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Here, a chapter since I finished writing early.
Walking out of the main orphanage building, I took some time to tour the orphanage and greet the other children and workers.
My next destination were the two shops as it had been a while since I last saw Morin-san and Anzu. They both offered to make me something to eat, and I graciously accepted their offers. There was no way I could decline after seeing how happy and eager they were to cook for me, after all.
I tried to eat everything, but it ended up being way too much. Since Anzu served her food first, I somehow managed to put it all away into my stomach, but when I received a bunch of Morin-san’s bread, I secretly put most of it away into my Bear Box to properly eat it later.
Since they were both so kind to cook for me, I decided to invite them to dinner at my Bear House tomorrow evening.
My next destination was the Commerce Guild. I wanted to have a chat with Mylene-san as she had to deal with Eleanora-san and Zelef-san because I hadn’t been here.
「Oh, Yuna-chan. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?」
「I heard that Eleanora-san came here when I was out of town.」
「Yes, it was quite the surprise, having her appear out of nowhere so suddenly.」
Mylene-san said with a grim expression.
She then told me that Eleanora-san had even kept her visit a secret from Cliff and Noa. She must really like surprising people. I kind of felt bad for everybody involved but was at the same time glad I hadn’t been around when it happened.
「I already heard some stories from Tirumina-san, but was everything okay on your front?」
I asked, knowing that Eleanora-san had a huge tendency to cause trouble wherever she went.
「Things were fine here. It was hard to figure out what she was trying to do, but she actually listened to Fina-chan properly.」
I had heard that from Tirumina-san as well, but it did seem like Fina had played quite the role back then.
「Fina-chan guided Eleanora-sama skillfully even though Eleanora-sama was just going wherever she pleased.」
When I had asked Fina how she managed to handle Eleanora-san, she said that she「 just asked her normally.」
To other people, that must have appeared to be an amazing feat. Tirumina-san and others weren’t used to dealing with nobles, so just speaking with Eleanora-san would have been difficult for them. I wasn’t sure where Mylene-san stood on this, though. Based on my conversations with Cliff, I assumed she should be comfortable dealing with nobility, but decided to ask her anyway.
「Eleanora-sama rarely comes home, so I haven’t had many chances to talk to her. That’s why, our encounter was rather…」
She had met with Cliff countless times, so she could easily talk with him, but Eleanora-san seemed to be a whole different story.
Since I asked what I wanted to know, I decided to leave so that I wouldn’t disturb her work. As I wanted to give her my thanks as well, I asked her to come to the Bear House tomorrow evening for dinner.
「My, that sounds fun. Okay, I’ll be there for sure.」
After saying goodbye and thinking for the hard work of dealing with Eleanora-san, I left the Commerce Guild.
Now, I just needed to find Cliff and Noa.
「Yuna-san, just where had you ran off to?!」
As soon as I met Noa at her home, she angrily huffed at me. I neglected to tell her anything about me leaving for a while, so I had to properly apologize now.
「I’m sorry. I went quite far away this time, so I couldn’t come back quickly.」
She seemed to have already heard the situation from Fina, so her anger subsided quite easily, and the conversation turned to what happened while I was away instead.
「When you weren’t here, Yuna-san, Mother came home for a bit.」
「Yes, I heard. From what I gathered she came to check out my shop.」
Noa happily blabbed about getting to see her mother, who she didn’t get to see often. She told me how they had gone to the shop together and then even went out shopping in the streets.
「Yuna-san, I heard from Mother that you’ve been going in and out of the capital every so often.」
「Yes, I do that every now and then.」
「I’m so jealous of you. If I could summon beasts like Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear, then I could go to the capital myself as well.」
I only nodded, not telling her about the easier way of travel via the Bear Gate. It did hurt a bit to hide the truth from a child, though.
「Do you want to come with me next time I go there?」
「Of course. We do need Cliff’s permission first, though.」
A part of me wanted to tell her about the Bear Gate, but I didn’t dare as she might not be able to keep it a secret.
As we continued to chat, Cliff came into the room we were in, apparently taking a break from his work.
「Yuna, it’s been a while.」
「Yeah, I travelled quite far this time.」
「You haven’t been troubling other people, have you?」
Did he have to say that every time we met?
I… was pretty sure I hadn’t, this time around. I didn’t cause trouble: it just came to me on its own accord. Heck, now that I thought about it, I wasn’t ever the reason for trouble… right?
「If you do end up causing a commotion somewhere close to here, do tell me immediately. I can give you protection when something happens.」
Was he saying, “Go crazy and just leave the rest to me,” right now? If he really meant that, then I could go on rampages all I wanted and then just run off saying, “The town lord of Crimonia, Cliff Forscheroze, will take responsibility for everything.”
Well, he did have to deal with the aftermath of quite a few things I was involved in, so I couldn’t really complain.
Once we were finished chatting, I invited Cliff and Noa over for dinner tomorrow. Noa looked ecstatic, but Cliff seemed to be a bit unsure.
「I have to work, so I might not be able to come. If it turns out that way, please take care of Noa for me.」
I nodded in reply and then Cliff left the mansion.
Having visited all of the places that I had wanted to, I finally returned to the Bear House.
Once I got there, I sat down on the sofa, took out the jute bag I had received at the Elf Village from my Bear Box, and opened it.
Inside, there were a small amount of Sacred Tree leaves and a whole bunch of wild plants and mushrooms, many of which were matsutake mushrooms. Matsutake mushrooms were considered a high-class ingredient in Japan, and even though I had more than enough money to afford them, I rarely bought them for myself. They were considered a delicacy, after all, and not something anyone splurged on often.
The forest surrounding the Elf Village was not influenced by the seasons, so even though specific wild plants and mushrooms still grew in their own areas of the forest, the elves were free to harvest them all year round. It must be great to be able to harvest anything you wanted at any given time… Maybe I could bring Fina along and gather some things with her? Yes, that would be a good idea. I silently thanked the deity who grew the plants.
As I was lost in planning our excursion, I started to separate the ingredients in the bag. Arranging them out in piles, I realized that the amount of mushrooms and edible plants was nothing to scoff at. Not to mention how tasty they looked, clearly freshly harvested. Did the villagers help gather these? With this much, I had enough to make both matsutake chawanmushi and matsutake rice, and maybe even matsutake soup. Since I had plenty, I decided to include them all in tomorrow’s dinner. I finished arranging them all and realized that the Sacred Tree’s branches, which were supposed to accompany the tea leaves, weren’t included. Well, I was in no rush to use the branches at the moment, so it should be fine if I went to pick them up some other time.
The next day, it took the whole afternoon to prepare everything for the dinner I hosted; everyone that had taken care of me in Crimonia had been invited.
I served dishes that were entirely made of the ingredients I had received from the Elf Village: matsutake rice, matsutake soup, fried vegetables with mushrooms mixed in, and finally matsutake chawanmushi. If I served this back in my former world, the guests would’ve been ecstatic when they saw all the matsutake in front of them, but here, it ended up being accepted as just a bunch of mushroom dishes.
「Yuna-chan, your food is delicious as always.」
「Yeah, it’s delicious.」
「Emm, you sure you are okay with me being here as well?」
Fina’s family gave their impressions of the dishes. The odd one out was Gentz-san: he worried he was out of place here. His worry was for nothing, as he already became a true part of the family. It was only because of that, that I dared to head out of town without worry for what would happen to Fina if I wasn’t around.
Also, I simply couldn’t let him stay home, and eat dinner by himself. That would be just to cruel and lonely.
Meanwhile, at other side of the table:
「Yuna-san, this dish you call chawanmushi is very delicious.」
「Yuna-chan, are all these dishes new recipes you created?」
Noa and Mylene-san commented as they happily enjoyed chawanmushi. Although they complimented the dish, I wasn’t sure if they liked it because of the matsutake or the chawanmushi itself. Next time, I should try making different types of chawanmushi and see how they react to those.
「Everything is really delicious.」
「Even the rice tastes great.」
It seemed like Morin-san and Karin-san didn’t find any issues with the food, either. Sadly, I didn’t think it was possible to put matsutake inside bread. I had never heard of matsutake bread, at least, and wasn’t sure if it would taste good to begin with.
「This might be better than what I make.」
Anzu added in a happy, joking voice.
She had already seemed to like the matsutake rice and mushroom dishes but was even more amazed when she tried the chawanmushi.
Everybody appeared to be enjoying the meal I had prepared for them.
Almost everyone invited had managed to come; only Cliff couldn’t in the end, and that was all due to his work. I had also asked the Headmistress to come, but she had immediately told me that she wanted to eat with the children at the orphanage and declined.
「Yuna-chan, are you going to serve these at the shop?」
Tirumina-san asked me.
「I don’t really plan to.」
「Oh, you don’t? I thought for sure that you invited us here to taste test for you, so you could decide whether to serve them or not.」
「As I’ve told you all, this dinner is just my thanks for everything you lot did for me.」
Just what kind of person did she think I was?
I had clearly told each of them that this was a thank you dinner.
「Still, all of this is so delicious, it’s kind of a waste not to include them.」
「Yes, it is, especially the chawanmushi. 」
「I of course wouldn’t mind other dishes, either.」
Both Mylene-san and Anzu kept praising my food.
「Yuna-san, are you really not going to serve this at the shop? I want to eat it again, though…」
Even Noa was trying to convince me.
Rather than the matsutake mushrooms, it turned out the chawanmushi was the more popular choice. Matsutake rice and soup tasted better to me, though. Meeh, I could just eat those by myself, so it didn’t really matter. Maybe I should grill some matsutake rice over a charcoal fire and pour soy sauce over it next time I treat myself to it?
「Sadly, this recipe uses eggs, so even if we were to only serve it at Anzu’s shop, I’m not sure if we would have enough available to do so.」
「So that is the problem? We just have to increase the amount of Cluckers we have, then, which will in turn produce us more eggs. It won’t be much of a problem, as long as we don’t make too many daily servings; we still need to have enough eggs to sell to the Commerce Guild.」
Tirumina-san quickly began calculating the number of daily servings we could offer. She really was a splendid merchant at this point.
「Yuna-chan, while we are on this topic, there’s something I wanted to ask you: would it be okay if you spared me some Cluckers?」
Mylene-san used the chance as Tirumina-san was still busy crunching the numbers.
「What do you need them for?」
「Cliff and I talked about the Cluckers and got the idea of maybe raising them in a nearby village. If we did that, Crimonia could have an additional source of eggs.」
「Sure, sounds good to me.」
Mylene-san seemed surprised by my prompt agreement.
「Are you completely sure it will be okay?」
「Yeah, it’s fine.」
I didn’t really care about having a monopoly on eggs. However, at the moment, I didn’t intend to share the chawanmushi recipe.
「But it might mean that we may not be able to sell the eggs to the Commerce guild…」
「Tirumina-san, how are our sales?」
「What do you mean, how? Haven’t you been checking the reports I have been sending to you?」
Every month Tirumina-san would give me a written report containing various information about wages, inventory costs, bird feed costs, and the net amount of egg sales. Yet, each time I received one, I just quickly skimmed through it, so I didn’t really memorize much. Tirumina-san showed an exasperated expression and sighed before continuing.
「Things are going well. Truth be told though, I have been wondering if it was okay for us to be profiting so much…」
「Then it should be fine if we no longer sell eggs to the Commerce Guild, right?」
「Yes, there shouldn’t be any problem with that.」
In that case, maybe we would have enough eggs to add chawanmushi to the menu?
「Yuna-chan, since you will now have extra eggs, can my store use more of them? 」
Morin-san asked hesitantly before continuing.
「You made some bread using eggs before, right?」
「Yeah, I did.」
From what I knew, eggs were one of the basic ingredients when making bread.
「That tasted really good, and I wanted to make some and sell it at my shop, but there were only so many eggs available. I’m already using a lot as it is, so I didn’t want to ask you for more, but if it’s possible now, then…」
So that was what she was getting at. Morin-san’s store already used up a lot of eggs to make things like pudding, tamagoyaki, and egg sandwiches, so she had been worried about also putting them into bread.
「I don’t really mind, but you should talk with Tirumina-san about the details. She knows our egg production and expenditures better than anyone.」
I looked forward to more of Morin-san’s delicious bread creations. Hopefully they would arrange everything soon…
「I guess that the amount of eggs that could be spared for making bread should depend on the amount needed to make chawanmushi…」
「W-wait a moment, Yuna-chan, I didn’t mean the guild was ready to produce eggs right away. We still have to set everything up, including all the equipment and personnel. There are still various things we have to handle, so it will be a problem if you start to distribute all of the eggs to your shops so soon.」
When I began talking on how to use the eggs that would no longer going to be sold to the Commerce Guild, Mylene-san panicked and immediately interjected.
「I know. I was just thinking about what we could do with the eggs once they were freed up.」
「Well, don’t scare me like that. This is all because the guild made sure to think about the orphanage; I had to make sure to get your permission before continuing the talks with the other parties.」
「Do you always ask for approval like this?」
「Not really. We normally just do what we want.」
The term survival of the fittest best described the relationship between competing businesses. To strive for dominance, companies would copy others without a second thought in order to add value to their own products.
「Then, why are you asking?」
「Well, there are some exceptions, especially when dealing with influential businesses that are run by the country or feudal lords.」
「But I’m not that influential myself.」
「Well, in your case, I made sure to ask as I want to keep your people happy.」
Mylene-san smiled at me.
「The things you do always make people happy, Yuna-chan. You think of many new useful things and your actions impact a whole lot of people. There are many, especially in this town, who have benefited because of you. 」
「The children at the orphanage, Fina-chan’s family, Morin-san, the girls who came from Mireera… Everybody leads happier lives thanks to you.」
「I haven’t really done much, though. 」
I tried looking around to see if others agreed with me, but sadly…
「I’m a lot happier ever since I met you, Yuna-oneechan.」
「Me too, I always get to eat good food since I met Yuna-neechan.」
「Yeah, it’s all thanks to Yuna-chan.」
「Thanks to you, I now have this beautiful family to take care of.」
Everyone in Fina’s family agreed with what Mylene-san said, so I looked over at Morin-san.
「You’ve saved my daughter and me from ruin, and even gave us a home in this town. I wouldn’t call that ‘not doing much’.」
「That’s right. I’m really happy with how my life is right now.」
Did Anzu think the same, then? I turned to her as my last resort.
「Yuna-san, you helped me achieve my dream of opening my own shop, and everyone else who came with me often expresses how glad they are that you helped us.」
Lastly, as I had no other option, I looked at Noa, who I had done nothing for.
「I also appreciate meeting with you, Yuna-san. If I never met you, I wouldn’t have met Fina, either. Oh, and I also wouldn’t have met the Bear-sans.」
Was it just me or did her thanks sound a bit off?
「Yuna-chan, you have done so much for this town that nobody would dare to cross you. So, if you say that you don’t want us to raise the Cluckers ourselves then we will scrap that plan.」
For some reason, I had become this amazing person in their eyes.
「Well, you don’t have to worry about me. If you can introduce a new supply of eggs, then more shops in Crimonia will be able to serve dishes using eggs, which would be a good thing.」
「Okay, thank you for letting us do this.」
I left all the small details, like Clucker feed costs for instance, to Tirumina-san.
With her help, we decided to send a few people from the orphanage to the Commerce Guild to help with caring for the Cluckers since they were already so knowledgeable about the process. Once we would be able to set aside enough eggs, we could start making chawanmushi at Anzu’s shop and sell many new types of bread at Morin-san’s place.
Only after we wrapped up our exciting food discussions, Mylene-san decided it was time to take Noa back to her home. Everyone else agreed, and left soon after.
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