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Writer: 日日日 (Akira)
Black Tea Chapter 5
Location: Garden Space
Previous Year, Spring
Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

(Hmm. Keito's suggestion to make club activities compulsory for all students does make for a solid revision to the school regulations. It's a surprisingly good idea, for Keito.

Perhaps I should praise him a little bit more often... But I imagine he'd start getting carried away if I do. For now, I'll remain quiet and play along. Keito has in mind a dream, so I suppose I'll use his idea and make it my own...

Just as I did with his "Three Oddballs" plan.

He came up with the idea to have "the three oddballs," and tailored it to my needs. By making it "the five oddballs," I created an opening with which to strike these outstanding prodigies. Here, too, I'll create another opening.

The more relationships the oddballs have, the more these ties will become the fetters that bind them.

Should they lose themselves having fun in club activities, they'll have by far less time to focus on idol activities. Soon enough, they'll lose motivation for their idol work entirely.

Someone like Hibiki-kun in particular, who's presently pouring himself into his theatre work... He's likely weakening as an idol at this very moment.

... But I'll admit, I'm not particularly fond of the idea. As someone who loves idols, I don't really want to distract geniuses from their idol activities too much...

It'd be a devastating loss to the world of entertainment... No, the world as a whole.

I suppose there’s no getting around it, though. I’ll just have to do what I can, one step at a time. Let’s say I did weaken the five oddballs as much as I could; even then, I’d need to strategize extensively or I doubt I’d be able to succeed.

And then... We'll need to make public our magnificent extermination of these five, whom we've so carefully crafted to appear as our enemies. We'll become heroes overnight. Failure is hardly an option; I'll do anything and use anything to ensure victory.

If you've neither made a name for yourself nor have any influence, you can't achieve anything.

Even if you happen to have a vision, it'd be impossible to change the world unless you have the power to make that vision a reality.

Thus, I first need to acquire power. ... To that end, I need a scapegoat.)

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

... Mugyuu!?!

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

(!? I stepped on something!!)

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Ughhhh, what idiot disturbed my sleep? How da~re you step on me... Thought I was gonna puke up my guts...

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

You're... Sakuma... Ritsu, correct? Sakuma-senpai's younger brother, I believe.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mmmmh...? Ah. I did think you looked familiar.

You're the guy from the live we did the other day[1]... That asshole.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Is that how you remember me? Well, I suppose I can understand why... I'd like to beg your pardon for how tactless I was then, and for how uncomfortable it made you in turn.

Allow me to apologize. I'm very sorry, Sakuma Ritsu-kun.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Don't call me by my full name. And you're not getting anywhere with me by apologizing like that. You're clearly just doing it because you figure you have to...

Try actually putting your heart into your apology— maybe dogeza[2] while you're at it.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

You're quite the demanding child, aren't you. What I said is the most I'll concede— I won't say I said a single thing about you at the live that wasn't true.

... Would I really be wrong to guess that you're actually quite content with hiding in your vastly more talented brother's shadow...?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

I'm not hiding. It's just that that thing's light is way too strong.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Hmm. Your metaphor's a little abstract, but I do understand what you're trying to say.

(Regardless... Rei Sakuma... Superstar[3] and ringleader of the five oddballs. This boy... Your brother is your Achilles Heel, isn't he...?

He'd be beyond useful to have as a tool in my arsenal. There wouldn't be any harm in trying to build rapport with him.

I can use him as a hostage to destroy Sakuma Rei, who is by far the strongest of the oddballs— ridiculously so.)

Fufu. Let's set that aside for a moment, since we ended up derailing quite a bit... Is there a reason you're lying down on the ground? Are you all right? You didn't sprain your ankle, did you?

If you can't walk, allow me to carry you to the infirmary.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Nah, I was just taking an afternoon na...

(... Ah, I've got a better idea.)

Uuu... Actually... I feel reaaaallly bad and I can't move at allll... Help me, Tenshi-kun.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

... Even you refer to me as that...?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

's not like I know your real name. It's like... It's just what the guy who was really good at making music called you when we were doing the live the other day.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Ah, you mean Tsukinaga-kun. How has he been lately...? I've been hearing some rather unsettling stories about him these days...

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Nooooo clue. I only help out when I'm called, and even then I only go if I feel like it.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Perhaps you should take your idol activities a little more seriously.

... Well, I suppose you can do as you like. I apologize for drawing out the conversation even though you're not feeling well. As an apology for accidentally trampling on you earlier, I'll carry you to the infirmary, like I offered before.

By the way, my name is Eichi Tenshouin— It's a fairly overblown name, I'll admit. I'd rather you be more casual and just call me Eichi.[4]

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mmm... "Ecchan" it is, then.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

E... "Ecchan"...? If possible, I'd rather you didn't refer to me as if I were a baby...?[5]

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Pretty much everyone's a child to me. But are you gonna just keep telling me what to do, or are you actually gonna carry me?

Don't take me all the way to the infirmary, though; just take me to the cafeteria.

Truth is, my brother horribly abuses me... He always steals my food and leaves me to starve. I can't move 'cause I'm sooooo hungry...

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Abuses you? The Rei Sakuma? I'd like if you could tell me absolutely everything!

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Sure, I'll tell you as much as you want. I could badtalk that thing to the end of time.

In exchange... I don't have any money on me, sooo... Mind if you treat me?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Of course. As I am now, my specialty is just that I'm rich, so there's no need to worry. I'll treat you to anything you'd like, as much as you'd like, so please do tell me everything in full and complete detail.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mm. Negotiations complete. 'Kay, now carry me~ Try not to shake me too much~

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Certainly; I'll be careful. ... Up we go ♪

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Fufufu~ Easy peasy ♪

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

(Yes! I did it!! Sometimes it's worth taking detours if it means you'll find some diamonds in the rough! For the price of just one lunch, I'll seize that Rei Sakuma's weakness... ♪)

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

(... is probably what you're thinking. Sucks to be you, but it's way too obvious you’re scheming something. Looks like you’ve got a lot of room for improvement, huh?

Fufu. I already knew aaaalllll about you, O Distinguished Heir of the Tenshouin Zaibatsu... I know you're planning to use me, so I'll gladly return the favor.

Your timing really is perfect, so I'll use you as well as I can... Maa~kun found out about me running away from home, and now he doesn’t spoil me as much anymore.

Even worse, he just lectures me any time we meet even though he's a year younger than me, and it's just annoying... I’ve been looking for someone else useful enough to take care of me.

Fufufu. I'll suck you dry 'til I'm satisfied, so~ Looking forward to working with you... Ecchan ♪)

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

(Ahhh, I feel so light! I'm so happy— It feels like I could fly!

This is what it is to be alive! Finally, finally, I'm moving forward...!)

  1. See Checkmate.
  2. An extremely formal Japanese apology. The person in question places their forehead and palms on the ground while kneeling and apologizing. Perhaps relatedly, it's Mao's signature skill.
  3. For those who may find it interesting, "superstar" (an immensely famous and successful performer or athlete) is a recurring term that other characters apply to Rei, particularly during the war era. Rei will sometimes use it to refer to others as a means of encouragement, such as during Tsumugi's birthday.
  4. His surname, "Tenshouin," is literally "Imperial Palace of a Blessed Heaven." His given name is comparatively less bombastic ("Ei" = a fairly common character, often used to mean "wisdom" or to denote something English, and "chi," which also means wisdom/knowledge). Trivia: the first character of Eichi's given name is the same first character in "eiyuu" (hero), which occasionally comes up in other stories.
  5. Like in English (Tommy, Cammy, Juju, etc), Japanese parents often refer to their babies and young children by cutesy nicknames based on the child's name (Kou-chan, Hii-tan, Taa-chan, etc).
Translation: adriessene
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