121-Episode 104 Second Damage

'Is it ...... for guidance on how to deal with the "Judgment of the Spirits"?'

In the early morning, in the dining room of the sunny pavilion, Assunto, who came to wholesale vegetables, recited my question.
This guy is also a man who has been quite nervous about the Judgment of the Spirits. I asked him if he could think of anyone who might be doing the same thing.

'That's something that's done as a matter of course in most guilds.
'The more prestigious the guild, the more scrupulous.

I'm sure you're aware of that, but I'm not. It's like a company that teaches English conversation to its ...... employees?Well, as far as I know, there are almost no successful cases of skill improvement courses forced by organizations.

'We will thoroughly educate our employees to prevent them from being overtaken by rivals' and 'educate our employees to overtake rivals',.............
'That's a scary story.
'Although our peddler's guild is more modest.
'Lie to me. I'll turn you into a frog.
'Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's not allowed in the Forty-Two districts.

Oh, I see.
He doesn't know it yet. That I'm in a situation where I can cast the Judgment of the Spirits on you.
I guess Estella is more perceptive than me.

'Yashiro, you must have realized by now that ...... the Judgment of Spirits, which Alvistan blindly believes to be perfect, has many holes. So, if you don't have enough self-defense, you may suffer unexpected damage.
''What the hell kind of ...... spirit god is this?

They irresponsibly spread such an incomplete and unavoidable thing.

Be careful what you say. If you get stabbed, you'll be disadvantaged in some way.
'Don't measure a man's life by his profit.
'Oh?I think I'm in the same boat as you, don't you?

'That's a laughable joke.

''However, it is sadly true that we are often made to suffer thanks to the Spirit God.''
'If you were right in front of me, I would have spanked your ass.
'Hmmm... ...... If you are too much of an otter, you will be punished by heaven.
'Well, I'll just pat your butt.
'............ Heaven's punishment is coming, isn't it?

Assunto shrugs his shoulders.
He's also an Alvistan, isn't he? But he doesn't seem to be as devout as Ginette.

'Every time I talk to Yashiro-san, I learn something new. I never thought I'd be able to spank a spirit god. ............ Hmm...'
'It doesn't matter if you're a god, human, or spirit, you'll be punished if you do something stupid.'
'No, no. I think it's interesting that you see the spirit gods as existing just like us.

If you ask me if I believe in God, it's hard for me to say 'yes', but if you keep showing me his power so clearly, my perception will change to 'well, maybe he exists'.

'Does Assunto think that there are no spirit gods?
'That's not true, sir. The Spirit God does exist. That's for sure. Just ......'

He pulls a large, shapely tomato out of the basket and plays with it on his hand.

'I don't think it's possible to touch it like this. So to speak, the Spirit God is the pumpkin soup I ate as a child.'
'Pumpkin soup?

What the hell is this guy talking about?

'I'm sorry, sir. I didn't understand your analogy.'

Chuckling, Assunto began to explain with hand gestures.

'Pumpkin soup is my favorite food, and when I was a child I thought it was the best food in the world. But we were so poor that we could only eat it once a year or so.

Assunto was poor as a child: ......
Maybe that's why he became obsessed with money. Anyway, now that he's earning a good living, his life is probably one of the most successful.

'If I close my eyes, I'll remember. That color, that smell, that taste, and that warmth. ......'

Assunto, his eyelids closed, stretches out his arm and lets his hand wander through the empty air, as if he were trying to touch the soup in his brain.

'I recognize its existence, and I can visualize its shape clearly. But I can never touch it. And yet, I can say with confidence that I like pumpkin soup even though I am not here. In other words, that's what the spirit gods are to people.
'It's a hard parable to understand.

Assunto chuckles again.

Well, maybe that's what idolatry is all about.
We worship what we are told is there, embodying it in our minds and hearts. However, because it is stored in the mind of the individual, each person may customize it as he or she sees fit.
For their own convenience.

'And you treat them as if they were human beings. ...... Hmm, do the gods of Yashiro-san's country live in the same world as humans?
'Not really, though.'

What's ...... this, are you being made fun of?I don't think it's ...... complimentary.
I hadn't really thought about it that deeply. ......

'But if the spirit god had huge tits, wouldn't you rub them anyway?
'...... No, I'm afraid not.'
'What if she has big tits?
'It's not a matter of rank.

What the hell is this guy?Are you a vine man?

'Besides, I have a wife.'

I almost cast 'Judgment of the Spirits' on him.
Wife?What, shredded radish?I thought of the scene in Assunto's house where there were shredded radishes spread on the bed, 'My balls. No, no, no, it's 'me and my balls', then.

'Assunto ......, blackmail is a serious crime.
'You know,......, I hate to be so glib about this,......, but my wife has been approaching me passionately.
''So, '...... of the Spirit'!
'Please wait!It's not a problem if you want to do it, but I don't think it's a good idea for Yashiro to take the initiative in breaking the agreement!

I'm sure you'll be able to figure out what to do.I'm not sure what to do.

I'm not sure what to do.If you forbid them to marry, they will perish.

Oh, that's true too.

'I guess only church officials care about such things. We ordinary people only thank God the Spirit every day.
'Then you don't have to worry about it, do you, Ginette?
'I guess so. Those who grew up in the church tend to think a little like that, but ...... there's no problem. Even if you're Sister Bertina, there's no reason for anyone to blame you for it.

You can marry Bertina too. I guess our religion is pretty loose.

Is it?Have you made enough progress to start thinking about such things?
'Baka!You idiot!No, nothing!
'Well, ......, but I suppose it's only a matter of time. Ho-ho-ho.

Just say it.
........................ I'm not conscious at all!Ignore it, ignore it.

'Um, Yashiro-san.'
'Oh my God!
I'm not sure....... What's wrong with you?

As I was talking to Assunto, Jeannette came up to me.
He had been checking the ingredients in the kitchen earlier. ...... You should have carried the food more slowly. ...... Hey, Assunto. I'm not sure what to say.

You've been very careful today. Was Assunto trying to be clever again?'
'No, no. Not at all.
'Mr. Yashiro, that's terrible. Ho-ho-ho.

d*mn you for playing it cool. You d*mned pig.

'I was carefully checking the quality of the ingredients when Assunto-san told me to.'
'Quality?Assunto, is there a problem?'
''Oh, no, ...... actually...''

Assunto's expression clouded.
There was something wrong.

'It was the day before yesterday, but ...... have you heard of the sweet shop 'Graduates' on the main street?
'A sweet shop?

I nodded my head.
Ginette began to explain about the store.

'The Graduates used to be a tea shop, but after Yashiro taught them how to make cakes, they turned it into a sweet shop.
'Wow, that's quite a transformation, isn't it?
'They started to serve cakes with tea.
'Oh, you mean a teahouse, like a coffee shop.

It was a place to drink tea and have a smoke.
Then they started to serve cakes and ............ it's totally a coffee shop.

'At that "Graduates", it seems that ...... food poisoning has occurred.'

I've never heard of it!
If there's an outbreak of food poisoning in a restaurant, send a message to the guild members immediately!
It's a matter that needs to be addressed by the entire city!

I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.
'...... Another case of the worm?

Assunto's expression became clouded, and an uneasy atmosphere prevailed.
The bug incident at Cantartica. That was a big deal and we fought it off. The food poisoning scare that followed shortly after. ............

'What's the situation?
'According to the master of The Graduates, a stern man came in suddenly and said, "I've been sick since right after I ate something from this restaurant. Is the food in this restaurant rotten? Is the food in this shop rotten?' He made a big fuss about it.
'It's the same .............'
'What's the same ......?

Assunto and Ginette nodded their heads in agreement.

The stern man - let's call him Squidman - Squidman says, 'I feel sick. It's not 'I feel sick' or 'I have a stomach ache', it's 'I feel sick'.
'Why does this cake taste so good, d*mn it! ...... Even so, the 'mood' is getting worse. It's up to him.
And then he continued, "Is everything in this store rotten? By putting two words together, he makes the listener imagine a third word with a different meaning, just like the insects.
In other words, they are claiming the unspoken words, 'I ate something from this restaurant and got a stomach ache.
Humans have a habit of deriving solutions from the information they are given and filling in the missing parts.

'Yashiro-kun is a good person.
'I don't have a girlfriend right now.
If someone says this to you, you'll think it means 'Yashiro, go out with me', right?But that's not the case.If you make the mistake of confessing your love to someone, they'll say, 'Oh, ...... I didn't mean it like that, but ......'. I'm not sure what to say.

...... Well, that's the thing.
It's dangerous to make assumptions on your own.

But you can't just leave it there.

Assunto shows a reluctant expression.

'I'm sorry, but I'm explaining the situation to the producers and confirming the quality of the product. Some of the producers, such as Mormat, are cooperating with us with a certain level of understanding, but there are some who are not in a good mood. ......'

When food poisoning occurs, there are several places that should be suspected.

First is the restaurant. Was there a problem with the storage conditions, cooking area, or cooking method?
Then there are the distributors. I'm talking about sending cool food at room temperature. ...... In our world, the peddler's guild may have exposed the food to something bad in transit, such as demon saliva. --I'm sure you'll be able to find something to help you.
If you go further back, you can get to the producers. It goes all the way back to the producers, to see if there are any diseases in the process of making the food, or if there are any harmful substances in the ingredients.

If all of these are fine,......, well, there you have it.
That's the first thing I'd look for, though.

I mean--

'Hey, are you really sick?

But you can't say that to the face of a customer. Especially when you're in the customer service business.
Even if it's ridiculous, you have no choice but to investigate.

'Can't we do something about it? ...... If we don't, there will be another dissonance between the peddlers guild and the producers. ......'

I'm not sure what to do. ...... and Assunto looks at me. ...... eyes, stop it.
...... Then Ginette.

............ God d*mn it.

'And?Was there any actual damage?''

Don't speak in unison.
And don't look so happy.

''There was no damage, sir. No money was demanded, nor was the store destroyed. If I had to say, I'd say my reputation was damaged .......'
'Reputation is the life of a store. It would be unbearable to have it targeted.'
'That's true. I'm a merchant myself. I understand how you feel.

Again, an act of harassment. If it's not for money, it's a personal grudge. ......
I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the bug guys. ......

I'm not sure what to say.

Estella came to the sunlit pavilion early in the morning.
The wake-up bell had just rung about thirty minutes ago. It is unusual for Estella to come at this hour.
If I'm not mistaken about the time, it's ......

'Are you waking up hungry?You're a picky eater.'
'Can you please stop labeling me as something I'm not?

He walks over to the table where Assunto and I are sitting opposite each other and holds out a piece of parchment in front of me.

'There's an urgent call from the Food and Beverage Guild. It seems that some customers have complained of food poisoning at the sweet shop 'Lemon'.
'Information, too late!
'What the hell?I thoughtfully rushed over first thing in the morning!

'I'm sorry, Miss Estella. I've just spoken.'
'What the heck!
'Miss Estella, please sit down. I'll get you some tea now.'
'Oh, I'm sorry, Jeannette.

Ginette goes to the kitchen and Estella sits down next to me.
Estella sits down next to me while I look through the parchment.

The customer who filed the complaint is an iguana man, about six feet tall. He looks like a ...... lizardman.
According to the lawsuit, the customer felt sick immediately after eating a cake served at the sweet shop "Graduates".
The Iguanas have not made any demands for compensation, only that the sweet shop "Graduates" be closed.
The owner of the sweet shop "The Graduates" said that there was no problem with the ingredients or the production process and that the store was not at fault, but he was not absolutely sure and decided to close the store for the time being.

I see. So they're just going to wait and see until they can find some kind of solution.
It's true that we can't stand it when they keep coming to the store and making noise.

'But why 'Graduates'?
'Oh, that's because...'

Ginette explained to me as she placed the tea in front of Estella.

'It was under a big lemon tree that the Master met his wife,' she said. ...... That's wonderful, a store named after the memory of their love. ......'
'Oh, no, ...... that's not what I meant.'

That's not the explanation I was looking for.

'I can see why Cantalcica is on your radar. It's the most visible bar on the main street.

It's the fate of popular restaurants to be coveted.
...... So, if they don't do something about their tofu mentality, they'll have a hard time in the future.

'But the Graduates?I don't even know where that is.'
'It's near the square.
'From the square, it's on your left.
'It's near the market, so I often use it to take a break from peddling.

....... Maybe it's a famous restaurant?

'But that's strange. We don't have a lot of sales, and ...... we only started getting attention when we started serving cakes.
'You're getting attention?

I felt a little uncomfortable with the information Estella had given me.
It was not that I doubted Estella's story, but I had a feeling that the key to the answer I was looking for might be hidden in that information.

'You're getting a lot of attention. The Graduates seem to have developed a lemon pie that is an improvement on the apple pie, and it's a big hit.'
'I see. Lemon pie is delicious, isn't it?
'So you know about it?I'm impressed.

No, well, ...... there are many other kinds of pies. Cherry, blueberry, apricot.
But lemon pie has a unique, refreshing flavor that you can't get anywhere else. The refreshing lemon cream is good when you are tired.

'I'd like to try it sometime ...... to see what it tastes like.
'Well, let's go there.
'Are you sure?
'Let's take Estella, say it's a survey, and let her eat for free.'
'...... You're a shallow thinker, Yashiro.'

Shut up.
It's part of helping people. Why don't we just take some of the goodies?

'Since the Graduates succeeded in developing an original cake, restaurants in the area are now working hard to develop their own original cakes.
'That's a move in the right direction. If they only make the same cakes as other places, they won't be able to attract customers.

On the other hand, Yojimaritei has the strongest signboard, 'the original'. You're safe.
Besides, I still have some hidden gems.
Tarts, tiramisu, bavarois, and the like.

'The Graduates are on the main street right now! There are many stores on the main street that are secretly hoping to 'beat the Graduates!
'Do the customers know about it?
'I don't think the customers know.I don't think other stores can say, 'Let's beat the Graduates! I don't think they can say that.'
'But it seems to be a rumor among the cake connoisseurs. I've heard rumors about it from customers who come to the Sunlit Pavilion.

So it's ...... that people in the know know about.

'It's natural that Yashiro doesn't know about it.
'Why is that?

Estella says with a soft smile.

'Because everyone in District 42 is obsessed with cake right now. They want to know everything there is to know about cakes.'
'Is that so?'

I ask Assunto, who seems to know more about the city than Estella.

'Well, yes. There seems to be an active movement, especially among young women. They form small groups to eat cakes and exchange information. ......

Are they forming a cake circle?
Since there are no guidebooks, we have to get information from our own feet. And there are no social networking sites in this world.

'I guess the fever that had been fueled by the arrival of new things has finally calmed down and people will start to explore. Customers will become more demanding, and stores will offer higher quality products. As it matures, it will become something that can be called a culture, I'm sure.

Estella's eyes sparkle with the prospect of the future.

The new ............ cake .......

'Estella, can you help me with another one?
'What are you going to do this time?
'This time it's ............ well, ............ lizard fishing, I guess.'

If I'm right, this should help us catch it.