The Pain of an Inferior: A Blistering Love Comedy That Begins After a Broken Heart - Chapter 23
- The Pain of an Inferior: A Blistering Love Comedy That Begins After a Broken Heart
- Chapter 23 - Hyperkinetic Position Reverser 3
At the station terminal, Haruka was waiting for Shinku.
Haruka and his sister, Yuzurika, had thoughtfully matched a stylish outfit of a black cut-and-sewn that showed off his wrists and collarbones, a casual jacket, and deep navy blue skinny jeans.
Haruka checked on his wristwatch on his left arm and found that it was five minutes past the meeting time.
He was anxious, wondering if he had been stood up.
As he gazed blankly at the people and cars on the street, a voice called out to him from behind.
Haruka turned his back and there she was, Claudia Shinku.
She was dressed in a white dress and blue bolero, just as the image of a neat and tidy ojou-sama that most people associate with her. Her golden hair flowing down her back shone brightly in the sunlight, as did the sunbeams.
Her height is second only to Ria’s, and her slender, artistic figure gives Haruka the impression that she could probably make a living as a fashion model. In fact, when he checked her profile, he found that she has worked as a fashion model. No wonder. There was no way the scouts would leave such a talented girl alone.
“Hello, Claudia-san. I’m glad you’re here.”
“I apologize for being late. I made a mistake in pacing my walk.”
Shinku bowed her head.
She had come on foot, not by car. Haruka felt a gap between her usual haughty attitude and the way she bowed down for being five minutes late.
“You look so cute in that dress, it fits you so well.”
“I appreciate it. You also have a decent taste in casual clothes, Obi-san.”
“So I’m not decent except for my casual clothes huh…”
Haruka usually wears more than four earrings, but today he wears only two, both of them together. He is shocked, because he thought it was common sense.
Laughing as if she was exhaling, Shinku continued talking.
“I have called you here, but I have no plan. Where should we go to make Kureha-san jealous?”
“Well, do you like cats, Claudia-san?”
“Cats? I’ve never seen one in person, so I don’t know whether I like them or not.”
“What? Don’t you watch cat videos?”
“No, I only browse LAIN for gaming related videos.”
A typical answer for an E-sports fanatic.
No wonder, since her profile shows that she has played more than 5,000 hours of video games.
“Well then, let’s go to a cat cafe.”
She tilted her head, not quite understanding what Haruka was talking about.
“I’ll show you around.”
Haruka held out his hand toward Shinku. She looked at his hand and tilted her head.
“What is it? What’s with the hand desu wa?”
“Eh? uh, I’m sorry. It’s nothing.”
Whenever Haruka goes on a date with Ria, they holds hands immediately, so he does the same thing out of habit.
He laughed it off and took Shinku to their destination.
It is a fifteen-minute walk from the meeting place. It is quite a long walk, but she follows him without saying a word.
As they walked, Haruka checked out Shinku’s profile, Meanwhile Shinku looks at Haruka with a sideway glance.
She was really a beautiful girl. Even plastic surgery could not create such a beautiful face that attracts others.
“You are staring at me too much desu wa.”
“Wouldn’t you look at a great painting if it were right next to you?”
“Your compliments are shallow and flimsy.”
“I’ll try to think of a deeper, better compliment.”
“Just keep walking forward.”
Shinku held her right hand out in front of her and warned him.
Haruka replied, “Ye-s,” and walks forward.
His hands are lonely.
Whenever he goes out with Ria or Yuzurika, they always hold hands as a matter of course, so his empty hand is very lonely.
In the meantime, they arrived at their destination, a cat cafe.
The building displays an animation of a pitch-black cat walking slowly. The signboard says “Wataneko” .
Whether or not Shinku likes cats, they have come here as a place where they can get to know each other in a relaxed manner.
The manual door is opened by pushing it by hand, which is rare nowadays.
The doorbell rings softly, and a nearby waiter smiles as he approaches Haruka and company.
The waiter smiles as he approaches. “Are there two of you?”
“Please choose a course.”
One of the female androids displayed a panel in front of them.
The female android in front of them completely indistinguishable from a human being. The android’s profile is instantly recognizable, but in other words, if you don’t look at it closely, you can’t tell it’s an android.
Around Haruka, a coin symbol appears, visible to all. They were sucked in by the clerk and dissipated, generating particles of gold.
After paying the credit for both him and Shinku, the two are led by the clerk to the back of the store.
There were several backless chairs and mats in a row. Cat towers of various shapes and sizes were scattered among the chairs and mats.
And then, seeing a large number of cat staffs, the stars of the cat café, Shinku was stunned.
“W-what is this…? This…”
“This is a cat café.”
A waitress appears with a container in both hands.
“This is a drink container.”
The waitress hands the container to Haruka and Shinku.
The container has a mechanism to open by pressing a switch, and if it is closed, the contents will not spill even if it is rolled by a cat.
“Well then, please take your time.”
Bowing reverently, the waitress disappears into the back.
“Claudia-san, would you like me to get you a drink?”
Shinku responded as she looked at the large number of furballs wandering around the room.
Cats are a common animal in fantasy VRMMOs, but most of the games she plays are mecha games. She had never had a chance to interact with cats.
At the drink bar at the end of the room, Shinku puts a cup of lightly-sweetened black tea and Haruka puts a cup of oolong tea into a container and returns to the room.
The cats was curious about them and came close to their feet as soon as they approached.
The cats, who had learned that they would be given food for a fee if they flatter people, were very friendly, and immediately flocked to Haruka as he bent down and sat down on the mat.
“Come on in, Claudia-san!”
When Haruka invited her to come, Shinku walked up to him without saying a word. As she sat down next to him awkwardly, a few cats approached her as well.
The cats clung to her while meowing.
She seemed to be not used to cats, or rather animals themselves, and she seemed to be confused when they clung to her body.
Smiling at the sight of Shinku, Haruka picked up a white cat that was nearby and put it on his lap. It purred adorably and flirtatiously looked up at him, so he stroked it’s fluffy fur.
“You should pet it like this, too, Claudia-san,” he said.
“Like this, is it?”
At the request of Haruka, Shinku gently stroked the head of the short-legged cat, a munchkin, which was stuck on her thigh, with her finger on its belly. The cat accepted her with narrowed eyes.
Shinku was quite popular among the cats, and she was surrounded by four of them. Their nails were clipped but not missing. She did not consider that her white dress would be stained and scratched. Fortunately, she does not seem to be upset by her first contact with a cat.
As an apology, Haruka thought of buying her an outfit of her choice.
She is wearing a luxury brand of clothing, [Aion Marie], he noticed. The estimated price is from 70,000 to 120,000. Since Haruka has no hobbies, he doesn’t spend much money, and Yuzurika gives him allowance from the money she earns, Haruka has quite a lot of money saved up. He can afford to buy around 100,000 yen worth of clothes for Shinku.
“What is this Wataneko app?”
Shinku asked, while she is petting the kitten with both hands. It is a special app for this store, which is notified to customers after they enter the store. It is up to the customer to decide whether or not to download it.
“It’s an app that tells you the cat’s name and stress level.”
Even the cats had their own Talisman, which reacts to the app and displays their name and stress level.
Haruka told her that it’s better to hide the stress value. Although there are individual differences, the cat’s stress level rises to a certain extent even if you hold the cat in your arms. If it is displayed, we cannot love the cat as much as we want to, so Haruka only displays the cat’s name.
Although it’s not clear from Haruka’s position, she has seem to have downloaded the app.
Shinku glanced at the cats around her and checks out their names.
She whispered the cat’s name in a small voice. In response, the munchkin on her lap meowed.
She was busy petting the munchkin that came close to her, showing its belly to be pampered, and pulling away the cat that tried to climb up to her arms.
Haruka took a few pictures of the happy scene. He took a picture of her holding a cat, touching a cat’s paw and being astonished with it, and petting a sweet cat with a gentle smile on it’s belly.
They are natural smiles, not the kind of smiles that are intended to show concern for Haruka. In the first place, there is no way that Shinku cares about Haruka.
“They have toys for cats, too.”
Haruka put a ball, a catnip, a fried shrimp cushion, or something like that lying on the floor near to her.
He used the catnip to play with a Persian cat named [Coco] who was nearby. Coco was very responsive and jumped and rolled around to play with the catnip which was moved by Haruka.
As if to imitate him, Shinku picked up a cushion with a fried shrimp on it. When she waved it in front of the cat’s eyes, the cat started to attack the cushion by slapping it. Haruka took a picture of it.
If one is not friends with the person they took the picture with, he or she will be notified whether or not to allow them to save the picture. In other words, they will know that you took the photo. Or, you took a photo without permission, but in that case, the subject’s face will be censored if it’s unauthorized.
Since Haruka and Shinku became friends on using their Talisman the other day, he could take pictures of her freely. If he wanted to publish her photo, he needs to ask for her permission first, but since Haruka was not on any social networking services and had no plans on publishing her photo, there was no problem.
Sometimes sipping a drink from the table, Haruka and Shinku spent time with the cats side by side.
Shinku was so absorbed in playing with the cats that she said very few words. When she found some paid cat treats, she paid for them with her own credit and gave them to the cats.
Haruka visited several cat towers with a cat he liked, greeting cats that did not show much interest in visitors.
He seemed to be really enjoying himself, even petting a cat that was lounging at the top of the cat tower. While taking a picture of Shinku, Haruka smiles happily.
After playing with the cat for a while, Shinku came back to Haruka. She sat down next to him, picked up the tea on the floor, and took a sip.
“How is your first experience playing with a cat?”
“It’s quite a lovely creature, isn’t it?”
Shinku said as she looked at the cat that was sleeping next to her.
“You were lovely too, Claudia-san.”
Haruka said, and shared some of the pictures he had taken of Shinku. Seeing this, her face turned bright red and her eyes were lifted up and she came close to Haruka.
“Turn it off! You’re taking spy pictures!”
“I’m not going to publish them, and Shun would be more nervous if there were pictures from a man’s point of view, wouldn’t he?”
“Curses… You’ve been planning this…”
Shinku muttered bitterly with a hint of regret.
To forcefully end the conversation, Haruka holds a Bengal kitten named [Nanami] that was nearby and hands it to Shinku. Puffing up, she puts the kitten on her lap and pats it. Immediately her strong expression falls away and her face becomes soft and squishy.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
“… It’s not bad.”
Haruka had a plan to make it easier to get to know each other by using a cat as an intermediary.
It has been only a short time since he started to get involved with Shinku. In order to get to know each other as well as possible, they need to get to know each other better during the date. Haruka wanted to get to know her well, but he still felt that she was wary of him. He asked the cat to take the role of letting her down.
Haruka smiled secretly that it worked out well. He was going to get along well with Shinku a lot.
“Claudia-san, what do you like about Shun?”
“His status, of course. You don’t find that kind of person very often. He’s also very handsome.”
An ordinary person can reach the rank of citizen B after 20 to 30 years of activity, but Shun is very close to it. He has already done enough to make a fuss that he can reach it while he is still in the middle school.
There are only a few people in the world who can reach the rank of B in the middle school. Besides, Shun has a brilliant talent. Unlike B rank, which can be attained with time, A rank, which requires talent, will be attained sooner or later. Perhaps even S rank.
Besides, he has a good personality and has a good face.
“Listen, Obi-san. A spouse in this society is just an ornament.”
“Ornaments… That’s a terrible analogy, but maybe it’s not inaccurate after all.”
When one gets married, Their spouse’s information will be displayed on their profile. In this society, if one’s spouse has a trashy profile, the person in question will be talked about behind their back.
In this world, Shun is like a hairpiece of legendary rarity.
“You, too, should improve yourself a little. It’s not a world where you can live only by your looks.”
“What? Are you admitting that I’m good-looking?”
Shinku’s cheeks flushed with a hint of color and she kept her mouth shut.
She turns her head toward the cat in her arms shyly and says in a small voice
“…. Well, I think you are good looking. Although not as good as Kureha-san.”
Being recognized by the beautiful girl, Haruka’s tension rose.
Thanking them for giving him good looks, Haruka thanked his father and mother who live in the [countryside].
Haruka called up the menu of the restaurant and ordered a cat snack from the panel. Immediately, a waitress appeared and handed him a cylinder filled with treats.
“Claudia-san, you should come here with Shun sometime.”
The cats, who seem to understand that the cylinder means snacks, noticeably find the cylinder and come close to Haruka.
“You looked so innocent and cute when you were playing with the cats earlier, I think he’ll fall in love with you”
“…. I’ll take that into consideration.”
Haruka holds a cat that comes close to him and gave it a liquid treat from a cylinder. The sight of the cat frantically licking the treats is irresistibly adorable.
Haruka hand the treat to Shinku and urge her to give some to the cats. She picks up a cat, which scratched the hem of Shinku’s skirt, and gives it a treat.
“Claudia-san, you are involved in several clubs, aren’t you?”
“Of course I do.”
“Do you have any suggestions?”
She answered in a dumbfounded manner.
“What do you mean? Isn’t it important to try various fields widely and shallowly first in order to know your aptitude?”
“Well, that’s right. But I haven’t been interested in anything for a long time.”
“If you keep on like that, you’ll be sent to the countryside while you’re still in school.”
People who don’t produce anything are sent to the countryside and are deemed worthless. There was no exception even during compulsory education.
Haruka’s father was sent to the countryside because he kept drawing pictures that were not worthy of recognition. Haruka’s mother abandoned him and left with his father to the countryside. Haruka’s mother has no interest in anyone but his father.
This was one of the reasons for Haruka’s desire for human skin.
“Hey, can I join your club?”
“Tennis and track and field are fine… but Blue Air Force and Steel Fantasy are only for the hardcore gamers…”
“Then let’s play tennis.”
“You don’t seem very motivated.”
“Claudia-san and Yunika-san, now that we know each other, it’ll be fun if we all play together.”
Haruka thought about inviting Ria too. If she wears thick overpants under her skirt, even her male genitalia won’t be noticeable.
His mind is occupied with the thought of Ria in tennis wear.
Next to him, Shinku was picking up another cat, putting it down beside the one that was running wildly for a snack. In the same way, she gives it a treat.
She looked at the cat with kind eyes, as if she was smiling. Haruka imagined her future, thinking that she will look at her child with the same kind eyes.
After that, they talked harmlessly for a while and passed the time.
Haruka thought that a conversation about cats was quite effective.
He thought that she might have enjoyed their conversation a little, as he observed to the expression on her face.
After they had spent more than an hour for some reason or other, they left the cat cafe [Wataneko] with Shinku who seemed to have a slight sad look on her face.
They walked side by side to our next destination.
“Like I said before, you should come back with Shun.”
“I guess so… I’d like to come again… “
It was the first time for Shinku to touch a cat, and she wished she had one. However, not only cats but also other pets are only allowed to be kept by citizens of rank B or higher.
If she lived at home, she could keep a cat because her parents and her sisters are Rank B citizens. Unfortunately, Shinku lives in the student dormitory. Even if she adopts a cat, she couldn’t see it often.
As she drops her shoulders in disappointment, Haruka smiles at her.
“But I’m glad you like them.”
“…. Yes, I like them a lot.”
Unlike before, Shinku was being honest with her feelings.
She was shocked to find that the creature she had only seen in still images was so cute when it moved.
“By the way, this is the first time I’ve been taken to a cat café on a date.”
“It’s an honor.”
The men she had dated in the past were usually those who took her to the movies, amusement parks, or sightseeing spots. She had never been taken to a cat cafe out of the blue. It was a little fresh.
The reaction was more than a little positive, and Haruka was glad.
“Where do you want to go next?”
“Let’s go shopping.”
“That sounds good. I was thinking of buying new spring clothes.”
At the mention of buying clothes, Haruka was pleased inside.
It was not every day that he had the opportunity to play dress-up with a beautiful girl like Shinku.
Haruka and Shinku walked to the department store together in high spirits.
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