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Old Flame

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Mai Minase, a name Tomonari would never forget and a girl he would never get over. If only he hadn’t messed up so badly, if only he’d been a little nicer… If he could reach out to her again, he was sure he could re-capture her heart…!

But no, the chance wasn’t going to come, was it? She was off on other continents, making others' lives better… And he had just recently found a place for himself. Was he even worthy of her?

He guessed that didn’t matter… It wasn’t like they would ever meet again. Maybe that was why he threw himself into his flirting and making all those ladies happy. It filled the void, if just a bit… And making a lady smile was always nice…

That was his thought process when a familiar set of eyes and eyebrows he could never forget walked back into his life. Mai Minase was back in Alba, and their eyes had met in the center of Mac Anu.

Tomonari’s mouth felt dry, opening and closing as she approached him. What did he say? What did he do?

“Tomonari…” Her voice was as cute as it had always been. “It’s been a while, I almost didn’t recognize you.”

“M… Mai…!” He could already feel his panicking messing him up. “I guess so… figured blue hair looked better than blonde or brown… aha…”

“It does fit the more...eccentric things about you, yes.” She looked him over, humming. “Though the yellow went from your hair to your clothes, and vice versa on the blue.”

“Huh?”

“Your choice in colors didn’t change with age, did they?” Mai’s eyes met his again, her face as innocent as usual. “I guess Tomonari is still the same Tomonari, then.”

And that? That was the line that caused Tomonari heartbreak. Still the same Tomonari, huh…? He definitely wasn’t worthy of her, then…

“Well, I know what I’m doing with my life now, at least… aha…” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I guess the changes aren’t that extreme, though…”

“Really?” Mai placed a hand on her cheek. “Then… Do you want to catch up over dinner? I’d like to hear more about what you’re doing.”

“Wh… me?!” He pointed to himself, eyes wide. “I-I mean, sure! I know some good places around Mac Anu and--” Wait, no, he shouldn’t be pushy. “Uh… What kind of food are you thinking about today?”

Mai hummed. “Surprise me… But make sure you can pay for yourself, okay?”

“No worries! Being the speaker of a god pays well!”

“Oh…” She blinked a few times. “You speak for a god? Which one? Magus?”

He stared at her, tilting his head to the side. “H-how did you guess?”

“I’ve heard… rumors about you, you are the Steam Gunner Kuhn, right?”

Oh no… “Uh…..” This would be a long night.