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Sweet Hunt - Chapter 6

(Some time later)

Niki: Put some mint and lavender, along with clove and coriander…

I'll be able to make that phantasmagoricola for sure if I use these spices from Gardenia! Right, Ritsu-kun?

Ritsu: There's no guarantee, but with all this at our disposal… There's a pretty good chance, yeah.

We've probably got enough space to work since we're here after-hours at least?

Mao: But man, you sure got this place fast. I didn't get it in half the time when I was trying to reserve it for my "Idol Linkterview".

Niki: Heh-heh-heh. That’s just one of the perks of working here. It's nice that even if there's two of us making this cola, we're not running the risk of bumping into one another 'cause of a too-small space, right?

Speaking of, Ritsu-kun — let's hit the kitchen and get started~♪

Ritsu: Sure thing. It's rare I get to share the kitchen with someone who actually appreciates my cooking, so I'm gonna be enjoying this ♪

Mao: You two sure are hyped up, huh.

Rinne: That's 'cause they love cooking. There’s never a moment when Niki doesn’t have cookin’ on his mind, yanno?

Niki: Hmmm? What's that? Are you spreading lies, Rinne-kun?

Rinne: Nope. Big bro's just havin' a li'l chat with his junior, that's all.

Ritsu: Heheheh… You two aren't just gonna get to sit there and watch, y'know. You're gonna be our taste-testers.

Niki: We're gonna make a whole bunch of the undiluted solution, so you guys just wait with empty stomachs, okay?

Rinne: Ooh, I'm lookin' forward to that! I'm flat-broke after hittin' the slots, so I'd looove to fill my belly with free food ♪

Niki: Hold on, you lost all that money again!? You really need to learn self-restraint!

Playing the slots isn't even appropriate for an idol, so they made the exchange rate on L$ really high too, y’know? Please think about how irresponsible that is!

Rinne: Gyahaha, no worries, I didn't go into the red! It ain't like I'm embezzlin' Crazy:B's funds either, aight?

Niki: I don't trust a word you say, you know? I bet you wouldn't hesitate if you were losing!

Mao: Ummm… What happened to making the phantasmagoricola?

Shouldn't you postpone the chit-chat and focus on cooking?

Niki: No worries! I'm used to talking while I cook ♪

I do this all the time, especially when Rinne-kun mishandles our money ♪

Mao: Ahahaha… That happens a lot, huh…?

Ritsu: Well, making conversation's better than just sittin' silent, right? All we've gotta do is keep an eye on the heat, so it'll help us keep from getting bored while things are simmering.

On that note, the first trial's done. Seems like Shiina-senpai's gonna take a swig, so why don't you two take a sip too?

Rinne: Lemme see... Well, it ain't bad. That sure is cola.

But goin' by the look on Niki's face, this ain't it, chief.

Niki: .......

Rinne: C'mon, Niki, you've got a thing for cookin', yeah? So bring out the next one!

Niki: Of— Of course, I knew things don't always work the first go around… I'll make another!

(Two hours later)

Niki: Alright, finished! This one's definitely

Ugh… No good. This one's missing something too…

Isara-kun, can you try some?

Mao: S-Sorry… My stomach's not feeling great...

Ritsu said we should be pretty close to what he made… Why don't we take a little break?

It looks like everyone's pretty worn out too...

Rinne: Ugh… All that carbonated water's 'bout to burst ya boy's belly.

Ritsu: I'm throwin' in the towel too~... I gotta lay down for a bit…

Niki: Mmm, we're dropping like flies… There's a ton of sugar in it, so of course you shouldn't drink it all day…

But I'm not gonna be able to rest easy if I don't manage to make the cola today.

I guess I'm gonna have to keep at it on my own...

But if I still can't make one I'm satisfied with—


Rinne: Niki…?

Mao: Huh… Is someone there? Sorry, but Cinnamon's closed for the day~?

...Oh, it's just Anzu. What're you doing here at this time~?

Ohhh… You came to cheer yourself up by eating one of Shiina-senpai's family meals1...?

I see. He's fixed you something to eat when you've come by before, so ever since then you come by after working late to grab a bite, huh?

Ritsu: Heheh. His cooking's really tasty, right? I'm learning tons… Actually, I could go for some of his food too.

Rinne: Yep, his stuff's dee-li-cious. Ya boy can get 'im to whip somethin' up right now if ya want.

It was specially requested by a customer, after all! There’s nothin' that makes a chef happier… Ain't that right, Niki?

Niki: ……

That's true… The world won't end just because you make one mistake—

Good job today, ma'am!!

I made a ton of craft cola, so drink up and forget your hunger ♪

I’ll get my usual meal out for you in a sec ♪

...Wh — you don't like carbonated drinks?

Ahhh… You're not a big fan of them because they irritate your throat.

...And you don't see the point in drinking cola on an empty stomach and making yourself sick?

Mao: Ahaha… Shiina-senpai's got a stomach of steel, doesn't he?

My parents used to say that you'd get sick if you ate a bunch of heavy food out of nowhere.

I don’t think I’d be able to eat greasy foods when I’m sick, either.

Ritsu: Mmm, yeah… I guess little boys wouldn't really care. I don't have a huge appetite, so eating too much might bother my tummy.

Niki: Huuuuhhh… Now that you mention it, yeah…

For example, for full-course meals… I've gotta consider the order of dishes on the menu really carefully so that the diner's left satisfied. It's essential that you keep the state of their stomach in mind.

I've been cooking for Rinne-kun a lot recently, so I've been making bigger, messier dishes…

Rinne: Damn, Niki, you think I'm just gonna pretend I didn't hear that?

Niki: Uh, it just means you're young and energetic! Being able to eat a bunch of carbohydrates and fatty foods is youth privilege — I'm just making a menu that suits you to a T, Rinne-kun ♪

Still… I totally didn't even think about if the little ma'am here could drink cola or not…

I didn’t know it affects how someone's tummy is feeling…


That's it! I've figured out the secret behind that cola!

I'm gonna need everyone's help once I'm done fixing something up for the little ma'am here to eat… Can you guys tie me up to one of the posts here in Cinnamon?

Mao: ...What?

  1. Anzu calls it まかない料理, which is basically a staff meal - more colloquially, it's known as a family meal. Essentially, it's food for the staff, by the staff, and they're often made after prepwork is done but before service begins, because you can't work on an empty stomach.