Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
One whole hour had passed.
Perhaps it was due to her finishing her ice cream, but she finally went up and said what she wanted to say. Finally, I’m free… No, not quite. But if we isolate this one moment, I can at least savor the liberation.
Still, I’m certain that from tomorrow on, I’ll be asked to do a ton of work with her, but it’ll probably be just until she loses interest. I’d give it two or three lessons, tops. Hell, considering this first teaching session, I think this might’ve been the last!
After all, the reason why she wanted to pick up the cards was peculiar itself. Normally, when someone starts playing any trading card games, they’d do it due to having a modicum of interest, or some other reason like that. At least, that’s for the usual newcomer. But she’s different.
When I asked her why she wanted to start playing, she casually remarked, “If I can get the cards in the next tournament, that’ll be enough.” At that moment, I finally understood.
Speaking of common “been there, done that” jokes among newcomers in TCGs, there’s a pattern where people develop a sudden interest that is birthed in a whole another platform. A simple example would be when some influencer starts dabbling in a game and it starts trending everywhere, so they think, “I have to ride this big wave when it’s high.”
This isn’t limited to TCG alone, mind you, and is a commonly observed phenomenon. It’s that whole “You won’t know until you try!” philosophy. Especially in TCGs, with their complex and intricate rules.
This time, it’s a girl who’s not the least bit geeky; I could see her going, “What’s this? It’s boring,” and dropping it quite easily. And as if to hammer that point home, she just won’t answer my questions seriously, which made it all even more confusing for me.
In fact, I thought it’d be bad of me to assume she was doing it just to follow the latest fad, so I asked, “Why do you want those cards?”
“It’s not like I want them. She does, so I thought I’d give them to her.”
It seemed that she herself didn’t find any value in that card, but instead wanted to obtain it because there was someone she wants to give it to, whoever that may be. Since it’s financially difficult, she wants to aim for victory in the tournament.
Listening intently to her whole story, and deciphering the ambiguous myself, my impression could be summed quite nicely into a short phrase. “What the heck?!” Yup, that’s the only thing that came to mind.
Go ask someone else! — That’s the logical conclusion one would come to, and it’s what I wanted to add to those words. I mean, no matter who she wants to gift some cards to, they were irrelevant to me. If one didn’t fear retaliation, they would probably refuse too.
Moreover, I’m aware this sort of request, especially coming from a social flower like her, spells nothing but trouble to a gloomy nerd like myself. So much so, under normal circumstances, I’d have come up with excuses and left by now.
*Yeah… I’m declining, right? Curt and simple…
At least, I would’ve done so if it were the usual me. I’d cut the conversation short with any number of excuses, and not have spent an hour talking to her just as we have. But despite it all, I didn’t do any of those things… Rather, I could see my flaws showing themselves for all to see.
Through the questions I’d posed, I realized what this all was. And from the edge of her words,
“But I gotta work hard,” she said.
I realized what kind of person this was for, and the meaning this gift held.
“I mean, it’s better if they’re happy, right?”
Oh, I see. You don’t have to say it out loud, though.
In truth, I was taken aback by her lovely profile. She tried to hide her embarrassment behind a smile, but couldn’t do so quite well. Unknowingly, I couldn’t keep my heart from racing ever-so-slightly.
“So, I went, ‘I just have to do it’… Y’know?”
All of this was the epitome of some romantic comedy, unfolding right before my eyes. She didn’t say it explicitly, but I could see a very bright arrow being pointed from her to someone, and it flew away to the sky above, somewhere.
I’ve been questioning why a girl like her would be interested in a hobby such as this, but I could finally get it from her look alone: It must’ve been one of her approaches.
I wonder if the other party is aware of her attack or not. From the way this conversation went alone, it seemed like they were not in that sort of relationship yet. Though he must’ve been some handsome, high-spec guy as well.
In that case, maybe the guy is just dense, and he’s thinking, “Did something just happen to me?” Yeah, it could be one of those situations for sure.
—Oh no, spare me.
Even if we assume it’s a typical storyline of a dense light novel protagonist and a girl who can’t be honest… Wait a minute. Isn’t that my favorite genre? In this situation, my gray brain cells become an out-of-control locomotive with broken brakes.
Surely, it’s also influenced by the fact that I couldn’t read that serialized manga yesterday and got spoiled early in the morning.
Suddenly, and embarrassingly, I reaffirm what I am. A nerd. While the general public lumps all nerds together, the reality is that there are various types around. In general, each one passionately pursues a particular interest.
As for me, I’m definitely a TCG-loving one, but you see… I also love romantic comedies. Not to mention manga, anime, and games… Surprisingly, I’m also a romance junkie in real life, though I know it’s troublesome. Still, I love it when I hear the occasional classmate’s love story in the classroom. Am I some sort of gossip-monger?
With all that said, a high-quality romantic story just fell on my lap out of the sky! And can you believe the heroine is someone as beautiful as her? Is it okay for me to enjoy this bittersweet romantic comedy (temporarily) from such a premium seat, and for free, mind you?
I am now the pinnacle of a troublesome nerd who wants to watch other people’s romantic comedies from a VIP seat.
It’s frustrating, honestly. If I weigh the annoyance of being manipulated by popular people against my love for romantic comedies, there’s not even a need to think about which side will hit the ground.
Sure, I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ll be able to feel the heart-fluttering developments between a girl and her crush through casual talk, as I have today. Even if it’s just for a week, my heart will be filled with excitement.
So here I am, using TCG as a blindfold to enjoy other people’s love stories from a first-class perspective. I admit that I’m a socially unacceptable guy because I’m too creepy. But I can’t resist my nerd-a*s blood, and though it’s twisted, the truth is that this is the only option for me.
Plus, as I mentioned earlier, this will go on just until her interest in cards run out. Considering it’ll be a short period, and as a result of prioritizing my own interests, I’ve accepted and undertaken her request. Truly, I embarrassingly live up to the “creep” moniker.
Thus, in this miraculous win-win situation, I sat with a slight sense of guilt for another hour.
“Now then,” prompted by the girl who stood up, I also threw my empty coffee cup into the provided trash bin. “How about I come to your house next weekend?”
“Ah, sure, my… My house? Huh?”
The trash bin was just a few centimeters away. Its mouth hung wide open, and the discarded coffee cup rolled at my feet. …Huh? I repeated the question inwardly.
“I’ll bring anything random, like some snacks or something.”
Those last words she left behind seemed oddly realistic and, in a different sense, made my heart flutter. My brain wasn’t functioning at all, but regardless, it was the kind of spine-chilling, heart-grasping flutter. While pondering the meaning of her words, which I certainly didn’t understand for a short while, I finally returned to reality. But it was too late.
I think I heard her say, “See you later.” I know it’s my fault for freezing up, but she had already left the shop.
Through the glass, I just blankly watched her back as she walked down the road, and now, I’m once again made aware of the gravity of what I’ve done.
…She’s coming to my room next weekend?
A dissonant chord suddenly resounded in my head. My stomach tightened at its throat, and I knew the cause. Someone would invade my sanctuary. It’s truly an act of a fool who fears no taboos.
Seriously, really, absolutely, irrevocably impossible.
Let me say it again, I’m the type of nerd who values peace and freedom. I don’t have the skill to deal with the chaos of others. I admit that I’m the creep. The room she wishes to traverse is not befitting of others. It’s dangerous. The walls, ceiling, bed covers, everything feels like a haunted mansion or a cursed place. It was all as disgusting as I was.
If someone without tolerance sees it… I won’t dare continue, but please understand!
Is this the result of being driven by self-interest and greed? This is the era of great regret for this foolish nerd here, sitting in the eat-in area by the entrance, holding his head. To that idiot, as if delivering the final blow, a message appeared on the trembling smartphone.
“At least clean up a bit.”
I flinched and tightly closed my eyes, then tossed the smartphone into my bag. The moment I saw the sender’s name, fear consumed my face.
It wasn’t just scary. When did she get my address?
Well, I mean, in the conversation just now, she asked for it and I gave it to her, but it was only for a few tens of seconds. If she managed to do something in that short amount of time, it would be a kind of magic. Was she some sort of Lupin or Sherlock, huh?
Or rather, it feels like I’m constantly being outmaneuvered, always on the defensive. Ah, I can’t take it anymore. Spare me, I give up!
I couldn’t even find the words to say anymore.
If possible, I wished to go back an hour ago and start over from scratch. Knowing it devolved to this, I should have clearly refused right then and there and ran away as fast as possible. This is definitely going to be troublesome. Based on experience, I can assert that something bad will absolutely happen.
What should I do? I messed up. I screwed up big time! These messy thoughts swirled around in my head, along with others.
The red and yellow neon of the parking lot began to glow against the deepening shadows of the hour. And from the changing flow of people, I could tell nightlife was about to blossom. It was high time for a healthy high schooler to head home.
Sure, those were the hints nature (or concrete) was giving me, but thinking about what just happened made me unable to leave the seat for a while.
This weekend, she will come to my room…
The lively chime that played randomly and intermittently, notifying the arrival of new customers, sounded somehow resentful today.
T/N: Wow, I think this little twist that he likes real romantic stories is fun. Didn’t expect him loving gossip lol
Thank you for reading! Feel free to comment your opinions below!
Also, if you enjoyed my translation and would like to feed my caffeine addiction, click on the button below and graciously give me my fix—I mean, a cup of coffee.