Volume 10 Chapter 25 Inori Hisui, And So It Begins
Thanks Jetfire555 for donating…
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Finally… finally! I have come to Tokyo, where Aqua-sama is…!!
I used my winter vacation as an opportunity to travel from Amami-Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture to Tokyo for a certain reason.
There are so many tall buildings that I have never seen before. In addition, the girls walking on the streets are all incredibly fashionable, which surprised me greatly.
I checked my reflection in the nearby glass and adjusted the position of my ribbon.
Am I okay? I hope I don’t stand out too much.
”This is Shibuya… but this is no time for fooling around!”
Time is limited, so I can’t afford to space out.
I headed to Beryl’s Goods Shop with excitement, leaving my belongings in a nearby locker. The shop operates on a reservation basis, but luckily, I managed to obtain an entry ticket through a lottery.
”Oh wow, it’s a life-size panel of Aqua-sama!”
I exclaimed, quickly taking out my phone to capture a few photos. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could take a commemorative picture with Aqua-sama herself. Just as I was thinking that, a tall lady standing nearby caught my attention.
”If you’d like, I can take a photo for you.”
I stammered, surprised by her kind gesture.
With her tall stature and sharp gaze, I initially thought she was giving me a stern look, but it turned out to be my misunderstanding. Grateful for her generosity, I accepted her offer and took a commemorative photo with Aqua-sama’s panel.
”Thank you so much!”
”Don’t mention it. Enjoy your time in Tokyo while you can.”
She replied with a friendly wave as we parted ways.
Is the lady also a fan of Aqua-sama? She had a paper bag full of Aqua-sama’s goods. So cool! She seemed so put together, like someone who’s really good at their job. I admire her as another woman.
I want to become a lovely lady like her and have a job like that in the future.
”Um, for mom and grandma’s souvenir, and for my friends…”
Geez, there are too many amazing goods to choose from! Even though I had some in mind, when I actually pick them up, I want them all. Ah, it’s that Aqua-sama plush keychain! And it’s the last one! I reach for it.
I was so focused on looking at the goods that I accidentally bumped into someone nearby.
”No, I’m sorry too.”
Awawawawa… I bumped into a super cute girl.
Wearing a hat low over her eyes and glasses, she’s a girl I’ve never seen before, and she’s incredibly beautiful.
Oh, oh wait…? I feel like I’ve seen her on TV before… or is it just my imagination?
”Miss, it’s great that you’re so into the goods, but please be careful of your surroundings.”
”Peg… mmm, I know. But, more importantly, here you go.”
The girl called “Miss” gave me an Aqua-sama plush keychain.
Wait, she’s a young lady!? Then, is the other a maid? Tokyo is amazing… I’m surprised to see someone like them actually exist.
”Huh? Oh, but, is this…?”
”It’s fine. I already have five of these, so go ahead.”
Five!? That’s… amazing. I’m overwhelmed that she has five of these items that are considered difficult to obtain, classified as Class A.
Could she be a famous fan, perhaps?
”We bought one for actual use, for storage, as a spare, and a spare for the spare, Miss got worried that it might go out of production someday, so I bought one more… Miss, I mean, new ones will probably come out eventually, so you really didn’t need five of them, right?”
”Still, it’s not really good! I like this lying-down version of Aqua!!”
Hehe. Watching the two of them interact, a smile naturally spreads across my face. After all, even though they’re a young lady and a maid, they get along like real sisters.
I thanked the young lady and received the goods from her. But still, being a young lady, she really must be a beautiful girl, perhaps from some noble family? She was so stunning, just like a real princess, and it truly surprised me.
Aqua-sama is amazing, after all, even a beautiful girl like that is a fan of Aqua-sama.
”Well then, I’ll have these items shipped to your address.”
”Thank you very much!!”
I’m happy that Beryl’s shop offers free delivery when you buy a lot. Normally, even with free shipping, they would charge an additional fee…
Oh, and the delivery box has Shiro-kun and Tama-chan’s design! So cute~! The shop staff packed it in a double box to keep the inside clean and also gave me plenty of paper bags. They really went above and beyond.
”It’s about lunchtime now, so where should I have lunch?”
I didn’t win the lottery for the Beryl collaboration cafe, and places like Ramen Takeko, famous for Driver, and cafe Tomarigi are definitely too crowded. Ah… I think there’s a ramen marche nearby, so maybe I’ll go there. Seeing a picture of Ramen Takeko made me crave ramen too! I head towards the park where the marche is set up.
”Wow, it smells good!”
As I stroll around, thinking that everywhere is crowded, I spot a shop standing alone in the distance.
”Is this place even legal? It’s so hidden that I wouldn’t even notice it. And they don’t even have the name of the shop displayed. I wonder if it’s really okay. But it smells so good, so let’s give it a try.”
I froze in place. The shopkeeper who greeted me with such enthusiasm wasn’t an old lady, but a stunningly beautiful woman like I had never seen before in my life.
Wait, what? Are there really girls of this caliber all over Tokyo? I’ve heard from my mom and grandma that there are a lot of girls in Tokyo who are like those Chijou characters, similar to someone named Shu-something or Hage-something… but that has to be a lie. They’re all just kind and beautiful people!
”Welcome, welcome! What would you like to eat? Our top pick is the Ramen Takeko exclusive, Heaven’s Sword Ramen with loads of Kenzaki’s mom’s secret Chashu on a soy-based broth!! Or maybe go for Kamishiro Hajime’s awe-inspiring seafood Shio La Maine, or the spicy miso ramen with Tachibana’s favorite extra chewy pork, and there’s also Kagami’s late-night ramen with plenty of pickled ginger!”
”Huh? Ramen… Takeko…?”
”Yes! This is our first Ramen Marche store!!”
Wait, is this the same Ramen Takeko I know? Why would they set up shop in a place like this? I mean, logically, they should have a big, flashy shop in the middle somewhere, right? Huh!? Could it be a fake Ramen Takeko joint, tricking me?
As I’m trying to make sense of it, the gorgeous lady smiles wryly.
”You know what? We weren’t originally planning to set up shop here, to be honest. But, you won’t believe it! One of Takeko-san old bike buddies, a ramen chef all the way from Hokkaido, got snowed in and couldn’t make it. So, we ended up filling in for them here! The reason we’re here is just because it was the last spot available, hehe, it’s true!”
This super pretty lady said that and even showed me this framed artwork with everyone from Heaven’s Sword’s autographs on it.
Wow! Wowww! I never expected to see and touch their actual autographs, even if it’s through the frame. I took pictures of the artwork, and thanks to this kind lady, we even took a picture together.
”Um, by the way, I’d like the Heaven’s Sword Ramen with the noodles at a normal firmness, please.”
”All right! Just like Takeko-san recommended! She said that when you eat Heaven’s Sword Ramen, you get a glimpse of true heaven!”
I was totally blown away by how incredibly friendly and generous this lady was. Is she a seasoned staff member? Her noodle-draining technique is like a total pro!
After waiting for a while, the beautiful lady brought me a bowl of Heavenly Sword Ramen.
”Wow, it looks delicious!”
”Be careful, it’s hot!”
First, I take a whiff of the aroma. Oh, the delightful scent of soy sauce that tickles my nose instantly arouses my appetite.
Next, I take a sip of the soup. What kind of broth is this exactly? It feels like there’s something more than just chicken broth in it.
When I asked about it, the lady told me they use dried fish as a secret ingredient. Ah, I see.
Then, I slurp the curly noodles, allowing them to intertwine with the soup. Oh… what is this? The noodles have achieved an exquisite balance of firmness and tenderness, harmonizing perfectly with the soup.
Moreover, the thick slices of pork have an impeccable balance of fat and richness. The addition of seasoned egg and seaweed as toppings makes me feel like I’m indulging in a truly luxurious experience.
Wait, hold on. Is it true that this ramen only costs 500 yen?
”Did you enjoy it?”
”I told you so, I told you so. There’s also a refill option, so please let me know.”
”Oh, then I’ll have a refill, please.”
”Sure thing! Coming right up, with a refill!”
I thought the waiter was really skilled, but it said “part-time apprentice” on the apron.
Huh? Part-time? Not a full-time waiter?
”Well, I only work here occasionally, like today. Oh, but I did work my way up to become the leader here at Takeko’s, and Takeko-sab herself recognized my skills, so you can trust the taste!”
The taste was actually good, and what the lady said was true. However, I felt like I understood why there was no one here.
They didn’t even mention the name of the place, there’s only one standing waiter, and it’s tucked away in a shady area.
Yeah, no wonder no one comes here…
But, as I was eating, the smell of ramen seemed to attract people, and little by little, customers started to gather by the time I was leaving.
”Thank you for the meal! It was truly delicious and I was moved!”
”Someday, please come to our main store too. Oh, and thank you very much!”
With my stomach full, I headed towards my next destination. Then, a group of people carrying cameras walked towards me.
Oh, are they filming for TV? That’s amazing. It makes me feel like I’ve really come to Tokyo.
”Now, let’s try interviewing some women!”
I made eye contact with the announcer lady. If I remember correctly, she was the announcer named Gorikawa-san from the national broadcasting station. Or maybe not?
”Excuse me, can I interview you?”
”Yes, yes, you, the natural beauty girl over there. It’s about you!”
Oh no, what should I do, what should I do…
I was surprised since I’ve never been interviewed before.
”You’re not from Tokyo, are you?”
”Ah, well… I’m from Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture.”
”Wow! That’s amazing!! I’ve never been to Amami Oshima.”
”In that case, please come visit. It’s a really beautiful and nice place!”
”Definitely! By the way, we’re currently conducting a happiness survey, asking people if they’re happy right now…”
”I am happy!”
I responded promptly to the announcer’s question.
”That’s great! By the way, I’m also happy~!!”
Indeed, when I looked at the announcer’s face, she seemed really happy. However, the staff member in front of me had a gloomy expression and was hitting a cue card with a pen, as if saying, “I don’t care if you’re happy or not, just hurry up.”
”So, what is the reason you think you are happy?”
”Well, um… So, on Amami Oshima, there weren’t any boys, so I didn’t know much about them, but since Aqua-sama and others started appearing on TV a lot, I’ve become really knowledgeable about boys and it makes me happy!!”
”Is that so? Aqua-kun is amazing, after all.”
”Yes! Aqua-sama is incredible!”
As I answered like that, the announcer returned a smile to me.
”Hehe, thank you for your cooperation in the interview. Well then, enjoy the rest of your journey!”
I was surprised but was able to successfully finish the interview.
Earlier, she said it was a national broadcast, so it might even be shown on the island’s TV. I messaged my mom, grandma, relatives, and friends, saying that I might appear on TV because I had been interviewed.
”Okay, was it around here, I think?”
I looked around anxiously near my destination.
Ah, there it is!
[My Perfect Honor Student Big Brother Exhibition]
It was incredibly crowded, probably because it’s about to conclude with just one more episode.
Luckily, I won the lottery for the exhibition viewing, so I presented my electronic ticket at the entrance. Inside, they didn’t just display the costumes they actually used, but they also recreated the locations they filmed at, and it was truly touching.
”Yeah, it’s definitely Rina-chan, right?”
”Because of Rina-chan, I became a fan of Eau de Cologne.”
”I understand, I’m also a Tsukimachi-san supporter!”
”Even Fran-chan from Eau de Cologne is cute.”
”But Sayuki is the only one who isn’t popular.”
”Are there even people who like Sayuki?”
”I’ve never seen anyone. After all, it’s all about Kohina Yukari.”
Hmm, so it seems Rina-chan is popular even in Tokyo. It’s true that she’s cute, kind, and cool, I can understand why. But personally, I don’t think Sayuki is bad either.
”Seriously, those people don’t have any discernment!”
”Senpai, calm down! If they catch us secretly watching, it’s gonna be a big fuss!”
”Oh really? Popular Rina-chan is in a good position, huh?”
”Oh, senpai, please don’t say such things. I… I like Sayuki too, you know.”
”Weren’t you silent a moment ago?”
”Oh, you looked away!”
Hehe, are those two over there sisters or something? Seeing those close sisters made me feel a little warm inside.
When I went to the Goods Shop, I headed straight to the section where Sayuki’s goods were displayed. Feeling a bit sorry for her, I bought a few of Sayuki’s leftover goods for myself.
Maybe I should play it safe and get some Nii-sama’ and Rina-chan’ goods too.
”Well then, it’s about time, I guess.”
After leaving the Yuu-onii exhibition hall, I went back to the locker to get my belongings. Then I got swallowed up by the crowd.
Wow, there are so many people. What’s going on, what’s happening? I almost tripped on an unfamiliar hill in Tokyo. Then, the big sisters around me helped me.
”Are you okay?”
”Be careful because this is a hill.”
All of them were incredibly kind and beautiful adult women, which surprised me. Oh, the ribbon barrette that was holding my hair came off and rolled in front of me. As I was thinking I should pick it up, I heard a voice that I recognized.
”Excuse me, could you please make way?”
At an unbelievable speed, and with well-coordinated movements, the women in front of me parted like the Red Sea. Eh? What? What? What is happening?!
And there, in front of them, was none other than Aqua-sama. He looked much cooler than on TV, and I was frozen.
The big sisters who had helped me also showed surprised expressions at the appearance of Aqua-sama.
”Awawawa, Bath-neki, Aqua-sama right in front of me…”
”Lip-reading expert Neki, it’s not time to panic yet. Awawawa.”
”It feels like Fuji Department Store guys is the one panicking the most…”
Aqua-sama picked up my ribbon barrette and slowly walked towards me. Wow… he’s just walking, but it feels like a scene from a drama.
Even though it’s just a regular street, he walked like this is his runway, as if saying that this was his path.
”Are you okay? It looked like you stumbled earlier…”
”I-I’m fine! These ladies here held onto me.”
”I see, big sisters, thank you.”
Aqua-sama’s smile made the big sisters’ knees tremble. Amazing. Even these beautiful sisters can’t resist Aqua-sama’s smile.
As I reached out to receive the ribbon barrette handed to me by Aqua-sama, my hand trembled, and I almost dropped it. Oh, goodness! What am I doing?
”Haha, if you don’t mind, turn around, and I’ll put it on for you.”
As instructed, I turned around, and Aqua-sama gently touched my hair with her hand. Ohhhhh! If only I had shampooed my hair at the salon just before this.
The feeling of happiness is mixed with an equal amount of embarrassment and regret, flooding over me.
”It’s a beautiful ribbon.”
”Ah, um… it’s a ribbon made by my grandmother using Oshima Tsumugi.”
”Oh, I see. When you say Oshima Tsumugi, do you mean Amami Oshima?”
”Y-Yes. I’m currently in Tokyo for some business…”
”I see. So, is this your first time in Tokyo?”
”Well, in that case, make sure to enjoy yourself. Here, how’s this?”
”Oh, thank you very much!”
”Yeah, it looks good on you. Well then, let’s meet again!”
It was like a dream. Not only did I get to meet Aqua-sama, but we also had a conversation and he even touched my hair… I felt like I became the heroine of a story.
Afterwards, I thanked the big sisters again and took my bag out of the locker, then got in a taxi to my destination.
My mind was filled with excitement, so I didn’t question Aqua-sama’s final words. That’s how my mind was consumed by my first time in Tokyo and the real Aqua-sama.
”You’ve come, huh?”
The blonde big sister in a casual suit stood still in front of my destination, with a relaxed tone. She had a beryl entertainment employee ID hanging from her neck.
”Welcome, everyone, to the final audition training camp for the idol program sponsored by Beryl Entertainment, AQUARIUM! And I’ve been waiting for you. Entry number 9, Inori Hisui-san!”
Many people had already gathered at the training camp. They were all so beautiful and cute, and there were even foreigners among them.
”Don’t stand in the middle of the road, blocking everyone’s way…”
”Oh, ah, sorry.”
Ah, ah, I got scolded for daydreaming too much. When I moved aside, the beautiful girl with black hair headed straight towards the training camp.
”I’ve been waiting for you, Sumeragi Kukuri, entry number 6…”
”Nevermind that. And can you please not block everyone’s way?”
”Y-yes…! Ahhh, the beautiful girl is so scary…”
I understand… But what she’s saying is only natural, after all, I’m the one at fault for standing in the middle of the road daydreaming.
”You never change, do you, Kukuri-sama?”
A scary-looking beautiful girl trying to enter the dormitory was stopped by a woman.
Number 12… um, was it Fujibayashi Misono-san?
The beautiful girl glanced at Fujibayashi-san’s face and completely ignored her, entering the dormitory without a word.
”Oh! So this is the training camp!”
I wonder who it is? A very energetic person has arrived.
Although she looks a bit fragile, she gives off a vibrant and powerful impression. Whether it’s the allure of this contrast or her confident attitude that can be sensed, she seems like someone who is always at the center of attention.
”I’ve been waiting for this moment. The center I desired, number 1, Natsuki Sana-san.”
After murmuring these words, Fujibayashi Misono-san followed Sumeragi Kukuri-san and entered the dormitory.
My center?! What does this mean…?
”Wow! Are all these people wearing badges like me, the other exam candidates?!”
Looking around in excitement, Natsuki-san approached me when our eyes met.
”Um… Does that mean you’re Inori Hisui, number 9? I’m Natsuki Sana!! Nice to meet you!!”
”Oh, um, nice to meet you too. I’m Inori Hisui, and I’ve come all the way from Amami Oshima.”
”Oh! That’s amazing, coming from such a far place! Let’s work hard together and push each other to improve!!”
Natsuki-san shook my hand and waved her hands vigorously. I was worried about everyone being hard to approach, but Natsuki-san seemed friendly…
Wait, do I have to beat this person!? Impossible, absolutely impossible. Just like with Sumeragi Kukuri-san earlier. I felt like there’s no way I can win.
”Um, and you?”
Natsuki-san’s gaze shifted slightly away from me.
When I turned around, there was a tall girl with big breasts standing behind me.
”Number 2, Tomoe Setsuna. I came here just to tell you that I’ll beat you in the main event.”
”Oh! A declaration of war!! Kuu~! It’s like a heated Driver’s development! Let’s both give it our all and do our best!!”
Awawawawawa, please don’t stare at each other with me in between!
And hey, if I look closely, everyone around here is looking at us, aren’t they!?
Natsuki-san’s mental strength to endure these gazes is out of this world, isn’t it?
Or maybe she’s just oblivious and hasn’t noticed… no, she’s returning the gazes properly, so she must be aware of it…
Eeek~, e-everyone, let’s, let’s get along even better. Okay?
”Geez, everyone is so on edge from the first day. Right, missy?”
I was surprised when someone grabbed my butt from behind, so I turned around.
”Missy… you’ve got a nice ass. It might be the best I’ve ever grabbed.”
I accidentally had my butt grabbed by a girl who seemed about the same age as me and spoke in a friendly Kansai dialect.
Hmm… Wait, you just grabbed it again without even feeling sorry, didn’t you!?
”Number 9, Inori Hisui-chan… small and firm, ah, the best!”
I quickly protect my butt with both hands, trying to escape.
”Ahaha, sorry sorry. It seemed like Hisui-chan was nervous, so maybe I should help loosen it up.”
I gaze back at her with a sharp look.
Then the girl joins her hands together in a praying gesture to apologize.
”I’m really sorry! Please forgive me, have mercy!”
”…Enough. Even girls shouldn’t grab each other’s butts without permission.”
”Well… your butt just looked so good, I couldn’t resist… My name is Nanase Nino, nice to meet you!”
Nanase-san, s*xual harassment is not okay, but it’s good to have someone easy to talk to.
”Wow, looks like everyone’s already here.”
Oh, there’s a lively group over there… Is that Toa-chan!? Ah… no, could it be his rumored look-alike sister?
”Hey, Miyako-chan, what’s wrong?”
”Miyako, feeling unwell?”
”I-I’m okay, just a little nervous…”
They seem so innocent and heartwarming!
And, it’s the first time someone younger has come!!
I’ve always been surrounded by big sisters, so I feel a bit less nervous now.
”Oh, Haa-chan, we’ve arrived~nano!”
An even smaller child has arrived…
And there’s a tall figure following behind them.
”Both of you, stay close to me.”
”Yes, we will.”
I felt the atmosphere around us change.
As expected of the two royals, Aqua-sama Escorting and coming to the venue…
My gaze meets Aqua-sama as he walks past us.
”Oh, we meet again.”
Oh… that time, come to think of it, he said we would meet again….
”When it came to grouping, it was me who recommended you instead of Lapis, so I hope you do your best.”
”Re… recommended!? W-what for!?”
”Oh, well, it’s something to look forward to once you’re accepted, so good luck!”
Recommended… Aqua-sama recommended me… And not only that, he recommended me over that beautiful girl’s little sister over there… I don’t know what he recommended me for, but Aqua-sama has expectations for me.
I can do it. I don’t know what it is, but maybe I have something here that I won’t lose to the people around me.
Mom… Grandma… everyone…
I’ll do it! That’s right. There were lots of kids who also got accepted from Kagoshima and Amami. I feel determined to do my best for them too.
”Hey everyone participating in the main event, head to the venue!! The briefing for the main event will start soon, so, um, yeah, thanks a bunch!”
Oh, right. Since I’m participating too, I shouldn’t just hang around outside forever, huh?
”Well then, let’s do our best together!”
”Y-yeah! Let’s both give it our all.”
After shaking hands with Nanase-san, the two of us head into the lodging. At first, I doubted if I really belonged here, but with a word from Aqua-sama, those doubts vanished. I will definitely survive here and show it. I’ve made up my mind.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.