Chapter 21:


I Became the Manager of the First Galactical Idols

The week was full of arduous work and practice. We managed to finish the fourth song, called Skyless Time. With it, we had two energetic songs and two slow ones, making the setlist last for around fifteen minutes; enough for a first performance.Bookmark here

Sunday arrived in the blink of an eye. The performance was two hours away, so we headed to Kiku's café together. The animated poster hung outside the front window. It was the one that Jun had made, only with the date included.Bookmark here

We stepped inside and Kiku received us.Bookmark here

"Welcome, Blostars!" she smirked. "I hope everything is ready for today. I've noticed a few people stopping to look at the poster, so I'd say you'll have a small audience at least."Bookmark here

The girls seemed excited and nervous—except for Umi.Bookmark here

"That's good to hear," I replied. "Is there anywhere we can rest?"Bookmark here

She pointed to a door. "There's a storage room. It's nothing fancy, but you'll have privacy."Bookmark here

"Thanks."Bookmark here

We walked into the room. It was full of boxes, random stuff, and a couch. Astra, Aki, and Umi sat on it, while Sanae, Risa, and I sat on boxes. Umi and I left the two speakers we had brought on the floor, while Aki and Sanae dropped the bags with the costumes inside. We obviously weren't going to be able to play the instruments live, so we were going to play the tracks without vocals and the girls would sing.Bookmark here

"We are finally here," I said. "You're about to perform in front of an audience for the first time. It obviously is nerve-wracking, but remember that you have practiced non-stop for days. You have everything memorized, just let it flow. And more importantly, have fun. Even if you make mistakes, people will enjoy it as long as you enjoy it too."Bookmark here

The girls smiled.Bookmark here

"I didn't know you were good at inspirational speeches," Sanae said.Bookmark here

"And I have more skills you don't know about," I replied.Bookmark here

Looking at the girls on the couch, I noticed that Umi's hands were shaking and her foot bounced on the floor frantically.Bookmark here

"Is everyone okay?" I asked.Bookmark here

"Wonderful," Aki answered.Bookmark here

"I can't wait to start!" Astra beamed.Bookmark here

"O-Of course, why wouldn't I be?" Umi replied in a trembling voice. She stared at a wall.Bookmark here

"Umi, it's okay—"Bookmark here

"Shut up, I don't need your pity," she interrupted.Bookmark here

"Umi. Look at me."Bookmark here

After a moment, she did it. She tried hard to stare at me, but her eyes kept moving around.Bookmark here

"Fine. Yes, I'm nervous. That's what you wanted to hear?"Bookmark here

"Yep."Bookmark here

Sanae said, "Umi, everyone's nervous. I… have had panic attacks in the past. I felt like I was going to have another one this morning, so I took a pill for it. There's no reason to be ashamed of these things."Bookmark here

Umi stared at Sanae. "It's not just because I'm performing in front of people, they are also going to hear the songs I made…"Bookmark here

"And they are going to see the costumes I made," Aki replied. "I'm nervous, but the excitement overpowers any other feeling."Bookmark here

Umi seemed to calm down a bit—or at least forgot she was nervous.Bookmark here

Looks like they have this.Bookmark here

"I'll go check the spot where we are going to perform," I said. "Try to relax. Or you can practice if you want."Bookmark here

I stepped out of the room and leaned against the wall. My heartbeat had become abnormally fast, so I took a moment to slowly inhale and exhale.Bookmark here

I had expected the girls to be nervous, but not me. Well, the stakes are quite high; I guess it's only normal.Bookmark here

I approached the spot for our performance. It was in the center, next to a wall. Everyone was going to have a good view and a good volume. I looked around for the closest outlet. It was quite far, but the wireless connectors of the speakers had enough range. Still, we were going to test them just in case.Bookmark here

It was better to move the tables away from the spot now that nobody was using them, so I asked Kiku for permission to move them and she allowed it. I stacked two chairs on top of each other and carried them to the storage room. When the girls saw me, they started to help me. I wasn't very happy about it, but I wasn't going to complain.Bookmark here

We finished after five minutes. They stayed in the room to practice more and I headed back with the speakers to test them. I connected them to the outlet and played a few seconds of one of the tracks; they worked perfectly.Bookmark here

There was nothing much left for me to do, so I supervised the girls' practice for the following hour. I was strict and corrected every detail I noticed. Even though mistakes were allowed, we wanted everything to be as good as possible.Bookmark here

With thirty minutes remaining, I forced the girls to stop practicing. I bought drinks and light food for them; they were going to need the energy. Bookmark here

Jun and Tomokazu arrived at the café since I had invited them to watch the performance. We sat together at a table.Bookmark here

"I'm really excited to watch them again," Jun said. "They had a lot of potential when we watched them before, so I'm sure they will be even better now."Bookmark here

"The lower the expectations, the more easily you'll be pleased," Tomokazu replied.Bookmark here

"Yeah. As much as I believe they will be awesome, this is the first time," I said. "I'm expecting anything to go wrong, so I'll be ready to fix it as fast as possible."Bookmark here

"Good," Jun replied.Bookmark here

"And how are you feeling, dear friend?" Tomokazu asked.Bookmark here

"I… didn't expect to be this nervous," I giggled. "But everything's going well so far, that calms me down a bit."Bookmark here

"Worry not. Ask for help if you need it. We'll be happy to support our friend."Bookmark here

Jun nodded.Bookmark here

"Will do. But I invited you to watch, I'll try not to bother you."Bookmark here

We chatted about the group and random stuff until only five minutes remained for the performance. I headed back with the girls, who were already wearing their costumes. They were getting quite nervous, just like me. I stood still in front of them and they stared at me.Bookmark here

"Let's breathe together," I said.Bookmark here

I inhaled and the girls did as well, then we exhaled. We repeated the process for a minute before I asked them to warm up. My heartbeat kept rising; I could only imagine how they were feeling.Bookmark here

Only one minute remained. I took a deep and long breath.Bookmark here

"It's time."Bookmark here

I walked out of the room and the girls followed me. We saw the audience for the first time. It wasn't crowded, but almost every table was occupied; there were way more people than I anticipated.Bookmark here

I stared at them for a moment before I came back to reality. The timer we had set up on our glasses only had ten seconds remaining. I looked at the girls and said,Bookmark here

"Have fun."Bookmark here

They all nodded. The HoloForm technology activated only on their glasses to make them invisible; they were going to function as their microphones and it was our only medium of communication, so they had to wear them.Bookmark here

As they walked in line towards the performance spot, people stared at them. Still, they kept smiling all the time as we had practiced—except for Umi. Once they arrived, I turned the speakers on and let Sanae's microphone signal through with a mixer app on my glasses.Bookmark here

"Hello, everyone! We are Blostars, the first idol group in a millennium!"Bookmark here

I turned her signal off and turned Aki's on.Bookmark here

"We are here to make you have fun, so don't dare look away from us. Especially me," she winked.Bookmark here

I knew she was going to add something. But it wasn't bad.Bookmark here

I switched the signal to Risa.Bookmark here

"We are going to demonstrate that we, idols, make people happy just as Humas do."Bookmark here

Astra continued, "We are going to bring even more color to your lives!"Bookmark here

Umi finished, "Just watch us."Bookmark here

Perfect!Bookmark here

I turned Umi's signal off and played the first track: Blossom Stars. They nailed the introductory movements and started performing. I switched the signal of their microphones as they sang their parts.Bookmark here

Everything was going well. I stood in one of the extremes of the café, so I had a full view of the tables. I was recording with my glasses. Some people danced with their heads and seemed surprised, but the majority still seemed doubtful.Bookmark here

They performed the song perfectly. A few people clapped—including Jun and Tomokazu. Without waiting, they started with the next song: Skyless Time. We had debated the order of the songs and whether to speak between them. We ordered the setlist so the transitions were as smooth as possible and decided to speak only after the second song and at the end.Bookmark here

Skyless Time was the song I was the most nervous about. It was the last one we had worked on and the girls didn't have much time to practice it. Everything went well until halfway into it.Bookmark here

It was already difficult for Astra to dance, so the lack of practice didn't help at all. She mixed up one of the movements and crashed into Risa. Risa almost fell, but she managed to avoid it by holding onto Astra. Then Risa had the genius idea of turning Astra around so she could go back to her position while still looking like they were dancing.Bookmark here

My breathing stopped while it happened, then I let out a breath of relief when they were able to continue as if nothing had happened.Bookmark here

Good job, Risa!Bookmark here

The song ended and it was time for the girls to introduce themselves.Bookmark here

"Hello again! I'm Sanae."Bookmark here

"I'm Aki."Bookmark here

"I'm Risa."Bookmark here

"I'm Astra.Bookmark here

"And I'm Umi."Bookmark here

"We hope you're enjoying our performance," Sanae continued. "And more importantly, that you're having fun. The next song is called Sparkling Before After."Bookmark here

They began to perform and, in the blink of an eye, they had finished the song. Then Starry Sunrise, the last song in the setlist, started and also finished in an instant. I didn't notice when I blacked out, but everything had gone perfectly.Bookmark here

Most of the people in the café clapped; they seemed satisfied.Bookmark here

"Thank you for watching us!" Sanae said.Bookmark here

"We will come back next week," Risa added.Bookmark here

"And we will perform a new song!" Astra continued.Bookmark here

"So make sure to come to watch me again," Aki winked.Bookmark here

"We hope you liked it," Umi said.Bookmark here

"We'll be waiting for you!" Sanae finished.Bookmark here

People clapped and Jun even whistled. The girls seemed ecstatic. I turned their signals off and they walked towards me. However, as they walked, a random guy wearing a black sweater approached them.Bookmark here

"I loved your dancing and your singing!" he beamed. "I-Is it too much if I ask you to shake my hand?"Bookmark here

The girls seemed confused and a bit scared. It was my job to intervene in a situation like this. I approached them, not knowing what to do either. People were watching and I saw no reason to reject him.Bookmark here

"Sure," I said.Bookmark here

"Thank you very much!"Bookmark here

Excitedly, he shook each of the girls' hands. Everyone seemed okay with it, except for Umi.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, but I'd prefer not to."Bookmark here

"It's fine, I know this is weird," the guy giggled. "Thank you all! I'll never forget it!"Bookmark here

He walked away with the broadest of smiles.Bookmark here

Good, looks like we have at least one fan now.Bookmark here

The girls and I headed back to the storage room. They dropped onto the couch and onto the floor. They were sweating like crazy.Bookmark here

"You did it!" I shouted.Bookmark here

Aki and Astra faintly replied,Bookmark here

"Hurrah…"Bookmark here

"Yay…"Bookmark here

"We had to shake that guy's hand while being this sweaty…," Sanae said.Bookmark here

"Can you bring us some towels?" Aki asked.Bookmark here

"And drinks," Umi added.Bookmark here

"Right away!"Bookmark here

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