That same day, I was tired after going through those two troublesome events in the morning.
──Tao’s sudden attendance.
──Agito contacing Ryuuga.
Just those two would have been fine, but like I had been warned, Minegishi fired a barrage of questions onto me during English class. If today wasn’t a Saturday, where classes ended at noon, my hair would be gray by now.
(Fortunately, it seems that Tao left early after first period. I’ll set that matter aside for now…my current issue is tomorrow’s date.)
I didn’t think that Agito would make a move on Ryuuga.
I was even being careful to not intertwine their stories…what’s the meaning of this? Should he even be Tao’s vessel?
(Perhaps Agito wasn’t the protagonist of a ‘supernatural battle story. For example, perhaps this is a ‘romance story’? In that case, he chose Ryuga as the heroine…)
What bothers me is that Agito has a high fighting capability though…well, perhaps it’s a romance story that incorporates fighting. That’s not uncommon these days.
However, that’s honestly a problem.
Unfortunately, a “love story” only encompasses a very small, private scope of the world. On the other hand, a “supernatural battle story” involves the fate of mankind. The stakes are far too different.
(Anyways, I’ll check again with Ryuga for the details.
While thinking as such, I decided to ask her again while walking home with her.
Ryuuga explained dejectedly while sighing many times. The grim face she made completely negated her refreshing smile from this morning.
“When I came back from Shiori’s classroom and tried to sit down, Tenryouin called out to me. I had a bad feeling when he talked to me…”
She no longer addressed him in a polite way. On the contrary, she referred to him in a rather rude way.1Ryuuga no longer attached any honorifics to his name and also referred to him using “aitsu (あいつ)”, both of which are impolite things to do to someone who’s still unfamiliar.
“I’ve already told you what happened after that. He told me that I was a woman and that he wanted a date in exchange for not revealing that matter…he’s no ordinary person if he was able to see through me in just a week.”
I honestly beg to differ. Recently, Ryuuga’s been letting her identity as a woman slip out, freaking me out in the process. However, I didn’t want to interrupt her, so I nodded along.
“So, a date…well normally, that would mean he’s interested in you.”
“I think that’s the case. I mean, he said it with this absurd smile. That gave me the creeps.”
“S, smile? Agito smiled?”
I can’t overlook that.
That Agito smiled? Even though I couldn’t get him to smile at me yet? Even though he wouldn’t smile no matter how big of a fool I made out of myself?
Is this the difference between how the protagonist and the supporting character are treated…? Now I’m envious of Ryuuga. I want to see it. Show me Agito’s smile.
“Hey, Ryuga. Just asking, did you happen to take a picture of Agito’s smile…?”
“Of course I didn’t. I don’t take pictures of any boy other than you.”
I suppose I should’ve expected that. I wanted to set an image of his smile to my phone’s incoming call screen. I’ve been changing it everyday with a picture of Shizuma.
“Furthermore, he didn’t smile until he asked for a date. When I said ‘If Ichirou is there with me, we can meet. Sorry, but we’re not going alone,’ to him, his usual sour look returned.”
That sounds right. Agito asked Ryuuga out under the assumption that she’s a girl. Her bringing a man along is nothing more than an insult.
(This is definitely going to ruin his impression of me, isn’t it…?)
This is a troublesome situation I’ve found myself in. A protagonist fell in love with another protagonist.
Still, the two stories have already crossed over at this point. A date event between the two protagonists has occurred.
Certainly, Tenryouin Agito has the characteristics worthy of being Ryuuga’s lover. Perhaps there isn’t a guy more well-suited for her than him.
However, I’d like to avoid any further interaction between them if possible. I want them to be separate.
(I’m already busy enough anyways. If Ryuga becomes the heroine of a separate ‘love story,’ things will devolve into chaos.)
While I was thinking about such things, Ryuuga suddenly shortened the distance between us as we walked together.
It was a distance unthinkable for just two guy friends. Her girl form came out again…
“Ichirou. If Tenryouin tries to do anything fishy to me, make sure to protect me. Sternly say that you’re my boyfriend.”
“No, we can’t reveal the fact that you’re a girl…”
“Then we have no choice but to say ‘We’re boys, but we’re dating.’ It’s better than admitting that I’m a girl.”
That’s just going to give Agito some further doubts. That’s also going to give Elmira further material for her novel.
“Ugh. This was supposed to be our date, and yet…I had to give Tenryouin my email address. This is the worst.”
According to Ryuuga, Agito already sent three emails to her since this morning.
I didn’t ask what he specifically wrote, but Ryuuga said that they were “some kind of poetic, pretentious writing.” It’s clear that he was trying to make a move on her.
“At this rate, there will be many more by tomorrow…well, I will acknowledge his literary talent though.”
“I, is that so?”
“Yeah. However, I can’t show them to you. They’re private messages.”
…What is this pressing feeling inside me?
Could it be that I’m jealous? Over Ryuuga’s messages with a boy?
(I, I’m not mad or anything. If we’re talking about poem-like messages, haven’t I gotten them from Aogasaki too?)
If I remember correctly, I think she wrote “The sixteenth night with its gentle evening breeze, are you looking at the same moon as me?” or something like that. That was the first time I had trouble coming up with a reply to a message.
Anyways, tomorrow I’ll have to convince Agito to give up on Ryuuga. I’d like him to choose a different heroine and work hard on his “love story.”
“Say, Ichirou. Are you…jealous right now?”
I immediately froze upon her apparently reading my mind.
“Are you angry at that fact that someone approached your girlfriend? That is, as my boyfriend?”
Upon Ryuuga looking up at me with eyes full of expectation, I racked my brain trying figure out how to respond.
…It’s true that I don’t find this enjoyable. I can’t deny that Agito asking her to a date through this method has lowered my opinion of him.
Arrogant protagonists aren’t bad, but using threats is a big no. I need to have him reflect on this in the future.
“Don’t worry, Ryuga. I’ll make sure Agito gives up on you.”
“Really? You can convince him?”
“Yeah. Though, rather than doing it as a boyfriend, I’m doing it as a story planner of some──”
“Kyaah~! I’m so glad!”
With a girl-like scream, the protagonist clung to my arm. At first glance, it looked like a rash action, but it seems she did it after confirming that nobody was around.
“To be honest, I secretly wanted this to happen. I wanted Ichirou to bravely drive away someone trying to approach my weak self. Then afterwards, we would grow to become even more lovey-dovey!”
Isn’t that just a cliche “love story”? You’re the protagonist of a “battle story,” you know? While I’m at it, I’m fairly certain that you’re far from weak.
“I guess that I’m thankful for Tenryouin in an odd kind of way. Thanks to him, you’ve gotten jealous. Even now, you’re being this clingy.”
“You’re the one who’s being clingy! Hey, get off! Don’t link your arm with mine! You don’t know who could be watching!”
The road we walked along was the one Sebastian’s car drove through just yesterday.
We can’t be negligent just because there are no pedestrians. There’s also the danger of being spotted by passing cars or buses. The people inside would see two boys flirting with each other.
“Oh right, Ichirou, how about we wear matching straps tomorrow? We can use that to further convince him that we’re a──”
Ryuuga suddenly stopped in the middle of her eager proposal. She then let go of me and kept herself a normal distance away.
There was a pedestrian up ahead. The person seemed like a huge monk wearing a kasaya.
(Is this person asking for donations? Should I donate a hundred yen?)
As the figure approached, he was larger than I expected.
I think he easily surpassed one hundred and ninety centimeters. I couldn’t see his face since it was covered by the conical hat he wore, but he rang a bell while muttering what seemed to be a sutra.
(He looks quite tough…I can tell that he’s muscular beneath his clothes.)
Ryuuga and I moved aside to make way for him. As he passed by us, he took five steps, and then…
“──Excuse me. This is out of the blue, but can I ask something?”
He called out to us from behind. When we turned around, we found that the muscular monk stopped and looked at us.
“S, sure. What is it?”
Despite his intimidating build overwhelming me, I replied.
As for Ryuuga, she stood behind me and made a rustling sound for some reason. When I looked at her, I found that she was trying to find some change in her wallet. Perhaps she wanted to give something to the monk.
“Did you see…someone who looked like the Buddha around here?”
I didn’t understand what he meant.
Someone who looked like the Buddha? Someone with a dot on their forehead? Someone with a halo? Or perhaps, a dead body?
“No…nothing comes to mind.”
When I answered while confused, the brawny monk said “I see. My apologies,” made a slight bow, and walked off. All the while, he was still ringing the bell.
(Are people supposed to search for the Buddha by asking people around…?)
While I tilted my head to the side and looked at the monk’s retreating figure, Ryuuga also stared at him over my shoulder.
“He left before I could offer him anything…what a strange monk.”
“Yeah. Maybe he was talking about you? Your golden aura isn’t too different from a halo.”
“Don’t make me out to be the Buddha. I’m just a youthful schoolgirl, you know?”
“Schoolboy, you mean.”
When the monk eventually disappeared from sight, we turned back around and resumed walking. That was certainly a weird monk, but there’s nothing we can do other than moving on.
At any rate, I need to focus on tomorrow’s date right now. I need to come home early and ask Mion for an early allowance. I need to beg for her charity.
“Come to think of it, Ichirou. How’s Shizuma doing? Is he safe?”
“Yeah. Last time, I had Tie bring a video camera. It seems that his companions are increasing in number.”
According to his second report, a falcon apostle named Zelva became his follower. It seems that Zelva is Mion’s close associate, meaning that a commanding officer from each of the three princesses are now his followers.
“Really…? He’s more capable than I thought. At this rate, he might gain control over the spirit world in no time. Perhaps I should write a letter next time. I can tell him ‘Do your best.'”
“That would be nice. He would like that.”
After all, Shizuma had a case of puppy love towards Ryuuga. Now that I think about it, she’s really popular with the guys…she’s caught the attention of Agito, Shizuma, and Taotie.
(That reminds me, didn’t Tao call her a ‘looker’ this morning too? Does she know that Ryuga’s a woman?)
While dodging Ryuuga as she tried clinging to me once more, I held my fingers over my brow.
It’s only noon, yet I already want this day to end. I’ve frayed my nerves. However…
At that time, I didn’t realize that tomorrow’s date would be even more exhausting.
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