Mitsuha finds a centrally-located storefront in the Capital, hires a craftsman to renovate it, then stocks it mostly with specialized, semi-useful items from the 100-yen store. But even after pounding the pavement distributing flyers, the day of the grand opening passes without a single customer. The second day reaches 4:00 PM and still no one.
Even when the first three
marks customers step through, they’re a little weirded out by how random everything is, and seem particularly off-put by the fish scaler. The three young women are interested in the “hair elixir”, but the 16 silver price tag is a little too steep, so they prepare to depart for lunch. Mitsuha believes if she loses these customers she’s done for, so she makes them an offer they can’t refuse.
First, Mitsuha demonstrates the near-magical power of modern-day budget shampoo in a world with renaissance level of development. In short: a few more pumps are needed for hair that has never been shampooed, but eventually Anke’s hair is as soft and shiny as Mitsuha’s.
Then Mitsuha treats the ladies to a sumptuous multi-course feast…made up entirely of boil-in-the-bag meals from said 100-yen store, fine delicacies of unprecedented flavor to the palates of this realm. When one of the women suggest they might be dealing with a witch, the others shush her.
When they return to the manor where they work with a gift of chocolate almonds (remember to take off the wrappers!), the chef Marcel calls a meeting with the Lord and Lady of the House. The three servants give a detailed report on their unusual visit to General Store Mitsuha.
They all agree that the only plausible explanation for serving fresh fish in a city ten days’ ride from the sea is that Mitsuha is a witch…but maybe a kind one? I love how far into the weeds they go contemplating the logistics of transporting fish to the city.
Marcel pays Mitsuha a visit, and Mitsuha is thrilled that the women spread the word like she’d ask. Marcel buys a basket full of mostly cooking-related articles, then asks her about fresh fish. Specifically, he is unsure of his ability to put on a top-shelf banquet for Viscount and Lady Ranier’s daughter Adelaide’s upcoming debutante ball, but fresh fish could be just the ticket.
While Mitsuha initially envisioned hordes of customers of all stripes packing her store and filing her pockets with that sweet, sweet silver and gold, she instead has unexpectedly received something arguably more important than immediate hard cash: connections.
If her consulting leads to a successful ball, she’ll have powerful, grateful new friend in Ranier, and all the other nobles who attend will want her wondrous services as well. Mitsuha’s store may have endured a slow start, but things are looking up for her overall business. Because even if the products need tweaking, her talents for salesmanship and improvisation are legit.