How to find a Hole In The Wall
Well, well. It was currently two in the afternoon. Daniela was sleeping at the inn. This was a rare moment I had to myself. I was sure that she would eat whatever she could without me, so I might as well do the same. And so I was now exploring the large street.
Every building that was visible here seemed to be an inn, which wasn’t too surprising. I had never done any traveling back in Japan, so this kind of townscape really filled me with excitement.
And as this was a town by a forest, most of the buildings were made of wood. I could only imagine what kind of disaster it would be if there was a fire, but then I noticed that there were small fountains installed all over the place.
“What is this?”
It reminded me of the drinking fountains you see in parks. They looked quite clean too…
“Ah, you right there. Are you a traveler?”
As I stood with crossed arms and deep in thought, an older woman approached me.
“Uhh, yeah. I was just wandering around.”
“I see, I see. But is this not a beautiful town?”
Ah, ha… Was this the beginning of a ‘boast about your town’ contest? I hope she wouldn’t take too long.
“Yes. The wooden buildings are splendid.”
“This is the forest post town after all! Almost all of the buildings here use wood.”
“But, wouldn’t that be a fire hazard?”
“Hehe. That is what these magic contraptions are here for.”
So saying, the old women pointed at the drinking fountains. Oh, that’s what they were.
“So these put out the fires?”
“Aye. If ever there is a fire, water will spray up high from the hole on the top, and shower the entire town.”
Very interesting. Educational. She then explained that these contraptions sucked up water magic from underground veins to use to put out the fires. A type of sprinkler.
“Hmm. That is good to know. Thank you.”
“Oh, it is nothing. Enjoy your stay here!”
“Yes, I will.”
The old woman’s Town Boasting Contest had come to a close. I saw her trod away with a satisfying expression, only to catch another unsuspecting traveler and begin all over again.
Now that that distraction was gone, my hunger returned with a vengeance. Oh, it was bad. I would pass out if I didn’t eat. But this town didn’t seem to have street stalls, perhaps they were considered a fire hazard, I think irritably. Like, they only allow fires near places with fire extinguishers. In that case, I would have to rely on my sense of smell. Sniff. Sniff. Where are the good food places? Ah…Daniela would have been able to find one in seconds… I grumbled at my girlfriend’s absence as I walked. Walked. And walked. Past several streets, and so many corners. I repeated this many times before my nose finally reacted to something. It was rather good.
“Ah, could this be the one?”
The window was open, which allowed the steam and a pleasant aroma to escape. Peeking through the window, I could see rows of tables and customers eating. Yes, it was a restaurant.
“Are you a customer?”
A face jumped out at me from the bottom of the window frame. Damned bastard.
“Be off with you, if you are not.”
“Uh, sorry. I am. I am.”
It seemed like he worked here, so I quickly apologized and went inside. I wasn’t about to be kicked out of here. I needed to eat something now.
“Uh, I’m alone here. That alright?”
“Sit over there.”
He pointed over to a table seat. Looking at the guy again, he was actually pretty good-looking. A quick glance at the building’s interior showed that it was mostly wood as well. It must be hard for different stores to be unique when they are restricted to using wood.
And there were so many female customers here. Like eighty percent. They were probably just here to ogle… I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. Like I had accidentally entered a pancake house. Still, I had no choice now. I needed to refill my hunger gauge or I would faint in some random corner of this town.
“So, what will you have?”
“Today we have a chicken soup and freshly baked bread as a set.”
“I’ll take that then.”