Chapter 0:

A Blossoming Heart

I Planted a Girlfriend

They say that some of the most beautiful flowers are the deadliest, and that it’s best to view every one of them from afar. But why is that? I get the whole death thing, and I wouldn’t be a teenager without at least joking about the concept of that eternal slumber at least once. But I think there’s more to it.

I believe that there are certain goals in our lives that we want to march toward, yet our fear is what ultimately holds us back. If we don’t take chances we miss out on a lot. Whether such opportunities are good or bad, they’re still learning experiences.

So, after some encouragement, I decided that today I’m going to push past that fear. I’m going to do something I should have done a long time ago!

My name is Minato Tanaka; I’m 17 years old and soon to be third year at Yozakura academy. The fear in question that I so boldly aim to overcome stems from the person standing a mere meter before me. There’s only one more day before Valentine’s Day. So, regardless of how I feel, today has to be the day I confess my feelings to my childhood best friend, Sayori Nagisa. I half expect to be a bit more nervous during this. It’s my first time ever confessing my feelings to anyone, after all. But something about that smile of hers is filling me with the confidence I need to articulate how much she means to me!

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“I have a boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend-”

The past couple of months since that fateful day, the memory of my rejection has been plaguing my mind. Repeating itself at random intervals like a damaged VHS tape.

Turns out, I waited a day too late and the new exchange student ended up shooting his shot before me. From the glimpses of them together on social media, they seem to be happy together. I ended up spending the rest of the semester alone, listlessly waiting for the new academic year to begin in April, while Sayori and her new boyfriend went out on dates. Even though I don’t outwardly show it, that shit’s been eating away at me. I’ve never been one to put much merit into things like relationships, however. Mostly because I’ve never actually experienced a real one. Most of my knowledge has either come from the wordplay of my friends, who I suspect, for good reason, are as clueless as me when it comes to such topics. Or from my love of otome games and romantic-comedy anime that always seem to share the same plot structure.

If I were to ever form a relationship with someone, I feel like they’d just eventually lose interest.

Besides, a relationship realistically shouldn’t even be my main focus right now. That would be-

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It’s ten o’clock at night. Most people my age would either be hanging out or playing games. Fortunately enough, I’m not most people. It has only been three weeks since I started studying different species of plants for my grandmother. For the past thirty years or so, she has owned a floral shop located in the heart of Tokyo. Her health hasn’t exactly been the best as of late. So, I decided to take up a part time job and help out around the store.

That should be enough for now.

My exhaustion takes form in the way I toss the now empty gallon of water to the side. I’ve been sitting in this dimly-lit kitchen for hours. Attempting to identify the strange seed I discovered earlier in the month. Watching countless video tutorials to ensure that I tend to it correctly.

I’ve never had much knowledge when it comes to botany. Every time I feel as though I’m close to success, I fail. So the task of growing a seed that not even Granny Haru can identify scares the hell out of me.

“Let's get you somewhere you can get enough light,” I say to the seed as I gently place its pot on the kitchen counter, underneath the overhead light.

I know full-well that the plant can’t speak, and if someone were to catch me talking to it, they may just think I’ve lost my mind. After doing the same routine for a whole of two weeks, with no noteworthy developments, I’d be inclined to agree with them.

Something is different about this plant, though. Whereas I’d normally give up on my previous attempts after the smallest of inconveniences, a strange feeling has been encouraging me to see this one make it to its full potential.

Though I haven’t really made any progress. Even still, I head upstairs with a sense of accomplishment. For the first time during this summer vacation, something is able to bring a genuine smile to my face

I can’t help but feel as though my room’s my own personal slice of heaven. For what it is, the room is pretty spacious. Adorned with two cabinets filled with “questionable” anime figurines, a dresser with multiple video game consoles connected to the same CRT television that was there when I first moved in, and a desk stacked with books. One of which I left open the previous night.

“I have everything an aspiring youth could ever want.” My gleeful tone seems to diminish as I lay on my bed, staring outside the window at the moon, which has fallen into its waxing crescent phase. “Everything except one thing, of course.”

The exhaustion of overworking myself throughout the day has finally won. As I find myself drifting off to sleep, that one thing burrows throughout the deepest crevices of my mind.

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Downstairs, something heavy falls over, serving enough to jolt Minato from his slumber. No matter how deep of a sleeper he is, he’s trained his ear to listen for such things.

“Granny Haru!” Minato calls out, met only by an eerie silence. In his mind this only serves as a way of confirming his suspicion. Something must have happened to his grandmother. Although an unbearable dread has taken form, Minato leaps from the bed and makes a run for the stairs.

“Please. Not tonight. After everything that’s happened so far this spring; I’d rather not have it end with me burying the only family I have left!!” Though he tries to fight them off, Minato’s mind fills with thoughts of what could have possibly happened to her, fearing what he may see once he turns the corner leading to the kitchen. Due to his grandmother’s condition, this wouldn’t be the first time she’s collapsed. He just fears that tonight may be the last

Upon reaching the kitchen, there isn’t anything that he expects. The spectacle before him proves to be enough to leave him paralyzed in his tracks.

It’s not the broken shards of terracotta sprawled across the floor, or even the over-watered soil that spilled when the flowerpot shattered that frightens him. Before him stands a girl no older than him raiding his fridge. Her long, unkempt green hair covers her face and she appears to be wearing a dress made by what looks to be leaves.

Who is this chick?! And how did she even get in my house? Still dazed from his sudden awakening Minato doesn’t know whether he should question her, or his sanity. Never did I stop to think that I’d die from an intruder with a piss poor taste in cosplay, but here we are. Does she even know that I can see her?

Before he can even finish his thought, the girl's ears perk up with excitement. Confusion sets in as the intruder yanks the last gallon of water toward herself, triumphantly hugging it as if one would when reuniting with an old friend.

She broke into my house over water? The way her hair covers her eyes makes her almost look like a vengeful spirit from a horror movie. I should say something and get this over with.

A strange heat originating in his chest overcomes Minato’s being. What is this? He asks himself, trying to make sense of what he is experiencing. The pores on his hands open, secreting a salty smelling fluid. Maybe I should run. I mean, I’m not exactly afraid anymore. It’s just some weird girl. So, why do I feel like this...? He tries to ease his left foot backward to attempt an escape, but finds that he can’t move a single inch. Feeling as though the slightest glance from this intruder would leave him weak in the knees.

“Finally… If I don’t eat something fast, I'm going to freaking die!” Minato can’t help but notice that the girl’s voice sounds frail as she pleads to herself.

Without any hesitation, she pops the top off of the gallon and chugs at such a speed that she doesn’t seem to notice that a majority of it is dripping down her cheeks.

She can’t be serious!? She’s putting all that down at record speeds! Not even Booker has the throat capacity to drink that fast! He can’t help but compare the scene to a rising social media star whose whole gimmick is drinking various different liquids.

Ah, I get it now. This is just one of those lucid dreams. Just as soon as that newfound emotion washed over him, it fades away, leaving him the same pessimistic mess he always was. I mean. How couldn’t it be? This feels exactly like a scene in a rom-com where the two leads meet under strange circumstances and end up falling in love.

Forming a c-like shape with his hands, Minato cups his chin.

Or it could be like one of those b-rated slashers where I’m the first to die because I was dumb enough to investigate a strange noise in the middle of the night.

The whole concept of controlling a dream seems enticing to him, but not enough to make him act on either route. Eh.. I think I’ll take my chances with the real world. For one, I don’t know a damn thing about relationships, so the rom-com route would probably fail. And I kinda like living so I’d rather not end up like some underpaid babysitter on Halloween night.

Shaking his head, he comes to realize that there is only one way to determine what is fact or fiction.


The sound of palm meeting skin reverberates throughout the entirety of the house,

followed only by a deafening silence. Not even the sound of her drinking remains. This leaves Minato realizing that he in fact isn’t dreaming and that he may have made a grave mistake.

The girl slowly turns her gaze to him, her bangs shifting away from her eyes. Until now, Minato hadn't gotten a full view of her face. The girl’s pupils are an unnatural shade of red. The kind of red that usually signifies danger. Yet, genuine concern in her eyes absolves him of whatever fear he may feel for her. In its place, he can’t help but feel enamored by her beauty.

So, this is really happening, huh? That stinging sensation on his cheek is proof enough of that. On surface level, it appears as though he’s indifferent to such a discovery, keeping his cool guy persona up enough to not let her know that deep down his subconscious is screaming. Internally fanboying to the point that he’s even questioning his religion. I always knew there was a god! I’ve been begging for a real life waifu for years! I’ll never have to wait one hundred chapters just to see if two characters get together again!

Preparing to break the silence, the girl’s rose-colored lips part.

Something’s wrong with her, Minato thinks to himself as he notices how sluggish the girl's movements have become since she stopped drinking.

The girl tries to speak, yet she can only find the strength to mouth two words. “Help me.” As if on cue, the gallon slips from her fingertips and what little water that remains splashes across the floor. Her eyes close and it doesn’t take a genius to realize what’s happening.

“Shit! Hold on, I'm coming!” He charges forward but quickly realizes that due to the amount of distance between them, he’ll never make it in time just by running. So, thinking fast, he extends his arms outward, and throws himself forward, catching her right before her head hits the edge of the kitchen counter.

Memories of her fragmented past come into view. She vaguely remembers a knight placing a golden necklace around her neck as he caressed her frail body in his arms. It has been so long that she doesn’t have a solid recollection of the knight’s appearance. Yet, this mysterious stranger bears a striking resemblance to them. As everything fades to black, reality and her memories intertwine as both men make the same affirmation.

“I don’t know how this happened to you, but I swear that no matter what happens I will do everything in my power to keep you safe.”

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