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I-I’m back for real this time…? Next chapter is over half done already…
Conbini, or Japanese convenience stores, are a lot more convenient than those elsewhere in the world.
From a wide selection of foods both hot and cold, to make-up or domestic goods, or even ATMs, they are closer to ubiquitous and fun-sized supermarkets than anything else.
Like, they are actually convenient. You could probably live on just conbini purchases for a month or two if you weren’t too fussed about your health.
Famiresu, or Japanese family-friendly restaurants, are casual restaurant chains that provide a wide selection of cheap-ish but decent meals, somewhere between the pricing of fast food and a regular restaurant.
“The truth is a bitter pill to swallow.”
That was the first thing Kaburagi said to me after calling me to the usual conference room.
“What you said to me that day. They were too painful and harsh for me to accept on the spot.”
Well, he did seem to have suffered quite a blow.
I mean, I even started to feel a bit guilty about it.
Mentally, I was just a squishy blancmange, but perhaps Kaburagi wasn’t much better.
“But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t in all honesty deny it… After a night of thinking about it, I was forced to accept that you were completely right. I’ll admit it. I’ve been using Yurie as the basis for my decisions.”
So he spent the whole night thinking in that state…?
Even though I was the one who said that to you, I was fast asleep around that time.
But I was really impressed that he managed to acknowledge his own faults.
That was his only good point for you; being earnest and honest.
“I’ve spent my whole life with Yurie… I haven’t ever looked at any girls besides her, so I don’t know anything about them. I think Aira might be the only exception, but the two of them have basically the same taste to begin with. That’s probably why.”
“Since Yurie liked it, Takamichi would probably like it too. That was the way I was thinking.”
Kaburagi hung his face in shamed frustration for a moment, but quickly lifted his head.
“But Kisshouin.” He met my eyes with a serious gaze. “The one I love right now is without a doubt Takamichi.”
Even though it wasn’t me he was talking about, being stared at like that and hearing things like ‘the one I love’ was setting my heart off like a jackhammer.
In the end I had to avert my eyes in a panic.
That was too much stimulation for a person from the Forever Alone Village.
Guh, one day even I would have something like…!
“Kisshouin. She and I have completely different ideas of normal high school life, don’t we?”
“I believe so. She attended public schools until she entered high school. That upbringing is completely different to what a Pivoine member would experience.”
“So that’s how it is…” he nodded. “Then in that case, I’ll learn about her way of life and her way of thinking.”
“I certainly do not see why not.”
That was basically the first thing anybody did. Learning more about the person they liked, I mean.
“But there’s a problem.”
“I have no idea what this ‘normal high school life’ is supposed to be to her.”
That’s where we had to begin?
I suppose it made sense.
He was His Majesty the Emperor, after all.
As if he had any idea where to even begin learning about the way a commoner lived.
Actually, I wondered how much he even knew about how regular people lived.
“Kaburagi-sama, have you ever been to a conbini?” I asked him tentatively.
“Don’t take me for an idiot.” He grew a little sullen. “I’ve obviously done at least that much.”
“Then have you ever been to a fast food joint?”
“Fast food? I’ve… never tried any…”
“What about a family restaurant?”
A sheltered rich boy, as expected.
Apparently the look I gave him had illustrated what I thought of that, because he suddenly snapped at me.
“What!” he demanded. “Have you ever been to one!?”
What was this guy saying? Of course I had.
Just who did he think he was talking to?
Reika’s Cheeseburger Rankings was a thing, you know.
Some people thought of ‘cheeseburgers’ as all the same, but the actual burger could vary wildly from shop to shop.
Otherwise I wouldn’t have had to spend so many days in the field investigating.
“I’ve almost never eaten junk food.”
Junk food is an old friend to most commoners, you know?
And standing in front of you is the Junk Food Queen!
“Weren’t you raised pretty much the same way? How come you’ve been to those kinds of places before?”
“Because everything is valuable life experience,” I answered.
Good joke, me.
The real reason was just because I liked them~
“Then Takamichi’s been to eat fast food too?”
“I would certainly think so.”
She didn’t seem like the type to fastidiously avoid it, meaning that she probably did have it sometimes.
“Is that so. Alright then. In that case, please take me to a fast food joint right away!”
“Hah!? Right now!?”
“Yeah. Let’s strike while the iron is hot. I need to know right now. Come on, let’s go.”
Eh!? Why did I have to…!?
“Could you not simply ask somebody else? Why me?”
“You’re the only one I know that’s ever been to one of those places.”
“You must be joking. It is just fast food; you definitely know others who have been. Actually, Takamichi-san certainly qualifies. Why not use this opportunity to have her take you? A little date of sorts. A perfect fit for a normal high schooler.”
“No. I don’t want her to know that I’ve never been before. If I ever go with her, I want to be able to smoothly lead.”
What the heck kind of stupid pride was that?
“Does she really need somebody to lead her in a fast food store?”
“Just trust me. I’ve got to scout the location before a date. Let’s go.”
“I actually have cram school today…”
“Then we just have to hurry before your cram school starts. Hurry up and get ready.”
This was the same guy who promised earlier to be more considerate, right?
On the other hand, he didn’t look like he’d be easily convinced to back down.
Were we going to be going in our uniforms like this?
I was worried we’d stand out.
And what if somebody we knew saw us?
“Then we should at least pick somewhere further away where we will not bump into classmates.”
“The rules say that we are only to go to lessons or cram school right after school, you know?”
“…And who exactly would stop us?”
Yeah~ Good point.
I couldn’t imagine anybody with the guts to tell off the Emperor of Zui’ran just for stopping by a fast food place after school.
Besides, plenty of other people couldn’t be bothered to go home and change before going shopping or eating anyway.
“It would not be good for others to know that the daughter of the Kisshouin family has been to a fast food restaurant! And our uniforms are too eye-catching!”
Did he have any idea how much care I’d taken not to get caught all this time!?
As if I was going to let all my efforts go to nothing thanks to this stupid disciple!
Plus, the biggest problem was that being seen with him would start weird rumours!
“And please avoid telling anybody else about this.”
He had better mean it.
I wouldn’t allow anyone to get in my way.
Still, I supposed I could go with him for today. After all, I was a bit harsh to him that day.
And that was how I ended up getting in his car to head to a far away fast food joint.
We had ourselves dropped off near a train station, and walked into a nearby fast food restaurant.
All over the place were students from other schools.
“Oi, Kisshouin! Teach me how to order!” he whispered to me.
“You simply line up at the counter and tell them what you want when it is your turn.”
Kaburagi complied and lined up in a queue.
He seemed to be standing there rather arrogantly, but a closer inspection revealed that he was actually staring at the menu up top.
Gosh, did this guy stand out.
Everybody was looking at us.
Some of the girls were taken with Kaburagi and began whispering furiously, but the guy himself paid them no heed and kept his gaze nailed to the menu.
It was normal for Kaburagi to ignore the girls around him, but this time it seemed to be out of a genuine focus on the menu.
Eventually it was our turn.
Kaburagi ordered an iced coffee and a hamburger.
“Would you like fries with that? It would upgrade your order to this meal set,” suggested the employee.
Kaburagi’s eyes swam about, suddenly overwhelmed.
I tugged on his sleeve to snap him out of it.
“Since we are already here, why not?” I suggested to him.
“Good idea,” he immediately agreed.
In the end I got a cheeseburger meal as well.
Trays in hand, the two of us went to find somewhere to sit on the second floor.
“This was cheaper than expected…” Kaburagi muttered to himself in awe.
But when he took a sip of the iced coffee, he grimaced.
“This is really watered down,” he said.
“That is how they are,” I replied.
There was no use in expecting anything out of the drinks from these places.
I took a sip myself of my oolong tea and unwrapped my burger.
After watching me, Kaburagi copied my actions before taking a bite.
He seemed to come to some sort of realisation before nodding to himself in admiration.
Kaburagi looked around.
“There are a lot of high schoolers here…” he muttered.
“It is the right price for a small snack after school,” I explained. “It is also another chance to spend more time with your friends.”
“If you feel a little more hungry than that, usually you would head to a family restaurant instead, or if you are a boy, then perhaps a ramen stall.”
Kaburagi went back to his chips.
French fries were good stuff~
I never went to a fast food place without ordering chips, you know?
Naturally there was a Reika’s Chips Ranking as well.
French fries were my favourite.
I took a mouthful of fries as well.
Oops, nearly forgot.
I opened up my tomato sauce.
Tomato sauce was essential to french fries, after all.
Kaburagi’s eyes widened.
“Oi! What the heck is that!?” he demanded.
“Tomato sauce,” I answered primly.
After dipping a chip in, I carried it into my mouth.
Kaburagi began searching his own tray.
“Why? Why doesn’t my tray have done!?”
“If you do not ask while ordering, they will not give you any.”
“Why didn’t you say it for me!? I didn’t hear anything about this!”
“Oh, did you want some?”
Kaburagi glared at me in vexation.
I paid him no mind and continued to eat my sauce-covered french fries.
Tomato-sauce covered french fries are so good.
“…Let me borrow that.”
“Out of the question.”
If he used some too, there wouldn’t be enough for me.
I was one of those types who had to have tomato sauce with her chips.
“Then couldn’t you go get some for me too?”
“No. Why do you not go yourself?”
Going up and down those stairs was a pain.
“…I still haven’t had enough experience with fast food restaurants to go by myself.”
“What in heavens are you talking about?”
“…There are so many people lining up. Should I really join the queue just for tomato sauce?”
“You can simply ask from the side of the counter.”
“But the staff are so busy. It’s too hard for me,” he shook his head.
Then just give up.
“Aren’t you a bit too cold?”
“A painful mistake is the best lesson. From now on, will you ever forget to order tomato sauce again? This is a learning experience.”
Isn’t that great, Kaburagi?
You’ve learnt something else about fast food chains.
Kaburagi just looked at me bitterly as he chewed on his hamburger.
It occurred to me again that His Imperial Majesty Emperor Kaburagi was sitting next to me, chewing on a cheeseburger from a fast food joint.
This was beyond the wildest dreams of anybody from Zui’ran.
And to think that he’d be so lost in here too.
“Anyway, I think I’ve mostly grasped how these fast food joints work.”
I took a sip of my tea before replying.
“Unlike this store where your food is mostly prepared beforehand, there are fast food places where they begin cooking after you order.”
“What did you say!?”
“In those cases, they give you a ticket and you have to wait until the cooking is done.”
“Is such a thing even possible…!?”
“They may all be ‘fast food’ stores, but each one has their own characteristics, and most importantly, their own menus. You would be making a grave mistake if you thought today was all there was to it.”
Kaburagi looked thunderstruck by my revelation.
Fwohfwohfwoh! The commoner’s way of life has profound depths!
After we finished our meals, we stood up from our seats.
This guy was actually just going to up and leave.
Your throw your own rubbish away here, dude.
This isn’t the time to be going “I see…” and nodding to yourself.
You better take notes on everything you remember from today.
Because I’m not going to teach you again, okay!?
“Next is the family restaurant,” he announced.
Go by yourself!
Amazing burger advertisement.