Saturday, August 4, 2012

[Piano v3] Chapter 3: Rhythm Section

Here's the completed chapter. Naomi's quite the homosexual magnet.


As I mentioned before, our school had a large music hall that was capable of accommodating more than a thousand people.

The size of the music hall was huge; and sometimes, bands from town would even use the music hall as a venue for their concerts. It was a facility our school was proud of.

However, Kagurazaka said this as she sat down in the last row of seats, looking downwards with her hands crossed in front of her chest:

"This won't do. This venue isn't suitable."


The first-year male student and I asked at the same time. He was one of the first-year members of the school festival committee, and had followed us here earlier.

"Because we're a rock band!" Chiaki stuck her head out from behind and answered before Kagurazaka-senpai could. "Think back to the chorus contestthe people in the audience couldn't even stand up to enjoy themselves, right?"

I faced the stage and looked at the audience's seats, which were arranged in the shape of a bowl. It was just as she said. If people in the audience became engrossed in the beats of the rock music and started shaking their heads about, a slight careless movement could result in an unfortunate accident, with the audience member falling over and getting injured, or even dying.

"Well, since most of the stage lighting is located in the sports hall, I think it'd much better to hold our performance there."

A month had passed, and the school festival was already drawing close.

Because the sports hall and the music hall were both available as venues for the school festival, there wasn't a need to worry about not being able to accommodate all the music performances and stage performances.

Well...... that's only if Senpai and Chiaki don't make any unreasonable requests.

"Urm...... but the sports hall is already booked for the Drama Club's performance and the class performances. Moreover, the Karate Club forced themselves onto the schedule just yesterday, as they wanted to do a martial arts performance, so the schedule for that venue is full. Can't we just have all the musical performances here?"

The committee member spoke to Senpai in a polite manner, and observed her with a timid look on his face. He was probably stuck with the task of following us around till everything was settled, as the festival committee had probably anticipated that the Folk Music Research Club would create some sort of problem. Sorry—I apologized in my heart and slapped my palms together.

"To put it more explicitly, the stage is the furnace of our passion, and is something I cannot control. The audience will definitely jump about in excitement, and some may even rush up to the front of the stage! And if anyone got hurt, it'd be a problem for the committee, right?"

The committee member could only answer with an unintelligible "Ah, u-uhh......" as Kagurazaka-senpai pressed on. She had cleverly turned her selfish request into a matter of public safety, essentially forcing the committee member to accept her request as a precautionary measure against certain disaster. Senpai's as cunning as ever.

"I-I'll discuss it with the rest of the committee."

The committee member ended up running away from us. And as I looked at his back, I prayed that he would be luckier in the future.

"Oh right, I'll be going to the student council's office for a while," said Senpai, with her arms crossed in front of her chest.

"What for?"

"Obviously to check on the clubs that'll be using the sports hall. From here on out, we'll have to be on the lookout for some way to cut into the queue."

Senpai's hair swayed about like the tail feathers of a cuckoo as she ran away. I let out a sigh as I watched her disappear. She may look like someone that does things sloppily, but when she's hatching a ploy or something, she really gets serious. I wonder what she'll be like when she steps out into society.

"Things will be getting busy!"

Said Chiaki in enjoyment. During those busy days, there was no time for me to catch my breath after school. Though the chorus contest had already finished, the sports day was fast approaching, and after that was the school festival. Those hectic high school days, filled with all sorts of activities, continued on until November.

Chiaki and I were headed to the music preparatory room located at the other end of the corridor. There, Mafuyu was looking for pieces that could potentially be used for our performance at the school festival. She was working hard because of Kagurazaka-senpai's willful words: "I do not wish to perform the same piece twice on stage. We've gathered ourselves a group of interesting people, so I want to try dabbling in classical music."

However, someone at the other end of the corridor spotted Chiaki and me and started walking towards us. She stopped in front of us and stretched her arms out, preventing Chiaki and me from moving forward. The person before us was none other than the music teacher that wore the shortest skirtMiss Maki.

"It's best...... to leave Mafuyu alone for now."

"Did something happen?"


Miss Maki jerked her thumb towards the door of the preparation room. There wasn't any need for her to explain any further.

Sounds of the piano endlessly flowed from the room.

The three of us stood in the middle of the corridor for a long time, listening to the music that had passed through the wooden door and swirled around our ears. The gentle stampede of the passage sounded just like the footsteps amid the crowd.

"...... I've heard this piece somewhere."

Chiaki mumbled.

"It's <Limoges>."

It was the twelfth movement of Modest Mussorgsky's <Pictures at an Exhibition>. It was a piano suite that consisted of diverse elements that had been inspired by the paintings of a deceased friend.

Rimsky-Korsakov brought about a renaissance of the piece that stimulated the imagination of musicians around the world, giving birth to all sorts of different transcriptions of the orchestra pieces. I never quite liked that piece, as the original version sounded very crude; and I had never once bought it—however, my opinion of the piece changed when I heard the sounds of the piano on the other side of the door.

But Mafuyu hasn't recorded this piece before. I unconsciously walked next to the wooden door and pressed my forehead against it, to listen attentively to the sounds coming from inside. The tempo of the tune coming from the room was much slower than the tempo of the <Limoges> typically played by other pianists. A slightly depressing atmosphere was mixed into the light and skillful tune.

It felt as though I could see my destination before me, after walking down the path in the marketplace.

The rapid steps were suddenly interrupted by a thick and heavy chord. I was shocked motionless in front of the dark entrance.

It was the thirteenth movement—<Catacombæ>.

The sounds of my heartbeat and my breathing reverberated in the cold air.

A sense of emptiness was brought about by the weakening sounds of the piano.

It was just unbelievable. I couldn't believe it, even after hearing it with my own ears.

Mafuyu was playing the piano, and she didn't play any single one of the notes wrong.

Mafuyu's fingers have really......

Not long after, the rays of the setting sun started faintly penetrating through the lingering smell of mildew, bones, death and dust. It was <Promenade>, the fourteenth movement—

Just then, the music from the piano suddenly stopped. I pulled my face away from the door in shock, and heard the tapping of footsteps. The door suddenly opened with great force.

Mafuyu's face turned red the moment her eyes met mine. She said furiously,

"S-Stop listening while you just stand there!"

"Eh, oh, sorry...... Does that mean we can go in and listen?"

"...... N-No!"

So we can't go in, and we can't stay outside? What do you want us to do then? Mafuyu slammed the door shut after stepping back into the room. We then heard the door lock. Eh? Hey!

"Why are you locking yourself in the room?" I immediately knocked on the door. "Let us in! I need to grab all sorts of musical scores from in there!"

"You can't!"

Why? Does Mafuyu have to get that angry just because someone heard her play the piano? Just as I was about to yell at the door, someone suddenly pulled the back of my collar.

"Guee!" I unintentionally let out a strange noise.

"You are not to cause a ruckus here. Just leave her alone for now."

With that said, Miss Maki began walking towards the stairs, dragging me with her. My limbs were thrashing about wildly, as I was about to asphyxiate. Chiaki stared bitterly at the door of the preparatory room for a while, then followed after us.

"Actually, Mafuyu has been practicing on the piano in the preparatory room for a few days already, and has always acted the same as she did just now. She seemed to have been set ablaze after looking at various scores. And before I knew it, she was already playing the piano, completely ignoring my presence next to her."

Miss Maki said that in a low voice at the corner of the stairs. Chiaki and I exchanged looks.

"Have her fingers...... really recovered? Is that true?" asked Chiaki.

"You two have heard about it already?"

I nodded my head slightly. What a perfect performance it was! I had always thought I would never get to hear Mafuyu's piano again, so I was very surprised when I heard the news from Julien. But the impact was even greater when I listened to her performance earlier.

"So her impairment seems to be something caused by psychological issues...... I guess? Because of that, I feel it's still too early to be happy about the recovery of her fingers. But in any case, it looks like that girl is planning to return to the embrace of the piano. However, because Maestro Ebisawa would probably kick up a fuss out of happiness if she were to practice at home, she's only practicing at school for now."

That's because there are still some knots in the relationship between Mafuyu and Ebichiri; and moreover, Mafuyu's a really stubborn girl.

Then again, I never thought she would recover to such a state.

"Since this is quite a pickle, please do not disturb her for now."

"W-When did Mafuyu start practicing the piano again?"

"Hmm? Last month, I think?"

So it's true she only started practicing after she reunited with Julien, huh? Everything made sense if that was the cause.

Even the doctors said we could only wait—and Julien was the one we were waiting for.

Before walking down the stairs, Miss Maki sternly instructed us to not get close to the preparatory room if sounds of the piano were coming from inside. Then, she left Chiaki and I at the corner. I leaned against the stairs.

"Mafuyu...... that's just great."

Chiaki murmured, as she looked up the stairs. We could no longer hear music coming from above us.

"Are you not happy about it, Nao? Mafuyu can play the piano again, you know?"

"No, I'm happy. But even though I'm happy......"

"Speak your mind. Come on?"

Chiaki grabbed me by the collar and rattled me about. I revealed my true feelings.

"It's frustrating. Even I find myself to be a huge idiot."

"What do you mean?"

All of today, I've just been pulled around by the scruff of my neck...... When Chiaki questioned me further, I told her about everything in my heartabout how Mafuyu had changed because of her reunion with Julien, and about how I couldn't do anything.

When I finished telling her everything, Chiaki released me and stared in the direction of the window.

"...... Is that so?"

Her restless voice landed at her feet.

"So Nao's feeling frustrated because he couldn't do anything for Mafuyu?"

"Mmm...... yeah."

What's wrong with Chiaki? Her back looked very small.

It felt as though she would cry the moment I touched her hands.

"That's right—it's painful precisely because the person's right next to us."

It seemed like Chiaki was mumbling to herself. I thought about what she said for a while, and just when I was about to say something back to her, she quickly turned her head around.

"Well then, what would you have done back then?"

Chiaki's usual determined gaze had returned to her eyes. She then greeted my stomach with a solid punch, which landed squarely with a thud. Ouch! I staggered back a few steps as I pressed my hands against my stomach.

"...... I would've gone back home and listened to <London Calling> beneath my blanket."

"You idiot. Listen to it yourself."

This time around, she rewarded my head with a slap. What do you want me to do then?

"Do I even have to say it? Practice."

The term "rhythm section" originally started out as a jazz term describing the combination of the piano, the bass, and the drums. These instruments didn't need to perform solo, and instead, only had to ensure that the tempo of the song went on without a hitch. For our band, this was Chiaki and me.

The general opinion was that the quality of a band wasn't determined by the talent of its striking vocalists or guitarists, but by the rigor of its rhythm section. One of the most notable examples would be a band like Green Day.

"...... So...... why am I doing push-ups here?"

"Because you lack physical strength! Hey, no resting!"

Chiaki stepped on the pedals of the bass drum as my sweat dripped onto the floor of what should've been the air-conditioned practice room of the Folk Music Research Club. I'm not bragging here, but the maximum number of push-ups I can do is ten.

"Listen. Nao was drained at the end of our live performance at the live house, no? Mafuyu always rushes ahead of us when we play as a band, so we need to step it up."

"Now that you mention it...... I am really weak."

"You should at least train till you can lift one of the guitar amplifiers with a single hand."

"How could I possibly lift that?"

"I can."

Whoa! She actually showed me. Put that down, that's really dangerous.

"No rest. Your goal is thirty push-ups."

Chiaki pressed me against the floor again. Please, just spare me from this already.

"It somehow feels like your perseverance is lacking. I'll be sitting on your back now."

"No way, you're heavy! I'll get squashed!"

I struggled nonstop as Chiaki squashed me under her butt. The door opened slightly; and through the small slit, a pair of sapphire eyes timidly peeking into the room could be seen. Chiaki stood up immediately when she noticed.

"Mafuyu, what are you doing?"


Chiaki grabbed Mafuyu's hands and pulled her into the room. I'm saved. I stood up to pat the dust off my knees.

"...... S-Sorry...... for just now."

"Mmm, I'll spare you this time, since you're being honest." Why's Chiaki acting stuck-up? "But someone was engrossed in her piano even though we had something important to do as a band. The camaraderie of the band was wrecked in an instant by Mafu-Mafu."

"I was not engrossed in it!" Mafuyu tried her hardest to lie.

"Well then, I will entrust Mafuyu with a task related to the band."

"...... Which is?"

"Sit on Nao's back."

"Why?" "What's with that!?"

"Because you can practice the guitar even if you're sitting on Nao's back! I have to drum, you know."

"That's not the point."

With her eyes narrowed into slits, Chiaki thrust her drumstick at my throat.

"Alright, you still have thirty more to go, so persevere. Give me some clean push-ups, and match them to the beats of my drum."

That's scary! I dropped to the floor without a second thought. Having experienced the same dominating air of that sports-oriented girl, Mafuyu did just as Chiaki instructed and sat down gingerly on my back.

"Min! On! Fight!!! Min! On! Fight!!!" [TLNote: Min-on's short for their band, as mentioned in chapter 4 vol 2]

Chiaki began shouting out some strange cheer as she drummed in beats of four. What's with this? Is she a school bully? Moreover, Mafuyu's pressing down on my back with her entire weight—

Eh? She's not as heavy as I thought. Or rather, she's inconceivably light. Is her body really that slender? Come to think of it, didn't I climb the hills together with Mafuyu while carrying our luggage? Push-ups are nothing compared to that.

The beats of the drum suddenly came to a stop.

"I'm so pissed! Why's Nao doing those push-ups with an indifferent expression on your face!?"

Because you asked me to!

"You looked like you were in pain when I was sitting on you. Ah, darn. How much do you weigh, Mafuyu?"

"Eh, urm......" I didn't catch her muffled answer.

"Unforgivable! I'll be sitting on Nao as well!"

"Why!? Don't, I'll die!" "It'll be fine, so stop moving!" "W-We are falling!"

I couldn't breathe under the combined weight of the two girls. But at that moment, Kagurazaka-senpai just happened to open the door; and when she saw the plight I was in, her eyes opened wide.

"H-Help me—"

Upon hearing my pitiful plea, a sinister smile appeared on Senpai's face.

"Where should I sit? On your head?"

"No, wait, don't do that!" Why did things turn out like this!?

When I returned home, I didn't catch any glimpses of Tetsurou anywhere in the house, and his shoes weren't in the shoe cabinet when I looked inside. That meant there was a high possibility he had stayed out for a drink with his friends (Tetsurou usually wore sandals when he went out). Thank god, I don't have to prepare dinner tonight. I didn't have much of an appetite after being put through that strange form of torture. Not to mention, my back's still aching......

After I finished changing in my bedroom on the second floor, I took out my bass. The words Chiaki had said to me during the day were still echoing in my mind:

"So Nao's feeling frustrated because he couldn't do anything for Mafuyu?"

Mafuyu, Kagurazaka-senpai, and Furukawa, whom we had performed with on the same stage last month—

And more than anyone else, Julien.

After thinking about the numerous outstanding musicians I had come into contact with, and the music I had heard them play, I was left with a complicated feeling inside me. I understood how immature I was, but mixed in with that immaturity was also a sense of helplessness.

If this continues, I'll eventually become someone who just happened to be in the band by chance. I'll even end up dragging the band down. Furukawa had once said to me, straight to my face, "You should quit for the sake of the band." My reply to that was nothing more than just a farce.

What should I do? What step should I take next? I had no idea at all.

It wasn't until I had met Julien that I finally saw it.

I understood the question I had to answer.

Am I able to become Mafuyu's greatest pillar of support?

Not just for the guitarist Mafuyu, but also for the pianist Mafuyu—can I continue to stay by her side by taking on the role of the heart that pumps her blood and life?

The timbre of Mafuyu's piano was bright and clear, and its tempo, forceful and dynamic. Some of the conductors who had performed with her before had commented that her piano was "as forceful as the river that continuously erodes the fjords." The reason Mafuyu's playing was harshly criticized was because there were very few orchestras capable of accepting the force of her playing. And so, Mafuyu's fingers became frozen, and the sound of her piano disappeared before she could find her true place of belonging.

I used to think she would never return to the embrace of the piano; but that wasn't the case. Perhaps Mafuyu is just searching for that place.

Someone who could be next to her, or close to her, while supporting her playing—a place that existed forever.

Do I...... have the right to be there?

Perhaps Yuri's the only person that can reach that place for now.

But how much further do I have to walk before I can reach that place as well?

I turned on the stereo and inserted a CD. My fingers searched for the simple overlapping bass lines that could accompany Mafuyu's solo of Rachmaninoff's <Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini>. Mafuyu's piano led the orchestra methodically as she rapidly changed the tempo of the variation.

I gradually lost hold of the sound of my bass. I couldn't keep up with her pace at all.

In my mind was the image of Mafuyu, sitting before the piano as she appeared on feketerigó's stage. And in front of the raised wings that gave off a black luster, I saw the faintly glowing drums, as well as Chiaki's brown-colored hair. When I turned my head, I saw the back of Kagurazaka-senpai. She was standing there, holding tightly to the microphone on the stand, facing the passionate audience.

It began with a piano chorale that rose from the silence, followed by the careful integration of the drums via fill-ins. Next, came the clean overlapping tones of the guitar, and finally, the coarse vocals of Senpai, that could seep into the deepest areas of the body. [TLNote: Fill-in is a sort of drumming technique or something, not sure if named similarly in English]

But where do I stand?

How should I go about carving out my rhythm on the stage?

I had no idea. That place was just too far, too high, and too dazzling for me.

Rachmaninoff's piece ended, and the stereo at the head of my bed stopped playing. I was pulled back to reality, back to my room. I realized I had been deep in thought while I was sitting on my bed with my bass in my arms.

What should I do?

In my head, Chiaki's voice replied with, "Do I even have to say it? Practice." She's right.

I really want to plug my bass into some amplifiers and practice at the loudest volume possible! But there was a limit to the time I could spend in the school's practice room; and there, I'd be distracted by Senpai's and Mafuyu's timbres anyway. And although Tetsurou wasn't at home, I couldn't use the speakers in the living room, as I'd disturb the neighbors if I did that.

If that's the case—

I checked the time on the clock. It's not eight yet, so I should be able to make it. After packing my bass into its case, I jumped on my bike and left the house.

The southern entrance of the sizable train station was about twenty minutes away from my house by bicycle, and the building Nagashima's Musical Instrument Store was located in, was just a few steps away from the overhead bridge, at the boundary between the shopping street and the residential area.

It was Senpai's workplace, and I had been under their care on numerous occasions. There were three recording studios on the third floor that were rather small and cramped, but because Senpai knew the store manager's weaknesses (though she called it a privilege of the employees), the store manager allowed the members of feketerigó to use the studios for free, as long as they weren't occupied.

I did pity the store manager, but as a poor student, I was grateful for the privilege as well.

"Eh? Nao?"

When I walked into the storewhere even the walking space was filled with guitarsthe store manager revealed his face from behind a music magazine. Looks like he's manning the store by himself. His hair was tied up roughly behind his head, making him look like a hippie; and that appearance of his made the store seem even more like it was on the brink of collapse. There aren't any customers around today as well.

"Did you guys agree to meet up beforehand? She already went up," said the store manager, pointing towards the ceiling.

"...... Eh? Are you referring to...... Senpai?"

"Nope. Chi-chan."

Upon opening the ridiculously heavy soundproof door, I was greeted by sounds of intense drumming. However, the beats stopped all of a sudden.

"...... Nao?"

Chiaki was sitting behind the drums, her forehead glistering with sweat. When she saw me, she froze with her mouth opened wide. The same applied to me as well. Why is Chiaki here? Was all that practicing we did earlier not enough for her?

"Hey? What's going on here?"

Chiaki walked in my direction. Her face was giving off a radiant glow. Even though it was already October, she was only wearing a T-shirt and short pants. Her outfit was very similar to what she had worn during our summer training camp. Then again, it is really hot and stuffy in these studios.

"Eh? Are you actually here to practice?" She asked, when she saw my guitar case.

"Y-Yeah...... I want to practice with amplifiers."

"You'll have to stop practicing if any customers show up." With that said, the store manager pushed me into the studio and closed the door. The smell of tobacco oozing from the walls was mixed in with the sweet scent of sweat. And for some unknown reason, Chiaki was happily setting up the bass's amplifiers for me.

"What a coincidence. I'm really surprised. I was feeling really uneasy because of the lack of practice today. Did Nao come because you found the amount of push-ups to be lacking as well?"

"Nope, I've done enough push-ups. Also, am I bothering you here?"

"Not at all. Because together, we're the rhythm section, so It'd be better for us to play together."

But if possible, I hope to practice alone on my bass......

"Oh well, let's start! Just treat me as a metronome and play your bass!"

After beginning our practice, I realized it was just as Chiaki said—the bass and the drums were not enemies. Just like the sounds of heartbeats and footsteps, the instruments resonated with each other to move forward. The quavers, semiquavers and triplets—Chiaki supported my stiff wobbles with her steady steps.

What an inconceivable feeling. Come to think of it, this might be my first time playing alone with Chiaki. Normally, the sound of Kagurazaka-senpai's guitar (like the scattering rays of the sun) or Mafuyu's guitar (akin to the crystallization of the cold air in a night bathed in the moon's light) would be mixed in between us.

It's mind-boggling. Compared to the sound of the drums when Chiaki was drumming alone by herself, the sounds the drums made now were much brighter—I could clearly hear each and every beat from her. Each time I pumped blood into my bass using my fingers, the comfortable sound of a footstep would reciprocate. I could almost grasp the glimmer of the two hi-hat cymbals with my hands.

"...... Wait, Chiaki. Let's rest for a while."

We had been practicing nonstop for god knows how long, and thanks to my sore wrists, it was really difficult for me to even pull my fingers off the strings to ask Chiaki to stop. Drops of sweat were trickling down my hair.

"Mafuyu would be able to continue playing, you know?"

The red-faced Chiaki said that provocatively, as she swerved her knees and shoulders happily.

"Nope, sorry. I can't do that."

I took a gulp from my water bottle. I finally kind of understood why Mafuyu always played nonstopas though she had been bitten by a tarantula or somethingwhen she played together with Chiaki.

Because the "legs" moved on their own. There was no way we could stop.

With a smile on her face, Chiaki stood up from her chair and snatched the bottle of water away from my hands and chugged it. Water seeped out of the corners of her mouth and flowed down her neck, onto her collarbone.


After sighing, Chiaki took her hair clip off and shook her head. Some of her hair was stuck to her wet lips. I quickly diverted my gaze for some strange reason.

"It has been a while since I had so much fun drumming."

"...... Aren't you having fun all the time?"


Chiaki gave me a puzzled look as she stretched her wrists while holding her drumsticks.

"That's not true. I actually get really nervous whenever Senpai or Mafuyu is around."

I looked at Chiaki's face in shock.

"Those two girls...... It's not nice to say this, but they're practically monsters. I feel really uneasy whenever I'm drumming behind them. There are times when I think to myself, 'Can I really sit here?'"

I slowly sat myself down on a round chair with uneven legs, and stared blankly at Chiaki's face. It looked like she was gazing at a faraway place.

So she experiences such feelings...... as well, huh?

"I know, Senpai invited me into the band without any expectations of me as a drummer, and there's nothing I can do about that. But someday, I hope she'll say to me 'We cannot do without you.'"

There was nothing I could say. Chiaki was around Senpai much earlier than I was, and was deeply attracted by Senpai's tone. However, she too, knew she lacked the ability to respond to Senpai's timbre, and stuck closely to Senpai's side precisely because she knew that.

—That's exactly like me right now. However, she didn't avert her eyes, or run away from anything. She didn't stagnate because of her sense of helplessness. She wasn't defeated by it.

That's how impressive Chiaki is.

"...... Chiaki's already our indispensable drummer."

I tried telling her truthfully.

A brief look of loneliness flashed in Chiaki's eyes. Then, she smiled shyly and said,

"Thanks. I hope there'll come a day when Senpai will say that to me as well."

"Senpai has probably felt that way all along, yeah? You're already really impressive, Chiaki. To think you could come this far just because of your love for Senpai—"

Chiaki suddenly stretched her hand out and pressed the tip of her drumstick against my collarbone.


"Nao, you just said something really rude."

"Eh, why?"

"It's not only because I like Senpai. I'm not so simple that I would bind myself tightly to the band just for that reason alone."

"U-Urm...... S-Sorry."

Yeah...... her relationship with Mafuyu has improved as well, and she did always like hard rock, and never backed down when we ran into disagreements regarding song arrangements.

"...... But my biggest misfortune's probably the fact that the person I like has been together with me in the band since the very beginning."

Chiaki suddenly leaned weakly against the wall and murmured,

"I'm really satisfied with the way things are right now. Even if there's no progress in our relationship...... isn't it great for us to be together like this for now? I have no idea what I should do anyway. Moreover, our relationship may become irreparable if I try to force it to the next step, and we'll never be able to revert things to the way they were. If that's the case, I might as well keep things the way they are......"

I had no idea why, but I could more or less understand her feelings. If we're talking about Senpai, it'd be impossible for things to end well regardless of what they do, since they're both girls. No, Senpai would probably think things would work themselves out or something. I really can't tell if Senpai is serious about the things she says, but at the very least, they can be together in the same place for now.

But that won't do. Things won't go anywhere if Chiaki's content with the status quo. There'll come a day when Senpai finally outruns her, and after that, Chiaki won't be able to catch up to Senpai again.

It's the same for me as well.

I'm by Mafuyu's side, at a much closer distance than Julien is.

But that status quo is only something that happened by chance.

Just then, Chiaki began drumming on my shoulders, forehead and chest with her drumsticks. Owowow! I lifted my arms in an attempt to shield myself, but she ended up rapping on them mercilessly as well.

"H-Hold on, Chiaki, that really hurts! Why are you hitting me? What's wrong?"

"Nothing! Hey, rest time's over, so let's get going! We'll never catch up to them if all we do is rest."

Chiaki roared at me all of a sudden. She then tossed the water bottle back to me and returned to her seat behind the drums. What the heck's with that?

"Didn't Senpai tell you already? We'll be performing multiple suites during the school festival! And there'll be no time for both of us to rest, so we have to practice the variations we'll be playing during the transitions more."


Earlier in the day, when Senpai returned from the student council's office, she told us she had managed to obtain permission to use the sports hall. However, that meant the festival committee would have to reorganize the timetable all over again, so we didn't know how much time we would be allocated. Because of that, Senpai suggested we work on longer-duration pieces, to fully utilize the limited amount of time we would have. While the vocals and guitar solos would be separated by different phases, there would likely be no time for the rhythm section to pause and rest, so there was a high possibility that Chiaki and I would have to be the ones to maintain the heated atmosphere of the performance.

"There's no charm in Nao's bass at all!"


I kind of realized it myself as well, but that was still one of the most truthful, and yet harshest, criticisms I had ever received from someone else. I see, so it lacks charm......

"You know, you're coordinating with me too much. It might be safer for you to play along with the bass drums, but you'll never get into the spotlight like that. You are to add in a phrase whenever I pause. Understand?"

"...... Got it."

"Let's start from the intro!"

After twirling around Chiaki's right palm once, the drumstick landed straight on the floor tom. I squeezed a series of low notes in from behind the beats, which sounded as though they were digging into the ground. The cramped stage was once again engulfed by the passionate heartbeats.

When people say they "lose track of time," they really do mean that.

We continued playing, despite being drenched with sweat, and didn't even have time to catch our breaths. When I regained my senses, I heard someone singing. I was wondering to myself where I had heard that voice before; and then I realizedthe singer was none other than me. The bass and the drums formed the "shape" of the band, which we could then expand on using our imagination of all the notes. I couldn't bring myself not to sing. We didn't even notice the red light lighting up, signaling the end of our time. It was only when the store manager gingerly came in to stop us, switching off the power supply, that we realized we were exhausted—we immediately slumped to the floor.

I could still faintly feel the vibration of the strings on my fingersit felt just great.

From the next day onward, Chiaki and I decided to head to Nagashima's Musical Instrument Store every day after school to practice. Since Senpai cycled to and from school, and Mafuyu lived in the opposite direction of us, we were the only ones that took our particular train home.

"Let's practice in secret and surprise them!"

Chiaki said that to me excitedly. However—

"You and young man have been frequenting the studio a lot lately."

"Eh? W-What do you mean?"

Chiaki feigned ignorance when Senpai brought the topic up. Then again, Senpai was an employee there, so it was natural for her to know.

"To think that both of you were hiding it from Comrade Ebisawa and methat's very cold of you two."

"Because we were planning to surprise the hell out of you two during the actual performance, after we had undergone intensive training in secret!"

"Whatever. I shall make use of this time to deepen the friendship between Comrade Ebisawa and me."


Mafuyu, who was sneaking peeks at us while strumming her guitar in the corner of the room, suddenly jumped up in shock. Her hair rose for an instant.

"You guys probably don't know this, but Comrade Ebisawa recently came crying to me. While hugging me, she complained about how young man had been ignoring her, so I had no choice but to console her."

Eh? Me?

"Stupid Kyouko! I did not do that!"

Mafuyu stood up with her face flushed red. Quit staring at me! Don't worry, I didn't believe a single word Senpai said.

Senpai ended the topic frivolously by hugging Mafuyu tightly and tapping her gently on the shoulders. She then turned to face me and said,

"I'm glad to see that everyone's fired up."

But something happened that poured cold water over us.

It was after school on a Friday. Because the sports day was coming up soon, Chiaki and Mafuyu had been required to attend our class's practice for the approaching interclass fight, meaning they couldn't come to club activities till later. Since I had nothing to do, I decided to make a trip to the music preparatory room to look for some classical music scores we could use for our performance.

By the time I returned with a bundle of sloppily picked music scores, everyone had already gathered in the practice room. It seemed Chiaki and Mafuyu had rushed down to the clubroom straight from their practice—they were still wearing the blue and yellowish-green cheerleading outfits. However, the atmosphere in the room was incredibly heavy, and it seemed as though the colors of their costume had dulled because of that. Just what is happening here?

"It seems we've only been allocated twenty minutes for our performance......"

Said Chiaki, in a distressed mood.


"I'm talking about the amount of time we can use the sports hall for during the school festival. They said the performances by the Drama Club and Karate Club filled the schedule, so they could only spare us a maximum of twenty minutes."


I was at a loss for words. It would've been okay if we could have performed four to five songs in twenty minutes, but fifty minutes had gone by in a flash during our live performance back in summer.

There's no way Chiaki and I can show off the results of our special training with such a short amount of time. Everyone was taking longer than usual to prepare their instrument, probably because we were all depressed over the bad news.

"There's not much we can do with just twenty minutes. It'd be over as soon as we finished heating up the atmosphere."

"...... Kyouko, is there nothing we can do?"

Mafuyu looked at Kagurazaka-senpai, who was hugging one of her knees while sitting down on the long table in the room.

However, there was no response from Senpai. She didn't say anything at all. All she did was press her forehead against her knee.


"Mmm? Ah, nothing. Sorry. I was just...... thinking about something."

Senpai must've suffered a huge blow after hearing about the committee members' solution to the situation. However, knowing Senpai, she's probably already thinking of a way to break the deadlock......

"My eyes are drawn to their cheerleading outfits. What do you think, young man? Let's wear that for our performance."

"Please be more serious about this!"

I slammed my fist into the wall without even thinking. Senpai said unhappily,

"I am thinking about it seriously. I think they should be here soon."

"Who are you talking about?"

"Our enemies."

When the school bellthe putative indicator of the end of schoolrang at five, the door of our practice room was suddenly vigorously knocked on. But we were practicing at the time, so the room was filled with the sound of rock music. If I hadn't been leaning against the door, we wouldn't have even realized someone was knocking.

I raised my hand to stop our playing. That was my responsibility as part of the rhythm sectionthe music would come to a stop very quickly if the sound of either the bass or the drums was missing.

"...... Someone's here?"

Asked Senpai, as she wiped off her sweat. I nodded my head and opened the door.

"Hello, sorry for interrupting—"

The first person to step into the room, greeting us with a stupid-sounding voice, was a tall second-year student with a funny face. I had seen him a few times in the student council's officehe was indeed one of its members. Another four people followed in after him, making the practice room cramped as a result.

"Well then, Kagurazaka, as per our agreement, I have brought them here. You can discuss your matters over there."

The student council member waved his hand irresponsibly. The situation was a bit scary because behind him, were two stocky guys outfitted in karate gear. Additionally, there were also two...... girls(?) dressed in kinagashis, with pairs of daishos hanging off their waists. I had no idea what was going on; and Mafuyu had hid herself behind Chiaki in fear. [TLNote: Daisho wiki link here. Google for the image of kinagashi]

"Wait, why are we discussing in a place like this?"

Asked one of the girls in the vagabond garb unhappily.

"Didn't I explain already?"

The student council member answered in an irritatingly relaxed tone.

"Because the timing for the class performances is untouchable! And after also taking the masquerade contest into account, there's only two hours left to split amongst the Drama Club, Karate Club and Folk Music Research Club. Negotiate amongst yourselves if you have a problem with the times allotted by us."

Oh, those two samurai are from the Drama Club—so they came here in costume. I was shocked by their appearance earlier......

"See ya, Kagurazaka."

The student council member gently waved his hand and walked out of the practice room, pushing the samurai and the karate duos aside. In other words, the student council and the festival committee members have shoved the problematic scheduling onto us. How can they be so irresponsible?

"The Folk Music Research Club should perform in the music hall!"

Said the tall black belt irritatingly, as he sat on the bass amplifiers.

"That would solve everything. Things are only complicated because you guys cut in from behind."

"The Karate Club is the one that cut into the queue in the first place......"

One of the Drama Club members said that softly, and was greeted with a fierce stare from the orange belt. It felt like he shot a glance at me as well. Fear began to swell up in my heart.

However, Kagurazaka-senpai pushed me aside and stood before the black belt.

"Will the Karate Club take responsibility for any injuries that might occur during our performance?"

"What does that have to do with us? We've already decided to perform more than a hundred different variations of moves, and following our performance will be a talk given by a master. If the Folk Music Research Club wants to join the fray, then you guys will have to end your performance within ten minutes."

"Hold on, don't decide that by yourselves. We've already finished choosing our script!"

The vagabond interrupted.

"The Folk Music Research Club and Drama Club will have to finish everything within forty minutes! And even with that, we'd still be running really tight on time, given the amount of time we need to prepare!"

"What? You've got to be kidding me!"

"You should've told us you wanted to use the sports hall earlier! We've been preparing for this performance since last year!"

"Why don't you guys perform in the music hall as well? You can fit a larger audience in there."

"The stage isn't designed for plays! Stop talking if you don't know anything! Also, why don't you guys perform in the combative sports center instead?"

"Where the hell is our audience going to come from!?"

"It's not like anyone'll be interested anyway."

"What did you just say!? You asking for a fight?"

Why the hell are you people quarreling in our practice room!? I couldn't find a chance to interrupt them, so I looked around the room once to see if there was anyone who could save us. Just then, I saw Kagurazaka-senpai, who was standing beside me, lick her lips once. Oh god, this person is actually enjoying the atmosphere.

Right when Senpai was about to join the battle, the cymbals behind us suddenly crashed.

I reacted a second slower than the karate guy and the vagabondwho were about to duke it out with each otheras we all turned our heads around in shock.

"Stop stirring up a ruckus in our practice room! Now's not the time for us to be quarreling. We should at least find out how much time each club needs!"

Chiaki stood up furiously behind the drums.

The Drama Club members finally sat themselves down after Chiaki pointed her drumstick at them.

"We definitely need eighty minutes, and that's only for the performance. Preparing the large props will require another ten minutes."

Chiaki then directed her sight to the black belt.

"We need forty minutes for our performance."

There was really no time to spareeven if we excluded the Folk Music Research Club's performance. And we hadn't even factored in the time necessary for preparing and packing up.

"How much time does the Folk Music Research Club want?" asked the Drama Club member exasperatingly, as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.

"There'd never be enough time, even if we multiplied forever by itself. But conservatively speaking, we'd need at least an hour."

Kagurazaka-senpai uttered yet another one of her provocative lines. The two Karate Club members put on a haughty expression and grunted.

"That's definitely unacceptable. Darn, one of you two should just give up already."

"We're talking about the sports hall here, so the cultural clubs should just scram already!"

"What? I don't understand a single word of what you said!"

Another round of meaningless squabble. I stole another glance at Senpai's profileher face was filled with energy. My intuition told me "Ah, it's about time for her to say it."

"How about this then......"

She didn't yell, but her voice was still penetrating. Everyone that was quarreling stopped and looked at her silently. Senpai then said,

"Let's decide with a competition."

Club activities could generally be split into two broad categories: sports and arts. Taking these concepts a step further, some people even used these categories to differentiate people's personalities as well.

However, the Drama Club and the music clubs didn't fall so neatly into either of these two categories. Obviously, the two belonged in the "arts" group rather than the "sports" group, but because of their club activities, their members underwent physical training that was comparable to that of the sports clubs. It wasn't something to be underestimated.

It wasn't surprising that the Karate Club had accepted Senpai's proposal, but the Drama Club had actually accepted it as well. Though, in a sense, this situation was something to be expected.

"Let's settle it all on the sports day. It just so happens there's a very appropriate event known as the interclub relay race. Based on the results, the higher-ranked clubs can take away a relative amount of time from the lower-ranked ones. Simple?"

Oi, hold on......

"You guys are from the arts clubs, right? The relay race will be held separately for the arts and the sports clubs, won't it?"

The Karate Club member shrugged questioningly.

"Don't you worry. Comrade Aihara is a sports committee member."

Senpai patted Chiaki, who was standing at her side.

"We're very flexible about things like this. Other clubs might complain if the Karate Club participates in the arts clubs' race, but no one will say anything if the Drama Club and the Folk Music Research Club participate in the sports clubs' race."

"You guys might be fine with that, but don't decide on behalf of the Drama Club."

"We're okay with that as well."

The vagabond lady said that calmly. Black belt, orange belt and I were all surprised by her statement.

"You people are underestimating the training of the Drama Club! A karate match only lasts about three minutes or so, right? Each of our performances on stage is a battle that lasts an entire hour!"

That was quite the provocation from her, and was enough for everyone to reach a consensus.

After those guys left, Mafuyu, who had been hiding behind Chiaki the whole time, tugged Senpai's sleeves.

"How many people do we need for the relay race?"

"Exactly four. Because it's a 1600 m relay race!"

"...... I-I am participating as well?"

Mafuyu had always just watched from the sidelines during our physical education lessons, so she was obviously taken by surprise by Senpai's statement.

"Comrade Ebisawa is the reason they accepted my suggestion so quickly in the first place."

Senpai patted Mafuyu's head lovingly.

"But I....... will pull everyone down."

I'm also really slow......

"Don't I always say this? 'The battle was already over before it had even started.'"

Senpai placed her hands on Chiaki's and Mafuyu's shoulder, then looked in my direction with a slight smile on her face.

"Don't worry. They lost the moment they agreed to the competition."

After bidding Senpai goodbye on the way home, the three of us made our way towards the train station. I asked Chiaki,

"You jog in the morning, right?"

"Eh? Yeah, about six kilometers. But I used to do twelve."

"You're a monster," I thought to myself. I then followed up with,

"How early do you start?"

"Six-thirty...... Wait, why? Is Nao planning to join too? Really?"

"Mmm. I may not be able to complete the full course together with you, but I'll try my best to wake up early."

"Whoa! It'll be Nao's fault if it rains tomorrow!"

Shut up. Whatever you say.

Just then, Mafuyu, who was walking on the other side of me, tugged on my sleeve.

"...... Is it because of the relay race?"

"That's one of the reasons."

More importantly, it'd be shameful if both Mafuyu and I were to suffer breathing difficulties while on stage. But that's just too embarrassing to say out loud. Mafuyu stared at the guitar case hanging off my back and mumbled, with an almost inaudible voice,

"Together...... with Chiaki......"

And the day ended like that. I was surprised I actually managed to wake up early on the Monday of the following week.

Six-thirty in the morning. I went to school together with Chiaki for our morning practice. We ran to the staff room to pick up the key to the practice room to drop off our instruments before we started running, but the key wasn't in the key box. Eh?

Chiaki and I then witnessed something unbelievable in the practice room.


Mafuyu was stretching shyly behind the drums. That was the first time I saw her in her sports attire. Though it's strange of me to say that, since I had already seen her in her swimwear. But her legs were really slender, to the point that it was a bit worrisome.

"W-What's going on here?"

"I am joining the run."


"Because I can't lose!"

Mafuyu stood up with her face flushed red. She was looking at Chiaki when she said that.

Indeed, this is a fight we can't lose. Our performance time would be reduced to nothing if we lost. But I never would've expected Mafuyu to be this motivated though.

"I wonder if you can keep up with us?" Chiaki said that teasingly, as she moved her face close to Mafuyu's.

"...... I will do my best."

When we began running, Chiaki entered her devil-trainer mode—perhaps because her hot-blooded sporty personality was boiling. Those eyes of hers looked really scary when she was loudly encouraging the panting Mafuyu. Also, that "Min! On! Fight!!!" cheer of yours is really embarrassing, so can you please stop shouting that already? It's still early in the morning right now, but we're within the vicinity of the school and there are people walking around us!

Not long after, Mafuyu was already fatigued and close to her limit. She was left so far behind she couldn't even see Chiaki's back. If you're wondering how I knew that, it's because I was left far behind as well. Embarrassing, I know.

"You can...... g-go on ahead, I will be...... alright after...... a rest......"

Mafuyu said that choppily, as she squatted down by the roadside. Her back heaved up and down intensely each time she took a breath. I was quite worried when I saw that.

"Are you okay?"

"I am...... fine."

This girl was weak and fragile even before the incident with her fingers. I recalled the time she ran away from home.

"How about I carry you piggyback while I run?"

"You idiot, that would be pointless, wouldn't it?"

"Not at all. I mean, Mafuyu's really light, so I think—it might be better for my training if I carry you piggyback while I run?"

However, I quickly decided against it after picturing it in my mind. That's just too embarrassing. Mafuyu finally lifted herself up by grabbing tightly to my arm.

"Are you serious? Why are you willing to do even that? Is it because you have seen how hardworking Chiaki is?"

"It's not just that."

I waited for Mafuyu to lean on my back before I started walking again. She was so light, it was worrying.

"Chiaki said she'd be satisfied as long as she could be in the same band as the person she loves. But that won't do."

It might be easier to maintain the status quo......

But I wished to turn that room into a place filled with passion, a place that pulsatedthat could support the music Mafuyu played. But it would've been embarrassing to say that out loud, so all I did was walk silently as I carried Mafuyu on my back.

"...... Did Chiaki really say that to you?"

Asked Mafuyu, next to my ear.

"...... Mmm. She was probably referring to Senpai."


Mafuyu's weight disappeared from my back all of a sudden. She left my side.

"Hey, start running! Chiaki will get further and further ahead of us if you do not hurry."

And with that, she began sprinting. That back of hers, with her maroon-colored hair fluttering in the air, became smaller and smaller. What's going on here? What's up with her? I followed behind her.

Obviously, not long after, Mafuyu became breathless again, allowing me to catch up from behind. This time, she placed her palms on the asphalt and panted, "Don't worry about me, go! You have to catch up to Chiaki!"

In the end, Mafuyu was harshly scolded by Chiakiwho had actually lapped usand was forced to run despite her wobbly steps. Given the commotion we were making, I doubt anyone could've guessed which club we were from.

After our lessons, Kagurazaka-senpai abandoned all intentions of band practice and happily began discussing our battle plan.

"I've already decided the running order. The first runner will be Comrade Aihara—because that's the leg in which the chance of contact between runners is highest. Putting the Drama Club aside, the Karate Club may try to pull something on us during the race. It'd be great if we could retaliate by making them fall without needing to contact their body, using a move like the 'phantom throw.'" [TLNote: SF2 Guile's glitch.]

"Senpai, judo isn't magic, so there aren't any moves like that."

"Next will be Comrade Ebisawa. You should try your best to be as cute as possible, so that the Karate Club runner won't lay a hand on you. That should allow us to maintain the lead. Then, young man is up next...... Mmm, all you need to do is run. The last runner will be me. Our lead will probably be gone by the time the race gets to that stage, but because I won't have to worry about my back, it'll be easier for me to catch up from behind."

Hey, that's a totally crazy plan! How can she be so optimistic? It was like she didn't even consider the possibility of us losing. I was speechless, as usual.

"Also, we've already decided on the details of the competition."

Senpai spread a copy of the pledge out in front of us, and on it, was incredibly exaggerated prose: {The Drama Club (henceforth referred to as "Party A"), Karate Club (henceforth referred to as "Party B") and Folk Music Research Club (henceforth referred to as "Party C") shall abide to the following conditions—} etc. It was filled with lots of technical terms, and even had the stamps of the festival committee and the student council at the very end.

"Why the formalities......"

"We can't be sloppy about this. It'd be problematic if we had to argue over the legitimacy of the terms and conditions after the race. I left the original copy with the student council. As written in the agreement, the winner can take away ten minutes of performing time for every difference in ranking. For example, if we came in fourth, and the Drama Club, sixth, our performance time would increase by twenty minutes, while theirs would be reduced by the same amount. We also agreed that the other conditions would remain as per what was determined initially, and that none of that would be changed."

"H-Hold on. As per what was determined initially? How much time we were allocated?"

"Hmm? It's written very clearly in here, yeah? According to the timetable planned by the festival committee, the Drama Club will begin their performance at three, which should last about an hour; next, we'll take over at four and perform until four-twenty. Then, lastly, the Karate Club will start at four-twenty and go all the way till five."

"So we're out of the running if we rank lower than the other two clubs......"

"You don't need to dwell on what might happen if we lose, as we had nothing to lose from the start anyway."

With that said, Senpai slapped me hard on the back.

"To be honest, we're in the most disadvantageous position in the current allocation. The Drama Club is up first, so they can begin their preparations during the masquerade contest; and since a play can't be interrupted halfway, they should be very confident about eating up our twenty minutes. And the Karate Club is up last, meaning there won't be any complaints if they need to extend their performance. Additionally, because we're a band, it'll be easier for them to negotiate the length of our performance. They'll definitely ask us to perform our songs within the restricted amount of time."

"That's just mean," Chiaki smashed the cymbals when she said that.

"So you see, it's impossible for us to lose. We can only win. Isn't that right?"

But Kagurazaka-senpai didn't explain any further. From that day on, Senpai was always late to band practice, and was frequently seen around the teachers and the festival committee members in places like the staff room, student council room and audiovisual room. Perhaps she's plotting something in secret.

We decided to ignore what was going on. Chiaki, Mafuyu and I gathered in the practice room every day at six-thirty to go on our morning run, then participated in morning band practice right after.

Why did Mafuyu wish to join the run as well? Probably because she wants to catch up to a certain someone?

For me, my answer was crystal clear. I wanted to catch up to Mafuyu.

Because I wished to stand on a stage unaffected by time, forever allowing Mafuyu to listen to my music. I wanted her to know that a dependable rhythm section, worthy of her trust, would always be by her side, pulsating endlessly.

That was my reason for running.

As I welcomed the cold autumn breeze that brushed against my face as I ran, a tune flowed in my mind.

The stretch of road was filled with heroes who had their dreams broken. They gambled everything on the final reckless dash—

Though everyone was planning to escape tonight, there wasn't a single place to hide.

May we try our best to live on with those sorrows in our hearts......

Multiple gunshots rang throughout the school's sports grounds, which were bathed in the rays of the glaring sun.

The sun, high in the air, was beginning its descent towards the western horizon, and beneath the sun, five sports committee members could be seen redrawing the white lines of the track. I could almost smell the odor of their sweat that had seeped its way into the soil.

October Thirteenth, sports day.

The afternoon marked the end of an intense cheerleading competition, and what came next was a war of attrition. You heard righta war of attrition.

"Can anyone substitute for the participants in the 400 m race? Four people were injured during the cavalry battle."

"We still have the long-distance race after this, so not us!"

"Quit your excuses and get going! You can run as long as you've got two legs on you!"

Terada, the boss lady of Third Class of First Year, handed those orders down coldly. No one dared to oppose her.

"Boss, we're lacking defensive manpower for the boutaoshi event!" [TLNote: 棒倒し]

"Head to the infirmary and bring back the people that only suffered minor injuries!"

That's quite inconsiderate and forceful of her. I remembered Senpai saying the school's sports day was like this every yearthe cavalry battle and boutaoshi was always held twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon (the female and male contests); so it was a death march that always ended up with casualties. What the hell was the sports committee thinking?

The fuzzy-sounding speakers were broadcasting an announcement requesting the participants of the interclub relay race to assemble, so I cautiously snuck out of the allocated area of Third Class of First Year.

Kagurazaka-senpai, Chiaki and Mafuyu were already waiting in the southern corner of the participants area; both Chiaki and Mafuyu had already changed out of their cheerleading outfits. The three of them weren't wearing sports attire, but instead, were wearing the feketerigó T-shirt Chiaki had made a long time ago.

That's right, it has always been like this. Senpai had already been carrying out her plans in secret.

Then came a roar from the speakers,

"I am Inoue from the Broadcasting Club—" "and I am Oota from the Track and Field team. We're the live commentators that'll be analyzing today's events."

Why do we have live commentary and analysis for a high school sports day? And who's the target audience anyway? The sports committee members were already getting carried away with their commentary.

"Oota, what's coming up next is the interclub relay race. First up is the race among the sports clubs. However, it seems two of the participating clubs are not actually sports-related."

"That's right. Well, since the Drama Club will be performing a drama with sword-fighting scenes, they can be considered to be a relative of the Kendo Club. As for the Folk Music Research Club, I'm not really sure, but I think the musicians will slam their guitars at people during the rock performance, so you can think it as a sort of martial art."

Please don't say whatever comes to your mind, Commentator Oota.

"And a new rule will be incorporated into the interclub relay race from this year onward: clubs will have to wear their respective attires during the race."

That was Kagurazaka-senpai's secret weapon. I looked at the participants gradually gathering in the participants area; in particular, I was looking for members of the Drama Club and the Karate Club.

Obviously, the Karate Club members were wearing their karategi. But they were also barefoot.

The Drama Club was even worse off. Since they had no set attire, they had to follow the rule set forth by the sports committee, which stated that they had to wear what they would be wearing for the performance. That meant the kinagashi, as well as the daishos hanging off their waist.

Honestly speaking, both parties were wearing attire that wasn't exactly suitable for running. Whoa, one of the Karate Club members is staring fiercely in our direction. They must be pretty pissed. Standing in line next to us, the samurai lady from the Drama Club shot a glance at Kagurazaka-senpai while muttering clearly, "How very despicable of you. You sure know how to create trouble for us." Senpai feigned an air of innocence.

The sports committee members were around when Senpai suggested the idea, and obviously, the Karate Club members present among the committee vehemently objected against it. But the sports day could be considered as a festival of sorts, and since it had no bearing on the scores of the interclass competition, priority was given to ideas that could heat up the atmosphere. Additionally, the other clubs that were participating in the event were sport clubs like Football, Baseball and Track and Field—and needless to say, they were unaffected by the proposed idea, so they readily agreed to it.

Senpai knew that would happen—

"But the second runner of the Folk Music Research Club is her. You know, the sheltered Princess, that had never once participated in any of the physical education lessons—"

I was surprised. Mafuyu's nickname has actually spread that far? Also, stop talking about things that'll lower our morale before the race has even begun!

Then again, it was true Mafuyu was the obstacle that totally eliminated all the advantages Senpai had forcefully obtained for us. The Karate Club and Drama Club had probably sent their fastest runners, but we only had four people in our club.

Mafuyu had her maroon-colored hair tied up into a ponytail and was standing in front of me, her back facing me. She then turned her head around. Her navy blue eyes were filled with sincere determination.

"I will definitely pass the baton to you."

Said Mafuyu, as she stared at me.

"I will definitely pass it to you."

I gulped and nodded my head. I was slightly overwhelmed by her determination.

That's right. Now's not the time to complain. The only thing left to do now is run.

"And. Here. Come. The. PARTICIPAAAAAANTS!"

Inoue screamed as he commentated on what was happening. For some unknown reason, the runners ran onto the track in eight rows of four despite the missing background music. The smell of dust and lime burnt my nasal cavity. Cheerleading banners fluttered before our eyes, and the wind carried the sound of the cheers.

The 1600 m relay race was split into four laps, and was held on our school's unbelievably huge 400 m running track. It was a harsh race that would last around five minutes. The runners gathered in front of the VIP seats.

As the first runners positioned themselves, while the starter was carrying the pistol onto the pitch, I turned around and asked Senpai,

"...... Why didn't you tell us about your ploy earlier?"

"Participants will have to wear their respective attires"—the announcement from the sports committee would only be passed down to the president of the club, who was Senpai. We only came to know about the new rule yesterday.

Senpai answered with a faint smile,

"I was watching the three of you run and sweat every morning from the rooftop. The scene was so incredibly dazzling that I couldn't bring myself to inform you people of my petty tricks."

So you do come to school every morning? Then how about you attend your lessons?

"Moreover, it's not like it's an incredibly huge plan or anything. When the starting gun fires, we can only obtain victory by relying on our hearts and our legs."

"You mean there's nothing else once the race starts?"

I asked weakly. I mean, I am worried. I could sense Mafuyu's gaze behind me, staring past my shoulders.

"Yeah, there are no additional strategies. All that's left are things like this."

With that said, Senpai secretly showed me the item in her hand.

It was a minidisc with the label [Offenbach <天国と地獄>]. It was a very well-known piece on its own, but some only recognized it as the jingle used in the commercial for the pastry chain Bunmeido. In any case, it was a well-known operetta that was incorporated into the standard tracks to be used on sports day...... Wait, what's it doing here? Won't they be using it during the events? [TLNote: 天国と地獄 (Heaven and Hell) is Japanese's unofficial name for <Orphée aux enfers>, and it's most notably recognized for and linked to its can-can part in Japan. Parodied into countless MAD and stuff such as this]

"Yeah, I secretly swapped this with some rock music."

When I lifted my head to look at Senpai in surprise, the starting gun fired, and at the exact same time, the fill of the drums began. I turned my head around in shock.

What I saw was the starting line being torn apart by winds of various colors as the runners dashed away. I stared at Chiaki's tiny body as the group of shoving runners approached the very first corner.

What was playing through the speakers was the pure and flawless strumming of a guitar that could bring one to tears; the glamorous sound of the piano followed, and entered the fray together with a series of low drumming sounds, which sounded like the gradually increasing rumbling of the ground. A microphone picked up the conversation between the sports committee members sitting in their reserved seats.

"...... Eh?" "Were we supposed to play this song?"

Next came a hoarse singing that sounded like it was intended to crush that conversation into pieces. It was Bruce Springsteen.

—<Born to Run>

My body subconsciously trembled. How? This song had been playing on and on in my mind for the past two weeks, every time we were on our morning run.

"It has to be this song. Am I right?"

Mumbled Senpai from behind me. I turned around on reflex and stared at her face.

Can she see through everything? Or is that just the song that plays in our mind whenever we want to express our feelings as we run? I guess the latter's probably closer to the truth.

I peered into the cloudless sky. A deep belief in the powers of rock and roll was sprinting within me, causing my blood to burn.

I searched for Chiaki as I scanned the track, and found her when the leading runner reached the first cornerthe third runner, with a small white frame, and a pink headband fluttering in the wind. I clenched my fists subconsciously. A group of runners was following closely behind Chiaki, and among them, was a runner in karategi.

Where was the Drama Club? I couldn't find their attention-grabbing attire. How can this be? Where on earth—

The first and second runners were neck and neck with each other, and I was shocked by what I saw. The second runner was the girl from the Drama Club that had spoken to us in a threatening tone. I didn't locate her earlier because I was searching near the back.

So that wasn't just all talk, she's really something. Commentator Inoue was shouting excitedly, "Drama Club! Drama Club's second and following closely behind!"

An earth-ripping roar erupted around us. The leading runner from the Football team had fallen—seems like his leg was hooked by the sword hanging off the Drama Club runner's waist or something. A chill ran down my spine as I looked at the cloud of dust stirred up by the fall. There was a possibility that the runners in the back might get tangled in this mess—

Someone slipped through the chaotic crowd without hesitation and burst her way to the front.


Mafuyu shouted. It was indeed Chiaki. She was sprinting forward in a straight line, ignoring the footsteps of the guys closing in on her. It was as though Bruce Springsteen's powerful voice had given her a push from behind—I could almost see her splattering sweat drops.

The blue attire of the Track and Field runner finally overlapped with Chiaki's small silhouette at the third corner. Mafuyu stood up and turned her head around to gaze at me. I could sense she was feeling overwhelmed by the pressure. We had never expected Chiaki to approach the end point neck and neck with the hot favorites.

"I'll be waiting for you!"

I squeezed that line out with all my might.

"Don't mind those behind you! And don't worry about those in front of you either! It's okay if you're overtaken by others! All you need to do is run towards me!"

"I-I get it!"

The blushing Mafuyu shook her ponytail and began sprinting on the track.

A cheer rang yet again. I lifted my body to look at the forth corner. The leading two runners had come into contact with each other at the elbows. The lighter Chiaki was almost pushed out of the inner lane, but the upper body of the Track and Field member underwent a huge wobble as well.

Chiaki was the one with the faster recovery rate, but the strength of the Track and Field team was indeed something, especially when it came to sprinting down a straight path. They had gained a lead of about a few meters by the time Chiaki passed the baton to the Mafuyu. An amber-colored wind streaked past my sight—Mafuyu's hair was fluttering in the air due to her speed.

"...... Sorry for not taking the lead."

The panting and sweating Chiaki wobbled towards us, then collapsed in Senpai's bosom.

"No, you did incredibly well. That was way beyond my expectations."

Senpai hugged Chiaki tightly. I wanted to say some words of consolation to Chiaki, who was biting her lip bitterly, but I couldn't say anything at all.

I turned my head and saw her maroon hair fluttering gently with the wind, reflecting the rays of the sun along the edge of the track. I slammed my fist against my trembling knees when I saw Mafuyu being overtaken by the runners, one by one. There's no need to be flustered!

The Track and Field team had built a sizable lead—about a half-a-lap distance ahead of the second-place runner. Just then, the dull white silhouette of the karategi closed in on Mafuyu. I was shocked—that guy was reaching his hand towards Mafuyu's hair.

I stood up on reflex. God damn it, what's he trying to do!? Mafuyu strayed off towards the outer lanes of the track, making the Karate Club member miss his grasp.

My mind was filled with prayers. Please come back to us safe and sound, no matter what happens! The runners were approaching the third corner when Mafuyu was overtaken a third time.

"Where do you think you're supposed to be, young man? Get on the track now!"

I was shocked motionless by Senpai's sudden voice. Oh right, what am I doing? I was the next runner.

"You're a guy, so the Karate Club probably won't go easy on you. Be careful."

She hammered my back—

"You don't have to think about anything. We'll win as long as you pass the baton to me."

And with that, she pushed me onto the track. Quite a few of those different-colored batons flashed by me as the runners passed their batons on to the next runner. The Baseball Team, the Drama Club, followed by the Kendo Club. Next was the Karate Club—

Just then, I noticed the third runner of the Drama Club exchange looks with his counterpart from the Karate Club, who was right next to him. They nodded their heads together.

What's with that? They should be bitter enemies, no?

However, the two of them disappeared from my sight after receiving their respective batons.

I caught sight of Mafuyu in the fourth corner. Her headband was missing, and her hair was messed up because of rushing wind; but she was still running towards me.

I moved a few steps back in the relay zone to match the rhythm of her steps. Then, I began accelerating. Mafuyu was getting closer and closer; the distance between us shrunk by an arm's length with each of her passing steps. I was already in the air the moment I felt the icy touch on my fingers; at the same time, I heard the sounds of the saxophone solo in <Born to Run>.

White lines flowed past my feet at an unbelievable pace. I reached the corner in an instant, and it felt like the centrifugal force pulled me away from the track. The oncoming wind flew into my nose and seared the deepest parts of my brain.

I saw the back of the karategi. It was that orange belt guy. The distance between us had shortened to just an arm's length. He saw me when he turned his head around, and on his face was a twisted expression. Must be painful to run barefooted—his running style looked very unnatural. I'll have to at least get close to the Drama Club after overtaking him. That was the position I wanted to be in when I passed the baton on to Senpai.

I could no longer hear the sounds of my footsteps by the time I reached the second cornerall I heard was the intense thumping of my heart, the wind howling past me, and the sound of Springsteen's guitar. The back of the dirty karategi was getting closer and closer. His running was off and his upper body was trembling. I was certain he would leave the inner lane if his center of gravity shifted outwards during the bend. And so, I had to conserve my energy until that happened—

The wind blew a small rock onto my face, and when I refocused my attention, I saw a narrow gap appear in the inner lane. The Karate Club member was veering towards the outside.

It was only when I slipped into the gap that I realized it was all a trap. But by then, it was already too late.

That orange belt bastard lifted his elbow, then stretched out his leg to knock it against my calf. My vision wobbled, and my body spun half a turn.

The sound of my heartbeat, the wind and the guitar were all engulfed by a scraping noise. My right cheek was assaulted by an unbelievable burning sensation, and feelings of pain and dampness followed. My right hand subconsciously gripped the baton tightly in order to not let go of it.

The orange belt and I were tangled up in a mess as we rolled off the track towards the audience's seats. Next came a series of shrieks.

My consciousness was slowly getting hazy. I swallowed the pungent metallic taste down my throat. And just as I was about to lift my head up, I felt the back of my head come into contact with something.

That orange belt bastard was actually laying on my back. Get off! Get off of me!

"Hey, are you alright? You're bleeding!" "Medic!"

I heard a few voices, but I ignored them all. Don't touch me, the relay race is still ongoing. However, the orange belt bastard grabbed my wrist tightly just as I was about to push myself off the ground.

"...... Y-You!"

Are you really that desperate to stop me using those despicable means of yours? Are you dumb!? I could only watch as the Drama Club runner got further and further away from me. But with someone lying on my body, I was unable to make any sounds; I could only crawl on the ground, dragging the orange belt bastard along with me. I have to get myself back onto the track, even if I can only inch closer one centimeter at a time. My legs were losing strength, and I couldn't push away the weight on my back. I couldn't stand up.

"Get off!" I roared furiously with my feebly soft voice. "We'll both end up losing, so get off!"

That orange belt bastard replied by increasing the strength of his grip on my wrist. That bastard—

"Nao, stand up."

I heard Chiaki's painful voice. My mind cleared all of a sudden. I realized something.

That was the Karate Club's plan all along—to perish together with Folk Music Research Club. Because we only had twenty minutes of performance time, we'd lose everything if we were last and the Drama Club got anything higher than sixth. With that, they could kick us out of the sports complex. And after that, all they had to do was work out the details and pass the remaining unused time to the Karate Club. So they had formed an alliance in secret and planned all of this. God damn it, to think...... to think that we'll actually lose to these people.

I couldn't shake off the orange belt bastard that clung to my back like a zombie. All I could do was grit my teeth and slither forward like a slug. Far away from us, the Drama Club team was passing their baton on to their last runner—


Chiaki's voice pierced its way deep into my consciousness.

"It's not too late, so stand up! Min! On! Fight!!! Min! On! Fight!!!"

I lifted my heavy head to accept the voice that had grabbed me and touched my heart.

That's right, I'm still carrying Chiaki, Mafuyu and Senpai on my shoulders. I have to continue running. The weight of this despicable person is nothing compared to the weight of the responsibility on my shoulders—

"Min! On! Fight!!!"

Chiaki's cheers just so happened to overlap with Springsteen's scream.

I mustered all my strength to lift up my shoulders, and pushed myself off the ground. There was a jolt of pain as the wind blew against my face, but for a brief moment, I could feel the singing voice descend onto my eyelids.

Someday girl—I don't know when—We're gonna get to that place—Where we really wanna go, and we'll walk in the sun...... But till then, tramps like usBaby we're born to run.

We're born to run.

I kicked my feet against the sand, shifted my body weight forward and began to sprint wildly. All that time, I never let go of the baton in my hand. I felt something tumble off my back, but it didn't matter to me anymore. At the end of the corner were a few white lines extending past my feet. I could see the silhouette with black hair standing near the converging point of those lines. Blood and sweat flowed into my eyes, but I did my best to keep them open.

I lifted the baton and stretched my arm out to pass it to her. A resounding feeling passed through my hand. And in the next instant, a crazy strength pulled the baton away from me. My knees collapsed onto the ground amid a cloud of dust.

I could faintly see the two braids fluttering in the air, like the tail feathers of a wild beast as it flapped its wings and flew away from me.

I was sent to the infirmary right after that, so I didn't know the details. But from the commentary and the photos, it was obvious the whole incident had stirred up quite a ruckus.

Terada, the female boss of Third Class of First Year, was someone that lacked any sense of compassion, so I was forced to leave the infirmary bed to participate in the final boutaoshi event in the afternoon. Moreover, during the event, I was given the most difficult task of supporting the beam. It was a miracle I even managed to stand on my feet during the closing ceremony.

The school gave us the next day off so we could rest. Since my body was aching all over, I spent the whole day in bed.

It wasn't until Tuesday that my body had recovered enough for me to barely play my bass.

When I stepped into the classroom, I found the sight of all the guys of our classcovered up in band-aids, medicinal plaster and bandagesto be incredibly eye-catching. They were probably all drilled hard by Tyrant Terada.

I wasn't sure if it was worth the sacrifices, but I had heard that the Third Class team (the groups for sports day were formed by grouping the same class number of each year together to form eight teams) had obtained first placewhile second place had gone to the First Class team Kagurazaka-senpai belonged to. The upper brass of our class was very pleased with that result, as it could've been considered revenge for the chorus contest. As for me, I spent the rest of the day in a weakened state.

"...... Does our school have a policy about changing classes......"

Murmured one of the guys during our lunch break, which made me cognizant of a horrifying truth: the sports day for the next two years will probably be just as crazy as this year's.......

As for Mafuyu, she was very concerned about the graze on my cheek.

"Are you feeling better? Chiaki said you had a fever."

"Ah, yeah. Ouch! It hurts. Don't touch my injury for now."

Chiaki even came to my house yesterday to take care of me. But the so-called "looking after me" was actually just her buying lunch from the convenience store to satiate Tetsurou, who had been continuously complaining "I'm hungry, I'm hungry." That simple help, though, allowed me to sleep properly.

"Mmm, but Nao worked really hard!"

Chiaki hammered my shoulder happily. Stop. That really hurts.

"...... Urm, I don't really know the details of the results, so what exactly happened during the competition? How much performance time do we have?"

Despite Senpai's speed, we didn't manage to close the distance between us and the Drama Club, resulting in them reaching the finish line first. However, Chiaki and Mafuyu remained silent after exchanging a few looks. So what exactly happened?

"Ask Kyouko." Mafuyu replied coldly. "Kyouko must be dying to explain it all herself."

"Yeah. Senpai will be disappointed if we tell you everything."

I could only wait for school to end as I wondered what on earth had happened.

With the sports day being over, our school began to focus on the school festival. Everywhereincluding in the corridors and in the courtyardthe sounds of planks being hammered and sawed could be heard, and the smell of paint lingered in the air.

While making our way to the practice room together, the three of us met Kagurazaka-senpai at the door of the practice room. Before I could even say anything, Senpai had already grabbed me tightly by the right hand and caressed the injury on my face. She looked at me with slightly teary eyes...... Eh? Urm, what's going on here?

"I still cannot forget the moment I received the baton from you. What a numbing sensation that was. You actually suffered so many injuries for my sake."

"No, I didn't do it especially for Senpai...... Ow, Mafuyu, that hurts! Stop pinching me! And you stop too, Chiaki!"

Mafuyu started pinching my injured cheek, so Chiaki decided to join in, and started prodding it as well. I squat down in the middle of the girls and protected my face by shielding it with my arms.

"What are you girls doing? Please, stop doing such things to me. I'm injured, you know?"

Mafuyu put an unhappy expression on her face, and Chiaki stuck her tongue out at me with a "Bleh." As for Senpai, she just opened the door with a laugh, and pushed us all into the room.

"Did I mention this already? We ranked sixth in the relay race."

Said Senpai nonchalantly, as she took her Les Paul guitar out of its case. I guess the Karate Club was last, but wouldn't that make us seventh? Did I overtake someone? After that fall?

"Well...... who was seventh? It couldn't have been the Drama Club, right?"

"The Kendo Club was seventhI have to praise them for their tenacity. The Drama Club was fifth."

Ah, I see. Senpai's ploy had ensured that the Kendo Club would definitely be overtaken by us, since they had to run in their protective gear. I only found out later that their last runner had dropped the baton by accident as well. Can't blame them, since they had to wear kote as well. [TLNote: Kote's the gauntlets of Kendo wear.]

Which meant, we could claim twenty minutes of the Karate Club's time, but would have ten minutes taken from us by the Drama Club, resulting in a net gain of ten minutes.

"This victory was obtained with the help of everyone, and not just me alone."

Kagurazaka-senpai opened her arms wide and pulled Mafuyu's and Chiaki's heads beside her, then planted a kiss on their cheeks. It was only at times like that that Mafuyu would put on a bashful expression without offering any resistance. No, wait a second. Why's she so happy? Her smile suggested that we had actually obtained a huge and comprehensive victory.

"Well...... even so, we can only perform for thirty minutes, no?"

"No no no."

After connecting her guitar to the amplifiers, Senpai turned around and flashed me a "V" sign.

"It's two hours."

"...... What?" What did she just say?

"You see, since the Karate Club had come in last, their performance time was reduced to zero, meaning their time would be shared between us and the Drama Club. Oh right, you all should take another look at the pledge letter. Here."

Senpai showed us the photocopied document and pointed at a certain line.

'We agree that the other conditions will remain as per what was determined initially, and that nothing will be changed'

"...... What does that line have to do with this?"

"You still don't get it? The other conditions cannot be changed. Meaning, the Drama Club can use the time they take away from the Karate Club only after our performance is over."


My jaws dropped in surprise. What kind of trickery is that? W-Will the Drama Club really agree to that?

"That's why I made this pledge letter and had the student council witness the whole thing. The Drama Club did complain a lot though. The additional time was useless to them if it couldn't be combined with their initial performance time. But since we're right smack in-between the two blocks, it doesn't make a big difference to us if the schedule proceeds as initially planned. I didn't make a single concession to them."

"Urm...... so how did things go? It can't be that the Drama Club just accepted this, right?"

"No way. Actually, I had already booked the audiovisual room at three in the afternoon for the Drama Club. Not many people know the room has a complete set of lighting equipment in it. Actually, I had considered that as a backup plan in case we failed, but I didn't tell you people about it because I didn't want to dent your enthusiasm. That place isn't as spacious as the sports complex though."

I recalled how I had seen Senpai in many different places. So she was actually taking care of stuff like this?

No, hold on......

"But...... I-I mean, their ranking was higher than ours, no? Didn't they say something like 'Why doesn't the Folk Music Research Club use the audiovisual room instead?'" What sorcery did she use to make them accept such a concession?

"Mmm, they did say that to me. But they shut up immediately when I started mumbling about how they had teamed up with the Karate Club to interfere with your race. Rather than my trickery, it was that incident that actually allowed us to deal the decisive blow."

So she knew all along......? That's quite sharp of her.

"That's why those injuries are your badge of honor. I'm very proud of them."

Senpai gently caressed my cheek again, causing me to shiver.

What a scary person she was. Everyone's modus operandi was well within her grasp. Thank god I'm standing on the same side she is.

I finally understood the totality of Senpai's plan. We only had to beat at least one of the clubs to get them both kicked out of the sports complex. Because the amount of time taken was decided by the difference in rankings, it was highly likely that the club that came in last would have all their time taken away from them. And with that, Senpai could use the trap she had set in the pledge letter to negotiate with the other partyrequesting even more time in exchange for changing the schedule of performances. But despite how cunning she is, she probably didn't expect things to turn out like this. The Folk Music Research Club had obtained total victory without losing anything.

...... Meaning to say...... Eh? A resounding victory? That means our performance time will be—

"With that, we're the only ones left standing on the piece of scorched earth. And that means—"

Senpai flashed another "V" sign.

"We have two whole hours."


It took me a while to process what Senpai said.

"—Two hours? Nonstop?"

"Of course. Just like we had initially planned. I mean, we're still young."

"No, no way, that's impossible. It's not like we're a band on drugs! Two hours!?"

"I'm looking forward to it!" "How about we perform an opera?" "I hate operas. I would prefer a suite."

The three of you, listen to me!

"Right, in order to be able to play for two consecutive hours...... Nao, come here. Let's start with push-ups—"

"That's right. And this time, you'll have to train until you can do them with all three of us sitting on your back."

"Stop messing around with me! Also, are we really going to use the whole two hours?"

A series of tumbling sounds followed. Mafuyu placed bundles of scoresthat she had been hugging in her cheston the bass amplifiers between us. Seems like she borrowed all these from the music preparatory room.

"There are a whole bunch of scores I want to play. Two hours is not enough."

The three girls began selecting scores based on their preferences, and for a while, I could only stare at the scene in a dumbfounded state.

I glanced at the calendar on the wall. Only a month left till the school festival.


  1. atlast!, theres an update beeb waiting this for life! btw, thanks very much for the translation!! XD

  2. :D Yay :D
    Thanks again for the lovely work.

  3. Thanks a bunch!
    Already put it on my E-Reader and enjoyed it! Thanks for the hard work.

  4. Thanks for the translation...!!
    cunning as ever isn't she...

  5. thanks for update really enjoy your work

  6. I saw the video for Boutaoshi, that looks like one heck of a crazy sport. Thanks for the chapter too.

  7. Bad choice of song for the race :< I would've chose this one.

  8. After the long wait

  9. yea thank you fro the translation =) YOu're the best!!!

  10. Thanks a lot for the whole chapter.

  11. Fantastic chapter! It seems that Nao's cluelessness is contagious! He appears to be doing everything for Mafuyu at this point, whether he realizes his romantic feelings yet or not, but she seems as clueless about his desire to be by her side as he is about the feelings of all of the girls!

  12. "Terada, the female boss of the Third Class of Third Year, is someone who lacks any sense of compassion. I was forced to leave the infirmary bed to participate in the final boutaoshi event held in the afternoon."

    I think you meant "First Year"? In any case great job with the chapter <(>_<;<)

  13. This light novel is my fourth favorite. First is SAO, next is HK Eden, then campiogne(I don't really like the anime though >_< ).

    Anyway, thanks for the update! Even though it slowed down, the update is still fast compared to other novels in other sites.

  14. Thank you for the translations ^^
    Keep up with the good work!

  15. Does anyone have an idea of when the next translation will be released, I want to read the next chapter so bad D:

  16. i think the next chapter will be translated after the translator finish translating eden chap4.. so i guess, 3-4weeks?

  17. when's the next update? :)

  18. How many chapters is this volume? Also, God I wish I could donate money to see this done faster.

  19. Jeez I read everything up to here all in one day. This story is really good. I've never read a music story so well done. Your translations are really top notch too. I hope you continue translating this again!

  20. Why didn't you take the original words of song? I'm telling about "Born to Run".

    1. ...What exactly do you mean? The line posted's pretty spot on with the original lyrics of the song...unless you meant words like "gonna" and "we're" which case, I'd say you're just splitting hairs :/

    2. "The stretch of road was filled with heroes who had their dreams broken. They gambled their everything into the final reckless dash—
      Though everyone was planning to escape tonight, there was not a single place to hide.
      May we try our best to live on with those sorrows in our hearts......"

      It is must be words from "Born to Run":

      "The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
      Everybodys out on the run tonight but theres no place left to hide
      Together wendy well live with the sadness"

    3. Hmmm...ok...finally found the line you're referring to xD Possible explanation: Nao wasn't singing out the lyrics of the song (notice that the font of those particular lines isn't any different from the usual)but rather, musing out his own interpretation of the wasn't even until later that the (uneducated) reader would find out it was actually a line from the song "Born to Run"...hope I somehow answered your question?

    4. Yeah, thanks. For some reason I hadn't thought about he could sing in Japanese.