I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 4423 min read
Volume 3 | Chapter 10: October (Up) – Part 5
The autumn sky is pretty refreshing, I think. It gets dark right away when the sun sets but you could see cirrocumulus clouds during sunset, which I really like.
“I can’t think of any new ideas. I said I’ll release a bunch of new items after I received my award, but since October came, it feels like my head isn’t working,” Designer-kun said, staring fixedly at me. “I hear God’s voice in my head. He said, ‘Go and fall in love’. It makes no sense at all……”
“……Eh?” My eyes widened into circles.
“I mean, I do like girls a lot. But I don’t plan on giving up on my dream of becoming a first-rate designer for that. Right now is my chance to get big, yet…” Designer-kun’s words coloured with bitterness. “Why is God trying to get in the way?”
God of Fate. Designer-kun has always been using this phrase. I’m not a deeply faithful person, so it never quite clicked with me. Nonetheless, for Designer-kun, it’s an existence that guides him forth. He has been designing while listening to this god’s voice.
“……How is it going with that stone of yours?” I changed the topic suddenly.
Designer-kun looked surprised. “Stone? …Ah, right. I’ve talked to you about it before.”
“That’s right,” I nodded.
“It hasn’t been saying anything to me lately,” Designer-kun replied, sounding lonely. He took out the ruby stone from inside his clothes. “It’s changed since October. Before my stone will warm up and throb, but now when I wear it, it seems heavy for some reason. It’s to the point I thought about leaving it at home too. Well, even if I say that, it feels off if I don’t wear it, so I bring it with me in the end.” He laughed lifelessly in the end.
“If the God of Fate is saying that you need to fall in love, then maybe that’s what you need to do right now,” I commented.
“Isn’t God saying to turn your love into ‘shape’?” I purposely suggested a hidden meaning in my words.
It was the beginning of summer when Kazu-nii and I made guesses about these stones. Truthfully, we aren’t sure just exactly what kind of influences these stones can bring. Plus, I’ve only touched Katsuragi-kun’s stone for a short period of time.
That being said, it’s not like I want to experiment with Designer-kun.
Still, this is a bet.
“Hey, that stone of yours… It doesn’t matter who touches it as long as they give it back to you right away, right?” According to what he said, he would make girls hold his stone while he designs because it gives him inspiration.
“Eh? Y-Yeah, that’s… right,” Designer-kun answered, confused.
“Will you lend it to me?” I said before I held out my hand.
He has asked before if I wanted to touch his stone and to find out how he’ll react when I did. I cleanly rejected him back then, which is why I think Designer-kun is so surprised right now.
I’m sure there are better methods than this. I still remember how Katsuragi-kun drastically changed when I held his stone. I haven’t forgotten at all. Just imagining how too touchy-feely Designer-kun could change is pretty scary.
But there’s also a chance that Designer-kun wouldn’t change much since he has given his stone out to numerous girls already.
“It’ll just be a moment but I’ll become the person you’ve fallen in love with, Kamura-kun. You mentioned before didn’t you? ‘I see the other person as extremely attractive and a design that suits her pops up in my head’. I’m sure you’ll get hints for new designs like before if you fall in love, even if it’s for a second.” I breathed in deeply. “So how about giving it to me?”
I don’t want to see Designer-kun suffering like this. For me, Designer-kun is a guy friend who is a little less close to me than the Neo Candle members. He is also the class moodmaker, and I don’t dislike the sight of him laughing cheerfully surrounded by a ton of girls.
Plus……. I seriously don’t want to see Designer-kun being captured by Maria-jou in his current state. I don’t want to imagine what will happen if he gives his stone to her because he can’t find inspirations for designing. Also, who knows what would happen if he can’t get his stone back from her.
In the near future, Maria-jou will seek out the stones of all the capture targets. However, I don’t think she’ll try and steal them. Nor will she aggressively snatch them away. I want to believe that she’ll follow the rules of the otome game and the system to gain the stones from the capture targets with their consent. However—
“…….” Designer-kun widened his eyes. His expression then distorted visibly. He looked to be on the brink of tears, making me shocked.
Designer-kun hung his head before he mumbled with a very small voice, “There’s no way I can give it to you when you make such a painful expression.”
…Just what kind of face am I making right now?
“It’s fine, you’ve done enough, Shiori-chan. I feel like having someone tell me this is enough that I…” Designer-kun shut his eyes tight before smiling bashfully.
It felt like his chest flashed red for a second.
“……I think I heard the voice of the God of Fate just now.”
In the end, I didn’t get Designer-kun’s stone. Still he looked like he broke free from his doubts.
“I’m going to start from the beginning again and sketch some rough designs,” he told me.
I’m glad your mind has cleared up.
As the final bell rang, the two of us left the rooftops together. Incidentally, Designer-kun had the key to the rooftops. When we returned to our classroom, I noticed that Maria-jou’s bag was gone. It seems she has gone home already.
“Huh? Did I leave my bag out open like this?” Designer-kun tilted his head as he flipped his bag.
“Eh? You mean you forgot to zip it up?”
“I don’t think I forgot… Well, whatever. It’s not like I had anything in my bag to start with.”
“Yeah, no, it’s a bag. You should have things in it.”
“But I really don’t have anything in it,” Designer-kun argued.
Hey, hey, hey.
Still, it does bother me. Who would open his bag without permission? On the other hand, my bag doesn’t look any different. My wallet and cellphone were inside my pockets, so there’s nothing important in my bag if something did get stolen.
“The only important thing I have is pretty much just this,” Designer-kun said as he took out his pendant from inside his clothes. The pendant is in the shape of a cross — it is a cool design but I couldn’t help but feel it might be heavy.
Huh? Wasn’t there supposed to be a ruby-like stone on the pendant? But no matter where I looked, the pendant didn’t have a stone on it. Maybe it’s just my imagination?
“…….In any case, I’m going to lock the classroom. Let’s hurry home already.”
□ ■ □
Designer-kun and I returned the classroom and rooftop keys to the staff room afterwards. We walked together to the station before going our separate ways. He offered to walk me to the station since it was dark… Well, it’s also his fault since new ideas struck his head while we were talking. He took out his notepad to jot down those ideas. It got pretty late in the end.
It was almost 8 PM by the time I got home.
The final bell for Seika Maria Secondary Academy is 6 PM. I couldn’t help but feel really hungry…
I was extremely exhausted by the time I opened the front door. At the same time, I also noticed how Kazu-nii was standing in my house looking really annoyed.
“Hey… You were the one who said you wanted to discuss something with me. Why did you come home so late? Were you at school until the final bell?”
“…First, let me change, so wait a bit more. I ended up chatting with Designer-kun and stayed until the final bell.”
“…You were with Kamura.”
“Yeah. He had an event with Maria-jou,” I confirmed.
In any case, I need to change my clothes. Well, before we can strategize, I also need to eat dinner. And to add on to that, I also bathed in the end so it was about 10 PM before we even started.
I put cups of hot tea down on the table in my living room. At the same time, I opened up the notebook I always used for these meetings with Kazu-nii about that certain otome game. Now then, what topic should I start with.
“First is definitely Iinchou’s confession,” I decided.
“Yeah, he confessed pretty shocking things to me,” I admitted. It’s not often someone confesses to you to say that they killed you in their past life.
It took longer than I thought to explain the whole thing to Kazu-nii. It didn’t take long to hear this confession from Iinchou but it was pretty backbreaking to explain it to Kazu-nii with my own interpretation.
However, Kazu-nii comprehended it faster than me since he knew about otome games to begin with compared to me.
It’s at the end that I reported the events of Maria-jou, Tsuchiya-shounen, and Designer-kun.
Kazu-nii scrunched his eyebrows after he heard everything.
“And that’s why Aikawa asked me to show her my pendant, huh.” On top of that, he now knew why Maria-jou was crying earlier.
Kazu-nii was a considerate teacher, so he’s the type that can’t neglect a crying student. Well, it’ll be troubling if one of his students were crying because they were bullied after all.
“How should I say this… I feel like she’s gone bad. I mean, it’s definite that she’s after a reverse harem, right? On top of that, it doesn’t seem like she thought deeply about what she’ll do after she gains everyone’s ‘heart’… Hmmm…”
“What do you mean by after?” I asked.
“You see, a relationship between lovers can’t be maintained unless both parties put effort in it. Basically, Aikawa’s thought process is much like a highschool student, simplistic and hasty, in a way.”
“Come to think of it, is the reason why your relationship with your girlfriends didn’t last long because you didn’t put enough effort in it?”
“Leave me alone,” Kazu-nii sulked before he sighed. “…….Well, part of the problem did lie with me, which I can’t help. In any case, even if you want a lover, the relationship won’t continue unless you seriously love the other person. If you spend time with someone for a while, you could come to hate their small flaws or start to find them troublesome. It takes a lot of resolve to spend the rest of your life with someone.”
“…….It’s not striking anything in me even if you tell me this all of the sudden,” I complained.
“Well, yeah. If someone told me this when I was in highschool, I would only think they were being preachy.” Kazu-nii still continued. “But, you know, if you have the resolve to risk your life for that person you truly fall in love with then small misunderstandings in the future will barely become obstacles. You’ll spare no effort to make sure that person continues to love you back, and you’ll also want to be responsible for things in that person’s life too.”
…He said it earlier too but Kazu-nii’s sounding really preachy.
“…And, Shiori, you said you tried to touch Kamura’s stone…?”
“Eh? Y-Yeah, right…….?”
Kazu-nii made a face of a demon before he said in a low voice, “What were you planning to do if he went crazy? Did you forget how Katsuragi bit your neck?”
“But Designer-kun looked so depressed that I felt sorry for him. Plus I heard he gives his stone to girls on a regular basis. I thought it might be fine,” I answered.
“Don’t do it just because you think it’ll be fine…” Kazu-nii said as he grabbed my shoulders tight with a scary expression. “Listen to me. Men are creatures that easily misunderstand. Don’t let your guard down no matter what. You should never ever trust your heart to men. You hear me!?”
Umm, Kazu-nii. I know that you’re worried about me. But if I do what you said, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have a romantic relationship. “First, I don’t have a stone, so it’s hard to tell if I’m trusting my heart to another person.”
Now that I think about it, it’s a pretty easy-to-tell system. Capture targets who still hold their stones, the embodiment of their ‘hearts’, in their hands mean that they still haven’t given their full trust to another person.
Kazu-nii is always wearing his around his neck. Katsuragi-kun is currently hiding his ‘heart’ away.
Mizusaki-senpai’s stone is in Kaneshiro-senpai’s hands, which meant he was leaving his ‘heart’ to his best friend for safeguarding. Come to think of it, I think Mizusaki-senpai wore some sort of necklace? Maybe that’s actually Kaneshiro-senpai’s stone? The two of them exchanged their stones? But it’s true that entrusting your heart to someone you can trust can put you at ease.
I mean, if you accidentally give the other person’s stone to a girl, nothing will happen. According to Designer-kun, you have to give your stone with your own hand to the other person, otherwise there is no effect.
Designer-kun easily gives his ‘heart’ to others, but it’s only for a short period of time. His heart quickly returns back to him.
Come to think of it, the whereabouts of the stones of certain capture targets are currently unknown. I wonder how Tsukishima-bishounen and Tsuchiya-shounen’s stones are like and where they are at. Hmm, I can’t imagine.
“Ah, oh yeah, that’s right… I’m going to change the subject but what kind of person is Father Michel like? Kazu-nii, do you know anything?” I questioned.
Father Michel is the priest that came to Seika Maria Secondary Academy the other day. I couldn’t imagine he was an additional capture target for the otome game before Iinchou told me.
“I only know he’s the new priest at the church. Also, well, he’s really good looking, so he’s a hot topic among the female staff… That’s about it. When it comes to him being an additional capture target for the re-release, I know nothing. I remember hearing that a re-release came out, but I can’t recall if my little sister brought it or not. …There’s a chance that I might have died in my past life before I saw her play it.”
“Eh? What do you mean?”
“The memories of my past life ended before my little sister captured the younger Tsukishima. The only ending I can clearly remember is Hibiya’s,” Kazu-nii elaborated. “As for Tsuchiya, Kamura, Mizusaki, and Kaneshiro, I only remember her attempting to capture them. Otherwise, my memories are vague. For instance, I can barely remember Katsuragi’s events.”
“I see,” I nodded before sighing. That’s disappointing.
“But who would have thought Shibuya was part of the development staff for the otome game in his past life,” Kazu-nii commented, moved. “By the way, Shiori, what did you think? About… well, how he killed you in his past life.”
“What did I think…? Nothing much? I mean, I’m relieved that it didn’t happen because of some love drama. Even if he said he killed me, it had to do with the game that happened in his past life. Plus, the past him isn’t the same as the Iinchou right now.”
“……So those were your only thoughts,” Kazu-nii said, looking dissatisfied. He picked up his cup from the table but it was empty.
“Want a refill?” I asked.
I got up, heading to the kitchen. At the same time, I heard Kazu-nii grumbling away. “……I’ll probably only stir up trouble for myself if I dig in too far… Should I be relieved with how she hasn’t realized anything yet…? …Still, it’s not just Katsuragi but that guy too… Damn it…”
Why is he so worked up? Well, let’s leave him be.
While I was preparing more hot tea in the kitchen, I noticed there was a single pudding in our fridge. I wonder if Kazu-nii will eat it? No, it’s pretty late to be snacking. …Yeah, let’s not. You’ll get fat if you eat sweets late in the night. As his relative, I can’t bear to see Kazu-nii turn chubby.
“Kazu-nii, I prepared more hot tea~”
I brought our cups back to the living room and also noticed how tensed Kazu-nii looked.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“…….No…” Kazu-nii stared fixedly at me. I tilted my head in confusion as I put our cups down. This was also when his larger hand overlapped with mine.
“What is it?”
“…I can touch you,” he said.
“Huh? What are you talking about?” I was astonished, so I swiped his hand away. However, Kazu-nii looked like he could break into tears any second now. It really surprised me. “Really what’s wrong with you?
“……No, it’s nothing,” Kazu-nii replied with a tired smile. “I was just thinking I’m glad that not everything is the same as that otome game.”
Huh? What’s he talking about?
Anyways, let’s put that aside. What we should be thinking right now is how to protect Kazu-nii’s stone.
Since a new capture target appeared by the name of Father Michel, I think Maria-jou will be running around to capture him. I mean, she will have to raise his affection rate. The game ends in December, so there’s only two months and a bit left. I’m sure she’ll be doing the final touches for the rest of the capture targets too.
Maria-jou now has interest in the stones. We can’t let Kazu-nii’s stone end up in her hands.
I want to remove Kazu-nii’s stone pendant from his neck and hide it somewhere. Unfortunately, Kazu-nii gets anxious when it’s not with him.
In that case, should we make a fake stone so that the real one doesn’t get stolen away?
“How about wearing a money belt? Like how you keep your passport or other important items safe when you travel overseas. If you put it in one, no one will be able to touch the stone as long as you don’t strip!” I suggested.
“You’re completely forgetting that it’s a stone. It’s not a piece of paper. It’s going to move around and get in the way,” Kazu-nii rejected.
“In that case……”
I suggested a few more ideas but he immediately turned them all down.
There’s no other choice, so Kazu-nii will be wearing it under his clothes as usual. Though he will be buttoning every single one of his buttons from now on.
“Is there anything I should look out for regarding the October events?” I asked.
“No…… I mean, the Cultural Festival will be happening. The only event that involves me will be where Masaki jumps into the concert.”
“Did you contact Masaki properly? To tell him not to come,” I interjected.
“I did, to be safe. He might ignore me to come and listen to the concert. I also told him not to jump into the concert no matter what he did if he does come.”
“Hmm… I think the best plan would be him not coming to the Cultural Festival to start with,” I couldn’t help but say. Still, Kazu-nii will be openly singing in front of people. There’s no way Masaki will let this chance slip by. I mean, I think he would want to see Kazu-nii’s singing after all this time.
“I’ll try asking Shibuya for more information later. I frankly want to hear just how much differences there are from the first release to the re-release later.”
“Do you think he’ll tell you? He said he doesn’t plan on stepping in.”
“If he doesn’t want to tell me then I’ll give up. Then again, I’m sure there are things he can tell me that he can’t say to you,” Kazu-nii said.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s talks between men.”
At this time, we forgot to verify another certain event.
It was the so-called event where Kazu-nii encountered Maria-jou at the flower beds. It was the same event that Kazu-nii didn’t recall happening in his past memories. It would have been okay if it had been in the game and Kazu-nii just forgot…
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. In other words, his knowledge of the game was no longer useful.
□ ■ □
Two days after my strategy meeting with Kazu-nii.
As usual, I was being chased down by the Cultural Festival preparations.
On that day during lunch time, I met with one of my classmates in the long passage between the eastern and centre building. Apparently they had to submit some documents to the staff room. The said document was about class subject assignments collected from our class earlier.
I already had business at the staff room, so I volunteered to submit it on my way. …Well, to be honest, I didn’t have any business at all. I only volunteered because I saw Maria-jou enter the centre building. I wanted an excuse so that I could follow after her easier.
Since she was heading to the centre building where most of the teachers were, I think she’s after Kazu-nii. As such, I also sent a message to Kazu-nii.
Yet an unexpected scene unfolded when I reached the building.
“Don’t hide in a place like this…….!”
“Shut up! It has nothing to do with you, Aniki!”
The Tsukishima brothers were quarreling loudly right in front of an empty classroom. Incidentally, Maria-jou was watching from the side. I wonder if she planned on stepping in. Yet she just continued to stare at the two no matter how much time passed.
…In that case, should I call out to them?
Let’s put the screaming Tsukishima brothers to the side for now…
“What’s happening, Aikawa-san?” I called out to Maria-jou from behind.
She spun around to see me, looking quite surprised. “Niimi-san… Why are you here?”
“That’s my line. I have business at the staff room,” I explained as I showed the bundle of paper in my hands to her.
Maria-jou brought my excuse. “It looks heavy… Would you like me to help out?”
“It’s fine. More importantly… is it okay to leave those two alone? I mean, that’s Tsukishima-kun.”
“Y-Yeah…” Maria-jou nodded while looking quite bewildered. “I wanted to stop them but I can’t find the right timing.”
“Incidentally, how did they end up fighting?” I asked.
“Tsukishima-kun was skipping his Cultural Festival preparations and that’s when Tsukishima-senpai showed up……”
I guess it’s the same as that time during the Fireworks Festival. Tsukishima-bishounen was happily surrounded by girls and that was when Tsukishima-senpai appeared.
Tsukishima-senpai scolded him, saying they were supposed to be visiting their grandparents’ house. The two eventually started arguing just like that. Maria-jou also appeared during this time. In the end, Tsukishima-bishounen took Maria-jou with him to their grandparents’ house.
Still, I have to say, they are having another really similar brotherly fight.
It seems like Tsukishima-senpai is extremely worried about his little brother as his habits were bad. Senpai tries to butt in one way or another and Tsukishima-bishounen hates it a lot.
Even now the two of them were arguing. Tsukishima-senpai was saying, “You should prepare for the Cultural Festival properly,” while Tsukishima-bishounen was arguing back, “This has nothing to do with you.”
Incidentally, Tsukishima-bishounen’s class — Class D is doing a quiz tournament. They’ll be holding it once in the AM and once in the PM, letting participants fight out in a true-false contest for victory. Apparently, there will be prizes for the champion. Our Class B Neo Candle members have already applied to enter their AM tournament.
I stared steadily at Maria-jou’s face and said, “Why don’t you try saying something to start?”
“T-That’s… I can’t. If I miss the right timing, I won’t be able to resolve their fight…”
Oh? That’s why she’s been staring carefully at them. I thought it was strange since Maria-jou was always assertive during events. That being said, I do need to submit these documents to the staff room. There’s only so much time left for our break. I can’t just keep staring at the two arguing.
“Tsukishima-senpai!” I called out.
Maria-jou was startled.
It’s not like it’s hopeless. I mean, Tsukishima-senpai is a kind and sociable person. If he sees someone he knows, he will try to put a stop to the fight. Unexpectedly, it was Tsukishima-bishounen who reacted first.
“It’s the cheeky woman and the annoying woman……”
Don’t give me a weird nickname like ‘annoying woman’.
Tsukishima-bishounen looked irritated when he saw my face.
“Why are the two of you here?” Tsukishima-senpai asked.
“I’m submitting something to the staff room,” I replied. “More importantly, what’s wrong? Why are you arguing in a place like this? Have your preparations for the Cultural Festival ended? Soon every class will be entering their last stretch. Even lunch time is now a precious time to prepare.” I ignored how Maria-jou was panicking to purposely bring up the Cultural Festival.
Tsukishima-senpai calmly answered, “The 3rd years aren’t doing class exhibits since we are all preparing for our university exams. But there are people amongst us that are helping out their juniors at club.”
“Ah, now that you mention it, that makes sense. And? How about you?” I turned towards Tsukishima-bishounen.
He huffed and looked the other way. Then, just like that, he ran off to the distance.
“Ah…… Wa-Wait, Yuuki-kun!” Maria-jou shouted, running after him in a panic.
Hm, I’m sure this is fine too. I don’t know the proper flow of this event but I’m sure if she chases after Tsukishima-bishounen like this, their relationship will progress somehow, right?
Putting that aside, I question just how long Tsukishima-bishounen plans on acting like an delinquent. I hope Maria-jou will quickly resolve his troubles soon so he’ll stop.
TL note: Merry Christmas to everyone!