Chapter 2: Part 7
I had interrupted Haruna before she could tell people that we lived together, but that just delayed the inevitable.
The girls in the class surrounded Haruna-sensei and, almost as if they were interviewing an actor who had just gone public with his relationship, they started grilling her about her relationship with me.
Orito, the other boys (who had been left out), and myself just stood in the corner and chatted.
There might have been six people on a team, but we still didn’t have anything else to do.
“So, which one does Aikawa like better?”
“Shut up, dammit.”
By “like better,” he meant between Haruna and Tomonori.
“Plus, just the other day, that really pretty woman came to give Aikawa his lunch…”
“Ah! You’re right! Her face and her style were both top-notch.”
“That person was Sera-san.”
“H-how do you know that, Orito?!”
“Sera and Haruna… They’re more like family.”
“So Aikawa’s favorite is Tomonori?! Ugh, I was going for Tomonori too…!”
“You liked Tomonori?”
“I mean, just look at those legs. Drives me crazy.”
“Tomonori might look like that, but she has a huge set of breasts on her.”
“H-how do you know that, Orito?!”
“But if she has big breasts, wouldn’t that mean Aikawa isn’t into her?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“After all, Aikawa is a lolicon.”
Don’t say that all together, dammit. Why the hell did they all decide I was a lolicon?
“But there’s also another pretty girl living at Aikawa’s house. Her name is Yuu.”
“H-how do you know that, Orito?!”
Why is there a guy who hasn’t said anything other than “gegeh”…?
They were so annoying that I went off to talk with Tomonori and Anderson-kun.
“How’s it going?”
I asked Anderson-kun how things were.
“Here you go. Say ‘ahhhhh’…”
Ahhh. Anderson-kun opened his mouth wide, and I joined him, doing the same. Anderson-kun fed me a mouthful of miso soup. Hmm, it was pretty good.
“H-how is it?”
Tomonori looked at me with upturned eyes, seeming worried. Did Tomonori make this? So this was the taste of Tomonori’s home cooking…
“I quite like how this tastes.”
“You didn’t say it was delicious… But I’m glad.”
Tomonori let out a sigh of relief, and I scratched my head.
“This miso soup is delicious. It reminds me of my hometown.”
Anderson-kun crossed his arms and seemed pretty serious. I wondered where his hometown was…
“Isn’t that nice? Aikawa says he liked it. You’ll be fine when you get married.”
Mihara patted Tomonori on the head.
“I mean, I’m already married.”
“So, does Aikawa like Haruna-sensei or Yuki-chan better?”
It seemed like I wouldn’t be able to escape from that line of conversation. And I guess the girls who knew Tomonori well called her Yuki instead.
That was why Tomonori always yelled at people when they called her Tomonori: because there were people on the other side who called her something completely different. If everyone called her Tomonori, then she would probably just resign herself to it…
“If you asked me to choose my favorite Yasuura sister from Hagure Keiji, I would have to say I like Yuka-san.”
“Ah, she’s played by Ogawa Noriko, right? I like her too.”
Anderson-kun… You really are a good person.
“U-Umm… Aikawa-kun… Umm… This can… Could you open it?”
Hiramatsu was the essence of the perfect girl as she called out to me with a soft voice and handed me a can of oranges.
“If Hiramatsu is here, this team can’t fail.”
“That’s… That’s not true…”
She seemed to be pretty poor at talking to people while making eye contact, so she kept her eyes cast downwards.
“Haruna-sensei~~. Aikawa-kun is hitting on Hiramatsu-san~~.”
Mihara looked like she was enjoying herself as she called Haruna over.
Haruna slipped by all the students, carrying herself like Allen Iverson as she rushed up to our team. And then she began to kick me repeatedly.
“You don’t care, do you?! You’ll just hit on anything, as long as it’s a human?! You a zombie?!”
Dropkick, dropkick, dropkick. I tried to get up, but Haruna just dropkicked me again and a wave of applause broke out.
“Sensei, the food is gathering dust, so maybe you should…”
Anderson-kun calmed Haruna down, and she washed her hands.
You’re really a good person, Anderson-kun. You saved me back there.
“Haruna-sensei, what kind of guys do you like?”
Mihara, who was hugging Tomonori, raised her hand and asked that question.
“Hueh? I guess people who call The World’s Nabeatsu ‘Jarism’s Watanabe.’” (1)
“What about Yuki?”
“Huh? Well… I like a guy who knows the difference between a torque-tuned motor and a rev-tuned motor.” (2)
Tomonori-san, you’re amazing! I shook Tomonori’s hand with both my own.
“All right! Tomonori takes this round!”
“I-I… I lost…”
Haruna’s lips thinned in dissatisfaction. Her ahoge drooped.
Haruna glared, but Tomonori didn’t seem to be at all aware of what was going on. I was thrown unceremoniously in the middle of that situation, and so a love triangle was born.
“It’s a fight! It’s a fight!”
The students gathered around and smiled, seeming to be having fun.
“Time for a match! You versus me!”
“Me have a match with Master? No no, I can’t. There’s no way I would be able to win.”
Tomonori gave Haruna a smile as she fanned her hand back and forth.
“Eh? Really? I guess that’s true. Nyahaha.”
Ah, she seemed to be in a bit of a better mood.
“Then, we’ll see who can make the best fried egg!”
Haruna thrust a finger at Tomonori. Even if she was in a better mood, it didn’t look like she had given up on having a match with Tomonori.
And in the fried egg battle that followed, two towering personalities emerged.
On one hand, Tomonori seemed almost like someone who chose to enjoy every moment of her life, smiling even as she cracked her eggs.
It was almost like she was playing a game.
She concentrated on adding the cream or putting in some dashi, steadily pushing onward with her cooking.
On the other hand, Haruna’s shoes squeaked on the floor as she took one step forward and one step back, pivoting around here and there. It looked incredibly pointless… It was almost like she was playing a game.
“What are you doing?”
“If you walk more than three steps while you hold the egg then it’s travelling, right?!”
Was someone going to blow a whistle on her or something?!
She tossed the egg… but not at the stainless steel bowl that had been set down right in front of her. She threw the egg at the bowl on the teacher’s platform.
”A fade away shot?!”
Mihara and Anderson-kun, both on the basketball team, let out a yell of surprise. Anderson-kun sounded almost American when he pronounced that.
“Get the rebound! The egg’s gonna spill!”
Everyone gulped as they watched the egg draw a pretty arc through the air.
“Be quiet. This sound… It revitalizes me. Again and again.” (3)
Clang. The egg hit the rim of the bowl. And then it cracked perfectly.
Cheers erupted in the room. The boy closest to the teacher’s platform timidly checked on the bowl’s contents.
“T-This is… There’s not a single piece of shell in the bowl! And the egg is already stirred!”
“That’s… impossible…” I was the one who said that. I mean, that was impossible no matter how you thought about it, right?
Haruna closed her eyes and looked up at the ceiling as the cheers washed over her. It seemed like she was letting the approval of her audience sink in.
“Also, wasn’t that just a three pointer?”
“No… That wasn’t just a three pointer.”
“Haruna-sensei shot that from a meter behind the three-point line. So…”
“The NBA three-point line.”
Anderson-kun muttered in English with perfect pronunciation. He really wasn’t Japanese, was he?
Haruna had already won over the hearts of the spectators. Even Mihara and Anderson-kun had already joined the Haruna camp. Nobody doubted that Haruna already had this match in the bag.
“Amazing! Master is amazing!”
Tomonori’s eyes sparkled as she stared at Haruna. She didn’t seem frustrated at all. Though if Haruna were in her position, she would be in a pretty bad mood at this point…
At that moment, something happened. There was a poisonous snake in the bowl that Tomonori was using for her eggs!
“Uwaah! It’s a snake!”
And after that, not a single student was left around Tomonori.
“I saw it! When she shot that three pointer, Haruna-sensei did a behind-the-back pass and put that snake in there!”
“Stop with the accusations! She shot that with both hands, didn’t she?!”
I heard the spectators begin to talk.
“Haruna, be honest. Did you put that in there?”
I questioned Haruna with a bit of anger in my voice.
When I did that, Haruna began to walk away from me while whistling innocently.
That girl was… There is a limit to how shameless you can be…
“It’s fine, Aikawa. It’s rude to doubt Master!”
“I’ll just start it all over.”
Haruna was obviously bullying her, but Tomonori didn’t seem to mind a bit… Or, rather, maybe she was just too nice to notice. Or no, that wasn’t it. It was, more simply, that she was an idiot.
“… What’s up with that girl…?”
On the other hand, Haruna, the bully, seemed unhappy about how things were going.
Tomonori began to fry her eggs, humming a bit. Haruna just watched her with her arms crossed.
And it was at that time! The poisonous snake from before, drenched in egg, slithered right under Haruna! Watch out, Haruna! What in the world was going to happen?!
The climax scene between the mongoose and the viper began. Haruna dropped to her hands and knees, beginning to kick and struggle.
“Master! Are you alright?!”
Tomonori reached out to try and save Haruna, but the snake hissed at her and she cowered back.
“Don’t worry! Don’t mind me and just fry it already!”
“Master…” Tomonori seemed choked with emotion.
“Tomonori, your eggs are burning.”
I shook my head in resignation, and Tomonori turned right back to her eggs.
“Eh? Ahh! They’re already burnt!”
“Do your best, Haruna-sensei!” “Don’t lose, Haruna-sensei!”
Cheers for Haruna rang out. Her apron was drenched in egg as she continued her life-or-death struggle with the snake.
“I seriously have to start over?!”
At Tomonori’s dejected shout, Haruna stood straight up.
“Voila. All done.”
She clapped her hands together. Don’t tell me… She was staged that entire event so that Tomonori would burn her eggs again?
What a vindictive person… Plus, when the hell did she finish her fried eggs?!
“So this is what it means to risk your life for fried eggs…”
“Haruna-sensei used the heat from her life-or-death struggle with the snake to fry her eggs, didn’t she?”
The audience was filled with nothing but idiots. Haruna put her hands arrogantly on her hips. She puffed out her tiny chest, and her ahoge bounced from side to side.
“Everyone, please try that with your own fried eggs!”
“Like we could!”
It wasn’t even about the poisonous snake. There was no way anybody could cook a fried egg like that!
And with that, two types of fried eggs were set in front of us. Tomonori’s fried eggs were burnt, but Haruna’s fried eggs were a beautiful yellow color.
At that point, the teacher in charge who was neglecting his professional duties, known as “Exdeath was engulfed by the Void!” (4) came over to check on us.
“Oh? You finished? Let me see…”
Without anyone holding her back, he took a bite of Haruna’s fried egg. And her eyes widened.
“Who made this? She would make a pretty good wife.”
Sorry, Sensei, but she wouldn’t make a good wife at all. She’s terrible at all other kinds of housework.
The students followed the teacher, taking out their chopsticks.
Everyone reached for Haruna’s fried egg, leaving Tomonori’s fried egg completely alone.
“Delicious!” “It’s like my tongue is alive.” “There’s a shock running through my entire body!”
A flood of approval washed through the room.
“Of course! It’s such a masterpiece I want to feed it to that gloomy necromancer!”
Haruna laughed like she was king of the world and put her hands on her hips.
Nobody ate Tomonori’s eggs, so Haruna was the winner. Well, of course. It wasn’t just Tomonori… I don’t think anybody could take on Haruna here.
I thought that Tomonori might resent her defeat, but…
“This is delicious! As expected from Master! Amazing!”
She had already forgotten about the competition. And like that, all my classmates reached out their chopsticks, and Haruna’s fried eggs disappeared in the blink of an eye.
“You idiots! Ayumu hasn’t tried them yet! Ugh!”
“I can eat your cooking anytime, so it’s fine.”
“This time it’s different! These are ‘Gloomy Eggs’! (5) So Ayumu has to try some!”
So she improved the eggs for Yuu… I see. I guess Haruna was also trying to think of ways to get Yuu to stay with us.
“Well, you can just make them again then.”
“Ugh. You better eat some next time… And then you’ll tell her about how delicious it was?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“Then all right!”
“Master! What about mine? I made my eggs for my Master!”
Tomonori gave Haruna a smile and held out her burned eggs.
Haruna sent some of Tomonori’s eggs into her mouth, crossed her arms, and waved her ahoge around.
“…and six hundred thirty-five points.”
”Out of how many points!?”
All sixty people in the room shouted that in harmony.
“The eggs aren’t soft enough. You stirred them too much, put too much cream in, put too much dashi in…”
Haruna began to list the dish’s shortcomings.
“…But I like it. So… A thousand and six hundred thirty-five points.”
“Ah, but I still haven’t finished the dish yet.”
Tomonori said that and dumped a giant glob of salad dressing on her eggs.
Haruna took a bite of Tomonori’s finished fried eggs and groaned a bit.
“Fifteen to twenty points.”
”That’s a huge difference!!”
“T-that’s great isn’t it Aikawa? Twenty points is pretty much a full score on a vision test…”
“But this isn’t a vision test. Your glass is way too full.”
“Ugh, dammit! I’ll hammer the right way of doing things into your head from square one! …What’s your name?”
I was in awe. To think Haruna would ask somebody for their name… Had she really acknowledged Tomonori that much? That’s great. That meant she would probably stop all the pranks.
And like that, our cooking lesson came to an end without delay.
Lunch break began, and we separated into our groups to enjoy the things we had cooked.
“Here’s Ayumu’s share.”
“Oh? This is the dish you made for Yuu?”
“This… is for Ayumu. I read some books from this world and studied up!”
I see, so Haruna was able to change the taste of a dish depending on the person. Hm, let me see…
Mmm, Mandom. (6) What an adult flavor~~. It was a little more bitter than usual, but that was a nice thing. Unlike Sera, with Haruna cooking I could at least rest easy… ea… Brpp…
I completely spat out everything that was in my mouth and fell forward.
“Ayumu? Ayumu! Hm? I definitely followed all the steps in here though…”
The book Haruna showed me was titled “Knock Your Target Out with One Blow!”
On the cover was a skinhead in sunglasses and a suit, hiding behind cover with an assault rifle.
You… That’s… “Knock your target out”… Doesn’t that mean to ki-
And that was the last thing I thought.
(1) The World’s Nabeatsu is the stage name of a comedic actor, who was also part of the comedic duo team “Jarism.” His real name is Watanabe Atsumu.
(2) And I am not that guy.
(3) A line from Slam Dunk.
(4) Final Fantasy V reference.
(5) Written with the same gloomy that Haruna uses to call Yuu.
(6) Reference to a Japanese cosmetics company. This is the last line in a commercial of the company and I guess became fairly meme-ish. Ayumu just uses it as an exclamation of enjoyment.