Saturday, April 22, 2017

Yokaishiteru! Chapter Five

<-Previous Chapter

<------First Chapter

Kamui grinned as she led the way back inside, the group having practiced for just about as long as they could bear for the day, which was two hours.  On a normal day they’d practice two and a half, with a half hour break in the middle, give or take.  School let out at two, and closed altogether at five, but nobody was upset.  After all, losing a half hour of practice time total when they were going to have so many more hours throughout the course of the week was nothing to be concerned by.

Upon arriving inside, Kamui was not at all expecting to bump into anybody.  This was a strange mindset to be in, given that there were three people at the inn outside of her group, but the person she bumped into wasn’t any one of those three.  She stumbled backward, then just stood there staring at the person before she spoke, “...What are you doing here?”

“Me?” The girl asked, turning around.  Kamui’s confusion was due to the fact that this girl was wearing a Korekara uniform, not because she’d ever met her before.  In fact, this classmate was entirely unfamiliar to Kamui, “I’m here to keep an eye on you.  Nagata-senpai thought it was a bad idea to let Yuu-senpai go so far afield without somebody watching her, so she sent me.”

“Akabane-chan?” Sakazaki called out from further back as she got inside and noticed, “Uhm, does Nagata-senpai realize that I’m here as part of my school idol activities?”

“You know that we can’t risk it, Yuu-senpai,” She turned to Sakazaki, pushing past Kamui and the others to face her, “Sensitive information can’t be allowed to wander.  I was sent here to be sure you actually arrived here, rather than going to rat us out to your employer.”

“You’re paranoid!  The whole lot of you!” Sakazaki threw her hands up in the air, looking around to see that all of her fellow idols were staring at her, so she sighed, “Look, I may have uncovered some information on the science club’s going-ons which don’t really fly with my employer’s goals, so they’ve been keeping a close eye on me to make sure I don’t turn them in.  I mean, turning them in would jeopardize somebody’s life, and letting them continue hurts nobody, so if they did find out I was concealing information I could defend myself as a matter of morality.”

“Yes, that’s about the extent of it,” The science-club minion nodded, then looked between the idols, “I’m a second year, by the way.  Rei Akabane.  All of you are sweaty, we should talk more in the baths.”

“The baths?  Sounds like a great plan to me,” Kyoko agreed, swaggering off in the direction the sign pointed to for those very amenities.  The others shrugged and followed her, and once they were all seated in the baths, Rei spoke again.

“Anyway, I’m just here for the one night… I’m convinced that Yuu-senpai won’t be sneaking off to tattle anytime soon, and I wouldn’t want to intrude on your club field trip,” Rei explained, then looked over to Kamui, “I’m curious, though.  Yokaishiteru, that’s an odd name for your group.  Is there a reason you call it that?”

“Hm?  Yeah, it’s because I’m a demon,” Kamui nodded, scratching the back of her head, “Human baths are so weird… See, I’m a bakeneko, so I normally just lick my fur clean-”

“Remind me to force you to bathe for real,” Honoka interrupted, rolling her eyes.

“Ah, a bakeneko… That’s cute,” Rei nodded, and chuckled a bit at Honoka’s added comment before she continued, “Myself, I’m just an elemental.  An electricity elemental, actually.  It really helps with the club I’m in.  Plus, if I wanted, I could electrify this water and fry you all to a crisp right now… But I don’t want to.”

“Oh, wow!” Kamui grinned.

“I’m not sure that’s the proper response to being told we could be killed off in an instant…” Izuna frowned, holding her hands to her face as tears pricked at her eyes again and she started to get choked up, “S-Sorry, Akabane-senpai, I just get frightened very easily…”

“So admiration is not the proper response to learning how capable somebody is of murder.  Duly noted,” Mishio gave a short nod, then slouched down so the waterline was just below her nose, “One thing I do know is that baths are nice.”

“Aren’t they just?  It’s so relaxing,” Rei held a finger to her cheek and looked up at the ceiling, “I’m so stressed out most of the time, but taking a bath always helps to relieve it at least for a little while.”

“Why are you stressed?” Momoko asked, leaning forward with a frown, “You’re cute, did something bad happen because of that?”

“If it did, do you really think I’d just tell you?  Your way of dealing with trauma by bringing it up constantly is definitely the abnormal side of things,” So Rei did know some things about Momoko, somehow, “Anyway, I’m stressed because I’m in the Korekara Science Club, duh.  We’re considered pioneers of the future, the next generation of technology.  That’s a lot of pressure.”

“I understand,” Kyoko nodded, “At least it’s pressure on something that you enjoy doing, right?”

“Yeah, that’s the bright side of it all,” Rei agreed, “At least I really love doing the thing that I’m good at, even if I’m under a lot of pressure to perform above and beyond others in my field.  And it’s not as bad for me as it is for Nagata-senpai, but she doesn’t seem to care at all...”

“People handle stress in different ways,” Kamui shrugged, “And maybe, being busy doesn’t even stress her out at all.  Some people prefer being loaded up with work to the point of being overwhelmed over letting themselves be bored for a minute.  Just… are you keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t get burned out?  I might not know a lot about being busy since back home I mostly just ate potato chips and watched human-world television, but I do know that being busy for too long without any potato chips and television can really hurt!”

“You have a very skewed view on the world, Tori-chan…” Momoko yawned, holding both hands over her mouth as she did, “But I guess you’re technically not wrong.  That is kind of the way that it works… Just, not in those words…” She drooped into the water, “Mm… I don’t know if I’d call baths relaxing, since I’m usually in an unfortunately relaxed state, but I definitely like them a lot.  Being clean is something you don’t realize is important to you until you miss it.”

“I can’t say it’s something I ever cared about,” Mishio pulled her mouth out of the water to speak, but not the rest of her head, just tilting her neck to look like some bizarre aquatic mammal, “I shower every few days, but I only shampoo or use soap when I suddenly feel like it.  I don’t need to smell like flowers, and does it matter if my hair is greasy?  Well, now it does, since I’m in this group, but it didn’t before.”

“I never realized a bath could mean so many different things to different people…” Kamui noted, “I mean, they are meaningless to me.  Tongue baths are the way to go.”

“That’s still disgusting,” Honoka sighed.

“My, doesn’t anybody want to hear about my opinion on baths?  Or, mes amis, do you simply assume mine is mundane?” Sakazaki interrupted, holding a dramatic hand to her forehead, “Ah, bien que fait mal…  But I will tell you whether you want to know or not.”

“If you’re telling us anyway, I may as well say I want to know,” Rei shrugged, leaning back.

“Great!” Sakazaki laughed, dropping her hand from her forehead, “Because what I think about baths is that… They’re a spectacular luxury!  This is the first bath I’ve had in quite some time, spending my life in a dumpster using dry shampoo, sneaking sponge baths in the school bathrooms, and dousing myself in rose-scented perfume to retain my allure despite my lack of access to a substantial amount of running water… I’d almost forgotten how nice it was to be immersed in warm water!”

“Yeah I think it’s been longer for you than it had been for me,” Momoko nodded, “Which is funny, because you had all agency to go find one or mooch a bath off a friend, whereas I couldn’t leave my location at all…”

“It’s not like I didn’t try to find one!  But you know, Nagata-chan barely lets me leave school grounds… Obviously, seeing as the one time I did, she sent someone after me…” Sakazaki groaned.

“She’s not very good at differentiating between necessary departures and ‘you might go turn us in’ departures.  Probably not a good way to think.  I mean, if she keeps being so unreasonable to you it will just make you want to tell them more…” Rei sighed, “I’ll talk to her about it.  Maybe you can come to my house to bathe in the future…” She paused, “I’m not flirting or anything.  I know you’re taken, and I like somebody else.  It’s just a friendly offer.”

“Ouh la la,” Sakazaki chuckled, leaning forward, “Who do you have a crush on, Akabane-chan?  I didn’t take you as the type to admit you liked anybody.  You’re rather, what’s the word, kuudere?”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Rei shook her head, frowning, “Oujouno-senpai is much more like that than me.  My crush, though… Isn’t somebody that I could date anyway.”

“Oh, somebody who lives in a faraway country?”  Momoko asked, tilting her head to the side.

“Or somebody who’s got way too much of an age difference from you?  Like a little kid or an old man?” Kyoko’s question would make most people suspicious, but her fellow idols were already quite used to it.

“Someone who hates you for things beyond your control?” Izuna joined in.

“Or who’s dying?” Honoka too?  Everyone had their theories, it seemed.

“No, none of those things… I would never like a little kid,  and I get along fine with this person.  It’s just that now is not a good time to tell her, and I don’t know if a good time will ever exist,” Rei shrugged, staring at the ceiling again, “Sometimes, life is like that, I guess.  There are always going to be missed opportunities, and things which just can’t happen for some reason or another.  Everyone should just… accept that’s the way life is, right?”

“...How are you so smart and stuff?” Kamui stood up as she said this, pouting.

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean is, I watched human tv all the time, but I still don’t know a lot about the human world at all!” Kamui balled her hands into fists and held them in front of her chest, getting louder in earnest, “So I want to know how you know all this stuff about how the world works!  You’re only a year older than me, and a demon too, so how do you know these things?”

“I don’t know if the things I say are objective truths,” Rei mumbled, crossing her arms, “Besides, my sister and I started middle school in the human world, so we’ve been here longer than you by a longshot.  At this point, it’s easy to forget that I’m not human to begin with, if I’m not actively using my abilities.”

“You know,” Kyoko closed her eyes, raising a hand up next to her cheek, “I’m still real confused on the whole demon thing, so… My two cents is that it’s not any different than coming from another country, it’s just not a country that people are able to research!  When you visit another country, you wouldn’t expect to be able to integrate with their culture immediately, right?  You have to take time to get used to it, so… Isn’t it just like that?”

“It’s a little different,” Rei shook her head, then looked to Kamui for reassurance before continuing, “A lot like what you said, yes, but I do think it’s a bigger culture shock.  Getting used to the different ways of seeing things is easy enough, but what’s really hard… Is how much less you can trust the people around you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kyoko raised an eyebrow.

“Shirato-senpai,” Kamui got out of the bath completely now, grabbing a dry towel, “In the demon world, there aren’t people like you.  Not a lot, anyway.  Not like in the human world.  Usually, demons do bad things only to fulfill a real need to survive, like in order to eat.  There are criminals, it’s just in the nature of living that sometimes, there won’t be a reason to do things which are wrong and hurt others.  Even small animals do it… But there are so many more humans who do bad things for no good reason.”

“Who says that I have no good reason?” Kyoko muttered, dipping her head forward with her eyes still closed as she dropped her hand back to her side.

“Huh?  I mean, what reason could you have?” Kamui questioned, crouching down, “What reason could a human ever have to do bad things?” Her tone was dark, and the light was gone from her eyes as she demanded this answer, “If a demon kills a human, it is to feed on something that only a human can provide.  It is a need.  Humans don’t have needs like that.”

“You’re right,” Kyoko got to her feet, and stepped out of the bath slowly, approaching Kamui, “Humans don’t need to kill each other to eat.  Humans don’t steal, or hurt, or rape because of anything like that, but there’s another human need,” She opened her eyes and matched Kamui’s stare, “Some people say that humans are born with a hole in their heart, and that living is our attempt at filling that hole.”

“What could you need to fill that hole which would make you hurt other people?” Kamui’s stare was changing again, her face softening with concern more than her previous vindictive accusations.

“What would make me hurt people the way that I have…?” Kyoko’s tone turned harsh as she grabbed Kamui’s shoulders, “Love, Kamui!” She snapped and shook her, losing traction on the wet floor as she went, toppling them both over.  She took heaving breaths as she propped herself up over Kamui, “What I need to fill the hole in my heart, it’s love!” A few more breaths, then she just stared at her, “Why the fuck are you crying?”

“Because, Kyoko-chan!” Kamui protested, loud and desperate, “I want to love you!  I want to be able to call you my precious friend, but I can’t, because I think about how you hurt people before and how you’re not even trying, how you’re just going to keep hurting people… And I can’t do it!  And if all you need is to be loved, why do you keep doing something which makes it so that people can’t bring themselves to love you?”

Everyone else, being in the same room still, just stared at them as Kyoko moved away from Kamui, hiding her face in her hands as she gave her response to this accusation in a small whimper, “If people aren’t going to love me anyway, at least I can feel like they do for a little while.”

“...I thought you were an idol before.  Didn’t you feel loved then, Shirato-senpai?” Momoko moved closer to Kyoko, any venom or pettiness absent from her voice.

“You were in niche porn before.  It’s not the same thing, but just because you were beloved doesn’t mean you were loved.  It isn’t genuine,” She sighed in exasperation, then stood up and went to leave the room, “I wasn’t planning on spilling my guts this trip, you know.  I just wanted to practice.  I understand if you’ll be kicking me out of the group, but understand that without me you won’t stand a chance.”

“I can’t excuse the things you’ve done,” Momoko grabbed a towel too, “But you know, I’m the kind of person who’ll move forward if you can.  I can get along with Nanako-chan, because we agreed to leave behind the past.  She’s done some really bad stuff, you know.  And I’ve done some awful things too.  And I wouldn’t put it past Oujouno-senpai to have killed a man at some point, this is true.  I told you I thought being in this group would make you a better person… So I think that if you can work on moving forward, maybe then… We could love you.  For real.”

“...Kamui?” Kyoko asked, looking back at her as she was slowly getting up from the floor.  She looked up and made eye contact, then gave a soft smile and nodded.

“Stop hurting people, Kyoko-chan,” Kamui answered, keeping her eyes on her, “The past can be the past, if you stop.  I know that you’ve been punished for the past already.  We can be friends, if you want to try to be a better person.  A person worth being friends with.”

“I don’t know if I’ll ever become that person,” Kyoko frowned, looking away again and closing her eyes, “But I can become somebody who you won’t hate.  I can try, anyway.  I may have been the Boss Idol once, but I can’t keep denying that… Yokaishiteru is my only hope to be an idol again.”

“...Hey, where did Akabane-senpai go?” Izuna changed the subject, looking around.

“She left because we started having discourse in front of her.  Would you want to sit there awkwardly while people you don’t know start drama?” Honoka explained, crossing her arms, “I mean, seriously.  I get that this is something that needed to be talked about, but in front of somebody who has nothing to do with it?”

“I guess you’re right…” Kamui frowned, looking down at her feet, “I didn’t even realize,” She turned away and let out a heavy sigh, “We really are a mess, aren’t we?  The world’s first idol group composed almost entirely of disasters…” She leaned against a wall now, closing her eyes, “Why would you stick around with us, Honoka-chan?”

“You want me to say something like, you’re my only chance, too, right?  But that’s just why I joined.  I’d have left already if I was going to… But even with everything that makes this group strange, I’m part of it.  And I enjoy being around you guys… And I mean, Ryouma and Akane approve of you.  I trust their judgment, especially Ryouma’s.  If you had any ill intentions toward me, she’d know, and she’d tell me.”

“...Okay,” Kamui nodded, then put a smile back on her face as she moved to follow Kyoko out of the room, as she’d just now finished leaving, “Come on, then.  We should get some sleep.  We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.”


The remainder of the trip was, comparatively, uneventful, and Kamui now stood grinning before the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the qualifiers were being held.  It wasn’t really a concert venue so much as a symposium venue, but it was what the LL committee  had booked for the prefecture’s qualifiers, since having idols leave the prefecture they’re competing in wouldn’t make much sense.  She was confident after the previous week packed with practice, and the breakthrough that Kyoko had in terms of their friendship, there was no way they could fail to at least qualify for the LL.

With this confidence in mind, Kamui led her group into the building and towards the location where the qualifiers were taking place.  As soon as she reached the hallway, another girl ran up to them, a bit out of breath and holding her hands clasped in front of her chest, “H-Hello!  Are you here for the qualifiers?  The LL Qualifiers?”

Kamui looked behind herself at her other members, then back to this girl, “What else would we be here in costume for…?  What about you, why are you here?”

Himeko Maeda
“I’m here to watch,” She explained, her breaths calming down, “I’m Himeko Maeda.  I’m part of a group called Melody Stars!, we’re from Hoshinoka Academy.  We actually already qualified a few weeks ago, but since it’s not a long trip, and because I insisted on it, we decided to come watch the other qualifiers.  So where are you from?”

“We’re from Korekara,” Momoko stepped forward, stretching her arms out over her head with a yawn, though this was more of a ‘waking up more’ yawn than an ‘about to drop to sleep’ yawn.  She was so excited there was no way she’d succumb to a sleep attack right now.

“Korekara…?” Himeko asked, blinking a few times, “I didn’t know your school had enough attendees to make an idol group… isn’t that a really small town with a really small school?”

“That’s right,” Kyoko stepped forward, tossing her hair back over her shoulder, “We attend one of the most prestigious schools in the nation, which does make the student body rather small.  In fact, three of the seven of us are transfer students who weren’t there at the beginning of the year,” She explained, “Myself included.  Tosaka-san here has been trying to put together a group her entire time at the school, and never happened to run into the ever-willing Yuu-chan,” She was gesturing to the girls in question as she spoke, “Meanwhile, Nanako-chan needed some personal growth before she’d join us, and Oujouno-chan just needed some encouragement that her many worthless qualities were fine in a school idol group.”

“Yes, that is completely true,” Mishio agreed without even waiting for Kyoko to finish, assuring Himeko that it wasn’t a cruel jab.

“I see…” Himeko nodded, looking up at Kyoko for a bit longer, just staring until she actually made the connection, “H-Hey!  You’re Kyoko-chan, right?  The Boss Idol?”

“Yes, that’s me,” Kyoko nodded, “Or at least, it used to be.  I’m a part of Yokaishiteru now.  And your school has a school idol legacy, if we’re just listing facts about the past.”

“Yes, yes, so can you tell me what the real reason is that you quit??” She asked, leaning forward, “I’ve heard all sorts of theories, you know, and the official statement you made was way too vague-”

“Hime-chan!” Another girl ran up to her, yelling, and grabbed her arm, “Thank god, I caught up to you just before you were about to say something creepy!”

“It’s fine,” Kyoko waved it off, then looked down the hall as it seemed the rest of this idol group was investigating the source of the noise, “Family trouble was as much as I could disclose at the time, but it’s fine now.  My little brother got in an accident, which left him permanently scarred.  I didn’t want to stay in such a publicized business with that situation going on, because I knew they’d just say rude things about him and make him feel bad.”

“Is that really the truth?  Because I heard that more and more of your fans were reporting sexual encounters with you and the image of a pure idol that must always be upheld was starting to slip with no way to refute the sheer number of-” The other girl covered Himeko’s mouth, then gave Kyoko a sheepish smile.

Momoko Chiba
“Sorry about her.  She may seem shy and soft, but when it comes to idols she has no sense of boundaries, I think…” She shook her head, then looked to Yokaishiteru again, “Anyway, it’s nice to meet you!  The name’s Momoko Chiba.”

“Oh!” Momoko chuckled, “My name is Momoko too.  Momoko Watanabe.  It’s nice to meet you, Chiba-chan.”

“Heh, you too,” The other Momoko nodded back, then stood up straight and released Himeko, “I’d love to get acquainted with all of you, but I think it might have to wait till after your qualifier.  It sounds like they’re starting!  Right down this hallway, kay?” She offered, then led the way to the room which was set up for the event.

Kamui stepped onto the stage first and the others followed, standing in their starting positions as she introduced them to the judges, “Hello!  My name is Kamui Tori, and I’m from Korekara Academy, in the town named for its school, Korekara,Nagasaki Prefecture.  I’m the president of the Korekara School Idol Club, and leader of its group, Yokaishiteru!!  I hope that you enjoy our performance, and that our bonds of friendship reach your hearts!  For our two qualifying songs, we are singing one song which is in English, and one which is in Japanese, so that we can demonstrate our range of ability!”

When they were finished their performance, Melody Stars clapped for them from the back of the room, and the judges looked over their notes till the clapping died down, then looked back to the idols to address them, “The song in English was a nice touch.  It would come across as gimmicky from some groups, but it’s clear that at least four of you actually speak it.  Tosaka-san, Nanako-san, and Yuu-san need to work on their pronunciations.  It was also enjoyable how the songs shared a common theme.  Choreography was solid, execution of the choreography was not.  Only Tosaka-san and Shirato-san followed it fluidly, the rest of you still had the impression of just following steps.  It was also very distracting how Oujouno-san did not seem to display emotion, but the rest of you made up for it.  A performance like this would not advance you to the next round of the LL, but there is definite potential here, so you will be registered for the competition.  With practice, you may improve.”

“So… we made it through?” Kamui asked, tilting her head to the side with wide eyes.

“Yes, that is what I just said,” The judge nodded.

“...Heck YEAH!” Kamui jumped in the air, grinning, and everyone else started to show their excitement as well, though not in as exaggerated a way as Kamui, jumping around only a little bit.  Sakazaki and Momoko hugged each other, and even Mishio shuffled her feet around a little bit and gave a monotone cheer.

“Congratulations!” One of the other members of Melody Stars had run up to them, smiling, with the others behind her, “This means that we’ll be facing each other in the preliminaries, right?  I look forward to it.”

“Yeah!” Kamui nodded, climbing off the stage to speak with them, “I’m excited, too!  I’m really glad that we were able to qualify.”

“You did great, for a new group,” Himeko walked up again with a wave, “It’s obvious you worked really hard.  Our first LL, we managed to get qualified and through the preliminaries, but we weren’t trying our best and failed on the higher level pretty badly… After all, it was just for fun back then.”

“Back then?” Izuna questioned as she stepped up next to Kamui, frowning, “Does that mean that you’re not singing for fun now?”

“We’re singing to beat our rivals!” Momoko Chiba joined the conversation, holding her arm up in the air, “They beat us last year, and now we have to prove that we’re better than what we showed at the last LL.  So don’t think we’ll go easy on you just because you’re newbies!  We have to make it to nationals again this year.”

“Momochi,” Himeko shook her head with a soft smile, “If we went easy on them, we’d definitely lose,” She addressed Kamui again, “You really do all seem like idols, I must admit.  I’m sure that at the preliminaries you’ll give us a run for our money.  And thank you for letting us see you…” She turned around again and gave a light sigh, “You know, whoever moves on from the preliminaries, I hope to see you perform many more times.  Since you’ve qualified for the LL, you’ll be added to the website, so make sure to advertise any future concerts on there, right?”

Kamui blinked, then gave an enthusiastic nod as she stepped forward with one foot, “Right!  You had better do the same, Maeda-chan!”

“Of course,” She nodded, and her fellow group members, having given their congratulations, were making their way out of the room, since Yokaishiteru was the only group scheduled for the day, as were the judges, “We’ll see you at the-”

“Wait!” Someone called out from the stage and everyone turned around to see Sachiko Ryuunosuke standing there, with Makoto Narahashi at her side, smiling as she watched Sachiko grin, hair down from her ponytails in a confident stance, “Leaving so soon?  We aren’t finished here yet!”

“Kamui, the Optimistic Demon,” Makoto stepped forward and struck a pose as well, “Coming to the qualifiers like this… You’ve forced our hand.  I, Aria Apostle Nala…”

“And I, Harmonic Warrior Ryuu,” Sachiko interjected.

“As warriors against chaos, we cannot stand idly by and allow you to battle against evil alone,” Makoto continued, dropping her pose to put her hands on her hips, “So we have come here to qualify as well.  After all, were we to join your group after your qualification, we wouldn’t be able to perform alongside you in the LL…”

“That’s true,” Himeko stepped up to Kamui and whispered to her, “Of course, Harmony Ryuu would know the more obscure rules of the LL even if she hasn’t participated in it…”

“You know Ryuunosuke-senpai?” Kamui questioned, but Himeko shushed her as Sachiko began to speak again.

“If we qualify separately, though, we can merge with you as our own qualifying group!” She explained, then looked to the judges, “Isn’t that right…?”

“Technically, yes, but you’ll have to get a particularly high score to qualify with only two members,” The judge who delivered the verdict noted, turning back around and pulling her glasses off, then smirked as she walked back towards the stage and threw her arms out to her sides, “So if you think you can impress me, go ahead.  You have one song.  One shot.”

“Of course,” Sachiko agreed, smirking right back at the judge, “That’s all we need.”

As they performed, Himeko tapped Kamui’s arm again to whisper once more, “I can believe Harmony Ryuu goes to your school… And that she’ll be joining you if she can impress Kirara-sensei…”

“Kirara-sensei?” Kamui questioned back, trying to whisper but generally being just a little louder than she should be, “Maeda-chan, how do you know the name of that judge…?”

“How do you not?” Himeko didn’t sound harsh, just giving Kamui an incredulous look, “Every prefecture’s LL judging panel includes a veteran idol.  Anyway, you didn’t answer my question about Harmony Ryuu.  You do realize she’s the top-ranking web idol right now, yeah?”

“I knew she was good, but not top-ranking,” Kamui mumbled, staring at Sachiko and Makoto, “Narahashi-senpai is really good too… No wonder Kyoko-san said that they were out of our league.  Even if their arrival was kinda melodramatic.”

“Hime-chan?” Momoko asked, a bit concerned.

“No, I’m not worried.  It will still be a fair competition,” Himeko turned, then chuckled, “We got through last year, after all, and we’ve improved since then… Besides, these two only have chemistry with each other.  The real test will be how they mesh with the group.”

“I agree,” Kamui gave her a smile, “Besides, three groups move on to regionals, right?  So unless there were two other super good groups, we don’t have to worry about beating each other at this stage…”

“That’s right,” Himeko crossed her arms with a resolute nod, “In that case, why don’t we try something out?  Promise that we’ll go up against each other in the regionals.”

Kamui grinned back, then held up her pinky, “Yeah I promise!”

“That’s lovely,” Kirara interrupted the conversation, putting a hand on each of their shoulders with a warm smile, “And it seems, Tori-san, that those two will be joining you.  This year’s preliminaries are very promising.  I’m looking forward to seeing every wonderful performance, and how you all match up,” She stood up straight again and laughed a bit, holding her hands to her mouth, “Who would have thought there would be so many promising groups in Nagasaki Prefecture, of all places?  But I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The successors to StrawberryPoP, and the first school idols from a certain top school… Teehee, that promise you made was to me, too!  I look forward to the day I can see you face off as such friendly rivals!”

Next Chapter ->

No comments:

Post a Comment