Is it Tough Being a Friend?

Is it Tough Being a Friend? v6 Chapter 4 Part 6

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Afterwards, Yukimiya and I returned to the school and immediately met with Ryuuga and the others on the rooftop.

It was already past three o’clock. The band performance in the gym stage was occurring soon, but telling them about the incident in the abandoned factory was urgent.

Sure enough, Ryuuga and the others were surprised by what Yukimiya and I had to report.

Having to reveal everything in such way…was really disheartening for me.

“I, is that true, Shio?! You and the ‘Evil Spirit’ Taowu are already close friends?!”

Kurogame lost her composure as her round eyes grew even rounder.

“Furthermore, Sebastian was an apostle general called Rikushou Renie…?”

Aogasaki stiffened, unable to believe what she heard.

“On top of that, Renie’s ben fed to an apostle amalgamation of Qiongqi’s creation?!”

As expected, even Elmira was shocked by the situation.

“And Qiongqi’s vessel is──Tenryouin…”

Lastly, Ryuuga muttered so while biting her lip.

…After hearing the report, everyone stood speechless for a while.

I wondered if I should even talk about Agito, but I couldn’t hide it anymore. It stopped being a secret the moment Yukimiya knew about it.

Of course, Agito probably had no plans to keep it a secret either. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have shown up at the abandoned factory.

“I’m sorry, everyone. I wanted to keep it a secret until I could ‘convert’ Tao and introduce her to everyone. I didn’t think that my story alone would be credible…”

After Yukimiya deeply bowed her head in apology, Ryuuga took a step forward. True to her protagonist-like nature, she held a firm expression.

Then, the other heroines looked at the “Shrine Maiden of Life.”

I felt nervous…worried that they would be angry at her for remaining silent about such an important matter.

“So Shiori, are you…alright?”

Ryuuga stared anxiously at Yukimiya’s face.

Upon looking, it seemed that everyone held looks of concern. They were more worried about Yukimiya’s well-being than the other problems.

“Shiori, we know…how important Sebastian is to you. To think that he’s an ‘Apostle of Hell’ and that he fell into Qiongqi’s hands…”

Ryuuga gently took Yukimiya’s hand into hers. The heroines also held out their hands, overlapping with each other’s.

“Shiori, you don’t need to carry this weight alone. We want you to know that you can rely on us.”

“You don’t have to hold it in. We won’t mind if you cry, you know?”

“Uogh, aah, it must have been hard for you, Shio! It must have been torture!”

The vampire retorted to the crying tortoise with “Aren’t you the one taking it hard?”

“──Hmm, so that’s what happened.”

Suddenly, a girl’s voice entered the venue. There was no need for me to check who it was. It was someone I knew very well, the second daughter of the three princesses.

“Mion, you…!”

There was a three meter tall wire fence around the roof to prevent anyone from falling. A sidetailed girl wearing a school uniform sat at a corner of the fence.

Aogasaki stared at the heron apostle, pointing her sword while roaring.

“Mion, where have you been hiding?! What have you been doing after running away from us!”

“I was eating a chocolate banana. Then I ate some takoyaki and visited a yo-yo fishing attraction.”

“You’re saying that you were just calmly visiting the school festival…?!”

“I also saw your show, Masked Azure Dragon.”

The “Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance” suddenly showed a look of panic. Perhaps she was reminded of the matter with the Masked Wolf.

“Well, that doesn’t matter right now. Isn’t that right, Masked Vermilion Bird?”

“Who are you calling Masked Vermilion Bird?!”

Elmira objected to being given that nickname.

The heron girl leapt from the fence swooped down in front of us. Unfortunately, she held down her skirt with her hand, so what lies beneath it will remain a mystery.

“Anyways, it’s good that you know about Tao’s intentions. It seems our hard work paid off.”

“In other words, you didn’t actually turn against us all along.”

“Well, who knows. You’ll get into trouble if you place too much trust in us.”

Mion gave an uncooperative response to Ryuuga. As I thought, she’s one a kind. Even at a time like this, she doesn’t forget to be a tsundere.

“We don’t intend to be your enemies, but that doesn’t mean we’re your friends. We just share a common goal, defeating Qiongqi.”

“We can work with that. We’ll put our trust in you, Mion.”

Ryuuga gave a refreshing smile and patted her shoulder.

Thereupon, the heron maiden’s cheeks turned red for some reason. This time, she turned the other way and stubbornly avoided eye contact with the crossdressing protagonist.

“D, don’t act so overfamiliar. Didn’t I just say we’re not friends?”

“I think it’s charming that you aren’t honest about your feelings.”

“H, huh?! A, are you an idiot?! What are you saying to an apostle?!”

“That reminds me, this came from Tie, but I heard you were a good chef. I’d like to try your cooking someday.”

“W, well…if you’re begging that much, then fine…”

She’s too easy. You’re too easy, Ranshou Mion.

Or perhaps I should attribute this to Ryuuga’s power as a protagonist. Charming both friend and foe…that’s Hinomori Ryuuga for you.

“Y, you should be focusing on Yukimiya right now. You guys have a stage performance after this, right? Can Yukimiya sing in this state?”

That’s right. The “main characters’ band performance” was the last item left to conclude the school festival.

Indeed, Yukimiya wouldn’t be in the right state of mind to be singing a hard rock song. It still pains me to know that the cease-fire agreement was broken with just one day remaining.

“No, I’m fine. I’ll sing.”

However, Yukimiya spoke with determination. She forced a smile on her face.

“Sebastian told me something before. He said that I should enjoy my life at school, not just focus on fighting…so I will go up onstage.”

It was obvious that she was putting on a brave front. Ryuuga and the others knew that, but gave a nod. The heron girl also showed a worried expression.

“Sebastian always placed me on his highest priority. He once said that he would use me, perhaps even erase me, for Tao’s sake…I’m sure he only said that to make me hate him. Then, I wouldn’t be sad if he were gone.”

Perhaps he even planned on having us defeat him under the pretense of being an enemy. I suppose Renie played his “character” in his own way.

“That’s why I will sing. I will let my voice reach Sebastian, letting him know that I’m doing my best with my school life.”

“…I understand, Shiori.”

Hearing her decision, Ryuuga nodded. Aogasaki, Elmira, and Kurogame also showed acceptance.

“Thank you. To be honest, I don’t think I can sing in perfect condition…so I’d like someone to support me.”

As she said that, Yukimiya glanced at a certain direction. She glanced right towards the helpful heron instructor who gave her singing lessons, even today.

“W, what, Yukimiya? Don’t tell me that you…”

“What do you think about a duet?”

Mion’s high-pitched scream of surprise echoed throughout the rooftop.

It was actually the perfect voice for singing.

 

At last, the moment had arrived, and the main characters began their live performance. They quickly added the heron girl as a member.

“Nice to meet you all! ‘White Egret’ here!”

After Ryuuga’s introduction, Aogasaki immediately strummed her guitar. Next was Kurogame on the drums, and then Elmira on the keyboard, creating a sound that roared through the gym.

…I wonder when they decided on the band name “White Egret.”

I guess I should mention that an egret is a type of heron. It was a name meant to emphasize the two vocalists, the ‘White Tiger’ and the heron, though only a small portion of people would understand that.

“Let’s go, everyone! On my lead!”

“Y, Yukimiya Shiori, here to sing!”

Mion and Yukimiya split the vocals, taking turns to sing. Undaunted by the surprisingly enthusiastic heron girl, the “Shrine Maiden of Life” also shouted. She was elegant to the very end.

At first, the audience were dumbfounded by the quality of the performance, but soon burst into an uproar.

“H, hey, aren’t they really good?!”

“And they’re all fantastic looking! They’re all school celebrities!”

“Who’s that girl with the sidetail?! She’s super-cute!”

An air of enthusiasm quickly filled the room. The audience threw their hands into the air, creating a wave of cheering. In just a few seconds, ‘White Egret’ grabbed everyone by the heart.

“Oooooh! Miooooon!”

Sasaki yelled from the front row. I was a little jealous of Mion.

“You’re the best, Rei! I’ve fallen in love with you all over again!”

Next to him, Yamanashi Asao shouted. Maybe he still has a chance?

“Kurogame! Do your best!”

Next to him, Miyamoto shouted as well. She was in class E and a classmate of Kurogame.

“Together now, Elmiraaaa!”

Those words came from Satou and Ogura, students of my class. Come to think of it, they were members of Elmira’s private fan club.

“You’re so cute, Ryuuga! Look this way! Wink!”

As I thought, Taotie was in the front row, wearing a happi coat and a headband while frantically waving a glow stick. He seemed quite energetic despite being exhausted at the abandoned factory.

“Go, Mion! Like the concerts in the spirit world!”

“That girl’s as energetic as ever, isn’t she?”

Next to Taotie were Kiki and Jyuri, also waving glow sticks. Having received Yukimiya’s healing, Hebizuka had already fully recovered.

It was a wonderful performance, where both the performers and the audience were one.

Though unfortunately…a certain friend character couldn’t participate. I was really looking forward to this performance too.

(I even thought about clapping along…I practiced dancing and shouting…but it seems there’s no helping it. It’s my duty to deal with this guy.)

I watched Ryuuga and the others from the stage wing.

I was currently confronting a male student. A guy in a pure white uniform, who I had a hyperdimensional battle with at the abandoned factory.

“Kobayashi, did you give up on Renie? Wise choice.”

He stared right at me while speaking unnaturally. He didn’t seem to know that Ryuuga would appear onstage until just before the event.

“Agito, I didn’t think you would come back to school. Unfortunately, Ryuga already knows your true nature.”

While the gym continued to grow livelier, Agito and I stared at each other.

Despite the tense situation, my body unconsciously went along with the music. It seemed that Agito was the same.

“I don’t care. I’ve gotten Hinomori’s email address, had a date with her, and received her services as a maid. My goals have already been met. Now’s about the right time.”

“Right time?”

“Correct. As of today, I’ll take my leave from Oumei High School.”

The surprise announcement stunned me. Leave the school? He’s changing schools again?

“Unlike your Taotie, Qiongqi can’t operate independently from his vessel. In other words, as long as I’m at school, Qiongqi is as well.”

Indeed, if things remained that way, it would be easy for us to figure out his plans. Is he changing schools again to prevent that? In that case, why did he even come here in the first place?

“However, remember this, Kobayashi. Hinomori Ryuuga──will definitely be mine.”

“……”

“I believe that next time, Shiyuu will be even stronger. Renie probably won’t be its only meal.”

He was likely referring to the cheetah apostle who got away.

Come to think of it, where did Shima go? We might need to ensure her safety before Qiongqi can catch her.

“Kobayashi, there’s nothing left to discuss with you…move out of the way.”

“Why should I let you through? I know what you’re scheming.”

There’s no real reason for me to stop Agito from leaving. In fact, I want him to leave.

The reason I was stopping him was because he was heading in the direction of the stage. He was carrying his bass guitar over his shoulder.

“I’ll say it again. Move away, Kobayashi. The song is going to end.”

“You think I’ll let you crash in?!”

That’s right. Agito was planning on barging into the stage.

The enemy character was planning on shamelessly getting in on the protagonist’s band.

“Didn’t you say that you wouldn’t play in any band other than Apostle?!”

“If Hinomori’s there, that’s a different matter. Playing a bass duo with her…would be supreme bliss. Perhaps it wouldn’t even be a jam session anymore, it would be a jam sex-ssion.”TLNYes, he actually said that. I did not take any liberties with that translation.

“Can’t you take the hint?! I already said that we know your true identity!”

“That matters not. I’m the type who separates their public and private affairs.”

“And you think that’s a valid excuse?!”

We were in the midst of an argument.

Right when the song reached an interlude, something strange happened on the stage.

“Sh, Shiori?!”

Ryuuga and the others continued to play, but they were clearly uneasy. They were all dumbfounded, paying close attention to the two vocalists.

As for the reason──Yukimiya started an Awa Odori dance.TLNAwa Odori is the largest dance festival in Japan, held from August 12 to 15.

She did a slow dance that didn’t fit the song at all. She wasn’t even saying “Yay!” or “Come on!”, she was saying “Yattosa, yattosa.”TLNYattosa is a phrase often associated with the Awa Odori dance. In terms of meaning, it’s just a greeting.

“Renie! Can you hear me?! This is a requiem from me!”

Needless to say, it was Tao. While I was trying to stop Agito, it seemed that a different, unexpected person crashed into the performance.

What kind of requiem is that?! Renie’s going to be rolling in his grave!

“T, Tao! Please calm down!”

Quickly noticing the situation, Mion tried to stop her in a panic.

However, Tao continued dancing. She single-mindedly danced. She danced to mourn the trusted retainer she lost.

“Jyuri, Kiki, help me out! Stop Tao!”

She seemed to have judged that she couldn’t do it alone. The heron girl asked for help from the king cobra woman and the Hokkaido wolf girl.

However, it was in vain.

“Okay! Should I undress?!”

“No!”

“I’ll sing Spectacle Man’s theme song!”

“Stop!”

Jyuri and Kiki went up to the stage, starting their own performances. The main character’s band show grew even more chaotic.

“Oh, it’s Hebizuka! She took something off!”

“Isn’t that kid the Masked Wolf?!”

“Ah! Another guy went up! Isn’t that Kobayashi?!”

Eventually, even Taotie climbed up onstage and stood back-to-back with Ryuuga, shredding an air guitar. Great, now I can’t intervene. Otherwise, there would be two Kobayashis.

“I, I was beaten to the punch…it can’t be.”

While holding down Agito, I glanced at Ryuuga…to find that she pulled herself together and continued strumming the bass.

It seems the performance took priority over retorting to the situation. I admire the spirit. Though, is that really alright, protagonist?

…Thus, the live show turned into a jumbled mix of performers.

I managed to prevent Agito from entering at least.

As such, the school festival event ended.


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