Chapter 4:

A daring superchat

My 2D Idol Is My 3D Girlfriend

"There she is". That was my reaction when I opened the StreamTV website and saw Momo-chan online right there on the front page. Until that moment, I had been lazying around, switching between doing different things like a headless chicken, sometimes alone and sometimes together with my parents. But now I was set to watch Momo-chan. Before clicking on the channel, I thought it was funny how Momo-chan was a more intimate name than Sakurai, despite having shared a sunset and exchanged follows with the latter.

Momo-chan was playing Circles!, a rhythm that I was very familiar with, and her music choices matched my own for the most part. The biggest difference was that she was better than me, even though games usually look easier when backseating than they are when actually playing. For the first few minutes, I barely paid attention to the music or the gameplay. I was much more interested in matching the voice to the face that I knew. It was incredibly hard, they were completely different people. Up until now, I had no idea VTubers could be such good voice actors, putting up mannerisms and catchphrases on top of changing the tone of their voice.

About an hour had passed when she switched to a much calmer and quieter game – it was a new visual novel that had just come out, and I knew because I couldn't stop coming across fan art of it. Momo-chan was getting flooded with superchats and regular messages, unavoidably having to pick and choose who to reply to. She just broke the 5-digit viewer count, which was crazy.

That's when I had an idea. A silly idea, to be sure, but surely I could get a giggle out of it. Soon enough, a notification sound played accompanied by a message on her screen:

"SasaHaru_draws: First time viewer. I love your avatar design, but I bet I could beat you at the arcade"

"Eh?" Momo-chan – no, Kaede was speechless for a moment. "SasaHaru? Sasaki?" The entire chat became confused. Who is this guy? What's with the reaction? But occasional messages came through from people that knew who I was. And thus, my ego was safe, for now. "Sorry, I was just surprised by Sasaki's superchat. I, uhm, found him scrolling through Birdie the other day. His art is really cute, people, go check him out and tell him Momo-chan sent you, okay?"

It was incredibly impressive how she was on top of her game and didn't slip up. And, you know, her reaction was pretty cute too. It instantly reminded me of how she reacted to my pencil drawings. The next thing I did was clip the superchat and her reaction and save the link for later. I had her stream playing in the background for the next hour, until I got up from my bed and sat down at the computer, spinning up the drawing tablet. I started to sketch a rough outline of my silly idea: Momo-chan sitting down on a gaming chair playing Circles! with a bunch of missed notes on the screen and an angry expression with "!?" above her head. In the center, a mock-up superchat with my Birdie handle that read "git gud".

Having my attention split between the artwork and the stream – sometimes out of interest, others because of her anime-like reactions – it took me almost 2 hours to finish. To Birdie, I posted: "check out @momo_chan but don't troll her too hard, ok?", followed by the link to the clip as well as the finished drawing.

I didn't stay around to watch until the end of the stream, which went on for a few more hours after that. But later when I was watching a movie with my dad, I picked up my phone out of habit and saw her name in my Birdie DMs. I clicked it right away, not knowing what to expect – which didn't stop me from grinning at that little joke.

"Thanks for noticing me, Sasaki-sensei. Appreciate the donation and the fan art, and I surely had a good laugh when you almost doxxed me earlier.

From your biggest fan, Momo."

Below that, she sent one of her character's stickers. It was chibi Momo-chan with a bright start in her eye giving a thumbs up.

I didn't wait a second before replying.

"I had a blast today on stream, so I wanted to show you a little appreciation. I'm glad that it found you well. For many more to come!"

My dad glanced at me, and that's when I realized that I was smiling at my phone, and definitely not watching the movie.

"Seriously, though." I read it with Sakurai's voice, noticing the change in tone. "That got me completely by surprise, I was not expecting it. And yeah, probably because I've told my friends that know NOT to do that."

Chibi Momo kneeled on the ground, hopeless.

"I figured that much... Sorry, sorry. That was kinda fun but I won't prank you again."

I straightened my back on the couch and turned away from the TV, but not before I could notice my dad sighing at me.

"Sooo... You play Circles?"

"Yeah, ever since I got the tablet for drawing I figured why not? And it's fun so I still play it from time to time. Not gonna lie, you're better than me."

"The absolute audacity of the superchat just to admit that I'm better."

I decided to send one of my own stickers – a smug cat, and texted:

"The arcade challenge was real, by the way."

I watched as Kaede's "typing" bubble stopped for a moment and then resumed after a couple seconds.

"I'll take you up on it. I'll beat you again just like I did yesterday mwahaha"

Evil Momo came in to spook me. "Just how many stickers does this girl even have? It's like one for everything!"

Unfortunately, Sakurai was busy the entire week, and so was I for that matter. None of our free days matched at all, and neither wanted to be out until late, so we agreed on the following Saturday, exactly in one week. We were supposed to meet at a game center that I was well familiar with, in the heart of a commercial street close enough that I could easily walk there. The best part of all of this wasn't even being within walking distance, but that this time I could show her around.

"That's going to be fun..." I stared at the ceiling, once again smiling without realizing it. "Hmm, maybe I should practice. I may go down, but not without putting up a fight!" I thought. Then, I stretched head to toe and finally put my phone away focused back on the movie. But as soon as the credits rolled, I bolted to my room and booted up Circles!.

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