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.
As we descended the stairs into the aquarium, fishes of all kinds filled our view. Horizontal glass panes were lined up in a pure white space, separating the colorful fishes and us, humans.
“This place is so stylish.”
“For sure. It’s like one of those labs from games or something, right?”
“Mhm, I can kinda see where you’re coming from.”
Yui rushed to the tank, bent slightly, and trailed the little fish with her eyes, almost as if she was swimming with them. I think it was just my mind playing tricks, but one of the little chums—with black lines running along its blue body—seemed to be interested in Yuki, and just stayed there looking straight at her.
“Hey, is this lil’ guy looking at me?” She noted.
“Yeah, seems it’s a bit conscious of you.”
“Right, right?! Eh, why though?”
I won’t say it’s because her hair and the fish are similar in tone, even if my mouth is ripped straight from my face. Anyway, I can only wonder. Do they feel a sense of camaraderie when they spot a creature of similar color to theirs? Unfortunately for me, this hypothesis was blown out of the water since a black fish seemed uninterested in me, and just flapped away to somewhere else.
Walking further in, we arrived at a room with one wall so blue it almost seemed to spill over. Both sides of the place were mirrored, so the light pouring down the ceiling draped every crevice in blue. It all made me feel as if I were deep underwater, and it calmed my heart in a way I couldn’t explain in words.
Standing tall in the center, a large cylindrical tank was filled with a wide variety of jellyfish. I rushed to it and stared at the fascinating animal, moving as if floating.
“Yuta, do you like jellyfish?”
“Of all the sea creatures, I think they’re the best.0”
“I see. What do you like about them?”
Oh, there it is. You’re quite the cheeky devil to ask me what my favorite thing about jellyfish is. Well then, I’ll condense my passionate love for the little creatures into words and give it to her.
“How should I put it… They feel so free, floating in the sea. If we went to the ocean right now, we would need to swim so we wouldn’t be swept away, but not them. Whether they’re washed up on the shore or at another unknown place, I envy the way they sway unbothered anywhere the currents take them. Oh, also, there are so many kinds of jellyfish I just can’t get tired looking at them—”
Oh. As soon as I noticed, Yui was gone. She was in front of me just now. Did she go ahead because she couldn’t stand me talking about it so enthusiastically?
“…Why are you filming me?”
I turned my head to the side to see Yui pointing her phone right at me. She was probably shooting a video since there were no shutter sounds to denounce her.
“Hehe, you were talking so hard it squeezed my heart. So cute! …Oh, don’t worry, I’ll watch your video every day.”
“I can’t ‘not worry’…”
It’s true though, I rarely talk this much. It seems the long-winded narrative is a geek’s characteristic, something I just did.
“Hmm, I know this is totally off-topic, but it looks like you have dark hair when you’re down here with the blue lights,” I noted.
“Ah, true. It’s kinda like the color of a sweet potato…”
The whole area was dim and blue, so her hair was relatively close to black. She described it as being a sweet potato, but I think it definitely looks more innocent and pretty to me.
“It’s not a potato at all.”
“Mhm. It’s more subdued and is a bit fresher than usual. You look cute.”
“I’m so happy to get a compliment from you, Yuta! Maybe next time, I’ll wear a black wig or something at the maid café?”
“Oh, that’s a nice idea. You’ll look like a bonafide maid.”
The image of her wearing a maid’s outfit with black hair popped into my mind. With her hair color muted, her slightly droopy eyes would appear even more demure… Hmm, she’d look kind of like a rich lady. If anything, I’d be the maid in that scenario. She’s cute either way.
The next thing we saw was a tank filled with tropical fish of all colors. A western pond snail peeked out of the sand, and a clownfish soon showed up—it looked awfully like the one on her ticket.
“Oh, it’s a clownfish.”
“Yup. Look, here’s your friend~!” She fluttered her ticket to show off, but the little guy just strolled around the water without paying one bit of attention to her.
Nearby, a large aquarium tank stood proudly. Large fish such as hammerhead sharks and mud eagles swam about with ease, and a frolic thought crossed my mind, almost as if I wanted to be a part of it.
Actually, this tank could be traversed under like a tunnel, and it was one of the main attractions of this place, as it allows the visitors to view the giant stingrays from below.
“Wow, it’s like being under the sea!”
“Everything here is an aquarium, except for the floor.”
We stopped at the underwater tunnel to watch them swim from a whole different angle than usual.
“Stingrays look scary from above, but from here they’re so cute with their funny little faces.”
“I know, right?! They have these cute squirmy mouths! —Wah!” She suddenly jumped on me.
A soft sensation spread from one half of my body, and her sweet perfume tickled my nose. I really didn’t know what happened, but she just hugged me with a panicked expression on her face.
“You okay?” I look at her.
“Sorry, when I looked to my right, I saw a big shark right in front of me…”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it. Did you twist your ankle?”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you!”
Looking at her right, I saw the aquarium she must’ve seen the shark jumpscare her when she suddenly looked around. It’s quite understandable she would’ve gotten scared, and given the circumstances, I would’ve reacted the same way.
“…Can we stay like this for a little longer?” She asked me meekly.
“Sure, want my hand?”
I locked my fingers in hers, which still quivered with anxiety. The sudden shark jumpscare really got to her.
Still, the soft feeling even through fabric made me feel a bit nervous. Given the situation, though, it wasn’t a good idea to feel all bashful or anything, and she wasn’t doing it either.
“Well, you’re not afraid anymore, are you?” I started, but…
Oh well, time to make my right arm as happy as it’s ever been.
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