※※※

The maid café where Himari worked part-time: Personification Cat Café Mofumofu.

All the maids in the store wore cat ears and tails over their uniforms.

Today was Saturday and from early in the morning the store was bustling.

“Maron-chan, please take care of the customer at table five next.”

“Understood!” Himari replied energetically.

‘Maron’ was the working name Himari used in this store.

She was named for her brown cat ears and tail.

With their real names there was a high probability of trouble happening… That’s one of the reasons they used nicknames.

Among the nicknames they gave the other neko-employees were “Momo,” “Coco,” “Suzu,” and “Kinako.”

Following what she was told, Himari went to the table and offered water.

Ah, is him…

He was a man with a good physical build in his late twenties to early thirties who had started coming frequently in recent times.

Probably because he liked Himari, he often asked for her when it was time to be served.

“Master, what would you like to order…? Nyan.”

Since the concept of this store was ‘cat personification,’ all the maids attached ‘nyan’ to the end of sentences. However, Himari would sometimes forget about it.

Practicing with Komamura the other day had not yielded much result.

But instead, the customers thought it was cute the way she hurried to add it, and they just let it go with a smile.

“Well, I think I will have the ‘Nekojashi Beef Spaghetti’ today.”1

“‘Nekojashi Beef Spaghetti.’ Yes, sir, nyan.”

By the way, naturally, it wasn’t as if they put real nekojashi on it, it was just a cauliflower decoration arranged as an imitation of the plant.

“So, what’s your order for drink…nyan?”

“…”

However, there was no response from the man.

With a lingering smile, the man was staring at Himari.

“W-Well…? What about a drink…?”

“Oh, sorry. Well, today it will be ‘Silver Vine Ginger Ale’.”2

By the way, this one didn’t have real silver vine either.

Everything on the menu had cat-related names affixed to it.

“Yes, sir, nyan! Then please wait a moment, nyan!”

Himari finished asking for the order and headed to the kitchen.

Then, after asking for “Spaghetti and meat, please” from the staff in charge of the food, she placed the bill in the designated position.

Maids were tasked with preparing the drinks, so immediately after, Himari opened the commercial-use refrigerator.

“Oh, more spaghetti and meat, huh? They are popular for some reason,” the young man in charge of the kitchen muttered to himself.

Takato was a kitchen specialist working part-time.

A sophomore in college, he had recently gotten this part-time job.

He had been working at another maid café for over a year. Therefore, although he was a new employee, his movements showed that he already had experience in the business, which was why everyone developed deep trust in him.

“Komamura-san, if you are preparing ginger, please prepare another one for the customer at table eight. Then take the order for a photo of table three. I’ll take care of table five.”

“Understood!’

Another of the part-time maids called out to her, and Himari replied briskly.

It was Himari’s first part-time job, so she was a little anxious at first, but she had become quite used to the flow of this job.

She took the ginger ale from the fridge and smoothly took two glasses from the shelf. Then she poured the ginger ale.

She put a heart sticker on the rim of the glass as a decoration for the silver vine and inserted a cat-shaped straw to complete it.

Himari immediately went to the customer who ordered the ginger ale.

“Thanks for waiting. Your ‘Silver Vine Ginger Ale…’ nyan! But first I would like to cast a charm that will make it even more delicious, and I hope the human master will help me with that.”

“Huh? Me?”

“Yes, nyan. Since Maron is originally a cat, her magic is weak, nyan… Now, Maron is going to chant a magic charm: ‘nyan-nyan, mi-mi, be more and more delicious ♪’, so I hope the master will follow suit after that, nyan.”

When Himari revealed that with both hands bent like a cat, the customer replied with a smile while still somewhat confused and said, “Got it.”

“Okay then, let’s go! ‘Nyan-nyan mi-mi, be more and more delicious ♪.’”

“Nya…Nyan-nyan mi-mi, be more and more delicious.”

Apparently, today was the first time he came to the store. There was perceptible embarrassment in his smile.

Himari was starting to enjoy seeing these innocent reactions from the customers.

“Yes, thank you very much, it’s even more delicious now… Nyan, enjoy your meal!”

Himari moved on to another customer.

Next was a photo.

Another maid, carrying a Polaroid camera, was also waiting there.

“Thanks for waiting, nyan. Thank you very much for choosing Maron this time, nyan.”

“Thank you, Maron-chan.”

There was an option on the menu to have your photo taken with a maid, and the number of customers choosing Himari had been increasing.

Some of them even checked beforehand to see if Himari was on duty.

Himari and the customer posed with both hands flexed like cats.

“Then, I’ll take the picture, nyan. Nyan!”

The camera flashed along with the greeting specific to this store.

The photo came straight out of the camera. Himari wrote a message on it with a colored pen.

The man who received the photo, thanked, and replied with a smile before getting to pay his bill.

“Have a nice day, nyan!” Himari dismissed the customer with a smile and returned to the kitchen to deal with the next customer.

…This is funny.

Himari was honestly happy that she had chosen this part-time job.

It would be very rare for her parents to come looking around here and the per hour pay wasn’t bad.

She was worried that her parents would still not recognize her dream after she returned home.

But assuming that were the case, she was growing confident that after she graduated from high school and left home, she would do just fine on her own.

Living on her own seemed complicated, but living with Komamura and Kanon made her feel that somehow, she could do it.

“Ah, could you make some orange juice?”

“Got it!”

Next instruction came from Takato.

Anyway, for now she would be working hard at her part-time job while drawing at home, always in the wait for an opportunity…

After making that little resolution, Himari took out another drink from the commercial-use refrigerator.

It would be after this that the unusual happened.

“Phew, I’m done…”

Today’s working hours of her part-time job ended, and Himari, who had finished cleaning the inside of the store, was in the waiting room changing her clothes.

“Himari-chan, you were in demand today, weren’t you?” part-timer Ezoguchi teased her while she was also changing her clothes.

She was a twenty-two-year-old girl, member of a theater troupe, who for the time being was saving money to leave her parents’ house.

Perhaps that was why Himari had deep empathy with her.

Yet she had a small inferiority complex for feeling that she herself was still a little girl in contrast to Ezoguchi’s grown-up atmosphere.

Teeh-hee. Luckily.”

“I need to try harder, too…”

Ezoguchi stretched her body with a “Hm” and then closed her locker door.

“Okay, I’ll be going. Thanks for everything.”

“Thanks for today.”

As she watched her leave, Himari thought that she also had to get home quickly… so she moved her hands hurriedly in preparation.

“I wonder what’s for dinner today.”

Thinking of the image of Kanon in an apron over her uniform greeting her with a “Welcome home” made her hungry.

Himari was totally nourished by Kanon’s food.

However, as she walked outside, she vaguely thought that she had to learn to cook properly if she was going to live alone from now on.

It was completely dark outside.

The usual thing was to work three to four days a week with schedules to suit her free time, but recently she had had many days with shifts ranging from late afternoon to dusk.

There were more customers in the evening and the per-hour pay was a little higher than before noon, so there were no complaints from Himari about this.

If she had to say any, perhaps it would be the fact that she couldn’t dine with Kazuki and Kanon.

That’s why she was much more grateful to be with them at breakfast time.

“Maron-chan.”

Himari suddenly shook her shoulders in a jump as she was called by the nickname she used in the store.

When she looked up, standing there was the burly man she had served a few hours ago.

Huh?

“Errr…”

Himari’s head was in chaos.

Why was this man here?

She wondered if he had forgotten something… Himari read it on an overly favorable side, but she suddenly remembered.

Why was he here even though he had left the store hours ago?

Could it be that he was waiting for her to finish work?

In front of the entrance for the employees? All the time?

The moment she thought that, a shiver ran through her spine.

“Maron-chan, you are done with your work, aren’t you? Thanks for today.”

Now, Himari wasn’t ‘Maron.’

She wasn’t comfortable with being called by her nickname once she was out of the store.

Then again, ‘Himari’ wasn’t her real name either, but the way she felt was different between a name she had some feeling for and a nickname for a part-time job.

“Do you live nearby? It’s dark, I can walk you home.”

Himari felt terrified at the man who told her that animatedly.

Impossible, did he intend to go all the way home?

There was no way.

But, if she refused, wouldn’t he suddenly change his attitude?

If she was attacked by a man of this physical constitution, which was probably heavier than Komamura’s…

“Errr…”

What to do, how should she refuse without causing an incident?

She wondered if she should run away, but what if he chased her?

In the first place, would she be able to run past him?

What to do?

What do I do, what do I do……

In fear and confusion, drops of water began to leak out of Himari’s eyes corners. Just then—

“Oh, you have some business with my maid?” a male voice burst out.

Turning her head, there stood a beautiful woman in a tight red skirt with her arms crossed, leaning with her back to the door.

“Ah, Manager…” Himari muttered reflexively.

Indeed, this was the manager of Personification Cat Café Mofumofu. The name was Nakaomi.

The appearance was entirely that of a woman, also inside she was a damsel, but her gender on the record was male. She had the voice of an ikemen… It’s what you call an ikebo.3

“Ah, no, something like business…” The man was discomposed at Nakaomi’s sudden irruption, his mind promptly going into a mess.

This violent disparity between her appearance and her voice would baffle anyone meeting her for the first time.

When Himari first came for the interview for the part-time job, she was also very surprised.

“Could you please refrain from talking to the maids out of working hours?”

The fixed, direct look in the eyes of the man who was speechless, was as sharp as that of a hawk on its prey.

“If you do this again in the future… I will take appropriate measures,” in addition, she revealed it with a threatening tone of voice, so the man recoiled.

“I’m s-sorry,” he muttered faintly, and fled like a bat out of hell.

When the man’s figure was no longer visible, Nakaomi let out a big sigh.

“Himari-chan, are you okay?”

Being called by name, Himari finally came back to her senses in a rush.

“Yes, I’m fine… Thank you very much, Manager.” Himari bowed her head in gratitude.

“It’s natural for me to look after the employees, so it’s not necessary.”

“How did you notice it, though?”

“I only walked out for a smoke. It was good timing. By the way, that man now, has he frequented the store recently?”

It seems that Nakaomi was also running other stores and didn’t come by this one much. That’s why she didn’t have many opportunities to meet customers.

“Yes, he came by today too. Now that I think about it better, I feel like he’s been especially watching me recently… No way, I didn’t think it would end up this way…”

“Indeed. I have experience with customers offering their contact information to maids during service, but this is the first experience I’ve had with customers ambushing maids. Hm~ I’ll have to do something about that, huh…”

“I’m sorry…”

“Himari, it’s not your fault, alright? Don’t apologize for that, okay?”

“But… that customer won’t be coming back to the store anymore, will he…?”

“Well, such a guy wouldn’t come back, you know. …As far as I saw, he seemed wuss to me.”

“…” Himari was a bit worried.

It was a fact that this customer had been coming in frequently lately, and he was definitely contributing to the store’s sales.

“Don’t tell me you’re worried about the store’s sales… Wrong, don’t worry about such things. This is too serious! I don’t care how well a customer pays—if they’re going to bring trouble, it’s okay if they don’t come in anymore. It might even prevent the other maids from getting hurt. Even more important is to get more fans for Himari-chan from now on,” at the end, Himari laughed with a “fu” to a winking Nakaomi who said it with an emphatic tone of voice.

That’s right. From now on, it would just be necessary to get more good customers who become fans without causing trouble.

It was necessary to stop thinking about that and shift gears to work hard again.

Himari repaired her resolve.

Just then Takato came out of the employee door.

“Huh? The Manager and Komamura-san…? Did something happen here?”

“Oh, Takato-kun, you’re just in time.”

“Huh?” Takato couldn’t help but be surprised.

However, without paying attention to such Takato, Nakaomi asked Himari:

“Do you ride the train, Himari-chan?”

“Y-yes.”

“Okay. Here, young Takato shall accompany Himari-chan to the station.”

“Eeh?! But whether I want to or not, it’s forbidden for a male employee to accompany a maid home…”

“For today, it’s the manager’s orders, okay?! Himari-chan, please explain to Takato-kun. I need to balance the duty shifts now.” Nakaomi walked through the door while waving her hand saying goodbye.

She said she had gone out for a smoke, but in the end she did not.

Himari wondered if it was okay, but now, aside from that, she had to explain to Takato who had been dragged into the situation abruptly, so she looked him in the face.

“Err… I don’t quite understand; however, let’s go. Okay, Komamura-san?”

“Yes, please. I’ll explain while we walk, okay…?

Himari and Takato walked side by side. Takato was clearly puzzled.

※※※

That night, Kanon had her textbooks, workbooks and notebooks spread out on the living room table.

Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen Kanon’s figure studying at home until now.

“It’s unusual for you to be studying, huh.”

“It’s just that test season is almost here…” she replied in a weak voice.

“Exams around this time means final exams, right? Huh? But you didn’t do anything last month!”

“Because there were no tests last month. It’s just that our school has a bimestral system and not a trimestral one. So, these are the first ones of the year.

“Ooh… I see.”

There were trimestral systems in the junior high and high school I attended, so that was the common knowledge I had. It was the first time I knew of schools with bimester systems.

“…Does that mean there are exams four times a year?”

“Yes! It’s a little easier than at a trimester school, you know? But, that said, after all, I don’t like tests…”

“Well, cheer up!”

“Uhm…”

After answering with little energy, Kanon turned her attention back to the workbook.

Himari, who was using the computer, was silently watching this situation.

She seemed to be a bit uneasy, could it be because it reminded her of her school?

Come to think of it, I wonder if Himari used to do well in school. I was curious, and I was tempted to ask her, but I desisted when I considered that it wouldn’t be good to inquire too much about something that the person in question didn’t talk about.

“Uhh… After all, it’s impossible… I don’t know… My head is gonna explode…” grumbled Kanon as she plopped down on the table.

With her chin still on the workbook, Kanon sent me a glance.

“Hey, Kazu-nii, what was the subject you did best in high school?”

“It was math.”

“Wah, just as it seems.”

“What a mean one with that ‘just as it seems.’”

I wonder if I seem to like math that much.

I don’t understand it myself.

I certainly hadn’t been told something like ‘you seem good at Japanese grammar…’

“No, I didn’t mean it in a bad way. It’s just that I’m just now with math. I’d like you to teach me, could you?”

“As far as I understand.”

I had a little doubt whether they saw the same content in today’s high schools that I saw in my school days. However, I decided to take a look for now.

“If you use this formula here…”

“Oh, I see! I got it! Thank you, Kazu-nii!”

When I pointed to the textbook, Kanon’s face lit up, and she solved the problem.

I was a little worried about whether or not I could teach her, but a light reading of the textbook helped me understand.

But still, it’s been a long time since I’ve checked out a textbook. How nostalgic.

…High school, huh?

Suddenly, old memories flowed through my head—a casual classroom scene.

In those days of tedium and interest in barely the passing of the hands of the clock, I had no idea that it was precious time that would never return.

After giving up on my dream, I really felt like I was just doing my daily lessons.

If I had found something else I could wholeheartedly give myself to, I wonder if I would have become someone ‘special.’

Perhaps it was the sound of the second hand of the clock echoing in the quiet room that made me have such sentimental thoughts.

Next night, Kanon was still studying for her tests.

But when I came out of the bathroom (I was the last one today), Kanon was lying on the desk, breathing in her sleep.

“She fell asleep, huh?”

When I muttered that, Himari put her index finger to her lips and asked, “Shush.”

Then Himari gently placed over Kanon’s shoulders a thin blanket.

Usually it was Kanon who was like a mother, but right now it gave the impression that it was the opposite.

“Kanon-chan’s school is preparing for the cultural festival, so it looks like they have a lot of work to do. Therefore, Kanon-chan has been a bit tired lately.”

Now that she mentioned it, Kanon did say that the end of this month would be the cultural festival, didn’t she?

It sure seems like a lot of work to prepare for it and simultaneously study when it coincides with the exam period.

I felt a little sorry for her.

Himari looked fixedly at Kanon’s sleeping face for a while.

Her face looked extremely exhausted.

“Himari…” I said, but then I ended up hesitating. I wondered if it was okay to ask.

“Yes?” Himari tilted her head slightly in questioning.

If I stopped here, on the contrary, it would worry her, didn’t it…?

Determined, I opened my mouth:

“School was fun?”

Himari put on a troubled smile.

She almost opened her little mouth, but then closed it again. Then she repeated the process, but no words came out.

I didn’t say anything, I just waited.

For a while, the only sound in the room was Kanon’s sleepy little breathing.

“I honestly don’t know. I don’t hate it, but…” she mumbled a few words in a voice that seemed to fade away.

“I talked to my classmates, but it’s not like I had friends with whom I had a particularly close relationship. Plus, my parents would tell me to go home as soon as I finished school, so I didn’t have something like an after-school club or outings to have fun with friends…”

Somehow, I had a guess that it would be like that.

If she had a particularly close friend, she would have talked to them before running away from home.

But Himari didn’t have any friends to confide that to.

Probably the times when Himari’s mind felt best was when she was at home painting.

However, it was taken away from her by her parents…

Thoughtfully, I looked up at the ceiling.

Himari had recently said she would go home and confront her parents once she had saved enough money.

Though it would be great if everything went well for her…

Grooowwl.

Himari and I were unintentionally startled by the sudden eruption of a strange sound.

The source of the sound was Kanon.

The eyes that could be seen between the gap in her arms suddenly opened. Then she seemed to be very embarrassed.

“I’m s-sorry…”

“Kanon, you woke up, huh?”

“Hmm…”

“Kanon-chan, we woke you up, huh? I’m sorry…”

“No, it’s not your fault, Himari… I’m just hungry…”

I understand very well that you get a little hungry in the meantime between finishing dinner and being about to go to bed.

“Well then, I’ll prepare a night snack so Kanon-chan can work hard on her studies.”

Himari clenched her fists as if she were possessed by some kind of motivation.

“Wait, will you be alright?”

“We have the base of the ochazuke, so all I have to do is boil the water. So, wait a moment, Kanon-chan,” said Himari, and immediately headed for the kitchen.4

“Will it be okay?”

“Even Himari can boil water. You worry too much, Kazu-nii.”

“No, I meant, will it be okay for you to eat at this hour? You know…” I omitted the mention of ‘weight,’ but apparently the intention was conveyed.

Kanon’s eyes wandered a bit.

“Let’s see… Ochazuke is kinda like hot water. Hot water—that is, zero calories. So it’s no problem at all.”

“…”

Suddenly, Kanon revealed an extravagant thesis.

One of those days she would start saying something like “all soups are nothing but hot water.”

Well, I guess it’ll be okay if eating helps her to work hard in her studies.

“Woah?! It burns?! Steam burns!”

At that exact moment, Himari’s clumsy shouts were heard from the kitchen.

Kanon and I couldn’t help but look at each other and put on a bitter smile.

Then, several days later…

“Kazu-nii, the test results are here! I didn’t fail any of them this time! And, in math, it was the best result I’ve ever gotten in my whole life, by far!” While smiling, Kanon reported that the results of her studies had been worth it.

I was happy to hear that what I had taught her had paid off.

I had never had a part-time job as a tutor before, but now I was getting a taste for it.

In the morning…

As soon as I woke up, I had the routine of immediately turning on the TV and tuning in to the morning news broadcast.

It was a habit I had even before the two of them came to live in this house.

The main purpose was to watch the weather report, but the current time, which is always displayed in the corner of the screen, also helps me keep up with my morning lifestyle.

For some reason, I get the feeling that it’s easier to notice the clock on the TV screen than to look at the one in the room.

When I finished my breakfast as usual, I was watching TV while getting dressed, having switched from entertainment topics to news.

🔊: “**** Police Station reported that on the 13th a fifty-seven-year-old man living in the district was arrested. He is charged with disturbing the peace, being suspected of performing acts of sexual harassment inside a train.”

“Hm?” I involuntarily reacted to the words ‘sexual harassment.’ Then, what was projected were the facilities of that station where I met Himari.

Himari seemed to have noticed it too, her eyes met mine.

🔊: “It is alleged that the accused, on March 10 at sixteen o’clock, touched the private parts of a high-school student with whom he was back-to-back inside a moving train.

“According to authorities—a member of the railroad police—who was on surveillance in plainclothes, they spotted a man acting suspiciously while frequently looking around **** Station.

“Multiple team members were standing around to monitor him when they observed him molesting a high-school student and arrested him in flagrante delicto. The man has admitted to the charges.”

There the video cut to the next news story.

I wondered if maybe the one arrested was that old man who harassed Himari.

It was the same station, and I felt he was close in age in terms of appearance.

If so, it was good news.

“Something like an old octopus, huh? Seriously, what was he thinking? Really, it’s awful. I hope they’re eradicated from society,” Kanon complained as she sipped a 100 % orange juice.

“Yeah, I guess so. Anyway, I’m glad they caught him…” muttered Himari in a low voice.

I didn’t know if it was the same geezer or not, but it was a fact that this had reduced the number of women who would be uncomfortable with that.

Such geezer running away from me at that time remained constantly in a corner of my mind.

When I again gave Himari’s face a fleeting glance, it seemed as if her expression lit up.

When I came home from work, there was Himari standing in the kitchen wearing Kanon’s apron and full of motivation.

“Ah, welcome home, Komamura-san.”

“What’s with that look?” When I pointed to the apron, Himari put her hands on her hips and proudly puffed out her chest.

“I’ll cook dinner today,” Himari declared confidently as a girl may be.

“Himari?”

Looking at Kanon, an unconcealable aura of anxiety was over her. Seeing her next to Himari, I wondered if that meant Kanon would help her.

“Himari said that she will cook by herself.”

At Kanon’s words, I couldn’t help but be surprised.

“Eh? Are you going to be okay?”

“It’s fine! In my part-time job I also study by observing a lot!”

‘I study by observing,’ I got caught by that part.

That meant that she had cooked up practically nothing yet…

“So far, I’ve caused a lot of trouble for Komamura-san and Kanon… I’d like to thank them for that in any way possible. Besides…”

“Besides?”

“Ah, nothing… I don’t know, I think I felt some personal relief, as if I was turning the page…”

The last words were said in a low, almost inaudible tone.

Kanon just had questions floating around over her head, but one way or another, I had a guess.

It might be regarding the matter of the news of the groper’s arrest this morning.

Although I didn’t have definite proof that the geezer who groped Himari was the guy they arrested, for some reason I felt it was so.

However, it was nothing more than a simple hunch.

I have a feeling that when you do something evil in this world it comes back to you accordingly… I ended up wondering if what I was doing was also an ‘evil thing.’

Certainly, legally it is an ‘evil thing.’ Even I myself am aware of it……

For starters, the reason I met Himari was that old groper…

…No, I’d better stop thinking about it now.

“W-whatever, I’ll be fine! I properly memorized how to prepare it, really!”

“If you say so, then, we’ll accept the invitation to the meal Himari will prepare today.”

“Yes, I’ll give my best!” Himari replied cheerfully, as if to say that she had enough spirit.

However, Kanon still looked worried.

“Are you really going to be alright? Don’t get burned, okay? I’ll be right behind you in case you need me, okay?”

Apparently, she was more worried about Himari getting hurt than whether she could cook well.

What of a worrywart, huh?

“Then, please have the bath first, Komamura-san, okay?”

“Understood…”

There was nothing left but to obey when she told me with a smile all over her face.

Just as Himari told me, I meekly headed to the bathroom.

Immediately next to the bathroom was the kitchen.

Maybe that’s why as I was submerged in the bathtub, I heard Himari’s intermittent short cries like, “Wah!” and “Hot!”

…I wondered if she was really okay.

It was too late to worry now.

If anything came up, I’d be relying on Kanon…

When I came out of the bathroom, where I was not at all calm, there was spaghetti with meat for three people on the table.

There was also grated cheese. It had a nice aroma.

Perhaps it was rude, but I was relieved that it looked impeccable, as I had imagined a meal in a sorry state.

“Ohh! It looks appetizing, you know?” I revealed a frank admiration, but there was no response from Himari.

When I looked in her direction, for some reason she was trembling.

“Himari?”

“I-I did it… Even I did it… It was worth the effort of peeking…” she muttered under her breath in a state of euphoria.

She was deeply excited with herself, huh…?

“Heh heh. Komamura-san, I did my best! I was able to do it on my own!”

“I-indeed.”

“Although it was pretty dangerous, you know…”

The sink behind Kanon, who was smiling bitterly, was a mess of pots and dishes piled up.

It was inferred that she struggled quite a bit.

This is why I consider cooking tedious.

It doesn’t end with just making it. It comes in combo with getting everything back in order…

So, I’m very grateful that Kanon is now taking on half of that task.

“By the way, did you help, Kanon?”

“Nope, didn’t you hear that Himari did it solo?”

Since I heard from the bathroom Himari’s screams, I thought of the possibility that she had helped her, but apparently Himari did it all the way.

This made one kind of moved.

Well, since she finally made it, we had to eat quickly.

We reached the table, and quickly put our palms together and grabbed our forks.

“Itadakimasu!”

Himari held her breath, watching Kanon and me take the spaghetti to our mouths.

Nervously, I tasted a bite.

“Mmm, this…”

The well-seasoned Bolognese sauce was delicious.

The pasta may have been a little overcooked, but the perfect depth of the Bolognese sauce neutralized that minus, so seriously, it wasn’t a problem.

The grated cheese sprinkled throughout gave it smoothness, which added to the flavor.

Considering it was her first time making it, I think it scored pretty high.

“Delicious.”

“Mmm. It’s delicious, Himari!”

“Haa, what a relief…”

Kanon and I conveyed our honest impression, and at the end, Himari let out a sigh of relief and showed a smiling face.

“I’m glad I was able to live up to the taste of the store.”

To be frank, it was probably a taste I could repeat even with no maid present.

This kind of ‘taste that you can eat a lot of, but never get tired of’ is a major factor.

“I was nervous about the boiling water, but you were able to prepare it well… Himari, you’ve had a great progress, you know…” For some reason, Kanon was extremely moved.

Was she her mother?

Thus, Himari’s first time making the meal on her own ended up being a success. Still…

I have to add that it would be somewhat complex to tidy up the messy sink.

  1. Nekojashi: setaria viridis. It is an inedible green herb. It is a simple scrub grass. Extra important fact: ‘neko’ is Japanese for cat.
  2. Silver vine—also known as actinidia polygama, cat powder or matatabi—is an herb. It has many uses. One of them, and the one relevant here, is that this herb makes cats euphoric, so it is used to make some cat products.
  3. Ikebo: a man with a sexy voice.
  4. Ochazuke: is a simple Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of rice with a topping, which is then doused with a splash of green tea.