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Towano Chikai’s Confession Instructions
“Oh right, they’re going to announce the results of the final selection today.”
During breakfast on one particular morning, I spoke up to Suzuka, who was sitting across the table from me. As a result of all the data that we had gathered together with Nene-san, she had managed to finish her little sister novel in time to submit it for the Ryuusei Publishing Light Novel Contest. After passing through the first, second, and even the third rounds, all we had to do was wait for the results of the final selection, and today was the day when they would be announced.
By the way, I had also submitted a novel myself, but I was weeded out in the second round.
…W-Well, enough about me, ahahaha!
“I wonder if Nene-san was able to win the grand prize.”
“Maybe she’s already gotten a call from an editor, and is just waiting to give us a surprise confession or something like that.”
“…What’s wrong with you?”
For a while now, Suzuka has been jumping every time I say something. To be honest, she’s been acting weird for several days now. The closer we got to the final day of the selection, the more she’d stare off into space and overreact to everything I say.
…She’s probably very interested in the results.
“I-I’m not panicking or anything like that, okay?! G-Grand prizes or confession or something?! I-I-I’m not worried about any of that in the slightest…!”
She was obviously bothered about something, evident by the fact that she kept smearing butter on her toast over and over again. But she herself didn’t realize that this was a well-known thing to do when you’re worried about something.
“…Uuuu, M-Madenkouji-san is going this far for Onii-chan…! If it’s come to this, I have to be more pushy…!”
…And now she was mumbling something to herself.
…Really, what’s with you?
–Or so I thought, but she drew herself closer towards me.
“H-Help me collect some data, please!”
“W-What’s that about all of a sudden?! What kind of data?”
“From now on, you aren’t allowed to talk to any other girls other than me. No exceptions!”
“A-And you’re not allowed to listen to any confe—No, not that! Umm…! I know! From the next volume onward, the protagonist will be unable to hear any voices aside from that of his little sister’s!”
What’s with that super crazy development?!
“W-Wait a second… Don’t you think that adding such a sudden development is a bad idea? And telling me not to talk with other girls is practically impossible…”
“U-Uugh… T-Then! Onii-chan isn’t allowed to read any little sister novels aside from mine! In my next volume, the protagonist will suddenly awaken to the beauty of little sister novels!”
“What happened to the protagonist?!”
The little sister in your work didn’t write a little-sister novel, did she?! The flow of your story is going all over the place, you know!
“A-Are you in a slump or something? I’m willing to listen to you talk about your concerns, but I don’t think that moving the story forward like that on a whim will do you any good…”
“I-It’s not like I was… Uuuu…”
“Also, telling me to not read any novels other than yours is impossible as well… We were talking about how Nene-san would show me the manuscript once she got the results back, after all…”
Thing is, even though Suzuka and I helped out with Nene-san’s work on her novel, she hadn’t let us read the final result. Up until now, she had always came running to have us take a look whenever she made any changes.
“When I get the contest results, I want Onii-sama to read it then and there!” she said, and we hadn’t managed to convince her otherwise until the very end.
Well, Nene-san must’ve had a lot on her mind as well. But it should be about time.
“That’s why I told you…!”
Suzuka gulped down her toast in one bite.
“…Uuuu, if the stubborn approach doesn’t work, then I have to take safety precautions…! T-That being said, Onii-chan, I’m counting on you to pick me up today, as well!”
“Wait, what being said?! And you want me to pick you up today as well?”
Just as she had said, after classes ended, I would sometimes make my way to Suzuka’s school so that we could walk home together.
“As of recently, the curfew doesn’t even matter, and you want me to come pick you up on a daily basis. Why is there any need for that?”
“Of course, to make everyone see that Onii-chan already has me—Not that! ….U-Ummmm, ah, I know! There’s been news of a suspicious person going around the neighbourhood, or something like that?!”
“A-A suspicious person?! What are they like?”
“U-Umm…! A male person who follows you around while calling you ‘Onii-chan,’ who talks about indecent games while he’s insulting you?!”
“This guy sounds a bit too suspicious on multiple levels!”
And why am I getting a feeling of deja vu from this?
“W-With that being said, picking me up is a must!” Suzuka frantically said.
…W-Well, I don’t remember hearing about a suspicious person like that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, I guess.
“T-Thank you very much. And while we’re on our way home, I want to collect some data as well, so please keep that in mind.”
“On our way home?”
“Data for f-flirty scenes, of course.”
I-I thought so…
Recently, whenever I came to pick her up, we would always gather data. We would hold hands like lovers, she would cling to my arm, and sometimes I would carry her in my arms… These sorts of things were (regrettably) a daily occurence. The problem was…
“…Make sure that we don’t have to walk through your school like that just because you forget something again, okay?”
“I-It’s not like I was doing that on purpose! It was just a force of nature! It’s definitely not that I wanted people to see us like that or anything?!”
“That’s not the problem here. I was asking if we can just take a break and not keep collecting data in such cases—”
“Then there would be no point to it.”
Suzuka cut me off in the middle of my sentence.
…Well, touching each other like that in front of other people has been happening more and more frequently anyway…
“A-Anyway, I’m counting on you to come pick me up!”
Since Suzuka had decided that the topic was over, I could only nod and hang my head.
…But this at least shouldn’t be too bad. We might even run into Nene-san at Hakuou, so there’s a chance that we’ll find out more about her novel then.
“This of all things…”
The same day, after classes had ended.
Just like I had been ordered, I went to the private all-girls institute Hakuou, but I didn’t see Suzuka at our usual meeting place. I received an email from her, however.
The contents read ‘Some student council work suddenly came up. I need to help them out with that really quick, so please wait for me.’
“I guess I’ll just have to kill time for a bit.”
Thinking that I might as well read something, I took out a light novel and sat down on a bench just inside the gate. Just as I did,
When someone called out to me from behind, I turned towards the source of the sound.
“Ah, Nene-san? Hello there.”
Nene-san was standing there, looking at me in confusion. Still, I had been hoping to meet her, so this was perfect timing.
“G-Good day to you…! O-Onii-sama, are you here for Suzuka-sama again…?”
“Yeah, I’m just picking her up like always. But she said that she had some urgent student council work to take care of, so I thought I’d wait here for a bit.”
I was lucky to meet her here, as I wanted to ask her about the contest anyway. After all, we hadn’t seen her for a while. Though she came to our house often enough, we never really talked about the contest in itself. It felt like she herself was avoiding the topic, and whenever I asked about the novel, she just said “I-I’ll show you when I have results…!”, so I have no idea how her novel turned out.
…But, since she’ll get the results today, she should be fine talking about it, right?
“Suzuka-sama is going to be late? And today of all days… This must be destiny…!”
“By the way, Nene-san, about the
results for the light novel contest—”
Suddenly, Nene-san stepped in front of me, throwing me off guard. Her face was red, and her eyes looked like they were burning with passion as she gazed straight at me.
This was the first time I had seen her like this, so I was taken aback.
“I-I was hoping to talk about that
“Ah, is that so? I really wanted to hear about it.”
…It seems like Nene-san also wanted to talk with me? I have enough time on my hands since I’m waiting for Suzuka, so I might as well hear her out.
“Ah, it’s Suzuka-sama’s Onii-sama!”
At that moment, several girls called out to us. Judging from their uniforms, they appeared to be from the middle school division of the school, and they were briskly walking towards us. It seems that I’ve become quite the celebrity since the culture festival that was held here.
…Well, only because of Suzuka’s good reputation.
“O-Onii-sama, over here…!”
While I was thinking all that, Nene-san suddenly grabbed my arm and pulled me towards her.
“I-I’d like to talk with just the two of us…!”
She looked up at me, flustered, and tightened her grip on my arm, her face as red as a tomato. Like that, she pulled me to a deserted area. I was terribly confused by her sudden actions, and embarrassed, with that soft feeling enveloping my arm.
…W-What’s this about? The atmosphere around Nene-san is different than usual.
“I-If it’s here, we’ll be able to have a private talk…!”
The place we went to was a corner of the courtyard; a small arbour surrounded by trees. We both sat down around a table, facing each other. The whole time, Nene-san was staring at me with a passionate gaze.
…Ummm, this feels really weird.
“S-So… It’s finally the day where the results will be announced, right? I’m really getting pumped up now!” I said, trying to get the conversation back on track.
“Y-Yes… In about an hour, I’ll know the results…”
When I spoke up, Nene-san responded, seeming equally nervous.
“I see, it’s pretty soon, then. I know that it’s too late to change anything, but how are you feeling, Nene-san?”
“I don’t really know how to respond to that… My body is shaking out of uncertainty and anticipation…”
That makes sense, I guess. If she came out victorious today, that would mean that she would be able to debut as a light novel author.
“I-I have a request for Onii-sama…!”
“What kind of request?”
“Y-Yes, umm… Will you look at the results with me?!”
I hadn’t expected this request, and she sounded really determined about it, so I was taken aback.
“You want me to look at the results with you?”
Nene-san looked straight at me, like she was imploring me.
“Of course I don’t mind. Let’s wait for Suzuka as well, th—”
“N-No! Umm…! I-It’s fine if it’s just Onii-sama, so there’s no need to bother Suzuka-sama like that…!” Nene-san became a bit flustered.
“I don’t think that Suzuka would be bothered, though.”
“I-I know that I should just look at them alone, so I would only feel selfish…!”
I really don’t think that she has to be this considerate. Not to mention that Suzuka is the real Towano Chikai, so she deserves to see how her pupil did.
…Of course, I can’t say that.
“I-I’m fine just having Onii-sama by my side…! Auuu…!”
But if the person herself asks me to, I can’t exactly say no. I guess I’ll have to explain the situation later to Suzuka. Once I’ve escorted her home, of course.
“I understand. If it’s just that, then I’ll do it.”
“T-Thank you very much…!”
When I gave my response, Nene-san gave a relieved sigh. Or so I thought, but she suddenly started blushing furiously. She put her hands on her cheeks as if she was trying to calm herself down.
“I-It’s finally the day…”
“Yeah, we’ve been waiting for a long time for the results to be announced.”
“T-That’s also true…!”
“Auuu…! It-It’s nothing…! Rather than that, there’s something that I’d like Onii-sama to see…!”
Nene-san suddenly averted her gaze. She took something out of her bag and handed it to me.
“T-This is…! T-The novel I sent in for the contest… Please read it…!”
“Eh? Is that okay?”
“Y-Yes… I-I wanted to wait until I had gotten the results, but I thought that I might meet Onii-sama here today, so I brought it with me… And I had already planned on letting you see it if I really did run into you…”
I see, so that’s what this is about. What a perfectly-timed coincidence.
“Then I’ll take you up on that offer and read it, okay?” I accepted the manuscript, barely able to contain my excitement.
I had been really eager to see how the final version of the novel turned out.
“P-Please do…! I poured all my feelings into it…!” Nene-san said, her face reddening even more than it already had.
She must’ve been incredibly nervous, but I think that she can be proud of her novel, since it’s already made it to the finals.
…But this isn’t the time for that.
I cut that train of thought and focused on the manuscript in my hands. I flipped the pages, eager to see how much impact our data-gathering had on the story.
…Just as Nene-san had said, it was a romcom with a stepsister. The girl had always looked up to her Senpai, and she ended up as his stepsister. Her feelings for him intensified as the novel progressed. All sorts of normal rom-com cliches happened, and the distance between the two kept shrinking, with them being flirty at every possible moment.
The story—was interesting. This was nothing compared to the first manuscript she had showed me. As I read this, I understood just how serious she had been when applying all the data we collected. However…
While reading through it, something stuck out to me. It started out like a hazy feeling, and it slowly started to fill my chest, or something like that. But I didn’t have the chance to dwell on it for very long, since there was something else that stuck out to me even more.
“Y-Yes, what is it, Onii-sama?”
“These siblings that appear in your novel… This might just be my imagination, but are they modeled after…?”
In response to my inquiry, steam started wafting up from the top of Nene-san’s head. With a gentle nod, she raised her head and looked directly at me.
“…Y-Yes. I wrote them with Onii-sama and myself in mind…” She gave me a direct response.
…So it really is like that?! I had suspected it all along while reading the manuscript!
It was like a feeling of deja vu. I had been thinking ‘Oh wow, this is what it would be like if Nene-san was my step sister’, and I was partially right! Ah, of course, there’s absolutely nothing romantic going on between Nene-san and I, okay?! Just… how do I put it? It really surprised me.
“Why would you…?”
Since Nene-san’s novel had ended up like this, I found myself very confused. But, thinking about it, it all made sense now.
Why would she always ask us to help her gather data? It was deeply connected to why she had used me as the male model (although I wish she had toned that down a bit). And, since she was a girl, it made sense to use herself as the model for the female character.
…Basically, there’s no deeper meaning to this. It’s just a natural choice… Phew, I was panicking for a bit.
“No, it makes sense. You just wanted to put the result of us collecting data directly into the novel. Though it really surprised me for a bit.”
When I said that in a relieved tone,
When I looked up at Nene-san, I was greeted by her stiff gaze. Her eyes were slightly moist.
“Th-That’s not what I…!”
“Agan, I…! Using both of us as characters in the story didn’t just happen…! Auuuu…!”
With her face as red as ever, Nene-san continued.
“I…! I wrote the story with Onii-sama and I as the characters because I wanted to, because I had to…!”
…But what’s the reason behind that?
Neither of us spoke for an extended period of time.
…W-What is this atmosphere…?
Nene-san looked at me with a serious expression, making my heart hammer on in my chest.
…This is the first time I’ve seen her this serious… But why is she serious now?
In the end, I wasn’t able to withstand the awkward atmosphere anymore, and I was about to open my mouth, when…
“O-Onii-sama…! There’s something that I have to tell you…!”
Right before that, Nene-san got the jump on me. She started speaking, her voice filled with determination.
“…T-The truth is, I wanted to do this when the results were announced, but…!”
Nene-san looked almost frantic as she forced those words from her lips. As I watched her in surprise, I was about to ask her what she meant by that, but…
Seeing how serious she was, I couldn’t open my mouth. And she continued.
“I-I…! Uhm…! Always… I… Towards Onii-sama, I…!”
It happened when Nene-san was about to finish her sentence.
“Onii-chan? Where could he have gone? …I told him to wait, so I did the rest my work as fast as I could!”
Suddenly, the both of us heard a voice, which made Nene-san suddenly stop.
…And not just her. Maybe it was because of that weird atmosphere, but I jumped when I heard Suzuka’s voice, too.
“Really, Onii-chan is just…”
When I turned to look, I saw Suzuka walking around the courtyard while looking all over the place.
…I guess her work for the student council is over, and since she couldn’t find me at our meeting place, she’s started searching for me. But this arbor is hidden pretty well, so she probably didn’t see us.
I raised my hand and started calling out to her, but…
A hand reached out over my mouth, and I was pulled backwards.
Of course, the person who did this was Nene-san, and while I was busy wondering why she would do something like this, she started pressing her body against me. I felt like something was hitting me.
…No, they’re definitely hitting me! This soft, spongy feeling can only be one thing…!
“…So he’s not here either? He didn’t go inside the building to start doing anything indecent, did he?”
Meanwhile, Suzuka’s voice grew more distant. She probably hadn’t been able to spot me since I was been pushed down, so she was going off to search somewhere else.
And thus silence fell.
When I looked up, Nene-san was looking down at me with eyes like a predator eyeing her prey. When I saw that look on her face, my heart started pounding…
Nene-san had come to her senses, and she hurriedly took her hand off of my mouth.
“Awa… Awawa…! I-I’m very sorry…!”
When I saw her blushing from ear to ear, tears forming in her eyes, I started feeling like I was the one who had pushed her down.
N-No, nevermind that.
“W-Why did you do that…?”
I asked her the obvious requestion. Nene-san wouldn’t normally do something like this. She was just too meek.
However, Nene-san frantically waved her hands, unable to give me an answer.
“I-I was about to…! B-But
Suzuka-sama was…! Auuuuu…!”
This is starting to feel like I’m bullying her… Ahh, whatever.
Nene-san might have just been surprised by Suzuka’s sudden appearance, so let’s just forget about it.
“I’ll go call Suzuka here.”
Whatever the reason, it seemed that Suzuka had finished with her student council duties, so she could look at the results together with us.
Or so I thought, but when I got up…
For some reason, Nene-san stopped me.
“Uhm, ehm…! Calling Suzuka-sama over right now is…! Auuu…!”
Teary-eyed, Nene-san held onto my arm.
…Ahhh, what’s even going on here…?!
With no other options, I sat down again. For whatever reason, Nene-san doesn’t want Suzuka to be with us right now.
“Would it be bad if Suzuka heard what you want to say?”
“T-That’s…! It’s certainly not like that, but…!”
“Well, it’s fine if there are some kind of circumstances around it.”
I had absolutely no idea what kind of circumstances those could be, but it had to be something serious, considering that Nene-san was acting this frantic about it.
“So what were you about to say just now?”
This is a prime example of being flustered, alright. It seemed like she was embarrassed because of the interruption.
…Hmmm, it’ll probably take her some time until she finally calms down.
“Then I’ll go see Suzuka off, and you can tell me the results later, okay?”
I decided to give Nene-san some time to cool down, so I pitched that proposal to her, but…
Nene-san’s eyes opened wide, as if she had never expected to hear those words.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“U-Umm, you’ll escort Suzuka-sama home? What about looking at the results…?”
“I know, I know, but there’s still some time before they’re announced, right? So I’ll just go escort Suzuka come, and then we can meet up a little later.”
“So Suzuka-sama takes priority…”
“I did promise her, after all, and I don’t even want to think about what could happen to her if she walked home alone.”
…Well, this talk about a suspicious person does sound like total nonsense. But I can’t ignore that miniscule chance. That’s my duty as her older brother.
‘So I’ll be back soon’—is what I wanted to say, but Nene-san gave absolutely no response.
I was about to ask if something had happened…
“Uwaah?! W-What is it?!”
She suddenly jolted upright, forcing me to take a step back.
“There’s one thing I’d like to ask you…! I-I was speculating about this, but…!”
“H-Hey?! What do you mean?”
I tried holding Nene-san as she approached me, but she showed no intention of stopping.
“Y-Yes…! It’s something that I have to know right now, no matter what…!”
“But wait, what did you want to tell me just now?!”
“I-It’s also related to that!”
I don’t know what you mean, though!
I was confused by the sudden development. Nene-san on the other hand took a deep breath and continued speaking with a serious look on her face.
“H-How does Onii-sama feel about Suzuka-sama?!”
What came out of her mouth was a question that I had never expected to hear.
“W-Why are you asking that all of a sudden?!”
Needless to say, I was beyond confused.
…If you suddenly ask me about that… That question is completely out of the blue, isn’t it?!
“I-It’s very important…! Very important to me…!”
But Nene-san showed no indication that she was joking or teasing me. What I think about Suzuka isn’t even a question that I would normally have to answer, but…
When I saw how serious Nene-san seemed to be about this, I couldn’t just dismiss the question.
…Ahhh, okay, fine!
“Suzuka is—just my little sister.”
That was why I responded with that…
“That’s a lie.”
But Nene-san gave me an immediate response.
“What makes you able to deny that so confidently…?”
“Because that can’t be true. I can’t imagine that Onii-sama would have such half-baked feelings for Suzuka-sama…!”
Nene-san’s words were clear, filled with confidence, and her usual timid atmosphere was nowhere to be found.
“E-Even if you say that… it’s still true that she’s just my little sister…”
As a result, I started getting nervous.
…And I have no idea why we’re even talking about this…
However, Nene-san only continued,
“I think that there is something special… something different between Onii-sama and Suzuka-sama… It’s very easy to see when looking at Suzuka-sama, and Onii-sama shows it as well…”
“N-No, there’s nothing special or anything, that’s not…”
“That’s what I want to know. I want to know what you think about your little sister—about Suzuka-sama…”
I started feeling like I was on the losing side of this battle of the wits.
“W-Why do you have to know, anyway?”
I was starting to feel more and more like the bad guy, since I was questioning everyone and everything. Nene-san responded with the following words.
“…For me, Onii-sama and Suzuka-sama are my ideal…”
“I respect both of you from the bottom of my heart, but I sort of feel jealous about the two of you being as close of siblings as you are…!”
“I-Is that so…?”
“Y-Yes…! And on top of that, Onii-sama, as kind as you are, you looked like you were shining so brightly…!”
Seeing Nene-san desperately try to put it into words, I could feel my cheeks burning.
…S-She’s just glorifying me… I’m not that great of an older brother.
“I’m not as great as
“N-No, Onii-sama is a wonderful person… That’s why I definitely need to know Onii-sama’s true feelings!”
“After all!” Nene-san continued, “There’s no way that Onii-sama would think of Suzuka-sama as ‘just a little sister’…!”
When I heard that, I swallowed my words. To be honest, I had absolutely nothing I could say against that.
But since Nene-san was staring straight at me, I couldn’t find it in myself to tell her ‘You’re wrong, that’s not how it is.’ What kind of misunderstanding is she even having? I’m really not that good of an older brother. However, even though I’m an unreliable older brother, I definitely do have feelings towards my little sister. If this had led Nene-san to write a little-sister light novel, then as the two-in-one Towano Chikai, I can’t lie to our pupil.
…This really isn’t something that I should tell other people, but…
Letting out a sigh, I hung my head.
“…This is a secret, okay?”
I softly whispered my response.
“…Of course I’d treasure Suzuka. She’s my important little sister, after all.”
I can’t imagine an older brother who wouldn’t care about his little sister. For older brothers, little sisters are meant to be protected. Whether it be fate or duty or something else, it’s completely natural to us. At the very least, that’s what I think, and I’ve never once doubted myself.
“Whenever she’s in trouble, I’ll always reach out my hand to help her, and if she asks for help, I’d drop everything and come running… Well, since she’s a perfect superhuman, I don’t really ever have a chance to do that, though…”
It’s the same as back when she asked me to become her stand-in. I accepted her request without paying any regard to my own dream, or the hardships that would follow, or anything like that. And I have never once regretted it.
…Well, there’s a whole pile of trouble that came with me being her stand-in… Just like this situation now. I’m sure there will be even more in the future.
Even so, no matter how tough it will end up, no matter how many days I have to help her to collect data about weird things, no matter how much I want to cry, since I’m pretending to be an author even though I haven’t debuted myself yet, I have no intention to stop being her stand-in.
That’s obvious. It’s because Suzuka asked me to. Since my little sister asked me for help, of course I’m assisting her with all of my ability. And since Suzuka actually asked me outright like that, it made me really happy.
“Since she’s such a perfect human being, she almost never asks people for help. Even more so from her unreliable older brother. But when the time finally came, I was really happy. You might think that I’m kind of pitiful, but I felt proud that I could be of help to her in any way.”
To be honest, even I think that this story is just miserable. I’m basically saying that I’m just a good-for-nothing older brother who was asked for help by his good-at-everything little sister. But it’s the truth, so I can’t change that. Since my little sister Suzuka is an amazing girl like that, I didn’t want to let this chance to show my good side go to waste.
…That’s how I accepted my role as her stand-in. What a simple-minded older brother I am. It’s pathetic, really. But I don’t care if I’m pathetic or useless or anything else as long I can be of help to her.
“…I’ve never told anybody about this, and you might not believe me, but up until a while ago, we really weren’t all that close, you know? On the contrary…”
I remembered back to that time… Well, not even a year has passed since then, I guess.
“Well, it was more like she just hated me. Ever since grade school, our relationship has always been cold and awkward. Just up until this spring—Well, something happened, and we ended up being able to talk normally again.”
Suzuka had won the grand prize at a light novel contest. That was when she had asked me to become her stand-in. Her novel ended up being a big hit, I met a lot of people, and I was constantly engulfed in trouble as her stand-in—
But I don’t regret it one bit. Even if I was able to time travel back in time to that very moment, I’m sure that I would make the same choice again. After all, once my little sister, Suzuka, asks me for something, there’s nothing I can do other than help her out.
“Well, I kinda lost my way in the middle of all of that, but that’s about it.”
When I realized that I had been going on for a while, I felt my cheeks turning red out of embarrassment. But I won’t try to cover it up. Those are my real feelings, after all.
…Well, this just shows what kind of embarrassing older brother I am. Even so, my stance on this matter won’t change.
I took a deep breath, and decided on a punctual way to end it.
“Basically, for me, Suzuka is the most important little sister in the world.”
And thus, I ended the conversation with a phrase that made me sound like the world’s greatest siscon.
After that, there was a long silence.
While I was going on with my monologue, Nene-san hadn’t responded at all. She had just kept quiet the whole time. When I was recalled all the stuff that I had said, I felt so embarrassed that I wasn’t even able to look at her.
…I-I might’ve gotten a bit heated there, and wasn’t what I said really disgusting? No, it totally was.
…Uwaaah, Nene-san must be pretty fed up with me, right? Maybe she’s even going to look at me like I’m human trash…?!
Expecting the worst, I glanced at Nene-san. But her response wasn’t quite what I had expected.
“………Onii-sama’s feelings for Suzuka-sama…”
None of what I had feared happened, and she instead looked like she was lost in thought. Her eyes were wide open.
“…Suzuka-sama must also… I’m sure… But then…!”
Nor did I receive an answer when I called out to her.
…All I can hear is some soft muttering… Suzuka and I… What exactly?
“…But then… My space… Is nowhere…”
“W-What is it this time?”
I called out to her in concern. And when I reached out my hand to shake her shoulder…
Her face suddenly lit up, our eyes met, and I was so startled that I let out a shriek.
However, that momentum immediately dispersed, and she looked like she didn’t know what to say. Finally,
With a determined expression, she looked up at me, and formulated her question.
“U-Umm…! W-What did you feel when you were reading my novel, Onii-sama…?!”
“Eh? W-Why are you asking me that all of a sudden?”
“I-I didn’t hear your impression yet, that’s why…! It’s very important to me…!”
“W-Well, that makes sense. Umm, I think it was plenty interesting.”
“Really? Do you really feel that way from the bottom of your heart?”
“…Y-Yeah. But, to be honest, I feel like your previous Senpai – Kouhai novel might’ve been a little better…”
The enthusiasm that had I felt in the previous novel was nowhere to be found here. It almost felt like she was forcing herself to write it.
“Ah, but this is just my own opinion, so there’s no need for you to take it too serious—”
But I immediately regretted saying something so carelessly. Whatever I say won’t have any influence on the final result, after all… However,
Nene-san stared at me in shock, her eyes wide.
…T-This isn’t good. Is she getting worried now because I said something so careless right before the results were announced?
“…Is that… So…”
Her voice was full of discouragement.
“…That makes sense.”
But in the next moment, Nene-san took a deep breath and smiled at me. Her stiff posture had vanished, and her ghastly presence was gone as well, like a demon that had possessed her had been exorcised.
I was left baffled, not completely certain what had happened.
“Thank you very much, Onii-sama. For being honest with me…”
“Ah, no problem…? Like I just said, don’t let it bother you too much…”
“No, I finally understood it thanks to Onii-sama. About your feelings, about Suzuka-sama… How there’s nobody who could get between you two right now… And also the weakness of my feel—No, my novel…”
“S-Suzuka and I…? And your novel’s weakness…? Again, I was just stating my own opinion. That doesn’t change the results of the contest in the slightest.”
“No, that’s not true. I finally understood…” Nene-san said with a soft smile.
That smile was so soothing and calm, and it felt like Nene-san had turned into a different person.
“…It seems like I still have quite a ways to go because of my weak confidence… I thought I could do it this time because of Onii-sama, but in the end, I turned aside to the ‘Little sister’…”
“W-What do you mean by that…?”
To be frank, I had no clue what Nene-san was actually talking about right now. But since she said that she had finally realized something, I decided to trust her.
“…It should be around here… There were people who said they saw Onii-chan walking in this direction with Madenokouji-san, after all…!”
Suzuka’s voice suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and my body twitched in surprise once again.
To my surprise, however, Nene-san didn’t move an inch. She just turned towards the sound of the approaching Suzuka.
“…Onii-sama, I think I’ll look at the results by myself, after all.”
When she said that, I could only respond with a confused “Eh?”
“I have to see things through to the end myself… That’s what I think.”
After excusing herself, Nene-san left me alone.
…I guess I can’t stop her if that’s what she says.
“O-Onii-chan! So you were in a place like this!”
It didn’t take Suzuka too long to notice my presence, and she called out to me.
“I-I just saw Madenokouji-san leaving here! What in the world where you doing alone with her in a place like this?!”
“D-Don’t tell me. Did she confess without waiting for the results…?!”
“Huuuh?! C-Confession…? Don’t say stupid stuff like that…!”
Suzuka suddenly blurted out something ridiculous again, which made me flustered.
“…Eh? S-She didn’t?”
“Why would Nene-san even confess to me in the first place? That’s not it at all. We were just talking about the light novel contest and the announcement that’s coming up—”
I started explaining the incident to Suzuka.
…Of course, I kept all the talk about how I feel about Suzuka a secret, though.
“—And she asked me to look at the results together with her.”
“Ehhh?! Looking at the results together with Onii-chan…! So Madenokouji-san was aiming for that kind of timing…!”
“But in the end, she said that she’s going to look at the results by herself, and she went home.”
Suzuka’s reaction was quite the sight, but I couldn’t explain it any further since I didn’t know any more myself.
…But I do wonder what had happened with her. I’m glad that she was in high spirits towards the end, and she was smiling as well… But she also looked a bit lonely. Maybe it was because of something I said?
Suzuka just started blankly in the direction that Nene-san had walked off on just now.
That evening, I went to check the results of the Ryuusei Publishing light novel contest. I found out that her novel had just barely missed the mark.
The day after the Ryuusei Publishing contest results were announced.
That day, I found myself spacing out all the time. The reason was, of course, Madenokouji-san. Since she was my Kouhai, and since we had been helping her gather ideas for her novel, it really was a shame that she hadn’t won the contest. But, even more than that, I was even more concerned about why Madenokouji-san hadn’t confessed to Onii-chan. She had definitely told me that she would confess at the same time as she won the grand prize.
Granted, she hadn’t won the grand prize, but would that really stop her from confessing after all this time?
Not to mention that she had showed Onii-chan her novel—her love letter to him—before the results were even announced. She must’ve been planning to confess even before the results were announced…
Yes, there’s no mistaking it! My imouto senses are tingling! …But it seems like she didn’t confess in the end. Though I still have my doubts that she did actually confess, and Onii-chan is just trying to hide it from me, it sure doesn’t look that way.
Onii-chan is really bad when it comes to hiding things after all (t-though that’s also what makes him cute). Apparently Madenokouji-san had even said that she would go home to look at the results alone, so it’s probably safe to assume that no confession happened.
…But why? Why did she stop her confession right before the crucial moment?
I’ve been wracking my brain over this all day. I spaced out all the way until classes finally ended. Thankfully, my job in the student council also ended soon after…
For now, I decided to make my way towards our meeting place like always. After all, Onii-chan is also coming to pick me up again today. I just wanted Onii-chan to come pick me up, and to make sure that I wouldn’t be too late, I naturally finished my student council duties very quickly.
I went to the meeting spot and sat down nearby, when…
When I heard my name called out, I turned around, only to be greeted by none other than Madenokouji-san.
“Good day to you, Suzuka-sama. Are you waiting for Onii-sama?”
“Y-Yes. My work at the student council ended a bit earlier than expected, so I’ll be waiting here for a bit.”
“Is that so…? Umm, can we talk a bit?”
When I nodded, Madenokouji-san gave a quick “Excuse me” and sat down next to me. I was a bit perplexed by this sudden turn of events, and I found myself unable to calm down.
“Umm… It really is a shame. The results of the contest, I mean…”
I didn’t know how to start the conversation, so I prepared myself for the upcoming awkwardness and poked the most prominent topic.
“…Well, it’s a shame, yes, but I knew that it would end like that.”
But to my surprise, Madenokouji-san looked more refreshed than depressed.
“Right now, I feel like it was for the better that I didn’t manage to win.”
“Ehhh?! W-Why is that?”
“I understood that I don’t have the right skills yet,” Madenokouji-san said with a refreshed smile.
I on the other hand could only mutter in confusion. “What kind of skills…?”
“Yes… Umm, there’s one thing that I have to talk to Suzuka-sama about. Yesterday, I was about to confess to Onii-sama.”
With the word ‘Confess’ came up, I mentally screamed “I thought so!”
“…But I wasn’t able to do it. Or rather, I was reprimanded by Onii-sama.”
Reprimanded by Onii-chan? W-What does she mean by that?
“I made Onii-sama look at my novel before I confessed to him. But, he told me that he preferred my previous Senpai – Kouhai novel.”
“Yes, and I realized it then. Why had I suddenly changed it into a step sister novel? In the end, it was just to cover up my own lack of confidence…”
Madenokouji-san gave me a bitter smile.
“I was uncertain if Onii-sama would even look at me how I am right now, so I tried to cover myself up. And Onii-sama completely saw through it.”
…U-Umm, I find it hard to believe that Onii-chan put that much thought into it. He probably just had a gut instinct for how interesting the novel itself was… But because of that, he unknowingly had averted a serious catastrophe…
That’s my Onii-chan!
“That’s why I gave up on confessing to Onii-sama. Because I don’t deserve it as of right now, and I can’t directly tell him my feelings…”
She said this with a smile, but I could see a faint glimmer of loneliness in her eyes.
…Really, Madenokouji-san such an earnest person. If she weren’t, she probably wouldn’t have arrived at this conclusion.
I just stared at her profile in silence as I pondered her words. She continued.
“And hearing Onii-sama’s honest feelings was also a big part of why I didn’t confess… I can’t hope to win, after all.”
“F-Feelings? What do you mean by that?”
I was unsure what to make of this vague statement.
When I asked for confirmation, Madenokouji-san let out a small giggle, and whispered one sentence into my ear. “You really are loved, Suzuka-sama.”
…W-What exactly is Madenokouji-san talking about…?! L-Loved in what way…?!
“Ah? You’re pretty early today, aren’t you?”
In that moment, Onii-chan came walking towards us, which made me panic even more.
………Wai—?! What kind of timing is this, Onii-chan?!
When he realized that Madenokouji-san was there, Onii-chan also started panicking.
“U-Umm, I saw the results, but don’t let it get to you too much, okay? Even I—Ahh, nevermind!”
Onii-chan barely managed to stop himself. He was probably about to bring up how he had already dropped out of the contest way earlier.
“It’s fine. You don’t have to mind me,” said Madenokouji-san. She seemed to really mean it.
“T-Then that’s fine… But there’s bound to be many other opportunities, you know, so don’t give up now.”
“…Yes, that’s right. Maybe I should start with ‘The little sister’s friend’ this time.”
“Eh? The little sister’s friend?”
“…I’m not giving up yet, after all…!”
When she announced that, Madenokouji-san smiled at me. When I saw that, I finally realized her true intentions.
I see… So that’s how it is…!
“What is it Suzu—ka?!”
I jumped up and clung to Onii-chan’s arm.
…It’s embarrassing, but I can’t help it!
“L-Let’s walk home now, as closely as we always do!”
“B-But why like this…?!”
Ignoring Onii-chan’s pleas, I looked over at Madenokouji-san. I couldn’t find any traces of the timid girl from before. She was now a full-fleshed rival.
…Very well. I accept your challenge. But Onii-chan belongs only to me, so remember that!