If you like our work, please follow us on our social media, join our discord and support us on Patreon:
Thanks again to grammstack for the edited LIME chats
My Friend’s Little Sister is Only Kind in Reality
After taking an early leave to go home, a few hours had passed after I laid down on my bed, where I was cooling my head with a cold towel. Because of that, my ability to think rationally slowly returned. Though it was still a bit too hot for my liking.
“Shit, what a waste of time.”
It’s evening already.
Gazing at the reddish landscape beyond my window, I grit my teeth at this inefficiency. Checking LIME, I’d received worried messages from Ozu, Mashiro and Sumire. Even if I told them that everything’s okay, that would be a blatant lie. There’s a mountain-load of things that I should be doing right now.
How should I approach this situation to get through it most efficiently? I can’t… My head’s too hazy right now…
Without ringing the doorbell or knocking, the front door opened, followed by some soft footsteps down the hallway. It seemed that Iroha had selfishly come in again. I was planning on complaining with ‘What was that pissed mood about’ or ‘Don’t just barge in like that’, but she showed no signs of actually entering my bedroom. The only thing that gave away her position was the sound of running water, and the sound of something knocking.
“…What is it this time?”
Growing curious, I got up and made my way towards the source of the noise, only to find Iroha standing in the kitchen.
“Ah, Senpai? Is it okay for you to already be up?”
When she turned around towards me, I could see the apron on top of her uniform. On top of the stove was an earthenware pot, so I guessed she was making some thin rice porridge.
“Glad to hear that. I was really worried when I heard that you took an early leave, you know?”
Iroha threw a thin smile at me, her voice filled with grace. Normally, you wouldn’t see this kind of relaxing, comforting atmosphere from Iroha. She was even wearing her uniform properly, no headphones around her neck. Of course, I knew that part of Iroha very well. It was her perfect, honor-student mode.
“But don’t force yourself, okay? I’ll call you when the rice porridge is done, so please sleep some more.”
Her words sent a shiver down my spine, and I felt like I was getting goosebumps.
What’s happened with her? Why’s she pulling off that honor-student act inside my home? She’s gotta be planning something.
“I won’t do anything, so please just get some rest.”
As if she’d read my mind, Iroha said so with her back turned towards me. Hesitating like this wouldn’t do me any good, so I decided to do as she said. A few minutes later after I laid down again, Iroha brought the rice porridge in on a plate.
“I made it so that it’s easy to digest. Think you can eat?”
When I lifted up my body from my bed,
“Just stay like that. I’ll feed you.”
Iroha said in a soothing voice.
“Nah, you don’t have to go that far. Just give me a bit of time.”
“No, please listen to me. It’s a Kouhai’s duty to look after her bedridden Senpai.”
“No need to exaggerate like that.”
“I’m not. Normally, Senpai would never leave school early. Your body is everything, so you would normally give it the utmost attention.”
Well, I guess she’s right…
“Senpai, I think you’re more tired than you even realize.”
“Might be, yeah…”
“Yes. So please, let me help you until you’re back to normal. You always look after me, so let me do at least this.”
Being told this so directly, I swallowed my words.
This isn’t the time to be obstinate and decline.
With Iroha opening the lid to the pot, warmth, as well as a smell similar to dried bonito stock filled the room. Though she kept it simple with no crazy ingredients, that made it look even more delicious for me. Scooping a bit onto a spoon, Iroha brought it closer to her mouth, and softly blew on it.
“At this rate, you’d burn your tongue.”
And then, she slowly brought the spoon to my mouth.
“Here, Senpai, open wide~”
What’s this shitty embarrassing event right now?
“Fufu, are you embarrassed? You don’t have to mind it so much. After all, you’re sick.”
She’s like a completely different person. With this feeling of discomfort awakening inside me, I let her put the spoon into my mouth. Slowly, the tastiness of the rice spread inside my mouth. Though the taste of just dashi1 and salt was a bit rustical, it was neither too thick nor too thin, just the perfect balance. Since she cooled it off, it was at just the right temperature. The lingering heat spread through my body, making me feel all warm inside.
“I’m glad to hear that.”
With a faint smile, Iroha once again put a bit of rice porridge on the spoon and pushed it towards me. She would wait for the inside of my mouth to be empty again, then me just the right amount that I could comfortably chew on. Just when I felt like drinking something, Iroha would have handed me some tea before I could even speak up. With this first-class level of care, you might even get the feeling that she was a veteran nurse. That’s how well she was taking care of me right now.
Time went on just like this, and before I realized it, I had already finished eating.
“T-Thanks for the meal.”
“My pleasure. Senpai, there’s some dirt on your lips, you know?”
With a handkerchief, she softly wiped over my mouth.
“A-Ah… thank you.”
“It’s fine. Senpai’s tired, after all. And I’m doing this because I want to.”
“Is there anything else you’d like me to do? If it’s within my abilities, I’ll do anything.”
“No…it’s okay. Thank you.”
“Got it. Well, it’d probably be a bother to Senpai’s recovery if I stayed too long, so once I clean everything up, I’ll go back to my own room. Make sure to get a good rest, okay?”
With those words, Iroha left the room. For a short while, I could still hear the sound of dishes getting washed from the kitchen, but it didn’t take long until I heard the rattling of the front door, followed by the clink of the door being locked.
Absolute silence, and then—
“Just kiiiiddiiing!! Did you really think I’d just leave like that, haha—?!”
Or so I expected to hear a faint, annoying shriek, but that never came. She’d been purely here to help me, from start to finish. A kind, proficient, and thorough girl helping me.
That’s how you’d describe Iroha just now. For me, who’d always complaining about her noisiness towards me, it felt like she was provoking me. Like she was saying “Look, a girl like this isn’t too bad, right?”, the complete opposite of the usual Iroha, just another cute girl.
However, this is me we’re talking about. A flower garden wouldn’t bloom in my head just because she was acting like this once.
It’s Iroha we’re talking about, you know? Not bothering me if she causes trouble to other people, but always using every chance she can get to annoy me, a real cheeky little brat of a girl, right? Seeing her acting so different from normal, it makes me doubt it even more. It certainly doesn’t feel like she was planning anything, but that doesn’t mean that I should take her hospitality at face value.
…Well, no use in dwelling on it for too long.
Taking out my smartphone, I sent Iroha a message. If I’m unsure, I can just ask her directly.
[AKI]: What’s your plan with this, you wolf in sheep’s clothing.
And the answer came almost immediately.
[Iroha]: I mean, this is what Senpai likes, right? The calm, composed, and kind type. How was it, are you satisfied to be treated by your favorite type like that? Rather than the usual me, it makes sense that you’d rather receive that kind of consideration. It’s fine, I won’t ever be annoying towards you anymore, idiot! Idiot!
And that’s the text I got back.
—Is this the exact opposite of what Mashiro’s doing right now?
Mashiro is acts all sugary-sweet over LIME, but is so cold in reality.
Iroha is sugary-sweet in reality, but cold with her LIME messages.
But, even if I understood that, I still have no clue why they’re even doing that. Really, what should I do about this…
Normally I’d ask Iroha for some help with the female heart, but things won’t work out so easily it seems. The only other women who I talk to are Murasaki Shikibu-sensei, and the one that helps with recording Iroha’s voice acting, the sound engineer Otoi-san…The former is already out of the question, while the latter doesn’t exactly fit into the colour scheme that you’d call her a ‘girl’.
Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt
As I was lost in my thoughts, my phone started vibrating. Checking for the name of the person that was calling me, I found Ozu’s name.
“Hey, Ozu. What’s up?”
「I had a feeling that you’d be troubled over something, so I gave you a call. How are things over there?」
“What are you, a mentalist?”
I could hear a faint laugh across the phone.
「Actually, I developed a heart-rate monitoring device that does its work 24/7. With that, I can always grasp what psychological condition you’re in.」
“…Seriously? Listen, we’re friends and all, but that’s a bit…”
「Ahaha, I’m joking of course. If I really managed to make something like that, I’d have it licensed immediately.」
“Knowing you, you’d probably be able to do it…”
「—Well, to get to the main point. Iroha just came home, and she holed herself up in her room without even saying hello. She looked really depressed, so I was wondering if something happened.」
“So that’s what you mean…Well, a bit, I guess…”
Before I continued however, I quickly thought of something.
If it’s the romcom protagonist Ozu, who’s surrounded by beauties left, right, and center, he might be able to give me some advice on how to get out of this situation. But if I explained the situation, I’d have to bring up Mashiro’s confession.
That… I can’t do. Because of previous events, I know that she has quite a prideful side in contrast to her bashfulness. She’s cowardly and timid, yet she still works hard to move forward in her life, for a fresh start. Of course, aside from the fact that she feels embarrassed about honestly showing her own feelings.
What would she think if she found out that some other person who doesn’t have anything to do with it found out about her confession?
—She’d be so embarrassed that it’d make her want to kill herself. She’s finally gotten used to the new school, but with one misstep, she might even end up a shut-in again. Then I wouldn’t be any different from the girls who bullied her into becoming like that in the first place.
…No, no need to gloss all over it, I just don’t want to lose president Tsukinomori’s trust.
While I was lost in my own thoughts, I once again heard a giggle coming from the other side of the call.
「Ahaha, that’s a break if I’ve ever seen one. You’ve got some circumstances you can’t talk about, right?」
“…Considerate friends like you are the best.”
「I think I’ve got a good hang of your personality. Alright, if you can’t talk about it, then I won’t pry any further. But will you be okay on your own?」
“Yeah… This is something I have to deal with myself.”
Mashiro’s confession. And Iroha’s attitude.
I was panicking at first because of these new circumstances that I wasn’t used to, but talking to Ozu helped me make up my mind. This isn’t something that I should ask help for. I have to deal with this myself.
“Thank you, Ozu.”
「I didn’t do anything to deserve your gratitude, did I?」
“Your call came at just the right time. You really are my oasis.”
No matter what circumstances or chaos I have to deal with, I can always depend on Ozu to have my back. Though it might sound a bit exaggerated, Ozu feels like a deus ex machina, helping me with keeping everything in order. That’s how he always felt to me. I’d really like him to keep that feeling of certainty. It’d be bad for me, as well as for him if that was gone.
…But, let’s stop dwelling in the past.
“I’ll do something about Iroha, so I’d like Ozu’s help for something else.”
「Hm? For what?」
“About Makigai Namako-sensei.”
Exactly. There’s not just Mashiro and Iroha, which are the two private problems I have to deal with. There’s also the subquest for me, the leader of the [5th Floor Alliance], to do something about this lousy scenario of Makigai Namako-sensei’s.
「Ahh, that scenario. Yeah, what should we do about that?」
“I’m planning on telling him via LIME that it’s a no… but it’ll be tough.”
This is a first for me. Every single story that he’s written has cut deeply into my heart. I reread his debut novel so many times that the pages started to get worn out, and the scenario of [The Screaming Night of Dark Koyama] is something I thoroughly enjoyed from a user’s perspective, continuously reading the new parts with excitement. Really, I fell for his stories and the talent he possesses from the bottom of my heart. That’s why this is a first in denying a scenario. It hurts my soul to do it, but I have to. As the producer—no, as a simple fan of his. I should give him a clear NO to this scenario, as it turns the well-written horror and dreadful atmosphere into a sparkly happy-go-lucky nonsensical one.
But there’s one problem about this whole thing.
The chance that I’d get a ‘You say that it’s boring, but that’s just your subjective opinion, right?’ and get turned down.
“—That’s why I’d like you to support my argument.”
「I see. If he’s not accepting your opinion, you want me to bring in a different opinion from yours, I see.」
“That’s it. He’s the kinda guy to write what he thinks is interesting, so we might need a second opinion to convince him.”
「Okay, you can count on me.」
“Thanks a bunch. Then, I’ll be giving you a sign later in the group chat. So play along.”
After we both agreed on my terms, I cut the call. Really, what a great friend to have.
1 Japanese soup stock made from fish and kelp