Ch 25: The Senior – Ichika Tenmoku
The announcement declaring war on the antis and clarifying my position two days ago was quickly spread across the internet with tremendous force.
After all, my answer was like a conclusion to the whole series of events, cutting off even the faintest thread of salvation.
Although the nail of the so-called declaration of war seemed to have some effect, there were still quite a few hateful messages posted on the anonymous question-and-answer service, Macaron.
For now, the misleading to the outside world seems to be working well. …It worked too well, and I laughed when Raika-san asked me, “Didn’t we agree on something different!?”
Still, I managed to appease her somehow, and with the help of Tenmoku-senpai, I entrusted Koneko-kun to my parents and completed the preparations yesterday.
“Um, excuse me. Can I bother you for a moment?”
“Yes… Oh, that voice. Could it be?”
“Correct. Judging by your reaction, I guess I was right. Nice to meet you, senpai.”
“Hehe. It always feels a bit strange in these situations. Nice to meet you too, kouhai.”
And today, to put an end to the series of events, I finally started to take action. I requested the cooperation of Tenmoku-senpai, who is in a friendly relationship with Utachan, and we arranged a meeting.
“…What should I call you? Since we’re outside, it wouldn’t be appropriate to use our usual names, right?”
“My name is Sera Futaba.”
“I’m Yozakura Shishio. Nice to meet you, Sera-senpai.”
“Nice to meet you too, Yozakura-kun.”
We are currently at the nearest station to our office. It’s a place with a decent amount of foot traffic, and we don’t know who might be listening.
We can’t use our virtual names in a public place like this, so we are formally introducing ourselves like this, even though we have been chatting online.
But wow, the person who showed up looks exactly as we expected. Among the fellow live streamers we communicate with, Tenmei-senpai is often referred to as pure or saintly, and that impression can’t be overturned in real life.
She is beautiful, has a soothing presence just from a brief conversation, and even her posture has elegance. She is like a typical older sister character in a romance game… how should I put it? At the risk of being impolite, she’s like the kind of sister character you would want to capture in a game.
“Um… I’m really sorry for making such a rude request out of nowhere.”
For now, I should apologize for summoning them to a real-life location. Although I already had a feeling about it when they were the VTuber Tenmei Ichika, this person isn’t someone you can mess around with. …Well, regardless of my impression, I’ll apologize if I make an unreasonable request.
“Wait a minute!? Don’t apologize or anything! It’s actually me who should apologize, you know? After all, you’re doing all sorts of things for me and that girl, right…?”
“Hmm, I don’t want to beat around the bush, so I’ll just nod here. I decided to take action in earnest because I heard from my colleague… that Sera-senpai and that girlfriend of his are friends.”
I was about to blurt out Raika’s name in public, but anyway…
As a member of the prestigious talent agency’s first generation, he had always looked out for her since her debut. So, when he heard that his friend was feeling down due to a personal matter, and was trying to cover it up with fake cheerfulness, he couldn’t just stand by.
If the friend who was going through this hardship had somehow become connected to his senior, then it’s not too much to say that he would take action to help, regardless of their relationship. And considering public opinion and future possibilities, it’s likely that he would have taken action to help regardless of his personal connection to his senior, so he didn’t hesitate to quickly offer his assistance.
When I honestly conveyed that, they lowered their head deeply with an overwhelmed expression.
“Um…you don’t have to bow that deeply like that, you know? I understand it’s a way of expressing gratitude, but a strange sense of guilt is welling up inside of me. Shall we lift our heads?”
Being made to bow deeply to someone who is categorized as a superior both in terms of career and psychology makes me feel uneasy.
As someone who has lived a fairly free-spirited and stand-alone life, I’m not used to expressing sincere and earnest gratitude like this…
“Anyway, come on, let’s move quickly, okay? It’s not good to keep the other party’s family waiting.”
And so, I forcefully moved the conversation along. By doing so, Sera-senpai would have no choice but to lift her head.
Moreover, there was someone waiting for us. Through Sera-senpai, who had a long-standing relationship with Utachan and had been in contact with her family, we had arranged to meet with Utachan’s mother.
Despite having the assurance of being acquainted with Sera-senpai, it was still a mother’s love that allowed a visit from a man with no connection or relationship to her daughter. Thinking about this, I believed that we should hurry and not keep her waiting.
“Ah, yeah. That’s right.”
“…Um, did you really not want me to thank you so much?”
Ah, I… inadvertently let out a sigh in front of Sera-senpai, because I was released from my one-sided guilt. What an idiot I am. I should have kept that to myself…
Thanks to tat, Sera-senpai’s expression clouded over. Her overflowing expression of emotion and gratitude changed into a mixture of various emotions. However, it was clear that she was still shocked, and now a real sense of guilt came over me like a tsunami.
“I don’t mean that I dislike it or anything. It’s just that, how should I put it, I have absolutely no immunity to being thanked. Well, I mean, I’ve had experiences of being thanked by others before, but this is different, you know…”
The feeling is more like I have no immunity at all when it comes to being thanked. It’s not that I hate it or anything, but when I receive gratitude, it’s usually in a more casual way, mixed with some calculation or just pretending to be grateful from the bottom of my heart. Or sometimes, even though I’m grateful, the situation just doesn’t allow me to express it. So, I haven’t really had an experience like Sera-senpai, where I received such sincere and straightforward gratitude.
Actually, as a matter of fact, I’ve had overwhelmingly more experiences of being scolded, bewildered, or causing others to shake their heads than being thanked. To borrow a phrase from a certain literary figure, I belong to the race of people who have lived shameful lives…
“……It’s just that I feel awkward being simply thanked. It’s not that I dislike your gratitude, Sera-senpai.”
Could you please spare me the silence if possible…
“Can you say something? Or at least, can you smile? If there’s no reaction, it’ll just make me look pathetic.”
“Um, Yozakura-kun, how about trying out some voice acting along those lines? I’ll ask Koto-chan to prepare a script for you.”
I’m getting a completely unexpected reaction here. Why are we suddenly talking about voice acting? And asking Kotoko-chan to write a script for me? That’s pretty serious, isn’t it?
“A shy boy like you, a junior, definitely has demand, you know. If you can appeal with the kind of embarrassed feeling you have now, I think it will strike a chord with quite a few female listeners. Actually, I want it, said Sera-senpai.”
“I feel an incredible pressure, like an unwavering determination to not let me escape. Was that the kind of character you had all along?”
“Well, as a VTuber, it’s not surprising for someone like the high-class lady-like Sera-senpai to have otaku-like reactions. But, is that what really tickles your fancy, Sera-senpai? Your weak spot being younger, or rather, underclassmen characters… I remember spending a lot of money on gacha games with characters like that.”
“Seems like you’re into the junior character type.”
“No, no, no. I just mentioned it was a matter of demand, not my personal preference! It’s just about the demand, and in my case, I just wanted to hear Yozakura-kun’s voice regardless of whether he’s a junior character or not… Sorry?! I got too flustered and said something weird! Don’t worry about it, it’s nothing!”
Yeah. That’s the kind of guy who should pretend he didn’t hear that. He’s the type who, in an attempt to cover up, creates an even bigger bomb and makes the situation worse.
“So, should we hurry up and go? The sooner, the better for this kind of thing!”
“ Yes, I agree. If it’s related to someone’s health, early resolution is the only choice.”
“ …Will that person recover? It’s a really severe situation, almost beyond hope…”
“Who knows? But if we have to rely on a miracle, I’m the kind of person who can make it happen. At least I’m more confident in my chances than praying to a shrine or heaven”
“ …I see. Then let’s hurry up!”
“Ah… wait a moment!?”
Um, I agree that we should hurry, but I don’t think there’s any need to hold my hand like that! I can run on my own, and besides, we’re taking the train, right?! …Wow, this person is surprisingly strong!
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