The chairs in the auditorium were rattling and I was repairing them when Estella arrived.
I brush off my hands, which are covered with wood dust, and greet her.
'Hello. Are you eating?
'Yes. I'll have some stir-fried scraggly vegetables, and since my pocket is warm today, I'll have some black bread.
'Yes. I'll prepare it now.
I was about to head for the kitchen, but Estella stopped me, saying, 'Oh, wait a minute.
'Actually, I've been catching fish in the sea with a friend from the Sea Fishing Guild. So, here. I'll share it with you.
'Wow!A sea fish?
Inside the box Estella-san brought, there was a fish submerged in seawater.
Along with the fish, there was an ice cube of seawater, which was prepared by the Sea Fishing Guild.
When I dipped my finger in it, I was surprised at how cool it was.
'Amazing, isn't it, ice?
'There's a big ice house in the ship. They keep ice floes there. Even if they run out, they can still get as much as they want, so it's amazing.
I heard that there are always places in the wide ocean where it is cold enough to get ice.
It's amazing. I can't imagine.
'Ginette, you've never seen the ocean, have you?
'Yes. Is it far from here?'
'Um, ......, well, it's pretty short once you get out of the city gates.'
'Is that so?I'd like to see it sometime, the ocean.''
'Yes, I would. Would you mind if I joined you then?
'Of course. I'm sure you'll have fun wherever you go with Estella-san.
'Hehehe~, thank you. I'm having fun with Ginette too.
Estella smiled at me and gave me a beautiful smile.
She really is too good a friend for me.
I'm sorry I'm always giving you stuff.
...... That's right. Let's make today's stir-fried vegetables a little bigger.
And let's use a lot of real vegetables instead of trash ones.
You'll just ruin them if you leave them around.
'I'll go make it right away, so please wait for me.
'Yes. Then, I'll let you use the chair I've been repairing.
'I hope it's fixed properly. ......'
I can't help it, I'm not very good at carpentry.
My grandfather was so good at fixing everything that I misunderstood carpentry as something easy when I was young.
I didn't realize how difficult it was.
Oh, grandfather. If you had told me first, I would have learned it properly. ......
I've been thinking about this in my heart, but it's still my own negligence, and I deeply regret it.
I'm going to practice now, and by the time I'm your grandfather's age, I'll be able to do it well.
'It's a beautiful sea fish. Is it a ...... horse mackerel?
There are not many sea fish in the 42nd district.
Thanks to my grandfather, I used to see them relatively often, and when he was around, I used to eat them quite often.
My grandfather would happily say, 'Tonight we have a feast,' and he would prepare the sea fish, which was really delicious, and I would devour it.
My grandfather said he preferred river fish, but I like sea fish.
Especially horse mackerel is delicious.
Is there any sea fish that tastes better than this?
Estella once told me that the ocean is so big that it is beyond imagination.
If it's that big, maybe there is a sea fish that tastes better than horse mackerel.
'I want to see it, the sea.
I can't afford to pay the entrance fee, but it's impossible for me.
For a moment, I thought about taking this sea fish with Estella, but ...... I still think we should save it.
There may be some customers who want to eat the sea fish later.
If they know that we have sea fish, they may like the restaurant and come back tomorrow.
However, we can only serve sea fish once, so even if you have high hopes, we can't meet them.
But I'll save it for you.
It seems that you have drained the blood and prepared the fish properly, so it should keep for a few days.
I feel a little bad for Estella, but I will make a delicious stir-fry for her.
I washed my hands and prepared the stir-fried vegetables with great care.
In the corner of the kitchen where I was wielding the frying pan, there was a pile of vegetables that had started to deteriorate over time.
As the sun went down, I sat down on the chair I had repaired today.
I thought I cut my legs to the right length. ......
'But it's better than before, isn't it?
Estella said it's more stable than before.
Yeah. Let's consider it progress.
Let's try again tomorrow to fix a different chair.
'............ Is the store closed yet?
There's no one in the store.
I thought about using lanterns, but there were no customers and I decided to save money and use candles today.
This is a home-made candle that my grandfather made and saved for me. My grandfather made a lot of them because they last longer than lantern oil.
It's dimmer than lanterns, but I think it's okay.
'...... We don't have any visitors.
I clenched my fists tightly and waited for my sinking feeling to subside.
I look up, holding on.
If you look down, you'll lose sight of tomorrow.
You can't take your eyes off the future because you don't know what will happen.
Sister taught us to look forward when times are hard.
Now is surely the time.
'Let's prep the vegetables. And while you're at it, prep the donations for tomorrow.
I muttered to myself on the empty floor, but there was no reply.
I'm used to it.
I'm used to it.
I'm used to it. ...... I'm used to it, Grandfather.
His mouth twitches.
A crooked smile like this might make the customers uncomfortable.
You have to smile properly.
You enter the kitchen and face the pile of vegetables.
These are not cheap trash vegetables, but ordinary vegetables at a fair price.
But they are damaged in some parts and will become bad vegetables.
However, if you remove the damaged parts, you can still enjoy eating it.
'Even though it's ......, it's a lot of food.
It's hard to use up such a large amount.
But if we don't use it, all these vegetables will go bad.
'Tomorrow's donation will be a soup with lots of vegetables.
Will the children be happy?
They will say, 'Wow, there are so many vegetables! and 'I'm so happy to eat so many vegetables! Will they say, "It's beautiful! Will they say, 'Wow!
'...... I can't wait to see everyone's faces.
Every time the wind blows, the poorly built door creaks and creaks.
The wooden frames of the windows rattle.
Even though I'm all alone, it's quite noisy at night in the Sunlit Pavilion.
'Is there anyone who can help me with ......?
I like cooking, but I don't think I'm cut out for running a business.
In fact, there are many things I would like to do.
I want to remodel the tables and chairs to make the customers feel more at home, I want to add more menu items, and I want to hire waiters so that everyone can have fun and work together. ......
But the way I do it, the money just keeps dwindling. ......
'Your grandfather's savings have gone down a lot.
In order not to give me a hard time, my grandfather cut back and left me a lot of savings even though he was not wealthy.
Now, I am using those savings to continue running the Sunken Pavilion.
We have no income.
We're always in the red, and my grandfather's savings are being depleted every month.
I stop chopping carrots and turn my attention to the cupboard on the wall where the account book and other important documents are stored.
He removes two drawers and finds a small hidden door with a cloth bag inside.
My grandfather had always told me, 'Use this when you get married.
I'm sure you'll be happy to know that your grandfather has been saving up for you.
...... I'm Alvistan. Marriage. ......
'If it comes to it, may I use this?Grandfather.'
When I close my eyelids, I can clearly see my grandfather smiling at me.
The smile that was always kind and embraced me is still looking at me now.
'I'll never get married, I'll always stay at the Sun Goddess Pavilion. So, ......, right?Isn't that right, Grandfather?
Clutching the cloth bag with a few silver coins in it, I thanked my grandfather and begged him with apologies.
The sunny pavilion is all I have.
Please let me be selfish for a little longer.
I don't know how much I can do by myself. ......
I don't have the money to hire anyone. ......
Please leave this place to me for a little while longer, Grandfather.
As I grasped the cloth bag, tears spontaneously fell.
You can't do that.
Even though the restaurant is closed, you still need to be a professional while you are in the kitchen.
I wiped away my tears, slapped my cheeks, and steeled myself.
I carefully put away the cloth bag in the hidden door, put the drawers back in order, and returned to preparing the vegetables.
While cutting the vegetables, I practiced my smile.
I wanted to be able to smile well when the customers came.
So that the pain would not show on my face.
I want people to think, 'Wow, that's cute.
I've never had anyone say that to me.
The only people who have said that to me are my grandfather, the sisters, and the matron. They're all very soft on their relatives, you know.
At that moment, I felt the door creak.
I wondered if I closed the store properly.
Well, you don't have to worry about it, just make sure the door is locked before you go to bed.
It's already this late.
Now that you've done the preparation with a little bit of pain, let's do it with a happy heart.
You don't want your dish to taste sad.
Oh, by the way, that horse mackerel looks delicious.
Shall I eat it all by myself?
'That's Ginette. What if the waiter is more picky than the customer? ...... ugh. I'm sorry, Grandfather. ...... ugh.'
That was when I was playing by myself.
'Is anyone there?
I heard a man's voice from the floor.
It was a customer!
I rushed out to the floor and met the man.
The man of my dreams, the one who would change me and the Sunken Pavilion forever.
The man who gave me the confidence I was losing right after we met.
I'm sure I'll never forget those words.