Wednesday, 22 August 2012

[Clotaku Club v1] 2. The Meeting for Operation: Clotaku Club Establishment

When a petite Korean girlfriend comes over, remember: Hide yo keyboards, hide yo drives.

Translator's Note: All lines written in present tense are the protagonist's thoughts.

Translator: Narane
Editor: MadTix

Please enjoy~
____________________


The next day.

Until the classes had ended, I remained disoriented and confused.

I could not pay attention to the classes at all- when I got a pop quiz, I was stunned in place until the guy beside me whispered the answer. I lost my appetite, too, so I spent the lunch break resting my head on my desk.

I must have been visibly troubled all day, since the usual slackers did not come by to ask if I wanted to play outside or go get some food.

...But shouldn't they have asked if I feel alright, or how I'm feeling, if they are really my friends? Those bastards.


I could not answer them even if they asked, anyway...


From my mouth, only sighs escaped; and with my eyes, I only saw the darkness ahead. What have I ever done to deserve being thrown into this situation?

Staring aimlessly towards the teacher who seemed to be disregarding my terrible state, I recounted yesterday's events.

* * *

"You are an Otaku."

- The words that crept out between the tiny lips from the cute girl.

Understanding what that meant to me took longer than my first time attempting to decipher the contents of Nicomachean Ethics back in middle school.The conclusion that I had reached afterward was just the same: What kind of bullcrap is this?!

Okay, no, what she said to me was entirely true; I fully acknowledge that myself, but.


......How did this girl find out?

I said it before, but I am a closeted Otaku.

I made sure to behave properly so that no one in school may find out my status as an Otaku, so how did I ever end up hearing those words?

The blush that I initially had on my face now held a different meaning. I could feel cold sweat dripping down my back.

Don't panic, Kang Injin.

This situation... it must be that; it's a Quick Time Event. If I miss a beat, it will be Game Over, but if I choose the correct action, I should be able to escape safely!

So the choices for my next action are...

1. Silence her by killing her.
2. Silence her by violating her.
3. Invade Japan.

"D... don't say such stupid things... aha, hahaha, ahahaha."

......And that's why you should never relate real life to games.

I racked my brains seeking better words, but that was all I could say for now.

And I also panicked and blurted out a Japanese stock phrase! Am I an idiot?!

"It's too late to try and hide it."

Despite my desperate defense, this kid (she didn't even deserve 'this girl' anymore) jeered at me with a sadistic expression.

"I told you, I confirmed all of my suspicious about you. Of course, I have tangible evidence for my argument. Kang Injin, without a single shred of doubt, you are the very model of this generation's Otaku."

T-tangible evidence? What is she talking about?

Instinctively, I reached for my coat pockets for the MP3 player, and then my backpack for the PXP.

As a Clotaku, who does not have Otaku activities in school, there were only two things that could be considered as tangible evidence.

In the two devices, within my maze of nested folders were various anime songs and this season's anime.

I thought that maybe they've been stolen, but fortunately the MP3 player and the PXP were in their original locations. As I sighed out of relief, she resumed talking.

"Hehehe, you can relax. Even I wouldn't touch others' private property."

"... Well, I appre..."

"Well, other than sneaking in every lunch break to check what you have in there."

"...ciate none of it--!"

I'm pretty sure that's just as serious as thievery! And, really, lunch breaks? All those times when I left my stuff alone to play soccer or get food? Oh, God, no.

I'm sure we all agree that it's beyond distasteful to have strangers look through our computers or laptops.

Remembering what I had in my PXP, I felt my face get redder than Antares (Alpha Scorpii, red supergiant star, reddest star visible on Earth).

Th-then... that thing in my folders, it...

Gaah! Did you find that, too? There's no way you saw it! Tell me that you didn't!

Then this kid threw the finishing blow.

"......You're a pervert."

"Why do I have to hear that from someone who stole my PXP to look through it?! Shut your mouth!"

The damage to my mental health was immeasurable. I felt like I could burst into tears at any moment.

As I crumbled down, as if her cute appearance was a lie, she revealed her true face. With a sinister laughter, she crossed her fingers like an evil villain and continued.

"Kukuku... And that's not all. You're currently playing a visual novel called 'The Promise I Made over that Indigo Sky', yes?"

"H-how did you...!"

At this point I realized that my resistance is futile, so I revealed my honest surprise.

"Among my 'tangible evidence' is a video record of your first time playing that game. I even captured the time back when your mail was delayed, then the game arrived eventually, and you were dancing around like a..."

"Hey, hey, hey, hey!"

Is she crazy? How did she film me while I was in my own room?! What's going on here?!

It just seems unlikely that any of it actually happened, though. She smiled like the devil, briefly looked impressed, and spoke.

"Anyway, you must be very dedicated to order official release versions from overseas. You're much more of a model Otaku than I initially believed. I commend you for that."

"I'm not happy about it at all--!"

The only reason I can play the original versions is because a friend in Japan keeps sending them without being asked! So please don't give me that look!

As I felt my internal organs tie up from embarrassment, she scoffed and resumed talking.

"Hmph, you don't need to be embarrassed. 'The Promise I Made over that Indigo Sky' is truly a masterpiece."

"You admit that it's a masterpiece?!"

"The greatest part was when Asakura Naoki lies to the protagonist and the protagonist chases her."

"Hey--?! Do you realize you just cut down my will to play the game by half?! I was just on Naoki's route!"

"Rinne confesses her love to the protagonist at a hot springs resort, Mizuho loses her memory after a car accident then gets better, Yumi has a wardrobe malfunction at the beach and starts having feelings for the protagonist after that."

"......"

We weren't together for too long, but it was fun, 'The Promise I made over that Indigo Sky'...

I was suddenly depressed thanks to the overload of spoilers. However, through that previous discussion, I noticed something strange.

"......Wait, how do you know so much about the game?"

"That's because I'm an Otaku."

She answered as if it were a needless question.

I should have known from the way she talked. There was no other conclusion to reach from a girl who knew a visual novel title like that, but... it was unbelievable that there exists a cute Otaku girl.

"In any case, the only thing that matters now is that I have such evidence, isn't it?"

Completely ignoring the angry glare that I had on my face, she casually changed the topic.

In retrospect, I still haven't found out what was her reason for going through all this trouble.

She laughed sinisterly once again.

"I worked so hard to acquire this evidence. You were doing really well at covering your tracks."

She made a terrifying expression, like a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. If I saw anyone making this face, I'd immediately know that I should never get close.

"Being a strict Clotaku like this means that you want to remain hidden from the school, right? Then, if I post these videos online......"

Of course.

Wielding my most feared nightmare as a weapon, she threatened me.

"Kuh......"

A chill ran down my spine.

As she had said, if anyone in school saw the video... my life would be over. All my efforts to maintain a facade would be ruined, and my former friends would probably label me as some pervert who plays H-games all day.

Masterpiece or not, that means nothing to the outside world. To others' eyes, it only needs to be in the category of H-games to be condemnable. I would not be able to make excuses.

If she, herself, got caught spreading this video, she would not be safe, either, but......

I quickly peeked at her.

Her adamantly closed lips showed how determined she was to get what she desired. Her shining black eyes looked directly at me, announcing that she would never back away.

...... This girl. My senses are telling me that she's prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her goals. Damn.

I raised my arm to wipe off the sweat dripping down my face. Then I heard a dejected, tired voice escaping my own lips.

"......What are your demands?"

"Phew--"

Accepting my defeat, she quietly chuckled.

Contrasting her evil grin from before, she laughed like an innocent child, momentarily making my heart skip a beat.

......Although, I still don't know what kind of demands I'd get from this girl. I think I'm a weird person myself for having this kind of feeling for someone like her.

What could she want so earnestly that she needed to exploit my weakness?

As a variety of thoughts that mixed reality and delusions rushed through my head, she finally opened her mouth and spoke.

"You will help me start a school club."

* * *

... Okay, that happened.

To summarize the previous events, this Injin guy was found out by a mysterious girl that he is an Otaku, and so he was forced into helping her start a school club.

Honestly, I had no idea what was going on.

She never explained the very basics, such as what purpose the club will serve. All she said was 'I will tell you in the meeting tomorrow', then she just disappeared.

Hey, I found out one thing. Her name is Seo Yeonji.

It was good to know; though she only informed me in the last second, after momentarily reappearing, then quickly disappearing again.

Knowing her name, I could ask around the school about her so that I may understand more of her intentions; however, asking around 'Does anyone know Seo Yeonji? What kind of girl is she?' in an unfamiliar classroom was not something I'd ever do.

Moreover, even if I did ask and learn more, it could not change the fact that I was getting blackmailed into doing what she wanted...

...As long she had that 'tangible evidence'.

"Damn, this is frustrating."

I've spent all of my classes pondering, but no great plans came to my mind.

Though she had said that she was watching me for many months, I had never seen Seo Yeonji in my life. Naturally, I had absolutely no clue what kind of 'club' she wanted.

In the end, I had no choice but to partake in that 'meeting' to understand her motives.

For the moment, I gave up thinking about it.

With the billionth sigh I've had today, I waited for the classes to end.

* * *

After school, I nervously paced around the school's front gate.

Recalling yesterday's discussion, Yeonji had only said 'tomorrow's meeting', so she had no mention of where and when this was happening. That girl was incredibly unhelpful.

I did not know the exact location of her homeroom, so I had no choice but to wait here. It occurred to me that I looked incredibly suspicious here, waiting around the front gates while everyone else was going home.

Yeah, it got pretty embarrassing, having to wait at the front gates alone...

Standing here alone like a gatekeeper, I could feel my face redden from the passing glances given by the last group of students who were leaving.

So please show yourself~ I prayed.


She never showed up.

Maybe I couldn't see her because of her short stature? No, actually, being too short is a notable feature on its own; if she were included in the groups of students, I would have noticed her easily.

Perhaps she was still in school.

Imagining her still sitting alone in class, enraged at me, terrible fear struck my heart. After the school courtyard became devoid of students, I scouted around all of the first year classrooms... but all of them were empty.

What the hell?

I panicked and searched the area behind the memorial, even calling out her name, but she was not there.

......Did she actually forget?!

I laughed in resignation.

She randomly told me 'tomorrow's meeting' and nothing more, then she had just gone home alone. There should be a limit to how selfish someone can be.

Had she changed her mind about starting a club after all?

If she at least told me how to contact her, I could at least ask her what's up. I couldn't do much when I didn't know anything other than her name.

In the off chance that she was waiting in a different area, getting angry alone, I took a tour around the second and third year classes, but... she was not there, either.

"...I should go home."

One hour had passed since the end of school.

I could not find Yeonji anywhere in school, so I left and dragged my tired body back home.

I wonder what was with that girl.

All day today, I was worrying about what kind of things might happen in that 'meeting', but I did not expect at all that she would simply not show up.

I began questioning if yesterday's events were all in my head, sneaking a look behind my back every now and then to see if she was right behind me.

Maybe I was frankly looking forward to the meeting.

* * *

It takes about 15 minutes to travel from my house to the school.

Usually, that would be true, but today's trip felt like it took ten minutes longer than usual.

Likely it was because I kept looking around me to see if Yeonji would pop out from somewhere.

Well, she still did not show up.

"Sheesh."

I felt melancholic. I shook my head, trying to get rid of all these strange thoughts.

I entered the password to my apartment building's front door and headed for the elevator.

This may seem extremely plain, living in a common apartment building like this. In anime or manga, just about everyone seems to live in a big two-story house, but that's just unrealistic for people living in dense cities like Seoul.

I got on the elevator and pressed the button for the 12th floor. I turned on the MP3 player, hoping to forget about my worries from today, listening to anime songs.


When the elevator doors opened, Yeonji was there.


"....?!"


Reacting to the 'ding~~' sound, I took a step forward by habit, and froze in place.

Right beside the front door to my home was the girl, looking like an abandoned kitten.

"You....."

Before I could say anything, Yeonji exploded forward like a predator that found its prey. Breathing wildly, she ran towards the elevator and put her foot between the closing doors and forced her way inside.

"You idiot, why are you so damn late?!"

After she entered the elevator with me, she immediately began kicking me. What are you doing?!

"You... how did you...?"

"I was waiting here for an entire hour! Seriously, my stomach is grumbling, my legs are tired, I'm bored, why are you here this late?!"

I could not have a normal conversation with her. Yeonji went berserk and savagely kicked me, and although it did not hurt too much, the elevator was shaking around dangerously.

I quickly made excuses to calm her down.

"I, I didn't know you'd be here! I thought you were waiting in school. I was looking for you there, so that's why I'm late!"

Yeonji ceased kicking. Already she seemed amazingly tired from all the kicking and punching, as she was drawing heavy breaths.

"Phew, phew... really...?"

"Yes, really! You never told me where we're going to meet in the first place!"

My desperate plea left me breathing heavily, too.

Yeonji looked sorry, and made a weird 'Nyuu--t' sound.

With a slightly reddened face, she replied.

"Alright, so let go of me."

"Huh?"

It finally came to my attention that my hands were seizing both of her arms. I must have done that while I was trying to stop her from hitting me. I quickly let go of her arms.

"S-sorry."

"......No, it's okay."

She replied with a face that said the contrary, continuing her heavy breathing. She looked like she would attack me again at any moment, so I quickly changed the conversation.

"So, how did you even find where I......"

*Ding-!*

I turned around, alerted by the familiar sound. The elevator was already at the sixth floor while my attention was elsewhere. Someone must have called for the elevator while we were causing a ruckus in the elevator.

"Now arriving at the sixth floor."

Following the robotic voice, the elevator doors slid open. A familiar woman from the sixth floor entered, holding shopping bags.

"......"

The woman inspected the scene in the elevator, and pressed the button to the first floor. We remained silent as we waited.

I wonder what the lady thought, seeing 'a boy and a girl who were in a wildly swinging elevator, with disheveled clothing and reddened faces'. Enduring her judging eyes, I kept my mouth shut. When we arrived at the first floor, the woman gave us a final look before leaving.

......Wait, hold on, um, just wait, hold it.

Yeonji awkwardly coughed.

"...Well, the reason I'm here is..."

"Don't answer it now--!"

I'm pretty sure that lady mistook this situation for something else! That lady, she's friends with my mom!

As I was struggling at the sight of my impending doom, Yeonji responded in an extremely neutral tone.

"Whatever. She's a stranger, anyway."

"Maybe to you! I see her every morning!"

Hey, the boy from apartment 1202 brought a cute girl home and did this and that in the elevator~~ If a rumor like that spread in the neighborhood, I will kill myself.

As I began thinking of a way to stop the rumor from spreading, Yeonji stared at me, annoyed.

"Hmph, like I said yesterday, I'm here for our meeting."

She really didn't care about what could happen to me. I replied with a massive frown on my face.

"A meeting?"

"Yes, it's a meeting about creating our club."

Yeonji spoke with crossed arms, light beaming from under her thin eyelashes.

"That's acceptable, but why were you waiting in front of my house?"

If you wanted to meet me, you could have just waited outside the school. Why were you just sitting outside the doorstep like a little cat?

...Wait, that aside, how did she get into this building? The front gates are password-locked. How did you get in here?

"I waited for someone else to open the door for me, and I slipped past the open door."

It was a straightforward reply. I never knew the security here was that loose.

Yeonji continued.

"To answer why I'm here, of course, it's to have our meeting at your house."

"Ahh, I see... wait, what?!"

I almost agreed, until the words registered in my head. Yeonji looked at me like I was an idiot, rolled her eyes, and said,

"Is it strange to have a meeting at a member's house?"

"No, that's not the problem!"

Strange or not, my mom is inside the house right now! If I just brought this girl inside, it's obvious how that woman would react! It's not something I want to see for myself!

"But, we can do it at your... damn, I mean, we can do it at a local cafe or some other place!"

I quickly corrected myself before I blurted out 'your house'.

It may be weird enough for two high schoolers to be together at a cafe, but it's a hundred times better than being at my house!

Yeonji shook her head.

"I don't want to spend money for anything unnecessary. Also, this meeting is extremely important. If others were to know of our plan, it could get catastrophic."

Was she planning on committing treason?!

The elevator arrived back at the 12th floor while I stammered to form a coherent reply. Noticing my agitation, Yeonji made an evil smile and taunted.

"And you, you said you would help me create a club. So provide us with a place to hold a meeting."

Was it just my imagination that it sounded like 'If you don't, these videos will be spread all over the Internet'...?

I had no ways to avoid this. Feeling like I just chewed on a roach, I brought her into my home.

* * *

Well, in anime or manga, normally, the protagonist's parents are never seen in their house. Sometimes the protagonist is an orphan, sometimes the parents are working out-of-country, and ultimately the main characters always get to be alone.

... I realized now why it's always like that. In cases like these, it becomes a huge hassle.

"...I'm back--."

Tossing my shoes aside and entering the living room, I looked around and announced my return, hoping that no one would be home.

Crushing my hopes, various sounds from the television escaped from the bedroom. As I frowned, Mom said the usual "Welcome back, son!" and revealed herself.

"My baby, why were you late today? You could at least tell me if you were going to be late... oh, my."

She expressed her surprise as she spotted Yeonji behind me.

At the moment the 'Who is that?' expression showed, I began stuttering.

"Uh, s-so this girl is....."

I opened my mouth, but I could not pick the right words to say. I couldn't say 'the girl who recently began blackmailing me', and yet I still couldn't say anything positive, due to my fear of being misunderstood.

Yeonji stepped forward.

"Hello, I'm Injin's friend from school."

I silently questioned her with my eyes how we ever became friends, but Yeonji cleanly ignored me and kept talking.

"I apologize for intruding, but I wish to have a discussion about a school project at your house. Is it okay?"

It was a polite and professional tone. I have no idea where she suddenly learned to talk like that.

"Oh my, oh my, oh my, oh my."

Breaking my daze from seeing Yeonji's new attitude, Mom began blabbering. What's wrong with you, woman?

"Of course you can~ is it going to take a while? Would you like to have dinner with us before you leave? You are so cute, you're cuter than the last girl my son brought!"

Mom suddenly began blurting out words. Yeonji stared back at me as if she were looking at trash.

"...You brought a girl home before, too? You perverted animal."

"...It was for a school project. It wasn't just us two, there were three men and one girl!"


Frantically making excuses was quite difficult to do while whispering.

Yeonji scoffed in reply and asked where my room was. I showed her the way to my room and followed after...

"Son, wait!"

...an interruption. I knew it.

"What do you want now?"

"It's not what I want. We have a guest here, so shouldn't we treat her as such and serve some snacks? You're going to get angry if I bring it in the room myself, so I'll prepare them and you can bring them in."

"Ugh....."

Being repeatedly called 'son, son' in front of a girl my age was pretty embarrassing. I hurriedly pushed Yeonji into my room as she observed our exchange, and Mom began whispering.

"Who is that girl, son? She looks just like a doll! I wish I had a daughter like her."

Come on, Yeonji already said 'friend from school'.

I sighed. Just as I worried, my mom interpreted this situation in a completely different way. I guess this kind of thing happens when you become a parent.

"It's nothing, seriously. Just a friend from school....?"

Before I finished repeating Yeonji's pretext, I closed my mouth. Yeonji was peeking out from my room to signal me with her hands. What.

I left Mom alone and walked over to Yeonji. She asked with a muffled voice.

"When's your birthday?"

"What?"

"I said, when's your birthday?"

Where is she going with this?

"Eh..... so the time of my birth, right?"

"...Why are you repeating what I said? So anyway, birthday."

"So, it's July 27th..."

Honestly, why are you even asking me that? I answered out of pressure, and Yeonji disappeared into the room again without a reply.

"...What the hell was that?"

I pondered as I walked back to Mom, now noticing that she was now holding a plate full of snacks and drinks. I took the plate and turned around, and Mom teased in a quiet voice.

"It would be helpful if I left, right? Is an hour long enough?"

"...Don't you leave this house!"

I already know that you're going to go around the neighborhood to say 'My son brought a cute girl and told me to leave the house for a bit~'!


Moments later.

Only after forcing Mom to go back to quietly watching the television, I could go back in the room with the plate in my hands.

I still wonder why Yeonji asked for my birthday.

I was thinking about the reason through the mishap with my mom, but nothing came to my mind why she would want to know about my birthday.

Frankly, it was the first time being asked about my birthday by a girl, so I got slightly excited.

...She's not thinking about giving me something for my birthday, is she?!

As I was having that thought, I felt a tingly sensation. I felt like my face was turning red, so I took deep breaths before entering the room.

I don't have to knock, do I? It's my own room, after all.

With a completely random thought, I turned the doorknob and entered the room. And the first thing that came in sight was...

Miss Seo Yeonji (age 17), attempting to brute-force her way past the login screen of my computer.

"Whaaat-are you dooooooiiiinnnnnnng--?!"

I screamed like an Otaku faced with the danger of a three-year-old cousin touching a pricey figma. Yeonji kept calm and shortly replied,

"What do you think...? As you can see, I'm trying to log in to this computer."

"If there's a lock on it, don't try to get past it-! How can you act like it's a completely normal thing to do, dammit?!"

"When a female character is in a boy's room, it's normal to look for dirty secrets!"

As if there's actually a Korean high school student who hides that kind of thing in his own room! While my jaw dropped in horror, Yeonji grinned mischievously and continued.

"Well, this is South Korea, land of the Internets. I thought that, instead of searching under your bed, if I searched your computer, there would be all sorts of pussycat videos, pussyfooting photos, pussytoe animations, all that stuff. It's a type of localization."

"It's a completely unnecessary localization!"

And you're barely censoring your words!

"So anyway, come here and unlock this. I can't get through it with just your birth date."

"THAT'S why you asked for my birthday--?!"

It never occurred to me that she would have had a terrible goal like that.... What a sad twist! And I'm an idiot for having expected anything else!

Yeonji commented without a single ounce of shame.

"Many kids these days don't realize how unsecure they are, keeping birthdates as their password. It's too bad you're not like them."

I couldn't possibly be more thankful for having a strong password than right now. I felt gratitude towards my past self for saving me at that moment.

Yeonji, however, persisted.

"So, you should unlock your computer right now. Hurry, my fingers are getting tired."

"Do you realize how wrong it is to use 'so' as a conjunction there...?"

I pushed away the girl who ordered 'please enter your password so that I may see your secret files'. Then I forcibly shut down the computer.

"Ah, what are you doing, you idiot?!"

Yeonji became furious and kicked me with her stocking-clad foot. Who are you to ask me that question?

"I don't care what you say to me, I am not going to reveal my buttonquails, cockatoos, swallowtails, and bronze cuckoos so easily. Give it up."

"Why do you have so many bird folders?! ....Hmph, well, fine. I probably don't need to see any of it today."

Fortunately, she gave up. I sighed in relief like Zhang Fei must have done after guarding that bridge alone in Changban.

Yeonji sat down on the bed with a sullen look.

"...And now, we will commence 'Operation: Clotaku Club Establishment'."

...A what club?

* * *

"I said, 'Operation: Clotaku Club Establishment'."

That was the summary to Yeonji's reply to my request of 'could you repeat that, please?'.

I wanted to know why a 'meeting' became a big 'operation' suddenly and why it became so complicated, but that wasn't important. The problem is the following.

" 'Clotaku Club'... what do you mean by that?"

"Namesake, of course."

I don't get it at all.

Yeonji made a shrill voice like a cat who had its tail stepped on.

"As I said-- as the name implies, it's a club where Clotakus hide from the public to do Otaku activities."

After all that, what Yeonji wanted was just an Otaku-related club, like an anime or manga club. I did expect this to be the case, but still.

Yeonji sneered at me just as I believed I had her figured out.

"Heh... you're probably thinking that it's just some average anime club, right?"

Then, are you saying it's some abnormal anime club?

Yeonji added with a grimace.

"The true meaning of this club is in 'Clotaku'! It's all about the unsociable Otakus meeting up, hiding away from class for Otaku activities, much like forming a cancerous tumor!"

Don't compare your own club to cancer-- was my thought, but I did not actually vocalize it. Yeonji continued.

"Kang Injin, why are you a Clotaku?"

"Hmm....?"

It was a very fundamental question. Why, of course I'm a Clotaku because...

"It's because you're afraid of what others think, yes?"

She answered her own question. I reluctantly agreed with her, and Yeonji nodded excitedly.

"Yes, we have plenty of Otakus in this country, but this society does not treat them like humans! It's much like the serfs of the High Middle Ages of Europe, or the Asiatic people in America during World War II!"

Her preferred area of research must be history.

"However, disregarding this outrage, there is also fault in the actions of the Otakus who force their hobbies onto others. So, being a Clotaku means being seen as normal on a personal level, and slowly improving the Otakus' social acceptance on a national level."

...Was being a Clotaku that profound? Yeonji continued without a single pause.

"But being a Clotaku is not an easy task. Sometimes you have to forcibly change who you are, and ultimately it is extremely stressful to be able to express yourself on the Internet only."

"Okay, I agree that it's tough being a Clotaku... but isn't it okay to keep everything on the Internet? Is it mandatory to do that offline?"

After hearing my question, Yeonji grinned.

"Heh. Kang Injin, when you talked about those things with me yesterday, you honestly enjoyed it, didn't you?"

"Oh...."

By yesterday, did she mean by that? About the time I talked to her about 'The Promise I Made over that Indigo Sky'...

Although the entire story was spoiled for me, and all my efforts to play the game after having waited for many weeks were in vain, but... clearly, when I talked to Yeonji about the game, I had a scarcely positive mood.

As a man accustomed to being a Clotaku, the mere action of speaking to another human being about a visual novel was an experience of great amazement that could never be felt online.

"Well, uh... it was a bit fun."

It was not a great deal at all, but strangely, I had difficulty saying so.

Yeonji looked displeased with my words that I had stuttered out.

"Hmph, I was having a lot of fun..."

"What?"

"I-it's nothing!"

I only asked because I could not hear her, but she violently shook her head and began punching down my bed. Stop doing that to someone else's bed!

"A-anyway, Otakus are humans. We're still social animals. I believe that it's unhealthy to be ourselves only online! That's why we need the Clotaku Club! We need a place where only Clotakus can gather so that no others may know of our existence!"

"Hmm...."

I assessed her words.

The theory behind her reasoning was logical. Last year, I had an experience where I went 'I'm jealous~ I want to join them~' at a group of Otakus having a discussion.

... I just could not join them as I was afraid of being labelled an Otaku myself.

However, as a club operated by Clotakus, it was possible to never have opposition from anyone, and as Yeonji expected, we could finally be ourselves within the club.

Ideally, this theory was perfect. Just ideally, but...

"But, is it even possible to operate a club like that in hiding?"

That was the main problem. I wished to know if such a clandestine group could be established in a school like ours.

While I don't have a perfect understanding of our school yet, I know that clubs are very busy here. Aside from them being busy, establishing and maintaining clubs could get very difficult; non-academic clubs tend to be ignored entirely, and even after creation, clubs that do not have any successes get mercilessly dissolved.

Hence, even if the school boards go crazy and green-light the establishment of Clotaku Club, we have to produce notable results that can be seen by others to stay alive. The reason behind creating Clotaku Club and the necessary actions to keep Clotaku Club were in direct opposites.

The Clotaku Club should be created to keep Otaku activities hidden, but to maintain the club we must practice our activities in public. There could be no sillier dilemma than this.

"To my knowledge, we also need at least 5 people to start a club in this school. Will we be even able to find actual 'closeted Otakus' so easily?"

As I carefully pointed out the faults of 'Operation: Clotaku Club Establishment', Yeonji replied with the expression of Zhuge Liang as he waited for Sima Yi to fall into his traps.

"Heh.... I already knew that much. If we attempt to make our club officially, we'll end up writing reports and stuff and it will get pretty annoying. We can't possibly act like proper Otakus in that situation."

Yeonji lifted her legs from the floor and sat cross-legged on the bed. Please don't sit like that with a skirt in front of a guy.

After making it difficult for me to acquire good viewing angles, Yeonji spoke firmly like a judge making the final sentence.


"So, our Clotaku Club will be a perfectly unlawful, secret club!"


...The appreciation I had for this club just got thrown out of the window!

"W-what do you mean unlawful..."

"I mean that we won't try to get the school board's approval."

Yeonji spoke nonsensically, her small chest heaving in excitement. As I remained in silence to think of a proper rebuttal, Yeonji casually spoke like a sage who had just understood the nature of the universe.

"Come to think of it, even if we get the school's approval, all they will do is spare us a few coins and assign us a miniscule club room. We might as well forget about getting an approval."

I don't know about getting funding, but I'm pretty sure we need a club room! We're making a club here!

"In addition, if we skip the approval, we don't have to go through the trouble of finding five Clotakus!"

She was uninterested in the very necessary step of finding actual members for the club. Someone like her could easily find five Clotakus, I was sure.

"Proper Clotakus won't reveal themselves so easily, you idiot. Even if we find a starting point, it's going to take several months to get them to admit it. I'm too lazy."

I had asked 'Why don't you gather some people the same way you exploited my weaknesses before', and that was her angry response. I couldn't tell if she was being eager or lazy about making this club.

"But you did that to me."

"..... Nyu."

I protested so I could reorient this plan to be more lawful, then she made that weird noise again. After nervously twiddling her small toes inside her stockings, Yeonji raised her reddened head and had a tantrum.

"A-anyway! Our club is going to be perfectly illegal! Even if we can somehow make it legal, we're not gonna do it!"

How stubborn can she get?

In our silence, she stared at me with eyes as dark as black pearls, and lifted herself up from the bed.

"I already have a concrete plan for acquiring a club room. Tomorrow, we will discuss 'Operation: Club Room Takeover'. We're going to need a computer tomorrow, so have one ready."

The name of the mission already had an unlawful impression. Wait, before that...

"Hey, you, are you going come here tomorrow, too?"

After standing up, somehow managing to remain below my height as I sat, she nodded.

"Tomorrow and onwards, until we have a club room, this will be the temporary meeting room. You better come earlier tomorrow. If you're late again, I'll behead and dismember you."

Yeonji replied with a cute face.

Someone, please explain why I have to be beheaded and dismembered for being late to my own room.

"This meeting is adjourned. I'm gonna go home now. See you tomorrow."

After saying nothing but her demands, Yeonji wore her backpack to leave. Mom asked her if she wanted to have dinner with us, but she declined, saying she needed to get back before night.


"Phew--."

I saw Yeonji the door and returned to my room. I changed into fresh clothes and jumped on my bed.

It felt like so many things happened today. My mind and my body failed, being weary of today's events. I wanted to lay down a long time motionless without a single ounce of care; not even for tonight's dinner.

"'Clotaku Club', huh..."

Sprawling on my bed, I recounted today's events.

I chuckled quietly, remembering the unending fountain of energy bursting from her small body, delivering a grand speech whilst cross-legged on my bed.

...'Clotaku Club' sounded a little stupid, though.

"Well, whatever."

There wasn't much else I could do. I guess I should continue abiding by her plans.

It wasn't that I liked or agreed to Yeonji's plans, it was because Yeonji knew my only weakness. And, if that club never gets established, my room could be invaded every day, so that was another problem.

...Those are the only reasons. I swear.


In other news,

Because I forgot to silence Mom due to my lamentable condition, I was questioned by my father about Yeonji over the dinner table. I wish I could die.

Also, when I went to bed, I remembered that she sat down on my bed just today... there was some strange fragrance, I could say. Anyway, I could not sleep at all.

...I blame that girl for everything.

7 comments:

  1. I really like this novel. Thanks for translating. O Clotaku is win.

    -Jason

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  2. yes i agree with you way better than an "c;otaku novel" i knew this one is way funny and too interesting

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  3. Very funny, I really enjoyed it. Keep the good work!

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  4. I dont dare to save my sacred files in my PC. Browser history with passwords are mostly recommended

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  5. Am I the only one who actually hates what that bitch is doing and deserves to be punched in the face and humiliated? Cuteness only goes so far. I would have never allowed that shit, even if she was blackmailing me. Then again, I never cared about what society thinks of me anyway.

    So far, I'm unimpressed by this terrible, generic piece of garbage of a light novel. I was HOPING since it was Korean, there'd be at LEAST something different. Nope, outside of the names and settings, this is all shit I can see in literally dozens of Japanese light novels. -_- the only bit that's fresh, somewhat, is the blackmailing. Outside of that, I really hate how InJin is handling the situation, as if her being cute and an Otaku is worth being around. Why are light novels with male main characters with personality and fucking BACKBONE a goddamn rarity? It makes no sense.

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