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The Fall-Fattened Tiger: Chapter 1

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E6 - 6 This article contains HEAVY spoilers. Please view at your own risk.

This is Chapter 1 of "Fall-Fattened Tiger" from Volume 2 of the Toradora! Spin-Off Light Novel series.

Transcript

Takasu Ryuuji remembered.

Come to think of it, it might be that in the beginning, her appetite for food was what brought them together.

"Hmm...."

It wasn't friendship, nor love, yet could he remember correctly just how this strange, family-like relationship, solid yet complex, came to be? It was ...

"Hmmm......"

... to be precise, perhaps, fried rice. Indeed, it was fried rice. It started with that unforgettable but awful night, and then feeding her fried rice at three in the morning.

"Hmmmm......."

"Hey, that's enough. It’s fresh food, if you keep it in your hand like that it’s going to go bad, and the other customers will be annoyed at you."

"Shut up!"

Overwhelmed, he sadly kept quiet. Though he had a strong reply on his lips, he thought that perhaps it would be better to hold his tongue. "Shhhh!" Huffing through her bared fangs, Aisaka Taiga again... "Hmm......" ...swallowing her anguish.

In that small right hand there was a chunk of pork shoulder roast. In the left hand a pork-loin block. Shoulder roast if we make homemade chashu (and, make simple curry with the broth), pork-loin if we cook trotter for Japanese style kakuni, so WHICH ONE!!? Forced by Ryuuji to decide, Taiga was looking over the pork on the meat counter, slowly freaking-out.

Light and fluffy waves of hair reaching her waist, transparent milky-white skin, she had a refined beauty like a French doll. Short for a second-year high school student, the whorl in her hair didn’t quite reach Ryuuji’s chest. Combined with a petite build, Taiga was rather cute today. With those big chunks of meat in both hands, thinking about what to do with that simple mind, "I would just as soon eat both...", Taiga is a beautiful girl, of course.

An exceptionally beautiful girl, and...

"Ummm......Ahhh......! I give up, I can't decide! Ryuuji, it's your choice! Because you’re making it, and are a better judge with that pig-nose sniffer working, you choose delicious things! Now do it!"

...rather bossy.

"Who has a pig-nose!? No way. Well then, cheaper it will be. Today roast, we'll make chashu. It's decided."

".....!?"

"What? What’s up? You want kakuni now? In that case I don't care,"

"....!"

“What’s up, seriously? Don't you really agree with roast? Sounds good to me! Good, it’s decided. Let’s go."

Comparing the cuts of meat in both hands, not wanting to let them go, Taiga finally shouted "Hya!" and closing her eyes, she returned the pork loin block to the meat counter. At that, Ryuuji dropped the chunk of roast into the basket.

" … Hya!’ … ?"

"Let’s leave already, let’s go quickly, we’re done. If you stay here you’ll get lost again! I’m starving, so I hope you don’t take forever cooking! Go for chashu! After that, what will we have for sides?! Potato salad or macaroni salad would be good!"

Yanking the edge of Ryuuji’s basket, Taiga left the meat section with her eyes looking rather desperate. … Leaving still rather regretfully, at the last moment looking back to where the pork loin was. Ryuuji was by now a little exasperated.

"You’re really something, saying you’re hungry lately, pretending it isn’t just greed, eh?"

"Dirty!? That's really cheeky! What can be said about this lowly, vulgar, taxing, bumpkin, this pig-dog block of rotten meat!"

--- Wasn't that a bit abusive?

Before he could reply, she gave Ryuuji a deep poke in both eyes.

"My eyes, my eyes!"

"You’re a bad person; you should repent. Ha! What's with the drama, you completely disagreeable rascal? Hold on, aren’t you embarrassed? People are watching."

She poked him in the eye up to the second joint!… Scary… Those public high-school uniforms over there!… and so on, women look away… everybody averted their gaze, even with his eyes closed it must certainly have hurt. Ryuuji was in the middle of the store aisle, in pain, a figure in school uniform with his eyes pushed in, crouching, unable to get up. It hurt, it didn’t hurt, it hurt to death.

Arms crossed in zama style, Taiga sneered down at him in contempt. A most evil, violent, tyrannical, brutal and strong wild beast --- indeed, she was also known as the ”Palmtop Tiger”. That she is known by that name probably bothers the tigers.

"You really complain. Well, OK. Because of my super good pure and gentle heart, I’ll gather and bring up the purchases for you. I got so hungry during your little show that I got rather anti-social. … Whatever else, you’re sure a lucky guy, what with me helping you out with the shopping. Shouldn’t you be grateful? Don’t you see? But that’s okay, because I feel I should, from now on I am going to help you as much as I possibly can."

Hmph. So she says.

… Come down now, fire and brimstone!

Ryuuji’s scary eyes glittered like crazy, glaring at Taiga as if they were about to spout blood. Incidentally, his eyes were simply bad genes, and his eyes were red only because they had just been poked badly. Unfortunately, since he didn’t actually have demons in the family, he couldn’t curse anybody. At that very instant,

"Gyaa!"

Taiga fell on her rear. Everything in the aisle within one meter in front of her went flying. Of course, it wasn’t divine punishment. It was simply Taiga’s clumsiness. Ryuuji’s resentment was forgotten in a hurry, drawing near and reaching out to Taiga,

"Oh, are you OK?"

"… wha… eh! From that shock now I know! Today we will make kakuni of course!"

"… is, is that so?"

Taiga’s greed was showing again.

In the basket she replaced the shoulder roast with the pork loin, added the ingredients for macaroni salad, milk, eggs for making tomorrow’s lunch, ham, spinach and some cheap pasta. And now her eyes rested upon some kinds of seasonal mushrooms. Thicker mushrooms are cheaper, but these ones,

"Oh, these shimeji…! These maitake! Such huge shiitake! The trumpet mushrooms are big too! Look at this fine bunapii root… of course it tastes like fall! Let’s make mushroom sauce!"

By the mushroom counter, Ryuuji, pain in his eyes forgotten, almost leaping for joy, began fishing. Taiga’s eyes also glittered while she brought out her hands,

"Truly delicious! As usual, seasonal stuff is the best! Ryuuji, this one too, this one too!"

"Oh, that too, that too! Eh? What’s that!?"

In her hand was a wooden box of matsutake. Quickly taking it from Taiga’s hand, he quietly and unobtrusively put it back on it the counter.

Indeed, the season was fall. Here and there in the supermarket plastic maple-tree ornaments were installed; over by the fish-counter housewives gathered for fresh saury. Incidentally, with regards to the Takasu family, saury was last night’s feast. Sizzling crispy broiled skin, body covered with thick fat, drizzled in soy sauce, with plenty of grated radish and sudachi too…

"... Chestnut rice… and mushroom curry perhaps ... !"

"...Waa...!"

Ryuuji filled a bag with nice round chestnuts, then was attracted, as if in a dream, to the long line for saury. Taiga was hypnotized by it too, and followed. And, lined up in a row next to the chestnuts on display, big bunches of white grapes, their sweet smell a torment.

"Uwaa... looks good! I rather like that, grapes… man, why does fall have so many yummy things!?"

"I really love grapes too! Well, shall we buy some!? … It can be dessert!"

"Eh, eh, eh… no… way! Seven hundred eighty yen, that’s still expensive!"

Grabbing only chestnuts, Ryuuji escaped, pulling his eyes away from the grapes. Such is fall, when speaking of fall cravings. Taiga’s appetite is a strange thing, seeming a base greed, a awful spirit, but it is not. For myself too, and everybody else is pretty much the same.

Speaking of the fall harvest, seasonal things are naturally delicious (amongst other things), and your body, done in by the summer heat, finally gets back into condition and begins to want wholesome energy.

That is what they call fall. Horses also get fat, you might say.

"OK, let’s pay the bill. Since it’s crowded, just wait by the exit!"

"OK!"

Once Taiga had left, Ryuuji got in the line for the cash register, mixed in with the housewives. On top of the basket was a tote bag, so he indicated that he didn’t need a bag from the register. To this point, there was completely no hesitation in his manner.

With his fatherless upbringing, Ryuuji’s housekeeping experience is no less than five years, even though he’s only in his second-year in high school. Since this last spring, acting as a real mother for another person, had only increased his abilities. And from the first, that person with the evil bloodshot eyes tolerated the eating and eye-poking.

"Welcome! Do you have a point-card?"

"Yes, I have one."

"Well... kyaa!"

"..."

The cashier yelped --- just once: women are getting better these days. Choosing the seasonal ingredients is fun and all, but besides cooking, general housework is what Ryuuji loves. He doesn’t think a little bit of shopping is a problem. Thinking about menus, thinking about nutrition, thinking about which season it is while comparing this and that, making decisions. More than some clumsy game, the abuse Ryuuji received was an impressive spectacle.

Carrying his basket filled with things for cooking, with a good-humored look on his face, he looked around for Taiga.

"…Ou!"

Ryuuji jumped instinctively.

Certainly fall is here – fall’s appetite is here. Here--, waving to Taiga’s form, could not help but be truly surprised. In spite of the fact that dinner was coming, and in spite of the kakuni he was going to make, Taiga was waiting for Ryuuji those few extra minutes at the corner of the bakery in front of the supermarket, standing there eating a muffin.

"Ah, there were sweet potato muffins. In season." See ya!

"What are you eating!? From here we’re going to eat!"

"It’s OK, come on, come on! We’ll just use a little less rice."

She stretched her mouth around the muffin to bite it, but suddenly Taiga said "Ha!" and her face got serious.

"What’s up? What’s happening?"

"What shall I do? My throat is dry."

"Yeah, that muffin-something you were greedily standing and eating there, would surely make you thirsty. Have patience until we get to the house, then we can put on some tea."

"...What shall we do? I would like try a latte. Look, over there, in the park there’s a coffee shop."

"What!? The way it is, I’ve decided no way! From here we’re going to eat! Take a look at my shape! Don’t you have pork!?"

"Right away, it’s next. Just chill, alright? I tell you, if you have some, you’ll be satisfied. You don’t even need sugar. My treat! You were the one who said he liked the coffee over there! Let’s have some, OK?"

On and on she went, while packing muffin in her mouth, Taiga took Ryuuji along with her, they indeed went to the café. The plan was to get a latte without sugar. Somehow, when they saw the menu, "Wow, they’ve got Cinnamon Maple Cream Latte!", they said, naming the most incredible thing they saw, moreover Ryuuji took the opportunity to wash his hands, "Come now! Fall’s latest product, pumpkin roll cake! By request, de-li-ci-ous!"

...Indeed, fall seems to be here.

It looks like fall’s appetite has arrived too.

Fried rice was the catalyst. The very beginning was Taiga’s appetite. Everything came together eventually when she snuck into the house late at night, Taiga fainted from hunger, when he made fried rice his luck ran out. Ryuuji’s mastery of cooking caught Taiga’s eye, and since then, the Takasu home had another sort-of member that came every day to eat. Speaking of that appetite, it was truly becoming a problem. Where in her petite body that chowhound was putting it all was pretty much a wonder.

Back to the present. Greeting fall’s appetite, Aisaka’s appetite was also rather bottomless. That night’s kakuni supper also, "Seconds!" "Seconds!" "Seco..." "...time to stop" "...nds!", the cooker’s chestnut rice continued there until it turned color.

Well, isn’t it healthier than no appetite? I was thinking, if there are leftovers, I wouldn't be able to avoid saying something, but --– Ryuuji was bad manneredly eating the boiled rice from the ladle with his front teeth. Taiga gulped down Ryuuji’s extra portion. Come to think of it, this week Ryuuji’s not had a single refill. If you think about it well, it’s a good thing, Ryuuji one bowl, Yasuko one bowl, the two of them together seemed like one person. Since he was always cooking for three, Taiga came to eat as if she were two people.

"Ahh... that was good, that was good... and tea?"

Taiga stretched out under the low dining table, lazily seated, the bottom of her UNIQLO sweatshirt showing a little. Come to think of it, in the past few days many people had begun to notice this style. Up to this point, Taiga had normally chosen foolish frilly layered one-piece dresses.

While getting up once again to clean the bowls, Ryuuji tried to casually ask, "I’ve just been noticing, but lately you have been taking it easy, don’t you think?"

Taiga twitched. There was a moment’s silence, but then right away, similarly casual, "…Hmm? Ah, more or less. I tried to wear it once, since it was easy. For some reason or other. Well, it doesn’t matter, since I always wear either a one-piece or casual clothing, right? Look, I only come here to eat. I just want to take it easy. … What should I do… It’s OK, right...?"

"That’s alright, it doesn’t matter. Yeah, take it easy. Your clothes are all so blasted expensive, aren’t they usually a bit excessive anyway?"

"Y, yes..."

“Look, pass me that plate. Help clear, and I’ll wipe the table.”

"...OK..."

In the Takasu house, the fall evening continues on...

* * *


"Are you eating something again?"

"Keep quiet. What does it have to do with you?"

The next day, the familiar room of the second-year class C was noisy with break-time buzz. The distracting voices resounding all around, Taiga was sitting by herself at her desk, putting some almond chocolate into her pack. Ryuuji didn’t want to unintentionally say anything along the way finding fault. Certainly nothing about relationships,

"Hey you, didn’t you eat anything during break-time? Are you alright, really?"

"I’m fine, what’s up?"

"My stomach’s upset. My stomach’s restless because I ate too much before, the hospital emergency room was awful, wasn’t it?"

"Don’t worry. We're only human, and that’s how one learns."

"Fufun", while trying to look up at Ryuuji in contempt, Taiga took out a small bottle of stomach medicine, which had 'Take after drinking like a fish and eating like a horse!' boldly written on it.

"Anyway, look, wipe your mouth. It’s indecent…"

"Shut up! Get away from me!"

"You should carry some tissues with you anyway."

Ryuuji felt quite like a parent. In spite of her complaints, he handed her a tissue from his pocket, "wipe, wipe, this area", he motioned against his own face, pointing at his own mouth, showing her the place with chocolate on it. "Eh? Here?", said Taiga, wiping the opposite side. "Nope, here", said Ryuuji, pointing at her mouth with a different finger, and, and there, done.

"...Ah?"

That’s when it was. And for the first time, looking straight at Taiga’s face, at point blank range, he noticed.

"...W, what...?"

"What? Where, here? This area? ...Did it come off? Or is it still there?"

Taiga noisily licked the chocolate off the edges of her lips once again, looking upwards curiously at Ryuuji’s face stiffly staring at her. Ryuuji froze, his brows knitting, looking hard at Taiga’s face. He froze. It seemed like all the chocolate was gone, and though Taiga was scrubbing and wiping around her mouth with the tissue, that wasn’t it. That wasn’t it. That was no longer the topic already.

"Stop. ...You. ...You, well..."

"Eh?"

"... You... what’s going on?"

Ryuuji took hold of Taiga’s wrist, gently holding her back. "A little too familiar, aren't we!", said Taiga (naturally), baring her fangs.

"...just as I thought..."

Ryuuji, took his hand away, staring and overcome with surprise. When he grabbed Taiga’s wrist, what an odd plumpness, ...what he felt before, in the moment when he grabbed her wrist, "helpless" or "petite" or "I knew you would break it accidentally if you tried hard", that feeling completely left. How terrible, fa...fat, ness...

"Taiga..."

"...disgusting. Look at this!"

He stared at Taiga’s white face. Taiga, with a strange touch of awkwardness, looked the other way. She’s pretty, he thought. She had big eyes, a refined nose, lips like flower petals too, and today she was also dressed nicely. Taiga is always a beautiful person. But, strangely, isn’t that area rather rounded? Her jaw line was sharp and hard, like cut glass, but now there’s a surprising curve around the neck. Proper for supporting such a small face, her neck was slender, graceful like a crane or swan, perhaps not quite so much, more like what… a duck? ...Sort of.

"...you..."

Gulp, Ryuuji stared straight at Taiga’s eyes, looking at her sharply. And, "Is there a little bit more of you?"

Say it.

"...you must have gained some weight..."

Said.

He went and said it.

He looked down at Taiga’s shaking shoulders. Ryuuji slowly bent his body, methodically and gently looking for alterations to her uniform jacket stitching.

"...Oh...!"

"Well, you’re wrong! It's no big deal!"

There is no mistake. And not only that: Her skirt hook was undone. The fastener was not closed. Her neat waist was undone.

"Summer clothes made to the same size because, look, I’m not wearing winter clothes underneath! It’s simply too tight."

"...Whatcha wearin’? What, are, you wearing...?"

"...Ca, cami..."

Fat.

Taiga, fat.

Which at this point was not surprising. It’s only natural, to the extent she was eating, eating and eating, that she would naturally gain weight, even ignoring her idle lifestyle. Rather, that until now he hadn’t been aware of Taiga getting fat was a wonder. Isn’t this kind of thing alright for a grown woman? It’s no excuse. Ryuuji was about to open his mouth and talk about Taiga getting her just desserts, --- but he stopped. He swallowed what he was about to say. His thoughts were spinning.

Who prepares Taiga’s meals?

I do.

Who manages Taiga’s daily life?

I do.

...That which was from the start a vain hope, was no longer, as it was now a fact. Grim reality. Taiga simply covers part of the monthly expenses. You cannot escape responsibility. In other words, Taiga’s getting fat... was his fault?

Great. The ground under Ryuuji’s feet was shifting. Health management is housewife’s work, and the first principle of cooking is health. Nonetheless, nonetheless, she gained weight. Entrusted from out of the blue with a young lady, and from his cooking, under his care, she seems to have gotten fat! His pride crumbling down around him, his "you make a rather good housewife" conceit collapsing, Ryuuji’s ego itself made a rattling noise as it fell apart. Spoiled brats getting gifts of soda, meats and candy, chubby elementary school students with their splendid metabolisms completely finished --- In time, he would wind up looking like a typical bad parent like you see on television. He stared at his hands, angrily shaking.

"B...B...Because I’ve eaten freely...! Because of that, you've gotten fat...!"

What!? Taiga’s eyes got real big.

"Hold on, why don’t you stop that!? I am not getting fat! I’m not joking, I don’t have the genes for getting fat! Recently the food’s been really good! That’s the truth! There’s been plenty too! That’s the truth too! What with potatoes, pumpkins, chestnuts, fall truly is my favorite time! But with my muscles, how much I eat doesn’t affect my body very much."

"In fact you would have to, with all your heart! Ah! I understand now … it was because you were wearing UNIQLO!? Those clothes looked baggy!"

”… ---♪”

Taiga held her tongue, turning the other way and whistling.

"Youuuuu, you, you,… you, what are you doing? Ten thousand already, twenty thousand already, making frilly dresses you can’t wear, you, you, you... ah! WHAT A WAAAASTE!!"

Going crazy, Ryuuji was fainting in agony. Tiptoe, he spun around like a top. "What’s going on with Taka-chan?" "Must be puberty..." In the background, the carefree voices of their friends could be heard. It’s awful! Nobody understands his pain, this time enough to tear the top off his head.

"What’s wrong Takasu-kun? If you get too excited you’ll give yourself a stroke!"

"...!"

A voice calling from behind, right behind. Turning around, Ryuuji was about to die.

"Oh, you’re eating chocolate. Yooo! Have tea with me, yo!"

Pretty! And pointing her finger and winking at Taiga is seen a strange girl, Kushieda Minori – strange but funny, shining on Ryuuji like the sun. A spinning, sparkling golden goddess. Cute and bright, he had an unrequited love and admiration for her; it was Taiga’s buddy Minori.

"Minorin..."

"What’s up, how’re ya doin’ Taiga. Look here! Girl chocolate! Can I have some?"

"Y, yes..."

"Hehe, then one piece stolen. I’ve recently gained some weight, so my diet warrior self is coming back to life. Ah, but, too well! Could I have another?"

"Here you go, here you go..."

Minori’s whole face a smile, she tossed Taiga’s chocolate into her mouth, one piece after another.

"Ku, Kushieda…"

"What’s up, Takasu-kun?"

"... Why don’t you take the rest of Taiga’s chocolate…recently that one’s been eating a lot."

"Eh? That’s OK, I’ve got enough already. What matters most is that I am a diet warrior, as I said a moment ago."

With a smiling face, Ryuuji’s gaze returned from Taiga’s box of chocolates to the form of Minori and stayed there. Hair curled up around the shoulders, dark suntan finally missing from her face, both eyes glittering brightly, well-formed body wrapped in a school uniform, very very, aah, how cute... well, becoming. That’s not it, that’s not the case now.

"... Kushieda diets when she needs to. Where’s the extra weight?"

"But I do! You can’t see my belly nor my thighs, which is where things usually go south. Really, with me forever worrying about diets, I’m seriously not in danger. I tell you that I love to eat, from the start I’ve been the eating type. I feel relaxed at the moment, but wait wait wait wait..."

"... Taiga, too, because she loves to eat, is really the eating type..."

"But Taiga eats yet stays thin naturally, right? Like, she has such slender tapering bones, like, completely, eternally beautiful girl’s fragrance floating about, petite, like. I’m really jealous."

"...Slender? Petite? ... Really, truly, is that so? You don’t really notice the things that are always around you."

"Takasu-kun buddy, that’s nonsense, look! Taiga’s here today as always, slender, petite..."

Looking back, Minori laughed while staring at Taiga.

Taiga averted her eyes.

"...Oh...? Taiga’s appearance..."

Minori gripped Taiga’s chin, turning it up. Licking her lips while staring, she then turned it down also. Taiga was at her mercy, but couldn’t utter even a word of complaint. Eventually Minori let go, one word, "Aiyaaa..." was all she said. Then she turned to face Ryuuji.

"Takasu-kun. Tonight will be the judgment!"

"...for sure?"

"What then? It can be awful when Minorin becomes Ryuuji’s guru! Judging what!?"

Finally Taiga got up and kicked her seat. Pock, round cheeks inflated, clinging to Minori’s chest, like she were trying to throw a tantrum to put your teeth on edge.

"You have no idea, … do you?"

"I have no idea!"

Minori had no choice but to bite back, shake her head and cry out, "---Don’t leave! Black Amin!"

It had to be an accident, but such incredible timing for once! The classroom door opened with a creak, and conversation in a beautiful voice gave a flowery atmosphere to 2-C. Kawashima Ami appeared. Accompanied by her good friends Kihara Maya and Kashii Nanako, while rubbing on hand cream,

"Yawn... the next class is math? I’m tired, perhaps I’ll sleep~"

"Now there, Ami-chan, tomorrow’s Saturday, we’ll have the day off so hang in there."

"Is that so ♥? Anyway, I’m looking forward to tomorrow ♥."

The attention of all the guys was greedily grabbed by that sweet voice. That person, with the wonderfully well shaped hourglass figure. Her long, straight, glossy hair glistened. Glowing the color of lilac flowers, with skin fair beyond pearls. Her eyes were like jewels, watery like a Chihuahua’s. Ami looked like an active-duty high school girl model, smiling while she made her entrance, even classroom’s hazy air, smelling of gym shoes, could be seen changing at once for the better.

And that angel’s glance, it was casually directed at Taiga. Anything interesting? She tossed her head once and averted her gaze, however,

"...Eh!?"

She did a double take. She looked everything over really quick, not even needing her unnaturally twisted insight. Then the angel strode over. "Nya~", she said, giving a peek at her true nature. "Taiga?", she said, grinning maliciously.

"W, what is it, Baka-chii! Don’t you dare come closer! I’ll go berserk!"

She was getting ferocious.

"Hey, Taiga-chan… I’m getting a feeling, but... are you, perhaps, lately... gaining weight?"

"!?"

Hahahahahahaha--- ☆ That so figures, she gained weight! -- ☆ Fall appetite is so funny! -- ☆ Ami’s body shook and twisted, she was laughing so hard.

"Shh! Stop that, Ami-chan, it’s not that bad if it’s said clearly! Everybody’s in shock from how you said it!"

Nanako now came up to make extra sure.

"It’s OK, Taiga-chan. As a slightly plumper person, you may be able to get one of the boys your own age, really. ...Personally, I prefer upperclassmen."

Grinning, with a strangely seductive smile, she ignored Taiga’s attempts to shoo her away.

"S, stop it! Your mole is going to touch me!"

Taiga shook off Nanako’s hand, scowling at Ami. She summoned the awful wicked witch to Minori.

"Blasted Baka-chi--, I am not fat! That can’t be right!"

"Hey you, don’t you even realize? If that’s the case, Ami-chan is going to show you. You’ve lately been gaining weight? Seriously. This is only about eating, right?"

Ami had casually confiscated the box of almond chocolate a little bit ago. Taiga was trying with all her might to take it back,

"It, it wasn’t just chocolate that made me gain weight!"

Let’s show her! At that signal, "Ah...", "Really...", "Oh...!", Ami, Maya and Nanoko, 2-C’s official pretty-girl trio, tried to show off their slender waists, standing in a line, arm-to-arm as A-Team.

"Taiga--, you know what? My dinner last night. Bamboo shoots it was, bamboo shoots.".

"For me, shiitake mushrooms. Black tea afterwards."

"And I had lotus roots!"

"Oh...", Ryuuji shuddered instinctively. Minori also shuddered. Especially Taiga, staring at the three girls as if she were seeing a ghost. "Fuu", Ami took a breath and continued.

"As a result, we girls always have a body fat percentage of 10%. Our clothing is size 7. That’s a Small. Our bluejeans have 24-inch waists. ... Because we want to be that way, we are always denying ourselves to the max. Carbohydrates morning and noon only. If by chance after school we go for tea, that evening we have some 27 kcal seaweed soup from the vendor at the train station. Without tea, the evening is what matters, up to 400 kcal. If there’s time, we may go walking, work with a balance-ball, do pelvic exercises, enlist Billy, or go to the gym. In short, we super, super, super deny ourselves. We go to great lengths. I can’t stand it that someone like you, who’s eating all the time, can wind up with the same figure as we have! Without effort, without self-denial, you do the impossible. With baggage like that, you should be super fat. That’s really good ♥"

This could frankly and truly be called a delicate matter. Ryuuji gasped, then laughed aloud at the sight of Ami. Miss Witch was summoned to the fore, but Minori, looking startled, gave a signal for everybody to stop. And she reached over to Taiga, who had suffered ten minutes of all kinds of shocks,

"Oy, it’s about time for the lesson. Are you prepared? Ami, get back to your seat, too. Takasu, how long are you going to wander about? ...Hey, Aisaka. I just noticed, but recently the atmosphere has been pretty healthy. Why does it seem you’re a bit rounder?"

"Heeeeeeeeeeeeee!", she squeaked. It was the final blow. The class president Yuusaku Kitamura was the origin of this sudden sexual harassment that was completely free of ill-will, but equally free of any delicacy. Nowadays this overly serious person with an unusual pudding-bowl haircut, his clean-cut handsome face hidden by silver-rimmed glasses, to tell you the truth, is Taiga’s crush. He’s Ryuuji’s friend, too.

Hurriedly propping up Taiga, who was dizzy and starting to faint, Ryuuji reflexively became indignant.

"Ta, Taiga, don’t do anything rash… Hey, Kitamura! Idiot! Where's your tact?!"

"Eh? What?"

"What else? You! You! Idiot!"

"Eh? Idiot? ... Oh, this...!"

And then, exhaustion. Kitamura’s pant’s zipper was wide open, revealing his shirt-tail.

"...Taiga... Oi, are you OK? By any chance did you see anything of Kitamura’s zone?"

"I didn’t see anything... I didn’t see, but, Ryuuji, Minorin... I... I... I have gained weight... I’m overweight... I already knew! No, in truth I did it! I can’t run from it!"

Sinking into to her chair, Taiga buried her head in her hands.

"Taiga… what’s done is done. I understand... You must go on a diet. I’ll do it with you. We’ll do it together. I’ll make sure it happens."

"Try!" Teary eyed, but with her head raised, Taiga cried, defeated.

"Gyaaa! No way! Bamboo shoots, shiitake, lotus roots, no way!"

It seems the pretty-girl trio had planted a bit too much trauma in Taiga. Minori was revealed as a true friend, gently patting that head.

"It’s OK, Taiga! Leave it to the veteran diet warrior Minorin. We can come up with a fun plan that doesn’t require us to be so extreme about what foods we eat!"

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