Chapter 19:


Spice of life [Remake]

A young woman with long grey hair walked into Ryokoma. She looked to be in her mid-20s and wore a grey business suit and dress shoes.

"And what are you doing here?" Masaru glared as he approached the woman.

"I'm here for business," the woman glared back.

"You are blacklisted from the culinary world."

"I'm not here for a job you ass! I've got a successful non-culinary job thank you very much."

"Then do you think you can eat here? A disgrace like you is not welcome in our establishment."

"Disgrace!? I'm Superintendent of my station! Want me to drag you in for-"

"Are you a fine guest? Table for 1? Right this way," Benihime smiled.

"I'm not here to eat either."

"Then get out," Masaru glared.

The woman glared and pulled a police badge out of her pocket. "Then shut down early, I need to talk with all of your staff regarding a case," she glared.

Many of the patrons turned and stared at the exchange. Rika's eyes went wide as she recognized the woman as the same one that was present when she and Dastard escaped from the cryogenics lab.

"Shit! We're in peak business hours. I hope she isn't here because of Mimi," Rika thought as she approached the woman. "What's the problem?" she asked.

The woman glared at Rika and scanned her with her eyes. "So, you're Rika Komachi. I have plenty of questions for you," she glared.

"I overheard something about wanting to talk with our staff. I'm sorry, but we can't just close early for that. You are welcome to have a seat and interview them over a fine meal," Rika offered.

"I refuse to serve her," Masaru glared.

"Don't mind him, he's just in a bad mood. I'll serve you whatever you want."

"Very well, I'll start my questioning with you then," Himawari glared as she sheathed her badge and headed for a private booth.

Once the woman was seated, Rika got into the seat across from her and closed the curtain. "Now who exactly are you?" Rika asked.

"I'm Superintendent Himawari Rikumaru of E-station. I am here to investigate a murder," the woman stated.

Rika's heart began to beat a little faster, as she tried to remain calm. "Are you related to Masaru?" Rika asked.

"Irrelevant. Now regarding the murder, we strongly believe Kazuya Takeda who has been pronounced missing, was murdered. Since your establishment was the last place he was seen, it is natural to assume someone here is responsible for his murder," Himawari stated.

"But why the hell are you saying he's murdered? Maybe someone kidnapped him?"

"No. What happened was we discovered the dastardly thief, Dastard, had been posing as Takeda. He claimed he had gone on a sudden vacation and just come back to look at all his legal documents, but I managed to see through his disguise and unmask him. Sadly, he got away."

"So, the thief kidnapped him. I mean, when he impersonated me, he just tied me up and stuffed me in a closet."

"True, that is his style, and I have read the details on that incident. However, Takeda was 100% murdered."


"Because his remains were found."

"Huh!? No way. I made sure to destroy his remains. She must be bluffing to trip me up. Shit, I better choose my words carefully," Rika thought as she struggled to maintain a straight face.

"Why are you struggling to maintain your composure?" Himawari glared.

"I mean, if I let out a big laugh or smile after hearing that asshole's dead, you'd just start suspecting me of killing him," Rika retorted.

"No, you didn't appear like you were going to do either of those. Rather, you looked shocked, in a fearful kind of way. A way that only a murderer would react!"

"Are you seriously gonna suspect me for doing something as small as THAT!?"

"No, but I do wish to speak with your other staff on the matter once I've gathered your testimony. Now, tell me what happened the night Takeda was murdered."

"Well, after the cook-off, I ran out to yell at him for pepper spraying our customers, but I couldn't catch him. Instead, I ended up chasing after someone else, but realized it wasn't him."

"And who was this?"

"I don't know! Some old guy in a suit."

"And after that?"

"I moped around before heading back to the restaurant."

"Very well, now call in your other employees so that I can question them."


Mimi nervously sat as Himawari glared at her. "ID now!" Himawari demanded. Mimi nervously handed over her ID. "This card looks quite new," Himawari glared.

"Well, I kinda lost my first one and had to get a new one," Mimi nervously laughed.

"Don't harass her too much. She's not the brightest girl, and she's been through a lot," Rika glared.

"I don't care. My instincts are telling me she's suspicious. You are as well," Himawari glared as she returned the ID.

"How so?"

"Your movements. You move more like someone trying to conceal their presence."

"So? Many chefs hunt and kill their food in the wild. Don't you remember we had a crazy teacher back at Tabemono Gakuin that was a big game hunter?"

Himawari immediately gritted her teeth in frustration. "Speaking of cases, a woman that reportedly looked very similar to Hanazawa-san was apparently stolen from a cryogenics lab a few days after Takeda disappeared. Dastard was also involved in that, and curiously enough, appeared to be aided by a woman garbed in a latex bodysuit. Would either of you two happen to know anything about that?" she glared.

"Maybe I should have let Masaru kick her out. This woman's trouble," Rika thought as she peeked out of the curtain and noticed Waki clearing the plates off a table.

Waki took notice and pulled out her phone as she quickly retreated into the kitchen.

"So, are you going to order something besides the mineral water?" Rika asked.

"Do you know anything about that incident?" Himawari asked.

Rika quickly began to agonize in her mind. "Shit, no dice. She's not gonna let up. Hmm, maybe..." "So do you want me to have Masaru come talk to you?" Rika asked.

"No need, I think you are the one-"

"Hey Masaru, your big sis wants to talk with you," Rika hollered.

Himawari's eyes went wide as she stared at Rika. "How!?"

"I mean, you have the same hair as him and look similar to him. Plus, you two were acting like bickering siblings. Now I know everything. You got disowned and blacklisted from the cooking world, so you became a cop," Rika smirked.

"Rika, that woman is a disgrace, not my sister," Masaru glared as he appeared.

"No need to be so harsh. I mean, you are related, and might as well introduce me considering how close the two of us are," Rika smiled as she pressed her breasts up against Masaru's shoulder causing him to go red in the face.

"Ri- Rika!? What are you doing!?"

"Flirting like we always do."

"Fl- FLIRTING!? HAVE YOU NO SHAME!?" Himawari shouted as she slammed her hands on the table.

"Why are you so flustered? Are you a bro-con?" Rika teased.

"NO! And why would that ass even look at a woman like that!?"

"I actually respect Rika's cooking skills. Though I don't approve of her eccentricy, I do believe, that unlike you, she is a great asset to the culinary world," Masaru stated.

"What, did that incident at the museum change something? I heard about how you mistook the thief for her."

"Yes, it taught me that I need to pay more attention to Rika, so I don't mistake a poser for her ever again."

"Well, speaking of paying attention, what happened the night Kazuya Takeda disappeared?"

"He misused our stove and unleashed that horrible pepper spray upon the patrons."

"So that's why you have a "No pepper spray allowed" sign. So, what happened after Rika Komachi left?"

"I was left to serve customers all alone... it was horrible."

"Anything else?"


"Well, you're useless, now get out so I can continue-"

"Thanks for waiting, here's your meal," Waki smiled as she entered and placed a dish before Himawari.

"I never ordered- You... YOU... IS THIS SOME KIND OF INSULT!?" Himawari roared.

"Oh? It seems someone took the liberty of crafting a butter chicken pot pie with naan crust," Masaru mused as he cut a piece for himself and tried it. "Nowhere near my level, but it will pass. The taste is far better than yours was," Masaru glared at Himawari.

Himawari trembled, but eventually gave in and angrily cut a piece and tried it. Tears immediately welled up in her eyes as she recalled the day that brought her so much trauma.


"And here is my dish. It's a butter chicken pot pie with naan crust," Himawari smiled as the judges tried her dish.

"It is good, but Masaru-kun's dish was just so much better," a judge with thinning pink hair cooed.

"A shame, it seems he truly is the one worthy of the Ryono name. This dish is inferior in all aspects to Masaru-kun's dish," Makihara stated.

The final judge angrily glared at Himawari as he placed his fork down. "This is a disgrace! I thought I pounded everything I knew into you, but your skill is THIS inferior to Masaru's?" he shouted.

"I apologize. I am no prodigy, but I am a good-"

"You are NOT a good cook! You perform like an average diner chef at best! I bent over backwards to try and craft you into one of the finest chefs, yet this is all you can do!? I'm disowning you! You are a disgrace to the Ryono family! Get a new name, and never show your face in a culinary institution or restaurant ever again!"

"But Father-"

"I concur with Ryono-dono's words. You are hereby expelled from Tabemono Gakuin and thus blacklisted from the culinary world," Makihara stated.

"I'm disgusted you couldn't even compete with me," Masaru scoffed as Himawari fell to the floor in tears.


"I WANTED TO BE A CHEF DAMMIT! BUT MY DAMN FAMILY KEPT HARPING ON ME BECAUSE I WASN'T UP TO PAR WITH MASARU! WHY!? WHY!? I PUT LOVE AND CARE INTO MY DISH! NOT EVERYONE CAN COOK LIKE A PRODIGY!" Himawari cried as she smacked the chicken pot pie away before running out of the restaurant, completely forgetting about her investigation.

"Nice save Waki, though how'd you know this would send her packing?" Rika asked.

"I asked Itsuki and as soon as I found out, I whipped this sucker up. Wish she didn't smack it onto the floor," Waki sighed.

"Well, at least Masaru said it was good. Besides, most of it is still edible," Rika shrugged as she began eating the pot pie.

"Rika, I understand you wish to not let food go to waste, but must you really eat off the floor?" Masaru groaned.

"Hey, the pot pie deserves to be honored for driving that bitch away."

"Very well, I will leave the pot pie to you," Masaru sighed.

Mario Nakano 64
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