It was long after dark when we returned to District 42.
'Magda~, I need your help~!
He opened the door and summoned Magda.
Lucia's carriage was parked in the garden of the Sunken Pavilion. I want you to take the beans out of here.
'I'm sorry, but I need you to carry this ...... I don't even want to look at it anymore.
d*mn those beans. ...... They smell like beans every time the wagon shakes. ............
'It's a forced sale.'
Without asking too many questions, he hefted a wooden box branded 'District 29'.
It's very light. ......
As a matter of course, these beans that were tariffed in the 29th district would not be tariffed if they passed through any other district in the BU. Apparently, they could pass through if they were branded.
Then, I thought, I could just use that crate ......, but the branding had the date on it. The branded seal was made just like the data stamps seen in Japan. This one, however, was made of metal fittings and heated to a high temperature.
'Hey, big brother, welcome back.
'Hey, Loretta. You're still here?
'I'm staying over today.
Normally, Loretta would have finished closing the store and gone home by now.
'I thought I should protect the store manager and Magda-chou if you happen to be late!
Your breasts look bigger after being around Estella and Lucia for so long.
Oh, no, but Natalia and Gilberta have been with me for the same amount of time, so they're small compared to them.
'Well, it's normal in between.
'What is it?You just came home and you're bad-mouthing me?I'm not normal!
I give a small bag of peanuts to the screaming Loretta.
Loretta carries the peanuts into the store, complaining about them.
'Well, that's it for us.
When all the beans have been unloaded, the two gentlemen bow together.
In order to move a large carriage for a long distance without causing an accident, a replacement is needed. We don't want the guard to be down and unable to move the carriage by any chance.
So, as I was about to leave the carriage and enter the shop--
'Welcome back. Mr. Yashiro.
Ginette came out to greet me.
Her hands were wet, clearly indicating that she had been working in the kitchen until just now.
'I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm late.'
'No, you don't have to pick me up or anything, okay?I'm working.'
'But... But I still want to see you come home safely.
He smiled and said that happily.
...... What are you doing to make me embarrassed? You're not going to get anything by flattering me.
You've got a lot of souvenirs today.
In contrast to Ginette, who has a big smile on her face, the expression is fading from my face.
...... Don't remind me of that.
'It seems that every time I go to BU, this is what happens to me.
'Is that so?That's amazing.'
'It's not a gift, it's a hard sell. You don't have to be happy about it.'
'No, sir. It's still nice to get something from a distant city.
This guy ...... corrects all my negatives into positives.
I don't know what makes him so happy. Beans, beans.
I'm sure Ginette would say .......
I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun. I'm going to try to make some processed food.'
'A new dish?
They're really into it!
I think they think the food I make is special.
In Japan, I can't make anything more than common things you can get at the supermarket.
'It's not a dish, it's like a seasoning.
He tilted his head, and then his face suddenly lit up with 'Paaa......! His face lit up.
And then he beckoned me with an excited expression, as if he was about to tell me a very special secret.
'To tell you the truth, I received a very delicious seasoning today.
'You received it?Who gave it to?
'He sold it to me.
'Yes . I've paid the bill.'
I wouldn't say you paid for it.
It's a seasoning that I've never had before, so I'd really like you to try it too, Yashiro-san!
In the event you have any questions regarding where and the best way to get in touch with us, please do not hesitate to contact us.
She smiles like a child hurrying to eat. I'm sure you've had a great time. ............ No, this face is the 'prank face' that has been peeking out at me every now and then lately.
I'm not sure what you mean.
But it's probably just a silly scheme. It's probably something like ...... spicy seasoning or something like that.
When you enter the store, you will see crates of beans stacked up and small bags on top of them.
Estella and Natalia, Lucia and Gilberta, and me. In short, I took back all the beans that were forced on me at BU.
............ Huh. Just looking at it makes my stomach churn.
'Yashiro-san. Here it is!'
Ginette, who left me on the floor and ran to the kitchen, returns with a medium bottle of seasoning.
Inside the tightly sealed bottle was a thick, olive-colored liquid that looked like olive oil with red shishito peppers in it.
'Picante oil, huh?
Ginette's shoulders jumped as she held the bottle.
'......, did you know about this?'
'No, well, I've seen it in my hometown.
It's the stuff they serve at Italian restaurants.
I used it just like Tabasco.
'I'm sorry, I just wanted to see Yashiro-san's surprise at the spiciness, so I made this prank ......!
'No, it's fine!It's okay.
It's nothing to be sorry about. In fact, I think it's a good trend that Jeannette is planning this kind of prank, because it's a sign that she's comfortable with her current life.
'I'd rather welcome that kind of mischief.
'Is that so?
'Oh, yeah. That's right.'
The atmosphere in the cafeteria was very different, when Ginette was smiling and when she wasn't.
A smile clouded by worries, like a few days ago, was not very desirable.
It makes me feel more comfortable when she is smiling.
I'm sure all the customers feel the same way.
'Seeing Ginette's smile makes me feel happy.
I shouted, dropping the medium bottle of picante oil in my hand.
--That's dangerous!...... I'm surprised. ...... How did you catch that, me?
I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.
No, it's not 'me', it's 'everyone'. ......
'So, then, I'll do my best to keep smiling from now on!I'll play lots of pranks too!
'No, you don't have to play lots of pranks!
'You're very welcome, so I'll think of lots!
Ginette said cheerfully, and ran to the kitchen.
I'll think of plenty! ...... I wonder where he's going.
I mean, I wanted to make some processed bean products from now on. ......
Magda and Loretta step noiselessly up behind me.
'...... That sauce is good stuff. You should definitely try it.'
'Yes, yes, yes. You should slather it on and eat it.'
'...... They've fallen for Jeannette's prank, haven't they?
'Yes, they did. Then get me some pasta.
We had been on the move for a long time ...... and were sick of beans, so we hadn't eaten ...... dinner.
It's amazing how hungry you get when you enter the Sunken Pavilion.
Loretta is holding a loaf of bread that looks hard enough to pour over it, but I don't really like the bread in this town. I don't like the bread in this city, not only because it tastes bad, but also because it makes me angry at the thought of money going to the money-grubbing priests of the church.
'...... Okay. Magda will bring you the pasta she recently mastered.'
'Oh, you've been taught?'
............ I wonder where he learns it, that sort of thing.
With an expression of triumphant indifference, Magda entered the kitchen.
I'm sure he's got a handy face.
'Well, ......, what should I do with me and this bread?
Loretta and Pan are left behind.
Put the bread back in the kitchen for now. You can serve it to the customers because they haven't eaten it yet.
Loretta is touching it, but ...... if you serve it to Loretta's fans, they will be rather pleased.
Though if your hands aren't clean, I'll make sure Loretta takes responsibility for disposing of them.
'Loretta. Are you dirty now?'
'I think there's a better way to ask!It's clean!It's so clean that fairies and spirits are surprised!
Then there's no problem.
'Help me with the bread after you put it down. Peel the peanut shells.'
'Yes, sir!That's a lot of .............'
'Just make a prototype today and let your siblings help you tomorrow.'
'All right!I'll leave it to you!
Loretta rushed back to the kitchen, a bowl in her hand.
She glanced back at the kitchen.
'The manager was cooing in the corner of the kitchen.
'...... What's that guy doing?
'It was like a cat washing its face. If you stroke his head or back, he'll turn over and let you stroke his belly.
I remember a cat that was overly friendly would sometimes do that.
I'll let you pet my belly, too.
I'll peel it off for now!Manager, I'm sure you'll come to your senses and come help me.
'Well then, let's close up for the day, acting manager's deputy.
'Oh, really?I'm the assistant manager's assistant?Is that okay?
Magda is the acting manager.
Since Magda is out of the office, Loretta is the only one who can be trusted to be the chief manager of this place.
'Muhaa!I've finally risen to this level?Can you give me permission to close the store?
'Yes. So give me permission quickly.
'Hmm~...... I wonder what I should do~'
This guy ...... is trying to stay in the position of chief executive for as long as possible.
'Hurry up, or the assistant manager will come back and close the store quickly.
'Nooo!I can't have that!It only happens once a year that I have to give permission to close the store!I can't give it up!Big brother, go close the store!
And so, the plate on the front was turned over to 'Close', and the Sunlit Pavilion was closed.
Now, it's time to make a prototype.
'What would you like to make?
'Well, we've already decided on peanut butter and honey roasted peanuts, right?
'That looks really good!
Loretta's got a big appetite.
'Anything with the word 'honey' in it is usually delicious!
I thought she was biting into the peanut butter.
'Neither peanuts nor butter are sweet. I'm more interested in honey roasted peanuts, as a girl!
Maybe that's what Estella and the others were reacting to.
That's right. If you don't know what peanut butter is, you might not be able to imagine the sweet taste.
'Well, let's peel it.
Magda returned just as I took out the peanuts.
He had a freshly made Neapolitan in his hand. ...... There's no such thing as 'Napoli' in another world, though. I'm not sure what to make of that.
'...... Serve it hot.
'Oh, that smells good.'
'...... Yashiro has a sweat fetish.'
'I'm not talking about the smell of your sweat!It's the smell of pasta!
I'll get caught if I tell a sweaty Magda that she smells nice!
When I sat down at my usual seat, Magda brought the pasta to me.
He places the pasta in front of me and prepares a fork and spoon.
'...... Bon appÃ©tit.
'Okay, now I'm going to pour some picante oil on it. ......'
When I lifted the bottle of picante oil, Magda grabbed my arm tightly. ...... He didn't move a muscle.
'Hey. ...... what the hell are you doing?'
'...... Magda's first pasta . It will be delicious.'
'Oh . So let me have it while it's still warm.'
'...... It's unacceptable to ruin the taste with that crap.'
I said 'joke'!
What happened to your original plan?You wanted me to say 'spicy'?
Well, I'm not gonna say it.
'It's okay. I know about this oil. I didn't get stuck on it in the first place.'
'Yeah. I'm fine, just let me try it.'
Free of Magda's hand, I grab my fork.
I don't make any changes at first, just enjoy Magda's seasoning.
I put a generous amount of sauce on it and bring it to my mouth.
'............ho. ...... naturally.'
Magda breathed an honest sigh of relief as soon as the tension was loosened.
But after that, Magda is as strong as ever.
The noodles are overcooked, so they're not very crunchy, but they taste fine.
I can't serve it to customers yet, but I think it's good enough.
'You spent too much time seasoning the noodles after boiling them.
'...... I'm not sure how to move the pan.
'You can teach me that next time, too.
'...... I'll master it.'
Magda is eager.
It's only a matter of time before he masters it.
I wonder if cooking will become a two-step process someday.
'That's why I'm going to use picante oil.
'...... will ruin the taste.'
'Don't worry about it. Just pour it over the top of the .............'
A thin drizzle of oil is poured round and round.
I like to put a little more oil than usual because I can handle spicy food.
Mix it well and put it in your mouth. ...... Yes!It's good!
It's a good spiciness. The tangy stimulus is very appetizing.
'It doesn't make you squirm. ......'
Magda and Loretta stare at me. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do this, but I'm sure I'll be able to do it. ...... Did you guys take so much that you're squirming?
I'm sure you'll be fine.
'...... Are you okay?
'I'm an adult.'
'I'm fine with ......, Magda.'
'Oh, then I'm fine too!
In a strange rivalry, Magda and Loretta took a bite of pasta each.
They frown for a moment, but then their big eyes widen.
'...... just right.'
'Yes, sir. It's a taste that lingers!
Magda savored the aftertaste that lingered in her mouth, and Loretta quickly took two or three bites of pasta. ...... Hey, that's mine.
'Oh, um... Gentlemen. I'm not sure what you're talking about.
You can find a lot of people who are looking for the best way to get the most out of their lives.
I feel like I'm consciously averting my gaze.
I'm not sure what to do.
When you stare at her, your gaze suddenly meets, and at that moment, Jeannette's face turns red.
I'm not sure what to say. ............ Stop it, seriously. It's embarrassing.
'...... Manager. This is the right amount.
'Yes, it is!I'm not sure what to do.
Magda and Loretta approached the red-cheeked, pouting Ginette with plates of Neapolitan in their hands.
...... Really, how much did you use?
'Hmm!It's delicious. The spiciness accentuates the flavor of the tomato sauce!
'If you use the right amount, the spiciness can make your food taste better.
'Yes, it does. This is a spiciness that you will never get tired of.
Ginette nodded admiringly as she wiped the sauce from her mouth.
She seemed no longer embarrassed.
'So, how much did you put on? These guys were very reactive, you know?'
'No, like ...... Assunto told me, put a lot of this ...... on the bread.'
'...... When you bite into it, the spicy juice overflows from inside.'
'That was more painful than spicy,.......'
'So, was it that spicy?I liked it a lot. It was definitely a little spicy, though.
Perhaps Ginette's cooking skills have given her a wider range of taste tolerance than the others.
By the way, when I ate the stinky spinach I bought in the Forty District, I swallowed it with all my might.
'Spicy food is for some people, but those who love it love it all the same.
'That's true. I also basically like calm tastes, but sometimes I want to eat spicy food.
'......The 40th Ward's Hot and Spicy Chicken......'
'Oh, ......, that's not something for humans to eat.
This spicy chicken appeared as the dish of the Forty Wards in a gluttony contest.
Magda and Loretta had eaten it once and never looked at it again. They said it was very spicy.
However, it is true that the spicy chicken has its fans, and it is certain that spicy food has a certain level of popularity.
...... spicy food............ chili......... ...
And then you see a pile of crates. ............ Solanaceous beans.
'Yes!Let's make bean sauce!
'Toubanjan, is it?
'Oh. It's a spicy seasoning, used in stir-fries.
That sounds delicious!
Bean-paste is made by adding koji and chili to sole beans. Fermentation is difficult but not impossible.
The bean-paste made with the proprietress's homemade bean-paste was excellent. ...... But it takes about six months to mature. I don't know if you can make it right away or not.
'It can't be made right away? ......'
'Even if it takes a while, if it's something new, I think it's worth a try.
Ginette, the cooking nerd, has a twinkle in her eye.
Although the vectors are different, he reminds me a little of Bertina, doesn't he?
'Do you know what koji is?
'Speaking of koji, it's the kind used to make miso. I at least know the name.'
If Jeannette knows about it, it means it exists in this city.
Then you can always get it by using Assunto. ......, or if you ask Assunto. You should always be friendly when you make a deal like this.
As soon as you get the koji, start making it. Divide it into small portions so that it can mature as quickly as possible and add it to the menu at the Sunda-mari-tei. That way, you'll be able to attract a different kind of customer.
'By the way, have you ever heard of shio koji?
'Shio koji, sir?I don't know, that's new to me.
Hmmm... ...... Well, it's not something you hear about very often. But if there's koji, there's a good chance it exists. Or rice malt.
'Well, I'll ask Assunto to do his best to find it.
'Big brother is ready to use Mr. Assunto as a jaw!
''...... Assunto is a good example of a former strong opponent who becomes a third-rate once he is on our side.''
'No, I don't think that's true. ...... Yashiro-san doesn't think that way either. You know?
'Isn't that the Yamcha frame, that guy?
'Oh, no. No, Yashiro-san. You can't talk about your friend like that.'
'Are ...... me and Assunto your friends?
I don't know, I'm in a really bad mood. ......
'Umaro-san, Becko-san, Use-san, Percy-san, you're all friends.'
'Wow ...... all the members are so dense ...... I'm getting heartburn just hearing their names.'
'...... Mormat and Omero have been excluded.'
I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that.What?Mr. Yashiro?
I don't like to admit that they're my friends.
'...... But it takes a certain amount of persuasion to move Assunto. Especially when there is no guarantee of success.
Magda's ears perked up and she made a good point.
You know exactly what I'm talking about.
'That's why I'm going to show him the appeal of the Unknown Seasoning.
'That's why I'm going to show him the appeal of 'unknown seasonings'.' 'What he thought would taste like nothing actually tasted really good. --If we can give him such an experience, he'll be more willing to try soybean paste, which we can't show him.
'For that, Loretta!
'Peel the peanuts!
'You've been peeling them a lot since just now!You've been peeling them while your brother was eating, and if you want, you've been peeling them during this conversation!
Thanks to Loretta's diligent efforts, there was a little bit of peanuts in the bowl.
An ordinary achievement. I don't think it's going to be more like, 'What, this much already? It's Loretta, isn't it? ......
'You're really normal.
I'm not normal!I'm trying very hard!
I'm trying my best and this is why I say I'm normal.
'Let Jeannette try. You'll have it all off in two seconds.'
'That's not true, sir!It's impossible!'
'And you're saying~?'
'You can't!Look, it's already been two seconds!'
I tried to get my hopes up, but all I could do was fidget and not make any progress.
I had no choice. Let's just peel it normally.
'Well then, let's all take 20 peanuts each.
I handed out a mountain of peanuts, 20 to each of us. Four people gather around a table and hold the peanuts in their hands.
'The first one to peel all the peanuts wins.
'Wow!That sounds kind of interesting.
'...... Hmmmmmm. Actually, Magda is good at peeling peanuts.
'Do you think you can compete with me, an experienced peeler who's already peeled over a dozen peanuts?I'll show you the power of experience!
He seemed to be getting on well with me.
Well, as long as we have enough peanut butter, we should be fine for now.
'Well then, Lady ......, go!
At my signal, everyone starts peeling peanuts at once.
Sweet ...... sweet, you guys!
I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do this, but I'm sure I'll be able to do it.
I'll show you what a prince really is!
'Muki muki muki muki!
'Oh, my brother is so fast it's uncomfortable!
'Mwah!Magda-chou!You can't have 'red moya'!What are you trying to do?
'Alright, ...... alright, ......'
'Manager, you're late!I'm surprised you're so slow!
'Even though it's a weird call, it's really fast, big brother!I'm not sure why it always ends with "Moo".
'...... If not for Loretta's interference, Magda would have won.'
'I didn't do anything that bad!I was just saying something normal!Mwah!I said it was normal myself!
'Yes. I'm done too.
'While I was giving everyone a hard time, the manager even passed me!
Loretta was screaming all by herself, and her hands were not moving at all.
He's always like that, isn't he?
'The loser cleans the shell.
'Was there a punishment game?One more time!I'll concentrate better this time!
'...... Hmm. Unusually, Loretta and I had an agreement. A once-in-four-years miracle.'
'We don't disagree that much, do we?
'...... I want a rematch.'
'I want to do it too. It was fun.'
'It can't be helped. ...... Well, I can lend you my chest.'
'My brother has become very arrogant after only one victory!
'Or, I'd be happy to lend you my breasts for a day.
'Oh, it's the usual big brother. I feel relieved.
And so, the peanut-peeling contest went on until the sixth round, where Ginette, who had gotten the hang of it in the first round, showed tremendous improvement and ended up winning four times in a row with a speed that no one could compete with after the third round.
No one can match the awakening Jeannette. ...... It's like magic at the end.
So, when I had a lot of peanuts, I used them to make peanut butter.
I crushed the peanuts with a pestle and mortar, ground them into a paste, and mixed them with sugar, butter, and a little olive oil.
I finished it just before midnight, reminded of the greatness of the food processor.
Magda and Loretta were already asleep, and only Ginette was helping me.
The tasting would be tomorrow. I'm tired, as expected.
Tomorrow we'll negotiate with Assunto with this.
Well, we'll make it work.
I fell asleep rubbing my arms, which had been stretched by the shelling and scraping.