It was Rage who broke the silence. He adjusted his posture, which had somehow become a bit of a nod, and spoke to Nina in a slightly trembling tone of voice.
Nina looked up at the sea vaguely, turned her body toward Rage, who was sitting next to her, and stared into his eyes.
「Well…That…Love in the metaverse…What do you think about…？」
「On the Metaverse…love…Is it? 」
「Yes, I know I’m asking a strange question, but lately I’ve been wondering is it good or bad to have a romantic feeling for someone you met in the Metaverse recently?…I’m worried about something like that…Or were you worried?…It’s like that, no, there’s nothing wrong with it! 」
As he became muddy, Rage managed to organize the thoughts in his head and tried to convey them one by one. Nina, on the other hand, puts her hand on her cheek and ties her mouth to think deeply.
「…Well, in the end, I thought that no matter where I met the other person, no matter what the background of the other person, if I liked it, I wouldn’t have to think about anything difficult. And I think it’s quite natural to want to get along with that person, and I came to that conclusion.…。」
When Rage managed to finish speaking, Nina looked up again and stared at Rage’s eyes, perhaps she had been waiting for the right moment.
「That…I’m sorry, I don’t really understand that…I’m not familiar with romance, so I’ve been trying really hard to figure it out.…I don’t have a way of thinking that Rage is happy with…maybe.」
「Well, is that so?…No, I’m sorry to say that I don’t really understand why! 」
「No, no, don’t apologize!」…I’m skinny and uninteresting…。」
Then Nina dropped her shoulders a little and slowly began to talk about herself.
「…Even when I’m having a conversation with someone, I can only reply matter-of-factly. I can’t say anything witty or funny.…. That’s why I’m not good at speaking one-on-one.… Even though I was having a conversation, “Oh, this person also wants to do something else than talk to me.… I feel like, ‘I wonder if they’re thinking that’」
「That’s why I try to get rid of the signs when there are many people. When I have a fun topic, I laugh, and when I have a problem, I sigh of relief.…That way, don’t disturb the conversation…。」
「Out of the way.…in order to avoid…。」
「…Ufufu, that’s why I helped Rage…Because I’m taking a step back and watching the conversation, “Is this person asking when to start the conversation?” Because there was a moment when I felt. That’s all I can do for someone…。」
「I can do such superficial things, but when it comes to deeper topics, I can’t think of anything else.…It’s as if I don’t have such a feature…What?」
Nina’s smile, laughing like that, looks a little more lonely than usual.
Then Rage, who had been almost mumbling until then, began to speak in a gentle tone.
「Apparently…It’s not what you think.…。」
「What you did for me, Nina, was more than superficial. You made me want to live in this world.」
「…Such a big thing, for me…。」
「…Sure, what you did that day might just be a little push on the back of the man in trouble in front of you. But how warm that hand that gently pushed him back must have felt to that man. And how much he was saved. Only I can understand that. So please don’t deny it.」
「Because Nina was there, I could get into the conversation that day. Because I was able to get into the conversation, I was able to make friends and join a cozy community. That’s why I was. Living in the Metaverse was so much fun that I couldn’t help it, and now I can live my life in my way.」
「…I like you, Nina. 」
「I may not know who you really are, but I know how wonderful you are that you do not know. Would you please live with me in this world?…。…please…！」
Rage said this with a serious look in his eyes and bowed deeply.
「…If you get to know her deeply, you might think she’s a boring woman.…？」
「Then I can make you laugh.」
「…She may not be the wonderful woman you think she is!…？」
「Then I’ll find somewhere better.」
「…Is it really good for me like this?…？」
「Yes, it is because of you. Because of you, I had the courage to tell you how I felt.」
The silence came again for a while between them.―。
「…I know I’m a loose cannon, but I look forward to working with you.」
While answering that, Nina squeezed Rage’s hand tightly.
「…Finally…Tah! !! !!」
At that moment, Rage’s joyful yell echoed around.
「Hey, Rage, it’s embarrassing!」
「Oh, I’m sorry, I’m so happy…Mmm.」
「Oh, my God.…Mmmm.」
They looked into each other’s eyes and laughed for a while.
And there is one figure watching them from afar.
「…Congratulations, Rage. Let’s send the right words to you now. That Mahatma Gandhi said, 『A timid person cannot express love. Expressing love is a manifestation of courage』And I’m proud of you, you are a very brave master.」
「Ha ha ha!…。」
「Mmm…. Speaking of which, Rage, did you just say that 『having a romantic feeling for the person you met in the Metaverse?』 What did that mean?
「Let’s see.…Don’t be offended, right? I’ll say it now, but in fact, I think Nina is the AI that looks like an avatar.…There was a time when I was thinking…。」
「…ＡＩ…Is it? 」
「No, that doesn’t mean it’s bad! It’s just that, you know, the way you help me when I’m in trouble, you’re like the perfect support AI!…。」
「I see…So what if Rage likes AI?…Did you worry about that?」
「…Yes, it is…。」
「…Well, I also said several times, , ‘You’re not an AI, are you?’ I am aware that there is an AI character.…。」
「So that…The fact is.…？」
「Ummm..do you really care? I’m―。」
The conversation, audible only to the two of them, was drowned out by the loud cheers directed at the climax of the performance.