I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 825 min read
Volume 1 | Chapter 3: May – Part 2
Now then, Yumi-chan and I finally arrived at the shopping mall. We examined the interior map while we made our plans.
The stores started from the underground first level to the fourth floor. There were all kinds of shops selling from food, daily goods, accessories, clothing, books, games, CDs, furniture, to so on. There was even a movie theatre here.
The fifth floor and up were parking lots. The rooftop was a space for events. There was an atrium in the middle of the building, which let people look down from the fourth floor all the way to the first.
Ever since this shopping mall was established, the shopping district in the area all suffered some damage. However, we were thankful because they had stores that sell accessories to young people and cheap clothing.
If I had to bring up a flaw then the food court only had fast food restaurants and cafes. It’s not the best place to have lunch.
“Then let’s take a look at the accessory shop and then check for clothes. Afterwards, we’ll go to the bookstore and game shop. If we still have time, we’ll check out other places too. I’m sure we’ll be hungry after we look at accessories, so we’re going to leave the mall to have lunch.”
“Yeah, I have no complaints!” Yumi-chan shot her hand up in the air excitedly with a grin.
The stores Yumi-chan had her eyes on today were the bookstore and game shop. She was interested in fashion, but she’s the type to first invest her pocket money in her hobbies. Then why aren’t we going to those stores first? Her eyes will be stolen away by all the books and games, and she wouldn’t be able to leave the store anymore. As such, we’ll run out of time to shop — we decided to go there last.
The two of us chatted while we walked. Soon we reached our first destination, the accessory shop. The more I looked at the accessories, the cuter they got. You can’t help but find yourself wanting to buy them.
But even if you did buy it, you can only use them on the weekend. That’s why I don’t buy any accessories unless I really, really like them. Just holding them in front of me in the mirror was fun for me, so I took some in my hand.
“It looks like the store separates each designer onto their own shelf,” Yumi-chan let out like she was impressed.
It turned out today was their opening day. There were many items made by different designers lined up one by one.
“It’s amazing~ Shiori-chan, what kind of accessory do you like?”
“Simple ones, I guess. The types that aren’t so complicated and fancy.”
“Really? Then again, Shiori-chan is the sweet, beautiful girl type. Something like this cute clover here might suit you.”
I’m happy to be complimented, but if you knew my personality, I don’t think I can be described as sweet.
“Ah, but I think Gothic designs will suit you too. Like, a cute little devil. I wanna see you cosplay,” Yumi-chan said as she took a cross brooch and held it by my neck.
I was wearing spring-like clothing today, so my current image was completely different than the Gothic image Yumi-chan was imagining right now.
“But it doesn’t suit your outfit today,” Yumi-chan realized as well after seeing it on me.
“Right? Someone who’ll suit this accessory will be… Oh, like that girl over there…..” I pointed to the person beyond Yumi-chan’s shoulder. There was a beautiful girl wearing a slightly subdued Gothic loli-like one piece.
However, I realized something once I voiced out her existence. I knew this person and her wonderful features and figure.
“Aikawa-san?” I uttered.
Yumi-chan turned around and was surprised too. “What a coincidence~ I wonder if Aikawa-san came to buy things too?” She held the cross brooch in her hand towards Maria-jou in the distance. It looked like the two of them matched quite well, so Yumi-chan was beaming.
I was too busy thinking about something else to be surprised by this coincidence. Just some time ago, Maria-jou was at the railway crossing wearing pink clothing. However, right now, she was wearing black. There’s no way I could mistake pink with black. In other words, she changed her clothing in such a short period of time……?
“Did that brooch catch your interest?”
I wasn’t able to immediately respond since I was observing Maria-jou. It was when Yumi-chan tugged my sleeve that I snapped back to attention.
The person who called out to us was a guy. He was young, around the same age as us. He also had a mesh in his hair. The way he wore his clothes casually made him feel kind of like a playboy. He smiled frivolously, but I couldn’t tell if it was insincere or if he smiled naturally like that.
The guy wore black as his base — he suited the cross brooch in Yumi-chan’s hand.
“Eh! Well, yeah……. But I also thought it doesn’t suit my outfit today,” I said to him before exchanging a look with Yumi-chan.
If my instinct was correct then this person was a staff of this store. If you mention you were interested in the brooch, he’ll say this and that and recommend it to you. You’ll end up being made to buy it.
“Cause you’re wearing spring clothing after all.” He laughed lightly. “But I think it’ll suit you. Designs with a sharp blade to it, that is.” While he laughed, he pointed at the pointed tip of the cross brooch. “I look like this but I’m a designer. This cross brooch is one of my works.”
“Eh……!?” Yumi-chan and I looked at each other in shock.
“I-Is that so. That’s amazing…….” Yumi-chan praised him. That’s how she was sucked into his pace and sales talk in no time. She couldn’t run away even if she wanted.
Yumi-chan would end up being talked into buying the said brooch a few minutes later.
“Money for my new releases ahhhhhhh…….” Yumi-chan hung her head. She has been repeating the same words over and over again. It seems because she purchased something unexpected, she ended up having to use her budget for new releases.
I’m not against lending her money, but what should I do? For now, I’ll try suggesting something appropriate. “Wanna decrease our budget for lunch?”
“Uu… can I beg you for that? I’ll order a 100 yen burger and water……”
We had a light lunch at the food court and headed to the clothing store. Yumi-chan also hesitated over this and that in this store. It seems she was the type that can’t turn down recommendations from staff.
After we checked the whole store, we went to the bookstore at last. This bookstore here was connected right next to the game shop and the CD store. Yumi-chan wanted bonuses that came with the first release of a game, so she was going to pre-order it today.
You’re going as far as pre-ordering!? — I was surprised. But Yumi-chan smiling with satisfaction after completing the pre-order procedures was very cute.
Next, we went to the new release books’ corner. Yumi-chan safely obtained the book she was after. However, just like she said she would, she got distracted by it and went into the standing reading mode.
I see. This is a truly dangerous trap. Yumi-chan’s concentration in standing reading mode was very amazing. My voice couldn’t reach her at all. I tried waving my hand in front of her face. She gave me no response. It looks like she wouldn’t move until she finishes reading her new book.
I had nothing to do, so I tried walking around, looking to see if there were any interesting books. However, I couldn’t find any at all and ended up in the CD store section. I could listen to songs here, so I might as well try and kill time.
I reached my hand to take the headphones in the demo listening space.But I was late by a split second and they were stolen away by another customer.
My eyes met with the customer’s. I was shocked — it was Kazu-nii out of all people.
“Why are you here?” He asked me.
“That’s my question, Kazu-nii. I’m here shopping with Yumi-chan……”
Wait, wait, wait, this is bad. I immediately covered my mouth with my hand and checked around us. Good, Yumi-chan isn’t here. She must still be in the books section.
I spoke to Kazu-nii like usual because we met outside the academy. But it still doesn’t change the fact Kazu-nii was my homeroom teacher.
“I heard Candle’s new song came out, so I thought I’ll have a listen……”
“Hibiya-sensei, your tone, your tone of voice! I came here with Yumi-chan. Also Maria-jou is inside this mall.”
“What was that?” Judging by his reaction, he hasn’t met Maria-jou yet. I reported the Maria-jou sightings and what information I knew to him in a small voice.
Kazu-nii looked startled. “I just remembered. This is probably the GW’s shopping mall event. I think there were three people who had events here,” he told me.
“Three? So much?”
“There should be a character who likes Gothic type clothing. Other than that, I feel like there was another target you could raise affection rate by showing this unexpected outfit.”
“Kazu-nii’s affection rate will rise too?”
“……No, well, I’m sure Gothic will suit Aikawa fine,” Kazu-nii mumbled out words. Good grief. “Anyways, this is an event. And a sub-event in fact.”
“Besides the main events vital for capturing the targets, there are sub-events. Unlike the main events, you don’t have to trigger all of them. But you can raise friendship and affection rate with the capture targets with these sub-events. By friendship, I mean how close the heroine is as friends and affection is the romance parameter. There are characters whose main events won’t happen unless you get each of the rates to a certain level.”
It seems quite complicated to progress in an otome game.
“At any rate, I’m going to go home. Hibiya’s GW event was, if I’m remembering correctly, listening to the same song with headphones together in the CD shop. Depending on the heroine’s dialogue choices, they’ll have dinner together in a restaurant afterwards. In the end, he has to drive her back home in his beloved Ferrari. This is also when the heroine learns for the first time Hibiya drives a Ferrari. If you trigger all the events properly, Hibiya’s friendship rate will rise to the point he’ll call the heroine by her first name after GW ends.”
“Headphones?” I looked at the headphones in Kazu-nii’s hand. I’m guessing this means either Kazu-nii or Maria-jou will wear the headphones and the other person draws close to listen.
Why don’t you just buy the CD, Kazu-nii? Why the heck are you in the demo area? Aren’t you a full-fledged member of society with money?
Putting that aside, I looked around us once more. After confirming Yumi-chan was nowhere around, I left the CD shop to look down onto the first room via the atrium.
Maria-jou’s attire today was eye-attaching to some point. And like I predicted, I found her in the accessory store on the first floor.
[Target’s on the 1st floor.]
[Roger. I’ll head to the parking lot.]
Kazu-nii started to move. As long as Maria-jou’s on the first floor, she won’t bump into Kazu-nii who’s heading to the parking lot, which is on the fifth floor.
[Target, heading up via elevator. 3rd floor.]
By now Kazu-nii was probably rushing into the parking lot. This has nothing to do with anything, but I wonder what you can say about guys who go to a shopping mall with a Ferrari out of all cars.
[Target, in CD shop.]
When Maria-jou entered the CD shop, she looked left and right restlessly as she walked deeper in. When I saw her closer, I couldn’t help but feel her outfit today really made her beauty stand out even more. It didn’t suit the spring season; still, it suited her quite well.
But you know, Maria-jou… If you loiter around in that outfit around the anime corner, you’ll look like an cosplaying anime fan coming in to buy more anime goods.
Maria-jou couldn’t find the thing she was looking for and left the shop to enter the bookstore next door. I stealthily followed after her. Yumi-chan was standing and reading didn’t show a single sign she noticed anything. Also, Maria-jou didn’t notice Yumi-chan either.
She wandered around the bookstore for ten minutes before heading to the CD shop once more. This time, she took the headphones for demo listening in her hand. She probably listened to a number of songs before she eventually shook her head and left the store. This time, she walked into the movie theatre. But it seems she wasn’t in the mood for a movie, so she left after five minutes.
She went into the CD shop once again. Taking the headphones into her hand again, she stood there for a minute without even listening to anything.
In the end, she wandered around the fourth floor for an hour. She eventually stepped into the elevator like she gave up and went off.
[Target, heading to the 1st floor.]
[Roger. I’ve already made it near the station over here. Is pudding okay as thanks?]
Buying pudding as thanks cause you’re the one who wants to eat it doesn’t impress me one bit.
[Washimochi from Spring Breeze Pavilion.]
He didn’t answer back, but since it’s Kazu-nii, he’ll buy it for me.
“Fuwaa…….” Yumi-chan looked up, looking quite satisfied with what she read.
By that time, I was already by her side. I think about two hours have passed since she started reading. Her concentration was pretty amazing.
“A-Ah, s-sorry, Shiori-chan. You must have been bored, right?”
“No, no, I’m alright. I managed to kill time properly.”
“Thank you…! Then I’ll go and buy this new volume!” With the new book she secured without paying, Yumi-chan ran off to the cashier.
I followed after her while thinking about Maria-jou and her actions today. I’ve felt this way for sometime now but…… that girl is strange somehow, isn’t she?
□ ■ □
May 7th, Monday morning after the end of GW. Iinchou and I were summoned by Kazu-nii, so we went to the staff room.
Basically an off-season transfer student was coming, and we were told to look after him.
His name was Kamura Ryou. A new male student. When we met the new transfer student, to my surprise, he was the Designer-kun I met at the shopping mall. He was now wearing our school uniform, but the mesh in his hair was still the same.
I recognized him the moment I saw him and I was surprised. At the same time, I couldn’t help but come to an understanding. The reason why Maria-jou was at the shopping mall was because she wanted to meet him.
“Monday……” There was ‘fire’ in Designer-kun’s name.
But that’s odd, I tilted my head in questioning. The numbers don’t match.
The capture targets were Tsukishima, violin pretty boy, Mizusaki, Katsuragi, Kaneshiro, Tsuchiya, and Hibiya, or so I believed. Was that pretty boy different? Like a secret character or something?
That being said, the appearance of an off-season transfer student was pretty impactful. With ‘fire’ in his last name and how he was good-looking, there’s no mistake he was Maria-jou’s capture target. I’m guessing, but I’m sure they had some sort of first meeting event in the accessory store.
It looked like he remembered me and spoke to me with a friendly tone. “Huh~ Hey, you’re that girl who suits sharp blades, right?”
Why did he remember me this way……?
You’ll make people misunderstand me, so please quickly correct yourself. I don’t have a hobby of making poses all day to see which ones will make blades shine the most when I hold them. A traditional Japanese beauty with long black hair might make a picture, I feel. But I have fine, soft light brown hair here.
“I haven’t ever suited blades in my whole life.” He wasn’t close to me, so I spoke to him curtly.
He waved me off lightly. “Ahaha, sorry, sorry. You were together with a girl who brought my brooch, right? You look like you’ll suit a much more sharp designer. I’ll make it personally next time, so could you take it?”
“I’ll take it if it’s a birthday present.”
“Hmm~ And when is it?”
“Eh? Seriously? That’s amazing!”
We lightly introduced ourselves after this exchange. Kazu-nii will be bringing him to class in the morning greetings. As such, the reason why Iinchou and I were summoned was just for the sake of meeting him early.
“He transferred in a weird time. I mean it’s May just after the holidays,” I noted.
“He doesn’t have a choice if it’s due to his parents’ work, right?” Iinchou said to me. “But he passed the entrance exam for transfer students, which is amazing. I heard it’s quite hard. More importantly, did you know he was in a newspaper? It said he won an upcoming new designer award last year in some accessory designing contest.”
“Did he? You sure know a lot.”
“The media covered it for a bit since a middle schooler won the award over adults. I heard stories of him opening his own store in a shopping mall too.”
“Oh, I know that part. I met him in his store during GW.”
“He made Yumi-chan buy his brooch. It was expensive and she also can’t wear it in school, so she attached it to her bag out of frustration. I think it’s on her bag today too.”
“So something like that happened……” Iinchou opened his eyes wide. Well, it’s only natural to be surprised.
Designer-kun’s transfer debut was more than enough to get the class’ spirits up. He already caught attention just by being a transfer student.
However, on top of that, he was an accessory designer whose talent was recognized even with his young age. Not to mention, he was good looking. He wore his school uniform on the casual side to give off a fashionable aura.
There were plenty of interested girls swarming around him. He dealt with them well with his good humoured personality and frivolous smile. In no time, he blended right into our class.
Girls who liked good-looking guys but couldn’t get close to rude, cold Tsuchiya-shounen decided to jump on to the Designer-kun ship.
Yumi-chan was weak to good-looking guys too, but maybe because of her wallet after the brooch, she tried not to get close to him. Well, from the start, Designer-kun was much different from the type, Kaneshiro-senpai, she liked, so it wasn’t strange.
According to Yumi-chan: “If he had given me the brooch for free, I might have gotten excited, feeling our reunion was fate……”
Sadly, reality was merciless.
Now then, about Designer-kun… It turns out he met Maria-jou in the shopping mall after all. A scene happened during the morning greetings.
“I just transferred into this class. My name’s Kamura Ryou. It’s nice to meet you all~” Designer-kun did a feat of smiling brightly and then winked.
“Ahhhhh! You’re the one at the shopping mall the other day……!” Maria-jou shouted, shooting up from her desk.
Designer-kun blinked for a bit before he came to an understanding. He smiled like he was having fun. “How surprising~ I was thinking how I wanted to meet you again but who would have thought it’d happen so quickly. Don’t you think this is fate? I can hear God’s voice saying I need to make a design worthy of you. Hey, are you free this Sunday? Could you hang out with me while I sketch new designs? If you’re around, I think I can come up with new ideas.”
He smoothly walked to Maria-jou’s side from Kazu-nii’s. And, out of all things, he took Maria-jou’s left hand and dropped a kiss. The sound of his lips was graphic enough the nearby girls all turned red. There were also girls who couldn’t look at them and turned their heads away.
The stimulus is strong for inexperienced high school girls. As for Maria-jou who had her left hand stolen away, it was even stronger. Her cheeks flushed red as she was bewildered. Even if he looked like a player, there’s no girl who wouldn’t get embarrassed after having their hand kissed by a cheery good-looking guy.
On the other hand, Tsuchiya-shounen snapped. “Stop screwing around! And don’t touch her with your dirty hands, you player!” He shouted. Tsuchiya-shounen angrily stormed his way to Designer-kun.
We thought punches would be thrown in no time. Thankfully, we avoided that since Kazu-nii stepped in to meditate.
However, Designer-kun had more to add. “Whoa! You sure are good looking! Hey, what’s your name? You have thorns all over you but you have this pure boy feeling to you. I feel like a different inspiration is going to pop up. Hey, can you come with me on Sunday too?”
It turns out Maria-jou wasn’t special. After all, he didn’t change his attitude even with the guys. My classmates accepted Designer-kun’s character and welcomed him cheerfully.
The Neo Candle members immediately asked him for a logo design for their band. But when Designer-kun says there’ll be a charge, they held their heads.
“If it’s just practice ideas I make for new designs then I can give them for free. But if it’s a commission then it’s work. I can’t do those for free. Sorry about that~”
The members debated on accepting what practice designs Designer-kun gives them or pay him money to make an original logo for Neo Candle. It was a rather happy worry for them. The band was made for the sake of the Cultural Festival, so I wonder if they really had to be this passionate about it.
“We welcome a new member to our class. As for today’s agenda…….,” Kazu-nii announced, quieting the classroom. “Shibuya, Niimi.”
We heard today’s homeroom will be longer than usual beforehand, so I obediently stepped up to the front. While I erased Designer-kun’s name on the blackboard, Iinchou opened his mouth.
“We now begin today’s homeroom. Regarding the upcoming Sports Festival happening two weeks from now, everyone is required to participate. Even if we take first place, we will not be receiving any special privileges. Still, everyone, let’s do our very best. We would now like to decide who will participate in which event today.”
“Excuse me~! What will we do if there’s someone absent on the day of?”
“We will decide on a number of substitute members, so there should be no issue. Also, could everyone please participate in more than one event.”
I supported Iinchou by writing each sport event on the blackboard. The events were relay race, short-distance sprint, long-distance run, beanbag tossing, tug-of-war, mock cavalry battle, obstacle race, and borrowing race. It’s most likely the athletic people will appear in multiple events.
The last event of the Sports Festival will be folk dance to wrap it all up. I wonder who’s hobby it is to have folk dance?
The Sports Festival here was something like an opportunity to socialize within the academy. As such, there was barely any time to practice. Clubs with upcoming tournaments would tell their members to avoid events with a high chance of getting injured like the mock cavalry battle.
People who have no confidence in their athletic abilities would sign up for the substitute position or use the underhand method of joining events with multiple people to support their teammates. But since you have no idea what will happen on the day of the festival, I feel it’s safest to sign up for the beanbag tossing event.
“First, we’ll hear who is interested in doing what event. But, like I said earlier, everyone is required to enter at least one event. Deciding one of the easier events right away is the best.”
Participants for each event were allocated as below:
Maria-jou’s entering the borrowing race and beanbag throwing event. Tsuchiya-shounen is participating in the relay and short-distance sprint. Iinchou is bad at sports, so he joining the beanbag throwing only. Yumi-chan is the same.
Kyouko-jou’s joining the tug-of-war, but the main thing she’ll be doing is taking pictures. The new face, Designer-kun, joined the mock cavalry battle out of all events!
As for me, I joined the long-distance run and substitute for the borrowing race. I run everyday, but I’m not trained for short-distance sprinting.
Kazu-nii was our teacher, so he won’t be participating in any event other than the teacher relay. However, all teachers will be participating in the last event of folk dance too. Kazu-nii made me practise with him since he got his job because he thought it’d be embarrassing if he couldn’t dance right. As such, I already know how to dance it.
But seriously. Who’s idea is it?
Until the day of the Sports Festival, Maria-jou ran into trouble during practices, triggered events, and so on. A lot of things happened, basically.
What stood out for me was this event: Designer-kun entering in the mock cavalry battle. Apparently he liked events like that, so he took charge to have the cavalry team practise in the morning. And in that morning practice, Maria-jou appeared with refreshments.
She brought 2L bottles of sports drinks. Though I wonder what she did for cups. Did they buy paper cups? Or did some people share the same bottle? That part I didn’t know. Anyways, the cavalry team got excited with Maria-jou’s appearance. They invited her to practice, but Maria-jou gently declined.
“I’m sorry. I’m sure I’ll get in the way…… And it’ll be bad if someone gets hurt because of me.”
Maria-jou’s athletic abilities weren’t very good. After seeing what she can do during gym class, you could tell too. Also, there were many rugged guys in the cavalry team, so I can understand how she might not want to ride on top of the horse they make.
At any rate, I can see the guys’ ulterior motive of wanting to touch her body. It was the right decision to say no to them.
In the end, Maria-jou didn’t join their practice, but she brought refreshments to them every morning. It seems Designer-kun got a good impression of her. I heard he gave her a bracelet he designed himself on the last day of practice.
“Thanks for your hard work every morning. Wear this during the festival and cheer us on, okay?” Instead of his frivolous smile, he smiled somewhat shy and bashful. Designer-kun must have been genuinely happy.
The person who provided this information to me were my classmates, girls who wished to remain anonymous. They, too, went and cheered the team on every morning, Designer-kun, did you thank those girls properly as well?
Furthermore, students are not allowed to wear accessories while participating in events on Sports Festival because it is dangerous. There’s also the possibility of losing them too.
In our Class B, we are allowed to wear them only when we’re in the cheering seats. If our classmate participated while wearing an accessory, Iinchou and I planned on confiscating without hearing a word.
“Even if it’s a memento of your parents or an engagement ring, we will not return it. We will sell it in a pawnshop, turn the money into lumber, and burn it all in a campfire.” When I told them this quite clearly, just how serious I was conveyed to them.
Part of the class paled.
Well, there won’t be a campfire on Sports Festival though.
“Our vice class representative is this serious, so everyone please be careful,” Iinchou said with a smile.
Now then, Iinchou had something to tell me regarding the Sports Festival.
“I really think the role of a class representative comes with a lot of troublesome tasks. But I’m thankful for it just this time. You know how there’s a borrowing race, right? The papers indicating what to borrow weren’t written by the Sports Festival executive committee this year but by volunteers among the class representatives. That’s why I signed myself up.”
“You went out of your way to add more odd tasks on yourself? Iinchou, are you actually a masochist?”
“If I had to pick, I think I’m a sadist, but let’s let that aside. Anyways, there was a class rep who wrote ‘the person I like’ on one of the papers. ‘The person I like’, you know? I didn’t think it’ll actually exist in reality. If I was the one who got that paper, I’ll definitely rip and throw it away. But when it has nothing to do with me, it’s actually quite amusing.”
“……By the way, what happened to that paper?”
“Of course we decided to use it.”
“Iinchou, I’ve come to understand your tastes lean on sadism quuuite well now.”
The borrowing race cannot be underestimated. I definitely am not going to participate in it.
No one dares get sick? Okay?
□ ■ □
TL: In a game, you could save and reload for those damn random events to save time but in real life, you end up wandering in the area for an whole hour hoping it’ll occur… Real life sucks 😉