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With Elena-san’s parents giving her their questionable approval, she would now start working at my shop.
First things first, though, I had her learn how to make cake, and after three days…
「Yuna-san, I can’t do it anymore…」
「Keep it up, please.」
「My arms hurt! I give up…」
「You stopped moving your hands, you know.」
「Morin-san! Yuna-san is bullying me!」
「Do it properly, or I will kick you out.」
Elena-san finally started beating eggs again after Morin-san’s threat.
What would Elena-san’s parents think if they saw her like this?
The image of a crying Elena-san being dragged home crossed my mind.
Well, cooking was tiring, difficult work.
I almost never had to do it, so I didn’t really mind, but beating a lot of eggs eventually tired your arms out.
Hmm, I wore a Bear Suit, so I wouldn’t tire just from that, right?
「Elena-san, here, use this.」
I said and took a pseudo hand mixer out of the Bear Box.
「What is this, Yuna-san?」
「I guess we could call it a magic mixing tool. It will make beating eggs much easier.」
Gold-san had made it for me. There was a magic stone in the grip, making the tool rotate by pouring magic power into it.
I had it made for the children who would be helping Elena-san, though…
Elena-san didn’t waste time and took it before I even explained how it worked.
「If you had something so useful, why didn’t you give it to me from the beginning…?」
Elena-san said while happily using it. If her parents were to look at her now, they would probably think she was doing her job properly.
I took out some more of the hand mixers and gave them to the children.
It took time to teach them, so a lot of cakes were made in the process. The children took them to the orphanage with the excuse of taste-testing them. All the children liked them, even though they were made by trainees. If they could just make the cakes a bit quicker, the problem of not having enough preparation time would go away, right?
「Yuna-chan, can I talk to you for a minute?」
Morin-san spoke to me, just as I was thinking it was about time to leave Elena-san’s training to her.
「Are you sure about adding the cakes to the menu?」
「Yeah, I was planning on doing so. You think it isn’t a good idea?」
「Well, I think the shop has a lot of traffic as it is.」
「The place is getting crowded every day, and with these delicious cakes…」
「Hmm… Do I really have to make another shop, then?」
If I made it at a different location, nobody would be able to oversee Elena-san, though…
「You don’t like the idea? I was sure that you would make one anyway, Yuna-chan.」
「If I had two of you, Morin-san, I would have no problem with it, but…」
I glanced at Elena-san, who was in the middle of making a cake.
Well, Elena-san was diligent, most of the time. She did what had to be done. Yet, from time to time, she would say things like 『I’m tired…』 or 『My arms hurt…』.
It wasn’t as bad as her parents had told me it would be, but there were times when we had to kick her butt a bit. I was planning on leaving that role to Morin-san, of course, but if I made a new shop at a different location, there wouldn’t be anyone to kick Elena-san’s butt when she was feeling lazy.
Also, I would like to sell all the snacks like cakes, cookies, pudding, and potato chips at the same place.
If we were to sell them at both shops, we would only double the effort, plus it would only trouble the customers.
So, should I just add another building to this shop?
I could make it next to the shop and link the two kitchens, maybe?
「Yuna-chan, how about using the second floor, then?」
「The second floor? Aren’t you and your daughter using it?」
「There is a dormitory, right? I went there to give greetings once. We could just live over there, right?」
「The rooms there aren’t as big as here, you know.」
「The rooms here are too big for us anyway.」
「Yeah, I think so too.」
Karin-san interjected and nodded in agreement.
「You sure? I could also make a new house for you two.」
「Thank you, but the dormitory will be just fine. It’s close to the orphanage, so it will be easier to teach the children how to cook this way.」
From time to time, Morin-san taught the children how to cook after closing the shop. Yeah, living at the dormitory wasn’t a bad idea at all.
I decided to go with Morin-san’s idea and turn the second floor into a pastry shop. In order to remodel the shop, we decided to close the shop for a week, starting with the next week’s day off.
I didn’t forget to make an announcement about it to avoid causing trouble for the customers, of course.
We also decided that, during that week, Elena-san and the children helping her would keep practicing at the dormitory’s kitchen while Morin-san and Karin-san would use the time to move.
I took out the home furnishing from the second floor and demolished the walls while making sure to keep some pillars to carry the weight. It looked like one wide floor when I was finished.
Since there was no third floor, the attic would be used for storage.
I didn’t forget to make stairs to the kitchen on the first floor for easy access. I then made a kitchen on the second floor by the staircase; having the kitchens connected like this meant that I could have Morin-san supervise Elena-san.
After I was done, I asked Mylene-san and Tirumina-san to furnish the kitchen; Mylene-san managed to get all we needed, even on such a short notice. Well, that much could probably be expected from someone with the power of a Commerce Guild’s master.
She deserved a one-week-all-you-can-eat ticket for this, right?
It would just be Mylene-san who would get fat from eating too much, anyway.
Anyhow, after doing the basic reconstruction of the shop, I left everything else to Tirumina-san; being able to rely on her when I didn’t know what to do was really convenient.
I decided to head to the Adventurer’s Guild to ask Rurina-san and Gil to do some bodyguard work for me; I wanted to reduce the trouble this remodeling would cause. As for their payment, it was free food, of course.
I also didn’t forget to go and retrieve Shuri’s knife from Gold-san’s smithy. Gazar-san should have finished my knives by now as well, but I didn’t really need them at the moment, so I didn’t go to the capital to fetch them yet. There was another place I had to go right now: the home of a person who could cause trouble during the reopening of the shop. So… I went to Noa’s mansion to deal with it before it happened.
「Yuna-san, it has been a while. What brings you here?」
Noa asked me after I was taken to her room by her maid, Lala-san.
「I came because I wanted you to try my new dessert.」
「It’s a new recipe I’m planning on adding to the shop’s menu.」
「Is it delicious like pudding!?」
Noa said with a sparkle in her eyes.
「It tastes a bit different, but I think you will like it.」
I said just as there was a knock at the door.
Lala-san said while entering with drinks.
「Would you mind trying it too, Lala-san?」
「The more people giving me feedback the better.」
「But, you see, I’m working, so…」
「Lala-san, let’s eat together!」
「But, you see, Noire-sama…」
Noa tugged on Lala-san’s hand and made her sit down.
I took out three different cakes and cut two small slices from each of them; Mylene-san was the only one who could eat three normal-sized slices without remorse.
「Well then, please tell me if you like them.」
I said and took a sip of the black tea Lala-san had brought.
I didn’t eat the cake, or rather, I didn’t want to see it for a while.
Just looking at it made my stomach hurt. Cake was good once in a while, but it was just too much eating it everyday.
「Yeah, it tastes great, Yuna-sama.」
「I will be adding it to the menu, so I hope you will come and eat it from time to time.」
「I will come to buy it for sure.」
「Are the sweetness and the texture good?」
「Yes, they are.」
「It makes you thirsty, though.」
She was right.
What drinks did we sell at our shop again?
I always tried new breads, but never cared much for drinks.
「By the way, Lala-san, is this black tea expensive?」
I asked her about the tea I was drinking.
「Yes, it’s the highest grade of black tea. It’s for guests with whom we we must sow the utmost courtesy to.」
「You’re joking, right?」
「Fufu, am I?」
Lala-san glossed over it with a laugh.
「Well, is it possible to buy it, then? It’s okay even if it’s not of the best quality. On the contrary, it would be easier to add it to the menu if it was cheaper.」
「Cheap black tea doesn’t taste that good, you know.」
「I guess I will have to try it first, then.」
It would have been great if I could just add this good black tea to the menu.
「Yuna-sama, there is also special techniques to pouring tea. It wouldn’t taste good if an amateur were to pour it.」
Hadn’t I seen that during TV intermissions before? There had been many things they had to keep in mind. Things like the water temperature and the amount of tea leaves. Black tea didn’t just use tea packs, after all.
Considering all that, it might be difficult to just add it to the menu.
While I was still wondering what to do, a certain someone entered without knocking.
Lala-san quickly stood up and bowed.
「I’m really sorry for my behaviour.」
「I asked Lala-san to try my food, so don’t get angry at her.」
「I won’t get angry for such a little thing. Well, it might be different in Rondo’s, our butler’s, case, though. So, what are you eating?」
He asked while glancing at the leftover cake on the table.
「Something that I will be adding to the shop’s menu.」
「Is it good?」
「Yes, it was sweet and really delicious.」
Noa and Lala-san both answered.
「If you’re okay with sweet stuff, do you want some?」
When Cliff sat down, Lala-san poured him some tea. She did it so elegantly that it seemed as if she didn’t waste a single movement (from an amateur’s point of view, at least).
「It isn’t too sweet? I was thinking of making a less sweet version in the future.」
「It’s not too sweet.」
「Well, I wanted to add in some black tea for the patrons to rinse their mouths since it’s sweet, but Lala-san told me that it’s expensive and difficult to make.」
「You want to serve black tea?」
「Yeah, I would like to serve cheap black tea that still tastes good.」
「That’s a bit unrealistic, you know.」
「Well, it’s meant for all the common folk that come to my shop.」
「Maybe you could make it a thing for rich people only since it is this good?」
「The pleasure of eating delicious things should be shared by everyone. It’s more delicious to eat it with others, after all.」
A veteran Hikikomori was saying it, so that really meant something.
「If you went to buy cake and bought it just for yourself since it was too expensive… do you think you would enjoy it without Noa eating it next to you?」
Cliff only took a second to think before shooting out an answer.
「I wouldn’t. I would say that I don’t need any and make my daughter eat it.」
「But, that would make Noa feel bad, wouldn’t it?」
「Ah, you’re right. I see what you’re trying to tell me.」
I looked at Cliff, somewhat impressed.
「What’s with that face?」
「I was just thinking how weird it was for you to give me a proper answer. I thought you would just say something like, ‘I have enough money, so I would buy enough for both.’」
「Don’t treat me like an idiot. I can at least understand the basis of your question and what you wanted to tell me with it. I will introduce you to the person who procures the tea for us. I can vouch for the taste, but you will have to negotiate the price on your own.」
「Wouldn’t it be better for you to talk with them to get me a good price?」
「I can try, but don’t expect too much. I’m not that good of a negotiator, after all.」
I thanked him and went straight in for another request.
「Can I ask you for one more thing?」
「What is it?」
「Would you mind if Lala-san gave some lessons on how to pour tea?」
「Even if the tea leaves are of high quality, the taste can change depending on how you pour it, right? I was hoping you could teach my employees how to pour the black tea.」
「Lala, huh. It’s true that the tea Lala pours is delicious…」
Lala-san seemed to be deeply moved by Cliff’s words.
「Okay, I’m fine with it.」
「It’s strange for me to ask this as the one who put out the request, but won’t it interfere with her working here? I don’t want to do the terrible thing of increasing her workload and taking her free time?」
「I leave those matter to my butler, Rondo, so there should be no problem.」
「Okay, sounds good, then. I will be counting on you, Lala-san.」
「Okay, I will make sure to properly teach them the right way to pour black tea.」
I came here to ask them for a taste-test but ended up getting really lucky and obtained the tea.
After talking about it for a while longer, we decided that Lala-san would come to the shop in a few days and show my employees the right way to pour tea.
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