It was an evening in February; not even ten days had passed for the month.
“I’m heading out for a while; I’ve arranged to meet someone.” Basara said, preparing to head out shortly after finishing dinner.
“I promise you, this is a really sexy series! Given how experienced you are with your carnal desires nowadays, Basara-san, this book’s absolutely perfect for letting out your youthful pleasures! Please don’t miss this! ” It was another instance of Maria suddenly speaking and tailing Basara just as he was about to leave, a common spectacle in the Toujou household.
Things were different that evening, however.
Usually, Mio and Kurumi would be there to stop her and her antics and subsequently punish her with their respective electrical and spiritual attacks; however, Maria was allowed to have her own way that day, with the absence of anyone to stop her a seemingly deliberate one.
Only Mio, Yuki, Kurumi and Zest remained in the living room of the Toujou household; Mio ensured that the door was locked and sought out signs of Maria before she returned to the living room. The three remaining girls were seated around the table. A heavy silence enveloped them, interrupted only by the conspicuous sound of a vehicle exhaust in the distance.
“Well…” Mio wore a tense look at her face, while Yuki’s gaze circled around the vicinity; the girls had yet to put themselves at ease as someone finally spoke.
“—Let’s begin the meeting for the girls’ of the Toujou household. We’re going to discuss Valentine’s Day today.” Mio’s voice was grave as she pointed at the calendar on her mobile phone, signifying that the day in question—February 14—was no more than a week away.
“We should hurry, though. It’s not every day we get to do this without Maria around the house.”
“If Maria ever hears about this, she’s definitely going to scheme something.” No one seemed to have any inclination to deny what Kurumi just said.
“At any rate, we have our chance now. That said, what do you guys plan to do for Valentine’s Day? Do we give our own individual chocolates, or should we give something that we’d make together? I really don’t want us to mess things up.”
“Um, excuse me…” Zest suddenly said, raising her hand.
“Ah, yes, Zest. Please, go on.” Mio reflexively responded Zest as if she were a teacher allowing a student to ask a question. After carefully thinking about what she wanted to say, Zest finally spoke.
“…May I know what kind of event Valentine’s Day actually is?”
“Ah…That’s right. You’re not familiar with it, Zest. It’s not an event we celebrate in the Demon Realm, after all…”
“I’ve come to understand the gist of it somewhat through the news channel this morning. It’s just what I know is—” Zest’s head tilted slightly in thought, “It’s a day where you give chocolates to someone, be it for someone you love, a friend, or even just buying it for yourself…and the gift in question—chocolates in this case—can be given through either chocolate on its own or things like chocolate cake and other various kinds. I’m still having trouble making out what Valentine’s Day is for, though. My sincerest apologies.”
“Ah. I understand now,” Mio nodded.
“It’s quite complicated nowadays.”
“Looks like we have a lot to go through, huh?”
Yuki and Kurumi also spoke in understanding of Zest’s ignorance over the event.
“Well, let me give you an alternative explanation. It’s true that Valentine’s Day first originated from the Roman Empire, where Saint Valentine performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and ministering to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire and whatnot. There are other tales and explanations regarding the day’s origins, though.”
“The custom of giving chocolate is limited to Japan. Other countries usually settle for a gift of any kind.”
“I see.” Zest was paying close attention to the girls’ explanation.
“The custom of giving friends’ chocolates is something that’s only picked up recently on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, so…for the time being, Valentine’s is primarily celebrated as a day where you give chocolates to someone you love. That said, I thought it was a good idea for us to think about it. The truth is, I had such plans of giving chocolate myself, after all.” Mio’s eyes turned downward in embarrassment as she said so.
“I understand it better now. Thank you very much.” Bowing, she then appeared as if she were lost in thought for a moment.
“If that’s the case, then I, too, should participate in such a custom as well. I do indeed wish that—” Zest took in a deep breath as one could detect faint movement from her hands, crossed upon the skirt of her maid uniform, her downcast eyes putting on a certain warmth. “That I’ll be able to give Basara-sama a gift of my own creation as well.” Zest then raised her head, her cheeks visibly flushed.
“Quite proud of yourself, aren’t you?”
“Mhm, we feel the same way too. I haven’t bought the ingredients I need to make the chocolate with, though.”
“I intend to make something for Basara.”
“As do I.”
Kurumi’s hands piled themselves atop Zest’s, the latter’s neatly seated upon her knees.
The three other girls nodded reassuringly at Zest.
“Well, that settles it then; we’ll each make our own individual Valentine’s chocolates and give it to Basara on the fourteenth of this month.”
The other girls of the Toujou household agreed with Mio’s words.
“Hoho…I see, I see…”
Maria had overheard the entire private conversation under the cold winter sky; she had accessed their conversation through her mobile phone she held in her hand, directly connected to the conversation that was unfolding in the living room.
“Hee hee hee…you’re far too naïve, Mio-sama. “You think you can keep secrets from this erotic loli succubus? You can try, but I just so happened to install a listening device right inside the living room that you were discussing your plans in. And with a third device, too!”
The first and second devices had fallen under Mio’s lightning attacks.
“In any case, taking a hit to the head after following Basara and being immediately discovered was all well worth it in the end! All according to this little succubus’ master plan!” Maria laughed, “You can’t fool a succubus like me with such a devious scheme!”
She curled her hand into a fist and thrust it toward the night sky.
A sneeze from her followed after that; the realization that Feburary nights were truly cold then came to her.
Mio involuntarily let out a distressed noise; the way her eyebrows were creased meant that there was no denying her troubled expression.
She was in a special corner set up for Valentine’s Day in the department store.
Amidst an assortment of Valentines’ goods and products, Mio had been drawn to the homemade chocolate corner. All the items she needed to make an original homemade chocolate were available before her; apart from the quintessential ingredient, the corner also provided items such decorations and sets, all of which possessed a wide selection for her to choose from.
Naturally, there were also finished products on display, and as one would expect, Mio struggled to make a decision amidst the vast variety of choices she was presented with.
“Even if I’d like to make some homemade chocolate, I’m nowhere near as good at cooking as Yuki is…” Mio sighed. She thought of the various instances of Yuki making food for them such as stew, fried oysters and the like in the past, and she knew that Yuki’s food tasted absolutely delicious.
I really want to make Basara some homemade chocolate and give it to him personally…Mio then found herself hesitating at the thought.
“I guess I should just stick to the branded ones.” “I guess the chocolates on display do look good.”
Mio’s voice overlapped with another’s that she was all too used to hearing, and she turned toward the source of the voice to find Kurumi right next to her. Mio found herself surprised, while Kurumi found herself staring in wonder at Mio’s presence. A moment passed before the two realized that they had arrived with the same idea, and exchanged wry smiles with one another.
“I see you’ve come here to buy supplies too, Kurumi-chan.”
“Mhm. …I know what you’re feeling all too well.” Kurumi said, creasing her eyebrows. “My sister’s really good at cooking, after all. I’d thought about making my own meals ever since she left the Village…but I guess you could say I’ve always held an interest in cooking since the very beginning.”
“Even during your time in the Village?”
“Well, I used to make dinner from time to time. Besides–”
Kurumi narrowed her eyes.
“I’ve always wanted to make something for Basara to eat…even now I feel that way.”
Kurumi held a kindly expression, and Mio could feel the warmth in it, as if Kurumi had took the words right out of her own mouth.
“Well, even if Yuki is good at cooking, it’s not like this whole chocolate giving business is supposed to be a competition, is it? Well, even if I’d like to say that’s the case…”
Mio and Kurumi’s gazes returned to the mountainous selection of chocolates set out before them.
“It’s just so hard to choose, isn’t it?” The two girls sighed simultaneously.
Mio turned toward the voice that suddenly called out to her. The sight that came into place caused her to blink; before her stood a girl her age with her raven hair tied into a braid, one whom often struck Mio as having an intellectual, wise look in her eyes.
“Kajiura-senpai?” Mio exclaimed, surprised.
She was Kajiura Ritsuka, the student council vice president of Hijirigasaka Academy for the term. To Mio, she was an upperclassman who had taken good care of her during the school sports festival. In a contrast to her usual uniform, Ritsuka was now dressed casually in shirt and pants without much accessories to complement them, and Mio found the practical form of dress to fit her quite well.
“Yeah. Hi. Um…” Ritsuka paused as she turned toward Kurumi, who was standing beside Mio.
“Ah, this is Nonaka Kurumi. She’s Yuki’s younger sister.”
Kurumi hastily lowered her head. “Oh, thank you for always taking care of my sister…I guess?”
After exchanging their introductory greetings, Mio, Kurumi and Ritsuka stopped talking for a few moments.
Mio and Kurumi had been fully focused on surveying the chocolates on display up until just a short moment ago.
After examining the variety set out before them intently, they discovered Ritsuka beside the assortment of chocolates as well. Their meeting had not been sheer coincidence; Mio had not met her while the latter was in the middle of shopping.
Mio and Ritsuka could only guess why the other was present there: somehow, they knew the other had intentions of giving chocolate to someone.
“So you want to give someone chocolate as well, Kajiura-senpai.”
Ritsuka averted her gaze. The faint red on her cheeks laid bare the reality that she was now a young woman in love.
Mio appeared surprised at the notion, however; Ritsuka did not strike her as someone who was interested in love through their previous conversations.
Nevertheless, she was still of the appropriate age, and it wasn’t surprising for her to have changed her mind; Mio deduced that Ritsuka had found someone whom she wanted to convey her feelings to.
Much like herself.
“As I thought, it’s for Toujou-kun, isn’t it?”
Ritsuka’s abrupt question almost caused Mio to jump. She could not resist the flush of warmth and color that came to her face.
“Eh….Um, well…Y-Yes.” Amidst her greatly flustered state, Mio found herself admitting the fact without restraint; the school was already well aware that Mio and the others were living together with Basara.
Ritsuka stood wordlessly as if she were thinking about something, eyeing her surroundings; her gaze turned first to the homemade chocolate corner set up in the store before it then turned to Mio and Kurumi, and finally on her own hands.
“Oh, I’m sorry. That’s right…”
After hesitating for a few moments, Ritsuka spoke again.
“Listen, Naruse-san. If you’d like…why don’t we make our chocolates together?”
“Huh? You mean with you?”
“Yeah. This would be my first time making chocolate, so I actually don’t know how it would turn out if I were to work at it alone.” Ritsuka let out a strained smile.
“We’d be more than grateful for your offer. Still, where would we be making our chocolates, then?”
“We could use the school kitchen. It’s technically available for students as a venue for community contribution activities. That said, we should be able to use it as long as we make a proper reservation. Nonaka’s little sister can join us, too.”
Kurumi pointed at herself as she was mentioned, blinking in disbelief.
“I see. That’s true…”
Mio realized that she should not overlook the fact that she needed an available space for her to make her chocolates; she would clash with Yuki if she decided to use the household kitchen, and she had to consider Basara being present when it came to when she would make them.
Kurumi seemed to share the same considerations as the two nodded in agreement.
“We’ll be counting on you, then.” The two then turned to Ritsuka and lowered their heads, saying those words simultaneously.
“Chocolate truffles and namachoco (Japanese ganache) can be made easily from commercial chocolate. The coating and arrangements should be easy, too.”
Ritsuka had read the statement monotonously from the book she was holding in her hand, one with title of “Valentines for First-Timers: An Extra-Elementary Edition—Beginners’ Ease Guaranteed!” that aimed to reassure its readers on the front page.
A few days had passed since they’d met at the department store; after officially gaining permission, Ritsuka, Mio and Kurumi managed to access Hijirigasaka Academy’s kitchen for themselves. They had arrived to use the kitchen on a holiday; there was thus no sign of any students present in the academy.
Donned in aprons, Mio and Kurumi stared earnestly at Ritsuka, the manual still their upperclassman’s hand. With slightly nervous expressions on their faces, they continued talking with Ritsuka, who was also dressed in an apron like they were.
“So the first step is to mix chocolate and fresh cream together to make a ganache. I see…”
The materials and ingredients they needed were already set upon the kitchen counter: apart from the ingredients needed to make their homemade chocolates they’d bought from the department store the other day, the required cookware such as bowls, bats and kitchen knives had also been prepared.
Ritsuka held a kitchen knife in her hand as she faced the chopping board before her; Mio and Kurumi also reached for their own kitchen knives.
The three exchanged glances with one another and nodded.
“Well, let’s get started. The first step is to chop up the chocolate.”
Ten minutes had since passed.
The three exchanges glances with one another once more, eyeing the mountainous pile of chopped chocolate on their respective chopping boards.
“I think it’s a little unbalanced …” Mio said, looking rather concerned.
“Maybe it’s better to say that the size between pieces is really off…” Kurumi found it hard to look at what they’d made.
The three ended up chopping their respective chocolates into pieces of different sizes; it was such that there had been even thumb-sized pieces remaining, to which Kurumi chopped up with feigned ignorance and added into the pile of chopped chocolate.
Ritsuka cleared her throat as she stared at the pile of chocolate pieces before her.
“I think it’ll be fine when we melt the chocolate. That happens to be our next step anyway.”
“That’s right!” “That’s decided, then!”
The three found themselves nodding in agreement once more.
“Next, we need to heat up the fresh cream until just before it comes to a boil.” Ritsuka was now paying attention to her pot filled with cream.
“Ahh!! It’s already bubbling!? What do we do now?!” Kurumi, who was standing next to her, cried out.
“Kurumi-chan, the fire on the stove’s too big. Turn it down a bit.”
“M-Mhm…Um…I’ll use magic!”
“Hold on! You can’t! You absolutely can’t!”
The very moment Kurumi’s Hero Clan aura began to flood her surrounding, Mio quickly responded by manually turning off the gas.
Mio and Kurumi patted their chests in relief.
“Thanks. I guess I got nervous…”
“Naruse-san! Your pot is burning!”
“Kyaah! Why is this so hard?!”
This time, Kurumi was the one who hurriedly put the fire out.
“Just like that, we now melt the chopped chocolate from earlier into the heated cream.”
As the chopped chocolate was mixed into the cream, it slowly began to melt; the mixture was then stirred with a whisk, the black and white of the different components of the mixture slowly blending together to fully coat the cream in a chocolate hue.
“Mmm,” Mio grimaced, and Kurumi and Ritsuka also looked dissatisfied.
“It seems that we have some lumps of chocolate left in the mixture…”
“It’s because we left such big chunks when we were chopping it earlier, huh…”
Even so, they couldn’t give up over such a small detail.
“Why don’t we make chocolate accents instead?”
“I don’t see why not. I like the idea.”
“You read my mind. I was thinking about making chocolate accents as well.”
“For the truffles, finally shape the finished ganache into balls. As for the namachoco (Japanese ganache) I’m making, I need to place the chocolate into a mould…”
“Ah…that was close. You’re right…”
“I can’t believe we managed to finish it somehow…”
“It was really a pain, though.”
Ritsuka let out a sigh, while Mio and Kurumi hung their heads apologetically. Their faces, their hands and the clean aprons that they wore before they started working were now stained all over with chocolate.
“Nevertheless…we did our best.”
Atop the cooking counter before the three were carefully and painstakingly wrapped boxes, with their completed chocolates already stored inside them.
The girls eyed the products of their hard labour with satisfied expressions on their faces.
It was that moment that a knock resounded on the school kitchen door. A familiar woman then entered, replying “Sorry to interrupt.”
She had lustrous, long black hair, and wore an impressive, white doctor’s coat; the glasses she wore only added to the intellectual aura she exuded.
It was the school nurse, Hasegawa Chisato.
“Hasegawa-sensei. Thank you for giving us permission to use the kitchen for the day.” Mio and Kurumi lowered their heads.
“Fufu. It’s nothing at all. It’s part of my duties as a teacher, after all.”
“I assume you girls did a good job?”
“We did…is what I’d like to say, but I’m not really sure.”
“It was mostly thanks to Kajiura-senpai that we managed to make our chocolates.”
“Well, I…didn’t really do anything. I was a beginner when it came to this in the first place, after all.”
“Still, you were the most composed among the three of us.”
“I ended up freaking out a lot during the whole process, though.”
“Well…I can’t say I can deny what you’ve just said.”
Mio and Kurumi laughed awkwardly at the statement, their smiles wry.
Hasegawa watched the three girls with a kindly gaze.
“I’m glad your efforts were a success. Regardless—”
Hasegawa took a step forward, turning towards the boxes the girls had made; she knew that they had taken great effort when wrapping them.
“I’m sure your recipient will be very happy.”
The trio stared in wonder for a few moments before their cheeks reddened at their realization; each of them wore an expression that was equal parts happy and embarrassed.
Eyeing the three girls one more time, Hasegawa turned away, the hem of her white doctor’s coat lightly fluttering as she walked toward the door.
“Well, please remember to clean up the place properly before you leave. Good work today.”
Hasegawa then left the kitchen; after the girls saw her off, they turned toward their boxes which contained their homemade chocolates one more time.
“I’m sure Yuki’s chocolates are going to look and taste a lot better, though.” Mio muttered quietly.
“Still–” There was a pause before she continued. “I’m glad we managed to make them.”
They were words from the heart.
Kurumi and Ritsuka were also tenderly holding their own boxes in their hands.
“I should just make some. Even so…”
Yuki was standing still in the kitchen of the Toujou household.
She then unfurled an apron, an extreme seriousness on her face. The next breath she let out was heavy as she oversaw the chocolate and the cookware that was already prepared on the kitchen counter.
“Yuki-san, is everything alright?”
In response to the voice that just called out to her from behind, Yuki turned around to address the presence that she hadn’t detected for a while.
Zest, dressed in her maid outfit, was eyeing Yuki was concern. She did not press on with more questions, instead waiting for Yuki to answer.
“I can make chocolates. I can make arrangements as well. It’s just…”
Yuki shook her head.
“I just don’t know what to make…what to give him to eat so that he’ll be happy.”
“I’m sure our gentle Basara-sama will happily accept anything from you. Nevertheless, I presume that this isn’t your concern, is it?”
“I can get a bit half-hearted when it comes to my cooking. I guess that’s why I’m in a bind right now…I’m being a bit conscious about myself.”
Yuki let out another burdened sigh.
“What of chocolates…what of love? What of the heart? What of the world? And what of the universe?”
“Those are indeed a great concerns you have there. I can’t say my own worries can compare…” Zest said, her eyes downcast.
“Are you worried too? About Valentine’s, I mean.”
“Yes. Though I’m sorry to say my concerns can’t really match up to your own, Yuki-san.” Her expression remained listless.
“You’re better at me at cooking, Zest. Even when it comes to sweets.”
“Yes. Nevertheless, I do not know how to make Valentine’s chocolates at all.” Zest’s head tilted to one side.
Even as a Demon, Zest was familiar with making almost all kinds of cuisines; even then, one would not assume that she would be worried over making homemade chocolates after the extensive research she’d done via reading books and browsing the internet.
“Are you intending to use cocoa?”
“I was indeed considering it, but nothing more than that.” Zest shook her head. “I can make the Valentine’s chocolates themselves, no doubt, but…I still don’t understand the essence of making some for the particular occasion.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean to make chocolates meant to convey your feelings toward someone seemingly so dear to you. I guess it’s better to say that I’m thinking about what kind of chocolate would be appropriate to deliver as much as of my own heart to that special someone along with the chocolates themselves.” Zest let out a sigh that was not any less heavy than Yuki’s.
“I suppose the very question that stains me now is rather impure.”
“I see. So you can think of it that way…I’d expect nothing less from you, Zest.” Yuki’s expression implied that Zest had just given her a profound impression. “Still, I suppose you’re right that you should rid yourself of such an impure…huh!?”
“Thank you very much, Zest.”
Yuki now stared attentively at Zest; her previously despondent expression disappeared immediately, and her gaze had also calmed.
Her eyes were now that of one who was now confident that she could climb over the mountain that stood in her way.
“I understand it now. The way to convey your feelings toward someone…”
Yuki and Zest were visiting a particular place for a while.
Yuki stood still, her apron long removed and forgotten; Zest was beside her in her maid outfit.
The two were at a convenience store, where a variety of items such as stationery, DIY supplies, and car parts were available—they were at a hardware store in their neighbourhood.
“We discussed that we would be making our own chocolates. However, cooperating to make them isn’t prohibited in itself.”
“I guess—it would be quite arrogant to think that one could do anything by themselves.”
Yuki and Zest extended their palms.
“Let us combine our efforts.”
“I guess I’ll be in your debt, then.”
Yuki and Zest shared a tight handshake.
Standing side by side, the Hero and the Demon set out toward the hardware store together, the bag from the bookstore they dropped by earlier swaying in Zest’s hand.
“Welcome home, Basara!”
It was February 14th ; the moment Basara returned home, Mio was the first to greet him, and she took him by the hand as she led him through the house, taking him to the living room after diligently washing her hands and rinsing her mouth.
Yuki, Kurumi and Zest were already waiting for him in the living room; everyone except Maria was present. And upon the table were three beautifully wrapped boxes.
“It’s Valentine’s Day today.” Mio said shyly, her gaze trailing away slightly.
“I see you’ve all already prepared specially for the day.”
Two of the three boxes were decorated rather amateurishly with ribbon and wrapping; one look was all it took for Basara to tell that they were homemade.
“Thank you.” His eyes narrowed as he petted Mio on the hand, evidently moved by their thoughts. A smile began to break out on Mio’s face.
Suddenly, a knocking sound came from the second floor, presumably from something that fell to the floor.
Basara turned toward the ceiling momentarily, before he surveyed the faces within the room once more.
“She’s definitely up to something, so we decided we’d lock her up until you opened our chocolates.” Mio’s face straightened itself again.
“Ah,” Basara said, acknowledging the possibility after pondering on it for a few moments, and thus he did not press the matter further.
“A-Anyway, go on, open them and have a look inside!” Mio urged, and Basara took a seat on the nearby sofa.
He first reached for the two wrapped boxes, carefully untying the ribbons surrounding them.
“T-Those are the ones that Kurumi-chan and I made.” Mio said, averting her gaze in embarrassment once again, as Kurumi stood close by Basara, watching closely.
As he opened the lid, spherical chocolate truffles as large as the common candy were revealed to be generously stored within the boxes. The truffles were also coated in a vivid display of different colours and flavours, the variety including brown chocolates, white chocolates, powdered matcha chocolates as well as strawberry pink chocolates.
“They look beautiful.”
“Y-You think so? Well, I’m glad…” Mio could hardly contain her excitement.
“We made a lot of these, but we aren’t really sure if they taste good or not. We did taste them ourselves, of course.” Kurumi said, looking rather flustered.
“May I have a taste?”
Mio and Kurumi nodded nervously as they waited for Basara to try one of their chocolates; in time, Basara selected a chocolate of the orthodox color among the various others in the box and began to taste it.
There was an audible biting noise as he took a bite, and the first sensation that stirred within was the fragrant taste of cocoa powder. As the faint bitterness of the cocoa began to settle in, the surface of the bite of chocolate had already began melting in his mouth, the combination of cocoa and chocolate producing a bittersweet flavour.
He assessed the crunchy exterior, and following that the thick texture of the chocolate ganache filling within burst out unknowingly. The sweet and rich taste spread across his tongue, and he could feel lumps of chocolate mixed within the ganache; chocolates accents had been added into the filling of the truffle.
Savouring the combination of scents and flavours all at once, he eventually opened his eyes, feeling satisfied with what he’d tried.
“This tastes pretty good.”
“Well, can I open that other box, as well?”
Yuki and Zest nodded.
“Zest and I made this.”
“We hope that it is to your tastes.”
The two watched on motionlessly as Basara opened their remaining box, which was wrapped more intricately and neatly that Mio’s and Kurumi’s; it was no surprise given that Zest was well-versed at things like this given her work as a maid.
Basara involuntarily swallowed a breath as he opened the box; neither Mio nor Kurumi could also hide their surprise as they peered into its contents.
What was inside the box was, of course, chocolates; unlike the colourful chocolate truffles Mio and Kurumi had made, however, these took a single-colored hue that was a lighter shade of the chocolate’s original dark color.
What surprised them, however, was their shape.
Basara and the other members of the household were within the box; perhaps it was more apt to say that they were chocolates with their exact likeness.
Although they were of a size where one could easily hold one in the palm of their hand, the amount of precision put into making the chocolates was unreal.
One of the chocolates was a mirroring replica of Basara’s appearance, shaped to the last and most delicate detail from his exterior, to his contours of his hair, and even the scars on his face.
The chocolates were so elaborate even their attires were included; Basara and the girls who went to school were dressed in their uniforms, Maria in a lovely set of western attire, and Zest in her maid outfit.
They were made with such finesse that it would not be a stretch to call them chocolate figures.
“Such extraordinary detail…no, what are these, feelings made from chocolate? And how in the world did you manage to make these?” Basara asked, utterly bewildered.
“I was the one who made these chocolates…I simply blended the chocolate in a bain marie, so I didn’t add much into them.”
“You made the right choice.”
A sweet aroma wafted in the air as the box was opened, one that suggested that the chocolate used was of a high quality.
“After we melted the chocolate, we poured it into the special moulds Zest made.”
“You can do that, Zest?”
“I used magic, of course.”
Zest withdrew a small white piece—a circular piece that was no bigger than the palm of her hand— from the pocket of her apron, before placing it on the table. Channelling only a slight amount of magic into the piece caused it to pulsate.
“I used my earth magic. This allows me to be more delicate with the shaping compared to if I’d used my own hands to shape the moulds. First, I used my magic to make the models with clay, followed by plaster, and refined the finished product with my magic once more…once the moulds were completed, I eliminated the lingering stench of the clay with my magic as well to ensure that the chocolate made from the moulds would be safe to eat.”
“I’d note that Zest also did a lot of research.” Yuki said, placing several books on the table. They appeared to be authentic hobby-related books, ones that were self-made rather than from an pre-established kit.
“We wanted you to enjoy our chocolates.”
“At the same time, we also wanted to convey that we would be offering our feelings to you…”
Basara still couldn’t understand why such an ideal would prompt the two to make chocolate figurines of the household members in such intricate detail.
Nevertheless, he reflexively let out an unfinished laugh. Such a reaction did not go unnoticed by Yuki, who stared at Basara following it; Mio and the others also appeared doubtful about the way he’d laughed.
“Well, that’s….I’m really happy about that, really. And I’m happy that you guys went out of your way to prepare these chocolates for me.” He said, overseeing the individual chocolate figures that were neatly arranged within the box.
“Mio and Kurumi made a lot of chocolate truffles, didn’t they?”
Basara couldn’t possibly finish all of the colourful chocolate truffles Mio and Kurumi had made all by himself.
“You were thinking about having us all share them, weren’t you?”
Mio and Kurumi blinked in confusion.
“Come to think of it, you’re right…”
“Yeah. One way or the other, we figured that we wanted everyone to have some, right?”
Basara nodded with a satisfied look on his face.
“Yuki and Zest also made chocolate figures for all of us too…”
“Now that you mention it…”
“Even if we hadn’t noticed it, we all had each other kept in mind, didn’t we? For you all to actually value each other as a family so naturally…it makes me really happy.”
Basara reached into the box and selected Zest’s chocolate figure.
“Well…I guess I should eat Yuki or Zest’s model first? To go with that logic, anyway.”
“Very well. Still, I’d like for Yuki to go first…”
“It’s fine.” “You were the one who came up with the idea, Zest, and you were the one who saw it through to the end. You have all the right to have yourself eaten by Basara first, Zest.”
“That sounds rather misleading, actually…”
Basara now held Zest’s chocolate figurine in his hand.
“I’m digging in now,” He said, drawing the chocolate close to his mouth…he then realized the connotation that he would be leading Zest into his mouth, and he felt rather embarrassed at the thought. His awkward demeanor did not diminish as he crunched into the surface of the chocolate.
He slowly wrapped the chocolate from the tip of his tongue, licking its surface all over in a rolling fashion, and the flavour and odor of the chocolate began to spread within his mouth.
In contrast to the variety of flavours and textures of the truffles he’d tasted earlier, this was a polished, perfect sensation of the common chocolate; a rich aroma spilled forth from his nose, and the gradually melting chocolate delivered a mix of bitterness and sweetness that tantalized the tip of his tongue.
As expected from a blend Yuki made. As he found himself commending the chocolate’s superb taste, he suddenly returned to his usual self.
He found focused on licking the chest of Zest’s chocolate figurine; perhaps it was better to say that he looked as if he was sucking on one of the figurine’s breasts as he held it in his mouth.
What is this…Basara thought, finding himself incapable of stopping himself from savouring the extremely tasty chocolate.
There was a noise; Zest was suddenly facing the floor.
Her dark skin began to flush with color, and her body began to shake.
“Zest? Are you okay?”
Her mouth opened in an attempt to respond, but she only found herself moaning instead as her body began to writhe miserably.
Her hand reached to shut her mouth to prevent her voice from spilling, but she could not contain her hot breaths. Her eyes dampened as she gazed at Basara, her free arm collecting her ample chest.
Something strange was happening; Basara’s tongue pressed on the half-melted surface of the chocolate to release his bite on it.
Zest collapsed onto the floor, her hand that was covering her mouth now reaching to suppress her ears, moaning with a raised, agonized voice as she struggled.
“…But why? Why is this…Nnn, ah…Basara-sama, my ears are…ahhh…”
With her back hunched as she remained on the floor, Zest’s jaw was open and her body was conspicuously and violently shaking. Saliva began to trail from the corner of her lips, but she did not seem to have the strength to wipe it off.
With her face flushed and her gaze entranced, she wore in every inch the expression she would elicit whenever she would be assaulted by Basara.
“Don’t tell me—” Basara’s gaze turned toward the chocolate figurine that was made in Zest’s likeness; he had already tasted it through the figurine’s chest, and he’d also brushed his mouth against the ears when he’d released the figurine in his panic.
“It’s likely the case.” Yuki gently reached for the chocolate.
Yuki’s fingertips caressed the ears of Zest’s melting chocolate figurine.
“Ah, fuaah, ahhhhhh….♥ ”
The way her voice elevated was undeniably coquettish. Subjugated, she leaned her exhausted body that was still shivering lightly onto the sofa. The fervent breaths she let out were a sign of the pleasure she was drowning in, and the way she slowly stripped herself was a rather bewitching sight.
Basara’s gaze met Yuki’s first, and then the two’s eyes met Mio’s and Kurumi’s; they all knew full well who was responsible for this without having to say anything further.
“Kukuku…you got that right.” A voice suddenly called as a certain someone entered the living room—it was the succubus that had been locked up in her room on the second floor.
A smile turned the corners of her lips as she entered the room laughing extremely salaciously, her silver hair dishevelled. In her hand was a video camera.
“Valentine’s day…did you girls honestly think you could deny this succubus from celebrating one of the top two erotic events of the year alongside Christmas!?”
“Okay, no, Valentine’s is not an erotic event for you to—” Basara said with a straight face.
Maria tossed what seemed to be a rope that had evidently cost someone all their strength to tear apart.
“What a pathetic excuse for a rope. Then again, I’ve gotten so much stronger since we lost fought in the Demon Realm, I’d surprised even myself.”
“I’m more surprised you’re actually impressed over such a trivial detail.” Mio said, her callous expression returning again.
“At any rate, I’d like to say that this little succubus also happened to get to know all about your little plan with the others for Valentine’s, Mio-sama. From the very moment you started that meeting with me, too!”
Yuki was taken aback by Maria’s revelation. In a flash, she then removed the multi-adapter plugged into the wall socket and called upon her spirit blade Sakuya, reducing it into dust.
“Ahh! My third listening device!”
All eyes were now fixated on Maria, and she hurriedly cleared her throat in response.
“As I was saying, I knew all along. From there, spiking the defenceless chocolates that Yuki and Zest were too careless to take care of with this special succubus technique passed down to me was child’s play.”
Maria laughed heartily once again.
“It was easy for me to put a curse that links the chocolate models they made to their respective real lookalikes. Combine that with how I tweaked it to activate with the magic of the Master-Servant contracts, it was just all too simple for me. In other words—”
There was a short pause, and the childish, satisfied expression of the succubus emerged once more.
“Whatever lewd acts you perform on these chocolates will be transmitted to the respective people they were modelled after! And don’t worry—even if you do dig in, the curse is set such that all it’ll do is trigger the safety measure and cause them to feel as if though you’ve bitten them instead!”
“I guess you’re expecting me to applaud you for how thoughtful you are!”
“Let’s get this started! Our dizzyingly hot and sexy Valentine’s Day begins—huh!?”
Before she could revel in her certain victory, she suddenly writhed in agony.
“So it really does transmit these sensations.”
It was Kurumi who next spoke; she was holding Maria’s chocolate figurine in her hand.
And Kurumi began to lick it.
“By the way, Maria, I think my sister made a chocolate figurine specially for you as well, right? We’re a family after all, so she couldn’t have left you out.”
As Kurumi said that, she twisted the chocolate figurine in question in her hand, displaying the act in front of Maria.
“Hau!? H-Hold on…Kurumi-san?”
“Don’t you think a certain little succubus needs to be punished for meddling her dirty hands into my dear sister’s hard-made chocolates?”
“W-Wait a minute. That’s not fair…”
With a smacking sound, Kurumi slapped the butt of Maria’s chocolate figurine.
There was another smacking sound, and another and another.
“N-No, you can’t…it doesn’t hurt because of the safety measure, but this…ah…mmph! ♥ No…”
Repetitive moans resounded from Maria.
“Kurumi-san, this…this form of play is…”
Tears leaked from the corner of Maria’s eyes as she writhed on the floor in agony, having been subject to the same situation Zest had experienced earlier.
“Ah, ah…even more than I’d expected, this is…already…ahn! ♥”
Yuki eyed Maria’s current state and sighed lightly. “And so the hunter becomes the hunted,” She mumbled. “…Still, what are we going to do at this rate…”
Maria aside, Zest was breathing wildly as she squatted on the floor; the sensations transmitted from the chocolate figures had yet to cease, and she looked up toward Basara with a suffocated gaze.
“Are you okay? What should I…”
“I want you to eat me up.” Zest let out, her voice uncontrollably intense and wet.
The way Zest clutched her chest as she sunk further onto the floor and made her request made for an extremely sultry sight.
From there, Basara could not find himself taking his eyes off Mio, Yuki and Kurumi; the girls were now looking at Basara expectantly.
“Basara…” Yuki mumbled, her cheeks stained red. In her hand was the chocolate that she’d made that shared her uncanny resemblance.
Mio and the others also gazed at their own chocolate lookalikes.
Basara scratched his cheek, evidently troubled by the dilemma before him.
“I understand. Don’t expect me to be able to tend to all of you at once, though.”
A smile emerged on Yuki’s face.
—And so several nights passed by, each of them sweet in the literal sense of the word.