Chapter 12:

Taste test

Spice of Life


The next day, everything went back to normal.

"I never want to go back there again," Masaru groaned.

"Me neither," Itsuki concurred.

"Seriously, did that place put sleeping pills in our drinks?" Matcha complained.

"I bet you all were just wiped. You were workin pretty hard," Waki chimed.

"Perhaps, though that fog that suddenly appeared made even me feel sleepy," Benihime sighed.

"The whole thing was weird," Zuina mumbled.

"I heard they had a crazy customer causing trouble and setting up pranks," Mimi stated.

"Yeah, luckily they threw the jerk out. Well, guess maybe we'll have to bring the karaoke here next time," Rika smiled.

"Please don't," Masaru pleaded.

Suddenly, a deliveryman arrived with some packages.

"Oh good, they're here. Now let's continue that discussion about the drink menu from last night," Rika smiled.

The contents were revealed to be blenders and a juice dispenser.

"Why did you order these?" Masaru sighed.

"Cause I wanna expand the drink menu. We should offer some of the more standard fountain drinks to start, but I also thought we could use some smoothies," Rika replied.

"Smoothies?"

"Yes, we can have a range from basic, to complex super fruit."

"Why?"

"For more variety, plus they can be made relatively quickly and easily."

"Come to think of it, we never really dabbled much with smoothies at Tabemono, don't even think there was even a specific course on it," Matcha replied.

"All you gotta do is put the right measurements in the blender. We can even set up an ingredient chart to make things easier. Now let's get some samples done before we open up."

                                                                            ...

"And why is a gourmet establishment serving something as asinine as a smoothie?" Makihara glared as he entered the restaurant.

"Really? You're gonna dis smoothies? Bad idea. Many people drink some kind of smoothie whether it be a fruit based, veggie based, or protein based drink. And to counter your point, some smoothies use some pretty exotic and expensive ingredients," Rika glared.

"I'm surprised you're even showing your face here," Itsuki glared.

"I had to see how my daughter and former top protege were surviving the heathen's tyranny," Makihara glared back.

"In that case, I suggest you try our turmeric kale acai blend with fruit," Rika smirked as she handed Makihara a sample.

"Any barbarian can easily place food into a blender. It is not gourmet."

After taking a sip, Makihara glared back in frustration as he clenched the cup and finished the sample.

"Seems like our gourmet smoothie was hit. Wanna order one? We have small, medium, and large sizes for your convenience," Rika smirked.

Makihara responded with a glare as he went to his table.

"I ain't thirsty," Helga glared as she refused to have a sample.

"I wouldn't drink your slop, I'm only here to see Makihara-sama destroy your place in his evaluation," Sundae sneered as she sat down with Makihara along with Helga.

"Hi, I'll be your server," Mimi smiled.

Helga gazed at Mimi and immediately began to feel sadness. She still could not get that image of Mimi's sad eyes out of her head from their first meeting.

"I'll try one of your new drinks, which one ya recommend," Helga sighed.

"You want a recommendation!? Don't worry! I'm Codename: Laks, and I'll give you the one I think would best suit you," Mimi smiled.

                                                                              ...

Helga sipped the smoothie Mimi brought to her.

"What is this?" Helga growled.

"It's a hyldablomstaft smoothie. I was the one who suggested we make it," Mimi sheepishly laughed.

"Why the hell would you give me this?"

"Because you look similar to Hylda, whose codename was Hyldablomstaft."

"I'm not whoever you think I am, nor am I gonna be a replacement," Helga glared as she gulped down the drink.

"Just like her, even down to the tone," Mimi sadly smiled.

"Oi, don't smile like that! It makes me... miserable."

"I actually have a question, what is your culinary background?" Makihara asked.

"Um, not sure. I mean, I've worked as a waitress before," Mimi replied.

"So you are merely a server, then I request..."

Sundae glared at Mimi as she watched her take the order.

"Bet you think you're a cute shit huh? Well your little act won't work on me. I bet that bitch hired her just cause she's good at buttering people up. I'll have to smack some sense into Helga after this," Sundae thought.

"So what would you like?" Mimi asked Sundae.

"Tell Rika I want a poached lobster with caviar mousse," Sundae sneered.

                                                                              ...

Rika smirked as she gazed at the orders before heading over to Masaru and Itsuki.

"Seems like Makihara's getting bold. He wants a poached lobster with caviar mousse."

"Very well, I shall handle it," Masaru stated as he immediately got to work.

                                                                              ...

"Thanks for waiting," Mimi smiled as she returned with the food.

"It seems Masaru has done well. This Uni pasta tastes exquisite," Makihara nodded as he ate his Uni pasta.

"Not bad, Itsuki seems to have done a good job," Helga grumbled as she ate her dish.

Sundae stared at her dish before taking a bite.

"Better than I expected, but that stays with me," Sundae thought.

                                                                                ...

"Was the food alright?" Masaru asked as he came to check on them.

"Mine was fine, though probably cuz Itsuki made it," Helga said.

"Mine was just barely edible, but I guess I couldn't expect much from that eccentric bitch," Sundae sneered.

"You did a fine job on my Uni pasta, Masaru-kun," Makihara smiled.

"Huh? Director Makihara, I thought you ordered the poached lobster with caviar mousse," Masaru trembled.

"No, I believe Sundae ordered that. I ordered Uni pasta."

"T- Then, the dish..."

"Hmm? Why are you so nervous? I said your cooking was just fine."

"But, Rika made that dish, I made the poached lobster with caviar mousse."

Everyone's eyes went wide with shock as Mimi came by with the check.

"No, I assumed this dish was made by you," Makihara trembled.

"Rika handled that one with care, even put some secret spice in it. Masaru worked diligently on the Poached lobster and caviar mousse while Itsuki handled yours Hyl- Helga," Mimi smiled.

"Huh!? I thought that bitch made my dish, um it was really good actually!" Sundae nervously smiled.

"That woman... There is no need to mince words, Sundae. I must have slipped up. But, as long as you are satisfied with the food Director Makihara, that is fine. I must return to the kitchen," Masaru sighed.

"Nah, take a closer look. She cleaned the plate. She was just acting all snarky earlier cause she hates me. Though I guess I can even earn a smile from Makihara if he doesn't know I'm the one that makes his food," Rika smirked as she appeared.

Makihara responded with a defeated glare as he paid the bill and stormed out. Sundae glared in embarrassment as she too huffed away. Helga remained for a bit and stared at Mimi before getting up and leaving.

"Why did you swap the orders around?" Masaru glared.

"I wanted to test something. Those guys clearly hate me, but how would they react if they didn't know I was the one that cooked? Same could be said for you," Rika replied.

"So this was a trial. I failed. Sundae hated my dish."

"Like I said-"

"It doesn't matter if she finished. The fact that it wasn't good enough to override her words speaks volumes. I must continue to strive for greater heights if I am to truly surpass you."

"*Sigh* Well then might as well start cooking out of your comfort zone. You can beat me in some areas, but you'll have to get far more creative if you truly want to surpass me," Rika smiled.

Mario Nakano 64
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