Editors: Deus Ex-machina, Perditor
I couldn’t help yawning for the upteen time. I usually walk or ride a bicycle for this stretch of road, but I took a bus today. There wasn’t anyone I know on the bus, and there was plenty of empty seats. I leaned my back heavily onto a seat, and sighed after closing my eyes.
I wasn’t sleeping enough recently, which was wrecking havoc on my body condition. If I needed to stand for a long time such as during school assembly, it might get dangerous. All of this was…
Negative emotions that seemed sort of similar to the ones I felt towards him before welled up in me. Worst of all, the games he recommended were all interesting… No, I need to make a correction. Worst of all, except for the game made by ‘NOBE’, the games he recommended were all interesting. I was the type who would restrain myself in terms of entertainment, but when the RPG I was playing neared its end, I couldn’t help pulling an all nighter to finish it off.
However, the reason why I didn’t get enough sleep was different this time. It wasn’t because of a game recommended by Amano, but because of Amano himself… In other words…
Just what did Amano and Aguri do together after school was out yesterday ahhhh!
I couldn’t help holding my head, thinking about it again.
Basically, Amano and Aguri had no link at all, right!? No, or did they knew each other much earlier?
Aguri used to be a plain girl, and Amano seemed to have friends back in middle school… Ah, they might know each other. But, were they from the same middle school?
B-But usually, they will make that clear from the get go. Since they never mentioned it, they probably don’t know each other… No, thinking about it from another angle, are their relationship so deep that they can’t be open about it!?
The difficult question that would even stump Google sensei made me down in the dumps. I knew I couldn’t figure it out no matter how much I think about it, but that was why I couldn’t help thinking.
The easiest way would be asking one of them… But, that was really scary.
The reason was, after I parted with Hoshinomori quickly yesterday, I wandered the streets after leaving school to kill the time I suddenly had…
And I saw it.
I saw Amano and Aguri── hanging out happily in a cafe!
The couple chatting cheerfully were people I knew, Amano and Aguri! That’s wrong! It’s too weird! Amano going to a cafe together with a girl was already a sign of the apocalypse! And he just have to be with Aguri...
To be honest, I really thought that the world was about to end. For me, that was how outrageous that scene was… And made me speculate.
Normally, even if I didn’t ask, Aguri will keep using messages or LINE to report to me her everyday life. But not only was her message’s content meagre today, she had completely glossed over the fact about her outing with Amano.
And so, I couldn’t ask Aguri about it either… In the end, that incident yesterday kept replaying in my mind.
The route to my school flashes past the window. I will reach school soon. To calm myself before meeting my schoolmates, I told myself:
I-It’s fine. Amano and Aguri would definitely not NTR me. Even if they have contacts, it would revolve around me. Anyway… it’s probably the sensitive Amano overthinking things and then approached Aguri. Speaking of which, he was acting weird yesterday…
That’s right that’s right, what a logical deduction. This was definitely it……
No, wait. Some time ago, didn’t I thought that Amano and Aguri seemed similar at their cores? Did the two of them… hit it off? … Ha, haha, how is that possible. The Aguri I like is so frivolous, she won’t be interested in Amano...
When I thought this far, I felt electricity flowing down my spine.
Wait… Aguri fell for the past me right? The past me… In other words, the nerdy me who plays games happily… I was really similar to Amano back then!
When I realized it, the bus already stopped at my school’s stop. I got down and drifted towards the campus like a spirit.
… N-No no no, that was impossible…
"Hmm, strange? Tasuku?"
A familiar voice came from behind me. I was surprised and turned back exaggeratedly.
The one before me was Aguri herself who looked surprised.
Before I could react, she rushed to my side with a happy smile.
“Wah～～ how rare for me to meet Tasuku in the morning!"
“T-T-That’s right. M-Morning, Aguri.”
“Yes, morning~~ Tasuku. Fufufu~~”
Aguri said as she walked beside me. I wanted to walk naturally just like usual… But my joints were strangely stiff. H-How do I usually walk?
As Aguri grew suspicious, I threw out a topic hurriedly:
“O-Oh right, what did you do yesterday, Aguri?”
I asked before thinking, but in retrospect, that was a landmine. An absolutely disastrous choice! It’s not like I was Amano! As I broke out in cold sweat, Aguri… Aguri seemed a little shaken, and averted her eyes quietly.
“Erm, that… y-yesterday I suddenly felt like having tea with my friend, s-sorry, Tasuku.”
“Ah, r-right. You mentioned that in your message…”
What was with her strange reaction! The doubts in my heart were gushing out! The truth was, Amano said himself that he was meeting Aguri, but it wasn’t clear if they had prepared their testimony ahead of time. Aguri only told me she went for tea with her friend, but refuse to say that friend was Amano.… What the hell, I feel so conflicted!
W-W-What’s going on!? So it’s really… What I think it is!?
In my heart, the theory that ‘Aguri had a thing for Amano’ was quickly taking shape.
Eh, Amano wasn’t a bad guy… His looks were fine too… And he seemed to be the faithful kind… even the famous Tendo fell for him, an unexpectedly manly character… Wait.
Strange! Is Amano’s that good a catch!? Is he having it good? No… That’s not true right?
I didn’t know what’s happening anymore.
After we reached the school gate, we changed into indoor shoes, then walked towards the second year classrooms together. After this short period of silence, Aguri suddenly said to me with a rare tense expression:
“Tasuku, w-what did you do after school… yesterday?”
The question was too sudden, which made my heart waver. I still recalled what happened yesterday, and reported honestly:
“Well… I chatted with Hoshinomori and Amano… Ah, then Amano left first…”
“Ahem, a-after that…?”
“After that… Oh right, I don’t think you know her, the Hoshinomori I mentioned is a girl from Class A.”
“I-Is that so… W-What kind of girl is she?”
Aguri was interested in Hoshinomori for some reason… I could understand if she wants to talk about Tendo or Amano… but she wants to learn about Hoshinomori who was completely unrelated to her? Strange.
“What kind of girl… Well, looks gloomy at first, nerdy, and have an aura of not having any friends…”
“O-Oh… Is that so…”
Aguri suddenly flicked her hair, and she looked a little smug…?
“Ah, but after actually talking to her, she is actually a nice person, and is interesting to talk about gaming with her. Also, she is the classical hidden gem, the type that loses to others because she doesn't dress up.”
“... I see~~... Ahah… hah…”
Aguri became depressed again for some reason. Was she jealous? Eh, that was unlikely. After all, she even said I was compatible with Tendo, a girl who was frivolous about love. I might be her boyfriend, but she wouldn’t be that dedicated to me…
“? Hmm? Tasuku, why are you depressed?”
“No… I’m not.”
I averted my gaze. Oh no… I was exposed. Feeling lonely because my girlfriend didn’t care about me, that’s too sissy! But, I couldn’t help it, I feel that… Aguri looked really cute recently.
Our conversation ended abruptly… After being with Aguri for half a year, this was the first time this happened.
Could it be… This was…
T-The signs of an eminent breakup!?
I was sweating bullets in my heart. I often heard others speak of such a situation. A couple didn’t have anything they dislike about each other, but their relationship still felt uneasy, and they break up in the end. Was this it? Something like love burnout period?
With an incredibly tense heart, we came to the corridor leading to the Second Years’ classrooms.
── The next moment, an unfamiliar girl talked to me.
“Er… E-Erm, Uehara-san!"
The female student before Aguri and me was a beautiful girl that was a sight for sore eyes.
She had an innocent looking face, exceptional figure and she her uniform was put on in a sloppy but fashionable manner. She had a lazy charm about her, and her slightly curly hair was enchanting─ Hold on.
“Huh, could you be… H-Hoshinomori?”
Nods furiously! “Y-Yes.”
The sunny beauty smiled amiably… H-Hey hey.
I did say that cutting her hair shorter would suit her better, and also told her she didn’t need to wear her uniform too tidily… To think it would be so drastic a change…
To be honest, I was scratching my face a little troubledly. Both male and female schoolmates around us had their eyes our way. Aided by the feeling of freshness, she was as prominent as Tendo. I turned, and saw that Aguri was stupefied too.
Hoshinomori seemed to be shy about my gaze and lowered her head quietly… Ah, she might look amazing, but she was still Hoshinomori on the inside.
"Huh? Why are you apologizing?"
“E-Erm, changing my style like this is a little too reckless… It must feel revolting, right? I carried out all the advice you gave yesterday… B-But, I just want to give it a try…”
Yup, that was totally Hoshinomori on the inside. Her self-esteem was too low, just like Amano. I couldn’t stand it,the two of them had similar experiences and had similar personality, so why couldn’t they get along better? If they just made a compromise about ‘MOE’, they would really be a one true pair── hold on.
If Amano and Hoshinomori got together like this...
Would Aguri’s heart return to me? I shook my head when I thought about this. The hell was I thinking? That’s too scummy. That’s not the problem, right? Really, then what about Tendo? Seeing her like this, I hope she ends up with Amano too… Eh, no no, why should I worry which heroine Amano picks?! And that wasn’t all there was to this, right!?
I didn’t get it myself either. I was showing symptoms of catching a cold, probably from the lack of sleep, my entire face will heat up when I get agitated. I couldn’t stand it…
── At this moment, I realized that Aguri glanced towards my face, and then shuffled towards her class as if she was in a trance… Strange.
I wanted to call out to Aguri, but Hoshinomori didn’t seem to realize that I knew Aguri, and continued talking to me.
"Neh neh…Uehara-san. Is it fine… for me to change my style like this? W-Well, aside from my classmates, even my parents and younger sister asked me ‘w-who are you?’...”
In the end, Hoshinomori couldn’t tell if these reactions were good or bad. Was there even a need to say this? I couldn’t stand it, just how low was these people’s self esteem…?
“Well, there aren’t any problems, it suits you very well, Hoshinomori. Especially your haircut, it is great. Amano won’t call you seaweed head anymore.”
“I-Is that so? Hehe… T-Thank you!”
Seeing the bashful smile of the more confident Hoshinomori… looks like she will be popular.
── As we were chatting about various things, Amano approached gradually from behind Hoshinomori. I raised a hand to acknowledge Amano, and he greeted me from afar: “Morning, Uehara-san～～" … But he didn’t stop at all and headed towards Class F.
When Amano passed us by, he said softly with a mocking laugh at Hoshinomori:
Using the chance while Hoshinomori was getting mad, Amano dashed into the classroom. J-Just how much does he hate Hoshinomori!?
Hoshinomori wanted to rebuke him, but entering Class F… Entering another class in the morning made her hesitate, and she could only stomp her feet vexingly.
“W-What is w-wrong with him! Uehara-san, why are you friends with Keita!?”
“Huh...? Why are we friends… B-Because he lends me games?”
“What a superficial friendship!”
Hoshinomori complained to me about Amano for a short while, but after the bell rang, she bowed to me and hurried towards Class A.
I entered the classroom too, thinking in a daze as I went to my seat.
But… Didn’t Hoshinomori notice? Amano only saw her back, but he managed to recognized her before coming to tease her.
Hoshinomori who changed her style was so different that even her family didn’t recognize her. But Amano still treated her the same way, as expected of Amano──
I thought while harbouring this strange sense of respect.
...In the end, my mind was clotted by the relations between Aguri and Amano.
“Y-You are making games?”
Hoshinomori lowered her head shyly as she sat on a bench inside a park near the school, while sipping on tea flavoured soya drink through a straw.
I watched her from the side, thinking: Hmm, what in the world am I doing?
It had been a week since Hoshinomori changed her style, and I realized that I was like a consultant to her.
Well, in the beginning, I just thought of it as an after sales service after she changed her looks drastically, and it would just be discussing with Hoshinomori what sort of fashionable accessories would fit her style. But the content of our dialogue gradually shifted to her worries and complaints about Amano (Which were present all along).
On the other hand, Aguri didn’t spend much time with me, and I suddenly had free time after school. That was why I ended up accompanying Hoshinomori who was bored stiff waiting for her bus.
A week went by just like that, until today.
Hoshinomori revealed her interest in creating games, and the content of our discussion finally went beyond the realm I could manage.
“That’s why, e-erm, I want to ask Uehara-san for advice about making games…”
Well, I was happy that someone was relying on me, but discussing this with me was strange, right? After I finished the 200ml ‘tri-arrow’ brand soda, I slammed the can to the side and said:
“I-I want to tell you, Hoshinomori..."
“Y-Yes, what is it, Uehara-san!?"
Hoshinomori looked up at me with sparkling eyes… Oh no, she had grown really intimate with me before I realized it.
I backed off a little and told her:
“If you want to discuss about gaming, you should know someone who is more suitable than me─"
“Is it so repulsive that you had to spit with an abhorrent face that completely spoils your image!?”
Well, Hoshinomori didn’t really spit, but she conveyed her unwillingness to me very clearly.
I couldn’t help sighing.
“Hey, you two can definitely get along better, right? Why are you so stubborn about this?”
When Hoshinomori heard my question, she crushed the soya package in her hand and said:
“This isn’t being stubborn, it’s a problem of not backing down and insisting on one’s pride.”
“Yes, that is exactly what being stubborn means.”
“I-I-I don’t care about Keita at all. I don’t feel anything about him, and don’t want to get involved with him. I hope he will transfer schools to an alternate world.”
“Such a development would probably make him happy.”
“B-But, Uehara-san… Do you know how far he had progressed with ‘Aegis VIII’? I-I’m just curious…”
“You are super concerned about him!”
“I-I-I am not concerned about him! I just want to clear the game before he does, then gather all the rare weapons, armour and collectibles, then show it off to him arrogantly!”
“That’s why I said you are super concerned about him! Hoshinomori, you wouldn’t compete with others on how fast you clear games!"
When I pressed her, Hoshinomori probably realized she was being irrational, so she took out her phone and pretended to answer to an incoming message… Basically, she didn’t have friends that would send her messages, just like Amano, right… I leaned in and peered, and found Hoshinomori playing a social game as expected… Hmm, wait? Strange, this game was…
"Amano also play this……"
"Ah, no, it’s nothing."
Hoshinomori turned to me with an annoyed look, so I pretended to be retarded. As she fiddled with her games, I peeked at it… And so──
Ah, as expected, that’s the game Amano was playing. Just how compatible are the two of you...
It was to the extent that they should just get married. Why did they have to fight over something as stupid as ‘Moe’? God was cruel… No, these two were just too retarded.
As I blankly watch Hoshinomori play her game, I realized Amano received the help request Amano mentioned last time. The other party’s name… was some guy called ‘Tsucchan’... Hmm? I saw this player’s name somewhere before…
My brain seemed to be stuck onto something as I continued watching Hoshinomori play. She seemed to have accepted the request. On the confirmation page, I saw Hoshinomori’s player name.
She is ‘MONO’ huh… Oh~~... ‘MONO’ huh. ‘MONO’...?
“Wahh! Huh! U-Uehara-san?”
I couldn’t help grabbing Hoshinomori shoulder from behind, and she turn around flusteredly with a blushed face. I let go with a “S-Sorry” but I couldn’t help asking her:
"H-Hoshinomori. That game… You… are using... the nick name ‘MONO’... to play this?”
“Hmm? Ah, yes, that’s right…”
“And then… Erm… The ‘Tsucchan’ that requested for your help… is a player you had known for a long time?”
“Ah, y-yes. Well, this type of game basically have shallow interactions limited to within the games, but this person will always help me at the most crucial time, and is very righteous. For someone like me who don’t have friends in real life… He is probably one of the few people who understands me… Ah, e-erm, maybe you think it is weird that despite having never spoken with him… I still described him in such exaggerated terms…”
I took a deep breath. Even though this was in public… Despite of that, I still stood up from the bench, walked to the front of Hoshinomori and grabbed her shoulders tightly with both hands. I looked at her seriously in the eyes── I couldn’t stop myself from yelling:
"This is too compatible a match ahhhhh!!!!!!"
"! Huh hmmm? W-What’s wrong!"
Hoshinomori was scared stiff. Her face was red from embarrassment because she misunderstood something, she even averted her eyes. But I really couldn’t spare the thoughts for that.
I was agitated, but I still lowered my voice and asked her with renewed seriousness:
“L-Let me ask you, be honest, how do you feel about Amano!?”
“Huh? I hate him more than an idol forcefully slotted into my favourite drama series by some agency.”
She answered without hesitation. I grabbed my head and yelled:
“Huh? No no no! I should be asking what’s wrong with you!?”
“Fall in love! At a time like this, you should go and experience love! Isn’t a happy ending obviously in sight!?”
“What~~! No no no, no matter how I think about it, this is a bad ending for me!”
“... Ah! Damn it, so when someone enhanced by the traits of a main character, possess despairing low potential to be a main character, the situation becomes this retarded!”
“... Eh~~ E-Erm Uehara-san? W-Want some soya?”
When I realized it, Hoshinomori appeared to be spooked by my weird actions, and was even offering some of her soya. I turned her down as I decided I do need to cool my head, and sat back onto the bench.
After spending some time to regulate my breathing, I spent some time thinking about it before telling Hoshinomori:
"Hoshinomori. I want to confirm again… You don’t have the tsundere type of feeling for Amano at all…?
“Absolutely not. If I am stuck on a deserted island with him, I would rather kill myself.”
She refused with serious eyes. After hearing her opinion, I reviewed my strategy.
It is easy to explain such a fated situation to them… But from the looks of things, even if I clear up the situation, that might just make them hate each other, so what is the right move...
Well, although I was an outsider, I still feel frustrated when such a ‘regrettable’ situation was placed before me. It was the same as Tendo’s incident, it really felt like I was cheering for the main character and heroine of a manga or light novel. It was really interesting.
I looked at Hoshinomori, and she seemed a little concerned about me. But the deadline for aid request was probably reaching, so she placed her eyes on her phone and fiddled with it.
Anyway, let me test her out first.
"Hoshinomori… Well… Oh right, why do you call yourself ‘MONO’?”
“Huh? Ah, I get it, you are asking why I choose this name? It’s very simple.”
“Simple? Ah, did you pick a part of ‘Hoshinomori’ and read it backwards──"
“No no no, it’s because my mother’s family name was ‘Mononobe’, and I used the first kanji, ‘MONO’. As you know, everyone would prefer to choose an online handle that isn’t too close to their real life self, right? Ah, that’s why I used the other part of the name ‘NOBE’ as my online name. I use it mainly for game creation.”
“Being this compatible is too incredulous aaaaahhhh!”
I stood up and yelled again, which shocked Hoshinomori once again. The parents who brought their kids to the park also pulled some distance from me.
I immediately lowered my head in apology, saying “Ah, sorry” and then sat down, but my emotions remained hyped up. “‘NOBE’ huh!? So you are ‘NOBE’! What is this situation!”
Hoshinomori probably completed the help request mission and kept her phone, her eyes were fretful as I had given her a fright. I cleared my throat with a cough and asked once more:
"Hoshinomori. Can’t you feel any… charm from Amano as a man?”
“Before talking about Keita’s charm as a man, I don’t even acknowledge him as a human.”
“You are actually that repulsed by him!?”
What was with the two of them!? Could one person hate another to such an extent!?
“Except for a certain point, your hobby and interest completely aligns…”
“That is the reason! His experience is so similar to mine… but he still supports ‘Moe’! I am bewildered by that taste of his! It’s like I am seeing my own dark side!”
Simply put, this was the highest level of the inverse of ‘opposite attracts’. Because they had so many things in common, there would be an intense standoff if they arrive at different conclusion from these experiences.
I scratched my head hard.
Oh no, from the looks of things, their grudge was too deep. And from the Gamers Club incident, it was clear how much unnecessary pride these two had. In that case… No matter how fated this seems, nothing good will come from revealing this! But if the two of them avoided each other and loses touch, it will be really...
Despite all these fated situation linking them together, it would be ridiculous for them to drift apart! Too ridiculous! But if this goes on, they would definitely not persist on meeting each other.
As I racked my brains and failed to think of a way, Hoshinomori probably switched the subject out of consideration for me:
“E-Erm, like I said, about the game creation…”
“That’s right… We were talking about that.”
As I thought about the ways to pair Amano with Hoshinomori, I listened to Hoshinomori expound further.
She took small sips of her soya milk and said:
“In the beginning, I will create simple games and publish them online because it’s my hobby… B-But, how should I put this? My reviews aren’t that great…”
“Yes I know. You are ‘NOBE’ after all…”
Hoshinomori一 look so docile, but she was actually so evil on the inside… As I sighed, Hoshinomori looked at me with surprise:
“U-Uehara-san, y-you know about the games I made! Even though it is so niche!?”
“? Ah, I only played one game from the beginning to the end. As for why I played…”
At this moment, I considered about telling her the entire thing with Amano.
However, Hoshinomori looked at me with sparkling eyes.
“I-I think this is destined to be!”
“You are going with that!?”
Wrong! It might be destined to be, but the subject wasn’t me! I wanted to clarify with Hoshinomori, but I found it hard to mention about Amano with how happy she looked. Anyway, I will make a simple confirmation.
“Well, Hoshinomori, assuming… this is just an assumption. Assuming Amano knew that you are a game creator and played the free game you made…”
“... I will let the crows feast on my living body and return to nature.”
Her eyes were serious. I held my head in exasperation.
W-What is the right thing to do here!? Objectively speaking, Amano and Hoshinomori are each other’s destined partner! If they keep drifting apart, that would be too ridiculous. If they carry on like this, they won’t get together even if all the other conditions are fulfilled…
As I was racking my brains over this in vain, Hoshinomori continued her discussion with me:
“Eh, Uehara-san, what do you think about the game I… ‘NOBE’ made?”
“Huh? Ah~~... Well… How should I put this… i-it is very original──"
“Ah, that will be enough.”
Hoshinomori probably realized something and shirked away. The two of you were only sensitive about such things!
She sighed deeply.
“In the beginning, I only made games for my own interest. I didn’t plan to show anyone, and just want to make a game that only belongs to me.”
“Ah, everyone will have such thoughts. Like drawing your own manga or writing a novel.”
“T-That’s right. When the game is finished, I became emotionally invested in the product. And so, I tried releasing the game online… After that, I received some praises and a few comments, which made me become cocky from happiness. And so, I started making a second and third game…”
“Isn’t it fine if you enjoyed the experience?”
“Enjoyed, huh… I admit that I enjoyed myself…”
At this moment, Hoshinomori pursed her lips. It appears that this was the part she wanted to talk about.
“B-But… Recently, I don’t know anymore. Because the games I designed in the way I like… Erm, is like the one played…”
“The reviews aren’t great.”
Of course her work won’t get acknowledged. It was too unique.
“B-But, when I designed the content with the criticism of others in mind… the results are…”
Hoshinomori nodded. Right, I think Amano mentioned this before. Amongst the game made by ‘NOBE’, the second one was relatively normal, and even made it into the top rankings.
Hoshinomori smiled wryly.
“W-Well, I know that I am not a great creator, so it’s strange for me to worry about it so much. But even so, I still can’t find the right answer. In the end, I just kept doing the things I like… And ended up with mediocre reviews.”
“Since you like to make games, that is also fine, right?”
"… Things would be simple if I just resign myself like that. But after experiencing praises that one time… I can’t forget the exuberance I felt…”
“Why not make games that others would like?”
“I-I made the second game with that in mind. However, I didn’t feel that strong sense of happiness even though I got praised by others…”
“Well, in a sense, that would be like denying your original style…”
“T-That’s right! Erm, it’s not like I don’t feel happy at all. In fact, I was very depressed when my third game tanked. B-But, I believe that my real style will be accepted one day and I have been working hard all this while. However…”
“It’s still not going smoothly huh?”
“Y-Yes. That’s why, I am thinking whether I should make another orthodox game.”
“T-This feels like an endless hellish cycle.”
All creators in the world had been caught in such a dilemma to some extent. But there was no right answer to this. Frankly speaking, I think it was fine either way and urged Hoshinomori to continue:
“B-But, actually, I have a strange fan who said… He likes the style of the real me.”
“... Ah… That guy is probably ‘Yamasan’ right?”
I mentioned the online handle Amano mentioned on a whim. Hoshinomori confirmed that.
“? Hmm? How did you… Ah, r-right, I remember. You saw the comment section of my blog, right? Yes, you are right.”
Eh, enough, why aren’t the two of you dating yet? Just how many places did the red string of fate bond the two of you? Was that red string a flawed product or kinked somewhere?
Hoshinomori said with a straight face:
“So I was thinking, if I made a proper game… wouldn’t that be betraying ‘Yamasan’? That’s why I want to discuss this with someone. Uehara-san, t-tell me, what do you think I should do?”
“Go ask Amano!”
That would solve everything! But Hoshinomori seemed to think this was a joke, and was annoyingly gleeful when she said: “Uehara-san, you are doing that again～～" Ugh, even her inability to gauge distance was the same as Amano!
Honestly, what should I do── I renewed my thoughts.
Even if I ignore ‘Yamasan’, Amano would be more suited to discuss such game related troubles. But Hoshinomori would never consult him about it. However, it would be wonderful if their relationship improves after talking about this. On one hand, I want to support Tendo’s love, and if I somehow dragged Hoshinomori in, it might even ignite Tendo’s jealousy.
In a corner of my heart a fair away from these thoughts, I was really bothered by Amano and Aguri’s relationship. But with no good way to unearth the facts, I could only stare at the issue anxiously.
Also, I had just been spending time with Amano or Hoshinomori recently. Frankly speaking, my status as a normie in class was getting dangerous, and there was another issue I had to be careful about…
Sigh~~ is there any good way for me to resolve all my frustrations and troubles I accumulated in the past week in one go?
I looked around the park blankly as I harboured a hope that was as good as relying on God.
In the distance were kids playing in the sand pit, while the housewives busied themselves chatting to the side. On the open plaza beside the park were several elderlies engrossed in a social game of Croquet… What a serene sight. The atmosphere in the Gamers Club sounded really strict. This scene was its exact opposite!
── Inspiration struck in an instant.
“... That’s it…”
I jumped up from the bench.
Hoshinomori tilted her head baffledly, as she watched me.
But I didn’t reply to her… No, I couldn’t reveal anything, I just looked at the scenery within the park seriously as I thought about my ‘heavenly revelation’.
Once again, I realized that it was a great move that could settle all my worries, and was terrifyingly effective.
I couldn’t help trembling in silence.
The next day.
After school was out, the synchronized voices of Amano and Hoshinomori echoed in Class 2F.
With the two of them intentionally sitting some distance apart from Amano’s desk, I was standing with my chest puffed out alone. I announced loud enough for the few classmates who were still around to hear:
“Yes! Let the three of us form the ‘Gamers Hobby Group’!”
The two of them who weren’t too sure about this looked at each other troublingly.
Using this chance while they weren’t fighting, I used the momentum to propose:
“The two of you are both interested in ‘gamers group’, but thinks that the Gamers Club is not what you are looking for.”
“In that case, we should create a new organization! Unlike the Gamers Club that holds club activities for everyone to hone their skills, but something more relaxed, a gaming group that makes having fun for its members the priority. That is… the ‘Gamers Hobby Group’ that I am trying to form!”
The two nerds were probably influenced by my passion as they forgot their position and clapped for me softly… If I mediate for them in the middle, the two of them were unexpectedly easy to coerce.
I took a look, and found my classmates who were still around looking at us and whispering… Good good. This was one of my plan.
Me, Amano and Hoshinomori, such a combination feels weird and would be very prominent. However, if I tie the three of us together under the name of a Hobby Group, the gazes directed at us would lessen! I can talk to them openly too!
That was the first advantage of forming the Hobby Group. As for the second advantage…
Amano raised his hand meekly and asked with his head tilted:
"A Hobby Group… to do what exactly? Can’t we just talk to you normally like before? A-After all, if we do as you suggested…”
When Hoshinomori heard his question, she raised her opinion too:
“E-Erm, me too, I just want to talk to Uehara-san like before. I am saying this because..."
And then, the two of them pointed at each other, and told me firmly:
““This one is annoying.””
“You two never change, huh!”
Could people really be that resistant to compromise!? I was completely impressed by them!
I was stumped, but still coughed and kept my cool, then explained to them calmly:
“That is the raison d'etre of the Hobby Group.”
"You two might share similar interests, but I am not forcing you to be friends. You would just be partaking in the Gamers Hobby Group’s activity. It is just an avenue for members to talk about gaming, and won’t force them to get along with each other. So…”
“”…! D-Debating to the end is permitted…!””
The fire of determination burned in their eyes… Yup, although I was hoping for this… They were idiots as expected.
However, I didn’t show my stupefied expression, and continued with a devious smile:
“How about it, it’s great isn’t it? Because you hate each other… There must be plenty of times where you want to debate to your heart’s content.”
They looked at each other with almost the same movements, then turned their face away. They then looked my way and mumbled… The similarity of their thoughts was like a scene from a comedy. I was looking forward to their interaction in the Hobby Group.
Actually, this was the second advantage of forming the Hobby Group.
Even if the two of them squabble, this would ensure they would meet each other.
Even if they want to better their relationship, it would be impossible if they didn’t have a place to converse. However, if they were not tied together with some reason, they would probably drift apart stubbornly. Even though they consider each other as eyesores… They were surprisingly concerned about each other. It would be too much to describe them as Tsundere, but they still wish to have the chance and reason to talk to each other.
Hence, I set up the ‘Gamers Hobby Club’, a small circle to link them together…
""……Since you say so…""
Hook, line and sinker. I caught both of them. I’m a master baiter. Although the fishes were brainless.
With a smile of satisfaction, I sat down as I had more or less achieved my goals.
The two of them were sneaking peeks at each other, it felt as if they were keeping each other in check.
Amano raised another question:
"But… Can we form a Hobby Group with just the three of us?”
“Hmm? Ah, there needs to be a minimum number of people and a clear objective in order to form a club in our school, but we just need to submit some documents for a Hobby Group, and we are good to go. On the other hand, the school won’t allocate any budget for us.”
“I see. That’s great, but…”
Hoshinomori finished Amano’s sentence:
"S-So, it’s just the three of us? Well, I don’t like having too many people either… But…”
Sparks flew between Hoshinomori and Amano as they dueled with their eyes. I sighed and replied:
"No, I actually invited one more person. I haven’t ask her to come in yet…”
As I was saying that, that person leaned her head into the classroom. While my classmate in Class F were stunned, I raised my hand and hollered: “Yo!” calling her in.
"Tendo, this way! You came at the right time!"
"Ah, Uehara-san. Sorry for being late. Cleaning duty took longer than expected."
Amano immediately straightened his back… It seemed that his fear of Tendo was growing by the day.
Tendo had her usual perfect smile as she walked over, then politely bowed and greeted the two people who sat stiffly.
“Thank you everyone for inviting me to join the ‘Gamers Hobby Group’. As I also had my own club activities, I haven’t decided yet. But I will consider it seriously after joining today’s session…”
She looked at Hoshinomori, at this juncture, and paused for some reason.
Strange? What happened? Why was Tendo looking at Hoshinomori intently? They were from the same class… But they were not enemies or anything, right? Didn’t seem like they had anything in common.
As everyone was baffled by this development, Tendo suddenly came to her senses and asked Hoshinomori:
"Erm… S-So Hoshinomori-san is also part of the Hobby Group.”
“Y-Yes… Ah, I am sorry about turning down your invitation to the Gamers Club that time…”
Hoshinomori acted timidly. I overlooked this part, so it was my fault. But… The thing bothering Tendo didn’t seem to be issue with the Gamers Club…
As I expected, Tendo alternated her glances between Amano and Hoshinomori
Amano said hurriedly:
"Ah, I have to apologize too. I turned down the Gamers Club, but joined this group instead…"
"N-No. That is fine… Erm… as expected… T-The two of you would rather form the Gamers Hobby Group than join the Gamers Club because both of you are here…?”
Oh shit, so that’s what this is!
I finally realized at this moment. It wasn’t clear why… But Tendo thinks the two of them liked each other? Well, I did hope to spark off Tendo’s jealousy, but she seemed to have been mistaken way before this.
I wanted to clear things up… But it was already too late.
After they were asked this vague question, the anxious Amano and Hoshinomori once again showed how in sync they were, and how they couldn’t read the mood… They nodded firmly and answered:
“”Ah, yes, that’s right.”” Obviously answering without thinking.
Feeling the (non-existent) intimate relationship between the two of them, Tendo was shocked. What the hell was this situation?
As I was sweating buckets internally, the red faced Tendo averted her gaze and muttered:
“... A-As expected, the Gamers Hobby Group don’t really need me…”
She is throwing a tantrum ahhhhhhhhh!
Oh no! I do hope she would be jealous, but not like this! Things could only develop after she joined the Gamers Hobby Group! Only then would there be a chance for Amano to get closer to either Tendo or Hoshinomori! Don’t fail at such an early stage!
And honestly speaking, once the Hobby Group is formed, it will eat into Amano’s after school time. He can start his romantic comedy with the two beauties, and won’t have time to date Aguri! I can also use the Hobby Group activity as a reason to control plus monitor Amano’s movements!
After affirming my plan, I decided that getting Tendo to stay was the priority and said:
“D-Don’t decide so hastily, just try joining us for today..."
I was soothing things over midway when Amano made an insensitive statement:
“Ah, Uehara-san, that won’t do. I hope Tendo-san can… concentrate on leading the Gamers Club!”
“Do you have to be so heartless aaaaahhhhhhh!”
Amano tilted his head innocently. His words were equivalent to ‘get the hell back to your Gamers Club’, which made Tendo’s face cramp. Such genius! Genius in hurting Tendo’s ego!
Blinking away the bits of tears in my eyes, I soothe her calmly:
“A-Anyway, please take a seat, alright? Joining or not is another issue, j-just observe our activity okay!? Okay? It’s fine, right?”
“Huh? Ah, that is fine… Eh, Uehara-san, were your actions this weird before?"
“Don’t mind me!”
Of course my actions turned weird! What the hell was with this situation!? Recently, even I got confused over what the objective behind my actions was! What happened to my normie lifestyle?
Anyway, the four of us finally sat down around Amano’s desk, and Amano was quietly feeling touched. It might just be the few of us, but to him, this was like a scene from his dreams. Having several people around his desk, such a situation… I felt like crying for him too.
When Tendo asked me: “And so? What’s the activity for today?”
I glanced towards Hoshinomori, confirming with her with my eyes. After getting her final consent, I formally brought up the gaming topic for today.
"Hoshinomori is making a game right now, let’s discuss the direction for her next work."
Amano and Tendo looked at Hoshinomori in surprise. She mumbled the things she discussed with me yesterday shyly…… and omitted the part about her being ‘NOBE’. She seemed to have done so because she didn’t want Amano to play the games she made as she was sure Amano would belittle it… When the fact was…
"Oh～～Chiaki, you are making a game huh…… it must be really boring."
Amano had a go at Hoshinomori as expected… No, the only fantastic fan of her would actually be you…
The scene of them two squabbling all the while shocked Tendo… Ah right, she thought the two of them were on great terms.
“They are always like this. Can’t get along like fire and ice.”
Tendo’s mood improved and she smiled… You didn’t even attempt to hide your liking for Amano huh. Or did she train in gaming too much and was unexpectedly inexperienced in love?
With the misunderstanding cleared for now, I felt more at ease. I broke up their fight and moved the topic forward:
"Alright, Tendo and Amano, what do you two think? Should Hoshinomori do what she likes? Or do what others want?"
"Do you even need to ask, don’t hesitate and just do the things you like."
I didn’t expect Tendo to answer so decisively. Hoshinomori asked timidly: “S-So that’s the right answer after all?”
Tendo nodded and replied without any doubts:
“Of course. You have to follow through on your beliefs. Be it painting or literature, a real masterpiece is borne from such a selfish desire.”
“I see I see… that is true.”
“You must believe in yourself and work hard on your creation. Your skill and popularity will come naturally in the future.”
“Y-Yes! E-Erm, I will work hard!”
Hoshinomori straightened her back and completely agreed with Tendo’s opinion. Amano and I were impressed. This girl… Tendo was good. She might be a wreck when things involved Amano, but the girl at the top of Ootoki High was the real deal. Her opinion and attitude were unwavering, determined and strong.
However, that was why…
The topic thus ended… No good, that was too perfect, Tendo Karen! What the hell! At least showboat a little! High school at a level higher than us── for example, Hekiyō High school located near us, their student council will showboat in every meeting! So holding a fun discussion was impossible if someone so perfect was around! Today I learned! Awkward silence shrouded the place… Strange, were hobby group activities supposed to be like this…?
I knew this was irresponsible as I broke out in cold sweat, but I had no choice… but to push the topic to Amano.
“Right, t-then Amano, what do you think?”
Amano glared at me as if to say: asking me after hearing such a perfect answer, how mean! ...Ugh, sorry, but… Amano, I have my troubles too!
On the other hand, Hoshinomori sensed Amano’s crisis, and asked with an insidious smile:
"Ah～～ I want to know too, what does Keita who is famous for loving games think?"
"Ugh… Chiaki, you…!"
What an ugly fight! Tendo who was surprised by that scene asked me again:
“I-It seems that in all sorts of ways, these two have less compatibility than oil and wate…”
“Well, I-I think they have their own unique relationship…”
I couldn’t answer further. It was too unique in a negative sense.
Anyway, everyone fixed their attention onto Amano.
Amano glared back at Hoshinomori… then sighed in resignation and scratched his head. After that, he answered in an unexpectedly relaxed manner:
“To be honest, I think either way is fine.”
His opinion was too casual, it would be too much to compare that with Tendo’s masterful comment.
Hoshinomori bashed him on this point:
"W-What is this. Keita… Y-You don’t care about the games I am making…?"
“Oh right, that too.”
Sparks flew between them again. Tendo muttered to me: “They seem to be on great terms instead…” Yup, I felt the same, they were like a loving married couple who just happened to be fighting.
After Hoshinomori gave Amano a piece of her mind, he continued:
“But, even if it isn’t you, I think it would be fine too. To me, it doesn’t matter whether the creator wants his work to be popular or not. The important thing is how fun the product is.”
“With the way you put it, it’s as good as not saying anything…”
I mumbled, but Amano replied nonchalantly: “But I’m not wrong, correct?”
“Since there are cases where masterpieces arise by staying true to one’s conviction, there must be cases where entertaining elements got mixed in haphazardly and the finished product is still incredibly fun. Vice versa.”
“W-What is that? Keita, d-don’t you have anything you want from the game creators you like?”
"Huh? That’s right. That’s how it is."
His lack of ambition was completely opposite to that of Tendo, and even made us felt stupefied. However… Amano continued: That’s why,”
“Chiaki, just do it the way you like, ok? Even if you want it to be superficially popular, that is still your work. Isn’t that so?
His words seemed to make Hoshinomori realize something, Tendo and I also listened carefully to Amano’s view.
"Chiaki, since the project made by sticking to your conviction is your work, isn’t the game made in order to gain popularity also the fruits of your labour? Are these two that different?”
Hoshinomori was a little shakened and averted her gaze. But Amano probably felt his opinion was too shallow compared to Tendo, so he glanced at Tendo and scratched his head shyly.
He explained to Tendo politely, with a completely different attitude from the way he treated Hoshinomori.
“Ah, I also like the games made by a certain free game creator. If I have to say what I like about him, it would be the personality that could be discerned from the details of the game. That’s why… Even if that creator wants to gain more superficial popularity, I think the core parts would remain the same no matter what he does. In that case, I would definitely like it too, that’s how I feel.”
"S-Sorry, I must have sounded really shallow… Eh, I-I don’t care about the lousy game Chiaki made anyway..."
Hoshinomori glared at Amano, but strangely, her eyes weren’t that hostile.
Tendo too, despite her opinion being the polar opposite of Amano, she was smiling warmly.
“I see… you are right. I finally know now. Yes, Amano-kun… That’s the sort of person you are.”
"Huh? Ah, s-sorry…”
Amano was completely intimidated… Ah, he seemed to have misunderstood! Tendo was obviously showing a face of admiration! Why did you interpret it as you being scolded? Basically, this guy was too sensitive; plus, he has an inferiority complex!
… Well, the atmosphere was unexpectedly cordial, I thought it was about time.
"Well then, let’s call it a day."
After saying that, the other three nodded without any objection. When I realized it, the classroom was empty save for us.
When everyone was ready to leave after packing up, I said to Tendo:
“So how about it, Tendo? What do you plan to do? Do you want to… join the ‘Gamers Hobby Group?”
When Tendo heard my question, she glanced towards Amano hesitantly… Yup just one more push. I didn’t want to let Amano and Hoshinomori hear this, so I went closer to Tendo and whispered:
"Oh right, Amano started talking to Hoshinomori because of you, Tendo."
“He wants to talk to you with an attitude of an equal in the future, so he is working to improve himself. He found someone who likes gaming to practice his talking. Sigh… And it became like this.”
“I-I see. H-He did this in order to… speak properly with me…”
Tendo’s face turned a deeper shade of red.
Alright… the last fish is hooked
I smiled deviously. As I expected, Tendo answered timidly:
“T-That’s fine. I had fun today too… Then I will split my time between these two groups, and join your──"
Phew, I could finally relax. Going by this pace, if the Hobby Group progresses well, Amano will become a pair with one of them── Hmm, strange? Over there was…
"Aguri? What’s the matter?"
When I realized it, Aguri was already at the entrance of Class F. I stopped my conversation with Tendo and asked Aguri, but she seemed to be surprised. She then looked at me awkwardly and greeted me weirdly: “ Tasuku… Gwoo day~~” She then looked at Tendo and Hoshinomori──
Aguri suddenly turned teary…? What? What was that…
Well, I didn’t arrange to meet Aguri today, but she still came to pick me up. In that case, I should hurry and tidy up──
“Eh, come here come here! Amano-chi! Amano-chi! Hurry up!”
“Ah, alright Aguri-san! S-Sorry! E-Everyone, I have some business with her, so I will be going now!”
Amano who was summoned by Aguri hurried over after packing up. Tendo and I were speechless, while the two person meeting at the entrance…
“P-Please calm down, Aguri-san! A-Anyway, let’s go!”
The teary Aguri sticked intimately to Amano, then left quickly.
Compared to the lost Tendo and me──
Hoshinomori was not surprised by this strange situation at all as she calmly packed her things. She even said something impactful to our backs:
“B-But, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. To think that… Keita can find such a cute girl to be his girlfriend. Don’t you think so, Uehara-san?"
With our necks as stiff as robots, Tendo and I turned back with a creak.
Hoshinomori replied with her head tilted:
“Recently, I saw them together when I go home. The two of them seem close. A-Also, Keita himself said that she is his girlfriend.”
“I find it hard to accept. It’s a pity for that girl to be a matched with Keita. Keita should be matched with a nerdy girl who likes games instead… Huh? Strange, what am I saying? Ah, I need to wait for the next bus! Bye bye!”
"… G-Good bye…"
Hoshinomori left quickly. Tendo and I were left in the classroom, and we looked at each other.
Tendo clutched her bag tightly.
With tears welling in her eyes… She suddenly ran off with a yell:
"I-I’m not joining the ‘Gamers Hobby Group’ after all~~~~~~!"
“I can guess that much!”
I didn’t even want to smooth things out! Of course! Or rather, instead of inviting Tendo…
“I am thinking about withdrawing from the ‘Gamers Hobby Group’ myself! W-What is happening!? What is this!?”
That day after school, when I formed the Gamers Hobby Group and thought I could resolve all my problems in one go.
Thinking back, this day was the start of all the complicated relationships.
Yup back then── I already had an ominous feeling about it.
How did things turn out this way?
"Hick… Ughhh…… Ughh……"
"A-Aguri-san, sorry. It’s all because I am too useless…"
A boy and a girl sat face to face with painful expressions inside a family restaurant. The girl had been crying for a while now, while the boy lowered his head apologetically. No matter how one diced it, this appeared to be a scene of a breakup.
Well, in a sense, that’s true...
I took iced coffee from the beverage bar and poured it down my parched throat… Students from Ootsuki don’t frequent here, the beverages were cheap and the family restaurant itself was fine… But the accusatory gazes made me uncomfortable.
Aguri’s slightly heavy makeup was ruined by her tears… To be honest, she looked cuter without makeup, but I knew very well that this wasn’t the right time to say that, and swallowed these words with my iced coffee… Yup, that wasn’t the way to cheer up a girl who was troubled by love…
"Ah, Aguri-san, I think you look cuter without makeup.”
I said it anyway. D-Don’t underestimate how limited my conversation topics with girls were!
And of course, Aguri glared at me fiercely.
“Annoying! Disgusting! How uncouth!”
I averted my gaze and took a sip of iced coffee… The gaze from the other people hurt me even more. The office lady seated behind me even reacted with disgust. I felt like crying.
"… Sigh… This is the worst…"
That might be so, but I managed to stop Aguri-san from crying after saying that.
She drank the coke I got her then admonished me: “Not cold!”
… Well, you left it at the side after I got it all this while ago…
"Please take this."
When I realized it, I quickly served a new drink to her. The coke she didn’t want to drink because it wasn’t cold anymore was now my responsibility. And of course, I would be lectured if I indirectly kiss with her, so I used a straw.
Aguri drank the iced honey melon soda, exhaled, then looked my way after rubbing away her tears.
“... Tell me, why are those girls there…?”
I averted my gaze. The group of office ladies behind me started whispering: “What a jerk.”
Yup… Our conversation do sound like I got caught having an affair, as if we were intentionally misleading them. Sigh, i-in a sense, such an interpretation was 30% right.
With sweat oozing from my forehead, I reported what happened today.
“Erm… For some reason, Chiaki and Tendo-san were invited to join a Hobby Group…”
“Why did things turn out this way~~!”
“That hurts hurts hurts! Don’t pull my ear! Aguri-san! Be conscious about the people around us!”
Aguri-san pulled my ear hard, then said while panting like a beast:
“Amano-chi, what did you tell me last time!? You said there is nothing going on between Hoshinomori Chiaki and Tasuku! You also said that Tasuku doesn’t like boys, he only likes me!”
"I-I did say that…"
“And because you promised to support our pairing, I was in a good mood and even treated you to a drink that day too!”
“You did treat me… but it was cheap and you only treated me once…”
"Then why… why did things become worse after that day～～!"
That was what I want to ask. What was this situation? Why did it turn out like this?
Well, I should make this clear first to avoid misunderstandings. In the beginning, I believe from the bottom of my heart that Uehara-san and Aguri-san love each other. It was obvious, Aguri-san kept raving about her love for Uehara-san… And Uehara-san seemed to cherish her too.
However, the situation became weird one week ago. In other words… Chiaki made her debut.
Aguri-san complained for god knows how many times today.
“Basically, Amano’s predictions were all off from the very start! Saying Hoshinomori Chiaki isn’t a looker, and has a passive personality…"
“I-I did say that… B-Because she was not──"
“And the next day, she turned into a stunning beauty, and talked to Tasuku with an obvious liking for him～～!"
That was too unexpected. Well, to me, Chiaki didn’t feel too different than before. I thought that her long seaweed head suited her ‘real persona’ more… Wait, these weren’t important.
Anyway, Chiaki was now acknowledged as a beauty in the entire school. When such a girl… one that loves gaming took a liking for Uehara-san, Aguri-san who fell for him because of gaming felt uneasy about it.
I tried speaking up for Uehara-san with a wry smile:
"B-But Aguri-san, you also said before that Tendo-san and Uehara-san are compatible, right?"
“That’s two different matters! Because Tendo-san feels like she is out of reach. And… Tasuku is the coolest guy in the whole world, he is too good for me…”
"What’s with those eyes of yours?"
"Ah, nothing. Just felt turned off by others raving about their love life."
"Nothing. Uehara-san is awesome. He is super cool!"
"What are you saying? Disgusting."
"Then what do you want me to do!?"
Too unreasonable! In a sense, Aguri-san was as hard to handle as Tendo-san in my heart! Chiaki was a pain to deal with too… Hmm? Could it be, all girls were troubling for me? No, no way…
Aguri-san dug up the ice in her honey melon soda with her straw.
"While we are busying ourselves with all that, Tasuku seemed to be seeing that Hoshinomori Chiaki much more often…"
“Isn’t that because of your plan to ‘keep some distance from Tasuku’ failed…?”
"Sorry, that is also my fault. I don’t know why, but it’s all my fault.”
But if she was willing to accompany Uehara-san after school, things won’t turn out this way… And I was dragged by her to stalk them too. I actually wanted to play games…
“And the most critical part…”
“Ah… You mean that day?”
That day Chiaki and Uehara-san chatted in the park alone… Known as X-day. Although Aguri-san and I were the only ones to use that word.
But that time was really damning. I was careless and thought Chiaki was not a problem, Aguri-san was much cuter than her anyway… But that day, my opinion was completely crushed. His stunning words shattered Aguri-san’s hopes.
That’s right… That day, as we watched Uehara-san from afar──
He grabbed Chiaki’s shoulders, and shouted with serious eyes:
“This is too compatible a match ahhhhh!!!!!!”
As we thought back to the situation back then, the family restuarant fell into depression again. No matter what… that was too absurd. To be honest, it was a huge blow to me too. Leaving Chiaki aside… I never imagined… Uehara to be someone who would do that to another girl despite having a girlfriend.
Aguri-san continued: “And then…”
“... Amano-chi, didn’t you say this after that? ‘I made up my mind! No matter what… I will make Uehara-san come to his senses!’ I felt a bit touched by that unexpectedly manly announcement of yours. Did you not say that?”
“I-I did say that…”
Well, I was sincere about that. I also felt responsible for this incident for Aguri-san, and I was serious about supporting her after spending time with her. That was why I made up my mind, but…
Aguri-san screamed at me again:
“Amano-chi, why did four boys and girls including you form a Gamers Hobby Group so intimately aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!”
"I don’t know either aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!”
After shouting at each other, we were shushed by the employee: “Please keep your voice down…” After we apologized to everyone in the restaurant, we sank back into our seats weakly.
… I said quietly:
"Sorry… The formation of the Gamers Hobby Group was my mistake. I was too careless… and happy about it, and forgot that Chiaki and Uehara-san would meet each other more… But Tendo-san joining was really out of the blue...”
I never imagined── that Uehara-san would woo Tendo-san at the same time! But it would make sense then. Recently, Tendo-san has been talking to me more, so her interest in Uehara-san was the reason.
… Huh, what is this? My heart hurts a lot just now. Even though I am not that shameless to think anything can happen between Tendo-san and me. How strange.
As I was confused by my complicated feelings, Aguri-san sighed.
“... Sorry Amano-chi, I also know… that it’s not your fault… Thank you Amano-chi. It seems like… I made you accompany me a lot recently."
"So… you are not a disgusting, nerdy boy with BL tendency..."
She paused for a moment, then smiled gently.
“But a kind-hearted, disgusting, nerdy boy with BL tendency.”
“I don’t feel happy about that upgrade at all! And why am I still suspected of BL!?”
"…… Sigh. The truth is, I could feel since I started dating Tasuku… that he is probably not that interested in me.”
Aguri-san smiled bitterly as she fiddled with the water droplets on the cup. My mood also turned sour.
"… Even so, your feelings for Uehara-san remains the same, right?"
"Ah, yes of course!"
Aguri-san smiled without any doubt in her heart. I stiffened my face.
“It feels like… Because you always seem so sad, so I don't really get it. Are you… fine with that?”
“Ahaha, it’s not a matter of me being fine with it. I like him means I like him, there is no helping it.”
“B-But think about it, if both parties fall for someone whom they can converse more comfortably with──"
For some reason, the image of Tendo-san’s face kept flashing across my mind. That’s right, I shouldn’t push myself up this unscalable wall, I need to be more practical about this, or else…
"Ahaha, Amano-chi, you are really stupid!”
I took a look, and Aguri-san was gazing my way with a ‘what are you saying?’ expression on her face. She said with a nonchalant tone, as if she was regurgitating the truth of the world:
“Love, isn’t something that you plan for, but something you fall into unknowingly.”
"When you encounter such a situation, you can’t help it, it is like meeting with an accident. Even if it hurts, even if you are not good enough for the other person… Well, since you have fallen, it can’t be helped.”
W-Why do I feel so sad too!? I wasn’t a man mature enough to meddle in other’s love affairs… Even so…
I couldn’t help clasping her hand, and announcing firmly!
“I-I will do my best to help you two get back together!”
"Amano-chi! Yes, thank you! Let’s work hard together!"
"Huh? Wait wait."
"? What’s the matter?"
As we clasped our hands in a show of camaraderie, Aguri-san suddenly looked out the window of the family restaurant.
“Inside the bus that stopped at the traffic light just now… I think Hoshinomori Chiaki is inside…"
"? Yes, I remember the bus to her place goes in this direction…"
“That so… ah."
Aguri-san found herself holding my hand, and looked a little flustered.
“What should we do, what if she misunderstands…”
“Ah, it will be fine, Aguri-san. Because I already mustered my courage like a man and told her how compatible a couple you and Uehara-san are!"
"Oh～～! How did you say it? Tell me tell me."
In response to the intrigued Aguri-san, I puffed out my chest and said:
“I told her: ‘Aguri-san is the most thoughtful girlfriend!’ ‘A girlfriend as pretty, cute, and unbeatable can’t be found anywhere else! Incredible right?!’ And I also did this ‘absolute Aguri declaration’ to Chiaki at the best moment!”
"Woah, as expected of Amano-chi, how manly!"
"Hehehe, you flatter me. Chiaki’s reaction was like: ‘T-That’s great’. So stoic that it bothers me, but she is definitely putting on a strong front!”
“Wow you helped me so much! Then I… will also support you to pay you back! Alright, it’s decided! Even if I have to occasionally turn down Tasuku’s invitation, I will still accompany you, until you can talk to Tendo-san as an equal! A woman will never go back on her word!”
“Y-You are too kind! Thank you, Aguri-san!”
“It’s no trouble. Let’s work together for each other’s benefit in the future, Amano-chi!
“Okay! I will be in your care, Aguri-san!”
At the table of this family restaurant, we clasped our hands in a manly fashion as a sign of our friendship.
And so, Aguri and I successfully formed an ‘alliance’...
However, we didn’t realize at this point that the creation of this strange ‘alliance’ would cause more problems for us in the future… And wasn’t aware of it until our high school days were over.