"Do you want to talk about it over a little walk?" he asked, still feeling hesitant about this.
Suzune stared at him dumbfoundedly as she took in his words. "But class is starting in a few minutes-"
"We won't be long," Kiyotaka assured her.
"I... well, all right..."
The young man was surprised at how she agreed to his proposal easily but simply chalked it up to his weird 'power' doing its magic again.
The pair began to take a walk through the park, as the two of them continued to admire the school for what it had to offer to its students. However, Kiyotaka knew that he had to cheer the girl up in some way, so he had to be the one to initiate the conversation between them.
"So what's the deal between you and your brother? It looked like he was angry with you about something," he asked.
"You could say that," replied Suzune. "I look up to him, but I can't say the same for how he sees me."
"Why is that?" Kiyotaka pressed on, even though he already had an idea about the answer.
The girl took a deep breath, remembering her past with her older brother. "Nii-sama wasn't always like that. As children, we were inseparable, as close as siblings can get. And then one day, he changed. He stopped spending time with me and he was like a completely different person from before."
"Every time I would ask if he could help me in my own studies, he would brush me off and say that I can do it on my own. Whenever I asked him what he was doing or how he was doing, Nii-sama just ignored me. Does that make it clear?"
"Yeah, I think I get it now," he nodded. "How did you react to his sudden change? Were you hurt by it?"
"No. I realized that change was inevitable, so I accepted what he had become. Instead, I aimed to prove myself to him so that the next time we see each other, he would see me as an equal."
"I'm guessing that's the time when he left for this school."
A hint of a smile appeared on her face. "Yes. I wanted to follow in his footsteps because he is an amazing person, and I wanted to be like him."
"I think I remember a term for this..." Kiyotaka thought to himself, noticing the smile that she had upon thinking about her brother. "Eiichiro told me about it... brocon, was it? Is Horikita like that?"
If Horikita was indeed a brocon then by god, why is she even considered a 'Heroine'?
"But, if you saw what happened earlier, then you know what he thinks of me. Even after I worked hard to get to this school, to be like him, he still doesn't think I'm worthy of being acknowledged."
"That's because your brother doesn't seem like he's pushing away everyone around him," the brown-haired teen thought to himself while listening to her. "He wouldn't be the Student Council President if he preferred to be alone."
As they walked through the area, Kiyotaka noticed that one of the nearby food stalls was selling ice cream. As a subject of the White Room ever since he was a kid, the young man never had the luxury of trying out food that was universally loved, the most prominent of them being ice cream.
Almost immediately, his attention was drawn to the stall and he began to head there.
"W-Wait, where are you going?" Suzune asked, quickly following after him as soon as she noticed that he was going somewhere else.
"Excuse me, how much is an ice cream cone?" he asked the man who was behind the counter.
The man laughed earnestly. "Haha, you don't need to pay any points, young man! You happen to be our 100th customer, so you can have all the ice cream that you want for free!"
"Points?" he asked, raising an eyebrow curiously.
The clerk looked surprised at hearing that question. "Wait, you don't know?"
Kiyotaka noticed Suzune's presence beside him, the girl sending him a little frown for what he did. "We're new students. We just arrived today," he told the clerk, while hoping that his eagerness to taste ice cream didn't ruin everything for him just now.
"Ah, never mind then!" The man laughed again, before giving Kiyotaka a copy of the menu. "Anyway, what flavor would you like? You can order as much as you want for yourself and your girlfriend there!"
"She's not my girlfriend," he quickly denied that notion, while Horikita was surprised by it and even blushed as a result.
"Haha, just messing around! So what flavor will it be?"
Kiyotaka turned to his companion first and showed her the menu, who seemed unsure about this whole thing at first. The young man didn't say anything but continued to stare at her, making Suzune sigh in defeat. She took a quick look at the available flavors before uttering her response.
"Uhm... chocolate, I guess?"
Kiyotaka nodded at her choice before giving his own answer. "I'll have two vanilla ice cream cones."
"Hehe, coming up! You teenagers just stay right there."
As the clerk tended to their orders, Suzune looked at him curiously.
"Two ice cream cones?" she asked, a tinge of amusement in her voice. "Did you not eat breakfast on your way here?"
The young man scratched the back of his head, feeling embarrassed regarding this little fact about himself. "I... have never tasted ice cream before and I have always wanted to try it."
"Seriously?" Instead of feeling amused, she felt surprised instead. Was he being serious about not being able to eat ice cream until now? "You've never had ice cream before?"
Kiyotaka shrugged. Even while staying with Matsuo, he was never able to eat ice cream because, well, he couldn't really go outside and buy a cone. "As embarrassing as it is, yes."
Suzune stared at him for a brief moment, as though she was thinking about something deeply. She then shook her head, making Kiyotaka wonder what she had in mind. "I don't think there's anything embarrassing about that. We all have things that we want to experience."
"Then how about you?" he asked her in return. "Is there something that you want to try eating for the first time?"
"I..." Suzune was surprised at his sudden question, though it did make her think about what kind of food she wanted to try that she hasn't eaten yet. "...I suppose I would like to try out taiyaki if I ever have the chance. I always wondered what it would taste like, although I know it has many flavors as well..."
"Then how about we get some? There's a stall that sells taiyaki over there," Kiyotaka suggested, pointing to the taiyaki stall that was next to the popcorn store.
The girl blushed at the thought. "Oh, uh... no, thank you. I don't feel like spending money this early."
Kiyotaka almost felt amused at the sight of Suzune being the complete opposite of what he expected her to be. He truly had no idea if the system was making her act this way, but it honestly intrigued him. Perhaps he could still push this further, since it doesn't seem like she's angry with all of this.
"I'll pay for it then. We'll go there after we get our ice cream."
After getting their orders from the ice cream stall, Kiyotaka led the way to their next destination.
Strangely enough, when they went to that particular stall in order to buy a bag of taiyaki, they also happened to be the 100th customer and thus, were allowed to order what they wanted for free. It left Kiyotaka confused, but he was able to get Suzune what she wanted. Now she had a bag of taiyaki of different flavors in her free hand.
The two stopped at a bench and sat there as they ate their respective food. They finished their ice cream first, since it will melt if they don't eat it as soon as possible. Somehow, Kiyotaka managed to finish his two cones before they could melt and enjoyed it immensely. He might even end up developing a sweet tooth for ice cream after this.
In Horikita's case, after eating her ice cream, she wasted no time eating her taiyaki and was immediately smitten by the flavor. "This is delicious..." she mumbled to herself, a smile of satisfaction gracing her lips.
While Horikita was busy enjoying her taiyaki, her companion was in deep thought, wondering about a certain peculiar issue that involved them.
"That was weird... first, we got teleported to the park out of nowhere and then we happened to be the 100th customer for the two food stalls that we went to? That can't be a coincidence..." Kiyotaka said in his thoughts, sending a glance at the stores that they just went to. It was too strange for him to believe that he and Suzune were the 100th customer for both stores. In fact, he was sure that if he checked out the popcorn stall, then he would also be the 100th customer, allowing him to buy anything for free. "There has to be something going on behind all this... but what could it be? Is it because of this dating simulator again?"
"Ayanokouji-kun..." Hearing Suzune's voice quickly brought him out of his thoughts, making him turn towards her. The girl looked flustered and nervous to the point that she was clutching the paper bag in her hands tightly, having trouble figuring out what to say. "You didn't have to do this, you know?"
The brown-haired teen thought about what he should tell her, before deciding to simply say what he had in mind right now. "Horikita, I don't know if my words can make everything better, but you can be assured that you have one friend that believes you can do it."
"Friend...?" she breathed out, almost as if that was the first time she's heard that term.
Kiyotaka shrugged in an almost joking manner. "Who else?"
"Yes..." Suzune only found herself nodding in agreement which deep down, surprised even herself. "I guess... we're friends..."
[You gained 5 Affection Points with Horikita Suzune!]
As he dismissed the new notification, Kiyotaka decided that this should be enough to cheer the girl up. It seemed like Horikita had completely forgotten about why she was feeling dejected and sad earlier. Right now, they should head to their respective classrooms and accept whichever punishment their teachers would give them for being late on their first day.
And he was even thinking of not standing out while he was here... what a waste. It's all because of this crazy superpower that he had, which he never asked for in the first place!
"I think we've spent enough time here. We should get to class," Kiyotaka stood up from the bench.
"You're right. It's a good thing that we still have some time to get there," Suzune agreed, finishing the last of her taiyaki just in time.
"What?" Kiyotaka looked at her in confusion, wondering if she was joking before he decided to check the time at the street clock that stood nearby.
The young man couldn't stop his mouth from hanging slightly because of what he saw.
Suzune was right. There's still about ten minutes left before their first period starts, which was absolutely shocking. They had spent more than an hour in this place, so Kiyotaka was completely sure that they must have missed their first class, if anything! The clock couldn't have been broken either, because it was functioning properly for everyone to see. Somehow, Suzune was right!
"Ayanokouji-kun," the girl called out to her companion after throwing the paper bag she had into the nearby trash bin.
Despite his shock at the fact that they still had time to get to class which also meant that they wouldn't get punished, Kiyotaka still turned to face the black-haired girl. 𝐛𝐞𝐝𝗻𝐨𝘃𝗲𝗹.𝐜𝐨𝗺
"What?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Thank you for listening," she thanked him, a genuine smile appearing on her face.
As the girl smiled, a strange sound filled Kiyotaka's ears, which was something he had never heard before. There weren't any photographers around him, yet he heard the sound of a camera snapping a photo followed by a musical chime similar to the one that he's been hearing from the dating simulator itself.
The world around him then froze as a new screen popped up before his eyes. It contained the 'image' of Suzune smiling at him just a while ago, almost as though he had captured the moment just by blinking. It was then followed by several notifications that, upon reading them, only served to boggle his mind even more.
[Special Event 'A Walk in the Park' has been cleared! You gained 10 Affection Points with Horikita Suzune!]
[You cheered up a Heroine! You gained +1 in Wisdom!]
[CG Gallery has been Unlocked! 'Suzune's First Friend' was added to the gallery!]
[Congratulations! You unlocked the Achievement: 'Reminiscing Memories'! You gained +3 in Wisdom!]
[Congratulations! You have completed the 'Tutorial'! You gained +10 in all stats!]
[Congratulations! The description for the Skill 'To Protect Her Smile' has been Unlocked!]
[To Protect Her Smile]: Warps reality itself in your favor whenever it's truly needed to make one of your Heroines happy. As long as it's to see them smile, problems will be dealt with so easily that you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sight of your Heroines being happy. (Cannot be activated willingly, only triggers when your Heroine's sake demands it)
Kiyotaka didn't even feel like dismissing the notifications himself, so they naturally disappeared on their own as the world returned to normal. The young man just felt too overwhelmed right now, which was saying something considering who and what he really is.
Suzune noticed the weird look on his face right away. "Ayanokouji-kun, is everything alright?"
"Uh... yeah, everything's... fine," he quickly spoke while doing his best to retain the calm look on his face, which was taking a toll on him."Let's go."
"If you say so..."
And the two continued on their way to the school building. After what just happened, Suzune felt reinvigorated and even a little motivated about their first day in school. However, the same couldn't be said for the boy who was walking with her.
While Kiyotaka looked completely calm on the outside, it was different on the inside.
If there was ever a time where the 'Masterpiece' felt disbelief, then this would be it. Within the young man's mind, a mixture of astonishment, hysteria, and chaos were occupying his mind as everything he learned from the past minute began to fully sink in.
First, his 'power' was a thousand times more powerful than what he had thought. Forget about stopping time, it actually caused him and Suzune to go and have a relaxing walk in the park within the campus and made sure that they STILL arrived on time for their classes to start. Nobody else seemed to notice what happened as well. Oh god, now that he thought about it deeply, what just happened between them was totally a date! Of course it would be!
ραпdα n?νa| сom Second, the 'skill' that he unlocked just now mentioned 'warping reality'. Now that he was aware of how powerful this 'dating simulator' was, he shouldn't be surprised if one day, an amusement park suddenly appears in the middle of campus just for the sake of making a potential ' heroine' happy. Hey, it even manipulated those store clerks to have them sell their products for free!
Third, he wasn't sure of it before, but now he was. Suzune's drastic change in attitude was definitely from the influence of the system and the more she spends time around him, the more she's going to fall in love with him! He didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing but nonetheless, he managed to do the impossible and befriend Suzune, someone who was very adamant on being alone based on her 'summary'.
"I wonder if I should just be grateful that this doesn't seem like it will get me harmed in any way," the young man thought, as he began to think twice about insulting this 'anomaly' that he possessed, now being aware of how powerful it could be.
Things will never be the same again for him, huh?