I believe that those half-priced bentos and their sales methodology create one of the best cuisines. – The Wizard
[He] happened to overhear the rumor that Yarizui had surrounded herself with two young ‘dogs’.
That coward gets lonely too easily… Does she still have some kind of expectations for the doghouse?
[He] was feeling irritated as he straightened his coat collar. While it was not enough to see your breath, the early spring night was a bit cold.
[His] way back home was a street at night. Even if today was a Sunday, [he] would still come home late because of ‘cram school’. It was natural for [him] to be walking under a star-lit sky.
A two-storied white house in the residential area. Not a single light was on, nor was there any sign of life. That was [his] home. Two years ago, [his] mother said she would look after [his] father who had been relocated overseas and left. The house had since turned to simply a place for the lone ‘wolf’ to rest. A place to sleep, it had no further meaning than that.
[He] entered the house and headed for the living room in complete darkness. [He] was used to it.
[He] dropped [his] bag onto the floor. As [he] stretched on the sofa, the wall clock announced with a dull sound that it was 21:00.
Hrmm, [he] thought. I should be able to make it to the hunting time at Yarizui’s turf if I ride my bike.
[He] zoomed through the streets. Although [he] hated noisy things, [he] loved going fast.
[He] soon arrived at the detached supermarket. It was a good store that focused on selling locally by directly sourcing its goods from the farmers in the neighborhood. The store was located in a neighborhood full of cheap apartments, as if they were letting the students borrow it. Because of that reason, its closing time was somewhat later than the other stores in the area, and of course, its half-priced stickers time were also later. As a result, this Fried God’s domain had turned into a place for underdogs, whose prey had gotten away, to congregate.
While it was normal for the Fried God’s domain to become a fierce battleground, today was a Sunday. The usual time for the hunt to begin was 21:00. However, from their experience, wolves knew that it would be pushed back around thirty minutes later on holidays and weekends. However, there were also too many uncertainties. On holidays and weekends, the demand for bento greatly fluctuated. There were times where the supply and demand for them were perfectly balanced, so there was no need for the bentos to be half-priced.
In other words, since there were too many uncertainties, the risks were too high; many people would not bother with it. As a result, it might become a dull hunt for [him].
However, [he] was looking forward to something else. For the chance that [he] might run into Yarizui and the two dogs tagging along with her.
When [he] entered the store, the normal atmosphere had been replaced with the rampaging bloodlust waiting for the half-priced time.
“Hmph,” [he] was walking around the Ice Cream Section. [He] had realized that there was no hint of Yarizui the moment [he] set foot in the store.
At this point, over half of [his] motivation had disappeared; [he] didn’t even bother to check the bentos beforehand. [He] even thought about just returning home and having a proper meal for lunch instead.
An old man with a small build and grey hair wearing a staff jacket appeared from the ‘Staff Only’ door next to the Meat Section. Besides the Fried God, he was also hailed as the God of Half-price, and a common nickname for him was Geezer-sama.
Like always, Geezer-sama neatly rearranged items in the sections he was in charge of, which were the Meat, Egg, and Drink Sections. His presence must have been frustrating for the wolves still inside this store.
And then, after going around the Bread Section, he finally arrived at the Side Dish/Bento Section.
After Geezer-sama disappeared into the staff room, [he] took out a pair of black leather gloves from his pocket. [He] then slowly put them on while walking. There was no need for [him] to rush. There was no way that [his] prey would be able to escape, nor would they be snatched from [him].
The moment [he] arrived at the Bento Section, four wolves came at [him] from all four directions. [He] smiled and then spread out [his] long arms, suiting [his] tall stature, to accept the attacks loaded with a sense of fear and respect.
Although [he] didn’t really care about the bentos at that moment, [he] still felt that their attacks were slow.
Moments later, there were four unconscious underdogs lying in the Bento Section while [he] calmly carried a bento to the registers.
[He] let out a sigh. Even though it was spring, including the four who had boldly challenged [him], [he] had seen the faces of everyone here at least once.
Is it because of the change in the education system? Or, because of the declining birthrate making parents excessively pamper their kids? …There were no newcomers.
Sooner or later, not only just this place, but hunting grounds like this across the country might just disappear, [he] mused a lonely thought.
But, [he] could feel that [his] expectations got even higher. Yarizui was carrying two young dogs at a time where newcomers were declining… [He] couldn’t help but have a great interest in them.
Whether they are people who only do it for their own sense of self-satisfaction like I assume, or they are just trash that the ‘Ice Witch’ simply picked up to compensate for her own loneliness and insecurity… I need to confirm it.
After passing through the registers, [he] threw [his] bento into the microwave by the exit. The microwaves emitted from the magnetron caused the water molecules in the contents of the bento to jump around and generate heat. The small soy sauce package ruptured and the plastic cover warped.
[He] didn’t care about that. For [him], this domain was not for eating half-priced bento. The process to obtain the bento was a trial, and [he] could only find joy in that process.
[He] still remembered when [he] became like that. It was even before [he] started to desire fights with Yarizui… the Ice Witch, who [he] raised to stand shoulder by shoulder with [him]. It was when [he] thought about getting a bento at this place.
[He] was Yuu Kaneshiro, a third year at Karasuda High School.
An existence that was once known by every person in this district and hailed as one of the strongest wolves.
[He] was also known as… the ‘Wizard’.