Chapter Fifteen: [Extra 3.1] The Struggle of Katrina Dunning (Part I)
At first, I thought that I was in the world of a particular otome game. After all, I was one of the testers during the open beta for the VR version of the game. I recalled encountering many bugs during the closed beta. However, those bugs had been fixed.
I believed I could reset the game anytime or reload saved files.
But soon, I realized I couldn’t touch the VR goggles I should’ve been wearing. Or rather, my sense of the real world itself was faint.
…I can barely feel the presence of the headset.
Not only that, I could neither open the menu screen nor contract the moderator. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening.
In retrospect, strange phenomena were occurring here and there.
In the game’s intro, the heroine began attending an aristocratic academy as a freshman. As a bit of context, the heroine used to be a commoner. However, a particular baron family adopted her.
Then, during the opening movie, both love interests and rivals would be introduced, as the heroine walked through the gate with expectations and anxiety in her heart.
The prologue consisted of the entrance ceremony. The Crown Prince, Uriel, also the freshman’s representative, was giving a speech on the stage. At that time, Uriel noticed the heroine and realized she was a commoner. However, he smiled at her as if he didn’t mind. Upon witnessing that, Emmeline, the Crown Prince’s fiancée, became jealous and began to harass the heroine cruelly.
After the ceremony, the heroine would encounter Uriel once again. At that time, she was in trouble because she didn’t know the location of the classroom. As such, Uriel helped her. Along the way, they hit it off and became closer.
As Emmeline’s harassment of the heroine escalated, the relationship between the Crown Prince and the heroine deepened. At last, during the graduation party, Uriel would condemn his own fiancée, Emmeline, before annulling their engagement.
Afterward, Emmeline would be executed. In the meantime, Uriel announced the heroine as his new fiancée before getting married a year later. Such was the happy ending of the Crown Prince’s route.
But the reality was different.
In fact, something was already amiss from the beginning.
Instead of enrolling alongside Uriel and the others, the heroine got transferred into the academy amidst the final grade.
Then, nothing happened for a year. The villainess, who was the key to triggering an important event, did absolutely nothing at all.
Why won’t Emmeline and her entourage harass the heroine?
On the contrary, Emmeline didn’t even try to get involved at all. None of the events could be triggered. As a result, I couldn’t collect any of them.
I became impatient.
I wanted to advance the game somehow.
Despite how much time had passed, the game had barely started. In fact, I hadn’t even seen the prologue.
It had to be a bug. At the same time, I was also concerned because I couldn’t open the menu or contact support.
If I were to proceed with the story, then the issue might be fixed.
Thus, for the time being, I decided to capture a male interest. If I were to be able to return even one person, then I might be able to return to the real world. The foundation for my goal was shaky at best. Nevertheless, I decided to aim for Uriel. As the main love interest, he was relatively easy to capture.
Not to mention, if I managed to clear Uriel’s route, I’d be able to unlock the secret character, who also happened to be my favorite.
That was how I tried to avert my eyes from reality.
My character’s name was Katrina Dunning. Baron Dunning recently adopted her. Supposedly, the baron had taken a fancy to her mother, who was a commoner.
When Katrina was young, she lost her mother. Because she had no other relatives, she was taken to an orphanage.
A few months before she enrolled in the aristocratic academy, she met Baron Dunning. He claimed to be her father. Before Katrina could even fully grasp the noble lady’s education, she had already been enrolled in the aristocratic academy. Because of that, she could be said to be an airhead.
Thinking about it, that was the first anomaly I noticed.
Indeed, before starting the game, I did some preliminary research. Therefore, it was only natural that I could still recall the characters, backgrounds, events, and even the stills for the capture targets.
For that reason, it shouldn’t be strange for me to know about the heroine’s past. However, the knowledge was imprinted in my memory. More precisely, it was as if I had experienced them before.
Thus, rather than a piece of knowledge, I remembered it as an experience.
Even though what I should remember as an experience should be the game’s starting point. In other words, the entrance ceremony which occurred during the prologue.
Since it hadn’t been established, the story began to collapse. At that point, I should’ve been able to log out.
Since the beginning, everything had been a mistake.
I couldn’t even remember my name in the real world.
What about my family?
How old am I?
What is my occupation?
Perhaps, is it a student?
I couldn’t remember anything.
Although I knew it was the world of an otome game, I couldn’t remember anything about myself other than that I was a beta tester.
It was truly strange.