Chapter 2 – You Look Tired, Moldau
Chapter 2: Part 1
Because I had been running around to all the printers in the morning, I found myself late for school. It was the first time in my life I had been late for school.
Perhaps because I had had such a busy morning, I also really couldn’t get into my lectures today.
Well, I always slept through class anyway, so this wasn’t much of a problem.
Sera’s quick-wittedness had gotten us a deadline extension until the twenty-fourth, but today was already the nineteenth. I didn’t know if we really could make it.
Those three girls were probably now all busily helping Nene-san. I had come to school today with a store-bought lunch rather than the usual handmade lunch made by Haruna.
It’s been a while since I’ve had convenience store food for lunch even though a year ago this had been the norm.
As I ate my lunch, I felt… well, I really reaffirmed that Haruna’s cooking was much better.
This convenience store lunch had just been heated up, and I certainly thought it was tasty, but even when cold Haruna’s cooking was supremely delicious.
The minute you tasted the best, that would become your new standard and anything less would cease to satisfy you.
As I poured copious amounts of sauce onto my fried chicken, I saw an annoying bespectacled idiot walk over.
“Hmmm? Hm hm hmmm?”
He smiled at me, repeating “hm?” over and over again to the point where I felt that God would probably forgive me if I punched him in the face right here.
“What do you want?” I spoke with every ounce of calm that I could muster.
“Aikawa-sensei~~, what’s that supposed to be? Hmmm? Hm hm hm hm hm~~?”
The spiky-haired guy walked closer, still half laughing at me.
He was being so damn annoying that it was almost refreshing.
“Don’t come any closer. You’re damn annoying.”
“Aikawa-san, are you serious?! Are you seriously eating a convenience store lunch?! That’s soooo strange.”
He looks really really happy.
“You sure look insanely pleased about this.”
“Eh? You think so~~?”
“If you don’t stop talking like that I’m going to tackle you and then flip your lunch upside down.”
“Ahh, but see actually, something interesting happened.”
My spiky-haired classmate Orito began to happily speak as he dug into a lunch that looked to have been crafted with love by his mother.
“I got a phone call yesterday, and I thought it was from Aikawa, but it was actually Sera-san.”
“Mhmm.” I gave him a noncommittal response, but then took a second look up at him.
“It was Sera? What?”
“She asked me whether there were any print shops in the Tokyo area that were open until the end of the year.”
Don’t tell me… that the person Sera had called was this annoying person, this person whose only worthwhile feature was his annoyingness, this person whose real name was rumored to be “89% Annoying, 11% Human.”
“I went searching for one immediately, and then I found one that was open for business until the twenty-fourth.”
“Good job there. I looked all over for one too.”
“Ahh, but I got lucky. See, I knew this guy in Sera-san’s fan club-”
“Hey, wait just a second. What’s this fan club thing?”
Orito gave me a look of disbelief as if he was surprised I didn’t know what he was talking about.
“It’s a club where we can pay our respects to Sera-san’s beauty. Don’t you remember back at the school festival when she had that idol battle with Hoshigawa Kirara?”
Certainly, there was a time when Sera had an idol battle with Hoshigawa Kirara aka Saras.
“That’s when this fan club was made. There’s an old guy who works at a print shop, and he’s member number 25. There’re more than 300,000 members, you know, so having a member number in the double digits is something to be proud of.”
“Does Sera know about this fan club?”
“Who knows. She’s not really an actress or anything but she has such a huge fan club so there’re definitely people talking about it, but this is only in a small corner of the internet. So, you’ll just have to ask Sera-san herself that question.”
If I told Sera, then she’d probably say something about it being “disgusting” and then would probably head off to destroy her fan club.
At that point, a girl with short hair came over carrying her lunch and a bag filled with lots of types of dressing.
“Hm? What’s up over here? Aikawa’s reaaaaally paying attention to Orito, so you two must be talking about something pervy, right? Geez, after all that sexual harassment trial stuff, you sure didn’t learn.”
Her name was Yoshida Yuki, and she was an energetic vampire ninja who was on the track team and happened to be in the class next door. Her vampire ninja name was Mael Strom.
By the way, her name might be pronounced “Yoshida Yuki,” but because she acted like a stupid guy in elementary school we mixed up the pronunciations of the kanji in her name and called her “Tomonori.”
Tomonori had brought two lunchboxes today.
“Hey hey, what’s wrong Aikawa? Why’d you go and buy lunch from the convenience store?”
“You too. Why do you have two lunches?”
“Eh? Well, Master called me… and she told me to make lunch for Aikawa. I tried really hard!”
By “Master,” she meant Haruna. Tomonori was training to be a good wife, and one part of that training was learning how to cook from Haruna.
That Haruna… was she actually being considerate toward me?
“Hm, lessee~~. Tomonori made this lunch with lots of love and care. Let’s give it a taste, then.”
Orito rubbed his hands together happily.
“Eh?! What’d you say? Yuki-chan made Aikawa lunch with love and care?!”
The person who had spoken was a go-go girl (dead slang) who was chatting near the teacher’s podium. I’m a zombie who already died once, so I knew a lot about dead slang. Ah hah hah… never mind.
This girl with the long (probably fake) eyelashes walked toward us. Her name was Mihara Kanami.
She ran over while still holding her chopsticks. She was in the class next door, so what the hell was she doing here?
“Hey… that’s… bad mannered…”
Sitting right in front of the teacher’s podium was the girl who boasted the top marks in my grade, Hiramatsu Taeko. She had twin pigtails and was a meek, well-mannered person. She was also probably why Mihara was over in this room.
Don’t come over here, dammit. Before those words could leave my mouth, Mihara had already run up next to Tomonori and wrapped her arms around Tomonori’s neck in a hug.
Seeing that, I let out an exasperated sigh and made eye contact with Hiramatsu.
Life sure was a lot of work when you had weird friends. That’s the message I was trying to give Hiramatsu while we looked at each other.
Ah, Hiramatsu chuckled. She was probably thinking the same thing.
“If you can’t make a tasty lunch, you’ll never be a good wife, you know?”
Mihara said that and lifted the lid of Tomonori’s lunch. In there was laid out a normal but cute meal.
There were octopus wieners, pieces of fried chicken, and an egg omelet. A lot of popular items were crammed into that lunch box.
“Hurry!” Orito widened his eyes. Mihara and I immediately understood what he meant, and quickly grabbed and ate a piece of whatever we wanted.
“Hey! The food is not finished yet!”
Tomonori puffed her cheeks out and sulked. She had a bottle of dressing in her hand.
No matter what food she made, Tomonori wouldn’t be happy unless she added dressing to the meal. It really was a rather annoying personality trait. So if we didn’t quickly finish off what we wanted to eat, we’d end up seeing everything just soaked in dressing.
Orito had eaten some of the omelet, and his chopsticks were now trembling.
Mihara’s eyes were widened.
I probably was doing both.
“Yeah, there’s still quite a while to go, but… this tastes a bit like Haruna’s cooking.”
If you ate Haruna’s egg omelet, it was so mind-blowingly delicious that you could feel the flavors of the entire Milky Way just spreading through your palette. Tomonori’s egg omelet might be around the level of the sun only, but it still had magnificent flavors and textures that just filled your mouth.
“Yeah, I know right? I tried really really hard on it!”
Tomonori gave us a pearly-white smile. I guess even an idiot could learn things if she tried hard enough.
At some point, Hiramatsu had appeared right next to Mihara, and she gave us an apologetic look.
“Can I… also try…?”
“Yeah, sure. Just taste some.”
I put a piece of fried chicken on the lunchbox lid and passed it to Hiramatsu.
“Hey hey hey, at least let me finish seasoning the food…”
Almost as if she was trying to save the fried chicken from Tomonori’s dressing, Hiramatsu grabbed the piece with her chopsticks and quickly popped it into her mouth.
And then, her cute eyes blinked a few times.
“Amazing… to think it would be this delicious… the meat is so soft… it’s been long enough for the chicken to get cold, but the skin is still crispy… and it’s not oily at all… what magic did you use to make it like this…?”
Well, she was just about to make it super oily though.
“Hey, all of you! Why are you eating the food before it’s ready?! Fried chicken goes perfectly with Japanese-style dressing, dontcha know?!”
“That probably wouldn’t be too bad, but you always pour way too much on. It’s seriously fine the way it is.”
“O-Okay. So… in other words, dressing is still delicious, right?”
She was an idiot. No matter what I said it would be pointless.
“So, why is Aikawa eating a convenience store lunch today?”
Mihara pushed a nearby desk up to mine and then brought her lunch over from Hiramatsu’s desk. It seemed like both Hiramatsu and Mihara were planning on eating lunch with me now.
“Hm? Oh, Haruna and the others were pretty busy. I was sleeping all the way through class, but those three might still have not gotten any sleep.”
“Haruna-sensei… if she has so much to do… maybe… I should also help?”
I was truly grateful for this kind girl’s words.
“What what? You guys doing something fun again? I’m getting pretty excited.”
Mihara seemed to be plotting something. What was the sweet smell in the air? Was it perfume?
“I wanna go and help too! That’s okay right, Aikawa?!”
Tomonori uttered those reassuring words. She was sitting in her chair but was still bouncing up and down like an idiot. Your breasts are really jiggling, you know.
Everyone was so nice that I couldn’t help but feel happy. This was why it was so important to have friends.
“Well, if Sera-san is there, then I’ll go to help too.”
“Nah, you don’t have to come. Seriously.”
Orito looked up at me with hope in his eyes, but I held him back.
“Why not, Aikawaaaaaa…”
Because I would never let you meet Nene-san. With those huge breasts of hers, I’m sure that he would just do something annoying and disgusting.
I didn’t even want to answer his annoying question, so I stood up.
“I’m going to the bathroom.”
“Take too long and all the food will be gone by the time you get back~~.”
“Yeah yeah.” I casually brushed Mihara off as she happily stuffed her cheeks with fried chicken and left the classroom.
When I got out into the hallway, I saw a long-haired, beautiful girl who was already walking away. I called out to her.
“Hey, Saras. What are you doing here? Looking for someone?”
The black-haired beauty turned around, a slight look of sadness in her eyes.
“No, I was not looking for anybody in particular…”
I noticed that Saras had both her hands behind her back. Why?
“What do you have behind your back there?”
“Did you sniff it out my little gluttonous darling?”
Wait… how could you be “little” and “gluttonous” at the same time?
Saras revealed the huge bag she was holding. That was…
“Did you make lunch for me?”
“Yes. I was concerned that you may not have eaten enough after yesterday.”
Saras’s steely eyes turned away from me. I saw a slight hint of red in her cheeks.
“I see. Thanks. You should come in and eat with us.”
Her black hair swayed as she shook her head.
“I will respectfully refuse. If it was only Yoshida, then I would have no objection as she is also a vampire ninja, but…”
Saras glanced inside the classroom. A throng of lively people had gathered around my desk.
“Hey Tomonori! Stop putting dressing all over my lunch too!”
“Ahahaha! But it’ll make you really handsome! Isn’t that great, Orito?”
“It’s super delicious! Trust me! Just pretend that I tricked you and eat it. Come onnnn~~.”
“If possible… it would be nice to eat without getting tricked…”
Everyone seemed to be having a fun time. Orito sent a karate chop down on Tomonori’s head, which made Mihara erupt into laughter. Hiramatsu just smiled kindly.
“I would never fit into that scene. I am an entity that only exists in the shadows… and it is far too bright for me over there.”
Saras let out a short chuckle. I spied some sadness in her expression.
“I see. Well, I’ll just take that then.”
“Hm? But you already have the lunchbox Yoshida made for you, and I may have gone a bit overboard with this one…”
I took a peek inside the big bag I took from Saras. Hmm… one, two, three… damn, there were fifteen layers in this lunchbox.
My face stiffened. “You… sure worked hard on this,” I told Saras.
“As I was cooking, I suddenly thought of something else I wanted to feed my darling. Then more and more things I wanted to feed my darling kept entering my head, and I couldn’t help myself.”
“Hmmm. Well, that sounds like fun then. I’m looking forward to eating it. Thanks.”
“Wait! Are you saying you will eat all of it?”
“Yup. Didn’t you know?”
“Zombies are huge on eating. They eat around the clock!”