== Chapter four ==

A day in June, at a certain publishing company.

After the talk show of Sekaimo is over, Kagurazaka-san told me this:

“Izumi-sensei, about your part in writing a chain novel…”

This was an event which they asked me to take part in writing a chain novel. I have agreed and got a lot done already.

I answered with confidence:

“That huh? I’m almost done, just need to proofcheck them.”

“As expected of Izumi-sensei, so fast. Please keep up your good work.”

“Yes. Is there anything else?”

Everything was done, so I wanted to hurry and return home, to my little sister. However, Kagurazaka-san said in a serious tone:

“Actually, there is something important.”

“What is it?”

From her tone alone I could tell that this wasn’t anything good.

“It was about Muramasa-sensei.”

Senjyu Muramasa.

An author who is way more famous than me. She is my senior, but also younger. A black-haired beauty in kimono, a special person to me.

“What’s wrong with Muramasa-senpai?”

“…If this continues, Fantasy Blade will be cancelled.”

Fantasy Demon Blade Legend –  this is her most famous novel.

“Oh, did she get writer’s block? I thought that she would get past it in no time. After all, she isn’t someone who could NOT write.”

It wasn’t very nice of me to say it, but the simple truth is Muramasa-senpai is very different from Shidou-kun. There is no need to worry or try to help her, she could do fine on her own.

“No, that wasn’t the problem.” Kagurazaka-san scratched her cheek “Muramasa-sensei is still writing normally.”

“So what is the problem?”

“She just won’t give me her manuscript.”

“………………….”

“Hahaha….” Both of us laughed. I said:

“Did you do something to piss her off?”

“What are you talking about, why do you immediately assume it’s my fault?”

“You did, didn’t you? Probably something along the lines of deciding stuff yourself without asking for her permission, or answering fans in her place…”

“I ~ never ~~~~~ did any of that!!!”

Really?

“There is no editor like you said that exists in the world!”

Muramasa-senpai never agreed to an interview, but stories about her kept showing up in magazines. Kagurazaka-san is the most likely culprit.

But still, it wasn’t enough to get mad. Yeah, something is not right here.

“Anyway, bye. See you later.”

When I was about to stand up, Kagurazaka-san suddenly took my hand.

“Yes?”

“Wait, don’t go.”

“I want to go home….and you are hurting me.”

“Izumi-sensei…you have good relationship with Muramasa-sensei, right? Can you go get the manuscript for me, please?”

“Why me?”

“I think Muramasa-sensei is avoiding me. And I already said that the newest volume will be published, I need that manuscript. You wouldn’t want Fantasy Blade  to be cancelled, right?”

“Of course not!”

But I have to add: this is YOUR job, not mine.

“If her beloved Izumi-sensei appeared, Muramasa-sensei would me buch easier to deal with…”

“Uuuuu….”

I felt my face getting hotter…

She is my fan after all. And I did have some affection toward her.

“About that…”

“I will take care of any travel expense, and I will give you a bonus too.”

“Well….”

I was leaning toward yes at this point. My recent novel was selling well, but more money is always welcome.

Still —

“Beside — don’t you want to know about the private life of a famous female novelist?”

“Of course I do!”

How is her normal life? How is her family? How does she write her novel…

Yes, I do want to know. But opening my mouth to ask is embarrassing…

“But….”

Just because of my impure reason….

Kagurazaka-san showed an evil grin, continued:

“All for the sake of Fantasy Blade, for Muramasa-sensei, for the publishing company, for the light novel industry! Izumi-sensei, will you do it?”

“Just leave it to me!!!”

And that’s how I agreed to do her job.

 

The next day, I was on my way to Muramasa-senpai’s house.

It was a Sunday morning, so not many people were around. The morning light passed through the windows and shone upon us.

“I wonder what Muramasa-chan’s house will be like….”

It was Sagiri, her voice coming from the tablet I carried with me.

While we could hold a conversation, it wasn’t very polite to do so in a train. So we instead communicated by text message.

“Hm….based on how clueless she was, I think her house would similar to a samurai’s house.”

That was my next door neighbor, Elf.

When I said I was on my way to meet Muramasa-senpai, she said “Sounds fun, I’m going too,” and stuck with me.

By the way, none of us contacted Muramasa-senpai beforehand. She didn’t pick up her phone, so what’s the point of having it in the first place? She didn’t have a cell phone either, so we had no way to contact her even if we wanted.

Asking Kagurazaka-san for help is even more out of the question. She kept repeating again and again, telling us to “steal” ( <= That was her exact word ) the manuscript back.

However, I doubt Muramasa-senpai thinks of herself as a novelist.

And so Elf, Sagiri, and I began to imagine about Muramasa-senpai’s home.

“I bet it will be full of traps. A single step past the corridor will make it rain arrows!”

“Just like a ninja’s home! Wonderful!” Elf exclaimed.

“Elf-sensei, since you were abroad for a long time, I can tell you that those stories are just jokes. Both ninja and samurai don’t exist in modern Japan’s society anymore.”

“Eh?” * 2

Why was Sagiri even surprised?

“So everything in your story is a lie, Nii-san?”

“I did write about a beautiful female ninja, but that was just a story, do you understand?”

“I thought that Japanese all have special skills, like they could keep fighting no matter how damaged their bosy is?”

“Those are just baseless rumors!”

“Of course I know that.”

“You have lived in Japan long enough!

She was teasing me…

“Still….a ninja’s home might be too much, but I do think that Muramasa’s house would be an antique one.”

“It might be.”

“I wonder what Muramasa-chan’s house is like?”

“She seemed like a member of a family with a long lineage, I couldn’t imagine her everyday life.”

We could only have some small talk, but at least the topic was something we were all interested in.

“Online friends like us were used to calling each other by nickname instead of real name. In fact, even in cases where the relationship was better, I doubt people would actually ask for real life stuff.”

“Well, that’s how online friends are — don’t use each other’s real name, nor ask for private information.”

“Muramasa-senpai never told anyone her real name.”

“Haha ~~ I already told you my real name.”

“…Ahahah….”

Elf’s laugh shook me a bit.

Emily. Be sure to call me by that name when you ask my hand in marriage.

“…….”

“…………”

Suddenly, we all became quiet.

“Nii-san.”

“!? Yes?”

“When you return, make sure to bring a gift.

“…Er…is candy okay?”

Phew…wait, why am I startled?

After arriving at Chiba, we left the train and took the bus to the station closest to Muramasa-senpai’s house. Just walking an hour, the scene has changed a lot, everywhere looking like the countryside.

After arriving at Chiba, we left the train and took the bus to the bus station which is the closest from Muramasa-senpai’s house. Just walking an hour and the scene has changed a lot, everywhere look like the countryside.

Turning back, an old woman at the bus station was smiling at us.

“Look! Mountains! Rice fields! This really is Japan’s countryside!”

“Be quiet, please.”

This girl! She made me lose my place!

Sagiri also voiced her opinions via the tablet.

“Did Muramasa-chan come all the way from here to Tokyo…?”

“Ohohoho, why doesn’t she move to Arakawa Ward? She must have more than enough money.”

“She is used to living here, I doubt she could stand Arakawa.”

I don’t think my area’s situation is that bad though…

I took a look around:

“Alright, where is her house?”

“If you have the address, call a cab.”

“Elf, you are half-way to a hikikomori, you should walk around more.”

“!Eh ~~?”

“Right right! Elf-chan, outdoor activities are very important!”

“Sagiri! A hardcore hikikomori like you has no right to say that!

“Alright alright, this way please….”

We finally arrived.

“Masamune! Masamune! What’s that? It’s like a pumping station!”

“Oh? Ah, that’s a spray well.”

“Wow, spray well? I didn’t know they look like this!”

The more we walked, the more antique the scene became. It felt like we were travelling into the past. In fact, sometimes we went for 20 minutes without seeing a single house. Everything was both simple and natural, with the sound of insects chirping non-stop.

That was where we found Muramasa-senpai’s home.

 

“Umenozo.”

 

A few words were written in the wooden name plate. Just like Elf expected, this house looked like it belonged to the samurai of the past. From behind its wall, a willow tree stood high, its branches nearly touching the ground outside of the home.

“Look! Masamune! Sagiri! This is really a ninja’s house! When Muramasa got angry, we could all feel her killing intent! This is something only a female ninja could have!

“No, no…this is not a ninja’s home…how should I put it…it feels like…”

“A home of a great novelist?”

“The home of a great novelist?”

Sagiri said. I nodded in agreement.

“Yes, it does feel that way.”

It felt like an antique image, like the surrounding area was frozen in time for 50 years.

“Anyway, it really suited her image.”

“Wow ~ if I lived here, I might become a great novelist too!”

“Nah, you wouldn’t.”

My little sister coldly said.

Elf happily went to the door, then turned back to me:

“Masamune! There is no door bell!”

“For real?”

Yes…this house…doesn’t have a bell…

“…Now what?”

I wanted to ask this question too. Without a bell, how could we notify the people inside?

Before I could think of anything, Elf already began to hit the door, shouting:

“Any ~~~~ body ~~~~ home ~~~!!!”

“You!!!!!”

“What? I’m calling to them.”

“I can see that, but is that how you call people? Use something else!”

“Is that so? Then ~~~~ Mura ~~~~ masa ~~~ chan!! Come out and play!!!”

It was even worse…!

I couldn’t even stop her, since Elf was hitting the door as hard as she could. Maybe because we made too much noise, the door quickly opened.

The person behind it was —

“…….Who are you all?”

A thin man in his kimono. His face showed many winkles, making it difficult to guess his age. His eyes were very sharp, I could almost feel his gaze.

“!!!”

I unconsciously took a few steps back. But in the end, facing this terrifying man is a job for a man (me).

“Pleased to meet you. I’m Izumi Masamune. We are friends of Senjyu Muramasa-sensei —-”

Before I could finish —

“Go home.”

The door slammed shut.

“Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh???”

Wh..what…just happened?

“Wait! Why did you close the door! Open it up!!!”

While I was stunned speechless, Elf angrily rushed forward and hit the door until it opened again.

“I’m not going to let my daughter meet someone from the publishing company again!”

Then the door slammed shut again.

“……………….”

“……………….”

“……………….”

We all looked at each other. What else can we do?

Kagurazaka-san…you really are good, to think you could ask for a manuscript from this house. He doesn’t even let you say a word before slamming the door into your face, how could you get your result? Amazing.

“He said daughter, so he must be Muramasa-chan’s father, right?”

“….Probably.”

“Maybe.”

Their appearance, their characters were so similar. If Muramasa-senpai was a boy and 20 years older, she would look like that.

“But why does it feel like I have seen him somewhere before…”

“Nii-san, is that someone you know?”

“No…someone so terrifying…i should….not know him….”

Where have I seen him?

“Anyway, let’s leave it at that. What can we do now?” I asked Elf and Sagiri.

“We are already here, there is no way we could go back empty handed.”

“But….he won’t open the door for us.”

Let’s sneak in! It’s a steal mission! Make your way past a mountain of traps and rescue your princess! Elf suggested.

“….You are just making it up, help me think of some realistic way.”

“I’m serious!”

Don’t tilt your head and try to act cute!

“…Wait a sec. Let me ask Kagurazaka-san if she’s got any idea.”

I sent her a message, which stressed “scary father” and “terrifying.”

Less than ten seconds later, I got a reply. It said —

“Masamune, what does your editor say?”

“Let me see…er…. 「Thank you, it’s Kagurazaka. About what you asked, there was a lot of trees in the eastern side of the house, use that. Please be careful. 」.”

“………………….”

Careful my ass!

“Careful? So she got the same idea as Elf!”

I didn’t imagine that your editor knew ninja arts too! Now that you mention it, her name Ayame really sounds like a female ninja!” (TL note: Ayame is the name of a female ninja in the Tenchu series, which is a famous ninja series from 2004 on the Playstation.)

“…..Seriously, is that a thief skill? Sagiri asked. I replied:

“Well, now I really do need that skill.”

“Ahaha, I heard that there was a case where the author ran away, forcing the editor to investigate and follow till Las Vegas.”

“That was just a rumor.”

“Compared to those novelists who run abroad to hide, a novelist who enjoys playing Monster Hunter with her editor is much cuter, right?”

“You play game with your elder brother?”

“Cow could you know that? No, it can’t be helped. I have made up my mind, before I get the purple item set, I will not work.” (TL Note: Probably a high level or rare item set, I don’t know since I don’t play this game) (Editor note: It’s either an epic gear set, which is typically purple in rarity, or the Yian Garuga armor set, which is purple in style.)

“But you told me that recently, anime made you so busy that you didn’t have time to play?”

“It was in the past.”

“Go home and begin your work now!”

“If I gave up half-way, I would be in no mood to work.”

She is so shameless.

“Besides….” Elf turned to me, speaking in a mysterious tone, “I don’t feel at ease…if I leave you here alone.”

“What do you mean? Muramasa-senpai’s father is scary, true, but it’s not like I’m going to face him.”

“No no ~ I meant ~ something else~”

Elf smiled and looked at the tablet in my hand.

“Right?”

A conversation that only girls can understand…I was left aside while standing right here….

I coughed loudly, putting the conversation back on its track:

“What now ? We can’t do anything at this rate —“

“Huh? Just do like I said.”

Elf mimicked a ninja and made a hand seal like in N*ruto, like she was about to unleash a ninja art.

“…………..Stop kidding me.”

I felt so powerless. Climb the wall? Are you kidding me, if the police arrived then I’m as good as dead.

Finally, we went to the eastern side to see where Kagurazaka-san told us. True, when we arrived we saw many trees, but most of them weren’t very high.

“….So Kagurazaka-san was telling the truth.”

She must be a skill thief. Call her Cat’s Eye Ayame from now on!”

She was born abroad, and spent most of her childhood overseas. To think that even she knew this name, seemed like she was deeply affected by Japanese culture.

“Alright, let’s do it!”

Elf pulled her sleeves up and walked toward the tree. I stopped her.

“Hold on a minute.”

“Huh? You are not stopping me.”

“Let me do it. Just take this and find somewhere safe to wait.”

“Nii-san, are you going to climb up?” Sagiri asked from the tablet.

I nodded, but Elf said “no” and did not take the tablet from me.

“Let me do it. If they found out, someone as cute as me would be easier to forgive than you.”

Well, that might be true.

“Are you going to climb in those clothes?”

“Crap…”

Her frilly dress is cute, but unsuited for such activities.

“See?”

“…………Grr”

Elf looked displeased, but she sighed, giving up.

“If the old man from before finds out, you can blame everything on Cat’s Eye Ayame.”

Of course —

Still, I didn’t plan to actually go past the wall. It’s just that if I didn’t do anything, Elf would, so I planned to climb up, take a look around, then get down.

 

“Phew…phew…”

Breathing heavily, I was climbing with the dumbest pose in the world. It took me quite some time to find a place to put my foot down.

“Masamune ~~~ are you okay ~~~” Elf shouted from below.

“Shhhhhh! I’m okay! Be quiet! What if he found me!”

Seeing that Elf was covering her mouth, I calmed down and took a look. Behind the wall, there was a small pond with trees, glasses. Further away, there was a small room, with a girl inside.

“………….Ah…..uuuuuuuuu……….um……….”

The black-haired beauty flexed her shoulder. Today, she wore a green sleeping suit; her breast looked like it was about to pop her clothes open!

“ —– Uuughhh.”

I can swear that I just swallowed because her image today was so different from the usual, not because of some dirty thought.

Yes. The girl who just woke up, who was defenseless was Senjyu Muramasa-senpai.

Now…what? I found her….

Should I call her? If I did that in the current situation, would people treat me like a stalker? Is there anyway for me to explain myself?

I was hesitating, but time didn’t wait for anyone.

“I wanna sleep more…but I should get up….”

Normally, how could I see Muramasa-senpai in such a lazy state?

“Um ~~”

She patted her cheek, then called with an unbelievably sweet tone:

“Papaaaaaaaa ~~”

Papa???

What? Sen, senpai? What did you just say? Papa?

I felt my whole body freeze up.

“Papa, breakfast ~~~~”

She called again, still in that sweet tone. This time, someone did answer. A voice which I’m familiar with.

“Coming ~~ ♥”

If this was a manga, there must be a “!” above my head by now.

To think that Muramasa-senpai’s father would have such stiff expression.

And….his tone…was so sweet! It even got a heart shape at the end….!!

“….Crap…crap…”

While I was trying to get down, my ear still picked up her conversation. Looked like Muramasa-senpai was talking with her father.

“Papa, it was so noisy just now. Who was that?”

“Ah, someone from the publishing company ~~ Papa has chased them all away!”

Hey!!

If this was a manga, I bet a vein would have been popped on my forehead.

He continued:

“Hana-chan, breakfast is ready, hurry and get changed.”

“Sure ~~”

The girl called Hana happily replied, then she began to undress.

So this is her room – no, crap, crap, crap!!!

If this continued, she would completely undress…while I have a front row seat to see.

Muramasa-senpai ! You are so careless! Window! Close the window, please!!!

“I….It….it’s ….not ….good…”

*Creekkkkkk*

Since I was trembling on the tree, the branch groaned loudly. Elf asked, concerned for my well-being:

“Ma, Masamune, are you okay?”

“Sh!!! Quiet! It’s nothing! Nothing at all!”

I’m dead if I was found out now. There is no way I could explain this.

“Really? You look so serious, what did you see?”

“….I can’t say it. It’s better if you and Sagiri don’t know.”

I replied seriously, then turned back to the room.

“Ah.”

My eyes meet the girl’s eyes.

“………………………..”

Her hand was touching her button. The sacred treasure was about to be opened. It looked like a dream.

p265.jpg

“…………….”

“……………..”

Of course, for me, it was like hell. I broke into cold sweat.

“Wh…wh…why…..”

Finally, she showed a reaction:

“Why….why….why are you hereeeeeeeeeee!!!”

Puff! Her face instantly reddened.

“No, no, don’t loooooooooooooooooooooooookkkk!!!”

Muramasa-senpai took a nearby pillow and threw it perfectly at my face.

 

And then —

“Any, anyway, I…I got it.”

Ten minutes later, we finally arrived at the Umenozo house’s living room to explain for Muramasa-senpai. We told her everything, from why we came here to why I climbed up the tree. Of course, I mentioned the manuscript for Demon Fantasy Blade Legend too, but that was later.

Muramasa-senpai has changed into her usual kimono. She was sitting in front of me, separated by a tablet. Elf sat next to me.

Her father wasn’t here. Of course he wanted to stay, but Muramasa-senpai said, “Papa, go out” and pushed him away.

He really treasured his daughter.

“Uuuuu…..”

Muramasa-senpai groaned, her face still red.

“I got it….I can’t believe it….you guys….who should I be angry with….”

“Anyway, I didn’t come here to peak at you. That’s all you need to know!”

“No no, don’t say it again!”

Muramasa-senpai covered her face with her hands. Elf coldly said:

“…So, let’s think back when Masamune climb up the tree — Sh!!! Quiet! It’s nothing! Nothing at all! “

“Don’t say something so misleading!”

“Ma, Masamune!”

“No senpai, please listen to me! I just lost focus for a moment, there is no way I kept staring at you when you began to change!”

“Mwuuuuuuuu……..please forget it…forget it.”

“……Nii-san…..bad.”

“Ah ~ you made a girl cry ~ what a horrible man.”

“Ugh.”

Taking a combination attack from three girls (one is a tablet) made me really want to cry.

“Sorry!”

I stood up and bowed deeply.

“No, no, I…was too much too…I’m not that angry anyway, so there is no need to apologize…Just…it was so embarrassing!”

Senpai shook her head in embarrassment, still hiding behind her hand. I myself think that she looked cutest this way, though.

“Ah….what am I doing…”

Probably satisfied with seeing how beaten I was, Elf and Sagiri changed their target to Muramasa-senpai.

“Ne, ne, Muramasa-chan, Muramasa-chan.”

“We have many things we wanted to say.”

“First, can you explain something really small for us?”

“…Wh, what?”

Both of the said in unison:

“What is with Papa” *2

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”

Muramasa-senpai screamed (cutely) then fell backward, her eyes turned into > <. Her mouth also changed into a ㄟ shape, she didn’t say anything.

“………………………”

Just like a cornered criminal, I could see she broke into cold sweat.

“…………………”

She kept the silence for a minute, then finally….

“Huh, what are you talking about?”

“You are playing dumb?”

Even Elf was speechless at how shameless she was. I couldn’t stand it either.

“Sen, senpai….it’s so obvious that you are acting dumb…”

“Huh, what are you talking about? I don’t understand anything!”

“Papa, go out! I will explain later! Go outside!”

Elf repeated senpai’s word earlier, she even mimicked the tone.

“I heard that myself.”

“You misheard.”

“I saw it too. Senpai, you were wearing sleeping suit, you said Papa, breakfast ~~~~ .”

“It was just a magic.”

Just like an ending a fighting novel, she kept trying to ignore us.

“So you have no intention of answering huh…then…”

Elf looked a bit angry, she put her hand around her mouth like speaker, shouted:

“Papa! Come here for a momentttt ~~~~~~”

She…she….

I could only stared in shock. At the same time, the door opened —

“Did you call me?”

….He really came.

By the way, Muramasa-senpai’s father was still had a stiff expression….while wearing an apron with a bear image.

What a surreal scene….

Senpai was the first one recovered, she jumped up:

“Pa — father! Why are you here!”

“Because…someone call me? The girl over here…”

“Yes. I call you.”

Elf happily waved back, then asked:

“I have a question for you. What does your daughter call you at home?”

“Papa.”

“Wahhhhhhhhhhh”

Muramasa-senpai jumped between us and waved her hands, trying to erase what just happened. Of course it didn’t work.

“See?”

“Only at home! Is there a problem with that?”

“Nah, but are you embarrassed?

“I think it’s cute. I thought you would call your father Dad , but this is okay too.”

Sagiri agreed. Of course both of their opinions couldn’t cheer senpai up.

“Uuuuuuuuuu.”

Muramasa-senpai squatted down, still hiding her face. Elf didn’t stop her attack.

“Okay, now is the second question.”

“What is it?”

Senpai looked up. Elf looked at Muramasa-senpai’s father, asked:

“You are the one who cooks meals, right?”

“Yes.”

“On, only on Sunday. Normally I help too! It’s not like he cooks everyday!”

So that’s why he was the one who opened the door?

“Masamune, you have to trust me!”

“Yes yes, I trust you! Alright?”

Stop rocking my neck back and forth! Why did you ask me alone?

While Muramasa-senpai was strangling me, her father sternly looked at us, said:

“…Since my daughter asked, I went outside. But …what is your relationship with my daughter?”

His clothing was ridiculous, but his aura was unchanged. I answered:

“Just like I said, we are co-worker of Senjyu Muramasa-sensei….”

“No, that wasn’t what I asked.”

“Huh?”

“What I meant to say is, how close you all are?”

Elf noticed, then she laughed and put a hand over Muramasa-senpai’s shoulder.

We are friends. Good friends. Right, Muramasa-chan?”

“…………..Yes, friend…for now at least.” Muramasa-senpai replied uncertainly.

Even Sagiri added “….Friend.”

“…Is that so.”

Muramasa-senpai’s father nodded before turned to me:

“And you?”

“………….”

If I answered wrong, would he kill me on the spot?

So this is the “life and death choice” that people talked about.

What should I answer then…let’s go with friend for safety…

I took a deep breath —

Before I could say anything, Muramasa-senpai interrupted:

“He is Izumi Masamune-sensei, the novelist whose book that I like, the one I like too.”

Crap!!!

“————“

Muramasa-senpai’s father froze. Elf and Sagiri added:

“By the way, he is my boyfriend.”

“……..But he said that he likes me the most.”

Hey!!! Don’t say something so dangerous!!!

It sound like I was three-timing!!! If I was a father of any girl here, then that boy would not leave here alive!!!

“That, that was a misunderstanding!!”

I was about to explain, but Muramasa-senpai added:

“I’m going to tell you someday.”

Now I have nowhere to run.

“…………………”

Her father looked at me and Muramasa-senpai, then said:

“Misunderstanding?”

“Yes! This is all a misunderstanding!”

Of course aside from Elf, everyone was technically telling the truth. But the timing was horrible!

Besides, unlike Elf, Muramasa-senpai said it in a very innocent tone. So it was even worse.

“…I understand.”

Phew….

Thankfully he seemed to get it. He nodded with us:

“……..Let me show you my collection of swords and knives.”

“I understand!!!”

Nope, I took that back. He still didn’t understand!!

“Oh, don’t worry. They are just 100% replica, not a real sword.”

“So it’s a real sword then!!”

“It was a joke.”

He didn’t sound like he was joking. Like father, like daughter. They said they were joking, but their face was totally serious.

He “Hmm” then changed the topic:

“Have you eaten breakfast?”

“Yes.”

“We ate before coming.”

“We haven’t, since today is a weekend. Please wait here for a while.”

“Yes.”

It’s not a good idea to keep them from eating. The manuscript that Kagurazaka-san asked can wait. Both Elf and Sagiri agreed.

“Then let’s eat, Hana-chan.”

“Yes…I’m going out for a while. Feel free to read a book while waiting.”

Her eyes stopped at a bookshelf, which is full of hard cover novels.

“Oh, Muramasa, you are – Hana-chan?”

“Oh…um…”

Senpai looked down in hesitation, then she turned to us:

“My name is Umenozo Hana…please take care of me.”

Senjyu Muramasa, real name Umenozo Hana.

What an embarrassing explanation.

 

We wait for Muramasa-senpai at the living room.

“Phew….I’m so nervous.”

Finally I can take a break.

“I thought I was done for.”

“Ha, you are lucky that he didn’t draw a blade and strike you down immediately.”

“Don’t joke like that!”

That’s why people say a woman is equally dangerous as a drawn blade.

Sagiri’s voice came from the tablet:

“So…Hana-chan, huh.”

“She told us her real name.”

“Just as I foresaw, what a cute name.”

“So…how should we call her from now on?”

“Just Hana-chan. Bet she will be embarrassed.”

“Don’t do that. Have some pity.”

“Hoh ~?”

Aside from some very close friends – normally, online friends only use a nickname or penname when meeting – using a real name is embarrassing.

Still, since my penname is my real name too, I don’t feel anything too much about this topic.

Elf lowered her tone, like she was about to change the subject “Well…”

“Masamune, Sagiri…I …remember something very important.”

“Huh?”

“What’s it?”

“….You guys, take a look at this bookshelf.” She pointed at the bookshelf by the wall.

“What’s so special about it?”

“Don’t you see anything?”

What? I can’t exactly see anything out of ordinary.

“Nii-san, I can’t see anything.”

“Alright…”

I put the tablet closer

“Huh?”

“Ah…” *2

Both of us realized.

We saw “the author’s name” of those hard-cover books. All of them were written by the same author.

It said clearly that : Author – Umenozo Rintarou.

“Isn’t that a big shot? Wait, Umenozo? Don’t tell me…”

“That’s correct…”

Elf came to my side, confirming what I just noticed. Sagiri also said:

“Nii-san, Elf-chan…I just search for his image from the Internet. Take a look.”

She showed us the result.

“It’s really him!”

“I knew it!”

Both me and Elf looked at the image of Umenozo Rintarou. While this image was much younger than the real person, everyone could see that just adding a kimono, he would look exactly like Muramasa-senpai’s father.

“So — the great novelist Senjyu Muramasa is the daughter of the great novelist Umenozo Rintarou?”

“Hoh, so both of them are novelists.” Elf concluded.

“What a surprise.” I took a book and exclaimed.

“Nii-san, have you read his book?”

“Yes. His books aren’t really my type, but I knew that all of them are very famous.”

I explained a bit for Sagiri about Umenozo Rintarou. Since telling everything would take too long, I had no choice but to cut some corner.

“- Anyways, this feeling has become one with any talk show.”

“So he is really good?”

“Of course.”

While light novel and hardcover books are different – Senjyu Muramasa wasn’t behind Umenozo Rintarou, both are famous.

“So…is his book good?”

“No, it’s boring.”

That wasn’t me. That was someone’s answer in a tired tone.

“Muramasa-senpai.”

“Sorry for keeping you waiting.”

She entered the room and stopped next to me, her eyes focused on the book in my hand.

“Father’s book is boring. At least I think so.”

“………..”

Yup, that explains why she has to write her own story to read – because she couldn’t find any good books.

“I only like Masamune’s book.”

Wow…saying that with such an innocent face…I feel so good.

“…While your words fill me with happiness…please, I beg you, never tell your father that.”

“But I already told him.”

“No wonder he was so hard on me!”

“So the reason we were almost kicked out before starting is Nii’san!”

“…Yeah, that sounds about right.”

Hm, now thinking back, during our first meeting, Muramasa-senpai’s father already looked strange.

But she shook her head.

“No, no. It’s not related to my favorite novel. Father just doesn’t want me to meet someone from the publishing company.”

“Why?”

“Seems like he doesn’t want me to become a novelist.”

“But you are a novelist already.”

“I have no intention of giving up, either…”

Since her novel was long published, Muramasa-senpai is already a novelist.

“Looked like father was worried (or worrying? Not sure which would be better in context) about something…”

“Ahhh — “ *3

Aside from Muramasa-senpai, everyone immediately figured it out.

“Considering how focued you are when writing, of course your family would be worried.”

“He must be very worried. He doesn’t want to see you forgo everything to write, so he tried to distance you from the publishing company.”

“So…Nii-san is a harmful virus to Muramasa-chan.”

Don’t say it like that!? Why do you make me into a  criminal?

Not that I think about it, considering how your family is, it’s a wonder that Kagurazaka-san could convince you to publish your first novel.”

How the heck could she convince him?

“Back then, my father wasn’t like that.”

“Probably because he had no idea about your situation yet.”

“Maybe. Beside, Kagura…..zaka-san….”

Hey, you just forgot her name, right?

“She…she seems to be the daughter of my father’s savior.”

“Huh? For real?”

“Yes…so my father was easy on her.”

“I see. Everything is clear now.”

I’m not sure what this sentence is trying to say at all. My best guess would be: Now I understand how she could still be okay after climbing into this home more than once!

“Any other editor and my father would have drawn his blade.”

I don’t know if she was joking or not, but it’s scary.

“Hm, if that’s the case, then I doubt your father would agree with the reason we came here .”

“Reason?” Muramasa-senpai tilted her head.

“Just like I said, I came to get your manuscript.”

“Ah! That!”

“Right. We didn’t come here to play.”

“Wait a sec, Elf. Didn’t you say it’s interesting before sticking with me?”

“Did I? Who cares? Elf said, before thrusting her finger at Muramasa-senpai: “Why didn’y you give her your manuscript?”

“Because I’m mad with her.”

So it’s Kagurazaka-san’s fault.

Elf continued:

“Reason?”

“…..Because she pushed me.”

“Pushed? You?”

“………………..That article in the magazine… about writing a chain novel….”

“Chain nove?” I think back “You mean…the one that I’m taking part in…a novel that was written by many authors?”

“Yes.”

Kagurazaka-san told me about it a few days ago.

“So, you aren’t going to join, right?”

“…Yes. I didn’t even know about it before reading that magazine.”

Of course. Kagurazaka-san knew that you weren’t going to join, so she didn’t ask you. So why are you mad?

“So what then?”

Just after I asked, Muramasa-senpai muttered:

“……………I hate it.”

“What exactly do you hate?”

“Everything.”

“That doesn’t explain anything for me.

“Be more specific please.”

“I hate the fact that you’re joining this event. I don’t want you to join, even if that doesn’t concern me. I hate chain novels, I don’t want to join, I don’t want to see it exist!”

What kind of reason was that?

“I knew it, Masamune is the culprit.”

Elf looked like she understood.

“What do you mean, I knew it?”

“You are the only one who could make Hana-chan this angry.”

“No no, don’t call me Hana-chan!!”

Muramasa-senpai rejected immediately. Seemed like she was still mad.

“So, basically, it’s like this…” Elf said, while raising a finger:

“Muramasa didn’t send her manuscript is because she was mad with the editor department.”

“The reason is because Izumi Masamune is taking part in this chain novel event.”

“She was mad because she wasn’t invited to an event that her favorite author is taking part in.”

“Normally, Muramasa hated all kind of event.”

“So she doesn’t go to any.”

“Yes, it’s like that.”

“How unreasonable.”

Sagiri concluded in our place.

Muramasa-senpai blinked:

“Huh? What do you mean, unreasonable?”

“You are absolutely unbelievable.”

Turn out Kagurazaka-san didn’t do anything wrong.

Muramasa-senpai don’t want to come, but she was mad when she wasn’t invited. So what do you want then?

“And why do you hate chain novels?”

It’s fun! Everyone joining hands together!

Hearing that question, Muramasa-senpai’s brow knitted.

“A novel is something I write myself. If I join hands with someone else, it will become trash.”

“How could you be so sure?”

Senpai, why are you negative?

“Why should I join hands with someone who will drag me down? Compared to a chain novel, my novel is much better.”

You are so full of yourself.

I don’t really agree, but her word was true.

“Listen, Masamune. The more people who write something, the more likely it will become trash. I’m sure of it. This is the simple truth.”

“There must be an exception.”

“No. For example, the manga of Sekaimo, if there is someone who can do things that the original author couldn’t then it’s a good thing.”

It was true. It was thanks to Army-sensei and Eromanga-sensei’s help that I could have valuable illustration.

But that meant Muramasa-senpai acknowledged Army-sensei. Even if they had argued in the past.

She continued, a hint of anger in her tone:

“But a chain novel is different, there is no exception. All of the participants are novelists, each of them have their own story that only they can tell. That’s why nothing good can come out of the result. Someone will drag everyone down. They have to match with each other. Just a single person without enough motivation can ruin everything. You see, none of the chain novels become a hit.”

“I don’t agree with this opinion. Chain novels have some good story too. Maybe sometime a moment of brilliance can appear.”

“seems like we can’t reach an agreement. But I’m sure that I’m right.”

“Then let’s give it a try.”

“ – Huh?”

Seemed like she didn’t expect my solution.

“You say a lot, but I bet you have never taken part in writing a chain novel before, have you?”

“No. So what of it?”

“Then let’s give it a try. Only then you can see how fun writing a chain novel is.”

“…With everyone here?”

Muramasa-senpai looked around. I nodded.

“Yes – what about you, Elf?”

“Sound good to me.”

“Eromanga-sensei, you take care of illustration.”

“…….If Izumi-sensei joins….then I will too…And I don’t know anyone with that name!”

“Thank you both. How about now, Muramasa-senpai?”

“I will not change my mind….beside, I don’t want to drag you down, Masamune.”

“Why so serious! Just do it for fun.”

“…….How….could you have so much fun writing…”

“Why not? We aren’t going to write something to sell – just for fun.”

“…Then…I got it, I will try.”

Muramasa-senpai didn’t look convinced, but she reluctantly agreed.

“Good ~! Now I feel fired up!”

“I don’t care anyway! But don’t you think that three people is a bit too small to play this game?”

“You are right.”

“We need at least four people.” Elf said while raising four fingers.

So —

While I was thinking, Muramasa-senpai said with some hesitation.

“Wait a sec. I will do it, but I don’t want someone else to drag me down.”

“Really, Hana-chan, so you acknowledge that I will not drag you down huh?”

“No. You are annoying, but I will let it slide since you are a friend.”

“Oh, I see!”

So is their friendship good or bad?

“What now? It’s not easy to find a novelist that Hana-chan acknowledges…”

“Hm…Muramasa-senpai, you said that as long as it’s a friend, you don’t mind that person, right?”

“Yes.”

“I forbid you from calling Shidou.” Elf stopped me.

“Why?”

“He is not going to write anything for now.”

“Ah…”

She wasn’t wrong….

“So what now?”

“We already have someone. Someone more famous than anyone here, someone close to Muramasa, that person is right here.”

“Huh? Who – ah, you mean —“

Elf grinned then put her hand into a speaker, shouted:

“Papaaaaaaaaaaa ~~~~~~~~~ Come here for a moment ~~~”

*Clak clank *

“What do you need?”

“Wow!!!”

He appeared near instantly!

“Did you hear what we said?”

“Yes, I was passing by.”

Liar! You must have been waiting behind that door! Look how fast you appear!

Rintarou-sensei said seriously:

“….In other words, you want me – Umenozo Rintarou – to take part in writing a chain novel with light novel authors like you, right?”

“Yes. The topic of our story is The meeting between a boy and a girl .”

“Elf raised her chest, speaking without fear. His pressure did nothing to faze her. But I doubt he would agree, though…

However, he nodded.

“No problem.”

“Eh?”

“Really?”

“Pa, Papa!”

Did he hear Elf? The great novelist Umenozo Rintarou take part in writing chain novel with some kid, especially with topic The meeting between a boy and a girl .

Is this really happening?

Seeing how surprised we all are, he asked:

“Don’t you think I couldn’t write it?”

“….No…of course not…but your style is so different…”

Explain light novel would take too long, but in layman’s term his style with long, careful structural sentence don’t suit us. If he join us – then the end result would look very weird – something horrible would be born.

“So what? Nothing wrong with that, right? Or playing chain novel is not that simple?”

“……………”

He saw throught me.

That’s right. Nothing wrong with that. It’s clear that the end result would be weird anyway.

But that’s okay,

That’s why I asked to write with Muramasa-senpai! Of course asking Umenozo Rintarou was too much…

Elf put a hand on my shoulder.

“Give it up Masamune. He said he wants to join.”

Why does she look so happy?

“Hahaha, writing with my daughter…wonderful.”

Oh fine. It’s good anyway. While writing with her father made Muramasa-senpai uncomfortable, she didn’t outright reject that idea.

 

We began to write our chain novel in the living room of the Umenozo household.

There was a tablet, chair, laptop ready, waiting for us. Wow…is this a tool from a great novelist? Will each of us take turns using it?

Muramasa-senpai’s father was the first to sit down in front of the laptop.

“Me first. No one has any problem, right?” Elf said.

I don’t think she will listen to anyone’s opinion now. Here come trouble.

“…Eh…Elf…let him start…”

She put her hands on her hip, said:

“Let me write first!”

“Hm, is it a problem if I write first?”

“Position is important in this kinds of game. Even if our style wouldn’t connect well, I can’t let someone with the highest chance of ruining it go first.”

Do you have to say it out?

“…….Ruin….?”

See? Look how speechless he is!

Rintarou-sensei froze for a few seconds, then he blushed, coughed, said:

“Just now…does that mean…all of you think that I couldn’t write literature for teenagers?”

“Yes!” * 4

We all agree.

“…………….”

He narrowed his eyes, angrily said:

“I, I can do it!”

“Really? Have you read any light novels recently?”

“Um…all I have to do is go online and check How to become a novelist! See, I have contributed a lot to this site!”

“You ….know how to go online?”

What the heck is he doing?

He opened the website and showed it to us. Muramasa-senpai coldly said:

“Since his novel was published, he turned into this…”

Ah…Papa only wanted to have something in common to talk about with his daughter…

“He is still full of life. Let me take a look.”

Elf interrupted and looked at the screen. She went immediately paled, said:

“Wow, what low rating. So in the current age, the fame of Umenozo Rintarou has already been forgotten?”

“No no! It was my first contribution, so there was a lot I didn’t get right! The next time is going to be okay.”

What a lame excuse. His image has collapsed in my eyes.

Rintarou-sensei kept holding on the laptop, said:

“Anyway, I will write first! I will be first! No one else will!”

“Well, he is Muramasa-chan’s father for sure.”

“Wh, what? I’m unlike that…! How….impolite!”

Nah, I agreed. You two are so alike. Especially how capricious you both are.

Senpai (still blushing) tried to calm down:

“…He is not going to change his mind in this case. Please let him go first.”

“…Sure.”

“Can’t be helped then.”

Both Elf and Sagiri agreed. I don’t care anyway.

In the end – it’s for fun. What I aimed for is “the process when everyone takes turns writing.”

“Okay, I will go first. The topic is The meeting between a boy and a girl , right?”

Maybe – he knew it too, and purposefully played the role of the clown.

“…Nii-san, I need to prepare illustration. Ask him how the character would be.”

“Sure.”

Sagiri is afraid of strangers, so she hid for a while. I asked him about the draft layout character —

The result was —

“Draft? What is that? Does it taste good?”

I took back what I said earlier. It’s just the way he is.

Umenozo Rintarou sat down and immediately start typing. Totally different from the technology blind Muramasa-senpai.

Since she had nothing to do to kill time, Elf muttered:

“……He uses a laptop…I thought he would be like novelists from the old time….”

“I don’t think anyone still uses pen and paper to write, aside from Muramasa-senpai.”

“Don’t say it like that, it’s not like I can’t use a laptop.”

Yeah, you can still read my web novel.

Rintarou-sensei suddenly said:

“Alright you guys – I’m uploading this story to the cloud server, you can use a tablet or smartphone to read it now.”

Rintarou-sensei is so good with technology!

On the other hand, Muramasa-senpai paused, puzzled:

“Cloud? Tablet? Masamune, what is father talking about?”

“Who is the teenager here?”

Rintarou-sensei wrote very fast, and since we read via cloud server, we don’t have to wait too long.

“Good writing. It’s literrally a wall of text, but once I read it I can’t stop.”

“Then why did his contribution rate so low?”

“Did he act stupid on that website?”

“He was a newbie online, but a bigshot in real life.”

“Hey, I heard you!”

Wow, good hearing.

“I told you, that was because I’m not used to that site yet! As long as I know how to make my paragraph easier to read, reordering my words to make it clearer, it’s a piece of cake.”

He was very passionate. Seemed like his conviction is real.

“I have a plan already in place. Next time, I will be the victor.”

“What say you, web novel specialist Izumi-sensei?”

“That plan is far from enough. I don’t think he will succeed next time.”

“Brat! You dare?”

“By the way, why did you try web novels when you were already a great novelist?”

Umenoz Rintarou just didn’t suit this.

“Please be aware of you image. You are a real big shot.”

“That’s what others expect out of me, why should I care?”

He kept typing, but he gave Muramasa-senpai a look.

“Novels are not something too special. As long as you enjoy reading, it’s fine. I think it’s the most memorable in entertainment. You only satisfy your own arrogant ego if you pursue it too hard, do you understand? Novelists are human too, there is nothing special about us. Professional or amateur, masterpiece or crap is only separated by a thin line. As long as people enjoy it, those things are not important.”

Suddenly, he smiled gently with his daughter:

“So just write it with a clear mind. No need to give up eating and resting to write.”

“No wonder your story is boring.”

Muramasa-senpai’s voice was cold and harsh.

Their points of view were as different as chalk and cheese. Muramasa-senpai’s way was too harsh – but Rintarou-sensei is too lax – or was it something he learned after all those years?

He is a novelist, but the way he thinks about it – I felt that he doesn’t really care.

But…he truly cares about his daughter.

Seeing his daugher rejected his idea, he only laughed:

“As long as you can read a book that you like, I only hope that among those stories that you like, there is something that we can read together.”

 

A while later —

“It’s finished.”

The first chapter written by Umenozo Rintarou is done. We finished it in no time.

After reading it, here is our reaction:

“….Nii-san, what is this kanji? It’s so hard to read.”

“…See? Boring.”

Basically, Sagiri and Muramasa-senpai was against it. Well, the problem is…

Anyway, let’s start from the beginning.

 

The first chapter’s story is like this —

It was about a story between a normal boy and an ill girl who was dreaming of becoming an artist.

They were close friends since childhood. Since the girl’s body was weak, she rarely went outside and only has the boy as a friend. The setting is the Showa era (TL Note: From 12/25/1926 to 1/7/1989). The girl lived in an old house and wrote her story from there.

This – this feels so real.

The older the girl became, the more she wanted to go outside, the more it showed through her pen.

In the age without Internet, the only one who can read her story is her childhood friend.

The boy wasn’t interested in art, but because of his love, he happily read her stories and talked about them with her, creating a bridge between them.

This continued until both of them reach adulthood.

The girl’s passion grew even hotter, sometimes unnatural. The boy noticed, but was powerless to do anything. He knew that the girl’s happiness lie in this life style.

The girl lived as happily as she could, while the boy was very worried, but kept trying to live nonetheless. Life continued.

Until the day the girl passed away, leaving behind her words.

 

— I haven’t finish any picture. I’m not satisfied.

***-kun. What can I do? I don’t want to leave the drawing board.

Hearing the last word from his lover, the boy smiled and said:

— Then let me draw in your place.

 

And so, the boy was cursed.

He spent half of his life, trying to live a life that he hated. All because of a promise with the girl.

A very unhappy ending.

 

“What kind of ending is that?””

“Please, do you even know how to write chain novels?”

The ending was so depressing that all of us yelled. But Umenozo Rintarou-sensei ignored us all, and said:

“How is that? This should suit teenager’s tastes nowadays, right?”

“Yeah, the text is good.”

“But the story is not! The story!!”

“The female protagonist died already!”

“What can we do when the story ended with chapter one?”

Rintarou-sensei gave me the laptop.

“Izumi Masamune-sensei.”

“Yes?”

“Next, write whatever you like.”

“This….”

“Pushing the hard work to the next author is the fun part of writing a chain novel, right?”

“There should be a limit to it!”

He…I knew that he wasn’t naïve! I think he is doing this on purpose!

“If it’s Hana-chan’s beloved author Izumi Masamune-sensei, you should be able to fix it, right?”

“Are you kidding me?”

I don’t have anything with senpai…why did it feel like a father in law harrassing his son in law! Strange!

“Of course! Masamune surely can do it!”

“Muramasa-senpai, please don’t answer in my place in this time and place!”

“Eh? But you can do it, right?”

“………………..”

She trusted me completely! But…I can’t!!

It’d be much better if I could say it out!

“Hoh ~ she is right, Masamune.”

“…Can you do it, Nii-san?”

“….Uggg…”

Both Sagiri and Elf pushed me.

I sighed —

“Alright! Whatever it takes!”

Let me write a happy ending for this story!

 

And so —

We added a house rule stated that the writer is allowed to pick the next one. As a second place, I sat on Rintarou-sensei’s place totally fired up. Play it by ear is Izumi Masamune’s specialty. I wrote a lot of stuff every day.

“Still, it’s a hard topic….”

I said that, but my hand didn’t stop typing. All of my content was uploaded to the cloud server as soon as possible.

“Masamune, how are you going to continue the story after this super depressing ending?”

Hearing Muramasa-senpai’s question, I answered bluntly:

“I will fix it with my usual style!”

“Eh?”

“Usual style?”

Rintarou-sensei glanced at me, like he was asking “Let me see what you have”

I replied:

“Simply put – I will turn the female protagonist into a ghost then possess the male protagonist! Then she will have a fight for her love against the boy’s little sister!”

“You forcefully changed it into humour story?”

“And you made up another little sister?”

“A depress ending changed into a love comedy? Is this…okay?”

“It’s a chain novel. Of course it’s okay.” I said without any ounce of shame.

If I was an author from Fujimi Mystery Bunko, I could even do more. This was nothing.

“Alright – let’s see how I can pull this off! Make the setting a little less dark, add some comedy, some ecchi, Eromanga-sensei, it’s your turn.”

“Leave it to me.”

As soon as I mentioned ecchi illustration, she became interested.

“Haha, what about the beginning? How will you change the dark setting into something fun?”

“I have to thank you, Rintarou-sensei for making this setting up. I will use them all, no problem.”

For example, there is a manga about a girl who is anti social, who barely able to talk with other (TL Note: Probably a reference to the manga  It’s not my fault that I’m not popular ) or a group of friendless students who hang out together in their own group (TL Note: A reference to the novel Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, which has a very cute little sister). I can use the most depressing setting to make a comedy without any problem.

So I don’t have to fear it. Everything will be fine, I’m a pro at writing comedy.

“Let’s see…the female protagonist possessed the male protagonist but couldn’t get out when they needed to take a bath…”

“Wait, why are you stripping them naked?”

“Special summon! A way to strip the ghost of the female protagonist!”

“You asked some one else?”

“When she was embarrassed, her clothes become transparence! Kang kang! Just like this!”

“Eromanga-sensei already finished an illustration! Good, I will use it right away.”

I kept writing. Muramasa-senpai muttered:

“….Is this gonna be okay?”

“No problem, it’s a chain novel after all.”

“Saying it now might be a bit late, but it looks like this story is ruined. The first chapter is so beautiful, but the second chapter is so silly.”

“Nah, we are having fun anyway.”

Compared to when I made my debut, I was much better already.

“Good ~ I only need to end this….hm……..how should I do this ……………”

“So fast! Still typing while thinking! Disgusting!”

“Huh? You guys don’t do the same?”

“You are the only one still writing while having no idea what to write next. Are you going to leave the climax for the next person?”

“Don’t worry, I have an ending in mind.”

“Then let me see.”

“I want to see too.”

The famous author father and daughter came to me. During this time, Eromanga-sensei just kept drawing while humming a song happily.

I annouced to all of them:

“Both of the main characters marry, and have a child.”

“…..Perfect ending…but this is only chapter two.”

“Really, Izumi Masamune. Do you know how to play this game?”

I don’t want to hear that from the person who threw me such hard topic.

“…Masamune…it’s not a problem if you write this perfect ending…but what more can be developed? And how could the female protagonist – who is a ghost – have a kid? Don’t you think that’s strange?”

“Don’t worry.”

“Really? I got a bad feeling.”

Seeing how worried Elf was, I slowly pushed the laptop to her:

“Yamada Elf-sensei will take care of it.”

“I knew it!”

Pushing the difficult part to the next author is part of the fun of this game.

 

“Ahaha, Elf’s expression was priceless.”

“It was painful to watch her having a headache in front of the computer.”

After I finished my part, Muramasa-senpai took me for a walk. She said she wanted to talk about something, so…. well, here I am.

“Just leave it to her, she will think of something…of course it will take time.”

I rarely saw Elf work, but when she worked seriously, she became another person. Scary.

How scary, you asked? After finishing a page, she will open some mobile game and “reward herself” by buying something in-game.

Everytime she finished a page, she would buy something. Every. Single. Time. If she gets some SSR item, she will boast to everyone to see.

Of course that also meant she couldn’t write very fast. This was her way of avoiding reality.

Besides, now wasn’t the time to say “It’s my turn to shine!” Her job is novelist, not some random Black Swordsman. (TL: i.e. Kirito)

“I wonder when can she finish.”

“….Um.”

Eromanga-sensei was the same, she was all focus on drawing now. So I’m so free that Muramasa-senpai take me outside.

“Senpai, where are we going?”

“…Well…”

Muramasa-senpai didn’t reply. She looked like she was trying to say something, but couldn’t. It took her a while before she finally managed to talk.

“…….My room.”

Muramasa-senpai’s room is a small, normal room. I entered and took a look around.

It was almost empty, only having a bed and table. This was the first time I saw a novelist’s room without a bookshelf.

I couldn’t find any good book – She once told me that.

There were many notebook on the table, the kind that elementary school student used. They stacked into a tall tower. Next to them were many hanging hook, which held illustrations, handbook, short stories, etc….

Izumi Masamune’s story was carefully arranged neatly on the table.

She didn’t have a computer or bookshelf, but this room clearly was a novelist’s room.

“So….this is Muramasa-senpai’s room.”

“….Yes….but…while it’s your first time in here….you have already seen everything.”

“By chance! I only saw this room by chance! Everything was a coincidence! I didn’t have a clear look.”

Because I was so focused on the girl who was changing – of course I couldn’t say that out loud.

“How should I put it….this room seemed like you.”

“I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad hearing that. Please use the cushion over there to sit down.”

“Sure.”

We sat down in front of each other.

“…………”

“…………”

Somehow, both of us didn’t say anything.

Why am I so nervous – this is not my first time meeting a beautiful girl, like Elf or Sagiri. It’s strange.

“Sen, senpai, why don’t you say something?”

Please say something, I can’t bear it anymore!

“Did you call me here without a reason…”

Muramasa-senpai shook her head.

“……..I’m so nervous that I forgot what I was about to tell you.”

I almost fall face first when she said that.

“….Because…because….I can’t help it! This is the first time…aside from family…that I let a boy into my room!”

“Ah, I see.”

Well, now I felt a little nervous too.

“What about your friends at school?”

“I’ve never brought anyone home. Father is very famous, so people did ask to come, but I rejected them all.”

“Why?”

“…………….Because I’m not good at dealing with people.”

It sounded sad. It seemed I asked a wrong question.

Of course, that fact should be obvious. If she acted this way at school then she wouldn’t make any friends.

“I….” Still squatted down, she lowered her head. “I thought that…I couldn’t make any friends.”

“What do you mean?”

“…When…when I was chatting with my classmates…I didn’t exactly enjoy it.”

Her voice didn’t sound happy. Rather, it was full of guilt.

“When people were laughing, I couldn’t. I wondered if the topic they just spoke of was that funny? Even television programs or music….no matter how much I wanted to get close to them…I couldn’t smile. Everytime I forced myself to smile, I only felt worse.”

“Ah —“

I can actually understand that…but I couldn’t tell her.

That was something I felt too.

Because of my job, because of my little sister – sometimes, I felt that I couldn’t understand my own classmates. Of course, it caused me to be unable to hold a conversation with them – creating a damn cycle.”

But in the end, we were classmates. We had to see each other every day. Those times were very hard for me.

Thankfully, they all understood what happened to my family. Thankfully, I have such understanding friends like Tomoe, who allowed me to make it through.

“What people find funny, I don’t find it funny. When I tried to find something fun, people don’t enjoy it…The more I tried to explain, the worse the atmosphere became. I think they wanted to say This topic is boring, let’s talk about something else. I…after a few times, I gave up.”

“I think what you consider fun is different from most people, and your hobby is…”

That was the reason she could write those personality-filled stories.

But she liked my stories, to say it sound bad. Does that mean only weirdos can like my stories?

And the topic that “people found boring” was probably my stories. No, thinking about it hurt so much.

I was deeply hurt, but still answered:

“Senpai, you are making it too serious. I think those classmates of your might think that topic is boring while talking happily.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. But they still smile despite how boring it was – because they are friends.”

Whatever topic is fine, the main thing is everyone talking about random stuff. Who would want to hear about something that nerve-wrecking. Any random things is fine.

Also, by talking about random things, any listener can join in without worry. It’s so simple, why can’t senpai do it?

“Anyway, senpai. Nine times out of ten, Elf’s stories are boring, right.”

“Yes! She kept talking without pause, either about random stuff or something I couldn’t make head or tail of. How about doing your job and playing, how about her sales, I think all of them are meaningless!”

I knew it!

“But….I don’t hate talking with her about that.”

“…………..”

Muramasa-senpai’s face instantly reddened. Then she whispered:

“…..Me too.”

It’s great that she could hold a conversation with others now.

“Beside…ah…maybe your classmates find your topic boring…but I…I enjoy talking with you.”

“Eh?”

“Senpai likes Izumi Masamune’s story. I like Senjyu Muramasa’s story. We have many things to talk about. I like this topic. I can talk about it all day!”

“………Yes…yes…….That’s right!”

She nodded several times, then suddenly hugged me

“Wait wait, sen, senpai —-“

“I like you! I like you the most!!”

This charming smile instantly pushed me to fall backward.

“You really are my fate! My dream prince on a white horse!”

“——!——-!!!”

Breast! Her breast…! So soft — no, no, I meant I’m….suffocating!

“Pheww!!!”

I gathered all of my remaining strength and pushed her breast away, finally took a deep breath.

“Sen, senpai….calm….calm down please!”

“Ah….”

She finally returned to her normal self. She was literrally on top of me, her face deep red.

“ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UUUUUU….I….can’t stop myself…..”

“It’s okay! No problem!”

Crap, so dangerous!

Elf was thinking about my feeling before attacking. Muramasa-senpai didn’t, she wanted, and she did it anyway.

I could feel my face was getting hotter and hotter.

“……..Well………Senpai…..how about………you………get up?”

Please, please! Hurry, before it’s too late!! My will power is at its limit!

“……..I….my whole body couldn’t move….”

Same here! I didn’t know that when a beautiful girl pushed me down, my body will become powerless.

“……Uuuuu.”

Her face right in front of me. Her moist eyes, her redden cheek. Her breast slightly hidden behind the kimono.

“……………….. Masamune.” She whispered into my ears with a sweet tone.

“…..Ugh..”

My head was chaos. I couldn’t think of anything. My body felt powerless, I couldn’t do anything.

“…………..”

“……………”

We looked at each other for a long time.

“……….. Masamune…..I …noticed something….” She said, looking directly into my eyes.

“~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~”

My final act of defense was closing my eyes, prepare for the inevitable —

“It’s strange! Normally, in a story, our position should be reversed!”

And that was how she cleared the atmosphere.

Well….she wasn’t wrong.

We stood up and hurried back to our previous position.

“…………….”

“…………….”

Another moment of silence.

“About… Masamune…I asked you to come here because of something…” She looked up at me, said.

“Yes, what is it?”

“……………Um….well…………”

She hestitated for a moment, then suddenly she took a pen nearby and began to write.

“Please wait a second.”

“——–“

Just looking at her back was enough to charm me.

She wrote with a serious expression, and —

p325.jpg

“Here —“

With her eyes closed, Muramasa-senpai gave me her letter.

“I…I’m bad at talking….so I couldn’t tell you directly.”

With reddened cheeks, her face looked like she was about to cry.

“….Please read it instead.”

“Sure….”

I took the letter from Muramasa-senpai. What beautiful hand writing, let’s see what she wrote here.

 

To Masamune.

A lot happened today.

First, you looked into my room. Please forget it imediately

“…Well, okay.”

But it was deeply carved into my mind, I couldn’t exactly forget.

Next, you came to my house.

My father was very happy to meet my friend. It has been a long time since I last saw him like that.

“Really? Your father looked very angry to me.”

“No, he was happy. He paid you a lot of attention.”

“I think he was testing me….”

This is the first time that friends came to my home. I don’t know what to do, and I think I made a mistake or two. But since you are already here, and I made you worry. Sorry.

“You are welcome.”

It’s embarrassing to read this letter in front of the writer.

“Um….”

I think she felt the same.

I turned to the next page.

Third…and the most surprising today…is that I write a chain novel. I never thought that I would do that someday.

But I fear that the story is not going to be very good.

“The first one to write is your father. Sorry.”

But now, I think it’s “interesting”.

To have friends coming to play during weekend, everyone write a story together, chatting about random things…

Normally, I would never have this feeling. I felt both happy and angry.

What would Elf’s story be?

What ending would I write for it?

Why did I think this way?

Now, I can finally smile.

Because it’s fun. Because it’s happy. I want to smile.

It felt strange. But I don’t hate it.

This must be what you were trying to show me, right?

“..Yes, that’s right.”

If the reader think it’s “interesting” then even if the story is messed up, even if the details are ridiculous, as long as people find it “interesting”, it is okay.

Writing chain novels allowed both the writer and the reader to have fun. That was what I believed in.

“….You are always like that.”

You show me a “very interesting book” in the world.

You fought tooth  and nails against someone as self-center as me, then you won.

You accepted my feeling, and sincerely faced it.

When I couldn’t write anymore, you showed me a new way.

If you didn’t force me to write a chain novel, I would never have understood how “interesting” it is. You…always think for me.

“Masamune, thank you.”

“It, it’s nothing…I didn’t do much.”

It’s great for us to meet.

It’s great for us to become friends.

Today we had fun, that’s enough. I’m the one who should thank you.

“Senpai.”

“Um!”

Muramasa-senpai looked up. I purposedly laughed evily.

“Say it yourself.”

“I, I asked you because I couldn’t! Elf always butts heads with me, and Sagiri is a sexual harrasser! I’m not going to say it to them….”

“Just say it directly.”

“No no, I can’t. It’s embarrassing!”

“No matter how clumsy you said it, it’s better if you say it yourself.”

That’s why I was moved by your confession!

“Uuuuuuu ~~”

Muramasa-senpai groanned. I pat her shoulder:

“Alright, senpai, let’s head back. It’s about time Elf finished avoiding reality (playing game). Maybe she is already done.”

“…I’m the last one huh. I fear that she will give me an insanely hard ending.”

“It’s fine.”

“Ah —“

Our conversation was very normal, without anything special, but she smiled.

“That’s right.”

We returned to the living room.

 

When we get back, Yamada Elf-sensei had finished.

“….I could never imagine that you could continue after giving birth to a kid this way.”

Muramasa-senpai’s father – Umenozo Rintarou-sensei was impressed. I don’t know if he really meant it or not, but Yamada Elf-sensei was clearly enjoying it.

“I have come too far to give up! Ahahaha, that’s right, that’s something only the heaven-born Yamada Elf could do!”

“No one is praising you, we are surprised because you just ignored too much difficulty in the setting. You don’t add anything new, but you changed the main character in chapter one into a supporting character, idiot.” Muramasa-senpai said.

“This is a love comedy, anything is fine! Beside, I added the new details when the boy and the girl suddenly meet “

“…Well, the third chapter looked good for me. But it’s gonna be even more difficult, considering both of them are already lovers. What next?”

“Masamune, you are the only one who have no right to say it!”

“Elf-chan added too many characters — too many! Drawing them all is so hard!”

“Do your best! Eromanga-sensei  can do it!”

“I don’t know anyone with this name!”

“So, Yamada Elf-sensei, how could I fix this messed up story with my final chapter?”

“Don’t worry….”

“Senjyu Muramasa-sensei will do it.”

“I knew you would said that!” We all said in unison.

“………………..”

Muramasa-senpai put a hand on her chest, closed her eyes for a moment before nodded slowly.

“Okay, I will think of a way.”

“So confident, huh.”

“What would the story be, Muramasa-chan?”

“Probably a burning romantic story.”

“Wait senpai. They are already lovers, what else can you possibly added?”

“I have wrote about the underdog turning the tables a few times before. My character will keep her head high and keep going! As the writer, I hope I could do the same!”

Her words sounded like it wasn’t limited to this game?

“Masamune, I…I don’t know much about love. I don’t know to read the atmosphere, I do everything without thinking. I’m stupid, I only know how to express my feelings the most basic way! So after our first meeting, I knew that I made a mistake, I knew that I spoke too much, I could only hope that I wouldn’t make that mistake again.”

Suddenly, she smiled.

“…But that’s not a reason to give up. That’s not a reason to surrender without a fight.”

She raised her chest, annouced:

“I will use my pen to give this story a perfect ending.”

“Only then…you can like me a bit, right?”

 

On the way back home from the Umenozo’s household, I got a call from Kagurazaka-san.

“Izumi-sensei ~~ have you got the manuscript from Muramasa-sensei for me?”

“Ah, sorry, I forgot.”

“Hah? What have you done?”

“Sorry, too much happened. But it should be fine now. I, Yamada Elf-sensei, Umenozo Rintarou-sensei write  a chain novel….”

“Wait! Yamada Elf-sensei, Umenozo Rintarou-sensei and Senjyu Muramasa-sensei write a chain novel?”

“Izumi Masamune-sensei wrote it too!”

“Nah, you aren’t important.”

So honest.

“You worried me too much! I thought something big happened.”

“It should be fine. Muramasa-senpai’s mood improved a lot. She will write soon –“

“—I have to read that chain novel written by a group of weirdos!”

“Huh?”

“I’m on my way. Just wait. Bye!”

*Click*

I think she would only meet with rejection.

 

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