Thank You to s.e.kwan for Commissioning this Translation ♥
Disclaimer：I cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of this translation
CASE 2 Taki Ikuto
The day the RUNLIMIT experiment ended, I went from being a test subject back to being a normal human being.
And finally, I could be her real prince.
“When the curse is lifted from the prince, he will be wedded to the princess who lifted the curse, and they will pledge eternal love to one another.”
I, having been younger than her, was too young to protect her back then. But now, things are different. My body and height have grown a lot since then. With the way I am now, I am sure that I am worthy to be her prince.
“It’s almost time…”
I checked my watch and sat down on the sofa. This is where we used to sit together when we were little.
Although we had gone on a couple of dates after I left the facility, this is her first time visiting my house since we were children.
“‘Room’s cleaned, snacks are ready, all that’s left is…”
I could feel myself getting uncharacteristically nervous. As I was anxiously waiting for her to arrive, I heard the doorbell ring.
“Sorry for the intrusion.”
“Please come on in.”
She was more dressed up than usual.
My heart beats a little faster at the thought that she must’ve done this for me.
“Oh, these clothes? I just bought them; they don’t look weird on me, do they?”
“They look incredibly cute on you. They suit you.”
“That’s a relief～ Thank you.”
I wasn’t talking about her clothes, I was talking about how cute she was, though. But if I were to tell her that, her face will probably turn bright red, so I’ll keep that to myself for now.
I only want to see that kind of face, not at the door, but when we’re alone inside my room.
As she sat down on the sofa, the hem of her skirt fluttered in the air.
Seeing her sit on the sofa, carefully pressing her hem down, I thought to myself, “Ahh, she really is a girl.” …Even such gestures are so endearing.
“I’ll go make some tea.”
“Oh, I’ll come help.”
“You’re my guest. Sit.”
“Soon you’ll no longer be a guest, so let me do it.”
She remained puzzled for a while and as if she figured out the meaning, her cheeks gradually turned red.
“Does that… Do you, umm, mean it in that sense?”
“Once you become my bride, you’ll be living with me and you’ll no longer be a guest, right?”
She looked a little embarrassed…but when I saw her smile happily, it warmed my heart.
“Then wait here for a moment.”
On seeing that sweet smile, I smiled back just as softly.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Oh, uh, thank you.”
“Hehe, and there’re snacks too. Would you like to eat them together?”
To others, this may just be an ordinary afternoon, but to us, it was a very blissful time. I never thought I’d see the day when we could spend time like this again……
“It’s very warm…”
We leaned back on the sofa and pulled each other’s bodies close.
The warmth of her body against my shoulder was comforting. With her here, I don’t have to feel so cold anymore.
As long as the two of us can be together, we’ll always be……
“You own a huge collection of books as always.”
She spoke while pointing to the bookshelf that had come into her field of vision.
“There are even more books than before…”
“There were just so many interesting ones at the bookstore, I guess.”
During my time in the facility, I was not able to freely choose which books I read. And now, going to the bookstore is one of my favorite things to do.
I found tons of books that I had never even heard of, much less read before……
With each book I read, my world seemed to expand, and it was fun.
“Which book have you found most interesting lately, Ikuto?”
“Hmm… In terms of recently, I think it should be around here.”
“Oh? Can I try reading a few pages of it?”
“Of course. Oh, and the book I recommend for you is this.”
I handed her a romance novel I thought she’d like. I wasn’t sure if she was interested, but she opened the cover and began to focus.
I sat down next to her and started reading a book with her.
I wonder how much time has passed?
In time with the sound of the grandfather clock, she suddenly looked up at me.
“Ikuto, what are you reading?”
“I’m reading a book called ‘Finnegans Wake’.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of that one. They say it’s one of the most difficult works in the world.”
“Yeah. They say it’s an eccentric piece, don’t they?”
The book is a mixture of languages from all over the world, with pun-esque words, lines that begin, not with a capital, but with a lowercase, etc. ……It’s a book that makes you feel like you’re lost in a giant maze.
“……I’m surprised you decided to read it.”
“To be honest, I don’t understand much of it either, but leaving it like that is frustrating, isn’t it? That’s why I’m determined to read it.”
We then both started laughing.
She peered over into the book and tried to read it, but gave up soon after.
“Hmm? What’s the matter?”
“Somehow it feels like we’ve gone back to the old days.”
I couldn’t help but love her as she smiled joyfully.
“In the past, we read books together here, right?”
“Yeah, we did. But the past and the present are different.”
“If we were just childhood friends, I wouldn’t be doing this.”
I gently took her lips as she looked at me curiously; the heat from her lips flowing directly into my body.
My head was spinning…… We really are lovers now……
When I came to this realization, I suddenly felt something warm run down my cheeks.
Realizing that tears were spilling from my eyes, I hurriedly hid my face.
“S-Sorry! God knows why I’m crying!”
I’m so embarrassed… For what reason am I crying?
Not wanting to shed any more tears in front of the girl I loved, I quickly wiped my eyes. Then suddenly, I heard the sound of sobbing next to me.
Looking closely, her tears were flowing just like mine……
“Oh, uh, sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
“Are you hurt? Did something happen?”
“M-m, no…I was just so happy.”
“I’m just so happy that you’re next to me, Ikuto.”
The sight of tears rolling down her cheeks as she spoke was so incredibly precious, and I could feel a sense of tightness in my chest.
“Thank god. I’m not the only one who feels that way.”
I hugged her tightly as she laughed and cried.
I wrapped my hands around her waist and pulled her close, and with our warmth combined, things felt even warmer.
“I’ve liked you ever since I was little, after all… I don’t want us to relive that painful and lonely experience.”
She and I were separated for 5 years. I thought I was the only one that was lonely. But I had made her feel just as lonely.
“I’m so sorry……”
I put my arms around her tight and pulled her down onto the sofa. Then I hugged her even tighter.
“I won’t let you experience that loneliness ever again.”
When I dropped a kiss on her forehead, her shoulders jumped.
Truthfully, I want us to continue, but…I wish to cherish her. I don’t want to scare her.
I managed to suppress my heated desires with reason and kissed her on the cheek one last time before gently pulling away.
“Sorry, we were in the middle of reading, right?”
With a “Here,” I picked up the book that had fallen to the floor and handed it over to her. But she looked at me dissatisfied.
“Erm, is something wrong?”
The lack of a response from her made me anxious.
“Wait… Did you hate that I kissed you on the cheek that much?”
I was shocked by her overly honest words. It felt as if I had been hit in the head with a blunt object.
“Oh, uh, sorry, let me go wash my face.”
I stood up from the sofa with a feeling of self-loathing. But for whatever reason, she panicked and grabbed the edge of my clothes.
“T-That’s not what I meant.”
“……Then what did you mean?”
“I’m saying that I…don’t want you to kiss me on the cheeks.”
“I want it on the lips, like before.”
Her cute comment instantly made my body burn up.
“Haa… Goodness, jeez.”
I looked down and sighed while she looked up at me with anticipation.
“This is your fault.”
“I’m not going to be responsible for what’s about to happen.”
Again, I pushed her against the sofa and stole a kiss.
A slightly confused hand pressed on my chest, but I placed my lips on top of hers, pretending not to notice.
I mean, there’s no helping it, is there? It’s your fault for getting me riled up.