Volume 8 Chapter 43 Nekoyama Toa, Run Towards the Future
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
I think I was the first to notice something strange.
I don’t really know why, but something made me look towards Aqua. He seemed tense and scared, his eyes not focused on anything in particular. I could tell right away that something was wrong with him.
But the countdown call kept going, even though everything felt like it was happening in slow motion.
Morikawa-san’s announcement marked the beginning of the show.
The fans cheered loudly as the countdown ended and the stage event began. There wasn’t much time to think, but it was clear that Aqua couldn’t go on stage in her current state. I think everyone around me felt the same way.
Aqua had been looking forward to this stage more than anyone else today. He wanted all the fans who had come to the venue and those watching on TV and streaming sites to have a good time. Aqua always gave his all on every stage. That’s why everyone loves him, and his unwavering dedication makes people want to support him. Even for today’s stage, Aqua had thought about his fans, worked hard, and was eager to perform.
But despite all that… if the fans saw Aqua in his current state, they would surely notice that something was different from his usual self. If that happened, everyone would be worried about Aqua, and enjoying the stage would be the last thing on their minds. Aqua wouldn’t want that.
As the countdown call ended, the stage’s opening music played. According to the plan, after that music, the four of us were supposed to appear on stage together and sing.
I shouted, surprised by my own voice. Maybe I reacted quickly because I understood the situation better than anyone. I looked towards Moja-san, who was sitting nearby.
”I’ll take care of this!”
I didn’t say much, but Moja-san smiled and nodded. Ako-san, Kirika-nee-chan, and Director Hongou, also the staff all started moving too. It was amazing.
Maybe it was a bit strange to think this way, but at that moment, I felt that it was the right thing to do. Aqua, I know you’re not in a good place right now, but look at everyone. We’re all doing this for you. We don’t want to ruin the stage you’ve been looking forward to. No way!
I started running and jumped onto the elevator platform below the stage.
”After the overture, please!”
”Leave it to me!”
One of the staff members operating the elevator gave me a thumbs-up and a smile, and I did the same. Haha, who would’ve thought I’d be here, laughing with a woman like this again?
”I’ll take a deep breath.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I didn’t need to say anything to Shintaro and Tenga-senpai. I knew they understood.
”Aqua, you brought me this far. So now, it’s my turn…”
As the overture ended, the music smoothly transitioned to the intro of the song I was about to sing. Moja-san really knew what he was doing. Thank you. The elevator I was on slowly rose towards the stage. The cheers from the fans grew louder. I tapped my foot lightly to the rhythm.
”I’ve come to see youuuuu!!”
”Toa! Toa! Toa!”
”Raw Toa is amazingggg!”
”Don’t say ‘raw’!”
”He’s even cuter than me, a woman…”
”His existence alone is adorable than me as a woman.”
As the intro concluded, I appeared on stage and looked up.
”Make the stars twinkle, illuminate the world!”
I had decided to start with this song. Aqua, do you remember?
The first time I sang this song, I couldn’t keep up with your singing. I felt frustrated that I couldn’t sing with Aqua, and I felt pathetic about myself…
So, so, you know what? I worked really hard.
”As I exhale white breath, the water’s surface ripples somewhere.”
As I raised my hand, the figure of Oumi Tama appeared on it. The audience erupted with excitement at the sight.
”The door of the door you knocked on, but I’m not there.”
Originally, this duet song was meant to be sung by both of us, Nekoyama Toa and Oumi Tama.
Singing both parts alone might strain my voice, but I wanted to challenge it. After all, you were the one who showed me what I could see when I moved forward.
”When beasts wounded by you rise up again!”
Before entering the chorus, I spread both my hands, delivering another me to everyone.
”Tiny Tama-chan is everywhere!?”
”Tama-chan is in front of us!?”
”Ah, ah, ah…”
”Fairy version of Tama-chan is cute!”
”Can I take this home for real?”
”Some people are already trying to stuff it in their bags!”
”Can I give it a kiss?”
”Some folks can’t tell the difference between reality and virtual reality, get it together!”
”You guys, it’s only the first song!!”
In the guise of a little fairy, another me performed a dance right in front of everyone.
This system, which used the latest AR technology, was developed by Sabato Koyomi from Beryl Entertainment, who had also developed high-performance servers.
I never thought I’d get to sing on the same stage as Tama-chan.
”I can’t go on like this! I’m tired of it! So even if it’s tough, stand up! Carve the proof that you’re alive!! Until I convey these feelings to you, I won’t give up!!!!”
After singing a high-tempo song that left me gasping for breath until the end, I caught my breath.
”Toa-chan, you were amazing!”
”Singing this song all the way alone is insane…”
”Truly, it’s a climax right from the start, thanks to Beryl!”
”Everyone, calm down. The show has just begun.”
”Huh? The Tama-chan I stuffed in my bag is gone…”
”She disappeared into the dream world in an instant.”
”Toa-chan’s outfit is adorable.”
”That pumpkin-shaped shorts and sweet frilly blouse are too cute…”
”High socks and bare legs, that alone could make someone breathless.”
”Hmm, the outfit is kinda… alluring.”
It’s only the first song, and I can’t let the audience see that I’m tired. Smile! Don’t show a struggling face, me!
”Everyone~! Thanks for coming today~!!”
With all my might and in my usual tone, I waved to everyone with a smile.
”Trick or treat! Sisters and brothers who give me candy, shake your penlights as much as you can! Mean sisters and brothers who don’t give candy will face some mischief… is that okay?”
I tilted my head, showing a face that wanted something, to the fans.
”I want to be tricked so baaaad!”
”But I also want to give treats!”
”If you wave your penlight, candy actually comes out!?”
”This is insane…”
”Hey hey hey, Beryl is too awesome, starting with a climax!”
”I waved my hands so much during the first song that I injured them!”
”You guys, it’s still the first song, save some energy!”
This system was set up with cameras and sensors mounted on nearby skyscrapers that would react to the penlight’s light, projecting virtual candy falling towards me from the audience seats.
It’s actually a tracking system for missile guidance, but the way it can be used for such peaceful purposes is amazing.
”Thanks for all the candy, everyone~! How about I sing one more song as a thank-you?”
As I said that, everyone responded with loud cheers and applause.
As the guitar intro played, I turned towards the microphone and began to sing.
”These days when I’ve just been standing still, it was you who gave me the courage to take a step forward. I wanted to go to the same place you were heading.”
”Yoake no Taiyo (The Sun at Dawn),” a song I requested Tenga-senpai to compose, and I wrote the lyrics myself.
”I was blinded by your radiance, brighter than the sun. Hey, take a look around me. I’m surrounded by so many people now.”
I never imagined it myself. Hey, Aqua, look at these fans. They all like you, and they came here because they want to see you, you know?
”Thanks to you, I learned how much fun it is outside, how happy I was spending time with you yesterday and today. I thought I could keep dreaming tomorrow and the day after. But in the midst of ordinary days, dark memories cast a shadow on my heart.”
Sometimes, I feel like I’m about to remember something about Mako-chan. At times like that, it was Aqua who was always there for me.
”My everyday life, which had nothing left, was just filled with irretrievable time slipping away. There was no future. I didn’t know anything about what lay ahead. But on days like that, you were there by my side.”
So now, it’s my turn. Just as you saved me, now I’ll save you!
”Yoake no Taiyo. Because there’s no night that won’t dawn. You always illuminated the path I should take, no matter how painful the past may have been.”
Aqua always guided us, no matter what. It’s you, with your radiant sunshine and warm embrace, who saved our hearts.
”Even if something has happened to you, even if you’re carrying something, I’ll accept it all.”
I had a vague sense that he was hiding something. After all, he was clearly different from us boys living in this world. Still, I didn’t ask for the reasons. And I won’t ask for them in the future either.
Because, for us living in the present, for us moving towards the future, there’s no time to be caught up in the past!
”Do you remember that night’s confession, your answer? Break through this thick wall, take my hand!”
I reached out straight ahead. At that moment, the words you said to me, now I’ll take your hand and lead you!
”Because your words are always within me! Don’t give up here. It’s okay not to be strong, it’s okay to be pathetic, even if moving forward becomes painful, I’ll always be by your side.”
It’s okay to be weak, it’s okay to be pathetic. So stand up one more time, Aqua! Because you taught me that there’s no night that won’t dawn.
”To wherever, forever…”
When I finished singing to the end, I felt like tears were about to well up. But I couldn’t cry here. Because you taught me that idols are meant to make everyone smile.
”Everyone, how did you like the song that Tenga-senpai composed for me?”
So, Aqua, I’ll smile. I’ll deliver the smiles from those days when I couldn’t smile to everyone, and especially to you, who can’t smile right now.
”It was amazingggg!”
”I don’t know why, but tears came out.”
”This has to be about Aqua-kun.”
”The lyrics are making it clear.”
”These two are just so…”
”Phew, Aqua-kun is putting up a strong defense against the hardcore fans!!”
”Bad news, Toa-kun’s number one rival is Aqua-kun.”
”Actually, the main wife is Toa-kun, Aqua-kun is just an extra.”
”Hagetoru is also starting to move!!”
”Shumi, even if you get married to him, he’ll still be under siege.”
”Maybe Aqua-kun should marry all the willing ones, that would settle everything.”
I turned my gaze towards the audience, and in the family section, my mom and Subaru were hugging each other, tears streaming down their faces.
I’ve caused them so much trouble. I used to lock myself in my room at first, but I was able to find peace inside the house because the two of them were there.
Certainly, Aqua may have been the one to take me out of that house, but it was my family of two who supported me until then.
If I hadn’t had a place to escape like home, I might have become a terrible guy. But that didn’t happen because the two of them made this a safe place for me. Thank you…
”The next song is a very meaningful one. And it’s not really a song I should be singing… but since the big sisters and big brothers who didn’t throw candies earlier didn’t behave, I’m going to steal the song!”
I naturally smiled as the intro of a song I recognized, one I had composed, played. Aqua… You said you’d change the world, right?
’This world is beautiful.’
Do you remember the day when you declared war on the world, along with us?
’Ah, the world is so beautiful.’
Look up, don’t keep your head down.
’Yes, it’s so beautiful.’
Look at the faces of the fans, look at everyone enjoying themselves.
’But you’re suffering in this beautiful world, aren’t you?’
Right now, I think Aqua is in a lot of pain.
’I realized that.’
I’ve experienced it too, so even if the type of pain is different, I can understand that suffering.
’That’s why I have to stop it.’
So look up. Look at the smiles of the fans!
’This world is beautiful.’
I guarantee that these smiles are genuine.
’Ah, it’s so beautiful.’
Hey, did you know there are boy fans here today?
’It’s truly beautiful.’
See, everyone is laughing together in the same space.
’But is it, really?’
Of course! It’s a given!
’Aren’t you avoiding looking at things you don’t want to see?’
Certainly, not everything may be going well yet. But right now, in this moment, we are all sharing the same air and coming together.
’Are you giving up the fight against this reality?’
So start from here. The scenery you want to see, the scenery you wanted isn’t just this. We’re going to make this country, this world, and all of humanity smile!
’Take a good look at the faces of those around you; you might be able to save someone.’
You might not be able to save them on your own, Aqua. So, that’s why! I’m here! Nekoyama Toa is here! Mayuzumi Shintaro is here! Tenga Akira is here! This circle will continue to expand, and one day, it will encompass the whole world.
Isn’t that your, our, declaration of war from Beryl Entertainment? That day, that moment… no, even before that, on that day when I took your hand, I decided. Even if it means making enemies of the world, I’ll be your accomplice!
”Oh my, this is too incredible for words!”
”Toa-chan’s version of ‘Beautiful Right,’ is this real?”
”Stop it, this song hits me hard!”
”I can’t believe this song is coming so early, and Toa-chan is singing it!”
”By the way, Toa-chan composed this song, right?”
”This is… Nee-san is crying backstage.”
”I don’t know what it is, but I’m feeling a profound vibe!”
”What a coincidence. It feels like something amazing is happening behind the scenes.”
So, Aqua… let’s pile up sins together.
Let’s make all the girls and boys in this world, no, let’s make everyone happy.
That’s our sin, Aqua.
Only you, who was completely outside the norms of this world, can surely correct its distortion.
Sorry to Kanon-san, but I had decided before her.
I’ll give my whole life to him. Take me, give me everything.
I’m going to bet everything and lend a hand to your ambitions.
I’ve sung three songs in a row, but I wonder what’s happening backstage. I believe everyone is somehow managing, but I’m worried about Aqua.
But right now, all I can do is keep singing. Just as I was about to turn back to the microphone, I heard Shintaro’s voice over the intercom.
”Toa, you’re going all out from the start. Take a break and think about what comes after!”
But I don’t have time to take a break…
’Leave the rest to me.’
Shintaro? I was surprised by Shintaro’s tone of voice, which was different from his usual self.
”I’ll buy you some time, Toa. Take a break in the back.”
The spotlight that was shining on me dimmed. Given the situation, I had no choice but to step back.
Besides, if Shintaro was going to do it, I had to believe in him.
After all, as Aqua said, he know better than anyone that Shintaro is the kind of person who gets things done when he decides to…
’Now, it’s Mayuzumi Shintaro’s time to shine.’
I thought I heard a sound like Shintaro adjusting his glasses from the other side of the intercom.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.