|Author: Hidsuki Shihou
|Original Source: Syosetu
|Word Count: 2388 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1158 words
The time for the performance is approaching, and the performers have started moving to their respective preparation rooms. Being a part of the night show from the get-go, Kaori is standing motionless with anxiety written all over her face. That’s just normal. What’s not normal is Kotori of the twelve families.
“I can’t, it’s impossible. Not when I have to appear in public wearing something like this.”
Kaori’s outfit is a princess-themed pure white dress. At a glance, it might even be mistaken for a wedding gown. We commemorated the occasion by taking photos with me in my stage attire and, unexpectedly, Kotori. I wonder what the owner would think of Kaori in that dress? But, I’m not about to find out.
“Meanwhile, you don’t seem nervous at all.”
“I am nervous. I’m just adept at not letting it show on my face.”
In high society, concealing your emotions is expected. Those who show their feelings are considered inferior, those who rebound in spite of them are better, and those who constantly manage their emotions are regarded as superior. It’s utterly draining.
“If you don’t maintain a smile, the audience will be let down.”
“It’s easier said than done.”
“Then ignore the audience; focus on something behind them.”
If the sight of the crowd unnerves you, look beyond them. They rarely notice where you’re actually looking—unless your gaze drifts too far, that is.
“Try to clear your mind as well.”
“Smiling with an empty mind is quite the ask.”
It’s surprisingly manageable. As an adult in the workforce, there are moments when you must smile in spite of your reluctance. However, performing in front of an audience can induce stiffness due to nerves, inhibiting movement. I’ve experienced this enough to know.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Leave the regrets for after you’ve done your best.”
“Kotone, what would you do if you were in my position?”
“Escape from reality.”
“Well, that wasn’t helpful.”
If it were me before becoming Kotone, I probably would have done it out of spite. Or else I’d have forced myself to embrace the chaos and power through with pure adrenaline. Right now, I can’t do either. My embarrassment will win out by a long shot.
“We’re in this together. I’ll probably have to sing on stage later, after all.”
“I came with you fully prepared to get involved, but who would have thought that things would turn out like this?”
This is exactly why I told you to run. Had you withdrawn back then, you could have avoided getting dragged into this. If I felt really overwhelmed, I might have even asked you to stand in for me. After all, Kaori is about the only close friend I have who would lend an ear to my requests.
“Kaori, please get prepared.”
“I guess I’ll just have to brace myself.”
“Good luck. That’s all I can say at this point.”
“Good luck to you too, Kotone. You were amazing during the rehearsal.”
As Kaori left, I could only let out a wry smile. After all, I was made painfully aware of the limits of my own abilities. Even with Kotone’s talent potential, I literally couldn’t compete with Sherry’s singing. Which is just natural.
“What was I lacking? Well, everything.”
With the huge gap in our abilities, I don’t even feel frustrated. However, that’s a problem. I don’t have much passion for singing. If I had someone to sing for, or had a song that I enjoyed singing, things might have gone differently. However, I lack those driving forces.
“A single impetus is enough to change a person.”
“Did something change you too, Sherry?”
With Kaori gone, I was about to head to my preparation room when suddenly Sherry appeared next to me. Her ability to sing is amazing. So amazing, it can easily break the will of anyone who tries to sing along with her.
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“I simply loved singing ever since I was a child. That’s why I practiced hard, so that I could enjoy singing more. Pleasing the audience was nothing more than a byproduct of that.”
“But now the byproduct has become your main goal, hasn’t it?”
“That’s right. Having people smile from my songs feels great. Maybe you’d have some change if you got a taste of that yourself, Kotochan.”
“I’m different from you, Sherry.”
In my case, I really enjoy performing with my friends. It was most obvious during yesterday’s incident. If it’s just me on my own, I find it hard to feel motivated. If I had to sing alone tonight, I likely wouldn’t fare well.
“Besides, I’ve already decided to treat this event as just another job.”
“Hmm, that kind of mindset isn’t the best to have. It’s hard to stay motivated if you aren’t open to having fun, you know.”
“The fact that I’m going to sing before an audience has already driven my motivation low.”
Then what about yesterday, you might ask. But I was with my friends and was high from the excitement, so it didn’t bother me. However, what about this time? I need to make sure that I don’t fail for everyone’s sake. How do you expect me to enjoy this?
“In that case, our performance…”
“I’ll force myself into high gear in the second round if I have to.”
The first round is the event I thought up. The second round is the one Sherry came up with. I’m completely on board with what the second round entails. After all, there’s no need for me to show my face. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to rally back if the first round ends in failure.
“What shall we do until the performance starts?”
“The most we can do is vocal exercises. Allow me to lecture you and the choir members.”
It’ll take a considerable amount of time for the parade show outside to reach its final destination. I guess that is the most we can do. And for the choir club, this will be an invaluable opportunity.
“Hello choir club students, let’s do our best today.”
“No need to be so nervous. I am only here to support you. As the main stars tonight, try to relax and focus on making your performance a success.”
“To have the assistance of a star like Sherry, it’s such an honor.”
“No need to be so formal. Feel free to sing to your heart’s content.”
She’s trying to make them relax, but as you’d expect, everyone from the choir club is frozen with nervousness. Having a big singer as your backup for your first live stage performance is definitely nerve-wracking. It would be better if they didn’t worry too much about failing, though.
“Too stiff. Why don’t we start with a few vocal exercises?”