I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 1727 min read
Volume 1 | Chapter 4: June – Part 6
Maria-jou held a dripping, wet umbrella in her hands. Her hair was also slightly messed up, which I guessed was due to the rain. The clothes she wore gave off the feeling of early summer. They were light green in colour, cute enough I won’t be surprised if she tells me she’s going on a date after this.
Naturally, Tsuchiya-shounen was quite surprised when he came out of the waiting room. After all, Maria-jou said she won’t be able to come because her grandmother’s health was bad in front of everyone.
“I thought you couldn’t come?” Tsuchiya-shounen asked.
Maria-jou smiled a little mysteriously. “Tsukkun, you’re going to be number one in the world, right?” Her tone was coloured in mischief.
Tsuchiya-shounen’s expression changed. I didn’t understand her words, but it seemed to have conveyed to him.
“I can’t cheer you on during the match though,” she added. It looks like she was merely showing her face and was on her way to the hospital. I have to say, Maria-jou wasn’t the type to be lazy with her everyday clothes judging by her date-like outfit despite how she was heading to the hospital next. “Good luck, I’ll be cheering you on from the distance,” Maria-jou said before she handed something over to him.
I couldn’t see it well from here. Still, judging by the atmosphere, I think it’s a charm of sorts. Tsuchiya-shounen looked at the thing in his palm and nodded with determination in his eyes.
“Sorry to make you go out of your way to do this,” he said.
“Nope, I really did want to cheer you properly but……”
“No, it’s okay…. Thanks.” The dishonest Tsuchiya-shounen surprisingly thanked her sincerely.
Maria-jou brightened up with a smile. “I’ll see you later,” she told him before running off.
I, who managed to watch this scene from start to end, could only be impressed. Maria-jou admitted she ‘couldn’t go’ in front of everyone yet she appeared now for a few minutes. I’m sure this was an unexpected delight for Tsuchiya-shounen since he knew she couldn’t come.
If she did everything calculated on purpose, it would be terrifying. If she did it unaware then that’s even more scary. You’re amazing, Maria-jou! I can only say “Well done!” and clap.
I showed my face to him after Maria-jou left and when he came back to his senses. I didn’t even show one hint that I saw his interactions with Maria-jou earlier.
“Thanks for your hard work. How are you feeling?” I asked him.
“Y-Yeah, I’m fine…… I have to say you’re pretty diligent, Niimi. You didn’t have to go out of your way to come here,” he said to me.
“I’m representing the rest of the class, so I don’t have a choice. Give it your all while thinking the whole class is cheering you on. Go do your best,” I smiled as I handed over the sports drink to him. I’m sure he wouldn’t be drinking before he swims, so the drink being at normal temperature should be fine.
“Will you be watching until the end?” Tsuchiya-shounen asked.
“Well, yeah, cause I came to support you.”
Will ‘you’ be watching until the end. Tsuchiya-shounen, I haven’t ‘realized’ Maria-jou came by, so you shouldn’t say something so careless, okay?
“I plan on telling the class how Tsuchiya-kun made a sour look on his face despite winning first place. Make sure you don’t throw your fist in the air or something when you reach the goal, okay?” I teased him.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Tsuchiya-shounen said with a tired voice. “Well, thanks for coming out of your way here.” It seems Maria-jou had an effect on him, so he honestly thanked me for my support.
Maria-jou’s visit did really rouse him.
Tsuchiya-shounen went and set a new record in the tournament, thus winning first place. The moment he reached the goal, he looked really happy. I guess he might have even shouted, “Oh right!”
I couldn’t hear him well though due to water echoing the venue and the other voices of the audience. Either way, he lifted his fist into the air, triumphantly.
When I saw that, I couldn’t help but think Maria-jou wasted this opportunity. After all, a sports athlete makes a great expression when they give it their all and their efforts are rewarded. Tsuchiya-shounen in his triumphant pose was filled with this exhilarated feeling like he used up all his power.
In other words, he was really wonderful and cool when he won.
□ ■ □
It was still raining.
By the time I ascertained Tsuchiya-shounen’s gallant figure, it was way past noon. I’m hungry now~
Kazu-nii parked his car not at my home but at his apartment, which was pretty unusual.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“No, nothing much. I just haven’t come back here recently. Could you help me clean up?” Kazu-nii told me.
“Ehh~? Do it yourself, Kazu-nii. Jeez…” I sighed before I welcomed myself to Kazu-nii’s apartment. But I didn’t know everything there was to this apartment. To be honest, I’ve only been here about two times. And it was during the time when I was helping him move in.
His apartment had one bedroom, living/dining room, and a kitchen. When I think about how it’s only one man living here, this amount of space is about enough. His apartment at the moment wasn’t filled with garbage bags left and right or anything. Still, dust has collected everywhere and his futon was damp from the humidity. As for his fridge, it was filled with things that have long expired. The only things usable so far seems to be salt and sugar.
Since it’s raining, there’s nothing I can do with his futon.
“I guess I have no choice. I do have to thank you for driving me, so I’ll help you out. Go buy something from the supermarket in the meantime. There’s nothing we can eat at all with what’s in the fridge right now,” I told Kazu-nii as I chased him out.
I tied my hair up into a ponytail and got garbage bags ready.
Secret Sure-Kill Tactic: Throw Everything Away!
But I have to separate everything, so I opened up a number of garbage bags before throwing things in nonstop. It’s times like this when the owner of the room will be in the way. Once I threw a bunch of things away, the room suddenly got bigger. Now I’ll beat all the dust away. The collaboration attack of wiping away with a wet cloth and then polishing with a dry cloth is pretty deadly, I thought.
Kazu-nii is a man in his marriageable age, so I’m sure he has many things he didn’t want people’s eyes on. Yet, strangely enough, I didn’t come across anything. I guess he hid them quite well somewhere.
Kazu-nii came back around an hour later.
He had plastic bags in both of his hands. Since they were transparent, I could see through them. It looks like he didn’t buy things like vegetables but instead cup noodles. I wonder if he at least bought back milk……
“You’re not going to get proper nutrition, you know~? Kazu-nii. I’m going to say this on purpose: you’re not going to stay young forever. Once you pass your 30s, your stomach is going to stick out,” I called out to him.
It was now that I realized Kazu-nii was dead pale. I tilted my head, puzzled. “What’s wrong?” I asked him directly.
“……Shiori, I’m sorry you took the trouble to clean up my room but I think I’ll stop coming here for a while,” he said with his voice trembling.
“I saw Aikawa buying things at the supermarket just down the street.”
I switched my job of tidying up the apartment with Kazu-nii’s job of buying groceries. I tidied up my appearance before I headed out to the supermarket.
It was only a five minute walk from Kazu-nii’s apartment. To be blunt, it was pretty close. It took five minutes to clean myself up, so I calculated I’ll probably make it on time. Kazu-nii spotted Maria-jou the moment he finished paying at the register and was about to leave. I think the possibility of Maria-jou still inside the supermarket was quite high.
With such thoughts in my mind, I arrived at the supermarket. It seems they were doing a rainy day campaign and you can earn 5 times the points than normal. Five times? And not two times? I wonder if there was a mistake somewhere.
On top of that, they were doing a campaign where you can pull a lottery for every 2,000 yen spent. There was a child in front of my eyes rolling the lottery machine wheel right this moment.
This supermarket is really neat! The amount you earn back just by spending is really high here. If Kazu-nii doesn’t plan on going back to his apartment, I want to live alone here some day. Maybe I’ll consult my parents once I enter university.
Now then, I found my target after searching every corner of the grocery store. Maria-jou’s clothes were the same cute ones I saw her in earlier in the morning.
I wonder what she’s buying? I gazed at the shopping basket in her hand from afar. Judging from the shape and size…… she’s buying sugar?
Or maybe it’s salt? Anyways, she had three 1kg bags of white powder in her cart as she headed off to the dairy section. She then added four packs of milk and two packs of eggs into her purchase.
“What are you making?” I quietly approached her from behind before calling out to her.
Maria-jou was surprised to the point she might have jumped into the air. No, she did literally jump into the air. You forgot you have eggs in your basket, didn’t you?
“Eh!? A-Ah, no, um, err… huh? Niimi-san?” She stuttered out.
“Good afternoon,” I said with a smile, raising my hand. “It’s such a coincidence. Aikawa-san, do you live in this area?”
“Eh? Ah…… Y-Yeah, I do. Niimi-san too?” She asked me.
“No, I was just in the area because I had business here. I’m actually on my way back home right now. But since I passed this supermarket, I thought I might as well buy some snacks here,” I told her while nonchalantly peeking into her shopping basket. “Are you going to make desserts later?”
And so it seems she was. After all, when you have ‘sugar’, ‘egg’, and ‘milk’ together, all you need is some flour to make most western desserts. The sugar she had was actually superfine sugar, which piqued my interest.
“Yeah, that’s right. We’re having cooking class soon, right? So I thought I’ll get some practice…….” Maria-jou said.
We had cooking classes in our home economic studies. When it happens, my cousin, Kazu-nii, would receive many offerings from students. As for Class B, we will be having it next month. Incidentally, what we learned from April to May was sewing. We did have cooking in June too, but our subject was ‘breakfast’, so it wasn’t exactly suitable to give to other people.
I heard the first cooking class we have in July will be about desserts.
“But you’re buying this much when you’re only practising?” I don’t exactly know what she plans on making… Still, she was buying 4 litres of milk. I guess she can drink the leftover portions she doesn’t use. But I have to say three bags of sugar is too excessive.
“Umm…… Cooking skills increase the more you do it so…”
Well, that might be true but, seriously, how much is she planning on making? “You sure are putting all your heart into it,” I said instead.
“Yeah,” she agreed, “cause I only have one chance to earn affection with cooking class.”
…….Hm? Is it just me or did I hear implications to an otome game system? We will be having a number of cooking classes in the future. She could just offer desserts during the time she succeeds. Also, I don’t recall Maria-jou being so bad at cooking that she needs to be as tense as this. I could only take peeks during our breakfast classes, but her skills were nothing to be ashamed of, especially as she was living alone.
“Each group in our next cooking class can make their own menu, right? What are you planning to make?” I asked.
There were a limited number of ovens in the home economics room. If your timing overlaps with someone, you might have to let someone go first or wait in line. As such my group, which included Yumi-chan, decided to make crepes. If it’s crepes, we can make them even without an oven. Our other reason for choosing crepes is that we can play with what toppings we want.
Maria-jou beamed as she said, “We’ll be making pudding.”
I fell silent for a second; I wonder if she thought I was suspicious.
Why does Maria-jou know Kazu-nii’s favourite dessert? Or is this just a coincidence?
I thought for a bit before I opened my mouth, “Then I guess you’ll need a bunch of cups. Are you baking them in the oven?”
“Ah, yeah… I don’t have a lot of cups, so I’m going to buy some. Recently, I won a microwave oven at a supermarket lottery. It comes with a lot of functions, so I thought I might as well use it for practice too,” Maria-jou said.
What was that! “Wow, that’s amazing. I’ve only won candies and tissues with those lotteries.” Incidentally, those prizes are for lotteries with no loss. When I can lose, I always lose.
“My lottery luck is on the good side, you see,” Maria-jou told me, smiling shyly.
Grrr, I’m so jealous~
“What kind of pudding are you making?” I asked her next.
Maria-jou blinked her eyes blankly. She rummaged through her stuff and pulled out a shopping list-like memo before answering me. “……Ummm, it seems as long as it’s pudding, any is fine.”
What kind of memo is that? “If you’re going to make custard pudding then how about buying some vanilla essence?” I suggested to her.
“Right, it’ll give your pudding a nice aroma. Wasn’t it listed in some how-to-make-desserts books you’re looking at?”
“I wonder…. But if it’ll make it tastier, I’ll try it out,” she told me. Maria-jou then tilted her head as she took one bottle of vanilla essence from the dessert making corner.
Personally, I think she should change her superfine sugar to either granulated sugar or brown sugar depending on her tastes. But if I go as far as advising her this, I’ll just be nosy.
“Good luck,” I told her in the end.
Maria-jou’s basket settled down to three bags of sugar, four packs of milk, two packs of ten eggs, and one bottle of vanilla essence. If she was only making pudding then it’s pretty obvious she’ll have a lot of leftover ingredients — still, I decided not to comment on it.
Incidentally, I bought cheap pre-packaged rice, instant miso soup packs, and a box of chocolate sticks. It came to a total of 2,000 yen and was a reasonable amount of volume. I plan on shoving them into Kazu-nii’s face who planned on living his life on cup noodles alone. He’s already an grown adult; having a lifestyle like that is pathetic.
At the very least, I want him to properly eat rice and drink miso soup. He can provide his own appetizers to go with them.
…….Well, he said he’s planning on staying away from his apartment for a while. He’ll probably be eating dinner at my home, but let’s be on the safe side.
I adjusted my purchases to 2,000 yen for the sake of, obviously, to draw the lottery. Also, Maria-jou brought a lot of things too, but her bill came to a bit over 2,000 yen. Could it be that she calculated too?
I held my receipt for one lottery pull in my hand, pleased, as I lined up together with Maria-jou. That was when someone caught my eye.
A familiar-looking child was standing at the entrance without an umbrella. He stared super intensely at the lottery wheel. Every time someone spins and gets their prize, he’ll look like he was about to cry. Where have I seen him before? I thought before recalling immediately. He was the small child who was spinning the wheel when I came in.
At the very least, more than 30 minutes have passed since I came into the supermarket. Had he been here this whole time?
“What’s wrong, Niimi-san?” Maria-jou asked me.
I didn’t answer her and instead looked at the prizes.
[First Prize: Air Cleaner]
[Second Prize: Stonestation 3D]
[Third Prize: Sky Dreamland Pair Ticket]
“Which one do you want?” I approached the little boy and called out to him. He looked surprised as he gazed up at me. I have to say, he was rather cute.
“S-Sky Dreamland……” The child answered.
“Just wait a bit,” I told him before I went back to Maria-jou. “Hey, Aikawa-san, could you draw my share of the lottery too?”
Let me confess — this is a premeditated crime.
I knew Maria-jou was born with unparalleled luck. If she admits she had good luck with lotteries, then it must be really good. Also, the little boy wanted the third prize, which is a pair ticket to Sky Dreamland. It was another point for me since those tickets might actually be for some event. Maria-jou would be able to invite the capture targets to a date with them……
Therefore, I believed Maria-jou would win the third prize no matter what.
“Sure thing,” Maria-jou agreed with a bright smile. She spun the lottery wheel twice with my share and her share combined.
Spin, spin, spin… roll, fall!
What rushed out was a golden ball and a bronze ball. They symbolized the first and third prize.
What the heck. Just how strong is her luck!? I was completely astonished.
Maria-jou naturally knew why I asked her to do this and for whom. I’m sure that is why she agreed to help out. When she received the pair tickets to Sky Dreamland, she handed them over to the little boy.
“You should hurry home. I’m sure your family is worried about you,” Maria-jou said, bending down so their eyes met, and smiled.
I saw Maria-jou off as she carried her heavy grocery bags with an umbrella in hand before heading back to Kazu-nii’s apartment. Now then, let’s have a strategy meeting immediately.
“You’re late,” Kazu-nii said as he sat alone in the middle of the now quite clean room.
“I was talking with Maria-jou, you see. It seems she always wins lotteries,” I quickly explained what happened before switching to the main subject.
I left the stuff I bought in the corner of the room. I took out only the chocolate sticks and opened up the package. Incidentally, I plan on giving the bill to Kazu-nii and having him repay me.
I placed one of the chocolate sticks in my mouth and pretended like I was smoking with it. With a sidelong glance to Kazu-nii, I reported the most important thing I learned.
“She plans on making pudding in cooking class.”
Kazu-nii widens his eyes at the words out of my mouth. It’s not certain that Maria-jou will offer Kazu-nii pudding. But she chose Kazu-nii’s favourite out of all things, so the possibility remains.
Why the hell does this man look happy. “There’s no guarantee you’ll get some from her. Stop cheering,” I cut him down swiftly before continuing. “I’m just confirming but you haven’t rejected offerings from students before, right?”
“I only take them if they are sharing some from what they made in class. As for personal gifts… I don’t take things like Valentine’s Day chocolate.”
“In that case, if you reject Maria-jou’s pudding then it’ll feel special. Still, Kazu-nii, you’ll be happy to get pudding from anyone and not just from Maria-jou.”
Kazu-nii shifted his eyes away.
“I did think of two plans. Want to hear them?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he agreed.
I nibbled away my chocolate stick before I straightened my posture. “The first plan is to reject all offerings. You’ll tell everyone you’ll stop receiving things from students starting this year. In this case, you have to reject everyone all through this year, the next, and beyond. But if you do this, you definitely won’t receive Maria-jou’s pudding. The pudding might round up in another capture target’s hands and I’m sure their affection rate will increase instead, so no worries there.”
“I see,” Kazu-nii nodded.
“The second plan is to no longer make pudding special.”
“Kazu-nii, the problem here is that you like pudding. You should either find a new favourite dessert or turn all your offerings into pudding. As long as Maria-jou isn’t the only one special then your heart won’t accidentally skip a beat,” I told him.
“I like what I like; I can’t do anything about it. Even if you tell me to find a new favourite dessert out of the blue like this…… Actually, what did you mean? By when you say turn all my offerings into pudding?” He questioned.
“You will make a request. ‘Tomorrow’s cooking class, everyone~ If anyone’s making pudding then definitely make sure to bring some to me~!’ Is what you need to tell everyone. The demerit is that you’ll look like a loose teacher, but, well, I’m sure everyone already knows, so there’s no problem here. If there’s any girls besides Maria-jou who plan on offering desserts to you, then they might change their menu to pudding. Making pudding isn’t all that difficult either.”
Kazu-nii seemed impressed by my plan. “It’s amazing how you can think of this plan,” he tells me.
Can you not talk like this has nothing to do with you?
“Well, between the two plans, I would do the second one. I’m not the only teacher who gets offerings from students after cooking class. If I’m the only one who turns them down, it’s going to be a problem. I’ll end up making it hard for other teachers to accept, you see?”
He sure is attentive about the weirdest things. I wonder if he really just wants the opportunity to eat a lot of pudding.
“And?” Kazu-nii took a chocolate stick from the box I was eating from and poked the tip of it against my cheek again and again. “Shiori, you’ll make pudding for me too, right? There’s no guarantee other girls will make it even if I make a request.”
I thought about how our group cheered when we decided on crepe as our menu, so I couldn’t help but get a little miffed. I wonder if they’ll let me change the menu. Well, I guess I’ll try asking them……
“I guess I have no choice,” I said. But I was irritated so I munched the chocolate stick he was poking me with.
I ended up puzzled when I saw how Kazu-nii looked the other way with a red face. After I finished nibbling it all down, I let out a sigh.
“Kazu-nii, want to eat some too?”
“……No, it’s fine. More importantly, could you make me some pudding? I feel like eating some after talking about it,” he asked me.
“Ehh~? Tell me that ahead of time. If I knew, I would have bought you some as a souvenir,” I complained.
“There’s eggs and milk in the fridge,” he told me.
Don’t tell me he planned on begging the moment he went out to buy groceries? Well, Kazu-nii’s apartment has a microwave oven, so it’s fine though. More importantly, what does he plan to do with lunch?
All in all, I didn’t have much of a choice, now do I?”
“Do you have an apron?” I asked.
“……You don’t have pudding cups either, do you? And you’re not going to complain if I make it in a teacup, right?”
Jeez, I thought as I stood up. Well, if there were pudding cups in a single man’s apartment, I’ll be quite surprised.
It’s actually pretty easy to make egg pudding. If you have a microwave, you can make it in about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, Kazu-nii’s brain didn’t work enough to buy either vanilla essence or fresh cream at the store. I couldn’t make the best pudding, but I made a better one than the most basic. I took out the pudding from the oven before I realized I haven’t cooled it down yet. But, oh well.
“Thanks for waiting~ ——Hm? What’s wrong?” I called out to him.
The kitchen here was counter-style and made in a way you could see from the living room. Kazu-nii could have watched TV or something as he waited. Yet he trained his eyes on me the whole time. Was it fun watching me make pudding?
“…….I was thinking I should have prepared an apron,” he muttered.
“Never mind. ……I was thinking I never actually watched you make pudding in a kitchen. When I realized this was my house, it’s pretty destructive.”
What the heck is he talking about? The kitchen at my home is, more or less, my mom’s castle and territory. It’s not a counter style either. I suppose that is why he has never seen me stand around in the kitchen. Either way, I don’t understand why this equals to him blushing and averting his eyes away, but who cares.
There were see-through heat-resistant cups that could be microwavable, so I used them for the pudding container. I placed a just-done pudding and a spoon in front of Kazu-nii. I decided to cool down the rest in the fridge.
“It’s amazing how you don’t get sick eating pudding all the time,” I commented.
“That’s cause I know you think up of a lot of variations so that I don’t get sick of pudding,” he said before he put his hands together properly. “Thank you for the meal.”
I watched Kazu-nii eat the pudding happily and secretly laughed. No matter what happens with the upcoming cooking class, I can imagine him happy with this face in the end.
It seems for the time being, he doesn’t plan on finding a new favourite dessert. I guess I have no choice but to look for a pudding recipe that doesn’t need an oven. When Kazu-nii begs with a sweet, kind voice, I don’t get as annoyed as I pretend to be. I wonder if I get this way cause I’m a brocon?
Good grief, my cousin is sure a handful.
I decided to stare at Kazu-nii’s face until he said he was finished and satisfied. Maybe Kazu-nii realized I was staring intensely, he blushed in a panic.
“W-What? What’s wrong? Is there something on my face?” He asks.
“Hmmm~ It’s nothing~~”
I just wanted to get my revenge on something you always do.
The sweet scent of the egg pudding floated lightly in the air. I curved my lips into a smile as I gazed at Kazu-nii.
□ ■ □
The female student tilted her head as she spread her old notebook open.
The current page she was turned to said June — there were checkmarks for mostly the rare and circled lines.
“The event where you encounter the vocalist of Candle is pretty low within the random events. Maybe it’s cause I used my informant? I didn’t think I’d trigger the lottery event either…… I wonder why? Both of these events occur rarely, but they’re events that don’t increase friendship rate at all.”
Behind the girl was a mountain wreckage of black, brunt food.
“If this was a game, all I have to do is press the cooking command~ I managed to make breakfast delicious somehow, but I’m not sure about sweets. There’s only three home-cooking events before Christmas too…”
Besides the mountain wreckage was a mountain of microwave meals. She knew it was reckless to jump into the crucial moment when she didn’t cook on a normal basis. That is why she had been practising, however, she wasn’t getting better at all.
“Come to think of it, I wonder if she’s good at cooking. She told me about vanilla essence too. But I wonder if that girl was in the game……? I feel like I’ve seen her here and there quite often in this world.”
The girl was recalling the classmate she met at the supermarket.
“Ah, come to think of it……”
She suddenly flipped the pages of her notebook back to the very first. On the page labelled April, there was a note written a few lines down from the very top.
Entrance Ceremony Event (Classroom)
Choice: Become a class representative / Refuse
Event Trigger: Will always occur after the homeroom teacher’s introduction
※ If you become a class representative, it becomes easier to gain friendship rate with Tsukishima, Kaneshiro, and Hibiya. On the other hand, it becomes harder to gain friendship rate with Kamura, Mizusaki, Katsuragi, and Tsuchiya.
There’s no dermit in refusing.
“I remember being surprised that I didn’t get this choice. But I thought it happened cause this is reality and didn’t think any further…… It was that girl whose name got called out then.”
Right, her name was Niimi Shiori. She recalled Niimi’s face in her mind.
Niimi Shiori was a young girl with light-coloured hair. It was something like cat hair, but Niimi’s hair was thin, light, fluffy, and semi-long in length. Her facial features suited the word ‘lovely’ quite well, but her strong personality was apparent in her eyes. She was slender and had long flexible limbs. But she showed an unexpected side where she was actually good at long-distance running.
Her attitude in class was diligent, but she often held her head in her hands during math class. She was also quite level-headed, so she was settling fine into her role as a vice class representative. In the class, she was often with her friend, Sasaki, and the class representative, Shibuya. There were rumours about her relationship with Shibuya, however……
Apparently, she was present at the very moment the class’ band, Neo Candle, was formed. Niimi seemed close to the boys that made up the band too.
The female student furrowed her eyebrows.
“If Grandma’s health didn’t worsen, it should have been an event I triggered. Could it be that girl… is triggering events too? No, maybe not just that…… could it be she’s the same as me?” She mumbled but immediately shook her head.
“…..It’s still too early to declare that. I mean, the gardening club that was in the game doesn’t exist and the boys’ personalities are all a little bit different….. This is reality, so there’s definitely going to be some differences. Nothing is going to go right all the time,” she said like she was trying to persuade herself.
In the end, she nodded before she closed the notebook with a thud.
TL: And this is the end of Volume 1! There will be a break next week before we start with Volume 2. Thank you to everyone who read up this point and all the comments!