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I Don’t Care About Being Liked by the Capture Targets. I Will Be Myself and Free! – Chapter 20

Chapter 20: Encounter with a Mysterious Boy (Part 3)

“I’m Marion. Nice to meet you, Chloe.” 

The boy in front of her said that and smiled. 

Chloe couldn’t return the same friendliness to that smile. 

The name was Marion. 

That was the name of the heroine that Steed had told her.

(So this child is the heroine after all.)

“Hey, why are you dressed like a boy?! Marion is a girl, right?!”

Confused, Chloe couldn’t help but shout, and suddenly Marion’s attitude changed.

“Why. . .a girl. . .”

From his slight step back, it was clear that he was frightened.

Just a moment ago, he had such a happy smile on his face.

Now he seems to be afraid of something.

(But what?)

“Do you know me?”

This time, Chloe was taken aback.

Can she tell him the truth?

But if she says she knows him, it will lead to questions about why.

She can’t talk about the game, so what should she do?

Moreover, she can’t even tell if the person in front of her is the Marion she’s thinking of.

She certainly knows about the “Marion who dropped her ring and is searching for it.”

She is the key person who drags Chloe into ruin, the heroine of the game that Steed told her about.

However, the heroine Marion is a girl.

So what is this child in front of her?

(Umm. . .okay!)

She can’t understand anything like this, so she decides to ask him straight.

“Marion. Are you actually a girl?”

“What?!”

“Is there a reason why you’re dressed as a boy?”

“N-No, that’s not true! I’m a boy!”

“Really? Your voice is high and your face looks cute and feminine.”

When Marion tries to push aside the fact that she believed he was a boy and pursue the matter, she becomes even more flustered.

“But I love climbing trees and stuff!”

“I like it too. It’s fun.”

“Don’t you hate frilly dresses and stuff like that?!”

“I can understand that. They can be hard to move in. But why does disliking frills mean you’re a boy?”

“Huh?”

“There are girls who like climbing trees, and there are boys who like frills. Personal preferences have nothing to do with gender. It’s impossible to judge someone’s gender based on that alone.”

It’s okay for a boy to like stuffed animals, and it’s okay for a girl to dislike cute things.

When Chloe says this firmly, Marion’s eyes widen.

“. . .Do you really think so? That it’s okay for a girl to like climbing trees?”

“Do girls have to hate climbing trees? That’s just weird.”

“I see. . .You’re the first person to say something like that to me, Chloe. . .”

Marion puts his hand on his chest and lowers his eyes as if savoring Chloe’s words.

Did something touch Marion’s heartstrings?

When Chloe stares at him, Marion notices and takes a sharp breath.

“But I am! I-I’m a boy!”

(Hmm. We’re back to square one.)

Despite being quite suspicious, Marion still seems to intend to resist.

“Well, there’s no helping it.”

We need to confirm whether this child is the game’s heroine [Marion] or not.

To do that, we need to know their gender.

“Excuse me for a moment.”

“Huh?”

Before declining, she reached out her hands.  

Just like that, Chloe took the hat off Marion, who was full of openings. 

“Ah?!”

From inside the hat, chestnut-colored long hair spills out.

“Just as I thought!”

“W-What, what, what?!”

“I’m sorry for being sudden. I just really wanted to know your gender.”

Marion looks up at Chloe with a frustrated expression, still holding onto her hat.

She seems a little upset at being caught off guard.

But, in any case, there’s no denying it now.

“Just as I thought, you’re a girl.”

As a result of proving that she is indeed a girl, things have become complicated.

The girl in front of her is, without a doubt, the game’s heroine, Marion.

(This could be a pretty risky situation.)

Despite being warned by Steed to be careful around, she ended up making contact.

And they only just became friends a few minutes ago.

(But is this girl really going to ruin me? I don’t feel that way at all.)

As she looks at Marion with a cold sweat, their eyes meet.

“. . .Did Zach Neal-san ask you to come find me too? Were you planning to take me to him like this. . .?”

Marion seems to have given up and acknowledged that she is a girl, as her pronoun has changed from “boku” to “watashi.”

But what bothers Chloe is the frightened look in her eyes.

“(Zach Neal? I’ve never heard of him. I wonder what happened to that person.)”

Putting aside the fact that she had made contact with Marion, Chloe decided to ask about the problems she might be facing.

“Hey, what do you mean by ‘asked’? And can you tell me who Zach Neal is?”

“. . .! If you don’t know Zach Neal-san, then does that mean you’re not involved, Chloe?”

“I don’t really understand, but I don’t know anyone named Zach・Neal.”

Marion’s face, which was already shaken, now showed signs of panic.

“Is that so?! I-I’m sorry. I must have misunderstood.”

“You don’t have to apologize. More importantly, who is Zach Neal?”

“Well, he is. . .”

After a moment of hesitation, Marion raised her face as if she had made up her mind.

“It’s embarrassing, but he’s my friend, so I’ll explain it properly! Actually. . .wait. I feel like someone is calling me.”

Marion’s eyes, which gave the impression of a small animal, looked around restlessly.

“――Marion? Marion, are you there?”

Chloe could definitely hear it this time too.

Like Marion, she looked around for the source of the voice.

On the other side of the lake, she could see a boy repeating Marion’s name with his hand over his mouth.

“W-What should I do. . .that person might be Zach Neal-san. . .!”

“Do you not know what he looks like, Marion?”

She nodded in response.

“I don’t really understand, but you don’t want to be found by Zach Neal?!”

She shakes her head harder than before.

Maybe she was cross-dressing to hide from Zach Neal.

(Oh no! I took her hat!)

Marion hurriedly tries to put her long hair inside the hat, but she is too flustered to do it properly.

Does the boy on the opposite bank know what Marion looks like?

(Anyway, I have to help Marion escape. . .!)


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