“Izumi Masamune’s days off”: second day.

August, 8th. Monday, 23:30.

In my old room, I went to sleep. After a long period of hard work, now the room was more or less the same as it should be.

Elf was the one who came up with this idea. I agreed with her because living together in a single room with my new girlfriend would be bad.

So, Elf and Muramasa-senpai returned to living in Elf’s home starting today.

“My own manuscript is in danger too.”

“I will stay at Elf’s home this summer; call me if you need help.”

They said that before leaving. I’m so moved.

They still acted like everything was normal — but I know that that is impossible. Though if I were in their shoes, I would probably act the same way.

— Tomorrow I have to get back to work. I need to do my best —

I know what I’m supposed to do, but it’s hard to actually do it.

Just recently, I confessed to the girl I loved…and we started going out….

“Yahhh….”

Every time I think about that moment, I feel like I could faint.

I wanted to scream Sagiri’s name. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself if I sent a message to Sagiri right now.

“Dating a girl…what should I do…Maybe I should ask someone for tips…!”

Suddenly, Kusanagi-senpai sent me a message.

“Izumi, come to my home tomorrow.”

“Huh? What’s up?”

“I have called Shidou too.”

“Did something happen?”

“Do you have to ask that much?”

“Well it’s suspicious.”

“I helped you once by writing the collaboration story of Pure Love and Sekaimo, so it’s your turn to pay me back.”

“Huh? But those are two completely different things! You are just trying to get on my good side!”

“You were so busy recently, right? Come out and play.”

“Kuh…”

Why should I go out and play with a man instead of my girlfriend?

But…it might be a good chance for me to talk with my same sex co-worker. And Shidou-kun would probably be there too.

I thought about it then replied:

“I have to go to the editorial department at night, so I can’t stay for too long. Is that okay with you?”

“Great! Then come to my home at 1 o’clock.”

*Buzz*. He sent me his address.

..Wow, Kusanagi-senpai lived in a really high class area.

That’s why, the next day, I went to the Shinjuku area where Kusanagi-senpai lived.

It was a very modern area, designed by a famous architect. If I hadn’t gone to Makina-san’s house before I would feel really pressured.

I buzzed Kusanagi-senpai from the front door of the apartment building. Kusanagi-senpai opened the automatic door for me.

I went to his room and saw him at the door.

“Yo, you made it.”

Low and grumpy voice. Black clothes. Blond hair. The guy who looked like a FF XV party member is Kusanagi Ryouki. He is my senior; his famous novel is a romantic comedy named “Pure Love”

His hair was a mess, so I guess he just got out of bed. He said in a sleepy tone:

“Come in. Shidou hasn’t arrived yet.”

There were a lot of shoes at the entrance. He clicked his tongue for some reason and re-arranged them so that I had somewhere to put my shoes.

I put my shoes down and followed him further into the apartment. There was something suspicious on the way. It looked like a cloth-covered shelf.

“What is that?”

“My figure display shelf. It would be troublesome if a girl saw it, so I usually keep it hidden.”

“………….”

Then what would you do if she asked about it?

I think it’s a problem for all otaku: that it’s difficult to bring someone of the opposite sex to their own room. It’d be great if my girlfriend is an otaku too!

“There were a lot of shoes at the door. Is someone in here?”

“More or less.”

More or less…suspicious…

But my suspicion was quickly answered.

In front of me, Kusanagi-senpai suddenly said “Hey!” and opened the door like a loan shark who was coming to collect his money.

Behind the door, indeed there were several people that I don’t know. They were boys, probably in high school or university.

Some were reading manga; some were playing video games, one was assembling a garage kit by himself.

Their looks ranged from short bodied and baby-faced to tall and muscular – in short, there were a lot of boys with different looks.

“Ah, Nii-san. Is that your friend?”

The boy who was making a garage kit looked up and asked. He probably was Kusanagi-senpai’s younger brother’s friend.

The rest of them greeted Kusanagi-senpai with “Sorry for troubling you” or “Pleased to meet you”. Looks like it’s pretty typical for Kusanagi-senpai to yell at them, none of them reacted more than that.

Seeing how they acted, Kusanagi-senpai kicked a nearby trash can:

“Get out! You brats! Don’t just gather in my home!”

“But there is an event nearby.”

“It took us a long time to come here ~”

“So ~”

“I don’t give a damn about your reasons! Get! Out! It’s summer break, but you are still students! Go home and read a book or something!”

“But Nii-san, aren’t you a NEET too?”

“I told you that I’m not!”

“Then you must be lying when you say that you are a light novel author.”

“I will only believe you if you let me meet Yamada Elf-sensei.”

“Can’t be helped then. Let’s go home.”

“Yeah yeah.”

One by one, they left the room.

On the other hand, I have a good understanding of the situation. It was —

“Go to your friend’s home during summer break, but get chased out by his scary elder brother.”

It was something typical during summer break, but I never thought that I would be on the elder brother’s side this time. It…pained me.

“Damn..those brats…they made a mess and just left.”

Kusanagi-senpai muttered and began to clean up. I lent him a hand.

Taking a look around, I saw that this was a nice room. It even had a cool-looking lighting system.

However…there was manga/light novel shelves, guitars, bass, figures, gunpla etc… everywhere. While they were temporarily hidden away, it’s clear that there was no way the owner could invite a girl into this room.

(EN: Gunpla = Gundum plastic models)

“Not bad.”

“Yeah. I moved here when my anime started.”

He said something similar to Elf.

That’s right….after my work was adapted into an anime….I had to move around a lot. Going to the publishing company, editorial department, anime company… It would be difficult if I lived too far away.

“So, why are we gathering today? You said it’s because you want to play something, but what’s the real reason?”

“I will tell you after Shidou arrives. Want some coffee?”

“Please”

Not long after that, Shidou arrived. I raised a hand to greet him.

“Long time no see, Shidou-kun.”

“Long time no see, Izumi-kun.”

This bright-looking young man was Shidou Kunimitsu. He is my elder junior: currently a university student. His story was mainly about sweets.

“Looks like the anime made you very busy.”

“….I managed to get it done; now it’s up to the anime’s production team.”

“…I see.”

“Yes.”

While I could help out somewhat during the weekly meeting, now there wasn’t much that I could do.

I could only entrust everything to the anime’s production team and prepare myself to assist them if needed. For now, I could satisfy myself with the thought that I did my best.

We gathered around the sofa and drank coffee while talking.

“So, how have you been recently, Shidou-kun?”

“Eh? Izumi-kun doesn’t know? I’m going to publish a new story at the end of this summer.” He said with a prideful expression.

“Eh? Is that so? Congratz!”

“Ahahah, thanks!”

“Shidou, is your new story the same one you wrote during the World’s Light Novel Tournament?”

“Right right! Finally ~~~~ I can publish it!”

It has been a long time since he started writing that one. During that time, he has had to endure having his manuscript fixed numerous times, and deal with the occasional writer’s block.

….But in the end, he succeeded. This is a new type of novel for him, so it’s not easy to write. That’s why he is so happy.

“Please take a look you two! Take a look at the cover page…see, this is it!”

He used his smartphone to show us the cover page for his story.

Both I and Kusanagi-senpai turned to the phone’s screen and judged the drawing that we saw.

“Oh ~ nice drawing! Very cool! I think it will sell well.”

That’s what Kusanagi-senpai said. He is not someone who would sugarcoat his words, so that’s probably what he truly thinks.

I nodded too.

“Shidou-kun, is your story still the same as the short story before?”

“It changed a lot. My manuscript was fixed many times. But there are still a lot of delicious sweets in it!”

“I see.”

Still smiling, I asked carefully.

“After looking at the cover page and the novel’s name, there is something that I’m curious about…may I ask you a question?”

“Please, go ahead.”

“Shidou-kun’s new story — is it a Loli Light Novel?”

“That’s correct!”

Shidou-kun immediately gave me a lengthy explanation.

“After enduring the harsh reality…I found out that a small girl saying It’s okay, it’s okay is super moe! So I gave my female protagonist that characteristic! In other words, I changed her from a female university student into a loli! Just like that, my story immediately became interesting! I no longer have to fix my manuscript over and over again, everything comes out so naturally! That’s how I wrote a super powerful novel…!”

He praised lolis with a carefree smile.

“Ah! Is this what they call discovering a new self? Anyway, I found new meaning in my life!”

Is this guy drunk again!?

“What should we do, Kusanagi-senpai! Our junior is walking down a path that you can’t return from!”

“Don’t talk like it’s not related to you! All of this happened because you introduced him to an elementary school girl!”

“I did?”

“Of course!”

Kusanagi yelled and pointed at my face. He grinned:

“But it’s not a big deal, is it? Based on Shidou’s style and a loli female protagonist, I could say that this is a wonderful combination even without reading.”

“Izumi, a novelist can greatly benefit from awakening a new interest.”

This guy is beyond saving.

“Hey, why are you backing away with a this guy is beyond saving expression on your face? Making a judgment from the cover page alone isn’t something you usually do.”

“It’s not because of the cover page: it’s mostly because of what Shidou-kun said after that.”

Should I say that he might be a lolicon? But that’s so disgusting!

“Listen to me, Izumi-kun. My new novel is maternal.”

“But it’s a loli light novel!?”

“Here’s why. You can think of it this way: I don’t know if I could get along with an older girl….”

Since it’s very troublesome, please allow me to skip this.

Shidou-kun said:

“Don’t you think it’s wonderful when a smaller girl suddenly asks you to spoil her or to be spoiled by her?”

“I do, actually.”

That’s something I like about Sagiri.

But with Sagiri, it’s more of “a trustworthy person” than “maternal”.

I raised my right hand.

“You understand, right!”

Shidou-kun took my hand. We shook each other’s hand.

“…It’s wonderful.”

“…It is.”

I think this is the first time I agreed with him about our taste in girls.

Seeing that, Kusanagi-senpai narrowed his eyes.

“Shidou….er…I understand your enthusiasm…but this cover page…did it come from the famous loli manga artist?”

“Awesome isn’t it? I have bought and read manga drawn by him!” Shidou-kun said while looking full of himself.

“That wasn’t my point. What I’m trying to say is, it’s the same as asking the author of D*agon Ball to draw illustrations for a fighting light novel. Is that okay? Unless your story is especially good, people will say 『 It’s better to let the illustrator write the story instead 』, you know?”

“This one is especially good, don’t worry!”

Was he this confident in the past?

Kusanagi-senpai put his arm over my shoulder and whispered:

“I haven’t read it, but my gut feeling is telling me that…..this one will sell really well.”

“I think so too.”

“I can’t accept that, so before Shidou comes to his senses, let’s make things worse for him. How about publicising the fact that he is a lolicon in an online news article?”

“I have the same editor as him, just leave it to me.”

“Good, I leave it in your hands…!”

Er…that is how we seniors care for our junior. We are advertising for his novel. We don’t have any other motives. While this shameful past might bring him hardship in the future when the media knows about it, what he said will become good interview material.

By the way, real lolicons have a way to know who is a fake lolicon.

“What are you two talking about?”

“It’s nothing – oh, right. Since Shidou is here too, let me tell you the real reason why I called you both.”

“I knew it!” *2

Both I and Shidou-kun said at the same time.

“And…well, have you mentally prepared yourself for what’s about to come?”

“It’s something that requires us to mentally prepare ourselves?”

“You can treat it like a ghost story. Very summer-like, isn’t it?”

“Ghost story, huh…”

“*Gulp*”

Both I and Shidou-kun were surprised.

With his usual low voice, Kusanagi-senpai slowly began to speak:

“This happened a few days ago to me…”

“Wait, you mean it really happened?”

He said “Yes, it’s totally real.”

“….Please, don’t tell a story that will end with a curse on the audience.”

Maybe he was afraid of ghosts, but Shidou-kun was already pale. To think that this is the same lolicon who doesn’t like older girls

“Let me continue…That night, at a certain bar in front of the Shinjuku station, I met a girl who claimed that she was 24 years old. Based on my scanner however, she was actually 27. She had big breasts and a black bra.”

“Do you have to describe that part so carefully?”

“Yes, because it’s super important. Then…after we shared a few drinks, our conversation continued…until I managed to ask for her number.”

“Yeah yeah.”

“After that, we said goodbye. I returned here alone.”

“Meaning that you failed to make a connection with her?”

“No I didn’t! The fight has just begun! My ability shines only now!”

Really?

“So, what part of this story is horror?” Shidou-kun tilted his head and asked.

“Be patient will you! I’m going to talk about the main topic now. Ready?”

We nodded at once.

Kusanagi-senpai coughed once, and then continued:

“After I got back home…it wasn’t even midnight yet. I was a bit drunk, but I still thought that I should contact that girl before going to sleep, so I sent her a message.”

I was beginning to wonder when he would get to the main point…

“And that 27 year old girl’s name is 『 Aya 』”

“Ah….” *2

Suddenly I felt a chill down my snipe!

“Could…could it be…that you sent your message to the elementary school girl 『 Aya-chan 』?”

“You sent your message to the wrong person!?”

“…Yes.”

“SCARYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!” * 2

It’s the first time that I have heard such a horror story.

“You, you, what kind of message did you send?”

“I have a screen shot saved here.”

[GVN.Chaos: I’m still trying to read the conversation included in the text, but the resolution was way too low for me. Anyway, just know that Kusanagi asked to see Aya-chan’s bra.]

I took a look then made a conclusion:

“You are done for.”

“You think so too?” He forced a smile. “I found out the next morning what I had done. I think that I’m dead meat.”

Next to me, Shidou-kun asked:

“Picture? Did you get the picture?”

“If she sent a picture, I would be laughing right now.”

Thankfully, Aya-chan had common sense.

“So, did you solve that misunderstanding?”

“No, not yet.”

“What the?”

Kusanagi-senpai showed me the message that Aya-chan replied with.

“Then, I will come over tomorrow.”

“………….”

“…………..”

Ah…now I see…. So it is a horror story that will curse the audience.

Suddenly – the door bell rang. Both I and Shidou-kun were forced to endure the same horror that Kusanagi-senpai had at that moment.

Then the culprit – Kusanagi-senpai – right in front of us, he —

“So you sent that message to the wrong person? I got it. ♪”

Two girls in elementary school uniforms stood in front of Kusanagi-senpai, who was kneeling on the floor.

It seemed like Aya-chan asked her classmates to come with her. It’s not like an elementary school kid could come to a 20 plus year old man’s home alone.

“Hm, anyway, I already knew that that would be the case! Oh ~~~”

The girl who was angry with the situation is Aya-chan’s friend, Megumi. She is a girl with glasses and a wide forehead. Even now, she is still prepared to pull her emergency alarm at a moment’s notice. Scary. “I’m so sorry.”

Kusanagi-senpai could only keep bowing and apologising. At the same time, Aya-chan was yelling “Muh! Mwu!” and kept hitting his head.

The situation was very bad. A single misstep would turn it into a wild fire, and we risked the police’s involvement too. Their way of handling the situation was already relatively gentle.

“I’m so sorry.”

Still, it’s so shameful to see my senior kneeling to an elementary school girl.

Megumi turned to me:

“What are you doing here, Onii-san?”

“Kusanagi-senpai asked me to come – he said something about wanting to meet me.”

“He knew this would happen, yet still called us here. It’s too much!”

Even Shidou was angry. Understandable, since now it’s extremely easy for us to get drawn into this storm.

While I could understand that Kusanagi-senpai hoped for a third party to be present, it still troubled me a lot.

“By the way, Megumi, I didn’t expect you to come too.”

“It’s fine. I have a lot of friends at Shinjuku too ~”

Megumi took her phone out and put it to her ear:

“Okay, guys, are you there ~ it’s Megumi ~ Thank you, I’m fine — you can disperse now. There is no need to stay near the entrance anymore ~ Um ~ let’s hang out together again later ~”

She hung up and smiled:

“That’s how it is ♪”

“…I understand.”

Turned out her friends had already gathered right outside, ready to burst in…scary. I think it’s normal for a current generation light novel to have a character like her.

“Okay, I forgive you, but…”

During our conversation, Aya-chan’s lecture came to an end.

“I have a condition!” She raised a finger.

Now it’s becoming more and more interesting

Still kneeling, Kusanagi-senpai looked up in fear:

“C, condition?”

“………”

From her brand name handbag, Aya-chan took out a light novel and put it in front of Kusanagi-senpai.

“Anata ga Naku made Fumu no wo Yamenai!”

Author: Eiji Mikage. Illustration: Nyanya

Dengeki Bunko

“You, you…! Are you trying to crush my pride…?”

Kusanagi-senpai began to tremble.

“…How much will she abuse him? I feel so excited…!”

Shidou-kun looked like he wanted to be in Kusanagi-senpai’s place.

On the other hand, seeing how he reacted, Aya-chan blushed:

“It’s not like that! Wh, what are you thinking about! It…it is…”

She took out another light novel and quickly showed it to Kusanagi-senpai:

“Ro-Kyu-Bu!”

Author: Sagu Aoyama, Illustration: Tinkle

Dengeki Bunko

“Hey, the girl who wants to become a light novel author over there, can you please stop with your metaphor?”

“Um, I’m showing a girl’s feeling with light novels…”

“But no one can understand you!”

Please use an easier metaphor. That’s what Kusanagi-senpai was asking.

“Hm, looks like a romantic comedy novelist can’t understand me. Then…”

For the third time, Aya-chan took out another light novel and put in down.

Room No. 1301. Otonari-san wa Artistic

Author : Arai Teru. Illustration: Sacchi

Fujimi Shobo

“Don’t show high value information so suddenly!”

“But you told me to use an easier metaphor!”

“I feel an instinctual fear toward it. What part of it is easier or simple? Just tell me frankly! With your mouth!”

“Ku, Kusanagi-sensei, please take responsibility!”

“…………..”

Kusanagi-sensei froze and turned deathly pale. He was slightly trembling.

Seeing that, Shidou-kun slowly said:

“I see….Room No. 1301 huh”

“Do you understand, Shidou-kun?”

“Please tell me.”

Both I and Megumi asked at the same time. He replied:

“It is a novel written by Arai Teru-sensei published by Fujimi Mystery. I can’t give you a short version of the content…but I can tell you in this novel, in a later volume, every time a new female character was introduced, her name will get a pink H-Mark.”

“Good, I got it. Thank you very much.”

“Wow, Aya-chan is so bold.”

“No, it’s not like that! I, I only meant that I want him to take responsibility for sending me a strange message!”

Did this child really just say something so unbelievable?

“………….”

Even Megumi was so shocked that she couldn’t say anything back. Shidou-kun was still talking, but no one paid him any attention anymore.

“I told you it’s not like that!” Aya-chan became flushed and was nearly screaming.

Kusanagi-senpai averted his eyes, like he wanted to run away from reality.

“Taking responsibility – this is the second time in my life that I have heard it…but it’s still as scary as ever.”

“How did you solve it the first time?”

“I asked Arai Teru-sensei for help.”

Arai Teru-sensei’s image became something very impure.

While Kusanagi-senpai was talking nonsense, Aya-chan continued her onslaught:

“Listen to me carefully! Will you take responsibility? Or will you not?”

“What…do you want me to do…”

He said with a  pained expression. Aya-chan gave him a final light novel

“Ryuuou no Oshigoto!”

Author: Shirow Shiratori. Illustrator: Shirabi

GA Bunko.

“Please make me your apprentice.”

At least I think he can understand her this time. Kusanagi-senpai breathed a sigh of relief.

“I don’t know if I can help you or not.”

“I understand your point.”

“I’m just a romantic comedy novelist.”

“That’s why you are suitable.” Aya-chan hung her head low and muttered “Actually….the next novel that I want to write is a romantic comedy story too.”

“…Okay. I don’t think I can be your teacher…but if you need my input about your story, then I can do it. When I have free time, of course.”

“That’s enough! Thank you very much!”

Aya-chan smiled brilliantly. At the same time, her teacher fell on the floor in a 大 shape

After that “getting a master” incident —

Shidou-kun stayed behind at Kusanagi-senpai’s home while I went back to the Shinjuku station with Megumi and Aya-chan.

Once I saw the station I realized something.

“Ah crap. Too many things happened and I forgot to have a talk with Kusanagi-senpai.”

Still, I doubted I could get any useful answers in that atmosphere anyway. It’s not like my situation would get better. Megumi turned to me, and asked:

“Do you need to talk with him about something?”

“Yeah.”

I was muttering to myself, but somehow she overheard me.

It’s not hard to see where it will lead, yet I answered her question anyway:

“I need to talk about love.”

“Onii-san is going to talk about love? What a charming story!”

Megumi’s eyes were shinning. Even Aya-chan looked interested. Seems like girls their age like this topic.

“In that case, let the romantic master – me – listen to your problems.”

She sounded like Elf for a moment. Who is better, a romantic comedy master or a romantic master?

……….Megumi. Maybe.

I’m going to ask her about real life, not something in a novel, after all.

“Should I talk about love with Megumi?”

“Of course you should! Ahaha ~ I really want to listen ~ about Onii-san’s love ♡”

“You just think it’s fun, don’t you?”

“Yes I do. But I will give you proper advice as thanks.”

“Hmmm…”

What should I do? Should I…ask Megumi? She knows about our family’s situation, and she is a self-claimed romantic master…Maybe she is a good choice.

While she is only a self-claimed romantic master, compared to me, who hasn’t gone out with anyone before, she is still a good choice.

“Ano…Sensei! Megumi has listened to everyone’s love problems before…! She is very trust worthy…! So….”

When I was hesitating, Aya-chan gave me a little push. I smiled slightly and replied:

“In that case…I will be in your care.”

“Ehehe, leave it to me! Then let’s go somewhere quiet to talk!”

Megumi pulled me by the arm. We followed her to a nearby karaoke building.

“Okay, Onii-san, go ahead and tell us.”

“Sure…”

First, she let me sit down. Then after quickly communicating via eye sight, they both sat down next to me: one on each side. Hm, while they were only elementary school girls, I bet some people would be jealous of my current position.

‘We will not let you get away’

That was what I felt coming from them.

After Megumi ordered some drinks, she immediately got to the point:

“So? So? What do you want to talk about?”

“Um, actually…”

Both of them were staring at me with sparkling eyes, so I got right into it.

“I have a girlfriend now.”

“Wah!”

Aya-chan was so excited that I thought she was the one who got a boyfriend. On the other hand, Megumi put a hand on my knee and leaned forward:

“Ah? Ara? Not someone you like, but a girlfriend already?”

“Yeah. We are dating.”

“Wow ~~! This…is unexpected! I’m so excited!!”

“Don’t say that while touching me in an inappropriate place!”

“Ah, cheater! You can’t cheat on her!”

But Megumi showed no signs of letting me off. She even drew closer, smiling happily.

I will say it again – girls really like talking about love.

“Me, Megumi, you can’t! It’s unfair to Sensei’s girlfriend!”

“It’s fine, Aya-chan!” She said and put her other arm around my neck “In my book, only kissing counted as cheating, so this much is fine!”

This is NOT fine at all!!

“I, I it counted as cheating if you spent more than ten seconds alone with another girl in a room!”

Nope. That is way too harsh!

Following your own logic, I’m already a cheater!

Really…what’s with kids’ common sense nowadays? They went overboard so easily

“So, so, who is your girlfriend? Tomo-chan – probably not. Is it Elf-chan? Or Muramasa-chan? Or – could it be Army-chan?”

“I will tell you, just release me!” I nearly begged her.

“Fine ~”

Megumi meekly let me go, then she took her shoes off and kneeled down on the sofa. Her arms were slightly raised toward me.

“Then, tell me, tell me!”

“*Gulp*”

Aya-chan also swallowed hard, looking at me.

Suddenly, the room was quiet. I looked at Aya-chan again…coughed once, and said:

“My girlfriend is —“

….This is the only way I could tell them

“Eromanga-sensei.”

“Ah – ah ——————!!!” *2

Girly screams nearly popped my ear drums.

While I was covering my ears in pain, both elementary school girls asked question after question:

“Eromanga-sensei ….is…”

Aya-chan was blushing madly; she said my partner’s name with difficulty.

“You mean the girl from the Sekaimo event – the very beautiful–“

Ah, yeah.

To Aya-chan, Eromanga-sensei meant Kyouka-san.

“Very beautiful female pervert, right!”

“…………..”

I smiled vaguely while thinking —

Thank heavens Kyouka-san is not here.

During that event, Kyouka-san (in her twenties) entered the stage as Eromanga-sensei. Then, per Eromanga-sensei’s orders, she wore an erotic sailor uniform, and was forced to shout Eromanga beam. It was so hard for her, but thanks to that the anime’s marketing is much easier.

Still, it’s clear that most people see her as a female pervert. I have no idea how I could tell her that, nor what I should do about it.

But one thing is clear: for us siblings, Kyouka-san is our most beloved family member.

“Onii-san…Eromanga-sensei…you mean…”

Unlike Aya-chan, Megumi knew the truth. So I nodded.

“Correct.”

“I see ~~”

Megumi looked like she was arranging her thoughts. Then she slowly smiled

“Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

Her sincere congratulations felt like a fire inside my chest.

Megumi looked fidgety; she continued:

“Actually, this morning, Sa…Eromanga-sensei sent me a message, saying that she 「 had something she wanted to talk to me about 」.”

“Huh…?”

But that means that Megumi didn’t know about me and Sagiri going out until just now?

“I don’t know all the details. See, because of Aya-chan’s situation.”

“Oh…”

“I told her 「 I will call you as soon as I get home 」…But after hearing it from you, I got it. This must be what she wanted to talk about.”

“Yeah, probably.”

So…now that we started going out, Sagiri has her troubles too?

“It’s okay.” Megumi sounded like she was comforting me.

Aya-chan, who still doesn’t know the full picture, said with eyes full of admiration.

“To think that an older woman asked you for advice, Megumi–chan is so cool!”

“Ahaha ~ somewhat ~”

Megumi smiled wryly and nodded before turning back to me:

“Cough cough! Tell us a bit more then! What troubles you after you just gained a cute girlfriend?”

“ – This is my first time dating a girl.”

“Even though you are in high school?” *2

“Yes! So what!?”

They both spoke at the same time! And what’s with those pitying eyes? There is nothing wrong with a boy having his first date in high school, right!?

“Izumi-sensei is scary (><)”

“Ara ara, Onii-san, what are you getting angry for?”

“I’m not angry! Anyway, that’s the problem. Since this is the first time I’ve had a girlfriend, I don’t know what to do! I’m so confused! We had a date, but I don’t know about anything beyond that, so I’d like some advice from you girls.”

I said that all in one go. Megumi said “Um” and began to think.

“I need to hear about the details of the date from her – How about giving her a present?”

“If you meant a present to celebrate our date, then we already gave each other one.”

“Of course I mean something else. You just started going out, right? Then I think that one present every time you  meet each other would be okay. Just treat it like a small, simple gift.”

“Really?”

Is that okay?”

“Is it normal for a couple to do that?”

“Not really. That was advice based on what I know about the two of you.”

After we began talking about love, Megumi felt like a strategist.

“Izumi-sensei, there is no such thing as 「normal love 」.”

Now even Aya-chan was lecturing me.

But…they were right. I didn’t ask for normal advice, I asked for advice that suits me.

“You are correct. So…presents…Do you recommend anything?”

“Of course it must be something that would make the girl happy. Onii-san must know better than me.”

“You got it.”

If I don’t know, then I’m not worthy of being her boyfriend, or her brother.

“A present that would make my girlfriend happy…”

I have given her many presents before, so it would be better if I got something different this time. Hm ~ what should I pick then….

“Come! Onii-san, stand up!”

“Hey, what are you doing?”

Megumi took my hand and forced me to stand up.

“Practicing! I’ll play the role of your girlfriend: treat me like your super cute girlfriend!”

“Is that so…Okay, let’s give it a shot.”

I knew that unless I practiced, I would freeze up when I had to do it for real.

Megumi happily added:

“To make it more realistic, there is something I need to know…Onii-san, what does your girlfriend call you?”

“Muu-kun ♡”

“So sweeeeeeeeeetttt!!” Megumi yelled. “Really?”

“Nope, I was joking. She calls me by my name.”

“Can you stop teasing me! I was imagining her calling you 「 Muu-kun ♡ 」”

I think I would die immediately if she did call me that.

“She just calls me Masamune. Actually, inside, she has been calling me that for a long time.”

“I can totally believe it! So cool!”

“Yes! Yes!” Aya-chan shouted while blushing.

Megumi raised her head and looked at me again.

“Um um! Calling each other by name directly is a good start! Then I will do the same! Let’s begin our 「giving a present practice 」!”

“Go ahead.” I tapped my chest in confidence.

Megumi took a step away from me then began to “role-play Sagiri”

“……….”

First, she closed her eyes. Then when she opened them again, her bright and cheerful personality became calm and gentle.

Next, she raised a hand and made a door-opening motion. It really looked like she was opening the locked room.

Finally, “Sagiri” appeared from the door. She said in a small voice:

“Masamune…? Yes? Do you….need me for something?”

Wow! It’s so real!

She is already cute, but acting like Sagiri made my heart race even more!

I swallowed hard, and said:

“I..I have…a present for you.”

“For…me?”

“Um, it’s not a special day or anything — I just want to give it to you.”

“Is, is that so…”

Sagiri (Megumi) flushed in embarrassment.

Her acting skills are top-notch!

Suddenly, Megumi returned to normal.

“Stop, Onii-san. You need to be more relaxed. What you just said is a bit too heavy.”

“Oh? Is that so?”

“Just now, what you said is only suitable if you plan to give her something worth around ¥10.000” (~ $90)

Damn! Is there a template for what kind of present I buy?

“Aya-chan, do you feel the same?”

“Ah, um …just now…I think…” Aya-chan said in embarrassment “It sounded like you were about to kiss her then say, 「I’m the present 」”

“I’m not going to do that!”

Even if she is my girlfriend, she would slap me immediately in that case.

“Ah ~ anyway, I don’t think what you said is ok ~”

“I think you should kiss her when saying those words”

Both of them were in agreement. I feel a bit uneasy now, wondering if I can really count on them.

Megumi turned back and pointed a finger at me:

“Listen well! In ~ short ~ what you just said was too serious. Again, okay?”

“Sure.”

“Then, one more. Good, start – Masamune…yes? Do you …need me for something?”

“Yes, I have a present for you.”

“ – Ok, that’s good – Really? What is it?”

“Be happy! This is your favorite porn.”

“Wonderful! Thank you, Masamune – wait, no. What the hell?”

“But she is Eromanga-sensei, you know?”

“I know, but for a present from a boyfriend, this is the worst possible choice. If you gave her porn, how could you continue with a sweet and romantic conversation?”

“We will talk about how this pose is erotic, or how she could draw an illustration based on it.”

“Sounds like you two get along very well! But no!”

Megumi put her hands in a cross.

“No?”

“No ♡” She rejected while laughing.

Next to us, Aya-chan said:

“She really is a slut.”

Her misunderstanding is getting worse.

“But there is no present that’s easier than that.”

“Ah~ I’m thinking that maybe we should change tactics.”

“Meaning?”

“Since your relationship is close, you understand each other very well. And your financial situation is not too bad either…”

She paused for a moment.

“…Maybe it’s better if you give her something valuable.”

“Uh – huh.”

I nodded and urged her to continue.

“I am only speculating, but – since your relationship turned from close 「 family members 」 to 「lovers 」, you don’t know if your relationship can change that quickly – that’s what troubles you.”

“That’s it! Totally correct.”

“In that case, I think you should do something 「 as a lover 」so you can get used to your new relationship. I thought that a small present might work, but in your case, it might set you back to square one.”

Totally right! Megumi really understands us!

“In that case! We need to confirm the new relationship!”

She clenched her fist, and shouted:

“Just give her something big and valuable!”

“Valuable!”

“Yes. Valuable! Jewelry, for example!”

“Ano, Izumi-sensei! If I were you I would buy a pair of matching key rings!”

Aya-chan excitedly gave her opinion

Because Megumi suggested a realistic present, this was not surprising at all.

“Aya-chan, if you want a key ring, I will buy you as many as you like!”

Megumi hugged Aya-chan then turned to look at me.

“So, Onii-san? A present for your beloved girlfriend – do you have any ideas?”

“…Two, actually.”

“Wow, two!?”

One of them is something I decided to give her when our dream became reality. Now, the most suitable present for Sagiri is — that.

“**********”

I whispered to Megumi. She nodded in satisfaction and gave me the green light.

“Wonderful, Onii-san. Do it.”

“Ah ~ Tell me! Tell me!”

“Fufufu ~~ I will tell you later ~~” Megumi told Aya-chan.

I wonder if I made the right choice, asking an elementary school girl for love advice

“Thank you both for your advice.”

“You are welcome ☆.”

We went back to the train station again. I said goodbye to both of them and got off at Iidabashi station. Next, I have a meeting with the editorial department regarding volume 6 of Sekaimo.

During the first part of the meeting —

“Um, I think this part is good –“

After reading my manuscript, Kagurazaka-san said:

“But it’s a rare chance to publish while the Sekaimo anime is being aired, how about adding a big development in the original novel?”

“Yes?”

I agree, but maybe you should have told me that before I finished my manuscript, don’t you think? I don’t want to have to rewrite everything again.

“In order to be a huge success, there are five major points that you have to remember.”

Kagurazaka-san raised five fingers and began to count them:

“First, when you have the public’s attention, make sure you have prepared a high number of products to sell. Second, aside from the anime, you have to continue selling other merchandise to the public. Third, in order to keep the original author’s image, make sure to participate in other related activities. Fourth, take advantage of public events to advertise. Fifth —”

She closed her final finger:

“Matching the timing with your anime, create a big climax in your original novel! Make sure to add 「 to be continued 」 right after the most memorable part.”

“While doing so may create tension, the readers will get super mad!”

“But it will guarantee that the anime will sell well until the next volume, so it’s a good plan ~”

Since she usually gave her opinions this way, I quickly added my thoughts:

“I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but I hope that every volume will not end with a cliff hanger – however, it might be possible to add a big climax in time to match it with the anime.”

“Do you have any ideas?”

“I will make the two main characters into a couple.”

“A very typical route, but not bad! But, Izumi-sensei, this is the first time you have written a romantic comedy story, have you written that kind of scene before?”

She meant “are you confident that you can write something interesting?”

I said with a hint of pride:

“I have a girlfriend!”

“…What?”

“So I have an unlimited source of references for writing about this topic –“

“Whatttttttttttttttttt —!???”

Kagurazaka-san yelled at the top of her lungs. Having never seen her act that way before, I was caught off guard.

“What’s wrong?”

Why are you mad? I hope that it’s not because she actually likes me…

“Wait a second…Izumi-sensei…your girlfriend – who is it? Could it be that it’s one of the authors I was tasked with….could it be that it’s Muramasa-sensei!?”

“Nope, not her.”

“Phew…”

She wiped the sweat on her forehead, like she just dodged a bullet.

…I don’t get it.

“If it’s not Muramasa-sensei…then, Yamada-sensei?”

“It’s Eromanga-sensei.” I answered honestly.

Kagurazaka-said with a small smile on her face:

“Please break up.”

“Ehhhhhhhhhh?”

What the hell are you talking about?

With a look of utter disgust on her face, Kagurazaka-san explained:

“A one sided love provides a motivational boost for writers, but when your love blooms it will have negative effects. Like Muramasa-sensei and Yamada-sensei, authors are the sentimental type – In my experience, once they got a lover, many authors’ writing skills went down, and their motivation went down; sometimes they even totally gave up on writing. The anime project is on the way and you decided to get a girlfriend? Can you stop doing something so suicidal?”

That’s why you want us to break up?

“I can’t accept that reasoning.”

“A Dengeki Bunko editor will listen to their author’s love story and quietly influence their love so that it doesn’t go anywhere. “

Really? Is Dengeki Bunko really so low?

“Kagurazaka-san, have you done that before?”

“No way, of course not.”

She denied it, but I highly doubt her.

“Actually, there was a couple among the authors that I was tasked with. Doesn’t that prove that I’m the best editor?”

“……….”

Are you sure it isn’t because don’t have enough influence? Based on your reaction when I told you about my girlfriend…

“However…”

With a teasing tone, Kagurazaka-san spoke:

“In contrast, a broken love will bring lots of enthusiasm. So encouraging the author to pursue someone that you know is out of their reach – right before an important task begins – is a risky but effective bet.”

“That is not a reason!”

I don’t want to raise my enthusiasm that way.

“That’s why – Izumi-sensei, please break up with Eromanga-sensei.”

Kagurazaka-san repeated her request again. Her eyes weren’t smiling this time, meaning that she wasn’t joking.

“I refuse.”

Of course I answered her like that. But she didn’t listen to me.

“The truth is, even I’m hurt by this, causing you so much pain – but there are only eight months before the anime airs! You still have enough time! The light novel author and the illustrator, if you both are heartbroken then I’m sure the anime will be amazing!”

She looked like she was saying something cool, but her words were just trash.

I bluntly said:

“No matter what you say, I have no intention of breaking up with her.”

“I thought so ~”

Kagurazaka-san sighed, like she half-expected my answer.

“Um…anyway, at least remember what I just said. It’s better if nothing happens because of you two, but in case something does happen and it causes a negative effect, make sure to come and talk with me.”

Yeah, I know.

Our meeting ended pretty late. I left the Gotanno station and walked toward the Takasago bookstore.

— Damn. What the hell…That really pissed me off.

It was so hard for me to ask Sagiri out, but she said “break up” so easily. It felt like someone just poured a bucket of cold water on me.

Although, about what Kagurazaka-san said, I…understood her reasoning a bit…but there is no one in the world who would simply say “I got it”, and then really break up with their girlfriend.

I can’t accept that.

Authors’ writing skills went down, and their motivation went down; sometimes they even totally gave up on writing

That was what she said. She even said that for a novelist, love blooming will have a negative impact.

“It will not only bring a negative impact.” I muttered to myself

Falling in love, having a girlfriend – there must be something good that will come out of it. I will show her.

The book store’s door was in front of me. I entered.

“Welcome.”

A bookstore employee greeted me in her cheerful tone.

Takasago Tomoe. An apron-wearing girl, also one of my good friends. There were no other customers aside from me.

That should be expected. It’s about 21:00 already.

“Dear customer, we have already closed for tonight.”

The closing music was playing through the store’s speakers.

It was “Farewell waltz” – also known as “Light of the fireflies”

In my opinion, this lonely atmosphere doesn’t suit Tomoe at all.

“Sorry, am I causing trouble for you?”

“Um? Who knows? It’s not like we have any customers, and I’m done with checking today’s sales – so, what’s up?”

Tomoe came out from behind the counter and came to me.

“It has been a long time since I saw you looking so down.”

Same as the time when I was beaten black and blue by Muramasa-sensei and she asked about my injuries.

“Today, I met something annoying at work.”

“Eh? You met something annoying? Un, in other words, because of that you came to my store to meet the cute Tomoe-chan?”

Noticing my mood, Tomoe cheerfully said.

She is that type of person – when you meet her, she can brighten your mood no matter what.

“Well…maybe?”

I didn’t give it too much thought anyway. I just thought that talking a bit with Tomoe might be good. Maybe deep down – I was hoping that meeting with her will be good for me.

“Besides, your store?”

I believe it’s your father’s store.

Tomoe didn’t answer. She just smiled in embarrassment.

“Oh, is that so…ah…ah, so….er….Today, if you were a light novel protagonist who is tired of battle then am I a childhood friend female protagonist?”

Now you are playing with that setting, huh?

“Nah, for example, if I were a worker who is complaining about his work then you would be a bar’s mama-san.” [TL Note: a woman in a position of authority, especially one in charge of a geisha house or bar or nightclub in Japan and East Asia]

“Don’t force my character toward that kind of image!”

Tomoe protested a bit, but she quickly stopped.

“So, what happened?”

She folded her arms across her chest and asked me. She had a stern expression, like she was angry – but it only looked that way. She wasn’t really mad.

I don’t know whether we are childhood friends or not, but we knew each other well enough for me to understand that gesture.

Ok, where should I start then….after a moment, I said:

“I have a girlfriend now.”

“!”

Tomoe’s eyes widened in shock.

Seconds later, without changing her expression, she asked:

“Are you going out with Yamada Elf-sensei?”

Everyone asked the same question. So in people’s eyes, Elf and I look like a couple?

It’s Elf’s fault, she keeps lying about our relationship.

“No. It’s Eromanga-sensei.”

“Eh…Wow.”

Tomoe put her right hand over her chest, blinking. Her breathing was getting heavier: she looked like she had trouble keeping a clear head.

“Eromanga-sensei…was the woman on the stage during the anime’s promotion event, right?”

“……….”

I looked into her eyes. It would be very simple to say “yes”…

But it would be a lie. However the situation required Sagiri’s permission for me to say it, so I was a bit confused. I thought about it and then —

“Tomoe. I believe that you are my trusted friend, and I think that you are very tight lipped. You are also someone who thinks before acting, someone who knows what’s right and what’s wrong.”

The truth is: she was the one who has been keeping the secret about me all this time.

“Wh, why are you talking about this now?”

I asked Tomoe in a very serious tone:

“Please keep what I’m about to say a secret.”

“…Got…got it – I promise!”

Tomoe firmly nodded. I also nodded with her and told her the big secret.

“Tomoe, the Eromanga-sensei that you saw is actually a body double.”

“!…You mean…”

“The real Eromanga-sensei — is my non-blood-related little sister.”

“———–“

Tomoe’s hand firmly grasped her chest.

“Her name is Sagiri.”

“But you said – you have never seen Eromanga-sensei before.”

That’s right.

There was a long time when I didn’t know that I was working with someone nearby.

But I had a chance to change that.

“It happened last year, during spring. After Izumi Masamune’s autograph event, Eromanga-sensei posted on her blog that my writing was bad – I was so mad.”

It was the start of everything.

“After that, you told me about Eromanga-sensei’s video streaming, which I followed. Then, I saw the dinner that I had just cooked right behind Eromanga-sensei…”

“– So your little sister is Eromanga-sensei…that’s what happened?”

I nodded without saying anything. Tomoe took a few deep breaths, then smiled wryly:

“…Is that so…what a coincidence.”

“Yeah, it is. The illustrator that I worked with was the little sister living with me…”

Even for a light novel, this is not something that could happen easily.

“But…it’s not all a coincidence. It’s a coincidence that Izumi Sagiri became Izumi Masamune’s little sister, but there was a reason that Eromanga-sensei became Izumi Masamune’s illustrator.”

Eromanga-sensei has a teacher who is also an illustrator. She also had a connection with a publishing company.

And the most important thing is, we have met before. We have known each other for over a year via the Internet.

I told her to read my badly-written novels. She showed me her poorly-drawn illustrations.

Sometimes we discussed our opinions. Sometimes we had arguments. Sometime we talked about our families. Sometime we encouraged each other.

And we made a promise regarding our dream.

Our relationship is like that – we are each other’s most precious friends.

“I was the one who gave her a start. I told her 「 if you become a professional illustrator, make sure to help me with my novel 」. Then we went our separate ways and didn’t contact each other again.”

“And she …is the one who is living together with you –“

“My little sister.”

I answered. Tomoe smiled slightly.

“Our promise came true…both of us take care of one side of the job…”

“And the one you made the promise with is a cute girl.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you confess?”

She interrupted. Somehow, talking with Tomoe made me feel at ease.

I shook my head.

“I proposed.”

“Cough! Cough! Cough!”

Tomoe coughed intensely

“Wh, what did you just say?”

“I said I proposed to her. I have liked her since our first meeting…I like her even more now that I know that she works in the same field. Then, learning that she is the one that I made that promise with, it made me very happy…there were other reasons too….”

Wah! Every time I talk about love, I find it so embarrassing. I couldn’t stop mid way, so I told her everything starting at the beginning.

“So I said, please marry me.”

“Are you a light novel protagonist!”

Now even Tomoe is using those words to curse me!

“Is she the one destined for you!? How could it be? There is no way this world actually exists within a light novel!” Tomoe yelled [TL Note: Wow, 4th wall breaking….]

“What was her answer?”

“Eh?”

“Her answer!”

“Er…she said no.”

“Excellent!”

She made a victory pose!? She made a victory pose when she heard that my proposal was rejected?

“She rejected me because she is too young for marriage.”

“Hm? Ehh? Too young?”

“Then she confessed to me and asked me to go out with her.”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

What the heck? You scared me!

Tomoe was shaking me back and forth, and I began to tell her about the reason I was upset.

“Then I started going out with Sagiri, but my editor told me that love will ruin our work and asked me to break up with her.”

“I don’t know!”

“E ~eeee ~”

“I don’t know ~ who cares ~~~~”

Suddenly, Tomoe spoke in a rude way.

Aren’t you supposed to listen to my problem?

“Everything that happened ~ how is that is my problem ~~ who cares ~~~”

Then, she grabbed her head and began to tremble.

“What is with this sudden development! I feel like I’m in a crappy trading card game with serious balancing issues, and someone used a dirty trick to beat me!!”

What should I do now!? She is clearly angry.

“And the most important factor is: if this part was made into an anime, then the scene where I am screaming my head off under “Farewell waltz” would be seen by otakus! They will laugh their asses off!”

I wanna cry ~ Tomoe ~ was crying silently.

Then, she glared daggers at me:

“Izumi Masamune!”

“Yes!”

“Disgusting! Do you want happiness?”

She punched me in the chest.

“…..”

Slowly…

I felt a burning emotion coming from her fist. All of my worries were crushed under it.

“Of course I do.”

I calmly answered my best friend.

My smartphone’s screen told me that it was 21:30 when I get back home. I opened the front door and said as usual.

“I’m home ~”

“Welcome back.”

I thought I was seeing an illusion. Sagiri, wearing an apron, came to the door to greet me like a newlywed wife.

It was so sudden that my voice began to tremble.

“Sa…Sa..Sagiri?”

“Because there is no one here today… I came down.”

She look flushed, her face was blushing.

“Is, is that so? Then, this is…?”

“Because you said you want to do some husband-wife stuff.”

So she greeted me like a wife. Probably.

I’m very happy because she thought about me, and the apron really suited her, but due to this unreal feeling I had no idea how to react.

“Ak…then…again…I’m home.”

“Um….welcome home….darling.”

I died. My legs gave up and I fell on the floor.

How..how….

“Wa, wa, wa…. Masamune, are you okay?”

“I’m not okay, but don’t worry.”

I was on the verge of dying, but I forced a smile.

Sagiri pulled my hand and helped me get up.

“Ah…oh…don’t scare me like that…Have you eaten anything for dinner.”

“Um, I have.”

“I have prepared the water, do you want to take a bath?”

“Thank you. Please.”

I removed my shoes. Now that I can think properly again.

“….”

I looked at the apron, at Sagiri. She flushed:

“Wh, what is it?”

“Nothing. Just, it felt like we really are like a newlywed couple.”

“!I, idiot!”

She turned her head away.

I couldn’t help but smile. This is my dream. A conversation with my family.

This same scene once happened in this house, long ago.

Family.

I’m home. Welcome back. Good night. Good morning.

The same, normal, usual greeting is my treasure.

Now, I finally got it back.

I will not let it go.

I looked at Sagiri, my mind full of chaotic thoughts.

And she said in a gentle tone:

“Masamune, I heard from Megumi…where is my porn?”

“Nope, there is none.”

And…it’s still so messed up.