Volume 2 done. Way ahead of my projected schedule, so I am rather pleased.
Hyouketsu Kyoukai no Eden next, since Chinese translations for Onii-ai is only halfway done.
The school's having a rest on the next day as well.
I will be meeting someone from my work during the day.
She was introduced to me via Ginbe's networks. I had acted rather irresponsibly towards her for a brief moment of time. To be honest, I will not be able to lift my head up in front of her.
This person is in charge of me is someone with a really high tolerance, so I do act slightly spoiled towards her. However, I dragged the dateline to its absolute limit this time round, so that made her cry.
We've agreed to meet at an economical tea-house that is located at the corner of a shopping street a slight distance away from the train station.
She was sitting at the deepest corner as usual.
"Nice to see you, Jinno. Sorry to have made you wait."
"It's nothing. I reached here not too long ago~"
Kaaruko Jinno, twenty-five years old.
Her distinctive features are her childish face despite her age, her gentle smile and those slightly drooping eyes. She is my editor.
"No, I am really sorry. I pushed the dateline too far."
"It's nothing. Waiting is part of my job as well~"
"It's great if you can think it that way. Really."
"But Akito, our president have high hopes on you. He thinks you have the potential to go far. Putting aside the point on the deadline for now, it will be difficult for me if you do not repay those expectation of you, you know~"
"Ah, you are totally right about that. ...... However, if possible, I'll like to resume on our work......"
"Right. Let us get down to business."
I ordered a cup of hot red tea, while Jinno chose hot cocoa with whipped cream. We then returned to our seats.
Jinno said while taking out a stack of papers from her bag,
"This draft is really wonderful. The new emotional entanglement between the characters felt extremely real. I became engrossed in the story, and before I knew it I was already done with the whole thing.."
"Thanks for your praises."
"However, some of the parts where you write with your feelings and emotions comes off a little raw. Let us correct those areas one at a time. Firstly~"
I guess you should have understood by now.
This is what allows me to maintain my livelihood. It is something I am trying to hide from the people around me - including my younger sister. I am someone who lives by using his pen - in another words, I am an author.
I am no writer either, since I am mainly writing novels that are published on their own. I have no intention of boasting, but I guess I can call myself a novelist. Though the sales of my books and my popularity are still not on the level where I can introduce myself proudly as one.
"...... Well, that is roughly it~. Do you have any opinions on that, Akito?"
"Nope, none. All those things that you've pointed out are true. I do think that they need some small improvements. I'll rewrite the areas mentioned by you."
"I understand. Akito is really straightforward about things like these, so it that makes it much easier for me as well~"
"Ahh, I am always pulling you down when it comes to the deadlines, so I'll try to be as obedient as I can when it comes to things like this."
"And it's just like what you've said~. Akito still drags the deadline like thisDespite being a newcomer. Typically speaking, that is unthinkable, you know~?"
"Ahh, you're right. I'll settle everything properly."
It may sounds like she was preaching me, but the expressions on Jinno's face were really gentle. I was not frightened by her a single bit; instead, I was healed by her words.
She's honest and serious. She may not be very efficient in her work, but she is passionate. Jinno is someone who is well loved by her fellow colleagues and superiors.
I do not wish to create anymore troubles for her if possible, and I did think of helping her getting the recognition she deserves by churning some well-selling books. But with the way things are, I am still only a newcomer.
"Well, that's our president for you."
Said Jinno with an expression akin to that of a napping dog with its belly exposed.
"I too have high hopes for Akito's talents as well. You managed to come up with a draft like this despite having only a few volumes under your belt. It's really impressive considering your age. There is an oppressive feeling in your work...... and yet Akito is someone with a gentle and mature personality. How exactly do you manage to write novels like these......"
"Well, it is because my private life has been slightly chaotic. It became hard for me to find time for the draft. In the end, I was forced finished everything in a single night. Something like that. It is not something that is desirable."
"Uh- mmm. It is partially due to that, but......"
Jinno smirked and muttered,
"Hey Akito. I am saying this not as your editor, but from my own stand."
"I am thinking...... Akito, you are a sis-con, aren't you?"
The unexpected question stunned me.
"Eh? Me? A sis-con?"
"Yes. You are one, Akito."
"No no no no, what are you talking about? I am not a sis-con."
"Eh~? Is that so?"
So it's not only the members of the students council who misunderstood me, but Jinno as well.
"I admit I do dote on my younger sister a lot. She is my only relative left, and after were forced to live apart, I'll have to dote on her even more. You are right to say that I care about my sister much more than anyone else in the world. But as her relative - as her elder brother, that is only natural, right?"
"Really? Is that how it is?"
"Well of course. Without a doubt."
"But but Akito."
It is rare of Jinno to continue talking on the matter.
"Akito will do some of these things, right? For example, making a notebook that's named something along the lines of 'Sister's Dairy' and recording on it on a daily basis, right? What your sister has eaten that day, what she has said, how many times she was angry, and how many times she laughed - things like that."
"But of course? As her elder brother, it is only natural for me to be concerned about the situations that my sister is in at all times. Not to mention, I am currently taking on the role of her parents as well."
"And, Akito will take lots of pictures of your sister and print them all out, before framing them up and storing them properly, right?"
"Yeah, of course? There are many old photos which negatives I no longer possess. Even for those which I do possess, I will still print them all out and store them properly. Is there anything wrong with that?"
"...... Uhh- mmm. If so, you cannot consider that as normal, can you? I don't think any elder brothers in this world who are normal will do these things to their younger sisters......"
That had quite a bit of impact on me.
Let us not talk about those overly suspicious group of people from the students council. To think that the editor whom I trust, Jinno, is actually saying things like that as well. I did not anticipate that at all. I do think she is a very capable editor, but being a little too subjective is perhaps the only tiny flaw of hers.
"I might as well take this opportunity to clear things up. Jinno, that is just your misunderstanding. You are totally wrong and you cannot be more wrong than that."
"Ehhhhh~? Is that so?"
"To begin with, you are wrong for thinking that I am just a typical elder-brother. Our parents are no longer around, and we siblings were separated for a long time before we finally got back together again. I am not just her elder-brother, but I have to take on the role as her parents as well. Parents will always be concerned about the growth of their children, right? They will use cameras, video-cams and such to record the looks of their children, right? That's exactly what it is. There is absolutely nothing suspicious about it."
"Also, Jinno is the only child, right? If so, it's not really convincing when you say things like 'you are different from the typical elder-brothers'."
Jinno refused to give up.
"I do think that Akito's works are really charming. It is devoid of those so-called 'fan-service' that are found typically in many of the recent works. Instead, it is giving off an intense feeling that says 'Read my novels rather than those things! Now how's that!?'."
"Thank you for your praise. I am really happy to hear that from you."
"But to be honest, the contents of your works are rather picky in its readers. That is not something really good for the sales."
"I have no excuse for that..... Sorry to have troubled you."
"However, even though Akito's works only caters to a small group of readers, they will be supporting your work for life if they fall in love with them - that's how it is. That's what your works are. Our president is rather optimistic about that part. So even though the profits are slightly....... no, they are quite low, but we are still continuing on our investments in Akito's talents."
"Thank you for that. If not for the hopes our president has on me, it would have been impossible to acquire living expenses required for me and my sister."
"And also. From what you've said just now, Akito had denied the fact that you are a sis-con, right?"
"Yeah, that's how it is."
Jinno took out a book from her bag.
And turned its cover towards me.
While hiding behind the book, she peeked at me and said timidly.
"What do you have to say about the fact that you had written a work like this, Shindou Koichirou-sensei?"
If you want to ask what sort of book is that, it's nothing major, really.
<The Story of Forbidden Love> - that's my debut work.
"I see your point."
I think I understand.
But at the same time, I felt rather helpless as well.
"You are suspicious of me because of that?"
"That is because-"
She said in a rather bewildered tone,
"This book here - it's a novel with a theme on incestuous relationship, right?."
"Yes. That's right."
"The names of the main characters are Akio and Akina, right?"
"Yes. That's right."
Towards Jinno, who could no longer carry on with her words,
"I guess I understand what you are trying to say."
"Well, yes. In any case, what I want to say is......"
"It's simple, Jinno. That misunderstanding of yours will be solved in an instant. All I need is one sentence and you will be able to accept it immediately."
"One sentence? What is it?"
"It will not do to confuse fiction with reality."
I shrugged and laughed.
"That can't do, Jinno. Putting aside the typical readers for a second, I am rather shocked to hear those words from you."
"R-Right...... U-Urm..... but Akito-"
"Of course, in order to make it easier for me to inject in my feelings, I had given the main characters names that are similar to us two. But a fiction is just that - something that is fabricated. There is a line that goes: 'This story is a work of fiction, and has no relation with any existing person, groups or organization', right?"
"Though that is not wrong...... Urmmmm? Eh~?"
Jinno was moving her head about repeatedly.
"Is that so? It somehow feels like something is wrong......"
"That is just your illusion. Get a grip. You are my editor."
"Y-Yes. I will do just that. ......Uh, well then, these are basically my opinions for this draft. However, please do not ever push the dateline again, since it will cause our schedule to be very tight - try to arrange it such that there is more room for allowance...... ok?"
"Understood. I can be considered as a professional as well. I'll handle my work properly. That's fine, right?"
"Mmm, then I shall leave things in your care."
"Well, let's stop for the day. My sister start ranting if I am away from home for too long."
"Is that so? So your sister rant at you~....... Ah, Akito, do you want to go somewhere for lunch? As a sort of celebration, since your draft has been completed."
"Ah- I am sorry, but I think my sister has cooked and is waiting for me. Perhaps next time."
"Ah, that's how it is~. How regretful."
"Well, that's all for today then. Thank you for your hard work."
"Thank you. ......Hmmm? Eh?"
...... Even as we parted, Jinno was still tilting her head and saying, "it still feels a little weird."
Am I that untrustworthy?
Whatever. It's mainly my fault for her not giving me her full trust. I should be able to gain back the trust by continuing to work hard.
And that's it. It's better if I hide from Jinno the fact that my sister is a die-hard fan of my works. It will probably become the reason for yet another misunderstanding if she comes to know this.
With that, the story has came to an end. For now.
"Due to some reasons, they were forced to be separated -omitted- compiled into a simple, boring story."
— That was what I had initially said, though it was derailed rather spectacularly yet again as per usual. I am already tired of apologizing repeatedly for going back on my words.
If so, I shall not go against the flow of whatever that has happened till now. Instead, I should take on a proactive stand and record the chaotic days that are about to come.
Also, I am not sure if this is something fortunate or troublesome - probably more of the latter
It's just as though fate is responding to what I had written earlier. Another troublesome thing is about to strike.
Therefore, I shall give a simple preview.
In the future, the truth about me and my sister not being blood-related will be exposed.
...... Well then, may we meet again.