“As for what to call you, can I call you Kamishiro? I’m a little embarrassed to call you Schwarz outside.”
“Ah….uh…..my last name….they used to call me Kamishiro….because of my white hair. That’s why…my last name is…”
“So…I’ll call you Yui?”
“Mmm. I wonder…if it’s okay for me to call you Yuuma…?”
“You can call me whatever you like.”
To be honest, it’s pretty embarrassing to call each other by the given names of the opposite sex, but it would be better than my partner or Schwarz.
So I guess I’ll be calling her “Yui” instead of “Schwarz” from now on.
The main street was bustling with people, so I chose to walk on the least crowded street possible…however, Yui was still stiff and nervous.
She was following behind me as if she was heavily clinging onto my back. Her hands pulled down her hood tightly and didn’t let go.
She seems to have a serious complex about her white hair as she looks around under the hood with frightened eyes.
And whenever I pass by someone, Yui would instantly glance down and breathe a sense of relief. Ever since a while back, she’s been repeating this over and over again.
“We’re almost there, so just hang in there, okay?”
I spoke to Yui in a cheerful voice in an attempt to distract her from her feelings.
“In that case, why is Schwarz’s armour black in colour? The character you’re playing as is a holy knight, not a dark knight. Wouldn’t Weiss (White) be more preferable if you wanted to wear it?”
“Ah…I’m sorry, should I not have asked? It’s just, like, the flip side of a complex or something……”
“N-No…I just thought it sounded cool…I didn’t really think much about what it meant or anything…”
“What are you, a ninth-grader?”
“…I was in the second grade…”
The conversation went on like this, albeit awkwardly.
It was a situation that every adolescent boy longed for, going out with a cute girl, even if it was a strange one. Yuuma thought he would be a little more nervous than he was, but surprisingly he was not.
At first, Yuuma was surprised to find out that his long-time partner was a girl and to be honest, he was expecting a romantic comedy.
But after he decided to take care of Yui, he didn’t think much of her being the opposite sex. To him, it felt as if he was taking care of his little sister.
The only thing that was a little embarrassing was the fact that they called each other by their first names, which made them look like lovers from afar…however, Yui didn’t seem to care, so Yumma kept it to himself.
Yui looked up from Yuuma’s fearfully and looked ahead. What was there was──。
Yui looked up at Yuuma as if to say『What are we doing here?』
“Well, I figured that the first step would be to unwind. So, I decided to bring you here, the internet cafe, where we can play our games as per usual. And don’t worry, we have a private room here, so you can afford to relax without being watched.”
Yui nodded her head, seemingly convinced. However, she seemed to be uneasy about entering an unfamiliar place and completely hid behind Yuuma.
Once in the room, Yui breathed a sigh of relief, probably relieved to be out of sight.
“So…internet Cafe’s are like this….”
When she felt relieved, her curiosity got the better of her, and she began scurrying around the room.
──In Internet cafés, there are many different types of private rooms, some with only a chair and a computer for work, others with a living area where many people may come to play together.
This time, Yuuma chose the flat room. He took off his shoes and climbed up to the mat, where he could stretch out his legs and relax.
The room was about the size of a small parlour.
Two-high performance gaming PCs sat on a wide desk, and in front of them were chairs that could accommodate two people sitting side by side. What’s more, there’s even a hot eye mask to help with eye fatigue. It was an ideal environment for gamers.
“Is this the first time you’ve been here?”
Yui nodded her head and started the chat application on her phone. She types in a message.
By the way, I just exchanged my chat ID with Yui for a chat application, saying『Let’s use this until you get used to it』It was the first time I had exchanged IDs with someone of the opposite sex outside of my family, and I was a little nervous.
『Does Yuuma come here often?』
『I can’t come here as often as I’d like due to money problems, but I do come here sometimes during Grand Gate events.』
『Why do you come here so often during events?』
『Did you know that the experience and rare item drop rates of Grand Gate increase when you access it from an internet cafe? That’s why I come here.』
Yui’s eyes widened.
Her eyes suddenly sparkled, even though she was scared a while ago. She tugged on Yuuma’s clothes as if to hurry him to play a game.
I was pretty happy to see that she was still a gamer after all.
Wait…now that I think about it…
──I’m doing something terrible right now, aren’t I?
Even though we’ve known each other for a while now, suddenly bringing a girl you’ve never met before in real life but only from the Internet into a locked room like this is pretty bad in general.
Alone with the opposite sex in a small closed room. The thought of that made me a little nervous.
However, Yui was looking at me as if she was saying,『What’s wrong?』
“Well, uhm? I may be the one who brought you here, but you should be a little more cautious…”
Yui tilted her head lightly as if to say 『What?』
“No, look, you’re going to be alone in a room with me, and there are a lot of things…you have to do, right?”
Yui tilted her head more and more in confusion.
“It’s….! I mean, it’s…we only met online…and today was the first time that we officially met, and I’m a boy, and you’re a girl, so….um…”
Finally realizing what Yuuma was trying to say, she blushed and took a step back.
“No, it’s not like I was going to do anything! It’s just that I was self-conscious about it! J-just be a little more aware that you’re a girl!”
Yui nodded cautiously and operated her phone again.
『Don’t worry. I know from the Internet that boys are like that.』
As she said this, Yui’s face became redder and redder. I wondered what kind of knowledge Yui had gained from the Internet.
At any rate, we both sat down in front of the computer and started the online game “Grand Gate”.
As usual, the two of us decided to explore the game world together, going on boss hunts and carrying luggage to earn money.
Since it was the latest gaming PC, it operates smoothly, even at the maximum quality. It was fun to watch and play around with the flashy techniques that you can unleash.
By the time two hours had passed, the tension between us had dissipated entirely, and the two of us were chatting and having a good time playing together…Unfortunately, this did not happen.
『Yuuma, where should we go next?』
『Fast Material Marathon? The money trading event? Or hunting bosses in the Tower or Heroes? I’m good with anything.』
『Hey, Yuuma? Are you listening? Can you say something?』
“No, Yui? Aren’t you going to get used to me by now? Why are you still being so shy?”
Yui has been using the chat application for all her conversations ever since she started the game. She hasn’t said a single word with her own mouth.
『Because chatting is easier than talking with my own mouth.』
It was good that she seemed relaxed, which was a good thing, but it was a miscalculation that she would not speak at all by herself.
I assumed Yui would find it simple to talk about games, so I thought I thought it would be good practice for her to start overcoming her communicative disease, but I was wrong.
“In fact, your typing really fast…”
The only sounds I could hear from Yui’s side was the sound of her keyboard repeatedly clacking『Click, click, click, click』
I couldn’t even see her fingertips well enough anymore. It’s clearly faster than talking normally. I couldn’t help but agree that chatting is far easier when I see this.
『Hmmm. Since I was a kid, I’ve been cooped up in my house, so my experience is slightly different from yours.』
“I’d like you to speak normally now……”
Yui is pretty cheerful by the way she talks a lot in chat. If she could express this cheerfulness in real life, she would undoubtedly be a popular person…
“Yui, let’s practice. Let’s read aloud what you just typed.”
When I said it like that, Yui cast her eyes downwards and kept quiet.
I’m not going to say too much because it might have the opposite effect if I’m pressuring her to talk, but it looks like we have a long way to go, Yuuma sighed inwardly.
After that, Yui kept chatting instead of talking.
I was thinking, “Well, since this is the first time, I’ll just be happy that we got to play a game together today….” And that’s when it happened.
──If there is a God in this game world, he must love both of us.
『Oh, Yuuma. I think a rare enemy is coming.』
“Oh, huh? That’s Lucifer, isn’t it? But, doesn’t he look slightly different?”
『Now that you mention it, you’re right……wait a minute, could this be……?』
A golden magic circle suddenly appeared on the ground. Typically, a rare enemy would appear from there, but this time, the magic circle changed its shape and turned into a poisonous purple colour.
Despite years of playing this game, neither of us had ever seen this before. And then the magic circle overflowed with light.
【The one who left paradise】Lucifer ・Alternative
Towards a particular direction, a black six-winged fallen angel appeared.
“Are you serious!? Seriously!? Why this timing!?”
What was standing before me was an even more special two-named variant of the monster, Lucifer….an alternative of a higher species…
According to the information on the strategy site, the chances of such a monster appearing is usually one in several thousand. Even if you do meet one, it’s unusually strong and extremely difficult to defeat. And the feathers it drops can be used to make mythical equipment that’s famous for being broken. I’ve occasionally seen them for sale in the in-game bazaar, but the prices are eye-dropping.
(Time to hunt.)
At this moment, Yui’s overcoming of her communicative disorder was blown away.
“Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!! I’m going to die!!! Even though I solidified my defence, it was erasing away 90-per cent of my physical strength with each strike!”
Lucifer ・Alternative’s meteors were raining down on the field as displayed on the monitor, and Yuuma, the grand mage, was running around frantically.
“Yui, ask for recovery! Recovery! I don’t think I can avoid this much longer!”
“Is the cool down time over!? How many more seconds are there left till I can heal you!?”
“Uh…… seven seconds left…….but hang in there…..!”
Even Yui couldn’t afford to chat while running away from Another Eden (an instant death beam penetrating a wide range of resistance). I managed to coordinate with her by shouting.
“Goddamn it! I can’t lose, I’ll do it! I’ll do it!”
“Ah…..you just slipped through all of his attacks…avoiding consecutive frames!? Wow, Yuuma, that was amazing!”
“Oh shit, I’m in the zone! But I don’t think I can do it again. I need to recover!”
“Uh-huh! I’ll take it. Firepower, please.”
“I’m on it! I’ll put you in a multi-chant inferno!”
“Ah…..? Attribute change means….does that mean I have to wait for Yuuma to stop chanting to get the attribute change!?”
“Ahhhhh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’ll heal your HP first right away!”
“It’s okay. I’ve got an ice weakness now, so I will use Holy Bind to lock in your special action…….”
“Okay, I’ll take care of it this time! I’m going to redeem myself!”
“Don’t do anything stupid just to redeem yourself!”
The whole process took us about 30 minutes, with much noise being made from our constant shouting to one another.
“Alright, good job!”
When I raised my hand and asked for a high-five, Yui looked at my hand several times and replied modestly with a peck.
“See, you can talk just fine.”
“Ah…I was just a little self-conscious about it…”
Yui was squirming around in embarrassment. Her gesture was somewhat like a small animal, making me want to pat her on the head. But I don’t think I’ll actually do it, though.
“Okay, that’s a good sign. You’ve got a cute voice, so let’s talk more.”
──Now that I think about it…
Yui has a cute, so-called anime voice. However, being cute can also be complex in some cases. Yuuma had a similar experience, so he understood the feeling well.
“I’m like this too, so I know how you feel (low voice).”
When Yuuma let out a low voice, Yui opened her eyes wide and looked at Yuuma.
“I also had a low-pitched voice, and people used to tease me about it. So I began to talk in a little louder voice instinctively…….Hmm? What’s up?”
Yui’s light red eyes were glittering.
Yui hurriedly typed some words into her phone and pointed at Yuuma.
『I like the low voice of men. I really like the sound of Yuma’s voice right now.』
『Could you do that voice again? [Emoji]: Encore♪ Encore♪』
“You have a voice fetish!?”
Yui’s cheeks turned red with embarrassment, but she nodded her head in agreement. She tugged on Yuuma’s arms and begged『Hey, hey, one more time, one more time.』
(That’s right. I’d forgotten about Yui since she was always trembling with fear most of the time, but she was totally capable of this kind of talk.)
…… Honestly, I don’t mind getting this kind of reaction from girls.
Since I’ve come all this way, I’ll live up to your expectations at least.
I cleared my throat and placed my hand on Yui’s chin like you’d see in a shoujo manga, pulling her closer. As Yui looked at me in confusion, I flashed a confident face and spoke with a handsome voice,
“Why don’t you let me hear yours instead, Yui’s cute voice…(low-pitched voice).”
She was blown away. Apparently, I’ve hit the nail on the head. Yui was shaking with laughter。…..After doing that, I started to feel embarrassed and subtly regretted it.
After that, all Yui did was chat and hardly spoke. However, by the time we left the Internet cafe, I felt that the distance between us had shrunk a little.
When we went outside, the sun was almost setting. Yui looked back at the
Internet cafe with a regretful look.
“Did you have fun?”
When I asked her that, Yui nodded her head without hesitation. I was so overjoyed that I couldn’t help but open my mouth.
“I’ll take you home.”
When Yuuma said this, Yui looked a little lost.
“Don’t be shy, okay? It may be hard for you to walk around the city by yourself. If you don’t want me to know where you live, you can just leave me at a random place.”
When I said that, Yui shook her head and said, Um…er…well…of course. 』
That’s how I got to Yui’s house…….
“It’s that close!?”
[It’s that close!?] I couldn’t stop myself from shouting out loud in front of Yui’s house.
『Is that so?』
“Ah…uh…do you see the water tank of the apartment building over there? I live right there in that apartment.”
『Isn’t that super close!?』
“It’s incredible, really. It was just like that in the game, and this in real life too, it seems like fate, doesn’t it?”
『Huh? Is this really fate, or am I just being seduced?』
It’s the same kind of conversation we had on the Internet yesterday.
But, at that moment, I actually thought that Yui was a man, but now that I know she was a girl….I was pretty embarrassed by myself and was at a loss for words.
Seeing Yuuma’s reaction, Yui also turned her face away, perhaps embarrassed to have said it herself.
“Okay, well, I’m going home.”
I felt pretty awkward for some reason and tried to leave quickly…and that’s when it happened.
Yui took a deep breath.
“Ah, that…., right? Um….”
Yui took another deep breath.
“Today…I had a lot of fun. I’ve never played with my friends like this before….”
“Yeah, I had fun too.”
“Ah, really? Yeah, and right….? Oh, and uhm, if it’s okay with you….I’ll see you tomorrow….”
“Yeah. I don’t have any plans during spring break. Let’s play tomorrow.”
When Yuuma said that, Yui’s expression turned into a happy one.
“Oh, thank you. Ehehe……I’m glad……”
When I think to myself that I was able to Yui, who was once so stiff and nervous when we first met, smile like this, I feel proud.
“So….I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
“Yes! See you tomorrow!”
Yui gave me a small wave to send me off.
──To be honest, today was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work. But when I saw that smile at the end of the day, it took all of my tiredness away.
(Am I too easy?)
Feeling his mouth loosen up, Yuuma made his way home.
“Oh, Yuuma-Kun is back.”
When I got home, I heard a woman’s voice and the sound of a sewing machine coming from the living room.
I washed my hands and went to the living room to find my sister-in-law Nene using the sewing machine at the table as usual.
“Hold on a second. I’m almost done.”
“Oh, there’s no need to rush. I’ll make dinner for you.”
“Really? I’ll take your word for it then.”
From a distance, she looked like a beautiful, model-built mature woman with lightly dyed hair.
With her cheeks apple red like a child, a woman sews a dress – a cosplay costume of a character from an anime that she’s been promoting lately – with a skill that even a beginner can understand.
“Can I make dumplings?”
“Yes. Anything is fine.”
It’s didn’t require much work to make them since they were frozen. Heat a frying pan and place the frozen dumplings in it──that was it.
“Today was the day of your meeting with Schwarz, right? You met with him today, didn’t you? What was he like?”
“Ah…well, he was a bit of a weird person, but he was a pretty funny and interesting guy.”
“No [I met that person, and she’s actually a girl] kind of thing?”
“No, it’s not like that, is it?”
“Well, that’s too bad. I was hoping for a little bit of that.”
I’ll keep quiet about it for now….To be honest, I’m embarrassed to talk about it right now. And if I do, she’ll tease me for sure.
“Whatever the case, meeting that boy was the catalyst for your change, wasn’t it? Then I should be grateful to him, too. When I first met you, you barely spoke to me, and I thought I was going to lose you.”
──Yuuma and Nene were brothers-sisters-in-laws whose blood were not directly related. Their parents remarried. Yuuma was on the mother’s side, while Nene was on the father’s side.
In order to get rid of the loneliness in my life, I decided to make friends with my relatives first, so I started talking to Nene actively, but she also likes anime and manga, so the conversation went surprisingly well.
At first, I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to talk to one another due to our age gap, but now that we’ve gotten to know each other well enough to lend and borrow our favourite manga. We felt more like friends than siblings, but we had a good relationship.
“That’s right. It all started with him, didn’t it?”
It was all thanks to my meeting with Yui that my life started to take a turn for the better.
But I can’t abandon her. It won’t be the same as giving back…but the fact that I was the only one who was happy and Yui was the only one who remained the same still disturbs me.
The path that I was heading on will be steep, but I will do my best and take care of her. I thoroughly renewed my resolve.
TL notes: Please donate if you don’t mind 🙂