The red of the sky, which had been fiery, gradually changed to a quiet indigo, and our shadows grew longer.
The darkness was so dim that we could barely make out the faces of the people walking next to us, and we felt a good sense of fatigue.
Even though the inspection had started after lunch, we were getting hungry after walking until this hour.
The stomachs of the inspection team were about to let out a cry of despair.
'How was it?I'm proud to say that with the sewage system in place, District Forty-two is now one step ahead of the other districts in terms of sanitation. I can confidently say that having a branch of the Woodcutter's Guild will not be a stigma.''
'Indeed. I'm impressed with how you've changed so much.
That's what Javier said to me.
In fact, Javier was interested in everything, including the streets and buildings, looking, touching, asking questions, and letting out a sigh of admiration at the transformation of the 42nd district.
'Will this guy be able to do this in the forty-second ward in the future? ...... Ambrose, you've made a good purchase.'
Ambrose Demilly is the lord of the fortieth district, and has recently signed a contract for sewage construction.
It is for this work that Umaro, who has just moved from the forty-second ward to the forty-second ward, 'goes out' to the forty-second ward almost every day. It's bad timing for him, isn't it?
In any case, the guild leader Javier seems to be satisfied with the current state of the 42nd district.
Originally, Javier was in favor of establishing a branch of the Woodcutter's Guild in District 42.
He must have participated in this inspection with a positive attitude.
'But there's nothing here, it's too inconvenient.
On the other hand, the young lady, ............, is always complaining about something, and attributing it to high-handedness, saying, 'It's only the 42nd district, after all.
In the event that you have any questions regarding where and how to use the site, please contact us at ....... I'm not sure if you've seen this before, but I'm sure you've seen it before.
Even Imelda was honestly impressed with the sewage treatment process, and asked many questions about the environment and equipment. He was interested.
And since all of these questions were based on the premise of 'if the Lumberjack Guild were to establish a branch', it seems that they are not trying to prevent the establishment of a branch.
Only one point - 'I don't want to recognize the 42nd district at the bottom so easily' - seems to have prevented Imelda from making a colorful reply. Or rather, I can't think of anything else.
It's not like she's the type to try to get a better deal by cajoling, and the young lady must be really stubborn and proud.
...... She has a troublesome personality.
But on the contrary, that is the only bottleneck.
If you can break down that bottleneck, you're sure to succeed.
'Well then, I guess we'd better eat.
'I've been waiting for you!
The lumberjacks, probably very hungry, shouted like animals.
When you're this hungry, anything you eat will taste good.
............ Come on, Magda. Just keep the store decorations normal. ............
'All right, gentlemen. This way, please.'
Estella leads the way, back the way they came.
We might as well hurry.
There are no stores or houses around here, just fields. When the sun goes down, it's completely dark.
It's a disadvantage to make us walk in such darkness.
'It's so dark, isn't it? It's dangerous to walk at night.
See? I got poked right away.
'If you're scared, why don't I hold your hand?
Imelda screams like a pheasant.
The sun has already set, but she's still holding a parasol and spinning it around.
The speed at which she is spinning is becoming very fast. ......What, you want to spin a ball or something on it?
I'm not a fan. ...... No thanks!You can't ...... do that. ...... Come on, you're not a kid!
He turned his head away and walked away quickly.
I'm not sure what to say.
In the event that you've got a lot of money, you'll be able to use it for a lot of things.Wow,......, what a pain in the ass,.............
I'm going to go a little faster through the countryside.
There's a vague light ahead.
What is it?
As we walked toward the light, we realized that it was the light of a lantern.
'Thank you for your visit.
Sister Bertina greeted us with a saintly smile, illuminated by the flickering light of the lantern.
It was too dark to see, but we were in front of a church.
...... Is it really this dark in the church at night?
When the kids collapsed, you had to turn on the lights to take care of them. Well, it's a poor church, so it makes sense that they're saving money.
'It's getting dark, so we'll be taking you to the sunny pavilion.
Children came out from under Bertina's feet.
They were the children of the church and Loretta's younger siblings, who had recently come under the care of the church.
In no time, the group was surrounded by as many as twenty children.
'Watch your step.
'There is a light...'
Some of the kids are carrying lanterns. So they're surrounding us and they're lighting up our feet.
What the hell. That's very thoughtful.
Look, Imelda's looking at the kids happily. This is very effective.
And Javier, the guild leader, is also looking at the little girls with lanterns with a loving gaze. ......
'I think I'm going to live here when we get a ...... branch.
Don't live here!You can go home as soon as you can!
So don't try to get the head of the branch to come here!
I'm not sure what to do.
........................ Ah... ......... Umaro is also a vine flatterer. ............
I'm sure you'll be able to find something that will help you out.
As I neared the Sunken Pavilion, Estella called out to me in a whisper.
'Magda's done it.
I couldn't have predicted this either. ...... Magda, you're good.
A few large candles were placed on the street in front of the sunlit pavilion, illuminating the dark street.
This is a great way to make sure that you don't get caught up in the nightmare that is the internet.
'It's beautiful .......'
Imelda's words, which must have escaped her, seemed to speak for the hearts of all present.
'Welcome to the Sunlit Pavilion.
Ginette's voice greeted us as we gazed at the shimmering, fantastic scenery.
All the employees were lined up in front of the Sunlit Pavilion.
The uniforms were newly made for today's event.
The colors are a little more mature, and the usual cute furi-furi maids have been replaced with chic, calm, and elegant serving clothes.
'This is ...... beautiful'.
That's what Javier thinks of our employees.
Well, of course he does.
Ginette smiles gently, Loretta gives a strong smile that says 'I'll do my best', and Magda gives a V-sign with a quiet expression on her face.
Well done, Magda.
If my wax statue had been lined up here with lights, I would have walked right past it and eaten on the main street.
That's Magda. I'll have to praise him later.
And ............ Ginette is going to give me a little lecture later, isn't she?
As if sensing something, Jeannette's shoulders shook and she shrank back.
...... It's okay. Depending on how hard you work after this, I'll go easy on you. ............
I'm not sure what to say.I'm sure you'll agree.
I'm not sure if you've seen this before, but I'm sure you've.
I watched the woodcutter's back as they walked into the store, and then I headed for my sisters who were waiting in the garden.
That's where the stall is usually placed, but it's empty now. The stall is being rented out for the night.
'Go tell them to get ready. I'll be here in about twenty minutes.'
'I'll tell him!
'I'm excited for the night out!
'I'm not afraid of the streets at night!
'I'm not like my big brother!
I'm not afraid either, as long as I'm not alone.
'I'll go with you just in case.
Natalia, who had been quietly supporting me, offered.
That'd be great. Even though the security in District 42 has improved, my sisters are still children.
'It's my pleasure, please take care of the young lady.
'The work is done, just let me see how it's done.
'If all goes well, the 42nd district will change dramatically, right?
'Oh, yes. That's a good direction, too.
''I see. ............, I'll be off.''
Natalia says, somewhat happily.
Although she doesn't say it clearly because of her position, she is probably happy too. She is happy to see that the 42nd district under her lord's control is going in the right direction.
That's what I thought when I saw Natalia walking away with her sisters.
Natalia flew to ......!
'It's nothing, sir.
'Tell me about it.
'It can't be helped. Now, let's try it together. Let's do it.
'''' Hi-ho-ho! ''''
You're so excited!
It didn't matter what position I was in!
'Well, I'm glad you're happy.
After seeing Natalia and her sisters off, I walked into the cafeteria.
It was bright inside the cafeteria.
Torches provided by Estella were set up along the walls. Well, torches.
With just a few sets of two crossed torches, the inside of the restaurant was brighter than ever.
It would make the food look better.
Ginette was nowhere to be seen, probably in the kitchen.
The restaurant was filled with an irresistible aroma.
The aroma alone makes me want to eat more rice.
Inside the restaurant, Magda and Loretta were busily distributing water to the lumberjacks at the tables.
They are talking about water purifiers, and the lumberjacks are curious: 'This is ano......'.
'It's delicious ............ water, but it's so refreshing.
Imelda seems to like the lemon water from the sunny pavilion. She gulps it down.
Estella is standing by the wall, looking at the seated woodcutters. She is waiting by the wall, watching the lumberjacks seated there, so that she can support them in case something happens.
And then, at a different table from the lumberjacks, Bertina and the rest of the church sat down. ............ Hey.
'...... What are you sitting there for?
I've heard that there's something special on the menu.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one who's a little nervous about the whole thing. ...I can't help it. Forcing them away at this point would be bad for our image. After all, he's a member of the church. Of course the Spirit Church has support in District 40. I'm sure the woodcutter is a believer too.
............ Anyway, whatever. I'll have Estella pay for it.
'Thank you for waiting!
With a cheerful voice, Ginette emerged from the kitchen.
Behind her, her sisters in their cute uniforms came out in droves.
These are the members who always follow Magda to make popcorn.
This time, they plan to serve it all at once, using as many people as possible.
At the table where each of us was seated, more food than could be placed was brought in one after another.
'Oh, this is ............ how beautiful ......'.
Javier let out a roar.
As Imelda's parent, Javier seems to be a man with a very high sense of beauty. He has a good eye for things, he says.
Even the stocky lumberjacks, who would have gobbled up the food as soon as they saw it, were simply transfixed by the beauty of the food.
The dishes on the table were the ones that were usually served at the Sunlit Pavilion.
The fact that it received such high praise showed how hard Ginette was always working.
'Thank you very much for your hard work today.
When the dishes were served, Estella opened her mouth.
All the people who had been distracted by the food turned their attention to Estella.
Imelda is delayed for a moment, but then makes a face as if nothing had happened.
It seems that she was admiring the food.
A set meal that is carefully chosen for its color and where it is served is actually a very beautiful thing. It is the ultimate form in which the techniques and wabi and sabi that our country has cultivated over its long history are incorporated, and the superfluous things are omitted and polished.
For those who think of food only as something to eat, the beauty of this dish will be shocking.
A meal is to be enjoyed with all five senses.
Not only the taste, but also the smell and the appearance. Even the sound of 'crispy' or 'juwaaah' conveys the taste of the food. The feeling of crumbling when touched with chopsticks and the elasticity of thick meat also stimulate the appetite.
It is a comprehensive art related to human life. That is what a meal is.
'What do you think of our 42nd district? We are proud of our cityscape, infrastructure, and people, all of which are wonderful, and we are not ashamed of them. In addition, we will continue to develop based on our innovative and original technology that no other district has. I am convinced that the cooperation of the Woodcutter's Guild will be indispensable for that, and that the existence of the Forty-two Wards will be indispensable for the Woodcutter's Guild as well.
Estella's speech continued.
It's like she's trying to get into the other person's pocket. It's the complete opposite of my way of constructing an honest conversation.
I'm more of a pull back and trap the one who's chasing me.
Especially when there's a navel-gazer like him.
'You make it sound as if the Forty-Two Wards and the Woodcutter's Guild are on equal footing.
Imelda stands up, interrupting Estella's speech.
...... Your face scares me, Imelda. Does it bother you that much?
'Indeed, the sewage technology is quite impressive. The city has become much more beautiful.
She takes out a fan from her pocket and thrusts it at Estella.
'But it's only the 42nd district!No matter how much effort the bottom of the heap puts in, it's impossible for them to catch up with those on a much higher level!The current Forty-two districts are nothing more than imitations of ...... the surface of ...... the world!
Estella's cheeks twitched.
'In the first place, you say it's an innovative technology, but isn't it something that wouldn't be possible without the Lumberjack Guild? Do you not have the concept of ...... shame to boast to the lumberjack guild about a technology that only works with the help of the lumberjack guild?
'Shame ............, ......!
'Estella-san, you can't.'
Estella took a step forward, and Jeannette quickly stopped her.
It's just a matter of time before the situation ...... becomes unsettled.
I'm not sure what to say.
If you're the type of person who doesn't like it when you're the best and can't tolerate it when you're not, telling people about your accomplishments will only have the opposite effect.
Instead of 'If you're so good, let's do business together,' they'll say 'Our company is much better than yours, though. Instead of 'If you're so good, let's go into business together.
'That was very arrogant coming from a person who is indebted to the Lumberjack Guild and wants to take advantage of it. 'The Lumberjack Guild makes something like the Forty-Two Wards indispensable to the Lumberjack Guild: ......?Are you laughing at me?
'Imelda. You can stop right there.
'Your father says she's more right than I am!
'No, no, ...... that's not what I mean. ............ that ...... ..................'
Imelda's stern, grizzly, musclebound Javier faltered.
You're weak, old man. ......
He wandered his gaze, and when his eyes met mine, he had a happy expression on his face.
'He'll tell you the rest!
Ugh, he threw the whole thing away.
'The rest is on the web'?
Who's the web?
'Is there something you want to tell me, sir?'
Imelda glares at me.
I look around, Estella with a sour look, Ginette with an anxious look, and Javier with a 'I'll help you with whatever you can convince me of, please! I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.
...... d*mn it. I can't help it.
I was going to finish it myself from the beginning.
'Imelda. You're saying that the Forty-two districts don't have any innovative technology, right?
'We have sewage technology, yes. But that's only because of the Woodcutter's Guild. ...... How dare you try to ingratiate yourself with them. ......'
'I'm indebted to ...... or .......'
'What is it?You don't mean that, do you?'
'No, no. I'm just trying to ingratiate myself. I'm just glad that the forty-two districts asked me to join them.'
'We are?You're kidding, right?
'But that's not really the case, is it?
I moved slowly and walked right in front of Imelda.
Imelda stared at my movements and followed me with her gaze. She didn't even blink.
'Even without the Woodcutter's Guild, District Forty-two will continue to grow. This is a definite decision.'
'You have no proof.
'The technology is there.
'So, it's only with the Lumberjack Guild that ......!
'And that's not all.'
'It's not the only thing, our innovative and unique technology.'
'............What else do you have in mind?
The question is answered with a smile, not a word.
There are many technologies. Popcorn, food carts, filtration systems, that sort of thing.
But for now, I'm going to show you the most effective technology that will shut these guys up.
I hold up my index finger and stick it out in front of Imelda.
'............ up, is it?
I slowly lower my upturned index finger and point to the food on the table.
'This is the dish you were praising as beautiful before.
'What?I'm not raving about it!It's just that ...... it was something that could be seen in its own right!
Hmmm ...... Yes, I got it.
Now he's going to be repulsed by every little thing.
'Look at that. Isn't it spectacular?
'So, I'm asking you, what's the point?
...... Let me swim a little more: ............
'You like beautiful things, don't you?Enjoy it to the fullest.'
'I think I've told you before, no matter how beautiful the food is, if you eat it, it's gone, and if you don't eat it, you'll just be left to rot and look like nothing!
Imelda brushed back her bangs, which were hanging down from her exuberance, and smiled a high-flown smile.
'I'm sure you were trying to outnumber me, but I'm sorry ...... you had to go through that. The more there are, the more cruel they become. It doesn't resonate with me.
'Don't tell me if a dish is good or bad without eating it.
'I don't want to!
A hysterical cry.
It is a warning sound made by those who are touched by something they do not want to be touched.
It is an instinctive warning that surprises the person who utters it the most immediately after it is uttered.
After an awkward silence, Imelda's voice rang out as if she had no choice.
'I can't stand the thought of ...... losing what's there, of seeing it ugly and decaying. ............'
I don't know what makes this guy so obsessed with beauty.
I don't want to know about his past or his trauma. I don't want to know.
But if that's your reason for refusing, then you can't resist any longer, can you?
'What you have here is fine.
'What's here now won't diminish or decay.
'What do you mean, what do you mean?'...... It can't be!
She turned away from the hostile Imelda and signaled to Ginette.
'Give me that.'
Ginette's face lit up as if to say, 'I've been waiting for you! Ginette's face lit up, and she nodded loudly.
Ginette ran to the kitchen.
'What are you going to do?
'Well, that's for you to see. When you see it, you'll agree with me that what I said is true.
'There's no such thing as a dish in this world that doesn't decay ......!
Here it comes.
Imelda glared at me, making no effort to hide her displeasure at being interrupted.
But as soon as she saw what Ginette brought, her eyes and mouth opened to the limit at the same time.
The faces of everyone in the room were tinged with astonishment.
'There's a .................. fork floating in the water!
Ginette brought something.
It was pasta with meat sauce. However, the fork that lifted the pasta entangled in the sauce was floating in the air as if defying gravity.
'What's going on, what's going on?An invisible person is supporting the fork!
What's an invisible man? I'm not leaving that creepy thing here. I'll kick it out and put salt on the door.
'Yah, Yashiro, what's this?
Estella is startled and comes running to me.
The only people who know who this guy is are us, the employees of the sunny pavilion, the sculptor Bekko Neveu, and Regina from Special Thanks.
Though Bekko is no longer a sculptor but a "wax artist".
Well. The pasta with the fork floating in it, and the food on display here...
'It's a food sample.
'Food ...... samples?
These are all elaborate fakes made of wax.
They are the same food samples that you see in the restaurants in department stores.
'Are these all ............ fake?
Imelda was surprised and touched the chicken cutlet near her with her finger.
'............ It's true, then, this one too!This one too?
And so she touched the dishes in front of her one by one.
All of them are fake, all of them made of wax.
They were made from the wax that Bekko had said he had in abundance, and refined as much as possible.
Along with the lifelike shape, it was important to have a lifelike color, but I asked Regina to make it with food coloring.
Sometimes Regina would color the pills to prevent people from taking the wrong ones. Then it hit me. It must be the food coloring that gives the pills their color. Then she wondered if she could make other colors.
The result was wonderful.
Thanks to this, I was able to create a food sample that looked like the real thing from every angle.
'This thing will not decay even if you leave it for ten or a hundred years. It will need to be stored well, though.
It's made of wax, so of course you can't eat it. Instead, it will never rot.
...... Well, there are some unfortunate food samples in a soba noodle shop in a deserted shopping street, which are sadly dirty and look like 'Hey, this is not going to attract customers.
'Wow, ......, this really is fake.
'It looks like the real thing from this distance......'
While the lumberjacks looked at the food samples with great interest, Imelda's movements stopped.
She was still and prone, not moving.
'............ Are the things you see here real?
'Oh, yes. All of them are on this restaurant's menu.
All of them were actually made by Ginette when she was making the food samples.
At any rate, Becko can reproduce exactly what he sees with his own eyes, but he cannot create something he has not seen in his imagination.
What you see here is an elaborate copy of what Ginette actually made.
'You've been through a lot, Jeannette.'
'No, sir. Cooking is my purpose in life.
Ginette smiled at him.
Naturally, the food I cooked for the sample was later enjoyed by the employees.
'......Yes,............ it's real,...... it's real! ......'
Imelda's shoulders began to shake slightly.
'...... I love beautiful things. I especially love beautiful food,......, but the moment you take a bite of a dish, it loses its perfect beauty. The ugliness of leftover food ...... and the emptiness of empty dishes after a full meal ...... are things I've never liked. I just couldn't like them.
Imelda began to talk, little by little.
'I've encountered many beautiful dishes in my life. ...... Each time, I felt like my heart was going to burst with anger. I want to keep the beautiful dishes as beautiful as they are!The more beautiful it was, the more I wanted to keep it that way!The more beautiful it was, the more I wanted to keep it. ...... But that's not possible. ...... If you don't eat it, the dish will decay and ......... If you don't eat it, the dish will decay and turn into a ...... ... cruel mess.
'Hmm, well, ............ there's no such thing as something that's permanent. Even this one will be ...... over time.'
'I understand, that much!It will get dirty, it will break,......, but I'm still ............... .....................I'm impressed. ......'
Imelda looked up and was crying raggedly.
'I wish I could have this same dish!I want to taste this dish, smell it, enjoy the texture!And I want to look at ...... this and feel happy over and over again each time.
You'll lose your own food, but you'll be able to remember it again if you have a ...... sample.
If he were in Japan, he would probably take a picture of all the food served and post his impressions of it on his blog or something.
In this world, you can't see what the food looks like unless you see it.
I can understand your feeling of sadness.
'Can I have everything you have here?
The lumberjacks raised their hands in unison as Ginette took their orders.
'I'll have the pasta with meat sauce!
'Oh, me too, me too!
The pasta with meat sauce, which had been so unpopular, is now getting a flood of orders. ............ Just as planned!
When I made the food samples, I was determined to make only pasta.
I knew that pasta samples would be of great interest to any child.
I was sure it would attract attention here too.
Now we can sell pasta!
The best pasta at a reasonable price that can be prepared in a wide variety of ways with a little arrangement!
And then, someone came to the store at the perfect time.
The golden retriever-like canine ears of Paula, Cantalcica's signature waitress.
'We sell cold beer on the road!
The screams of men's souls that would make Munch cover his ears and turn pale if he were around.
'It looks like your timing was perfect.
Natalia, the woman who had been sent to escort you, returns.
This was the reason why I had asked her to come earlier.
No alcoholic beverages are sold at the Sunlit Pavilion. That's fine if you're a regular customer, but after walking around all day in the heat, there's no better way to soothe the men than with a nice, cold beer.
That's why we rented out both stalls and asked Paula to sell them to us.
The second stall specializes in cantaloupe and is packed with beer.
The seventh store has some recommended drinks from other stores.
By using a glass with the name of the store, you can find out which store sells which kind of sake. The idea is that if you like the sake, you will be able to go there personally at a later date.
'Here's your food, sir!
Just as the lumberjacks began to gulp down their beers, a faint aroma wafted out from the restaurant, giving a critical stimulus to their hunger.
'Oh my god!I can't stand it!
I'm going to live here!
'I love the 42nd district!
'Sunlit pavilion is the best!
'I love my sisters!
Hey, you guild leader. I'm going to tell my daughter all about it.
The store's large windows are fully open, connecting the garden to the interior. It looks like a huge beer garden, but it's the perfect place to be on a day like this.
'Delicious...... is delicious!But even after you eat it, it's still here. ............ It's wonderful!
Imelda sipped her pasta like crazy.
Oh, I skipped the meat sauce on her expensive clothes. ............ I'll introduce you to Grandma Mum later. She's a friend of Jeannette's and a regular at the Laundromat. Her skill at removing stains was even better than mine, and I took my hat off to her,
'Huh?What's all the commotion?
Just then, the members of the Trubec Construction Company, led by Umaro, show up.
'Umaro . What happened to the accommodation arrangements?'
'Perfectly!I've prepared a safe and comfortable accommodation for the group!
For this occasion, I had a lodging facility built for bipeds.
Since I couldn't prepare the landlady, I asked her to make use of her own valet, but the building and the interior decoration of the rooms were entrusted to Torbeck Engineering, so I'm sure there will be no mistakes.
'Thank you for your hard work. You guys go ahead and eat whatever you want.'
'Yes, sir!Well then, I have .................. pasta that's selling like hotcakes!I'm sure you'll like it.The forks are flying!
Oh, so that's why I heard ...... clinking noises everywhere. ...... All the lumberjacks are trying to make their forks float like food samples.
I did it too ...... when I was about three years old.
Jeannette comes running up to me, a big smile on her face.
'It's a great success!
A great success. I guess you could say that.
As far as Imelda is concerned, ............ she's not going to object to this.
Javier seems to be convinced of this, too, and is in a good mood, gulping down a beer.
'Well, then, it's time for the final touches.
Did you have a dessert in mind?
If it was a popcorn demonstration, it would certainly be of interest. ......
'We're going to have a wax statue of Yashiro-san for you to admire while you enjoy your meal!
'Then, I'll go prepare for it!
Ginette disappeared into the back of the kitchen with light steps that I couldn't imagine from her usual calm atmosphere.
She really seems to think that the wax statue is something that people will appreciate. ............ Not good!
'Somebody!Stop Ginette!The manager is in trouble!
After that, Estella and I took down Ginette, who was trying to take the wax statue from the courtyard.
I'm not kidding.
If there are more than twenty of them lined up, there's a possibility that the plan to invite the branch office that was almost decided will be ruined.
'But, but they're so cute!
'It's not cute!Ginette, look closely!Yashiro is not cute at all!
'...... No, I don't know about that, Estella?Even so, there's something cute about ...... it.'
'Don't you want to stop it!
'I want to stop it, but not pretty is too much to ask!
'It's too much work!
And so, despite the flurry of activity behind the scenes, there was constant laughter at the Sunlit Pavilion until late that night.