Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 3 Mr. Cat (1)
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 3 Mr. Cat (1)
“It’s… It’s okay…” I replied, still in shock.
What’s going on? The owner of this noodle restaurant…is a cat demon? Furthermore, the way he speaks is so weird. It feels as if he came from an old historical drama.
He said he hadn’t had a human customer in years? What did he mean by that?
I became vigilant. Things may get tricky if this place was similar to the grove behind the campus where Devil’s night was.
However, Mr. Cat apparently knew my worries, he waved his hand at me while smiling.
“Don’t worry, my restaurant always only receives one customer at a time. If there is a customer in the restaurant, the others can’t get in. Haven’t you noticed when you came here? That alley only allows one person to come through.”
“I see.” I was too embarrassed to look at him and didn’t know what to say. But Mr. Cat warmly welcomed me. He wiped and laid the table while chatting.
“It’s so rare to have a human customer. Uh, I’m so sorry my restaurant is small and dirty. Oh, right. Since you’re here, your dinner today is on the house. What would you like to eat?”
The owner was too hospitable that I couldn’t decline.
“Ur…Thank you, but I’m not here for dinner…”
“Please, what does it matter, it’s my treat.” After saying that, he turned around and entered the kitchen. “This is a small and shabby restaurant, we only have noodles on the menu, please don’t our food too much.”
… Even if I want to, it would be impolite to say no, wouldn’t it?
“However, Mister, I’m not bragging.” The cat turned the oven on, picked up some noodles and said, “Once you eat my noodles, you’ll never be able to forget the taste of it.”
I gave in, waiting for him to serve the noodles. Though I hadn’t eaten any food tonight, I never planned to eat just a bowl of clear noodle soup. I was overwhelmed by his hospitality.
However, after a few minutes, the air was filled with a thick fragrance of noodles. I deeply breathed in some of it, and my stomach began to growl.
“Alright, there you go. Go ahead and have a taste!”
A bowl of plain noodle soup was put in front of me, but it smelled so extraordinary that it stimulated my appetite even though I wasn’t hungry. After seeing the eagerness in Mr. Cat’s eyes, I picked up the chopsticks and put some noodles in my mouth.
The flavor was hard to describe with just words. It looked like a bowl of ordinary noodle soup, but when chewed on, you could taste a very unique flavor. The noodles were so delicious that it made me doubt if it was food from Earth.
“What do you think?” Mr. Cat was eager to know my impression.
I nodded and said, “Mm, it’s really good!”
“Great, enjoy your noodles.” Mr. Cat smiled radiantly.
I nodded and started to eat. The noodles were so yummy that it didn’t take me long to finish them.
After wolfing down a whole bowl of delicious noodles, I belched, put the bowl on the table and said sincerely, “That was delicious, thank you!”
“Hahaha, I’m glad you like it.” Mr. Cat laughed out loud before taking the empty bowl back into the kitchen. Suddenly a question occurred to me.
“Well… Mr. Cat, what are the noodles made of? Why do they smell so good?” I hesitantly asked.
At that moment, many ghost stories flashed back in my mind, like a story about a student who accidentally entered a mansion in a remote forest, after indulging himself in fine wine and delicious food, but then he woke up in a cemetery and noticed that all the food he ate were rotten mice…
“Uh, please don’t worry. “ Mr. Cat laughed out loud again when he saw my face. “I don’t use human flesh or any rotten animal meat, it’s just wheat flour.”
Hearing this, I felt relieved.
“However, it uses human spirit as one of the ingredients.” Mr. Cat added.
What? I instantly felt nausea in my stomach and covered my mouth.
Human… human spirit?!
“Hahaha!” Surprisingly, the cat let loose with a loud guffaw when he saw my reaction. He explained to me. “Mister, it’s different from what you’re thinking. The noodles are just ordinary noodles, what makes the difference is the environment here.”
“Environment?” I was curious.
“Yes, you have such a strong psychic ability, you should have noticed already, right?” Mr. Cat turned back to wash the dishes. His two tails swung as he moved. “There are a lot of lost spirits lingering around, they can’t return to the world of the living nor can they find their way to the Sanzu river, so they linger in this place for a long time. A place with lingering human spirits possesses spiritual power, and the food becomes more delicious because of it. It is also the reason why I opened this noodle restaurant here. The stronger your psychic ability is, the tastier the noodles become.”
“I see…” I didn’t feel anything like Mr. Cat had described at all, except for the cool breeze. After his explanation, I began to clearly feel the negative energy of the lingering spirits or even see some translucent shadows flashing in front of me.
“Why don’t you help them?” I couldn’t help but ask, “As you mentioned, they are lingering spirits.”
“It’s hard.” Mr. Cat smiled. “Everything in this world has its own rules. Some spirits can find the right path without a guide, while some don’t know where they should go even though the road is right in front of them. The rules of nature are not something we can interfere with.”
What he said… was reasonable. I nodded, and instead of asking more questions, I took out my wallet.
“Alright, how much should I pay?” I asked.
“Uh, didn’t I say, it’s an honor for me to have you here. The noodles are on the house.” Mr. Cat smiled.
“Since this is my first time here, I don’t want to eat the food for free,” I said firmly.
Mr. Cat seemed to give in, he hesitantly scratched his pointed ear. “But, human money is useless here… so what should I do? Oh, right.”
Mr. Cat wiped his hands on his apron and came in front of me. He held out his fluffy cat paw and said, “You can give me a coin.”