EP.4 – First ROM Cassette [4-A]
The following Morning.
“Yo, so we met again today.”
The one who approached him while he was his way to the school was as usual his classmate Kusakabe.
As there was only one road towards the school, as long as it matched the commuting hours, the encounter like that was just natural; in fact the other way around should be considered strange.
If it was Kishimine from yesterday, then he sure should’ve disliked it. However, the him today was somewhat different. I want to at least try learning how to talk a bit ordinarily. One way or another he somewhat determined himself like that. If it’s the social Kusakabe, then he will be just perfect for the practice partner right?
“Now that you think of it, in the end which club you end up joining?”
He started talking about the subject which could be considered the best. From another person’s perspective it was quite a normal conversation but for Kishimine it was like a big adventure quest. And maybe it was due to that nervousness his voice was quite loud and shaky.
But, Kusakabe didn’t seem like he was bothered by it.
“Well, about that you see, for the time being, I toured Swimming Club, Rhythmic Gymnastics Club and Tennis Club but, as they didn’t have men’s dressing room inside the club, they told me that I can’t join the club…… That kind of thing should be told beforehand during the club introduction right?”
“That sure is harsh.”
“Yeah, good lord. Including that P.E. incident, it seems that they sure don’t wanna lump guys together with the girls.”
He suddenly recalled the words of Sena-sensei and Tendou from yesterday.
That it was to create a place for boys— that they established the Modern Game Club. And certainly if it’s the club where you can play games, then there was no need to distinguish between genders as well. But, as the club room can’t have more than 10 members due to its size, he understood the reason of why they want to operate with small no of people first for few years.
“Well, I started to get the feeling that it can’t be helped as well though.”
Kusakabe unexpectedly said something quite unlike him.
“I—is that so?”
“Comparing to them we are all big idiots who joined the school with an exemption in tuition fees as well. And in the first place, the boys didn’t enrol in the school just for doing club activities right? If every day we get to stay in between that amount of girls then it’s sort of even for us.”
“……S—so that kind of way of thinking is also plausible, huh?”
He replied it quite bluntly. However, he sort of thought that if it’s Kusakabe he will be quite satisfied with just that as a reason.
Then suddenly at that moment, one bus passed the two of them.
And Kishimine eyes quite naturally, started to peek inside the bus.
“What happened? Looking at bus like that. Looking for someone you know inside?”
“No, not really. It’s just I was thinking that there are quite a lot of people who plays games, aren’t they?”
As yesterday was not like today. To find out how much popular are games really in the current world, Kishimine was surveying his surroundings and the passing buses and trains while going going to the school. And as a result, he was able to see figure of many people such as School students, Salary-man and OL [4-B] dissolved in the PSP’s with the strap supporting it on their hands.
“What are you saying something natural like that? Aren’t there are Games-games and games everywhere around us for quite a long time? Well our school seems to be an exception in that though.”
“As I thought it’s something like that……huh?”
As the Izunomiya Academy is a school build only for Ojou-samas. He never saw anyone playing games inside the school. Kusakabe and the others seem to be playing with their PSP’s secretly in after school though.
However, if one had to look outside of the box, it’s like that everywhere. Ever since the Cultural Promotion Ticket started in action, everywhere in the world started to get occupied by the games.
“So is it fun? Playing games and all?”
“Well of course. They’re interesting you know? Take soccer, baseball or movies for example, they got popular because they are interesting right?”
He was quite right in that.
I love reading more than playing games. There was not a slight change in that thinking of Kishimine but, he couldn’t able to decline the fact that, the games have the power to mesmerise large amount of people as well.
‘I will go to Audio-visual Prep-Room afterschool.’ Kishimine had already determined himself about that.
However, it was also true that as it’s after school now, though only a slight bit but there was a thread of hesitation and indecisiveness which was causing him think ‘should I really go after all?’
But, his hesitations were all in vain.
“Kishimine-kun! The time for the retry has finally come!”
Right after few seconds of when Homeroom got over and Teacher left the classroom. The unique most guy of this whole school dived in the classroom. He was a tall guy who wears the white lab coat. He was none other than Sena-sensei.
If one had to think it rationally then it’s would be just another teacher coming inside the classroom but it didn’t seemed to be the case for the girls with the sheltered upbringing.
And as per expectation everyone had somewhat of a fearful expression on their face, and low voiced shriek were also started to come from here and there.
‘W—why? Has he even targeted me down to the classroom?!’
The one, who was perplexed about that the most, was obviously Kishimine.
“Hey. That guy is Sena-sensei right? The one who is the advisor of that Modern Game Club……”
The one, who was maybe the calmest among the class at that moment, was Kusakabe, and thus he tried poking the fact at him which he didn’t wanted to hear about.
“Yeah, that’s right……”
“Then why he is looking for you? Ah! You……, don’t tell me that you have joined that strange club for real?”
“No, atleast not till the last time I checked——”
At that moment when he finished stating that.
“Ooh, Kishimine-kun, so you were there?!”
Like that he was successfully able to locate him.
‘If possible I wanted to pretend that I don’t know him, but geez as he is calling for me it’s impossible, huh?’, he quickly conjectured his possibilities.
“Come on let’s go together and resume our training from yesterday to be able to remain married with Seiyuu for the rest of our lives! As a matter of fact, I have a present prepare for you today as well! Here take a look at it; it’s a marriage registration form I have prepared it for you last night! With this you too will be fine after having a dramatic encounter with the Seiyuu!”
Quite noisily, the gossips in the classroom got stronger.
“M—marriage Registration!?” “I wonder why marriage registration is needed in that sort of conversation……” “On top of it a man is giving marriage registration form to another man as a present……Kyaa!!”
“K—kishimine…… You……, don’t tell me you swinged that way!? J—just so you may know, I am not Homo alright?”
As the voices of his classmates was reaching his ears, Kishimine started to get mad.
As the situation has become like this, he couldn’t able to remain silent.
“Sena-sensei! Don’t say something that will cause misunderstandings, I don’t really need something like a marriage registration form!”
“Hm? I see, so you are one of those who believe in eloping, huh? Well certainly that kind of means is also possible, but for me I think it’s necessary to marry with legal procedures and give my introductions to the partners parents as well……”
“This person is hopeless!”
The dimension of their way of thinking was obviously greatly differed. That’s the thing they are doing at the moment can’t be termed as a conversation.
“I—in the first place, Please don’t barge in the classroom with without the one in charge present like that! See everyone is scared because of that!”
After getting told, Sena-sensei started to look around the class.
If it was the usual afterschool time, then the classroom would’ve surrounded by the pleasant voices of the girls but, right now it was surrounded by a weird atmosphere, and everyone present there were scattered away from where Kishimine and Sena-sensei were standing.
After confirming that situation in detail, Sena-sensei nonchalantly said.
“Hmm, even though it’s already afterschool, everyone sure are thoughtlessly crowded up, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s because they are all afraid of you! Leave it, it doesn’t even matter anymore, let’s just get the hell out of here!”
“I see, if you are that much eager, then it makes the things fast!”
‘I wonder if this person has just an active thought process, or he’s just plainly insolent to the core’, he asked himself.
In any case, at that moment it was the best choice to not let him say a word anymore.
Thus Kishimine pulled Sena-sensei and hurrily rushed out of the classroom.
“Hahaha! Kishimine-kun, you don’t have to hurry up like that, the clubroom is moving nowhere.”
Sena-sensei said while having a total misunderstanding of the situation.
‘No, I can’t let anyone see me together with Sena-sensei anywhere’—while drinking his own words down the throat, he hurriedly head towards the clubroom.
Inside the clubroom he just stepped in, already had a preceding visitor waiting inside.
It was a female student he didn’t met with yet. Maybe it’s because she was in the midst of cleaning the clubroom or something, she had a duster in her right hand.
Unexpectedly their eyes met. As usual she was cute and that too to an extent which could make people think about the selection standards in enrolling at this school.
She had somewhat of a small body. And had long eyelashes on her distinct eyes. The ribbon on her breast showed, the clear pink color, which meant that she was a sophomore. And incidentally while he was watching the color of the ribbon, his eyes quite inevitably went towards her breast, which had quite a normal size.
Maybe it was because she had a duster in her hand; she looked somewhat family-oriented, and was giving a feeling different than the other Ojou-sama’s of the school, which was quite rare. However,
The reaction of her was quite natural, expecting this school.
“Oh, isn’t this Niitani-kun?!”
Showing signs that she knew Sena-sensei from before, she bowed a little. Her gesture was polite but, her face was clearly showing signs of fear. She seems to be a type which is bad with boys, in short androphobia, which was not that rare in this school.
“Umm, she is……?”
As it was not the atmosphere where he could’ve asked her directly, he asked Sena-sensei about her.
“Aah, that’s right you still haven’t met each other right?! She is our clubs temporary member.”
“N—……nice to meet you. I am Niitani Sanae from 2-C.”
She was clearly concealing her fear.
He wanted her afraid to be due to Sena-sensei than himself; however it doesn’t seem like the case at all.
“H—hello, I am Kishimine Kengo from 3-B.”
He said that with an intention to not scare her more than she was, however it didn’t looked like it had any effect.
“Huh? But you said earlier that this club had only 1 member……didn’t you?!”
“Aah, official member is Tendou-kun alone. And I said that she is a temporary didn’t I? She is originally from the Cooking Research club and……also the secretory of the Student Council?”
“Yes, just in case……But it doesn’t much to do at the Student council. As President finishes nearly everything by herself.”
‘By President she meant by Tendou-san right?’ He thought.
“Then, due to the connection with the student council she ended up here?”
“That’s right! As I went to talk about this club to the Student council, if there isn’t going to be any member in the club, and then it won’t be officially recognised by the chairman, so at that time she together with Tendou-kun entered here!”
Niitani-san suddenly started to blush due to embarrassment.
“As……I am always causing trouble for President, so I thought that I atleast will be able of a bit of help like this. But as I am not at all good with games……I just became a temporary member, and only sometimes visit the clubroom to do the cleaning……”
In short she is sort of a fan of President Tendou.
“U—umm……I’ve heard about you a little as well…… Kishimine-senpai too, must be also quite good to be able to join this club……isn’t it?”
Despite those casual words, Kishimine relatively received quite a shock.
He would’ve been fine with any comment on the club joining. But after these long 18 years, he in his first time in his life was referred to as Senpai. On top of that the one, who said that, was the girl who was exceptional even in this Ojou-sama School, which was making him quite nervous.
“D—did something happen?”
Niitani bent her head slightly to one side. Her each and every gesture was very cute.
“Eh. N……N—no, well, I still don’t know whether I will be able join the club or not.”
“Umm, if you could, then please take care of President. As I think she will be very delighted if the number of who can play games increased just by one……”
‘What a good child she is……’
That was the impression that came inside Kishimine’s mind. Thinking about Tenou President more than herself and on top of it going as far to clean the clubroom of which she was not even an official member.
‘If only she only was not androphobic then for sure’—the thought came in his mind. However, in this school the girls like her are what can be considered normal. So he had no choice but to give on that thought.
“Sorry, I got late.”
Suddenly, at that moment, the one who came in the clubroom was the Tendou Student Council President.
“Ah…… Hello, President.”
The one, who greeted foremost, was Niitani. From her face, the fear from just a while back vanished somewhere and, instead a smile just like a flower blooming started floating. It seemed like she can even make such kind of cute expression in regards with the same sex.
“Oh, Isn’t this Niitani? What happened? Have you finally decided on playing games once in a while?”
“No, I just came here to do some cleaning and while I am at that, I got to meet the new club member-san as well. Then, as I am also done cleaning here I will head back to the Cooking Research club now.”
“I see, it sure is regrettable though as I wanted you to play with me once in a while……but I can’t ask for impossible.”
Like that, as if being the reason of that she averted her eyes towards Sena-sensei, and even at Kishimine.
He understood the reason somehow. In short, as she was somewhat Androphobic, she can’t just force her to stay together with 2 guys.
“N—no, after all it’s also because I am bad at games, and I am doing this because I like doing it. Well then, I will drop by sometime later again.”
Till the end she was just normal in front of the Tendou, and then left the clubroom with the quick pace. Fearing that he will scare her again if he said something in a loud voice from behind, Kishimine decided to see her off while keeping his mouth shut.
“I sure feel sorry for making her busy with all the duties and work. Even though there are games just perfect for her……”
Tendou looked really disappointed.
“However, it’s not a time to be softening up your heart like that, cause no matter how many times she tries Mario, if she keep dying at the first Kuribou [4-C] then she won’t be able to become our comrade for real!”
To the comment of Sena-sensei, Tendou became a little bit angry. But, after releasing a sighing once, she shook her head.
“It can’t be helped, huh……? Well, there are more important things than that at the moment—”
Tendou, aimed her sweet and happy smile towards Kishimine. It was her 3rd Time meeting with her but no matter how many times she turn her face towards him, his heart never stops to beat fast.
“I am glad that you came, Kishimine-kun. I was worried for a bit that you might change your mind you know?”
“Hahaha!” before even Kishimine could’ve replied, Sena-sensei started laughing. “There is no way that could’ve happened. He is the comrade I’ve found myself you know?! It was already fated for him to be here!”
“……It’s not something that exaggerated but, it’s because I couldn’t able to let you guys wait all in vain.”
That was in his own way, was the best answer he could’ve made to share his thought.
“I see. With just those words I am very happy you know?!”
‘As I thought I am attracted to her, huh?’ Like that he somehow able to comprehend. Even despite having a possibility of her being in love with Sena-sensei, he thought that it was somehow worth quite a lot just coming here today.
“It’s a bit immediate but time is precious! So shall we continue from where we left off in Uncharted?!”
Sena-sensei after saying that started to set up the PS3.
“No, wait a second there Sensei.”
However, Tendou interrupted him.
“Hmm? What happened?!”
“Yesterday, I thought about it a bit. As it’s only been just one day since Kishimine-kun started playing games, I don’t think it is quite good to let him play just Uncharted.”
“That’s not exactly true! To get in touch with the latest technology is a good thing. As you also will able to experience the wonderfulness of the game with that, and above all Uncharted is designed in a way where even a beginner can enjoy you know?!”
“That’s true! However, everyone has their own concept of what’s interesting or not isn’t it? For instance, Old games maybe are simple and cheap, but that’s the more reason they have the merit of understanding the amazingness of Game. We should let Kishimine experience the pure enjoyment of games first.”
“Heh…, so basically what is it?! You are saying that you want to make him play the Retro Games first?!”
“Exactly. I was thinking of making him play……this!”
Tendou, as if like Mito Koumon [3-D] presenting the seal box, took out some quadrilateral shaped object.
The size was 1 size bigger than that of the Cassette Tape. With American Comics type illustration also drawn on it; he didn’t able to understand half of it but there is also a small red lamp like thing also attached to it.
“O—oi, Tendou-kun. That red radiating diode, don’t tell me……”
The usual arrogant Sena-sensei was, strangely didn’t able to hold his astonishment.
“What is this thing? It looks some sort of game to me……but.”
“This is called a ROM Cassette, it’s a media which was quite the mainstream before CD and DVD got popular.”
And once again Tendou started to survey the cassette she just took out.
An image of a person facing a ghost like monster was drawn on it. And on top of it, the Game’s title was also written.
“……Spel—unker? Huh, it seems I’ve heard of this name before……Ah.”
“I am not interested in just any freshmen, but if someone in here can clear the Spelunker – Famicom Edition then come to the audio-visual prep-room after school.”
“That’s right. Though I am surprised you actually remembered that. It’s a game I came up as a sort of club entrance exam. Well, there were not enough candidates to actually hold one though.”
With feeling somewhat mortifying, she said.
“Heh… if Tendou-san especially came up with this game as a club entrance exam then that means, it has quite a lot of features isn’t it?”
“Well, without mistakenly it’s a famous work indeed!” said, Sena-sensei. “Among the gamers there is basically no one who doesn’t know about this game at least. Yesterday, you have played Uncharted haven’t you? In a manner of speaking, it’s that games predecessor. The protagonist as expected is a treasure hunter, which in search of a sleeping treasure dives inside the big underground world and unfolds great adventure!”
“Though to be exact, Spelunker means “Cave Expeditioner” and it’s somewhat different from the English word Treasure hunter. No, or maybe it was “Reckless Cave Expeditioner”?”
‘I don’t quite get it but, if it’s a predecessor of Uncharted then it should be somewhat easier to play’, he thought.
“It’s just, no matter what of whose opinion you may consider, the main characteristic of the game lies in its difficultness! I told you before that among gamers there is hardly anyone who doesn’t know about this game but, that too is because of its difficultness. To be honest, even I can’t clear this game that easily!”
“I—is it really that difficult?! I, just had my first experience of a game yesterday you know?!”
“Yes, even I want you to learn the enjoyment of games, and that’s more the reason I want you to avoid Spelunker, but……”
Kishimine’s and Sena-sensei’s sight got directed towards Tendou.
“I understand your anxiousness. It’s just, as you said earlier it’s clear fact that we need instant fire-power who at least can be able to clear the Spelunker. Plus I also believe that if it’s you, you just might be able to pull it off in one way or another. So saying that, just try it once.”
If he got told that much then he had no other chance left but to try it.
He sat in front of the T.V. and saw that the gaming console was different to the one yesterday was being prepared. It was a gaming console which was completely different in size, color and structure than PS3. It was a mixture of red and white color. And the controller too was connected with the proper wire.
“What is this? Looks like a strange old fashioned gaming console to me though……”
“Mu— How cruel. To say old fashioned to an internationally famous legendary high-spec machine.”
“Well, don’t say like that, Tendou-kun! He just recently came in contact with the games, so it can’t be helped if he doesn’t know about a gaming console born more than 20 years ago.”
“2—20 years?! Isn’t that before we were even born?!”
After looking at the Kishimine who wasn’t able to hide his astonishment, Tendou made a little proud looking face.
“That’s right. This is the one who introduced first games in Japan, and soon conquered the whole world a legendary high-spec machine, Famicom. And in addition to that this is not a new model you know? It’s one of the old model. In which buttons are not made quadrilateral out of rubber, but instead made circular out of plastic.”
Kishimine didn’t understood a thing she just said but, but in any case ‘it’s an amazing gaming console’ he understood just that. Plus, he remembered listening about Famicom even before somewhere in T.V. or something.
“At any rate, Just go ahead and try it. Here, take this.”
He was handed down the controller.
“Woah, there are so less buttons!”
The first thing he got surprised of was that. In the PS3 controller there were more than 10 buttons but, in the Famicom one’s there are just 4 buttons. Unlike PS3 controller there are no analog sticks in it, and at last there was just 1 cross shaped key.
“It’s simple and easy to understand right? I can’t deny of the fact that the more buttons increase the latitude of gaming experience but, as long as there are just 2 buttons you’ll still be able to play games. Well, go ahead and see it for yourself”
Tendou connected the switch like thing of the console. Immediately after that, the cheap music started to flow out of the T.V., and on top of T.V screen which was empty just a while ago, gaming screen appeared.
Old fashioned. That was the first impression of the Kishimine.
As he heard that it’s more than 20 years old he expected it to be quite cheap but, still having said that he didn’t thought that it’s going to be that much old fashioned.
On the screen, with just one wearisome orange color, SPELUNKER was displayed. ‘1985 written there is probably a year it got released, huh?’ Which clearly means that it’s a game which was made 10 years before Kishimine was even born.
“So, what exactly should I do?”
“For now, try press the Start Button!”
“Start Button? Ah, this?”
Following Sena-sensei’s direction, he pressed the centre button on the controller.
It was that moment. Without even a second lag, suddenly the screen changed to Game like screen.
As expected that was the unchangeable impression of Kishimine.
I see, just like told before, it seems that the stage of adventure takes place in the underground cave, as that kind of graphics are being displayed. In the bottomless pit below, there was an elevator like thing, and in there the one riding was the protagonist like character who was wearing a head light installed helmet with a backpack.
At any rate, it was a very small character. The protagonist of Uncharted, Nathan’s facial features and the other body parts were all like a real human being but, the protagonist here, had only head and body, which was really looked like a deformed character which sometime appears in the manga’s for kids.
“So, umm…, it’s alright if I just search the treasure in the underground right?”
As I questioned, Tendou said with a nod.
“That’s right. In this underground somewhere, there is a sealed pyramid filled with treasure. You have to somehow find that pyramid.”
Hearing the goal sounded quite easy but, achieving that looked difficult. It’s because he didn’t know a thing about what he should do.
One the screen, there was a Dollar bag and a golden colored lid of a pot—no it’s maybe cold coin— and, Blue key like thing are lying on the floor. Probably, he should proceed while collecting item which looks like that.
On top of the screen, bomb and capsule like icon together with the numeric value was there, and besides that, time together with a strange moving cursor on left side was also there.
“In any case, do something. Rather than learning, just get used to it”
For the first trial he tried pressing the left side of the cross shaped key. By doing the character started to advance.
And—— just easily and casually like that.
Character fell out of the elevator.
An ominous sound effect started to resounded. The character started flickering, and soon vanished.
And the screen switched back, and once again returned back to the starting point.
“What was that, just now?”
“Hmm, just as I thought it sure ended up with that result, isn’t it?!”
“I did consider it as a possibility, but as expected you ended up doing that huh? Well it’s sort of a rule for everyone who plays it for the first time”
“Rule……what do you mean?”
“My bad, it’s because I thought it would be for best to experience it first-hand rather than teaching you about it beforehand. To put it simply this game’s protagonist is not that strong as Nathan from Uncharted. If he fell from the high place he will die and, if he ends up in a situation where he is about to fall he can’t grab on the cliff as well like that in Uncharted.”
“I see. So as I thought, I died back there then right?”
“Yes, that’s what happened. If you try a bit more you will able to grasp on the things fast. Though I dare tell you this beforehand, that character just dies too fast.”
“Tendou-kun. It’s different from Uncharted this time, so shouldn’t you at least tell him the basics of the controls and the like first?! If he doesn’t know how to use bombs and the flashlight, then he won’t be going anywhere!”
“Mu. That’s also true, as it has not any instruction manual with it as well. Alright, then let me teach you.”
Reflexively he got startled.
It’s because Tendou suddenly approached very near to him.
“Okay Listen! First with this “A” Button, the character jumps. The ghost who appears sometimes can be repelled back with the use of a Portable Fan by pressing this “B” Button.”
Not Even Half of that Detailed Explanation went inside his Head. This is because Tendou’s beautiful face was so close to his that even her breath was reaching to Kishimine.
“There are dynamites falling inside of the cave that will try to kill you. And you can use Flash Capsules to repel the Bat’s. And then, the arrow indication on the top of the screen displays the remaining Energy Gauge—”
A Nice smell was coming from where she was. He read the description about that in several of the light novels before, however he finally understood that all of what’s written there was all true.
He wondered from exactly where such kind of nice aroma was coming. On top of it, Tendou’s breath was tickling the tip of Kishimine’s nose, and her beautiful fingernails too were tickling his hands.
“……Oi, are you seriously listening?”
“Eh? Ah— Yes!”
To avoid himself being treated as a Pervert, he somehow averted his eyes.
“I understood till now, with the each passing of time and the use of Portable fan, the energy gauge will drop, and to restore that I will have to collect the item called Energy Bar right?”
“That’s right! Look at you, aren’t you listening just fine?!”
It was even mysterious to him that he was able to remember those things without even paying attention to it.
“But Tendou-kun! What exactly is this Portable Fan you speak of?! Isn’t that thing called Machine Gun you use after you press the “B” Button? And what’s with the Dynamites reference? I think they should be termed as Bombs from the looks of icon!”
“No, that would incorrect. The thing you use by pressing the “B” button is Portable Fan, and they are not bombs but dynamites. It’s even mentioned like that on its official site.”
“Mu…. Portable Fan you say…… so basically you mean that they are not guns but fan, and that guy blows the ghost away with that? I think Machine gun quite fit’s the part though……”
“Wrong explanations are no good. The game should be played and understood with the plot and names that the developers created into the story.”
“I don’t think there was also a reason for you to deny me so hard like that…… Well, we should stop with these boorish talks infront of the Kishimine. That being said, Kishimine-kun! Just as Tendou-kun told you before, this character is too weak!”
Sena-sensei said that in a meaningless powerful voice.
“If he jumps from a high place he will die, and if he gets involve in the blast of the dynamite he will die! He will even die if he gets hit from the feces of the Bats, and if he gets hit from the poisonous gas sprouting from the walls unfortunately that will also result in his death! Therefore you’ll have to carefully cross all these obstacles by observing the surroundings, but still having said that if you use too much time the energy gauge will fall—”
Like that, at that moment.
He heard somewhat of a warning sound which suddenly started coming from the screen. And as he looked, the mysterious arrow—which was supposed to be the Energy Gauge— reached to the left most side of the screen.
As he looked in wait to see what will happen— he again died.
“I don’t think any further explanation is needed! As you can see, you will die!”
“……He really dies to everything isn’t he? Even though Nathan from Uncharted survived with even that severe injury in his abdomen.”
“Well Nathan too dies easily where he is designed to die! Well in any case, with this it should cover the most things. The rest is up to you, go ahead and give it a try for yourself now. First find the Red key and Blue key which are dropped somewhere. Once you collect those 2, you will be able to clear the Stage 1.”
“I see. T—then……”
He still was consumed, but for now he decided to restart the play.
First he made it to the elevator and descended downwards, and halted it to near the edge of the cave. And to make the character reach the cave edge he with perfect timing pressed “A” Button.
Together with the light sound effect, the protagonist jumped from the elevator, and finally succeeded in reaching the ground.
For just practicing he decided to press the “B” Button. By doing that, the protagonist took something out and started shooting with a [BaBaBaBa] sound effect. He soon understood the point of Sena-sensei, according to Tendou-san this is supposed to be a Portable Fan named tool but, the Machine Gun reference was indeed suited it more.
Next, he tried picking up the item that looked like a Money Bag. However, aside from the score increase, there was no other particular change.
And without a break, he proceeded ahead. The first obstacle which appeared was the gap in the ground. In front of that gap lies the mysterious automatic lift which was going up and down. It was just like a pair of an escalator which from one side was going up and from another was going down.
‘I wonder on what kind of power these things are moving?’
He involuntarily end up thinking about something minor like that, but then soon realised that it’s not a place and time to be thinking something like that.
‘At any rate, there’s no reason to put myself in danger to ride such strange and complex lift’; he came to a conclusion like that.
And thus, decided to descend that height without using the lift—
The ruthless BGM started to resound.
And, on the screen Game Over letters started appearing, and finally Kishimine was able to take a guess that he yet again died. It seems this protagonist can’t even cross a distance of that degree.
“……Will I, really be even to reach the end of this game?”
“Your concern is quite natural!” like that, Sena-sensei said while correcting his glasses. “Tendou-kun! As expected this game is just too harsh for a beginner like him?! Well certainly it excels Uncharted in terms of simplicity but, I think with all these unreasonable death being the reasons even Kishimine won’t be able to experience the enjoyment of playing games!”
“Well just wait for a moment, Sensei.”
She alone, as if knowingly that it will turn into a situation like this, calmly said.
“Kishimine-kun. Let me give you a piece of advice. I think you will be able to proceed very well if you listen to that.”
“Ha? Advice……is it?”
“I don’t know what you are plan on saying but……” said Sena-sensei. “I don’t think Spelunker is a type of game where you get good just by getting hints from someone.”
“Well just listen for a bit. If I am not wrong, you said that you found Kishimine inside the library didn’t you?”
“Aah, that’s right but. What it has to do with this?!”
“At that moment, what he was like? I doubt he was concentrating so hard in the book that he didn’t even noticed you when you called to him.”
“Hmm… Certainly it was just like that but……,”
“It was similar in my case as well. You remember it right, Kishimine-kun? A few days ago, we met in the library didn’t we?”
“Ye—es! I do remember.”
“That sure was an impressive level of concentration. I could’ve still understood if you’ve slept while reading the book or something, but you were intently flipping the pages and reading the content with your eyes open wide. That’s right that was…… indeed as if you were possessed by the book. To a degree, which looked amusing if watched sitting right by your side.”
Kishimine involuntarily started blushing. That’s why he didn’t want anyone to see him while he was reading the book.
“……I can’t really deny that. I said this yesterday as well though, when I start reading book, I completely shut myself out from the surroundings.”
“You become the Protagonist himself……you said something like that right?”
“Yes, that’s about right.”
As he still didn’t able to understand what Tendou was implying. That kind of half-hearted reply was the best he could’ve given.
“After hearing that, I wanted to try something out a bit. Kishimine, you played both Uncharted and Spelunker. However, clearly you lacked a piece of information needed in both. And that’s in itself quite possibly, was the most important piece of information to you.”
“Ho? So what exactly is it? Though I don’t think there is anything important than an instruction manual.”
Tendou, while folding her hands and then making a confidence looking expression said.
“It’s very simple thing. A Story.”
It was like as if he was pointed at about something grand which he was forgotten.
Certainly, he still remembered about that. For instance, Uncharted’s Protagonist Nathan. He just what for reason was inside that train. Just where and what caused that big of an injury to him.
And in the end, after surviving through that train, just what kind of story awaited him. Just like book reading that kind of things were all what he regretted not knowing.
“I see. Story, huh?! Certainly, in both books and games, it’s a factor needed to make one feel empathy towards it. In the era of Famicom and others, they just hurriedly printed some sort of a prologue kind of thing together with the instruction manual after all. However Tendou-kun, in the first place does Spelunker even have something like a Story—”
To Sena-sensei who was trying to say something, Tendou stopped with a hand.
“Just leave everything to me from here. So, that’s how it is Kishimine-kun, that’s why I think of teaching you the story of the Spelunker.”
“I see…… I sort of feel happy about that though.”
In the stories most of the protagonists are, always waiting for goal and the reason to fulfil that goal. For example, the book he was reading at the moment, “The Count of Monte Cristo” too, the protagonist Edmond was suddenly thrown in the prison because of False Charges and, was now taking action to fulfil his Vengeance.
Maybe Games too are something like that. Nathan, and even the protagonist of Spelunker as well, should be surely moving because of some sort of goal or something.
“Now then, First of all……that’s right, just like Uncharted’s Protagonist who is called Nathan, this Spelunker’s Protagonist also has a name. And that name is……Umm, that’s right, Mike, he’s called Mike.”
“……It somewhat like a name which could be heard anywhere isn’t it. Like in an English textbook or something……”
As he pointed out like that, due to some unknown reason Tendou started feeling discomfort. And to hide that, she coughed a little.
“I—in any case, Mike has a goal. Well obviously he was searching for the Treasure sleeping inside the cave, but do you know the reason for that?”
“Ha. Did he need money for something?”
“Exactly. Mike is an expeditionary but, In reality he had a lover……No, a friend……no that’s also not right, more than a friend but less than a lover, Yup, that’s right, a girlfriend was there. Her name was……yes, M—……Maria but, she was the sister who was working in an orphanage and, that orphanage because of financial problems was about to get demolished.”
“Hmm…… Did really Spelunker had that kind of story? No, certainly it’s a story which is quite a plausible scenario during the era of Famicom but,”
Tendou started to feel discomfort again and started to glare at Sena-sensei.
“Like I said before, Sensei, please leave the things to me, and stay quiet.”
“Hmm, if you say it like that then, I have no choice but to leave it to you……”
And thus, she coughed slightly as if to switch over that, and continue with the explanation as if nothing happened.
“So that’s how it is! If, he returns with the treasure of Spelunker, then it’s a happy ending waiting for him. However if he fails, the orphans will be driven out on the streets, and a fate where Sister Maria will be sold to the mafia by the loaners was waiting for him.”
“……Does this game really had that kind of a heavy plot?”
“T—that’s right. Everything has a thing called necessity. Spelunker’s Protagonist too is just a normal human. When compared to Uncharted’s Nathan, he lacks power and is inferior in each and every aspect. However, it’s due to the existence of a person which he needs to protect no matter what, he was risking his life.”
“But, Games and Books differ in one aspect. It is that the conclusion of the Story depends on you. Do you understand? The fate of Sister Maria and the children are just hanging on your palms.”
“……So that’s how it is, huh?”
Kishimine was already used to Fiction Stories. And so…, because of that he was able to wholeheartedly listen to what Tendou just said, and end up believing that.
‘This Spelunker’s Protagonist really dies fast; he dies no matter what he does. That kind of a weak guy was Spelunking in this dangerous Underground cave. You can simply call it Recklessness, but it was close to a Suicide.’
‘However, what if he had a reason behind that— a goal in particular? If it’s like that then everything fits the blank spots.’
At that moment inside Kishimine’s mind, Sister Maria’s figure came up who was praying for Mike’s safety while crying. Of course he was able to imagine the face of her but quite naturally it was the face of Tendou wearing a catholic nun dress.
Like this she will be taken away by Mafia. But as long he was able to get the money, everything will be solved. And that money lay bare everywhere in this cave.
Every time whenever he re-read a book, a thought comes up into his mind. That if the protagonist took a different action at that particular moment, then a future much more amazing would’ve been waiting for him— something like that.
However, the conclusion in a book will not change no matter how many times he reads it.
But, Games are different. This story will not just end up as a happy end, and in the end it all depends on the Player. That’s the most fundamental difference between a Game and a Book.
He wanted to try watching it, a future where Protagonist finally reunites with Sister Maria after getting his hands on the treasure.
As he thought like that in his mind once, he just couldn’t able to hold back his desires.
“Umm. Can I try playing it once more?”
Tendou nodded happily.
“Of course. Play it to your Heart Content.”
And thus like that, Kishimine once again grabbed the controller.
‘Mike is just an ordinary person.’
Spelunker’s Protagonist is not a tough guy like that Nathan from Uncharted. However, he had no choice but to enter the underground cave filled with danger. Everything is for Sister Maria. Not a wife, not even a lover. Everything for an intimate girlfriend which was just more than a friend, he was risking his life for her.
When he thinks like that, something started to fill up his heart. It was impossible to call him ordinary. For someone he considered more than himself, he alone, with such lightweight equipment, without even carrying a rope, was going deeper and deeper inside the cave where ghosts and other mysterious monsters appears.
“Kishimine-kun. It’s better if you wipe off those tears you know?”
He realised for the first time, after getting pointed out by the Sena-sensei, that his cheeks were wet with tears.
“Ah, No, Umm, it’s because I was continuously looking at the T.V. for quite some time my eyes got dry. Look, it’s because I don’t really watch T.V. that often.”
While saying good excuses like that, he wiped his tears off, and grabbed the controller.
And to reform his mood, he took a deep breath.
What he learned with his last play was that, this game has too many unreasonable death scenarios. It’s because he just died just from a small gap in the ground.
However, perhaps his cognition was wrong. He right now was finally able to understand that.
‘It’s just this game is overwhelmingly close to reality.’
For example, in this game, if you stay at one place, you will die because of the loss of energy. Then in that case isn’t that energy bar like an oxygen meter of the oxygen tank he is carrying?
And, it’s not rare to see the poisonous gas spurting out of the walls of the tunnel of the cave, and deep inside the cave there is a lack of oxygen itself. So having an oxygen tank was a matter of life and death.
On top of it, if he goes deeper, there are underground water geysers that spout steam and enshroud the area due to geothermal heat. That heat and humidity will relentlessly exhaust his body, and that will in return relentlessly exhaust the oxygen supply.
Plus, this is an underground world where even if he dial 119 [4-E]
no ambulance will come to help. For instance, if he breaks one of his bones in his leg, then that will make him impossible to return.
It’s a rock ground where it’s just hard to even walk under normal circumstances. So if he jumped from just a small height then that will easily break a bone or 2 for sure. No, even with just a sprain in the leg, it will be impossible to return back. Not to mention this protagonist, is carrying things like a machine gun, bombs, oxygen cylinder and that kind of a big bag. That’s why if he was to jump from even a small height, then it would not be strange for him to receive an injury to make him unable to move.
“……I see. So that how it is.”
The more he thinks about it the more it made sense. Uncharted too was certainly a game which was close to real but, this Spelunker too was overwhelming close to a real game.
Inside Kishimine’s heart, a new kind of desire started to develop.
It was a Curiosity. Just what kind of ending is waiting for him? Similar to while reading the book, when that kind of desire starts to appear, he just can’t able to control himself up.
He firmly closed his eyes for once and then when he opened them again,
Kishimine already turned into the Mike of Spelunker.
I started to go deep inside the underground cave while operating the elevator.
And soon enough, what lied bare in front of my eyes was the maze-like complicated cave.
“There is a Treasure somewhere in here……”
I need that treasure at all cost for Sister Maria and the children.
An unprecedented cave in which no one entered before. While flinging with the trembling fear, I further descended below the cave in the elevator.
And soon enough a tunnel started appear in front of my eyes.
The pit stretched still long deep below, and there was another deep tunnel right below this one. But it’s not like it was proven in any way that the below one is the right way to proceed. Since I don’t even have a map, I have no other choice but to investigate everything from the scratch.
And thus, I stopped the elevator on the entry of the first tunnel. And prepared myself as the moment I will jump from this elevator, an adventure involving the risk of losing my own life will start, where I will not even have a slightest bit help from the above ground.
An adventure. For a Normal Person those words will probably be enough to make their Hearts throb with excitement. However, what was waiting for me right now was just “Several Risks”. As with just a slightest bit of an injury I won’t be able to able to return back from this Underground cave and without anyone knowing will end up rotting here. And because of my death disastrous fate will befall on her who was more than the friend and less than the lover, and the orphanage children she was supporting.
“Uh-oh, that’s bad”
I shook of my unpleasant thoughts. Its maybe of me being all alone inside the cave, I started being all emotional and pessimistic all of a sudden.
“Alright, let’s go then!”
I tried jumping from the elevator. However, the gap between the elevator and the cliff was enough to make a person fall.
Cold sweat started run down by spine. If I fall here, I will end up dying just like that.
But still, there was no point in fretting at the start line like this. I then preparing myself, jumped out from the elevator.
Fortunately, without even my feet slipping and the cliff being still intact nothing happened, and I somehow succeeded in taking my first step in the cave. But still, this adventure is a journey filled with dangers, and the grim happenings will just going to continue ahead as well.
While shaking off the mood, I started to look deep inside the cave.
Maybe it’s because of the geothermal heat, the uncomfortable air wrapped around my whole body. And even my oxygen starting to deplete rapidly, it’s going to be painful in here without this oxygen cylinder.
As there was no time to be standing there idle I started to proceed deep inside the cave.
And soon, found something.
It was a money bag. I then soon understood the reason of why this is called the cave of buried treasures. It’s not going to give me that much money, but I will gladly take it.
The next thing which I then saw was a strange artefact, a set of lifts which were side by side to each other and were moving up and down in direction.
For god sake, just who the hell was the one who was using this cave? Is it using some kind of geothermal energy or hydraulic power as a source? To be able to make something like a semi-continuous moving lift like that.
In any case, it was just right to move ahead. I then carefully jumped into the one which was going down. Which was severely life threatening! If I missed my timing just a bit and would’ve fallen to the bottom, then there was not a doubt that I would’ve received a great injury enough to make me rot at this cave for eternity.
Fortunately, the attempt ended up in success. And the lift I was riding continued to descend like that, and I was able to cross the difference in gap and finally reached the ground below. While lifting the fallen golden coin again, I started to move forward in a hurry again.
The next thing that then appeared in front of me was a steep cliff and a rope which was hanging from the ceiling down to the bottom. From the looks of it, it looked like something that I have to climb to advance ahead.
It’s no use in fretting coming all the way here, so there I, while preparing myself, jumped on the rope and, slowly climbed on it. If I was a normal person my bones would’ve surely broke while climbing on a rope with this heavy backpack but, I too just in case am one of a Cave expeditionary, that’s why a feat like this is a speciality of mine.
The problem was how to jump from the rope to the cliff back. As usual the ground is rough and uneven. If I got to slip my legs anywhere while jumping, I will break my leg and won’t be able to return back to the surface for sure.
“Aarrgh, hasn’t this adventure just begun?”
I can’t let myself hesitate on an obstacle of this degree. While resolving myself, I jumped from the rope.
Somehow I was able to make myself on the cliff successfully. If I got to ascertain the height of the cliff before jumping, then it would’ve not end up being any problem.
It’s just, quite disappointingly, was a dead end on the cliff.
But still it didn’t looked like it was a waste coming all the way to here, as various things could be seen lying here and there. Dollar Bag, Flash Capsule and for some reason Dynamite as well.
I thought for once—that why these things are here. But then thought that they probably are the relics of the construction workers or something from the time when this cave was still in use. There is no mistaking that it will come in use. So without holding back, I also put them inmy bag.
I then decided that I should head back to the elevator to investigate the bottom tunnel I saw earlier as well.
However, then I reconsidered it. The difficulty level of the expedition in this cave is beyond my expectations. And the Death’s Shadow was always walking besides me. In this nerve wracking tension there is no place to even rest. Like this I won’t have enough stamina for long. And even the Oxygen cylinder which was holding my life is not infinite.
So there I, just for a trial for once, operated the elevator to take me the bottom most part of the cave. It’s because I thought that if I knew that how much deep it is, and how many number of tunnels are there, if I’m able to get even a portrait of it, then that will be at least a bit helpful in my expedition.
While making a clattering sound, the elevator continued to descend. The pit was even deeper than I thought, and even the number of tunnels exceeded my expectations, with just looking I was able to locate 5 of them. Moreover, in some even poisonous gas was gushing out, and in one of tunnel the cry of a mysterious beast could be also heard. I was expecting danger from before, but it looks like it’s gonna turn out to me more life threatening of an adventure than I predicted it to be.
In no time the elevator reached the bottom most part of the cave but still, the tunnel laid ahead was a dead end. Which meant, from one of the 5 tunnels I saw above lies the correct answer? And I have to alone, search through all of them.
When I think about those hardships, my stomach starts to hurt. If I had a large amount of funds, without even caring about these life threatening situations, would’ve just organised a large expedition party and then searched for the treasure with them, but for the one who didn’t had money in the first place, and that too came here to find it was a meaningless thing to talk about.
“Huh? That is……?”
Suddenly, I saw something lying on the dead end.
Why something like this is lying at a place like this? Perhaps it’s also a relic from the construction party from the cave before, huh?—while I was assuming answers to my question like that, it happened.
Suddenly, I heard an ominous moaning like sound.
That voice, which I never heard before in my life, didn’t seem to be the cry of a beast or something. And it sounded just like it was coming from beneath the earth or something.
“Don’t tell me……”
Just in case, I have heard about it once. That in this cave, ghosts appears.
I don’t believe in unscientific things such as ghosts. But, if I am gonna say that, then the whole thing about the treasure existing in this deep cave would be turned into a big fake hoax as well. And if it’s in a cave such as this, a ghost appearing sounded quite a plausible thing as well.
Maybe it’s because of that nervousness, in the midst of my heart pounding so hard, I started to prepare my one and only weapon for the emergency purpose, a Machine Gun.
And just after that—that thing manifested itself.
Shining with a purple light, certainly there was no other term more suited for it to be than a ghost. His manifestation too was suddenly from the wall as well.
With his hand rising upwards, and mouth opening wide, he was coming straight in my direction to attack me.
I without a thread of hesitation pulled the trigger of the Machine Gun. With a tearing sound, the bullets came out of the gun with a tremendous force.
If one had to think it rationally, then the metal bullets shouldn’t work on a ghost. However maybe it was because of the thunderous sound of the bullets, or my spirit itself, pushed it back. The parts which were pierced by the bullets slowly started to fade away, and soon without any particular sign, it completely vanished.
I wiped the sweat from my forehead. It’s maybe I did something which I was not used to, or just controlling the Machine Gun’s from all those recoils was difficult, that ended up consuming a lot of my stamina.
And because of that, the mystery of why the oxygen cylinder was felled here at a place like this also got solved.
I don’t want to think hard about that but these are probably, the relics of the Spelunker like me who lost his life here.
In that case, that ghost, is sort of like that guys all of the hatred manifestation.
“I’m sorry. But there are things I must do.”
As I was scared of the wrath I didn’t wanted to find the treasure the predecessor hid here. But I without hesitation at least decided to take that Oxygen Tank with myself.
And even after that the dangerous adventures continued.
Jumping through a big gap of a hole, climbing on the rope, descending on the lift, and blasting the obstacles such as big rocks with Dynamite, and avoiding getting involved with the aftermath of blasts—
I absolutely can’t cut my concentration at any place. As I am a frail human being, just a tiny miss-happening can end up being the result of death.
However, once again in front of me a new kind of obstacle appeared.
“What the fuck, are those giant bats……?!”
From quite a distance ahead, from the depths of the cave [Kii][Kii] eerie cry was echoing. And the source of those sounds, were the Giant Bats living in the depths of the cave.
With them just being still there would’ve been fine for me because of the fact that bats don’t just attack humans broadly like that. But the problem was, they thought of me as a threat that entered in their territory, and as a result started excreting their feces everywhere.
I involuntarily shuddered.
Bat feces especially of a large species of bats are basically harmless, but some species have rabies and other type of viruses in them, and it also seems the strong smell of them sometimes causes the problem in the respiration.
And I just can’t even imagine these bats that are living in these caves as harmless. And I don’t even know what kind of disease they will infect me with once I touched their feces.
Above all, as I, too am one of the Spelunkers. I too obviously had a way to deal with bats. And that too is a very simple trick, Bats are weak to the light.
I took out the Flash in my hand I picked up from earlier from inside the cave. Maybe someone who came for the treasure hunt like me would’ve left this by accident for the counter-measure against the Bats.
I released the flash, the white ball of light raised in the air, and the next moment the inside of the cave, got enlightened by the white light.
Once the flash settled down, there were no signs of the bat anywhere.
However, it’s not like I killed them all or anything, they just ran away from all of the light, and thus there was no telling when they will return back. So for now I while take my chance to cross my way through the passage.
“But, this sure is an interesting phenomenon alright!”
At Kishimine who was playing the game devouringly, Sena-sensei was observing with great interest.
That was just like, as if he was possessed by the game, or like he become the protagonist of the game itself. To meddle with it a little, he tried swinging his hand in front of his face, and tried shaking his shoulders a lot but, nothing happened. Kishimine was immersed in it as if he got completely possessed by the game.
“To think he can manifest the power of concentration to this length……As expected he might just have a talent for gaming.”
Tendou said. If someone normal had to hear this, would laugh at it while saying “How foolish”. But, the gamers who have seen the battle between the two elected gamers before, to them, it was not something they can laugh at all.
“He can get inside the game……huh?”
But that phenomenon was not at all something which was rare. In RPG getting extremely enraged over the sins of a Demon Lord, and getting drunk by the strength of their own character in an Action Game too, is a sort of this phenomenon which occur when player end up merging their thinking with that of a character of the game. The phenomenon which was occurring in the body of Kishimine, too must be the elongated state of something like that.
“I see. So that’s why Tendou-kun, you fabricated such kind of story didn’t you? Seriously, what’s with “to rescue the orphanage?” You’ll end up scolded by the developers you know? Well, for a game from an era of a Famicom it’s a story which is quite plausible though.”
Tendou lost her composure a bit.
“W—well isn’t its fine? With just that if he will be able to understand the fun of Spelunker then, even the developers too will forgive me.”
“Everyone has their own concept of what’s interesting in a game or not, huh?”
The games in the era of Famicom had a lot of constraints but, the major one of them altogether was the graphics. Old games such as Spelunker and Mario, were just made by the gathering of several dots— and even in those dots the number was largely restricted— it was an era in which every graphics was displayed by using that. Background and even the characters face was the something of a definition of cheap itself.
However, that was the reason which allowed the players a margin to imagine on their own. The players with their own power of imagination were able to taste the fun of the games they played to their own likings. And that act itself, was relatively very interesting. In other words, it’s because each and every human being separately can be able to drag out their individual way of what’s interesting in that game.
For example, in the initial stages of the game designed for Famicom, there were quite a lot of story based plot where you have to save the heroine, and the young boys who were the user overlap that girl with real girl they are somewhat interested in, and end up showing high emotions while playing the game.
‘The Kishimine-kun right now, might just be that like that.’
And as they suddenly watched the game screen again, Kishimine finally was able to clear the 1st Floor.
“Unbelievable……! Even though it’s just his first time playing the Spelunker, he already cleared the 1st Floor, huh? And he is playing flawlessly for quite some time as well, right?”
“It’s not that strange. As the No.1 secret behind while playing the Spelunker is to never lose the concentration while playing it after all!”
“I see! Well, certainly!”
The causes of death in this game are, 80% by the fall. You will die if you get involved into the bomb explosion or gets hit by the poisons gas, every cause were something minor of that level.
These causes of deaths, if carefully with estimated timings were manipulated then they can be all easily avoided.
However, the lack of spirit when got the hang of the timing or, if the concentration gets interrupted in the long running plays, can easily result in misplays. And this game is a type which cannot even overlook just one misplay.
On the contrary if one has to say, if that sort of negligence is not there, clearing this game is not really that difficult.
“The power of concentration which makes him even able to enter inside the game, if that’s the best weapon he has……then certainly, the Spelunker might just be an ideal game for him!”
At the time he was made to play the Uncharted yesterday too, they should’ve been told him about the story in detail.
At that moment, Kishimine said, that when the train started to slide he from fear didn’t able to move. If he was told that how tough and robust Nathan truly is and how much of hardships he had crossed over, before he started playing the game then that would’ve not happened for sure.
The moaning of a ghost, as its gauging back the entrails, echoed heavily in the quiet cave.
The reckless Spelunker who was obsessed by the treasure, even now together with the courage and fear on his face, was progressing in the dark and underground cave.
Heavily dirtied with blood, sweat and dirt all over his body and mind laid the profound coloured expeditionary.
When he used the rope he took care that he didn’t sweat that much, and when he used the bomb he carefully checked that he is quite far as to not get involved in the blast, Progressing slowly like that was the etiquette of being here. Of course, no Spelunker stands still when they run out of Flashes in front of the bats though.
Underground Cave. That was truly, the Country of the Dead.
……Maybe it’s was an effect of an explanation I read somewhere before, in my brain that single verse continued to float again and again.
The adventure was going very well for now, Though I hesitated at first on how to proceed on this new route, but luckily as I was able to get my hands on one of the blue keys quite easily I was now proceeding quite easily even to the further inside.
However—the greatest obstacle of yet soon enough came in front of me.
When I crossed the blue gate by using the blue key what laid in front of my eyes, were the countless lines of rope in front of each other to the other side.
For me who had crossed a countless number of obstacles and hurdles, I soon was able to comprehend that there is something for sure on the other side of this obstacle. And I have to jump from one rope to another like a Tarzan [4-F].
From the looks of it, it doesn’t seem to be that easy of a job. But, I can’t stay long enough at one place as well. I then making myself resolute, jumped on the first rope.
It seemed fine.
And without a moment delay I then jumped to the 2nd rope.
“It’s alright. As long as I don’t lose my concentration……”
I then with a tempo, jumped to another rope.
Another, and then on another. Sometimes finely looking at my position and while adjusting the rhythm, and, also praying that Ghost won’t appear. I proceeded.
“Alright, somehow it looks quite plausible.”
The end suddenly made its appearance.
I didn’t even lose bit my attention a bit nor interrupted even my concentration. And reached till here taking each and every step of mine very carefully.
But still, something which I couldn’t have helped happened.
When I jumped from one rope to another, at that moment,
I hit my head from the ceiling.
Even the time to shriek was just a mere second. And without able to do anything, I fell at the bottom of ground.
Right after that, due to the tremendous impact on my whole body my field of vision started to become dark.
“Ah, I will die now.”
One way or another I was atleast able to understand that.
The impact just now probably would’ve broken nearly all the bones in my body. I can’t even able to move my hands and legs.
With this, my adventure will close its curtain for real. In the end without even anyone knowing anyone, my life as a Spelunker will done for nothing.
With my consciousness slowly fading, I laughed on myself.
I started to remember those countless number of ghosts I fought until here. I too will now join among them.
At least, I want to pray that the remaining oxygen cylinder and dynamite should be helpful for another expeditionary who pass through here.
The only regret I have right now is about the Sister Maria who I left alone on the ground above.
I wonder what will become of her and the orphan children she was supporting. I just couldn’t help but feel pity at me who was in the end up didn’t end up of any help for them.
“Forgive me everyone……”
I closed my eyes slowly.
In my mind, at the end, Sister Maria’s sad looking face started to float.
And as expected that sister was none other than Tendou.
“Oi Kishimine. Open up your eyes, Kishimine!”
As he noticed, what was in front of Kishimine now was not Sister Maria……but the face of Tendou who was in the school uniform.
As one would expect of a person who has such an out world experience as a daily routine, he soon able to understand the situation he was in at the moment. ‘It’s was that phenomenon again. And I yet again got immersed in the world of games.’ He came up with a conclusion.
“Are you okay……asking that is somewhat strange isn’t it? It was splendid of you to reach to the 2nd Floor but, as one would expect, even you wasn’t able to do something about that perilous pass right?”
“Well, that was seriously unavoidable!” Sena-sensei also approved. “If someone exists in this world to be able to clear that perilous rope pass in his/her first try, then I honestly want to meet that superhuman myself. Seriously, I think it’s a miracle to just avoid that 1st Floor’s hidden hole you know?!”
With the remarks of those two, Kishimine too was finally able to remember of what really happened.
I, played Spelunker named game for the first time, and in the end—
“……I see. So I really died didn’t I?”
The emotion of disappointment started to slowly fall on him.
Just what kind of treasure lay bare at the end of those Caves? Just what kind of ending was awaited for him? He lost the opportunity to know the answers to all those answers.
Above all, he was upset that he didn’t able to get to improve his talent for the gaming.
To divert that frustration of his he started to chew his teeth.
To the words Tendou said calmly like that, Kishimine just barely failed to listen.
“P—passed……? What do you mean?”
“I said that you passed the test. You have a great talent in gaming. It’s coming this late from me but, I will still say it once again. Won’t you join this club?”
“Eh? Eeeehhhh!? But I, far from clearing it, died just at the 2nd Floor you know……?”
Tendou abruptly laughed.
“That kind of thing is not much of a problem. It’s even quite impossible for me to clear this game. Seriously I too at my best can reach to the 3rd Floor at most. But doing flawlessly like you without committing any mistakes is even impossible for me. If it’s the speedrun gamer such as Sena-sensei then, that’s a different thing though.”
“Well in my case, it will take around one whole night I guess!”
Sena-sensei said quite that quite casually.
“So that’s how it is, so I’ll suggest that you shouldn’t really get bothered by things like that. I organised the test itself to just ascertain 2 things in the new club applicants, by making them play the spelunker.”
“2 things? I know only one. It’s the talent to be able to play games right? Then what’s the other……?”
“The passion towards the game. And naturally, if there is someone good enough to clear Spelunker then they are also welcomed at any time. But what is more important is not to clear the game, but how much passion you have towards the games. Well certainly Spelunker is a game who takes pride in its level of difficulty, due to which hardly anyone play it these days. However, this game too has its own charm.”
“……I understand it. It’s because one way or another, I also had fun while playing it.”
“Yes, so that’s how it is!”
Suddenly, Sena-sensei shouted.
“You now already know the way of enjoying the games! Certainly, your talent of gaming is still far from perfect but, that’s not the case for your passion towards the game! And with just that it would be enough for now!”
Getting approved by someone genuinely made him very happy. After spending so much of his time reading alone, experience of doing something together with someone was the first time for Kishimine.
“So what do you say? Obviously I can’t force you but, as long as you’re fine with it, I certainly want you to join the club……”
None other than Tendou said that he wants him. With just that he would happy. Plus, he also started to understand the enjoyment of playing games.
But even despite that, the “Yes” like word didn’t came soon from him mouth.
On the contrary, at that moment he noticed that all his enthusiasm from before suddenly cooled down.
Till now Kishimine, neither has spent such a long time together with anyone, nor had any experience in doing something together with anyone. Well certainly he had able to live up on the expectations of Tendou and others. But he was not sure that will continue to happen in the next few times too. So no matter how hard he was praised, it’s just been a day since he started playing game for the first time in his life.
‘Sena-sensei and even Tendou loves Games. Will I really be able to prove of any help to them without holding them back? If they both gets disappointed in me, will I be able to recover from that?’ That kind of obscure uneasiness one after another started to shook the inside of his mind.
‘In the first place, I, who has avoided social contact with everyone until now, would really be able to spend such a long time with them? A guy like me who didn’t able converse with even my classmates till now, and still at a loss of words, a guy like me’, he started to think.
Above all, in the end he was still concerned about the relationship of Tendou and Sena-sensei. Tendou was certainly very beautiful, and he also had some feelings to stay together with her. But, what if it turns out to be that they are dating, then he will completely turn into a hindrance. And in the first place, he didn’t want to see Tendou with anyone.
“……What happened? As expected…… you don’t want to?”
Tendou looked a little sad, saying that.
It’s the first time he saw her face clouded like that.
‘That kind of face doesn’t suit her. If possible, I want to see her always laughing.’ He thought.
And he thought that if right now what can make that happen was a reply from him saying “Yes, I agree on joining”.
But, if on a spur of moment said those words then everyone will end up regretting that later. Just thinking about that, made his both legs tremble in fear.
“……No, umm…… I certainly enjoyed playing the game. But, I also love reading. If I end up joining, then I for sure will lose my time to read books, so if I think about that then……”
That was just an excuse. At any rate, it was a thought he made on a spur of moment to leave this place.
“……I see. Well certainly, you also have a way of living your high school life you have pictured from before. And it will be also impolite to ask you to change it suddenly like that……”
“Wait right there, Kishimine-kun!”
Sena-sensei opened his mouth, and at that moment the air itself of that place started to get heavier. Quite honestly, he thought that he got saved because of his bright characteristics.
“I see I understand that you might have your own circumstances! But, to be frank, if we don’t make you join the club, then we will be in serious trouble! So considering the occasion, your personal matter and what you think doesn’t matter much, so just join the club!”
“How U—unreasonable!! Well certainly, I know that you have your own circumstances but still……”
“Very well, then let’s negotiate! You started to form an interest towards the games as well right? So there, how about entering into the club as a temporary member like Niitani-kun?! If you do that then you will be freely able to go in and out of this club! And like usual you can seclude yourself in the library, or if you change your mind you can continue from where you left in the Uncharted and Spelunker as well!”
That indeed was a very fascinating proposal to Kishimine. His lack of decisiveness was maybe his own way of leaving from the place, but if he get more time to think about that then he was fine with that.
“I understand, if it’s like that……then let me be the temporary member.”
“Yup, very well said! Then I Welcome you to the Izunomiya Academy’s Modern Game Club! Even though it’s just temporary, let’s celebrate your joining the club!”
Sena-sensei lively said.
But contrastively, Tendou couldn’t able to digest that.
“Wait a second you two. Temporary club enrolment? Are you really fine with that kind of a half-assed conclusion?”
Those words stung deep inside the chest of Kishimine. Certainly, it’s because it was a judgement of a conclusion which carried several types of problems.
“Aren’t you the one who said that it can’t helped due to our current circumstances before, Tendou-kun?! So why not just give him a little more time to think about that?!”
“……well certainly that’s true but…… It was different in Niitani’s case. Even if he was to continue club activities vaguely like that, I don’t think of that benefiting either of us.”
“Well of course I want Kishimine-kun too to get in a mood like that! Isn’t that’s more the reason we should extend some time, so that he can get a little bit of time to think?! Plus, isn’t this the best possible way for all us?! As our club will also be able to save its place if though it’s temporary a boy joined the club! Plus even for Kishimine-kun this will become a place where if he wants he can be able to get in contact with the games!”
“Mu…… Well that’s also true……”
“Umm, I am sorry. It’s because of my indecisiveness……”
He said reflexively thinking that he is causing troubles for everyone. But as he said that, Tendou immediately replied back.
“No, not at all, it’s not something you should worry about. And now that I think it back, it was us who forced you into this situation in the first place. Thinking like that we should feel happy of the fact that you started to take an interest in the games.”
‘Seriously, Am I really fine with an outcome like this?’ As per usual that uneasiness grasped hold of his heart but, as he himself wanted some time, he didn’t said anything aside that.
And thus like that, even though it’s because of those turn of events, Kishimine first time in his 18 years of life registered himself to a club.