An End With Salmon Ochazuke (Epilogue)
The tables and the counter were wiped beautifully clean with a piece of cloth dampened with vinegar.
Even though Nobuyuki normally left this type of work to Shinobu or Eva, it was his habit to clean it at least once a week.
Today was the Sabbath for the Old Capital.
Although it was morning, nobody was on the streets.
According to the religion that was widely practiced in the Old Capital, people believed that it was a good day to not work. Even though Nobuyuki could open the store, no customers would come.
It was an experience for family members to cherish this day, as it was the only time they could spend together in the entire week.
As a matter of fact, ever since the store had opened that day, Deacon Edwin had been the only customer, so there was hardly any business.
Lastly, Nobuyuki purified the altar and replaced the water of the sakaki plant.
Ever since the day Eva had disappeared, he had started to offer inari sushi at the altar once a week. Although he did not understand the meaning behind it, he had a feeling that business had begun to flourish, so it was a small price to pay.
(TL: Sakaki: evergreen tree. Cleyera japonica)
Speaking of “Inari”, the store itself is a mystery.
The entrance of this store, which was located in the corner of a shopping district that had a bad reputation, was somehow connected to the Old Capital. It was possible to enter the store from the shopping district side by opening the front shutters, but when they wanted to exit the store, it would be connected to the Old Capital.
(TL: Inari in this context means God of Harvest, Uka-no-Mitama)
Due to Nobuyuki and Shinobu’s easygoing nature, they did not mind the small details, and the landlord had kept silent too.The monthly rent was paid through bank transactions, since the landlord, who lived in the nearby Inari shrine, never came to visit the store.
Even though Nobuyuki visited the Inari shrine occasionally, it wasn’t merely for a stroll.
When he had been in deep trouble, it was this Inari shrine that had helped him.
「Now then, is it about time to get ready?」
He was done with his routine cleaning on the Sabbath.
After this, he would normally go to his own room on the second floor and watch his pre-recorded detective dramas, assemble a plastic model of a ship in a bottle, or eat out on the pretence of research.
However, today was different. There would be a special customer arriving.
He changed out of his work clothes that he had worn during his cleaning and donned his chef clothes.
It was one of the special skills Nobuyuki had obtained during his pursuit of knowledge; he could feel calm and clear his mind whenever he put on his white chef’s hat.
He had just finished sterilizing his kitchen knife and other preparations when he heard a noise coming from the back door
Shinobu entered shyly.
She was wearing a refreshing sundress with a thin jacket, which gave off an entirely different impression from her usual apron work attire.
She entered the store, passing behind Nobuyuki, and sat down at the counter.
She had settled down, but her behaviour was different from usual.
「Taisho, I’m sorry for asking for such a big favour today」
「It’s alright. Since it’s an anniversary.」
Today, exactly half a year had passed since Izakaya Nobu opened in the Old Capital.
It had been cold and snowy, with flickers of sunlight, when the store had opened on that day in the Old Capital, but right now, it was hot enough for one to actually break a sweat.
Two glasses, not mugs, were filled with beer.
When Nobuyuki handed the glass, which looked like it was covered in sweat, to Shinobu, he was surprised to see that her fingers were longer and thinner than he had expected.
Even though Nobuyuki had only intended to take a sip, it seemed that he was thirsty. He made a bitter smile after he had had unintentionally drained his glass.
Although Shinobu had practically no makeup on when she ate, her skin looked vibrant. No, did she just lack an interest in makeup?
「Speaking of beer, a lot has happened, hasn’t it?」
「Indeed. That Bachschouf case.」
「Yes, yes, Bachschouf, if I remember correctly.」
Nobuyuki served the appetizer that he had prepared to Shinobu, who was holding the glass in one hand and laughing mirthfully.
It was possible to serve sashimi, which was not a familiar dish to the people of the Old Capital yet, without reserve today.
He watched as Shinobu savoured the food quietly.
Shinobu, who had been strictly disciplined as a daughter of a ryotei, had a beautiful way of eating.
Furthermore, her tongue was the real deal.
(ED: In this case, i think it refers to Shinobu’s refined sense of taste)
「Taisho, did your skills improve again?」
「Did it? If Shinobu-chan says so, then it must be so.」
「I think it’s tailored more towards the customer’s tastes now, compared to before.」
「The customer’s tastes, huh?」
It had been about nine months since Shinobu ran away from home and fled from the ryotei with him.
It wasn’t something romantic like eloping, though.
It was more like two people had escaped separately, but acted on it at the same time by chance.
It seemed that the reason Shinobu ran away from her family was because she had to marry against her will.
It was just for formalities, but there were plans to arrange a marriage interview with the son of the vice president of a bank in order to rebuild the ryotei, which was in a bad financial situation.
Based on her personality, he could understand why Shinobu left that detestable house.
「Taisho, I…want to eat tempura.」
「Okay okay. I’ll fry whatever you want.」
Since the last resort of having Shinobu marry to rebuild the ryotei was called off, it was necessary to begin restructuring its employees, after looking at the current situation.
Even though Nobuyuki took pride in his cooking skills, socializing was not one of his strong points. If he was going to be fired, he thought that he might as well leave the store immediately. Then he had unexpectedly met Shinobu-ojousama again.
Shinobu sprinkled some salt over the crisply fried tempura and mixed it evenly. Shinobu’s favourites were whiting, maitake mushrooms, edible chrysanthemum, and squid. She was also a fan of unusual things like benishoga tempura.
(TL: benishoga: red pickled ginger)
「This squid is delicious.」
「If it’s this delicious squid, Berthold-san might even be able to eat it, right?」
「I don’t think he has overcome his fear enough yet.」
He served a second glass of beer when Shinobu picked up the extra crispy fried squid.
In his opinion, it was well-fried.
Her face seemed a little flushed. Had she become tipsy?
From that point on, he made various appetizers as per Shinobu’s requests.
He served items that were difficult to serve out in the Old Capital. By adding a little twist, he even served dishes that could be made in the Old Capital. He even redesigned some of the Old Capital’s dishes.
Every time a piece was served, Shinobu’s merciless criticism came flying out, and she excitedly talked about the regulars she wanted to serve it to.
It wasn’t bad to have rest days like this.
Finally, the last dish was salmon ochazuke for two people.
Although they weren’t aware of it, this was the dish that the previous Emperor had eaten.
They ate it as if they were drinking it. It smoothly filled up the stomach and gave a pleasant, satisfying feeling.
「Let’s continue it, this Izakaya Nobu.」
Somewhere close by, they heard the faint sounds of cicadas chirping.
Midsummer was almost upon them.
(TL note: Don’t worry, readers. This is not the last chapter of the WN. It is, however, the last chapter on Isekai Izakaya Nobu’s LN volume 1. Hence, the title. Thank you for showing your support of my translations all this while. Here’s to more chapters to come. Cheers!)