Summary: Second Seat of the Elite Ten Rindou Kobayashi has always marched to the beat of her own drum. Unconventional, unorthodox, and with a playful persona - Rindou could never find the appeal of a rather boring, cooking school. Nothing held her attention for long, that is, until a particular transfer student came along…
Doesn't it make your Heartbeat Flutter?
Shokugeki no Souma
A Dish Too Spicy for God
Nene Kinokuni was planning something. Rindou Kobayashi just knew she was.
But what could it be!
Rindou ruffled her hair in irritation.
"Ugh! I can't stand it! I can't stand it!"
Rindou ran the simulations through her head like a MAGI Supercomputer. She thought of ways Nene could try to sabotage her toothpaste by filling it with fermented fish stew. Perhaps Nene would inform Interpol where the infamous 'Rare-Ingredient Hunter' Rindou was hiding out. Maybe Nene would sell her out to the Australians! It was just a few kangaroos, Rindou bemoaned as she recalled the bounty on her head on that stupid continent-country. Nobody would've missed them right? Who needs a permit! Besides! How could a stupid little island be both a country and a continent? You can't double dip like that!
As Rindou continued pondering the complex geopolitics of Aussie-land shadowy figure appeared behind her.
"Look. Kid… I get you're going through something… but do you really have to do this in the middle of class?" Kojiro Shinomiya asked. A blood vein was twitching on his forehead.
Rindou blinked. She looked around.
Kojirou Shinomiya was in the middle was class. Some students were staring at her. Everyone was in the midsts of preparing their dish, which appeared to be the Nine Vegetable Terrine. The recipe was written on the board. Piles of ingredients were being stewed, fried, parboiled, and prepped in a variety of ways while Rindou was busy lamenting her newfound enemy Nene Kinokuni. Rindou was so focused on the problem at hand, she didn't realize where she was going.
But why was she in the middle of Shinomiya's class of all places?
"Uh, Rindou-senpai? Do you mind scooting over? I need to set the cutting board."
Yukihira Souma, dressed in his cooking attire, held a cutting board in one hand and a plate of vegetables in the other.
Oh yes, Rindou thought to herself. That's why I'm here.
Rindou soon had her favorite underclassman in a headlock. Souma expertly juggled his cutting board and plate of vegetables without a single leaf falling off.
"It's Rindou-nee! Nee! Say it! Say it!"
"Rindou-nee, I'm a bit busy you see…"
As Rindou continued assaulting Yukihira who did it his best to fend off the relentless attack, Megumi Tadokoro was busy presenting her dish to the instructor.
Kojirou Shinomiya was not an easy man to please.
Tadokoro was beginning a litany of good-fortune hand gestures and prayers. She thought happy thoughts. She knew the cauliflower wasn't the best and she did modify the recipe. She found her take on the Nine Vegetable Terrine adequate… good enough at least! Surely the instructor wouldn't mind?
Kojirou Shinomiya took a bite. He set his fork and knife down. He chewed for a bit.
Then came his verdict.
"Failed. You're expelled. Get out."
The words echoed through Tadokoro ear. Failed. You're expelled. Get out. They repeated over and over in her mind. My life as I know it is over, Tadokoro thought with tears in her eyes. Farewell Tootsuki Academy… Farewell Polar Star Dorm… Farewell Sou-
"Are you a frickin' moron!?"
The entire classroom fell silent.
All eyes were on the outspoken critic who dared to insult the famed former First Seat. The voice belonged to a girl with fiery hair and an equally fiery temper. Tadokoro wiped away her tears, looking at her feisty defender...
...Rindou Kobayashi, Second Seat of the Elite Ten!
Instructor Shinomiya did not take the the insult lightly. He stood up.
"She deserves her expulsion, Miss Assistant Camp Director. Her Nine Vegetable Terrine was modified inappropriately-"
"That's so… stupid!"
Rindou rushed to the front. She grabbed a fresh pair of utensils and took a hearty bite of Tadokoro's dish. She smiled.
"This is good!" Rindou exclaimed with a nod and wink at Tadokoro.
"It's acceptable," Kojirou conceded. "But she modified the recipe," Kojirou began again. "Her cauliflower-"
"Your cauliflower was crap. Aren't you supposed to make sure everyone gets decent enough ingredients? If there's bad ingredients in stock, then it's your fault. Do you get my drift? If Megumi here is your cook then she deserves the best ingredients you can provide! No wonder she had to improvise! Your management is crap."
"Look. Kid. I deliberately put in shoddy cauliflowers to weed out the-"
Rindou cupped a hand to an ear.
"So what I'm hearing is that you're a moron who can't properly stock his own kitchen. Maybe that's why your restaurant is getting reviews as bad as your cauliflower."
The entire classroom fell silent. The only sounds were that of pots overflowing and forgotten fires. Everyone paid their full attention to the trio of Tadokoro, Rindou, and Shinomiya. They were in a furious standoff - well, Rindou and Shinomiya were. Tadokoro was just terrified to be there.
A vein popped in Shinomiya's head. "Why… you… little… bi-"
The stalemate was broken by Dojima who entered the classroom.
"Dojima, I can explain-"
"I think it'd be wise if you weren't humiliated twice in a day, eh Kojirou? Let's all talk in my office. I'll have Inui cover for your class while we discuss this…" However, Inui, who had already grown quite fond of Tadokoro, began a furious assault on Kojirou's back while calling him a 'meanie-poo!' repeatedly.
In his office, Dojima heard both sides of the account. Kojirou laid out his lesson plan and Rindou pointed out how stupid it was to fail someone for trying to overcome the obstacles.
After a short period of thought, Dojima ruled in Tadokoro's favor.
And so, due to Rindou, the upper echelons found Tadokoro's modifications of the ingredients appropriate given the situation. Kojirou could only sit in silence as Dojima made his decision.
"Whew! I never knew our predecessors could be such pain in the backs!" Rindou declared as they exited the office.
"We can still hear you!" Kojirou shouted angrily from within the office through an open door. Rindou responded by promptly slamming the door shut.
"What hot bags of air…" Rindou muttered.
Megumi looked like her entire soul got sucked out of her.
"T-thank you, Kobayashi-senpai."
Then her eyes narrowed.
Before Tadokoro realized what was going on, she was in a vicious headlock with her face pressed against Rindou's deliciously thick sides.
"Rindou-nee. Nee! Rindou-nee! Say it! Say it!"
Tadokoro screamed 'Rindou-nee' a thousand times before Rindou released her.
Nene approached Erina in private.
Although Erina was officially acting as just another student during the training camp and theoretically should lack the perks of being an Elite Ten Council Member, she still resided in a first class suite. It was roomy, decorated with imported artworks, and had all the trappings of a Five-Star Hotel.
"Erina Nakiri," Nene greeted as she approached Erina who was seated by a coffee table.
"Nene Kinokuni," Erina returned. "Please have a seat."
Nene took a seat as Hisako laid out tea and snacks before holding the tray tightly to her chest.
"I'll leave you two to your discussions. Lady Nene. Lady Erina," Hisako said formally. Erina's private secretary bowed and left the two to discuss matters in private.
Nene took a cup and drinking. She preferred her tea sharp and bitter. No sugar. No honey. Only purity. Erina carefully mixed in two cubes of sugar and stirred while Nene sipped.
It looked like a renaissance painting of two high class ladies enjoying tea - in Japanese school girl uniforms of course.
"So what is this business you wished to discuss with me?" Erina asked. Hisako had received a notification from Nene herself to request a meeting and arrangements were hastily made. "I apologize for the poor choice of venue. It was such short notice and we are far from the Academy proper. All possible meeting rooms were taken."
"It is not an issue." Nene assured. Erina's suite was more than suitable. "I rather prefer the privacy and intimacy, given the matters of our discussions to come."
Erina eyed Nene carefully. Just what could Nene, the feared Sixth Seat of the Elite Ten Council, wish to discuss that involved privacy and intimacy?
"Really? I thought this conversation would be business matters, not personal ones." Erina set her teacup down and placed it on the table. She folded her arms over her crossed legs. "Just what could this be about?"
Nene mimicked her underclassman, placing the teacup down onto the table.
"I believe we have a mutual opponent we can both take down," Nene began.
"Just who could you be referring to?" Erina asked, her curiosity piqued. Any move to strengthen her faction and secure more kitchens, ingredients, and supply lines would greatly boost her position and move up the Elite Ten rankings. With an improved position, she would have stronger negotiating power to raise funding, secure rare recipes, and acquire prime real estate for her culinary empire.
"Well," Nene continued with a smile. "Our mutual enemy is-"
The door bursted open like a hurricane!
"What's up my fellow Elite Ten sistas!"
A wild Rindou Kobayashi has appeared!
As the two younger Elite Ten members recovered from their premature heart attacks, Hisako ran in apologizing profusely.
"I'm so sorry Lady Erina! But Lady Kobayashi overpowered me and-"
"Oh please, I tossed some stuff Yukihira made at you and you squealed 'Ew! Fried sardines and PB&J don't go together!'," Rindou said with a laugh. "Speaking of which…"
Rindou pulled two underclassman to her side by the shoulders.
"Heya," said Yukihira sheepishly.
"H-h-h-h-h-hi-hi-hic!" Tadokoro got nervous hiccups.
"Yukihira?" Nene whispered.
"Y-Yukihira Souma!?" Erina shouted. She covered her chest as if Souma had seen something indecent. "A-and Tadokoro Megumi too!?" Her eyes returned to Yukihira. "Don't you realize it's indecent to come into a girls room!? It's improper! Vulgar! Licentious! Salacious!"
"Oh please. It's just a hotel room," said Rindou.
"Miss Kobayashi! You must leave Lady Erina's room immediately!"
Hisako began pushing the trio of newcomers but Rindou flicked her forehead. Rindou Kobayashi's superhuman strength sent Hisako tumbling backwards into the room.
"Out of my way you side character," Rindou said with a laugh.
Erina scowled at the predicament.
"Regardless! He stays outside!" Erina demanded. Rindou shrugged and told Yukihira to stand in the hallway while they chatted. Yukihira returned the shrug and stood outside. He could be seen standing idly by the doorway.
"U-u-um… do I really have to be here?" Megaumi thought the sentence to herself. She never actually asked the question in reality. The overwhelming aura of one Elite Ten Council Member was already enough to send Tadokoro into shock but a trio of them was causing a life-or-death crisis. Tadokoro was currently in her own realm of thought.
"Just what are you doing here anyways?" Nene asked as she finally regained her composure.
"Indeed," Erina said while checking over Hisako who was knocked out cold. Tadokoro had the self-awareness to help Erina lift Hisako onto the sole bed in the suite. After being sure Hisako was not seriously injured, Erina turned back to Rindou. "Just what do you want?"
Rindou, smiling at the assembled cast, pulled out a large package from her jacket.
"Behold! The 2x MEGA HOT Stir-Fried Noodle, Hot Spicy Chicken Flavor Ramen, Limited Edition (comes in packs of 5)" Rindou presented the bag proudly as everyone except Yukihira, still standing in the hallway, looked less than bemused. "What's with that lukewarm reaction!? This stuff is magical!"
"It's instant food," Erina scoffed. "What's so good about instant food?"
Rindou delivered a sharp chop to Erina's forehead.
"Listen to your upperclassman! She's going to teach you something special!" said Rindou as she began rolling up to her sleeves. Out of her Mary Poppins jacket, Rindou produced bottles of water, serving and cooking utensils, a couple of paper plates, and a portable gas stove.
"Are those even allowed in the hotel?" Nene asked as Rindou delivered a swift chop to her forehead.
In no time at all, Rindou began boiling the noodles and preparing the instant package according to instructions. Five minutes of boiling followed by draining the water. Then she did a quick stir fry with the sauce and finished it off with a packet of garnish.
She did this, of course, with five packs at once, for five helpings. Herself, Nene, Erina, Tadokoro, and Yukihira. Hisako, being knocked out, would sit this one out.
Then with the swiftness of a samurai, she partitioned the portions onto five plates. Four of the portions were equal but smaller compared to Rindou's portion which looked almost double the size of other portions.
"Hope ya like it!" she said showing off a toothy grin. "Dig it!"
Rindou quickly broke a pair of chopsticks and began eating.
Nene and Erina looked at each other in silent agreement that they would continue their conversation later. Right now they had to appease The Beast Incarnate… the Monster Amongst Chefs… the Phenom… Kobayashi Rindou was known to do some inane antics from time to time and to refuse her was to invite her wrath. Kobayashi Rindou could single handedly bring down all the independent clubs and circles of Tootsuki under her thumb (if she cared enough to do it).
"This smells okay…" Megumi said before nibbling on a few noodles. Yukihira, standing out in the hallway and looking through the open door, agreed with her and helped himself.
Erina and Nene both stared at their plates.
"Instant food…? Really?" Nene was still aghast that the Second Seat would lower herself to such plebian cuisine.
Erina didn't care. She just wanted to get it over it. Instant food or not! She watched Rindou Kobayashi continue to slurp the noodles as if they were New Year's Mochi. Erina steeled her resolve, took a clump of noodles and slurped some herself.
And, for a brief moment, it was magical.
Erina envisioned herself in the middle of an enchanted forest. She was singing a beautiful song and dressed in a beautiful blue and white dress. Deer and squirrels and birds were all around her, standing at attention as if she were holding a royal court. Erina felt as if she could sing a musical for an entire two hour animated feature film.
Then came the smoke.
Then came the fire.
The blazing inferno grew and grew. It was like an all consuming darkness that would not relent. A tempting seductress rode at the head of the tidal wave of flame…
Kobayashi Rindou, dressed in a she-devil costume that exposed her delicious thighs, raised high a mighty pitchfork and cheered for the coming apocalypse.
The animals cried. They scattered, scurrying away into the darkened woods.
Erina was alone as the flames destroyed her magical forest. She was enveloped in the sensual heat.
It was the exact opposite of God's Tongue. This was just wanton, senseless destruction. Walls of flame were towering before her. Her blue and white dress was burning away in the heat… leaving her bare and exposed… then a devil stood before her…
Hellfire!, Erina screamed.
Erina returned to reality.
"The trick is to breath it in. Don't chew. Just let the noodles go down your throat," Rindou advised while slurping more noodles.
"But then you're not really eating the food! You're inhaling it!" Nene cried.
"How can you even eat food without chewing it!?" Erina added. Her vision was blurred by tears and the desecration of the once sacred forest of her tastebuds. "What madness is this!?"
Rindou tilted her head. "But if I chew it, it's too spicy." Rindou then slurped some more noodles.
Erina's face grew redder and redder. Tears of pain were streaming down her face.
"Hey this stuff is pretty good," Souma said with a mouthful of noodles. "How's yours Megumi?"
"I-I like it…" Megumi nodded as she ate a bit more. "We have a lot of vacationeers from Korea come by… so it's not too dissimilar from things my mom has made to order for them."
Nene and Erina made eye contact with each other.
Are we the only sane ones here!?, they both thought at the exact same time. There was a pitcher of water on a table and they both raced towards it. They quickly poured cups to cool their burning mouths.
As Nene and Erina began gasping for water to cool their throats, Rindou grinned. She had a devilish look of a girl with a plan. With an innocent turn of her head, Rindou asked a simple question. "You guys hear about the dance?"
Nene and Erina both spat out their water.
"What!?" Nene and Erina cried at the same time.
"Yeah!" Rindou said, trying to cover up the other Elite Ten members surprised expressions. "So how about you? Thinking of going? It's on the last day of the training camp and-" She never finished her sentence. Rindou's mouth was covered by Nene's hands as her arms were restrained by Erina. The two girls realized Rindou's ploy at the same time. Rindou wanted Souma to make his decision while her two biggest competitors were too busy battling the rage of spicy noodles!
"What are you thinking!?" Nene hissed into Rindou's ear.
Rindou giggled as a spicy tinge assaulted her ear.
"I'm thinking of getting a date," Rindou whispered back. Nene grew redder with rage.
"A-a-a date!?" Erina gasped as she overheard her seniors discussing scandalous plans.
Nene couldn't lose the initiative to Kobayashi! The time to strike is now!
"Well in that case! Yukihira!" Nene turned to Yukihira Souma in the doorway. Tadokoro had moved by closer to him as they continued finishing up their noodle-ly dishes. "Are you planning on going to the dance!?"
"Sure," Yukihira said in between slurps of noodle.
"Are you going with anyone!?"
Erina gasped again. It was just like the scene in her shoujo mangas. Was this… was it… the fabled love confession!?
"Oh." Souma, with a mouthful of noodles, turned to Tadokoro. "You want to go to the dance?"
"Eh? But I don't like dancing… but sure!" Megumi Tadokoro agreed happily.
The three other girls in attendance could only watch the pair, their mouths opened in astonishment.
Rindou growled. "So it seems the little chipmunk is quite the beaver…," she said eyeing the country bumpkin currently chatting it up with Yukihira about plans for the dance.
"T-they already going out!?" Erina's mind, already corrupted from the burning hells, nearly broke. This was one of those unpredictable plot developments she read about! Erina passed out, too exhausted to comprehend the situation until the next volume.
Nene, however, stood shocked. She did not expect this outcome. Quickly, she ran out towards her room. She had paperwork to file.
"Well I don't mind doing this. It is the correct decision after all."
Nene nodded in agreement as Sojirou returned the paper. He had signed after a short glance. The previous First Seat's suite was much larger than any students - even the suite she shared with Rindou was small in comparison. Such is the luxuries of being an alum Nene supposed.
Nene bowed and left the room, walking towards Camp Director Dojima's office to place to place the paperwork on his desk. By morning, it would be official.
This was the right move, Nene thought to herself. This is the right move...
But was it really?
Nevertheless, she had to deny her enemies any advantage. What better way than to deny them to the battlefield?
Nene nodded to the security guard who acknowledged her ID and cleared her into the inner sanctums of the administration offices. Nene found his office easily enough and placed the paperwork upon it.
Before she closed the door and sealed a poor girl's fate, Nene sighed.
She had to do this.
The moon, peeking through the glass windows, spied the document's contents.
In red ink, over the profile picture of a nervously smiling Megumi Tadokoro, read the words:
Chapter Thirteen Fin
A Dish Too Spicy for God