After school, I was playing a smartphone game on a bench on the riverside. Yua seems to have something to do at home.

I put on my earphones and play a rhythm game. Bluetooth earphones are convenient, but they cause a slight delay. I always carry wired earphones just for gaming. I also chose a phone with an earphone jack. All for this game.

It’s been a few days since I played, but I made no mistakes until the end of the game. My body memorized it.

Just as I was one bar away from a full combo, I was suddenly tapped on the shoulder.

“Whoa !?”

My thumb tapped on an unexpected place and the combo was broken.

The song was over. Naturally, I didn’t beat my best score.

–What the heck, I was on a roll.

With some annoyance, I turned around.

It was Ishimizu san. I took off my earphones.

“Ah~…… Hello.”

I looked away from her and muttered. It was a little awkward to get into an argument like this.


But Ishimizu san didn’t seem to mind and sat down next to me.

“I know that game.”

“Oh, I-I see. Ishimizu san also–.”

“My dad used to play it.”


The game is not that old. It’s only been five years since the service launched……, or was it six? It wasn’t until seven years ago…..

“Have you been playing for a long time?”

“Yeah, kind of.”

“What else?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Just this one? You sounded like an otaku. I thought you’d be doing a lot more.”

“There are all kinds of otaku. There are those who are always on the cutting edge of the latest trends, and there are those who dig deep into a single content.”

“Are you someone who’s only interested in a single content?”

“Yeah. Rather, that’s all I can do. It’s not that I’m not interested in new content, but I like it this way.”


“Awkward, isn’t it?”

I’m hilariously self-deprecating.

“I guess so.”

“You think so too….”

“Well, but I guess it’s not so bad.”

–……About what?

I think it’s better to be skillful than awkward.

“So, it’s a waste for Ishimizu san to be with someone like me.”

“You know.”

Ishimizu san glanced at me with a wrinkle between her eyebrows.

“You often make such self-deprecating remarks, but don’t do that.”


“If you put yourself down, it may be easier for you, but you’re betraying the feelings of the people who love you.”

Ishimizu san is angry. But it’s not as unreasonable as it has been in the past. That’s why I know she’s really angry.

“…….I’m sorry”

I felt as if she had hit the bull’s-eye, so I apologized honestly.

“But I never thought that Ishimizu san really liked me.”

“Huh? There’s no way I like you.”

Ishimizu san frowned more than ever before.

“……Excuse me?”

“You have a lot of confidence for a self-deprecating person.”

Ishimizu san stood up.

“I’ve got it all figured out. I won’t follow you anymore.”


What a sudden turn of events.

I looked at Ishimizu san’s back dumbfoundedly as she left,

On my day off, I was eating at a fast food restaurant after visiting a used bookstore, when a familiar face walked into the store.

It was Yua. She immediately noticed me and wagged her hand like a dog wagging its tail. However, she didn’t come to me because she was accompanied by someone.

That companion was Ishimizu san.


My hand that was holding the chicken nugget, trembled.

No, wait, calm down. I didn’t do anything wrong. I rejected Ishimizu san’s confession. I didn’t even know they were friends.

But I didn’t have the guts to stay here without any hesitation. Let’s just eat quickly and get out of here. So I stuffed a nugget in my mouth and poured it down with a drink.

However, the contents of the cup was vanilla shake.

–It’s a thick liquid, and it’s not a good idea to drink it.

The liquid was so thick that it made my mouth full.

I was getting impatient, and then, to my surprise, Ishimizu san sat down in front of me.

–What is this girl doing……!

“Can I sit with you?”

I chewed impatiently like a squirrel and managed to empty my mouth, then said in a whisper so that Yua, who was ordering at the counter, wouldn’t hear.

“I don’t know. I’m about to head out….”

“What are you scared of?”

“N-no, it’s just that……”

I said in an even lower voice.

“Ishimizu san, were you friends with Yu–Urushibara san?”

“That’s right. I also know that you and Yua are doing something sneaky.”

I gasped.

“Could it be….., you’re ‘Kii chan’?”

“Ishimizu Kie. But Yua called me ‘Kii’.”

I remembered that Yua had told me a while ago that she was being watched by Kii chan.”

“Why would she say that?”

“Which ones?”

“All of them. Watching over Urushibara san and confessing to me.”

“Because I was worried.”

Ishimizu san folded her arms under her chest and looked at Yua.

“She’s been playing with men and then dumped by them. I couldn’t watch any longer, so I had to do something about it.”

“So you’re testing me….?”

“If you’re also a scumbag, I’ll take advantage of your weakness and made you break up with her.”

“…..What’s your conclusion?”

“You don’t have the balls to play with women.”


She was so spot on that there was no room to argue.

‘B-but you’re wrong about one thing. We’re not dating.”

“I looked into the game you were playing, and there was a character who looked like Yua.”

Ba-dump !?

“So either Yua made you like that character, or you made her look like that character.”

What is she, a gyaru detective?

“Either way, all I can tell you is that Yua likes you.”

“But that’s–“

“Ah-, that’s enough.”

Ishimizu san showed her palm to me.

“All I was concerned about was whether you were the one who would hurt Yua or not. Now that I know you’re not, you can do whatever you want with the rest.”

–Eh…..? Whatever, you said……

When I was taken aback by how free she was, Ishimizu san’s eyes looked a little awkward.

“And just so you know.”


“I’m sorry.”

“Come again?”

I stuck my head out like a chicken at her sudden apology. Ishimizu san muttered.

“I’m sure you were annoyed by that test, weren’t you?”

“That’s nothing. I was rather relieved that a girl like Ishimizu san was a friend of Urushibara san.”

I was pushed around, but it wasn’t unpleasant. And being confessed to by a beautiful girl is a good experience no matter how many times you experience it.

Ishimizu san was left with a blank stare.

And then she laughed softly.

“What a weird guy.”

I felt like it was the first time I saw her laugh. I asked her something that had been bothering me for a while.

“But well, did you have to be so insistent?”

“Because you rejected me so easily. I have pride, too.”

She was a little tense, and her mouth pouted. It was my turn to laugh.

“Eh !?”

At that moment, I heard a  voice from the side.

It was Yua. She was holding a tray with a hamburger on it and rolling her eyes. She looked at Ishimizu san, then at me, then at Ishimizu san again.

“You two know each other……?”

“We play the same game.”

Said Ishimizu san nonchalantly.

–It’s your dad.

“Eh, seriously? I’m super happy !”

“What are you happy about?”

“Because the two people I like are getting along with each other. Of course I’m happy about that !”

Yua was innocently excited.

Ishimizu san gave a slightly embarrassed wry smile. I probably have the same look on my face.

I didn’t find any good books, and for a while I wondered what would happen when I ran into the two of them, but somehow today turned out to be a good day off.

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9 months ago

Oh, yeah, I had a feeling it was like this. That she was Yua’s friend and testing him. The only reason why I wasn’t sure was because I haven’t figured out how she found him, given how careful they’ve been about their contact.