


【To confirm the numbers, I asked everyone who is coming to sign.;】

I was still wearing an apron under my coat, and the folded paper was still in my apron pocket. I handed it over with a pen, but Corleone-san just took the paper.

【That pen is too big for me.】

He unfolded the paper, took out a tiny pen from his pocket, and swiftly signed before handing it back to me.

【Are you just starting to invite the regulars?】


【The blank space is quite glaring.】

I thought that shouldn’t be so, then took the paper and looked. There should be a lot of signatures, given the large number of attendees.

But now…

【… The blank space is really prominent.】

The signatures were gone. There should have been more, but they had disappeared. There were just a few left.

【What’s wrong?】

【No, it’s nothing. I’m just starting the invitation.】

I put on my practiced smile. I suppressed my emotions to protect myself.

【Please look forward to it.】

I left without waiting for an answer. I heard something behind me, but pretended not to hear. However, I still heard what Mota-san said.

【Boss, is that kid an acquaintance of yours?】

I started running again. I needed to get away from here. I grabbed the piece of paper hard. I already knew that wasn’t my misunderstanding.

I was being forgotten.

I was disappearing from the memories of the people in this world.

With the ending in sight, I understood this point perfectly.


Realizing that I had nowhere to escape to, I felt stupid for rushing so much. I was tired, and walked while leaning against the wall. After moving towards the noise, I walked to the road outside the market. This was a different road from the way I came, but I knew where my shop was now.

Right now, I just want to sleep.

Without thinking about anything, I just wanted to cover myself with a blanket and stay quietly in the dark and warm cocoon.

The snow was getting stronger, and I couldn’t stave off the cold with just my coat. I was getting colder and snow was piling up on my shoulders. I kept walking without thinking about anything.

I finally saw my shop. It didn’t feel like I was going home at all. The only thing on my mind was that I wanted to sleep.

There was a snowman in front of the shop. It had been days since I made it, but it had been snowing everyday, so it still looked fine. The snowman smiled at me. It had a warm expression like Linaria. The ribbon around its neck had turned white from the snow.

I still remember that day we made the snowman. It was a perfect and special morning. We laughed together and drank soup shoulder to shoulder. Would she forget about it? That I existed here, that such a shop existed, that I was in this world?

The swelling emotions made me close my eyes, and I took in a deep breath. I held it, then exhaled. I couldn’t think about that now. If I let my feelings lead me astray, my heart might fall into the abyss.

I pulled my eyes away from the snowman and opened the door. The warm air flowed out from the shop.

【… What are you doing?】

I didn’t expect the scene before me.

【… I can’t?】

【No, I was planning to throw it away, so it’s fine.】

【I see, that’s great.】

Levi-san forked the apple pie she had cut, and shoved it into her mouth. Half of the apple pie on the table was already gone.

【… Isn’t it bitter? It’s burnt.】

【This much is fine. It really brings out the sweetness.】

I didn’t think it was possible, but Levi-san still chewed it calmly. I sat on the chair opposite her.

【Why are you here today? My shop is closed right now.】

Levi-san pushed the apple pie aside. She swallowed, then sat up straight.

【Because there have been signs of a Labyrinth Shift. I was thinking if you were affected.】

【So you came to check on me? To monitor whether I was throwing a tantrum? Or to take down observation records?】

She looked at me with furrowed brows.

【… Sorry for venting my temper at you.】

【I’m fine. You are obviously suffering more than me.】

I took a deep breath, even though there wasn’t much point to that.

I took out the paper in my pocket. I shoved it in, so it was crumpled. I opened it and showed it to Levi-san.

【The signatures of my regulars disappeared. I also ran into people who had forgotten me.】

Levi-san took the paper and observed it quietly. She then folded it nicely and placed it on the table. She didn’t seem fazed.

【So you knew?】

【… There aren’t many records of otherworlders. And they aren’t all accurate.】

【Because they were forgotten, right?】

【Yes.】 Levi-san nodded. 【With the incoming Labyrinth Shift, your connection to this world is disappearing. We are linked to this world with mana. But you don’t have mana, so the connection is very unstable. That’s why you can go back to your old world.】

【… Should I be happy about this?】

I could only force out a bitter smile.

【The connection you have with this world is the memories of the people you met and conversed with… So the closer the time for you to leave this world, the more their memories of you will fade.】

【Then, Levi-san too?】

I asked as a joke, but she looked at me with a serious face.

【I don’t know when, but I will become like that too. There are already gaps in my logs of you.】


【I recorded down everything that happened in this shop. Be it the people who came or what kind of conversation you had. The papers noting down these logs are turning blank too.】

Levi-san put the thick book on her lap onto the table and opened it. That was the book she was always reading.

【Is that a record about me?】

【For this inevitable day, I had read and memorized everything. The records might be gone from the pages, but strong memories would still linger.】

【You said this is inevitable, then why… Why are you doing this? So you can monitor me as long as possible?】

She shook her head.

【So I could witness your presence until the last moment. It’s too pitiful if everyone forgets you when you disappear from this world.】

Her voice faded towards the end, but I understood even without her saying that. That would definitely be very lonely.

【Thank you very much.】


She nodded, and there was a short silence.

【… Is there a way for me to stay?】

【Do you want to stay?】

【No, how do I put this… I don’t really know myself.】

Did I want to stay, or return? The line separating the two emotions blurred, and started to mix.

【I don’t think that’s possible.】

She said with a firm tone.

【If you want to stay, you will need a connection stronger than the Labyrinth Shift. And we haven’t found a way to do that yet.】

【Is that… so.】

Well, that was to be expected. I didn’t understand the link to the world either. I didn’t know what to do.

This had nothing to do with my will, but a certainty now. I had to go back. Back to the world I grew up in.

Clank. I looked, and Levi-san had picked up her knife and fork.

【… Sorry. I’m hungry.】

What poor acting. She said her lines too stiffly. But I felt grateful for her consideration to change the depressed mood.

【Please eat it. I’m glad I don’t have to throw it away. I will prepare a warm beverage for you.】

Someone was willing to pick up something that had failed, and I couldn’t save it. For some reason, I felt like I was saved.

My mother would look at us eating the apple pie desperately too. She knew we were having a hard time, but she was always smiling. I understand the meaning behind her smile now.

I didn’t have much time left. The ending wouldn’t change, so it was pointless to be troubled by it.

I should do the things I could still do. Even if everyone forgot me, I might leave something behind. To prove that I did exist in this world, and then return with my chest held high. Finally, was there still something else?

Something only I could do.

Chapter 6: The Day The Stars Aligned, And The Kindling Left In The Heart


【To be safe, let’s hear your explanation first.】

Aina came in the evening, and sat at the counter very calmly.

【Although the fact that you will be dead socially will not be changed.】

【Then the explanation is meaningless, right?】

【I’m kidding.】

【You’re kidding about killing me off socially, right?】

【No, I mean about hearing your explanation.】

【So you’ll kill me off regardless?】

I found a seat and sat down. I wanted to wrap myself in my blanket and sleep, but realized that I needed to wait for Aina to come over.

【Speaking of which, you have already seen Linaria?】

【Yes, at the academy. She said with a perfect fake smile that the party today was cancelled. What happened this time?】

How should I put this?

【Anyway, the reason lies with me.】

【That’s what I thought.】

【I think I hurt Linaria.】

【I guessed as much.】

【But I didn’t mean to.】

【How did it turn out that way?】

【I can’t accept Linaria’s feelings properly.】

【Is there a reason?】

【She didn’t believe what I said.】

【She think it’s an excuse.】

【I think it’s preposterous myself.】

【But it’s true, right?】

【It sounds like a joke.】

【Can you think of a way to make her believe?】

【Even if she believed, the results will still be the same.】

【Are you giving up?】

【It can’t be helped. I can’t do anything about it.】

Aina leaned forward, and there was a smacking sound. I felt an impact, followed by pain.

【Did that wake you up?】

Aina cocked her head and asked me after swinging her right hand. I realized that she had slapped me.

【… Ehh, why did you hit me?】

【Because that is easier to make you understand.】

Aina put her hands on her knees.

【You taught me to not give up.】

She told me to listen up, and that she wouldn’t repeat herself, and then:

【You equate giving up to being mature. I couldn’t choose my way of life because I was a noble, so you kicked me, slapped me, then pushed me forward. And now, you are sitting on that chair with a wilted face, and saying it can’t be helped? I won’t permit that.】

Her eyes and words shook my heart more intensely than her slap.

【You changed my life, and twisted it. So please take responsibility.】

She continued:

【It’s fine even if I fail, and I should resist anyway. You taught me that, so don’t give up before the final battle.】

That was true. I told Aina all that with an arrogant face, but I was acting so wimpy right now. Of course she would slap me.

Even if I was losing, and the ending was inevitable, I couldn’t just stay idle.

That was what I told Aina.

I locked myself up in this shop all this while. When I just came to this world and didn’t know left from right, I opened this shop to protect myself. But I’m different now. I met many people, gained many experiences, and could step out of the shop confidently.

Like Aina said, I should choose to fight. Even if I lose, I will struggle until my time here ends.

【Thank you, Aina. I still don’t know what to do, but I will work hard and perk myself up.】

【I see. That’s great.】

She coughed, then lowered her gaze. She looked up at me.

【… Erm, did that hurt? I’m sorry, I can’t control my strength.】

【Well, just a little.】

My face was still numb, and felt like it was swollen.

【Is your hand fine, Aina? Let me get you something to ice it.】

Aina raised her right hand. Her palm was red, and looked more painful than my face.

【… Because I have never slapped someone before.】

The door chimed while we were looking at each other with awkward smiles. A man in black with a large build appeared with the setting sun behind him.

【Welcome back. Where did you go?】

Falluba-san walked over and grabbed my shoulders.


【What is it?】

【Can you host a wedding with me.】

【— What?】

Kya, she wailed lewdly. Aina covered her mouth, then looked at me and Falluba-san while shaking her red face.

【Is that the reason why you can’t answer Linaria-san’s feelings?】

【You are absolutely wrong.】


As if he had traded places with Aina, Falluba-san was sitting opposite me. The problematic phrasing excited Aina, but she realized we would be talking about something confidential, and chose to leave.

【It’s unbecoming for a noble lady to eavesdrop on gentlemen.】 That was how Aina put it.

【So, a wedding ceremony?】


Falluba-san nodded firmly.

【I’m thinking about a method to solve the problem those two humans are facing.】

【The matter about sacrificing Sophia for the dragon ritual, huh. I heard they won’t be able to meet for two decades.】

【I had to return to the village for that matter.】

【Oh, I see.】

【I brought it up in the elder’s meeting as an agenda, but they said any actions that involve humans won’t be permitted. That was what I expected.】

【Involved humans…?】

I was curious about that. Since I was a human.

【There has been unhappiness about me heading to the cities for a while now. Dragons think humans aren’t worthy enough for us to be close to. And the dragon bride issue is treated as hypocritical actions to curry favor with us. There are rumors of humans still offering brides to the dragons due to my actions, which harms my position.】

【How did it come to that?】

He scratched his jaw.

【It’s almost time for the appointment of the new village chief. I’m also a candidate, and they probably can’t stand me becoming the chief.】

【How do I put this, dragons has a very human side to them too.】

They were treated as holy beings, but a power struggle and political play still happened between them. That made me speechless.

Falluba-san laughed.

【That’s right, dragons and humans have similar nature. Dragons are cocky even though they lock themselves inside a small world, which makes them more hilarious than humans. I understood that after visiting a human city.】

It was rare seeing Falluba-san being sarcastic.

【Erm, do you dislike the dragon village?】

【I don’t fit in at all.】 He said flatly. 【My father told me to see the world with an open mind. If we are trapped in a small world, then we can only live a cramped life. I feel the same way.】

Hey Yuu, Falluba-san continued.

【What about your hometown? Is it more developed than this city?】

I nodded a little troublingly.

【This world will become like yours eventually. Humans have short lives, but you can keep building up experience. You have made amazing progress even now. Our village hasn't changed for centuries. It’s still fine now, but sooner or later, we will pay the price for being behind the times. The humans will walk into the mountains and find us. And then, we will need to choose. We either accept them, or flee somewhere else again. Dragons will be like a fantasy, while humans will be part of reality, and drive away all fantasy. And one day, we will be wiped out.】

This wasn’t something I could do anything about. A problem of this world and the dragon's future. Even so, I could understand how seriously Falluba-san thought about the dragons’ future.

【I think this is a good chance. Dragons will connect with humans again, and correct the archaic traditions. But I couldn’t convince them, and they even warned me against getting involved with humans.】

【… Then, why the wedding ceremony?】

【I considered it seriously. No matter how I get involved with humans, there won’t be any dragons in this city to fault me. The elder lectured me about this, but it will be fine if the news didn’t leak.】

【What a flexible way of thinking. Has Falluba-san always been like this?】

He grinned at me in a human-like manner.

【I learned this after getting to know you, Yuu. Rules are important, but sometimes, there is value in breaking it. There is no point for a tradition that brings unhappiness to couples in love.】

Was the person before me really a dragon? He knew humans too well. Amazing.

【I can’t reveal my identity as a dragon here, so I will convince them by saying I’m the representative of the dragons. I will use the wedding ceremony to bound their souls, connecting them to the world in the name of the dragon’s blessings. They can then overcome any hardships together. If necessary, I can infiltrate their village. Weddings are important for humans, right? It’s fine, I already studied that.】

He puffed out his chest proudly. It’s great that he learned that, but I’m worried about him being affected by some strange culture.

【Is there a need for me to be there?】

【A wedding needs a witness, and things to prepare. I’m still not used to buying things at the market.】

【I see, I get it.】

I had to take care of the miscellaneous chores, huh. Piece of cake.

【Let’s hurry up with the preparations and call them over.】

Yesterday, they told me where they were lodging, so I could contact them right away.

【Oh, but…】

I suddenly remembered. Falluba-san was chased out by his wife because of the dragon bride. That should be the main problem.

【Are things fine with your wife?】

Falluba-san looked embarrassed.

【Erm, well, that matter is settled. I told her everything when I returned to the village. She told me to solve the issue properly and go back quickly.】

This was my first time hearing about the conversation between a dragon couple. That was great, I felt happy for him.

I hope things will go well.


The next day, I gathered the items requested by Falluba-san. I went to a shop dealing with wedding goods, and got everything there. When the shop attendee congratulated me with a smile, I could only smile awkwardly. But I didn’t deny it.

In the meantime, Falluba-san went to the couple to propose this matter, and got the okay on the spot. They didn’t hesitate and decided to be each other’s life partner.

The venue was, of course, this shop. It would be held tonight, and we swiftly got the place ready. Falluba-san used magic to shove the tables and chairs to a corner, opening up an open space. There was just one table covered in white cloth deep inside. I had used this cloth a few times, which made me feel nostalgic. I wondered about the couple who ate dinner with this tablecloth. Were they doing well? Maybe they had forgotten about me.

There was a silver candle stand in the center of the table, with a candle lit there. There was also a small bottle, two small cups, and a silver tray with a black and white ribbon on it.

【What’s this ribbon for?】

I put on the loose cape as I asked Falluba-san.

【These are important items for the ceremony. The man will give the white ribbon to the woman, which means he is proposing. The woman will return a black ribbon to the man to accept.】

【… Is that true?】

I couldn’t help asking.

【What are you asking about?】

【Erm, well, is gifting a ribbon equivalent to proposing?】

【I know what you mean. I don’t understand how trading items will deepen their love.】

No, that wasn’t what I meant… Well, forget it.

This was my second time at a wedding. This first time was at a relative's wedding during elementary school. I had not been involved much with weddings.

But it was different today. I needed to fulfill the role of a witness. I didn’t need to do anything in particular, but I still felt nervous since a wedding was an important landmark in life.

When we almost got ready, the door chimed. It was Aluff-san and Sophia-san.

【Welcome, we have been waiting.】

I welcomed them with a smile, but their reactions weren’t good. Aluff walked forward to shield Sophia behind him.

【And you are?】

He probed with his eyes, as if this was the first time he had seen me.

I immediately understood. They had forgotten me.

That made me wavered, but I had gotten used to hiding my emotions with a smile.

【I’m the Shopkeeper, and will also serve as the witness.】

【Pardon me, we will be in your care.】

Sophia-san, who was wearing a hood, suddenly walked up.

【This fragrance, could it be Coffee?】

【Yes. This is a shop that serves Coffee.】

【A shop that serves Coffee?】 She said with a cheerful tone. 【That’s wonderful.】

You drank Coffee in this shop before. And this wasn’t our first meeting. I knew your names and your circumstances too. It would be great if I could say all that, but of course, I wouldn’t do that.

There wasn’t any topic to converse about. We reverted to strangers meeting for the first time, and I didn’t know how to react, or had any reason to deepen our relationship.

When the awkward air was pressing on my shoulders, Falluba-san walked out from the deep end of the shop.

【Yuu, these clothes are too small for me.】

He then realized that Aluff-san and Sophia-san were here.

【Oh, you are here. Let’s get started. Have you prepared your clothes?】

They nodded.

【Then change in the room over here.】

Falluba-san said before going back.

The two looked at each other. Aluff-san then pushed Sophia-san’s back and said: 【I will change here.】 Sophia-san followed Falluba-san alone.

Aluff-san went to the counter, put down his backpack and took off his coat. It would be weird for me to walk away, but I couldn’t just stare at him, so I went to the windows and looked outside. I could hear Aluff-san changing his clothes.

【Are you managing this shop alone?】

【Yes, just me.】

【It must be tough managing a shop when you’re so young.】

【There are times when it gets depressing.】

There was silence again. I thought I should ask something.

【The two of you went on this journey to meet the dragons, right?】

【Yes, it’s actually not too different from eloping. Or rather, I’m the one who dragged her here.】

That was the first time I heard about that. Even his actions were so manly.

【However, that isn’t just the place she grew up in, her family is there too. If her freedom can be guaranteed, it might be better for us to go back. In order to do so, we need to rely on the dragon’s existence. That is the only way to convince the people in our village.】

He seemed to have changed, as the sound of fabric was gone.

【For her sake, I’m fine with leaving my hometown…】

【So you were planning to leave your hometown.】

I turned back, and Aluff-san was leaning against the counter in his white clothes.

【I took away the next dragon bride. I will be sentenced to death if I go back.】

He said with a smile.

【Death sentence is…】

If Falluba-san did something, could Aluff-san still return to the village?

【This is fine for me.】 He smiled as he continued: 【As long as Sophia can live on freely, I will be fine with it. If she wants to return to the village, then I will accompany her.】

His words were too direct. And because of that, I could tell how firm his resolve was.

【Why are you going so far?】

【So far?】

【You abandoned your home, risked your life, and you can still smile?】

Aluff-san looked at me directly with a warm expression.

【You should understand by this point.】 He answered: 【Instead of my home or my life, there is someone more important to me. You will meet such a person one day. That will only happen once in a lifetime. So I’m just doing something that is only natural. As long as I have her, that will be good enough for me.】

This was just like what Corleone-san said. You could encounter a woman who would be the star of your life only once.

How would I find out?

【How would I know that person is my once in a lifetime partner?】

I wanted to know the answer. There must be thoughts and feelings I didn’t know about.

However, Aluff-san just shook his head.

【I don’t know either.】


【It’s not like the feeling of a lightning strike or getting hit by a spell. You won’t feel it through instincts nor feel it in your heart. There might be someone more ideal for you somewhere. Maybe that’s how the world is.】

This sounded different from what he was saying, which confused me.

Aluff-san scratched his face bashfully.

【But that doesn't matter. She is by my side. And I decided that she will be my once in a lifetime partner. That’s all.】

【You decided, huh.】

【It’s not decided by anyone. You will resolve yourself to do so and take action. Isn’t that what it means to love someone?】

What a simple and unexpected answer. I thought such a person was decided by fate. Someone that would hit it off right from the bat, understand each other, and have a bond from the very start.

【That’s why people hold weddings. It lets me declare that I chose that person. And if she feels the same way, what else will I need?】

Aluff-san suddenly straightened his posture and looked behind me. I turned back, and Sophia-san was standing there. She wore a black dress with a long train, and she had light makeup on.

【… You are beautiful.】

Aluff-san said.

【… Thank you.】

Their gazes met. The sight of them smiling at each other looked more blissful than anyone in this world.


The wedding ceremony was really simple. There were no attendees, no beautiful cake nor food, and this wasn’t a grand church with a grandiose stained glass art.

I was the witness, and the priest was Falluba-san. And this was a Cafe. We were the only ones who knew that the couple before us was getting married. It was a really plain wedding. Despite that, the couple looked really happy.

【Do you, vow to stay with her for the rest of your life, til death do you part, to care for each other, cherish her, laugh with her and love her?】

A solemn voice rang out in the shop. After a pause, Aluff-san nodded.

【I vow on my name and my life.】

Falluba-san handed the white ribbon to him, then turned to Sophia-san.

【Do you, vow to stay with him for the rest of your life, til death do you part, to care for each other, cherish him, laugh with him and love him?】

Sophia-san said with a smile.

【I do. I vow on my name and life.】

She was handed a black ribbon. Falluba-san turned to the front. His movements were filled with majesty. Because of the atmosphere created by Falluba-san, the shop was now a holy site.

【Then please exchange the band of life.】

The couple faced each other. They stared at each other and smiled.

Aluff-san proffered the white ribbon. Sophia-san accepted it, then gave the black ribbon in return.

Falluba-san looked my way.

【Witness, have you confirmed their vows, and their exchange of the bands of life?】

I didn’t expect that question, so I couldn’t react in time. I coughed, got myself in order, then nodded.

【Yes, I have witnessed it.】

【Good. Now, from this moment on, I will announce to this world about the matrimony of this couple. On the life and name of the black dragon Falluba—】

At this moment, Falluba-san looked at me for some reason. He immediately averted his gaze.

【— I bestow the blessing of the ancient dragon on everyone present with my words of vow. If you don’t betray your words and your vow, and keep each other in your hearts, your bonds shall be engraved onto this world.】

His announcement echoed in the shop. I felt goosebumps on my body. I couldn’t see anything, but I felt a major change. With the power of Falluba-san, a couple was wedded with the blessings of the dragons.

Falluba-san picked up the cups from the table, and offered one to each of them. He poured the Coffee I brewed from the bottle beside them.

【This is…】

Sophia-san looked troubled.

【Usually, this should be holy water or alcohol. However, it is more appropriate to use this here. This is a Cafe after all.】

Falluba-san said with a smile.

【Now then, this will be the first water you will drink after your marriage. Please have a toast.】



The couple looked at each other and clinked their glasses. They then drank it all, then flinged the glass onto the floor. The glasses shattered easily, and spread everywhere.

Aluff-san wasn’t used to the bitterness, and scrowled his face because of the Coffee. Seeing that, Sophia-san laughed out loud. Tears came out of the corner of her eyes as she kept laughing.

The four of us held this wedding ceremony In this Cafe. There weren’t many participants, glamorous decorations, or beautiful bouquets. Some might think this was an empty and deserted ceremony.

But if they saw this scene and their smiles, they wouldn’t think this way. They were the happiest couple in the world right now.

I felt pride that I could witness this moment.


I shook the hand that was extended towards me.

【I’m very grateful for today. This is the best wedding ever.】

【No, I should be thanking you. I made great memories.】

I sent the two of them off in the snow.

【Are you going back to your village?】

【No, the snow is too strong. Nightless day is right around the corner, so we will spend the new year here, and wait for spring.】

【Oh, I see.】

I said something on reflex, then shut my mouth.

【You were saying?】

【… My place is holding a party on Nightless day.】

【Oh, that sounds wonderful.】

Sophia-san said happily as she pulled on Aluff-san’s wrist.

【As you can see, Sophia is excited about it. If possible, can you invite us.】

There was no reason to reject them. I reached into my apron pocket, and took the paper out. Might as well get over it. Everyone would forget after I disappear anyway.

【Can you sign here?】

【Of course.】

Aluff-san signed on the paper, then passed it to Sophia-san. After she signed, she cocked her head.

【What is it?】

【Nothing, I just signed in the corner for some reason, despite there being so much space.】

The signatures of my regulars were vanishing. Even so, they signed at the corner as if to not overlap with the top.

【Did you become humble and discreet after marriage?】

【Oh, you mean that’s not how I always have been?】

【Ah, I misspoke.】

【Really now.】

After making an angry face, Sophia-san returned the pen and paper to me.

【I’m looking forward to Nightless day. Thank you for your help, I will never forget about today.】

【Neither will I. I’m looking towards our next meeting.】

I watched the couple leaving side by side. Even after they disappeared down the end of the road, I was still standing there.

The door chimed, and Falluba-san walked out of the shop.

【Yuu, you will catch a cold.】

I didn’t respond. I was already chilled to the bone.

Falluba-san stood beside me, and we stared blankly at the road as the snow fell.

【You followed my whim for today, and you have my thanks for that. It will be great if there is anyway for me to return the favor.】

【I didn’t do anything though.】

【That’s incorrect.】

I was strongly refuted.

【Listen, Yuu. Everything in this world is connected. Even if you think you aren’t doing anything, there are changes just because you are here.】

I looked over. Falluba-san looked at me with gentle eyes.

【After I found this shop and met you, I have been going to and fro to this city. I chatted with the regulars and got into contact with humans. These times only existed because of you. That’s why I’m here now. If not for you, that wedding wouldn’t have happened.】

Listen well, he said as he put his hand on my shoulder.

【You might be in this world for no reason at all. However, there is meaning to the life and action of the human named Yuu. Even if the connection is gone, and your existence forgotten, the results would remain. For the people you have helped, whose lives have been changed, your impact will linger like the light from a lantern. I can promise you this. Even if Yuu disappears from this world, I swear on my name and life that I won’t forget you.】

I felt something welling up my throat.

I couldn’t breathe properly.

I closed my eyes and grit my teeth.

【It must be lonely living in this world without any connections. No one understood your hardship. I can’t imagine how hard it is that you will be forgotten again.】

I couldn’t stop the tears gushing out now. Tears rolled down my cheeks nonstop.

【Puff out your chest, you can take pride in this. No one can endure solitude like you, and live on strongly everyday. Everything you did in this world is wonderful.】

【— Yes.】

The snow was falling. It was white everywhere, and the chilly wind had gotten stronger, as if to obscure the field of vision of the pedestrians. So I could scrowl my face and cry. I let out everything I had been hiding in my heart.

Ahh, it would be ending soon.

I needed to work hard. Before going back, I needed to settle the matter with Linaria, and the shop. I had resolved all the matters in front of me so far.

I remembered that I had always been working hard for someone else. If I did that, I could find value in myself. This was necessary for me, an outsider to this world, to exist here. That was why I worked so desperately. I sprinted for the sake of others. But in fact, it was all for myself.

Even so, everything was linked.

There were people who became a wedded couple, those who didn’t form a family, those pursuing their dreams, and many more.

I would disappear, but they would still stay in this world. I was connected to them at some point of their lives, and my life changed because of that. And that was enough. There was meaning to my time in this world, enough for me to be proud of.

So, this was enough.

I didn’t have to stay in the shop with a fake smile anymore.

I wasn’t the Cafe Master. I was here as Kurosawa Yuu.

The snow was getting stronger. It would probably pile up high. The same for tomorrow. However, the snow would be gone one day, and when spring comes, no one would remember the snow. The seasons would keep changing, that was all there was to it.

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