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My Friend’s Little Sister is Clearly Annoying
The month changed to July. Thanks to Sumire, we somehow managed to borrow the gym hall after classes, and got to do a rehearsal for the real deal on the main stage. That seemed to have produced good results, as the overall quality of the theatre club raised immensely and Midori got quite a bit better at acting. The play itself has taken a respectable form as well. Though winning the entire competition will probably be impossible, we should definitely be able to score some achievements at our current level.
“I’ll put those guys that’ll hurt you into the ground! —How was that?! That was pretty good, right?!”
“Yes! President Midori has gotten quite good!”
“Right?! I thought so!!!”
Midori and the other club members were gleefully screaming and screeching. Personally, I can definitely understand why they’re happy about making progress. Moving towards a goal together as a group and moving forward is very fulfilling. Even though the scheduled practice was over, they still were practicing all on their own, and that labor was definitely producing results. It really is a great sight to behold.
“It’s all thanks to our instructor that we managed to reach such a level of acting.”
“Instructor, thank you very much! Looking forward to working with you tomorrow as well!”
“Yeah~ Good work, everyone~ Let’s give it our all, during the last stretch until the competition!”
At first, the theatre club was hesitant about accepting us, but that has changed completely, and we’ve built up friendly bonds with them.
But, if there’s one thing that still sticks in my mind…
That pained expression Iroha had, as she looked at the club members.
As I was home, about to enter my bedroom, Iroha slipped past me and entered first. Taking off her knee-socks, she threw them to the side, and then, as if it was the natural course of events, she jumped onto my bed and started rolling around.
“Fuuuu, today was as tiring as ever!”
“Why are you acting like this is your own house?”
“It’s because I’m always coming over to this room that this bed calms me down even more than my own~ I often find myself thinking that this is my own bed, see!” Yet again, Iroha just subjected me to her usual nonsense.
Her short skirt started to wrinkle, and I was close to seeing a certain thing if she turned at just the right angle. It’s not like I have any interest in it, but because I’m constantly trying not to be aware of it, I get even more aware of it. In anime and manga, the camera angles are clearly at the level where you would be able to see it, making you unconsciously look at it, and you would follow that principle if it happens in reality, I guess.
“Nyaha. Senpai? Are you that interested in what’s beneath my skirt? If you were to ask me with ‘I’m a pervert who is interested in my friend’s little sister’s underwear. Please, Iroha-sama, show me your underwear’, then you might be able to get to see it, you know?”
“As if I would, idiot. I don’t have any interest at all in your underwear.”
“Now now~ Senpai, you’re a boy after all, so there’s nothing wrong if you’re interested in—Gfuu!? Hey, don’t just spray deodorant all over me just because you’re in a disadvantageous position! How petty can you be?!”
“It’s my right to decide whenever I use deodorant or not in my own room, right? If you hate it so much, then go back to your own room for all I care.”
Bringing an end to that uncomfortable conversation, Iroha puffed out her cheeks in response. That was the sign that the second stage of her annoying acting would soon take place, and I prepared myself, when—
“Muuuu… Okay, I understand!”
In a sulking manner, Iroha got up from the bed, and started picking up the knee-socks she had taken off a second ago. Seeing her be this honest and obedient had the opposite effect however, and filled me with worry.
“What are you plotting?”
“What is it now? When I sincerely do what you tell me, you suddenly doubt me. Can’t you just decide on which already?”
Though she immediately cut back with that remark, there was no sharpness behind it.
“Senpai, you must be tired, so I’ll be taking my leave here~”
“……Did something happen?”
Iroha was about to leave my room, when she suddenly froze up and turned around.
“Well, I thought that you were still conflicted because of the theatre club or something.”
“…Was it that easy to see?”
“You were only half as annoying as you’d normally be, so I thought something was off.”
“Ahhh, guess I let my guard down a bit too much~ Really, just how dependent are you on my annoyingness~”
Giving me a slight tap on the forehead, Iroha showed a bitter smile.
“…Really. You’re only sharp at times like these, Senpai.”
Running her fingers through her bright golden-yellow hair, Iroha gave a slight giggle as she started talking.
“See, my mother is always telling me not to get involved with the show biz, right?”
That I know very well. Ever since Iroha was a small girl, Iroha was taught to take distance from show biz, so thoroughly that there’s not even a TV in their apartment. Even merely talking about it is a complete no-go.
That continues even now, and because she has these kind of circumstances, not even the members of the [5th Floor Alliance] know about her acting as a voice actress. The only person who knows about it other than me is Otoi-san, who’s responsible for the recordings and is trustworthy enough to keep it a secret. Not to mention that she’s even more certain to keep a secret if we bring her the toll and tips (high class sweets).
“That’s why, I might’ve been a bit jealous of the theatre club. Being able to show their faces, working to improve themselves, and showing their results on stage—”
“Of course, I’m having fun in my job as a voice actress in [Black Goat], and I can feel myself getting better. But, I just felt… That no matter what I do, I’ll just end up as the mysterious voice actress brigade X.”
Iroha sat down on the bed again, and said so as she looked up at the ceiling.
The ‘mysterious voice actors brigade X’. The name going around on the social networks, labeling the group of voice actors for ‘The Night the Black Goat Screamed’. With the mystery of every single voice actor’s name being hidden, rumors started building up naturally, and this is the name that resulted from it. Nobody knows that this brigade only consists of one person.
“I’m right here! I’m the one doing it! I can’t help but wish to be able to scream that out from the top of my lungs.”
Because, if I was able to do that—Iroha showed a painful smile.
“I could become a full-fledged member of the [5th Floor Alliance]”
Yeah, that’s right.
In front of me, Iroha is always asserting herself in an annoying way. Though I have to say that she might be taking it a bit too far, when I think about her feelings, it makes perfect sense. She doesn’t have any other place where she can assert ‘herself’. Every human seeks for praise and self-esteem.
But, being praised above the heavens and ending up a conceited person will result in a loss of trust and time, making it highly inefficient, so asking for more approval than needed isn’t recommended. That’s why, for Iroha, who holds possibly ephemeral talent, unable to act in front of others, being forced to hide it on the basis of some unreasonable pretext, it’s easy to guess how much she yearns for that desperately-needed praise.
Seeing this inefficiency makes me want to vomit.
Watching Iroha over these past few weeks, I was once again reminded of her immense talent. It’s not just her voice. The details of her expression, her body movements, even the smallest representation of her feelings showing on her fingertips—using every imaginable part of her body, Iroha showed me a terrifying level of god-like acting. Not just as a voice actress, even having her act as an actress on the stage or in a movie, Iroha would be able to do anything. With that rainbow-colored talent, seeing her waste it because of these circumstances would piss anyone off.
“If that’s the case, I’ll definitely get you up on the stage one day. Maybe an anime musical. Of course, with you acting the main role.”
“Eh? But, doesn’t that mean…”
“Why do you think the [5th Floor Alliance] exists in the first place? It’s to create a stage where you can all live out your talents, without any restrictions.”
That’s the whole reason for the [5th Floor Alliance]. I continued.
“I don’t have any talent for acting, in the slightest. If I can’t do it, I’ll have other people do it for me. In this case, I perfectly understand the depth of your talent. Thanks to that, I could come up with many more jobs for you in the future. Good harvest, if I must say.”
“You say that you’re doing as you please, but how much are you going to have me work?”
“Sadly, I’m a black company. Feel free to quit anytime.”
“Ahaha. There’s no doubt that this would ignite a firestorm if someone snapped to reveal it on social networks~”
Exactly, that’s why I’m not a good person or anything. The [5th Floor Alliance] is nothing more than a black company. I don’t have the wits to really lead people. I’m just relying on favors from the members. That’s why I have to respond to their favors at all times.
“If you wish for it, I’ll grant it. That’s why you have to be prepared yourself.”
When I said so with a serious expression, Iroha threw a smile at me. And, she gave a pleased bow.
That pained expression from before completely vanished.
…This should be fine now.
That being said, there will be a time when we’ll have to confront Iroha’s mother. And that shouldn’t be too far off. We’ll have to be prepared for that time when it comes. Well, that’s only after our current situation with the theatre club is over.
“Hey, Iroha. It’s only a bit more until the competition, so we’ll soon be at the busiest part. No slacking off.”
“I’m full of energy! You can expect the best from the urban legend, charismatic instructor Iroha-chan!”
With unwavering confidence, Iroha pushed her fist towards the sky.
“I’ll definitely make my dream come true! Yeah—!”
Trouble always comes at the worst possible time. We, who were about to face the theatre club’s troubles, were slowly crept up to from behind, throwing us into chaos.
The day before the competition had come. After classes had ended, the members of the [5th Floor Alliance], along with the others, were gathered in the gym hall, practicing. It was the very last rehearsal before the competition.
At first, the situation seemed hopeless with the theatre club, but now—
“Alright. I think that we’ll be able to score some good results at the competition if we do it like this.”
“Well, this is something that we can actually show the guests~ I taught them everything I could, so it’s up to them now~”
Ozu and Otoi-san were nodding in a satisfactory manner. Sumire on her part—
“N-No… I can’t laugh yet… Keep it together… B-But…”
She had her back turned to us, shaking in anticipation as she was basking in a feeling of security that we’d actually win.
Hey, you’re basically begging for us to get jinxed at this point, you know?
Well, I can understand why she’d let herself relax like that. Even I feel fairly confident that our current play would be able to make it far. Though the script is as sparkly and happy-go-lucky as it can get, it’s suitable enough to be acted out by high school students in a theatre club. Thanks to Ozu’s stage equipment system, the play feels realistic enough. With Otoi-san’s supervision, there’s no more feeling of discomfort regarding the audio.
And, to top it off—
“—Won’t you come with me?”
The hero’s role, Midori’s acting.
At first, it was the most unintentional, monotonous reading I’ve ever heard, with stiff robot-like movements, but now her acting would look good to the untrained eye. And not just hers, the other members’ acting also leveled up, on another level compared to how it had been before our support.
[AKI]: Looks good, doesn’t it?
[Iroha]: Right? This is how Iroha-chan does it~
[Iroha]: You can praise me all you want, you know? You can pet my head like a dachshund, you know?
[AKI]: Don’t get carried away, idiot
I had a LIME exchange with Iroha, who was hiding in the back of the stage, watching the play from there.
Only Otoi-san, out of all the people present, knows that Iroha is involved with the [5th Floor Alliance]. Because of that, we can’t allow Iroha to show her appearance here, and had to make do with this.
But enough of that. In the end, we managed to arrive at such a high level of acting thanks to her, so that’s all that matters. And, the play continued without once dropping in quality—
“—We’ll stop the rehearsal here! Thank you for listening!”
With Midori’s orders, the whole theatre club gave a deep bow. The final practice had come to an end. Seeing their refreshed and accomplished expressions, we gave them great applause.
“That’s what I’d expect from Ooboshi-kun. To let the problem-ridden theatre club grow this much.”
“I didn’t do anything. It’s all thanks to you guys’ help, and the efforts of the theatre club itself.”
“With this, we should be able to avoid disbandment… I have to give you my thanks for that.”
“I don’t need something like that. As long as a certain someone makes their deadlines and continues to draw illustrations.”
“Y-You’re right. That’s perfectly fine.”
“Also, we can’t let down our guard just yet. It’s true that the quality has gone up a notch, but being able to win a prize is a different matter. That’s why I’m hoping for your illustrations in the future.”
“Are we still talking about the play here?”
“The gods are always watching, right? If you don’t want any trouble to stir up, good deeds are preferred. So keep your deadlines.”
“…Ahhh!! Right!! I have to prepare for the kickoff party for tomorrow. Ooboshi-kun and everyone else, I wholeheartedly invite you to take part in it. Anyways, I’ll be leaving early to prepare!”
Smoothly covering it up, Sumire left the gym hall.
That woman… I think I really have to fix her head, at least personality-wise.
As a certain degree of bloodlust awakened within me and I balled my fingers into a fist, Ozu, who was standing next to me, let out a conflicted groan.
“Kickoff party, huh. Can we really participate, as non-official members?”
“Well, it should be fine. If she says so.”
She calls it a kickoff party, but it’s probably just drinking juice and eating snacks, while Midori says how hard we worked and bla-bla, yadda-yadda.
“I see, then I guess I’ll join in,” said Ozu in response to my words.
“Yeah. I’ll go clean up the rest here, so you can go to the clubroom if you want.”
“Should I help you?”
“You’ve already done plenty. At least let me do this. I’ll end up becoming completely useless at this rate.”
“I think you’ve helped enough just with bringing us together as a group.”
“Just go home already,” I protested since Ozu didn’t budge an inch.
In the end, I had to shove Ozu out of the gym hall. On a side note, Otoi-san had already disappeared. Well, helping to clean up like this clearly doesn’t fit into her ‘my pace’ regime, so that’s understandable.
“……Ooboshi-kun, do you have a moment?”
When I was working, putting away the plastic chairs and small requisites, Midori called out to me.
“Uhm… I wanted to give you my thanks.”
“…After Ooboshi-kun started helping us out, we’ve come this far. At first I was totally thinking ‘Who’s that guy and what does he want with us’, but now… Now I feel that I’m really glad you came. That’s why—”
“Hold your horses.”
I stopped Midori as I raised my hand.
“The reason you guys from the theatre managed to get this far is only because of your own hard work. So don’t get the wrong idea about it, alright?”
“Also, I didn’t really do anything. The only ones giving you any advice were the Instructor, as well as Ozu and Otoi-san. So if you want to thank someone, thank them. And also, isn’t it a bit too early to do that? The competition is tomorrow, so save that for when it’s over.”
“………………Yeah, you’re right. I’ll definitely do my best tomorrow!”
“Yeah, we’ll be looking after you until the very end.”
Midori gave a slight nod, and continued.
“But I still have my doubts! That thing with Sumire-onee—Kageishi-sensei!”
“I told you already, you’ve got the wrong idea.”
“I can’t believe you that easily! Sumire-oneechan has a great personality and is a beauty, so there’s a lot of men who come running after her!”
“Well, it makes sense that you’d arrive at that conclusion.”
And, you’re totally calling her [Sumire-oneechan] right now, but is that fine? Well, her act was crumbling since the very first meeting, I guess.
“And, Ooboshi-kun just now was a bit…”
“Nothing! A-Anyway, no doing lewd things with Sumire-oneechan!”
After pointing at me with her index finger, Midori turned around and left.
It feels like recently, a lot of girls have been leaving me standing like this. Well, that’s not important right now.
“She really got that weirdness from her older sister.”
That’s what I thought.
“Kageishi-san ran over with a bright red face. Aki, did you pull some weird romcom move on her again?”
The second I entered the theatre club room, located on the 4th floor of the elective building, Ozu called out to me.
“Of course not. You sure she’s not just looking forward to the kickoff party that much?”
“I wonder… Ah, that reminds me, how are things looking with Iroha recently? There was some trouble before, but that’s looking better now, right?”
“Thanks to your assistance. But, how? It’s the same as always. She went back to sneaking into my room, just like before.”
“I’m happy to hear that my little sister is back to being happy again. Though it feels like Tsukinomori-san has been on the offense a bit more fiercely, as of recently…”
“Again, this is just for our acting as fake lovers…okay?”
The lie’s falsehoods become the truth. Mashiro seems to be acting as a real girlfriend now, but that’s not something I can tell him.
“Hmmm… Well, whatever. For me, I’m good as long as we get a good love triangle.”
“Don’t entertain yourself with another man’s battlefield. That’s in bad taste.”
“Ahaha. It’s my special right as your friend, how about that?”
“Take it easy on me…”
As Ozu and I had that altruistic conversation, it happened.
The door sprung open with great momentum, and a club member jumped inside.
“Yamada-chan just collapsed on the way to the clubroom!”
“What did you say?”
The first one to react was Sumire.
Yamada… That was the girl responsible for the role of heroine, wasn’t she.
“We brought her to the nurse’s office, but… she’s got a crazy fever. We called her family to bring her to a hospital, but—”
The girl hesitated a bit before she continued.
“—The nurse said that it’d be bad to force her to attend the competition tomorrow…”
Midori’s face went pale.
Yamada-san—a few days ago, I saw how she had been feeling a bit off. At that time, I respected her will to continue, but I told Midori and had her watch over Yamada-san. In response, there didn’t seem to be any more changes to her condition, but…
Being forced to hold up with the rehearsal and the stress of the nearing competition, her fatigue might have weakened her too much.
“I should’ve been more careful… Shit…!”
Forming a fist, I cursed.
General guidance of the club and watching over the condition of the members is my job. Even so, I let down my guard, and as a result, our important heroine just collapsed.
“…You’re wrong. I should’ve looked after my fellow members more carefully. I knew that she was practically pushing herself, but…”
“—Leave it at that. This isn’t the time to fight over responsibility. The competition is tomorrow, you know.”
Sumire’s sharp words cut through our regrets. Looking at us with a serious gaze, she put a finger to her lips, lost in thought. Right now, she really looked like a teacher.
Normally, she’d stand out in the exact opposite way than she should, but she still is a teacher that thinks dearly of her students. That’s why she can be relied upon, even if it’s just in situations like these.
It’s just as Sumire says. There’s no meaning in finding out who’s to blame. Though I’m interested in Yamada-san’s condition, we should just leave everything to the nurse for now. Hence, the only thing we should be thinking about is how to deal with the situation in regards to the real play tomorrow. Someone has to fill in the role of the heroine by tomorrow.
“Someone…anyone…please be a stand-in for Yamada-chan…”
Midori called out to the rest of the club members.
“But…even if you suddenly tell us…”
“I can’t memorise the whole script in one day, and I can’t just take the heavy responsibility of being the stand-in…”
And said club members muttered, showing no confidence in the slightest.
“Please… At this rate, we won’t be able to participate in the competition tomorrow. And then, the club will be disbanded… No, all our effort until now will all be wasted. That’s way too frustrating…!”
Midori once again appealed, her voice shaking.
But nobody would raise their hands. They were all shrinking back. Shrinking because of the sudden shift in quality that the theatre club had experienced these past weeks.
If this was the previous theatre club before our support, someone would’ve surely held up their hand. But not right now. They’re the comrades that have seen Midori’s and Yamada-san’s acting grow immensely. They must feel that they wouldn’t be able to live up to everyone’s expectations.
Being hit by this utter silence, Midori’s back started shivering.
“No way… After all our hard work…”
Watching her back, I went into thought. Seeing Yamada-san’s condition back then, I had anticipated that the chance for something like this to occur to be around 20%. And not just Yamada-san. It could’ve hit anyone in this group, and I simulated the various incidents if it was someone besides her. Hence, I have a way to solve this problem.
But, this is something I definitely cannot do on my own. Standing at the crossroads, the theatre club, for Midori and the others’ sakes, it’s the question of whether she has the determination to take a step forward, at the fork in her road.
“—I see how it is!”
The door swung open with great momentum once again, and a certain person entered the classroom. A cap and sunglasses hiding her eyes. Seeing that suspicious person, Midori’s eyes opened wide.
In a quiet voice that nobody could hear, I whispered the girl’s name.
Is this fine, Iroha? Right now, revealing yourself like this. Do you have the confidence to push through any obstacle right now?
Ozu and Sumire were both wondering about the identity of the instructor with conflicted expressions. Otoi-san, who already knew, kept calmly sucking on her chupadrops.
Well, that makes sense. Of course they’d be confused.
“I’ll be the stand-in!”
Taking off the cap and sunglasses, the objects meant to hide her identity, she now looked like a normal high school girl.
With beautiful, bright, golden-yellow hair, her eyes were filled with determination, and a smile flashed across her lips.
“I’ll show you my Hollywood-class acting skills, everyone from the theatre club~”
Kohinata Iroha was standing there, revealing her annoying self.
“Eh… You, aren’t you the first-year… Kohinata-san?!”
“Isn’t her character a bit different from what I heard…? Wait, our instructor was Kohinata-san all this time?!”
The club members all started to get noisy at this sudden reveal.
Naturally, Ozu was at a loss for words. After all, he was one of the people who was never allowed to find out about her acting skill. Naturally, he’s not the type to leak speak of other people’s secrets. However, seeing as they lived in the same apartment, the risk that some sort of information might be leaked to their mother was too high. That’s why we kept hiding Iroha’s work, even among our comrades.
Showing herself right here meant taking the risk of her mother finding out, showing the determination to stand against her if it came down to it.
—I see. So Iroha has finally made up her mind.
The one who had asked me to hide the fact that she was the voice actress for the [5th Floor Alliance] was none other than Iroha herself. All I did was grant her that wish. She didn’t hold the confidence that she’d be able to stand her ground against her mother, nor fight for her own freedom.
But, being a part of the theatre club all this time, she received the stimulus, and wished to be able to act on her own behalf, showing herself to everyone. After giving it deep thought, she must’ve decided that it was time to move forward.
Fine by me. If you’re ready for it, I’ll follow suit. Be it your mother, or anyone else who tries to resist you, I’ll give you my full devotion, and make them accept your outstanding talent!
“While guiding and supporting all of you, I kept constant watch on all of you, all the while remembering all the lines. Naturally I remembered the heroine’s as well, so let me do it.”
“But this is the theatre club’s problem… Is that really fine?”
Midori asked, still uncertain of Iroha’s true intentions. In response, Iroha let out a ‘Kyahaha~’ laugh.
“Of course it is! Not being able to show off all of your efforts. What kind of a shitty game is this~~or something like that!”
“S-Shitty… Her character really is completely different from what I’ve heard from the rumors… Ah, but, the instructor has been like this after all…”
“Now now, no need to sweat the small stuffies~ I don’t want to see all of your hard work go to waste! And also, this stage is connected to my dream~”
“No saucy speech right now! Let me participate, or not?! Your responses are either Yes! or No!~ Midori-san, your judgement!”
Midori’s question was cut out of the conversation, and Iroha posed the ultimatum with her usual annoying behaviour. Iroha’s serious feelings were probably transmitted through that joking of hers, because Midori gave a strong nod.
“Kohinata-san… No, Instructor! Please help us!”
“Alright! Carrying Yamada-chan’s feelings on my back, I will bring you all to victory!”
And thus, the heroine role was handed to Iroha, as we approached the day of the competition.
「So Iroha was acting, huh. To think you’d even hide it from me.」
「Sorry about that, keeping it quiet all this time.」
「No, you couldn’t help it. It would’ve been a helluva a lot of trouble if Mother found out… But, it’s not just been the theatre club, right? She’s also been acting with the [5th Floor Alliance], wasn’t she?」
「Yeah, and I have no intentions of hiding it anymore.」
「I see. I had no idea that you were this much of an important existence to Iroha.」
「As if. Iroha only has you, Aki. I’ve confirmed that now. 」