The Clash Of Masters (Part 2)
「Where I drink my sake is up to me, Lorentz.」
「I’ll return those words right back at you, Holger-san.」
Shinobu had forgotten to bring out the appetizers in such a critical situation. Even Taisho, who had never made a blunder before, charred the grilled shishamo.
(TL: There’s no proper English word for shishamo. Literal translation is Willow Leaf Fish.)
‘I need to stay strong.’
Eva thought to herself, before she left the counter to serve a bowl of appetizers, which had been filled by Taisho, to Lorentz.
「Welcome! Today’s appetizer is edamame.」
(TL: Edamame are immature soybeans, usually eaten as appetizers accompanying alcohol.)
Even though she decided to speak with a loud voice, it was not heard by the two, who were continuously glaring at each other.
From Eva’s perspective, the two people looked somewhat like giants. Still, she refused to be daunted by that. This time, she put effort into her stomach, and shouted in a louder voice.
「Here’s some edamame appetizers!」
Finally, both of them noticed her.
Lorentz, who seemed to feel embarrassed, received the dish, along with a hot hand towel. His hand was the same as Holger’s, a hand that felt gentle even though it was large.
「See, Holger, this pretty young lady got mad because of you.」
「Shut up, Lorentz. This young lady here is Eva. Etch that into your head, which is filled with nothing but glass.」
Eva quickly ran back behind the counter at the sign of them starting another fight. Taisho presented the burnt shishamo from earlier to Eva.
「Thank you, Eva. Do you eat shishamo?」
Eva nodded vigorously and received the still warm shishamo.
Taisho was a little worried about Shinobu, who had been silent the whole time and had not eaten anything since morning.
Taisho crouching down by the counter and took a piece of shishamo.
Since he would feel sorry if he started from the head, he took a bite from the tail end.
Even though there was a slight bitterness from the burnt skin, the flesh inside was still soft and fluffy, and the umami taste spread inside his mouth. Even though the seasoning was only salt, why was it so delicious?
Then came the roe.
The popping texture arrived first, and a different taste danced around on the tongue. Since Eva was very hungry, she had eaten two pieces of shishamo in no time and was licking her fingers. Taisho thought that if it was shishamo, she could’ve eaten ten or twenty pieces.
After Eva finished eating and felt satisfied, she noticed that it was strangely quiet.
When she looked up, the customers at the counter were looking over behind the counter.
Eva suddenly felt embarrassed and looked down immediately. She quickly stood up and returned to washing the dishes as if nothing had happened.
While they were looking at the figure of Eva eating the shishamo, the customers by the counter had slightly softened for a time, but the quarrel started again.
「Look at this glass, Lorentz. Can you and your eldest son, whom you are so proud of, make such beautiful glass?」
「If you are going to say that Holger, then look at Taisho handling the squid with the kitchen knife. Such an amazing knife, you and your father probably wouldn’t be able to make that either, right?」
The subject of argument did not seem to end. From Izakaya Nobu’s tools to its interior design, everything could be a topic of conversation. Their ability to continue a conversation in this manner was a mutual talent they had.
Shinobue seemed to have broken down completely upon hearing the two drunk people quarreling loudly, and the orders made by them that came up from time to time were taken timidly.
Then finally, when the snacks arrived,
「Between Lorentz’s order of hokke and my order of grilled, salted ayu, it’s obvious that only mine can satisfy the taste of an adult.」
(TL: Hokke – okhotsk atka mackerel, ayu: a species of sweetfish.)
「These thick bacon slices I ordered, are obviously much more delicious than the croquettes that you ordered.」
And so on.
To be honest, it was a difficult situation to handle. It looked like they were exchanging snacks, but then they started criticizing each other’s choices.
Taisho seemed to have decided not to interfere with those two unless it got out of hand. The only concern he had now was prepping the squids, which he had accidentally stocked up on too much.
However, Eva was slowly getting the hang of handling the two customers.
「Eva-chan, thank you for serving the appetizer a little while ago.」
Shinobu, who had taken shelter behind the counter, stuck out her tongue with a “Teehee”.
Eva couldn’t hate seeing such childishness from Shinobu, who was older than her.
「It’s okay. I also want to learn how to work as a waitress someday.」
「Thank you for your help. In that case, should I learn how to cook properly as well?」
Shinobu joked around while drinking water, acting like an elder sister.
Even though Eva had a lot of younger siblings, she didn’t have an elder sister. Ever since her brother, who was a year older than her, became independent and left, Eva was left as the eldest child in the house.
Since her father’s income wasn’t that good, they couldn’t buy firewood, which was why she had tried to steal the faucet from the store. Such thoughts didn’t come to her mind anymore.
She was now employed, and she only needed to work diligently to receive proper wages in order to feed her younger siblings. That was Eva’s goal now.
That was when Eva realized something.
「Hey, Eva-chan. What are we going to do about the customers who are quarrelling?」
Eva smiled gently at Shinobu, who was anxiously muttering.
「It’s alright. Those two are just having fun.」
It was the same with her younger brothers, who liked to mess with each other.
They would quarrel at any given opportunity. Since they were close to each other, quarrelling indefinitely was possible. Otherwise, one of the men would have just punched the other, left his seat, and gone back home.
In the end, even though the two craftsmen were large in size on the outside, on the inside, they were no different from young boys.
After leaving Shinobu, who didn’t understand what she meant, she got a plate of yakisoba to eat. Today’s yakisoba was specially made, with a fluffy omelette on top of it.
(TL: Yakisoba are stir fried buckwheat noodles, something like chow mein.)
Being able to eat such delicious meals was one of the perks of working at this store.
Since she was able to eat her meals here, Eva endured and ate almost nothing at home. That way, her younger siblings’ meals would increase, even if only by a small amount.
Eva held her spoon and fork in front of the yakisoba.
Even though she had not eaten it yet, the creamy egg omelette and the yakisoba’s sauce combined harmoniously to produce a miraculous taste in her mouth.
She gulped down her saliva.
The only thing she had eaten since morning was the two pieces of shishamo, and her stomach was completely empty. The spoon dug into the beautifully cooked omelette.
Yet, at that very moment, her younger siblings’ faces floated in front of her.
「I’m sorry, Shinobu-san.」
「What is it, Eva-chan? It’s okay to eat, you know?」
「Actually, I don’t have much of an appetite today…even though this was made with so much effort. May I take it back home?」
Her younger siblings had lived life without tasting delicious food.
She had only passed by this store once with her family. During that time, she never thought that she would work at this store. Though she could eat it now, it since she worked here, her younger siblings back home only ate soft bread and soup.
This dish, I want to take it back home.
Eva though sincerely, after seeing the two people still quarreling at the counter.
Shinobu interrupted Eva, who was wondering whether it was futile or not, with a smile.
「Don’t worry, Eva-chan.」
「What do you mean?」
「You want your younger siblings to eat this, don’t you?」
Eva couldn’t stop her cheeks from turning red.
She didn’t think that she would be so embarrassed at being found out for such a small lie.
When Shinobu whispered something to Taisho, he nodded at Eva as well.
「It’s fine if you eat the omu-soba, Eva-chan. I’ll make something that tastes delicious even when it’s cooled down.」
「O-Okay! Thank you very much!」
Eva replied loudly, as if to cover up her embarrassment, and bowed deeply. Being able to work in this store was a good thing; that pleasant feeling gradually spread through her chest.
After pulling herself together, she held up the spoon and fork again.
The usual delicious yakisoba, with an omelette placed on top of it. Even though both dishes were of different kinds, Eva was convinced that this combination would always taste the best.
The moment the spoon met the omelette, a voice rang out from the counter.
「Excuse me, Shinobu-chan. Can I request for the same dish as Eva-chan’s?」
「Oi, oi, don’t try to get a head start on me, Holger. Please…the same one for me as well.」
Those two again.
It seemed that they had began to quarrel about ordering omu-soba this time. Eva grasped the spoon tightly.
「Since I asked earlier than Lorentz, please make mine first.」
「What are you talking about Holger? Such a thing doesn’t matter.」
Inside Eva’s head, something snapped.
「You two! Behave yourselves while you’re eating!」
Holger and Lorentz unintentionally straightened their backs after being shouted at by a girl who was even younger than their own children.
After replying involuntarily, both of them felt uncomfortable and awkward.
The situation felt like a mother scolding her two little children for quarreling among themselves.
After looking at the two people, who had now started behaving, the tiny older sister of Izakaya Nobu started to dig into her food.