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Restaurant.

I don’t like going to this restaurant. And of course, it’s simply because it’s too expensive. But I can’t resist going because they just serve the best food there.

Well, in fact, it’s not that kind of expensive, as in, people only go there for birthday parties. It’s just a little bit more costly than other places. The excellent food, though, the moment I tasted it, lured me into its double doors again and again. My food budget runs out almost every month, thanks to this place.

Being inside the restaurant itself is already an experience. I appreciate the wooden structure because it really adds to the atmosphere. The texture and grains on the wood show their age, and the dark stains prove the architecture’s long history.

I can’t resist this kind of style.

The boss here is a tall, slender creature with a curious-looking, oval-shaped face. I’m not quite sure of his species, but he is definitely not from around here.

“Hey. You’re here again,” the boss greeted as I walked down the stairs from the entrance, “how you are doing?”

“Just fine. The lab technician guy was being a dick again. He didn’t know what the mechanism for that reaction was. You know, the one I told you yesterday.” I frowned.

“Haha. Let it pass. You want the usual?”

“Yes, boss,” I waved my hand as I walked to my usual table.

The lights here are primarily orange in hue, which fits very well with the wood. The candle flickers on the table, and the flame casts shadows on the wall. It’s kind of dark in here, but it’s very comforting after a day-long work. There’s a soothing calmness to it.

I called for a beer, and soon I became sleepy. It’s only 7 pm.

I used to live in a house like this when I was little. I’m not sure if I remember correctly, but I think my grandparents were among the wealthiest people in our country. People like them got to live very close to the emperor at the center of the city, with other rich people.

However, one night I was awakened from sleep, half-awake. I was in the arms of my dad, who was running out of the house. Hot air blew on my face, and it sounded like chaos everywhere. I think I heard gunshots, but all I cared about was to just sleep more.

We were at the great waterfall outside the city when I fully woke up. Mum was crying in the carriage, and dad was all serious-looking. The pedicab driver was smoking beside the river. The sky above the city was painted red in the distance. The giant waterfall made everything inaudible.

The ground began to shake, trees began to fall, and birds rushed into the crimson sky all at once. I looked up and only saw that one part of the city turned into a massive glow of light, blinding my eyes. The driver ran back to the carriage and knocked on our window.

“Madam, we need to leave now,” said the driver. And off we go.

“Mum, where are we going?” I asked in total perplex.

No answer.

“Mum, where’s grandma and grandpa!”

Still no answer.

“Mum!”

The kid at the table to the right was arguing with his mother about food. The mother noticed that I was watching and made a shush gesture to her kid.

Head-aching, I looked up towards the kitchen, and the waitress was just coming over to my table with my order. I looked down at my watch, and it was only 7 pm.

I guess I should eat at home today. Not feeling so well. The lab technician really is a dick. Why did I have to do all the work for him?

“Excuse me. I’m sorry, but could you pack these up for me? Thanks.”

I looked at the bill. Whoa. Did I order that much? Oh my god, I hate this place.

I smiled at the boss as I left. “Come again!” he called to me.

Never again, I thought, but knowing that I would.

Winter is back, blowing in on the cold January wind, which almost froze the tears on my face I didn’t notice I had.

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