Chapter 10:

Chapter 10: When It Comes to First Dates, Try to Choose Something Your Partner Will Enjoy!

Love Bites

Someone once said that it was natural to be nervous on your first date.

Daisuke wanted to punch that person in the face, and then keep kicking them in the stomach while they writhed in pain on the ground.

Yes, being nervous was to be expected, but he doubted that anyone was nervous the way he was. This was his first date with Mochida-san, and hopefully his last- but the chances of that being the case were slowly slipping through his fingers.

Daisuke could feel the piercing gaze of Ueda-san on his back. He didn’t know quite where she was, but her glare evoked feelings of primal fear that traced back to his distant ancestors huddled around the fire in a cave for warmth.

After what happened with Tora yesterday, Ueda-san had been monitoring him constantly. She had escorted him home (after a SAVAGE chewing out about the recklessness of going out without her) and made it clear that he was NOT going to be left on his own again.

Daisuke had grown from a free-range cow to one under the watchful eye of the shepherd.

That night, after the terror of the situation he had just narrowly managed to escape had set in, Daisuke struggled to get to sleep in the wake of a serious panic attack that made him question everything.

As his fatigue caught up to him and he slipped off into unconsciousness, he was certain he could still feel Ueda-san’s piercing gaze through his window.

And now here he was, on a date, being closely monitored by a monster that would seriously hurt him and his family if he messed up, while trying to keep the girl who idolized him from developing feelings for him any further, for her own sake.

So yeah, Daisuke was really fucking nervous. Standing outside the mall in slacks and a casual t-shirt, he was shaking with fear at the day ahead of him.

And that’s when he saw her.

Appearing from within the forest of people like a faerie emerging from a glade was a sight that soothed his worries and brought comfort to his soul. With just a glance, a wave of shame rolled over Daisuke’s body for dressing so casually! Mochida-san wore a dress the color of cherry blossoms, the light skirt billowing in the wind like a shimmering river. She wore a white shawl over her shoulders, and even at a distance it was clear how soft and warm it must be, blending with her pale skin so flawlessly and giving the sweet nymph a look of gentle caring. Over her shoulder lay the strap of a snow-colored bag, bouncing off her hip as she approached. Once more she had removed her glasses, and pinned back her black bangs with a flower hairpin, her gorgeous face on full display. Mochida-san had pulled out all the stops for their date! Someone like that deserved to be on the arm of a male idol or a model from a magazine, not some nobody like him.

Her face brightened up and her pace increased, and Daisuke realized she must have spotted him. He had only seconds to come up with how he would greet her, but as his eyes landed on her smile he found that the answer was made for him, his face heating up and a smile spreading across his face.

“Oishi-san! Hello!” Mochida-san greeted him in a gasp of joy just above a whisper, waving at him. “Were you waiting long?”

For the sweet thing in front of him Daisuke would have waited forever. But he quickly shook his head so as not to hurt her feelings, even though he’d been waiting for an hour now. After all, it wasn’t Mochida-san’s fault that he had arrived an hour early!

“No, not at all! I just got here myself!” He said, quickly shaking his head.

“That’s great,” Mochida-san said, letting out a relieved sigh. “Oh, I almost forgot!” She reached over and pulled something out of the bag, presenting it to Daisuke. It was his sweater!

“Oh! My sweater! Thank you!” Daisuke said, taking it from her.

“I was so thrilled when I left that night, I forgot I had it,” Mochida-san admitted, glancing down bashfully. “But don’t worry! I cleaned it and washed it!”

“Thanks!” Daisuke said again, smiling. Then he realized he had a sweater in his hands and nowhere to put it. A sheepish expression crossed his face. “Um, sorry, Mochida-san, but… would it be possible for you to hold onto this for a little longer?”

He felt his face grow hot with shame. “I, um… I don’t really have a bag with me, so…”

“Oh!” Mochida-san gasped, her eyes widening. Her face turned red. “I-I’m sorry, I wasn’t even thinking!” She quickly took the sweater back and shoved it into her bag. She glanced up at him, her eyes wild, and she quickly slapped her cheeks a few times. The way they jiggled was so entrancing…

“I’m… I’m really sorry,” Mochida-san apologized again, getting herself back under control. “I guess I’m just nervous…”

Could she be any sweeter and more understanding?! She stared up at Daisuke with big, wet eyes that made it just impossible for Daisuke to disappoint her!

“No, no, it’s totally fine!” Daisuke assured her. “I’m a little nervous myself.”

Mochida-san’s eyes were as wide as saucers. “Really?” She asked, her jaw dropping in amazement.

“Well, you’re so cute that I just…” Daisuke clamped his hand across his mouth, his face turning bright red. What the hell was he saying?!

“Th-Thank you…” Mochida-san mumbled out, lowering her head bashfully. Daisuke could see that even her ears were scarlet.

They stood in front of the mall for a few more minutes like this, neither one brave enough to say anything over the pounding of their nervous hearts. Eventually one of them, Daisuke couldn’t even remember which, suggested that they go inside because the show was starting soon.

It had been a great many years since Daisuke had last been to a Hero Show at the mall. Most of the kids were probably around half his age; being a high schooler going to a Hero Show was just embarrassing, and he’d initially hoped to get a couple of seats in the back so as not to draw attention to himself.

But Mochida-san had insisted on sitting up at the very front, and whenever she flashed him those pleading doe eyes of hers she got what she wanted.

“GO RAMEN RIDER-SAMA! BEAT UP THOSE VILLAINS!” The cheering voice making Daisuke go deaf in his left ear belonged to Mochida-san, reaching volumes with her shouts that Daisuke could never have imagined with how she talked to him normally. She was standing up with the other kids and pumping her fist excitedly in the air, completely enthralled by the overacting of the masked man on the stage.

Daisuke had thought that, being unable to feel Ueda-san’s piercing glare at his back now that they were on the roof, he would finally be able to relax. But Mochida-san’s shouts and his eardrums disagreed, as did the frankly horrible performance in front of him.

“Begone, foul villain!” Ramen Rider declared, striking the black-clothed goon with an obviously-fake punch. “None shall threaten these children so long as I, Ramen Rider, continue to fight!”

“YES!” Mochida-san shrieked along with the other kids as the last of the thugs fell to the ground, defeated, leaving only the lead villain with the impractically over-decorated garish costume standing.

“Curse you, Ramen Rider!” The villain shouted, grinding his teeth together. “You may have defeated my Soba Soldiers, but don’t think you’ve won just yet! Now you face my ultimate creation! The great monster of gluttony who swallows little children whole, the Planet-Eater Udon!”

A large hulking costumed figure that vaguely looked like some sort of kaiju stormed onto the stage and let out a roar.

“Oh no!” The announcer shouted. “Evil General Yakisoba has called the giant Planet-Eater to defeat Ramen Rider!”

“No!” Mochida-san gasped in fright, her face turning pale. Daisuke may not have found this hoakey show all that entertaining, but seeing Mochida-san’s flustered reactions was making it all seem worth it in his book.

“HA HA HA! So we meet at last, Ramen Rider! You have fought bravely, but your fight ends here! Once you have been vanquished, then NOTHING will stop me from devouring these children whole!” The monster Udon bellowed, in a voice that Daisuke found horrifyingly familiar.

No. No way.

It couldn’t be.

UEDA-SAN?! Daisuke’s jaw dropped in shock. That was Ueda-san’s voice coming from within the costume, what the fuck?!

“You threaten the lives of these children, Udon, but I shall not allow harm to befall them!” Ramen Rider declared. “I shall bring you justice with my Ramen Punch!”

“Ha! Pitiful human!” Udon cackled. (Daisuke was certain, it was definitely Ueda-san) “Little did you realize, since our last encounter, I have discovered your weakness!” Udon lifted up a bucket in her clawed hands, and flung the contents forward, water landing on the masked hero.

“No! This can’t be!” Ramen Rider gasped, falling over. “Hot water! My greatest weakness!”

“Oh, no!” The announcer cried in fear. “When Ramen Rider has hot water poured on him, he becomes unable to fight for three minutes!”

“No! Ramen Rider!” One of the kids shouted.

“You can’t fall like this!” Another cried.

“Ramen Rider-sama won’t lose to such a treacherous act!” Mochida-san wailed, shaking her head and clasping her hands together in prayer.

What sort of loser is so weak he can be beaten by hot water? Daisuke questioned, staring at the trembling man in muted disbelief.

“Now you’re powerless!” Udon threw her head back and cackled. Clearly, Ueda-san was loving this. Daisuke had to resist the urge to bust up laughing at her overdramatic performance himself. It was taking everything he had to do it. This was supposed to be a tense moment, and he didn’t want to ruin it for the little kids.

Or Mochida-san, for that matter. This may have been the dumbest date that Daisuke could have imagined, but she was absolutely enthralled, enjoying herself immensely. Daisuke couldn’t ruin this for her, he wasn’t a monster. So he forced himself to seem invested in the struggle. Though he couldn’t compare to Mochida-san, whose face was stretched in worry.

Ramen Rider vanquished, Udon stomped towards the stage, staring down at the children who were trembling in fear. She raised her hands and swung her head from side to side. “Now then, which one of you children shall I devour first?!” She demanded. The costume’s mouth wasn’t even moving, this was just lame.

Then, Daisuke had a very bad thought. If it was Ueda-san underneath the costume, then she was almost-certainly going to choose-

“I know!” Udon declared, answering Daisuke’s concerns before he even had a chance to finish his thought. Her clawed finger pointed directly at Mochida-san. “I’ll eat you first!”

“NO!” Mochida-san cried. The kids were wailing but their parents looked around, confused, wondering why the actress had chosen a teenager instead of one of their children.

I wish I could explain it to all of you, but you wouldn’t understand. I’m sorry kids, Daisuke silently apologized as Udon began walking across the stage towards where they were sitting.

“Oishi-san! Please!” Daisuke was shook from his amateur show criticism by Mochida-san’s frantic cries as she grabbed his shirt and clung to his body, her face white with terror. “She’s going to eat me, you can’t let her!”

Does she really not know that’s Ueda-san in a costume? Daisuke questioned in disbelief. …Wait, does she not even realize that this is just a performance?! He couldn’t be sure anymore whether or not that was real fear he was seeing in her eyes.

“Planet-Eater Udon is going to devour the children in the audience!” The announcer shouted. “This is really bad! And the only one who can stop her, Ramen Rider, is still incapacitated for another two minutes! But maybe if we cheer for him hard enough, he’ll regain his strength and vanquish Planet-Eater Udon for good!”

The kids all started shouting.

“You can do it, Ramen Rider!”

“We believe in you, Ramen Rider!”

“Save the girl with the tiny boobs, Ramen Rider!”

Hey, what was with that last one?! Daisuke wanted to shout in Mochida-san’s defense. Certainly her chest wasn’t large, but for such a dainty little elven waif like Mochida-san and her modest figure, a small handful was certainly enough!

…Okay, maybe he had snuck one or two peeks at her measurements in the Daisuke Oishi Breeding Project guide, but that was just him preparing for his date!

“Please, Ramen Rider-sama! I know you can do it!” Mochida-san cried. She turned to Daisuke, looking expectantly at him. There were tears in her eyes. She was honestly worried, and her tearstruck eyes were pleading with him to join in.

It was the most adorable thing that Daisuke had ever seen.

“R-Ramen Rider, you can do it,” Daisuke cheered as best as he could, trying not to sound like it was the most embarrassing thing he’d ever done.

To add insult to humiliation, that seemed to be what did the trick. Ramen Rider stirred, and slowly rose to his feet, shaking.

“Ramen Rider!” The announcer cheered. “He’s managed to stand back up!”

The crowd exploded with excitement, the kids cheering on Ramen Rider at the top of their lungs, and none shouting louder than Mochida-san.

“The cheers of those children… have filled me with strength!” Ramen Rider bellowed, no sign of weakness remaining. “I am Ramen Rider! The hero of justice who fills the hearts and bellies of good children! Step away from the girl, Planet-Eater Udon! Your fight is with me!”

Planet-Eater Udon stopped in her tracks, and turned back to Ramen Rider.

“So, Ramen Rider, you haven’t had your fill of defeat yet?” Udon growled, laughing like a lunatic. “Fine! Then I shall save devouring that girl until after I’ve slurped you up into my mouth!” She stomped towards Ramen Rider, howling.

“How dare you…?” Ramen Rider growled. He clenched his hands into fists. “Those children… came here with their families to enjoy themselves! Not to be tormented by a monster like you!”

Actually, I came here because a real monster threatened me into taking a girl here, Daisuke dryly noted. The monster in front of you, in fact.

“So?!” Udon roared.

“So… a monster like you, who would crush the dreams of those children?! You can’t be allowed to win! I will take all my strength… and vanquish you with my ultimate weapon! The Uzumaki Shuriken!” Ramen Rider lifted up the most fake looking prop Daisuke had ever seen, a big foam uzumaki.

The kids on the other hand were throwing themselves all over one another with delight at the giant shuriken, and Mochida-san was standing up and waving her arms around, hysterical with glee. This had certainly not been what Daisuke expected when he invited her out on their date.

“BEGONE, MONSTER!” Ramen Rider shouted, charging at Udon. “UZUMAKI… SHURIKEEEEEEEEENNN!” He slammed the shuriken into Udon’s stomach. He didn’t even throw it. It was a freaking shuriken, wasn’t it?!

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!” Udon roared, clutching her stomach and stumbling backwards. “YOU DEFEATED ME! THE POWER OF RAMEN RIDER… I COULDN’T…!”

She fell back and landed on top of the lead villain, vanquished.

Ramen Rider stood triumphant, basking in the cheers of the children and Mochida-san.

“It was a close battle, but in the end, Ramen Rider managed to win!” The announcer sobbed, apparently having been moved to tears by the show. “Now, the families in the Downtown Shopping Mall can shop in peace! Because Ramen Rider is here to watch over us!”

“YAY! Go, Ramen Rider!” Everyone cheered.

Daisuke felt like he wanted to curl up into a ball and die of embarrassment, this was the cheesiest thing he’d ever seen.

But when he took a glance at the joy filling Mochida-san’s face, and felt her warm hand wrap around his as she threw it up into the air with her own in cheer, he had to admit that maybe this wasn’t that bad of a first date after all.