A sense of euphoria encompasses me as I walk in the door to a familiar scene. The restaurant has a very traditional feel to it and despite noticeable localization, it feels just like being home again.
“Oh! As always, it looks like you have a good eye, Jorge! This customer looks like she really appreciates good food!” An older gentleman with a cooks attire on as he pats the guard’s shoulder and gives him a large smile
“Ahem! I heard that you serve a sish shallesh ramen?” I attempt to say in a dignified manner
My mouth betrays me, however, as drool interrupts my words.
“Indeed we do! We serve it better than anybody else in the world! We keep to the fundamentals! We use the Yuusha’s original recipe, even if that no longer suits the taste of our customers.” The old man begins to proudly boast
It seems he made himself a bit sad with that last comment though.
“Get ready!” I hear Kiel whisper to Kera
I look over my shoulder to glare at him. He notices my glare, but continues to whisper to her with a determined look. I would be angry enough to hit him, but my priorities are elsewhere.
“In that case please serve me a bowl,” I say, sitting at the front counter
I can see an array of strange cooking utensils from here.
“Right away!” The old man cheers, out donning an apron
“One for me too pops!” The guard calls out as he sits next to me, tapping the counter twice loudly
“Roger!” The old man calls back
“Are you all not going to eat?” I ask, confused at everybody standing behind me
Gero aside, I’m pretty sure human food is fine for everybody else. Inaba are anything but picky eaters as far as I’ve heard, and the imps don’t seem to have any strict dietary needs.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Bik says, turning his head away
“We um… we just aren’t hungry that’s all!” Kiel responds in a flustered manner
“Here you go!” The old man calls out, putting the bowl in front of me
Whatever, I’ll figure out why they are acting weird later. For now, ramen!
Unfortunately, they don’t have any chopsticks laid out, but I dig in with the fork given to me all the same.
“Delicious! It’s greasy and yet slightly tangy! It has a complex flavor, but it doesn’t overpower you at all! The broth goes down easy, and leaves you with a warm feeling on the inside!” I let out as I devour the noodles in front of me
I can’t help it! The flavor is so good, I think I might go crazy!
“Another please” I say, copying the guard and tapping on the table twice
“Wow! You really wafted that down didn’t you!” The guard says with an impressed look
He begins to down his bowl quickly as well
I hardly pay him any mind though, my focus quickly shifts to the second bowl placed in front of me. I quickly begin to devour it as well.
“Whoohooo! A race it is then!” The guard calls out, tapping on the table
“Another!” I say, following him
The bowl quickly gets placed in front of me. It was so quick that it must have been prepared beforehand. I’ve got to thank the old man who runs this shop after. Wasn’t I only supposed to have two bowls though? Whatever, it’s not important.
“Another!” I call out, finishing the bowl
This ramen is fantastic, but I kind of want to know what the other flavors are like.
“sho shou haf ohher flafors?” I ask in the middle of the next bowl
“Of course! I’ll let you taste every one!” The old man calls out happily with tears in his eyes
A woman next to him seems to be trying to stop him, but he is in a daze. I wonder what’s wrong with him? Wait, when did that woman get here? Whatever, back to the ramen.
“Another!” I yell out, trying to tap the table
I can’t move my hand? I wonder why?
“Right up!” The old man calls out, placing a different colored ramen in front of me
Whatever, if the ramen keeps coming I suppose I don’t need that hand.
“Woooo! This one has such depth! The thick meat slices and the fried egg mixes perfectly, complimenting the noodles!” I let out as I waft down the bowl
It’s hard to keep a hold of my chair and continue eating though. Wait… why am I holding on to the chair? What’s stopping me from getting more ramen?!
“Bwahahaha! I-I I just can’t! Bwahahahaha!”
When I turn to find the source of my difficulty, I see my entire party except for Kera struggling to pull me away from the table. My hand that I couldn’t use anymore was firmly grasping the counter. I hadn’t even noticed the strange position I had begun eating in.
“Sh-She can’t! Can’t stop! Bwahaha! I wish I could record this!” Kera blurted out as she rolled around on the ground laughing
“If you have time to laugh help me!” I yell as I snap back into my senses
“Always the same spot! You’re going to leave a dent there if you don’t stop!” Kera yells as she continues to roll on the ground
A shiver runs down my spine as I remember the guard and the shop owner who just saw me consume so much food.
How many did I eat? 5 bowls? Could I manage to trick them by saying I have a special magic or skill?
I turn to see the damage, and all hope drains from me. Two stacks of bowls, each the size of a small child is sitting on the counter next to where I was just previously at. I can even see an area where the wood is broken from me latching onto it so tightly.
There is no getting out of this is there? Will I have to kill them to keep it secret? Is it worth it?
My head begins to spin, but my thoughts sort themselves out when-
“Hohoho! To be able to eat Jorge under the bus is no small feat! Twofold at that!” The old man proudly laughs with his hands on his sides
“Come back here and eat anytime! Someone who loves ramen as much as you is always valued!” He continues to boast
“I… I don’t think I can afford that,” I say looking for an excuse
When the words exit my mouth, the realization of their accuracy dons on me. I open my inventory and look through my money reserves. When I look back at the bowls to try and calculate my debt, I notice that two women a furiously washing dishes in the back as well.
There is no way I can afford this meal is there? Will I have to dine and dash? This guard knows what I look like though… I won’t be able to become an adventurer if I’m a known thief. Especially not for this much cash.
“Don’t worry about it! Your meals are on the house! Whahahaha!” He continues in a loud voice
“Honey! We will go bankrupt if you don’t stop!” one of the women washing dishes cries out as she latches on to his shirt and drops to her knees to beg
“Nonsense! The god of ramen has descended upon us! It simply wouldn’t feel right to charge her!” He argued back
“Um if it’s alright, I would still like to pay… what I can at least. I’ll pay back the rest when I have it.” I say dejectedly feeling sorry for the women
“No! I will not accept your money! If you feel like paying us back then spread the word about our shop! A woman with taste as good as yours will surely get her feelings across to gourmets!” The shop owner says, standing proud again
It only makes the women look more pathetic since he actually looks a little bit cool.
“R-right.” I say turning my head away
This guy reminds me of Tea a bit. Especially since I have a hard time dealing with him as well.
“Take it from me, this would be a good time to leave!” Kiel whispers into my ear and indicates that everybody else has left
I look back at the old man once more and see that he and the women are in a world of their own now.
Are all the people in this world crazy?