1「 Isn’t that obvious? If they’re making this much variety of pastries every day, then they would hire part-time staff for that 」
「 Work hours start at 9 in the morning and ends at 9 in the evening. They’re open for 12 hours a day from morning to night, and they’re constantly making, baking, replenishing new bread at that time, right? That means they have to take turns in shifts to make it in time 」
Mariko opens her smartphone while she says that.
「 Oh, there it is. The owner of this place is a 38-year-old person trained in a foreign bakery. His hobby is reading, and when there’s a popular book, he’ll be sure to buy it 」
Mariko seems to have found the website of this bakery.
「 Get it? For that hobby to be viable, there’s no way the owner is going around making bread from morning until evening 」
Yeah, that’s true.
You still need to work at night for the pastry the next day.
If the owner’s always in front of the oven then he has no time to rest.
「 So what about it? What do you want to happen after knowing that? The owner only needs to check the taste of his products, right? The pastries here look good, looks delicious, and they have a good reputation 」
Kana-senpai looks at her phone too.
It seems that she found discussions over the internet.
「 You see, we’re entering the third-best bakery in Tokyo category 」
Yeah, Katsuko-nee did tell Ai and me to see it.
I think that the shop has a high popularity.
「 But, all I see is an inelegant and a sham of a shop 」
Mariko smiled wryly.
「 Well, you may know about the genuine European bakeries but we’re in Japan. I think that this is good enough 」
「 You two are too loud 」
Yomi warned them.
Oh, the employees and the other customers are looking at us curiously.
Well, students wearing uniforms are arguing on a bakery in an upscale residential area where they don’t fit in.
Even so, seeing that they’re not giving us a warning.
That’s all thanks to Mariko’s uniform, I believe.
It’s a shop intended for rich people so Mariko’s uniform works on them.
「 Oh, sorry 」
Mariko apologized to the people around with an elegant gesture.
「 Hurry up now and pick three, I’ll buy them 」
「 Oooh, w-wait 」
Ai picks pastries in a hurry.
Haiji, Yomi, seen to have made their picks while Mariko and Kana-senpai are arguing.
The bread that took my interest is loaf bread, so I took one.
I want Katsuko-nee to give it a taste too.
「 Are you sure about this Nobu? Do you have money? 」
Kana-senpai asks worriedly.
「 Yeah, this shop should be able to receive cards 」
I take out the card Minaho-neesan gave me since we’re at this kind of place.
「 Wow, isn’t that a black card? 」
「 This card belongs to this man. I guarantee you that 」
Mariko told the employee with a smile
「 O-Okay 」
The employee looks at the back of the shop with a confused look.
Oh, the person Mariko was looking at her smartphone, the owner appeared.
It’s gotten noisy in the shop so he came to check it out.
Haiji spoke to the owner in German.
I don’t know anything about the German language but she speaks with a dignified and elegant tone.
Then, the owner goes back inside the store in a hurry, then…
「 Thank you for your purchase 」
He told Mariko with a smile.
「 Hurry up and pack it 」
「 Ah, yes! 」
With that said, we managed to purchase the pastries.
Haiji and I received the paper bags with the name of the bakery printed on it.
「 I’m very sorry for the fuss, everyone 」
Mariko greets off the people in the store and we left.
「 What did you tell them? 」
Kana-senpai asks Haiji as soon as we left the shop.
「 Nothing much. I just told the man “This is a young lady of a respectable family with a long history. Show no discourtesy” 」
「 Huh, that’s all? 」
Kana-senpai seems surprised.
「 It’s because Haiji spoke in fluent German. You know, in the Japanese language, there’s an inelegant way of speaking and a polite way. That owner is studying German so when Haiji spoke words that the upper class uses, then he trusted us 」
Agnes is also a half-foreign with blonde hair and blue eyes, but…
Haiji has black hair, and you won’t find the European blood unless you take a good look. She’s still young after all.
「 Haiji’s indoctrinated at the academy with the etiquette and language required to serve noblemen in Europe 」
Mariko speaks proudly.
「 That’s one of the reasons, but.. 」
「 I just considered what Edie-oneesama would do if she were here 」
「 If I am lost, I run a simulation of how would a trustworthy and reliable sister would get through it, and so that’s what happened 」
「 Oh, I guess that’s what happened. If you think of what would this person do, you can find your answer right away 」
「 Edie-oneesama’s amazing. She’s an erudite, a fast thinker, and she also has courage. I keep learning from her 」
I see. She’s become good friends with Edie in just one week.
「 That’s right, Edie-oneesama’s thoughts are too fast that I sometimes can’t even read it 」
「 Tsukiko-oneesama seems to have read through it all however 」
As expected of the next Takakura shrine maiden, she can keep up with Edie’s speed.
I wonder how Luna and Koyomi-chan fares.
I should look it up later.
If it goes poorly, it could be a way to counter the Miko power.
「 Yomi, that’s enough on that topic 」
Kudou-papa’s looking this way from the driver’s seat.
「 Kudou-san can do lip-reading 」
I hid my lips with my hand and said.
「 Ah, okay 」
「 Huh, Nobu. Isn’t he Michi-san’s father 」
Kana-senpai asks curiously.
「 Yes, he’s not an enemy right now. But, he’s a free man 」
Depending on the events, he could become our enemy.
「 Besides, that guy never lets such opportunities pass him. Besides, I don’t like the value to go down 」
「 S-Sensei, I’m sorry 」
Yomi bowed her head.
This time, Yomi speaks hiding her mouth.
「 Figure out how you can keep up with Edie’s thoughts 」
「 Maybe, it’s just Yomi who can’t keep up. It might not be a problem with the other girls. If that’s the case, Yomi will become our weakness 」
If an enemy brings a combatant that can think at the same speed as Edie, then…
She will die before she could read their thoughts.
「 Tsukiko-oneesama probably know the secret to it 」
Haiji’s also hiding her mouth.
「 It would be great if she could tell us the trick 」
「 I think so too. Tsukiko’s four years older than Yomi, her experience in reading minds is much longer than Yomi 」
Furthermore, Tsukiko hid the fact that she also has the Miko power while the Yakuza’s monitoring her.
「 Come to think of it, I never had an in-depth conversation with Tsukiko-oneesama on such topics 」
The Takakura sisters know that they have the same power but that doesn’t mean that they talk about the details of it.
That’s probably because the Miko power is essentially the evil power that drove the sisters’ parents to their deaths.
「 Then, since this is a good chance, talk to her. I’ll tell her the same 」
「 Oh, welcome back 」
Returning to the car… Kudou-papa greeted us.
「 This is quite a shitty town, isn’t it? It’s making my ass itch 」
「 Yes, let’s leave this place 」
What’s the point of opening the bread in a car parked when the store you bought it is in front of you?
「 Yeah, let’s leave 」
Kudou-papa starts driving.
◇ ◇ ◇
「 Hmm, well, if you ask me, this is delicious 」
We moved to the big street and parked the car in a civilian parking lot.
Everyone take out several pastries we bought and take a bite.
「 But, how do I say it. It doesn’t have that punch. It tastes like that fancy bakery on the ground floor of a fancy mall or something 」2
「 I think so too 」
「 Really? To me, it’s delicious, although, I don’t eat much of the pastries on malls 」
「 I think that this is the right bread to buy on days when you want something different from usual, those that are a bit luxurious 」
「 It’s nothing luxurious, it isn’t even that expensive 」
「 Nonononono, it’s already much more expensive than the pastries in supermarkets. The difference is about 100-200 yen! 」
Each pastry is priced expensively.
「 That’s true. You can’t compare it to cheap bread. But, it’s not even 500 or 1000 yen per piece. It would be weird to call it luxurious 」
「 Difference in money sense? 」
Mariko’s a young lady of the world-famous Torii electronics after all.
「 But you know, when it comes to the popular bakeries in Tokyo, isn’t that shop the ideal one? 」
Kana-senpai says while eating bread.
「 Regardless of what we say, they have customers, and they sell. You don’t seem to like it but the ordinary customers find it favorable I believe 」
「 I don’t think that it’s a refined store however 」
「 What I mean is don’t think that your senses are the same as the ordinary Japanese citizens! What I saw in that store is that it’s beautiful, high-class, and a wonderful store. “I ate pastries in that store. It was delicious,” I can boast to my friends about that 」
「 Well, I guess that’s what it means by building the right shop, right? 」
Kudou-papa says while eating.
「 The owner is much more of a businessman than a craftsman 」
「 I think that he does a lot of research on which pastry is in trend and what kind of stores sell it 」
「 True. The fact that he trained in Europe is just to build up his career, it seems he summons craftsmen from Europe to make a prototype pastry on-site 」
Mariko looks for more information on her phone.
「 The owner chooses the pastry from the prototypes and lets the staff and part-time workers make them. The owner seems to instruct them to change the flavors to suit the Japanese taste buds. That seems to be the process 」
「 Well, that’s natural. The owner would like to take two days off a week while owning a bakery. You’d want a vacation in summer. And yet, if you want to keep your paycheck intact, you have to think of such strategy 」
「 If you do everything by yourself, then you won’t have time for yourself anymore 」
「 He’s a producer. He thinks of what kind of store he’s going to build, what kind of pastry to sell, how to gather customers, but, he lets others take care of the scene. He only concentrates on checking the taste of the pastry on his shop 」
「 But… 」
「 It’s not fun if you don’t bake it yourself 」
「 Managing a shop is a serious business so talking about fun is a different thing, right? 」
「 That’s right. This is what business is about so I think that they’re doing the right thing 」
Those are Mariko and Haiji’s opinion.
「 Hmm. Sure, the pastry is delicious and I feel like I’d get a status if I become a regular over there 」
「 Huh? I would refuse to get a status from that place 」
「 Commoners would love to 」
True, she probably can’t have the same genuine upper-class senses as Mariko but…
Ordinary people in the upscale residential district will go to the stylish high-class bakery…
That makes them feel good.
「 Anyway, that’s just the first one. We still have more to go 」
Katsuko-nee still has other bakeries on her list.
「 Kudou-san, if you’d please 」
「 Sure, let’s go 」
He ignites the engine of the minivan.
◇ ◇ ◇
「 Huh, What’s this? 」
「 Is this really a bakery? 」
The second bakery;
It’s in the middle of the residential district.
The listed address is a small house.
It’s an old storehouse built around the time of the Showa era.
Although, you call it a shop, but…
I think this is a former tobacco shop.
There’s only a small glass counter window.
「 But, it sure has a bakery signboard there 」
Kana-senpai pointed out and sure enough, there’s a small signboard there.
How can you tell this when you’re walking down the road?
By the way, the glass showcase that would’ve contained the products when it was a tobacco shop is now empty.
「 Wait, I’ll go check the store name 」
Mariko opened her smartphone.
「 Oh, it seems that this bakery is mainly using online shopping 」
Online shopping, for pastries?
「 Also, the reservation is buried for two years already 」
Then, we can’t buy from here.
「 It seems that they deliver freshly baked pastry on the day you reserved. That’s their selling method 」
So that’s why it’s just a private home, and the signboard doesn’t stand out either
「 Hey, Nobu, could you give me the list Katsuko-san gave you? 」
I gave it to Kana-senpai.
「 Oh, look, the last page has a printed reservation paper 」
「 Katsuko-san reserved baked pastries for today 」
「 Oh, Kou, it’s in here. 」 “If you’re concerned about the freshness of the pastry, then don’t take the delivery service, go directly to the store to get it”
Then, we’ll exchange this reservation paper for the pastry.
「 This bakery is amazing. Only one guy’s doing all the work 」
Mariko reads the articles on her phone.
「 Also, he’s so particular about the flour, the yeast, water, and everything, that he only bakes bread once a week, on Saturdays 」
Once a week.
「 That’s why the line reaches two years 」
Another extreme bakery.
「 For now, let’s call someone from the inside. This one, right? 」
Kana-senpai noticed the intercom on the storefront.
「 Oh, I think so 」
Since this is the storefront, I think that they’ll deliver it through this glass door.
I pushed the intercom.
『 Yes? 』
A gloomy woman’s voice.
「 Ah, I’ve come for the reserved pastry. It’s Takanashi Katsuko
I looked at the name of the reservation paper and said.
『 Okay 』
Three minutes later, a 40+ old lady comes over.
「 Err, Takanashi Katsuko-san? 」
「 Yes, Here’s the reservation paper
「 Ah, okay 」
The lady checks the printed paper…
Then, she brings out two 600g loaves of bread.
「 That’s 5400 yen 」
「 What? 」
「 It’s two loaves 」
That means one costs 2700 yen?
「 Also, the consumption tax 」
Anyway, I take out my wallet and bring out money to pay.
「 Thank you for your patronage 」
She took the money and gave me a receipt.
The young lady then closed the glass door without saying anything.
「 Wow, I guess this kind of business works too? 」
「 It does. It sure is in the article of “delicious bakeries in Tokyo,” and they have high praise on the taste. They even say that it’s one of the pastries you have to try before dying 」
Mariko and Kana-senpai seem dumbfounded.
「 But, this bread is amazing 」
Ai says while looking at the bread inside the simple plastic bag.
「 You can see that she took her time and is meticulous with her work 」
You can tell from the appearance how amazing it is.
It’s that kind of bread.