Master of Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club
Translation of Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja nai to Omotta?’s volume 1, chapter 2.
Translation and localization notes are available at the bottom, but try to finish the chapter before that.
“…G-Good morning, Nishimura.”
It didn’t go as planned from the very start.
The one who greeted with that distinctively shrill voice as I sat at my seat was Schw… no, Segawa.
Hey, you, why didn’t you just ignore someone like me if you’re going screw up that bad? Was it due to some weird pride of yours?
Without any choice, I return the greeting as normal as I can.
Yep, totally normal.
I was personally satisfied with how safe my reply was.
“Hah? What’s with you talking to me all of a sudden?”
But Segawa spat that out with an obviously displeased face.
“Wait, isn’t that way too unreasonable on your part?!”
Weren’t you the one who greeted me?! That was considerably reckless, going by your usual self!
“What, wait… I told you not to get involved with me like that, didn’t I?!”
“Wasn’t that your fault?! That conversation flow was definitely weird!”
“You’re the worst, why would you nit-pick those details?”
“Oh, that one was pretty Segawa-ish. I’ll give that eighty points.”
“Like I said, just…”
Female Student A, whose name I forgot, came beside us while we talked.
“Hehe. You’re close as ever today, too, aren’t you, Nishimura-kun, Akane-chan?”
And who are you supposed to be? I really am getting used to holding down these thoughts.
Hiding how I don’t even know her name, I put on a face and replied.
“Well, we definitely are.”
I answered with what would clearly be a joke to anyone who knew the usual us.
However, it seemed Segawa didn’t take it as such.
“Wha… how I possibly be on good terms with someone as revolting as him?! That’s just stupid!”
Segawa sure shouted that one out loud.
Loud enough to send everyone in the class and the entire classroom into silence.
The silent gazes focused this way from all around petrify Segawa, Female Student A, and I.
The tangible pressure from the countless eyes makes me lower my head in a fluster.
“S-Sorry, Segawa. That was my fault.”
I properly apologize with everyone’s eyes on me.
“I’m sorry too, Akane.”
Segawa flounders with the developments likely exceeding her expectations.
The gazes shot at her from all around said, “Oh man, Nishimura’s really pitiful there. That was awful of Segawa too”.
I must have looked pitiful from our classmates’ perspective since they don’t know anything. But that wasn’t how this was. That was just a slight quarrel between a pair who knew each other’s limits pretty well.
But I can’t explain that. After all, we’ll end up with the trouble of the topic automatically shifting towards LA.
“——You’re really annoying!”
Letting that out, Segawa roughly threw her belongings onto her own seat.
Aah, scaary. And sorry, really.
That said, I can’t quite claim to be the one at fault, too, though.
“I’m sorry, Nishimura-kun, it was because I went and said that, that…”
“Nah, I’m used to it. Hahaha…”
Female Student A who quickly lowered her head is actually pretty cute upon closer inspection. Though I can’t even remember her name.
“Hahaha, what are you, some suicidal hero like Maeda?”
“What’s with that? It’s nothing like that.”
“Hey, don’t say that, he’s alright, he got that waifu of his and all.”
“Isn’t she missing a dimension?”
“That missing dimension is what Nishimura looks for, right?”
The males approach me, perhaps to console me after being shouted at by a bad-tempered classmate.
Aah, what great friends. If only they could install a filter on their words, that is.
“Geez, saying all you like… hey, you, my bride’s surprisingly cute. Not to mention devoted to me.”
“Yeah, yeah, she is, isn’t she?”
“We get it, we get it.”
“Listen to me! Stop looking at me with those considerate eyes!”
“There you are, Rusian!”
A voice, clear as a bell’s chime, echoed throughout the classroom and tore into our conversation.
A voice unfamiliar yet known.
The voice originated from the classroom’s entrance. I turn my eyes; the one there is a petite female student whose black hair almost hid her eyes—eh, huh, Ako?
I stopped myself before calling out Ako. That was close. It’ll be trouble if my classmates find me calling out her given name without any real connection between us.
Let’s overcome this by playing ignorant.
“She’s not from this class, is she?”
“Huh, she’s pretty cute, you don’t know her?”
“Nope, I’ve no info on her. Maybe I don’t see her much at school?”
“…So, Rusian? Who’s that?”
That one word sends a jolt through my body.
“W-Who knows. I wonder?”
M-My character name’s being called out. And in front of all of my classmates.
Crap, this is embarrassing. It’s super embarrassing, on the same scale as that self-introduction.
It feels like some dark history that I never wanted anyone to see, both now and forever, is being divulged.
Besides, why is Ako here? If you have something to ask of me, I’ll listen to it later, so leave for now, please, I’m begging you!
I exchange glances with Ako, pleading for her to return with my eyes.
Ako grin brightly at that.
“Good morning, Rusian!”
And totters straight to my desk.
Why?! I could communicate with Master and Schw through our eyes! Why can’t my bride, Ako, understand?!
“…Eh, Nishimura, you know her?”
“No, I don’t really…”
Ako came before me before I could finish my excuse.
Her face, showing a cheerful smile, seems to peek into mine.
“So you were in Class 2, Rusian? I was looking for you since I didn’t ask for your class, Rusian, and went through most of the classes.”
Ako smoothly continues while I look down, shaking my head in denial.
Aaah, damn, the classroom’s getting quieter and quieter.
I can just sense all the eyes gathering onto me.
Stop it, you’re killing me! I’ll die from the shame!
Aaah, the gazes are coming and they’re saying, “What, Nishimura calls himself Rusian? Woah, how much of a geek is he, lol”! I can’t take it! Even an open geek like me has things I can endure and things I can’t!
And a friend by my side opens his mouth at last.
“Waaaah, no, that’s not it, how do I say this, it’s like a pet name, or something, or how do I say this, it’s something like that!”
D-Don’t look at me!
Don’t look at this now-Rusian me!
A glance her way shows Segawa’s watching Ako with a pale, dazed look.
Well, of course she would, no one really think they would encounter something like this, like some traffic accident.
“Pet name… huh, so you are close to her? Which class is she from?”
“That’s not it, we aren’t like that, you see.”
“Rusian, listen to me too. What is the matter, Rusian, why are you looking down? Could it be that you’re feeling sick, Rusian? Are you okay, Rusian? Rusiaan?”
“Hey, how many times do you have to call out Rusian?!”
I yelled after swiping my face upwards. Who can fake their way out of this hell of having one’s character name called out, over and over again, so loudly in front of one’s classmates?!
“Besides, why are you here?!”
Ako continued, directing an embarrassed smile at my glare.
“I couldn’t stay up too late with you last night, so I wanted to meet you as early as I could, Rusian…”
A jitter ran through.
The silenced classroom suddenly erupts.
“Nishimura, youuuuuu! So you’ve betrayed us, you bastard?!”
“Aaaaahh, what are you saying, Ako?! That’s not it, it’s not like that, really!”
“What’s not like that, she’s totally calling out your name, isn’t she?!”
My classmate grips my collar, jerking it upwards, and shakes me. Sure, he’s probably not serious with that smile, but still, that means he’s not going to hold back with the teasing.
Crap, I’ll have to dodge this somehow or—
“Ah, please, stop that! Don’t bully my Rusian!”
“M-‘My’… she said ‘my’.”
The face gripping my collar trembled.
Ako’s voice changed, a sense of desperation akin to that of a small, frightened animal menaced filling it. A sincere voice that makes one feel guilt-ridden simply upon hearing it.
“E-Erm, hey there. Just what do you have to do with this guy?”
“Ah… wait, that question should—”
That question sent shivers down my back for some reason.
We can’t avoid exposing that we’re comrades in a game, at least, after that whole uproar.
Rather, the mayhem shouldn’t grow any further if Ako gave that honest answer now. Aah, so you’re geeky friends; it would be like that.
And yet what is this intense, foreboding premonition?
That presentiment must have, yes, it must have come from Ako, firmly glaring at my classmate despite her flushed face.
“I’m… Rusian is my important husband.”
Kyaa! She said “husband”?! I heard shouts from the girls.
Everyone in the class got caught up in the explosive excitement.
This isn’t any good, she’s no good, this is all seriously not good!
It’s gone beyond what I can cope with!
I resigned myself to deal with this hell until the chime, but someone came before me.
“Hold on, Tamaki-san!”
A twin tailed savior had arrived.
“Geez, what’s with all this noise this early? I don’t know anything about Rusian or whatever husband you’d invented in your head, but how about bringing your geeky business outside? Don’t get everyone else involved in it.”
How could it be? The chaos throughout the class died down within an instant.
Segawa, who had said that with a sullen look, seems even like an angel at times like this.
Segawa’s words helped me out on multiple fronts.
She shifted away the suspicion on the relationship between Tamaki-san and me by placing the Rusian calling and thing about the husband under the usual geeky label while chasing Ako and I out from the classroom with her attitude today that everyone thought was bent out of shape.
Segawa flashed me a wink out of everyone else’s sight.
She’s good, she’s really good!
That was masterfully done, Segawa—no, that wasn’t Segawa. That was Schw. My friend, Schwein, who overcame life-and-death crises by my side time and time again!
“See? Let’s go outside like she said, I’ll hear you out there.”
However. That consideration was of absolutely no use on Ako.
“Ah, good morning, Schw-chan.”
The few words released from Ako’s mouth after her expression relaxed were capable of bringing various things to ruin.
“Huh, Schw-chan, so you were in the same class as Rusian? It must be nice being together…”
“Wait, can you…”
Segawa convulses at that voice from somewhere in the class.
Nonchalantly wiping off the cold sweat pouring out, Segawa pats Ako’s shoulder. Listen, you get it, don’t you, don’t talk back. Her eyes seem to convey that.
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about, but let’s settle it outside, shall we? Now, let’s get out of the classroom. I’m telling you, go out. You understand, don’t you?”
“Eh, huh? Schw-chan, are you mad?”
“T-That’s enough out of you, Ako, now, let’s go…”
Segawa’s hand tries to tug on Ako’s arm, but whizzes only through the empty air.
Ako had grandly clapped her hands together.
“Ah, I get it. It’s because I hadn’t called you right, isn’t it? Good morning, Schwein-san. I see you aren’t going with your usual look-at-this-great-me today. Ah, could it be related to what you said yesterday about that hidden dark side appearing when you’re Schwein…”
Segawa let out a cry of despair.
I would have taken a screenshot to be save this impressive degree of despair on her face for all eternity if this is in the game.
“C-Calm down, Schw! You shouldn’t be yelling here!”
“Don’t you dare add more fuel to the fire too!”
“Eh, what, the three of you all know each other…?”
Female Student A says, stunned with surprise.
“We don’t, it’s nothing even close to that! Hey, anyway, come here! I’m telling you, comeeee!”
After that outburst towards Female Student A, Segawa grabs both Ako and my necks before walking out with tremendous strength. Maybe it’s that same ridiculous strength one gets during a fire on the brink of death, but she steadily pulls us both along.
“Schw-chan? W-What’s the matter?”
“Don’t call me Schw-chaaaaan!”
Nonetheless, her face was dyed over with intense despair.
“Ako, just what are you playing at?”
Segawa pants with her shoulders heaving.
However, the interrogated, Ako speaks only a few words.
“What am I…? Erm, have I done anything strange?”
In a timid manner, wondering why she’d even asked.
“How about you try pointing out even one part of that earlier that wasn’t strange?!”
“C-Calm down, Schw!”
“Don’t call me Schw!”
“That’s not what I meant!”
Segawa’s already in tears.
I hold Segawa’s shoulder in a fluster and pats it as I speak.
“O-Okay, Segawa. First of all, calm down. Stop panicking. Also, how do I say this, sorry for getting you caught up in that magnificent self-destruction.”
“No kidding! I don’t need that weird sympathy from you!”
Segawa hugs her own head. Oh, and Ako’s peering on with a troubled look.
“R-Rusian, why is Schw-chan so angry? Did I trouble her so much just by calling out to her…?”
She asks me in an afraid manner.
Judging from her cowering and trembling, is she truly unaware?
“That’s not it. It’s because you were calling her Schw or Schwein.”
“Eh… I shouldn’t have?”
“Isn’t that obvious?!”
Segawa bangs on the corridor’s wall.
Hey, how about we leave the wall hitting to a professional? Look, I bet your hand hurts.
“Then how should I call…”
“Couldn’t you have just called me normally by Segawa-san or Akane-chan?”
Ako spoke with growing surprise.
“But Schw-chan’s Schw-chan to me!”
“I’m Segawa Akane!”
“Calm down, Segawa. Ako, you see, Rusian and Schwein are just our in-game names, and we do have our names in real life, right? Think about the time and place, there’s one for everything and all. Please call us by our proper names.”
“But the ones I’m friends with are Rusian and Schw-chan…”
“We aren’t in the game, so that’s not the issue here, it doesn’t matter what we are to you.”
“Games and real life are different, aren’t they, Ako?”
Ako’s eyes widened after we spoke while sighing.
“Eh, why is that?”
What’s that? That’s scary.
We send question marks at each other as all three of us exchange looks.
“What are you saying?”
“Eh, am I the strange one?!”
Ako said with her eyes widened before taking a halting step towards us.
“Games are different… then are we just fellow students in the same year, Schw-chan? We aren’t even friends? Despite how we’d always played together and how we’d talked day after day?”
Turning her eyes away from the hesitating Segawa and towards me, Ako speaks while tears surface within them.
“Are we just strangers with nothing connecting the both of us, Rusian? Despite how I’d said I love you and how you’d said you love me? Despite how you’d married me?!”
“Like we said, Ako…”
I exchange a glance with Segawa.
(W-What should we do?)
(She’s your bride, you do something about her.)
(That’s pretty difficult. A-Anyway, I’ll try pacifying her.)
We converse with merely our sights and I immediate turn towards Ako.
“We are definitely not just mere acquaintances or fellow students in the same year, you know?”
“Aah, that’s only natural, considering how long we played together.”
“Y-You’re lying! Please stop it! You intend to say something horrible to me now, right? Just like in a doujin! Just like in a doujin!”
Tightly hugging her hands to her chest, Ako shouted out as though unable to hold back her thoughts.
What are you blurting out at school?!
“We won’t! You are our friend and our important guildmate too. Isn’t that just obvious?!”
“I think so too. And you’re my important bride in the game too!”
On a side note, waah, that’s super embarrassing.
I thought I would never have the chance to claim someone’s my wife face-to-face in this life.
“Then why were the both of you angry? Was it my fault?”
Ako spoke with upturned eyes, perhaps having cooled down slightly.
“Like I said, I don’t like having my in-game name called out in real life. I’m going with a character that would never touch games… let alone online games. I would be troubled if you were to call me with that Western name.”
“Yeah, it’s pig and all.”
“You shut up.”
Segawa glares at me for that unnecessary comment.
Though there aren’t anyone in this corner of the corridor, students in the same grade can still be seen in the distance. This is no place for us to let our guard down.
“Then, what should I do?”
“There’s no need to think too hard about it. Just call me normally by my name. Segawa’s fine, Akane’s okay too.”
“Se… Segawa. San.”
Ako called out Segawa’s name, timidly for some reason, and Segawa finally smiled and answer.
“We are, friends?”
“Of course we are, what are you saying?”
Ako, too, shows a smile akin to a flower blooming. But on the other hand, Segawa lets out a deep sigh. She must be rather tired. Well, it helps me out too if she understands.
“You can call me normally with Nishimura too.”
“Yeah, Ako… no, Tamaki-san.”
“Ako’s fine, though?”
“That’s not such a good idea.”
“I want you to call me Ako.”
“That’s, well, how about we get to know each other a little more before that?”
I frankly can’t call out a girl’s given name in front of other guys.
“Then I’ll keep calling you Rusian!”
“I’m very sorry, Ako-san!”
That would be way too embarrassing!
Caressing me to comfort me after I hung my head down in melancholy, Ako lets out a happy voice.
“That’s why I love you, Rusian.”
“Like I said, it’s Nishimura.”
A smiling Ako fills my sight as I lift my head. Was I just being too light on my bride with this willingness to forgive everything upon seeing that face?
It’ll be like I’m pointlessly conscious of it if I refuse after being asked by her to call her so. Though I would like to justify that by saying it’ll jumble up games and real life.
“Look, the bell’s ringing, let’s hurry back.”
“Yes! So, Schw-chan… Segawa-san, I can talk to you anytime I want?!”
Bounding across to Segawa, Ako takes her hands and speaks.
“Well, that’s fine, but stop it with the online games talk or Internet talk when we’re at school.”
Those hands turned stiff in an instant at that.
“I mean, there’s nothing else we can talk about…”
Ako says, apparently really disappointed.
“Ako… that’s just too sad.”
Even I lost the strength in my shoulders. Segawa was hugging her head too.
Though I can’t see Ako’s expression, hidden by her longish fringe, her terrible depression’s obvious from her tone alone. Ako, just how do you get along in your class—
Ah, that’s right. That made me remember!
I was thinking that I had seen Ako somewhere; we met at the schoolwide assembly.
That girl who turned ridiculously frightened after I bumped into her, that was Ako, wasn’t it?! She was willing to show me her face at the offline meeting, so I’d never found out!
“W-What should I do…”
Ako, who said that on the verge of tears, was clearly the girl from that day.
So that means Ako usually passes her time like that?
W-Well, sure, it would stand to reason why she really doesn’t have any friends.
“Then there’s no need to force yourself. We can talk all we like in LA.”
Even throughout my revelation, Segawa says out something that must be tough for Ako to accept without any hesitation.
She grabs Ako’s head and turns her towards me.
“In exchange, look, go spend time with your husband.”
“You’re alright even with online games talk, right?”
“I mean, yeah, but.”
“Really, Rusian? You’re okay with that, Rusian?”
No, I’m Nishimura.
I’ll leave correcting that for later.
“I would be okay with it. I would appreciate it if you cut down on the Rusians and it would trouble me being called your husband, but anything else goes.”
Ako may not have many friends right now, but she probably can make as many as she wants, considering those rapidly changing expressions of hers when she’s in our presence.
Also, frankly, it’s not like… I have… that many friends either.
“Were you even listening to me?!”
“I’m glad. I knew you were my ally, Rusian. Rusian, Rusian!”
“Fix that part first!”
Ako trembles from emotion with both hands pulled together at her lips.
My anxiety for her engulfs me. Will she really be alright?
“Nishimura-kun, Segawa-san? What are you doing over there? I’ll be starting home room.”
And Saitou-sensei called out from down the corridor.
“Okaay, we’ll be right back!”
That’s right, that’s right, we don’t have the time now. It would probably cause a even larger disturbance if we don’t return by the bell after that disturbance earlier.
“That’s right, let’s return seeing as we’ve settled this. Geez, I’m exhausted and it’s still morning. I’ll have to make everyone in class know it’s Nishimura’s fault later too.”
“So you’re making it my fault, huh… well, I don’t mind. Ako, you okay? Do you know the way back?”
She properly replied.
Alright; I start walking.
Ako immediately pulls on my shirt’s collar.
“Can you wait in your classroom during lunch break?”
“Sure, but what’s up?”
“I made lunch, so let’s have it together.”
I can see myself freezing up in some awkward position.
And Segawa, who had stood up and walked first, comes to a sharp stop.
“Ah, Ako, what are you saying?”
“I made your share, Rusian. I don’t have too much confidence in it, though…”
Ako said that while looking up at me with slightly blushed cheeks.
The breeze blowing through the corridor sets her fringe aflutter. Her eyes are clearly wet, perhaps from her earlier tears, and they look straight at me.
“Why, would you do that?”
Ako answers with her eyes slightly trembling as I hear her out, unconsciously gulping down my saliva.
“Aren’t we husband and wife, Rusian?”
“……That’s in-game, right?”
“? We did marry, didn’t we?”
Huh? Her words seem to truly express her inner bewilderment.
“…Hey, Nishimura, I’ve been thinking.”
“Aah, I’m on the same train of thought right now.”
I powerlessly reply to Segawa who had turned around with an exasperated look.
Crap, she’s—the opposite of me.
She’s not differentiating between in-game and real life even one bit with regards to human relationships.
“…What should we do?”
“Let’s contact Master… the president by phone. Sorry, but please leave your lunch break free too.”
“What’s happening, both of you? Have I said something strange again?”
“No… let’s have lunch together.”
Ako’s expression lit up like how some dejected cat whose name got called.
Aah, she’s so cute.
She’s cute, really cute… but what should we do about this?
A call to Master got us an okay to go to the student council room during lunch break.
Really? The room doesn’t belong to you, right? I thought about that, but nowhere else came to mind.
After waiting for the lunch break, we visited the student council room.
“I see, so that was what happened?”
In the room devoid of anyone aside from us, Master grins and speaks after listening to our brief story.
“That sounds amusing indeed!”
“There’s nothing amusing about it!”
Can’t she imagine how terrible it got after that?
Our classmates came and asked about everything.
It just so happens that I play the same game as Tamaki-san and the character I made, “Rusian”, just so happens to be married to the character she made.
Yep, that’s as far as our relationship got: all in the game.
As for Segawa, Tamaki-san had mistaken my insulting of her as a pig and she’s actually a complete victim, absolutely unrelated to us!
—Those were the desperate excuses we came up with.
“That took years off my life.”
Segawa and I are utterly exhausted.
“…I am very sorry.”
“No, we aren’t really hoping for an apology from you or anything.”
“You made lunch too, and all.”
I nudge the lunch Ako made in front of me.
I got a girl to make lunch for me—honestly, my heart’s pounding, experiencing this for the first time in my life.
“Lunch made by Ako, huh. I see, Ako feels it’s only natural to make lunch for her husband, Rusian?”
“Is it so strange?”
“I suppose it would not be considered normal.”
Master speaks, amused, betraying her own words.
“Ako and Rusian are certainly close, bonded together by a long acquaintance and mutual love. However, that applies only in the game. Not in reality. Would it not be akin to seriously loving one whom you knew neither the face nor name of?”
Master’s words are only proper. But Ako refutes.
“That’s not true!”
She violently shakes her head and speaks with resolve.
“All the more so; it’s because I didn’t know his face and name! I fell in love with Rusian after talking with him, always being with him, and confiding in him without any other connection between us. Our love is much, much more pure than those mountains of worthless socially apt normalfags!”
“…I see, I suppose I have to agree if you put it that way.”
“Master, don’t get caught up in her flow!”
“Oh, dear, my apologies.”
Master offhandedly laughs.
“Still, would you not agree that she has a point? Ako says she truly loves your personality, without concern for your facial features, your voice, your height, your weight, or any other such factor. Is that not something to celebrate?”
“Like I said, don’t get caught up!”
I stop Master who seems to be leaning towards Ako’s side.
It’s not as plain and simple as that.
“You’re too naive, looking just at that personality alone thing. There are other factors involved in-game too, like the characters’ outwards appearances or their combat capabilities, right? I’m always looking out for Ako, that’s why she has a higher opinion of me than she actually should. She’s not some unbiased judge.”
“…Or so he says?”
Ako strongly shakes her head with the topic back to her.
“That’s not true at all. I’ve played with people aside from Rusian at times too, but everyone would leave, annoyed, before long. But Rusian always stayed with me. No matter how many times I failed, how many times, I forgot, how many—”
Ako speaks, looking at me with an embarrassed smile.
“That’s why I love him.”
She really is cute, isn’t she? There’s no info on her just because she wouldn’t properly look at and talk like this with anyone aside from us, right? That’s definitely it.
Come to think of it, Ako wouldn’t show this face to anyone aside from me, huh? I do feel sort of good about that, maybe. —N-no, that’s no good, though! That “I’m special to this girl, heh” line of thought is definitely no good, though!
“Ah, right, right, good luck with all that. I’ll be on my way back…”
And after saying that in a sullen tone as we stared at each other, Segawa stands from her seat.
“Geez, why are you wasting my lunch break in this sad manner, making me listen to you brag about your love?”
“No, no, wait, Segawa! It’ll turn for the worse if you leave too!”
I desperately hold Segawa back from leaving the student council room.
Seeing how Master’s leaning towards Ako, I’ll be all alone if Segawa were to up and leave too!
I cling onto her, but Segawa spits out words at me.
“Don’t come any closer, you e-flirt.”
“E-E… e-fl-fl… you…”
“That’s right, that’s what it turned out to be, didn’t it?”
“I’m not, I’m…!”
“Not what? You called out to Ako in the game, met up with her, and made her…”
“Uwaaaaaaaaah, stop it, pleaseeeeee!”
No way, I don’t want that!
You can’t go any lower than being called an e-flirt as an online game player!
“E-flirt? What’s that?”
“That refers to those rotten males who scavenge for females without much experience with men and lay their hands on them.”
“Don’t say it out!”
I hugged my head while shouting out in tears.
No way, I’m definitely not becoming some e-flirt! I’ll never accept being called one!
That sad incident will happen again if I do!
“Let’s do this… let’s do this, Ako!”
Ako speaks with a shudder.
“We’ll change your way of thinking.”
“Change my… way of thinking?”
I nod with strength, tightly grasping her shoulders as she looks utterly bewildered.
“Hear me out, games and real life are different. I won’t deny there may be some things in common, but they are different. I will have you understand that, Ako.”
“W-Why must I understand such a horrifying… Rusian, you scumbag!”
“You actually hate me, don’t you?”
“No, no, I love you.”
Sure, your face’s saying it’s really obvious that you love me, but my belief in that’s sort of fading here.
“Well, words are cheap. What do you have planned?”
“Let’s see… It would be nice if there’s something that can show how different I am from Rusian in the game…”
Hmm; I ponder.
How exactly am I supposed to realize how I’m different from Rusian?
“Hmm, so you would only require her to experience the difference between games and real life?”
“Master, thought of something?”
“Aah, I thought up of a good idea, fufufufufufu. Leave it all to me.”
Master smirked and brought out her phone before handling it with tremendous vigor.
“Can we really leave it up to her?”
It’s okay, right? Would be great if it really was okay…
“The Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club…?”
We gathered after school in a corner of the building for clubs as indicated by Master.
What we saw there was a classroom with a brand new nameplate.
“Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation… wait.”
That’s it. Besides, it’s Master calling us out, so it’s something to do with that.
“Nishimura, was there a club like this in Maegasaki High School?”
“I would have entered if there was.”
“Well, you would.”
Segawa nods as well as though it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Sure, it’s true that I would have definitely entered. Still, it is a little annoying having you accept it that easily.
“I would have entered too, I guess?”
“Hey, Ako, you…”
Looks like I have friends. I’m conflicted over whether I should be glad over that or not, though.
“Geez. Even if there was one, I doubt it would have anything tailored for females. Besides, this used to be an empty room if my memory serves me right.”
Segawa looked up at the nameplate and spoke in a doubtful tone.
“Why would you know?”
“I was in the Handicrafts Club next door. I remember the next room being empty.”
Ooh, the Handicrafts Club? It doesn’t seem to fit her, yet it does.
“…I wasn’t making cosplay outfits or anything.”
“You didn’t have to point that out yet.”
You’re making me all that more suspicious.
Well, wearing something from nearly any loli-type character would probably fit her, though.
“And are you still in the Handicrafts Club?”
“I stopped. It gave me less time for games.”
“You really are half-baked, huh?”
Now that she pointed it out, the Handicrafts Club really is next door.
In other words, this room should have unmistakably been empty until recently.
And as far as I can tell, this nameplate is fairly new. No, rather, it looks as though it was put on just today—
“My apologies, it appears I have kept you waiting?”
And a familiar, refined voice came from behind.
Turning about, I see Master showing a calm smile.
“It took some time settling the application. Fortunately, there weren’t any issues.”
She spoke while fiddling with the key she held in one hand. It looks like one of those keys normally used for classrooms at school.
“Application? What are you talking about?”
“Fufufu, you’ll understand once you take a look inside. Now, go on.”
After casually approaching the door, Master unlocks and opens it.
Cold air leaks out from the gap.
Peeking in, it appears to be a somewhat dim room covered by curtains. Four tables are lined up inside with four chairs accompanying them. And there are four monitors lined up as well, along with four full-sized desktops.
The room’s like a really, really small Internet cafe. A space where people like me will totally feel at home.
“Erm, this is…”
“It’s, like, a room someone dreamed up?”
Segawa let out a small breath.
Ako went towards the computers.
And the club president whirled about towards us and spread her hands apart.
“Welcome to the Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club—hmm, that takes some time to say. Welcome to the Netoge Club… no, the Online Games Club? Well, it is of no consequence. At any rate, I am your club president, Goshouin Kyou. Dear members, let us make this club a lively one, hand-in-hand, from now on.”
“The Netoge Club, huh…”
“An Online Games Club, she says…”
She’s serious about this, totally serious.
Showing no concern for the dazed Segawa and myself, Master—no, the club president—continues.
“The club activities comprise mainly online games and offline meetings during rest days. We cannot pay for cash items through the club budget, unfortunately, so I must request you afford them out of your own pocket. However, we are fully furnished with air-conditioning and the connections are based on the school’s. There will be no issue with the environment itself.”
“No, hold on, wait, isn’t this just weird?”
Finally snapping out of sleep mode, Segawa grabs Master’s shoulders.
Yep, it’s weird. Definitely weird.
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean, you say?”
Both Segawa and I surrounded Master and her nonchalant words.
“How did you make a club? Why are these computers already prepared despite you deciding this at lunch? Why are we suddenly club members? Geez, I mean, everything, everything! There’s nothing I can’t poke at here! Hey, Ako, you say something too!”
After passing the conversation to Ako who was walking round and round the computers, she turns back towards us and shows a broad smile.
“Yes? I am impressed at how magnificent it ended up, but there is nothing strange about this, is there?”
“I blame myself for even putting any hope on you!”
The shock Ako received was apparent, but let’s leave her aside for now.
The problem at hand is what to do about this well-equipped room.
“Anyway, what you mean—is that we should make a Netoge Club and play online games together?”
“Precisely. I was somewhat unreasonable, but I had these rather decent computers brought in. The room’s usage is assured, naturally, and I have already received permission for us to connect to the network. We can play online games in this room after lessons starting from today!”
“So we can all play here together anytime from today!”
Ako simply celebrated.
No, this isn’t something to just accept with a smile, is it? Just how many people did you have to trouble to set this up?
“Fu-fu-fu, anyone and everyone can enjoy online games without any hesitation here. What do you think of that, is this not simply magnificent?”
Master’s chest swells with the pride from her own achievements.
“Wow, amazing. I’ll be taking my leave and heading back home, then.”
And Segawa decides straight away to return home.
That’s not fair, you’re totally leaving me to deal with the fallout alone.
“Wait, Schwein, the best has yet to come. Why would you leave?!”
“Don’t call me Schwein! …Listen here, unlike you, I’m perfectly fine with having online games as nothing more than a hobby.”
Crossing her arms before her chest, she speaks in a horribly arrogant manner towards a senior.
It appears Master had decided to observe Segawa’s offensive for the moment.
“I would never think about playing online games even at school. It’s not like I can just go up to a friend and say, ‘I’m in the Netoge Club’ either. How about you just join it on your own if you want it that bad?”
“I do believe those words do not belong with one who would say lines like how making a boyfriend is unnecessary as it would result in less time to spend logged in, however?”
Oh, that’s one odd noise you let out, Segawa.
Might be just me, but I thought I saw that old, familiar critical hit effect there.
“T-That’s only an issue of priorities. Online games are more important than some boyfriend, but that said, it’s nothing to sacrifice my school life over.”
“I wonder, how many m’s could we earn a day if we merely played for another two hours?”
Yet another direct hit shaves away at Segawa’s life bar.
“Like I said, I’m a normal female high schooler at school and…”
“I suppose we will lose the opportunity to play with you, Schwein, as the gap between our levels and hunting areas steadily grow. Oh dear, what an utter shame.”
“Ugh, no matter what you say, I’ll—”
“Hey, hey, Rusian, which is the switch for these?”
“Aah, this one?”
Ignoring that series of offenses and defenses, Ako’s trying to switch the computers on without asking for further permission.
The familiar start-up sequence initiates upon a button press from Ako. Woah, now that I take a closer look, these monitors are huge.
“Hey, Rusian, I can install LA, can’t I?”
“I wouldn’t know even if you ask me… but does it have the specs for that in the first place?”
Can the school’s computer handle online games?
I tap away commands and confirm the computer’s specifications.
Now then, let’s take a look at what’s in this frame with this dialog window.
“Let’s see, the CPU’s a nice i7, huh? Ooh, amazing, the OS’s on a SSD. And the memory’s… 16GB? The graphic card’s SLI’ed GTXs?! What’s with this?!”
The specs are higher than expected; just how much did this cost?!
Another shocked voice covered my astonished words.
Segawa, who was looking at Master, swung her face this way.
“Seriously, look. What’s with this computer? It’s like it has nothing on its head aside from wanting to play online games!”
“Hahaha, I said I brought in rather decent ones, did I not?”
It’s too decent! It’s practically custom-built, isn’t it?!
“Wow, it’s like it’s way faster than my computer too!”
“SSD, SLI’ed graphic cards… 16GB memory…”
Segawa sends glances at Ako, happily fiddling with the computer, while trembling as though losing her cool.
This is bad; Master’s abnormal status afflicting attack landed a critical hit on Segawa. I can practically see a heavy damage over time on Segawa’s life bar.
Her life’s probably going to fall ever lower if this keeps up.
“Come to think of it, Schwein, were your computer’s specifications not rather questionable?”
“Ugh… they are, it’s a hand-me-down. If it’s with this computer, even I can pull them in, can’t I?”
Segawa’s frame sways from side to side.
She takes a step towards the computers, pulls that foot back, and steps forward yet again.
And all without taking her sight off the actual computer for even a second.
“There’s a station prepared for each of us, you may use one all you like, Schwein.”
“Ggh… this is an attractive offer… but this isn’t… but a SSD…”
“Dirty, you really do play dirty, Master. This is too unfair!”
You sure sound happy, Ako.
Master v.s. Schw. It seems the match’s decided.
“Throw in the towel, Schwein, our fight is over.”
Segawa falls to her knees before Master, grinning away.
“I-I get it already, I just have to join, don’t I?! In exchange, I’ll be doing whatever I like with this baby, okay!”
“Good girl. Leaving Ako aside, you do not mind either, do you, Rusian? It appears this marks the safe creation of the Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club, huh?”
Looks like nothing I can do will put a dent in things by this point.
I don’t really care as long as I don’t get lumped with some needless responsibility by Master in the end, anyway.
“Sure, I don’t mind, but Master, what did you make all of these for?”
“What are you saying, Rusian? It’s obviously for Ako and you.”
I mean, I am happy about getting to play games at school too, but did I ask her for anything this absurd?
Looking at us tilting our heads in turn, Master approached one of the computers.
“You said it, didn’t you? —That Ako needs to understand the differences between games and real life. Have you forgotten?”
“Sure, I said that, but…”
I have no idea how that led to this.
“Listen, playing online games here means to game while exposing your face to everyone. Your expressions, your mannerisms while operating your character are completely exposed. You can even convey what you will have normally done via chat through voice instead too.”
Master pats the monitor starting to light up.
“The game character and the one controlling it will be present at the same time. Does that not seem like the best conditions for Ako to experience the differences between games and real life?”
“Aah, that’s true!”
Conversations in chat and actual conversations are completely different.
We’ll probably be incapable of our usual mushy routine and Ako’ll probably notice how I’m completely different from Rusian, won’t she?
“That’s right, it really does. If we play here for a little while, even Ako may settle her misunderstandings.”
“Nn… I don’t think anything will change, though?”
That’s what you think now.
“Just watch, Ako, I’ll shatter those illusions you dreamed up into tiny pieces and show you just how pathetic I am!”
“Yeah, that line alone would have ended down a romance spanning a hundred years.”
“No, I’ll have you witness how that’s nothing compared to my love!”
Segawa gave a strained laugh while I stared off with Ako.
And that was how the first club activity of the Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club began.
“Well then, it should be about time for us to begin. There is still time until school ends and we should be able to fit in a hunt or two.”
“Then I’ll be taking this one!”
Perhaps recovering from earlier, Segawa powers up a computer with enthusiasm.
I sit down as well at the remaining station.
Power it on and… woah, it starts up fast.
“Master, can I set the wallpaper to something cute?”
“Feel free to tinker with it to your heart’s content. Set it to suit yourself. …Aah, it would be for the best if you do not connect to any improper sites, Rusian. It would be a bother if it causes any trouble at the staff room.”
“Don’t direct that to me alone!”
I won’t look at anything like that in front of others! Who do you think I am?!
“Don’t use that usual tone for this! …Besides, you better not install any fishy tools, too, you’ll get us involved in an IP ban as well.”
“I won’t install anything like that! What kind of idiot do you take me for?!”
Schw got mad, but just so you know, I remember those misdeeds you committed.
“You may say so, Schwein, but there was once when you installed an auto-potion tool and could not stop your use of potions, if I recall correctly.”
Yep, there was that. Trying out a prohibited external tool out of curiosity, Schw completely panicked as the poof effect on using potions continued incessantly.
“Come to think of it, I believe there was that ‘I am a bot’ incident too…”
“Stop itttt, don’t bring up my dark history!”
After installing the client while talking on and on, I start up the game.
A small window to enter my ID and password shows up along with the far-too-familiar BGM.
It’s sort of calming how the login window remains the same even when logging in from elsewhere.
“Huh? Rusian, how did you set it to full screen again?”
“Press the Enter key while holding down the Alt key… huh, Ako, you play it full screened?”
“Is it strange?”
Sitting snuggly at the desk beside me, Ako curiously looked up at me.
Full screened refers to showing absolutely no windows aside from the game’s on the monitor. To put it in another way, it’s a mode where you can’t do anything but play.
“I mean, if you’re full screened, you can’t look at wikis or anything, right? And besides, you’ll get minimized whenever you get some notification or message and stop moving too.”
“Yes, I always do, though?”
“What are you, a newbie?”
No, sure, I guess you are one despite playing for over a year, Ako!
Damn, so that’s why she stops moving at strange times, leading to my deaths, I get it now.
“…Eh, what are you saying? Isn’t playing it on full screen normal?”
There’s a newbie here too!
“You, too, Schw?! You’re supposed to be DPS too!”
“B-But they say full screen is lighter on the computer! I’m only taking extra caution because the specs are bad, what’s so bad about it?!”
Aah, so that’s it.
Come to think of it, full screen really is a little lighter on the computer. There are times to set it that way when under-specced.
“I see now, sorry about that, please don’t get angry.”
Pressing down on the keys, sullen, Schw set LA as full screened as well.
Guess I should hold off on pointing out this computer is unquestionably capable of window mode.
“But still, there’re times when you have to confirm some information while playing, right? What do you do, then?”
I ask the question that popped into my mind.
I wonder what happens if you can’t show the information on the side?
I asked without any real concern, but Segawa blushes slightly and averts her eyes from mine before speaking.
“…That’s, well, on a nearby memo pad.”
“You’re noting down walkthroughs for online games by hand?!”
“Shut up already! Who cares about what I do!”
Schw slams on the table.
True, it is rather amusing imagining how Schw would be glancing at a memo pad while moving the mouse around with her small hand while playing.
“By the way, Master, what about you?”
“I normally run on full screen too. …With three monitors, though.”
“”The rich should just go and shuddap.””
Ako and I managed to perfectly line up our words.
“Now then, have everyone logged in without problem?”
“Yeees. Ah, it’s Rusian. Good afternoon, Rusian… there.”
◆ Ako: Good afternoon, Rusian.
A line of chat from Ako shows up on my screen after she says so.
What meaning was there in doing that?
“I’m right beside there, you don’t have to type it out in the chat.”
“Ah, you’re right.”
Also, your typing’s really slow. You peck one key at a time while looking at the keyboard?
It’s because of that and your love for chatting that the party’s always in danger.
“So, what do we do? Hunt or something?”
Schw’s character shrugs his shoulders along with her words.
A glance shows the person inside shrugging her shoulders too.
Oh my, what a honest fellow we have here, too.
“Certainly, our coordination should be perfectly with this. Let us continue from yesterday and hunt at Great Bluenk Volcano. We will surely be more effective than usual.”
“Grinding even after all four of us are gathered here… well, I’m okay with it, though.”
“Very well, let us—”
“No, wait for a moment.”
I interrupted Master’s words.
There’s one thing that had always bothered me for a long time. I want to take this opportunity today to confirm it.
“Ako, lemme see your equips for a bit?”
“Yes? Go ahead?”
I peek into Ako’s screen as she sits beside.
Taking care to not be conscious of how it’s like I’m leaning into Ako, I check her equipment.
A surprised exclamation escapes from me.
I felt light-headed for a moment. No good, this isn’t good at all.
“…Ako, we said we’re heading for the great volcano now, so why are your equipment water-resistant?”
“I make sure to wear this dress since I’d received it from Rusian.”
Kyaa; Ako hides her face with both hands.
“Don’t just go kyaa here! I passed that to you when we were going hunting at the sea, didn’t I?! Just go and wear your fire-resistant stuff!”
“Eeh, but the Flames Robe isn’t cute, you know?”
“Hey, you know, that’s not what we mean here… wait, woah. What is this supposed to be?”
Peeking into Ako’s screen as well, Schw spoke in an exasperated tone.
“There are all these weird enchants on this rod, but just what is it? I’ve never heard of this, what is this Pink Star Kira-kira Rod?”
“Shiny stars pops out when you hit an enemy with it. It’s totally adorable!”
Ako speaks with the full intent of bragging, but Schw only roars at her with a complicated expression comprising both surprise and understanding.
“I’d always thought there were these ‘kira ☆‘ things every now and then during battle, but it was all due to you, huh?!”
“Why are you laughing, Master?!”
Aah, what sort of a ridiculous land mine have we been building up?
“Eh… could it be that my equipment are weak?”
Did you really just realize? Ako peeks at me in a fluster. Do we even have to point that out?
“You could call it weak? Or soft? Or rather, you’re looking down on the game. Hold for a bit, I have an Affection Rod for healing in my storage, so I’ll lend it to you.”
“But I have that?”
“Then use it!”
With the equipment Ako personally called, “uncute”, pushed onto her, we finally made our way to the map for Great Bluenk Volcano. I feel hot just looking at the insides of this volcano. Monsters rather strong against the fire element swarm across the map, but they pose no real danger to the four of us.
Passing through the entrance gate, we line up at the entrance to the hunting spot for four and head for the cave’s depths covered in flames.
“Well then, let’s set somewhere that looks good as our base for now. Ako, buffs please.”
Ako gingerly taps her keyboard and uses her skill on Schw after that request for strengthening magic for allies.
Jwaan! A sound echoed out loudly from everyone’s speakers.
“The sound’s coming from everyone, huh?”
“Yeah, we’re together, after all.”
“Ooh… so if I do this…”
“Aaaahh, shut up! Or rather, you’re making it lag! How long are you going to go ‘jwaanjwaan‘ for?!”
“Ehehe, I’m sorry.”
“The enemy’s coming while you’re fooling around!”
“Very well, watch on as my flames burst from my umaibou here!”
Master begins the chant for magic with a flourish.
Both Schw and I shouted out at that moment.
“You’re banned from using cash items, Master!”
“W-What?! I will have nothing to use otherwise!”
“Huh? Let me take a look—woah, why do cash items make up half of your inventory?!”
“Are cash items not stronger? What need is there for anything but them?”
Her expression tells us she has no idea what we felt so strange.
Aah, it’s people like these who allow online games to prosper; that mysterious, strong emotion runs through me.
“Wait, Rusian, do something about her!”
“I don’t lose anything from others using their cash.”
“You’re the worst!”
I’m kidding, just kidding.
“Right, Master, you’re prohibited from using cash items while we’re here.”
“What tyranny! Do you not recall that I am your guild master, your club president, and your student president?!”
“That’s enough, just shut up.”
We head deeper into the volcano while defeating the enemies on the way.
It wasn’t exactly tough as the enemies didn’t come as one, but I’m hardly used to the controls on this machine.
“Nn, using this sure is annoying.”
“Rusian, you find it difficult using a different computer from your usual?”
“That’s not it.”
I tap on the mouse.
The problem isn’t with the computer itself but the external peripherals.
“I usually set it to move with a click and play with one hand, using a mouse with side buttons, you see. So it’s annoying using my left hand.”
“You always play using one hand? What sort of mouse do you use?”
“It’s just a normal twelve buttons mouse.”
It’s not hard finding one on the market. It’s nothing rare.
Still, Schw scowled at me with a squint as though looking at some abnormal animal.
“…Do you have a screw loose somewhere?”
“Now that’s rude.”
I mean, using just one hand is more relaxing and if it’s possible to move by clicking, that’s what it would end up as.
“That reminds me, speaking of unique mice, I brought an interesting article along. Standby for a little there.”
After saying so, Master left her seat and scrounged through the shelves in the back.
She may have brought various things in already as I can see multiple boxes and tools on the selves.
And she takes out a large, oval keyboard from there along with a mouse that resembles a flight stick.
“Behold, this keyboard and mouse are from the very apex of cutting-edge ergonomics!”
“Are they really grounded in ergonomics? Their shapes are really out there.”
“The one who thought up of these must have lived in the future. They’re truly lovely!”
Ako appears to feel something for them as she agrees.
Aah, she’s definitely the type to like weird things like this. She’s my bride, after all.
“So, they’re shaped oddly, but are they really all that easy to use?”
“They are difficult to use. To a terrifying extent, even.”
Master replied instantly without even a trace of hesitation.
“…Just toss them away.”
“I want to try them!”
“Ako, try saying that after you learn how to use a normal keyboard!”
We arrive at the deepest area as we continued on.
“I feel like I’m seriously exhausted just getting this far.”
“But Ako’s healing is better, stats-wise, so it’s more relaxing than usual, huh?”
“But it’s not cute… Rusian, are you fine with that?”
What is she saying?
I won’t say that appearance, cuteness, is completely unnecessary, but beauty lies with the strength of equipment when it comes to hunting.
That’s the prim and proper dress code, so to speak.
“I guess I’ll say this just in case, but I’m more thankful for your ability to protect me than how cute you look.”
“Ah… I guess, so.”
After saying so with a wry smile, Ako’s eyes flashed open as though realizing something.
“That’s true, no matter how cute they are, there’s no meaning to it if you die, Rusian. Yes, I’ll do my best for you, Rusian!”
I’m the one troubled if you’re to say that with such a genuine expression.
“Then, I’ll randomly go get some enemies, so I’ll be counting on you if they spawn here.”
“Leave it to me.”
After watching Master firmly nodding with a composed expression, I immediately turn to the remaining pair.
“Counting on you, Schw, Ako.”
“Yes, I’ll use what little power I have to its fullest!”
“I’ll put in my all to ensure she doesn’t add in any funds.”
“Is this money not mine to spend?! Why would you?!”
Leaving the trio, I gather up the enemies about.
Taking care to get hit as little as possible, I race back to the base.
“Everyoneee, I’ll be back in around ten seconds!”
It’s really relaxing, not having to type that into the chat while moving. I make Rusian run on, avoiding the attacks with ease.
“You can count on me, I’ll wipe them out with area-of-effect magic—what is it, Schwein? Why do you hold my arm down?!”
“That! You were! Trying to use a cash item! Weren’t you?!”
“Do magicians not live solely to flaunt their grand magicks?!”
“Then why would you buy firepower with money?!”
The fight outside the actual ring’s getting worse, but is this really alright?
“I’m reaching, you ready?”
“Khh, very well… come as you like!”
“Okay, come at me!”
The pair took up their positions at the last moment.
Alright, they’ll make it.
“Threee, twoo, oneee, now!”
Ice magic rained down immediately after my character dove into our base.
“Taste my perfect blizzard! Hahaha, what perfect timing!”
“It’s so perfect that they’re all going for you, Master!”
“That’s too much freedom from you!”
Hit by powerful magic before they decided on their target, the monsters immediately switched target to the magician Master controlled.
With her cashless magic unable to mow them down in a single hit, all of the enemies swarm onto her.
“How does the usual me and the current me differ… it is but a matter of pride and cash…”
“Perfect blizzard, Master is dead.”
Ako lowers her eyes and offers a silent prayer.
“No, seriously, Master’ll die, wait, really… she really died!”
Master melted soon enough, surrounded by a crowd of enemies.
Yeah, that would happen. I knew it; I knew it from when her magic activated.
“What will you do about this! Ako, revive, resurrect me!”
“Erm… Rusian, which icon was Revive?”
“When this battle ends, I’m getting married with Schw!”
“Why are you giving up already?!”
“But you’re already married to me! What are you saying?!”
“Ako, get to the wall, the wall!”
That said, Master’s magic had landed a good hit on them. Though it brought us to the verge of death, we somehow managed to annihilate them.
“I’m just exhausted all of a sudden…”
Master crosses her arms as she triumphantly talks to Schw, moaning with her hand practically leaving her mouse.
“That is the result of rejecting microtransactions. This is what happens when you are frugal with your microtransactions. Hear me, microtransactions are akin to offering alms to the management. It is only natural for divine punishment to descend if you are idle with those offerings to the management, our god; it is but divine providence.”
“Stop trying to fit it as some sort of religion!”
An “orz” speech bubble shot out from Schw’s in-game character. She seemed as though she would go on and fall onto the ground in real life, too, if I let her be. —Not that I disagree with her.
“Schw-chan, you’re always using that, but how is it read?”
Ako curiously asks.
“orz… isn’t it o-ar-zee?”
“I read it as the words, ‘slump over’, though?”
“It’s ooz, ooz, I won’t accept anything else. …Well, then, I’ll take my leave for a little, so go on ahead.”
“Don’t you dare ask.”
Waving her hand, Schw left the room.
True, the room’s cold for the computers, so the urge will probably come quicker.
With Schw gone, the only ones left were the three of us.
“…Right, now’s the time.”
I grinned as I spoke. I’ve been looking for this opportunity since we set out on the hunt.
Controlling my character a bit, I then walk over to Schw’s desk.
“Rusian? What is the matter?”
“You see, Ako, if you do this here…”
I fiddle with Schw’s mouse.
“Oh-hoh. There is this handy item I own if you intend on doing that.”
Master, who peeked in from the side, fiddles with it too.
“Ooh, looking good there.”
Clickity, clickity, click—
“I’m back… Ako, am I still alive?”
“You’re perfectly healthy!”
She calls out with an expression pretending she knows nothing when Schw enters the room.
“I’ll be back with enemies straight away, get ready!”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it. Geez, can’t you give me a break for… once?”
Schw comes to a stop after sitting on her chair and facing the monitor.
Kh, ku-ku-ku, just as expected.
That’s exactly the dumbfounded look I wanted to see!
“Wait… huh? Eh, what?”
“Schw, I’m heading your way!”
“Heading my way, what?! What’s this?! Why am I wearing a bear costume and holding a spring onion?!”
Yes, Schw’s character is brilliantly disregarding the dress code for hunting, equipped with a bear costume good for nothing more than its looks and cuteness as well as a spring onion sword, a joke item from an event.
It goes without saying that I had done along that with Master.
“C’mon, treat this seriously, we’re in the midst of battle.”
“Practicality over cuteness, Schw-chan!”
“You’re the last person I want to hear that from, Ako! How dare you all just go and change my—hey, the enemies are already here!”
Just as I jump onto our base.
I had regulated their numbers to prevent any casualties this time round, but that said, they aren’t anything insignificant.
“C’mon, c’mon, Schw, stop wasting your breath and fight!”
“Aah, geez, I get it already! Don’t blame me no matter what happens! Wait, woah, this spring onion’s packing some firepower!”
“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, it is at its enchant limit thanks to me, after all!”
As the one who’d prepared the spring onion, Master laughs out loud.
Ooh, she’s serious. It’s really ripping through the enemies. That’s one ridiculous spring onion.
“Master, how do you spend your money?! Aah, my Schwein-chan’s…”
A bear costume slicing up enemies as it swings about a spring onion.
A horribly surreal sight.
“What have you done!”
“It’s just a bit of a joke, don’t get mad! Don’t… woah?!”
It was after that, that the person behind the character came slicing me up.
It was only too bad that this, on the other hand, was not surreal but simply violent.
The bell announcing the end of club activities chimed as we returned to town with a hunt finished.
“Aah, that was way more tiring than our usual hunting…”
Taking her hands off the mouse and keyboard, Schw shakes her hands as she speaks.
“Our efficiency had improved over our usual, had it not?”
“That’s just because Rusian took over Ako’s controls half the time after a while, isn’t it?”
“You are really good, Rusian.”
“And you should be practicing more.”
Schw stretches herself with a groan.
We’re at our usual haunt in town, the cafe.
As always, Ako snuggles up to my character’s side and a whisper chat opens up with a pikon.
◆ Ako: Good work, Rusian.
“Like I said, you don’t have to do that, Ako.”
Nothing would change from usual with that. I need her to talk to me, beside her, instead of Rusian, my character in the game.
“Ah, that’s right. Then…”
Nodding, Ako’s face scoots to my ears.
“Wha, hey, Ako…”
“…Good work, Rusian.”
A warm breath tickles my ears as she “whispers” into my ears.
Ako remains in that posture as my body stiffens up.
“Thank you for everything, I feel like I’ve been of more use to everyone than always.”
“R-Right, that’s good to hear.”
Continuing on by gripping my arm, she holds it tight, practically pinching it.
“What did you mean by ‘When this battle ends, I’m getting married with Schw’!”
“No, that’s, well, just a joke.”
“Then you should have said it to me. Rusian, I hate you!”
After saying so, Ako darted away from me.
And she turns her face away in a huff. I can’t see the expression she has on.
“Ah, no, I’m sorr…”
Flustered, I struggle for an excuse and Ako speaks as though to interrupt my words.
“—I lied. I love you.”
Turning back towards me, Ako speaks while acting like a sulking cat.
My body grew warmer, bit by bit, just looking at her.
Despite it being barely any different from our usual chat, doing so in real life like this… not good, I’m getting swept into her pace. But really, I’m starting to wonder what’s wrong with that?
Ako’s expression switches rapidly and she looks up at me as I struggle against those thoughts.
“H-How was that? Have you fallen in love with me? No, have you fallen in love with me again?”
“………That part, you didn’t have to add. I might have fallen otherwise.”
“N-No way… what have I done?”
“No redo’s. Geez…”
Damn, and I would have fallen with just a little—no, wait, that’s not it. That was dangerous, I’m glad I managed to hold up. Yep.
“Hey, Nishimura… do you understand our goal here?”
Segawa looked towards me with disgusted eyes as our conversation continued.
Erm, our goal… aah, that’s right! We were supposed to have Ako stop it with that husband thing!
“Ah, right, come to think of it, that’s right, hahaha…”
“This is no time to laugh! We’re doing this for you!”
Schw bangs on the table. No, really, my bad.
“And the goal of the Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club has yet to be accomplished, huh? It appears there exists a necessity for club activities tomorrow as well.”
“Eeh, we’re keeping this up?”
“We can stop if you want to, you know?”
Ako smiled and spoke as she pointed at the computers.
The temptation must be tough for her with the low specs on her computer back home. In fact, Schw stared at the monitor before her with a bitter look before letting out a breath, seemingly defeated.
“…Well, fine. I’m not against it or anything.”
Segawa spoke with her head hung down.
“That was really fun, wasn’t it?”
“…I have to agree.”
I nod as well to Ako’s sincere laugh.
Though it wasn’t our goal, yeah. It was seriously fun.
“I have to admit it was fun, but…”
Segawa speaks softly as her sight slowly sweep across us and she takes in a breath.
“It feels like the boundaries between real life and the game are fading away, you know…?”
“Did you say something, Schwein?”
Segawa shook her head when Master spoke so out of the blue with a smile.
“Not really. Anyway, that’s enough, right? I’m going home.”
Segawa quickly switches the computer off and leaves her seat with her bag.
She heads for the door without turning back, just like that.
“Ah, hey, you’re going back all alone?”
“Why do I have to go back with you?”
Schw would be a different case, but Segawa would never head home together with me, huh? That certainly is obvious.
I call out to Master, seeing Segawa off from the room.
“What about you, Master? Heading back now?”
“I still have some business to attend to in school. The two of you can feel free to leave first.”
Master speaks in a cool yet cheerful manner.
Two of us, huh?
You meant to emphasize that “two of us”, didn’t you?
“Yes, let’s go, Rusian.”
I didn’t say anything about us catching up with Segawa on the way back.
I could only see Segawa snapping after getting called Schw-chan over and over again as we returned if we did.
“Today was really fun, wasn’t it, Rusian? I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
“Well, I guess.”
Ako squints at the setting sun ahead of our school route, somewhat fatigued, as she let some words out.
“It is a little tiring, coming to school multiple days in a row for the first time in a while…”
“How do you live, normally…?”
“Erm, I’ll be counting on you to support me in the end, Rusian, so I figured it would be alright.”
“Hey, hold up there.”
How are you planning for your future? I have no intention of approving that.
“Eh, could it be that you prefer a dual income family, Rusian?”
That’s not the problem here.
Still, well—if I am to choose from either.
“That’s right, dual income’s better.”
“Eh? What’d you say?”
Ako immediately asks back.
“…Like I said, dual income’s better.”
“Eh? What’d you say?”
Ako immediately asks back.
“Eh? What’d you s-”
Ako asks back, pretty much interrupting me now.
I chase after Ako who flees down the school’s street while laughing.
But with Ako’s slight physique, I caught her after what could hardly be termed a chase.
“Reflect on your deeds, scoundrel!”
“I am very sorrrry!”
After I rub Ako’s head, having easily captured her, she happily narrows her eyes and smiles.
I look towards her as I ponder just a little.
Does she really not come to school much?
“Rusian? What is it?”
“Aah, it’s nothing. Was thinking about how I’m getting used to being called Rusian in public.”
“I-I’m sorry, Nishimura-kun.”
Ako corrected herself after all that time.
There is a fair number of students nearby leaving school after their club activities and I feel glances from them. Still, seeing how I’m playing it off with just a “sure is embarrassing, huh”, it seems I’ve developed some resistance towards it.
Not that I need it; that resistance isn’t helping.
Ako tugs at my sleeve after walking forward, slightly dispirited.
“When we walk like this, do we look like we’re friends too?”
“Well, of course we do.”
We are, in fact, friends, after all.
“Then do we look like lovers?”
“I can’t quite say.”
While we are walking together, that’s all to it.
“Then do we look like those normalfags winning at life, you think?”
“I would definitely hope for my death if I were to see us nearby.”
That’s the truth.
Walking with a girl this cute pulling on his sleeve. That’s definitely worthy of an execution by explosion.
“Fufufu… eat your hearts out, normalfags!”
“Calm down, calm down.”
We walk down the route as I chide Ako, showing a sinister smile.
The night’s coming ever closer with the sun sinking.
The neighborhood begins changing from a vivid orange to a dense black.
“At any rate, we are heading home pretty late, but would it be any problem for you? Did you contact your parents?”
I ask Ako and she replies, looking forward instead of towards me.
“I’ll be okay. Neither of my parents are home much.”
“I won’t be able to play every night otherwise. No, mind you, I do switch off and greet them when they get back.”
After saying so, Ako turns her eyes towards me and smiles.
I play even with my family back home, though—let’s leave that aside.
Ako’s voice sounded somewhat stiff when she mentioned her parents weren’t home. Those words she spoke without looking at me. Was that a sore point?
Heck, she said she didn’t have any friends, didn’t come to school much, and her parents weren’t home much either.
“No, it’s nothing. …Let’s get a meat bun at the convenience store before going back, I’ll let you have half.”
“What’s with that, it’s just like something those socially apt normalfags would do!”
“I know, right?”
Pushing on Ako’s back as her eyes shines, we slowly walk on.
I tried my best to evict the part of myself indulging in the thought of helping out this girl in a sense different from that in-game.
Localization / Translation Notes
“Master of Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club”
From “Master of Epic”. It’s really long, when written, compared to its kanji equivalent.
Maybe I should use its acronym instead? (more info)
“Please stop it! You intend to say something horrible to me now, right? Just like in a doujin!”
Lighter variant of a particular meme. (more info)
“Rusian, you scumbag!”
Localized from 「まさに外道です」, the gedou baby meme.
I tried linking it to Scumbag Steve which is somewhat similar, but I suppose no one would get that. (more info)
“Modern Communications-Electronics Recreation Club”
Localized from 「現代通信電子遊戯部」.
「遊戯」, in particular, is a somewhat traditional word for “game”, but English seems to lack a word with such nuance.
Thanks for the suggestion, Solitary Recluse.
Hopefully obvious enough, but it’s “Internet Game”.
Would “Netgame” work better? I personally just like how netoge sounds.
“How does the usual me and the current me differ… it is but a matter of pride and cash…”
An application of the somewhat obscure 「慢心、環境の違い」 meme. (more info)
“When this battle ends, I’m getting married with Schw”
- Translation – Tap