Chapter 2 – The First Challenge
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    Most of the classroom's eyes had been glued to the Top student within Sekai-Ryouri. Rena Koboko was a woman who had proved on a number of occasions that her cooking was worth the reputation she's garnered.

    Watching her cook was like watching a play on Broadway. The way in which she minced and diced ingredients, the ease with which she created a number of aromas to build hunger within everyone in the classroom, it was incredible to see how she managed to manipulate the entire classroom's senses with such ease.

    "...tch."

      Rena finally rose her head from the supplies she worked over, taking the sharp blade within her hand and pointing it towards the crowd that had gathered around her, "The hell are you watching me for? Get to cooking."

    Almost as if her words were that of a god's itself, everyone scurried off and away to their own stations, desperate to come up with an idea that could've even compared to Rena's work.

    Before she could return to her work, she was interrupted for a second time, though instead of 17 sets of eyes, it was only one. Rena glared at the instructor stepping over, sighing with both of his hands on his hips, "Koboko-san, please, just for once, could you-"

      "Move away." Rena cut him off sharply, very quickly reaching the final stages of her work, "I am cooking, and you're distracting me."

    "But Miss Koboko-"

      "My opinion probably doesn't hold any weight, your highness..."

    Both Rena, and the instructor looked behind themselves to see Roma standing right there, holding his own half-finished dish, "But maybe not making everyone hate you might be a good idea."

   

    Then, similar to the attitude that Rena had carried this point, he scrunched his nose, and looked at Rena with moderate annoyance,

    "You don't need to make friends, but please get off that precious throne you sit atop of."

    "..." Rena turned her back to him. The teacher dragged his feet as he gave up and went back to the front of the classroom. She took the fresh parsley that she had minced prior to their coming over, and placed it atop her dish, turning to reveal just what she was working on. With the layered pasta, warm tomato sauce within, and melted parmesan and mozzarella topping, there was no mistaking that she had created lasagna that had passed the eye-test with flying colors.

    After transferring it to a plate, she took it and began walking to the front, not even glancing at Roma who was still in her area as she walked.

    But, she did have a rebuttal to his words. Without a break in her stride, she replied to him.

    "I don't need an opinion from a single goddamn soul on Earth."

    Roma whipped around, but Rena had nothing left to offer him, finally making it to the front of the room. She was quick to place down her plate and turn away, making the instructor jump, "W-Wait Koboko-san, I have to grade your dish! You should stay and-"

    "I will not." She stated definitely, cutting off her superior yet again, "I know my grade. I know my cooking. And I don't care to see the rest of it." As she spoke, she ventured to the back, grabbing her jacket and slinging it over her shoulders. The teacher tried arguing further, but Rena clammed up by that point, over the entire ordeal.

    Roma glanced at her from out the corner of his eye, watching as she made her way to the front door. He wondered what it was like to be so self-sufficient, but to be honest, her arrogance kinda annoyed him. He sighed as he finished his own dish, but did make sure to keep an ear out, wanting to hear what the teacher thought of her dish. He couldn't help but chuckle to himself, imagining if she had fucked this up entirely, and she was carrying herself in such a gaudy fashion just to have flunked. She definitely needed to get knocked down by a peg or two, and nothing would accomplish that like a humiliation while the whole class watched.

    Finally, it was time for the moment of truth. The teacher finally took a fork and knife and cut up a portion of the lasagna, all while Rena placed her hand on the door handle. There was a pause, and the man grit his teeth. The class watched as he doubled over, letting the silverware hit his desk.

    "This dish..." He began. Rena went from glancing at him, to turning back around, opening the door.

    "Passes with flying colors." They stated in unison.

    Rena took a step outside of the classroom, turning back to her instructor afterwards, "I know. I always know." She stated plainly, though this time, it wasn't with the disrespectful zing that she was so accustomed to using. The instructor himself came to his feet, looking towards her eagerly, contrary to his dull and uninterested expressions earlier, "I can't wait to taste something better from you! Reach new heights, you own the sky!"

    The golden glint in Rena's eyes seemed to dull after his words, and she slid a hand under the sleeve of her jacket, narrowing her eyes afterwards. "I'm leaving." She muttered with a grimace, getting ready to kick the door closed behind her.

    "Not just yet, Miss Koboko."

    Rena paused and looked over her shoulder at the man who had shown to be a nuisance since before the class even began. With the golden glow slowly returning to her eyes, she watched Roma march to the front with his own dish, placing it in front of the instructor, who seemed a bit timid to try his food on the heels of something as mind-blowing as what Rena had to offer.

    Though the execution differed, their dishes weren't drastically different from one another. Whereas Rena went with lasagna, Roma presented a ravioli dish, though his was far less visually appealing. The instructor couldn't help but pause. Compared to a beautiful dish like Rena's, having two stuffed pockets of pasta didn't exactly tickle the creative side of his brain... but perhaps that was a blessing in itself.

    He figured that this would be a good time to make an example out of Roma, even despite the fact that he was only on his first day. It would've been nice to show the contrast between a seasoned professional, and a rookie who was way too confident.

    That's why he didn't even do Roma the favor of slicing the ravioli open, eating it whole. Considering there was no sauce, it was bound to be dr-

    "!..."

      The instructor froze within his chair, with his jaw following. After a moment, he took a few experimental chews... and finally after that, a few other eager ones, before he downed the pocket with the same shocked expression he had since the first bite.

    "This is..." He glanced towards Roma, who nodded with a smirk.

    "Yep." He replied, winking at the teacher, "Ravioli stuffed with marinara and parmesan. Not the most daring of dishes, but certainly something I felt appropriate for the first class..."

      That's when Roma turned around to everyone else, noticing how everyone's eyes were glued to the front despite the fact that their own dishes were soon to be complete.

    "That's why," He continued, pointing towards his back table, "I made enough for everyone to try it! A welcoming gift from me to you!"

    As there was an assortment of cheers that erupted from a portion of the class, Roma turned back around, to both the teacher, and the woman standing just outside the room, "That goes for you too, y'know." He told Rena, smirking towards the end of his sentence.

    She had to admit, the stunt did manage to fly under her radar, but when he brought the attention back to her, any semblance of interest that he managed to get from her, all but evaporated. Rena fully turned her back to him, placing her hands fully into her pockets at this point.

    "I don't want to eat anything that you prepare." After her words, she finally began to pivot, starting to walk away from the classroom, and away from the situation entirely. Both Roma and the teacher watched as she left, and after 20 seconds of silence from outside the classroom, they could comfortably admit that she was gone.

      They both shared a collective sigh of defeat, but the teacher finally did acknowledge him again, "This dish is good! You also pass with flying colors, it was an amazing first impression on my tastebuds!.."

    Roma smiled at the praise he was given, but watched as the teacher's fork went from his own plate, to the dish that Rena's lasagna was served on, "Though... you still have a ways to go if you want to surpass Koboko-san," As he spoke, he took another portion of the plated meal that she provided, giddying happily to himself like a child after each bite, "and I'm sure that's what you're aiming for, right?"

    Roma stared blankly at his instructor, his smile fading away quite quickly after seeing how much he was indulging in Rena's creation.

    And Rena herself ascended the staircases until she was on the roof. The girl removed her jacket with a huff and sat down in a corner, pinching her skin the same way she had done in class a bit ago. Her golden eyes shut as she felt the warm breeze of fall blow her black hair backwards.

    "Fuck that class."

    Before long, all students were allowed to present their dishes, and before class ended, the top 4 dishes were ranked.

-

4th: Miko Suzuki and Saburo Ito

3rd: Arthur Roma

2nd: Yuuta Sarito and Itsuki Saito

1st: Rena Koboko

-

    Roma hissed at the prospect of not even finishing in second, but he'd get over it soon enough. As tough a pill as it was to swallow at this very moment, he could hold his head high and grin with excitement since it meant that there was plenty of competition to go around. 'Yuuta', 'Itsuki', 'Saburo' and 'Miko' weren't thrown around too much during class, so he wasn't able to place faces to names at this very moment, but that was alright - he'd just keep an ear out for them next time.

    Even in defeat, he could exhale in relief. Roma was excited to realize that this school year was going to be quite the ride.

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