I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 5522 min read
Volume 4 | Chapter 11: November (Up) – Part 6
“……I was fine with the scent and her stone, but I was seriously about going to go crazy just now. You’re not doing it on purpose, right?”
Anyways, we have to make a strategy.
First, we don’t know what Father Michel’s goal is. Also, it’ll be game over regardless if our stones get stolen, so we have to protect them… I feel like I’m going to run into a ton of problems. It’ll be best if we can get Iinchou in and discuss between the three of us.
Also, we’re already this far into the game. I wonder if we can ask Designer-kun and the other capture targets to cooperate. Plus… There’s Maria-jou. She’s bewildered with how those two seniors are acting right now. If we manage to persuade her, would she give up her capturing plans?
Come to think of it, how’s Kyouko-jou doing? I was afraid this whole morning, so I didn’t pay attention to her. She seemed to be gone by the time I returned to the classroom. Did she go home?
I decided to visit Maria-jou’s place after school. I didn’t want to keep her strap forever. Incidentally, Kazu-nii gave me her home address. I will be contacting him once I reach the station closest to her home.
First, I reached the station closest to the academy. I was annoyed by the number of people standing, waiting at the platform. It looks like I ran into the rush hour. There were many students, along with office workers.
I was hoping to avoid this rush hour since I had a stone now. In that case, I wonder how I can kill time for an hour?
I was thinking of such things when someone called out to me.
I was surprised at the sound of his voice above my head, so I turned around. It was Katsuragi-kun
“Huh, Katsuragi-kun? Are you heading home right now?” I asked.
I’m on the way to the station closest to Maria-jou’s home, which is the same direction as Katsuragi-kun’s residence for about half the way.
Hmm… I was going to waste time for an hour to avoid this rush, but now that I ran into someone I know, I can’t exactly do that anymore. If I say, “See you, I have something to do,” and leave the station, it’ll look like I don’t want to be in the same train as him. Well, actually, Katsuragi-kun might not care.
“Katsuragi-kun, do you always ride the train around this time?” I questioned.
“No, just by chance,” he answered.
I see. More importantly——
“It must be nice to be tall…..” I couldn’t help but sigh.
Katsuragi-kun is tall. He’s even taller than Kazu-nii, who is above average, so it’s quite noticeable. On top of that, it feels like he might have grown even taller in these past few months. When you are this tall, I bet you won’t mind a fully crowded train.
Katsuragi-kun looked puzzled at my words. I guess it didn’t really sparkle any ideas in his mind. Well, I can’t blame him.
Eventually, a train reached the platform. And, like I expected, it was already packed. Maybe I should wait for the next train and see this one off. I hesitated on what I should do until Katsuragi-kun pulled my arm.
Katsuragi-kun dexterously secured a spot between the door and the handrail and made me stand there.
Whoa, this is a pretty relaxing spot. I feel bad for the other people in the train who were being pushed by others, but I’m quite grateful right now.
……I was relaxed until the train started moving.
Huh? Eh? Isn’t this weird? Isn’t he way too close?
Katsuragi-kun’s chest was just at my eye level. On top of that, I was surrounded by his left and right arms. I couldn’t quite calm myself down. Above my head was probably Katsuragi-kun’s face. I could feel his eyes, making me feel awkward and unable to look up. I feel strangely nervous, or rather I feel like blood is rushing up to my head because I could feel Katsuragi-kun’s body temperature really up close.
I could hear him say my name softly.
Hiieeeee! Don’t say my name in a low voice. It feels like you’re whispering to me and it’s weirddddddd!!
Katsuragi-kun looked puzzled. I think it’s because he noticed I stiffened quite visibly. Damn it, I need to shift his attention somewhere else or he’ll think I’m strange.
“W-What is it……?” Uwah. No good. I can’t bring myself to face him.
I could only nervously look up with my eyes to take a glance. For some reason, Katsuragi-kun had a mixed expression on his face.
“Niimi…… Were you the type… to wear accessories?” He asked.
“Eh?” His question made all the tension in my body disappear in a second. I widened my eyes into circles and gazed up at him.
Katsuragi-kun shifted his eyes away a bit.
What is he talking about? Accessory? …Ah! He’s talking about the chain around my stone!
“Ah… Umm… I thought it’ll be a nice change of pace. I usually don’t wear accessories,” I replied. Now, this was the truth. I do love accessories if they are cute. However, it’s my policy not to wear them to school. I mean, I’ll hate it if I lose them by accident.
“……That. Did you get it from someone?” He asked next.
“……? I didn’t get it from someone?”
Katsuragi-kun looked relieved for some reason. I feel like our eyes met for a second before he shifted his eyes away again. I feel like the skin around his eyes is a little bit red. Just what exactly is he asking about in the end?
Anyways, let’s change the subject. If he touches further on my accessory, I might end up having to show my stone to him, which I want to avoid.
“Katsuragi-kun, you don’t wear accessories or anything?” I asked.
“Guys don’t wear them.”
“I don’t think so? I mean, there’s men who wear silver accessories. But, well, it’s true that accessories don’t quite seem to fit your image when I think about it,” I commented.
Katsuragi-kun’s casual clothes involved a lot of traditional clothing. Even though I’m the one who brought up the subject, I think a boy in traditional clothing wearing jingling silver accessories will be odd.
Every time the train reached a station, people got off while new people got on. Since the train is packed, there were lots of people coming in and going out. The space that Katsuragi-kun secured had a lot of breathing room, but it got tighter and tighter as more people occupied the train. To be honest, it’s hot and cramped now.
I realized something was off by the time the train passed a number of stations. Isn’t this station here the one Katsuragi-kun should get off of…?
“H-Hey, wait…!” I was going to jump and stop the door from closing in a hurry so that Katsuragi-kun could get off. Yet, he stopped me, making me confused. “Katsuragi-kun, you don’t have to get off?”
Hey, what do you mean by it’s fine. I’m sure my eyes were wide open from surprise, yet Katsuragi-kun continued with a composed tone, “I’ll stick with you to the end. Which station are you going to?”
I feel like it’s been a while since I felt this. This side of Katsuragi-kun is really manly and reliable. But let me say this, okay? If he looks troubled, I won’t make him follow me all the way to the station closest to my home as that’s kind of unreasonable. Well, that’s not the situation here though.
Katsuragi-kun got off at the same station as I did.
“Katsuragi-kun, do you have a cell phone?” There’s a chance he doesn’t, so I asked him nervously. I thought of this earlier, but I wanted to try my plan of increasing allies. If Katsuragi-kun could join our side, it’ll be quite reassuring.
…I-I see. I see, yup. Yeah, I didn’t think this through… “……Sorry, don’t worry about it,” I said as I dropped my shoulders.
“Why though?” Katsuragi-kun questioned.
“I was thinking I didn’t know your cell phone number or your email address, so I was wondering if you could tell me. If I know, I could… ask for advice on things and such…..” I laughed dryly. Come to think of it, I don’t know Designer-kun’s phone number either. I might as well ask for it tomorrow. Knowing him, he’ll probably cheerfully tell me his email address.
“……” Katsuragi-kun stared fixedly at me. Eventually, he tilted his head a bit. “You? Advice?”
“Yeah,” I nodded.
“……Do you have a pen?” He asked next.
“Eh?” I was puzzled but I took a pen out from the outside pocket of my bag. I handed it to him and he started to write on a small notebook he took out. “Call me if something’s bothering you,” he said before giving me what looked like his home phone number no matter how you scrutinize it.
Calling someone’s home is a bit hard. I mean, someone else in the family might answer… Still, I was thankful that he didn’t mind me asking for his advice.
After that Katsuragi-kun walked to the opposite platform while turning his head to look back at me a number of times.
“Thank you. See you later!” I shouted, waving my head before I left the station.
Until the very end, Katsuragi-kun gazed at me like he wanted to say something.
Now, Maria-jou’s residence was less than five minutes away from the supermarket we once met before. It was pretty close to Kazu-nii’s apartment too. Also, if I think about this carefully, I learned someone’s private information. This was probably an abuse of power committed by our homeroom teacher, so I’m going to pretend I didn’t notice anything.
Since I promised, I messaged Kazu-nii before heading to Maria-jou’s home.
I received a reply right away. It looks like Kazu-nii already made it back to his apartment. I have to say cars are nice.
When I reached Maria-jou’s apartment, I noticed there were a number of police cars parked on the street. When there’s one police car, it gives you a shock. When there’s multiple cars, it’s an alarming matter. I spent time with the police during summer vacation because of one of Maria-jou’s events, so I’ll be honest and say they make me uncomfortable.
I observed the police cars and peered at the entrance to the apartment building.
I heard that Maria-jou’s living alone, so I guessed her apartment would have good security. And like I thought, the entrance has auto-look and the building itself seems quite new. In fact, I couldn’t help but feel the apartment building was a little bit too splendid for a high school girl to be living alone in. That being said, if I was Maria-jou’s parent, I can’t let my young daughter live in a shabby apartment. It’ll be way too dangerous.
Now then, now then. I made it to the right place, but this building here is locked. If I press the intercom at the entrance and get rejected then it’s the end of my journey. I just want to return this strap to her, so I want to worm my way inside somehow.
I ran such thoughts in my mind before someone tapped their hand on my shoulder.
I haven’t forgotten the existence of my stone. Who could sneak behind me like this! I was on my guard as I looked back… and it turns out to be Kazu-nii. He was wearing his suit like he just came directly from the academy. His necktie wasn’t even loosen.
“Why are you here…?” I asked.
“The situation changed. Shiori, don’t enter the building.”
Kazu-nii’s expression clouded as he explained, “A suspicious person entered Aikawa’s home. She doesn’t have a guardian, so the police contacted me, her homeroom teacher, instead.”
“…I’m sure it’ll be distressing for her to live by herself in an apartment after something like that happened. Depending on the situation, we might have her live elsewhere for a period of time. I plan on contacting Matsuri later for this…”
“Don’t tell me you plan on having her live at your place, Kazu-nii.”
“Don’t even joke about it. There’s no way I can tell the police that I want her to live in a single man’s apartment,” Kazu-nii said.
He has a point.
“But… If I can’t get in contact with Matsuri then, Shiori, I want her to stay at your house. Though if that happens, it’ll be impossible to hide my relationship with you.”
I couldn’t hide the anxiety welling up in my chest. I opened my mouth and said, “About that suspicious person……”
“I don’t know if I can learn the details from the police. Still, there’s a possibility that the culprit was after something in Aikawa’s room, am I right?” Kazu-nii said with a grim expression.
□ ■ □
Shibuya Iwai is the class representative of his class.
This was a setting he made for this character back in his past life on the otome game he worked on. This character will appear as the [class representative] only when Aikawa Maria chooses to be a class representative as well during the first day of school in the game.
Incidentally, Shibuya existed as a hidden capture target from the very beginning.
Seven capture targets in an otome game isn’t a small number. However, if a friendship ending existed for Matsuri Kyouko who was in charge of ‘festival’ then isn’t it fine for there to be a hidden capture target in charge of ‘public holiday’? And this was how this character was born.
However, there were barely any players that captured Shibuya in the game. Shibuya’s existence as a capture target was not talked about in any guidebooks or walkthrough websites. Adding to that, the requirements to capture Shibuya was quite high.
In order to capture him, the player has to become the vice class-representative of the class and cannot trigger any of the othe capture targets’ events. Incidentally, the first encounter events with the characters were automatic, so those didn’t count.
The game had many random events, so it was a near impossible task to not trigger any of them before reaching the end.
The development staff thought it’s fine to have a character that seemed impossible to capture even though it was possible.
When Shibuya realized he reincarnated into a game world, the first thing he did was confirm all the current locations of the capture targets. The settings of all the major characters were packed inside his past life memories. It wasn’t hard to investigate all the characters.
Eventually, Shibuya became aware of the [stones] each capture target held.
Tsuchiya Yousuke showed a stone to his childhood friend. Kamura Ryou and Katsuragi Kyouya also carried a certain stone with them. When Shibuya learned those said stones were all the same shape, he felt something was off.
As for the other targets, he wasn’t sure if they had a stone or not. However, as Shibuya continued to gather information, certain things caught his attention.
Hibiya Kazuto, who was once a vocalist for an indie band, always wore the same pendant around his neck. Mizusaki Homare and Kaneshiro Atsushi rarely acted alone. Tsukishima Yuuki always held his violin case nearby. He would be very nervous when it wasn’t nearby.
These traits were different from the information Shibuya recalled and became the proof of the [stones].
All the capture targets seem to be hiding [something]. Shibuya came to believe that perhaps these [stones] were proof that they were capture targets in this world. At the same time, a question popped into his head.
Why doesn’t he have a stone as well?
He nonchalantly checked with his parents but he wasn’t born with a stone unlike the other capture targets. It looks like he couldn’t be captured in this world… or so he concluded at that time.
During the morning of the welcoming ceremony of Seika Maria Secondary Academy, he visited the church on the school grounds and confirmed the number of dents in the candle stand. Shibuya was convinced that he wasn’t a capture target since there were only seven.
The moment he heard Niimi Shiori’s name in his class after the welcoming ceremony, he realized something was wrong. Niimi Shiori shouldn’t exist as she was dead according to the settings of the game.
Until that very moment, the world was the same as the game Shibuya knew. Even if his marks were better than Shibuya’s setting in the actual game, or how he knew a lot about different genres of games, or how he was completely useless in sports, he thought it was just a small difference.
Shibuya stood in the church in the school grounds.
He didn’t plan on coming here. He wasn’t reckless enough to come here, which might as well be the enemy’s territory, without any weapons.
However, he didn’t know why but his legs naturally came here by themselves. On top of that, he was captured by Mizusaki and Kaneshiro halfway through.
The two seniors had blank eyes and smiled like they had been waiting for Shibuya this whole time.
And now Shibuya stood in front of the altar. The candle stand on top of the said altar showed a change in the number of dents.
Strangely, the second dent on the left-hand side disappeared and two more appeared on the right-hand side. Adding them up and decreasing the one that disappeared, there were a total of nine now.
Furthermore, a number of stones were inserted into the hollow dents.
Faint orange, blue, gold, yellow, and silver. Counting from the left-hand side, the first, third, fifth, sixth, and ninth dents were covered now. There were only three empty spots left.
“Judging from the position, the ones remaining are Hibiya-sensei, Katsuragi-kun… and me, huh.”
He wasn’t confident in saying what they had in common, however, he could say that they didn’t have many events with Aikawa Maria.
Shibuya’s stone was pounding without stopping. Every night he had been trying to control it from going wild, leaving him unable to sleep properly for many days now.
The church was filled with a sweet, dense scent.
Shibuya couldn’t describe this smell that choked him. However, he knew it was a bad thing as it was making his mind go numb.
“Since you would come to visit, there are now only two stones left.”
Father Michel stood beside the altar. He wasn’t the only one here as he also brought Matsuri Kyouko with him.
Kyouko’s eyes were unfocused in a blank daze.
Shibuya had a stun gun inside his bag. If he manages to take it out, he might be able to bring Kyouko back to sanity. However, is it even possible? Between his inferior athletic abilities and being surrounded by Mizusaki and Kaneshiro, it’s impossible for him to take the weapon out.
“Should I show my respect for you for coming unconcernedly despite knowing it’s a trap? Or should I offer my gratitude for creating me despite not being a god?” Father Michel said. His words showed that he guessed Shibuya’s identity.
Shibuya frowned before asking, “I feel like you have seen through the true nature of everything from the very beginning. Do you also have memories of your past life and such?”
Reincarnator. That is what Shibuya calls himself. It was the same with Aikawa Maria and Hibiya Kazuto. Since there were already three of them, it wasn’t strange if there were more out there.
“I don’t know what kind of memories those entail but I am probably different,” Michel denied before curving his lips into a smile. “I am [an individual created for this world] and have been given the role to be a lover of a high school girl. God (the Game System) made me aware of this on a certain day.”
His eyes burned with hatred and grudge, making Shibuya freeze in place.
“I wished I could tell the development staff exactly what priesthood entails. I wish I could tell them the anguish felt by a person who separated from earthly desire and offered their life to God to have to abandon all their vows they made. This faith I have, which I would even sacrifice my life for, has to be discarded for a single woman and a playhouse-like romance with her. Yes, I wished I could convey exactly how absurd and outrageous it is.”
Michel continued to speak.
“As I am a human being, I was given a choice.”
There was a silver stone embedded in the hollow dent. Michel smiled after he gazed at it.
“If I insert my stone here without letting it touch a woman’s hand, at the very least my heart will be protected by God. It would have been acceptable if I could collect Maria-san’s stone… Unfortunately, she is the heroine of this world. It doesn’t seem like I can take it out from her. I was able to do so for everyone else and materialize them. Those stones immediately turned into this scent and could no longer be visible to the eye in the end though.”
“Take out stones? Is that why my stone formed,” Shibuya asked.
“Yes, that is right, I believe. There is also one more person whose stone formed and stayed in a physical shape. That person is a woman, so I don’t believe she is a romantic target for Maria-san though. I believe she is the type that requires a bit more time before her stone turns into scent. I suppose I can say she is the dense, slow type. Also, she seemed to be obstructing Maria-san’s actions. She might also have memories of being a development staff too.”
Shibuya didn’t have the composure to respond anymore.
His stone was burning. The colour of it was milk-white, but he wouldn’t be surprised if it was the colour of magma right now. It was to the point it’ll burn his skin.
“You still need more time? I suppose there is nothing I can do about that,” Michel said as he observed Shibuya’s state. “Those stones will increase the effects of the scent with the more that’s collected. The first stone covered the entire church. Two stones covered the entire academy. There are now five stones collected, so it’s likely the entire town is under the influence of this scent. Since you are the romantic target of Maria-san, you should be seconds away from surrendering to her under this scent. Or perhaps you are thinking of someone else, burning with love and wanting her anxiously?”
“……Ha, haha. You sound like a devil’s advocate.”
Shibuya’s face stiffened. It’ll be extremely hard for him to escape from this place with his horrible athletic abilities.
Michel frowned slightly in response to Shibuya’s words.
“Once we collect the remaining two, this scent will spread even further. I can’t obtain Tuesday’s stone, but that is fine. ……If it’s possible, I would like this scent to cover the entire Earth. Then everyone will offer their [hearts] to God, there will be no more war and we will have peace on Earth. There will only be one person, Maria-san, who cannot offer her [heart] to God, but she wouldn’t be able to cause a war by herself.”
“Is…… that your goal, Father Michel.”
Michel narrowed his eyes. “Devotion to God is the path I long for. If I offer your [hearts] to God, then I will be able to repent for my sin of straying for a moment.”
“……You strayed your path for a moment? I see. Her existence is strong enough to shake your faith, huh.”
“…Even though I knew it’s possible for her to lead me astray, I still didn’t turn down being dispatched to this area. I wasn’t able to fight against the temptation of finding out what kind of girl she was,” Michel said.
“……And what are your thoughts after meeting her?”
“She is a charming young girl. Her actions are cruel, yet she is innocent and cheerful. She shows affection with her every being. I feel she is like a flower. As long as she didn’t try to obtain my [heart], I would have taken a liking to her. I would bless her, pray for her happiness in the inevitable future, and guide her to meet her destined partner—”
Shibuya fell silent. He has taken in too much of the scent that he couldn’t stand anymore. He collapsed down onto the cold floor, making a thin pendant chain jump from his neck.
“…….Could I insert my stone into the dent with my own hand?” Shibuya’s expression distorted when Kyouko approached him.
Like hell he wanted to fall in love with Kyouko at this time. He was sure that Kyouko, who’s being used as a tool right now, will be very mortified too.
“Oh? Are you dissatisfied with Kyouko-san? She, too, is one of the characters you created, is she not?”
“…Hahaha, well, yeah, I do have affection for the characters I made. This also includes you, too, Father Michel. All the characters are my cute sons and daughters… I genuinely wish for their happiness. However, that doesn’t mean they reflect my personal tastes. If it comes to my preferences of the opposite gender, there’s someone I’m interested in after all.”
‘Niimi-san. Niimi-san. Niimi-san!’ Shibuya shouted inside his heart. ‘I’m sorry. …I’m just someone who’ll hurt you in this life too.’
“I’m dropping out here, huh. …I’m sorry.”
Shibuya Iwai fainted while being wrapped in the dense smell of sweet flowers without another word.
TL note: Kabedon! Kabedon!