Felt like someone called his name, Kazuma vaguely opened his eyes.
It was the bedroom he is familiar with. The interior is still quite bright despite the curtain not drawn. He did not remember forgetting to close it, but his mother might be the one that came in and drew it.
(Well, whatever…….feeling sleepy……..)
The alarm clock is not ringing yet. In other words, that means he can still sleep. Knowing that, Kazuma fell back into bed on reflex. Just yesterday, because he was thinking of the meaning of the word “overlooking” that Ruri spoke of, he didn’t get much sleep.
If this is his usual morning, he can peacefully go back to sleep for a second time.
I think I heard Honoka’s voice. Wonder why.
“O-Odagiri-kun……erm, hurry and wake up………i-if you don’t……..if you don’t, er…….erm…….”
Obviously, since she can’t be in his room, it was probably a dream. Apparently he is dreaming of Honoka.
Nevertheless, to think 『she』will come and wake me up in the morning, what kind of dream am I having…….
(Hahaha………if this is eroge, I’ll probably let Misaki-san come into bed with me and make out…..)
Then while he was nodding off, Honoka will somehow try her best and wake up Kazuma. Next, he heard someone’s breathing.
“If you don’t wake up…….I will give you a k-kiss…….!”
“Nnn…..well if Misaki-san do it, I would be happy though…..”
It’s a dream anyways and since it’s one, he said what he though of. Beside his pillow, he discovered a surprised Honoka who said “…….Eh!?”.
(Ah, she hardened………….Wonder what kind of face Misaki-san is making………..hope she’s okay)
As he tried to inspect, Kazuma opened his eyes.
There is Honoka.
His sleepy eyes were fully opened. He realized that he was actually awake the whole time.
On top of his bed. Facing up in bed, Honoka was riding him, becoming completely petrified with a bright red face as if steam was rising to the surface. From her mouth repeatedly gasping for words, leaking a few unintelligible words.
Looking down at kazuma as she was straddling him──in a 『naked apron』of all things.
The apron that has lovely frills with on it, filling his field of vision with her dazzling color of her skin. It’s a composition that seldom appeared in eroge……..or rather it was the exact event CG that from the eroge that they played just the other day.
Unaware of the situation he is in, Kazuma helped himself up. On that part, feeling that faint weight on his abdomen where she got on, realizing the softness of her body through the futon, the direct stimulus reaches straight towards his brain, making the blood in his whole body boiled.
While he still can’t moved about as usual, Kazuma remembered what Honoka just said.
──If you don’t wake up, I will kiss you.
At that moment, as if listening to the timing of the voice of her heart, Honoka tightly pursed her lips as if she had somewhat made up her mind.
What is that exactly? Before his thoughts could catch up with him, Honoka made her move.
As it is, Honoka who is approaching, closer and closer.
Can’t think of anything, Kazuma just stared at Honoka who her eyes without making a response.
A reverberated shriek had undone everything to the level where it has been ruined.
Following Honoka who sprung up, Kazuma also heard the scream──and looked over to the other side of the window.
The house next to his was Ruri’s house. If Kazuma’s curtain was opened, her room’s window can be seen right in front.
The curtain on this side were fully opened. The curtain on the other side was also drawn and there was Ruri open-mouthed, completely visible.
Then naturally, Ruri would have also seen what happened for sure.
As Kazuma’s face turned pale, Honoka got up from the bed at the same time. She then rushes over to the window and closed the curtains.
The figure of the childhood screamed something, cut off by the curtain and disappeared in an instant.
“That, was, not it.”
“Like I said, that was not Shinomiya-san…….! I-It is an illusion! That’s right, an illusion…..!”
After telling him not to bother about it, Honoka shook her head while holding the end of the curtain.
She turned around with her back facing him──in other words noticing that he saw that part of her which is not covered by the apron, tried to look away in a panic, but just as he was about to, he realized.
Looking closer, Honoka was not “naked”. Although she is not wearing clothes, but she was wearing something like a swimsuit as it was covering the important areas.
……Maybe it’s not like a swimsuit but might be like an underwear. But if he went and clarify it, his sense of reasoning will definitely be dead.
“Misaki-san, w-why are you in my room……!?”
“B-Because……..there was a scene in the game that I played just the other day, where the childhood friend girl went and wake up the protagonist…..!”
“No, that’s was not what I’m asking…….”
Rather than asking why is she here, he wanted to know how did she got into his house.
The answer came from an unexpected place.
“Honoka-chan~, is Kazu-chan awake~?”
While swaying her heavyweight class bust, her sister Odagiri Kazuha entered the room.
“Good morning Kazu-chan~. Fufufu~, isn’t this great Kazu-chan~? To have su~ch a cute girl to wake you up~”
While having a face filled with smiles, Kazuha gave Honoka a tight squeeze as if hugging a stuff animal.
“Onee-chan is also very happy~. To think that Kazu-chan’s girlfriend is su~ch a cute girl~. Hey Honoka-chan~ , from now please getting along with Kazu-chan okay?~. Don’t hold back, you can just call me [Kazuha Onee-chan]~”
“T-Thank you, very much……Ka…..Kazuha Onee, chan……”
“Kya~! You are so cute that I want to eat you~!”
Seemingly liking to be called as 『Onee-chan』, Kazuha continued to take her down by patting and teasing.
Honoka was being herself, showing a state of embarrassment as she was being patted in circulation by her intimacy without any resistance.
Judging from this, it’s probably Kazuha who let Honoka into the house. Although this is supposed to be their first time meeting each other, but apparently they seemed to have get along pretty well in that short amount of time.
However…….looking at the both of them frolicking around like a yuri scene, Kazuma casually averted his gaze. After all, both of them are behaving like that while lightly dressed. If they are not careful, various areas can be seen by him, which makes him hard to place his eyes.
“…….But~. Wonder if I did something bad to Ruri-chan.”
Kauzha stood there and muttered a few words, as if her murmurs were leaked out unconsciously.
When he tried to ask the meaning of her words, the earth was trembling beneath his feet from somewhere……
The sound gradually approached, coming up the staircase from the first floor and came to a perfect stop in front of the door of his room.
Or that’s what he thought. Next thing he knew, the door was burst opened with a “bang!”.
“Wh-Wha……! What are you doing you idiot!!!!!!!!”
The childhood friend who barged in, shouted her lungs out with a terrifying expression on her face.
“LIke I said! That’s what I meant by morbid!!”
Under the invigorating sun in the morning, Kazuma and Honoka were kneeling side by side （※already changed）with Ruri’s anger exploding.
“…..But Shinomiya-san, Odagiri-kun and I are dating so I don’t see any problems with──”
“How is that not a problem?! Even if the two of you are dating, no means no! We are still highschool students, so all of that is still too early for the both of you! No you can’t!”
Ruri’s shriek forcefully interrupted Honoka as she tried to explain. “I don’t want to listen to this” is the attitude that means exactly this.
Although after seeing that, it might be natural for Ruri to be angry…….
“Anyways, today I’ll be at the clubroom too! I’ll definitely be there! Even if you say no, I’ll be there! Understand!?”
Impossible to make a rebuttal in this situation, Kazuma obediently nodded.
When he took a peek beside him, Honoka was not in a consenting state, knitting her eyebrows a little.
“……Hey, isn’t about time you let this go…..?”
It has been a few hours after that early turmoil. Even during the lunch break of that day, Ruri was still angry.
Being told by his teacher that he had something to pass to be committee member, they are now returning with the things they carry from the staff room. While they were going back to the classroom side by side, Kazuma was annoyed to the max by his childhood friend’s endless verbal abuse.
“There is no way I’m forgiving you! A-After……..After seeing that!”
“Just to be sure, I didn’t do anything for you to call me a pervert okay!?”
He had no idea how many times he had used that explanation.
However, Ruri treated everything as excuse and the more he tried to appeal for innocence, the more her mood drop significantly.
“Like I said……”
While repeating unproductive exchanges and sluggishly walking down the hallway,
“──A moment please, Shinomiya-san.”
Called in a harsh tone, both Kazuma and Ruri turned around.
The person who detain the both──or rather Ruri was a middle-age female teacher called Wakabayashi that is in charge of classics and counseling. She is very bossy when it comes to violation of the school rules and considered as a nuisance from the students…..especially the girls.
As soon as Ruri saw her face, she hung her head down with her mood suddenly becoming cloudy.
Kazuma also thought this was bad. Ruri is someone who is stand out one way or another, has frequently received warning about her attire by that teacher. Nevertheless, Ruri who has no means of changing her attitude, still didn’t think much about it.
“What’s with that skirt? The rules states that [the skirt should at a height where it covers the knee]. Don’t you think it’s『immodest』wearing such a short skirt?”
Glared with cold eyes, Ruri lowered her head.
(….She doesn’t have to put it like that…..)
To Kazuma who was listening to her scolding Ruri without giving her a chance to explain herself from the side, it was not pleasant.
However, it’s true that Ruri broke the rules. If Kazuma poorly talks back, it would just make Ruri’s viewpoint even worse instead.
When the both of them stood there and took the scolding, the teacher Wakabayashi suddenly remember something and said this.
“…..That reminds me, you volunteered yourself for the cultural festival’s executive committee right?”
“It’s true that I acknowledge the position of dealing with assertion……..However, is that really okay, Shinomiya-san? Being in the executive committee is not someone who just work behind the scene. If necessary, you will meet other extramural students as our representative as well, in other words, you will be the『face』of our school. If the representative were in such a shameful attire, what would other people think?”
“That’s……..when that time comes, I’ll wear a proper attire…..”
“Even if you keep up with the appearance on the spot, people will still noticed it. No matter how take care of it, the people who are always irresponsible will eventually reveal about the way you speak and your behavior. You need to have that regular self-awareness──”
Before he know it, his voice just came out.
This time that fussy-looking eyes were glaring at Kazuma.
For a moment, he thought “Crap, I did it”, but now that the situation had became like this, he can’t back down now.
Besides, he thought it was not a good scene to do that.
“Er…Err……I think that’s no way to say it……”
He step forward as if to defend Ruri. At the back, he could see Ruri staring right back at him.
“A-As a fellow committee member, l-let me handle the responsibility regarding the uniform. Well Ru──Shinomiya-san might not upheld the school rules, but it’s not like she is a irresponsible person. There are times where she is serious and caring. As a matter of fact, she did helped me out a lot during times of need…..so….err…….”
Despite arguing vehemently with full mobilization while having poor communication skills, her eyes that staring at him in silence was stern as always, making Kazuma wanting to look away.
However he endured it.
Because he felt the gaze starring at him behind his back.
“…..All I want is the committee members to behave accordingly. If you guys can do that, then there is nothing for me to say……Shinomiya-san, make sure the length of your skirt matches accordingly to the rules required. Are we clear?”
Reminding her at the end, Wakabayaski-sensei entered the staff room.
(Ahhhh……that was nerve wrecking…)
While thinking back, the thought of acting obtrude came back to attack him as a form of regret.
What should I do if she bought that as an ill humor and let it slide?
When he was holding his head in his arms, someone tugged his uniform from behind.
As he turned around,
“…..Thank you for standing up for me.”
“……It’s not a big deal. I didn’t tell a lie.”
He tried to turn away with his face in embarrassment, but Ruri didn’t allow it. Going around quickly, she looked directly in front of Kazuma with a smiling face.
“You may look unreliable, but you do have some pretty cool areas you know?”
“W-What’s with you, all of a sudden……”
In a good mood, Ruri was smiling gleefully all the way. Like a delighted child who gets to hog all the treasure to herself, her way of laughing was strangely elated.
“What on earth is she so happy about?”
“Hey, let’s hurry back to the classroom! The next lesson we will have to change class so we would be late if we don’t get a move on!”
As soon as she said that, Ruri took Kazuma’s hand without permission and ran for it.
“Wait…..! There no need to run……! I mean, your hand!”
“Relax. Just the hands should be fine.”
Being pulled without hesitation, in addition to other students who are oddly looking at them, Kazuma was unable to stay a straight face without frowning.
But then immediately thought: “Well whatever”.
Because Ruri was laughing.
(Well…..it’s fine if she is not depressed though…..)
Actually he was a bit worried about her because she was being scolded pretty harshly.
To put it in words would too embarrassing for him so obviously he had no intentions to say it.
While such a thing was happening, the school ended.
“…..So you guys really just play eroge everyday huh.”
“W-Who are you to judge?! This is how we get along!”
Just as she declared yesterday as well as today, Ruri really came to the clubroom.
And following yesterday, Kazuma who wants to play eroge too, looked as if he is in shocked──no, with completely shocked eyes.
“Geez. I had thought of this before, but you should go out more, Kazuma. Keep staying indoor is not good for your body. Even your personality will become dark.”
“It’s none of your business!”
“Odagiri-kun, it looks like the PC can be operated now.”
As he looked at the screen like she said, the setup had already been done. Taking advantage of this, Kazuma took a mouse.
“So Odagiri-kun, which eroge are we playing today?”
“Err, let’s see…..”
Towards to the both of them discussing, Ruri send forward her gaze.
“……Ruri, do have one you want to play?”
It seems she didn’t think that the conversion would moved to her. Ruri jumped up with a shocked, almost falling off her chair.
“You don’t have be that surprised.”
“S….S-Sorry, but can I choose?”
Even though they are playing, Ruri’s eyes look alternatively between Ruri and Kazuma.
That’s why Kazuma said this.
“What are you saying? Aren’t all of us playing together?”
Because of that word, Ruri was hardened for a moment as if being stunned.
“……I see. Well….”
After that, she showed a fine smile on her face as if making those who seen it to be attracted to her.
………Somehow it feels like behind him, Honoka’s gaze kinda hurts, but that probably just his imagination, probably.
“…….Hey, then I would like to continue playing the one from yesterday. Ah! I-It’s not like I’m interested in how the game continues, “if we going to play it” then let’s just play that!”
“….Bad news for you, the president had already uninstalled that trial version.”
“Maybe so you would make that reaction, probably.”
If Yuna was here, she will no doubt be laughing while holding down her stomach.
“Well, you can always download the trial version at their official website and the released version can be brought in general. Why don’t you just play it on your personal computer at home?”
“Really!? Then let’s──no! I-It’s not like I want to play eroge!”
As promising too much, Ruri stood up from her sit as if to change the subject and looked at one of the shelves.
“Err…then why don’t you choose one from this side?”
“Ah, hey! Stop looking!”
He stopped Ruri in a panic who is carelessly looking at the eroges on the shelves. There are many packages and titles of eroges that were left behind. It would be unbearable if she carelessly found that and something happened again like yesterday.
“Let’s see…….I think one that Ruri can play, would be around here though.”
He chose among the shelves that are considered safe and showed it to Ruri.
“Hmm…..this should be enough. The pictures are cute and I don’t understand the English title…..”
“That’s not English, it’s in latin. In Japanese, that means 『Dies Irae』.”
“Woah there it is, the latin language! Guys like those kinds of thing right? You might think it’s cool, but to the girls it’s a pain okay? I’m fine with it, but you shouldn’t said that in front of other girls.”
“Don’t look down on chuunibyou! Isn’t it cool regardless it is German or Latin!” [TL: should I put it as eight-grade syndrome?]
Putting aside the digression,
Ruri have chosen a romantic comedy which titled 『Shura☆Para！』 [TL: Original title: 修羅☆パラ！]
As the name suggest it, the story is about the heroines constantly surrounds the protagonist, unfolding into a heroic bloodshed, but unlike the one Honoka played recently, there isn’t any yandere element in this one, it’s simply a game to be 『caught by multiple girl』, to enjoy the protagonist’s popularity.
“This one? Alright. Misaki-san also haven’t played this yet right?”
“That is right……it is my first time.”
“Then shall we?”
Since Honoka nodded, Kazuma immediately put the disk into the drive and started playing.
When the prologue began, two pretty girls soon appeared on the screen.
One of the girls is a honor student with long black hair named Mihasi Nanoka and the other is the protagonist’s childhood friend: Ninomiya Yuri. These two girls are the main heroines of the game. While the protagonist 『Odawara Kazuya』are being sandwiched between these two girls, he was being sent to enjoy a noisy yet enviable popular school life.
…..Although it seems like the characters name bears a similar resemblance, he chose not to dwell on it.
『Hey, Odawa-kun. If you like, do you want to go to station together?』
『Kazuya! Hey let’s go home together okay? That’s fine right?』
As soon as they appeared, the both of them had a serious atmosphere surrounding the main character.
When there were doing that, the first choice appeared on the screen with a bling.
『Go home with Nanoka』
『Go home with Yuri』
“What’s with this?! It’s too straightforward! Isn’t there a bit more?”
“D-Don’t tell me that!”
As usual, Ruri was over exaggerating.
(S-She too close…..!)
Placing her hands on Kazuma’s shoulders, Ruri leaned her body forward from the side and looked at the laptop. Thanks to that, the bursting elasticity and softness were directly transmitted to him and Kazuma honestly thought that this wasn’t eroge.
Then, a shadow suddenly came in separated them.
Starring blankly between Ruri and Kazuma, Honoka silently pulled the chair towards them and sat down.
“……..B-Because, I am Odagiri-kun’s girlfriend.”
“S-So I am not jealous………! Not jealous at all……but I have to be beside Odagiri-kun! Have to be me!”
With a faintly red face, Honoka said it as if she was fretting.
Although she said that yesterday as well, but after listening to her, he was carelessly relieved. However, this was something else.
While Kazuma was pondering about it, Honoka took the mouse. The cursor was moving towards the option 『Go home with Nanoka』.
“Odagiri-kun, errm…….if able I would like to play Nanoka’s route first.”
“Eh? I’m fine with it though…….how about you, Ruri?”
“I’m fine with whatever.”
“Well then, let’s us play her route first.”
“Thank you…….then I will choose that.”
When the option was clicked, yuri’s appearance had disappeared in an blink of an eye and the standing picture of Nanoka was displayed on the screen.
“Eh? What’s this? Where is Yuri? Doesn’t she says goodbye or something like that?”
“Well, if that didn’t happened means there wasn’t any.”
“Eh!? What the hell? Normally even if they are not going home together, they should at least greet each other! What’s with the game, it’s too irresponsible!”
“Don’t blame the game! It’s probably a necessary move to improve the tempo by shortening it!
While the both of them are making a fuss, the game has proceed to the next scene. Nanoka had invited Kazuya to come in after he had walked her home.
『Erm……To tell you the truth, everyone of my family went out today……
The next moment, Ruri’s face turned red with a puff to the point as if steam was coming off of her head.
“Kazuma, you pervert!”
Is there an even more absurd accusation charge on him than before?
“B-Because they are both alone in a house! I-It means that right?!”
“Stop assuming it! You are the one with a lewd mind, always fussing that it will always led to something 『dirty』!”
Well in most cases, the development will proceed down as what Ruri assumed though.
Ruri stole the mouse away from Honoka who was tried to accept the invitation normally and clicked on the option 『Refuse』with unnecessary strength.
Bluntly rejected Nanoka had a seemingly sad face and after leaving with a few words, the screen faded out.
“Wa…….! Hey, don’t just choose the options without permission! If the likability drops, we can’t proceed with her route!”
“Eh? I-Is that how it is……?”
Didn’t thought that would happened, Ruri completely changed her stubborn attitude and let her sight wandered about as if the punishment was hurting.
“……I really wanted to play it.”
“…….If this keeps up, it might end up as a bad end. Poor Nanoka…….she was supposed to be happy…….but because of Shinomiya-san…….”
Towards the prickle of words lunging little by little, Ruri was finaaly overwhelmed.
“I think we can still probably go back to it if it’s just one mistake.”
As Kazuma said so, Honoka readily nodded. She said that as if she knew that from the beginning.
(…..Could this be a joke? Is it……a payback for choosing the wrong options?)
“Well then, can we return to the previous options and choose again?”
………Was what Kazuma thought at that point of time.
『Yahoo Kazuya, are you in?』
It seems that the game was somehow in auto mode. The screen was changed into another scene before she knew it and the picture of Yuri was displayed.
『What’s wrong? You look tired……..huh. How about I give you a massage?』
With a satisfying smile, a smile was shown on the character’s face.
The next moment, the screen got darker. Ruri noticed that, looked at the laptop and then she stiffened.
What followed the darkening of the screen was the familiar event scene of an eroge that was being displayed.
The heroine Yuri was in a state of thoroughly 『messaging』 Kazuya’s──a certain part of Kazuya’s body drawn with plenty of pixelated juice.
Not knowing that mosaic in front of her for a moment, Ruri blinked with a gullible face.
Then the next moment, that face flushed bright red with the momentum as if she was erupting.
“W-Whaaaattttt is this!? Why did it turned out like this?! I didn’t choose it for this to happen! All I did was refuse going into her house!”
“Ah…..this is probably some event that is about to happen. When you deviate away from Nanoka’s route, it will automatically become Yuri’s route.
“T-T-T-T-T-That’s unheard of…….!!”
Ruri shouted with her face like a boiled octopus.
However, no matter how much weeping and shouting a third dimensional person make, that has nothing to do with the two people on the opposite side of the screen.
“Waaaaa!? Wa, hold……! Wa! Wa!”
“H-Hey, if you don’t be quiet, other people can hear it from the outside.”
He tried to tell her to be careful while beware of the hallway, but Ruri wasn’t listening. As usual, she had a red face but was starring at the screen while making a fuss.
The isolated and spilled voice belongs to Honoka.
She looked alternatively at both Kazuma and Ruri before starring at the screen. Honoka then said quietly.
“………Odagiri-kun and Shinomiya-san are, childhood friends, right……?”
“Then…..does the two of you also do something like this…….?”
「「Like hell we do!!」」
Both of their retort are perfectly in harmony.
“O-Of course not! Kazuma and I are just childhood friends──!”
『O-Of course not! Kazuya and I are just childhood friends──!』
As if imitating Ruri, the Ruri in the game also said the exact same thing. Apparently, it seems like the scene changed once again. Yuri was denying her relationship with Kazuya with face blushed because of her classmates’ teasing. (What was that previous massage for anyways?)
However if you look at that flushed face, it is obvious that the remark was false. Having the exact same face, Ruri cause a commotion again by saying 「N-N-N-N-N-N-Noooo!!」in a panic.
“T-That’s just a game! A game is different from reality! Just because we are childhood friends, all these about love and dating are just inside of the story, not real. Just in the story only!!”
Not wanting to be greatly misunderstood, Ruri repeatedly continues to say “No” and “Don’t be misunderstood” for a while afterwards.
If this is a eroge, it would be a tsundere heroine cliche though. However this is reality unfortunately, different from eroge.
First of all, it is impossible to imagine that Ruri and I would end up “like that”──
(Nonononono. Why am I imaging it already……)
Don’t forget. I have a girlfriend now. Must refrain from dishonest conduct.
──Let’s return to main subject.
Grumbling discontentedly, Honoka looked at the laptop.
Before her eyes, is the childhood heroine Yuri reflected on the game window.
This was the third consecutive time that they are on Yuri’s route for a while now.
Kazuma and the others are currently trying to conquer Nanoka’s route with hope for Honoka, but even though they kept changing their choice, the route is accessible at all. Perhaps other than options, a special kind of condition might be necessary.
“…..Why I can’t enter Nanoka’s route anymore? I didn’t even chose a single option leading to Yuri……..”
Honoka stared motionlessly at the screen, turning down her mouth at the corners in displeasure.
Then, Ruri nonchalantly dropped a bomb.
“Hmm…I’m fine with continuing Yuri’s route though……they are childhood friends after all and I think they are right for each other, better than Nanoka.”
With her shoulders trembling, Honoka turned and faced Ruri. Meanwhile, Ruri casually turned the other way as to not make eye contact with Honoka.
“…….! B-But the main heroine of this game is Nanoka, not Yuri!”
When Honoka turned around from the laptop and said that, this time Ruri glaring at Honoka looking offended. However Honoka fired back against Ruri’s behavior, ignoring Ruri’s gaze.
Saying “Not again”, Kazuma quietly sighed so as to not allow them to notice it.
It seems that these two people cannot come to an agreement. Although they are not arguing in public, but they were indirectly getting on each other’s nerve by frequently clashing into one another.
(Never knew this was going to happen……..)
I thought they would surely be more straightforward. Ruri is more sociable type in the first place, even Honoka, although she is easily misunderstood, but she is really a good girl.
At least the both of them are not one who will hate another person without any reason, not the type who will start a fight.
So…….how did it turn out like this?
Upon thinking, Honoka launched the menu and returned back to the title. Apparently she plans on starting from the beginning again.
“Ah, wait Misaki-san. About Nanoka’s route, I think it will do no good even if you change the selection of your choice, probably. I’m sure there is another flag.”
Ruri was the one who asked again. Honoka was also looking strangely at Kazuma, asking the same thing as her.
(Ah, I see. “Flag” is a terminology for nerds……)
Because it is a term generally used between people who loves eroge……or rather otakus, although they are interested as if it’s a common noun, if you think about it, that is not a term that is being used in everyday life.
“Err……in short, it’s a sign that “we have clear the condition to enter the heroine’s route”, maybe like a passport? Like a ‘gate’ that connects the common part with each heroine’s route and if you don’t set the required flag, you will be sent away from that gate and unable to enter that route……..”
He tried to explain it, but Honoka and Ruri doesn’t seems to understand one bit. Personally Kazuma can’t explain it well enough, but that was obviously clear.
“…….In other words, it means how much “memories” you have with that heroine…….I think it indicates how strong your bond is with that heroine, like a reference. For example, the protagonist’s childhood friend ‘Yuri’ has a lot of ‘memories’ with him…..Although she have a flag even before this game is played, but ‘Nanoka’ do not have that. You have to trigger an event in order for you get along with her even more, I’m sure.”
Honoka nodded while eagerly listening to Kazuma’s poor explanation.
Then as if she noticed something,
“Then……….are we in the middle of setting up a flag……?”
“Eh!? T-That’s, err…….”
Being inquired with that surprised attack, he became disordered on reflex.
Honoka’s face was clouded with anxiety.
“Am I, wrong……….?”
“N-No you’re not wrong! It’s just too sudden that I was surprised, or rather embarrassed to hear it………..”
“So….I am not wrong?”
“Y-Yeah……I think so.”
As if breathing a sigh of relief and smiling broadly, Honoka happily showed it to Kazuma. While his heart was throbbing, he was laughing if being attracted by her smile.
“Stop making everything related to eroge!”
Bam! Ruri came in between them and scolded the both of them.
“Or rather, it’s funny to be playing eroge every single day! Normally if you guys are dating, don’t the both of you have various places you want to visit?
“But……….right now it’s getting late already.”
He looked up the clock on reflex. Although the day is just barely falling, but it’s about time. Even if they were to go anywhere now, it will probably be dark immediately.
However, as if Ruri read his mind
“It’s not like anywhere far, just making a detour on the way. If it’s the arcade or karaoke, we can go there now if you want? Or rather it’s normal to make a detour after club activities.
“But Shinomiya-san, doing that is against the school regulati──”
“I-It’s at least better than sitting here and playing eroge!”
Interrupting a refusal from Honoka, Ruri strongly asserted.
“…………I mean if I were you, I will do that. Going on dates is special after all. No matter how cute it is, don’t you think it’s irregular to be playing games everyday? Even if dating, I guess it can’t be help thatー”
Whether it was to drag on the quarrel that they had not long ago, it’s obvious that Ruri’s attitude had an atmosphere as if she is provoking Honoka. She is not that dense to not notice that and her gaze towards Ruri has became more critical. Kazuma who was caught in between, can only be kept in suspense.
“Y-You don’t have to put it like that………..Firstly, [normally], and speaking of [normally], you don’t even have a boyfriend right? So what give you the right to say what’s is normal?”
When Kazuma made a quip, Ruri showed a state of shock.
As he thought that, her face turned red this time and began arguing vehemently.
“B-But I have listened to friends who are dating so I know what’s is considered as [normal]! At least they are better unlike you, who always play eroge!”
“Hey, you’re making it sounds like eroge has no benefits at all!”
“How is there any benefit?! Isn’t that’s why you are not going anywhere and shutting yourself inside the clubroom?!”
“T-Those are two completely different things!”
Already ignoring Kazuma’s refutation, Ruri took her bag in her hands.
And looked at Honoka by accident.
“………If Misaki-san is against it, I can go with Kazuma alone though. So?”
Kazuma was rushing to say “Why did it turn out like that?!” , but someone said faster than him.
“………..! I-I didn’t say I won’t go!”
Kicking the chair with a clunk, Honoka stood up.
The place where Ruri took them was the game center which was at the next station.
“Hmm….who knew there’s a game center at a place like this.”
“That’s right, you didn’t know?”
Towards the high-spirited Ruri, Kazuma obediently nodded.
According to Ruri, although the place is small, but there are plenty of games for couples such as photo booth, fortune-telling games and games oriented towards couples, which seems to be a recommended place for an after school date. Even now, there are two people who seems like couples were having fun in front of the UFO catcher that is on the table.
“But won’t you be spotted playing around in a place so close to school…..?”
“It’s fine. The students of our school don’t often come here. The majority would rather go to the one at the next station. It’s bigger and has even more types of games compared to here.
To begin with, the fact that there are so many game center near the school was news that the loner Kazuma is hearing for the first time. If Ruri had not tell him today, he might have never know it’s existence until graduation. Once again, Kazuma knew the difference in communication power between him and his childhood friend.
“……..So this is a game center.”
Honoka curiously looked at the building. Because she is a honor student, this is probably her first time coming here.
“……Hey, what are you doing?”
Suddenly he pushed against Ruri’s shoulder. As he looked back, Ruri frowned as if she was angry and pointed towards the game center like she was urging.
“Date! Isn’t that why we are here?!”
“W-Why is it a date……aren’t you coming too?”
“My role is just to stand watch!………I’m still in doubt whether the both of you are really having a 『healthy relationship』okay? If you guys can do that, then prove it right here.”
Apparently, it seems from the beginning that Ruri had planned to have Kazuma and Honoka to enjoy their 『date』 here. Kazuma who thought the three of them will be playing together, was greatly panicking due to the sudden development.
“W-Wait a moment! T-That’s too sudden, I need to be mentally prepared first…….!”
“Stop being so pathetic! I’ll be watching the both of you from afar, okay?! So if what you said was a lie──if the both of you can’t have a proper 『relationship』, even I will not support you anymore.”
When she was unilaterally rattling on , Ruri didn’t wait for Kazuma’s response and dragged him into the middle of the game center while leaving both Kazuma and Honoka over there.
Honoka was beside him looking as if she was puzzled, as if to say “Now what?”
Kazuma looked towards the game center. Over there was the previous couple who had won a plush toy were laughing happily.
(Ohh, normies indeed…………!)
That’s right, this is how a couple should be. Kazuma have always wanted to spend time with Honoka, his『girlfriend』just like that………!
“Err…….Misaki-san, if you want, since we are here anyways, do you want to play?”
Even though he knew that she might refuse due to violating the school regulations, Kazuma daringly asked her while in anxiety.
And sure enough,
“……..If Odagiri-kun is going to, then I want to go too.”
“Great! Then shall we?”
While he was celebrating in his heart, he urged Honoka to enter.
Ruri was nowhere to be seen, perhaps she might be hiding somewhere.
The interior of the shop is limited and to top it of, because the cabinets of games lining up is a hindrance, they can’t find it just by looking around.
(No, let’s forget about it…………! Putting Ruri aside, now it’s time for date, a date!)
Since it’s an after school date, let’s enjoy as much as we can and don’t think of anything necessary. He also wanted Honoka to have fun as well.
That way, Ruri will know as well.
That we are having a 『proper』relationship.
(Err……….this is a date after all, so the first game should be UFO catcher)
Although it’s not often that they came here, but if it’s a prized game, he had played it several times in Akiba and Ikebukuro. He have studied a few trick of playing after all, so he needs to get a prize and show Honoka his good side………!
As soon as he looked around upon thinking, Kazuma found it.
『Maris・Fighters』・commonly knows as 『Marisfi』。It’s an arcade fighting game developed by the well-established bishoujo game maker, 『Maris soft』. In the so-called 『festival』, the heroines of the same makers participate as operational characters. Kazuma who is a fan of their brand is thinking of challenging it once.
(To think that this game would at a place like this……….this store is amazing)
Could the staff be interested in eroge? If that’s true, he would love to make friends with them.
It also seems that Honoka noticed what lies ahead of Kazuma’s line of sight. Since she did played the eroge from [Maris] with Kazuma, she went “ah……” , leaking her voice after watching the heroines being displayed on the screen.
“Wow…….so eroge is not only on computers.”
“No, that itself is for all ages!”
Although the original is for eighteen and above without question.
“Then, since we are here, do you want to play that?”
“Eh? N-No, but………..”
As expected, playing that game during a date is a little inappropriate…….as he thought that, the normie couple from before entered the store. While the couple are still flirting lovey dovey as usual, they played the difficult fighting game naturally.
Just finished saying『Normie won’t be able to see it』, they looked aside and headed towards the casing of the photo booth.
“….Let’s go, Misaki-san. That’s fine…..”
Urging Honoka who oddly slanted her head, Kazuma turned his back to the fighting game.
Not having regrets, before Kazuma is an eroge otaku, he is now a normie who came to have a date with his girlfriend. Now it’s not the time to play an eroge heroine fighting game, but to play that UFO catcher with her. That’s what he said to himself.
“Ah! Hey, Misaki-san, how about that one? This assortment of marshmallow is──eh……?”
Turning around, Kazuma stopped. He thought Honoka was next to him, but she was no where to be seen.
“Eh? E-Eh? Misaki-san?”
Thinking that they have been separated, Kazuma searched the interior in a panic.
Fortunately Honoka was found immediately. At the back of the center, she was ardently gazing at the casing of the game in doubt where she was located, in her a place hidden from view.
When Kazuma ran up to her, Honoka noticed that and raised her head.
Then she said this.
‘Right on time…….I was just about to ask Odagiri-kun to come here.”
“Eh? Ah, do you have a game you want to play?”
Nodding, Honoka then pointed to the cabinet that she was staring earlier.
However, looking at the screen, Kazuma solidified.
Honoka nodded once again.
What Honoka pointed ahead was the arcade game mahjong. Although it’s not the undressing type, but a high school girl, what’s more it’s not a genre a honor student like Honoka would be interested in.
Not to mention that this is not the game that a couple should be playing together on a date.
Although Kazuma was taken aback, beyond unexpected in an instant, but he suddenly recalled.
‘Ah, could it be from the recently eroge?”
As he questioned, she nodded for the third time.
This so-called stripping mahjong is also one of the genre in eroge.
…….However, Kazuma didn’t played much of that game. Although he did played it once before, but he can’t win no matter how many times he tried so he stopped playing halfway. Somehow it seems that he himself didn’t think it was such a misfortune.
Although ever since then, he was constantly well aware of his weakness……..
(Come to think of it, Misaki-san is strong at mahjong………..)
The trigger was because of the president’s usual suggestions. Yuna suggested the mahjong game to Honoka who remembered the rules in no time, have completely cleared the game which Kazuma had completely given up on. By showing off her demon-style skills and winning every match like a joke, she have etched a legend in the history of the sub-culture department.
Perhaps Honoka might have take that chance and realized the pleasures of playing mahjong.
In order to verify that conjecture, Honoka shyly looked at Kazuma.
“…….Erm, if Odagiri-kun don’t mind, I would like to compete in it. Can I?”
“Sure you can. Erm, but I’m not good at mahjong…….won’t it be boring playing against me, Misaki-san?”
When Kazuma asked her, Honoka was astonished to the point that she was shaking her head sideways with great vigor.
“I-It’s not boring at all…..! I-I rather prefer Odagiri-kun to be my opponent, no one else…..!”
“T-That’s…..! A-Anyways, take a seat!”
Having his back being forcefully pushed by a oddly flustered Honoka, Kazuma was put into his seat. Honoka also sat on the opposite side and the two of them immediately began to play.
(Somehow…..this is different from the date I knew…..)
Normally, if a couple goes to a game center, they will be talking around the UFO catcher, flirting at the fortune-telling game, is what he thought. So why mahjong?
(N-No it’s not good to be swayed by stereotypes. The important thing is that Misaki-san enjoys herself)
In this situation, if he interpreted this as a『respond to her coaxing』, it would be nothing more than acting much like a normie.
In order to meet her expectations, Kazuma restrained his feelings and focus on the competition.
That being said, his opponent was the honor student Misaki Honoka. He thought she would have wiped the floor with him……but.
(…..Eh? I won?)
While he was reading the words 『Ｙｏｕ Ｗｉｎ！』that was displayed on screen, Kazuma slanted his head. He thought clearly it would be Honoka’s complete victory.
“Thank you…..it’s feels somewhat happy, to win.”
Honoka stood up from her seat, came over to Kazuma and applauded him. Although it was different from the first schedule, if I did showed Honoka his good side, then this is not bad at all.
When he was optimistically with pleasure,
“Well, then……..come here for a while……”
With her cheeks lovely flushed, Honoka pulled Kazuma’s arm.
Kazuma was dragged by her, moved to the corner of the shop, all while still being unable to apprehend the situation. They secretly moved to a nearby casing where the place is a blind spot from the aisle.
Hiding over there, Honoka was staring intently at Kazuma. Like a ripe apple, her face was flushed red.
Eh? The moment when he somewhat remembered a certain situation, he slanted his head,
──And Honoka begun to strip.
Kazuma used all his strength and stopped the hand which is removing the ribbon on the blouse. Just before he was about to, he feels like he had saw something he shouldn’t. However, let’s just leave that to the matter of the mind.
“Misaki-san! Why?! What!? What are you doing all of a sudden?!”
Honoka was blinking with her face not knowing why he stop her.
After that, she shyly said in a lower voice,
“B-Because…….if one loses in mahjong, the rule is to strip naked right? I-I lost to Odagiri-kun, so I thought I should be taking off my clothes……….!”
Who the hell taught that kind of eroge to Honoka?”
(….Ah, it was me…..)
Anyway, this position is troublesome. Even if he can persuade Honoka, I have to go somewhere more private……..!
While he was broke out into a cold sweat, Kazuma surveyed the surroundings.
His eyes stopped at the corner of a store that was installed, as if it was being forgotten, it was the photo booth store.
“M-Misaki-san! L-Let’s go there for the time being and play that!”
Fortunately, he pulled Honoka into the dull-colored curtain.
There shouldn’t be any worries about being watched by anyone for now. Next he just have to ask Honoka to put on her clothes and──
“A, Ahh Odagiri-kun……!”
Heard an odd voice nearby, Kazuma blinked in surprised.
As Kazuma suddenly look over, Honoka was in his arm.
With a flushed face, Honoka looked at Kazuma in a panic, while still being hugged tightly within his arm.
Perhaps it was during that momentum when he pulled her that led to this position.
Kazuma tried to remove his hands, but the warmth and feeling of Honoka were left on his arms and chest, his heart was not completely contained.
Is Honoka feeling the same? The voice that softly called out to him sounded a bit shy and shrilled.
“Ah, erm, Odagiri-kun…..where, are we?”
“E-Erm, hey! Since we are here, why don’t we take a picture at the photo booth……!”
“Photo booth……O-Okay….! If Odagiri-kun wishes to do so, then I will do my best…….!”
“You don’t have that enthusiastic about it. We are just going to take photos──”
Honoka’s exaggerated way of speaking was charming, making Kazuma gently smiled,
Immediately after that, his smiling face and body became rigid.
Honoka started taking off her clothes once again.
“O-Odagiri-kun……..is this okay……?”
He almost got to see it and unable to see it, a state of barely exposed. While embarrassingly hid his hands, her chest can be slightly peek into from that gap. That exquisite sense of rhythm was instead making his heart thumping frantically.
Furthermore, while in that position, she came closer towards him, as if entrusting her body to Kazuma. A fragrance lightly brushed against his nose. As her pale-skinned finger gently touches his chest, it was making him giddy.
“W-What do you mean by o-okay…..!?”
“B-Because………..you said you wanted to take a photo………”
“I-It’s true that the flow of events will definitely go down like this when someone is brought to a secluded place in eroge!!”
『──Let’s take a picture！ Please gather in front of the screen！』
Outside of Kazuma’s impatience, the laid-back announcement was reverberating from the screen.
However if this continues, this situation will become exactly like an eroge.
“W-Wait a moment Misaki-san! I had no such intentions──!”
──At that moment,
“H-Hey, I have been hearing a strange voice since just now, what the hell are you guys doing!?”
The curtain flipped over with Bam! and strike Kazuma’s face.
The one who rushed in at the last minute with her violent pace was Ruri. She was probably watching from afar, noticed something odd and came here in a hurry.
In an instant, Kazuma showed god-like reflexes which he never had and quickly stopped the buttons on Honoka’s blouse. And if there is a 『Button closing World Championship』, he might break the world record with that speed.
As a result, the part where he can barely took a peek was over──
“Fueeeeehhh!! W-W-W-Wh-What are you doing what are you doing, you idiot!!”
“H-Hold on Ruri! If you make such loud noise, other people will──come!?”
Towards Kazuma’s face which was trying to gain composure himself, took a direct hit from Ruri’s bag when she turned around.
『Well then, let’s go! Say cheese!!』
Somewhere the sound of the shutter could be heard with a snap.
“………………Even though this was not what I planned.”
With a face as if to say 『truly a disappointment 』, Honoka looked down at photograph she was holding with a grunt. Shown on the photograph were Honoka, Kazuma and Ruri making a 『> < 』face.
On the other hand, speaking of Kazuma,
“…………Were you really not trying to do any lewd?”
“I wasn’t. Really. I swear.”
He was breaking into a cold sweat while appealing for his innocence in front of Ruri who is staring at him with disgusted eyes.
“H-Here, you can tell from this photograph! No matter how you look at it, this is a normal couple’s date!
“T-This can’t be shown as evidence! In the first place, if I’m in it then this isn’t a 『date』!”
Grabbing the photograph that Kazuma held out, Ruri stared grimly at it shortly after.
“……….I-If you don’t mind it, do you want one?”
There are actually three sheets of the photograph. Whether it has three sheets initially or not knowing if Honoka got the setting wrong, nevertheless there is an extra.
Since Ruri is in it, let’s keep one as a memory to an extent………is what he thought.
“Of course if you don’t want it, it’s also fine.”
“…………I didn’t said, I don’t want it.”
Then, Ruri took a glance at Honoka. Kazuma also noticed that. If you think about it, Honoka was the one who paid for the photos.
“Sorry Misaki-san! I didn’t asked for your confirmation and did it on my own………”
“It’s fine. I don’t mind though. I can give you one.”
Towards the panic Kazuma, Honoka gently shook her head and looked at Ruri after that.
Their line of sight intersects, for a moment.
However within a few seconds, they divert their sight once again. Ruri ended her mixed expression and Honoka being Honoka who can’t read feelings, concentrated her attention towards her feet.
Kazuma didn’t quite understand what were they thinking.
For the time being, the relation between the both of them are disagreeable to a point where it has been circulated to him.
Several days have passed since that incident at the game center and it’s after school again.
“…….Do you actually a lot of free time on your hands?”
“No I don’t! Even I don’t have time to spare! But as your childhood friend, I need to look after you! That’s why I’m trying very hard to make time!”
Looking at Ruri who came to the clubroom as usual, Kazuma slightly sighed.
Although she didn’t show up yesterday due to choir practice, otherwise, Ruri nearly shows up everyday. Unlike Kazuma, she has many friends and she does have a relationship with them.
Or perhaps this childhood friend is desperately looking after them because Kazuma can’t be trusted?
Making a complicated face without Kazuma noticing, Ruri took out the fashion magazine from her bag and started flipping the pages. Seeing that, Honoka made an unpleasant face.
“……..Shinomiya-san, there is a rule that states that you can’t bring it into school.”
“It’s fine. Our school rules are just too strict. The rest of the school doesn’t abide by that rule.”
Ruri’s hand that was turning the page stopped upon saying that.
“What? Did you find an interesting article?”
“Fueh?! W-Wait, stop looking!”
Noticing that Kazuma is coming close, Ruri closed the magazine.
However, only the heading of the page remained visible. It’s about <Lover> and <making a lunch box>. I think that was probably the contents of it.
“……..Hey Kazuma, will be happy if someone you love make you lunch?”
“Well, anybody would be happy.”
That’s because it’s from 『someone you like』. No way a normal guy wouldn’t be happy…..regardless of whether the food is unsavory or not.
“Hmmm…..Come to think of it Kazuma, you always make your own lunch right?”
“Rather than making, it feels more like a preparation.”
Since it’s wasteful to eat breakfast, so he have to take responsibilities for his own lunch. That being said, that doesn’t mean that he can cook. What he prepared was the remainder of what’s left in his last night dinner, frozen food or anything that he could get on hand.
“I see……….so Misaki-san doesn’t make one for you. Since you have a girlfriend, wouldn’t it lonely for you to prepare lunch by yourself?………If it was me, I wouldn’t do that to my lover.”
Ruri idly murmured in a voice that was clear enough to be heard and sure enough, Honoka who found fault with her, made a petulant indication.
“Ah, that’s right, Misaki-san! What kind of eroge do you want to play today? You can choose whichever you like from here!”
Pointlessly raising his voice, he frantically change the subject from this threatening atmosphere.
Within there, he suddenly thought of something.
(……….That’s right, Ruri did said that “she have someone she like”)
Who is that person? Are they progressing smoothly? He might be a nosy person, but he was a little curious after all.
That being said, it’s a little awkward to directly ascertain it. Besides, Kazuma didn’t think he can even do anything upon hearing the situation.
However, he thinks that it’s good to ask this skillfully.
That’s because he himself has a girlfriend named Honoka and everyday has been a blast for him.
………..Although she is now having a cold war with the childhood friend with Kazuma sandwiched between.
(It will be great if these two can get along well though…..)
──As they were going home on that day.
“Hey, Odagiri-kun. Can I have a moment?”
Honoka interrupted him right after he separated with Ruri and told her “there is a place they want to stop by” in front of the school gate.
“Actually……I have a request.”
“Well sure, of course, if it is in my powers. But what is the 『request』?”
“Thank you, Odagiri-kun. Actually……..Odagiri-kun, you always bring your own lunch box to school right?
“Yeah, but what’s this got to do with──ah, could it be that Misaki-san want to eat it too?”
We are talking about the Honoka who proudly has a hunger that is similar to 『eating a meal thrice of an all-you-can-eat-buffet』. She also deliciously ate a riceball previously so he thought that is possibly it.
“N-No! I- I have also thought of asking you someday, but today is not it…….!”
(Ah, so she did thought of eating it……..)
……..I have been thinking about this for a while, but looking at Honoka makes m”e thinks that she can be a pretty clumsy at times. I found this out by myself.
Well that is also a disparity, and considered cute.
“That is not it………..erm, I don’t want you to bring your lunch for tomorrow.”
“Uhh, like I said……..you see, isn’t there a scene in the eroge where the girl heroine were eating lunch with the protagonist right?”
──At that moment, an electric current ran through his mind.
“Errr, could it be that Misaki-san──”
Before Kazuma get to the point, Honoka looked down shyly.
“T-That is why………I too…..would like to make one for Odagiri-kun……….a boxed lunch.”
“Eh? R-Really!? Is it okay?”
While watching Honoka nodding nervously, Kazuma struck a fist pump in his heart.
A girlfriend’s handmade boxed lunch. If you like eroge──no any other guys would have dream of this situation at last once.
And that dream have finally became a reality!
“T-Thank you……! I’m very happy that Misaki-san is willing to make one for me.”
When Kazuma was nodding his head, Honoka was grinning and turned her back as if she was embarrassed.
After that, he made a small fist pump and said “Hell yea”.
(…….I think she probably didn’t see that)
Kazuma is a little curious about what kind of face is Honoka is making as of now. He still doesn’t know──how cute Honoka is because he feels that Honoka is hiding from him.
Not knowing Kazuma’s heart, Honoka turn around again and happily said.
“Then……..come to the clubroom during lunch break. I will be waiting.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
Suddenly, as if remembering something, Honoka’s expression became serious.
“………I want you to keep it a secret from Shinomiya-san.”
True. It’s Ruri who doesn’t listen, always saying ” I’m watching over Kazuma” that we are talking about here. If she knew about this, Ruri will most probably insist on coming along as well.
“………You’re right………Let’s eat lunch together, just the two of us.”
Even Kazuma, the least he want is to calmly have lunch. Even though Honoka went out of her way said she would be preparing lunch, if there is a need for mediation between their squabble, then he honestly won’t be able to taste the food.
Docilely muttering, Honoka held out her little finger.
Because that face was too serious, Kazuma unintentionally laughed and Honoka sulked a little.
The next day.
“…………Misaki-san, are you in?”
During the lunch break, Kazuma came to the clubroom as promised yesterday.
When he knocked on the door, sounds of footsteps could heard immediately and Honoka’s face peeked out. She must have been waiting forever, because the face that welcomed Kazuma was in bliss.
……For a moment, it was embarrassing thinking that this feels like a「 newly-wed」.
“It’s nothing. Nothing really.”
“Really…..? T-Then come here quickly, everything is ready.”
Being pulled in by a frolicking Honoka, Kazuma entered the clubroom.
Several tables and chairs in the room were rearranged so that the both of them were be able to sit face to face. On the desk, a lunch box is wrapped with cloth.
Honoka watched attentively at Kazuma with great anxiety as he reflexively placed both hands together.
“Erm……if it is okay with you, please open and take a look inside. I am not sure if you would like it……….but I think I did my best.”
“Y-Yeah. Well then, let’s get to it──”
Holding in his eagerness, Kazuma reached for the lunch box. Gently opening the lid, he held the exposed lunch box in his hands.
The lunch that Honoka prepared looks black, upon closer look, it’s still black, with black as it’s addition. Plus it smells like something is burning.
Or rather burnt.
The contents of the lunch box had been reduced into scorched earth.
Unable to understand the reality that is in front of him, Kazuma completely froze.
No, this can’t right. Honoka is a honor student. A pretty girl that can do anything. No way she would make lumps of charcoal like this.
He tried to close and open the lunch again.
However, the result did not change. Reality is a cruel thing.
“U-Uh…….Misaki-san, this is………”
“The game we played yesterday was like this.”
There was no indication of a joke on Honoka’s face as she replied. Genuinely believing that Kazuma would be happy, and still continues to believe so, her restless and innocent eyes were for Kazuma’s reaction.
“………..A-Awesome! It’s perfect! Thank you, Misaki-san!”
Pushing back his cold sweat by force, Kazuma laughed with all his strength.
So what if it’s an all-black lunch box? Even if it’s black or carbonized, this was something Honoka went out her way and made it for his sake.
If Kazuma is not elated right here, he is disqualified as her boyfriend.
With his resolution in accordance, he took one of the side dish that was enshrined on the center of the lunch box (looking from the shape, it’s probably fried shrimp) and ate it.
When he chewed it, together with a crunchy sound and a bad texture in his mouth, bittersweet taste of charcoal spreads throughout his mouth.
Simply put, it was generally unappetizing.
“How was it………?”
“Y-Yeah………uhh the inside was properly roasted!”
Raising his head in a hurry, Honoka downheartedly slumped her shoulders. She probably noticed that Kazuma is putting up a front and how he is having a hard time at the same time.
“I-I am sorry……..I will make it normally next time……”
To settle the bad lunch box, Honoka stretch out her hands.
However, Kazuma evaded her hands and strongly hold on to the lunch box once again.
“That’s not true, it’s not bad. I will eat this lunch box. That’s because I’m very happy that Misaki-san make it for me.”
There isn’t a trace of lie in that feeling.
That’s why Kazuma didn’t want her to think that “it will be better if I didn’t make it in the first place”. He wants her to remember to today’s incident as a sweet memory and not as a sad or failure recollection.
He took up the chopsticks once again stuffed the charred rice into his mouth.
Although it still taste like charcoal as usual, but this time instead of faking a smile, he smiled from the bottom of his heart.
“Un. See, it’s not inedible. Besides, if you think about it you normally can’t eat this kind of black-colored lunch. But because Misaki-san is the one who made it, I was able to eat it. So I’m very happy after all.”
It would take much more effort to carefully make a scorched lunch rather than making a normal one.
However, Honka prepared it for someone like Kazuma, who loves eroge, she made a similar lunch to the one in that eroge with utmost effort even though she didn’t have a recipe.
‘Thank you, Odagiri-kun.”
It’s true that he is trying to cheer up Honoka, but it’s kinda embarrassing that she will make such a face so he concentrated on the lunch again.
“Kazuma, are you in?”
It was Ruri. She was looking for Kazuma, not knowing what she has misunderstood, she turned red after seeing the both of them.
“H-Hold on!? What’s going on!? Why are the two of you together?! D-Don’t tell me you doing something erotic…….!”
“You’re wrong! We are just having lunch together! I have been thinking about this for a while but what on earth do you think I am!”
No matter how much he loves eroge, that doesn’t mean he is thinking about it all the time…….not all the time. Since it’s important, it’s being said twice.
“Eh, ah oh……lunch, lunch huh……..”
It seems that Ruri has realized she jumped to a wrong conclusion as well. After looking at the lunch box on the table, she showed a complicated expression.
“Geez….so what do you want? It looks like you were looking for me though.”
“Eh? Ah…….o-oh yeah! Err, I wanted to talk to you about the executive committee! So I thought we can discuss over lunch…..”
For some reason, Ruri was strangely rattling on in a state of panic.
However, Ruri unexpectedly noticed the lunch box── or more accurately, the contents of the lunch box that Kazuma is holding.
“Uwaa!? What’s that!? Kazuma, what’s with that lunch box?!”
“Eh? Ah, no, that’s……….”
Before he can answer that Honoka was the one who made it,
“Uwaa, it’s charred…….Geez Kazuma, what have you done to make it this black? Usually you should be to notice it sooner.”
Ruri looked down on Kazuma as if she is scolding a small kid. She had a face that implies that there is no way that Honoka would be the one that would make such a lunch.
“Anyways, you will be sick if you eat that. You should stop that. If you want, I can split mine.”
As she said that, Ruri removed the lid from the lunch box she was holding and held out towards Kazuma.
Naturally, Kazuma tried to refuse her offer, but before he could,
“……..Ah! D-Don’t be mistaken! This is not what it looks like!”
“L-Like I said…….! Didn’t it happened in the game we played previously? Uhh, the heroine would make lunch and let you eat it! I don’t plan on doing any of that okay?! Like that 『Ah』!.”
“Of course not! What the hell are you saying!?”
There is no way he could do that in front of Honoka (his girlfriend). Because there will be a bloodbath route if that happens.
However it seems like Ruri was dissatisfied that he flat out denied it.
“Y……You don’t have to be that opposed to it…….”
“It’s not like I’m opposed to it……..what on Earth do you want anyway……..”
As they were unfolding an useless conversation,
All of a sudden, Honoka snatched Ruri’s lunch box and started eating with great momentum.
Due to the abrupt development, Kazuma and Ruri stood there in a daze.
Honoka, who was devouring the lunch, had her eyebrows came closer and was in an extremely foul mood………but as she continue eating, her expression gradually began to change a little.
Before long, she loudly fluctuating her throat with a [gulp!] while grains of race were stuck on her cheeks.
With the expression of the innocent child itself, Honoka stares at the box lunch in her hand.
To Kazuma it was a familiar scene but can’t say the same for Ruri. She looked at Honoka as if she was surprised and then she looked at Kazuma as if she was peeking.
“…………Was it that good?”
Honoka’s shoulders shook as if she was startled when Ruri nervously raised her voice.
Though eating her lunch without her mission is a bit too much, the usual Honoka who is always belligerent towards Ruri is now feeling apologetic and frowned.
“…….Err, you can have more if you like?”
Pointing to one-fourth of what’s left of her lunch, Ruri said it in a causal tone. As she was surprised, Honoka stared back at that face.
“Yeah…….Actually, I got sweets for my friends a while ago so I’m not really hungry.”
Ruri continued by saying “That’s why it’s fine”, picks up the lunch box and this time offering it Honoka herself.
However Honoka stared at the lunch box for a while, hesitated.
Eventually, an adorable sound could be heard from that stomach. As if to change the subject, Honoka reached out for the lunch box in a panic.
After bathing, he got a call from Ruri in his phone as he returned to his room.
『──Ah! You finally answered! Geez, why didn’t you pick up sooner?! I was calling you this entire time!』
“I was bathing just now………..So what did you want? Something happened?”
The voice behind the phone sounded like it’s gonna cry at any moment, so Kazuma rushed to the window in a hurry. When he opened the window, his eyes met with Ruri who was looking from the window.
『You see…….it looks like my computer is somehow broken……』
If you listen, Ruri was who forced to play by the chief, was interested in the continuation of the game (which was erased midway) said that she brought the released version through the internet.
However, when she tried to install it but it seems like her computer suddenly has problems. Then she got scared and called Kazuma.
“You said your computer is acting weird……..but specifically what’s wrong? Don’t tell me it’s a blue screen?”
『I dunno what about this blue screen………anyhow it’s acting strange! Hey, please come and take a look, Kazuma……!!』
Due to her temper, it’s hard to understand the outlines of her explanations.
“Fine. I dunno if I can be of help, but I’ll be there soon. Go wait at the front gate.”
“It’s fine, for this much. I’m always causing you troubles…..besides we are childhood friends.”
They have been relying on each other on things that each are weak on. This much is nothing really.
Putting his hand phone in his pocket, Kazuma headed to the front door in a hurry.
The entrance to the Shinomiya family, which he would always see every time when he went out. However, it’s actually been a long time since he entered. It has been since elementary school, so at least three years that he had came to play.
Besides, Ruri’s parents are both working. I heard that they always return late, and they are probably not at home at this timing.
In the other words,
(T-This is somehow nerve-wrecking…….after all this time.)
As he rang the intercom, he could hear the sound of keys unlocking. It’s probably Ruri. Just like Kazuma said, Ruri was waiting at the door.
“Pardon the intrusion…..”
The door he just opened was shut firmly.
He felt like he saw something terrible for a moment.
“H-Hey! Why did you closed it!? Didn’t you ask me to have a look at it?!”
Frustrated with Kazuma’s behavior, Ruri suddenly jumped out, meeting eye to eye while in an outrageous appearance.
“Y-You……..What are you wearing……!?”
Ruri strangely answered him while wearing a jersey (only the top). It’s also not a so-called fashionable jersey, but it’s the kind that is school-designated and tacky ones. Not wearing any trousers, she stood there barefooted.
Fortunately her underwear was hidden………..but instead, her excessive chest was exposed and her huge breast is about to spill over.
“C-Can you at least wear trousers?! It’s already October!”
“I-I can’t help it! It went somewhere once I washed it!”
Normally acting like a “normie”, but now she is speaking in an unimaginable manner. (Damn it, why did she went 『Fueh』……..?! Take a hint woman! She usually will over react to this thing, so why does she remain defenseless at times like this?!)
At the least, it’s not a good attire in front of a guy that is of the same age. You are not the heroine of an eroge.
While his patience was running thin and unable to look in front, Kazuma frantically averted his eyes.
On the other hand, the childhood friend who wasn’t aware that she was dressed like someone in an eroge,
“Hey, more importantly come in quickly! Standing outside wearing a jersey is embarrassing!”
(That’s the embarrassing part………..?)
Even though you’re wearing anything underneath.
However, unable to make a rebuttal, Kazuma entered her room as if he was being persuaded.
The atmosphere of the room of his childhood friend that he known for several years has changed from what he remembered.
The uniform hung on the wall, cosmetics lined on the table and the lace protruding out from the gap of the drawer──
“So, about the computer……”
“Eh!? A-Ah! The computer! You were talking about the laptop right?!”
“……..Why are you so flustered?”
“Ah, no I’m not!”
He surveyed her room, panicky looking for the laptop.
The problematic laptop was placed in the middle of the room, sitting on top the colorful table.
“Here, this one. Don’t you think that something’s strange?”
Ruri pointed out to the middle of the screen. Displayed on it was the error message 『The program was not installed properly』.
“Ah, this one?”
When you use a recent PC to play an old eroge like this one, this warning will usually appear. In other words it’s about the “Computer compatibility” etc etc.
“So? Would it better if I sent it for repair……?”
“Don’t need to. This doesn’t mean it’s brok──”
While he was talking, he looked at Ruri and became hardened. Due to the fact that he was slouching, her cleavage was openly revealed and clearly visible from her neckline.
As she blinked and stared in puzzlement, he peeled his eyes away in a panic.
(What am I starring for………….this is my childhood friend, just that. My girlfriend is Misaki-san…….)
Clearing his throat, this time, he was fully concentrated on the laptop.
“Anyways, you don’t have to worry. Although the warning did appear, I never heard of the laptop getting broken down because of it. You can just choose the option 『I have properly installed it』.”
He took the mouse and operated it instead. The game was also launched, just in case and after messing with it for a while, but there seems to be no problems with it.
“Hey, there is nothing wrong right?”
Even when the window had disappeared, Ruri was still staring at the screen with great suspend. Well, can’t blame her. Kazuma also panicked and was about to call for manufacture support when he encountered this message for the first time.
“It’s fine. My computer also showed similar warnings many times before but it still works normally. If it’s acting up again, I’ll come back tomorrow.”
Just as he is about to turn around and headed back, his arm was suddenly being grabbed.
When he looked over his shoulders, there was the gloomy face of his childhood friend.
“S-Stay here a while longer. It looks like it’s going to appear again…….”
“H-Hey! You don’t have to make that kind of face.”
Looking at the flustered Kazuma, Ruri blatantly had an unsatisfied face.
“I-It’s not like I don’t like being here…..”
However, even if they are childhood friend, Kazuma is an adolescent boy and Ruri is a girl. Even though they talked a bit in school, being alone together in a room at this timing is making them more or less self-conscious about each other.
Even without that, due to the fact that Ruri is in that outrageous attire, Kazuma could not see her eye to eye since just now.
That being said,
“Hey……please. Just a little more, it won’t hurt.”
Starred with such clingy eyes, the option “I refuse” is not available.
In the end no matter how Kazuma struggles, he could not be a brutal protagonist.
…………….Beside he is curious how will Ruri react after watching the shocking development that happened in the last two chapters.
Only the sound of the mouse clicking resounded in the silent room.
(…….T-This is awkward……..)
Kazuma tried to find something to talk about, but since he is unable to come up with a handy topic, he has no choice but to endure this uncomfortable silence.
Ruri who ask him to stay, was starring silently into the computer instead of talking to him. Although a while back she was utterly criticizing the protagonist when game immediately reached the second chapter, but now she became completely docile.
However, when he took a peek at her from time to time, it seems that she is not that immersed in the game. Apparently Ruri was bewildered by this unusual situation.
He intended to speak as softly as possible but as expected, he end up being astonished.
Ruri stood up as if she leaped.
“Eh, ah……! S-Sorry Kazuma! I completely forgotten about you……..!”
“I don’t mind though………I should be apologizing for scaring you too.”
Crap. I went out of my way to think of something to talk about and now the conversation is being cut off.
The flustered Kazuma then instinctively asked,
“Come to think of it Ruri, could it be that you hate Misaki-san?”
The awkward atmosphere added with that unbearable question hit her hard.
Ruri also probably never thought that he would asked her straight to her face.
In a state of shock, she stared at Kazuma’s face.
“E-Eh? What? Why did you suddenly ask that……..?”
“It’s because……….I have a feeling that you somehow had a different attitude when you talked to the other girls in the class…”
To tell the truth, he always have that doubt.
Ruri has always been good at making friends. Even if they met for the first time, she is able to come on good terms with them in no time.
……….Therefore he thought the reason why Ruri and Honoka are『still on bad terms』with each other is because maybe Ruri doesn’t have the intention to change it.
Judging by the implicit question included, Ruri silently looked down in discomfort.
“I-I’m not blaming you. It just thought that it would be great if the both of you can get along. Everyone in class may think she is hard to approach but Misaki-san is really a good girl. She is pretty cute too…..that’s not it! Err, she is also an interesting person. If there is any misunderstanding──”
“…….There isn’t, any misunderstanding.”
That habit of strangely softly murmuring interrupted Kazuma.
“You don’t have to tell me that, I completely understand that Misaki-san is a really good girl. About how you…..and Misaki-san are getting along really well as well……it’s not like I hate her or anything.”
“Eh?……B-But, then, so why are you so──”
It was like a cut-off voice. When Kazuma reflexively swallowed his words, Ruri turned around and faced the laptop as if to put an end to the conversation, then continued.
“…….You would’t know, Kazuma.”
Completely lacking of expression in profile, Kazuma don’t know what is she even thinking about.
While he was loss for words, Ruri turned off her PC. By the time she stood up and looked at him, Ruri had returned to her usual self. As if they didn’t have that conversation just now.
“Thanks Kazuma. Sorry for coming here, it’s getting late so you should be heading back. The PC doesn’t look like it has any other problems either.”
“Eh? Y-Yeah…….I see. If there is no problems, then all is good.”
Kazuma was not that dense to bring up the previous conversation in this situation. While being prompted by her, Ruri accompanied him to the entrance.
“Well then, good night. See you tomorrow.”
“Yeah. Good night, Kazuma.”
It was when he was leaving her house and he was waving bye byes like a child.
“………Hey, am I, a bother after all?”
He suddenly stopped walking after her words caught him off guard.
The smiling face of Ruri who stood still at the entrance was gone before he knew it. Instead it seems like she is forced to smile, enduring her loneliness.
“I said that I’ll watch over you or rather I’m just putting on air………but now that I think about it, I might just be interfering in your business……..Both of you are having fun playing games…….I been thinking what can I do as your childhood friend. I’m sorry though, despite all that stuff.”
As mocking herself, Ruri faintly laughed.
Because her face looked too desolated.
That’s why Kazuma instinctively opened his mouth.
“It’s fine with me. Come.”
The depressed Ruri suddenly raised her head.
“Even I don’t think that two people alone playing only eroge is considered a “proper romantic relationship”…….So if you want to come, you are always welcome. Misaki-san…………and I don’t think you’re a hindrance……..though the head might be hard to please.
“……..Are you sure?”
Ruri’s big round eyes looked up at Kazuma as if she is investigating.
While thinking that her attitude was strange, Kazuma nodded.
What was Ruri thinking about? He has never thought of Ruri as an 『annoying』existence.
That’s the only thing he is absolutely certain of.
“…….Un. Thank you, Kazuma.”
Ruri greatly bowed.
However her face was hidden behind her bangs, so in the end he didn’t saw it at all.
“……There is something on my mind though. Do I look like someone that you would be worried if I would do something weird and not put on constant watch….?
“………..Because even though you’re a highschool student, you’re playing eroge. There is no way I can trust you.”
“Like I said, I told you many times already! The purpose of playing eroge is not because of the eroticism! It’s bias to think that 『playing eroge will let you think of nothing but erotic stuff』!”
Even though he frantically tried to argue back, Ruri was staring at Kazuma with skepticism as usual.
The next day after he had visited his childhood friend in such a long time, when Kazuma entered the clubroom as always, Honoka was spreading out the game’s manual thinking about something.
When she noticed Kazuma has arrived, she showed him the spread-out manual with a ‘perfect timing’ face. What opened was the character introduction page.
“I have a question Odagiri-kun. Which one of these clothes do you want to undress the most?”
“What kind of question is that!?”
“The head previously said that the heroines in eroge would phrase it like that……..”
“That’s not an『eroge cliche』! It’s true that there quite a few heroines like that but it’s definitely not a norm!”
When he listened to the story in detail, it’s about time for her seasonal change of clothing and she wanted to use this opportunity to buy new ones.
“That’s why………..I thought it would be a good time to buy clothes that matches with Odagiri-kun’s taste.”
Upon hearing his 『girlfriend』’s innocent words, Kazuma heart skipped a beat.
However, unfortunately for Kazuma, he doesn’t have the slightest idea about women’s fashion. He could also say that all heroine in eroges ‘are like that’ as an example, but in the end, it will just be the same as usual.
When he is still troubled, the door of the clubroom opened again. This time it was Ruri who entered.
Despite wearing her uniform, she clearly different from other girls, draw over the line and is very fashionable. As a matter of fact, Ruri knows a lot about fashion and has chosen clothes for Kazuma in the past.
“………If that’s the case Misaki-san, why don’t you ask Ruri to help you choose? The both of you can go shopping on the next weekend.”
Both of their voices have beautifully overlapped each other.
He thought it was a good opportunity. Despite of how Ruri is, she is good at taking care of people. If the both of them went out together, the distance between them will be shortened.
“How about it? Of course, if the both of you aren’t against it.”
“I-I…………don’t mind, though.”
Having said that Ruri stole a glance at Honoka. Together with Kazuma, they waited for Honoka’s response.
Receiving both of their gaze, Honoka showed that she needs to take a while to ponder.
“……….If so Odagiri-kun, let’s go together, the three of us.”
“Eh? Me as well?”
Honoka nodded her head towards the surprised Kazuma.
“If Odagiri-kun is going………I’m going as well”
“E-Errr……..if you guys are fine with it, I don’t mind though.”
While answering her and looking at Ruri, she keep declaring “it’s just right”.
“Then let’s go on a 『practice date』again! This time I’ll watching over you all the way from the start to the end!”
………Looks like next Sunday it’s going to be tempestuous.