Chapter 9:

Without His Queen

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)

“Master, it’s time to wake up! Mayu wants to spend time with you! You wouldn’t want to keep me waiting, would you?”

It feels nice to hear Mayu’s friendly voice in the morning, but I’ll let you know one thing – I’m feeling so good that not even the sadism that comes next could phase me.

What could be so good you ask?

“Vermin, get your filth off this bed this instant! Not even these cheap sheets deserve someone as disgusting as yo-“

I slide off from the side of my bed and whack my phone as hard as I can across my small apartment. The Queen's muffled screams can be heard faintly, a dull echo.

Hush Mayu, I’m doing my monologue.

Guilt writhes through my body as my eye twitches. This painful sensation is similar to when I get heated online and claim that a particular anime cutie is “best girl”, and then suddenly remember other girls who are just as good, if not better, and instantly feel as if I’ve betrayed them.

Planting my feet firmly on the ground causes a crunch below my feet, lifting them back up again reveals a foam ‘cup noodles’ container, now in pieces to the side of my bed. The dregs of last night’s ramen pasted on my heel - a soggy reminder of an unbalanced diet.

What can I say? I may have won your heart at various points, but do not take away my ability to disappoint you within moments.

I swiftly clean up the mess on my foot and go to pick up my phone, apologizing to Mayu’s angry voice blaring out at me as I do so.

Now, where was I? Oh yes.

Today is the day that I’m supposed to be meeting Koi! She was pretty busy while we were texting, so the conversation didn’t go on for very long. The only things we decided were that we’d meet up for lunch (at a place that doesn’t feel like the kind of place we would go with our parents this time) on “the day after next”, which coincidentally is today.

It wasn’t yesterday because I had to get my minimum hours in working at the convenience store so I could earn enough money to live (and donate to Mayu) – plus I get cheap ramen and soda so I can’t complain too much.

My mind wanders off to when I asked her via text whether she was an early lunch or late lunch sort of person…

“Anything but early! I stg my sleep schedule is messed.”

I wonder if she has a late-night job or something keeping her up. That idea is formed from the notion that maybe she isn’t a completely useless member of society like yours truly who stays up until ungodly hours watching their favourite online content creator.

Late lunch works for me anyway, the only alarm clock I have is the one you heard before that wakes me up for Mayu’s stream, which thankfully doesn’t come on until noon.

I rummage through my basket filled with dirty laundry. I use the term “dirty” very loosely – most of these clothes are perfectly acceptable to be worn out in public, even if they have been worn before. All they must do is pass the ‘sniff and scan’ test to make sure they don’t look or smell bad and they’re good to go.

As soon as my clothes are all on and I look fairly presentable in blue jeans and a dark sweater, I head off to look at my computer and see if Mayu has started streaming yet.

I will note that underneath this sweater is a licensed t-shirt from an anime I seldom like; it seems when someone in your life knows your only tastes gravitate towards anime girls, then pretty much every item they buy for you pertains to that one idea they have.

The girl on my shirt is mid at best, but I can’t blame them for that – she looks cute enough.

My computer, which most of the time displays a view of Mayu’s stream, is devoid of all life and colour – despite being very much on.

It’s past time that she should’ve started streaming. Historically, Mayu has never been known to be fully punctual, but in the end, she always came to the stream – with her cancellation earlier in the week and now this, I have to wonder what is going on.

Taking the inevitable plunge that brings me to the bird app, I am left with a plethora of posts from fans talking about Mayu. Some aren’t completely on the topic I’m looking for.

You see, between VTuber news accounts, fan accounts and friends of Mayu, my feed is filled with something about her at any given time. This way I never miss out on a bit of gossip or an official update.

I promise it’s not just a convenient way to pass time when I’m not watching a stream!

What I’m investigating now is if anyone is talking about what’s going on with her. I’m not the sort to openly pry into the private lives of these people, but as a fan who has loved her for so long, I can’t help but be worried.

Okay based on that little dialogue, maybe I am the sort of person to pry into the private lives of these people.

That makes me feel a little uncomfortable now I put it like that.

My foot taps against the floor as I scroll through post after post, eventually coming across the hashtag #IsMayuOkay.

“I think Mayu might be really sick.”

“Do you think she’s gotten a boyfriend?”

“Maybe she wants to quit VTubing?”

“She isn’t graduating, is she?”

Despite only having been gone for two days in a week, the fan outcry is massive – from people assuming things about her physical health, mental health, relationship status and even whether or not she might be graduating (a virtual creator term for leaving the business).

Boyfriends are a particularly poignant topic for VTubers and fans alike; especially with a creator like Mayu, it can be hard for fans to accept that they have a life outside of the character we see on our screen.

I say this as if I’m completely disconnected from the fanbase, but with my connection to Mayu, I’m not even sure how I would feel about the prospect. I’d like to think I can separate fiction from reality, I’d like to think I’m that kind of person.

Imagining Mayu as anyone other than Mayu, even though I know this has to be the case, is sort of off the cards for me.

Maybe my character development hasn’t fully happened yet.

For the first time in what seems like forever, I decide to give my computer a break and turn it off. It’s okay to be worried about someone, especially someone as close to my heart as Mayu, but the person behind that screen is a human too.


I think back to my uncouth methods of getting Koi’s phone number and how guarded she was about answering a call from a stranger. Privacy is a real issue for a lot of people; I love my life and I have the freedom to do pretty much whatever I like without anyone wanting to pry in on me as I do so.

Some people don’t have that luxury.

Finally, reaching beneath my monitor to turn the screen off, I am hit with the reflection of a familiar face staring back at me. Despite being without his Queen, he seems more okay today than he’s been in a while.

I still think he’s got a long way to go though.