WA2 Light Novel – Volume 1, Session 09

15 days until the show

Haruki’s Piece

“I feel kind of bad, Takeya. I didn’t realize things would end up like this.”

Friday, the day after the Light Music Club became active, after school…

As I couldn’t use Music Room #1 today, I was walking with Takeya to the station, planning to practice at home.

“End up like what? Inviting Setsuna Ogiso to join? Kazusa Touma deciding to go for it? Or me ending up in charge of synths?”
“Ah… All of it.”

I had actually been talking about the last thing, but when I thought about it, all of that stuff was my doing.

“Hey, don’t worry about it. Shoot, I’d think you’d be proud of yourself. You managed to bring in two powerhouses and save the Light Music Club from collapsing. I still can’t hardly believe it.”
“You can’t give me all the credit for that. The two of them just joined because they’re nice people.”
“Don’t be so modest. Seriously, though, what happened? You’ve never had any relationships with girls, and suddenly you’ve pulled two top-drawer babes at once.”
“How many times do I have to tell you it’s not like that?”
“…Haruki, don’t be like me. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that, but I’ll tell you anyway.”
“What the hell… No, I don’t need your advice!”

Me? Become like Takeya? There was absolutely no need to worry about that.

Neither of those girls would ever be interested in someone like me to begin with.

The whole idea was completely backwards.

“Man, though… Just thinking about all that programming is making my shoulders stiffen up.”

I followed along with Takeya’s subject change.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’ll be pretty draining. Though, I have to keep practicing like crazy, or Touma might throw me out before the show even happens…”
“Why are you complaining? You get to play your favorite song.”
“Well, yeah…”

I was going to play “White Album” in a live show. How could I not be happy about that?

“Hey, guys, you headed home?”

We turned to find Io, her bag hanging from her shoulder.

“Oh, hey, Io.”
“I heard you got Touma-san into the Light Music Club, too? Setsuna told me yesterday. She seemed thrilled.”
“You knew about this before I did…?”

Takeya looked a little put out by this.

“I’m really impressed, Haruki. I didn’t think you could get along with someone like Touma-san.”
“Ogiso had a lot more to do with it than I did. She did most of the convincing.”
“Hmm…? Well, anyway, that’s awesome. Takeya, I already know you didn’t really do anything, so you can relax.”
“Io, why do you have to drag me into this?”
“Well, I know it’s a fact. You’re terrified of Touma-san.”

Did they really have to jump straight into fighting like this?

“Shouldn’t you guys be practicing, though?”
“Haruki and I will be hard at work at home. We’re gonna be pretty busy until the festival.”
“Hmm. Man, now I feel like I’m doing something wrong, heading to cram school…”
“Io, you wouldn’t happen to play any instruments, would you?”
“Afraid not. Wish I could, though. All I’ve ever done is basketball.”
“You’ve got plenty of stamina, and that’s about it, haha.”
“Shut up, Takeya. I know you waste your energy on a regular basis.”
“What was that?”
“Will you two quit fighting!”

I sighed. The two of them kept grumbling each other until I got off at my stop. Sometimes they made it hard to tell whether they liked or hated each other.

Once I was finally alone, I pumped myself up to get to work.

I got off the train, passed through the ticket gate—and that’s when it happened.


Someone called out to me. I gave a jump and turned around.

“Ah, it is you! It’s been a little while, Kitahara-san.”

I knew this face very well. Actually, I knew who it was even before I turned around. Because this was a voice I had heard many times, singing—even before I heard Ogiso sing.

Tomo Yanagihara, Class 2-C.

The one who had once thrown the Light Music Club into disarray, driving it to its dissolution—there she was, an easygoing smile pasted on her face.

“What a crazy coincidence! Oh, do you live around here?”
“What are you doing here?”

Apparently, we had been on the same train.

“What am I doing? I’m on my way to hang out with someone. I mean, obviously.”

Yanagihara gave a teasing laugh. I could only guess what the look on my face must be.

“Oh, yeah, I heard almost everyone quit the Light Music Club. That’s too bad.”
“You don’t feel responsible for that at all? Whose fault do you think…”
“Me? Oh, I don’t know about that. If anything, I would say I’m the victim here. I had to sacrifice my big chance.”

Pointless. Trying to talk to her was pointless.

“Come on, don’t glare at me like that. We were band mates once, remember? I mean, sure, you were just a substitute, but…”

Yanagihara smiled as she said this, but her face quickly changed.

“…I really do regret it,” she muttered bitterly. “Singing in the school festival show would have put me at the front of everyone’s mind. I could have gotten so many more votes.”

Indeed—she had decided to sing with the Light Music Club purely for the sake of improving her chances in the Miss Houjou High contest.

The original Miss Houjou contest—the one held by Houjou University—was the kind of event that drew press coverage from local TV stations. Several past participants had drawn the eye of big players in the entertainment industry.

Rumor had it that Yanagihara was serious about becoming a performer, which meant she must be desperate to prove herself in high school, even before participating in the university-level contest. With her looks, at the very least, she could probably pass for an entertainer. But, last year, Yanagihara had taken second place. Not because of her personality, but because of the presence of Ogiso, the undefeated queen.

This year, in pursuit of her revenge, she had set her eye on the Light Music Club—bringing every member into the palm of her hand, and leading us to destruction.

“I mean, don’t you have some responsibility for the club breaking up, Kitahara-san? You could have just left, like everyone else.”

Yes—the only one who hadn’t been ensnared by this girl, with her actress-level looks, was me, because I hadn’t been interested in her in the first place. Looking at her from that outside perspective, Yanagihara’s true personality was plain to see—and her letting that slip around the other members was probably the source of the whole conflict, now that I thought about it.

“Why are you still carrying that guitar around, by the way? What, are you still planning to play the show? Everyone left, remember? Are you and Iizuka-san going to play a guitar duet? Well, I suppose that could be interesting to see.”

Yanagihara chuckled contemptuously.

“Listen, Kitahara-san, if you beg me, I’ll come back. I don’t know why, but you wanted a female vocalist specifically, right?”

I had almost forgotten about that. Of course she had to bring it up.

“Maybe. But I’m not bringing you back in, Yanagihara. Even a duet would be preferable to that.”

At this, irritation came plainly into Yanagihara’s face.

“…Oh, really! Feel free to embarrass yourself, then!”

After spitting this out, she stormed away.

“Dammit… Why did I have to run into her?”

I sighed, then looked up at the sky and took a deep breath to fix my mood.

Unbeknownst to her, we had two new members. And one of them was the Miss Houjou High she so detested.

I would show her—the show was going to be a smash, and Ogiso would win for the third year in a row.

I couldn’t afford to bog us down.

I pumped myself up again. It was time to practice.

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