Chapter 20:

Mr. Manager

I Became the Manager of the First Galactical Idols

I headed to the closest place in Saitama I had marked on the map: the café Professor Fuku and I had eaten at the previous day. I stepped inside. It didn't have a proper spot to function as a stage, but the chairs and tables could be arranged to allow it.Bookmark here

I approached the counter, where two barista robots served the people.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon, sir. Do you wish to order?" the robot in front of me asked in a masculine voice.Bookmark here

"No, thanks. I'm looking for the manager. Are they here?"Bookmark here

"Our most sincere apologies if we made a mistake. You can tell us what happened and we'll fix it right away."Bookmark here

"Nothing happened. I have a business proposal and want to talk with them directly."Bookmark here

"Understood. I'll ask if he's available."Bookmark here

The robot and I stood still in silence for a few seconds before it talked again.Bookmark here

"He has agreed to meet with you. Please go through that door, then head left and knock on the first door on the right."Bookmark here

"Got it. Thanks."Bookmark here

"You are welcome."Bookmark here

I was able to open the door and step inside. It was a narrow hallway with a few doors. I followed the robot's instructions and walked to the left until I was in front of the first door. I knocked and a man answered,Bookmark here

"Come in."Bookmark here

I stepped into a small office. It had no windows and its decoration was minimalist. On the other side of the room, the manager sat at a desk with a computer. He looked around fifty.Bookmark here

"Hello. Please take a seat."Bookmark here

"Thank you."Bookmark here

He seems nice.Bookmark here

I walked to one of the two chairs in front of the desk and sat down.Bookmark here

"You look rather young to be making business proposals, kid. But that's no reason to reject someone. What is your offer?" he smiled.Bookmark here

I should refer to the group as a band, to avoid confusion.Bookmark here

"Sure. I'm the manager of a band and we are looking for a place to perform at. I've come to this café many times and I think it's a great place that fits perfectly for the group style."Bookmark here

"And what style is that?"Bookmark here

Good, he seems curious.Bookmark here

"Cute, colorful, and wholesome. It will give a nice mood to the customers."Bookmark here

"Interesting. You'll gain popularity and we'll get more customers."Bookmark here

"Exactly."Bookmark here

Looks like I got him.Bookmark here

"And how popular is this band? Are there any videos I can watch or social media I can read?"Bookmark here

"We haven't performed publicly yet. This will be the first time and it will be a great opportunity for us as well as for your business."Bookmark here

"Because?"Bookmark here

"You will be known as the café that gave us the opportunity to become famous."Bookmark here

His expression quickly turned into a frown.Bookmark here

Uh oh.Bookmark here

"If your band turns out to be bad, it will endanger the café's reputation. They won't trust us anymore. And I can't trust you blindly. I'm sorry, kid."Bookmark here

"Please, just give us one chance—"Bookmark here

"Believe me, I'd really like to give an entrepreneur the opportunity, but I can't this time. Let's not make this harder for us."Bookmark here

Upset for a moment, I calmed down. His expression showed compassion.Bookmark here

"Sure, I understand. Thank you for receiving me."Bookmark here

I stood up and turned around to walk to the door.Bookmark here

I was so close…Bookmark here

"Kid," the manager called. "Come back after your band has done a few performances. Make sure they are great."Bookmark here

"I will."Bookmark here

Disappointed, I walked out and exited the café. I wasn't going to let one failure get to me, so I headed to the next business a couple of minutes away. It was a bar, not very suitable for a cute band, but it looked like a nice place and it had a small stage. The majority of the people there looked around twenty-five, which I read was the average age of an idol fan.Bookmark here

I asked the bartender robot to see the manager, but it was more hesitant to ask than the barista robots. I managed to convince it after a few tries and I was allowed into the back. I knocked on the office's door and a man answered,Bookmark here

"Come in." He sounded less friendly than the previous manager.Bookmark here

I stepped inside. Before even closing the door, he continued speaking.Bookmark here

"What do you want?"Bookmark here

He hasn't even looked at me. He's looking at the computer.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon. I'm the manager of a band and we are looking for a place to perform at. It will be—"Bookmark here

"How popular is the band?"Bookmark here

He doesn't have good manners, huh?Bookmark here

"We haven't performed publicly yet—"Bookmark here

"I'm not interested. Have a nice day."Bookmark here

He still hasn't looked at me!Bookmark here

"Please, it will be a great opportunity—"Bookmark here

Menacingly, he finally looked at me. "I'm going to call security if you don't get out."Bookmark here

Tch. He's doing me a favor.Bookmark here

Responding with a frown, I walked out of the bar and headed to the next place. In short, the managers of the following ten businesses were as nice as the first manager or as disrespectful as the second one; there was no middle point. Some didn't even receive me.Bookmark here

Defeated, I returned to the dance studio with the girls. As soon as I opened the door, Astra ran towards me.Bookmark here

"Kaito, did you find a venue?!" she beamed.Bookmark here

"I didn't."Bookmark here

Her grin instantly vanished. "Sorry! I didn't mean to make you feel bad."Bookmark here

I sighed. "Astra, try not to apologize for everything, okay?"Bookmark here

"Sorry—I mean, okay. I'll try my best."Bookmark here

"Good. And don't worry, I'll find a place soon."Bookmark here

"I told you it was going to be hard," Sanae said as she approached us.Bookmark here

"Yeah, maybe I was a bit too naive. I always am. But I won't give up."Bookmark here

"That's the spirit," she smirked.Bookmark here

Risa approached. "Can I suggest a place?"Bookmark here

"Sure."Bookmark here

I didn't like the idea, but it was logical and probably the best chance we had.Bookmark here

Hesitant, I left the building and headed to the Trading District, where Kiku's café was. I stepped inside and she—standing behind the counter—immediately recognized me.Bookmark here

"Mr. Manager. What brings you here? Did the girls already break your heart?" she smirked.Bookmark here

This is why I didn't want to come.Bookmark here

"Kiku, can I ask you a favor?"Bookmark here

She seemed confused. "Sure. Unless it's about how to get the girls' hearts. I won't allow that."Bookmark here

"And I don't want that. We are looking for a place to perform at. I already asked many businesses. I must admit this one was far from the top of my list."Bookmark here

"I can see why they rejected you if that's how you treat them. Were they in Saitama?"Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

"Of course they won't let you perform, you're a nobody. And you don't like this district, so you didn't even think about the businesses here."Bookmark here

"I had marked a couple, but they were at the bottom of the list."Bookmark here

After a brief moment of silence, she continued, "Sure, you can perform here."Bookmark here

"Really?"Bookmark here

"I'm doing it for the girls."Bookmark here

"Thank you, Kiku! I could hug you right now."Bookmark here

"Get any closer and I'll kick your head off."Bookmark here

Lovely as always.Bookmark here

"I was kidding. Except for the thank you."Bookmark here

"I didn't know Mr. Erudite had a sense of humor."Bookmark here

She just changed my nickname.Bookmark here

"No problem," she continued. "But let me warn you, not many people come here anyway. And the ones that do aren't the easiest to please. Also, the place is not prepared for any kind of show at all."Bookmark here

That's good to hear…Bookmark here

"Are you up for the challenge? Do you think you'll be able to pull it off?"Bookmark here

"Of course. Don't you trust in your rude dames?"Bookmark here

She smirked. "Good answer. How are they, by the way? Have you been treating them nicely?"Bookmark here

"They seem very happy."Bookmark here

"They are fulfilling their dream; of course they are happy. You can't imagine how relieving it is for me. And probably for Butcher too. They haven't had the easiest of childhoods. But that's for them to tell you."Bookmark here

"Yeah. When can they perform?"Bookmark here

"Whenever you want."Bookmark here

"What is the most crowded day?"Bookmark here

"Sunday."Bookmark here

"Let's do it this Sunday, then. Can I hang a poster on the front window?"Bookmark here

"Go ahead. But I don't have any more signs. You'll have to use your own or print it."Bookmark here

"Got it. Kiku, thank you for the opportunity. Really. I assure you it's going to help your business as well. We'll attract many more customers, so be ready to get a lot of work."Bookmark here

"Now, now. Don't get sentimental on me. The girls trust you, so I trust your words, Mr. Manager."Bookmark here

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