“Kimsaki-kun, that movie was interesting, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, it was… kinda scary, though.”
“Fufu… you’re not a fan of horror, Kimsaki-kun?”
“Well, I wouldn’t say I’m good with it.”
“I actually like it. These spine-tingling moments are exciting.”
“Fufufu… I get that a lot.”
Ginro-san and I were currently enjoying our “date” in a neighboring town. We strolled through the daytime city streets, where the holiday illuminations weren’t as prominent, discussing our impressions of the quite gruesome movie we’d watched earlier.
We hadn’t had many opportunities to talk outside lately, so when she suggested hanging out last night, I practically fell out of my bed in surprise. To keep the conversation flowing, I had sacrificed sleep and scoured the internet for topics.
That’s why I had a rough morning today. I checked my wristwatch; it was 12:25 PM.
Alright, it’s finally here!
“It’s about time for lunch.”
“Yeah, shall we go get some lunch?”
Alright! She took the bait!
Internally, I did a little victory dance. I had meticulously researched the local food scene in this town, covering every genre from Italian and French to Japanese and Chinese cuisine. I could recommend the best places for whatever she wanted to eat.
“What kind of food are you in the mood for?”
She seemed to ponder for a moment. Maybe I should suggest a place I’d found (with good ratings on food websites) but hadn’t actually visited myself?
“Well, how about that Indian restaurant over there?”
“I’m a fan of curry, you see. If it’s okay with you, Kimsaki-kun.”
“Oh… Yeah, curry’s great! I like it spicy. And having it with Naan bread makes it even better, right?”
“I’m not a big fan of naan… Sorry.”
I panicked, thrown off by her unexpected response. Why Naan? I don’t even like it! Now I sound like some weirdo pushing Naan on her!
Alright, let’s take a breath. It was an unexpected twist. I had assumed she was into fine dining, not curry.
“What’s wrong? Kimsaki-kun, you’re acting strange.”
“Oh, uh, it’s nothing…”
Okay, take a deep breath. Don’t make it suspicious; that would be disastrous! Regain composure, and keep the conversation going.
“Hmm, it’s nothing? Well then, let’s go.”
I might have stumbled a bit, but as long as Ginro-san was having a good time, it didn’t matter.
With that thought in mind, we headed to the nearby Indian restaurant.
“Uwa… it looks delicious.”
“Haha, yeah, it does.”
No way… Ginro-san ordered the “Murder-Level Spicy Curry” as soon as we arrived at the Indian restaurant. I only realized how dangerous it was when the dish was served.
The curry sauce was a poisonous, vibrant red, resembling the rivers of hell, and the rice was tinted like human organs, pulsating as if it had a heartbeat. Just seeing it made me break into a sweat, and I could only imagine what would happen if I ate it.
“Ginro-san… Are you really going to eat this?”
“? Yeah, of course.”
She answered my question with a puzzled look. Is she insane? Eating this… I’d be in flames!
Why wasn’t Ginro-san sweating at all? The curry was assaulting my sweat glands, but it didn’t seem to affect her at all.
“…Alright, I’ll start first.”
She took a big spoonful of the murderous curry and put it in her mouth.
She… she ate it!
Once she started chewing, I couldn’t help but watch, horrified. The curry seemed to assault her taste buds with each bite, and it was so spicy that it made my eyes water.
“Yeah… it’s delicious.”
With a smile of bliss on her face, Ginro-san continued to devour the murder-level curry.
Suddenly, she stopped mid-bite.
I asked, concerned. She turned to me with a beaming smile.
“Kimsaki-kun, would you like some too?”
Ginro-san scooped up a spoonful of the curry and offered it to me.
I was faced with an unexpected situation. While it was a dream come true for most guys to have a beautiful girl feed them like this, the circumstances were far from normal.
Looking at the blood-red curry piled on the spoon, I hesitated. If I ate this, I’d probably die!
But Ginro-san was looking at me expectantly, and the people at nearby tables were giving us envious glances.
What should I do? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be fed by a gorgeous girl like Ginro-san, but eating this curry would probably kill me!
Ginro-san continued to look at me, her eyes filled with curiosity.
“Kimsaki-kun, won’t you try it?”
Her eyes were so enchanting that I couldn’t resist.
“Alright, here I go!”
I decided to take the plunge. I couldn’t back down now!
I put the spoonful of curry into my mouth.
Yuran Kimisaki! Let’s do it—–
“…Oh, it’s not as bad as I thought.”
I felt relieved that it wasn’t as spicy as I had feared, but that relief was short-lived.
A split second later, the spiciness awakened in my mouth.
I let out a scream that was even louder than the one during the horror movie.
“Is your mouth still spicy?”
“No, I’m fine now.”
After being defeated by the spiciness, I spent over 30 minutes locked in the restaurant’s restroom. Finally relieved from the fiery torment, Ginro-san and I left the restaurant and headed to a shopping mall for some window shopping.
“Oh, a glasses shop…”
“Hmm? What’s wrong, Yuran-kun?”
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
“I’m actually curious now…”
Ginro-san approached me, her cheeks puffed up in a cute manner, pressing me to reveal the truth.
Even her pouting face is adorable…
“Well, my little sister used to wear similar glasses. It just reminded me of her.”
Yeah, my younger sister… The third daughter, Mai, used to wear them.
Mai was a gamer and would spend hours locked in her room playing games. Occasionally, I would join her, but Mai was too skilled, and I could hardly ever win. Those late-night gaming sessions came to mind as I reminisced.
Back then, I was living happily with my sisters, but that was a distant memory now. There was no going back to that past, no matter how much I yearned for it. I had to focus on enjoying my date with Ginro-san.
“What do you think? Do they suit me?”
As I got lost in my thoughts, Ginro-san, who had been sitting next to me moments ago, stood in front of me with a pair of black-framed glasses on.
“…Could you at least react a little?”
No, it’s not that. Ginro-san was just too cute. The combination of a beautiful girl and glasses was the ultimate combo. It wasn’t merely adding cuteness; it was a significant boost in adorableness—a cuteness overload.
“…Sorry, I got lost in your cuteness.”
Not good. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.
I glanced at Ginro-san, who had a pouty expression and was trembling slightly, her face turned away. Did I say something wrong?
She blushed and looked shy.
I was captivated by Ginro-san’s beauty and lost my words.
After the compliment, Ginro-san seemed pleased and continued shopping, trying on various clothes. She gave me the role of judging whether the clothes suited her or not.
When we went to the game center, we played rhythm games and racing games together. She looked enviously at a crane game prize, a plush toy with a face that honestly I couldn’t tell if it was cute or not. I spent some of my money and managed to win the rabbit plush.
“Thank you! I’ll cherish it!”
Her smile making it worth every coin.
We left the shopping mall, and the bright blue sky we had seen during the day had turned into a dark night. Illuminations filled the streets, casting a beautiful blue light that stopped people in their tracks.
“It’s so beautiful”
“Yeah, it’s really beautiful”
“I’m glad I could see it with you.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, I wanted to see the illuminations with friends. I’ve never done it before in my life. It’s strange, isn’t it? It looks more beautiful when you see it with someone else than when you’re alone.”
“Yeah, you’re right”
I couldn’t help but feel a bit disheartened by the realization that Ginro-san only saw me as a friend. But the happiness of sharing this moment with her outweighed any minor disappointment.
Ginro-san walked beside me. Since I was taller than her, I adjusted my stride to match hers. Closing the gap between our steps felt like erasing any distance between us, and it was incredibly satisfying.
Time felt incredibly precious. It was so blissful that I couldn’t help but think that even if someone told me I’d die tomorrow, it wouldn’t matter. There’s a saying that in life, happiness and unhappiness balance out, equally distributed. If that were true, I felt like I was experiencing so much happiness now that it could outweigh all the unhappiness I’d ever faced in my life.
Sometimes our eyes would meet, and she’d smile at me.
It was so endearing and heartwarming.
Her small steps, each one accompanied by the rustling of her silver hair, were endearing.
Occasionally, she’d glance at me, her face filled with a hint of worry.
It was so endearing that I couldn’t resist it.
I heard a dull sound, as if something had hit me. The impact was so strong that I ended up falling on my backside.
“Ouch! That hurt.”
What just happened? What hit me? Why am I on the ground?
I lifted my gaze from the ground to see two big guys standing there. Both had blond hair, piercings, and muscular bodies, dressed in the same kind of jersey with three white stripes.
Seeing their appearance, I had a hunch.
Could these guys be troublemakers…? No, but I shouldn’t judge people solely based on their looks… Yūji-kun may look rough, but he’s a good person… Perhaps I was overthinking things.
“Oi, kid, who do you think you are, walking around with such a beauty?”
Those were their first words, and it didn’t sound friendly at all.
Wait… They’re talking about Ginro-san, aren’t they? Is something about to happen?
My unpleasant feeling turned out to be right.
Ignoring me completely, the two men surrounded Ginro-san.
Even though the situation was clearly unusual, the people passing by paid no attention to us. Couldn’t someone at least call the police? I felt a sense of despair at their indifference.
Desperately, I looked at the men and Ginro-san to confirm what was happening.
Did they notice my gaze? One of them looked at me and smirked, as if mocking me.
“Oi, kid, you’re just a loser. You don’t deserve a girl like this.”
What are these guys saying…?
“We’ll put her to better use.”
One of them said as he put his arm around Ginro-san’s shoulders and started touching her chest.
“Let’s do it with us instead of this guy, okay? I’ll make you feel good, okay?”
Ginro-san didn’t resist or cry for help. Or maybe she couldn’t. I knew from before that she had some trauma related to the opposite sex, just like me. If she had the same problem I did, she might be experiencing severe anxiety and panic right now, making it impossible for her to call for help.
So she can’t call for help.
…His disgusting actions filled me with anger. He didn’t care about Ginro-san at all; he was just focused on satisfying his desires. What a b*****d.
Don’t mess around… That’s unforgivable.
“YOU! WHY DID YOU COME OUT OF NOWHERE AND TOUCH GINRO-SAN!!”
I shouted angrily, ignoring the pain in my butt.
These two men were trying to take Ginro-san away, and I couldn’t just let that happen. I couldn’t overlook this. I had to do something.
“Ha? Get lost.”
Despite my determination, my desperate shout seemed to have no effect on them. They just scoffed at me and with a swift, unexpected motion, one of the men punched me in the face.
My vision blurred, and I saw something red, like tomato juice, flying in front of my eyes. Was that… my blood?
By the time I realized it, I was already lying on the ground.
They kept kicking me mercilessly while I was down. Once they seemed satisfied, they stopped kicking and even spat on me.
“What the hell is wrong with her?”
“Hey, this woman doesn’t resist at all, does she? Isn’t it all right to go with us?”
“Sure! She’s a wh**e, but she doesn’t know it, and she’s too lonely to be beaten up by a man.”
“Poor guy, let’s just f**k her and give her back to him.”
My vision is completely black because I’ve been kicked so hard, but I can still barely hear.
I don’t care about myself, but belittling Ginro-san is unforgivable, but I can’t stand up to hear it.
It’s nothing but humiliation.
I’ve fallen in love with Ginro-san, and I’m so helpless that I can’t save the one girl I love.
…Maybe that’s the answer to what I said earlier.
People are equally entitled to both happiness and unhappiness.
So the happiness I had earlier brought this unhappiness…
Then I didn’t need that happiness…
I slam my hands to the ground again and again,
I’m so sorry, so sorry, so sorry. But there is nothing I can do.
The men’s voices become distant. Where are they going?
Over this road is the hotel district, something I looked up yesterday. (It’s just a coincidence, I didn’t mean to look it up like that…)
I wonder if those guys are going to r**e Ginro-san recklessly…
Like my sister did to me…
I want them to be as gentle as possible..
I heard Ginro-san’s voice.
Her voice was so raspy it sounded like it could disappear at any moment.
However, despite that weak voice, it reached my ears clearly.
More clearly than the two men standing next to Ginro-san right now…
“What… are you thinking, giving up like this?”
I felt ashamed of my earlier thoughts…
I was wrong to think that way. To accept such an injustice as normal…
I need to find my strength, open my eyes…
“FIGHT FOR THE PERSON YOU LOVE!”
Under the beautiful lights of the illuminations, there was a stark contrast: a girl being taken away by two men and a bloodied man determined to stop them.
To outsiders, we were like different species.
People passing by hurriedly avoided noticing us, not wanting to show any interest. It was as if we were engaged in a bloody battle in a place that should have been a lovers’ sanctuary.
But all of that didn’t matter.
I had dedicated all my thoughts to reclaiming Ginro-san.
Shame, fear, trembling – I abandoned them all!
“GIVE HER BACK, YOU DAMN B*STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARDS!”
Raise your voice. A feeling that is similar to the anger that I expressed for the first time in my life, but is clearly different, and that I don’t even know the name of, dominates me.
Breaking the momentary silence, as if he had recalled something, the man spat out curses and lunged at me.
I knew I couldn’t win in a fight, so…
I shouted her name.
Seizing the opportunity, while the men were momentarily shaken by the unexpected appearance of me, an irregular element…
“Grab my hand!”
It was the opposite of the morning; I was reaching out my hand to Ginro-san.
I was… holding Ginro-san’s hand tightly!
I will hold it!
Ginro-san grabbed my right hand that I offered without hesitation.
We hold hands tightly. I will never, ever let go.
For the first time, she called my name…
No, I can’t focus on that right now! Because even though Ginro-san took my hand, the two men have a look of fury.
The frustration in the men is at its maximum because someone they considered weaker has outsmarted them.
Right now, if I make the wrong move, I will undoubtedly be killed.
I held Ginro-san’s hand tightly and sprinted.
I had some confidence in short-distance running…
I need to create some distance between us!
“I won’t let you get away!”
In an instant, one of the men grabbed my back.
Oh no, is this it for me…
Their physical abilities, especially their speed, were far superior to mine. In the blink of an eye, the man had me by the back.
While shouting, the man raised his fist.
It’s going to hit me. I’m done for…
A dull thud echoed, but the sound didn’t come from me.
I didn’t get hit.
Why didn’t the attack land on me?
I cautiously opened my eyes, fearing the worst.
The punch had not struck me.
Instead, the person who had been hit was not me.
Lying on the ground, the man from earlier was sprawled out.
Standing before him was a shadowy figure.
Through my still partially closed eyes, I focused on the figure…
I could faintly make out the details.
The person had blond hair, silver piercings, and was wearing an out-of-season Hawaiian shirt…
Could it be…
“W-Why…are you here?”
I asked Yuji-kun in my hoarse voice.
Why are you here?
Did you come to help us?
All of my questions were riding on that one.
“I was just wandering around this town because I had some free time, and then I saw these guys fighting, so I came over out of curiosity…”
Yuji-kun’s sharp gaze pierced the man lying on the ground.
I had never seen such an expression on him. He always had a smile on his face, and I had never known him to make this kind of expression…
“Then I saw my friend was being beaten up.”
Then Yuji-kun turned towards me, and his usual gentle expression returned.
“Of course, I had to help.”
“By the way, you’re Ginro, right? Why are you with her now…? But I guess this isn’t the time to ask.”
I had never encountered someone so kind. I couldn’t help but cry.
I wiped away my tears with my sleeve and struck a pose, pretending not to be crying.
“It’s no big deal.”
Yuji-kun replied to my gratitude. To him, helping a friend was just a natural thing to do…
I admired his kindness as a person.
But then I turned my gaze towards Ginro-san…
Ginro-san was sweating profusely, and her normally pale face had turned even paler.
“…Ginro, are you okay?”
Yuji-kun asked, concerned.
“What’s… happening to your complexion?”
Ginro-san’s complexion was extremely bad, and it felt like even her body temperature had dropped significantly.
“Is this serious…? I’ll handle it. Yuran, take Ginro to a safe place!”
“Are you sure you can handle it alone?”
Yuji-kun cracked his knuckles and turned his gaze towards the men in front of us.
“What are you saying, Yuran? Dealing with these losers is a piece of cake for me. Just make sure Ginro gets somewhere safe!”
Since he’s facing away, I can’t see his expression right now, but he’s probably wearing a devilish grin.
“…!!! I-I understand! Don’t hurt yourself!”
Yuji-kun didn’t look back at me and made a good job pose with his thumbs up.
I’ll do my best, you do your best too.
I interpreted it that way, and holding Ginro-san, who was very short of breath, in a kind of princess hug, I cut through the wall of onlookers and started to run.
Running through the town at full speed.
People walking on the streets peered at us as if they were looking at something unusual.
Is there somewhere we can rest…?
I looked at my arms, and there was a silver-haired girl who seemed like she could vanish at any moment.
I’ll definitely …… save you.
Determined to do so, I ran through the December night with my body so hot that I no longer felt the cold.