Chapter 6:

Hanako is a Romantic Type

Hanako won’t Grant my Wish!

“Say, Master, how did you plan on initiating intercourse with me, had I agreed to your request?”

Again with the “Master” thing…

“I didn’t really… think that far ahead.”

It was embarrassing to admit, but based off of her expression, it seemed that my succubus companion had already figured that much out.

She gave a satisfied nod.

“I suppose we can shelve that idea for now then. Though if you do change your mind, just know that I am willing and ready to receive you in full!”

What was with that phrasing?

She gave a little giggle, one again just to press my buttons.

And it worked, once again.

“No, I don’t want to do that to you, considering, uh, you know…”


“You know, you’re not… into sex. Right?”

“Well, it’s true that I’m not interested in the specific act of intercourse. But skinship isn’t all about libido, don’t you know? And even besides that, there’s nothing that I’m not willing to do to help you achieve your innermost desires. To be able to take even a single step towards that, that alone is enough to motivate me.”

“Despite how deep you sound saying things like that, in the end it still feels like you’re just teasing me…”

“I would never joke about my dedication to my master! I am quite the romantic, after all.”

“If you’re really that dedicated, could you drop the “master” thing?”



I suppose I could at least live a little easier knowing it was just a form of playful harassment, rather than her literally calling me “master”.

Though I would rather be condemned to eternal suffering than admit to her that I actually enjoyed it a little bit, if not for any other reason than being able to enjoy the push and pull of a regular normie friendship.

Actually, there was nothing “regular” about this conversation, was there?

“Speaking of romance, your bookshelf caught my eye earlier! Do you read shoujo manga as well?”

Please, not the bookshelf! In fact, why does she even know what manga is!?

“No, those are, uh, my sister’s manga.”

“Really? I’ll have to ask for her opinion of “My First, Second, and Third Love” then, since she owns the entire set. I absolutely adore that series.”

She’s read it too!?

She strutted over to the small, three-story bookshelf across the room and counted the volumes to double-check that they were all there. I thought that maybe telling her the truth wasn’t such a bad idea. It was a series that I used to adore, though I didn’t have much interest in it nowadays.

It had an unapologetically bubbly school-life atmosphere, and love interests that, while seemingly born of cheap rom-com tropes, were actually a facade used to draw you into their unique, yet realistic backgrounds and troubles. By the end, it really became troublesome to not want to root for every guy, but the mangaka even did her due diligence in setting up proper foreshadowing throughout the story so that when one of the unlikely side-characters won the heroine’s heart at the end, it didn’t feel undeserved, or like some cheap twist. Arthur-kun wasn’t even my second pick, but even he made my heart go doki-doki when he canceled his flight back to America just to stay by Hina-chan for one more year. The speech he gave was phenomenal, as if he knew he had already lost the battle, and yet continued to fight on because just their friendship was more than worth it to him. And yet, she had already felt the same about him for quite some time.

Just, wow.

Definitely a recommended read from me.

I mean, not that you would want to read it.

Nor should you.

It’s not that good. I don't like shoujo manga anymore, anyway.

“Perhaps you’d like to try reading it? You look like you’re interested.”

“I’m not. Actually, how did you even get a hold of manga in The Nether?”

“I just bought it at the bookstore, like you would regularly.”

“There are bookstores there? With human manga?”

“This one specifically was localized by Light Horse NTH. But romcoms in general are pretty popular there. I’ve collected quite a few, myself!”

Putting that aside for now…

“What other series have you read?”

“Hmm… Just to name a few of my favorites, there’s ‘Love is not a Game!’, ‘Snow White and the Seven Suitors’, and ‘A Poor Maid’s Guide to Complex Relationships’.”

What the hell, those are all super cushy romcoms…

And some of my favorites, too.

“Well, I may have heard of them…”

“Really? How would you rank them?”

“Rank them? That's hard. I mean, ‘A Poor Maid’ has too much of a cheesy setting, but the characters make up for it. Though when it comes to overall feel and immersion into the world, you really can’t beat ‘Snow White’. So I’d definitely have to say that-”


She caught me in her trap, barely hiding the triumph in her usual expression.

I didn’t really know what to say…

“I’m glad to know we have a common interest.”

This demon…

Needless to say, I gave up and gossipped about manga for the next several hours. By the time we had wrapped things up, I began to notice that I was doing more or less all of the talking, really making the conversation more of a one-sided series of Shoutarou rants about the state of the manga industry. Hanako seemed interested enough to obediently listen to my extended rambling to the end, though I became increasingly worried that she was just playing along with my weird otaku interests for my sake.

I thought it would be better for both of us if I didn’t press her about it.

Also, wasn’t Hanako a bit of a hopeless romantic type?

I kept that thought to myself as well.

I thought I should mention that I didn't read it much anymore, but somehow I felt that such an answer would be even more embarrassing than if I did.

Why was that?

What was so embarrassing about not being so into it anymore? Actually, why was I embarrassed about liking the genre in the first place?

If I didn't gain any reservations about it when I did, would I still be able to enjoy it? Would I still be reading it today? What would it have cost me?

It hurt to be asking myself so many questions.

At least for now, between the two of us, I figured talking about it couldn’t hurt. With classmates, not so much.

Actually, I had entirely forgotten about my classmates. I still had a problem on my hands, specifically referring to the Saito incident. Sure, I had successfully summoned a succubus. But clearly the situation was different from how I imagined it would go, and me trying to gain experience though her was just as off the table as her touching me.

Plus, I would have felt way too guilty to even ask something like that at this point. Not after bonding so well over niche romance stories.

“I forgot until just now, but we still need to think of a solution to the Saito problem.”

“The sex problem?”

“N-no, sex is off the table now!”

“Then, what shall we do?”

A good question. How could I convince him if I couldn’t give a proper testimony?

“Why don’t you just describe a scene from ‘My First, Second, and Third Love’?”

“No way, there’s no chance he’d buy something that scripted.”

“Forgive my rudeness, but going off of your earlier testimonies, I believe that he’s quite ready to believe just about anything you told him. He doesn’t seem to have any experience in the subject either. Why not just lie outright?”

“It won’t work. Even if he was gullible, that’s going too far.”

Hanako flashed another grin at me. I was being targeted.

“Hmmmmmm… Is that really what you think?”

“I’ve seen the way he acts since the start of the school year, so I’d know. We have to think of something different.”

“Then, I have just the solution.”

“What is it?”

“Why not just tell him the truth and go from there? I’m sure he’s not so brash of a classmate to refuse an apology.”

“What!? That would totally make him hate me!”

“Maybe so. But it’s what you’d really like to do, isn’t it?”

What was she saying? Prying into my head like that?

“He definitely wouldn’t trust me after that. Think of something else.”

Hanako began to reach her hand out, but stopped and pulled it back. It wasn't the first time either. She gave me a little more physical distance as well.

“Perhaps this is just my unwelcome conjecture, but from what I can tell, you’re actually quite an honest person, are you not?”

“I have to lie all the time about my condition. This is nothing compared to that.”

“But I don’t think being forced to protect yourself from others is the same as wanting to. As somebody who wants a genuine friendship, I believe honesty would be your best route to getting what you really want. Just like when you were honest with me about your condition, or how I was honest with you about my own reservations. I’d like to think our relationship is better for it.”


She was right. I immediately felt a closer bond to Hanako after we talked about ourselves without reservations. In fact, I’d never felt closer to anybody in my entire life up to this point.

“What do you think, Shoutarou?”

“I… don’t want to hide who I am just to make friends. I don’t want to deceive others either.”

“Then I think you already have your answer.”

“Really, it was more your answer than mine though.”

She shook her head lightly at my comment. As she did, the lock on her neck swayed and jingled.

It was a relaxing sound.

“Nope, it was your own self who wanted it, and who thought it through. I simply gave my opinion on the matter.”

She was just being kind. Though still, I appreciated it.


“Of course. You’re the one who asked me not to hold reservations, after all.”

Again, that warm and fuzzy feeling arose within me.

What was it? Why did she make me feel this way? Surely I wasn’t falling head-over-heels for some demon, was I?

No, this wasn’t anything like a cheap rom-com development. I didn’t want to think of it that way either.

It had gotten late while we were discussing my Saito-based dilemma. Before I had even realized it, my sister was already home and in bed like usual. I wondered if her work must have been rough, for her to pass out so easily day after day.

Actually, I was exhausted too.

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