The two met during the summer break of their second year in junior high school.
It was in the world’s most popular online game called “Grand Gate.”
Grand Gate is an MMORPG that prides itself on its freedom and gameplay, making you feel like you’re truly adventuring in another world.
In any case, the amount of unexpected occurrences is tremendous, and as long as you continue to explore, you will undoubtedly come across situations that will keep you playing indefinitely.
At the time, Yuuma was a solitary solo player (also known as a Bocchi).
『In reality, I’m a loner, but I had a feeling it might be different in games.』 However, he lacked the courage to ask a stranger to join him on an expedition, even if it was in the form of a game, so he ended up travelling alone.
A huge creature attacked the trading ship that he was aboard one day.
The enemy was a Kraken, a boss monster that would typically require five or more high-level players to defeat.
Yuuma, the grand mage, and Schwarzschwein, the holy knight clad in full-body heavy armour who happened to be on board, were the only two at the time who could take on this beast.
As a matter of etiquette, I’ll fight seriously, but I doubt I’ll win. With that in mind, I headed to……the battlefield.
──That was the first time that he felt that he was genuinely in sync with someone.
At first, they fought in pieces. But as they fought, they realized.
Perfectly timed recovery. Ideal damage control. A rush of big moves that make you want to scream with joy.
There was no doubt that Schwarzschwein was a skilled and powerful player.
Yuuma was also a top-ranked player, equipped with some of the best equipment in the environment at the time. While Schwarzschwein was blocking the enemy’s attacks, he was able to unleash a considerable amount of firepower.
While doing so, each of them understood. 『I can trust this person to watch my back.』
They found themselves working together and overwhelming the Kraken with their outstanding combination.
In the end, they used a special attack which included filling up the boat with small bombs, ready to detonate at any given moment. It was a suicide mission.
Both of them jumped into the sea and fled right before the explosion, just like in a movie. Despite the fact that Yuuma was in an apartment complex, he made some strange noises in the middle of the night, and his neighbours walloped him.
……That was how their expedition came to an end.
There would be times when Yuuma would join Schwarzschwein on a quest on the spur of the moment. However, they slowly drifted apart after that, never really inviting one another on their adventures anymore.
But this time, he was unlucky…….No, he was lucky.
Since they had the same destination, they decided to head there together.
However, Yuuma and Schwarzschwein experienced a series of unusual occurrences along the road, the town they stayed in was attacked by a dragon. The carriage they used for transportation was assaulted by a bandit guild and encountering an extremely rare creature, which they pursued.
They faced it together, sometimes encouraging one other, sometimes yelling at each other.
Somewhere along the line, they started talking about things other than gaming.
When Yuuma told Schwarzschwein,『Do you know that Schwarzschwein means “black pig”?』 He screamed,『Liar!!! Ah…Hah…Ehhhhhh!!!?』 which made Yuuma laugh out loud. He immediately bought a name changing ticket and changed his name to 『Schwarz』. Apparently, he named himself Schwarzschwein just cause it sounded cool.
“Are you in second grade?” Yuuma teased. “I’m a junior high school student!” Schwarz answered. They were shocked to learn that both of them were the same age, and they became thrilled and began discussing their favourite anime and mangas.
Through such an encounter, Yuuma thought to himself, “Oh my god! It’s a lot of fun to hang out with your friends!”
The enjoyment was startling for Yuuma, who had always been a loner in real life and games.
He used to be strong and say things like, “I can have fun by myself,” but now he wanted to have friends.
Following that, Yuuma mustered the confidence to get as involved with the people around him as possible, and he was able to establish a few close friends.
──So far, this has been the story of Yuuma’s second year of junior high school.
It’s been about a year and eight months since the day Yuuma and Schwarz met each other. They had just graduated from junior high school and were now on the first day of their three-week spring vacation before officially starting high school.
After proposing that they finish their quests before school officially begins, Schwarz and Yuuma started playing Grand Gate every morning.
“Schwarz. Would you mind letting me know if you have any recommendations for recent manga or novels?”
As soon as Yuuma asked this in the chat, a reply immediately came from Schwarz.
“Hmm, let me think…, my current recommendation is “Reincarnation of the Demon King” and “I became a butler for a villainess.”
“Oh, I’m reading it as well. I wasn’t that interested in the story about the villainess at first. But I chose to read it because I laughed so hard when the main character, Mao, blasted a beam out of her mouth.”
“Mao is good, but Fee is cute, isn’t she? I want to give her a big hug and stroke her.”
“You paedophile. Common sense tells you that Sarah is the best.”
“Annoying~. You chose Sarah due to the size of her’ boobs’, am I right, Yuuma?”
“What the hell do you take me for!?”
“A man who is overly interested in women’s breasts?”
“Well, I can’t deny it! I certainly like the bigger ones!”
It was always like this in the chats, with both grinning on the other end.
They started chatting about things other than gaming while they were exploring together, and their other interests, such as anime and manga, were precisely on point.
Their tastes were quite similar, and it has now become their daily routine to discuss all things otaku while they were hunting in auto-battle.
“Well, we played pretty late last night, so are you feeling alright?”
“Yeah, it’s okay. I’ve got the doctor’s approval, so there’s no problem.”
“I’m the one who made you go along with me, so please be careful, okay? You’ve just been able to go to school, but if you get sick right from the start and have to take a day off, that would be terrible.”
“No, I’m fine. But thank you for worrying about me.”
──As you get to know more about one another, you start discussing matters about your personal life.
This year, Schwarz is 15 years old, the same age as Yuuma, and will soon enter high school.
It’s just that…..he was born with a weak body and was unable to attend elementary and middle school.
But recently, a revolutionary treatment has been developed, and his condition has improved to the point where he can typically attend school.
“To be honest, I’m a little scared to go to school,” he said.
“Then, did you study at the hospital or in your home? Change of environment can be quite scary from what I’ve heard.”
“Yea, and to tell you a sad story, I was bullied in the past.”
As Yuuma heard those words, he felt a heavy weight clinging to his chest.
“As a child, I was bullied at school because I looked different. This communicative disorder, or feeling of social phobia, is not as extreme as it was then, but it still affects me today.”
Being different from the others…If he was weak, did his hair also look thin or missing too? Yuuma wondered.
Of course, I wouldn’t look at Schwarz from a biased perspective. However, if you don’t know Schwarz very well, it could happen much less in elementary school.
Yuuma frowned. It was still painful to think that his best friend was going through that.
“I wish I could help.”
“Thanks. I’ll just accept your feelings.”
“If you have anything you need help with, talk to me. I’ll do my best to help.”
“Hmm? Anything. Did you just say ‘anything’? Geez.”
“You have a bad habit of making fun of people when they’re talking seriously.”
“Speaking of which, what high school are you going to?”
It was a particular question with no specific agenda whatsoever.
The answer, however, was unexpected.
“Let me see, well, it’s called Saika high school.”
Yuuma’s voice came out realistically. That was the school that I was attending.
“But I’m also attending Saika high school?!”
“Are you serious? What part of town do you live in?”
As soon as Yuuma confirmed this, he discovered that he and Schwarz lived in the same city.
“I can’t believe this kind of coincidence is possible. The reason we started adventuring together was because of a series of miraculous events, and I feel like we’re destined to be together.”
“Huh? Am I doomed, or am I just being seduced?”
“Hey, don’t make fun of me! I have no interest in hitting on men!”
The moment I sent this message, the flow of the chat, which had been moving along at a constant pace, suddenly stopped.
Schwarz is amazingly fast at typing, always responding to my messages in just a few seconds. But this time, it took over a minute.
Yuuma tilted his head and decided to ask him what was going on.
“Oh….. that’s right, I haven’t told you yet…….”
There was another pause before his next reply.
“Sorry, it’s nothing.”
“Hmm. I understand.”
If this was something that was difficult for Schwarz to talk about, there was no need to force it out. Yuuma thought about this and decided to change the subject quickly.
“But if that’s the case, I can help you out with a few things.”
“Yup. You may have a lot on your plate if you haven’t been to school for a while. So you can count on me.”
“Eh….? No, you… don’t have to worry about it.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s just between you and me.”
“But there’s a big difference between real life and the internet. I’m not a very talkative person, so hanging out with me could be pretty dull.”
“If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be preferable if we got together? It isn’t easy when you don’t have at least one person with whom you can readily communicate. In other words, don’t be shy at moments like this; being shy is more lonely.”
“Thanks. I’ll go with you on your next extreme quest. You said you wanted to make a Thunder Emperor staff, right?”
“Really? That’s great.”
Even though they have never met in real life, Yuuma considers Schwarz to be his best friend. It was when he thought that if his friend was worried, he should help him.
“Hey, Yuuma. I have a favour to ask you.”
“Can we meet once in real life before school starts?”
“Ah…that was easy. I mustered up a lot of courage to say that.”
“Well, you know, it’s just you and me, so there’s no need to be shy now.”
It took him a while to reply after I said that.
“I’m a little scared.”
“If Yuuma’s attitude abruptly changes when I meet him, I’m sure I’ll get startled and start to break down.”
“You know, you should trust me a little more. I’m not going to say too much because It’s embarrassing, but I think of you as my best friend. I’m not going to change my attitude over such a little thing, so don’t worry.”
“Thank you. I think of you as my best friend, too.”
It’s pretty embarrassing for me to say something like this, but I don’t mind.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m taking advantage of you, but I need to practice speaking directly to people. My parents and doctor are the only ones I can talk to properly, but I thought I could talk to you normally.”
“You want to overcome your communicative disorder, don’t you?”
“Of course I want to. I’m already in high school, and I know I can’t go on like this. Besides…”
“I want to have friends.”
His words left an impact on me.
“You know, I used to believe that it was okay for me to stay a loner. But Yuuma and I became friends, and we had a lot of fun playing together. When Yuuma wasn’t around, I was lonely.”
He was exactly the same as the previous me.
Before I met Schwarz, I pretended to sleep alone during breaks, eat lunch alone on the rooftop, and stayed in my room, playing games and reading books in silence when I got home. I thought I was okay with all that.
But after I met Schwarz, I realized how fun it was to have friends.
So I worked hard to make real-life friends as well. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people, and as I worked hard, I acquired more acquaintances and friends. My tense family connections are now considerably improved, and I live joyfully every day. All of this occurred as a result of my meeting with Schwarz.
“Leave it to me.”
I typed that out with determination.
“I’ve got your back. I’ll never leave you alone. I’m going to cure your communicative disorder and give you the best high school life possible.”
“Wow, Yuuma is saying something cool.”
“It’s embarrassing for me to say this, and I already told you to stop teasing me!”
At any rate, this was how Yuuma decided to take care of his best friend, Schwarz.
Although the city is in a rural region, the area around the station is reasonably open, with plenty of places to play.
Therefore, the clock tower has become a popular gathering spot for the residents of the area.
Dolls emerge from the clock tower at precisely one o’clock in the afternoon and begin playing music. As Yuuma listened, he looked around.
“I don’t see anyone coming…”
It was time for me to meet up with Schwarz, but there was no sign of him at all.
He’s always been the kind to arrive 5 minutes before our scheduled meeting time, so I expected him to be on time…
( Is he lost?)
Schwarz can be a bit of a natural airhead at times. He rarely goes out alone, and so it’s entirely possible that he may have gotten lost.
I should make a phone call in the meantime…
I tried calling again and again, but there was no sign of an answer.
(What happened? Is he lost? Did he get into an accident or something….?)
Just when I was beginning to feel nervous. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something.
In the distance, I saw a figure hiding behind a pillar of a building, looking at me.
He was dressed in a hoodie and trousers. I couldn’t see his face very well because of the hood and the distance, but he was fiddling with his smartphone.
I hung up since the person on the other end of the phone didn’t seem to be answering. The individual in the hoodie then stopped moving as well.
He was frozen in place, clutching his phone. He started scurrying around as if he was seeking someone to help him. Then a police officer who was patrolling nearby approached the person.
The individual in the hoodie then responded, “No, it isn’t!” The man in the hoodie refused the officer’s assistance, flailing his arms in the air. He bent his head in the direction of the departing policeman.
He looks down at his phone once again. He places his palm on his chest and appears to take a deep breath.
He then turned on his phone and placed it to his ear as if he had made up his mind.
At the same time, Yuuma’s phone began to ring. The caller’s name was, of course, Schwarz.
“Hello, where are you?”
“What? Can you hear me? Hello?”
…There appeared to be an attempt at being heard, but I heard no response. On the other hand, the person Yuuma was staring at in the hoodie was also trembling violently.
“Say…are you the one in the hoodie up by the station right now?”
Yuuma heard a gasp through his phone. The person in the hoodie also stopped moving as if he was surprised.
“Oh, it’s you. I’m in front of the clock tower. Can you see me?”
I waved my hand in a ‘hey’ kind of way. The person in the hoodie also looked at me. Our eyes met. And then…
I heard a faint apology through my phone.
Immediately after that, the person dressed in the hoodie – Schwarz – turned around and ran away.
“Eh? Hey !? Schwarz !?”
“Mu… it’s impossible…just as I thought…”
I heard such a voice from the other side of my phone.
You told me yourself that you’re not very confident about your appearance, but is it really that embarrassing?
──If that’s the case, I won’t let you go.
If I let you go, Schwarz, you could retreat back into your shell, and I’m not going to allow that to happen.
Yuuma began running while holding his phone to his ear.
There was no answer. No, it’s not that there was no answer; rather, Schwarz was probably out of breath and unable to respond. From the other end of the phone, Yuuma could hear his ragged breathing.
Schwarz went straight into a back alley where there was no one around.
He seemed to be running out of energy, and his running form was sloppy.
I called out directly to the hooded figure.
He looked back at me for a moment, but he was still trying to escape. However, my legs were starting to get wobbly. To be frank, I’m a weak person.
“I told you to wait! Why are you trying to run away?”
I caught up with him and grabbed him from behind in a hug.
I lifted him up slightly so that he couldn’t escape. He was considerably lighter than I had anticipated, and I had no trouble lifting him.
Schwarz once told me that he was fragile, delicate, and short. However, he was unusually pleasant and soft to hold.
My right hand touched something soft. The spot was close to Schwarz’s chest.
“Eh!?… No…! No….! Get away from me…!”
A voice like a scream leaked out of Schwarz’s mouth.
…I could tell his voice was a little too high pitched for a male, even over the phone.
But if you listen to it closely, you’ll notice that it’s rather delicate and fragile, yet extremely cute. Whatever you think, this voice is……
“Hey? Ah, eh? …uh, you’re….Schwarz…right?”
Schwarz nodded as he was picked up.
“Oh, yeah. Nice to meet you. So, uh….. Schwarz was a girl……huh?”
A brief period of stillness. Schwarz nodded stiffly, reluctantly.
“Did I …… touch your breasts, by any chance?”
Calm done. Think about what you’ve done carefully.
1. Chasing the fleeing girl.
2. hugging her from behind.
3. I touched her breasts.
The first thing I did was to lower Schwarz to the ground.
“Ah…no, that … wasn’t intentional….that… I’m sorry !!”
Yuuma lowered his head at almost the right angle. This is the worst thing you can do to someone who begs you to help them with their communicative disorder.
“Ah, It’s fine. I’m……fine. I’m the one who ran away. I’m sorry……”
I could hear a faint voice as she lowered her head.
“Uhm, I know you’re afraid. It’s scary for you. But I’m here to help. So…could you show me your face..? Hmmm….?”
I looked up when he said that. In the corner of my mind, I wondered what he meant by “afraid of being seen,” but I soon found out why.
The moment I looked up── An angel was there.
She has a sweet, innocent face with a tiny animal-like charm. Her skin is white and soft, with no flaws. Her bright red eyes are trembling frantically under the hood, arousing the urge for protection.
And the angel’s hair was completely white.
Her hair was as white as snow and peeked out from behind the hoodie she was wearing. Her hair would not be this lovely white if she bleached it.
Yuuma was completely frozen. His brain couldn’t keep up with the amount of information he was receiving. He couldn’t take his eyes off the girl in front of him, with her white hair.
──But that was a mistake.
Schwarz’s eyes welled up with tears. She hurriedly pulls her hood up with both hands, attempting to conceal her hair.
Then, as if she couldn’t take it any longer, she turned her back on Yuuma and bolted.
I tried to stop her, but I didn’t have to.
It seemed that Schwarz had already reached the limit of her strength. After a few meters of running, she began to wobble and fell to the ground in a heap.
“Hey, are you okay?”
Schwarz was lying on the ground, her hands on her shoulders, and she was breathing heavily. Anyway, I helped her up and sat her on the edge of the road.
“Don’t move, okay?”
I returned after purchasing a cup of tea from a nearby vending machine.
I handed her the tea, and she gobbled it up.
……Schwarz drank too much and choked, so I sat next to her and rubbed her back.
It’s a little unnerving to touch the body of someone of the opposite sex, but this isn’t the time to discuss it. As soon as she calmed down, I called out to her.
“Have you calmed down?”
When I asked her that, Schwarz gave a slight nod.
She pulled her hood down with both hands, trying to keep her hair out of my sight. Her shoulders are slumped, her back is rounded and narrow, and her nervousness is noticeable even to me.
“Let’s see…… I’m Yuuma. And, uh,……you……no, you’re Schwarz, right?”
As she was a woman, I almost called out to her in a polite way, but stopped myself and instead went with the familiar way we always do.
Then Schwarz gave a slight nod.
The girl in front of me, mumbling to herself, doesn’t seem like Schwarz at all. She’s a different person than the one I was chatting with on the internet.
Yuuma’s image of a friendly and cheerful boy was far from the impression of the frightened girl in front of him.
I placed my hands together and apologized.
Schwarz didn’t seem to understand why she was being apologized to. She gave Yuuma a puzzled look.
“No, I heard you were concerned about your appearance, and I should apologize for staring at you like that.”
Schwarz gave another small nod.
She was flustered again after that as if she didn’t know what to do, her eyes downcast and her eyes darting left and right.
“Oh, um…..you know? Um…..un….”
She cracked her mouth open and tried to speak from that point on, but she couldn’t.
──She reminded me of my past self.
I was so nervous that I couldn’t talk, even though I had so many things to say…….I despised myself for not being able to speak correctly, and I hated speaking in general. I understand how difficult it is for you.
Yuuma smiled to reassure her and took out his phone to start the online game that they always play, Grand Gate.
Grand Gate is a type of game that you can play on both computers and smartphones.
I usually play it on my computer, which is very easy to use, but when I’m tired, I switch to my phone and play it lying on my bed.
Yuuma knew Schwarz had Grand Gate on her phone since she had told him a story about lying on her back with her phone and it falling on her face.
“Come on, let’s play together.”
Schwarz was unsure of what to do when Yuuma suddenly started playing the game next to her, but when prompted, she took the initiative to operate her phone and started playing Grand Gate.
The startup screen, the title call, and the game resumed from where it left off last time. Then she received a chat message from “Yuuma” in the game directed to “Schwarz.”
“Waiting at the clock tower in the town of Roomy.”
Schwarz’s eyes fluttered as she glanced at Yuuma, who was sitting next to her; she made her way to the meeting spot.
When Yuuma noticed Schwarz, he smiled and waved. And then he sent her this message.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Yuuma. It’s good to see you again.”
With those words, Schwarz seemed to realize that Yuuma was reenacting their prior encounter.
The message from Yuuma continued.
“If you’re not good at talking, let’s do it here first.”
“Yeah, ……? Oh, and……?”
“You get nervous talking face to face, don’t you? Since you’re not very good at talking, let’s do it here first.”
When Yuuma said that, Schwarz lowered her eyes apologetically.
“I’m sorry to bother you.”
“You know, I’m well aware that you’re not a communicative person. So don’t worry about it. Let’s do it with a lighter heart, okay?”
After some hesitation, Schwarz gave a slight nod and began typing her message.
A few moments later, she heard the sound of a message♪ being received from Yuuma’s phone.
“Well then, let’s get back on track……. Nice to meet you! I’m Schwarz. Nice to meet you again, Yuuma.”
The discrepancy between reality and the game was unsettling, but Yuuma responded with a smile that indicated nothing was wrong.
“Nice to meet you. I was a little surprised that you were a girl.”
“Well, well. Didn’t I tell you yesterday that I’m a different person in real life than I am on the internet?”
“You can’t expect me to predict that your gender was different!?”
“To tell you the truth, when I revealed that I was a girl, I started getting DMs from people in the dating scene asking me to meet them in real life and asking if I was interested in sex. Since then, I’ve been too scared, so I pretended to be a boy.”
“Ah, I see… There are such perverts on the internet, after all. It’s annoying.”
“Oh, by the way, you got ‘lucky’ with me just now, didn’t you.”
“I’m very sorry about that!”
“It’s okay. I don’t mind.”
“I’m glad……I thought it was over for real earlier……”
“In exchange, you’ll have to accompany me on a material gathering marathon next time.”
“Ah, that’s my one weakness.”
“Of course, don’t expect to squeeze a girl’s breasts for free.”
“Hic……I respectfully accept your offer……”
We chatted in the same manner as before. However, when I looked over at Schwarz, she blushed in embarrassment and hid her face behind her phone.
(If you’re embarrassed, you should just say it…Nah, maybe not.)
I’m sure Schwarz wants me to treat her as I usually would. That’s why she’s chatting in this way, even if she’s embarrassed. Even now, she’s gazing at me with anxiety and reluctance, thinking, “Is it acceptable for me to talk to him so casually?”
But in reality, Yuuma was also nervous.
Of course, I was surprised by the pure white hair, but what surprised me the most was that Schwarz was a woman.
His best friend, who he had thought was a boy of the same age, was actually a girl, and he had touched her breasts. Yuuma, who is in the midst of puberty, couldn’t help but be aware of this.
As he was looking at her, his eyes met hers. Schwarz instantly pulled down her hood as though she feared Yuuma was staring at her hair.
“Ah, no, it’s different. It’s just that…you’re a girl. I thought you were a guy all this time, so I didn’t really feel it yet……”
Schwarz typed another message.
“Sorry about that. I consider you a friend, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell you because I was afraid you’d treat me differently if you knew I was a girl……”
I can’t say that I wouldn’t…….I regretted many things, especially during my junior years, where I had a ‘dirty talk’ with my classmates.
It was during the night where I revealed the fact that I was a virgin, that “I prefer large-breasted sisters”, and that “when I am in high school, I want to be eroticized by a kind senior with huge boobs in an empty classroom,”…
When I think about the fact that I was talking to a girl my age like that, I feel awful. My heart was rolling around in my chest, screaming in agony『!!』
“Oh, I don’t mind that you were talking about sex and stuff, okay? I’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, so I know boys are like that.”
Now that it’s taken care of, I felt like I was going to die softly.
“Also, about my hair.”
Schwarz said and touched her white hair.
“I was bullied for it when I was in elementary school.”
When I heard this, I felt suffocated.
It’s unfortunate but understandable that elementary school students who had such pristine white hair would be harassed.
But it was still painful for me to think that my best friend was being bullied.
“I don’t blame you for looking at me like this, though.”
“That’s not true!”
The next thing I knew, I was grabbing Schwarz by her shoulders. Schwarz was so surprised that she let out a small “eh?” Her eyes opened wide as she let out a quiet voice.
“I’ll tell you what, you’re really cute! I indeed stared at you the first time I met you, but that was because your white hair looked so lovely on you, or because you looked like an…..angel, so…I believe you should be a little more confident in yourself….?”
I felt embarrassed saying it, and the last part of it sounded like a mosquito buzzing.
Schwarz, too, was red-faced and shuffled over to her phone.
“You’re all red in the face. You know that?”
“You don’t say.”
──To be honest, I was taken aback at first. I assumed my friend was a guy, but she was a girl with white hair.
But Schwarz is still Schwarz. I breathed out a sigh of relief at the fact that we could talk to each other lightly, even though we were chatting in a game.
Schwarz, however, kept her eyes downcast, looking somewhat disappointed.
When I asked her that, she hesitated for a moment before answering.
“I thought I could speak more normally with Yuuma, but in the end, all I did was chat, so I thought it was no good.”
──That’s right. Schwarz came to see me in order to overcome her communicative disorder.
But it’s different for her…I may have worked hard to overcome my communicative disorder in middle school, but Schwarz’s is a much higher hurdle than mine…
They say that individuals should not be judged by their appearance, yet in fact, looks do matter.
The essential thing is the impression you make on people……but the most important thing is whether or not you believe in yourself.
People say that “Wearing a suit helps you look more confident,” but being “well dressed and stylish makes you feel more confident in yourself.”
Schwarz’s white hair is a significant disadvantage in this regard.
The individual you’re speaking with will be startled, and many others will consider you an embarrassment.
What’s more, Schwarz herself seems to have a considerable complex about her white hair, which is somewhat distressing.
It’s no secret that people would look at her strangely. Furthermore, she has this kind of personality. I’m sure it took her a lot of courage just to step outside.
Even so, Schwarz came to the meeting place. She asked me if she could talk to me.
I smacked my cheeks with both of my hands and changed my mind.
My best friend, who I thought was a boy, turned out to be a girl with white hair.
I was surprised, but that was all.
Schwarz is still my best friend. My best friend was brave enough to ask me for help. I want to respond to that feeling.
“Don’t worry. Just leave it to me.”
Yuuma reassured Schwarz by patting her on the back. She blinked and turned over to face him.
“I’ll help you overcome your communicative disorder. So let’s do our best, okay?”
“Thanks, but…are you really okay with that? Won’t I be a nuisance?”
“Don’t worry about it. You’re my best friend.”
Schwarz’s eyes began to well up with tears.
“Hey…hold on, you don’t have to cry over something like this!?”
Schwarz brushed her tears away with the sleeve of her hoodie, which was a little too big, and returned to her phone.
“Thank you! I’m glad you’re my friend, Yuuma.”
“For the time being, there’s a place that I would like to take you after this, is that okay?”
“Yes. I’m not all too familiar with this area, so I’ll leave it to you.”
‘”All right, then, let’s get on with it.”
As he stood up, Schwarz grabbed Yuuma’s sleeve.
“Hmm? What’s up?”
“Oh, um, that……This is the only one I’ve practised…… a lot…….”
Schwarz struggled to let out her voice, not through the chat, but with her own mouth. She took a hesitant step forward and turned to face Yuuma.
There was quite a height gap between them as they faced each other like this, and she was staring up at Yuuma.
“W-waa…..or Kami…… Kami, uh…….”
“Just take your time.”
When Yuuma said that, Schwarz nodded her head and took a deep breath. And then──。
“M-my real name is…..my real name is….K-kami…Kamishiro Yui….! Please let me be your friend….!”
It was like a once-in-a-lifetime confession. She closed her eyes tightly as she held out her trembling hand to me.
Yuuma smiled in return and took her hand.
“Likewise. I’m Sugisaki Yuuma. I’ll be looking forward to working with you again.”
This was the first time that Schwarz, a.k.a. Yui Kamishiro and Yuuma Sugisaki, became acquainted.