11 This Should Be Easy
The stiff atmosphere continued on for a while. Then, as if the play button was pressed once more, Ayame stuttered, "M-maaa~ this- Yuki-chan, don't feel so sad. I'll be kind and let you go this time, take it as my apologies alright? Just don't do this next time alright, a young man must be upright or others will say your par-"
Ayame began to lecture, but was interrupted by old man Teuchi with a cough, "Ayame, you should stop there."
Ayame froze as if she realized she made a blunder, then she fretted about in the background as she worried about what to say next. Old man Teuchi then walked up to me and patted my shoulders while stating, "Kid, I understand that sometimes the need will cause you to have no choice, but if you choose to walk the wrong path just to satisfy your needs, you may regret it as you may not get the chance to turn back. In the future, if you really need to, you don't have to be embarrassed to come here. Although my shop is small, I can still afford to offer a meal to you."
I felt my mouth twitch as irritation surfaced on my face over their misunderstanding. It's not like I'm starving or the sort, but this pair is the same old kind duo that will try their best to help once they learn of my slightest mishaps. A bubbly feeling arose in my heart as I confirmed that this is where I truly belong. Although I can try to clear the misunderstanding, according to how Ayame Onee-san reacted in my past life, chances are slim, not that I wanted to in the first place. This is the perfect scenario to show off my skills.
I looked up at old man Teuchi with a firm, determined look as I declared, "Old man, I am not one to owe others debt. Let me work to repay my debt."
Although his eyes are barely opened, I can still see a small twitch on Teuchi's face as I called him old man; however, his eyebrows raised in shock not long afterwards due to the rest of my declaration. Then, I could feel him looking me up and down as he shook his head before saying, "Kid, the work here is not something anyone can do. Although I appreciate your attitude, I don't think that you will be able to endure with your tiny muscles. Go home and grow a bit more kid, I might consider it then. In the meantime, you are always welcome to come back for some ramen."
Oi! Don't look down on me old man! Although I know the old man was declining in a polite tone, I understood what he was feeling at the moment because similar replies were heard many times in my past life when I went to look for a job. Although old man Teuchi was kind, he wasn't ready to take someone under his wing, at least not without a certain daughter's intervention. However, I knew that I can handle this. A sympathy card for my Nee-chan and a special performance of my Ramen making skill to the old man should do the trick.
Hence, I looked down while putting on a pitiful face and stated in a soft voice, but still loud enough for a certain eavesdropper in the background to hear, "B-but, I don't want to go back to the orphanage. It's so lonely there... b-but if since you don't want to give me a chance here like everyone else, then..."
Then, I shuffled my feet in the ground as I slowly turned around and shuffled off at my slowest pace, waiting for the cue.
As expected, a certain kind Onee-chan could not resist but dash out to pull me into her embrace as she told the old man, "Maaa~ there is no harm in letting him try now is there? Perhaps Yuki-chan will surprise you~"
"Eh? But Ayame, you can see yourself, he's just a brat, there's no way-" Old Teuichi tried to refute, but he suddenly broke out in cold sweat as a chill went down my back.
"Ara, ara? He. Can. Try. Can. He. Not?" a sweet voice resounded from the Nee-chan hugging me yet I couldn't help but shiver.
"Y-Yes, o-of course! Y-yuki was it? There's no harm in you trying. C-come, let us go-" Teuchi stuttered before he dashed back into the kitchen.
"Maaa~ Everything worked out just fine. Now go along Yuki-chan. Do not worry if you can't do it on the first day," Ayame Onee-chan stated with a charming smile as she gave me a little shove.
Happiness could not help but bubble inside me as confidence surged due to the success of my plan. I could not help but turn to Ayame Onee-chan and confidently declared, "Don't worry Ayame Onee-chan! I have experience in making ramen! This should be easy!"
"Ara, ara? Experience? Maaa~ it's good to be confident I guess. Onee-san has some cleaning that she needs to do and will join you later~" Ayame stated cheerfully as she strolled off.
I smiled as I had an inkling of what she was going to do. I then headed into the the small store's familiar kitchen area, one where I've been working for years in. Old man Teuchi had already prepared a bunch of familiar ingredients as he waited for me.
"Brat, I heard your confident declaration out there. It seems you have a couple tricks up your sleeves eh? Well, broaden this "old" man's horizon will you?" Teuchi stated as he emphasized certain words as if he held a grudge.
Heh, although I knew the old man was stern and strict, but in the end, I was already used to it. Plus, after what I show him, he will have nothing to say! I confidently walked up and quickly chopped all the veggies with my experienced hands. I then continued displaying my other skills as I skillfully with my max speed, albeit still much slower than the old man, made a bowl of ramen with available ingredients. I grinned as I looked back at the old man as he stared in shock. I might have even saw his eyes glow dangerously as if he saw a treasure, but it might be my imagination as not long after, the old man's face went back to his friendly poker face.
"Hoh? It seems you do have some basic skill. Very well. Brat, if you desire, stay and I shall pass on to you the true expertise behind ramen making; however, you will need a very firm resolve as once you agree, I will not let you back out. So, how about it?" Teuchi declared.
Heh. This old man just can't admit the fact that I'm awesome enough to shock him. I've already spent years working together with him, there shouldn't be any more problems. Hence, I confidently declared, "No problem old man. Just throw your best at me."
Right after, I felt like the old man's eyes squinted even more as his trademark "friendly" smile came upon his face. Eh? Why do I have a bad feeling?
I watched as the old man took out a portion of veggies again. Then, he joyously scooped a bowl of hot soup which he placed next to me with a thud, causing my heart to go thud.
"Erhhmm... old man, there's no need for this bowl of soup right? I'm sure I will be able to perform up to par-" I weakly declared as I remembered the wonderful memories that I shared with the bowl of soups.
"Hoh? It seems you're pretty confident. Don't worry, if you perform even fifty percent of what I show you, then you can drink that bowl of soup," Teuchi declared with a grin.
Fifty percent? That's easy! I've worked with old man to know that my skills should be enough to cover more than fifty percent of his working pace in my last life! Looks like I get to drink soup! Mmm!
However, with a swish, all my hopes were dashed. As if magic, the old man's knife skillfully diced up the veggies, so fast that it seemed like space and time was warped! What kind of f**king logic is this?! The old man never showed me this in my last life!
"Hoh? Still not as great as my peak, but that should do. Here, give it a try. It should be easy for the 'experienced' you right?" Teuchi gave me a smile that didn't feel like a smile no longer.
I gulped as the steam from the bowl of soup caused my eyes to mist up. Ahh~ my poor thumb!
It can't get any worst than this right?
Or so I thought.