Chapter 29:

A hero, an adventuress, a cat, two Sekaunmei fans, Bobby, a perv, a random dude, a serial killer, a seamstress and a fangirl walk into a ramen restaurant

Sekaunmei: The Fate of My World is at You

From the moment Ken went out of the bathroom, Mirena couldn’t say anything rather than surprised noises. She stared speechless at Ken while Eli was finishing the last details with the makeup (just hiding some imperfections and brightening the skin tone).

—And that’s it, you can open your eyes now.

He felt the face very weird, since he has never in his life been even close to makeup. However, the final result was impressive. He saw himself in a mirror like if he were a stranger. Then, he put the mask and the cosplay was done.

—How do you feel? —asked Eli.

—I think I can get used to it —he responded, doing random movements to test the elasticity of the fabric.

—You look… very good —then said Mirena, finally being able of pronounce some words.

—Yes, you do!

—Hmmm, thanks… —If it weren’t for the makeup, his face would be very blushed.

Then, the turn came for Mirena. She went to the bathroom and put on her old clothes. It had only been two weeks, but wearing that armor felt nostalgic for some reason. Then she went out, making Eli absolutely lose her mind because of how perfect the “cosplay” was. She hugged and caressed her with the head like a cat. For one second, Ken even thought that her tail was moving, which would have been quite bizarre if true.

—You don’t even need makeup; your skin is already perfect! Oh, María, where have you been in my whole life? I could kidnap you and use you as my personal mannequin.

Mirena responded with a nervous laugh.

—I’m flattered…?

—You’re not going to say anything? —Eli reproached to Ken.

—What? It’s just that I’ve already seen her with the cosplay before —he said, and then added looking away in embarrassing—: She already knows how perfect she is.

—T-thanks. —Now even she was flustered. Luckily there was Eli, not being aware at all of how tense and shy they both were.

—If we’re ready then, let’s go!

Of course, the majority of the pedestrian turned their looks when they saw that picturesque trio walking through the street. However, Ken surprised himself not being (too) embarrassed for this. Maybe it was for the mask, maybe because he was accompanied by other people. Or maybe it’s just that he had changed a bit. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that 90% of the glances, especially those from men, were directed to Eli for obvious reasons.

The building, that building they visited two weeks ago and it was deserted, then it was absolutely crowded. In the inside, on the outside, at the surroundings, everywhere there were a lot of people, and a lot of them cosplaying, so it was a very colorful human wave. Even if it was an already big and popular event, the presence of Yoriyuki Yamahito was the reason behind so many people gathered in one place.

Before going in, they looked for a fountain that was close to the entrance. There was Zack waiting for them, together with his girlfriend Jessy. They weren’t cosplaying, rather using Sekaunmei merchandise.

—Nice to meet you —she said with a gently voice—. Your cosplays are so good!

—You are Ken? Are you my Ken? —Zack approached to the guy dressed as Mask like if he were some kind of alien—. Jessy, we broke up, I found the true love of my live.

—Shut up —said Ken, actually flattered because of the compliments.

—Damn María, you have born to cosplay Mirena. And you —he said, now looking at Eli—, you also look great as… Mike? —he said, pronouncing it in the English way (“maɪk” instead of “mike”, according to the International Phonetic Alphabet).

—Mi-ke —she replied, emphasizing both syllables with the right pronunciation.

Some minutes later, Bobby arrived to the same fountain, and after the greetings, the six of them together went into the building.

The tons of stands created a lot of corridors to walk while admiring the exhibition. It was extended largely in all directions. A section on the right was on a higher ground, accessible by two stairs in the north and south of the elevated area, and it was surrounded by a safety fence. At the opposite side of the entrance there was the stage were the events, like the cosplay contest, would be held. Nearby there was an emergency exit, and there was another one on the elevated area and on the left side.

Zack, Jessy and Eli were walking a bit ahead, so Ken and Mirena could have a chill chat for a while. To be honest, maybe “chill” isn’t the right adjective, since the crowd generated so many noise that, even being next to each other, they needed to raise the voice pretty loud to talk properly.

—Whoa this is so huge! Not even five minutes have passed, and I have already seen my face like a hundred times!

—This event is mainly about Sekaunmei, so you better get used to the feeling.

—“Fiction” is not a thing in my world, so I couldn’t understand you went you talked to me about it. But now, not only I know what fiction is, but also I’m witnessing the effects it creates in people. So many people gathered together by their love to the same fictional world, everything created by just a human’s mind. I can’t wait to know him, if I can.

—Don’t worry, he’ll recognize you more than anyone.

—Whatever happens after that… —she said, but before she could continue, she was interrupted by a scream from Zack that drew their attention.

—I can’t believe it! That is… —he shouted out louder, pointing to someone—, t-the legendary creature!

—What the hell are you talking about? —asked Ken, looking to the same direction. And then, when he saw what Zack saw, he could only face-palm and sigh because of how ridiculous the situation was—. Oh, for the love of god…

In the directions Zack’s finger was pointing there was a random dude, wearing the legendary ahegao jacket. He had seen it tons of times in memes, but he never thought he would have the opportunity to meet someone wearing it in person. It’s not like he wanted though.

—What? Do you guys like my drip? —he said, joining the group. Then suddenly, Bobby jumped into the conversation, approaching his face to the jacket.

—344234, 532345, 177013, 223456…

—Disgusting! —said Eli, actually laughing.

—Wait what? What do the numbers mean?

—Don’t dig too much into forbidden knowledge —recommended Jessy to her boyfriend.

Mirena tugged Ken’s sleeve to draw his attention. She was going to ask about the numbers too, but after remembering the obscure episode with the visual novels, she decided to shut up.

—What happens?

—Ehmmm, nothing, never mind.

At the end, the ahegao man joined the party, thanks to Zack’s and Eli’s amazing ability to be friend with anyone, ability that surpassed even Mirena and made her look shy in comparison.

They passed the time watching some merch. The even had just begun, and Eli already spent half of her money already. Luckily for her, the ahegao man (whose name nobody asked) did not seemed reluctant at all with the idea of lending money to her. Of course, that was a benefit only available for Eli and Mirena, and maybe Jessie. That’s how Ken knew his jacket portrayed perfectly the mind of that dude (and that’s how he decided to never let Mirena alone with him).

During that time, Mirena and Ken separated from the group a lot of times. Not because they wanted to be alone, but because constantly there were people stopping them and asking for photos. Ken didn’t want to admit it, but his cosplay was very good too. Instead, he just gave Mirena all the credit, and repeated to himself that the only reason the people asked photos to him was because they were together.

—How many pictures have you guys taken so far? —asked Eli returning with them. In the short period of time they were taking photos, she already bought more things—. You guys are like the most popular couple, aren’t you?

—Now that I think about it —now said Zack, also returning with the group—, where’s Arthur? —He took out his cellphone and text him. Not even a second passed when he got the answer—. “I’m watching you”. What?

—Oh, there he is! —Eli looked at the elevated area. Next to the security fence, seated around a round table, there were a boy and a girl, and the girl was waving to them.

—That son of a bitch was about to eat without us? How dare him! Let’s go, we need to ruin his quiet lunch.

The eight of them (because, nobody knew when, someone else joined to the group) went up the stairs and reunited with Arthur and Alice to have lunch. He was wearing a cosplay that she made, featuring a character from a horror anime. He was the protagonist’s best friend, who happened to be a serial killer. He was a liar, a cheater, evil, manipulative, toxic, and somehow, one of the most popular anime husbandos of all time. Arthur’s handsomeness was doing justice to him, but also the quality of Alice’s costume. Of course it was kind of easy: a purple wig with messy hair, a black shirt with details in red thread, and baggy pants with a lot of pockets. But still, having in count it was her first time, and that she even took care of the wig and makeup (very pale skin tone and some scars in the neck), it was impressive. So that one and the other cosplays of the group were the main conversation topic until the lunch arrived.

The eleven of them (yes, now they were eleven, since a girl joined after asking Arthur for a photo) ordered some ramen with different ingredients according to everyone tastes. Zack grabbed the chopsticks and was about to say something when he was interrupted by Arthur.

—Don’t even dare to say it —he said while menacing him with his own chopsticks.

—Why not?

—‘Cause you’re not Japanese, therefore, it’s cringe.

They stared to each other in silence, like two cowboys ready to shoot. The tension was unbearable, even the whole stadium became quiet (not really). Zack opened the mouth, and Arthur’s pupils dilated, like a predator ready to pounce on the neck of its pray. And then, Zack said, emphasizing all the syllables:


Arthur smacked the table and let the chopsticks there.

—That’s it, you’ve done it. —And he stood up, as if he were about to punch him.

Meanwhile, the rest of them kept talking like if the previous scene were the most normal thing in the world. Alice had a leaflet with the schedule of the events, and Eli, Mirena and Ken were looking at it.

—At 14:00 a group of Vsingers is going to hold a concert, I can’t wait! —said Eli. They were cute, but Mirena’s attentions was, logically, focused on other things.

—So Yoriyuki Yamahito comes at 15:30 —she humbled.

—Yes, and the cosplay contest will be held at 16:00. You’re going to blast it, María!

—Is he going to have an autograph signing? —asked Ken. The whole plan was based on that, but he didn’t saw nothing like that in the schedule.

—Hmmm I guess, but here doesn’t say anything. This doesn’t specify why he’s here though, neither what he’s going to do. Maybe he’s just going to present Sekaunmei’s new animated trailer and that’s all. But even in that case, I can’t wait!

Mirena seemed a bit worried about this, so Ken tried to comfort her putting the hand in her shoulder and smiling.

—Everything will be fine —he said.

—Yes, sure —she responded, also smiling. However, it was kind of a forced one. Not only by the worries, but also because seeing Ken like that, dressed-up and with the mask, was making her feel weird. He was too reminiscent of Mask and, contrary to what she would had expected, it wasn’t necessary a good thing.