Chapter 2 : Friends
That day was Hyusune’s 13th birthday, 8 years since her mother went missing, and since her father remarried. Her father was rarely at home and she had to juggle netball and school alone. Her stepmother never loved her. That day, her stepmother, Mayella, who had completely forgotten it was her birthday, asked her to tidy the house, and cook lunch and dinner, while she brought over some friends, who were typical gang members of the triad, Black Star. Mayella yelled at her. “Girl, come here!” Hyusune ran over to the living room as fast as she could. One of Mayella’s friends puffed into her face and she coughed. ” Hey, buy us cigarettes! We’ve run outta ’em. Get us some.”
“But I’m undera—” before Hyusune could reply, Mayella slapped her. “How dare you talk back to Uncle David! Buy us some booze too. And no one gives a shit about your age. You better get back her quickly, otherwise you’ll be chased out of the house.” Her face was still red from the slap. Since her mother came, everyday she had to suffer many injuries such as lacerations on her back, but she always had to ask her friends in school to help her heal her injuries so she wouldn’t die of the pain. She had to endure this. ‘Soon,’ she thought. ‘Soon, I’ll leave this place. When I have the money…’
She wore a black hoodie over her head and a pair of shorts. For her age, she was pretty tall, about 175cm. She looked older than she was, as she had cast magic on herself (her step mum was unaware of her magical abilities though) and she bought the alcohol and drugs. Her mum was really a bimbo. When she got home, they were gambling, and Mayella took the booze and drugs from her. Snatching it, she pulled Uncle David and her other friends into the room, where they started a group make out session.
Hyusune, ignoring her bitch of a mother, went to bake cakes and send them to the bakery opposite her house so that they could be sold for money. The owner of the bakery said her cakes were best sellers, and always asked her for more cakes to sell. Occasionally, he would give her extra salary, and she earned around $10000 a month just from cakes. The money was hidden in her magical sash, so that her mother couldn’t steal the money to splurge or squander.
At the moment, Hyusune had already earned $70000 a few years of work. Her stepmother never gave her pocket money, so she earned her own. Her meals were simple and comprised solely of bento boxes made by herself. In the mornings, she would attend patisserie school, while in the afternoon, she would attend magic school.
She was working hard, despite the stress laid down on her, and was the top student in patisserie school but not so good in magic school. Her profile was kept low of course, and at night she had to go for netball practice and piano lessons. She would always burn the midnight oil to finish her homework and do revision, and wake up early the next morning to prepare breakfast. On Saturdays, she spent the whole day baking.
On Sundays, she would go to the market, before delivering all her cakes to the bakery. Sundays were the only days she was mostly free, and every other day would tire her out completely. On Sundays, she would visit her friends in school, where they would go for adventures. She always anticipated Sundays, as that was the only time she could find joy in her life and meet her best friends. She continued baking her lemon sponge cakes and tropical citrus vanilla cakes. Today, she would send in her new creation, Strawberry Fondant cake. The lady boss of the bakery said that if her cakes sold well, Hyusune would be given a bonus of $500. The lady’s cakes were slightly pricey compared to the usual bakeries as her cakes were made using expensive ingredients but they tasted divine. She had many customers and her business was very good. Hyusune was a frequent customer and the lady boss noticed her interest in cakes. When the lady boss found out she was a patisserie, she offered Hyusune a job in her bakery—making cakes and giving them to her to sell. Ever since Hyusune started sending cakes over, a huge number of people from all over came to the bakery. That was when Hyusune’s talent was recognized—she was then called in by the lady boss every month to bring her cakes and sell them in the bakery. She walked across the road to the bakery and brought a bag of 50 Strawberry Fondant cakes, 50 Lemon Sponge cakes and 150 tropical citrus vanilla cakes. Her vanilla cakes were best sellers, so the lady boss usually requested for more.
“Good morning, Miss Marly!” Hyusune said as she walked into the bakery.
“Ah, Hyusune-chan! Good morning to you too!” Miss Marly welcomed her as she passed the cakes over. “What do we have here?” asked Miss Marly.
“I brought a new creation, Miss Marly. It’s called the Strawberry Fondant cake. I brought 50 of these cakes, and 5 samples. I also brought along the Lemon Sponge cake and 150 tropical citrus vanilla cakes. ”
“Thank you Hyusune! Do you mind if I try your new cake?”
“I don’t mind. In fact, I’d be happy to let you be, probably the first, to eat my strawberry fondant cake!” Hyusune laughed.
Miss Marly helped herself to the strawberry fondant cake. The moment the fondant melted in her mouth, her eyes widened.”Hyusune, this is…”
She paused for a moment to savor the cake. “Marvelous! The cream filling is filled with vanilla, melted white chocolate and a hint of strawberries. But this doesn’t taste like strawberry paste you buy in markets, even the expensive ones do not match this standard. What did you use?”
“I got these strawberries from the market. Then, I soaked them in grape juice concentrate to give them the sweetness that would escape into the cake while being baked. Then, I semi-blended them until they turned into jelly-like form, before chilling it. Then, I spread the fondant over the cake and filled the centre with melted chocolate.”
“Bravo! Marvelous! This will sell well!” Miss Marly smiled. After Hyusune took her leave, Miss Marly started selling the cakes. On the way home, Hyusune received a text message from her good friend, Odellia.
“Want to go for a boat ride? The rest are coming along too. Meet at 1pm if you’d like to go.” Hyusune looked at her watch. 10AM. She had 3 hours to get ready for her weekly outing. She skipped home into the house. “I’m back…” She said, as she pushed the door open. Her mother was lying on the sofa talking to her friends over the phone. “Oh, is that true? Really? Hahaha~Simon you’re funny, honey.” ‘What now? A new boyfriend? Other than Uncle David? Seriously…’thought Hyusune. ‘This stepmum of mine can’t get any worse.’
She went into her room and locked the door. Taking out a 50 dollar note from her sack, she sealed the magic sack and hid it inside her invisible storage. Then, she packed some cakes for them which she had made, as well as some meringue from Miss Marly’s bakery. Miss Marly usually gave her some treats for breakfast, but she decided to share it with the rest of her friends.
Going out of the room, she took her bag and walked out of the house. Her mother was planning to hold some function at their house again, and whatever it was it wasn’t good. Hyusune had all her clothes packed into her luggage—her stepmother never gave her a proper cupboard since she married Shigume. Her father was never around. She lived life depending solely on herself and no one else. To her, her friends were like family. She had no real family in her life.
She went out of the house and took the train to school. When she reached the entrance, she saw Cintare, her best friend, Rima, the cutest girl she ever met, Leandra, the most humorous girl she knew, Celestine, the girl with the sweetest smile ever, and Odellia, the smartest of them. “Hyu-chan! Over here!” Rima waved to signal Hyusune to come over. Hyusune rushed over to them as she clutched her bag tightly. She didn’t want any cakes falling out. When Hyusune’s friends saw the cakes she brought, they gaped in awe. “That’s amazing, Hyusune!” Hyusune smiled at them, “There’s enough for everyone! In fact, I was thinking of having a picnic after the boat ride.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me!” Cintare, Hyusune’s best friend, commented as she salivated.
“Geez…Isn’t there anything else on your mind other than food, Cintare? Stop thinking about your belly.” Rima joked and Cintare made a pouty face. “I can’t help it. I have an insatiable desire for food.” She confessed.
“Food aside, lets go into the forest of Galuna!” Odellia said.
“And where would that be?” asked Celestine, curiously.
“Well, it’s somewhere near the top scholar, Shiromi Misako’s house. The house said to be a humongous mansion-like bungalow solely for the top scholar in our academy. Just across the valley of Misako’s house is Galuna forest, the only forest in the world which is infused with magic.”
“That sounds really cool to me!” Leandra said, anticipating their adventure.
“In that case, lets set off now!” Hyusune suggested.
“Hai~!” The others chorused.
As they crossed the valley, they came across many flowers of a variation of colours from red to indigo, all colors of the rainbow. Rima and Leandra couldn’t resist the temptation to snap pictures of the picturesque scenery before them and started taking photos of flowers and pictures of Rima and herself.
“Camera whore huh?” Cintare raised a brow.
Rima’s eyes widened. “It’s not what you think…!”
“Oh? Is that so?” Cintare gave a cheeky smile.
“Well erm…nevermind.” Rima looked away.
“Hey guys! We’ve reached Galuna Forest!” Celestine pointed to the forest ahead of them.
“GALUNA~Finally!” Odellia cheered.” The river should be pretty close by! I can hear the sound of gushing water!”
“Really? Let’s make a move!” Hyusune ran forward ahead of them.
“Hey! Wait for us!” Cintare and the rest ran behind her.
When they had entered the forest, they were greeted by a sphinx. The sphinx was from the academy, and her name was Kagami. Odellia often met her during her visits to the Galuna forest.
“Who are you?” Hyusune asked, slightly worried Kagami would hurt them.
“Don’t worry, Kagami here is a friend. She’s a very friendly sphinx, and was taken in by the academy.”
“Wow!” Rima exclaimed, astounded by the beauty of Kagami. Tucked behind her was a pair of white wings with silver rims that shone under the sun.”Nice to meet you all, my name is Kagami.”
They introduced themselves one after another.
“I’m Cintare, an extreme foodie and in dangerous ability class.”
“I’m Celestine, and I like bears. I’m in the special ability class.”
“I’m Leandra and I simply love music. I’m in the same class as Celestine.”
“I’m Rima, and I love kawaii items. I’m in the exceptional ability class.”
“I’m Hyusune Tennouji, I like baking and I’m in the dangerous ability class.”
“Hyusune…Tennouji?” Kagami asked.
“Is something wrong?” Hyusune enquired.
“No, nothing at all.” Kagami smiled. ‘There’s no mistaking it. This girl is the daughter of Shigume Persona. She’s strong.’ Thought Kagami.
“Let me show you around, girls.” said Kagami, in a sweet, motherly voice.
Cintare and Hyusune were holding hands for a while. Cintare was a little tired of walking, so Hyusune accompanied her. It was unknown as to why a sudden sad memory filled both their heads and they began to sulk. Kagami noticed this and made two magic flowers, tucking one each into their fringes. Instantaneously, their faces lit up. “My, my! Don’t you look so cute and lovely with smiles on your faces!”
“Kagami, we’re getting nearer to the river. Lets play!” Rima said in a chirpy voice from ahead and Kagami galloped forward to her. Hyusune and Cintare caught up with them.
“Wait for us!” Cintare and Hyusune sprinted ahead. ‘This is really what it means to be happy…to have friends who care, and love you…this is my real family.’ Hyusune thought.