My field of view was white. I was gazing up at the familiar roof of my own room, with stripes running along the wood. Right now, I was resting in my bed, fully focusing on my consciousness. The center of my thoughts are of course the ‘contact’ with Himeno Miina. A few weeks have passed since I heard of the method that should return Miena back to her main body, but I still can’t fully grasp it.
(I wonder just why exactly we haven’t made any progress ever since that date event?)
Miena put one hand on her waist, asking a question that was clearly intended to blame me. Even after that date…that event, I’ve been getting closer and closer with Himeno Miina, but the whole plan of returning Miena I just somehow put aside. Before I even was fully aware of the passage of time, the day of the culture festival drew closer, now happening tomorrow. My motivation towards conquering Himeno Miina fully diverged onto the attraction our class would do at the culture festival. If I didn’t do that, I would have probably broken down entirely…
(You’re returning to a good-for-nothing protagonist again. The atmosphere was so good midway through, so why?)
Don’t be ridiculous. I thought that touching her meant holding hands or something like that. A k-kiss is just too hard for me!
(So holding hands would have been easy, huh?)
Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way, I apologize.
Miena let out a displeased sigh. Also, are you fine with this? K-Kissing me, and all that…
(Since I can’t turn back without a kiss, there’s not really much to say. If you aren’t doing it, then I’m lost here.)
What a business-like attitude as always, huh. Isn’t this your first kiss? Wouldn’t it be better to…you know…treasure it some more?
(I-I can’t help it, I’m just like a ghost right now.)
If you return to your main body, the kiss with me…will be inherited by you as well, right? Not to mention, ignoring Himeno Miina’s feelings for my own convenience…I can’t do that. This isn’t a problem of me not having any willpower or guts, it’s just that I want to respect the other person who is so important to me.
(What are you trying to act cool now? Both my memories and my real body’s feelings are all a-okay, I can guarantee that.)
You said that before, only for me to fail miserably, remember. Regarding this case, I can’t act without any ground or basis, you know?
(This guy…did you realize already and now just keep forcing me to say it? If so, then that’s one hell of a strategy….No, you’re a scummy bastard!)
What did I do now? Even if I disregard your feelings now, the real problem is Himeno Miina herself, as well as how she feels about it. I’m sure that the heroine conquest you mentioned was the best possible choice. After all, the real goal is to go out with Himeno Miina, and achieve it that way.
(You don’t need to go that far. Simply talking to her is a success in our conquest.)
It seems like your perception of success is different from mine. The kiss is the goal, right? That’s why, we need to become lovers first.
(Normally, yeah. However, if it’s me, then…you know, a difference in usual order is, uhm, no problem either.)
That sure sounds awful. Are you actually just a bitch, Miena?
(How rude! I-I’m not fine with anybody, you know! If it’s Itsuki-kun, then…you know…Mumble mumble.)
If it’s me?
(Can you stop being a dense protagonist for one second!? Anyway, if you don’t do it, then this situation won’t change. There’s no other person who can return me to my main body! Do you get it now!?
I feel like I’ll get punched in the face the second you’re back, you know. But, you’re not wrong. We can’t have things stay like this. I’ve been using these past few weeks to get my feelings under control, and now made up my mind.
—Tomorrow at the culture festival, I’ll bring an end to this. I’ll conquer my heroine!
(Finally acting like a true protagonist, I see. The culture festival definitely is your best chance. If I was the player, I’d aim for the culture festival myself.)
As always, Miena was reassuring me with her words. However, her real body had started to act off compared to when this incident first happened. This change probably points at the approaching time limit. With my kiss, I can save someone precious to me. That’s all that matters, I can always apologize and beg for forgiveness later.
(Itsuki-kun, let me give you a word of my honest feelings. I’m lonely thinking about going back to my main body, and I’m also afraid. But, as long as I stay like this, there are many things I can’t do. By living together with you, I’ve gotten to experience countless things I would have never imagined, but at the same time, I also feel irritated. If I was there…If I was there with you…if it was me…if I had been there…and so on, these frustrating feelings just keep piling up.)
…Yeah, you’re right. I can’t be enjoying this happiness right now. You have your own happiness, and without returning to your main body, you won’t be able to achieve this.
(Until now, I was only living isolated with my view only on the ground. Now, I got to take a closer objective look at myself as a human being. It’s all thanks to you, Itsuki-kun. I want to use these experiences, and live off them once I’m back.)
You better, alright!? You definitely won’t lose your feelings and memories right now, okay!?
(Yeah, it’s fine. Don’t worry.)
It’s fine, don’t worry—I often heard these words from Miena. Today, they wouldn’t leave my ears at all.
I must have fallen asleep at some point. When I came to my senses, it was already morning, at around 6am. It seems like my habit of waking up at 6am was engraved in my body now. As for the reason this habit existed in the first place…
Miena still seemed to be sound asleep. I guess I woke up before her, which should be a first. I decided to enjoy Miena’s sleeping face for a while. Faint breathing escaped her lips, as she rolled around. I would have loved to enjoy this wonderful time a bit longer, but Miena’s eyes slowly opened.
She greeted me with a voice about to disappear. It was a grave difference from the usual energetic Miena. With her eyes all over the place, it almost felt like she wasn’t even looking at me. Morning! It’s morning, so get some groove going! Are our positions reversed all of a sudden?
(…Eh? Y-Yeah, right…)
Even when I was poking fun at her, Miena’s response was faint, without any energy. Normally she’d immediately throw a complaint back at me. What’s wrong? Didn’t get much sleep?
(Sleep…? Um, where is this…?)
Miena’s consciousness still seemed a bit cloudy, as she looked around the room. This? It’s my room, dummy.
(R-Right…you are…Itsuki-kun, yes…Hm? Am I still half-asleep? My head feels fuzzy…)
Something’s off. She’s definitely not teasing me. Hey, you okay!? You’re different from usual.
(Sorry, sorry…Yeah, I’m fine. I guess I just overslept and was a bit above the clouds.)
She stuck out her tongue, smiling innocently. If something weird’s going on with your body, let me know right away, you hear me?
(I’m totally fine~ More importantly, we’re going to end the heroine conquest today, right? Don’t worry about me, just finish it off with a clean cut, okay?)
…Yeah, leave it to me. Hearing these words from Miena, I couldn’t help but grow a bit sentimental. Today will be the last time I will wake up together with Miena. I really wish I could have heard my favorite heroine’s alarm one more time.
(I’m not your alarm!)
How many more times will we get to exchange these words, I wonder.
Don’t just go all silent on me.
(…Then, once I returned to my main body, should I come wake you up?)
That’d be the best. Being able to enjoy Himeno Miina’s face right after waking up, there’s no better feeling.
(I’ll play the caring childhood friend for you. Then, you should understand its charm as well.)
Guess I’ll have to quickly conquer my heroine, huh.
(Don’t say that. It’s important of course, but you also need to enjoy the moment the most when you actually achieved that.)
I want to enjoy this moment together with you, Miena.
(Of course, I’ll be watching this final scene with you. If I suddenly bug out at the very last minute, make sure to send a complaint to the developer.)
You’re the person who created this gal game, remember? Well, that’s actually not true, we both made this together. At the very least, that’s what I think now. I don’t know if it was a success or not, but the person who made it had fun, so that’s all that matters. I always wished to break free from my boring and mundane daily life, but it’s not like I suddenly became an interesting protagonist. I’m still a mob in someone else’s story. Yet, for the first time ever, it felt like my decisions matter. A protagonist is someone who grants courage to others. Right now, I can’t even do that, but I have someone close to me who helps me put that into practice.
A support character? No, she’s more like a master to me, as well as—my main heroine. As all these feelings filled my chest, I could feel my motivation shake. If I give in to my own selfishness now, I’ll only regret it later. What’s important isn’t the past, or the present. It’s the future. And for that, I’m willing to fight.
A few hours have passed since the start of the culture festival.
I was rammed by Himari, and fell backwards onto the ground.
“Ouch ouch ouch…”
It seems like Himari still doesn’t quite know how much skinship is too much…This damn child of a middle school student.
“Ahh, Itsuki-nii’s face turned all slimy…”
The soft ice cream Himari held in her hand beautifully handed in my face.
“Himari…the soft ice cream can’t be helped, but at least don’t try to push a conversation in this situation.”
The other students around us are watching as you sit on my stomach, you know! Is it just me, or are they readying their torches and pitchforks!?
Also, please let Miena’s ‘Switch with me’ stare be just my imagination as well!
“Itsuki, what are you playing around here? Shouldn’t you help out at our class?”
As I was playing—Excuse me, warning Himari, Rion appeared, wearing her tennis club uniform.
(So this is the true power of a childhood friend & uniform combination…!?)
Who was it again that complained when I was getting excited at Himeno Miina’s gym clothes?
(I can’t even hope to compare to Rion-chan!)
Well, you’re not wrong. It is a sight to behold.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Shouma is taking over for me, I got free time right now.”
(Shouma…kun? Um…who was that again?)
Hey now!? Are you still half asleep!? He’s the best friend character.
(…Ah, r-right! Shouma-kun, I remember!)
Are you really okay? You’ve been weird ever since this morning, I feel like.
(More importantly, if you have free time right now, why not have some fun with Rion-chan and Himari-chan? You won’t get a chance like this if not for a gal game!)
There, the usual Miena came back in an instant.
“T-Then, come to the tennis club’s exhibit. We’re making soft ice cream in the courtyard.”
Damn it, so this cursed ice cream came from Rion’s tennis club.
“Yeah, I’ll stop by later.”
I can’t get excited because of the culture festival atmosphere. Today, I have an important mission.
(This is the moment where you should be walking around the culture festival with Rion-chan! What are you doing!?)
What we set out to do!? You know, conquering the main heroine!?
(…Ah, that’s right, tehe~)
I know I was the one who threw a retort in, but I’m glad that she’s back to the usual Miena. Maybe she’s just a bit bewildered in the face of this big event.
“Say, Itsuki…you seemed a bit down lately, but you’re back on groove today, huh?”
Right as I was glancing at Miena, Rion’s words pulled me back to reality…I guess she was worried about me.
“Well, today’s a very special event…see.”
“It’s the long-awaited culture festival after all! But, is walking around with ice cream splattered over your face that much fun? Come over here.”
Rion approached me, and took out a handkerchief to wipe the cream off my face. Doing that in front of other people is a bit embarrassing…
“Thanks a bunch.”
(See! A childhood friend is the best, right!?)
I don’t really know about that, but I sure do have a great childhood friend.
“…I don’t know just what is troubling you right now, but you can always come talk to me, you know? I do understand a woman’s heart! I am…a woman after all?”
No clue why she emphasized that last part.
(Rion-chan…once I’m back to my real body, I’ll win you over in no time, don’t you worry.)
“Thanks, Rion. Let me also give you some advice. It’d be best if you don’t get too close to Himeno Miina. You probably don’t go too well together.”
(Hey! Don’t lower my chances!)
“Eh, really? I don’t really think so…O-Of course, I do have a thing or two that I think about her, but…I think we can get along just fine!”
(Rion-chaaaan! I can’t believe it…I apparently managed to conquer her without doing anything. That’s just like me, the childhood friend killer! Heh heh heh.)
Weird, I really feel like these two never really got into contact with each other.
(This is why gal game amateurs are so troublesome~ Even if you don’t interact with a heroine, the affection parameters gradually change depending on the protagonist’s actions.)
We’re close to reaching the ending, and yet I apparently am still a gal game beginner. However, today is the day with the most important event, so amateur or not, there’s no going back now.
(That’s what I love to hear. We’ve come this far, so there’s no need to set up a specific strategy. Just do what you feel like doing, as long as you are a proper protagonist at the end!)
Yeah, I won’t resort to any underhanded tactics. I know that we can’t waste any time, but I still want to respect Himeno Miina’s feelings, so I’ll properly meet her with my own feelings—And right as I had determined myself to do exactly that, a group of people formed in front of me.
“Ah, isn’t that Himeno-senpai? It seems like she’s walking over here.”
Just as Himari stated, I saw Himeno Miina in the corner of my view. As always, she gave off this holy radiance.
(W-What is going on!?)
Naturally, her silky maid clothes and black high knee-socks shone just as brightly.
(Why am I wearing a maid uniform!?)
A fierce and determined expression filled the girl, as she headed in my direction. I was worried that this expression might just melt away with a single touch.
(This is the first time I’ve seen myself with such a lively expression at school…)
What this wise and intelligent girl was thinking, what she was wishing for, an average guy like me has no way of knowing.
(I have no clue either…What did she come here for…D-Don’t tell me!?)
Right as Miena seemed to have guessed Himeno Miina’s plans, the girl arrived in front of me.
“Saotome-kun, I’m sorry for this sudden request, but do you have some time right now?” She faced me, and asked this abrupt question.
(Awawawawa! This is bad! This is exceptionally bad!)
The people around Himeno Miina most likely tagged along or formed this audience simply because of her maid appearance. If this was the first term, I probably would have been a member of that group. Now, I’m in the position of the protagonist.
“Ah, yeah. It’s fine.”
I was a bit bewildered at first, but my heartbeat was still at a rational level. It is right, Miena!?
(Yeah, should be fine. But, I see…Yeah, that makes sense…)
Miena let out a sigh, almost like she had figured out what exactly her main body was planning. I would love to rely on Miena here, but I decided to be honest with Himeno Miina, and only rely on myself. Rather, this might be the perfect chance, because she went out of her way to look for me.
“Hime called out to Itsuki!? D-Don’t tell me…!”
“My Itsuki-nii got stolen by Himeno-senpai!”
From behind me, I could hear Rion and Himari growling in anger behind me.
(Rion-chan, Himari-chan, I’m sorry! My real body just can’t read the mood…)
Amidst the tense and awkward atmosphere, we walked down the hallway decorated with party utensils. I don’t even know where we’re heading, but I doubt it’s class 6.
(Ahhhh…Well, this is what I would do after all…)
Miena’s profile was reflected in my eyes, seeming dejected about something. Was it just my imagination, or did she look more transparent than before? I couldn’t help but stare at her, as I mindlessly followed Himeno Miina. We walked down the empty classroom, and moved away from the festival noises.
We arrived at an area with stairs not used for culture festival means, when the girl suddenly pointed down.
What? I don’t get it. Why would she point at some random stairs!? …Wait, stairs? Isn’t this where…
(The stairs where I fell down.)
Ahh…that makes sense. I thought it seemed familiar, but it was the beginning of everything, huh.
(…Geez. How did I forget my own personality?)
Himeno Miina’s personality? I mean, she’s graceful, cute, and…No, wait. Himeno Miina is Miena. Her facade and fake personality don’t matter. She enjoys experiencing love in gal games, wishes to find friends who like gal games as much as she does, and is spending her youth infatuated by gal games.
What might she be thinking in this situation…what would be the reason the main heroine, wearing maid clothes, invited the protagonist first thing on the day?
(…No, that’s not it.)
It’s not? I feel like you would be immediately thinking about gal game events.
(That…is true, but I never thought of myself as anybody else’s heroine. I always saw myself as the player.)
Even now, I didn’t understand what Miena was talking about.
“Saotome-kun, do you remember these stairs? I still remember it vividly. After all, this is where you saved me.”
At the same time, I failed to grasp Himeno Miina’s intentions all the same.
“You don’t need to make it that big of a deal, my body just reacted on its own.”
(…It really was a template event of the protagonist saving the heroine.)
“To think that I would be reenacting such a popular scene myself, I could have never imagined, hehe.” With these words, Himeno Miina showed me a defenseless smile, not even trying to hide her bashful reaction.
“You mean the template development of the protagonist saving the heroine?”
“…You really know exactly what I’m feeling, almost like you could perfectly see right through me.”
I could feel my heart skip a beat.
“Why are you apologizing? I’m happy. The only person I can show my true self is you, Saotome-kun. You must have been surprised to see my personality switch this abruptly, right?”
“Yeah, I sure was.”
“Fufu, just to let you know, but you’re not the only one. I’m the same. The reason I decided to show more honesty is all because of you, Saotome-kun.”
“Yup. Your attitude towards me changed as well, didn’t it? Or rather, your actions. Until the second term, we never even talked with each other.
“The trigger for that was me falling down the stairs, right? Ever since then, you’ve approached me more and more.”
I wonder, what is she trying to say? Urk, I didn’t want to resort to this, but I have no other chance! Miena, help me!
(It’s just as you said before. Sometimes, you don’t even understand yourself that well. I never managed to figure out my real personality. In the end, I failed at conquering myself, despite being confident in my abilities.)
Failed? What do you mean you didn’t understand?!
(It’s okay now. She might have gotten a step ahead of us, but if we attack first, you’ll still be the protagonist!)
This is why gal game fanatics are so troublesome. At least use proper English to…Hm? Experts?
“There’s no mistaking that I definitely changed. Though, it’s a bit different.”
“Being vague is just like you, Saotome-kun, fufu.”
Just like me? I feel like she mentioned this before. Why does she make it sound like she knows me so well? But, I’m much more curious about this situation right now.
“So, why did you bring me here…” While we talked with each other, we slowly descended the stairs.
“To me, this incident wasn’t just simply you saving me. It acted as an important event that greatly changed me.”
Yeah, it was one hell of an event for me as well, for sure. Also, hearing Himeno Miina use the term ‘Event’, I once again realized that she and Miena were the same person.
(That’s why I should have realized earlier.)
“Saotome-kun, the reason I called you here is…”
(This is bad! She’ll say it first! No! I want to be the one to say that! We’re the protagonists here!)
What have you been on about all this time? Also, I’m the protagonist right? I thought you were my support character.
(Yes, that’s right. But! We weren’t the only ones who felt that way!)
!? I see! Since you and Himeno Miina are the same person—
(Rather than being conquered, I prefer to be the one conquering!)
I see…You’re a gal game expert after all…So basically Himeno Miina is trying to conquer me!?
(No mistaking it.)
But, that would mean…She…you know, likes me, right…?
(This guy…! Now that it’s come to this, we have to act first! It’s for my sake!)
For your sake?
(I can’t bear to have my real body confess my feelings first. Even if it’s like this!)
I don’t really get it, but got it!
“Himeno-san, I actually have something to tell you as well.”
“!? W-Wait! I need to say it first!”
(Itsuki-kun, no need to wait!)
“The thing is, there’s actually another Saotome-kun with me right now!”
I failed to understand the confession given to me, and Miena apparently was the same as me. T-There’s another me with her!? What is going on?
(Awawawa! So that’s what’s going on here…I never even thought of that…)
“I know that it’s impossible to believe for you. I’m sorry that I suddenly brought this up only to confuse you.”
“U-Um, there’s another me with you right now? What’s that supposed to mean…?”
“Huh? You believe me? I feel like you’d be more shocked…”
Well, I sure as hell didn’t expect that. Then again, the same goes for Miena, I guess.
“I am shocked. Even more so because I know you wouldn’t joke around like this.”
“I mean, I do joke from time to time. But, this time I’m serious. I don’t know how to really prove it to you, but…I’ll just start from the beginning.”
(I can guess as much…Ahh, that makes so much sense.)
Unlike me, these two were awfully come in regards to this supernatural situation. Seeing no other option, I carefully listened to the explanation.
“The mental entity of Saotome-kun next to me…or so I’ve been referring to him, came into existence after I fell down the stairs here. I would consider the fact that we’ve touched each other as the trigger for that.”
Eh, she’s already figured it out?
“Sorry to interrupt you, but this mental entity of me, is he with you right now?”
“Yeah, he is. Even as I’m telling you all of this, he keeps talking on and on, hehe.”
(Basically, she’s in the same situation as we are.)
“So, is it really me? It might sound rude, but what if it’s just some hallucination?”
“That’s what I thought in the beginning. On the day I fell down the stairs, I pretty much ignored him for the rest of the day. After I realized that he could hear my thoughts, we talked to each other. Thanks to that, I was forced to accept that it was really Saotome-kun, who saved me that day.”
“So you didn’t think it was weird to talk to a me while another me already existed?”
“Of course I did. That’s why I tried coming up with an explanation for this. And starting from the conclusion, it seems to be some kind of phenomenon that can’t be explained in scientific terms.”
(Then why did my real body never talk to Itsuki-kun about it!)
Miena raised a voice of protest towards her real body.
“You could have just told me about it…”
“It was a problem I couldn’t really wrap my head around, and…Saotome-kun’s mental entity didn’t like…well, you didn’t like seeing me talk to you, or something like that…”
“Huh!? What am I saying!? Am I an idiot or something!?”
(That’s your mental entity for you, it’s a perfect replica.)
…Can you stop bullying me? And don’t give me such a sharp glare.
“Ahaha, you can be quite possessive, you know, Saotome-kun. After talking to you almost every day after the second term began, that’s something I realized.”
I understand that painfully well. I bet that all my feelings are already known by Himeno Miina. My mental entity, don’t you dare have told her anything weird! Also, living together with Himeno Miina, seriously? He’s a winner in life!
(Huh, so this is a desire to monopolize. Well, I knew that. But, don’t you worry! When it comes to our bonds, we won’t lose against them. After all, we’re calling each other with our given names!)
“Oh by the way, what are you calling my mental entity? And what do I call you?”
“Eh? The same way as right now, just Saotome-kun. And, he calls me Himeno-san. What about it?”
“Huh~ Hmmm, I see? It’s nothing important, I was just curious.”
(Aren’t you feeling good now, fufu.)
Right back at you, Miena. Well, I guess it makes sense. Even as a mental entity, I can’t just suddenly address Himeno Miina with her given name. Yeah, it’s me after all!
“…The Saotome-kun next to you is saying ‘Why’s he acting so arrogant now? That jealousy is pathetic’, you know? But, he’s right.”
Waaah, my mental entity is pissing me off! Is he here? He’s here right? I’ll give him a good beating!
(Our positions might be reversed, but do you understand how I feel now? Looking at yourself, you can’t help but feel annoyed at times.)
So my mental entity is looking at me the same way? Unforgivable!
(So maybe your mental entity was at fault for my real body’s weird behaviour, don’t you think?)
Hearing Miena’s assumption, I felt an uncomfortable sweat run down my forehead.
“Do you remember when I went to your classroom during lunch break? Back then, it seemed like you were pretty distracted, but…was that because of my mental entity?”
“I’m sorry about that. You interrupted my conversation, so I happened to take a distant attitude. Not to mention that your mental entity urged me to ignore you and just go eat lunch with my friends. Well, he still is complaining right now.”
Whaaaaat!? So I myself ruined my efforts!?
“So the whole contact information exchange as well?”
“Yeah, it’s just as you guessed. He told me to definitely say no, and that nothing good would come out of me agreeing.”
How possessive can I be!? I am you, remember! Be happy that you’d get Himeno Miina’s contact information! And yet I can’t even complain.
(But, why did her attitude suddenly change?)
“Recently, you’ve started to become more honest, right? Why is that? I thought my mental entity didn’t want me to approach you.”
“Yes, he is hating it very much even now. However, he started saying that you’ve been acting weird lately. He argued that you normally wouldn’t have the guts to talk to me, let alone ask to exchange contact information.”
Of course I’d think of it as weird. It’s not like I did it only for me.
“I know that this might sound rude, but…both me and your mental entity thought that maybe something irregular was going on with you. Something about the mental entity being a part of your body, which is now plaguing you in some way. You started to interact more with me after I fell down the stairs, right?”
Hey now, this sounds oddly familiar.
(We’re a pair after all, so it makes sense we’d arrive at the same thought.)
“I’m sorry, but I was worried…If I was to blame for that, then I at least needed to find a way to return you back to normal. And for that, I figured I would first need to interact with you more. In doing so, something felt off about you.”
“Something felt off?”
“Yeah. Sometimes while talking with me, you’d suddenly grow silent for no reason. The mental entity Saotome-kun figured that you were just nervous when talking to me, but it felt different.”
…H-Huh? Have I gotten crazy?
(T-There’s no doubting it, this was when you were talking with me, Itsuki-kun. I never realized, but it must have looked like you froze up from the outside.)
Oh no, so that’s why she thought of me as weird, I had no idea.
“…Ah, is it happening right now?”
“It sure is. Are you aware of it!?”
“No, I only realized after you mentioned it.”
(Huh, so that means the reason both of us went silent is the same. She was talking with the mental entity Saotome-kun in her head.)
That makes sense.
“That explains a lot of things. You asked my mental entity about my favorite movie, my favorite clothes, and so on, right?”
Thinking about it, it was weird that she knew Himari, despite not having been a student at middle school here.
(I bet mental entity Saotome-kun must have introduced her.)
“Yeah. But, you also knew about the movie I wanted to watch. Not to mention my hobby—Uhm, my interests. Why is that?”
“That’s, um…how should I explain that…”
(More importantly, does my real body know a way for us to turn things back to normal?)
You’re talking about the k-kiss, right?
“Just had a hunch. Rather than that, did you find a method that could fix things?”
“About that…I have no idea. I don’t think anybody would understand this phenomenon even if we talked to someone about it. If anything, I think it’s a miracle that you believe me, Saotome-kun.”
“Since it’s Himeno-san, of course I’ll believe you.”
(Of course, huh. Who are you comparing her to, I wonder? Still, it sure is weird. So the mental entity Itsuki-kun doesn’t know the method to fix this situation?)
…I have a really bad feeling about this.
(You probably already guessed what your mental entity is thinking, right?)
Knowing myself, I definitely would not give up on this kind of situation. Rather than spending my days in boredom as I was before, I’d probably want to stay with Himeno Miina forever. That being the case, I probably wouldn’t tell Himeno Miina the way to resolve this situation. Even more so if it involved a kiss. I wouldn’t want to kiss myself after all.
(Even though your mental entity might get erased eventually!?)
I’d probably stay with Himeno Miina until the absolute time limit. Man, I really am a piece of trash.
(That’s Itsuki-kun alright, you’re still you even as a mental entity…)
Thanks, I’ll gladly take that praise.
“I thought about it myself, and maybe we will find out something if we both return to the place where it happened.”
“I see, so that’s why you took me here today?”
“Well, that’s one part. In fact, today’s goal wasn’t simply to return your mental entity to your main body. It is the first step, but…I also wanted to tell you about my feelings!”
(…!? This is bad!)
“Over these past few weeks, I’ve built a solid relationship with your mental entity. And more than anything, I want to get along with your real body as well, Saotome-kun.”
(Itsuki-kun, that’s enough! Just kiss her!)
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Eh!? Ridiculous!? I-Is it…too much to ask after all…?”
“Wah, eh, no! Forget about that, I wasn’t…”
Oh crap! Since their voices are the same, I accidentally blurted that out loud!
(This is the perfect timing. It’ll seem unnatural at this rate, so now or never!)
Himeno Miina seemed a bit bewildered as she looked at my face. Why am I panicking like this, I’m so pathetic. She already revealed it all towards me. I made up my mind to bring an end to this, so if I don’t tell her anything, it’s all for nothing.
(You don’t need to act all righteous now…)
“Saotome-kun? Judging from your reaction, could it be that…”
“…Y-Yeah, it’s exactly what you think. I’m sorry I couldn’t say this before, but…there’s also a mental entity of Himeno-san next to me.” I steeled my resolve, and revealed the secret that had previously stayed between the two of us.
“I…see. I never even thought about that possibility.”
Her words sounded calm, but she was clearly shaken. Surely, just like how Miena was before.
“I’m really sorry, I should have told you earlier.”
“You don’t need to apologize, the fault lies with me. To think you were in the same situation as me…Ahahahaha.” Himeno Miina’s expression softened, and a laugh escaped her lips.
(This woman has a screw loose.)
“So, my mental entity is with you now, right?”
“Yeah, sure is. She’s worried about you, and wants to hurry back to her main body.”
(Hey, don’t you go lying about that.)
“Hmmm? I wonder about that~”
“This is just my guess, but I don’t think my mental entity likes me all too much. If anything, I could see myself spitting poison at any given moment.” Himeno Miina crossed her arms, and sent a sharp gaze at the area around me.
That’s what you’d expect from her, I guess. She really has an objective view on herself.
(I really don’t like that about myself. I just keep a calm attitude in order to hide my bewilderment.)
Miena crossed her arms as well, as her cold gaze pierced Himeno Miina. That’s what you’d expect from Miena, I guess. She really has an objective view on herself.
“I want to ask my mental entity something. Does she know a way that could return us back to normal? No matter how I ask the mental entity Saotome-kun, he would only give me vague answers. Being together all day, I pretty much figured out his personality, and I’m guessing that he’s hiding the method from me.”
Perfectly on point, as expected.
(I feel bad for your mental entity, but you go and tell her about the kiss.)
…Yeah. Though, I’m sure she’d hate doing that.
(It’s fine. If she’s gonna complain, I’ll just make her shut up after I’m back. Even better, just do it without explaining anything.)
Heh, that’s just like you. But, that won’t do. I want to do it properly.
“I heard about the method from your mental entity.”
“Then why didn’t you do anything!?”
“The thing is…I was planning on doing it today.”
“R-Really!? Sorry, I might have done something unnecessary then.”
“It’s fine…this is something that I, uhm, need your help for, probably.”
“You’re suddenly getting tongue-tied. That’s just like the mental entity Saotome-kun, hehe.”
I guess I still am me, no matter how far I go.
(Compared to the mental entity Itsuki-kun, you’ve changed a lot, you know?)
I did? What exactly did change?
(Hehe, not telling you~)
Miena showed me a teasing smile. Only I, in the entire world, get to see this kind of smile. Not even her main body can see her. It’s my special right. As I was enjoying spending time in a world only between me and Miena, the light around us started to fade. The sun began to set. Normally, the hallway would be filled with students enjoying the last few minutes of the culture festival, but nobody was around in this empty hallway. It’s almost like only the two of us existed in this school, in this entire world.
However, that’s not correct. It’s the four of us. Around one month has passed since the second term began. It was a short time, but these days were like a miracle to me. The person I always admired suddenly became my imaginary friend, my support character, my teacher—and my main heroine. I wonder what happens in a gal game where you can’t conquer your heroine in the end. A Bad End? Return to the beginning, and choose random choices to aim for the goal?
I’m a beginner at gal games. I don’t regret the actions I took. I just proceed until the end of the game. And, that won’t change from here on out either.
(…Itsuki-kun, thank you.)
W-Where did that come from?
(You saved me, Itsuki-kun.)
What are you talking about, I’m going to save you right now.
(When you said that I could stay the way I am, I was really happy. I won’t ever forget how you told me that talking with my true self was much more enjoyable and easy than the me who put up a facade.)
Hey now, you’ll dampen my determination…
(It’s fine. It’s me we’re talking about, I’ll accept it all, so have confidence—)
No! I…that’s not…I actually…!
“What’s wrong? Talking with my mental entity?”
“…Yeah. A few last words. I need to tell her about my feelings—”
(Itsuki-kun, please! I also have countless things I need to tell you!)
…Urk, don’t you dare forget, okay!? I won’t go through this gal game again! You better let me properly conquer you as a heroine!
(Objectively speaking, I don’t think I’m fit as a main heroine. Spending time with you, I realized that. Looking at Rion-chan, I was jealous of such a pure, and truly adorable girl. Compared to that, my main body…I could only feel displeased whenever I looked at her. I was always concerned about people around me, spending my time without ever deciding on anything…)
That’s not true! Now that I’ve learned of the true Himeno Miina, I can say that. You are, without a doubt, my main heroine!
Same here. Thank you for everything, Miena! Thank you for shining light into my dull daily life! To me, Himeno Miina is none other than you, Miena, so—
“Himeno-san…I’m sorry for making you wait. About the method to turn things back to normal.”
I made up my mind, and was about to explain everything to Himeno Miina, when…
Suddenly Miena pressed her hands against her chest, collapsing to the floor. H-Hey! Miena!?
(I…I’m fine…My heart just started pounding.)
You don’t look fine at all! D-Don’t tell me, is it the time limit!?
(…Maybe…yeah. Ehehe, it’s getting a bit tough for me…Huff…)
Seeing Miena smile in pain like that, I felt my chest tighten up.
“Saotome-kun, is something wrong?”
It didn’t seem like anything was wrong with her real body.
“Himeno-san! Is there something weird happening with my mental entity!?”
“Hm? Saotome-kun is the same as always, right next to me.”
Why!? Why have we reached the time limit before them!?
(Urk…Huff…I think…that it’s been influenced by your heartbeat…)
You don’t need to force yourself to talk! I understood what you’re trying to say. Basically, my racing heart made the time limit approach faster…Unlike Himeno Miina’s real body, who is always calm and collected, I was nervous and excited because of the heroine conquest strategy. That would explain why there’s nothing weird going on with my mental entity.
…Shit, it’s all my fault! Miena’s body was turning transparent more quickly. Almost like she’s about to be erased from existence itself. Because of me, Miena is going to disappear!
(Itsuki-kun…Hurry…I’m fine, so please…)
The more she spoke and gasped for air, the weaker her voice got. She’s probably trying to push me forward with her last bit of strength. Don’t worry, I understand perfectly what you’re talking about. There’s no time to hesitate! I have to save Himeno Miina…save Miena!
“Himeno-san, I’m sorry!”
“Eh? W-Wait, what are you…doing…Eh, awawa!?”
I pulled Himeno Miina closer, and pressed my lips on hers. I know that this was to save Miena, but I still felt bad having to force something like this. Himeno Miina remained calm when I told her about her mental entity, but I guess even she won’t be able to fully accept this. It reminded me of the time when she fell down the stairs. I wonder what the past me would think if he saw me like this, kissing the heroine I had always admired, on these very stairs.
However, nobody was watching us right now—except the setting sun, and both of our mental entities. In the corner of my view, I saw Miena, now smiling happily. Was this good enough? I asked her this question, but I didn’t receive an answer, as Miena just slowly vanished. All the memories we had shared over the past month flashed before my eyes. I’m sure that my mental entity and Himeno Miina must have gained precious memories just like us. All of our memories are something irreplaceable.
I don’t know how long we stayed like this. Albeit feeling regret at having to do this, I slowly moved my lips away. And then, I saw Himeno Miina’s large eyes look at me.
Even someone as clever as her seemed to need a moment to process what had just happened. Normally, I would have to explain my actions right away. From someone who had no idea, this is nothing short of a crime. I knew that better than anybody else. However…however! If Miena returned to her man body, then I shouldn’t have to explain anything…that’s why, don’t look at me with such confusion, Himeno Miina! Did Miena not return after all!? Is she still a mental entity!? Miena!? Are you still here!? Is it just that I can’t see you!? If so, then please respond to me!
Even as I screamed inside of my heart, no response came. Only silence greeted me. There were no signs of Miena still being around. At the same time, my mental entity should have returned to me, together with its memories. However, none of that happened. Was I too late!? No, who cares about my mental entity! Just please, don’t let my memories with Miena disappear! As I was unable to say anything, Himeno Miina covered her mouth with both her hands, and looked at me in shock.
“Thinking about it rationally, I understand why you did that. However…”
“Before anything, isn’t it proper manners to explain everything to me? No matter what my mental entity might have told you, I am still me, remember? Ignoring my own feelings, even if it’s Saotome-kun…I can’t forgive that…!”
I did this under the assumption that Miena would return to her main body. In the end, it was just an ideal result we had no proof for. I should have known, and yet…
“Please, give me some time to organize my feelings. I know that I myself am at fault, I still can’t fully accept this result…I’m sorry.”
Hearing my brief response, the girl showed a somewhat saddened expression and walked down the stairs. Right after, an announcement was broadcasted over the speakers, announcing the conclusion of the culture festival, which resulted in loud voices from the students. This irregular day ended, and everything will return back to normality tomorrow.
…The heck is this. Is this a bad game in a gal game? What am I, as the failure of a protagonist, supposed to do now? I could accept it if I was simply rejected by the heroine. But, acting like nothing happened? If this was a game, I could just jump back to a previous save, and try again. However, this is reality, so that won’t work.
How am I supposed to get up in the morning without you? Weren’t we going to talk about the source material gal game of the anime we watched? Teach me some more, so I can reach the top 40 during the next exams. I can’t focus all on my own. Alone, I can’t do anything…!
The light of the setting sun slowly disappeared, as darkness filled the hallways. The girl I had spent the entire past month together with…now had completely vanished. And, this announced the Bad End of my very own gal game.