We wrapped ourselves in bath towels and entered the mixed-gender bath, which had an open-air feeling to it, much like a traditional Japanese onsen. It felt like something you would find in the modern world.
The bath area was constructed with large stones, providing a pleasant atmosphere, and the view was splendid. If this were in the modern world, this inn would likely come at a high price.
“Uhm, are you really sure it’s okay for me to be here?”
“It’s okay. I’ll be washing your back, so please have a seat.”
Kohaku-chan guided him to a chair, where he sat with his hands on his knees, visibly nervous.
Karen-chan and Aoi-chan seemed intent on helping with the washing, creating a lather on a body towel and gently scrubbing his body.
“Isn’t it ticklish?”
“Kuro, where would you like me to wash next?”
“Is this feeling okay?”
“It feels good.”
As everyone was attending to him, he kept his eyes closed, trying not to react too much. I was just sitting next to him, not doing anything flashy.
I could understand everyone’s feelings. They wanted to be helpful, make a good impression, and perhaps even make his heart race. But even without all the fuss…
He is my boyfriend.
No, at this point, he is only my boyfriend. Even though I liked everyone, there was something about this feeling that was hard to accept.
Jealousy, huh? To feel such a clear emotion towards my beloved companions…
I needed to control it, to hold it back.
“Kuro, can I wash your front too?”
“No, I can handle the front myself!?”
Aoi-chan’s unintentional comment always caused him to panic. Her innocence and refreshing attitude were different from Kohaku-chan’s calculated words and actions.
“Shall I wash your front?”
Karen-chan intervened, preventing Kohaku-chan from doing anything more. With her firm stance, Kohaku-chan’s turn was forcibly ended.
Now, everyone had finished washing and was preparing to get into the hot bath.
I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. What should I do? The alluring underclassman, the slightly aloof but deeply cherished classmate, and the classmate with an unnatural rate of growth—everyone had their own appeal.
I understood that they were all charming in their own ways. However, that didn’t make the jealousy disappear.
I’m not sure if it’s okay to do this, but…
Thinking that, I pretended that my legs were entangled and fell towards him. I leaned against his back, with only a thin bath towel separating our bodies.
Kohaku-chan seemed to reciprocate with a fake tripping move, as if she were challenging me to a sumo match. Her intention appeared to be to pretend to fall and cling to him.
I couldn’t let that happen!
“Oh no, I tripped, and my legs got tangled!”
“I-I’ll support you so you don’t fall.”
Ah, I messed up! I inadvertently stopped her to restrict her actions!
“Thank you very much, Moegi-senpai. What are your intentions?”
I could sense the hidden meaning behind her words. While she was smiling on the surface, it felt like she might be thinking, “What are you doing, getting in the way like this?”
“Uh, yeah. You’re welcome…”
“Well, I’m just saying, it’s a bit unfair to reject others after doing it yourself, isn’t it?”
Behind her smile, she was pouting and complaining. I’ll pretend I didn’t notice.
I soaked in the bath, avoiding eye contact with Kohaku, and gazed at the starry sky. I wondered if this world had constellations or something similar.
“You like constellations, right, Kuro?”
“Well, I don’t dislike them.”
“You seem like you’d be into Sagittarius…”
It seemed he liked constellations. He probably liked things like the North Star, the Zodiac, and Orion.
“By the way, I like constellations too.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah… Huh? Did I mention that before? Well, never mind. So, how about we go to a planetarium together sometime?”
He had smoothly brought up the idea of a planetarium date, first bringing himself down with a touch of chuunibyou and then revealing his own interest in constellations to establish a connection. Then, he naturally segued into the idea of a planetarium date.
It was so smooth and natural that we couldn’t help but watch as the clear stream flowed by. Was this her natural behavior, or was it all part of a calculated plan? Most likely the former, but either way, it was incredible.
“Aoi-senpai… I’ve never been on a date before…”
With her nonchalant actions, Aoi effortlessly won this round. And with that, the open-air bath event came to a close.
This was something I wouldn’t normally do. Or rather, I had unintentionally used one of Kohaku-chan’s techniques. In simple terms, it was like trying to play sumo on someone else’s turf. What would happen as a result?
“Jiiiiiiii—” (Stare SFX)
Kohaku-chan’s icy glare was intense. It seemed like I had set off her “calculated cuteness” detector. Wait, what’s a “calculated cuteness” detector!?
Perhaps I had moved too dramatically!?
After bathing, I drank something like strawberry milk to quench my thirst. I’m not sure why, but in this world, there are yukata-like garments available, so I decided to put one on and explore the inn until dinnertime.
I wasn’t with anyone this time. Although it would have been fine to be with Izayoi, I sometimes felt it was essential to have some time alone to think or do something independently.
The inn in this otherworldly setting wasn’t significantly different from traditional Japanese-style inns, except for a few peculiarities like the pointed hat and toy soldiers. They even had foot reflexology sheets and massage machines, which made it feel quite familiar.
Well, I didn’t really find it surprising that this world had similarities to the modern world. I’ve seen light novels where characters bring modern gadgets into another world and surprise the locals many times, so I won’t nitpick the similarities between this world and the modern one.
Now, I stopped pondering such matters for a moment and began thinking about our complicated situation. Honestly, I wanted to shout, “Why did things turn out like this?” I never expected to have so many heroines in our story. I thought it would be just Kohaku and me in a classic double-heroine setup.
In my mind, if our story were to be turned into a book, the cover would feature a modest depiction of Izayoi, with our images confidently illustrated. However, now we have four heroines. I never thought Aoi would be so assertive. And her upward mobility is off the charts. Moegi is probably trying to hide her feelings, but it’s clear she likes Izayoi. That little stunt in the open-air bath was undoubtedly intentional. Surely, it won’t get any more complicated from here, right?
Harem, I can accept that. I’ve thought about it many times. But if it means that I, as an individual, will become less important, I can’t accept that. I’ll wholeheartedly follow the yandere path. Maybe I’ll use a knife… no, I wouldn’t do that. Such worries are baseless. I trust Izayoi, and everyone else does too. So, it’s time to put an end to this ambiguous relationship. No, it’s what I want.
Tonight, I’ll talk to him and become his girlfriend. I’ve decided. While I explored the inn, I had these thoughts running through my mind. But then, as I walked, he appeared right in front of me. It seemed like he was exploring the inn on his own too.
“Oh, senpai, wouldn’t you agree that this inn has a mix of traditional Japanese and modern elements?”
Perfect. Strike while the iron’s hot. Furthermore, we were both free at the moment, so there was no reason to hesitate. The sun was already setting, and it was my time zone for entering the zone. Right now, I held the cards to play a Royal Straight Flush.
“Come with me for a moment.”
“Eh? Ah, sure.”
We left the inn and went outside, where we could see the ocean. The starry sky was beautiful. There were no people or fairies around; it was just the two of us. We walked over to a nearby sofa without exchanging words. He must have felt the awkwardness of the situation if we didn’t talk, so he decided to break the silence and looked up at the sky.
“The stars are beautiful tonight.”
I decided to speak up.
“What is it?”
“Can I talk to you about something?”
“Originally, I wanted to create a more romantic atmosphere before saying this, but well, I’ve decided that ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ is the way to go!”
I was feeling a bit embarrassed, and it wouldn’t hurt to postpone this, but I couldn’t find a good reason to delay it any longer. The atmosphere was just right, and I decided to go for it.
“I-I want to be your girlfriend, Izayoi.”
I said it, right to his face, without averting my eyes or trying to run away. Yes, I said it! How about that? This is the power of a main heroine! It’s embarrassing to the point of death, but I was in the zone, and I did it!
“Oh, um, really?”
“What do you think?”
“As far as I’m concerned, it would be nothing short of pure happiness, but… Are you sure?”
“Yeah… I mean, Izayoi genuinely looks at me, and everyone doesn’t seem to mind. Logically speaking, a harem doesn’t sound so bad, but… I’m okay with this.”
“Are you really okay with it?”
“Yes! Thank you so much!”
I couldn’t see his face clearly due to the moonlight, but I could tell he was awkwardly flashing a joyful smile.
I’ve changed. Since I met him. But he’s changed too. We’ve both come a long way. Some things remain the same, but our relationship has changed significantly.
It all started with us being strangers, and I was genuinely surprised when I realized I had developed feelings for him. Honestly, he’s not even that good-looking, just an ordinary guy. But I fell in love with him. His smile, his heart, everything about him. It feels like it took a long time to get here, but now we’re officially a couple. There’s so much we’ll experience together… so much…
But first, we need to properly introduce ourselves.
“I’m looking forward to it too…”
The moonlight illuminated us. Strangely, the otherworldly moon seemed to bless us. Confessing in another world had a certain charm.
Now, neither of us knew what to do next. We had become a couple, but we were unsure about our actions from here. How far could we go? We both felt the pressure of not wanting to be disliked.
Perhaps, it was the same for both of us.
Well, what do we do? Should we at least kiss? This awkwardness after becoming a couple is unbearable!
“…What is it?”
“Ah, well, um…”
“…What is it?”
Hmm… this kind of interaction that only a couple can experience isn’t so bad. I don’t dislike it.
“Alright then… Shall we go back to where everyone else is?”
That choice is wrong! Sure, it’s almost time for dinner in this wonderful inn in another world, but can’t we stay a bit longer?
In this world, there are no signals, no mobile phones to receive messages that would disrupt the atmosphere or create awkward halfway situations like in a manga. This timing is perfect, and there’s no way I can let this golden opportunity slip away.
I revved up my brain to full throttle.
OOOOOOHHHHHHH YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
However, in this overwhelmingly romantic atmosphere of another world, I’m not sure what to do. It’s really too romantic. Damn it, I should have studied and reviewed more manga or something for moments like this.
Why does Karen look so much more wonderful than usual today? Is this the effect of being in love and the romantic atmosphere? It’s even more perfect than expected. But if we stay any longer, it might get awkward. It’s almost time for dinner.
“So, shall we head back to everyone?”
Her hair is not in twin tails after the bath. With her current hairstyle, she even looks somewhat similar to Kohaku.
Wait, something’s different today. She’s exuding more sensuality. No, she’s always like that, but it feels like it’s on a whole new level today. Is it because of her hairstyle? No, that’s not it. It’s her whole atmosphere. This feeling… It’s something I’ve seen before.
It’s Karen Mama… That slightly mature and seductive beauty who sometimes displays eccentric behavior. She’s quite bold, but in reality, she has a mature charm.
Is it in their blood? Even though she has a tsundere personality and I barely know anything about her, I feel like I’m completely lost when it comes to her.
I need to carefully plan and simulate in my head how to handle this. But I can’t think of anything!
As I was about to get up from the bench to return to everyone, she grabbed my hand.
“Hey, do you want to stay together a bit longer? Is that okay?”
Time stood still. The world’s colors faded away, leaving only her.
Wait, when did I learn time-space magic? When did she acquire such beautiful magical eyes?
No, I need to think. I should act gentlemanly and make a good move… But I can’t come up with anything!
She embraced me as if she were entrusting herself to me and brought her face close to mine. The pleasant scent of soap wafted in the wind, teasing my senses. Her petite and soft body clung to mine. I was too flustered to think.
I can only say “Eh” and “ah”! What should I do? She’s too cute!
“Can we get even closer?”
“Why aren’t you saying anything? Do you not want to?”
“No, it’s not that…”
“Then, how about hugging me, just like you do with Kohaku?”
C-Cute!!! She’s so cute!!! What do you mean by hugging?! Stop saying it like that! I’m overwhelmed and overworked dealing with this situation!
“Hey, can you hug me already? We’re a couple, right?”
Calm down. Calm down. I managed to wrap my arms around her, but my whole body was trembling from the tension and various thoughts. What if she thinks something weird about me…
“Are you okay? Your body is trembling.”
“Ah, no, I’m just… nervous…”
Damn, she noticed. What is she thinking? Our eyes met, and her gaze was filled with affection, making me feel like a helpless child in her presence. She gently touched my cheek.
“Fufu, you have some cute sides, don’t you, Izayoi?”
Full marks! No, five billion points, no, five trillion! Your eyes are like five trillion volts! Consider my feelings too! I’m in a bind here! Damn it, she’s totally teasing me…
Damn… I want to protect this girl. I want to be with her forever. I want to make her happy and never make her cry. Absolutely not. I held her a little tighter. Normally, I wouldn’t take the initiative to do something like this. I usually keep things moderate, but I couldn’t hold back this time.
She must have noticed too. She nuzzled her face into my neck.
And then, a minute passed… No, what do I do from here? How do I handle this? Where do I draw the line?!
I’ll leave it to her here. She’ll surely figure something out. She has the power to save the world, and she’s probably considering the next steps too.
No, what am I going to do from here!!!!!!!!!???????
I might have overdone it with that mom vibe. I exuded too much mature allure. I acted recklessly and stupidly in the heat of the moment. How am I supposed to handle this?
Well, the situation is fantastic, but what’s the next step?! Should we just hug like this for a minute and then go back to our normal positions?
And seriously, how long is Izayoi planning to keep hugging me?! Does he really like me that much?! I mean, we’re in a relationship since we both have feelings for each other, but still!
What would mama do?!
But it’s Izayoi we’re talking about. He must be thinking of some kind of plan from here on or crafting a plot. Come on, Izayoi, I’m counting on you.