I open my eyes to find that I'm back to my original world – World B. The Akane I know isn't here in this world; instead, it's home to Yuki-san, the "Ice Witch." With Akane's help, I know that it shouldn't be too difficult to make my dream become a reality here.

At least, I hope so.

Today I'm going to visit that maid café across town, where Yuki-san apparently works. I'm way too nervous to set foot in a place like that by myself though, so I'm going to ask Daisuke to come along to be my wingman. The Yuki-san of this world is too scary! Aside from that, being alone in a maid cafe could give her the impression that I'm some sort of loser. It's bad enough that she'll probably think I'm stalking her, so I don't want to give her any more bad ideas about me.

I get my uniform on and clean myself up to the best of my ability. I'd like to look good today, at the very least.

The school day passes by quickly, with nothing notable happening. I ask Daisuke if he would be willing to go with me to find Yuki-san after school at the maid café, and he gave his answer with no hesitation.

"Of course! I'd go anywhere with you dude. Besides, who doesn't want to see the Ice Witch in a cute maid uniform? Though wouldn't you be busy today afterschool?" he asks. 

That knucklehead was a little too enthusiastic about going with me, but I'm glad he said yes. I wonder why he thought I'd be busy today though…

Crap! I completely forgot that today was another tutoring session with Kaneko-san. I scribble her a short note and tape it to the door of the classroom that we use.

"Off to do an errand. I'll see you tomorrow."

Please forgive me today Kaneko-san, for destiny awaits me.

"Hey, you gonna say anything about that?"

Daisuke must be talking about Kaneko-san, who was following behind us.

"Let's just pretend that we haven't seen her…"

Kaneko-san was tailing the both of us. She had probably already seen the note I left her, and being the Roadrunner, she caught up to us easily.

"Those boys are up to no good!" she's probably thinking.

The funny thing was that she wasn't doing a very good job of keeping a low profile. It's not like it matters though, we're here to find Yuki-san so that I can get one step closer to balancing my two lives with her. Akane told us to look for a sign that has a cat logo. She said we can't miss it unless we're blind.

"Is this the place…?" I ask, as Daisuke and I spy a giant cat shaped sign that read "The Purrfect Café." As we enter, an embarrassed Kaneko-san only paces behind us, we're greeted by the loud meow of a rather pudgy black cat, sporting a red collar with a small bell. I muttered back a small "meow" to the café's mascot. A few feet into the restaurant, there was a small sign promoting a Valentine's Day couples special.

"Well, it's just the two of us… you know, not including the Roadrunner." Daisuke says to me, looking deeply into my eyes.

What was Daisuke implying?!

We get seated at a small table for two, decorated with pictures of cats and cat-girls galore.

"This is heaven Kaz…"

Daisuke and I were absorbing the atmosphere of the café. It was cat-themed, with the servers dressed in maid outfits that had cat ears or tails attached to them. The two of us were the only people in the restaurant, aside from Kaneko-san with her face buried in a menu at a table across from us. It seems like a slow day here.

"Daisuke, do you see Yuki-san anywhere?"

He and I were both scanning the café for Yuki-san, until a server interrupts us.

"Hello master-nyan! Ho-"

Daisuke and I, along with Kaneko-san, were in shock.

"I don't believe it…" gasped Daisuke, as he slowly pulled out his phone to snap a photo.

It was Yuki-san!

She looked absolutely adorable in that frilly cat/maid hybrid outfit. Her tight black pantyhose wrapped around the entire length of her endless legs, with my view only being cut off by the white frills coming off of the end of her unforgivingly short black dress. It was standard fare for a maid, with the exception of a small window in the shape of a cat's face carved out above her chest, revealing parts of her that I had not seen yet even in World A. To top it all off, she wore a pair of black cat ears on her head with a matching tail.

Yuki-san was visibly embarrassed, as our unexpected arrival had brought back her cold exterior. However, she immediately switched gears, and was right back to her maid persona, complete with a sweetly apologetic expression and tone.

Am I about to have a heart attack? I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't-

"What would you like masters-nyan?"

I could hear her cringing as she uttered that last part, and her smile did little to hide her true feelings. Those eyes… I can hear them screaming.

"I'd like an omelet rice, Akane-chan!" screamed Daisuke, the dumbest smile I had ever seen plastered a mile wide across his stupid face.

Daisuke, you idiot! You're gonna ruin everything! I never should have brought him along with me if he never intended to be careful about this. This is an investigation after all, with the end goal being to make Yuki-san become my girlfriend, not hate me!

"Okay! How about you…?" asked Yuki-san, turning to me.

"I guess make it two omelet rice-nyan?" I tried to laugh it off, but she glared at me.

Yuki-san left to go get our orders, stomping towards the kitchen. Even the manager was eyeing the commotion at our lone table. One glance from Yuki-san and he turned into an ice sculpture.

Poor manager-san!

"Kaz, no matter where I go with you, it's always entertaining!" Daisuke said, unable to contain his laughter.

"Shut up you goof! Don't try to ruin my chances with her!"

"C'mon dude, lighten up a little. Your hunch was right. We found the Ice Witch's secret lair. How can you explain that, other than destiny? That means you and her have a connection that no one else has. It'll be a great conversation starter!"

Yeah, it'd be a great conversation starter, and life ender for me.

A few minutes later, our plates came. Yuki-san aggressively plopped the plates down in front of us.

"Eat up." she said, with grim malice in her voice. She had dropped her cutesy charade for the moment, and passively unleashed the full force of her disgust upon us.

"Wait! The menu said that you could write something on our omelet rice!" said Daisuke with a cheeky grin on his face.

Yuki-san let out the heaviest sigh I've ever heard.

"Fine…master-nyan." She grabbed the ketchup bottle and drew a heart on Daisuke's omelet rice with ease. Then, she did the same on mine. I looked down at her work, and noticed that in the center of it, she had written something: "Die." I looked up nervously at her, and she bent over, her face right next to my ear, and whispered, "Enjoy…Kaneshiro-san…" Her menacing tone had frozen me in place, and I could not find the words to respond.

If I'm gonna get out alive, I'd better hurry up and eat everything fast.

Daisuke, however, was taking photos of me and him at this café. Unfortunately, the manager didn't allow us to take photos of the maids, but that seemed more like Yuki-san's restriction than his own. I'm so scared to death that I've lost my appetite. It was unbelievable to think that Akane and Yuki-san were the same person.

I hope I never do something bad to Akane in the other world…

"We've had enough research for today, hurry up Daisuke!" He was sure taking his sweet time to tease me.

I get ready to leave and pay the bill for both of us. Daisuke got an important call during the meal and had to leave early. He probably forgot his wallet at home – again. Aside from being absolutely terrified, I'm also broke for the month. I head for the exit and say goodbye to the cat and Kaneko-san, who is glaring at me much the same way that Yuki-san had been from behind her menu. The difference in terror between the two was so laughable that I couldn't help but smile back at her as I let the door close behind me.

Not five seconds later, I hear the door open behind me once again. I turn around, expecting Kaneko-san to be there, berating me for skipping out on our tutoring session for something so unsavory. Instead, I saw Yuki-san, her fists clenched, still in uniform. I was both terrified and excited to the point that I didn't know whether to run or stand my ground just to get a better look.

"You…you jerk!" She was breathing heavily, her face filled with rage. Despite her malicious aura, she still looked amazingly cute, as well as being very obviously enraged. Everyone outside on the street was staring in confusion at the peculiar sight of this beautiful young woman's wrath. My body involuntarily prepares to make its escape, as my knees bend and I raise my arms.

"Don't you dare tell anyone what you saw here today!" she shouted as she pointed at me.

My instincts take over and I bow my head and apologize. I can hear the small crowd around us gasp, but I don't need to look up to know the extent of the icy glare that Yuki-san is giving me.

"Don't ever come back here you idiot! You and your other stupid friend!" she bellowed as she stormed off back into the café in a huff, her tail wagging behind her legs.

If today could be summed up in a single phrase, it would be "one step forward, a million steps back". This wasn't as easy as I thought it was gonna be. I turn around and start to head back home, until the screaming of another girl freezes me once more.

"Wait for me, Kazuki-kun!"

There was Kaneko-san, who had caught up to me quickly. The crowd from just seconds ago looks at me with a mixture of shock and disgust, and stare as if waiting for some kind of answer. Kaneko-san looks around, confused. I shake my head at the crowd to let them know there would be no more fighting and they disperse, audibly disappointed.

Kaneko-san was walking home besides me. Needless to say, Daisuke, Kaneko-san, and myself were officially on Yuki-san's list.

"I can't believe that was the Ice Witch…" Kaneko-san looked at me intently. "How did you find out about where she worked Kazuki-kun?"

There was no way I was gonna tell my secret, especially to a girl like Kaneko-san who teases me endlessly.

"I just had a hunch is all…" Kaneko-san gave me a suspicious look, but shrugged it off and accepted my answer.

"You don't give up, do you Kazuki-kun?"

"Huh…?" I was confused about what her question was implying. "What do you mean?"

Kaneko-san stopped walking and stood in front of me.

"I mean, most guys would have quit by now, but you're still trying. You're not going to quit on her, are you?"

She was right. I won't quit on Yuki-san.

I will make her happy somehow!

I laugh for first time today. Kaneko-san laughs too. Somehow for a moment, the airheaded roadrunner looked graceful with her smile. At least, until she started laughing harder.

"What an idiot!" she blurted, as she threw her head back in laughter, unable to contain it with her hands. Just like that, whatever grace she had shown disappeared, like dust in the wind.


She composes herself and returns to normal. She turns to look at me, the laughter gone from her face, replaced by a calm and thankful smile. "I'm just glad you have a sense of justice Kazuki…"

I don't think I'll ever really understand this girl, either.

We head our separate ways when we reach a small intersection.

"Hey Kazuki…" Kaneko muttered quietly to me, tugging softly at my sleeve. I look over at her, and she looks somewhat nervous.

"You… you wouldn't happen to be doing anything for… you know, you don't have any plans, like, for… AAAAAH!" she screams as she runs off.

I don't have much time to be confused, as she stops after a few meters and runs back to me.

"You owe me a tutoring session idiot! Don't you forget it!" she reminds me, as she runs off so fast that I can smell the rubber burning off of the soles of her shoes.

What a weird girl...

"I'm home."

I find my mother sitting at the table reading and notice that my dad is back too.

"Hey son!"

My dad is the complete opposite of my mother. I honestly have no idea how they got together, nor do I want to learn how, but it's probably an interesting story. My dad has to travel a lot due to his work, and he's more of a free spirit than my mother; a bit eccentric, perhaps. I'll admit though, that my father really did care for us. As a kid, he would pretend to be the bad guy and I would try to finish him off with my signature move just like the show! My mother would always call him a fool, as he exaggerated his make-believe death throes and asked her to join his team.

"Let me see your face!"

My father meticulously inspected my head by looking at every wrinkle and examining me like I was an object off an assembly line.

"Hmm…honey! Can you make him drink the special herbal tea I bought?"

"No! I'm fine dad, really!"

Every trip he always manages to find the weirdest and strangest things for me to try, and almost every single one was worse than the last somehow. Dad called off the herbal tea as my mother and I exchanged looks of relief.

"I'll find something better next time! Oh! I should mention that I'm leaving early in the morning. I have to go to the regional office for a few days. Apparently I need to train new recruits on the basics."

Mother sighed deeply. He continued, "But I'll call every night dear…and I'll be back before Valentines' Day…"

My father was never the smooth talker he liked to believe he was. The two embrace, and I look away as soon as possible, cringing at the sight.

The three of us ate dinner together for the first time in a long time, giving me a nice peaceful moment to hold onto in an otherwise jarringly negative day. I'm in bed now, staring at the ceiling. The next time I wake up, I will be in World A, where Akane and I are together.

I'm sure my dad would love to meet Akane. I'll have to ask her if he showed up in that world today.

They seem like they'd be two peas in a pod. I'm so excited to see her again that I can't sleep.

Maybe I should do some exercise or something? I try to do ten push-ups, with an emphasis on "try". After tiring myself out from those push-ups, I'm still not sleepy. All I can do is be alone with my thoughts. Today was sort of a disaster. Akane will probably make fun of me when I tell her the results of my reconnaissance. She'll probably say something like "I bet I could seduce myself!" However, one thing that bothered me after I thought about it for a minute was Daisuke.

What was so important that he had to leave?

I tried calling him earlier but he wasn't picking up. He messaged me later telling me he'll see me tomorrow. If he had just forgotten his wallet, or was being cheap, then he would've gloated about the free lunch by now.

What secret could he be keeping from his best friend?

Also, I have to see Kaneko-san tomorrow too, especially since she started spamming me LINE messages about our regularly scheduled tutoring.

"DON'T FORGET THIS TIME OR ELSE!" she had just sent, written in all capital letters. I drift off to sleep, anxious to awaken to the sight of the girl of my dreams once again…


About the author


Bio: Musings & Misc. Follow kenbinru.t*mbler.c*m for illustrations.

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