“…Heh, so there was a setting like this.”
In a room now shrouded in darkness, a man sat at his desk, muttering to himself. His gaze was fixed on the computer monitor in front of him, displaying a certain website.
The site contained discussions and developer comments about an adult PC game titled “I Was Robbed Of Everything.”
“It was quite a sensational game in its time. Playing it doesn’t reveal everything, so having it all summarized like this is quite helpful.”
On his desk lay the packages for both the main game and the fan disc of “I Was Robbed Of Everything.” Living alone meant he could leave such games out in the open without concern.
He spent the next few minutes scrutinizing the site.
What became clear, once again, was that there were events in the game only involving Towa and Ayana.
To anyone who played the game, this fact would be evident, but the developer’s comments provided further clarification:
“It’s a story from Ayana’s perspective, so the fan disc contains a significant amount of content involving Towa. However, in our concept, Towa only gets involved with Ayana. There are no heroines like Iori or Mari among Ayana’s close friends. If Ayana were to become friends with them, she would also be unsure about what she should do.”
Indeed, he nodded in agreement.
In the main story, aside from that, the fan disc goes into great detail from Ayana’s perspective. By unraveling the past between the two of them, there may be no room for clemency when it comes to Kotone, Shu’s younger sister, and his mother, Hatsune.
But, when it comes to Iori and Mari, who were inadvertently drawn into Ayana’s quest for vengeance, it’s honestly hard not to feel sympathy for them.
Sympathy… no, it’s more like they’re truly pitiable.
[It’s because she was driven by the desire for revenge that Ayana focused solely on that. The sorrow that may come from the vengeance she orchestrated for Towa was completely overlooked, and all she cared about was bringing it all to an end.]
To eliminate any obstacles for Towa’s sake.
Ayana used whatever things were necessary to destroy the family itself, including Shu, and even Iori and Mari, who were close friends, became part of the cogs and performers in her revenge play.
“…Ayana’s formidable side was depicted entirely, but if Towa were to find out, he’d surely put a stop to it. The more you play the fan disc, the clearer it becomes… Towa is an incredibly kind person.”
The man continued to read the developer’s comments.
[It’s our shared understanding that aside from Ayana, Towa doesn’t have much interaction with anyone else. He might have a few conversations here and there, but if he were to get close or seem to be having fun with Ayana’s friends, he’d surely cause Ayana to hesitate.]
When he read that comment, the man could easily imagine such a scenario.
The fan disc was Ayana’s story of revenge but also depicted her internal struggles so intensely that he couldn’t help but feel deeply immersed in it.
As an outsider watching the story, he had thought endlessly about making Towa aware of Ayana’s feelings. He truly liked Ayana as a character and wanted her to find genuine happiness.
[Ayana always prioritized Towa, and she loved him dearly. It was pure, straightforward love that drove her, and that’s how she could endure even when her heart was breaking. As people often say, we’re not thinking about future stories… or alternate scenarios. Please, in your own imaginations, let them find happiness.]
With that, the developer’s comments came to a close.
It was already decided that there would be no sequel, let alone an alternative story, as per the official announcement. The disappointment was evident in the online community’s reactions.
The man sat in a daze for a while but eventually moved his mouse and launched the fan disc’s files.
The first image that appeared was of Ayana, wearing her familiar black hood, under a pitch-black sky with eyes that didn’t shine even a glimmer.
“It’s still hazy… the more I get to know this character, the more I wish she had found happiness. Even if nothing had happened, she would have ended up with Towa. There would have been some struggles with Shu, but it wouldn’t have been insurmountable. Ayana would choose Towa over Shu, and Towa would choose Ayana… that’s all it would’ve been.”
Ayana on the title screen remained still, but if you gazed at her for a while, it seemed as if she was shedding tears.
Then, the man played the game again, almost as if he were immersing himself in memories.
There were many moments that made him chuckle, and as long as he didn’t think about Shu, Towa and Ayana were all smiles.
However, the story continued to progress, with suspenseful moments when Towa almost encountered people who would have caused him distress.
[Towa-kun, should we go this way?]
[Eh? Oh, okay.]
However, thanks to Ayana’s advance notice, Towa was able to lead peaceful days.
He never had any contact with Kotone and Hatsune, who had verbally abused him in the past. There was also no interaction with Ayana’s mother, who indirectly uttered derogatory remarks.
Not only from Ayana’s perspective but also from Towa’s, there was really not much interaction with the other heroines. So, whatever happened to them, Towa wouldn’t know.
“…Ah, it’s over.”
After watching Towa and Ayana’s lovey-dovey moment, the ending showed them walking towards the light. The man continued to watch silently, and as Ayana’s figure disappeared, Towa’s monologue began.
[In my arms, there’s Ayana, always smiling. Looking at that smile, it makes me happy. But… was this really the right choice?]
Those words disappeared like fleeting moments, and the next sentence appeared.
[I was the one who she acted for, but what truly shattered her heart… was that I couldn’t realize it. I might have been the one who took away that gentle girl from myself.]
If Towa had realized… it was as if this function, inserted as a playful gesture by the developers, was his heart’s cry.
After gazing at the screen for a while, the man let out a sigh.
He leaned back in his chair, resting against the backrest, and muttered softly.
“If I were Towa… well, I can’t say I’d do anything so heroic. But I guess I’d still move for Ayana, even if I didn’t understand a thing. Haha, it’s pointless to think like this, but it’s okay to entertain these thoughts, right? After all, it’s a story that made me feel this way.”
He wasn’t implying he could replace Towa, but he wanted to save Ayana nonetheless. Feeling this level of empathy for characters in a game might seem strange, but it was a testament to how much he loved this story.
“I’m not used to doing this. My shoulders are a little stiff.”
I muttered this while massaging my shoulders.
We had been working in the student council room earlier. Even though I had gotten used to it to some extent in the latter part, doing something I didn’t usually do was tiring. However… to put it simply, I had enjoyed that time.
It was still part of our duties and not just play, but working together with someone was undoubtedly part of the typical student life, and it was truly a pleasant experience.
But perhaps the most significant reason was that she was by my side.
I suddenly glanced toward her, and she looked up at me. Our gazes met, and though she seemed surprised for a moment, she soon smiled.
“No, I was just thinking that I had fun during that time earlier.”
“Fufu. It was sort of a coincidence that we ended up doing this, but… yes, it was fun.”
She mentioned it was fun, but Ayana still had a somewhat gloomy expression. She quickly put on a smile again, not wanting to worry me. Her smile was cute, and I couldn’t help but think it was better not to ask.
Since Shu had gone with Iori and Mari, there were just the two of us. Now would be a good time for us to have a serious conversation that we couldn’t have at school.
“Ayana, can we talk for a moment?”
“Of course. What’s on your mind?”
She smiled sweetly and agreed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was bothering her.
I didn’t want to see her like this, so I decided to take her hand and lead her to a nearby cafe.
“Welcome! Just the two of you?”
“Please have a seat over there. When you’re ready to order, just let us know.”
Following the waitress’s instructions, we headed toward a table further inside.
We looked through the menu while we waited and decided to start with some tea and cake. While waiting for our order, we engaged in light-hearted conversation.
“Here it is!”
Our order arrived, and we stopped our conversation to enjoy the flavors.
The tea was perfectly sweet, and the cake tasted excellent. Ayana was savoring her dessert too.
“Towa-kun, may I try a bit of your chocolate cake?”
“Of course. Shall we exchange a bite of that strawberry shortcake too?”
We cut our cakes into bite-sized pieces and shared them with each other.
After finishing our cakes and sipping some tea, we both settled in for a moment. I gazed directly at Ayana and broached the topic.
“Is there something you’re not telling me? Something you’re carrying inside?”
“What do you mean?”
She gazed at me intently and tilted her head slightly.
She had a genuinely puzzled expression, which, because she looked good in any expression, even in one that emphasized her pure curiosity, appeared attractive.
“Ayana, you’re… always smiling.”
“That’s because I’m with Towa-kun. Every day is fun, and I’m happy… under those circumstances, I don’t have any expressions other than a smile. Well, I’m still a human, so it’s a bit much to say that I don’t have any other expressions besides a smile.”
She giggled, her shoulders shaking slightly.
Her expression seemed genuine, just like the smile she always showed, but there was something different about it. Even though it was supposed to be my favorite smile, I couldn’t help but notice a shadow in her smile.
“Is it true?”
“Is Ayana really genuinely able to smile from the heart?”
The way I was asking was delving even deeper into her inner thoughts. But Ayana didn’t appear disturbed or concerned in the least; instead, she placed her hand on her chin and took my question seriously.
“From the bottom of my heart, I can truly smile, you know? Look, does the smile where Towa-kun says I’m cute seem fake to you?”
Saying that, Ayana broke into a broad smile.
Honestly, it was vexing, but I had no choice but to wholeheartedly agree with her words, and I had an intuition that this was indeed a smile from her heart.
Was I overthinking it? No, there was no way I was overthinking it. That’s what I believed.
Observing Ayana as she smiled sweetly, my heart felt not only cleansed but also the thought of wanting to gaze at this smile forever filled my mind.
“Towa-kun? What’s really going on? The serious expression on Towa-kun is lovely, but I don’t want you to make a complicated face in a place like this.”
That was the silent plea behind the pouting Ayana, who was clearly signaling that she didn’t want any heavy conversation in this cozy cafe. So, I apologized.
This way, no matter how much I asked, Ayana wouldn’t answer. And perhaps most of all, I was beginning to doubt if it was just a misunderstanding on my part.
“Sorry. I’m going to the restroom for a moment.”
“Sure, take your time.”
I got up from my seat and headed to the restroom.
While taking care of my business and washing my hands, I looked at myself in the mirror. The reflection staring back at me clearly showed my discontent at not getting a satisfactory answer from Ayana.
“….Am I rushing too much? What do you think, Towa?”
When I asked that question, the reflection of me in the mirror, of course, remained silent and gave no response.
I kept staring, but nothing changed, and time just passed by. I chuckled at my own thoughts and then returned to Ayana.
“I’m back. What should we do now? Ready to leave?”
“Yes, you’re right. We’ve had our cake and tea.”
So, after paying the bill, we left the cafe. I had been observing Ayana subtly during our time there, but I couldn’t find anything unusual. Maybe I was just overthinking it.
Haa…..What a ridiculous thing to do, only to be noticed by Ayana, who is sensitive to such matters.
“Oh, how about going to that shop on our next day off? There’s a little item I want to check out, and I’d also like to get a small present for Akemi-san.”
“Sure thing. I’ll make sure to clear my schedule for it.”
While replying to Ayana, I let the thoughts from earlier come back to mind.
The moments when Ayana interacted with Iori and Mari, and how she seemed to enjoy it.
Ayana’s seemingly reluctant reaction to Iori’s advances was quite amusing. Her gentle expression when she looked at her cute junior who was struggling with how to be more like her was also quite lovely.
“And also… Towa-kun? What are you grinning about?”
See, I knew this would happen. Well, at least she didn’t see me worrying. Instead, she saw me grinning foolishly, which is also embarrassing.
“Hey, I wasn’t thinking anything perverted or anything like that. I was just thinking about what happened in the student council room earlier.”
“Again? It was indeed fun, but… Ah, now I can’t help but remember when Iori-senpai fondled my br*asts.”
Ah… I had a bit of a reaction.
There wasn’t a scene like that when I was watching them, but I saw…Shu’s face turned red.
“I wanted to see that… What kind of expression are you making?”
“Fufu, just kidding. Anyway, since we’re here, shall we go find a quiet spot for a bit of touching time? I won’t mind at all!”
“Don’t make it sound like you’re flaunting it! I mean, we were talking about br*asts!”
By the way, we’re in a crowded public area, so it’s not the place for this kind of conversation.
After we laughed for a bit, we both regained our composure and started walking.
We both chuckled for a while, and then we continued walking after our laughter subsided.
During that time, we didn’t exchange a single word, but the atmosphere was far from uncomfortable. In fact, the silence was strangely comfortable.
As we walked together, I suddenly stopped. Matching my pace, Ayane naturally halted and looked up at me, waiting for my next move.
“Well, it’s like this. What I asked you earlier was, in a way, a kind of resolution for me.”
“I want to protect Ayane’s smile, and after seeing you having fun in the student council room, that feeling has grown stronger.”
Since there were still people around, we moved to a quieter spot. Even though we shifted, the evening streets were bustling with people, and there was no escaping the crowd.
We positioned ourselves at the edge of the road, and I faced Ayane directly.
“You see, I really… I love seeing you smile. Not just in front of me, but like the way I saw you being friendly with the Student Council President and even with Mari earlier… It’s a precious sight. In today’s terms, I guess it’s something like ‘teehee’ or something?”
Teehee… It’s a trendy phrase these days, right?
As I thought that it would be a good phrase to use in such a situation, there were no words coming from Ayane in response.
I began to wonder if I had missed the mark, but when I looked at her, she seemed somewhat dazed.
She appeared to be taken aback, as if I had conveyed something unexpected or surprising to her.
“Ayane? What’s wrong?”
She stammered and seemed dazed.
She lowered her gaze and took a step back, as though distancing herself from me. It almost felt like rejection. I reflexively reached out to her but then pulled back.
I began to doubt if I had done something wrong or said something inappropriate. I revisited our recent conversation in my mind, but I couldn’t pinpoint any obvious cause for her reaction.
I might be misunderstanding something, but the way she distanced herself from me hurt like a sharp blade piercing my heart. It was as if a heavy, suffocating atmosphere filled the space between us.
Ayane lifted her head, but her expression remained somber. The awkward silence lingered when, just then, someone appeared, seemingly to break the tension.