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.
“Master, here you go~!”
“…Aren’t we in private though?”
Yui rocked a pink blouse and suspenders coming from the top of her skirt and around her back. The thick-soled boots she wore fit the whole look perfectly, and that height boost made her basically reach my eye level.
“But Yuta, you like being called that, don’t you?” She tilted her head slightly, which made her bright blue hair crash onto her face like a waterfall. Her beautiful eyes, droopy as if in perpetual drowsiness, stared straight into my soul.
“I mean, I do, but…” I tried explaining myself, but she just wouldn’t have it.
“That’s why, you’re my personal, one-and-only master for today!”
“Isn’t master a word meant for one person, though?”
Uh, nevermind. Let’s not worry about the minutia. The reason I’m meeting up with Yui is that we’ve been talking a lot recently through messages, and we decided to just chill at an aquarium to banter more in person. In other words, we’re on an aquarium date. Still, it felt weird seeing her outside the workplace so casually, since that was the only place we really saw each other in.
“C’mon Yuta, let’s go!”
“Sure, it’s almost the time we made the appointment.”
She linked her arm with mine as if it was the most natural thing in the world, so all I could do was muster the normal-est answer I could think of. With this, I managed to catch a glimpse of why she was a little devil, so I steeled my mind and prepared for any future attacks.
“How am I today? Do I look pretty?”
“Yeah, you’re stunning.”
“I’m glad! Stare at me until a hole opens!” She said, bending over a little with upturned eyes at just the right angle. Is there any man in the world who’d be heartless enough to not say she was cute, even if they knew it was all calculated? Before that, she has always been cute regardless.
Despite her impish deeds, the way her face broke into an unapologetic smile showed joy appropriate to girls our age, and hers brimmed with charm.
…Hmm, it’ll still take a while before we get to the aquarium. That’s why I decided I’d try the “homework” I brought back from school the other day right here.
“Um… I want your opinion on something about a friend of mine,” I start saying.
“What? Oh, if I can offer any help, I’m glad to! Well, I’ve heard so many stories of people not being able to pull their idols no matter how much they whale!”
“Um, how should I say it… My condolences?”
Aside from the story of being swamped, I gave her the details about Katayama’s story. I even added information about the two to help her give me the best answer she could about the whole shmuck.
“Hmm, come to think of it, there aren’t any other men around me aside from you, Yuta-kun. Even then, is it okay if I give my two cents?”
“Ah… It’s fine! I want you to tell me, in fact!”
In hindsight, I’d forgotten because of her confident act, but she came from an all-girls school. Even then, maybe that’s a good thing since she’ll be able to give me her own advice from a different perspective, so I encouraged her to do so.
“Maybe Katayama-kun, was it? Well, maybe he’s scary.”
“Yeah. From what I’ve heard, I don’t think she’s had much contact with the opposite gender, so I think she might just be afraid to get involved with someone so ‘sparkly’ as him out of the blue.”
“…You have a point.”
Indeed, Katayama is too dazzling to get involved with little experience. He’s the definition of an extroverted and popular guy, or rather somewhat of a raid boss. In no way would the protagonist face him at the beginning of his journey, since he wouldn’t be on equal footing at best.
“Then, what do you think Katayama should do from now on?”
“Hmm, I think he should try to get involved little by little, so as to lower her guard against him. It’d be nice for her to see he’s not as scary as he might look.”
I see, so getting used to him is key. Rather than making sudden approaches, Yui suggested he builds a stream of small interactions so Iwashiro might slowly get used to him.
“That’s great. Thanks, Yui-chan.”
“I was surprisingly useful, wasn’t I?”
“Yup, I’m glad we talked about it.”
“In that case, I’d love a reward~!”
She let go of me, only to grab my hand and intertwine our fingers. I guess the reward she’s looking for is the skinship of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Ugh, it’s insanely embarrassing, but it can’t be helped. Reciprocating, I put a little more strength into my fingers and our fingers twirled around each other, ending up locked.
“…This is making my heart go ba-dump…”
Unlike before, she didn’t try to gaze straight into my eyes. Instead, she looked straight ahead, which was pretty funny to me. Huh, even the little devils are weak against direct confrontation.
“…Ah! It’s the aquarium!”
She pointed her finger vigorously at our destination. At first glance, the large white building on a slope had an entrance in the shape of a dark cave. However, it made us feel like we were going under the sea; a little immersion to lift up our spirits.
“We got here just in time,” I note.
“Yeah! I can’t wait to get in! Hmm, I think we can get our tickets issued over there!”
Without prompting, I went to the finder and held up a QR code with all our reservation info. After that, I paid the value prompted and two tickets slid right into my hand.
“Eh? How cute!”
The tickets had printed pictures of the animals we’d expect to see in an aquarium. One was a cute little jellyfish, and the other was a clownfish.
“Which one do you prefer, Yui-chan?”
“Can I choose? Well, I’ll~ take this one! It’s just prettier!”
She went for the clownfish. Honestly, I thought the jellyfish was cuter than the other fish, but apparently, girls have different sensibilities than I do.
After looking at the images, we both walked to the entrance and handed our tickets to the lady at the reception desk. Smiling and waving amicably, she sent us off inside the aquarium. Her voice was so cheerful I felt energized just by listening to it. I’d like to hear it every morning—
“Do you want me to blow those words in your ear?”
“…Are you a mind reader or something?”
“Nah, I just like you.”
“That’s a bit unexpected, isn’t it?!”
She played me like a fiddle, and I felt my heart soon wouldn’t be able to take it.
Ugh, is it that easy to understand what I’m thinking? I should seriously consider practicing a poker face like Asakawa’s unreadable smile…
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