I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 4920 min read
Volume 3 | Chapter 10: October (Down) – Part 4
The next second, I heard the sound of grass rustled by the wind. Except there was no actual wind, so I wondered what I heard. I was about to turn and look, but Katsuragi-kun stopped me.
In other words, keep quiet?
He placed both of his hands on my shoulder and closed the distance between our face. A good-looking guy that suits traditional clothing was right before my eyes. I blinked…
Eh. Hey, umm… You’re really close, you know?
I know he isn’t trying to k-k-k-k-kiss me or anything. After all, Katsuragi-kun’s eyes weren’t even looking at me. Instead, he was observing our surroundings.
Ugh, but, still. This distance where some careless accident could happen and things touch is, well, bad for the heart. Hurry up and step away already.
This current distance between us left me with nothing to look at but Katsuragi-kun’s face. Rather than his eyes that were glancing left and right, I couldn’t help but stare at his lips. They were strangely beautiful and smooth to the point — I think this person could star in a makeup commercial.
Wait, wait, wait, wait! I’m not thinking about anything weird, okay? Katsuragi-kun, don’t misunderstand!? So, please, hurry up and let go! Please! I’m begging you!
I felt like running away. In the end, I shut my eyes tight and moved my face the other way. I couldn’t help the feeling of my cheeks burning. I feel so embarrassed. Forgive me, Katsuragi-kun. I really don’t think you are a man who would do bad things within the school or anything.
Some time passed before it seemed like whatever he wanted to do finished.
Katsuragi-kun released the grip of his hands on my shoulders. Finally, I was free.
My face was red because of nervousness; he looked down at me with confusion. Ahhh, damn it all. What’s he going to do if I get a development fever because of this!?
“Kyousuke……. Ah, my cousin, that is…”
Katsuragi-kun’s words made me recall the young man who collapsed after being tasered. Come to think of it, is he okay? He didn’t get transported to the hospital by ambulance or something, right?
“……I think I saw him at your place last time,” I said on purpose.
“He’s here today,” Katsuragi-kun continued.
Yeah, I know. To be honest, I saw him in front of Class C before he got pushed inside the haunted house. I don’t think Katsuragi-kun realized I was there back then.
“He got punched by someone.”
“He’s really loud, saying, ‘You’re the only one who can make a punch at me.’” Katsuragi-kun elaborated some more.
……Well, that might be true. After all, Kazu-nii used a stun gun. “And so why did you take me here? He doesn’t think I punched him or anything, right?” I asked. This isn’t something to brag about but I can’t fight at all. Especially involving fists.
“No. I told him I had other business to attend to and I didn’t punch him.”
“And that’s when he asked…… if I was meeting with a woman or something.”
……Huh? I widened my eyes in confusion. Katsuragi-kun looked the other way awkwardly. “Ummm? So basically Kyousuke-kun believed you were on a date with a girl, so you didn’t have the time to pick a fight with him?”
Katsuragi-kun nodded with a troubled expression.
“And, Katsuragi-kun, you couldn’t deny his words properly, so Kyousuke-kun misunderstood you even more. Eventually the topic went to who exactly this girl is?”
In any case, can I be astonished?
In the first place, why did he pick me as the girl he’s on a date with? Is it because it’s a pain to explain properly if the other girl does like Katsuragi-kun? So, in other words, I’m a no-risk choice. But, really, Katsuragi-kun, I think it’ll be better if you can assert yourself more. After this is over, I want him to at least treat me to some hot tea.
Well, then again, Kyousuke-shounen is an outsider. He wouldn’t make weird rumours inside our school grounds, so I don’t mind. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can use me as the girl you were on a date with as an alibi to Kyousuke-shounen. After all, I was there in the same place as Kyousuke-shounen when I was captured and he got hurt.
…However… now that I think back, Kyousuke-shounen was in a daze the whole time back then. His eyes were unfocused too. Could it be that he doesn’t remember a thing?
“…Hey, Katsuragi-kun, about Kyousuke-kun…” I began.
Katsuragi-kun frowned a bit. “Addressing him in that way is…”
“…? Should I have called him, your cousin, instead?” I questioned.
“…Let’s go with that for now. It’s better than his name…” Katsuragi-kun mumbled out.
I don’t know what exactly the problem was, but let’s ignore that for now. “Does your cousin not remember who he was punched by and why?”
Katsuragi-kun nodded. “He remembers to the point of entering my class’ haunted house. He eventually went behind the school to rest and that’s when he lost consciousness. When he woke up again, he was near the auditorium. His body was strangely tired and felt pain like he had been hit.”
Well, I have to say, he fainted for a long time.
“He doesn’t remember anything in between.”
Hmmm… The mystery thickened. If I think back, I think Kazu-nii mentioned something about hypnosis. I wonder if Kazu-nii who acted strange before the concert had anything to do with this hypnosis. It looks like I need to have a talk with Iinchou who probably knows something.
Alright. I’ll try to find a time when the Cultural Festival ends completely. Since I frowned while thinking, Katsuragi-kun thought I was angry.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized again.
“Ah, no, it’s fine. I was thinking about something else just now…” I paused, finally remembering something. “More importantly,” I began before I searched my pocket to take out a small red marble. “Here. …I haven’t been able to return this to you.”
“Yeah……” Katsuragi-kun took the marble from my hand and stared fixedly at it.
“What happened to entering as a pair in the end?” I asked curiously.
“No one won. I didn’t have to do it,” he answered.
No one won, huh. Wait? But Maria-jou visited the haunted house. She didn’t try out the raffle?
“……Anyways, you took me here because of your cousin, right?” Then that means his cousin was hiding somewhere around here?
…I wonder if he’ll remember something if he sees my face? I couldn’t help but glance left and right, trying to spot something.
Katsuragi-kun sighed deeply. “Yeah, but it’s over now,” he said before he put the marble inside his sleeve.
“Katsuragi-kun, you now owe me a favour. Please treat me to hot tea some other time in the future,” I told him.
Alrighty, I should get back to the closing party, I thought as I got up from the bench.
“If you call him Kyousuke….. Then call me Kyouya.”
Err, didn’t we settle down to calling Kyousuke-shounen as just ‘your cousin’? I was dumbfounded by his sudden words. Yet Katsuragi-kun left for the eastern building while I stood there speechless. I have no idea where he was going. Though I’m sure he went off to finally change back into his school uniform.
I returned to the schoolyard, which was still noisy and filled with excitement because of the closing party.
Yumi-chan was grinning broadly as she asked me, “Hey, hey, what did Katsuragi-kun want from you?”
Hmm, how should I explain this?
Before I could open my mouth to reply, Yumi-chan interrupted me. “Did he confess to you?” She asked.
“……Huh?” My eyes widened into circles.
“I told you, didn’t I? The closing party is a really good chance to confess to someone. When the people around you give off that mood, it starts to affect you too. I didn’t think that Katsuragi-kun would take action though. Hey, hey, what did he say to you? You didn’t turn him down, right~?”
“……H-Hey, wait…..!” Don’t tell me an everlasting misunderstanding is being born right here!?
“C-Calm down. Katsuragi-kun had business with me regarding his cousin. It had absolutely nothing with… those kinds of gossipy business,” I explained.
“Ehh~” Yumi-chan gave me a disappointed expression. “But, Shiori-chan, your face was completely red…… Did nothing really happen?”
D-Damn it. She’s sharp.
It’s true that Katsuragi-kun did close the distances between our faces enough to almost kiss.
“Nothing happened! Nothing happened, you hear!?” I can’t deny that I might have shouted a bit too loud.
Still, my desperation conveyed to Yumi-chan, and she didn’t pursue the topic any further.
Yumi-chan looked like she was plotting something, which did bother me a little. But, well, I’m sure it’s nothing.
□ ■ □
The day after the Cultural Festival.
All the students have to clean up after the Cultural Festival today. However, Aikawa Maria didn’t attend school today like the rest of the students. Instead, she received news that her grandmother’s health worsened.
Her grandmother had been hospitalized since April — she might not have much time left.
Maria wasn’t able to enjoy the afterglow of an exciting festival and felt like reality struck her instead.
When she returned home after visiting the hospital, she went and rummaged through her own room. Maria tried to aim to keep everything tidy and organized on a daily basis; however, she couldn’t find what she was looking for.
“That’s strange… Just where exactly did I store it…?” She was sure without a doubt that she placed it in some cardboard box. At the very least, she didn’t remember throwing it away.
That being said, it wasn’t impossible for her parents to throw away the belongings she had when she was young. Even if you treasured it, your parents might not understand that.
Maria glanced at the picture stand on her desk. Her cheeks flushed when she saw the old picture there.
It was a photo of a boy and a girl in elementary school. There was a yellow stone around the girl’s neck.
“Nope, I don’t think I can find it today. ……I’ll have to search again another time,” Maria mumbled out.
Just moments ago, she received a message from Kyouko, who was in the same class as her. According to the message, Kyouko had just finished cleaning up after the Cultural Festival and was on her way to Maria’s home.
Maria couldn’t invite someone to her home like this when it’s currently filled with cardboard boxes as she was trying to locate something. It’ll be best if she starts to clean up soon.
[I’ll also bring Tsuchiya-kun with me.]
Kyouko’s message also included the above. She could see Kyouko’s consideration in those words.
Maria’s depressed because her grandmother’s health worsened. Or, at the very least, Kyouko thought so and she wanted to help her friend make up with Tsuchiya Yousuke. Maria could imagine Yousuke reluctantly agreeing to Kyouko’s request.
But Maria wasn’t depressed like Kyouko thought she was, nor was Maria brooding over it. Still, she was thankful to Kyouko who’s going out of her way to come to her home because she was worried.
“Thank you, Kyouko-chan……”
Maria, too, didn’t want to keep fighting with Yousuke like this. However, she also didn’t know what to say to him.
She took the picture stand into her hands and muttered, “Who would have guessed what that stone was he gave me back then. I couldn’t have imagined it at all.”
Those were far-off memories of the past.
Aikawa Maria was conscious of the fact she was a reincarnator. One day, she vividly recalled memories of her past life. She encountered events just like her past memories said, and she came to understand that this world was a world of an otome game.
At the same time, she also understood this world wasn’t an exact world of the game.
Maria obtained that [stone] before she even recalled her past memories. It was a time when she was just Aikawa Maria and no one else. They were pure memories, to the point of making her feel embarrassed.
“When I think back, Tsukkun was my first love……” Maria slapped her flushed cheeks lightly.
Maria was half Japanese, so her features reflected that. She was picked on because of this when she was little, so she often cried. Every time this happened, it was Yousuke who got angry on Maria’s behalf.
“Back then Tsukkun was like a prince…..”
Her parents divorced. Maria had been living with her mother, but her mother eventually remarried and went overseas with her new husband. Maria had to move to live with her grandmother as a result. Back then she cried, saying she didn’t want to be all alone.
Yousuke comforted her and said, “I’ll give you something special, so don’t cry! I had this since I was small. It’s really important!”
It was a yellow stone hanging on a string. Yousuke placed it around Maria’s neck before saying, “I’ll get an Olympic golden medal in the future, so I’ll give you this until I do!”
Maria believed his words, without knowing just how hard it is to earn an Olympic gold medal. She believed they would reunite no matter how far apart they get. She was sure that she’ll be able to overcome anything as long as she had these kind memories with Yousuke.
However, reality was harsh. As Maria grew older, memories of her gentle first love weren’t able to support her anymore.
“Yuuki-kun’s stone is the same shape as the stone I got back then. Father is quite a bully. If only he would tell me properly about these stones,” Maria mumbled before she recalled last night.
Aikawa Maria didn’t participate in the closing party. After all, she knew of an event that happens in the same timeframe.
Someone will play a violin at the rooftops during the closing party.
——This was the most important event in Tsukishima Yuuki’s route.
A beautiful boy will play a melancholic tone alone at the rooftops during sunset. She had seen the artwork during the game, but she was surprised just how beautiful and whimsical it was in reality.
“Oh, it’s you, cheeky woman……” Yuuki sighed when Maria showed up at the rooftops. “You can go play with everyone else at the bottom. You sure are weird. What did you come here for?”
When they first met, Maria could only feel the aura of rejection from him. However, Yuuki didn’t find her that annoying despite his words now. Maria was quite happy to see that.
“I came to listen to your violin,” Maria said.
Yuuki looked surprised. “Isn’t it your class that’s making a racket at the bottom right now?”
“Fufu. Hearing Sensei singing is rare, I’ll admit that. But I like classic more,” Maria replied. Of course, this was a lie. To be honest, she disliked classical music. They make her sleepy when she listens to it. However, she had to say the opposite or the event won’t progress. “……Plus, I feel like crying again since I heard how sad your melody is,” she added, looking slightly down. Maria had purposely stopped herself from blinking for the past while. Surely her eyes looked teary at the moment.
“It’s not like I’m playing for you to listen or anything,” Yuuki said, frowning a bit. Still, he didn’t tell her to leave.
This was proof that her capturing efforts were progressing smoothly. Maria had a fist in her heart. Now then, what was the next topic after this again?
Maria recalled the information in her old notebook as she gazed at Yuuki.
His eyes shifted away slightly and stared down at the schoolyard from the rooftops. “Hey, when a woman…” The words that came out of Yuuki’s mouth involved matters that Maria didn’t envision. “…What happens when a woman injures herself?”
“…What do you mean by what happens?” Maria hesitated as she continued to look at Yuuki. What was he looking at down below at the schoolyard? Was he searching for something? Maria didn’t know.
“Don’t you think it’s amazing how she could do something that might leave a scar for the rest of her life?”
‘Is he talking about Niimi-san?’ Maria thought. He was sure being vague and indirect before getting onto the main subject. That being said, the impact that Niimi Shiori made during the summer festival was really strong.
“She’s someone with a lot of courage.” At the very least, Maria couldn’t do it.
It’s been 15 years since she reincarnated into this world. Before even the opening of the game, Maria had carefully, carefully made sure nothing affected her beauty. And since the game started, she had avoided at all cost any events that could injure her.
One of her capture targets is really fond of her looks. That is why Maria avoided injuring herself because that would make his affection rate drop. Also, there was a possibility that being hurt would affect her in bad ways in events.
It’s fine if she was trying to capture one person. But as she was trying to capture multiple people at once, she wanted to avoid losing any time as much as she could.
Plus…… As a girl, Maria didn’t want to leave any scars on her body. And especially not on her face. After all, this face she was born with in her new life was the greatest gift given to her.
“Courage…? I think she’s just stupid,” Yuuki said before sighing loudly. “Do you think she likes Aniki?”
They’re still going to talk about this? Maria was confused. However, she reconsidered next that this might actually be an important topic.
At the moment, Tsukishima Yuuki felt guilty toward Niimi Shiori. He thought it was his fault that a girl got hurt — it was currently a big burden inside him.
Yuuki was also trying to overcome the discord and differences between him and his brother. If Niimi Shiori did have feelings for his older brother then wouldn’t his guilt disappear if he cheers on their relationship? On the other hand, if Niimi Shiori had feelings for Yuuki then there’s a chance Yuuki might think about answering back. Maria thought that would be troubling but……
“I don’t think she does though?” Maria replied. Truthfully, she didn’t know. However, she thought if she answered this way, this topic would end. “Niimi-san is… she gets along with a boy in our class quite well. I think if she likes someone, it’ll be him.”
At the very least, Neo Candle’s Itou definitely likes Niimi Shiori.
“But when you were arguing with Tsukishima-senpai, she pushed my back and encouraged me…. I think she wants to see you two get along like you did in the past. Just like me,” Maria said, staring into Yuuki’s eyes.
Yuuki shifted his eyes away.
‘My words worked,’ Maria whispered inside her heart.
Yuuki continued to look elsewhere and didn’t look at Maria. “You’re all a noisy bunch.” He sighed again. He placed his violin on his shoulder and played a short tune before opening his mouth once again. “……I’m thinking about playing a bit more seriously. I’ll try studying abroad for a short period of time during winter vacation.”
“Playing the violin?”
“I don’t have anything else. There’s nothing else I can say I’m proud of in front of my brother…” Yuuki said with a small smile. “I want to get a little better to make a cheeky woman like you cry.”
‘He smiles like an angel,’ Maria thought. She couldn’t help but feel shy with her cheeks burning hot. However, this was an important moment, so she focused once more. “Hey, can I graduate from that nickname soon~?”
Tsukishima Yuuki’s main event doesn’t end here.
She needs to progress to an event called [Playing a Song Just for You] or she can’t capture him. ‘I can’t let my guard down just yet……’ Maria thought to herself.
But finally she has made it this far.
She felt something like accomplishment well up inside her heart. Maria had experienced everything in real time and she was finally standing here. If this was a game, it wouldn’t take a half a year to be where she was at. After all, time within the game passes by in a blink of an eye.
Yuuki looked a little shy as he shifted his gaze. In the end, he smiled a little mischievously. “You’re… Aikawa, right?”
“Huh? You don’t remember my name?”
“…Nah, there’s no way I could forget since your name is the same as the school. It suits you too much that it’s hard to call you that,” Yuuki said, putting down his violin as he approached her. He seemed like he was in somewhat of a daze.
Maria’s eyes widened in surprise. Was the event supposed to go this way?
“Maria,” he whispered her name as he brought his lips close to her ear. “I’ll make you cry again. Next time… I’ll make you even more moved.”
“———!!” Maria screamed silently.
Something ran up her spine — it resembled something like fear. At the very least, it wasn’t anything like embarrassment or shyness. It was a chilling feeling running through her body.
At the next moment, Maria felt her neck was cold. Yuuki had put something around her neck.
“…E-Eh?” She let out confused. Maria stared at Yuuki’s back as he walked away.
Something bounced against her chest. Maria looked down — it was a pendant, one with a faint orange-coloured stone.
“……Ehh?” She let out again. Was this a present from him? If it was, she thought it was way too simple and had a plain design. It didn’t suit her tastes at all.
Yuuki left the rooftops while Maria was bewildered.
“……It’s a stone.”
It took ten minutes before Maria realized this was the stone Father had spoken about.
Yuuki’s main event hasn’t completely finished yet. Despite that, why did she receive this?
“……I should take this to the church, right?” But even if she knew this now, the closing party already ended and the school was pitch black. Maria couldn’t bring herself to head to the church this late.
“Come to think of it, Father said he’ll help me collect the stones but… how does he plan on doing that?”
Aikawa Maria tilted her head.
At this moment, the cold autumn wind brushed her hair back.
TL note: And this is the end of volume 3! There will be a week’s break before volume 4 starts 🙂