「 The second batch is done 」
I shout to the counter from the bakery.
It’s lunch break, 12:35pm.
While we’re selling off the first batch of products…
We start to put out the second batch.
We’re not just selling lunch pastries, but also snack-like ones.
Those wanting an after-meal dessert, or those who want to eat after school and before club activities.
The second batch sells like hotcakes, just like the first batch.
「 Roger that! Yo-chan! 」
「 I’ll bring them in, Yoshi-kun! 」
Nei and Megu come to the bakery, and I place down the pastries from the oven to the large pads.
「 Okay, the fresh pastries are coming!! 」
Megu brings in the first pad.
Then, the counter in the school cafeteria is filled with cheers.
「 There’s still more! 」
Nei also brings in a pad.
Megu places down the pad and comes back inside.
I’m doing all I can to bring out the pastries from the oven.
「 Katsuko-san, I want that 」
「 Katsuko-san, this please! 」
「 Okay, that’s 630 yen 」
「 Hoshizaki-san, this one! 」
「 Ah, me too! 」
「 Yes, yes, please follow the order! Don’t cut in the line 」
「 I’m going to spank those who try to push in!! 」
Katsuko-nee and Kana-senpai are in the front as vendors.
Edie’s watching to make sure that nobody is jumping the queue or shoplifting.
With this boom, I’m sure that someone who thinks of doing that will appear.
Some students let their junior at the club buy for them and resell it to other students for a higher price.
We caught three of them this week, and Edie punished them behind the scenes.
And if anyone who wants to do anything malicious to us, we’ll hand them over to Iwakura-kaichou.
I’m sure that she’d deal with them appropriately.
「 Okay, that’s all! 」
「 Yeah, thanks for the hard work, Yo-chan 」
Nei brings in the last pad.
We have enough vendors, I don’t need to be there.
What’s left is to clean up the bakery and close it.
There’s no class in the “bread club” today.
「 Thanks for the hard work~ 」
Yukino, who’s eating her lunch box at the back of the bakery, calls me out.
Oh, she’s about to finish eating.
Yukino’s pregnant. She can’t go out on the counter, nor help me here.
She just watches me work every day while she eats.
Yukino’s lunch box is a recipe Katsuko-nee custom made for her.
Katsuko-nee comes back to the mansion after bringing the dough to the bakery, then she brings the lunch box back.
Katsuko-nee makes our lunch box and Agnes and the girls’ lunch in the kitchen of the mansion together with Mana.
Well, Tsukiko and others would help them out, I don’t think it’s that much of a trouble, but still.
Yukino never does any housework.
Even if you say that she’s pregnant, I don’t think that it’s okay that all she does is eat.
「 Hey, Megu-chan, Kana-chan, let’s eat! Katsuko-oneechan and I will look after this 」
Nei said from the counter.
「 Thank you. Nei-oneesan 」
「 Then, I’ll leave that to you Nei-san 」
Megu and Kana enter the bakery, then…
「 Aaaah! Hoshizaki-san! 」
「 You’re going in now?! 」
I hear voices among the buyers.
Oh, they’re Kana-senpai’s fans.
「 See you guys tomorrow! I also need to eat lunch now 」
「 If that’s the case, we’re, uhm 」
「 Sorry~ We’re eating Katsuko-san’s lunch box today 」
「 Huh? Katsuko-san?! What’s that?! A deluxe lunch box? 」
This time, I hear the girls speak.
「 Oh? We may be a bakery, but we’re not eating pastries for lunch! This is just a small token as thanks for Kana-chan’s hard work 」
I mean, back then, I would eat off the unsold pastries in the back, but…
Nowadays, we’re sold out every time, and so we need to prepare food for lunch.
「 It’s a lunch meeting only for the employees of Katsuko’s bakery, sorry guys 」
Kana-senpai turned to her fans and greeted them off.
「 Okay, let’s go eat, Yoshi-kun 」
Megu starts preparing.
「 Yukino, want tea? 」
「 Thanks 」
Yeah, they’re having a conversation without a fight.
These two are getting along now.
「 Yukino, here’s the trial product 」
I take out the bread I baked earlier.
「 Oh, thanks. Just in time, I wanted something sweet 」
Yukino looked at the sweet bread I took out and smiled.
「 Hey, Nobu? Why is it just Yukino-san? 」
Kana-senpai looked at us dissatisfied.
「 I’ve got everyone’s share, let’s go eat them after meal 」
I opened up the pad on the side and show it to her.
「 As expected of Nobu! Love you! 」
Kana-senpai smiled happily.
◇ ◇ ◇
Since Anya came and assisted in selling our products.
It hasn’t been ten days since then.
Still, after a week…
Our bakery’s accomplished a great name.
Back then, they look at the bakery as something they never knew about and just discovered as the strange bakery of that guy who got engaged suddenly.
Now, people call it as “Katsuko-san’s bakery.”
Katsuko-nee showing up before the students had that much impact.
She’s beautiful, bright, and friendly, and an adult is better than a student in the business front.
She’s favored by the boys and girls alike.
And since Katsuko-nee’s become the teacher in my baker technical course.
The pastries that were too delicious to be created by someone like me now became Katsuko-nee’s products.
And just in time, the 50-yen cheaper pastries Ruriko, Agnes and the girls make started selling…
Those that were simple became my products.
It looks like everyone sees it that way.
As expected, it doesn’t feel right for the students to find an ordinary first-year student four months ago, suddenly creating high-grade pastries.
“Oh. So Katsuko-san made those?” As soon as they thought of that, their perception of it has become better.
Although, since the 50-yen cheaper products were my creation in their eyes, those didn’t sell well…
And then, we spread rumors that it’s Megu and Nei who make those, not me.
Well, they don’t expect me creating large quantities of pastries by myself, so…
Instead, everyone’s helping me out.
Now they think that I’m only doing manual labor in manufacturing.
Well, I don’t care what they think as long as the product sells…
Putting that aside.
I never thought Ruriko and Agnes would get into this work.
They help out creating the 50-yen cheaper pastries every day.
Mana, Tsukiko, Yomi, and Luna are all helping out.
Ah, Koyomi-chan’s participating in that too.
She must be worrying about staying in the mansion for free.
No, I think that’s a good thing too.
Not just for Koyomi-chan but for all the other girls.
They’re doing something together.
Now they’re related to the house’s earnings.
I think that it should have a good influence on them.
Either way, instead of standing firm by myself…
The family working hard together is much better.
「 What’s wrong, Yoshi-kun? 」
「 No, it’s nothing. Oh, I think it’s Mana who made this rolled omelet? 」
「 Yes, seems like she’s studying how to make these recently 」
Anyway, I leave the cheaper pastries to the girls.
And as for me, I’ll continue to learn those complicated methods for the new pastries from Katsuko-nee.
I could say that anything bakery business-related is going smoothly.
「 Wait, Yukino! You!!! 」
Megu suddenly shouts.
「 What? Don’t scream while you have food in your mouth Megumi. That’s bad manners. What would you do if this idiot copies that?! 」
「 I mean, Yukino, you mentioned you’ll go to the TV station by the third period, right? 」
「 You weren’t present in our math class! 」
N-Now that she mentioned it.
「 Oh, that one was a lie 」
Yukino said calmly.
「 I just wanted to skip the math class, but going to the TV station is the real deal. Although it’ll be just this afternoon. I’m sure that someone from Kouzuki SS would pick me up 」
「 Y-You… 」
「 Kukuku, nice one Yukino-san 」
「 Seriously, you’re such a free spirit 」
「 Not really. My stomach is growing larger, see 」
Yukino replied with a nonchalant expression.
「 I like that thick-headed part of you 」
「 Kana-san, don’t praise her! Yukino will get carried away 」
「 Well, well, don’t get so angry. I won’t go to university like you, Megumi. Besides, I don’t even know if I could graduate high school 」
「 But, I think that you should study when you can 」
「 I wonder. I asked Francie, and he said that he never used the “Sin.Cos.Tan” out of high school 」
「 Learning “Base x Height /2” won’t hurt if you learn them but functions, differential, integrals, where do you use them? 」
I don’t know either.
「 High school teaches you a lot of things you won’t use in life 」
「 If it was 150 years ago, the things we learn from high school, be it math, chemistry, or physics, they’re all for college professor levels. It’s a knowledge for those who teach college students in Cambridge or Oxford 」
Edie comes in.
「 Looking on the opposite side, isn’t it fearsome that almost all high school students knew about the top-level expert knowledge 150 years ago? 」
「 It’s not just the science and teaching, look at History, why would you have to learn about some crime that happened long ago?1 It does nothing in your daily life 」
「 Yukino, I think you meant “Long owned new rice field law”2 」
The American corrected her.
「 Well, that’s how education is, there’s a merit for knowing than not 」
「 Edie, sit down and eat 」
「 Yeah, Darling 」
Megu and Edie still have classes this afternoon.
I’m in the business course, and so my priority is working in this bakery, but…
I stood up and checked the counter.
That’s still a lot of customers.
They’re less than earlier, but still…
Got to cheer Katsuko-nee and Nei.
「 Ah, got it. We’ll switch as soon as we’re done eating! 」
Kana-senpai looked at me and said.
「 Geez, you’re such a worrywart, Nobu! We know what to do 」
「 Ah, yeah 」
I returned to my seat and resumed eating.
「 Still, Katsuko-san’s so famous. I mean, if you take Nei-san and Katsuko-san in the equation, I’d be the third in overall ranking 」
「 That’s not true, Katsuko-nee and Ya-chan are both irregulars. I think that Kana-senpai’s the idol in our school 」
「 Right. Kana-san’s the orthodox one here 」
Yukino also agreed with my opinion.
「 Right, Kana’s cute, sweet, beautiful 」
「 Oh geez, that’s embarrassing now 」
Kana-senpai laughed in embarrassment.
The great success of this bakery for a week…
It is all thanks to Kana-senpai’s participation.
Katsuko-nee becoming the poster girl of the bakery itself has a significant effect, but…
The members of the bakery until now are…
Megu, Nei, Edie, and me.
It’s a “Who’s that” for most of the students.
Megu and I have a scandalous aura since we’re both first-year students, yet we’re engaged.
Nei, who turned her blonde hair back to black, is still a fearsome delinquent to some.
Edie’s a dark-skinned beauty that likes to fight, most people are surprised by her.
Those who know us on a day-to-day basis are our classmates, and Megu’s clubmates, but…
Most of the students are feeling out of place.
When I started this, most of them are looking at me with a cold attitude.
She’s an ordinary student and has been attending this school for a year and a half.
Everyone knows her as the beauty of the tennis club.
Kana-senpai helping out in our bakery means…
Most of the students no longer think of us as strange students.
Naturally, Kana-senpai’s fan comes over.
「 Well, I guess Nei-san, Katsuko-san, and I together is undoubtedly a spectacle for some. Hmm! 」
「 Hey, now, I’m still a beauty! Though I’m a warrior too 」
「 Oh, sorry! Right! Edie-san’s also a beauty! 」
Kana-senpai said in a panic.
「 Megumi, I think you should force it and say, “I’m also a beauty!” 」
Yukino tells Megu.
「 I mean, I’m just… 」
Megu looks down.
「 Stupid, Kana-san’s joking and so you should try to go along with it! Don’t take this seriously, or you’ll get uglier! 」
「 While at it, I’m confident that I could compete with Kana-san when it comes to beauty. I’m sure of it 」
「 But I’m not as beautiful as Yukino 」
「 Really? Okay then! Don’t pamper Megumi now, okay? If you try anything strange, then Edie would stir her up 」
「 Yeah, I’ll get angry. Darling can’t spoil her right now 」
「 I… 」
Megu finishes her meal quickly…
「 Nei-oneesan, let’s switch 」
Then she goes to the counter.
「 Ah, she escaped 」
「 What was that? Megumi-chan’s a cute girl too, right? I’m sure that if you polish her right, she’ll shine brightly 」
「 Most around her has already polished themselves brightly, and that’s her insecurity 」
「 Geez! That was tiresome! Let’s eat! Eat! Yo-chan! I’m hungry!! 」
Nei comes in.
「 Oh my, this is definitely shining 」
Kana-senpai smiles as she gazes at Nei’s beauty.
「 Huh, whatchu mean? 」
Nei doesn’t get it.
「 Nevermind that, sit down here, Ya-chan 」
I call Nei.
◇ ◇ ◇
「 Still, Katsuko-oneechan’s bakery is now very popular, but… 」
Nei says while eating.
「 Even so, why are there no students who want to join Yo-chan in the “pastry baking course?” 」
I’ve never heard students talk about it.
「 That’s because everyone doesn’t want to decide their life in high school. I mean, the lessons in that course are to prepare you to become a baker, right? 」
「 You’re throwing off the other potential and will concentrate on starting up a bakery, that’s how it looks like 」
Is that how it is?
「 Jii-chan did tell me to go for it because it’s a good study though 」
「 Who’s that Jii-chan? 」
「 Misuzu and Ruriko’s Grandfather 」
「 That means, the current head of Kouzuki house. The supreme authority who can move Japan’s government and the economy at his will 」
「 Oh 」
「 And he lets Nobu call him “Jii-chan”? 」
「 Well, he’s Misuzu and the girls’ Grandfather 」
「 Yo-chan’s relationship with Mii-chan and Ruri-chan is officially recognized after all 」
「 Oh man, Nobu’s really out of bounds. That’s cool of you 」
「 I heard that handling my own shop, calculating the costs, then forecasting the products, and selling them is an experience, so I should do my best in it. I can do trial and error because I’m in school 」
If I were to open a business in the real world…
Then there are more responsibilities I have to shoulder.
Responsibilities for the customers…
Responsibilities for the person in the same business.
Once I start hiring people, they’re also my responsibility.
Saying “I tried, but it didn’t work” is not allowed.
If I cannot earn profits daily…
Then I can’t support the family.
「 I had a talk with Jii-chan the other day… 」
「 A Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Keiki never managed a land before he became a Shogun 」
「 Tokugawa Keiki came from Ichihashi house, but Ichihashi house is a family that supports Tokugawa shogunate, they don’t have a land to rule, they just received the hereditary stipend from the lineage 」
「 But, the territory has a population of a fief, and the person who doesn’t have experience problems if he doesn’t govern properly became the last Shogun, and so Tokugawa shogunate didn’t go well. Jii-chan said 」
If I recall, he returned home from Osaka in the Edo period alone.
All of his vassals abandoned him.
「 Indeed, the Edo castle capitulation was bloodless, but the Shogunate ignored the sympathy of people and confined himself in Shizouka. Then, the Boshin war happened, a lot of people died, he’s an irresponsible person in a sense 」
「 And I’m told to gain various experience, even if it’s in a small bakery 」
「 Nobu, you… 」
Kana-senpai said. Nei stops her.
「 Shh, Yo-chan hasn’t noticed it yet, don’t say it! 」
「 I mean, Kouzuki house and their enterprise is larger than the Tokugawa Shogunate 」
No, the period is different.
I don’t think you can compare them that much.
「 I’ll never leave you Nobu 」
「 That’s good. For now, we’re not reaching the point where we lose the means to make livelihood 」
「 And the rest of it is nothing but excitement 」
Edie and Nei said.
「 By the way 」
Nei changes the topic.
「 Kana-chan, as for that junior in tennis club… 」