The Flags Across the World
TLN: It seems that Amazon e-books for light novels in general have low quality illustrations because of a tighter file size limit than other e-book distributors. I’ll be switching to Kobo for future light novel purchases.
Also sorry about the wait. The ‘short break’ turned out to be longer than expected.
It’s been a day since Ryuuga was revealed to be a woman.
She arrived at school completely full of spirit.
She said “Good morning,” to me with the usual refreshing smile, and headed towards her seat near the window in the back with light steps. All while humming a tune, oddly enough.
Yukimiya, Aogasaki, and Elmira surrounded Ryuuga’s seat this morning as well. It seems they already knew that Ryuuga was coming to school.
“Hinomori, is your cold okay now?”
“Yep. Sorry for worrying you, Shiori.”
“Good grief, a master of martial arts should also know how to manage one’s health.”
“I’ll keep your advise in mind, Rei.”
“As punishment for making us worry, let me absorb some blood from you.”
“S, stop it Elle! It’s not good to do it here!”
The three are the same as ever, competing for Ryuuga. They’re completely unaware that their heroine routes were cut off.
…At first glance, nothing seems odd, this is a familiar sight. Seeing Ryuuga say “Jeez,” with a bitter smile, it almost seemed like yesterday never happened.
However, I can’t escape from reality anymore. There’s that ordeal about the true Hinomori Ryuuga.
A girl who yesterday, had suddenly swapped out of the school uniform’s pants for a mini-skirt she carried.
A girl who after doing so, made miso soup for some reason.
A girl who said “Don’t gather data about girls anymore,” as I was about to leave.
And finally, a girl who whispered “Instead, I’ll tell you about my three sizes,” into my ear.
──That girl back then is no doubt the boy sitting right there. Definitely not a twin or a look-alike, but the same person.
(What should I do…)
Leaving aside the main characters, I need to think about what my position will be from now on.
From my standpoint, this is a very unstable position right now.
I went and learned that Ryuuga is a girl.
Then, Ryuuga requested that we be semi-lovers.
Furthermore, things had progressed little by little.
In addition to keeping this secret that not even the heroines know about, another secret had result from it.
(How nice things would be if she was just a man who only looked like a woman…)
Those kinds of characters are called “traps” by society. Unfortunately, Ryuuga has breasts. She admitted herself that she’s an E cup.
She’s really a girl after all. He’s a she, and furthermore is on the verge of becoming my girlfriend.
…As expected, this won’t do. Of course, I like Ryuuga, but those feelings are similar to “respect and admiration.” As a result of not treating Ryuuga like a girl, our relationship was the kind where we would calmly put our arms around each others shoulders and share a pack of juice.
A minor change as a friend character is still within my limits, but a story about being “the protagonist’s lover” is in a completely different realm.
Even though it seems that I’m just temporarily her boyfriend, that position is already one that’s supposed to belong to a main character. Or rather, an important character. Naturally, that would be the kind of character that would appear in the anime’s opening, let alone appearing in the character introduction column.
(Can I carry such a major duty…? Absolutely not. I know that about myself the best.)
Having a person named Kobayashi Ichirou be the female protagonist’s companion is a big miscast.
The protagonist’s sweetheart is supposed to be a likeable youth or a handsome man. They should be a cool and sensible figure, like how Ryuuga has been.
So far I’ve been a guy making a fuss about “breasts” or “panties,” so this isn’t a position I’m fit for.
(In the first place, why did she choose me as her pseudo boyfriend…perhaps Ryuga is the type of woman to get involved with a good-for-nothing guy.)
As I was thinking, Ryuuga and the others were flirting around. They’re fellow female friends though.
“Um, Hinomori. Are you free this Sunday? I wanted to go to the movies together once more…”
Former heroine/candidate Yukimiya Shiori was bashfully speaking to Ryuuga.
“I’m pretty sure it’s my turn to go on a date with him next. I heard that a sword exhibition is being held at the department store on the weekend. Don’t you want to go, Ryuuga?”
Former heroine/candidate Aogasaki Rei immediately took part in the conversation.
“No. Ryuuga is supposed to talk with me all night about ‘what the scariest horror movie is.'”
Former heroine/candidate Elmira McCartney bumps in, of course.
I feel a little sorry for these three. There’s no way their love can be fulfilled. The reason for that is because the one Ryuuga wants is…me.
So like that, the bell rang, and the heroines reluctantly dispersed.
I no longer make an uproar towards the popular Ryuuga anymore. Ryuuga insistently told me “they’re just friends.” That would be the case, they’re fellow female friends after all.
(Please let me wind back time…to the start of the first semester…)
Before long, Minegishi appeared, starting homeroom.
Then, I received a message on my cellphone. It was from Ryuuga.
‘It’s okay. I plan on spending time with you this weekend, Ichirou!’
I’m at my wits’ end.
‘Come to my house today. Get here quick, though you’re just accompanying me for training! I want you to do things like carrying me in your arms or patting my head lots of times! Later on, I’d like you to be on good terms with my sister, and eventually I could introduce you to my parents as well, so──’
My hand that was holding the cellphone began to tremble.
After being revealed as a girl, Ryuuga’s messages have been getting excessively lengthy. It’s only been a day since the incident, and yet I’ve gotten over twenty messages now.
Where did the cool Ryuuga go?
It doesn’t seem like I can go back to being charmed by the hero Hinomori Ryuuga anymore.
“Look, look Ichirou. Ta-da.”
After school, I was forcibly taken to the Hinomori house and was faced with Ryuuga wearing a nurse outfit.
She was carefully holding a syringe, but that skirt is awfully short. Her legs, which were wrapped in pure white knee-high socks, were slender but well-proportioned, and looked very healthy and risque. On her emphasized chest was a name tag that said “Hinomori.”
…Of course, this is just cosplay. Ryuuga bought a “girl’s costume set” online.
By the way, this is her third costume. There was a yukata and qipao before, and now there’s a nurse costume. There are still many outfits inside her closet.
The only other person who knows about this secret collection is her sister, Kyouka…I didn’t think that a suppressed woman’s heart could manifest in this sort of way.
“Kobayashi~, can I help you with anything today?”
“Um…I’ve caught a cold.”
“How grave! We have to perform surgery immediately!”
“No, it’s just a common cold.”
“First of all, how about we give you double eyelids?”
“Then, let’s adjust your eyebrows since they seem a bit thick.”
“Leave them be.”
For the time being, I’ll keep going with this charade.
What the heck am I even doing. I wonder at what point did our roles as funny man and straight man reverse?
…Fortunately, today’s fashion show ended with only three outfits.
While saying “Ah, that was fun,” in a good mood, Ryuuga sat down next to me. With her legs out to the side…that way of sitting is pretty much like a girl’s now.
(…Things have quieted down it seems.)
Ryuuga’s room is pretty spacious. It seems about the size of a school’s classroom. What’s more, the floor’s made up of tatamis and the door is a fusuma in a true Japanese fashion. (TLN: A fusuma is a sliding door made of paper/cloth in a wooden frame)
As expected of a family with an ancient and honorable lineage, the Hinomori house was an old-fashioned, samurai-looking residence. My house would only take up the courtyard of this place.
Considering that Ryuuga’s only living with her younger sister, I think that this is a tremendous splurge. Though, Ryuuga told me that “Shiori’s home is as big as ten houses.”
(This is the fourth time I’ve come here, but today I especially don’t feel relaxed.)
The reason is obvious. Ryuuga is tightly clinging to me.
Even though this room is so wide, we’re close enough that our shoulders are touching and that we’re holding hands.
Ever since that confession, when the two of us are alone, physical contact with Ryuuga gets extreme. It’s a matter of serious concern for me.
From the entrance to this room, I had to princess carry Ryuuga. The moment I laid her onto a cushion, she demanded that I pat her head. I wonder if this is also a result of having to live her life as a man…
“Hey, Ichirou. What kind of outfit do you want to see next?”
Resting her head on my shoulder, Ryuuga says so with a voice like that of a spoiled child’s.
“I also have maid uniforms, cheerleader outfits, swimsuits, and other costumes. Don’t you have a request?”
“Then, an armored warrior…”
“I don’t have that. That’s not cute!”
“What about a football player…”
“Why is it only things with armor! I prohibit anything that looks gallant!”
Nurse Ryuuga pokes me in the forehead with puffed up cheeks. At first glance, it seems like a cute act, but I could feel that poke in the center of my head. As expected of a battle expert.
(However, I’m wondering if this is really just “pretending to be lovers”…isn’t she being unusually clingy? If this goes on, this lie might become truth…)
From time to time she goes back to being a hero and engages in serious fights. I can’t say the danger of this becoming genuine to Ryuuga, nor can I say to her that “things will never work out” with me.
The reason for is because when taking another look at her as a girl…she’s right in my strike zone──
(I, I shouldn’t be thinking about stupid things. I have to abstain from my worldly desires! I will reach enlightenment!)
While I was reprimanding myself, Ryuuga tightly clung to my arm….A certain something is in contact with me. It’s pressing against me. Honestly speaking, I do like it, but, guh, calm down, my lower-half!
“…That reminds me Ichirou. There was something you said back at the karaoke center.”
“You asked if I was hiding something from you…what did you mean by that?”
Even if I’m asked that, the only thing I can answer with is “because it’s a cliche development.” That was just me showing a perceptive side as a close friend, and on the contrary, it would have been bad if I actually received an honest reply.
In the end though, my peeping of battles was found out, and I ended up having to listen to the circumstances of Ryuuga and the others.
Considering that…I can’t deny this feeling that those words I said triggered a flag.
“This is just what I think, but…at that time, isn’t this what you were saying, Ichirou? ‘Why don’t you already confess that you’re a girl and go out with me?'”
“Then, at the classroom, you also said that I didn’t need to talk about it until I wanted to. By that, weren’t you saying ‘I’ll be waiting for as long as it takes’?”
Wrong. Wrong. That’s not it.
If you were reading between the lines, what I meant by that was “I’ll keep silent about it for eternity.”
“Sorry it took so long. But from now on, we’ll always be together.”
“One day, I’ll persuade father and mother. As a legitimate descendant of the Hinomori household, I have to make a child. I have to marry someone anyways. I should be able to make my choice for who my partner will be.”
This is dire. This conversation is dire, Ryuuga. I’m repeating myself by saying this, but I’m wondering if this really is just training?!
“France’s Castle of Chambord would be nice.”
“W, what are you talking about?”
…Soon after that, I left the Hinomori house while feeling overwhelmed.
When I left the gate, Kyouka, who I came across as she was returning home, said “Would you like to come and have dinner with us?”
She was a girl with a cheerful smile and twintails, but I politely declined her offer. She was still innocent, yet as a younger sister, she had neat looks, similar to Ryuuga.
“I heard about what happened from my sister…no wait, I mean from my brother. Please give Ryuuga happiness, Kobayashi.”
That night, for some reason, I had a dream where a frilled lizard was chasing me to the ends of the earth.