Volume 10 Chapter 17 Shirogane Aqua, The Final Ramen
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
I was waiting backstage at the venue prepared by the national broadcasting station, eagerly anticipating the moment my name would be called.
Today, I decided to wear the new Corolle tuxedo jacket that John had gifted me, paired with a knitted sweater underneath. For my footwear, I opted for the sneakers and dressy shoes that Shitori-onee-chan had bought for me, striking a balance between being conscious of fashion while not appearing too formal.
In my pocket, besides the pen Mayuzumi gave me, I wore a pair of black-framed antique glasses, a gift from Yui. I had always wanted stylish glasses, after all.
”Everyone of the press, thank you for joining us today despite the unfavorable weather conditions.”
The moderator is the veteran announcer from the national broadcasting station, Onizuka Kyoko. Onizuka-san often scolds Kaede, but her strength lies in her stable and reliable announcing skills, a complete opposite of the suspense and excitement that Kaede exudes.
Wait a minute… I mean, hold on. Is it really necessary for an announcer, especially one from a national broadcasting station, to have all those heart-pounding, thrilling elements?
Hmm, let’s not dwell on that too deeply. In the world, it’s all about finding the right balance and meeting the demands.
Maybe that’s why they were looking for talent like Kaede, especially in a serious national broadcast station like this. Yeah, let’s just go with that.
”Now, I would like to announce the performers for the year-end song battle, starting from this very moment.”
A sense of tension fills the air. Amidst it all, Kaede is the only one who remains unchanged… or rather, she seems even more excited than usual, with a dreamy expression on her face.
”Hehe… Phew, I’m so relieved. I was really worried about losing this job. I mean, if I did, it would’ve been a disaster on the level of Kohina Yukari’s room…”
Oh, well… Cheer up, Kaede!
I wonder what will happen on that show. The second episode is supposedly scheduled, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s any demand for a program that was such a mess, with Kohina-senpai losing her cool from start to finish.
Kanon said it was interesting, but I think she was just being considerate.
”Personally, I’m really… uh, really anxious about leaving it to her, but the higher-ups really want her to be the main host, and as a representative of all the announcers of the national broadcasting station, I want to entrust her with the role of the main host for the year-end song competition, which is also a tradition of our national broadcasting station.”
Laughter leaked from the press seats. Announcer Onizuka-san is not the type to make fun of others, but I understand. Kaede is someone you just want to tease about various things.
”This year’s main host for the national broadcasting station’s year-end song competition is… Hoge… no, I mean, Announcer Morikawa Kaede. Please give her a warm welcome!”
Kaede appears, almost stumbling. Oh? Has the famous Morikawa slapstick comedy of the national broadcasting station started?
”Hey, senpai! Did you just call me ‘Hoge’?”
”I didn’t say that.”
”I didn’t say it.”
Wow, she totally nailed it by using her charisma. As I made eye contact with Onizuka-san backstage, she blushed slightly and coughed, seemingly embarrassed.
Yeah, I’ve always had a thing for older girls, especially when they have that cool and composed demeanor but also show their cute side.
”Um, well, as introduced earlier, I’m Morikawa Kaede, who will be serving as the main host for the year-end singing competition. I’m super motivated, so I’ll do my best not to let the show be taken over!”
Kaede, isn’t that a flag? Are you okay? Even the press couldn’t hold back their laughter.
”Now, moving on, I’d like to introduce the general of the Taira Army.”
In the national broadcast’s year-end singing competition, it has become a tradition for the Minamoto and Taira armies to compete against each other. Therefore, besides the main host, there is also the role of leading each army.
”Well then, see you later.”
A bright red dress smoothly passed by my side.
”Here comes the actress Kohina Yukari-san, who has been making a big splash with her variety show appearances on Monday 9 PM Drama!”
Despite her petite frame, she walks with such confidence that you wouldn’t even notice. And her doll-like face is completely masked by her mature makeup, while her graceful gestures exude a bewitching charm.
Once again, I’m in awe of Kohina-senpai’s presence as an actress. She leaves Ayana and me in the dust, and maybe even surpasses us in terms of growth… or rather, she might have left us even further behind.
Kohina-senpai’s sudden appearance made Kaede’s expression turn blank. I wonder if she’s okay?
”Are you here to take over my show again?”
”Hey, come on, isn’t this your own station’s program? Talking about other networks on national television is a big no-no.”
Oh yeah, I remember now. Who was it that casually mentioned another network on that same station? It was someone with a name like… Ko-something-san. I think it was similar to Yukari-san’s name.
That time, as soon as the commercial started, I immediately bowed my head to the staff.
”I, can’t, trust, anyone, again.”
”Hey, you’re almost becoming a Chijou!”
Yes, Kohina-senpai, that’s another channel. I kept bowing my head to the staff backstage, apologizing to Kohina-senpai over and over again.
As the two of them exchanged words, Announcer Onizuka-san held her head in her hands, and the journalists in the audience smirked, showing their gums.
Although national broadcasting usually involves serious press conferences, there was not a trace of that atmosphere coming from these two.
Or rather, Kaede’s expressionless face was so funny that everyone burst into laughter. Before I knew it, even the cameramen were showing their gums.
”Anyway, I absolutely won’t give up the position of the main host! Grrrr!”
She’s surprisingly good at imitating a dog’s bark… Still, why does Kaede only learn these kinds of small jokes?
This girl who looks like a weather girl on the outside has a certain charm, but why is she so into comedy or variety talent on the inside…
”Alright, alright. I won’t take any more, sorry, sorry. Is this good now?”
”Yes, really. Oh, but it would be interesting if I teamed up with Minamoto army and Taira army to take down the main host, wouldn’t it?”
”Ggh! I want to team up with Minamoto army too…”
”Hey! You’re the main host, so be fair about it!”
Now, I suddenly realized, isn’t Kaede amazing? Kohina-senpai is not the type to hold back this much, she’s never one to hold back, but, what should I call it… I think it’s pretty rare for her to chat so casually with anyone. Somehow, Kaede has a way of getting along with anyone, no matter who they are.
Or rather, even though she’s so laid-back, she made Kohina-senpai apologize…!? Can you teach me and Ayana that technique?
”Hey! At this rate, the conversation won’t progress at all! Let’s move on to the next one!”
Wow…! Kohina-senpai is really doing a great job with the progress. I’m a little impressed.
But at the same time, I can’t help but feel a slight uneasiness that Kohina-senpai is doing a better job at hosting than Kaede, who is our professional announcer.
Yeah, it’s probably just my imagination. Imagination, imagination!
Announcer Onizuka-san clears her throat as she takes control of the press conference.
”Now, let me introduce the general leading the Minamoto Army. In the long history of the year-end singing competition, which can be considered a tradition of the national broadcasting, something like this has never happened before. The first general by a man! The general leading the Minamoto Army is this person. Please come up!”
I step onto the stage as Onizuka-san introduces me.
”Hello everyone, thank you so much for being here. Today, I, Shirogane Aqua from Beryl Entertainment, will bring a smile to your hearts!”
Kohina-senpai, who heard my self-introduction, looks at me with wide eyes.
Uh, is something wrong? I brace myself, wondering if she’s going to say something.”Hey, what’s with that weird, unfunny comedian’s greeting?”
”Nah, I guess I should have gotten in properly…”
Huh? Is she about to get mad at me?
Is this a complete lecture?
”You don’t need to be like that! If you don’t do it seriously, who will? This guy is too much to handle, so at least you should do it properly!”
”Ggh… I can still be an announcer with this…”
”Kohina-senpai, Kohina-senpai, Morikawa-san is crying in the back, you know!”
”Oh… well, I guess people have their own likes and dislikes…”
”Huh? Unfavorable announcer? I, the announcer, am unfavorable?”
I look at Onizuka-san as if seeking help.
However, she is nodding seriously.
The gathered reporters, who are watching Kaede’s face changing expressions, are laughing normally.
Alright… I get it. I understand that I can’t be serious about this or it’s going to get out of hand.
Shirogane Aqua will do it seriously.
”Yes, Kohina-senpai, let’s start with the house!”
”Am I a dog?!”
I quickly inserted my body between Kohina-senpai and Kaede.
If we keep things this way, the conversation won’t progress at all.
Now that I think about it, it wasn’t Kohina Yukari’s room… it was Morikawa Kaede’s room where Kohina-senpai was the first guest.
If Kaede didn’t get injured, it would have been a big problem. Just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt.
That show, is it really going to have a second episode? I thought it would be better to pretend it was the first episode and have Kohina-senpai leave without the host present for the final episode…
”Kohina-senpai, look over there, at the stage sleeve.”
When I got close to Kohina-senpai, I pointed my hand to look at the wings of the stage.
”Everyone’s waiting for this comedy skit to end. In other words, we’re making everyone wait with our silly stories.”
”Why don’t we just let them wait for that?”
”Kohina-senpai!? Please calm down for a moment!”
”You’re the one who’s panicking too much! You should be more, like, composed. After all, if you told me to stay quiet while I’m talking, any decent person would sit quietly and behave.”
Oh no. This is exactly like Kohina Yukari’s room. The tragedy is about to begin again.
”Huh? Am I, like, left out even though I’m the main host for this?”
Kaede, please, don’t make this any more complicated. You can just hang around being absent-minded over there, okay?
For now, I’ll leave Kaede to Onizuka-san so she doesn’t have to think about unnecessary things.
Only you and Kotono can take care of Kaede! Please! I’ll do anything you ask later!!
”Uh, well then, in place of Announcer Onizuka and Announcer Morikawa who are injured, I, Shirogane Aqua, will be taking over the hosting duties from here on.”
”Oh! You ignored me!”
”Next up, for the judges… Oh, the judges will be announced at a later date. So, with that being said, I would like to introduce the lead batter for the Taira Army!”
I ignored Kohina-senpai and continued with the hosting.
If I paid any more attention to her, I wouldn’t know when I could go home.
I mean, in the end, after the shoot, we ended up chatting for around 2 to 3 hours in Kohina Yukari’s room… No, it was Morikawa Kaede’s room.
I don’t want to go eat beef bowls at 4 in the morning with just the two of us anymore.
”Now, let’s welcome the members of Eau de Cologne who will be representing the Minamoto Army and the members of Fairies who will be representing the Taira Army!”
Two groups appeared from the wings of the left and right stages. Oh, that’s nice. I can feel a certain freshness that Kohina-senpai doesn’t have. I can’t help but smile.
”Hmm, he looks sloppy just because a young girl came out, huh…”
”Ehh, really? So, Aqua-kun likes younger folks after all. That’s right, Kanon is the same age too…”
”Wha-what… I thought Aqua-sama was the hope of all the big sisters in the country!”
Huh? Why do those three (Kohina, Kaede, Onizuka) suddenly seem to be chatting and getting along so well?
Though Onizuka-san seems to be showing a sad expression for some reason.
When an older sister gives a sorrowful look, my heart aches too.
Well, setting that aside, I turn the microphone towards Fairy’s Kato Iria.
”Kato Iria-san, you’re the lead batter for the Taira Army, but how are you feeling right now?”
”Um… I guess I really wanted to be on the Minamoto Army with Aqua-kun. Something like that…”
Ah, if you say that, we’ll end up with more troublesome people coming around, you know!
”Hey! What’s wrong with the Taira Army?!”
”Yes, Kohina-senpai, yes.”
I anticipate Kohina-senpai’s actions and gently push her back. Come on, already! You’ve already caused a commotion, so you should wait with Kaede at the corner.
Seriously, I didn’t expect to get so tired from just a regular press conference, even though it’s not even being broadcasted on TV.
”Hey, aren’t you getting more and more poorly with how you treat me?!”
”It’s just your imagination.”
To avoid Kohina-senpai getting even more agitated, I decide to shift the conversation to Ayana on behalf of eau de Cologne.
”Now, next up, representing eau de Cologne, we have Ayana. We’d love to hear your enthusiasm as a member of the Minamoto Army.”
”Well, um, I hope I can give a performance that I won’t be ashamed of as the opening act.”
Ayana~~~! As expected of Ayana! You’re truly amazing!
I’m really grateful that she doesn’t try to mess with me like Kohina-senpai and progresses the way they should.
She won’t just come out like it’s her chance! Sh*t! House!!
But then, Kaede has a restless face like “Is it my turn?”, but there’s no turn for you, so stay still there!
It’s nice of Announcer Onizuka-san to hold them by the back of their necks so that they don’t come out.
”As the two representative idol groups of Japan clash from the very first song, I’m really looking forward to it. As a fellow idol, I’m personally excited about what performances Eau de Cologne and Fairies will show us.”
Actually, as the leader of the Minamoto Army, I should only support Eau de Cologne, but since the overall main host isn’t functioning properly, it can’t be helped. That’s why Ayana understands and doesn’t intervene.
Anyway, well, I think it would be better if we were in Tsukimachi Ayana’s room next time, instead of Morikawa Kaede’s room or Kohina Yukari’s room. If I were to fill in as a substitute, that would definitely be the better option…
But, you know, the viewers would have to watch me and Ayana being all lovey-dovey for a whole hour.
”Well, since we’re running out of time, let’s move on to the question segment.”
Announcer Onizuka-san said as she returned to the host’s seat, pointing to the raised hands of the press and passing them the microphone.
”Um, I have a question for Shirogane Aqua-san. As the host this time, do you have any plans to sing with the other members of Beryl or do any other performances?”
”Well, who knows? I can’t really say anything from my side, but if I get to sing in the national broadcast’s year-end singing competition, I would be really excited. I think my family would be very happy too.”
I replied with a shy smile, trying to play it off.
The decision that Beryl and I will be performing together has already been made, but it will be announced last.
”Then, to the next person, please ask your question.”
The microphone swings to the next member of the press.
”I have a question for Shirogane Aqua. Could you share your honest feelings when you received this offer? If possible, I would like you to share your state of mind at that time as well.”
”I never thought I would be asked to host, so I was genuinely surprised. At the same time, I thought that such an honor is not often bestowed. So, I immediately told Ako-san, our president, that I would accept.”
There are many who would love to host the end-of-year karaoke battle but can’t.
So, there was no hesitation when the offer came. I remember that the desire to perform was stronger.
But I apologized to Kanon because I was thinking of spending New Year’s Eve slowly and going to the New Year’s visit, but I was still happy that Kanon was happy. I thought I should make it up to her later.
”Then, let’s move on to the next question.”
The question corner continued without a break. Somehow, we managed to finish the press conference safely. On the backstage, I thought about going home, but I was pulled by Kohina-senpai from behind.
What’s up? I want to go home and play with Kanon.
”Hey, there’s something important to talk about, so let’s go have ramen together.”
I had planned to refuse Kohina-senpai’s usual dinner invitation today, but I noticed a different serious expression from Kohina-senpai compared to before. So, I thought today was a bit different.
”I understand. So, where are we going?”
”Of course, it’s already decided where we’re going.”
It’s rare for Kohina-senpai to wink at me.
But… alright, Kohina-senpai might be taking it easy on me because I’m just a kid.
But if she pulls something cute on me, I’m in trouble. I might start thinking that I’m dealing with a real girl. But that’s Kohina-senpai for you…
Anyway, we took a taxi in the rain and arrived at Ramen Takeko, a familiar ramen restaurant.
Please bookmark this series and rate ☆☆☆☆☆ on here!
Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.