I’m Spying on the Heroine in an Otome Game World 6126 min read
Volume 4 | Chapter 13.5: Side Story – Whereabouts of The Stones
Niimi Shiori doesn’t know the whole story of the stones.
The words that were not spoken will be written here.
□ The Retrospective of Tsukishima Yuuki □
Yuuki realized the existence of his stone when he became a middle school student.
“Yuuki, I’m giving this stone to you. But whatever you do, don’t give it to someone,” his brother said before he gave that said stone, which was a pale orange in colour.
The stone was inserted in a simple and plainly designed pendant. Yuuki had never received an accessory from his older brother before, so he frowned with suspicion.
“What are you giving me all of the sudden? You don’t think I’m a kid who wants random stones on the ground, do you?”
“……? Just what are you going on about? Honestly.”
It was annoying to obey his older brother. Still, throwing it away in anger would make him look like a child, so he didn’t want to do that either. In the end, Yuuki threw that stone into his violin case. He placed the stone in the same place where he put his spare bowstring and forgot about the existence of it for a long time.
Yuuki had the appearance of an angel, but grew up rebellious. Yet his compatibility with the violin was great.
Once he put his violin in a case, he can carry it anywhere and practise wherever he wants alone.
Yuuki wasn’t aware just when he started to feel an inferiority complex towards his elder brother. From his memory, his older brother always excelled since he was a child. This included grades, athletics, personality, and looks as well. His older brother can live up to the expectations of adults, had lots of friends, and was admired by everyone. He could accomplish everything well, yet, for some reason, he would always worry about Yuuki.
This added a heavy burden on Yuuki.
Yuuki has thrown a tantrum before in elementary school, shouting that he didn’t want his big brother hovering over him so much.
Then he started to avoid playing music with his big brother, which he used to do because their parents would be pleased. He also started to make up excuses to avoid meeting his grandparents.
In any case, Yuuki just hated being compared to his big brother.
Yet it was also that stone’s fault that he ended up entering the same high school as his big brother.
It was during the third year of middle school with the high school entrance exams around the corner that his big brother came by to speak again.
“How is that stone doing?” He asked.
“How’s it doing…? …Ah, it’s probably still in my violin case somewhere,” Yuuki answered.
“I see.” His big brother sighed with relief. “Don’t give that to anyone, understand?”
“……You said the same thing before, but what’s the big deal? It’s just a stone, isn’t it?”
“It’s not just a stone. Yuuki, you probably don’t remember but…… When you were small, you were almost kidnapped by our housemaid. Normally, you won’t open up one bit but when she took your stone in her hand, you ran up to her so cutely that she tried to kidnap you on an impulse.”
“Huh? W-What the hell are you talking about…”
“I’m telling you. I’m serious.”
His big brother’s eyes spoke the honest truth. However, Yuuki didn’t pay heed to his brother’s words.
“If you’re that worried then you can carry it yourself,” Yuuki said instead.
“If you’re fine with that, I can carry it.”
Yuuki felt irritated after hearing his brother’s words.
His big brother has probably realized that Yuuki had mixed emotions about him. This is also why his big brother would be so considerate and return that stone so Yuuki could distance himself away. As long as he held his little brother’s stone, he would interfere with Yuuki’s life one way or another even without meaning to. Or at the very least, that’s what he believed.
“Don’t joke with me,” Yuuki spat out.
It was that day when Yuuki faced his stone for the first time.
It was faint orange in colour. He also had no idea what the name of this stone was. Still, he thought it resembled a sunset. It sparkled, but seemed solemn somewhere, making him feel restless.
Of course, the so-called effect of the stone sounded like a dubious tale. Yuuki couldn’t recall ever opening up to one of their housemaids before. Plus, he also didn’t open up warmly to his older brother when he held the stone.
“……Isn’t this just a normal stone in the end?” Yuuki mumbled to himself.
His older brother was quite surprised when Yuuki decided to enter Seika Maria Secondary Academy.
On one hand his older brother was happy that Yuuki would choose the same school he was going to. On the other hand, his older brother was considerate, asking Yuuki if he wanted to play music instead.
All of that was annoying to Yuuki, so he didn’t tell anyone why he chose Seika Maria Secondary Academy. He didn’t want to run away from his older brother any further as he felt annoyed by that.
Still, when he saw his older brother on stage in the auditorium during the opening ceremony, Yuuki regretted his choice.
His older brother attracted the eyes of everyone as the student president. Yuuki turned to look at himself, who had no special abilities or redeeming features. He felt like he recognized the gap between himself and his brother once again. Yuuki started to avoid people’s eyes and wandered inside a church.
He picked up his violin and poured his heart and soul into music… and that’s when he met Maria.
It was the first time he met someone who said “I’m so touched” and cried after hearing him play.
She was a young girl who suited the church dazzled by the sunset.
As they became closer and closer, Yuuki started to consider giving his stone to this girl. After all, he didn’t wear accessories to begin with.
When only about one-third of November remaining, Yuuki approached his big brother, asking for help studying.
“If you’re busy with your entrance exams then it’s fine,” Yuuki said, sticking out his lips in a pout.
His big brother was shocked and answered, “N-No, it’s no problem for me. I’ve received a recommendation so it’s mostly settled. But why are you asking me to help you study? Did you decide to aim for a university?”
“Ah… No, it’s not like that. …….For some reason, I don’t remember any of my classes after the Cultural Festival,” Yuuki admitted.
“Huh?” His big brother widened his eyes in circles, which Yuuki thought was humorous.
It was also an expression he didn’t see often on his big brother, so Yuuki couldn’t help but laugh. “Ahahaha, you look like an idiot~” Yuuki even pointed his finger at his brother as he laughed.
This reaction made his big brother even more confused.
Yuuki pulled out his textbooks and got his big brother to teach him material he couldn’t recall learning about. Every so often, Yuuki would play his violin as a break.
Yuuki spent days like this for a short while. Of course, when Yuuki got passionate, studying would become the break between his playing, which was a problem of his.
Truthfully, Yuuki thought about learning the violin professionally. He wanted to leave Japan and go overseas and touch the real music there.
Maybe it’s because he was absorbed in playing but his bowstring broke before he realized it. Yuuki went to rummage his case to take out his spare bowstring. It was then when his stone tumbled out instead.
It was a stone, which resembles a sunset. It was a colour that he thought suited that girl.
It feels like he gave this stone to Maria at the closing party after the Cultural Festival. However, his memories of that moment were vague. Perhaps it was all a dream of his. When Yuuki thought that, he couldn’t help but feel so embarrassed.
“Hey, Yuuki, about the upcoming Christmas party…” His older brother said while Yuuki gazed at the faint orange stone. “Huh, that stone……”
“Ah, that’s right. It’s that stone you gave me a while back, Aniki. It’s pretty but do you know what kind of stone this is?” Yuuki asked.
“No. I’ve never considered what type of stone it is,” his big brother answered as he wracked his brain.
Yuuki decided it wasn’t a very important matter. “And, what about Christmas?” He asked instead.
“Right….. The academy holds a Christmas party in December, right? I plan on playing the music for the dance hall during the party. Would you like playing along with me?” His big brother suggested.
“If there’s a girl you want to dance with then don’t worry about it……”
Yuuki sighed heavily.
His big brother tries to be considerate but always seems to be off the mark. Even if Yuuki had a girl he wanted to dance with, did this big brother really think that Yuuki could invite the girl instead of waiting for the invitation?
“This is why I hate good-looking guys with good personalities……” Yuuki grumbled. Now if it’s his big brother, that man would be able to smartly invite a girl and dance perfectly.
“It’s fine with me,” Yuuki agreed.
“R-Really!” His big brother was overjoyed.
Yuuki looked at that big brother with disgust and complained, “So annoying.”
Yuuki closed his violin case before he tilted his head. He couldn’t find the stone anywhere even though it was on top of his palm seconds ago. However, Yuuki also considered that he might have just dropped it back into his case, so he didn’t bother searching.
The next day, Shibuya, his friend from another class, asked about his stone. Yuuki was confused, wondering if he had ever talked about his stone with Shibuya. When he came home, he tried searching for it again but Yuuki would never find it again.
□ The Inside Story of Mizusaki Homare and Kaneshiro Atsushi □
It was during the school trip that the [showdown], as Niimi Shiori calls it, came to an end.
Homare and Atsushi couldn’t recall anything during that period of time. They were at the church before they realized it and were gripping their stone in their hand, which should have been taken away by Homare’s father.
Since Niimi Shiori and Teacher Hibiya were there, Kaneshiro immediately guessed that this matter involved the stones.
As for Homare, he rushed to his father, burning with enthusiasm and belief that he could convince his father about the school trip. Strangely, this father of his also couldn’t quite recall what happened recently and only had vague memories. The man immersed himself in work and went through all the paperwork in the last couple of days to understand. Homare took advantage of his father’s muddled mind to receive an okay to participate in the school trip.
Just like that Homare and Atsushi went off to ride the bullet train to join everyone else.
“Geez, I don’t understand it at all. I even have all my luggage prepared. Why can’t I remember anything?” Homare mumbled.
Atsushi was also puzzled. “I don’t know why either. However…… Are we really exchanging the stones back? Even if the bodyguards are following you, you plan on walking with the fan club members during free time, am I right?”
“It doesn’t matter. In the first place, a girl who’ll try to forcibly steal an accessory around my neck won’t be in my fan club,” Homare replied.
“Well, yes, Erika-san has done her best in educating all the members after all.”
The two chatted about such and eventually reached Kyoto. And like they predicted, the vice-president, Tanaka, thought they were trouble.
Still, she prepared copies of the school trip’s itinerary for them with a sigh and explained the schedule starting from tomorrow. Judging by how Tanaka briskly pointed which group they will be joining during free time, she had already taken in the consideration of Homare and Atsushi joining the school trip halfway through.
“She saw us through, huh,” Atsushi noted with amusement.
Homare sulked a bit in response.
There was only one day left now for the school trip. Everyone will be riding the bullet train tomorrow evening back home.
It was almost lights out when Homare came back to their hotel room. Atsushi was surprised by this sight of Homare. After all, Homare had been laughing happily in the afternoon, and now he was completely exhausted.
Atsushi wondered when he last saw Homare. It was likely when they were visiting a souvenir shop. Homare criticized the item Tanaka chose and she got mad at him.
Atsushi recalled that scene.
Homare was visiting souvenir stores while being surrounded by his fan club members. Even Homare realized that he needed to buy something back for his father. However, there was nothing that caught Homare’s interest in these souvenir stores aimed for normal tourists.
There was nothing else, so Homare decided to buy sweets back. That was when he spotted Tanaka gazing intently at small accessories.
Homare called out to her with a whimsy tone. “What are you looking at?”
“Oh, it’s you, Mizusaki-kun. I’m looking at a souvenir for Niimi-san. Since we are in Kyoto, I thought a more traditionally patterned accessory would be nice for her. And if I’m buying something for Niimi-san, I definitely want to buy her a cat. Oil absorbing paper would be a safe choice if I pick something she could use daily but…” Tanaka replied.
“How cheap. Both the material and the way to use it,” Homare commented on the accessories.
“Please don’t use your own standards when it comes to what’s inside my wallet. Also, Niimi-san said she’ll be happy with pictures of my trip as her souvenir. There’s no way she’ll be pleased if I give her something expensive instead.”
It looks like Tanaka didn’t plan on asking for Homare’s opinion to begin with.
Tanaka once again carefully inspects the accessories on sale, while Homare looks at her with dissatisfaction. Eventually, his eyes stopped at a traditional Japanese patterned brooch in the case nearby. The said brooch was a slender Kyoto zogan inlay1 cat.
“How about this if you want to buy a cat?” Homare suggested.
“There’s way too many zeros on the tag. Well, it is rather Kyoto-like though.”
“Hm…… Then what would be good? What else makes women happy… Jewelry, right?”
“We are looking for something that would make Niimi-san happy. You need to think about what would make the other person happy when you choose a gift.”
“Hmm… Then how about this one?”
“A wallet made from Nishijin silk fabrics? Let’s see… It is a wonderful gift, but I wonder if it might be too elegant for her.”
“But your wallet is worn-out and old,” Homare pointed out.
Tanaka sighed before opening her mouth again. “I’m not looking for a souvenir for myself. I have used this wallet since elementary school and it is reaching its limit even after I mended it…… Hey, why do I have to explain this to you!”
“I’ll buy this for you. This is only worth a small change to me.”
“Hey, could you not say things like that so easily? Don’t look for me for help if you get surrounded by people begging you for money, okay? In the first place, your allowance isn’t money you earned by yourself. That’s more reason for you to not spend it carelessly,” Tanaka said with astonishment.
Homare sank into silence.
That being said, Atsushi thought Homare made a rather good choice with the wallet made from Nishijin silk fabric. Homare turned to look regrettably at that wallet repeatedly and was pulled away by the fan club members, leaving the store.
In the end, Tanaka brought the Kyoto zogan inlay cat brooch.
Afterwards, Atsushi was asked to buy a wallet made from Nishijin silk fabric. He also decided to check out that so-called cat brooch that caught Homare’s eyes. The cat had a cool and unsociable face. At the very least, Atsushi thought it didn’t suit Niimi Shiori. Also, it was obvious to Atsushi as to why he was asked to buy a wallet, but he believed it’s best he doesn’t touch the subject just yet.
Atsushi smiled quietly in his heart as he took his receipt in hand. After all, he was sure that Tanaka would refuse the wallet.
These memories were what Atsushi recalled happening during the day. At the end, he called out to Homare who was lying down on the sofa.
“What’s wrong?” Atsushi asked.
“Yeah…” Homare stared up at the ceiling before mumbling, “Atsushi, my stone disappeared.”
Eventually, Homare took out his pendant, which was now just a chain with nothing on it.
“Nothing…… No, if I have to say, then I only just dumped a number of girls.”
Atsushi opened his eyes wide.
Homare continued like he was making excuses for himself. “It was during freetime. A number of my fan club members came by…… And, well, I can’t put my hands on my fans, right? I’ve also haven’t done so in the past, so it’s not like I did anything weird. I’m fine with fans, but if they want to be my lover, I can only turn them down.”
“Yes, I know… Then why are you so shocked this time?” Atsushi questioned.
“……After I turned down Gomi, I met Tanaka’s eyes.”
Atsushi widened his eyes again. That must have been a very awkward moment and place to be in. Tanaka must have felt she ran into a big nuisance.
“I’m pretty sure our eyes met, you know? Yet, she looked away like she didn’t notice a single thing,” Homare complained, pouting his lips like it wasn’t amusing at all.
On the other hand, Atsushi couldn’t help but laugh because it was so funny.
“What’s so funny?” Homare complained.
“You don’t like how Tanaka-san doesn’t have one bit of interest in you, am I right? She’s been like this since the beginning,” Atsushi pointed out.
“………Yeah… you’re right. Yeah, she’s like that.” Homare continued to pout as he gripped his pendant chain.
“Also, if your eyes really met….. I think she would pretend she didn’t see anything. From Tanaka-san’s perspective, she’d likely wanted to be tactful because of Erika-san. After all, I don’t believe anyone would want to be witnessed by another person as they suffer a broken heart.”
“Is that how it works? Gomi said she’ll continue to be my fan. It didn’t really look like she was restraining back tears either.”
“Then I have to say, Erika-san has become a good woman. She must have come to terms with her own feelings. If it’s her now, I might feel like calling her Gomi-san.”
“I don’t understand the standards you judge women with at all,” Homare said tiredly.
Atsushi took this moment to hand over the item he brought in the afternoon. As for where exactly this wallet will end up, Atsushi wanted to watch in the distance with amusement.
“You have grown. You kept a fixed distance away from your fan club members during this school trip too. If it was you in the past, you would have listened to all of their selfish whims and treat them just because you were in a good mood,” Atsushi noted.
“…….Well… I guess I did?”
“Have you also bought a souvenir for the chairman?”
“I decided on Uji-cha green tea. I feel like he drinks green tea after dinner compared to coffee recently. Even if it doesn’t suit his tastes, he’ll probably still try it once,” Homare answered.
Atsushi was honestly surprised. Since when has Homare turned his eyes to see how the chairman was doing on a daily basis? That being said, Atsushi was already surprised when Homare said he’ll buy something for the father he didn’t get along with.
“……I think the chairman will be pleased,” Atsushi said with a smile.
He might have started to look down on Homare sometime ago. He also wondered if he scorned on this person he served and decided that Homare wasn’t reliable at all. Did he do all that despite Homare being his master since he was born?
“If possible, I would like to be at the same table when the chairman drinks this tea,” Atsushi said.
In his heart, he thought he wanted to see it quickly. He wanted to see the moment when Chairman Mizusaki would notice his son’s growth.
Atsushi didn’t notice — the moment his eyes looking at Homare softened, his own stone crumbled and disappeared.
□ The Circumstances of Katsuragi Kyouya □
November, after the [showdown], as Niimi Shiori calls it, ended.
In Kyouya’s point of view, it was a fight where he didn’t understand the meaning or the objective of. However, as the result of this showdown, the stolen stones were able to return to their owners. There turned out to be other people beside Kyouya that had a stone since they were born.
These [stones] were strange objects where, if you give it to the opposite gender, you would become conscious of them.
Kyouya’s foster parents said to never hand it to a woman.
He personally wasn’t quite conscious of his stone. However, he felt a sense of discomfort after a certain time.
That stone would sometimes throbs like it was a living being. As for whether it throbs because of his own emotions or if it came from the stone itself, Kyouya wasn’t sure at all.
The cause of this all was a single girl.
He learned about her during the Sports Festival. Her name was Niimi Shiori, and she was also the vice-class representative of Class B. He wasn’t sure if he had seen her before the Cultural Festival though as he can’t remember anymore.
He had felt unwell then during the Sports Festival as he overestimated his own physical abilities. And that girl he met let him use her lap as a pillow with a straight face. Kyouya admits it was since then that his eyes would chase after her.
At first, he wanted to thank her.
Next, he wanted to know her name
And after that…… was the turning point.
He didn’t actually have a reason for skipping the Student Council General Election that day. He merely went to the dojo to waste time until the voting time. But, just like that, he forgot the time and continued practising in the dojo.
She coincidentally visited the dojo, so the two of them chatted. On an impulse, Kyouya handed his stone to her.
It was that very moment when a drastic change affected Kyouya.
He wanted to embrace the girl in front of his eyes and couldn’t hold himself back. There was heat burning his chest and a boiling desire. Kyouya didn’t have any methods to stop any of this.
He lost himself to the impulse and instinct to devour her and pinned the girl down on to the floor. This impulse, however, disappeared the moment the girl released the stone. Kyouya felt deep regret with this whole experience.
After all, if she had reported what he did to a teacher, he could have been expelled from school. It would also be very normal if she felt disgusted with him. Yet she continued to treat him like a friend after that. He felt this way again when he reported what he learned about the stone from his foster parents. Kyouya believed that she wouldn’t want to be alone with him due to what happened….. Yet she didn’t show any signs like it bothered her at all.
Kyouya knows he was more fit than the average person, so he would definitely frighten women and children.
Well, there were women who approached him in odd ways, which he wasn’t able to handle well.
Yet this girl would always approach him from a comfortable distance.
She would understand his intentions even though he was bad at speaking and couldn’t convey things well. She would also seriously scold him when he sometimes screwed up and cowardly hid away without telling anyone or would warmly give him advice. To Kyouya, there wasn’t anyone like her.
Soon, her existence became big inside him.
While Kyouya was happy they were able to talk naturally, he also started to feel it wasn’t enough before he even noticed.
During the Cultural Festival, his cousin, Kyousuke, purposely visited his academy. Kyousuke wasn’t happy how Kyouya was stronger than him, so he would try to pick a fight time after time. This cousin of his, too, also tried to cause trouble during the Cultural Festival.
And Niimi Shiori called Kyousuke by his name without much thought when she spotted him in the academy.
An unpleasant feeling bubbled inside his heart. Kyouya thought this feeling was called jealousy.
Niimi Shiori had never called him by his first name, yet she would call Kyousuke by his name even though they only barely met one time.
When Kyouya realized he was jealous, he couldn’t stay calm anymore. He even wondered suspiciously if it was a gift from another man when he saw her wearing a necklace.
He walked her to the train station even though she didn’t ask him to. He also found himself waiting for her to visit the station again when she finished her business. Needless to say, he was disgusted with himself when he realized this.
Isn’t this like a stalker? Kyouya thought.
Even then… he was worried that she might be sticking her head into somewhere dangerous he didn’t know.
Niimi Shiori was a girl who seemed to find herself in trouble. She’s not strong at all, yet she would be in the centre of things before he realized it.
Always, he wanted her to let him protect her.
Kyouya didn’t know if these feelings were born from the stone or if they came from himself. If it did come from his stone, they may fade away one day. When he thought of it this way, he couldn’t move anymore.
The words of his adoptive parents were right.
‘Giving this to a woman is the same as forfeiting your life.’ It’s only when you think and agree with this that you should be giving it to another person.
However, Kyouya did hand his stone over to her, even if it was for a short moment.
A certain day in December, Kyouya saw a dream.
It was a dream where Niimi Shiori was beside him, smiling. Kyouya realized that he has never felt so happy before in that dream, and he decided to throw his shame away.
For the first time in his life, he made a telephone call to a girl.
“Yes, hello,” she answered. Her voice was always calm.
But hearing her over the telephone made it seem like she was a little bit closer than before.
Kyouya thought it would be best to call her after school, but it turns out he called her in the middle of studying instead. She has mentioned she was bad at math before, so she might be opening up her math textbooks on her desk. If she didn’t mind, Kyouya would be happy to help her study anytime.
Kyouya realized that he might know how to make the stone disappear. When he told her this, she sounded quite surprised. Well, her reaction wasn’t wrong, as, to be honest, he spoke without thinking.
However, when he saw that joyful dream and woke up seeing his stone chipped, he understood. He came to realize why his stone still hasn’t returned inside him.
“And so…… I have a favour to ask,” Kyouya asked her.
“Hm? If there’s something I can do, then I’ll be happy to.”
He could tell she was puzzled beyond the telephone, making him smile tiredly. She probably didn’t understand at all. She certainly didn’t comprehend just how much meaning this request has for Kyouya.
“Kyouya-kun,” she said.
He felt his stone throbbed. When he placed it on top of his palm, the stone eventually broke apart and disappeared away. Finally, Kyouya’s heart inside himself started to race.
This is bad, Kyouya mumbled in his mind. His cheeks were burning without stop. An uncontrollable impulse ran wildly inside his heart.
He was glad he called her instead. If she was in front of his eyes, he would have probably embraced her right there. If he did something like that suddenly, even she’ll be surprised. Or, in the worst case scenario, she’ll be afraid.
“How is it?” She asked, sounding impatient, because he couldn’t reply back.
“Yeah. …It disappeared. It’s like I expected but…… this is troublesome.”
Kyyouya hung up before he pressed his hand against his chest.
Urges like this had nothing to do with him when that stone was outside his body. People have even called him unfriendly and unsociable.
However, Kyouya could now tell he was restless just because she called him by his name. In fact, the Niimi Shiori in his mind smiled a little mischievously when she said his name.
“Shiori,” he said her name out loud.
He had asked if he could call her by her first name when everything was over. She seemed bewildered but she agreed with a calm tone as always.
“Shiori, call me by my name.”
This cause for this restlessness wasn’t because of the stone. This was, without a doubt, Kyouya’s own feelings. In that case, there wasn’t any reason for him to restrain these feelings down.
“Sorry. I’ll probably bother you, but I don’t think I can stop.”
This was an extremely troublesome emotion. However, at the same time, Kyouya didn’t hate it.
“I like you.”
And acknowledging this means accepting his stone.
TL note: To recap…
Designer-kun: flirting with Yumi-chan
Mizusaki-senpai: crushing on Tanaka because of Shiori’s butterfly effect
Katsuragi-kun: crushing on Shiori
Kaneshiro-senpai: Mizusaki’s mom
Tsuchiya-kun: crushing on Maria
Kazu-nii: crushing on Shiori
Iinchou: crushing on Shiori
Father Michel: dedicated to God
Maria doesn’t have very high results… (￣▽￣)