Volume 6 Chapter 21 Kirika Kotono, Beryl’s Declaration of Wa
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Revision: Touka => Kirika (92neesan)
On the night of Sunday, September 18th, at 7:00 PM, the city was quieter than usual. Even those who were working on their day off and those who had gone out for leisure were now back at their homes, waiting in front of their televisions. The reason being that today was the broadcast day of “M Stage.” The four members of Shirogane Aqua, Nekoyama Toa, Mayuzumi Shintaro, and Tenga Akira, who were currently the most talked-about in the country, all belonged to Beryl Entertainment. Their official SNS and Music Stage’s SNS had announced their consecutive appearances on the music stage for the next two weeks.
Therefore, for the majority of women in this country, there was no option but to be home before the program started. And after the conclusion of Episode 3 of Masked Driver, Beryl Entertainment had made an unusual announcement along with the restoration of their SNS.
From Shirogane Aqua and Beryl Entertainment to everyone.
A 5-minute commercial will be broadcast on all television stations, including the national broadcast, starting from 7:00.
”What on earth are they planning?”
”Are they causing trouble again?”
”I don’t know what they’re up to, so I’m excited.”
”We’ve got no choice but to watch, right?”
In a dimly lit room, a woman who had resolved herself but hadn’t been able to meet him for over a month, a gloomy-faced high school girl who had visited the hospital for an examination, a girl in a sister’s outfit, pale-faced inside a restroom in a corner of a Marunouchi building, a former housewife who had been healing her heart by spending peaceful days in the serene countryside, a young girl undergoing rehabilitation to fulfill an important promise, a female idol rehearsing in the dressing room, preparing for the upcoming live performance in a few hours, a certain noble girl who had enjoyed shopping as a hobby in Ikebukuro and was getting ready for next week’s event, a female announcer in her underwear who planned to sleep until the evening on her day off, a female college student working busily at a ramen shop on her day off, and me, even though I was an insider, I had not been informed of what was happening…
Women from diverse backgrounds, with different positions and ages, all cast their gaze upon the information spread through Beryl Entertainment’s official SNS.
”Pegonia, hurry back!”
The decision of the noble girl was faster than anyone else’s.
”Really… What more trouble are they causing?”
A girl smiled calmly as she looked at the screen. From her expression, it was clear that she held no more resentment towards men.
”I want to see you, I want to see you. I want to convey these feelings to you as soon as possible… but you keep moving forward faster and faster.”
In a dark room, a woman, who had almost given up, shed tears as they fell on the screen of her open cellphone.
”Priest!! It’s urgent. Please come out of the restroom quickly!”
”Awawawawawawa. Please, I’m begging you, please! Please behave, Aqua-sama!! I’ll do anything, so please! Don’t create any more strange fanatics!!”
Several fanatics knocked on the restroom door with “knock-knock.” The priest, cornered with no escape, prayed whether the god they represented was an angel or a demon.
”Yuu-chan, I’m looking forward to it!”
The girls who were just with them a while ago exchanged carefree smiles.
”Shirogane Aqua-kun… The boy who changed Akira-kun…”
The boy who changed the boy who saved her, for her, men are still a frightening presence, but she had developed a slight curiosity towards that existence.
”Aqua-kun is amazing. Ah, even though we finally got in the same class, he’s growing farther away.”
The girl already know it’s impossible. But she didn’t possess the weak resolve to give up on such a thing.
”Oh no! It’s not time to sleep! The Bulletin board!”
Throwing the blanket off her body, a girl jumped out of bed and, dressed in just a camisole and underwear, quickly started up her computer.
”Darn it! Finish your shift! Customers, go home already!”
With tearful eyes, the female college student, while taking out the trash behind the store, vented her frustration.
”President, what does this mean?”
Meanwhile, I was ignored by the president with a smile.
”Kirika-san, you can go home now. Take your time and watch at home.”
I couldn’t press further. As time advanced, it was 6:57 PM. I was sitting in front of my home television. Many others were likely doing the same, tuning into their TVs. Those who couldn’t make it home might be rushing to places with TVs. Some might have rushed into electronics stores or shops with televisions set up.
[After this, with the cooperation of Beryl Entertainment, all broadcasting stations, as well as the Fuji Group and Morinaga Group companies, the same commercial will be broadcast on all channels from 7:00. If possible, stay as you are! Please wait a little longer just like that!!]
The announcer spoke, addressing the viewers in front of the screen. In that moment, at that time, many women living in this country turned their gaze to the same thing. I was one of them too.
September 18th, Sunday, 7:00 PM.
Familiar intro music played, and white text appeared against a black background.
[This world is beautiful]
This song had been pre-released during the idol festival by Aqua-san. It was a song composed by Toa-chan before I joined Beryl Entertainment, and originally, it was supposed to be Aqua-san’s debut single. However, the song from Masked Driver would be released on CD before this song, even though it’s a cover song. Still, it became Aqua-san’s debut song of sorts, one that carried the feelings of a maiden. It was a good song, but for me, it held only a superficial recognition.
[Ah, the world is so beautiful]
The scene showed Tenga-san on a bike and a high school girl on the back seat. In the next scene, Toa-chan and a big sister who played games together showed a relaxed atmosphere. Afterward, Mayuzumi-san was shown having a meal with a woman who appeared to be her mother. Finally, Aqua-san tried to cross a pedestrian crossing. There stood a woman dressed as an office worker. Was it a date meeting? A scene any woman would envy, no matter the moment. It was a beautiful scene that made me wish to spend time like that with men too. Yet, even with such beauty and brilliance, I sensed a slight distortion from it.
[Yes, it’s so beautiful]
Tenga-san and the others got off the bike and enjoyed a date around the city. Toa-chan let out a sleepy yawn, met with the gentle touch of a big sister’s hand on her shoulder, accompanied by a sweet smile. However, the tranquility of the moment was disrupted when Mayuzumi-san’s smile faded away as soon as he took a bite of his meal. The smile that had graced Mayuzumi-san’s face turned out to be deceptive, a façade covering up his true feelings.
And, Aqua-san stepped into a nearby café, his attention fixated on a woman whose smile radiated warmth and joy. However, an unsettling sensation stirred within me, hinting at an underlying unease about the situation.
[But you’re suffering in this beautiful world, aren’t you?]
Tenga-san’s behavior changed suddenly during the date. Was there something that didn’t sit well with him? He grabbed the woman’s wrist firmly, pushing her against the wall with force. When the frightened woman turned her face away from Tenga-san, he raised his fist toward her.
The hand resting on Toa-chan’s shoulder moved downwards slowly. Sensing the vile intent, Toa-chan resisted fiercely. But his resistance was in vain. The woman pushed Toa-chan down and straddled him forcefully. She began to strip Toa-chan’s clothes with a blissful expression. Run, Toa-chan!!
Mayuzumi-san, who was smiling just a moment ago, flipped the table in a sudden change of demeanor. Rising from his chair, he threatened his mother with an intense tone. The bowed mother clutched her chest, showing a pained expression. The verbal violence continued, and although I couldn’t hear the words, the acting was not the exaggerated performance I had seen that morning; it felt genuinely menacing.
And then, Aqua-san looked inside the envelope he received from the woman. He took out the bundle of bills that was inside and began counting them. I didn’t want to see this side of Aqua-san. I felt like turning off the TV. But I couldn’t look away. After counting the bills, Aqua-san stuffed them haphazardly into his pocket and patted the woman’s shoulder before leaving the café terrace. The woman left behind stood on the café terrace, her shoulders trembling with a lonely appearance.
[I realized that]
The scene showed the battered high school girl who had been beaten by Tenga-san. The sight was painful to watch; it was hard to bear. Toa-chan was seen gazing at the ceiling, crying in his disheveled outfit. Next to him, the big sister was buttoning his shirt with a satisfied expression. It implied that everything had concluded.
Mayuzumi’s mother sat in a dark room, her pen moving across a sheet of paper. The words on it were all apologies. She then made a phone call, but I understood. That call would never connect…. In the next moment, Aqua-san receiving money from a different woman was shown. There was more than one victim.
[That’s why I have to stop it.]
On unsteady footing, a high school girl, perhaps going to school, covers her bruises with foundation, changes into her school uniform, and heads for the station. “I’m off!” She smiled as she closed the door, a smile that seemed on the verge of breaking. Toa-chan leaned against the railing of a bridge illuminated by neon lights. Mayuzumi’s mother stared at a hanging rope from the ceiling with vacant eyes. And the woman who had been on a date with Aqua-san lay in a hotel room somewhere. She held a bottle containing some sort of pills in her hand.
Returning to the high school girl’s scene, she sent a message of gratitude to her friends and parents on social media. Placing her smartphone on a bench at the train station platform, she walked toward the tracks. A sense of dread raced through my mind.
[This world is beautiful]
For a brief moment, a text appeared, and in the next, the back of a high school girl jumping from the train platform was shown. I instinctively covered my mouth with both hands.
[Ah, it’s so beautiful]
Toa-chan leaned against the railing, as if trying to jump over.
[It’s truly beautiful]
Mayuzumi’s mother hung a rope around her neck and kicked a chair away. A farewell letter was placed on the table.
[But is it, really?]
A message seemed to be addressed to everyone watching this commercial. Inside a hotel room, a woman’s vision became hazy. Paramedics and a few office workers arrived. Her colleagues, who had realized she was caught in a marriage scam, had come to stop her.
[Aren’t you avoiding looking at things you don’t want to see?]
Toa-chan, perhaps having second thoughts about suicide, knelt down and sobbed. Even though I knew it was a staged video, my heart ached. Since becoming Toa-chan and Tama-chan’s manager, I had come to cherish them like younger siblings. This feeling was more akin to family love than romance, so watching the video of Toa-chan, who was s*xually assaulted by a woman who seemed like family, left me in pain.
[Are you giving up the fight against this reality?]
Mayuzumi-san was the one who saved her mother from the suffering of hanging by a rope around her neck. For a brief moment, I thought she was rescued, but then Mayuzumi-san fiercely confronted her mother again. She was probably reprimanding her for attempting to take her own life. I had heard that there were still men who were financially dependent on her mother. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they didn’t reciprocate kindness towards their mother. This had become a social issue. However, in the video, the mother strongly retorted against Mayuzumi-san, perhaps because she could no longer bear it. Mayuzumi-san was greatly shaken by those words. This video was shocking.
There is no mother who would vehemently retort against her son in this manner, at least not in this country.
[Take a good look at the faces of those around you; you might be able to save someone.]
A train is passing by. The high school girl lay on the ground just before it. The unknown adults were the ones who came to the rescue, people she didn’t know. They spoke gently to the high school girl, assuring her she was okay. The sobbing girl was embraced tenderly by everyone around her.
These are a just a beautiful melody line and a song by Aqua-san. However, the imagery that the music created was shocking. After the commercial ended, a brief text appeared.
Song: Shirogane Aqua
Lyrics: Mayuzumi Shintaro
Composition: Nekoyama Toa
Arrangement: Tenga Akira
Producers: Kobayashi Daigo, Atori Ako
Director/Camera: Hongou Hiroko
Assistant Director: Nobu
Script: Yakumo Itsuki
Original Concept: Shirogane Aqua
Costumes/Art Direction: John Slimane, Corolle (Special Sponsorship)
Cooperation: Various companies under the Fuji group, various companies under the Morinaga Group
Shirogane Aqua, Nekoyama Toa, Mayuzumi Shintaro, Tenga Akira
Yukishiro Mikuni, Kohina Yukari, Kobayakawa Yuki, Kuga Reira
It was just a brief moment, so I should check the recording later. As I was thinking that, the footage transitioned. Against a pure white background, Tenga-san stood alone and slowly began to speak.
[Even now, in this moment somewhere in our country, there are women suffering.]
In the next instant, the footage shifted from Tenga-san to Toa-chan.
[Meanwhile, there are boys who are frightened by the outside world and cannot take a step forward.]
Toa-chan passed the baton to Mayuzumi-san.
[Is it really okay to have a world like that?]
The scene changed from Mayuzumi-san to Aqua-san.
[There’s no excuse, right?]
Aqua-san addressed us, the viewers, and himself with a questioning tone.
[To create a society where everyone can think that it’s beautiful, we will stand up.]
Toa-chan said this and stood beside Aqua-san.
[This country will change.]
Tenka-san turned to the opposite side.
[We will change it.]
Mayuzumi-san went to Toa-chan’s side.
[That’s why we want everyone’s help.]
Aqua-san extended his hand toward us, the viewers.
[To create a world where everyone can spend their days with a smile.]
The words of all of them overlapped. The screen transitioned again, showing handwritten text.
[We, Beryl Entertainment, through various activities, aim to contribute to making this country better by creating a kind world where everyone can share smiles. Shirogane Aqua, Nekoyama Toa, Mayuzumi Shintaro, Tenga Akira, President Atori Ako.]
A declaration of determination? It wasn’t just some kind sentiment.
This was a declaration of war against the current state of society.
With Beryl, with Aqua-sama, things might really change. I thought so.
I stood up from my chair and applauded towards the screen.
I can’t stay like this.
Since I’ve become one of the employees of Beryl Entertainment, I want to help in any way I can. Above all, as an individual, Kirika Kotono, I want to change this situation. For that purpose, I’ll do what I can. I took out a partially completed project proposal from my bag and started filling in the details until Aqua-san and the others’ turn comes.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.