Chapter 8:

Noriko's Requiem

My Government-Issued Girlfriend Can't Be This Cute!

Seven Years Ago

Chatter chatter, blah blah, tweet tweet—my high school's lunch breaks were just as monotonous as the background noise. 

Open windows in the crowded classroom invited bright sunlight in, alongside chirps from birds outside. The back corner desk was my home away from home while everyone else gathered in their cliques. Girls, boys—they all huddled around each other like penguins seeking out warmth, to chat about hobbies or what's happening after school.

None knew how much I loathed them.

All their gossiping, their laughing, their bumbling, and their trite theatrics were all just silent mockery. I'd learned to live with my mind translating their smiles into sneers. This was how the world worked for me.

Isolation wasn't a concern though; I was used to channeling a pariah. The hard part was simply being considered a pariah, as if society itself banished me from their ranks. Three long years devoid of significant social connections would soon end—three years of desperation trying to figure out my place in the world.

Honestly, sometimes I quenched solitude, and other times I dreaded it. 

My black, buttoned-up uniform constricted against my chest as an invisible tightness compressed itself. Small breaths became difficult, though it wasn't the uniform, but the school's atmosphere that constantly threatened to choke me out.

I didn't care that my grades and looks were only average, or that most girls I'd ever talked to distanced themselves from me. I'd graduate and leave behind these bad memories, these blights, these trials by fire. An end to tribulations was near.

Chatter chatter, blah blah, tweet tweet . . .

I reached into my satchel bag and slipped out a novel. Books had been a favorite escape of mine, since they instilled a reason to look away from the world around me. And there was one particular genre I fancied.

Isekai, an emerging trend, was growing in popularity and would likely soon be a phenomenon. The idea of retreating into another world sounded cathartic, and if someone looked past the incessant harems and power fantasies, they’d simply find a nice break from reality—a distraction.

That’s when I recalled a memory from two years ago: a girl’s silhouette in our school library. Back then, I'd been searching through shelves in the dim room when an outline materialized down my aisle. Her figure was perfect, not just her body, but the way her tender hands plucked books from shelves like fruits. Long, silver hair stretched down to her ankles past smooth legs that a skirt left on full display.

It was rare enough to find anyone in the library, so a burning curiosity of what she was eyeing had driven me closer towards her.

Or perhaps the book was just an excuse.

Hmmm? Can I help you?” she gently said. Her curious, lavender eyes tried reading me.

I'd wandered too close and backed up. “Oh, uhhh, just wondering what you were reading. Sorry, haha.

Then, she smiled that day, and it felt like the first honest smile I’d ever seen.

Ah, I’m reading an isekai. Have you heard about them?" the girl named Noriko said.


I marched down the school hallway while lunch break continued. No one looked at me, just like I avoided looking at them.

There was only one person that I wanted to see.

Apparently, Noriko had convinced our art director to lend her spare keys to the roof. During breaks it'd be just us two up there together, but the more I was with Noriko, the more I fell for her. Occasionally avoiding her was my cope, or maybe it was just stubbornness. Her existence was the one thing assailing all my ideals, but she was also the one bright spot in my life.

Graduation was approaching though, and the urge to confess increased day by day.

As I hiked the hallway stairwell up, a myriad of thoughts dizzied me. What if Noriko isn't there? Why should I bother? Sure she's my only friend and has even visited before, but how do I know she won't abandon me like everyone else? Like Mai? We're going our separate ways soon anyway.

With an assertive thud my feet reached the top floor. A lone door ahead was ajar, and I slowly pushed it open as bright light funneled around me.

The sprawling rooftop terrace gradually materialized. Worn benches and potted plants dotted an enclosed area surrounded by tall, reinforced fences. I journeyed outside and looked around for Noriko: only silence greeted me. But if she isn't here, then she'd be up there for sure.

I turned around and eyed the cube-like stairwell structure I emerged from. A mechanical unit on its side acted like a stepping block as I climbed to peek above.

Flat on her back, Noriko Mito basked in complete serenity as she watched clouds soar overhead; not a care in the world even while a breeze nudged her silver bangs aside.

"Hmmm? Oh, Kazuma!" She looked over with a pleased smile. "I didn't think you'd drop by today."

Her radiant eyes sparkled even under cloudy skies. Combined with an alluring, black uniform that conformed to her curves, she was a goddess in repose. 

“Just wanted to talk about something with you,” I mumbled. Why is this harder than it should be?

Her ears twitched as if hearing good news. “Finally gonna confess to me?”

“N-No! Don’t be stupid.” I almost fell back from her sudden reply.

“Figures. You’ve never even tried asking for my number.”

“I don’t need it.”

“Even if we graduate soon?”

“It’s not like I like you or anything . . .”

Noriko burst into laughter. “Male tsundere! Male tsundere! No way! Hahaha!”

"Not funny." My face puffed up in annoyance, but that genuine smile of hers could sooth anyone's hostility away. She was the one person at school I harbored no ill will towards. 

Noriko pumped her arms out and stretched herself like a cat on its back. “Actually, you wanted to chat right? I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately—come lie with me.” She tapped the vacant spot beside her.

Do it, do it, Kazuma Nishikata! This is your big chance! I climbed up then lay flat beside her. Both of us on our backs gazed towards a faraway, unreachable sky. 

"Hey, Kazuma?"


A brief silence. "Do you ever wonder why we're born?"

"Born? Because our parents fucked."

"No, no. I mean like, philosophically."

"I'm not following."

She tucked a locket of long hair behind her ear. "It's just that—I don't think my mind is in a good place right now, or maybe it never was."

Even though I had some experience talking with girls, I wasn't exactly sure how to respond. "Um, if there's anything I can help with, just let me know. Doesn't matter what."

"Thanks. Maybe I'll hold you to that." She beamed another smile at me and sat up.

Further clouds drifted overhead, blurring the sun attempting to escape. A melancholic glow was cast as small winds suddenly started blowing. 

"Say, we've been friends since we were second-years, right?" she said.

"I guess, if you wanna call us friends."

Another pause. Noriko started fiddling with her ring finger, examining it like she was imagining something there. "Well, do you think I've changed you at all since we've started talking?"

"Uhhh, life isn't as mundane now?"

"Life . . ." Her jubilant eyes turned dim, like they were pained. "You probably already know, but I have issues being around people. I push them away even if they mean well. It’s just hard to trust everyone, so when they try talking to me, I bolt off somewhere.”

“Yeah, that’s how we met at the library. It was my hiding spot there too." I continued laying on my back as a dark cloud overhead blocked out the entire sun.

Almost like an omen.

Meanwhile, Noriko's hand on the floor was snaking closer to mine. "That's why I've opened up so much to you, Kazuma. Even though we're almost complete opposites in personality, we still see eye-to-eye. We've seen the ugliness of life, but now, I've been thinking of seeing the beauty of something else."


Noriko's drained eyes looked over the clouded horizon. A serious, but honest smile soon spread across her face as she peered in my direction.

"Let's kill ourselves," she said.

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon