With a flick of the wrist, I tossed the food in the pan, watching as the spices dispersed throughout it. The scent of pizarka and chili, which had pretty much become my trademarks, drifted in the air. Though I had crafted many other specialties, my name became synonymous to dishes containing it.
I looked over my shoulder at the other chefs that were working behind me.
“Barbeque boar, perfectly roasted!”
“Chilled cream with crepe, plated and ready!”
After Eryn had surprised me with a restaurant of my own, I got to work making preparations for its grand opening. There had been much to do. There was kitchen equipment to prepare, which I had Katsys invent for me if it was not available. There were workers to hire. Thankfully, Cornelius had offered Biggs and Wedge to assist me on my venture. They were apparently thrilled to join me after we had created the wedding cake.
Dengel had arranged for much of the supply chain. Coupling the restaurant to the Faulkner trading company allowed for a good place to demonstrate their merchandise, while providing me with goods at a discount. He had seen this as the best way to market and advertise all the ideas that I could come up with.
Ludmila walked into the kitchen wearing her maid outfit.
“Food… I can… take?”
I nodded to her, as I watched her grab the prepared dishes and take them out to the dining area, where the tables were starting to fill with delicious food.
As per my request, I had wanted to open a maid café, which initially brought me strange looks.
“Servants treating commoners as masters? A bit strange… but thinking about it… it may serve as the hook to attract the common man. I can see it working…,” Dengel thought out loud.
With his support, the others soon grew to accept that theme.
Cornelius walked into the kitchen this time, dressed in a butler outfit. I watched as he also took away some of the food. I let out a sigh. Dengel had suggested adding male servants as well to attract female customers, which I reluctantly agreed to. It made sense as a business model, but it conflicted with the hopes and dreams of a typical otaku.
Though I would need to hire some ‘butlers’, Cornelius willingly offered to play the role today for our soft opening, which we had invited everyone we knew to celebrate. I had even prepared a maid outfit for Eryn to play along, but she had shot me down. I was a bit disappointed. Just a bit.
However, a certain inventor had decided to try on that maid outfit instead. To avoid a loud uproar, the blue-haired ‘maid’ was currently donning a mask to cover her easily recognizable face. With a cheerful tone unlike the proper persona of a princess that she had to portray in public, hardly anyone could guess who she really was. It was rather strange that no one questioned this peculiar sight, but I guess people just assumed that it was part of the theme. However, was it really okay to have her doing this? The last time I checked, Gerard was sipping a cup of tea in the corner, watching over her. I think that was the first time that I saw him unconcealed in public, so it didn’t seem like anything to sweat about.
As the final dishes had been completed, I wiped my brow with my sleeve and walked out to the dining area. The noise of merry chatter filled the room as the ‘customers’ were being served food by the ‘servants’.
Saki was sitting at a table eating food, while staring hard at her plate. Every so often, she would look up with a flustered expression, especially when one of the servants walked by. However, why did it seem like she only looked up when a maid passed by? Was she that embarrassed about Japanese otaku culture?
I passed by several tables where some of the knights were sitting, in which I exchanged greetings and handshakes with.
I looked around and spotted Roderick also, with only bright red items on his plate. Just how much did he like spicy food?! I guess I should be happy that he could become a regular. I would forgive him for my injuries, if he’d come by and empty his wallet from time to time.
A few of the guests were chatting around the front of the restaurant. I looked at the mural that had been placed next to them and shivered. The manly chef that Cornelius had depicted during the Ice Festival had made its return. Before I could voice any objections, he had sneaked that piece of artwork and cemented it into the wall that faced the entrance. Every time I passed by it, the sight made me cringe, but I did owe Cornelius a lot. I just didn’t know if I would ever fully get used to dealing with him.
As I scanned around the room, the absence of a certain girl came to mind.
“Looking for the young mistress, or rather Lady Eryn, Sir Claude?” Pietro popped up next to me, with Carina next to him.
“Yeah, there’s not much time before the toast, so I was wondering where she was…”
“Lady Eryn is now a Viscountess after all. She has been busy with many things, especially with the rebuilding of the town.”
“Why don’t you go and fetch her? I think we can stall the crowd until the two of you show up,” Carina added.
“Thanks, Pietro, Carina. I think I will.”
I walked out and grabbed my levi-board from my Item Box and made a quick trip to the new Faulkner mansion.
Eryn stared at herself in the tall mirror placed in her bedroom.
“Geez. I know he got this for me, and the stats on this are actually pretty good, but it reveals too much…”
With only a chest plate and short skirt, much of her stomach and back, as well as a majority of her legs were showing.
“Is this what men really like in his world? I guess I don’t mind so much if it was only Claude, but to be wearing this in public…,” Eryn said with a leery expression.
A knock on the door sounded.
“Come in-I mean, wait don’t-“ Eryn quickly tried to correct herself, but the door had already flung open.
“Oh…,” Claude said, his face slowly curled into a smile. “What a view…”
Eryn had futilely tried to cover herself. The expression of embarrassment on her face, coupled with her current outfit, threatened to make him melt with bliss.
“Get out! I’m going to change!” Eryn stomped over and pushed Claude out before slamming the door.
“I just came by to remind you about the party.”
“I know. I’ll come after I take off this silly outfit.”
As she changed, Eryn had the sudden urge to ask Claude something.
“Claude, are you happy right now?”
“Hmm, about the restaurant? I think I’m going to have fun with it.” His muffled voice sounded from behind the closed door.
“No, I don’t mean that. Are you happy… to be in this world? Away from your home, in which you can never return. When I think about all that I lost, I can’t help but think that I put you in a similar situation.”
A moment of silence came from the door, which started to worry Eryn.
“What do you mean? This IS my home. Every person has to leave their parents someday, so it’s something I have to accept. But now, I have you, Ludmila, Pietro, Carina – all of you are dear to me. I have a family right here, so of course, I’m happy.”
“I see.” Eryn walked over to her dresser and caressed the glass jar that sat upon it. Letting her fingers linger for a moment, she gently lifted them off before clutching the cloth over her heart.
Walking over to the door and opening it, she stuck her arm out towards Claude for him to take it.
“Well, shall you lead the way, Sir Claude?”
“With pleasure, my Lady.” Claude gave a courteous bow before linking his arm around hers.
The two walked away to join the others at the restaurant.
Shortly after the two of them left, the sun peeked through the clouds and rays of light graced the empty room.
As the light shone onto the dresser, the glass jar became speckled with colored light, a reflection of the candies within. Unlike before, the jar now contained the sight of irregularly-shaped candies that hardly fitted the lovely jar that housed them.
However, for Eryn, there was nothing else more perfect.
Volume 2 End
For this volume, I wanted the female lead to be more human. In the first volume, what could be seen of her was pretty standard for the normal isekai series. However, I wanted that to be a mask that hid her true self. Just like how Claude grows as a person, so should Eryn as well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this volume, despite the weird change of character that was dropped on you. In a way, I’d rather surprise you with strange moments than be predictable.
Volume 3 focuses more on Katsys, the sweet ingenious inventor. Hope you’re ready to see her grow as a character.