Sweet Decadence!

A/N: I know there are a bunch of fanfictions of female Komatsu, and honestly this idea has been rolling in my head for a while. It will follow the manga pretty closely (kinda?). I know the fandom seems a little dead so I don't expect a lot of readerships. But if you do read it, please drop a review! I appreciate any criticisms and feedback!

Please Enjoy!

P.S Apologies for the poor grammar, English isn't my first language.


Chapter 1: Enter Toriko, the Gourmet Hunter!


Someone once said...

That there were beasts with marbled meat that melted on your tongue.

That there were tender and densely packed lobsters and king crab meats that grow on trees all year round.

That there was a fountain from which amber-colored brandy gushes out endlessly...

People are enchanted by unknown delicacy!

This is the gourmet age; the age of seeking out unknown tastes!


Delicate plates and glasswares clinked together into a sweet melody. Komatsu observed Hotel Gourmet's customers chewing vigorously while humming in pleasure. A sigh of satisfaction bubbled up from her. Part of the reason why she loved cooking was so that she could see the look of happiness on her customers' face as they enjoy the meals she cooked for them.

"Oh! Chef!" A man wearing a monocle called out.

"Ah! Yes?" She quickly scrambled to the man's table. There was a pudgy woman, with red hair pinned up in a large bun sitting across from the man.

"Are you the Head Chef?" The pudgy woman asked.

"Y-yes, I hope you're enjoying today's special." Komatsu smiled nervously, hoping the answer would be nothing but positive.

"It's absolutely fantastic! We've been coming to this restaurant for the past four years now, and we have never been disappointed! Compliments to the chef." The man smiled while the woman nodded along.

Komatsu felt a flush of heat tingling her cheeks, "Th-thank you!" she bowed in a 90-degree angle; her lips stretching into a wide grin.

"Ah, we are so happy you enjoyed the food." A new voice spoke out.

Komatsu turned to see her General Manager, Smith. "Manager?"

"Komatsu, you're needed upstairs in the boardroom," Smith said in a hushed tone before smiling back to the couple.

"Oh, okay." Komatsu said before she turned back to the sweet couple, "please enjoy the rest of your food, the dessert today is the triple vanilla cake made from the Vani-pods off the east coast." She could see the couple's eyes shining brightly at the mention of today's dessert. She chuckled before bowing once more and leaving the dining hall with Smith.


"Manager, you're sweating." Komatsu pointed at the beads of sweat forming on Smith's temple.

"Oh shush! The IGO director wants to see us. And you know how crazy that man is with his full head of hair!" Smith snapped irritatingly.

Komatsu laughed sheepishly as she knew her manager had always been a bit too self-conscious with his inevitable balding.

They finally entered one of their many boardrooms, and immediately a strong fragrant scent of lavender and rose hit her nose. Yup, that was definitely the IGO director, Uumen Umeda, gracing them (or rather their nose) with his presence. He was sitting at the end of a long table while flipping through multiple files. Even while indoors, he was still wearing his sunglasses. Of course, that was one of the many things that were off about the director.

"N~~ have a seat, have a seat! We don't have all day you know!" Umeda said while ushering them to the seats next to him. He flipped his black bob haircut, and she could hear a soft whimper from Smith. Hair complex, something she couldn't relate.

Once Komatsu and Smith were settled into their seats, they patiently waited until Umeda finished reading what appears to be a report. After shuffling papers and files around, Umeda finally spoke with his weird vocal quirk. "N~~I think you guys already know this, but we have an upcoming Gourmet Parley, and we finally looked at your proposed menu."

"Oh! Wonderful!" Komatsu chimed in, she could feel her fingers tingling and her eyes widened at the thought of cooking the food they have suggested. "What did you think about the menu, director?"

"N~~chef, the IGO leaders from various countries will be attending this event, including our boss, the president."

Yikes, she knew it was going to be fancy but didn't realize that all the big wigs from the IGO Corp would be attending as well.

"N~~" Umeda continued, "so I noticed you chose the White Haired Cinderella Cattle Fillet Steak."

"Yes!" she replied, "That main dish was chosen bec-" Umeda's hand shot up, and she immediately clamped her mouth shut.

"NON! Chef!" Umeda shrieked. "This isn't some common person's drinking party at the Gourmet Garden you know." Umeda twirled the ends of his hair with his index finger, "I want something with more PIZZAZZ!"

Pizzazz? She thought dejectedly. What does that even mean? "Y... yes sir..." She bit her lower lip before she finally said, "but that's the highest quality meat we can prepare here at the moment... so I don't know what we can do with more... uhm... pizzazz, director."

"Hmmm." Umeda stroke his 5 o'clock beard before he snapped his finger. "Couldn't you get some Galala Crocodile meat?"

Smith leaped out of his chair, "Ga-Galala Crocodile?"

She quickly piped in right after, "That's the world's highest-ranking crocodile meat!"

"Be-begging your pardon, Bureau Director..." Smith's voice was quivering before clearing his throat, "that's an impossible order to fulfill."

"Hmm? Are you saying your chefs are incompetent?" Umeda looked directly into Smith's eyes, and she could see Smith shirking back into his seats.

"Manager..." She was worried that they would lose their contract of hosting the Gourmet Parley if they misspoke. After all, the IGO Corp had more than a 100 Hotel Gourmet that could easily host this event.

"No." Smith's voice was hard and confident. "My chefs are one of the most talented chefs I have ever seen. We can definitely cook the meat; it's just obtaining the meat that is the problem."

She could feel a small prick in her eyes, Smith was probably the first manager that didn't treat the lower tier chefs like tools. She was touched by hearing her manager speak with pride regarding the chefs of IGO Hotel Gourmet.

"Ohohoho!" Umeda laughed, "Is that all?"

"i-is that all?" both Komatsu and Smith repeated dumbly.

"N~~ Galala Crocodiles are a capture level of 5. Even if we requested a tank, we may not be able to bring one down."

"..." She was speechless. So what was the director suggesting they do?

"There's little choice I suppose." Umeda sighed, "it will take some money, but we'll make a request to a Bishokuya."

Smith got out of the seat once more. "Is there a bishokuya that can take down something of the Galala Crocodile class?"

She could only think of one Bishokuya strong enough to take something on like the monstrous crocodile. After all, his face was plastered all over Gourmet town as one of the top classes of Bishokuyas. "Do you mean Toriko-san?"

"OUI!" Umeda said while giving her a thumbs up.

"Oh...uhm, so when will Toriko-san be able to bring the meat to us?" She asked.

"You tell me, Head Chef!" Umeda said.

"Huh...?" She stared at the director before looking at the manager.

"As the head chef in charge of this amazing, splendiferous, event. You should be the one to ask Toriko." Umeda chimed lackadaisically.

"B-but... I never spoke with Toriko-san, and I don't know how to contact him, and, and..."

"It's okay Head Chef Komatsu-chan!" Umeda began to shuffle through his files before pulling a paper sheet out. "That's the one!"

"Ah... but..." her mind was spinning; she could never speak to a superstar like Toriko-san. Besides, she didn't even know what kind of person Toriko-san was. Whenever they showed him on Gourmet TV, he was either shown carrying large carcasses of rare meats or just eating food.

"Here you go Head Chef Komatsu-chan!"

She took the sheet of paper and written on it was Toriko's address- no, more like the coordination points! He didn't even live in the city? Reading further, there was the amount the IGO Corp was willing to pay for his services. There was more information she would have to read thoroughly, but her thoughts got interrupted by Umeda scraping his chair across the floor.

"Well, my job is done!" Umeda spoke out. "I look forward to hearing the good news, Head Chef Komatsu!"

"Only the good news...?" She looked back at the cursed sheet in front of her. Oh dear, she really hoped Toriko say yes to this request.

"Chef Komatsu."

She looked up and saw Smith giving her a thumbs up.

"Aha..." Komatsu laughed nervously and gave a shaky thumbs up in response.


Komatsu got off work, but everything still felt like a blur. She entered her apartment and dropped her keys into a bowl. She kicked off her shoes and tossed her apron on the couch.

She heaved a heavy sigh before plopping down on one of the dining table's chairs. The manager told her to rest up and to leave bright and early to meet with Toriko tomorrow morning. She needed to check the map before driving into the boonies. "Honey! I'm home!" She called out.

Silence.

"Honey?" She called out again. That was weird; usually, her fiancee would be home by now.

She got out of the chair and went into their bedroom. Perhaps he was tired and slept early today? She turned on the lights to see a perfectly made queen-sized bed. There was a note on the bedside table. She walked up to the note and picked it up. "Huh? What's this? Did he go on a business trip and forget to tell me?" She giggled at his forgetfulness. "Guess he has a lot going on too?"

She started to read the note, and slowly her placid smile melted.

Dear Komatsu,

It's not you, it's me.

I just feel that this relationship has gone stale and can't imagine being married to someone who clearly will choose their job over love every time.

I want to explore the world still and figure out my life.

I'm sorry.

All the best -

She crumpled the note before she finished reading the last line.

"W-wait. This must be a dream right?" She pinched her cheeks lightly and felt a small sting. She stared down at the crumpled up note in her hand. She gently placed it back on her bedside table.

She stared at the floor, only the clock ticking accompanied her. How long has she stayed in this position, she didn't know. Her hands trembled as she took off her engagement ring and set it down next to the crumpled note.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

The clock kept ticking on.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

At one point she laid in her bed and closed her eyes.

The next time she opened her eyes, sunlight shone brightly through her windows. She rubbed the sleepiness out of her eyes. She turned her head to the bedside table.

The crumpled note was still there.

She slowly got up from her bed. She dragged her feet and saw the time as she exited her bedroom.

"Ah, I have to get ready to meet Toriko-san..." she said, her voice barely above a whisper. She peeled off her chef uniform from last night and sat in the hot shower until her fingers started to prune. When she got out of the shower, the cool air embraced her hot skin. Droplets of water slid off her body. She stood before the full-length mirror, stark naked. Already she started to point out her imperfections, not a big enough breast, too wide of a nose, too short and pudgy for his liking, not long enough hair as it only reached to her shoulders, the list went on.

She gently touched her reflection's face. "Why aren't you crying?" she asked her reflection.

The reflection just shook her head. "It's because this is already your 5th failed relationship. Why even bother?"

"I really thought he was the one." Her voice quivered.

The reflection just smiled bitterly, "Yup. That's what you always say."

"I really thought he loved me."

"That's what you said last time too."

"I was willing to..." her voice choked, "give up my dreams for him."

"..."

"Why...did he leave me?"

"It's always the same thing, isn't it? Being a bore. Too invested in your job. Probably a bore in bed too."

She chuckled bitterly at the last reason. Her eyes started to burn as it rimmed with incoming tears. "I-I have to go and do my job..."

"I know. That's the reason why they all left you."

She hugged herself as she bit her lower lip. Finally, tears cascaded down her face. She slinked down to the floor on her knees. "Get a hold of yourself, Komatsu. E-everything will be okay. You still have a wonderful job and..." She couldn't think of anything else other than her job as a chef. She wiped her tears away. She had a job to do. Everything else can wait.

When she tried to stand up, she collapsed back down once more. "Uuu..." Even though this wasn't her first break up, it still hurt the same. She thought she was used to this feeling of abandonment by now, but she wasn't. "Uuu..." She whimpered before her voice got louder and her heart sank lower.

She finally cried all the tears that were left unshed from yesterday.

She cried until her eyes couldn't shed any more tears. She ended her emotional burst with a small sniffle before she finally got a hold of her reality once more. She still had an important job to do. She had to push this feeling far back into her mind. She finally got enough strength to stand back up. She looked back at herself in the mirror and cringed at her now puffy and red eyes. Thank god for makeup and eye drops...

She walked to her closet, now a half-empty closet with his belongings all gone. She skimmed through her outfits. A navy blue office jacket, a white blouse, and a matching skirt. She brushed her wet hair and contemplated putting her hair in a ponytail or just leaving it down. Well, she always put her hair up when she was cooking, so for today, she will just let her hair be. She naturally reached out to put on the engagement ring before stopping herself. She stared at the gold band with a small diamond. She picked up her ring and slipped it into her jacket's pocket.

She checked the time. "Ah! It's already quarter past 9!" She ran to the door and picked up her car keys.

She got into her small silver car, input the coordinates into her GPS. It was just 30 minutes outside the city. That wasn't too bad of a drive.

"Alright! Let's bring some good news to the Manager and the Director!"


The way to Toriko's place wasn't terrible. When the road ended, there were still dirt paths for her car to follow.

She could see a house in the distance. "Ah, that must be Toriko-san's house!"

She got out of the car and was in awe of Toriko's house. His whole house was made of candy! Making a house out of edibles was crazy expensive and it could spoil if not eaten quickly. She smelled the sweet milk chocolate when she came up to the door. She knocked on the melting chocolate door, and bits of chocolate got on her knuckles. She desperately wanted to lick it off to know what grade of chocolate the door was made of. But she needed to restrain herself in case Toriko opened the door.

She waited a minute, then five minutes, and finally, after ten minutes she concluded he wasn't home. Just great, on the day I come to meet Toriko-san, he's not even home! She sighed and licked the chocolate off her knuckles as her only consolation. It was pretty damn good chocolate.

She walked back to her car with a heavy heart. The party was this coming up weekend, she supposed she could try coming by after work tomorrow. Her hand hovered over the car's handle. The only option is to go back home. Suddenly, she felt queasy thinking of going back. She looked up at the sky and white puffy clouds were lazily strolling by.

She had time to kill, so perhaps it wouldn't hurt to just search for the bishokuya in case he was around the premise.

She started walking west of Toriko's house until she entered the small forest. She marvelled at the sight of fresh Dimpleberries. She was surprised to see they were in season right now. She kept walking on until there was a clearing of foliage up ahead. She finally stepped out of the forest and someone was out there fishing!

A man was sitting on the rock next to a small Cigar tree. He had electric blue hair and was wearing a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled all the way up to his shoulders. Even while sitting, his body was wide, and she could see his defined muscles.

"T-Toriko-san?" She called out.

The man in question just looked on ahead. He had at least a 15 feet pole with a rope around it stuck in the ground next to him.

"U-uhm, Toriko-san?"

No answer.

Perhaps, he was the silent brooding type? There was no way a superstar like Toriko would pay any attention to some lowly no-name chef like her. Wow, she was going through a lot of depressing train of thoughts today. She shook her head in an attempt to clear any negative thoughts clouding her mind and finally cleared her throat to start her proposed deal.

"Toriko-san. I am the head chef employed at IGO Hotel Gourmet. I'm here to offer a contract to you. We have a party next weekend, and we are in need of some assistance to capture the Galala Crocodile." To her dismay, he hardly budged from his seat. He really was making the whole situation more nerve-wracking. "Uhm, anyway, as for the rewards, it is a rate of 100,000 yen for each kilogram and 500 kilograms for a full body. We will make it a deal for 100 million." The amount of money the IGO was offering was huge, but this was the Galala Crocodile. She wouldn't be surprised if he asked for a higher amount.

Suddenly, he reached out to grab a lobster from his icebox. He took a bite and she could hear the hardy crunch of the lobster's shell breaking. He then reached into his icebox once more and grabbed a bottle of what looked to be bourbon. He karate-chopped the bottom of the glass bottle and it sliced off cleanly. Before a single drop fell, it all went down his throat. Holy, he just drank a whole bottle of 50% bourbon in one shot! She felt her lips parted in amazement. He then reached out to the small Cigar tree next to him and ripped off a branch. Normally, the manufacturer would crush the cigar branches and mix it in with different herbs as the taste of tobacco from the cigar tree was potent.

However, Toriko just puts the branch of the cigar tree in his mouth, and with a snap of his finger, it produced sparks to lit the cigar branch. "Wah!" She yelped in amazement. What kind of man was Toriko?

"Hm? What is it?" A deep baritone voice finally spoke out. He finally looked at her while smoking the cigar branch. He paused before finally saying, "Who the hell are you?"

"Ah... no... uhm..." She was speechless. She never met a person who could do any of the feats he just showed her. Wait! He didn't even notice me! She smiled sheepishly, seriously what kind of man was Toriko?

"Well?" He asked.

"Ah! Right!" she squeaked, "uhm, I just..." it was hard to get back on track especially after she mustered all of her courage to say her small speech. "M-my restaurant wanted to hire your service to capture a Galala crocodile. The price is the rate of 100,000 yen per kilogram and 100 million for the full-body..."

"Hoh..." He hummed, "A Galala Crocodile, eh? Depending on the parts, I could at least get 500,000 yen for one kilo on the retail market... like the leg for example."

"Ah... yes..." She had an inkling of a feeling that this was the beginning of a rejected offer.

"So the customer isn't just for anybody, huh?"

"Ah.. yes! You see, this is for a party and-" She said before she got interrupted.

"Well, whatever. It's probably for those IGO idiots." He said nonchalantly.

"Haha..." She laughed nervously; she couldn't believe he just called one of the biggest corporations leading the gourmet food trade idiots.

"Let me say this now; there's no way I can capture this beast alive," he said.

"Yes..." She looked down at her feet to accept the rejection before she realized that it actually didn't sound like a rejection. "Ah wait, do you mean you accept the proposal?"

KHHRK.

An unpleasant screech rang in her ear. She noticed the metal rod being bent towards the body of water.

"Oh! Is it here?" He turned his full attention to the bent metal pole. With one pull, a large beast sprang out of the water. "HERE IT IS!" He yelled in excitement.

"UWAHHH!" She screamed in surprise. The beast was at least the size of a moving truck, if not larger. "That's a... That's a Crawdad Fish!" A fish with crab-like claws as arms. "It's HUGE!"

"Ca-Caw!" A wild bird that was the same size as the fish came swooping down with its talons out and readied itself to steal Toriko's catch. It grabbed the fish and began to pull.

"UWAHH!" Komatsu screamed in fright, as she put her hands out in reflex.

"Bastard," he smirked before he squatted while swinging the pole down to the ground. Komatsu had a short glimpse of the two beasts before it flew over her head and came crashing down behind her. The ground beneath her shook from the impact and she would not be surprised if the two beasts died from the collision. She turned around, and her mouth opened wide in awe.

"HAHAHAHA, and I even got a Five-Tailed Stellar Sea Eagle with it! Talk about two birds with one stone!"

Amazing, she stared at the large beasts freshly caught by the blue-haired bishokuya.

"This is a great fishing rod, ain't it?" He said.

"Ah yes...it's very... erm... strong," she said lamely as she was still in shock of what just transpired.

"It's a 76-millimetre iron reinforcing bar with an elevator wire wrapped around it. Its maximum tensile strength is about 40 tons...I wouldn't have much trouble hooking a small whale with this thing!" He ended his explanation with a boisterous laugh.

She was dumbfounded. Actually, the fact that you can swing that thing around so easily is what's impressive, Toriko-san. She looked back at the caught beasts... or rather ingredients. The feather of the Eagle ruffled from the light breeze. The iridescent scales from the Crawdad fish gleamed from the afternoon sun. She could feel her eyes watering a bit. Being able to see the ingredient, and being able to see the hunting process, she felt a sudden feeling of deep respect for the ingredients she handled every day.

"By the way..." He snapped Komatsu out of her thought. "A Galala crocodile would break this apart like wooden chopsticks! You get that it won't be an easy capture."

"Y-yes..." She agreed awkwardly.

He smiled at her with a wolfish grin. "If you get that, then tell your boss... I'll take double that reward."

"D-double?"

"And I'll even capture it alive."

"Eh...alive?" she said, "but didn't you say that it was impossible to catch it alive?"

He laughed and said, "I meant that 200 grand per kilo isn't worth it! Without that incentive, there's no reason to capture it!"

"I-I understand. I will talk to my superiors about it." she sweatdropped, so it was all about his motivation to capture it or not. What a strange man.

"All right! I think I'll try to hook one more thing before I go!" he said.

"Eh?!" She looked at the two giant beasts behind her. "But what about those two? The Crawdad fish and the Sea-eagle?"

"They're dessert! Now I'm going to fish for the main course, a swamp shark."

"D-desert?" She was floored, just how much can this man eat? "wait, did you just say a... swamp shark...?" She felt a cold chill; swamp sharks are known to be very big and very aggressive. But then again, their meat was known to be-

"Delicate." He finished her thought.

"Huh?"

"Their meat is known to be delicate," He repeated.

She felt a small smile tugging at her lips. "Y-yes! A-and making rice porridge with their meat is quite complimentary. Actually, on my way here I saw some ripe dimple berries and if you add them in the porridge with a pinch of volcanic rock salt, the taste becomes much deeper, and richer, and..." she stopped her rambling and felt her cheeks burn. "Ah...sorry. Haha, I tend to go on a tangent about food. Please s-stop me if I go off like that!"

He smiled widely before picking up his fishing pole. He karate chopped a piece of the fishing pole. "you wanna fish too?" He tossed the small piece to her and she clumsily caught it. "You, what'd you say your name was?"

"Ah... my name is Komatsu." She was staring at the broken fishing pole, and one end was still steaming from where Toriko cut it off. Her eyes bulged out with her mouth opened yet again. Didn't he say the maximum tensile strength was 40 tons? She was, again, questioning if Toriko was human.

He managed to salvage the bait from the Crawdad fish's mouth which was now a half-eaten Mega Grasshopper. He reinforced the knot around the bug and threw the bait back into the waters. He sat back down on the small stone seat. She looked back down at her makeshift fishing pole. She remembered the empty apartment room that was awaiting her.

She walked up to Toriko's crouched figure before sitting next to him. "Hoh, so you're going to try to compete with me for the Swamp Shark?" He grinned.

"Well, first I need some bait and fishing wire," She said while pointing to her bare short pole. And like I can compete with you for a swamp shark. I would be lucky to catch a baby moss minnow with my strength.

"I have just the thing," he said, before rummaging the side pocket of his icebox. "Ah, I only have the regular fishing wire left."

"I'll take that," she said.

"Eh... but a Swamp shark will eat right through this."

"Haha... Toriko-san, I don't think I have enough strength to capture a swamp shark."

He looked at her arms before laughing. "You do have pretty thin arms."

She tied the fishing wire around her pole. She looked into the icebox and saw a small shrimp. The water was also slightly murky, so a fish more her capture level would probably have a hard time seeing it...that's it! She fished out the engagement ring from her pocket and tied it next to the shrimp.

"Eh, you're going to put that ring in the water? It looks expensive." He said.

She looked at the ring filled with her memories of him. "It looks expensive, but it's worthless now." And so she threw her ring along with her memories into the water.

A moment of silence between them before he finally spoke, "Komatsu."

"Yes?"

"I head out tomorrow."

"Huh?" So soon? She looked back at Toriko who was still focused on the water before him. "Ah...okay." She better informed the director tonight about the raised price. She guessed that it would be rude to leave right now, so she decided to fish until sundown before taking her leave.


The next morning, Komatsu woke up and raided her closet for her camping gear. She found a pair of black hiking boots. She also found khaki coloured survivor pants with a dark forest green jacket. She decided to wear a white crewneck top under it. She brought out her old camping bag and packed it with essentials as well as a canteen to fill it with water.

She was going to accompany Toriko today to capture the Galala Crocodile. Perhaps she was being crazy, and maybe she was. She thought long and hard about yesterday and remembered the ingredients that were captured fresh. Something about seeing the way the ingredients were before they were cut up and processed moved her deeply. It was a feeling of deep renowned respect or something. She couldn't describe what this feeling was yet. She was hoping to find out more if she went on this trip with Toriko.

But she would be lying if the break up wasn't partially the culprit for her motivation. Everyone who was with her always said the same thing, which was being a bore. Perhaps that was true as her life was nothing but routine. She would come home from work and she would always be tired so she would go straight to bed. She only talked about her job, as nothing existed for her except cooking. But cooking was her passion. She realized that perhaps breaking up was a blessing in disguise as she knew deep down that she couldn't give up cooking for anyone else. However, that being said, she did want to see beyond the four walls of her kitchen. Just like her ex-fiancee, she wanted to try this 'figure out my life' shit.

In conclusion, she was crazy. She would definitely be regretting her decision as soon as she sets out. But the present Komatsu was all for it. She wanted to follow her feelings first.

She was at the pier searching for the large blue-haired man. This was the only place where there were boats close enough to Baron Marsh. Wait, was Toriko going to go there by himself? Was it possible that he already left? "Augh!" She scratched her head in frustration; maybe she should've told Toriko she wanted to go with him so they could meet up instead of her trying to find the eccentric man at the crack of dawn.

"Is that you Komatsu?"

"T-Toriko-san!" She turned to see a familiar face.

"What are you doing here?" He asked. He wore his usual white shirt, and orange slacked pants fastened with a black belt. He held a sack slung over his shoulder.

"I want to come with you," she said.

"What?" He said with a shocked expression; this was the first time Komatsu saw Toriko make such a face.

"Ah sorry for such short notice, Toriko-san." Her gaze fell to Toriko's black laced up boots, "I have an order from the higher-ups to investigate the ecology of the Galala Crocodile." Well, it was a small white lie. Komatsu felt a tad guilty. There was no way she could tell Toriko she wanted to go soul searching. That sounded way too cheesy.

"You know where we're going, right?" He asked again for confirmation.

"Y...Yes..." Suddenly Komatsu's logical side started to churn slowly, and seconds later she started feeling a very familiar sensation called regret. "T-The Baron Marsh, it's a specified danger zone."

He grinned, "Hoh... well, anyhow, I hope you left a will."

"Aha... ye-" She said before she stopped, Wait did he just say will? She could feel the cold sweat forming between her brows. "Wait, wait, I haven't left any!"

Toriko was already walking away and towards a boat with a man already on it. "Hey Tomu, thanks as usual," Toriko said as he threw the sack into the boat.

The man named Tomu wore a hat that had the word GOURMET printed on it. He had black wavy hair that reached the end of his neck. He wore black sunglasses that covered a nasty scar that ran vertically across the left side of his face. "You better thank me! I don't have time to always be on standby to bring my boat out. You know!"

"Don't be like that!" Toriko said light-heartedly, "how's your wife, Kami-san?"

"Ahhh, quit it," Tomu said as he started to wind up the excess rope. "She's furious since the gourmet tax went up again."

"Sounds scary," Toriko said before hopping onto the boat.

Komatsu's rubbed the back of her hand in hopes to ease her troubled heart. She let out a small whimper realizing the terrible choice she may have just made. A will? He wanted to make sure she had her will written? Was she going to die? She didn't even tell her mom that her engagement was called off. Maybe she shouldn't have argued with the manager about taking today off. She should've just went back to work, standing at her usual station, and cooking meals that she knew from the back of her hand. But she was going on this trip because she wanted something more of her life... right?

"Hey, Komatsu!" A voice woke her back to reality. "If you're coming, get on quick." Toriko ushered her with his usual easy-going smile.

"Ah... ah!" she smiled sheepishly, "should I write my will first?"

"Write it on the boat! It'll be fine!" He said.

"Ah! Yes!" She said before she stepped onto the rocky boat. She stretched her arms out to help steady herself. She felt a warm, gentle hand on one of her arms.

"Careful!" He said as he helped her get into the boat.

"Th-thank you." She bowed, she felt the tip of her ears tingling a bit.

The boat's engine revved up, and in a few seconds, they were off to Komatsu's grave, or rather, Baron Marsh.

Toriko seemed to be relaxed enough despite talking about how dangerous this crocodile was. He reached into his sack and pulled out three champagne bottles. He popped all three and downed it all at once.

Tomu yelled from the driver's seat, "Oy! Champagne before work? Leave me some too!"

"This is just an appetizer!"

"Haha, you're crazy man!" Tomu said, before finally locking eyes with Komatsu. "By the way, I've been meaning to ask... Who's that little lady over there? Your girlfriend?" She felt her face heat up from his remark. "Could've picked a better dating spot than Baron Marsh, Toriko!"

"Nah!" Toriko laughed, "this is Komatsu, and she's the client. She just wants to try dying once."

"I-I didn't say anything like that!" she quickly retorted, "plus you can only die once, Toriko-san!" She added as an afterthought.

"Client?" Tomu gruffly said, "Wahahah, there are some pretty curious ones eh?"

Both men on the boat laughed, while she was quickly regretting her decision by the second.

"Well Miss, I will say that even if you're hurt, if you have worker's compensation or whatever, you won't get a dime!" Tomu laughed again, "Designated danger zones aren't covered by insurance. So if you kick the bucket, it'd be considered the same as suicide!"

She clutched her stomach, and her fingers started to get a bit numb. "I-I don't feel too good..." She grabbed a piece of napkin and a pen from her knapsack. "Maybe I really should be writing a will..."

"You were brave... that's what I'll tell your bereaved family." Toriko snickered along.

"I-I haven't died yet, Toriko-san!" She whined as she clutched her napkin closer to her chest.

Toriko only laughed heartily in response.

A couple of minutes past before Toriko settled back into his seat. Komatsu looked at the eddying wave caused by the boat's engine. She heard a rustle behind her and glanced back to see Toriko with a Striped Salmon. He took a big bite and munched away in bliss.

This guy has been doing nothing but eating since yesterday. She thought as she peered inside the sack Toriko brought on board, that sack is filled with food. My god...

She was mesmerized by how much Toriko could eat and drink, so she just stared in awe.

"By the way, Komatsu! What place do you work at?" Toriko asked in between his bites.

"Eh?"

"A high-class hotel? A high-end Japanese restaurant? I'll go eat there next time, so let me know!" He said before finishing the tail end of the salmon in one gulp.

"A... uhm..." She couldn't recall if he ever listened to the part where she did mention about being a chef in her small speech when she met him yesterday. Maybe he was listening after all! "Ahaha, Toriko-san was listening yesterday after all!" She scratched the back of her head while laughing shyly.

"Huh? Yesterday?" He stared blankly.

"Huh?" She stared blankly back.

"I knew because there's a strong scent emanating from your hands."

She stared at her hands, and took a small sniff and could only smell the faint vanilla hand cream she applied on this morning.

"You mean the vanilla hand creme?" She asked.

"It's a different smell. A smell that only gets ingrained in hands if they handle raw ingredients every day. Plus I can smell the various oil and spices, so right off the bat I knew you were a chef." He gave her a cheeky grin, "am I wrong?"

"N-no... you're not wrong... but why a high-end restaurant?"

"Like I said, it's the smell."

"E-eh? B-but I haven't touched any raw ingredients yesterday or today."

"Mhm, let's see." Toriko shuffled closer to her. He gently grabbed her hand, and she could feel the calluses on Toriko's hand. He brought her hand near his nose, and somehow she started to feel self-conscious of her body odour. She could feel the heat rising to her cheeks as Toriko concentrated on her hand.

A few seconds passed, "T-Toriko-san..." her voice was shaking, she was starting to get embarrassed from this position.

"Toro eel." He finally said.

"Eh?"

"Neptune Whelk Fruit, Red Haired Pig..." He took another small sniff, "even the oil is high grade like Mellow Oil... all the smells on your hands are those of ingredients you don't find in ordinary restaurants."

"A-amazing..." he figured out every single ingredient that she used two days ago!

"Wahaha," Tomu piped in, "Toriko's sense of smell is better than that of a police dog!"

"Am I right?" Toriko's face was close to her face, and she couldn't hold his gaze for any longer than a second. She focused on the three scars on his face.

"Uhn." She meekly answered.

Toriko let her hand go, and she brought her hot hand close to her chest. She could feel her heart drumming away in a frenzy.

Toriko seemed unfazed as he leaned back on the boat's rail. He reached into his sack and brought out a huge rice ball that was the size of her torso. He took a huge bite, and it was already a third gone.

She stared at her hand, and back to Toriko munching away at his rice ball. She knew that smell was extremely important in gauging taste. Was this what it means to become a pro bishokuya? She couldn't contain the small excitement crawling down her spine, she really wanted Toriko to eat some of her dishes. Someone with a sensitive palate can taste the full range of what the ingredients had to offer. Toriko finally finished the last bite of his riceball with a satisfied smile on his face. She wondered what sort of face Toriko would make if he tried her cooking. She hoped it would be the same face he was making now.

"So...?" Toriko said.

"Huh?" She replied dumbly.

"Where do you work?"

"O-oh!" She forgot that was his original question, "I-I'm still very inexperienced!" Wait, wait, why was she feeling so self-conscious suddenly? "But, I've been given the position of Head Chef at the Hotel Gourmet."

"OHH!" He remarked, "That's a 5-star hotel!"

He swung his arm around her small frame. Her head was now resting on his chest. Oh my god. Oh my god. To-too close! Her poor heart couldn't take this much skinship!

"Why didn't you say so earlier?" Toriko's voice boomed, "Treat me to a full course meal sometimes, alright?"

"Y-yes, of course." She squirmed uncomfortably, "ah, that is if I survive this trip." she laughed nervously, hoping the morbid joke would soothe her heated cheeks. She never realized how friendly he was. She thought at first that he was a bit obnoxious and loud, but at the same time, there was a certain charm that kept dragging her back to him. She wanted to know more about him. She wondered, was he curious about her too?

"T-the truth is, Toriko-san..." She was no longer in control of what she was saying, "the reason why I came along with you, wasn't because it was an order from the higher-ups." Her voice was growing meek, would Toriko call her crazy? Would he laugh at her stupidity? "I-it was my own idea for the most part..." She started to feel a surge of confidence because what she was about to say next was something she truly believed in. She looked up at Toriko, and she could feel her lips stretching into a wide smile, "as the head chef at the hotel...becoming a first-class chef is my dream!" More and more, her feelings popped and hummed with happiness. She hadn't talked about her ambition after she was engaged. "To do the best cooking with the best ingredients, so I won't be an embarrassment to this Gourmet Age. For that goal, I want to do whatever it takes to see top-class ingredients in their natural environment." She looked up to the blue sky with only a few wisps of clouds marring the open sky. "When high capture level game is delivered, it's already been broken into clumps of meat."

Her gaze fell back into her hands that were resting on her lap. She remembered when she first shared her dream, her goal, with her fiancee. He laughed at her saying that after they marry, she should be focusing on child-rearing. She laughed painfully alongside him trying to convince herself that it was a silly dream after all. But that feeling of renewed hope and passion was ignited when she met Toriko yesterday and saw the ingredients in their true natural form. Her voice barely audible, she managed to finally confess her feelings from yesterday, "Seeing you hunt yesterday, Toriko-san... I... was truly moved. S...So I decided that I wanted to go with you today, even if it's dangerous..." She finally looked up to Toriko, "B-because-!"

What greeted her sight was Toriko going back to eating something from his sack.

"Oh! This Almond Cabbage is delicious! So crunchy and sweet!"

She was dumbfounded for the nth time. "O-oy... are you listening to me?" Before she burst into a light giggle, somehow this was so like Toriko that she couldn't be angry about this at all.

She settled back into silence, kind of glad that Toriko didn't hear her goal... or rather dream.

"I don't see anything wrong with that," he said.

Wah, he actually did hear her after all. Her cheeks started to warm up, but she managed to sputter out her question, "T-then you don't think that my dream is silly?"

"Why would I think that?"

Her chest tightened, "D-do you think I can achieve this dream?"

"Wahaha, if you really want it then you probably will."

She looked back down to the floor; her vision started to get blurry. Perhaps Toriko was just saying whatever she wanted to hear, but he would never know how much she was going to treasure his words.

"If there's no time like the present, then any time after would just be the wrong time."

"Eh?" She looked back at Toriko smirking.

"I'm saying, if you have a vision, you should act on it right away." he popped the last remaining bit of the almond cabbage in his mouth. She stared at his cheek moving and finally saw his adam apple bob up then down. He wiped his lips with his forearm. "Well... let's set aside whether or not meeting me was lucky or not for now."

That was true as she realized that perhaps she should first try to survive her first adventure with him. But before her very possible death, since she confessed her embarrassing dream, she wanted Toriko to share his dream with her too! "Uhm, Toriko-san?"

"Hm?"

"M-May I ask what your dream is?"

Without missing a heartbeat, he answered, "I'm making a menu."

"A menu?"

"Yea, a full course menu." A full course menu was one's own specialized menu that was equivalent to a biography. "Springs of melting cheese, flowers that bloom chocolates, sandpits of rice, wine waterfall..." Toriko's eyes softened at the mention of his dream, "the world is still flooded with more delicious things. My full course menu is still nothing but blanks, but someday I will definitely complete it." He looked back at her with a boyish smile, "Maybe the Galala Crocodile might be the one?"

Wow, Toriko's full course menu...I... I would like to try it one day... but it sounds pretty expensive. Komatsu wishfully thought.

"Heyyy!" Tomu yelled out, "the island's in sight."

The island was surrounded by protruding rocks. She could only see the murky looking greenery on the island.

"Heh. The southernmost tip of Baron Archipelago, Babaria Island." Toriko stated.

"Uwah... it looks very...eerie..." she whimpered. "And...there's a huge number of rocks here... we can't bring the ship any closer..."

"This reef is called Baron fence. It surrounds the Baron Archipelago like it's meant to keep intruders out." Toriko turned to Tomu, "regardless of the rise and fall of the tide; there's only one route to get through this reef." Grinning, Toriko said, "and our captain just happens to know it."

"Hehe." Tomu chuckled, "Hold on tight!" With a rev of his engine, the boat started to speed up. He took a sharp turn, and she tumbled over to the sides of the boat.

"Uwah!" She yelped. Ow! My elbow! Suddenly the boat jerked to the left, and Komatsu felt her body being pulled to the right. "Ugeh!"

"Since it's a narrow route, only small ships under 20 tons can pass through it." Toriko nonchalantly informed.

Meanwhile, she was using all her strength to not be flung around like a doll. How can Toriko-san still be standing perfectly still with all of this rocking? She thought. Suddenly the boat came to a stop, and she fell face first onto the deck. "Ugh...ow..."

"Here we are." Tomu finally said. It was music to her ears. "This is Baron Archipelago's sole entrance. It's a mangrove tunnel nicknamed 'The Ogre's Mouth.'"

She finally pulled her body up to see the sight. It was very intimidating, to say the least. There was only one straight pathway and they were surrounded by towering mangrove trees. Their roots jutted out of the waters like fingers curling in, beckoning them to enter through their forest only to never return. She gulped, starting to feel that perhaps this trip really was a bad idea after all.

"All right!" Tomu said, "let's cut right through here!" The engine started to rev up again, and Komatsu braced herself for another impact.

"Tomu!" Toriko called out, "this is far enough, could we get off the boat here?" The boat's engine sputtered out much to Komatsu's relief.

"Ah?" Tomu questioned, "What's this all of a sudden?"

"The air of this island is strange. I can smell it..." Toriko looked back at Komatsu and then to Tomu with a stern look, "the smell of trouble."

Tomu just sighed while Komatsu started to shiver in fright. "Alright, alright. I'll get you guys a small inflatable boat."

"Thanks, Tomu." Toriko said.

Tomu brought out a mechanical pump, and the yellow raft started to plump up to life. "So when do you need me to pick you guys up?"

"You can pick us up tomorrow morning, the same place," Toriko said, as he gathered the rowing oars.

The raft was dropped down to the waters, and Toriko stepped on which gave in a bit under his weight. "Hm, Komatsu I have to sit in the middle or else the raft will sink on my side." Toriko laughed heartily.

"O-okay, Toriko-san." She quickly replied. Toriko reached his hands out for her to take; she took it with gratitude. Her footing was a bit off, and she was about to fall into the waters. "Uwak!" She closed her eyes, and slowly opened them when she realized two strong arms encircled her.

"Wahaha, you don't want to go swimming with these fishes. They're all quite vicious." Toriko said.

"Ahaha...I don't think I want to go swimming in these waters at all." She awkwardly said, "Uhm... thank you." his arms left her body, and suddenly she felt smaller and colder.

He sat down with an oar in each hand. She sat facing Toriko and realized she was between his opened legs. To make sure she didn't take up too much space, she hugged her knees to her chest.

"I wish you good food luck Toriko, and Miss." Tomu saluted with a smile, and he started to turn his boat back slowly.

"Thanks again, Tomu!" Toriko called out. Toriko began to row the raft through the "Ogre's Mouth."

Komatsu could hear the chattering of various animals she couldn't name. Occasionally, she could hear the mangrove branches snapping and creaking. Her body wouldn't stop quivering. Even though the climate here was hot and humid, she felt a cold chill running down her body. I knew it, I really shouldn't have come. She thought in agony. A loud shriek was heard to the left and her body jerked and she grabbed the edge of the boat. They were surrounded by the mangroves with animals lurking in the darkness. They were basically sitting ducks in the water.

Memories of yesterday's conversation with the IGO Director plagued her mind. She had met Umeda after she met Toriko that same night. She had told Umeda of Toriko's proposal of taking the request if they raised the pay.

Umeda easily agreed. Komatsu didn't leave right away after the report; she was trying to muster enough courage to ask permission to join Toriko with his hunt.

She took a deep breath and finally looked into Umeda's eyes... or sunglasses. She could see her own nervous face reflecting in those black lenses. "Uhm...sir... I-I would like to join Toriko tomorrow ... if-if I may?" She shut her eyes waiting for the resounding 'NON.'

"N~~ Hey, Head Chef Komatsu-chan."

"Y-yes?" Komatsu squeaked out.

"I think you're aware, but the IGO establishes 'capture levels' on wild beasts. It truly reflects the degree of difficulty there is to bring down the beasts."

She nodded and stood silent.

"For example, for capture level 1 beasts, you could assume that it will take ten pro-hunters with shotguns to be able to take it down."

"A-and the Galala Crocodile..." Her words got caught in her throat.

"Yes, the Galala Crocodile is at least a Capture level of 5. A level that Toriko-chan can take down if he tries."

Her mood brightened from hearing of the high chance of success. But, Umeda turned his back to her and stared down at the busy streets of Gourmet Town through his giant window. She could still see his frowning face from the window's reflection.

"However, I heard some unsettling news." He said.

"U-unsettling news?"

"The Galala crocodile is said to be able to live for at least 150 years generally, but it has characteristics of its appetite and ferocity that gets proportionally stronger with age." He adjusted his sunglasses before continuing, "and since it naturally has a weak reproductive ability... it may be for the sake of preserving the species, but data has shown that the life-spans of these guys are extending each year." He finally turned his head and looked right at her, "Now, it's said that a 300-year-old Galala Crocodile may exist!"

"3-300 years..." She knew what that inferred. If they grew aggressive the longer they lived, then she couldn't fathom how scary that crocodile could be.

"If the data shown is correct, then considering their special characteristics, the Galala crocodile would probably not be a capture level of 5." He finally fully turned his body towards her with his hands linked behind his back. "As I said, I don't mind doubling Toriko-chan's reward, and I don't mind that you are going with him as a head chef...but it would be a shame if such a talented head chef like you are to be met with an unfortunate accident."

She had at the time did not think too deeply about Umeda's warning. After all, she had kind of acted on impulse without thinking of her safety.

Komatsu was reminded of the awful conversation and how real Umeda's warning is now starting to feel.

"KOMATSU!" A loud voice boomed in her ears.

"Huh?" she was awoken from her daze, and she was greeted with Toriko's face barely an inch away from hers.

"U-UWAH!" She screamed as she fell back.

"Hahaha, are you starting to regret that you came?" He asked with a mischievous smile plastered across his face.

"N-no... no-nothing like that," She spectacularly failed at lying.

"Hoh?" He grinned, and she knew that he didn't believe her words at all. "Well, we're here now, get off."

"Huh?" She looked around, and they were finally on land. "Oh, yes, yes, right away." She scrambled to her feet and quickly got off the raft.

He tied the rope around the raft and began to drag it as he walked deeper into the woods. She followed suit. It was only a short moment before there was a cacophony of wild animals screeching and barking altogether. "Wow... it's really...active..." she remarked lamely.

"These are the voices of the wild beasts. The island does have a short dry season, but it's basically a tropical area."

GYAAAHHHHH

"Wah!" She jumped in fright. She couldn't believe that it was an animal noise. It sounded like someone was getting murdered.

Unfazed, Toriko continued his explanation, "On the Baron Archipelago alone, there exist about 200,000 species."

"Two-tho hundred thousand?" She gawked.

"Yup. And the one king that reigns over them is none other than the Galala Crocodile."

Suddenly, she remembered the warning Umeda gave her before she ventured off. She looked down at her feet, why didn't she warn Toriko about this new information? She should tell Toriko of the possible danger. Maybe it's not too late to back out? "Uhm... Toriko-san...I heard-"

"Wait! Stop Komatsu."

She froze in her spot and looked up to see a snarling Baron Tiger looming over Toriko. Toriko was a very large man, but the tiger was at least three feet taller than him. "BA-!" Her voice got cut, she could only breathe just to keep herself barely conscious.

One moment the tiger was ready to eat them, the next the tiger mysteriously ran away from them while whining.

"H-huh? What just happened?" She asked.

"Like I thought, something's strange." He said while picking up his pace, "the Baron tiger is a beast that usually lives deep in the marsh." He looked back, "it's the same with the Friday Monkeys."

"Friday Monkeys?" She didn't remember seeing them.

"The Friday monkeys were on the rocks around the Baron reef. For cowardly monkeys famous for spending their entire lives in caves to be in a place like that..." His concern started to frighten her even more. "The only explanation I can think of is that they must've been driven away from their habitat by an overwhelmingly strong predator."

She could still hear Umeda's voice ringing in her head saying, 'if the data is correct, that Galala crocodile probably isn't a capture level 5.' She was worried, very worried. She didn't want Toriko to be unprepared and get hurt, or even worse, dead! "T-Toriko-san! That predator... is the Galala Crocodile!"

"What do you mean?" He asked.

And so she finally explained everything Umeda told her that night. She expected Toriko to be worried, but he was far from it.

"Hou... that's some interesting data." He simply said.

"Th-that's not just interesting data, Toriko-san!"

"What about the taste?"

"T-taste?" She repeated dumbly, how could this man be asking about the taste after knowing that the Galala crocodile might be a higher capture level! She just couldn't understand Toriko!

"A 300-year-old Galala crocodile... the meat's taste would mature and become better, right?" She could see a gleam of saliva seeping out from the edge of his mouth. "I want to try eating it."

She stared in amazement. Never has she seen eyes that crazy, and intense for hunger. It was almost...

almost...

"Like a beast..." she uttered quietly.

Toriko walked deeper into the Baron's marsh, and Komatsu could only follow meekly. Perhaps the scariest beast of all was Toriko.


-To be Continued-


A/N: I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I just couldn't help adding fluff here and there. And yes, I wanted to add Komatsu as engaged.. or recently engaged because that will play an important role later on. It's slightly different but relatively the same. This is literally just me having a blast writing it (stress relief writing), so please just read the manga if you don't want any romance or non-canon side plots! (or if you just hate fem!Komatsu in general)

Edited: January 8, 2020