We went separate ways after that, and I honestly don't remember how I got home.
I thought it was a dream, but Taiga's cell phone number in my contacts tells me it wasn't a dream.
I agonized over it as I lay in bed and stared at the number over and over again.
The stuffed animal on my bedside table fell to the floor and I gently put the stuffed animal back under my pillow since it was scaring me with its the glassy eyes looking at me with resentment. I'm really sorry. I’ll make sure to pay attention.
Oh, I love it, I really do. I've already memorized the digits. Now I can call him whenever I need to. No, I won't call him myself. But if you call this number, it will connect you to Taiga's phone, right? Oh, come on, isn’t this a little crazy? It’s like we’re connected, wow.
I was so excited that day that I had a hard time sleeping.
When I went to school the next day, Ichika was the first one to talk to me. She asked me what happened yesterday, but I couldn't tell her honestly, so I told her I was dying because of a stomach ache. I definitely could not leak what happened.
Since then, my mundane life continued motionlessly, especially with Taiga.
I'm back to where I'm supposed to be, or rather, this is my everyday life. Regardless of the target chara, I spent my time as a very normal student.
Speaking of characters, I think I mentioned that there are seven characters in this game, one of which is a hidden character. He appears at the end, but the other six appear as normal. If I had to pick an additional reason for the game's popularity, I'd say it's the love triangle event.
Even if you focus on just one of the six charas, there will always be some sort of relationship with another chara, or a fight for the main chara at the end of the game.
If you want to capture Taiga, the only thing that comes up in the love triangle event is Taiga's childhood friend who’s a player. His name is Saionji Kiyo, and the fans call him "Kii-kun." By the way, Taiga is "Kuro-chan."
Kiyo was involved with girls since he was a little boy, looking to stimulate his boring life where everything was exactly the way he wanted it to be. Since he had a good-looking face, he was popular. There wasn't a girl he couldn't get rid of. And then, the heroine appears. When he gets involved with the persistent main character, he finds himself falling for her seriously. Although she tries to reject him, she suffers from the belief that she doesn't want to leave him either. After that, he finds her true love. He cries and says, "I love you. It's hard to believe, but I love you so much that I can't do anything about it. The scene where he said, “I love you so much,” and hugged her made the maidens of the world squeal with joy.
Isn't it great to see a character who can cry and wants the main character? This struck a chord with me as well. Let me tell you this: it's not a fling.
When I wanted to capture Kiyo-kun, I wanted to see Taiga as a love triangle partner, so I aimed for Kiyo-kun a few times. I'll say it again: it's not a fling.
The next four are also the same way.
There’s Kujyo Aoi, the prince-charming student council president, and Akamine Natsuki, who is in the same class as the main character. Then there’s Momoyama Ayato who is one year younger, and her homeroom teacher Shishido Yukari.
The last hidden character is the main character's brother-in-law, Hisui. Hisui-san is the only character that doesn't have a love triangle event. Each one of them had their own personality and they were great characters. I thought it was a great game.
I played through the whole game and I cried throughout the entire story.
It's a really good game. The main character is cute and hard-working and kind, and I love all of them. I'd have to say Taiga is the best though. I can't give him away.
Which character will the protagonist capture...? No. Not ‘capture.’ Which one will they like.... With so many different and fascinating characters, who will be the one to live out that wonderful story?
Maybe they will fall in love with an ordinary student instead. I know this is a game world, but I don't think everything is a game. We're all alive. It's not like a game that you control with buttons.
Just as I am alive now, the main character and the people around me are all alive, and they think and act for themselves.
...I think and act for myself too.
Even if my actions at that time were wrong, this is my life.
I’m living in this world too no matter what anyone tells me, no matter what they say, even if the game is whack. Mob or not, I want to live a life with no regrets too.
One day while I was reading manga at home after school, a song started playing on my cell phone for an incoming call.
It started with the chorus of a popular female singer's song, and as I sang along with her, I looked at the caller and wondered who was calling.
My mother or Ichika were the only choices I had, and when I saw the caller ID name, I subconsciously threw my phone onto the bed.
The phone bounced up and down a few times before it settled down. But my heart never settled like that phone.
However, I huffed and grabbed the phone. I pressed the answer button with my trembling fingers.
My voice cracked, but I couldn't care less.
“Took you a while to pick up.”
I can like, hear his voice on my phone. And it's at earshot. Oh, that's a bad idea.
I quickly put it on speaker and put my phone in the middle of the bed and I got down on my knees on the floor.
“I'm sorry! I wasn't expecting to get a call from Kurogane-san!”
Yes, it was Taiga on the other end of the line.
Today’s the anniversary of my first phone call from Taiga. Let's cook some red rice.
“What's the point of exchanging numbers? I didn't get any texts or calls.”
“No, no, no, I swear I’m not that fearful of contacting you!”
“You're as lively as ever.”
“Yes, that’s obvious. I'm in such good spirits that I'm in trouble for being too energetic every day. I'm even more energetic now that I’m listening to Kurogane-san's voice.”
When I said that, I heard laughter from my cell phone. Ugh, it's not fair that he's handsome enough to laugh too.
I didn't know Taiga could laugh since the end of the game... I'll make a note of it.
''You’re free tomorrow, right?''
I answered immediately, "I'm free tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is Saturday, so I would certainly not be busy. But if Taiga asked me, I would be free even on a weekday. Definitely.
--There is a god in front of me.
I'm going to go to the meeting place in front of the station, which we discussed yesterday, and while I was waiting for a while, God appeared.
His entire outfit is black, but it fit well. It might be because of his good looks, height, and his good physique. If an ordinary high school boy wore this outfit, it wouldn’t be as coordinated. Just wear the clothes. If you ponder over it too much, it’ll be painful. But this guy wore it as if the stylist had chosen it. I really think God likes him too much. I want some to be shared with me.
It's not a good idea to cry in front of people, so I only worshipped him quietly. I tried not to cry while imagining a jolly uncle dancing in his pants in my brain.
Taiga approached me, smiling.
''It's been a while.''
“It's been a long time. You look as beautiful as ever…”
“I’m not exaggerating. Really, your clothes look great on you.”
“I'm trying my best to control myself.”
The jolly uncle in his underwear is dancing even harder in my brain.
I'm sure you'll be able to find a way to make it work.
“Let's go.” I chased after Taiga like a little duck as he walked with his hands in his pockets.
He didn't tell me where we were going today. Still, I didn't care where Taiga was going, as long as he was with me.
There were many people in front of the station. As I chased after the big back to avoid bumping into people, we entered a building. Once inside, I noticed it was a pancake shop that was popular among high school girls these days.
''Welcome!'' I looked around the cute store as I heard the lovely staff greet us.
Ohh I see! You couldn't come here on your own, so that's why you called me!
I'm sure Taiga must have been curious about it because he has a sweet tooth... In the game’s sequel, he went to a cake buffet with the protagonist... Really cute. I can't get enough of the difference between his stoic face and his sweet tooth.
Poof, cigarettes! Sake! Woman! And yet... No, I think he has a taste for that too. The game misrepresented it as vague........
It seems that he had made a reservation by phone and we were able to sit down immediately. There were only girls and couples in the restaurant. This wasn’t a place you could visit alone. My stomach was full ever since I saw Taiga, but I couldn't just let Taiga order alone.
I asked for the pancake labeled No. 1, and Taiga asked for the pancake labeled No. 2. Taiga's pancake had a lot of chocolate on it and mine had strawberries and whipped cream.
I dreaded calculating the calories. I don't care anymore. Let’s not think about it today and eat it.
“You’re not holding back, huh.”
As I was looking at the menu to pass time while waiting for the pancakes, Taiga suddenly spoke to me and I quickly answered without thinking.
''Normally, if I brought you to this place, you would drag me back out.''
‘It’s because I have the knowledge.’ I couldn't answer that so I said, “I won't hold back. I think it’s rather cute.” It is f*cking cute. Is it a weakness that I'm in love with him or is it because I know that's the kind of character I'm in love with? It's just so cute. I can't wait to see him devour the pretty pancakes that don't match his face.
''You really are a strange girl, aren't you?''
Taiga laughed mockingly and said nothing else.
Our table was the quietest place in the noisy restaurant, but I didn't mind at all. The person I love is right in front of me. That alone made me feel happy.
When the pancakes came, Taiga ate them very quickly.
Are you a carnivore eating raw meat? I ate as fast as I could, but the pancakes started to look like chunks of meat.
I couldn't help but forget about eating the pancakes and gaze at the Taiga devouring scene.
He stopped eating and glared at me, but the presence of the whipped cream on the edge of his mouth was so distracting that I couldn't help but smirk. Taiga's mood grew worse because of my attitude, and the wrinkles between his eyebrows deepened as he glared at me even more.
I hurriedly apologized for my grin and said, "You’ve got whipped cream here,” I said and pointed to the side of my mouth. For a moment, Taiga stopped moving and thought for a moment, then he flicked his tongue out and licked the cream on the side of his mouth.
Now here's the problem: what did I feel when I saw that?
I don't need 100 words. It only takes two. It's f*cking sexy. I want everyone to read how much emotion is contained in those letters. Various feelings are put in these words when I say my f*cking eroticism is precious and emo otherwise. I think that it has the same value as "okashi" from the Heian period.
Because, wait, let's calm down. ....His tongue is... haha, relax, tongue... sticking out... licked the cream off the side of his lips... Ugh, my heart...! Hah, erotic.... It's so erotic that it brings tears to my eyes. I don't think there's anyone who can make things so erotic with just one tongue. Thank you God. Thank you, Taiga-sama. Really, your existence is precious....
''...What are those tears?''
"Tears of gratitude for your eroticism, Kurogane-san.”
“Erotic... hey you.”
“Tongue... Kurogane-san, your tongue is unbelievably erotic, it's R18. You're already R18. Minors will also fall for Kurogane-san’s eroticism when they see it. I fell in love with you. I love it.”
“All right, shut up for now.”
Useless! You talk too much, you little mouth! Why are you babbling about something that doesn't belong to you? This, this, this thing! I chewed my lip gingerly in self-punishment and began to eat my own pancakes much later.
— It wasn't until some time later that we left the store.
Why? It’s simply because I started eating my pancakes too late! Taiga eating those huge pancakes at the speed of light was a real treat! I respect you! Become the pancake-eating master and say I’m ready for the world! ~I'm going to be the king of speed pancake eating~ END
That was a lot of pancakes. Moreover, I struggled with the second half of that pancake filled with whipped cream. The amount of cream was outrageous. I felt sick and I preferred drinking water instead of my three meals a day. but the amount of whipped cream was so much that I had to order a cup of tea.
However, I didn't want to waste it, so I ate it all...
As I trudged along on my way to the station, struggling with the cream still in my stomach, Taiga stopped in front of me and looked back.
''Why’d you stop?''
“Well, it’s the station.”
The question was so sudden that I forgot for a moment why we had come here, but I managed to remember and answered.
“I'll take you home.”
“I don't want to bother you with that…”
But Taiga ignored my words and started walking.
I followed him again and was brought to a parking lot outside the station, not inside the station. Huh? Is this something you have to do? You think this is one of them? He stopped where the bike was parked and took a helmet out and handed it to me. He put the helmet on my head without saying a word as I was questioning it for no reason.
Then he said, "Get on.”
He pointed to the back of the bike and I finally realized what he was saying.
(You mean you're going to send me home on your bike?!)
I was flustered when I found out it was a motorcycle because I thought he was going to bring me to the station.
I never rode a motorcycle in my previous life, and I didn't know how to ride one. Besides, people stick together on motorcycles...? I’ll be feeling Taiga's muscular back as I hug him, right?
When I shouted that I couldn’t, Taiga furrowed his eyebrows. ''Huh?'' More like "Hm?!” The atmosphere turned bad all of a sudden. He was so cute when eating earlier. Cute Taiga, come back. The badass version is cool, but now I'm looking for the cute Taiga.
''I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, and we’ll be so close together, but...being close together is bad!”
“You're just getting in the back.”
“That's right, I'm getting in the back! Hey, I need to put my hands around your waist!”
“It’s fine, so just get on.”
I can't reject that. I’ve figured that out. Yeah, I did. So a mob like me should just shut up and do as they’re told. Sure, sure. No, it's just the best kind of reward I could ask for, okay? Am I going to have a heart attack tomorrow because I'm so lucky? I won't die right? Is this okay? Really?
I sat down in the position I'd been instructed to and Taiga sat in front of me and started the engine. My shoulders shook as the bike rumbled loudly.
“Hurry up and hold on," he said.
With that, he took my arm and put it around his waist.
Aah! Hips! Smell! Back! Congratulations, me! I'm sure I'll be able to think of nothing else! I don't care if I end up as a bug in the afterlife! I am so happy in this life! Is my nose bleeding? Is this okay?
''You're going to fall off.''
As he pointed out, I was already hugging the wonderful Taiga's waist. Oh god, I can't believe the body heat I’m feeling through the clothes. It's alive. His back is wide. I've never seen anything like it. What a manly back he has... This is the kind of back and waist that can make a woman who has forgotten love to want to fall in love again. This will bring peace to the world. So Taiga is a brave man who can save the world. Am I at least Villager H? No, a plankton is fine. Anything that lives in the same world. I'm glad I was born as a human in this world.
I was feeling Taiga's back and hips as I appreciated being born as a human being when the bike started to move.
As the bike started to move, I was desperately trying to hold on to Taiga as I tried to keep my imagination from flying away for a while, because it was my first time riding a bike.
I'm sorry if my nose is bleeding. I'll buy you new clothes if it gets dirty. Oh no, I feel nauseous again.... I really want you to stop making me feel nauseous when I'm excited. I just want to be excited.
The bike carrying us passed through a town that looked familiar and arrived in front of the school. He asked me where to go so I told him here and I got off the bike. As soon as my feet touched the ground, I staggered, leaning against the gate and holding my nose. I thanked Taiga for his help.
“What's wrong with your nose?”
"It's just a little bloody nose, so don't worry about it.”
With that said, Taiga lightly patted my head and then rode off on his motorcycle.
I died on the spot.
I was dying, and as I managed to get home, I noticed a text message on my cell phone.
The sender was Taiga.
How many events do you want to include in such a short period of time? Yesterday's phone call, today's pancakes, and two people on a bike. Plus a text message. Err, is tomorrow my death anniversary? I mean, I'm too scared to open it.
I stared at my phone in my room for 30 minutes.
I was finally able to open it.
The message was simple and concise, just like Taiga.
"Sorry about the date today.”
That was all he could think of to say. No way, rather than feeling sorry, I was so happy and it was a memory of a lifetime. Taiga, who never bows his head, never apologizes for anything, which is why he is feared, resented, and admired by all the other delinquents, apologized to me! Huh? What's the matter with you? Taiga, did you eat something bad?!
I moved my fingers and texted Taiga back.
“Not at all! I've never been happier, and the pancakes were delicious! Kurogane eating pancakes was really cute…. I also saw some good stuff. I can't thank you enough.... And thank you for the ride to school. The bike was cool! Kurogane-san, the motorcyclist, one of the coolest guys in the world... I was worried about getting a nosebleed... Are your clothes still clean? If they’re dirty, please tell me so I can buy you new clothes. I will remember this day for the rest of my life. Thank you very much.”
It's funny.... I wrote only what I wanted to say, but the message became too long. I'm not going to be able to get rid of it, so I'll just press send as it is. Staring at the phone for a while, I wasn’t sure if there’d be a reply. I wondered if he'd reply, but I didn't get anything even after a few hours. I was a little heartbroken, thinking that it was like this for mob characters.
But that night while I was relaxing in my room after getting out of the bath, I received a call on my cell phone.
I hurriedly picked up my phone, looked at the caller ID and pressed the answer button at lightning speed.
“Eeeeeek! Not that! Hello!”
“Why do you have to be so loud whenever you answer the phone?”
“Oh, I'm sorry. I'll be quiet. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry.”
Ah, I heard a tongue lashing over the phone. Uwa, hot.
“Don't send such a long message, it's a pain in the ass to read.”
“Yes, I'll be careful from now on…”
He sounded somewhat annoyed. When I thought I had made him angry and apologized, he replied, "It's not your fault.”
Does that mean, ‘It's not your fault, but I'm annoyed?’
What is irritating him... It seems like something similar happened in the game....
...I think it was the one where the protagonist noticed that Taiga was acting strangely and questioned him about it, which was after they had a fight. When he's fighting, he's able to forget about all the bad things, so it's fine. However, after the fight is over, when he's alone, he can't help but get irritated because he keeps thinking about so many things, and that's when the protagonist hits him.
Even so, the protagonist treats Taiga kindly and is warm, so Taiga gradually opens up to her. This is one of the things that happened in the game.
...When I think about it again, the heroine's open-mindedness is amazing. If I was just a high school student without any memories of my previous life, I'd be too scared to approach him anymore. No wonder she's a heroine. I admire her.
Maybe that's not why Taiga is so irritated right now. But I can't ask him about it, because I’m a mob after all. But if he's irritated by what I thought he was doing, I wish it would go away. That's why I opened my mouth.
“I like you, Kurogane.”
“Is that so.”
“I don't think I'm much use to you, but still, if you need anything, just ask me. I'll do whatever I can to help you.”
I don't think I can speak for the heroine. I don't have the right words, vocabulary, or phrases to move people's hearts.
And yet, in my own way, I wanted to comfort Taiga in my own way, in my own way, in my mob way.
If you couldn't get love from your parents, then I want to love you for that. If you want love, if you want to know what love is, I want to teach you. This is a heroine's role, but it's presumptuous of this mob to think so.
After I said that, Taiga muttered after a long period of silence, ''........Come to my house now.”
I could feel my heart beat with a thump.
Now....it's nine pm, right? Two high school students meeting at night...it makes me imagine all kinds of things.... I have memories of my past life, and I've experienced a lot of things, so I can't help but wonder if it's possible. But I don't think Taiga is lacking in girls, so I don't think he'd have to deal with me....
While my thoughts were running around in circles, I heard the voice through my cell phone.
It's a lie. He’s not someone who would ask you to go to his house as a joke.
“Call me by my name.”
‘I'll go to Kurogane’s house.’ I was about to say that, but Taiga interrupted me.
I wonder why he's asking me to call his name. But I won't ask that. Even if I asked, I don't think he would ever tell me, and I don't think I should pry either.
''I love you, Taiga-san. I love you more than anyone else in the world.”
When I said that, Taiga was silent for a while and then he muttered,
—I wonder what I was born for—
If you didn’t listen carefully, you wouldn’t be able to hear that voice.
Those words were the lines he had said in the middle of the game. The protagonist listened to him mutter this while looking at the sky on a rainy rooftop.
These are words that I shouldn't have heard. So I pretended that I didn't hear the words. I pretended that I didn't hear them, and I just quietly said what I liked about Taiga. He didn't say anything, but I kept talking until he did.
I wish I could be happy enough to be born so that Taiga wouldn’t think that way.
No matter how much I tell Taiga I love him, it won't change. If I had been the heroine, would things have been different then? If it was the heroine, would she have been able to resonate with Taiga?
That's something that I will never know as a mob.
--Ever since that day, our relationship changed a little.
Taiga would call me if he had any problems. And I would talk to him incessantly until he calmed down.
I don't know what Taiga is thinking about when he calls me. I don't know, but I don't need a reason for it either. Him calling is enough for me.
And we don't talk at school. Even if our eyes meet, I immediately look away. Before I knew it, this had become an unspoken agreement.