Tales of Virtual Shopkeeper
Isn’t it strange how there’s always one player in the hero’s group who has the role of a Shopkeeper? Haven’t you ever wondered who, in a world of endless possibilities, would ever choose to play the mundane role of a Shopkeeper? …That would be me, Yuu Watanabe. I get tons of customers with interesting tales to tell. The smiles on their faces as they tell me all about their latest quests and achievements is the greatest high in the world. And that is why I chose to be a Shopkeeper in Utopia Online... Of course, as I’m sure you’ve probably already guessed, I don’t spend all of my time playing this game. When I’m offline, I’m just your typical everyday third-year highschool girl.
As I was walking through the crowded school hallway, I spotted a familiar figure standing tall in the sea of students.
“Hey! Nagi,” I called out.
He turned to face me and frowned. “What do you want, Yui?”
“I just wanted to say ‘hi’, since we’re besties and--”
“I’m gonna stop you right there,” he said, walking over to me and placing a finger against my lips, “Didn’t I tell you that we’re through? What part of that did you not understand?”
“I didn’t understand any of it,” I snapped, smacking his hand away from my mouth, “Why don’t you want to hang out with me anymore, huh?! We’ve been friends since childhood!”
Several students had turned to look at us, including a short girl who was strangely wearing a cape and eyepatch.
“You’re causing a scene,” my former best friend stated bluntly, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll be heading to class now.”
I don’t understand what the Hell is going on. We used to do everything together, and now he hates just me because I play a freaking videogame?! As if I was just going to stand here and take this crap! Before I knew it, my hand had turned into a fist, and said fist punched Nagisa right in his stupid face!
19th PURCHASE – HATE, CHUUNIBYOU & OTHER BEMUSEMENTS!
I sat outside the principal’s office, waiting to be called inside. (Why was I the one sitting out here anyway? Nagi is the one who’s being a jerk-face!) Just then, another girl sat beside me. I recognized her as the oddly dressed girl who was staring at me in the hallway earlier. (After all, how could I possibly not remember someone dressed like that?!) The two of us shared a couple of classes, but I didn’t know her name.
“Hey,” she said, leaning in real close, “What are you in for?”
“Isn’t it obvious? It’s because I punched my best friend in the face,” I stated matter-of-factly, “Don’t you remember that? It happened five minutes ago, and you were staring directly at us.”
“My eyepatch inhibits my memories. It’s a curse placed onto me by a dark lord!”
Of course. Her outfit should have been a dead giveaway.
Just great, I thought, I’m going to have to sit next to a chuuni. [TL note: Chuuni is an abbreviation of “chuunibyou” (lit. “second-year disease”, often referred to as “eighth-grader syndrome” in English), a term that was originally coined as a joke but has since become a subject of various psychology studies. Essentially, it refers to someone who acts as if they suffer from grandiose delusions, although they often tend to be fully aware that said “delusions” are not actually real.]
“So, what are you in for?” I asked.
She looked off to the side as she twiddled her thumbs.
“Fufu,” the chuuni girl laughed meekly, “I refused to take off my cape, even after I was told that it goes against the school’s dress code, so here I am.”
“Gosh, it sounds like you’re an idiot,” I sighed.
“H-hey! I need this cape,” she blurted out, “It increases my MP by 100 Points!”
“Sorry, my bad. You’re definitely an idiot,” I smirked, “This isn’t Utopia Online, you know? This is real life.”
“Whatever,” she pouted, slumping down into her seat.
The two of us just sat there for a while in total silence. After a while, it was the chuuni who broke the monotonous silence.
“So, why’d you punch your best friend?”
“He isn’t my best friend,” I sulked.
“But didn’t you say that--”
“He was my best friend once,” I interjected, “But that’s in the past. For whatever reason, he really seems to hate my guts now.”
“Oh,” she said, “Why though?”
“If I knew why, do you think I would have said ‘for whatever reason’?!” I snapped.
“…Would you like to forget about it?”
“I wish,” I sighed.
“Well, I can help you with that,” the girl said, slowly lifting off her eyepatch, “Wear this cursed eyepatch and you’ll forget all your troubles.”
“Like Hell I will! You’re just some chuunibyou girl,” I yelled, “An eyepatch isn’t going to magically get rid of my worries! It’s time to start living in the real world, genius!”
“…Sorry,” she said, looking away, “I was just trying to help cheer you up, but I guess that’s another thing that I’m not good at…”
I watched as a tear trickled down her cheek and landed on her one of her thigh-high socks. (I guess this girl was the type who got upset easily?) Now I felt like a total jerk. I wasn’t trying to make her cry or anything like that, I was just feeling rather angry at that moment and I let my emotions get the better of me.
“Hey,” I said, placing a hand on her shoulder, “I’m sorry, I’m just going through a lot of emotions right now.”
“Yeah, me too,” she muttered, “My friends don’t think that I’m good at anything.”
“Why not?” I inquired.
“My parents are both successful forensic scientists, but I’m just an airheaded chuunibyou girl!”
“I think you’re good at something,” I smiled.
“Really,” she beamed, “What do you think I’m good at?!”
Crap, I was just trying to be nice! I barely even knew this girl, how was I supposed to know what she was good at?!
“Uh, you’re… funny?”
“Really?!” she gasped, “Thanks so much!”
“No problem,” I replied, “My name’s Shiotani, by the way.”
“Glad to meet you, Shiotani! I’m--”
“Miss Shiotani,” a voice called out from the principal’s office.
“Sorry, I have to go now,” I told the shorter girl, “I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Dad, I’m home,” I called out, leaving my shoes at the genkan.
No response, just as I expec--
“Welcome home, Yui,” my father called out. (Never mind, I guess.)
“I heard that you got sent to the principal’s office,” he said, walking over to me, “That isn’t like you, Yui. Did something happen?”
“It’s nothing,” I murmured. I wasn’t in the mood to tell my dad that I punched Nagisa Mul in the face.
“I’m not going to get angry with you, Yui. I just want to make sure that everything is going well for my daughter.”
“I said that it’s nothing. Can we just drop it, Dad?”
I walked away from my father, storming up the stairs and arriving into my bedroom. I picked up my VR headset that lay on my bed and stared at it. If I stopped playing Utopia Online, would Nagi be my friend once more?
…No, that didn’t matter anymore. If Nagisa was willing to cut ties with me because of a stupid game, then he didn’t deserve my friendship anyway. At least that’s what I’m going to start telling myself, in order to cope with my feelings.
END OF PURCHASE