- [Thirty Minutes Later] -
It had taken him thirty minutes to cook up his first test dish with Isshiki watching from the side. Playing the dish, he set it on the counter.
"Spinach Artichoke Wontons. Eat up." He said simply as he handed Isshiki a pair of chopsticks.
"Wontons?" The brown haired boy asked as he looked at it.
"Though it's an appetizer in American cuisine, with a little twist it can be served as a main dish." Soran explained as Isshiki picked up one of the wontons, throwing it in his mouth.
Taking a bite, his eyes immediately widened in shock. 'T-this is…' he thought taking another wonton to eat.
"…delicious!" He yelled in delight as he began literally shoveling the remaining into his mouth as Soran stared blankly.
"There's something in these wontons…" he trailed off, looking one that he had taken a bite off, his eyes focused on the red coating on the inner walls of the wontons.
"That's a special bland of sauce I made to go with it using Sichuan peppercorns:. Though vegetarian meals are mostly calm, there's nothing wrong with a little heat to keep you wanting more." He explained as Isshiki took the last piece that was on the plate.
"Wonderful!" Isshiki exclaimed with a content look on his face as Soran's eye twitched.
"You didn't even let me taste it." He complained as Isshiki paled in realization.
"I apologize!" He cried out, tears somehow coming from his eyes yet not looking regretful at all. 'This flavor…is he really just a first year?'
"Uh-huh." He drawled blankly as Isshiki suddenly turned serious, tears disappearing.
"Yukihira Soran, I heard about your speech. You said you'll become the number one in Totsuki. Your words will carry real weight from now on. At this academy, cooking is everything." He said mysteriously.
"I already know that. It doesn't change what I've said. I'm going to take the number one seat on the elite ten, you can count on it." Soran retorted, every bit as serious as Isshiki.
The older teen only chuckled, the serious air leaving him. "I look forward to seeing your match if you can pull off something like this again. Do you have any more ideas you want to test."
"Just admit that you're hungry." Soran accused dryly, causing Isshiki to have a look of fake shock.
"As much as I'd like to continue, I think I'll stop here." He had wanted to continue but then after giving up some of his ingredients to Soma, he still needed to save some for the actual match. The cauliflower dish he made earlier was also a test dish for the match.
"Already?" Isshiki asked, genuinely sounding disappointed, causing Soran to level him a dry stare.
'This guy…' he thought before waving off those thoughts.
"Since you're done, why don't we go join the others. They would be happy to meat you." Isshiki suggested to which Soran shrugged after a moment of thought.
Upon entering the noisy room on the second floor, they were greeted with the sight of a boy with dirty blond hair that is cut at a semi mohawk style with the edges having a darker colors fighting with a well built boy with spiky black hair.
A girl with amber colored hair sat on the bed while checking her nails while a black hair bespectacled boy was in the middle of what seemed to be a ranting session.
A girl with fuchsia hair sat on the floor on the other side of the room beside auburn haired boy who leaned his back on the bookshelf while also on the floor.
Noise paused as Soran and Isshiki entered the room, their attention on Soran who hadn't been present so far.
"Brother!" Soma called out, seeing Soran walk in.
"Soran, you're also here!?" Megumi asked in shock, apparently not expecting him to be present.
He leveled a questioning look to Soma who looked away sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck. "It kind of slipped my mind." he muttered quietly, prompting a tired sigh from the younger twin.
"How do you forget to mention that when our rooms are basically beside each other?" he didn't bother himself, not wanting to invite the headache that he foresaw.
"Never mind that." he said as he moved to sit beside Soma on the floor. "Nice to meet you all." he greeted in a somewhat lazy manner.
Their stares bore into him as if they were looking at a rare species. "You seem so different from how you were at the ceremony!" The amber haired girl spoke breaking the silence, cause the noise to continue as the other murmured in agreement.
"He's evil like that." Soma grumbled under his breath, earning him a smack at the back of the head, curtesy of Soran.
"I'm Sakaki Ryoko. Nice to meet you." The fuchsia haired girl greeted, the others taking turns after her.
"Yukihira Soma, Yukihira Soran, welcome to Polar Star Dormitory! We're glad to have you!" Isshiki greeted, concluding the introductions.
It didn't take long for the festive and joyous atmosphere to reach its peak, going on till late at night. Though tempted to stay awake, Soran needed to be up early in the morning and so excused himself at some point during the festivity.
The residents of polar star dormitory groggily filed into the dining area only to be stopped by a confusing sight.
Soma sat crosslegged on a wooden chair in the middle of the room with a determined look on his face, his headband tied and his chef's case beside him.
"Yesterday, I had to table this, but let's put the elite ten's seventh seat on the line! It's time for a cook-off, Isshiki-senpai!" Soma challenged with a confident grin.
Blank looks went round the other members of the dorm who merely sighed tiredly before walking to the dining table by the side, ignoring his outburst.
Megumi looked like a mix of wonder and confusion while Isshiki was utterly confused and speechless.
It was Soma's turn to look confused as his challenge went ignored. "Huh?"
"Food! Food!" Daigo and Shoji whined while Yuki groaned in starvation.
"When's breakfast, Fumio-san?" Daigo asked in hunger as the woman herself poked her head out of the kitchen.
"Shut your traps! Sit and wait!" She retorted as the sound of food cooking was heard from her direction.
Soma simply looked on in confusion at being completely ignored until Isshiki began speaking.
"Sorry Soma-kun. I should've explained better about challenges here at Totsuki." Isshiki said as Soma's eyes widened in more confusion.
- [A few minutes later] -
They were all seated and eating breakfast, barring Soran who had yet to show.
"There is an established policy at this academy to settle disputes among students. There are several rules. Should you wish to challenge me for my seventh seat, you just wager something of equal value in return." Isshiki explained as Soma took it in.
"A wager equal in value to the seventh seat?" He wondered out loud.
"If we're talking the seventh seat, not even your expulsion would be enough." He said, shocking Soma.
"Indeed, the elite ten is worth that much. After all, they are the highest decision making body in the entire academy. Not even instructors can oppose what the elite ten council has decided." Fumio explained before trailing off into her spiel about the golden age of polar star.
"Well, I can accept your challenge but I wouldn't want you to leave the academy. I'm conclusion, there can be no cook off." He finished, shutting down Soma's expectations.
"Seriously? I even woke up at 5 today to get myself revved up." Soma complained as Ryoko chipped in from the side.
"Well, I can't believe you're even going for the seventh seat." She said exasperatedly.
"You're too reckless." Megumi scolded softly.
"I think he's just stupid." Yuki added with a deadpanned expression.
"Besides, you can't just do whatever you want." Isshiki started speaking, drawing Soma's attention again. "There are three things you need for an official cook off. First, an adjudicator to certify that it is a formal challenge. Second, an odd number of judges. Third, an agreement between the contestants about the conditions of the challenge. All must be met for the formal challenge to be valid." He explained thoroughly.
"I see. Sounds like a huge bother." Soma whined, a bit down.
"But on the flip side,as long as you can meet those three conditions, you can challenge anyone in the academy. 'All who oppose you shall be struck down by your cooking.' Totsuki's traditional cooking duel is called…" he paused for dramatic effect before continuing.
"…Shokugeki. If you want to understand it better, there's a match going on right now." He said, drawing a confused look from those around him.
"Right now?" Yuki asked only for the older teen to chuckle.
"Yes. Right now, Soran-kun is having a shokugeki." He revealed as looks of shock went round the table.
Soran stood on the stage of one of Totsuki's arenas, opposite Shido who seemed to have calmed down a bit but was still clearly angry.
Soran had woken up before all the members to get here with time to spare. The crowd around them booed him, cheering for Shido instead.
"Die, transfer student!"
"I still remember the shit you pulled at the opening ceremony!"
They hurled insults one after the other, their words being echoed by others around them. Soran barely glanced at them, a strange look on his face as his hair shadowed his eyes amidst their shouts, enraging them further.
"Allow me to run through the process." The female host announced. There will be three judges. The theme is vegetarian cuisine. The main ingredient is mushroom! If Shido-san wins, Yukihira-kun will be expelled. If Yukihira-kun wins, he'll become the new head of the Vegetarian RS." She announced, drawing shouts of approval when she talked about his expulsion.
"It's Nakiri Senzaemon!"
Murmurs arose as Nakiri Senzaemon could be seen, seated in the private booth at the top of the arena.
Soma and the rest of the polar star members who had just rushed into the arena looked on with wide eyes.
"Seriously?" Yuki wondered in shock.
"What's he doing here?"
"Why would the director of Totsuki bother to attend a small scale shokugeki like this?" Marui wondered out loud.
Soma could only watch in shocked silence as his brother stood, facing the rage and anger of the crowd and an entire Research society.
"Hey, transfer student! You'll wish you never set foot in our club room!" Shido declared as he tore off he flexed his muscles.
Soran on the other hand stayed silent. Unlike Soma who consistently wore the black wash clothes, he opted to wear a standard and neat white chef's uniform.
"Let us proceed! Contestants, to your stations! Everything is at stake in the battle of palates!" The girl with the microphone announced.
"Let the Shokugeki…begin!" She yelled, signaling the start of the match.
"Transfer student! I'll show you that a low-life arrogant piece of trash like you should never have been admitted into Totsuki!" Shido yelled at the unresponsive Soran.
"Oh, you've grown quiet all of a sudden. Where is all that arrogance from yesterday?" He questioned as Soran took out a hair tie from his pocket, tying the long bangs of his hair behind him, a single strand left dancing over his face.
"Something's not right." Soma muttered under his breath.
"Huh?" Ryoko asked, not quite hearing him.
"Something's not right. I've never seen him like this." Soma explained as they focused on Soran who had a cold look in his eyes as he stared at Shido.
Senzaemon who sat in the private booth, widened his eyes at the oh so familiar sight of a red haired chef in the same white uniform from many years ago with that same look in his eyes.
'J-Joichiro…what the hell did you raise!?'
Down at the stage, Shido along with the other students felt a chill down their spine as Soran spoke.
"Are you done? Good. Allow me to put it in simple terms for you…" he said, his eyes meeting with that of the older boy.
"….I'll crush you."
Author Note: I'm partially decided with having Mito as the FL