I hate how noisy cell phones are when they vibrate. Back when I bought my own personal cell phone I immediately set it to mute, but because of that I never knew when I got a text or received an email and my responses were always late. Well, they were only about unimportant tasks anyway. I had no intention of being that guy who instantly responds to work correspondence even while off the clock. I’m a busy guy, so I only ever replied when I had free time — making it a priority was too much of a pain. What was an even worse pain was the way that recent apps let people know that you’d ‘already read‘ their messages.
Well, though that was how I thought… my personal phone was currently plugged to a charging stand, and when the phone vibrated with a message I went to pick it up after a few seconds.
My most recent chat conversation popped up from the green app on my phone. In that screen were cipher-like words which said, [what time back this like?] 1
[normal time, also i’ll eat dinner] I replied, and upon receiving a sticker that said “Understood!”, my cheeks unintentionally slackened. The screen grew dark, and as I went back to eating my meal the phone shook again. [work do your best], it said. This time I was the one who sent a sticker.
As you probably guessed, the person I was chatting with was Ilias who was waiting for me back home. In the past there had been an incident where I’d needed to work overtime until ten in the evening. Ilias had been half-crying while waiting for me in front of the station’s ticket gate, and just as I worried that something had happened to him Ilias hugged me with all of his heart while sobbing, not minding that we were in plain sight outside. Is that a passionate gay couple going through a bump in their relationship? The question, carried by the lukewarm stares from the surrounding crowd, pierced into me. The experience remained a bitter memory.
Immediately after that, I bought Ilias his own personal phone and taught him how to use it. He was already familiar with using machines because of his magical communication device, so he quickly mastered his smartphone and began using it to send me messages while I was at work.
Ilias had kind of learned how to speak Japanese, but as for writing… well, he still had a ways to go. ‘There are other letters besides hiragana you know! Kanji also exist!’ I thought with teary eyes yesterday as I taught him some second-level writing lessons for children.
Anyway, it seemed like this guy has gotten addicted to daytime dramas. The very first Japanese words to ever come out of his mouth were, “You homewrecker!” 2 Hearing a handsome guy like that spit out melodramatic words from a soap opera struck me where I least expected it, and I burst out laughing so hard that I almost couldn’t breathe.
“You’re still grinnin’ over there? C’mooon, just show me a pic of your girlfriend, I’m beggin’ ya!” Mita cried out while slurping up his cup noodles — dandan-flavored today. This guy really liked the cups with dense flavoring. 3
“It’s too early to show you, so I won’t.”
“Eeeeh, how can you say thaat! You haven’t shown anyone your girlfriend yeeet!”
“Obviously. I don’t like showing things off.”
Since Mita didn’t believe me no matter how many times I told him I didn’t have a girlfriend, I had already given up and just went with it. It was inevitable; I’m the type to stop trying once it gets too annoying, after all. “Here, I’ll show you my girlfriend!” Mita said, opening up the picture gallery on his phone. I was firmly made to enjoy looking at Mita’s girlfriend. Oh, I see, so you prefer big-boobed loli types. You have good eyes. 4
This year, Golden Week landed on the worst date possible. 5 Since I had to use up my paid vacation earlier, that meant I only had the last three days off from work. And also, even though the boss took paid leave and wasn’t there, I still had to come in to work on those first two days of the week. The deserted office only had a few workers because most people had taken paid time off, and the phones rang up a storm. Only by thinking about how tomorrow I had a three-day vacation was I able to put up with how busy it was.
All worn out, I made my way back home and opened the entrance. Ilias stood in the kitchen just beyond, wearing an apron. I greeted him and handed him a plastic bag, and when he peeked inside he let out a hearty laugh. Yeah, I was well aware that the beer I bought for this holiday was a little more expensive than usual.
“Dinner will be ready soon, so now would be a good time to change.”
“Oh, deep-fried chicken!”
I looked down at tonight’s dinner, and after checking to make sure Ilias was busy putting the beer in the fridge, I threw one of the freshly-fried chicken chunks into my mouth. But, seemed like he’d perfectly witnessed me doing that.
This, this thing’s really damn hot right now?!?!?! While huffing and puffing hot air out of my mouth, I frantically chewed. Damn, this guy’s food was really delicious… just, my tongue… really friggin’ hurt after getting burned…
“Are you alright? Open up and show me.” Faster than I could reply, Ilias stretched out his burly arms and held my face still with both hands. I felt silent pressure coming from above. With that kind of mood, I couldn’t just brush him off by saying I was okay, so I slowly opened my mouth up wide and held out my tongue. Gathering up my face in his hands, Ilias squinted and checked it over.
Yo, this pose is… kind of terrible… I look like a huge slut right now, didn’t I… Yeah, that was definitely not something I was ever going to say out loud.
I’d already held my tongue out so far that it was impossible to show any more. I begged Ilias with my eyes, trying to convey to him: It’s fine if you don’t look at it that carefully, and also I feel like I’m about to start drooling. I want to pull my tongue back in already…
The entire time he’d been staring at my tongue, but the moment Ilias made eye contact with me, he flung his hands away. Wha, what the heck… that scared me. I looked at Ilias in stunned surprise. Turning bright scarlet, the guy in front of me pressed a hand against his mouth and lowered his head while apologizing.
Hold up, why are you getting red in the first place? Did you… maybe, think the same thing I did? No, no way haha, that couldn’t be… But the expression he used to look at me was impossible to mistake. The minute I realized, heat flooded my face.
“I-I, I’m going to change my clothes…!”
Not wanting him to see my burning face, I ran away and escaped into my bedroom… but since my voice had gone completely high-pitched, there hadn’t been any point in trying to hide it.
Loafing around during a bunch of vacation days was really the best. After we finished eating dinner, I leisurely watched TV while beside me Ilias worked on his writing lessons. He was taking them way too seriously, but that said, the way he diligently did his homework was respectable and gold-star-worthy. Every now and then I answered one of the questions he asked, and like that, time languidly passed.
All of a sudden, the stone lying next to the TV began to shake and emit light. Back when he’d been fiddling with it, the stone that Ilias called his ‘magical communication device’ had, since then, simply became part of the house décor—but now, its power flickered on and it came back to life. Ilias stood in an instant, abandoning his homework and rushing over to take the stone into his hands, his fingers familiarly running over it. A sci-fi-like screen popped up, and numbers emerged on the screen.
“This is Selenia Kingdom’s Magical Communications Bureau. Can you hear us? If so, please respond.”
“This is Ilias Garland speaking!”
Ah, so it was a speaker-type device. Upon hearing the man’s voice and Ilias’s response, I stared with a blank gaze. As I looked at Ilias, I remembered that he had really said that he was someone who had come from another world.
“Sir Ilias! You’re really alright! Director, we’ve succeeded in establishing communication with the Knight Ilias!”
The voice coming from the device changed from that of a half-crying man to that of an elderly grandpa’s. I don’t know if the speaker was actually old or if he just had a voice that sounded like it, but in any case, the way he spoke was dignified.
Somehow I felt like I was intruding by listening, so I took my smartphone in hand and went to sit somewhere else. Like that, I ended up retreating to my bedroom and rolling into bed. In this bed that had been completely prepared for two people to sleep in, I breathed in Ilias’s scent. For me to feel calm from smelling a person’s scent other than my own… I must not have much longer to live, or something.
That said, it seemed that the life that I’d been living with Ilias was now ending. Even though that’s something I should celebrate, just why did I feel so lonely right now… Really, I don’t get it at all.
“Azusa, sorry. I’ve finished the call.”
Ilias called out to me while I laid there. I hadn’t even looked at the cell phone that I’d brought. I quietly lifted my head and saw Ilias standing in the doorway, his eyes wet like he’d perhaps been crying.
“It’s fine… how was it?”
“It seems that over half a year has already passed in my world. Now that they’ve confirmed my coordinates, it’s only a matter of time before they resolve the situation.”
“Huh. It’s only been three months since you came here, so I guess time passes differently over there. How long will it take?”
“ ’In about another half year we’ll be able to do something’, the director said.”
“So in Japan time, that’ll be three months. That’s good.”
“That’s… right, it will be, won’t it…”
I had completely thought that this guy would be so happy that he’d be jumping for joy. Instead, he only just repeated “Three months…” and fell silent. I didn’t get why his face suddenly fell and darkened. Was there something bad about getting to go back home? Even if I tried to ask about why he looked that way, I didn’t even know enough to find the words to ask about it. The words for this situation were impossible for me to even guess.
When I got off the bed, I noticed that Ilias’ head still hung dispiritedly. The moment I passed by him, I reached out my hand and ruffled his hair. At that, Ilias raised his head and met my eyes.
“Let’s go drinking!”
“Wait, but… isn’t it still daytime…?”
“That’s why I said it’s a banquet—like that, it doesn’t matter if we celebrate during the day. We’ll also get sushi and pizza!”
Though he’d looked up at me with a hastily pasted-on smile, Ilias nodded. I honestly felt relieved now that he’d finally smiled.
I went to the convenience store to buy some alcohol before the food delivery arrived. I returned with my purchases of beer, wine, and whiskey, along with some dry snacks to go with the drinks. I decided that now’d be a good time to get out that sweet potato shochu that I’d been saving, and went to fish it out from the deepest part of the cupboards. Behind me, Ilias started neatly arranging our banquet selections on top of the table.
We drank while snacking on the main courses that I’d gotten delivered. “It sure is luxurious to do this sort of thing while it’s still light out,” I heartily said while chewing on some squid. The moment I said that, a voice rose up from beside me. When I looked over, I made eye contact with Ilias, who looked at me with an expression that I’d never seen before. Well, though the pace we were going at was certainly pretty fast, this guy couldn’t be drunk already… Was he okay…?
“There’s something that’s been on my mind for a while. Is it alright if I ask?”
“Over here, do people not go out with those of the same gender?”
“Aaah… some people do, but not very many. It’s against the norm.”
“So that’s how it is?!”
‘Just what’s this guy saying all of a sudden,’ I wondered, but when I thought about it, this was probably because he’d finally made contact with his homeland after such a long time. When I once again thought about how his land’s culture must be different, I held back from making an offhand quip and instead answered him seriously. That said, when his eating face turned surprised at my answer, I couldn’t hold in a bit of laughter.
“Well, lately people are easing up about it, I think. So, what’s this about? Do you prefer men as your love interests?”
“… Gender doesn’t matter. If you love your partner, then being with them is something natural.”
“Whoa, such philosophy!”
“In my country, marriage is not something tied to gender. There is only one condition: you should only marry someone if you’re willing to love them until the day you die.”
“So what you’re saying is, something like divorce or cheating isn’t accepted at all. That’s pretty heavy, isn’t it?”
“Is that so? For me, if I were able to find the person I wished to marry, then I think it could only be a truly wonderful thing.”
After hearing this Prince Charming spew such stinky lines while smiling sweetly, I felt dizzy. You, if you told someone that you wanted to get married, for sure a woman or two would come running. Anyway, so gender didn’t matter to him… This guy’s values sure are different. For me, I’d prefer to marry a woman.
“And if that partner of yours is a man? Well, in the first place, can two men even feel good together? It’s kind of a waste of time, isn’t it?”
“… It isn’t at all.”
“Ooh, you’re so certain. Then, Mr Ilias, have you done it before?”
With a teasing grin on my face, I turned my head to look at him. The answer he then gave was a definite “Yes.”
W-wait, are serious… Hey, I’m going to feel really flustered if you give me that kind of answer oozing with sex appeal… but I only retorted that in the depths of my heart. Without realizing when, I’d covered my cheeks with my hands. I was about to ask Ilias if he was telling the truth when I caught sight of the look on his face and stopped. Ilias feverishly whispered my name, and before I knew it, my lips had been covered by his.
From the crow’s nest of a large ship, a loud voice shouts from above.
The captain of the ship raises his head, his truly gallant figure silhouetted against the vibrant blue of the ocean. “What is it?” he shouts back, squinting toward the lookout in the crow’s nest.
“Land ahoy!! There’s land ahead, Captain!”
The captain’s eyes widen. He rushes up to the helm of the ship, nearly climbing over the prow to set his eyes upon the figure on the horizon.
When he catches sight of that island, glittering tears stream from his eyes. He sobs into his kerchief, “Finally… after all of these chapters… It’s here! We’ve finally reached it!!!”
The captain sweeps his arm out in a circle, his blond hair and blue eyes sparkling in the sunlight. He orders his crew, “Everyone! We only have a small journey left to go! Hoist the sails and get to work– in just a few days we will finally be able to explore Azusa Island and plunder its booty!!”
“Yes, Captain Ilias!!” the entire crew cheers, and somewhere, in the distance, Azusa buries his face further into the sand.
Thanks to our wonderful First Mate Psyx for guiding this ship on its course, and thanks to our amazing Taro-sensei for everything!!
The next chapter contains explicit R18 content, so be prepared.
- Holy heck, I hope I translated what was happening right. The raw only said that Azusa’s phone had a green screen (which, upon googling, showed a bunch of error screens), but I’m pretty sure it’s actually referring to the LINE chatting app which, by default, has a green background while starting up. Anyway, let’s just ignore that for now and focus on Ilias’s adorable attempts at writing in hiragana. ↩
- Literally 「 この泥棒ネコ！」or “This thieving cat!” (You can imagine just what kind of shows Ilias is watching if the first thing he learns how to say is accusing someone of being a homewrecker… ↩
- Dandan noodles or dandanmian is a noodle dish originating from Chinese Sichuan cuisine. It consists of a spicy sauce containing preserved vegetables, chili oil, Sichuan pepper, minced pork, and scallions served over noodles. (via Wikipedia) ↩
- Refers to a woman who’s small in stature but has a notably large chest. ↩
- A week from the 29th of April to early May containing a number of Japanese holidays. Many Japanese nationals take paid time off during this holiday, and some companies are closed down completely and give their employees time off. Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese workers. (via Wikipedia) ↩