“You have 10,100 points. You can get one level-three skill, two level-two skills, or five level-one skills.” Netori explained once I reached my house.
We were now in my room, and I was pacing back and forth with just a bit of agitation. I had listened to Netori entirely in this. This was my best chance of getting everything back that I had lost. That’s what she had told me.
“True feelings, that’s the skill you want me to pick, right?”
Netori nodded. “Although Jack’s skills are provided by Netorare, and thus differ from my own, he must have been given something akin to manipulation. The best way to fight manipulation is with honesty.”
“How does it work?”
“If you see the person, you can use it on them. It has limitations. It makes their next ‘choice’ or ‘action’ be based on their true feelings. It will cut through other abilities, but it’s not like it rewires the brain. What choices you choose to use it on are the most important. Jack and Netorare don’t know you have this skill. If you want to use it effectively, you have to choose your choice carefully.”
I stopped walking for a second, my fist tightening. “What if… What if my sister really does not have any feelings for me? What if… she chooses Jack?”
Netori’s smile turned slanted and she looked away. “I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. You’re her brother. How could she choose some two-timing asshole from school over you.”
“Because… I’m not a good person.” I responded. “Because, I’m selfish, and self-centered, and arrogant.”
“Most guys wouldn’t be able to admit that.”
“I’m serious here, Netori. What do I do if it fails?” I demanded, feeling a tinge of anger.
“It won’t…” Netori’s face went red.
“How do you know?” I spoke, growing even louder.
“Because I chose you.” Netori shot back.
My mind blanked, and my mouth fell open. It opened and closed a few times.
“I… chose you, to play this game.” Netori turned away, hiding her face. “Clearly, I wouldn’t pick a loser. I saw something in you that made me think you had a chance to win my game. That’s why I picked you. If a goddess like me would put her faith in you, then how could your own sister not?”
“R-right, that’s what you mean.” I sighed, my heart feeling strange for a second.
“What else could I mean?” Netori finally looked back, crossing her arms irritably. “Enough with your insecurities, will you choose the skill I recommended, or are you wasting more of my time?”
“I’ll take it. Give me True Feelings.”
“Very well…” Netori nodded, but then her face flushed with panic. “A-and don’t be thinking that this kind of skill will work on a Goddess. My oath binding Netorare in that manner was a fluke…. A fluke! We’re very resistant to the charms of mortals. I would never give you skills that would work on the likes of me!”
“Huh?” I turned around, my expression incredulous at her sudden strange accusation.
Netori’s face flushed with pink. “Remember, timing is everything. I recommend you wait until she makes the decision to leave for the party, and then strike her then. You’ll have your answer.”
“I’ll be busy, don’t call me unless you need me!” Netori snapped her finger and disappeared without another word.
Ignoring Netori’s unpredictable behavior, I looked over at the wall that I shared with Maria. Part of me just wanted to immediately walk over there and use it on her. I just wanted to ask a question like “do you love me?” and then get the truth out there. Was that really so hard?
The Halloween party was on Friday. That left an entire work week to wait for the big day. I took Netori’s advice though. What was the point of having a trump card if I used it prematurely? My only choice was to wait until the night of the party, and then attack when it would have the greatest effect. At the moment she was to leave, I’d put the choice to her. She could go to the party, or she could stay and be with me. Then I would hit her with True Feelings and see what happened.
I went through the plan a million times. How would I approach her? What would I say? That was just about all I thought about during that week.
“Hey man, thanks for that folder of information, my boss intercepted it, but it was really useful.” I reasoned out that it had to be Derek who sent me that information on Jack.
Only he would be so thorough as to even have a girl’s measurements.
“Folder?” Derek laughed. “Of course, what are friends for? The enemy of my enemy and what not. Hey, you eating on the roof today?”
We ended up on the roof, going through the list of names. I told him about my part-time job and confirmed that many of the people on this list Jack had personally brought to my place to taunt me. I told him about what he was doing to my sister as well. I didn’t mention anything about goddesses, special abilities, or NTR Crush, but he sympathized, made the appropriate negative remarks toward Jack, and frankly, it was nice having a friend again.
With Akiko out of the way, I felt a certain bit of comradery with him. He was an NTR Crusher without even having the advantage of the game. I hated to admit it, but we were actually a lot alike. As long as we weren’t focused on the same women, I had no particular beef with him. With a common enemy, I could even almost see him as a friend again.
“You know, with this list and those videos, there has got to be something we can do,” Derek said.
I nodded. “I’ve already planned it all out. You heard about the Halloween Party this Friday?”
“The one being held in that spooky mansion? They say it’s owned by the Yakuza. Supposedly a bunch of seniors are involved.”
“Jack’s got his hands in it somehow.”
“Damn… now my interest in the party has gone down. An open invite to upperclassmen though? It’s going to be interesting.
“You might want to consider crashing.” I shrugged. “I have a feeling the party is going to end with a bang.”
Derek looked over at me questioningly, but I didn’t give him any more answers. Only an idiot shows their trump card early, isn’t that what I decided? Still, I told him this much since I had already Dirt Scribed him to make sure he was trustworthy. There were no secrets there to reveal. He was mostly angry and embarrassed at being one-upped. He was an asshole, but no one to concern myself with.
In class, Mrs. Fukumi mostly tried to pretend I wasn’t there. I Dirt Scribed her a few times, and her thoughts seemed to constantly be on me, but she managed to keep a level head in class. Her thoughts mostly sat around wondering when I’d make her do stuff again. It was honestly weird, since sometimes her thoughts almost sounded excited or in anticipation of the event, rather than dread. Her mind felt truly broken, and each day she grew more nervous as she waited for the moment I’d strike and attack her again. Thoughts of worrying for her daughter didn’t even seem to be present.
My mind was almost completely focused on Friday, so I didn’t pay my teacher any attention at all. Rather, I decided to let her stew. I was causing her more hell by doing nothing than I could by blackmailing her some more. When it came to Kira, we didn’t chat at all. It was a little lonely, and if I hadn’t been able to talk to Derek, I might have thrown myself at Kira for emotional support. As it was, she kept her distance and didn’t acknowledge me at all. Whenever I saw her in the hall, there was a flash of her naked, spread open on the couch, and I decided talking to her would be too taxing.
I continued to work at the gaming center, and Jack continued to come in and taunt me. However, every time he entered, I didn’t feel regret or pain. Rather, a bit of delight shot through me. Every girl he brought in, I made sure to copy the resulting film. I also made sure to get her full information from her identity card. After they were done and left, I’d casually google their names, clicking on their Facebook profiles, and looking into their history. There was some very interesting reading if you looked hard enough.
Gina wasn’t the only girl with a unique past. Many of these girls he had acquired were in similar relationships. It truly was a shame his relationship with them was so shallow. It was Netori who had mentioned this to me, but he didn’t have as many points as I thought. He was only a level 4. Considering he had almost two dozen sexual partners, that seemed surprising, except that the women he dated were either floozies that slept around, or women that were manipulated, coerced, and blackmailed. Simply put, none of these women liked him.
Once I realized this, I began to see it in their faces. Most of the women looked bored, anxious, or like they were fulfilling some kind of duty. Few of them looked genuinely into it, and few of them left with pleased expressions on their faces. He didn’t treat these women properly at all. Well, he was using them essentially to browbeat me into the ground, so they were already being used as a show. Why would these girls be endeared to him in the slightest?
The week past by, and that final Friday, I felt extremely anxious the whole day at school. Part of me wanted the day to pass quickly, and the rest of me felt that it took forever. Finally, school let out. I had asked for this day off, and Deacon grudgingly agreed. I went straight home, as a result, just waiting for my sister to finally come home from school.
The door finally opened and she didn’t even face me as she walked straight past the living room and to her door. This was the usual way of things. She never even came out to eat. As for me, I decided to cook dinner, and made some spring rolls, rice, and panko breaded chicken dipped in soy sauce. By the time mom got home, I had an entire feast laid out on the table. Still, in the apron, I brought out the better tasting sake that she usually didn’t guzzle down and poured her a glass.
“What’s the occasion?” Mother asked, a very pleased expression on her face.
“I’ll be going to a party tonight, and I want to make sure Mother is well taken care of before I go,” I said on the spot.
I didn’t want to speak the truth, that I was really anxious and just couldn’t think of anything else to do.
“A party?” Mother pursed her lips. “That reminds me, I’ll be going to one with your father tomorrow night.”
“Be safe, mother…” I bowed.
At this point and time, the door to Maria’s bedroom opened and she walked out of her room. She was wearing a long coat and was holding it around herself. She had kitty ears on her head, and a tail was hanging just from the bottom of the coat.
“Wait… girl.” Mother declared as Maria walked by. “Open the coat.”
“M-mom…” Maria glared at mom angrily.
“I said, Open it.”
Maria sighed and opened her coat. She was wearing a black outfit with just a little fur around the breast and crotch. However, the cloth portions covered her shoulders, belly button, and down to her knees like capris pants. Overall, it was suggestive and sexy, but not unreasonable.
Mother looked her up and down and then nodded. “You look okay enough. I know what girls your age wear at Halloween parties these days. I won’t have my daughter dressed like a slut.”
Maria looked away. “Yes, mom.”
Mother nodded, and Maria went on her way.
“I’ll be going too.” I told mom, even though I wasn’t’ wearing any outfit.
I got up and followed Maria out the door. About ten feet out the door, she pulled off the coat and then ripped off the fabric from her outfit. In an instant, she went from something somewhat presentable to something little more than a bathing suit. My sister really was dressed as a slutty kitty! Those fur parts on her boobs and vagina didn’t just accentuate those body parts… they were the only part of the costume that remained! A car sitting in front honked, and Maria started to run towards it.
“Maria!” I called out, running up behind her.
Maria spun, immediately covering her body. Well, if you’re too embarrassed for me to see you in this, why are you going out in public with it?
“H-hakaru?” Maria said in a panic. “Don’t tell mother.”
“Don’t go…” I ignored her outfit and declared.
“You heard me. Stay with me, Maria. Don’t go to this party. Look into your heart. I love you and I want you to stay with me. Please.” That wasn’t what I had planned to say, but that was what came out.
“Hakaru… the thing about us…”
I activated True Feelings.
“Please, you need to pick. You can be with me, and I can be yours, or you can pick Jack. I want to know how you truly feel.”
Maria blinked, and then took a step towards me, her hand coming out and her lips parted. “Hakaru… I…”
“Hey!” Jack shouted standing outside the driver’s side of the door and glaring over the roof. “You coming, Maria?”
Maria looked back and him, and then to me. There was a brief moment of resolution forming in her expression as she finally made her decision. She smiled at me, a sad smile.
“I’m sorry, Hakaru. Thank you… for being my brother, but there was never a choice to begin with.” She turned around and headed back to the car.
As I stared with my mouth open in shock, she slid into the passenger side door. Jack was looking over the hood of his car at me with an insufferable smile on his face.
“Too bad, dude. I told you. What world would you ever win against me?”
He got in the car, started it, and then the pair of them drove off into the night.