Maybe this light illuminating my daily life was just an illusion?
Not even bathing in the memories and aftertaste of the culture festival, I just laid down in my bed. Until yesterday, my days were lively, filled with needless gal game knowledge. Maybe that was nothing but fake, and I merely lost myself in the fantasies I always lived through? The whole mental entity thing was nothing more than some fiction, and I was just satisfying myself by averting my eyes from reality. Normally, as I was always able to differentiate fantasy and reality, I probably would have arrived at this conclusion. However, the days and memories together with Miena still remained deep inside of me, not vanishing at all.
I don’t want those days to just be an illusion. Even if it’s just me alone, I will not forget about them! I decided to tell Himeno Miina of my feelings the next day, and went to bed.
That night, I had an odd dream. In this dream, Himeno-san and I were smiling at each other. There’s a fashionable plush toy in Himeno-san’s room. When I said that it was a room that was just like her, she showed a bashful gesture, which was really cute. Also, I was surprised to know that she was bad at cooking. That’s why her mother always made her lunch. But, what surprised me even more was the gal game collection in the corner of her room. When I heard that she always went to Akiba to buy them, I would have collapsed in shock if I physically could.
She mentioned that talking with her friends, which I thought she was close with, wasn’t actually that enjoyable at all. Realizing that the Himeno-san I believed to be perfect was just another girl, I immediately felt a closer connection. Well, she’s not just another girl, she absolutely adores gal games after all—
It felt like something was urging me, so I jumped up from the bed. Looking over at the time, it was barely 6am. This was around the time [she] would wake me up.
…No. That wasn’t a dream. They’re my precious memories I treasured more than anything. They’re memories from my mental entity. I remember often having a bit of banter with Himeno-san. Why was I so calm about forgetting, even though they were just as important as my time with Miena?
Himeno-san, I’m back…I’m sorry that I couldn’t keep my promise of helping you create a cafe that would make everyone happy until the very end…Promise? Ahh, that’s right, there’s something I need to tell Himeno-san—Miena as well! Miena, you got back to your main body, right!?
Almost as if to answer my question, my smartphone vibrated. I immediately checked my messages, and found a single, new one.
‘To Saotome-kun. I have something important to talk to you about. Could you come meet me at that place today after classes?’
It’s thanks to the contact address Miena and I worked so hard to get. Saotome-kun, huh…With mixed feelings, I headed to school.
Classes ended for the day, and I moved to the place mentioned in the message, the stairs where everything began. Our surroundings had started to turn orange, as I spotted Himeno Miina standing there. From the place I arrived, it was impossible for me to guess her expression. How should I even call out to her? I can’t be irresponsible.
I really haven’t grown at all. If Miena was here, she’d probably laugh at me. However, she’s gone, so I have to be the one to act.
“Thanks for coming.”
It’s her voice I’ve been hearing close up to me for the past month. Drawn closer by this voice, I descended the stairs. Finally, her face was illuminated by the setting sun, revealing her expression. The second I saw her expression, I was certain. There’s no mistaking it, it’s her—”
“Sao…Itsuki-kun! I’m really sorry for what I said yesterday!” She apologized, her expression looking like she was about to break out in tears.
“It’s fine. If anything, I’m just glad that your memories didn’t disappear…”
“……Yeah.” Almost as if she was remembering each and every one of these memories, she put her hands in front of her chest.
“The memories of the gal game we played, they’re inside of me.”
“Though, the game I bought at Akiba back then didn’t turn out to be so great after all…Fufu.” She tried her hardest to keep up a smile, but I could tell she was close to crying.
“You got really angry mid-playthrough right, Himeno-san.”
“…But, the other gal game was the best one ever.” She looked directly at me, declaring with confidence.
I still don’t know about that. After all, I have yet to tell Miena of my feelings.
Miena said I changed, but I’m still the same. No matter what, I can’t change. I can’t even tell the person I love so much about my own feelings.
(It’s fine, it’s just me. Don’t worry.)
There, it felt like I heard a familiar voice tingle my ears. This voice must have been nothing but my imagination. And yet, it was more than enough to give me courage.
The girl in front of me smiled, as she inspected my expression. And then, she moved her face away, raising up her hair on the left side. Meina is waiting for my words. She, who’s normally always the one to conquer. Only today, only for this moment, I’m the protagonist! I don’t mind being a side character for the rest of my life, or even just some background character. Only at this moment, I won’t let anybody else take my position as the protagonist!
“I like Miena. I like Himeno-san. I love Himeno Miina!”
After hearing out my confession, the girl showed a bright smile, and offered me her right hand.
“Congratulations on your successful conquest!”