Prologue: At The Restaurant Door

The 24th century. At the very edge of the edge of the ruined metropolis once known as Tokyo, in a place known as Arakawa, lies a single restaurant.

Its name – Garandou.

While every day brings more rugged, rowdy patrons, there are three rules that must be obeyed.

Rule #1 – Absolutely no fighting within a hundred-meter radius of Garandou.

Countless wars and disasters led to the dissolution of ‘Japan’, and a hundred years have passed since the chosen few retreated to the underground metropolis of TOKYO Metro. The only humans left to walk under the sun are mobsters, thugs, and terrorists. Every day brings new bloodshed as organizations and individuals alike fight to enforce their own ideals in a lawless new world.

Garandou, however, is the one exception. A fight only ruins good food, not to mention the building itself. Even sworn enemies lay down their arms inside the dining hall and share food at the same table. No matter who killed how many people that day, or how much money was stolen by who, not so much as a pointed word is permitted.

Business negotiations are also, of course, off the table. Even if the restaurant is a ceasefire zone, turning it into a place for dubious deals would defeat its purpose. If any guns, gold, or drugs are found, then the perpetrators will be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

By who, one might ask? The waitress, of course.

Rule #2 – Always do as the waitress says.

Garandou has only one waitress, but she happens to be a terrifying one. She has long, raven-black hair and she carries at her hip a wooden sword nearly as tall as she is. It would be all to easy to overlook the fact that she’s only twenty years old. Her mouth is foul, and her hands quick. She doesn’t believe in service with a smile, as she practically glares the customers into submission as she passes. Her name is Lycorice, though they all know her as Lyco.

Truth be told, she’s a well-known mercenary in Arakawa, and there’s no counting the number of battlefields she’s seen or the number of lives she’s claimed. Whether her opponents be war-androids or immortal African mobsters, not a soul is foolish enough to stand against her. That being said, the patrons have nothing to fear, so long as they don’t cause trouble.

The last rule, however, is the most important.

Rule #3 – Always start with itadakimasu and end with gochisousamadeshita.

A good meal is rooted in good manners, but more than that, the chef is always eager to hear those words of thanks.

Her name is Uka, and she’s as different from Lyco as chalk and cheese. She has an air of grace and refinement about her, wholly unbefitting the coarseness of the times. Her eyes are pure as crystal, skin white as porcelain, and her hair is as spun gold. Most strikingly, perhaps, is the fact that she’s so short that she only comes up to Lyco’s chest. Without a doubt, she is Arakawa’s angel, and all she wants is to hear a simple itadakimasu. Not a soul could deny her that.

She wouldn’t get angry if a patron didn’t say it, of course. She doesn’t let even the worst of insults affect her, simply lowering her eyes slightly, like a white lily burdened by morning dew. Rather, any customer that would be so rude would be greeted by a sudden smack to the side of the head with a wooden blade and harsh reprimand from Lyco. In the whole of Arakawa, there exists no graver sin than to make Uka sad. Every word of thanks, every exclamation of delight is to be made loud enough to be heard from the kitchen.

The food at Garandou is, after all, delicious. According to the regulars, those who live and die by the blade and constantly reek of gun smoke, the taste reminds them that they’re no less human than anyone else. Their staple foods are, after all, synthetic meat and nutrient powder. But at Garandou, they can eat real meat, real fish, even real vegetables. There’s no way it wouldn’t taste good.

In an age where humanity has lost to nature, however, there are no plump pigs ready for the slaughterhouse, no neat little greenhouses growing tame little plants. Their only option is to cook the man-eating dragons, the poison-spewing mushrooms, even the odd electrical appliance and draw out their hidden tastiness.

In a word, that is what Garandou does. Lyco hunts down the freshest of ingredients, passing them off to Uka, who is far more than just angelic. Known far and wide as ‘Arakawa’s Encyclopedia of Edibles’, she has mastered all manner of cooking styles, old and new, Eastern and Western. No matter the ingredient, no matter how surprising the combination may be, just one mouthful is enough to dispel any doubt and send one’s tastebuds to heaven. Garandou is nothing short of a miracle, a delicious flower blooming in the fields of war. Its tale is one of fighting, of friendship, and of food; the tale of Uka and Lyco’s delicious life—

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