Although I said in the previous volume that "next volume will be the final one"... My worries came true and I didn't end with one volume! This resulted in the unprecedented measure of releasing the story in separate volumes for the first time in this series. I now present to everyone the first half of the finale, C3 XVI! Oh dear, truly the more I write, the thicker the content gets... How did things turn out like this?
Anyway, it is for this reason that a rare subtitle was added to the title. If only Roman numerals were added as usual, I worry whether people will know that there is one more volume. Since "close" has the meaning of "end," just think of it as meaning the story's conclusion. Well, "close" also has many other meanings... Yeah.
In the past, I would usually use this space to explain the volume's contents a little, but since this book is just the first half of the story, it feels like I have to be careful what I say. Although new characters have arrived, they will still make appearances in the second half after all. Rather, because it's the last, I originally wanted to write some behind-the-scenes secrets about existing characters... But the higher-ups gave merciless orders saying that the page count was limited! I guess I'll leave the fun for the next volume. Did I mention somewhere that Kirika was originally meant to be a glasses-wearing character...? Topics along these lines. Having said that, I'm not sure how many spare pages there will be at the end of next volume for the afterword!
So, a lot of stuff happened in the process of writing the final episode. Like what I mentioned, ending up writing more and more. My health also deteriorated inexplicably, causing my writing speed to go down dramatically. Just staring at the computer screen for an hour or two would give me dizziness, nausea and headaches. It was a crisis of a lifetime. I originally thought it was my eyes getting too exhausted, but thinking back now, perhaps it might have simply been the stress... I guess there's a lot of pressure as soon as the thought of this being the final volume. With every line I wrote, it felt as though there was a mental class rep inside me, giving off intimidating vibes like preparing for a cultural festival, scolding me strictly: "Hey, male student over there! Are you sure about writing it this way? This is the last volume, you know!?" So I kept editing after writing, then writing after editing. Even so, I finally put in everything I've got and finished the entire manuscript, thus successfully delivering it to every reader's hands. I am so glad.
Finally, I have to acknowledge the help I received again from many people for this volume! Editor in charge, Yuasa-sama, illustrator Sasorigatame-sama, as well as all staff involved with this book's publication, I am truly grateful to you all!
Also, there are all the readers. Perhaps someone might think: "Why hasn't the series ended yet~?", but I've already finished writing the second half, so I expect this volume's continuation to arrive without too much of a wait. Next volume really will be the conclusion of this series, so please continue to show your support!
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