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It wasn’t working, whether it was making cookies or Kichi Gen.

Asakawa Hana had overestimated the cooking skills of her friend… No matter how she taught Himeno Yui, the cookies Yui made could only be described as a disaster.

There was a strange smell exuding from the burnt surface. Even though it was already the second try, it was still difficult to connect the products with the word “cookies.”

Kichi Gen was even worse. Asakawa Hana didn’t know he was so disgusting in the past…

Although Kichi Gen was teaching Himeno Yui how to make cookies, his mouth never stopped chattering. He always said something unpleasant unconsciously.

“Rather than cookies, they’re more like charcoal this time… They seem a bit burnt and maybe poisonous?”

Kichi Gen expressed his thoughts, making Himeno Yui look at him with a slightly unyielding gaze.

If the degree of impression could be manifested in numbers, Asakawa Hana would definitely see a -1 sign on her friend. To be precise, it was a -1 sign showing her impression of Kichi Gen.

This line should have been, “Don’t be mad at yourself. Himeno, you’ve already done an excellent job!”

If the gentle male protagonist was here, he would definitely have said so! At least Kichi could increase the degree of Himeno Yui’s impression on him from 3 to 4, out of 100, if he said this.

“Himeno, let’s try again.”

Asakawa Hana also had a little temper. She was very good at cooking, but Himeno Yui only made a bunch of unidentifiable things even after she taught her twice.

“Um… Hm.”

Himeno Yui mustered the courage to try one more time, but Kichi Gen, who had been watching all this time, said something that almost made Asakawa Hana sentence him to death, “Hey, I’ve been very curious since the beginning. Why are you so obsessed with making ‘delicious cookies’?”

Once Kichi Gen said this, both Asakawa Hana and Himeno Yui looked at him with a surprised gaze. This surprised look soon turned into contempt…

Asakawa Hana could even see what Himeno Yui wanted to say in her eyes, “What silly thing is this virgin talking about?”

No! The male protagonist of this spin-off truly wasn’t working! With his personality and big mouth, would any girls really take a fancy to him?

Let alone Asakawa Hana herself, when she looked at her friend, Himeno Yui, she knew that Himeno Yui’s impression of Kichi Gen had started to go downhill.

“Well…”

Kichi Gen seemed to be slightly frightened by the shocked yet disdainful gazes from the two girls, but strange confidence soon filled his entire body.

“Himeno, you’re so good at communicating with people, but you still can’t see the point?”

Kichi Gen asked another question that made Asakawa Hana want to grab him and yell, “Can you be a bit more sensitive? Read the room first before making such a provocative remark, okay?”

“What point?”

Himeno Yui sounded a bit upset as well. Kichi Gen’s words were indeed too provocative, like he was intentionally picking a fight.

“Kichi, what are you trying to say?”

Asakawa Hana couldn’t watch anymore. His confident look was indeed a bit disgusting.

After hanging out with him during this period, Asakawa Hana genuinely doubted if the person in front of her eyes could really build a “friendly relationship” with any girl.

She didn’t think any girl in the world would fall for people like Kichi Gen. He could only have a relationship where he could communicate well with the girls and the girls didn’t avoid him.

Himeno Yui already wanted to avoid him right now.

“It seems that you still don’t understand the ultimate meaning of making handmade cookies! If you want to know, wait outside for about ten minutes and come in again. I’ll show you what real handmade cookies are!”

When Kichi Gen said this a bit arrogantly, Asakawa Hana almost smashed his face with the baking tray.

You fool, idiot, bighead!

Is the handmade cookies the main point right now? The main point is to enhance Himeno Yui’s impression of you through this encounter! It may be a bit too much to ask to make her fall in love with you, but you at least have to leave a good impression!

It’ll be fine even if it’s the kind of relationship where she’ll greet you when she meets you on the corridor, saying, “Good morning, Kichi.”

However, it was already useless. When he said this, it was too late. Even Himeno Yui barely kept her friendly face. That little bit of displeasure was completely revealed.

“Then, show us what you got. I’ll see how well your handmade cookies are…”

Himeno Yui left the cooking classroom with Asakawa Hana, who had an expression like she was saying, “Kid, you’re doomed!”

Could… the male protagonist be changed?

This was the first thought Asakawa Hana had when she was in the corridor.

Blossoming Love was a rom-com after all. Characters, who might… just have extraordinary talent in annoying people like Kichi Gen, were truly not suitable to be the male protagonist!

Asakawa Hana thought that this spin-off might already be dead in the first episode… So, when the agreed time came, Himeno Yui returned to the cooking room with Asakawa Hana.

“What are these… You boasted that you could make real handmade cookies just now.”

Even though it was impolite, Himeno Yui still couldn’t help… but jeer at that tray of burnt handmade cookies in front of her.

Asakawa Hana also frowned gently. She wanted to say, “You sounded so impressive before, but now, this?” However, she soon realized something.

“Just try it first,” Kichi Gen said.

Seeing how insistent Kichi Gen was, Himeno Yui tried one with a bit of hesitation, thinking that it might be tasty even though it didn’t look good.

However, it turned out to taste as bad as its appearance was.

“It’s totally burnt… Not pleasant to eat at all.” Himeno Yui expressed her thoughts mercilessly.

“Is that… so? I’m sorry… If they don’t taste good, just throw them away.”

Kichi Gen, who had always been thick-skinned before, finally showed an ashamed and discouraged look at this moment.

However, Himeno Yui was too kind and considerate. She immediately stopped Kichi from throwing the cookies in the tray into the trash can.

“In fact, it’s not that bad.”

She grabbed a couple of cookies and put them in her mouth again in order to prove that. However, she stuck out her tongue quietly, looking like she was forcing herself to endure the weird flavor of the burnt cookies.

“So, does it mean that you’re willing to eat the cookies?” Kichi Gen’s sudden question made Himeno Yui slightly startled.

“They’re not really tasty, but you put in a lot of effort… Hm…” Himeno Yui paused as she realized what Kichi Gen was trying to say.

“Yes, but I’m not the one who put in the effort to make these cookies. These are the ones you made before, Himeno. However, just like you don’t want to throw them away, the boy who receives these cookies will definitely be happy to accept them no matter how bad the cookies taste, as long as you made them yourself. Boys are actually… such simple creatures.”

His words embarrassed Himeno Yui, and her face was covered with a crimson hue.

Even though Asakawa Hana on the side looked very calm, she was constantly murmuring in her mind…

Himeno Yui was about to throw Kichi Gen into the group of people she “didn’t want to talk to” at first. However, as it turned out, he did leave a profound impression in Himeno Yui’s mind.

This feeling of going from the brink of desperation to suddenly turning the tides was probably something that every audience wanted to see.

In the end, Himeno Yui gave all her handmade cookies to Kichi Gen. This could be considered a scene full of sweetness for the audience.

The premise was that the audience didn’t mind that Himeno Yui was also trying to get into the male protagonist’s harem.

This episode ended when Kichi Gen ate the cookies Himeno Yui gave him while constantly saying that they “tasted bad.”

After that, Asakawa Hana went to the roof of the school building alone and stood on the edge, gazing far into the distance.

“Did you have fun?” Qiu Ren’s voice sounded behind her.

“The arrangement of the first episode is indeed… quite interesting, but it can only be interesting. Kichi Gen is still annoying, whether it’s from our perspective or the audience’s.”

Asakawa Hana expressed her thoughts with her back facing Qiu Ren.

“It’s alright. I told you that you just need to continue hating him. The same goes for the other characters next to you, and even the audience as well. He’s always been a loner, and a loner doesn’t need anyone to like him,” Qiu Ren said.

“…” Asakawa Hana pressed her lips gently and asked, “What about the next episode? What are you going to do with the next episode?”

“The Cultural Festival.”

As soon as Qiu Ren said these words, Asakawa Hana turned around in shock and looked at him, who was sitting on the roof.

“The Cultural Festival is something that will be included in the original series of Blossoming Love!” If Asakawa Hana didn’t meet Qiu Ren today, she would have already been preparing for the scenes related to the Cultural Festival.

However, Qiu Ren seemed to be planning to add content from the original series right now.

“Doesn’t this world go according to time? Since the Cultural Festival is about to begin, there’s nothing wrong for me to write some scenes about it,” Qiu Ren said.

“What about the protagonist of the Cultural Festival Chapter?”

“Kichi, of course…” Qiu Ren said,

“You… are deceiving the audience. We’ve already released the promotion for the Cultural Festival Chapter before. The male protagonist will meet a new female character at the Cultural Festival. And now, you suddenly put the focus on Kichi.”

“The audience will hate him?” Qiu Ren guessed what Asakawa Hana wanted to say.

“Yes…”

What Asakawa Hana was thinking was that the spin-off and the original series should be kept separated as much as possible. Kichi Gen shouldn’t steal the role of the real male protagonist. Scenes like Kichi Gen flirting with a girl, who was about to become a part of the male protagonist’s harem, were something that would infuriate the fans.

And now, Qiu Ren was planning to give the stage of the Cultural Festival Chapter, which had been promoted for a long time, to the fourth male character that showed up out of nowhere. The consequence of this might be that the character, who suddenly showed up to steal the spotlight, would have to bear the anger of the audience.

“Then, just let the audience hate him.” Qiu Ren put his hand on his chin with a smile that made Asakawa Hana unpleasant. “I’ve never planned to make the audience like him. He probably can’t do so, and he isn’t good enough for that.”

“Then, what’s the meaning of Kichi’s existence?”

“Must annoying people disappear?”

“…”

“…”

Qiu Ren and Asakawa Hana stared at each other. The two of them went silent for almost ten seconds.

Finally, Qiu Ren got up and patted the dust off his back.

“Adjust your emotions and get ready for the Cultural Festival Chapter. It’ll be a live version broadcasted around the world… The live broadcast will start right after the first episode of ‘Blossoming Love: Spin-Off.’ Finally, let me remind you not to care about what will happen to that lowly supporting actor. Everything’s happening in order for you to continue to be that female protagonist loved by everyone.”

Qiu Ren then turned into black mist and vanished in front of Asakawa Hana.