「 Sit over there. How should I put it, don’t get close to the working table 」
I tell Yukino.
「 What? Why? 」
「 I’ll be making bread now. It’s just a matter of sanitary problems 」
Last time Yukino came here, I was cleaning up, so there was no problem,
But now, I’m about to bake bread
「 That’s a lot of trouble 」
I wash my hands, put on my white coat and hat.
「 You wear this to keep the hair from dropping 」
I hold my hair inside the cap.
Then, I also put on the mask.
Then, I wash my hands with alcohol.
「 Okay, let’s do this 」
Katsuko-nee hasn’t come yet.
Still, there are things I can do alone.
I have to pre-head the even too.
I bring over the dough we made this morning from the warehouse in the back and check it.
Some doughs need to be processed before entering the oven.
I continue working silently.
「 Okay 」
I’ve checked all the dough in the pan.
「 Sorry I’m late 」
The door opens, and Katsuko-nee comes in.
「 Oh? You’re here 」
Katsuko-nee sees Yukino sitting on the corner of the room and said.
Yukino’s fiddling with her phone, looking bored.
「 I’ll get out if I’m in the way 」
Yukino looks at Katsuko-nee.
「 I don’t mind if all you do is stay there 」
Katsuko-nee said with a smile.
「 I’m not your friend 」
Yukino speaks in displeasure as she looks at Katsuko-nee’s peaceful expression.
She’s not good at dealing with Katsuko-nee.
Still, she doesn’t have any intention of leaving the room.
She’s got no other place to stay.
「 Katsuko-nee, please check this 」
I call her out.
「 Yes, give me a moment 」
Katsuko-nee washes her hands, puts on her white coat, hat, mask, and disinfects her hand in a hurry.
「 Okay, let’s see 」
Katsuko-nee double-checks the dough in the pan.
「 This is, well, okay. It’s average. Let’s try baking it and see if we can sell it or not after it’s done 」
「 Right 」
「 The bad ones are decreasing, you’re doing well 」
「 But, it’s not yet 100% 」
「 Idiot. You can’t do it perfectly, of course. You just started 」
I should avoid making defects as much as possible.
I can’t make something I can’t sell.
The costs of production are increasing.
「 You should learn something else other than that 」
Katsuko-nee looks at me.
「 Baking bread is influenced by the season. Be careful with the changes in temperature and humidity 」
「 I know that, but 」
I’ve read several books on how to make bread.
「 You don’t. You need at least a year minimum to know the difference of baking on seasons. You need to check it with your own eyes and tongue 」
「 Therefore, think of this first year as the year for experience and learning. You don’t have to think of anything unnecessary 」
Katsuko-nee has been baking bread every day ever since her prostitute era.
「 The first bread you baked was during the Golden Week, then you worked for three months in the mansion, and it’s only been a month since you started to make bread earnestly in the school. Therefore, you don’t know about how to make summer bread for now 」
I have less than four months of experience.
「 Even in the average business, you’ve got to know the atmosphere of work in one month, the flow of work in the third month, the contents of work in half a year, and even if you know the arrangement of work in a year, even after three, five, or even seven years. Anyway, you gain experience when you see the next wall 」
「 Wall? 」
「 Yes. A wall you have to pass through. Once you cross that wall, there will be a next one. Furthermore, you need to overcome the walls one after another, in order. There’s no skipping 」
「 Well, those with talents can overcome several walls in no time, but they can understand something that takes ten years in three years. It’s a natural gift. But, in making bread, no genius could make the first year ordinary 」
Winter, spring, summer, fall, I’ve got to experience the changes in seasons to understand.
「 Geniuses could capitalize on their first year experience for the second year. Though they could average out the difference in seasons, it would take them three to five years to master on how to deal with it 」
I’m an ordinary man. No, I believe that I’m less than that.
Therefore, it’ll take a lot more time than most people.
「 Got it, in my case, I have to do my best to somehow master this by the time I graduate from high school 」
「 Yes. You’re only allowed to fail because you’re still a student. 」
I’m still a student of bread-making course.
Even if I fail, it’s tolerated since I’m a student.
I mean, if I fail, I don’t have to sell that bread for the day.
Oh, that’s why Minaho-neesan’s letting the merchant sell bread to the cafeteria.
It is not to trouble the students if I fail.
「 It’s only students who are recognized for working hard, professionals must always bring good results. The eyes of paying customers are still harsh 」
Katsuko-nee was a professional prostitute.
She knows how harsh it is to live like a professional.
「 Got it. I don’t think about anything unnecessary for now, I’ll concentrate on how to make bread as Katsuko-nee says 」
「 Stupid. It’s okay to think about other things. Instead, you should consider. “How is this possible?” Also, you can fail, try out a lot of things. That’s the reason why you spend your time as a student 」
Katsuko-nee said smiling.
「 Go on and fail. Failures are okay. But, you should learn why you failed. Then, learn what you must do not to repeat the same mistakes.
◇ ◇ ◇
Then, Katsuko-nee and I continued our work silently.
We’re already familiar with our share of tasks.
Katsuko-nee gives me advises from time to time.
If I think that was important, I take notes of it.
It’s so troublesome to wash my hands and disinfect it again every time I take notes, but,
Katsuko-nee said that it’s important to take notes in case I forget.
Katsuko-nee brings it up while we’re in the middle of work, so Katsuko-nee often doesn’t remember what she said after some time.
「 Okay, let’s take a break 」
Katsuko-nee said after we finished putting the last pan in the oven.
「 It’s Saturday today. They’re fewer than usual, so it’s easier 」
Yeah, we went to break time 15 minutes earlier than usual.
「 Coffee, or tea? 」
「 I feel like coffee today 」
I look at Yukino sitting in the corner of the room.
「 Katsuko-nee, can I? 」
「 Go on 」
I see Katsuko-nee’s eyes smiling between her hat and mask.
「 Hey, Yukino, which do you want, coffee, or tea? 」
「 Coffee 」
Yukino replied to me without looking away from the phone.
「 Okay 」
Katsuko-nee prepares coffee.
「 Ah, I’ll bring it 」
Yukino’s sitting on our usual tea zone.
I place three coffee cups in the tray and take them to Yukino.
「 Here’s yours 」
「 Thanks 」
「 I made this, take them if you want 」
She brings out scones for a tea ceremony.
Yukino’s not taking any.
「 Eat. It’s delicious 」
I take the initiative and pick one.
I give it a bite and show that there’s no poison.
「 Then, I’ll take one 」
Yukino reaches out to the scones.
This isn’t Yukino’s personality’s fault.
During the holidays, Katsuko-nee and I fooled her a lot of times so now she’s extremely cautious.
「 Oh right 」
Now that we’re done baking bread, I remembered something I had to tell.
「 Katsuko-nee 」
「 Ah, I know that. I was listening to your conversation in the classroom 」
「 I should tell Yukino about this, right? 」
「 Well, that depends on you 」
Katsuko-nee said, showing a gentle smile.
「 Yukino, look 」
「 What? 」
Yukino seems to like the scones after taking the first bite.
She’s eating it deliciously with her mouth wide open.
「 Earlier, I heard this from my classmates. Endou’s back, they said 」
「 Kenji? 」
Yukino stopped moving.
「 Yeah, I don’t know the details but, looks like he hates me so much that he wants to kill me 」
「 Hmm. Why not? I do think that Kinji beating you up is the right answer 」
She’s harsh as always.
「 So, was there anything about me? 」
「 Ah, I didn’t ask them, I forgot 」
「 The hell? So useless 」
「 Sorry. But still, I thought that I should warn Yukino just in case 」
「 Why? I didn’t do anything for Kenji to bear a grudge on me 」
Isn’t dumping Endou enough for a grudge?
「 Well, Endou’s an idiot in a lot of meaning, right? It’s possible that something unexpected happens 」
「 You’re right, that guy’s got loose screws everywhere 」
Yukino sips coffee.
「 Who met Kenji? 」
「 A guy in our class, Sakai, he met him in the game center 」
「 Oh, that guy, he always wears disgusting glasses, he looks disgusting 」
「 Well, it’s true that his glasses don’t look cool but is he that disgusting? 」
「 He is! His face is full of acne 」
That has nothing to do with the glasses then.
「 So, what did Kenji look like? 」
「 Seems like he’s gotten chaotic. He’s imitating exile with his haircut 」
「 Exile? What? 」
「 Kameda. He looks like Kameda 」
「 Was there someone like that? 」
「 No, I don’t know either. That’s all I heard from Sakai 」
「 Did the number of people increase without anyone knowing? 」
「 Also, Endou’s become an Otaku it seems 」
「 Huh? 」
「 Somehow, he became a Napoleon otaku. So much that he was shouting “I’ll become Napoleon” 」
「 Napoleon? 」
「 I don’t get it, but it looks like Napoleon is a boom inside his head. Saying that “I’ll crawl my way to becoming the emperor just like Napoleon” 」
「 Hah, that guy’s all-talk as usual 」
「 When he was in the baseball club, he said: “I’ll become a player like Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez!” 」
Oh, it’s his habit of saying big names.
「 Really, what an idiot. Of all the names he could say, it was those two 」
「 The two of them were accused of using drugs. Barry Bonds was banished from the Major League, and Alex Rodrigues is about to be expelled 」
Hearing that, Katsuko-nee laughs.
「 Is Kenji doing drugs too? What an idiot 」
「 Well, talking about suspicions of drug use, the two major baseball players were using steroids and growth hormones, it’s different from using stimulant drugs 」
「 Either way, Kenji’s head is like a flower garden 」
Well, that guy was your boyfriend, Yukino.
「 Well, just be careful not to bump to him, tell Kouzuki SS too 」
「 Also, Katsuko-nee 」
I look at Katsuko-nee.
「 It’s just my intuition, I don’t know if it’s right or not, but 」
「 Could it be that Iwakura-san’s involved with this case? 」
「 Why do you think so? 」
「 Well, it’s just that I heard Endou was getting a lot of underlings, that he’s making a group 」
「 Group? 」
Yukino looks at me.
「 Yeah, it had a strange name if I recall. Hmm, not Napoleon. Right, “Nyapoleon party” 」
「 No way. Kenji doesn’t have money to do that 」
Yeah, Yukino also knows that Endou’s house went bankrupt.
「 That guy can’t have followers unless he’s throwing them money 」
He doesn’t have the source of money anymore.
「 But, I heard that guy’s got a team of a hundred members and more supporters 」
「 That’s just Kenji’s delusions 」
「 If so, then that’s great, but 」
「 Is there a possibility that Iwakura-san’s moving behind the scenes again? 」
「 That’s a possibility. I’ll investigate 」
She said and smiled.
「 We thought that she’s calmed down after having her mess around with the fishermen during the summer vacation, although 」
Oh right, she was made to ride a ship where it’s filled with black people, and they can’t speak Japanese Seriously.
「 Indeed, it’s about time for her mischief 」
「 You know, the brothel will still take time to resume 」
During the holidays in May, Iwakura-san told Minaho-neesan that she and the others want to continue being a prostitute. Therefore, the brothel has to reopen.
Iwakura-san and the others are all prostitutes that didn’t sell that much.
It was necessary to find girls who were attractive enough to recall the previous customers as new prostitutes aside from those people.
Just in case, Kouzuki Jii-chan promised to introduce some families who are on the verge of collapsing, however.
It’s taking some time.
Yesterday, Minaho-neesan interviewed the first two.
Iwakura-san must be feeling “how long are they going to keep me waiting?”
「 Well, we’ve been busy with other things for a while 」
Replacing the school faculty.
Constructing the bakery.
Katsuko-nee’s teaching me how to make bread while doing housework.
During the summer, we traveled overseas, a lot happened.
Thus, the reopening of the brothel is delayed.
「 Iwakura-san can’t wait, so she started something, that’s enough for consideration 」
She hired people to kill me before
「 Where’s Minaho-neesan? 」
「 She’s back now. I waited for Ojou-sama to reach home then I came here, crossing paths with her 」
Mana, Agnes, and Mao-chan are left in the mansion.
There should be one adult left with them as much as possible.
「 Iwakura-san is Ojou-sama’s toy so we can’t just move arbitrarily 」
「 Haa, why is Minaho-neesan looking after such troublesome person 」
To be honest, I don’t feel any charm from Iwakura-san.
I wonder why Minaho-neesan still keeps her as a toy?
「 I think your questions will be answered soon 」
Katsuko-nee said smiling.
「 Ojou-sama finds meaning in dealing with a girl like Iwakura-san. She’s a necessity 」
I don’t get it
「 You’ll understand it soon 」
Will that time really come? Really?
「 Now then, shall we go back to work? 」
Katsuko-nee and I put on our masks again.
We washed our hands and disinfected them.
「 Let’s finish up 」
「 Yeah 」
We begin packing the bread
「 You really are immersed about your family and making bread in these past four months. You’re working so hard 」
Katsuko-nee says suddenly.
「 Therefore, the students in your class are so kind to you and Megumi-chan 」
「 After all, people judge others from what they see do every day. The students in your class know how hard you’re working to become a master baker. Therefore, they’re all kind to you 」
「 No, I’m not 」
「 An average high school student isn’t thinking of the future as ready as you. You’re already working so hard, trying to become a baker 」
「 That’s 」
Because I have a lot of women.
Minaho-neesan’s feeding everyone, including myself.
「 I want to become an adult as soon as possible. I wanted to earn money with my own hands 」
For the sake of my precious women.
「 I don’t have a talent. That’s why I’m thankful to Katsuko-nee for showing me the way how to become a baker 」
I’ve decided on the direction I’m heading to.
What’s left is for me to run that way.
「 It makes me happy when you say that, but 」
Katsuko-nee’s face looks gloomy.
「 Do you remember the weather today? 」
This bakery has no windows.
I can’t look outside.
「 If I recall, it was sunny 」
「 It’s sunny without clouds today. The sky looks beautiful as you can see it blue 」
「 I see 」
「 Try stopping once in a while and look at your surroundings. If not, you’ll overlook all the beauty around you 」
「 I think that your efforts in the last four months are incredible. You’re my pride. Our family’s pride. But, it’s about time for you to calm down and stop for a while 」
「 Your classmates see your efforts, they recognize you and Megumi-chan. But, the other students 」
Oh, I see.
They don’t know Megu or me as much as our classmates.
「 They don’t know anything. Therefore, they make a judgment based on rumors. They think of the wrong impressions. Those who bring their lunch usually don’t have the opportunity to eat your bread 」
What do the students think of me?
「 There were some who spoke harshly during the fuss this morning, weren’t there? 」
Yeah, saying that it’s disgusting for first-year students to be engaged and live together.
There were some who said they’d never buy my bread.
「 That was an excellent opportunity. Usually, people don’t speak our their thoughts to the person 」
I was naive.
I thought that just working hard would be enough for everyone to accept me.
I thought that they’d understand, they’ll be convinced.
「 See, it’s better if you stop and have some time to look around, right? 」
Katsuko-nee tells me.
「 In this past four months, you were concentrating on the inside. The family and making bread. It’s certain that you need time. And you worked your best. I understand that, but 」
「 It’s about time you move to the next step. Perhaps, you overcame your first wall. But, the next barrier is standing right after. You can overcome the second wall only with a different method from the first wall 」
「 Now, several things are moving at the same time. You need to deal with them all so worry all you want. You can fail as much as you can. You can take your time with it. Even if you make a big mistake, you can transfer out of the school with Megumi-chan, that’s okay too. So, you can worry, suffer, try all you want, and 」
「 Overcome it. We’ll watch over you no matter what happens 」