Volume 1 Chapter 19 Shirogane Aqua, Unexpected Reunion
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
The promised Sunday has arrived.
”There’s a woman scent coming from Nii-sama…”
My perceptive little sister, Lapis, seemed to almost found out, but I quickly lied and brushed it off.
I was worried that Lapis, who listens to my story, kept staring at me the whole time, but I’ll just assume it’s my imagination.
”Anyway, maybe I arrived a little early.”
Seems like I ended up coming 30 minutes earlier than the meeting time.
I kill time by fiddling with my smartphone.
”Wow, that boy is handsome!”
”Is he a high school student? He was working on his day off, but maybe something good will happen today!”
”Is he alone, or is he meeting someone?”
”I’m so envious of that girl, going on a weekend date with such a young and handsome guy!”
Passing by, the girls glance at me… No, they stare at me, observing me as they walk by.
Among them, my eyes meet with a woman in her early twenties with brown hair.
She was staring at me so much that she didn’t look ahead at all.
So without realizing that the traffic light had changed, the woman tried to cross the pedestrian crossing on a red signal.
Realizing it, I grab her arm and pull her towards me.
”Are you okay, miss?”
At first, she probably couldn’t catch up with what happened so suddenly.
But once the woman notices that her body is pressed against mine, her cheeks turn pink.
Honestly, when the other person reacts like that, it’s contagious, and I try not to be conscious of it either.
While casting my gaze sideways, I caution the woman.
”Are you hurt? Are you in any pain?”
”My heart is hurting really bad right now… Ah, maybe this is love…”
”You shouldn’t look away; it’s dangerous.”
”Yes… I won’t take my eyes off you anymore.”
Huh? Somehow, it feels like I’m not getting through to the woman in our conversation.
Well, since she seems fine without any injuries or accidents, I guess it’s all right.
”Ugh, that girl, I’m so jealous.”
”Any girl would instantly fall for someone who holds them close with such a gentle expression.”
”Being spoiled and scolded by a boy, that’s like a reward, right?”
”Yeah, I’d pay any amount of money for that! So please scold me at least once!”
I bid farewell to the woman, telling her to be careful from now on. She mentioned having a pain in her heart, so I recommended her to go to the hospital. I wonder if she’ll be alright. While thinking about that, someone tugs at the hem of my clothes from behind.
”Sorry… Did I make you wait?”
When I turn around, there’s a beautiful girl there.
Toa-chan is wearing the same black ribbon frilled blouse as she wore at home, but she has a high-waisted skirt with front buttons on top of black tights.
The black knee-high socks and shorts I saw at home were also nice, but the skirt is good too… Above all, wearing a skirt adds more of a date-like feeling.
”No, I just got here too.”
I respond with the usual words. Well, I didn’t really wait that long anyway.
Toa-chan seems a bit nervous and speaks in a slightly timid manner, but she shows a relieved smile.
”Aqua-kun, you are tall, and everyone is looking at you, so it’s easy to spot you, right?”
”Am I like a landmark!?”
We engage in a trivial conversation, enjoying each other’s company.
”By the way, you said you had something to do…”
”Yeah, that’s right. See… it’s over there.”
Toa-chan looks around her.
Around the new, beautiful station, which was the meeting place, there are several new high-rise buildings.
The people walking around are mainly teenagers to people in their thirties, and there is a cluster of high-end brand stores, trendy shops for young people, and popular stores.
”My destination is that commercial building over there… They have a temporary EPEX pop-up store.”
So-called pop-up stores are shops that are not open all the time but are opened for a predetermined period.
As expected, it seems popular among young people. In my world, there were idols, models, celebrities, and ordinary cute high school girls, college girls, and office ladies who used the hashtag #EPEXGirls and so on.
”I’ve always wanted to go there, but I was scared to go alone… But I thought it would be okay if I went with Aqua-kun. So thank you for coming today. But… it feels like I took advantage of you, I’m sorry.”
”Toa-chan, I’m the one who should be thanking you for inviting me. I was interested in the EPEX pop-up store too, and if Toa-chan didn’t invite me, I wouldn’t have been able to come here. Besides, we’re already friends, right? We don’t need to worry about playing together. So you don’t have to apologize.”
”Aqua-kun… Yeah! Well then, thank you again for hanging out with me today.”
”No, thank you, Toa-chan, for inviting me.”
After confirming the location, we start walking towards our destination.
Toa-chan holds onto the hem of my clothes, not getting swept away by the crowd, and sticks closely to my side.
However, maybe because of the large crowd, it feels like there are a lot of people bumping into me… Is it just my imagination?
I thought it was unsafe, so I took Toa-chan’s hand, who was holding onto the hem of my clothes, and held on.
”Sorry, you might not like it, but it’s safer this way.”
Looking back now, this might be the first time I’m walking while holding hands with a girl. I felt a slight dampness on my palms, as if they were slightly sweaty. I hope Toa-chan doesn’t notice! Glancing at her, I saw her also looking nervous, fidgeting and slightly lowering her gaze. It seems that I’m not the only one feeling nervous. We continued walking hand in hand in silence until we reached the location of the pop-up store.
”Oh, look, Aqua-kun! It’s Gasoji’s gas canister!”
”Oh, that jump pad over there, seems like we can take commemorative photos on it.”
Gasoji (Caustic?) is a character who fights using gas as a weapon, and the gas canister is one of his skills. The jump pad is also a skill used by a character in EPEX. There were other toys that resembled the weapons we usually use in the game, as well as figures of the characters. Toa-chan and I were excited and had a great time exploring the shop, buying merchandise, and taking photos at the designated spots.
”Wow, I’m glad we came here.”
Toa-chan responded energetically, holding a long-necked dinosaur plushie that she had purchased at the shop. She looked more enthusiastic than when we first met, completely shedding her shy and nervous demeanor. Seeing her happy made me feel glad that we came here. I silently whispered those words in my mind.
”Toa-chan, if you’d like, shall we take a break and have some tea somewhere?”
”Sure, that sounds good.”
We decided to take a rest at a nearby cafe as we felt a bit tired after all the excitement. Unfortunately, the closest cafe had a long line due to its popularity, but there were several other cafes within the shopping facility. As we strolled, we looked at the other tenants in the facility, hoping to find a place we can get in.
”Does that person seem to be in trouble?”
Toa-chan was the first to notice the person in question. I followed her pointed finger and saw a woman in a suit anxiously looking around. I wondered if she was waiting for someone. As I observed her from behind, I felt a sense of familiarity.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.