I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 2325 min read
Volume 2 | Chapter 5: July (Down) – Part 1
It’s summer vacation!
But, before that, I have supplementary lessons. The results of my semester exams came back and now I have to take extra lessons for my really bad math marks. As such, I had to get myself ready for studying despite having summer vacation just before my eyes. Well, it was still better than having to take supplementary exams, I thought.
Incidentally, I was interested in the rankings and checked — Maria-jou was in 10th place overall. Her math score was actually really good, leaving her 2nd place in math. She said she was bad at it, so she must have studied quite a lot. By the way, 1st place in math was Katsuragi-kun. It seems he wasn’t lying when he said he was good at it.
The first year student in 1st place in the overall ranking was our class representative. It looks like Mizusaki-senpai’s fangirls fought quite bravely and hard, but when it came to the overall ranking, it was too hard as you would expect.
The members for the supplementary math lessons included the four members of Neo Candle, who began their band activities in spring, and me. I can feel a deja vu with this group. Damn it!
Maybe because they started to hang a lot after forming their band, their atmosphere resembled one another’s. Itou-kun was the one who paid attention to his fashion the most and was the vocalist/bass in the band. The one with the kindest looking features was Satou-kun who also played the guitar. The biggest guy was Terakado-kun, the drummer of the band. Lastly, we had Hayashi-kun who wore glasses and played the keyboard.
We amused ourselves by chatting while Kazu-nii prepared the math lesson for us. Our topic today was the recent band activities of Neo Candle.
“Why don’t you take this chance to join us, Niimi! To our Neo Candle!” Terakado-kun invited me.
“I can’t play an instrument, so I’m passing this chance…….” I refused.
“No, more importantly, could you come to our training camp during summer vacation?” Itou-kun interjected. “We’re planning on making a PV for our performance during the Cultural Fest. We want someone who’ll film everything. We also invited Matsuri and Aikawa.”
“PV?” I couldn’t help but repeat his words. Nonetheless, I didn’t think it was a bad idea.
PV, more formally known as promotion video. I didn’t know the specific definition of what makes a PV, but according to these four, their PV will be played on a screen while they perform. They wanted to film themselves singing in the academy or places with good scenery. They want to turn it into a proper video and play it behind them later. The four of them discussed if they wanted to have a story for the PV or not. In any case, they put a lot of thought into their overall performance.
“I don’t mind lending a hand, but I don’t know anything about filming, okay?” I told them.
“We asked Matsuri to help us with that part. We’d rather have you appear in the PV cause things are different when a cute girl is in it instead.”
“But if it’s Neo Candle’s PV, won’t it be better if it’s the four of you?” I asked, puzzled. It was true that it’ll be much fancier if Kyouko-jou or Maria-jou appeared in it. “Well, I don’t mind if the filming is inside the academy…” I ended up letting out without thinking much.
“Thank you! The training camp’s happening next week, so get ready to stay overnight and meet up at the academy!”
When I saw Kazu-nii in my home after a long time, I bought up the topic of the training camp. In the end, he ordered me in a bad mood.
“Staying overnight? Don’t joke with me. Who the hell will agree with this!”
“Yeah, no, even if you don’t approve, there’s nothing much you can do. To be honest, I’m confused too……. Why do we have to stay overnight? Aren’t we just filming within the school grounds?” I pointed out.
Apparently, the leader of the Neo Candle’s training camp is Kazu-nii. The band isn’t a proper club or anything, but if you want to hold a training camp in the academy, you have to get permission. It seems Kazu-nii became something like their advisor before I knew it.
“They made a request saying they wanted to film the academy late at night. I have no idea exactly what they want to film but……. There’s no lodging in the academy, so they’ll probably have to sleep together in a huddle on top of the tatami in the dojo. There is a nightshift room for the teachers, so it’s fine for me but… There’s no room to separate guys and girls. There’s no freaking way I’ll approve. Refuse them,” Kazu-nii ordered me again.
“But, Kazu-nii, you’re staying overnight too, aren’t you? And Kyouko-jou and Maria-jou will be there too. Will those two girls be okay?”
Kyouko-jou and Maria-jou will probably participate and stay overnight. I wonder if there were events between Maria-jou and her capture target, Kazu-nii, during this?
“Is there a summer vacation event with Hibiya-sensei?” I asked him directly,
Kazu-nii gave me a look like he bit something bitter as he went silent. “……The Neo Candle’s training camp was supposed to happen during GW. When I think about all that has happened until now, even if everything isn’t completely the same, as long as you raise a certain number of flags, the event will probably happen.”
That’s true. After all, the supplementary lesson event between Maria-jou and Kazu-nii happened unexpectedly, so I nodded with understanding.
“There are three events with Hibiya and the heroine. They’ll look up at the stars together at midnight on the rooftops, experience power outages on the second day, and see Hibiya’s waking face. I remember how there were illustrations for three of those events, so it’s certain,” he tells me.
“You can avoid the first by not going to the rooftops. We might not be able to avoid the second, but the third……. Won’t you be fine if you wake up early?” I pointed out.
“Probably,” Kazu-nii agreed.
“And just how close do you guys get in the event?”
“…….The midnight rooftop should have been a conversation event. It’s probably Hibiya talking about his past. I don’t remember the details though.”
“There’s parts of the events you don’t remember?”
“Well, all of this is from my past life, after all. As for the power outage, it’ll be in the middle of bad weather. Hibiya goes off to look for the heroine left behind in darkness. The waking up one is Hibiya waking up in the night duty room…… I feel like he interacted with the heroine a lot for this one. I don’t think they go as far as kissing… probably,” Kazu-nii said.
“Well, there wasn’t an illustration of them kissing. So probably for sure?”
“Recall it properly. This is important. Also isn’t there a lot of sleeping and waking up events for Hibiya-sensei?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Hey, don’t complain to me. Tell that to the scenario writer for the game.”
Still, never mind the rooftop event, the waking up event sounds bad. After all, Kazu-nii wears a certain stone pendant around his neck. If Maria-jou approaches him in that defenseless state, there’s a chance she might touch it by accident. I have to barge into this training camp somehow and stop at least that event from happening.
“There is the method of me phoning you early in the morning to wake you up. Anyways, Kyouko-jou’s also participating. I don’t feel like there’ll be a problem even if everyone has to sleep in the same room.”
To be honest, it looked like a very summer vacation-like event, so it sounds fun. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to participate. But I do have to make sure Maria-jou doesn’t notice I was getting in her way of approaching Kazu-nii.
The members of Neo Candle had a favourable impression of Maria-jou. I’m sure they will try to get closer to her, so let’s go in the direction of nonchalantly assisting Neo Candle with that.
“Wait a second, you plan on participating?” Kazu-nii asked.
“You’ll be there too, so I don’t see what’s the big deal,” I answered.
Kazu-nii looked quite mixed with my reply.
The Neo Candle’s summer vacation training camp was going to be three days long. Their plans for the training camp were half-baked. Basically, someone can just go outside and buy whatever we needed at the time. I now get the feeling I know the biggest reason why they invited me — they were after my cooking skills.
“I can’t make anything special though?” I said to them.
Hayashi-kun laughed. “But you looked quite experienced during our cooking classes. We don’t mind curry or something, so don’t worry.”
“I can manage somehow if the menu’s curry. Are we splitting the bill between us?”
“And that’s where we rely on the power of our advisor!”
“Hey, you bastards! Did you invite me for just my wallet!?” Kazu-nii shouted at them.
The person in charge of filming was Kyouko-jou. The band invited her in order to borrow the proper equipment from the reporting club. This was such another cruel truth to learn.
The heroine of the PV was Maria-jou. The band settled down on making a story on the lines of ‘a group of high school students that get along and a peek of their youth.’ Kyouko-jou will be appearing as a friend. They planned on having me appear with scenes of me cooking in the training camp and what I was doing while the band practised.
The very first day of the training camp started a bit past noon. We were supposed to meet up in front of the academy and leave our belongings at the dojo. While we were doing that, we met the young janitor. It turns out he was going to help us out during the training camp, along with Kazu-nii.
As such, we all bowed our heads towards him in gratitude.
What left the most impression on me was how the janitor’s expression changed a little when he saw Maria-jou. In fact, he looked surprised. It was probably because Maria-jou was that beautiful girl who runs all around the academy, so he would find her familiar.
“About the room you are able to borrow, I will be looking after the key. Please come afterwards to borrow it from me,” the janitor said.
Normally, we would borrow the said key from one of the teachers, but this time we will be borrowing it from the janitor. He will also be coming to the academy every day during the summer vacation.
“It must be a tough job,” I commented.
He smiled gently back. “No, no, I’m doing this job because I like it.”
After that, I went off to buy groceries. I will have to buy quite a lot, so I had Kazu-nii drive me. Once we’re back, we could use the fridge in the home economics room that we have permission for too.
“As the one in charge, I actually have to be by everyone’s side. Well, I’m sure it’ll be fine leaving them alone during daytime,” Kazu-nii commented.
“No matter where I go or what I do, I’m stuck with menial tasks. …I don’t mind though,” I mumbled.
We headed off to the closest supermarket from the academy and quickly put what we needed into our shopping basket. On the first night, we will be having yakiniku, which will give off a barbecue-like mood to it. On the second day, we’ll have bread and salad in the morning. Lunch will be ramen, with dinner being curry. On the third day, breakfast will be hotcakes and salad. Sandwiches will be served for lunch, and then we will end the training camp.
The reason why the first day was luxurious was because this was a training camp. It’s something we can’t just hold anytime. Truthfully, I wanted to have a barbecue outdoors. Unfortunately, that was impossible to do in the academy.
Incidentally, the reason why there weren’t any cold items was to prevent food poisoning. Even if I make some mistake in cooking, it should be fine as long as it’s cooked thoroughly. Ahahaha!
We returned to the academy after shopping and placed all the groceries in the home economic room’s fridge. I got a peace of mind knowing we could use the fridge. It’s quite hard to buy groceries in one go for multiple days in July.
As for Kazu-nii, he was helping me carry all the ingredients. He made a dry smile when he saw the price sticker on top of the package of meat.
“Shiori, you made a merciless purchase thinking I’ll pay for it, didn’t you,” Kazu-nii said.
“What’s the big deal? Plus, this meat is really tasty,” I responded.
I managed to purchase some nice grade meat. Fufufu~ Actually, why didn’t he notice when he was paying everything at the cashier?
We came back quicker than we expected, so we headed off the second music room to see how the filming was going. From what I heard, they were capturing scenes of their usual band practices today, which is why I’m sure they were still at it. But now that I think about it, I haven’t seen Neo Candle practise before.
I quietly peeked into the music room and such a scene enveloped.
“B-But… me being the vocalist is so sudden, I…….”
Maria-jou was surrounded by four guys with a microphone in her hand, restlessly squirming.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. You can even pick a song you like. Think of this as karaoke.”
“Right, right, what artist’s song do you like? We raised our skill quite a bit, so we can play a lot of songs now.”
Satou-kun and Terakado-kun were the ones actively trying to persuade Maria-jou.
Itou-kun followed after with his own comment. “These guys complain to me, saying they can’t get fired up if I’m the vocalist.”
“Maria, why don’t you wear a costume too? Oh wait… If I knew this would happen then I would have asked the theatre club to help us out too~”
Kyouko-jou was filming those five while enjoying what she saw. What she bought with her today was a high resolution handycam for home use. Apparently, this was her personal one since the reporting club didn’t have the filming device she wanted within their inventory. Her said camera was one of those good ones with image stabilization and projector function. On the last day, we plan on checking out the film on fast mode to make a selection of scenes we like.
“Ah, it’s Hibiya-sensei~”
“Niimi-san, welcome back~!”
It seems they spotted me and Kazu-nii as we peeked into the music room. Everyone turned to face us at once. I opened the door properly this time and waved my hand at everyone as I headed to Kyouko-jou’s side.
“We put the ingredients in the home economics room. I’ll likely be done cooking around evening time. Should I send a message when I’m done?” I asked everyone.
“That or decide on a time to eat and we’ll all go then,” Kyouko-jou also suggested.
“Doesn’t the idea of helping out come into your head, Matsuri?” Kazu-nii said to her with an astonished tone.
“I’m in charge of filming though. Plus, Sensei~ If I help out, there’ll be nothing for anything to eat, you know?” Kyouko-jou replied.
It’s true that Kyouko-jou’s marks in home economics were truly, truly a tragedy to be seen.
Since I might as well, I decided to turn the topic to Maria-jou. “Aikawa-san, what will you be singing?” I asked her. I mean, she even had a microphone in her hand. It’ll be a waste if she doesn’t sing.
“U-Umm……” Maria-jou made fleeting glances at Kazu-nii before addressing the four guys. “Then are there songs you can play from Candle?”
Hayashi-kun looked up slightly surprised. Itou-kun also mumbled softly, “Wow…”
Just like the name of their band suggested, they formed their group because of a song from Candle, a major band. For that sake, ‘Candle’ was a group that was a little bit special to them.
However, since Candle’s vocalist was a man, their songs were somewhat hard for a woman to sing. It looks like the four became interested in Maria-jou, since she picked Candle despite that. The four guys quickly played, starting from the very beginning. The song was the most famous of Candle’s songs, and one that they have sung since their indie days.
Candle’s song sung with the characteristics of a female vocalist, high and sweet, was, of course, different from the original singer. Yet she sang to the point she made you think that the song was wonderful like this too. Maria-jou’s singing voice was better than I expected. Even I’d fall in love, I thought as I listened to her at the side.
“You’re amazing, Maria! You’re really good at singing. Let’s go karaoke next time,” Kyouko-jou praised.
“Jeez, Kyouko-chan~ You’re praising me too much~” Maria-jou said as her cheeks dyed red from Kyouko-jou’s words. Still, she smiled bashfully with joy. She was really, really cute.
Naturally, Maria-jou singing was captured on film. I’m sure it will be used for the PV.
“By the way, what kind of songs can you sing, Shiori?” Kyouko-jou asked me.
“I’m sorry. I’m really, seriously bad at karaoke. So please don’t ask me,” I told her. It’ll be troubling if she holds any expectations, so I rejected any notions immediately.
By the way, I already understand why Maria-jou picked a song from Candle here. Just the other month, Maria-jou triggered the event where she encountered Candle’s vocalist. On top of that, Kazu-nii was also there. Candle’s vocalist was an old friend of Kazu-nii. Furthermore, the name of the band consisting of our four classmates was Neo Candle.
“What’s wrong, Sensei~?” I called out.
Kazu-nii turned his eyes at me, looking startled. It seems Maria-jou impacted Kazu-nii quite a lot by singing one of Candle’s songs. Maria-jou shouldn’t know, but this same song was the one that Kazu-nii sang during karaoke, which led to the birth of Neo Candle. For Kazu-nii, Candle is a very special group to him in a different meaning from Itou-kun and the others. I guess hearing Candle’s song in Maria-jou’s voice came as a surprise attack, so he’s shaken.
In that case, why did I go out of my way to incite this turn of events? …….Sorry, Kazu-nii. I slipped up; I didn’t think this far.
I felt guilty and stared back at him. In the end, Kazu-nii quickly played dumb like he didn’t know anything.
“Ah, no, it’s nothing. About your filming activities, I don’t think I need to be with you guys the whole time. I’ll be in the night duty room, so call me when dinner’s ready,” he said instead.
“Understood. You will also be helping with night watch duties later, right? I’m sure it’ll be fine if you slept as well,” I replied.
“Sorry about that. Then also come and wake me up later,” Kazu-nii said casually like it was nothing before he left the music room.
Maria-jou frowned slightly. I assumed it was bothering her how Kazu-nii left. In any case, I don’t know what her plans were and with what intentions. Still, I could tell the events today have already deviated slightly from what she wanted. I hope I can keep up with this one way or another until we manage to avoid all the events this training camp.
I returned once again to the home economics room and threw myself at cooking. I’m going to endlessly cut these vegetables until they are easy to bite! Cut, cut, cut! Also, I was thinking about making some fried onigiri. The problem here was quantity — don’t teenager boys eat a whole lot of food?
With the vegetables in front of me, I thought about just how much to actually make. At the same time, the door opened. When I looked up, I noticed it was Itou-kun who came in.
“Huh? What’s wrong?” Did he have business with me? I wondered and asked him directly.
Itou-kun’s face turned a little bit red before he said, “I was wondering if there’s anything I can help with. The others are taking care of the filming too.”
“Really? Then could you help me cut these onions? They need to be in slices on the big side,” I asked.
“Understood,” Itou-kun agreed. He washed his hands and began cutting those onions for me. He looked like he wanted to say something and opened and closed his mouth multiple times. Maybe he wants to tell me how his eyes were watering because of the onions.
Yeah, sorry. That’s why I purposely asked you to cut them for me.
“Niimi… umm… do you like cats? Or dogs?” Itou-kun asked.
“I don’t particularly like either one over the other. I mean, if you had either a pet cat or dog, they’d be cute, don’t you think?” What kind of topic is this? I mean, even if he wanted to make small talk.
“Are you good with cooking?” He asked next.
“Not really. I think I can cook normally?” I answered, tilting my head. Alright, yes, I do understand Itou-kun wanted to say something else to me. In the meantime, he was doing some introductory remarks. “I barely cook back at home. But once in a while, I make sweets like when there’s this super urge to eat pudding.”
Not my urge, but Kazu-nii’s though.
“You can make pudding? …Ah, come to think of it, you made some during cooking class,” Itou-kun said, recalling.
“I’m surprised you can remember.”
“Ah, yeah. …Cause they looked really delicious. I’m sorry we invited you to this training camp without considering your own plans. But I’m looking forward to eating your homemade cooking. If it’s a lot of trouble then I’m sorry again,” Itou-kun apologized and bowed down his head.
“It’s dangerous to look away when you’re holding a knife in your hand,” I told him and couldn’t help but smile wryly before continuing. “And you guys didn’t force anything on me. I was actually happy you guys invited me.”
And this was the truth.
“……U-Ummm! Niimi!” Itou-kun left the knife on the corner and cried out like he wanted to tell me something.
This was when the door opened loudly. The people who came in were the remaining members of Neo Candle and Kyouko-jou. Judging by how Kyouko-jou was holding the handycam in her hand, they were in the middle of filming.
Itou-kun made a bitter face as he glared at the other guys. Meanwhile, those three made a face that said ‘Whoopies~’ Just what exactly are those four trying to say to me?
“Shiori~ We’re going to film you cooking, so continue, continue~” Kyouko-jou shouted.
“Okay~” I answered back lazily.
Even if she was filming me while I cooked, all I was doing was cutting vegetables like green peppers and squash. The handycam trained on me for about ten minutes as I continued to cook. In the end, Itou-kun only sliced two onions for me. Once everything was ready, I placed the ingredients on top of a large plate, put saran wrap, and stored it in the fridge. All that was left was to take it out just before we ate.
“By the way, where’s Aikawa-san?” I asked once I realized I couldn’t find her anywhere.
Kyouko-jou tilted her head. “Come to think of it, she still hasn’t come back. She said she was going to the washroom and went off separately.”
……Don’t tell me!
This was when my cell phone inside my pocket vibrated.
“…! Sorry, I need to check this…”
I wiped my hands with the nearby towel and took out my cell phone. Since I was on school grounds, I wouldn’t be able to call Kazu-nii. Still, there was a possibility of an emergency, so I will at least check what notification I got. My cell phone told me I have a message from Kazu-nii.
[I’ll be moving from the night duty room to the school infirmary.]
……? What does he mean?
No, wait, judging by how Maria-jou wasn’t here at the moment, she lied, saying she was going to the washroom but actually headed to the night duty room? This is bad… Are you saying we just barely avoided triggering the [Hibiya-sensei Wakes Up] event right in the middle of the day?
“Hey, Itou-kun. What is everyone doing afterwards?” I went and asked.
“Eh? Oh, we’re going to film in the schoolyard. We can’t be sure tomorrow’s weather will be nice too. We’ll go to the areas that won’t bother the baseball club and raise our hands out for a ‘youth’ kind of feeling and film it,” Itou-kun explained.
“Then we better go while it’s still bright out. Hey, Kyouko-chan, how about you let Aikawa-san know by messaging her?” I suggested.
“You’re right, I’ll do just that,” she agreed and quickly took out her cell phone.
I watched her with a sidelong glance as I was actually sweating inside my mind.
There were a bunch of clubs active here today, so I would think there will be staff in the school infirmary during the daytime. If Suzuki-obaachan sensei was there, then Kazu-nii’s sound sleep will be protected even if Maria-jou shows up.
[I’m in the home economics room. If it’s beyond your control, phone me.]
I messaged back to Kazu-nii and put my cell phone back into my pocket before cleaning up the chopping boards and knives.
In the end, I couldn’t help but be worried about Kazu-nii, so I hurried to the school infirmary afterwards. [Hibiya-sensei Wakes Up] was an event that would happen in the night duty room, so it shouldn’t occur in the school infirmary. I told myself this as I finally arrived in front of my destination. When I saw Maria-jou right there, I almost screamed from surprise.
Maria-jou was trying to open the door without a sound and without bothering to knock. I don’t know what she was planning to do, but first……
“Aikawa-san!” I called out her name loudly.
Maria-jou seemed startled before she shrugged her shoulders. I pretended not to notice a single thing and waved my hand.
“Why are you here? Didn’t you get messages from Itou-kun and the others? We’re filming in the schoolyard,” I informed her.
“H-Huh? Is that so? I’m sorry, I might have not noticed,” Maria-jou said before she took out her cell phone. It was baby pink in colour with a cross strap on it. It was cute. Could that strap be one of Designer-kun’s original designs? “Oh, you’re right! I do have messages. I’m going to head there. Niimi-san, will you be coming too?”
“Hm? Of course, I will?”
Maria-jou asked me with searching eyes. I merely smiled and tilted my head. After all, I came to call Maria-jou back, so there’s no meaning if I didn’t bring her back with me.
“……Maybe it was just my imagination…” I get the feeling Maria-jou mumbled such words quietly.
[I’m bringing Maria-jou back with me. How are you on your end?]
I sent this message to Kazu-nii, but I didn’t receive a response back.
Still, eventually we met up with everyone and filmed for a while at the schoolyard. However, we actually spent half the time watching the baseball club’s practice match. This year the baseball club couldn’t reach Koshien, but I would like them to do their best next year as well.
Incidentally, Maria-jou found a stray cat and got excited all on her own.
In the evening, we all went to the home economics room to have dinner. Before we even went to call Kazu-nii for dinner, he showed up by himself. The meat I prepared was more or less eaten all by the boys. Jeez, and I purposely bought the expensive meat too~~!
Everyone helped out to clean up the home economics room before we went off to a public bathhouse.
We split into boys and girls to each have our own relaxing bath time.
To tell you the truth, I was actually quite nervous. I mean, I was going to bathe together with Maria-jou who I was spying on. But our bath ended in no time to the point I asked myself what the heck was I worried about.
Maybe it was because I was too preoccupied with how Kyouko-jou’s figure was just too good.
We all met again in front of the bathhouse and walked back to the academy together. On the way back, Maria-jou blushed when she saw Kazu-nii after he bathed. Certainly, he was emitting a lot of pheromones in the air. I didn’t know if he was conscious of this fact or not though.
On the other hand, Maria-jou and Kyouko-jou were also sexy enough to make hearts flutter quickly. The four members of Neo Candle had bright red faces, but the two girls didn’t look like they even noticed.
TL: Shiori-chan, I think Itou-kun wanted to confess something important to you… The training camp will conclude in the next part!