「To reiterate, the contest will begin at noon. All participants will be allowed to depart the guild at ten in the morning. You’ve two hours to find and push your cart to a location of choice anywhere within the portside, market, or residential areas. However, be warned that you will be dismissed if you attempt to use another individual’s property without prior consent. Please do not set up without first consulting all relevant individuals. Please also wait until noon to start selling your products. Anyone that starts selling their goods before noon will be instantly disqualified, so please make sure you abide by the competition’s rules.」
The second round’s participants immediately dispersed and began heading towards their respective destinations. We’d originally planned for Urushi to drag our stall along, but a bit of further consideration led us to realize that such an act would ultimately make us stand out, and not in a good way either. So instead, we ended up having our newly employed helper do it for us.
I have to say. Hiring Colbert? Really solid decision right there.
I know I made it sound like cart pushing was all he was good for, but that wasn’t the case at all. He’d actually given us a pretty decent suggestion, a suggestion that ultimately actualized itself in Fran and the salesgirls all wearing matching maid uniforms.
「The curry bread we had for dinner last night was absolutely delicious. However, I can’t say for sure if that alone will be able to carry us all the way through to the finals.」
Colbert commented as he gazed upon our surroundings.
Each and every shop seemed to have its own selection of beautiful clerks. Though, I guess I should’ve expected that to be the case from the very start. The fact that pretty girls led to more sales was a universal truth, a fundamental axiom that simply couldn’t be overturned regardless of what world one was in.
Cuteness simply wasn’t something that could be defended against, but you know what, cute is justice, so whatever.
「Colbert and I have been thinking over how to optimize our sales, so don’t you worry Fran! You’ll be cruising right through the second round!」
「I’ll do my best too!」
「And I’ll use my charms to attract as many male customers as I can!」
Luckily, it looked like like all three of our salesgirls were pretty much ready to go full steam ahead. They’d been quite shocked at how the curry bread and rice I fed them last night tasted, so telling them that I’d feed them even more extravagant meals if we made it into the finals seemed to have fueled them up all the way.
A large group of people started to tail us as we headed towards our final destination. At first, I’d assumed that they were up to no good, but they actually turned out to be customers. Apparently, following the stalls around and camping out around them till they opened was actually a thing.
The number of people trailing behind us gradually grew as we continued to move. Travelling around caused us to end up with about fifty followers, which apparently was actually a pretty low headcount. Some of the more popular participants had about two hundred odd people following them around already.
Crap. I think I might not have taken this whole thing as seriously as I should’ve.
「Lots of people.」
「Hahaha. They don’t call this one of Kranzel’s Three Great Festivals for nothing. The Spring Lunar Banquet features the King of Cooking, The Orison Rite, and the Minstrel’s Contest, amongst many other events, so it draws in folks from all across the land. In fact, I’d say you’ve yet to see anything but a drop in the bucket.」
「Three Great Festivals? Others are?」
Fran tilted her head as she questioned one of Colbert’s statements.
「The other two would be Ulmut’s Dungeon Fiesta and the Royal Capital’s New Year’s Festival.」
「Though, I don’t really think the New Year’s Festival isn’t actually too different from the Lunar Banquet hosted here in Barbra.」
Apparently the only real difference between the New Year’s Festival and the Lunar Banquet was the fact that the King would give an address each time the former was celebrated. Both contained an enactment of The Orison Rite, and both featured stalls lining the streets with food for purchase. It wasn’t all that difficult to for me to picture it. The Dungeon Fiesta, on the other hand, had led me draw nothing but a blank.
「The Dungeon Fiesta is a festival meant for adventurers so they can engage in blood splattering, flesh tearing, bone crushing practices.」
The hell? All I can really say at this point is that it sounds violent and barbaric as all hell.
「Lydia’s more or less hit the nail on the head there. The fiesta does tend to get a bit wild.」
「Types of activities?」
「Well, although it’s a fiesta in name, it’s actually something moreso along the lines of a martial arts tournament.」
「And it even takes place in Kranzel’s most adventurer-populated city, so you know it’s gotta be good.」
「They’ve got three different categories. The first is one for people under level twenty, and the second for parties of at least size three. The last category doesn’t have any restrictions on its potential participants.」
Huh, a martial arts tournament? That sounds fun. It’d be worth checking out even if we didn’t end up participating ourselves.
「Takes place when?」
「It happens at the end of April, so it’ll start in about a month or so. Just in case you were wondering, the festival is actually held in commemoration of the dungeon’s capture.」
Sweet, the timing more or less works perfectly for us too. Ulmut was going to end up being our next destination anyways.
The conversation we had with Colbert and the girls extended all the way until we reached the place in which we’d been planning to set up.
「Okay. It looks like we’re here.」
It’d come time to focus on the contest.
We’d already accrued a queue of about a hundred people, but much to my surprise, not a single one of them requested that we open shop before noon.
The place we’d ultimately chosen was the large square in which the Chef’s Guild was situated. To be a bit more specific, we set up just in front of the giant clocktower that marked the square’s most northern point. We figured that this was pretty much the best possible place. We could attract customers because it had heavy traffic, and there was actually even enough room for everyone to line up and stuff.
The moment we settled down was the moment we got to work. Fran immediately pulled a batch of curry bread out from within her dimensional storage box and put it on display. She then hung a sign declaring our prices, fired up the stove, and placed a large pot of oil atop it.
「That’s an excellent choice as far as display and advertising goes. Did you think of it yourself, Miss Fran?」
「Ah, I should’ve expected as much from the Master. He sure does have quite the diverse set of skills.」
The next thing Fran pulled out of storage caused our employees, or more specifically our salesgirls, to only elevate their praises.
「Wow! I’ve seen a few merchants carrying things like those, but never before have I ever seen any so large. They even looks like they’re compatible with every single kind of coin. Were they something designed specifically for use at a stall?」
The items in question were a group of three wooden coin counters. They weren’t really anything all that fancy or special, at least by my standards. All I did was use wood in order to reproduce something I remember seeing back in Japan, but apparently the girls thought them to be innovative. 
「The magic sword girl’s master sure does seem versatile.」
「Nn. Master. Amazing.」
Judith, was a merchant’s daughter, so she was able to familiarize herself with the coin counter almost immediately.
In fact, it didn’t look like any of our three salesgirls had any trouble learning to use the tool, which was good. Effectively employment of the coin counter would allow them to work much more efficiently than they would’ve been able to otherwise. In other words, the coin counters would facilitate that whole selling en masse strategy I had going.
We had everyone head off to the side for lunch after we finished setting up. We decided to eat a little bit earlier because we had no idea how busy things would be getting. There was a pretty decent change that we’d end up having to work nonstop for the next few hours.
「You have no idea how long I’ve been awaiting this!」
「Same here. You could very well say that we only accepted this request for the food’s sake.」
「Don’t forget about breakfast! It was absolutely splendid.」
「Them egg salad sandwiches… Hnnnngg.」
Apparently everyone really liked the egg salad sandwiches I’d randomly whipped up for breakfast, so I decided to stick to the whole sandwich theme for lunch too. Specifically, I ended up having four different types: egg, roast pork, chicken teriyaki, and tuna fillet. 
「Hey! I saw that Lydia! Stop trying to hog everything! You too Fran!」
「Heh heh heh…」
「Survival of fittest.」
「I’ll be taking this then.」
「Oh come on! Not you too Maia!」
「Wow! This juice has got quite some flavour to it!」
Our so called picnic lunch ended devolving into something along the lines of a skirmish as all five people fumbled around to get their hands on as many sandwiches as they could. I figured that the fifty I made would be more than enough, but apparently I ended up being about as wrong as wrong could be. The sandwiches had almost seemed to perform a vanishing act; they all disappeared in a matter of moments. If anything, it kind of ended up looking like I didn’t make nearly enough to satisfy everyone present.
The salesgirls didn’t seem to be all that happy with each other, and they ended up in a bit of a squabble. Hopefully they’d be able to get back to normal by the time they had to get to work.
One thing to note was that the Chef’s Guild actually had a staff member watching over each establishment in order to ensure that no one cheated. That is, they would also be responsible for aggregating sales numbers and ensuring that everyone used the exact materials that they’d prepared before hand and nothing more. You’d be disqualified the moment you tried to bribe or trick one of the aforementioned staff spectators.
We figured that they’d end up pretty hungry and exhausted at the end of the day, so we tried offering them a few sandwiches, but they ultimately ended up refusing even those.
「I really have to say that the meal before is delicious, but I think the item we’re going to be selling are actually even better.」
「I know right? We’d actually considered buying ourselves some a few portions even though we just had lunch.」
Colbert and Lydia purposefully raised their voices so that the people spectating us could hear them. Apparently, it worked, as a few onlookers actually ended up running over and joining the line. Said queue was already well over a hundred people long. It looked like we were going to have one hell of a busy afternoon.
 I just realized I never explained this, but I’ve been using carts/stalls/booths interchangeably because they’re like these mobile food stalls people pull out for festivals. Think the people who sell hot dogs in major cities.
 Think super bootleg cash registers.
 For some odd reason, Japanese people love taking dishes that typically go well with rice and shoving them between two pieces of bread. Now, note that they don’t use the same white bread you’d typically find in the west, but rather something a bit more buttery and fluffy. If you have any Mitsuwa Marketplaces near you, you might be able to find JP sandwich bread at the bread stores often contained therewithin.
Tamagosando (Egg salad sandwich) is filled with a JP style egg salad. That is, it’s basically made up of salt, pepper, sugar, and mayonnaise with a much greater focus on mayo than I’d consider healthy. Note that the mayo is specifically Japanese mayo. The difference between Japanese mayo and American mayo is that the former is typically sweeter and typically isn’t made with egg whites.
The sandwiches themselves don’t really contain anything but the egg salad, whereas the western counterpart seems to include various condiments as well.
Yakibuta (roast pork) is literally Chinese Char Siu. I have yet to have any decent Char Siu in the USA, but I’ve had my fair share of it in Canada. Shout out to anyone in the Toronto area, cause it’s super good there.
The sandwiches tend to contain eggs and vegis as well.
Chicken teriyaki sandwich… do I really need to explain this one? If you don’t know what it is,feel free to comment, but at this point in time, I feel that Chicken Teriyaki is so widespread that basically everyone knows what it is.
The last type of sandwich they mentioned in this chapter was magurokatsusando, or tuna cutlet sandwiches if you don’t speak moon rune. They take fish fillet and make it like they would tonkatsu before shoving between two pieces of bread. That is, they cover it in flour, eggs, and then Japanese breadcrumbs before deep frying it in a pan. Typically contains some vegetables, but there’s like a billion recipes for this stuff because of how widespread it is.
So just to add a bit of clarity, Colbert = talks with respect, and a very slight bit of refinement. Judith = more casual. Lydia = most casual. Maia = the rest. Japanese doesn’t use “X said, Y said.” I figured it was fairly obvious as to who was talking most of the time, so I haven’t been adding the “x said, y said,” in all that often, but if you guys are getting confused, feel free to ask for more clarity and I’ll drop a few extra lines in going forward.