I take a peek at Mizuhara’s roll cake.
Mizuhara is very artistic, so his roll cake looks a lot more presentable than mine.
There’s granulated sugar sprinkled all over the cake. On both sides there’s grass decorations drawn with a green chocolate pen, and there’s also elf footprints drawn with cocoa.
There’s even an outline of an elf rolling as well as a dropped shoe made of chocolate and dragees, giving it a three-dimensional feel and showing his playfulness.
My face twitches after seeing the roll cake.
「What about yours?」
「…………I don’t think you should look at it.」
Mizuhara decorated his roll cake in his room, while I decorated mine in the kitchen.
I shut the door to his room and hide my roll cake.
It’s 2 failures in a day. I can’t believe it.
I’m hanging my head in shame, when Mizuhara suddenly appears behind me, looking at my roll cake.
There’s only silence.
「Wait, um, let me explain first!」
I desperately make an excuse while he’s still dumbfounded.
Candles are associated with birthdays.
I made a tube using a paper cup, and poured white chocolate into it.
Once the chocolate had hardened, I peeled off the paper cup, added dark chocolate to make some melted wax, then added some strawberry chocolate on top to represent a candle flame.
I made 22 candles like this, and fixed them in place with whipped cream.
Then on one of the sides, I stuck a chocolate plate with the words HAPPY BIRTHDAY written on it. It was slanted.
I finished it with some fruit decorations, and thought:
It’s a bit weird.
「It ended up looking like a curse someone put in a shrine in the dead of the night…」
The candles are sticking through the front of the elf hat.
It looks even more surreal than the first one I made.
I just realized that candles don’t go well with roll cakes.
I’m disappointed that I’ve been making weird cakes for his birthday. Mizuhara brings my roll cake to his room, and places it next to his.
「Not bad. If you entered this in a roll cake competition, you’d probably win first place for unique design.」
「What’s the real winning entry?」
「My “Elf’s Detour” roll cake.」
「You named it?!」
It’s an utter loss for me.
Mizuhara takes out an HD digital camera.
I don’t want it to be reduced to data, but it’s certainly worth remembering.
「Let me see it. Did you take a good one?」
「Shush, I’m busy.」
He’s firing away.
I’m taking some pictures with my own phone.
Converting a 3D cake into 2D really isn’t something I like to do on a birthday.
「I’m hungry. Let’s eat. You can eat that elf cake tomorrow, so we’ll eat this one today.」
Mizuhara is looking back and forth between the 2 cakes.
「We’ll eat this one instead.」
He ignores me and stores the Midnight Curse roll cake in the fridge.
He brings in a cake knife and cuts his cake.
「Here you go.」
「So thin! It’s paper thin! Why are you so skilled?!」
It’s so thin that I finish it in one bite, but I can still taste it.
The sponge cake is well baked, the sweetness of the cream is just right, and I can taste the matcha mousse.
My decorations were a failure, but the taste is good.
I’m recovering from the shock. I pour some black tea and return to Mizuhara’s room, where he’s put up a barricade with his technical books.
「……………………Is that really all I’m getting? Give me at least one more slice.」
I can feel his hesitation. He grudgingly hands me another slice.
「So thin! I can see through it! I could probably blow it away.」
「You can have those sweets over there. And this marron glacé.」
He casually hands me a small box.
I was about to break through his barricade, but I stop myself when I see it.
「Really?! I guess it’s fine then.」
It’s a very popular snack from a certain famous store.
I looked it up right after eating the snack. If I make a reservation now, it’ll take until next year.
It’s definitely worth it for the Quarter Rule, but I want more.
Maybe I should change it to a Half Rule. I thought about getting more, but he’s already fortified his barricade.
Anything besides the roll cake is fine too.
「By the way, Mizuhara, how’s your essay?」
I just remembered, and started getting worried.
「No problem. I still have 12 hours.」
「Huh? Tomorrow’s the deadline?!」
「There’s going to be a research presentation in tomorrow’s seminar.」
「Oh no! We shouldn’t have been spending our time making roll cakes!」
He won’t have time to sleep.
I drink the black tea and leave his house in a hurry.
It took longer than expected. I reached home at 8 pm.
I told my mom about my failures today.
「Let’s make some next time! It sounds fun!」
「Yeah, it was fun despite the failures. But Mizuhara said he has a presentation tomorrow, so I panicked. I bought some drinks and sandwiches from the convenience store and quietly left it at his front door.」
「That’s just like Gon the Little Fox.」[1. TL Note: Gon the Little Fox is a Japanese children’s story about a fox who secretly steals food for a villager named Hyôjû, who never realizes the thief is Gon until later.]
「Well, he’ll figure it out right away.」
The next day, I sent Mizuhara a text saying 『Happy 22nd, did you finish your essay?』
He replied with an attachment.
It can’t be the entire essay, I thought. I opened the attachment.
It was a photo of a roll cake with 22 elves with candles sticking into their heads.
I never found out if he finished his essay.