The next day, after school,
I headed towards our infirmary, which had finally become our club's meeting room.
My only mission to secure a clubroom was completed; and now, I just felt like resting in the peace of my own room, which was also thankfully freed from those dreaded meetings... but I would be killed if I did not attend our club meeting today.
I had a feeling that Yeonji would immediately invade my home, anyway, if I didn't show up.
I reluctantly dragged myself to the first floor, trying to reassure myself with the fact that my mom would not be supplied with any more stories to spread. I entered the infirmary, checked that no one was inside, and approached the inner door.
Yeonji's voice called out from within; as I expected, she had arrived earlier.
More importantly, it's not so polite to go 'who's there' in that tone! What if anyone else knocked on the door? She should really be more careful.
"It's me." I answered bitterly.
She replied, "Who's 'me'?! Say the password!"
... Did we have a password? I pondered for a minute, but nothing came to my mind.
"It's me, Kang Injin. Stop kidding around and open up, or I'll just go home alone."
To my surprise, the door opened. From the open door, a black-haired girl of small frame walked out. Yeonji was pouting, clearly not in a good mood.
I greeted her half-heartedly; she responded with a disapproving expression. What's the problem now?
After a moment of grumbling and pouting, Yeonji complained, "When I tell you to say the password, just say anything you can think of! A man's gotta have some imagination! You're no fun."
I ignored her nonsensical complaints and walked into the inner room. Although the entire infirmary was now our clubroom, our only usable space was this location.
Yeonji closed the door shut and followed me as I walked in.
She remarked, "I really think we should make a password for this room. Let's make one."
"A password, all of a sudden?"
It was really quite sudden. Yeonji immediately replied as if she were waiting for me to ask.
"It sounds like it could be fun. ...And we could stop any intruders from getting in."
...It was pretty obvious that she had thought up the second part as an excuse just now.
"Stop any intruders? Do we really have to do that, when you and I are the only ones who will come here? We could just figure it out from our voices."
"You might catch the cold and lose your voice!"
If you're sick enough that you'd lose your voice, it's probably better that you stay home!
I remained in silence, though I had many retorts in mind. A lesson I had learned since meeting Yeonji is that the saying 'silence is golden' is true.
"It's going to be fun for sure! We make a password that only Otakus would know. If I ask '***sune', you answer with 'Mi**', and so on. Dumb, normal people wouldn't be able to answer, so they'd have to give up right away. Only the true Otakus get to enter the room! How is it?"
I remained true to the proverbial saying as Yeonji gave her speech. If we were to actually use that password, I'll probably kill myself first.
"What about the people who need to ask for permission to stay in the infirmary?"
"They don't matter." Yeonji replied, as if nothing in the world truly mattered to her, "Anyway, let's set our password! This week's question and password will be 'a certain' and 'magical *****'. If you don't answer correctly, I'm not going to let you in here. Remember it!"
It's going to change every week?!
At the top of my throat were the words 'stop this crap right now', but I did my best to not betray the proverbial saying. However she interpreted my silence, Yeonji seemed pleased; I was finally able to put my backpack down and enter the room.
"Hello, Miss Yu." I greeted the nurse. All this time, she had been giving us a discomforting stare from behind the computer desk, giggling.
"...Fufufu." The nurse nodded and smiled in response.
As I wondered about the meaning behind that smile, Yeonji seated herself in a couch directly across the table. She seemed to have something to say.
When I turned away from the nurse and gave her attention, Yeonji cleared her throat and began her little speech.
"Yesterday, we finally established the Clotaku Club."
...All we did was acquire a room for the club, but considering how we were planning on doing this unlawfully, I guess we can say we 'established the club'.
"So, what about it?"
"What do you mean, 'what about it'? When groups are established, isn't it obvious that something must be done to raise the morale and cohesion amongst the members?"
"Like, a party?"
"No," Yeonji shook her head, "Well, that's good too... but I'm talking about an inaugural ball!"
I still had no idea what she exactly wanted to do.
"I'll summarize for you. I'll introduce the reason for this club's creation, the history of the members, the purpose behind the club, and the future goals and such. Then announce our loyalty to the club, and then we have a grand party where we can eat and drink."
"Um, uh... Ah, okay."
I wondered to whom she wanted to introduce our club, but I waited in silence. Answers reveal themselves to those who wait; the answers are always in your heart.
"So, now, to celebrate our first club meeting... We'll have an inaugural ball with the three of us! Yaay--!"
After that energetic announcement, Yeonji jumped off the couch. She turned around to face the nurse, who had a sour face, and I.
She began, "First off, I'll speak about the purpose of our club. Attention, everyone!" As if it were her dream to say 'attention everyone', she continued energetically, "To start off, our first mission is to be Otakus!"
As if I didn't know that!
"After school, every day, we gather here to establish communication between us Clotakus, and we enjoy Otaku activities. That is the most important philosophy behind our club."
"Maybe 'philosophy' is pushing it..."
"Shut up!" Yeonji suddenly slammed down on a desk, causing an annoyed look to surface on the nurse's face. "It might sound unimportant, but this is a mission that explains what we are! By being an Otaku here, we get rid of any dark urges by expending all of it here. Our activities in the Clotaku Club will solidify our existence as Clotakus!"
"Of course. So, in here, you can do whatever you want! Acting like a 2nd year in middle school, being a lolicon, it's all okay! Saying 'uguu' or 'auu', or even '-desu' are all fine! Right, when we greet each other, let's use 'ohayo'!"
"...I'll keep in mind."
Stop looking at me like you're saying 'so try doing all of that now'! And, seriously, being a lolicon just can't be safe, not just as an Otaku, but as a human being.
"And for our second mission!"
Yeonji began. We had another mission?!
"Yes, this is our ultimate goal, and the guiding principle that will decide what we need to do for the rest of our lifetime. Listen well."
"Lifetime goal? That's a pretty huge scale."
"Yes it is. Our second goal is... we will transform this country into a peaceful land where Otakus are not discriminated against!"
"...That's not gonna happen in our lifetime!"
I thought she had mentioned that to the nurse in an act of desperation. Apparently, she was serious.
"It has been many decades since the Otaku culture spread from a country beyond the sea. Since then, a certain minority called the 'Otakus' appeared in our country. And, as we know, the society is not too accepting of them!"
Yeonji looked around the room as she talked, as if to survey an imaginary crowd of several thousand people.
"However, in the last few years, the term 'Otaku' spread around enough that the common folk use it. Also, although we have many Otakus in the higher social order, people's attitudes towards Otakus relaxed only by a tiny bit."
Just a tiny bit?
"Because a single level in the social order isn't enough to change an idea over an entire society..."
Yeonji prepared herself,
"If the ruling parties of this country were to all become Otakus, then the society's opinion will naturally turn around 180 degrees!"
"You seriously think that's possible?!"
Our republic, ran by Otakus? That's just too silly.
Yeonji continued, completely unfazed; "What's so impossible about it? A prime minister in a neighboring country got a certain beautiful nickname after getting caught reading a manga. With only one guy like that, people would go 'what kind of loser is he?' But if all of the higher-ups were Otakus, people would instead go 'is that such a good thing? Maybe I should try it out, too!'"
I had nothing to say to that. Her argument was ridiculous from the hypothesis, all the way to the conclusion.
"Heh heh, once the two-thirds of our parliament gets filled wth Otakus, and then a bunch of Otaku-friendly legislation are written and passed, we're gonna end up with an Otakracy!"
"Okay, seriously, I'm an Otaku too, but even I think that's just stupid!"
"When it comes to Otaku laws, both the conservatives and the liberals would rise to pass legislation that favor the Otaku. It will be a textbook example of political landslide victory! The major parties might even merge together into the New Otaku Party."
"That sounds like the start of the parliament's doom! Also, how much of the population has to be Otakus so that the Otaku party is the ruling party?!"
"Oh, the population won't be really full of Otakus."
"Then how did they get any votes for their power-?!"
"Those Otakus were all Clotakus before then. Until the election was over and the first parliamentary meeting took place, no one could have known that they were Otakus."
"What are they, some sort of Trojan virus?!"
"If they just act like an average politician and get elected... Then we'll have an Otaku country, ran by Otakus, for Otakus!"
"... The way that the politicians are forgetting the people who voted for them, it's not so different from what we have right now..."
"Doujinshi Reading Act passed in the parliament. One-figma policy also passed. Every morning, each household will receive a translated doujin along with the newspaper. The citizens would be utterly shocked."
"Don't do anything that'll make the citizens utterly shocked-!"
The worst part was that the citizens would be made to read the doujins first, rather than their original work!
"So, once we pass legislation like Television Anime Broadcast Time Standardization or National Otacare Law, South Korea's Otaku power level would pierce the heavens. Like Ota-Lagann!"
"The value of Yen would end up piercing the heavens..."
We'd pretty much be handing over our national treasury to our neighboring country.
"Heh... Everything I had said so far is only a small part of my grand scheme. I'll tell you the rest of it when we have time. I'll make sure that you'll take part in my Otaku ruling party."
As it turned out, the founder of the Otaku party was going to be the girl in front of me. I was stupefied, seeing a glimpse of Yeonji's stupidly huge ambition.
She puffed up and pompously concluded, "Thusly, the Clotaku Club's second mission was that thing I just said."
"It's just a 'thing you said' to you..."
It was difficult to imagine what her entire scheme could be like.
"So-! In summary, first we promote Clotaku lifestyle, so that the society has a more relaxed attitude towards Otakus. At the same time, we improve our position in the society and become the upper class. Then, we use our influence to pollute the entire nation."
She said 'pollute'. She actually said 'pollute'! At least Yeonji recognized that she was on the good guys' side.
"Okay, even if I accept that you're making some sense, isn't that dream kind of too big for a small school club?"
"Hmph, you gotta aim high to succeed! You can't survive this world with a pansy attitude like that!"
Yeonji's vision of our society seemed to be a place where sanity is mercilessly unappreciated.
"And I'm not an idiot; I'm not saying we're going to do everything in three years."
"Well, yeah, even if three years pass, you don't have the rights to get elected into the parliament."
"I-I knew that much!" yelled Yeonji, raising her eyebrows, "I'll spend my three years in this school to test out my plans in smaller scale! If you think about what's special about this school, you should be able to see how our club activities here can become a good foundation for my plan."
"Something special about this school?"
"It's the Eunsung high school. What else do I need to say?" Yeonji asserted, "South Korea's most powerful school for elites! It's a place where the country's brightest people are gathered. At least half the people from this school will end up having significant power in this nation. I'll guarantee you that."
"Yeah, I guess..."
All of the students here were recognized as geniuses, and they will graduate with the backing of Eunsung's name. They weren't likely going to grow up to be an average Joe, for sure; the fundamental principle of this school was to raise the elites of our society.
"So, I'm saying that I'm going to exercise the philosophy behind this school's existence. Before I graduate, I'll make sure everyone who graduates from here is an Otaku, before anyone even finds out."
"What are you saying?!"
If the school's administration were to hear of this, Yeonji would be kicked out of here before anyone even finds out.
"Really, this is a serious strategy. As we seed in the Otaku mindset in the future politicians, we set the groundwork for electing an Otaku ruler. In other words, it's an Otaku lobbying scheme."
Yeonji sounded like a spy trying to spread Communism throughout South Korea. Her eyes beamed as if to outwardly express her desire for revolution; it was almost scary.
I wondered if the school had any idea that they had accepted a revolutionist this year. I started getting worried.
"Wait... You didn't come to Eunsung just for that reason, have you?"
"I-I don't know."
Yeonji replied, turning around to face away from me. Why can't you say 'no'...?
"W-well, anyway," said Yeonji, under my judging glare, "we're going to have many things to accomplish from now on. As the leader, I'll guide you in the right direction, so you just have to believe me and do what I say. Hm- okay, do you have anything to ask? I said everything I needed to."
...And she totally forgot that she was going to do a speech about the members, and the history of this club or something. She was probably feeling too lazy to say the rest of it.
After a while, I raised my hand. "I have one thing to ask..."
"Alright, what is it~?" said Yeonji, like a teacher who was happy to hear a question from a student.
"You keep saying 'Clotaku', 'Clotaku'... So, are we seriously sticking with that name? It's a bit..."
...It sounds terrible.
Before that, the entire nature of the club is outright explained in the name itself. If it's a club for closeted Otakus, shouldn't it at least try to hide everything in the name? We could call it a 'modern society research club' or something similar.
"But we're the only ones who'd know about it!" replied Yeonji, in a frustrated tone, "The name of the club isn't important; it's what we do that's important. We don't even have this registered, so who cares if we call this 'Hentai research club' or 'adult video filming club' or whatever?"
Such a terrifyingly inappropriate remark did not fit her cute face.
"Even if we're the only ones saying it, isn't it the feel that's important? I think we can have a better name than 'Clotaku Club'."
Only someone like Yeonji could be fine with 'our Clotaku Club'. A guy like me simply won't be okay with a title like 'Clotaku Club' defining who he is.
"Sheesh, you're so persistent!" Yeonji pouted and exclaimed, "Fine, if you really want to, let's think up a better name. ...How's SOS Brigade?"
"...What does it stand for?"
"Seo Yeonji's Otaku Sentimentalizing Brigade."
"That's a terrifying name!"
It was terrifying in many different ways. And the name is a direct rip-off!
"It's not a rip-off! It's a parody!"
"...Is that so. Anyway, forget that name. I have a feeling we'll be in a world of copyright troubles."
"Psh... Then how's the Otaku Neighbors Club? Established because we can't find Otakus around, we gather people who want to make Otaku friends..."
"Why do you have to pick only the major titles to rip off?!"
To start with, did she really have to refer to fictional works just to think up a club name? I sighed.
Yeonji retorted in an annoyed voice. "Hmph, I told you, the name of the club isn't too important. If you really want a different name, come up with it later. For now, we'll just call it 'Clotaku Club' as a temporary thing. Once our club becomes official, we'll give it a name and assign positions in the club to the members."
"Do we even have proper positions to speak of in this club?"
"We have positions right now. I'm the leader, the nurse is the supervisor, and you're a member. Done." replied Yeonji, almost immediately.
...Is it just me, or am I the only unimportant person in here?
Yeonji narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. "Once we have more members in the club, we'll split this group into anime club, manga club, and light novel club, and I will become the big boss. By that time, we'd have registered this club and we would have risen to the top. You got that?"
Yep. Basically, we're stuck with 'Clotaku Club' forever. Realizing this, I shut my eyes and gave up questioning her.
Happy with the progression thus far, Yeonji giggled and declared, "Alright, then we're done with that topic... And so our inauguration ball ended in success! Yaay-!"
Yeonji ended the meeting selfishly, much like how she started it. Somehow, she seemed to believe that we made progress. It was too silly to call it a meeting at all, but at least I found out the basics of Yeonji's plan.
...In summary, she's a scary girl.
Though I never expected that the big party after the meeting would ever happen, the nurse began, "Hey... is it over now? You can get some drinks from that fridge over there, if you want."
"We're celebrating the success of the inaugural ball," the nurse smiled, her chin resting on her hand, "I only have cup noodles to eat, but I can at least serve drinks, right? Get me coffee, while you're at it."
"Hmm? Ah, oh, uh, sure."
I walked over to the fridge in the corner of the room and got the drinks. I thought I saw a bunch of blood packs in there, but I ignored it. It's the infirmary, so, I guess that's normal...?
Yeonji grabbed the can of Sikhye without a moment's hesitation, and the nurse took the can of coffee. I returned to the couch and opened a can of cola.
"Thanks for the drinks, Miss Yu."
I took a sip from the can. Yeonji was already done with her drink, and she was struggling to get the last bits of the rice within the can. She's too childlike, sometimes.
I continued sipping my cola as I thought about the lack of manners of teenagers these days. Yeonji was now hunting for the rice by shoving her finger inside the can. The nurse was drinking her coffee as she played something (probably a visual novel) on the computer.
The room was quiet for a while, other than the occasional sound of mouse clicks from the nurse and weird grunts from Yeonji.
"...By the way," I began, no longer able to withstand the silence, "What do we... exactly do from now on? The club activities, I mean."
"Nyuu-n?" Yeonji stopped fiddling with the can and faced me. "What do you mean?"
"Well, we have a club room, and we finished the inauguration or whatever, so shouldn't we start the club activities now? But what do we do?"
"Just do whatever you do as an Otaku." Yeonji replied confidently, "The first mission of Clotaku Club is to be Otakus! I said that five minutes and twenty-three seconds ago, you idiot. Do whatever you want. As long as you're in here, have the time of your life. End of story."
"...Is that it?"
Even if you say 'time of your life'...
I had no clue where I should start. I pulled out the PXP from my backpack and quietly started a game, while Yeonji threw out her can and pulled out a light novel.
We continued this trend for the rest of the day, until we had to go back home.
...It wasn't all that exciting.