A short one this time.
According to Oshiroi, after sending me flying over to the fish section, while I was being tortured by the pain and “Osakana Tengoku,” the witch… no, The Ice Witch and the other people grabbed the half-priced bentos in a blink of an eye and disappeared towards the registers.
I don’t get it, I thought. I was only trying to grab a fried-chicken bento with a half-priced sticker on, why must she make me eat her palm? It was only a few hundred yen discount, why was it such a big deal?
In addition, I couldn’t really swallow anything because of the pain, so my dinner ended up being Weider in Jelly (Energy In)1. And then, I was in agony from both the pain and an empty stomach until two hours past midnight. That night, I learned the limit of the 10-second charge2.
While thinking about the incident from yesterday in a lively classroom, I bit into the ally of people with a strong metabolic rate, a triangular French toast full of sugar, alone.
It wasn’t like I was avoided by people I could call acquaintances; but, whenever I ate something, I couldn’t help but recall the incident at that place while making a strange face, so I decided to just eat by myself… It wasn’t because of something like I didn’t have any friends, not at all.
I bit into the French toast… The noisy classroom, the faint leftover pain in my abdomen, the questions that kept on repeating, her name that was stuck in my head, the sweetness of sugar melting in my mouth, the splendid combination of flavor and richness from eggs and milk… It felt like I was in a labyrinth.
“The Ice… Witch, huh?”
When I blurted out those words as if venting, the woman who was right beside my desk suddenly stopped her feet. I thought it was Oshiroi from next door for a moment, but, from the swaying long black hair tied by a large white ribbon, I realized it was a different person.
When I looked up at her, I thought, that’s the Class President, uh… What was her name again… Oh, right, it’s Ume Shiraume, a name that makes you question whether her parents were thinking when they wrote it on her birth registration, or if it was just a mistake 3.
She looked down at me with an indifferent expression.
From her slender and tall figure along with a stern and slim face, Shiraume felt strangely more matured than her peers. If a word like “cool” could be used to describe The Ice Witch, then hers would be “serious.”
“…If you don’t have money, then it’s better to get a part-time job. It’s better to stop if you’re just treating it like a game. Sooner or later, it won’t be just light injuries.”
After saying just that, Shiraume headed for the hallway while carrying something like a bento in a cloth pouch in her chest. A surprised me chased after her in a panic.
“Wait, you know about her? That person?”
Because lunch break had just started, there was a large crowd of students in the hallway. I yelled out to stop Shiraume.
She quietly turned around and stared straight at me in such a precise motion that her perfect, wrinkleless uniform did not even flutter
“Just a while ago, I happened to overhear rumors about things like plunderers who compete over the lowly half-priced bentos. And that’s it. My friend is waiting in the class next door so. If you’ll excuse me.”
Shiraume made a deep bow and then headed toward the class next door as if nothing happened.
I thought, while bathing in the piercing gazes from my surrounds.
Shiraume, must has known something… And then, argh, I, if you look from afar, I would look like an idiot that tried to make a pass at a beauty and was rejected.
I returned to my seat and bit into my French toast.
The questions that kept on repeating, her name that was stuck in my head, Ume Shiraume’s words, the sweetness of sugar melting in my mouth, the splendid combination of flavor and richness from eggs and milk… It felt like I was in a labyrinth.
I chewed and then swallowed. Even though French toast looked soft, it was surprisingly hard to swallow. And with my head full of questions, I couldn’t even feel satisfied.
This is merely a guess, but… Even though I’ve only witnessed The Ice Witch twice, for her, it wasn’t merely something “lowly” like what Shiraume said. Rather, she gave off an aura of a proud wild beast.
I then thought about one more thing.
I forgot to buy something to drink.
- Looks like a brand of energy and nutrient supplement/meal replacement drink see more: https://www.amazon.com/Weider-Jelly-Energy-packs-Flavor/dp/B00JMU3XUS
- Apparently some kind of tagline for the Energy In from above
- Her name in Japanese is 白梅梅 which as you can see is rather weird with the two repeating kanji