I sat on the sofa, wrapped a towel around my waist, and changed into pajamas. The faces of the girls as they sat on the sofa showed embarrassment and shame. I explained the situation to them.
“I apologize deeply for what happened, turning into a cat and causing this accident.”
I bowed deeply, more like prostrating myself.
“Please lift your head, Izayoi-kun. W-We were s-s-s-s-shocked, but it’s not your fault.”
“Y-Yeah. I-I can’t believe you turned into a cat… but considering the circumstances, it’s hard to believe anything else… and that uniform was yours too.”
Both of them blushed and reluctantly accepted the situation. However…
“T-To have touched and intimately pressed against his body like that…”
“H-Hey, hey, Moegi-senpai!! Don’t say it! It’s embarrassing!”
“T-T-T-T-That’s right! Don’t say it!”
“But we touched him all over, how can I forget about that?! It’s impossible! It was all over his body!”
“Please stop! You’re making me remember it!”
“And that bath… it’s going to be etched in my memory forever!”
“Moegi, please stop!”
The three of them remembered what happened and sank into a sea of embarrassment. This continued for another thirty minutes. They seemed to understand that it wasn’t my fault, and there were no further consequences.
“Izayoi-kun, there are clothes from my father, so please change into them.”
“Thank you. I’m sorry for everything.”
“I don’t think it’s your fault, Izayoi-kun. It was all because of that cat. Besides, can we stop talking about it? It’s too embarrassing… I feel like I’m going to die of embarrassment…”
“Y-Yeah, you’re right…”
I recalled the conversation with Hihara Karen earlier, resembling a confession. How should I interact with her from now on?
Hihara Karen and Kikawa Moegi are still sitting on the sofa, their faces still stained with shame. I’m embarrassed too!
“For now, it’s getting late, so let’s go to sleep… Izayoi-kun, you can sleep on the sofa too…”
“N-No, that’s… Can I borrow the sofa?”
“T-That’s not allowed!! You’re my guest!”
“N-No, it’s not right for a young man and woman to sleep together. Please let me sleep on the sofa tonight.”
“I-Is that so? Well then… Uhm, why are you avoiding eye contact like that? Did I do something unpleasant? Was it too uncomfortable when I touched you as a cat?”
She looked worried, but in reality, I was just getting flustered by their kindness. It’s my first time experiencing something like this…
“N-No, it’s nothing. Let’s just go to sleep soon. We have school tomorrow.”
“Yes… If anything happens, please let me know. Let’s all go to sleep.”
Red and Yellow look away in embarrassment and head towards the bedroom. I can’t help but see Hihara Karen going to the bedroom. I’m conscious of Hihara Karen… Seriously, if this continues, a romantic comedy will start… And there’s a ridiculous story that I, who has the same mental age as an old man, is conscious of JK…
For now, let’s just go to sleep. I lay down on the sofa in the Gindou residence.
I couldn’t sleep… The stimulation was too strong for me… It was late at night.
The sensation of the higher dimension couldn’t be forgotten… I lay on the sofa with my eyes closed, when I heard a voice.
“Nya nya nya, did you enjoy the life of a cat nya?”
“You… You deliberately chose the worst timing to turn me back.”
“Nya nya nya, it was just a coincidence. It’s just your bad luck. Well, maybe I should say it’s good luck nya?”
“I’m already exhausted. Can you please go somewhere else? I don’t like dealing with yokai or anything like that.”
“Of course. I’ll be going now. I was just curious about the strange humans gathered here nya. Humans are fascinating creatures, especially the three females you’re involved with.”
“Don’t call them females. And don’t say I’m involved with them.”
“Nya nya nya, the strength of the aura deep within you is different from other humans. Of course, you also have it, nya.”
“Me? Do I have an aura as well? Even though I’m just a mob?”
“You should realize that you’re an exceptional human. Your aura is on par with those three nya.”
“No way, could it be that there’s hidden power within me…?”
I instinctively covered one eye. To think that my lost childlike innocence would be awakened in this way…
“Some yokai can sense such things nya. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the comical sight of humans nya. Especially those females of yours.”
“Don’t call them females. And I’m sure you were watching. You must have intentionally delayed turning me back.”
“It wasn’t intentional nya. Oops, I’ve stayed too long nya. I should be going now nya. I’m happy that I got to see a human play with a female nya.”
The cat suddenly disappeared… I hope it never comes back. I really don’t like the occult.
But still, I have special powers.……
Perhaps there is something like “magical power”… But even if it exists, it alone doesn’t hold much meaning…
What should I do from now on… If there is such a thing as “magical power”… But getting involved in it might not be a good idea… I’m thinking about various things, but I can’t find an answer. As I pondered over whether I should avoid getting involved in some kind of “story,” the bedroom door opened.
“Uhm, Izayoi-kun, are you awake?”
I heard the voice of Gindou Kohaku. The room was dark, so I couldn’t see her face clearly.
“I see. I heard some voices and got curious….. but can’t you sleep?”
“No, I think I’ll be able to sleep soon. Sorry for the noise. I was just on the phone.”
“I see… Well, then, goodnight… Can I talk to you for a little bit, Izayoi-kun?”
“Y-Yes, that’s fine.”
She sat down next to me. Although I couldn’t see her clearly, I could sense her presence.
“There’s something I want to apologize for.”
“What is it?”
“I feel like I’ve treated you badly lately…”
“I-It’s okay, you don’t have to worry about it. Really.”
“Still, just a few words… I’m sorry. I think I caused you a lot of trouble.”
“It’s really alright.”
“Thank you… Uhm, I have a selfish request, but could you listen to my concerns?”
“Sure, if you are okay with me.”
“…Uhm, I feel like there’s another version of myself inside me…”
“Ever since I was bullied in middle school, sometimes… I don’t really understand, but… I’ve never told this ridiculous story to anyone. But today, seeing you turn into a cat, something completely unbelievable, I wondered if there’s something happening to me too… That’s why I wanted to talk to Izayoi-kun, who turned into a cat.”
“Do you believe me?”
“Yes, I believe you. If there’s anything I can do…”
“Thank you. I just wanted you to listen to this story, so it’s okay. And with your previous words, you’ve already saved me… Ah, but just for ten seconds… C-Can you hold my hand?”
Nervously, I took her hand. After a while, she let go. For some reason, I felt a hint of reluctance. It was a different emotion from what I usually feel.
She stood up and headed towards the bedroom.
“Thank you, Izayoi-kun. And goodnight.”
I stopped her before she left.
“If there’s anything, please let me know. No matter how trivial it may be.”
She went back to the bedroom.
[Hihara Karen PoV]
I couldn’t sleep. I looked outside. It started raining and I could hear the sound of rain…
Beside me, Moegi and Kohaku were sleeping. I’m trying to change myself, to take things more slowly… But then, I suddenly remembered what Mama said during our recent conversations when our family started getting along better…
[When you start falling in love, the more you like someone, the more you become unsure about how to interact with them… Your attitude becomes colder and colder. But that person, him, Izayoi-kun, melted that away.]
[Karen, you also resemble me in some ways… Being honest is the best way to go. Remember that.]
Will such a day come for me too… when I become unsure about how to interact with Izayoi…? For a brief moment, anxiety surfaced. But I shook my head and covered myself with the blanket.
Gradually, the sound of rain lulled me to sleep.
In my mind, they are my friends… but what about him? A friend? I’m not sure. I have a favorable opinion of him, just like the two of them. If they like him, then I want to support them.
I like seeing their happy faces. But there’s something bothering me…
I can’t sleep tonight… not because of a ghost or something… It’s just that when I close my eyes, I can hear someone talking in the living room… Is he on the phone?
After a while, the voices stop, and someone… is it Kohaku-chan? Karen-chan?
I faintly open my eyes and recognize the silhouette of Kohaku-chan. She opens the bedroom and approaches him, starting a conversation. I can’t help but secretly listen by pressing my ear against the door…
It’s just a few minutes of conversation.
And then, he and she hold hands.
[If there’s anything, please let me know. No matter how trivial it may seem.]
He leaves sincere and heartfelt words for her. It’s different from before… I can sense some kind of genuine feeling in his words… and I can’t help but understand it.
At that moment, my chest pricks like being stabbed by a needle. It’s just my imagination.
She returns, and I quickly hide under the covers, closing my eyes. I can hear her humming happily.
If she’s in a good mood, I should be happy too… but right now, it’s not the case…
I can hear the sound of rain… I’m not in the mood to sleep anymore…