Chapter 72:

My Biggest Enemy is Also My Favorite Internet Personality.

My Dad is an Otaku, My Mom is a Fujoshi, and I Wish I Was Dead

Hmm hmm la's been a great day for news gathering!

The tyrannical regime that threatened the free dissemination of information at our school has been toppled thanks to Kaechan's (and my) brave efforts, and now I can get all the scoops I want without the Student Council getting in my way!

Lately, there've been some rumors that a couple members of the girls' volleyball team were having issues with each other, so this morning I got here bright and early, climbed up to the rafters and filmed their whole practice. There was nothing newsworthy going on between Hosokawa and Miyajima, but afterwards I followed them going out of the gym and it seems like Hosokawa might be angry that Miyajima is 1) better than her at volleyball and 2) has caught the interest of the guy she likes. It's a classic jealousy scenario! this point, it's only hearsay. I don't have anything juicy yet, like the two of them fighting or confessing to the guy...

School hasn't been very eventful ever since we got back from the break. I've tried to do some investigating for new leads, but all I'm getting are the same few rumors. Apparently there aren't any new crushes, or relationships, or love triangles yet...

Without new stories, how am I going to keep my loyal audience's attention? Oh no! And my YooToob channel isn't getting many views, either, since I've run out of ideas for questions I want to ask people on the street...

I'm in a rut. Ugh, after everything Kaechan has done to bravely open the doors for my intrepid journalism at school, it's all gonna go to waste because there's no drama for me to report on!

...What should I do?

First things first, I'll ask Sayaya...if there's any drama going on, she'll know about it. Ever since we met in preschool, she's known all about who liked who and who had a crush on the teacher and so on...if she wanted to team up with me, we'd be an unstoppable reporting duo! But she just likes to use her gossip knowledge to mess with people instead of actually trying to do something useful with it, like me. It's such a waste of her best skill.

"Sayaya, Sayaya!"

I get a few stares when I enter Class 2-3 between literature and history class. Heh. They must be some of my adoring readers. I guess I am pretty famous around here.

"Oh, hey, Miku-chan-" Sayaya yawns, stretching her arms above her head. "What's up?"

"Anything good happened yet? A breakup? A fight? Aliens abducting Akamatsu-chan? Tell me, tell me!"

"It's only been a period since we last talked..." Kaechan looks to the side, disinterested. Her bangs are a bit longer today. Maybe I could do a column on fall styles if I can't find any juicy gossip? But then I'd be stepping on Nodoka-chan's toes...ugh. "There hasn't been enough time for anything to go down yet."

"Sayaya, please tell me something good happened!"

"Nope. Nothing except for my brain hurting listening to Yakushiji-sensei." She yawns once again. "Seriously. I feel like he's speaking a foreign language every time he tries to explain geometry. I'm lucky Kaede's good at that or I'd be flunking~"

"It's not really a big deal or anything..." Kaechan twirls her hair around her finger, embarrassed. "I'm only helping you study because I don't want you to fail..."

"You're so modest."

I think Kaechan's turning a little red.

"Oh, by the way, speaking of geometry..." Sayaya looks up toward the ceiling, deep in thought. "Kaede, can I borrow your notes before the quiz next week? I'll make sure to give them back." She grins in the same way that she usually does when she's plotting something.

"Fine," Kaechan sighs. "Just this once."

"You tell Miku-chan that every single time she forgets to do her homework."

"That's because she can't help it, but you can."

"She just called you stupid, Miku-chan." Sayaya grins. "You gonna let her get away with that?"

"I didn't mean it that way! Stop twisting my words!"

"You're not wrong, Kaede...but you can't say stuff like that out loud."

Kaechan's pink at this point. "I didn't say she was dumb! You're the one saying that!"

"It's the truth, though."

"Saya, stop...seriously..."

Sayaya giggles. "I'm messing with her."

"You do this every single day..." Kaechan sighs, putting a hand over her face.

"Both of you, quit it!" I'm pretty fed up by now. I wanted to do some investigative journalism and get some leads from my sources, but all they've done is bicker! "I need you to tell me about some kind of happening! Or rumor! Or gossip! Anything! Please, help me out!"

Kaechan gives me a bit of a concerned look. "Why are you so stressed?"

"I've gotta submit my column by the end of the month and I haven't been able to find anything interesting to report on!"

"Like I said before, I've got nothing...oh, wait." Sayaya pauses, deep in thought.

Yes! There it is! I knew I could count on Sayaya. She might like to make fun of me, but when I need her to come through for me, she does.

"...There's gonna be an English quiz next Wednesday, too."

"I already know that!"

"So? That's a school happening."

"My readers don't want to hear about tests and festivals. They want drama! Romance! Jealousy!" I make sure to wave my arms so I have Kaechan and Sayaya's full attention. "Do you get it?"

"...What readers?" Sayaya grins.

"You're such a jerk!" I'm fuming.

"It's been pretty boring lately-" Suddenly, Kaechan stops, staring straight at me.

"Kaechan, what's wrong?"

A shadow covers me, and then I hear a stern voice. "Maebara, go back to your classroom."

Aw, crap, it's Saitou-sensei? Not good, not good, not good! He's huge, and he's scary!

Immediately, my left hand yanks upward, and then it's grasping nothing but air. When I finally turn around, Saitou-sensei is holding my camcorder.

"Also, come to the teacher's office later." His voice is so deep, it sounds like a demon.

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! My footage!"

Ugh, what a horrible day...

I had to sit through history and science classes without my precious camcorder, and then had to listen to a Saitou-sensei lecture about personal electronics on school least he didn't look at my footage. I kinda dodged a little bullet...

But seriously, what am I gonna do? I haven't got any stories to report on! I spent all of club time today trying to find some leads, but still couldn't find anything. What if I don't have anything to write by the time the September newsletter has to go out? Will my column get canceled? Will President Saotome kick me out of the Newspaper Club? AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

...Pull yourself together, Miku. A roving reporter can't get discouraged so easily. You still have a few weeks to go.

For now, it's time to go home and think about where you're going to look for info tomorrow. Studying for the English and math quizzes can wait. Grades are temporary, breaking the biggest stories is forever.

...Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that the Student Council aren't bothering me anymore, but I'm a little sad they're nowhere to be found...if they were getting on someone's case today, I might have a good lead for my column. They were a great source of drama and happenings...

As I stand on the corner of the street that leads toward my home, with the crosswalk light red and chirping and the wind rustling through the trees, a flash of dark hair in the crowd to my right catches my eye.

The light turns green, and I'm swept along with the crowd as I start to move. As I reach the other side of the street and the crowd thins out, I hear a set of dainty, measured footsteps from behind me, and then a small figure with long, dark low twintails brushes by me, moving forward quickly. As she passes underneath a tree, she turns her head quickly to look up, long enough that I can get a good glimpse of her face.

The unusual part isn't that she's wearing a Shinchoushi uniform. I see students go this way all the time.

But I didn't expect one of them to be Asako Senjuuin.

It's the first time I've seen her in weeks. know.

Wait a minute.

I have an idea. A great idea. Something that could only come from the mind of a roving reporter as skilled as I am.

If I'm lacking a story...I'll make one myself. If I'm not getting any engagement on my channel...I'll put something out that will make people take notice.

Who cares if there's nothing going on at school when I've got access to the hottest up-and-coming cosplayer in the industry whenever I want? If I put Cocone on my channel, my views are going through the roof! If she gives me a shoutout, I bet I'll get so much engagement! I won't even need to write my column for the school newsletter anymore!

Miku Maebara, you are brilliant.


The president turns with a jolt as I run over to her. She looks like she swallowed a rock, and stands there dumb-struck for a second before she finally spits out, "Don't say that so loudly!"

I'm still having a hard time believing that Asako Senjuuin, the haughty, arrogant student council president who went after me and my friends for no reason at all, is Cocone Necoma, the star rookie of the cosplay world. They don't even seem like they live in the same universe.

"What do you want, Maebara?" A puzzled look crosses her face. Now that I look at her...yeah, I can see Cocone. I would never have connected the dots if I didn't know, but the president is pretty cute, and so is Cocone. I didn't notice it before because I only encountered her when she was getting on my case for this or that.

"Nothing! I just wanted to say hi...I didn't expect to meet you on the way home today."

Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna act like I'm just making conversation, and then bring the hard-hitting questions out before she can realize what's going on.

"Is there something unusual about me going home early?"

"No!" I quickly wave my hands. "Not at all. It's just...I'm a really big fan, so I was really surprised when know...found out you...haha..."

The glare she's giving me right now could melt steel. I know what she's thinking. If you breathe one word about Cocone to anyone you'll be floating in a ditch tomorrow. Rich people and their connections are scary.

"Is that all?"

"Can I get your autograph?" I give her my biggest smile.

"Piss off, Maebara."

The light turns green, and she starts walking across the street...oh no, if I don't do something, my opportunity will be gone!


She stops in the middle of the street as the crowd around her continues to move, looking back at me with wide, terrified eyes. It doesn't take me long to catch up to her as she nervously crosses.

On the other side of the street, she grabs me by my shirt sleeve, pulling me close to the wall outside a Mes Burger. "Hurry up," she hisses in a tone right above a whisper. "What do you want it on?"

"Just a second..." It takes me a few tries to get the zipper moving on my bag, but I finally manage to get it open and pull out my notebook and pencil case. "Here."

She takes a black pen out and frantically scribbles on the page.

It's really Cocone's signature! It even has the little flower at the end of's so cute!

"I'll be going now." She turns to leave quicker than I've ever seen anyone do, but she's not getting away that easily.

"Can you do one more thing for me?"

She stops and blows out in a steady huff. "What is it? Make it quick. I don't have all day."

"I run a YooToob channel, and I was wondering if you could give me a know, maybe post some photos on Inst*gr*m? 'I've been hanging out with my friend Miku Talks recently and I really like her channel! You should subscribe to her!' That kind of thing."

"Do I have a choice?"

"Not really."

I'm expecting her to turn around and walk away anyway, but instead she hisses in a low whisper, "Tomorrow, 6 pm, under the Nakamachi Shopping Street sign. Don't be late."

I was so excited, I could barely sleep. Or pay attention in class. Sines and cosines? The water cycle? Stoichiometry? Climbing a rope? Who cares about any of that? I'm gonna be the first YooToober to get promoted by Cocone Necoma! My engagement is gonna be through the roof!

As soon as club ends, I practically sprint all the way to Nakamachi Street. The place is filled with all sorts of scents of yummy food. Yakitori, takoyaki, ramen, ice cream- I love Nakamachi Street, it's a food lover's paradise. There used to be a bakery at the far end on the corner where it hit the highway, but they moved a few years ago. It was a shame...I liked that place a lot. Their almond bread was the best thing ever. Oh well. There's still plenty of good stuff on this shopping street. Japanese food culture is second to none. And there’s also shops for everything. Fabric, stationery, books- my favorite is the camera store. One day, when my channel makes it big, I’m gonna get the best video camera I can from there- the kind that costs five million.

There are plenty of people coming and going, but I don't see anyone matching Cocone's- no, the president's- description. The longer I stand under the red sign at the front of the street, with its name embossed in white lettering, the more worried I get. It's past six now, and there's no sign of her.

Did she stand me up? Is she at school right now, chuckling to herself about how stupid I look? Ugh! I told her I'd tell Kaechan on her if she didn't show!

...But if I do, and Kaechan exposes her, then Cocone will hate me forever...

There's a slight tug on my sleeve, and then comes a whisper. "Over here!"

I whirl around, and there she is.

Is she actually wearing a baseball cap? And a dark coat? And sunglasses? And a mask? OMG! It's like she really is a celebrity!

My view count is gonna blow up!

"What do I have to do?" she says in a low, unhappy voice.

"First, let's get a picture. Right underneath the sign."

She huffs, but reluctantly poses with me as I snap the selfie. That one's perfect. Onto Inst*gr*m it goes. I'm hanging out with my channel's biggest fan @coconeco_cosplay today. New video coming soon!

I can almost feel the likes rolling in.

"Was that what you needed?" She quickly looks to either side of her. It's like she's worried someone is following her. Well, when you're a popular's good to be cautious. "I need to get home soon."

"I want you to shout me out, too."

I see her brow furrow above her dark sunglasses, but she fumbles around in her coat pocket before pulling out a smartphone. It's got a peach-colored, plastic back. She would yell at people for personal electronics at school all the time, but she must have had her own all along! What a hypocrite- oh, that's an idea for a story in my column. Scandal! President Senjuuin Smuggling Personal Electronics! Violating the Student Handbook! Shinchoushi Community ROCKED!

"Do you see where I tagged you? My channel's in my bio."

The president nods. "What do you want me to post?"

"Just tweet me, I guess...saying you like my channel? Something like that."

She stares at her phone, concentrating while she intently taps away, before turning the screen toward me.

I've been addicted to watching this channel lately. @Miku Talks

“Hmm…that seems pretty generic.”

Miku-chan's really funny and she picks interesting subjects for her videos.

“And she’s also the cutest and hardest working roving reporter on YooToob.”

I think she’s the cutest and hardest-working Yootoober out there. Give her a watch and I bet you’ll like it!

"Perfect!" I give her a big thumbs up.

"Can I go now?"

"Nope. We need a few more photos. The more you post, the more attention you get."

It looks like a jolt of electricity runs up her spine.

A short walk later, we're in front of Funabashi's most Instag*r*mmable new dessert shop, with two cups of frozen yogurt topped with every cookie imaginable sitting on the table behind us. It's a perfect shot.

"Say cheese! Peace sign!" Click.

The president nervously looks at the giant, frozen swirl in front of her. "Do I have to eat that? Is it supposed to be good?"

"I don't know...I've never had it. It looks good in photos, though. All right, onto the next place!"

Thirty pictures later, I'm finally ready to call it a day. We went to every trending restaurant, store, arcade, and historical landmark, and I posted image after image...I'm gonna get so many new YooToob subscribers now that people see me hanging out with Cocone!

"...Maebara, I really need to go home now..." She sounds like she's on the verge of tears. I guess she's worn out. Being a reporter is hard if you're not used to it. And I don't want my favorite cosplayer to hate me.

"Okay. I guess we can call it a day. See you later!"

Whoa. It's like I blinked and she's gone. She just disappeared.

Let me check on my subscriber 172, and it's only been an hour. Nice! I bet by the time I get home, I'll have two hundred.

I feel like skipping down the street. Wouldn't you, if you had access to Cocone whenever you wanted? She's so cute, and she's got so many fans, and all I have to do to get her to do me a favor is threaten to tell Kaechan on her. Maybe I'll get an interview with her next time? Imagine that. I'll be the first person to have a long-form sit-down interview with the most popular rookie cosplayer of this year. Not a big magazine, not a big

Kaechan, you're such a good friend. Without you, I wouldn't have been able to launch my career like this-


Is that...across the street...

It's Ayame Shiritori! From the high school! My rival! She's right there! What if she notices me? What if she comes this way? Oh God, ohgodohgodohgod what do I do whatdoidowhatdoidowhatdoido-

...Who's that with her?

It's a guy, but I don't recognize him...he's got shaggy, dyed hair, and is wearing a Shinchoushi uniform, the same as her, but he's not my Haru and he's not her brother.

They're sitting inside the coffee shop across the street, at the bar seats at the plate-glass windows lining the front of the store, happily talking and laughing, not even looking my way.

As I watch, she reaches over and takes a sip of his drink as quickly as she can, then they both laugh.

She drank from his straw.

...Is this what I think it is?






I've gotta let Kaechan know!

@maebaramiku100: Kaechan you're never gonna believe it!!!!!!

@kae_musaszi is online.

@kae_musaszi: huh?

@maebaramiku100: It's Ayame Shiritori!

@kae_musaszi: yeah?

@kae_musaszi: what about her

@kae_musaszi: do u want to interview her or something???

@kae_musaszi: I thought you hated her lol

@maebaramiku100: She's got a boyfriend!

[sticker of a confused Koni Bear]

@kae_musaszi: Idk about that…

@maebaramiku100: I’m positive!!!!!! I’ve got evidence!!!!!!!!!!!!

I make sure to send all three photos I took of them. You can never have enough evidence.

@maebaramiku100: They were on a date and they indirect kissed and everything






@kae_musaszi is offline.

@maebaramiku100: Kaechan?

Steward McOy