== Chapter 4 ==
A few hours later. The sun had set, and it was dark outside. Both Elf and I were lying in the Izumi household’s living room, exhausted. I sat on the sofa while Elf dropped her head onto the table.
We had been like this since we came back. Neither of us said anything, we looked like two corpses. Considered what happened earlier —
When the girl in the kimono announced her real identify.
Back then, Muramasa had pushed Elf a bit too much, she retorted back in reflex:
“Ha? What are you doing? What nonsense are you spouting? You called yourself a younger senior? Get lost!”
Although I don’t know where the ‘younger senior’ part came from, but Elf as expected still managed to counterattack, even in this state.
While I…maybe because of my mental scars — I was so scared of Muramasa-senpai …
Anyway, I wasn’t able to do anything while Elf could. Thus —
“Yamada Elf-sensei — isn’t it? That’s my line, get lost.”
Muramasa-senpai ignored me and began to argue with Elf.
“This is a private matter between Masamune-kun and I.”
“Ha? What are you talking about?”
“You’re a famous author with two millions sales, your book is about to be made into anime, right?”
That was what Elf said earlier. Neither of them were wrong.
“Yes! Kneel and lick my boot!”
Elf puffed her chest out and said.
Muramasa-senpai fell silent. But then she turned to Kagurazaka-san:
“You’re my editor, aren’t you? Your name is —”
“Kagurazaka, Muramasa-sensei…I knew it, you forgot my name…”
Kagurazaka-san replied. Muramasa-senpai seemed embarrassed:
“We rarely meet, and our last meeting was a while ago, so that can’t be helped. You don’t need to worry about me, just focus on your situation. I’m the editor for both of you, so I’d prefer if you two solved this yourself. Not to mention that even if I tried, you two wouldn’t stop.”
Kagurazaka-san said that ‘she need to meet a famous author later’. So she meant Muramasa.
…She didn’t even remember her own editor’s name?
So how the heck did she manage to work before? Unbelievable.
“Before that…Kagurazaka-san, please tell me how well my book is selling?”
“…You, yourself don’t know, right?”
Bull’s eyes. Muramasa-senpai’s face reddened.
But…she doesn’t even know how well her book sold? What about her income? Does she even care?
That senior of mine surely hadn’t reached puberty yet, her income must be being taken care of by her guardian.
Still…she really didn’t know?
“An author that doesn’t know her own sales….you remind me of someone who doesn’t dare to look at comments regarding him. Really, in this aspect you two are so troublesome.”
Elf muttered to herself.
Why was I pulled into this anyway?
We were talking about something else, so why did she need to throw a low ball at me?
“Muramasa-sensei’s sales are —”
Kagurazaka-san slowly answered:
“Fourteen million five hundred thousand.”
Hearing that, Muramasa-senpai was surprised:
“….Oh…A hundred thousand, five hundred?”
“Four more zeroes behind that.”
Muramasa-senpai was stunned, then she began to count on her fingers.
“That is…impossible…my monthly allowance is only ¥4.500….”
Unlike the Yamada household, her parents must be very strict.
My family was the same, my income was taken care of by my parents.
“What are you doing? Performing a finger show?”
Elf said in a tired, boring tone, which shocked Muramasa back to reality.
“Yes. That means — Yamada-sensei, I will say it again. Get lost.”
She coughed twice:
“Since I sold more than ten million, you have to listen to whatever I say! We have more than a million difference in sales, that’s a fact – you’re the one who said it.”
Looks like that was the reason she asked for her sales.
And the reason she was surprised was because while she knew ‘my sales should be higher than Elf’s, I’m not entirely sure’. Which explained her reaction.
The truth is she curb-stomped her opponent.
Elf gritted her teeth in anger.
But she didn’t say anything, she just stood there.
“Good, the troublemaker was taken care of. Back to the main topic, Masamune-kun.”
She turned to me, all hesitation and panic gone from her eyes.
That was fine with me. I also didn’t want to beat around the bush with her.
My senior said:
“You seem to be angry, junior.”
“Because senpai insulted our dream and you said you wanted to crush it.”
How could I endure this anymore?
“Take that back. Otherwise, even if you are my senior, I won’t forgive you.”
I looked directly at her. Suddenly, her expression changed, she smiled:
“Don’t repeat a line from one of your main characters. Hm, but what you said sounded good, then I will continue playing the bad guy, to taunt you — the last time, your novel outline was pushed back a year was because I purposely stole that spot.”
” — What?”
So you purposely submitted your manuscript earlier than me to take that spot? To force me to wait a year until my turn?
So you’re the one who caused all this trouble.
“I also knew about what you were writing by asking your editor. It was quite easy to take your spot.”
Muramasa-senpai slowly announced:
“I did it with malice, in order to crush you.”
Kagurazaka-san was about to say something, but Muramasa-senpai stopped her with a stare.
She put her index finger to her lips and made a ‘quiet’ signal.
“You purposely crushed my novel outline? Could it be that last year…?”
“Last year? What?”
“Last year, the timing between when we submitted manuscripts were almost the same. Same genre, same young author…thus my book was rejected non-stop, and it made me unable to publish a single one. Did you do that on purpose too?”
Muramasa-senpai’s eyes widened
She looked like she didn’t expect me to ask that.
The atmosphere between us was unbearable.
After a moment of silence, she…took a deep breath and answered:
“What if I say yes?”
“Then, I will hate you.”
Muramasa-senpai looked aside, which made it impossible to see her expression.
“…By the way, I knew when you were arriving today too. That’s why I choose a later time to meet you.”
To crush my dream. Just telling me that was enough for her to come here.
I still can’t understand her.
“Why do you keep trying to pick a fight with me?”
She never cared about anyone. She never gets angry. She never shows any interest in anything. Just like a saint – isn’t that right?
Hearing my question, Muramasa-senpai glared at me:
“Because I hate you. Izumi Masamune – I hate the one who keep holding onto that childish dream. This time, your dream was in the way of my dream, I hate you even more for writing that kind of useless novel.”
So she wanted to crush me.
Muramasa-senpai once again announced her goal.
…Ah…is that so…I see.
Although the reasons for my hard times in the past were revealed a bit late…they were still revealed…
Because she is my nemesis, not rival but nemesis, who wants nothing more than to crush her opponent.
“….Do you want to add a condition that the loser has to obey the winner?”
I shot her a glance:
“Whoever winsThe World light novel tournament can order the loser to do anything.”
“Hey hey, wait Masamune….”
Elf grabbed my hand in worry, but I didn’t care.
“Otherwise, we won’t be able to end this. I will say it before hand, I will not give up my dream just because of a loss. No matter how many times you beat me, I will fulfill my dream.”
On the other hand, Masamune was the same. She won’t let me off just because I win.
“So let’s have a showdown. I win, you will never stand in the way of our dream again. I lose…you can do whatever you want to me.”
“That was better than I expected…don’t regret it.”
Muramasa was surprised, but she agreed.
Oh? Really? I’m going to win for sure, this guy really wants to make a bet like that?
That must be what she is thinking.
If I have to use Yamada Elf-sensei’s analogy….
Battle point 14.500.000 versus battle point 220.000.
I had absolutely no chance of winning – normally anyway.
That was understandable. You guys had no idea how scared I was.
“Yes! Our dream is not childish! We won’t lose to you!”
“Fight till death Muramasa! I will make you kneel in front of our dream!”
— That was basically it.
Then we took the train back in silence. Neither of us wanted to report to Eromanga-sensei, both of us were too exhausted and collapsed in the living room.
Falling head first onto the table, Elf said tiredly.
“….Sorry, Masamune. You made that ridiculous bet because of me.”
“How is that your fault?”
“Because…you can’t stand the sight of Masamune looking down on me…so you got angry and made that bet, didn’t you? Let me see…maybe there is another way…”
“Ha? What nonsense are you saying? It’s not like that.”
Elf looked up startled:
“Eh? Not like that?”
“Of course not. What are you saying?”
“Then, then why….”
“Why do I look like this? Well, to tell the truth, I’m not sure myself.”
I fell back on the sofa.
“I’m not regretting making that bet with her. Like you said, maybe there was another way. But even if I had a time machine and returned to that moment, my choice still would have been the same.
Because she dared to say that our dream was childish.
You can’t decide that on your own without reading what I wrote.
This is unforgivable.
“Although I didn’t regret it, I felt ashamed.”
“What do you mean?”
“I myself bet our dream — alone. Then here I am, still not regretting it, still not thinking that I did anything wrong…I feel that I owe my partner Eromanga-sensei, who helped me make that novel outline, my little sister who drew my illustrations, an apology….”
That was the reason why I was looking like this.
“I really — don’t know what to tell my little sister.”
Thus when I get back home, I collapsed here instead of going to the second floor.
“What are you doing, idiot? You’ve got it all wrong.”
Elf suddenly stood up and said.
The lifeless look that she had a moment ago was completely blown away.
“You always said that you like your little sister yadda yadda, but you don’t understand her at all —”
Before I could ask her what she meant, Elf pulled me up.
At the same time —
*Thud thud thud*
I heard the ceiling banging that served as a summons.
Elf looked above then patted my back.
“Go. She’s calling you. Go.”
I was pushed outside, then my legs automatically carried me to the locked room.
“…It’s me, Sagiri.”
I knocked slightly….no one answered.
But she called me a moment ago….
I waited a bit, but nothing happened. Like she had reverted back to the way Eromanga-sensei was before.
I raised my hand toward the handle without much hope — but the door wasn’t locked.
Through the small gap, the room seemed dark, and it was unable to see clearly.
“I’m coming in….”
I hesitated a bit, but I entered the room.
And then —
There was something big in the bed.
“Sa, Sagiri? Are you sleeping?”
Her unpleasant voice came from the computer’s speaker, not from the blanket…Looked like she carried it with her.
“You aren’t sleeping. What’s the meaning of this?”
[Hmph! I don’t care about you anymore! You Casanova!]
Wait, what? Why does she sound so angry?
It became clear that I hadn’t spoken to her once since I went out this morning.
[Was your date fun?]
[…..I’m asking if your date was fun.]
[…Tch…compared to a girl who refuses to go outside, going on a date with someone outdoors sure is better. You could even eat cake together.]
“Er….you mean what Elf wrote?”
I’m having a date with Izumi Masamune-sensei!
“Wait, it’s clear that Elf was joking. I told you that I went to meet my editor today! Although we did eat a cake together, it didn’t count as a date!”
“I’m telling the truth! Please believe me!”
Why am I explaining things to my little sister? And why does it sound like I am making an excuse?
[Then why did you take Elf-chan to the living room? What are you planning to do?]
“Hey, how could you know that without leaving this room?”
[Hmph, I could smell it miles away.]
Really? Is this a hikikomori’s special skill?
[And then? Why are you flirting with Elf-chan in the living room?]
“That’s not what I’m doing!”
While I was trying to explain that I didn’t ‘go to a date with Elf’, nor did I ‘flirt’ with her, Sagiri suddenly whispered:
[….Nii-san, you’re not allowed to have a date with a girl for the rest of your life, got it?]
….She suddenly gave me that unreasonable order.
“Why…the rest of my life?”
[Yes. The rest of your life. Because….]
“Because of what?”
[Nothing! Why didn’t you come up immediately! Do you know how worried I was?]
“That’s because —”
“I feel that…I should apologize to you.”
Hearing that, Sagiri poked her head out.
[What do you mean?]
I stood up and looked into her eyes…then took a deep breath and told her what happened today.
A few minutes later —
” — That’s basically it.”
Sagiri had come out from under her blanket. Wearing her pink pajamas, she listened to me without saying a word.
Her expression still remained unchanged, but she was probably deep in thought…but that was just my guess.
“…Sorry. I arbitrarily bet our dream.”
[Why are you apologizing?]
Sagiri tilted her head.
“Eh? But that wasn’t something that I should decide on my own. Besides, maybe there was a safer way…”
[What other way exactly? Just let her say that? Let her look down on our dream?]
“Of course not.”
I replied immediately. This had to be made clear.
[Then it’s fine.]
Sagiri – no, Eromanga-sensei smiled.
[Don’t worry about it. You can’t win if you only think about losing. Whoever looks down on our dream is our enemy. Let’s beat her up.]
…I’m such an idiot.
Elf was right.
“Nice speech, Eromanga-sensei. Together, we can do anything. Then let’s do it!”
Sagiri is my little sister, but Eromanga-sensei is like an elder brother to me.
His real identify is such a cute girl, but his brotherly image is so reliable.
“Let’s beat her up together.”
Sagiri nodded and laughed happily.
Then she paused:
[I, I don’t know anyone by that name.]
She put her hand on the floor and looked down.
Seeing her like that…I felt that my heart was about to jump out of my chest.
I have to win. I will protect our dream at any cost.
As long as I have Sagiri, as long as I have Eromanga-sensei, I can continue to fight.
“…..Can I pat your head?”
— I asked it.
Sagiri panicked slightly:
“Because I will feel more motivated.”
She immediately flushed.
Sagiri remained silent for a while, then…
She looked directly into my eyes and said:
[….Just a bit, alright.]
“Okay, just a bit.”
I slowly stroked her silver hair….
As soon as I started, Sagiri blushed like mad, like she was having a fever — which also made my face feel hotter.
“Don’t, don’t be that embarrassed.”
Sagiri looked unhappy, but she didn’t say anything, she just looked down.
Neither of us said anything, but I felt that I was sitting on a fire.
Sagiri’s whole body stiffened, she let me caress her —
Her pure white skin turned red.
What, what expression was that? Don’t make a face like I’m touching your breast.
I was just stroking her hair! I didn’t go overboard!
Now, even I couldn’t stop myself anymore.
Damn…! Somehow, deep within my heart, I felt like an evil had been born.
No no no, all I need to do is pull my hand back. But…
My hand felt like it was stuck to my little sister’s head. I kept stroking her
I never knew that ‘head patting’ could be this erotic.
While I was deeply confused….
Before Sagiri could say anything ….
“Too slow!!!!!!!!!! ————————————————-!!!”
Someone barged inside and destroyed the atmosphere.
Without checking who it was, Sagiri immediately hid under her blanket.
I looked at my hand, which still had the feeling of my little sister on it and turned towards the intruder – Elf.
“…You always came at the perfect time to destroy our good atmosphere.”
But if the previous situation continued, I felt that something irreversible would happen, so maybe it’s better that Elf barged in.
Elf laughed in embarrassment.
“Okay, Masamune! How long are you going to make me wait? Are you finished reporting to Eromanga-sensei?”
“…Ah, yeah, done. The two of us decided to beat whoever dares to look down on our dream.”
Elf pointed her thumb at her chest:
“Let me – Yamada Elf help you defeat that monster!”
A confident smile appeared on her face.
Thus, Elf righteously entered the locked room while shouting ‘strategy session begin’.
While Sagiri still hid under the blanket, sometimes she would poke her head out.
She doesn’t like strangers, nor does she like anyone to enter her room.
But there isn’t any use in complaining to Elf. It wouldn’t have any effect.
“…Sagiri, want me to kick her out?”
[..Forget it. It’s easier to talk this way…This is a special case.]
The voice came from the computer speaker.
…And that was how the strategy session led by Elf began.
We sat down in a circle.
“First is our current situation.”
Elf pulled a tablet out of her bag.
“You two, take a look at this.”
What Elf showed us was…er…how should I put it…
It was like a character status in Log Horizon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Log_Horizon or Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka http://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Dungeon_ni_Deai_wo_Motomeru_no_wa_Machigatteiru_Darou_ka.)
It looked like Elf had hand-written them. On the screen, both the drawings and notes were in her hand-writing. Somehow it looked a bit like ‘an embarrassing diary’ of an elementary school kid.
Izumi Masamune, Yamada Elf, Senjyu Muramasa – Three pictures with skill and status listed.
“I swear that the skill names were copied from somewhere….”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing. I mean, your drawings are quite good.”
“Compared to a professional illustrator, it’s nothing. Sometimes Ero-Manga Sensei and I exchange emails as well. Well, as you can see, here is a list of all of our current statuses and what I learned from my God Eye. You can understand our fighting power based on this.”
“……………….Yeah, you’re right.”
From the look of it, among us three, Muramasa is a god among men.
With a mountain-like A class skill, it’s like some main character in a web novel.
By the way, if we are using Muramasa as a base for measurement, then Elf’s battle power is only average, while mine was pitifully low.
Yeah, the formula sales = battle point wasn’t good. Seeing this only made people frustrated.
Anyway…it looked like Elf was serious with this one.
If that was a joke, I bet her character would have sky-high stats and numerous maxed skill trees.
This time, she seriously mapped her opponent’s status.
At least this had some kind of meaning.
“And? Are you going to show us how much of a disadvantages we have?”
“Yes. This world light novel tournaments decided by a vote from the readers. Thus, the more famous an author is, the bigger his advantage. Senjyu Muramasa’s number of fans is about five or six times higher than mine. As long as Muramasa doesn’t purposefully write something bad, those people will vote her as their favorite.”
This can’t be helped. There is no such thing as a completely fair competition.
A famous author will have an advantage. I was a bit jealous.
“Thus, if you want to win against her – you need to write something good enough to steal those fans. You must make those people who bought the magazine in order to read Senjyu Muramasa’s story realize that Izumi Masamune’s story is better.”
Although there were other competitors, Muramasa had the most fans.
“That is where things get difficult.”
I can easily crush Izumi Masamune –is what she must have been thinking when she accepted my showdown. I’m the away team here, I will lose unless I can beat her.
“Okay, got it.”
Elf nodded, she seemed to be in a good mood.
Still hiding under her blanket, Sagiri asked:
[…Tell me, why is Muramasa trying to pick a fight with you?]
She clearly focused her attention on me.
“No idea…I have absolutely no memory of her. Today is the first time we’ve met.”
“Really? Could it be that you forgot her? I don’t really think that this was your first meeting.”
Elf asked too. I shook my head.
“No, I’m sure that was our first meeting.”
Her books are in the same genre as mine. How could I forget an author like that?
“Hm ~ forget it.”
Elf smiled happily:
“Kuh kuh kuh…it’s getting more and more interesting. I thought that woman could never care about winning or losing. Now…that woman who has always looked down on others had finally gotten serious! She’s angry! If she’s beaten, I bet she would be very frustrated, very angry! Just thinking about this made me happy! Hehehe, I’m drooling!”
Elf and Muramasa’s characteristics were too much, maybe it’s better if they never fought.
Elf patted my back:
“I leave it to you, my prince! Go beat your princess’s enemy!”
“So that was the reason you helped us!”
…Well, I will win anyway.
*Thud thud thud* Sagiri seemed upset, she slammed on the bed.
” — Then I will go write something to include in this World Light novel tournament.”
In the locked room, after confirming everything, I turned to Elf.
“You said that you will help us, but what exactly do you mean?”
I needed to ask, because I’ve never co-written something before. Although there was a case when more than one author share a penname, but I’ve never been in a situation like that myself.
“Before I answer your question, I have to ask: how are you going to win against Muramasa? Any plan?”
“None. I will write normally and win normally.”
*Tap tap tap tap*Under the blanket, Sagiri showed her agreement.
“If I still can’t win, that means our dream will never become reality.”
Somehow Elf’s eyes widened, then she shook her head:
“I see. Write normally, win normally – Good. I like that.”
“To be specific, I planned to modify the little sister based light novel into something fit for that World light novel tournament.”
Compressing it to 60 pages long, what a strange feeling.
“Ah, you mean the love-letter like light novel that beat me?”
“Please don’t call it that!”
“Hmm, that one sure has a chance to win. But I can’t be sure, not without reading your outline.”
*Thud thud thud*
” — Eromanga-sensei said that ‘I’ll send the outline to you now’.”
“…You can read each other’s minds already….’kay, let me see. By the way — you asked how will I help you?”
Elf pointed at herself:
“I will use my God Eye to help you train.”
“Yes, train how to write a good short story. After meeting you, I’ve read some of your novels. Your short story writing skills are much weaker than your light novel writing skills.”
“I’ll be blunt, now, you won’t be able to win against those newbies, not to mention Muramasa.”
I couldn’t say anything back. Elf pointed at me and dealt the finishing blow.
“In short, your skills in writing a short story are super weak.”
“I’m sorry, it’s exactly as you say!”
Since my debut, I’ve been bad at writing short stories.
“Even I don’t know how long the story I’ll write will be. I really can’t write a short story.”
“….So how did you write short story before?”
Elf gave me half a glance. I confessed:
“That was just a coincidence.”
“Thank you for your frank and stupid answer. Since you depend too much on your Fast Writing skills when working, your skills in this aspect didn’t improve at all – anyway, go train.”
Elf folded her arms across her chest:
“In manga, anime, and light novels — before you have a big fight, you have to train, right?”
“Train to write a better short story? Is that how you’re going to help me?”
“Yes. From now on, call me Elf-sensei.”
“I’m not sure if that will work, Elf-sensei. This is reality, not a manga. I’m not going to have a physical fight, just a novel competition. Besides, I don’t have Hyperbolic Time Chamber (From Dragon ball, the room in Kami’s lookout http://dragonball.wikia.com/wiki/Hyperbolic_Time_Chamber) nor do I have access to Tartarus (A tower that existed outside of time and space in Persona 3. http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/Tartarus) to train.”
Elf-sensei smiled and made a Tajū Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Multiple Shadow Clones Technique http://image.cmfu.com/books/2340751/40204107.jpg) hand seal.
“Using Naruto as an example, you can keep using clone techniques to improve the efficiency of your training.”
“As if I could do that! I’m not a ninja!”
“Just write so fast that you split in two!”
Are you for real?
But, the reasons sound so strange….
“Could it be…you….”
“Yes. You once said you could write 200 pages in a day, didn’t you? Now a short story is 60 pages long, how about writing two per day — no, ten per day. I will read anything you finish and give you your grade.”
*Shh shhh* Elf made the Tora no in (http://wenwen.sogou.com/p/20100824/20100824223612-1902777823.jpg) handsign
“This is Elf’s secret short story writing training method! You should win against Muramasa this way!”
“So in the end, this is still a super simple training method?”
Look, Elf’s secret short story writing training method is simply —
1. Write like crazy.
2. Show your finished short story to someone else.
3. Based on that person’s opinion, make changes.
— It’s that simple. Write-Check-Improve.
“This is the fastest method of training to write a short story. Too simple? What’s wrong with that?”
“A simple method that beats a strong opponent is cooler, isn’t it?”
“Don’t you have a big dream? My prince, show it to me!”
Each of Elf’s words hit me deep inside.
She’s right. Totally right. There is no need to correct her.
No wait, there is.
“I couldn’t write ten short story every day. And how could 200 divided by 60 equal 10?”
“I, I, I, I know! It’s just a figure of speech! Of course I know how to divide.
Thank you, Elf-sensei.
After we decided on this course of action, I became fired up.
I said nothing, and only silently thanked my cute friend.
And then —
I began to take part in Elf’s secret short story writing training method every day.
“Hey, what the heck? It’s more than a hundred pages! Idiot! Shorter!”
“Listen up Masamune! This time it’s a short story competition! Japanese has a lot of words, make sure to be careful picking them!”
“No one will buy the magazine to read your novel. If you write too simply, the reader will skip it!”
“Your structure is messed up! I told you, you have to begin with a scene that will draw the reader in! You only have 60 pages! Each of them is very important!”
“You think that you can give your female lead character life with just some simple words? Fool! Don’t look down on a romance story!”
“Like I said! Your female lead appears too fast! The confession is your trump card, you can only use it once! A special move needs to be used at the perfect time!”
“Hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey!!!!! Why does this girl look so much like me? You really …..”
And so —
Under Elf-sensei’s raging barrage, I tried my best at writing a short story.
Two or three stories ever day…60 pages each.
Then I left it for my trusted partner to read, review, argue, and discuss…
Then rinse and repeat….
“Good, you have made some improvement. Pass.”
“But you’ll keep trying, right? Trying every day! Even if it only increases your chance by one percent — unlike me, you’re just a mortal.”
The manuscript for that competition needs to be submitted on the last day of this month. Thus, I kept training.
There was still sometime left.
Among them, today was a day like any other day.
It was getting dark. Elf and I were sitting in the Izumi household’s living room and were discussing my last homework. Now that my manuscript to participate in the World light novel tournament was basically done, I was waiting for a moment of inspiration to finish it. In other words —
“What should I name it?”
Yes. It’s an important part of any story.
I still haven’t decide on my work’s name.
“You still haven’t decided on a name…I can’t believe you have an outline.”
By the way, the outline that I submitted was named ‘little sister based (nameless)’.
“That’s how I always worked, only naming my book after everything was done.”
They were like my children, how could I carelessly name them.
“I always decide on a name before anything else. My story is based around that name. They’re like my children — how could I carelessly give birth to one.”
I bet that she will grow into a mother that’s very strict with her kid.
“Anyway, today you have to decide on a name.”
“I agree. I’m open to suggestions.”
“I knew that you had no idea.”
“So we wait for another one of those inspirations of yours?”
“You don’t have any idea either do you? Well, I can understand that.”
In times like this, your partner is the one who understands you best.
I can’t do anything without a moment of inspiration. It can’t be helped.
“Then do you have a name to help you lure in inspiration?”I asked.
“No problem – what about you, Eromanga-sensei?”
Elf asked the tablet on the table.
Eromanga-sensei’s voice came through a voice changer:
[No problem too. And I don’t know someone with that name.]
Although I mostly trained in the living room, Sagiri preferred to stay in communication with us, so we used this method to connect the two rooms.
She said it was to ‘monitor you if you did something perverted to Elf-chan’. An elder brother without his little sister’s trust was so pitiful.
I don’t have that kind of relationship with my teacher next door — how many times did I have to tell her that before she believed me?
— While we were discussing.
*Ding dong* The doorbell rang.
“Let me go take a look.”
I went out of the living room, towards the entrance.
…Did Megumi come to return my book? No, she would keep pushing the doorbell. But who would come here at this hour?
Since I couldn’t think of anyone, I let my guard down.
“Coming ~ Who are —-”
I smiled and opened the door. Outside was —
I let out a weird sound.
Anyone would do the same, because that was —
“Masamune-kun, I came to suggest that you withdraw.”
My nemesis, Muramasa-senpai appeared in a sailor outfit.
I stood there stunned. There was a lot I wanted to ask, so I was debating what I should say.
In the end, I said:
“Ah? This uniform?”
Muramasa-senpai showed me the front area:
“Your home is far away from mine, so I came here after school. I’m still a student, so I have to go to school.”
Unlike Elf or Sagiri, she was working while going to school —
“I didn’t mean that! Why —”
“To tell the truth, I came here today hoping to improve your first impression of me. Although I didn’t plan to say that during our first meeting, it seemed like I really offended you.”
She came here to improve my impression of her?
No no no! Something is off about this.
Just like our first meeting, I couldn’t figure out what she was thinking.
Probably my editorial department revealed my contact information. My eyes were full of anger now.
“My editor said boys usually like girls in sailor uniforms. You see, most of the time the cover of light novels have an image of a girl in uniform, right? Well, you still can’t rate a book by its cover though.”
While she was talking, her eyes flashed in a dangerous way, but it quickly reverted back to normal:
” — It’s like that. I’m not sure if wearing a uniform would help or not, but a chance sounded nice.”
What is she thinking? I can’t understand her.
Could it be that she came to make fun of me? I changed to an angry tone:
“No one asked about your clothes. I asked why you’re here?”
“You mean the address? The editor told me.”
Damn it, casually revealing the information of others like that!
“Then I suddenly had an idea — like this.”
She wanted to convince me to surrender without a fight?
“You don’t need to be on red alert. In my opinion, it’s a good thing for you.”
I narrowed my eyes. Muramasa smiled and gave me her hand:
“Masamune-kun, be mine.” (probably a shout out to this series: http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Maoyuu-Maou-Yuusha-Be-mine-Hero-I-refuse)
That’s what she said.
I looked at the sky and burst out laughing. My face was probably deep red by now.
“Be yours? What are you saying?”
Muramasa’s eyes widened — then she blushed too.
“You, you…don’t have that kind of shameless misunderstanding!”
“Tell me, what kind of pure misunderstanding could I draw from that?”
“It’s not that! What I meant earlier is ‘be my novelist’!”
“I thought you meant ‘be my lover’!”
“Don’t say it out loud!”
I found out Muramasa’s weakness. She clearly wasn’t good with perverted stuff — as soon as the topic was brought up, she lost her usual calmness.
Although that information was useless in the upcoming competition.
“That didn’t explain anything. Your novelist? What does that mean?”
“It’s exactly like I said. You will write novels only for me! In exchange, I’ll pay you!”
“What do you think?”
Seeing her tilt her head in a cute way made me even angrier.
From her appearance to her manner, both were cute. If she wasn’t my nemesis, I would have fallen for her.
But we are enemies.
Unlike the showdown with Elf’s last month –Muramasa is my arch enemy.
How could I even fall for her?
Not to mention she’s a better novelist than me.
Be my novelist…I bet she’s making fun of me.
“No matter what you say, I still don’t understand how you could come up with this suggestion. This must be some kind of trap. Do you remember what you said?”
Because I hate you. Izumi Masamune – I hate the one who keeps holding on to that childish dream. This time, your dream was in the way of my dream, I hate you even more for writing that kind of useless novel.
” — After saying that, why are you even making that suggestion?”
Hearing my question, Muramasa seemed surprised, like she slipped. Then her eyes widened:
“That’s because —”
Before she could say it, someone interrupted.
Following the sound of footsteps, Elf appeared, still holding her tablet.
Seeing Muramasa, Elf silently walked to my side and spoke in a condescending tone:
“Masamune, I will say it for your own good – it’s better if you don’t ask about that
“Elf…what do you mean?”
“To be more specific, you shouldn’t try to understand what girls think. Otherwise you might get cursed.”
She’s still beating around the bush even now.
“It’s so troublesome, please say it in a way that I can understand.”
Since I was already cursed by Muramasa three years ago.
“Since you’re too nice, if you listen to her, your chance of winning will go down.”
…You’re worried too much. Even I won’t show any feelings towards my enemy.
But…I still nodded.
“Elf-sensei is right. There’s no need to listen to my enemy.”
Elf nodded in satisfied way, then raised her chin at Muramasa.
” — It’s done. Nothing can be changed about this. Get lost.”
Although she was clearly chased away, Muramasa’s lips raised slightly…Although this was a normal reaction, but it’s rare to see her normal otherworldly expression change like this.
“Yamada! Yamada! Don’t get my name wrong!”
“Then…Yamada-sensei…I remember telling you to step aside.”
“Don’t ~ wanna ~”
Elf happily interjected.
“Although my sales are lower than yours, and I have nothing to brag about compared to you — maybe after my anime airs I can get a few million more, so I don’t need to back off! Just wait and see!”
I don’t think the anime could boost your sales that much.
Still, she looked happy, so I’ll let this slide.
If even this novelist whose sales are six times higher than Elf’s couldn’t say anything back, I doubt there is anyone in the world who can.
As expected, Muramasa gave up on trying to shut Elf up. She asked:
“Yamada-sensei — why are you at Masamune’s home?”
“Because we’re living together.”
What is she saying?
Even my nemesis was stunned.
*Thud thud bang bang bang*Sagiri showed her anger.
“…Can you please not change ‘next door neighbor’ to ‘living together’?”
I regained control of my breathing. Hearing that, Muramasa also let out a breath.
“Don’t scare me like that. I almost called the police.”
Please calm down, okay?
My home and the house next door were called the ‘cursed land’ by people nearby, so don’t make it any worse.
“There’s no need for that! I already informed everyone involved.”
“Is there anyone with a tiny bit knowledge of network security here aside from me?”
First Eromanga-sensei, then Megumi, now Elf too…please be careful when you post something on the Internet! It could cause a scandal! I can see a storm incoming!
“Don’t speak nonsense — I understand your situation, but I won’t go back empty handed.”
Muramasa suddenly sounded serious. I heard a noise like a blade leaving its scabbard.
“Masamune-kun, accept my suggestion. Then you can understand my dream before it crushes your dream.”
“If you – want to keep living like this.”
Elf, Eromanga-sensei (via Skype), and I were arguing with Muramasa in the Izumi household’s living room.
I still don’t get it, but what she said sounded like something that the final boss of an RPG would say.
That one sentence – I couldn’t pretend like I didn’t hear it.
[If you want to keep living like this, then listen to me.]
Those words struck me deep inside.
It’s impossible to not listen to them.
But…if I listen, that means that I ignored Elf’s advice.
What is Muramasa’s dream? How could she decide that our dream was childish?
Be mine! What does that mean?
Is exchanging the leading role in this conversation in hopes of an answer worth it?
While I was thinking that —
“Masamune, step aside. Now it’s my turn.”
Elf sat down like a master and pushed me aside. What the heck? Don’t steal my home away from me!
“Yamada-sensei. It’s a bit late to say that, but I hope you don’t cause any trouble.”
Muramasa still calmly took a sip of coffee.
Her actions were elegant and well-mannered.
“I don’t plan to cause trouble. But I have to tell you this Masamune: you’re as dense as a light novel protagonist. I will only say it once, so listen well. If you want to kill a boss, ask me before making that decision.”
Still sitting in a master’s position, she raised her hand like a gun and shot it at Muramasa.
“Today, you didn’t only offend Masamune but you offendedus.”
“…Us…Who is this us?”
Elf looked at the tablet – Eromanga-sensei, then turned to the ceiling:
“And her highness upstairs.”
Today Muramasa didn’t only offend me, but Elf and Sagiri too?
What’s the meaning of this? I still don’t understand what Elf said.
With an exaggerated wave of her hand, Elf yelled:
“First floor is my territory, second floor is hers. I will deal with any uninvited guests like you since no one else could come.”
Eh? Who is leading this conversation?
When did my neighbor take my place from me?
At the same time, after hearing Elf’s words, Muramasa……
I will truthfully repeat what I saw here – she took a notebook out of her bag and began to write.
A deep-blue notebook was in her left hand, as her right hand began to move at high speed.
It wasn’t the same as Eromanga-sensei’s rhythmic way – it felt as immovable as a mountain.
Looking at Sagiri when she was working made people happy. But looking at Muramasa made people unable to breath. Like I was standing in a sanctuary or something.
The atmosphere was insanely tense.
….I didn’t know how she wrote before. Now I knew.
“Hey…did you listen to my cool line just now?”
Elf was still able to speak normally in this situation, but her nerves probably had stopped working.
“Don’t ignore me!”
Elf nearly shouted.
Then, Muramasa replied:
“Any more noise and I will kill you.”
Straight and directly to the point.
“Now is an important time. Wait.”
Even when talking, she didn’t look up – her pen wasn’t slowing down.
“Hey, are you writing a novel? Right now? Right here?”
She didn’t seem to hear me.
Elf clenched her fist, her temple twitched.
From the tablet on the table, Eromanga-sensei’s voice came:
[Just like Nii.]
“Eh? Eh? No, it can’t be! Hey, say something!”
I shot a pleading look at Elf.
“It’s exactly the same! Even the way you reply is the same!”Elf exclaimed.
“Now you know how stupid you look? Hurry and reflect on yourself! This is a chance to see your bad points that were normally overlooked!”
Elf folded her arms across her chest, then glanced at Muramasa and asked me:
“So? Care to explain why someone like you is acting this way?”
“How could I know?”
What’s with that look? You look like you think I’m lying!
I looked at my kin, who was deep in writing and said:
“…An inspiration? That was all I could think of.”
Elf still stared at me:
“…In short, ignore the entire world? Just to write a novel?”
“Don’t you think it’s rude?”
“That can’t be helped! It’s a moment of inspiration! We have to write! I used to be like that too! Once I even began writing while walking!”
Wait, why am I explaining Muramasa?
Elf sighed and returned to her seat.
“What a self-centered girl. It can’t be helped then…we wait. Masamune, make me a cup of coffee.”
“…..One for me too.”
And thus I made coffee for Elf, Eromanga-sensei — and my enemy who was focusing on writing non-stop.
About twenty minutes later —
Muramasa was still writing.
How long did she plan to write a novel inside her enemy’s headquarters?
She smiled a bit, which made her eyes seem gentler.
My feelings were complicated. Was that how – she always wrote those masterpieces?
She looked as focused as my little sister when she was drawing.
I massaged my temple.
Elf’s worries were true. I truly was too good of a person.
Unless I hardened my heart a bit — soon, I might not be able to hate my archenemy.
Of course I’m still going to win, but…
Don’t tell me she’s going to sit here until she finishes? It’s already dark!
Although I said that, I didn’t actually care about her.
Since I moved behind her, I secretly looked at the novel that the famous author Senjyu Muramasa was writing.
Next to me, Elf also stared at Muramasa.
“That — doesn’t look like it’s the uncompleted Fantasy Blade.”
“A new novel. Could it be that she plans to send this to take part in World Light novel tournament?”
“But is this just a chapter? We need to submit the manuscript tomorrow.”
It’s almost time already.
It looked like what Muramasa was writing wasn’t the next part of Fantasy Blade nor the novel to fight against me. It’s a new work, written in my home that she thought of while visiting.
By the way, now that all of us were standing up. Muramasa sat on her seat while Elf and I stood behind. The tablet which connected this room and the locked room was on the table. Eromanga-sensei was probably watching Muramasa too.
Sagiri’s voice came from the tablet.
“What’s up Sagiri? Are you tired?”
[Since she was so focused, maybe she wouldn’t notice if you shouted or did something to her.]
“Yes. So — what are you thinking?”
[Pull her skirt up a bit so I can take a look.]
“You! Please behave normally for my sake!”
You can say that in this serious situation?
Look at the atmosphere! Atmosphere! You scared me!
[But…this is a one in a thousand chance.]
Even Elf thought the same?
“This is a chance Masamune! Hurry and take a picture to blackmail her later!”
“Who’s the bad guy here?”
“Kuh! How…she’s your enemy! Why are you protecting her?”
Hearing her say that, I was actually considering it for a bit —
Wait wait, it was like something was possessing me! Was Elf-sensei’s bad side corrupting me as well?
“No no no?”
I felt that I was going to go insane.
“No no, how could I lay a finger on her —”
I jumped in front of Muramasa and spread my hands wide:
“I’m the only who is allowed to take Muramasa-senpai’s panties.”
“……………………….What are you talking about?”
I turned back and saw my eternal enemy looking at me, her face red.
When did she finish?
She closed the notebook and stuttered:
“Wh, what….you want my underwear?”
I forced my eyes away from my enemy’s thighs, and tried to change the subject:
“Why aren’t you writing Fantasy Blade anymore?”
Although I pulled this out of my ass, the truth is I did want to know the answer.
“Your fans are waiting! Your anime is waiting too! Why aren’t you writing it anymore?”
The publisher was worried too. Not to mention the editorial department.
“Could it be —”
Before I could finish, Muramasa answered with something unexpected. Listen, she said:
“What is Fantasy Blade?”
Everyone froze. I felt a cold chill go down my spine.
“Are, are, are you kidding me?”
Even Elf was sweating.
“Listen to me! There should be a limit for your maddening stupidity! Fantasy Demon Blade Legend, got it?”
“Hm…it sounds familiar…’
“How could you not know about it? It’s your book!”
Elf grabbed Muramasa’s neck and shook it. If she was a bit slower, I might have been the one who did it instead. This is the one thing I wouldn’t wait for.
“Ah…I wrote it? That name…isn’t that the same thing my editor keep asking me to write more of? I heard something about a blade or a sword….”
“How could you not know the name of a novel you wrote — and why didn’t you name them?”
After so much shaking, Muramasa panicked a bit:
“Light novels are something I write for myself! As long as the content is good, the rest is just extra.”
Yeah, if I remember correctly her book never had any after word.
Aside from the content, her book had nothing else.
The rest …is just extra?
“How could you publish your book without a name? How exactly did you publish it before?”
“I just wrote it. The rest, I didn’t know nor did I care.”
Muramasa simply answered. I didn’t need to be as sharp as Elf to know – she didn’t lie.
I bet that Fantasy Demon Blade Legend was a name someone else picked for her. Even she didn’t know about it.
Photograph event. Party. Anime meeting. She never participated in any of them.
She didn’t even know her own sales.
That was because she considered all of them as extras.
She never had any interest in the mortal world, never cared if her book was rejected or not, never cared if anyone read them or not. She was always calm like a saint.
….Yeah. It’s just like Elf and Kagurazaka-san said.
I stopped myself from saying anything else. I still wanted to know why she kept picking a fight with me, but at least I could get rid of the weight on my chest.
There was no need to ask. As soon as we had a winner, everything would be back to normal.
“…Senpai, why did you become a novelist?”
I asked, my voice both filled with admiration and disappointment.
“If you want to read a good story, you could just go to the bookstore. If you…don’t care about money, don’t care about readers, don’t care about fame, don’t care about anything, and only write for yourself – then there is no need for you to become a novelist.”
So why did you become a novelist – I repeated my question.
“The second problem is like you said, junior.”
Muramasa scratched her cheek:
“I made my debut because I couldn’t afford not to. Yes, I don’t care if anyone reads my story. Of course, it’s good if more people like them, but that’s all. However, someone convinced me to make my debut with a reason ‘some novelists can’t write as much as you even if they focused all of their time on writing’.”
The image of a girl in a kimono writing day by day appeared in my head.
Some might have said that she made ‘commendable effort’.
But even if we’re similar, in my opinion, acting like that wasn’t any different from a NEET gamer. It wasn’t worth commending. We just did what we like every day.
But just that is enough for us to earn money, and to grant happiness to our readers.
Not many jobs could be better than this.
I did think that while this job was hard, it’s a job worth keeping.
However, not everyone shares the same opinion.
Why did…she have so many fans, yet she didn’t care?
“Regarding the first problem:”
Muramasa shot me a sharp glare:
“Because there aren’t any good books in the bookstore — junior, there aren’t any books in the store that can make me laugh happily. So I have no choice but to write them myself.”
This is ….the reason Senjyu Muramasa became a novelist?
“Don’t be mistaken, going to school is indeed the most fun thing in the world. As long as you have a book that you like , you can ignore anime, film, games or even your lover. I truly like to go to school, although I couldn’t find a book that only belonged to methere.”
“There must be one or two, right?”
Somehow, I couldn’t stop myself from asking:
“Unless you have read a good story or two, you can’t begin to enjoy reading, much less decide to begin writing.”
“Of course. But those good stories… stopped.”
What do you mean? Did the author pass away? Or…?
Muramasa didn’t let me have time to think, she raised a finger:
“Masamune-kun, what is your definition of the best light novel in the world?”
How could I answer such a sudden question? The best in the world — what exactly would it be?
I got a few ideas in my head, but I couldn’t decide
“Then I will change my question. With one hundred points as a maximum for a novel, how would you rate your story?”
This was both a difficult and an easy question.
“One hundred points.”
I immediately replied. Even my rejected project – although they had their bad sides – but I can still keep raising my head and giving them one hundred points.
Because there were still people who liked them.
Muramasa asked Elf.
“Of course it’s one hundred.”
“Me too. The one’s I wrote all get one hundreds – because I’m the author. But in the first letter a fan sent me, they said —”
“It’s so good that on a one hundred point scale, I would give it one million!”
“My family said ‘since they sent you a letter, make sure to read them’, so I did…and I was so scared. The book that I only gave one hundred point was rated one million. And they even said ‘among those light novel I read, only the best ones get one million’.”
My breathing skipped a beat. I understood what she meant.
“Yes, this is the best novel in the world –but it won’t be the only onethat you will consider best during your lifetime.”
Sooner or later, people will find book that they really like.
On a scale of one hundred points, they will give it one million and brag about it.
No matter how famous it was, no matter how high or low its sales were, no matter what others said about it, no matter who the author is.
A book that can make you proudly said “I like this one the most”.
You like it so much that you treat it like your own child.
Megumi had Hyper Hybrid Organization
I have Circlet Girl, Shakugan no Shana, Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_King_Daimao) or Akuma no Mikata (A underdog novel, not really well known outside of Japan).
As long as you enjoy reading, you will have some precious treasures.
That was the best light novel in the world that Muramasa spoke of.
“After becoming a novelist, I understood this even better. Books were born for the readers, not for the author. No matter how hard an author tried, you could only get one hundred points. The reader can give it a million points. And it’s not like they only have one best light novel in the world. This world is so unfair. Those books that I like are so hard to find, and just aren’t enough….I’m always carving for more — that’s why!”
Muramasa stood up:
“My dream is to write the best light novel in the world. Something that even I will give a million points! Something that will satisfy me, and allow me to read it instead of food!”
Her voice was firm and loud, and contained hope and anger.
She wrote for herself?
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.
Totally focused on level grinding, paying no attention to the outside world.
Not wanting to compare nor boasting to anyone else.
Just grinding non-stop before taking on the final boss.
The rest is just extra, and she doesn’t care about the extras. Anyone who got in the way would be quickly beaten up.
It’s that simple.
Although she still had a long way to go, her efforts were still paying off.
Now, no matter what kind of interest a reader had, what genre a reader liked, Muramasa’s fighting style novel always had something that made people feel ‘good’.
From another point of view, that was the same dream of all authors in the world.
With enough level grinding, you could beat Metal Slime or Metal King Slime in a single hit.(A reference to Dragon Quest. A metal slime/metal king slime is a rare, low-hp, high defense, and hard to kill but give lots of experience point and money when killed.)
Truly, you can’t rate a book by its cover.
She simply just focused everything on her STR stats. (STR: Strength, typical meaning a character’s physical attack value in traditional RPG. Here it mean Muramasa focus all of her effort in one aspect only.)
The strongest solo player.
This is her true self.
I looked at Muramasa and whispered.
” — Have you ever smiled?”
“…What are you saying?”
“I was thinking that maybe your expressions won’t change no matter what, but when you spoke about your dream, there was a change.”
Muramasa blushed slightly then puffed her chest out, and said:
“Everyone is the same when talking about their dreams.”
Was that a line from my novel?
“Is that so?”
I understood Muramasa’s dream and the reason she was so strong.
Such a good dream. Please try your best – because your novel (at least to me) is one of the best light novels in the world . I truly hoped that she could continue writing. But —
But even so, I will not allow it to crush our dream.
“Then why do you consider me a thorn in your side? Why do you want to crush our dream? I didn’t get in your way or anything.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Because your dream is to publish that little sister based romance story, then make it into an anime, right?”
“That we will watch together. It’s our dream.”
I added the last part.
She knew all of my future plan – Muramasa once said she asked my editor.
In other words, she knew about my novel outline.
“No matter what you say, the truth is you are in my way. You asked why I don’t write Fantasy Blade anymore? I still haven’t answered, right?”
Muramasa raised her right hand at me — now I realized that her hand was bandaged.
“Because I no longer can.”
“Because of that childish outline of yours, I couldn’t write anymore fighting-genre light novels.”
What the heck? How is that be possible? Where did that come from?
How does my little sister based romance story block her ability to write a fighting-genre light novel??
But if that’s true, then it’s really scary.
Because of my outline, a masterpiece couldn’t be written anymore?
I paled, my body trembled.
“I…I….I —-” *Slap* “Ouch it hurt!”
Someone hit me on the back of my head. I looked back and saw Elf with the tablet on her hand.
“Okay, that’s enough. I told you before – you will be cursed if you listen to her.”
Elf put the tablet under her armpit and grabbed Muramasa’s hand.
“That’s enough! Go home!”
Muramasa was pushed back to the entrance.
Still shaken, I quickly followed
“Yamada-sensei, I still —”
“I knew it, you didn’t get it. After such a long conversation, Masamune still doesn’t get it — how about you repeat it once more?”
Muramasa’s eyes widened. Elf pushed her face closer:
“Of course I get it — I bet the princess upstairs also gets it.”
She stared at Muramasa for several second.
She sighed, like she was giving up.
“I can’t stand this anymore. Although saying this means I owe her highness an apology…but I have to say it.”
“What do you mean —”
Elf cut Muramasa off:
“I will push your dream aside and tell our enemy one last piece of advice —”
She pointed her finger at my face and looked at Masamune:
“If you wanted to make him understand, you need to say it a hundred times clearer. Why did a famous author like you consider a low-ranking author like Masamune a thorn in your side? Why did you try to pick a fight with him? Why did you came to the Adachi ward from Chiba and tell him ‘be mine’? — hurry up and tell him the true reason!”
The hesitation in Muramasa’s eyes disappeared, replaced by determination.
She shook Elf’s hand off then stared back.
“Phew ~ ha ~”
She took a deep breath, looked at me and said clearly:
“In my opinion, the best light novel in the world will be one of your novels.”
“So, I can’t allow you to switch genres. I don’t like the romance genre, I only like your fighting genre, not anything else. And I don’t want to learn to write a new genre…I don’t want to! I really don’t want to!”
When I recovered, Muramasa’s blushing face was nearly touching mine.
“I’ve been your fan for a long time.”
She grabbed my hand with both of her hands. Her hand was bandaged like after a bad cooking session, but it was so soft.
“Be mine. Write novels just for me only. Please.”
Her voice was sincere. And I —
I was blushing madly, totally in chaos. But everyone was like that, right?
The reason that caused someone who never had an interest in the mortal world to take interest in something else.
The reason that the masterpiece Fantasy Demon Blade Legend was stalled, the author was unable to write the fighting genre anymore.
She wanted to crush me not out of malice.
She did it because —
She’s one of my fans? Because she likes the fighting genre that I write?
And so….when I gave up on the genre and switched to romance, she got…angry?
So angry that she was unable to keep writing anymore?
“Are you…kidding me?”
She grabbed my hand tighter.
There was no one that enthusiastic among my fans at the photograph event.
“I have read all of your stories! Even before you made your debut, I’ve been a fan of yours since you published your web novel!”
“I have proof! I know what the beginning of your story was like! Izumi Masamune started with a fanfic of Tales of Phantasia! It was a fanfic about an OC named Izumi Masamune and his adventures —”
“Wait wait, stop!”
“Then…the hero bears the name of the author –and Masamune defeats the gigantic dragon, then he shouts ‘Dieeeeeeeeeee —- Lion’s roarrrrrrrrrr!!!!”
“Wahhhhhhhhhhh! Stop! Stop! I believe you! I believe you!”
Oh it hurt! It hurt so much! I wanted to die already!
Damn it…Web novels are every author’s weakness.
Of course I love my story, I could proudly give them all one hundred points, but only after I made my debut! I never thought that someone knew about my dark history!
I clearly deleted them all after making my debut! My face was so hot now!
“I have downloaded all of your web novels…”
“Delete them! Delete them immediately!”
“I have to refuse! They are as important to me as blood and flesh. My novel was affected by yours —because only your novel could move my heart, and allow me to write!”
So that’s the reason we had a similar writing style?
Now that I think about it, I began writing web novels before Muramasa-senpai made her debut.
In other words…Izumi Masamune didn’t copy Senjyu Muramasa — instead, Senjyu Muramasa copied Izumi Masamune…?
I slowly began to get it.
“When your novel stopped publishing…I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. What will happen to those characters I liked? How will they get their happy ending…I think about that every day. But I’m not the author!”
Muramasa-senpai was deeply affected by my novel, and she was like me now – she felt lost. Of course there is no way she could write anything in this state.
“In order to distract myself, I began to write. Then I kept writing, while wondering while Izumi-sensei stopped.”
Because your novel caused all of mine get rejected.
“I never thought that I was the reason…I only notice it now.”
…She didn’t really try to get in my way.
Thinking back, at the editorial department Muramasa-senpai’s acting was really bad.
Although she tried to be a bad guy… what she said wasn’t a lie. The only thing that I wasn’t sure of was when she said she wanted to crush my romance genre novel.
“However, Masamune-kun, I won’t apologize about what happened last year.”
“I understand. Senpai is better than me, that’s all.”
Even if she did that on purpose, I had no right to hate her because of that.
Still holding my hand, Muramasa-senpai said:
“I thought that if I crushed those childish novels, you could come back. I tried to provoke you – but then I was lectured a lot.”
She told me how Kagurazaka-san explained why I acted so desperately.
“I never thought that there is such a deep reason behind that. I never thought your family situation was that complicated. In order to continue this job, you need some kind of achievement — right?”
“In order to protect your life and your little sister’s, you need money.”
“Masamune-kun, I’m here to convince you. You don’t need to win. You don’t need to care about sales or any reader’s opinions aside from me.”
Finally — this topic returned.
“Be mine. Give up on those childish dream, please write novels for me only. As thanks, I will give you all of my income until now.”
“Is that not enough?”
Muramasa was so close that our noses almost touched.
After we solved our misunderstanding…I was still a bit scared of her. Now I was even more scared of her.
Why? Because she was totally serious.
She was so crazy.
“That’s not the problem…! Do you know how much your income is? It should be in the billions! How could you give that away?”
“When you need it, you could come and take your income and use it. Until then, it’s better for us to keep them. — that was what my family told me Now — I want to use them. There is no problem with taxes or anything, I could ask someone professional about this.”
She…was telling the truth.
She really willing to give up on all of her money to ask me to write novels for her.
She wanted to buy – me, Izumi Masamune.
“Is that okay, Masamune-kun?”
Muramasa drew closer, still holding my hand.
“As long as you’re mine — I will take care of you siblings for the rest of your life.”
Those words really stuck home.
— I felt that my next decision was important.
Because, if I agreed…then I could continue living together with my little sister.
We wouldn’t be separated because of our guardian.
Besides — I’m truly happy. Because someone valued my novel that highly. I was so happy that my body was trembling.
My head felt like it was hit with an anesthetic.
She asked me to write novels?
As a novelist, there is no better invitation.
Someone was looking forward to my novels.
Wasn’t that my original goal?
This was the magic that person used on me, the magic that changed the lives of us siblings.
And now, senpai is using a gentler, better magic to lure me.
“Masamune-kun, can I…hear your answer?”
I answered with a half-drunken tone.
That was my little sister’s voice.
“No, absolutely not!
Her voice was so loud that the whole house trembled.
Her voice shouldn’t be here, but the truth is it was here already.
” — Sagiri.”
I recovered and looked at the direction of that voice.
Even in my dream, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It was the scene of Sagiri painfully looking down at me from her spot half way down the stairs.
…She…left the room —
Her hands were trembling while holding the railing. She looked like she could fall down at any moment.
The only difference was her determined eyes staring down at Muramasa.
*Bang!*Sagiri stomped on the stairs:
“I was here before you! I like his novel more than you! I’m the first! You — get lost!!!!”
Since she usually didn’t speak that much, her voice was hoarse, like she was biting her tongue.
And that was the reason her voice made us all shut up.
“Our dream is not childish! Together! We are building it together! The first time together!!!!”
I remembered what Elf said: Today, I’m not the one battling with Muramasa.
“We will not lose to you! Absolutely not!”
Sagiri and —
“Masamune! Tell her! Tell her ———-!!!”
— My partner is fighting too.
Muramasa’s invitation was probably the best a novelist could hope for.
But not for me.
Even if I was beaten, I’ll stand up.
“Sorry, senpai. I’m happy to hear you say that, but the price isn’t enough.”
So, I stepped back, let her hand go and smiled
“Now, I will not lose ~ Let’s have a showdown.”
Muramasa-senpai only looked at me silently.
“Senpai, you’re my fan right? Then don’t judge my book without seeing it. Because this time – it’s Izumi Masamune’s masterpiece”
Muramasa-senpai turned toward the door. Her back slowly moved away.
Then she turned her head back once —
“I will kill you if it’s not good enough.”
Leaving that line behind, she left.
That night, the same day that Muramasa-senpai came to my home.
I finished my manuscript for the World Light novel tournament and sent it to my editor.
The next day, Kagurazaka-san messaged me back:
[Izumi-sensei, thank you. I have read your mail – but since this is a tournament, I won’t help you edit it. It’s meaningless if the reader reads something that isn’t completely yours]
[Besides – did Muramasa-sensei come to your home yesterday?]
[Oh? I revealed your personal information? Ahaha, its fine — we wrapped things up nicely thanks to that. It’s better for Izumi-sensei, for Muramasa-sensei, for the editorial department and especially for me!]
[Ah, Muramasa-sensei already saw your manuscript. Really, what does this girl think her editor is? Anyway, I let her take a look – wow, she had a terrifying killing intent when she read your story – Eh? Izumi-sensei, is something wrong? Your voice is trembling.]
[You asked how much I knew beforehand about this? Well, I have known for a while that Muramasa-sensei is a crazy fan of yours. You asked why I didn’t tell you — ? Well, you never asked me. Look, you also grew up too fast.]
[I also knew why Muramasa-sensei couldn’t write any fighting genre novels anymore. As her editor, I’ve talked with her a few times.]
[About the time when your novel was continuously shot down because of Muramasa-sensei – did we really have a time like that? Actually, the last time she came to the editor department wasn’t because of a new novel – I only heard that she was troubled. As her editor, as an adult woman, I planned to give a life counseling session to an innocent fourteen-year-old teenager.]
[Although I said that, but I only understood everything after that life counseling session was over. What a pity, if I knew that beforehand…if your meeting with Muramasa-sensei was a day later – I could have easily solved this misunderstanding – Ah, what a pity — if only I knew it before hand —]
[So, Izumi-sensei? Hearing that —- do you want to thank me? What do you mean by that — ah, I hate you so much. Okay, go think about it a bit more. As your editor, I was drawn into this, not to mention I need to give a fair evaluation to your new novel. Did I tell you to stop writing romance novels and stick to fighting novel? If I tricked you into writing a novel, then Fantasy Blade of Muramasa-sensei could release a new volume – yet I’m firmly on your side this time. All for the future readers! For the future masterpiece! Am I right?]
[Izumi Masamune, Senjyu Muramasa – I like both of you.]
[Now now, you’re welcome – it’s my duty as your editor.]
[By the way, your aunt is both young and beautiful —]
July the 20th – the day they announced the result of the World Light novel tournament.
In the Izumi’s household, I sat in front of Elf.
The result will be shown at exactly 7:00 pm on the official website.
It was now 6:57.
Elf looked at the tablet on the table and said.
“Three more minutes.”
I also looked at the notebook in front of me.
“I’m so nervous.”
“Didn’t you say you wouldn’t lose?”
Elf laughed, like she was mocking me.
People make the plans, but Fate makes the outcome.
A few more minutes and I will know the fate of Sagiri, Eromanga-sensei and myself.
“I believe that you will win.”
“Because your writing is much better than before.”
It’s still embarrassing to hear her say that.
“Well, her story is amazing too —“
Since I couldn’t keep calm when reading that story, I didn’t know if it was good or not – but we didn’t talk about its content until just now.
We meant a lot more than what we would say to each other.
Like why did Muramasa-senpai decide to publish something like that?
“Yet…it’s more than a hundred pages.”
“It’s a short story contest, but she submitted a long story. As expected of that girl. She puts on a cool look, but she is just an idiot.”
Yes. As much of an idiot as Elf.
In a short story contest, under the maximum 60 pages, Muramasa submitted a hundred pages long story.
She didn’t try to change it, she would just leave it unchanged so she could publish it (she said something about that if she changed it, the readers would be angry) – of course it became a problem, kids would undoubtedly be scared if they saw such a long story.
Frankly speaking, she cheated. How could we have a competition if everyone acted that way?
“Well, she must be punished in some way, right? Like reduce a certain percent of her votes or something. Wasn’t it one of the reason that you could win?”
“Any more reasons?”
“Of course. The second reason was she couldn’t write what she wrote best, a fighting novel”
Yes. The fact is this time, Muramasa-senpai didn’t submit a fighting genre novel.
Not a fighting genre novel – but something totally different.
“Without a fighting genre novel, Muramasa is on the same level as Songoku with nothing but Kaiouken, Genki dama and Kamehameha!”
“She’s still freaking strong!”
What a poor example.
“Yes, but she’s already been weakened a lot – and there was another reason.”
“…And that is?”
“Oh? You asked me ~~ don’t you know it already?”
Elf hid her face and laughed.
…Hey, don’t laugh like that!
“Yeah, I got it.”
I didn’t plan to hide. This was the reason that I believed I could win.
Because Senjyu Muramasa is following in Izumi Masamune’s footsteps.
Because her novel is much better than mine.
Because her novel contained a lot more emotions than mine.
I had to use 300 pages to describe what I wanted to say, but she only used a hundred pages.
“Ah, you’re blushing! So cute ~ are you thinking about her letter?”
“Sh, shut up!”
This time, she went to our showdown with a novel —
Two days before the magazine was published, she managed to find a sample and let me read her hundred page long novel —
“How was that? How do you feel when you read a love letter novel right in front of its author?”
— It was truly a love letter..
I was surprised from page one. Because her novel was written from a first person point of view, the main character – the main female protagonist is a famous author, she met her junior in front of an editorial department and fell in love at first sight.
That was how her story started.
That person was the only one the protagonist loved, the only one that nothing could be compared to.
The protagonist gradually became attracted to him. The development was described with excellent writing. Their love was hot, was filled with hardship, it was both sweet and sour.
A romance novel, unlike anything Senjyu Muramasa wrote before.
That wasn’t something written for everyone – that was a love letter for me only.
A very clear, very direct letter.
Like someone stood next to me and screamed “I like you ~~!!!”
“I thought that I was about to die. I felt both happiness and embarrassment. My face was on fire.”
“Oh ~ looks like you did get moved a bit? You must be happy since a girl confessed to you.”
“I was really happy! But, well, I don’t want that kind of happy.”
Yes, I was so moved that my whole body trembled.
Not to mention that she had been my fan for a long time. That love letter really struck home.
“And then? What was your answer? Did you go out with her?”
I recalled after I read that love letter.
That was a day before the JUMP light novel magazine was published.
In my living room, in front of Muramasa-senpai, I read her novel in silent.
Since she had already read my story – I was reading alone. She sat, and had her attention focused on me.
I was reading her novel and secretly looked at her.
Each time I took a look, I found out that her expression changed.
One time, she blushed.
Another time, she gently put her hand on her chest.
Another time, she looked like she was on the verge of tears.
Simply put, it’s unbearable.
She was already good looking, now she was even cuter than before.
That scene looked similar to my confession in May (although I was rejected)….This kind of confession was really something. To think I did this to my little sister.
My heart was beating like crazy, it made my breathing harder.
I swallowed and tried to ask:
“Is this…about us?”
“Eh? Eh? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?
Muramasa-senpai was startled, and she stuttered like a child:
“…How could you….see though…”
“That…I knew just from reading it….:
Her whole body reddened in an instant.
Just like me before. The reader knew just from reading, but the author didn’t realize.
Muramasa-senpai was shaking. After a long time, she seemed to recover.
“That, that, that is –! Masamune-kun!”
She put a hand on her chest and took a deep breath.
Then, with a flushed expression, she looked at me:
“I like you. I like both you and your story.”
I felt like something pierced my heart. No one in this world could withstand a confession like that.
My head was trembling, like there was an earthquake inside.
“ — Can you please give me a clear answer?”
Back then I felt both happy and in pain.
But no matter what, everything was decided in that moment.
With a low voice, I replied”
“ — I already have someone I like.”
So I can’t answer your feelings.
I was rejected, but I still like that person most in the world.
Even if we couldn’t reach each other for the rest of our life.
I wouldn’t love someone else because of that.
A few days later, a package was sent to my home.
I was wondering what was inside, but turned out there were some notebooks, the kind for elementary school kids. They were all filled with beautiful words inside.
I looked at the cover. It said:
Fantasy Demon Blade Legend. Volume 12.
Since I wanted to publish a new novel, I had no choice but to put that one on hiatus.
The most famous light novel had been finished.
And there was an afterword too.
The first afterword that Senjyu Muramasa-sensei wrote.
…What did she write?
She wrote only one line:
On a scale of one hundred points, it’s still possible to write a million point novel.