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Only the Club Advisor is Strict with the Sports Club
My quick recovery came as a blessing in disguise, happening in just one evening. My thoughts, jumbled into a big, messed-up jigsaw puzzle, have finally started to come together. Though not a single problem has been taken care of as of now, you don’t really think that I’d just give up here, right?
Every single one of them’s just going crazy on me, but I’ll definitely deal with it all now that I’ve regained my calm, rational thinking. To achieve that in the most efficient way, I have to decide on my priorities. Now, the problem that has the highest influence on my future—to get the [5th Floor Alliance] into Honey Plays. I really want to face Mashiro’s feelings head-on, but I can’t do anything if she continues to run away, so I’ll take my time and postpone that.
For now, I want to maintain the user base we’ve gathered with our game. Keep Makigai Namako’s scenario in one corner of my mind, while focusing on the job right in front of me.
At school, during a break.
Not having finished their homework, having forgotten their workbook for the next class, my classmates spend their precious time as inefficiently as always. Meanwhile, I was working on the voice script for the illustrations of the five characters that Sumire—Murasaki Shikibu-sensei finished early for some reason. Connecting my smartphone to an exterior keyboard, I started typing.
With [The Screaming Night of Dark Koyama], the one constructing the main story is Makigai Namako-sensei. However, when it comes to battle or system voices, then that’s my job. I don’t have enough talent to write a script for an action movie, but if it’s just short phrases, then even I can do that. At first, I was under the guidance of Makigai Namako-sensei, but after a while, I was told ‘You’ve got quite the talent there. Going pro might be impossible, but you can definitely work this out on your own’ from him, which was probably meant as praise. Anyway, writing these short lines became my responsibility. If I can help Makigai Namako-sensei focus on the main story with this, then it’s all good.
“Alright, that’s a good place to stop.”
“Good work, Aki. I just finished checking the illustrations myself~”
Having finished the script for a few of the characters, I was taking a light stretch when Ozu called out to me, having finished his work as well.
“Thanks a bunch, Ozu. How was it?”
“Feeling pretty good about it. The character designs are hip with the latest trends, and they all have their personal accessories done. That’s Murasaki Shikibu-sensei for you. Development-wise, nothing that would be no good overseas.”
Seems like everything went flawlessly.
Every time I finished checking the scenario or the illustrations, I’d have Ozu make a second pass to check for anything I missed. Two are better than one, after all.
“Alright. Then, here’s the voice script I just finished up—”
And I’ll have him move on with the next check.
The characters all have their own, strong traits. Like the brocon girl, who keeps seeing other boys as her older brother due to past trauma with the loss of her brother, or a dangerous older person who finds fun in other people yet is scared of anyone they meet, and so on.
With all those strong traits, I have to think a lot about their potential lines.
“This brocon girl is the only one that’s realistic.”
“…Really? Well, she’d be scared, you know.”
“I was called out once in a similar way. ‘Onii-chan?! You’re my Onii-chan that I got separated from 10 years ago, right?!’ she said.”
“That totally sounds like a reunion scene from some game.”
“But it was actually pretty scary in reality.”
“I’m sure… And what happened after that?”
“I brought her to the nearest police station.”
“You really have no restraint, do you?!”
This guy’s actually torn down a huge flag with a beauty like that. But to keep it real, if I was called out by someone who claimed to be my long-lost little sister, I’d probably take her to the hospital before the police.
“I thought that the police would have more success with finding her older brother, but for some reason, she ran away before we got to the police.”
“So she ran away. Scary… Wait, weren’t you called out by an older lady just a while ago? ‘Become my younger brother!’ or something?
“Ahh, yeah. I also brought her to the police back then. At least once a month, there’s people mistaking me for their younger or older brothers. Maybe I have lots of families that I got separated from without me knowing?”
“I think you should only worry about your real little sister.”
That’s what you’d expect from the ikemen who makes everyone turn their heads when he passes. He seems to have a lot of experience with being hit on by women. Well, it’s not like Ozu himself actually wishes for it, and I don’t think that you’d be happy if you suddenly earned this secret magic power to be pulled into all sorts of romcom events without asking for it.
“I finished reading through your script.”
“Oh, as fast as always.”
Finishing his multi-tasking, conversing with me while reading the manuscript, Ozu gave a satisfied nod.
“I think the phrases are great. They’re all phrases that the character would say, in my opinion.”
“Really? Glad to hear that.”
“Though it’s a bit funny to think of these phrases for them.”
“…Please don’t say that.”
Having another person read what I wrote myself is honestly pretty embarrassing. It feels like something’s forcefully peeking into my brain.
“Not to flatter, but it really feels great. It feels fine reading it as a whole, and it fits with the illustrations. You really can do anything, Aki.”
“I’m a jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none. Since I don’t have the talent to make it big, I just do the small stuff that anyone can. If I can, I want Makigai Namako-sensei to focus on the main story.”
“That alone shows your talent, in my opinion.”
“If I really had the potential, I’d make a game myself. But it’s because I can’t do anything on my own that I need help from you guys.”
“Mmm… You’ve gotta learn to take a compliment, you modesty demon.”
Naturally, our hands didn’t stop moving while holding our conversation.
I kept working on the voice lines.
Ozu would look over them, all the while running the horizontally-written text data through the automatic voice editing script tool.
That way, the text is written vertically, allowing for easier use by the voice actress, with space for writing notes. The sound engineer can manage files easier with a numbering system. The one who made this all-in-one software was none other than Ozu himself.
At first, the one who helps with the
recording, Otoi-san, kindly warned us with ‘You’re sending me
files without any names? You looking down on me? Want to get
butchered?’. As of right now, the only thing she says is ‘Another
request, even though I’m already so busy? Want to get butchered?’
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve grown a lot.
And, while we were making smooth progress, break ended. Thanks to my diligent work, I made up for a lot of what we missed yesterday. Really, a good night’s sleep can work wonders. With this much, we can proceed to record some lines with Iroha after school. Deciding on that, I immediately sent a LIME message to Iroha and Otoi-san.
[AKI]: Might be a bit sudden, but can we record the voice lines today?
[Iroha]: Ehhh, I’m not really motivated though~ Well, I might be willing to rethink it if you went on your knees, begging with ‘I really want to hear Iroha-san’s beautiful voice!’
An immediate response from Iroha. Though it ticked me off a bit, so I decided to ignore it for now.
[Otoi]: 20 chupadrops
Shortly after, I also heard back from Otoi-san. Those chupadrops she’s talking about is actually an abbreviation for these chupa-chupa drops. It’s a rather famous American lollipop that you frequently see in commercials. Instead of paying her for the work she does, we instead offer her the chupadrops she wants for the job.
[AKI]: You’re going to eat 20? Won’t you get diabetes?
[Otoi]: You just stepped on a landmine.
[AKI]: Eh, I did?! I was honestly worried…
[Otoi]: Mmmm, whatever. Chupadrops, 20. Only YES or NO are allowed as answers
[AKI:] That’ll be a YES, then
[Otoi]: Oki~ I’ll be waiting in the studio~
Though I seemed to have stepped on a landmine midway through that. Unlike Mashiro or Iroha, Otoi-san is pretty grown-up. Even if you make her mad in some way, it won’t take too long until everything’s back to normal. But, at some times, I accidentally trigger a landmine. Those different landmines can appear in various forms. For example, the diabetes this time.
A while ago, she got angry at me because I came with a request that went ‘I would like sound effects for the characters playing at the sea’, or something. I still have no idea why she got mad at me that time… When I asked for ‘footstep sounds as if they’re walking through a river,’ she didn’t get angry at me, so it doesn’t seem to be related to the contents of the work. To find out when I do trigger her in some way, I asked her to just tell me, as a precaution to not worsen our business relationship. I asked her, ‘If I ever step on a landmine, please tell me immediately’, and our conversation just now was a perfect example for that.
“Let’s see… ’Diabetes’ is also a no-go…”
Opening up the ‘Otoi-san landmine word memo’, I made a new entry.
—Sound effects of them playing at the sea
—Pour some water there
—The roof happened to leak
—Saying flowery words
Even with that new word, I still can’t make sense of any pattern here… Uhmmm… Difficult.
I gave it some more thought while crossing my arms, but only lasted until I got a notification from my phone. It seems to be from Iroha this time.
[Iroha]: Leaving me on read, you’re the worst!
[Iroha]: Do you not want to listen to my beautiful voice?!
[Iroha]: I might be willing to forgive you if you grovel down on the ground, and say: ‘I want to listen to Iroha’s beautiful voice, please’, okay?!
Seems like me leaving her on read didn’t exactly freshen up her mood. Well, truth be told, her being constantly in her honor student mode even outside of school is something that’s kinda new for me, but at least her LIME messages are the same as always. Feeling relieved at that, I once again ignored her messages.
Once she’s got onto her high horse like that, ignoring her messages has a far greater effect. After all…
[Iroha]: I get it! I get it already! I just have to come to the recording, right?!
This is what happens. If she ever finds something to tease me about, she doesn’t hold back in the slightest, but when it comes to her job, she’s diligent. She wouldn’t slack off from work just because I left her on read. Imagining her frustrated expression, my mouth relaxed naturally.
This is what you get, for making me worry about your sorry ass.
[AKI]: Yeah, please do. I’m expecting some first-class acting.
To get her more fired up, I sent her that short, simple message. In response, I got a sticker back, with a pouting, angry character.
—Well, through these ups and downs, my plans for later seem to have been decided.
Soon after, 4th period ended, and lunch break began. Although I’d lowered it in my list of priorities, I looked over at Mashiro, seeing if there’s any chance we could have a decent chat today.
Silently, she just glared at the smartphone in her hand, typing something at ultra speed with great force. Basically, her whole body was emitting the ‘Don’t talk to me’ aura. With an appearance akin to that of a hedgehog hibernating on a snowy mountain, the other classmates showed no intention of approaching her.
Maybe she’s having a heated discussion with someone in LIME? She seems to be rushing out long paragraphs over there. Oh right, Mashiro’s hobby is writing novels. Guess I shouldn’t be bothering her.
I had originally planned on giving her my response head-on, but if we can’t hold a proper conversation like this, I might have to do it via LIME as well. Well, let’s leave that for later.
The next problem I should be working to resolve is Makigai Namako-sensei’s scenario. Yesterday’s request for a new manuscript ended up in a failure. Right now, he’s probably working to improve it in all the wrong ways, emphasizing the romance of all things.
If he was right in front of me, I might be able to convince him, but that’s not going to happen. I’d really prefer not to make things worse by continuing to bother him with LIME requests. Somehow, I have to make him agree to the objective opinion, and have him regain his horrifying, gruesome writing style.
Thinking like that, I got up from my seat, and thought I might as well get some bread for lunch. I made my way outside the classroom and stepped into the hallway.
A familiar voice stopped me. Standing next to the classroom’s door as if she had been waiting for me, my eyes met with hers, Kageishi Sumire.
“What is it? I don’t have any recollection of an incident that would justify bringing me to the student counselling room.”
“Is your fever okay now?”
“Eh? Ah, yes. I got a good sleep yesterday, somehow.”
“I see, good to hear that. Then, let’s go.”
About to turn on her heel, Sumire stopped at my question. As she turned around, she gave me a sharp gaze.
“Can you just come without asking? You promised, right?”
That reminds me, she wanted to say something yesterday before I took an early leave. Like wanting me to hear out a request of hers for finishing up the illustrations before the deadline or something. Seeing as how she never kept her deadline in check until now, this must be something incredibly important for Murasaki Shikibu-sensei.
“I understand. I won’t forgive you if it’s something inconsequential.”
“It’s very important. After all—”
Since the sight of a beautiful teacher like her, walking side to side with a supporting-role type of boy like me, was gathering a lot of attention from the students walking past us in the hallway, she lowered her voice so that only I could hear her.
And then, Sumire’s eyes, painted by the strong shadows of her eyebrows, narrowed as she continued.
“My future life is depending on it.”
Inside the elective building, on the 4th floor, there’s our school’s Kowloon castle. The science room, the history material room, the music room, the workshop, the audiovisual classroom and the small library, all these rooms are gathered on the 3rd floor, leaving only empty classrooms on the 4th. Said 4th floor is akin to a lawless district, with no real purpose to fulfill. The rooms are only used as storage rooms, filled with useless documents that you’d never ever need for any class, with nobody to bother with the accumulating dirt, and with empty plastic bags, vinyls, and cans lying around since the students couldn’t be bothered with actually throwing them away. The gruesome sight of not even having enough ground to step on, it’s even off-limits now by order of the enraged principal.
And Sumire brought me to that very horrendous place. Lifting up the caution tape on the stairs towards the said 4th floor really gave me a pounding feeling of immorality in my chest.
—Really, what’s wrong with this place? This looks like the world had just ended. And what’s she planning to talk about in a place like this? Though this might be better than the student counselling room in terms of secrecy.
Suddenly coming to a stop in the 4th floor hallway, Sumire opened a window. As she did, we could hear a gleeful girl’s voice, screaming ‘Noon practice is starting! First, 100 rallies!’
Apparently, the tennis court was located behind the elective building. Though lunch break had barely started, the girls’ tennis club was already getting fired up.
A passionate adolescence. Looking down at those who lived lives in contrast to ours, Sumire spoke up.
“Ooboshi-kun, these girls spend their beautiful adolescence in sweat and hard work, right?”
“Yes they are. What about it?”
“Maybe you would be able to understand. Throwing away your freedom during lunch break, investing your precious time all towards tennis.”
“Our school’s girls’ tennis club is pretty strong after all.”
“Even so, out of all of them, at best only one can make it to be a professional. For the others, their highlight is being in the line-up for the school tournament, forgotten once they graduate. Exactly where is the value in that? Don’t you think that it’s nothing but a cruel waste?”
“The person themself has to decide on the worth of their actions. Well for me, I’d rather die than go do something like that.”
Offering myself to a sports club is something I can’t even imagine. Granted, if one were to devote himself to one field of expertise, going pro isn’t impossible for sure. But, that only counts for those that have been born with the talent and necessary sense. For them, pushing all their effort into it might be worthwhile. But that just means that for people who don’t have the natural talent, like me, there’s no need to even try. Even if I work my ass off to be able to see the sky, those that were born to do this are long past me. In other words, it’s way too inefficient.
Listening to my dry explanation, Sumire gave a deep nod.
“Yeah, I agree with that.”
“…I can’t really see the reason for this conversation. What is it that you want to tell me, Sumire-sensei?”
“To be fair, recently, another teacher took maternity leave.”
So we’re still not touching the main topic.
“Of course, the very thing is something to be happy for her. But, it’s also sorrowful, the law of conservation of mass in this world…And it’s not just the laws of physics, there’s this unseen ‘Happiness’ in effect. In this world, the aggregated amount of happiness is already decided. If one person finds happiness, then that means another person will be missing happiness.”
“I still fail to grasp your intention with this ridiculous analogy. So, when will this game of question and answer end?”
“Let me be frank.”
“At this point in time? Anyway, please continue.”
Starting to state her real intentions, Sumire’s legs, wrapped in her tights, bent, and she fell on her knees, prostrating before me.
“Please save our theatre club!”
“What does that have to do with anything you’ve been talking about until now? What, were you aiming to waste my precious time? Is this nothing more than a worthless disturbance to piss me off?”
“Gyaaaaaaaa, ouch ouch ouch ouch!!! Stop pushing your toe into the points that exacerbate my back probleeeeeeeeeeeems!!!”
As I attacked those stimulating spots with my foot, Sumire collapsed onto the ground with a shameful ahegao face, convulsing.
“Haa… Hue… You… devil… Using me in my moment of weakness…”
“Stop talking ill of people like that. I just wanted to correct your twisted pelvis after all that illustration work and alcohol abuse. Also, why didn’t you just cut to the main deal. What was that theatrical elocution about?”
“Y-You’re wrong… It’s, related…”
“Is that so? Then just tell me from the start.”
“Cruel! I was just about to say why!”
Sumire appealed with tears in her eyes.
“Really, Akiteru-sama always jumps to conclusions. Nobody likes a boy with premature ejaculation… Well, unless you’re a shota, then it’s pretty delish.”
“Seems like you’re still not back to full health?”
“I’m sorry! I apologize. I won’t bring up unnecessary things like that ever again so please forgive me!”
Cracking my knuckles and glaring at her, Sumire’s spine went straight. Really, nobody would believe me if I told them that she’s the ‘Poisonous Queen’.
“Uhmm… let me explain things for now. Right now, you should know that I’m acting as the advisor of the theatre club, right?”
“Yes, but only during that homeroom a while ago. Never heard of that before.”
“That makes sense. I never brought it up after all.”
Taking a deep sigh, Sumire continued.
“And, about this theatre club. Right now, it’s actually on the verge of getting disbanded.”
“Yes. If we don’t make it through the regional preliminaries for the nationwide high school division theatre fiesta, and fail to move on to the prefectural tournament, it’ll mean disbandment. It’s the ultimatum that we received from the principal.”
“That’s quite sudden. Was your club always this close to ruin?”
“Yes. We only have a few members, and not really any accomplishments to boast about. Because of that, they decided that it wouldn’t be worthy to waste any more precious funding on the theatre club.”
“…Didn’t you call the theatre club the place where the ‘Generation of Miracles’ was gathered or something?”
I had a faint memory that this is what she called it back during that one homeroom class.
Fu, came an ominous-sounding giggle as the corners of her mouth formed an evil smile, and Sumire said the following.
“That was a lie.”
“You’re not too shy to do anything, are you? You shitty excuse of a teacher.”
“It was misleading, yes. It’s true that they’re the ‘Generation of Miracles’. Very much so.”
“…? I don’t really understand. Do they have the talent, or not, which one is it?”
“Anyway, the club is in danger of being disbanded.”
Ignored. But, since I also want to move on with the main topic, I held back on my retorts.
“Well, what’s the big problem?”
We’re having our drinking party once a week, but I never heard Sumire mention the theatre club even once. To me, that only shows that the club isn’t that big of a deal for her.
“Shouldn’t you be happy that you don’t have to show your face at the club anymore?”
I heard on the SNS that being an advisor to a club is quite a burden for a teacher. On top of their ordinary duties, they have to come in on Saturdays as well, to oversee the activities and report back. Not to mention that they don’t gain that much additional payment, compared to the additional time they have to invest. Though being a teacher sounds like a respectable job with a good wage, it’s probably similar to working in a black company1.
Not to mention that Sumire is both working as a teacher and an illustrator. I can see that she’d be suffering from the extra burden coming with being an advisor. So much that it makes me wonder if this is one of the main reasons that her illustrations are always going past the deadline.
“No… that’s not it.”
But, Sumire shook her head with a bitter expression.
“There’s this ridiculous idea that every teacher in this school is to act as an advisor for a club. I wouldn’t profit at all… rather, it’d only get worse.”
“What kind of shitty specification is that? Anyway, why is it worse?”
“Actually, Midori-chan is the club president of the theatre club.”
“Ah, I never told you? She’s my little sister, Kageishi Midori.”
“Mmm… Kageishi… Midori…”
It felt like I heard that name before. Of course, not just because she’s Sumire’s sister. I feel like I knew of that name before, from a completely different context. What was it?
“I know that she’s an especially cute girl, but I won’t ever hand her over to Akiteru-sama, you know?”
“No, I’m totally fine, thanks.”
Now that I think about it, I never really asked Sumire about her family. The only thing I knew was that her family’s a strict family of teachers. That’s why she was forced to give up on her dream of being a professional illustrator, forced into becoming a teacher. To think that her little sister would be attending the same school as her. I wonder what she’s like.
“Midori-chan, you see, she’s really diligent, and always does her job properly~”
“She’s a good girl who always listens to her cool Onee-chan~”
“Thanks to her, I can take it easy during practice guidance and routine tasks! She’s basically the advisor at this point!”
“So you’re basically the advisor in name, and nothing more.”
I was an idiot for actually taking her circumstances into consideration and showing sympathy. Good on her to actually be as brave and say ‘I will be the one that leads the club to the grand prize’.
“Isn’t it fine? Thanks to that, I finished the illustrations for ‘Black Goat’.”
“Well, that’s true.”
“Really, she’s a gift from the heavens!” Sumire folded her hands together and looked towards the sky.
But, it didn’t take long until her expression became clouded again.
“And, if the theatre club gets disbanded, my next destination is—over there.”
“Mm? …Ahh, I see. That’s how it is.”
What Sumire pointed at was—the tennis court, filled with the girls cheerfully in the middle of their training.
“You’ll become the stand-in for the teacher that’s on maternity leave, and become the advisor for the girls’ tennis club.”
“Exactllllyyyyyyyyyyyy! I don’t wannaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!”
With that, her iron teacher masquerade broke. With her face dirtied with tears, snot, and some weird sweat, she clung to me with a miserable appearance.
“Our school’s girls’ tennis club is way too crazy! They have long practice times, whether it be morning, noon, or evening, even on school days and holidays, it’s only training, training, training! If I don’t have Midori-chan, I can’t slack off like now, and I won’t have much more time to keep drawing!”
“That’s problematic indeed… Ah, but do you even have the necessary skills to teach the tennis club?”
“Of course I don’t! I don’t mean to brag, but in my experience as a student, from middle school to university, I was always in one of the culture clubs!”
“Figures. You’re an illustrator, after all.”
“Also, if it comes to gym consultation, my grades were 2/5 at most!”
“I didn’t need to hear such a sad thing. Also, aren’t you pretty much backed into a corner here? Why did the talk of making you the advisor for the tennis club even come up?”
Faced with my question, Sumire froze up. Panicked sweat was running down her cheeks, and her eyes were running all over the place, not meeting with mine. To make a comparison, she was shaking as much as an olympic athlete whose lie detector needle was swaying furiously.
“You, don’t tell me—”
“I…I couldn’t help it, okaaaaay!”
Sumire rubbed her face on me.
Hey, stop, your snot will cling to my uniform!
“It was just a sudden impulse…! The principal just called out to me with ‘Kageishi-sensei looks like she’d be really good at sports’, so I just happened to respond with ‘Who do you think you’re talking to? Does this not look like the body of a well-trained athlete?’…!!!”
“You’re even acting like that towards the principal?! You really are a waste of resources!”
“But, but, but! If they think of me as a woman who’s only good for studying, the other teachers will make fun of me in the teacher’s office!! Then I will be pushed down with the vice-principal’s political strength, and all I’ll have waiting for me is a disciplinary dismissal!!”
“That only happens in manga! That unfriendly atmosphere is…possible, but not so likely that you’d have to worry about that. Probably.”
I lost confidence midway, resulting in my voice getting smaller. Playing dirty is commonplace in the adult world, so I can’t say for certain that this is impossible… But I want to believe so.
“Haa… See? This is what happens if you keep pretending.”
Ahhh, she’s crying like a kid. Hey, what’s your plan if another student sees us like this?
“I got the gist of it. It seems that we would suffer as well if the theatre club gets disbanded… However, even if you ask me to help, isn’t this something that only the members of the actual club can do with their own strength?”
“Why do you think I went so far as to make the deadline to gain favor!”
“Just so we’re clear, you only made deadline, you didn’t save my life or anything.”
“If you don’t help me, it’s dead-clear that I’ll end up as the advisor of the girls’ tennis club, you know?! If that’s the case, I’ll never be able to make the deadlines again?!”
“You’ve never made them until now, either.”
“Anyway, just once, come see our club during this lunch break. You’ll understand immediately!”
Sumire was clinging to my arm like a koala, not showing any signs of letting go. Sadly enough, her weird, womanly softness, and her body temperature were directly transmitted to me, making my heart beat faster. But that was just a moment of weakness on my side. Though her appearance is overflowing with female charm, that doesn’t last very long if one knows her real personality. What an unfortunate state.
While continuously telling her to let me go, pushing away her body, I let out a sigh.
“Haa… Can’t help it, I
“Yaaaay! You’re a god!”
A sudden, 180-degree turn, and now Sumire was jumping in front of me. Are you some brat who just got their first game console for christmas?
“And… Where’s that practice happening right now?”
The place that Sumire pointed at, was—
Down the hallway, filled with tables and chairs that nobody would ever use again. At a closer look, I could see a makeshift pathway for people to get through, amidst the trash.
“The place our theatre club is using as a practice space is the room that’s furthest down the hallway, on this 4th floor. By the way, it’s also called the cursed classroom.”
「You say what you want, but I think that you and Murasaki Shikibu-sensei are a good fit.」
「I’ll get mad at you, even if it’s you, Ozu.」
「Sorry, I really went too far there. I’ll reflect on my actions.」
1 Black companies: While specifics may vary from workplace to workplace and company to company, a typical practice at a black company is to hire a large number of young employees and then force them to work large amounts of overtime without overtime pay.