I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 3221 min read
Volume 2 | Chapter 8: August (Down) – Part 4
I looked down at myself to see injuries and more injuries again.
Scratches, bruises, and pain around my wrists. It was still better than the time I fell down the stairs, however, the grazes I had this time were even worse. Coincidentally, the same doctor as last time examined me.
They told me, “You’re a girl, so you need to treasure yourself more.”
I’m very sorry.
Incidentally, Kazu-nii chewed me out the next day. The police also lectured me as well and I went through another police interview on top. Even if the incident turned for a worse beyond our predictions, I was still at fault for getting involved when I knew it would be dangerous. A policewoman explained and lectured in detail to me what could happen when a woman approaches a dangerous place on her own.
Kazu-nii gave me the strict order not to go outside. Except I didn’t plan on obeying him one bit. Once my scratches stop hurting, I will be able to do whatever I want.
That being said, I understood he was worried about me. I decided to only go out sparsely and have a home date with Yumi-chan instead. She was coming to play, and I also messaged Kazu-nii not to come nearby when Yumi-chan asked if she could visit.
When Kazu-nii taught me, we would use the living room. But I think I should invite Yumi-chan to my bedroom in this case. I prepared barley tea with ice and used pudding I made as our dessert. Hmm… I feel like I should have prepared a stronger tasting drink. Like green tea, black tea, or coffee? Oh well.
“Huh, it’s pudding. Did you make this yourself? Could it be your hobby is making sweets?” Yumi-chan asked.
“No way. I only make pudding,” I replied. And I don’t even make it for yourself.
Yumi-chan was probably recalling our cooking classes long ago as she tilted her head. Soon she observed my room and grinned. What’s wrong? If it’s the Sorayume mask, I properly have it hung over there?
“Hey, did you know that Hibiya-sensei loves pudding?”
“…….Huh?” Err, well, yeah I do. I was bewildered by her sudden question, yet Yumi-chan continued to speak with amusement in her voice.
“During cooking class, Hibiya-sensei said ‘if you’re making pudding, bring it to me’, so there were girls who asked if he liked pudding. That’s when Sensei smiled really shyly and said ‘yeah’. His smile sparkled way too much that the number of his fans skyrocketed,” Yumi-chan explained.
“Ah, I see. That’s why Hibiya-sensei said he wanted everyone’s pudding,” I commented with a straight face.
Unfortunately, my barefaced lie didn’t work on Yumi-chan.
“I felt something was strange ever since Shiori-chan suddenly changed our menu to pudding. And then I noticed how serious Hibiya-sensei was when he was worried about you during the festival the other day. Ah! Maybe the two of you are actually…?” Yumi-chan was smirking left and right.
No matter how you look at it, she was misunderstanding this whole thing in a different direction.
“W-Wait! A-Aren’t you misunderstanding something!?”
“Am I~? Am I really~? Hibiya-sensei noticed Shiori-chan’s kanzashi with one look~ Could that actually be a present from him to you~? You have Kamura-kun, Katsuragi-kun, and even Shibuya-kun who’s good looking when you look closely. You have all these guy friends, but I don’t feel one bit of love from you~ As your friend, I’ve actually been secretly worried~” Yumi-chan said as she peered up at me with upturned eyes. She had the composure to drink her barley tea as well. “You’re interested in Tsukishima-senpai, so I thought maybe you like older people. Is the guy you have your eyes set on Hibiya-sensei~?”
“I-I’m telling you, you got it wrong!” I shouted.
“That jacket there. It’s the same one Hibiya-sensei put on your shoulders the other day, isn’t it~? And it’s been propeeeeerly sent to cleaning? Do you have plans to return it later? Are you two going to secretly meet each other~?” Yumi-chan continued to ask.
Now that she mentioned it, I cast my eyes over by the wall. Yes, Kazu-nii’s jacket was hanging there and had come back from the cleaners. Kazu-nii said not to worry about it, but I dirtied it, so I sent it off to get it cleaned. If Yumi-chan didn’t come to play, I would have returned it to him today……
“Come to think of it……. There’s a red Ferrari parked in front of your home,” Yumi-chan added.
“K-Kazu-nii, you big idiooooooooooooott!!” I screamed, holding my head with my hands as I dropped down to the floor. First, I need to clear up Yumi-chan’s misunderstanding, I thought with panic. “Y-You got it wrong. We don’t have that kind of relationship! HIbiya-sensei is just my cousin. Lots of people misunderstand when you’re related to a teacher in school, so we kept it quiet……” I explained with tears gathering in my eyes.
Yumi-chan giggled and asked, “Do you two live next door too?”
“How did you know?”
“Cause, the house next door has a door plate with ‘Hibiya’ on it,” she answered.
Right, it does. The house next door belonged to my grandfather from my mother’s side of the family. Kazu-nii half-lives there, so his name wasn’t on the door plate. However, my grandfather’s last name was ‘Hibiya’. In other words, my mother’s maiden name was also Hibiya.
My mother married into the Niimi family, but she was worried about grandfather living all by himself after his wife passed away. When this house was built, my family also purchased the land next door. My grandfather wasn’t picky about where he wanted to live.
Incidentally, my grandfather’s house didn’t have a parking lot. Which is why Kazu-nii’s Ferrari gets parked in my home’s parking lot. Wait, if his Ferrari was here, then he wasn’t in his apartment today but next door.
It looks like a lot of things were obvious to Yumi-chan.
“He’s my cousin. That’s really all there is to it,” I repeated to make sure.
Yumi-chan merely smiled. “Don’t worry, I’m not hoping for anymore. I’m looking forward to the day you’ll gossip about love with me though. If your boyfriend is a teacher then you can’t carelessly talk about anything. I think an easier boyfriend with fewer hurdles is better.”
Yumi-chan was a fangirl and liked good-looking guys. Still, she had the mindset of wanting to avoid falling in love with a good-looking guy. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard any love rumours involving Yumi-chan. How is her love life?
I stole glances at Yumi-chan as she took out a notebook with her bag.
“Then let’s start our homework soon…! Hey, wait, we can’t ask Hibiya-sensei for help, but isn’t it okay to ask for your cousin to lend us a hand?” Yumi-chan asked.
“I want him to teach us!” Yumi-chan declared with her eyes sparkling brightly.
So like this I summoned Kazu-nii to my home since Yumi-chan knew all my weaknesses.
We changed our studying space to the living room since three people in my bedroom made it too tight.
A few minutes later, Kazu-nii showed up dressed in casual clothing.
Yumi-chan cried out excitedly, “Hibiya-sensei! Those clothes are very good on you! You look just like a host!”
You aren’t complimenting him. You definitely aren’t complimenting him one bit, Yumi-chan. Well, Yumi-chan was actually trying to praise him highly though.
Anyways, now is homework time. Kazu-nii had the ability to teach other subjects on top of math, so he took a look at all the homework of every subject.
“Please teach me here, Kazu-niisan,” Yumi-chan said. After she found out I called him Kazu-nii, she started to mimic me.
“Sasaki, make sure not to call me that in school, alright?” Kazu-nii said to her with a tired expression. To be honest, I don’t have confidence if Yumi-chan, with her bright smiles, would protect that.
“Don’t worry~ Secrets are fun only when you protect them. Fufufu~” She replied.
No, really, Yumi-chan is scaring me with her beaming grin.
Putting that aside, our homework time was progressing smoothly. Once in a while, we would chat when we got tired.
“Kazu-niisan, what do you call Shiori-chan on a normal basis?” Yumi-chan questioned.
“Ah……. her name,” Kazu-nii answered as he shifted his eyes.
“Oh-ho~ I want to hear you say her name~” Yumi-chan asked shamelessly.
“No, please give me a break,” Kazu-nii replied with a tired smile.
I personally didn’t mind if he only did it here, but it seems Kazu-nii felt differently.
“How do you feel with Shiori-chan actually on the verge of being quite popular with the boys?”
When Kazu-nii heard Yumi-chan’s question, he glanced over at me.
I sighed. “I’m not popular at all. I haven’t been confessed to either. Actually, Yumi-chan, stop making up things.” In the first place, the good-looking guys Yumi-chan was thinking about were all Maria-jou’s capture targets.
“Huh. Come to think of it, Shiori-chan, have you ever had a boyfriend? No one confessed to you in middle school?” Yumi-chan targeted me next with curiosity written all over her face.
“I never had a boyfriend. As for confessions in middle school… Hmm, I did get a love letter back then… But I never got confessed to directly,” I told her.
“Why didn’t you go out with him?” Yumi-chan pressed.
“Why? …Just cause?” Now that she brought the subject up, why didn’t I go out with the boy who sent me the love letter? It’s not like I wasn’t interested in love or anything. But I didn’t feel like dating a boy who I didn’t know well at all.
Huh, could it be that I haven’t experienced any sort of romance since my first love in kindergarten?
“Grr, so boring… Shiori-chan, you’re showing me the same non-reaction like you always do! You are making me really sad! Hey, don’t you think so too, Kazu-niisan? Don’t you think it’ll be a waste if Shiori-chan grows up to be an adult like this without making a boyfriend or two?” Yumi-chan asked Kazu-nii.
“…….Well, that’s……” Kazu-nii faltered for some reason and shrunk back. “Also, are you girls fine with your homework now? I have plans, so I can only be here for another 30 minutes.”
“Ehhhh!? Why didn’t you mention that sooner!” Yumi-chan shouted as she hurried to open up her textbook again. At any rate, the subject she should prioritize is math. Since, after all, Kazu-nii was a math teacher.
However, I purposely pushed math aside. If I asked Kazu-nii with my horrible understanding of math, Yumi-chan won’t be able to progress one bit with her homework.
Just like Kazu-nii declared, he waved goodbye with a “see you” after thirty minutes and left. He may actually have plans, but I was pretty sure he was just running away. Meanwhile, Yumi-chan was quite happy since she progressed further than she expected in her math homework.
The two of us chatted after Kazu-nii left. We talked about this and that and studied in between to get a change of pace.
“Oh yeah… Shiori-chan, do you know about the rumour about the church?” Yumi-chan brought up suddenly.
“The one where you can hear a violin playing?”
“No, not that… Wait, maybe in a way it is? You see, a number of students believed that there’s some secret in the church. During summer vacation, they secretly went to explore the church and then…”
Yumi-chan pressed her finger against her lips and dropped her voice low.
“Not a single one of them came back.”
When Yumi-chan left, Kazu-nii came back like he switched places with her. Like I thought, he lied about having something to do.
Kazu-nii looked at the empty pudding cups sadly before sitting down on the living room’s sofa. I did prepare Kazu-nii’s share of pudding but he left halfway through, so it was his own fault. “Then I’ll take it,” Yumi-chan had said and swallowed it up.
“Damn, Sasaki found out,” Kazu-nii mumbled, looking completely exhausted.
“I don’t think Yumi-chan will spread weird rumours though?” I said to comfort him as I stood up. “I’ll get some pudding for you.”
“There’s still more?”
“Hmm, something like that.” Since Yumi-chan wanted to eat Kazu-nii’s pudding too, I put my pudding back in the fridge.
Putting all that aside, the two of us had planned to have a strategy meeting. We sat side-by-side on the sofa as Kazu-nii blissfully ate the pudding I secretly stashed away. Well, afterwards, he made a grim expression.
Our initial plans didn’t include an end of the month meeting for August. Once it was September, I was going to observe Maria-jou to see how far she progressed with capturing the targets and see where we should go from there.
“About the festival the other day… I’m certain that Aikawa has memories of her past life,” Kazu-nii began.
If Yumi-chan’s recollection was accurate then Maria-jou knew where Tsukishima-bishounen and I were captured. I don’t know what memories of a past life included, but at the very least, Maria-jou had knowledge of the game.
“And she also said, ‘I haven’t triggered anything’… With this we also know that Aikawa is intentionally triggering romance events with everyone.”
“So Kazu-nii’s deduction is right? Where an event will happen if you get all the triggers and flags in place,” I said.
“Right. Since she has the knowledge of what’s needed, she is also purposely acting in a way to make sure she fulfills all the conditions.”
“Let’s see… Like how she purposely came to get me when I’m asleep during the training camp,” Kazu-nii replied.
Now that he mentioned it, Kazu-nii changed his initial plans of sleeping in the night duty room to the infirmary during the Neo Candle training camp. Even then, it was dangerous. If I haven’t been there when Maria-jou was about to enter the infirmary, the worst case scenario might have happened.
“I was actually experimenting. I wasn’t at the infirmary and actually slept in the student council room. Still, Aikawa purposely went to the infirmary, didn’t she?”
“You were? Then the message you sent me was a lie too?” I asked.
“Sorry about that. If I did that, I thought you would also check the infirmary too. The illustration I remembered from the game was just [Hibiya Waking Up]. In other words, this event could occur no matter where I slept. As for Aikawa, she went all the way to peek at the infirmary. There’s no doubt she was looking for me and where I was sleeping,” Kazu-nii said with a bitter expression. “Shiori, there was the incident where you fell from the stairs in April, remember?”
“Ah, yeah. In the west building,” I agreed.
“When I was confirming the details of that incident, something caught my attention. During that time, Aikawa would head to the west building on her every break. What I could recall from the game was [West building, at the stairs. Two of her capture targets and fanclub girls will be present. Aikawa would help her female classmate who fell down the stairs and protest against the capture targets]. As long as there’s a female classmate involved in the event, there needs to be one of her female classmates in the west building or the requirements for the event won’t be fulfilled. That is why the incident didn’t happen until you went there.”
“…? What are you trying to say?”
“Even if you weren’t there, if another classmate would fall down from the stairs then Aikawa’s first meeting event with Mizusaki and Kaneshiro will occur. However…….” Kazu-nii trailed off. He scratched his hair messily before hanging his head. “I nominated you as a class representative… No, I mixed you up in this game world and put you in danger over and over again.”
It’s true the festival the other day was dangerous. My life might have even been in danger. Well, before that, my chastity was much more in danger though. Still, I don’t see why Kazu-nii needs to feel responsible. After all, Kazu-nii had warned me — don’t go close to anywhere dark. Despite that, I went off to check on Tsukishima-bishounen without a single concern.
“……Shiori, this is just a suggestion, but could you no longer involve yourself with the Tsukishima events?” Kazu-nii asked.
“From what I know, there shouldn’t be any dangerous events involving violence in that otome game. But at the same time, I don’t know anything about the Tsukishima story line. There might be similar events in the future. Never mind a game… this is reality. Who knows what might happen to you because of an event,” Kazu-nii said.
“…What’s going to happen to that gang and Tsukishima-bishounen?” I asked.
Kazu-nii frowned. “To be honest, I won’t be satisfied even with sending them to the police. But they are minors… And, on top of that, they aren’t even my students. The police placed the gang in their custody. What happens after depends on their school. As for Tsukishima, I lectured and escorted him home after his wounds were treated. The S high school gang insisted Tsukishima was one of their comrades, but Tsukishima is a victim when you look at the situation. Pain will linger on his wrists, but if he rests for a while, it should get better. Tsukishima does feel guilty about getting you involved in the incident. It’ll be nice if he stays put from now on…”
“His wrists, huh…” I muttered. It was probably because he was tied with ropes; Tsukishima-bishounen didn’t come out completely unhurt. It would be nice if it doesn’t affect his violin skills.
Suddenly, Kazu-nii patted my head. “I told you not to take off your kanzashi,” he said to me as he softened his eyes, looking somewhat sad. His hand caressing my soft hair was kind. “Is there anything you want?” Kazu-nii asked.
“I… Lately, I’ve been causing you a lot of trouble. I was hoping to get you something to say sorry.”
Now this came out of nowhere. He already gave me a kanzashi, so he didn’t have to go out of his way, I thought. However, if Kazu-nii didn’t mind buying me anything I want then it’s not like I couldn’t think of anything.
“In that case, I’m planning on treating one dish to everyone I troubled.”
“Hm? You want me to chip in on the food bill?” He questioned.
“No, no, if you paid for it then I’m going to keep feeling guilty about everything. What I’m saying is I’m going to use up my allowance to treat everyone, so I won’t have any money to buy new autumn clothes. I want some funds for that~”
“…Want me to buy you a set of new clothes?”
“No way. I’m not going to enjoy myself one bit with you coming with me and you arguing about this outfit and that outfit. I’m going to shop with Yumi-chan, so give me money in return,” I told him with a bright smile as I spread my arms out.
Kazu-nii smiled tiredly. “Got it,” he agreed. “In a good and bad way, you grew up pretty uncute,” Kazu-nii also mumbled under his breath. How rude.
“…….Shiori,” he called my name.
“For a bit, don’t say anything,” he told me. I heard the sofa creak as Kazu-nii got up.
His large hand stretched out and gently grabbed my own. Around my wrists were still marks of the rope lingering deeply. When I came home, both of my parents were shocked when they saw me. I think part of the reason was because I had bandages around me. The other part of the reason was the marks on my wrists unmistakably told my parents I had been tied up.
Kazu-nii pressed his lips on those marks.
Yeah, it would be weirder if I didn’t flinch with surprise. Since Kazu-nii said not to say anything, I kept quiet for now even if I wanted to shake him and ask what he was thinking.
Kazu-nii traced those rope marks with his lips. Once in a while, he would lick them with his tongue.
“H-Hey…!” It tickles. I feel itchy.
I tried to pull my hand back but Kazu-nii didn’t let me. If anything, it made him even more bold.
Hiiieeeee. I feel so embarrassed for some reason! I couldn’t help but turn my face away in another direction. I’m sure he was treating me like a kid again and he’ll say he was disinfecting me. I know that already, but what the hell can I do with this urge to run away fast.
Kazu-nii ran his lips against my wrists and finally let go of me.
“…….I’m sorry. You can blame me for this.”
He probably meant with how I got captured by the gang and ended up getting hurt.
Uggggghhhhhhhh ahhhhh! Stop! Give me a break! My face is burning here!
What the hell is with this man!? How can he do something like this with a straight face!?
“Hm……? What’s wrong?” Kazu-nii asked.
My punch exploded in fury at my cousin who was gazing at me with a mystified look.
“Just like you wanted, I’m blaming you for this! D-D-D-D-Don’t go licking me again in the future!!” I shouted angrily.
Remember I’m the same age as Maria-jou! I’m not a preschooler anymore!!
□ ■ □
Summer vacation is coming to an end.
On a certain day, I received good news from the traditional clothing cleaners who I sent my yukata to. It couldn’t be completely restored, but they were able to clean it properly. It was thanks to how the quality of the fabric was good and that there weren’t any rips. I was genuinely really relieved to hear all this.
To be honest, I felt really bad about this whole thing that it was awkward to meet Grandpa when I jogged. I mean, I dirtied the yukata he and Grandma gave me almost immediately after. If they cried how I didn’t have manners or etiquette at all, I wouldn’t be able to blame them one bit. After all, I couldn’t even wear this yukata on my own. On top of that, I don’t know how to care for it either.
Thankfully, the staff at the traditional clothing cleaners were kind and taught me the basis of how to hang it, fold it, and so on. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll try learning a little bit more. If I could wear the yukata on my own, it would be really wonderful, I thought.
Now that I think of it, Katsuragi-kun also wore traditional clothing. Maybe he was knowledgeable about these types of clothing. I should try asking him the next time I see him. Maria-jou also wore a yukata during the festival, but could she wear it on her own?
Now then, today was the day where I wanted to thank everyone who helped me on that festival day. I brought all my allowance and the rest of my part-time pay as my war funds. The part-time pay was the first salary I’ve ever received in my life. I had thought about buying a present for my parents but…
Between buying a swimsuit for Katsuragi-kun’s little sister, Kazu-nii’s jacket’s cleaning bill, this time’s yukata cleaning bill, and treating everyone today, I completely used it up.
…….Yup. I get the feeling I’m not good with money. I didn’t use it in a way that I would regret it though. Still, maybe I should consider ensuring living expenses somehow or saving in a bank before I become an adult.
Incidentally, I decided not to take the autumn clothing money I asked for Kazu-nii after all. When I thought about it carefully, if I were to buy clothing with Kazu-nii’s money, I have to buy with his tastes in mind. Which would be a pain. I told Kazu-nii this and turned down the money. For whatever reason, he looked disappointed. I wonder why?
Our meeting spot today was the station closest to the academy.
I planned on thanking them individually, but there were suggestions of everyone meeting up together, and that’s how it turned out.
On top of that, everyone said one drink was fine with them! I made them considerate of me, which made me feel more guilty.
There was still one hour before we were supposed to meet. I think I came here too early cause I’m nervous. I was lectured by Kazu-nii, the police, my parents, and Yumi-chan. And when I contacted everyone else, who I will meet later, they also scolded me again and again.
I waited for them with my heart beating strangely fast. Before I knew it, an hour passed by my eyes.
Kazu-nii: *dies violently*