Volume 7 Chapter 12 Shirogane Aqua, Descends to Star
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
When I woke up, it was the sky…
I’m not sure what I’m saying, but I myself don’t know what I’m saying.
The only thing I know is that this is in an airplane and I’m up in the sky.
”Oh… have you woken up?”
I heard a voice from behind, and I turned around in a hurry.
Cool atmosphere and a calm demeanor for a classmate. The voice’s owner was my classmate, Chihiro Claire-san. She was sitting in a chair. She rubbed her eyes and let out a small yawn as if she had been dozing off.
Huh? Wait a second, why is Claire-san here of all people… What does this mean!?
My head gets even more confused, and Claire speaks to me gently.
”Is it okay if I explain? Please calm down and listen.”
I gulp at the incredibly unsettling statement.
”First of all, we’re inside a private jet arranged by President Fuji. By the way, Shirogane-san, while you were sleeping, Moja-san and Nobu-san carried you here on this plane. We, the girls, haven’t touched you, so please rest assured.”
In my head, I picture Moja-san and Nobu-san carrying me like some sort of hero. …I wanted it to be girls carrying me… But considering my height, it would be impossible for girls to carry me. I’ll just pretend that I’m feeling a little disappointed, even though it’s not true.
”And right now, we are flying towards Stars. The exit permit was arranged through Shirogane-kun’s s*men extractor, Miyuki Heliodor Yui-sama, through the government. By the way, John-san and Trash Punks arranged the entry permit. They are working on producing a new song and Corolle event on site.”
Hearing Miyuki’s name makes my chest tighten. Even though I’ve done something wrong to her, she arranged all of this for me. Is it okay for me to take advantage of this situation? I’m plagued by guilt. Also, I’m so grateful to John and all the members of Trash Punks. I’ve caused so much trouble to so many people… I need to do something to repay them somehow.
”Also, there’s a message from Miyuki-sama. She said that she wishes for you to bring the princess back without fail. She doesn’t want this to end this way. She’s waiting for Shirogane-sama to return safely… that’s what she said.”
Miyuki’s coolness strikes me. I like Kanon, so I regret not being able to respond to Miyuki’s feelings. Was my reaction appropriate…? I want Miyuki to smile. That’s what I want, but it feels like I’m constantly giving her a sad expression.
As Claire-san and I were talking, a familiar person entered the room.
Once again, I meet an unexpected person.
Kagari Rinon-san lives directly across the street from my house.
I often pass by Rinon-san when I’m going or returning from jogging. At first, it was just greetings, but that led to more casual conversations. So we’re not complete strangers.
”Um… why are Rinon-san and Claire-san here?”
When I ask, Claire-san opens her mouth slowly.
”Rinon-san is President Fuji’s secretary, and she’s accompanying us on this trip. And as for me… well, my parents have a longstanding connection with President Fuji, and I have other matters in Stars unrelated to you, so, Shirogane-san, we arranged this private jet for me.”
”I’m sorry. Both of you, for my sake…”
I see, that’s the reason. I bow my head to both of them.
”Don’t worry about it. I originally had business in Stars, and that’s how the private jet was available to help you, Shirogane-san.”
”I have a work… so you don’t need to worry…”
Rinon-san looks a bit embarrassed, and Claire-san gives me a kind smile as she says that.
”By the way, Rinon-san, did something happen? Did you come here to report something?”
”Oh… the plane with the container… the signal’s gone. What should we do?”
Upon hearing Rinon-san’s words, Claire’s kind smile from earlier disappears as she presses her temple with an indescribable expression. Did she get a sudden intense headache or something?
”Oh well, I guess things will work out somehow. Yeah, I have a feeling like that. Let’s just go with that.”
I felt like something huge was happening, but maybe it’s just my imagination? While thinking about that, the in-flight announcement informs us that we’ll be arriving at our destination shortly.
”Shirogane-san, if you’d like, there’s a shower room available, and we’ve also prepared a change of clothes for you. How about refreshing yourself? Beryl’s members and I will be waiting in the adjacent large room, so please come after you’re ready.”
”Oh… alright. Thank you so much for everything.”
I take advantage of her offer and use the shower, then change into the new clothes they’ve provided. I felt like I’ve seen these clothes somewhere before, and then I realize they’re the clothes I have at home.
Feeling a sense of unease, I slip my hand into my pocket. Inside, I find a small piece of paper. As I was about to read the note, the plane entered its landing position, so I quickly sit in a nearby seat and fasten my seatbelt. Phew… I redirect my gaze back to the note in my hand.
[I’ll hear your story later, so please come back safely.]
This is written in my mother’s handwriting. It’s easily recognizable because my mother handwriting is neat.
[Nii-sama, please be safe… when you’re back, please tell me various things.]
The small and cute handwriting belongs to Lapis.
At a glance, it seems like she’s writing something ordinary, but there’s a slightly unsettling atmosphere in the latter half. Maybe it’s just my imagination?
[Aa-chan. I’ll stay at the company, but please come back safely.]
The last message is from Shitori-onee-chan.
My heart warms up at the words from my family.
I unbuckle my seatbelt, stand up from my seat, and gather my resolve in front of the mirror. Then, I head to the large room where everyone is waiting.
In the large room, besides Claire-san and Rinon-san, there are Tenga-senpai, Toa, Shintaro, Ako-san, and Kirika-san. It seems that Moja-san and Nobu-san, who transported me, are part of the waiting party as well.
”You look a bit better, junior.”
”Tenga-senpai… thank you!”
I raise my hand and give Tenga-senpai a firm handshake. Tenga-senpai’s words from that time helped me stand up again. His words were truly touching and strongly shook my heart.
”Aqua, it looks like you’ve returned to your usual self.”
I shake hands with Shintaro in the same manner. Shintaro’s words from that time pushed me forward. It always feels like Shintaro is pushing me from behind.
”Aqua, it’s better this way, isn’t it?”
”Yeah, thanks, Toa.”
I shake hands with Toa in the same way. I felt like Toa lightly tapped my cheek with his words. Thanks to that, I can say I woke up.
”Ako-san, Kirika-san, thank you too.”
”Yeah! It looks like your condition is much better now.”
Ako-san smiles and looks at everyone’s faces.
”To be honest, I thought going to Stars was still far off, but I’ll take this as a good opportunity. So everyone, let’s make a grand entrance!”
Ako-san’s words give me a sense of determination.
When I first met Ako-san, she was tired from work, and I couldn’t imagine she’d be someone so reliable. But now, is the Ako-san in front of me the same? She has her jacket draped over her shoulder, her hand on her hip, standing tall in high heels, with a confident expression. The shadow from back then is nowhere to be found.
Among the people I’ve met, Ako-san seems to have changed the most. Looking at Ako-san’s current self, I once again thought that it was a good thing I approached her back then.
”Now, shall we introduce our pride and joy to the members of Stars?”
The private jet’s boarding gate slowly opens. Everyone clears a path for me.
”Thank you, everyone. Well then, here we go!”
I take the lead and step off the private jet. As soon as I step outside, a multitude of flashes obstruct my vision. It seems that many members of the media have gathered outside. After the flashes momentarily subside, I raise my hand to respond, and once again, a plethora of flashes goes off. I descend slowly through the midst of it.
At the bottom of the stairs, a red carpet is laid out, and beyond the partitions on its left and right are numerous members of the media. I wave to both sides evenly and walk straight ahead. It’s an impressive array of media, but is this due to my collaboration with John and Trash Punks? They are super famous not only in Stars, but globally. Naturally, I feel the pressure not to tarnish their reputation. Following behind me in the lead are Toa, Shintaro, and Tenga-senpai, with Ako-san, Kirika-san, Rinon-san, Claire-san, and the security personnel forming a whirl around us.
”Shirogane Aqua… is real.”
”I actually thought it might be the latest AR technology or some kind of CGI. You know that country is good at that sort of thing.”
”Oh… now, when Mr. Shirogane passed by me, I caught a faintly nice fragrance.”
”That’s Mr. Aubergine (Eggplant in British english)… I wonder if those rumors are true?”
”Sh*t! I can’t hear his breath. Shut up!”
”What!? Mr. Toa? Ms. Toa?”
”Good, Mr. Shintaro, he’s the type that shines when he’s polished.”
”Mr. TENGA… why does he give off such a mature atmosphere? Maybe it’s just my imagination?”
The media glance at us and engage in hushed conversations. Unfortunately, due to the distance, I can’t make out what they’re saying, but it feels like they’re assessing us. Since that runway incident, I’ve secretly studied Stars’ language, so I can manage basic daily conversations. Now is the time to show off the fruits of that effort, right? I recall Ako-san’s words from earlier.
”Let’s make a grand entrance.”
In order to do that, I ponder what I should do and then turn my gaze to the side. Among the reporters, I lock eyes with a woman holding a microphone with “SBC” written on it. I pause and slowly, with a friendly demeanor, make my way toward her.
As I address her, the woman panics and almost drops the microphone, but I catch it for her. When I hand back the microphone, I casually touch her shoulder and convey with my expression that she doesn’t need to be so nervous. I worried that it might be inappropriate to touch a woman’s body so easily, but it was a similar feeling when foreign artists visited Japan in my previous life, so it’s probably fine.
”Um… Mr. Shirogane, about your sudden visit to Stars, may I ask the purpose?”
”Regarding that, I believe there will be an announcement from Beryl Entertainment soon. I’m sorry, but I can’t say much more than that for now… I apologize, even though you asked a question.”
I offer the woman an apologetic expression. Glancing behind, I see that Tenga-senpai, Toa, and Shintaro have also stopped and are answering nearby interviewers’ questions fluently in Stars’ language. Wait, everyone is better at this language than me? Wait, how did I end up being the worst even though I started the interviews so confidently? I use all my other skills to cover up my lack of fluency, trying to mask my uncoolness. Kohina-san would probably scold me to cover up with trickery if she found out.
”Um… do you have any plans to visit anywhere in Stars?”
”Since we’re here, I’d like to have afternoon tea with everyone. Do you know of any good recommended places?”
When I ask this, the woman lists the names of several places. And then, as I wait for her to finish, I deliberately look at the camera.
”Also, well… since we’re in Stars, I think it would be nice to catch a glimpse of the castle where the Queen resides.”
I don’t know if Kanon is watching this broadcast. But if she is, she can wait with peace of mind. Even if the current situation is tough, I will definitely come to get her. I wanted to convey that to Kanon. And this is also my declaration of war against the people who took Kanon away from me.
”Um, well, finally, could you give a message to all the fans of Stars?”
”I don’t know if there are fans, but… I do want to sing in front of everyone someday. So, everyone, let’s meet at Wembley someday!”
If the previous statement was my personal declaration of war as Shirogane Aqua, this is my declaration of war as the idol Shirogane Aqua. Wembley Stadium. A sacred place every artist wants to sing at least once. I think it would be amazing to perform in such a large venue.
”Ah, thank you very much. I also hope that such a day will come!”
”I’m the one who should be thanking you today. See you!”
I say this and wave my hand as I move away from her… but is this really okay? For example, the memory from my past life. The performance of the great American singer when he visited Japan was powerful. I think I should give a performance of that caliber too. After all, Ako-san did say to go all out. Remembering that, I perform the same action as him, blowing a kiss to the camera.
The reporters react with excitement to my blown kiss. Maybe I went overboard…? He’s a world-renowned artist, so he was forgiven, but I feel like it might be a bit too early for me to do that… After feeling embarrassed for doing it, I try to pretend it didn’t happen and walk a bit briskly toward the car waiting at the end of the red carpet.
”So… this is Mr. Shirogane, the Prince of the Land of the Rising Sun!”
”They often used the term ‘The Arrival of Black Ships’ but I think I kind of understand its meaning now.”
”There’s a reason he’s called the man who makes all other men history.”
”Hey! We need to put together a special feature immediately!”
”Hurry! We’ll take a full 10 minutes in the evening slot and cover this extensively!”
”Does anyone have an acquaintance who can ask their Japanese agent about them?”
”Contact Beryl headquarters and the media in their country. Hurry and negotiate for any usable footage!”
”Even if we can’t do interviews with the boys, can someone secure an appoinment with Miss Atori!?”
”This is going to be a big deal!”
The media is getting frantic… but I don’t have the luxury to worry about that right now. Because from behind, Toa’s gaze is drilling into my back, giving me the sense that he’s thinking, “What did this guy mess up again?”
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.