Jaku-chara Tomozaki-kun - Volume 2 - Chapter 2
「You've come here having done your best to reflect on why you couldn't complete the task, correct?」
It's Monday morning two days after we went to buy presents for Nakamura. In the second Sewing Room.
The morning meeting began with a question from Hinami which came in a tone just a little bit scarier than normal.
「Err, because my suggestion to go the electronics store was received better than I expected, I kind of got careless……」
I was being interrogated about the reason I was unable to complete my task.
「And before that?」
「I'm talking about before we went to the electronics store. Going to the electronics store was in the latter half of the shopping trip, right? Before that, I couldn't see any sign of you trying to make a suggestion at all.」
「T, that is……」I averted my eyes.「It's because Mizusawa kept getting his suggestions accepted one after another……」
「And you weren't able to anticipate that possibility?」
「The fact that such a thing would happen from Mizusawa being there. It is you after all. It didn't even cross your mind?」
「N, no, that is……」
Certainly, it's not like it was impossible for me to anticipate that but…… it's because it was a situation with many firsts for me, so I was busy thinking about so many, sooo many things!
「Haah…… well, fine. When fighting enemies, if you standby as backup and don't participate in battle, you can't even gain those precious experience points. You probably know that already.」
「I, I'm sorry.」
「……To tell the truth, while there are occasions where I'll give you a task too difficult for you so you can learn from your failures, this time, I considered your current abilities and way of approaching things, and thought that it was a realistic enough task for you ……I might have to do a little re-evaluation.」
Those words with a hint of disappointment pierced right into my chest.
「Yes……I will try my best」
In truth, lately, I've been voluntarily getting more proactive in setting out to collect experience points. I've also had the feeling that Hinami has been evaluating me considerably highly because of that. And yet, I have betrayed her expectations.
I am aware that certainly, this time, I wasn't acting proactively.
I wonder what could be the reason. Nervousness from being surrounded by three riajuus could have played a part, but if we're talking about something that had distracted me during the shopping trip…… ahh, I see. What Izumi said about Hinami and Mizusawa.
「What? It's not something that will disappoint me even further, right?」
Hinami's sharp gaze took away all my motivation.
Yeah, it's only some trivial stuff, not something worth asking, so let's not.
「What's up with that?」
「No, it's nothing……」
It's not like it's anything important.
「……Well, that's fine. Then, let's focus on what you felt from this time's shopping, what you learned from it and the things you had doubts about. It's those things that are important, okay?」
I pulled myself together and thought about it. That first thing that crossed my mind was the time when I looked at that mirror.
「The first thing that comes to mind is that I could feel that my appearance has been more or less……improving, something like that.」
I spoke timidly.
「Heeh.」Hinami gently laughed.「That's a step in the right direction.」
「But……that's only what I thought, you know?」
「That's also an important thing because improvements that you can see are linked to things like your motivation and assertiveness. When the damage you can make to monsters changes from two digits to three digits, don't you get really excited? Easily understood milestones like that are, after all, important from a motivation point of view.」
As always, it's only when it comes to a game-related conversation that she talks with a good smile.
「Haha, I see! There's also the time where you learn a new skill.」
「That's so true! Especially when you learn a multi-target spell!」
That was as far as Hinami went with talking in a child-like cheerful tone. With a cough, she cleared her throat.
「But well, even if you don't have any motivation, as long as I'm looking, I won't be giving you any chances to laze around.」
The cheerful mood suddenly changed into a declaration from a demonic coach.
「I said I won't laze around! I am motivated.」
「Is that so? Well, in the end, the person in question having motivation is the most important thing, so that's good to hear. To change yourself, in truth, rather than it being a matter of what you do, it's more a matter of what you take away from the little things happening around you ── in other words, the most important thing is the way you routinely look at things.」
「Hmm. Well, so is that how it works?」
「Yes, especially at the beginning. Look, equipment that gives you experience points just by walking is scarily effective during the early stages of the game, right? Right now, you're also in your early stages. In other words, any small amount of experience points that you can routinely gain will have an effect.」
「I, I see」
She made a delightful face again. This girl really loves games, huh.
「With that, is there nothing related to the task that you would like to mention? Something you thought, for example.」
「Let's see……」After giving it some thought, I started speaking.
「Since I wasn't able to come up with any decent suggestions, I tried thinking a lot about the difference between me and the others. When I look at Mizusawa's suggestions, as expected, I think that a lot of them are thoughtful.」
「You see, when he suggested going to Beams, when we tried going there it was certainly a fashionable shop with a lot of present-like goods, don't you think? When he suggested eating pizza, he also did it understanding that you liked cheese……」
While I was thinking and saying that, Hinami gave me a blank face.
「Hey Tomozaki-kun, are you perhaps feeling unwell?」
「What you're saying is lacking more objectivity than usual. Think about it a little more.」
「What should I think about……」
「In fact, it's the opposite.」
I failed to grasp the meaning behind Hinami's words. She put her fingers to her lips and frowned.
「Or else, maybe going shopping was too much of an abrupt increase in level……?」
「What do you mean by that?」
「Because, for example, take Mizusawa's first suggestion, Beams. There, what was it like in reality?」
「Err, I thought it was a good shop but……well, as for me buying from there, I found it too high, both the difficulty and the price. Hahaha.」
When I said that, Hinami suddenly pinched my lips, forcing them closed and stopping my self-deprecating laugh.
Please stop, how can you touch my lips so nonchalantly? It's my first time so treat me gently!
「Not that. I meant as a shop to buy Nakamura's present.」
Hinami said that while maintaining her blank look. She let go of my lips. I could still feel a strange lingering sensation.
「……Eh, err, well, it's true that we weren't able to buy anything…… but surely it wasn't a bad choice.」
At my incoherent answer, Hinami let out a sigh.
「Don't you get it? Think about the goods at that shop, especially the accessory-types that make for suitable presents. They might have all been good quality, but when thinking about the actual present, the place was full of stuff that wouldn't cater to Nakamura's tastes.」
「I-Is that so?」
That wasn't something I could have conjectured with my sense of what would be appropriate or not.
「……Well, it can't be helped that you didn't get that. After all, you're someone who can only buy his clothes right off the mannequin. Things like that you should be fine learning little by little. However, what about the pizza?」
「……What about it?」
「Alright then, what did you think about the restaurant?」She gazed at me as if testing me.「After eating, didn't you have any opinion at all?」
「Ah.」I understood what she wanted to say.「The taste……wasn't good.」
Hinami finally let out a small smile.
「Isn't that so? As expected, you do understand. In other words, Mizusawa's suggestions weren't actually that thoughtful.」
「But……what does that mean? That actually, bad suggestions are easier to get accepted?」
「Close, but not quite.」
Hinami nodded and started talking again.
「To be precise, it is that『The difficulty of getting a suggestion accepted and the correctness of the suggestion are completely unrelated.』」
After giving it some thought, I understood what she meant.
「Ah…… I see.」
「So it's that the important part is to persuade the others?」
That, even if the pizza isn't actually good, as long as everyone can be persuaded, the suggestion will get accepted.
「Correct. To be more precise,『persuading is everything』. For the pizza,『if it is actually delicious or not』has nothing to do with how easily accepted the suggestion will be. The only important thing is『making the other party think that it might be delicious』.」
She's saying something so blunt as if it's natural.
「Uhh, so in the extreme case, even if it's not correct, your suggestion will get accepted if you fool the other party by making it sound good, you mean?」
「That's right. In reality, even though Mizusawa suggested a pizzeria that wasn't very delicious and a shop that didn't match Nakamura's tastes, the suggestions got accepted very smoothly, don't you agree?」
Hinami's explanation was in a straightforward tone of voice that didn't match the satirical content.
「Haー. The world sure is scary.」At that point, I realized something fundamental.「……Then, how should I put it, doesn't that just make it a kusoge!?」
What's with that rule!? If there's such a garbage rule, then isn't Life just a kusoge!?
「After all, doesn't that mean the correct suggestion won't get accepted? Isn't that strange? It's not beautiful at all. In other words, it's a kusoge!」
Hinami let out a sigh.
「What are you saying? That's not what it means. There's just a『simple rule』saying『Regardless of the correctness of each suggestion, the suggestion that gets everyone to agree the most will get priority.』. Don't you understand?」
「No, that's just sophism……」
「Then, what if there were a negotiation game where the goal is to persuade the audience? Would it be a kusoge? In order to persuade the other party, you'd have to speak in an effective way, research the preferences and hobbies of those involved, and balance the interests of different parties as you progressed. What if we assume such a realistic game existed?」
I gave it some thought. It'd be a game separated into a research part and a negotiation part, each requiring their own skillset. You'd have to do things like practicing the skills required to negotiate as well as collecting information.
「……Feels like it would be a well-made game」
「Then, with that, reality is also an interesting game.」
I ended up agreeing again.
「I may have put that simply, but actually, getting everyone to agree is not an easy job. There's a lot of rules involved. For example, you need to align the『interests』of a large group of people.『Having an influential person agree』in that situation is also important.」
Aligning the interests, and receiving the consent of an influential person present in that situation.
「……In other words, once you’ve won over as many people as you can, persuade the boss character, huh.」
「Yes. When I say『interests』, understand that there are also times where rather than referring to benefits, it can be related to the burden of responsibility. Also, as for『an influential person』, there are also times when a something like a boss does not exist. Nevertheless, ultimately the flow of persuading many people as well as someone in a high position does not change. ……Let's see, for example, do you remember Mizusawa's suggestion?」
I thought back to Mizusawa's suggestion. Let's see… a suggestion which persuades many people as well as an influential person.
「……Ah! The pizza!」
「Yep, there it is.」
「Apart from persuading the hungry majority with a『meal』, he persuaded me, a highly influential person, with the words『delicious cheese』.」
Calling yourself influential…… well, it's fine. It's the usual. Onitada's also the usual.
「I see…… in other words, that's what it means to get a suggestion accepted.」
「Well, be that as it may, if all your accepted suggestions are the type that will get complained about later on, then you'll gradually lose your credibility. Thus, it's not as if you should try and get anything and everything accepted.」
「That's another difficult thing, huh.」
Getting the right balance looks difficult.
「Anyway, that's not the important part. The crux of the story is, you see…」
So it wasn't about getting everyone on board and persuading a big shot?
「Basically, although you might get all angry and go『It's strange that a correct suggestion isn't getting accepted!』, there's no meaning in that. If you just leisurely stay put with the belief that your suggestion is correct without changing the way you do things, you'll be stuck as a『person who can't get his suggestion accepted』. There's no meaning in that.」
「If you remain that way, even if what you're trying to say is truly correct, you won't be able to get your suggestions accepted for your entire life and approach death without ever being able to leave behind any mark. If you can't get your suggestion accepted, then the change should come from you.」
Hinami spoke harshly, in a tone of voice that felt like it was coldly tearing something to pieces.
Overwhelmed by the force of her speech, I was about to agree, but…
If it's like that, then it would mean…
「No, I wonder about that. Aren't you saying that if you can't get your suggestion accepted, you should stop saying what you think is correct and instead focus on what will get accepted? Isn't there something strange about that?」
Isn't that inverting the method and the goal? If you stop saying what you think is correct, then that's the end of it. The important thing is that you do what you think is correct, so the goal itself should not be『to persuade』
When I said that, Hinami shook her head and said「That wasn't what I meant.」
「Then what did you mean?」
「If you hold the conviction that your suggestion is correct. And if at the same time, you learn that there exists an 『incorrect rule』that says even if a suggestion is correct, it won't necessarily get accepted.」
「If I learn that, then……?」
「I'm saying that in order to get your『correct suggestion』accepted, you have no other choice but to make use of that『incorrect rule』.」
I've grasped the meaning of those words.
「You superficially distort how what you consider to be the『correct suggestion』『sounds』on the outside, camouflaging it as an opinion that, at least on on the surface, is something everyone might agree with. Then, while keeping the essence of the opinion you think to be correct intact, you get your suggestion accepted. Don't you think that's a wholesome method of fighting?」
That was a way of fighting that the me up until now would not have even thought about.
Getting yourself to give in, in order to push for what you want.
「Does that have your approval?」
「……Let me see.」
It's not about sticking to your own correctness and fighting within your own rules.
Rather, you seize victory on an arena with pre-existing rules created by others.
Those were straightforward words that seemed rebellious and even frightening, and as far as I could tell, felt like the stance she took when facing a『game』as NO NAME was materializing.
That is a little bit different from me.
「Certainly, on a battlefield known as a group, that would be the orthodox method, and it does feel like it would be the only way forward.」
This was nothing like the way of fighting I've cultivated in games. Perhaps my methods don't apply to in real life. Might that be the reason I've sputtered out and remained unpopular while Hinami ascended to the top of riajuus? That part was accompanied by a slight surge of interest. But in any case, she had persuaded me.
「It seems like you've understood. Based on that concept, what you have to consider when trying to convince people or when getting your suggestions accepted is that it's not about『whether it's actually correct or not』, but about『aligning the interests』and『convincing an influential person』. An example of a person good at that is Mizusawa. For example, using the『says yes to cheese』rule, he managed to get my approval. If you can understand that, then I'll give a passing mark for this time's task. You should think about Mizusawa's actions and use them as a reference.」
「Yes, I've understood very well……」
But how should I put it, being ordered by Hinami to use Mizusawa's actions as a reference is well… yeah. Wait, what I am saying. I've been acting strange since yesterday. I need to get myself together. Also, to Hinami, her saying yes to cheese is already a rule, huh.
 In games like Final Fantasy, this refers to spells that can damage all monsters rather than just one you choose.