Chapter 8:

Chapter 8: A Shrouded Leadership

Becoming A Seiyuu? I'm In!

"Even from a glance, I could tell that this Aki boy cannot act! Persuade me again and again, but I won't change my mind unless he has proven himself!" - Mori.Bookmark here

The two first-year students stood straight, confronting the seniors before them. Even though one of them was a big brother to one of those juniors, it did not mean that they could act freely. They still should show some respect towards those seniors despite how carefree they were. Who could guess the seniors would land a smack or two without knowing what the reason was (bully), pulling their side burns until aching them (bully), or sending them off for errands which they could actually do it by themselves (bully).Bookmark here

Aki glanced Hiro at his side. The Hiro he and Tori used to know was the high spirited one, however the Hiro standing by him was rather rare. The last time Hiro acted this serious was when he recruited them, yet since then he always cheerfully accosted them. Even after the incident between Kishi-senpai and Mori-senpai, he still cheekily teased Aki while on their way to the media club room, just to be told that the other two seniors have already arrived there. Bookmark here

Right after they entered the media club room, the environment turned grim and the silence befell them was rather disturbing. The paradoxically ringing ears erupted Aki’s curiosity, yet he did not dare to even part lips. Seeing Hiro all quiet and timid, he tended to be one too. Bookmark here

“What’s with the seriousness?” One of the second-year seniors broke the silence, half-heartedly laughed and gradually shifted to his same-aged friend. He looked back to the juniors when that friend seemed to completely ignore him. “So, you are the new member of the club, right? What’s your name?”Bookmark here

This one senior looked kind hearted and loved smiling at other people. The undeniable trait about him was that his face, including the tanned part, was a carbon copy of Hiro’s, subconsciously declared their relationship as brothers. Even their personality was similar, but the distinct difference between them was the hair. Hiro’s has darker colour and curlier than his brother. Nevertheless, they still mimic each other. Bookmark here

“Are you getting confused? That my brother and I really look alike.”Bookmark here

Even he said so! They must have gotten used to such words in their lives. So that’s the power of siblings! Aki was the only child in his house, therefore he has always imagined of having at least a little brother or sister. Other than him, Tori was also an only child in his family. That was why they complemented each other. Secretly comparing Hiro to his big brother, he wondered how siblings did things together. Bookmark here

In anime, siblings have always been helpful and caring. The elder would always back the younger up, while the younger would be the one giving courage and such. When the elder became evil, the younger would come and fight against the elder by himself since there was a saying emphasizing the strength of family love could demolish ill intention. Bookmark here

“Nii-san, he never meets you. So that’s a natural response,” Hiro said as he clung his arm on my nape. Bookmark here

I was taken aback by Hiro’s relaxation. How could he act like that? They were literally meeting their seniors. Even though his big brother did not seem to mind, the other two seniors did. Bookmark here

“Well, we are regularly told that we are twins. We aren’t,” Hiro’s big brother gave his hand, “Nice to meet you. My name is Tani, Hiro’s big brother as you can see,” then he giggled to himself, “The one coming in with you is Mori-senpai. He’s the only third year here. That makes him the president-“Bookmark here

“No I’m not!”Bookmark here

“Yes he is.”Bookmark here

Another second-year senior nodded agreeing to Tani while crossing his arms. Mori face palmed and turned around, back facing his juniors. Hiro snorted and Aki blinked, both of them were in mild startle. Bookmark here

“He seems fierce, but trust me he is fragile in heart,” Tani added and shifted to his friend, exchanging goofy looks and laughed. “And this is another second year in the club. His name is Ono. He rarely talks.”Bookmark here

“I do talk a lot,” the one Tani introduced as Ono butted in. “I use to talk academically. No talking rubbish with me, morons!”Bookmark here

He didn’t talk rubbish but he cursed? Aki covertly frowned to no one, mind rotating over why these seniors were more explicit than how he imagined. Bookmark here

“I’m Hiro, and you know already,” Hiro stepped forward once. Then he gestured his hand towards Aki, “This is my classmate. His name is Aki.”Bookmark here

Realizing that Hiro has revealed his name to the seniors, Aki quickly bowed to show them respect. He still ought to be extra careful around these people, especially he never got in touch with any of them. “Nice to meet you. My name is Aki.”Bookmark here

The urge to straighten his body back surfaced, yet Aki could not bring himself to do so. He knew. He knew the seniors were staring at him for unknown motive, and he could not even guess. Until Hiro patted his back, only then he got up and cleared his throat. Bookmark here

“So, hmm,” Mori intertwined his fingers, propping his chin and gazing at Aki. He was already introduced to Hiro by Tani last time, hence he wanted to know more about Aki, “What makes you getting yourself in here?”Bookmark here

Aki heard him well. “It’s because Hiro said I could use the mic- Auch!“Bookmark here

The mentioned Hiro stomped on Aki’s foot, erupting Aki’s inner voice at high pitch. The seniors did not see Hiro’s action, frowning in bewilderment. Bookmark here

“Don’t tell them about that!” Hiro obviously gritted.Bookmark here

The baffled look on Aki’s face was more confusing to the seniors. This boy surely had something up his sleeves. Only time would expose who he was, sooner or later. Bookmark here

Or now?Bookmark here

“Are you, perhaps, Kishi’s spy?”Bookmark here

Huh?”Bookmark here

Hiro face palmed himself. How dumb this Mori was? Aki was stunned, but he immediately shook his head, denying Mori’s assumption. Tani squinted at their president while Ono scratched his sharp chin. Bookmark here

“Not everyone has their eyes on you, Mori-san,” Tani tilted his head on one side. The expression in his eyes depicted his conflicted heart. “In fact, I don’t think this Aki boy even knows him.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, so don’t get so full of yourself,” Ono added, ignoring Mori’s gawk to their spontaneous verbal rejection. Bookmark here

Double kill! Aki saw Mori’s slumped body, melting into his chair. Tani still smiled warmly and sat comfortably beside Ono, meanwhile Ono pursed his lips and gracefully posed on the chair. Was he daydreaming? Aki pondered to himself. Bookmark here

Hiro rested his arm on Aki’s shoulder, shaking his head in disbelief. Aki glanced at him with curiosity. There were their seniors. Tani and Ono were younger than Mori, but both of them simultaneously teased Mori for being overthinking. He was clueless on how to prove to Mori that he was not related even a bit to Kishi, the president of student association. He did not even like that guy since day one. Bookmark here

“Uhm, I came here because I think I can be helpful to the club.”Bookmark here

Both Tani and Ono widened their eyes in amazement. It was different reaction to the president, Mori. Instead of getting surged by excitement over the new student entrance, he slammed his forehead to the table and grunted indistinctly. Bookmark here

“What kind of help will you be? I don’t think Tani and Ono could even maintain this club after I’ve graduated. It will be dismissed!” Mori subconsciously complained. Bookmark here

Aki clenched his fists at his sides. This was it! The moment he would need to voice out his desire. Since Hiro has invited him and Tori to the media club, he has always dreamt of fondling those microphones and headphones with his own two hands. He wanted to be in a place mimicking to a recording studio and happily contribute his effort there. He wanted to improve multiple folds, learn as many as he could, and strive excellently to be one of the best local seiyuu. Bookmark here

Fuku-san encouraged me. I have Fuku-san in me!Bookmark here

“I don’t know what kind of issue Mori-senpai and Kishi-senpai had before, but I agreed to join the club because Hiro divulged about the club in need of a voice actor for a project,” After minutes of contemplating, Aki finally uttered out, “So I think I should try.”Bookmark here

The countenance worn on Tani and Ono denoted their intrigue. “Why did you say so? If you’re willing to help us, you do mean that you know what it is, right?” Bookmark here

I want to be a voice actor,” Aki almost cut them off. His pounding heart panicked him, yet he still tried recomposing his breathing. “I’ve been dreaming to be one, therefore I find it as a chance to learn.”Bookmark here

Ono raised his brows, wondering. “Do you mean you wanted to be an anime voice actor? Have you heard about seiyuu school?”Bookmark here

“I know about seiyuu school. It’s just that my mother won’t let me,” Aki fidgeted with his fingers, lowering his eyes to avoid everyone’s meeting his. The tension overwhelming him was similar to the day he confronted his mother to make his wish come true, just to be discouraged later. “Therefore, I want to join a club that enables me to train to be a voice actor!” Bookmark here

Aki unknowingly held a fist and thumped on his chest, imitating a pose from one of the popular anime Titan Attacking. Hiro at his side froze, while Tani and Ono turned speechless. Thinking thoroughly, a media club was not supposed to do acting. Its job scope should focus more on gathering, spreading, and investigating information. Meanwhile, there was a more suitable club to train its member in acting for drama or theatre. Bookmark here

“And that club declines my wish to make this animation possible!” Bookmark here

The third year senior rose abruptly until his chair toppled over, surprising the other four members. Tani and Ono exchanged glances, getting used to Mori’s tantrum. As juniors, Hiro remained silent but his eyes displayed his unutterable irritation. Aki has already hid behind Hiro in slight tremble. Bookmark here

“That good-for-nothing Kishi! He has totally forgotten how miserable he was last time when he begged on his knees for his theatre! But he refuses to help me when I’m in need of his service!” Mori bumped his fists on the table and roared across the room. Bookmark here

As the ones with more experience in handling the enraged Mori, Tani and Ono quickly grabbed him on the arms. Mori grumbled while glaring at Hiro and Aki. Bookmark here

“You! And you!” his index finger pointed directly at Hiro and Aki consequently, “I want you to go meet that stupid Kishi and force him to teach you on acting!” Bookmark here

Both Hiro and Aki were jolted by the unexpected job tasked by Mori. He landed on his chair after Tani and Ono persuaded him to do so. Bookmark here

“Before I forgot, another new member of the media club isn’t present today,” Only after Mori’s deep frowns loosened a bit, Aki had the bravery to relay Tori’s message.Bookmark here

“Another one? Who is it?” Tani bluntly inquired. Bookmark here

“Please tell me it’s a she,” Ono mumbled to no one. Bookmark here

“Unfortunately, it’s a he. But he’s reliable too,” Hiro aided Aki by describing about Tori. “He does seem timid, but he has firm stand. He believes in facts because he learns a lot. I think he could be an asset to this club.”Bookmark here

“Will he voice act too?” Mori’s eyes sparkled in excitement. Just what has gotten into him to be that enthralled by the news?Bookmark here

Much more excited than having Aki in the media club. Bookmark here

“Nope, I don’t think he will,” Hiro shrugged, purposely to annoy Mori. “But I think he will if Aki does.”Bookmark here

“Aki?” Mori swiftly shifted at the baffled Aki. “So you’re saying that new member will do anything as long as this Aki does it too?” Bookmark here

Although Mori seemed as the type to play around a lot, his vibe was changing since Hiro surfaced about Tori. Hiro has not even revealed Tori’s name or picture, but Mori listened to him keenly. The way he acted was different compared to when Hiro introduced Aki. As the one being nearly forgotten, Aki sensed a heaviness in his chest. He was just 13 years old, but he could tell Mori did not like him. Bookmark here

Not only Aki. Even Tani and Ono furrowed, noticing the contrast in Mori’s treatment. Whereas the one standing before them was Aki, not the mentioned new member. Bookmark here

“That guy will be my main actor.”Bookmark here

While the members were contemplating in bewilderment, Mori decided so. Tani, Ono, and Hiro simultaneously glared at him, while Aki was petrified until he turned speechless. That Mori senior crossed his arms to his chest confidently, smirking at the younger. His eyes warned Aki to stay away from the club, or Aki might get trouble in the future. Bookmark here

“But, Mori-senpai, you haven’t even seen the other new member!” Perceiving the switched situation to not be on Aki’s side whereas it has already been his passion to do voice acting, Hiro wanted to back him up. He acknowledged Aki’s determination to join the club in order to obtain the opportunity. Bookmark here

Mori moved his jaw, as if he was a gangster waiting to beat a man in debt. In his point of view, Aki convinced him the least. He would rather let Hiro to be the voice actor for his character instead of Aki. Since Kishi refused to train any members of the media club, he would train Hiro then. He ought to prove to Kishi that he could give the same method the latter used to imply on his club members – The Acting Club. Bookmark here

“If that new member doesn’t fulfil my specification, you will be the actor then!” Mori firmly emphasized. He glanced at Aki before continued, “As for you, if you’re really going to be that helpful to this club, do something to prove it to me!”Bookmark here

The silence gapped in the discussion perturbed them, until Aki gracefully broke it. “Then, Mori-senpai! Are you saying that I could be the voice actor if I proved to you that I could really act?”Bookmark here

Mori smirked a little. “Empty talk doesn’t impress me. Fruitful effort does.”Bookmark here

The club members were stunned by Aki’s sudden flee to the door. He opened it widely to get out of the room, but he turned around before leaving on the spot. Bookmark here

“Wait for me, Mori-senpai! I will come back to you!” Aki proudly said. Then he left to go somewhere no one could ever assume. Bookmark here

All eyes were on Mori. Mori shrugged goofily. Bookmark here

“What? I didn’t force him though.”Bookmark here

“You just did, Mori-san,” Tani sighed in disbelief. “Do you realize that cornering someone would drive him or her to do something outrageous?”Bookmark here

Ono shook his head, not understanding what Mori was attempting on performing. Hiro still froze while standing there, getting difficulty to digest the situation. Everything happened unexpectedly, and he never thought Mori would reject someone who was willingly offering himself for such task. Bookmark here

“I do realize though,” Mori leant his back to his chair, resting his head against the head rest and tapping his fingers on the arm rest, “That’s why. If he was courageous enough, he would accept my challenge and do something about himself.”Bookmark here

“Well, you sure have guts to reject someone when you’re desperately looking for someone suitable for voice acting,” Ono scratched his nape and exhaled heavily. “Then, what are you going to do?”Bookmark here

Mori’s droopy eyes have actually veiled his true intention for what he has done towards Aki. He pressed his index finger on his temple, unconsciously fixated his view on the dissatisfied Hiro. Bookmark here

“What am I going to do? Drawing! Isn’t it obvious?” His chortle received the coldest reaction by his subordinates. He rose from his seat, putting both his hands into his pockets. “That Aki guy lacks one thing as an actor.”Bookmark here

Tani and Ono exchanged looks, while Hiro bit his lower lip.Bookmark here

“He’s way too honest. He can’t pretend to be anything. That’s why.”Bookmark here

Hussain Maknoon
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