Chapter 1: First Impression
Just a fic I wanted to create in the event of writer's block.
There's still kind of a story though.
This is also for improving my writing skills.
Also, you guys should know that this story is actually a crossover with Gourmet of Another World, a Chinese webnovel. There doesn't seem to be a fandom for it in ao3 so I need help on how to create an entire new fandom just so my tags will be complete.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
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.
Now, I've invested too much effort into my other story to abandon it, but I'll be more likely to update this one since it's not that serious of a story.
Criticism is much a appreciated!
It had occurred to me I need those to actually make Soul of Dawn a pleasant reading experience.
Chapter 2: On to the Next Mission
I'm gonna have fun with this
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was a Saturday.
And Midoriya Izuku had a promise to keep. Though that didn’t stop him from despairing.
Expensive… it should be illegal to only have such expensive items in a menu for a restaurant sitting in an alley.
With 1000 yen from his own savings in his pocket, Izuku absentmindedly took a long walk to his destination.
Bu Fang had just about finished with his morning routine and was ready to open up for the day. He felt hopeful knowing that there would be a customer for today. Even if it was just some kid who probably had barely enough money to afford the cheapest item on the menu, this concerned life and death, dammit!
But he digresses. Bu Fang is first and foremost a chef, and should make sure to cook with all he has to prepare a dish for his customer and make sure it was worth the price.
Putting down a bowl of Egg-Fried Rice on the floor in front of Blacky, he went in the kitchen to practice. But before he could get started, footsteps sounded outside the store.
“Um… I’m here to order some food?” The same kid from yesterday said it like a question.
Izuku took a hesitant step inside the restaurant and his shoulders instantly stopped being tense. There was just something in here that could calm people down really well, almost as if it were the effects of a quirk…
And if it was a quirk, how does it work? To what extent can it calm people down? The whole store seemed to be able to produce the effect, so how much larger of an area can it cover? Can it do the opposite and send people into a panic? What about-
“What would you like to order?” Bu Fang’s voice broke Izuku out of his thoughts and he just knew he was mumbling but the former simply ignored it.
Izuku did his best to brush off the blush of embarrassment on his cheeks and began to order.
“Can I have one serving of Dry-Mixed Noodles?” He said without stuttering. Score. Izuku fumbled to the nearest chair and took a seat. Fumbled. Trying to talk to someone without screwing up the sentences one way or another was hard.
Bu Fang nodded and went inside the kitchen, leaving Izuku twiddling his thumbs in an awkward silence. Pulling up his phone from his pocket, Izuku checked for any news relating to heroes. His walk here was without hiccup, so he was itching for a little bit of action.
Bu Fang’s Dry-Mixed Noodles was actually handmade by himself with a special kneading technique and he pulled the noodles by himself.
With practiced ease, Bu Fang kneaded the dough at an abnormally fast pace and pulled the noodles with some strength. Then he sprinkled flour on the thin noodles and soaked them in hot water that was without impurities and even had a sweet smell to it.
As the noodles were soaking, Bu Fang moved on to the seasoning. He placed a strict proportion of salt, soy sauce and monosodium glutamate into a porcelain bowl and poured a little hot water in it. Then he removed the noodles from the hot water and poured them into the bowl. Using chopsticks, he stirred the bowl which caused the color of the soy sauce to completely seep into the smooth and translucent noodles.
After nearly ten minutes into his search, Izuku’s nose caught a pleasant smell. It was so intoxicating that he unconsciously put down his phone and closed his eyes, trying to take a whiff of more of that delicious fragrance. His mouth watered and from the back of his mind, he wondered if it might actually be worth it.
Bu Fang walked out of the kitchen with a bowl of Dry-Mixed Noodles in his hand and placed it in front of Izuku.
The sound of the bowl coming in contact with the wooden table snapped him out of his little world and his eyes immediately scanned the entirety of the dish.
At first, he was a bit disappointed and confused about how plain it looked. In the bowl was just some noodles colored by the seasoning without anything else. Then Izuku realized this was where the fragrance originated from after he took a deep breath.
How could something look so plain yet smell so good?
Izuku was already on guard from the smell because he didn’t want to get lost in it. So what about the taste? He picked up a few strands of noodles and took his first bite.
Then he only felt happiness.
It was good! Really good! He eyes widened for a brief moment before he shut them to fully savour the taste. It tasted better with every bite and so he kept eating it without a care in the world.
Watching the kid scarf down the noodles with such vigour made the corners of Bu Fang’s lips curl up in pride. Even with common recipes from the 21st century, he was able to make a relatively reserved kid lose his table manners.
When Izuku finished the bowl, he had to stop himself from licking up the sauce once he was out of his food-induced reverie. His face flushed for the second time that day and he placed the chopsticks on top of the bowl to signify that he was done eating.
Only after Izuku took the last bite did he see Bu Fang in the corner of his eyes sitting across the room giving a stiff smile at the scene. He looked a bit weird with a smile on his face.
“T-this is really good.” Said Izuku as he pushed the empty bowl away for Bu Fang to collect. The System was generous enough to provide a very efficient dishwasher.
Izuku pulled out the money to pay for the meal, just a little bitter about the cost. As nice as it had tasted, the dish didn’t seem so-
He straightened his back. His eyebrows rose. Izuku breathed.
“Wha- I feel like I could run a whole mile!” He exclaimed before devolving into a rambling mess. “This has to be under an influence of a quirk, but what are its limits? When will the energy boost diminish? Will I feel exhausted afterwards? Was the atmosphere of the room not-”
“I wouldn’t say directly.” Izuku heard Bu Fang say and he ceased his muttering. “The ingredients were the ones influenced by quirks one way or another, but the cooking process was done completely quirkless.”
Izuku was undoubtedly very curious about the ingredients, but couldn’t help perking up at the word ‘quirkless’.
“Is your quirk not suited for cooking?” He asked.
“Not exactly. I just don’t have quirk.” Bu Fang said as he stood up to collect the empty bowl.
Now that was a first for Izuku. He couldn’t remember the last time a quirkless person made such an unforgettable impression before he knew of their quirkless status. Izuku had an urge to make sure he was hearing things right. “You’re quirkless?”
Bu Fang simply nodded and went back into the kitchen.
Izuku gazed at the kitchen entrance, feeling a bit like in a dream. A restaurant hidden in the alleys that had a supply of quirk-enhanced ingredients and serve gourmet food. Dishes that have noticeable effects on one’s body, if only temporary. A young and quirkless chef as its owner.
He definitely wants to come back here regardless of the high prices.
Izuku left the restaurant, still energized and looking for a way to capitalize on that.
The little store was barren once again, but Bu Fang was inwardly rejoicing. Not just because he was spared from death but also because of System’s announcement.
“Congratulations to Host for serving the restaurant’s first customer. Reward pending…”
“Reward, huh? Well it better be worth almost dying for.”
“Reward decided. Mission for the first part of the God of Cooking set unlocked.”
“Oi, System, can’t I catch a break? I was so close to dying in the previous mission.” Bu Fang said in disbelief, carving radishes from the System's endless supply to pass the time.
“This mission’s duration will be indefinite. But as the future God of Cooking, Host is recommended to complete it as fast as you can.”
“What’s the God of Cooking set?” Bu Fang asked curiously.
“The God of Cooking set consists of three pieces of equipment that can pave the path of becoming the God of Cooking. Each one not only possess the mystical ability to enhance the food cooked with it, but also excels in combat if needed.”
Now that’s overpowered. Who needs quirks when I could have all this cool equipment?
“Alright then, so what are the requirements for completing the mission?” He inquired. It would be nice to have something from the set, if only a piece.
“First requirement: Host must sample authentic Japanese cuisine and find flaws even the chef could not have expected.”
Now that’s a challenge. To find any errors in the food of professionals more experienced than himself.
Bu Fang twirled his knife.
But if he wants to make it to the peak, he must push himself and rise up to the challenge.
“Second requirement: Host must choose and recreate one item from their menu and its final product must be a league higher than what host had eaten. The System will only provide ordinary fresh ingredients.”
Another difficult challenge. He would be lying if he said his normal supply wasn’t a step up compared to other ingredients in terms of taste. But no matter. If one expects to work with quirk-enhanced ingredients, they must first show mastery in cooking with normal ingredients.
Bu Fang kept twirling his knife with a contemplative expression.
“The System will use that dish for the next item on the menu, but prepared with the usual supply and the System will price it.”
He tossed his knife into the air and stood up. He placed the radish sculpture on the table before snatching the knife from the air as it fell.
A new dish already, huh? Hopefully he would have more customers by then.
“Whitey, dispose of the radish.” Bu Fang ordered the robot and made his way to one of the ingredients cabinets. It was time to practice, after all.
The humanoid machine walked up to the table stiffly from its corner and gently grabbed the small sculpture. Opening its abdominal compartment to reveal nothing but the void, Whitey threw the radish into itself.
And the masterpiece that was a radish carved into a small flower connected to a life-sized hummingbird piercing its beak into the center of the flower, was disposed of.
Criticism is always appreciated! Mostly constructive ones though.
Chapter 3: Catching Attention
Sorry for taking so long!
Was busy with college, product of procrastination and all.
But I hope you enjoy the chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Everything went back to normalcy the next day. Which was a bit depressing when one looked at the empty restaurant. Bu Fang decided to wait for some other day to look for a place that served authentic Japanese food. He wondered if he should go for the classic sushi restaurants that also sold cooked seafood and set meals.
After feeding Blacky and practicing his knife skills for a few hours, he pulled a chair outside and lounged right outside his store, creating the same weird scene from two days ago.
A chef needs to relax every once in a while.
Breathing slowly, Bu Fang thought about his future new menu item. Sashimi would be a weird addition to a restaurant like his, so he would prefer having a cooked dish.
As a pure-blooded Chinese who was born and raised in China, his experience with Japanese cuisine was almost non-existent. There was more to the seafood than just fresh fish. The waters it was harvested from, the current season and its mating behaviors, its age and coloration, small factors that lead up to the final product.
Some dishes depend on the sauce mixture, which consist of more than just soy sauce and sesame seeds. These types of Japanese food are not simple to make, but what’s stopping Bu Fang from trying? If he has too little experience, then he’ll just go in blind and see if his own taste buds are sensitive enough to pick up on their flaws.
The rest of the day was spent lazing off with the black dog that had not moved from its resting position for days. Bu Fang was fully convinced this dog was not normal, considering the fact that Blacky did not get up to do its business even once the whole day.
It was nearing midnight, restaurant already closed and Bu Fang retiring for the night. Two shady looking men were conversing in that same alley, their hoodies covering their features.
“Hey, is that actual stuff? Not fake?” One of them asked the other, pointing at the small and unlabeled bottle in their hand.
“Oh yeah, for sure. The dealer had an actual reputation.” He replied, opening the bottle and tilting it to let a white pill land on his hand. “Trigger in pill form. He said it wouldn’t make a difference if you chew or swallow it.”
“Is it bitter though?” The first person asked with concern in his voice.
“The fuck? I got us some quirk-enhancing drugs and that’s what you’re worried about?”
“Hey man, I just can’t handle things that are too bitter. One time I gagged when I chewed on some bitter gourd.” He grimaced at the memory of the taste.
“Oh shit, good point. Bitter gourds are nasty, I don’t know how people actually enjoy eating them.” The man was lucky he was talking during midnight because if Bu Fang heard the man’s words, he would without a doubt pummel the guy to the ground with his biggest wok for insulting a perfectly good vegetable.
“Alright, give me one, like you promised.” The first guy stretched out his open palm, prompting the other man.
The latter clicked his tongue, but acquiesced. He reached out with the open bottle, about to tilt it towards the former’s hand, but some kind of white cloth wrapped onto both of their wrists.
“What the-” Both of them tried to pull back, but was met with an opposing tug that pulled their arms towards each other and upwards. More of the cloth fell around them and before it could touch the ground, the fabric was abruptly pulled taut with the two men in the middle, ensnaring their whole bodies.
A slim figure made itself known by dropping from above with the slightest tap from their boots coming in contact with the ground. The new person had dropped down a short distance away from their two targets and forcefully yanked on the cloth trapping the two men which was connected to the person’s upper body.
The sudden force sent the two off the ground and they were swung into a wall with one of them taking the brunt of the damage. That man passed out from the impact and the other sputtered in bewilderment. “A-a hero?!”
Seeing that one was out of commission, the Pro-Hero activated their quirk on the person still awake, causing their shoulder-length black hair to float upwards and their unseen eyes to glow red.
Eraserhead, in his black-outfitted and yellow-goggled glory, roundhouse kicked the man right on their temple, knocking them out before the man had a chance to counterattack.
He let his quirk deactivate and his hair rested on his head and shoulders once again. Pulling out his phone, Eraserhead sent a message briefly describing the situation attached with his location for the nearest police station to apprehend the criminals.
After he was done, he eyed the small bottle of spilled pills on the ground. If it was what he thought it was, maybe there would be a new lead in the investigation.
“Trigger, huh… how troublesome.” Eraserhead sighed, irritated. He might have been arguably the best Pro-Hero to deal with them but if the distributors were not found and dealt with, then it was just a waste of time and energy.
Raising his gaze, he caught a faint fragrance of cooked eggs and remembered the air he breathed for dinner. Simply put, he prioritized patrolling over food and Hizashi was probably going to yell into his ear for forgetting to eat the meal the man cooked for him.
Not probably. Definitely.
He unconsciously searched for the source only to make eye contact with a dog. A plump black dog that was seemingly too lazy to lift its head to properly look at him.
Eraserhead stared at it for a few moments more before glancing at his surroundings. He then said, “What, do you smell cat on me?”
It was a little strange to see a man speak to a dog that looked like a stray so casually. For him though, talking to his cats was a common occurrence at home.
The black dog’s curious eyes became a little disinterested after that question and tried to go to sleep.
Eraserhead raised an eyebrow at that. “Well aren’t you calm about seeing a loud fight so close to you.”
To his muted shock, the dog actually snorted with what felt like disdain and turned its head the other direction as to not look at Eraserhead.
“ … This is why I prefer cats.” He said under his breath and proceeded to drag the unconscious criminals out of the alley. The bottle was left on the ground for the forensic team to collect.
And the smell… was it possible a restaurant had actually opened in this shady place? If so, he needed to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
As dawn descended upon the people of Musutafu, so did Monday and did many of them wish to stay asleep forever.
The same couldn’t be said for Bu Fang, who treated every day of the week with indifference. Each day had the potential to bring new customers, after all.
After feeding Blacky, he sat on the same spot as yesterday and began to silently doze off. With the way the two buildings were positioned, sunlight couldn’t quite reach inside the alley unless it around high noon. So every morning the temperature was just right for sleeping in and Bu Fang made use of it.
Morning passed and lunch was a few hours ago. He was practicing his temperature control in the kitchen when he heard hurried footsteps nearing the restaurant. Now that he thought about it, it was about this time of the day when he met that green-haired kid a few days back.
And speak of the devil.
Izuku practically threw himself into the store, wide eyes filled with fear. He was hyperventilating badly and looked two seconds away from a bigger panic attack. He stuck his back onto the wall not far from the entrance and desperately choked back a sob.
Bu Fang was not too surprised, but he found it a bit pitiful. Izuku’s hair had a few clumps of dirt on it, likely because he was on the ground for a decent amount of time. His yellow backpack and uniform had black patches all over them, likely from coming in contact with fire. There were unseen bruises all over his skin hidden under his outfit, but Bu Fang knew they were there.
“DEKU!” Someone yelled. He flinched.
“I’m sorry. I’m s-sorry.” Izuku kept apologizing with his palms over his eyes and it clicked in Bu Fang that the boy was apologizing to him. “I just- I just needed s-somewhere to h-hide.”
Sounds that vaguely reminded Bu Fang of firecrackers popped from outside the alley.
“Where the fuck did you run off to, Deku?!” The same person, probably the one tailing the kid shouted into the alley. Bu Fang decided that he needed to get rid of the incessant noise lest it scared off any potential customers.
He left the kitchen and stepped out of the establishment without glancing at Izuku. He looked to where the sound came from and saw some angry kid with blonde hair who was making small explosions atop his palm that actually looked like exploding firecrackers. Then the kid realized Bu Fang was looking at him and all the explosions ceased and he wore a mildly panicked expression.
Bakugo saw that the only person present was not who he was looking for, and that wasn’t good. What if he got reported for illegal quirk use? So he straightened himself and turned the opposite direction with a glare. Damn Deku and his useless self actually trying to stand up to him. Bakugo sauntered off with his hands in his pockets.
“Kids these days…” Bu Fang idly commented, forgetting he wasn’t that much older than them. Turning his head, he saw his first official customer silently crying against the wall. His eyes displayed sympathy for the boy and he crouched down to the lazy black dog right by the entrance.
“Hey Blacky, you never get dirty right? Why don’t you go to that kid and try to comfort him?” Bu Fang whispered.
Said dog just opened one eye to stare at him tiredly before it went back to sleep.
“If you don’t go over there, I won’t feed you Egg-Fried Rice tomorrow,” threatened Bu Fang with a frown.
Blacky instantly stood up to spare him an indignant look and trudged towards Izuku with cat-like grace. Bu Fang was instantly speechless.
Izuku was still quietly sobbing when a familiar dog lied down right in front of him and began to take a nap. Blacky’s smooth fur was quite alluring to look at and he had an urge to brush his hands through it. Looking up, Izuku saw the chef sitting on the chair closest to him, gaze elsewhere.
He took it as a subtle way to ask a question and with the tranquil atmosphere permeating his own depressive aura, he felt it right to answer it.
“Th-that was my f-friend, Kacchan…” Izuku said quietly, his hands unconsciously making their way to Blacky’s fur. “A-at least… that’s his n-nickname.”
Bu Fang snorted lightly. Izuku winced. ‘Friend’.
“And ‘useless’ is your nickname?” He said, prompting the kid to flinch.
“H-he used to be much nicer… t-then he got his quirk and…” Izuku was on the verge of crying again, but held himself together by running his hands through Blacky’s fur. “I… didn’t.”
“A-and then you said you were q-quirkless, and y-you were able to cook food as g-good as chefs with cooking quirks…” Bu Fang narrowed his eyes at that. ‘As good’? Comparable? He needed to up his game.
“S-so I… confronted him, and…” Izuku trailed off, still stroking the surprisingly smooth black fur of the restaurant’s… mascot? It always slept on the same spot whenever he saw it.
“And because of these little things he abused you with his quirk?” Bu Fang raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
“L-little…? Wait, please don’t report him for that! It wouldn’t do good for Kacchan if there was a mark on his record!” Izuku pleaded, not stuttering at all. That did not really bode well for the chef but fine.
“Okay.” Bu Fang responded simply, stumping the kid. Surely a bit more convincing would be required?
That simple answer kinda hurts!
“So what are you ordering?” Bu Fang asked, the corners of his lips curling upwards.
Now that hurt even more!
“I don’t have enough money on me right now… s-so maybe another day!” Izuku promised with an apologetic bow after he stood up. He didn’t notice Blacky giving Bu Fang a sharp look.
He was about to head home when he stopped himself, hesitating. Bu Fang waited on his seat.
“Um… by the way, my name is Midoriya Izuku, i-if you were wondering.” Izuku said, turning his red face to the chef. “And I think you’re quite inspiring, mister.”
If Bu Fang was surprised, he didn’t show it. “Call me Bu Fang, or Owner Bu. I’m Chinese so I don’t quite follow honorifics.”
Now that got Midoriya to widen his eyes. Bu Fang spoke Japanese so fluently it sounded like he grew up in Japan, but he was actually Chinese!
“See you next time, O-owner Bu!” He left the restaurant with a small smile gracing his face. Leaving the store feeling happy would soon be a common occurrence for the young Midoriya.
Back with Bu Fang, he was being scrutinized by Blacky.
“Good job, Blacky. I’ll cook you a bigger portion of Egg-Fried Rice tomorrow.” He said with a satisfied smile. The dog simply snorted and cocked its head away from Bu Fang. Blacky returned to his previous spot with cat-like steps.
Bu Fang pushed the chair back into the table and went back in the kitchen, spirits lifted a little. He grasped his kitchen knife and twirled it for a few seconds, saying to himself, “Practice makes one better, but never perfect.”
Then he began practicing.
Constructive criticism much appreciated!
Chapter 4: Strange Encounters
Here go a new chapter. The updates will be quite inconsistent, but I'm going for at least one chapter every three days.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bu Fang had chosen to head out today.
It was a decision made on a whim and it was just the next day after the small incident involving his only customer.
But he was really curious about Japanese delicacies and since The System doesn’t have full control of his life, Bu Fang was able to close up the store for the morning. Blacky was currently thoroughly enjoying the large bowl of Egg-Fried Rice given to it as he left to try out some Japanese snacks on his stroll.
He also needed to look for a restaurant to critique their dishes to complete the mission.
Stepping out of the alley, Bu Fang eyed the soon to be busy streets and went exploring.
He was unbothered by the strange-looking people walking with the ordinary ones and generally looking out of place. Mutation quirks were quite a sight to behold when Bu Fang first came to this world but he soon became used to it. How can he be a good chef and server if he were to stare at every odd customer?
Bu Fang enjoyed the early morning chill in the air as he breathed slowly. Even a city as busy as Musutafu had its cold mornings and nights. He glanced about the streetsides, looking for something to have on the go. The day so far was quite peaceful, with not one hero-villain fight to be seen. It seemed The System had set up his restaurant in a relatively peaceful area where there were not many shops selling truly valuable items worth fighting a hero over.
Bu Fang’s eyes lingered on a stall that sold freshly made mochi. It was a type of sweet treat that he hadn’t eaten often but had good experiences with, so he walked towards it with an intent to buy some. He entered the little store and saw only one other customer eyeing at the contents behind the display glass.
Stepping towards the selection, Bu Fang inwardly marveled at the variety and was quite intrigued at some of the flavors that he didn’t know could go with mochi. From the corner of his eyes, he could see the other customer closing the distance between them.
“There’s a lot of flavors so it can be a bit discouraging to choose one among all of them, but I personally recommend the green tea mochi.” She said, smiling. Bu Fang subtly took in her appearance. The girl didn’t look older than Midoriya and had shoulder-length and bobbed brown hair which was an interesting sight to see. He assumed she was just sidetracked on her way to school judging by the backpack on her back.
Bu Fang nodded at her suggestion and bought two green tea mochis. He also purchased one red bean mochi and one roasted peanut mochi and told the cashier to put one green tea mochi in another bag.
After he had paid for the snacks, Bu Fang handed the paper bag containing the singular mochi to the girl.
“E-eh?! I can’t accept this! You paid for it with your own money!” She exclaimed, shaking her head and making exaggerated movements with her arms.
“It’s fine. You looked like you were craving for one and you also gave me the recommendation. Just take it.” Bu Fang replied coolly.
“Um… if, if you insist!” She grabbed the bag, embarrassed but elated in her heart. “If we meet again, I’ll be sure to pay you back, mister!”
He simply gave her an absent-minded wave and exited the shop, paper bag of three different flavored mochis in hand. Honestly, one of the reasons he decided to gift her one was because she wasn’t some brat at her age. Forgetting about Bakugo, she and Midoriya had kind personalities and were quite endearing.
Bu Fang walked by a few restaurants as he savored the delicious treats. Now he only needed to look for one more thing before heading back.
A loud crash caught his attention and he walked towards it, curious. A few blocks away was an actual bank robbery and hostage situation too. He stood with the crowd of onlookers and waited for a Pro-Hero to swoop in and take action.
Bu Fang did not have to wait long before All Might himself popped out from seemingly nowhere and threw himself into the building, dispatching the villains so quickly that they couldn’t harm any of the hostages.
“It’s alright now! Why? Because I am here!” He said, boisterous, as he propped up several unconscious villains on his shoulders. The police moved in to ensure the civilians were alright and everyone from the sidelines cheered for the Pro-Hero.
Bu Fang had his gaze landed on somewhere else, however. Several blocks away from the bank was an eye-catching establishment that still had customers going in and out of even with all the ruckus happening out here.
Immortal Sushi Restaurant , the signboard above the entrance read.
And Bu Fang made a decision.
Emptying his bag of mochis, Bu Fang disposed of the paper bag by crumpling it up and tossing it to an empty dumpster right by the alleyway. A black-haired teenager sporting a dark blue outfit caught his attention by walking out the other end of the alley where his restaurant resided.
Bu Fang didn’t know what kind of trauma that person had experienced, but to be covered in so much burnt skin, he had probably gone to hell and back.
Bu Fang opened the restaurant for the day and as usual, no customers came.
The next morning came quickly and he settled into the monotonous routine with indifference after opening up for the day. Given enough time, his little store will grow into something all of Japan will have heard of and once he becomes the God of Cooking, the whole world will know of Bu Fang.
Well, for now, he’s fine as he is currently.
Bu Fang could hear someone entering the restaurant so he exited the kitchen to receive their order only to be held at gunpoint by some lanky individual who masked their face using a bag with two holes to look out of.
“Give me all the money you have.” The man demanded, trying to sound intimidating with his own body looking like a strong gust of wind could blow him away. Not to mention that ridiculous ‘mask’.
“Do not cause trouble in my store,” Bu Fang responded plainly, unconcerned. It would take more than a gunman to make him feel threatened. He couldn’t see the man’s face through the eye-holes, but Bu Fang thought he saw the villain blink in incomprehension.
“You… you wanna get shot? I don’t like killing people, so go get the fucking money!” The man growled, but Bu Fang easily caught the hesitation in their voice.
“If you dare to shoot, then shoot. Don’t waste my time.” He tilted his head and raised an eyebrow condescendingly.
“You… you…” It appeared that the villain was lost for words. “Oi, I’ll really shoot you, you know!”
Bu Fang simply turned around and began walking back into the kitchen. He was feeling for some practice and didn’t want to waste his time.
Fuming in anger, the villain gripped his gun harder and applied slightly more force onto the trigger. “You making fun of me, punk?! I’ll show you!”
His hand shook, scared of the consequences if he became a murderer but damn, he’s already a villain, wasn’t he? He could take the next step! “Fuck you!”
The man mustered up just enough courage to finally pull the trigger. Bu Fang was right there and the villain was somehow getting tunnel vision because of the tense situation stressful for only him. And because of the lack of vision, he failed to see a white-clad figure heading towards Bu Fang from the kitchen entrance.
The trigger was pulled and the bullet whizzed through the air, straight towards the chef. Instead of hearing the expected and dreadful sound of a bullet coming in contact with flesh, a deafening clang was heard.
The villain shook himself out of his daze and he bore witness to a white and humanoid robot that had a smoking bullet resting atop its palm. On the robot’s chest was a small scratch where the projectile had landed on.
“Whitey, throw him out.” Bu Fang ordered casually.
“Troublemakers will be denied of their quirks for a week as an example to others.” A mechanical voice solemnly declared, which caused the supposed assailant’s body to tense up. He pulled the trigger once more-
There went the gun. The villain made a noise of confusion seeing Whitey right in front of him.
The robot had shot forward so fast that he could not follow the action that followed. Whitey backhanded the weapon with so much force that the gun flew from the villain’s grasp with a crack and shattered on impact with the wall.
“I- huh?! Ack-” Whitey proceeded to shove the man with an extraordinary amount of strength which sent him tumbling out of the restaurant with a wheeze as his back collided with the wall of the opposite building. A click sounded out from a band Whitey attached to the villain’s wrist while he was still on the ground. It was a System-made quirk-suppressing cuff.
The robot took a step back and the villain scrambled up, mask somehow still on and ran away from the store as fast as he could.
Bu Fang huffed through his nose in amusement, his head poking out of the entrance. According to The System, Whitey was only one of the restaurant’s trump cards which suggested that there were more. He looked down at Blacky to see that the black dog had slept through the entire ordeal as if there wasn’t just a gun going off moments ago.
“If there was a match for Whitey, how will a lazy dog like you protect the store?” Bu Fang asked rhetorically. Blacky was either actually sleeping or just ignoring him.
“So cool!” Someone squealed. Bu Fang turned his head to see a blonde girl with her hair in two very messy buns on either sides of her head.
“Hey mister, did you make that robot? Its name is Whitey, right? How did you make Whitey become so strong?” She inquired with an ever present open-mouthed smile which displayed her sharp canines that were longer than normal.
The corner of Bu Fang’s lip twitched and he simply said, “The robot is the store’s bodyguard. It is not manufactured in a traditional sense.”
He walked back in the restaurant with Whitey and the girl following close behind.
“Whitey, clean up the mess.” He said and it complied, scooping up the broken fragments of the villain’s firearm and disposing of it through its stomach.
The young girl watched Whitey closely as it worked and she pointed at its abdomen. “Hey, why is its stomach so dark? It’s like as dark as a black hole in there!”
Bu Fang sat himself on one of the chairs, motivation to cook for the day out the window after the encounters. He was about to ask if she wanted to order anything, but the girl was quicker with her words.
“This place opened quite recently, right? Why did you open it in such a suspicious place?” She darted in front of him and asked, curiosity clear on her objectively cute face and voice.
“I set it up here because I could. There should be no problem, right?” Bu Fang asked, slightly narrowing his eyes.
She giggled, her yellow and feline eyes squinted into crescents. “You’re funny, mister! Let’s be friends!”
Bu Fang lightly exhaled. He was getting impatient with this energetic girl. “What would you like to order?”
“Ah, sorry! I don’t have any money on me right now!” She said, rubbing the back of her neck apologetically. “But I promise to come back! Because we’re friends and friends help each other out!”
Bu Fang nodded in acceptance and ignored her as she exited the store.
“Oh! And mister, you should be careful around these parts.” She stopped herself and advised. “There could be bad people that might come here and ruin you business.”
“What are you implying?” He asked, regarding her with indifference.
“Nothing! But you should be careful, Whitey might meet its match one day!” The girl chirped a bit too excitedly. “Oh, my name is Toga Himiko! You can call me Himiko if you want, but Toga is easier to say!”
“Call me Bu Fang or Owner Bu, you don’t have to use honorifics since I’m Chinese.” He responded offhandedly. Toga’s smile was pulled wider.
“Ok! I’ll see you later, Owner Bu!” With that, she left with an enthusiastic wave.
The restaurant was left in silence once more, Whitey’s job already done and the place spotless once more. Bu Fang let out a sigh.
So much for pleasant experiences with kids…
'Immortal Sushi Restaurant' was a reference to Gourmet of Another World's 'Immortal Phoenix Restaurant'. They won't be humiliated, but there are still flaws to be pointed out.
Chapter 5: Sharing a Meal
I think I want to call this part of the story the 'Establishment Arc'.
The ending of the arc will be quite grand. Hope you'll stick around to experience it with me.
Bu Fang opened the restaurant for the day.
He planned to make a visit to the Immortal Sushi Restaurant some other day, since he did not quite have enough money to order many dishes. So it was only a matter of how long it would take before the next few customers come and order something.
Oh, it’s some hurried footsteps again.
As expected, it was Midoriya that ran in the store looking almost as bad as he did two days ago.
“DEKU!” Same annoyingly aggressive voice. Except this time Bakugo spotted where Izuku escaped into. Bu Fang pinched the bridge of his nose.
“There’s nowhere for you to run now, fucking Deku-” Bakugo stilled right as he looked into the store. There was Deku on the verge of breaking down right there and the same tall dude from two days back looking at him with an unreadable expression.
“Fuck- er, stop wasting this guy’s time Deku. Now come the hell out and we’ll finish what we started.” Bakugo mentally patted his back for coming up with a relatively (to him) innocent excuse to get out of anyone’s sight.
Izuku shook his head and Bakugo glared . “I said…”
He stepped forward towards Midoriya who was shaking like a leaf and only getting worse the closer he got. “Get. The. Hell. Out.”
Bakugo’s subtly smoldering hand reached out to grab Izuku’s arm.
And he was intercepted by an iron grip.
“Don’t cause trouble in my store.” Bu Fang said coldly, staring down at the kid that needed discipline. His tone of voice actually made Bakugo back off slightly.
Bakugo ground his teeth in anger for actually getting intimidated by some nobody who owned a store in an alley. He took a deep breath and uttered as calmly as possible, “I’m just getting my friend to leave and get out of your hair.”
“I’m talking about your quirk. You’re not allowed to use quirks in my store.” Said Bu Fang, still grabbing on to the boy’s arm. Bakugo’s eyes widened and he froze.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He replied, deactivating his quirk instantly. The chef narrowed his eyes.
“I could smell the burning odor from a short distance away. Don’t lie.” Bu Fang was a chef, of course he could catch that dreadful smell. Bakugo’s face twisted. Many negative emotions flashed through his expression and he gritted his teeth.
“We were just… sparring. Deku’s just a coward who can’t take a hit. I was just… helping him grow a backbone.” He said as if he was also convincing himself if that was a good enough excuse.
“Ah. So sparring led to the burn marks?” Bu Fang said dryly. He shook his head in disappointment. “Kids these days… bullying another for ridiculous reasons.”
That’s it. Who does this extra think he is? Some big shot? “What the fuck do you know? This quirkless Deku here is only gonna get killed if he actually becomes a hero! This useless fucker can’t save anyone for shit! The world wouldn’t give a shit if this worthless bastard never existed!”
Bakugo was seething by the end of it, wanting to say more but he had already gone too far. Once he got reported for illegal quirk use and physical abuse, the chances of him making it into UA would likely be non-existent.
Izuku opted to watch his rant with shock in his eyes instead of hurt. Kacchan… just said all of this in front of an adult! What’s going to happen to him?!
Bu Fang furrowed his brows at the furiously trembling kid in front of him. He couldn’t make sense of his woes. There’s Midoriya who apparently wants to be a hero and cares greatly for his ‘friend’, and said friend who absolutely despised Midoriya for being quirkless.
So… why did Bakugo keep tormenting him? Why keep being associated with Midoriya? Perhaps there was a reason.
But he didn’t really care. It was opening hours and Bu Fang wanted to cook, not break down the unhealthy relationship of two middle-school kids. He let go of Bakugo’s arm. “No matter. I’ll forget what you said. Would you like to order anything?”
That got both Bakugo and Izuku to shoot bewildered looks at the chef. Even though Izuku had experienced something like this before… he still wasn’t quite used to it.
Bakugo knew that if Bu Fang’s words could be trusted… his road to becoming a Pro-Hero will be intact, but he was suspicious. He glanced over to the menu and-
His eyes bulged nearly out of socket. “WHAT THE FUCK?!”
Those prices… a scam! A complete and utter scam!
“YOU THINK I’M DUMB ENOUGH TO BUY SOMETHING THAT EXPENSIVE IN SOME RESTAURANT IN AN ALLEY?!” Bakugo yelled at Bu Fang who didn’t seem bothered by the volume. Izuku however…
“K-Kacchan, there’s a reason why the prices are so high.” He defended for the chef. Izuku knew that the effects of the dishes here were wondrous.
“I didn’t ask you, Deku!” Bakugo snarled in reply, which sent Izuku shrinking away. His angry red eyes snapped back to Bu Fang who let out a sigh of dismay.
“Ah… I suppose I shouldn’t expect kids with little pocket money to be able to afford my dishes. You kiddos should just leave. I don’t want you two to scare off customers that can afford my cooking.” He said, shaking his head. “Go on now, shoo.”
Izuku blinked. That didn’t seem like something Owner Bu would normally say. He glanced at Kacchan.
“Hah?! Did you just call me poor, fucker?!” Bakugo bared his teeth ferally. His fingers twitched and veins popped on his forehead. “Fine, I’ll buy one of your shitty dishes! Give me one fucking expensive Egg-Fried Rice!”
“Can you pay for it?” Bu Fang asked, the corners of his lips curling upwards. Bakugo’s eye twitched.
He reached into the backpack hanging loosely from his shoulder and dug through each compartment in the bag until he found what he needed and pulled several half-crumpled bills out. Bakugo counted them swiftly and Izuku couldn’t help but gape at the scene that just played out.
Kacchan got played.
“Kacchan, why were you keeping so much money in you backpack?” Izuku asked curiously. It was a genuine question, too. What middle-school kid brings so much of their allowance for one day?
“I said I didn’t ask you, Deku!” Bakugo turned his head to glare at Izuku briefly before going back to counting the messy stack of cash in his hands. His face slowly twisted into a grimace.
“Deku!” He shouted at Izuku, making the boy jump. “How much money do you have on you?”
“Um…” He looked through his backpack. “I should have… 1000 yen.”
“Fucking hell Deku, who do you think you’re showing off to, bringing so much money to school?” Bakugo snarked.
Izuku opened his mouth. Then he closed it.
“Whatever, that should be just enough to pay for that shitty Egg-Fried Rice.” Bakugo reached out with an open palm. “Give it.”
Izuku stared at the waiting hand with a pained expression. His lip trembled. “O… ok, Kacchan.”
Bakugo clicked his tongue and reached further to grab the cash from Izuku’s shaking arm. He felt an ominous presence to his side and he spared a glance at the chef.
And Bu Fang was just giving him the most judgemental look he’d ever received. Bakugo gritted his teeth hard and with much disgust, said, “I’ll give you a fifth of it, ok?”
Izuku perked up and Bakugo managed to snatch the money. “Here, should be exactly 5000 yen.”
Bu Fang took the money off of his hands and walked into the kitchen to prepare while the two boys sat awkwardly on one table.
Izuku allowed the cozy atmosphere to let him relax a bit as the anticipation for Owner Bu’s Egg-Fried Rice grew. Bakugo had a frown on his face as he sat with his arms crossed. From what he’d heard… it seemed that Deku had been here before and actually bought something.
Not only that, he had also defended the outrageous pricing for the items on the menu. What were the chances Deku had been brainwashed in one way or another?
At this point Bakugo’s imagination was going wild and Izuku was looking at Kacchan’s shifting expressions in confusion.
Right when Bakugo was about to up and leave in paranoia, a fragrance wafted into his nose and he was thoroughly conquered.
He unconsciously relaxed his tense muscles and resigned himself to his fate. If he was going to get brainwashed, he wanted to go down eating whatever enchanted Egg-Fried Rice until the end.
Izuku wasn’t doing any better. Having only eaten Dry-Mixed Noodles, the delicious smell of Egg-Fried Rice right as it was cooking had him enraptured. Probably not even All Might had experienced such pleasures on the dining table.
They didn’t even realize they had been seated on their spot for a few minutes already before Bu Fang walked out with a tray with two porcelain bowls on top of it.
Both of them snapped their eyes open and simultaneously swallowed their saliva. They watched as Bu Fang set the larger bowl filled with pearl-like rice grains coated with golden egg liquid in front of Bakugo. The smaller bowl was empty and he placed it in front of Izuku.
Bakugo held his breath as he scooped a fifth of the rice into Izuku’s bowl. He didn’t trust himself to not wolf down the entire dish if he witnessed the visual allure of the dish along with its fragrance at the same time.
“K-Kacchan, that’s not one-fifth.” Izuku said, wiping a bit of drool from his lower lip.
Oh this fucker.
Bakugo’s glare intensified at the other boy who was not bothered by it at all, opting to fix his gaze on his own bowl. Bakugo scooped another spoonful of the Egg-Fried Rice and dumped it in Izuku’s bowl. “Ask me for more and I’ll kill you.”
Izuku absentmindedly nodded, picking up his own spoon.
Bakugo took the first bite. Then another, and another, and another. He couldn’t stop!
It. Was. Good .
Izuku tried to eat it slowly to savor the taste but could only manage that for his first bite. It felt like his taste buds were getting gently caressed by the heavenly taste and he lost it. In just a few large bites he had finished his portion with a flush on his face from the heat.
Bakugo could take the heat easily as he nearly buried his head in the bowl while eating like he had never eaten good food in his life. Eventually, he finished without even realizing it.
“Fuck, that was too little!” He fumed. That was the best fucking thing he’d ever eaten an it was gone just like that. “Oi, isn’t that too little for 5000 yen?!”
Bu Fang eyed both of them from the chair across the room and gave a weird smirk. “Wait a few more seconds.”
“The fuck are you talking about-” Bakugo stopped himself and his eyes slowly widened. His body shot up and his fingers twitched with repressed urge to use his quirk. He felt like he could run a whole marathon without stopping! “Is this your quirk?!”
Bu Fang shook his head and gestured to Midoriya.
His face was still flushed but this time not from the heat. Izuku took deep breaths to calm the initial rush of energy that came from only a fifth of the dish.
“Kacchan… Owner Bu is quirkless.” He told Bakugo with a smile.
Bakugo froze in shock and his eyes were comically wide. His jaw hung open.
“Bullshit! It’s impossible to make something taste that good and give an instant effect like that!” He shouted in disbelief. Bu Fang’s eyebrows furrowed in displeasure.
“I don’t need a quirk to cook good food,” he replied simply. Bakugo was about to say more but was interrupted by Izuku.
“The effects… were caused by the ingredients itself, Kacchan. The taste was mostly the results of Owner Bu’s hard work.” He said, no longer affected by the shouting.
“I didn’t ask-”
“Midoriya is correct,” Bu Fang cut in, his features slowly setting back to his look of indifference. “The cooking was done completely quirkless. The ingredients…”
He stroked his chin in thought. “It could be said that they’re harder to cook compared to normal ingredients.”
“What do you mean? Shouldn’t quirked ingredients make everything taste better and more expensive?” Bakugo asked, voice not nearly as loud as before.
“Most chefs would be inclined to agree… but that just means they have never cooked with quirk-influenced ingredients before.” Bu Fang pointed out. “You understand that quirks have their drawbacks, yes?”
Bakugo nodded mutely, curious about what the chef had to say.
“These ingredients follow a similar rule. They may have enhanced quality and impressive effects but that comes with difficult methods to prepare them. The ingredients’ properties change heavily because of the quirks and I have to be extra meticulous when handling them. And that’s not all. During the cooking process, I must put a certain amount of focus to not make any errors. When it comes to these ingredients, you either cook it flawlessly or risk ruining its taste and benefits.” Bu Fang explained as he stood up from his seat. “Or to put it simply…”
He walked closer to Bakugo and stared down at him with impassive eyes. “If I were to make a single mistake, the dish could lose its value and be worth less than a tenth of the original price.”
Bakugo was uncharacteristically silent and Izuku watched the exchange with amazement. His eyes were full of even more respect for Owner Bu. He felt… slightly overwhelmed, as if someone told him if he worked hard enough, he could be…
“And you still wanted to cook quirked ingredients despite being quirkless?” Bakugo asked softly. Bu Fang nodded in confirmation.
“It was my dream to do big things as a chef. Now I’ve already set myself on that road regardless of whether I have a quirk or not. Humans did not need quirks to reach the Moon. So let me ask you.” His eyes narrowed. Bakugo’s face flashed with a certain emotion. Izuku’s breath hitched.
“Why do you stop Midoriya from following his dreams? The one he respects so much, constantly putting him down like he was worthless. Surely he’s already learned of the dangers that comes with being a Pro-Hero? Yet he still tries so hard, even after being tormented by the likes of you. So why don't you believe that Midoriya can become a hero?”
And that was all Izuku could take before promptly bursting into tears.
“Respects…?” Bakugo echoed lowly.
“Kacchan… I-I’ve always looked up to you… you h-have an amazing quirk, and, and you’re better than me in e-everything… I wished… I could b-be like you one day…” Izuku said through his sobs.
And the cause of this whole scene, Bu Fang, was just standing there, not knowing what to do. His face was blank but he was mentally applauding himself for hitting the nail on the head on their broken friendship and also berating himself for creating this situation in the middle of his restaurant during business hours.
Bakugo looked at Izuku with an unreadable expression before turning his body and walking out of the store. Izuku saw this and tried to tail him. Right before leaving however, Izuku turned to look at Bu Fang with red eyes and asked, “Do you… really believe I can be a hero?”
Bu Fang looked at the kid up and down. It will be hard for him, but perhaps not impossible. “Train hard, kiddo. I’ll be awaiting the good news.”
Izuku smiled through the tears and said sincerely, “Thank you, Owner Bu… Hearing you say that means a lot to me…”
Bu Fang nodded in response and with that, Izuku left to chase after his friend. “Kacchan! Wait!”
He cleared the tables and placed the bowls in the System-given dishwasher to clean. The System was also the one cleaning the dust and fallen pieces of food that may be on the tables. Bu Fang let out a breath, content.
Today was quite eventful.
Chapter 6: Owner Bu's Cooking
Thank you all for the good reception!
I have a lot planned for the story, so stick around.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Let’s eat there tomorrow night!” A high-pitched and feminine voice sounded from the darkness of the shadowed alleys.
“What, we’ve become dine and dashers now?” A much deeper and masculine voice drawled from the same spot as the previous voice.
“It’s better than dumpster diving though!” The girl said with a pout in her voice.
“Fine, fine, Toga. I’ll take your word for it. You need me to deal with the robot bodyguard, right?” The man said with a huff.
“That’s right! Thanks Dabi!” Toga exclaimed cheerily.
Both of them stepped into the moonlight to reveal the perpetually smiling blonde girl that had her hair in two messy buns and a black-haired and vaguely youthful man with spiked and messy black hair. He was covered with burn scars and stitches lined certain parts of his body.
Dabi sighed. “The food better be good.”
The next day was peaceful and devoid of drama. There were no more customers but that was fine. Bu Fang was a pretty patient person.
So far, he had only made 6000 yen in total in these few days and he was hopeful that diners will slowly trickle in over time, as if Midoriya was the first piece of domino that fell over to mark the beginning of a chain reaction.
Bu Fang would find out in time that he was right.
But for now, all he could do was practice and practice, maybe laze around on a chair occasionally. As the future God of Cooking, he couldn’t slack off too often.
So that’s how it was until evening.
“Owner Bu! I’m here to buy some food!” A girl entered the restaurant with a young man following closely behind her. Bu Fang washed his hands and exited the kitchen to be greeted by the sight of a grinning Toga and the scarred fellow he saw two days ago. “I brought my friend Dabi with me!”
He raised an eyebrow before he asked, “What would you like to order?”
“The most expensive one! The Egg-Fried Rice!” Toga pointed a finger at the menu. Bu Fang turned to the scarred teenager.
“The same thing she’s having, I guess.” Said Dabi, inspecting the interior of the store. And the menu. Holy shit that’s expensive.
The relaxing atmosphere… was not something he had expected. When was the last time he’d felt this sense of security?
Dabi broke out of his thoughts as Toga got seated on a table. He followed a little awkwardly, not knowing how he should act in a restaurant. Even though he was a villain, there was still an urge to act with etiquette.
The chef had already entered the kitchen to prepare their meals for the evening. Dabi couldn’t help but throw glances at his surroundings warily. They could be considered in enemy territory depending on which side Bu Fang was on.
Dabi looked at Toga to see that she was unbothered and wholly giddy for the dish as she sat relaxedly on the chair and swung her legs. She hummed a tune on the spot in her anticipation. He inwardly wished he could be as carefree as she was.
“Don’t be so serious, Dabi. Owner Bu is a good guy who cooks really well!” Toga only needed a glance to tell he was uneasy. But Owner Bu was such a chill person! “Just wait for the smell of food!”
Dabi snorted. “I’ll wait until I actually have a bite. The taste will tell if the food is… is…”
He trailed off, catching a fragrance coming out of the kitchen. He was fully captivated by his second breath. Toga was openly inhaling the smell of Egg-Fried Rice without a single care for her appearance.
“Hah~, I didn’t get a proper whiff of it when I checked this place out but this is how it smells like in its full glory, huh?” She exhaled, intoxicated by the divine aroma. Dabi was too busy trying to savor the feeling that came with the fragrance to pay attention to Toga.
When was the last time he had smelled something so… pleasant? Something that aroused his appetite so much that he was actually looking forward to his next meal?
Both of their stomachs rumbled loudly and Dabi blinked, snapped out of his trance. Bu Fang approached both of them with a tray of two bowls filled to the brim with golden grains of rice. Dabi swallowed his saliva. Toga leaned forward, face rosy and full of excitement.
Bu Fang placed the bowls on the table along with porcelain spoons. “Enjoy your meal.”
Dabi was struck silent at the sight of the seemingly glowing Egg-Fried Rice. To eat this and not reward the chef for his efforts… it felt like committing a great sin. He shook his head at the thought. He was a villain that had killed people before, so what if he ate without paying?
He picked up the spoon and dug into the rice. The burst of fragrance sent him reminiscing again about… his hand quivered in emotion… and guilt.
Lifting up the trembling spoon to his mouth, he took a bite. And chewed it slowly.
It was delicious.
He wanted to eat more, eat quicker, gorge down the entire dish and experience paradise with his taste buds. But his body wouldn’t let him.
Each bite was heavy, and weighted in his mind. With every swallow, a clouded memory was cleared for him to rewatch. The life Dabi lived before he ran away from home… was slowly being uncovered without him wanting to.
In the center of repressed memories was something he desperately didn’t want to witness again. He wanted to scream and shout and stop himself from taking the next bite, but from the back of his mind he knew if he stopped eating or ate faster, his past will once again be veiled in a mirage of deceit.
Dabi knew his goals. He wanted to kill Endeavor. He no longer wanted his real name. He chose to be a villain.
But those goals were set years ago and he was simply following them… never daring to recall the blaze of fury that overwhelmed his mind during that day. He didn’t want to recall why his emotions almost turned himself into a monster.
Yet he needed it. The mirage… was just there to mask the pain. It was not good for him. He needed to get rid of the fog that was covering the memories of his past. He needed …
But what if Dabi wanted to keep gazing at the beautiful mirage?
Tears pricked the corners of his eyes. Even Toga was eating at a strangely moderate pace, but his attention was elsewhere.
It was like the cracking of glass. Memories leaked from the openings and flooded his mind.
Father, it hurts!
Pick yourself up this instant.
Please, I can’t use it anymore!
Today’s session is not over yet.
My quirk is hurting me, father!
Then you are a failure of a creation.
Dabi could remember the day he despaired for someone that was not himself.
Todoroki Shouto will succeed in where you have failed, Touya. For he is my masterpiece.
His grip tightened and he let the tears fall. Just not in the bowl.
With one more bite, the mirage shattered and he remembered .
An hour before midnight, below the crescent moon, Todoroki Touya carried out his plan.
An hour after midnight, below the crescent moon, Todoroki Touya ran away from home.
At midnight, below the crescent moon, Todoroki Touya snuck into Todoroki Shouto’s room undetected through a window.
Touya looked at Shouto’s sleeping figure and the child’s dried tears. He himself did not miss the feeling of crying, but he allowed himself to weep once more.
At midnight, below the roof of the Todoroki household, Todoroki Touya apologized to Shouto for the last time.
“Shouto,” Touya said quietly. “Big brother is sorry.” It was a one-sided conversation… but he would not have it any other way.
At midnight, below the roof of the Todoroki household, Todoroki Touya apologized to Shouto through words for the first time.
Before dawn, below the dark skies, Todoroki Touya vowed to never cry again.
Present day, below the ceiling of Bu Fang’s little store, Todoroki Touya broke the vow.
Bu Fang watched from the other side of the room as Dabi and Toga ate their meals. Their bites were slow and purposeful, full of somber sentiments.
Toga’s expression could not be seen, hidden by her hair and the bowl. Dabi however…
The young man was crying soundlessly, his tears flowing down his cheeks as he somehow managed to not get a single drop to fall into the bowl.
These people… clearly did not have easy lives. Even Midoriya had not experienced something like this.
Bu Fang sighed. His dishes contained a bit too much passion…
Both of them finished eating at the same time. Toga blinked, straight-faced, and licked her lips as her smile slowly reformed. Dabi wiped off the tears with a sleeve and looked at Bu Fang.
“Is… is this your quirk?” His voice shook for only a moment. Bu Fang shook his head in denial.
“No, it is not. Whatever you have experienced… has nothing to do with quirks.” He told them truthfully. Dabi could only stare at Bu Fang’s eyes that held no ill intent.
“Owner Bu, your cooking tastes really good! And it really energized me too!” Toga said happily, but there was something else underneath her usual smile. Dabi was reminded of the effects of the ingredients as he clenched and unclenched his fist a few times.
The beast beneath his quirk was ever so slightly calmed, even for a short while. He exhaled a breath of slightly turbid air.
“Is this you quirk?” He asked again and Bu Fang shook his head once more.
“Those effects come from the ingredients that were influenced by quirks one way or another.” Said Bu Fang.
“Quirked ingredients, huh… never heard of that concept before.” Dabi mused, staring at his left hand and curling his fingers a few times. After what he had experienced… he couldn’t handle making eye contact with Bu Fang any longer. He truly felt like a monster for what he was about to do.
“Owner Bu, your menu items are totally worth the price!” Toga spoke up with a grin. No one needed to know the growing ball of guilt that was eating away at the remnants of her conscience that told her of the right thing to do.
Bu Fang furrowed his brows and said, “You two cannot afford the dishes, can you?”
Dabi narrowed his eyes. Toga’s joyful expression faltered. Bu Fang stood up.
He walked towards them with measured steps. Every time his shoe came in contact with the ground, the two diners found themselves hesitating more and more. Do they really want to carry out this plan? It was clear that Bu Fang had no real combat experience and only had his robot bodyguard. If that was gone, then they might never experience his otherworldly cooking again.
Dabi’s hand twitched in agitation. Toga’s hand trembled as she felt the knife in one of her pockets. Bu Fang stopped. He scrutinized both of them which made them want to tear their hair out from the tension and indecisiveness in the air.
The reason Bu Fang was taking so long was because he took the time to ask The System about their punishment for not being able to pay.
After he finished listening to The System, he snapped back to reality. “Alright-”
“Um, Owner Bu?” He was interrupted by Toga who had a forlorn smile on her face. He turned to her curiously.
And her knife flashed forward.
I'll try to release the next chapter the fastest I can.