Chapter 2:

Hence, the story moves forward...

Toaru Ramen no Hanashi

A lull is currently persisting inside the establishment. The silence is deafening enough one can actually hear the boiling water in the kitchen. The regulars, not saying anything, gulping whatever air they can grasp and the boy, in the same situation, couldn't help but do the same. Another ample moments passed, the sliding door slowly opened. But before all the events had happened, the story must be rewound for a bit.Bookmark here

The conversation in the counter is ever lively. Gourmet, apparently striding on a zone, kept the story interesting that even garnered the regulars' attention who already heard the story multiple times. There was laughter, even some sobbing moments, also some thrilling parts that kept all of those involved in their seats.Bookmark here

For a moment, Gourmet took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped some sweat building on his nape. Whilst the time of the day was dusk, the sweltering heat from earlier that day still remains albeit in lesser fashion. All of the electric fans inside the ramen shop are running all day long to help mitigate the swirling hot sensation.Bookmark here

For a while, Gourmet won't utter a word. Eroi, inadvertently, would grab the spotlight with the sweat dropping on her cleavage that obviously made her uncomfortable. She innocently countered it by blowing some air that ultimately put all the males, except Gourmet and the Chef, on the spot. The boy with a reddened expression, tried his very best not to take side glances at the sight. Regardless, the short sensual instance would not last long, all thanks to the vigilant last boss of the ramen shop. She called on Eroi and entered a room adjacent to the kitchen and there remedied the whole situation. Mere seconds after, Eroi happily went back to her seat all freshened up. Shortly after that, Gourmet clapped his hands to gather everyone's attention and restarted the story.Bookmark here

"Now, where were we again?" he said after a single mild cough.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Alliona couldn't forget the taste of the roasted wild boar meat. She would then bug her parents to let her go and hunt some boar in the wild. Contrary to her kind visage, she's an extremely capable hunter for her young age. She would even put most of the professionals in her village to shame. But as proper adults, her parents will not allow their only daughter to pursue such drive.Bookmark here

"Pops! Mother! Please, I'll come back as soon as I catch one!" Alliona said with pouty cheeks. She has been rejected to the point that she can't contain herself from acting immature.Bookmark here

Her parents remains steadfast. They shrugged her suggestion off that obviously put Alliona in a stance ready to protest for the umpteenth time. Like clockwork, Alliona would bother her parents all day, even during their sleeping time. She would come to her parents' bed and whisper some self-suggestive words that annoyed her usually gentle mother resulting some bumps on her head that will remain for the following days.Bookmark here

Eventually, it was the father who will give in to pressure. He knows that it would mount an incredible effort to convince his wife, but nevertheless, showed support to his curious daughter. After a few gruelling days, the wife of the house, finally gave up her streak. But contrary to the initial notion of Alliona hunting on her own, she decided it would be best if they just travel to Vladivostok for a short vacation. At their time, it's a budding port city that deals with all kind of transaction from importers mostly originating from the other side of the globe. After the decision was made, Alliona was so ecstatic for the next few days, so enthusiastically that she would fall victim to a fever.Bookmark here

Prior to her getting the fever, all sorts of preparations were already done for their trip to Vladivostok. It was their first vacation for a while, but obviously, with her bedridden, the trip would naturally be cancelled. Feeling culpable of the situation, she would encourage her parents to go on the trip without her. Naturally, her worried parents were not thrilled to hear such notion but eventually, Alliona convinced them with sincere conviction.Bookmark here

"Umm, Mother, Pops! Please bring lots of wild boar meats as souvenirs!" she said with a big smile on her face.Bookmark here

After her parents went to the trip, Alliona stayed bedridden for four whole days. On the fifth day, she would wind up into the terrible news befalling her parents. It seemed the caravan they went to travel with was lost in the trails due to a bandit attack. As many have assumed, this usual modus operandi by such scoundrels results into a massacre or if not, some indiscriminate cruel treatment of the captives.Bookmark here

For a whole month, there was nothing but solemness in her village. Family members of other families who went with the caravan began their initial ceremony for the deceased, but Alliona, in her young age, couldn't comprehend or even think of what she must do at such times. The village elder who would take care of her for the time being, told Alliona that she must now decide and grow up because that's her only choice to move on.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

"Wa... wait..!" the boy interrupted, completely looking panicky. "Wh... why? This is that kind of story?" he said while stuttering.Bookmark here

Even the other regulars, who aforementioned, heard the story multiple times fell silent with a solemn air generating from their husks. Eroi would uncharacteristically, occasionally wipe something from her eye, even the graceful lady of the ramen shop quiet, with her eyes closed and the chef in the kitchen, also donning the same saddened expression.Bookmark here

The boy can feel the depressing air taking over the entire establishment. Only Gourmet, the storyteller, is calm, gently stroking his beard repeatedly. The boy then decided to perk up his fellow listeners, not only after gathering his courage. He would stand up in the middle of the establishment and rallied the regulars with a loud clap enough to snap their gloomy trance. As he would expect, the boy himself couldn't believe the actions he just took. Naturally timid, he finds himself in the spotlight. Noticeably trembling, his knees close to buckling, Gourmet came to the boy's rescue.Bookmark here

"Good job, boy. Every time I tell this story, it always ends up like this. Geez, the people frequenting this shop is made up of sentimentality." he said after a chuckle.Bookmark here

The boy sighed heavily and set his sight to his chair in the counter. Along his way to his designated seat, he was met with soft smacks on his back from the regulars, cheering him as if he's done something incredible.Bookmark here

"It's your first time here, but you're already welcomed this much. You're such an interesting boy." Eroi whispered with her trademark "bite her lower lips" seduction technique.Bookmark here

"Hey, boy. I know the story sounds ridiculously dark at the moment, but bind your time, Alliona will make a comeback." Gourmet said before taking a mouthful of his ramen.Bookmark here

"Right, right. Alliona-chan is tenacious, you know? She's a really capable main heroine." Eroi asserted with a thumbs up sign.Bookmark here

The boy felt some sense of security from their words. He scouted the establishment and confirmed the gloomy feeling gone, much to his relief.Bookmark here

After a short while, an old ringtone reverberated in the establishment. Wondering who it belongs to, the entire roster inside, once again fell completely quiet. The ringtone from 20 years ago, sparked intrigued among the older regulars. Even the boy and Eroi who are relatively young could tell the ringtone was popular and well-known. But contrary to the building suspense, the user of the ringtone nonchalantly took her phone out of her apron and answered.Bookmark here

"Hello? What can I do for you today?"Bookmark here

The ramen shop lady was the person in question. She went inside the kitchen and discussed something with her husband and shortly after that, with lightning quickness, the Chef magically prepared five bowls, almost in an instant. Soon, the lady went out of the kitchen with a stainless crate on her hands. Apparently, the call from earlier is from a customer requesting a ramen delivery. Before she opens the sliding door entrance, she recalled that she forgot her keys, but telepathically, her husband tossed the keys to her without saying anything. Before she went out to the front entrance, the lady declared her love for the chef.Bookmark here

"Dear, I love you! Ittekimasu!"Bookmark here

For a while, a giddy atmosphere enveloped the shop before everyone bursting into laughters after Gourmet routinely teased the owner of the ramen shop.Bookmark here

"Oh for the love of the heavens, you looked more ripe than a tomato, boss! Ane-san's word aside, don't you think you're blushing way too much? Nobody likes a blushing old dude!" Gourmet shouted, obviously as a means to rile his easily-embarrassed friend.Bookmark here

Even with the telegraphed chagrin on the chef's face, he decided to ignore the teasing of an old friend. Diligently, he returned to his work stirring two pots simultaneously, one of which was broth and the other stock. Gourmet also put a stop to the jovial teasing and instantly grabbed the regulars' attention with a loud fingersnap.Bookmark here

He smiled. "Okay, everyone. Let's go back to the story, shall we?"Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Alliona, in a nutshell, was a former husk of herself. The usually energetic, lively and ever-curious young lady the whole village knew, wouldn't even speak, let alone make any sound that will assure them she is still alive. She just sits absent-mindedly looking over the vast plains far in the horizon. For days, it was her only routine. Rain or shine, she goes there after getting tended by the elder's wife for her daily needs, whether it be bathing or eating.Bookmark here

One day, dark clouds decided to take over the skies. Lightning and thunder simultaneously played their roles. The sky looks so heavy it looks it'll burst up anytime soon. The old village leader, then decided to sit beside the grieving young lady who he dearly thought as his own granddaugther. For a moment, a silent lull played a prelude. Nothing can be heard, not a speck of birds chirping, animal growls, trees being swayed by a moderately strong wind, or the other villagers trying their best to reinforce their house with additional wood planks.Bookmark here

Soon, a drizzle was released by the heavens. It didn't take too long before it became a bonafide rain with droplets as big as quarter the size of a loquat seed. The strength of the rain falling also grew more intense. Alliona still in her trance, finally felt the presence of the old elder sitting beside her. The old crooked figure displayed a graceful stance, accepting the rain as if it's the most natural thing to do.Bookmark here

"Gramps... why are you here? Shouldn't you be sheltering from the rain?" she asked with a trembling voice.Bookmark here

The elder scoffed with amusement. "Are you cold, my dear?"Bookmark here

Alliona's eyes eventually let loose of the tears that have accumulated for a long time. She felt weak as she clenched and grabbed her chest so hard while shouting at the top of her lungs. The sound of the falling rain completely masked the shrieks of Alliona crying her hearts out. The elder would only watch the scene of solemness of which he thought is required for the young lady to get a grasp of herself, for her to move on past the clinging grief that's crippling her growth.Bookmark here

"Gramps! If only I wasn't selfish, then my parents should've been still smiling, doing mundane things everyday, scolding me, loving me... if only I... told them not to leave that day. If only..." said Alliona who stood facing the dark sky as if she's picking a fight with it.Bookmark here

After a while, the sky seemed to have conceded the advantage to the young girl, now wearing the complete opposite expression of what she had earlier. The sun rays finally sneaks on the opportunity the dark clouds presented, yet the rain remains. The changing scenery, the sun taking back the authority, the vast field still being graced by the rain and the emerging rainbow slowly building from one side to the other. The breathtaking landscape was more than enough for Alliona to get back her usual perkiness. Amidst the falling tears in her eyes, a bright smile was printed on her lovely face. After the rain finally spent its last drops, Alliona inhaled a long breath and finally, overcame the sadness that was once seeping in her core. As she looked to the direction of the elder who have watched over her during her trance, she found him lying on the ground, shivering from the sheer cold. Naturally, the effect of the rain was bad for his brittle composition.Bookmark here

"Gramps!" she shouted energetically.Bookmark here

"My dear... are... you... okay?" he murmured still playing the stoic act he played earlier.Bookmark here

"Geez, stop that!" Alliona retorted as she carried the old elder on her back to his house.Bookmark here

Some days after that event, Alliona made a significant decision. But first, she wholeheartedly thanked the elder and his wife who took great lengths to comfort her during the whole process of accepting her parents' demise. She also helped nursed back the elder who got a slight fever the following day. Once recovered, she moved back to her house and lived there for a while. On one particular bright day, she took a long moment to look around her house, the room of her parents, her room, the kitchen her mother frequents, the pig pen behind their house, every nook and cranny and lastly, the front door where she bade goodbye to her parents a month ago.Bookmark here

Surprisingly, she didn't cry her eyes out. She was calm and composed, looking left and right, touching the old wooden door and the small windows sandwiching it. For a short while, she didn't move or did anything in particular. She just lean her head forward the door, looking down dejected.Bookmark here

Solemn thoughts filled her head and as if fate is playing with her, she suddenly heard the usual friendly bicker of her parents behind her. Looking towards the direction without hesitation, at first, she thought she's hallucinating. Her hands slowly rose up and tried to reach the scene playing, but before she could grasp the picture, she finds herself lying on her back on the cold floor. She didn't remember passing out or even losing consciousness, but with her innate intelligence, she knew everything was just an illusion.Bookmark here

She struggled to stand up, staggered when she forcefully rose up and ended up dropping on her bottom in the floor. She tried to cried her sorrows out, but as aforementioned, her inner feelings are calm. She could only muster a hoarse yet inaudible feeble shout from her throat. After the deed, she took a deep breath, put her right hand on her chest to feel her heart beating. She then sat and appears to have written something on the brick wall with a sharp rock.Bookmark here

"Alright. Goodbye, Mother! Goodbye, Pops!" are the words she last said before grabbing a small bag from her room and left the house for good.Bookmark here

Alliona took a journey, but prior to that, she asked the elder to look after her house. She also decided to give the pigs she tended for years to the villagers for either food or livestock purposes. The elder saw Alliona's bright eyes filled with determination and said nothing to stall the young lady from her spreading her wings to the vast horizon.Bookmark here

Without wasting any moment, she treaded outside the village for the first time on her own. For the first hour of walking on a steady pace, she was welcomed by a vast rocky clearing with occassional patches of grass. She could see a variety of herbivores taking a leisure stroll on the wildlands. With the sun yet to reach the highest peak, she deduced she must make another stride before catching a prey to feast for lunch. From the slope she stood alone, boasting tall trees serving as shade, she now headed towards the west direction that was rumoured to have semi-arid climate and was gone without looking back even once.Bookmark here

Three weeks have passed since her leaving her village, she stumbled upon her first settlement filled with a variety of things she had never seen before. Roaming around with excitement in her eyes, she looked at every stalls selling clothes and accessories made from different minerals, listened to the music and songs being sung by performers in the streets and watched the people of different race mingling naturally. Prior to her arriving in the town, she lived in the wild and with her talent as a hunter, she managed to stay well-fed throughout the duration. She even made sure to pluck several rare beast innards to sell for monetary purposes. Those were the teachings of her father, a fellow hunter of elite caliber. Once she arrived at the center of the market in the settlement, she started scouting for a potential buyer of her rare items. It didn't take too long before she found a merchant who made a deal with her and even gave an extra set of additional coins for the rarity and quality of the items she had carefully stored in her pouch.Bookmark here

Once the matter of money was settled, she roamed the market and bought food to satisfy her palate. Before long, she stumbled on a stall that stopped her tracks. The nostalgic aroma of the meat being roasted in the burning coals with its juices oozing and dropping to the heat made Alliona emotional. Reminiscing the meal she once shared with her parents, she tried her hardest to contain her tears as she bought a freshly cooked char siu portion, wrapped in a banana leaflet. Once done, she ran and exited the town towards the wilderness where she stayed the night before.Bookmark here

Arriving in the same spot she rested last night, she immediately laid down the food she bought on a piece of linen that used to be the tablesheet of their house. Upon checking her purchases, she smiled a silly one as she bought one heck of a variety. A hearty chunk of char siu, baozi filled with goat meat, a claypot full of cow milk and some chow mien noodles with vegetable toppings. The content is enough to last her the whole day. As soon as she started eating, a torrent of tears fell voluntarily from her eyes. With every bite, she recalled the past. Her childhood, her parents' scolding whenever she did something bad, her times of learning how to hunt, how she tried to learn how to cook and sew, tending their little pigs and jumping to her parents' cramped bed made of hay and layered with wool whenever she had nightmares. Amidst the tears, there's a smile that emerged from her lips.Bookmark here

"Thanks for bringing me to this world, Mother! Pops!" she said before resuming her feast.Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Gourmet bottoms up his glass of water, then he yawned. After that, he spread his arms upwards and stretched them. As he set his sight to the gallery listening to him, he found them all reduced to a sobbing mess. Even the boy, who was once bewildered why he's not left alone to his own devices to eat his ramen quietly, is now wearing a pained mien. Gourmet was at a loss, but as aforementioned, he's a great reader of the atmosphere. He reached for the boy's head and playfully messed up the boy's hair.Bookmark here

"I told you, Alliona's gonna make a comeback! Pull yourself together, boy!"Bookmark here

The boy sensed Gourmet's camaraderie and received the older man's intention to perk him up. The boy normalized his breathing and in a flash, he's back to his usual composure. He then offered a tissue to his seatmate Eroi who's having a silent crying session on her space. He stood up and once again, rallied everyone by a loud clap. This time, he didn't feel embarrassed afterwards.Bookmark here

Gourmet acknowledged the boy's leadership in the establishment with a thumbs up sign, in which the boy returned the gesture with his own. After getting everyone back on their senses, Gourmet appears to restart the story, but for some reason he was stoned after looking at his phone in that specific interval. The boy wondered why the old man wasn't displaying his usual demeanor. He slowly approached Gourmet, only to be surprised at the sudden jump of the old man from his seat.Bookmark here

"Everyone! That person is coming!" he declared with a loud voice, bloodshot eyes with visible shivering of his whole body.Bookmark here

Like a domino effect, everyone including the chef had their mood turned dark. They were still for ample seconds, with their mouths agape wearing a thoroughly blank expressions on their faces. The boy, a first time visitor of the shop, obviously was taken aback on the sudden change of ambience. Eroi was the first to recover. She snapped after a minute and then was followed by the regulars one by one.Bookmark here

"That person, huh? I'm not really good with that person." she said while shaking her head.Bookmark here

The regulars could be seen nodding in agreement. The mood remains sullen, nobody utters coherent words just a hollow murmuring circling inside the ramen shop. Gourmet, in particular, was still stunned on his seat. His usual contagious upbeat self was nowhere to be found.Bookmark here

Soon, the sliding door entrance opened. It garnered everyone's attention to a point they're clasping their hands akin to a prayer gesture hoping for their expectations to be granted. Entering however, is none other the ramen shop lady who got back from her delivery. She tilted her head from the sight of the entire roster wearing gloomy expressions.Bookmark here

"What's wrong, everyone? Did something happen?" she asked calmly.Bookmark here

Gourmet then comically jumped off his seat to embrace the ramen shop lady while kneeling.Bookmark here

"Ane-san! Help us! That person is coming!" he said with flowing tears in his eyes.Bookmark here

The ramen shop lady smiled a wry one, visibly hesitating to give a definitive answer to the man who hugged her while on his knees. She reluctantly patted Gourmet's hair and told him to get up.Bookmark here

"Geez, when will you stop doing this pathetic groveling act whenever you're scared? We're already in our 50's, for pete's sake!" she grumbled, fixing the mess Gourmet made of her apron. "Hey, everyone. Sit properly and eat before your ramen gets cold!" she added before entering the kitchen to dropped of the stainless crate that was filled with ramen earlier.Bookmark here

"But Ane-san! That person is... that person is..." Gourmet said, still displaying a childish tantrum.Bookmark here

"No buts! That person is a child! Shame on you for acting like that." she countered while fixing her bandana.Bookmark here

The boy, still being clueless, tried to get some enlightenment on the situation. He then asked Eroi as Gourmet still seems shaken to his seat. Eroi gave the boy a vague expression, as if she doesn't want to be the one to spill the beans. She is certainly putting an ambivalent tone with her words and the boy could sense he would not get the answer he's looking for.Bookmark here

Suddenly, a loud sound pierced the environment. Nothing akin to an explosion, but the impact was the same nonetheless. Each of the regulars, including Eroi and Gourmet stiffened on their seats. The next sound effects intensified as the door was slowly being opened. With a background music leading to a boss fight in a role-playing game, a carefree wind entered the establishment to add some suspense, a flashing light from a nearby building reflecting the dusk rays also mixed to the fray, even the smoke from the vehicles driving in the streets played a part. Slowly but surely, the door's gap is widening. The aforementioned effects factored the overall impact of the unveiling of the person who's opening the door. Soon, a red carpet was rolled into the establishment. Two gigantic bald men wearing black suits with matching dark sunglasses, entered with flower baskets on their hands sprinkling petals of white flower akin to the cherry blossoms, acting as they're playing a flower girl role in a wedding. Soon, after laying the end of the red carpet to a vacant seat on the counter, a silhouette can be seen behind a bright flash.Bookmark here

Squinting, trying to see what can be seen, the boy was able to determine the hairstyle of the silhouette. Something like a twintails shaped like drills. He could also make sense about the build and height of the figure behind the flashing light. After a while, the bright lighting would dissipate and the eyes of the regulars could cope up to its optimal use.Bookmark here

Silence was having a field trip that day. It had prevalence over the happenings inside the ramen shop for multiple occasions. The person in question, approximately around 150 centimeters, had a broad shoulder, with peculiar hairstyle of pinkish color tied with white ribbons, wearing a frilly cyan blouse with a v-neckline displaying a proud back, heels of around 7 centimeters in height, adding to the fashion statement is a dominant blushed on cheeks and the red-colored thick lips.Bookmark here

The boy's heart pounded, but not in that sense. He could see the entire roster of regulars in the establishment diverting their eyes off the specimen. Gourmet slowly turned on to his ramen bowl and silently slurped his soup as quiet as possible. Eroi followed the exact routine, then urged the boy the do the same through some suggestive gesture. However, the person in the spotlight traded a long staring gaze with the boy. The intensity of that person's gaze made the boy uncomfortable. Before he could escape by doing the exact routine his seatmates had done earlier, that person spoke in a fake falsetto that rocked everyone's composure.Bookmark here

"I haven't seen you here before. A new visitor, I suppose?"Bookmark here

The boy tried his hardest to contain the imminent laughter building on his gut. He then pinched himself secretly that resulted a faint smile before replying. "Umm, yeah. This is my first time here today."Bookmark here

"I see. Well, normally, I would've just taken your seat, but I'll give way since you're a first timer."Bookmark here

The boy gulped, still preventing himself from bursting to laughter. Gourmet could be seen signalling the boy to go back eating his ramen, but the boy couldn't find the right timing to end the conversation so that he would not seem rude to the other person. The other person kept stealing glances at Gourmet while fidgeting that prompted the boy to offer his seat much to the surprise of his old companion.Bookmark here

"You heartless monster! What kind of crazy drugs are you on, boy?! There's no way I'll allow you to leave my side, you're going to seat beside me until the end!" Gourmet ranted while clinging to the boy's arm.Bookmark here

"Ah, geez! Stop pulling my uniform, you'll tear it apart!" the boy countered pushing the old man's face away from his arm's proximity.Bookmark here

"Hey, you! Just seat beside Eroi! It's proper etiquette not to bother other customers while eating!" Gourmet pointed his finger towards the empty seat beside Eroi.Bookmark here

The person then complied with a pouty expression, but before taking the seat, the person entered the kitchen and greeted the chef's wife with a gleeful mien. They shared a hug and continued to trade some greetings.Bookmark here

"It's been a while, Auntie! I miss you so much!" the newcomer regular said with a smile.Bookmark here

"Sorry, babe. I've been too busy with our shop. We're not really having some dayoffs lately. We're even open on Sundays." the ramen shop lady said while patting the head of the twintail person.Bookmark here

The cordial fellowship between them was unusually familiar to the boy. It was akin to a familial bond, not to mention, a strong one at that. He then asked Gourmet the questions to piqued his curiosity but his old companion snorted with an irritated face. Nevertheless, Gourmet tossed his indifference and told the boy of that person's origin.Bookmark here

"That person is..." he sighed before continuing, "Ane-san's nephew."Bookmark here

While it is obvious at first sight, the boy gave another look to the ramen shop lady's nephew. A short, but bloated figure who dons a girly blouse, fancy accessories, thicker than normal make-up and reeks of flowery perfumes. The boy whispered to Gourmet, "Nephew, huh?"Bookmark here

Gourmet frowned unconsciously, shaking his head in disbelief and fanning himself with his cowboy hat. The boy didn't press further as he can feel the distress Gourmet is feeling through a series of sighing. After a short while, the ramen shop lady's nephew took the seat beside Eroi. The aforementioned two gigantic flower dudes meanwhile, then shared a table with the other regulars.Bookmark here

"Say, Eroi. Don't you think it's about time for you to try eating other toppings? You're always getting the kamaboko plus menma set. I feel so weak watching you get satisfied with such flimsy stuff." the nephew said with a smug look.Bookmark here

"None of your business. I eat what I like to eat." Eroi countered with a displeased tone.Bookmark here

"By the way, I could barely see you attending classes. We have some exams this coming Saturday, do you plan to play truancy until you get held back?"Bookmark here

"Zip it! And here I thought I'll have a nice meal today and you just had to ruin everything."Bookmark here

"Oh, you're mean! I'm just worried about you. Ah, forget it! if you get held back, you will finally address me respectfully since I'm gonna be your senpai."Bookmark here

Eroi shivered upon hearing such notion. She didn't hesitate to show her displeasure by glaring daggers to her new seatmate. "Over my dead body!" she incoherently said with a mouth full of food.Bookmark here

"Oh my, it's so awful. Not so beautiful. You ought to not speak when you're mouth is full, it's bad manners." the nephew clapback with a mocking expression. "But what were you talking about before I arrived? Is it the usual story session?" he then landed his bulky fingers on Eroi's shoulders.Bookmark here

Eroi, visibly annoyed, controlled herself so that she won't give any chances of another comeback from the uncanny regular. She just replied a plain, "Yeah, it's Alliona-chan's story. Around where she goes on a journey."Bookmark here

"Well, well, well... it seems I arrived too late. Should've been here from the beginning to absorb the gorgeous, sexy and harmony-filled voice of Gourmet." he said with eyes sparking with heart emoticons.Bookmark here

Eroi could only do an agape expression from the sight of her love-stricken classmate. The nephew then took notice of the depleting bowls of the regulars. No wonder as they were consuming it from earlier. Since he had a notorious trait where he couldn't stand eating alone, he went to the kitchen and discussed something to his aunt. After that, he returned to his seat and called on the attention of his fellow visitors.Bookmark here

"Ahem, everyone! I took it upon myself to treat you to another bowl of ramen. You can order anything you like, any toppings, with additional noodles as well. Sky's the limit!" he said while flashing his black-clad card on his fingertips.Bookmark here

The boy who's close to finishing his bowl, was kinda impressed by the gesture, but the other regulars displayed the opposite reaction. A resounding sigh with words being murmured, "Here we go again." circulated in the establishment.Bookmark here

Gourmet could only facepalmed himself in lieu of sighing. Eroi, on the other hand, could be seen feeling her stomach looking telegraphically worried. The other regulars too, doing some sort of relatively similar actions that is completely ignored by the regular who is laughing boisterously in the middle of the establishment. Before he stopped laughing, the nephew then approached the boy and offered a handshake.Bookmark here

"Come to think of it, we still haven't acquainted properly. You can address me as Milad..."Bookmark here

"Umm, Bocchan. Your father has sent us a message you must be back before 8..." said one of the bald bodyguard who cut short of the nephew's introduction. The following scenes were enough to warrant the use of a censoring mosaic as Bocchan brutally beat up the bald bodyguard who interrupted his self-presentation.Bookmark here

"Nice to meet you, Bocchan." the boy extended his hand with a deep manly voice unlike his usual one that kinda took Bocchan off-guard. But in actuality, it was the boy being forced to extend his hand by Gourmet with additional voice dubbing his words, thus explains Bocchan's reaction.Bookmark here

Fidgeting like a proper maiden in love, he reached out to the boy's hand. "The pleasure's all mine, boy." he said with a cutesy wink enough to silence the whole roster yet again.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.