My name is Akabane* Zenichi, a normal student you could find anywhere – or at least, I was supposed to be.
「… Where is this place?」
A white space lit up blindingly brightly. However, it is very clear that this is not my own room nor the school infirmary.
The reason I know this is because the place my body has been lying horizontally until now is not a soft bed, but a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. It has quite an angular shape and looks just like a coffin, but it still has a stylish feel to it in its own sort of way, doesn’t it? Not that I would want one in my house.
This pointlessly spacious room is lined with bathtubs identical to the one that I was submerged in. Quite the original idea for a bathroom.
By the way, when I became conscious, I raised the upper half of my body, leaving only my lower half in the bathtub. Of course, because I’ve been submerged in water, I’m nude.
This is bad, I’ll definitely catch a cold at this rate… No, I really can’t process the current situation.
「Calm down, I’m not old enough to be growing senile… Try to remember what happened today…」
According to my memory, today’s date is the 14th of May. The fated Monday that comes for students after they spend their weekends working at part-time jobs.
However, for me, this is the Monday I have been eagerly awaiting, in other words, the day I attend my university.
The reason for that is because I have a beautiful girlfriend. She transcends the number one position for cuteness in the world, and I am very, very proud of her.
A miraculously pretty face that suits black twin-tails even after she has become a university student. A small, delicate body that any man would feel a desire to protect. She is such a sweet, fragile girl, but she possesses courage and purity that drives her to make an obento just for me. A truly ideal girlfriend.
She is far too good a girlfriend for someone like me, but even so, a girlfriend is a girlfriend!
That’s right, that’s why I went to university today, looking forward to her handmade obento. Lectures? I don’t care about those; I did attend them but I have no recollection of their contents whatsoever. I could not care less.
And then comes the long-awaited lunch break. Our meeting place is a suitable classroom somewhere in the university. We usually spend our wonderful lunchtimes in a secret place outside that only the two of us know about, but today, rain is pouring down as if to curse our destined love.
Well, it does not change the fact that I can eat her handmade obento, so it is a trivial matter.
And as I open the obento that my girlfriend offers with her usual doll-like, expressionless face, yet another disaster befalls me.
The entire obento is brown. Its contents tell me that no attention has been paid to its colors or nutritional balance, possessing only the intent of simply feeding a starving male student.
How strange. What she normally makes is a heart drawn on top of a bed of rice using mysterious pink flakes, an obento that is an incredibly straightforward sign of affection.
She does not skimp on the side dishes; using frozen food is out of the question. On top of being concerned about the colors and nutritional balance, she is also fussy over how it appears. Wieners are turned into octopuses while apples are turned into rabbits.
And yet, what I can feel from the food in front of me is not love, but a sense of obligation, as if to say,「I only made this because I had to.」
Could it be that she is planning to break up with me today…?
「I-I’m sorry, it seems that my mother made a mistake and handed me my brother’s one…」
And then she unexpectedly follows up with some panicked words.
I see, she lives with her parents, and I have also heard before that she has a younger brother whose appearance causes those around him to misunderstand him, though he’s a good child at heart.
With the chaos that happens in the morning, these kinds of mistakes and accidents can happen from time to time, I suppose.
「Oh no, if that’s the case then it can’t be helped, and I’m not bothered!」
If there were not such circumstances that I could understand, in the next moment I might have been crying. Joking aside, I would really cry.
「By the way, is it alright for me to eat this obento?」
「Y-yes… I only want Zenichi-kun to eat things that I’ve made, but… it’s okay.」
To me, the words she says, that she wants me to only eat things that she has made, make me incredibly glad to be have been born as a man. It’s fine, if that’s how you feel, I will gladly eat any food!
Trembling with emotion, I try to say,「Itadakimasu」– Ah, that’s right, it was at this moment.
I was assaulted by a headache. It was so terrible and powerful that any words I use to describe it would fall short.
The pain was unprecedented, incomparable, fierce enough to overturn the sky and the ground, but the only things that were overturned were the brown stamina-obento and my body.
The pain should have made me forget everything, including the simple fact that I fell pathetically onto the floor of the classroom.
However, I one thing I can remember clearly is my girlfriend’s face as she was clinging onto me, crying and screaming. This is the worst, to make her cry so much – As I regretted this from the bottom of my heart, my consciousness blacked out.
And when I came to, I found myself in this mysterious bathroom. At least according to my memory, that is how these events are linked.
In any case, I must see her right away. I have to tell her, I’m sorry for worrying you, I’m fine, please don’t cry anymore.
However, these mysterious circumstances will not let me do so.
If I were simply in a hospital room, I would have just rushed outside. But I have absolutely no idea where this place is. Where do I have to go to meet her? No, to begin with, where on earth am I?
My head is filling up with these questions, and as I come to the conclusion that I should act rather than think –
「No way! You really woke up?!」
The echoing, high-pitched voice of a girl fills the room.
When I turn around, I see a girl with long, ocean-blue hair standing there.
The striking color of her hair draws my attention, but the thing that concerns me more is her appearance. She is wearing a suit of armor and helmet that makes me want to ask, just which RPG is she from?
I want to comment that this is quite a lot of effort to put into a cosplay, but the silver base of the armor has decorations and patterns drawn in blue lines that are the same color as the girl’s hair; it has the luster of real metal and she looks as if she is accustomed to wearing it. Each time she takes a step, a heavy sound rings out from the armor.
「Uwah, what should I do… I just tampered with it randomly…」
The female knight has approached to stand right in front of me, mumbling things to herself along the way. Her shining golden eyes are looking directly at me.
「I am Fiora, what is your name? Oh my, there is no way that a Homunculus who has just opened his eyes could answer me –」
「I’m Akabane Zenichi. Hey, could you tell me where on earth this place is?」
– And so I met her. Her full name is Fiora Theo Nanablast.
She was the woman who would later become my wife, but I think there is no need to detail my memories with her here. They are already known to many of Rune’s citizens, and official records have already been left at both Rune’s royal castle and at the Adventurers’ Guild.
What I am recording in this diary are nothing but my own personal memories, my feelings that nobody else needs to know about, including my wife.
This is also an expression of my homesickness for my home country of Japan back on Earth that I can never return to. However, the thing that I regret the most is the beloved girlfriend that I had when I was but a mere student.
It is no great lie to say that I loved her from the bottom of my heart. To the point that I still see her in my dreams occasionally, even now.
Despite it being a simple coincidence, an accident, I am overwhelmed with shame at the fact that I suddenly disappeared from her sight with no warning.
Indeed, the regret that I had when I first opened my eyes in this world, the regret that I had made her cry, even though I have reached this age of over fifty years old, still smolders in the deepest depths of my heart.
That is why I have decided to put it into writing. I know that I can never atone for it, but even so, I hope that another individual from my world who reads this can tell her my feelings.
Tell my feelings to the woman who was my beloved sweetheart. Her name – Kurono Mana.