「That’s unlike you Tatsuya, drinking alcohol from the middle of the day.」
「I was just feeling a little down from… them… I guess…」
On the same day in the late noon, Tatsuya who has shut himself in his room was snacking on smoked sand oyster while drinking sake. No matter how anyone looked at it, he was stress drinking.
「I sometimes get bothered by people who are so straight forward with their feelings. Especially looking at it from my position…」
「I guess it can’t be helped.」
「I finally married the woman I love. We were finally settling down into our new life. Then, this happened. I don’t know how much longer I can bear to sleep alone at night…」
Mumbling about such thing, he chugged down another glass of sake. As the oldest member in the party, Tatsuya usually remained composed. However, he is still a youngster who is barely in his thirties. Even when he was separated from his newlywed wife, he took on many roles in this universe as a member who had a stable job back in their original universe. Due to this position, it was difficult for him to make any petty complaints. So, it couldn’t be helped, that he was drowning himself in alcohol in a place where nobody would find him.
「God sure is mean, isn’t he? Why would he sperate a newly-wed man from his wife?」
「Really, what even am I…」
Sighing out his alcohol stanched breath, he bit off a part of the oyster and took another sip of sake. Since the “children” of the group have gone back to the workshop, he was finally able to drink off his concerns. He didn’t even bother hiding his state from Makoto.
「You sure bottled up a lot Tatsuya. You say that you’ve devoted yourself to your wife about why don’t you pay an escort to have a little fun? We do have plenty of money.」
「Makoto, I knew this for a while now but you’re oddly understanding.」
「I’ve been in this universe for three months longer than you guys. And the person who looked after me was Doul. So, I would often come in contact with knights and bodyguards. So naturally, I developed some understanding of guys living in this universe. It’s only natural for me to be like this.」
「I guess, is that why you tried to force Hiro to sleep with Haruna?」
「Something like that. Personally, I would rather beat people like you know who, into a finishing bait but Haruna’s not like that. So, I thought at least let her first time be with a guy that she likes.」
Taking out her own glass, she sat across from Tatsuya and poured herself some sake as she blurted out an honest opinion. Working with knights and bodyguards meant having many opportunities to see the harsh conditions which people were placed in.
「Anyway, if you can’t bear it anymore and you want to have a one night stand, I’m not going to judge you. If you’re going to go insane, then I’d rather have you use the money that we have to solve the problem; since there is a way to pay your way out of it.」
「You and Haruna are sometimes so much braver than us guys…」
「What a way to put it.」
「I didn’t mean it as an insult. Afterall, life is never easy.」
Tatsuya commented with a bitter smile as he opened a new bottle. The others would be back by dinner. But he wasn’t stable enough to stop drinking for such reason. Yet it would rude for them show up to dinner wasted so he did prepare some all-purpose potion which worked well against alcohol.
「Men are more sensitive than the media portraits them. Unfortunately, for me, it just has to be Shirori.」
「… Has to be?」
「… I thought all men thought with their genitals.」
「Well, most men are like that. But there are many others only devote themselves to one partner.」
As they continued to talk about things which they could not let the minors listen to, they poured themselves more drink. Maybe, it was because Makoto brought up the topic. Or maybe, it was because she was a fujoshi. But she continued the conversation which would have been very sexual if they took one wrong step. It was hard to believe this conversation was taking place between two near middle-aged people.
「You say that but you were kind of seduced by Haruna’s appearance at first.」
「I think there might be something wrong with a person who wouldn’t feel some type of attraction towards a person with physiques like hers.」
「Yeah, you’re right.」
As Makoto brought up something which has happened in the past, Tatsuya admitted honestly. Haruna’s physique was on a level where she could seduce a monk. She was born with the body type which naturally fits the society’s beauty standard. So, in the situation which Tatsuya saw her in, her attractiveness multiplies. Makoto agreed with Tatsuya’s explanation and even seemed relieved that Haruna was able to seduce him to an extent.
「Since you say that it’s just not the same, I’m guessing you’ve tried it before?」
「It’s not like I had one night stand but just once I was invited by Julius to go to a place that sells a certain kind of service.」
「Oh~ I know, isn’t it that place where with money and mutual consent, you can take home the dancer that you like? Well, those girls aren’t so naïve that they would follow back home with any customer either.」
「It’s questionable that you know about that place but let’s just turn a blind eye on that. I feel like that was more of a social thing, like guys night…」
「And you didn’t feel anything even when you saw those dancers?」
Tatsuya’s devotion to his wife was more than a phrase. Makoto, who knows how most men react to the services in those places, she could only think that Tatsuya had some kind of mental illness.
「… Are you sure you’re okay? I don’t think it’s normal to not have any reaction.」
「I know, but it’s Shiori, even if it’s just a dream, I do get the attraction. So I’m not ill.」
「No, I’m sure that’s some kind of illness. Those places have ladies with a body like Artiem. Or even if they have a body like Mio, they are still somehow very seductive. I’m sure there’s something wrong with you if you didn’t get any reaction from them…」
「Hey, realise that what you just said can’t say anything about Mio.」
As Tatsuya pointed out the truth, Makoto suddenly struggled to find a response. However, Tatsuya felt a lot better, finally being able to talk about issues which he could not talk about it to the minors. Makoto was not Tatsuya’s type, but they were good friends.
「Anyways, it’s not fair if I do all the talking. What about you Makoto?」
「Wha, what do you mean?」
「I mean, you seem to be cheering for Hiroshi and Haruna but what about yourself?」
Makoto’s eyes shifted frantically as Tatsuya brought up a topic which she was hoping to avoid.
「Do I really need to say?」
「You don’t have to say if you have a condition like Hiro.」
「… Unfortunately, it’s not that bad.」
To Tatsuya’s condition, Makoto gave a troublesome expression. It was something which has happened a while back. It was quite a private issue, so she didn’t really want to talk about it herself. It was something which she could laugh it off in the near future. But there was no doubt that it would be a kind of story which a guy would enjoy listening to.
「Screw it, I should be able to get over my mistake when we’re the ones talking about helping Hiroshi overcome his phobia.」
「Mistake, huh. Is that the reason why you were shut-in?」
「Yup, well, half of it was my fault. I was just being a naive, self-pitying brat.」
「You’re fault, huh.」
Seeing that the topic might get gloomier, Tatsuya pulled out crackers and smoked marga eggs.
「So, what did you do?」
「To put it simply when I was at uni, I was dating a social reject and I wrote yaoi based on him and his friend. Then he found it and realised the character was based on him since the character had the same surname.」
「… that’s, really damaging…」
「It was bad enough that he saw it but before I knew it, everyone at uni knew about it as well. So both my ex and complete strangers would come up to me and talk b******t.」
「I see, no wonder you ended up becoming a shut-in.」
Tatsuya understood why Makoto said it was half her fault. When it came to BL, not many people were bothered if it was a smut fiction. But when it came to hardcore BL, normal guys would struggle to accept it. On top of that, it was obvious that the character was based on himself. So, it was only natural that he was furious about what happened.
「I’m not ashamed of being a fujoshi. But I failed as a human being when I wrote that thing. It’s not something that should be forgiven. But at the time, I was only a brat so I thought it was fine as long as they didn’t see it.」
「…You and your boyfriend, it’s a type of issue where neither of you can be defended.」
「There’s no need for you to defend me. He wasn’t the type of person who would simply look past my hobbies anyway. So, even if that incident didn’t happen, I would have messed up eventually and ended up like this anyway.」
Tatsuya finally understood why Makoto didn’t show any interest towards men other than for BL purpose. He finally understood that the reason why she didn’t want a romantic partner wasn’t that Makoto was a fujoshi.
「So, since something like that happened, I’ve just had enough with love.」
「Well, those type of pain takes a lot of time to heal.」
「Oh well, although it was forced, I’m no longer a shut-in. So, for now, I don’t want to look for anyone.」
「I’ve been wondering since the first time we met but guessing from how you talk about this, are you speaking from experience?」
「Yep, I am.」
To Tatsuya’s question which would have been difficult to ask a woman face to face, Makoto gave a light-hearted response.
「Oh, by the way, that was the first relationship I was in.」
「… Same goes to Hiro but you’ve experienced a lot in your life as well….」
「Same to you Tatsuya. I mean, just look at your current situation.」
「Well, if I didn’t get teleported over to this universe, I would have had a normal life, apart from looking after Mio.」
As Tatsuya looked back on his life, he remembered Mio had a hard life as well. Even Haruna who seems to be on the winning side of life had not-so-normal life due to her ethnic background. So, the only person who had an ordinary life before getting teleported to this universe was Tatsuya.
「By the way, while you were a shut-in, were you living off your parents’ income?」
「Hm? Oh no, I paid for it myself.」
「Oh? what was your job?」
「It was pretty much a date trade. I had some money saved up from selling doujinshi at conventions before. Until two years before I became a shut-in, I managed to sell all of my copies so I had plenty saved up.」
「I don’t know how much you can make from selling doujinshi but were your savings really enough for you to live off date trade?」
「There was this one time I made a huge hit. So even when I paid the tax for it, I made enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life.」
Tatsuya almost spat out his sake as Makoto casually pointed out something outrageous.
「Hold up, Makoto, how does that even happen… ?」
「I wasn’t expecting such a huge hit either. I bought copies for a story that was easy to predict the cash flow and made 100,000 yen from that stock. Then one of the employees at the publisher company came up with some lifechanging innovation or something and before I knew it, the sales multiplied. The cost for each copy was cheap considering its stock so the sales went up pretty quickly as well.」
「And you repeated something like that for three or four more times?」
「Yup, the onetime where my joke brought me some ridiculous luck…」
Makoto’s eyes blankly looked over into the distance as she remembered how her recklessness was once her strength. However, as she was naïve and new to the publishing industry, she didn’t even think to do a quick research on what was going on in the company. If she had known that M&A had a big win in the stock, if she researched about the breakthrough one of their employees had, and bought her stocks then, her doujinshi would have continued to sell at the highest possible price.
The only huge mistake Makoto made in this situation was that she didn’t change the price. By repeating a similar process, she could have increased her sales by tenfold.
「So, were you doing date trade even before you got teleported here?」
「Not for that long, I’ve saved up enough money to become a shut-in so there was no need for me to do anything.」
「I see, that’s a solid reason.」
「It’s not good to keep gambling anyway.」
「Couldn’t have agreed more.」
To Makoto’s very ethical response which makes it hard to believe she used to be a shut-in, Tatsuya gave a bitter smile and took another shot.
「Our age is pretty close but you’re a millionaire and I’m just a salesman stressing over the housing loan.」
「Personally, I have more respect for people like you. Karma will eventually come around for people like me.」
「Do you really think so?」
「I do, I had a lot of anxiety back home just because I made so much money.」
「I guess there would be a lot of responsibilities that come with wealth.」
Tatsuya poured more sake as he learnt more about Makoto and respecting her thoughts. The bottle which they opened were starting to empty. So, they were thinking to stop the stress drinking.
「There’s one more thing which I been wanting to ask you for a while.」
「What is it?」
「Even though you became a shut-in, I’m amazed that you still had the motivation to continue Fairclo. From what I heard, it wouldn’t be strange if you developed some kind of phobia or something.」
「Oh, about that…」
Hearing Tatsuya’s understandable question, Makoto gave a bitter smile and took a sip from her glass. After clearing her throat, she confessed the reason why she decided to continue playing games.
「My username was Nenabe and my avatar was a muscular giant so nobody would have thought I was that fujoshi who screwed up at university.」
「Oh~ I see.」
Tatsuya thought it was slightly comical that a muscular giant was fighting with Katana, but apart from that, everything else made sense.
「You would never expect a story like that from someone who looks so normal.」
「You’re completely normal yourself either.」
「Come on, do you really think people like me are that unusual?」
「Well, I guess…」
Feeling something out of ordinary about Tatsuya, Makoto took another shot.
「Don’t you think this is such a weird situation?」
「From Mio’s perspective who’s all about dating sims, she would say that there was something wrong with both of us.」
「Yeah~ she would. But I guess that’s a normal reaction.」
「Well, I’m romantically burnt out and you’re only attracted to your wife, I guess there really is something wrong with both of us..」
To Makoto’s sarcastic comment, Tatsuya finally gave a genuine laugh. They weren’t each other’s type and they would never see each other as a romantic interest. But they couldn’t find a better drinking buddy.
「Anyway, let’s cut the drinking for now. We don’t know when others will come back.」
「Yeah, you’re right.」
The two wanted to enjoy this drunken atmosphere for a little longer but as the adults of the group, they drank the all-purpose potion and sobered up.