Afterward, my life at school went smoothly. There were no more attacks from Lady Yuria Sakurada’s delusions, and since I decided to have lunch in the salon’s café with Lady Sara and Lord Souju, I didn’t see Lady Yuria Sakurada + new students very much. In the first place, Lady Yuria Sakurada belonged to a different class. As long as she didn’t come to my class, there weren’t many opportunities for us to meet.
Did I feel scared that it was going too smoothly because I was destined to be poor? Although the new students distanced themselves from me, they didn’t act candid with me as they did before. Only the heroine Ms. Miu Yuuki showed any hostility towards me. I wonder what I did to hurt her feelings.
I always greeted her since our seats were next to each other. Since she also returned my greetings, she wasn’t the type to bully or ignore me. So, she might just simply dislike me.
Today was the day I would make a bento for Lady Sara and Lord Souju. In return, they would treat me to a meal from the café. I felt that trading my bento for the café’s cooking was unfair, but Lady Sara and Lord Souju reassured me, so I gratefully accepted the meal.
“Please enjoy your meal.”
I brought out a multi-tiered bento box wrapped in traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that contained two people’s worth of side dishes and rice balls wrapped in bamboo skin. I had prepared a large rice ball for Lord Souju. I had two fillings inside: the dried plum I pickled last year and finely chopped bonito. I finally finished all my bonito. When I was young, I used to enjoy using the shaver to shave the bonito into flakes with Ms. Fuki’s help. When I opened the shaver’s drawer, the soft scent drifting out was nostalgic. I believe smells can easily bring up memories.
I’ll have to go to the supermarket tomorrow. Because Ms. Fuki had always prepared the ingredients, I hadn’t bought stuff at the supermarket until I started living alone. Back when Ms. Fuki was around, I didn’t know where the seasonings and ingredients came from but knew they were sent over here. Therefore, I had gone to an individual store a 15-minute walk away to buy my daily necessities, but most of the things I bought were from a supermarket a 20-minute ride away by bicycle. Ever since I lived by myself, the landlord had split her rice with me.
By the way, the bicycle was given to me by the landlord after I became alone. I practiced riding a bicycle for some time, but to think it took me two weeks to be able to ride it! My motor skills weren’t very good. That was exactly why I was elated at this sense of accomplishment after a long time. The landlord surely was unable to look at me being depressed after Ms. Fuki left that she gave me this old bicycle.
“As expected, Rei’s rice balls are the best! Today’s side dishes are extravagant.”
“They really are even though they’re the usual stewed and pickled dishes Rei always makes.”
I made them for Lady Sara and Lord Souju. I also made them look good since I wanted the two to eat delicious food.
“Ufufu. But, besides the eggs. chicken, and konjac, the vegetables were either something I cultivated in the garden or were given to me as a present. I cooked them because I wanted you two to eat them. I hope they suit your palate.”
While it didn’t cost me money, it did take my time. If the konjac plant was in season, I would have handmade some konjac. All of this was taught to me by the landlord. Ms. Fuki was a city girl, after all.
The small multi-tiered bento box was stuffed with chicken stewed with root vegetables, rolled eggs, cherry tomatoes. butterhead lettuce, and fried chicken.
Right, fried chicken. To me, fried chicken was a feast. I think they were simply delicious. I bought a large portion since they were on sale yesterday. I liked to season with soy sauce, mirin, alcohol, and ginger and coat them in a blend of potato starch and wheat flour before frying them. Even when cold, they were crunchy and savory.
“This fried chicken is delicious.”
“Hm, it really is. The seasoning is Japanese-style.”
The fried chicken was a hit. Around the time they were about ready to finish their lunch, Lord Kaoru Katsuragi and Lord Yuu Madenokouji made their appearance. They approached our table. As student council members, they were often stuck inside the student council room even during lunch, so it was rare to encounter them around this time.
“Yo, Rei! Your bento looks delicious today as well.”
No sooner did Lord Katsuragi say it than he popped the last piece of fried chicken in his mouth.
“Wait! Don’t eat it without permission! That was mine!”
“No, that was my piece of fried chicken! Lord Katsuragi, what business do you have with us?”
I wonder if it was Lord Katsuragi’s hobby to anger Lady Sara and Lord Souju.
“Hey, Kaoru. Why do something so ill-mannered? I’m sorry for Kaoru’s bad behavior.”
Like an upright prince, President Madenokouji apologized on behalf of Lord Katsuragi.
“I won’t accept the apology from you, Mr. Madenokouji. This is the 2nd time Mr. Katsuragi stole Rei’s homemade food. I expectedly cannot forgive him.”
“I also agree that he cannot be forgiven, but that piece of fried chicken before was mine, Souju.”
“Eh? Rei made these? You’re good at cooking!”
One piece of fried chicken turned into something big. In the first place, why did Lord Katsuragi take something without permission? Rather than a pompous character, he was more like someone with terribly bad self-control.
“Sara, Sou, I’ll make you much more. So, please feel better.”
I could just make more for them. I would rather not rock the boat. This was deeply ingrained in me from my life with Lady Mary.
“I won’t forgive Mr. Katsuragi.”
“I mean, I couldn’t help it since Rei’s bento looks so good.”
“Don’t just call her Rei!”
“That’s right. Please don’t call her whatever you like!”
Lord Katsuragi really did resemble Mr. Yamamoto from Interpol. They were never on the same page. I adjusted the conversation in another direction.
“Um, what business does Lord Katsuragi have with us?”
“Ah, that’s right. Sorry for the delay, but I had your uniform sent to the school, Rei. I’ll send the uniform you’re wearing now to our cleaners, so you can probably change in school. I thought about sending it straight to your home, but that’s just double the work, right?”
That was right. This uniform was one I had borrowed.
“I apologize for taking your time. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. I gave it to Mr. Akimi, so you can go change in the infirmary after school. That’s right. I got a message from Yuria. Rei, you’re also a reincarnator?”
Lord Katsuragi laughed in a teasing tone. He clearly didn’t believe it.
“Lord Katsuragi is a childhood friend of Lady Yuria Sakurada, correct? Then, I don’t think that you should speak in such a spiteful way. I am merely accompanying her in her delusions. If this will ease her mind, then it’s not a problem.”
“Rei, you would do it for Yuria, who tackled and injured you? You’re compassionate. Ah, right, Hongou twins. I’ll definitely have you join the student council in high school.”
Lord Katsuragi suddenly changed the conversation. I don’t think he can settle down on one thing for reasons. I couldn’t fathom how a handsome, pompous prince was so greatly idolized in the school.
“Ah, I also agree with that point. Especially about you, Souju. I have expectations for you. You vehemently refused in middle school, but I absolutely want you to join this time. And, I want you to become student council president in the future. Traditionally, the student council president is a salon member. Last year’s middle school student council president Takanashi was unfortunately not a salon member. He was a new student. I want to maintain the tradition for high school.”
Lord Madenokouji entered the conversation. Oh hoh. He wanted to invite Lady Sara and Lord Souju to the student council.
“I’ve told you so many times already, but I don’t have any time for that.”
Lord Souju was a super hacker, after all.
“It’s also impossible for me.”
The student council was most likely noisy with Lord Katsuragi present, so it would probably stress the delicate Lady Sara.
“Or rather, Ms. Katsuragi. Stop getting yourself involved with Rei. You could have just sent anyone else to tell her about her uniform. Didn’t you promise Rei that Yuria Sakurada would only have the bare minimum interaction with her? Yet, Rei was injured and ignored by the new students because of that girl’s strange rumors.”
Oh, Lord Souju was aware of my distant relationship with the new students. As expected!
“I don’t care. I have no intention of going along with Yuria’s delusions.”
Our conversation was running parallel! This was exactly the same with Mr. Yamamoto from Interpol. But, Lord Katsuragi didn’t have poor hearing.
“Kaoru, I don’t know the situation here, but from what I can see, this girl is troubled. Think a little of the other party.”
Lord Madenokouji said this to him directly, but Lord Katsuragi answered that it wasn’t related to him.
“I only believe what I believe and act based on that.”
Oh, I have to raise the white flag here. I had no choice but to completely avoid Lord Katsuragi.
“Lord Katsuragi, I deeply apologize, but I ask for your cooperation for Lady Yuria Sakurada’s sake. I’m very concerned about her. Please do not speak to me until she settles down. Please, I ask this of you.”
“I don’t want to. Even though I’m finally friends with you, Rei, why do I have to do such a thing for Yuria?”
“Don’t call her Rei! Besides, you’re not a friend or anything to her, Mr. Katsuragi!”
“That’s right! Why are you acting so overly familiar? Can you please not talk to Rei anymore?!”
Lady Sara and Lord Souju exploded in anger. Whoa, Lord Katsuragi’s pompousness was different from the pompousness in the novels! Absolutely no charm!
“Kaoru! Can you just stop?! Hongou twins, and Rei? Excuse me, I don’t know your name. I apologize. I’ll make sure to lecture Kaoru after this.”
Lord Madenokouji was a normal person. A straightforward person. I was relieved.
“Thank you very much for your concern. I’m Reiko Kujouin.”
When I gave my name, Lord Madenokouji broke into a bright smile.
“You’re Ms. Kujouin?! I heard that you enrolled here, but to think that you were such a beautiful girl. It’s an honor to meet you. I want to properly introduce myself. I’m Yuu Madenokouji. Nice to meet you.”
Lord Madenokouji held out his hand to shake mine. When he did, Lord Souju glared at Lord Madenokouji and pushed the hand away.
“Wait! Mr. Madenokouji, even you can’t get close to Rei! Since it’ll really be a bother.”
“Rei, let’s return to the classroom.”
I hurriedly wrapped the multi-tiered bento box and got ready to leave the room. To have Lord Katsuragi and Lord Madenokouji understand my position, I stood up from my seat and asked them.
“I apologize. I am a scholarship student on top of being poor, so there is no merit for you two to pay any attention to me. Please, I ask for your understanding.”
I said, and the three of us left the café. I ended up leaving a slice of my sandwich behind, so I truly, utterly, and extremely regretted it. That sandwich, from its bread to its ingredients, was completely delicious! Because of Lord Katsuragi, I couldn’t finish the last slice. He was a different kind of annoyance from Lady Yuria Sakurada. He wasn’t a pompous prince. He was an impatient child! A childish prince!
My bitterness because of my food ran deep. Until now, I had only thought of Lord Katsuragi as a somewhat troublesome person, but because of the matter of the sandwich, my feelings towards Lord Katsuragi took a huge nosedive.