Please Tell Me How to Remember Love - Epilogue
Epilogue – Sugar Spice, the Love-Eater
“You got kissed, but you don’t look flustered at all. You seem used to it. Are those rumors about you being a playboy true? “
“Of course not. Besides that was my first kiss.”
“T-That was your first kiss?! You must be glad that you did it with a pretty girl like her then.”
“P-Partner, you’re making a scary face.”
A while after Haruka ran off, Aoi managed to recover from her shock and was currently together with Takayuki. It was clear that she was in a bad mood from the glare that she was giving him.
Takayuki wasn’t dense enough to not notice her feelings. Though, he wasn’t conceited enough to think that the reason for her feeling this way was because she had the hots for him.
And he was correct for thinking like that. The reason why she acted this way was because of her childish jealousy, not romantic feelings.
“R-Right, Miyama, do you want to go to a coffee shop nearby? I’ll pay for your drink.”
“…I have to pass. I’ve planned to go to the new crepe shop with Yuzu— I mean, my friend.”
Takayuki didn’t hate her for it, though.
Their relationship was different than back when they were kids. If it was back then, he’d dislike her selfishness because she was someone that he hated. Now, he felt happy that she held him in such high regards.
“I see. Have fun with your friend then. I hope your mood will get better.”
That was why he didn’t mind her sulking like this. He could try to comfort her, but he knew that words meant nothing. Instead, he promised himself to live up to her expectations so that she could be proud of him as her hero.
“See you tomorrow.”
And so, he waved his hand to Aoi and walked away. He thought that this action was the correct action to take for the time being.
But his steps were stopped by Aoi’s voice.
Unlike her usual dignified voice, her voice cracked.
Takayuki turned around, only to find out that Aoi was right in front of him. He was about to fall from surprise, but Aoi grabbed his hand and prevented the fall. While holding his hands with all her might, Aoi said,
“I cherished the time I had with you too, Satou-kun!”
With embarrassed smile, eyes locked to Takayuki’s, Aoi told him her true feelings.
“Thanks to you, I became the person I am now! That’s why, this time, I’ll help you! I’ll turn you into a proper human being, so one day you can fall in love with someone someday!”
“…I see. I’ll be counting on you, partner.”
While staring at the red-faced Aoi, Takayuki smiled at her.
It wasn’t his usual irreverent or fearless smile, but rather a mature-looking one that one would never expect coming from a young man like him.
“! T-That’s all! T-That’s all I wanted to say!”
After making that confession, Aoi ran away like a rabbit. In no time, she managed to get out of Takayuki’s sight, as expected of the talent that even the track club coveted.
“Hahaha, seriously, that girl…”
Seeing this scene, a wry smile appeared on Takayuki’s face.
Her smile was so pretty that it actually made his heart skip a beat. If he didn’t know the context of her words, he’d most likely blushed too when he heard her confession. Then there was the other girl who confessed her love to him. Thinking about the two of them made Takayuki let out a bitter laugh.
Even after all those things happened, he still couldn’t sense any trace of love for those two.
“A monster like me trying to be a hero again? How presumptuous of me.”
“I don’t think so. I think it’s interesting to see a fallen hero trying to rise up again.”
Takayuki turned his gaze toward the person who answered his self-deprecative question.
“It’s been a while, isn’t it? My lovely contractor, Sugar Spice, Takayuki Satou.”
At the end of his gaze was a witch.
Dressed in a pitch black dress. With cat-like eyes and an irreverent laugh, the supernatural being appeared out of thin air.
“It’s about time for you to understand the significance of the price that you had to pay for. So, how does it feel?”
At the unexpected reunion, Takayuki was at a loss. But, the witch covered the silence with her words. Like the Cheshire Cat, a crescent moon formed on her lips as she started to speak.
“Is the ‘romantic feelings’ that you sacrificed back then worth the price of your ability?”
Indeed. Seven years ago, to save a girl, Satou Takayuki offered his romantic feelings as a price to the witch.
That was the reason why he was unable to love anyone in his life. Not Takayama Yui, Amamiya Haruka nor Miyama Aoi. No matter how pretty and wonderful the girls around him were, he would never fall for them.
After all, the love-eating monster had no need to feel love itself.
“…Right. I really didn’t know anything back then. Now I know the weight of the price I paid.”
That was the first response he managed to utter to the witch. He forcefully made a relaxed smile before confronting the witch.
“Hehehe, is that so? No amount of regret will be able to make me return it to you, though.”
With a wicked smile, she continued to ask him a series of questions.
“So, did you regret the choice you made back then? Did your past self irk you so? If only you didn’t try to save that selfish princess back then, you wouldn’t need to suffer like this. In the end, you stopped being a hero. Was everything worth it? Tell me, do you regret it?”
To the poor boy who turned into a monster because he was greedy for power, the witch asked the question; “How does it feel, to live a living hell like this?”
“I don’t regret anything.”
To her surprise, there wasn’t a slightest hint of hesitation in his words.
“Honestly, I feel so rewarded right now.”
There was no falsehood in his words. He looked too confident and happy for the witch to assume that his answer was a mere bluff.
“I have the best partner, Miyama Aoi, by my side. Honestly, it’ll be greedy of me to ask for more.”
“Hahaha… I agree with you. She’s the perfect match for you.”
Hearing his answer, the witch’s body shook in amusement.
“Besides, I haven’t given up, Witch. I still remember your words. Or are you telling me that your words back then were a lie?”
“Of course not. Well, not like it matters much.”
Her smile deepened.
“In this world, nothing can beat true love. Not magic, not super power.”
She said those words casually. As if she was talking with a friend.
Then, as she closed her mouth and finished her words, her body turned into countless crows and disappeared from Takayuki’s sights. If he didn’t know any better, he would probably think that he was hallucinating.
“…I’ll do my best.”
Despite that, Takayuki still managed to direct those words at her.
No matter how much love he ate, his determination won’t change. To reach that goal, he made a solemn vow to the world and himself.
* * *
“Yes. Do your best.”
Shortly after the witch disappeared from Takayuki’s sight, a certain high school girl walking near the school gate muttered those words. She made a similar looking smile as the witch, but her appearance was completely different from her.
“…Oops, no, no, that isn’t right…”
But then she realized that she wasn’t supposed to play that character when wearing this appearance. So, she wiped the smile off her face, wore her usual expressionless look and put on her glasses.
“Did you wait long, Aoi? …Why is your face so red? Did you catch a cold? Shall we call it off for the day?”
“I-I’m fine! I-I just… I-I did my best this time!”
She casually exchanged words with the bad friend that she met near the school gate.
Seeing the youthful look of her friend in front of her, the witch entered her mundane life again.