010 – Chaos Before the Start of School #3
“This guy has more scars than I thought.”
Standing in front of the mirror at the public bathhouse, my body looked like a mercenary from a war-torn nation rather than a Student Council Executive.
Tall, muscular, and without an ounce of fat, just like a model.
However, as I observed, there were scars all over.
Being part of the student council’s executive committee often led to clashes with those who defied the rules, so it was only natural.
But there were some scars that seem very old among these.
I had a feeling that Victor, who was full of determination, had lived a life that was more revealed by his physical scars.
“He must have struggled as someone with only his body. I respect that.”
His body was like “steel” indeed.
Tough and unyielding in every way.
How many hammer blows of adversity did it take to forge him like this?
How did a guy like him end up discarded like scrap metal?
“Of course, such things won’t happen now.”
As long as I was here, Victor wouldn’t become a boss monster with 15 lines of HP and an instant death pattern. Oh, he really thinks highly of himself, doesn’t he? He should if he wants to survive.
The clock installed inside the bathhouse signaled that it was 2:00 PM.
… It’s about time, isn’t it?
Women’s bath time was longer compared to men’s.
Even so, at this point, wouldn’t Nike have come out, having finished her bath and tidied herself up?
After drying myself off and putting on my clothes, I headed out to the front of the bathhouse. However, I couldn’t see Nike anywhere.
“Did she run away?”
No, that couldn’t be it.
I had Nike’s money bag with 10 million Rene, so there was no way she could escape.
Before entering the bathhouse, Nike had repeatedly told me, “Don’t run away with my money!”
“She hasn’t come out yet.”
Even though time is money.
“She must still be inside.”
As I was contemplating that, a pleasant fragrance suddenly wafted over.
The scent of soap just used moments ago.
When I turned around, Nike, with her tangled, pink seaweed-like hair covering her face, was standing behind me.
“You’re here. It took you long enough.”
“I had to dry my clothes, you know. How do I look? These clothes should be cleaner now since I washed them. I guess I don’t need to buy new ones.”
She must have been doing laundry.
Nike’s torn and battered school uniform looked considerably cleaner than before. If it was trash-like earlier, now it was more like slightly cleaner trash.
“But that alone won’t do.”
I took Nike to a clothing store located in the shopping district.
“It’s just like I remember.”
Although the store called itself a clothing shop, the quality of the items was significantly lower than armor dropped in dungeons or crafted equipment.
However, this clothing shop was somewhat familiar to me.
It occasionally sold outfits like “Bunny Girl” or “Swimsuits” irregularly, and I had to check it often to give those outfits to the heroines for the affinity system.
“Rabbit ears? You want me to wear such a strange outfit? Well, considering all the ways you’ve helped me, I suppose I could try them once…”
Memories were flooding back.
“We need to go in. To the clothing store. Let’s go inside.”
“A strange command, huh? Is this some kind of Dirt Mage spell?”
Nike took a deep breath in front of the clothing store.
It’s not like it was a dungeon.
I, on the other hand, entered the store with Nike at last.
After the familiar sound of a bell, the interior of the store looked exactly like what I remembered from the CG.
Even the designer, a woman with a languid look, came up to us with a lethargic tone.
By the way, she was known as Designer Noona and was quite popular as a character.
“It’s quite nostalgic.”
Only I would experience a remaster like this.
While I was reminiscing, Nike had frozen completely. Was she the type to get flustered when a store clerk talked to her?
I decided to help the poor Nike.
“Designer, we need to get a new uniform for this girl.”
“Oh, hoho, good. Come this way. I’ll take your measurements first.”
The clothing designer leading Nike by the hand, there soon came the sound of rustling from inside the changing room.
“Hehe, it tickles my side…!”
“You’re skinnier than I expected. You should eat more, dear. But your skin looks amazing.”
What kind of clothes did they make her wear?
Some time later…
Nike appeared in front of me, shuffling nervously.
“Um, how does it look?”
“Much better than before.”
It wasn’t just empty praise.
Earlier, she looked like a beggar, but now she looked neat and clean.
She certainly had a sense of style.
Maybe there was some truth to her having as much potential as Victoria.
However, there was one thing missing.
“I think this would be nice.”
I picked up an item displayed in the store. It was a ribbon, the kind used to tie hair.
“Designer, I’ll take two of these.”
“Ohoho, okay. Since it’s a sample, I’ll give you a half-price discount.”
“So, I get two for the price of one? Great.”
But Nike was taken aback.
“Th-that’s not necessary! It’s not something I really need…!”
“No, it will definitely suit you. It’s essential for the club.”
Well, it was more of a personal preference and curiosity than for the club, but I didn’t say that.
In the publicly available illustration of Nike, her twin tails, tied with ribbons on both sides, shone brightly.
However, the current Nike was just covering her face with tangled hair.
“I’ll tie it for you, little one. It’s a shame to hide such a pretty face. Come here. I’ll trim your bangs a bit for a neater look. This is a free service.”
In the hands of the Designer-noona, who was skilled at customer service, Nike finally had ribbons tied on both sides of her head. Her face that was previously hidden under messy hair…
“How does it look? Still weird, right? Doesn’t suit me well…”
I didn’t answer.
I felt a bit touched.
It was like finding the perfect puzzle piece and fitting it to complete the artwork.
Yes, this was the real Nike Mokemoke.
The Designer-noona showered her with praise instead of me.
“It suits you incredibly well. You look like a noble young lady going for a spring outing. Do you think your boyfriend will feel the same way?”
“I agree, but correct that, I’m not her boyfriend.”
“Really? I thought it was love because you picked out the perfect outfit.”
“Don’t talk nonsense. Let’s pay and leave.”
* * *
After leaving the store, Nike seemed quite anxious.
“What should I do? Everyone is staring at me. Maybe I don’t look good in this…? I shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. I should get a refund quickly…”
Was she bothered by people whispering as they looked at her in her new outfit?
“Look at that, it’s Victor.”
“Who’s the girl next to him, with pink hair?”
“I don’t know, was there a girl like that in Ludens? I’ve never seen her before. If there was such a girl, there’s no way the Daily Rumor wouldn’t know about it.”
“Damn, she’s cute. Just like Victoria. Why only Victor…”
Everyone seemed to be praising her.
“…Uh, I want to go back to the forest.”
However, Nike seemed too preoccupied to realize that people were complimenting her.
I didn’t know how to say something like, “Have confidence. You look plenty beautiful.”
How can you say something like that with your sanity?
With that feeling, we finally arrived at the Ludens Student Center.
We were all dressed up, and we had the startup funds—now all that was left was to start the club.
“Nike, full steam ahead.”
We entered the building without any problems.
A few familiar students stopped and stared at us, but we didn’t have time to pay them any mind.
With that feeling, we headed to the reception counter in the Student Center building.
“Victor, what brings you here? You’re not in the executive committee anymore, right?”
A male student who seemed to know me sat at the counter, raising his eyebrows.
I replied casually.
“I didn’t come for that reason. I’m here to start a club.”
“Victor, you’re starting a club…!?”
Was it really that surprising?
I picked up a waiting number and sat down, waiting patiently. Perhaps because it was the last weekday of the vacation, the Student Center was quite crowded, so it would take some time for our turn to come.
Nike sighed in relief.
“Phew, we almost missed it.”
“Nike, you kept hesitating, so that’s why.”
“Ugh… It’s frustrating not being able to come up with a good comeback.”
“Before that, fill out these forms. As the club president, it’s your duty.”
“Me as the club president? You’re not doing it?”
“Don’t worry; it’s just a title. In reality, I’d love to do it, but there’s a rule that says anyone who’s been dismissed from the Student Council can’t start a club for a year.”
Thanks to that rule, even Milone had a tough time in Act 5.
“Plus, you have experience starting clubs, so this should be no problem.”
“…Well, that’s true.”
Nike quickly regained her confidence and started filling out the forms. After a while, she stopped and asked.
“But what kind of club are we starting?”
“Why are you asking the obvious? It’s a cooking club.”
“But there’s probably already a club with that name. We should choose a name that stands out. In situations like this, the name needs to have impact to attract new members.”
It was a reasonable suggestion.
In the game, you could come up with club names without much thought, but now it was real life.
“How about this: The Victory’s Cook Club.”
(TLN: Doesn’t really work in English, but it sounds like ‘Seungrin’, similar to his original name.)
At that moment, I was surprised when the Ha Seung-ri name came up.
I wondered how big that wave must have been to pierce through my steel mental fortitude. I even glanced above my head, thinking there might be something written there.
But Nike continued with a puzzled expression,
“My name is Nike, named after the Goddess of Victory. And you’re Victor from Victory. How about that? Doesn’t it fit perfectly for a club we’re starting together?”
It made sense, and it felt like destiny.
I came up with a few other names, but I couldn’t think of anything better than Nike’s suggestion.
That’s how we ended up with a club name.
When we finally finished filling out the paperwork, it was our turn.
We entered the evaluation room, and there they were waiting for us…
“Victoria, we meet again.”
“I didn’t particularly want to. You want to start a club? Well, you need to be evaluated by at least three Student Council members, according to the rules.”
In the evaluation room, there were Victoria, Shadi, and a prospective first-year student, Golden Flower Milone, who was in charge of accounting.
This didn’t look good.
Milone was fine, but Victorica and Shadi were unlikely to be in my favor. I hoped they wouldn’t try to fail us on purpose.
“Don’t worry. We won’t fail you forcibly, as much as I’d like to do that. If it were up to me, I would, but you know how you like the rules, right?”
Did Victoria also have the “Mind Reading” skill?
When I felt doubtful, Victoria added a few words in a cold voice.
“But, Victor, I know better than anyone else what you can and cannot do. You’re starting a club? What are you planning?”
“Do I need to tell you that?”
“No, there’s no such rule. And…”
As Victoria calmly sat in her chair, her eyes shifted to Nike behind me. Nike was trembling under the odd feeling of Victoria’s golden eyes staring at her.
But I couldn’t figure out what that emotion was.
However, Victorica, as always, maintained a calm expression.
“And, Miss Mokemoke. No, former Mokemoke Occult Club president. Your club was eventually disbanded because you couldn’t recruit enough members, right? Here, in Victor’s hands.”
“Ah, Miss Arkwright, you remembered me.”
“I came back and checked the paperwork again because I wondered what you were up to. A club created to uncover the Seven Wonders of Ludens, was it?”
While Nike and Victoria were talking, I got lost in thought for a moment.
Mokemoke occult wealth?
What kind of club name was that?
It’s no wonder they couldn’t gather three members and ended up being disbanded.
It seems like the reason Victor disbanded Nike’s club can be deduced from this scene. The importance of choosing a good club name appears to be based on their experience.
“Then, give me the documents.”
Victoria extended her hand with an emotionless, business-like demeanor. Nike handed the completed documents to the secretary, Shadi, who then passed them to Victoria.
Victorica turned the pages, calmly examining the text.
The atmosphere in the room grew tense.1`
“Victory’s Cook? Does Miss Mokemoke know how to cook?”
“No, I’m in charge of procuring ingredients, Victor will handle the cooking.”
Victoria’s expression was one of disbelief. She couldn’t seem to fathom it.
Then, I took out the 「Mainland Eggs」, 「Flavor Herbs」 and 「Dried Meat」 that I had in my possession and said,
“Actions speak louder than words. I understand that there is a kitchen nearby. I will borrow it according to the regulations.”
We could use the kitchen and facilities for free.