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I bought a handmade bentou from a bentou store. It then sat around for two days in the warmth of my room.
I took the lid off and looked at the contents. The carrot was a bit sticky. …This might really work.
Saying my prayers, I plopped it into my mouth and chewed. …Urgh. The texture was horrible so I skipped the chewing and just swallowed.
Why had things come to this… It was disgusting. So disgusting that I wanted to hurl. Was it really necessary to go this far…?
Despite my misgivings I continued to eat the spoilt vegetables. The mixed fried rice was weirdly sticky too. This was actually so dreadful. Even the smell was off already.
But a real woman was fearless! I stuffed my cheeks with the rice!
It was like the cells in my body were rejecting it! Enemy attack! Enemy attack! Everyone, positions!
A chemical stench and bitterness filled my mouth. I quickly spit it out but my gag reflex had already been flipped.
Even compared to the boiled vegetables, the destructive power of this ” fried rice” was something else. It was on the level of biological hazards. The inside of my mouth was still a mess. It was so bitter that I cried. And then another wave of nausea hit me.
I ran to the bathroom and threw up. There was red mixed in it.
Blood! I threw up blood! Threw up blood! I was going to die!
Lord, Lord in Heaven, I’m sorry. I won’t do anything stupid like eating rotten food again. I swear I’ll obediently go to the flower viewing, so please save me. Save me from this nausea. Saaave meee…
How did it turn into something like this. It was the first time in my life that I had ever thrown up blood. What if I really died…!
I had another look through my teary gaze and I shivered.
It was some capsicum──
I threw up again.
Thank goodness it hadn’t been blood… My stomach still felt like crap though.
I tottered out of the bathroom, and the maid looked at me in worry.
“Some stomach medicine and a hot bath please…”
Since the rotten food was still sitting in my room I asked to make sure nobody went inside. No matter how bad I felt, I had to dispose of that myself.
After taking the medicine I retreated to my room and hid the bentou in a garbage bag. Tomorrow I would secretly throw it away.
I spared one more glance at the fried rice and nodded grimly. Spoilt meat was not something to take lightly…
I was ill for a while. My family called over our doctor but I obviously couldn’t tell him the truth.
“I have been feeling unwell recently. In the end I was ill.”
He diagnosed me with a possible stomach flu. Nope, I just deliberately gave myself stomach poisoning.
Thanks to the medicine and some good sleep, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling a little better. I was still a little dizzy, so maybe some food would help.
I left my room for the kitchen when Oniisama came out of his room.
“What’s wrong, Reika? How are you feeling?”
“Oniisama? I am fine now. I thought it would be better to have something to eat, so I was on my way to the kitchen.”
“Food? Do we have anything for the ill?”
“If there is not then I will just make some myself.”
“…I’ll make the food.”
I wanted to refuse since I didn’t want to bother him this late at night, but Oniisama insisted. ‘You’re sick,’ he said.
Oniisama was so kind. Sorry for being an idiot sister who ate rotten food on purpose. I did as he said and got back in bed to wait for him.
I wonder what he was making.
What be brought me was simple congee. There was dried plum in it.
I took a bite. Yummy! This perfect level of saltiness! Aahh, the gentle sustenance spread inside me…
“I thought about putting spring onion in, but until you’re a little better I think just salt and dried plum is better.”
“It is delicious, Oniisama.”
I’d never even seen him cook but of course he was good at this too. Better than me, I think. I decided to try and make my own tomorrow. Was it good enough to just boil rice in some water? After that you just added salt, right?
“Everyone’s worried about you, Reika. I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
I was reflecting on it… I was still hungry though so I went for seconds. It was just salted congee so why was it so good.
In the end I finished all of it. It really was delicious.
Oniisama took care of the dishes. I felt bad about it but went back to sleep.
Aahh, so satisfied.
I’d hoped I could skip the flower viewing party but they found out that I was healthy again. And I suppose I had sworn to God. Whatever. At least I didn’t have to wear the furisode, having just been ill and all. Instead, I was going with a ribboned flared dress in champagne gold.
Okaasama had preferred a dress in sakura pink, but I could already imagine hordes of people in that colour. I did at least paint my nails that colour, and I had a hair ornament with a sakura-motif too.
The flower viewing party was being hosted at the same hotel where I had the fasting course. It really did have a wonderful garden.
Since Oniisama was busy he wasn’t coming today. How nice. If only I had a job.
The hall where the lighting complemented the sakura the best had been chosen to host the event. Specifically, there was a venerable weeping sakura tree of over fifty years old. It was so venerable that it frightened me.
Besides that there were a few standard yoshino cherry blossoms in full-bloom too. Gorgeous as you’d expect from a Kaburagi flower viewing party.
People were sipping wine and the like, while taking in the view. Some were drinking amazake too. I liked that stuff.
I was still a minor though, so I helped myself to a non-alcoholic cocktail. It was bubbly and pink, and there was a sakura petal in it. Pretty.
I gave it a sip, but the taste was hard to describe.
There were a lot of odd products that came from using flowers in food. Rose jam. Lavender ice cream. Actually, my first time having rose jam gave me quite a shock. I had tried it out because I thought it fit me as a Rococo, but it had quite the punch to it. The candied violets I had tried were the same.
I think maybe using flowers in food was less for the taste and more for the pretension.
Anyhow, I was wearing my well-practised smile as I greeted the other guests with my parents while I looked for anybody I knew. I hoped Sarara-sama would be here today~
A lot of younger guests had gathered around Kaburagi and Enjou. Some were even Pivoine members.
I told my parents I was going to look at the flowers and excused myself. I guess I wasn’t all better if a crowd was making me this dizzy.
I looked around for somewhere to rest and found a seat where the sakura were still visible. With a new drink in hand, I took a seat. Somehow I wasn’t feeling very hungry. Maybe I was nervous. My stomach felt weird.
“Why, if it isn’t Reika-san.”
Standing in front of me was Maihama-san in a sakura-pink dress. Heh. Simpleton. This place was filled with people wearing the same thing.
“You look awfully lonely sitting over here by yourself, Reika-san,” she smiled.
She didn’t seem at all concerned for me. Geez, this girl was awfully intent on seeing me as a rival~
“I was simply resting.”
Her expression was nasty. She was probably plotting something. Now what was I going to do about it?
With good timing, Kaburagi had broken out of his ring of followers and was headed our way.
“Look, Maihama-san. Kaburagi-sama is coming.”
“Eh!? Goodness, Masaya-sama!”
She rushed over towards him. He glanced at her once before he grunted in an incredible show of dismissal.
“Masaya-sama, thank you very much for inviting me today. I’m so happy that you called me here!”
“Thank my parents. I’m not the one who invited you.”
Despite his curtness, Maihama-san didn’t seem discouraged at all. Instead she grasped his arm.
“Masaya-sama, I hope you’ll invite me to your home again. Your Okaasama said I was always welcome.”
“If you wanna meet my mother then go ahead. It’s none of my business,” he said, slipping out of her hold.
Maihama-san tried reaching for him again. Wow…
“You came too, Kisshouin?” he asked after discovering me behind Maihama-san. It would have been fine if he hadn’t…
I suppose I had to at least greet him though. I stood up with some effort.
“Thank you very much for inviting me this evening.”
Maihama-san seemed sullen that he spoke to me.
“Masaya-sama, even though you went out of your way to invite her, Reika-san doesn’t seem to be having much fun, does she.”
An eyebrow rose on Kaburagi’s face. Maihama-san seemed to take this as a sign of victory because she shot me a smug smirk. Your evil small fry is showing.
Not that I had any interest in competing for Kaburagi’s affections, but if rumours spread about me backing down, my reputation was going to drop. Ah well.
“Speaking of which, Maihama-san, I heard that you received a wonderful present for White Day.”
“Eh-” she flinched.
So Sakura-chan was right.
“The mystery man is all anybody is talking about at Yurinomiya. How nice. Just who was it? Please do tell.”
Her eyes swam. What are you going to do? I still have one other tidbit. Shall I share it with Kaburagi here?
While the two of us negotiated with our eyes, Kaburagi suddenly spoke up.
“Speaking of White Day, that marshmallow was good stuff. I suppose those were time-limited, huh.”
“Huh? Marshmallow?” asked Maihama-san.
Geh. Why did he have to speak up now?
Her gaze turned suspicious.
“Masaya-sama, what do you mean by marshmallow?”
His mouth opened and said something else unnecessary.
“I got a peach-flavoured marshmallow from Kisshouin on White Day.”
“From Reika-san!?” she exclaimed as her head snapped my way.
She was really glaring now. Almost like she was accusing me of stealing a march on her. That had just been for exorcism though.
“Masaya-sama didn’t give you a White Day present so you give him a marshmallow yourself? That sounds like a pushy hint to me.”
Guess she really didn’t get anything from him.
“Hint? To begin with I never gave him any chocolat. The marshmallow was just sharing a treat.”
“You’re lying! What do you mean you never gave him chocolate!”
“It is the truth. Is that not so, Kaburagi-sama?” I urged him.
“I don’t remember who I get chocolat from,” he said, off-handedly hurting her deeper. “But since I gave you that poem anthology I guess the marshmallow counts as your thanks.”
And so he casually dropped a bombshell.
The jealousy and shock were mixing into something incredible on her face. C’mon, stop glaring.
Spotting Enjou again in the crowd, Kaburagi said ‘Cya’ and left us behind.
The atmosphere was tense and dangerous. Mostly from her side.
“Explain what Masaya-sama meant by giving you a poem anthology!”
“Who knows. Perhaps he did it on a whim.”
Her glare was getting more and more intense.
“If you want to know so badly, how about transferring to Suiran? Well, supposing you pass our exams of course.”
“What was that?”
I noticed Sarara in the distance.
“My! I seem to have found my friend, so please do excuse me. Oh, and the rumours in Yurinomiya are terribly interesting. Assuming that they are true of course.”
And so I left her behind and began walking towards Sarara-sama.
I had my folding fan in my bag but I was hardly going to use it on small fry.
Oh, but damn. If she wanted the anthology that badly then I should have brought it with me to give to her. Thanks to my food poisoning I had forgotten all about it.
I stopped and walked back to Maihama-san.
“If you want it that badly, shall I gift it to you? The poem anthology from Kaburagi-sama.”
Her face flushed deep red. Goodness, high blood pressure at this age? You should take more care of yourself.
“I don’t need it!”
Maihama-san gave me one last glare before storming off.
Really, these people who can’t accept others’ good will. Hohoho.
Incidentally this is what I translated this whole chapter to.
It’s actually a really interesting fit. Try it?