This is similar yet different with my other fanfic; From Sword to Knife. I made this to fulfill my selfish desire, no question asked. This fanfic also inspired by From Sword to Kitchen by Happy Korokoro.
Warning(s): Crack, OOC-ness, typos, gayness and pedophile here and there.
Pair(s): Shirou (Souma)/Rin (Erina), Blink-and-you-miss-it Souma/Everyone
Summary: In which Tohsaka Rin is reincarnated as Nakiri Erina and she swears to burn his dad alive if it's allowed. Oh, by the way, Shirou is here too, somehow charmed everyone regardless age and gender as Yukihira Souma. Pure crack. Crack treated seriously in Regimental Shokugeki Arc.
I know life is a hella bitch, but goddammit this is the bitchest thing ever, was the first thing came on Rin's head when she cried – breathing! I only want to breath not to cry okay – loudly. Her lungs felt heavy every time she gasped for air.
It didn't ease her mind at all when everything was so big – too big for her comfort. And her limbs were too weak to move.
It didn't took a time to realize that, yes, somehow she was reincarnated or maybe time traveled as she was now a tiny wee baby, even though she knew she wasn't dead yet or accidentally pissed off the Fifth Magic user. The last thing she remembered was she was busy researching about the possibility of dimension-traveling without accidentally changing timeline and –
Oh, I see. Rin suddenly remembered something.
Zelretch came, looking thoroughly bored.
It's not a secret that a bored Second Magic user equals disaster.
Okay what the hell is happen with this universe, was the second time she ranted inside her head on that day.
Rin found out she was reincarnated as a Nakiri Erina, the heir of Nakiri family – a well-known rich family who officially is the pioneer of Japanese culinary. Nakiri's fame was on the level she could make any restaurant went bankruptcy just by throwing insults here and there.
And to think she is still a third years old child, physically.
Maybe it's because my super-sensitive tongue? She wondered briefly. Everything went downhill when she weakly complained about how disgusting baby food was – hey, it's truly disgusting – to her caretaker. What she didn't expect was her family immediately hired the five star chef just to meet her taste.
It's pretty hard as she now had a [Structural Analysis] tongue and had been spoiled with Sakura's warmth dishes and Shirou's heavenly well-made cuisines.
At first she was amused seeing their panicked face when she turned down their food, but it went plainly ridiculous when her father hired more and more people. Rin lost counted at fifty.
And so, feeling utterly sorry, she half-heartedly approved the nth food she had tasted.
Well, at least she was honest.
And never had an urge to strip.
How to disown my single father, was the third thing she searched on Google after she learned how to use internet without blowing it at age eight.
She recognized the hint when Azami–like hell she called that thing as her father–suspiciously led her to a darkened room and tell her than he would train her to be the greatest chef there. It's blatantly a mind-fuck starter pack.
Well, another reason she suspect Azami as Kotomine's counterpart.
She was glad acting was her forte–just act like an obedient child and let he said whenever he wanted to say, all's good.
Maybe she would break down if she was truly an eight years old girl, but she IS goddamned Tohsaka Rin, the apprentice of the biggest troll on the universe and the survivor of Holy Grail War, with a suicidal man as her boyfriend-to-husband.
Azami wouldn't waver her ever slightest.
Of course, she dropped coded words here and there and innocent looking doodles to his grandfather to notice him about her father's activity.
It's as easy as exchanging letter with her cousins under his radar.
Really, as a self-proclaimed manipulating man, Azami was very easy to be decieved. Overconfident was really poisonous.
An offspring between Gilgamesh and Kotomine, maybe? With a dose of Shinji's complex.
What – is that Shirou? She widen her eyes. The golden-eyed boy mimicking her face, suprise flashed on his eyes.
She could feel her mouth curled into a big smile.
" – so..." Shirou scratched his cheek, smiled in awkward way after patiently hearing her rants and complaints and theories about how they ended in this world. "You think this is... Zelretch's works?"
"Who else?" Rin huffed. "Both of us know we haven't died yet, and if you has dead, at least you should've met Alaya. But you haven't, have you?"
"Err, yes," His cheeks dusted in red. "The last thing I remember is I had been busy helping Sakura testing the Moon Cell. I am pretty sure I was going to take a break before suddenly..."
His smile faltered and his eyebrows twitched. "...Zelretch popped in front of me. Literally."
They both sighed.
"Ah, I forgot." exclaimed Rin as she ate his queen piece. "What is your name now, Shirou?"
Shirou huffed and took Rin's rook piece. "It's Souma. Yours are Erina, right?"
"Mm-hm. Just tell anyone 'Rin' is your nickname to me if someone ask you."
"That's what I thought."
"Shame I can't call you Shirou in public. You don't have a 'white' vibe, too. It's more logical to call you 'Red' or 'Akai'."
"I... take it as a compliment."
"Fufu, it is. You know I like red color, especially in the same shade of sunset."
In the end, Rin won the game.
"Rin, have you ever considered to call Child Protective Services?"
"Eh, I have, but no. It will ruin my fun."
"...If you say so."
I think she is Sakura's reincarnation, was left unsaid as Rin glanced the nervous bluenette. From Shirou's expression, she knew he had similar thoughts.
"U-um..." the girl figneted, clearly uncomfortable to be stared. "I-Is something wrong?"
Damn, I'm wrong.
"Oh, don't worry, miss," Rin smiled sweetly, putting her 'Miss Perfect Tohsaka' face. "I just find that you look similiar with someone I know."
Looked like it's a good move, seeing how her shoulder visibly relaxed. "R-Really?"
"Yeah. She is a good person. It's a shame we lost contact with her."
Awkward silence. Rin sweatdropped when the girl reverted into her nervous state. With one glance she knew that girl tried to start a new topic.
"By the way, miss," Shirou, bless his good timing, finally spoke. "Are you the one who cooks this food?"
She gawked. "Y-Yes, I am. How do you – "
"'Everything on the plate reflect its cooks'," He recited. "Even though it's just a simple meal, I can see the difference between this one and last night's dish. The effort, the warmth, and how thoroughly the meat has been cooked, it's showing on this very plate."
Rin nodded. "It's like wrapped in a warm blanket in the middle of winter. Besides..."
She smirked. "You have been stared at our face for a while, you know?"
"E-Eh? Eh!? I-I am!?"
She giggled. Oh, how she enjoyed teasing people. Too bad Hisako isn't here. I would have so much fun teasing those two!
"It's okay, I know you just curious about our opinion." She waved her hand. "Now, why don't you tell us your name, Miss? It's a honor to know the cooks of this wonderful foods, afterall."
"O-Oh, right. It's Megumi. Tadakoro Megumi."
Later, they decided that Tadokoro Megumi officially is Sakura's counterpart, albeit had a lower self-esteem and was a prodigy in table tennis.
And that's the story how Tadakoro Megumi accidentally friended two important figures of Tootsuki.
Is it possible for homunculi to be reincarnated? was always lingered in her head whenever she met her cousin, Alice. Her brain went wilder when she saw her new aide. Is it possible for a heroic spirit to reincarnated too?
Because seriously that Kurokiba guy looked like Berserker humanized version.
"So, isn't Ryo-kun a good boy, Erina?" asked Alice cheerily, like she was talking about pet, not a human being.
Usually Rin would disapprove this choice of words, but this is Alice.
And naturally, she chose to tease her back.
"Hmmm," she hummed. "So this is your new boyfriend? I never expected you like the wild one, Alice."
Oh, how glad she finally learned how to use the camera.
"Unfair, unfair, unfair!" Alice, face redder than tomato, flailed. "T-Then what about Souma-kun!? Is he your boyfriend too!?"
"Actually," She answered without missing the beat. "Yes."
"Y-You two are dating!?"
"I prefer 'fiance' term, though."
"Rin, what do you tell to Alice? She looks like you just told her the most embarrassing part of my life, which I hope you weren't."
Rin, who leaned on his shoulder, only raised her eyebrow. "Ah, I just tell her that you're my boyfriend."
"...She didn't know that?"
"Surprisingly, yes. But honestly I prefer 'fiance' term, though," she said nonchalantly. "Too bad Grandfather doesn't allow it until we are 'rensposible' enough. His words, not mine."
"And you just dropped it like that?"
Shirou sighed, suddenly exhausted. "My wife is a troll."
"Love you too, darling."
This is what you call as 'start with a bang', dear Grandfather? Rin resisted the urge to facepalm as most of the students fallen into Shirou's natural charm. For a man without any charisma skill, he knew how to roll his mouth – unconsciously or not.
How lucky she was, really.
"I think I messed up with my speech," Shirou said as he entered the tent. His friendly face shifted into worries. "Do you think they will have a bad impression of me? I don't want to make enemies here, especially with children."
Rin raised her eyebrows. "That's what you're worried about?"
Shirou huffed. "I never gave a speech in front of students, okay? Cut me some slacks!"
"Yes, yes," she waved her hands lazily. "Don't sweat about it, Shirou. It's just a bunch of kids."
"Kids whose family is powerful enough to ruin my life."
Rin gave him a stare. "Your father is the famous Asura. Bring his former name and all of them will piss on their pants. Even that bastard of mine probably will revert to a praising goo if he meets him."
"Geh..." he winced. "You know I don't like using my father's name for my own gain."
"Yes, I know." Rin folded her arms in front of her bountiful breast. It's still felt surreal for her. "But, honestly, don't worry about it. Rather than making a bad impression, I think you are turning yourself into a heart breaker."
Hmph, party pooper. Rin pouted when Shirou turned down her offer to stay at her place.
"Look," Shirou scratched his cheek. "It's not like I refuse your offer, but my father has paid the rent for one year."
Rin frowned. "More like cockblocking – "Rin, language!" screamed a blushing Shirou. – me to get into your pants. Hmph, that Dad of yours is too protective for my liking."
"Wait, don't tell me..." Shirou, with all of his denseness, had a guts to ask. "You're picking a fight with my Dad? About my sexual life?"
A vein popped on her head. "Just, don't ask okay?"
Shirou obediently shut his mouth. Even though he is as dense as diamond, he was smart enough to take the hint.
On the other side of the world, Joichirou had a weird urge to laugh. Loudly. Evilly.
One of the waiter almost dropped his glass, utterly terrified. "C-chef Joichirou, what happened?"
"Oh, nothing, nothing," yet his face contradicted his statement. "I just have a hunch my plans working, that's all."
Wow. Way to make first impression. Rin blinked as Isshiki magically stripped into apron only. No one bats an eye except Hisako who screeched.
"I'm sorry for Isshiki-senpai, Erina-san, Souma-san," Megumi smiled apologetically. "He has a... weird quirk to use only one piece of cloth."
"Even in the winter season?" asked Shirou, bewilderment.
"Even in the winter season."
Rin hummed. "Huh. Interesting."
"Erina-sama! Souma-sama! Please, cover your eyes for your sanity!" shouted Hisako while standing in front of them, covering their sight.
"No, no. It's okay, Hisako, Megumi," Rin smiled sweetly. "This is a party. Anyone can do whatever they want, right?"
"Hush, Hisako," she pulled the pinkette into a seating position. "Just this night, okay?"
"But – "
And so, the party continued. Rin stared with amused smile at some students who were already tipsy although Shirou already confirmed there was almost no alcohol in the rice juice. They kept drinking and drinking and drinking without stopping. And as the night had fell, one by one succumbed into deep sleep leaving Rin and Shirou calmly drank their cup.
"Hey, Shirou," she whispered.
Shirou shifted his sitting position, letting the blonde rested her head on his shoulder. "What is it, Rin?"
"You know..." she drawled almost teasingly. "We never try naked apron, don't we?"
"Hmm, black or red? I think black looks good for you–"
"RIN." Now Shirou's face was as red as his hair.
Rin kept going on. "Do you think I look fine with purple apron?"
"Oh for God's sake."
"...I prefer brown..."
Rin raised a brow. Oh, my. "Like the one you always use back in Emiya residence?"
"Aw, hun, are you embarrassed?"
An incorrect mumble.
"My, you are!"
They don't know what will hit them, she thought as she watched the Shokugeki from VIP area. With just a quick glance, she'd already known Shirou will sweep the floor with their body.
She didn't look surprised at all when Kawashima Urara announced his perfect victory. To be honest, she wanted to yawn if she didn't have an image to be upheld.
Fool, all of them, she thought. He isn't your everyday diner chef that you can step on.
Years of analyzing thousands cuisine and never-ending showdown with the legend itself had shaped Yukihira Souma a.k.a. Emiya Shirou into a monster. Or god cooking. Or cuisine deity. Depends on how you looked him.
[Structural Analysis] was a cheat code of two of them, after all.
The difference between her and him laid on how they use that skill. If she was using it with her super-sensitive tongue, Shirou used it with his eyes.
One look, every error and recipes instantly copied on his head. If it's possible, he might know how to improve it with his style. He didn't have to taste to know whether it was good or not.
Hmph. What a cheater.
But one thing she didn't understand; why did he refuse to use that skill whenever someone tasting the dish?
Curious. How curious.
And that's, people, the sole reason why angels dare to do sin.
Coincidentally, they finished the last task of training camp of the day far quicker than others. It's also a pure luck for having a personal space just two of them in the hotel room, as Hisako and Alice just started to take a bath.
And boy, she wouldn't pass this moment.
Rin licked her lips as she traced Shirou's leaned but firm body with finger. Oh, how tempted she was to take his damn ass right there, right now. Damn, Shirou, even though physically you're fifteen you can make an adult woman wet their panties.
It didn't do the justice when both of them only clad in yukata, with an extra haori for Rin's case. The fact that anyone could enter their room in every moment only made her more excited.
"Rin..." Shirou murmured in a dangerous tone, face flushed prettily. "Please, stop it. The other students will finish her bath anytime soon."
Rin smirked coyly. "Do I look care for it, Shirou?" she said, leaning closer and whispered,
"Take me, danna-sama."
Something inside his brain snapped.
Rin groaned loudly. "I can't believe you still refuse to let your V-card go," she moaned as she adjusted her haori. He flicked her temple with unamused expression.
"We are technically underage, Rin. At very least, I want both of us still have it until we are seventeen," he said.
She snorted. "You mean the age when we do 'it' for the first time."
His posture didn't waver. "Yes."
"You're so unbelievable," she complained.
Shirou smirked almost resembling a certain red archer. "But you love me." he teased with a wink.
Rin blushed hard, redder than tomato. Instantly she went into her 'tsundere' mode.
"W-who said such a thing!?"
"My, don't be such a tsundere, darling."
Laughter echoed through the room.
"Hey, Rin," he called.
"Hm?" she answered lazily, head didn't leave from his shoulder.
"Did you meet someone at the onsen?"
"Hmm..." her eyebrows furrowed. "No, I think. Too lazy to remember..."
Shirou chuckled as he kept stroking her blonde lock. Rin melted under his gentle touch, feeling grateful there was no anyone here. Here, she could be nothing, she could shed her facade and just became 'Rin', a young girl who madly in love with her perfect boyfriend-actually-husband.
How lucky they were, finding a good spot to watch the scenery outside. It seemed all the students were too occupied with the exam that they forgot to explore the hotel. They could stay there for a while without getting disturbed.
Of course, they had already noticed their friends.
"I met Gin-san at the onsen." He informed her.
"Really?" She knew perfectly well who he was. An old friend of Shirou's father, Shirou's godfather, the former second seat, the director of Tootsuki's hotel, and one of her allies albeit more leaning to neutral.
"Mm-hmm. I was really surprised to find him there. Apparently, it's a habit of him to take a bath in the onsen a little bit earlier in order to find who is the fastest and enough to meet him there." explained him.
"Then? Did he say anything else?"
"Well," he laughed quietly. "He later complained about how irresponsible my dad is, told me that Isshiki-senpai was the only one who had a chance to meet him in the onsen except me in the past, and briefly told us about his life back in Polar Star Dorm until Takumi appeared."
Rin smiled hearing that. From his story enough, she could guess that man was very fond of him.
"He sure likes you." she teased. Shirou was only laughing until it ceased after a moment.
A silence came upon them, yet it didn't feel awkward ever slightest. Rin snuggled closer into Shirou's body warmth.
"Shirou..." she whispered softly. "Do you know why Zeltrech send us here?"
"I..." he averted his eyes, caught the hidden meaning of her words. "...I Don't know."
"Isn't it weird?" Rin smiled ruefully and gripped his arm tight. "Even though technically we're forcibly stripped from our home, I didn't feel upset. Rather..."
"You're attached to this world," concluded Shirou, eyes glued to the breathtaking scenery. "Even though the [Gaia] pressure is very strong on the level we can't do magecraft except for the simple one, you don't feel hopeless. Even though now you have a twisted love child between Gilgamesh and Kotomine as a father, it only encourages you to keep walking."
He pulled her into a one-armed hug and whispered, "Even though, once again, there is a big responsibility on your shoulder, you're not alone. Not anymore."
"...You too," So soft, she added, "Here, you don't have to be 'Hero of Justice' every time you walk. No one expects you to chase off serial criminal or hunt down immortal beings just for their own gain. Here, you don't walk with regrets. With pity. With remorse. And the most importantly,"
"You have a still-alive father figure, Shirou." She said in soft tone. "Kind of annoying, healthy, overprotective, full of spirit, and but of course, isn't helpless to feed himself." He chuckled at her latter words.
"It's unfair," she sighed and buried herself into his touch. "Why can't we find happiness like this in the past? I like this world, Shirou, but it feels so wrong. So wrong."
Shirou didn't give an immediate answer. His eyes were glued to the bright moon, seemed lost in memories before spoke,
"If Sakura was here, she would befriend Megumi in second," he faintly laughed, hollow vibrated in his voice. "And Illya would immediately become Alice's self-proclaimed little sister, with Kurokiba scaring everyone who dares approach them."
Rin's mouth curved in sadness at his words.
"I hope, one day, we can have a simple, happy life like this with everyone, with the Servants." He said, still staring at the endless sky. Rin followed his gesture. "No bloodbath, no sadness, no goodbye. Only a bunch of people sitting together to eat, laugh, and enjoy life. Even if it's just an illusion, even if it will vanish in a blink."
From his expression, Rin knew he was thinking about the Servants of Fifth Holy Grail War. Most of them had a tragic past – even that bastard Gilgamesh had lived in tragedy. He died because of fatigue and lack of sleep for Heaven's sake – and Shirou couldn't help but sympathize them, more so after meeting their alternate selves in several [Fake] Holy Grail War.
She knew, deep inside his heart, he wished for all of them to have a moment of peaceful and pure happiness.
It's both admiring yet too unreal.
To dream salvation for deceased heroes... What are you, the reincarnation of Amakusa Shirou? she thought bemusedly.
Yet, it didn't mean she wasn't wishing that, too.
"One day," she whispered longingly. "One day."
How to drill common sense into your boyfriend's thick head, was the first thing she searched on the internet. The answers were not desirable.
God, how she wanted to gandr him now – but she knew better. Getting angry right now won't solve the problem.
"Why," she growled as her mouth was curved into what people dubbed as 'Tohsaka Smile #1 – Sinister Edition'."In the name of God, Akasha, Gaia, Alaya, Truth, and every deity that exist, do you think it is a good idea to challenge Shokugeki with an alumni?"
Shirou sweated a bullet, but at least he still stood on his ground tall and proud. "Well, then do you prefer Megumi to be expelled, then?"
"Of course no!" she snapped. "But there is something called 'diplomatically agreement', you dumbass!"
He shrugged weakly. "Shokugeki is a branch of agreement."
"More like a watered-down battle tournament!"
Sighed heavily, Rin stomped back and walked away. Nothing could be done if he already set his mind. "Do whatever you want. Just, stay low and don't do anything weird. Make sure you're not expelled, you got it?"
He did a mock salute. "Yes, Ma'am!"
"Emiya-Tohsaka Shirou, what the hell did you do to my precious Megumi."
She pointed at the bluenette ten meters away who stared at him like he was the sun itself. He scratched his cheeks and avoided Rin's searching eyes.
"I somehow figured out that she is a fan of a hot spirited character, so..." His expression shifted into 'I-kind-of-fucked-up-please-don't-mad' face. Her eyes narrowed.
"Um," he chuckled. "I kind of channeled Archer's persona and lecture her to have a backbone..."
"It's..." Pretty normal, actually. Even the gentlest one must be pushed from their comfort zone. Megumi wasn't an exception. "...Not weird. But why are you – ?"
"Then, she suddenly called me 'Coach'."
"Yes. Like in sport shounen manga."
Somehow, she couldn't bring herself to get angry.
"And the result?"
Shirou made a sour face. "Lost. But all thanks to Gin-san, it counted as a draw. Megumi chose to use allspice which good for stomach – although for that reason too, her dish far inferior to him." he said. He put his finger on chin and thinking out loud,
"Personally, I'll use garlic, lemon basil, aniseed, a little bit salted butter, and a pinch of pepper. At very least the result would be as par with Shinomiya-san's Chou Farci. Her tomatoes were also a little bit overcooked..." mumbled Shirou, deep in thought.
Rin only shook her head. "You and your obsession."
Only you who will use their non-cooking skill into an attraction, Shirou, she sighed fondly seeing how smooth Shirou moved the still raw egg from the hot plate onto the pipping white rice with just one movement of a limb.
It's both dangerous, surreal, and enchanting.
Especially when the smell the burned soy sauce and cooked garlic popped up from the – raw? Cooked? Half-cooked? There was no trace of cooked eggs – meeting their nose.
The result was immediate.
"Young man, I want one!"
"Give me two!"
"I wanna five, big bro!"
"Oi, don't push!"
Even her benedict egg wasn't a match with his modified tamago kake gohan. It's no wonder though, as naturally most of Japanese people prefer rice over western breakfast.
Cheater, Rin glared when they eyes met. You have been waiting until my stand is crowded, right? And by then you start cooking to attract them. You cheeky man.
His quick smirk was all answer she needed. A tick mark appeared on her head.
"You better leave me one portion, Shirou, or I swear I'll gandr your ass." she hissed menacingly.
Shirou gulped. "Y-Yes."
"Holy shit," Mito Ikumi, one of Rin's trusted underlings, staring at their used plates astonished. "It's not weird if Erina-sama's plates are this many, but you too, Yukihira!?"
Beside her, Takumi Aldini, a student from Italy and self-proclaimed Shirou's eternal rival (he kindly informed her last night), gawked soundlessly seeing their tower of plates. His jaw almost touched the ground.
"He could get more than this, you know." Rin threw her two cents. "It's only because he kept recommend the others student's counter so most of his former customer scattered around the hall."
Ikumi widened her eyes, shocked. "Seriously? He did that?"
"So that's why some of them said that someone recommended my cooking..." Takumi mumbled before realizing something. "Wait, is-isn't that mean you know where is my counter, Yukihira?"
Shirou, who was busy preparing seven bowls of rice, shrugged. "Eh, it's not that hard to find," he answered. "Most of the children are more than happy to inform me, too. Some elders even gossiping some of the students. With a cup of hot green tea, polite words, they spilled everything they know."
"Why do you have a thermos here."
Once again, Shirou only shrugged. He flicked the spiced raw eggs from the hot plate onto the rice like it was nothing. "I asked, they gave it. Maybe they thought I would make Oja."
Rin sighed as she took her rice bowl. "Only you, Shirou. Only you."
"Why do you make seven portions?"
"Hm?" Shamelessly, he took one of the plates and ate it. "One for me, obviously – hey, don't look at me like that! I'm hungry, and the examination time is already over, right?" he huffed and continued, "For you, and that's for Ikumi, Takumi, Alice, Ryo, and Megumi." He pointed at each bowl.
The two blondes stared at the red-headed dumbfounded. ""You make it for me?"" They said simultaneously before glaring at each other.
"And for me too?" Alice, who just arrived, piped in clearly surprised.
"Megumi too? Why?" asked Rin.
Shirou, like a goddamn saint he was, smiled brightly. Rin resisted the urge to hold her heart. "I just had a hunch. Thank God it's not a mistake! I don't like wasting good ingredients. Look, Megumi is coming."
He pointed at the nearing figure. That figure waved her hand.
"Coa-I mean, Souma-kun!"
For the nth time, Rin thanked all the deity above for giving her a perfect house husband incarnation as her life partner.
They really don't know anything about you, do they? Rin mouthed to Shirou who was flocked with astonished Polar Star Dorm students.
I thought they already know it, he mouthed back as he frantically dodged a train of question from Yuki. Please make them stop!
Rin cocked her eyebrows seizing the request. M'kay, but you owe me.
She stepped in and coughed. "Everyone, will you please kindly give Yukihira Souma some space? He looks uncomfortable there."
"N-Nakiri Erina!" one of them, the muscled one, halted.
"Nakiricchi!" Immediately Yuki latched onto Rin. "Your counter is beside him, right!? So it means you saw his – "
She cut her sentence. "If you're talking about his cooking, my answer is yes. It's hard to ignore it," said her.
"Then do you saw – "
"Flicking the newly placed raw eggs from the hot plate onto the rice?" she smirked. "Of course I saw it. As expected of you, Souma."
He scratched the back of his head in embarrassment. "It wasn't much."
"Eh?" The purple haired girl, Ryoko, chimed in. "Nakiri-san, it didn't surprise you? At all?"
"Why should I?" She rebutted and cocked her head. "Even if it looks like an impossible task, I know Souma can do it. He has the right limb to did that."
"But how – ?"
"Seriously?" Rin gave them an incredulous stare. "You don't know his past? His record?" she asked.
There was a silence until the glasses one spoke, "Actually, his name is very familiar, but somehow I can't put my finger on it."
Rin couldn't help but facepalmed. Here she was, thinking her boyfriend – or husband, whatever – finally learned how to brag his well-deserved achievement. Or at least slipped some information to not let them as clueless as toddler.
Well, there was a saying 'old habits die hard'.
"Fine," she put her hands down. "I'll explain it to you."
"Eeeeeeeeeh!?" they screamed loudly. "You're that famous 'Red Hawk of Japan'!? The youngest national champion of archery and kendo!?"
"And you use that insane skill of yours to make your dish like it was nothing!?"
"So that's why you caught a boar for Inui-senpai's challenge!"
"Oi!" Shirou in panic made a shushed gesture. "Sssh! You will spill it to the others! And Ikumi, Takumi, why are you here – "
Hundreds of eyes, young and old, students and alumnis, had heard it loud and clear.
Cue uproar screaming and jawdropping.
Nose, tongue, eyes... She pondered as she observed two bickering figures in front of them.
"O-oi! Stop treating me like a child, Yukihira!"
"Then stop eating so little, you damn brat! Eat more!"
"I'm not – "
"Hayama Akira," she butted in, instantly ended their ridiculous antics. "Your nose... is pretty sharp, right? On the level with my tongue?"
The incarnation of EMIYA (nicknamed by a rather displeased Shirou), Hayama Akira, frowned. "Yes. Why so sudden, Nakiri?"
She ignored his question and looked at Shirou. "And you, Souma, has sharp eyes. Very, sharp eyes."
"Er, yes." He nodded unsurely. "I thought you've known it for ages – "
"Well!" She happily clapped her hands. "Doesn't it mean we are the 'common senses' of Tootsuki?"
"Why are you two suddenly silent."
"...Um, do I have to laugh...?"
"Our ability isn't exactly 'common', tough..."
Rin pouted. "Che. You two are not fun."
How disappointing, she deduced as she made another deal with her customer. Your underlings are too easy to be deceived, Azami.
"So, do you accept my terms?"
"Yes I am, Erina-sama!" That man – no, pig – smiled broadly, he bowed deeply like he was worshiping her. His lips were littered with the crumbs bread. "I will follow every word of yours! Please, order me anything you want!"
Pathetic. She stared at him disdainfully. Even the magus back in clocktower was more competent than all of them. Just a single plate of heavenly food enhanced with [Reinforcement], sweet words, and promising future, all of them had fallen onto her hands.
Moonlit's World would be shattered in seconds if most of the magus were like this.
"Are you done, Erina-sama?"
When Rin came back to her room, Hisako greeted her with a warm towel, folded neatly for her to take. She sighed as she sat on the soft cushion. "Yes. Eilswein company is now on our side. If we can persuade their allies, it will gain us upper hand."
"Earlier, I got a message from Souma-sama," she informed her. "The mission's success. I quote, 'I have eliminated all of the rats. How I did it, I leave it to your imagination. I met an Irish dog with the blood of e Pluribus Unum. As expected of the Child of the God to realize what's wrong with his leader. Coup d'état gives a bad taste in my mouth, even though all the characters surround it. Can't count it yet, but Gawain surprisingly has fallen.'"
That's got Rin into thinking pose. "A dog, Child of the God, Coup, e Pluribus Unum..." she mumbled.
"I understand what he meant on the first point, but I am lost with the others." said Hisako. She also had a frown on her face. "Child of the God... Isn't that sounded demigod?"
"E Pluribus Unum, a motto of America nation. But he also mentions 'Irish', so it means..." Rin trailed. "Hisako, what's American name that has the meaning of 'Child of God' and sounded Irish?"
"Eh? P-please wait, I will search it." Hisako fumbled with her handphone. After a while, she answered,
"Shawn, loyal dog... wait, don't tell me – !" Rin widened her eyes for a moment before chuckling softly. "My, Shirou, you truly never stopped surprising me, huh?"
"Um, Erina-sama, if I may asking, what do you find funny?" asked Hisako.
Rin smiled amusedly. "Hisako, do you know who is – " she couldn't help but spat, " – my bastard father's aide?"
She nodded. "Yes. It's Shawn Aida – eh?" she blinked owlishly. "Isn't that mean he – "
"See?" Rin laughed. "Trust Souma to turn the enemy into your allies, even if they're the most trusted man of the big boss."
"Coup, or Coup d'etat. The name of the most historical revolution of France." Rin sighed tiredly. "And the stars; obviously he means the Elite Ten, doesn't he? 'Can't count it' means he doesn't know the exact number of his supporters. Gawain means," she bit her tongue. "Him of course. That Gawain-wannabe."
"Gawain? That famous white knight of Round Table?"
"Yes," she nodded grimly. "And the only one who has the same title is that man, the First Seat of Elite Ten."
Hisako gasped. "No – !"
She cut back, "Hold your surprise for later. For now, just focus on the fact that they're planning for a revolution of Tootsuki together with the majority of the current Elite Ten."
She ignored the shell-shocked Hisako and folded her arms, thinking.
Shit, Rin cursed. I should've disowned him much earlier. And stripped him into poverty.
Like damn I will allow him messing with Grandfather's hope and dreams.
Autumn, the season of falls. She smiled in nostalgia. She looked down, watching the students surrounding the selection boards.
"Congratulations on being selected, Hisako," she said to her loyal aide. "It was only to be expected, given your talent."
Her smile was so bright that reminded her of a certain brunette. "Thank you, Erina-sama. I won't disappoint you as your aide."
She smiled softly. "No matter what, do your best, Hisako," she advised. "Do not let insult and anger clouded your minds. Do not falter even if you're facing Alice, or Souma. Always keep your head ups even though you have met your end."
Hisako was very touched by her words. She bowed down and said, "Thank you for your advice, Erina-sama. I'll keep it in my mind." And she meant it.
She waved her hand. "Don't mention it."
They walked back to her office in tow, silence washed all sounds. Suddenly, a single memory popped into Rin's head.
"Well," Rin's eyes twinkled in mischief. "Rather than worrying about petty things, why don't you tell me about your growing crush on Souma?"
The result was immediate.
"C-c-c" Hisako stuttered with face as red as tomato. "C-crush!? W-w-w-what are you t-talking about, E-Erina-sama!? H-him!? I-I mean, not that he isn't attractive, though... B-but it doesn't mean I – !"
"Oh, don't lie to me now. So you mean this sweet letter I found in the pile of paperworks is only a prank, hm?"
"Erina-sama, if I may asking, is Souma-sama truly that talented?"
"Hm?" Rin raised her eyebrow. It's a rare thing to see her aide doubting someone, especially that person was officially acknowledged as her equals. She was rather puzzled than angered. "Are you doubting his talent, Hisako?"
"N-No! I would never!" She stepped back, hands wildly waved on the air. "It-it's just, um, I-I feel that, um,"
"At ease, Hisako. I am not angry."
Hisako immediately relaxed her posture and sighed in relief. " – Yes. It isn't my intention to doubt Souma-sama – his talent rise far beyond me. It's just..." She trailed, before continued it after seeing Rin's encouraging face. "I find it weird that he isn't famous in culinary world, and often being underestimated. So I thought..."
"Someone may sabotage his life, you think?" She concluded, earning her an embarrassment blush on Hisako's face. Rin sighed. "My apologies. In truth, it's all because of my family's doing."
Her reaction was amusing. "Y-Your doing, Erina-sama!?"
"Guilty as charged." Rin made a mocked giving up gesture. "As requested by him, I, together with Grandfather and Alice's parents, cover all of his records that related to culinary world except his connection with his father," she explained. "He isn't fond with abundant attention, and he wants to enjoy life as normal as possible."
Hisako only gawked. "I-I see..."
A fond sigh escaped her mouth. "He has done so many things to ensure my safety and happiness. This was nothing to pay all of his deeds." she exclaimed and stared back at Hisako.
"Don't tell a word about this to anyone, will you?"
"Forgive me to say this Erina-sama," Hisako looked ready to burst into laughter. "But you sound like a yakuza boss in debt."
I bet Ciel will do anything to be the judge, was her idle thought while watching the Preliminary Round went. It's not different with normal Shokugeki in her eyes, albeit it was between thirty students with four winners.
Same old, same old.
She didn't bat an eye when the meek emcee, Yua Sasaki, announced the student's low result like it was a curse. It's nothing weird, as gourmet people tend to be picky with their food.
Rin cocked her head when a new player stepped into the stage. Mimasaka Subaru? she put her finger on chin. A student whose talent lay in tracing. Collecting ninety-eight knives previously owned by his Shokugeki's opponents. If my information is correct, recently he works under Eizan-senpai.
She narrowed her eyes when the score popped on the screen. The fourth winner, eh? I have a bad feeling about this. A certain red-haired man popped on her brain.
Damn it Shirou.
Rin sighed when a new flag had risen.
Shirou, she almost groaned. I know you're such a charming man but please don't seduce my cousin, accidentally or not.
A tense silence.
"Will you say it once again?"
Shirou sighed, braced himself for the consequences. "My next match is a Shokugeki with Mimasaka Subaru. The agreement are he will give back all of his knives he possesses to the true owner if I win, and I will give him [Memories of Fuyuki] if he win." he spoke it without hesitation.
Rin winced. [Memories of Fuyuki] is a set of swords that solely made by Shirou to honor their previous life. The qualities were not a joke, and without a doubt far sharper than any knives. Even the hardest bone can be sliced like knife and butter, verified by the Demon of Culinary World himself. He had poured all of his skill, blood, and tears just to make the best of the best.
It's value, economically and historically, can feed a whole country for years–her Grandfather even said that.
"Shirou, you know what it means, right?" Rin asked in firm tone. "Giving up that knives are the same thing as giving up your life. Are you really serious with this?"
"Yes." He nodded, eyes shining with determination. "I can't let him be, Rin. At least when all of those knives in his possession," Shirou gritted his teeth like he was in pain.
"Even though I haven't seen all of it, I know they're in pain. I can feel it. This feeling... If I have to describe it, it's like a mother who is separated from her child, and thus wandering aimlessly just to meet them." he confessed.
He gripped his heart with pained face. "I just – I just can't ignore it."
Rin folded her arms as she watched how the Shokugeki went. Earlier, she got information that Mimasaka Subaru was indeed stalking Shirou – even he tried to hack into one of the reporter's computer just to find out what kind of dish he will make.
Needless to say, some students were ready to hunt his dead body.
She glanced at the audience, where that some students anxiously watching. It didn't help when most of the students predicted he will lose. Even when some students tried to improve their dish in last minute, it wasn't a par with Subaru's carefully planned scheme.
"Hisako." she called her recently-recovered aide after her lost. She was really dejected after Hayama pummeled her down and insulted her determination, but after a little bit console and lot of bonding time, slowly her spirit lifted up. She was still a little bit bitter, but not much.
"Yes, Erina-sama?" she dutifully answered.
"Who do you think will win?"
"Eh? Um..." She didn't need to look back to see her guilty face. It's not weird if even Hisako doubted his win, as Subaru's famous 100 Shokugeki winning streak was not a joke. It's already became a silent rule among the students to give up and let him take your precious belonging before he humiliated you in front of public.
But well, Rin smirked. Shirou is not your average students.
The students started to whisper when Shirou bought out a different case of knives. Rin immediately recognized it as [Memories of Fuyuki] from the runes they carved.
She knew, whenever he bought it, it means business. No question asked.
She laughed quietly. Beware, Mimasaka Subaru.
Shirou took [SABER], a slicing knife with Anglo-Saxon runes – perfect to cut anything in quick motion. He weakly threw the meat on air–earning him a surprised scream from the judges and audiences–and when the momentum came, he let his hand danced.
In second, the sliced meat fell with a thud, finely separated from the bones.
The stadium became silent.
Rin couldn't help but smirk wider.
Muramasa has withdrawn his demon sword.
She smiled in amusement when he came back in tow.
"Another kid you adopt, Shirou?" she teased.
"Rin," he sighed tiredly. "For the last time, I didn't, and won't, adopt anyone. At least people who certainly can handle themselves. Understand?"
She nodded, but clearly ignored his words. She put her hands on chin, mockingly deep in thought.
"Another route that you has unlocked, then."
"Rin oh my God – "
A day before the competition, Rin successfully persuade Shirou to stay overnight at her place to 'make sure he won't screw up'.
In truth, she just felt lonely.
Not that she would admit it. Never.
"Tell me, Shirou. What element is the most important thing for tomorrow's competition?" she asked to the sole chef of today's dinner.
Shirou hummed as he put two plates of Stockfish Mousse on the table. "Depends. Taste and creativity is a must, but that's won't do. It will be a draw once again if that's the matter most."
He continued, "So it must be the 'face' of the dish. Its history, hidden message, originality, and such." Shirou sighed and took a seat beside Rin. "I can handle it fine. Unfortunately, I am not ready for the sudden attention if I win. But if I hold back, Hayama and Kurokiba will be disappointed. What to do..."
She giggled. "So you're worried about that? And yesterday you said that you didn't raise anyone flags." she exclaimed in sing-song tone.
He raised his hand in mocked defeat. "Well, I'm sorry for being charismatic and handsome."
"Oh-ho? Confident, now?"
"Well, of course." he paused. "Your love for me is a de facto proof."
"I-I didn't say that!"
"Aw, don't go tsun-tsun with me," he grinned charmingly. "I love you too."
Her face exploded in red.
On the next day after the Finals, Rin crashed at Shirou's dorm room.
"...Second place." Rin deadpanned. Shirou only nodded while calmly drank his tea like there wasn't any ruckus outside.
"Second place." He spoke.
"...They almost pummeled you in front of everyone, you know."
He only nodded. "I noticed that."
"Any regret?" She pressed in.
"...Kind of." Yet his face still wore the same expression.
Rin pinched bridge of her nose, suddenly craved a good coffee and aspirin. "Then don't do it again. I know you're a curious person and love new challenge, but for the God's sake, don't serve your newly made experiment to anyone. Seriously, don't. Even though you have removed the poison fully, God knows how, and no one is dead, please, don't. You almost made me call ambulance for your sorry ass."
He pouted. "So no deadly nightshade's berries?"
Rin gritted her teeth and counting one to ten. "Yes, Shirou. No deadly nightshade's berries."
"Even though it tastes good with Sanma?"
A tick mack appeared on her head and she snapped, "No one has the skill to extract the poison like you, Shirou!"
Goddammit I thought you weren't contaminated by Joichirou.
So it has come. Rin stared at the paperwork. Across the table, her husband-to-boyfriend read the fliers about Internship uninterestedly.
"Stagiaire, huh?" Shirou commented. "So even owning a seat in Elite Ten won't excuse you from internship, eh?"
"Unfortunately." She sighed as she stretched her tired arms. God, paperworks were truly evil. "But at least it will excuse me from all of this satan's incarnation for weeks. I have separated the general one for the others Elite Ten; like hell I let them being carefree all days."
She chuckled evilly. Shirou gulped nervously and scooted away. "That bad?" He asked in concern tone.
Rin groaned. "You bet."
Next week, Shirou called her in the middle of her break. She stared at her smartphone in disdain – she needed months just to learn how to send messages and calling, and last week she just found out how to screenshot. How embarrassing – before answering it.
"Hello? What happens, Shirou?"
"Rin!" She noted his excited tones. Is something good finally happen to him? she wondered. "I have a good news. Shinomiya-senpai will open a restaurant here in Japan!"
Shinomiya? Oh, that pink-haired senpai. Somehow Shirou grew a respect to him after using [Structural Analysis] to his dish. He didn't expect to find such a deep history of his goal to be a professional French chef. Since then, he always made sure to greet him at least more polite and unconsciously spoiled him.
(Well, their real ages are far older than Shinomiya, though, so it wasn't entirely wrong to do)
She pursed her lips. "Huh. I thought he will open it next month." She mumbled. "How do you know that, Shirou?"
"I get my second Internship at his restaurant, apparently."
She blinked. I thought he asked for the finalist of Autumn Election – well, Shirou is technically a finalist too, but I didn't recall we sent him to that guy... Or maybe he is the one who exclusively requested –
"Rin?" Shirou pulled her back into the earth. "Hello? Earth to Rin?"
"I'm still here," she answered. "Now, tell me about your previous intership..."
A few days later, Shirou once again called her.
"Rin, is it wrong to call someone we respect as shishou?" he asked, when the moon shyly appeared in the sky.
Her mind instantly thinking about a certain hero from Ireland. "No, I think." she answered. "If I remember correctly, Cu Chulainn called his mentor, Scatcath, as shishou too, right? You know, the fake war one where Cu was summoned as Caster. Remember?"
Shirou hummed in the back of the phone. "I remember. So it isn't weird, right?"
"Yes, Shirou. I don't have to repeat it again, do I?"
She was certain Shirou was shaking his head rapidly even though she couldn't see it. "No, I mean, Inui-senpai requested me to call Shinomiya-senpai as shishou. Of course, I did it, but I didn't expect him to..." Shirou paused.
Rin frowned. "To what?"
" – err, long story short, he collapsed, I think? But he is still twitching, though." His tone shifted into a panic. "Oh boy, I think that's blood. Should I use my magecraft to analyze him first? God, why all of them are laughing – "
He halted. "–Yes, Ma'am."
"Let him be. He will be okay after several minutes." she explained calmly.
" – But – !"
"Trust me. Now hang up this and continue whatever you did before."
Shirou obediently did what she asked. Rin stared at the blackened screen before sighed exasperatedly.
"Mein Gott, Shirou. For a guy with high instinct, you're too dense for your own good, aren't you?"
God, I'm so lazy. She didn't even bother to open the letter on her desk. Shirou promptly opened it and read it thoroughly.
"What is this? Meet-and-Greet with Elite Ten?" he exclaimed in incredulous tone. "Why are you too invited as 'first year'? You always meet them every single day!"
Rin loudly groaned. Thankfully her office room was soundproof. "Right? It's a waste of the time. I prefer to go to the onsen again or searching for more allies. You also meet them occasionally, right?" Shirou nodded. He was the emergency resort of Elite Ten whenever their things were broken, hence his nickname 'Repa-man', courtesy of Kobayashi Rindou.
Talking about Elite Ten, though...
She sighed and leaned to her comfy chair. "And to think Tsukasa Eishi is Kotomine-wannabe's partner in crime... How sad."
"I am also surprised too," he said with an unreadable expression. "But at the same time, I'm not. Eishi-san has something... similar to him. Their perfectionism, selfishness, and desire to shape culinary world into a so-called 'utopia', led by you." He pointed at Rin. "The owner of God's Tongue."
She snorted. "Like your eyes and Hayama's nose isn't in the same level of me."
He tutted and leaned against her desk. "Both of Hayama and I are not a Nakiri, remember?"
"Then he is a bigot." Rin rolled his eyes. " A foolish drunk man in power who blinded his eyes just because not everyone 'worth it'."
"He doesn't even manage well his opportunity. How disgusting." she hissed out. For her, his very existence was already an insult for her as a magus with Neutral-Good alignment and as an heir of the prestigious family. No wonder his Grandfather banish him to another country.
If he dares to come back, I swear I'll choke laxative into his mouth and strengthen bounded field if it's possible.
"Ara, isn't this Yukihira-chin!"
"O-Oh, Souma-kun, you're here too!"
Whoa... Most of the first year students simultaneously thought. I don't expect Yukihira-kun/Souma-kun/Yukihira is really popular with Elite Ten.
"Yukihira-chin, I challenge you a Shokugeki!"
An awkward silence.
Shirou sighed tiredly. His face screamed he was already fed up with this conversation. "Senpai, If I may be blunt for the nth time, I don't want to gamble my body or whatever, okay? Even if you will give me your Elite Ten position, I honestly don't care."
A deafening silence.
"Yukihira-san." The 6th seat, Kinokuni Nene, spoke. "I thank you for your help yesterday. If you weren't there, most of us would catch a cold in the middle of autumn, all thanks to Kuga's stupidity." She said as she bowed slightly. She added, "And please report to us if he dares to abuse his power for making a petty shokugeki."
Kuga Terunori, the 8th seat, pouted childishly. His head was full of bumps, most because of the girl beside him. "Why it was my fault? I didn't break anything, you grandma!"
A tick mack. "Who are you calling grandma, rut?"
Cue shenanigans. Somehow Eizan was involved into their heated quarrels. The others Elite Ten started bugging the poor red-headed man.
"Yukihira Souma." Spoke the 5th seat, Saito Soumei. "I have heard your accomplishment, both swords and archery. Nevertheless, I am truly impressed. To think someone, who walk in the path of true swordsmanship, now stand in front of me as a comrade." He said in a respectful tone.
Shirou looked very confused, but he bowed politely. "Thank you, Saito-senpai."
"I also have a request." This got his attention. "There was a rumor about your peculiar talent in tending a sword, so I ask – "
"Meh, boring!" The 2nd seat, Kobayashi Rindou, rudely cut his sentences. "Saito, you're too lame! Boring! If you wanna talk about your 'sword', get a room!"
Most of the males blushing at her choices of words. "R-Rindou! That's–"
"Hey, Erina, Yu-ki-hi-ra~" Rindou scooted closer to him, ignoring Saito who was frozen in embarrassment. She put herself between Rin and Shirou. "Can two you cook me that snake meat dish again for me? I'm hungry~"
A piece of clothes hit her head. "Begone, cow woman." The fourth seat, Akanegakubo Momo, death glared her. "That's Momo's place. Momo wants to sit beside Sou-myan and Eri-nyan."
A tick mack appeared on her temple. "Why, a little girl wanna her mommy?" she taunted.
"...That's it. I'll eliminate you right now, Rindou-nyan."
"Bring it down, you pettanko loli!"
On the background, a stressful Tsukasa Eishi was patted by a laughing Isshiki Satoshi. All of the first years was cheering, sweatdropping, and making a bet.
Shirou was busy searching the quickest route to get out from there.
Rin peacefully drank her tea.
What. The. Hell. Rin gritted her teeth. She clenched her knuckles hard, totally pissed.
"I can't believe it." she growled. She threw the report papers onto her desk and leaned back in her chair. "He will come here. At the last day of Moon Banquet Festival."
Shirou folded his arms and leaned against the wall. There wasn't any expression on his face, but fury radiated on his eyes. "He successfully persuaded six out of ten members of Elite Ten to roll here as the new director and gains strong allies back in America. Although, most of his supporters originally are weak neutral parties that needed protection." he informed her.
"So it means they need Nakiri's fame and power, huh..." she noted it in a clipped tone. "He must be the one who cuts down all connection to Nakiri's branch in America. It's either they become his supporter, or – "
" – killed." Shirou cut down. He shrugged when Rin sent him a look. "Dead men tell no tales. As long as you have money and power, no one will be missed." he said, tapping his head. "The second coming of Magus Killer, remember?"
"Yes." Rin chuckled. Emiya blood might not run in his body, but he learned their assassination method like a duck to water. He's not uncomfortable with killing people, but if it was needed he would do it without second thought.
"Has your father told Grandfather this information?" she asked. Joichirou was Sanzaemon's ears concerning about Azami's activity since he suspiciously lost contact with Nakiri's family branch in America.
Sadly, Shirou shook his head. "Dad couldn't dig deeper without uncovering himself. It didn't help when Azami is head over heels with him, to the point his so-called 'utopia' originally dedicated to his past self."
Rin released a deep sigh from her mouth. She wanted to share her information with Sanzaemon, but she couldn't take a risk especially with how corrupt their school was. Even walls have ears.
"Well, then," she straightened her sit position. "Why don't we plan for his incoming, dear husband?"
He smirked. "Dramatic much?"
"Being dramatic runs in Nakiri's blood, like yours with obsession with weird experiment."
"Rin, your booth will be in Yamanote Area right?"
She nodded, watching him wrote down his name under her. "You don't want to open your own booth, – " she glanced at the blushing comittee. " – Souma?"
She ignored all the 'kyaaah' and the conspiracy whispering. She knew the students were gossiping about their relationship, given how close they are since day one. Shirou most likely heard their murmur, looking how red his ears were.
"Nah, too much work." He answered and gave his application. He continued, "And it's been a long time since I can cook together with you in the same kitchen. I won't miss this opportunity." and smiled warmly.
Rin swore her face didn't explode in red, and she didn't hear all the squealing.
She did not.
"Err, Rin, why are Momo-senpai glaring at us?"
She looked at his direction. It's true, several meters from their booth, Momo gave them dead stare. But when she paid more attention, it seemed she was staring at different thing.
"There are two possibilities." she concluded. "Either because we defeated her in total sale rankings in a row, or she wants to eat our limited edition sweets that you are holding now. Pick one."
"...The latter, then."
On the fourth day of Moon Banquet, Shirou got a new update.
"Kotomine has arrived at Fuyuki City." He whispered to her. "Loaded with Black Keys. Mage Association is ready to back him up. Expecting the Tohsaka Heir's obedience."
It's a code they made if they exchanged information outside Bounded Field: her office, his dorm room, their workshop, and an unused room in Nakiri's mansion. They called Azami and his underlings as Kotomine and Black Keys, Tootsuki as Fuyuki City, and pro-Azami Elite Ten members as Mage Association.
Immediately he left her to deliver the food to the customer, leaving Rin deep in thought at the kitchen.
She tried her best to not glare at the dark haired man who called himself as her father. Shirou dutifully stood beside her, ready to attack – killkillkill – if the worst case happened.
"Hello Erina," he smiled creepily, almost in a perfect way on how that Fake Priest smiled. She shuddered in disgust. "I see you've grown into a beautiful woman."
"Fu – Father." She stuttered. It's hard to not call him without cursing as she had spent most of her life calling him in colorful ways. Ah, damn it.
Her terrified acting must be good if Hisako and most of the customer giving her a worried look. Nice.
Rin, I sense seven – no, eight person outside. Shirou faintly wrote it with fingertips on her palm. One of them is Sanzaemon-sama. I think he will announce 'it' right here.
She secretly made an expression when Azami turned to the crowding guests. Here? And I thought I was dramatic enough.
Apparently not so.
Operation: Eloping, success. She giggled when Shirou carried her to his dorm bridal styled. It's been a while since he brought her like that.
"I have told Shawn to cover your hideout," he whispered. "Unsurprisingly, Kotomine isn't suspicious with his activities, instead he thought he was searching for more potential allies. What about your Bounded Field?"
She grinned. "Won't be touched. And if he can break it down, God knows how, everything regarding our researches are secured on my bag."
He hummed. "Nice."
Rin giggled as she tightened her hold on him. Without looking back, she could feel three pairs of death glares bore on her back.
Well, she might be a tease, but Shirou's ass is hers. And she had no intention to share.
...Except for Saber, probably. And Sakura. And Rider.
"Nakiri Erina, here's your key." Fumio gave her a key. She smiled cheekily at her. "It's room 306, exactly in front of Yukihira's room. I bet you want to be close to him every time." She teased.
"Aw," Rin pouted cheekily. "I thought I would sleep in the same room with Souma."
"What the – Yukihira! So it's true – !?"
The old woman massaged her head. Both of them ignoring the ruckus that exploded by her words. "About that, as funny as it sounds, I don't want any bloodbath happen in my dorm, young woman."
Rin came to school again after three days absent even though most of the dorm member were against it. She almost scoffed if they weren't genuinely worried about here.
Shirou put her bento on her lap and sit beside her. "Trouble in heaven?" he asked.
Rin shook her head. "I'm just thinking about your dorm mates." She said while opening the lid. Her eyes twinkled when she found Charlock Sandwich, one of Shirou's famous creation.
He raised her eyebrow and took one slice of his own. "And? What do you think about them?"
"They're..." She searched for the word. Bright. Too trusting. Full of spirit. Orthodox. Weird. Kind. Unexpected.
He laughed. "Aren't they?"
For both of those tired soul, Polar Star is the reflection of their cherished memories; days in Fuyuki.
I'm going to kill that yankee-wannabe. Rin was pissed – no, furious. She had never been this angry since Azami started her mindfuck-in-disguise. She tried her best to comfort a crying Yuki, but no avail.
The Polar Star Dorm would be shut down by that yankee-wannabe.
How dare he shut down their dorms just because of his selfish reason? No way in hell. Not on her watch.
"Rin." Shirou called her as she stood up. He pulled down her arm.
"Let me go, Sh – Souma," the others shuddered on her dangerous tone. "Or else."
"You'll blow your hideout place." He pushed down.
Rin snapped. "Who cares!? That Fake Priest's incarnation can burn in seven hell and I'll dance on his funeral!" she struggled to break free from his stronghold. He didn't budge."Damn it! Let! Me! GO!"
"Rin, please – "
"Just – let me GO!"
"RIN!" he finally shouted.
All of them froze, including Rin.
She knew that tone. As a gentleman, he never rose his tone to anyone except when he was utterly serious or extremely upset. And she realized she had crossed that line.
Shirou then stood up and pulled her into a hug. "Don't." he whispered. "Stay. I beg you."
She was silent, but didn't resist his gesture. Rin buried herself into his arms.
"Sorry." She whispered back.
"It's okay." He tightened his hold. "I'll go."
Her eyes widen.
Rin stared at [Memories in Fuyuki] case, immensely mesmerized with its design for a second. She was in the middle of strengthening the runes on [SAKURA] while Shirou was tampering [BERSERKER], back to back.
"So you will use them?" she asked, eyes never leaving the runes pattern.
"Yes," he answered. "I'll save [ILLYASVIEL], [KIRITSUGU], [TAIGA] and [Four Cavalries Servant] for another day, though. Don't want to show all of my trump cards."
Rin smiled in fondness. "'The cooking utensils that can make miracles happening.'" She recited, remembering her Grandfather's words about his masterpieces. "I don't know whether you will be treated as a Saint or a Witch."
Shirou's laughter echoed through their workshop. "So [Reinforcement] and [Structural Analysis] are miracles?" he playfully asked.
"Technically yes, in this world." Rin nonchalantly answered. "But then again this world's [Gaia]'s pressure is strong, I'm surprised we can manage to build Bounded Field, albeit a little weaker than my liking."
She could imagine his shrug. "A beggar can't be a chooser."
There were no sounds except their [Magecraft] and a sound of metal met metal.
"Kick his ass."
Shirou was silent, before a smirk appeared on his face. "Gladly."
"Hisako," Rin smiled sweetly at her aide. Outside, the delinquents started to scream and throw things. "Feel free to show them the result of your training to them."
Hisako eyes were burning in determination. "Yes! Thank you, Erina-sama!" she bowed, and then took Souma's shinai on the floor.
The others stared curiously at Hisako's direction. "Ano, Nakiri-san," Megumi started. "Arato-san's... training?"
"You know about Souma's achievement as 'the Red Hawk of Japan', right?" They all nodded. It had caused a big ruckus involving run-and-chase, a lot of hiding, and a mountain of challenge letters. Shirou almost wanted to resign from the school. "In truth, he also takes Hisako as his first disciple."
There was a gasped. "He can?" asked a bewilderment Daigo. Rin nodded.
"As long as he is skilled enough, he can. It's her own wish, too. Souma didn't have a heart to refuse her." Rin snorted at the memory. "Then, he trained her without mercy. He taught her not only kendo, but also self-defense against free-styled opponent. Now, even if she never enter a tournament, we are certain her level is on par with national champion."
She ignored their amazed face and pointed out. "Look."
They gawked at the pinkette who flawlessly wiped out the delinquents like they were ants.
Rin threw her two cents. "The funny thing is, until now she can't touch Souma even an inch."
Rin smiled when she watched the television. The residents of Polar Star Dorm was frozen up, unconsciously scooted away from it.
"Holy shit," the colorized-haired man, Shoji, swearing with a frightened expression. "Since when Yukihira is this scary?"
'Scary' was an understatement. It's hideous.
Shirou, perfectly visible from the live show, glared to the judge with a strong killing intent. The time felt like frozen, as no one dared to breathe. The previous cocky Eizan was sweating hard, almost no sound coming from his mouth. He kept glancing at the exit door with a shaking foot.
If someone dared to describe it, it's like there was a knife – mostly said it was sword – holding your throat and waiting for the commando from its master.
"I ask you, one more time," his voice echoed through the room. The last one, a guy who sat in the middle, gulped hard and straighten his position. He looked like ready to piss on his pants if Shirou stepped any closer.
"E a t."
And he did it.
The tension visibly loosened. All of them, students and adults alike, breathed out heavily and relaxed their tense shoulder. Some even leaned against chair or wall, suddenly feeling tired. The students of Polar Star Dormitory almost didn't hear the Shirou's winning announcement since they were mentally exhausted.
"Note to everyone," Marui breathed hard and leaned back to his chair. "Do not make Yukihira angry. Ever." Followed by various 'yes' and soundless nod.
Rin only licked her lips, thoroughly enjoyed the show.
She's so glad she remembered to record it.
Shirou stared at the black haired man in front of the door.
The black-haired man stared at Shirou.
Shirou shuddered when he smiled creepily. When Azami touched his shoulder, he reflex screamed,
It gained everyone's attention.
"Shirou!" Rin walked down to the dining table in hurry. She had been hiding when they sensed Azami came to the Polar Star Dorm. "Did my father do anything to you–wait," she stopped. "is that... my father's card name?"
If it was not a serious moment, she would have laughed so hard because look at his face oh my god it's so terrible. It's a weird mix of embarassment, weary, shocked, and mostly confusion. He was processing her words for two seconds before answering, "Er, um, yes. I – I think?" he stared again at the innocent-looking paper.
The others started to leave the dining room in order to give them more space. Rin noted some of them wearing almost the same expression with Shirou.
Now Rin was very suspicious. "Souma," she asked slowly. "What did he say to you?"
"He..." Shirou trailed, avoiding to meet her eyes. Rin waited patiently. "...watched my shokugeki."
"Mm-hmm. So he is impressed with your... glares." Azami was fond of pressuring people thing, after all.
Shirou nodded unsurely. "He said that my talent was an exceptional. A B-class gourmet would be an A-class if I am the one who cooks it. My status as a commoner is like a golden egg surrounded by unintelligent hens."
Rin paused. That's a fact people usually overlook from Shirou. To think he would notice it brought a big question mark on her head. "A genuine compliment. That's rare. And then?"
He rubbed his arm clearly uncomfortable, awakening all of the alarm on her head. "He later... promised to," Shirou, for the love of the God, blanched. "Nurture me to be a perfect child like you. And for the God's sake, he was thinking about adopting me!"
"What – " Rin held back her insult, counted one to ten, before asking again, "Did he say more than that?"
"I reminded him of someone back in his past," Shirou pinched the bridge of his nose. "Who actually is my father, as he told me his former family name, Saiba. He didn't know I am his son, though." He sighed heavily.
"I think he has taken a liking of me."
There was a long silence as Rin tried to process the information.
Rin quietly took her handphone and for the first time, decided to call a certain number she'd been avoided to use.
But this had gotten out of the line now.
"Hello, Child Protective Services?"
So sleepy... Rin yawned a little and leaned her head onto Shirou's arm. Although the TV room wasn't as hot as the park, it lacked the warm light from the sun. Maybe this is what they call as midday tiredness.
"For an anxious man, he sure knows how to give a strong speech, isn't he?" Shirou commented while eating his lunch.
"Mm-hm, he is..." Rin took a slice of bread from Shirou's bento. "But outside of cooking and giving speech, he is as useless as rock in the middle of savanna."
He chuckled. "Isn't that kind of mean?"
Rin closed her eyes in peaceful and mumbled, "I'm saying the truth."
"I really hate to break this, but," Yuki comically pointed at the two slumped figure on the sofa. "Why are you two so relax!"
Rin gave her half-deadpanned stare. "And why are you all in panic?" she rebutted back.
Yuki gave her a 'what-the-hell' stare. "Don't you hear Tsukasa-senpai's words, Nakiricchi!?" she half-shouted half-whined. "That's a death sentence, I tell you! Death sentence!"
Rin hummed. "But they're not having your head, aren't they?"
She blinked and her anger ceased for a moment. "W-Well, yeah..." she trailed, before shouted, "It's not a literal meaning! We'll be expelled, Nakiricchi!"
Rin raised one eyebrow and glanced up at Shirou's face. "Souma," she asked loudly. "What do you think they will do to those who are rebelling?"
"Tampering the ingredients, putting us in disadvantages," he counted. "Probably challenge us to defeat the Elite Ten, too."
They groaned at his latter sentence. Megumi's head started swaying, looked ready to faint anytime.
"Don't be anxious," Rin sighed as her patience was on its verge. "Tomorrow, at Polar Star Dorm dining room, eight a.m in the morning. We will be waiting for you."
She gave them dirty look. "Now, will you kindly let us have a privacy? I am the one who borrows this room after all."
Rin, dressed in formal outfit, lectured half of the rebellion members in the other side of the kitchen.
"Kutchan potatoes consist of sixteen percentage of starch, which is particularly high amongst other potatoes..." she then wrote a chain of atomic element on the whiteboard. "...and so, with the right method, you can add it into a milk-based dish to enhance its taste. Also, if you..."
"So this is the famous 'Lecture Mode' of Nakiri Erina." Shun whispered. A bead of sweat rolled on his cheek. "I find this not weird, considering her bloodline, but..." he took a glance at his back–the practical class with Shirou.
To be honest, it's way scarier than Rin's.
"Why Yukihira is as sadist as Nakiricchi!?" Yuki shouted in tears as she cut her 20th potatoes. She almost screamed when Shirou hit her counter with a whip.
"If you have a time to complaining, then I gladly add more portion for you." He narrowed his eyes in the same way with Rin. A dark aura was emitted from his body. "Or do you want to peel it with your nails instead?"
"Huaaaa! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
The other members shivered in fright. "S-Souma-kun is scary..." whimpered Megumi.
Hisako who dressed in the same way of Rin, only chuckled. "Souma-sama is very passionate when it comes to lecture, especially practical one. It's either you do it or die trying."
Hearing her words, the rebellion members couldn't help but be dreading their future.
What in seven hell.
Rin stared at Shirou.
Shirou stared at Rin.
They ignored the squealing three girls who somehow on the same team with them.
"My, how pleasant to be teamed with you, Souma." Rin smiled sweetly. Too sweet on the level a dark aura oozed from her. Why are we teamed together, was her hidden message. Shirou easily read it out.
He grinned back. "What a good coincidence, eh?" Is this that 'special case' Azami had been talking before? He referred to their last exchange at Polar Star Dorm.
Rin hummed and greeted their teammates. Damn. I thought you will be together with the others. Damn him and his weird obsession.
At least we have taught them well. He glanced at the rebels team who was running outside and smiled inwardly. Some of the stores sell tokishizaru salmon with brine method.
Hmph. Rin threw a look at him. To think your lecture about shopping districts will be useful.
Rin eyes twinkled in merry when the trees were cleared, giving them a perfect view of the starry night.
"It's beautiful." she breathed out. She had seen many things in her past life, but less time to truly enjoyed it. Life as a magus, especially as an apprentice of a Magic User, was not easy. Truly, to be a magus is to walk with death.
But this time, she would enjoy everything she had encountered.
Then, she felt a pressure on her right palm and turned her head. In front of him, Shirou held her hand with much affection. His eyes were full of love, never leaving her face.
Rin felt her face was getting hotter. "W-what are you doing?"
"Staring at you." was his answer. Rin blushed and turned away.
"Idiot. You should've watched the sky, not my face." She lightly scolded. "Now look here, you missed the opportunity."
Shirou chuckled. "Well," he started without feeling any remorse. "Even if the sky tonight's beautiful, I still can't take my eyes from you."
He kissed her palm. "I find the person in front of me is more breathtaking than anything."
Rin blushed hard.
Why am I always ruining the crucial part of my plan!? Damn it damn it damn it!
"Wait! Basta – geh, I mean, Father!" Rin sped up her steps. She cursed the examiners and their dilly-dallies, indirectly ruining her plan to provoke Azami's anger. He was here at fifth venue for a moment before moving to the next one. At first she had planned to interfere his time and proposing a challenge – or maybe one or two threats – in order to make him lost his cool and did something he regretted later.
But she didn't expect how time-consuming it was, no thanks to the examiners, until she realized how much the time had passed. If this plan failed, liked or not she must go back to plan B, which was too hassle in her opinion.
That was why, she, together with Shirou, ran like they were chased by a rabid dog. The survivor of fifth assessment – Takumi, Megumi, Kurokiba, and Hayama who was a former neutral party but joined in – also followed their steps.
She screamed when the door finally came to her sight. "Fathe – eh?"
She paused. Azami wasn't alone; there were a two male figures standing in front of him, back facing the door. Even then, Rin recognized those two people. Shirou too, as he gawked and shakingly pointed at the younger one.
That man, Joichirou, looked back and grinned. "Yo, Erina-chan, Souma."
Shirou scratched his head. "Regiment de Cuisine, huh? Talk about nasty." he winced.
Rin huffed. "This is truly an unexpected circumrotation, but luckily we can handle it fine." She handed him a piece of paper. It contained the match predictions, potential allies, judges, and their timing of ambush. All had been arranged in neat rune codes. She carefully designed it that no one except them could read it.
Shirou whistled. "Now you've outdone yourself, Rin. Where do you get all of this information in short time? And the judges, too." He blinked as he read the name. "A neutral party. How did you find this one? I thought we only have spies in Azami's group."
"Some of our allies incidentally have a major connection with their group. They are more than happy to share it with me, all thanks to one plate of Summer Roll modified version." she bragged proudly.
"Still," he chuckled in amazement. "World Gourmet Organization? This world seriously taking way too much attention for culinary world. And here I thought UNESCO was more than enough."
She snorted back. "Seconded. As serious as this matter, settling political problems with a dish is way too weird." She then remembered a joke that someone told her in the past. At first she found it as a complimentary jokes, but now?
It could be possible.
"Shirou, if someday you're appointed as the prime minister, despite how absurd it sounds." She told him in one hundred percent serious. "I am certain no one will oppose you."
And that's how this world work, she thought.
Rin quietly assessing her teammates. "Excuse me, Grandfather. If I may ask?" she spoke, earning her the others'attention.
Sanzaemon nodded. "Yes, Erina?"
"I request to not be placed on the same team of Souma." She raised her hand to not let anyone voiced their disagreement. "I suspect this is a teamwork test. Yet, it's useless if you pair me with him."
This raised a question.
"Why do you think like that?" asked Gin.
"It's simple." Shirou piped in with a crossed arm. "I work best together with her. If you have forgotten, back in Moon Banquet Festival, I am on the same team with her, together with Arato Hisako."
Megumi 'ahh'-ed. "Now I remember!" she spoke in a surprise tone. "You're placed first in total sales marketing for five days in a row, in Yamatone area no less! Yuki-chan had complained about you two for days."
Gin and Joichirou did a double take. "They did?" asked a bewilderment Joichirou.
Takumi nodded. As a fellow first year, of course he had heard their big accomplished. "Customers in our area kept talking about your dishes. If I recall it, they describe it as 'a food from the God itself'."
Hayama hummed, clearly remembered that moment and pointed out, "People nickname two of them as 'Hikoboshi and Orihime of Sunset', given how well they worked together."
They simultaneously blinked. "Tanabata deities?" Shirou wondered. "That's a first."
"Again?" She scrunched her nose. "People really like to make creative nicknames."
"I am more interested with the fact that my own son neglected to inform his poor dad about his achievement." Joichirou threw him a dejected look. "But what's done is done, missy. Or do you want to remake the team again, old man?"
Sanzaemon shook his head. "No, I don't have to." he said. "Even if you're saying the truth, Erina, this is only a trial. The real training will start later."
"Plus, this is my first time seeing you two worked together." he grinned broadly. "Why don't you show this old man your so-called great teamwork, Erina, Souma?"
Almost all of them paused they works and mesmerized with their flow. Even though they hadn't spoken any words to each other, Rin and Shirou kept helping each other just by reading their hand movement.
It's like they have become one eternity.
Kurokiba, who was in the middle of cooking the steak, blinked when Shirou suddenly passed a bunch of finely minced onion. He was just thinking to use it, how on earth he knew what he need?
Before he could respond, once again he had switched with Rin in perfect time and added his ad-lib into her cooking. She also did the same after passed the sliced parsley to a surprised Joichirou.
From his expression, he knew Joichirou didn't expect the sudden help. Sanzaemon, who was watching the entire episode, broke into a smile.
So this is the famous Yukihira-Nakiri teamwork. He started to feel the excitement. Their trust in each other is higher than I expect. I wouldn't expect this kind of performance from a chef around their age, prodigy or not. Not many people can do a teamwork as flawless as them.
Nakiri Erina and Yukihira Souma. Gin glanced at the two students with a wry smile. A bead of sweat rolled on his cheek. It seems I have make a mistake. There isn't only one monster, but two.
Joichirou inwardly smiled in pity. His mind briefly wandered back to their 491st battle, which he, for the first time of his life, badly lost. Heh, so all this time you've been holding back, Son? What a drag.
I don't envy you, Nakamura.
"Just to confirm in advance. Erina, in this regimental shokugeki, you will of course be part of our team, right?"
Azami also threw a creepy smile to Shirou. "You too, Yukihira Souma. Not only as bright as my daughter, you share the same belief as her. Join our team, and then you shall shine above everything."
This made all the rebels snarled at him. Gin frantically restrained an enranged Joichirou from killing Azami right there. Shirou sweatdropped, unconsciously stepped back.
Is this guy for real? Rin sneered. Shirou sent her a look and both of them nodded.
"Souma," Rin tilted her head slightly. "If you may?"
He nodded and stepped in. All of the students stared at him curiously.
"Thank you for your offer, Nakamura Azami-senpai." Shirou smiled politely. "But I am afraid I must decline it."
He put his right hand on his chest. "My loyalty is only for Erina, and I shall follow her even if she walks head straight to the death itself." He declared in a confident tone, earning him various look and blushes.
Rin sniggered very quietly. And he makes fun of my dramatic speech. I guess unknowingly he is influenced by it, hehe.
She also voiced her opinion. "Father, I have decided to join the rebels." she said without any regret. "And if you may, please relinquish my position at Elite Ten. With that, you won't weigh down with my selfish decision."
She ended it with a sweet smile, verily satisfied looking at Azami's pissed face.
"Do I make my opinion clear, dear Father?"
A nine-vs-ten team... I think that's enough. Rin reread her paperwork again and nodded. Yep. All clear.
Shirou took a look at her paper and frowned. "Why are you also adding Mimasaka Subaru? Isn't that makes our team ten people?" he asked.
"Just in case." Rin shrugged. "He is the one who said that we can add as many people as we want."
He hummed as he sat on her bed. "Well, his Tracing skill isn't a bad thing... If he can trace the Elite Ten, then we can get ahead of them. Especially for the others who don't have any experience facing Elite Ten members, this will be useful."
Rin nodded in agreement. "The real pieces of work are Momo-senpai, Rindou-senpai, and Eishi-senpai. Patissiere, Rare Ingredients Master, and the Gawain-wannabe." She listed off with fingers. "But, if they're weakened because of fatigue or stress, even the ordinary student can defeat them."
"That kind of strategy is not my style, you know?" Shirou sighed in defeat. "But then again never they were."
"I'd like to send Kurokiba if Saito-senpai came to the picture, but..." Rin put her finger on chin, brows furrowing. "In the same time, I want to see a showdown between you and him."
"He is a sushi master, right? Just let Kurokiba face him. At very least, he will get an experience fighting someone who has the same specialty." adviced Shirou.
Shirou observed how the first battle went with high concentration. If someone looked carefully at his eyes, they might see how his yellow orbs shine in dim occasionally.
Rin walked closer to him. "Using [Magecraft] in a public place? How bold." she teased in a hushed voice. Shirou smiled.
"It's a rare opportunity to watch a battle between Soba Master and Ramen Master. I can't waste this chance." He answered lightly.
When Azami turned the shokugeki into cooking class, Shirou fixed his eyes on how Nene mixed the flour using his lower body's strength. "That's a smart move. By using the momentum of her legs, she can knead it perfectly without problem. As expected from the heir of Kinokuni clan."
"Who do you think will win, then?" At this point Rin spoke in a normal tone, loud enough to let the others hear them. "Kinokuni-senpai, or Megishima-senpai?"
He was silent for a moment, making anyone who listened to them anxious.
"It's already clear." He finally answered.
"Megishima-senpai will be the winner. This round will be ours."
Rin tilted her head in question, yet her expression didn't show any surprise. "Why are you so confident?"
"Using a ratio 1:9 soba and its delicacy of first flour may give her advantage, but sadly, the Mother Nature isn't with her." He explained in a small voice, referencing to the temperature of the room. "And for the those two, I know Isshiki-senpai and Hayama will win. No question asked."
"Souma-kun, how do you know she will use the first flour?" whispered Alice. "She may have predicted it and thus using the other flour."
"She won't." he said with full conviction. "Even though I am not really close to her, I know her long enough to know what kind of girl she is. Kinokuni Nene is a diligent girl who held everything she had been taught like no other. She won't dare to bend the tradition she has learn for most of her life."
Suddenly, a familiar blonde girl flashed in Rin's mind.
A sad sigh escaped from his mouth. "As admirable as her determination is, that's what makes her lose before the match begins."
"What about Julio-senpai? And," Rin looked up at the screen and frowned. "Um, Kofuru-senpai? Isn't that the one who lost against Marui-kun?"
Shirou sweatdropped. "Do you really think Isshiki-senpai, the former 7th seat, and Hayama, the Spice Master, lost?" he retorted.
"I don't doubt Isshiki-senpai, but Kofuku-senpai can be a dark horse." she crossed her arms. "People said that she is actually the second strongest amongst second year student – except Elite Ten members – , yet her health is constantly not in the same agreement with the surrounding."
"Don't worry, don't worry." Shirou waved his hand airedly. "He won't lose. Trust me."
And he didn't.
Rin gave Shirou a strange look when he suddenly turned away from the judges. She later realized his eyes still had a speck of green, the sign of [Structural Analysis] was being used.
Oh, how she would dig this one from him!
"Um..." Ikumi rubbed her chin as she read the list of the second round. "So Kuga-senpai will face Tsukasa-senpai, Kurokiba's facing Shouko-senpai – who is that? – and Takumi's facing Eizan-senpai..."
"Chili pepper, tuna, and meat!" Ryoko clasped her hands in delight. "That's all of their specialties! How lucky!"
"We'll win this round for sure!" Yuki cheered. "Go, Kuga-senpai! Kurokiba! Takumi!"
Megumi glanced at Rin who was trying her best not to laugh. "Um, Erina-san, is everything okay?" she asked.
"N-no, nothing, don't worry about me." She answered in between her giggles. Beside her, Shirou looked away with a faint blush on his cheek.
So that is why Shirou refused to use it whenever someone ate the food! She accidentally let a small giggle came out. Sorry, Megumi. But I can't just tell you this.
No matter how funny it was, Rin couldn't tell her about 'that incident'.
Involving a magecraft called [Structural Analysis], [Mind's Eye], and an illusion of foodgasm on different level.
Way, way different.
They didn't surprise when Kuga was the only one who didn't come out with the victory. As cruel as it sounded, Rin had calculated his losing.
But what she truly expected was not that – it's the result of his battle.
Uraraka and the students singing their praise to the Tsukasa's perfect win until that person himself raised his and said,
"I think I'll pass."
Rin's smirk grew. The audiences instantly broke into whispers.
"W-what are you talking about Tsukasa-senpai?" Urara shakingly asked. Some students started to shout in agreement.
The white-haired male sighed in defeat. "This match with Kuga left me more drained than I expected." He muttered slowly. "To think he would make that kind of dish..."
His body started to sway unbalanced, making all of the agents and other Elite Ten ran into him in panic. With one hand raised, their movement temporary halted.
"I'm okay," he breathed out. Saito gave him a support to stand up. He let out a heavy breath as he walked. "I just need a day of rest... I'll be back on my peak..."
No, he won't. Shirou secretly signed on her palm. I may not a specialist in medic, but I know fatigue when I see one. He is too drained mentally and physically – one-two days rest won't be enough. One more push, and he'll break down.
Rin smiled and signed back. Based on experience?
You can say that again.
They nodded to each other. Phase one, complete.
As expected, they bring out all the big guns today. Rin put a finger on her chin seeing Saito, Momo, and Rindou stepped forward.
She had miscalculated Saito's timing, and so Kurokiba came forth too soon from her original plan. Sadly, he is already worn out – that guy was too stubborn to admit it – to battle.
Well, at least Shirou would be the one who fight him, together with Megumi and Mimasaka.
She was gambling to let Megumi fight Momo, the brightest patisserie of Tootsuki. Although she had trained under The Légumes Magician himself, sweet dessert was not her forte. Rin hoped the theme will be her specialty.
But alas, she would avenge her if she defeated.
Her biggest aim was to completely wear out Rindou and Tsukasa. By pushing them to the edge, even a perfectionist like him would crumble in pieces. And for the same reason, she let Mimasaka fight her – facing your own shadow is not a simple path.
All in all, she had braced herself for the worst.
"You ready?" Rin handed his knife's case to him. "You'll be facing the man who walks in the path of bushido."
"Then I shall show him the man who walks in the path of Hero of Justice." he joked and took [Memories from Fuyuki].
"Wish me luck, Rin."
She smiled. "I don't have to."
One sword won't be enough to defeat countless blades.
It's only a mere illusion. A mirage that caused by heated passion. It's not real – not real not real not real –
But they couldn't deny its existence.
(My body is made out of swords.)
Even though it's only a small glimpse, they couldn't help but fall into their knees. All the sorrow, all the happiness, all the hopes, had become one.
(The bearer lies here alone, forging iron in a hill of swords.)
A kingdom of thousand – no, countless – blades, anchored in the ground to honor its previous owner. Bathed in the twilight, the world had spread out into an endless journey.
(This is the only path.)
Every steel has its history. Story of a brave hero, story of a humble king, story of a pitiful man, story of a madness monster, story of a betrayed witch, story of an endless journey.
And there, stood a single man. The sole owner of this surreal world. A foolish one, who wished to be a hero. Who sacrificed himself for others' happiness.
His ideals and dreams were a flawed, borrowed one. Never it was the originality.
Yet, he accepted it with an open hand.
(This body is made out of – )
For once, they felt utterly helpless.
They had realized their blade had dulled. Far inferior.
Because there stood, the very incarnation of the sword itself.
( – Unlimited Blade Works.)
A reality marble. A taboo amongst taboos, mystery amongst mysteries. Due to the spell's nature as high thaumaturgy, one couldn't hope to materialize it in this high [Gaia]'s pressure world.
Yet, Shirou, once again, had done the miracle.
He might not literally utilize it, but his eyes momentary shone the inner world of his. Saito, who was staring at him intently, accidentally met his eyes and took a glimpse of [Unlimited Blade Works].
Rin was in the middle of analyzing them, of course she saw it too.
She assumed the judges also saw the same thing, as their face almost as white as paper sheet. She then noticed her father somehow wasn't here.
Only Shirou came out as the sole winner. Megumi was very close to winning, but apparently it wasn't enough to charm one more judges. Mimasaka was in the same case of her, yet his fault laid in his inexperience.
It's saddening, yet successfully pissing their opponents. Momo clearly now weary of Megumi's ability and Rindou pushed herself more than she anticipated.
Tsukasa was still in the middle of resting. Like Shirou said yesterday, he was too tired and one rest was not enough to bring him back to his peak.
Tomorrow was the turnabout moment.
Become a judge at this moment? Rin scoffed when hearing Azami's excuse to become one of the judges.. Don't screw with me. You just want to show off your main soldier's power, don't you?
The only left on the opposite members were an under pressured knight and wounded barbarian, while they still had five brightest gems of 92nd Tootsuki Generation.
No matter, the victory is ours. Rin smiled brightly.
"Rin." Shirou, who just came back from toilet, called her.
"What is – " she paused when seeing his serious face.
He gave her a strong look. He showed her his phone, the sole transmission of his spies. He walked closer to whisper, "Change of plan. Next bout will be the last – two dish course."
"Eh?" exclaimed Rin confused. A course, means one only could serve after the other had served their dish as the appetizer. Although it's not hard to do, it needed a complete synchronize between two people.
"Who decided it?"
He pointed the old man who wore traditional robe."Your Grandfather."
Rin gasped. "Really!?" he nodded.
She wore a thinking expression. Once again, someone made a big change in her plans. Usually it made her frustrated, but now...
She felt giddy.
"I can't believe it." A big grin appeared on her face.
"He turned this tournament back to our original plan!"
This would be so much fun.
"Erina, as she is now, could never hope to create 'true gourmet'. It's plain as – "
"Pfft," Rin closed her mouth with her palm and laughing quietly. All of the eyes staring at her like she grew a second head. "S-sorry, but, pfffft."
She finally let out a train of laughter. Beside her, Shirou looked away and coughed to hide his own laugh.
People stared at two of them like they were going crazy.
"Ah – ha, I'm done, I'm done." She coughed with a blush colored her cheeks. "But really, Father? You doubt my skill that much? My, you really don't know me at all. What a terrible father."
Rin ignored the fury in his black eyes and crossed her arms. "Honestly, do you think I will always dance on your dirty palm? Think again."
For God's sake, there is no relation between cooking skill and run away from home, was left unsaid.
She gave him one last look before walked out together with others.
"That is considerably rude, Rin."
She scoffed and gave him a weak flick on forehead. "And he isn't?"
"Can you two please stop being lovey-dovey in front of my salad?" interrupted Kuga while holding a bowl of fresh vegetables. "We're here to discuss the perfect course for you two!"
"Yes, yes." Rin huffed and Shirou smiled apologetically at him. "Souma, do you bring [Memories in Fuyuki]?"
"Here." He put the tri-colored case – the perfect mix of blue, red, and purple – on the table and opened it, showing its marvel to the world to see.
"Wow." Breathed an astonished Megumi. "I never get tired seeing your knives. It's so beautiful, Souma-kun!"
Shirou scratched the back of his head in embarrassment. "Thank you." he said.
Rin clapped two times. "Now, now, gentleman."
"Let's start it, shall we?"
They serve it first. Rin stared blankly at Rindou-Tsukasa pair.
Shirou, who was handling the main course, nodded. "They serve it first."
"Err," Shirou sweatdropped at Rin's deadpanned face. "Automatic lost, possibly."
"Hurray. Praise the plot armor." Rin said in monotone and took the mixed cream from Shirou.
Shirou sweatdropped. "Rin, stop breaking the fourth wall."
Few meters from there, Kuga shouted about stopping their shameless PDA.
Rin smiled victoriously when the screen showing their de facto victory and clapped Shirou.
The shokugeki stage exploded into a big uproar. Most of the Elite Ten had fallen to their knees and wore saddened face.
"ERINACCHII! YUKIHIRAAAAA!" howled Yuki with teary eyes, once again broke down the cage. All of the former-expelled students and rebels ran to them with open arms.
"You did it! You – " she choked her own tears and bawled. "You win!"
Hisako grasped their hand, eyes glazed with happy tears. "Erina-sama! Souma-sama!" she trembled. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
They stared at each other before smiled. "It's nothing."
She cried louder.
Sanzaemon walked into the arena, facing a rather stressed Azami. "We won, Azami. Now, like our agreement, you shall – "
Azami growled animalistic, startled everyone. "Give up? Giving up? Hah! HAH! Giving up, you say!?"
He laughed madly. The WGO judges quickly scrambled away from the mad man. "I won't give up, old coot. This time, you won. But later – "
"Azami." A strong voice came from Tsukasa. His face wore an uncertain expression, but he couraged himself and spoke, "Just give up."
"...What do you say, Eishi?"
"Don'cha hear 'im, Headmaster?" Rindou sneered, backing up the tired white knight. "We lost. And it's shokugeki, so it's a must. Now stop bein' a mad man and lay down, will ya?"
"Mad? Who? Me?" Azami let out a short laugh. "I am not, Kobayashi Rindou. This Shokugeki is but a miscalculation in my plan. I will withdraw myself now, but later, I – "
Rin cut him off with an annoyed huff. "Yes, yes. You will come back, terrorize people, yadda yadda yadda." She spoke in monotone voice. "Like hell I will let you off. Souma, Hisako, will you?"
"Yes." Souma quickly took out his phone and spoke, "Do it now."
Hisako did the same thing with her phone. This made everyone curious about their odd acting.
"Erina," Azami started with a wary tone. "What did you do?"
"Me?" She smiled cutely. "Oh, nothing."
The next thing he knew, he was apprehended by people dressed in army clothes. Two people pointed their guns at him, in a position of protecting Rin and Shirou. Reflex, two WGO guest he bought raised their arm in surrender.
Azami was shell-shocked. "What – ?"
"Do you think I will let you off since your banishment by Grandfather?" Rin smirked while waving her handphone. "Since then, I have been planning for this, dear Father. I always observe everything you have done in order to build your 'utopia."
Shirou recited all of his 'crimes'. "Child abuse, corruption, illegal bribe, elimination by force, and many more. And before you accuse me as a liar, I have the proof. All of it."
"But then I thought, 'why don't I give it to the authorized people?'" he told him with an innocent smile. "And there you go – a public ambush!"
She smirked as she walked closer to angered Azami. "Oh, my dear Father. My foolish, dear Father." she cooed.
"Do you think you're the only one mastermind here?"
Now you're officially disowned, Azami.
" – So everything has been predicted by you two, huh?" Tsukasa let out shuddered breath. The sudden ambush had shaken him to the core, but the revelation almost left him breathless. "I can't believe you two have so much power and brightest mind..."
"But that's hella awesome!" said Rindou with a big smile. "It's like in the action movie! I bet it'll cooler if they came from the rooftop with helicopter!"
"Still," Sanzaemon walked closer to Rin with an amazed face. "Since when you've been planning this, Erina? With Souma and Hisako, on boot?"
"Hm..." Rin rubbed her chin. "Since the first time I met Souma, I think?"
"...But that's eight years ago."
"It means we have planned this for eight years." Shirou piped in. "Erina handles the diplomatic one, and I handle the practical one. It's simple like that."
Joichirou's face screamed he denied all of their words, but he sighed tiredly before spoke, "I guess when it comes to you two, everything is possible, eh?"
Laughed echoed through the room, albeit more nervously.
"By the way, Kobayashi Rindou, Tsukasa Eishi." Both of them perked up. "I have a simple proposal for you."
"Oh-hoo? The little mastermind wanna something?" teased her, but her eyes shone in doubtfulness. "What is it?"
Rin coughed. "Even though I verily disagree with Central's ideology, I have no doubt about its success to nurture the student – although it stripped away their creativity."
This inviting Tsukasa's curiosity. "...And your point is?"
"Become my allies, all of you." Rin declared.
The former Elite Ten blinked simultaneously. "Pardon?"
"You all may have dethroned from your position, but!" Rin crossed her arms, posture tall and proud. "I won't waste any talent to nurture the world of culinary. Even if it's an art of deception, manipulation, or reckless action, if it means to open all of the possibility, I will accept.
Rin puffed up her generous chest proudly. "There is a saying 'genius and insanity are the two sides of the same coin'. I believe in every students' potential, and thus I need all of your insanity to nurture them. My own version of 'utopia' can't be materialized without all of you. All of the generations of Tootsuki."
"And that is why," she gave Tsukasa her right hand. "I ask thee; become my allies."
"Oh, by the way, since we're finally second years now..."
Shirou shuddered when Rin gave him a strange look. "R-Rin?"
Rin cheekily took his hand and hugged it to her chest. "Isn't that mean Souma officially is my fiance, dear Grandfather?" asked her with puppy eyes to Sanzaemon.
Sanzaemon rubbed his temple suddenly had a big headache.
And that's, people, why you shouldn't write while you're drunk
by the way I didn't drop FSK, I am just... author blocked.