And so, my summer break began.

After being so busy taking care of the Sekaimo anime project, I
finally allowed myself to have a peaceful night.

The next day morning.

Everyone had just finished eating the breakfast made by Elf.

Normally, I would be the one who washed the dishes afterward,
but Elf said “I will take care of it” and didn’t let me. I could
still hear the sound of running water coming from the kitchen.

On the sofa in the living room, Muramasa-senpai was writing a
novel.

Kyouka-san had just left for work.

Sagiri was drawing illustrations in her room.

Makina-san was still sleeping.

As for me, I was enjoying my “long awaited day off” —

“Ahhhhhhh!!! What should I do on my day off?” I screamed while
hugging my head.

— I can’t do it.

Still cleaning her hands after washing the dishes, Elf said:

“Masamune is speaking nonsense again…Why don’t you take a nap?
It’s your hard earned day off.”

Muramasa-senpai also raised her head and glanced at me:

“That’s right, Masamune-kun. Didn’t you say yesterday that you
will take a long break and fool around for the whole
day
? Hurry up and go back to your room.”

“I did say that. But considering my normal routine, I can’t
sleep at all… Normally, when I am busy, I really want to sleep; but
now that I’m free I find myself unable to.”

“Why don’t you ask the professional sleeper? Want me to wake her
up?”

Muramasa-senpai gave Makina-san another weird nickname.

Elf also smiled wryly:

“Still, that’s because of your habit. Wake up early every day,
finish your housework, do your daily workload – a sudden day off
isn’t something you can immediately get used to.”

“I see. You need to practice in order to become lazy too.”

Muramasa-senpai nodded and accepted this explanation. I myself
found that my hands were beginning to tremble.

“Just sitting without doing anything for few minutes after a
meal is enough to make me restless. My head has already
automatically listing the necessary housework that I should
do.”

“I have already finished everything, from laundry to dishes to
cleaning the house.”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t do anything.”

“Wahh!!! I can’t calm down at this rate ~!!!!”

I understand that those two were only doing this because they
were worried about me. But trying to break my habits troubled me so
much. It’s like someone suddenly forced me to “not touch my phone
for the day”.

“Ah ~~ shut up! You sound like an old man who just retired.”

“But…what should I do? Should I take a look at the social game
project that I’m supposed to supervise in September?”

“Stop it, idiot.”

“You will only make things worse.”

Both Elf and Muramasa-senpai scolded me.

“But….”

“In order to make sure you can focus on working tomorrow, today
you have to take a break.”

Elf’s right.

“I understand, but…”

“How about playing a game of Civilization 6 with me? Tiny size
map, and I will play as the Aztec or America.”

“I don’t know much about that game, but I do know that those
settings will only benefit you.”

“Ahaha, Masamune, seems like you understand me better now! As
expected of my future husband.”

“It’s a rare day off for me, why should I spend it getting owned
by you in a game.”

“Then how about something else? Um – if we played a fighting
game, I would own you in that too. Any ideas, Muramasa?”

“Hm…how about writing a novel? Just like that other time.”

She is probably referring our chain novel game we played at her
home before.

“That sounds interesting —“

Muramasa-senpai blushed: she looked happy. On the other hand,
Elf knitted her brow: she looked troubled:

“Crap, I remember that back then I was forced to write an ending
for a super crazy chaotic novel. Besides, while it’s interesting, I
don’t think writing a chain novel will allow Masamune to have a
proper rest. He just wrote a lot in the last few days, after
all.”

“Is that so? But I think writing your favorite novel is a good
way to relax.”

It’s clear that Elf and Muramasa-senpai have very different
viewpoints.

“But I want to do something aside from 「 writing 」 to pass
time.”

I agree that writing what you like is interesting. But.. if I
relaxed that way, Sagiri and Elf would get mad at me.

So, it’s not a good choice.

“By the way, what do you usually do on weekends,
Masamune-kun?”

“Well — on Sunday, I work in the morning, then clean up the
house and do laundry…”

“What I mean is something that’s not work-related.”

“Since I rarely get any real chances to rest, I can’t think of
what I did during my free time before.”

What did I used to do during the weekend? I can’t remember
at all.

“Your situation….is not good.”

Muramasa-senpai was speechless.

Hearing our conversation, Elf laughed and interrupted:

“During your break time, you began to sexually harass us.”

“Eh?” * 2

Both I and Muramasa-senpai yelled in disbelief. I turned and saw
that Elf had already opened the tablet. On the screen was Sagiri,
without her mask. Elf asked her for confirmation:

“Isn’t that right, Eromanga-sensei?”

“Yes…Elf-chan is telling the truth.”

“Even Eromanga-sensei said so too?”

“I don’t know someone with that name…but in case you forgot, let
me remind you.”

“Right right. Let me remind you too – it was during a time when
Masamune wasn’t quite so busy…”

And so, Sagiri and Elf began to tell a story about “me in the
past”.

…It happened last autumn. Back then, Izumi Masamune had just
begun writing the romantic comedy novel “The cutest little sister
in the world”.

It was after noon. In my little sister’s room – known as The
locked room –
I sat in front Sagiri. I said in a depressed
tone while doing a face palm.

“It’s troubling, it’s troubling, it’s troubling ~”

“…Nii-san, what’s with you today?”

Sagiri said and gave me an ice-cold glare. Her voice was so
small that I could only barely hear her with the microphone’s
help.

“Do you….have something…to discuss with me?”

That’s why I am in here. Normally, she would not allow me into
her room – unless I say it’s for a “work discussion” – in that
case, she will have no choice but to let me into the locked
room.

As a novelist, I have a working relationship with Sagiri – with
Eromanga-sensei. Even though Sagiri is cold to her own brother, she
will not ignore me when it is about work.

At least she will hear me out.

“Yes… A discussion. I have something very important to talk with
Eromanga-sensei about.”

“I, I don’t know anyone with that name!”

Sagiri blushed immediately.

If you are that embarrassed about your nickname, why did you
take it in the first place?

If this is a novel then the mystery of Eromanga-sensei’s
nickname would be its most guarded secret.

“So, what do you want to talk about? Hurry up.”

“Actually –“

I said seriously:

“Let me pat your head.”

“………..Huh?” Sagiri’s eyes widened “My…my head? This…this is your
important discussion?

“Yes.”

“…Mwu…why…why do you want to do that…”

Sagiri blushed madly: she looked very uncomfortable.

“Recently, I began writing a romantic comedy novel, right?”

“Yes.”

“Since I’m so used to writing fighting genre novels, I’m still
struggling with the romantic comedy genre. So I can’t think of many
interesting ideas.”

“…This…is….truly an important matter.”

I know, right?

“So, let me pat your head.”

“And I asked why! Why did you suddenly make that
request? I totally don’t get it.”

Seems like I need to explain it more carefully.

“…As, as as as as long as you pat my head…you can think of an
interesting idea?”

“Probably. It should give me a clear picture at least.”

“…..”

Sagiri covered her head in embarrassment.

“….Why?”

“I need a cute girl for my romantic comedy story. In order to
describe a cute girl, I need to see either a cute gesture or a cute
appearance.”

“….That…that….I understand…but why did you ask me…”

“Didn’t you say it yourself before? When you draw an
illustration —“

I don’t want to draw something that I haven’t seen
before.

“ — So it’s the same for novelists. We are better at describing
things that we have seen. So — I want to see a super cute
little sister.”

“Oh ~~~”

Sagiri immediately blushed madly.

“Nii —“

She abruptly stood up!

“Nii-san you pervert!”

“Eh? Wait, what?”

“Pervert! Hentai! How could you say that without
shame…..Kuh…!”

She clenched her fists and looked at me with teary eyes. I
quickly countered her words:

“Wait…wait a sec! Do you need to bad mouth me that much? I only
said that I want to see a cute gesture from my little sister!”

Why do you act like I asked to touch your ass? It’s
unbelievable!

“Because…because!!!”

Sagiri said in embarrassment, like she had just met a very big
pervert.

“You…you just said…said…said I…am cute.”

“Super cute. Yup.”

“….I…idiot!”

I only spoke the truth, but Sagiri’s reaction was still too
much.

“Ah…oh…besides…besides…..! Nii-san..you…”

She slowly stood up

“After you patted my head the last time, you became excited,
didn’t you?”

“I did not! Don’t say something that is so easy to
misunderstand!”

“You did! You clearly did!”

“I can honestly tell you this: I feel that you are very cute,
but at least I don’t have any of the impure feelings that you
implied! Absolutely not!”

“….You did!”

Sagiri glared at me

“You patted my head….to fulfill your bestial urges….you are the
worst.”

Well, even now I still have to say that her face is cute,
but — crap, now I’m getting angry myself. Didn’t I already say that
I don’t have any impure thoughts?

“…If we are talking about a pervert, then you are the most
perverted one.” I turned my head away and muttered.

“…Eh? What? Nii-san? You…you, what did you…just say?”

“Sagiri is a pervert.”

“!”

“Eromanga-sensei is a pervert!”

The moment I mimicked my little sister’s tone, she was rendered
speechless and her eyes widened.

“Wh…wh…what….”

She shook her head, blinked a few times —

“I AM NOT A PERVERT!!!!”

~~~~~~~~

Since she was screaming into the microphone, the sound that came
out was very high in volume. Both of us were covering our ears in
pain.

After the pain subsided, Sagiri said between her breaths:

“I…why am I… a pervert?”

“Your penname Eromanga-sensei.

I immediately attacked my little sister’s weakness.

“Kuh —!”

Sagiri slammed her eyes shut.

“My, my penname doesn’t count.”

“Why not?”

“Because I said so! Don’t say that I’m a pervert because of my
penname.”

“I didn’t come to the conclusion just because of your penname. I
have other reasons.”

“Such as?”

“For example, when you were looking for a girl to be your
model.”

“…I, I don’t remember much about that…”

Liar. I notice your tone has changed. Suspicious.

“Don’t speak like a politician. You do remember, don’t you? What
perverted acts that you did to those girls!”

You lifted the beautiful neighbor’s dress —

You stripped your classmate —

And you did a lot more than that.

Just when I pointed a finger at her face, Sagiri quickly turned
away, pouting:

“Nope, I don’t know anyone like that.”

Stop pretending!

“In the name of drawing an illustration, you did all of
that. These are all are undeniable truths!”

“That…. is not enough to prove anything! This topic ends here! I
say, end it here!”

Sagiri shouted, forcefully dropping the subject.

“Anyway, I will not let you pat my head! Absolutely not! Because
Nii-san is a pervert! Our conversation is over! Get out! Get out
immediately!”

I was chased out by my blushing little sister.

“Damn it…I just wanted to talk about work…you don’t have to act
like I sexually harassed you.”

I walked down the stairs depressed.

“But…what should I do now?”

I was troubled because I couldn’t write anything down. If I was
writing a fighting genre novel, then ideas would come to me easily,
but changing the battlefield makes it harder than I expected.

I planned to make a breakthrough with help from my little
sister, but it didn’t work out as expected.

While I did see how cute she was when she blushed – that was
because she “was trying to prevent me from doing perverted things
to her”. I don’t think this idea will work out in my novel.

“…I need to think of a way…”

I reached the living room.

Maybe I should cook something for her. Maybe then I could ask
her to let me pat her head as payment. I’m such a devoted elder
brother.

With a crack, I opened the door to the living room.

“Ara, Masamune. Sorry for troubling you.”

I saw a blonde beauty, who was sitting in my living room and
drinking tea.

“You…you are…”

I was so surprised that I was unable to speak.

The girl in lolita clothing is Yamada Elf. She is my next door
neighbor; a 14 year old famous novelist.

By the way, Elf isn’t her real name, but her penname.

“You should have said something along the lines of Sorry for
intruding.
What are you doing in my house?”

“As you see, I’m enjoying my tea! Besides, I already finished my
workload!”

“No, that’s not what I asked…ah, forget it.”

Seeing her brilliant smile made me feel like nothing else
mattered.

“Masamune! Stop standing there and come here! See, I brought
cookies for you!”

“But this is my house…”

Really….she is treating the Izumi household as her own home and
comes here every day.

Seeing her prideful expression, I could only sigh.

“Did you make some for Sagiri’s too?”

“Of course I did. Recently, Eromanga-sensei has helped me a lot
too!”

As you know, Elf is one of the few people that knows the truth
about “Eromanga-sensei”.

She is a novelist who is also around our ages. Just like Sagiri,
she doesn’t go to school – and most importantly, she is a fan of
Eromanga-sensei – to tell the truth, she is one of the most
trustworthy people I know.

“By the way, if my editor comes looking for me, please tell them
that I’m not here.

By the way, she is kind of…capricious.

I sat down in front of her and said “I don’t mind…but, Elf…isn’t
your deadline approaching?”

Since she already had an anime project to take care of, she was
very busy during summer. During our trip to an island in the South,
she had to take care of the supervising job…it was so cruel.

I don’t want to end up like her, so I try to finish my work as
soon as possible.

Elf – the very-busy-novelist – lay down on my sofa, and
said:

“Well….I couldn’t finish in time anyway, so I decided to give up
on working.”

“Please don’t! Don’t you feel sorry for your fans?”

“What can’t be done simply can’t be done; it’s the fault of the
one who made the schedule. Ahahaha, about my fans…well…if they have
any grudges, turn them towards my editing department.”

She said something so unbelievable.

“After finishing my cookies, I will definitely force you to
work! If I allow you to be lazy, I don’t think my conscience can
take it!”

I don’t want to be affected by her – I don’t want to be in her
shoes. As her next door neighbor, I have to convince
her…somehow.

While I was feeling very impatient, Elf pouted:

“Wait a sec, Masamune. It’s a rare chance for us to sit down
together; can you please not talk about work?”

“A rare chance? You have been coming to my house nearly every
day.”

Honestly, spending so much time with her made me feel a bit
tired.

“What’s more important to you? Me, or work?”

“I think your work is more important!”

“Alright, fine fine, I get it. You are so serious; that’s what I
like about you.”

“Kuh…”

I think she is teasing me…

I can’t take it anymore…but only this girl…

I coughed:

“Well…but…anyway, I think you should focus on meeting your
deadline.”

Elf blinked:

“Hey, normally I’m indeed trustworthy, but this time I already
said I gave up on the deadline —“

“But you have never missed your deadline before.”

“————–“

Elf’s eyes widened. I continued to speak:

“While your publishing company Full Drive has a bad habit of
making people wait a really long time for a new volume, since your
debut, Yamada Elf-sensei always finishes a new book every three
months.”

Many people will think nothing of it – but it’s not something
that can be done easily.

Writing speed, sales numbers, work attitude. If you lack any of
those, you can’t finish your work on a regular basis.

By the way, I – Izumi Masamune still can’t do that. Because my
sales are not something I’m proud of.

“So I don’t think that you will make your readers wait this
time.”

“……………..Tch.”

Elf turned her head away.

“……You, you are…you really are sly.”

Her face reddened a bit. She turned back to me and said quickly,
like she was trying to hide something.

“Say, what about you?”

“Me?”

“Yes. Aren’t you being troubled because I can’t write a
rom-com novel ~ I can’t make any progress
?”

“…Hey, what’s with that useless tone? Are you mocking me? Forget
it; it’s true that I’m having a writer’s block. I just had a
discussion with Eromanga-sensei, but —“

I told her about the conversation I just had. She listened until
the end, then said with a surprised tone:

“…. Masamune, you —-

Really like to sexual harass your little sister”

“Ehhhhhh!?”

Wait wait, I only asked her to let me pat her head so I could
describe the super cute female protagonist! How could that count as
sexual harassment?

“Rather….”

Then she put a hand on her forehead, like she was trying to
figure out a way to phrase her next words. After a moment, she
looked up at me:

“My room has a window that faces the locked room too!
As soon as I go out on the balcony, if your window’s blinds are
open, I can see everything happening inside.”

“So…crap, so?”

“Your sibling…discussion….What was the meaning of
that?”

“…What do you mean?”

“I was so embarrassed just from watching from a distance!”

“What!?”

“First, it’s your erotic atmosphere – I don’t know what would
have happened if I didn’t interfere.”

“You!? You did that on purpose?”

She is referring to when Sagiri let me pat her head before.

“Besides, besides….What do you mean, e, e, erotic atmosphere! I,
we are not….”

“Hm hm — hm hm – hm ~~”

Elf glared at me, then smirked and said “Oh, I see. Elder
brother will not do anything perverted toward little sister

correct?”

“Oh? Well, yeah.”

How could she know that? Did Sagiri tell her?

“Ah, I see. So since your head-patting is for reference only,
there is nothing erotic in your intentions. Is that what you are
saying?”

“Correct.”

“But since your little sister is suspicious of your intentions,
she didn’t let you do that today. Even though all you wanted was to
get a reference, right?”

“Yes! So what of it!?”

“Come and pat my head then.”

“What?”

She totally blind-sided me. I felt so confused.

Elf raised a finger and repeated what she said before:

“…Since it’s for a reference, there’s nothing perverted in your
intentions, correct?”

She stood up and patted her pitiful chest:

“Then come! Izumi Masamune! Come and pat my head!”

*Bang bang clang*

“…Just now, did you hear something?”

I looked at the ceiling. The locked room is right above
me.

“Hmm? I didn’t hear anything. Anyway – Masamune! Do you want to
pat my head? Yes or no?”

Elf’s aura pushed me back, so all I could do was mutter
weakly:

“…I don’t want to pat your head.”

“You want to pat a cute girl’s head, right? Then I’m
good too!”

“Yes – but Sagiri is cute.”

“I’m super cute!”

That is not something people should say about themselves. She is
so confident, but…well….Elf is indeed a true beauty.

Sagiri is just a special case.

“Yeah…it’s a rare chance…can you help me this time?”

“…I think that something is off. Why do you look so unmotivated?
This is something you should be proud of! Only a special person is
allowed to touch my precious place! Don’t you
understand?”

She sounded so dirty. I really hope she can improve the way she
talks.

“Yeah yeah, I’m grateful for your help. A senior in writing
romantic comedy novels is helping a junior in getting a
reference.”

“…Ahh..”

Hearing my words, Elf looked down in disappointment.

“Eh? Did I say something wrong?”

“Now I understand — you really deserve to be called a light
novel protagonist.”

“What does that even mean?”

“It’s nothing.” Elf suddenly became displeased “Hurry up and do
it!”

She pouted and sat down on the sofa…Why is she mad —- I think
that asking her now would be pouring oil onto the fire.

I did what she told me to and sat down in front of her. What a
coincidence, I sat in the same pose with Sagiri just moments ago in
the locked room.

“Ack…So, I’m doing it.”

“P, please.”

Maybe she was nervous. Her voice was shaking. Her hands were on
her knees and her eyes were closed…

“Hey…..”

Why did she make a “waiting for a lover’s kiss” pose? This is
not about giving me a reference: I bet she has some hidden motive

“….*Gulp*.”

My face felt so hot.

“………..”

Elf didn’t say anything. Her defenseless face was right in front
of me.

I slowly raised a hand – and lightly touch her brilliant bright
hair.

“Um.”

“Wow…”

So comfortable.

Unlike Sagiri’s soft hair, I could feel every strand of hairs in
my hand. My hand felt like it was drawn into her hair. I want to
keep patting her forever.

“Um….”

Her sweet body odor entered my nose.

“Wait…a sec…Masamune…Oh…”

Elf said weakly. Even her ears were red already.

She forced her embarrassment down and yelled loudly:

“You, you — you!!! The way you pat me is too perverted!!!”

“What? I, that wasn’t my intention!”

“Where did you learn that technique? Could it be that that’s the
way you pat your little sister too? Then of course she would call
it sexual harassment! You big pervert! Hentai! Light novel
protagonist!”

“Is it just me or is calling me a light novel protagonist too
broad?!”

Recently, all the girls I know keep calling me that when they
get mad at me.

“Ah, could it be…! This was your intention from the beginning…!
Masamune, you…because you desire my young, beautiful body, you
lured me into your home!”

“You are the one who decided to come here, how could you say
that?”

Stop making up  false memories!

“Stop pretending to be stupid! I know everything already! In the
name of getting a reference¸ you planned to force me into
something perverted, correct!?”

“That’s what you did during our island trip!”

“Well, true! It was very effective – no wait! Don’t try to
deliver your revenge by doing the same thing to me!”

“How, how could you be so shameless?”

You made it sound like I already did something to
you!

The one who delivered a painful lesson to Elf during our
island trip wasn’t me anyway!

If there was someone else here, we would have a big
misunderstanding on our hands.

“Alright! Fine! You said it! Then I will go through with it till
the end! You have to take responsibility!

“Like I said, you —-“

Before I could say any more —

*Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang
bang*

*Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep*

My little sister hit the ceiling like she wanted to crush it
under her feet.

At the same time, my cell phone also received Sagiri’s
emotions.

“Crapppppp!! Why did Sagiri hear that? Elf! This is all your
fault!”

“No matter how loud we were, there is no way she could hear it
from her room! You should know already! That girl definitely has a
hidden listening device or something in here!”

“Sagiri would not do that! She heard us because you were so
loud!”

Anyway —

Recently, that’s how the Izumi siblings and our neighbor
live.

Are we getting closer to becoming “real siblings”?

*Bang bang bang* The sounds were still getting louder.

“I, I need to take a look.”

I rushed toward the stairs while trying to think of a way to
calm my little sister down.

“Damn it ~ Crap crap crap!!!”

That’s how my day off went. Before I met Sagiri and Elf, I
couldn’t even imagine that things would turn out that way.

“Nii-san, remember?”

“Er…Ack, yeah, I do.”

Yeah, something like that did happen. I had to spend a huge
amount of effort to avoid Sagiri’s anger.

“See, just like I told you! He either sexually harassed his
little sister or flirted with his beautiful neighbor – what a
wonderful way to spend his day off. Even a millionaire couldn’t do
that.”

“Don’t say it in such a misleading way! I had a conversation
with Sagiri to get references, and my neighbor only barged in
without an invitation.”

How many times do I have to tell her this?

“So it’s decided — just do your usual thing during your day off
– come and flirt with me! Right now!”

With a *swoop*, Elf hugged me.

*Bang bang bang* Then the ceiling shook.

“Nii-san you pervert! Idiot! How many times I do have to tell
you not to do that?”

“She is right, Masamune-kun! Throw this demi-human away and
let’s talk about novels!”

“Agrhh, really! I remember now! I can’t rest at home!”

So I basically fled from my own home.

I wandered around aimlessly, trying to find peace – before
finally arriving at the Takasago bookstore.

Right right, this was how I used to spend my weekends.

I think I finally found a way to spend my day. Back then, if I
had nothing to do, I would go to a bookstore and buy a light
novel.

I could learn from reading a light novel and I could rest my
heart by reading something I like. A bookstore is my treasure
room.

And this bookstore is the place where I heal my wounded
heart.

“Mune-kun, welcome.”

A girl in an apron greeted me.

She is Tomoe Takasago, my classmate and a worker at this
bookstore. Her hobbies are reading and collecting shoes, and she is
a female high school student who loves romantic manga and light
novels.

As a light novel author and high school student myself, I enjoy
chatting with her a lot.

She has pure black hair, gentle eyes and well-endowed
breasts.

Anyway, at first glance she looks like a calm honor student…but
that isn’t the case.

“It has been a long time.”

“Recently I have been very busy. Before now I couldn’t take a
break.”

“It must be hard. But you are a famous novelist now.”

She sounded like she was teasing me.

“Nah, you praise me too much. I still have a long way to go. By
the way, since I haven’t come here for a long time – looks like
something has changed?”

“Oh, so you noticed?” Tomoe laughed

“Of course. I think it’s more modern-looking now.”

In front of the cash register there is now a café and a reading
room.

“During the time when you were busy – Takasago bookstore
underwent a renovation.”

“Wow!!”

It’s like a novel’s illustrations were changed to match the
anime’s drawing.

The new Takasago bookstore – now has the cute mascot and the
light novel stand as the most eye-catching features.

“Next, this place will focus more on selling light novels, so
Mune-kun, will you join us sometime? To improve my bookstore’s
sales.”

“I will try my best – do you have any light novel
suggestions?

“Of course. It has been half a year since you last read a light
novel, right?”

Since I only bought light novels from here, Tomoe is perfectly
aware of what I read and when.

“Do you have any requests? Any kinds you like?”

“I prefer a light novel that someone who is deadly tired, who
constantly barely meets his deadlines, who only has a single day
off after a long time, can enjoy.”

“Are you working for a shady company?”

Nah, you don’t have to know that.

Tomoe smiled wryly, took a book from the stand, and gave it to
me.

“How about this one? You haven’t read it, correct?”

Tomoe picked the “Seishun Buta Yarō” series.

This is a Dengeki Bunko series, but it has quite an embarrassing
name.

By the way, its illustrations are nice too.

“And — this one. This one too!”

Next, she picked “The faraway Paladin” from Overlap, “Re:Zero −
Starting Life in Another World” from Dengeki Bunko, “Ryuuou no
Oshigoto!” from GA.

“Those are my suggestions.”

“Please give me all of them.”

“Thank you for buying.”

That’s how our conversation usually goes.

A conversation with Tomoe is a symbol of normality for me.

“How should I put it…now that I have seen you, I finally feel
like I’m taking a break.”

“Oh? Is that true? Thanks then…I feel a bit embarrassed.”

Suddenly, Tomoe laughed, like she remembered something
funny.

“Hey, in a comedic light novel’s terms, that means I’m your
childhood friend – the one who fixes the protagonist?”

“But you aren’t my childhood friend?”

“Why do you have to deny it so quickly? But we have known each
other for a long time, so I can be counted as your childhood
friend, right?”

She said that with a cheerful tone.

“I don’t actually care about that, though.”

“You really aren’t fun at all! Just now you broke the going
to school together with my childhood friend
flag!”

“What does that mean?”

“I said ~ aren’t you super busy? You haven’t done your summer
homework, right?”

Tomoe folded her arms across her well-endowed chest.

“This is the time when I help you with your homework! Just like
the time we went to the library together! Don’t you remember?”

“I have no memories of you teaching me at all!”

“Liar ~! I did teach you!”

“You did not! Wait a sec, I think —-“

— That’s right.

It was during my previous summer break, when Tomoe and I were in
our first year of high school. It was the time when the term
“summer break” finally became real to us.

When I was about to go home, Tomoe called to me:

“Mune-kun ~ can I trouble you for a minute?”

With a strange smile and a curved pose, she came to me. Her
breasts were right at my eye level, what a cute pose.

“….I have a bad feeling about this…but what do you need?”

“Can you teach me?”

She stared at me with sparkling eyes….we looked at each other
for a moment before I answered:

“…Sorry, recently I’m very busy with my work…”

Tomoe clapped her hands together in front of me:

“I know that you have your problems! But I wanted to ask the
fifteenth-placed student in our school, Izumi Masamune-sama, to
teach me! Otherwise, I can’t make it and will have to take cram
classes! If that happens, then my summer break will be a
disaster!”

I see. I can understand her reasoning.

“…I understand your situation….”

“Of course I won’t ask you do it for free! This month’s “Dengeki
Daiou” is your payment!”

Wow…This is very generous for Tomoe.

She would probably buy it for me. This bookstore clerk rarely
lends her books to anyone else: She prefers it when people come to
her bookstore and buy the books themselves instead. Looks like her
request is worth her breaking that rule.

Facing Tomoe’s excitement, I said:

“But I want to read the manga. I heard it has a manga series
already.”

“That’s correct, a manga series! But there are many more
interesting manga! Recently, there are some great new series, so
it’s the best time for a new reader to join in! Ah, if you find
them interesting, how about you start buying them from next month
onward?”

“So it’s less like my payment and more like your promotion?”

“Kuh…if that’s still not enough…!”

For some reason, Tomoe suddenly slammed her eyes shut, blushing
furiously.

“Then….I can only pay you with my body….!”

“What the heck are you talking about in school!?”

Don’t say something so scary! I can already feel the gazes
from other girls.

“…Because Mune-kun was looking for a cute girl’s panties for
Eromanga-sensei, right? So I will volunteer to be Eromanga-sensei’s
sacrifice, as long as you agree to teach me.”

“I already solved that problem, so there is no need.”

Or rather, should I say that I already found a sacrifice?
Even I myself am not sure.

Anyway, that’s a story for another time. By the way,
Eromanga-sensei is my novel’s illustrator, not something
perverted.

Well…She is a pervert, no doubt. But she is not someone who
specifically does erotic drawings.

But if my classmates only heard this conversation, they would
think that in order for me to teach Tomoe, I would demand something
erotic from her.

“Kuh…I think it’d be dangerous for us to continue our
conversation here.”  I stood up, “Tomoe, how about we go to
the library? I will teach you how to make it through the exam.”

“So does that mean we have a deal?”

“No, I will teach you for free. Usually you are the one who
gives me interesting suggestions, consider this my thanks.”

“Really!? Wow, thank you very much!”

Tomoe sighed in relief, smiling.

Just that smile is enough for me. I scratched my cheek in
embarrassment:

“Oh, if you want to thank me, can you put my novel on the top
shelf when it is published?”

“Sure ~ but only if I find it interesting after reading it!”

What a pity, seems like she will not bend that rule of hers.

We arrived at the library and sat down in front of each other,
separated by a table.

I opened my notebook and taught her about the material that
could be on the exam. After we finished, Tomoe looked up at me and
said.

“Mune-kun, thank you so much. I’m so lucky to have such a gentle
friend like you.”

“If you want to thank me, thank me with your exam results.”

“I will. But still, I’m quite surprised at the previous exam’s
results. Your score was so good, considering that you were so busy
with work. How could you still have time to study?”

“I barely manage, actually. There are reasons for me to not let
my grades drop.”

While it isn’t related to our current subject, because of that
reason, I have to make sure both my work and studies don’t
suffer.

“What about you, you look like an honor student….”

But you are actually not very good at studying.

“Um? Did you say something? Can you repeat it?”

Tomoe noticed that I didn’t finish my sentence and asked in a
terrifying tone:

I hastily replied:

“It, it’s nothing. But….Tomoe you have your own strong
points.”

“Oh? For example?” She narrowed her eyes.

I can’t bullshit myself out of this…crap…Tomoe’s strong
points…let’s see….

“Tomoe knows a lot about books, games and anime. You are also
very good at decorating the bookstore and analyzing the current
book trends. For example, you can even correctly arrange Fujimi
Fantasia Bunko’s novels, which lack series numbers. It’s simple,
but I think it’s amazing!”

In Yamada Elf-sensei’s chuunibyou language, she called this
skill “Sword of Fantasia – Super arrange.”

“I don’t think that is something that a normal high school girl
could do.”

I was honestly praising her, but Tomoe seemed a bit sad.

“…But school doesn’t grade me based on that knowledge.”

“So you are an inferior student in an ordinary high
school.”

“So you mean I’m a normal idiot!!” She stood up, yelling.

“Don’t raise your voice in the library…People are watching.”

“Ah…that isn’t good….”

Tomoe covered her mouth with her hands and sat down in
embarrassment.

“…By the way, Masamune.”

Suddenly, she said:

“Does being a light novel author pay well?”

“…………….”

Because this topic was too personal, I glanced at my
opposite-gendered friend with a bit of judgment in my eyes.

“Hold up! I only asked because I was curious! See, when a light
novel fan sits down together with a light novel author, they will
become curious, right!?”

Yes – friends who ask annoying questions do exist. She didn’t
even understand that she was poking into my personal
information.

In life, any professional would probably meet this situation at
least once.

“So? What’s the truth?”

“…Everyone has their own situation. For example, Yamada
Elf-sensei earns enough to buy a big house for herself.”

I told her about the first example.

“What about you, Izumi-sensei?”

She is so rude!

“…It, it’s hard to say. Last year, I didn’t manage to publish a
single book so my income is nearly zero. But if we are talking
about average yearly income…then I could say my income…
varies.”

“Hm hm. There is a rumor on the Internet that said because
light novel authors are hard to find, the editors will try to avoid
firing them and prevent them from quitting.

“It’s a lie. I’m a better source.” I answered with confidence
“When my novel The silver wolf’s reincarnation improved
again, my editor Kagurazaka-san called me and said —“

“Izumi-sensei, you are a student,
right?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“The new novel’s sales are promising ~ do you want
to stop?”

“What?”

“I mean do you want to stop going to school and
become a professional novelist?”

“You, you are joking again.”

“Eh?”

“What?”

“Eh?”

“…Wait, you are serious?”

“ — That happened.”

“It’s like a shady guild in an online game.”

“But of course, I could only make it this far because I didn’t
give up on school. Maybe in the future, I will meet a kind editor
who actually cares about the author’s development. Maybe that
person really exists somewhere in the world.”

“…I can feel that your hidden meaning is that person can’t
possibly exist!”

“That’s just your imagination…so; do you have anything you want
to say about this subject, Tomoe?

“Well…Actually, I do.”

“Is that so?”

That was unexpected.

Tomoe said seriously:

“I think that ~ if Mune-kun can write an interesting novel that
can be made into an anime, and then if you earn as much as Yamada
Elf-sensei…“

“If I earn as much money as Yamada Elf?”

Tomoe blushed; then she secretly glanced at me:

“…I could become your bride…!”

“So you didn’t even try to hide that your aim is money!”

What a joke! At least try to hide it!

Of course she was joking – seeing my anger, Tomoe broke into
laugher.

“Ahahaha…..anyway, just think about it.”

Returning to the present:

“See? I’m the one who taught you!”

“Ahaha, I really owed you one.”

Hearing my words, Tomoe smiled. I doubt she actually forgot what
happened.

“By the way, I already finished my summer homework.”

“As expected of an honor student…or rather, an honor member of
society. You are always like this.”

“Ah, Tomoe-san? Why did you suddenly stress that you are my
childhood friend? What’s the reason?”

“Alright alright – it’s not important. By the way, I still have
something else to say. That’s the important part.”

Tomoe grinned happily, she waved her finger around.

“Back then – hearing a proposal from your beautiful childhood
friend, what was your response?”

“I wanted to retort, so…”

If my memories were correct —

“Nope. I have someone I like
already.”

“!! Ack! — Who is that? Who? Is she in our
class?”

“It’s a secret.”

“You remember? Don’t you think you were too cold to me? Why did
you throw me away without hesitation?”

“I don’t understand what you are talking about at all. You must
be teasing me again.”

But my response made Tomoe raise her voice again:

“You are a novelist! Think of a more colorful way to reject
me!”

“After carefully considering your recommendation, I regret to
inform you that I can’t fulfill your request. However, I’m still
very grateful for the fact that you picked me to answer your
question. May fortune smile upon you, Takasago-san, so that your
future is bright.”

“I don’t need that kind of colorful —-!!”

She is less like a female protagonist childhood friend and more
like a villain who is yelling when someone hit her weakness.

“I don’t think there are any female protagonists who were
rejected so coldly in the history of light novels!”

“Just you wait; you can certainly find a colder, harsher
rejection.”

To avoid a flame war, allow me to not call that novel out.

“Ah, every time we hold a conversation it turns out to be like
this.”

“Ahaha, you are right.”

Chatting like this — is totally different from chatting with
Muramasa-senpai or Elf. We are like two cogs which fit each other
perfectly.

“…Forget it then. We are still just high school students.”

Tomoe dropped her shoulders in depression, but she quickly
recovered:

“Then at least tell me who the one you like is.”

“Nope.”

If I told you, I’d have to tell you the truth about
Eromanga-sensei too.

“What ~ is ~ wrong ~ We have such a good relationship, right
Mune-kun?”

“Good relationship? You mean you propose to me just because of
my money?”

“No no no, I’m not talking about love. At the very least, we
have a priceless friendship, right?”

………..

“…What’s up, Mune-kun? You looked like you wanted to say
something, but changed your mind at the last second.”

“Why did we become friends?”

“Hey! You are too much? Did you forget already?”

Tomoe looked sheepish. She stopped, pressed her face closer, and
shouted:

“Hey hey hey ~ you have to remember! Today is our
anniversary
!”

“? You mean the day when we became friends?”

“Yes! Think about it! It happened when we were still in the
middle school!”

Yes…it was years ago. I think it was a Saturday or Sunday.

“….I’m so nervous….”

It was about 10 o’clock in the morning. At the Tomoe family –
Takasago bookstore, in the light novel section, I was trembling
like a very suspicious character. The reason was: that was the day
when my – Izumi Masamune’s, novel was first sold to public.

On the shelf in front of me, my newest – debut novel “The black
sword” lay.

“Kuh…..my novel….it’s here…but the words Eromanga….”

My illustrator’s name, which is “Eromanga-sensei”, is also
visible on the cover. I feared that some readers will mistake it
for the author’s name…Why did that person take that kind of
perverted penname?

I’m grateful to him because he helped me by drawing many cute
illustrations…but I still hope that he can fix this problem.

“It hurts…it hurts so much…”

Because “my child” turned out to be so wonderful, I got
butterflies in my stomach.

…I’m a novelist now.

Will someone come and buy my book?

I was feeling a mix of expectant, excited and nervous. I
couldn’t calm down at all.

“………”

Of course, even if the author goes to the bookstore himself, he
won’t be aware of his book’s sales. That I understood. But even so
– even so, I didn’t want to go home.

If you have to ask what I was doing…

“…..Gulp”

I was hiding behind another shelf and watching over my novel’s
sales. Just like Hoshi Hyuma’s big sis.

[Note: Hoshi Hyuma is a character in Star of The Giant (which is
run from 1966 to 1971…older than me, actually)]

“….Ha…ha….~”

I was breathing heavily, my face was deathly pale and I was
sweating. I probably had bloodshot eyes.

I think that all manga artists or novelists have done something
similar before.

Since today was the day that a new novel was released, there
were several customers here even early in the morning.

I glanced at the newest novel shelf again —

“There!”

Finally, someone picked up my novel! He looked like a high
school student. He took a hard look at the cover, probably
wondering if he should buy it or not.

— Good! Buy it! Buy it! Please! It’s very
interesting!!!

“…What the heck is with this Eromanga? Who would write something
so shameful?”

He threw my novel back on the shelf.

“Kuh, damn it ~~~~~~! It’s not an erotic manga!!! It’s clearly
not something perverted!!!”

I saw everything from my hiding spot and grit my teeth in
frustration.

“Ha…..ha…”

After a few minutes, someone else picked up my novel.

— Good! This time! Please buy it! It says Eromanga, but it’s
not an erotic story at all! Come on! Summon your courage!

“…A new author huh…I will wait for someone else’s review
first.”

He threw my novel back on the shelf.

“Kuh, you~~~~!! Who do you think you are!?!”

I glared daggers at him. Now I understand the feelings of
monster parents.

[Note: Monster parents (hopefully) only exist in China, Japan,
Korea – it’s a parent who raises their children with a bizarre
blend of authoritarianism and overprotectiveness]

“Ha….Ha…”

Even though I kept watching, no one bought my novel.

“Kuh…!”

It’s bad…it’s bad…if this continues, I might not even manage
to sell a single book.

What should I do if they decide to cancel the rest of my
story after a single volume…

This kind of depressing future haunted me like a ghost.

With unsteady steps, I walked towards the light novel section,
slowly picked up my own novel and said aloud for everyone nearby to
hear:

“Hey! It looks like they are selling a very interesting light
novel!”

Now thinking back, it was such a super cliché line.

“Super cute illustrations, the name Izumi Masamune sounds cool,
the short summary looks interesting – it could be a bestselling
novel!”

I glanced around.

— Guys! Come and buy it! Buy it!!

In the light novel section, the original author Izumi-sensei was
trying to advertise his novel to other customers.

I kept getting full of myself for several minutes – until
someone tapped me on my shoulder from behind.

“What?”

I turned around, surprised. Behind me was…

“….Dear customer, may I ask you to come with me for a
moment?”

Behind me was a big man who was built like a fridge. He looked
like Zangief

[Note: Zangief is a character in Street Fighter]

Since I raised my voice in a bookstore, the bookstore manager –
a big, bald man with beard – escorted me to the bookstore’s
warehouse.

With a *Thud*, I slammed my hands on the table and repeated what
I have said yet again:

“Like I said! I’m the author! This novel’s author!”

“…How could someone be an author at your age? You are just about
my daughter’s age.”

“But it’s the truth! Recently it’s common for middle school
students to make a debut! How about – see, this is my student card!
It says Izumi Masamune right here! It’s the same as the author’s
name! This is my proof!”

“Kuh…but…”

At that moment, a girl’s voice came from behind me:

“Father, are you leaving the ramen stand unattended? Did someone
steal something?”

“No, someone raised their voice in the store. In order to not
affect other customers, I called him here…”

“Huh? Who? Eh, aren’t you Izumi-san? Izumi-san from my
class.”

“Eh?”

I turned back and saw a girl my age. She had long, beautiful
black hair, and had an honest, docile looking appearance.

“You are…”

“Tomoe Takasago. Don’t you remember? We were in the same class
during our third year in elementary school.”

“…Sorry.”

“You forgot huh? It’s fine.”

“…Brat, you dare to forget such a beautiful girl?”

Zangief…no, the bookstore manager said in a dangerously low
tone.

I trembled again and quickly apologized.

But Takasago – the daughter – suddenly blushed

“Wait a sec, father! Don’t say something so embarrassing! So –
what’s going on?”

“Well, this brat raised his voice in the bookstore and kept
saying that he is the author of this novel.

The father replied. He also gave my novel to his daughter.

“Ah, this is the new one – wait?”

Seems like she noticed the name Izumi Masamune.

“Izumi Masamune? Izumi Masamune? Wait, wait? Could, could it
be…?”

I looked at Takasago-san:

“Yeah, I’m the author of this novel – Izumi Masamune.”

“..For real?”

“Yes.”

“…Such a coincidence exists?”

The bookstore manager still looked at me with doubt in his
eyes.

“Yes, it does.”

I didn’t plan to reveal my identity as an author today, but
there wasn’t any other way to explain my suspicious actions.

That’s why I acknowledged that I am the author Izumi
Masamune.

But the bookstore manager didn’t seem to be convinced. On the
other hand, Takasago-san was folding her arms, deep in thought.

“Hm… hm …Izumi-san.”

“Yes?”

“Between Black Rod, Blood
Jacket
and Bright Lights Holy land, which
do you like the most?”

[Note: All of them are from the author Furuhashi Hideyuki]

All of them were Dengeki Bunko’s best sellers. While I didn’t
understand her reason for asking that question, I replied
immediately:

“Blood Jacket”

“Hm ~”

Takasago-san nodded. She raised a finger:

“In that light novel, which character do you think is the
coolest?”

“Sarimanagi”

“Oh? Then in the Boogie Pop series, what’s your
favorite book?”

“Takasago-san, what is the meaning of these questions?”

“It’s to analyze your light novel’s characteristics.
Okay, answer me.”

VS Imaginator — no..” I think for a moment “It
should be Embryo Erosion”

“Is that so? I see – I see. By the way, my favorites are
Pandora and Peppermint
magician”

“Ah, I like Pandora too!”

“You get it! Um… I didn’t expect Izumi-san to be able to hold a
conversation about a ten-year old light novel!”

“You too, Takasago-san.”

“Ehehe, you should have told me sooner ~ I didn’t know that
there was someone who can talk with me like this at school…Oh
right, do you think that my father looks like Inazuma?”

“Eh ~ I, I don’t think so…”

To me, he looks less like Inazuma and more like Red Comet or Mr.
Brown.

[Note: I don’t know about Inazuma or Mr. Brown, but Red Comet is
the nickname of Char in Mobile Suit Gundam.]

“Hey, what are you talking about? I don’t understand
anything!”

Zangief was left out, so he…no, the bookstore manager looked at
his daughter in an uncomfortable manner. Takasago-san said
clearly:

“Father, Izumi-san is telling the truth. He didn’t lie when he
claimed to be the author.”

“How could you know that?”

“Well, because of our chat just now. Someone who reads light
novels can’t be a bad person – I don’t suppose that you can accept
that reasoning?”

“Nope, I can’t.”

Takasago-san displayed my new novel that she was holding:

“Um…I can’t say it aloud…but yesterday, when we received these
books, I secretly read it.”

“Eh.. so that means you read my book?”

“Ehehe, yup. I was surprised – Izumi-san, you fit the exact
image I had of the author when I read your book. That’s why I think
you are the real Izumi Masamune-sensei. Besides – we have spent a
year together in school; I know that you aren’t the lying
type.”

“……..”

Both the bookstore manager and I stared at Takasago-san.

“Today is the day Izumi Masamune’s novel made its debut, is that
why you came here?”

….She saw through me.

“Kuh…!”

With a scoff, the bookstore manager folded his arm:

“Got it. Hey brat. Don’t make loud noises in the bookstore
again.”

“Yes sir. I’m very sorry.”

“….”

He stood up and left. Maybe he isn’t as bad as his appearance
suggests…anyway, I’m safe now.

“…Phew, I’m saved.”

When the tense atmosphere finally disappeared, I breathed a sigh
of relieved

Then Takasago-san happily came to my side:

“So, Izumi-sensei – the situation seems interesting: can you
tell me more?”

Returning to the present:

“Ah! You mean the day when I made my debut. The day when we held
our first conversation!”

“Right right! So you do remember! After that, you said you
wanted to hide your identify at school and asked me to keep your
secret.”

“You always help me keep my secret.”

“Of course. That’s our promise.”

“I thought that you would immediately spill it.”

“Hey ~ you are too much! It may not look like it, but I know how
to keep a secret.”

“I know. We are friends, after all.”

“Yes, I’m the only friend at school who can talk to Mune-kun
about light novels. It’s the same for me.”

Unlike me, Tomoe has many friends at school. But none of them
can hold a conversation about light novels with a bookstore
employee like her.

So – this friendship is very precious to both of us.

“Tomoe.”

I met my friend’s eyes and thanked her:

“Please take care of me.”

I am glad to have met you – that was what I wanted to convey
to her. I don’t know if she will understand that, though.

“…Um.”

Tomoe blushed in embarrassment, totally out of character.

“What are you embarrassed about?”

“Eh? Er…it’s because you suddenly said that!”

Maybe what I said was a bit too hot-blood. So I quickly tried to
hide my embarrassment and raised a hand:

“See you later. I have to read those books.”

“Make sure to rest properly.”

“Sure.”

I turned around and left.

“M, Mune-kun —“

“Yes?”

I looked back. Tomoe gave me a dazing smile:

“After reading my recommendations, make sure to tell me what you
think about them!”

“———–“

Tomoe’s charm is at its peak when she recommends novels to
others. Normal light novel female protagonists can’t possibly do
that.

— But it’s embarrassing to say that out loud, so I can’t do
that.

After I got back from the Takasago bookstore, Muramasa-senpai
greeted me at the door:

“Welcome home, Masamune-kun.”

“Ah, eh…I’m back, Muramasa-senpai.”

Why…does she sound like my wife? Just like usual, she was so
mature for her age even though she is younger than me.

“Eh…where are Elf and Sagiri?”

I asked her because it’s very unusual for Muramasa-senpai to
greet me alone like this. If all of them came and greeted me while
quarreling – that would be considered normal.

“Well, because…”

Muramasa-senpai smiled wryly:

“Right after you ran away — we reflected on our actions. This is
your rare chance to rest: what we did is unacceptable…so..Sorry.
I’m apologizing in everyone’s place.

Seeing my savior bow her head, I quickly stopped her:

“No no no! This is nothing, I don’t mind it at all…but, you
noticed that I was running away huh?”

“Thank you for saying that – anyway, we will not hinder your
rest anymore. I hope you can have a proper day off.”

“Yes, I will….rest.”

I followed my original plan and went back to my room, lay down,
and read light novels.

Unlike my ability to write quickly, my reading skills are not
all that great. It took me more than two hours to read a single
novel. This is a peaceful and happy time for me.

— I’m so grateful to everyone.

If they didn’t help me – I probably would still be swimming in
work. Now, I feel relaxed and comfortable.

In a few days, my break will be over. I will return to my usual
lifestyle with a free heart. That’s what I believe.

When I was half-way through the second novel – someone knocked
on the door to my room.

“Come on in.”

I sat up. The door opened and Muramasa-senpai entered. She
smiled brilliantly:

“Masamune-kun, dinner will be ready in ten minutes, please come
to the living room.”

“Sure, I’m on my way.”

I put the book down on the bed, next to the pillow.
Muramasa-senpai asked:

“Do you like this one?”

“I have only read a single volume, but I will…probably like
it.”

“I see.”

“When I went to the bookstore, they suggested that series for me
to read on a day off. Their suggestions totally suit my needs.”

“In other words, you used to read on your days off? Hm,
interesting. From the titles, it seems that there are multiple
genres?”

“Um — how should I put it…It’s not about the genre… What I like
to read on a day off…is an interesting novel from a different genre
than what I write.”

My answer confused senpai.

“I don’t get it?”

“It’s hard to say…but after reading that kind of novel, I won’t
have any negative thoughts like I can’t write something like
what I just read! I don’t like it
or I never knew such a
writing style existed
or Wahhhhhhh — I can’t beat this
novelist! Damn it! I need to do better.
Plus, if I read
something from my own genre, then it’d be easy for me to start
wondering if I could learn from the author, so I wouldn’t be able
rest properly…So it’s best if I can simply enjoy a novel just
as a reader.

“Ah, I see.”

Senpai nodded. She seemed to accept this reasoning.

“That has never happened to me before; I don’t think I can
relate.”

“I see.”

“In other words, there are novels that you don’t want to
read on your day off?

“Of course. Yamada Elf-sensei’s “Dark Elf” is one of them.”

“One of them?”

“……………”

“Masamune-kun? Why are you suddenly so quiet?”

Muramasa-senpai looked at me.

The reason I stopped was because the novel that I don’t want
to read the most on my day off…

— Is her novel.

That’s right.

For me, the novelist named Senjyu Muramasa is a special
existence.

I want to tell you a bit more about my “senpai” who is younger
than me.

Senjyu Muramasa used to be Izumi Masamune’s nemesis.

She had a penname similar to mine; her writing style was similar
to mine. But her sales were more than sixty times mine. A novelist
who is younger than me but her books’ sales were over 100,000.

During my early days, I was compared to her in every single
aspect. That put a heavy pressure on me — I was deeply hurt. Some
of my promising novels were rejected. I almost had to give up on
writing.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I even had thoughts like “Muramasa
should die” or “If only he didn’t exist”

Then, our first meeting happened during the “Light novel
tournament”

Our first meeting — our first conversation — and our first
conflict.

Since it would take too long for me to tell you everything, I
will skip the details. But because of that event, there was a big
change in my relationship with Muramasa-senpai.

My nemesis, my younger senpai — Senjyu Muramasa.

She is a fourteen year old girl who likes to wear kimonos.

What’s Muramasa-senpai like as a person? If someone asked me
that question, I couldn’t give an exact answer.

For example, there was a time when we had a conversation in my
house’s living room.

“Muramasa-senpai, do you want to eat something?”

I asked her.

“………”

There was no reply. She totally ignored me; she just kept
staring into empty space.

“Senpai? Hey, Senpai?”

I waved my hands a few times in front of her face; no response.
Her eyes were open, but they didn’t move.

Since she had pure white skin and delicate appearance, at first
glance people might mistake her for a wax sculpture — in short, no
one can resist letting their imagination run wild a bit.

“…..Sen —”

“Okay!”

“Wow!!”

Light returned to her eyes — then she suddenly yelled. I was so
surprised that I almost fell on my ass. From “inaction” to “action”
— after restarting herself, she finally noticed me.

“Huh? Masamune-kun? What’s wrong?”

“That’s my line? What happened to you? Suddenly, you
yelled…”

“Ah, right. Masamune-kun, I have decided!”

“..Er? You have decided what you want to eat? Do you have to be
so dramatic?”

Senpai said in a very lively tone:

“I want to kill your lover!”

“Senpai? What are you talking about?”

Both of us were yelling. Kill…she said kill… my lover?

See!? Everyone was looking at us!

Senpai tilted her head in confusion:

“What do you mean? Of course I’m talking about the content of
the novel that I’m writing.”

“I get it! You meant the female protagonist! The male
protagonist’s lover! But other people couldn’t understand
that!”

“Don’t stop me! This is my conclusion after thinking really
hard!”

No, what I want to stop is your weird behavior…

Suddenly, she showed a cruel expression that I had seen during
our first meeting: The one that should belong to a villain.

“Hm…in that case, I have to kill her! And I have to make it as
cruel as possible! — No, I think that I should ask a weapon
specialist like you, Izumi-sensei! What kind of knife or blade
should I use if I want to hack someone into pieces?”

“Please stop! This place is my home!”

Nope.

I wanted to tell you about her charm, but I ended up telling you
about something weird instead.

Well…senpai’s good points…good points…um….

She is a beautiful girl. Kimonos suit her well. She has pure
white skin and a very girly neck…Ah, but since she is a bit thin,
when she wears a kimono, her breasts will — wait, what am I talking
about!

I only said that because the little sister in my head kept
saying “Nii-san is a pervert”, so I wasn’t thinking straight.

Anyway — she is very good at writing novels. Well, you guys knew
that already.

Anyway, that’s how it is. Senjyu Muramasa is someone
special.

For example, there was an incident —

It happened in my house’s living room, when senpai and I were
watching television together.

“Senpai, what did you think about this drama?”

“Average.”

“…I see. What about the magical girl anime that we just
watched?”

“Average.”

“I see…then how about the special show earlier?”

“It was filmed near my home.”

“………”

Allow me to explain.

Muramasa-senpai has a strange disease. When it comes to reading
novels, she is completely uninterested in them; except for a few
special cases.

When I became aware of that, I asked myself:

What about something else? Aside from novels?

I asked that question because novelists are often influenced by
other media. I am such a case. I was naturally affected by novels
that I like.

Since senpai can write so well, I didn’t think that she would
only affected by “what she liked”.

When I asked her about it, she told me:

“It’s not like I can’t find happiness in other media. However,
whether I can find happiness or not and whether I can learn
something are two completely different things.”

So she means that she could learn from something that she
doesn’t like.

That is amazing. I wanted to be able to do that too.

” — Still, the truth is I’m a bit biased. I don’t like to watch
anime or films before I write.”

Since she would lose touch with the world the moment she began
to write, it would be forgotten immediately anyway.

I don’t even need to ask, Senjyu Muramasa isn’t someone that
likes to watch television.

“In that case, do you want to watch TV at my house? I have a lot
of Blu-ray disks at home.”

” — If you watch together with me.”

I don’t really understand her condition, but that was what
happened.

So, we came to my living room and were watching TV together.

As you know, senpai’s reactions weren’t promising.

After a few hours, I said:

“It didn’t work huh? And I thought all of them were
interesting.”

“No, there was something promising!”

“Really?”

An anime that senpai said was “promising?”

“Which one?”

“The anime that is showing on the television right now.”

She pointed at the screen. I followed with my eyes.

“……………..”

I rubbed my eyes and checked it again.

Yeah — I recorded that one myself.

This anime is —

“Yes, it’s a really good anime. I never knew that something like
this existed. If this is a light novel then I would have to read
it. Who is the author?”

“You. You are.”

“Eh? The author’s name is You?”

“You are the original author, senpai!!”

“Me?”

She blinked.

She…she…she wasn’t pretending to be stupid so she could boast
about it. She was being honest! Can you believe her?

I was so confused — she is a novelist, but until I told her, she
didn’t even know the name of her novel.

“It’s your Fantasy Demon Blade Legend! Didn’t you say that you
just finished another volume? You told me that you remembered the
name before!”

“Fantasy Blade? This anime? But — it didn’t feel right…The plot
isn’t the same. This is not my story.”

“Because you didn’t supervise it.”

Compared to the original novel, this anime received the same
amount of fame. But because the climax was different, the
character’s words were different, and important plot points were
cut off — it turned out to be completely different from the
original novel. Fans of the novel were outraged.

Well, that was pretty typical when making an anime. But the
original author should be able to recognize her own story!

…..No. Rather, because she is the original author, she didn’t
make the connection between this anime and her story — maybe that
was the case.

“It’s totally different from the original” — the cries of novel
fans weren’t far off the mark.

She truly didn’t know.

“Eh? What? When? How?” – She even asked that.

…So, what would happen next?

What would her reaction be when she became aware that her
masterpiece was turned into “something different”  — I felt
terrified.

I looked at her face and broke into a cold sweat.

She only said:

“Oh? Is that so?”

Wow…looks like she is fine.

“But is the anime of Fantasy Blade still airing?”

“It’s finished. Here are my recordings.”

I breathed a sigh of relieve.

If a novel fan heard that, I think they would give me a
lecture.

Senjyu Muramasa-senpai is a great novelist, but she didn’t care
about anything else. Her dream is to “write an interesting novel”,
that’s all.

So…when she knew that her anime was turned into this, she would
do nothing. She was an outsider.

At this time, the first part of the anime ended and an
advertisement appeared

The PS4 game Fantasy Demon Blade Legend was supervised by
the original author! Everyone, come and buy it!

“What a lie!”

I couldn’t help but say it aloud.

Anyway, like I said, she is a great person, right?

Um…I don’t think these memories actually improve senpai’s image
at all.

How about I tell you about our first meeting, when we were
almost screaming at each other…no no. There must be something more
peaceful. Let me think …!

Right, it was September, last year.

After the training at the beach was over, and Izumi Masamune’s
new novel was released —

That day, senpai came to my house to meet Elf and
Eromanga-sensei.

But, Elf hadn’t arrived yet.

“Senpai, can you please wait in the living room for the time
being?”

“No problem. You don’t have to be so formal. I can use the time
to write something until the demi-human arrives.”

She sat down on the sofa and took her notebook/pen out.

The demi-human that she spoke of was none other than my next
door neighbor Yamada Elf-sensei. I can’t think of a reason for her
to use that cruel nickname.

“I can’t let my guest sit alone — ah, do you want to have a
talk?”

Just when I sat down next to her, she closed her notebook.

“If my beloved Masamune-kun says so, then I will accept. For me,
you are the only one in the world I want to spend time with.”

“Beloved…”

I think I heard something like that. Crap, I’m probably blushing
like a character in manga. Meeting someone so direct at showing her
feelings was so embarrassing.

Besides…

This is something out of a romantic novel! Why am I so
embarrassed by it…!

“Eh…Senpai…”

I forced myself to turn to face her and saw that she…was also
blushing madly. She even hid behind her hands, trembling.

“Even you are embarrassed huh”

“Please…give me ten seconds…”

She took a deep breath; then recovered her usual appearance.

“So, what should we talk about, kouhai?”

“It’s a bit late to pretend, senpai.”

You want to make me forget about what just happened, don’t
you?

“We are both novelists, so we should talk about writing.” She
said with a straight face.

I wanted to tease her a bit more, but as her junior, maybe I
shouldn’t. I thought for a moment and said:

“How about this — in your Fantasy Blade, you planned to let the
female protagonist die in the next volume. How will the story
progress from that point forward?”

I just wanted to ask a simple question. But —

“She will come back to life in a later part.”

“Don’t reveal such a critical detail!!”

As a novelist, you should think about your reader’s
feelings.

Well, I doubt she would care anyway. In her mind, the
readers only include herself.

“If it’s you then it’s okay. Actually, the protagonist’s body
hides a secret power — by using it, the female protagonist can come
back to life.”

Did you listen to me? I just told you to not spoil
stuff!

The only reason I didn’t say it aloud was because of senpai’s
smile. She looks very happy when she talks about her novel. So I
tried to laugh and asked:

“Is the hidden power different from the power that was revealed
before?”

“It’s different. The one revealed before is just a small bit of
his real power. It will take a long time, but when the
protagonist finally awakens all of his power, he will be the
strongest character in the series.”

“So it’d be a critical detail again huh? When do you plan to
reveal it?”

“Volume 100.”

“Volume 100?”

Is she aware that writing a light novel series that lasts
for 100 volumes is outright impossible?

“By the way, how many volumes in total do you plan to
write?”

“For now, it’s about 250 volumes.”

“So it will take about 60 more years for your novel to end
huh.”

I think all of the original readers will have passed away by
that point. I will have to try to live for a full century.

“I plan to give the last volume to my grandson as a gift.”

“That is —— a really long lasting dream.”

I really think so. Seeing how serious she was, I couldn’t even
joke about it.

She smiled:

“Thank you. It’s all because of you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Ahaha…don’t mind me. It’s nothing.”

She shrugged without answering.

This topic was over – I sensed that she was trying to say
that.

“I can understand that you plan to keep writing Fantasy
Blade…but what about other types of novels?”

“I still plan to write them. Not only the fighting genre: I plan
to write other types – romantic comedies for example.”

“True. Senpai did write a romantic comedy story before.”

“Um…Yes.”

She nodded once. Her reaction was because the models for her
characters in that romantic comedy story were the two of us.

She confessed her love for me – with more than a hundred
pages

That…is a story for another time.

I hid my embarrassment and kept asking:

“What do you think…after you have written a novel in a different
genre?”

“The romantic genre is so difficult — but that’s the reason I
want to try it.”

She said with a smile. Looks like she enjoys a challenger

“Kouhai, before, I didn’t understand that a romantic story could
be interesting. Manga, novels, films, anime — I never encountered
something that could move me.”

“……………..”

“I couldn’t put myself in a character’s shoes. I couldn’t
imagine what love or hate were, nor could I find anything
interesting in them. I couldn’t understand the character’s
feelings. So, I didn’t think I had a right to read a romantic genre
novel. I once thought that the romantic genre was boring — thus, I
hated any writer who wrote romantic stories.”

She sighed.

“Masamune-kun, the romantic genre is very interesting.”

What she said now was the totally opposite of what she said
earlier.

“As soon as I think about the one I like, I become excited –
then I blush, and my heart races. Now…I can understand those
feelings.”

“…Senpai.”

I didn’t say anything. Because her smile was so charming. More
than any romantic genre novel.

“Now, I believe I can write an interesting romantic genre
novel…can I ask you to read it when I’m done?”

“…Of course I will read it.”

I replied honestly.

Her new romantic genre novel probably will become a best
seller.

The night of my day off: I sat in the bathtub, muttering to
myself.

“…I never thought that I would live together with
Muramasa-senpai.”

Before, when we first meet, I treated her like an enemy. I never
thought this could happen.

If I told my earlier self that someday, Senjyu Muramasa will
confess to him — well, he would probably call me an idiot.

“Phew…”

I stretched my legs and exhaled.

“…Went to the bookstore…read light novels…ate Muramasa-senpai’s
dinner…housework is done.”

— Many things happened today, but it was still a wonderful day
off.

“What about tomorrow?”

I will return to work the day after tomorrow. In that case,
maybe sleeping for a whole day would be a good choice.

Before, when I saw my father sleep all weekend, I thought “it’s
the weekend, don’t you feel like it’s boring to just sleep?”

But now I understand. He “rested as much as he could” so he
could focus his energy on his work.

“Alright, I should get out now.”

The moment I stood up —

*Crack*

“—————Eh?”

“————–Huh?”

Muramasa-senpai entered.

Should I say such it was fortunate? Or unfortunate? Because the
steam from the bath made it so that I couldn’t see much.

But she was totally naked.

I — and Muramasa-senpai — both froze in shock.

“……………………….”

“………………………..”

We both stared at each other, still completely naked.

Then, like an aged computer, we slowly moved our eyes.

My eyes glanced downward from Muramasa-senpai’s face.

She also followed my gaze and noticed her own body..

This time, she understood what was going on.

“…Ah…”

First came a small voice.

“~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Yahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!”

Then she screamed, blushing madly. With teary eyes, she covered
herself with her towel.

“Wh…why…why are you here? It’s time for the women to take
baths…?”

“Yes yes! Elf told me that during my two days off, men are
allowed to take the bath first!”

“I, I haven’t heard about it! No, don’t
looooooooooooooook!!!!

She quickly ran away, slamming the door closed behind her.

All I could do was stare with my jaw wide open.

“…What the heck just happened?”

After I recovered, the first thing that came to my mind was

I should have taken a closer look.

Please forgive me. I’m a boy, I can’t help it!

“Ah….I feel so tired now.” I muttered weakly.

What just happened totally drained my energy.

While this was a normal event in a light novel, it’s not funny
at all when it happens in real life.

After this, how can I face Muramasa-senpai?

I already felt very tired, but my trial is far from over.

With a crack, the bathroom’s door opened again.

“….Ma, Masamune-kun…I’ll help you wash your back.”

Muramasa-senpai entered again.

“What? You, you, why did you come back?”

She was still covered by the towel. And there were tears in her
eyes. Yet she was still trying to act tough.

“Just, just now, I ran away from my battle…but the war with
Sagiri has begun! I have prepared myself!”

“Don’t treat my bathroom like a battlefield!”

“This is my chance! Now, I will begin!”

“Please get out! Or at least cover your body more!”

That towel doesn’t look like it can hold on for much longer…I
can’t hold on for much longer.

“How could I run from the battlefield again!? Prepare
yourself!”

Muramasa-senpai moved forward and began to wash my back, still
half naked.

“——–”

I could only close my eyes as best as I could.

Of course, after we both raised our voices so much, there is no
way that no one heard us.

“Masamune! What happened!?”

Elf and Sagiri (tablet) rushed into the bathroom.

“Muramasa-chan? What are you doing?”

“See! See? I’m taking a bath together with Masamune-kun!”

Crap! Now Muramasa-senpai is making a victory cry.

“And I also —! I finally saw Masamune-kun naked!!”

She clearly doesn’t understand the difference between the
romantic genre and fighting genre.

“Ha, Muramasa, you are too late!”

Someone clearly tried to pour oil into fire —

That was Elf. Like a champion enter the ring, she threw her
clothes down.

“I — have already slept with Masamune!”

She did it again! She said something so misleading on
purpose!

“Wh, what? What did you say !!?? Masamune-kun, what is the
meaning of this?”

“Please stop quarreling and put your clothes on! Today is my day
off!”

It’s all chaotic now.

There was Elf, who was covered by only her bra and who was
proudly raising her head.

There was Muramasa-senpai, who was half-naked.

And …

“Really ~~~~~~~~!!! Both of you!!!! You should ———!!!”

*Bang bang bang bang* The ceiling shook like it was about to
collapse down on top of us.

Amidst the chaos —

“Ahhhhhhhh!!! My life………!!!”

Even when I tried an ending line from a comedy manga, the battle
didn’t end. The harsh reality still kept going.