Chapter 1: The Hell's Gate Keeper
Disclaimer: I don't own Shokugeki no Soma.
Author's Note: I hope you enjoy the chapter.
'Meat' - Thoughts
"Meat"/'Meat' - More emotinal input like Anger, Menacing Tone ot Threatening tone.
Meat - Flashbacks and the common thoughts of people. You know, like when all characters have one common question or idea.
Dream sequence - part, in which I will describe the fantasies while eating something or how people imagine a person.
Have just read chapter 139! At the end of the chapter I will write my feelings about it, so spoiler ALERT!i
Nakamura Erina was the last person you would expect to back down. Ever since she entered the school, her name was associated with the words "success" and "stubborness". Whatever she did, she would never rest until the task was done perfectly. Add to that, her family status and good natural appearance, and you will understand why many classmates were so devastated to learn that she would transfer from the school.
It has been almost eight months since her mother delivered her these 'great news'. While a good deal of time was spent by Erina to persuade her parents that she would rather finish her school, their opinion was unchangeable. It was, apparently, the first time she failed to prove herself right. The last two months she has spent learning about this academy as much as she could.
Tootsuki Tea Ceremony and Cooking Academy was very known all over the world as the schhol, which only the best chefs graduated from. Looking through the articles about the establishment, she found numerous comments from the biggest figures of culinary world. There were tons of interviews with the most famous restaurant owners and chefs, with each one of them describing the role of the academy in their success. Having found the map of the school, erina was at first puzzled by the area this school owned. It seemed like the whole place could act as a small city, if needed. Its requirements were almost the strictest Erina has ever seen, since only a handful of students survived the last three years of high school. Many of the expelled students complained about how unfair the judgement was, but in reality all expulsions were justified. Despite, however, its indeed unsual nature.
While the chance of heated battle with other students seemed appealing to the blonde girl, she still considered this idea ridiculous.
After all, she didn't even enjoy cooking that much. True, she loved to help her mother around the restaurant when she had spare time. Given the fact that her homework never received a mark lower than "A-", she almost always found herself aiding in some preparations or the whole dish cooking. However, she still didn't think that she was someone to devote her whole life to the culinary world.
But still, the last word was after them.
An dthat's how she found herself, standing in front of the gates of her new school.
"Well," Erina muttered, taking a step forward. "It can't be that bad..."
Once she stepped past the entrance, her eye started twitching for a second. The whole place looked like a mess. People, seeing from their uniforms they were here for entrance exam just lik her, were lying on the ground. Some of them were barely moving. As she heard the strange sound, Erina barely stepped out of some car's way. Not even apologizing, three men stepped out of it and took some containers from the trunk. As Erina looked around, the place seemed even more weird.
"Young master, please!" Some butler tried to hold a student back. "You are going to kill yourself!"
"I don't care how, but I need the grade A5 beef in ten minutes!" An unknown girl almost screamed into her phone.
"I can't... take this anymore..." Another guy walked like the living corpse, the signs of sleep deprivation were more than evident. He fell on the ground, looking half-dead.
It was even supernatural how peaceful it looked from outside the academy ground. Erina squaled silently as another student fell unconscious near her. His hair was messed, he had huge bags under his eyes, the color was drained from his face, the blue tuxedo was dirty and burnt in several places. Erina was about to walk away when suddenly the guy grabbed her leg.
"Pl-Please... Don't go there..." Yoshiaki whispered, barely able to sau anything. He looked at the girl like the half-dead soldier at his comrade. "Do not go there... H-He will... crush you..."
"Who?" Erina asked with a worry in her voice.
"H-His name is..." The guy reached out his arm, only to lose all the strength he had left. Collapsing into unconscious state, Nikaido was soon lifted by his bodyguards and carried to the limousine.
Erina once more turned towards the main entrance. Some of the people were just as freaked out as her, while looking at the unconscious bodies of the other young people. As she gathered her courage, the blonde girl headed towards the building, where the exam would take place. All the while she could hear the screams of agony and despair, the sound of falling bodies, the cries to the skies. She felt like they were entering the Hell itself.
The question was:
Who meets them on the other side of The Hell Gates?
The kitchen was filled with students, all of them were quite anxious after the scene outside. The only thing they could do now is wonder what kind of monster could do all of this? Sure, they've heard about strict selection but they never expected such massacre. The atmosphere of despair was still in the air, piercing through their skin and making their hearts beat faster.
The sounds of foot steps got them alerted, as all the students froze with their eyes glued towards the entrance. Their heartbeat was now synchronized with the sounds of steps. Someone even fainted from too much pressure. The shadow of their proctor appeared and looked like it had two devil horns. Almost all students whimpered, fearing whatever demon was about to enter the room.
In the entrance stood a young man, mo older than the bigger part of the people here. He had spiky blood red hair, the bangs of which were reaching his chin, bright yellow eyes with slightly slitted pupils. He wore standard chef uniform with the jacket unbuttoned, sleeves rolled up and a silver thin chain necklace with its main element concealed behind the fabric of the white shirt.
"Hey, everyone. Guess, I will be your proctor for today..." He said, looking at the students in front of him. Behind him stood a pink-haired girl in Tootsuki uniform. He pointed towards tables with various products and smirked. "Now look..."
"I am not really keen on being here, guys." He scratched his head awkwardly. All the students were dumbfounded by such kind of behaviour. "So how about this... For your entrance exam, I want you to cook a dish from anything you want. Any kind of cuisine, any size and ingredients. Anything will do just fine. Just try not to cause fire and you'll get a pass." He finished with a welcoming smile.
Erina blinked confused. And she was not the only one. Most of the gathered cheered, not believing their luck. However, Erina was not rushing carelssly towards the table, acting like she has just won the lottery. Erina never believed in luck. That's why to believe that this group. out of all the people possible, would get the lucky number right was preposterous. She looked at the young man, casually sitting in his chair and talking about something to his aide. Their eyes met for a second and that was when she saw him smirking. And she knew this kind of smirk too well.
She didn't say a word, heading towards the table. With their guard down, everyone just carlessly picked any ingredients they wanted, not really caring what sort they chose. Erina looked at the basket of eggs and noticed something odd: although they all had the same size, the colours and froms were slightly different. She picked diffrent eggs and broke each one of them into separate bowls. Taking a small taste, she shot up.
'He mixed third-sort and first-sort eggs in one basket...' She looked at the proctor, who was happily chanting with some of the guys, who already finished preparations and were just waiting for the dish to be cooked. She saw past all this facade and caught the mischievous glint in his eyes. 'He is playing them... He is creating the feeling of safety to make them lose the focus... But why?'
"Hey, what are you doing?" Her thoughts were interrupted by some guy. On his frying pan a simple omelette was being fried.
"Erm, cooking, I guess." Too busy to make a better reply, Erina was focused on finding the best ingredients. As she looked through all the baskets and containers, she found that not only different sorts of products were mixed but also fresh and slightly spoiled ones.
Understanding that she had no time to glare at the guy, Erina hurried to sort out good and bad ingredients. It took enough time to find the best components in the piles this guy has created. However, now she was only on the preparation stage, while the others were already finishing beforehand.
"Hm... What is that girl cooking?"
"Doesn't look like something so difficult, though..."
"Who cares? We all pass anyway!"
Erina was fully focused on her preparations. She was done with chopping mushrooms, garlic and onions. Turning on the fire, she poured olive oil and added chopped garlic, onions and mushrooms. In another pan she was heating a tablespoon of oil before adding some sausage-meat. The smell of spices and meat flew around the room, drawing attention to the girl.
Yukihira Soma turned to the source. His yellow eyes having a slight glint of interest, he smirked.
"Hisako-chan," he asked his aide. He extended his arm, clarifying what he needed. The pink-haired girl immediately handed him the data of the blonde. "Nakamura Erina... Her mother is running a small restaurant in Sumiredori District. Hm..." He looked at the ingredients she chose and the process of cooking. "I hope she will entertain me..."
"Time's up, guys~!" Soma exclaimed cheerfully, like the kindergarden teacher would tell the kids it's time to go outside and play. Suddenly, the monstrous dark black and red aura emerged and overwhelmed them like the giant tsunami of despair and bloodthirst.
"His aura is completely different from before!"
"Wh-What is this feeling...?"
"Bring me your dishes..." His eyes were radiating sense of superiority. The dark red aura was surrounding his body. His lips were curled up in slight grin, revealing shark-like teeth smirking.
The first one to come closer was a guy, whom Erina met during the ingredients picking. He was sweating a little, obviously shaken by the sudden change in the proctor's behaviour. He handed him fritatta with a hoping smile. Yukihira took a bite and slowly put it into his mouth. He chewed it a little, all the other sounds in the place were gone.
"Fail. Out." Yukihira coldly looked into the guy's eyes, sending the chills down his spine. For a few minutes, there was complete and utter silence before the guy, clenching his fists, roared.
"Y-You said that anything will do!" He pointed accusingly at him. From people around went the same groans and roars of displeasure and anger. "Who the hell do-"
"Silence." His voice sounded far louder than all the roars of rage. His golden yellow eyes were pircing through their souls, destroying any sign of rebellion. He lifted the plate and dropped it on the flour. "How many people will you serve during the life as a chef? And how many of them, do you think, will be the top-class essay writers and restaurant owners?"
He looked at the gathered people and his voice became even more menacing.
"During the following three years, you will work in different places with different clients." He looked at the dish, laying under his feet. "Once you enter the kitchen, you always must do your best, no matter who you will serve this dish to. Those, who think that the amount of effort depends on the client and the level of the restaurant, should not even have come here. However...,"
All students shot up. Despite having little hope that he will not be so merciless, something was telling them that what he was going to say would be no better than the test.
"I am gonna offer you a deal." He smirked. The dark aura now was even more terrifying. "Everyone here, who knows that they didn't put much effort into their dishes, can still try to pass the exam. On the territory of the academy students often solve their problems through the culinary battles. There will be three judges from our faculty staff. Each one of you can use any ingredient or tool you want, but you need it to get it yourself."
He grinned, seeing their facial expressions.
"You will have three hours until then. Now, who is in?" Soma asked. All the students stood in fear, feeling like they have just made the deal with the devil.
Erina was just watching the scene, absolutely confident in her dish. The girl nearby her spoke:
"Now I remember him..." She whispered, shaking. "He is Yukihira Soma..."
"Does that name mean anything?" Erina eyed the girl confused.
He entered the school on the second year of middle school and quickly got the attention of all the professors and staff members. The most part of his past remains unknown, but at this age he already knows techniques from numerous countries... The youngest student to ever join the Elite Ten Council, Yukihira Soma started cleansing the amount of students on the third year of middle school and caused almost seventy expulsions. For his menacing ways to expel students Yukihira Soma is known as...
The Hell's Gate Keeper...
"Wait, I thought it was the Vortex?" Someone asked.
"Isn't it Ultimate Sore Loser?"
"No, I heard his alias is Notorious Skirt Chaser!"
"Shut it, you all." Yukihira glared at them. "Those, who stay here, will not be able to take the Shokugeki as the second test. So make your choice now."
In an instant, the crowd ran out of the place. All of them started calking their parents or assistant to get something. Yukihira smirked. This was futile. After all, no matter what grade A product they used, how advanced their equipment they would take, they all would fail.
"Hey, are you going to taste my dish or what?"
Yukihira shot up surprised and turned to see the very blonde, who seemed to understand the existence of the trap. Behind him, Hisako silently cursed the presence of the blonde. After all, she and Soma had an agreement to have a small cooking practice after he dealt with the entrance exam. Now they had even less time.
"Brave, aren't we?" Yukihira smiled patronizingly. She didn't answer, instead serving the dish. Yukihira's eyes widened in slight surprise. "That's..."
"Huevos Motuleños..." Erina said calm and proud.
Without looking at the girl, Yukihira took a bite.
'I see...' He whispered inwardly. 'Huevos Motuleños is a classic mexican dish. Somehow, she sorted out the best vegetables and avoided any problem with their quality. The tortilla absorbed the juicy sause from fried garlic and mushrooms. The yolks are still runny. She used plantain instead of usual bananas in order not to break the balance by more sugary fruit. But this meat...'
"It is not just some sausage meat, right?" He asked, sounding interested.
"Yes, it is chorizo." She smirked. "The chopped beef and pork with smoked paprica."
'So that's how she added such spicy flavour to meat, without overdoing it.' He took another bite. That was really interesting. 'Nakamura Erina, huh? Her dish is almost perfect... She followed the recipe up to the last letter adn managed to find only the best ingredients. Even I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between A5 and A4 meat so accurately...'
"Not bad," He whispered. "Nakamura Erina, there is only one thing I want to tell you."
Erina narrowed her eyes. It was the first time her dish was described as 'not bad'. What the hell was this guy made of? Just for a second, she saw his face light up a littpe but not for long. It was a blow to her pride.
"With your lack of passion," He said calmly. "you will not survive even the first year in this school."
He took the list with her name on it and stamped bright green 'PASS' sign. However, his voice and the way he looked at her spoke that he still expected her to fail. And that was really irritating
"Good luck!" He cheered mockingly. "Try not to be kicked out!"
With these words, Yukihira and Hisako left. As Erina looked at the stamp on her list, she could only feel worse than if she failed. She really gave this dish her best, having perfected it for months. And yet... He was looking down on her?
'Yukihira Soma...' She mentally groaned. He thinks she will fail? He thinks that she needs his pity?! She clenched her teeth irritated. Nakamuras don't need pity. She looked around the kitchen, her heart was getting filled with determination. Now it was no longer question of the place to study at...
'I will show him how big his mistake is...' She thought, looking at the knife. 'When I get on the top of this Academy!'
WINNER: Yukihira Soma
"No... It's impossible..." The guy laid on the ground, mumbling under his nose. "That can't..."
"Next!" Yukihira calmly called out for whoever stood in the line to try and get their pass. However, after seeing the guy with grade A5 beaf defeated with cheap meat, most of them ran in panic. While the others were preparing for the battle, Yukihira walked towards Hisako. "Man, my head is killing me already." He groaned massaging his temples. "Hisako-chan, please make the pain go away~"
"That's what you get for overcomplicating things." The pink haired aide sighed, blushing lightly. She held out the bottle of water for him, which he drank from through the straw. Her blush reddened even more. "You really lazy today..."
"What can I say?" He smirked. "I need to save energy in my arms. Of course,..." He mischievously looked at Hisako, cutting the distance between her and himself. "...if you still want to try those new dishes I have created just for you~"
"I am ready!" Some student interrupted their small talk. Yukihira rushed to the battle, not noticing that Hisako's face now reminded a tomato in colour. That was noticed by the opponent of Soma, however. Hoping to get him distracted, the guy said in fake worry. "What's with your aide? Is she ill?"
"Nah. She always does it whenever I mention our late evening sessions." Yukihira smirked nonchalantly, filling the guy's head with dirty thoughts.
In the end, thus guy ended up distracted instead of Soma.
I hope you liked the chapter!
So yeah, I couldn't pick one nickname for Soma, so I have listed all the things i have come up with. Eacg one of them has the reason to exist.
In my opinion, changing the reason for Erina to stay in the academy was not that necessary but unusual. If Soma in canon wants Nakiri to acknowledge his cooking, Erina in this story wants to prove Soma that she doesn't need pity.
About chapter 139...
What the HECK?! Man, am I the only one who thinks about Aizen when looking at Azami?! Those two are so calm and menacing at the same time! Making the Central is such a manipulative evil move! By the way, who else thinks that Azami might try to get his hands on Akira, Ryo and Soma? (Although the latter is not that possible.) Also, I have some strange feeling that Ibusaki might be drawn to the dark side. (Remeber his Stagiare arc memories of others getting stronger?)
And lastly, Eizan's face... I think he is overdoing evil guy face...