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TLNC Chapter 4 – This Page is Under Construction

This Page is Under Construction

Tanaka and I were returning home from club.

“So did you ask Izumi to read your stories?”

“No, it’s rude to make people read your unfinished stories.”

“Is that so?”

Since he asked something about me, I felt like I had to ask something about him. I hate having to feign interest in other people and their lives which is why I avoided most people. Was Izumi the same? Well, even if she was, there is no society of misanthropes.

“What was that VHS tape about? I saw you going through the four stages of grief in there.”

“It’s a long story. Do you want to hear it?”

It sounded like a boring story.

“Not really.”

Tanaka cracked a smile and laughed.

“You are pretty honest.”

It was hard to say whether Tanaka meant it as an insult or a compliment but I didn’t really mind it either way cause it was true.

“I just hate having to guess what other people are feeling.”

A few days passed like this, I was able to get an old, noisy Windows 98 desktop PC from the school’s Computer Club at a cheap price, because they were going to throw it away anyway because it was trash. There was no way to connect to the internet so I had to use a pen drive to take my novel work home.

Yamada and Tanaka were playing some kind of table-talk RPG. I was invited but I declined. Meanwhile Izumi was not invited probably because they already knew she would decline.

After about half an hour of writing later, I was stuck and I was absent-mindedly listening to the whirring noise of the CPU fan. Would they be able to even find it pieces for it when it stopped working? There was a tap on my shoulder from behind which broke me out of my daze. It was Izumi.

“Can you make a website?”

Izumi didn’t look or sound like she was asking a favour, from her eyes which looked like the colour of LCD monitor which had been turned off, I could say she was asking whether I knew how to make a website, not whether I’d be willing to make one.

“If it’s a very simple website, I can make one in notepad.”

In middle-school I had maintained my own online personal online journal website where I overshared my personal feelings and wrote horrible chuunibyou novels. Izumi’s question had dredged up some embarrassing memories but there’s no way she could know of those novels, right?

“Okabe-sensei said that since the club now has a PC, he wanted the light novel club to make a website to show the club is engaged in club activities.”

Izumi explained. What a bothersome teacher, well all teachers were bothersome. I guess he wasn’t completely senile after all. Tanaka and Yamada were oblivious to our conversation, throwing dice and being loud.

“But what should I even put on the website?”

A replay transcript of Tanaka’s and Yamada’s table-top adventures? No that would be more embarrassing than my middle-school chuunibyou novels.

“I’ll leave that up to you.”

After delivering her unreasonable request Izumi turned back to take her seat and continued reading another thick book like this wasn’t her problem anymore.

Then again group brainstorming sessions seldom yielded anything. I was used to people in group projects being useless to the point I was the only one who did any work. Let’s just get this done and over with. I just needed to do the bare minimum. When I do things on my own I can just ignore other people’s opinions. The easiest way would be to copy someone’s website template online while making some changes to the content.

“Can I look up how to make a website on my phone?”

I asked Izumi over the voice of the morbidly obese high-pitched Yamada trying to impersonate a bashful tsundere elf-princess, exchanging barbs in a teasing-manner, with a human knight (the scrawny Tanaka).

Izumi got up with the book she was reading, handed the book to me, and then exited the club room without answering me. I was tempted to have a look at what she was reading but then I chastised myself for having that thought. What good would knowing what she read do?

Yamada and Tanaka were loudly debating about some rule in their board game. I ignored them as best as I could and went back to writing my novel.

About five minutes passed and there was a tap on my back. It was Izumi and in her hand she held a thick volume with a laminated cover and yellowed pages. She handed it to me wordlessly and went back to her designated reading spot. I finally decided it was time to see what the hell she was handing me these all these books for.

From the school emblem seal in ink, on its first page, I could see that it was a book from our school’s library where Izumi had borrowed this book now. The title was typed in glossy font on the cover and it read: “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating an HTML Web Page.” Like most of the school library’s books, it was pretty old. The first publication date written was in 1997 but this edition was from 1999. No, even by the school’s standards this was pretty old, did she purposefully bring me the oldest books on web design she could find from the library?

I opened a new notepad document and looked around the club to see what our literary activities were. All I could see was anime merchandise, manga, and the odd light novel brought by me. It would be too much work to make up a fictional blog that needed to be updated about our club’s non-existent literary activities so I started to make a landing page with some basic information about the club, like the club’s email address. I explained what light novels are in my own words, and insincerely argued that they are modern Japanese Literature.

If only I could have looked up on the internet how to make a modern looking website… I could have just copied and pasted some website template from somewhere instead of having to type it from scratch. Most of the information in the book Izumi had given me was arcane knowledge like how to add a guestbook, a BBS and a stat counter for your brand-spanking “web 1.0” website. I doubt that most of the third party services listed in the book ever made it to this millennium, let alone this decade.

Unexpectedly Izumi brought me a cup of tea, but only to me. Would those two find it rude? Well, it’s not like they were engaged in club activities or anything? I thought as I watched Yamada pretend to stab through some monster with his hand-motions, a pencil for a dagger, and air for a target.

Like most high school students I was used to producing soulless written assignments which repeated back to the assessors what they wanted to hear, no matter how boring it was. This was no different, but I had at least wanted to avoid this during club-time.

After writing about a 1000 words I was running out of things to lie about, so I added a side-bar with a list of the members in the club and called it a day. I doubt that this website would look good on a phone but then again I doubt that old Okabe would be reading it on a phone. I showed Izumi the results of my day’s labour expecting her to ask me to rewrite this barely coherent drivel.

Izumi nodded but said nothing. She turned to Yamada and Tanaka. Sensing her gaze they stopped their game and turned our way. Yamada had a pencil on top of his ear.

“Okabe-sensei ordered us to make a website for the Light Novel Club and you will be contributing to it. Ishikawa here has already contributed an article explaining the club’s activities. You will need to contribute something else.”

Tanaka sighed. Yamada yawned sending the pencil on top of his ear rolling down straight to the floor. It was about time for us to close up and leave rather than start this conversation. I wondered why Izumi had asked me to work on it first, but working on it separately was for the best.

And like that another uneventful day at this club came to an end.

Later that afternoon, as we walked back home, Tanaka started to talk without me asking for it as usual.

“Well if it’s Okabe who asked for it then I guess it can’t be helped. It’s part of our agreement with Izumi-san to do the minimum to keep this club open as club members, but asking me and Yamada to come up with something in a day in unreasonable, don’t you think so?”

As much as I wanted to ignore his question, I couldn’t pretend not to hear him. Although Izumi probably could.

“I disagree. I want us to get this over and done with as quickly as possible.”

“Why are you taking Izumi’s side, could you maybe have a thing for her?”

Stop projecting. This time I pretended not to hear him, and ignored his question.

Izumi was right, even if we had more time we would not do a better job, because we didn’t want to do this job, any extra time would be wasted on procrastination. Source: me. In that case, a quick and dirty job is the best we can do.

The Light Novel Club

The Light Novel Club

Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2024
Ishikawa Isshin, a freshman at North High has decided to join his high school's Light Novel Club, hoping to get some inspiration and quiet, to work on his novel for a light novel writing contest. Unfortunately for Isshin, the club's non-talkative bibliophilic book girl and old-tech obsessed club president, Izumi, as well as other members of the school faculty are intent on getting in his way by dragging him off to participate in miscellaneous after-school club activities.  Will Isshin remain the reluctant member of the club and continue to regret his decision to have joined? Or will he come to love the club, and discover the true purpose of the Light Novel Club?  

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