Chapter 21:

Episode 21- Cultural Festival Part 1

My Friend is a Harem Protagonist [Short]

March 6th, a surprisingly warm Monday.

I sat in my classroom zoning out. We were discussing preparations for the Cultural Festival at the end of the week. The class president wasn't the best at keeping everything organized, I could tell her was panicking.

“Alright, so we agree on a Haunted house then?” The president said.

Everyone was in agreement.

“Alright, now we need someone to do the planning and scheduling.” The class president said.

“Isn't that your job?” Someone said.

“I don't think I can organize it as well as others could. Do we have any volunteers?”

I could feel Daichi raise his hand. This would be a disaster if he was in charge of planning.

“I nominate Riku.” Daichi said.

I did a head turn so fast the I think I heard my neck snap.

“Oh I second that.” Maeko said, raising her hand. “Riku is a great planner.”

“Huh?” I said.

And that was how I was put incharge of the scheduling and planning. This worked out fine though. Because of my position no one expected me to actually participate in the haunted house so that worked out.

“Alright, so first thing we should figure out is a theme, and who will be doing what.” I said as I approached the dry erase board. “Since it's a haunted house we will need a team of scarers that will rotate so everyone has time to explore the festival, at least one person has to be taking payments, and we will need some promoters.”

Everyone got broken up into groups. I had put Maeko as a money collector and Promoter. Daichi was a scarer and Promoter. I figured this would work out best for them. Maeko did have a bit of a following so her promoting the event could be good. And if she did it with Daichi it gave them a chance to interact at the festival.

I would have to work a little harder to arrange things so the girls all had their chances to interact with Daichi. But first I had to figure out what the other classes were doing.

“A maid cafe!” Aoi said proudly. We all sat at a local restaurant we liked. It had big tables for our big group. Kioko sat next to me.

“That sounds fun.” Daichi said.

“Yep, Saki and I are going to be the cutest maids ever!” Aoi said, grabbing Saki’s shoulders.

“Wait, I have to be a maid?” Saki said nervously.

“Yeah, we went over it in class.” Aoi said with a smile.

“I must see this.” I said. Seeing Saki in a maid costume would be a highlight of my life, on top of her trying to serve people oh what did I do to deserve such a great opportunity.

“I cant wait to see it.” Kioko said with a smile.

“Oh yeah you are coming aren't you.” Toshi said. “We should explore together, since I can't take part in our event.”

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Our class is doing a play.” Himiko sighed from across the table.

“It's starring me, the great Izumi!” Izumi said proudly.

“Our class has a lot of theater kids.” Himiko sighed.

“What play?” Daichi asked.

“Yes.” Himiko and Izumi said at once. Izumi seemed proud, and Himiko seemed defeated.

“It's a little of everything.” Ren explained. “It sounds like a lot of fun.”

“It's a hot mess.” Himiko said, chewing on her straw.

Kioko looked at me. “You will make time to show me around right?”

“Yeah of course, I owe ya a tour since you gave me one of your school.” I said.

“Good, I will hold you to it. Don't be too busy.” Kioko explained.

“Riku will mostly be busy on the second day.” Maeko explained. “At Least from his plans.”

“A whole day?” Kioko asked.

“They put me in charge of pretty much everything. The other two days I am going to be a promoter mostly once everything is set up.” I said.

“Oh yeah Kioko you should stay after we finish on the third day. We are going to have a huge bonfire to celebrate success.” Toshi said.

“Isn't that for students only?” Kioko asked.

“Himi-Himi can you make an exception?” Toshi asked, turning to Himiko. She glared at Toshi.

“Maybe, I can try.” Himiko said. “However, Nakaya, I do not like that nickname.”

“Oh no, she's in prez mode!” Toshi joked.

“Want me to come to the bonfire?” Kioko asked me.

“Yeah, it would be fun.” I said.

“We do a big dance to celebrate. It will be awesome!” Aoi said happily.

Right, the dance at the bonfire was a pretty big romantic event. It was the event that closed out the festival. I hoped Daichi would participate in it with someone.

March 9th, a crazy day.

We had been working for days, struggling to get this haunted house set up for tomorrow. Now here we were, the sun set long ago, finishing. I had organized everyone well I would say. It helped that everyone was working towards the same goal of a great event. Maeko and Daichi had been working closely throughout the whole process. I would say there was some kind of process made between them. Would it be enough for one of them to confess?

March 10th. A Warm, Shiny Day.

We came early to make sure everything was set up. The front gate of the school was lined with booths for food. The front lawn was split between the first and second years, so third years were stuck with their classrooms. Some clubs had set up booths outside as well, I didn't partake in the Literature clubs booth which was Yakisoba.

“Alright everyone, the gates are opening.” I said, looking at the front from behind the black out curtain. “Show time, everyone to your places.” I had the class president and vice president helping with time management so that everyone was taking their breaks. Everyone worked at least two hours then got a break. We had people switching off every hour to explore. I will say, it was a logistical masterpiece on my part.

Once we had everyone set up, I made for the front gate. I was taking the early promoter role so that I could meet Kioko at the front gate.

Kioko awaited me in a cute dress. “Hey Riku.” Kioko said, rushing to my side.

“Sorry I took so long, you mind if I hand out fliers while I show you around?” I said.

“Not at all.” Kioko said, taking one herself. “So where too first?”

Promoters were a lot more lax, so they got to explore while working. That is why I gave everyone a promoter time slot. It basically was like a break but they had to hand out fliers.

“How about some food?” I said, waving to the booths that would be along the path towards the school.

“I am glad I made the choice to not eat yesterday.” Kioko laughed.

“That isn't healthy for you, you should have regular meals.” I stated.

“But I wanna eat a lot today.” Kioko said.

“It's a three day event, you can try a little of everything over time.” I explained.

“Well, I made my bed now I will lie in it. Now let's eat.” Kioko said, grabbing my wrist and pulling me towards the nearest booth.

Her hands were full of food in no time.

“So what's the plan?” I asked.

Kioko gave me a look. “What plan?”

“Well for Daichi and the others.” I stated.

Kioko looked a little down. “Well, I don't have one. I just was going to wander around with you till you had to work. Then I was going to find Toshi.”

“I see, well that's fine. I am sure Daichi and the others will figure something out.” I said as we continued on.

“Really?” Kioko said excitedly.

“Yeah, let's enjoy the day.” I said with a big smile. Yeah I wanted to push some events to happen, but I had three days.

We played a few games for some of the other clubs. Turns out Kioko has some amazing hand eye coordination and was kicking butt at a lot of these games.

“I learned how to get good at these as a kid.” Kioko said. “Sara and I would go to the summer festival and win as many prizes as we could.”

“Oh yeah we didn't go to that last year.” I said.

“We should this year.” Kioko said.

“You know I go to that alot, maybe I saw you in the crowd and didn't even realize.” I said.

“Probably, though I am sure I'd recognize you if I saw you before.” Kioko said with a laugh.

She seemed to be enjoying herself. I am glad, she was all smiles. It was like a sun was going off in my stomach.

Before I knew it my timer was going off, telling me I had to get back to the booth.

“I'll see ya tomorrow?” I said to Kioko.

“You work at the booth all day don't you?” Kioko asked.

“I get a break for a bit, Ill come find you.” I said.

“Okay, I will look forward to it.” Kioko said. “We should check out Saki and Aoi’s cafe tomorrow.”

We split off and I worked the booth till the festival ended for the day.

March 11th. Slightly cloudy.

I was the money collector today. I greeted people and let them into the haunted house. People kept screaming behind me, a success I would say. I noticed a collection of students from other schools coming through, some with some manga in their hands. Why were they giving me such weird looks?

Oh no. It was them.

Later, I spotted Kioko coming down the hall. Toshi, Ren, Aoi, and Saki followed. Saki and Aoi were in their maid outfits, probably promoters. Saki looked so funny in the costume, Aoi kind of fit it too well.

“Hey Riku.” Kioko said. “We want to check it out.”

I collected the money and let them in. This worked, Daichi was on the scare side right now, Maeko covering a shift with him.

After a few minutes they emerged from the otherside. Saki and Aoi looked super freaked out. Toshi held Ren’s arm tightly, Ren was trying to put on a strong face but was failing. Kioko was laughing.

“That was fun, let's go again later.” Kioko said.

“No!” They all shouted in unison.

Kioko hung around till my break, the others continuing with their exploration. Once I got the chance, we went to the maid cafe.

“He-hello master.” Saki said, her eyes shut tight.

The sound of a camera taking a picture caused her to open her eyes.

“Want me to send it to you?” I asked Kioko.

“Yes please.” Kioko said, pulling out her phone to take a picture of Saki as well.

“You two! Hey no photography!” Saki said in a panic.

“Can we get one with you? Here, smile.” I said, Kioko and I getting to either side of Saki and posing. Saki gave a nervous smile and threw up peace signs.

We were seated and watched as Saki fumbled to take our order. The drinks were good, and the food was alright. Apparently Saki wasn't allowed to cook, she was only allowed to serve.

Aoi was rocking it though, serving like a pro. We got pictures with her and she took some of Kioko and I. Sadly I had to return to work and had to leave Kioko.

“Tomorrow.” Kioko said. “Let's explore the rest tomorrow.”

“Sure, though I think we gotta try to trigger some events with the others.” I said. “Tomorrow is their last day.”

Kioko pouted a little. “We will see, maybe it will all work out without us needing to do anything.”

“We can hope.” I said.

We split off for the day, and I noticed Daichi seemed a little off when I got back.

Ren, let's do the next episode preview!

Can we do that Toshi? Oh well not like Riku will stop us.

Exactly! So, next time, it's the last day of the cultural festival.

Sometihngs going to happen, something big right?

Oh for sure! The girls gotta get something off their chest, though wait, did one of them already say it?

Hey, what's up with Riku? Whys he look so down?

Find out next time, Cultural Festival Part 2!