Escape Galge


Escape Galge Chapter 11

Aoi’s POV chappie :> … Stalkers are scary.


Kōryaku Taishō-sha na Watashi wa Gyarugē Shujinkō kara Nigetai wake de!

 My name is『Kagurazaka Aoi』.
 However, when I was young, it felt uncomfortable to be called so.
 I didn't know whether I should reply or not. There was hesitation.

 Moreover, I wasn't confident in myself.
 Looking in the mirror, while this was coming from me, I thought my reflection was attractive. Yet, it was strangely disheartening.
 Also, the way people fussed over me stirred up my anxiety.
 Why, towards someone like me?
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 During the spring of my second year in high school.
 The time came for my question to be answered.

 During the spring break before I advanced a year, I changed my smartphone.
 As the previous one spoiled and I was unable to transfer the data, it was a fresh start with this『brand new item』.
 The number of people in my contacts was, of course, zero.
 On the screen of the smartphone that should only have the basic functions, I found a strange icon.

"Hanazono Academy?"
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 So it said above the picture of a cute, smiling girl with blond twin-tails.
 It looked like a game app.
 Who installed it?
 Was it a default application of this smartphone?
 Even as I found it strange, I launched the app.

 Sure enough, the app was a game.
 Moreover, it was a galge. The pictures and profiles of girls appeared one after another… eh, this?
 Was it déjà vu?
 I had a feeling I knew this.
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 I didn't know whether it was a bad premonition or anticipation, but I couldn't calm down.
 Feeling an incomprehensible impatience, I falteringly used my fingers to swipe the screen and my eyes passed over from side to side.

 Then, I remembered.
 My past life.
 The me who was a dull, lame otaku from the countryside.

 The app was the game『Hanazono Academy』that I played before in my past life.
 The protagonist was Kagurazaka Aoi.
 Yes, the current me.

"Kuku… hahaha."
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 When I knew the reason for the discomfort I’ve been feeling for as long as I could remember, laughter welled up.
 The discrepancy between the inside and the outside was the cause.
 My consciousness and senses remained as that of the bumpkin otaku times of my past life.
 Which was why I was perplexed by my outer appearance that could be called『ikemen』.

 However, all's well now.
 Because I know that I『reincarnated』.
 I am currently a『ikemen』.
 As the protagonist, it was natural for people to fuss over me.
 The self-confidence I didn't have until now, overflowed as though I regained them belatedly.
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 I directed my eyes at the smartphone.
 I became a 2nd-year.
 The story mode of the game begun in the 2nd year.
 The things I was anticipating was definitely going to happen from then on.

 The game data was the same as when I cleared it in my past life; it was in the perfectly cleared state.
 I could check all the information on the girls and if I moved according to the game, I could probably do it again.
 As though suggesting that the favourability ratings had to be upped from then on, that alone was empty. However, since I knew exactly what to do and how to do it, it was easy-peasy.
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 The start was the opening ceremony for the 2nd-years.
 From then, I met the capture targets in order.
 One by one I found them and approached them, getting close as per in the game…
 And the one I found last was Kii.
 Kii was popular enough to be the game icon and was also my favourite character.
 Sure enough, the twin-tails are cute, my Kii-tan!
 However, I couldn't call out to her yet.
 I had to be satisfied with just looking.
 Until the encounter event…
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 I passed the days getting closer to the other capture targets as I waited enduringly for the『encounter』with Kii.
 In my past life, I thought the『beginning』with Kii was slow because they were trying to drag things so that people won't quit the game on the first day. However, I couldn't think of it as anything but God's prank anymore.
 I beg you, hurry up!
 I wanted to try and see what would happen if I talked to her outside of the event, but if I did something that wasn't planned and the plans for 'capturing' go amiss, I would have lost both the interest and the principal.
 I endured. Looking at her from afar, I killed my urges to approach her and endured.
 Then, finally, the long-awaited day arrived… we met and things between us begun.

"Amazing… it's the Feather of Destiny! It exists!"

 Kii who jumped up and down at the sight of the『Feather of Destiny』was truly cute.
 I wanted to her hug right there but I couldn't.
 I must move according to plans.
 I was happy when the feather fell.
 Because I was able to confirm that things went accordingly.

 I prioritised increasing Kii's favourability rating.
 Needless to say of the Fridays when her favourabilty rating raises, many a times I spent the adjustment days, the weekends, with her too.
 Her parameters then became MAXed and I reached the stage where I could receive a confession.
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 I knew she would confess on the following Friday.
 I had anxiously awaited that day.
 I grinned broadly while looking at the MAX favourability rating on the screen multiple times.
 However, something happened out of my expectations.
 Kii left for another place in the middle of the confession.
 Impossible, it was strange.
 Even though I was supposed to go『I like you too』and hug her.
 Was it some bug?
 Come to think of it, Kii stopped moving in the middle of her confession.
 This was the world of a game after all. Was that what it was about?

 The bug got even more aggravated.
 Kii's favourability rating, which I raised steadily, returned to zero.
 How can this be… don't screw around!
 She even stopped tying her trademark twin-tails.
 Definitely strange.
 However, I might be able to fix it.
 Thinking so, I continue to contact Kii but it didn't get fixed at all.

 It went fine with the other characters!
 Why didn't it go as I want it to!
 Isn't this a game!?
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 The aggravation of the bug heightened and a hindrance that shouldn't exist even entered the picture.
 A bumpkin rascal who was absolutely a background character.
 He was exactly like the previous me and that pissed me off.
 You, think about who's suitable for Kii!
 As if I'd let such a guy take Kii!
 The one suitable for Kii is the『current me』.
 Or so it should have been but…

『… No one will be able to see you at this rate, you know?』

 Kii's words had always stabbed in my heart.

『That's impossible. I'm the protagonist.』
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 I immediately replied inwardly.
 It was nothing to be concerned over, or so I thought… but I couldn't unplug it from my heart.
 It wouldn't leave my mind.

『It is because I realised that there is no『heart』in your words.』

 Certainly, the words I told them were what appeared as Choices.
 I merely read out the lines.
 However, are these not『words that can move the heart』?
 Rather than the words I desperately come up with and squeeze out, won't these reach everyone better?
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 In my past life, there were many occasions when my words didn't reach people.
 Regardless of how much feelings I put into them, regardless of the courage I mustered to speak them, they were cruelly thrown away.
 No, perhaps they had never even been received.
 Was there any meaning in what I come up with?

『Have you really been looking at me?』

 I knew Kii more than anyone.
 Because it was in the data.
 I read hers more thoroughly than anyone else's so I was confident.
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『Then… pray tell, are you aware of what I do on days other than Fridays?』

 My head drew a blank.
 I never looked at the data besides that of the day her favourability rating raises.
 If I wasn't wrong, when I talk to her in school on weekdays other than Friday, she simply planned to do some shopping before returning home…
 I hurriedly tried to confirm this by looking at the screen but I couldn't find any data that would suffice as an answer.
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 If it's not in the data, then my memory… eh, I don't remember.
 No, it's not that I don't remember.
 I don't know because I hadn't been looking.
 I don't even know if she stays back in school or returns home.
 Even I was surprised.
 I thought I knew everything about Kii.

 What did I think Kii was?
 Was the data in the smartphone all Kii's existence was?
 Did I think she was just a game character who wouldn't speak a single word when I wasn't around, and silently walked around the same area?

 I grew scared.
 If Kii was just a game character, if this world was just a game's world… I would be alone in this world.
 That was impossible.
 My current parents were legit humans.
 If so, Kii and the other girls were also…
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 With these thoughts, I grew scared again.
 I thought of people who were humans like me, as game characters?
 But that was because I had the smartphone, because something like this existed!

 I didn't know what to do anymore.
 Is it a game? Is it reality? I didn't know even if I thought about it.

『No one will be able to see you at this rate, you know.』
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 Kii's words surfaces again.
 I don't know what to do nor what this world is. Nonetheless, those are probably『what I must think about』.
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 Another point that I feel strongly about is… I want to know Kii.
 It may just be interest that grew because she alone didn't move as expected. Or it may not be so.
 I want to look at Kii.
 Also, I want to know how I'm reflected in Kii's eyes.
 It may be scary to find out but if I pretend not to see it, I've a feeling I'll no longer be『human』.
 If I stop thinking, perhaps I'll be the one who’s just a game character.
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