“Is there really no way you can do it? Please?”
“I can’t, I’m on shift right now too.”
Being told that, I couldn’t argue against it. Echizen is currently working here to make money. She needs to properly do her job and watch the restaurant.
“I see… sorry.”
It was a pretty selfish request.
I should think about it from Echizen’s perspective before saying anything. As I reflected on it, I moved my eyes to the omurice on the table. Seeing me like that, Echizen returned into the kitchen.
It can’t be helped, today I will quietly study on my own. This is how test studying is supposed to be in the first place. It was like this in middle school too. By myself, alone, studying with very bad efficiency. I move my eyes to the vocabulary book while eating my omurice. This time, I’ll make sure I won’t forget the vocabulary words again.
As I began to put my concentration into studying, a shadow suddenly covered my vocabulary book. Turning around, I see Echizen with a dissatisfied expression.
“W-what is it?”
“The owner, he told me to help you.”
I said this before, but the owner has a weird habit of trying to get the two of us together.
“Sorry about that. You don’t need to do it if you don’t want to?”
“…No, it’s fine. I’m free anyways, I’ll help.”
“Is it really alright?”
If she says it’s fine herself, then I’ll take her up on the offer and get help from her. I move off slightly to one side of the seat and make space for Echizen. However, Echizen looks at me weirdly before sitting down in the seat across from me.
“It’s not like I need to sit next to you.”
“Ah… that’s true.”
That was really embarrassing. I was so used to Mamiko always sitting next to me that I ended up thinking Echizen would do the same. Of course it would be like this. Since we aren’t dating each other, there’s no way Echizen would sit next to me.
“And, what do you need help on?”
“I’m currently trying to memorize English vocabulary words.”
When I said that, Echizen dropped her head in amazement.
“If it’s memorization then there isn’t really much that I can help you with…”
“Then, do you have any tips? I’m not good at memorizing.”
“Tips on memorizing? Ummm, maybe associating it with something?s”
“Memorization through association?”
“That’s right, it gives it a stronger impression so that it’s easier to memorize. If you don’t, it becomes easy to forget what you were trying to memorize.”
The usually reticent Echizen was giving a lot of advice today. It makes me somewhat happy.
“Something with a strong impression…”
That said, the reason that I had such a great test score last time was because Mamiko ended up helping me. Everything that Mamiko had said left a strong impression within me. Studying with Mamiko was an unusual situation in itself after all. Then, if my testing environment this time around also stands out just as much, then perhaps my memorization will go more smoothly?
“Echizen also has tests right?”
“That is true…”
“Then, let’s memorize vocabulary together.”
“…That’s fine, but I basically have all of the English vocabulary memorized.”
“Even so, it’s fine. It’s important for you to study, Echizen.”
“I guess it’s fine if you put it that way.”
She seemed a little bit reluctant, but with a little bit of a push, she gave in. It seems that Echizen is actually quite simple and kind.
“Well, it’s my break now.”
Echizen said that to me as she stood up. We had been studying English vocabulary together for two hours. By the way, she actually did have basically all the vocabulary memorized, because of that it was time well spent.
As I expected, when I remember this time that I spent with her, the vocabulary words end up coming back to me. It looks like I’ll be able to make it through English this time as well.
“Ah, wait a moment.”
I stopped Echizen from starting her break. I brought out my wallet and took out one sheet of Hideyo Noguchi-sama. 
“Here, as thanks for today.”
“…It’s fine, I don’t need it. I only did this because the owner told me to. I’ll consider it as part of work.”
Echizen answered in an annoyed tone. That’s what she said… but it doesn’t sit well with me to leave it like that.
She may consider it to be a part of work, but to me, it meant a lot more. If I don’t do something in return, I’ll feel somewhat bothered. Money I guess was a little excessive… Something that Echizen wants that isn’t too excessive…
Ah, of course, there’s that.
“Then, how about I give you the new costume in Human Beast Wars?”
When I said that, Echizen’s body stiffened and trembled a bit. It was the great game that I’m always playing, Human Beast Wars. Echizen is actually playing it as well. The other day, I was able to talk to her a bit about it.
This game has the function to customize your own character, changing it with various different costumes. The costume can also be shared with anyone, so I can give my costume to Echizen. I plan on giving Echizen a costume as thanks for this time.
“What type of… costume”
“I just so happened to get one from a quest bonus. There are five different types to choose from so Echizen can choose the one you like the most.”
“…If it’s that, I’ll accept it.”
With this, I should be able to return my debt.
“Then, which one would you like?”
I opened the app for Human Beast Wars and showed Echizen the costume screen.
“Hmmm, which one…?”
Echizen stared at the screen with a more serious face than usual. This girl is pretty addicted to this game it seems. While thinking random thoughts, I also take a peek at the screen. There were a lot cool and cute costumes lined up on the screen. Echizen most likely has a female character, so she will most likely pick a cute costume.
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
“Ah, that’s my username. Pretty nice name, right?”
She probably looked at the username shown in the top left corner when she read it out loud. Because of that, I wasn’t really too surprised, but for some reason, Echizen had stiffened up.
“…Eh, what’s wrong?”
When I ask her this she didn’t answer and instead suddenly opened my friends list. My friends list isn’t too long so the list can be seen in full on one page. Among those on the friends list are the names of my party members.
“…Actually, I don’t want it.”
“What? But I said I would give it to you?”
“I don’t want it, that’s what I’m saying.”
Then, Echizen turned away from me and headed back to the break room. Her face was slightly red. What happened, exactly? If she doesn’t accept it… my feelings…
Well, I guess I was just trying to push my own values onto her. It can’t be helped, if Echizen says she doesn’t want it, then I will just have to accept that. Even so, what happened to Echizen all of a sudden?
No matter how much I thought about it, I couldn’t come up with an answer.
- Hideyo Noguchi is the name of the person printed on a thousand yen note. He was a prominent Japanese bacteriologist who in 1911 discovered the agent of syphilis as the cause of progressive paralytic disease.