Chapter 1 – My Likes: Hiken, Tsubame Gaeshi. (1) My Special Skills: Hiken, Tsubame Gaeshi. My Hobbies: Hiken, Tsubame Gaeshi.
When I woke up, math class had already ended and the next class had begun. Or rather, the next class seemed to have ended as well.
Glancing to my left, I saw the curtains fluttering in the wind; maybe it was because of the heat, but someone had opened the window. I wasn’t sure who it was, but nice curtains. As these thoughts lazily wafted through my head, I heard the bell chime.
Next is… oh, it’s lunchtime, isn’t it? Bento time, bento time.
I quickly took out my handmade bento box. To tell you the truth, the one who made this bento was none other than Haruna-chan. Indeed, the genius bishoujo demon baroness.
“I’m very confident in my fried eggs!” she had said.
And like that, she had energetically made me my lunch. I smiled. And with my best zombie smile I opened the bento box cover. Soon, my zombie smile turned into bewilderment.
I’ve been set up. That’s what this situation felt like.
“Give me a break…”
I mumbled while hugging my head. Plain white rice would have been better. Just plain white rice with nothing but a bit of fish flour sprinkled on top.
The contents of my bento box were a sea of yellow.
“I’m very confident in my fried eggs!” she had said.
That’s all fine and good. But, you’re a bit too confident, aren’t you? There’s nothing here except fried eggs.
What was the point of these little green jagged leafy dividers you set up? They’re not supposed to be there just as decoration, as if you’re fencing off the fried eggs like you would animals on a farm.
“Aikawa. How unusual for you to have a normal-looking bento…”
A lone guy appeared before me. His name was Orito. His hair was dyed brown and pointed, and he wore glasses. He was a dime-a-dozen, normal, annoying classmate.
His height and weight were average, and so were his looks. There was nothing worth noting about this high school boy. Maybe he realized this himself as well, but he had a habit of always grooming his trademark pointed hair. Ever since our nursery days, we’ve been stuck with each other, and one way or another this annoying guy always tagged along with me.
Upon seeing my bento, Orito seemed seriously drawn aback.
Please, quit it with those eyes full of pity as if you were looking at a dying animal.
“As I thought, that idiot went overboard. This isn’t funny…”
Shaking his head, Orito pulled up a chair from one of the nearby desks, and opened his incredibly normal bento box on top of my desk.
“I love fried eggs.”
Making excuses like that, I prepared to eat a bite… but there were no chopsticks.
Hey hey, what a basic mistake you made, Ms. Demon Baroness. Luckily, I was a convenience store maniac, and I had a good supply of disposable chopsticks.
As I stood up, I heard Orito call out to me. “Hey, Aikawa.”
“How long has it been? Aikawa, it’s been a while since you’ve told me to eat at my own seat.”
Well, that’s because no matter how many times I tell you that, you end up eating at my seat anyways, so I gave up on trying.
“Alright, then eat at your own seat. I want to be alone. Stay away from me.”
“Haha, but this is fine.”
For some reason, Orito seemed satisfied and smiled. Ugh, he’s seriously annoying.
I retrieved a set of disposable chopsticks from the unlocked personal storage compartments in the back of the class, and prepared to do battle with the yellow monster in front of me.
Scary. I’ve done battle with a wide array of living things since becoming a zombie, but this is much scarier than any of them. Something smelled fishy here. I stuck a chopstick into the fried egg pile from the edge. Taking deep breaths, I sent a mouthful of the stuff into my mouth, and resolutely took a bite.
Without thinking, I let a strange sound escape from me.
Delicious! Seriously delicious! It was like an explosion of flavor in my mouth (2) of flavor! Was she a world class chef or something?! I’ve never had a fried egg this good before!
But I seriously didn’t need a whole bento box worth of this. I suddenly wanted just as much white rice to go along with it. Agh, I can feel tears coming on. For various reasons. I guess this is what they mean when they say even zombies can cry (3). Alright, let’s try something then.
“Hey, Orito. This is some unbelievable fried egg here. Just a bit is fine, so exchange a bit of that white rice (4) with me.”
“Huh? You should have put rice in there to begin with then. It’s because some weird idiot made it…”
Even as he complained about it, he ended up exchanging with me.
At the explosion of flavor the fried egg set off in his mouth, Orito soon widened his eyes.
What the hell is this?! he seemed to want to say as he looked at me. He stood up from his desk.
“Hey! Aikawa’s fried egg is amazing! He seems to be trading it for white rice right now!”
Come one, Orito-kun. Don’t make it a big deal. Zombie’s are timid creatures that prefer to live alone.
Upon hearing that, a number of people came up to me. Well, there’s no helping it at this point. There’s plenty of fried egg. So why not share it?
That’s what I thought at first, but “Aikawa’s home’s ultimate fried egg” was a great roaring success, and soon my completely yellow bento had turned into a bento of nothing but white rice. Here and there the rice was sprinkled with fish flour, depending on what family it had come from.
Certainly, I had said it before. Just plain white rice with nothing but a bit of fish flour sprinkled on top would have been better. But when that became reality, it made me unexpectedly sad.
What would you feel if the greatest fried egg of this century was completely turned into white rice?
But it’s not like I could yell at people for doing what they were doing.
The girls in the class were all praising how delicious it was and smiling at me. I couldn’t say anything.
In games or in movies, occasionally zombies could read the atmosphere, right?
Well, I can do that too.
(1) Hiken, Tsubame Gaeshi is a sword technique.
(2) Literally, “it felt like the universe might come out of my mouth.”
(3) The correct idiom is actually “even demons can cry.”
(4) He refers to the rice as “Japanese person’s soul,” and for the life of me I could not figure out a way to translate this without it sounding terribly awkward.