Escape Galge

 
 

Escape Galge Chapter 8


Nothing much fresh until the last part where a new character is introduced. Readers of the original version might recall me mentioning how animals/creatures and colours are present in the capturable targets’ names. For this new character, it’s ‘sheep’ () and ‘white’ ().
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Kōryaku Taishō-sha na Watashi wa Gyarugē Shujinkō kara Nigetai wake de!

 It's Tuesday.
 Hmph, I bet gross-man is working hard at upping the favourability ratings today, too.

 The one whose favourability rating can be raised easily today is the older sister type upperclassman, Tatsumino Shiori.
 Because she's a third year, her ribbon colour is blue.
 She has a mature look with her long, wavy violet hair and golden eyes.

 She's a character I like a lot.
 Beautiful even when I look at her in person, how admirable!
 I want to save her from the demon's clutches at all costs!

Shiori leaves for school very early in the morning.
 Even though she's not a Horticulture committee member, she waters the flowers planted in the courtyard.
 Flowers and Shiori, together they create the best combination.
 One can only call this the ultimate beauty.
 The flowers are probably also delighted to be watered by Shiori.

… Come to think of it, gross-man said something similar in the game.
 He likely said it in reality too, gross.

In any case, it's my chance when Shiori is busy watering the plants.
 I sneaking into the classroom that was empty except for Shiori's bag.
 And akin to what I did for Akari, I sneak in a letter with photographs into her bag.
 I place it where she'll see it the moment she opens her bag, so she should be able to notice it immediately.

She's the daughter of a conglomerate's president.
 After graduation she plans to support the company while attending university, and her dream is to contribute to her family.
 Rather than a dream, it's already a fast-approaching fact.

This should be the time she enriches both mind and body in lieu of the coming changes to her environment, but her head is as full of gross-man as Akari's is.
 To her who, in particular, has a strong sense of monopolization, simply seeing gross-man talk to other girls is aggravating.
 Having gross-man take up her entire field of vision, she does not give a hoot about this situation where her other matters had taken the backseat and how her close ones are worried about her.

 I also wrote,『Please hold dear the people who truly cherish you』in the letter, but I wonder if those words will reach her?

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"Fuu."

 Having hid my figure from the scum, class ends safely today too.
 Ever since I recalled the memories from my previous life, I've been living my days oddly tensely.
 I tidy up as my shoulders droop from fatigue, and leave the classroom.

 The weather today is good.
 My friends invited me to hang out, but it's dangerous to let my guard down in school.
 I regretfully reject the much-appreciated invitation and head to the entrance alone.

My head’s full of Shiori.
 Perhaps only a letter and photographs aren’t enough.
 It may be better if I make full use of my knowledge of the game and deal another hand.

"You over there!"
"Eh?"

Surprised, I turn towards the voice that suddenly came from behind.
 A truly timely person, a violet-haired goddess with her arms folded, stood there.

"Shiori-senpai."

Ahh… sure enough, how beautiful!
 She's shining!
 A goddess hath descend upon me!

"It's you, isn't it? The one troubling Aoi recently!"
"Eh?"
"Pretending to withdraw yourself in order to attract his attention, I have seen through you."
"N-no way…!"

 Shiori approaches as she pierces through me with a sharp look.
 Good gracious, she's having some incomprehensible misunderstanding.
 Moreover, there's no visible signs at all that the letter is effective.
 Aah… to think that the goddess had been tarnished by evil this much!
 I'd predicted this to some extent, but witnessing it right before my eyes, the damage is huge.
 I beg you, don't become a disappointing beauty…!

"I don't have such an intention! Please believe me!"
"I can't possibly believe that. You've been hanging so much around Aoi until recently. It's strange that you'd change your mind all of a sudden."
"That's…"

Certainly, it's just as she says.
 I don't have the confidence that I can give an explanation that will convince her.
 『I regained my memories from a previous life』it's unlikely she'd believe something like that.
 Unable to find the words to say, I couldn't open my mouth.
 Ahh… but, I want to somehow make her understand!

"I wonder if you can say『I don't love you』in front of him?"
"I can!"
"That's right, you canno… eh?"

I gave an immediate reply.
 There was no trace of hesitance with regards to that.
 It was an immediate reply at the speed of light.
 It's Shiori-senpai's turn to be quiet now.
 There's a frown on her beautiful face, and she appear doubtful.

"Shiori!? Kii!? Glaring at each other so intensely… stop it, both of you…!"

When I gaze at Shiori-senpai, hoping she'll believe me, gross-man makes his appearance while spouting absurd words. Gross.
 Sure enough, it's dangerous to be near Shiori whose favourability rating increases easily today.
 He has an expression that says『Please don't fight over me』, but it really is kind of cold.
 It's cold enough that one can almost see a snowstorm brewing.

"Aoi…"

Ahh, how can this be…!
 The beautiful goddess, Shiori-sama, also joined in the cold theatrics.
 She gazed at gross-man with desolate eyes that seemed to say,『You saw something embarrassing… however. I don't want you snatched away from me!』

Ummー… I don't have to join in, right?

"You arrived at the right time for me to unravel Shiori-senpai's misunderstanding."

In order to stop the snowstorm, I open my mouth and step in.
 I speak while approaching Shiori-senpai step by step.
 I halt right before Shiori-senpai, who's on her guard as she wonder『what will I say to her』.

"I think nothing of this person. That is why I can say this.『I do not love someone like this!』I'm not doing this because I want to attract his attention. Actually, rather than this person… I prefer Shiori-senpai!"
"Ehh." "Eh?"

The voices of the two overlap.
 Even the stunned expressions on their faces are the same.
 Damn you lowly scum, I won't forgive you for being『the same』as Shiori-senpai!

"I… want to be a woman as elegant and dignified as senpai!"
"Pardon?"

Even while knowing it's disrespectful, I take Shiori-senpai's hands in mine and lock eyes with her.
 I admire you a lot!

"I want senpai to remain as the lovely Shiori-senpai! Yet, recently…"

Thereupon, I directed my gaze towards the scum.
 With the meaning of『Haven't you made any mistakes thanks to this guy?』.
 Seeing my cold eyes, the scum's face turns stiff.

"What is『truly precious』to senpai?"
"… Eh?"
"Senpai. Right now, does senpai… have anything you are proud of about yourself? Have you cherished the people who truly cherish you?"
"!?"

It's the wise Shiori-senpai we're talking about. Somewhere in her mind, she should be aware of her situation that worries her closed ones.
 Even though I, who almost confessed to him, have to right to say this so self-importantly, I sincerely hope that you'll open your eyes.

"That's a lovely pendant, isn't it."
"!"

I look at the pendant around Shiori's neck as I gently let her hands, that I had been holding, go.
 From the knowledge of my past life, I know what this pendant is.

She inherited this pendant with a violet[1] crystal from her mother.
 Its first owner was Shiori's grandmother, the founder of the conglomerate.
 Her grandmother gave it to Shiori's mother, who married into the family, with the words『Do support my son who will be succeeding me』. After which, her mother gave it to Shiori, telling her『It's up to you to support your father』.

 The hardships experienced by the founder and the pressure felt by those who inherits it.
 
That which watches over them all, the baton that was entrusted.
 It's a pendant filled with the feelings of people Shiori holds dear, an important pendant.
 While it may be a special gem that is worth a king's ransom, has it really been reduced to just a pretty stone in Shiori's heart?

"Shiori?"

Even though gross-man called out to Shiori, she did not move.
 She hangs her head as she holds the pendant tightly.
 She'd most likely seen the letter this morning.
 Please, remember!
 Realise that the people around you are worried about you… No, you should've already realised, right?
 After looking down in rumination for a while, senpai lets out a small sigh and turns her back towards us.

"Aoi… I am sorry. I will take my leave for today…"

Shiori-senpai departs with an apologetic smile.

While this might not have completely opened her eyes, it should've left some impact on her.
 At the very least, she probably won't be spending today with the scum any more.
 It's already a huge success to be able to thwart his upping of her favourability rating this week.
 It'll be fine if it's Shiori. I want to believe so.

"Kii, why… suddenly, towards me… Can you tell me the reason…"

Beside me who's seeing Shiori-senpai off pleasantly, the scum stands unmovingly with a downcast look.
 Fufu… the goddess hath left, it's my victory!
 Since I'm in a good mood now, I shall talk to you just a little.

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

Truth be told,『I know you tried to capture me! Damn scum!』I wanted to rebuke him.
 However, I won't do that.
 I don't want to know the likes of his circumstances.
 Although I don't know whether he'd reincarnated or not, it's a fact that he used his smartphone to capture us.
 If I pursue in that direction, I'll end up having to hear his explanation for it.
 I don't want to hear something like that.

"Have you really been looking at me?"
"Of course!"

That's a lie. What you had been looking at is『data』.
 That isn't『me』.

"Then… pray tell, are you aware of what I do on days other than Fridays?"
"… Eh?"

Answer without looking at your smartphone if you'd really been looking at me.
 … It's useless even if you refer to it though.
 Tell me about the me who isn't there in the data, the me you'd been looking at.

"… T-that's…"

His gaze was swimming around the tiny screen.

"… Enough already."

As expected, I'm an idiot.
 A part of me had been slightly hopeful.
 Something like tears will not surface.
 Only a faint laugh did.

"W-wait, Kii!"
"Do not touch me!"

I strongly shake off his hand that tries to hold me back.

"Is it not about time you stopped?"
"Kii…"
"… No one will be able to see 'you' at this rate, you know?"

Go ahead and enjoy your『game』in school now.
 But, after graduation… what will you do in the future thereupon?
 If you look at nothing but data and refuse to face people properly, no one will remain by your side.
 Perhaps you'll be alone by the time you notice.
 Who'll think of becoming family with a person who won't face them?

He forgets to even blink, and is stupefied.
 Even his mouth remains shut.
 I've no obligation to pay him any heed.
 I leave him as he is and take my leave.

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"Torida-san."

 After I've left the scum behind and am about to leave from the entranceway to go home, a frigid voice stops me.
 The one there is…

"Hitsujino-san?"

 Hitsujino Mashiro.
 She's the character whose favourability rating raises easily on Thursday.
 Silver hair and amber eyes, with a pair of silver-rimmed glasses.
 The intellectual beauty, a top-scorer honours student who's a first-year like me.
 She looks at me with a cold gaze.

"You, what are you trying to do?"
"Eh?"
"Sneakily moving around Aoi-senpai and his surroundings like a rat."

 My heart skips a beat at Hitsujino's words.
 Has she noticed my movements?
 Certainly, I did move about in order to obtain evidence, but…
 I wasn't sure how to respond or smooth it over. However, since it's already been exposed, the conversation can progress quickly.
 It's fine if I convey my feelings as they are.
 Thankfully, she's the type that one can hold a proper conversation with… I think.
 She's wise so it should be fine…

"I hope that Hitsujino-san will notice too."
"Notice what? Kagurazaka-senpai's philandering?"
"Eh…?"

 Being told what I've been meaning to say before I can say it, I'm surprised.
 I'm truly astonished.
 To think that there's someone within the capturable targets who noticed.

 I know because I experienced it myself, but even his actions that'll make bystanders go『What the hell is this guy doing』, goes completely unnoticed when it's done to myself.
 To the point one can say it's unreasonable for me to sum it all up with the words 'love is blind', my eyes were clouded over.

 Nah, I wouldn't believe it even if I saw it.
 Because I believed in him.
 Akari and Shiori are precisely in such a state.
 However, Mashiro is different. She's calm and composed.

"Do you know that he's been on good terms with various girls?"
"I am aware. Even so, he is someone irreplaceable to me."

 I'm dumbfounded.
 Even if she's able to look at things objectively, even if she understands everything, she accepts the scum.
 I can't believe it.

 She returns a strong gaze to me, who's looking at her with widened eyes.
 I don't know what she's thinking about but I feel her strong will.

"The only one who understands me, is him."
"That's…!"

 『Because of the capture data』, I wanted to say that.
 He understands you because he's looking at his smartphone, not because he's moving in accordance to his own emotions.
 However, I'm unable to say that.
 She won't believe me even if I tell her. Besides, it feels like I'll be trampling on Mashiro's feelings.
 In actuality, I'm trampling on the scum, but it's too cruel to say that.

"It does not matter what rank[2] I am. But it's undeniable that I want to rise up. That is why, I am grateful that you are renouncing yourself and that you are expelling the rest… However, I will not forgive you if you intrude between him and I."

 After looking at me with ice-cold eyes, Mashiro leaves.
 I send that back off with my eyes.
 It's painful and miserable.
 I don't know why those feelings surfaced, but it's tormenting seeing her figure from behind.

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[1] By the way, Shiori (紫織) has the character violet (紫) in it.
[2] Basically, 'I don't have to be his first priority. It doesn't matter what number I am in his heart compared to the other girls'.