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Kingdom of the Weak - Chapter 164


Published at 23rd of May 2019 07:05:12 AM
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Chapter 164



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Days since last Beast Tide: 37 . Current Kill Count: 1261 (70 since yesterday) .

***

In a scenic seaside town near the borders of La Vive, a man walked into a bakery .

"Bonjour!" he called out loud and clear .

"Bonjour!" the baker called back, smiling in a friendly manner . They chatted for a short while, the man bought his bread, and the baker sent him off warmly .

Then, Mindy walked into the bakery . The baker watched her enter and look around wide-eyed at all the baked goods . She noticed him eyeing her and hurriedly bobbed her head in greeting . "H-hi…"

His face darkened . He frowned .

"I-I mean…" she scrambled to think back to what Remian said when they arrived . "B-bonjour . " That last scarcely came out as a whisper .

The baker's face darkened even more . "What do you want?"

"Um… I was just looking… seeing how good your goods are… you know, compared to everywhere else…"

"My goods are the best!" the baker said, loudly . "You will never find quality as good anywhere in the world! And don't you forget it!"

"R-really?" Mindy looked really nervous at this point . "The best in the world…? I'm not so sure, I mean the world's a really big place…"


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"Get out . " The baker said flatly .

Mindy blinked . "What? Really?"

"Get OUT!" the baker roared .

Mindy hurriedly scrambled out .

Sitting on the bench facing the main street nearby was Remian . "How did it go?"

"I… I don't know! I don't know what happened!" Mindy shuddered, then turned and got angry . "He was so rude! I can't believe it! What kind of shopkeeper treats his customers that way?"

"What did you do?" Remian asked .

"Nothing! I just greeted him, you know, like you said, and then talked about his goods, and he said it was the best in the world, and I said I wasn't so sure, I mean, I hadn't even inspected them yet…"

"Just how did you greet him, exactly?"

"I said, 'hi', just like you told me to . "

"Was that really what I told you to do?"

"You said to greet him!"


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"Greet him HOW?"

"Uh… say 'hi', in their language, which was 'bonjour', I think?"

"Is that all? What else did I say?"

"Uh…" Mindy thought back . "That's all you said! You just told me to yell 'bonjour' when I got in, which meant 'hello' in their language . "

"Did you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Yell 'bonjour' loudly when you entered . "

"Eh…?" Mindy thought back . "Uh… not exactly . But I did say 'hi', and I gave him a nod…"

Remian let out a sigh . "In other words, it was you who was rude to him first . "

"What?"

"It's a culture thing . Never mind . Next time, say it in their language and say it loud and clear . "

"That's it…? That's what's wrong?" Mindy said in disbelief . "So it's not about the quality of his goods being the best in the world or everything? Because I don't think it was . Among the best, maybe, just maybe, but I'm not sure it's THE best . "


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"Well HE'S sure it's the best, and he takes pride in his work, and it kind of has to be that way . They take the quality of their work very seriously, and that pride in their craft might be one of the reasons why their goods are so good . Again, it's a culture thing . They have their own customs . "

"But it's such a strange custom . My own culture and customs are nothing like that . Since I'm a customer, and new to the whole place, shouldn't he at least give me some face and explain things to me? I mean, this is near the border and all . Can't they tone down on their own customs a bit and adjust to their customers' culture?"

"Why should they conform to our culture? We're in their land . They have every right to throw us out, or jail us . They could even kill us all, and what could we do about it?"

"If they killed us, Tim would come and wreak havoc upon them in revenge!"

"Ah, but they don't know that . It's not like we can go around saying 'don't mess with me, I'm friends with a kick-ass spy and his merry band of lynxmice . "

"That's beside the point . There's such a thing as customer service, you know . "

"Even that is an issue of culture . I'm not saying theirs is any better or worse, but it is theirs . This is their land, they get to make the rules . "

"Just you wait . Let's see what happens if one day he decides to board my airship . " Mindy muttered darkly .

"Ah, but YOUR culture cares more about the customers' needs and wants . To treat a passenger as any less than an important guest would be going against your own principles, wouldn't it?"

Mindy's face fell . "That's not even fair!"

Remian just laughed . "Maybe not, but in the international arena, you're the one who would get more customers and sales . "



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"Hmmpfh! Take that, rude baker!" Mindy snorted to herself, but she said it in a very low voice to make sure nobody else could hear .

"I don't think he minds losing one sale . His pride as a craftsman is worth a lot more to him . "

Mindy just scowled, saying nothing in reply .

"Come on . Let's try again elsewhere . " Remian suggested . "Before you get so hungry and hangry that you start biting the bakers instead of the bread . "

The two of them were fresh out of the airport after a long flight . It was six in the morning when they docked at La Vive, and eight before they settled all the customs and registrations and inspections and finally went out into town .

Despite her earlier fiasco, Mindy soon got the hang of greeting shopkeepers and pretty soon they were munching a hearty breakfast at a picnic table by the seaside .

"This is pretty good . " Mindy marveled, chowing down on soft, rich bread and one of six different kinds of cheese they'd bought at the corner shop down the street . "This place is beautiful . "

"Isn't it? Aren't you glad you came?" Remian barked a laugh .

"I am . " Mindy agreed . "Actually, I'm amazed we were able to leave . I thought it was a going to be another Beast Wave day . "

"It should have been . " Remian paused . "Do you think Tim was right?"

"About what?"

"About the Beast Waves being stopped for good . Now that the Underground King has been captured . "

Mindy shifed . "Well, it stopped this week, at least . I'm grateful for that, and happy to be here . I'm not sure if it's really gone for good, or just delayed a few days or something . "

"Here's to hoping he's right . " Remian tapped his bread and cheese to her as if they'd been holding wineglasses, and they went on munching breakfast by the seaside .

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