Disclaimer: I do not own Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Please do not sue me.
My Online Romance is Imagined as I Expected
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru
Sponsored by the Cabal
Much Ado about Snow Leopard
oO oOoOo oOoOo oOoOo Oo
The internet is the final refuge of the scoundrel and so it is only appropriate that Hiratsuka-sensei has exiled me to such a place: the Chiba Literature Chatroom.
With a vein popped on her forehead, she called me to the teacher's office to discuss my essay, 'Youth is a Lie'. While the writing was far from proficient, I believed the idea met the criteria of the prompt which was to discuss the topic 'Looking Back on High School Life'. The essay delved critically into the aspects of youth in the context of the digital era with Twitter tweets, Facebook likes, and YouTube comments and how such foolishness exists as a rampaging plague amongst the weak minded.
Hiratsuka-sensei did not agree with my views.
Instead, she condemned me to my fate. I was sentenced to join a literature chat room based in Chiba and report my findings to her. This was my punishment for speaking the truth. Despite being a First World liberal country, middle-aged female teachers in Japan sure don't enjoy being told the truth.
She also gave me a very specific assignment: make a friend.
"Even someone as corrupt and rotten to the core as you could find a friend on the internet! The internet is the new America. Sail west, young lad!" The only problem with that analogy is that America is east by ocean but I enjoy having an intact cranium so that comment was withheld.
And so, sitting in my room, I entered the den of degenerates.
8man has entered Chiba Literature Chatroom
XWingsOfDeth: Lol, who's this 8man guy?
ArtiCUNT0(moderator): he sounds like a name for a bowling ball
ThisIsACookingManga: probably gets fingers stuck inside him all the time
FelonyHandHolding: so shameless ( '3')!
Every chatroom is unhappy in its own way.  Within each chat room there is a power structure or a hierarchy. The usual pinnacle is the absentee admins who are busy raising their own little money magnet(s). Whenever he does drop by, he makes sure to mention he has a wife and newborn and constantly reminds everyone he has a Darwinian success rate higher than everyone else. After him are power-hungry mods whose only qualification is that they are in the chatroom at all hours of the day to abuse the other users. They're basically admin surrogates - sycophants on a power trip. Then there are the regulars. They have a bunch of inside jokes and have a happy-go-lucky attitude. I hate them the most.
And next on the totem pole is me, the new guy.
ArtiCUNT0(moderator): should we start the initiation? whos turn is it this time?
XWingsOfDeth: Lol, I did it last time. So not it.
ThisIsACookingManga: HOW MANY SHARPIES?
FelonyHandHolding: so shameless ( '3')!
The first response must be carefully constructed in order to leave a good first impression. For many, the first words spoken in a chatroom is the equivalent to carving on stone or making a stroke with a sword – once made, it cannot be taken back.
It felt like a job interview.
8man: Hello. Has anyone read No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai? 
The message was carefully constructed. I began with 'Hello' instead of 'um' in order to demonstrate that I was a formal and polite member of society. This will suggest I am also a productive member of society. I then asked to see if people have read a popular and well known book in order to demonstrate that I am indeed not living under a rock. Hopefully, this will allow me to ease into the crowd a bit more easily and accelerate my ascension into being a regular. Besides, everyone on the internet is a liar anyways.
But instead, as I should have expected despite all the precautions I had taken, it backfired.
XWingsOfDeth: Lol, ofc everyone has read it. Are you stupid?
ArtiCUNT0(moderator): whats with that overly formal tone? are you a first grader?
ThisIsACookingManga: i have candy and a white van
FelonyHandHolding: so shameless ( '3')!
When given any sort of weakness, every manner of beast and scum on the internet will exploit it. After a solid page of unsolicited messages bombarding me about my age and preference of candy and white-colored vans, I decided to cease any response. Closing the message windows, I sighed to myself. Everyone on the internet is a storyteller, weaving fact and fiction together to suit their own needs. Everyone's playing in a mud-box, building up their own castle while breaking down others unable to see we are all just destroying each other in a sea of filth.
Because why would anyone want to do that? Just lie on the internet? 
I said nothing more after that fiasco.
Now I was the low-man on the totem pole: a lurker.
Such beings are held in contempt by the regulars. They are people who, despite repeatedly prods to join in what they call merriment and the court of law would call sexual harassment and hazing, stay quiet. Their names are etched onto the Online Member's List and that is all they are, just a name. They sit there, unmoving, coming on at their usual intervals. Perhaps they are cooking. Perhaps they are watching a funny cat video.
But maybe they're just sitting there reading through the messages as they are blasted through the chat. Just sitting there day after day, simply watching… and watching… and watching… watching.
The conversation in the chatroom began to drone on. For some of the regulars, this chat room was a daily therapeutic palace. Everything must be maintained in perfect equilibrium so they engage in their SSDD whining about their work, job, failing marriage, little grubby money-magnets, or testicular cancer.
But there was one name on the list aside from my own that caught my attention:
Maybe the guy has a thing for cats.
XWingsOfDeth: your a caulfield
ArtiCUNT0(moderator): no u
ThisIsACookingManga: NO U
FelonyHandHolding: so shameless ( TT3TT)!
Thankfully to my extensive repertoire of literature, I realized the joke was a reference to a literary work published in the postwar United States. Hoping to make an impact, I stupidly typed up a comment without thinking. Before my senses could return, I had already pressed 'Enter'. Like a stroke of a sword, an internet message cannot be taken back.
8man: I liked the themes of innocence and adulthood presented in Catcher in the Rye. 
My slightly more stupid self spoke then. The resultant commentary should have been predictable from ages away.
ThisIsACookingManga: wahhh… who is dis guy again?
FelonyHandHolding: so shameless ( o3o)!
Okay, screw this noise.
The world doesn't appreciate me.
Hovering my mouse over the giant [X], I was ready to log out of the chatroom and begin mentally preparing myself for tomorrow. There would be blood, I imagined, when I reported to Hiratsuka-sensei that I had failed to make even a single friend, much less make a single conversation, and all attempts ended in spectacular failure.
It's not my fault. It's society's fault.
Just as I was about to cancel this expedition into the disgusting realm of the internet, something blared across my screen and gave me pause.
A private message notification popped up.
I was about to close it, believing it to be a continuation of the earlier PM bombardment from before and asking if I wanted a lollipop and a trip to the backseat of an unmarked van. However, it was then I noticed the user name and the verification question. It was that lurker from before.
Snow Leopard has sent a Private Message. Would you like to accept it?
The choice felt akin to choosing either a pill from one of two outreached hands. Having decidedly been mind numbed for the past hour from the conversation, I imagined I may as well humor this fellow.
I selected the path less traveled by.
After reading the message however, I regretted it.
Snow Leopard: You do not seem to be very popular here.
Who does this person think he is? Is this guy trying to pick a fight? Seriously. If someone wants to make conversation, the first thing you say isn't 'You do not seem very popular'. You start off with a 'hey, how are you?' or 'I like that book too!' You say something… I don't know, normal and polite?
You win more friends with honey than being a blunt stick.
8man: Neither are you.
Snow Leopard: I didn't mean it as an offense.
8man: Gotta let it go, man.
Snow Leopard: I am female.
Alarm bells began glaring in my head. This must be one of those males masquerading as a girl. Rule #29 of Hikigaya Hachiman's 108 Rules of the Internet: Always assume someone is male until proven otherwise. Besides, wouldn't a girl just say 'I am a girl'? instead of 'I am female'? And what's up with that ultra-polite manner of speaking?
8man: Okay, buddy. Whatever floats your boat.
The correct response is to be as dismissive as possible. On the internet, even if you're wrong and the entire world is against you, you have to act as if you are totally one billion percent confident. Anonymous internet uses are like sharks in the water: they'll go into a frenzy the moment they smell blood. On the internet, don't ever be wrong. Be a god.
Gods don't bleed.
Snow Leopard: I was merely attempting conversation. You do not have to be so dismissive. You are the first one to actually try to discuss some literature in the past few months I've been here.
[Translation: I see we are both loners so why don't we talk instead?]
8man: I appreciate being appreciated. However, I think if you wanted to talk literature this is probably the wrong chatroom.
Snow Leopard: I've realized that. However, there is nowhere else to go to discuss the topic.
8man: Go join a literature club or something.
Snow Leopard: I do not feel comfortable at such gatherings.
Snow Leopard: What books do you read?
This person was probably an introvert. Perhaps they felt awkward in the crowds and didn't like to participate in the group conversation.
Something like that, even I could understand a little.
Cracking my back, I realized that it was already past dinner time. Making my way down to the kitchen, I saw my adorable little chef lounging about on the couch.
"Onii-chan! You kept staring at the computer screen with a creepy face," my little sister Komachi accosted.
I picked up my plate of rice and curry, intending to bring it up to my room.
"Onii-chan, you're not going to eat at the table? How rude! Did you know only 13% of families ever have sit down dinners anymore? You're destroying the moral fiber of society!"
You made up that statistic!
Snow Leopard: Please respond. 
This guy sounds like a child who just watched his parents walk of the home and were never heard from again. That sort of thing can mess up a child's development. Those abandonment issues never really leave. Afterall, my parents abandoned me in my room in favor of my little sister Komachi. Can't blame them though, she's adorable.
8man: Hey, I was getting dinner. No reason to sound so needy.
8man: Also, I read stuff.
Snow Leopard: My apologies. I had believed you were at a public PC cafe and you were accosted by several delinquents.
Snow Leopard: Also, could you be more specific on what you read?
What am I? Some kind of vagrant?
Although to be fair, the idea of spending pocket change on a PC cafe where you get your own comfy little stall with access to internet, manga, and unlimited complimentary tea and water sounds pretty nice. Why would one even rent an apartment? You could get a pretty nice gym and spa membership for a fraction of the price. There are spa and gym establishments that are open twenty-four hours a day now which means you can live there. Not to mention get buff in the process.
Why aren't more people doing that?
8man: Why did you think I was at a PC cafe?
8man: And to clarify on my previous response, I read stuff I like.
Snow Leopard: I imagined you were a failed university applicant working the night shift at convenience stores and using what spare change he had on his person to sleep in PC cafes during the day.
8man: I'm flattered you believe I could hold a job.
Snow Leopard: I never said you would be good at it.
Snow Leopard: And I see I'm getting nowhere with finding out what you have actually read, if anything.
Maybe this guy wants to be a fiction writer when he grows up. Or maybe he is grown up and living in some PC cafe and is just projecting his issues onto me…
In any case, I decided to give Snow Leopard a quick goodbye before heading off to bed.
8man: Gotta go. Nite.
Just before signing off the chat program, I saw Snow Leopard's last message flash across the screen before the window closed.
Snow Leopard: Goodnight.
oO oOoOo oOoOo oOoOo Oo
"So that's the gist of it." Finishing my explanation to Hiratsuka-sensei, my hands drew themselves into my pockets.
The middle-aged modern Japanese teacher sat legs crossed. Her mind was contemplating something in the far off distance, as if pensively envisioning some scenario. She must be thinking about a post-work binge drinking session.
"Oi, Hikigaya, what's the assignment I gave you?"
"'To make a friend on the internet.'"
The assignment was stupid really.
"What's the user's name anyways?"
"It was a stupid name. The guy's name is Snow Leopard."
Hiratsuka-sensei's cigarette dropped from her mouth.
"R-really now? How about that! You've made a friend with a cat-lover! Haha!"
"That's about all I know about the guy."
"Yeah, a guy." Hiratsuka-sensei looked at me like I was a brick posing as a student.
"What? I'm pretty sure it's a guy."
"A guy…" She squinted her eyes at me before sighing and leaning back into her chair. With a rub-a-dub-dub on her forehead, like she was rubbing away the pain, Hiratsuka-sensei suddenly smiled like a Cheshire cat.
"Okay! I've got it! You've made an acquaintance! But seeing as how you know absolutely nothing about her - him, I mean him - it's important you get to know the guy first! Especially before you let him move in with you- nevermind, nevermind! But Hikigaya, you've made an acquaintance. That's the first step. Then you can be friends with her-him! That's right! That's right! Oh yes, this is brilliant. I'm talking about Kira vs. L levels of brilliance."
"Getting to know a guy on the internet is your brilliant plan for me?"
"Yep! So for your next assignment: find out more about Snow Leopard."
"Find out more? Like stalking him? This sounds rather unethical."
"Yeah. Haven't you heard of facebook stalking? That's how you keep track of how miserable your exes are! Hahaha! If only they were miserable with their new hotter and younger companion…"
The bitterness in her voice would shatter melons.
"But I don't have a Facebook account."
"Get creative Hikigaya! You're a smart guy, you know you can't refuse."
"I can totally refuse."
"Would you like having supplementary courses on all the holidays until you graduate?"
"I totally can't refuse."
She gave me a pat on the head, the sort that girls without proper escorts go for their pets in public to show they aren't crazy but in actuality are amongst the least sane in the population pool. Women have a habit of getting what they want at the expense of men. That's what you call gender equality in the 21st century.
"Oi, and Hikigaya, I don't think I need to tell you this but be careful on the internet. You definitely don't want to give that person any info that might reveal your identity."
"Yeah, yeah," I shrugged, waving her off. I might as well head off to the vending machine and pick up a Coffee MAX before heading home. I could use a caffeinated fuel injection for my long trek and ponder how I would approach Hiratsuka-sensei's next assignment.
Sliding open the door, I came face to face with Yukinoshita Yukino, our Student Council President.
There is not a single person in school who has not heard of the famed beauty from Class 2-J, the International Culture Studies course. Class 2-J consists of 90% girls but it was filled with the brightest students Soubu High had to offer. These are the students who regularly top the list of all exams.
And amongst all of them, standing at the very top, was Yukinoshita Yukino.
Her prominence naturally draws people's attention. Be it a regular exam or a placement exam, she is a high achiever who consistently sits at the top of our grade. Simply put, she is the most perfect and beautiful girl in the school and everyone knows who she is.
On the other hand, I am just your average, completely mediocre and forgettable background student.
Naturally, I only know her by name and face - I've never talked to her before. There's no way I would have, because I never have conversations with other people at school.
They say a single glance from her could freeze you in place or make you feel utterly worthless. At least, that's what I managed to eavesdrop.
But the look she gave me made me realize, why couldn't her glance do both?
"Could you please step aside? I have a meeting with a teacher." She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world and it was. Why else would anyone come to the teacher room willingly? Her eyes went to the floor, as if embarrassed by the fact her trek was paused by a lowly and insignificant cockroach.
"S-sorry." After stepping aside, she strode into the room with the dignity and grace of royalty. Each step was elegant and accentuated by her long, flowing ebony hair. She wore a uniform that everyone in our year would have worn yet it looked so different.
She was like a scene from a painting and her back was the last thing I saw before the door slide.
I was in the hallway. My feet had instinctively brought themselves further and further away from her. Being too close to people can be a hygienic hazard.
There was a pain in my stomach - I don't do well with interacting with people. They're viruses to me.
oO oOoOo oOoOo oOoOo Oo
The message box was open.
How would I begin composing a message? What could I possibly say?
Snow Leopard: Hello.
So, he has initiated the conversation. As such, the strategic initiative falls on him. He now has to probe and sustain it while I merely have to keep him bemused. This is less work for me. It's easier to be reactionary in a conversation instead of showing genuine interest.
But you can't let them know you care. Being dismissive on the internet is best.
8man: I didn't expect you to message me.
Snow Leopard: Circumstances beyond my control forced me to do it.
8man: This is the second time you've messaged me.
Snow Leopard: Is that a problem?
8man: Guess not.
There was a pause as the time went by.
I decided to play a game of Solitaire as I had nothing better to do. Solitaire is an excellent measurement of time - after all, time is merely going from point A to point B in the fourth dimension with the other three dimensions being width, height, and depth. But time is the only dimension which humans cannot travel back to, and therefore irreplaceable.
Naturally, in traditions with humans being proud of our natural world and all its wonder, we kill time.
The pause lasted for a single game of Solitaire.
Snow Leopard: Then next time, you message me.
8man: Assuming there is a next time.
Snow Leopard: I am confident that these circumstances will make our discussions, as painful as they are, more frequent.
8man: I'm charming aren't I?
Snow Leopard: Precisely what a degenerate would say.
8man: Degenerates have feelings too.
Snow Leopard: I may begin fearing for my sanity as this continues on.
If anyone's sanity is to be feared for, it should be mine. Who could spend any substantial amount of time with such a self-indulgent individual? Sure, I spend a lot of time with myself because I'm loner - but I'm a loner by choice although I blame society from time to time.
8man: Heh. Not to brag, but my charm can be considered a tourist attraction - a real Eighth Wonder of the World.
Snow Leopard: I suppose you're right.
Snow Leopard: Even circus attractions need dazzling titles to compensate for their enormous egos.
8man: Okay, what about you princess?
Snow Leopard: What of myself?
That's the sort of question that only a self-centered person would ask.
People love to steer the conversations to be about themselves. It's the habit of normals to garner that acknowledgement and those sweet, sweet commentary from other people. The commentary doesn't even have to be good. Criticism works too, but only if it's phrased in a way to sound like praise.
People love praise like dogs love belly rubs.
And on the internet, give none and don't be none.
8man: You're just a guy with a lot of free time.
Snow Leopard: I am a girl.
Once again, alarm bells sounded in my head.
Maybe he's one of those gender-confused types that's been on the news lately? Well, I'm not one to judge how one identifies themselves although I still think it's weird.
There are no girls on the internet. 
8man: Yeah right.
Snow Leopard: I do not tell lies.
That's incorrect, little Snow Leopard.
Everyone on the internet lies.
8man: You're someone that likes literature.
Snow Leopard: I'm rather disgusted that you and I would share similar interests since we both arrived at the same chatroom.
Somehow, I felt that statement was a bit beneath me and stated a lot of the obvious.
8man: Okay, what's your favorite animal?
Snow Leopard: Isn't that obvious?
I was pretty embarrassed at how long it actually took me to figure it out. There reaches a point when you see some internet name and you see merely a name and not the meaning behind it. That sort of thing is… seeing the forest but missing the leaves? Maybe I'm far too worldly or perhaps I'm actually a mountain sage. People should line up before me and offer me their worldly possessions for world possessions for a sin! After I've been entrusted with their homes, bank accounts, and hard-working wives, I'll offer them enlightenment.
8man: I give up, I don't have a clue what kind of person you are.
For a moment, the break in conversation made me think that Snow Leopard had gotten bored of the conversation and went off to watch cat videos or something. It wouldn't be surprising given how weak attention spans have fallen in the last few generations.
Snow Leopard: My apologies. A cat video caught my attention.
You didn't have to be so forward about it!
Snow Leopard: Do you even talk to girls?
He went ahead and asked such a sudden and irrelevant question to shatter my line of reasoning and my morale. This guy has some nerve.
8man: And proudly so.
8man: What about you princess?
Snow Leopard: My class is full of females as are a majority of my teachers. I would say it is difficult to go through a day without communicating with one.
I'm pretty confident in my ability to retain information. I can remember the kind of trivial conversations that most people would forget - to the point where the girls in my class treated me like a neighborhood pervert. According to my superior intellectual complex and thought structure for retaining such information, the last time I talked to a girl was two years ago in June.
Bobcut Girl: 'It's pretty hot today huh?'
Pigtails Girl: 'Yeah, I wonder how hot it is.'
Me: 'You know they have apps that can tell you the weather now? Yeah, you can even install them on your phone and-'
Pigtails Girl: Yeah, thanks.
Bobcut Girl: 'What?... Oh… Um… yeah, I guess. Thanks for telling us'
It went like that. They gave each other awkward glances before moving their conversation out to the hallway. Humans often remember unpleasant memories with extreme clarity. This is especially true during times of idle, like the point right before REM sleep. Even now, every time I recall that incident in the middle of the night, I get the urge to pull the covers over my head and scream.
Snow Leopard: Those that possess much are motivated by charity to give to those who do not.
Snow Leopard: Providing development assistance to developing countries, organizing soup-runs for the homeless, allowing an unpopular fellow on the internet the opportunity to talk to a girl. I extend a helping hand to those in need, because no one else will.
Snow Leopard: That is the kind of person I am.
Perhaps what she's alluding to is 'noblesse oblige', a French phrase referring to the moral obligation of the nobility to display honorable and generous conduct. Snow Leopard is a name that certainly invokes an image of nobility. In fact, it may be correct to say this person has delusional levels of grandeur…
8man: Are you a megalomaniac?
Snow Leopard: No.
Snow Leopard: I think I've spoken about myself enough.
Snow Leopard: Tell me about you.
What is there to discuss about myself?
Suddenly, I recalled a bittersweet memory from junior high school.
That day came to mind.
The scenery is all grainy like an old timey black-and-white silent film. It's after school. There are two students alone in a classroom. The curtains sway with the light breeze, the rays of the setting sun stream through, and cherry blossom petals float gently between them as a young boy gathers his courage and confesses.
I can still vividly recall that girl's voice. 'Can't we just be friends?'
Friends!? You unfriended and blocked me that very day!
Anyway, my life will not be a romcom. My body has been tempered by the fiercest vaccination techniques to the romcom contamination. The virus will not touch me. I will not fall victim to the plague of youth. Women are only interested in hot men and dirty relationships.
In short, they're my enemies.
'Can't we just be friends?'
The best way to avoid that scenario again was to be hated.
8man: I'm super popular and smart.
Snow Leopard: Sarcasm will not be tolerated.
8man: I don't want to hear that from a freak like you.
Snow Leopard: Coming from the weirdo, that's like the pot calling the kettle black.
Snow Leopard: Hm… Based on my observations, you are a lonely and unwanted person. You are probably often excluded from social gatherings and interactions with your peers. It seems that your loneliness is a result of your corrupt mind and cynical temperament. Such is the fate of the refuse of society.
H-hey now. Isn't it a bit hasty to condemn me as a lonely individual and a refuse of society!?
Snow Leopard: Firstly, we will find a place for you in society. Given that you're so pitiable, I just can't leave you alone. Did you know, just by finding a place to belong in, one can escape the tragic fate of burning up to produce a star.
8man: The Nighthawk's Star, right? That's pretty nerdy.
If I wasn't the culturally-sensitive prodigy who placed third in the school's Japanese Proficiency exam, I wouldn't have gotten that reference. Also, since it's a story I like, I remember it pretty well. It was so tragic that I actually cried. It's the kind of story that everyone should read and end up liking.
Snow Leopard: I'm astonished. I never imagined a degenerate would read the works of Miyazawa Kenji.
8man: I did join a literature chatroom.
Snow Leopard: This is one of those strange incidents in the world where a broken clock is correct twice a day.
8man: Are you belittling me?
Snow Leopard: Perhaps I misspoke and exaggerated a bit. You're more like the scum of the earth.
8man: Don't you mean too much of an exaggeration!?
Modesty is nothing close to what I would describe this person as. Immediately, my mind wandered off to an overweight, unkempt and unhygienic recluse who keeps to himself with figurines and literature borrowed from the library to pass the time. He probably lives in a cheap apartment with trash and discarded bento boxes littered throughout his home.
Snow Leopard: While I do not know your physical appearance, I can only assume it is overweight, unkempt, and poor in terms of hygiene.
8man: You're full of yourself.
Snow Leopard: Did my hypothesis hit the mark?
No it did not! I'll have you know I'm a perfectly mediocre student living off his parent's corporate slave salaries so I can enjoy such fruits of life such as spending time talking to an arrogant online persona.
Jeez. Why am I getting angry? To get angry is to lose.
It's just a guy on the internet.
Snow Leopard: I merely stated my observations in determining what kind of person you are, per our game. Regardless, 'The Nighthawk's Star' suits you perfectly. Especially given the Nighthawk's physical appearance.
8man: Are you implying my face is disfigured?
Snow Leopard: That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm just saying that sometimes the truth hurts.
8man: Aren't you practically saying the same thing!?
Snow Leopard: You should not look away from the truth. Look into a mirror and see reality.
If anyone's not looking in the mirror it's you. Who's really the loneliest of them all? Man, this guy reminds me a lot of The Little Prince - it seems he's wearing a grown-up facade and I am forever the innocent and totally uncorrupted-to-the-root child having to explain the obvious to him. 
Even if the heaven were to fall and the earth to be torn asunder, no one would believe me. I would be the boy who cried wolf or Chicken Little, because I'm less than a nobody. 
8man: It's not my choice to be different.
8man: It's society's fault.
That's right, this is all society's fault.
If it weren't for the paved sidewalks and legal pet ownership, that girl and her dog wouldn't have taken a walk down the street. If it wasn't for cheap manufacturers in China, the dog leash wouldn't have broken and ran off into the street. If it wasn't for some rich-looking limousine speeding down a residential street, then that dog wouldn't have been in danger.
And if society didn't expect me to a chivalrous and gallant young man, I wouldn't have dove in to save that stupid dog.
Because of that car accident on the first day of school I got a hairline fracture in my favorite foot, the left one. I was transferred to the hospital via ambulance and had to spend three full weeks recovering.
That was when society and the Heavens decided I should be a loner.
By the time I returned all the students had settled into their cliques and were skeptical of newcomers. It's just like society, once groups and tribes are formed outsiders are no longer welcomed.
That's fine. I'm different from them. I'm bottom of the barrel of society's refuse anyways.
Snow Leopard: You may want to be less different if you wish to find yourself a girlfriend.
8man: Being different is fantastic. It means being better than everyone else. I'm perfect the way I am.
I barely read Snow Leopard's response before the guy said 'goodnight' and left.
I was surprised the guy actually said goodnight. Maybe his mom walked in on him while he was taking a downtown breaststroke. Poor guy. I feel for him. Maybe he's ten. Or twelve. I would be really surprised if he was eight.
Going to bed and taking the pleasant covers over me, I stared at the ceiling.
It's the same ol' familiar ceiling as always.
Heh, I remember staring at the ceiling at night during those three weeks I was recovering. I kept thinking what everyone at school, faces I had never met before, must have been doing. My mind kept wondering if they were friendly or nice or a pleasant crowd.
In the end, they're all apathetic monkeys.
Tossing over in my bed, I recalled the last messages Snow Leopard sent before he signed off. The words nagged me, as if he spoke a truth from his heart for a brief moment in time.
Snow Leopard: Being different from others… only leads to problems. 
oO oOoOo oOoOo oOoOo Oo
"We have a service club. Unfortunately, it appears that the sole member is having difficulty handling all the requests by herself…" Hiratsuka-sensei nodded in agreement with another teacher, conveniently ignoring the fact that I was standing there because she had once again summoned me to the teacher's office. I was here to make my daily report on my happenings and to report another failure.
After the other teacher had left, Hiratsuka-sensei finally turned to me.
"So in the end you learned nothing about this Snow Leopard."
Shuffling my hands into my pocket, I rubbed my fingers together trying to formulate an appropriate response. Hiratsuka-sensei would not be pleased to learn the only real thing I know about this person was that this guy likes cats.
"He likes cats?"
She blinked at me. Her lips looked like they were about to contort in an awkward gesture. Then, as if the pressure built up to critical mass, she began laughing.
"Good! Good! Alrighty then!"
"Huh? All I said was that this guy likes cats. It's not like there's much to go on in learning about another person."
"On the contrary, Hikigaya. Sharing interests in how we learn about other people and share viewpoints we may not have known previously. Thus I have another task for you."
"Do I need to fear for my own personal safety?"
"Not at all! Go to the library and research all you can about snow leopards."
"W-what? Isn't that a bit cruel?" The library was such an archaic way to research materials. Sure, it may have a cozy atmosphere and relatively minimal distractions but it lacks the sincere comforts of home and television. "I'm a proud member of the go-home-after-school club you know."
"Consider your membership revoked. You're going to the library."
"And if I refu-"
There was a gush of wind that swept past my cheek, like the sonic boom of a swift sword stroke. It was a fist. It was a fist unleashed without any hesitation of indication of movement.
"The next one will hit its mark." Her eyes were deadly serious.
"I'm very sorry. I'll head to the library right away."
And so I went.
The school building at Chiba Municipal Soubu High School has a slightly irregular shape.
It's shaped something akin to a square with four walls of buildings composing the four wings to form an enclosure.
The space enclosed by the school building in all four directions is the holy courtyard for the normals. It's a domain of filth and degeneracy. During lunchtime, both boys and girls eat lunch there. Then, they play badminton to help digest their homemade bento lunches. After school, with the last light of the sunset on the school building as a backdrop, they talk about love and watch the stars as a salty sea breeze blows over them.
Are you kidding me?
From an outsider's perspective, it looks like a bunch of actors imitating a youth drama and trying their best to fit their respective roles. The thought makes me shudder. In such a drama, I'd probably play the 'tree' or something.
Standing in front of the library, I opened the door.
My expectation was that the library would be empty. Those who cherish youth as the spice of their life wouldn't waste a second actually studying during the off-testing season.
But there were more people in the library than I had imagined.
Aside from the bespectacled librarian, there was only one other person.
Yukinoshita Yukino sat alone at the center table, reading a small book.
Yukinoshita didn't show a single ounce of reaction to my entry, and why should she? I was just another mediocre student at Soubu High School. The sounds of the pages filled the library and echoed eerily. I couldn't tell what she was reading by the cover, but I figured it must have been some literary book like Salinger, Hemingway, or Tolstoy. That's the kind of impression she gave.
The name Yukinoshita carries an aspect of nobility, in the way that she herself is an honor student and also because, no matter what others may say, she would always be considered a beautiful girl. But as expected of such an elite person, Yukinoshita Yukino doesn't participate in any social circles. Just like her name, the snow beneath the snow, however beautiful she is, she is an untouchable and unattainable beauty.
Yukinoshita Yukino would probably keep reading on, even if the whole world ended.
Sighing, I made my way to the dusty bookshelves.
The library was still in the process of upgrading its system to electronic archives. While they were accessible and usable, I found it awfully frustrating with how precise the title had to be in order for the book title to show up on the screen.
As such, I went immediately to the Nature & Animal aisle. It would be easier to search the book for myself based on the cover and title instead of the recommended library searches.
There are many books in the library, and it's a shame that people prefer phone novels and tweets over good ol' fashioned ink on paper.
Somehow, I felt like an old geezer who refused to get with the times.
Settling on a book called 'Big Cats of the World' I returned to the center of the library and took a seat by the window. While it may have been a strange choice for a dark and brooding character like myself to select an area full of light, it was also the seat farthest from the entrance and the librarian girl and from Yukinoshita Yukino herself.
Open the cover, I found the table of contents and from there went on to the section on snow leopards. The pages were glossy and full of colorful pictures, which was refreshing compared to the solid walls of text we usually read in Modern Japanese class.
Underneath a picture of a large spotted, white cat, was a short summary on the snow leopard itself.
The snow leopard (Panthera uncia syn. Uncia uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is an endangered species with a global population size estimated to be a few thousand, of which only a fraction of which may reproduce in the wild.
Documentary footage of the snow leopard is scarce. While such coverage would not be remarkable with regard to common species, wildlife video of the snow leopard is difficult to obtain due to the animal's rarity and the human inaccessibility to much of its natural habitat.
Well, all I had found out from this reading was that the snow leopard is a rare cat that lives in obviously cold environments. None of this seems like it would assist me in learning more about-
Soft black hair brushed against my hand.
Turning my head a mere 90 degrees to the left, my nose felt a strange sensation. It was a sensation… no it was a smell, a smell like no other. It was the smell of flowery and fruity-scented shampoo…
It was Yukinoshita Yukino.
She made no reaction. Her eyes were elsewhere.
As if the world could burn down around her, she'd just keep staring at the book. Her head was over my left shoulder with two hands pressed against the desk, as if to gain a better vantage point from which to look upon the book of felines.
"Could I… help you, maybe?"
Her eyes were fixated about the pages like unmoving gems. Like a painting caught in time, Yukinoshita did not move. Her soft breaths could be felt over my shoulder and grazing my cheeks. They were warm in the early autumn heat. A small smile crept on her face.
She's ignoring me, isn't she?
Her eyes blinked at me, as if finally realizing my presence was that of a human being and not a stone statue. With regal grace, she stepped forward and flipped her elegant hair before finally crossing her arms across her plain chest.
"Um… do you want to see this book?"
With a pensive look, as if critically analyzing my bone structure for some kind of clue as to my true motive, her head nodded slowly. Her chin appeared to move at such a snail's pace that it seemed like there was some kind of tripwire located at her neck.
Handing her the book, Yukinoshita's fingers graced the smooth and colorized pages.
A smile crept on her lips as her fingers reached the snow leopard.
She then looked back at me. Her eyes blinked, as if reality was foreign to her. Gently, she picked up the book and closed it. Her arms were crossed over the book pressed to chest, fitting together snugly like an I-block in Tetris into a slot.  Slowly, her thin lips moved.
"Thank you," she murmured so softly I thought it might have been my imagination or some trick of the air conditioner. The library was silent, without any noise except the gentle snoozing emanating from the bespectacled librarian. It was so quiet you could have heard the sound of pin drop in between the snores.
"Uh...um…" What do people usually say in scenarios like this? 'You're welcome'? 'No problem'? I don't think I've ever been thanked before outside of my family, and even then Komachi 'thank you'-s are usually those coming from fulfilling expectations rather than being a courteous human being.
What does one even say?
"You owe me one." I blurted out because it was the first thing to come to mind.
I wanted to kick myself.
Her eyes looked at me. The gaze pierced my very soul and made my body drop several degrees Celsius. I may have suffered from hypothermia. It's like some kind of heat-ray vision except it makes one feel colder, like a cold-ray vision?
Except, for a moment, her eyes softened and I didn't feel so cold anymore.
"I see. I am in your debt," she agreed softly. Her head tilted forward slightly, as if offering me a bow.
In feudal times, I imagine that such a debt would involve me asking if she has a hot sister who wouldn't mind having a house-husband. But alas, those times in Japan have long passed. Arranged marriages would have made my househusband career so much simpler.
"What is your name?"
"It appears you know my name, although I am not surprised given my relative renown throughout the school." Sheesh, this girl isn't one to mince words or act modest. "So while you may be familiar with my name, I am not familiar with yours."
My hand instinctively went for the back of my head as my mind had momentarily forgotten my name.
"Hm. Hikigaya. I'll remember it." She then returned to the tables and picked up the books she was reading. She went back to the bookshelves and began placing the books back into their proper place.
There were books on literature, and history, and math, and books from countries I've never even heard of.
Yukinoshita Yukino was widely read, that is for certain.
"Hikigaya," came a soft voice.
"Huh?" I had instinctively followed her as she began placing all the books back. A small stack was still in her arms. "Oh, uh… am I supposed to help you with that?"
The proper phrase, had this been a romcom, was 'let me help you with that!' and you throw in a dashing smile.
Yukinoshita shook her head.
"I can't reach."
There was an empty slot for a missing book on the top shelf. The book missing in question was in Yukinoshita's hands. Taking the obvious cue, I took the book and placed it. Although I wasn't much taller than Yukinoshita, I could place the book into the shelf without risking the entire shelf collapsing on me. If this were a romcom, then as you reach up, you would struggle to become unbalanced returning the book. Afterwards you'll tumble down and you'll land with the female in a compromising position.
Of course, because of my furiously successful vaccination against the disease of romcom, I am immune to such scenarios.
When the last of the books had been restored to their proper place, Yukinoshita went to the librarian desk and checked out the book on snow leopards and other big cats. Placing the book in the bag, she walked out into the hallway.
Her back was to me. Maybe my existence that was following her was forgotten.
My more stupid self should have allowed the interaction to end there. But out of some poor muscle memory from an age where such things are still proper, my mouth acted against my training.
"Um… farewell, Yukinoshita-san?"
I fumbled my words, unsure of what to say and in the end I said the most formal salutation possible.
She looked at me. Her head reached up to cover her lips, hiding a miniscule smile. Maybe she found me hilarious like a queen would find a court jester and paid my salary in quiet giggles. But in any case, the following thing she said was the sort of thing I'd brag to my friends about - that is if I had any friends to brag about it to.
"Farewell then, Hikigaya-kun."
She turned about and left. She didn't so much as glanced back.
It's an obvious romcom trap. It's what they call a honeypot. The rosy-colored life tries to tempt you with such situations in an attempt to weaken my impressive immune system. But I'm not one to take the bait.
Looking back at her, Yukinoshita turns a corner and she's gone.
oO oOoOo oOoOo oOoOo Oo
When I returned home, the messaging program loaded up. I had left it on auto-run when the computer started off, so it was natural for me to see the program window open up.
I wasn't expecting messages while I was AFK though.
Snow Leopard: Good evening.
Snow Leopard: Are you there?
Snow Leopard: You are online, but you do not appear to be responding.
Snow Leopard: Please respond.
Each of the messages were spaced approximately two or three hours from each other. The first one was from around seven o'clock last night around the time I came home and plopped onto bed. The latest one came around 5 a.m. in the morning, merely half an hour before I woke up.
Hovering my mouse over Snow Leopard's name, I saw his status.
'Snow Leopard is Offline'
8man: I was pretty exhausted and went to sleep after turning on my computer. Sorry if you were waiting for me.
Going to school in the morning is a pleasant experience. Walking is known to enhance the creative thought processes in your brain. While I was nowhere close to finishing either of Hiratsuka-sensei's assignments of making a friend or finding more about this Snow Leopard fellow, I could at the very least indulge in the fact that I lived in a world where I could have Coffee MAX at any time during the day.
The typical school day involves arriving several minutes early so avoid getting caught by the gym teacher and forced to run penance laps. While I was not certainly out of shape, I'd prefer to limit my physical exertions to P.E. class. After the morning periods came lunch, and, as per usual, the daily rounds of gossip began floating around.
"Say! Did you hear the latest gossip from Class 2-J?"
"No! What happened? Tell! Tell!"
"It seems Yukinoshita Yukino-"
"The Yukinoshita Yukino!?"
"The one and the same! Anyways, she was dozing off in class. Like, she was totally not paying attention and Hiratsuka-sensei even had to walk up and nudge her awake."
"Doesn't she usually throw chalk at people's heads when they nod off? Wow! I guess people like Yukinoshita get special treatment after all. Tehehe!"
Such gossip is beneath my attention, but information is information nonetheless. While Hikigaya Hachiman may not partake in the day-to-day affairs of the classroom, I am mindful of it.
All the better to help me avoid it and not get stuck with some annoying position during the cultural festival.
Arriving home, I logged onto my computer before changing into more comfortable clothes. Checking the online chat program, I found that this Snow Leopard user was currently online and had already seen the offline message I left him.
The previous two instances, Snow Leopard had contacted me. This time, it appears different.
Maybe this was some kind of mental game where I'm supposed to message him this time? Blegh, it's probably an ego thing. 'If this guy doesn't message me, I'm not going to message him!'
It's an awfully silly way to think of things, but maybe he's committed to thinking like an overly dramatic girl.
Props to him.
Snow Leopard: I waited for you, 8man. 
What am I? Some kind of cat waiting to return home? Wait, besides that, if this person has to wait for some random online persona… that means… that surely must mean…
8man: Hey, do you have any friends?
Snow Leopard: Well, first that requires determining the line where a friend begins and ends.
8man: Ah, say no more. That's a line somebody with no friends would say.
Trust me. This is my specialty.
In all seriousness, I have no idea what the boundaries of 'friend' would be defined by. To me, there doesn't seem to be much difference between a friend and an acquaintance. Would someone you see once be a friend or do you have to see them everyday like a sibling?
Regardless, anyone who needs to actually be given a definition of 'friendship' has no friends at all.
8man: You act like you're so popular, but why don't you have any friends?
Snow Leopard: I never said I had any friends. If anything, having friends doesn't warrant as many advantages as one would think. If anything, I'd prefer less attention drawn to myself.
8man: Heh, so even though you're so well-liked by everybody, you don't have any friends?
Snow Leopard: You would never understand.
'You would never understand' is the sort of argument a parent makes to their child. It implies superiority in morals and experience. It's the kind of thing that infuriates toddlers and people on the internet. There's a condescending connotation and an implication that you are immature, closed-minded, and emotional.
I'm not popular. You claim you're popular. Snow Leopard, you garner none of my sympathies. Being an unpopular loner is the superior lifestyle.
8man: It's not like I don't understand what you're trying to say. Being alone has its perks. You can have a great time by yourself.
8man: You might even say that the belief that one shouldn't be alone is disgusting.
As my mind dwelled on the thought. Perhaps I was indeed being too closed minded.
Perhaps this guy just wanted an outlet to vent all his frustrations of being constantly coddled? Helicopter parents can do that. They basically open fire on anything that moves near their child.
8man: I guess you might have friends and family who care about you. And even though you like being alone, when everyone pours their sympathy all over you it could get irritating - like it's hard to breathe.
8man: I totally get you.
Snow Leopard: I wonder why you're speaking to me as if we were on the same level. That is particularly irritating.
My analysis was right on the mark.
8man: Well, while you may hold yourself to a higher imaginary standard than myself, I suppose we share the same feelings regarding being alone.
8man: Then again, I am something akin to the King of Loners. You could be a squire or maybe a Baron.
Now is the time to seize control of the conversation. The first is to establish superiority in a certain context so it disrupts their line of thinking. This is called 'poisoning the well' and politicians use it all the time. This isn't about whether something is right or wrong, this is now about either why I am right or you are wrong.
Snow Leopard: Baroness.
8man: That whole pretending to be a girl thing has got to go, you know?
8man: There are no girls on the internet.
It's the truth. There are no girls on the internet.
Snow Leopard: Your ignorance is astounding. Perhaps it is a world record.
Snow Leopard: Or perhaps it is a natural phenomenon worthy of multinational scientific research.
Snow Leopard: But I digress - such deviant-behavior shouldn't be encouraged.
Snow Leopard: And I am once again unsurprised by your circumstances although I must commend you for braving through it despite knowing full well its futility.
If I could end up in a book, I suppose that's one less life goal.
8man: Okay then, princess.
8man: What's it like being popular?
Maybe this guy has some kind of 'illness'. A disorder where one is delusional about their own status in society.
Of course, rich people have problems too. They have trouble counting their money.
Snow Leopard: This may be unpleasant for you to hear.
8man: I'm all ears.
Snow Leopard: Since I have always been cute, boys who approached me were basically in love with me.
And the level of modesty continues to hover at sub-zero levels.
Snow Leopard: I believe it began during my final years of elementary school, even since then…
Snow Leopard: A tribe of rabble will unite against a common enemy.
Snow Leopard: Girls are no different.
Snow Leopard: Girls hate other girls.
Snow Leopard: They will work to remove a common threat rather than improve themselves.
Snow Leopard: When I was in elementary school, I had just returned from overseas.
Snow Leopard: I had just transferred into class, but all the girls in the class…
Snow Leopard: No, that's incorrect.
Snow Leopard: All the girls in the school were desperate to eliminate me.
Snow Leopard: Not a single one of them even bothered trying to improve themselves and surpass me.
Snow Leopard: Feeble minded fools…
Snow Leopard: I had my indoor shoes hidden from me about sixty times but fifty of those times were done by girls in my class.
Whoa, did I step on a landmine? I could sense distinct unresolved issues hidden deep beneath Snow Leopard's condescending exterior.
8man: I'm curious about the other ten times.
Snow Leopard: Three of the times were done by boys trying to get my attention. For the remaining seven times, a dog had stolen them.
8man: The percentage of times where the dog is the culprit seems pretty high.
Snow Leopard: It may be surprising for you to know, but I do not like dogs.
That is unsurprising.
If I ever do meet this Snow Leopard in real life, I should take this guy to a dog show but say it's a Snow Leopard exhibit or something. That'd get him. That'd get him good.
Snow Leopard: Thanks to those incidents, I had to take my indoor shoes home everyday and in the end I even had to take my recorder mouthpiece home too.
Snow Leopard: Children can be rather cruel and lack appropriate boundaries.
8man: It must've been tough.
Snow Leopard: Yes, it was tough. All because I'm cute.
The pains of high society are something beyond my current understanding.
8man: What did you do to make them all so angry?
It was meant as a joke, but I imagine there's more to this story.
Snow Leopard: Because I'm cute, they also think I'm experienced in love.
Snow Leopard: But girls asking for love advice is a trick, an art of deception.
8man: Sun Tzu's Art of War? That's pretty boring. 
Snow Leopard: Oh? So you're even reading Chinese classics?
8man: Just the famous ones - even then they're ridiculously long.
8man: But love isn't a battlefield. Love is a graveyard of hope.
Snow Leopard: Love is a weapon, and one used fondly by girls.
Snow Leopard: For example, I am often asked for my opinion on love advice.
8man: I'm sure you feel popular.
Snow Leopard: I am popular, at least by definition of attention and praise.
When Snow Leopard went through the character customization menu, someone pupped way too many points into the [ARROGANT] stat.
8man: What were you saying about girls and love advice being deception?
Snow Leopard: Girls are territorial
Snow Leopard: When someone reveals who they like, others start being mindful of that correct?
Snow Leopard: For example, you see everything in the context of Girl A having a crush on Guy B.
Snow Leopard: And you're careful not to get too close to Guy B in hopes of not offending Girl A.
Snow Leopard: In that sense, asking for love advice is a method of marking territory.
School serves as a microcosm of society and the world at large. It encloses a subsection of mankind within a concrete garden. Even within its walls, we have conflict, wars, and bullying. Schools even mimic the stratification of society through social castes.
And just like in a democracy, majority rules. The educational system allows little barbarians and petty tribal feuds run amok.
Snow Leopard: If you try to make a move on that person, you'll be considered a thieving cat.
Snow Leopard: But being on the receiving end of a confession leads to the same problems, you know?
Snow Leopard: Why in the world did I have to be subjected to gossip like that…?
Snow Leopard: Would you be interested in what they said about me? Word for word?
8man: I think I'm good.
It was fun to go along with his little fantasy but being a pretty, popular, but still disliked girl in school. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he was eating instant noodles right now hoping I would pour some my sympathies and my credit card number. Heh, maybe this guy will try to be different and pass himself off as Nigerian Prince. 
He received enough satisfaction for today.
8man: Living on an island with just women would suck.
Snow Leopard: I imagine it would be similar if there was an island of just men.
8man: I think men would be civilized and take initiative in putting hard work and effort into making the island habitable while women would bicker and sunbathe before they realize coconuts make for excellent laxatives.
Snow Leopard: If I were in charge of the female island, I would have the entire archipelago under my thumb within a week.
8man: Bold claims coming from a cat lover.
Snow Leopard: But it can't be helped. Nobody is perfect.
Snow Leopard: They are weak, they have ugly minds and they get jealous easily and try to drag others down. Oddly enough, the more superior you are the harder it is to live in this world. Isn't that just wrong? That's why I'm going to change every single person in this world as well as the world itself.
8man: That sounds pretty insane.
When youth are frustrated, they want to change the world. But the world won't change. That's why in young adult battle manga they always feature a youthful kid who is courageous and overcomes all his challenges with friendship and strength of will or Kubo asspulls.
And these folks always fight against some group or corporate establishment. It's always some Elite Ten or Espada or Akatsuki.  The youth hate structure. They hate organization. They hate society.
So they draw battle mangas where they blow it all up.
Or they delude themselves into accepting such a crappy reality. And they go about their high school days living their youth as a lie. It's a facade, a dance, that everyone agrees to and no one wants to break. An imaginary community of actors and actresses.
And all the world's a stage.
Then there's me… a turn-based RPG player in a real-time world.
Snow Leopard: Perhaps.
Snow Leopard: But it's better than letting myself be swallowed up by this world and wither away and die.
Heh, maybe this guy is a loner just like me.
… just maybe...
'Friend Request Sent to Snow Leopard'
Maybe, just maybe - he and I could be -
Snow Leopard: I'm sorry. That's impossible.
Snow Leopard has declined your friend request
The guy flat out rejected me. He rejected me over the internet. And on top of that, I was trying to be sincere. Ugh, this guy is going to be asking for my credit card information any day now claiming 'she' needs money to support her politician father who's stuck in some diplomatic limbo.
I just wanted to add you to my -Friend's List-!
At least then I wouldn't have to scroll all the way to -Recent Contacts- and have to find your name amongst the sea of people who bombarded me with private messages to troll me or scam me out of my meager savings.
There are no girls on the internet. And there certainly aren't any romantic comedies on the internet either.
Man, the internet should just go blow itself up.
oO oOoOo oOoOo oOoOo Oo
Much Ado about Snow Leopard Fin
 Every chatroom is unhappy in its own way. Reference to some Russian Novel. War & Peace or something. I don't know.
 No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai. Apparently it's a really uplifting novel about how the average person can fit into society and find meaning.
 Because why would anyone want to do that? Just lie on the internet? Why would Hikigaya be aware of a meme based on a children's cartoon from America named after a talking aardvark?
 Catcher in the Rye. Again. Because I'm a filthy hamburger eating American, I don't know what other pretentious novel to throw out there.
 Please respond. HEH.
 There are no girls on the internet. This is the First Law of the Internet. Girls do NOT exist on the internet. Only liars.
 The Little Prince. Wtf is Hikigaya doing reading FRENCH novels?
 Chicken Little. Oh? Now we're into European folk tale?
 Being different from others… only leads to problems. FINAL FANTASY VERSUS XIII. I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN. I HAVE NOT FORGIVEN. NOMURA HASN'T EITHER, GOD BLESS THAT MAN AND KINGDOM HEARTS III. STELLAAAAAA!
 I-block in Tetris into a slot. Tetris was made by commies.
 I waited for you, 8man. A reference to one of the few times I legit cried at a cartoon/video game (Futurama). If you care, some other times was the MGS3 ending, Encanto, and some parts in Akane-Baneshi.
 Sun Tzu's Art of War. We're globe-trotting now, readin' Chinese classics.
 Nigerian Prince. Remember kids, if a Nigerian Prince needs funds to support his efforts to reclaim his throne, you give them all your financial information. DISCLAIMER: This is not sound financial advice. The author is merely expressing a sarcastic opinion that should not be taken seriously. Please consult a financial advisor with fiduciary responsibilities and even then, don't trust them.
 Elite Ten or Espada or Akatsuki. Just sayin' but My Hero Academia and Chainsawman is trash compared to Bleach and Naruto. And Akane-baneshi is the greatest thing I've ever read.
Title reference: Much Ado about Nothing. A play by William Shakesman. You probably never heard of him. Trash writer anyways. Pft. Full of cliches and 5-act structures and amateur stuff like that. Hasn't he tried subverting expectations and trying to be smarter than the audience? Didn't he kind of forget about the French Fleet?
Author's Notes: It's 4 am in the morning. I am making chocolate pudding. I have lost control of my life.
And I F***ING SWEAR IF ANY OF YOU MAKE A MENTION ABOUT THAT DAMN FANFIC AND HOW I NEED TO UPDATE IT - AND WE ALL KNOW WHICH ONE I'M TALKING ABOUT - I'M GOING TO MAKE IT A TOTSUKA-HAREM NTR ENDING WHILE HIKIGAYA SITS IN THE CORNER AND WATCHES LIKE AN OMEGA WHILE BETA ZAIMOKU SNIFFS THE PHEROMONES OFF OF HIM.
Nobody reads the A/N's anyways. I'm going to take a shot for every review that mentions that fic-that-shall-not-be-named.
Anyways this is a one-shot because I just like writing random stuff because I can and making myself suffer. Thanks for reading the ramblings of a Punished God Emperor Penguin.