== Chapter 3 ==
After school, a few days later, I met my little sister in the locked room.
[Nii…what is it today?]
Sagiri still had her headphones on as usual.
Aside from the cute flower pajamas, today she had a white sweater.
For some reason, she’s been trying to wear these types of clothing at home too.
— I had the feeling that her clothes were becoming more and more revealing.
Even though I was happy every time we met, I felt that it was a bit unbelievable.
First Elf and then Megumi.
Is it because she made friends? But what’s the connection between that and changing clothes?
Forget it. It’s not a bad thing anyway.
“Ah…actually, there is something I wanted to tell you.”
I hid my tablet behind me and smiled:
[Will it…take a long time?]
“Ah, no. It should be quick.”
[Is that so? Then I will let you go first.]
I stared at her.
Sagiri smiled at me:
[…I also have something to show you.]
Wow. What a coincidence.
My little sister is going to show me something…my heart is racing…I wonder what it is?
Sagiri suddenly looked at me with a deadpan expression:
[….Nii, you’re thinking something perverted again.]
“No, of course not.”
[…No, it’s not what you think.]
Sagiri pouted and blushed.
“Okay. Then let me go first.”
I pointed at the table behind me:
“Clang clang ~! Take a look!”
“Yes! The novel outline! I finally finished it!”
The screen showed the complete outline of the novel.
I also used Eromanga-sensei’s illustration. It looked quite dazzling.
There were a lot of changes inside, with a new heroine, and more content.
Not to mention a character sheet. It was like a manga outline already.
“I have a lot of confidence in this. It’s my first novel outline. Haha ~ all thanks to Eromanga-sensei.”
I showed this to her while scratching my nose.
Sagiri took the tablet and said:
[…I don’t know someone with that name.]
Why are you saying that now? It’s finished thanks to your effort as well.
Also thanks to Elf and Megumi for their scarifices for Eromanga-sensei.
Because of them, Eromanga-sensei was fired up and managed to draw a lot of super erotic and cute illustrations.
Due to those illustrations, I was able to get past my writer’s block – and finish this novel outline.
““All that’s left now is to give it to my editor, and wait for the results!””
I had already called Kagurazaka-san, and she said [As long as your novel outline is passed, you could get published immediately]…if everything went well, we could start very soon.
Probably because I exaggerated that meeting with an editor is ‘like a battle against the Reaper’ too much.
“That is an outline we both created, so I want to show it to you before sending it to my editor.”
[…I understand. I’ll take a look later.]
Sagiri nodded and gently held the tablet to her chest.
[It will be fine. Because we tried out best.]
I was also emotional.
Because we both tried hard for our dreams.
The first step always made people happy, more than anything else.
“That was what I wanted to say. What did you want to show me?”
Sagiri placed the tablet aside and crawled into a corner, and took out a small box, the kind that had wheels underneath.
I didn’t see it the last time I was here.
In other words, she chose a time I wasn’t home to bring it here.
Sagiri opened the box.
[Nii…look at this.]
She blushed slightly, then took out —
A white camisole
I was so surprised that I let out a strange yell.
What, what kind of erotic clothes is that? It’s half-transparent!
Were the thoughts running through my head.
I couldn’t help but imagine Sagiri in these erotic clothes.
Any teenager who would wear this adult-only clothing, would undoubtly draw a lot of attention.
“Sa, Sa, Sagiri….this is ?”
With a trembling voice, I tried to ask. Sagiri looked like she wanted to say ‘Doesn’t it look good?’ and said:
[I feel that it’s perfect – what do you think?]
“Wh, wh, what do you mean?”
What exactly should I answer? I was so confused that I didn’t know how to reply.
“Although I agree that this looks nice…but you can’t wear that! It’s too erotic!”
Only now did Sagiri register a response.
She immediately flushed and tried to rebuke it:
[Eh? Eh? Pervert! Nii, nii, nii-san….you always! Pervert! These clothes are just a reference for my drawing! Not for me, for a heroine in your novel!]
Eromanga-sensei’s weakness was that she could only draw what she has already seen.
So it’s understandable that she would need clothes like this as a reference – no, no no!
“You’re going to wear this half- transparent camisole and come up with a drawing based on yourself, right?”
[Yes! But don’t say it out loud!]
Sagiri tried to punch me.
[I’m not a pervert! You…nii-san, you’re the one who is imagining me wearing this and doing perverted things…you’re the perverted one!]
“It’s true that I imagined you in those clothes, but I never imagined you doing anything perverted.”
[You just said it!]
“I only repeated what you said!”
Oh really….this little sister of mine……..!
‘Sagiri’s clothes’ were something that I had no control over, so I had to ask.
“By the way, where did you get something like this? Did you buy it via the Internet?”
Since this is a good chance, let’s see if —
[Mom bought it for me……]
It’s impossible to access Amazon from the afterlife. – was the thought that suddenly appeared in my mind. Which means that she had to buy it when she was still alive.
But…but…but that’s even stranger!
“You mean that your mother, who was only a bit bigger than you, and very beautiful who was also decorous, delicate, and who was always smiling like a goddess…? She bought these erotic clothes? For you? When you were still underage?”
I can’t believe it! It’s so unbelievable!
[It, it’s true! All of this fit mom, so they should fit me too when I get older. She bought me a lot of clothes, in various sizes!]
“A lot of erotic clothes?”
[There were a lot of non-erotic clothes too! Like the wool dress from before!]
Nope. I kind of think that, that dress is erotic too.
Sagiri thought that I wasn’t convinced, she quickly added:
[I, I’m telling the truth. It isn’t nonsense…]
“No, I believe you. You wouldn’t lie to me. I’m just…only ….in a bit of a shock. I’ll be fine, just give me a minute.”
Ah…ha….really…this…might have really happened.
Now a lot of my question from before had been answered.
Where does Sagiri get so much clothing?
Why do Eromanga-sensei’s illustrations feature a lot of erotic clothing?
And the reasons? …Because her mother had bought a ton of erotic clothes for her.
Because she wore them and let Sagiri take a look.
It’s true that you were beautiful, but your hobbies were….
I could only look at the sky and silently give my regrets.
If I did it wrong her mother, who was blessing us from heaven, might get into trouble because her ero-secrets were revealed.
Who would have thought that Sagiri’s job change into Eromanga-sensei was largely because of her mother?
Eromanga-sensei is so ero.
Eromanga-sensei’s mother is no less ero.
I finally saw the truth of this world.
My respect toward my father increased. Such a man, to be able to hold a wife like that in his arms.
In the future, I hope that I could have a wife both as cute and ero as her.
“ — Sorry about just now. I’m fine.”
[…You don’t look fine to me.]
“To tell the truth, I was still a bit dazzled, but I’m fine. Let’s get back to our main topic.”
Sagiri picked up the camisole and said:
[I plan to make the character based on Elf wear this – what do you think?]
Sagiri laughed happily, while I….
“Well…I think this color would suit the main heroine better.”
[Is that so? I plan to let Imouto-chan wear this….]
Sagiri dug into the box and took something else out.
[What about this?]
“What the heck is that?”
Although…although I knew what it was the moment I saw it…but…is there something wrong with my eyes?
[Shimakaze-chan (From the flash game Kantai Collection, Aka Kancolle. This is a good game, until they banned my account.)! This is my favorite!]
“Mother did it againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!”
I wanted nothing more than to file a complaint towards her mother in heaven for leaving such dangerous cosplay clothes behind.
After that, I returned to my room. Shortly thereafter, I ended up getting a skype call from Sagiri.
[I’ve read the novel outline…it’s very good.]
What high praise
“Really! Then I will send it to my editor immediately!”
Full of confidence, I immediately attached the words “I’m waiting for your answer” to the novel outline, and e-mailed it to my Editor. A few minutes later, I got a reply which said ‘Come to the editorial department tomorrow’.
Thus, the next day, I sat in front of my editor.
My novel outline was between us, the atmosphere was almost unbearable.
After some formal greetings, Kagurazaka-san began to flip through my outline.
Flip. Flip. One page. Another.
A smile slowly appeared on her face.
I knew this expression very well. She was about to shout ‘rejected’ again.
I was only showing my novel outline…but the woman in front of me gave me a feeling like the King of Hell before he passed his judgement.
Just looking at her…she looked like the Reaper before she took my life.
The Reaper spoke.
Kagurazaka-san put the novel outline down.
Seeing her unpleasant look, I already lost all hope —
“ — We can use this.”
You aren’t going to reject it?
“Yes. Although I really wanted to ask why you decided to abandon your fighting style light novel, but this one has its own allure. The heroine’s charm could work its way into the reader’s heart. Not only that, but this is a joint project of Izumi-sensei and Eromanga-sensei, it would be a waste to reject it.”
Kagurazaka-san suddenly packed away her usual expression, and said seriously:
“As your editor, I assure you that this will be a success.”
“The truth is, yesterday, after you sent your email, I was already planing to call you…”
“Yes! The publisher said they are good to go!”
I clenched my fist —
My scream of joy echoed in the editorial department.
I pass! Did you see that Sagiri? Eromanga-sensei!
What we did was the right thing to do!
“You pass, Izumi-sensei!”
“Thank you! Thank you so much!”
I gladly shook my editor’s hand, and shook the hands of the other editors as well.
*Wow wow Clap clap clap*
The congratulations lasted for several minutes.
Scratching the back of my head, I could only reply with ‘Thank you very much’ non stop.
When the chaos died down, Kagurazaka-san spoke again.
It looked like the cursed Reaper today turned into an angel.
“Then, please prepare to publish it in May next year.”
“Eh…what did you just say?”
Today is June, isn’t it? How could my new novel be scheduled to publish in May?
“Izumi-sensei’s newest light novel will be published in May, next year! Almost a year later!”
I swore that my expression was hilarious.
Probably a deadpan, blank expression.
My head was spinning…what did I just hear? It seemed like I got it, but my head still refused to understand the words.
At the same time, my editor was still congratulating me:
“Congratulations, Izumi-sensei! Ah~ as expected of an author who never gave up on his work, so good! To be able to make a new outline that fast! Authors like you are rare! Congratulations! Congratulations!”
I got the feeling that she really was congratulating me from the bottom of her heart.
Congratulations! Another new novel!
She really had no malicious intent.
Of course the finished manuscript still needs to be edited – oh right, can we do the formal consultation on the new work in about half a year?”
Until then, there is nothing to do.
That was what she meant back then.
No work meaning that my income is 0.
This damn job! I could go into jobless status at any moment!
Still…this…it’s not like this is the first time…
It has been that way for a long time. If I sent it to her sooner, I would have been rejected. Now, I was accepted, but I needed to wait a year.
Some might say that it’s good as long as you can publish it.
But we had no bank savings, no connections, and no family. We live with nothing but my income. We’re done for if I lose my job.
I can’t afford to be depressed here! I need to do something!
“Hm? What’s wrong?”
“About my release date, why is it so late?….”
“Because other authors were trying their best too, so your spot was pushed farther back. I couldn’t keep it open forever.”
Really? But in that case there was nothing I could do.
“But…you said you’d leave a spot for me?”
“That spot was taken just a few days ago.”
“Ah, it’s kind of embarrassing. A few days after I sent that e-mail to you, some famous author took it.”
Yet you said you’d leave me a spot! I really wanted to explode right now, but I managed to stay calm.
Need to…calm down…calm down…calm down…
Another famous author sent his work huh…
Is that so…so that’s it huh…
This…was so hard to accept
Deep down I was already tired, but I tried to ask one more question:
“By the way, can I ask which famous author was that?”
“The Ace of battle-style light novel, Muramasa-sensei.”
I stood up, put my palms on my head, looked at the sky and —
“Muramasaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! I knew it! That damn bastard again!!!!!!! Aaaarghhhhhhh!!!!!!”
Inside the editorial department, the dying scream of Izumi Masamune echoed over and over.
[……Nii-san, you’re jobless again?]
“No, don’t use that word!”
I rebuked it with the same reaction when Elf told me to ‘die’.
“Please don’t call a novelist without work jobless.”
[Even if you sugar coated it, the truth won’t change. You don’t have a job now…just like me.]
“….Yeah, you’re right.”
Now, I was facing my little sister – inside the locked room.
Her ‘seal’ seemed to be weakening, due to the fact that she agreed to let me in.
Or maybe it’s because this conversation is quite important to us.
Because my little sister – Sagiri – is also my partner – Eromanga-sensei.
Since I don’t have a new novel, Eromanga-sensei’s income is 0 too.
She turned the volume higher, and said:
[By the way, who is that Muramasa-sensei that you spoke of?]
“Senjyu Muramasa-sensei. A novelist ranked higher than me.”
Sagiri glared at her bookshelves. Then her eyes stopped on the hit novel of the season ‘Fantasy Demon Blade Legend’.
“Yes, he’s the author of this novel.”
[Of course I knew that…but, is he good?]
In order to help her understand easier, I thought for a moment and said:
“He’s even more famous than Yamada Elf-sensei next door…do you get it now?”
It’s understandable that Sagiri was surprised, since I compared him with Yamada Elf-sensei, whose novel was made into anime, and who is ten time more famous than me.
Yamada Elf-sensei – her sales reached a million, who holds the title of Greater Novelist.
However, Muramasa-sensei….in Elf’s standard, his sales have reached tens of millions, which grants him the title of Arch Novelist.
“Frankly speaking, he’s several levels ahead of me.”
[…Someone that good took your spot?]
“Yeah. It’s been like that for a long time. After many hardships, our novel outline managed to get passed, but this guy….”
I slammed my fist on the floor.
“He’s already got a masterpiece, yet he still keeps writing new ones. Just hurry up and finish ‘Fantasy Demon Blade Legend’, damn it! This damn Muramasa! That was my spot! He dared to kick me out!”
[…You should blame yourself before you blame others.]
I painfully put a hand on my chest…Sagiri…she threw a curve ball.
“It’s not like that! You see! This guy, this guy…he is more famous than me —– but he’s always trying to pick a fight with me!”
[…Tried to pick a fight with you? When?]
“First, our penname is very similar.”
Izumi Masamune. Senjyu Muramasa.
[…Now you said it, they are indeed similar.]
“Right? Next, our writing syle is almost the same.”
[Both are in the fighting genre with a bit of comedy…yes, similar.]
Even the atmosphere in our novel, the nickname of our character were similar.
He wrote in the same genre as me, but Muramasa-sensei never appeared in any award events, thus I never meet him before…in short, he’s a complete stranger.
When I read his book, I got the feeling ‘this book is like mine, it’s so good’.
Simply put….it was like I wrote a masterpiece then forgot about it, then I read it again – like that.
“Not to mention his ‘fast writing’ skill level is high too. And he is also ‘a young novelist who is also still going to school’ like me.”
I once heard that ‘among younger authors, the Ace is Muramasa-sensei’.
“Look? He’s obviously trying to pick a fight with me!”
[Not really…though…or rather….]
“….My dear little sister….what did you just say?”
I got the feeling that I was about to step on a huge landmine.
[If I use Pokemon as a reference, he has Garchomp, and you would have Scizor, do you get it?]
“Please use language that I can understand!”
[I mean that you can’t beat Muramasa-sensei, that’s all.]
“Thank you very much for the super-easy-to-understand reference! Aaagrhhhhhhh! That’s enough!”
I blocked my ears and began rolling on the floor, screaming.
“Everyone said that too! When I sold my book they said that I copied Muramasa-sensei, that I’m only a wannabe! That’s why I don’t dare Google myself on the Internet! If this was Final Fantasy, Masamune should be stronger!!!!”
The regrets from before all came back, and made me lose all strength.
Seeing me like that, Sagiri only said:
[….Quiet. Nii-san. I don’t want to see you like that. Shut up.]
I shut up.
[…Although it’s still a long time until the novel gets published…*cough cough*]
She coughed a few times and changed her tone:
[We can publish it next year right? Let’s consider it our first step. Congratulations, Izumi-sensei.]
I’m so moved. Tears almost began to flow down my cheeks. But…
I slowly turned back:
“Regrettably, we can’t wait until next year.”
[Could it be…we’re out of money?]
Sagiri reverted to her usual tone.
[If that’s the case, Nii-san. Don’t worry.]
Seeing me depressed, Sagiri said in a gentle, motherly tone:
[Let me take care of you.]
Wh…what should I say?
Should I be happy because my little sister is worried about me? Or depressed because of how useless I am?
[I am always prepared.]
Take care of my hikikomori little sister.
She…also thought that too?
[Nii-san, you’re working while still going to school…despite that, we rarely talk to each other.]
Sagiri gave me a heavenly smile:
[It’s fine if you don’t have a job. Let me…let me use my H-illustrations to earn money.]
Little sister using her H-illustrations to earn money for her brother.
I’m so ashamed of myself. I’m happy too, but…..
“That…Sagiri…I thank you for your concern, but….”
“I’m not worried about the money. After our parents left – I promised our aunt.”
Aunt – my father’s little sister.
Our current guardian.
“I told her that I will earn money as a novelist, and use that money to keep living an independent life style.”
Sagiri’s eyes widened.
Although…I didn’t want to tell her this one bit.
This was something that happened a year before, after our parents were gone.
After that, I promised our guardian.
There was more, but in short, this is what I promised:
1. Do not give up on work or study, get some achievements.
2. Think of some way to improve Sagiri’s situation.
This is the condition in order for me to keep living like this. The condition for us to live ‘as I see fit’. If I fail to follow it, we might have to live ‘as our aunt sees fit’.
Right now, I couldn’t afford to be separated from Sagiri. Although our aunt tried her best too – she would definitely force Sagiri outside.
I couldn’t allow that to happen. Absolutely not.
Thus, starting a year ago, I threw myself into working and studying. Now, I will not allow my situation to revert back to how it was before.
That’s why I’m worried.
[…Nii, you made a promise with aunt too.]
“You said ‘too’…So you also….?”
[Yes. The condition to continue working as an illustrator.]
I see. Now I remembered. How could a middle school aged girl be allowed to work without an adult?
…Let see…in other words…No, its fine now, I could ask her later.
“Is that so? I’m not planing to ask what you promised…but is everything okay on your side?”
[Yes, no problem.]
“That’s good then — thus the problem lies on me huh.”
Maintain my current situation as a novelist.
If I was unable to publish a book in a year – I bet that meant that I failed to fulfill the conditions.
[What should we do…?]
What would other authors do?
I had managed to keep up my work for a year, yet now my income is back to 0.
[How about switching to another publisher? Could we make it faster?]
Sagiri was the one who raised this idea.
“This…you mean….’job jumping’?”
[Yes. How about it?]
“…I’ve never done that before.”
To tell the truth, I didn’t plan to wait around until I died either. But I had no idea what should I do.
Normally, if I knew someone from another publisher, I could ask them for a meeting with an editor – or use my connections to find a spot somewhere else.
That was all I could think of.
“I don’t know anyone from another publisher…what should I do….”
“Leave it to me!”
At this critical moment, a familiar voice came.
Both Sagiri and I turned in the direction of the voice – the balcony.
There, with her hands folded across her chest was a beautiful girl in lolita clothing, Yamada Elf-sensei.
Scared, Sagiri quickly ran to the bed and hid under a blanket.
Although they had played games together before, she was still afraid of strangers.
I turned to the girl who just sneaked onto my balcony.
“You, how could you….”
I thought she was imprisoned by her editor.
“I’m Yamada Elf! I came back from the dark dungeon!”
I could only stare in shock.
“Izumi Masamune…are you that surprised to see me here?”
“You…finished your manuscript?”
“Finished! I want to go home soon, so I wrote it as fast as I could! But my editor still held me under house arrest! I told you to come and rescue me! I even sent e-mails! Why didn’t you come?”
“Why….? Because I want to read your next book too.”
“The princess was waiting for the prince to come and save her! Don’t you want a kiss from the princess?”
“Nope! Who’s the princess? Ah, congratulations for your manuscript.”
“Thank you – my butt! Ah really! Fine, let’s get back to the topic!”
Elf thrust her finger at my face:
“Masamune, Eromanga-sensei – looks like you two need my help!”
“Kuh…what a slow response! With the help from the super beautiful genius novelist Yamada Elf, sending your manuscript to an editor is a piece of cake!”
“Really, Your Highness?”
I immediately knelt down in front of Elf and took her hand.
Maybe she was still angry, her face was a bit red.
“Yes…yes…although I could only promise you a chance…”
“That’s enough Your Highness! Thank you! Thank you very much…!”
I was so happy that tears began to flow.
“Your Highness, today you look even more beautiful than usual! You’re shining!”
“Hey, enough of your flattery. Don’t call me your highness anymore. It’s true that I started that, but hearing you say it only makes me feel gross.”
You really are too much – but I will forgive you this time.
I really need to thank Elf for this suggestion.
Now, I had a way for the two of us, brother and sister to live together.
She could ask me to thank her anyway she wanted, I wouldn’t mind.
“Say…Elf-sama. In return, between my body and my heart, which do you prefer?”
“Stop it, that’s gross!”
Elf threw my hand away.
Looks like I can’t copy this move from Megumi.
Suddenly, for some reason, Sagiri……..
[Hmph hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh—-! Hmppppppppppppppppph——————————–!”
Still hiding under the blanket, she began to hit the mattress.
“…Sa, Sagiri? Is something wrong?”
[You still need to ask? Idiot! Don’t you see what you already have?!]
No matter how good I am at decoding her ‘slamming the mattress’ language, I wasn’t able to figure out why she was angry.
The next day, after school.
Elf and I walked side by side towards the publisher in Iidabashi.
It’s not like I don’t want to go to Elf’s Fulldrive’s publisher – but I needed to go to my publisher first.
Yesterday, after Elf had made some calls, she gave me the phone.
[I understand your situation. However, before sending your manuscript, please meet with your current editor again.]
There was nothing else I could do after hearing that.
Well, I’m about to switch to another publisher, it’s normal that I should at least inform Kagurazaka-san.
Yup, totally understandable.
Since I need to publish as soon as possible, I’m on my way to meet my editor.
“…Although going alone would be enough, why are you here?”
Your clothes are too eye-catching.
By the way, today Elf wore red lolita clothes unlike usual. I wondered if she had any hidden motive.
Elf walked beside me and said:
“I followed because I’m worried about you.”
“Worried, why? I’m only going to meet my editor.”
“I don’t think the situation would be that simple – well, at least that’s what my elder brother said.”
“What? Your elder brother? Who?”
“You talked with him yesterday. He’s my current editor.”
“What? The one with a soulless voice is your elder brother?”
“For real? How could a coincidence like this happen? For an elder brother and little sister to work together….”
“It’s nothing special. And you have no right to tell me that.”
Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Because Elf’s brother works at Fulldrive, and Elf came to work there.
Since she lived such a carefree life, I always wondered what kind of parents she had. And her brother sounded nice too… how could his little sister have turned out that this way?
Anyway – although I still have doubts about Elf’s family, I kept my mouth shut. It’s a sensitive topic, and I don’t want anyone to ask about mine either.
But she…she just kept talking non-stop about whatever she liked.
“As long as I’m here to back you up, you’ll be fine. Hurry and thank me.”
“Of course, thank you very much.”
I felt so relieved when I knew that someone worried about me.
“Is that so…good! Ah, um…if we could finish this quickly, can we stop at a café? I want a cake! You have to find somewhere that’s suited to my taste..Ah, look, there’s one right in front of us! What a coincidence! Ah — do you think this is like a date? Do you feel honored? Haha, it can’t be helped huh ~ you’re still a growing teen! It’s understandable that you would think about random stuff! Although it’s totally not a date, but I will allow your self-delusion.”
Elf looked quite happy.
To kill time, we visited that café restaurant.
They were broadcasting classical music inside. The furniture looked expensive, which prevented Elf’s clothes from standing out. The menu was all written in English, with a painful price.
Let me pay for it. How could I let a girl smaller than my little sister pay?.
I planned to say that, but…
“…You, did you say that you would treat me?” I asked.
“A punishment for lacking money! I can’t read the menu anyway, you order whatever you like.”
“Ha? What kind of novelist are you? You dare treat my kindness this way – by the way, I’m proficient in eight languages.”
“For real? That good?” I asked.
Since she has blond hair and blue eyes, it’s normal that she would be good at English. But I never thought she’d be that good.
…Is this the same girl who failed an elementary school mathematics question?
“…Are you some kind of high level, ‘high class lady’?”
“Aha? Why, are you curious? Ehehe.”
Elf put a hand on her mouth and laughed.
This action, and this temperament, isn’t something that can be trained overnight.
She raised one of her white fingers, closed an eye and said:
“…It’s a girl’s secret. If you wish to know no matter what..ehehe, then improve your relationship with me.”
“I still have no idea what I should do about that.”
“What did you say?”
A few minutes later —
When the cake arrived, we were chatting (mostly Elf though)
Suddenly, Elf said a forbidden name:
“Fantasy Blade Blueray season 2 – I wonder how many it will sell?”
Fantasy Blade is the shortened, unofficial name of Senjyu Muramasa ‘Fantasy Demon Blade Legend’.
Elf continued “By the way, in my opinion, it couldn’t sell as well as season one. Not to mention that the author looks like he’s still not used to — “
I spoke in an impatient tone:
“You had to start with sales huh?”
And about a novel from another novelist.
“You must like them a lot.”
“Huh? You mean you’re not interested?”
“Don’t you think its fun to compare your sales with other novelists?”
I repeated my answer earlier.
It’s meaningless to compare with that guy.
From the beginning, I had no interest in comparing sales, or anything else.
“I think it’s more interesting to read your reader’s letters.”
“Is that so? It’s rare. But I think that comparing sales has its own charm.”
She once more declared herself the perfect representation of a novelist.
“During my anime’s script meeting, the producers always said ‘This season looks promising’, ‘Good! We welcome this novel! The sales will be good!’ or ‘That anime sucks, like it was made by a bunch of newbies or something’.”
“Can you please not bother me with those inside stories?”
“What are you angry for? Ah, could it be that you’re the ‘embarrassed with his own sales’ type? Um, I could understand why – it’s no fun if you keep losing while playing the most interesting game in the world.”
“Work is play” – as expected from Elf.
A novelist had many other interesting and important aspects to their job.
Maybe it’s not like she didn’t understand.
Then why did she keep talking about the things I hate?
Still…it’s my new hobby to tease her.
“In that case, you are the ‘tsundere with her readers’ type, aren’t you?”
“Wh, what does that mean?”
I showed her an evil smile and mimicked her tone:
“Don’t be mistaken. I’m only interested in sales and praise. Readers and the like are all my servants.”
Elf immediately blushed.
“Don’t, don’t say something so strange! Tsun – tsundere…! How could I be that type! Just because I’m a professional novelist, I need to keep a proper distance with my readers! It’s not like I don’t like my readers or anything! Don’t be mistaken!”
What a wonderful play….
“Okay okay. We now knew how cute Yamada Elf-sensei is.”
Elf suddenly shuttered, her face reddened.
“Just, just remember….”
I tapped the table, and said:
“By the way, Yamada Elf-sensei, what do you think about the fact that your sales aren’t as good as someone else’s?”
To tell the truth, it wasn’t very nice of me to ask that question.
I thought that she would show some response, but Elf replied boringly:
“Hm…it’s meaningless to compare with that guy.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that we shouldn’t compare ourselves with him…He…how should I put it…it’s quite hard to put it into words…anyway, I bet that he doesn’t have fun while working, like us. That’s the feeling I get.”
“I’m not sure if I understand what you mean…but you sounded like you’ve met Muramasa-sensei.”
“I haven’t, but I have read his books.”
Elf put a hand on one of her eyes, then opened it like scissors, and said:
“ – My God Eye skill can see through everything in this world. I could understand what kind of person he is just from reading his book.”
Although the skill that Elf spoke of just now is nonsense, I felt that there was a bit of truth in her words.
“For example…Masamune, if your sales were lower than mine, and the readers said that Elf-sensei’s novel is better than yours…”
“What kind of miserable example is that?”
I immediately retorted before she could finish. It already pissed me off just thinking about it.
“Um ~ and then?”
“…You’re upset…you refuse to accept it…you can’t keep writing until you fix it….probably…..”
What the heck are you talking about? I could do nothing but stare back —
Elf leaned over and gave me a beaming smile:
“So I said, I like you!”
Both Elf and I blinked.
Our faces were so close that our noses almost touched each other. We needed several seconds before we could reply.
Elf flushed. Even her neck turned red.
She quickly backed off and waved her hand:
“I, I didn’t mean it that way!”
“Just now…I mean…I find the rejection that comes from the bottom of one’s heart very interesting!”
Elf clapped her hands and laughed it off:
“Ah ~ you must be very angry ~ probably gritting your teeth, right? Just thinking about it makes me want to laugh non-stop!”
Her personality is so good.
Hearing her speak so honestly made me happy.
“But Muramasa is – unlike us! Totally unlike us! Franky speaking, that guy doesn’t care if his sales are high or not, his anime is famous or not. He won’t bat an eyelid even if you boast to his face – it’s meaningless to compare yourself with someone that boring.”
Whatever you do, don’t compare yourself with him – that was Elf’s conclusion.
She says that about someone she has never even met, so brave.
“By the way, my editor said that – Muramasa-sensei is different from us, or rather he doesn’t care about this world. And he never loses his cool, like an immortal god, and no one has ever seen him angry.”
It doesn’t differ too much from the image that Elf spoke of.
Someone who is younger than me, someone who has monster-like sales.
Three years ago, he gave me a mental scar, thus he became Izumi Masamune’s nemesis.
…What exactly is he like?
Well, it’s meaningless to think about it.
We’ve never met in three years, so I bet we wouldn’t meet in our lifetime.
“Okay, let’s go.”
It was almost time to meet Kagurazaka-san, thus we left the café and continued our way.
“After you spoke with your editor, if everything goes well, you will become a member of Fulldrive like me.”
Actually, authors like us don’t really have a close connection with our publisher. It’s just our habit to always go to the same one.
But Elf probably considered all of the editorial departments hers already.
“In that case, make sure to join my faction. Be sure to listen to your senior, okay?”
“I’m scared of what will happened if the great Elf-senpai causes trouble, so allow me to pass.”
When we were chatting, we arrived at the publisher.
There, we saw something unbelievable.
Both Elf and I noticed.
There was a girl in a kimono at the entrance. She had a bag in one hand, a map in the other. Sometimes she looked up and stared at the building in front.
“Wow, what eye-catching clothes.”
“You have no right to say that – what did this girl come here for?”
Before I could finish, Elf was already walking up to her.
“Hey, are you coming here too?”
The girl suddenly froze. Maybe she was surprised because someone spoke to her from behind so suddenly. And…
*Thud thud thud* The bag fell on the ground.
The girl in the kimono hastily bent down and picked her stuff up.
“What are you doing?”
I arrived a moment later, and we both helped her pick her things up.
“Hm? This is…”
There were a lot of notebooks in her bag. Big, small, thick, slim, you name it.
Aside from that, there was a stack of paper, like a reference of some sort.
..What is that?
When I was picking them up, I realized something.
All of those paper were full of letters.
Those notebooks were probably the same too.
Those…those notebook – all of them are hand-written manuscripts.
The girl in the kimono quickly took the manuscript back and held it to her chest.
Her eyes widened, she stared at us.
That gave me a chance to look at her face.
A pair of big, sharp eyes.
And those eyes were focused on ‘me’.
She just stared at me without saying anything.
…Eh…what? It’s our first meeting, isn’t it? Why is she looking at me like that? Did Elf scare her?
Elf repeated her question:
“…Is something wrong? Are you a novelist?”
“Hey! Don’t stare at him anymore!”
I chopped Elf’s head.
“Don’t suddenly raise your voice. Look, you scared her – sorry about that.”
I gave her an assuring smile, like I was facing my little sister.
Only then did she seem to recover. She quickly shook her head, blushing slightly.
“…I’m fine. What a shame. Thank you for helping me pick them up.”
A very stern and firm voice.
She looked younger than me…could it be that she is actually older?
“We are the ones who should apologize —“
Before I could continue….
“Ahahaha ~ I got it! You’re a newbie who came her to contribute your new book aren’t you? A map and manuscript in each hand, what else could you be.”
Actually, I agreed with her.
Novelists who contribute hand-written manuscripts are all but extinct now. Since she doesn’t seem to understand that, this girl is undoubtedly a newbie.
“You must have come here from the countryside without an appointment in hopes of getting an editor to read your book! That must be it! Sometimes I meet newbies like you! Listen to me, publishers don’t care who the author is. I bet they will kick you out immediately if you go in alone.”
That is the truth.
Becoming a novelist doesn’t require anything special, anyone could do it. Frankly speaking, even an elementary school kid could become one.
But if you want to get a job, then you need ‘writing skills’, ‘connections’ and ‘communication skills’.
You prove your ‘real skill’ by showing a completed manuscript. By showing an anime that is based on your book. By showing an award that you received. By showing your story on the Internet – something like that.
Without that, you can’t even dream of getting a job. And even if you got one, you could still be like me, and get ‘published a year later’.
So, even though it’s regrettable, but the girl’s chance is nearly 0.
When I was thinking these things, Elf continued:
“But you’re lucky to have met me. Let me show you around.”
“Hey, hey, listen….”
Why do you sound like you’re the boss? You don’t even have any connections with this publisher.
Beside, we are here to talk about my ‘jumping to another publisher’.
Hearing Elf say that, the girl in the kimono looked at the building, then to us.
“You two are…novelists?”
Elf puffed out her chest.
“So…did you…publish your book..here?”
“I publish my books at another publisher! Do you know Yamada Elf-sensei? Of course you do!”
I think you should knock it off.
Of course I know! The genius novelist — ah, could it be…!
Hm hm, it’s me!
You wanted to show off like that, didn’t you?
The girl in the kimono stayed silent for a while then slowly shook her head.
“I don’t know.”
I wanted nothing more than to record Elf’s current expression.
“Just now…just now…what did you say?”
She tried to hang on to a slim hope, but all she got in return was —
“I don’t know anyone by that name.”
Elf looked deeply shaken.
I broke into laughter and patted Elf’s back:
“She said she doesn’t know you! Looks like a certain best selling author lost all of her pride, ahahaha!”
“Kuh…shut up! Quiet!”
Elf glared at me.
Then she turned to the girl in the kimono, and made a cool pose to introduce herself:
“I’m the beautiful super famous genius novelist, Yamada Elf! Remember me well!”
The other girl didn’t respond.
“Kuhhhhhh…what a slow reaction.”
Do you think that the whole world knows about you?
Imagination is nice, but reality is always cruel.
“No matter how famous you are, she doesn’t know – so don’t worry about it.”
The girl in the kimono nodded without saying anything.
Elf pulled her face closer to the girl’s:
“Not reading my book is a waste of heaven’s blessing! It’s about to be made into an anime, with a super super super super perfect plot, you have to watch it! Watch it! Then praise my name!”
“If it’s that good then I want to read it too. Can you tell me the name of that novel?”
“The Flames of Dark Elf! How is that? Cool isn’t it?”
Elf said happily.
The other girl only titled her head…and suddenly clapped.
“I have that book too!”
“That means you did read it! How could you not know me?”
“Because of what? Answer!”
“Okay fine fine, let’s keep moving.”
I interrupted in order to protect a (future) novelist from Elf-sensei.
Elf folded her arms across her chest.
While the kimono-wearing girl looked down —
She whispered something.
My throat froze up.
Her voice was very small, normally no one would be able to hear.
But I’m used to the way my little sister talks, so this much is nothing.
Just now…I probably heard it wrong…right?
At the same time, Elf slapped her forehead and made a conclusion:
“Forget it! No matter how good a novel is, there are always people who read without caring about the author! Then let me tell you about my greatness! Let’s go.”
Elf recovered and pulled us to the entrance’s door.
Thus, after some chaos, we pulled the girl in the kimono inside.
After picking up our card, we entered the elevator.
Our next stop is the 14th floor, where the editorial department is.
By the way, Elf kept bragging herself up to the girl in the kimono.
She was talking about how her sales were more than two million, how her novel is going to be made into anime, that she is like an idol…
“Do you get it? Sales are the attack power of novelist! Mine is 2.3 million! Amazing? Amazing isn’t it? Do you understand my greatness now?”
To tell the truth, Elf is clearly looking down on the girl.
“Alright alright, you’re troubling her.”
“Shut up, 220,000 attack power! My sales are 2 million, you have to listen to everything I say, understand? That’s the truth when there is more than a million sales between us, got it!? Ok?”
Can someone please shut her up…?
I smiled wryly at the girl in the kimono.
“Sorry, normally she isn’t like this…today she is just a bit off.”
The girl shook her head.
“I heard something interesting.”
What is this girl saying?
At first I thought she was a mature girl, now it seemed like I was wrong.
Since the beginning, this girl wasn’t paying any attention to Elf’s ramble. She looked like she was thinking about something else. Even when I talked to her, I only got a response every one in three tries.
When I got inspired, I couldn’t hear what others said either, so I didn’t really have the right to get on to her.
Even I once ignored my little sister because of the same reason. This bad habit of mine is incurable.
So this girl, who’s probably just a newbie author – she must be deep in thought. Just like me.
A strange feeling of intimacy between the two of us appeared.
At that moment, Elf jumped in:
“Wow…what are you two doing, staring at each other like that? You like that kind of girl? Really, man….”
Tap tap tap tap tap! Elf kept smashing the buttonson her cellphone while badmouthing me.
“What are you doing?”
I looked at Elf and read what was she writing —
[Masamune is about to take advantages of a newbie author.]
I knocked on her head.
“That hurt! What are you doing?”
“Don’t make stuff up! What are you writing?”
[I’m on a date with Izumi Masamune-sensei.]
“You idiot! What will you do if Sagiri sees this and has a misunderstanding?”
“She rejected you already, didn’t she? What’s the problem?”
“A very serious problem, in fact! I want to keep my image as her elder brother intact!”
“It’s fine. You’re incurable anyway.”
“No, it’s not!”
By the way —
I didn’t plan to let the girl in the kimono introduce herself.
She looked afraid, not to mention that I hadn’t introduced myself.
Based on Elf’s previous result, I could see what would happened if I introduced myself.
If she said ‘Izumi Masamune? Who’s that?’ – ah, it hurts so much.
When Elf asked her the question ‘How could you not know me’, the answer that she whispered…
With a very sad, quiet voice —
— Because it’s boring.
I secretly glanced at her.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting ~”
At this time, my editor, Kagurazaka-san arrived.
“I read your email, you said you planned to go to another publisher, didn’t you? Ah, no no no no no, don’t do that! The outline you submitted last time was really good! The future looks great! We have been working together for so long!”
As expected from the Reaper. She planed to finish me off before I could say anything.
I could only stood there, stunned.
Next to me, Elf’s eyes also widened.
Kagurazaka-san came to my side, and laughed:
“Sorry, I still have to meet some other famous novelist. So —“
“I, I …I want to keep working here too!”
My words, which were born from the bottom of my heart came out.
“But…! I…! Don’t hinder me!”
“Eh? Did anyone try to hinder you?”
“Yes! You did! I’m jobless now!”
“No you aren’t ~ I told you that we will publish your book a year from now.”
“Ugh…..a year from now is not good enough! I told you that in the e-mail!”
Suddenly, someone interrupted:
“Okay okay okay, that’s enough! Done yet?”
It was Elf.
“I followed you because I knew that it would turn out this way. Masamune, let me take care of it.”
Later, I realized that these simple sentences came at a really bad time.
If she didn’t mention my name….then ‘what happened next’ wouldn’t have happened.
There was someone else with us, someone who was still standing aside without saying anything, without drawing any attention. Someone that even I forgot.
“Eh? Yamada-sensei, you’re here too?”
Elf ignored Kagurazaka-san’s sarcasm and turned to me:
“Okay? Masamune, it looks like this old hag’s sense of time isn’t the same as us teenagers. People say that the older you become, the shorter life seems to you. So a year is just a blink of eye for this old hag, unlike a year for us. That’s why they could tell you to wait a year. In short – just ditch her. If you come with me, you will have a beautiful, kind, younger senior writer in the company. Your novels would be published as soon as you finish them. You will have a helpful co-worker that could help you negotiate deadlines, help you buy anime bluerays with a discount, and you might even get a younger girlfriend.”
Sounded a lot like some suspicious advertisement.
“…That ‘younger senior’ part interested me.”
Hm….calling you Elf-senpai huh…
“At this publisher, I’m the youngest, so all of my seniors and juniors are older than me. To have a ‘younger senior’ is like a dream.”
“Oh right, my side has a lot of work too – but some are still asking for more. It’s more complicated than it sounds.”
Really? The world really isn’t a fair place.
“Anyway, what I want to say is: No matter what your choice is, your other option is not going to disappear. The most important thing for you is – you do remember your dream, don’t you?”
Elf smiled gently.
…Yes. That’s right.
What I wanted to do. What I have to do.
What my dream is.
I only need to clearly tell my editor about that —
Isn’t that why I’m here?
“I have to publish the novel this year no matter what.”
That’s why …
“ — I hope you can give me a serious answer.”
I bowed sincerely.
I know what I said wasn’t really well thought out, but I hoped that I could depend on it to help me have a serious discussion with an adult.
“Izumi-sensei. Let me finish what I was saying first. Don’t treat me like a bad guy.”
“Yesterday, after I read your e-mail, I also tried to think of some way to help you. Finally –“
Eh? Why did the atmosphere suddenly change?
“Ahaha, you’re free to thank me! I have a special opportunity for you.”
Kagurazaka-san laughed like she was giving me a blessing and she showed me something.
“Take a look~! The editorial department has decided to hold the ‘World Light Novel Tournament’ (From Dragon Ball: World_Martial_Arts_Tournament.).”
There was a big stack of paper.
“World Light Novel Tournament?” *2
Both Elf and I repeated it. Kagurazaka-san laughed:
“Yes! In order to give young authors a chance, we plan to publish some short stories in a magazine. Then the readers will vote to decide which one will be published as a light novel!”
“How is that, Izumi-sensei? Want to give it a try?”
Kagurazaka-san gave me the stack of papers.
The content was —
World Light Novel Tournament rules
1. Conditions to enter: Have debuted only within the last two years. Do not have any novel that has been made into an anime.
2. Number of competitors: 5
3. The short story will be published in the monthly Jump light novel from July to October.
4. Published story: short story (less than 60 pages)
5. Payment: ¥2.500 per page (400 words minimum)
6. Selection Method: A reader’s poll will decide the winner. The results will be announced immediately on the website.
7. Editor’s reminder: Because we are short on time, please hurry and choose a competitor.
8. The winner can be modified into a novel and published in September.
That’s what the first page said. Followed by five empty lines to write your name.
There were already three young novelist names (which I knew) written there.
Meaning that there were two slots left – besides…
“It said… The winner can be modified into a novel and get published in September!”
“Yes. Three months after getting the results, we can publish it in September. Of course your royalties are the same. Actually, since this is meant for newbies, Izumi-sensei isn’t allowed to enter – But I asked for a special favor in your case!”
The way she said it sounded like I owed her big time for this, but I didn’t care.
“In short, I need to participate in this and win…”
“Yes. Then you can ‘get an achievement as a novelist’ like you said.”
I might not be able to convince my aunt with royalties alone —
But if I can get an achievement….
My soul was fired up, I wrote my name down without hesitation.
Okay! That’s good enough..! As long as I win here…I could continue living with Sagiri, continue working with Eromanga-sensei.
Kagurazaka-san took the paper that had my name on it.
“Good. Izumi Masamune-sensei has decided to take part in World Light Novel Tournament! Try your best!”
“Thank you…thank you, Kagurazaka-san!”
I held my editor’s hand tightly.
By the way, Elf chose this moment to shoot me a glance:
“It’s too early to celebrate! You still have four opponents, at least wait until you beat them.”
“Who cares! I’m not afraid of anything.”
I knew that I could do it.
“Because this is ‘the first step of our dream’.”
This was something both Eromanga-Sensei and I made, I have a lot of confidence in it.
“I will win! Absolutely!”
“No, you won’t.”
A sharp voice cut me off.
Elf, Kagurazaka-san, and I turned to the speaker
That was —
“Izumi Masamune-kun. Your dream will never become reality – no, I will not allow it to become reality.”
The girl in the kimono glanced at me seriously.
Since she had a refined, beautiful look, I was taken aback.
She raised a hand to stop Kagurazaka-san from talking, and took the stack of papers from Kagurazaka-san’s hand.
“Why, you ask?”
She coldly said:
“Because I will participate in this too — I will be the winner.”
Only now, I realized…
She…she is not a newbie who wants to become a novelist.
“You…who are you!”
Hearing my question, she just briefly looked at me and wrote her name down as the answer.
With a dazzling speed, she wrote.
Four big words: Senjyu Muramasa.
“Your childish dream is in the way of my dream. So I’ll crush you!”
Although I was very angry, I couldn’t say anything.
The reason that I hardly got any thing published.
The one who gave me a mental scar three years ago, Izumi Masamune’s nemesis.
“It’s not nice calling me by name, senior.”
Muramasa’s mouth turned into a へ shape, as she introduced herself:
“Call me Muramasa-senpai.”