As Alan woke, he stretched leisurely. The sun had just risen, and light began to stream through the windows in his hospital room. He felt good. Really good. He realized with surprise that he felt too good.
"Good morning Host," The system's voice rang out.
"System, what happened?" Alan asked. "Why do I feel so good?"
"Host's injury was severe. System entered recovery mode to repair host."
"Such a convenient thing existed?" He wondered aloud. "Looks like I don't have to worry about getting sick or injured going forward." He thought.
"Host must endeavor to stay healthy. While system will keep Host physically able to work, system will endeavor to let Host experience pain as naturally as possible."
Alan shook his head. "That's really not necessary system."
"Host is incorrect." The system said blandly. "System's data indicates pain is important to a human being's development and survival instinct. Therefore system shall ensure Host feels the appropriate level of pain."
As it spoke, Alan suddenly developed a headache. He felt as though he'd gone out drinking the day before and developed a serious hangover.
"System, you're really too considerate." Alan said through gritted teeth.
"You are welcome Host."
Alan stood up, ignoring his suspicion that the system sounded smug when it said that, and got dressed. As he did so he found his phone. He had a number of missed calls and text messages. Opening them up, he saw his parents had been worried about him since he didn't come home yesterday.
He texted them and told them he was fine, that he'd stayed at a friend's place after celebrating the fact that he found a job, and that he would see them tonight after work.
He put his phone away and left. He half expected the staff to stop him and tell him to pay the bill as he walked out, but it seemed Alexander Willington had indeed paid for his treatment. As he walked outside he flagged down a cab. He gave the driver the address of the cafe, and sat back.
"That's that new cafe isn't it? In the mood for some coffee bro?" The cab driver asked.
Alan shook his head. "Nope, I'll be working there as a barista starting today."
"Oh, a barista huh? Like a lawyer?"
Alan looked at the man in confusion before realizing what the cab driver meant.
"No, not a barrister, a barista."
The man looked confused.
Alan explained. "The guys who make coffee at a cafe."
The cab driver's expression cleared. "Oh. And here I thought you were somebody important. No offense."
Alan shrugged. "None taken."
The system's voice rang out. "Host, please endeavor to become someone important quickly so that cab drivers can no longer look down on you."
Alan gritted his teeth. "Thank you for that kind encouragement."
"You are welcome Host." The system said.
They drove in silence the rest of the way.
Finally, they arrived at the cafe.
Alan paid the cab driver. He did not tip. The cab driver gave him a dirty look as he drove off.
"Host, as the future owner of the world's most luxurious cafe, you should endeavor to be generous in all things."
Alan ignored the system's advice.
He walked into the cafe.
As he did so, a bell on the door rang.
"Welcome customer," A cute girl appeared out of nowhere and greeted him.
"Uh, yeah hello." He responded, taken aback by the sudden appearance of this girl.
"What would you like today?" The girl asked as she led him towards a table.
"Um, there seems to be some sort of mistake...I'm here about a job? Alexander Willington told me to come?"
The girl's face instantly changed. "Cheh. So you weren't a customer. Whatever. The boss is back that way." She pointed a thumb over her shoulder towards the back of the cafe where a door to a small office stood open.
The sudden change in behavior startled Alan. Walking towards the back office he marveled at it. What a two-faced girl.
He knocked on the office door and peeked his head in. "Hello?"
A tired looking man looked up at him. "Yes, hello. How may I help you?"
"I was told to come here today by Alexander Willington? Apparently you need a barista? He said he would meet me here."
The man sighed. "Did he really? How strange he's not here. Well, I suppose we do need a barista at that. Yes, come in. My name is John, I am the manager here. Let me take down your information. Do you have any prior experience as a barista?"
Alan explained he'd never worked as a barista before and gave the man his information. John sighed. "Unfortunately we don't have anyone around to train you."
The system suddenly spoke. "Host, the reward you received included the techniques necessary to operate the machines in this cafe."
Alan felt surprised, but quickly hid it as he explained to John that he already knew how to use the machines.
John looked at him skeptically. "You know how to use the machines even though you've never worked as a barista? You do know these are different from your home coffee makers yes?"
Alan reassured him that he did. John finally accepted that Alan understood the difference, though he still seemed doubtful. "Well, I suppose we'll see soon enough. It's currently 6:30 AM. We open at 7:00 AM. We stay open until 9:00 PM. Your pay will be $10.00 per hour, and you keep any tips you receive. Go fetch an apron from Wendy and get ready."
Alan realized Wendy must be the two-faced girl. He nodded and went back out into the cafe.
He went to Wendy and asked where the aprons were. She barely glanced at him and just jerked her chin in the direction of some pegs on the wall. An apron hung on one. He went over to the wall, grabbed the apron off the peg, put it on, and then walked back behind the counter to wait for the cafe to open.
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Bio: Author. My novels at the moment include Luxury Cafe Owner and Grave of Heroes. Luxury Cafe Owner is complete at 57 chapters and available to read on Amazon. The first book in the Grave of Heroes series, Evil Star, is on the back burner. I have decided not to do serialized releases for it, and to release it all at once on Amazon. My latest LitRPG series, Dungeon Ecology, is currently being released chapter by chapter here and on Moonquill!