“Milord, you really have not changed a bit…”
“It’s just that I get weak when tearfully begged by Wilma.”
“Has Wilma-sama been possessed by something like a strong sense of duty when hearing about the circumstances…?”
“It sounded like it’s a restaurant that took good care of her in the past.”
We decided to stop the restaurant tour in the capital, which had been scheduled to last for three days, in favor of rebuilding an old, established fon restaurant. When I informed Roderich that I’d stay at my mansion in the capital for a while, he didn’t file any protests in particular.
“Well, you could also say the good you do for others is good you do for yourself.”
A proverb similar to the one in Japan exists in this world as well. Roderich also went through various hardships before he started to serve the Baumeister House. Maybe he can’t tell Wilma off because he mediated governmental employment and entrusted jobs to the people who greatly helped him back then, as long as it was within his own authority to do so.
“However, I’m sure one person won’t be very happy with this.”
“You’re quite perceptive, Roderich.”
The person, who was angry at me for going to help the fon restaurant, was Betty whose brother had launched a new restaurant nearby.
『Sensei! You’re awful! My brother’s business was finally on its way to return to normal, and yet you do this!』
Usually she was pretty unrelenting towards her brother, but it was definitely not like she hated him. Her rough way of treating him came from her love as his little sister who earnestly wished for him to get his act together.
『Sensei, if that restaurant recovers at this point, the debts of Betty’s brother are going to increase again』
『Sensei, that’s awfully mean towards Betty-chan』
Agnes and Cindy also argued in favor of Betty.
It wasn’t wrong what the three were saying. I’ve been supportive of Betty’s brother’s business, so it’d make no sense for me to sabotage his success here.
『I’ll assist his side as well. Even if a nearby restaurant is going to compete against him, there are ways to handle it well』
If I only listened to Wilma’s request, it’d plunge Betty’s brother’s restaurant into trouble. Now that things had developed like this, it was too late to pull out, so in the end I was forced to give advice to both restaurants.
『Thank you so much! I love you, sensei!』 Betty hugged me as soon as I told her that I’d also help her brother’s restaurant.
I wasn’t sure what to think about a girl of marriageable age hugging a guy, but without a moment’s delay, Wilma tore Betty off me with her herculean strength.
『Only his wives are allowed to tell Wend-sama that they love him』
『It’s still not okay for you to do that. Same applies to you two as well, Agnes, Cindy』
『Like this they won’t be able to hug him anymore』
Agnes and Cindy were about to imitate Betty, but in addition to Katia, who was no inferior in speed, and Elise, who was unexpectedly alert in not overlooking things like this, I was getting hugged by my wives from three sides.
『Not yet! The place above sensei’s head is still free! I’ll show you the fruits of my special magic training!』
Agnes, who didn’t quite want to give up yet, swiftly chanted the spell for 『Flight』, and tried to get on my shoulders.
『Too bad. Something like that is no biggie for me, even without relying on magic』
Lastly, Luise used the floating Agnes as a stepping stone to jump on my shoulders like an acrobat. Now, with me giving her a shoulder ride, there was no free spot on my body left.
『Uu───uh, there’s no openings left』
『Huu───mph, as if veteran adventurers like Wilma, Katia, or me would show you fledglings any openings. Dream on』
Agnes, Betty, and Cindy looked frustrated with their plan of hugging me thwarted. Me not feeling almost any weight when Luise jumped on my shoulders was no surprise, but with Elise, Wilma, and Katia additionally embracing me from all sides, it had become impossible for me to move.
『Come o───on, even you, Elise?』
『Since you are Earl Baumeister, dear, you must only pay attention to your wives』
I became unable to respond to Elise’s sound argument while the three girls looked devastated.
“Ha ha ha! Great men have great fondness for sensual pleasures, was it? As expected of you, milord.
“Do you see any heroes around here? Great men and heroes are a lot more diligent, Roderich.”
At least, they wouldn’t exploit their knowledge to revamp restaurants, would they?
“So, do you have any measures in mind, milord?”
“It’ll be fine. I’ll also get Arterio-san to help out.”
“I suppose he will immediately get on board once he learns that there is money to be earned…”
After receiving Roderich’s permission, I took Akira and the others as helpers with me, and teleported to the capital. Once we headed over to the fon restaurant in question, the owner, his family, and Betty’s sister-in-law, Rosa-san, were already there.
“Rosa-san, what about your new store?”
“Since I have a trustable shopkeeper candidate, I’ve left it in his hands.”
“Earl Baumeister-sama, won’t you call Betty-san’s brother over as well?”
“No, this task doesn’t suit him.”
Akira has also accompanied me in order to offer his cooking skills and knowledge of the Mizuho cuisine, and because he’s in the middle of developing noodle dishes. He left his stores in Baulburg to his wife.
“It doesn’t suit him?”
“Betty’s older brother is a good cook. He’s smart enough to come up with decent new menus, if he puts in some effort. As long as he employs several people, he’ll surely manage.”
But, everything beyond cooking isn’t his. When it comes to negotiating good prices for ingredients and procuring the necessary amounts, putting the business’s administration in order, accounting work, or increasing the number of restaurants, he’s completely useless. If you compare a restaurant with a human’s body, handling the arms is his limit, no matter how much he struggles.
On the other hand, his wife, Rosa-san, is good at brain work, or rather, it might be her calling in life.
“I see. That makes sense.”
And Akira is one of those rare people who excel in all of it.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, if the number of guests drops in our new restaurant, it’ll also delay the repayment of our debts…”
As I thought, Rosa-san seems rather unhappy with me lending the fon restaurant a hand in its reorganization. Then again, it’s going to affect her future, so it’s only natural for her to react like this.
“The development of new menus can advance as well, but it’ll be alright since the overall number of customers is going to rise through other means.”
“The number of customers is going to rise? How?”
“I’ll tell you about this once everyone has gathered.”
“Earl-sama, sorry for having kept you waiting.”
“Well─── Baron Baumeister-sama…err! Earl-sama! This humble Rinnenheim would have never imagined that you would become such a big noble in such a short period of time.”
Arterio-san, who’s making profits in the capital while also being the Baumeister House’s chief purveyor, and the shady realtor Rinnenheim, who’s been making a killing by selling flawed property, are going to play a major part in my plan to grow the customer base.
“Earl-sama, it sounds like you’ve been planning something interesting?”
“We won’t know whether it’s going to become something interesting until we give it a try.”
“I think it has a high chance to succeed. Anyway, let’s start.”
First we’ll start with a meeting. Entering the fon restaurant which has been temporarily closed for renovations, all of us sit down around a table and begin to discuss the matters at hand.
“Rinnenheim, do you have a map of this district?”
“Yes, I have brought it with me.”
Given his job, Rinnenheim has independently drawn up a map of this district. He spread out a big map on the table.
“There’s a lot more than I had expected…”
“What do you mean, Earl-sama?”
“The number of restaurants on this map that went bankrupt.”
“Ah, that’s because this district lies in the middle of being a residential district and one with many workshops and stores. It’s kind of half-baked.” Arterio-san explains the circumstances shown on the map.
The restaurants providing lunch for workers are tending more towards the workshop areas. On the other hand, restaurants catering towards families are closer to the residential area. Since it’s such a half-baked area, there were no restaurants where you could eat a light snack on the go, except for the fon restaurant and Rosa-san’s…it’s essentially her restaurant, isn’t it?…new store.
“Won’t it be difficult to increase the customer base under these circumstances?”
“We just need to pull customers over.”
“That’s the reason why I invited Rinnenheim.”
“Yes, I was called over by His Excellency Earl Baumeister-sama. This lowly servant will go through fire and floods if it’s for the sake of His Excellency.”
“You don’t need to go so far. Anyway, take control of all properties that can be remodeled into restaurants in this district.”
“As you wish, I shall do so at once.”
“Also, those properties as well, I’d say.”
Those properties…refers to flawed property no one wants to approach mainly for spiritual reasons. In other words, it’s the kind of property Rinnenheim specializes in.
“As long as we exorcize the ghosts in there, it’ll be a cheap buy, won’t it?”
“Yes, you will essentially obtain them for free.”
It’s troublesome if evil spirits possess restaurants, shops, and private homes of commoners. If it’s valuable property, the church or adventurers capable of holy magic will be hired to purify them. But, commoners can’t fork over money in the range of millions of cents so easily.
If you also consider the expenses of cleaning and rebuilding after the purification, it’s simpler to rent out a new place, and since there’s plenty of replacement properties available, many haunted properties are abandoned as flawed property.
If this had been a district inhabited by the poor, the church would have regularly exorcised the area as part of its charity work. But, this is a half-baked district where middle-class residents live. As such, this area won’t be cleaned in the line of doing charity work, and the number of people who can pay for an exorcism is low, resulting in a certain number of houses always remaining behind as flawed property.
“We’ll exorcize them after Rinnenheim has seized the flawed properties.”
“I agree with Earl Baumeister-sama’s opinion. Also, make sure to not tell anyone about this.”
“Why?” The owner of the fon restaurant asks Rinnenheim, making it pretty obvious that he has no idea of real estate whatsoever.
“If the owners hear about Earl Baumeister-sama’s intent to purify the flawed properties, they will raise the prices for the property. The keys to profit in business are speed, monopolization, and information concealment.”
I also agree with Rinnenheim on this, but in the end it immediately becomes fishy when coming out of his mouth.
“Indeed. If the owners hear that Earl Baumeister-sama is going to exorcize their property, they’ll increase the prices on houses that are completely worthless.”
“That is the idea here.”
“I thank you very much for explaining it to me, but I actually possess three flawed properties myself…”
“Oh my, oh my, that means I ended up blundering on the third key for a successful business – information concealment.”
I guess you could say that’s to be expected of the owner of a shop with a long history. Even Rinnenheim was perplexed by his unexpected stubbornness to hold onto such property for so long.
“Oh, milady, it has been truly a long time since our last meeting.”
“Thank you very much for your extravagant baby gift.”
“Given that Gochy is also deeply indebted to you, I actually feel embarrassed to not have sent anything more appropriate.”
Several days later, it was decided that we’d purify the flawed properties in this district. Except for the ones owned by the fon restaurant owner, Rinnenheim has bought up all flawed properties in this area without a hitch. Thanks to the evil spirits, the properties not only had no value, but they were loss-making due to the taxes, and thus Rinnenheim could apparently beat down the prices to almost zero.
And when it comes to purifications, it’s got to be Elise-sensei’s turn.
『So you are going to revive and make the stores, which could not be managed because of the evil spirits, thrive with many people. Nothing less of you, dear』
I’ve become a very good person in Elise’s mind, but I’ll accept her praise just like that since it’s not wrong when looking at the intended outcome.
She greeted Rinnenheim, an acquaintance of hers, but if I remember correctly, his baby gift was definitely quite luxurious. Since his son, Gochy, opened a real estate agency in Baulburg, it might have also served as his thanks for that.
By the way, Rinnenheim’s son is running a respectable real estate agency. I’ve heard that Rinnenheim is the first generation in this business, so his son might have toned down a bit on the excessively strong-willed business drive compared to his father. Given that Baulburg doesn’t have any flawed property as of yet, it’s also true that there’s no room for his father to make a move, and thus it’s become the son’s duty to run a business there.
“(Wend, are we really going to rely on this guy again?)”
“(Well, he does perform the jobs he’s given properly.)”
“(If you say so, I’m fine with it, but still…)”
In addition, Erw…he’s keeping his distance from Rinnenheim since he seems unable to get along with him…has come with us as guide, and also the fon restaurant owner who’s going to act as our guide, being the local he is. The owner’s family, Rosa-san, and the cooks hired by her are currently exploring new menus at the closed fon restaurant.
I’ve provided some ideas for noodle dishes, so they’re experimenting around while using my recipes as reference. As it was related to my job in my previous life, I know the recipes of noodle dishes that were popular in Japan and abroad. However, in some cases the ingredients don’t exist in this world, and even if similar ingredients do exist, it’s not necessarily said that they fit as ingredients.
If you don’t compensate for the lacking ingredients with substitutes, the dishes won’t work, and thus you must go through trials and errors to find the perfect combination of ingredients. Otherwise the dishes won’t sell. And even if you’ve finally found a good recipe, you won’t be able to maintain the flavor by always using the same combination. The same ingredients usually differ in taste depending on season, producing area, and the growth conditions.
Hence, if you don’t adjust the mixing ratio while taking all that into account, the taste you’ve painstakingly discovered will become misaligned, and if the taste shifts towards being disgusting, the customers will leave in droves.
I’ve given them some hints, but the rest depends on the skills of the cooks.
————— End of Part 1 —————
“What a nice smell.”
“If you properly prepare the broth, the aroma and taste improves drastically.”
“What are you going to make with this?”
“I’ve planned to make udon.”
Even back in Baulburg, Akira had happily experimented on making udon and soba together with Ina and the others. He had decided to go along with my plan, and set up a noodle restaurant.
When he made some udon soup stock in the kitchen of his own restaurant, he got a passing grade from Ina for its taste.
“I see, you’ve prepared two pots?”
“Yes, Mizuho’s udon soup stock differs in color between the east and west. The amount of salt isn’t all that different, though.”
“Speaking of udon, we ate it at a restaurant in Mizuho during the civil war, but this is quite delicious in its own right.”
“Luise-sama, the broth is done. I’ll make the noodles by hand here, and then put the udon into the broth after boiling them.”
“Handmade udon are interesting. But, the same can be said about soba making.”
“They’re genuine noodle makers who have been training their skills in well-established restaurants.”
Akira recruited skilled noodle makers from old soba and udon restaurants in Mizuho for the sake of making his branch stores in the capital succeed.
“Say, is it really okay for you to headhunt such valuable cooks?”
Katia asks Akira with a worried look, suspecting that their former restaurants might complain about him recruiting their skilled noodle makers.
“I’ve recruited them after getting permission from the restaurants.”
“Yes. Currently, Mizuho is overrun with udon and miso restaurants…”
Since the market over there is saturated, it’s questionable whether they’d be able to open their own restaurants even after finishing their training.
The Duke Mizuho House obtained new land, but since the it’s located next to the old territory, the new land already has its own udon and soba restaurants. Even if they were to set up new restaurants over there, their chances for success are low. As such, the young noodle makers volunteered to go abroad in order to make a name for themselves in another country.
“If there’s several people who’ve trained at one and the same restaurant, things will become difficult if you try to hire new people, won’t they? A well-established restaurant wouldn’t want the age distribution among its employees to become too biased.”
There are also many cases where a restaurant doesn’t hire new employees because it cannot afford the cost of labor, and next thing they know, all their employees have grown old. There’s nothing as bad for the continuation of a restaurant as this.
“It can also serve as a destination for the children of a family that runs a well-established restaurant.”
Just like a noble territory, a restaurant can only be inherited by one child. Even if they set up branch stores under the same name, effectively capitalizing on the restaurant’s reputation, for the second son and following, it’s highly likely that they’ll fail under the current circumstances. If the younger sons become employees at their family’s restaurant, they won’t be able to make a living unless they get paid a reasonable wage. Naturally, it’ll become impossible to hire new people from outside.
“For such reasons, you can say there’s an excess of noodle makers in Mizuho. Some of them have to start working elsewhere, even though they can make soba and udon.”
“So they can’t work in their occupation despite having learned how to make noodles at great pains?”
Lisa is surprised by that, but that’s only understandable since this might be a situation that’s unthinkable for magicians. After all, you’re basically guaranteed some kind of job as soon as you’re able to use magic.
“Out in the countryside, many people can make udon and soba even without running a restaurant. Many people also possess mastery skills. Because of that, it was easy to headhunt them.”
The old restaurants can hire newcomers instead of the noodle makers who left their store. And since those newcomers will receive lower wages as apprentices until they’re fully-fledged noodle makers, the restaurants can keep their labor costs low. Therefore, both sides profit from it.
“I understood the reasoning behind it, but everyone sure is passionately learning how to make broth.”
From Therese’s point of view, it seems to be astonishing for Ina and the others to seriously study how to make soba and udon broth.
“Wouldn’t it be just fine to eat out as soon as they open their restaurants?”
“That’s the wrong approach, Therese.”
“Making noodles by hand will probably be difficult for us, but we can cover that part by boiling up dried noodles, so as long as we can make the broth for udon and soba, it’ll please Wend-kun, don’t you think? That boy has a strange fixation towards women being good at cooking over women dressing up nicely, doesn’t he?”
“Certainly, Elise is very good at cooking.”
“Therese, you’re the worst at it among us.”
“I can cook normally.”
Being told by Amalie-san that she sucks the most at cooking, Therese objects in order to uphold her dignity.
“Your repertoire is too small. After coming here, I’ve also done my best to increase the number of dishes I can make. And yet, I’m still working hard at it since my repertoire is still lacking.”
“Amalie, thou are very skilled at cooking, so I’m quite envious of thou.”
“Well, I had a lot of time to practice it.”
Back at her family’s home, it’d have been troublesome in various ways, if the second daughter of a poor Knight House couldn’t do any housework. She might have been married off into a family where she’d be required to cook at any time, and she had to at least help with the cooking for the harvest festivals for the residents.
She would get scolded by my mother, if her cooking skills had been bad, and the frequency of her cooking also increased when she married into the Knight Baumeister family. Under these circumstances, it was highly unlikely for her to not be able to learn cooking.
“But, isn’t it strange to designate me as the worst at cooking? What about…” Therese’s eyes shift towards Katia. “…Katia? She can only handle outdoor cooking, can’t she?”
“And yet I still possess a bigger repertoire than you, Therese. I’ve been properly taking lessons from Amalie.”
Katia was aware that she’d have a hard time with just her adventurer-styled outdoor cooking, and thus she regularly took cooking lessons from Amalie.
“Katia is a fast learner. Therese, you have to give it your all as well.”
“Even if thou tell me that…”
“A woman won’t stay young forever. Once you become older, it’ll be cooking and similar skills that you’ll need. If your cooking is delicious, a man will always come back to you.”
“Putting it another way, hubby might not visit your place anymore if he thinks that you’ll always serve him the same dishes, Therese.”
Apparently pissed off at being told that she’s no good at cooking, Katia goes along with Amalie’s remark, thus landing a counterattack on Therese.
Her words infested Therese’s mind, causing the worst prediction to surface in her mind. One where Wendelin wouldn’t visit the elderly Therese anymore and instead spend a harmonious, happy family life with Elise and the others, condemning Therese to live out her old age by herself.
“That’s bad! I have actually studied how to be a good empress! Thus, something like increasing my cooking repertoire should be an easy feat!” Therese rallies her motivation again.
In the meantime, the udon and soba cooking advanced at a good pace.
“It’s best to leave the cooking to the professional chefs.”
“It is my turn when it comes to securing the properties, yes? It is the first residence, but this is…”
“It’s my own property.”
The very first flawed property we visited was owned by the owner of the fon restaurant. He possesses another two of such flawed properties.
Originally it was a restaurant…a fon restaurant at that, I think, but as many years have already passed since its construction, it’s in a terrible state.
“Umm, why did it degrade like this?”
“Well, I’d say this is also part of my family’s fate.” The shopkeeper begins to explain as if to answer Erw’s question. “The restaurant’s golden time was apparently during the time of my great-grandfather. Back then, I had only been born, but…”
His great-grandfather retired because of old age. He had four sons, and thus he told the four following:
“Only someone skilled will be allowed to inherit my restaurant! You guys are to compete over it!”
According to the fon restaurant owner, his great-grandfather, who was loaded thanks to his restaurants flourishing, had each of his four sons take charge of one of his restaurants, and made them compete against each other over his inheritance.
“Your great-grandfather was quite extreme, wasn’t he?”
In the eyes of Elise as a noble, it seemed only natural to have the oldest son inherit the restaurants. It’s because having the brothers fight over becoming the true successor could become a bad move quite capable of causing the downfall of the whole family.
Certainly, it makes you want to retort that this isn’t a goddamn food manga.
“As a matter of fact, my great-grandfather himself also came to this district to set up a branch restaurant under the name of our family’s restaurants.”
The owner’s restaurant seems to be an official branch restaurant that split off a long-standing, well-known fon restaurant. That means, his great-grandfather wouldn’t have been able to let his children set up branch stores in other areas. After all, they’d have infringed on the areas of other branch stores run by pupils or family members.
A guild for fon restaurants doesn’t exist, but unwritten rules similar to a guild system are apparently in place. However, as that reasoning doesn’t work on other types of restaurants, many fon restaurants recently went bankrupt due to new noodle restaurants opening up around them, or had to change their menu to survive. Either way, it looks like all of them went through hard times.
“The four brothers competed fiercely. The ironic outcome of this contest was my grandfather, the youngest brother, winning in the end, but…”
As it seemed to have been a truly harsh fight, it didn’t only result in the other three restaurants going bankrupt, but also in deeply lingering negative feelings. In short, the other three, former restaurant owners, who had to spend the rest of their lives doing other jobs while shackled down by debts, turned into evil spirits after their deaths who then possessed their former restaurants.
“The former owners…well, my granduncles to be precise…have been getting in the way of starting new businesses as evil spirits.”
“I see. While alive they wanted to repay their debts to run their fon restaurants again at some point. Is that their regret?”
“Yes, it is just as you say, madam.” The owner nods at Elise’s guess.
“It’s only fon, and yet it’s all because of fon, huh?”
Erw also agrees as if having realized that restaurants can be quite tough as well.
“The reason for the low number of old, well-established restaurants can be found in things like these. I’ll also join the group of bankrupt restaurants if I don’t do my best…”
“For now we must secure properties.”
Since it’ll be impossible to start on any renovations as long as the buildings are haunted by evil spirits, we got to quickly get rid of the ghosts.
“But, Earl Baumeister-sama, the evil spirits of my granduncles are troublesome.”
According to him, they’re usually hiding, and won’t start anything as long as the new owner doesn’t start any renovations. Because of that, the fon restaurant owner had tried to rent out the objects for cheap many times over. But, as soon as the new occupants tried to begin preparing their business operations after feeling relieved over the rent being cheap, the evil spirits would always get in the way.
I think they’re quite aware of the nastiness of their timing since they’ve managed restaurants themselves while alive.
“Dear, what are we going to do?”
“Ah, I think it’ll be easy to exorcize them. They aren’t as powerful as evil spirits, are they?”
“No, they aren’t.”
“Then it’ll be a walk in the park. Elise, could you please deploy a 『Holy Barrier』, just in case?”
“Yes, of course.”
Once Elise finishes casting a 『Holy Barrier』 to protect us, I begin to loudly shout towards the former restaurant, “Whoa! What a shitty, disgusting fon!! The restaurant went bankrupt because you served such a trash! It’s also completely behind the times! The new restaurants are a lot tastier, so let’s go there!”
Given that their restaurants went bankrupt after they lost in the competition, it should be fine as long as I insult them with such badmouthing.
Apparently having heard what I’ve said, an evil spirit, which doesn’t look all that strong to me, shows up from within the building. It’s the evil spirit of an elderly man.
“WhAt wAS tHaa───T! My fOn is───!?”
“Pew, disgusting trash, that’s what it is!”
“I wILl KilL yOu───u!”
Buying into my provocation, the evil spirit clashes against Elise’s 『Holy Barrier』. Since he’s been weak to begin with, he weakens significantly from just that.
“You can also develop new dishes in the other world, can’t you?”
Once I release a light 『Holy Light』 as finisher, the evil spirit disappears in no time. Compared to the evil spirits of noble mansions, this one wasn’t a big deal, really.
“I pray that person might find their happiness in the next world.” Elise offers a prayer to the spirit after it vanishes.
“So, how’s this property?”
“It is an old building, but since it is made out of stone, it should work without any problems, yes. What are you going to do about the furniture and tools?”
“Even secondhand goods are fine. Let’s go with saving as much money as possible.”
“As you wish. I have an acquaintance who is dealing with second hand equipment of bankrupt restaurants, yes. I also have an acquaintance among interior designers, yes.”
As expected of a real estate agent. Rinnenheim has several acquaintances in occupations related to his own business.
“Okay, let’s quickly purify the other properties for the sake of getting them operational as soon as possible.”
“Time is money, after all, yes.”
“What’s up, Erw?”
Erw calls out to me while I’m coordinating things with Rinnenheim.
“Albeit being evil spirits, they’re still the owner’s relatives, so…shouldn’t you be a bit more, hmm…considerate of his feelings…?”
That Erw brings up something awfully sensible. But, for me evil spirits are no more than hindrances. If they have such regrets over their restaurants that they’d become evil spirits, they should have put in more effort while still alive.
“I’m pretty sure that the owner is likewise happy over being able to celebrate their ascension to heaven after getting exorcized rather than being oddly considerate.”
“Yes, I think it is just as you say, dear.”
Elise has apparently taken my remark at face value. In reality, it’s just a random excuse I made up…
“What do you think, owner?”
“Well…it’s not like I met them often, and over the last decades up until now, they have also turned into bad debtors. I feel slight pity for them, but it’s not like I’m that emotionally attached either…”
“Erwin-sama, you are a kind man. The business world is a place where you have to catch a weasel asleep, yes. Even if it might concern his relatives…they have safely moved on to the next world. Let us forget about past matters and work hard at new business opportunities, yes.”
“What is it, Erw?”
“Are you and Rinnenheim actually kindred spirits?”
I’m not as shady as he is!
But, I only shouted that in my mind since I couldn’t voice it out in front of the man himself.
—————- End of Part 2 —————-
“Earl Baumeister-sama, the construction is proceeding well, but what is the plan behind this?”
After another week had passed, the development of new menus was continuing, the purchase of available property and the exorcism of several flawed properties had finished, the craftsmen organized by Rinnenheim were carrying out the reconstruction, and new cooking ware and other necessary items were brought in.
The first objective is to reach a state where we can open around ten restaurants at any time.
As Arterio-san couldn’t grasp my aim, he asked for the purpose while the construction was advancing.
“You see, this district isn’t actually that bad a location.”
After all, it has residential areas and sections with many workshops at walkable distance.
“If the customers don’t stop by, we just have to make them do so. For this reason, we’re going to amass noodle restaurants in this area.”
The idea follows the same concept as a ramen museum. The reason for researching new menus in order to serve all kinds of noodle dishes aims at being able to open only noodle restaurants in great quantities in one place.
“Only noodle restaurants, you say?”
“If this area is crowded with nothing but noodle restaurants, customers aiming for a rich variety of noodle dishes would visit this place, wouldn’t they? Crafters working at the workshops would come here for lunch, and they might also bring their families along on their days off. That’s because this location would be perfect. The only damper is the fact that the workshops and residential areas aren’t right around the corner, but we’ll compensate for it by flooding this area with restaurants instead.”
In addition, it’d also be good if they sold other stuff like light meals, desserts, and confectionery. That would also make the restaurants attractive for dating and family outings. Also, if they also offer smaller noodle portions, people should be able to eat at several restaurants during one visit.
“So we’re going to strengthen the area’s appeal by concentrating the restaurants over here.”
“Ooohh! What an amazing idea! As expected of you, Earl-sama!”
Somehow Arterio-san is praising me awfully much, but the idea itself is no more than a rip-off. But since there’s no way I could explain that to him, I silently accept his praises.
“Since the restaurants will all be packed in one small area, the competition will become fiercer, right? As a result, we’ll get failing restaurants to quickly pull out.”
“Because of that, most properties will only be rented out, correct?”
Only the owner of the fon restaurant with his additional three properties, and Rosa-san own their property. The rest is owned by Rinnenheim who acquired the properties. Elise and I got paid by him for the exorcisms.
That guy got a keen nose for business, so he readily paid the fee for the purification and secured the properties for himself. The fon restaurant owner also paid us for the purifications, although I gave him a hefty discount.
His restaurant has been in dire straits for around one year now, but it looks like he’d saved up quite a bit of money as his restaurant made some good profits before that.
“Arterio-san…you’ll make a good profit by selling ingredients, switching and opening new restaurants, and selling foodstuff to the stores entering this area, even if you leave some of it to the participating merchants. It’ll be fine to sell desserts made out of Demon Forest fruits and chocolate. It’s also possible to set up open-air cafes. And it’d be great for there to be shops around which introduce new products by running bargains and limited-time offers.”
“Is Rinnenheim going to manage the rented properties?”
“Well, we’ll have to expel failing restaurants. A thriving business with lots of customers will boost the rent for the leased properties. Rinnenheim, as the owner of the properties, will profit more from high rents, so he’ll naturally have a vested interest in shutting down failing restaurants to maintain that profit. And since it’s a nasty task, we have to bait him with some benefits.”
All the rented properties in the district will be put under one umbrella, and Rinnenheim will be in charge of managing the umbrella group. The rent contracts will be set to last for around half a year, which is going to spur on the competition as failing restaurants won’t have their contract extended. All in an attempt to keep a continuous renewal with fresh restaurants going.
It’s been decided that Rinneheim will be in charge of the unpleasant task of enforcing the termination of the contracts, as the rent will likely rise in proportion, it’ll allow him to make more of a profit out of it.
“If this place starts to flourish, it’ll also become great publicity for the restaurants, who have a store in this area, once they open new branch stores. I think the restaurant owners will naturally put in more effort in maintaining that reputation, once they understand its value.”
“I see, that does make sense.”
“And, if this idea turns into a success over here…it’ll be possible to start similar projects in other districts. I mean, the capital is a big city, right? As an additional advantage, the business owners will be able to obtain the necessary know-how over here, too.”
“I guess such a method also exists, besides simply running restaurants.”
In the past, my trading company has also been involved in managing such restaurant-based events and facilities, so I know what I’m talking about. This is also the reason why I could come up with such an idea. But, when it comes to the specific implementation of this whole idea, I’ve got no choice but to keep gathering actual business experience in addition to the knowledge I already possess.
“I shall hurry the preparations on my side then.”
After I separated from Arterio-san, I headed over to the restaurant scheduled to be rented by Akira. He has leased two free locations which are situated next to each other. Currently he’s in the middle of getting everything ready for the opening.
“Oh, Earl Baumeister-sama, the experimental menus are very promising.”
“Still, you’re going with two restaurants right off the bat?”
“I’m planning to offer different price ranges.”
“What do you mean?”
According to him, he plans to equip one of the restaurants with a sophisticated interior design based on the Mizuho-style. Mizuho craftsmen are currently working on setting up everything.
“This here will be a restaurant serving the soba and udon dishes as a finisher.”
He’ll offer a menu course of Mizuho cooking with soba or udon being the last menu point. It’ll raise the prices, but this restaurant will be mainly catered towards richer people.
“The other restaurant will be a regular soba & udon restaurant. It’ll also offer a space where you can eat while standing.”
The other restaurant has regular tables inside, a counter for eating while standing at the entrance area, and an outside space with tables and chairs in front. Shelves for putting away the used plates and cutlery have been set up as well. It’s completely like one of those soba stalls where I ate out in my previous life. Or rather, I’ve also seen such soba stalls in Mizuho.
“There’s plenty of such stalls in areas with lots of crafting workshops, but customers from foreign areas don’t really eat over there. This restaurant is targeting the workers of the nearby workshops.”
As they’re usually busy, they’d want to eat their meals quickly. The reason why fon was so popular in the past stems from the possibility to eat it quickly on the fly. For a stall, soba and udon are slightly expensive, but business has drastically improved in the capital. Akira is apparently counting on a certain number of customers with this.
“It sure looks like everything is going smoothly over here.”
“Yes, if we succeed after having opened these two restaurants, we’ll set up a lot more stores. It’ll be a harsh competition, but it also comes with a big chance since the number of customers will grow.”
Because Akira seemed busy, I cut the conversation short, and headed over to Rosa-san’s restaurant next.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, it sounds like my husband is making good progress on the new menu.”
“It was quite a challenge though…”
Most of the noodle recipes I told Betty’s brother about revolved around ramen dishes. Ramen heavily depends on how you make the broth.
In the past I played around with it as well, but in the end I couldn’t quite achieve the ramen broth taste I wanted to eat. Since I couldn’t get my hands on pork belly and bones, I substituted it with wild boar bones, but during the preliminary processing it stank, and even after I added pot herbs and boiled it down, it still stank. And when I finally had gotten rid of the smell, the taste had become too thin. After failing on it several times, I gave up in the end.
Seeing how he somehow managed to make a proper dish out of my instructions, I gotta admit that genuine cooks are in a class of their own. Betty’s brother might be a great chef as long as he stays out of the management.
“Please have a taste.”
Once Rosa-san guided me into the kitchen, I noticed that Betty’s brother was making soup in a huge cylindrical container while being watched by Betty and the other two girls.
“How is it going?”
“Earl Baumeister-sama, the taste has finally stabilized.” He hands me a small plate of the broth he’s been cooking.
When I taste it, it has a very nice flavor. Back then my own creation was a total failure as it smelled oddly and had a thin flavor.
“You have to properly handle the preparatory processing. I procured the bones of pigs and other monsters, and boiled them down together with vegetables and smell-erasing herbs.”
“You could buy pig bones?”
Livestock is usually eaten only by fairly rich people. I don’t think that getting your hands on pork bones is that easy, but…
“If it’s small amounts of pig bones, they’re available at a reasonable price. However you have to procure them immediately after the butchering. Since the amount of procurable stock is flaky, I’ve stabilized the taste by adding boar and monster bones which are easy to get. In addition, there will be a difference in flavor of the broth from the bones depending on where the animals grew up, the area they were hunted, and the season.”
The challenging part of ramen is the changing state of the used ingredients, even if you might have come up with a perfect recipe, so the broth won’t keep having the same taste unless you adjust it frequently. When a shift in taste occurs, it’s fine if it tends towards the ramen becoming tastier, but if the flavor deteriorates, the customers will leave.
At any rate, Betty’s brother is a lot better than I thought, isn’t he? My first impression of him wasn’t that good, but he’s apparently the type of guy who can do it if he tries, when it comes to cooking. I got to revise my evaluation of him.
“You’re really excellent as long as your wife holds the reins!”
“Earl Baumeister-sama, that’s not really…”
“Brother has finally become a decent person under Rosa-san’s wings.”
“Even you’re so terrible, Betty…”
Getting harshly talked down by his own sister, Betty’s brother drops his shoulders in disappointment.
“It’s a broth combining the bones of pigs, boars, and monsters.”
And yet, he rallies his spirits back up, continuing the explanation of the broth. Its appearance and taste resembles the ramen broth I know of, so it’s very welcome to me.
“If you add soy-based sauce to this…”
A soy-pork-flavored ramen is the standard of standards, but exactly because of that, it enjoys a high popularity. Given that it’s an aroma I smell for the first time in this world, I feel like wanting to add the noodles as quickly as possible.
“What about the meat that will be added?”
“This is also something I’ve come up with after referencing your hints, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
Given that boar meat is often used for stew, roasted pork filet is easier to handle than the broth. Betty’s brother is also capable of making a tasty one.
“Boiled eggs and such are slightly expensive. This is only a trial dish. All that’s left is to boil the vegetables suitably and put them in.”
As for eggs: guinea fowls are expensive, and even the chicken eggs available at poultry farms aren’t that much cheaper. Accordingly I had him play around with the eggs of other birds like ducks, but he probably won’t serve them for customers since it’d drive the price too much.
Eggs being as cheap as in Japan for example is in reality amazing.
Bamboo shoots are only available in Mizuho as an ingredient, so they won’t enter his ramen either. Because Mizuho people love their bamboo shoots, the amount they export is quite low.
“I prepared everything as you told me, but in the end, the noodles are still a problem. I don’t quite think that this will fit well with pasta, and I don’t have any experience in noodle making.”
Even the noodles sold at Rosa-san’s restaurant appear to be procured from acquainted noodle makers.
“That fon restaurant is going to come in handy here. Let’s go there to get some noodles.”
I had planned to leave it to some other cook if he had failed, but Betty’s brother splendidly passed the trial of making ramen. Now, if you enter boiled noodles into this, the ramen will be done.
“Sensei, my brother has properly done his job, hasn’t he?”
“I might have underestimated him a bit. He’s got good skills.”
Or rather, he might be good at trying out new dishes since he’s still young. Since he’s got Rosa-san at his side as well, he might succeed with a ramen restaurant as long as he maintains the broth’s flavor.
“Thank you very much, sensei. My late mother and father will be able to rest in peace as well, I think.”
Usually she’s quite strict with him, but Betty doesn’t hate her brother. She thanks me after grabbing my hands, as the one who had helped him out.
“Aaa───ah! How sneaky of you, Betty! Me too!”
For some reason Cindy grabs my arm while criticizing Betty. With Betty on my right arm, Cindy joins in by securing my left arm for herself.
“Sensei doesn’t have more than two arms…both of you are so unfair!”
Agnes, who’s supposed to be serious under normal circumstances, gets angry at the other two who got a headstart on her.
“U───um, then I’ll take this place!”
Using that as an excuse, Cindy skilfully gets on top of my left shoulder with a nicely controlled 『Flight』. I grab her legs in a fluster, resulting in it looking like I’m giving her a shoulder ride. And then Agnes grabs onto my left arm which has been freed up by Cindy.
In the end I was stuck walking the streets while surrounded by my three pupils.
“Hoh, that’s quite bold of you to put on such a show during your wives’ absence.”
“Hey, Erw! Don’t yap anything that could invite misunderstandings!” I complain at him, who’s looking at me with a grin.
After all, I’d be in trouble if wrong information were to reach Elise and the others.
“Uuhh… for my Betty to have grown into a young lady who’s going to become a wife…”
“Since Betty-chan was going to marry someday as well, you don’t need to cry like a little boy. She’ll be okay since we’re talking about Earl Baumeister-sama here.”
Look what you’ve done, Erw! Haven’t Rosa-san and her husband completely misunderstood the situation!?
“Now that it’s reached this point, I doubt that these girls are going to marry anyone else, though. What are your thoughts on it, Earl Baumeister-sama?”
I’ve been feeling like my paths of retreat are gradually being cut off, but for now I’m escaping from reality by putting priority on my fake consulting job.
——————— End of Part 3 ———————
“Earl Baumeister-sama…it makes me so jealous to see you surrounded by so many beautiful women…err, sorry, that’s not it! The trial noodles are proceeding well.”
As a matter of fact, I’ve entrusted the owner of the fon restaurant with the ramen noodles. He has five sons who have been making the noodles used for fon every day by hand. All of them are quite skilled at it.
Accordingly I advised the owner to also handle the management of the noodle making place that’s going to sell noodles to the noodle restaurants that are going to be run in this area in order to consolidate, and thus stabilize, the administration.
“Wouldn’t you be able to focus on other things if you got them to make the noodles go well with the broth and ingredients? You can also make detailed orders then.”
In other words, optimize the work.
It might be more expensive than making the noodles themselves, but the making itself requires time, and if there’s many customers, it’s possible that they’d run out of time to prepare the ingredients. But, if there’s a noodle making place in the same area, they could immediately place additional orders if they run short on noodles.
“I think it’s a great idea, but is the noodle quality going to be alright?”
“We have been making fon noodles every day. We can easily cover the basics, and we’re also researching pasta and other noodle types to become able to make them as well. My sons and I are in the middle of improving our skills through special training.”
They’re currently also taking lessons from a cook, who can make udon and soba, Akira has referred to them. If soba and udon prove to be popular, Arterio-san and I plan to run stalls as well. Even the noodles used by those stalls are scheduled to be provided by the noodle makers here.
“Of course I also plan to improve my fon and serve it.”
In addition, he intends to serve several other noodle dishes. The idea is to bring the balance in the black by also increasing the income with the noodle making as side business.
Even the three stores I purified of evil spirits are going to operate as fon restaurants and noodle making kitchens. According to the owner, he plans to split up his sons and deploy them to his other restaurants.
“We came to fetch the noodles we ordered.”
“Of course. You can find them over here.”
Since they’re ramen noodles, they require lye water, but no matter where we looked, we couldn’t find any. I also asked Akira, but he said that Mizuho doesn’t use lye water either.
Although it’s not intended as a substitute for it, a noodle making area, which used wood ashes water, had been set up in the new territory of Mizuho. Given that the trees used for the wood ash exist in the Kingdom as well, I asked the owner to make the ramen noodles after making wood ashes water out those trees.
The noodles are medium thick, and they’re less yellow than usual, making them resemble the soba noodles of Okinawa.
Sooner or later, I’d like to start making lye water. I outsourced this task to Arterio-san after telling him everything I know about lye water, but I think if anyone, he’ll be able to somehow handle it.
“You boil these noodles, and put them into the mix out of your broth and soy sauce. Once you place the garnish on top of the noodles, the dish is done.”
We hurry back to Betty’s brother’s restaurant, and finally complete the pseudo ramen. I sample it right away as the very first, just to find it tasting almost identically to the ramen I ate in my previous life. If I had tried to make it myself, I’d have very likely failed on many accounts.
“Hoh, I see. You let the noodles swim in the broth. It’s different from pasta. It’ll become a good reference.”
Even the fon restaurant owner, who made the noodles, looked very pleased after sampling the ramen.
“When you knead eggs into the noodles or add eggs as garnish, it’ll boost the taste even further.”
“Earl Baumeister-sama, the dish would become too expensive then.”
Eggs obtained from raised chickens or ducks are very costly, and they’re hard to get by since the rich eat them usually. Occasionally adventurers find them during hunts, and sell them off for some extra income, but many simply eat them, which is one of many special privileges of adventurers.
Since the cost for a ramen dish would double if it used eggs, it won’t be served at restaurants. But, I’ll try to enjoy the ramen in private by adding boiled eggs to it. As Earl Baumeister I’ve got enough money to freely eat eggs as I like.
Since my younger days, I was told by my father that I was an expert at finding eggs.
“Sensei, this noodle dish is wonderful. What are we going to do about its name?”
“Let’s go with ramen.”
“Ramen? It’s simple, but I feel like it fits… Brother, well done. This should become a hit.”
“Uuuhh…at long last I got praised by my little sister…since I’ve still got some time, I’ll work on improving it some more.” Betty’s brother shed tears after finally getting praised by her.
I think he’s been doing his best most recently, but since his sister believed that he’d become a slacker if she didn’t pay attention, she was very frugal with praise so far.
“I’ll also work on improving my fon, and I’m in the middle of inventing other noodle dishes.”
“The opening will take place in three days. Please proceed diligently with the preparations.”
Three days later.
The establishment…though it’s not really an establishment to be precise…the concentration noodle restaurants in one district has been opened.
Right now, it’s just before noon. Thanks to us having advertised the opening in advance, the workers, who plan to eat lunch in this district, and families enjoying their holidays are swarming the place.
“Just as you have told me, Earl Baumeister-sama, I have distributed the flyers all over the place.”
I’ve told Arterio-san to create a handout, which would tell people the location of the restaurants on a map and what noodles they can eat for what prices, and distribute it in the neighborhood. After all, we’d be troubled if no customers were to come in the beginning.
We’ve also put up notice boards with the same information all around the district.
Being lured in by those two measures, many customers are visiting the restaurants.
“Mizuho udon and soba? I think I’ll go with this since it’s kinda unusual.”
“Over here they’ve also got a noodle dish with soup, called ramen or something like that.”
Akira has opened his udon and soba restaurants, Rosa-san is serving the ramen Betty’s brother completed at her store while having left the pasta restaurant to her subordinates. In addition, a cafe serving sweets out of Demon Forest fruits with tea and chocolate, and a food court serving yakitori, fried food, sandwiches, hamburgers, potatoes and other things have opened up.
Arterio-san had a merchant under his umbrella open a shop based on his keen insight.
The main attraction are the noodle restaurants, but since people won’t get bored when restaurants serving other foodstuff are around as well, I think it’s okay to go ahead like this.
“And then we have the all-important fon restaurant, but…”
“Wend-sama, is it going to be alright?”
“They have too many irons in the fire with the noodle making place, and thus it looks like they’re already hard pressed with just making noodles…”
Because of the big number of customers, the owner is making noodles in preparation for additional orders. The unusual ramen store has lots of customers, and it seems like they’ll run out of noodles soon.
During the reconstruction, they had built a noodle-making space at the glass-sided restaurant front, allowing people to watch the owner make the noodles from outside.
Drawn in by that performance, many customers also end up entering the fon restaurant.
“People are flooding in, attracted by the practical skill of a noodle-making master. It’s not just the taste of the dishes that matters.”
“You’re truly serious about everything related to cooking, aren’t you?”
“Of course. People will die if they don’t eat any food. It’s much more worthwhile to invest time and effort into this than socializing with retarded nobles.”
“You could ease Roderich-san’s burden with that though…”
Increasing the number of customers by performing a live cooking show was a common method in my previous life. Even in the other stores of the owner, his sons were showcasing their skills which they had learned from their father.
“With that said, you can feel relieved since the fon restaurant won’t go bankrupt, Wilma.”
At long last, Wilma shows me a broad, happy smile. Usually she doesn’t really ask for favors, but she has a strong sense of duty towards those who took care of her in the past.
“How did you improve the fon dishes?”
“Well, I left that part to the owner as a professional in his trade…I guess we should go and take a look.”
“Time to sample the food.”
Considering that today would be packed with many customers, only Erw and Wilma accompany me. Once the three of us enter the fon restaurant, an employee immediately shows up to take our order.
“What would you like to order?”
When I look at the menu, the prices have gone up significantly. The dishes have the cliched name of 『New Fon』, but the biggest change are the three flavors you can choose. In addition to the traditional salt flavor, he’s also added soy sauce and miso.
“I’ll take soy sauce.”
“I’ll go with miso then.”
“Salty for me.”
“Wilma, your choice is rather conventional.”
“Fon is basically all about salty flavor. I can’t feel relieved if he hasn’t improved that one properly.”
“That makes sense.”
As Erw and I agree with Wilma’s view, our ordered fon is being served.
“It’s looking quite delicious now.”
My fon has been arranged in a way closely resembling oily soba. It uses thick noodles and the amount has also increased to a regular serving. Once I stir and try to eat it, I discover that the noodles have been boiled in ramen broth, before having soy sauce added to them. The garnishes are chopped potherbs, boiled veggies, and cubed boar meat.
“It’s really tasty.”
“Yep, no kidding.”
I like oily soba, so this counts as a nice improvement for me. Even if he might have worried, this shows that the owner is a professional. He’s reached oily soba by himself while referencing ramen.
“Wilma, how’s the salty flavor?”
“Good. It’s been improved properly. Wend-sama, aa───hh.”
I’m suddenly being fed, but since we’re married, it’s no problem.
“So far as it goes, you’re in public, just so you know.”
“We’re married. Erw, every day when you get back home, you also have Haruka…”
“Stop! That’s out of limits!”
So you have Haruka do this for you every day, eh…?
I think it’s wonderful for a married couple to be on good terms, but it appears he doesn’t want others to hear about such things…
“It’s quite good.”
It uses almost the same garnishes, but has a salty flavor and doesn’t have the same broth as my fon. The owner probably wanted to preserve the salty flavor by all means. I can clearly tell the improved outcome from him having struggled.
“How is it, Earl Baumeister-sama?”
“It’s become very delicious.”
If it’s like this, I feel like occasionally coming here to eat fon. After all, I have a craving for oily soba every once in a while. Until now I’ve forgotten about that dish, this fon has reminded me of my urge to eat it.
Fortunately, I’ve got my 『Teleport』, so I’ve got no issue with the distance to the capital.
“Are you still worried about something?”
I notice how the owner is pulling a somewhat long face.
“The salty, new fon is reasonably popular, but in the end, it loses out to the soy sauce and miso fons. I’m a traditional person, so I always believe that fon ought to be salty.”
Since it’s a business, he’s serving the other two fons to make sales, but I guess he still wants the salty fon to be his main dish.
“It’s not like I don’t have any ideas, but…”
“I guess we’ll try to make it as a test.”
As soon as we move to the restaurant’s kitchen, I take out a certain item out of my magic bag. It’s the small smoker I used to make smoked fish way, way back in the past, and the chips necessary to use it.
I haven’t really used it ever since forming a party, but since I had time in my loner period, I occasionally smoked meat and fish.
“Are you going to smoke it?”
“Yep, I’ll add an aroma to the salt, and create a salt sauce with the smoked salt.”
Smoked salt can be prepared in advance to a certain extent. The wood chips aren’t overly expensive either, so it likely won’t be necessary to raise the price for the fon with this.
“Aroma also plays a role for the taste. Today I’ve only got walnut wood chips on me, but you could also import cherry wood chips from Mizuho. But, I guess that’d become expensive…there’s another option.”
A small dose of concentrated soup, seasonings, and oil have become the ingredients for the new fon broth.
“When it comes to keeping the salty flavor, you should improve the oil, I’d say.”
You create a fragrant oil by using all kinds of raw materials, and if you use this oil, the taste of the new fon should become variegated. I smoke the salt, create a fake chili oil with small river prawn I had with me, and chili pepper I imported from Mizuho, and make the new salty fon with these.
“It’ll allow you to adjust the bitterness to your liking with a salty prawn flavor.”
“Oohh! It’s incredibly delicious!”
“Earl Baumeister-sama, what a splendid idea! You have outstanding talent!”
———– End of Part 4 ———–
Erw and the owner praise my idea highly, but seeing how it’s just a rip-off and nothing I came up with myself, that praise pains me a bit. But, it’s all for the sake of recovering my noodle-based life, so it’s a necessary sacrifice.
“Given that the improvement comes from an amateur like me, I’m sure that the owner will be able to make it a lot more delicious as a professional.”
“The recent events made me reconsider many things. One of them is the necessity to constantly research new dishes…”
Humans easily get used to things, so they’ll quickly tire if you serve them the same dishes over and over again. Some people would object at this point, asking why old, well-established restaurants can keep existing in such a case, but it’s just the customers who believe that their food remains always the same. In reality, it’s common sense to improve the taste bit-by-bit.
Actually, it was a surprise for me that the fon restaurant kept thriving until just recently while continuing to serve the same dishes year in, year out.
“Even if you maintain the same menu, it’s indispensable to improve the taste through fine adjustments.”
“You’re absolutely right. This has been a good lesson for me. ‘Because it’s fon, it’s cheap and simple’ is a nice way of thinking, but that doesn’t mean it can taste awful. I’m very sorry for relying on you after offering you such a cheap menu.”
The owner began to also sell yakisoba at the four restaurants he had left to his sons, his fon restaurant, and in front of his restaurant. Because the noodles didn’t cost much as they were homemade, he could sell the yakisoba for two cents as long as he lowered the portion size a bit.
This is why it became an affordable snack for the masses. The employees would roast the yakisoba on iron plates, drawing the people over with the fragrant aroma.
『I cannot lose out either』
Akira also started to sell fried udon in front of his restaurants. He looks like a beautiful girl, but it’d be no exaggeration to call him a prodigy when it comes to business. He’s more manly than any other guy in regards to his ability to take action.
『Including the capital, the Kingdom has many areas with very mild temperatures. Serving chilled udon and soba will let the sales soar』
Apparently Akira plans to establish branch soba restaurants all over the Kingdom. For this very reason, he was very motivated because he couldn’t afford for his first restaurant of this kind to fail.
“Akira-san, was it? That person is a man, isn’t he?”
“He does have a wife, though it’s unbelievable for him to actually be older than me.”
“It looks like my son didn’t believe so either…”
According to the fon restaurant owner, one of his sons fell in love with Akira at first sight when they were preparing the opening together, but was immediately shot down when he offered his hand in marriage.
“What about your son?”
“It appears he suffered a heavy shock, but using it as a driving force for a rebound, he’s been investing all his effort into his work.” The owner tells me while very busy with noodle making and cooking his new fon.
“But you know, isn’t that just a backlash from him having a broken heart?”
“It’s no broken heart, okay?”
“No, I mean it looks like he didn’t even clear the first hurdle for a romance…”
“It’s no broken heart. Aren’t you misunderstanding?”
“Erw, Wilma, let’s just say it was unrequited love.”
Many customers crowded the renovated noodle restaurants ever since the opening day, and gradually the number of frequent customers grew, resulting in the whole district prospering. Once the number of customers grew, the number of new noodle restaurants and other eateries aiming at them increased as well, leading to an even bigger number of customers being drawn over.
Just as I had predicted, the district, which had been somewhat desolate before all of this, would prosper as 『Noodle Street』, attracting many, many customers even in the future. And spurred on by that, this kind of system, or rather, district spread to not only various areas of the Kingdom, but also cities of the Empire.
“Boo───oh! I wanted to go as well!”
“Sorry, sorry, the place was crowded, so it was best to act in a small group of people. I mean, Wilma would have been worried about the fon restaurant otherwise.”
When we returned to the mansion after finishing our inspection, Luise greeted us with a sullen expression since she had to stay back home.
“Luise, stop pouting like a kid. Wendelin ought to have prepared at least some kind of souvenir for thou.”
“As far as new noodle dishes are concerned, I got several. Amalie-san, have you completed ‘that’?”
“I’ve made it as you told me. Using a somewhat bigger amount of ingredients. But, can stew become a noodle dish?”
“Well, it still needs a little quirk.”
I had decided to treat my wives and lovers to new noodle dishes which would also serve as dinner. If these dishes kept getting served at the restaurants in the capital, they should also lead to more customers for them.
“How is it?”
“As delicious as usual.”
Amalie-san had been regularly cooking since marrying into the Knight Baumeister House. Though it was taboo to mention that we were so poor that she wouldn’t have been able to live with us otherwise.
“It’s just right.”
“I think around this much should do, since I was told that the taste is a bit strong. But, making stew with so many ingredients would have been unthinkable in the past, wouldn’t it?”
“Well, sometimes we had plenty of veggies though. It was simply more efficient to grill meat or make other dishes with it.”
“Mother-in-law often said, 『Our family is much more delighted over grilled meat than putting plenty of meat into stew』.”
“It’s because it was the best way to highlight the limited amount of meat we had.”
“The family was big as well.”
Unconsciously I’ve started to nostalgically recall the past with Amalie-san, but during my time back at the Knight Baumeister House, even a thick taste was already an extravagance. In this mansion only Amalie-san and I might know about the uniqueness of my past family’s home. In a certain sense, both of us are comrades-in-arms.
“But, what kind of noodle dish are you going to make out of this?”
“I’ll explain while preparing it. Elise, could you please boil these until they become firm?”
“What a peculiar pasta.”
Even for Elise, who cooks often, it seems to be her first encounter with lasagne. In Japan, lasagne is a pasta used in a dish with the same name.
When I told the fon restaurant’s owner how to make it, he immediately prepared it for me. On Earth it was common to go with dried noodles, but over here it’s normal to use fresh noodles, which is the reason why I consider pasta to be very delicious in this world.
It’s the pasta that’s used for soba, and it’s very delicious, too. However, back in the past we didn’t do such tasteful cooking.
“Dear, they’re done.”
I pour the stew into a heat-resistant container, and add the firm, boiled lasagne. I sprinkle it all with cheese and put the mold into the oven. As soon as the baking is done, I garnish it with chopped parsley, completing the dish.
“This is a noodle dish as well?”
“If you define noodles as kneaded flour after having water added to it, then yes.” Elise answers Luise’s question.
The cheese is bubbling lightly after getting heated up in the baked, lasagne-styled, new dish. Cheese is a luxury as well, but I believe that melted cheese has a taste loved by many people.
“It sure looks delicious. How about we enjoy the food before it becomes cold?”
Following Therese’s advice, we all eat lasagne for dinner. The taste is based on beef stew, and since I’ve prepared it like gratin, or rather, lasagne, it was unthinkable for it to taste bad. The melted cheese was wonderful too, meaning it should be fine to serve this as a new menu item.
“This food might be even more delicious if thou eat it in the northern Philip Dukedom.”
“Makes sense seeing how it’s a warm dish.”
“Still, good job on coming up with such a recipe.”
“Ha ha ha, I also prepared other noodle dishes.”
Next I fried pasta in oil after sprinkling it with salt, and did the same for soba. This is something I ate as a side menu when eating out in a soba restaurant in my previous life. Both can be sold at the storefront as light snacks.
“Next up is a cold noodle dish.”
Cold pasta, or cooled soba and udon might be even more demanded, as long as you can secure a refrigerator or ice machine, because of the Kingdom’s relatively warm climate.
“You came up with so many ideas that I must take my hat off.”
“You can count on me, Luise.”
“But, just one little thing: If you forget your main job as Earl Baumeister-sama, you’ll get scolded by Roderich-san.”
“That side is alright since I’ve properly filed for a holiday with him.”
Given that I’ve recently given my undivided attention to construction work to speed up territorial development, it’s alright to occasionally do some other work like this here. Though I guess it’s more like a hobby than work.
I’ve started all of this because Wilma asked me to, but I think it’s become a good way to relieve some of my stress.
“And then we have dessert.”
After sampling various noodle dishes, I serve buckwheat dumplings as dessert at the end. This is something I really liked when eating it at a soba restaurant in my previous life, so I recreated it.
It also has the huge advantage of being quickly done by just kneading buckwheat flour with hot water. You can eat it right after applying brown sugar syrup and roasted soybean flour, and it’s also delicious if you put it into sweet red bean soup or some such.
“It’s delicious. It has a refreshing sweetness that differs from the sweets in the Kingdom.”
The oldest among my women, Lisa, has apparently found a liking to the dumplings, eating them happily.
“If these new dishes continue being sold, that district should flourish.”
And Akira as well Betty’s brother are going to make a profit by serving these dishes at their restaurants while receiving Arterio-san’s, as a whole-seller of ingredients, and my assistance. Those profits are then going to be returned to the Earl Baumeister House as well. It’s nothing major when you look at it financially, but it should improve our reputation.
“A truly smart advertisement.”
“Hoh, I see…that is wonderful to hear, Milord.”
Turning around since I suddenly heard a familiar voice, I found Roderich standing there with a bitter face.
“Milord, I certainly gave my permission for you to concentrate on the development of dishes for a new restaurant. But, that holiday originally lasted for three days. With you frequenting the capital for close to two weeks now, development is not proceeding as planned. In the first place, how did supporting a single restaurant turn into something as extensive as a large-scaled business project?”
Because of all the fun I had, I ended up devoting two weeks to work related to the new noodle dishes. Logically, Roderich complained to me about not having heard anything about extending the holiday to such an extent.
“Well…didn’t everyone put in great efforts in my stead?”
Katharina, Therese, Lisa, and Agnes’s gang should have been more than plenty as a replacement for me since they improved their magical skill thanks to my special training.
“Of course the construction has been advancing thanks to Miladies’ efforts. However, the large construction work that can only be handled by you, Milord, has stalled.”
“I see… I’ll do my best starting tomorrow then.”
“Starting tomorrow? I understand. Considering this ten days delay, you will not have any holidays for quite some time, Milord.”
Even though I had finally escaped that blasted salaryman life full of overtime… At this rate, I don’t even know why I’ve become a noble… Don’t nobles usually spend their time in a much more refined manner?
“Are the plans really falling behind so much? Just how much do you think I accelerated the construction work until now?”
“Milord, can you not consider it like this: Even if you work ahead, you still have some leeway. That means, you will be fine even if you accelerate the work even further. Do you not believe that would be the very meaning of following the original plan? Your mana is still growing. Therefore, it is still alright.” Roderich answers me with a face full of confidence.
Or rather, why are you brimming with confidence anyway? The one doing all the construction is me, not you!
“But, I feel like I want to go eat noodles in the capital every once in a while. I also want to invite Elise and the others and go on dates…”
“I would like you to limit your happy times with your wives to Baulburg and the mansion. The mana required by 『Teleport』 is a significant amount.”
“Damn it! I’ll kick the bum of Betty’s brother, and have him open a ramen shop in Baulburg!”
Because I performed my phony consulting work in the capital for two weeks, I was stuck working full-time on the development of my territory for a while. And yet, I still think that it was a good thing as noodle dishes started to appear at my meals.
Because I occasionally treated the workers at the construction site to simple noodle dishes, some of them started noodle restaurants in their residential area or birthplaces, resulting in noodle dishes propagating even further within the Kingdom, but that is a story for another time.