“Yagami’s not here! You’re only going after me again with your frame-up technique! Do you have something against me? Just because you and Mio are lovers doesn’t mean you have to be so lovey-dovey in the game…”
“I’m not doing it on purpose! You’re the one who keeps getting in my way! And besides, you…”
“Hehehe! You’re so weak, Taiga! Boom! I win!”
“Fufufu, too easy, Yuzuki. The final victory will be mine, you know?”
Tomorrow is an important date with Mio. I wanted to rest up and be in perfect condition for our date, but…
As you can see, the four of us were gathered at Mio’s house, playing a four-player competitive video game that’s currently popular nationwide. While I often played games with Mio and Yuzuki, it had been a while since we hung out like this, playing games at someone’s house.
The reason we gathered like this was because of Yuzuki.
“Hey, you two, it’s not fair to leave me out! I want to play too! Oh, and since we’re at it, Akane-chan should join us!”
Out of nowhere, Yuzuki barged into our second-year classroom yesterday and suggested this. It was quite sudden, but I found myself having fun with it. It was stress-relief after dealing with the same gloomy atmosphere in our class since Rinto and Reina’s return to school.
Throughout this week, Mio had been restless, and she finally told Yuzuki about our date plans under the pressure of her questioning. The reason was adorable—she was looking forward to our date. It melted my heart.
While it was a last-minute decision, I was genuinely enjoying myself. When it was the four of us, I didn’t have to worry much.
Ever since Rinto and Reina came back to school, the class atmosphere hadn’t improved. It wasn’t a problem that I, as the victim, needed to address, and I couldn’t fix it by myself. Nonetheless, just watching it all unfold was still stressful. Today, I felt like I could finally release some of that pent-up frustration.
And, tomorrow, I had a date with Mio—the first one as a couple. We had been close friends for years, so we’d hung out together countless times, but dating was different. Just thinking about it brought a smile to my face.
“Ugh, I’m in last place again! This is so frustrating!”
“Hahaha! You’re so weak, Akane-chan! Even Onee-chan isn’t a challenge!”
“If you underestimate me, you’ll regret it! I’ve been practicing for moments like this… Wait, Yuzuki! That’s not allowed!”
Mio and Yuzuki, the two sisters, were having a fierce showdown, and Yuzuki came out on top. Yuzuki had always been exceptionally good at video games. In fact, I had never beaten her in anything.
Yet, despite her incredible skill, Yuzuki always acted so cocky when she won, which irritated me to no end. But then, of course, I’d challenge her again, and the cycle of losing and getting annoyed would continue. How many times had this happened when we were kids?
“Pfft, Akane-chan, you’re always in last place. Poor you!”
“Ugh… Your smug face annoys me so much! Fine, I’ll win next time!”
Predictably, Yuzuki was taunting Todoroki, and they were engaged in a childish argument. However, it was all in good fun, and they both seemed genuinely happy.
“Isn’t it amazing how they never get tired of this?”
“They’re cute. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Yuzuki so genuinely excited when talking to anyone other than Taiga or me.”
Mio smiled as she watched the two of them. Personally, I found Mio’s smile when she acted like a big sister to be cute, but I decided not to say that out loud, considering the situation.
Mio was right. Yuzuki, who often came off as cheeky, was popular with the boys but didn’t have many female friends. She didn’t seem to mind, but I was happy to see her making friends naturally like this.
“Okay, that’s enough of that! Hey, hey, it’s already getting late. How about we all go out for dinner?”
“…Have you guys really met recently?”
The argument between Todoroki and Yuzuki came to an abrupt halt with that suggestion.
While I had originally planned to eat dinner at Mio’s house and head home, if Mio suggested going out, it was hard to decline. Plus, I didn’t want to stay home too much, given everything that had happened with Shion and Tsumugi.
I sent a quick message to my mom and joined in the discussion about where to eat. When it came to choosing a restaurant, I immediately thought of Ginzo and Miu’s parents’ place.
However, I had my doubts. What about that place? It wasn’t exactly known for its aesthetics, and it might be a bit intimidating for three girls to go there.
“Taiga, do you know of any good places?”
“Hmm? Well, there is one… but it’s a bit… um, far from here.”
“Hmm… By the way, is this ‘Miu’ person you mentioned a beautiful lady?”
“Well, I mean… she’s kind of like an older sister?”
“Great, it’s decided! Yuzuki, Akane-chan, Taiga knows of a good place, so we’ll go there!”
I hope it’s just my imagination, but Mio’s cheerful smile seemed a bit forced. Wait, did I say something wrong?
“Eeehh! I had a great place in mind too! A place with delicious desserts! I know of a cute cafe!”
“Me too! Do you guys have WangXia in Kanto? It’s a chain Chinese restaurant, and it’s cheap and delicious! I thought Mio might like it…”
“…Are you both going? Really?”
Yuzuki and Todoroki, who had been grumbling earlier, suddenly began shaking and saluting.
“M-Mio-san, I think you understand this, but I’ve only met Miu-san once as a customer, so there’s nothing going on between us, okay?”
“Yeah! I know that Taiga would never cheat on me. But when it comes to women he gets along with, I want to know everything, just in case… You never know when a foxy lady might appear.”
I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear that last part. Mio-san, you’re quite intimidating.
Todoroki and Yuzuki were huddled together, whispering. I wasn’t sure what they were discussing, but both of them had sweaty foreheads.
“Yuzuki, is Mio like… a yandere or something? She seems pretty scary.”
“Umm, I wonder… but when it comes to Taiga, Onee-chan can be quite scary…”
“Fufufu, I can hear everything, you know?”
Mio-san, you have incredible hearing. I’ll make sure not to cheat, ever.