Tsuki – Extra 65.5: The endless path of Mio ④

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TLN: Yes, there are 2 Extra 65. Probably intentional, so I added a .5 to avoid confusion.

———

“Mio-san, are you really not going to be putting it out on the store?” 

“Yes. It is not like I want to become a pro cook or anything. But that doesn’t mean I am cooking with half-baked emotions.” (Mio)

“I can tell after watching for several days. It would be troubling if you were to take away the taste of our place just like that though… Even if you are not aiming to be a pro, I say you have the ability to make your own restaurant though.” 

“?” 

Mio has already gone to several establishments -and at times even went to 2 or more places concurrently- seeking for further cooking training. She has knocked on countless doors already to the point that it would feel stupid to count them. 

It began with obtaining the basics, then baking, steaming, frying, boiling…

Mio’s path of cooking continued accelerating greatly. 

The girl that sliced the chopping board, prepared the vegetables, meat, and ore at the same time is not there anymore. 

She can now not only assess the normal cooking ingredients, but also the rare materials that come from the wasteland. 

The first restaurant she worked in, she stayed for a while as if chasing after it, and she stayed there for a good time, but now her time in the kitchen of the restaurants is short, and at times, she would just ask for the information. 

You, cooking? 

There’s already no cooks who would see Mio with those eyes. 

Even now, there has been no talk of her leaking the secrets and techniques of the places she has been to. That sight of hers earnestly learning the art of cuisine, steadily made it so that the cooks would see her with favorable eyes. 

“The raw reaction of the customers when eating is a factor that must not be missed for the growth of a cook. Even if you are not planning on earning big, being able to get the reactions of many people is valuable. What I mean is that there’s things you can’t get simply by being surrounded by recipes and technique.” 

“…Reactions. But I have…” (Mio)

“Yeah, I know.” 

“??”

“Mio-san is making food for a specific someone, and you probably thought about wanting to become someone who can make food for that person.” 

“I don’t remember telling you this though.” (Mio)

“This is also the fruit of having experience in watching my customers.” 

“…Is that so? Sounds interesting-desu wa ne.” (Mio)

Even when feeling slightly displeased at the fact that her reason for cooking had been seen through, Mio didn’t cut off the conversation there. 

The owner of the strangely comfortable restaurant was changing the taste of his food, matching the customers. 

Rather than a specific technique for a recipe, he was using his technique, personality, and detailed attentiveness. 

What Mio wanted to steal from this restaurant was the disposition of this man, and she thought he was showing that right at this moment. 

The ironic thing here is that, regarding this restaurant, the most effective way isn’t to join this restaurant, but to continue coming to this place as a customer. 

“At first, I thought you were doing it as a hobby, seeking for the best taste, but…if that’s the case, the seasoning is a bit too dense. Despite not being timid even with difficult ingredients, there are ingredients every now and then that you wouldn’t even pay it the light of the day. With those factors in mind, I thought you actually just have one person you really want to have your food be enjoyed by.” 

“…To be more precise, it includes me, so it is 2.” (Mio)

Putting it in an extreme way, as long as Makoto says it is tasty, she doesn’t care if others were to faint in agony. 

She would still create that dish with no shame. 

The reality is that it was truly fortunate that Makoto wasn’t a person of peculiar tastes that liked low quality food… Fortunate for Tomoe, Shiki, and the residents of Asora. 

“How straightforward. That’s refreshing. Well, even with that, if you were to always be observing him while eating, even a tasty meal will have its enjoyment lessened to a certain degree.” 

“!” 

“Observing the person who is eating your food without bothering them isn’t something you learn in the kitchen. Even if you were to only look at the remains of the food on the plate, you will only be able to get fragmented information. That’s why chefs require pro waiters that can tell them stuff like that, but in your case, Mio-san, this is a slightly different scenario.” 

“…Hngh.” (Mio)

“If you have circumstances that make you not want to open up a store in the city, let’s see…how about a food cart?!” 

“Food cart?” (Mio)

“If it is in the plaza at the side of the Adventurer Guild, you should have no issues getting customers. Mio-san’s face is way too well known, so you can have someone else stand at the cart, and you could observe them in the vicinity as they eat.” 

“…Good grief.” (Mio)

“Hm?” 

“Aren’t you quite the prodigy? Observe the food cart from nearby, was it? That’s a valid option-desu wa ne. The intricate way of changing the taste in this restaurant is certainly closer to something you would learn after being a waiter rather than being in the kitchen. My face is pointlessly well known in this city, and if I were to open a new store here, it would only increase the work of Waka-sama.” (Mio)

“…”

Waka-sama. 

A word that specified the special someone of Mio came out from her mouth without hiding it at all. The person who heard it simply dealt with it by staying silent. 

“In that case, I would have to think of how to manage a food cart and the person who will be stationed there.” (Mio)

“Alright. Our place doesn’t really have any issues with hands, so you can prioritize that.” 

“? It will only be at night, so there’s no problem-desu wa. I will proceed with this food cart business in the morning, and at night, I will be learning here as I have.” (Mio)

“Working double, huh. Man, to be young.” 

“I might be able to finally show off my ability. I am just trying to do the groundwork for this. I will work double or triple if needed for that-desu wa.” (Mio)”

“Don’t tell anyone I was the one who proposed this, okay? I wouldn’t want to be glared at by adventurers.” 

The more Mio moves in the cooking business, the less chances she has to move in work related to the Adventurer Guild. 

Well, that’s obvious. 

The Adventurer Guild and the adventurers would want Mio to be available for as much as possible. 

It is a complicated problem.

“…I will have them accommodated in that area. Everything in this world has its priorities. Well then, see you tomorrow.” (Mio)

“Have a good night. Be care—well, even if an idiot were to try to do something to you…” 

The boss was about to give the usual farewell he gives to his employees when closing, but he changed it a bit for Mio. 

There was no response from Mio. 

And then, the day after tomorrow. 

It didn’t take long for the food cart of Mio to open. 

Despite being at a decently favored location like the front of the Adventurer Guild, it only took half a day from application to being accepted which is outstandingly unusual. 

Mio had gone to the post in charge of this procedure to ask about the documentation for it, but executives of the Merchant Guild and the Adventurer Guild came dashing in at full power, and so it resulted in things being wrapped up there. 

By the way, there’s actually a lottery system where the applicant has to pray for it to pass, but…Mio never learned of its existence.

“I see. There’s certainly a lot to make you think about-desu wa ne.” (Mio)

Mio mutters this. 

She was taking notes at a place where she can see the cart and the state of the surroundings while going fumu fumu and nodding. 

The food cart that would have Forest Onis and at times Akina in charge was a big success. But there were problems surfacing from expected places and even unexpected places. 

First, the reactions of the customers were not uniform. 

Even though she is providing the same thing with the same taste, there were cases when the same person would have different opinions depending on the day. 

This is what Mio didn’t expect. 

Hyumans, demi-humans, adventurers, tourists, and residents were like that. In other words, it is possible that the same will happen with Waka-sama -with Makoto. 

It could be because it is hot, cold, clear, raining, their personal physical condition and mental state. Despite the taste of the dish being the same, the emotions when eating it differ. 

This resulted in the words of the boss of that restaurant, regarding the experience of seeing customers, to stay deeply rooted in the chest of Mio. 

On top of that, despite making sure it was kept secret that Mio is the one in charge of it, it was leaked somewhere. 

Moreover, pretty fast. 

Because of that, adventurers and merchants would come in droves, creating big lines, taking a bite, and giving high praise which served for nothing.

Even when changing people, it wasn’t calming down at all.

Even though she even threatened them a little on the harsh side. 

What Mio wants is customers with honest reactions to the taste. As many fresh and truthful reactions. 

Without much choice, Mio changed into a desperate measure of moving out from the plaza to the residential district at scattered locations without any prior notice. 

Thanks to that, it has begun being called the mirage cart. 

“I will have to devote myself even more, so that I can change the taste minutely for the ones that Waka-sama has said are tasty. But I haven’t been able to eat food with Waka-sama lately… Aah, if I remember correctly, there was someone who didn’t know their place and was allowed to accompany him. Let’s use that. If I have them do detailed reports of every meal and his reactions, they should be useful to a certain degree.” (Mio)

She doesn’t need people who try to suck up to her. 

But Mio feels it is certain that the reaction of the customers that come to her cart have become beneficial for her. 

Seeing the results, she felt that it might not be a bad idea to have an establishment of her own in Tsige even if it is small. 

Wanting to learn the reactions of the people in the city for the sake of a single person; Mio is the type to think something outrageous like that. 

The reality is that it wouldn’t take long before she could open her own place in Tsige. 

Many cooks who were calling themselves the rivals of Mio opened up their business, and for many cooks, that was the rise of rivals in the same field…the era of carnage. But by that time, she had already gone for her next update which was her own restaurant. 

She still has the same shine she had in her eyes the day when she decided to learn cooking. 

The endless path of Mio still continues on. 

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