The time of day was morning, when the streets were slowly being filled with people going to work. Most stores had already opened an hour or two ago, and are waiting for customers to slowly trickle in. Undoubtedly, the most successful ones in this period were the restaurants serving breakfast and such.
This little store was also a restaurant open to any customers that would like to have their fill, yet it was void of people, save for a slim and fair-skinned young man that had a head of well-groomed black hair.
Bu Fang, the owner of the establishment stepped out of the store. He held a porcelain bowl of fragrant and still steaming Egg-Fried Rice.
“Blacky, it’s time to eat.” He said, placing the bowl in front of a resting black dog. Its eyebrows shot open and the dog stood up to eat with previously unseen energy.
After patting its head a few times, Bu Fang walked back inside the restaurant.
The man’s age was twenty, and he was an ordinary but ambitious chef from China in a parallel Earth in its 21st century. Apparently, he had passed away due to reasons even he himself didn’t know and ended up in this world which was just Earth but upgraded… or maybe degraded, depending on how one sees it.
Bu Fang had his ‘system’ to thank for being able to continue his story as a chef. He didn’t know why he was chosen but he had stopped caring after a short while. As long as the system could provide ingredients and even twist reality a little bit for him, he wouldn’t question it.
And truly, there wasn’t much of a reason why the system chose him. It didn’t have an ulterior motive. All it knew was that Bu Fang was anything but ordinary.
With the help of the system, he established his business in a shady alleyway in Musutafu, Japan. He also didn’t question why he was brought to Japan of all places instead of China after the system gave him the ability to speak Japanese fluently.
It had already been two weeks since the restaurant’s existence and he had not a single customer despite the city’s population. Not even the stereotypical shady individuals stepped foot in the alley!
At this point, Bu Fang was used to it. He followed the system’s instructions to practice his cooking and feed the black dog everyday.
He didn’t know where it came from, but since the system told him to feed it, he complied.
He looked at the menu with a hint of annoyance on his normally aloof expression.
The pricing of the items… were too high!
Even after having a taste of the dishes with the system-provided ingredients, Bu Fang still believed the cost should be lower. They definitely tasted good, but was it worth it…? Unfortunately, the system also provided the prices and he couldn’t change it.
He had asked how such ordinary ingredients were able to taste like it came from a five-star restaurant and was given a surprising answer.
“The ingredients were enhanced by quirks, some directly and some indirectly. For example, the eggs were laid by chickens that had the same quality-boosting quirk which affected the eggs.” The system droned in his head.
Bu Fang’s abnormally high skill in cooking was left unsaid.
Currently, the menu only had three dishes which could be considered some of the staple foods of China.
Egg-Fried Rice, Stir-Fried Vegetables and Dry-Mixed Noodles.
He wasn’t sure of Japanese people’s tastes but since Japan is part of Asia, it shouldn’t be too different, right?
Walking into the kitchen, he eyed the familiar equipment he was used to working with in his past life. Most of them were just normal, 21st century culinary appliances with a few exceptions that matched with this world’s technology.
There was also a humanoid robot in the corner of the kitchen. It was made by the system to act when there was trouble in the store. It also played the role of a disposal for the uneaten food made when practicing. It had a stomach which probably had a portal that connected to another world.
Eventually, after hours of practice, night descended and the restaurant was closed for the day. Blacky was left outside like always, but it didn’t mind. It simply slept away all of its problems.
Bu Fang woke up early the next morning and got ready for the day. It didn’t take long before he had showered and changed and he began to cook a portion of Egg-Fried Rice. Conveniently, he lived right above the store and did not need to walk far to open up for business.
He stepped outside with the dish in his hand and repeated the process of feeding the black dog and patting it before going back inside.
“Another day without a customer…” He said to himself. “Maybe I should just go out there and enjoy myself a bit.”
“If host is not able to serve one customer by the end of the week, host’s soul will pass on.” System’s voice sounded inside his head. He damn near tripped over himself.
What the heck!
“It was just a joke…” Bu Fang said, eye twitching but System did not retract its statement. He let out a long sigh of resignation.
Hey, System, isn’t this your fault for choosing this location and not even allowing me to put on a signboard?
“If it’s like that, then fine.” He grumbled and proceeded to practice in the kitchen. If there was not one customer in the next three days, he’d die. Simple as that.
Afternoon began a few hours ago and Bu Fang was currently sitting comfortably on a chair he had moved to right outside the restaurant. There was a commotion a distance away from where he sat, loud noises echoing in the alleyway.
A hero fight, then.
Bu Fang was already somewhat familiar with the terms ‘Pro-Hero’ and ‘Villain’, and him, a civilian, was not allowed to use his quirk unless it was inside his own property or in a life-and-death situation.
Well, it wasn’t much of a problem for him since System registered him as quirkless. Of course, that doesn’t mean he did not possess inhuman abilities himself.
He heard soft footsteps coming closer and his eyes landed on some middle-school kid who was muttering a storm, face close to his notebook and walking towards the commotion.
The boy had a head of messy green hair and a cute face with a few noticeable freckles. He almost couldn’t spot the burn marks on their uniform and the old bruises on their skin. The kid was about to pass by the store but stopped in his tracks.
Green eyes met Bu Fang’s and the kid’s gaze alternated between Bu Fang, Blacky and the other side of the alley, where the sounds of fighting would be more prominent. He had a contemplative expression on his face and he appeared to be making a tough decision.
Midoriya Izuku didn’t expect there to be a restaurant of some sort in this alleyway. He had heard the loud ruckus on his way home and he couldn’t help but want to check it out, so he took the fastest route there.
Honestly, Izuku would not have broken out of his mumbling if not for the sight that presented itself right there. A black-haired young man relaxing on a chair and a sleeping back dog on either sides of the entrance like lazy guards to a strangely inviting restaurant. It looked a bit suspicious, yet oddly comical.
But it was because of this strange scene he was curious about what kind of dishes were sold inside. He decided to step inside, if only to look at the menu. He was careful not to walk loudly near the dog as he entered.
The instant his body passed through the entrance, Izuku immediately realized a change in the atmosphere. He felt cozy and safe, like in the safety of his own home. The space was not large and there were only five square tables, but everything was arranged in a manner that the restaurant wouldn’t be cramped at all. There was also a large potted plant in each corner of the store for decoration. A pleasant lingering fragrance in the air that smelled like eggs and rice made its way into his nose. His stomach grumbled audibly and he flushed in embarrassment.
I didn’t even eat lunch that long ago!
He heard the young man, the owner, he assumed, walk inside and with lips curved slightly upwards, asked. “What would you like to order?”
Hearing the man ask that question with happiness in his voice, Izuku could imagine the inevitable disappointment that would hit him when he said he was not planning to eat here today. He almost caved.
“S-sorry, but I’m, uh, just checking out the menu if I uh- want to come here next time.” He managed, mentally slapping himself for sounding like an idiot.
The effect was instantaneous. Izuku had some experience in reading people’s eyes and he could clearly see the light in theirs dim as if they were going to die or something.
“I see.” The man said, voice devoid of emotion.
Shit, he’s gonna fucking cave.
“I’ll eat here tomorrow!” He made a compromise with himself. “Since… the menu items seem quite nice.”
He got a good look at the menu and-
He was absolutely floored. Stir-Fried Vegetable: 1000 yen. Dry-Mixed Noodles: 1000 yen. He looked at the item right above it and-
He wanted to spew waterfalls from his eyes right now but for some reason his body didn’t let him.
Egg-Fried Rice: 5000 yen.
Izuku felt wronged.
The man either didn’t notice his mental breakdown or ignored it because his words lightened up their disastrous expression. “Then you’d better keep your word for it, kid.”
Then they proceeded to walk into the kitchen.
Izuku walked out with a heavy sigh. Tomorrow was a weekend, so he could indeed keep his promise. He just didn’t expect to meet such an eccentric individual in such a shady place.
Oh. The prices. Oh. The prices.
He lowered his gaze just in time to see the black dog staring at him with a single open eye, too lazy to lift and turn its head.
“Eep!” He squeaked and scurried away out of the alley and back on the route home, hero fight forgotten.
Individuals. Eccentric individuals.