I thought back to the day my little sister came to my home.
It was March. The weather should have been nice and warm. Yet it snowed that day.
She hid behind her mother’s back, her head low as if she were secretly looking at me.
From today, she is your little sister.
Make sure to take good care of her.
Facing my parents’ request, I smiled and said ‘Sure’.
Her mother urged her to come forward. She timidly took a few steps forward, looking down and whispered:
“Pleased to meet you, onii-san.”
After that, I rarely saw her again.
== Chapter 1 ==
One day in April, I was making dinner inside the kitchen. Suddenly *Bang*! The ceiling shook a bit.
“Wait a little longer!”
*Bang bang bang bang*
“Got it, got it, got it! I got it already!”
I took the hot frying pan in one hand, the other snapped an egg open and put it inside.
*Zzzzhtttttt* I took another look at the egg and sighed.
— So troublesome.
In order to understand what is going on, you have to know about us.
My name is Izumi Masamune. Fifteen years old. First year, high school.
My little sister’s name is Izumi Sagiri. Twelve years old.
Right now, for various reasons, I’m living alone with my little sister.
She is the only family member I have right now. She rarely leaves her room — in other words, a hikikomori. Of course, she doesn’t go to school either.
Not only that, but she hasn’t even opened the door to me – her own brother who, in her parents’ place, has been taking care of her.
”I thought hikikomori no longer exists.”
She is a clean freak, but if I don’t go outside, she probably won’t take a bath. The only conversation between us brother and sister was the ceiling banger just now.
Really, so troublesome.
Despite that, I have my own share of problems too. However, the truth is that this is probably the only thing troubling me.
Double sided fried eggs with tomato and lettuce – a salad dish. The only spice I used was a small amount of salt since I couldn’t be sure of my little sister’s taste.
“Just like a supper.”
After a year, I became used to making this meal. I put everything on a dish and headed toward my little sister’s room. Passing by the nearly empty first floor, I took the stairs.
With every step, the floor made a squeaking sound. This sound was like a dinner bell for my little sister.
Living alone in a two story building, this house is too big for us.
On the door to my hikikomori little sister’s room, there was a cute heart shape brand with the words ‘Sagiri’ written on.
I gently knock on the door.
“Sagiri, dinner is here.”
Then I wait.
A minute of silence ~ then I put the dish on the floor.
“I left it here, have a good meal.”
I used a finger to massage my temple as countless words in my head turned into a sigh. Then I took a paper and pen out and began writing.
Putting my message on paper and leaving it with the dish – today too, I had to do that to communicate with my little sister.
— Come out and let me see you.
That was my only wish.
A year ago, I had begun fighting. Of course, that was a metaphor. However, if you asked what I was fighting against, well….
Against my little sister who refused to leave her room. Against our guardian who barely visited. While still a high school student – that kind of fighting.
We brother and sister are not related by blood. We are just two kids who followed our parents when they remarried. Then they left us to enjoy their honeymoon. No matter how I look at it, they acted like a lovey dovey high school couple.
The next part was something I’d rather not remember, so allow me to skip it. In short, right now, we siblings are the only ones living here.
After that… my only little sister hid inside her room…. and never tried to communicate with anyone anymore.
“What are you doing?”
I whispered, unsure whether I was asking myself or my little sister. Probably both.
After finishing dinner, I returned to my room on the first floor and sat down in front of the table.
“Alright, let’s start working.”
I started my B5-size (A size for paper, check [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size#B_series)] laptop.
I’m now working as a professional novelist. Colloquially speaking, you can call me a light novel writer.
During my first year in middle school, I got a prize in a light novel writing contest. Since then, for three years, I worked and went to school at the same time. It was rare for a writer to still be in middle school, so there was no one younger than me in this field.
Because I got a prize on my first attempt, there were a lot of writer’s troubles and hardships that I didn’t understand. At that time, I thought ‘I’m a genius’ and got a bit arrogant. However, my newfound false confidence was soon crushed.
Now, I only thought that it was ‘Just my luck.’
My pen name is Izumi Masamune. Basically my real name.
I kept it a secret from my family, and my co-worker also helped me. Thus, even my classmates didn’t know that someone who was still in high school like me, was an author.
— Until …
“What would have happened? If I was exposed?”
I muttered uneasily.
This was because yesterday was the first time I took part in a signing event. The first autograph event after three years of debuting.
I would feel very embarrassed if my classmates found out, so I always refused that kind of event. However, yesterday was a special case.
Last month, I wrote a novel about fighting with special powers. After that, I finally decided that this is the time for ‘Izumi Masamune’ to appear in public.
That’s why, yesterday, I went to the venue located in Ikebukuro, Sunshine.
It was fun.
Although at first I was a bit afraid of my admirers, I soon grew used to it. This was a rare chance to see how well-received my work was, after all.
It was fun! I was very happy! Really happy! I like this character a lot — like that.
To be able to directly hear my fan say that gave me a huge boost in confidence and courage. It was like a whole new window had been opened in front of me. I was so grateful toward my editor who told me to do this.
Everything was fine so far.
Still, after the autograph event ended, I noticed one thing.
After fans of Izumi Masamune met him, they would surely share it on the Internet.
Although this event only allowed signing and forbid taking pictures, the fact that I’m a high school student was revealed during my talk with them. Since my pen name is similar to my real name, there is a good chance that someone found out that I’m the high school student Izumi Masamune.
This isn’t good. Definitely not good.
If someone at school called me ‘Izumi-sensei’ or the like, I’d probably die of embarrassment.
That’s why —-
I’m now trying to search for my own name on the Internet.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead.
I remembered that during my first debut, I once made the same mistake. After that, the trauma was so bad that I swore I’d never search for my own pen name or novels.
Back then, the psychological damage was so bad that even now, I had trouble just thinking about it. So I’m truly impressed by those authors who could calmly read all those review about their works.
Leaving it aside for the moment. Under the firm knowledge about how dangerous my actions were, I started searching about the autograph event yesterday.
Then I browsed through various blogs and read their comments.
“It was fun to be able to talk with Izumi-sensei” — No no, to be able to see my reader having such a good time, I’m the one who had fun. Hm …here it said “Izumi-sensei is so young, just like the legend said” Hm? What legend?
—- Phew … Everything is fine…for now.
I pat my chest and began reading about the impression of this event.
So far, nothing seemed out of ordinary….
Just when I was thinking that, something caught my eye.
“Izumi-sensei’s signature is so hard to read”
“Sensei’s handwriting is really bad ~~”
“Really, truly bad”
“Where did he go to during elementary school?”
There should be a limit to how much you want to badmouth me. This is the worst I have ever seen!
*Tap tap tap*
“You damn blog! It’s not like I had a choice! I never practiced signing in the first place! How could I know what I should do when you suddenly showed me a paper filled with your blessings? I’m a writer, not an artist, damn it!”
I typed furiously on my keyboard.
My little sister slammed on the floor, showing me a perfect “So noisy!” protest.
Her room is directly above mine.
I looked at the ceiling and bit my lip.
This is it! This is why I hate Internet! I wanna cry already!
Even if they were anonymous comments, they should know what can be said and what can’t.
Just remember that!
My tear gently fell on the laptop.
It was now 7:00 pm. In order to get a new book to change my mood, I went to the Takasago bookstore. This is a self-employed bookstore. It had two floors and, despite it not being very large, it had a good amount of light novels and a nice atmophere.
“Really… exaggerations. This is normal on the Internet.”
Saying those words with a wry smile is this bookstore’s mistress, Takasago Tomoe. A girl with long smooth black hair with a particularly delicate feminine appearance.
Wearing an apron, she is my classmate and one of the few individuals who knows the truth about Izumi Masamune.
Three years ago, during the time I made my debut, her father caught me because of my suspicious actions (I was actually only trying to see if someone came and bought my book). It was one of my most embarrassing memories.
After that, I became her friend.
Right now, it was her break time. We were chatting inside the staff room.
“Really? It was normal? Then….”
“Yes. Writer. Artist. Anime director. Everyone gets it at some point. Well, just think of it as a tax for fame, don’t pay it too much attention.”
“I..I’m not that famous.”
“…Is that so?”
I think you are a bit too optimistic.
Sadly, it was the truth.
Because my writing speed is quite fast, my fame remained nearly unchanged since my debut. After the third story from Izumi Masamune came out, I had become a somewhat famous writer. At the very least, I had never ended a book midway, so I was considered quite loyal in my work.
Due to the unexpected success of my books, the novel ‘The Silver Wolf’ became the first one to be reprinted.
“Don’t think too hard about it. Such small comments won’t affect anything.”
“Somehow your words sound even worse than them….”
Tomoe took her smartphone out, clicked something and said:
“I took a look just now. Here, isn’t that your illustrator’s blog?”
Both of my eyes widened.
“Really? For real?”
“Let me take a look!”
“Here, this is the pen name, isn’t it?”
Tomoe showed me that blog’s name.
It read ‘Eromanga’s blog’. Just from reading that name, you might think that this is a blog aimed to introduce perverted manga or something like that.”(Ero” is a short form of the English word ‘erotic’ used commonly in Japan. It is a term used to mean erotic or sexy, also used to refer to something as perverted.)
However, right under that, something else was written:
Active Illustrator. Pen name came from an island. (Erromango is the largest island in the island nation of Vanuatu. Also, in Australia, there is a small town called Eromanga. Received it’s name before the term ero was adopted by the Japanese). There is no relation to ero manga.
“…..It really is….”
This ‘Eromanga’ is my current illustrator. He had been working with me since my debut, so I’m very grateful. After three year of working together, I felt that ‘we are a good team’, yet —
“Wow wow wow! What is he doing!”
The one who was badmouthing me was him!
“Masa-san, have you met Eromanga-sensei?”
“No! We only contact each other through our editor!”
In fact, I didn’t even know if this person is male or female. Well, since he always displayed moe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moe_(slang)) illustrations, he’s probably male.
An illustrator is someone who was appointed by an editor, so normally we didn’t directly contact each other. Even after three years, I had never met him face to face.
“Uhm ~ does that mean he hates you?”
“Wait! You mean my own illustrator hates me?”
“Isn’t that the truth? I got the feeling he was quite mad at you.”
But why? Did I do something to offend him?
When we just started working together, I once complained ‘What is with that perverted pen name’. Did he hear me say that? No no wait…with a name like ‘Eromanga’, anyone would have made that connection.
“If he hated me, I should apologize…but how can I do that…”
“Don’t ask me, I don’t know either.”
Tomoe shrugged her shoulders.
“Still, I think it’s strange that after three years of working together, you two know absolutely nothing about each other. Didn’t your editor have something to say?”
“Well, even among the editors, no one has met Eromanga-sensei. He took all of his jobs via the internet. His contract specifically requested to keep his identity a secret.”
“Ha, what a strange style.”
Tomoe bluntly expressed her opinion. I agreed with her. I had my situations too, so he’s probably got his own.
“Have you tried searching Eromanga on the Internet?”
“I did. But all the results point to the Eromanga website.”
That is normal.
“Think about it more. How about adding your pen name, or your novel’s name to the search?”
“Do you think of me as someone who would search his own name and novel?”
“…~ Ah right. You are such a doctrine person.”
“Right. So, I’d be very happy if you could do some searching about it for me.”
Tomoe started flicking with her smartphone again.
“You said searching, but actually I just browsed through his blog. Apart from illustrations, there are a lot of other things.”
“Like…mostly uploaded videos.”
“Uploaded videos? But isn’t he an illustrator?”
What kind of video would he upload?
“For example… some live streaming video…like that…?”
“Hm ~ I don’t get it.”
“Ah, look Masa-san, this is the newest update. Eromanga-sensei is going to have another live feed today. Do you want to take a look?”
Thus, at the ‘Takasago bookstore’, I bought some new light novels. One of my rules was to never buy any books via the Internet, so I looked everywhere else for more. It wasn’t very comfortable, but that is my rule.
I opened the door to my home, full of excitement.
“I’m home ~”
No response just like usual. Still, I didn’t mind it at all. I shouted at the stairs.
“Sagiri ~ once you finished your meal, be sure to leave it outside your room ~”
Then I returned to my room and back to my laptop.
“Live streaming video… right here!”
After my talk with Tomoe, a spark of curiosity toward ‘Eromanga-sensei’ appeared in my mind. Although three years ago, I quickly gave up about him, but….
What does he look like? What is his voice like? What is he like?
What does he think about my novel?
I clicked my mouse and viewed that blog.
It seemed like this blog was created a long time ago, there was a lot written here. Aside from his comment about my signature, there were many other things that made me angry.
I paused because the video had started running.
When it just started….
First, the screen showed a very basic style.
— In other words, Eromanga-sensei is about to appear.
However, contrary to my expectations, the screen showed a pink notice ‘A talk with everyone while drawing illustrations’.
[Stand by] [Waiting] Then the screen began to move from right to left.
“It’s starting…so…what will he be like?”
My eyes fixed on the screen. Then a small voice sounding like it had gone through a voice changer came out:
“Ah! Good night everyone. Today I will have a talk with you while drawing. Pleased to meet you.”
[I love you Ero-sensei!]
[I love you Ero-sensei!]
[Pleased to meet you.]
[I love you Ero-sensei!]
“I, I do not know someone like that!”
[What is wrong with your pen name]
[You choose this name because you wanted to draw ero illustrations right?]
“I told you it’s not like that! You always called me Ero-sensei this Ero-sensei that!”
[I’m counting on you, be sure to show us a nice ero illustration!]
Looked like — this is how he always greets his fans.
Hmhm…. directly communicating with fans… I’m jealous.
I imagined myself doing that — still, doing a live video stream while writing a novel…I bet it is going to be very boring.
“I will say it beforehand, there is no ero illustration today.”
The screen turned into a sea illustration. Then a digital pen appeared.
However, that meant no one saw Eromanga-sensei.
“Today, I want to show everyone this illustration – from Izumi Masamune sensei’s ‘The Silver Wolf’s Reincarnation’, one of the main heroines, Beniusagi-chan!(“Beniusagi” means Red Rabbit) She is my favorite character. Although during the third volume, Izumi-sensei didn’t revive her!”
I said sorry inside my head. So Eromanga-sensei liked this girl. I remembered that the illustration for this character took him quite some time.
Could it be that that was the reason he is angry?
“Really, Izumi-sensei is too much. Such a cute girl, yet he mercilessly killed her. She was like a daughter to me!”
While showing his anger toward me, the digital pen kept moving.
No wait! Wait a sec! This can’t be helped! This was a fighting novel!
Your resentment should go toward the one who killed her, Kinshishi (“Kinshishi” means Golden Lion) (The final boss of volume 3).
Eromanga-sensei began coloring Akaiusagi while humming a song.
…Hm ~ so that’s how an illustration is created.
Totally unlike what I was expecting.
The cursor kept moving back and forth. Even if you stared at the screen, you wouldn’t be able to keep up with its trajectory. Not only that, sometimes the digital pen and mouse were moving at the same time. What a magic-like skill.
Actually, no matter what kind of job it was, as long as it reached professional level, people will find that simply watching is enjoyable.
After a while, the topic became ‘Izumi Masamune-sensei’s autograph event’.
“Ah, regarding the rumor about the autograph event to celebrate ‘Silver Wolf’, I’m so sorry, but I can’t go. Because I can’t allow my identity to be exposed. So please let Izumi-sensei know.”
[What’s wrong? Are you a lolicon?]
[Is the legend true? Izumi-sensei is actually a beautiful elementary school girl?]
“Shut up. I have never seen Izumi-sensei myself, so I don’t know!”
The one who suggested that he was a lolicon just smiled wryly. Maybe someone would feel complicated if this was the truth, but I was moved. This is something truly amazing.
However, the one who said that I’m a beautiful elementary schoolgirl… is probably just trying to tease me.
My name is clearly a male name… how could they come to that conclusion?
“Still, I heard that Izumi-sensei’s signature is very bad.”
[Yeah, truly truly bad]
[It was like a bad drawing]
You guy shut up! Even if it was the truth, you had no right to say it!
Damn it! If I meet him, I’d surely give him a piece of my mind!
“So, it’s done ~? ”
[Nice Ero ~]
[Thank you for your hard work]
[Today was fun too]
[So cute ~~]
A lot of comments popped up. Yes, it truly was a good illustration.
[Can I take it as my wallpaper this time too, sensei?]
“Of course ~ you can ~ Thank you for watching ~”
The illustration was done, but the live video streaming still continued. Probably going into chat time.
“Phew ~ After talking so much, I’m so tired.”
Eromanga-sensei let out a tired breath.
“Every time I made a live video, the illustration turned out to be good.”
[Kinshishi’s illustration is nice too]
[Everything is OK]
[How about some anime character now?]
“Hey wait, you guys request too many things! Wait a sec!”
A moment of silence, then the computer screen which was currently being shown was cut off. Next someone wearing an anime character mask and headphone appeared.
— Heh, so he switched the camera. Which meant that this is Eromanga-sensei.
Unlike a normal televised broadcast, whatever he decided to show us next is random, but it’s not a bad thing.
He was wearing an anime character mask, with a large coat and a hat – so I couldn’t make sure what he looked like. But even though the room was dark with an unclear picture, I could say that he was much smaller than I expected.
Eromanga-sensei took out an anime magazine and flipped to a page with a famous character ranking. Of course there wasn’t any character of mine in there.
“Take a pick from here. Ah, if possible, choose someone I like. I prefer it that way.”
Then a lot of request popped up on the screen. Eromanga-sensei happily chatted with everyone — but I didn’t join in.
Because now is not the right time.
Those happy conversations didn’t enter my ear at all. I said nothing, all of my attention focused on the unclear streaming video.
“……………………. What is going on?”
Looking behind sensei’s back, at the room – I muttered.
There — lied the dinner that I just made for my little sister.
About a minute later, I recovered and frankly shook my head.
The live streaming video was still running. On my laptop’s screen was still that someone with a large coat and an unclear room. People were still chatting.
But if I looked carefully, I could see the familiar double-sided egg, the salad made with tomato and lettuce, even the dish was the same as the one in my family kitchen.
“What exactly is going on?”
I muttered again. My head felt a bit clearer than before, but I was still unable to understand.
No way. There was only one truth about it, but I still found it hard to believe.
“…Could it be…this video…came from…my home?”
I looked at the ceiling and whispered.
No way. No way. No way. But….
“Could it be that…. She is my little sister?”
Even I was scared of this idea.
Eromanga-sensei used a voice changer, wore a large coat and a mask. In other words, there is nothing strange if he turned out to be a girl.
…..I was unable to discard this theory.
Could it be — Sagiri – the one who never left her room, the one who never communicated with anyone – is the same one who could happily talk with her fans, my novel illustrator?
“….Could it be? How low is this chance?”
To tell the truth, I was confused. But at the same time, an idea appeared in my mind.
— This is a chance.
If ‘Eromanga-sensei’ = ‘My little sister, Sagiri’ then….
Right now, on my laptop’s screen could be my little sister, who refused to go out of her room….right?
Although it was hard to believe, but there was a chance! I had given up after a year, but now a golden chance fell on my lap. There is no way I could waste it!
Holding my head with both hands, I dropped my elbow on the table.
“….Damn….Damn it! I can’t think of anything!”
True, I was watching a live video, but all I could do is type something and sent it to her! What good would that do? What exactly should I say?
[Are you my little sister?] – Denied.
[How about going outside for a while?] – Rejected.
What difference was it compared to when I brought her meals? I even had a bad feeling about doing that. It would only complicate things later.
When I was mentally kicking myself, the ‘what would the next illustration be about’ talk had come to an end. Eromanga-sensei returned to the front of the camera.
“Then next video is tomorrow, everyone.”
Damn it! Time over! What should I do ?
When I couldn’t think of anything —
Eromanga-sensei made a small mistake.
“See you next time. Bye bye ~? ”
[Thank you for your hard work]
[I’m looking forward to it]
[Thank you for your hard work again]
In short, someone forgot to turn off the camera after the show.
[Wow wait it’s still continuing www]
[I love Ero Sensei! www]
[You forgot your camera]
Regretfully, Eromanga-sensei didn’t pay attention to her fan’s reminder.
….This is going to be bad… right?
This mistake could well lead to the tragedy of allowing whoever was watching that video to see that person’s ‘true self’.
For example – or rather, worst case scenario, imagine someone who runs naked in front of the camera and did some perverted things that caused people to curse them. Not to mention the danger of exposing your private life to the public.
This is bad. This is really, really bad – hey, hey, wait for me.
I jumped up from my chair.
The reason was because something unexpected happened on the screen.
“Ah ~~ I got so much fun. I’m so hungry, yet I forgot to eat the meal.”
Eromanga-sensei stood up and started take of his clothes.
First was the stocking. Then the large coat fell off when he was moving outside of the camera’s range. Next the mask fell down in front of the camera.
[Hey! Ero Manga sensei’s true identity is going to be revealed!]
[Probably a pervert though]
[Damn it! I can’t see anything. Come back here ~]
[Why do you want to watch a male change his clothes?]
[Hey, what a colorful stock]
[It might be good www]
I picked my laptop up and ran outside.
Toward the second floor, toward someone who ‘refused to leave her room’.
“Not good! Not good! Definitely not good!”
You guys understand, right?
If Eromanga-sensei is my little sister.
If they are the same person!
Then my little sister’s naked body is going to be revealed for the whole world to see!
I slammed on my little sister’s room’s door like I want to crush it down.
* Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!*I kept banging on the door while looking at my laptop’s screen.
“Cameraaaaaaaa!!!! You forgot to turn off your camera!!!!!!! Cameraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!”
*Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!*
“Damn it it’s still running!”
This is the first time I tried calling for my little sister without caring about my image.
In short, I tried my damn best. Notice it for me! Notice it notice it notice it notice it !!!
*Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!* The sound of banging door doubled, because my laptop’s speaker was emitting a same sound.
In other words – there is no doubt about it.
[What a loud knock!]
[Is his family causing trouble? www ]
The live video on the screen flicked and cut off.
“…It cut off…..”
The corridor turned back to silence.
…..I didn’t watch the last part of the video, but it looked like…I made it?
I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath. My shoulders were trembling from adrenaline rush.
“….I saved it. I saved…. my naked little sister…..”
I deserved some praise, right?
Although I wasted a good opportunity.
“…I have no regret.”
Removing my hand from the door’s handle, I wiped my forehead.
“But….be sure to know that…”
I fiercely looked at the door and said:
“I definitely want you to open this door!”
Just after the last words left my mouth, the door opened.
I let out a surprise voice.
No, but — wait wait? Why is that opening?
The door that I spent a year trying to open without success was slowly opening —
A girl in pajama appeared in front of me.
White skin. Slightly messed up silver hair. Blue eyes without emotion.
I got the feeling that if I looked away for a second, she will disappear.
This is my little sister, Izumi Sagiri.
Looking at my stunned-wide-opened-mouth, she whispered:
“Onii-san, long time no see.”
This was my little sister, who I hadn’t seen in a year.
I don’t know how long I stood here frozen. When I recovered, my little sister was standing blankly right in front of me.
This was our second meeting, but I think she is beautiful. Not that kind of vulgar beauty from an actress, but a pure immaculate beauty. However, since this was the first thing that popped up in my mind, it showed how confused I was.
The second time I met my little sister face to face —
We had nothing to say. Time passed. I had no idea what she was thinking, while my brain simply couldn’t keep up.
Say… this is really the one who made the live video just now, right?
The illustrator with the extreme perverted pen name ‘EroManga’?
When she appeared in front of me like that, I had no way to make the connection.
Could it be… I was wrong?
Probably a minute later, I finally opened my mouth.
“…Long time no see…. Probably a year, right?”
Sagiri didn’t reply. Her face showed an angry expression.
What? Are you getting angry?
Well, if someone suddenly banged madly on your door, this reaction was expected. Still…
I took a peak at my laptop’s screen. The live video had been cut off, the screen was dark. Then I slowly raised my eyes and looked at my little sister’s face.
“About that… are you ‘Eromanga-sensei’?”
No response. Still…..
….Her forehead broke into cold sweat! She was clearly in panic!
Inside my heart, I announced ‘The defendant is guilty!’.
I was surprised to see her complicated expression. I always thought of her as someone emotionless.
“You really are. Just now the live video — ”
Sagiri didn’t say anything, she shook her head.
Huh? What is with her?
“You mean I was wrong?”
Sagiri immediately nodded, then she looked down and muttered something.
“What are you saying?”
“I can’t hear you.”
I put my ear closer to my little sister’s mouth. Then I heard her speak in an barely audible whisper:
“…I don’t know someone with that pervert name.”
Then why would you take that pen name?
If she really was Eromanga-sensei, I’d like to lecture her about that.
Sagiri turned away. She had a worn out look on her face.
The more you tried to deny it, the worse it became. Because if it truly was a mistake, then your initial reaction wouldn’t be like that.
What next? I couldn’t help but thinking about my next step.
Sagiri stayed silent, suddenly she tried to close the door.
“Hey wait ~ like I would let you get away!”
*Thud* My foot was caught between the door.
Sagiri opened the door back again, releasing my foot from this torment.
“It hurts, it hurts!!!”
“….Get it out.”
She probably meant ‘get your foot out’ —
“I strongly object!”
If I back off now, I got the feeling that I will never see this door opened again in my life.
“You are the illustrator for ‘The Silver Wolf’s Reincarnation’, Eromanga-sensei, aren’t you?”
“…No, I’m not… not…”
She looked like she was about to burst into tears. Like I was bullying her.
Ahh, damn… I never intended to do that —
“This is amazing!”
All I wanted to do was say that out.
Sagiri looked at me with her moist, blue eyes.
Our eyes meet. I was taken aback for a second. All I could do was force my throat to say:
“Just now on the live video, that illustration was so beautiful. You have so many fans too… Everyone was happy.”
I looked away and said:
“Since you never left your room, I always wondered what were you doing inside… But you did something so amazing.”
Although I was saying my true feelings, I couldn’t see my little sister’s expression.
What kind of expression was she having? Confusion? Ah… this made me embarrassed.
It’s so hard… I have to continue talking. I can’t let this conversation die.
About… topic, topic, what topic…..
“They said your illustration is very erotic ~”
What the heck am I saying?
Is that something I’m supposed to talk about with my little sister?
“Ah, not only that! About….”
“I’m… very happy.”
I should have come clear from the beginning. About my ‘real identity’.
“…Sagiri… the truth is… I….”
I will tell her. Tell her why I’m happy.
“I —- ”
Sagiri shouted, interrupting me.
Did I mishear? I looked at Sagiri.
“…What… what — no?”
Just after those words left my mouth.
My answer came in the form of something threw at my face.
I covered my face and took a few steps backward.
In my distorted vision, the door once again closed up.
I took another look at the object that just hit my face.
…Sagiri… she threw her gamepad at her own brother!
Once again, I was able to meet my little sister after a long time, yet our meeting was absurdly cut short. The only thing left for me was the pain in my nose and the regret of being unable to make use of this chance.
“…Damn. This is just the beginning.”
And the happiness from seeing my little sister again.
The next day.
In order to decide my next novel, I paid a visit to my publishing company in Tokyo.
After waiting for a short time, my editor, Kagurazaka-san appeared.
“Ha ~ sorry to keep you waiting!”
Short hair, wearing a suit. A common setup for a strong capable woman. However, because her face was so young, she looked like a female student in a university.
I stood up and greeted her.
“Pleased to meet you.”
“Sorry Izumi-sensei. My previous meeting was a bit longer than expected.”
Kagurazaka-san walked around and sat down in front of me.
“Recently I’m so busy ~? There are so many enthusiastic writers lately ~. Yesterday and a few days before that, I only got two hours of sleep. But I’m already used to it!”
“Ha, thank you for your hard work.”
To tell the truth, I was thinking that this wasn’t my business. Who do you think made my work that popular?
Of course, even if I was thinking that, I couldn’t say it out loud. Right now, as a freelancer, she is my boss.
If I got into a fight with her, there may be a good chance that my income will be affected, maybe even my work will have some trouble. Before, I might not have thought of it as a problem, but right now, it’s a matter of life and death.
Thus, even if she was kind to me, I still couldn’t help but tense up.
So, please hurry and get to the main topic.
“Thank you for the autograph event a few days ago. Today I came here to discuss my next work.”
“I expected that ~ But since you just finished your last volume, shouldn’t you take a break?”
“I don’t have that much time. I need to get a new novel out before the readers forgets about me.”
So thoughtful. Kagurazaka-san smiled.
“Then… about my next novel’s outline.”
“Can you show me a bit of it?”
I opened my backpack and threw a pile of documents on the table.
Kagurazaka-san said ‘Oh’ and widened her eyes.
“What is all this?”
“New project proposals. In short, I have finished outlines for three volumes of two novels.”
“Ha? Wait? Outline? Finished?”
“In the two novels, one is the same fighting with special powers. The other is an adventure story. Since it was a different type from my previous novel, I only finished one volume.”
Kagurazaka-san mouth turned into a thin line and flipped through my ‘outline’.
“Listen to me! This is no longer just an outline or a proposal! It’s a finished manuscript!”
“I think it’s normal, since someone already told me what to write. Kagurazaka-san should be able to tell what I wanted to write just from reading it right?”
“Didn’t I teach you that an acceptable outline has to be able to convey its content to me in just ten seconds?”
“Really? Did you?”
“Such a big manuscript can’t be decided with just one meeting between us like this! Well, it’s still a good thing that you had a finished manuscript. You said you have finished three volumes in one novel and one volume in the other? Your typing speed is still as amazing as ever.”
Actually, I don’t want myself to be described like that.
“Okay, then? Aside from this, what is this pile? Although it’s very unlikely… but you aren’t planning for a fourth novel, are you?”
“Yes. This time, I planned the revision of my script in case it became an anime.”
“Are you an idiot!?”
My editor slammed the table.
“Is something wrong? If it became an anime, then no matter how much I tried, I won’t be able to finish it in time! So I prepared it in advance while I still can.”
“I don’t think anyone has as much of a self-delusion as you! Your novel isn’t that popular yet, where did your confidence come from?”
“You are too much! I’m preparing for the case my novel becomes a super popular hit!”
Yes, I know that I’ve still got a long way to go! But I’m slowly improving!
“I only try to write anything that I feel is interesting.”
“But I’m the one who has to look at all this and decide if it’s good enough! I know that there is no way I could stop you now, but I’m nearly busy to death! Do you get it already?”
After the meeting ended. Before she went back, Kagurazaka-san suddenly told me:
“Izumi-sensei, you have changed ~”
“Compared to a year before ~ I feel that you are more mature now. Or should I say you look very eager. First was ‘Silver Wolf’, then your style suddenly changed. A normal beginner might have been caught up in their sudden popularity and soon be cast outside.”
She is right.
“Before, I only did it as a hobby. I wrote whatever I felt like, then shared it with others and watched them happily read my work. I felt that this was enough.”
Back then, I was still in my first year of middle school. To say it bluntly, I didn’t even care if my novel could be sold or not.
I didn’t even think of becoming a professional novelist. No matter how I look at it, this is a hard job. I planned to stop after I entered university, so I didn’t care much about this job.
“Now you don’t think that way anymore?”
“I need money.”
I said bluntly. If the me from before heard this, he would undoubtedly get angry.
But today I couldn’t do that.
I have to earn money to support my independent life.
“Uhm ~ it’s not a bad thing.”
“Really? With such a normal reason?”
“If Izumi-sensei is motivated, then I’m fine with that. Earning money is a very normal way of thinking for a professional novelist. Ah, I just remembered, I got an idea to further fire you up.”
“What? A famous illustrator wanted to do my illustration? ‘Ichi-sensei or something?”
I always wondered why he’d pick such strange pen name.
“It’s not that. If it’s someone else, your illustrator, Eromanga-sensei, would be angry.”
Suddenly, an extremely sensitive name for me appeared.
“No matter how fast Izumi-sensei works, until now Eromanga-sensei didn’t even have a single complaint. If you switch, it’s too heartless.”
Kagurazaka-san looked happy, she planned to ask Eromanga-sensei for my next work too.
For Eromanga-sensei to team up with me is a waste of his talent. I couldn’t even wish for that.
However, right now my mood is very complicated. Because he is actually my little sister.
“I will thank him properly later.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“So, what were you going to tell me?”
Kagurazaka-san happily placed a stack of paper on the table. When she made that smile, things were never that simple.
“The impressions about ‘Silver Wolf’ that I collected from the Internet! Hurry up and read it to motivate yourself!”
“Didn’t I tell you that I’m scared of it? That’s why I never read anything like that! Shouldn’t you know that better than anyone else!?”
“Of course ~? I didn’t suggest this out of nowhere. There were many kind of comments I picked, including the ‘please do this, sensei’ type.”
Kagurazaka-san was the type who often made unexpected solution.
Sometime I felt like she was like a strict master who forced her disciples to do meaningless stuff. Sometime I felt like she should hurry up and die, but still, she did that out of her desire for me to make a better novel. Thus, while I didn’t blindly follow advice, at least I will listen to them first.
Besides, my communication skills wouldn’t be enough to refuse her anyway.
“Other editors already told me, ‘don’t listen to those kinds of opinions, especially from your readers’.”
“Is that so? ~ Don’t worry I’m not like the others! Good! Hurry and take a look!”
I reluctantly took that pile of paper. There was something that looked like a website’s forum symbol above.
“All of these are criticisms about my novel! Is that my imagination?”
“Nope, it’s real. What’s wrong?”
“Shouldn’t this be a gift to further motivate me?”
“That’s my style. After seeing this you will be super-motivated!”
That’s why I don’t check the Internet for this stuff – how many times did I tell you that…!
Ah forget it, I already decided that I will not argue with this woman. Still, as a novelist, I should keep a communication channel with my readers. Reality is so hard.
“Izumi-sensei, your will is too weak, you only read your reader’s opinions by paper mail. If you don’t get hurt sometime, you wouldn’t be able to grow up. I only hope sensei could write more.”
That is your reason?
To hurt me? Just now you tried to hurt me?
Look my readers, this is what my editor is like!
I didn’t say anything, just started looking at those paper in my hand. It hurt! It hurt so much! My heart hurt so much!
This is probably something usual for an editor – but anyway, because all of them were criticisms about my novel, their destructive power toward me was even higher.
This was another kind of pain. The kind from editors and readers.
For an author, the editor is their death god, but to me, the reader is more important.
“Ah! This blog!”
While I was flipping through those papers, my editor interrupted:
“Eromanga-sensei also wrote his impression about ‘Silver Wolf’ in his blog! You have to take a look!”
“Eromanga-sensei sounded like he was angry because his favorite character was denied a chance to come back.”
“Reflect on yourself! I did tell you that development is not good enough, but you didn’t listen!”
By the way…
You definitely didn’t say that.
Still, based on my memory, this time she gave me thirty-two praises.
Always so capricious.
I lowered my head. On Eromanga-sensei’s blog, not only did she badmouth me, she also gave her own impression.
Sagiri must have written that.
Thinking that, I continued reading, then —
My eyes widened.
After I came back home, I immediately rushed toward the stairs.
Standing in front of ‘The never opened door’, I exhaled a long breath.
Because I ran here from the bus station, I was out of breath. Although there was something that I felt I should do, but I had no idea how exactly I’m going to do it.
At my company, I read my little sister’s blog.
She was badmouthing me – at least, that was what I thought.
The result —
I saw her ‘The Silver Wolf’s Turning’ – a commemorating illustration.
This was an illustration showing a huge effort on details and feeling – a perfect illustration.
Both my hands rested on that ‘Never opened door’ as I muttered to myself.
‘Silver Wolf’ is my masterpiece, but it was also something that already ended. I had started a new novel now, and probably will never write anything else about ‘Silver Wolf’.
But in Sagiri’s illustration, those characters that I thought I’d never see again were all waving their hands at me. They all had the expression of ‘Good bye. Wish us a good journey’.
I…. Because of Sagiri… I was able to do that.
I felt very happy. Thus…
“Are you listening to me?”
I wanted to meet Sagiri, wanted to thank her. Not as her brother, but as her co-worker Izumi Masamune.
In order for me to succeed, there was a problem I needed to overcome first. I once got a wonderful chance, but I wasted it.
“Sagiri! Eromanga-sensei! Listen to me!”
Sagiri didn’t know that, and I was a bit afraid of telling her the truth.
Back then, she cut me off before I could say it out.
“I am —- ”
My feeling burst open.
I shouted from the top of my lungs towards ‘The never opened door’.
“I AM! THE AUTHOR OF ‘THE SILVER WOLF’S REINCARNATION’ – IZUMI MASAMUNE!”
“‘The never opened door’ suddenly sprang forward and hit me in the face.
Covering my face, I fell down on my butt.
The serious atmosphere just now had been blown away. I’m so useless.
..How should I put it…
That kind of attack often happened in novels, but in reality, its power wasn’t something to look down at.
Besides, it’s impossible to dodge. I don’t know any anime main character that could easily take this attack, but I’m sure I still got a long way until I’m in his league. After a few painful seconds, I slowly said:
“What are you doing?”
I looked up. In front of me was my little sister in her pajamas.
Like a hand was grabbing my heart, I was speechless.
Sagiri’s cheeks turned crimson, her eyes opened wide. She looked like she was lost for words.
She whispered. Her voice was so small that if I didn’t pay attention, I’d have missed that.
I knew it. Sagiri didn’t know about my identity either.
Just like before, I didn’t know Eromanga-sensei’s identity.
Until now, we have finally confirmed that.
“Onii-san… you are Izumi Masamune-sensei….? The author of ‘The Silver Wolf’s Reincarnation’ ….?”
“…Ah… yeah…. say, you…. eh….”
A moment of silence. Then Sagiri whispered:
“………I don’t know anyone by that name.”
She looked down and didn’t say anything else. I also kept looking at my little sister’s delicate legs.
Finally, like she wanted to avoid my gaze, she shyly turn her head aside and took back what she said at first.
“……Can, can I?”
I finally got my confirmation about my co-worker.
I gently shook my head.
“Why couldn’t you… I’m finally able to meet you.”
That was the first thing I said to my co-worker in three years.
Sagiri bit her lower lip like she was enduring something then she said:
“No, not that…you…did you just say….”
“Didn’t you hear me?… I said, come in.”
I rarely even came here myself.
“…I told you that you can.”
Now I can enter? Doubts kept appearing in my head.
But my answer is yes.
“Then, sorry for the intrusion.”
I entered ‘The never opened door’ – the forbidden area in my house.
When I was living here with my parents, there was no such thing as ‘The never opened door’. This room was only built after mom and my little sister came.
There was a sound of a click before the room brightened. Looks like Sagiri turned on the light.
I looked around the room.
The truth is, this is the first time I saw my little sister’s room. But it was the same compared to the live video earlier. An eight tatami mat sized room, and the first thing that caught my attention was the large number of figures around the room.
“Wow, everything is games and books.”
In a bookshelf, there were a lot of light novels for teens and mangas. All of my works were also there.
The lower part of that shelf was used to store game stuff. The game console was kept on the TV shelf, while anything that couldn’t be fit here simply lied on the ground.
Even if there were many things here… this place didn’t feel alive. With colorful curtains and figures, this room did look like a girl’s room.
The smell was nice too…
But there was an awkward atmosphere.
“It is very clean.”
Of course, I didn’t clean her room. She did it all by herself. Just like mother said… my little sister preferred everything clean.
I gently put my hand on my little sister’s head.
“You have done well.”
“Uhm? ‘Don’t treat me like a child’ ?”
“Don’t touch me.”
It hurt so much! Like something pierced my heart! She was as cold as an iceberg.
While I was looking back and forth, my little sister asked me with a reluctant expression:
” ‘Hurry and pat my head’?”
“Hurry! And! Sit! Down!”
Do you know that people with exquisite faces could be very terrifying when they got angry?
So, I sat down like my little sister said. Sagiri slowly sat down in front of me too.
Right after she opened her mouth, I leaned forward.
She immediately pushed my head away.
“What, what, what are you doing…?”
“Because your voice is too quiet, I leaned forward in order to hear you easier.! Seeing you frightened like that, I’m hurt, you know?”
Sagiri immediately blushed. This girl has quite a lot of expressions to show.
“Yeah, ‘don’t come closer’ right… Don’t say that. I can’t help but come closer.”
Sagiri turned her body aside and walked towards the computer. Then she put the headset on.
[Can you hear me now?]
Sagiri’s voice came from the microphone. But this time, she didn’t use a voice changer.
“…Ah um, sure, there is no problem.”
At least I could hear her clearly now.
But…to think that we had to use a microphone to speak despite that we were facing each other, this scene seemed unreal.
In short, the ‘Sibling’s conversation’ could be started now. First, Sagiri said:
[How did you know?]
Although the voice was louder now, but she still preferred simple words.
“You meant ‘How did I know that you are Eromanga-sensei’?”
Hearing my translation, Sagiri nodded once.
[…This is my main concern. Otherwise I wouldn’t have let you in.]
I thought that she got a change of heart after knowing that I’m Izumi Masamune and let me in. Looked like that wasn’t the case. She let me in only because she was concerned about how I found out about her identity.
— I was too arrogant.
Although I never kept my hopes up regarding my little sister, the truth made me feel a bit disappointed. I answered truthfully:
“There was the supper I made for you on the screen.”
Sagiri thought for a second and said:
[…But, but… not any other time, but you choose that time to watch my live video?]
“Yeah, that’s one of the reasons….”
I told her everything from the beginning.
About how after the autograph event ended, I was afraid of my identity being exposed. So I searched the Internet and encountered ‘Eromanga-sensei’s blog’, which had an article about this event. Then I asked my friend and found out about the live scheduled video – I told her everything
“Then you know the rest. After I knew your identity, I saw you forgot to turn off the camera and started undressing —-”
Sagiri blushed furiously. She probably imagined that she almost let the whole world see her naked.
[Good. Then… I know.]
The room was filled with a heavy silence again. Sagiri was normally always afraid of strangers, while I was tensed. It was understandable that we both became silent. After a long time, finally she said:
[…I knew it. Onii-san, you are Izumi Masamune-sensei.]
“Yeah, true. Eromanga-sensei.”
[I, I don’t know anyone by that name]
Say, if you are embarrassed about it, why did you pick that nickname in the first place?
“Just now you said ‘I knew it’. Did you notice before?”
Sagiri shook her head.
[During our first meeting, I noticed that your name and ‘his name’ were the same.”
We first met each other a year ago. But we had been working together for two years before that. It was more amazing than in a novel. I couldn’t believe it.
[…I never thought that you are the same person.]
I really never thought that. Sagiri muttered.
[Because… the chance for this to happen…]
Exactly what I thought too. We really think the same.
[…About that…for now…proof and stuff….]
“Proof? To prove myself as Izumi Masamune? I got a lot.”
“Like the first illustration that Eromanga-sensei made for my heroine.”
Thinking back – that was when I made my debut. The first time someone made an illustration out of my character.
“Back then I was.. I was very happy. I remembered it like yesterday. I was so grateful that I wrote like a hundred pages of manuscripts as thanks for Eromanga-sensei.”
[!…That… it was like yesterday for me too. I remembered that you said something about how it would be better if the breasts were a bit bigger and things like that.]
“Can you please say that you already forgot about it?”
But this is something that only Izumi Masamune and Eromanga-sensei knew about.
“Back then… sorry.”
[…You… really are… Izumi-sensei.]
Sagiri moved her right hand toward her left chest before slowly standing up. This probably an unconscious act, but because of that her pajama’s button was opened, and her white chest was revealed!
“I told you so.”
I tried my damn best to look away from my little sister’s breast.
I… Why is my head empty now?!
As a brother, I should be able to calmly face my naked little sister!
Another silence. Both of us were shocked, we were trying to absorb the news.
“I never thought that I’m living under the same roof as Eromanga-sensei.”
[…Even now, I can’t believe it… And I don’t know anyone with that name.]
We didn’t look at each other, our conversation broke into fragments.
[…About… it is too sudden.. what to do now…]
“Ah… in short.”
Although I still have many things to say, but right now I couldn’t think of any. Thus I clapped my hand together and made a praying pose:
“Sorry for making you draw an Ero-illustrations!”
“Don’t shout while using a microphone!!”
I quickly covered my ears.
My ears kept ringing for a while. So dangerous —
“What if my eardrum burst! Idiot!”
[You, you are the idiot!]
Sagiri put both of her hands on her face.
[Ero! Pervert! This time too! Today too! Toward a girl! You said you want to do that! …! Definitely not!]
This girl… looked like as soon as her embarrassment passed a certain level, she would attack whoever was in front of her by reflex. Probably it was also the reason she threw her game controller at me before.
“…Don’t get so angry. I only wanted to apologize to my little sister who had helped me draw Ero-illustration.”
By the way, you have no right to tell me that in your ‘no bra and opened pajama button’ state.
The current ‘Eromanga-sensei’ is way more ero.
[Ero-illustration is a job, it’s fine if I like them! But you aren’t allowed!]
…So you like Ero-illustration?
Of course I didn’t say it out loud.
Hearing my question, Sagiri once again looked down and blushed even more.
“Sagiri, despite that you like Ero-illustration, why don’t you want to talk about Ero-illustration?”
I asked her. Not like I wanted to force a question out of her or anything, just pure curiosity. But as soon as those words left my mouth.
[…Oh… oh…. that…]
[How could I say that out!]
“It hurt! You! You hit me with your controller again!”
[Onii-san is an idiot! Idiot! Big idiot!]
She is clearly throwing a tantrum
But it’s not like I care. Since her voice is too small, I rarely got a chance to hear.
“I understand. I won’t ask again. Sorry.”
[…It’s good that you understood.]
Sagiri shrugged her shoulders.
As expected of a hikikomori. The skill to stop something midway is truly fearsome.
But the full erotic display of my little sister made me unable to look at her directly. Because her pen name ‘Eromanga’ made me automatically think of that connection
Eromanga-sensei truly is ero. Just like the name said.
Sagiri’s pure white face blushed again, she pointed at me.
[Oh oh oh… besides… Onii-san… you are at fault at many things too!]
“Exactly what ‘many things’ are you talking about?”
[For, for example… right! You spent most of your daybreak at home!]
“I’m a novelist, of course I have to stay at home during weekends to work!”
[…You didn’t even go outside during summer break?]
“It was the same. I was near dead from overworking. I had to work a few days without any rest… I even forgot to cook your meal.”
[Wait a sec! So you didn’t plan on forcing me outside by cutting off my food?]
“I just forgot. I never intended to let you starve. Did your mother do something like that to you?”
[Onii-san, you did that to me!]
”Yeah, looking at the result….”
[Kuh… no matter how hard I hit the floor, there was no food… Do you understand?]
Maybe she remembered those pitiful memories, a tear fell from her beautiful eyes.
“You could have just come outside and ate something.”
[I felt that I would lose if I came outside.]
“That line sounds famous, but the way you said it didn’t look cool one bit.”
Compared to my job, your hikikomori status was on a higher level.
[During summer break, Onii-san always stayed at home and never went away, so I couldn’t even take a bath… even going to the toilet was so scary..]
Well, that’s true.
My room was on the first floor and Sagiri’s room on the second floor also had a toilet, so she could have sneaked into it.
[Because Onii-san always stays at home, I’m worried that you don’t have any friends.]
“Your worry is groundless!”
I do have! Friends huh?! I have a friend! Like Tomoe!
And.. and… I don’t need anyone else!
[Since you have no friend nor girlfriend, your novel didn’t look very convincing when dealing with friendship or love]
“You have no right to say that to me! Besides, it’s not going to affect my work! I know one of my senpai’s who is not only better than me, he is also a two-timer!”
[Because he is a good writer. But you probably can’t do that, right?]
“…Don’t speak about it like it’s the truth.”
I’m still a newbie, okay?
Kuh… this girl…..
I pointed my finger at Sagiri.
“What about you? Those battle illustrations also looked quite ero!”
Sagiri’s eyes widened.
[You, you dare to say something that shouldn’t be said…. because your description was easy to misunderstand!]
“I told you to get more reference data! Your illustration…for example, the gun-holding posture, is so miserable!”
[I don’t know the right way to hold a gun! If you have any complaint, why didn’t you give me some references? Not just reference, why did you give me no warning before suddenly making a new request? I had no way to know how to draw those girls!]
“Because even if I gave you a warning you won’t follow it anyway! While the novel was continuing, your illustrations kept changing!”
I made a fixed height on all the characters, yet when the illustrations came out, if you put them side by side you can notice some of them only reached the others shoulders.
[But… but it’s cuter that way!]
“You mean you just drew whatever you wanted! In that case, why should I continue asking you for illustrations?!”
[You can’t do that! Onii-san’s novel would lose popularity!]
Both of us leaned toward each other and gritted our teeth.
That was a perfect example of how easy a disagreement can break out between a novelist and an illustrator. Thus to avoid that, most of the time novelists and illustrators contact each other through their editor.
We both turned our heads away.
After a moment of silence, I tried to speak in my most natural voice:
“Say, why did you do that?”
[…You meant why did I become an illustrator? It wasn’t something special. There are a lot of middle school girls with better drawings than me.]
“I didn’t mean that.”
I’m an example of who someone started working as a student. This wasn’t something too special.
My question didn’t regard this —
Up until now, I thought that after Sagiri lost her parent, she fell into depression and became a hikikomori.
But now I found out that my little sister was so active at her work, so I was a bit taken back.
“Drawing illustrations, making live video feeds, speaking with fans….”
[What… you meant this?]
“Ah, well, why did you decide to do all of that?”
[Can’t, can’t I?]
“Of course you can”
I immediately replied. Then I tried to make my tone as gentle as possible.
“Although I feel that badmouthing your co-worker on your blog, or me in this case is not a good thing. But making live video feeds and stuff is okay, there is no problem with that.”
Sagiri didn’t say anything, she just stared at me.
“Is something wrong?”
I felt my heart tighten a bit.
About a dozen seconds later, Sagiri slowly said:
“…Because it’s fun. All of them: drawing illustrations, making live videos, chatting with everyone.”
She didn’t use the microphone. She said that with her own voice.
Another silence. Then…
“…That.. Onii-san also didn’t plan to ask about this?”
“Not that”. I shook my head. “This is what I wanted to ask.”
She drew illustrations and made videos because it was fun.
Uhm, that’s good to hear. I’m very satisfied with this answer.
“Ah, if possible I would like to ask more than this. From the beginning, everything. Because I knew absolutely nothing about you —”
I’m so useless. We have lived together for a year under the same roof.
Sagiri thought about it for a while, once again picking her microphone up and said:
[At first, drawing… Mom taught me.]
[When I was small, they were simple pictures or postcards with a picture. I was very happy… Then, no, I don’t know since when… I became a pro.. Mom said I’m amazing… she praised me….]
Although there were some fragmented parts, Sagiri finished her sentence.
So the one who taught Eromanga-sensei to draw is Sagiri’s mother.
[When mom wasn’t here… there was a time when I couldn’t draw anything….]
Now that you mentioned it — I remembered a time like that too.
[And since I couldn’t go outside… I didn’t know what to do…then by chance, I saw some live video made by other illustrators.]
I focused all of my senses, trying to not miss anything.
[That guy was chatting happily with everyone while drawing. During that time, he could even hear his fan’s opinions… When I watched his video, I was very envious and I also wanted to do… something like that.]
[And then I tried it once… It was very fun. Everyone watched my illustration and told me it was cute. When they saw how I drew it, they were surprised and told me that I’m amazing. They even asked me for a copy. I was sitting alone at home, but I could became friends with everyone in the world. I could enjoy chatting with them, enjoy pointless stuff. Then I felt —]
Just like she was having a good dream, Sagiri blushed.
— Ah ah.
I understand how you felt .
[I wanted my illustrations to be better. I wanted more people to see my illustrations. During that time, since I had no work, everything I could think of is about live video… not only about illustrations, I started to play games with everyone… Then … unconsciously, I became completely addicted … hehe.]
So that was what happened. Totally understandable .
“The truth is, I also became a novelist because I saw how happy a guy could be when he shared his novel on the Internet with everyone.”
[…Is that so?]
“Ah.. well, before I made my debut… I tried to write something on the Internet.”
Then I received my first message from a fan.
I was happy. Very, very happy.
That was how I turned out like this today.
[….Is that so.. Izumi-sensei…]
[Ah! Nothing, nothing at all!]
Sagiri apprehensively waved her hands.
“What ‘nothing’ did you just say?”
[I just meant that Onii-san also wrote Internet novels!]
“Really? By the way, during the live video feed, your voice sounded like a male’s. Why?”
[Because… I was scared… and embarrassed too…]
What did she mean by that? Let me think for a second.
What would happened if Sagiri didn’t pretend that she was a male?
Probably the live video would receive different reactions.
Even if she didn’t want to, someone will sooner or later screamed ‘A girl drew this!’. Of course I didn’t mean it’s a bad thing, but there is always some weirdo among fans. For a twelve years old girl, she probably felt a bit scared.
“I see. I understand.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle.
[What are you laughing for?]
“No, just, I couldn’t imagine that someday I could talk with you like this.”
Sagiri’s hand clenched into a fist.
When I was wondering what was she thinking, Sagiri said:
[I only let you into my room… Don’t get carried away.]
[This doesn’t mean that I opened my heart to you, Onii-san.]
Although she called me ‘Onii-san’, that didn’t mean we are brother and sister.
The tense atmosphere returned.
[…This is a rare chance… so I want to ask… why did you take care of me. You must know that.. someone like me.]
“Only causes trouble for others?”
[…Big, big trouble.]
Right. True, this should be the case…Well, it can’t be helped. If back then, I didn’t have an outburst towards our guardian, we probably would have been torn apart.
“So, you want to ask why I decided to take care of you?”
“You really want to know?”
[…Yes, I do. Because it clearly wasn’t because I was working on your novel’s illustrations. Until now, you didn’t know about it, yet you still took care of me.”]
Yeah, just like you said.
“You want to know huh.”
I raised one of my finger.
“Then let’s make trade.”
“Let’s trade. When I answer your question, allow me to propose a condition.”
We silently looked at each other.
[I, I want to hear your condition first]
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing big.”
[…No perverted stuff.]
“I’m not going to ask that kind of condition! Why do you think that I’m going to ask your for something perverted?”
[Because until now, you only asked me for ero illustration.]
Although that reasoning kind of make sense, but that was because of work. Not to mention back then, I thought you were a male!
This girl… she clearly liked ero illustrations the most.
“As a brother, I’m not going to do something pervert to my little sister.”
This is normal, right?
[…So, what condition are you going to ask me?]
I smiled and said:
“Stop being a hikikomori and go outside.”
Sagiri’s eyes widened.
“Since you don’t agree to trade, how about adding your own condition too?”
[Wow… but, can I ?]
“Of course. It’s meaningless if I force you.”
[Uhm… this is fine.]
Sagiri looked down and muttered something.
“Of course, I’m going to keep my word. Then hear my answer. I take care of you because — “
I purposely trailed off. Sagiri sat up right.
“Because you are my little sister… Besides, mom asked me to take care of you.”
[…This is your reason?]
Why didn’t she reply ‘I see’ ?
I scratched my chin, said:
“A year ago, when you were left all alone, I remembered that mom once told me ‘take good care of her for me’. I always wondered what exactly I should do? How am I going to ‘take good care of her’? Even now, I didn’t fully understand. But at least that was what I had done for a year.”
[…I don’t get it at all.]
“Well, that’s fine.”
Ah, what am I saying .
[This is not a laughing matter, don’t lie to me.]
“Well, how should I put it. I feel that right now, I’m taking care of you better than her. But we even live under the same roof, yet we never see each other, I feel a bit lonely. You are my cute little sister, not only did I want to take good care of you, I want to eat a meal with you and the like.”
Fortunately, I had the ability to protect this lifestyle.
[…We didn’t talk that much.]
“In fact, we never had any conversation at all. A start like now is great.”
[…It doesn’t matter if it isn’t me, right? If you feel lonely, then not going to a troublesome little sister like me sounded like a good choice.]
Looks like she’s still conscious about her situation.
“No, I want to get along with you.”
“Because we are family.”
I firmly replied.
“Because we are living together.”
[…Really? I don’t think so. Even if we are living together, that doesn’t make us family.]
Sagiri stood up and pointed at the door.
[I said everything I wanted to say. Get out, Onii-san.]
I didn’t push it and walked toward the door. As soon as I’m outside, I turned around and said:
“Thank you for your commemorating illustration.”
I finally said what I wanted to say.
My little sister paused for a second, but she quickly returned to her emotionless expression and said:
[Don’t be stupid. I only drew that illustration for you because I like to draw.]
Then she turned away and closed the door.