After school, I was greeted by the familiar little girl crouched at my front door.
"So, why are you always sitting there?"
She could always wait for me in front of the school gates and join up with me from there; what a strange girl she was.
Her answer to my question was,
"Hmph, if I'm seen walking with you, others might get the wrong idea."
How nice of her to say that.
However, regardless of her twisted inner nature, she was undeniably pretty. If I were to be seen by anyone I know while accompanying her, it may potentially evolve into bigger hassles...
...But that was only a lie I wanted to believe.
"...We need to get there slowly, I think--."
Yeonji looked like she murmured something. I had no chance to decipher her mutters while healing from the slight crack in my ego. Sorry!
"A-anyway, there's no problem if you just get here earlier! Just open the damn door."
I wish I knew how she can so easily conjure up the courage to demand others to let her invade their homes. I reluctantly accepted and opened the door.
At Yeonji's second intrusion, Mom reacted as I had feared.
"Oh, oh my, hello again! Welcome, welcome. You must have dinner with us today. I'll even drive you back home~~."
I felt a piercing headache.
I better quickly make that damn Clotaku Club or whatever happen, and stop Yeonji from ever coming back here.
As I made that promise to myself, which would please Yeonji greatly if she found out, I sealed Mom in her room and joined with Yeonji in my own.
"Hey, turn on the computer."
Yeonji commanded me as soon as she had entered the room. Like a dirty nobleman demanding 'Strip off your clothes and lay down, slave!' her tone was autocratic but natural.
As a relevant side note, there was only a single chair in my room. After I turned on the computer for her and relaxed on my bed, I could only blankly observe her actions from afar.
The startup process finished and the desktop wallpaper (it was the default image; I already changed it yesterday) revealed itself.
Apparently displeased at the green meadows under the blue skies within my desktop, she scoffed. What's wrong with that?
Following that curt response, Yeonji laid her small hand on the mouse and double-clicked on the icon for 'My Computer'. Then she checked the 'Properties' menu on my disk drives, picked the one with the largest size, and began a search for '.avi' files.
Sure, I saw this coming from a mile away... but she actually did it while I was directly behind her, watching her every move. What a scary girl!
Although her 'pussycat videos excavation' from yesterday was clearly engraved in my memory... she must have taken me for an idiot, thinking that I would make the mistake of keeping incriminating files after she had told me that she would use my computer today!
Those pussycat videos you are looking for were... heh, they were all transferred to my external hard drive! Good luck finding them!
... However, I did have a terrible realization about myself when I saw the total size of the files that I had transferred.
I stared at her with a jumbled feeling between anxiety and confidence. Meanwhile, Yeonji initiated multiple searches at once with a variety of advanced search functions involved.
From .avi, there were searches for .mp-, .wmv, .flv, .asf, and when there were no results, she moved onto .zip, .jpg, .gif, .bmp, and finally .txt.
Of course, she could not find anything that was of great importance. I already searched for them myself in case I left a stray file.
I wanted to break out in a mocking laughter; I restrained myself in fear for the stocking-clad kicks in my way. In any case, God bless South Korea, the land of IT.
"Nyuu.....! Why aren't they there....?!"
After her elaborate but fruitless attempts, Yeonji let out a noise like a kitten who received an unopened can of cat food.
And what do you mean, 'why aren't they there'? Why is it so important that you find them?
Before I could ask her if she would please stop her useless searches, she pouted and began typing in different keywords.
The keywords appeared as rapidly as the rate the new search windows were opened.
...What the hell are Avatar and Transformers doing there, why are you even searching for them?!
"Hey, what are you doing?!"
Breaking out of my stun, I sallied forth to prevent further appearances of any dangerous keywords. My past decision to buy wireless input devices shined in that moment, as I lifted my mouse and keyboard above my head and Yeonji was easily suppressed.
"Ah, stop that, you idiot! Give it!"
Would you give it back if you were in my position?!
I ignored Yeonji as she hopped up and down to retrieve the mouse & keyboard and looked at the monitor. The last search window had some letters which terminated at 'Peni'.
...What were you going to search, the Peninsula Campaign?
"I said give it to me, you idiot, dummy, pervert!"
Clearly you're the pervert here!
I could not continue to keep the devices out of her reach as she began kicking; Yeonji realized that she could not jump high enough to get to my height. I drew her attention away with my keyboard as a bait, and snuck in a light knock on her head.
"Get a grip, Seo Yeonji."
Yeonji froze on the spot as if I had pressed her power switch. She stood wide-eyed as I sighed and talked to her.
"You're not going to find anything. Let's just start that meeting now."
Look at her, grumbling like that.
Seriously, why do you want to see those files so much? Search them online in your own room.
...But that was not something I would say to a girl. While Yeonji was hissing and puffing up her imaginary tail and fur, I made a sort of confession.
"If you think about it sensibly, there's no reason for me to want to show those things to a girl. I already removed them, so it's normal for you to not find anything. So you can stop now."
Yeonji flinched at my comment.
"...Is that how it is?"
I had no idea how was what, but I replied positively regardless and nodded appropriately. Yeonji stiffly looked away and twiddled her thumbs.
"Is... is that how it is? They're erased, because I'm a girl, so they're not there..."
"Uh... yeah, right."
Did you only realize now that you're a girl?
And then it dawned upon me that I had just confessed, 'Just yesterday, this computer was FULL of dirty stuff!'. I felt my face redden.
Only in hindsight I realized it was quite the nonoptimal thing I could ever say. I keep digging myself into a new hole.
"Okay... hmph, but I wanted to know what kind of things you'd look at..."
Yeonji murmured incoherently to herself while I was busy internally wrestling with the fact that the situation was no different from having all those files uncovered.
The atmosphere of the room became stark and grave thanks to my breathtaking confession. Both of us were at a loss for words.
Then Yeonji raised her peach face and yelled,
"Then let's start our meeting."
With my surprise, Yeonji stole the mouse and keyboard from my hands and closed the numerous search windows. She looked strangely motivated.
I don't know what happened, but I guess I just dodged the bullet! I let out a silent sigh of relief.
Yeonji opened up a web browser and entered our school's home page.
It was a month since the start of the term, but this was the first time actually seeing the home page. As the home page of the great Eunsung High School, the website was more organized than an average commercial site, and the page view count was unbelievably high. How could there be so many visitors?
"Why are we in this page?"
"Just be quiet and watch."
She replied, navigating through the different sections of the website. She continued to talk in her visibly positive mood.
"Do you still remember that the name of today's operation is 'Club Room Takeover'?"
"I know that. I wanted to ask, does it really have to be a 'takeover'? Aren't there any other ways?"
Yeonji shot down my question with her quick answer.
"God, you're annoying. Now that we decided that our club will be illegal, it's obvious that we'll get our club room illegally. We won't ask others for help; we will forcibly pry the help out of their hands! See, doesn't that just motivate your fighting spirit?"
It was a mystery if there was a limit to the number of rules she was willing to break... I should say, she had more fighting spirit than the Shanghai Provisional Government of Korea in the 1930s.
"But even if we acquire the club room with our own strength..."
I struggled to understand what she meant by 'our strength'. Were you going to grab a baseball bat and threaten a club advisor with it?
"Hmph, we're not going to use such a brutish and simple method. Illegally, but still under the radar, making a perfect plan that cannot go wrong is the only way to win."
Yeonji announced her villainous plan with a girlish smile.
"Huh, did you have something in mind?"
Still fiddling around in the website, Yeonji replied.
"We will attack the Book Club first."
"What are you saying?!"
It's neither under the radar nor planned! And also...
"Our school doesn't even have a Book Club! Where are you going to attack?"
"We have one: the one where all the upper year students graduated so there is only a lone first grader reading a book all day."
"That's not a real club-!"
She was not too keen on the differences between real life and imagination.
"If we can take that room, I am sure there will be all sorts of supernatural and fun things that happen."
"It has already been supernatural enough!"
"We will also have a mysterious transfer student, and a popular second year student with huge breasts, too."
"Please come back to real life, Miss Seo Yeonji."
"We have to make the first move before that Suzu[X]ya girl, and take over everything for ourselves. Kukuku..."
"We're totally the main villains here-!!"
By the time I was venting steam from my ears, Yeonji spoke with a thin smile.
"Well, that was a joke..."
"It was a joke?!"
It's very difficult to tell if you're kidding or not!
"My original plan was... Ah, I found it."
I looked at the part on the screen that Yeonji was pointing at. It was a browser window containing an expansive grid composed of people's profile photos.
Discernible from the address was that the page was the [Staff List] section about [About This School] category in the menu tabs. It was apparently a list of all the teachers.
It was made obvious further by the familiar faces of my teachers, and the labels that described each teacher's faculty and work history.
As expected of this school, the work history for each teacher was unbelievably lengthy, considering that they were only high school teachers.
"So how is this helping us?"
"You can see the 'home room' section below the photos, right below the specialties."
I confirmed her words on my second inspection. My home room teacher, for example, had a label that said [Home room: Year 1 Class 7 (Homeroom teacher)]. Other notable ones were teachers who managed laboratories and art classes of various purposes.
"It's the classes that the teachers own and manage."
"If there is a student who wants to start a club, he needs to first get proper permission from the teacher who owns a relevant classroom. So, theoretically, people can choose the classroom that they want as their club."
It was a reasonable policy. It would be quite perplexing to receive a music theatre in response to a request for a research club room.
"'The owner of the classroom has the power to accept or reject such a request. If the request is accepted by all parties, the owner has the responsibility to become the supervisor of the club--' is what it says in the rules, here."
"...So that's why it's so hard to make a club in this school."
I commented after realizing the complications that may occur, as a result of these rules interweaving.
Because the teachers have the 'power to accept or reject' club room requests, the very first filtering of requests occur all due to the teachers' whim.
In addition, acceptance is made further unattractive to the teachers as they gain additional responsibilities and duties for the club, but who would be willing to receive more work for nothing?
And so that seemed to be the biggest reason why there were only academic clubs in our school. Even disregarding Yeonji's comments, it was clearly impossible to create the Clotaku Club legally.
"Still, none of it matters to us."
Yeonji scoffed like it wasn't a problem, in contrast to my increasing agitation.
"We're not going to submit any silly requests, so we can't get rejected for anything. The only thing I need to figure out is which room would be suitable for our activities. Let's see..."
Yeonji began shifting through the list, like a perverted tyrant picking out a slave to serve for the night. She opened another browsing window to navigate to the [Index of School Clubs] for the directory of active clubs.
Then, after removing the occupied teachers from her list of potential candidates--
"Okay, this should be enough."
Subtracting the teachers who were already associated with another club (thus removing the classrooms that would never be available for us), the remaining options were not many.
The sum of active clubs was 20. Although this was a small number in comparison to the total number of classrooms in this school, the actual count of the non-homeroom classrooms was minor.
None of the 20 active clubs occupied simple classrooms; all of their locations were more unique, separate rooms, such as science laboratories and tech labs.
Ultimately, the remaining options were unpleasant leftovers; normal classrooms were out in the open for 'closeted' activities, and I did not even want to think about using the student guidance department rooms.
"Psh, those greedy bastards."
Yeonji muttered angrily with her arms crossed. I agreed with her.
It was objectionable how the unarguably socially acceptable clubs like the 'mathematics club' or the 'conversational English club' felt the need to hide in some art rooms at the corners of the school. Are there any questionable activities that are relevant to math and language that they need to hide?
"At least the fifteenth classroom of the third years is at the very edge of the school..."
"No. It's right next to the main staircase."
My final suggestion was immediately shot down.
"And using a classroom like that is annoying. We can't always have it available to us. I wonder if we can find a room that I can make it fit our needs..."
Yeonji repeatedly scrolled up and down the list of teachers. To make a room fit our needs, she said; I stifled the urge to ask her what kind of terrible modifications she had in store.
After much time spent in peering into the monitor, Yeonji declared with much authority in a booming voice.
"Let's aim for the principal's office."
"The principal's office?!"
What utter nonsense!
"How are we, I mean, why the principal's office in the first place?!"
"The location is amazing."
Yeonji replied without batting an eye.
"It's quiet, and it's discreet. If we manage to take over the principal's office, we can sit on that leather couch every evening and watch some anime on that 82-inch TV."
"That just sounds way too heavenly! And you talk like you've been there before!"
"I had an interview in there as standard procedure after receiving a scholarship... I pretended to be grateful while I silently calculated how I will take over the room someday. Kukuku..."
She described her diabolic scheme with a mismatching cute grin.
Mister Principal, I think you may have accidentally summoned a demon at you school.
I guess you're a scholarship student too, huh.
In the midst of my confusion caused by multiple layers of questions to ask, our next course of action seemed to be set in stone as a hostile takeover attempt for the principal's office.
I interrupted her appropriately as she appeared ready to invade the principal's office at any moment.
"But hey, how are you going to take over the principal's office? Do you have some sort of a plan?"
To use the principal's office as a club room, more so as the Clotaku Club room, there had better be the most intricate, flawless plan ever.
Yeonji went 'ahem' in response and posed in preparation of her answer. Your Otaku meter is off the charts, here!
"Heh heh... it's simple! Take a look at this!"
Beneath Yeonji's extended finger on the monitor was the photo of our dear principal.
Further below her finger was the wall of text that further demonstrated the relation between Eunsung Corporations and this school, but nonetheless this was not too different from the profile of any average principals.
"...So what about it?"
"You can see it right away, see this, here!"
Yeonji continued relentlessly jabbing against the principal's face, who had thick spectacles pushed up by his puffy cheeks, and with wrinkles on top of his stern expression. Then she animatedly shouted,
"He totally looks like an Otaku!"
If there were anything in my mouth, there would have been a shotgun blast in all cardinal directions.
After I repeatedly coughed to replace the air that escaped my lungs, I recovered my breath and managed to ask a question with a stutter.
"You... you... are you really..."
"Yep. Let's blackmail the principal."
Yeonji replied as lightly as dandelion seeds in the wind. This is the face of true evil, I thought to myself.
"Tsk... Our principal was that kind of a man all along; I simply can't believe this! Yes? Oh my, don't think you can lie your way out of this; I have the evidence right here, right in here. Ah, hey, hey, it's no use doing that, I already have copies backed up elsewhere. Yes? What are our demands? Heh heh, that's right. Here, let me tell you..."
"Stop preparing threats against the principal----!!"
I sighed and stopped Yeonji with her extortion attempt against an imaginary principal.
I had no clue how I'd start convincing her to reconsider her plan.
"Um, think about it logically; the principal can't possibly be an Otaku."
"There's no reason he wouldn't be one!"
Yeonji was yet unfaltering.
"These unfashionable glasses, his fat cheeks, and even the pimples on his face! It's the Holy Trinity of loser's qualities! His face is like looking at a portrait of an Otaku, seriously!"
"...I'm pretty sure those are just chickenpox scars, not pimples."
Yeonji unexpectedly revealed her honest surprise.
"Does that still exist nowadays? Wasn't it eliminated by the '70s? Chickenpox may have been the deadliest curse for kids back then, but now it's the illegal, lewd videos that are..."
"Our principal was one of those 'kids from back then'!"
I sighed once more.
"Even if he were an Otaku, how are we going to prove it? You can't even see what's going on in the principal's office from the outside."
Yeonji became mildly hesitant. I pressed on the advantage and continued.
"Also, even if we somehow get evidence, the principal would likely report us to the police and expel us rather than allow some questionable activities in the principal's office. If you consider his reputation, even if we scream 'The principal is an Otaku!', no one will believe us. Don't think this will be the same situation as mine."
Yeonji pouted and whined in annoyance. She looked as if, oh, her brain was convinced, but her heart was unfazed. Something like that.
"...Tsk, alright. Then we just have to pick another teacher who's easier in comparison, right?"
"Ah, uh... yeah."
It appeared that my lecture was understood as 'Let's pick on someone smaller!'. Yeonji resumed spinning the mouse wheel up and down and muttered to herself 'Let's see who looks like an Otaku~'.
"By the way... It occurred to me just now; why are you finding teachers who are Otakus?"
Yeonji paused her scrolling and looked my way. She had a curious expression.
"I mean, if we're going to make threats to get our club room, I don't think we really need to go after Otakus. We could find other kinds of weaknesses, I think."
While I had little idea of the details behind Yeonji's plans, the gist of it seemed to be 'Find a teacher who is an Otaku, then tell him to hand over the club room or we'd reveal his secrets to everyone'. In other words, she was going to repeat what was done to me to a teacher.
However, it's not like being an Otaku is some capital crime; it was difficult to imagine that anyone, especially a teacher, would succumb to a threat like ours. As mentioned before, we could be sued back.
With Yeonji's steadfastness, she could comfortably uncover other vulnerabilities... like, uh, she could capture a photo of some teacher leaving a love hotel with a scantily dressed woman. It was hard to understand why she would pigeonhole her strategy.
Hearing my plea, Yeonji grunted in dissent.
"Of course, that could be far more beneficial for us. I already examined that course of plan."
Yeonji replied as the grandmaster of blackmail. It was a little bit unsettling how serious she was.
As I involuntarily trembled, Yeonji cleared her throat and continued.
"But, if we gain a club room and a manager that way, how will that help us?"
Yeonji slowly spun in place in my spinning chair, her chin supported by her hand, her elbow balanced on the armrest.
"The club we are making is the Clotaku Club. Even if it's merely a club manager, it's essential that everyone is on the same page as us. I'm treating this like finding the third member."
Yeonji announced with much confidence. It was an awe-inspiring objective, but because we were pressed to find any club room and manager at all, her plan was unrealistic.
I scanned her words for a point to place a rebuttal, but Yeonji spoke first.
"And the quality of 'being an Otaku' is a strong social stigma. There are Otakus who would rather die than be found out by their peers. It only makes sense that our own club manager is a closeted Otaku."
Hey, that reasoning is slightly off from what you just said before.
"For now, let's just find a teacher who looks like an Otaku! And if we find our target, prepare to work day and night on finding evidence."
"Day and night..."
It's going to get busy--.
I made a sigh full of worries and fears, looking at the girl scrolling up and down the list of teachers like choosing a heroine to conquer in a visual novel.
"...But, if there really aren't any Otakus, I'll have to blackmail about love affairs and whatnot."
"Don't do that--!"
"There's a saying that tigers look for lobsters if they have no other prey."
"Don't plan about finding lobsters before you even start hunting--!"
...Hopefully, I won't end up on a photography tour in a red light district.