83-Episode 72 Cake...?

Estella's here.
I mean...
There's a prowler.

Morning. I finished my donation to the church, made some preparations, and headed for the central square. And I arrived at the square a little earlier than the meeting time. No, to be precise, I hadn't arrived yet. At the entrance to the central square, I stopped.

There is a suspicious person.

There is a suspicious woman hiding behind the large bags of street vendors who are still preparing to open their stores and looking at me.
...... What the hell is she doing? I'm not sure what to make of it. You're in my way, so get out of my way.

But since he's hiding, he must have something he wants to tell us.
How can you say, 'You're being exposed' without reading the atmosphere?
Above all, today we are eating cake on Estella's account,......, and I don't want to upset her.
If that's the case, I guess it's best to take advantage of it.

It's a good idea to take advantage of it.

With a casual remark, I stepped into the square.
The distance from the open air where Estella is hiding is 10 meters. Well, she must have heard me. Oh, she looks so happy. 'Good, good. She's probably thinking, 'Okay, okay.

Pretending not to notice, I stand in the middle of the central square, right where Bekko had set up the wax statue of me, the hero statue. ............ I feel like 'you're here'.

Just as I was thinking this, the morning bell rang out loudly.
It was eight o'clock. Time for the streets to open and the city to start moving.
Farmers start working at the wake-up bell, though.
Ginette wakes up around that time every morning to prepare the food.
There was a time when I tried to help him, but I was too lazy to do anything more than slow him down, and in the end he left the morning preparation to me. Magda is also weak in the morning. She might be weaker than me.


...... Estella went around the square from where she was earlier, left, and came back as if she had just arrived. I was watching the whole thing.
But I decided to avoid upsetting Estella today. This is entertainment.
I'm going to play right into Estella's hands.

'Hey, Estella.
'Sorry. Did you wait for me?'
'No, I just got here myself.'

I feel like I'm doing a little gut punch. ......
What, do these kinds of standard things exist in other worlds too?I guess people think the same way after all.

'Hey, hey. What do you think ......?'

Then Estella pinched the hem of her skirt and showed it to me.
This may be the first time you see a skirt that isn't a dress.

'It looks good on you. You look lovely.
'Oh my!...... Hold on a second!

Oh, dear.And then, half-turning, Estella rummaged through the bag on her shoulder.
I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure it's something. ...... It's a thick document.

'...... Funny. I don't see 'cute' as a response in there. ...... 'When his response was, "Well, that's okay, isn't it? It's important to make it clear that you're shocked when he says it doesn't suit you at all. This will make him feel guilty and he will treat you nicely during the date. ............ What if you get a compliment?Where is it?Where's ............'
'Hey ......'

When I called out to her, Estella hid a thick document behind her back and hurriedly turned to face me.
I caught a glimpse of the cover of the document that Estella had hidden behind her back.

It said, "The Complete First Date Manual - Now you too can be a popular woman.

It said, "This is the perfect manual for your first date.
...... You shouldn't rely on such things, as is the case in any world.

'Shouldn't we go now?
'Yeah, I guess so!Let's get going and get this over with!It's not like this is a date!

No, you're here as if it's a date.

'No, since it's a special occasion, why don't we just have a date?'
'Yashiro's so dirty!

You're being too self-conscious.
It's normal to have a date.
You should be more casual about it. We're just going to eat cake.

If you're going on a date, you should've at least brought me flowers.It's my first date.

You can't be like that at the height of the bubble.
I don't want to be on a date where you're sitting in a lounge on the top floor of a hotel, looking at the night view and saying, 'This night view is all yours.
Besides, if you give her a bouquet of flowers before the date, she'll just become a burden.

'I don't have a bouquet, but I'll give you this .......'
'Ah!What's this?

Instead of a bouquet, I handed Estella a shiitake mushroom hair clip that I finished last night.

'Sorry I'm naked, but... Here's a present for you.
'No!It's fine!It's totally fine!I'm so happy!Thank you!'

He's so happy.
It's a shiitake.
I tried to make it as cute as I could, but it's a shiitake, right?Is it really that much to be happy about?

'The one and only ...... hair clip that Yashiro made for me ..................'.

He held it in both hands and held it above his head, looking at it carefully. '...... Are you going to offer it to the gods?

'...... It's so cute.'

I was expecting more of a smirk, but Estella was very calm and quiet with a smile on her face.
When I was thinking that this was somewhat out of character, Estella suddenly turned to me.

'Hey, can you put it on for me?

She said, offering me a shiitake mushroom.
If you want to put it on, you can do it yourself because it's a ...... patching fastener.
I take the shiitake as he asks, look at the balance of the whole, and put the shiitake in the right place.
The clasp sounded, and the mushroom was attached to Estella's head. A cute hair clip with a small shiitake mushroom nestled in a large shiitake mushroom.

When she touched it with her finger and confirmed that it was properly attached, Estella broke into a happy smile and said

'Thank you, Yashiro. I'll take good care of it.


I'm not sure if this guy ...... was this cute?
I'm not sure if it's the shiitake mushroom power?
It's not only good for the body, but also has such effects!

I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results,......, .............

You can't see straight, can you?
You can't look at it directly?I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'm sure it's a good idea.
I don't get it. I don't want to admit it.

I don't want to admit it.It's not a date!
'What?You just said it was a date!
'Shut up!It's a preliminary inspection!Work, work, work!
'It's a date!I don't care what anyone says, it's a date!It's my decision.You can't change it now!

Oh, shut up!
Young men and women don't date without permission!
What's a date? What's a date? We're just going on a field trip and eating cake together!
This is a field trip!

It's a field trip. ............ What if you get nervous and can't taste the cake?

The store was located in a small, stylish alleyway with a relaxed atmosphere, off the main street in the 40th district.
The store sold tea and cakes, and was relatively empty at this time of the morning.
...... Don't they have coffee here too? I wonder if they have coffee.

I was shown to my seat.
The waitress gently pulls Estella's chair and escorts her to her seat. No, not for me. .......

'Yashiro. Would you like some cake and tea?'
'What kind of cake do you have?'

'No, you see. There are several to choose from.'
'A cake is a cake. There are no different kinds.'

Really? ......
Only one kind?

There are many kinds of cakes, and it's fun to worry about which one you want to eat!
But ...... only one kind?
It's a bit nerve-wracking.

'Well, I'll have the cake set.
'We don't have a set.
'You should have a set!I usually drink something when I eat cake!
'Don't tell me!

What a lousy service! You should take a lesson from the sunken pavilion.

'Then I'll have the same as you.
'What, we're splitting it?
'No, ask for one each.'
'It's ......, isn't it?

Estella gets up and goes to tell the waiter her order.
...... Why would a customer go and tell him? You come here, waitress!

'I'm telling you. ......What's wrong with you?'
'I thought it was third-rate.'
'What?They'll kick you out if they hear you. It's a very popular restaurant and you can't get in after lunch.

If that's how you're gaining an advantage over the customers, it's the worst. It's not just bad, it's heinous.
If you're dissatisfied with the cake at all, you'll say, 'This isn't a real cake,' and go on a gourmet manga-style tirade against them, you bastard.

'Don't tell me you're going to pick up the finished product, too?
I'm sure they'll bring it to you.

As Estella said, the shopkeeper will bring the cake and tea to you.
...... You're a man. That's a negative. You're right. I'm not sure what to do. I guess I can't help it then.


The sound of dishes clinking echoes.

............ Say something!
'Thank you for waiting'!
'Here's your cake', 'Here's your tea'!
You can't even say 'please take your time' to the staff here!

'...... If it were a sunlit pavilion, I would have fired them. ............'
'I'm a clerk at a high-class restaurant in the 40th district. ......'

What the hell?

f*ck you.
As soon as you sit on your laurels, your reputation will be ruined.

So, I look down at the cake and tea that were offered to me silently and without any explanation.

'...... What's this?
'This is the cake.

......What?No, you're kidding, right?
It's ............ black.
And ............ there's nothing on it.
There is no fruit, no cream, no nothing on the black sponge cake lying on the plate. The presentation was also a failure.

'Come on, try it. It's delicious.'
'Oh, oh. ......'

Estella smilingly offers me a piece of cake (as she calls it).
That's right. She's on a first date now. We're going to go out and eat cake at a fancy restaurant.
It would be a special act worth looking forward to the day before.
I don't want to ruin ...... that. But ............

I cut a small piece of crispy sponge with my fork and put it in my mouth.
.................. bread, this. Brown sugar bread. I remember eating it in school lunches, it has a nostalgic taste.
But it's not a cake.

What do you think?It's good, right?

Yeah. Well, it's not ...... bad, I guess. It's just ...... bread.

I want you to remember.
When I was very, very young, my grandmother told me she would give me jelly, and I was overjoyed, but when the jelly that came out was a hardened agar agar wrapped like a candy ball, I had that 'not this' feeling.
The feeling of 'not good enough' when a pound cake came out after you were happy to be told to eat cake.
It's not bad, it's good, but it's not what I was looking for, and it makes me want to scream.

'Yashiro...... maybe it's not to your taste?'

Estella looks a little sad.
'I was looking forward to it, but if the other person looks bored, I can't help but look like that. ............ I'm sorry.

It's good. It's got brown sugar kneaded into it, right?'
'Yes, it is. And the fluffy dough is popular with young women.

Our bread is too hard.
But since Regina is making the baking powder, District 42 can bake it even fluffier.

'How come this isn't included in 'bread'?

Cake sponge is made from wheat and baked in an oven.
Then, in this city, it is considered 'bread' and should not be made without permission from the church.

'The previous queen was a big cake lover. She could only bake cakes if she registered in advance and had a permit.
'Then, what if I bake bread and call it cake?
'Judgment of the Spirits'.
You can find a lot more information on this at .......

I'm not sure what to make of that.
I'm not sure. That permission is the key, isn't it?

'That permission comes not from the lord, but from the church, right?
'You understand very well.
'If the church, which makes a certain amount of profit by monopolizing the staple food, bread, allows the distribution of cakes that may threaten the value of bread, it is natural to think that they are getting a reasonable compensation.
'There's a reasonable tax on the amount of flour used.
'So the more you sell, the more tax you have to pay.
'That's true. But it's not that exorbitant.
'For example, if I sell cakes at the Sunlit Pavilion, the flour used for pasta doesn't count, does it?
'Of course, you'll be taxed according to the amount of flour used in the cake.
'Are you going to weigh it?
'No, we don't weigh it. You have to declare it. But false declarations will be immediately punished by the Judgment of the Spirits.
'...... Aren't you relying on the Judgment of the Spirits too much?

In the event you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
For example, let's say I lied to Estella and said, 'I forgot my wallet today, so buy me dinner. After that, 'You were looking at another woman, weren't you? No, I wasn't! Judgment of the Spirits! Let's say the story goes like this: .......
In this case, Estella is invoking the "Judgment of the Spirits" in response to my statement that I didn't look at the other woman, so if I didn't actually look at the other woman, I wouldn't become a frog.
Even if I had lied about forgetting my wallet before that, I would not become a frog unless someone pointed that out to me.

Judgment of the Spirits has more holes than you might think.
That's what I've learned from living in this town for more than half a year.

To get back to the point, it is possible to accurately collect taxes on the amount of wheat used by invoking the "Judgment of the Spirits" every morning by a church member to check for falsehoods.
It is said that those who handle the cakes are subjected to the 'judgment of the spirits' every month by the people of the church.

I'm sure they're trying to keep a tight rein on it, so...

'What should I do if I want to make a prototype?
'If you apply to the Church, you'll only be allowed to prototype in front of the Warden.

The Warden: ............
In my mind, I pictured a beautiful elf with a happy face drooling.

'Are you going to make a cake, Yashiro?
'If I can, yes.
'A cake made by Yashiro? ...... I wonder what it will taste like.'
'At least it's better than this one here.
'You came out big.

A big one.
It's not even a cake.

As a palate cleanser, I sipped my tea and blew out .......

'Hey!What are you doing, you filthy thing?
'It's ............ too ............!

What is this?
I'm not sure.
How much hot water did you soak the tea leaves in?
It's bitter, it's astringent, it's tasteless!

Oh, I'm so frustrated!

'Estella ......, is the tea here good?
'Huh?...... Hmm, to tell you the truth, I'm not really a fan of it. I like Natalia's tea better.'

I'm glad this isn't the standard for this city!

'...... Estella, bad.'
'What, what?
'I knew this wasn't a date.'
'Eh ............'.

This ............ kind of half-baked stuff is not appropriate for Estella's first date.

'I'll ask her out again next time!And when I do, I'll bring a bouquet of flowers and treat you to a much better cake and tea!So, let's just pretend this isn't a date!

...... Will I be angry?
...... Will I be disappointed?
............ Would you cry?

I said what I wanted to say and bowed my head.
I was afraid to look up.
I'm not sure what kind of face Estella will be looking at me with when I look up. .................. It's time... ...

'............ eh'.

Slowly, I raised my head and my eyes met Estella's. ...... No, no, no, no?

It's a good idea to take a look at the website to see if there is anything you need to know.

'............ Ho, really?
'...... bouquet......'
'Ah, ah.'

'............ Ah!

'No, no!I'm not proposing to you or anything!'
'--!I know, I know, but it's not like that!
'Do you really understand?
'I know, I know!You know what?You don't want to admit that the cake here isn't good, and you want to start over, don't you?
'Yeah, that's right!The cake in this store can't even be called a cake!It's out of the question!I took pity on you for being happy with this kind of thing, so I wanted to give you a real cake, and that's why I asked for a second date!
'I know, I know!I didn't think it tasted that good either!
'What do you think?I didn't think it tasted that good either!
'No, I didn't!I just took a bite and felt a little sick to my stomach!I'm of noble birth.
'You're a regular at the Sunlit Pavilion, but you're born noble, ......'
'The Sunlit Pavilion is a first-class restaurant, right?
'I agree with you there!

We stood up and shook hands tightly.
Then we realized that we were surrounded by scary-looking waiters.

............ Ah-la-la.

''''' Get out of here!Don't come back! '''''

We were kicked out of the cake shop and left the 40th district as if we were running away.
On the way back, we heard about the restrictions on selling the cakes, but it seems that it is possible to sell them at the sunny pavilion.
In fact, it would be convenient to have someone like Ginette as the manager to sell the cakes. He wouldn't lie, and it would be good for the church officials.

The problem is the price.
After taxes, the price will inevitably be higher.
And the biggest problem is the ............ brown sugar.

In this city, brown sugar is commonly used, and white sugar is a super luxury item that only the upper class can afford.
If I can't get it, I can't make the cake I want.
Price and taste. This is a very difficult balance.

It was around dusk when I returned to the sunlit pavilion.

If we have cakes, we can make up for the time when customers will be away.
We need cake.

'Yashiro-san. You've got a difficult look on your face.
'Hmm?Nothing. It's nothing.'

Jeannette asks worriedly, but we can't talk about it just yet.
Not until we have a better idea of what we can do with the cake, not until we have ...... the sugar.

In the evening, the business of the sunny pavilion is closed.
Since I couldn't help today, I took on the responsibility of locking up the store.
I went around checking the windows and doors one by one.

Just as I was about to close the front door, I saw a black figure standing in the yard.

'It's me.'

It was Natalia again. Two days in a row.

'Don't scare me every time!
'I'm not trying to scare you. I need to talk to you.'

Natalia ignored me and told me what she wanted to talk to me about.
...... What a woman.

'I have a question for you.
'What is it?'
'Your daughter had a shiitake mushroom on her head that she said was given to her by you. ............ Don't you have any sense?
'Tell that to your daughter, that's!

I didn't choose the shiitake!

After telling her who was crazy, she asked Natalia to leave.
At any rate, from what Natalia told me, Estella didn't seem too depressed. ...... I was relieved.

You have to make sure you redo the date.

............ Although it will be a long time later.