Hiroki was horrified and appalled.
Yes. The woman he least wanted to see opened the door and walked in.
(What to do! What should I do?!)
I placed my chopsticks on the bowl and started thinking really hard. But nothing comes to mind.
In the meantime, she sat down next to Hiroki.
(He..Here she comes?!)
It all happened too fast. This is where the threatening and deal-making begins. Hiroki sensed this and was curious what she would say first.
(She is holding a menu terminal?!)
She grabbed a menu terminal that was propped up on the counter.
In this restaurant, orders are placed using a terminal. The terminal is the same size as a dictionary used for studying, but it is five centimetres thick. In other words, it was something that would make a fine weapon.
(Why are you holding it in your hand and staring at the terminal intently!)
Seeing her face close to the murder weapon in her hand and muttering something, Hiroki got his answer.
(Don’t tell me that you are planning to use that on…!?)
『Shall I let you taste pain rather than talking it out?』
The words replayed in Hiroki’s mind.
No, Hiroki decided, the woman next to him was indeed muttering that.
( You are not going to let me go are you?)
She is fed up with Hiroki running away from her and is going to use force to restrain him and keep him from escaping from here. In Hiroki’s mond, he imagined that’s what she was thinking.
(I am going to be killed.)
Hiroki thought about it. A way to break out of this deadlock. The first thing he must think about is his personal safety. In order to achieve that, one must take care of the device in her hands. There was only one course of action for Hiroki.
「If you want, I can order for you?」
Hiroki took away the acrylic terminal naturally in order to assist her in ordering food.
(Yes! Weapon recovered!)
Shiori was brimming with joy.
She felt as if her lost child had come back to her.
(I finally found you..)
Right now, I felt like flying.
I was in tears, desperate, trying to find him.
(No.. Not yet.)
Shiroi held herself in check.
If I let my emotions get the better of me, he will become my enemy.
Shiori has to show by her actions that she has no intention to be against him.
「Then, I will follow your recommendations」
Hiroki’s eyes widened at what Shiroi said.
It took him by surprise. I’m not sure what to make of that. It’s a great way to make a good impression by eating it all up and telling people it was delicious.
It was an approach that Shiori thought of on the spur of the moment.
(Come on! Order it now!)
「I’ll have your recommendation, then.」
What the hell is this woman talking about…
That’s what came immediately to Hiroki’s mind.
The relationship between Hiroki and Shiori isn’t intimate. Therefore, Hiroki is not someone you would listen to for recommendations.
I’m sure you’ll agree.
(You have come to flatter me huh..)
Having been deprived of the murder weapon, she is trying to flatter me and take advantage of the large sum of money. Hiroki concludes and decides to slap a challenge on her.
( I have recovered the weapon. Now I just have to get rid of her.)
A challenge in the name of ramen to get rid of her. Hiroki approached the owner of the shop, whom he knew well.
「Ojii-san, please give her 『that』. I will pay for it.」
「Are you really gonna feed this little girl 『that』?」
The owner understood what Hiroki was talking about when he said 『that』.
「If it is about my recommendation, it can only be 『that』. I eat it sometimes too.」
「But you’ve got to be able to eat it」
「It’s fine! It’s on me!」
Hiroki forces the order through.
The only way to get rid of her is through 『that』.
(If you are coming here to flatter me, you have to fulfill all my conditions.)
The purpose of her flattery is to obtain a good impression from Hiroki.
Asking for recommendation
Hiroki paying for it
Under these conditions, she must finish the meal. If she doesn’t, she’ll be stepping on Hiroki’s feelings. That’s why Hiroki ordered the ramen that he couldn’t finish.
「Sorry to keep you waiting! 『Super ascension spicy ramen』!」
The owner of the restaurant served up a bowl of swirling red and black spicy ramen.
The only toppings are chashu (pork cutlet), nori (dried seaweed), menma (pickled bamboo shoots) and spring onions, and there are no toppings to adjust the spiciness.
(It took me four years to conquer this ramen! One bite and you’re done!)
Hiroki takes one look at her, proud of his victory. She held the chopsticks in her hand timidly.
(Is this .. ramen?)
Shiori was sweating thinly at the difficult task that Hiroki had set her.
(You would recommend a ramen that is this black?)
A mixture of red and black, it was a ramen that reminded her of human blood.
Shiori slowly picks up the noodles with her chopsticks.
(The noodles are intertwined with the sloppy soup! And the smell is intense!)
It is not something that a girl eats at all.
But Shiori has to eat it. In order to talk to him.
The moment she took a bite, Shiori’s face distorted.
What struck her wasn’t the spiciness but pain.
(My tongue..ahh my throat)
I am not able to taste the spiciness of the ramen.
What I am feeling right now is the pain of a needle skewering the inside of my mouth.
Shiori managed to swallow the first mouthful. Her face was sweating like never before
(Oye, oye, oye…)
Although she tried to keep it out of her face and mouth, her spirit was at its limit after just one bite.
(I can’t eat such a thing!)
Shiori tries to raise the white flag. A shadow appeared on her face.
「I’m sorry. It was my recommendation, but you don’t have to eat it.」
「I’ll eat the rest」he said, reaching out to take Shiori’s bowl from her side.
But the bowl didn’t move at all.
But the bowl didn’t move at all, because Shiori was holding it tightly.
「No, I was just surprised to taste it for the first time. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.”」
Shiori said, and Hiroki was taken aback by what she said.
(It’s not over! I am not going to die! I just have to finish this bowl of ramen!)
A flame lights up in Shiori’s eyes. If it ends here, there will be no chance. Shiori grips her chopsticks tightly and inserts them into the bowl.
（What? She’s eating it! That’s impossible!）
One bite, then another, and the noodles are sucked into her mouth. Sweating, sniffling, eyes watering, face burning red, her face.. I dare not say it is the face of a high school girl.
(Do you want my money so badly?!)
Seeing her obsession with money, Hiroki couldn’t hide his confusion.
In less than five minutes, she had eaten all the noodles and toppings. The only thing that remains is the soup, which gives off an aura of evil.
(Are you continuing?! I don’t think you can do it!)
In front of Hiroki, Shiori held the bowl with both hands and put it to her mouth.
Gulp… gulp… gulp… gulp…
I felt that her intentions were genuine.
Will she do anything for money?
In Hiroki’s mind, Shiori’s reputation was decided as a dangerous woman who would do anything for money.
「Thank you for the food. The ramen you recommended was very good.」
「Well, that’s good to hear…」
A smile that I worked hard to make.
Shiori had answered the difficult question that Hiroki had given her.
Now she has a chance to speak.
This is where the real work begins, and Shiori is ready to do it again.
Hiroki looked at Shiori’s fully-eaten bowl and decided to show that he was willing to listen, although he still had no intention of accepting.
「Actually, there’s something I want to talk to you about.」
「I already know…」
Hiroki said, as if to add to Shiori’s words.
「I’ll say it again. I know what you’re after. ( that is my lottery ticket) 」
「I see. (So you have found out about the Combat Studies’s decision.)」
They look at each other.
Hiroki puts his elbows on the table and asks Shiori a question.
「On top of that, I want to ask you something. What is in it for me?」
Shiori was surprised and mentally unstable.
It was almost the first time they had made eye contact. But it is a conversation that contains more weight than anything else.
Shiori was silent. She was trying to think of a way to reply to him. Hiroki asks her a question again.
「Did you not hear me? What’s in it for me ( by giving you lots of money)? 」
Hiroki decides to push Shiori into a corner.
The woman in front of him is a complete enemy, trying to cheat him out of a lot of money.
By asking questions that Shiori cannot answer, he asserts the hardness of his will and makes her give up. This is what Hiroki is trying to do now.
(There is nothing at all! Go home now!)
Hiroki thought so.
Then Shiori got her thoughts together and opened her mouth.
「There is no merit at all.」
「Then, I don’t need to hear what you have to say.」
「But if I disappear, won’t that be a disadvantage for you? (You’ve already been spotted by Combat Studies.)」
「What? (Are you going to tell them?)」
Next is Shiori’s turn to pursue Hiroki.
The danger is too great because Hiroki’s power is unknown. But this was the only response Shiori had left.
「Do you even know what you’re saying? (If I call the police, you’ll be finished!)」
「Yes, I know. (With your powers, you can do anything to me.)」
「Do you really wish for it (My money)? 」
「Yes, that’s what I’ve come here for. (Combat Studies and I wish for Hiroki’s presence!)」
The eyes of Shiori who made up her mind.
Hiroki felt a strength of will that he had never felt before.
Shiori was prepared to die.
In a situation where she could be killed any moment, she told her herself.
A silence falls between the two. Then Hiroki opens his mouth, sweat beading on his face.
「All right. ( I will give you part of the money.) But I need proof that I can trust you. (I need assurance that you will not make any more demands) I do not want to be betrayed. 」
At Hiroki’s words, Shiori’s eyes moistened and shone.
「I understand. Later I will ( include the transfer paperwork and include a promise that the combat studies school will not harm you and ) send you the papers.」
Hiroki gets up from his seat.
He opens his wallet, puts the money on the counter, and takes one last look at Shiori.
「See you later. I’ll be waiting for your papers.」
「Yes. And thank you for the food.」
Hiroki opened the door and disappeared outside.
Shiori watched the door close until the end.
And Hiroki never saw Shiori run into the toilet in a hurry.