Ⅴ Serious gamers
I woke up feeling something had slipped from my hand.
I tried to quickly grab hold of it but I am too slow.
It is already separated from my hand.
I woke up— and at the moment,
I felt a great pain on my neck and remembered what happened to me.
――I wanted to confirm the truthfulness of Benedict’s words, and after chasing after Eileen to the bathroom, I found the escort who was unconscious.
Then I saw someone who was carrying Eileen and chased right after, but was ambushed by someone and I lost consciousness.
Where is this place? I turn my head around, which has not fully awakened yet.
It feels like I’m the only one in the room.
The light coming through the windows is very bright, completely unlike the soft glow of dusk in the hallway.
How much time has passed since then?
I’m in a small room.
It is similar to those I passed by in the garden party, but there are more things cluttered around here.
What I am sleeping on is a three-person sofa, an old, hard chaise lounge.
A few meters away is a 3×3 meter square-carpet. On the table are some sweet wrappers left by someone and a nearly empty plastic bottle.
There is a notebook on the floor, a computer, and a refrigerator near the wall. The files on the bookshelf are filled with the past questions left by our seniors――
I blinked once.
This place is.
“Thank you for your hard work!”
It was the Kouhai who lent me the outrageous game, the one that let me jump into the game world, entering the clubroom and leaving the door open.
I reflexively turned around――
I once again felt severe pain in my neck and fell down.
A weak voice escaped my lips.
“Hmm? Konomi-senpai, what’s up? Is there something wrong?”
“Someone hit me with all their might…”
“Eh, who did?”
“…I mean, I might have slept in an awkward position.”
I gasped in pain when my Kouhai commented, “to be sleeping in a place like that,” and laughed.
However. I kept rubbing my neck and started thinking.
What was all that I had experienced so far?
Maybe it was a dream, and that’s a legitimate explanation I came up as a college student, but for it to be just that.
The smell of the wind, the taste of what I ate, and even the emotions of the people I talked to.
I remember them well.
――Please take care of the Young Lady.
“How many days have passed since then?”
“Since then? Since when?”
“Since I borrowed the game.”
Are you alright Senpai? My Kouhai’s expression seems to be asking.
She put the bag she brought from the convenience store on the table and said,
“I lent Senpai the software this morning, and it’s just after noon… Third period should have just begun.
Ah, maybe Senpai had been continuously playing for quite a while now, and your perception of time has gone crazy, right?”
While scolding me that it would make my eyes worse, she took out a sweet bread from the convenience store bag and bit on it.
‘Continuously playing’ she said, it may just be that.
My heel touched something.
The thing that slipped out of my hand earlier―― I have no energy to pick it up, I just gaze at it.
My game console. It looked like a cicada carcass, and is just tumbling, its back side showing.
“How far have you gone? Isn’t it interesting?”
I don’t know how to review the game scenario since it bugged from the beginning.
I only talk about my last scenario.
“I received an invitation from Benedict and joined the party with Eileen…”
My Kouhai’s eyes turned perfectly round for some reason.
“Senpai, you progressed that much on Eileen’s route in your first run! And you’re playing at a high pace and already in the late-game?”
“Is that surprising?”
“It sure is. That route has many flags. There is a reputation even among gamers that it’s extremely difficult. Umm――”
With her index finger pointed out and twirling it as if trying to catch a dragonfly, she started explaining “Eileen’s Route.”
“First of all, we have to quickly win Winston Hawkyard’s favor, then we can get in and out of Aldington’s house.”
“Then act with Eileen while being careful to not enter Cedric’s route.”
“Then win the mini-game 「Dominique’s game」 within 10 minutes.”
Does she mean the backgammon game?
It should have been a little over seven minutes, so I met the condition.
My Kouhai takes another bite of her bread and continues.
“And then crush Marlowe’s flag.”
It’s a character I don’t know.
“Who is that?”
“The maths teacher.”
When we went to see Louis and Aldo, I remember the middle-aged teacher who scolded us for running down the hallway.
“Take Aldo as a pet, as if you are sticking one leg into Louis’ Route.”
“And then, you’ll get an invitation to Prince Benedict’s party, and go there together.”
“Then crush Dominique’s flag.”
“Crush Dominique’s flag.”
“Crush Dominique’s flag.”
“Does the scenario writer have a grudge against Dominique-senpai?”
Did I miss one of Dominique’s flags?
Did I not crush it enough times?
I don’t know if that would lead to a death end― As my thoughts reached that, my Kouhai waved her hands.
“Well, it’s okay as long as you don’t go on Dominique’s route.
……However Senpai, you had unintentionally chosen the most difficult route, according to the gamers.”
I don’t know if it’s due to my gamer’s mentality, that I simply can’t help wanting to clear it.
The figure of the unconscious Eileen being taken away is still burning in my eyes.
I can’t help but think beyond the end of the game scenario.
I put my hand on my forehead and exhaled.
“So, how far have you gone on Eileen’s route?”
“I died halfway.”
She released a genuinely confused voice.
My Kouhai stabs a straw in a paper-packed coffee and asks, “really so?” With her eyes opened wide all the while.
“I can’t afford to lie right now… Something happened?”
Her figure as she is sucking on her coffee overlaps with someone I saw at the garden party.
I am immersed in negative thoughts again― So what didn’t happen?
The words of my Kouhai as she parts her lips from her straw is surprising for me.
“I don’t think there was a death end in Eileen’s route.”
It is me who makes a confused voice this time.
Then, the me at that time ――or rather we?
My junior bent under the table and picked up my game console.
She looked at the screen and said, “I knew it” with a laugh.
“Hey, it’s not over yet. Isn’t it still loading?”
“Let me see for a bit!”
I’m getting goosebumps. ――It’s not over?
I snatched the game console from my Kouhai.
The screen displays tips and a 「Ｎｏｗ Ｌｏａｄｉｎｇ」
……As a person who had been in that world, the small screen feels uncomfortable to interact with.
“Can this game screen be displayed on a computer?”
My Kouhai’s eyes glowed strangely― Or so I feel.
I am taken aback, but she immediately say,
“Leave it to me! What about streaming it!? Oh, microphone!? Will you start the recording software?”
“I don’t need things like that!”
“To tell you the truth, the one with the screen-name ‘Yanwari Hidokei (Gentle Sundial)’, known in the gaming community as the 「Screaming Wailing Kowtowing Princess」 is in fact me!”
(TN: Thank You 「Kemm」 from NU ^^)
“I don’t know who that is! What do you usually do online!?”
“My nickname is Hido!”
“I don’t care!”
She gives a thumbs up and winked. I feel like I have just seen a yet unknown side of this young lass. But that’s not important right now.
She reliably pulls out or fits some cords from a machine of some sort.
“Do you want headphones?”
“Can I have a gaming headset with a microphone? I will help you later but we will not do the horror games together, okay!?”
“I get it, I get it. I’ll do everything, so get ready!”
“Yes, yes” I said and fitted the other end of the chord that is connected to the I-don’t-know-what-this-is machine.
Meanwhile, my Kouhai works a little more on this and that, and said,
“By the way, my recommendation of this game is that you take into consideration the thoughts of the yandere-ish character that is obsessed with the protagonist.”
I listened to her talking about the character fondly――
I don’t remember there being such a character and I tilted my head.
“There is a guy like that?”
“Yes of course. Won’t Senpai meet him if you go on Eileen’s route?”
And she told me the name of the character.
I put on the headphones and turn on the display on the table.
The display shows the same screen as my game console.
The loading screen disappears.
And I squeezed the game console.
I immersed myself and read the texts displayed on the screen.
――And woke up in a room without light.
TN: I feel so dumb to have thought the Kouhai is a lad all this time. (つд⊂)
I fail so badly. ＿|￣|○
Please pardon me for this blunder. m(_ _)m
Thank you very much to my patrons 『Lan Hoang』 『Isabell Zultner』 and 『Sophia Faalogo』