I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 2023 min read
Volume 2 | Chapter 5: July (Up) – Part 3
Alright, the secret training I have everyday with Designer-kun takes place at the tennis court.
Well, we actually train openly in public, so it wasn’t really a secret or anything. Since all the clubs were taking a break, the tennis club’s coach cheerfully lend the key to the court to us. It’s the exam prep week right now; don’t freaking lend out the key to some student……
Designer-kun announced we will practice everyday until we succeed the goal of making sure our serves properly land on the other side and being able coordinate. Naturally, since this was doubles tennis, it won’t be proper practice if it’s just between Designer-kun and I.
This is why Designer-kun asked girls from a different class to help us out.
The girls who volunteered were Ichimatsu-san and Nishina-san from Year 1, Class C. They were a doubles team in the tennis club and were also friendly with Designer-kun to the point they call each other by their first names. Incidentally, I don’t know if those two girls have their hearts set on Designer-kun or not yet.
In any case, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to be alone together with Designer-kun. At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the two since they were stuck training with us.
Now putting that aside, I have confidence in long-distance running. However, me being fast in long-distance running doesn’t translate to me being good with ball sports. For a sport that requires smart and prompt movements, I didn’t have any talent I can show off in tennis. All I had was stamina. Still, even for someone like me, I could somewhat serve after being taught the tricks and practising it for a couple of days.
We wrapped up today’s afterschool training, and I headed to the shoeboxes with Ichimatsu-san and Nishina-san. Designer-kun was on his own since he went to return the tennis court key.
I felt strangely tired, maybe because I woke up early today and yesterday to visit the dojo. I couldn’t help but sigh.
“The two of you are really kind to help us out but is your studying okay?” I asked the two.
Nishina-san chuckled. “You just have to make sure not to get a failing mark. It’ll be fine~” She told me.
“I want to get around the average mark though. How about you, Niimi-san? Are you alright?” Ichimatsu-san questioned as she looked at me with a smile.
“If I could, I want to go straight home and live on my desk,” I admitted.
“Ahaha~ Ryou-kun’s really pushy, I know~ You couldn’t turn him down?” Nishina-san said. Incidentally, Ryou-kun was Designer-kun. I nodded to agree, which made Nishina-san tilt her head. “Shiori-chan, you’re not interested in Ryou-kun? It looks like he likes you though.”
“I don’t think he likes me or anything,” I rebutted with a frown. Nishina-san laughed again; it looks like it doesn’t take much for her to laugh.
“I do think he likes you though~? Did you know that Ryou-kun holds a meeting every other Sunday and gathers a bunch of girls? He says he does it in order to gather ideas for new designs. Ryou-kun gives a handmade accessory to any girl who gives him a good hint to a new design.”
“No, I didn’t know,” I replied.
“Ahaha, is that so? But you see, once in a while Ryou-kun will say this in the meeting, ‘Shiori-chan really suits blades, so I want her to come here with a knife in her hand’~”
I don’t feel one bit complimented at all. Do I really have such a sharp image? If you have to describe me, I’m a pacifist.
“Also, I have Ryou-kun’s accessory with me. See, see~” Nishina-san said before she showed me the brooch on her bag. It was a cross brooch with a cherry blossom in the middle; it was quite cute. I feel like crosses and cherry blossoms aren’t a combination I see often. “This was my reward after my idea got adopted in the second meeting~!”
It seems Nishina-san faithfully attended those meetings of Designer-kun. “Ichimatsu-san, do you attend too?” I asked.
Ichimatsu-san smiled wryly. “I went for the first meeting since I knew him. But making plans for my Sunday is a pain, so I haven’t gone since. Also that girl from Class B… Err, what was her name again? She was a really beautiful girl.”
“Aikawa-san?” I guessed.
“I’m guessing that’s her. Ryou-kun called her Maria-chan. She came to the first meeting as well.”
Come to think of it, I think Designer-kun invited her on his very first day here.
“The idea she thought up was adopted by him,” Ichimatsu-san continued, “but she then used it as an excuse to get all touchy with Ryou-kun right in front of our eyes, so it was a little……”
“Right, right~” Nishina-san agreed. “Maria-chan looks docile but she’s actually quite bold. She suddenly pointed at the designs Ryou-kun drew and said it was ‘old-fashioned’. Then she went and drew something that looked like Picasso. To be honest, I had no idea what she drew at all~ But when Ryou-kun saw it, he went, ‘I can hear the god of fate’s voice.’ After that, Ryou-kun quickly drew this super pretty picture of a flower. ‘This is a flower in your image,’ he said.”
Nishina-san continued to explain to me as she gestured with her hands. “Maria-chan went completely red and then fidgeted, fidgeted. ‘Kamura-kun sees me this way? That’s so embarrassing…….’ That Maria-chan went! Ryou-kun got excited too, and then the two of them held hands and got touchy-touchy and flirty-flirty. Girls like Ichimatsu don’t like those very girly-like girls, so she got uncomfortable after watching and stopped coming. I’m fine with it, so I still go~”
“I see…” Maria-jou is rather assertive in her approach when it comes to Designer-kun, I couldn’t help but think. “But are you really okay, Nishina-san? I mean, seeing Kamura-kun flirt with other girls…..”
“Ryou-kun acts the same as that to all girls~ During the second meeting, I bought an artificial cherry blossom with me. When he saw, he went, ‘something struck me!’ And then he made me this brooch.”
I see. That explains the design of a cross and a cherry blossom.
“And, how about you, Shiori-chan? Your heart doesn’t skip with you’re with Ryou-kun~? I mean, you get to play doubles with him,” Nishina-san asked with obvious curiosity on her face.
“I’m only playing doubles with him out of chance. I didn’t nominate myself thinking I wanted to team up with Kamura-kun,” I answered back.
Nishina-san shook her head like I was no good. “Shiori-chan, you have to make it more exciting~! I want you to be bold enough to lie and say Ryou-kun volunteered cause he wanted to play tennis with you, Shiori-chan!”
“N-No, I don’t need that kind of boldness.”
Judging from this, Nishina-san might not have romantic feelings for Designer-kun. Well, in either case, the two of them were friends.
“Ah, but, I see~ Shiori-chan prefers Katsuragi-kun over Ryou-kun, right?”
Nishina-san continued to grin brightly. Ichimatsu-san beside me also nodded her head.
“I heard, you know~ The second person Katsuragi-kun princess carried was Shiori-chan~! During the Sports Festival, he carried you as he ran during the borrowing race! I also know this year’s borrowing race had ‘the person I like’ as one of the items thanks to our class rep! Everyone’s gossiping that maybe Katsuragi-kun pulled out that item!” Nishina-san told me.
“Eh? What? The heck?” I stuttered out.
“It’s a hot topic in Class C,” Ichimatsu-san added. I can’t believe she was telling me this too.
It’s true the borrowing race had ‘person I like’ as one of the papers, and I was princess carried by Katsuragi-kun. However, Katsuragi-kun’s item was ‘pillow’.
…….That being said, how can I explain this to them?
Nishina-san laughed with amusement as she saw me all flustered. “Hey, hey, did you get confessed to~? Are you two dating?”
Ichimatsu-san didn’t bother to stop her. If anything, she was actually looking at me with evident curiosity.
I quickly raised up my voice in a panic. “There’s no way he would, and we’re not dating! In the first place, you girls are misunderstanding!” This is bad. I have to explain fast or it’s going to become a mess. “The item Katsuragi-kun had to borrow in the race was a ‘pillow’. Someone else drew out ‘the person I like’!” I merely stated the facts and, in doing so, dug my own grave.
“‘Pillow’? Why Shiori-chan then?”
Oh, my god.
In the end, I had to confess to them how I used my lap as a pillow for him. Uwaaaaaah!!
Nishina-san’s cheeks flushed red when she heard my story. She completely changed from her usual mood of cackling happily — her eyes spelled out seriousness. “Amazing. To be honest, I thought talks about you and Katsuragi-kun were just rumours.”
“Yes……. To think on their very first meeting, she would lend her lap and soothe his exhaustion away like this! No wonder that Katsuragi-kun fell in love,” Ichimatsu-san added.
“You got it wrong! Aren’t the two of you misunderstanding this in all the wrong way!?” I shouted.
“Well, cause, Katsuragi-kun is good looking but he’s pretty cold even to the girls in his class. He’s an airhead, so it’s kind of completely useless to try and flirt with him. He’s the type where it doesn’t convey to him at all,” Nishina-san noted.
“He turned down a number of girls since April… I was completely sure he wasn’t interested in girls to begin with,” Ichimatsu-san agreed.
The two of them looked at me with the same eyes. Those eyes were similar to Kyouko-jou who loves rumours and gossip too much. Give me a break.
“……But with what we learned…” Suddenly, Ichimatsu-san looked serious. She exchanged a look with Nishina-san, and Nishina-san nodded quite gravely too.
“Shiori-chan, I think you should be careful of yourself and your belongings,” Nishina-san advised. “There’s this girl in our class who got turned down multiple times by Katsuragi-kun. She does some pretty vicious things to girls who approach Katsuragi-kun. I think she might do something to you too.”
And sure enough, their concerns were spot on.
Afterwards, we reached the school entrance and I was dumbfounded. Someone scribbled all over my shoebox with paint and hid my shoes away.
Ichimatsu-san and Nishina-san helped me look for my shoes. About ten minutes later, we found my shoes in the garbage can at the side of the entrance. To be honest, I think they could have done better trying to harass me. Furthermore, we painted over the scribbles on my shoebox until it was near its original colour. We borrowed the said paint from the janitor’s office.
“She’s horrible,” Nishina-san said, quite angry.
I shook my head. Taking out a wet tissue from my bag, I cleaned off the dust on my shoes. “I’m glad there isn’t paint on my shoes. They got covered in dust, but if it’s only this much, I can still wear it fine,” I said instead.
“Eh!? B-But, no matter how you look at this, someone tried to harass you! It’s probably that girl!” Nishina-san cried.
“But we can’t guarantee it’s her, right? Sure someone is trying to harass me, but the culprit might be someone else. It’s not like I’ve met with Katsuragi-kun recently either……”
No, wait, come to think of it, I studied in the dojo with him a few days ago. If she witnessed that then it wouldn’t be strange if she got jealous. However, there shouldn’t have been anyone around.
“Actually, it’s only recently everyone’s been gossiping how the girl he carried during the borrowing race was in Class B. So it’s probably only now she learnt about you too,” Nishina-san told me. “In the first place, I think the reason why Katsuragi-kun isn’t interested in her is because of her personality! Cause she does things like this!”
“Hmm, I don’t know what Katsuragi-kun’s type is, but maybe he’s actually compatible with a girl with this much passion for him. I don’t think you can just assume so easily.”
Though since he’s Maria-jou’s capture target, I think his type is Maria-jou. Also if the culprit really is Katsuragi’s fan then if she learns about his stone, I have a feeling it’ll become a serious matter. If you managed to get that stone, it’s the same as obtaining Katsuragi-kun’s [heart]. Uwah, I’m glad I warned him beforehand.
“You’re not angry?” Ichimatsu-san asked me while I was thinking a bunch of other things in my head.
“Angry? …I’m more like astonished. No matter who the culprit is, I can’t believe they will waste time doing something like this. Also, if that girl is the culprit then she’s being a bother. I mean, I’m not Katsuragi-kun’s girlfriend to begin with,” I said.
Ichimatsu-san and Nishina-san exchanged looks again. Together they looked at me and said, “Shiori-chan, you’re amazing.”
Just what part of me are you saying is amazing?
As I was putting my indoor shoes back into my shoebox, I had a sudden thought.
If Katsuragi-kun’s fan was the culprit then there was a possibility she’ll come here again in the morning. And if she hides my indoor shoes next, it’ll be troublesome. I could borrow slippers intended for visitors but they were hard to walk in. There was also the idea of taking my indoor shoes home to avoid them being stolen and bringing them to school tomorrow. Except that was a pain too.
Hmm. I thought for a bit before I placed my indoor shoes into my shoebox like normal.
Now then, it’s morning again.
My indoor shoes haven’t disappeared since I came to school earlier than the culprit. When you are trying to harass someone, you shouldn’t be lazy. I came to school just a little bit earlier than usual and fulfilled my goal easily.
Like I thought, the culprit doesn’t think this through and sucks at this harassing business. I mean, this culprit is against a person who would anticipate when they’ll come to arrive earlier and prepare a camera in their shoebox as self-defence.
Well, it’s a fake camera though.
I came to school earlier to set up a fake camera in my shoebox. The camera was actually a broken single lens camera that I had at home. Meanwhile, I exchanged my indoor shoes with old shoes I can throw away easily and fixed them down with some sticky rubber sheet.
The culprit planned on throwing away Niimi Shiori’s indoor shoes, yet they couldn’t take it out of the shoebox for some reason. They thought it was strange, so they peered into the shoebox… What’s this!? There’s a camera in there! Crap, their picture was taken!
——Is what I want the culprit to think.
In reality, their picture won’t be taken. And the reason why I chose a bulky camera instead of a digital camera was because it looked more dramatic. I even put a message card in my shoebox to further shake the culprit after they suffered the whole ‘I can’t pull out these shoes and found a camera!’
The message card wasn’t in an envelope. It was a plain card that simply said, ‘If you wish to talk to me then come speak to me directly. I will be waiting at the east building’s rooftop at lunch today.’
It’s not like I didn’t have the choice of going along with the culprit until they gave up. However, it was exam prep week right now; frankly, it’s a bother. That’s why I decided to turn this into a short battle from the very beginning. If I can’t fish out the culprit today, I plan on ignoring them until the tests are over.
Though in that case, I’ll have to bring my indoor shoes home every single day, which will be a pain. It’ll be bad if my outdoor shoes get stolen again, so I put them in a plastic bag and brought them to class.
Soon it was lunchtime. I went to the staff room to borrow the key to the rooftops; however, it turns out someone else had already borrowed it. As I climbed up the stairs to the roof, I ended up slightly distressed. After all, I could hear multiple voices above me.
I assumed the culprit was just one person, yet……
What should I do, I thought to myself. I pushed down my unrest and entered the rooftops without running away. I’m already here; I can’t avoid this decisive battle.
I steeled my will and opened the door. What I saw made me open my eyes wide.
I mean, no matter how you look at it, there were too many girls.
What the heck is this? Some assembly? Ten-something number girls were standing in lines uniformly. And before those lined up girls were five more girls with daunting poses.
Regarding those five girls, I feel like I’ve seen their showy makeup and clothing before. Yes, that’s right, they are Mizusaki-senpai’s fanclub members.
“You all did a good job of gathering today. I am sure you understand why I have gathered you first years from our fanclub that serve Mizusaki-sama today,” the middle girl of the five announced.
The lined up girls all had serious expressions on their faces as they listened attentively to the middle girl’s words.
“As you know, Mizusaki-sama doesn’t pay heed to girls who can’t study. All the fanclub members will have their grades checked in this semester exam too. As the first years will have the top rankers publicized after, it’s certain that any girls who aren’t on this list won’t be able to catch Mizusaki-sama’s attention at all. Just last year, there were many girls who neglected their studies during the semester exam. As a result, they couldn’t even speak to Mizusaki-sama anymore.”
You serious!? Just who the heck does Mizusaki-senpai think he is?
“No matter how beautifully you adorn yourself, Mizusaki-sama has no interest in women that don’t polish themselves in everything besides looks. At the same time, this is also the wonderful side of Mizusaki-sama! As long as we wear the crown as his official fanclub, you members have a duty of measuring up to his standards of intelligence.”
The middle girl pointed her finger right at the lined up girls!
“At the same time, this is your chance! That Aikawa Maria! She claims she’s an honorary member yet doesn’t plan on becoming a member of the official fanclub and still loiters around Mizusaki-sama! This is the best chance to reasonably remove her from Mizusaki-sama’s field of vision! First year members! You girls are not allowed to lose against her! You must not let her be listed in the top ranks. This way Mizusaki-sama wouldn’t pay attention to her and she would suffer miserably!”
“Yesssssssss——!!” All the first year girls cried out.
Furthermore, the other flashy four girls continued the speech. “Classical literature, Chinese classical literature, modern literature, math, English, chemistry, biology, physics, history, and geography! No matter what subject it is, if you find it difficult then tell us! We won’t hold back in helping you girls out!”
“Our goal is to monopolize the top ranks! Go forth with the full intention of monopolizing 1st to 10th place for each subject with our fanclub!”
“And we will give our success to Mizusaki-sama!”
“Everything is for Mizusaki-sama’s sake!”
I watched those girls scream out like some sort of cult in mute amazement. While I was doing that, I spotted another girl watching from a distance in mute amazement. She must have managed to make it to the rooftops fine. However, some mysterious assembly began, so even if she wanted to leave, she couldn’t. In the end, she watched the cult at the corner of the rooftop with fear.
Her looks were average; however, her hair tied left and right were glossy. I could tell she took care of her appearance.
I quietly approached her and put my hand on her shoulder from behind. “What do you think of those girls?” I asked.
Her shoulders flinched. “W-What do you mean……” She mumbled to me in a small voice.
“I genuinely want to know. Do you think their zeal is strange? I think, instead of trying to eliminate girls in your way, working in the direction to better yourself will leave you with things that’ll support you in the future. Don’t you think you end up with nothing if all you do is look down on others and try to hurt them?” I said.
“W-What are you trying to say…….!” She turned and when she saw me, she flinched.
“You’re Sanjou-san from Class C, am I right?” I asked.
Yesterday, Ichimatsu-san and Nishina-san told me her name and described her appearance. Her expression changed; she was clearly shaken. It looks like she was Sanjou-san for sure.
“What I’m trying to say is that even if you try to threaten all the girls in the academy to stay away from Katsuragi-kun, we don’t know if he’ll actually choose you. I mean, Katsuragi-kun’s choices aren’t limited to just the academy either.”
Sanjou-san glared at me.
“Also, I’m not close to him at all either,” I added. “Before you harass someone, look at them properly.”
Sanjou-san cast her eyes down. Maybe I hit her somewhere where it hurts, or maybe I didn’t at all. I kept silent, waiting for her response. Eventually, Sanjou-san looked up. Her expression was just a little bit softer than before.
“But being like those girls over there is bad, isn’t it?” She asked.
“Why do you think so?” I questioned back.
“…….No, well, how should I put this? Those girls are unsightly… or rather, they’re kind of like small fry… They’re way too much like villainesses that they won’t become love interests for heroes at all……”
“Right. But you know, what you’re doing right now is lower than those girls.”
It seems Sanjou-san was overwhelmed by Mizusaki-senpai’s official fanclub members’ passion that she actually sees reality now. In her mind, she was the heroine and Katsuragi-kun was the hero. And everyone who tries to get in their relationship are villains.
Yes, it’s true that you can’t see who’s the true heroine in that group. However, those girls aren’t hated by Mizusaki-senpai. If anything, they make him happy. Plus, even if those girls were nothing more than accessories to make Mizusaki-senpai look better, the way they polish their appearance and earnestly study will surely make them shine brightly.
That’s why, Sanjou-san, the way you are doing things right now might be able to remove all the rivals in your path. But whether or not you can get Katsuragi-kun to turn around and look at you is a different matter altogether.
“……You’re right,” Sanjou-san said. “I thought about locking you up in the storehouse until you cry, saying you’ll give up on Katsuragi-kun. But if I did that, I’ll definitely be in the hated villainess role, huh… If you refused to give up, I planned on using violence too, so I was going to buy a knife. It’s a good thing I didn’t have enough allowance to buy one.”
You seriously planned this far? I’m starting to feel danger for my life.
“Thank you. I woke up. I’m going to attack Katsuragi-kun in a more direct and fair way,” she said with her eyes shining bright as she made her next plans.
But it’s exam preparation week right now, you know. I wonder what her marks are since this seems to be all she thinks about… Yet I decided not to say anything.
“First things first! ……You from Class B! What’s your name!?” Sanjou-san shouted.
“It’s Niimi Shiori. You pranked my shoebox, didn’t you? You didn’t hear about me from someone?” I questioned.
“I have no idea. All I did was go around asking which Class B girl got princess carried by Katsuragi-kun during the Sports Festival. Just a few days ago, I spotted a girl at the Class B’s shoebox and asked her. And that’s when the girl only told me where your shoebox was,” Sanjou-san explained.
“…H-Huh?” That’s strange. Come to think of it, I feel like someone told me they got questioned in front of the shoeboxes recently……
“At first I was going to put thumb tacks in your shoes since that’s the standard tactic, but I knew you could borrow paint from the janitor’s office, so I did that instead. I thought I did a pretty good artistic painting in the end. Your shoes were in the way, so I threw them away though.”
……She threw away my shoes as a side thought.
“Niimi-san!” She cried my name. “I’m not going to break no matter how you plan to harass me! Not yielding no matter how harsh it is will make Katsuragi-kun notice me. I’m sure right now he’s worried about how I got summoned to the rooftops and is waiting for me down the stairs! I’ll weakly reach him and he’ll say, ‘Forgive me. It’s because I’m so weak that I couldn’t protect you…’ He’ll then embrace me and…… Kyaaa!”
“I decided to go for direct and fair tactics, so it’s fine if you do underhand ones. Ah, but, he’s going to be mine in the end, so don’t tempt Katsuragi-kun more than necessary!” Sanjou-san pointed her finger at me with strength!
I just saw this same pose a few moments ago. She turned, planning on leaving the rooftops. However, she immediately turned back to face me.
“Ah, but before that, could you delete the picture on your camera……” Sanjou-san asked.
“Oh, that camera was fake. It didn’t take any image.”
“Eh?” Sanjou-san widened her eyes in surprise.
But, seriously, this girl is good at making up fantasies in her head.
I felt exhausted now and eventually sighed deeply.
TL: Katsuragi: ?????????????
Shiori likes to take care of her problems on her own. Little did she know, Katsuragi-kun’s fanclub is actually a cult and solved it for her instead. ┐(￣▽￣)┌