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“Ushiki-kun! Where are the stapler tacks?”

It was currently just noon. As the other employees were enjoying their lunch break in the office, the assistant manager called out my name. I took out the stapler tacks from the shelf for business goods and handed them to the assistant manager.

“Sorry about this. Could you also clean up this cup for me?”

“I understand.”

I grabbed the cup and carried it to the wash sink. After washing the cup, I put it inside the dish drainer, when I realized it was already ten minutes past 12.

“Geez…”

Guess I’ll buy some lunch from the convenience store, then. My name is Ushiki Oguri, and I’m 25 years old. I’m your average company employee doing business affairs at a large management company. I have the qualifications for a real estate broker and also management affairs, even allowing me to work as an administrator. However, I didn’t have the energy to keep working with other people, so since last year, I was damned to be sent around in the business affairs bureau.

However, even business work is important to keep the company sustained. I’m not working for the sake of my superior. Keeping me from getting my well-deserved lunch break must be against labor laws, I just know it. And I should be compensated for me missing out on my break.

But of course, I don’t have the courage to do something like this. It feels like I live in a different world where fighting against harassment is not an option. If I don’t do something myself, nothing will change. That’s how the modern age works. I hopped on the elevator, riding down to the first floor. This building had many different companies’ offices, so even leaving and going outside could take a hot minute. Ahh, my precious lunch break.

Right when I reached the front entrance, the automatic door in front of me opened. Right after, a world-class beauty appeared. She possessed long black hair, almond eyes, and a small, well-built nose. Her figure was practically breathtaking, tall enough to be a model, followed by a pleasant fragrance. Of course, this building might have a lot of companies, but everybody knew her. She’s Section Chief Kamijou, working with the Closed Cooperation Geotam Commercial Affairs.

I’ve known her forever. That being said, we may have been from the same area, but she most likely doesn’t know me. Roughly eleven years ago, there was a rumor going around. Kamijou Touka’s a beauty from Amakusa South High. And even ten years later, the rumors are still burning strong. She just turned from a beautiful girl to a beautiful woman. If she wore the uniform from Amakusa right now, she’d probably look perfect in it. The sound of her high heels was heard along the floor, as she entered the building. And there was a person chasing after her.

“Chief, wait for me!”

I immediately looked down. I bet he didn’t even remember my face, so there was no reason to hide. This hasn’t changed since ten years ago. I simply stormed outside the door to forget. While passing him, it felt like he glanced at me, but that must’ve been my imagination.

“Really…why did Shimono-senpai have to work in the same building?” I kept my head down as I walked outside.

Every single time I happen to run into Shimono-senpai, I get tired of myself. I know I’m being far too self-conscious, but it’s my personality, I can’t help it. I’m a coward, pitiful, and with no backbone. Urgh, I’m saying too much. I mean, I did try once. Eleven years ago, actually. I confessed to Shimono-senpai, and I was rejected immediately. I still regret it now. Not that I confessed or anything, I regretted the way I went at it.

There’s no way a boy would come to like a girl with long hair who seems boring and down all the time. We only went on a date once, and we could barely even hold a proper conversation up on the Tokyo Tower. I gotta admire my guts that I managed to confess in that situation. In a way, since I’ve grown up, I could’ve done better now. Who would’ve thought I’d be hung up on him for ten years and more. Seriously, I want to go back to that time. Suddenly, the petals of a cherry blossom flew against my nose.

“Oh, it’s this season already?”

I raised my head and realized I had stepped into an unknown alley. It was right in front of an old shrine.

“Wha…I was too lost in thought. Lunch break is going to end!”

I gotta hurry and buy my lunch so that I can finish it in time. That’s what I told myself, but even so…

“Did we have this shrine so close to the company?”

I found myself curious about it for some reason. I knew I didn’t have the time, and yet the flowers blooming around the shrine were so beautiful, that they completely stole my attention.

“I guess watching the flowers here for a bit wouldn’t hurt.”

I gave my excuses to the void and walked up the stone-paved stairs. The fluttering cherry blossom petals looked like they were welcoming me. If it’s such a divine place here, it might just grant one of my wishes. I reached up to the main shrine, throwing small change into the offerings box.

“I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating I wish that Shimono-senpai and I could start dating! Oraaaa! It’s the wish of a lifetime!”

No response came. It still looked like a worn-down shrine. Of course, I didn’t expect anything. I’m just too stressed out, is all. I just need to eat lunch and then I’ll be back to normal. But before that, I should throw a complaint at the god of this shrine, who made me waste my time.

“Then at least bring me back to my middle school days, you dummy!”

The second I uttered those words, I realized I was standing in front of a mirror. It was the bathroom mirror of my family’s home, and yet I could barely see myself in said mirror because of my long bangs. If anybody saw me looking like this, I would definitely die of embarrassment. It took me only a second to fully grasp what was going on.

I see, I really went back in time!

*

“La la la~”

After I got my haircut at the salon, I took a stroll through the town whilst feeling great. Up to this point, I was just a nerd that’d stay at home to read manga. Even my looks were horrendous. I can’t believe I let my bangs grow that much, I could barely see ahead of me.

“This length really feels the best. With this, I can show myself in public, at least.” I looked at myself in the mirror of a nearby cafe window, which made me mutter in shock.

Ah, I met eyes with a person inside the café. So embarrassing! I averted my gaze, pulled my head down, and walked away. No, I can’t do this. I shouldn’t be looking down immediately, It’s a bad habit of mine. I was given the chance to redo my mistakes, so I have to look ahead of me, instead. I have to work on myself, that’s why I cut my hair, too.

I went back in time from April in my 25th year on this earth to thirteen years in the past. It’s still the same April, but an entirely different generation. I’m now 12 years old, and in my first year of middle school. Traveling back in time is a miracle hard to believe, but there’s only one thing for me to do…This time, I can finally try my luck and date Shimono-senpai! I got back right to the time when I got to know Shimono-senpai online, and the god of that shrine must’ve done this for my sake. I can learn from my mistakes and come up with a new plan.

So for starters, I need to do some preemptive reconnaissance. In two and a half years, I will confess to Shimono-senpai at the cultural festival of Amakusa South High. And last time, Shimono-senpai said the following.

“There’s someone else I like.”

For now, I have to find out just who this person is. If I can make that clear, I can come up with countermeasures. At the same time, if I follow a different strategy, the same history won’t repeat itself. So, how do I find out about who he likes? When I confessed to Shimono-senpai at that cultural festival, I came to know one person. Namely, Shimono-senpai’s younger sister Kofuyu. She’s a very cute and adorable girl. She might know about the person Shimono-senpai likes.

Of course, I have absolutely no connection to Kofuyu-chan at this very moment, so I have to get closer to her. Um…since I’m currently a first-year in middle school, she should still be a grade school student. No way I can just stop by her school, nor do I know which one it is, but since Shimono-senpai is from South Middle, a bit of research in the area should help me narrow it down. Then I’ll be able to track down Kofuyu-chan. I still have two and a half years left until the cultural festival, there’s no need to rush anything.

*

“Hm, can’t I make it a bit bolder here?”

I sat in my room on a weekend day, facing my study desk as I ran my pen across the paper. Of course, it wasn’t just your average pen, but rather a lead pencil to draw manga. Even after traveling back in time, this is the best I can do, and I’m doing the exact same thing as when I was in middle school for the first time. However, thanks to my experience over the years, my quality and speed have gone up drastically, I can produce something, unlike anything your average middle school student can do. My otaku friends are great fans of mine, too.

I might just send that to a magazine and hope to make it big. But what I’m drawing is mature stuff, so I don’t know about sending that in. If I wanted to sell it, it’d be Comiket. Hm…once I enroll at university, I’ll be joining a circle anyway, so if I work alone now it’ll make things more annoying later. I guess it’s perfect to just get excited about it with my nerd friends. Though I really am a perfectionist for putting so much effort into my hobby.

While these thoughts raced through my mind, I received a message on my phone. It came from Kofuyu-chan. After I found myself in this time, I formed contacts with Kofuyu-chan, which brought us to half a year later. It took a lot, but we’ve become close enough to exchange emails like this. The plan is making good progress. And reading the email showed me an even better piece of information.

‘Nobody’s home right now, so you can come over to play.’

I was invited over to the Shimono Household. This might be my chance. If I come to visit her, I have a natural reason to ask about Shimono-senpai. Maybe even question if Shimono-senpai has someone he likes. Best of all is that he shouldn’t be home. Right now, we’re interacting as Maron and Seven Knight, so he does know about me, but not my IRL persona or looks. With Kofuyu-chan alone, I don’t have to worry about that either. I responded immediately, packed my bag, and left my home. Yep, things are going great!

*

“The person Onii-chan likes?”

“Yep, that!”

The Shimono Household was a lot more charming than I had expected. I was invited up to the second floor which had Kofuyu-chan’s room. After we talked about this and that for a while, I saw the perfect chance to ask.

“Why would you want to know about that?” Kofuyu-chan looked at me with pure confusion in her eyes.

“Um…I’m currently working on a romance manga, so I was curious about the feelings and thoughts of a boy. I don’t have any male friends, or siblings, remember?”

“You draw manga, Oguri-chan?! Show Kofuyu, right now!”

“A-Ahaha, if I get the chance to. But it’s a more mature type of romance manga, so it’s a bit too early for you.”

I can’t show such a manga to an innocent girl. It might be a romance manga, but not that kind.

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“Really? Kofuyu still wants to see it!”

“A-Anyway, what about my question? Does your older brother have someone he likes?”

“Hm…No clue if he’s got feelings for her, but there’s Nao-oneechan. They’ve always been on good terms since they were both young.”

“Nao-oneechan?”

“Yep! They’re the same age, and our parents have always been getting along, so they often played together. Kofuyu stopped tagging along a while ago, but they’re doing just fine!”

“I see…Do you know her full name?”

“Nakatsugawa Nao.”

“Nakatsugawa Nao-san, huh? Thanks, Kofuyu-chan.”

“Kofuyu’s happy as long as she could help.”

Her innocent smile was too much for me. It gave me a feeling as if I’d done something horrible. But that’s not quite it, this is all for the sake of my plan. It’ll dirty my reputation without a doubt, but I’m fine becoming a witch if I can get Shimono-senpai after all that! As I was lost in my fantasies, constantly fawning over romance dramas, I heard the city-wide sound system outside of the house play a familiar melody. Looking at the time, it was currently 5 pm. Shimono-senpai should be coming home soon.

“Kofuyu-chan, I think I should be leaving now.”

“Whaaaa! Just stay a bit longer, Oguri-chan!”

“If I stay out for too long, my parents will get angry at me.”

“Urk…Okay.”

God, she’s so earnest and cute. We talked for a few more minutes when I finally left the house. Once I safely made it out of Kofuyu-chan’s sight, I couldn’t help but push a fist high into the air. Nakatsugawa Nao-san…She’s Shimono-senpai’s childhood friend. I know it has to be her. She’s a childhood friend, there’s no stronger opposition to me. However, it’s also her duty to lose in the end! Against the main heroine, which naturally will be me!

Since I traveled back in time, it’s gotta be me. In other words, if I can get between Nakatsugawa-san and Shimono-senpai, I have plenty of chances for my confession. To think I would make such smooth progress? I can do this…I might actually be able to pull it off! Am I a spy?! Will the CIA scout me?! Naturally, I had completely forgotten that I was previously employed at some average management company, and that wasn’t the only thing that slipped my mind.

“Ah, my bag.”

I was wondering why my back felt so eerily light, but that’s because I left it in Kofuyu-chan’s room. It has my wallet, my hand mirror, lip balm, the manuscript of my manga I showed to a friend, and my porch…Wait, the manuscript?! O-Oh shoot, I kept the manuscript for my new work in there…!

“This is bad!”

I immediately rushed back to the Shimono Household. I hammered the doorbell, but no response. I had a really bad itch, so I put my hand on the door handle…which opened right away. I’d rather not trespass like this, but the situation demands it! I ran up the stairs and swung open the door of Kofuyu-chan’s room.

“Kofuyu-chan!”

“Ah, Oguri-chan?”

She sat at her studying desk, turning towards me. In her hands, she held my manuscript.

“D-Did you read that?”

“Yep! You’re so good at drawing, Oguri-chan!”

Oh.

“How much did you read?”

“Everything!”

Oh ma god!!

“Hey, Oguri-chan, why is that woman hitting the man with a whip?”

“Um…”

“And why is that man so happy at being whipped and kicked?”

“That’s because…”

“Why is that woman calling the man a pig?”

“Ahaha…I wonder why.”

“Why does he call her his queen?”

“Stop! I beg you, I’ll die from the embarrassment!”

That’s right! The manga—the doujin I’m drawing is hardcore S&M stuff! Naturally, I’m not a sadist. If anything, this top and bottom relationship, as well as the cute gap, are actually what really gets me excited, and…Agh, that still doesn’t change me from being a pervert, does it?! But, every person has their own preferences, right?! That doesn’t make me a bad person!

And enjoying that in my privacy is perfectly fine, but showing that to a grade school girl isn’t!

“Kofuyu thinks this queen is really cool!”

“…What?!”

“Whipping that man must be fun! And the way he gets all happy is cute, too!”

“W-What are you saying, Kofuyu-chan? This isn’t good for you.”

“Hey, is it normal for a queen to be naked?”

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Don’t touch on thaaaaaaaaaaaat!”

Normally, the queen would be wearing anything bondage. However, the queens appearing in my work are all butt-naked. My work is pretty popular with my friends too…Wait, this isn’t the time to be bragging.

“Kofuyu will do her best to become a queen like her!”

“You really don’t have to work hard!”

“You’re amazing, Koguri-chan. You’re like Kofuyu’s teacher!”

Oh lord, I feel like I just created an alteration in the timeline that’ll come to bite Shimono-senpai later. I’m so sorry, Shimono-senpai.

*

My plan moved to the second stage. I moved to check up on Shimono-senpai at his school. And there, I confirmed the existence of a Nakatsugawa Nao-san. I watched over the two for the past two months, affirming their relationship. What stuck out the most was the fact that Shimono-senpai treated Nakatsugawa Nao-san like a male friend. He had no restraint in her presence, even throwing sharp words at her from time to time. Of course, she must’ve known about these being jokes since she smiled back at him each time. This clearly showed the trust they have in each other as childhood friends.

However, what if he continues to do that behind her back? That’ll change it to badmouthing. So I started thinking. If I make up something and get into Nakatsugawa Nao-san’s head that Shimono-senpai is talking badly behind her back, it should make things awkward. I’m ready to become a bad person as long as I can start dating Shimono-senpai. Please forgive me, god…

And amidst this melodramatic situation I found myself in, I was now sitting in a burger shop near the train station. At the table next to me sat Nakatsugawa Nao-san, munching on some fries. After trailing her for two months, I finally figured out where she’d go on her own. I can’t let this chance go to waste. Normally, I’d be bad at having proper conversations with people, but over the past few years at the company, I’ve gotten a lot better. All right, you can do it, Oguri.

“U-Um, you are Nakatsugawa Nao-san…right?” I turned my head to the side.

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“Yup, that’s me!”

Holy smokes! She answered right off the bat! And with no hesitation!

“M-My name is Ushiki Oguri.”

Wait, why am I introducing myself? There’s no need for that. If anything, if she remembers my existence, it’ll come to hurt me in the long run.

“Then you’re OguOgu. Nice to meet you!”

I can’t keep up with this normie pace! She’s already given me a nickname, too! This isn’t the time to worry about my name, she’ll completely wrap me up in her pace if I’m not careful.

“You’re from West Middle, right?”

“Uh, how did you know?”

“Your uniform.”

“Ah, right.”

“Ahaha, you’re such an airhead. What year are you in?”

“A first-year.”

“So you’re one below me.”

“Yes…”

Why is she leading the conversation even though I talked to her first?!

“So what’s up? Want something from me?”

All right! Nice assist, Nakatsugawa Nao-san! Even though I’d rather not let you!

“Um, Nakatsugawa Nao-san, do you…”

“Wahaha! Way too long! Nao’s fine!”

“Ah, then…Nao-senpai. You’re good friends with this boy, right? The one who has short hair and the look of a prairie dog.”

“You mean Nanaya?”

“Yes! I think that’s him. Yes!”

All right, I managed to bring the conversation to Shimono-senpai.

“What about Nanaya?”

“I heard he’s calling you a man-woman behind your back. I know it might be a joke if it’s upfront, but insulting you in secret is pretty disgusting, right?”

I’m sorry, Shimono-senpai. I don’t feel that way at all. And you never said anything like that to begin with.

“Whaaaaa?! Nanaya’s such a cheeky brat!”

“That’s right! I’d be best if you didn’t stay friends with such a person…”

“That bastard, I’ll definitely pay him back. What do you think I’m lacking in the femininity department, OguOgu?”

“Huh? Um…You’re cute, cheerful, so I don’t think you’re lacking anything.”

“Ahhhh, you’re so adorable, OguOgu! I might just fall in love with you!”

So fast! We barely met!

“Wait, no, you’re not at fault, Nao-senpai. It’s all because of him, and I think you should keep your distance from him.”

“Hmmm…It’s bound to be my breasts.”

“Excuse me…?”

“Compared to Mom, my boobs feel a bit smaller. I guess I need two sizes bigger to catch up.” Nao-senpai commented as she pushed up her own chest with both her hands.

Um…needing both hands as a middle school student is plenty respectable, if you ask me…

“All right, I’ll raise these two babies and show that Nanaya! And then I’ll use them to earn me some side money!”

“Whaaaaa?!”

“One grope will cost him 500 yen!”

“So cheap!”

“Then groping will be 5000?”

“The price isn’t the problem here!”

Ah…Not good, I’m once again being played by her. But…what the heck is this direction even?

“I’ll look into methods to increase bust size. If you do it with me, I’m sure you’ll get some rockin’ melons in a second.”

“Huuuuh?! Me too?!”

“Of course! Let’s both get into gravure modeling together!”

“I-I’d rather not!”

I simply ran away from that place. First with Kofuyu-chan, and now this. What is going on!

*

Half a year passed since, and I moved up to my second year in middle school. Even now, I’m heading over to South Middle to check up on Shimono-senpai and Nao-senpai, but…So far, their relationship hasn’t gotten worse at all. However, Nao-senpai has changed quite a lot since then. Seriously, her breasts have grown quite a lot. If she keeps going like this, she’ll actually be a model by the time she moves up to middle school. Nakatsugawa Nao is one fearful woman.

But more importantly, I have to look at the facts. Namely, that my plan isn’t making much progress. What am I supposed to do about this? And since I had no hope in my current plan, I held my head as I walked down the hallway of my school. Midway, a large shadow appeared, and I didn’t make it in time to dodge so I pumped right into him.

“Oh, my bad. You okay?”

The other person didn’t even seem to be bothered, just bending their body to look down at my face.

“No, I’m okay. I’m sorry, I didn’t look ahead of me.”

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“As long as you’re okay, we’re fine.” The person said and walked down the hallway.

It was a tall boy with black hair. The color on his slippers was yellow, meaning that he’s a third-year.

“I feel like I’ve seen him before somewhere.”

I scratched my cheek while watching the boy walk off. I don’t have any friends in the third year…The only person older than me that I know is Shimono-senpai…Ah, he’s in the same year as Shimono-senpai! Tadokoro Onikichi! That’s gotta be him. He’s Tadokoro-senpai from Amakusa South High. I’ve tried to invite Shimono-senpai on a date multiple times, but this person always clung to him like a moth to light. Even for our date on the Tokyo Tower, he was obstinate enough to say he’d tag along. Thankfully I managed to stop him.

Since they were super close with each other, I figured they’d be from the same middle school, but that apparently isn’t the case. But that means they became such good buddies in such a short time? They must be really getting along…Hold on a second. So he’s also partially to blame that I couldn’t go on the offensive with Shimono-senpai? Did I get rejected because of him?

Even if Shimono-senpai has feelings for someone, that doesn’t mean I don’t have any chance. Well, I have no way of proving that hypothesis, nor can I afford to bet on that. However, after coming back to this time, there’s one thing that’ll definitely connect to my success. Namely, to constantly approach Shimono-senpai and try to win him over. That’s what I should prioritize during this second chance of mine. And for that, I should remove any obstacles in the way. That decides my next course of action. I’ll change the future where Tadokoro-senpai and Shimono-senpai become friends!

*

My plan of action was simple. I know that Tadokoro-senpai turns into somewhat of a cheesy playboy in his second year of high school. This is a narrow district, the people standing out at the schools are famous in the other schools, too. And, I know that Shimono-senpai is bad with flashy guys and excessive party-goers. Since I’m the same as him, I understand it all too well. I don’t like those guys either! The only reason those two were still friends despite that is that they were already getting along before Tadokoro-senpai turned into that kinda flashy guy.

…So what if he was already like that before he and Shimono-senpai met? A brown-haired playboy guy who keeps fooling around with everyone right on the first day they met…This is doable! They definitely won’t get along! And that’ll leave Shiono-senpai’s schedule wide open! I can invite him as much as I want! We’re a guaranteed couple!

“He he he. I’m almost terrified at how much of a genius I am.”

I immediately looked for Tadokoro-senpai’s name on the shoe lockers. Checking through the third-year shoe lockers, I found his name.

“Found it!”

And then I put a magazine in there. It had a blonde, tan, and muscular guy on the cover. Before I traveled back in time, this magazine already went defunct, but right now it’s putting a lot of focus on the popular hotties. If he already had these kinds of tendencies, this should accelerate the progress. He’ll read this magazine, think of those playboys as cool, and immediately work on changing himself. He he he, I can’t wait.

After that, I regularly put men’s fashion magazines into Tadokoro-senpai’s shoe lockers. This continued for roughly five months. This cost me the majority of my allowance, of course. Finally, I believed that I’d be able to see some results now, so I put another magazine in his shoe locker.

“Phew, you’re getting some heartfelt men’s magazine today, Tadokoro-senpai. You better look forward to it.”

“Sure am, yay~!” Tadokoro-senpai put his hand into the locker and took out the magazine.

“Ah, you’ll read it immediately, then……Wait, Tadokoro-senpai?!”

“So you’re the one always putting those magazines in my locker? Oni-chan’s super-duper thankful!

A brown-haired boy, Tadokoro Onikichi, stood in front of me.

“Wait, you actually turned into a playboy?!”

“Sure did! Oni-chan has awakened to become a playboy!”

Great! Just as I planned……Wait, this isn’t the time to be happy! He found out I’m the one who put the magazines in here!

“Err…Ushiki Oguri, right?”

“Why do you know my name?!”

“It says your name on the student bag, remember?”

“Ah!”

That’s right. I was such a diligent girl, I kept my name on everything I owned.

“So, why are you giving me random magazines, Ogucchi?”

“Ogucchi?!”

“Dazz right! You taught me how to be a playboy guy, so we’re like friends!”

You’re not Luffy! To think he’d see me as a friend…the person who’ll get in my way later…For now, I should just give him a random comment.

“E-Erm…I was just thinking that you might like this sort of stuff?”

“Holy smokes! You’re like a prophet! I’m liking you even more now, here we!”

If you’re going with “Here we” then finish it with “Go,” okay? Also, now I have another connection to the people around Shimono-senpai…!

“B-But, I’ve run out of allowance, so I’ll stop starting today. I’m sorry for doing this!”

“Ah, Ogucchi? Ogucchi! Where are you going?”

Why do I keep messing up?! Just like with Nao-senpai, I simply ran away without facing my problems.

*

Before I realized it, two years had passed since I traveled back to this time. This year, this September actually, there will be our offline meeting, with the cultural festival at Amakusa South High in October. I did everything I could up to this point. I asked Kofuyu-chan about the person Shimono-senpai likes. I drove a wedge between Nao-senpai and Shimono-senpai, too. Not to mention that Tadokoro-senpai will turn into a playboy that won’t get along with Shimono-senpai.

And yet…When I went to the high school to check out the status, I saw Nao-senpai and Shimono-senpai still getting along. Same goes for Tadokoro-senpai and Shimono-senpai. The only difference is that Kofuyu-chan’s totally into S&M stuff now, Nao-senpai’s boobs grew two sizes, and Tadokoro-senpai turned into a playboy a year earlier. I’ve been getting along with them just fine, too. However, when it comes to Shimono-senpai, I didn’t manage to achieve any groundbreaking change.

Damn it! I thought I was making good progress with my plan. These weak results make me question what I was even doing. Before, I spent my time drawing manga or playing online games, but what was I doing after the time leap? And time won’t wait, the seasons keep on changing. The promised second term arrived, and today is the day of the offline meet-up. We’d meet up at a karaoke box, and I looked at the time while I sat in wait. I can’t continue with just this.

I grasped the strawberry-flavored candy in my pocket, making up my mind. This is where the real battle starts. I’m not the same as I was before. My hair is perfect and I’ve improved my bad habit of only looking down. Now that I’ve come this far, I just have to keep on pushing. There’s only five minutes left until we’re meeting up, and Shimono-senpai is the only person who has yet to arrive.

The first impression is of utmost importance. Once he gets here, I have to immediately greet him as cheerfully as possible. I named it—the Tehe Kyaha Ultra Start Dash Operation. KER-CHUNK, the door opened.

“Hello~”

He’s here! Time to start this thing!

“N-Nice to meet you, Seven Knight-san! I’m Maron!” I smiled and greeted him.

It’s really Shimono-senpai, the one I’ve been only watching from the shadows, and he’s so close in front of me…So nostalgic.

“U-U-Um, I was really looking forward to meeting you, Seven Knight-san, so…”

I spoke that far, when I saw two shadows appearing from behind Shimono-senpai. He’s with someone?!

“Wh-Who might these two be…?”

Hold on, what’s going on? I can’t follow at all. Why are random strangers here?

“Heyho, name’s Biwa! Nice to meet you.”

Again, who?!

“Biwako-san, glad you made it. I actually didn’t mention it to the others, but Seven Knight-san’s friends will be participating in this meeting. She’s really fun to have around, and we’re getting along quite well.” So said Leader.

“Sup, sup, that’s it.”

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Huuuuuuh?! The heck is this?! This is supposed to be an offline meeting, right?! Why are there outsiders here?! Is he stupid?! Is he a moron?! Is he gonna die?! As I fell right into a panic, another woman showed up behind Shimono-senpai.

“U-Um…My name is Kamijou Touka. Would it be okay if I participated as well?”

Time stopped. It’s…Section Chief Kamijou! Why is Section Chief Kamijou From Geotam Commercial Affairs here…?! No, hold on. I think she also graduated from Amakusa South High. So that means she knew Shimono-senpai? However, I don’t remember that. She and this random gal I don’t even remember from last time. I’m honestly terrified.

“I-I didn’t hear about this, Leader! I thought it was just people from our party! Isn’t that how an offline meeting works?! This is already our first meeting, so…”

I was utterly confused and in shambles, I immediately protested.

“It’s fine, no? This is a first-time meeting for all of us, so it doesn’t matter how many people we are as long as we’re having fun.”

Oh, right. He’s a boy. A boy with no delicacy! No way I can stop this now. I should calm down and think this through. Returning to my seat, I held my head in despair. Shimono-senpai seemingly caught on to that, sending me an apologetic gaze. That’s right, Shimono-senpai. I’ve been doing unfair business since the moment I traveled back in time. But of course, there’s no way he would understand that. For now, I need to deal with this sudden change of plans. Thinking is my strong suit.

“Mixers are pretty fun, huh!” The gal sat down next to me.

“R-Right…”

Shut up! I’m trying to think, right now! You’re the biggest mystery to me, anyway! This isn’t a mixer, it’s an offline meeting! Seriously, who is she? Looking at Hechikoma-san’s reaction, she seemingly is pretty famous, but unlike Chief Kamijou, I haven’t ever heard about her. Well, maybe I was just shutting her out since I don’t like gals. Speaking of gals, there’s also Tadokoro-senpai…Maybe his becoming a playboy led to there being more gals and playboys around Shimono-senpai? The normie community keeps on expanding, huh…

Is this what they call the Butterfly Effect, I wonder? No, is it really? The Butterfly Effect picks smaller incidents to create huge repercussions and change. It’s often used in any kind of fictional work that contains time travel, but would my intentional changing of the timeline have such effects in such a short amount of time? Can I really call it a Butterfly Effect if I aggressively worked to change the future? And what if these changes have even greater repercussions in the future?

“We should order the drinks. I’ll take care of the ordering, so feel free and tell me what you would like.” Chief Kamijou said.

Shimono-senpai responded.

“It’s okay, Chief. I’ll handle that.”

“You’re sitting the furthest away from the phone. I’ll do it, don’t worry.”

“I-I’m sorry.”

Everybody voiced their preferences, and Chief Kamijou finished ordering. They sounded like your average junior and senior…but there is one thing that caught my attention during that conversation.

—Chief? Right now, Shimono-senpai called Chief Kamijou “Chief,” right? Is that just a coincidence? These two got to know each other this early in this new timeline, and he just so happens to call her like that? What are the chances of that? Its probability is almost ridiculous…However, all of that could be explained if Shimono-senpai also traveled back in time. And the same goes for her, who accepted the title of ‘Chief’ this nonchalantly.

There’s a good chance that Kamijou Touka has time leaped to the past.

*

The hypothesis I came up with is nothing but a possibility. For example, even if these two traveled back in time, they probably wouldn’t have caught on to the changes I created. Kofuyu-chan, Nao-senpai, and Tadokoro-senpai all are quite different from their previous versions. Also, I’ve cut my hair, too. They most likely wouldn’t take these changes as something suspicious. If they had taken notice, they would’ve known about me prior to this. That being said, time-traveling in general as a phenomenon is such a strange and unfamiliar territory for me, it might be a waste to try and explain everything. What’s most important is that I shouldn’t come to conclusions as of right now, while I’m lacking crucial information.

Or so I’d like to say, but I’m awfully confident in this possibility and depending on what the truth is, I’d be forced to greatly change my approach from now on. After all, if the both of them traveled back in time, there is a good chance that one of the two could have feelings for the other. The reason I traveled back in time is that I have unrequited feelings, after all. I’ve been watching Nao-senpai this entire time, but there are no signs of Shimono-senpai harboring any feelings for her. But if the person he liked turned out to the Chief Kamijou…that would explain a lot.

Of course, there’s also a good chance that Chief Kamijou is the one who’s after Shimono-senpai. And the most terrifying possibility would be…that they both share the same feelings. Either way, I need to look into this possibility. And I was given an immediate chance, when Chief Kamijou stood up to head to the toilet. Looking into them individually is a lot better for me, so I went after her. Arriving in the toilet, I spotted Chief Kamijou who was currently washing her hands. Even from behind, her appearance was entrancing.

“Kamijou Touka-san…was it?” I called out to her.

“You know me?” She responded.

Of course, you’re famous now, and will be in eleven years. While keeping the conversation going, I approached the nucleus of my intentions.

“Are you friends with Seven Knight-san?”

“Yes, we may be in different years, but we are friends.”

That shouldn’t have been the case, considering the past timeline.

“Since when?”

“Erm… a few months now, I think?”

A few months…if she also leaped back in time, it’d have to be sometime during the past year. So nearly not as long as I have. I’ve been back to this time a lot longer than her, working on my plan. And yet she’ll get in the way of my plan…

“I…”

“Hm?”

“I’ve been…Seven Knight-san’s friend for ages.”

That’s right, I’ve been chasing after Shimono-senpai far longer than she may have. And I’m not losing my advantage. Not gonna lose against her, no matter what!

*

“And, well…that’s when I realized that there was a 90% chance you traveled back in time,” I told Chief Kamijou, who stood beneath the maidenhair tree.

For the first time, I enjoyed the taste of the strawberry candy. Her eyes were open in shock, her expression distorted in terror.

“But looking at your face right now, I’m 100% sure.”

She definitely likes Shimono-senpai.

“You also…?”

“That’s right. But I came back to this time much longer before you. More accurately, two and a half years ago. There’s no way I wouldn’t lose against some pseudo-leaper!”

“What the hell is a pseudo-leaper?!”

“That you’re a fake time leaper, compared to me! Also, I still don’t understand who this Sakonji-senpai person is! What’s her problem?! She terrifies me! Because of her, we couldn’t go to the Tokyo Tower! Hey, Chief Kamiijou, who is she?!”

“Um…Biwako is a…charismatic girl?”

“That’s right! Why is such a gal on good terms with Shimono-senpai?! She disrupted my plans so many times! Wait, is she the person Shimono-senpai likes? I’ve been thinking about that for ages, and…Ack! COUGH COUGH I swallowed my candy…! Blegh!”

“…Um, are you okay?”

“Anyway!” I glared at my rival. “I will not let things go your way, Chief Kamijou!”

I’ll definitely get in the way of you two!

*

“Hm…that’s weird. Oguri-chan told me to come here cause the chief asked for it, but…nobody’s around.”

Right after Oguri-chan confessed to me, I immediately made my way up here. Despite all the previous chaos up on the rooftop, it was now quiet and peaceful with no soul around, which honestly made me feel lonely. I looked around the back to find the gondola completely gone. I guess someone from the committee must’ve done my work for me.

…I wonder what the chief wanted to talk about. I took out the Yamade-kun keychain she gave me and started thinking. Even though I should’ve gone through this cultural festival before, way too many unfamiliar events happened. There is only one thing I’m certain of—

—And that is, Ushiki Oguri traveled back in time just like the chief and I did.

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