“Eight Treasure Vegetable!! …Huh?”
Wait… I woke up and looked around. It feels like I woke up after uttering some incredibly embarrassing… nonsense. But it’s probably just my imagination.
“…My head feels oddly floaty.”
I felt like I was still in a dream, but I couldn’t believe I’d have such a vivid dream. I looked around and found myself in my familiar home. I looked around, and then I saw something on the desk that made me gasp.
I quickly stood up and picked up an erotic game.
This er*tic game was legendary among the ones I’ve played. It wasn’t just me who thought so; everyone who played it praised it highly. The game was legendary, or maybe it was an exaggeration to say “everyone” loved it. But it had certainly created a lot of buzz, and people were drawn to its compelling storyline.
[Towa-kun and Shu-kun.]
I suddenly heard a voice, and I turned around, but there was no one there. Just the view of my room.
I wasn’t at an age where I’d experience auditory hallucinations, so I must be fine, right?
With a bit of unease, I turned my attention to the game’s package, and to my surprise, I found the heroine of the game, Ayana, who was the one that made me think, “Am I really going to steal her?”
Come to think of it, the voice I heard earlier sounded like Ayana, didn’t it?
It was a voice that brought calm, a voice I wanted to hear forever, a voice that mixed tenderness and a contradictory seductiveness.
Well, even if it was Ayana’s voice, it was for one of my favorite characters, so it wasn’t strange to think that way.
“…But something feels off. What is this sensation?”
I gazed at the package for a while and then spotted another game.
It was placed on the desk just like the game I was holding. This was the fan disk of “I Was Robbed Of Everything.” It told the untold story from the main game—the story of Ayana’s revenge.
I silently started my computer, opened the fan disk files, and began to play. Suppressing my racing heartbeats, but driven by an inexplicable sense of urgency, I decided to play this fan disk once more.
“Playing an er*tic game anxiously like this is really something…”
I chuckled wryly and immediately arrived at the title screen. Under a dark sky, Ayana stood in the rain, wearing a black hood that didn’t suit her usual self, creating an eerie atmosphere.
But it suited her well. Her unusual appearance and the atmosphere matched perfectly, creating an atmosphere that piqued players’ expectations regarding the secrets that would be revealed in this fan disk.
From there, I played the fan disk without interruption. Was it my second playthrough? Wait, was it the second one? I felt like I’d played it multiple times, but my memory was strangely vague. Still, I continued playing.
I played it with single-minded devotion, burning each scene into my memory. I watched not only the intimate scenes between Towa and Ayana, but also the scenes where Ayana expressed her hatred towards Shu and his family that she had been harboring. All of them… I watched them all carefully.
To be honest, getting so engrossed in a game like this was quite strange. However, as the ending approached, I gradually began to remember – what had happened to me and where I had been all this time.
“Oh… that’s right. I was… Towa.”
I murmured, and in that moment, the fog that had clouded my mind lifted completely. Just a while ago, I had been attending classes at school like usual, but suddenly, my health had deteriorated, and Ayana had led me to the infirmary. I had fallen asleep there.
“…So, this is a dream… right? Haha.”
As I realized that this dream was just too realistic, or perhaps because I remembered something I had forgotten for so long, a dry laugh escaped my lips. Would I be able to return to her when I woke up from this dream?
By remembering everything like this, would I be deemed unnecessary by the world and erased, becoming prey for the Correction Force? Such fearful thoughts made my body tremble.
“Maybe… I saw Ayana wearing a black hood in the city or at home, or heard a voice that sounded like her with darkened eyes. Perhaps all of it was suggesting to me that I had memories I needed to remember. She might have been asking me that all along.”
Thinking that way, everything seemed to fit together perfectly. Even as I thought about it, I couldn’t stop playing the game.
Despite having remembered everything, the story reached its conclusion, an ending. A special event appeared as a condition to view on the second playthrough.
Towa and Ayana walking toward the light, but Ayana’s figure disappeared midway, leaving only Towa in that place. The light vanished, and darkness enveloped everything, revealing a message:
[Maybe I’m the one…. who took her away from me]
In a sense, that was true, I nodded. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t Towa’s fault but rather the influence of the people who tormented him, which led to Ayana accumulating negative emotions.
In her pursuit of revenge, Ayana gradually broke down, and Towa didn’t notice until the very end. That’s why he couldn’t forgive the ones who had caused her pain, and that was his inner cry.
“Ayana… truly loves Towa. She loves him so much, it’s overwhelming. She hurt those who tormented Towa because she loved him from the bottom of her heart and couldn’t stand to see him suffer.”
I leaned back against the chair’s backrest and let out a sigh. When I closed my eyes and concentrated on my thoughts, the image of that girl who had been smiling in front of me—Ayana’s smile—flashed before my eyes.
“You’ve been carrying a lot, Ayana.”
I knew that Ayana had something on her mind, but the thought of what might have happened if I hadn’t remembered anything was terrifying. While there was no guarantee that the game and reality were identical, considering my past experiences, it was a plausible possibility.
“I see. Iori and Mari seemed to be having fun… so that’s why her behavior seemed strange when I mentioned it.”
Iori and Mari weren’t the direct targets of Ayana’s revenge; they were merely sacrifices prepared to push Shu further into despair. Ayana shouldn’t have had any deeper feelings toward them. But that wasn’t the case—Ayana acted like a normal girl, finding joy in talking and playing with them.
When I pointed this out, Ayana discovered her own feelings, and she reacted in such a way because she thought it couldn’t be true. That’s probably not far from the truth.
“Ayana… Ayana Otonashi….huh?”
If I were just a regular player and hadn’t actually experienced reincarnation, I probably wouldn’t have thought about her this deeply. It makes sense. After all, she was right in front of me, and I had interaction with her in reality.
Various expressions of her flashed in my mind. Oh, how I longed to see her, and more than anything, to talk to her. I should have remembered her on my own, and having a conversation with her would have been cooler, but well, there’s no helping it.
“Should I watch that scene again?”
As I returned to the title screen, I operated the game once more. I entered the gallery and chose a scene before the ending. It was a rare movie scene for this type of game, showing Ayana wearing a black hood visiting a certain park—this park was where Ayana had originally met Towa, the starting point of her time.
“Once it was over, I couldn’t help but feel stunned… every~one was gone.”
Ayana, not minding the dirt on her coat, leaned her back against the wet tree. Her revenge was already over, and since Shu and the others, as well as Iori and Mari, had served their roles in the story, there was no deceit in Ayana’s words.
“…It’s all over now. Fufu, serves them right.”
She said it as if she were spitting it out. It wasn’t clear if it was due to being wet from the rain or if it was genuine, but Ayana’s tears, flowing down her cheeks, might have been due to her unconscious sorrow at the end of her revenge, and the heartbreak she had endured.
“Let’s go back to Towa-kun. There’s no one left to hurt him now… Finally, Towa-kun can have days where he won’t be hurt by anyone. And I’ll just continue to support him, day by day… That’s a happy life, absolutely.”
The destination of one’s happiness varies greatly. Ayana didn’t doubt that Towa’s happiness would come because she had achieved her goal. Ayana would never show it on her face or through her attitude. She had made up her mind to continue to support Towa by his side until the end.
“If I were Towa… No, it’s a bit of a cheat, but if I had known this, what could I do for her?”
If I were shown an ending like this… as someone who had fallen in love with Ayana, I thought deeply about what I could do to bring her a future where she would genuinely smile.
“It’s just self-satisfaction. But… I absolutely don’t want to allow her to walk a path like this.”
I clenched my fist tightly. In the story, Towa didn’t know anything, and Ayana wouldn’t let Towa realize anything. This meant that Ayana was the only one who would live with this truth. She couldn’t share it with anyone, couldn’t talk to anyone… That’s why she had to endure it, which would continue to break her heart.
“That’s just too tough, no matter how you look at it.”
Though revenge might bring a sense of relief, Ayana’s true intentions were unknown since I hadn’t directly questioned her. However, I couldn’t forget Ayana’s pained expression in the pouring rain at the park.
“Happiness and suffering… even though the kanji looks so similar, the difference is overwhelming, isn’t it?”
Smiling wryly while contemplating such obvious things, I slapped both my cheeks. It took a while to remember… or maybe it was a short period of time? But I’d never forget now. I remembered everything!
“I don’t know how to change things, but it’s definitely better to have regrets about things you did than to regret not doing anything. Besides, some things have already changed.”
Playing the fan disc and exploring Ayana’s memories, I learned a lot. One significant thing was the time spent working with Shu, Iori, and Mari, and the encounter with Seina. These were all events that wouldn’t have existed in the original story. This is evidence that they aren’t following a preordained program but are living within reality, where the course of events can easily change with just one decision.
“…That being said, how do I wake up?”
I muttered these words in my once-familiar room. I never expected that there would come a day when I’d be troubled by how to wake up from a dream. I’m honestly quite puzzled.
I turned off the computer, stood up from the chair, and looked around.
“Actually… How did I get reincarnated?”
Reincarnation implies dying in a past life… but now that I think about it, I don’t even know why I died. For a moment, I envisioned an iron beam falling from above, but now it’s no use dwelling on it.
As I was contemplating this, the surroundings suddenly changed, and I found myself in complete darkness.
Where is…. this?
It was pitch dark, and I couldn’t see anything. Even if I reached out, there was nothing to touch. When I spoke, my voice echoed as if absorbed by the surroundings, which was eerie, but surprisingly, I didn’t find it scary.
“…Is anyone here?”
I quietly muttered, but as expected, there was no response. I thought it was empty, but then, to my surprise, I heard a reply.
“Yeah, I’m here.”
“Who are you!?!?”
Startled, I turned to face a man who was standing there. However, the voice I just heard… no, was this person… could it be…!?
“Haha, it’s quite a peculiar thing, isn’t it? Talking to someone who looks exactly like yourself.”
Perhaps you can’t imagine my surprise right now.
It is funny to say so myself, because this encounter is something that would never have happened in the first place.
“Ahh… This is the first time we’re meeting like this, isn’t it?”
The person standing before me, Towa Yukishiro – the one who appeared to have taken Ayana from Shu, but who, in reality, held unwavering love for her – and the existence I had taken over was right in front of me.
I was completely dumbfounded. Even though I had lived as Towa, constantly wearing his face, seeing him in person made me realize that he was undeniably a different individual.
Once I understood that, a certain word naturally slipped from my mouth.
“…I’m sorry. I took over your life…”
It was an apology, but before I could continue to say that I had taken her away from him, Towa, placed his hand on my shoulder, stopping me from saying more.
When I raised my gaze, which had been directed downward, Towa was smiling.
“You don’t need to apologize at all. In a way, your arrival in this world was both a wish and a fulfillment for me.”
“What do you mean by that?”
I didn’t understand what Towa was trying to say, but he smiled wryly and continued speaking.
“It’s strange how you can realize many things once it’s all over. In my case, what I realized was that Ayana had been suffering all along. She seemed normal when she was with me, but sometimes I saw a hint of darkness in her expression. When I asked her what was wrong, she wouldn’t tell me, and in the end, she never did.”
“That is… Wait, what’s going on?”
I felt a slight unease in Towa’s words, and something was off when I looked at him. He was Towa, but there was a certain maturity in him, as if he had aged slightly more than the high school student Towa I remembered. Considering this, I tentatively asked:
“Could it be… are you a future version of Towa?”
“That’s right. I’m the idiot Towa who couldn’t notice the darkness in Ayana’s heart. I was foolish not to realize it and ended up hurting her.”
For that matter, it was understandable, and I couldn’t blame him. In my case, I was able to penetrate her heart to some extent. However, Towa here didn’t know about this world to begin with, and Ayana was simply too skilled at hiding her true feelings.
“I couldn’t… save Ayana. Whether I realized it or not, she, who was by my side, had already gone through everything. She consoled herself that it was for my sake, gradually wearing down her own heart… That girl… Ayana is incredibly kind.”
Pausing for a moment to exhale deeply, Towa continued.
“I probably wished in my heart that someone would come and save Ayana… an existence to protect her heart.”
Wait, was he implying that it was me? That’s quite a heavy role to play… but it made sense.
My wishes to change the future, my regrets for the past, all wanting someone to save Ayana… Towa’s feelings and mine aligned perfectly.
“That sounds way too convenient, but well, I guess I became you.”
“Same here. It’s frustrating, but even now, Ayana’s heart has some cracks that weren’t there when I was in control. You can definitely save her.”
Hearing those words from Towa was incredibly reassuring.
I clenched my fist tightly this time.
“I might not be able to do anything special for Ayana. All I can do is face her seriously and talk to her.”
“That’s enough. I couldn’t even do that in my time…”
Towa looked down, seemingly regretful.
What a strange sensation… A handsome guy right in front of me, still acting gloomy and pitiful after all this time. I felt a bit irritated.
So, I decided to give him a good pat on the back, making a crisp smacking sound. Towa let out a pained cry.
“Don’t make that miserable face! I don’t want to see it anymore, always having that expression right by my side.”
Even though I was practically intruding in his personal space, it was what it was.
“Helping Ayana doesn’t mean ‘all’s well that ends well.’ This world is not a game anymore, and there’s no predetermined ending. There are still various things, like Shu’s family, and even Seina-san’s situation.”
“That’s… yeah, do your best.”
“That sounds easy for you to say!”
Smacking him again with a crisp sound, I couldn’t help myself.
“I’ll say it again: all I want is to save Ayana. I can’t help but think about whether my consciousness will continue to exist no matter which path we take, but in any case, I want to save her.”
“It’s okay. You already realize it, don’t you? The fact that you don’t feel uncomfortable living as Towa, with your soul merged. That means you are yourself in this world now. So, there’s no need for you to feel guilty, and you don’t have to apologize like you did earlier.”
Towa patted my shoulder gently while speaking. I looked at him for a moment, and his words were straightforward and genuine. I nodded firmly in agreement.
“But in the end, there are still many problems left to deal with. You’re not just leaving all of that behind, are you?”
Towa seemed to accept my punches with a resigned expression, as if saying that it didn’t matter. I realized that hitting him wouldn’t change anything, and it wasn’t the right course of action.
“Um? Could it be…?”
I couldn’t help but ask the one thing that had been bothering me since our meeting.
“You know, I’ve been experiencing some strange visions from time to time. I used to think someone was trying to jog my memories, but could it have been you?”
“No, it has nothing to do with me. You saw those visions because of your own desire to save Ayana and shape her future.”
Hearing that, I felt reassured that my feelings were not in vain.
“I’ll confront Ayana and have a direct conversation with her, but I’m not sure about the best approach.”
Towa observed me, deep in thought, and couldn’t help but chuckle. He seemed to think, “Well, it’s all up to you now,” taking things lightly.
“Don’t give me that stern look. I entrust you with things that I can never do, and that’s also a source of frustration for me.”
I realized that moping about it wouldn’t change anything, and it would only make things more complicated for Towa.
As we continued our conversation, a soft light started to pierce through the darkness. It seemed like it was time to say our goodbyes.
“It will be fine. Don’t give up, and with your strong feelings for Ayana, I believe you can bring about the best possible future. Do your best, Towa Yukishiro.”
“Towa… Ah, I understand!”
It was a peculiar sight, the two of us calling each other “Towa.” But I had a premonition that this might be the last time we’d meet, even in a dream.
Considering it, I didn’t feel sad or lonely. It was a strange feeling. It was as though my existence had merged further with Towa. It was like I was indirectly being told not to worry about being Towa anymore.
“Judging from your reaction, it seems like you’ll be fine. But before I go, there’s one thing I think I can help with.”
“Oh? What is it?”
I leaned in to hear what Towa had to say, hoping for some useful information.
“You know that I used to really enjoy playing soccer in the past, right?”
“Yeah, I do. Those memories are etched into my mind, body, and heart.”
“I hope you can show Ayana the sight of you playing soccer in front of her. I want you to help her move forward from the time she’s been stuck in because of the accident, to not be trapped by her past, and to move forward…”
As he said that, Towa seemed to realize something and gave a wry smile, scratching his head.
“Sorry… I think that was more of a personal wish on my part.”
“No, if I think about Ayana’s past self, it might actually be a good idea… No, it’s definitely a good idea. ‘Don’t be trapped by the past, move forward’… Yeah, those are great words.”
Don’t be trapped by the past, move forward… Right. They’re really good words.
But I had one concern. I scratched my head just like the earlier Towa, and then I voiced my concern.
“But, sorry to bring this up after agreeing to your idea, but I have no experience with soccer.”
“I think your body remembers it. You’ll be fine.”
“Well, that’s convenient.”
It’s amazing how the body retains memories.
Just as we were discussing this, the surroundings became much brighter, and Towa’s figure started fading away. It really seemed like the time to say goodbye.
“Then, take care. I’m counting on you to help Ayana.”
“Leave it to me. I’ll do my best in other aspects as well. If I can save Ayana, I’m sure I can take care of Iori, Mari, and the others… and as for Shu, I’ll definitely settle things. Though Kotone and Hatsune are a bit intimidating!”
In any case, my priority was Ayana. I would protect her heart in my own way.
Towa seemed satisfied upon hearing my determination and nodded. He gently patted my shoulder once again, just like in the beginning.
“Watching you makes me feel like I can do my best too. I’ll support that girl who’s been through so much in my own way, within my limits.”
“What do you…”
Before I could ask what he meant, Towa’s form began to vanish.
But right until the very end, his words reached my ears.
“I hope you find a resolution that satisfies you… And one last thing, thank you.”
With that, I awoke from my meeting with Towa.