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What It Means to Write a Little Sister Novel
“What’s most important is definitely collecting data! It becomes more realistic the more data you have to work with! Don’t you agree?!”
It was something that happened on a certain evening. I was in my own room, kneeling in front of Suzuka, hearing her passionate argument. A few minutes before, I had been busily working on the plot for the next novel that I was planning on entering into the next light novel contest, when Suzuka suddenly stormed in my room. I was overwhelmed by the sudden situation, and I happened to end up in this position. What exactly is going on here…?
“What is it, Onii-chan? Are you doubting the importance of collecting data, by any chance?” Suzuka pierced me with a sharp gaze.
“No, um, why did you even come here…?”
Although it might be a bit late to ask that, since I had already ended up in this situation, I carefully asked her anyway. Naturally, this question should be justified, but Suzuka only replied with a sigh. She even hit me with a counter-question. “You don’t even understand that, Onii-chan?!” Her gaze was filled with disappointment.
…Why is she acting like I’m the one in the wrong here…?
“I came to help you, Onii-chan.”
“Help me how?”
“I want to assist you with the next novel you’re going to write, of course.”
…My next novel? I wanted to ask why, but Suzuka got the jump on me. She put up her index finger.
“Onii-chan, you decided that the theme you want to write will be, um… a li-little sister novel, right? That’s how you’re going to write the next novel you’re going to submit, right?”
The moment she spoke the words ‘Little sister novel’, her cheeks turned a bit red and she awkwardly averted her gaze. It was the same for me. I could feel my face getting hotter.
The other day, after a lot happened, I finally understood that I had always wanted to write a little sister novel, and had decided that I would focus on that theme for the novels I enter into contests. Naturally, Suzuka is already aware of that, which doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. It’s crazy awkward, to boot. Especially since it’s Suzuka of all people. I mean, think about it this way. Suzuka is my real little sister, and I’m writing a little sister novel of all things. It makes me the absolute worst. Even I know that, and it must look even worse to everybody else.
However, now that I’ve decided upon it, I can’t back out anymore. My wish to write a little sister novel is real, and I don’t see any reason to stop here before achieving my dream of becoming a light novel author. Luckily, Suzuka isn’t against me writing a little sister novel, either. On the contrary, she said that she would support me.
Because of this, I replied with a confident “Th-That’s what I’m aiming for,” and nodded. Please don’t laugh at me for stuttering there. I’m in quite the awkward position, after all…
“R-Right! So I think that my assistance will be necessary!”
After she heard my response, Suzuka had a relieved expression on her face for a bit before she continued.
“S-See, my novel just so happens to be a little-sister type as well, and even though I’m possessed while writing it, I’m still something of a trailblazer for you, so I thought I could give you some advice that could help you out!”
“I see, so that’s what you meant by assisting me.”
Suzuka is the incredibly-popular light novel author Towano Chikai, and her novel ‘The story of a little sister who loves her big brother way too much to cope’ is indeed a little-sister novel. This means that, just as she said, she’s my Senpai in the industry, and she’s the type of person that I should strive to be. Hence, having Suzuka help me out here is actually something I should be begging her to do—
“I’m really thankful to be able to receive direct advice from Towano Chikai! Thank you!”
I bowed forward to earnestly thank her. Do you know how many aspiring authors would die to be able to have a chance like this?! This greatly increases my chances of winning the light novel contest! I started getting hyped, imagining myself debuting as a light novel author. People would ask for my autograph at a signing session, and I would be able to sign it “Nagami Yuu-sensei”…
Suzuka for her part was squirming back and forth with joy and saying “E-Ehehe, is that so?! So Onii-chan really needs me!” and laughing to herself. Hence, for a short while, the room was filled with the sounds of us laughing.
Doubt suddenly entered my mind.
“…Hey, Suzuka. I’m really grateful for the chance, but why would you help me out with my novel?”
I just couldn’t figure out why, no matter how hard I wracked my brain. Suzuka had accepted the fact that I would be writing a little sister novel, yes, but there should be no reason for her to help me to this extent.
Suzuka’s laughing suddenly stopped, and she looked at me with a sharp gaze yet again. “What are you talking about, Onii-chan?” She looked down at me.
“W-We’re brother and sister, after all, so of course I’ll help you out. Onii-chan, you became my stand-in as well, and you’ve always been helping me out with my novel, so now it’s my turn to assist you in any way possible.”
“But that was just me thinking that it should be obvious that an older brother should help his little sister out.”
“I-It’s the same for me. Supporting an older brother is only natural for a little sister,” Suzuka responded as she averted her gaze.
Maybe she doesn’t want to owe me anything, since she’s such a perfectionist. But nevertheless, I was moved by her words. Another reason for that was because I also realized just how much our relationship had improved over the past couple of months.
—Alright, I’ll take in all the advice Suzuka—Towano Chikai has to offer, and I’ll win the light novel contest! Both for my dream, and as a way to thank her!
While I was thinking that, Suzuka spoke again.
“A-And, you know, it’s my duty to help Onii-chan out, but there is an even bigger reason for this!”
When I heard her words, I was unable to process them, and I muttered a confused “Eh?” in return.
“U-Um…! O-O-O-Onii-chan, you said that a girl like me is your ideal type, didn’t you…?!”
I swallowed my breath out of shock… H-Hold on! Why did she suddenly bring that up?! I-I mean, I did say that before, so it’s not like she’s wrong or anything, but it’s embarrassing for her to say it out loud! I’m so embarrassed that it makes me want to dig a hole and hide in it!
“S-Since I’m your ideal type of girl, and you want to write a little sister novel, i-it would make sense for you to want to use me as a model, right?! A-Although it’s nothing but a bother for me, I do understand that I have to at least offer to do it!”
“N-No! Hold on! I never said anything about basing the little sister off of you or anything—”
“Ehhh?! A-Am I wrong?!” Suzuka was clearly devastated.
It would have been great I could just refuse her outright by saying something like “I don’t have any plans to do that!”, but sadly…
I couldn’t help it that I was lost for words. Truth be told, I had never thought about writing the little sister novel based off of Suzuka. That isn’t a lie. But, considering the circumstances, I couldn’t help but worry that it might actually turn out like that. My perfect heroine is Suzuka, and since it will be a little sister novel, the chance that it might turn out that way is—pretty high, yes. But, since I’m an actual older brother to an actual little sister like her, I can’t let it come to that.
Recently, I’ve found myself being weirdly conscious of Suzuka, so much so that I can’t deny that I’m slowly turning into a siscon, and I feel like it would only get stronger if I were to spend more time with Suzuka. Hence…
“I-I never thought about that~?”
Although my response sounded less than convincing, I still tried to deny it. However, just as I expected, Suzuka narrowed her gaze.
“That sure sounds lackluster. If you don’t cultivate as many experiences as you can, you won’t be able to write the best novel there ever was! A-Although I’m not the biggest fan of it!” Suzuka gave a very Suzuka-like response.
I know that she isn’t wrong, but I really think that there are experiences that should never be experienced in this world. Yes.
“Onii-chan… A-Anyway, since I’m Onii-chan’s ideal girl, as well as your little sister, I have a duty to help you out with your novel. A-Although it really doesn’t sit right with me!”
She emphasized the last part several times, so she must surely feel that way. Her conscience is strong, she’s diligent, and since she owes me for acting as her stand-in, she feels obliged to help me out, even if she really doesn’t want to… Really, my little sister is such a kind girl.
“I see… Thank you, Suzuka.”
“N-No, this is all to write a lovey-dovey story between me and Onii—Excuse me! All to write an interesting little sister novel of course! As a fellow little-sister-novel author, I won’t allow anything half-baked!”
So basically, she doesn’t want the shame of the older brother of Towano Chikai writing something bad in the same genre as her. And she’s ready to achieve that, even if it’s to her own detriment… I can’t help but bow my head to you again. Thank you, Suzuka.
“I’ll tell you about every little detail that belongs in a little sister novel! Now then, let’s start!”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
Suzuka’s words made me sit up straight. The truth is, I had decided to make it a little sister novel, but I was already having trouble thinking of a decent plot. That’s why I’m really thankful to Suzuka for her willingness to help out.
“Then let’s prepare to go out immediately!”
“Alright… Huh? Go out?”
But the words that came out of Suzuka’s mouth left me in confusion yet again.
“U-Um… What about giving me advice…?”
“What about it?”
“Shouldn’t we take a look at the plot and decide how we can improve it?”
I thought that this was the natural course of events, personally. We’d be discussing this and that in terms of story development, how the characters should behave here, and how they shouldn’t, right? But, Suzuka just said “No,” and shook her head.
“I won’t comment on anything regarding the story. Well, since it’s a little sister novel, I’d want—Excuse me, I’d anticipate lots of flirting between the siblings, but since it’s Onii-chan’s novel, I want you to work on it yourself.”
That’s… Certainly a valid approach. Also, I’ve said the same thing before, haven’t I?
“But what will we do about the advice you were talking about, then?”
Since the plot isn’t done yet, there’s no reason for any other advice. Or so I thought…
“T-That’s…! I’m talking about flirty events between the siblings!”
“L-Listen, Onii-chan. What’s most crucial in a little sister novel are the lovey-dovey and flirty scenes between the older brother and the younger sister. Basically, if you have a higher quantity of those events, the quality of the novel as a whole rises!”
“W-Well, that might be true to a certain degree, but the story isn’t even decided yet, so shouldn’t I be thinking about that…?”
“No, that’s not necessary! Whatever the story may be, the flirty events take priority over everything! Every author knows that!”
“S-Seriously. And in order to achieve the greatest results, it’s crucial to collect as much data as we can. That’s why I said that we have to prioritize data-gathering right now.”
…So is that how it works? I had no idea…
“I don’t know what kind of story you’re thinking of writing, Onii-chan, but flirty events are the core of every little sister novel, so we have to collect data… Um… It’s not like I want to or anything, b-but that’s just my advice as Towano Chikai.”
When Suzuka told me this, I couldn’t say anything in response. When Suzuka was working on her novel, we had always done that, and she finished her novel that way. The first novel was completed by her being possessed, but the rest was all through hard work and data-gathering. As her stand-in, I am painfully aware of that. But… to think that the day would come where I’d have to be the one doing the data-gathering!
“Since I’m your ideal girl, as well as your little sister, you’ll definitely grow more conscious of me—No! I-I mean the quality of your novel will skyrocket for sure. I-I’m really not happy about that, though!”
Since this is advice from the real Towano Chikai, this must be important for writing a little sister novel and subsequently debuting as a light novel author. Not to mention that she’s going out of her way to help me, so I can’t hesitate here.
“…I understand. We’ll collect all the data I need, and I’ll write the best novel ever.”
I formed a fist with my hand to steel my resolve. Yeah! I’ll do whatever it takes to become a light novel author! Even if I have to collect data on flirty events with Suzuka! Even if I want to kill myself afterwards!
“Hm? What happened, Suzuka? You’re suddenly all quiet.”
“W-Well, I just realized that Onii-chan is going to collect data on his own accord now, so I was imagining that…!”
Suzuka put her hands together in front of her chest and looked up at the ceiling. I-I think that you’re over-exaggerating a bit there…
“T-Then let’s start immediately. I can’t miss out on this when Onii-chan is so energetic!”
“Y-Yeah. But why are you so hyped up?”
“I-I don’t know what you’re referring to! N-Nevermind that, let’s hurry with our preparations so that we can get started quickly!”
“Y-Yeah… But what are we collecting data on?”
“Isn’t that obvious?” Suzuka’s sparkled as she continued. “The most important flirty event! In other words, a date!”
And thus, Suzuka dragged me yet again out to the nearby shopping mall. For some reason, she wasn’t as calm as she normally was. She literally pulled on my arm while we ran here, leaving me quite out of breath. Again, why are you so motivated even though we’re doing this for my novel? I mean, I’m thankful and all, but…
“We’re here! T-Today, we’ll be conducting our date here!”
But, Suzuka’s gaze of enthusiasm was so overwhelming—and also so scary—that I didn’t have any chance to ask her about it. I really am a weak-willed older brother like always.
“Ummm… Can I just ask why we’re going on another date?” I voiced the question that had been plaguing me all the way here.
It’s not like it was a bad thing, but there should be other kinds of flirty events that we can do, so why did it have to be a date?
“That’s obviously because I wanted to go on a da—No! I mean that I wanted Onii-chan to understand the importance of a date.”
“The importance of a date?”
“E-Exactly. A date is the greatest form of being lovey-dovey. An event where a boy and a girl can enjoy their time together to their fullest. You might even call it the essence of flirting. Leaving out a date in a little sister novel is like leaving out the miso in miso soup.”
“It’s that important?!”
N-No, that’s not the point here. Suzuka is saying that the novel can’t be considered complete without such an event?! But aren’t there a lot of romcom novels that don’t have any dates in them?! But wait, she might not be completely wrong about this… In romcom novels, dates happen all the time, and they’re always fun to read. Naturally, they aren’t necessary or anything, but at the very least, from Suzuka’s—Towano Chikai’s—point of view, a date scene is crucial.
“That’s why Onii-chan will have to put a date event like this in his novel. This is the only reason we’re here. There’s no deeper meaning to it or anything.”
“I-I see. A date scene might indeed be important… And if you’re willing to help out, then I’d love to collect some data on it.”
“Hau…! To think that I would hear these words from Onii-chan’s mouth…! So writing light novels was something as wonderful as this…!”
“Y-Yeah…? Wait, you’re only saying that now?!”
Suzuka looked really moved. Although I don’t know why.
“But this isn’t the time to get all sentimental. A-And now that Onii-chan is convinced, we have to move quickly.”
“Y-Yeah… But Suzuka?”
“W-What is it, Onii-chan? Time is precious, so I want to start flirting—Excuse me, collecting data—immediately. O-Or do you mean to tell me that you’ve already thought of a wonderful idea, and you want to try it out immediately?! Ahh, Onii-chan is taking the initiative! I-I’m more than welcome to—No, I just mean that I don’t mind that at all!”
“I’m not talking about that! Why are you so tense today?!”
Having Towano Chikai show me the ropes is great and all, but isn’t she a bit too motivated?! I’ve never seen Suzuka this energetic before!
“T-That’s not what I meant. I wanted to talk about the fact that we went to the same shopping mall again. I mean, we’ve walked around this mall countless times already.”
We’ve gone here on a fake date once before to rid Mai of her doubts, and again when we wanted to search for my ideal heroine… Still, a lot has happened, huh? Picking out underwear, eating ice cream… and then the rings… Wait. In retrospect, all of these things are crazy embarrassing…!
“B-Back then, those were technically also kind of like dates, right? What I mean is that we should have plenty of data collected already.”
Also, I’ve come here with Suzuka several times already, without the whole data-gathering on dates as the goal. Not for me, though, but for Suzuka’s novel. But since we’ve walked through here countless times, I feel like I’ve gathered just as much experience as she has. When it comes to data-gathering on dates, I’d say that I feel just as experienced as her now. And I have confidence that I can write a date scene accurately. After all these times that we’ve come here, I should have also gained something, myself.
“…I see, so Onii-chan is saying that he wants to try out another flirty event at a different location…”
“N-No, I wasn’t saying it in the sense of flirting or anything… I was just talking about the date, and thought that maybe we should try it in a different environment…”
“So basically, you’re saying that we’ve already gathered enough data here about dates.” Suzuka pierced me with a sharp gaze, which made me twitch.
I-I don’t know why, but Suzuka feels almost overwhelming today…
“Don’t look down on dates!”
She pointed at me with her index finger, leaving me in confusion.
“It’s true that we’ve been here several times already, but your understanding of a date is still too weak!”
“No, um… What might you be talking about?”
Suzuka stood in front of me, arms crossed. The pressure emanating from her forced me to suddenly start speaking formally.
“Just how many shops and stores do you think there are here? And it’s not just them, there are also places where you can spend free time, right? We haven’t even set foot in all of them yet, so why are you talking as if we have?”
“I-I mean, visiting every single one of them would be a bit much…”
“Back when we came here before, we looked at a clothing store, an u-u-underwear boutique, ate some ice cream, and fed each other! We even went into the photo booth and flirted in there, right?!” Suzuka’s face flushed bright red as she retold all of the events we had experienced.
…If you’re that embarrassed, why are you bringing them up?
“T-That was all for clearing Himuro-san’s doubts that she had about us back then, but it was also a wonderful experience for collecting data. I used it later in my novel, too. However, that is only but a small fraction of what you can do in this mall. This is all in hindsight when thinking about my own novel. We also need to make sure that Onii-chan’s novel is different from mine.”
T-That’s… not wrong, for sure. Suzuka’s data might only be useful for her own novel. Although I also gained something from it all, myself, my experiences were shallow by comparison. Hence, if I wanted to experience the full benefit of data-collecting, I would have to do it myself.
“It seems like you understand what I’m trying to say. Basically, there’s an infinite number of things here that we still haven’t done. If we start from here, Onii-chan’s date could turn out completely different than mine.”
“I-I see, that’s not a bad idea. Ah, but hold on, I haven’t even finished the plot yet, so…”
“I know that. That is exactly why I’ve chosen this place.”
A glint appeared in Suzuka’s eyes.
“If nothing’s decided yet, you can just come up with a plan for a date, and then you can figure out the story you want to build around that!”
“W-What?! So we’re doing it in reverse?!”
“T-That’s correct. The data is essential for writing light novels, anyway. So no matter how the story ends up, we have to prepare now so that you can immediately put it in words!”
What a ridiculous way of thinking! But it feels oddly persuasive coming from her.
“…Ehe, ehehe… The logic is flawless, if I do say so myself! Thanks to this, I can enjoy a fulfilling date with Onii-chan…! Ehehehe…!”
Suzuka suddenly started bugging out and laughing to herself, muttering something under her breath. I couldn’t really be bothered to pay any attention to what she was saying, though… Dang, Towano Chikai has such a strange way of thinking. She really is on a different level than I am.
“I’ve never thought about it that way. I really didn’t gather all the data from this place that I could last time. Sorry.”
“Hya?! N-No, it’s fine if you understand. Then let’s enjoy our date—data-gathering to our heart’s content. Ehehe…” Suzuka smiled as she grabbed my arm.
Apparently, Suzuka is planning on staying in character the whole time. Even though it’s acting, I couldn’t help but be entranced by her for a second… Hold on, what am I thinking?! Recently, I keep feeling weirdly conscious of her… It’s like she looks cuter than ever… Well, Suzuka has always been a beauty… Wait, stop thinking about that! She’s helping you by her own choice, so don’t think about idiotic stuff like that!
“…Hm? Is something wrong, Onii-chan?”
“N-No, it’s nothing! Anyway, let’s hurry and start the date!”
I furiously shook my head to rid myself of these thoughts. However…
“…………Why did you stop?”
After taking a single step, I was unable to keep going.
“I-I mean, collecting data about dating is great and all, but what exactly should we do?”
I had been dragged here out of the blue and told that we should collect data on dates. There’s no way I could come up with a good plan right on the spot. Not to mention there’s no way I could know what specifically I should be collecting data about. And I’d never gone on a real date before, which didn’t help.
“What, that’s all you’re worried about? Then leave it to me.”
Suzuka’s response to my unease was unexpected. It almost seemed like she was a bit let down.
“I-I do have several date plans that I thought of beforehand. So just tag along and collect data on whatever you want.”
“S-Seriously? You have that sort of thing already prepared? How?”
“Well… I’m always thinking about going on dates with Onii-chan, so having three or four plans ready is no big deal.”
“…Ah?! Th-That’s not it, okay?! Don’t get the wrong idea! I was just… um… Talking about the light novel! I was thinking of ideas for how the siblings in there would go on dates and so on!”
A-Ahh, I see. That scared me. It sounded like she genuinely wanted to go on a date with me… Hey! Stop thinking about the impossible, brain!
This isn’t good. These weird thoughts keep coming back! Because of them, I can’t think straight. I have to calm down. Calm… Down…
“Y-You really are amazing. You have so many ideas.”
“Y-Yes, most of my date ideas come from my Onii-chan no—Excuse me! I just give them a lot of thought while writing.”
“Is that so? How many ideas do you have, roughly?”
“As for the siblings being lovey-dovey? So many that I can’t count them.” Suzuka responded immediately. “And the notes just keep on growing.” She finished her muttering with a grin.
I was quite shocked by this, honestly. A-Are you for real? Suzuka is going to great lengths just to make her novel more interesting. That’s Towano Chikai for you. And she’s willing to use them for my novel, too? So basically, she’s teaching me the ropes for romcoms… Wow, I feel incredibly blessed.
“…Thank you, Suzuka. I’ve been in your care a whole lot recently. I feel bad about it, but I’ll use today as reference material for my own story.”
“Y-Yes, please do! I really should be thanking you, instead. This way I get to act out even more of my fantasies!”
“Hm? What do you mean by—”
“N-No, I was just thinking out loud, so don’t pay it any mind. Anyway, let’s hurry up!” Suzuka latched onto my arm and squeezed it tightly.
I don’t really get it, but maybe she’s telling me that I don’t have to hold back now. Anyway, my own data-collecting will start from here on out. This is different from me just tagging along with Suzuka. Now I have to actively seek out situations that would make for good data. In order to write a better light novel. In order to become a light novel author.
“…Alright. I’ll give it my best! Please help me out as much as you can, Suzuka!”
“…! T-To think that a day like this would come…! It’s like I’m dreaming!”
“Hey, pull yourself together!”
Using Suzuka’s ideas as a basis, our data-collecting started. I was excited at first, hoping that I could take the fun of Suzuka’s novel and make it my own, but… Well… Things don’t always work out as planned.
“What are you sighing for, Onii-chan? Let’s go to the next place.”
Approximately ten minutes later.
I was already worn out, sitting on a bench with my head hung low. Next to me was Suzuka, still as energetic as ever, pulling on my arm. Of course, the reason things had ended up like this was because of the data-collecting.
“H-Hold on a second, Suzuka… We were just collecting data. And at a really rapid pace…”
This time around, it was really tough. Normally, it’s (mentally) tough for me, but this time around it’s way worse.
“What are you talking about? We have to use everything available to us, so we have to try everything we can. If not, this data-gathering won’t be worth its time.”
Yes, this is the reason it’s so difficult this time. Previously, we’d always think about the concept behind the scene and collect data on one aspect of that. Now, though, it’s an all-in-one deal. For example, not long ago we had gone to a store with miscellaneous goods with the goal of looking for a birthday present. Today, though, we had gone through a wide range of things, such as ‘Looking for matching accessories with your little sister,’ or ‘A surprise present for your little sister,’ or ‘Secretly showing your affection for each other,’ and so on.
Also, since Suzuka was really trying to emphasize the flirtatious aspect of it, nothing half-baked was allowed. You can probably understand why I’m so exhausted now. While we were in the clothes store, I had to come up with different situations while picking out clothes for Suzuka. It was like a fashion show. Naturally, that also meant that I was supposed to compliment her every time, and in a different way. I’ve reached my limit here…
“ ‘I-I think that those clothes have a calm and gentle aura that really suits you, Suzuka’… That sounds really good! Your word choice is pretty plain, but it brings out the feeling that you really understand your little sister well. ‘Ah, sorry, I was just so entranced by—No, it’s nothing!’ —This also sounds wonderful. The reaction is perfect, even if the words aren’t. B-But the best one has to be ‘Y-You’re cute, Suzuka…’ Ehehe…”
“W-Wait, what are you listening to?!”
I had been so lost in my thoughts that I hadn’t even realized that Suzuka had taken out her smartphone. She was holding it to her ear while kicking her legs up and down, her face as red as a tomato… And am I hearing the same things I was forced to say just earlier during our data-collecting?!
“W-Why did you record that?!”
“It’s important data. After this, I’ll replay them and fantasize—excuse me. I’ll use them with the data we collected today.”
“W-When did you…?! I’m really embarrassed here, so could you not?”
“B-But Onii-chan, you took so many pictures of me while I was trying on clothes. This is basically the same thing.”
“That was because you practically forced me to!”
Just as she had said, a great number of pictures of her from the ‘fashion show’ were saved on my phone as of this moment. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. This is all material for my novel.
“T-They’re important so that you can remember everything more clearly. A-Anyway, time is limited, so where should we act lovey-dovey next…? Ehehehe…”
“H-Hold on! Stop!”
Suzuka was about to walk away, pulling on my arm, so I frantically stopped her.
“What is it? D-Did you come up with a wonderful date plan already, by any chance?”
“N-No, that’s not it. I was wondering if we could maybe take a break for a bit?”
“Breaks shouldn’t be necessary, though, should they? I’m not tired at all.”
I could clearly tell that Suzuka was still brimming with energy. But really, are you serious? I’m dying over here! But now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Suzuka look tired when we’re out collecting data.
“S-Sorry, but that’s impossible for me. Let me rest a bit.”
You can’t just ask me to just go full-steam-ahead on the first time. If this keeps going, I’ll be permanently damaged, both physically and mentally. Especially mentally.
“Hmph. That’s no good, Onii-chan. You can’t give up this early.”
“Guilty as charged… Still, I’m shocked that you’re fine after all of this. You seem even more energetic than ever.”
“It’s for Onii-chan’s little sister novel, after all. And since I can try out different ways of collecting data for dates right now, instead of being tired, I’m more fired up than ev—Ah, don’t get the wrong idea! Gathering data like this is essential for a little-sister-novel author, so I can’t be tired just yet.”
A-Amazing. Once again, I’m awestruck at the difference between me and Towano Chikai.
“But I’m sure that you won’t be able to concentrate too well if I force it on you. Since that isn’t my intention, we can take a short break if we really have to.”
Thankfully, Suzuka didn’t mind, and she agreed to take a short break. In the end, this sort of kindness is what makes my little sister so great. Well, it should be a given that Suzuka would adjust her pace to match mine, since I’m the one collecting data right now, but that’s just how impressive the gap between us is. Of course, this isn’t how I want our relationship to be in the long run. For now though, I feel like I might be fine with it.
…Ahh, I can feel myself becoming more and more of a siscon. But since I’m already starting to accept that fact, I shouldn’t dwell on it too much.
“What’s wrong, Onii-chan?”
Suzuka interrupted my thinking. She peered into my eyes with a confused look on her face, leaving me unable to say anything in return but a flustered “I-It’s nothing.”
“Then that’s fine… Instead of staying on this bench, how about we take a break over there?”
Suzuka pointed to a familiar food court we had visited before. Since it was afternoon on a holiday, quite a lot of people were there, as you’d expect. Most of them were families or couples. Luckily for us, we still managed to find a seat. While we sat down at a table next to each other, I let out a sigh.
“…Haaah, we might as well eat something. I’ve gotten a bit hungry.”
“You’re right. This is the perfect time for a snack,” Suzuka agreed.
I was about to get up and look for something to eat, but Suzuka suddenly stopped me and said “Please wait a second!” She tugged on my clothes.
“What’s wrong? Is there something you want to eat?”
“N-No, that’s not it…”
For some reason, Suzuka averted her gaze, and she started fidgeting. I’m getting a really bad feeling now…
“U-Um… Since we’re here already, I thought that we might as well collect some data on something…”
And just like that, my bad premonitions turned into reality.
“Ehh?! Didn’t we just say that we were planning on taking a break?!”
“I-It’s not something as tiring as before. It’s just something simple we can do while taking a break… It’s like collecting data in between our data-collecting!” Suzuka looked up at me with an expression like she had just solved world hunger.
I’m sorry, I really don’t understand what you mean!
“A-Also, since Onii-chan has to collect data about as many things as possible, you don’t have time for a break. Hence, we have to continue this time as well.”
“N-No way…But what about my break…”
“A-Again, it’s just some light data collecting. Something you can do while taking a break. Some light flirting.”
…So basically, something natural that would happen during a date? I can’t really think of anything like that. But Suzuka looked determined enough about it that I could only give in and ask her what she meant.
“…So what are you planning on doing?”
“T-That’s obvious. It’s something that you can only do in a food court like this.”
Her eyes glinted while she responded.
“Something you can only do here?”
The moment I spoke these words aloud, a certain picture entered my mind. That picture was what Suzuka had done before, in this very location. Back then, Suzuka and I had to act lovey-dovey to rid Mai of her doubts, so we fed each other ice cream…
Apparently, Suzuka had thought of the same thing at the same time, and her face flushed immediately… Wait, my face feels hot now, too! This is getting really awkward!
“Y-You want to do the same thing that we did back then…?” I asked, thinking that already knew her answer, but Suzuka proved me wrong when she shook her head.
“N-No, doing the same thing again wouldn’t help at all. You should have already mastered that kind of data collecting from back when we did that. Right?”
I don’t really know how to respond to that, but I nodded along to be on the safe side.
“Therefore, we have to go with something different today. Don’t worry, I’ve already thought of something.”
Something different? Well, it seems like she already has something in mind. How many ideas do you even have prepared? That’s nothing short of amazing.
“A-Anyway, let’s just buy something… Ummm, maybe those crêpes over there. They look pretty delicious.” Suzuka pointed to a crêpe stand, and the two of us headed there.
There were lots of couples lined up there, and Suzuka and I stood among them, which made me feel extremely uncomfortable.
“They have a lot of variations here… I’m fine with a normal one. What do you want?”
“No, we will only be buying one. And maybe a drink, too.”
…Just one? For what exactly? I was a bit confused at first, but I went ahead and bought just one crêpe and one drink as she instructed. We returned back to the bench.
“P-Please enjoy the crêpe, Onii-chan.”
“Yeah, but what about you?”
“I-It’s fine. Just eat it,” Suzuka urged me to eat the crêpe.
…You really don’t want to eat anything? Well, if she’s that adamant about it, then I’ll just take a bite myself.
…Yeah, it’s delicious—
“…Eh? Woah?! S-Suzuka?!”
She suddenly moved forward and bit into the crêpe I was holding. And not just anywhere, but at the exact same spot I had taken a bite from just a second ago!
“W-W-W-W-W-W-W-What are you doing?!?!?!?!”
“C-C-C-C-C-Calm down, Onii-chan!”
Naturally, I panicked. A lot. And so did Suzuka. She started flailing her arms and legs all over the place… Weren’t you the one who did it?!
“T-This was all part of the data-collecting that I was talking about! A while ago we did the ‘Feeding each other’ part of it, and now we’re doing the ‘Sharing with each other’ part!”
“S-Sharing with each other, you say?!”
W-Why are you coming up such embarrassing things?!
“N-Now, Onii-chan, keep going,” With her face still as red as before, Suzuka urged me to continue.
She grabbed my hand with the crêpe, barely containing her embarrassment as she glared at me. I was left with no other choice, and was now face to face with the crêpe. Right in front of me was the spot where Suzuka had just bitten into—No, don’t think about it! Calm down! This is to collect data, nothing more!
Feeling extremely hesitant, I still forced myself to take another bite. I was assaulted by waves of embarrassment, and I was unable to get a good taste of it. But even so, the sweetness of it all was overwhelming, which left my mind in chaos and confusion.
“E-Eating the same crêpe as Onii-chan! Ehe, ehehe, ehehehehe…!”
P-Please stop! I’ll be even more conscious of it if you say it out loud! And don’t bug out on me! This is your idea! I’m about to bug out, myself, here!
That’s how we progressed as we ate the crêpe together. Honestly, the embarrassment of it all left me unable to think about anything. I’m not sure if that data collecting was a success or not.
“Y-You must be thirsty. Have a drink.”
After a bit, Suzuka handed me the iced coffee we had bought. Now that she mentioned it, I felt like my throat was getting all dry, so I bit on the straw and gulped down some coffee. The bitterness of it tasted even better than usual.
…Alright, I might be able to calm down a bit thanks to this.
“U-Um, Onii-chan… Can I also take a sip?”
“Y-Yeah, maybe that would help you calm down a bit.”
I handed over the coffee to Suzuka. But in that moment, I realized something.
…H-Hold on a second? Didn’t I just—?
“…Mmm… Mmm… W-What sweet coffee…!”
Before I could voice my thoughts, Suzuka had already taken a good sip of the coffee. Naturally, she used the same straw. The one I had just used.
“W-W-W-We’re just sharing, right?! O-Of course that would include the drink as well! I-Inevitably, there is also the i…i-i-i-i-i-i-indirect… kiss…! But we can’t help that, right?!”
I-Indirect…! S-So that’s really what all this was about, huh?!
“C-Calm down, Onii-chan! This is all to collect data! I-It’s not anything indecent; we just couldn’t help it!”
“R-Right?! W-W-We couldn’t help it, right!”
Yeah! That makes sense! Our faces were bright red as we tried making excuses to each other. No matter how you think about it, the situation was bad. I couldn’t remain calm, and I just tried to ignore reality.
We both suddenly heard a voice. “Hey, look at that cute couple over there!”
When we looked over, a couple consisting of what seemed to be university students were looking over at us, grinning gleefully. It wasn’t just them. All the other couples, and all the families that were gathered around here, were all smiling at us, as if we were animals at a zoo.
…A-Are we the center of attention right now…?! Don’t get the wrong idea! This is all just to collect data! It’s necessary for writing an interesting light novel! I want to emphasize that right now. But I’m doing all of this with my little sister, so that isn’t much of an excuse at all…! I can’t say anything! Just please don’t look over here!
“What happened, Onii-chan?”
Suzuka didn’t seem to understand the situation at all. She just looked at me with a confused expression on her face. But I’m glad that she didn’t notice. It might have caused her to bug out even more…
“I-It’s nothing. Anyway, let’s just finish this quickly…”
Finishing the crêpe took the utmost priority. I picked up the pace, trying to make the data collecting come to an end…!
“P-Please wait a second! I also…!”
However, Suzuka didn’t understand what I was trying to do, and still seemed to want to eat it together. While I was trying to eat the crêpe all by myself, Suzuka had to lean her body forward to try to reach it, and she lost her balance.
As a result, a small amount of cream from the crêpe ended up on her cheek.
“I-I’m sorry for letting you see something as embarrassing as that…!”
Suzuka panicked ever so slightly and was about to wipe away the cream with a handkerchief, but for some reason, her movements came to a sudden halt. She started blushing and looked up at me.
“U-Um, Onii-chan…? I have a request…”
And with an expectant tone, she continued.
“C-Could you… get this off for me…?!”
“Eh? W-What do you mean?”
“D-Don’t get the wrong idea. We’re in the middle of collecting data, right?! So I thought that we should use this accident as reference?! A-Although it’s not like I really want to, or anything!”
…So you’re telling me to do something with that cream? A-And, in some way to make us look like we’re flirting?!
“F-For example… and it’s really not like I was planning on this or anything! B-But, maybe… You could softly whisper ‘Really, Suzuka, you’re such a troublesome girl’ as you wipe away the cream with a kiss…!!!”
The moment I heard those words, my head exploded and steam started rising out of it. Suzuka, for her part, had the same reaction. Why are you self-destructing from your own idea?!
“Y-You…! What are you saying?! Are you serious…?!”
“I-I’m telling you not to get the wrong idea! This isn’t what I want to do or anything, but just one of my ideas for being flirty!”
“Why is such a tremendously bad idea the first thing that comes to your mind?!”
“I-I’m always thinking about these sorts of things all the time, so I can’t help it!” Suzuka snapped at me.
…S-Seriously? She’s thinking about crazy things like this all the time? Towano Chikai is so amazing that it’s scary.
“N-Nevermind that. H-h-h-hurry up, Onii-chan…!”
Suzuka closed her eyes and faced towards me, entering her data-collecting state of mind.
…Wait, this totally makes it look like she’s expecting me to kiss her!
“They gonna kiss? Are they gonna kiss? Ahh, they’re so cute!”
Yet again, we could hear the voices of the nearby couple.
…Hold on, what are you expecting me to do right now?! We’re not some tourist attraction or anything, so leave us alone, okay?!
“U-Um, Onii-chan, hurry…”
Can you not make the situation worse by saying things like that?! My heart can’t take it! …A-Anyway, I have to hurry up with this, now that we’re here! Telling myself, “This is only to collect data!” mentally, I stared at the cream on Suzuka’s cheek. I have to… with my lips… As if I could do that! Even if it’s for collecting data! There are certain things that you’re not allowed to do, okay?!
Thus, I used my finger to wipe it away.
“…O-Okay, I got it off!”
I put my finger in my mouth… Thinking about it rationally, there was no need to lick my finger like that, but I just did it in the heat of the moment.
“Ahh, what a boring way for the boyfriend to cop out. But that was pretty cute to look at, so all is forgiven~~~”
Why are you all enjoying this while I’m suffering over here? And I’m not her boyfriend! I’m her older brother! It’s quite different if you ask me!
While everyone around us gradually stopped staring, I realized that Suzuka was glaring at me with a displeased expression on her face.
“W-Why did you use your fingers? Although that wasn’t too bad, either…”
“N-No. Licking it directly would have been dangerous. In a lot of ways.”
“……Hmpf, even though I was looking forward to it—Excuse me! I really wanted you to collect data on this, and I’d even prepared myself for it. Your resolve for gathering data is still too weak, I’d say.”
“Ehh?! Y-You gotta be kidding me! I think I really did my best there!”
“I do appreciate your efforts, but if you don’t work harder, you won’t be able to write a perfect little sister novel.”
N-No way… There’s gotta be a limit to how high the hurdle is…
“It seems that I need to force us to do even more data-collecting, Onii-chan. You have to think of ways to flirt with your little sister as naturally as you breathe.”
“I think you’re asking for too much there…”
“What are you acting all dumbfounded like that for? Anyway, the break is over, so let’s return to the date.”
“Huh? H-Hold on, that just now wasn’t a break at all.”
“W-What are you saying? I told you before that this was only a casual data-collecting event. After this, we’ll be going full force, so please prepare yourself,” Suzuka’s words as she got up scared me to bits.
B-But I almost died just now!
“Since we’re already in the food court, how about we proceed with our date here for a while?”
“No, but… um…”
“Why are you hesitating? I’m doing all of this for you, okay? Pull yourself together, please.”
“You’re not wrong about that, but can’t you take it easier on me?!”
“Time is precious, and the date takes priority. Let’s go, Onii-chan!”
Suzuka grabbed my arm and started pulling me along, which left me unable to complain or protest any longer… Ahh, fine! I’ll do just that! But if this was really for my sake, shouldn’t I be the one making decisions about it?!
After that, I was forced to go along with Suzuka’s data-collecting for lovey-dovey flirty events, and not a single complaint from my side was ever acknowledged. Just like always.
—A few hours later.
“Ehehe, we collected quite a lot of data today. This will definitely help the quality of Onii-chan’s novel quite a lot!”
“…T-Thanks for that, I guess…”
The evening sky was already dyed red by the setting sun, and Suzuka and I were on our way home. Suzuka seemed pleased with herself as she walked beside me with a skip in her step, while I had my head hung low, total exhaustion assaulting every muscle in my body.
…How do I put it? It was impressive. Thanks to Suzuka’s ideas, we went from event to event, without taking any breaks in between. We stayed in the food court for a bit, then we went to the game center. After that was the open-air garden, and then many other places. My mental stamina was at an all-time low, almost at the brink of depletion.
“O-Onii-chan, make sure that you use all this data to write some great l-lovey-dovey scenes in your story, okay?”
“…Yeah, I’ll give it my best.”
That being said, it’s true that I’ll definitely be able to use today’s experiences as great reference material in the future. At the very least, thanks to all of today’s data collecting, I probably won’t need any more material in the near future. I’d also rather not go through something like that again, considering that my head is about to overflow with all the ideas I now have.
This is all thanks to Suzuka. Even though there shouldn’t have been any reason for Suzuka to help me out this much, she went this far out of her own will, saying that it was her duty and so on. I really can’t thank her enough. I definitely have to take the first place in the next light novel contest so that her efforts don’t go to waste. For now though, I just want to sleep. I probably won’t be able to do any real writing in my current condition.
“By the way, Onii-chan.”
But when I Suzuka spoke up, I had an inkling that my wish wouldn’t be granted.
“O-Once we get home, we’ll be collecting even more data, okay?”
My bad premonition was confirmed when Suzuka suddenly blurted that aloud.
…What did she just say? A-Am I mishearing things? Something about collecting more data once we get home…? I must have misheard her, right?
“L-Like I said, we’ll be continuing our data collecting once we get home.”
“I-I didn’t mishear you?! N-No no no no, hold on! We already did a lot of that today!”
Naturally, I immediately protested. I was a bit flustered and couldn’t get my words out properly, but she should have understood what I was trying to say, right?
“What are you talking about, Onii-chan? You don’t think we’re done for the day, do you?”
But she wasn’t done yet. She pressed her attack, and I could feel my rational thinking starting to crumble.
“So you’re really thinking that we’re done? As if what we did today is even close to enough. There are a limitless number of date ideas to be tested. I’m not so soft that I would think that this one experience was enough.”
This isn’t good. I can’t find the words to counter her argument!
“A-Also, the dates in a little sister novel are really important, but there are also everyday flirty events that are even more so. We can’t forget about those either. As soon as we get home, we’ll continue by researching those,” emphasized Suzuka.
A mysterious fire seemed to be burning in her eyes, and she seemed completely confident in her words.
“N-No, please wait a second! You’re saying that all we did today still wasn’t enough?! A-And we’ll be doing something not related to the date?!”
“Exactly. From now on, we’ll continue doing these sorts of things. You’ll need training from morning until midnight in order to accurately write flirty events in a little sister novel.”
“Y-You’re saying that today wasn’t enough?!”
“Of course not. Writing a little sister novel is no easy feat. It all begins with excessive data collecting and love for your little sister!”
I could feel my head starting to spin at this ridiculous statement.
“A-Also, I can’t overlook this chance. Both for Onii-chan’s sake, and also as a chance to be as lovey-dovey as I want with you! A-Anyway! We’ll be continuing this every day from now on, so please prepare yourself!”
“Yes. I’ll do anything I have to do so that Onii-chan can write the greatest little sister novel ever. So keep that in mind!”
Suzuka’s face flushed bright red, but I didn’t have the leisure to pay attention to it. In order to help me achieve my dream of becoming a light novel author, the one and only Towano Chikai is teaching me, and quite thoroughly at that. And she even says that she’ll do whatever it takes. That makes me incredibly glad. I think that every aspiring light novel author in the country would do anything for a chance like this, crying tears of jealousy. Even still, I can’t believe the position I’m in. It’s tough, okay?
“N-Now, Onii-chan. Let’s hurry on home and continue with the data collecting. The theme this time around will be flirting with your little sister at home!”
Do you not have any restraint?! …Ahh, for crying out loud! I’d really like to complain here, but she’s doing it all for me, so I don’t have any right to do that! While I was engaging in this fierce mental battle, Suzuka pulled on my arm and started walking faster. I couldn’t do anything but give in.
“Ehehehe, how should we flirt once we get home…? Maybe I should try something from my Onii-chan notes volume 33…!”
Suzuka was muttering to herself, and my mind went blank aside from one thought.
Becoming a light novel author is really difficult, huh?
It was evening a few days later. I was in my own room, sitting in front of my PC. On the screen was a completely blank text document.
“Ahh, dang it, I can’t think of anything…” I ruffled my hair in frustration.
As you can see, I’m currently struggling with my new novel, the little sister novel I was going to send in for the next light novel contest. These past few days, under Suzuka’s assistance, I’ve been going through various sorts of flirting and lovey-dovey events. It’s been really tough, I tell you. Whether I’m sleeping or awake, my head has been filled with my past experiences, and also methods I could be lovey-dovey with Suzuka…
A-Ah, of course, not in a weird way, but my thought process just ended up like that, so don’t get the wrong idea. Thanks to all that, though, my ability to write flirty events has come a long way, and my confidence has risen. The proof? The scenes in my novel feel much more realistic, and it’s going way more smoothly than before. However…
But, as I just stated, I’m in a slump. Naturally, the problem wasn’t with the data I collected or anything.
“If I can’t come up with an overarching theme, even the best data will be wasted…”
Yes, the wall that I currently faced was the novel’s theme. Of course, it’s a little sister novel, but that’s nothing more than the genre. There’s all sorts of different kinds of little sister novels. I was unsure how to build the framework of mine.
…See, when you’re talking little sister novels, there’s a lot to consider, right? And I’m having trouble deciding what tone the novel should have. Back when I realized that I wanted to write a little sister novel, I only had a vague feeling for the concept. But now that I’m actually trying to write it, that image I had before has grown even more hazy, and I feel a bit lost…
“…I didn’t think that I would have this much trouble coming up with the plot.”
In the end, I might have managed to succeed with my flirty scenes, but without a solid plot, there’s nowhere for me to put them. I did write several test plots of course, but none of them felt right, and I ended up rejecting all of them.
“O-Onii-chan, I brought you some midnight snacks!”
As I let out a sigh, the door sprung open. Suzuka jumped in, making me almost fall of my chair out of shock.
“S-Suzuka?! W-Why are you here?! A-And wouldn’t you normally knock first?!”
“I-I’m sorry, I was just so interested in how far you had come with your little sister novel, so I just… U-Um… I wanted to assist Onii-chan in any way possible, so I prepared some midnight snacks! Anyway, how’s your novel coming along? Is it done yet?”
When Suzuka enthusiastically asked me an avalanche of questions, still holding the tray in her hands, I let out another sigh. Suzuka has been acting like this constantly as of late, and she’s always asking when my novel will be finished. Maybe she’s acting like a teacher, trying to push her student towards success. That would make sense, but isn’t she taking this a bit too far?
Even yesterday during breakfast, she asked me “Are you finished yet?” Then again during dinner. She asked “It should be done soon, right?” on the very same day… You know that I went to school during that time, right?! You even walked to said school with me! Just what is wrong with you, Suzuka?
“U-Um, you know that I can’t write a novel in just one evening, right?”
“I did, though.”
“…………Yeah, you’re right.”
A while back, Suzuka wrote a manuscript from scratch in one evening. When I realized that, I held back any further complaints.
“A-Anyway, it’s not finished yet.”
“Hmm… Is that so…? You’re unexpectedly slow, Onii-chan.”
“Maybe you’re just unnaturally fast!”
Suzuka, there’s hardly anyone who could be compared to you. And that hurts!
“Well, that’s just how things are. So don’t rush me, okay?”
“I-I’m sorry… But I’m looking forward to it. I’m cheering for you, so if there’s anything you need, feel free to tell me!” Suzuka said. She gave me a look full of overflowing support.
I’m really thankful for that, but it still feels like she’s acting more enthusiastic than when she’s writing her own novel. Well, looking at it from her point of view, her older brother is writing a little sister novel right now, so of course she’d want to see her own advice and such reflected in the novel. However, that means that the pressure on me is immense, and I’d really like her to at least give me some time when I’m actually writing it.
“Then, if you would excuse me. Please do your best, Onii-chan. If you finish it, tell me immediately, okay?” Suzuka left those words behind, and stepped out of her room. “…Um, it doesn’t matter if it’s in the middle of the night, okay? In an emergency, you can also reach me via phone or email—”
“I get it already, so could you let me focus on my writing?!”
I forcefully pushed Suzuka out of my room, and once again sat down in front of my desk.
“…Haaah, I feel tired for some reason.”
My little sister’s expectations weighed heavily on my shoulders. Even more so since Suzuka has barely ever expected anything from me before now. But she’s right that I should be hurrying it up. Her aside, the deadline is slowly approaching. Though I still have time, I’d rather not cut it too close.
That being said, I started focusing as I turned to face my PC screen.
“Umm… let’s see. The protagonist is the older brother, and after a certain incident in the past, he ends up alienated from his little sister… He’s a normal high school student, and the little sister is a superhuman who can do anything. On top of that, she’s beautiful, and has no bad personality traits… But she’s always sharp and bitter towards her older brother, which makes him feel like there’s a wall between them. Yeah… And then they slowly and steadily start to get closer again… But what’s the trigger? Umm… something like the little sister is secretly writing a light novel, and happens to win the grand prize of a light novel contest—Wait, hold on…!”
After writing this far, I finally realized something crucial.
“…What am I writing?! This is just Suzuka and I! No no no! I can’t do that! No matter the cost!”
When I realized the hidden truth behind what I was writing, I panicked and closed the document.
…Again. Yes, it happened ‘again’. Recently, whenever I start writing my little sister novel, I start unconsciously modeling the story and the characters after Suzuka and I. This isn’t a one-off thing. It’s happened several times now. But I can’t do that. I’m not allowed to do that.
Saying that I wanted to write a little sister novel while having a little sister myself is already terrible enough. If I were to model the characters after her and I now, I’d be an even more disgusting older brother. Suzuka did say that she was fine with me wanting to write a little sister novel. But there still has to be a line that I can’t cross. At the very least, that’s how I think about it. Making Suzuka, who is always kind and supportive, awkward around me like that is something I can’t allow myself to do.
I purged those thoughts from my mind, and let out another sigh. But as soon as I did that, I could already feel those thoughts coming back.
“Ugh. This is bad in a lot of ways. I have to do something!”
I looked around my surroundings in hopes of clearing my thoughts. Thinking that I might just read a light novel to calm myself down, my gaze wandered to the corner of my desk.
“Ah, that reminds me…”
When I spotted my phone, I recalled a conversation I had with Mai a few days ago.
“…Mai said she was focusing on another romcom novel, right? I think she should be close to finishing that.”
Before I even finished that thought, I had already picked up my smartphone. Although she’s a pro, unlike me, she’s also writing something right now. Not to mention that it’s a new release, and also a romcom. If I were to talk to her about it, I might get some hints and ideas. But considering the time, she must be busy with her own novel, so let’s hang up immediately if she’s busy—
Hello?! Y-Yuu?! W-What happened for you to call me?!
—Or so I thought, but she answered immediately, without even letting it ring once. Not to mention that I could hear some clattering and rattling, combined with an “Ahh, the cup fell over!” from her end.
“W-Well, I didn’t have any urgent business or anything. I just wanted to talk a bit… But if you’re busy, then it can wait…”
Huh?! W-What are you talking about! I’m always up for a phone call with you! Not to mention that you didn’t have any business here, and you just wanted to talk. That never happens, so you’d better not hang up! You’d better not, okay?!
For some reason, Mai almost sounded like she was getting mad at me, which made me feel a bit confused. Immediately after that, I heard an “Ahh, there’s a stain already! Wait, it’s dried already?!” again in Mai’s panicked voice, making me feel like I did something bad.
“I-Is really everything okay? What’s happening over there?”
Don’t mind it. The high-grade coffee I just made took a direct hit, that’s all!
“Isn’t that bad?! I-I’m sorry… It’s because I called.”
There’s nothing for you to apologize for. Also, answering a phone call from Towano Chikai takes the highest priority, so I couldn’t help it.
…I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened if she knew I wasn’t the real Towano Chikai… And even more than that, I just felt bad for calling her like this, so I apologized again.
I’m telling you, it’s fine. I just have to give it a good wash later. Th-That aside, why did you call me so suddenly? What did you want to talk about?!
Still, Mai seemed like she really didn’t mind it all too much, and sounded as gleeful as ever. So much so that I could even imagine the face she was making.
“W-Well, it’s not that big of a deal… I was writing on my light novel, and I remembered that you were working on your new series, so I was wondering how things were going.”
I see, so a high-level conversation between fellow authors about how much we’ve progressed! W-Well, the only person who would be able to do that is someone like me, whose skill you yourself recognize, after all!
…It seems like she’s making good progress. However, a high-level conversation isn’t going to happen. Mai’s a popular author, while I’m just hoping to debut soon… I’ll just have to apologize mentally one more time…
I’m doing fine with my new novel. So much that it’s close to being finished!
“Woah, that’s amazing. This time it’s a romcom, right?”
Y-Yeah… I-I was writing it using you as a reference…!
I see, so she was influenced by Towano Chikai, huh? She really is a big fan of Suzuka’s.
“Man, I really want to read that.”
Those were my honest feelings. I’ve always been a fan of Enryuu Homura-sensei, after all, and now that she’s writing a different genre, that desire to read her novel is only stronger.
N-No, not right now! Especially not you… of all people…!
For some reason, I was rejected almost instantaneously. I was surprised by her somewhat unusual reaction.
“I-I see. Well, it’s not finished yet, after all.”
…I didn’t mean it that way… A-Anyway, it isn’t at the stage where I can show you. I haven’t prepared myself yet either, and, um, it’s embarrassing…
And now she’s even saying things like ‘Prepared myself’ and ‘embarrassing.’ I was surprised. But it makes sense, I guess. After all, she’s writing a series in a completely new genre. No matter how honest and straightforward she is with people, even Mai would feel nervous.
“Then I’m looking forward to when it’s going to be released,” I said with all honesty, but Mai’s following words surprised me.
I don’t plan on publishing this, though.
I’m writing this out of my own will, with no request or whatever from my editor, so of course they won’t publish it.
“I-Is that so? I totally thought it was for your job.”
N-No. I’m just doing this out of my own accord. I-I’m writing this because of a personal reason… She sounded like she was fidgeting.
“What personal reason?”
Ah…?! D-Don’t just ask me like that! You have no delicacy at all!
She got angry at me yet again. Did I really ask something so strange?
“B-But, writing a new series without releasing it sure is amazing. You’re also working on SukaMaga, right? Isn’t that pretty tough?”
W-Well, it’s a bit stressful, but I can’t help it. I mean, I wanted to write this, so all I can do is write it…
Mai’s words made me freeze up.
—I wanted to write this, so all I can do is write it?
Hm? What happened, Yuu?
“Ah, no… I was just thinking that sounds pretty amazing…”
Eh? Isn’t that normal? You write light novels because you want to, right? On the other hand, if you can’t write anything, then that means you’re not writing what you really want. Don’t you agree?
It’s not like I’ve ever experienced that, though, Mai continued. It was a grave shock, and I was lost in my own thoughts.
If you can’t write anything, then that means that you’re not writing what you really want to…
…What’s wrong, Yuu? You’ve suddenly gone quiet.
“…Eh? Ah, sorry, I was just thinking about my own novel…”
Oh, you were in the middle of writing yourself… Wait, then this isn’t the time to be talking like this! Go and write your novel!
“Ehh?! N-No, I wasn’t talking about that series—”
I really wanted to keep this call going until the end, but your novel takes priority! If for some reason the next volume doesn’t release… that would be really bad! In a lot of ways!
I couldn’t say anything in response to that. Although she’s gotten the completely wrong idea, I can still feel her love for Towano Chikai’s novel.
Ugh, I really don’t want to hang up! But I can’t bother you any more than this! Call me next time you’re free, alright?! Then I’ll talk with you as long as you want, regardless of my deadline!
“Prioritize your own novel first, okay?!”
As if I’d cut a call with you because I’m busy! Think about this rationally! A-Anyway, I’m hanging up now, so work on your manuscript, alright?!
…Although it feels a bit over-the-top, I can tell that she’s being considerate of me. And just when the call was about to end—
Mai called out to me again.
U-Umm… When I finish my novel, and I mentally prepare myself, y-you’ll definitely read it, right…?
Naturally, she didn’t even have to ask me that, so I replied with a confident “Of course!” In response, I could hear some odd sounds from across the call. They quickly vanished and Mai hung up. What was that about?
“No, rather than that…”
I put my phone down on my desk and let the conversation I had with her replay through my mind.
I wanted to write this, so all I can do is write it… If you can’t write anything, then it means that you’re not writing what you really want.
…I decided to write a little sister light novel. No, I remembered the reason I fell in love with light novels, and just wanted to write the same. I can announce that without the smallest grain of guilt. But, in reality, I’m still not writing one. As of right now, I’m still in the middle of constructing the plot. And I’ve always been thinking about why. After my phone call with Mai, I felt like something clicked. I want to write a little sister novel. But—
—What kind of little sister do I actually want to write?
Naturally, that’s a question so basic, so elementary, that I had never thought too deeply about it. But as soon as I ask myself that very question, I find myself unable to answer. Back when I tried writing a sci-fi story, or a fantasy story, or any other genre, I always had a general idea of the direction I wanted to go in. But the second I figure out what type of novel I really want to write—a little sister novel—I’m left unable to do that.
Feeling something was odd, I started thinking. When I did, Suzuka once again came to mind. In response, I furiously shook my head. Again, I can’t…!
“…But just what kind of little sister novel should I write…?” I muttered to myself. Just then…
Ring ring ring ring! My phone vibrated and I heard the sound of an incoming call. My thoughts were abruptly halted, and my body twitched in surprise. When I looked at the caller ID, I saw Shinozaki-san’s name, so I immediately answered.
Oh Sensei, did I interrupt you while you were doing that? If so, I’m sorry. I’ll give you some special service another time, so please put up with it for today.
“I see that you’re making up weird things again, but you’re wrong, okay?!”
Every phone call with her always started the same way, so I immediately shot her down as per usual. This person is really something else…!
Now, now, you don’t have to hide it. I know that you’re an adolescent high school boy, after all. I’m just happy that you’re healthy. Fufu~
“…Is that so? If you don’t have anything important to say, then I’ll hang up right now, okay?!”
Why is it that she has to torment me like this when I’m already backed against a wall with the whole little sister novel dilemma!
Wait a second, will you? Today I have something important to say. She sounded strangely serious.
“It seems like you’re aware that you’re not serious most of the time…”
What might you be talking about? But anyway, I want to talk about your current series, ‘The story about a little sister who loves her big brother way too much to cope’, okay?
Her words made me tense up… Is there some trouble going on right now?! No, I didn’t hear anything from Suzuka, and I don’t feel like anything has changed over there… Still, I have a bad feeling about this.
“U-Um, is there some sort of problem?” I asked carefully.
Hm? No, not really? Your series is as popular as ever, which allows me, as an editor, to boast all day long about you. Even in your last novel, the flirty scenes between the older brother and younger sister were wonderful…!
Hearing Shinozaki-san go on and on about how much she liked the novel itself, I was a bit surprised.
“U-Um… Then why did you want to talk about the series?”
Ahh, that’s right. I thought that it was time to talk about the future of the novel, since you’ve come this far.
“T-The future of the novel..?”
Of course, I’m talking about the path to the finish line—the progression that leads towards the ending… Well, if it were me, I was hoping that this series could continue for all eternity, and having it become a new gospel to lead humanity, but…
“We’re still talking about a light novel here, right?!”
That being said, every wonderful series has to come to an end sooner or later. Naturally, Sensei’s novel is no exception. Of course, that’s still quite a ways in the future, but as your editor, I’d like you to be conscious of that.
…I see. So that’s what she meant. So move the story towards the ending. Well, that makes sense. Suzuka’s novel is super popular right now, but people will start wanting a conclusion sooner or later. And that indeed is a serious matter. Even something that I, the stand-in, need to hear.
I was thinking that causing a huge amount of development in the next volume would be a good starting point. For example, the older brother starts to become conscious about the little sister, with lots of events that would fit that idea.
Hm? Why are you so surprised?
When I heard the part about the older brother starting to grow more conscious about his little sister, I almost felt my heart jump out of my chest. At the same time, Suzuka’s face yet again appeared inside my head, which left me in so much of a shock that I was left almost unable to properly listen to Shinozaki-san.
She was saying things like “A turning point would be good here~” and “Finish it up there~” and so on.
But well, I’ll also send you an email with these details, so maybe you could give me some ideas of yours later as well.
Eventually, Shinozaki-san left those words behind and cut the call. Luckily, it seemed like she would be relaying that information to Suzuka as well. I’d feel bad if I missed something important out of shock…
Even after I put away my phone and took a deep breath, my heartbeat still wouldn’t calm down. Is it because I was reminded that the series would end eventually… Or maybe…?
“…No, I have to think about my own novel, so I don’t have the time to act all flustered like this. I have to calm down!”
Telling that to myself, I tried to take some deep breaths, but that method only ended in failure…
Probably have seen the email from Shinozaki-san, Suzuka stormed into the room. And the next words that Suzuka said to me finally made me realize the gravity of this situation.
“P-Please help me collect some data!!”