Chapter 82: That time when Keith arrived on the island
I said that after going out to the shop floor. There were no more customers and they were already preparing to close the store. The couple was putting away the tables that were under the storefront canopy.
「I see that you also set up the tables outside. Did the number of customers suddenly increase?」
「Yes. We had a lot of them」
「Ahー, should we increase the number of staff?」
「It’s okay since we can still somewhat manage. We’ll decide once the number of people who are entering the store has settled down」
I think the man is pretty talented when it comes to these things. If it was me, I would have already panicked a bit.
「I see. I’ll leave it to you then. Anyway, please come to the storage room」
The couple followed me to the stock room where I showed them the distilled liquor and explained why I brought it here.
「This is the liquor made in my hometown. Please give it a try」
As I said that, I poured a small amount of the liquor into a couple of glasses then placed a cup of water right next to them.
「Here you go. This is stronger than the liquor around here and it can only be found in my village. Ahー, they also make it in the mountains where the dragonkin reside but they only make it for their consumption so you probably won’t be getting any from there. Anyway, please try it」
After saying that, they proceeded to drink.
「Hot! What’s this?」「Ugh, it’s so strong」
「It’s two to three times stronger than fruit wine. You can also set it on fire」
「Can you really drink this?」
「Yes. It’s the result of heating liquor until all of the water boils off, storing it in barrels then letting it rest for several season cycles. You need to add water to drink it」
I diluted it with some water until I thought it was enough then gave it to them to try again.
「It’s easier to drink now compared to before」
「It has a slightly peculiar taste but it’s not undrinkable」
「I think it will sell well by itself but I brought this here to suggest a different way of drinking it. We’ll be putting one to two spoons of this liquor into the coffee. Let’s move to the counter」
After saying that, I brewed some coffee, asked them how much sugar they liked before adding it in, then added two spoonfuls of the distilled liquor into the cups.
「Try it now」
I placed the coffee in front of them then they each had a sip.
「It smells different」「The aroma is……」
「Liquor turns into steam as soon as the temperature gets too high. Even heat of the coffee is already enough so utilizing that makes the aroma even stronger. You can do the same with tea but this liquor has a strong aroma so I think it suits coffee better. Let’s add it to the menu, shall we?」
・Adding a bit of strong liquor will make the aroma stronger. If you want to try it, please ask the staff. Availing this service will incur an additional charge.
「That should be enough」
「How much should we charge for it?」
「If it’s only as much as half of this small container with cow’s milk in it then a copper coin should be enough」
「But this liquor is a valuable commodity and there’s not a lot of supply, right? Are you sure it’s okay to sell it in this shop?」
「There were people in our village who approved of the idea of having more good liquor out in the world so we were already spreading the brewing techniques in various villages by sending people there under the pretext of training. Thanks to that, there were plenty of people from the surrounding villages and the nearby town came to our village to visit or learn the techniques so I don’t think it’s that rare. It’ll probably be fine. Anyway, I should just write down the price」
・It will cost one copper
「What do you think?」
「I think it’s alright」
「I see. Then it’s settled. We’re going to sell this liquor here. Since I have a key, please go on ahead and close up shop. I’ll go to Nils-san’s place to talk with him for a bit then I’ll come back here to transfer at the storage room」
「Well then, starting tomorrow, a small amount of alcohol will be served with the coffee if anyone wants to try it. I’ll be on my way」
After saying that, I filled two empty bottles with liquor then left for Nils-san’s place.
「Hello. Is Nils-san in?」
「I apologize even though you came all the way here but he is in the middle of a business transaction right now. I think he will be back by evening but if you have a message, I’ll make sure to pass it on to him」
「Hmmー, this won’t work unless I meet with him so I’ll just wait. If that’s not possible then I guess I’ll have to come back later」
「No, it should be fine. I would have to apologize once again though since I’ve been told not to let anyone in the warehouse when Nils-san is not around」
「I don’t mind. I’ll just wait over there to pass the time」
I went to one of the corners of the warehouse then started training my magic to pass the time by making mana pass through a string that I found in the trash. Before I noticed it, people had started gathering around me.
「You were the demonkin guy who had boards hanging on you, right? I visited that coffee shop you know?」
「Thank you for your patronage」
「Wasn’t it embarrassing to have those boards on you while calling out for customers like that? Well, everyone started copying you like it was natural though」
「It’s the cheapest and most effective method to advertise after all. It wasn’t embarrassing for me because if we don’t sell any coffee, I won’t be able to pay everyone on the island」
「I see. You’re pretty much the island’s demonkin representative right? You must have been desperate, huh?」
Un, I guess that’s true. I’m also a Demon Lord though.
「You guys! What are you doing? Get back to work!」
A familiar voice echoed throughout the warehouse.
「Hello, Nils-san. Sorry for distracting your staff」
「It’s you Caam-san. I guess it couldn’t be helped then. Coffee and that board advertisement has been the talk of the town recently, hasn’t it? At any rate, what can I do for you today?」
「I want to talk about something that might be profitable」
「Hou. What is it?」
As I said that, I smiled and lifted the bottles that I brought with me. Because of that, the people surrounding me started talking among themselves.
「Now I’m curious」
「Certainly, if it’s a liquor that Caam-san brought, then it shouldn’t be a normal drink」
It seems like they also immediately perk up when liquor is brought up here.
「Then let’s talk more about it inside, shall we?」
Nils-san unlocked the door to his office then we both entered.
「So, what kind of liquor is it?」
「It’s something that a liquor loving dragonkin put his all in to make」
「I see…… That must taste really good then」
「It will depend on one’s tastes but it’s something that can be set on fire」
「It’s flammable desu」
I borrowed a plate then poured a bit of the liquor in it. After that, I turned off the lamp in his room then set the liquor on fire.
As I did that, a pale-blue fire flickered and the aroma of the liquor started spreading throughout the room.
Once all of the alcohol evaporated and the fire was out, I relit the lamp then we resumed our conversation.
「Uhm…… can you really drink something that can be set on fire?」
「Yes. It’s surprisingly addicting once you get used to it」
I poured a small amount of the liquor into a cup.
「It might feel hot, spicy and painful at first but you won’t notice it anymore once you learn how to drink it」
「Er, I feel a bit hesitant now that you’ve said that」
Even though he said that, he took a small sip then started rolling it over his tongue. His eyes were moving from side to side at first then closed them to focus on the taste.
「It’s pretty strong, isn’t it? I’m starting to wonder how it’s made but I think there should be a demand for it among the liquor enthusiasts」
「Is that so? How about drinking it with one part liquor, one part water next?」
I poured a bit of water into his cup then had him drink it again.
「This time, the strong smell is gone and it’s become more mellow. It also has a different texture. I’m curious about how you made this amber color come out」
「I don’t really plan on keeping it a secret but, like what you said in our first meeting, information can be sold and that is one of those things we could sell. This liquor is made in the village I was born in but the dragonkin living there is generously providing the said info since he said that it should be spread throughout the world. As a result of that, merchants who came to buy the stuff and demonkin who want to learn the techniques gradually increased. We’ve even had the first human merchant come by the other day. Anyway, going back to the main topic, this color just comes from the wood that’s used to make the barrel it’s stored in」
「Eh? What’s the original color then?」
「It’s clear, just like water. You fill a barrel with the clear liquor then store it for about 2 cycles of seasons. The first liquor we made was five cycles of seasons ago so they’re ready to drink」
「Five cycles, huh……? It takes a lot of time to get stock, doesn’t it?」
「Yes. The longer you store it, the mellower it becomes and the deeper the color will be. The dragonkin even stored some in their treasure room which they plan to take out after a hundred end of the seasons festival passes」
「Can you still drink that?」
「This liquor doesn’t spoil and molds don’t grow on it so it’s probably going to be alright. To be honest, even I would want to try drinking liquor that’s been through a hundred season cycles myself. There wouldn’t be much left in the barrel by the twentieth cycle though.
At any rate, I came here to sell this. Would you like to buy it? Just kidding. I’m just here to advertise that we’ll be offering the service of adding a small amount of this liquor into the coffee for one copper starting tomorrow. I’m indebted to you so please have this and enjoy it with everyone as thanks. You can really only find this in my hometown so it’s a rare commodity. There’s not much supply, since even if we immediately start making more, it’s not something you’ll be able to drink right away. Once the island’s operations get going, we’ll start making some ourselves so I’ll let you know when that happens」
「I see. That’s why you said it’s something that might be profitable. I understand. I will be waiting without any expectations. If it’s well-received, I will purchase more so please let me know the location of your hometown. Let me know when you start making it on the island as well so that I can make advance orders」
After saying that, I stood up then went back to the shop. After confirming that everything was locked, I went to the storage room to transfer back to the island.
Liquor in coffee?
「Good morning~. This has become my morning routine, hasn’t it? Oh my, strong liquor? Not really a fan of drinking in the morning…… Improves the smell huh? I’ll try it」
「Can I put all of this in?」
After saying that, the clothing store lady put all of the distilled liquor into her coffee then tried smelling the aroma as what was written on the menu.
「Oh my, that’s pretty good. It has a slightly different taste and I also won’t get drunk if it’s only this much」
「So this is what Caam-san was talking about. One coffee with liquor please」
「Coming right up」
「Hmmー. It’s true. I wonder why it improves the aroma」
「Liquor in coffee? I can’t imagine how it’ll taste like but someone give it a try」
「Weren’t you complaining that adventurers don’t have any manners? Why don’t you ask them? Just wash away the bad feelings with alcohol」
「That’s not a solution okay?」
「Then let’s just all try it together. It’ll just increase the bill by a copper coin each after all」
「Ah, it’s true」
「Muー, a slightly weird bitterness was mixed in」
「Oi, they say that it’s a strong type of liquor」
「Why don’t we have a little taste before putting it in? ……ugh, bitter. And it’s stinging my tongue. Is this really liquor?」
「Oi, I tried putting it in like what it’s said on the paper and it started smelling better」
「I know but I’ve never tasted this flavor before. What’s with this liquor? Ni-chan, do you know?」
「I don’t, but I hear it’s the liquor that came from the hometown of the demonkin who started this shop」
「What’s that? Did that demonkin nichan quit? That’s pretty gutsy of him」
「That person…… I guess it would be better to say that he’s the owner of this place. I’m just a hired worker here after all」
「Hou. That demonkin-nichan’s a pretty important guy huh? He was inviting people while wearing those planks on him so I thought he was just hired to advertise and do chores around here. You never know huh?」