“The stage-related matters will be left to the Semroid Troupe.” [Ryouma]
“Please leave it to me. It’s a rare opportunity for us to be able to stand on such a big stage. We will definitely put on a good show.” [Prenence]
When they were just getting started, they usually played in smaller venues, such as the town square or the bar. A large venue that could accommodate a bigger audience like my store’s empty lot is probably a rare opportunity for them.
“I’ll leave it to you. If there’s anything you need, please feel free to consult us. If you need some things or more people, either Serge-san or Carm-san should be able to help you. And if you need help with the stage or to transport some things or other labor work, you can look to me for help.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you for everything.” [Prenence]
“Next is… Oh, it seems that’s it.” [Ryouma]
“So it appears. If there’s still anything else that needs to be discussed, I’ll let you know.” [Prenence]
“Shall we be off then?” [Serge]
After discussing what needed to be discussed, we went to the venue.
“It sure is lively.” [Ryouma]
In the venue were 6 temporary stores, each of which was built with Earth Magic. The stores were only about the size of a stall, but they have been outfitted with the necessary equipment for cooking. Around those stores could be seen our neighbors. There were also some unfamiliar men and women of all ages.
“Ah! Ryouma! Hurry up and come!” [Rick]
Rick. I see Leni and Tony too. They are relatives of the people helping us, as well as children. They should be able to give us a lot of feedback regarding the food.
“I’m starving. Mom says tonight’s supper is going to be served her—” [Rick]
“Don’t say unnecessary things. Behave.” [Pauline]
“Boss, thank you for your hard work. It’s a bit early, but I think we should start soon…” [Carm]
“Yes. Let’s begin.” [Ryouma]
“In that case, please give the welcoming remarks.” [Carm]
I wasn’t sure if it was really okay for me to be the one to give the welcoming remarks, but regardless, I took a glass filled with beverage with one hand and stood before the crowd.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am the representative of the laundromat ‘Bamboo Forest’, Ryouma Takebayashi, and I would like to thank all of you for being able to make it here tonight despite your busy schedules.” [Ryouma]
Rick stared at me with eyes that seemed to be saying, ‘are we not eating yet?’
“…I understand that there are those among us who can no longer wait. As such, I shall take it upon myself to keep this short. As everyone knows, we will be opening stalls to celebrate this coming Founding Festival. I would like to work together wherever possible with those who will be using the same venue. To that end, we have gathered everyone here tonight. I’m sure there are many among you who are meeting each other for the first time. As such, I would like for this as an opportunity for us to get to know each other. A toast to our future cooperation… Cheers!” [Ryouma]
Everyone said ‘Cheers’ simultaneously. Although we had just under 40 people, this social gathering still turned out to be quite the party.
While the party was going on, the cooks left the crowd and started cooking in the temporary stores. Most of the cooking has actually already been done, though, so it only took them a short while to complete their dishes. Before long, an appetizing smell began to waft out from the stores.
While that was happening, I went around to greet the people and handed out voting ballots that would determine the final products that would be sold on the stalls.
Each set of voting ballot contained 10 sheets. Of those, 5 sheets are ‘Food I want to eat’. The other 5 sheets are for after eating, titled ‘The food that I found delicious’. The results of the votes will dictate the products that will be sold at the stalls.
“This looks to be a success already.” [Prenence]
With a plate of food on one hand, Prenence-san came over with a 50-year-old man in tow.
“Thanks to you. How’s the taste?” [Ryouma]
“Even better than I expected. The rest of the troupe thinks so too. Look.” [Prenence]
The place he pointed at was a corner of the venue. Although this party was something akin to a standing buffet party, some chairs and tables have been prepared should the guests want to relax. There, a group of people dressed in what appeared to be traveling clothes could be seen chatting with the people around them. Among the group could be seen a cheerful-looking woman wolfing down one plate after another.
“Well, she is eating rather passionately… Hard not to be shocked.” [Ryouma]
“Ha ha ha. Is that so? Her name is Maiya. The troupe’s biggest glutton.” [Prenence]
“She became an itinerant entertainer solely because she wanted to eat delicious food.” [???]
It was the man behind who said that with a fed up tone.
“Soldio. I work as a sword dancer along with Maiya.” [Soldio]
“Happy to make your acquaintance.” [Ryouma]
…It’s a line of work I’ve never heard of, but I suppose it would be safe to assume that they use a sword for their performances.
“We dance by ourselves and cut things. We also move in groups and do so in a very showy manner. There are various programs, but you’re not wrong.” [Soldio]
“He’s Maiya’s uncle and the deputy leader of the troupe. He also works as our bodyguard. So he’s not just a performer. He’s also a swordsman. Fights do tend to break out during festivals, so feel free to rely on him when you need him.” [Prenence]
“Thank you very much. It puts me at ease knowing there are more people who can protect the store.” [Ryouma]
“You can call me whenever I’m free. You can use Maiya too if you want. I don’t mind.” [Prenence]
“What about me? Uncle.” [Maiya]
Didn’t notice she was there at all because of Soldio-san’s shadow. The person-in-question stood up while carrying her plate with both hands.
“We were talking about you helping out with the security.” [Soldio]
“I see. Ah, you’re the representative from awhile ago. I heard you were young, but wow. You’re really young.” [Maiya]
“That’s rude, Maiya.” [Soldio]
“It’s alright. I don’t mind. I am young.” [Ryouma]
Besides, it’s not like she’s mocking me. At least, it doesn’t feel that way.
“Are you enjoying the party?” [Ryouma]
“Of course! There are a lot of rare dishes, and when I think a dish is common and I eat it, I’m suddenly greeted with a surprise. Like that hot dog for example. The bread is spongy and the sausage is juicy. I’ve gone to so many places, but there’s not many stores that can produce such a taste.” [Maiya]
Hot dogs are regulars in festivals, but the bread Shelma-san is using is the naturally leavened bread we made before. The meat specialists, Zeke and Co., thought of using the naturally leavened bread with a special sausage. Pauline-san then cooked that to come up with a luxurious product.
The result was a juicy hot dog that fully brought out the taste of its ingredients. A feat only a pro could do. Because of this the taste of Zeke-san’s hot dog was on a league higher than its contemporaries, making it one of the favorites among the various dish candidates.
“And then there’s Zilmar Cuisine. Coupled with a soup, it gives a relaxing taste that warms the body.” [Maiya]
Fei-san and Leelin-san cooked Parmiyen. The dish they brought out, though, was a lot closer to Wanton Soup than Flour Dumplings in Soup. The ingredients used were simple, but after thoroughly boiling the meat and the vegetables, they were able to bring out the goodness within it. Because of its gentle taste, I like to pair it with Meat and Vegetables Stir-Fried in Semisa Oil.
“There are some strange dishes too, aren’t there?” [Prenence]
As Prenence-san said that, on his plate could be seen shell-less salted Dante Seeds roasted over fire. I originally purchased the Dante Seeds to make Dandelion Coffee, but it seems there are areas where people consider the seeds themselves to be a delicacy.
Because of that I can’t tell anymore whether dantes are closer to dandelions or sunflowers… The roots can be used for coffee, the seeds can be eaten, and when wrung, oil can be extracted from them. Because of that I started planting more and more of them with the help of the scavenger slime fertilizer and wood magic.
“I’m glad you like them. We have a lot of them prepared, so please eat as much as you’d like. Although it would probably be a good idea to leave some room in your stomach. It’s almost time for deserts.” [Ryouma]
Many of the desserts are made by me. I’ve prepared food like Gomadoufu (crushed sesame seeds boiled in water and chilled like tofu) and Sesame Dumplings.
For Gomadoufu, the sesame seeds need to be carefully ground until they are soft and pleasant to the tongue. Afterwards starch is extracted from potato and added to it. It is then cooked over fire until smooth, and then it is kneaded to shape and then cooled. Once done, it can be eaten with honey made from brown sugar.
For the Sesame Dumplings, I first prepared the filling using semisa and brown sugar. I added water and dante oil to refined rice flour and mixed it, then I used that to wrap the filling. The raw semisa were like clothes upon the filling, while I fried the surface with dante oil.
In this case, dante oil has to be used over semisa oil due to the amount and cooking time. If the semisa oil were to be used instead, the resulting product will smell too much like semisa and it will be too difficult to tell apart the ingredients from the aroma.
On that point, the dante oil’s moderate fragrance cannot overpower the dish. When I used Identify on the dante oil, I found out that its unsaturated fatty acid contained a high amount of oleic acid, making it a smooth oil with high nutritional value.
Unfortunately, not much oil can be extracted from a dante seed. 15 grams of dante seeds are needed just to produce a milliliter of dante oil. If I need 800ml of dante oil, I will be needing 12,000g or 12kg of dante seeds.
Although dante seeds are healthy, it takes a lot of effort to produce enough of them to make oil. So much so that extracting oil from them actually makes for good training for my mana.
Thanks to that, though, I was able to come up with a delicious dish, but the amount of effort it takes and the expense of brown sugar and refined rice flour limits the number of dishes that could be made. Actually, the labor is still somewhat acceptable. The real killer is that we can’t set the price lower than 20 suits a piece. That’s a little too high for a dessert being sold at a stall.
There’s a high probability of the sesame dumplings not making it to the stalls, so I’ve already prepared a substitute for it. An inexpensive wheat flour pastry that cuts down on costs by using cheaper dough, Sesame Pastry.
When I said that…
“In that case, I better get my fill tonight.” [Maiya]
Maiya-san said that, and then left to get more food.
I feel like she’s already eaten a family’s worth, but it doesn’t seem like she’s planning on stopping anytime soon.