Chapter 10:


I Became the Manager of the First Galactical Idols

Monday afternoon arrived. Half of my lectures had finished; it was time to eat lunch. I walked out of the Accounting lecture, held in one of the biggest buildings on campus, and headed to the cafeteria, also one of the biggest buildings.

As I walked through the campus' artificial gardens, I kept complaining about any subject related to math. Sadly, they were needed to manage a business. I arrived at the cafeteria and bought an apple from the food printer, which printed food almost instantly. It obviously wasn't natural, but it had the exact same properties as a real one.

Luckily, scientists invented the printer just before Midnight Zero arrived, the day the Doomsday Clock was marked to have zero seconds remaining until midnight. A lot of people didn't—or didn't want to—believe it, but scientists were right. The climate drastically changed over the span of a few years, extinguishing many animals and making countries lose their farms. Storms became a hundred times more devastating and the ice at the poles melted, sinking many countries in the process.

Japan was one of the luckiest; only a few coastal cities and islands were lost, including Tokyo. They had months to react, so no one died. With what little space remained in existing cities, the government was forced to build new ones anywhere possible, including the mountains. Incredibly, they made it.

Thanks to the conjoined efforts of the entire world, they were able to get the Earth back on the right track over the centuries. The sea level decreased, resurfacing the submerged land, and the climate became stable and predictable before being controllable.

Humanity survived thanks to many inventions, the food printer being one of them. Still, to print any food, it needed the molecular recipe and the necessary resources. It was impossible to print famous products without an agreement. The university's cafeteria had many, but they were extremely expensive. That was why I stuck with buying fruits or basic meals.

I bought a bottle of mango-flavored water from the drink printer to have with my apple and started looking for a place to sit.

Aki said she wanted to eat lunch together, but we didn't even decide on the time. Maybe she eats later in the day—

"Hello!" Aki greeted me from behind. I jumped and almost spilled my drink. "Oops," she smiled.

I calmed down with a deep and slow breath. "Please don't do that again."

"My bad. I see you're quite the healthy guy."

"You wouldn't say that if you saw what I eat at home. Chips, cookies, cereals… At least they all have different nutrients."

"You don't cook?"

"Rarely. I don't see the need when there's cheaper, pre-made food."

She sighed. "You're missing out on the real, authentic food. You make me wanna go to your place and cook for you."

"T-There's no need."

What's she suggesting?!

She chuckled. "Where should we sit?"

I observed the cafeteria. It wasn't crowded, but there were no free tables either. Until I noticed Umi, sitting with other people at a table with some space left.

"Umi's over there," I said.

"Really?" She looked at where I was looking. "Let's go."


Ignoring me, she walked off towards the table. I had no other choice than to follow her.

Why do I feel like this isn't going to be good?

We arrived and sat down. I was next to Umi, while Aki was next to me. The group Umi was sitting with stared at us. They all wore a similar gothic style as Umi. More than annoyed, they looked worried. When Umi realized it was us, she sighed, stood up, and walked away.

I knew it.

"I hope we didn't annoy her too much," I said.

"Don't worry, we didn't," Aki replied.

"How are you so sure?"

"Believe me, I've seen many of her kind."

Umi would've murdered her if she heard that.

Aki started eating, so I gave my apple the first bite. We sat in silence for a little until I tried to break the ice.

"So, did you want to tell me something?"

"What do you mean?"

"You invited me to eat lunch with you. I thought you wanted something."

"I wanted to eat with you, it's as simple as that."

"Oh, I see," I giggled.

Great, now I look like a jerk.

She snickered. "Don't overthink it. You know how many guys would kill to eat with me? And even more for me to invite them."

Talk about self-confidence…

"I know that look," she said. "You're probably thinking how presumptuous I sound, but it's the truth. And don't I need high self-esteem now that I'm going to be an idol?"

"Maybe. Just try to keep it in control."

She smirked. "You worrying about me makes me happy."

I could only feel my cheeks getting hotter. I looked away.

"So, there are no ulterior motives for eating together," I said. I took another bite of my apple.

"Well, I like you, so you could say there is—"

"You what—"

I swallowed the chunk of apple before I could chew it properly. It got stuck in my throat for a moment before I was able to get it through by coughing non-stop.

Aki grabbed my drink from the table and handed it to me. "Here."

I grabbed it and drank a little between coughs. The stinging slowly faded away.

"Are you okay? Do you need mouth-to-mouth breathing?"

"No! I'm better now."

She chuckled. "Are you really that against me kissing you?"

"Y-Yes. I mean, no…." I sighed. "Just to make sure, did you say that you like me?"

She nodded. "But I wanna take it slowly, so don't think too much about it."

"Are you really asking me that?"

"I should leave," she said as she stood up.


"Because everyone's staring at us. I don't want to turn half of the university against you."

I looked around when she told me that. Practically the entire cafeteria stared at us, some by mere curiosity, but many others were obviously raging with jealousy. Once Aki and I looked at them, they resumed their activities.

This is bad.

"Let's talk soon," she added. "Bye-bye."


She turned around just to be stopped by Umi, who stood still arms-crossed behind her. They stared at each other for a second.

"Looking forward to working together," Aki smiled and walked away.

Umi glared at me. "If you're done with your act, leave."


"Because I say so." She sat where she was sitting before she left, next to me.

Wondering how she would react, I merely gave my apple another bite and ignored her request, staring at her. She sighed and looked away to continue talking with her friends.

Just as I expected. She's only trying to look tough. I'm her boss, anyway. I doubt she would… No, she totally would.

I finished my apple and my drink in five minutes. Umi didn't look at me again during the entire time even though I was sitting next to her. I stood up, threw the bottle in the recycling bin, and stepped out of the cafeteria to get some fresh air.

I can't believe what just happened. I need to talk with her about it. That I'm not looking for anything—

Not even ten steps after leaving the building, someone called me from behind.


Confused, I turned around. It was Aki again, peeking from behind a tree. She waved her hand, signaling me to approach her. I complied.

"Aki? I thought you wanted to leave."

"The cafeteria. And I didn't tell you to meet me outside because everyone was listening."

"So you waited here until I came out?"

She nodded. "Amazing, huh? I had never waited to see a guy in my life."

I don't know how I should feel about that.

"Okay, I need to talk to you about something."

"Wait. Let's do it at my apartment in the evening."


"I also want to show you something."

My heartbeat raised. Only then did I realize how close we were. I could smell her even through the breeze.

Why do I keep thinking about her smell?!

"Fine. What time?"


"Okay. Where do you live?"

"It'll be easier if I send it to you. And we'll be working together, so we were going to exchange contacts sooner or later."


My glasses vibrated in my pocket. I took them out and put them on. I accepted her request and a message with her apartment's location appeared.

"Oh, you live in the building next to mine," I said.

"Wonderful. It won't take you much time to get there."

I took my glasses off and put them back in my pocket.

"Why don't you keep your glasses on?" she wondered.

"I don't like using them all the time. It's uncomfortable."

"Weird. Anyway, I look forward to meeting you tonight!" she smiled.

"S-Sure. See you tonight."

I turned around and walked into the campus gardens.

Isn't there some technology to control the temperature of your cheeks?

My glasses vibrated. I put them on and suggestions of implants to control your body temperature appeared.

I was joking…

Cel T.