SMCS Ch 21 — Just Why is it Like That?

Do things ever go well from the start?

I think it’s natural for anyone to go through trial and error, whether it be big or small, when they try something they’ve never encountered before such as engaging in trade or running a business. 

So the first thing to keep in mind in this sort of situation is that there’s no need to be frustrated, and the second would be that you need to sever the right thread to ensure it doesn’t trip you up before the business is actually ruined… ah, this isn’t working.

Hmm.

this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!


Do things ever go well from the start?

I think it’s natural for anyone to go through trial and error, whether it be big or small, when they try something they’ve never encountered before such as engaging in trade or running a business. 

So the first thing to keep in mind in this sort of situation is that there’s no need to be frustrated, and the second would be that you need to sever the right thread to ensure it doesn’t trip you up before the business is actually ruined… ah, this isn’t working.

Hmm.

Well, in any case, I had just completed my preparations for the opening and sat by the window seat in the morning sun, elegantly refreshing myself with my morning caffeine. 

The sound of the patissier, Leah, diligently preparing for our new menu today was in full swing in the back kitchen.

Even though I had also said that I’d come over earlier, she seemed to have come over even earlier by a few hours. She was so diligent and sincere that I couldn’t help but think that she was the best partner I could have.

Listening to the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, I opened my notebook that I had used to jot down my notes.

1. Croffle: Failed due to the inability to overcome customers’ reluctance to eat flattened bread. X

2. Fatcaron: An epic fail since it’s too hard to eat in one bite. XX

3. Yangnyeom1 Chicken: To be honest, I don’t know why this failed. Anyway, this was a total failure. XXX

4. Spicy Chicken Cream Rice Cake2: Even I thought this was rather reckless. People will think they’ve been poisoned if I attempt this again. XXXX

That’s right, I’ve tried a variety of things, but the results for all of them were the same. Failure.

Huuuu…”

At K-food’s hundred battles and hundred defeats3, I let out a sigh at the situation I could have never expected.

But it’s too early for me to despair! Because we prepared our secret weapon today!

If even this doesn’t work, it’ll be equivalent to having lived my whole previous life in vain.

I just so happened to catch a whiff of a delectable fragrance from somewhere. Turning around to look at the smell behind me, I saw Leah coming out with a large tray in her hands.

The tray was filled with small and round balls that shone with a golden light.

I approached it quickly and put a freshly-fried crispy ball in my mouth. I chewed on it carefully so that the inside of my mouth wouldn’t burn due to its heat, as a sweet, yet savoury and soft cheese exploded in my mouth,the chewy dough bursting open.

It was a cheese ball that was so delicious that I wouldn’t have even known that the person next to me had died while I was eating it. I wanted to let out a scream internally.

Yes, this is the one!

“I’m not sure if I made it properly…” Leah still seemed to lack confidence due to her repeated failures, even after making the perfect cheese ball.

In order to console her, I raised my thumb in an exaggerated manner. In actual fact, I was able to praise it sincerely since it even tasted several times better than the ones I had in my previous life. 

It may taste better since it had just been freshly made, but Leah’s natural talent in handling the dough and filling all played a great role in influencing the final product as well.

“Leah.”

“Yes, Ms. Lorella.”

“Is the biggest burlap sack in this store the one that contains flour?”

“Yes, that’s right. Why do you ask?”

I popped another cheese ball into my mouth and hugged her shoulders tightly. 

Then, I whispered the following words into her ears, “Get ready to sweep the money in there.”

* * *

pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:

The sun had set and the streets were already dark before I knew it. 

From the streetlights at the square’s fountain, to all the birds that were singing incessantly, our store was the only one that was lit up at this dark hour of rest that was a promise for tomorrow.

“What should we do, Ms. Lorella?” Leah cried out in a weak voice, an untouched cup of tea in front of her.

Instead of answering her, I lowered my gaze and glanced at the notebook that was open on the table. 

Cheese ball: Rejected because the sensation of cheese flowing out like hot sauce feels weird. Fail.

No, I’m not sure about anything else, but I was sure that this would work. 

At this point, do the people here just not have any taste?! How could you say this isn’t good?

“I prepared all the ingredients of the highest quality since you made such a generous investment, but we couldn’t even sell one of them… It must be because of my inadequate abilities…”

Although I, too, was about to sigh out of resignation, I held it in by biting my lips. Yes, the thing to do now was to urgently console my business partner whose confidence had hit rock bottom. 

“That isn’t true. The things Leah makes are the best in the world. Even better than the K-Food… oh, no, the foreign food that I’m familiar with.”

“Really…?”

“Absolutely.”

It was a fact that was devoid of even a grain of falsity. Not only regarding the cheese balls that I had made today, but also the croffles that had been made on the first day, that I still constantly dreamed about these days.

Heuheuk… but the ones we make keep ending up as failures…”

I approached Leah, who had eventually started to cry and handed her a handkerchief, patting her back. “Don’t worry. Since we still have a secret weapon left.”

Her eyes welling up with tears again, she pointed at the seemingly mountainous mound of cheese balls over at the display window. “But the one we made this morning was obviously our last secret weapon…”

Th-That’s true, but…

“No, this one is the real deal.”

“And what’s that?” Leah’s wet eyes began to shine with hope before I knew it.

I lowered my voice sharply, as if I were conveying the secrets of the family business that had been handed down from generation to generation. “Let’s sell drinks.”

I should’ve taken this route from the start. Most of all, it’s an item that can reduce the manufacturing cost. It would be much less burdensome than having to dispose of piles of food when they haven’t been sold.

Yes, I also thought it was strange for K-food to sell well in rofan. But drinks are a different story!

“If you’re talking about drinks… then do you mean tea?” Leah thought for a moment before murmuring, “A normal tea salon could work too.”

But I shook my head firmly. 

“We shouldn’t go in the same direction as others. We should add our own unique flair to it.”

She wrinkled her nose once again at the words, ‘unique flair’. “But Ms. Lorella, I don’t think we should be too experimental based on the results we have so far.”

Her trust in me already seemed to have run out. It’s no wonder we’ve been doomed even whilst coming up with new ideas. 

In this sort of case, just having one bite can trump explaining a hundred times. 

I quickly wrote down the ingredients I needed and handed them to Leah. 

“We already have the base ingredients we need in the store, so you just need to buy these.”

“Starch powder and black sugar…?”

“There have been many female leads… no, women, who have made a fortune with this, but since Leah is a little suspicious, why don’t we try and make it ourselves for once?”

The next day.

Leah, who personally tasted it herself, nodded her head and gave a big thumbs up. “The texture of it is so fascinating. I feel quite full, and it’s also my first time tasting such a classy sweetness!”

I smiled smugly and rubbed my nose. I know what the taste is like, even if you don’t tell me…

But was bubble tea K-food?

I don’t know. I’ll just call it however I want and call it K-food here.

t/n: lorella sweetie, bubble tea is taiwanese HALSKDJFDJFS

“I think we’ll definitely succeed with this one!”

Anyway, this unprecedented response seemed to have relieved all of my fatigue and stress.

I could feel it clearly this time. It’s the undeniable sound of hitting the jackpot! 

* * * 

Bubble tea: Failed because children were scared of it and said it looked like frog eggs.

Jackpot? What a load of bullshit!

I hurled my notebook that was full of angry scrawlings onto the floor of the store.

I never would’ve been able to behave like this if Leah were still in the store, but she had gone home early today. Thanks to this, I was able to express my feelings as much as I wanted since I was the only person in the store. 

My hand trembling in anger, I drank a few glasses of water, but my anger hardly subsided at all.

“My money, my moneyyy…!”

In addition to having given Leah a deposit, I had also spent a considerable amount of money on the ingredients and packaging. Some ingredients in particular were also quite rare here, so I had to pay extra to get them here. 

Thanks to all of this, before I even knew it, I had already reduced my stash by quite a lot of gold coins. When I thought of the box whose bottom was already starting to become visible, tears of blood flowed out of my heart.

“Everyone else succeeded, so why am I the only one who has failed?”

Leah had clearly said that the bubble tea was good as well!

No matter how much I kept thinking about it, this strategy was clearly not working. However, my memories from reading rofan weren’t fake either. 

I had even read over a dozen copies of just business management rofan!

Then why? Why isn’t it working?

I didn’t even want you to compliment me by saying something like, ‘No, how could there be such a fascinating thing in this world?’ All I wanted to do was just make some money…!

It was when I had my forehead on the table, struggling to control my anger as I tore at my innocent hair.

Ding dong!

Suddenly, the bell rang.

I raised my head almost instinctively. It seemed like someone had bought shares for some reason.

Yeah. I’ll still need to sell a lot of shares anyway, even if I end up like this. That way, even if I become a beggar, I’ll feel a little less wronged.

However…

「‘I quit’ has purchased one of your shares.」

What appeared next in the window was completely beyond my expectations.

「This low quality mass produced main character is so fucking boring. Bye, I quit.」

“What…?”

N-No way, don’t tell me, you’re talking about me…?

My vision turned white, and my blood started flowing backwards at the same time.

“What did you just say?!”

I was so heated I thought I would be able to breathe fire out of my mouth right this instant. Huffing, I searched through the system window, but for some strange reason, I couldn’t find the message I saw just now.

“What the hell, where did it go?”

Wait. Is this perhaps… the ‘deleting a comment and running away’ that I’ve only heard of?

You shouldn’t have shown me if you were going to erase it this quickly then! You should’ve erased my memory too then!

“You’re wrong if you thought I’d be hurt by this sort of thing.”

I took a deep breath to somehow find my composure. And continued to repeat this in my heart.

Hate comments are better than no comments, that’s right, hate comments are better than no comments, hate comments…

‘Low quality main character.’

Arrrgghhh!”

I let out a roar and leapt out of my seat again.

“What does making money have to do with my quality?! Do you know about commerce?! Do you even know how to run a business?!”

Better than no comments my ass! I had already lost my nerve, yet now there was also a hate comment that was sent to extinguish my last remaining drop of motivation?! 

The damage inflicted by the hate comments, which I was receiving for the first time in my life, was simply beyond my imagination. I tried to forget about it, but I just couldn’t.

“…Just what the hell have I done that was so wrong?!”

I couldn’t make money, and I also received hate comments!

At my dismal heart, I ended up shedding tears without even realising it.

* * *

My money, my ideas, and my motivation; all of it was gone. So what was the last thing I had left? It was using my hands and feet for manual labour. 

This is seriously the last time.

The only ingredients needed were milk, sugar, water, and instant coffee.

I also added condensed milk as per Leah’s suggestion. Since we still had a lot of condensed milk left over from making the bubble tea. 

The customer’s had all stopped coming now, so we had plenty of time anyways.

Whisk, whisk.

In the quiet store, the only sound that could be heard was the diligent sound of stirring by a wooden spoon.

whisk x6

“Ms. Lorella, how many times have you stirred?”

“Sixty times. What about you, Leah?”

“I’ve stirred it ninety-two times.

“It’ll be done soon.”

Sure enough, the inside of Leah’s cup was filled with soft looking froth.

Unlike me, who had stirred, then taken a break, then stirred, then taken another break since my arm was sore, she continuously used the small whisk to beat the foam.

That’s when the door of the store opened and a young woman walked in, wiping the sweat off of her forehead.

“Welcome.”

“It’s quite hot today. Could I have a refreshing yet sweet cup of coffee please?”

Leah winked at me and stood up with her cup at her words. 

She poured milk cold enough to make your teeth ache into a small and pretty glass, and to express her gratitude to the only customer who was sitting in the empty shop, she heaped plenty of premium quality condensed milk onto it as well.

When I finished it with the coffee foam on top, the glass of coffee that was pretty enough for me to drool was completed. After the coffee was served to the customer, Leah and I watched her reaction with bated breath. 

“Thank you for the drink.”

However, the customer finished drinking the coffee quickly, perhaps because she had been very thirsty. Then, she left right away without staying for very long. There was no review or feedback about whether or not the coffee tasted good.

The streets turned dark not long after the customer had left. Due to a series of continuous failures in the new menus, the regulars of the bakery didn’t step into the store very often these days.

We packed away the chairs since we didn’t think we’d be getting anymore customers. 

…Maybe it was a failure this time as well.

“Still, I’m very happy to have met Ms. Lorella.” Leah, who had been silently cleaning up the store, shut the curtains and said suddenly.

I was both apologetic and grateful toward her, so I also replied with a big smile, “Me too.”

“Come and visit often if you aren’t too busy. It’d be nice to have a meal and a glass of wine together.”

“I’m glad to hear that. I’ll definitely do that then.”

Although neither of us said it, we both knew it was going to come to an end soon.

The very next day.

I entered the store while thinking about what gift I should give to Leah to express my thanks. We had always only talked about work, and I realised that I had never asked her about her personal hobbies or preferences.

Whisk, whisk, whisk.

We started our day by sitting and stirring the coffee a hundred times in a quiet store once again. 

I opened my mouth slightly as I tried to read the room. “Um, Leah… what sorts of things do you like? Do you have any hobbies?”

“Me? I like gardening. I’m currently growing flowers and herbs in my spare time.”

Gardening huh… Then she’d probably like a pretty flower pot as a gift.

It was when I stirred the coffee for the seventy-seventh time while I was absorbed in my thoughts.

Ring! Ring!

The bell shook somewhat violently, as if the door had been slammed open. Then, someone dashed in almost as urgently as that sound.

“Excuse me! Are you guys open?”

“Yes, welcome.”

Leah, who stood up to greet the customer, winked at me after glancing at the woman’s face. 

It was a face that I also remembered. It was the customer who had that cup of dalgona4 coffee yesterday. 

“Are you looking for anything in particular?”

“Give me coffee, the coffee that I drank yesterday! Oh my, are you perhaps making it right now?” 

She approached us in delight, discovering the coffee in our hands that was halfway through the whipping process.

Furthermore, the customer wasn’t alone this time. 

“Does it… really work?”

“That’s right, madam.”

At those words, the eyes of other similar aged women standing beside her started to sparkle. 

“Give me a glass of that too! No, make that two!”

“Please make me two glasses of the same thing.”

“Oh, yes. Would you like to sit for a moment?” 

As Leah guided the guests to the seats, I swung my wrists hurriedly as if I had a motor in them.

However, questions that couldn’t be answered continued to pop up in my mind. 

What’s with this passionate response all of a sudden?

It didn’t seem to be because the coffee was delicious or because it was a new type that you had never drank before. If that had been the case, then you would’ve told me briefly when you left yesterday.

As I was logically sorting through this and that reasoning by myself, the sound of whispering caught my attention. 

“I really hope it works. If it fails this time as well, I’ll…”

“Don’t worry, since you’ll definitely succeed this time, madam.”

I snuck a glance at them and saw three pairs of eyes shining brightly at me. 

Both hands of theirs were on their chest, and their cheeks were flushed beautifully, making them seem somewhat excited.

I smiled awkwardly and whipped my arm that was so sore it seemed like it was about to fall off even more vigorously.

Six glasses of dalgona coffee, where even making one glass was difficult. Although I was dizzy just thinking about it, I couldn’t possibly miss out on a customer who was visiting for the first time. With that sort of resolve in my mind, I constantly moved the hand that was holding the whisk. 

 However, I could hear a small voice intermittently through the quick whisking sound.

“In just five days… in the bathroom… I…”

It was a secretive voice, as if they were talking about a great secret that shouldn’t be heard by anyone.

…What?

[1] korean fried chicken with a sweet and spicy marinade

[2] cross between the flavours of the fire noodle (chicken flavour) and cream rice cake

[3] parody on the idiom 백전백승 (you may not win 100 battles but you won’t be at risk even if you fight 100 battles) so instead of 100 battles & 100 wins, it’s 100 battles & 100 losses

[4] dalgona coffee is also known as whipped coffee (i hate that name) and attributes its name to the dalgona candy that tastes like honeycomb.


author’s note

i got ptsd while writing this chapter ;ㅅ;


naver comments

harry portarr (bsy6****)
yep… i see… mmhm… by any chance… do you know how to make that coffee…? i-i never get constipation, it’s my friend’s friend’s friend that is constipated… i’ll say it again but i never get constipation!!!!

(sko7****)
um… m-ms. author… did you get ptsd from the hate comments… or from constipation…??

chis****
does dalgona coffee actually work for constipation? @.@

HELPPPP i’m dying at the fact that her business might blow up, not bc of the great ideas for food she tried, but bc it helps constipation hAGLKDSDFJ protect our main character fr HGHAHDSFFD

i love how unpredictable this story is fr gGHSDFLKFJ but also i have to say wtf ???? this world has no taste fr like ok i get not liking croffles or fatcarons bc ok, maybe u don’t like savoury things but YANGNYEOM CHICKEN ??? FRIED CHICKEN ???? HUH ????? and it’s the way NONE of them worked too like bro i would’ve thought at least SOME worked bc sure some ppl might not like savoury or sweet, but they have to like SOMETHING ghsdfldkfjdfs LMAOOO and comparing the pearls in bubble tea to frogs’ eggs GSDLFKFDSJFD (psa but bubble tea is in fact from taiwan, not korea GHSDLKFJDFS)

also a reminder to be nice in comments bc u never know if a character of that novel is reading it 😡

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