Chapter 10:

The Otaku Receives a Haunting Message

Love, Manga & Blackmail: A Secret Otaku's Countdown To Romance!


“I’m starving!! Oh, how I’m starving!!”

Always dramatic, Endo the green bundle of energy made a show of fainting as we were stopped beneath the shade a small tent provided.

“Keep it down, please.” I chided, fixed on the phone in my hands. Fun fact: it wasn't even mine to begin with. During our small cooling break, Morishita had entrusted me with his treasure, and I couldn’t very well take my eyes off it.

Said treasure of course, was a mobile gacha game Morishita had poured his life and soul into. After boasting about how lucky I am at these things, he had given me permission to fish out something good for him.

“…I have to pull a Lilia-chan!”

With my phone-wielding arm stretched up as high as possible, I shouted.

“What you’re gonna pull is a muscle…” Ichika sighed, trying to steal a glance from the screen.

“Come on, Naruse! You can do it! Fighto!”

“I’m starving…” Utterly ignored by everyone, Endo grumbled lowly once more.

Soon, it was time for the big moment. A small capsule rolled, and burst open to reveal…

A purple penguin.

A dumb, useless, purple penguin. It’s not even a rare for crying out loud!

Damn you, Pingin! I already ditched you once today!

“Ugh…” I slumped my shoulders, handing Morishita his phone back. “Sorry man, I really thought I had it.”

“Don’t worry.” He smiled nonchalantly, “I’ve tried over 2315 times, so I didn’t expect you to nail it first try.”

Wow… The time sinking is on a titanic level.

“Can we go now…?” Endo complained once again, as we thought it over.

“Ichika are you—“

Before I could finish addressing my fake girlfriend, a low rumbling sound interrupted me. Ichika’s cheeks immediately flashed pink, as she desperately avoided eye contact.

Despite her stomach already giving away the answer, Ichika, being the difficult person she was, shook her head.

“No.”

“I’ll take that as a yes, then.” I scoffed at her childishness, turning back to Morishita.

“I think we passed by a food cart on our way here.” He pointed down the way we came, while the nearly transparent Endo sprang to her feet like a coiled spring.

“Food! Grub! Oh, heavenz!”

“Why, oh why doesn’t she have a built-in off switch somewhere?” I wondered, as she dashed down through the crowd ahead of us.

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“Hawt! That’s hawt! I’m burning!”

“This is pretty good!”

“True…” I nodded along Morishita, as we slurped up our ramen.

“I’m burning!!!”

“Haah…” Ichika sighed, unable to ignore the writhing Endo any longer. “…Kirara, here.” She passed her friend a cup filled with water.

“Ichika-chan! You’re an angel!” She gulped down the contents of the cup as if her life depended on it.

“That’s what you get for ordering something ridiculous…” Ichika shook her head, as Endo let out a content sigh.

“What’s wrong with my order? Super chilly, super-hot, super ramen noodles sounded… well super tasty!”

“It also gave you a super burnt tongue to show for it… who would have thought?” I chimed in.

When I looked back at Endo, I noticed her cup was completely empty. The noodles disappeared, as if they’d vanished into thin air.

“What the hell? You’re fast!”

“Kirara can eat so fast it’s actually quite concerning at this point…” Morishita, always the trivia man, said, as he wiped around his mouth with a napkin.

“Hmph, I aspire to be faster than the speed of light!”

“Yeah, yeah settle down now.” Ichika chided, reaching out to wipe the sauce off Endo's face with a tissue.

“Ichika-chan! You’re an angel times two!”

“Haah…”

The blonde girl sighed, tackled into a sudden bear hug.

Despite her sour expression though, Ichika didn’t really seem to mind being hugged by Kirara all that much. They surely were an odd couple of friends.

“I’m curious, when did you all meet?” I ask, finishing my meal too.

“Ho, curious are we?”

“Ah, it was way back in middle school, in an anime convention just like this.” Morishita started, ignoring his friend’s teasing statement.

“Yeah, she was all alone when me and Morishita found her! And like the good person that I am, I immediately befriended her!”

“Really?” I shot the silent Ichika a glance.

“Translation; you asked me if I liked BL.” The blonde girl retorted.

“Now now, that’s a lovely conversation starter, isn’t it?” Endo interjected proudly.

“Yeah, that’s how it went…” Morishita smiled at the memory “Me and Kirara have always been together since we were children, due to our love for anime, but it felt just right having Ichika around after that.”

“H-Hey…” Ichika looked away, slightly embarrassed.

Morishita could really say something as embarrassing as that with a straight face though, huh?

But him and Endo being childhood friends… Can’t say it surprises me. They do seemed like they knew the ins and outs of each other.

“Speaking of…” I mused, glancing at the large bag Endo had been carrying around since she went to check out that yaoi booth. “What do you have there?”

“Ho!” Her eyes glimmered with a newfound light, as she turned in response to my question.

“Ugh…” Morishita gulped.

“Hehe, wanna see?!”

“No.”

“No.”

Ichika and Morishita replied almost simultaneously.

“Well, I’m gonna show you anyway!” Endo went about unwrapping a poster she fished out the paper bag.

By the time she was ready to show her treasures, Ichika and Morishita had already covered their eyes.

What awaited me as the poster unfolded before my eyes though, was something I’d rather forget. Forever.

“GAAAH!”

That was a critical hit to my HP Bar.

Naruse Haruhi, down.

Note to self: never ask a BL fan to show you their merch, ever again.

“Ah-re Ichika-chan I think my seme killed your boyfriend! Or was it the uke…?”

“Ah, we should have warned him…” Ichika said, as everybody gathered around my dead body.

“Hang in there, Naruse! Don’t follow Lilia-chan’s super sparkly ray!”

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After being revived with a miraculous health potion, we left the food cart behind and joined the never-ending stream of fellow otakus back in the heart of the convention. As we walked, something new caught the girls' attention.

“Look!”

Endo pointed at a dark, purple gigantic tent by the side of the paved path.

Was that… A Certain Love Sorceress' secret base?!

“I heard you can rent cosplay costumes in there!” The green-haired girl spoke animatedly clutching Ichika’s arm.

I guess not…

“Let’s try it! Let’s try it!”

“Kiraaraaa?!”

Without another word, and certainly without any warning though, Endo dragged Ichika inside the tent,

I feel like I just watched an abduction take place…

Definitely not pushy at all, that crazed Fujoshi.

“Wanna try it too, Naruse?” Morishita inquired, as I shook my head and moved to a nearby bench in wait.

“Nope. No cosplay for me.”

Although it would have been a good idea to mask my identity throughout the convention, I wasn't particularly interested in cosplaying myself. I preferred watching other people do it instead.

“Okay, then. Let’s wait until the girls are done.” In response, Morishita just smiled. He really was easy-going.

Without a moment’s delay, he pulled out a handheld gaming console and sat beside me.

Wow, gaming in broad daylight like that. That’s some dedication!

Following suit, I pulled out my normie device, called a phone, and opened my friend’s group chat that had been buzzing with activity.

“Hm?” I looked through the messages, as my heartbeat suddenly started elevating.

The first message was a photograph of Chihiro, Riku, and the girls enjoying a bunch of parfaits.

You’re missing out Haruhi!

Mari

That wasn’t exactly what caused me to panic though.

The picture seemed to have been taken from just across the street from the café. And as luck would have it, facing that café was none other than the university campus I was currently in!

There’s some sort of otaku thing going on across the street… Hilarious.

Chihiro

As I skimmed through the rest of the messages and scrolled past countless selfies, another message popped up.

We’re actually checking it out, just for the laughs. I bet it’s crawling with nerds!

Chihiro

And as if the first blow wasn’t enough, that last text sent my heart soaring across the sky, and beyond the clouds.

They were coming here! And my sorry excuse for a disguise consisting of a pair of glasses wouldn’t do jack shit to save me!

“Hm? Naruse?” Morishita turned to face me, but I had already vanished in a puff of smoke.

With a start, I had gotten up from the bench and ran inside the tent full of people and costumes.

Cosplay here I come!!! 

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