here we go again. souma thinks, this can only end in tears.
Souma must have been gone for too long.
“How’s about it Yukihira-kun? What d’you say to a friendly shokugeki, for old time’s sake? Saiba versus Yukihira hm?”
How else could you explain the guy who wanted to marry Nakiri turning out to be her older brother instead?
He thought Totsuki already numbed him to surprise, but hey you learn something new every day. He thought he took it pretty well when he learned Saiba Asahi was his old man’s illegitimate child, but he turned out to be Nakamura-senpai’s instead. That’s irony for you.
That also meant that when he came over to the Nakiri estate, after being invited to cook for them with his dad by the former headmaster and the Bookmaster (’Of course we had to invited you. Only a year since you’ve graduated Totsuki and Chef Shinomiya has already entrusted you with management of the SHINO’s expansion. Like I told you before, I keep my eye on promising young chefs.), he had to see his mug at the luncheon table.
He doesn’t know what face he was making then, but he had thought they actually got married, before the former Noir chef laughed in his face and explained everything.
Darn it old man! You have to start telling me these things.
Somehow or the other, he finds himself on the receiving end of a shokugeki challenge.
“I thought I was the one who was supposed to be cooking for you guys, and what are we supposed to bet anyway huh Asahi?” Give him some slack for being a bit ticked off for being kept in the dark.
“Meh, you’re not cute at all. Shouldn’t you be calling me aniki, or better yet nii-chan?” Souma actually shudders in disgust. Asahi sighs sufferingly. “Erina-hime calls me nii-sama. Woe is me. What’s my cute little sister doing with a punk like you?”
Souma always thought the Nakiri family was weird, but this takes the cake.
“We both know you’d never refuse, but how about this,” Asahi pulls out and twirls his dad’s old knife. “I still have Jouichiro’s knife. If you win, you get it back. If I win,” He tosses and catches the knife, slashing it menacingly in front of him, “You never appear before Erina again.”
Souma narrows his eyes coolly.
“We’re basically one-to-one. Let me see how much you’ve grown after a year or so of traveling. I’m no slouch either. You might regret pushing me to find my own taste. If you can’t even beat me, how can you hope to satisfy the god tongue? I won’t give away my precious baby sister to someone like that.”
“How interesting,” Nakiri Mana interjects with a delighted smile.”And how lucky for you that the perfect judges just so happen to be here, members of the Nakiri family and of course, Chef Saiba.” His old man looks cheesed for the chance to see his sons duking it out again. Old man Senzaemon and Nakiri’s kaa-chan look excited, even as they maintain their dignified air. Nakiri Soe and Nakiri Leonora are judges he’s familiar with from past shokugekis but they’ve already proven their impartiality. Meanwhile, Nakamura-senpai looks like he just swallowed a rancid lemon.
Isn’t it just perfect that the Nakiris were out with Arato and Kurokiba to pick up groceries and tea at that exact moment? Wow, obviously this wasn’t planned at all.
Souma would have accepted anyway, but there’s no way he was backing down after that.
He flicks his bandana with a ferocity more reminiscent of Kurokiba. “You’re on.”
It’s close, with alternating votes.
His dad and Nakiri’s kaa-chan vote for Asahi, while Nakiri Senzaemon and Nakiri Soe vote for him.
It comes down to Nakamura-senpai.
Looking like he absolutely doesn’t want to do this, he pronounces the winner, “Yukihira Souma.”
Souma breathes out.
Asahi plays at being disappointed. “Well, I guess that’s it then,” he says with a tousle of his hair. “Go on and take it. A shokugeki is a shokugeki.”
“Like I said,” Souma says exasperated, “That knife is yours. You’re Saiba Jouichirou’s son too. You have as much a right to it as I do. You’re the older son aren’t ya? You won it against dad fair and square.”
Looks like he can still shock the other chef.
“Well if that’s how it is,” Asahi smirks like a person with a plan come together, “Since I couldn’t beat you, I can’t very well tell you to stay away from Erina-hime now can I?”
For some reason, a person who doesn’t seem to take anything seriously suddenly adopts a serious tone. “You once said that I wouldn’t be able to make Erina-hime happy.”
Where is he going with this? “Uh, yeah.”
“Since you won, make sure you make her happy in my place, the happiest she’s ever been. I won’t accept any less.” Suddenly, the joker’s grin is back. “Try not to be too much of a disappointment Yukihira-kun.”
What else can Souma say to that? “Osu.”
“Yukihira-kun?! Nii-sama? What exactly is going on here?”
Trust Nakiri to have perfect timing.
“Here Nakiri, try some of this.”
“I can’t Yukihira-kun. I’m holding the bags.”
“Erina-sama! I should’ve been the one holding those!”
“Hisako, I couldn’t possibly let you carry all of this.”
“Which is why I said you should have just left it all to Ryou-kun!”
“Alice, my aide isn’t my pack-mule.”
“Never mind that, just say ‘ahh’ Nakiri. I bet this’ll be the one to make you say delicious!”
As Asahi watches his adoptive younger brother hand-feed his flustered younger sister, surrounded by all their family, he thinks they’ll be just fine.
part 5 of snapshots in the life of an ice-queen and a demon king
being here, in this hallowed space, makes erina feel like she’s met her too