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By now, I no longer knew whether I should talk about this kind of thing with positive emotions.
But, I still want to say it.
I want to say those words.
"Why am I here?"
Ed Delong - that's me - said those words quietly.
It was deep into the night right now.
This was a corner of the Academy City Zuellni.
It was an old building, and probably had been a multi-storied building with a bar inside it, because a rusty signboard was positioned in front of it. Then, had this been a corner where those kinds of stores were gathered together? That kind of area no longer existed now, and there were only roads and parks nearby, and this place had become a connector in between different regions.
Then, why had this building that had been disposed of become like this after all? The big sign prohibiting anyone from entering that hung over the door told me the answer.
Because something had happened here, and the moving city had just let it stay here in this place by itself.
In the end, what was the issue?
"Investigating this matter is one of the activities of us Horror Lovers Club."
Standing in front of the building, the club president explained the contents of the activity. Though she couldn't be seen very clearly because it was dimly lit, the president seemed a bit tense as she explained the contents of the activity to the newly entered students.
When the president explained the investigation of the abandoned building, she made sure to note the precautions. The club actually had to apply with the Student Council and the City Police, and they couldn't litter or vandalize or anything like that.
What was unusual about this scene was......
"Huhuhu, how promising."
The girl next to me was murmuring those kinds of words.
She was the girl that I had brought here - Eri-senpai.
"Uh, senpai. Though it's a bit late to say this kind of thing now......"
"I don't remember entering this club."
"Huh? Didn't you enter?'
"No, I didn't enter."
"When I introduced you to the new room."
Attacked from an unexpected direction, I fell over.
Yes. Not long before I advanced to the second year, I had a new, cheap room introduced to me by Eri.
I took the room. Correct, I indeed felt that I owed her a favor.
But, I hadn't thought that the price of the introduction was to join this club.
"Uwaaaa, I never thought there would be this kind of trap!"
"Huhuhu, what trap, I'm not that incredible......"
"No, I wasn't praising you."
I completely didn't understand why she would be embarra.s.sed in this kind of situation.
Just as we were bickering about those things, the president's explanation seemed to end. Maybe because the president had said something, the Supernatural Lovers Club members began moving one by one.
"Ahh, really. I missed what the president said!"
"Huhuhu, it's alright. Exploring this building is a yearly activity, so......"
Eri-senpai's voice suddenly broke off.
Huh - Just as I thought that, a clear voice called out to me, so I turned my head and looked backwards, and also because I didn't know the reason why Eri-senpai had stopped talking.
After turning, a beautiful girl appeared in front of me.
She was an unfamiliar girl that I didn't recognize.
I didn't know why this girl that I had never seen would call out to me.
"Uh...... what is it?"
"If you don't mind, could you allow me to come with you?"
"Huh? Ah, yes...... What?"
I had never experienced being suddenly accosted by a beautiful girl, and it made my brain stop thinking. I replied to her request like it was a reflex.
"Can I take your response as acceptance?"
"Ah, yes. You can. Please go ahead."
"Thank you very much."
After saying this, she stopped in front of me. She had clearly been the one to strike up a conversation, but she completely didn't mind me, who had made strange responses because my mind was in chaos. I looked around in other places. It seemed that everyone had followed instructions and gone into the building in small groups.
Also. Had this girl chosen to be in a group with me?
"Ah, uh...... I'm Ed Delong. A second year."
"I'm Vati Len, a first year. Pleased to meet you."
"Oh, p......pleased to meet you."
The inexplicable force given off by a beautiful person engulfed me.
"......Ed's got a crush."
"Th......That's not true!"
Unexpected words came from Eri-senpai's mouth, and I became completely fl.u.s.tered.
"Huh? But the att.i.tude you show me is clearly different, hm?"
"No no no, I'm just a bit panicked because things happened suddenly."
"Sorry I was too abrupt and surprised you."
"No, it's alright."
She seemed to have heard the conversation between Eri-senpai and I. I hurriedly responded, and then tried to carefully look at her again. I still knew she was a beautiful girl even though I couldn't see clearly due to the dim lighting, because she was just that beautiful. But, her expression seemed unchanging, as if she were a Psychokinesist. She wore plain clothes, so a normal person like me couldn't tell which side she belonged to. 
It would be safer not to ask - I decided not to do anything, thinking this.
......Just then, I felt that something seemed to be p.r.i.c.king my back.
It couldn't be Eri-senpai's gaze, right?
Was she angry?
"I'll curse you!"
"Please don't do that, seriously!"
I almost yelled in surprise after being suddenly told that.
If it were senpai, she seemed like she could truly perform such a thing, so I was very frightened.
Vati who stood to the side tilted her head looking at me as if she were confused.
Eri-senpai's normal clothing was already very odd, but still, there was no reason to let her leave a strange impression during the first meeting. In any case, I should smooth things over with a smile first - thinking this, I made eye contact with her, but my whole body frozen in place.
I felt that her eyes were very pure.
Uwa, I had never been stared at by a beautiful girl before.
So I was extraordinarily tense.
When it was announced to be our turn, I even had a feeling of having been saved.
Unfortunately, it was my first time entering an abandoned building of my own initiative.
There were already many people in the building. If I thought this, I wouldn't even feel scared.
Actually, human voices sounded everywhere, and they even made it to us. The electric lights inside the building weren't on, so we could only rely on the flashlights to prove lighting, but because of the voices that reached my ears, I didn't feel scared at all.
Perhaps it could be said that normal abandoned buildings wouldn't make me feel scared anymore.
"After all, I've also experienced quite a few strange things."
I unconsciously said that.
"Ah, sorry. I was just talking to myself."
I panicked all of a sudden when Vati asked me this. If other people heard those things, they would definitely believe me to be a strange person.
For example, a h.e.l.l with infinite boxes and a vomiting ghost, how could I explain those mysterious encounters that Eri-senpai and I had together?
Probably no one would believe me.
Close one. I mumbled this in my heart as I advanced through the abandoned building.
What was going on? I felt that it really wasn't my style to be walking in the front holding a flashlight.
Uwah, I hadn't even noticed this until now. Unexpectedly, the day had come where I would be walking in front of a beautiful girl, I never would have imagined it!
After noticing this situation, I began becoming tense.
Ohhhhh...... What should I say?
I didn't know what to do.
Unexpectedly, Eri-senpai hadn't said a single word today, and she hadn't even made her prized 'huhuhu' laugh.
She just silently walked behind me.
Why would she choose this critical moment to remain silent - I couldn't help but look up. I could only see a dark ceiling here. Was it telling me that there wouldn't be a savior coming? Did it want me to think of some way to resolve things myself?
d.a.m.n, I know. I'll think of something myself.
"......Vati-san, are you interested in this kind of thing?"
I know, I know I can only ask this kind of ordinary question!
But. Other than this, is there anything else I can say?
"No, I have no interest at all."
However, her response was outside of my expectations.
"If you don’t, then why......? Ah, did someone else invite you to come?"
Because she had been invited by a cla.s.smate, she had come here with them - that kind of situation could indeed happen.
Then why wasn't she walking with her friend?
That, well, it was probably because they had gotten in a fight or her friend had business and had been unable to come.
"No, I learned of this activity from the bulletin board."
Her response once again was outside of my expectations!
"But if you have no interest, then why......?"
"Because I have interest in other things."
"The drawbridge effect."
"Drawbridge? What's that?"
It was a phrase that I had never heard before. I guess it was some sort of bridge. Was it a hanging bridge?
"Also known as the roaming bus effect."
"Roaming bus effect......"
Uh, I knew of roaming buses, but what kind of effect could roaming buses have? I felt somewhat uncomfortable about her saying that, could it be that riding a roaming bus was harmful to the health?
Vati ignored my worries, explaining with an indifferent tone.
"An isolated male-female pair in a tense situation will mistake the physiological response from their body's tense condition as the face-reddening and heart-pounding of love."
"The tension produced from anxiety will make the heart beat and pulse quicken, which is also a physiological response when one is conscious of a crush. So if a male and female pair is in a tense situation, there's a possibility that they will mistake the increased blood pressure and pulse as feelings for the other person."
"I...... I see, a mistake."
Roaming around in the abandoned building obviously would make one feel frightened and tense, and their pulse would quicken - was that the heart pounding she was talking about? Meaning that people would mistake those feelings for love?
Mistake them for love?
"Then Ed-senpai, is your face red and heart pounding for me?"
"......Sorry, maybe I feel something other than heart pounding towards you."
Something like 'She looks fine, but her personality is so poor!' or 'Never mind Eri-senpai, can I get closer to this beautiful girl?'.
"Really? Judging from the outside, your pulse indeed hasn't become particularly quick, so maybe I failed."
That 'failure', did it mean choosing me was a failure?
I felt that her honesty was stabbing my heart.
Ah, whatever. Becoming discouraged because of words of this level, that's not me!
Also, I was still wondering about something else.
"I see you're completely calm, you aren't scared, right?"
"You don't believe in things like ghosts at all, huh."
But, I still felt a bit scared about entering this kind of place. Though I couldn't see her expression because the surroundings were very dark, she didn't feel scared at all.
"To answer more accurately - I have no interest in believing or not believing in ghosts. Even if ghosts exist, I will be unable to confirm or prove it. Even if ghost do not exist, I will be similarly unable to prove that they don't exist."
In any case, she really liked to use difficult words.
Again, I felt that this girl was very strange.
But because of this, the feeling of being oppressed that I had when I had been facing a beautiful girl at the start had disappeared. Thinking of this, my feelings couldn't help but become complex.
In other words, was I really used to dealing with strange girls?
A super strange girl walked behind me, so a light level of strangeness wouldn't surprise me.
In the end, was that good or bad?
Speaking of which, Eri-senpai still hadn't said anything at all.
Just as I was thinking about that, Vati continued speaking:
"I don't have any senses that can detect ghosts, nor can I take that fact as evidence that ghosts don't exist. Like how hearing has its range of identification and how vision has its vision range, the senses have ranges to what they can feel. Maybe ghosts are just beings that the current humans are unable to feel through their senses. In that situation, if humans someday invented a new means of sensing, maybe they will be able to prove the existence of ghosts. We can't deny future possibilities, so I can't definitively say that ghosts don't exist. In addition, for now no major issues that can be derived from ghosts have occurred, so because of this I have decided to put this question to the side."
Anyways, I pretended like I already understood. Nn.
"All I can say decisively is that I cannot confirm whether ghosts exist."
In other words, it didn't matter whether they did or not, since they hadn't done anything.
I thought that, and that seemed correct. Probably.
But since she said that, maybe ghosts became meaningless beings.
Before I knew Eri-senpai, I had also believed that things like ghosts were just beings from scary stories, and I didn't think that they actually existed in the real world. They were just reasons that people were scared of the dark. No, were they just illusions created because people felt the dark was very scary? I didn't know which came first, but I always had treated ghosts as ambiguous beings.
Because they were ambiguous, the Supernatural Lovers Club was able to explore this abandoned building to enjoy a scare.
No, I hadn't originally come here of my own desire, and didn't have any interest in these things either. It was just for the moment.
If I hadn't met Eri-senpai, things wouldn't have become like this.
That senpai continued to stay silent. I had thought she would quickly refute Vati's opinion.
It wasn't a question of whether they existed or not. Just by fantasizing 'how nice it would be if ghosts existed', they would already have meaning.
A reb.u.t.tal like that.
Nn, Eri-senpai would definitely say that kind of thing.
If things were normal.
Really, what was up with her today after all?
Even if I turned backwards, I could only see Eri-senpai following form behind with her head slightly lowered.
What was up with her?
I thought about this.
Heart pounding and a drawbridge effect? Roaming bus effect?
I thought of the words Vati had spoken.
Senpai and I had experienced many mysterious and indescribable things together, and had encountered several crises. Maybe I truly would have died one or two times. Maybe it was only because of the situation that I was saved.
They weren't experiences to make the heart pound, but thrilling experiences to make the heart race.
Had I mistaken the reactions from then as feelings of love?
Or, was I in love?
Was I in love with senpai?
"That's a loop."
Vati's voice made me return to my sense. Many people were excitedly moving around the abandoned building, and this interior portion of the building wasn't as neglected as the exterior. There wasn't even graffiti here, and the floor wasn't damaged either, and of course doors leading to strange places weren't open.
It was just a safe, normal abandoned building.
"Uh, I seem to not have been any help for your experiment, sorry."
"It's no problem, since I just wanted to try it out."
Vati was unconcerned like she said.
We left the abandoned building like that. The Supernatural Lovers Club members who came out first greeted us warmly.
"It might be a bit meddling to say this-"
Just as I was exhaling deeply, Vati said such a thing.
"I believe that you should talk to yourself less."
"I mean before we met up with everyone. Were you practicing acting? Well, goodbye."
I watched Vati leave the area as if she had completed her task while making a doubtful 'Huh?' sound.
"Talking to myself? What is she talking about?"
I had always been talking with senpai. Just as I tried turning around to confirm that......
No one was there at all.
I had a sort of bad premonition.
"Ed, good work."
Senpai walked over from an unimaginable direction, as if she were telling me that the bad premonition in my heart was true.
"......Senpai, where have you been tonight?"
"What do you mean 'where have I been', didn't I tell you that I was going to help with tonight's activity?"
"Huh? No, weren't you partic.i.p.ating with me?"
"I wasn't. Ahh, but if possible, I also wanted to go around the abandoned building with Ed. Speaking of which, it seems like you were walking with a very pretty girl, huh?"
The resentful voice made me shudder.
Was it a ghost? So Vati hadn't seen it? She couldn't see ghosts, but I shouldn't be able to see ghosts either. But, I had seen it.
There had been a ghost just now.
No, this wasn't the important part. I was more concerned about something else.
The thing that had kept following me had truly looked exactly the same as senpai.
What was going on?
After thinking this, I quickly became uncomfortable.
Moreover, I really didn't believe that those feelings had anything to do with love.
I wanted to think that.
Translator's Notes and References ↑ Whether she's a Psychokinesist or a normal person.