It is now May. It has been half a month since that time.
I was still neck deep in trouble, but during that time I visited my competitor Elf’s workshop many times.
There were three reasons:
First, she is the best-selling author; I hoped to learn something from her.
Second, to do recon.
And the third reason, also the most important one was because of my curiosity, since my favorite, best-selling author is living next to me.
Of course it’s not a matter of like or hate.
Totally unlike that…
In short, Elf’s work attitude was beyond my imagination.
“I! Told! Youuuuuuuuuuu!”
Once again, my voice came from Elf’s workshop, full of anger.
“Get to work already!”
“Wah! I have no motivation!”
Elf rolled on her newly bought sofa and answered me in a lazy voice.
After school, I came to Elf’s house – Crystal Palace.
Then I saw her in that lazy state. That best-selling author didn’t do anything.
I have never seen her type anything with her laptop.
Too lazy! You shouldn’t be forgetting that your fan is standing right here.
I was so moved when reading her book! How could I allow my favorite author to behave so lazily!
“No motivation this, no motivation that, you say the same thing every day! I didn’t come here to hear you talk big or play around, you lazy! If this continues, you won’t be able to finish your manuscript in time.”
“So what? Didn’t you say you want to write something new that will be made into an anime and something else for the showdown with me? Both of their deadlines are the end of this month. Don’t you think that the current situation is bad?”
“My editor said the same thing, but I never said that I would finish it by the end of the month ~ nor do I remember accepting that deadline ~ Besides, I didn’t even write a single word ~ Hm, if this continues….”
Elf kept pressing on her gamepad while lecturing me. She even pretends to act innocent:
“Eheheh, but that doesn’t matter right? Deadlines, or things like that, are nothing but a small game. I could drag it on until whenever I like. And then …and then what? Hm, for a genius like me, do you think I need something as trivial as a manuscript? — Totally not! I don’t need that! As soon as the bond to my freedom is removed, I will be able to write…..”
“Are you an idiot?”
…Strange. Real strange. I thought she was cool back then, but….
She really is useless! It was just a moment of mistake!
How could she face the incoming deadline with a smile and keep playing games? Unbelievable.
Now isn’t the time to play Monster Hunter!
“Hey hey Yamada-sensei…didn’t you say that you wanted to write the ultimate light novel?”
“I definitely will. Now I’m gathering magical power. In order to make a masterpiece, I need to be fully charged. Don’t bother me anymore.”
Every time it ended up like that! She always managed to come up with another excuse. Her editor probably had a very hard time.
“Compared to that, Masamune, come and take the second gamepad. I got another one somewhere around here.”
“Play my foot!”
“Then go make tea for me. What a slow man!”
“Who do you think you are!?”
Although I was shouting, Elf still laid down on the sofa without any intention of looking away from the game screen.
“So troublesome ~ look at yourself, didn’t you call yourself my servant?”
“I am your fan, but that doesn’t mean that I’m your servant!”
“Anyway, can you take care of such a solitary and beautiful girl like me? You can’t even do that?”
“Go find Ryuuji from Toradora to release your impure thoughts! There is no one like that in real life. Besides —”
I glanced at Elf’s workshop.
The small mountain of cardboard boxes had been cleared. The floor was also cleaned, the furniture was sparkling. Even if Ryuuji came out now, there would be nothing for him to do.
“—-You aren’t Aisaka Taiga either. Say, how did this room became so clean? You are a slacker, but could it be that you have a cleaning hobby?”
“You can say that. Besides, it would be bad if my room was dirty when someone came.”
So she cleaned up because of me?
The first time I was invited, I did have mixed feelings. Even the way I spoke was more formal.
Is that the reason I became close to her? Unbelievable.
“By the way….”
Looking back, this room seemed like it was cleaned recently. My high school was nearby, and I went straight home after the last lesson ended.
After Elf came back from middle school, did she finish cleaning before I came? I was a bit curious, so I asked her directly.
“By the way, where is your school? Do you go to the same school as my little sister?”
“I don’t go to school.”
“How could I go? Besides, I don’t need that.”
Elf didn’t look at me, she just answered while lying down on the sofa.
What? She didn’t go to school? In other words….
“….You only have an elementary school graduation diploma?”
“You…I forbid you from saying that word!”
My words turned into a dagger and, getting stabbed, made her stop playing and stand up.
Her pure white leg slowly showed itself from her skirt. Compared to the usual lolita clothes, this one looked very daring.
“You, you, you you you! …You revealed my secret! Who do you think is still in elementary school?”
“You, of course. Because you didn’t go to middle school, right? So this must be the reason.”
“That’s no good Yamada-sensei. It’s no good if you only have an elementary diploma! Although I don’t know about other jobs, a novelist still in elementary school is no good.”
“Is that so?”
“It is. That kind of novelist is the same as a freelancer from Final Fantasy 5. The most basic, bottom of the barrel class.”
“Hey, what was with that last sentence of yours?”
I ignored Elf’s protest and said:
“It would be such a waste if you only have an elementary school graduation diploma. People only have one chance to become a middle school student! Hurry! Go to school! Whatever school is fine!”
“There is no need for me to go! I’m the best-selling author! (She keeps calling herself “the best selling author” even though, considering her overall sales, she isn’t. Masamune is just playing along with her and calling her “the best-selling author” to avoid trouble). That is why I forbid you from saying that word!”
“You! You, what you just said….!”
My eyes widened.
“I, I I I I…I was beaten by someone who only graduated from elementary school?”
How could that be…to think that something like this could be true…
This was a strong blow to my mental state. I was unable to accept this fact.
I wanted to immediately share this fact with other adults, the highly educated authors who graduated from Waseda University…
Let me tell them about this troubled junior who only graduated from elementary school. Let me watch their expressions. They must be very frustrated ~~
“What is with your expression?” Elf interrupted “By the way — your little sister is the same too.”
“…..Did I ever tell you about my little sister?”
“You didn’t, but I can recognize my kin. Normally, that girl always stays in her room.”
Sagiri you idiot! I told you to close the curtains!
She is a hikikomori, yet she still left her curtains open? How much trouble did she want?
Why didn’t she just leave it closed….
Did Elf know that Sagiri is a hikikomori? Well, I need to make sure that she didn’t know that Sagiri is Eromanga-sensei.
“Take your concern to your little sister instead of me.”
“She is fine, because she is cute and hardworking. You aren’t, because not only are you not cute, you also don’t work hard.”
“Oh!? I’m cuter right?”
You don’t even have the right to compare.
“Kuh…! That, that girl only stays in her room and draws every day! Compared to a professional like me, I’m more of a hard worker!”
You aren’t the only one who works as a professional though… Of course I couldn’t say it to her.
“Anyway” I reverted back to the main topic “Hurry up and start working.”
“So I said ~ I have no motivation. Don’t you understand human’s language?”
“Being motivated or not is not important. Having a job means that you have to work every day.”
Elf sounded very surprised. She paled and trembled, as if she just saw a ghost.
“You, you…you…could it be…you never rest?…Until now, until now….you always write novels…that way?”
“Of course. My rejection rate is very high, so unless I write everyday —”
“Don’t write anything without motivationnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!”
*Smack*. Elf slapped me hard.
Of course, I totally failed to understand the reason.
Covering my face in pain, I was confused.
“Idiot…you…you…how much of an idiot are you! I finally get it….I understand now…! Because you write that way, your novels are all boring!”
“You, what did you say….?”
“When you have no motivation, whatever you write won’t be any good! How could you not understand something so simple? Are you a pig?”
Yamada-sensei is really angry now. Looks like she couldn’t stand my argument earlier.
“But, isn’t our job to write a novel even without motivation?”
“That’s why I said you’re an idiot! Compared to a novel written while ‘trying to finish it without motivation’, a novel written when you have max motivation is much better!”
“Shut up! Unless you have max motivation, do not write anything no matter what! Otherwise, not only will you be unable write anything remotely close to your true ability, you won’t feel happy while writing! Just like, just like… a perfunctory work.”
What she said…it’s not like I don’t understand. But….
“Does that mean…you always finish your work that way?”
I finally managed to ask her how she worked — yet the answer was outside my expectations.
“I, I never do any work.”
“Ha? But you’re the best-selling author?”
“That’s true. But it’s just my hobby.”
Elf stood up from the sofa and walked towards the table. She picked up her laptop and said:
“I became an author because of my hobby.”
I was speechless. An author with sales ten time higher than me…just now, what did she say? Did I hear the word ‘hobby’?
“Simply put, it’s like a kind of entertainment for me. Some might call this a job, but until now, not once did I think that way. Writing is my hobby. That is the most exciting, most addictive game in the world!”
Somehow, the scene of Sagiri cheerfully drawing appeared in my head.
“Since you also play the same game, don’t disappoint me. I can’t stand your boring life.”
This girl….how should I put it…this…this made me angry.
That showdown between me and her was very important. It already had me fired up.
I never thought…that something else could fire me up even more.
Amazing. As expected of the best-selling author. The one who bought a house with her own royalties.
I was right in coming here. I learned a valuable lesson. My jealousy was laughable.
“Good. Good you damn elf. I will definitely crush you under my foot.”
I announced to my arch nemesis:
“I’m the professional one here. How could I lose to someone who doesn’t take writing seriously, like you!”
“Because I don’t take it seriously, that’s why I will not lose to someone who treats it like work, like you!”
She is the only one I won’t lose to.
I have to win!
And so — this time, Elf and I became hostile.
Although I said that — the next night…
Beep beep beep beep beep beep*
“Hello, it’s Izumi.”
“It’s me! Hey, why didn’t you come today?”
We have a hostile relationship, yet still close enough to give each other a call.
Since I was busy with work, I frowned. Still, I answered:
“Because I was busy (very busy, in fact)…and I have to go to school.”
“Hm, is that so? Then will you come tomorrow?”
“Of course. Of course not, that is! Not tomorrow, not the day after tomorrow.”
Elf’s voice sounded confused…this girl…she asked me why…
“….You really don’t know?”
“No I don’t. Tell me…I…could it be that I did something wrong?”
…She sounded sad. It didn’t look like she was pretending to not know and called here to mock me. She really didn’t know.
“….Hey, aren’t we arch enemies?”
There is no reason to visit one’s arch nemesis’ house — just when I was about to say that.
“Hm? No we are not.”
A question mark popped up between our conversations.
“It’s not like we are arch enemies or anything right?”
“No no no no. We bet Eromanga-sensei in a showdown — although we did get a bit closer, because of our disagreement in writing yesterday, didn’t we become distant again?”
I thought that after I said that, no matter how dense Elf is, she would understand why I didn’t come to her house again.
“Ah ah ah, that huh. Don’t worry about it. I will win anyway.”
Ah, so that’s it. No wonder we weren’t be able to understand each other. So that’s why. This girl never considered me to be her competitor. Facing someone she can easily beat, no wonder she didn’t think about it too much.
That’s why she naturally called me and asked ‘Why didn’t you come today’.
“What you said really made me angry! I will definitely make you cry later!”
“Then try your best, I will even aid you. So, about the main topic — will you come tomorrow?”
“Listen to me Yamada-sensei. Why do you want me to come over to your house that much?”
“Wh, wh, what are you saying! Are you an idiot! It’s not like I want to invite you to my house!”
“Fine fine, don’t answer me with a textbook tsundere example.”
“Ack…what you said really made me angry! I will definitely make you cry! Just you wait!”
“Then try your best, I will even aid you. Listen, why should someone who is neck deep in shit like me waste my time at your house?”
A short silence fell on us.
….Was I too hard? Even if she was my nemesis… she’s just a little girl, one who is younger than me…maybe I was too hard on her.
When I was about to apologize, Elf said:
“…You, didn’t you say that you wanted to see me work? As a reference —?”
Before I distanced myself from her, I did say that. But since she didn’t work at all, there was no reference that I could get.
“I….Tomorrow, I’m going to work. If you like, come and take a look.”
The next day, after school, I arrived at the Crystal Palace with a complex expression.
After spending half a month in front of me without working, best-selling author-sama, Elf finally decided to work. I was a bit nervous. Just standing here gave me cold sweat.
No. Stay calm. It’s normal for a novelist to write something.
Strange…was I affected by her?
*Ding dong* I pressed the doorbell. Soon, her voice came from the intercom.
She sounded very serious:
[Show your identification.]
“I’m the light.”
[Return to us…the Sanctuary Gate has opened.]
Immediately after that, the door opened. Of course, not because of some strange superpower, it was just because Elf unlocked it.
….So troublesome. Unless I played along, she wouldn’t allow me to enter. If the ‘never opened door’ in my house was the same, I would be more than willing to play.
I looked at the door again. It was wide open; the holy atmosphere just now was completely blown away.
Elf wearing a white apron appeared in front of me.
“You are here! You made me wait!”
We stared at each other before asking:
“Today….didn’t you say that you wanted to show me how you work?”
Yet Yamada Elf-sensei appeared in a gorgeous puffy apron. I had no idea what to do. In fact, I even thought that I somehow entered a maid café by mistake.
Elf pulled her apron and said:
“Just like you see, I am prepared to work ~”
“Say, your job is novelist, right?”
Not a maid, right?
“Hmm? Why did you ask something so obvious?”
“I asked because I don’t get it! Tell me, why a novelist’s job requires an apron?”
“Aside from cooking, what else do you think this apron is for? Hurry up and follow me.”
??? What….is she saying????
Still with a mountain of unanswered questions in my head, I followed Elf to the living room.
“Please sit down.”
Just when she was treating me like usual – Ding dong – the doorbell rang. Elf went to the intercom and said:
“Show your identification………………….. Return to us…the Sanctuary Gate has opened”
She cut off the connection and turned to me:
“Black cat has arrived.”
“Arrived my ass! Do you treat the courier that way too?”
“Of course. Why else do you think I installed this intercom? Treating all the guests the same as my enemy who came to take my manuscript is rude, aren’t you the one who said that?”
“Although I did said that…..”
Don’t you feel sorry for the courier who had to play that game every time?
“I’m going to make a little trip to the entrance. Sorry, please take care of things here.”
“Alright alright. Although I don’t know what are you talking about, I will do it.”
What did Elf order this time?
“Yes ~ I also buy goods via the Internet.”
The internet can surely supply you with anything. However the prices are higher, so I never use it.
“Alright, get over here.”
Both of us brought the ingredients to the refrigerator. It turned into a cooking session, despite me coming here to watch Yamada-sensei work.
“…Although I don’t know what you are going to make, do you need my help?”
“No no, today we aren’t playing with that setting. I can do this myself. Please return to the living room.”
This girl is still making people as confused as ever. What does she mean, ‘aren’t playing with that setting’?
“From the amount of ingredients, looked like it will take a long time….can I go back home instead? I still have to write.”
“No. Write here if you must. Understand?”
Looks like I won’t be able to run away.
…This girl…what is she thinking?
Although I don’t know what Elf is thinking, if I’m allowed to write here then I don’t need to run away anymore. I came to Elf’s workshop and planned to print my manuscript out (I brought it with me in a flashdrive). Because I came here a few times before, I knew how to use her printer.
Elf has a high tech laser printer with many functions. I don’t have a printer at my home, so when I want to print, I need to go to the school office or an internet shop.
To be honest, I was quite jealous.
I was watching the printer print my manuscript when…
Suddenly it stopped. Looks like it ran out of paper.
“Hey ~ where do you keep paper for the printer?”
I opened the door and shouted downstairs. Then Elf came, still wearing an apron.
“Out of paper? Are you kidding me? I haven’t used it since the last time I added more. Because I don’t work at all.”
Pretending like nothing happened, I looked away from Elf.
“You! You used my printer to print a lot, didn’t you?”
Of course, my crime was soon exposed. I immediately bowed to Elf and apologized:
“Sorry. Because I felt that buying a new printer was a waste…especially when there was one like this nearby.”
“That’s why every time you came to my house, you asked to borrow my printer — just go buy one for yourself! Wow! My store of A4 paper is empty! You really just printed your manuscript? Don’t lie to me because I rarely read your book! Just how much have you wrote in half a month?”
How much I wrote in half a month…well….about…
“Two novels per week, each one about three hundred pages….So half a month is a thousand and two hundred.”
Elf’s expression looked like Doraemon who just saw a mouse.(A reference to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doraemon Doraemon]. The robotic cat, Doraemon, is afraid of mice).
“A thousand and two hundred? Did you just say a thousand and two hundred?”
“Ah, well, yeah.”
By the way, since I printed on both sides of the A4 paper, the actual number was only a half of that. Meaning around six hundred.
“…Don’t be so angry. I will pay you for the ink cartridges and paper later.”
“That’s not the problem! That’s not the problem here…Two novels per week, each three hundred pages long? If that is true….then how many per month….?”
“Yes! That’s eight volumes! Around two thousands and…few hundreds more? In other words…even if this is a ‘what if’ situation…if everything you wrote was accepted….”
“You could have eighty eight volumes each year?”
“No, ninety six!”
Best-selling author, do you know how to do basic math?
Elf didn’t say anything.
Her face reddened a bit, but she was showing a ‘this doesn’t matter’ expression.
“Yes! Ninety six volumes! It was a small mistake!”
“….Eight multiplied by twelve means adding eight twelve times, remember?”
“Don’t treat me like an idiot! I, I, I don’t care! This is easy!”
Elf’s face turned red in anger.
It was a big disgrace for her to make a basic, elementary school mistake in front of others.
As for the matter of whether one should go to school or not, Elf is the perfect example showing that without proper education, even a best-selling author will meet problems.
“I, I, I’m just surprised because you could write ninety six volumes each year.”
“I told you before; even I couldn’t keep up with this speed forever. My writing will be reduced to half during weekends, not to mention that if I was sick.”
Ninety six is just a theoretical number. The truth is, seven volumes a year is my best record (my illustrator was very busy that year).
Last year, I had fallen into Hell without any published novel.
“Even so, you have completely finished your skill tree (See [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skill_tree Skill Tree]). Obliviously, your sales don’t reach one million, yet you have that A-class skill…This is the first time I’ve seen someone like you.”
Although I didn’t understand her immediately, but after thinking for a while, I remembered that she once said “Only a ‘Greater Novelist’ with more than one million sales can have his own unique skill” – that kind of self-satisfied illusion.
…Kuh kuh…although that was the first time she acknowledged me as a competitor, I didn’t feel happy.
“Say, as a ‘Greater Novelist’, do you have a useless unique skill?”
Hearing her favorite topic, Elf laughed:
“My unique skill is quite powerful. I can’t use it freely, but when I use that, my power could surpass your ‘fast writing’ skill.”
“Is that so?”
Elf sounded so serious that I regretted playing along with her.
“You will know soon enough…when I beat you.”
Much later, thinking back, I should have noticed it.
The truth about Elf’s fearsome skill – there were some hints here.
— And moving on. If this was a special power fighting-based novel, I would do a monologue now. Oh god, I felt so embarrassed.
In short, after that, we returned to the first floor.
Elf returned to the kitchen to make meal while I began checking my manuscript in the living room (since we ran out of A4 paper, I had to use another size to print it out).
A long time later…when I was sitting on a cushion in the living room, Elf brought me a small tray.
“Can you help me taste this soup a bit?”
“Huh? Ah, sure.”
I put my pen and my manuscript down.
She said to taste a bit, but on the tray that she brought, there were many nicely done dishes.
Carrot, tofu….and a half boiled egg in the middle like a main heroine.
The outer part was pure white and looked like the clothes of a maiden.
The wonderful smell coming from the beef broth made me gulp.
What a perfect combination of smell and appearance. I really want to eat.
I took the tray and began ~ to take a sip.
One sip….One more….
Something encouraged me to begin removing the maiden’s clothes. With each bite, the smell spread in my mouth.
Awesome! I kept looking for the next dishes. I took a spoon and put the half-boiled egg inside my mouth together with the other dishes.
“How is it? The taste?”
That was all I could say.
Compared to my meals this past year, Elf really is on another level.
“Really? This is my ‘Nude Spring Elven Soup’! This is only an appetizer, please wait for the rest!”
To tell you the truth, the moment I tasted this perversely named ‘Nude Spring Elven Soup’, the question ‘I came here to watch you work, how did it turn out to be like this’ had been thrown to the sky.
Although I threw that question to the sky, I asked another question:
“Awesome cooking, being able to clean the house… you totally turned my first impression about you around… Aren’t your levels as a girl a bit too high?”
Good at cooking, cleaning and can play the piano. A beautiful girl to boot.
The only downside was her personality. Just like a high-class lady in a light novel.
Hearing my question, Elf simply answered
“I’m a professional; that trivial stuff isn’t even worth mentioning.”
“Wh, what? What do you mean by that?”
“It’s nothing. How could a professional writer be bad at cooking? And I had never seen a pro that didn’t know how to clean up either. Because a girl who is good at cooking or cleaning or not will show that part in her novel. In order to make the reader like that girl, the author has to practice. So our level as a girl would of course be high.”
“…….Is that so?”
Well, despite her personality, she sure seems to be good at cooking.
“Yes it is. For example, Though you can’t ask the author of a mystery novel to go kill someone, that author has to investigate a criminal’s mindset. ‘What does one feel when they take a life’, they have to be able to imagine that. But to do it themselves is the best way to feel that emotion. The joy when you make a good meal, the happy feeling when you improve yourself, the regret when you make a mistake. It’s the best if you are able to taste it yourself. That’s what being a professional means.”
‘All female authors are high-level girls’ – although It felt a bit one-sided…
But, how should I put it, this girl.
She didn’t go to school, but she is good at learning.
“…Didn’t you say that you write novels because it’s your hobby?”
“It would be boring if I didn’t play this game seriously — for example, I wouldn’t be able to feel the joy of making meal if I asked someone to do it for me.”
Elf sat down in front of me, both of her elbows hit the table to support her face. She asked:
“Say…is it good?”
I felt like someone just grabbed my heart. I tried to make a poker face and said:
“Awesome! Didn’t I say so already?”
“Really? I’m happy too. Thank you…for making me like to cook more — thank you, that was a good reference.”
Truly, if a cute girl told you that, anyone would fall for her.
Especially the ‘good reference part’. Although I didn’t get it, I was still moved.
“….Reference huh. Is this the ‘todays work’ you meant earlier?”
“Yes. So, how was that reference?”
Although it wasn’t a direct answer…but I felt like I hit something important.
About Elf’s ‘writing hobby’, I have to admit, it allows her to write very well. Not to mention her books sell very well too.
What is the reason?
Compared to me from three years ago, when I was also ‘writing because it’s my hobby’, is there any difference?
Now, I finally understood where my weak point was three years ago.
That is how much people tried. Trying to impress the reader, that is the professionals way of thinking.
And she…she said writing is her hobby, but she understood this point.
Maybe…compared to me who treats writing like a job, she is better.
And on top of that, I noticed something else.
Something that all main characters in sports manga had in common.
All of them had fun when they played their game. All of them really enjoyed their activities.
Moreover, although there was a hint of denpa ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denpa Denpa] is a japanese term for anti-social/weird people), this real girl also said that —
A novel written when you had max motivation is much better —-
I won’t be able to feel the joy when making a meal if I asked someone to do it for me —
Writing is my hobby.
Her complaints reappeared in my mind.
The overwhelming pressure from my competitor made me unable to look up.
In other words — in other words, what should I do? What should I do now?
What should I do in order to write a better novel?
Should I give up on trying to force myself and try to enjoy writing?
What exactly should I do?
Unlike the best-selling author Elf, even when I understood this point, I still didn’t know what to do. My novels are always in danger of being rejected, and I even slowly lost confidence that I would be able to win against her.
Can I think of anything?
The truth was that the answer had always been by my side. I noticed that eventually.
Today too, Yamada Elf-sensei didn’t write anything.
Like she never cared about what she said.
…Hey, if you don’t write something, then I will win by default, you know?
…Really, what are you thinking?
When the sun was about to set, with both of my hands full, I left the Crystal Palace.
“…What a super delicious meal…”
That was all I could manage to say.
“I couldn’t help but ask her for my little sister’s portion too.”
Although it’s painful to compare my meal to this, I bet my little sister will be happy if she ate it.
“…She is probably hungry by now. I should hurry.”
When I get back, I slowly climbed the stairs.
With each steps, my legs grew heavier.
Why, you ask?
Although I was affected by a certain professional writer…
— No, it isn’t that.
After that incident, I wasn’t able to speak with my little sister again, nor could I meet her.
We returned to what it was like before.
I arrived at the second floor and stood in front of ‘The never opened door’.
I shook my head to clear my negative thoughts.
As her elder brother, I shouldn’t show her my depressed face.
“Phew ~ ha…good.”
I took a deep breath and calmed down —
Just when I was about to call out, the ‘Never opened door’ opened.
Behind that was my little sister in her pajamas.
Although it was rare for Sagiri to open the door for me, she didn’t say anything.
Even if I asked, she didn’t respond.
I couldn’t bear this pressure anymore. When I was on the verge of crying, my little sister finally moved.
Still with a blank expression, Sagiri made a hook with her index finger.
“…You want me to come in?”
Sagiri didn’t confirm or deny, she just shot a cold glare that gave me a chill before turning away.
I got the feeling that if this continued, the door will close again, thus I followed her and entered the room.
That was how I once more successfully entered ‘The never opened door’.
Compared to last time, my little sister’s room didn’t change much.
The only difference…was the open curtains which lead to the balcony.
“Didn’t I tell you to not open the curtains? The one over there’s got a bit of a loose screw in her head.”
Somehow, the image of Elf sneezing appeared in my head.
Sagiri stood in the middle of the room, biting her lower lip and turned to me.
What I just said was intended to erase this atmosphere, but it turned out the pressure I felt from my little sister increased. Why…why? Did I say something wrong?
Damn…I had no idea what to do now.
I’m so useless. I had written thousands of pages about a character’s activities, but I understood nothing about what my little sister was thinking. But even then, I couldn’t just stand here and do nothing. I had to think of something quick…!
“About…about that neighbor of ours.”
I showed her what I had brought.
“I got it from her. It’s very good, want to have a bite?”
Although she finally said something…
“Why….? Aren’t you hungry?”
Once again, Sagiri became silent. She clearly wasn’t the emotionless type, she showed me a lot of expressions before. Why was she like this? I couldn’t understand.
Anyway, I put everything in my hands down and slowly said:
“…Are you angry with something? I can’t understand without you telling me.”
Sagiri pouted and pointed at my face.
“Me, liar….? Sorry, I don’t get it. Why? Can you explain it for me?”
We tried to continue our struggled communication.
The last time we met, I understood that she seemed to be angry with me. But she didn’t tell me why even when I asked. Now she looked even angrier despite the fact that I brought her a meal.
What exactly is going on?
My little sister’s feelings are so complicated.
“…So I say….”
I didn’t know how to continue.
Sagiri – Eromanga-sensei.
She clearly talks a lot during her live videos, but when it’s face to face, she’s unable to speak.
“Kuh, kuh, kuh….kuh kuh ~~~~~~~~~~~~”
Like she couldn’t take it anymore, Sagiri closed her eyes and began swinging her fists at me.
Although I tried to understand what she was thinking, I had no idea.
Sagiri glared fiercely at me then, took her digital board out and began drawing immediately. Not even ten seconds later, a finished illustration was presented in front of me.
“So fast! What is that?…Could it be …me?”
Sagiri showed me an illustration of myself.
A manga-style dialog box next to ‘me’, which showed ‘Neighbor? We have a bad relationship.’
“I feel…feel…’not-me’ here looks like he deserves a beating…what does that mean?”
Once more, Sagiri began to draw again. Although speaking directly would be much faster, it looks like she is an exception.
Sagiri tapped the screen and asked:
She showed me an illustration of a naked beautiful blond girl.
“What do you think?”
“You’re asking me….”
Is she asking for my impression? Well….
“What an erotic illustration…. Ouch it hurts! Don’t hit me with the digital board!”
“I, idiot! I’m not asking about that! Something else…Something else….!”
Something else? What else is there for me to evaluate? Although I wanted to say that, I ended up with…
“Something else huh….”
A super erotic illustration of a naked beautiful blond girl…what else could I say…hm….
“….Un ~ it’s not like it’s nothing, but it shouldn’t matter anyway….”
No, I truly believe it shouldn’t matter. But I must give her an answer, so I had no choice but to say:
“Actually, I was always wondering: why do girls in your illustrations always have flat chests?”
Sagiri blushed and turned away.
She was angry with me just now, but her momentum quickly disappeared.
“That, that’s because….”
“I did tell you that I hoped you could draw girls with bigger breasts, but even now, you totally ignore my request.”
“No, that’s not it…I did try to draw it bigger.”
“But I can’t see any differences.”
When I made my debut, since my request was ignored, I had no choice but to give up on this idea and kill off all of the big breasted girls in my book.
Because she didn’t draw them.
Sagiri muttered to herself. Her face was deep red, her eyes wandered.
Her expression was the same as Elf when I told her that ‘I remembered the scene when the first girl got laid, It still feels like shit’, looks like Sagiri treats this very seriously.
Seems like I just touched on something Eromanga-sensei can’t do.
“Towards erotic illustration….I had…I had some…lines of my own.”
Sagiri told me clearly:
“I don’t want to draw something that I haven’t seen before!”
A dead silence reigned in the room.
Her line when drawing erotic illustration is she will not draw something she had never seen before.
In comparison to Elf’s reference from before, it was similar…somewhat. Because I’m not entirely sure about this ‘line’ stuff, I couldn’t understand it perfectly…but.
Among what Sagiri just said, there was a big problem.
“….In other words…until now, your illustrations…all of them were things that you had seen before?”
“That can’t be helped. For example, I couldn’t get references about other races in ‘The Silver Wolf’. For example, I needed to imagine drawing an elf. But underwear and human bodies….if that is something I have never seen before, I will not draw it.”
“No, no, I didn’t plan on asking you that.”
Since I didn’t make it clear earlier, I repeated my question:
“I meant…when you draw an erotic illustration….”
This time, Sagiri understood what I meant — her face immediately reddened.
I decided to come clean:
“You said that your illustrations….”
*Thud* Sagiri hit me with the digital board as hard as she could.
“Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Hentai! Pervert! Nii-san you….!”
* Thud Thud Thud Thud * She gave my face a four-hit combo.
“Stop…! I’m sorry, okay…! It hurts so much…! Why is this thing is so hard?!”
Since it was meant to show letters and numbers, shouldn’t it be made from plastic or liquid crystal? That sounded like it was made from metal! Is it a special version?
Luckily hikikomori don’t have much endurance, Sagiri soon was out of breath.
….I remembered that Eromanga-sensei had an illustration of a butt with a rope panty (in a nice pose). When fans saw it, they were very excited.
“….Could it be that illustration of a butt…”
I turned to the mirror in the corner.
…Sagiri….she looked at it using this mirror…
“No! That’s not it!”
* Thud Thud Thud Thud *
“I haven’t said anything yet! Calm down!”
“You imagined it! You definitely just imagined me in an erotic pose….!”
Both embarrassed and angry, Sagiri looked like she would spit out fire at any moment.
Sagiri breathed heavily and spoke in a barrage:
“De, definitely! You just imagined me on all fours, looking at myself in the mirror and drawing that erotic illustration! You think that I’m a pervert who bought a rope panty to draw an illustration!”
“I told you I never imagined it in that much detail!”
Since she just came clean, now I felt that my little sister is such a pervert.
Sagiri bite her lower lip and looked at me like she was about to cry.
No good…she’s about to cry!
“As an elder brother, I will definitely not look at my little sister and think about perverted stuff!”
Since I suddenly yelled, Sagiri was shocked.
Then she whispered, like she was looking for a confirmation.
“….Even if I wore that kind of G-string panty, you will not look down on me and think of me as an ero kid?”
“How could I?” I answered with confidence.
So it’s called a G-string panty?
I knew nothing about it! Who could have thought my hikikomori little sister could have something like that!
“Since you doubted me earlier, I will make it clear. I had decided to be a good elder brother to you. I will make you accept me. So no matter how much of a pervert you are, I will not look at you and think of perverted stuff. I will also not have those kind of feelings towards you. And the most important thing is, I will definitely not look down on you.”
I raised my chest and spoke my faith.
“That’s what an elder brother is.”
So don’t worry, Sagiri.
To protect one’s little sister is an elder brother’s duty.
Hearing me say that, Sagiri kept silent and showed a complex expression. She was the type who clearly showed what she thought, but now…I had no idea what was her expression meant.
If I had to guess, it had a mix of joy, anger and happiness —
“You are an idiot.”
With that expression on her face, Sagiri said so.
“You are a pervert and a liar. I don’t care. I won’t believe you.”
So it’s turned into this huh?
“…Well, about the ‘I’m a liar’ part….”
I once again took the weapon — no, the digital board from Sagiri’s hand, which was showing a naked beautiful blond girl.
“This illustration…could it be that…Elf, no Yamada-san?”
Sagiri didn’t answer, she just turned this way.
“Am I right? What is the relationship with this naked girl and ‘I’m a liar’?”
* Scribble scribble scribble *
Sagiri once again took the digital pen. She quickly finished another illustration and showed me.
She showed me the previous illustration, which had me looking like I deserved a beating and ‘Neighbor? We had a bad relationship.’
She kept the digital board facing me and slid her finger.
The screen changed to the next illustration —
Next, it showed me seeing ero-Elf, fully naked. “Not-me” was laughing perversely.
My mouth was twitching.
Sagiri slid her finger once more.
Inside Elf’s workshop, “not-me” was happily chatting with Elf.
I turned toward the opened curtains in Sagiri’s room.
I always felt that it was strange…Hikikomori shouldn’t have a reason to open their curtains…Now I see.
She slid her finger again.
“Not-me” brought a pack back while smiling
[I brought a good meal. Are you hungry.]
[Neighbor? We had a bad relationship.]
Slide. Slide. Slide.
Four illustrations kept repeating themselves in front of my eyes.
[—– Neighbor? We had a bad relationship——.]
Sagiri opened her mouth:
“I do not have a good relationship with herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
What a troublesome mess!
Sagiri muttered again:
“Listen to me! I didn’t lie! True, recently I visited that house a lot! But I have a reason!”
There is no need to explain this thing, right? I had nothing to fear. Even if I did lie and flirt with my neighbor – there shouldn’t be any reason for Sagiri to be puzzled, nor do I have to explain and calm her down.
I didn’t get it at all.
Sagiri asked me:
“What is your reason?”
“About that —”
Now, since I had a promise with my neighbor ‘For a fair match, I will think of some way to get Eromanga-sensei to read Elf’s manuscript’.
If I told her that, then I will have to tell her Yamada Elf-sensei’s real identity.
….But I don’t want to.
Of course, I will abide by my promise and let Eromanga-sensei read Elf’s manuscript.
But I don’t want to tell my little sister that the best-selling author, Yamada Elf-sensei is living next to us.
No, no. I want to hide it.
Aside from the promise of a fair match, I still hesitated.
Elf is much better than me. She lived next to me, and she also wanted Eromanga-sensei’s help.
And like Sagiri, she didn’t go to school either — I don’t want to say it. I always had a feeling that if I said it out, I will lose my most important co-worker. That was why I hesitated.
Such negative feelings made me embarrassed.
“…I can’t tell you now.”
Next month, I will tell you.
After we finish our manuscript and you read them both.
“Is that so?”
Sagiri seemed disappointed with my answer. Her eyes showed a hint of hidden emotion, she muttered:
“…You liar. You, you always lied to me. Nii-san this and that….”
“Nii-san. I hate the most”
Based on what I heard, Sagiri was no longer confused about my relationship with Elf.
Is that how my little sister saw me after spending a year living under the same roof?
” — You hate me the most huh.”
“Hate you the most. Don’t want to see your face again.”
Fine then. Now isn’t the time to feel depressed or down.
I know that – Izumi Masamune knows that – if I didn’t show her my determination here, then I had no right to be her brother.
“Then I will prove that I’m not a liar.”
“…How are you going to do that?”
Now is the time to announce my determination.
“I have decided. I can do it.”
“………What are you talking about?”
“I, since a year ago, there was something always on my mind. What should I do to gain my little sister’s trust? As Sagiri’s elder brother, what should I do in order to become closer to her? What should I do so you can accept me?”
“Finally, last month…I found out about your secret, found out that we have been working together for a long time.”
Yahhhhhhhhhhhh! So cool so cool so cool —-!
I caught a chance to become closer to my little sister, when she was at her purest mood.
Let’s have a showdown! I will not give you my co-worker.
When I announced that to a professional anime writer.
“I have thought about it very, very much.”
My spirit was sky high. This is the first time I felt this way since I had my debut — like when I first saw my reader pick up my novel, when I first saw people line up at the bookstore to buy my book — I felt ‘I’m so happy!’
…Because it was fun. Drawing illustrations, making live videos, chatting with each other.
Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Hentai! Pervert!
I was happy because I could have some small conversations with my little sister now. I can’t help but feel excited about what the future holds.
Recently, I —
Just like Eromanga-sensei felt happy when she drew like a child, I was feeling the same. My head was thinking only about Eromanga-sensei, I spent sleepless nights trying to write a new novel.
“Then I finally realized.”
I started to make a breakthrough. I faced this problem with both happiness and determination.
“I realized — what I should do.”
Get ready to be surprised!
Normally, with maximum motivation, I could happily write, I could make a much better novel.
That novel could force my noisy editor to shut up, could make a troublesome professional anime writer get lost, could make Eromanga-sensei’s illustration become famous, could earn me my little sister’s trust, could become Japanese’s best novel — the ultimate novel.
The novel that I could write only once in my life, using my special unique S-class skill.
That was —–
“I want to make my little sister into a heroine!”
I shouted to Sagiri – to my little sister.
Looks like what I said was outside Sagiri’s expectation, her eyes turned into two small dots.
“What, what, what are you talking about?”
“Didn’t you hear me? I want to write a light novel about my little sister! Like a certain female author who liked elementary school girls and ended up writing a novel about that! Like a certain best-selling author who liked naked girls! Like someone who liked ero-illustration the most, who always managed to move me —”
I took a deep breath and said:
“I want to write about my little sister who I like most! I will use my own life as a reference to write ‘the ultimate light novel’!”
” —- Ack!”
My little sister’s face turned crimson. She suddenly took the headphones, put them on and yelled:
“I’m not happy! Unhappy unhappy unhappy! What you said doesn’t matter to me! And it’s gross! I hate the lying nii-san the most! I won’t trust you! Get out! Don’t come here anymore!”
Just like a fierce rejection.
I couldn’t make her understand my feelings.
‘The never opened door’ was closed again. Just like Sagiri’s heart.
A few days later, half of May had passed.
After that, I didn’t see Sagiri again.
Our relationship might have gotten worse….The number of times she didn’t touch her meals had increased. Even the live video feed was no longer updated.
I was very worried. I felt that I had a negative influence on her. The sense of guilt is about to kill me.
But even then, I still continued writing novels, continued making meals for her three times a day, and continued trying to talk with her.
With maximum motivation, I could do anything.
Since the time my last proposal was rejected, I still hadn’t prepared another. No outline, no idea.
This was the first time this happened to the quick-writing Izumi Masamune — now, I’m busy writing a little sister based novel (undecided name), busy creating another way of writing.
Unlike before, when I wrote and prayed that it won’t be rejected.
Now, I will make this a success no matter what.
It was the same before I made my debut — although later, in order to survive I had to abandon that way of thinking.
The speed that allowed my success until now — although it did carve up my way of writing, I still abandoned it. Then I threw myself into motivation, determination to face that showdown.
Of course, not everything went well.
Yesterday, my editor finally told me ‘you have to write something by this week’.
If I’m unable to meet that deadline, to be honest I’m scared.
There was a chance that my life as an author will come to an end.
The truth is maybe she didn’t mean it like that, but my editor’s ‘then you should take your time’ sounded even scarier.
If I couldn’t write something, then another novel will take my place.
No matter how much I wrote, however many novels published, it wasn’t the same as one missing volume.
My position would be lost to someone else. Readers would soon forget about me.
This very realistic outcome chained my heart down.
This is the first time I couldn’t write since my debut.
This time when I wanted to write a story about what I want to write with maximum motivation —
Giving up on my fighting style and choosing a little sister based novel —
Giving up my easily forged way of writing and choosing a way that I had never tried before —
I was happy, but at the same time I felt restless.
Just like when I first wrote a novel —
Drifting in those positive and negative thoughts, I kept writing.
Both happy and restless, I continued forward.