Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume19 The Rolling Carnival
The Rolling Carnival
That day, during the reign of the thirteenth generation Student Council, a widely-attended but covered-up thing happened.
Regardless of whether it was the old Student Council or the current new one, it was the same. Since the Academy City Zuellni had been born into the world and a Student Council had emerged, every generation of Student Council secretary would log the things that had happened into their records. From the contents of the everyday campus activity meetings, to the results of the various student discipline situations, to the published papers and research abstracts, even the countless things that the City Police reported, were all stored in a tremendous and accumulating log of history. Even a normal student could access these logs just by going to the library, so it could be said that it was Zuellni's history book.
As long as it was something that had to do with the Student Council, even tiny insignificant things would be recorded into these logs, but the thing this time hadn't been recorded inside in the end.
Moreover, no one was blamed for that.
In that peculiar situation, even Student Council President Karian Loss was unable to blame the secretary for those independent actions.
Ten days before-
"Let's have a festival."
Karian said this in the meeting room.
It was something that happened after Karian finished listening to the Military Arts Head Vance Hardy's report on the training of the Military Arts department up to now, along with the various department heads' reports.
This year was the Military Arts Competition, and Zuellni who had only one selenium mine remaining had faced a harsh situation where they had to win. Fortunately, Zuellni had achieved victory in the battle against Academy City Myath, and because of this they had obtained some breathing room. However, the Military Arts Competition hadn't ended, and they were still in a situation where they couldn't relax. so the Military Arts students were focusing hard on training.
However, preparing for the Military Arts Competition wasn't the only goal that the students lived here for, and it was just a situation that one would only encounter in an Academy City.
Those were the various department heads' following reports.
"In this kind of critical juncture?"
Vance stared at Karian with a bitter expression.
"It's because it's a critical juncture."
The large-scale training being carried out for the Military Arts Competition was a burden for the various students who were responsible for supporting it. Inspections had to be carried out for the Dites that the Military Artists used, repairs, fighting clothing, maintaining practice fields, servicing defensive equipment inside the city, stocking medical supplies, positioning workers to deal with injuries that happened during battle etc. As long as the Military Artists were taking action, other students would have to cooperate and follow.
"We have to move."
"That's right, we have to move. But, having to move and nourishing the soul are two different things."
After wryly smiling at Vance's attitude, Karian kept speaking.
"Actually, in terms of duty, the ones who have to move are the trained sixth-years, but they are preparing for the final research reports before they graduate. Moreover, the other students are feeling uncomfortable because of the business of their everyday life. Haven't there been more small conflicts lately?"
Vance who was also an executive of the City Police couldn't deny that problem.
"Though that is true, we can't tell the sixth-years to skimp on their work, so at the least we should provide an outlet for them to reduce their depressed moods."
"So that's why you want to hold a festival?"
"But, we can't spend too much time preparing, right?"
Another department head raised his hand and spoke, and Karian nodded agreement to those words.
"Of course, we probably have about a week to prepare, and we can cancel classes to some degree during that time. The problem is in the area of materials......"
"The school has simple tent and stall kits, and as long as we rent some more, we won't need to make new stalls, so there shouldn't be any problem there. As for stage materials and workers, ah... As long as we add points to grades, we'll get as many people was we want."
The slightly tanned Architecture Head expressed approval of the festival, and a smile appeared on Karian's face.
Looking around the entire meeting room, only Vance's face was bitter.
"Then the Military Arts students......"
"Just suspend the training carried out in the city. If possible, it would be best to reduce the difficulty of the training to some degree. I don't want them to become negligent, but we can't have them on a knife's edge for the entire year."
Just as Vance wanted to say something, Karian opened his mouth at the same time, and those remarks made the creases on Vance's brow become deeper. Since Karian had been elected Student Council President, Vance had been the right-hand man by Karian's side, so the other department heads held their breath watching his actions.
"If the chairmen pass this proposal-"
"Of course, just leave it to me to handle."
After Vance sat back down arms crossed, relaxed sighs sounded from around him.
Karian nodded firmly as a guarantee.
Nine days before-
It was carried out that day - with the approval of the chairmen and committees of all the grade levels, the proposal that Karian's Student Council submitted passed, and the holding of a festival was finalized. The preparation period was the week before it opened, and notifications were made in advance, so that various classes and student associations registered with the Council applied for stalls or to hold activities.
Eight days before-
Maybe the preparation time was very short, or the students had been waiting for this time to come, but the Student Council meeting room was quickly piled full of applications to participate in the festival.
The Student Council collected the application data, and began taking up the work of creating stall locations and schedules. Even if the situation had already been decided, there were still various participants and societies that submitted individual applications to change stall locations or to increase their stalls.
In order to deal with that work, the Student Council became incredibly busy.
Five days before-
"Do we want to do something ourselves?"
The sun was already in the west, and the lights of the school buildings were almost out, but looking out the window, some schools could still be seen with their lights on.
At this time, the Student Council didn't yet have work like mediation or negotiation. Though that were true, they still had to record the stall locations and schedules, though they were only semi-formal documents.
Moreover, even if right now was the preparation period for the festival, it didn't mean that the Student Council's routine business had disappeared because of it.
The Student Council's executive room was cluttered full of files, and they were piled even higher than normal. Karian was wordlessly and mechanically dealing with those files.
The female secretary who brought tea in made this proposal.
"What do you mean by 'do something'?"
The Student Council followed the guidelines handed down from generation to generation - Rest properly when resting, and Karian who concentrated on tasting the tea looked at the secretary.
"In this kind of situation, even the Student Council has no way of preparing some other activity."
Karian used his eyes to point at the mountain of files on his table.
"Nn, so we plan on doing something that doesn't require much time to prepare or practice beforehand, a performance where everyone will perform or show something that they're an expert at."
"Oh...... is there such a performance?"
Karian who had the biographies of every Student Council member recorded in his head tried thinking of their talents. But he was unable to quickly combine those talents together.
Karian showed a confused expression, but the secretary who stood before him showed a confident smile.
"You seem like you've though of something, huh?"
"Yes, how would making a band be?"
"Nnn. Because Shirley can play the piano, Miralia can play bass, Roxella can play the drums, and I can also play guitar."
"You can play the guitar?"
"Yes, is that unexpected?"
That hadn't been written in her biography.
The secretary in front of him, Serine, was a black-haired girl, and gave off a the air of a sheltered, rich princess, and even if it weren't strange for her to know some instrument, probably no one would have felt that she played the guitar. Actually, in her biography, there had been an instrument with a very rich princess-like air.
"Because I only learned it after coming to Zuellni."
Though this was an unexpected answer, to this secretary and the group of girls that she had just mentioned - the group of Student Council secretaries - it wasn't anything unexpected.
"I think that we'll probably also need a bit of practice time."
"That's probably no problem. But going by what you just said, it seems you still lack a singer?"
Serine gazed at him with a smile, and that expression made Karian have a bad premonition, and his entire body froze because of this.
He was unable to be slow in this kind of situation, and maybe that was Karian Loss's bad luck.
"You couldn't mean?"
"Are you joking?"
"We're not joking."
Karian rubbed his temple while shaking his head.
"You're not willing?"
"......Don't look at me like that, I'll get stage fright."
"How could that be."
Maybe she took those words as a joke, but Serine laughed.
"Oh my, you're working hard."
Just then, Vance walked in with one of his platoon members, Rafael. Even if he stood next to a rough man, he gave off a gorgeous presence that added color to the slightly tired atmosphere of the room.
He held a cake box in his hand, and the group of secretaries gave happy cheers.
However, Serine didn't leave Karian's side.
"Thanks for helping to patrol."
"No no no, it's quite fun to be able to stroll through Zuellni at night with my dear."
Vance who stood to the side showed an extremely bitter expression, but Rafael seemed quite satisfied.
"Right, I just accidentally overheard while outside, but could it be that the Student Council will hold some activity?"
The other secretaries had gone to make tea for the two of them, and Rafael cut the cake for everyone.
"Nn, we're planning on making a band."
After taking the cake, Serine replied like that.
"Oh, a band. Music is great, since it can heal the heart."
"Raphaela-san, are you also planning on doing something?"
"Nn, I'm running an opera. Though I'm the only singer, I plan on holding it together with an orchestra."
"That seems troublesome, are you alright preparing for it?"
"I've been preparing since a long time ago. The orchestra is people that I've known since I started school here, and we composed together, and the outfits are also made of plans that we designed before. I plan to hold another before I graduate, so this time counts as a preview."
Serine's words made Rafael nod his head enthusiastically.
"After all, I plan to make the perfect ending to these six years. I want to use custom costumes that I made with a lot of hard work."
Rafael spoke elatedly, and the expression of Vance behind him became more and more bitter. Vance's change showed what kind of dramatic scene Rafael was going to show.
"I want to sing my eternal love for you in a dream world. Yes, for you!"
In order to escape from Rafael's passionate actions and look, Vance moved his gaze to the edge of the ceiling.
Though his 'dear' expressed indifference, Rafael wasn't depressed. He continued speaking:
"Then, who's going to be the singer for the Student Council band?"
"Of course, President."
Serine's smile showed that she already took this for granted. Because she had already told three people about this, she probably planned on pushing this to the level of an established fact.
"No, I haven't yet......"
"Ah, that's amazing. Having the leader head a performance, that's exactly what festivals should be."
"Really? I thought that in this kind of time, our Student Council President should take a more behind-the-scenes position......"
"That's true. But, we are students, and we have to enjoy a festival to be students. I think that the President's student side can also help the normal students feel relaxed."
Rafael's words made Karian moan quietly.
Four days before-
During the morning, Karian returned to his apartment to change his clothes. Karian let Vance and the other secretaries go back to their individual rooms, but he had stayed in the Student Council building working until the middle of the night.
In his apartment, his sister Felli was currently eating breakfast.
"Hi, good morning."
Karian tried to chat, but his sister didn't respond. Normally, she would reply in an ordinary manner when greeted in the morning.
Karian knew the reason why he was unhappy.
How could they hold a festival in this critical juncture...... She definitely thought that.
Not long before, Karian had forced her into acting in the film 'Psychokinesis Girl - Magical Magnet Hunter Felli'. The film was obviously going to be released, but she definitely hadn't thought that they would be holding a festival as if to match that release.
His sister definitely thought her brother was messing with her.
Though it truly wasn't like that, it was very suitable for her to think that way, and actually Karian was the person who had agreed to let her act in that film. Even if her paranoid delusions continued to expand and she began considering conspiracy theories, it was a very natural thought process.
The hateful silence made Karian decide to quickly escape the apartment after he finished his business.
What dispelled that thought was some change in mind.
"I'm truly sorry about the thing earlier."
Karian didn't look at his sister, but said those words to the doors. He didn't know what kind of expression his sister showed outside of his vision. Karian held the thoughts that 'maybe my sister is normally expressionless, but she'll smile because of those words' as he spoke.
"Never mind the movie for now, I was very interested in the Light Dite experiment. Even if only a Psychokinesis amplifier experiment, as long as we can find some means to push it to a practical stage, I think that it can ease your burden."
"......You misjudged that person's nature, how unlike you."
"No, I didn't misjudge, I knew he was that sort of person long before the planning stage. But, with regard to Light Dites, no one in Zuellni has yet been comparable to him. So in order to let this experiment be carried out smoothly, I could only let his attempt succeed."
"Though research on that Light Dite's flying ability and particle beam have temporarily been suspended, plans to put the amplifier into practical use have already begun. Depending on the occasion, it could become a giant weapon like the Kei cannon, or could reduce the burden on you."
"I won't hold any expectations of it."
His sister's attitude was still cold. But, it was much better to get a response than non at all - Karian judged this.
When Karian walked to the door, his sister's voice sounded.
"......Has something happened?"
His feeble attitude had been noticed, and Karian showed a wry smile, but his feet didn't stop because of it.
"Uh, I just kind of understand your feelings of not wanting to do something but being forced into it."
Felli seemed to turn her head, but Karian didn't look at his sister's face right then, but rather left the room carrying his baggage.
After getting off the tram at Sanaji Avenue, Karian looked at the scene on the avenue while walking towards the school building. Preparations for the festival were going on in every corner, and currently there were vehicles holding materials running along the street, and he could see the figures of Architecture students carrying the materials around. Karian gazed at that scene while striding towards the Student Council building.
Though he had been the one who had announced the festival, he would never get tired of watching this avenue's scene of slowly changing vitality.
Karian had prepared to pass through the plaza, which had been blocked off because work was being done on it. The workers in the middle of the plaza were constructing a steel frame for a stage.
Just as Karian planned on changing his route and was about to depart, someone called to him.
It was the Architecture Head.
The Architecture Head smiled while wearing work clothes and wearing a safety helmet, and he showed white teeth that contrasted with his swarthy face.
"Hi, how's the work progressing?"
"Nothing's gone wrong, it's very smooth."
"What about materials?"
"More than sufficient. We're using the cultured materials from the machinery layer, so wood is plentiful. There's more than enough processing capacity for the wood, it's clear that Zuellni is very vigorous."
The Architecture Head's words provoked Karian's interest.
"You know that the city's vigorous?"
"I can pretty much feel it."
It was clearly the morning, but the Architecture Head's tanned face was already damp with sweat. He used a tower hung around his neck to wipe off the sweat, and then said:
"I can figure out just by looking at the culturing area. Like I just said, the culturing area uses the city's machinery layer. In other words, it's the regenerative ability of the city. When people are feeling bad, the wounds they receive don't get better easily."
"The proof is, when the city went rampant before, the condition of the culturing area was terrible."
"I never heard about that."
"Didn't I report to you about the business of the culturing area production inefficiencies before? Other than that, the deduction is just my feeling after all, it's not like the Mechanical Department guys who are professional and justified."
The Architecture Head's reasons were very justified as well, though.
"The condition of the culturing area has been particularly good the past few days. Maybe the Electronic Fairy is also looking forward to this festival."
"Looking forward to the festival huh, so that's how it is."
It wasn't hard to understand the Architecture Head's remarks as long as he thought about the reports from the Machinery Department. Karian didn't know about the condition of other Electronic Fairies, but he knew that the Electronic Fairy of Zuellni was very exuberant and curious. When he had just entered school, situations would often arise Mechanical Department because the Electronic Fairy had gone somewhere, and that was proof.
"You have to be excited too."
"Nn, of course."
"After all, this is the stage you're going to stand on."
"......What did you say?"
As the Student Council President, he had to make this festival succeed - Karian had only nodded his head to show approval because he had thought that was the Architecture Head had meant.
However, the Architecture Head seemed to mean something else.
"What, you couldn't possibly not know, right? This is going to be a live music venue, where the light music clubs can all perform independently. Your band will also perform here."
Karian felt a bit dazed.
However, Karian didn't fall over. There were other students here who, just like Karian, had failed to notice that the plaza was closed and then had to leave, and there were also workers constructing in the plaza. As the Student Council Head, Karian definitely couldn't faint in front of the eyes of spectators.
"Nn? Before you came, a secretary came over and told me."
The Architecture head patted Karian's shoulder, and it looked like he approved of the situation. Karian could only force himself to stay calm as he left the area.
After that, Karian ran into many people who chatted with him on his way to school, and there were about six who brought up the matter of the Student Council band.
This wouldn't do, he was being trapped.
Karian walked to the Student Council building while wiping off the sweat on his forehead. It definitely wasn't the hot temperature of the summer that made him sweat that much.
Serine...... Not only her, the entire secretary group was utilizing some method to try to make it an established fact because Karian hadn't shown interest and had been hesitant. In order to make this decision an established one, they planned to make it common knowledge, and make it so that Karian, who concerned himself over the prestige of the Student Council, had nowhere to run.
"I need to think of something, need to think of something......"
Karian mumbled to himself while walking into the Student Council building.
Even the construction students who were preparing to work brought up the band. Karian returned a doubtful smile very unlike him, and then arrived in the Student Council room.
Music came from the empty room next door that was usually used as a resting room, and several students who didn't belong to the Student Council were currently moving things into the room.
Karian watched quietly.
The sofa that Karian usually used to nap on had been moved to the side, the table had been taken away, and replacing them were a complete set of drums, a large amplifier set on the floor, and musical instruments placed on stands.
A brilliant microphone stand was placed in the center, and that scene gave Karian a cold sweat.
Karian entered the Student Council room, and there was no one there, though the files that he hadn't finished dealing with yesterday were piled on the table.
It was normal - the customary scene made him feel comforted, though this was the first time Karian had such a feeling.
After putting the bag holding his change of clothes next to the table, Karian sat in the chair. The familiar sensation of the chair let him relax a bit.
Suddenly...... he noticed something on the table that hadn't been there yesterday.
It was a data chip, and to it, fixed with a clip, was...... a music score.
The sticky note attached to it read 'This is the music we're going to perform, so please memorize the lyrics.'
Karian was already speechless, facing Serine's neat handwriting.
Three days before-
The preparation for the festival was already entering the final stage. Right now there were almost no more construction workers around, the schedule for activities had already been planned and finalized, and all that was left was for the workers to smoothly complete setting the various stages.
In the schedule, the playing time of the Student Council band was clearly listed.
The weariness in Karian's heart had already reached its limits.
The song the band was going to perform sounded from the players in the Student Council room. It wasn't singing, but the electronic melody.
"You couldn't have made that song yourself?"
After asking this, the drummer Shirley lowered her face shyly.
"R......really. I feel like it's not bad at all."
Karian could only show a doubtful smile.
What should he do right now?
This was the only matter in Karian's mind. There would be a small break every hour during Student Council work, and there would be time to rest every three hours.
During the small break, the secretaries would walk one by one to the neighboring room - the room that had become a music room. The entire Student Council building was made of a material that was soundproof to a degree, but they had never considered in the beginning that there would be a band performing here. The strumming guitar, flowing piano, and pounding drums holding up the song's rhythm passed through the walls and entered the Student Council room.
Every time he heard their performance, Karian would hold his head.
The secretaries had spoken to Karian once about it, but hadn't looked for him to practice afterwards. Moreover, they hadn't slowed down in their own work, but rather dealt with cleaning, making tea, speaking with visitors, sending files to Karian, asking him to sign files, and speaking to him about various matters like they normally did. They didn't mention the band business while working, but once it was break time, they would silently walk next door as if it had been arranged, and then the loud sounds of a performance would pass through the wall and shake Karian's eardrums.
What should he do right now?
One day before-
In the end, Karian hadn't attended their practice once.
The festival was tomorrow, so he no longer had business to work on. The normal scene of the Student Council was returning bit by bit.
However, the room next door still kept its state as a music room.
Karian no longer slept in the Student Council building. After completely dealing with the things he had to do, he would return to his apartment without any further ado. After her brother who hadn't been back for a while returned, his sister hid in her room as if she were confused, but her response was just a triviality.
The Student Council room was quiet like normal. The secretaries hadn't played music from speakers again, and right now they were silently dealing with work.
A steady and tranquil working scene.
However, it was hard to deny that the scene hid something completely different from normal, an emotional and nervous tension.
The secretaries had already realized a fact.
That was - Karian truly didn't want to stand on the stage with the Student Council band.
It was tomorrow...... He feared that tonight would be the final practice.
He would have to return early today as well.
But, what then......?
He had to face tomorrow.
Right now it was already too late to change the schedule. Up to now, Karian hadn't mandated that the secretaries stop their Student Council band activity. Since he hadn't done this, then the performance should be carried out. Karian who was the singer couldn't stop that performance without some particular reason.
In that case, he would have to perform.
Karian had to stand on stage and sing in front of the microphone.
Just thinking about it, he had a kind of feeling as if his body were being torn from the pressure.
(I wonder if filth monsters will attack tomorrow.)
Karian walked towards the files while thinking about childish delusions, but he didn't show those emotions on his face at all.
(No no no, that's too outrageous no matter what. In that case, if an Academy City comes near this place, and then the festival is halted because of a Military Arts Competition...... No, even that would just mean the festival was extended. Then, it really has to be filth monsters. If filth monsters invaded the city, and damaged the city interior, and it wouldn't be time to hold a festival anymore.)
Karian began imagining. Letting filth monsters come near the city, and engaging them in the outer regions. Military Artist students would go fight, but as for allowing the filth monsters to invade the city......
No, that kind of thing wouldn't be allowed.
Even in his delusions, Karian was still a perfectionist. He calmly planned Zuellni's battles, and when he thought of the battles the students had experienced up to now, he pushed aside that possibility.
It was possible that filth monsters would suddenly come to attack the outskirts and would be confronted. Only Felli had the power to spread a sensing web around the city. Though there were other Psychokinesists on the lookout right now, it didn't mean that they were completely alerted.
However, it was almost impossible for filth monsters to invade the city and only cause light damage.
Because, Zuellni had Layfon Alseif.
The Lance Shelled City Grendan had many strong residents, and that man had won the title of Heaven's Blade successor there at a young age, and had come to the Academy City because he lost that honor. To him, a large group of larvae was an annoyance that had only numbers, and even a grown mature phase wasn't his opponent. When he had defeated an aged phase, he had entered a bitter struggle because of his equipment, but in this situation where the chance of encountering a filth monster wasn't high, it was unlikely that they would run across an aged phase filth monster, and the probability of such a battle happening tomorrow was almost zero.
(Damn you, Layfon Alseif!)
Even though Layfon had only come to Zuellni by chance, Karian had still used him completely, so he had no right to blame him for this.
When he returned to his senses, Serine was standing in front of him.
"Nn, what is it?"
After dispersing his evil delusions, Karian raised his head. Her expression was sad and depressed.
"Well, would President please join tonight's practice?"
After she cautiously said this, the secretary group held their breath.
"Only tonight is left for practice. Please, join our practice."
Serine lowered her head, and Karian was speechless. Karian had originally tried to leave before the others could say such things, but he had escaped from reality because of the overwhelming pressure, and missed the opportunity to leave.
Karian paid attention to keep from leaking anything into his expression while desperately searching for an excuse to deal with Serine.
However, she was the first to speak.
"We know that you doesn't want to do this, President. But we want to do things in the festival other than Student Council activity. We have to choose something that doesn't require a lot of time to practice. Because everyone can play instruments, we decided to form a band. I'm sorry for making such a reckless decision."
Serine's words slowly drove Karian into a corner.
"Don't say that."
"No, we're requesting President to do something that you don't like, so I have to lower my head a few times."
Karian was slowly running out of places to go.
"Since you can perceive my feelings, why don't you just not include me? It's fine for your singer to play an instrument at the same time."
After saying this, Serine and the other secretaries all lowered their heads. Though it was only through the wall, Karian had heard their performance skills. With their skills, it was impossible to sing while playing.
"Well...... we could do it, but that's not what this is about."
"Then what is it about...... No, I shouldn't ask. Anyway, since you can leave me out of it, please do so."
Karian stood up.
Hurry, he had to hurry up and escape.
Karian took the bag placed next to the table, and then stood up. He had work that he had to do. But, it was alright even if he delayed that work till tomorrow. In any case, in this critical juncture, he had to flee the scene even if he had to become a villain.
"We want to do something with you, President!"
Shirley was the one who shouted this out. The fact that the soft-spoken her had desperately said such words dragged out Karian's conscience.
Karian clicked his tongue.
(What's wrong? Karian Loss. Hurry, Karian. Are you the kind of person to stop in this kind of place? You're the villain who ruined your sister's and another student's lives without concern for the peace of the city. In that case, what do you need to be concerned about. Move, go. Reach your hand to the door!)
However, he wasn't able to stride forward.
Shirley continued speaking.
"We want to make memories together with President. The Student Council's activities are also very fun, but we wanted memories more like a student's."
Move, Karian Loss.
Karian couldn't move, unable to lift his legs as if they were buried in the floor. Since his feet couldn't move, then he could use his hands. Hurry up and reach for the door. Regardless of the method, he should quickly escape this place.
"We're begging you!"
The secretaries stood up, bowing their heads to Karian in unison.
"I can't sing!"
Karian shouted this. That shout spurred him to action, letting his limbs move again. Karian quickly moved in front of the door, and left the Student Council room.
Karian walked to his apartment without looking back.
The day of-
The festival that Karian had announced was beginning.
At the Student Council President's message broadcasted to the city by loudspeaker, every corner of the city broke out in cheers at the same time. Vendors shouted loudly to customers, and advertising balloons danced through the sky, with the sound of firecrackers also resounding.
However, a heavy atmosphere lingered in the broadcasting room, completely contrasting with the joyful atmosphere that the entire city gave off.
Karian left the broadcasting room as if escaping from that awkward atmosphere, and none of the secretaries chased after his back.
(That should be enough.)
He only had a small bit of satisfaction in his heart. An extremely bitter feeling filled his chest, an evil and painful feeling. Even if this was a city with only students, politics were still politics, and it was impossible not to dirty his hands. This wasn't the first time Karian experienced such feelings, but the pain today had left an incredibly bitter aftertaste for him.
The secretaries had to go to the plaza in order to prepare the things the band needed. It was the City Police's work to deal with the disputes that happened during the festival.
There was no longer anything Karian had to do during the festival. Should he return to the Student Council room to continue yesterday's work? Though Karian thought about it, his feet headed somewhere other than the Student Council building.
This was a park in the residential district. This park was normally a resting place during noontime break, but today there was no one here. According to the schedule, there should be cultural societies holding activities in nearby lecture halls, but today the park wasn't in the students' vision. From the beginning, Karian had known that there wouldn't be anyone coming here.
He sat on a bench and looked at the sky. Today's weather was excellent, and could be said to be good weather tailor-made to a festival.
"Really, what am I doing."
Karian couldn't help but mutter.
Until now, Karian still hadn't considered participating in the performance, but he didn't regret not saying he would participate. This way, he didn't have to conform to everyone's opinions. He also believed that Serine and the others' plans had failed, because they had given him a chance to flee.
Even so, the bitter feeling still hadn't disappeared.
Normally, Karian should have observed the festival with the secretaries under the name of patrols, but right now he could only pass the time here with nothing at all to do. Karian understood that it was that kind of misfortune that brought him his bitter feeling.
He gazed at the sky.
When the colors of the sky began showing traces of the sunset, a lot of time had already passed.
Just then, a figure appeared in the edge of his vision.
When he realized who it was, Karian abandoned the thought of escaping. Doing that kind of thing was completely meaningless, because he clearly understood the decisive difference in physical ability between the two sides.
"So you were in this kind of place."
Vance emotionlessly stared at Karian who sat on the bench.
"I wasted effort running around to many places."
"Is it alright not to be patrolling, Military Arts Head?"
"I don't want to be told that by the untrustworthy Student Council President."
Vance didn't sit next to Karian, but stood in front of him.
"The secretaries' looks were all very depressed. I know the entire situation."
"In that case, you should know I wasn't wrong."
"Actually, I saw the boss abandoning his responsibility for his subordinates."
"What did you say?"
"To not have revised the schedule, isn't that neglecting your position?"
Karian couldn't retort, and could only stay silent.
"It's not like you at all. If you don't want to participate, you should have many means you can utilize."
"That's true, but I really can't ignore their sincerity."
"In that case, you should go step up to the plate. You were the one who decided to have a festival, but then you let it be stepped on? That kind of thing definitely couldn't happen, right?"
"I heard that you said you couldn't sing, huh."
"You couldn't have......"
Vance's hinting words made Karian turn his face to the side.
"Hah, I guessed it."
A big smile emerged on the Military Arts Head's face, and that made Karian show an unhappy expression. It was less humiliating for Vance to know this than for other people to find out. But even so, Karian didn't particularly want that man to know.
"Is that bad?"
"So that's how it is, a perfectionist like you obviously wouldn't want to do such a thing."
"Everyone has their weaknesses."
"That's true. Right, everyone has their weaknesses, that's nothing embarrassing."
"In that case, can we stop this matter here?"
"I can't do that, because you still have to step up to the plate."
"What did you say?"
"You have to fix the moods of the secretaries. Judging from their current appearance, problems will appear later in the general affairs of the Student Council. Morale has already plummeted, so how will you deal with that?"
Karian tried responding, but noticed that he didn't have the slightest idea, so he silently shook his head.
"Don't joke around."
"Go be a laughingstock."
"I don't care if I make people laugh. But, I don't like being laughed at."
"In that case, make everyone smile."
"You want me to be a clown?"
"A clown is quite an incredible profession."
That was indeed true. But, if someone asked him whether he wanted to be a clown, the answer would definitely be negative. If there were a reason, or it were for him to acquire something he wanted, Karian could force himself to be a clown. However, he didn't desire to deliberately be a clown.
"Where am I wrong?"
"The people you need to make smile aren't the listeners, but the secretaries."
"They're important manpower that the Student Council needs to operate. In order to return to normal morale, you have to be responsible for their smiles."
After Vance said that answer, Karian stared at him without looking elsewhere. The dark mouth that was tanned by the sun curved in a smile, but his eyes held a serious look.
"Really, I never would have thought that the day would come when I would be lectured by you."
"It's you who made me always be a king of complaints."
Karian stood up from the bench.
"Right, since you came to push me anyway, you should be able to help me with something, right?"
This place was quite a distance away from the plaza where activities were being held. After looking at the clocktower to check the time, Karian looked at Vance, and looked at the displeased expression of the Military Arts Head who was being asked by the Student Council President to violate school rules, and then smiled.
A gloomy atmosphere filled the waiting room.
They were the final band to take the stage. In the vast waiting room, there was no longer anyone else from different bands. The bands who had participated had tidied up their things and then left, and all that was left in the room were the things of the band that was currently performing.
"......Anyway, everyone do your best, I'll sing."
After Serine said that, Shirley only replied quietly. The faces of the other two also darkened, and they clutched their instruments and drumsticks.
"I never thought that President would hate singing in front of everyone this much."
"Nothing we can do......"
Roxella continued Miralia's words, understanding their meaning. Just by thinking a bit on why the President would hate singing in front of others this much, she could easily surmise that conclusion. Since they had become students, these few secretaries had always been by Karian's side, so it wasn't hard for them to imagine that the perfectionist him wouldn't perform his weakness in front of others.
"Nn, we didn't look into it enough, we should apologize to President."
"Correct, I hope that you all will do that."
A voice suddenly sounded, and the secretaries looked over in surprise.
Standing in the entrance to the waiting room was Karian.
After walking in front of the secretaries who had cried out in surprise, Karian looked at them. Karian had already seen the instruments in their hands.
"Wearing this should be fine, right?"
After checking that the secretaries wore clothes the same as what they normally wore, Karian hooked his finger in his collar. He had just experienced the movement abilities of a Military Artist, and sweat not caused by heat had made his neck and back a bit uncomfortable. It was a bit unsightly to open his collar in front of others, so Karian could only let his neck air out a bit.
After Roxella nodded, Serine cautiously opened her mouth.
"Could I ask......"
"I have no choice, since things have already been decided after all."
"......I'm really sorry."
"No, I should be the one to apologize. I should have been honest with you all earlier."
"But, I have to ask you something first. Is it really alright for me to sing? Just like you predicted, I don't sing well, so the outcome will definitely be terrible, and your beautiful performance will be ruined by me. Even if things become like that, you won't care?"
The first to reply was Shirley. She replied loudly with a shaking voice, seeming like she would cry at any time.
"We want to make memories together with President."
Their gazes and the words that he had heard before made a smile emerge on Karian's face, and he turned to the side.
Like that, Karian stood on the stage.
The microphone stand in the center flashed brilliantly.
The fact that the Student Council was truly standing on stage made the gathered audience cast their surprised voices and gazes towards them.
It would be fine if he stood just like he did in front of the podium - Karian continuously said that to himself, but he still raised his voice a bit because of tension. That reaction made the audience laugh.
An embarrassed smile emerged naturally. He had no choice but to do it, and Karian wove his confrontational mood into his words.
"Though I don't sing very well, please listen, everyone."
Afterwards, the rhythm of the drums began to form.
1, 2, 3......
Aggressive guitar lines swept through the air, and piano notes depicted smooth curves, and time slowly flowed past.
The rhythms of drums and bass shook the earth.
The secretaries performing an intense piece with serious expressions surprised the audience, slowly dragging them into a world of music.
Karian who felt the notes from his back also had similar feelings. A live performance that directly entered his ears instead of passing through from next door had that kind of shocking power. Karian was surprised, and he never would have thought that they had this kind of side to them.
The intense but short overture was about to end.
Karian opened his mouth.
In order to project his voice, notes, and the lyrics, his mouth, which usually bluffed and wove words to lobby and convince, opened.
Sound came from his mouth.
In that moment, the vibrations formed from the secretaries' performance was wiped out, and a sound a hundred, no, ten thousand times stronger assaulted the entire plaza. The ground shook, the trees trembled, and the air split open.
That extraordinary fact made the audience speechless, even forgetting to cover their ears. However, that only lasted for a moment. In front of that weapon of sound that gave them physical pain, the audience plugged their ears, and struggled to keep from falling to their knees. A violent sound surpassing the microphone's tone control dominated the plaza, and it still continuously expanded to a larger area. The air filter continuously shook, and the scene outside the city distorted because of it.
Even the Electronic Fairy Zuellni who had joyfully come to the plaza frantically plugged her ears (though it was unknown whether there was any meaning in doing so), and escaped in a flash back to her home, the center of the Mechanical Department. However, the Electronic Fairy hadn't been able to escape that shockwave, and fainted inside the Mechanical Department.
The city's legs stopped, as the machinery had malfunctioned due to the abnormal situation occurring inside the city. The city made strange motions as if its gears hadn't caught fully, and not long after those movements became cityquakes. Even the students who weren't in range of the violent sound felt the abnormality through the cityquake.
The City Police who didn't know anything sounded the emergency alarm, telling the students to quickly hurry to shelters. In the situation where filth monsters might be attacking, the merry festival feelings of the Military Artists was erased, and their hands grasped their Dites as they prepared to group. But the seventeenth platoon wasn't in that scene, nor was the Military Arts Head there, and even the Student Council President hadn't made an announcement about what the abnormality was about.
The abnormality continued for about the length of a song, and then stopped.
After singing, Karian sighed. He had deliberately kept from looking at the audience while he sang, and because he was too concentrated, he hadn't even heard his accompaniment very clearly. But, Karian had followed the rhythm and burned the lyrics into his mind, and sang along with the rhythm. He could read music, and he could remember the lyrics of the song, he just couldn't sing them in their original notes. It was a kind of disconnect between the brain and the body - a helpless feeling made Karian feel impatient.
But, it would be a lie to say he weren't satisfied. Just making a lot of noise was something that made one happy. He could definitely sing, and it made him emotional.
But, Karian didn't listen to the accompaniment while singing. He sang for himself, rather than for others.
"That doesn't really count as singing together, does it?"
Karian murmured softly to keep the microphone from picking it up, and then looked at the secretaries behind him somewhat apologetically.
Until now, he hadn't paid attention to the silence around him.
He turned around to look at the audience under the stage, the emcee on the side of the stage, and the workers.
Everyone had fainted.
Karian mumbled softly, and then shook his head with an expression of giving up.
He would never sing again.
He silently made that decision.
Translator's Notes and References
- Sounds a bit strange in English, but think of 'President' as being a formal way to refer to Karian. That's how it works in Japanese, at least.