Kaho Miyamoto's heart was pounding rapidly.
She had never imagined that she would be princess-carried one day, and by such a handsome boy to boot!
It shouldn't be this way, right? A prince-like boy like him should be carrying a princess-like girl, not a disgusting otaku girl like her!
Kaho Miyamoto was self-aware of her own appearance being on the ugly side, and along with being a loner whose interests were different from most, no matter how you looked at it, she was at the bottom of the rung.
And as for Seigo Harano who was carrying her, even though this was only his second day in school, his appearance and body shape was A+, and he had a gentle personality and was polite. All the girls had excellent opinions of him, while the boys seemed rather jealous.
The difference between her and this shining fellow who was top-class in everything was like that of a mountain and a valley—they shouldn't have had any contact with each other in the first place.
Nevertheless, she was currently being princess-carried by him.
When she had accidentally injured her foot earlier, she had thought that today was an unlucky day, but perhaps today she was fortunate after all?
While Kaho Miyamoto's heart was all aflutter, they reached the infirmary.
The infirmary nurse was a friendly woman in her 40s that had plenty of experience in treating this type of injury, so her injury was quickly treated and bandaged. Kaho was then informed that she should rest her foot for the next two days.
After that, the nurse allowed Kaho to rest on one of the beds, before she hurriedly departed from the infirmary to attend to another task.
"Does your foot still hurt, Miyamoto-san?"
"It... doesn't hurt as much anymore. Thank you, Harano-san."
Kaho lowered her head after glancing at the boy who was worried about her.
"I'm sorry... I'm probably so heavy... my apologies for all the trouble when I'm such a disgusting girl..."
Seiji frowned upon hearing her words.
"Look here." He put both his hands in front of her.
"Mm?" Kaho reflexively raised her head.
*Smack!* In front of Kaho, Seiji slapped himself hard on the hand, and the sound resounded clearly through the infirmary room, startling her.
"Give yourself more credit—you haven't done anything wrong, so why are you lowering your head?"
Seiji smiled at the girl who felt a mixture of shock and confusion at his action.
"Yes, you're rather fat and somewhat disgusting."
Kaho Miyamoto felt like she had received a critical hit.
She couldn't help but think, 'Was there anyone that would say it so directly like you!?'
Even if she was fully aware of the truth already, it would still hurt if someone else said it out loud.
"But, so what?" Seiji continued. "Your weight means nothing to me. I could carry you and run for 100 kilometers if necessary, and as for you being disgusting... sorry, but I'm already used to someone that's 100 times more disgusting than you are."
"Oh..." Kaho Miyamoto's eyes widened in amazement.
Someone 100 times as disgusting as she was—who could that possibly be?
"I'm talking about myself," Seiji pointed as his own chest, "more accurately, the person I previously was until not long ago."
"...Huh!?" Kaho's astonishment further increased.
"It's true—just a month ago, I was even fatter than you, and I was also uglier than you. I had fallen to the utmost depravity; I was basically human scum, a walking pile of garbage." Seiji shrugged casually.
Considering the state of the original Seiji, it wouldn't be an exaggeration no matter how much he insulted himself.
But to Kaho, it seemed utterly inconceivable—how could this possibly be!?
"Do you think I'm lying? I'm definitely not. You can go ask Mika Uehara if you don't believe me—she's quite knowledgeable about how depraved I was before. My depravity even led to me being chased out of my own home, and currently, I'm living on my own and have to work to support myself."
"What... what!?" Kaho felt like her world was turning upside-down.
Could all this be true!? It truly didn't seem possible!
But there was no reason for him to make all this up—a normal person wouldn't denigrate himself to this degree!
And if all of this was real, was it something to say out loud so easily!? Wouldn't a normal person want to desperately hide his own dark past!?
Kaho Miyamoto felt dizzy thinking about it all.
"Well, none of that was really important." Seiji lightly passed over the subject.
They're super important, okay!?
"I just wanted to say that you aren't heavy at all to me, nor are you disgusting, so you don't need to apologize to me. If you were helped by me, all you need to say is 'thank you,' don't you think?"
Seiji smiled gently.
A light breeze blew the window curtain open, and a ray of sunlight illuminated his handsome face, increasing the radiance of his brilliant smile.
This scene etched itself deeply into Kaho Miyamoto's heart.
A part of her that had been numbed for so long suddenly awakened.
"Why... were you able to change yourself so greatly? If... you were really like the person you said you were?" Kaho gripped the bedsheet tightly.
"Well..." Seiji scratched his face. "Actually I prefer to keep that private, but I may as well do you a service. Not long ago, I almost... choked to death on some instant noodles."
Kaho who was listening to him seriously felt like she heard something incomprehensible.
"I almost choked to death on some instant noodles." Seiji repeated while pointing at himself again. "Does it sound funny? Well, it really happened. When I almost choked to death on the instant noodles, it was like I saw my entire life flash before my eyes, and I was able to observe myself from a bystander's viewpoint. That's when I finally discovered the truth: that this guy was so terrible, I should get rid of him. However, I didn't end up dying and coughed up the instant noodles. That's when I realized that I must change myself, and thus I began exercising, set new life principles to live by, and did my utmost to follow them. Actually, I didn't expect to become this handsome—I only intended to lose some weight. I'm not used to being a handsome guy at all—all those attractive girls surrounding me makes me feel rather nervous." Seiji shrugged again.
Kaho heard a story that sounded like a fantasy to her, and her eyes remained wide open and round throughout.
At the end, she began giggling.
"What's with this... such a haphazard thing happening... It's the first time I've ever heard someone saying how handsome they are. It's a little sickening... but you really are quite handsome, Harano-san."
She laughed to the point where tears were flowing out.
It felt like something within her heart had been shattered and dissolved into a liquid that was releasing itself from her eyes.
Seiji just watched her as he smiled.
"This is my secret—even Mika and the others don't know about it. Please let it remain a secret for me."
Something moved in Kaho's heart.
"Yeah, I don't have the courage to tell them something this shameful."
"Then why... did you tell me?"
"Because you're the same type as me," Seiji said sincerely, "just like the my previous self, you're fat, an otaku, and not good-looking at all. Oh, and by the way, I'm still an otaku—I only just became a little more handsome."
Upon hearing this, Kaho giggled—she couldn't stop herself from laughing again.
"How did you know I was an otaku?"
"I can sense my kind—you can't conceal that otaku scent of yours!" Seiji pressed against his forehead, while pointing to her in an exaggerated pose copied from an anime.
"Don't say it like you're someone from a shonen manga who sensed an enemy, ok!?" Kaho commented reflexively.
The two of them looked at each other and broke out into laughter.
"I don't have any otaku friends currently, so will you be my friend, Miyamoto-san?"
Seiji stretched out his hand.
Kaho looked at his large hand, and her expression was fluctuating rapidly. After a long period of time, she slowly shook her head.
"I can't... not now... Harano-san, you stand out too much. You're a prince now, even if you used to be the person you just described to me. I don't have the confidence to be by your side yet."
"Is that so..." Seiji retracted his hand regretfully.
"But, I'll work my hardest." Kaho smacked her lips, and her eyes sparkled with the light of conviction, "I'll do my best to reach where you are, and when that time comes..."
'Please allow me to reach out to you, my beloved... prince on a white horse.'
Seigo Harano had already left.
Everything that just happened seemed as if it were a dream.
But the secret that Kaho Miyamoto kept deep within her heart reminded her that it was no dream.
This was the first time since she was born that she truly fell in love with a real-life boy.
This was the first time since she was born that she truly felt glad to be alive.
This was the first time since she was born that she felt like she could achieve her dreams.
The gods that had ignored her for fifteen entire years may have been waiting for this moment to give her hopes and dreams to reach for.
"Harano-kun... I won't... make you wait long."