Halloween was one of the few holidays Shinonome academy officially celebrated. The Halloween event dominated by homemade treats.
Of course, there was Valentine’s day. However, that was more of a gift exchange, regardless of gender, than the traditional practice of girls givinfg chocolates to their crushes. Christmas wasn’t all that exciting because that day was spent listening to hymns in the on-site chapel.
Personally, I liked it for the solemn atmosphere.
The rules of the Halloween event were simple. The treats had to be handmade. The costumes couldn’t be too flashy, and you had to attach the school emblem to them. Revealing clothing and jewelry were prohibited, and things like replica swords were deemed too dangerous.
Naturally, a few people spared no expanse in making truly outrageous customs. Because the Halloween event was exclusive to the high school, I didn’t know what to expect.
So, I was looking forward to it.
Tricks were to be expected, but they were small-scales things that didn’t seem to cause any long-term harm. Apparently, guidelines were set in place after one student dug a large ditch in the schoolyard.
Why would you dig such a hole!? How much free time did you have!?
Luckily, no one fell into the ditch.
Chiaki made a demand on the first day of October.
Additionally, it had now been three years since the incident.
“Mizu-chan! Let’s make sweets!!”
She was straightforward with request despite neither of knowing how to bake.
“…… What sweets?”
“Halloween!! Since they have to be handmade, I need to practice!!”
“……You seem enthusiastic about this, Chiaki.”
There was a loophole in the handmade rule. You didn’t have to make the sweets yourself. In other words, the conditions would be met even if the house chief made the treats.
Is that it?! For a moment my mind wondered to stories about boys that suffered from home-made treats. The avant-garde cooking of some people earned them the title of hands of destruction. I couldn’t allow someone else to fall victim to that.
When it came to sweets, you could only say they were safe if you trusted the person making them.
“What kind of treats are you trying to make?”
“Nothing to fancy, just habanero caramel, gummy bear cookies, and vodka bonbons.”
“That last one! That last one is unacceptable!! We can’t drink alcohol! Is any of that even edible!?”
Ariwara lashed out before I could say anything.
“So rude!! Of course, it’s all safe to eat.”
“Are you making that stuff as a joke?”
Tachibana chimed in between bites of bitter melon.
“No. I’d give you some if you ask for it normally.”
“……I understand. I guess I’ll sever my ties with the Sugawara twins then.”
I wasn’t going to tell them about this, but was that the right call?
“Tachibana, you coward. There’s an inherent danger to threatening people for their food!”
“When did Halloween become about that!?”
Tachibana immediately questioned Ariwara’s assertion.
Hayate remained indifferent to the whole conversation.
“What are you making, Mizu-chan?”
Eh-? Just some salted caramel and some candies…… Perhaps lollipops? You, know, the stick candy.”
I think candy with a stick attached was called a lollipop, but there was a candy bar that also shared that name.
Even if I was wrong, it’s not like I was the girl swinging the chainsaw around.
“I can make a cute bouquet of them with a bit of ribbon.”
“Hahahaha!! Miizuki! I. Want. It.”
Chiaki immediately shot down Ariwara’s request.
“I’ve never made sweets before, so I asked my pastry chef to help me with them.”
“Ah, that’s reasonable.”
Chiaki nodded along in agreement.
“I’m sure you’ll make something better than whatever Chiaki throws together on a whim.”
Chiaki’s hand suddenly landed on my shoulder.
“…… Is that a compliment? My instincts a high watermark, aren’t they?”
That didn’t sound like praise to me.
“Do you want to be praised for doing your best? It’s just sensible to follow an instructor’s directions properly.”
You weren’t being praised at all.
“……Mizuki is rather stubborn. Even if you listen to other’s, it doesn’t matter if they’re not making any sense.”
Hayate wryly smiled at Chikage’s bolstering.
“I’ve been told that make sweets is akin to a science experiment, it shouldn’t be too bad if you carefully measure your ingredients.
Why did everyone’s expression subtlety change when I spoke?
My pastry chef told me that.
“In other words, you can’t fail if the blueprint is solid!”
Chikage nodded along as she vocalized her understanding.
“Oh, I also need to measure the number of habanero peppers.”
“……I, won’t be tasting it.”
Perhaps, I should clarify that statement.
“Oh, it’s alright. I have a few people I can blackm persuade into taste testing my pastries.”
Then, why did you ask me to help make them?
I thought about asking that question but Chikage slowing shaking his head behind his sister made me hold my tongue.
The sweets doing practice would be held at my house. Tachibana, the Sugawara twins, and Hayate were participating. I thought Hayate would have someone else make his share, but he took his duties seriously.
After the meeting, we set a date and time and informed the kitchen staff of our plans. We will be using the small kitchen in the separate building I live in, instead of the one in the primary residence. While the main building’s kitchen housed a variety of useful tools, it was a place for cooks and not somewhere I navigate successfully.
We’d also be making a late lunch in the separate kitchen. My grandfather ensured that should I take an interest in cooking, the kitchen in my new residence was state of the art in every aspect. While I appreciated the thought, since I never used it, I felt like the effort was going to waste.
After confirming everything with the main kitchen staff, I ran into Yakumo in the hallway.
“Why are you leaving the kitchen, Mizuki?”
Yakumo gave me a strange look because I was someone I had no business being.
“I was asking Sakatsan to help make Halloween treats.”
“Oh, it’s already that time of the year. That’s a good event.”
Yakumo’s expression suddenly paled as he recalled his days as a student.
“Is it really that important?”
“Oh yes. More people asked me for treats than I expected so I would always run of them. Every year, I worried over how much I needed.”
I nearly shouted when I had a sudden realization.
My brother’s treats were taken without exception. He evidently had a technique for avoiding the tricks.
“Brother, I require consultation……”
“Yes. If my cute little sister is even in need of advice, ask away.”
Yakumo gave me a refreshing smile as he awaited my request.
Did that offer also extend to private matters?
I approached Yakumo and began whispering my concerns into his ear.
My brother happily nodded along until I was finished before speaking up.
“……How! There’s no counter to that.”
“Since it’s you, you should be fine Mizuki. I’m looking forward to it.”
“No, you don’t have to. It is still a problem even if everything goes well.”
“It should be fine if you have a female partner?”
Brother, that was still a big problem.
After extracting a bit more information from Yakumo, I happily returned to my residence.
Then several days past.