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“Ahhh… It’s so hot today…”
Half of our summer vacation had passed, and it was noon on a certain day. Sweating profusely, I was walking down the road near my house. I was on my way home after getting some light novels in Akiba, but I might’ve been better off not doing this on such a humid day, really.
“No no, I really needed this new release…!”
I was about to give in to the heat, but quickly changed my train of thought. Yes, in order to write a good light novel, I need some good input. That doesn’t change even now that I’ve figured out what kind of novel I want to write. Rather, it’s exactly because I know the direction that I want to go that I’m striving for even higher quality.
After that incident, I started writing the little sister novel. That being said, I didn’t just move on and write the main part—No, I carefully built it up from scratch. The plot, the characters, everything. I’m actually pretty satisfied with how it’s going right now. It’s not like everything’s perfect, but it definitely is an emotional high for sure.
…Maybe this is all because I’m writing exactly what I want to…
—I’ve been spending my whole summer break like this.
“…Still, I’m really thirsty. Maybe I should get something to drink…”
Trying to cope with the heat, I made my way to a nearby vending machine. When I did, I saw that there was already another person there. A woman, wearing a t-shirt with g-pants, making her look pretty lax. She had just pressed the button to get some tea.
As it turned out, it was actually Sakaki-san from Crescent Publishing, which surprised me.
“Oh? …Oh would you look at that, it’s Nagami-kun. Well well, what a coincidence to meet you here. How have you been?”
Not to mention that she seemed as disinterested in everything as ever.
…Ahh, there are so many things I want to tell her, but now that she’s in front of me, I can’t get out the words…!
“Ah, perfect timing, though. I wanted to talk about something.”
As my mouth was opening and closing like a fish, Sakaki-san got the jump on me as she put her hand in the dispenser of the vending machine.
“Ah, I accidentally got coke. Can we trade~?”
And she said something that didn’t matter at all.
“I actually came here to meet you. I was searching for your house, but I kinda got lost. It’s lucky that I met you on the way here~”
Anyway, I took Sakaki-san with me to a nearby park. I had been hoping to hear some details from her, but she immediately blurted that out, which left me in confusion.
“W-What do you mean by that? I went
to your office before, but I could only find a small letter that said
you went insolvent. And I couldn’t call you since you never gave me
“Ah, really? Sorry about that. I was planning on contacting you after that, but I got really busy and so on. That’s why I wanted to meet you personally to apologize.”
Sakaki-san sat down on the bench and started sipping on the can of tea in her hand.
“…I’m really sorry about this incident.”
She suddenly lowered her head, and I was at a loss as to what to do.
“R-Raise your head, Sakaki-san…”
“Since you’ve seen the paper on the
door, you must already know, but Crescent Publishing went bankrupt.
The management was trying its best to keep it running, but it didn’t
work out in the end… We really troubled you a lot by this, huh? The
thing is, we put on our light novel contest in hopes of making it
through this pinch, but there wasn’t quite enough time left…”
“E-Even if you tell me that…”
“That’s why I feel really bad about getting your hopes up. It’s totally our fault, so I can understand if you’re mad. That’s why I came here for an apology.”
After gulping down the rest of her tea, Sakaki-san directed her gaze towards me.
“Of course, I wasn’t expecting you to forgive me just like that. That being said, I don’t have any money, so I thought I could at least repay you with my body. You can do whatever you want with me, but please refrain from anything painful, alright?”
“Bfuu?! W-What are you talking about?!”
“I was planning on using my body to quell your anger. I mean, my body is really the only thing I can offer.”
“A-As if I could do that?! Also, you’re a woman, so treasure yourself a bit more!”
…W-What kind of crazy things is she bringing up all of a sudden…?!
“You really are kind~. But I really don’t have anything else.”
“…I-It’s fine. There’s no need
for an apology or anything. I mean, I was a bit let down after I
found out that your company went bankrupt, but this doesn’t mean
that I’ll never be able to debut. And also…”
“Hm? Also… what?”
“…Also, all the advice I got from you wasn’t for nothing. It’s because of my time with you that I made the decision to write a little sister novel.”
“A little sister novel… Can I ask for the reason why you suddenly had a change of heart like that?”
I was a bit hesitant at first, but I didn’t find any concrete reason not to, so I explained what happened. Naturally, I left out the part about Suzuka, but I told Sakaki-san about the part with that little sister novel being the origin of my dream.
“…So basically, because of this novel, you started aiming to be a light novel author, and it made you want to write a little sister novel?”
“Yes. Though it’s not that cool of a story.”
“That’s not true.”
Sakaki-san shook her head while she sat next to me.
“Oh, can I ask for the title of that
novel that turned into the origin of your dream?”
“Ah, right. It was a little sister romcom called ‘Honey Sister’—”
“…And the author was Kirurin?”
“Yes… Eh? Did I tell you the name of the author?”
When I asked her that, Sakaki-san shook her head again. And when I heard her next words, I was really shocked.
“I just know it. After all, it’s a book that I wrote a long time ago.”
A confused voice leaked out of my mouth. But, when I finally understood the meaning of her words…
I jumped up and screamed.
“Eh….?! S-Sakaki-san is the… author?! W-What are you…?!”
“I just told you, didn’t I? I was the one who wrote the novel ‘Honey Sister.’ I’m surprised myself that you suddenly brought up that name,” Sakaki-san said. Her eyes were still half-opened like usual.
N-No no no no…!
“You looked like you still don’t quite believe me, huh? What if I told you that the pen name Kirurin originates from my name Sakaki Ruriko?”
Sakaki Ruriko. Saka, Kiruri, Ko…?!
“Seriously. Still, to think that my novel was the start of everything for you~”
“B-But, why?! Why did you stop writing light novels, Sakaki-san?!”
“Because it didn’t sell at all. I managed to release that novel, but the evaluation was so-so. That was why I decided to stop aiming to be an author, and went into editing instead.”
Sakaki-san was saying like it was nothing special, but my shock continued.
…S-Seriously… Do coincidences like that really happen?
“…But I see…”
I heard Sakaki-san’s voice. When I lifted my head to look at her, she had distant eyes, until she suddenly jumped up from the bench.
“I’ll have to go now.”
“My goal was to apologize to you, but if I don’t find a job soon, I’ll probably starve.”
“…I should probably do it now with this good feeling I have now.”
With a smile, Sakaki-san responded.
“…To think that the novel I just threw together back then would influence somebody else…”
She looked happy, and she turned her heel, saying “Anyway, I have to go.”
“Ah! H-hey, Sakaki-san?!”
“I believe that you can write a truly fun novel. The plot you came up with was interesting, and the characters you developed were cute. Now you just have to write a younger heroine, or a little sister even, and you’ll make it far.”
“D-Do you think so…?”
“Well, I didn’t really read any other novels because almost nobody sent in any other novels for the contest.”
“Anyway, I’m praying that you’ll find success, and that you can achieve your dream. Do your best~”
Sakaki-san said this as she turned around, leaving me unable to say anything besides a confused “T-Thank you very much…?”
When I did, Sakaki-san said something.
“Maybe I should try and follow my dream once again…”
Those were her last words before she walked off. For a while, I just sat there, watching her off, until I got up from the bench myself and made my way home.
“Welcome back, Onii-chan! I-Is your little sister novel still not done yet?!”
The second I opened the entrance door, Suzuka, who had been like this all the time recently, energetically greeted me. Normally, I’d cringe a bit at that, but just for today, I actually felt a certain warmth filling up my body, and I responded before I could think.
“…Yeah, I’ll try my best.”
I swore that I would give it my all to chase my dream.