Saturday, July 15, 2017

Yokaishiteru! Chapter Eight

<-Previous Chapter

<------First Chapter

Seven Deadly Sins OP 1
Sing -Dresden Dolls
Sweet and Sweet Holiday- u’s
Kyoko/Sachiko/Makoto (Allegra Treble):
Strawberry Trapper -Guilty Kiss
Addicted -Vocaloid
Momoko/Mishio/Sakazaki (KAN NO TEKI):
Les solos sous les draps -Mozart L’Opera Rock
Delusion Tax -Vocaloid
Honoka/Kamui/Izuna (Supplementary)
Evil Food Eater Conchita -Vocaloid

Crier -Vocaloid


“So, Yokaishiteru… The School Idol Club of Korekara Academy,” Kirara leaned forward on her judging desk, looking them over with her eyes narrowed.  On one side of her was Asahi, who’d been transferred to this area after the previous Nagasaki sponsor pulled out, and on the other side an empty chair belonging to the ‘musical expert’ who was the third judge and had wandered off sometime during the first song, “I have to say, your performance at the qualifiers was far superior to your performance today, and I don’t believe it’s in any way connected to fatigue, as your first song was still worse than before.  I was expecting more from you, given the addition of two skilled members since then, but those members seem to have fallen to a much lower level as well.  And… why was the expressionless one absent for all of the ‘full group’ numbers?”

“Er…” Kamui, as leader, was the one to respond to the judge’s criticisms.  Her voice was listless, and she wasn’t smiling as she responded, “Mishio-san wasn’t feeling well, so we didn’t want to push her.  She said that she assumed her extended presence would only hurt our overall score, between her illness and her… Lack of expression.”
“The one with no expressions had skill,” Kirara sighed, then looked over to see what Asahi was signing to her, in order to relay it, “It’s also obvious your choreographies were never intended for eight people.  However, if the reason is illness, I won’t count her absence against you, as the time she was on stage was well done on her part.  That doesn’t excuse the rest of your flaws.  Every one of you seemed to be off your A-Game.  Let’s go down the line and hear your excuses for how poorly you did, hm?”

“Do you have to knock us down like that, Kirara-sensei?” Kamui questioned, grimacing with her extra-sharp teeth bared, though her eyes were empty, “Can’t you just disqualify us and let us go away humiliated, but less so?”

“If I don’t make you admit the problems, you’ll never improve.  And I do hope to see you improve someday.  In the qualifiers, you showed a lot of promise.  Asahi-san and I are both very curious to learn what went wrong today, when you should have been shining at your brightest yet.  If it makes you feel better, we can inform the LL committee not to broadcast this portion, but your peers here in the competition will know the reason you did them such an injustice as an opponent not worth their time.  Let’s start with… Kyoko.”

“It should be obvious why I wasn’t at my best today,” Kyoko wrinkled her nose, “This is the first time I’ve really been in the public eye since I left the solo idol scene, after all.  That was already enough to make me nervous, and then one of my so-called peers,” She scoffed, gesturing towards backstage as she spoke, “Has the nerve to accuse me of things which I did not do!  I’ve turned over a new leaf with Yokaishiteru, and it’s going to make me angry to hear people still making assumptions about me.  All of that’s in the past, I’m a good person now!”

“I’m sure you are,” Kirara let a smirk play at her lips, “But how are they supposed to know that?  It isn’t like you become a good person, and suddenly everyone knows you’ve become different than you were.  Just because you’re working hard to improve, that means nothing to people who don’t know you, and you’re going to have to get used to it.  When you were a solo idol, you let scandal ruin your career, you ran away from needing to face your problems head-on.  Are you going to, pardon my language, fuck up another good thing, this time for the very people who are inspiring you to be better, just because of a few cruel lies?  If you would, then talent doesn’t matter.  The idol industry is not meant for fragile flowers… like you?  Or are you different?”

“...I want to be different,” Kyoko mumbled, clenching her fists as she looked away, at the ground, anywhere but at the veteran idol, “I do, I want to be strong without hurting people, I want to be able to be happy and loved.  I really… do want that.  But I won’t get it.  I can try, but it just isn’t going to happen.  Not anymore.”

“It’s up to you, in the end, what type of person you become,” Kirara closed her eyes slowly, then pointed without looking at Izuna, then gestured to Asahi as she opened her eyes again, “Asahi-san, why don’t you conduct this interview?  I’ll translate for you so that Izuna-chan can understand.”

“Izuna,” Asahi started signing, her words being relayed by Kirara, “Could you please explain to me why Momoko, and by extension yourself, were not at peak performance today?”

“W-What makes you think I know why Momoko-chan did badly!?” Izuna protested, taking an indignant step forward.  Sakazaki was fast enough to stick her foot out, tripping Izuna as she did so.  She grimaced, which turned into an angry scowl as she got back up, turned, and went to punch Sakazaki, but found her fist caught by those same quick reflexes.

“It’s obvious by the way you three are interacting.  Something happened.  Something which needs to be resolved.  A problem which you had suitably buried during the qualifiers.  A problem which has surfaced again because if you bury a problem alive it will find its way out again with a vengeance.  Like Uma Thurman,” Asahi explained, given in a harsh tone by Kirara.

“Don’t ask Izuna to explain,” Momoko frowned as she stepped forward, crossing her arms over her chest, “She never has and never will own up to anything she’s ever done wrong.  I guess some people are just like that.  They play innocent, make themselves out to be the victim so convincingly that even they themselves fall for it.  She’s that kind of person, you see,” Momoko’s frown gave way to a condescending and bitter smile as she sat down at the edge of the stage, sideways, one knee in the air and her other foot hanging off, “I’ll gladly tell you more.”

“Please do,” The judge team asserted.

“Momoko-chan, please!” Izuna clasped her hands to her chest, tears streaming from her eyes as she tried to move closer, but found herself held back back Sakazaki, “You don’t have to do this!  It would ruin both of us!”

“Oh, Izuna,” Momoko giggled, holding a hand to her cheek, “It’s over anyway!  Don’t you think it’s type people knew the truth?”

“I thought that we were putting all of that behind us!” Izuna protested.

“Ah, you really want to say that now?” Sakazaki questioned, pulling Izuna back with far too much force in far too much ease before dropping her to the floor and leaning over, “When you’re the one who wasn’t willing to leave the past in the past and accept that she’s moved on?”

“Maybe the problem all along was that there was really no way to leave it all behind us if we didn’t air it all out first,” Momoko gave an exaggerated sigh, then turned to look back at Izuna, “You really still thought you could win me back, after everything?  You were never a very good girlfriend in the first place, buttercup, and after the things you did to me… You really are an idiot.  A useless idiot who just watched.”

“I’ve told you, over and over!” Izuna protested, trying to get back up but finding herself immediately pinned again by Sakazaki.  She looked up, and could see that behind the stage lights glinting off her glasses, those eyes were glassy and intense.  She was beyond angry, this was something else.  She was prepared to kill if necessary.  It was as if she was an entirely different person, “Momoko-chan, please!  He was bigger than us, there’s nothing I could have done to keep him from taking you!”

“Saka-tama,” Momoko started, lifting a finger in the air, “Down girl,” At her statement, Sakazaki groaned, but wandered off to the other side of the stage, letting Izuna sit up, though she dared not move from where she was, “Yes, Izuna, there wasn’t anything you could do to stop him from taking me.  And it was honestly the one intelligent thought you had in your life, to take up my scholarship to Korekara rather than let it go to waste with me missing, and nobody but you missing me.  It didn’t even make any difference to my being found, that nobody knew I was missing.  Actually, I’m not upset with you for any of that.”

“But,” Momoko continued as she stood up and walked over to where Izuna was still sitting on the stage, everyone else just standing and keeping out of it, “You know what I am upset about, right?  You watched.  You absolute, moron.  Did you really think I wouldn’t recognize your username?  You watched me suffer.  Saka-tama, and Box-u, those two never watched the stream, they only came and chatted with me.  You never did that.  You just came online.  Stayed silent… And watched what the man who you let get away with me, did to me.  And what did that feel like for me, Izuna?  Can you guess?”

“Oh,” Izuna mumbled, then dropped back onto her back, staring up into the ceiling, “Like I wanted bad things to happen to you.”

“So do you finally understand…” Momoko sat down next to her, her voice now soft, “That you’ve been a bad person?  And that you and I… Even if I were to break up with Saka-tama, which I think is unlikely, you and I would never be an item again?”

“Yes, I think I do understand now,” Izuna answered, wiping her eyes as she stood up again and turned to Kyoko, “Shirato-senpai…”

“Why don’t you call me Kyoko?” She answered, tilting her head to the side.

“Kyoko-san, then,” Izuna took a deep breath before she spoke again, “Can you help me learn to be a good person, like you did?”

“I can try,” Kyoko nodded, then turned to the judges, “So isn’t that enough?  Can you understand, now?  We’re weak-willed, and Izuna-chan was unwilling to work through the problems which Momoko-chan was so kind as to ignore for the sake of working with somebody who had no idea she hurt her.  The same kind of person I used to be, and need to learn to carry the stigma for.”

“It’s not enough,” Kirara shook her head, “After all, that still doesn’t account for Honoka-san,” She pointed at each idol she mentioned in turn, “Sachiko-san, Makoto-san, or Kamui-san.”

“Do they really have to!?” Kyoko questioned, stepping forward as she threw a hand out to her side protectively, “Why can’t we just leave it at that, work through these issues, and tackle whatever other factors contributed to our failure later on!?”

“I already told you, it’s a matter of critique and of explaining yourself to the other idols who had to suffer through having an opponent so easy to overcome,” Kirara responded, standing up at her desk and staring right through Kyoko, “Funny how you grow a spine when it comes to their problems.  Are you hiding something?”

“Kyoko-chan is hiding nothing,” Honoka mumbled as she stepped forward, around the third year, “She’s just being a good friend.  We told you, right?  She’s a good person now, and she wants to protect us.  If word about any of these problems got out, there would be no chance for any of us to continue being idols.  She knows that’s been my dream.  She knows that Kamui-chan has nothing else in this world.  She knows that Sachiko-chan and Makoto-chan have more potential than anyone else alive right now if only they could harness it.”

“Trust me,” Kirara tilted her head to the side, “I’m well aware that you’ve already given up scandalous information, but that’s why this is between us, and you, and your competitors.  None of them will speak a word of what you say here.  They respect you, or they respect me.  Or they are afraid what will happen to them if they do.  What I might do, what Sakazaki-san might do, what… Kamui-san might do.  It doesn’t matter what reason, not a single secret leaves this room.”

“Fine,” Honoka seemed satisfied with that response, and approached Kirara to answer, “The illness which Mishio-san has, it’s just a nasty stomach bug that’s going around our school right now… But somebody very dear to me has a weak immune system.  So this bug is very worrying.  My thoughts and focus weren’t on our performance today, and I’m to blame for that.  I know I should have more strength of will than to let worry interfere.  I should have put it out of mind for now, because it isn’t as if there’s anything I can do to solve the problem.  I just made things worse for everybody.”

“Thank you,” Kirara nodded, then pointed to Kamui, “How about you, mighty leader?”

"I've wasted enough time"

“Shut up,” Kamui mumbled, then stepped forward.  She just kept walking, and jumped off the stage, over the judges’ heads before she spoke again, voice cold, “I’m leaving.  I’ve wasted enough time standing here while you pick us apart.  Somebody hurt my friend and I have to get back to Korekara.  I have to make them pay,” With that, she kept going, right out of the building.  Kirara signed something to Asahi, who stood up and chased after Kamui with a resolute nod.

“Well, that was a bit disastrous, wasn’t it,” Kirara mumbled, then turned back to the remaining members, “I suppose she has her own way of getting back, though, and that did answer my question.  My, she can be frightening, can’t she?  For somebody who was so bright and cheerful at the qualifiers, I never would have expected her to be able to give such a hard look.  In any case, that does just leave you two.  You went out of your way to go above and beyond at the qualifiers so that you could join this group, yet your first appearance alongside them was rotten.  Forgive me for being especially curious.”

“I dragged Sachiko down,” Makoto mumbled, staring down at the floor with her fists clenched, “It was my fault, she was just worrying about me.  And I… that judge who left right at the start, your musical expert, he was my piano teacher when I was little, and we didn’t exactly end those lessons on good terms…”

“Oh, I see,” Kirara pushed her glasses up, then stood and took a deep breath, “Say no more, he will be dealt with.  In any case, let’s go back on the record here so we can get this thing over with and all be on our ways.  Advancing to the next round of the LL competition will be Melody Stars of Hoshinoka Academy, and…”

The idols of Korekara Academy didn’t bother sticking around to hear which other two would be going forward.  They were proud, that Melody Stars had been able to hold up their end of the promise to make it to regionals, and each one of them was already planning to watch the rest of the LL until that group either lost or won the whole thing, because at least then the winner would be a group that they knew to be good people.  Kyoko supported Mishio as they walked out, stating that she’d be the one to deal with the ill member due to a total disregard for if she missed graduation.  Her family would be there, proud that she got a degree from a high school as good as a college.  They’d push her to take it and get a good, respectable job.

After getting another taste of the idol world, even a taste as bitter as this one had been, Kyoko didn’t want to leave it behind again.  Still, it wasn’t like she was in control of her own life.  It wasn’t like she had a choice.  Being in control… was that what she was really striving towards that whole time, when she’d hurt other people in the name of being loved?  Both of those reasons had no bearing on the morality of it, though, or how wrong she was to think that would help.  Scandal had her lose control of that life she had before, lose the love of her fans.  If only she could control her future.  These people were her friends.  She was loved, but she would lose it just the same when her family took control again.

Everyone on the bus back from Nagasaki was miserable.  Were Kamui there, and not in a terrible mood off who knows where with a vengeance, then she definitely could have lifted their spirits.  It was what she did best, after all.  She was the only person who’d been able to, who could have brought a group like this together, gotten them over their differences and made them work as a team.  They did, too.  They really did.

Just not when it counted.


Asahi chased after Kamui at Kirara’s request, understanding the urgency of what had been signed to her.  If that girl gets away, somebody could die today.  If that girl gets away, Yokaishiteru might dissolve, leaving each member no better off than they were at the start.  Without the group to prop them up, Izuna and Kyoko would relapse.  Asahi knew very well what that school could do to somebody, and considered this idol group the first good thing ever to come out of it.

When her older sister was a first year, she’d been warned against accepting her own invitation there.  It was a frightening place, she said.  Full of death and depression, and nobody’s happy, she said.  Asahi could tell, even with all of them in disrepair, that the school idol club made them happy.  If it could do that, in such a place, then Asahi would do everything to protect it.  That was what Yui would have wanted her to do.

Kamui never left her field of vision, though she was fast.  Asahi had always done her best in sports, because everyone always told her that was something she couldn’t do.  She couldn’t keep up across a long distance, but she could cover a sprint in no time at all.  Unfortunately, she and Kamui seemed to be evenly matched, and soon enough arrived at the train station.  Kamui crossed the tracks, then turned around and waved as the train passed by.  When the tracks were clear again, Kamui was gone, and Asahi heaved a few heavy breaths before she collapsed onto the ground.  Just a few minutes.  Just a little while to recover.

Kamui arrived at the riverbank in Korekara, having used a demon gateway to make her way between the two points.  The information she’d gotten just before the performance, regarding Yoshiko… It had ruined her ability to be the perfect example of an idol, and she found herself in a feral sort of fury.  Cats were the world’s most efficient predators, after all.  Kamui had just never had any prey.  Never had a reason to.

Some humans were good, some humans were bad, and some humans hurt her friends and had no place being allowed to continue living in one healthy, happy, whole.  Yoshiko had been injured; she’d had her arms broken by some jerks in town who were holding a summoning ritual of their own, advertised online.  They thought she seemed too small and fragile to be of any help, but maybe she could be their sacrifice.  They chickened out before killing her.  That was what Chigau and Victoria told Kamui, despite Yoshiko’s protests to let her stay oblivious until after the show.  Kamui got the address, too, and was ready to give them a piece of her mind and a piece of her claws for daring to do something like that.

She knew that occultists had a tendency to go over the top, but this?  This was just an act of cruelty, because humans, especially in groups, were cruel.  It was probably just one person’s idea.  One person really thought they should do something like that, and two others agreed just because they had no rebuttal, and soon enough it was everyone’s decision.  Kamui knew mob mentality worked that way.  She would only hurt the one who came up with the idea.  She would find it out.  She would terrify them.

A weak demon was still a demon, and she had no shackles, no contract which said she couldn’t act in violence towards a human.  In a fair fight, she would lose.  In a fight on human terms.  In a fight with another demon.  In a fight on demon terms, against a human, when she was this angry?  She would crush them.

When Kamui reached the door, she was about to step inside, the door already open, when there was an earsplitting crack and she jumped backward.  A four-by-four with nails sticking out of it had been smacked against the doorway, covering the entrance.  One hand held it up as the owner moved to lean her head underneath the plank-turned-weapon she carried around at all possible times, “We’ve got this under control, Tori-chan.”

Rena Osaka
“Osaka-kun, they hurt Yoshiko-kami.  They hurt my friend.  Let me inside.  Let me at the one responsible,” Kamui protested, but didn’t move from where she stood.  She didn’t want to fight Rena on demon terms, and she wouldn’t win on human terms.  She didn’t want to hurt Rena.

“I can’t do that,” Rena shook her head, then closed her eyes, “It’s the responsible of No Boys Allowed to protect and serve the residents of Korekara, as we have no police force and delinquents are better anyways.  These boys were let in, and now they’ve violated our agreement.  We’ll be evicting them from the area,” She explained, then opened her eyes again to match Kamui’s gaze, “It’s the responsibility of the Korekara School Idol Club to bring a smile to everyone’s face.  Busting people up doesn’t suit you, Tori-chan.”

“But I’m angry!” Kamui protested, but the malevolent aura she’d been projecting was already fading thanks to both Rena’s words and the fact that she had faith in these delinquents to solve the situation just as well as she would have, if not better.

“Course you are.  Everyone is,” Rena shrugged, “But leave the repercussions to the ones who do it best, and go do what you do best.  Go see Nishimura-chan and help her feel better.”

“I understand!” Kamui nodded, and a smile found its way back onto her face as she made a pivot turn and ran towards the school.  She knew that Yoshiko would have ended up in the school’s infirmary, even on a Sunday.  The doctor dressed all in bright red and seemed to have a level of disdain for the students, thus earning a sour reputation, but Kamui knew that she always came through when she was needed.  The disdainful attitude did nothing to hide that she really did care for every resident of this strange, small town on no map.  It was thanks to efforts from both the faculty and the children that Korekara remained a town self-governed by the alumni in spite of the school’s reputation.

Kamui arrived in the infirmary only to find it empty aside from Yoshiko and the Doctor.  She noticed this right with her foot in the doorway, and before she could greet Yoshiko, Doctor Iwako was noticing her puzzled look and remedying her confusion, “Those who are ill with the stomach bug are staying elsewhere, as they wouldn’t all fit here.  For the time being, the infirmary is only for injuries.  You aren’t here for me though, are you?”

“No, I’m not,” Kamui shook her head, “I’m not sick, and I’m not injured.  I’m here to see Yoshiko-kami,” With her explanation done, Iwako pulled a chair up next to the cot where Yoshiko was propped up, and she sat down, “Hey.”

“Kamui-kami…” Yoshiko greeted her with a heavy sigh, “I didn’t want to distract you, I told them not to tell you what happened.  I wanted to go see you, I just thought I’d stop in and give them some pointers on the ritual first… I didn’t expect it would turn out so badly.”

“I used to think the human world seemed awesome,” Kamui noted, leaning towards her, “Now, I think that I actually hate it.”

“Parts of it are awesome,” Yoshiko noted, then gave a bitter chuckle, “Wow, did I seriously just say that…? I used to think the world was terrible.  I used to hate it so much that I thought someday, I’d definitely open up a portal and invite everything in.  Demons, and dark magic, and all sorts of things just to wreak havoc, to mess up the world that I hated so much,” She explained, then turned her head to look at Kamui, “And you know, it wasn’t Hako-san who made me decide there was enough in this world worth keeping, not to destroy it like that.  It was you.”

“Me?” Kamui questioned, tilting her head as she pointed at herself, “But… I’m not even from the human world, so…”

“Well, that’s a good point, but the thing is, I never saw that there was anything worth my time before you showed up, and especially when you started living with me all of the time… With another person, it’s easier to laugh at things, to enjoy media which isn’t so dark and intriguing just because it’s fun to be doing something with someone, making fun of things which go wrong or just wondering what makes the other person laugh so hard at a mediocre joke,” She continued, “And if the world ended, there wouldn’t be anything else to do with somebody anymore.  You make me want to eat different types of food just so we can try each other’s order, rather than only eating the bare minimum of what I need to survive.  Having somebody like you in my life makes me want to experience life like a normal person.”

“You’re not falling in love with me, right Yoshiko-kami?  Because,” Kamui looked away, “I figured out already, a while back that I’m aromantic.  I thought I already told you that, I don’t want to hurt your feelings…”

“No, I think I might be too.  I want to do things like what people call dates, but I don’t want to call them dates.  I want to do stuff like that with you, but I don’t want to call you my girlfriend.  I want to be close to you, but I don’t want to kiss you or get into bed with you or anything like that,” She explained, “I think what I’m saying is that I want you to be my best friend.  And as a best friend, I hope you don’t hold it against me that I messed you up today.”

“It’s fine.  Everyone messed up today.  We did so badly that the judge made us each explain our poor performances,” Kamui laughed a bit as she said this, but there were tears at her eyes, “And graduation is next week, right?  The third years will be leaving, and it’ll all be over.”

“I don’t know,” Yoshiko mumbled, “I don’t know what to say to that, but I think that if I know anything about you, you won’t let this one setback stop you.  You’ll find a way.  I know it.”

“I will,” Kamui decided with a resolute nod, “I will find a way.”


“Kyokoooooo-chan!” Kamui shouted as she ran at the bus when her fellow idols arrived back from the competition.  Kyoko was the one she’d talk to about this.

“...Kamui!?” Kyoko exclaimed in shock as she stepped onto the sidewalk, “How did you get back here before us?  And how did you get back to your usual self so quickly?”

“I talked to Yoshiko-kami,” Kamui ignored the question about her travel speed, “And everything’s okay now, and I had an idea.  You know, we’re all acting like this is the end of what we’ve been working for.  Like we’ve got no choice but to disband and go back to our normal, boring, dreamless lives.”

“Isn’t that it, though?” Momoko questioned through a yawn, a sweet but meaningless smile settling onto her face, “It’s not Yokaishiteru without the third years, and the third years are graduating.  We really can’t do anything but go back.”

“I agree, we just aren’t us without the third years, but Kyoko-chan!” Kamui turned the focus back to her, “I have a question for you!  What do you have waiting for you after you graduate?”

“My parents want me to get a real job,” She answered, scratching at her cheek, “I probably will, too, because there isn’t anything else I could do.”

“Mmhm,” Kamui nodded, then pointed at Mishio, “And I know Mishio-chan has no plans!  And even if Sakazaki-chan did have plans, she’d never go far from Momoko-chan!  So there’s no reason that the third years graduating means that you have to leave us!”

“We wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything that way, though,” Kyoko sighed, “Well, with graduates, you could never qualify as School idols.”

“So?” Kamui asked, putting her hands on her hips, “Kirara-sensei knows that, but she still said she wanted us to self-criticize so we could do better.  A veteran idol says she wants us to keep trying, and you know what that means?  She thinks that with enough work, Yokaishiteru could cut it in the Pro Idol scene!”

“You mean…” Sakazaki started.

“Yes!” Kamui agreed, hopping in place, “I know that everyone here wants to do this.  I can tell, I’m sure of it.  So we’re going to!  Let’s work hard and become the best idols we can be!”

[Mattete Ai No Uta]

(Author's Note: Hello everyone! This is the end of Yokaishiteru's first arc! The timeslot Yokaishiteru previously held will be taken up by a story called "Evil Meet Justice" for a while, and if you'd like to support nicoserial without making a monthly contribution on my patreon, a volume collection of this arc is available for purchase.)

No comments:

Post a Comment