Akami-sama stretched his arm while the morning sun shone on him and his cup of coffee. He finally managed to get the day and night cycle just right this time. It's really a pain in the ass to get this new world rotating just right to achieve a 23 hours and 56 minutes day and night cycle. He turned around to find Monika fiddling with the data on the world they were working so hard to piece back together.
" Hey dear, have you finished the character files?" Akami-sama asked as he sipped his coffee.
" Y-Yeah... Sort off... I just need some more data to make their thought process function much better."
" I see... I'll go take some data from my library to use as a data set." Akami-sama mused as he ran towards his small library.
He reached for a small book atop his shelf. He is still getting used to the smaller content of his once vast library. Monika forced him to give his collection back to the worlds he took them from back in his journeys. He reached for a small book atop his shelf, but he couldn't quite reach it. Suddenly, he tipped over a small frame and it immediately came falling down the shelf. Akami-sama immediately dropped what he was doing and quickly caught the picture frame just in the nick of time. He smiled as he took a look at the picture. It was his copy of the entire Literature Club's club picture.
" Pau— I mean, Akami-sama! What is that?" Monika called out to the god while she was busy working on the character files.
Akami-sama walked towards her with a smile on his face. "Just a nice picture. Here, take a look." Akami-sama handed her his treasured picture.
They both smiled at the captured moment. Sayori was the center of attention. She was the one holding the camera, and the one with the brightest smile. She held out a peace sign, adding more points into her overall cuteness. Monika and Yoku stood at the back while hugging each other. They could see his joyful expression while Monika pressed her body against his. Akami-sama chuckled to himself due to the smug look Yoku's Monika had on her face. Beside them is Natsuki and Yuri. The tall girl had a timid smile as she looked nervously at the camera. It was a stark contrast to Natsuki's confident and proud smile. The god laughed when he saw his old coworker Miss Yumi photo-bombing in the distance with a silly face. To the right is where the couple Yosuke and Amy could be seen sharing a discreet kiss. Hopefully he did a good job coding them back into the world. Beside them is Maido and Akami-sama. Maido had a forced smile on her face, she never really liked being photographed. Suddenly, Monika laughed as she took a look at the other version of herself, but her attention slowly turned towards Yoku.
" Why... Why did you have to make Yoku go through all of this, only for his effort to go to nothing?" Monika asked Akami-sama with a confused tone.
Akami-sama chuckled before he gave his answer. "I could never edit a world that was never mine. Sure, I could change it by a small degree, but never create such a radical change like what I just created. I needed the destruction caused by the Fourth Act in order for me to recreate the world to be the ideal world for Yoku."
" Is that so? Then why not just create the world from scratch? Couldn't you have given Yoku this world from the very beginning?" Monika asked the god.
" I needed to see if Yoku is worthy of living in the world of DDLC. And as I see it, he passed my test with flying colors." Akami-sama smiled as he looked at the picture.
" Well, he had help from his Monika. She was his wall to lean on when he felt down and hopeless. She and Yoku formed an amazing team. Together, no hurdle can stop those two. It was amazing to watch those two..." Suddenly, Akami-sama heard Monika giggle behind him.
" Ahaha! I want to meet that version of me." Monika smiled as she looked at her doppelganger.
" Heh, you might be surprised to see how different she is from you."
" Hmm? And why is that?"
" She's... Well... Uh... More assertive and dominant with Yoku than you are to me."
" I see! So she's the one wearing the pants in their relationship."
" I won't say it like tha— Nevermind."
" Ahaha~! That version of me is pretty interesting... How many versions of me have you met by the way?" Monika asked with childlike curiosity.
" Hmmm... Well, I've seen some dimensions where you kept getting into dangerous fights where you would help this guy called Monty fight off dangerous people; A dimension where you came out of a computer along with the others and met with this nice guy called Izuna Takaya; A dimension where you and your protagonist played along to the whims of a god and many more!"
" Wow! That sounds really fun!"
" You bet you do! The gods of those worlds are pretty nice guys!... Wait a minute, that reminds me..."
" What is it?"
" We haven't really checked how Yoku is doing, huh?"
DDLC: Our Reality
I shot up from my bed in a panic. It must've been all a dream, huh? Weird. I looked at the time in my clock. It's still five in the morning on the day of the festival. I let out a groggy groan as I stretched my arms and got out of bed. I looked at a picture on my night stand. It was a picture of my parents. Sadly, they aren't with me anymore. Dad died when I was five when he was shot in the line of duty while Mom succumbed to her grief a few years back. However, in my dream, she was taken away by social services due to abusive behavior as my brother took me under his wing. Mom was never like that, and that's what made the dream weird and strange. It felt too real, like it was a memory. They were supposed to leave us three siblings the 10 million dollars they earned by selling most of their estates overseas, but their will stated that 7 million will be donated to the local orphanage and hospital since my Mom used to be a doctor, a heart surgeon to be precise, and an avid volunteer at the orphanage. That left us with a million dollars each to be spent on my college tuition fees and my siblings' student loans, along with our expenses for the next few years. My brother used his inheritance to start a small restaurant in Japan while my sister used hers to fund her research on Robotics and A.I.
" Yoku~! Are you awake?" A singsong voice mused from downstairs.
" Yes!" I answered back.
" Take a shower! You're gonna be late!" She said loudly.
" Sure! Can you heat up some coffee for us?" I said before entering the bathroom.
That was Maido, or 'Mai' for short, our maid. Weird name, right? She's been my legal guardian and maid since I was around six. She was also basically my stepsister since Mom grew fond of her during her outreach activities in the orphanage and decided to adopt her. She's just two years older than me, but her mannerisms and attitude is like that of a mother's. She may be strict and stern most of the time, but she's really a child at heart. You could see this with her favorite hobby, Cosplaying. She's also incredibly intelligent, one could consider her a prodigy in the fields of Mathematics, Science, and much more if not for the fact that she refuses to finish her studies. Maido is content on only graduating highschool, choosing to take care of me first rather than her studies.
" Yoku! Hurry up! Your coffee is getting cold!" I was already in the process of getting dressed when she shouted from downstairs.
" Coming!" I replied back while I darted down the flight of stairs, putting on my blazer as I did so.
I was greeted with the sight of a table filled with food. The pancakes towered over the table and the aroma of bacon wafted through the air. Maido smiled as she handed me my cup of coffee.
" Today's a busy day. You guys better eat a heavy breakfast. Sayori and Natsuki should be here soon." Maido said before taking a sit and pouring herself a cup of coffee.
" Oh, yeah... The festival's today... Wait, are they eating here—" The door behind me flew open and two girls wearing our school uniform came storming inside.
" Good Morning~! Hi Yoku! Hi Maido!" Sayori's energetic voice surprised me. This early in the morning and she's already this energetic.
" Morning, sleepy head." Natsuki had a grin on her face as she sat down beside Sayori.
" You're in a good mood today." I remarked.
" That's cause I'm gonna attract new members with my delicious cupcakes! I've worked my butt off just to make a few batches." Natsuki proudly bragged with a the proudest and the most smug smile I've seen in a while.
" That's amazing. Nice job! Though you didn't need to brag about it to me." I said with a smile. Her face turned red as she began to stammer.
" Huh?! I-it's not like I'm s-showing off to you, dummy! It's my j-job to bake the cupcakes, r-remember?" She turned her head away with me while she pouted and folded her arms together.
" B-But thanks for noticing..." She murmured out with a timid and bashful tone.
" Ahaha! You're welcome!"
These two are my fellow club members and my neighbors. Sayori has been my childhood friend ever since we were babies. Our parents were close with each other, and I saw them as family as well. Sayori's mom and dad are both great and loving parents, although it's a shame they have to spend most of the year abroad due to work. Because of that, Mom stood as somewhat of a second mother for Sayori until Mom died three years ago, and I was like a brother to her. A few days ago, I found out Sayori has been battling depression. At first I was sad and worried, since I didn't even noticed she was suffering from it. But she told me that she doesn't plan on letting it impact her life too negatively. Currently, she's undergoing some therapy, and I'm proud that she's making some progress! I've been doing my best as her friend to support and help her with her hurdle in life. I'd hate it if Sayori gives up on herself, so I've been paying close attention to her this past few days.
Natsuki also became my neighbor just days ago. It was shocking to find out that she was being abused by her father. Damn monster has been starving her and beating her nearly everyday. Thankfully, a good neighbor found out about this and reported it to the authorities which lead to his arrest. Sadly though, Natsuki didn't have any other relatives that are willing to take her in, but luckily Sayori and I were there for her. The incident happened around the same time when Sayori's parents were home. They heard about all of this incident and how great of a friend Natsuki was to their child. It took a while, but they managed to fix the paperwork to adopt her just before they left for Paris. It took some time for her to adjust, heck, she was still adjusting even now! Although it's nice to see her finally have a place she could truly call and feel home.
We began to eat our breakfast together. Maido and I ate French Toast, Sayori went for the bacon and eggs and Natsuki began to eat the towering stack of pancakes before her. After a while, we managed to finish our breakfast.
" Maido! This is delicious! Seconds please!" Natsuki asked as she chomped down on the last bite of her pancake.
" Sorry, but we don't have any more batter for the pancakes." Maido replied with a smile on her face.
" Huh?! No way!" Natsuki had a surprised and dissapointed look on her face.
" Well, even if we had more pancakes, I doubt you'll be able to finish them all. Look at the time." Maido pointed at the wall clock. It's already 6:45 am.
" Shit! School starts in 15 minutes and Monika asked us to get there early!" Natsuki said in a hurried tone before standing up and dashing for my refrigerator.
" Yoku hurry up and and help me carry this boxes!" Natsuki immediately began to take out the boxes of cupcakes we prepared yesterday.
I immediately took a box from the refrigerator. I was careful not to drop it or else Natsuki might punch me. Sayori salivated at the sight of Natsuki's cucakes, I couldn't blame her. Just a whiff of the faint aroma of sugar is enough for me to imagine the taste of such a sweet treat. We stacked the boxes on top of each other before tying them up with a ribbon so that they won't open up on the way to school. Natsuki and Sayori seemed excited for the festival that as soon as I finished tying up the boxes, they immediately took a box and headed out the door. I took the remaining three boxes and went on my way as well.
" Bye Maido~!" We bid Maido goodbye in unison, she waved goodbye in response.
" Take care you guys! And good luck!" She said before closing the door behind us.
DDLC: Our Reality
We made it to our school just in the nick of time. I smiled as I saw the different banners and stalls in the school yard. We passed through the school gates while getting stares from the people there that are either setting up the decorations, or putting up their stalls. I could see some of my fellow classmates in the crowd with a cheeky smile on their faces. From out of nowhere, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to find Amy and Yosuke behind me.
" Yo! Let me help you with that!" Yosuke said before taking a box.
" Thanks!" I said with a smile on my face.
" No probs man! We still owe you for helping us join your club." He said with a chuckle.
" Heh, I can't believe you two decided to use the club to confess to each other." I smiled as I reminisced on that day. Two students wanted to participate for our poem recitation today. They told us that they wanted to read a poem they made for practice. We were surprised to find out that the two actually wanted to confess to each other through poetry.
" Ehehe... Sorry..." Amy scratched the back of her head with a smile.
" Hey! Hurry up! Do you want to taste the cupcakes or no?!" Natsuki yelled out from in front of us.
" I guess we better hurry up lest the tsundere kick the crap out of us." Yosuke whispered. I nod before we quicken our pace.
The five of us made our way through various crowded corridors. It seems the entire school is enthusiastic about the festival. I could tell Sayori is making a mental note of the stalls and exhibits she's gonna visit later. I'm sure she's gonna drag me with her later for my wallet. The glances she gave me confirmed this. After a while, we finally made it to the club. We opened the door to the room and what I saw surprised and amazed me. Yuri did an amazing job with the decorations and banners. Bright and vivid colors filled the room and gave an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. It's nice to see that our hard work paid off. Though, yesterday got pretty haggard due to three girls moving around and making a mess in my house, but it was a fun day nonetheless. Maido, however, kept scolding me about having three girls in my house and NOT making a move in them, saying that I was too timid and meek. Well, in my defense, I already have someone I lo—
" Darling~! You're here!" I was caught off guard by someone suddenly embracing me. Thankfully, I managed to keep a firm grip on the box of cupcakes. I turned around to find Monika hugging me tightly.
Ah, Monika. The two of us were once classmates last year. She was the perfect student. Beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and charismatic, she's got it all. At first, I didn't bother talking to her since I was out of her league. In fact, it was pretty hard for every guy to approach her. It was like you're approaching a goddess. Thankfully, I got my chance due to a stroke of luck... and Sayori. It was about two months ago when I heard Sayori bragging to me that she was the vice president of some startup club and she kept relentlessly asking me to join said club. Since I was doing nothing at the time and I didn't want to straight up turn her down, I said I'd give it a try. It was then when I had a pleasant surprise in the name of Monika. I found out that she recently left the Debate Club to start the Literature Club. They already have 2 other members by that time, which was really surprising for a club that's only been up for like a month. It was here were I met Natsuki and Yuri, and it was here where I sold my soul to the Literature Club to taste Natsuki's delicious brownies and to get my chance to talk with Monika, and it was a decision that I will never regret. The two of us clicked together the moment we began to talk to each other. To think that we had so much in common surprised both of us. We started to spend more time with each other in and outside of school. The more we hang out, the closer we became until eventually, we were now officially in a romantic relationship. Those memories still bring a smile to my face.
" Hi dear! You two did a good job, I'm impressed!" I mused to her as I put down the box of cupcakes on the table.
" Ahaha~! Yuri did most of the work, but thanks! *muah*" Monika giggled before giving me a peck on the cheek. I smiled at her before petting her head.
" Geez, this early in the morning and there are already four people being lovebirds... Get a room!" Natsuki huffed out before placing the box on the table and shaking her head.
" Ehehe, let them be, Natsuki! From what I'm seeing, you're being bitter that Monika beat you to him!" Sayori teased the tsundere as she was pulling something out of her pocket. Before I could laugh however, something came flying towards Sayori and it found its mark on her forehead.
" Ow! Huh? A cookie! Thanks—"
" S-Shut up! W-What k-kind of person would g-go out with this guy!" Natsuki huffed out defensively. Her face is now a bright shade of pink.
" Ahaha! I'd go out with Yoku." Monika interjected.
" Hmph! Nobody asked you!" Natsuki pouted before folding her arms and sulking in a corner.
" Tch, damn Monika... using her charms to get her way with him..." We could hear Natsuki murmuring something under her breath, but we decided that it's for the best to just leave her be.
While Amy and Yosuke unpacked the cupcakes, we heard a familiar voice from outside talking with someone. The door opened and we saw Yuri giggling and waving goodbye to someone. She turned around only to jump in surprise. Her eyes widened at the sight of us and she immediately began to quiver. We all shot her a grin as she entered the room.
" Ah... e-everyone! G-Good morning... Uh..." Yuri stammered out.
" Good morning! I see that you're doing your best to invite people to our club." Monika teased the purple haired girl.
" Ah! N-No... H-He is... Er... a friend of m-mine from class." Yuri scratched the back of her head while she thought of a good excuse.
" Hehe... Is he your boyfrie—"
" N-NO!" Yuri shouted out defensively.
I chuckled whike everyone teased the timid girl. Yuri is a shy girl with crippling social anxiety and her awkwardness gets in the way of her attempts at talking with others. Although she is a pretty amazing person, with her intellect, maturity and an amazing figure, those problems seriously hinder her from making friends and socializing with others. Nevertheless, she's quite a reliable and responsible student. The first time I met her, was in a way, a complete blunder on my part. When I was introducing myself to the club, she was the last one I approached. It was just a few moments of complete silence since I didn't know what to say to her. She was the first to break the awkward silence by asking me if I like the horror genre. I responded by saying that I read a horror book once, then we just sat there in silence. I could still remember the confused expression she had that day. Thankfully, we managed to bridge that gap between us with our common love of art, nature and tea. I found it nice that I was not the only one in the club that enjoyed a nice walk through the woods once in a while. I chuckled to myself before finally deciding to stop everyone teasing Yuri.
" Now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves... I'm sure Yuri here will tell us all about her new found love someday." I spoke teasingly. Yuri pouted and sighed.
" I'd like to make it clear that I am not pursuing romantic relationships right now." Yuri spoke with a serious tone.
" Ahaha! Sorry about that Yuri! It's just rare to see you socializing with someone other than us." Monika remarked with a polite tone.
" Ah! H-How rude! I have some other acquaintances too you know? Anyways, it's nice to see that the cupcakes have arrived. I take it that we are ready for our poem recitation later?" Yuri said while she grabbed a cupcake and took a bite out of it.
" Wha— Hey! Don't just... Nevermind..." Natsuki watched Yuri's expressions as she ate the sweet treat.
" My, how delicious! As expected of Natsuki's talents..." Yuri remarked before eating the last bite of the cupcake. She pulled out her handkerchief and wiped off the crumbs on her fingers and mouth.
" Thanks..." Natsuki murmured out.
" Anyways, yeah! We start our activities at exactly... 10:30 am! Right now, it's 7:56 so we still have a lot of time!" Monika said before smiling at us.
" Since we're basically done with our preparations, why don't we go and visit the other booths?" Monika pulled out something from her pocket, a handful of coupons. "I got Miss Yumi to give me some free meal coupons for their cafe booth. Ahaha! I heard the Cooking Club makes some delicious crêpes."
We looked at each other before giving a firm nod. What kind of idiot turns down free food? Besides, Sayori can no longer contain her excitement with the mention of food. With that, everyone took their leave and we headed out towards the numerous stalls and booths in the school grounds.
DDLC: Our Reality
I let out a relieved sigh before putting away the last of the banners. It's been a fun yet tiring day. The festival has been a resounding success for us since many people attended our poem recitation and open mic sessions. In the process, a handful of people decided to join the club. I turned around to find Sayori putting away the pamphlets, Natsuki eating some takoyaki she bought earlier, Amy and Yosuke reading some manga, Yuri drinking tea in the corner of the room and relaxing after performing in front of a large crowd and Monika listening to some music on her phone. I took a sit beside Monika and pulled out a box of Pocky.
" Want some?" I offered her the box, which she happily accepted.
" Thanks. Aaaahhh... Long day, huh?" Monika said before putting a stick of Pocky in her mouth.
" Yeah... But it was pretty fun." I replied.
There was a moment of silence between us. Only the sound of wafers cracking between our teeth can be heard. Finally, I decided to ask her something that's been bugging me.
" Hey, Monika..." She perked up and turned towards me.
" What do you plan to do after all of this?"
" What do you mean, dear?"
" I mean, what do you plan to do after college?"
She paused for a moment while she pondered on the question. After a while, she finally answered.
" I guess I'll just get a job and settle down with you, hehe~!" She giggled before placing a hand on mine.
" Heh, that sounds... pretty nice." I replied.
" How about you? What did you have in mind?" She asked curiously.
" I... I'll just see what happens. I guess..." I replied to her before pulling her close and wrapping my hand over her shoulder.
I smiled and thought about the first time I came here. At first, I thought that this was just gonna be a boring place where I'll spend my afternoons reading books and writing poems. But it turns out, the old me was completely wrong. It turns out, there is happiness here in the Literature Club.
15 years later
" Daddy! Mommy! Wake up! Wake up!" I heard a pair of voices beside me and two pairs of hands tugging at my side.
I opened my eyes a little to look the two kids beside our bed. A pair of emerald green eyes and a pair of brown eyes stared down at me. The boy and the girl had an excited smile on their faces. I looked at the cracks of my blinds to see that the sun is already up. I turned to my clock to see that it's already six in the morning.
" H-Huh? W-What the—? It's six in the morning... Why are you up so early?" I murmured out half asleep.
" It's our birthday! You promised us that the pool is gonna be filled with water today." The two replied with excitement. Before I could reply however, Monika jumped up with a smile on hee face.
" Happy Birthday! Yoku! Yoku! Honey! Get up!" Monika shook me excitedly.
" Five more minutes~ I'm still tired..." I murmured before covering my ears with pillows.
" Honey~! The pool isn't gonna fill itself up you know?" Monika cooed. I paused for a moment, before dragging myself out of the bed.
" *Yaaawn* Fine... But you two are gonna help me, okay?" I pointed to the little boy and girl the room.
" Yay!" The two jumped up excitedly before pulling me out of the room.
The twins is our kids. The boy is called Sherou and the girl is called Monnie. I can't believe that these two are already 6 years old today. Not just that, this also marks the day that we moved in this house six years ago. I dragged my feet across the floor and down the stairs. I was surprised to find Maido preparing breakfast. She smiled and waved at us before continuing the task at hand.
I stepped outside into the backyard and took a look at the large pool. It was a pain in the ass to clean up the entire pool yesterday. The pool has a rectangular shape to it and it's floor sloped gradually. It gave the pool a depth of 6 feet at the end once it is filled with water. It will take at least a few hours to fill this all up with water. I turned on the valve in the backyard that controlled the water that flows into the pool. I let out a long yawn before groggily walking back into the kitchen.
" Coffee?" Maido asked with a smile before flipping a pancake. She pointed to the steaming cup on the table.
" Yeah~ *yawn* Thanks." I sat down on the table and began to drink the coffee. I noticed that there is also another cup beside me, one reserved for Monika.
" Hey Dad! How big do you think our cake will be?" Sherou asked with anticipation.
" Gee, I guess I'll have to call your Aunt Natsuki later to check on it. But since you three get along pretty well... I bet it's gonna be pretty big." I said with a smile before ruffling his unkempt hair.
Five years ago, Natsuki opened her own bakery. It was a huge success, thousands of pastries and sweets were sold on the first day alone. The bakery received excellent reviews from people and critics alike, praising the genius behind all of this. The most popular of its products is the one that started this dream, her cupcakes. Sure, Natsuki had her doubts at first, but with our support, we managed to convince her to start this now booming business of hers. I think this year marks the opening of her 50th store. I enjoy dropping by from time to time on my way to work, since her original and largest branch also functions as a cafe. Although her success with her business is huge, her love life in quite the opposite. During the times all of us had a drink together, she'd wine about how difficult it is for her since even if she's an adult woman now, her size is still that of a highschooler's. We'd always console her that someday she'll find a person who likes legal lolis, but this will just piss her off even more.
" H-How about Auntie Sayori and Uncle Hiro? Will they be able to come?"
" Of course! She'll be here. Why do you think we ordered so much food?"
I laughed a little as I thought about my childhood friend. After 14 years, she finally grabbed her PhD in Psychology and became a psychiatrist. We didn't find that surprising at all since we knew about her crippling depression from long ago. She became a psychiatrist to help people from the demons that once infested her. Sayori and I used to laugh about it since it was such a cliche. The most surprising that happened to her is her boyfriend, Hiro. They met during her days in college. Thankfully, we all decided to keep in touch even though we attended different colleges and institutions so this news got to us quickly. The guy is half Japanese and half Filipino, and boy is he a such a nice guy! The two officially declared their relationship after six months of going out with each other. The guy is nice to hang around with, a chill dude if you put it in layman's terms. He's now an orthopedic surgeon, a nice job if you ask me. A few months ago, they moved into the house just down the street from ours and my kids enjoy going there since Sayori spoils them with snacks.
" Hehe, those two will eat everything! Oh! Wait! I just remembered! I need to write a thank you letter to Aunt Yuri for the novel she gave me as an early present." With that, Monnie ran off to her room.
Yuri, author of three of the top 10 bestselling novels in the world. Two of which are of the horror genre and one is a fantasy adventure novel that is second only to Tolkien's works. Though, she didn't start as successfully as Natsuki. She had some trouble at first, since her first novel didn't really sell that much. It was quite troubling for her since that was supposed to be her main sourcsource of income. Yuri was on the brink of financial ruin if not for Natsuki. Natsuki basically paid for her living expenses and promoted her novels. I could still remember the days when Natsuki rented Yuri a room in her house. After a few years, Yuri finally managed to get a break and sold her first ever successful mystery novel. With that hurdled cleared, Yuri finally got back on her feet and began officially began her career as a renowned author. With her wealth, she paid off the debt she incurred from Natsuki and moved out of her house and into her own. I remembered the time I asked Natsuki about all of this, and she replied with a chuckle and saying that her becoming an author is pretty cliche like her becoming a baker. She also didn't want her friend to abandon her most precious dream. Well, after a few years, she's a millionaire and a world class writer. With her pen she could write stories as frightening as Stephen King's works or adventures as exciting and gruesome as George R.R. Martin.
Suddenly, I felt a kiss on my right cheek. I turned to see Monika happily smiling at me. She sat down and picked up her cup of coffee, sipping on it while she stared at Sherou pouring himself a bowl of cereal. I then felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I pulled it out and took a look at who is calling me. To my surprise, it was my sister. I picked up the call and spoke.
" Hi sis! What's up?"
" Hey Yoku~! I'm just here to say sorry to the twins for not making it to their special day." My sister spoke with a sad tone.
" That's okay, we understand. Anyways, thanks for giving us the day off and shouldering our work for today."
" Hahaha! Thanks! Don't worry, today is the day we'll make our breakthrough on our research! Oh! Can you put Sherou and Monnie on the phone?" I chuckled before giving my phone to Sherou. His eyes glimmered as he saw my sister's name. It's been three months since he last saw her.
My sister runs a research facility focused primarily on A.I. development and Robotics. For the past 20 years she has been developing a self learning android. I work there as a programmer and developer in the A.I. program. It's a fun job most of the time, but sometimes it gets boring. Though, it's really rewarding when you finally develop an A.I. program that could hold a conversation with a human. Monika also works there, although she's under the supervision of my sister on the Android program. She's in charge of overseeing the data collection in the test runs. Last week, their department successfully created their first human-like android. I'm still figuring out the details, but my sis told me that this is the first android to use artificial shells to make a material similar to skin. But, I digress. My sister couldn't join us today since they are about to finish a new prototype for the limbs of the android. It would give the android a smoother and fluid motion once completed.
Monnie ran down the stairs with a piece of paper. I called out to her and told her that my sis is on the phone. Sherou gave her the phone and continued eating his cereal. Just then, Maido placed down a tray carrying two plates of pancakes and two plates of bacon and eggs.
" Yoku, I suppose you'll help me with the food later?" Maido asked as placed the plates in front of us.
" Yeah, I'll help with the burgers later. Monika will go setup the salad bar later." I said to Maido.
" Ahaha! I'm pretty excited for later! It's nice to have the Literature Club together, not drinking." Monika spoke with an excited tone.
" Yeah... Anyways, everyone's gonna be here by 10, right?" I asked Monika before biting down on a juicy piece of bacon.
" Yes, so you better prepare the food quickly, okay?" Monika said while she poured maple syrup on her and Monnie's pancakes.
" Heh, Maido and I will be ready. Besides, we have a contest between us on who's food will be better." I proudly spoke.
" Hmm... You may have the edge when it comes to meat, but I have the upper hand in appetizers and snacks." Maido boasted with a proud smile on her face.
" We shall see about that!" I confidently spoke before taking a bite of the eggs on my plate.
DDLC: Our Reality
The sounds of sizzling meat on top of my outdoor grill is like a melodic choir of flavors to my ears. The long table we have set in our vast backyard is filled to the brim with food. In the pool played Sherou and Monnie along with a few of their friends, one of which is Amy and Yosuke's kid. Her name is Hikari, and she's just a year older than my kids. Sherou won't admit it, but he's got a thing for her.
Speaking of which, Amy and Yosuke became writers and directors for an anime studio in Japan. Though we're technically neighbors, they usually spend most of the year overseas. Thankfully, they're already here in the country and is just an hour away from the neighborhood. The sound of a car parking in my driveway yanked me out of my thoughts. Then, I heard a high pitched voice barking orders at someone.
" Gently now! It took me three damn hours to make that cake!" Suddenly, two young boys wearing the red uniform of Natsuki's bakery made their way into the backyard before gently placing down the cake on the table before going back to the driveway which the sound of a car driving away can clearly be heard.
Then, Natsuki walked into the backyard holding a present. Her hair is still tied into twintails, except her hair is now longer and reached her back. She is wearing a pink apron dress decorated with frills. She turned towards me and looked at me from head to toe before flashing a smug grin.
" Oh! Ahaha! Hello there, super mom!" Natsuki teased before slapping me on the back.
" Heh, glad you can make it, tsun-tsun." I teased before flipping a steak over. She pouted before folding her arms.
" Touché. Anyways, here is the chocolate cake for the birthday twins. Speaking of which, where are the—"
" Auntie Natsuki! Thanks for coming!" The two said in unison while they both waved at her. She waved back and laughed.
" Haha! Hello you two! I've got your cake here." Natsuki shouted back. The two gave her a thumbs up before going back to their game.
" Anyways, I'll go chill in your living room for a while. See ya!" Natsuki waved before going into my house along with the present. I chuckled before flipping over the sausages.
After a while, I heard he front door open followed by the excited squeal of two girls. Then, I heard footsteps running towards the kitchen. Sayori then came bursting out of the house, the scent of food leading her here. She turned towards me before beaming widely. She was wearing a simple white T-shirt with a tomato as its design and blue shorts with a blue jacket wrapped around her waist. It's been 15 years and her fashion sense is still that of a child's.
" Yoku! Hi! Nice to see you!" Sayori said before hugging me.
" Ahaha, nice to see you two— Wha? Hey!" I didn't notice that Sayori was holding a fork when she hugged me, so I was caught by surprise when she suddenly pulled away with a sausage on her fork.
" Fuuuu~ Fuuuu~ *chomp* Hot! Hot! ...*chomp* Hot! Hot!" Sayori stuck out her tongue while blowing on it.
" What did you expect, you dummy? Haha, there's some ice tea in the fridge." I laughed before Sayori rushed inside the house. Hiro then walked outside with a smile on his face.
" Ahaha, that dummy. Well, well, well! Those barbecues look delicious! Can I have one?" He asked nicely. I nodded and gave him two barbecues.
" Ahaha, sure! Give one to Sayori too. I'm sure she'll take a bite out of yours if she doesn't have one."
" Ahaha! You two sure are friends. Thanks!" Hiro walked back inside the house. I let out a laugh when I heard Sayori wheeze loudly. She probably took a bite out of it while it is still pretty hot.
A while passed. I could hear Monika and the others talking with each other. This reminds me of old ti—
" H-Hello, Yoku! Nice to see you again!" I jumped in surprise. I turned around to see Yuri smiling at me.
She still have long purple hair, except she usually ties it in a ponytail nowadays. She wore a black, long sleeve polo and dark blue leggings and a dark blue coat. Geez, even though I'm already happily married to Monika, I can't help but stare at Yuri's breasts. Thankfully, I managed to resist the temptation of staring at them for too long.
" Oh hi! You startled me, I didn't even know you arrived." I said to her with a chuckle.
" Ah... Pardon my intrusion then. W-Where are the others?" She asked, looking around the backyard.
" They're in the living room. You're welcome to join them if you want."
" Ah, thanks!" Yuri waved at the children before entering the house.
The last to arrive were Amy and Yosuke. They were still in their formal attire when they arrived. At the same time, I finished up cooking the last of the meat and the children have already dried themselves off. Maido and I pulled ouout the spare chairs into the yard while Natsuki and Yuri took out the cake from the box. It was a large cake, with the words 'Happy Birthday Monnie and Sherou!' written with frosting. After a short wait, the children finally finished changing and we began to sing them a loud happy birthday song. They smiled widely as we sang, waiting anxiously to blow out their candles. After we finished the song, the two blew out the candles at the same time and wished for many more birthdays like this. With that, the party officially began.
Sayori went towards the food and piled as much as she can on her plate. Natsuki cut up the cake and distributed it to everyone. Yuri and Monika chatted and laughed by the salad bar. Amy talked with Hikari, teasing her from time to time by asking if she likes anyone. Yosuke, Hiro and I cracked open some cold ones and began to laugh about the good old times and how nostalgic it is to hang out like this again. Maido and Monnie sat together on the table, happily unwrapping the presents they received. I smile formed on my face, how I wish I could give my children days like this foreve— Hold on, where's Sherou?
I placed my can of beer down on the table and excused myself. I remember seeing the little rascal walk out the gate. I went through the kitchen and the living room, searching for the boy. Then, I heard him laughing and talking to someone from outside. I peeked out the window to find him talking with a young man wearing a white T-shirt and brown pants. He didn't look dangerous, but I didn't recognize him either. The man pulled out a small box from his pocket and gave it to Yoku. He gave him a pat on the bed before waving goodbye and pointing at me. Sherou looked at the window and waved at me, I waved back in response while I watched the man walk away into the distance. Sherou then walked back to the house where I was waiting for him.
" H-Hey bud, who was that?" I asked him in a friendly manner.
" Huh? I thought you knew him. He told me he was an old friend of yours." I was perplexed by this. I was screaming a little bit inside and I was about to call the cops on this suspicious stranger.
" I've never seen that man in my life." I said to the boy. But just as I was about to warn him about talking to strangers, he handed me the box.
" Well, he told me to give this to you. I'll go back to the party. Bye Dad!" With that, Sherou ran off to the backyard, leaving me with a bewildered expression and a strange box.
DDLC: Our Reality
I sat on my bed holding the strange box. It's already been a few hours since the party ended. Everyone has gone home and it's already pretty late at night. Monika is in the kids' room tucking them off to sleep, leaving me alone with this strange present. I stared at it, my thoughts are filled with a morbid curiosity as I debated whether or not to open this potentially dangerous item. In the end, my curiosity won and I unwrapped the item from its packaging. I was surprised to find a small box containing a flash drive. I took out my laptop from my nightstand and opened it. I hesitated on plugging the flash drive into my spare laptop since it might contain a virus, but I plugged it in anyway. Inside is a letter, and it reads.
Congratulations! You have achieved the best ending! I congratulate you! You have gotten so far in life now since the last time we met, I'm so proud! Anyways, I bid you good luck in your future!
I scoffed before shutting down my laptop. It was a nice gesture from someone, but it still baffles me who wanted to congratulate me about my success and why. I put away my laptop and smiled before lying down in bed.
"This reminds me of a dream I had years ago... I never finished that dream... Ahaha..." I murmured to myself as I drifted off to sleep.
Perhaps that dream was already finished, I just didn't notice it yet.