Chapter 29:

The Otaku Prepares For Exams (Kind of)

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

The gentle breeze emanating from the fan blended harmoniously with its low hum, filling the serene room with a tranquil atmosphere.

Sunlight filtered through the expansive window, casting a soft glow that allowed us to immerse ourselves completely in the world of letters, articles, and mathematical equations spread out before us.

A library. Midsummer.

As the finals loomed closer, I had taken up Ichika's offer to study together with everyone. While my ankle had healed, the approaching exams seemed to present a much greater challenge much to my dismay.

Seated across from us were Morishita and Endo, the library's private study room exclusively reserved for our use.

Apparently, Morishita Kota's parents owned this library, which boasted personal study spaces, so renting one was both free, which I couldn’t thank them enough for, and convenient.

What wasn’t convenient however was having to study math.

Hours had passed, and a break seemed increasingly appealing. However, a focused silence enveloped us, each of us engrossed in our respective studies—everyone except for one individual, that is.


With a twitching brow, and an irritated expression, Endo flung her pen across the room, unable to take it anymore.

“Hey, Kirara!” Morishita perked up, casting her a disapproving look.

“What’s the big idea….?” Ichika shot her a glare, having barely dodged the pen's trajectory in the first place.

Amused, and eager to leave math alone for a little while, I shifted my attention wholeheartedly towards the commotion.

“I can’t deal with Ingurishu, anymore!” Endo cried out, exasperated “How am I supposed to differentiate between “see” and “sea”? What if I see the sea? And isn’t that how you say yes too?”

“They’re two different words, Kirara…” Ichika sighed, while Morishita nodded.

“And si means yes in Spanish.”

“Spanish, English…. What’s the difference?” Endo slumped against her desk, heaving a very heavy sigh. “They’re all Greek to me, anyway…”

“Oye…” I shook my head. She really added yet another different culture in the mix.

“Ah, how I wish I could have studied BL manga, instead…”

Right as Endo kept on complaining, Morishita’s mother, who had her hair short, and wore a round pair of glasses walked into the room, after a light knock.

“Here’s some tea, to help you study.” She offered politely, and we thanked her with a few bows, before she withdrew yet again, smiling.

His mother really was very kind. Letting us use this mini personal library free of charge, while even serving us beverages.

“Thanks again for this, Morishita.” I gave a small smile, before sipping on my cup of tea.

“Heh, don’t mention it, I was gonna use it for myself, anyway.” He nodded, pushing his glasses up his nose. “It’s way more relaxing here than at home. Maybe it’s the atmosphere…”

I found myself nodding too. It really was way more serene than your average quiet room. No wonder his parents made good profit of this. I only wish I had found it sooner.

“It’s very relaxing, I feel like I can study for hou—“


Ichika's agreement was cut short by Endo's groan of discontent.

“And first of all, Harruchin.”

“Harruchin?” I mused, caught off guard. Was she talking to me?

“You need to stop using our family names. I stopped calling you Mistah Uke too, didn’t I?” Endo raised an eyebrow, her tone slightly pouty.

“Mistah Uke was never his name to begin with…” Ichika sighed, while Morishita gave a wry smile.

“Wasn’t Mistah English, too? What happened to not liking English?”

“Minor details!” Endo huffed, before straightening up and pointing at me. “Harruchin!”


“First names!”

I sighed. When she was this determined, resistance was futile. Not that it made a significant difference to me anyway...

“Okay, Kirara.” I nodded.

“No honorifics? You’re bold.” Kirara smiled evily, glancing to gauge Ichika’s reaction. Instead of saying anything, the regular ice queen just looked on between us.

“And, Kota.” I turned to Morishita, who I needed to stop calling by his surname too.

“Likewise, Haruhi-kun.” The bespectacled young man smiled too, while Kirara butted in and raised her voice.

“Ah, no honorifics! They’re in love!”


Me and Kota grimaced. Really? I didn’t use any honorifics with her either!

Then Ichika finally chimed in. “Haruhi…” She shot me a disapproving glance, almost too betrayed for words.

“Not you too, Ichika!”

It’s just a name, damnit! Don’t let the BL conspirator get to your head!

“Now, that we’re all buddy-buddy it’s break time!” Kirara shot up from her chair, slapping a deck of cards onto the table.

“But we’ve been having a break ever since you almost killed me with that pen!" Ichika glared.

“Minor details!” Kirara smirked, while Kota raised a hand in protest.

“I need to study actually…”

“Not now Kota-chan! You can help me with English later while Harruchin and Ichika-chan get all lovey-dovey in some corner for all I care!”

“Hey!” Ichika protested, her expression offended. “We need to study too!”

“That’s your concern?” I couldn't help but shake my head.

It seemed Kirara dictated the tempo of things around here, and all we could was make quips and go along with it.

Truth be told however, I didn't really mind. My studying had reached a roadblock as soon as I got started on math.  Not to mention how, with Ichika by my side, I found my concentration waning, my thoughts often wandering.

Wandering back to the events of last week... Scenes from when we shared a bed came back at the forefront of my mind.

What was wrong with me?


“Yosh! We playing war kiddos!”

“War?” Ichika cocked her head to the side.

“We split the cards into four parts. Everybody gets their share. We flip a card over simultaneously each round. The one with the most powerful card, gets to ask someone a question, to which they have to answer honestly!” Kirara explained animatedly, while everybody realized nodding along without protest was the most sensible course of action.

After the cards where distributed, the game commenced.

“Oh, I won.”

The one to win the first round was none other than Kota.

“So…” His gaze swept across the room, seeking out his chosen victim.

Finally he settled on someone.


And it seemed that someone was me.

“I’m all ears.” I leaned back in my chair, amused.

“Have you been an otaku for long?”

Morishita gave his question.


I scratched my chin, mulling over the question. The succinct answer was a resounding yes. However, I was momentarily preoccupied with projecting the desired image. Should I present myself as ikemen Haruhi? Do I wanna seem cool or—

“Long time, actually. All throughout middle school for sure.” I chuckled, interrupting my own train of thoughts.

That was... fast?

As the words left my lips, I found myself frozen. The revelation had slipped out so easily—perhaps too easily.

What are they gonna think of me now? Maybe I shouldn’t—

“Heh, I knew it!" Kirara declared. “You’ve got that passion in your eyes! You’re really one of us!”

“Eh?” I cocked my head puzzled.

“What Kirara means is… you definitely seem genuinely interested, despite your appearance?”

“My appearance?” I mused again. Did I seem THAT averse to anime? Was it written on my face? My shirt?

Ichika sighed.

“What they mean is, otaku or not they like you. Being an otaku is just a plus.”

She patted me on the back, leaving some questions still unanswered. Even so, I decided not to drag it out longer than I should.

Another round. A pitiful 3 of hearts. This time Ichika emerged victorious.

She asked Kirara if she had drank her tea, and Kirara replied yes. Ichika was rather angry about it, but I offered her mine, and the game continued.

Next round, ace of spades. It was my turn to ask the questions.

“So Kota…” I grinned mischievously, and all eyes turned to me, curiosity piqued by my sassy demeanor.

“If you had to pick one... Lilia-chan, or Princess Ambar?”

Before Kota could even get into gear to answer, Kirara and Ichika jumped on the debate.


“Princess Ambar!”


“Don’t you what me!”

Unbeknownst to me, it seemed I had started waifu wars.

“Oh boy…”

I could only hope our fuss wouldn't result in eviction from this tranquil, air-conditioned haven.

Taylor J
Mario Nakano 64