Long time no see. Extra chapter 1 was more relevant with chapter 82, so I will be posting extra chapter 2 first. Chapter 82 was about 8-10k words long, so I will split it into maybe 2-3 parts. Btw, I had finished about 1/3 of it, so I can probably publish it next sunday (11/11/18)
ーAfter that incident, I tried asking for information from various people, anything about Kagi Tomonori or his acquaintance.
Kagi-san was my lifesaver.
That wasn’t even an exaggeration.
On the day the random slasher attacked me, I was so surprised that I couldn’t even move. It was Kagi-san who risked his life and saved me.
Kagi-san helped me even though we didn’t know each other at the time, but ironically, he was shot dead by the police who mistook him as the random slasher.
When I heard about Kagi-san’s death, he was being carried away by the hospital bed.
The news was quite convoluted at the time, some news stations even mistakenly announce Kagi-san as the random slasher.
I caught the hasty police officer and explained the truth about the matter.
At first, the police didn’t even want to lift a finger, but after I told them that I would bring this matter to the reporters, they quickly amended the announcement in a panic.
If I didn’t clear the truth, how would have the event even progressed?
『Perhaps the police officers intent was to have Kagi-san as the random slasher』, a journalist who is an acquaintance of mine said.
By framing Kagi-san as the random slasher, the police could announce that shooting Kagi-san to death was necessary and unavoidable. Considering that Kagi-san didn’t have any relatives, combined with his introverted nature and gaming hobbies, announcing him as the random slasher wouldn’t inconvenience anyone.
I can’t let that happen.
How could I forgive such things if it were to happen? After receiving interviews from the news and TV stations, Kagi-san’s shooting incident snowballed into a huge problem for the public. Thanks to those influences, every single news station aired his profile. However, he still didn’t escape the stereotype of being a 『Introverted gaming youth with bad social relationship』.
Being reported in this manner, I felt sorry for Kagi-san.
So it became my motivation.
I intended to gather as much information about him as possible.
But, with what little info a mere high school girl like me could really gather – mostly things reported by the media are vague, or unverified rumors floating around online – I had nothing to go on for figuring out the true nature of the Kagi Tomonori who I’d been saved by.
Since I couldn’t feel comfortable with leaving things half-finished, I decided to investigate him on my own.
Although I had to say that I was a complete amateur without any detective or investigation background.
I interviewed various people, got rebuked and scolded at some point while trying to find anyone who could even remotely be associated with him when he was still alive.
Thanks to the journalist who told me about the police’s response to this incident, I was able to meet one of Kagi-san’s co-workers.
「About the matter of Kagi-san… who was he again?」
When I asked one of his ex-coworkers, the said person fell silent with a perplexed expression.
「Hmmm… About Kagi, honestly speaking, I don’t know much about him」
「B-but I heard from your other co-workers that you were the closest one with him…」
「Although I may be the one closest to him back when we worked together, but… I can’t exactly say that I am very close to him. He wasn’t exactly the type to come to an office drinking party after all」
I had met several of his ex-coworkers, but even for them, they only first heard about his gaming hobby from the recent press.
Incidentally, the place where Kagi-san worked was completely unrelated to the game industry.
So I tried searching for his old friends and ex-girlfriends back when he was a student, but the only one I found was his old high-school classmates.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have much contact after graduation, so the only thing I could get was one of his high-school episodes.
It seemed that he hung out with his classmates who liked fighting games.
However, as they went separate ways during university-years, they stopped hanging out together.
I also got information that he didn’t date anyone during high school.
The more I looked into it, the more of a loss I became with the lack of information about him.
If things kept going on like this, he will be announced in the news as a lonely nobody without any friends or lovers.
As someone who saved me like a hero from the stories, this was way too sad.
Suddenly, I remembered.
There was some news that said that Kagi-san was a regular customer at a game center near the crime scene.
Why couldn’t I remember it up until this point?
I was a high-school girl and we only visited the game center to play crane games and take pictures in the photo booth. That was probably why. I didn’t know anyone in the game center.
But Kagi-san was a regular in that game center. Although I didn’t quite understand how could someone become a 『regular』 by just playing games in the game center. But with that, he must have had some level of connection with the clerks and other customers.
Of course, I couldn’t just stay still after thinking about it, so I decided to visit the game center.
Honestly, I was kind of afraid approaching that game center. However, considering that was a place where Kagi-san spent his time so passionately, I should at least go and check that place out. Except for how close it was to a crime scene, the game center that Kagi-san often went to was still approachable, even by a high schooler like me. But since it was an old-fashioned dimly lit game center without any picture booths, it required quite a lot of courage to enter.
This was where I heard about the game that Kagi-san played.
Apparently, it was called Slum Fighter.
It was a famous series that had lasted for 2 decades, but I had never heard about it. Perhaps it was because I didn’t have any brothers. I stood right behind one of the cabinets (Somebody told me about it later) and watched the players with my arms folded. The people around me started whispering 『At this kind of times?』 while stealing glances at me.
I actually wanted to find a woman to interview, but there were only men in this place, so I asked a quiet looking office-worker man nearby. He jolted in surprise when I approached him. He hesitantly introduced himself right after his match conceded.
「Hmm? Key-seeker was good at reading the opponent’s moves.
He is a full-fledged working adult, after all, so there was no way he could take his time and practice his combos. But on the contrary, I think his combo accuracy was also relatively high.
As long as he keeps practicing it, it will be his strong point.
At least that was what he said to me.
He was a strong player here, but there are still several other players whose stronger than Key-san.
However, he shows his true strength when fighting stronger opponents. He tends to perform a brilliant play many times during tournaments」
Was Keyseeker Kagi-san’s player name?
I think it was apparent at this point.
It seemed to be a parenthesized name, there’s a charm to it. It was like frantically looking for the key that you just dropped.
I felt like I just saw a glimpse of Kagi-san’s honesty.
Kagi-san was far from being an invincible hero.
He was easily cut by the horrible slasher. He desperately struggled despite being on the losing side. However, he never gave up saving me. He seemed to be cool but was covered in mud. I could sense that he had a fleeting atmosphere around him.
But, I didn’t exactly ask about how he played the game, though.
「Eh… Umm… I didn’t exactly ask about how he played… How about his relationship with other people here?」
「No…… He’s not exactly the type of person people would associate with…
The key-san that we know is someone who would stack 100 yen coins on the top of the arcade cabinet, staring at the screen with a grin while assaulting the lever and buttons. He’s just that kind of a person」
The fact that Kagi-san didn’t have any relatives was known by the mass.
Although there’s a talk about the Prime Minister planning to give him the People’s Honor Award, he didn’t have anyone close. So who would accept the award in his stead?
Besides, it turned out that police officers who mistakenly shot Kagi-san, was supposedly addicted to illegal drugs, which led to the talk about Kagi-san receiving the People’s Honor award.
He fought and lost his life to help me, but he was shot by a corrupt police officer, and his death was used as political device to gain popularity.
To add insult to injury, no one alive remembered anything about him……
My sight went blurry.
「Wa-what’s wrong? D-d-did I say something bad……?」
「N…no… I’m sorry.
It’s just… I am sad. No one remembered about Kagi-san…」
The game-center is a place associated with where delinquents go, Kagi-san must have known about it as well. But I think Kagi-san, who came running when he saw me crying, is not a bad person.
ーThe guy I spoke with played a Japanese character called Shisui (A Taoist character in Slum Fighter) with 3 fingers. I later learned that his name is Kachoufuushi-san. (TL: No hiragana for this name. Might be in-game name or real name)
Kachoufuushi-san looked like a timid otaku person at first, but he was a young man with calm air like a Taoist hermit. Therefore I thought he seemed to agree with me. He also sympathized with Kagi-san for dying without anyone remembering him. But Kachoufuushi-san strongly rebutted me.
「ーI don’t think that’s entirely correct.
Key-san certainly didn’t talk much.
He may not have much interaction outside of games.
But I… We talked with him over hundred of hoursー Using this machine, of course.」
He said while pointing his thumb to the arcade machine.
「We have lots of people like that here.
Through gamesー Rather than saying the things on your mind, it’s better to play games together and connect with each other.
Awkward, aren’t they?
I wish to try “talking” with these people. Communicating through gameplay.
Key-san is probably the same.
Key-san’s choice of moves are throwing and striking, 2 quick techniques that can be used at any moments notice. Both are special killer techniques that require you to read your opponent.
He spoke about it so eloquently. And to us, who he spoke to, his “words” remains in our heart.
That’s why, I don’t think that Key-san is lonely or anything.
Rather, I think that he’s quite assertive and eloquent. There aren’t many players as sensitive as him in reading opponent’s moves, you know?」
I had met many of Kagi-san’s acquaintances.
All of them said that he didn’t talk much, didn’t try to fit himself in, or didn’t even remember him at all.
Of course, those were my concern, but I could read it from their expression. Not a single one of them knew who Kagi-san “real” self.
At that moment, kachoufuushi-san talked with Kagi-sanー no, to the Slum Fighter player, Key-seeker-san, and his impression of him was entirely different.
「I… don’t quite understand.
I never touched a game before.
But I want to understand him」
If I had any male siblings, I might had some experience with video games. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me.
「Yeah. You should try it if you’re interested.
But I need to warn you, the learning curve is very high, especially in this fighting game.
Many people, especially girls, quit before they had any fun in this game.
This is a place where game otakus come and go. Girls are rare in this place, so whenever someone brought someone along, the boys’ enthusiasm sometimes becomes too unbearable. And the girls’ response to that was usually to visit this place even less often, leaving the boys behind feeling a little lonely.
No, putting that aside, I think I can teach you Key-san’s playing style. But since Key-san is also a veteran in this field, I think it will take quite some time for you to reach his level.
But I will show you the ropes.
ーSo are you interested?」
If the question was whether I was interested, the answer should be clear.
「Yes, I am interested.
Please teach me how to play the game」
ー2 years later, I, Katase Minagi, also known as〈Key Collector〉, was at the greatest fighting tournament in the world, REVOLVE, defeating many of the greatest gamers in the world and stood as the sole victor of the tournament.