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#21 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 04:41 PM

Chapter 21: Observation


The dust stinged her nose. The tingling was unbearable, but she had to be quiet. This was of utmost importance. If she made even a noise, her hiding place would be discovered.
Slowly she crawled through the blackness of the attic. The young woman named Miyazaki Yuka tried to avoid the creaking of the planks. Fortunately, she spent the third guard at this place and knew by now exactly which plank was loose. Because the house she was in seemed very old anyway, and the bending and cracking of the walls and floors could be heard all the time, the additional strange noises from the roof did not matter. Nevertheless, Yuka wanted to avoid drawing attention to herself as much as possible.
She felt her upper arms going numb. She had been lying on her stomach for about half an hour, leaning on her limbs. It was by no means a comfortable position. Unfortunately, her team had only been able to discover the attic as a suitable spy spot during the observation. The current inhabitant of the isolated wooden house had never bothered to climb up the ladder and take a closer look at the dusty place. Thus, in a risky action, the group known as Juice=Juice had infiltrated the building and brought in three people. One of them was the leader herself: Miyazaki Yuka.
Her other two comrades rested motionlessly beside her. They had divided themselves into guards. Each of them kept scouting for exactly one hour. This was mainly realized by a crack in a wooden board on the floor. So they had an exact view into the obligatory living room of the person.

"Has something happened, Yukanyan?"

The soft whispering voice reached the ear of the young woman. Despite the darkness, she could make out the shadowy outlines of her friend.
Smiling, the leader replied:

"Not yet. It's the tenth time he's walked up and down."

Then she remarked questioningly:

"But why are you already up, Aarii? You have half an hour left."

The addressed one moved carefully to Yuka. Finally she lay side by side with her leader. The slight glimmer of light that came through the crack was enough to reveal the beautiful, timeless face of the younger one. The dimples at the corners of her mouth were the trademark of the adolescent woman named Uemura Akari. Yuka often envied her for her flawless, pure and so innocent beauty. She put a smile on the face of anyone who saw her.
Akari answered resignedly:

"I'm getting more and more nervous. If something doesn't happen soon..."

The older one nudged her lovingly in the flank.

"Relax. It won't be long now. If the information °C-ute gave us are correct, the meeting should take place today."

Akari uttered a deep sigh.

"The day has just begun. So it's possible that we'll spend a few more hours up here in this confinement."

Yuka puckred the corners of her mouth up as if she was thinking about something for a moment. Then she nodded and spoke with a grin:

"Yes, it's possible."

Her partner let her head hang down with a silent laugh. Yuka knew exactly how to motivate her comrades. But she also enjoyed teasing them mischievously again and again.
Suddenly she noticed shadowy movements in the room below them. Quickly, she stretched her head towards the crack to be able to see what was going on.
A figure wrapped in black clothes was walking, as before, hastily from side to side. It seemed to be plagued by restlessness as well. Then Yuka heard a distant knocking. For a brief moment, the figure was out of sight. Finally it stepped back into the room, together with another masked person. Silently, the two girls watched the events. Voices echoed muffled up to them.

"All preparations were completed. As soon as the order comes, we will strike."

It was definitely a female person, Yuka thought in silence. But because of the fabric in front of her mouth, it was impossible to recognize a clear voice.
At the same moment, the figure who was occupying the house replied:

"Very good! According to the Darganfod, we definitely have the advantage. Duma is eager to know if our strength is sufficient. And whether you are really loyal to us."

The eyes of the leader widened. To her left Akari twitched. So the same thought plagued her. The voice of the observed figure was deep, threatening and seemed monstrously distorted. A Hunter, no doubt!
Meanwhile, the female, definitely human, said calmly:

"I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about. When the time comes, we will not hesitate for a second."

For a moment, nobody spoke a word. The Hunter wandered across the room. Apparently, he was thinking about something. The other person wasn't moving. She stood motionless in the middle of the room and watched her supposed ally. Both Akari and Yuka had held their breath to avoid the slightest noise. Their wrists burned in pain, but they ignored that. What happened just below them was the reason for their observation. They had to absorb every single word and handle it properly. The whole mission depended on it.
After several minutes of silence, the Hunter turned around and spoke coldly:

"In every spare minute I think about the reasons for your actions. But I can't think of any plausible motive why we should trust you, scum."

This was a decisive moment. There was a crackling in the air. Should anyone make a wrong move or say a wrong word, the next thing would be a brutal fight to the death.
But the stranger did not seem intimidated in the least. The muffled voice possessed a confident emphasis:

"You do not need to philosophize about our decisions. We have our reasons. Most likely you would not understand them at all. The only thing you need to know is that we are behind you a hundred percent."

The Hunter stepped threateningly close to the person.

"I will hope for your sake that this is the truth. You don't want to know what we do to traitors."

The stranger did not answer, but the Hunter seemed to be completely satisfied with the reaction. After a menacing pause he turned around, sat down in the armchair near the fireplace and leaned back relaxed. Thus the piercing red eyes were clearly visible to Yuka and Akari. Then his unpleasantly deep voice sounded again:

"It'll be some time before we finally take the initiative. Until then, the sleepers will stay in their cells. Silently. But deadly. Isn't it?"

The arrival bowed slightly and agreed with the statement. Then the person turned on her heel and walked away. Only the Hunter remained sitting still. For quite a while there was silence.
Just as the fire in the fireplace was about to die out, the eerie figure straightened up. He stepped out of the sight of the Juice=Juice members at a deliberate pace. Then they heard the squeaking of the entrance door. And at last, peace followed. The Hunter was gone.
For a few minutes the two young women stayed motionless in their position. When they were sure that their enemy would not return, they decided to leave as well. Yuka asked excitedly into the darkness:

"Karin? Karin, are you awake?"

Immediately a monotone but sweet voice answered her:

"Yes. I overheard it. We should meet up with the others."

Without hesitation, the small figure in the shadows set itself in motion. Suddenly Yuka was dazzled by the glaring light, which was revealed over a large area when Karin opened the attic hatch. The young woman with the shoulder-length hair climbed down the ladder deftly. Akari and Yuka did the same.
The wooden cabin was a long abandoned place. The massive dust on the furniture, the run-down walls and the musty smell were only some of the facts that led to this conclusion. The leader looked around for a moment to regain her orientation. Three days in the dark, narrow attic had left their marks. She automatically stretched her limbs and was glad to finally be able to stand upright again.
The larger Akari landed right next to Yuka and moaned contentedly. She whispered:

" Finally! I thought we'd have to spend the rest of our lives up there. I couldn't have stood that, as much as I love you."

Yuka smiled dully.

"Wasn't it a great experience to cuddle with your leader day in, day out?"

The smallest of them, Miyamoto Karin, made them understand that they shouldn't make a sound. She had leaned against the wall at the front door and listened. Then she waved the other two over to her.
Quietly she pointed to the entrance. Then she formed a walking person with her index and middle finger. Yuka understood. Rapidly she pulled the irritated Akari with her and bent under the windowsill which was right next to Karin.
Then they held their breath. Steps could be heard from outside. They could perceive the creaking of the wooden planks, which clearly signaled that the person outside had entered the veranda. Had the hunter come back? Had he forgotten anything? Or was it the stranger?
The three young women waited paitently. Any slightest noise could now reveal them. All of a sudden, the steps stopped. The person was right next to the front door. Only a few centimetres separated the figure from the intruders. The sweat ran down Yuka's forehead. A quick glance at Akari showed her that she had put both hands in front of her mouth. Her wide open eyes spoke volumes. Only Karin seemed focused as always.
The doorknob moved slowly. A slight click in the mechanism could be heard. Then the wooden door opened in slow motion. Long shadows stretched across the floor. The sunlight flooded the room. Finally the person entered and...


The screeching of a familiar girl's voice echoed through the whole cabin. Karin had started an attack at the right moment, but had stopped just before the clash. The edge of her hand was only millimetres away from the neck of the incoming person, who began to scream in panic. But she was by no means an opponent. It was also a young woman with a pigtail and conspicuous chubby cheeks.
The competitors stared at each other for a few seconds. Then laughter broke out behind them. A fifth person entered the entrance. Her cat-like eyes sparkled with joy and the curved lips formed a broad grin.

"Well, you gave each other a big scare. Poor Sayuki."

Somewhat surprised Karin, Yuka and Akari looked at the newcomers. At once, the smallest one set her victim free. The girl named Takagi Sayuki, still frightened, held her neck and said disapprovingly:

"What kind of action was that, Karin? I am on your side!"

The person addressed bowed quickly and shouted:

"Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me!"

Immediately the young woman with the pigtail had to laugh too.

"It's all right."

Yuka, on the other hand, joined up with Akari and spoke in amazement:

"What a coincidence. Why are you here already? We were on our way to see you, too."

The woman with the cat-like eyes, her name was Kanazawa Tomoko, nodded to her leader and then answered calmly:

"We could see from our position in the forest how a strange person had gone to the house. But she came out again after a few minutes. A little later the target followed her. Therefore we assumed that the house was empty now. We didn't know how much you heard, so we wanted to get you out of there."

The leader of Juice=Juice gave an understanding nod. Akari, however, asked confusedly:

"So what are our next steps? We've lost sight of the Hunter, haven't we?"

Yuka took up a thoughtful pose.

"We could try to follow him. But since we don't know exactly which path he has taken or even what his new goal is, it would be a dangerous undertaking for us."

Karin raised her hand and said in an emotionless manner:

"I would like to start the pursuit. If he gets away from us, the Surpremes won't like that. After all, he's our only clue."

The leader looked at her with a frown and then asked:

"What about this stranger? Could you, Sayuki, Tomoko, recognize who that was?"

The two mentioned shook their heads wistfully. Sayuki replied:

"Unfortunately not. I wanted to spy on the person but apparently, that person knew exactly what she was doing. Within seconds, she had shaken me off. Although she hadn't noticed me at all."

Akari opened her mouth in surprise.

"How can this be? Your tracking techniques are not from this world, Sayubee. Although... you didn't notice Karin..."

The tortured one screwed up her eyes in a feigned angrily way and shouted:

" Eh! You can't compare that. Tomoko and I assumed you were the only ones left in the cabin. Who'd expect such a kamikaze attack?"

The group laughed about the situation. Yuka quickly recovered and scratched her head before she said:

"Still, it's really bizarre that the stranger was able to get away so quickly. That would make sense if she had been in immediate danger. After all, vessels only detect such a threat when they are directly aware of it."

Tomoko raised her head and stared into the eyes of her leader.

"Are you saying that this person was possibly human?"

Yuka nodded knowingly.

"Exactly! Either that... or..."

She directed her gaze amusedly smiling at Sayuki.

"... it was really just an amateurish mistake and Sayubee is rusty."

Instantly the troupe burst out laughing again, while the young woman with the chubby cheeks screamed her justifications indignantly.
When everyone had calmed down again, they stepped out of the forest hut. The sun was now high in the sky and revealed that noon had come.
Yuka held the palm of her hand to her forehead to avoid being dazzled too much by the light. Motivated, she spoke:

"I think it is the best to return to Haven first. We have a lot to report. Yajima said that we should not overdo it. Hunters are never to be trifled with."

The others, with the exception of Karin, nodded in agreement. Tomoko spoke decisively:

"Besides, at this very moment, the latest audition is taking place at the castle. After the attack a month ago, it would certainly be interesting to know which of our Kenshuusei have progressed because of this terrible experience."

Sayuki clapped her hands enthusiastically.

"Oh yes, I want to see that. Let's go home quickly."

Akari stepped beside Yuka and asked curiously:

" For which group is the audition being held?"

Right away, all eyes were focused on the leader. She noticed the suddenly emerging silence. She knew exactly what was going on in the mind of the others. Juice=Juice was a sworn team. For many years they were able to keep the balance between them. They had never needed reinforcements before. And Yuka knew that this was fine by some of them. Including her.
Slowly, she walked towards the forest while her team members still expected an answer. Finally, she waved them over and replied cheerfully:

"Juice=Juice still remains five."

Immediately, sheer feelings of happiness chased through the common feeling of the group.

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#22 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 02 January 2020 - 11:19 AM

Chapter 22: The Mountains


The training hall was empty. Only a single little girl was in the middle and looked around. Yesterday morning the second round of the audition had taken place. In one hour the next audition already followed. It was an impressive assembly of the best Kenshuusei. Kamiko had watched with enthusiasm how the ambitious young girls did everything to make the competition a success. The whole event was definitely a surprise for everyone in the audience.
The ANGERME member had never expected that this person of all people would become the secret shooting star of the Haven in just a few months.
Kamiko spent one month under the guidance of Take, Rikako and Murotan to complete a sweaty super training. Nevertheless, it seemed to her today that she was definitely overtaken. ...by a newcomer.
But although it would have hurt her under normal circumstances, she now felt an inner peace. She knew that this girl was an enrichment for Hello!Project Online. She didn't allow anyone to officially join the Rehab Grades more than this girl. All doors were soon open to her.
A loud scraping could be heard behind Kamiko. In astonishment she turned around. In front of her stood, stepping from one foot to the other, Kasahara Momona. The very young girl looked at her senior trembling. And then smiled weakly.
Kamiko tried to return the facial expression, but it felt like a grimace to her. Finally she asked quietly:

"What are you doing here, Kassa?"

The addressed person blushed slightly. Then she asked uncertainly:

"C-Can you teach me how to send out your s-spirit?"

Surprised by this request, Kamiko frowned. Then she suddenly avoided eye contact with the younger one and said dismissively:

"The others have already tried that. It's not possible to learn my ability on your own."

But Kassa took a step towards her and became more courageous.

"P-Please, I would at least like to try, K-Kamiko."

Now the older one became slightly angry. Upset, she replied:

"That would be a waste of time. You can't do it."

Kassa stared at her with wet eyes, but said nothing. Kamiko noticed immediately that she had gone too far. She immediately rowed back with her feelings and said calmly:

"Listen... I really can't teach you anything... I... I'm just not capable of it..."

Tears ran down the red shimmering cheeks of the younger one. Immediately she turned around and rushed out of the training hall.
Kamiko stared desperately after her. Still, completely alone, standing in the middle of the huge room.





The roar of the waterfall was loud and clear. If you tried to speak even one word to each other, any voice volume was completely drowned out. This was a hard experience especially for the small, talkative Musubu Funaki. While the girls carried the empty water buckets to the river, she tried to communicate with the others, as she did every day, shouting.
Yamaki Risa was always amused by these desperate attempts for attention. She wondered if Funaki would eventually learn that there were moments when one should simply remain silent.
But in fact, every time she cried something incomprehensible, she received an even more incomprehensible answer back from Yanagawa Nanami. The elf-like girl and the cheerful nature with the overbite were the youngest among the group and possessed an almost endless energy. While one could jump into the air all day long and always provided entertainment, the other possessed such a wonderful charisma that was definitely without match. Especially her wit and charismatic smile never seemed to fade.
They were followed by Ozeki Mai. The girl, who was quite tall compared to the other Country Girls members, was the same age as the two previous runners, but was clearly of a calmer nature. Even though she sometimes did not know how to hide her naive side.
Next to Risa ran the shy Morito Chisaki. She seemed extremely slender and introverted. The bucket in her arms took up most of her upper body. But one should never underestimate her. With a little more self-confidence she would most likely even outrank her all-time mentor, Tsugunaga Momoko. At that very moment, the cafe owner probably took a generous sip of tea at the foot of the mountain on which they were standing. The villagers were waiting there longingly for the fully filled water buckets.
When they reached the bottom of the waterfall, they immediately restocked their supplies. Each of them had exactly two buckets. So it took a few minutes until all of them were full of water. Then they stepped together to the river's side. Since they couldn't talk to each other because of the continuous roaring, Risa lifted her finger attentively into the air. All her comrades looked at her eagerly. Then the girl with the cuddly nose drew a long line across the ground. It should function as a starting point. Again she raised her hand in the air, this time with three fingers stretched out.
Silently she counted down.


A finger said goodbye. The Country Girls members went into a stooped position.


The middle finger lowered. They all waited anxiously for the decisive signal.


When Risa let her hand go down, this was the starting signal for all five girls. They walked along the way back at breakneck speed. Quickly they moved away from the noisy waterfall and entered the small tunnel that was hewn into the mountain. Immediately one could hear the joyfully screeching and squeaking sounds of Funaki. But also the other girls were screaming.
Even though this was a real competition among them, who arrived first at the foot of the mountain, at the village Mynydroed, they clearly had a lot of fun. The buckets of water under their arms were just swinging around. But it was part of the rules of the game that no water should be spilled.
They have been playing this game for three weeks now. Momoko sent them up the mountain to the waterfall every early morning and let them collect the crystal clear good for the villagers. While the task was to devote oneself completely to the nature and to consciously experience the awakening of the birds and the plants on the way up, the task on the way back was to imitate a rapid chase and to sharpen orientation, balance, endurance and reaction with inhibited movements, initiated by the heavy water buckets.
Even though this method sounded like a successful training concept, Risa secretly couldn't escape the impression that Momoko just wanted to torture them again. The older one was happy to do so.
Still, it was a good feeling to help the villagers out in their difficult situation. Normally, the strong men were responsible for providing the water supply. But they were all injured by a landslide on a mountainside. It was a miracle that none of them suffered permanent damage or even death. When the group heard about this disaster on their trip three weeks ago, they spontaneously decided to support the village. Momoko was firmly convinced that the training here was as good as in any other place. Even if Risa could not quite understand this, she followed the opinion of her leader without reservation. She had never given them any reason to doubt her.
Nevertheless, Risa hoped to return home soon. She loved to travel with her team members. Nothing filled her with more happiness. But today was the day that a new audition was held in the Haven. Even though Momoko had assured them that Country Girls would never lose their balance under her leadership, and they didn't have to worry about new members, Risa was still interested in the Kenshuusei. She was deeply fascinated that these cute little girls had defied a Scout.

"Riiisa! You're slacking! Hurry up, slowpoke!"

Funaki had shouted this to her laughing while the little girl turned sharply around a corner. The aforementioned grinned challenged. She didn't take this.
In a blink she pushed herself off the ground and sprinted around the bend as well. She was already on the trail of the hyperactive chaotic girl. However, Risa was closely followed by the joyful Nanami, the ambitious Mai, and the eager Chisaki. It was a real neck-and-neck race. None of them wanted to expose themselves to Momoko later and get a lecture.
The road led in long lines straight to the village. To the left. To the right. One after the other they rushed past the countless trees at top speed.
Meanwhile the path went steeply downhill. Funaki whirled up more and more dust with her speed. Yet all of them had still managed not to spill a drop of water. This was almost a miracle, Risa thought.
Suddenly it was Chisaki of all people who started a daring maneuver. Out of the corner of her eye Risa could barely see how the usually shy girl jumped off the path and took the direct way down the slope instead. This was an extremely dangerous action. Risa heard the horrified shouts of Nanami and Mai while Funaki turned around. Instantly her mouth and eyes opened.
Chisaki slipped skilfully over the deep foliage. A whirl of golden brown, yellow and orange colours flung through the air. For a brief moment, it even looked as if Chisaki would stumble. Risa held her breath in fright. But the athlete kept perfectly on her feet and performed an impressive salto when she reached the lower road and crossed it at once. Immediately the next slope followed for her. With this shortcut she had gained an enormous advantage and was soon just a small spot in sight.
Nanami had not hesitated for a moment. She followed Chisaki's tracks and used her cleared path of leaves to make rapid progress as well.
In panic Funaki held both hands on her cheeks.

"This is unfair, Chii, Yanamin! Wait for me!"

With a brutal right turn Funaki also headed for the slope. She did the same as the two persons in front of her at a crazy speed. Risa didn't know whether she should be amused or worried. Since the chosen path seemed a bit too dangerous to her, she continued to run along the actual route, even if it took her a long time. Mai, who was also undecided, joined her.
In the end they reached their destination. At the entrance to the village the heavily breathing, risk loving three girls were already waiting together with their leader, Tsugunaga Momoko. She looked for them with a grin, holding a folded fan in her hands.

" There we are, the last ones. Bring the water to the elder quickly, then we'll meet back here."

Risa and Mai did as they were told and handed over the water buckets to the villagers. They thanked them with such a pleasant kindness. They appreciated the service the girls did for them.
Risa and Mai bowed respectfully before quickly joining the others. They quickly reunited with Nanami, Funaki and Chisaki. To be more precise, they lined up in a row while Momoko, examining them one by one, walked in front of them like a sergeant.
Finally she spoke majestically:

"You've all set a personal best today. I'm glad."

Happy faces were immediately formed. Momoko winked.

"Yet you didn't arrive at the same time. What happened, Risa?"

The person addressed jerked slightly before answering reverently:

"It was impressive how Chisaki rushed down the mountain. I hadn't expected that."

The other members also nodded to the shy personality, who turned scarlet. Momoko also nodded with huge eyes.

"Yes, yes! That's right! Compliments to you, Chisaki. You were right to finish first. Funaki and Nanami also did a great job following her instinctively."

The two persons in question scratched their heads in embarrassment. Funaki laughed happily and said:

"That wouldn't be necessary, Leader. I'm getting embarrassed..."

Suddenly a shadow appeared on Momoko's face. Funaki didn't notice this while the others' smiles froze. It could only mean one thing...
A loud clapping could be heard. A second clapping was audible. And a third clapping followed shortly afterwards.
Chisaki, Funaki and Nanami held their heads in tears. Momoko had given them all a good slap with the fan. Then she replied reproachfully:

"Such risky actions could cost you your lives. Did any of you think about what might have happened?"

Nanami replied distorted with pain, but with her familiar clear voice:

"Chisaki made it look so easy so I thought..."

She was promptly interrupted by her mentor. She raised her index finger as a warning.

"Just because someone manages to get out of a tight spot doesn't mean you can do the same. Caution is the most important element in the fight for survival. Never just act on instinct. You're not animals. You're human. Thinking is in your blood... or at least in your head."

After these words she stepped over to the two remaining team members. At once she grinned again. Risa suspected something bad. The leader began to speak sweetly:

"You both decided to proceed with caution. I am so proud of you for making such an adult decision in such a turbulent situation."

The jingling of the eyes should radiate admiration from Momoko. And Mai was pleased with the compliment. You could tell by her enthusiastic expression. But the corners of Risa's mouth cramped up. She had a hunch that something was about to happen...
There was another bang. Once. Twice. And already the rest of the team members were holding their heads. The leader raised her voice again reproachfully:

"How can you allow your comrades to carry out such a reckless action? And then you don't even follow them? That is so terrible. Either you go into action together or you die alone. Every decision, no matter how stupid, must be made by the team. And when one individual has a brainwave, comrades must anticipate it. Follow that person. To victory. Or to defeat. No matter. Only together you can achieve something. Never forget that!"

Each one of them rubbed their head. They all agreed with the tiny general grumbling. So almost every day went by like this. They obeyed Momoko's instructions and picked up the scolding at the end of the training. It's been a month now.
But suddenly Momoko clasped her hands on her hip and grinned nodding.

"I think this was our last day in the village. All the hard-working men have recovered. Now our help is no longer needed, and we can finally go home."

The young girls all looked at her with a beaming face. At last they returned home. A broad grin adorned the face of the oldest.

"I am very proud of you. You've done well."

With these words, they all couldn't help themselves, but tears ran down their faces and they rushed to their leader to take her in their arms together.


The five younger ones came to a rapid halt. Momoko raised her finger again. Then she stared at each of them urgently. At last she smiled again, lifted her arm in the air and gently tapped each of the five heads with the palm of her hand. The faces of her protégés spoke volumes of confusion. Momoko, on the other hand, laughed, turned around and said:

"You're all too sweaty. Take a bath first. Then you can hug me."

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#23 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 03 January 2020 - 10:36 AM

Chapter 23: Chance


The earth trembled. At least that's how it felt while being outside the huge hall, which was meanwhile filled with numerous vessels and individual grouping members. Also many Kenshuusei, who had either already dropped out or had decided of their own accord not to participate in the audition, were among the spectators.
The final participants, who were now entering the third round, stayed in an anteroom to the training hall. Some ran up and down nervously. Others warmed themselves up again. Others leaned against a wall and were completely lost in thought. The tension was clearly noticeable.
Dambara Ruru sat cross-legged in a corner and had her eyes closed. Kawamura Ayano talked excitedly with Takase Kurumi. Ichioka Reina tapped with her foot excitedly. Yamazaki Yuhane was staring into the air. Especially surprising was the participation of Kiyono Momohime. Despite her young age, she had already left most of her rivals behind.
A special focus was put on the girls, who, in the course of the Observer judgement, were freshly added to the therapy. Icchan had explained to the 26th generation that auditions were not only used to find suitable candidates for the groupings from the existing Kenshuusei. In most cases, new girls were also brought into the virtual world in the same breath, so that they could be tested for their current skills. Many of them failed already in the first round. However, there were one or two newcomers who were able to prove themselves. In this case these newcomers were called Shimakura Rika, Nakayama Natsume and Matsunaga Riai. It was extremely rare that these completely inexperienced Grade Zero candidates were capable of getting into a group straight away. Kamikokuryo Moe was a quite prominent example of such a gigantic achievement. So did the three newcomers follow the tracks of the ANGERME member?

"Nakayama Natsume!"

The call through the microphone resounded from the hall to the audition participants. The crowd cheered. The face of the newcomer showed an ash-grey tone. She was visibly shaking. You could not blame her.
Slightly tense, she stepped through the door and entered the huge hall. Then the door closed again and the remaining people could only guess what was going on inside. 
Now and then you could hear the excited commentator's voice of the great Suzuki Keita. He wasn't a teacher but he was the perfect man for exactly such events like an audition. His charm, his funny puns and the pleasant voice carried the audience and let them rave. Although he was hardly to be found in the Haven on a daily basis, the girls, whether group members or Kenshuusei, maintained a good relationship with the comedian. He was also always the first to congratulate someone on their birthday. Even though it could be a bit creepy sometimes, if he waited outside the dormitory doors early in the morning just to give his greetings. But you could never be angry with him.

"Ooooh, that was dangerous, Nakayama! Dangerous! Dangerous! She's turning the corner. What a great girl."

The Kenshuusei had already noticed that the task of the third round was unusually long. Each candidate who was called into the hall needed between five and ten minutes for the task set. This was much longer than in the previous two rounds.
The first test consisted of using one's own mental strength to knock down eight glasses standing around one at the same time. If only one glass remained on the podium, you had already failed.
In the second round the physical strength was tested. The girls had to face a tough parcours, which they had to pass within two minutes. Especially the climbing along the ceiling, where thick nets were fixed, demanded a lot from the body in terms of endurance and coordination. Unfortunately this was also the part where most Kenshuusei failed. Even Shiori had to admit defeat in the end.

"Oooooooooh! What a pity! It was not meant to be! Nice try though, Nakayama! Looks like you've gotten some fans here."

The disappointed voice of Keita told the other participants that the rookie had failed the audition. Just like everyone else before her. Right away, they all felt the pressure rising among them. It was normal that the third round caused the most victims. In the end, the final already awaited them. There it was definitely decided whether one or more participants joined a grouping or whether all of them failed. The latter was a failure for the entire academy, but it happened quite a few times when the calculations of the Observer showed that no participant had the necessary knowledge at that time to steer the balance of the groupings in the right direction.
Exactly to avoid such cases, since it had happened more often lately, Shimizu Saki, the Captain, was hired. She was the leader of the former grouping called Berryz Koubou, which had enormous success at the academy. As the biggest °C-ute competitors they kept the balance in their ranks for many years, so they never had to add new members. Now it was the Captain's job to oversee the selection of new group members and to prepare the Kenshuusei and newcomers to the extent that they were real reinforcements for the groups.
For this reason, Captain supervised the training sessions of the last weeks. She was always present in the afternoon hours. She sat on the spectator rows and took notes every hour about the well-being of her protégés. Often she also talked to one or the other person as soon as she was worried that they were mentally unwell. All in all it could be said, that Shimizu Saki was a great support for every Kenshuusei.

"Next we welcome Yamazaki Yuhane! A warm applause!"

The girl with the snub nose jumped up and ran into the hall with rattling breath. Little by little the anteroom emptied. Shimakura Rika played with her hair every second. Again and again she laughed nervously.
Suddenly a taller figure stepped behind her and put a hand on her shoulder to calm her down. With eyes wide open she whirled around and watched the arriving person. The short hair elegantly framed the young woman's face.

"Take a deep breath! You have done great things so far. No matter what happens next, you should be proud of yourself."

The younger one looked astonished into the calm eyes. Then her mouth opened a little. Finally a broad grin adorned her face.

"Thanks for the pep talk."

Suddenly the roar of Keita came back to them, who commented spectacularly:

"What a ride, Yamazaki! So close! SO CLOSE! How bitter! I'd say you can be really proud of yourself. You've got a bright future ahead of you."

The two girls looked at the door to the training hall, lost in thought. Another one out. After a few seconds of silence Rika turned to her advocate.

"W-What is your name?"

But before the person addressed could reply, it echoed:

"Kaga Kaede! You are next! Great!"

Determined and smiling, the short-haired girl set off. She took a last look back at the younger one and winked at her. Then she had disappeared behind the door. With a stare and open mouth, Shimakura Rika repeated the name:

"Kaga... Kaede..."





One side of the anteroom led to the training hall. On the other side there was also a door, but it was open. There a long corridor led to the castle grounds.
It was a quieter place, which dampened the quake and the screams. Here Kasahara Momona sat on the cold floor, leaning limply against the stone wall, watching the Kenshuusei from a distance. She remembered the time when she herself still belonged to Grade Zero. Right now, she wished she was part of it again.
Kassa knew that her team members were watching the perhaps tension-filled exam in the training hall with all the other spectators. She would have loved to join them, but then she would have had to deal with Kamiko again.
She did not know what she was doing wrong. She did her best to get closer to her mentor, but Kamiko kept rejecting her. What could she do about it? All Kassa wanted was to be accepted by her reference person. Instead, she felt like a monster that should be pushed away.
Desperate and with tears in her eyes again she let her head fall into her crossed arms. The sobbing was almost drowned out by the distant cries of the crowd.
Then Kassa heard a noise. A tapping and groping in the corridor. Someone came down the corridor. The sad girl quickly wiped the wetness from her face and glanced in the direction of the tapping sounds. Eventually, the figure of a small, slim girl with shoulder-length, dark brown hair and curved lips emerged.
Kassa opened her eyes. The presence of the arrival was incredible. The radiant smile had such a miraculous effect on her. She had never experienced such a positive aura in her life.

"You look depressed. Is there anything I can do to help?"

Kassa was completely perplexed. For some reason, with the appearance of this girl, all grief disappeared. It was as if it had never existed.

"N-no, it's okay. It i-is nothing..."

But instead of moving on, the strange girl surprisingly sat down right next to Kassa. The girl with the beautiful lips also pulled her knees up, crossed her arms around it and looked up at the black ceiling with her head. She continued to smile.

"You don't seem to feel well, otherwise you wouldn't have settled down here in such an uncomfortable corridor, would you?"

Still grinning broadly, the strange girl looked at her. Kassa didn't know what to think. She was used to the direct way of Murotan, Kana and Take. But the present situation took on a completely different dimension.

"I... I don't know..."

The person nudged her lovingly into the side and said:

"Tell me about it. Maybe I can help you."

For some reason Kassa felt very moved. She didn't know exactly what it was, but somehow the odd stranger made her feel like she could actually trust her. Finally the thirteen-year-old spoke with resignation:

"I feel so out of place. My mentor is not interested in me. My group doesn't need me. I don't even know why I'm here. Or who I even am. I feel alone... and useless..."

For a brief moment there was silence. Finally, the stranger gave her another enchanting, so innocent smile.

"I don't think your friends will consider you to be useless. Nor do I think you are useless. Everyone has his place in the world. And everyone can contribute something to this world. You don't exist for nothing. Everything has a purpose."

Kassa frowned.

"And what's the purpose for me?"

The stranger thought. She typed with her index finger against her lower lip. Then she answered with a squint in her eye:

"I don't know."

Kassa almost gave the stranger a knock on the head because of disappointment.

"You do not know? I was beginning to believe you."

Then the small person laughed.

"You see! You wanted to believe me."

Then she stared at Kassa with sparkling eyes.

"Now all you have to do is stop wanting something and just do it instead."

Completely stunned the ANGERME member looked at her counterpart:


The funny girl bounced her head from left to right before she replied:

"You may be afraid to tell your mentor what you think. And maybe you are suppressing your true feelings towards your friends. Maybe you are just trying to do everybody a favor. But that is not always the solution. Restraint is never wrong. But you still have to enjoy life. To the fullest. So don't ever restrict your mind. Because your thoughts and your ideas are the most important resources in this life."

The smile of the stranger had turned into a narrow line, but still the eyes were sparkling with bliss. Kassa was completely surprised by these words. She should say whatever she thought? Not to hold back? Not to bend for others?
Then a question came into her head, which she immediately asked:

"But what if I could hurt someone with my words and actions?"

Then the smaller one slowly straightened up, cleaned the dirt off her trousers and started grinning again.

"Friends know how to deal with that. At worst, you have to admit your mistakes and apologize. But that's still better than nobody knowing what you're really thinking, isn't it?"

Kassa got up too. She was a few centimetres taller than the stranger, although the stranger clearly seemed a little older. The ANGERME member asked admiringly:

"What is your name?"

The person scratched the back of her head in embarrassment and said laughing:

"Yokoyama Reina!"

Kassa suddenly stared at her in shock. THAT was this Kenshuusei girl who had been causing all the commotion in the last months. In the ANGERME household she was mentioned when and then. She had also been a leading role in the fight against the Scouts in front of the castle. Yokoyama Reina.
However, nobody had ever told Kassa that this wonder girl had such a special aura. Or had she only recently acquired it?
Suddenly they heard the distant calls of Keita:

"Yes, this is really amazing! Our beloved and well-known Kaga Kaede has actually made it! So we have our first finalist! Unbelievable! Spectacular! Awesome!

Reina listened to these words. Then she gave Kassa a last smile and spoke cheerfully:

"It was obvious that Kaedi would get it. That means it's my turn right now. I have to catch up to my rival. I would be honored if you cheer for me in the hall.

With a cute movement she formed the V-sign. Then she walked down the corridor towards the anteroom.
Kassa stayed there for one last moment. Then she quickly sprinted down another corridor towards the stands.

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#24 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 06 January 2020 - 02:08 PM

Chapter 24: Go on and on!


Most of the participants of the third audition round had already failed. So far only Kaede had made it to the final. Shimakura Rika had been able to carry the crowd, but ultimately had to throw in the towel. Nevertheless she seemed to be a promising newcomer. Her never crumbling smile, no matter how hard the task was, no matter what bad news was told to her, hadn't faded for a second.
Reina liked this charisma. The younger girl had something special for her. The thought of always remaining optimistic seemed so far away from the fact that they were fighting for survival every day. But this naive newcomer named Rika was completely immune to grief and despair.

"We have a very last candidate for you! Round three is about to begin the final phase!"

Keita's excited voice entered the anteroom. The whipping and roaring of the crowd was unmistakable. Reina looked around. No one was here anymore. She was really the last one.
Although she expected to be overwhelmed by nervousness, nothing happened. Her body was calm. No tremors. No anxiety. She was brimming with confidence. The girl couldn't help but be surprised by herself.
Slowly she walked to the door leading to the gym. At any moment her name would be called out. She was ready for the audition.
Only a few months ago she had no idea about this world. Hello!Project Online had been a mystery to her. Each new discovery was like exploring a dreamland. The fascination of the incredible. The meeting of new acquaintances and friends. The fear of failure. The collapse and suffering of hell. Finally, a fulfilled life in a reality where people grew day by day.
Reina looked at her clenched fist. It had been a hard month. For two weeks she trained with Kaedi, uninterruptedly every single day. They had challenged each other the most. The practice lessons of Mrs. Mitsubachi were followed by own practice units which the two Kenshuusei had thought up themselves. Most of the time they carried out their sweaty practices until late at night. Getting up the next morning had been an absolute horror every time and it was not seldom that Ayano needed to yell in Reina's ear to wake her up.
A smile crept onto the face of the fifteen-year-old while remembering these moments. Then, little by little, she realized again what it meant if she would win the audition. An unpleasant wetness formed in her eyes.
Instantly Reina warned herself not to start crying. She had had to deny this conflict several times in the last two weeks. The thought of no longer fooling around with her generation members in the future made her feel sad. But she also knew that it could not remain forever as it was now. Each of them had a responsibility to move forward. They all had to progress. That was the ultimate goal.
For this reason Reina had asked Shimizu Saki for a two-week release from Kenshuusei lessons. The Captain had stared at her with some surprise, but the young girl wanted to experience the feeling how it was to be on her own. The Captain felt this line of thought to be admirable and so she pulled out all the stops to grant Reina's request. Even though neither Mrs. Goto nor Mrs. Mitsubachi were happy with it, they finally succumbed.
And Reina had used the free time to the utmost. After a short detour in the town near the castle, she had set out for a village called Taw.
This village was known for living in humility and modesty, renouncing everything worldly. Reina was fascinated by such a way of life, so she asked the villagers to accept her for ten days. It had been the perfect place to become aware of the loneliness that had gradually spread within her, due to the possible separation with her friends, and to learn to deal with it.
Determined, she swallowed the lump in her throat. Now there was no more hesitation. New challenges awaited her. The weakness when she faced Murotan... the weakness when she collapsed in front of Goto Maki... the weakness when she failed entirely against the Scouts... All that was left behind her now. She wanted to turn all these memories into a new personal strength. A strength she could proudly present to the world.
Reina took a deep breath in and out. Then she heard it. Her name.

"Yokoyama Reina! It's your time to shine!"

Without a doubt, she opened the door of the anteroom and took a brave step into the passage to the training hall. Immediately, bright light shone onto her face, and she instinctively narrowed her eyes to slits.
The cheering of the crowd was suddenly at a deafening noise level. This mass of vessels clearly served to bring the mood to the boiling point.
But while Reina stepped into the hall and looked around joyfully, she also recognized many familiar faces. Her Kenshuusei comrades, Kamiko and the members of ANGERME, the teachers and Tsunku. All of a sudden she widened her eyes. At the top, on the second level, where Murotan had once watched them before she decided to attack the newcomers, stood the members of Morning Musume, smiling encouragingly.
The fast pounding of her heart signaled to Reina that she couldn't shake off all of the excitement she was supposed to feel.
When she finally arrived at the center of the field, she took a closer look at her surroundings. Only now she noticed that there were no objects near her. The field seemed to be blank.
Tsunku rose. Instantly it became quieter in the hall. Then the headmaster spoke with a serious face:

"Hello, Reina! You made it this far. That is already a great achievement. You can be proud of yourself. But now you're being challenged once again."

His gaze was turned upwards. The eyes of the young girl followed him. Then she opened her mouth, slightly astonished. On the edge of the ceiling were countless timber poles, which systematically floated over the entire field.
Tsunku took the floor to explain:

"At the start of this contest, the poles will begin to fall down one by one. Your task is to touch them before they hit the ground. You have to successfully perform such a touch fifty times. When the counter reaches that number, you have passed."

He pointed to a digital display to his right. There was currently a double zero in sight. Then he lifted his finger again as a warning:

"You should be careful. With every pole that you or the floor touch, the speed at which the poles fall from the ceiling increases. Ten times you may allow yourself a slip. The eleventh floor hit takes you out of the audition. You got that, Reina?"

The person addressed nodded with a smile and said determinedly:


At last he winked at her and replied with a chuckle:

"HOW you touch the poles is completely up to you. Remember that you can't always master everything with physical strength alone. Balance your inner and outer self."

Then Tsunku clapped his hands and Suzuki Keita shouted excitedly:

"Let the audition begin!"

Reina quickly took an alarming position. Some spectators wished her luck. For a long moment nothing happened. Then the first pole broke away from the ceiling and fell towards the floor.
It was not far from the young girl. She took a few steps to the side and performed a well-aimed karate chop. The pole split right in its middle and disappeared instantly.
The crowd cheered happily. There was no reason to be so upset, Reina thought to herself. But most likely the crowd was celebrating every single hit. The blithe spirit thought that was good because it motivated her.
Right away, the next block of wood started its journey towards earth. This time Reina had to make a little sprint to the corner of the hall to reach her goal.
At the same time another pole came loose. The Kenshuusei made a sharp turn and jumped in a high arch to the other side of the area. An impressive 'Oh' resounded through the crowd. But there was no rest for Reina.
Now the show really started. Two piles had made their way down almost at the same moment. Luckily they were close together, which enabled the fifteen-year-old to score a goal with both her hands and her feet simultaneously.
The spectator ranks yelled out. In rhythmic methodology, several poles were fired from the ceiling. Now it became exciting. Did Reina's weeks of training finally pay off?
As quickly as possible she raced to one of the corners of the field, whirled around her own axis as a preventive measure, caught the first pole and was able to run into the middle of the room at lightning speed, only to split another block as she passed by. Due to the speed she was able to catch the next pole on the opposite side with ease. But panic spread among the masses. Two other stakes were in a straight nosedive towards the ground. And Reina was not even close to touching them.
But suddenly a real gust of wind came up. The girl had pushed herself with all her strength from the ground below her and was now dashing recklessly and with spectacular speed across the hall. The crash of the first pole was loud and clear. But far more impressive was the performance that followed. Even while trying to stop her brutal speed, she directed her palm towards the second pole. A tremendous amount of invisible, spiritual energy was sent out. And already the block deflagrated just before it reached the ground.


Keita was out of control. The audience supported him in his praises. None of them had expected such control between mind and body.
But for Reina, it wasn't over yet. She was already moving to the next falling objects. This time the poles were shooting towards the earth at an unprecedented speed. In a wide zig-zag pattern, the Kenshuusei sprinted and jumped across the field like crazy. Quick turn, right. Rapid spin, left. Backflip. Every movement was executed with caution.
How many stakes has she reached so far? Fifteen? Twenty? Reina didn't have time to think about it. The test required her attention straightaway. The tempo of the objects increased abruptly. In addition, the amount of falling poles did not decrease either. Soon it had to look like wood coming down from the ceiling in sheets.
But the young Kenshuusei did very well. Her maneuvers looked absurd, but it was crowned with success. The audience roared like in frenzy. And Keita couldn't pull himself together either:

"We're seeing great things, ladies and gentlemen! Witness how a Kenshuusei newcomer became the secret star of this audition. Not a single failure so far!"

Reina only perceived the spectators as a whirl of different colours. The furious pace she was setting demanded all concentration from her.
A pole in front of her was shattered as she spun around in the air. A break behind her sounded as she turned south. Already while she was tracking down the pure presence of one of the innumerable objects and finally applying a physical or mental blow to it, she was mentally already two or three steps ahead and set her sights on the next targets.
In her head she counted with great effort. How many hits had she scored? Twenty five? Thirty? She could hardly estimate it.
Reina widened her eyes in surprise. A bombardment of stakes was sent to the hall floor at brutal speed. But the four timbers that had loosened simultaneously at all four corners of the area were the worst part of it.

"Guys, the decisive phase is coming! Everything is still up in the air for little Yokoyama! Literally! She can fail gloriously... or be the first and only one to pass the audition without a point of failure! 33 stakes are now on their way almost all at once. Only seconds separate the poles. Oh! Except for those four cute little fellows up there. I think they've made some awkward arrangements!"

Of course, Keita had to refer to the corner stakes at that very moment as they made Reina's flash planning a hell. But it didn't help if she just stopped. So she crouched down for a moment to gain momentum and pushed herself strongly off the ground.
Immediately she had far exceeded her top speed of the previous run. All her nerves and muscles were tense to the breaking point. Her body was burning with exertion. All her training flowed into these minutes of decision.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.
Reina sidestepped one after the other, smashing pile after pile every second. Under surprised cries of the spectators she jumped up to an absurd height to intercept the first of the threatening objects already at a medium distance.
Immediately she whirled around her own axis in the air and focused her view on the next targets. A perfect, straight-line route to the next corner of the hall was revealed to her.
As soon as she hit the ground, she wanted to start a mega sprint again at top speed. But...


A terrible crackling had echoed through the entire hall. The audience couldn't keep it on their seats because of fear. They all looked shocked at Reina, who was desperately trying to get up.
Blind pain chased from her foot through her entire body. She had lost control of her movements and had fallen even as she was spinning in the air.
As if in slow motion, she saw a handful of stakes racing towards the ground. Straining, she bit her lower lip. That should not have been it yet. This misfortune meant nothing. She never wanted to fail again.
The sudden scream of the young girl and the jerkily unleashed power that surrounded her glowingly shook the audience utterly. They stared spellbound at the spectacle that awaited them.
The small Kenshuusei was moving at such an impressive pace that she once again completely erased everything that had been there before in the audition.
Reina was in the mental tunnel. She sent her spirit and destroyed three stakes at the same time. The girl jumped into the air again, eliminated an object in the northwest corner, formed an independent energy field sideways from her, and pushed herself off it gracefully to get another corner pillar as quickly as possible.
The interaction of mental and physical strength went far beyond the knowledge of a Kenshuusei. And although her body was plagued by sheer exhaustion, Reina did not give up. She wanted to keep going. Go on and on!
Finally only three single stakes remained. The girl had passed the exam, but there was more to come. She was aware of this at exactly this second when she ran into the center of the action and lifted her injured leg.
Just before the three objects could even touch the ground, Reina performed a swift sweep kick in a perfect 360-degree circle, which flowed over the reach of the leg and ignited a veritable ball lightning.
A breakthrough silence followed. The stakes were deflagrated. No object was to be seen on the ceiling. The audience seemed speechless. Even Keita couldn't help but gasp for breath.
Perplexed, Reina straightened up and shifted her weight to her healthy foot. She looked around in the hall with a slight frown. Then she put one hand on her head and grinned over both ears while she said cheerfully:

"Not a single one of them touched the floor!"

Suddenly, as if someone had turned up the volume of a stereo system, the audience went crazy. Cheers came from all sides. Praise pelted down on the little girl in the middle of the hall. She recognized Kamiko and Murotan who were jumping up and down enthusiastically together with their comrades from ANGERME. A bit further away, Reina even looked at the girl she had met in the corridor. An impressed shimmering appeared on her face. Reina also saw the eccentric clapping of the Morning Musume members, who waved admiringly at the young grouping candidate. Keita screamed at the top of his voice:


Reina's cheeks turned bright red, but she had to laugh. Pure happiness stretched from her head to the tips of her toes. She didn't know what her eyes should catch first. There were so many people who wished her the best. It was an unbelievable experience.
While she was still being applauded and celebrated by the crowd, she discovered her Kenshuusei comrades at the main entrance of the hall. They all waved at her joyfully. Without another thought she ran, limping slightly, towards her friends.
Ayano at once took her in her arms and whirled with her in circles.

"You're great, Reina! You're the coolest."

But immediately a huge cluster formed around the two of them. Countless hands grabbed the fifteen-year-old. One pat on the shoulder after the next followed. Shiori, who was simply too small to reach Reina, screamed happily to her:

"Congratulations, Reina! The finale is yours!"

Rin, Marie and Yuhane embraced her with such warmth. The young girl felt how all her generation members had been cheered along. Icchan, Kurumi, Momohime, Ruru, Kokoro and all the others also wanted to share their joy about Reina's success.
In all the confusion, the little heroine recognized a person who stood a little aside and looked at her. It was Kaedi. Their eyes met for a short moment and time stopped. Reina waved laughing. Her eyes sparkled. The short-haired one with the otherwise so serious face grinned as well. She held one thumb up. Both understood each other for good.

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#25 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 09 January 2020 - 03:45 PM

Chapter 25: The Judgement


"Oh nooooo! We missed everything. It's because we left so late, Momochi."

The bright voice of Yanagawa Nanami sounded disappointed at the grating above the stands. Country Girls had just arrived, but had missed the third round of the audition that had just ended.
Then the stern voice of the leader of the grouping was heard:

"Well, if you want to get here earlier next time, you're gonna have to move faster. It's as simple as that."

The general moaning of her protégés was clearly audible. Kamiko, who was still on the stands where the spectators had slowly calmed down, looked over her shoulder. There she saw all six arrivals bending over the railing.
The ANGERME leader Wada Ayaka now also looked up. Then she spoke joyfully:

"Momoko, you are back? I'm glad you made it home safely."

But the leader of Country Girls could not answer this. Instead, it was Aikawa Maho who suddenly called out:

"Yamakki! You look adorable as always. I could be jealous."

The person addressed scratched her head and laughed.

"Thanks, Aiai! I'll gladly return the compliment. Let's go to a café tomorrow. and we can talk in peace."

Maho replied delighted:

"That sounds marvelous. I really must show you my latest collection of Ultraman action figures. It'll be fun, I tell you."

Although it was clearly written on Risa's face that she didn't really want to talk about such topics, she nodded happily. Momoko grumbled and pointed out that Risa was not allowed to visit any other café.
Suddenly another voice sounded behind the ANGERME members. It came directly from the spectator entrance.

"Oh, you are all here, too. I hope we haven't missed too much?"

It was Miyazaki Yuka who, together with her four group members, sat down behind the chaos troupe. Immediately, Murotan turned around enthusiastically and screamed:

"Aarii! Finally! I thought you'd died or something."

Uemura Akari could not resist a grin and waved her hand in front of her face.

"No! Never, Murotan! But I'm surprised they let you run around free after all."

Instantly they all had to laugh. Then Ayaka raised to speak again and addressed Yuka:

"I'm afraid you missed a really exciting selection. Two are advancing to the finale. Kaga Kaede..."

Full of joy, Kanazawa Tomoko jumped up and clasped her hands together.

"Great! I'm so proud of Kaedi!"

Murotan crossed her arms and nodded her head.

"It's about time she got her butt in gear."

The ANGERME-leader gave the two of them a nod with a smile. Eventually she continued her sentence:

"And then Yokoyama Reina succeeded too."

A frown formed on the faces of the Juice=Juice members. But even the young girls of Country Girls seemed confused. None of them knew this person. Momoko, on the other hand, emitted an enthusiastic whistle.

"Woo-hoo, this little thing seems to become real. If you're not careful, she'll pass you all in no time. Mark my words!"

With a mischievous grin, the café owner looked from one to the other in a challenging way. But it was another person who stepped forward and gave an answer:

"You're right, Momochi. This Yokoyama has real potential. But there were still some major blunders in her current movements. She is only just beginning to discover her powers."

Acting pouty, the addressed person stared at the newcomers. It was none other than the grouping called °C-ute. They were led by Yajima Maimi, who had spoken to the leader of Country Girls. But then it was the highly respected Suzuki Airi who spoke with an admirable but thoughtful expression:

"She was quite impressive. A Kenshuusei, who has only been learning at the academy for four months and is capable of such great manoeuvres, definitely needs to be encouraged. Her advanced knowledge of clarity is also amazing."

For Kamiko, it was always fascinating to see how quickly the words tumbled out of Airi's mouth. One always got the strange feeling, as if she was afraid to be interrupted. That's why her diminutive comrade elbowed her teasingly in the side. It was Okai Chisato who responded with her confident voice:

"Now don't praise the little one too much. She has to prove herself first."

Her partner with the round, well-formed lips named Nakajima Saki agreed with her:

"Exactly! We can't ignore Kaga either. She has been with us for so many years now. Something must have finally pushed her to take the plunge."

Tomoko nodded enthusiastically. Then the squeaking voice of Hagiwara Mai, the youngest from °C-ute, sounded:

"Let's watch this in patience. We don't even know yet if the Observer will accept them."

At this message all grouping members gave a unanimous nod. The fourth and last test followed: The analysis by the Observer! This should take place in a few minutes.
All of a sudden Kamiko heard atmospheric laughter near the railings over her. A large group of people joined Country Girls. It was Morning Musume. Apparently they had also heard the last words of the conversation, because Fukumura Mizuki, the leader of the most famous group, said softly:

"I have faith in these two Kenshuusei. What they presented today was really stunning. They're going to be a great addition to the Haven."

Sato Masaki tapped the leader on the back with laughter.

"Our Fukuhime only wants sweet little Yokoyan all to herself, right?"

The condemned woman protested, but it did not help. Her comrades laughingly agreed with the statement. Makino Maria winked at Tomoko, who returned the gesture. Then she leaned over the bars with both arms and said bluntly:

"Maria is so happy that Kaedi has finally made it. Now only Icchan is missing."

Sasaki Rikako asked confusedly:

"Which group do you think they'll join?"

The respective leaders grinned broadly at each other. Sayuki whispered to the girl with the shoulder-length hair behind her hand:

"So it's not us, Yuka had said."

Funaki Musubu shouted out loud:

"Neither are we. Unless Momochi lied to us again."

Immediately the cheeky girl got a headbutt from her mentor who couldn't believe what she heard.
Kamiko closed her eyes and smiled. She had been sure for a long time which troop Yokoyama Reina would join if she made it to the top of the Kenshuusei. Today it was already the moment.
Ayaka clapped her hands full of expectation and spoke excitedly:

"Now don't spoil the surprise. That's always the most exciting thing about an audition, isn't it?"

The other Haven residents had to agree with her. Suddenly, Yuka listened.

"Speaking of exciting! Are Kobushi Factory and Tsubaki Factory already back from their mission? I heard rumors earlier. They've been on the castle's borderlands for a long time now, don't you think?"

Maimi smiled and replied:

"What a coincidence that you ask. They arrived this morning and are currently resting in their rooms. Actually Hirose and Yamagishi wanted to join us. But I think we better let them sleep. They've deserved it."

Kamiko listened intently. Until now, she didn't know much about the long absence of the two youngest groups in the Haven. Six months ago, they were probably sent on a mission together. The young ANGERME member had only got to know that it was a scouting mission, similar to the one they had been on over three months ago. But all other information had been kept secret. So it was all the more interesting to find out what the leaders of the other groups had to say.
In fact, it was Ayaka who spoke seriously:

"Were they able to uncover anything about this 'Shadow Covenant'?"

Shadow Covenant? Uncover? Kamiko's facial expression had to reflect a single question mark. But none of the leaders paid attention to her or the other unsuspecting members. Instead, Fukumura answered thoughtfully:

"Both Hirose and Yamagishi were summoned to the leaders one by one immediately upon their arrival. They must have been completely exhausted, but Tsunku said that they were successful. The council was very pleased with them."

Yuka looked amazed at the Morning Musume member.

"That's incredible. I never expected this."

Again Maimi gave her a smile.

"They have done great things on their first own mission. But now we should all remain calm. How valuable the information really is will soon become clear."

The leaders nodded in agreement. All other listeners turned their heads in confusion. What was this conversation about? And why did it have to take place under such strange secrecy? Kamiko was sure that Murotan and Take would bombard their leader with questions for several hours once they were back in the Lounge. And at the same time, Kamiko was also convinced that Ayaka would keep complete silence. If the ANGERME leader was supposed to keep a secret, she would do so as long as no one was harmed. Now the girl with the dark cat eyes was not completely sure how harmful the withheld information actually was.
But she could not think any further about this matter. Rikako tapped her excitedly on the sleeve and let her know that something was happening downstairs, in the center of the hall.
Immediately, the chaos of the many conversations in the spectator stands fell silent and a tense humming began. The limping Yokoyama Reina entered the training hall again, together with her Kenshuusei comrade Kaga Kaede, who heroically supported her. The two formed such an unequal pair. But it was exactly because of this realization that Kamiko glanced sideways to Kasahara Momona, who was sitting a bit apart and talking excitedly with Nakanishi Kana without turning her eyes away from Reina. Kamiko wonder what she had to tell?
Finally, the loud voice of Keita echoed through the room once more:

"It's about time, dear people! We come to the final round of our fantastic audition. It was an arduous way to get here. And these two great girls, Kaga Kaede, Yokoyama Reina, have definitely made it. What an achievement!"

When the commentator mentioned the names, great cheers broke out both times. When Keita paused for a short break and beamed at them, the clapping of the audience echoed like a torrential downpour through the hall. Then the cheerful man continued:

"Now you've come to the end of a journey. But if the last action of this chapter should also bring you success, it is by no means 'goodbye'. No! The Observer will inform you straight away what kind of future you will have in Haven. And then a new, much greater journey begins, on whose path you will grow. Never be discouraged, as you are today. You are chosen! You are special! You are Kenshuusei of this academy! And soon you may even be members of a grouping of this wonderful project called Hello! Project Online!"

A drum roll started. The fateful words of Keita were accompanied by the roar of the crowd.
In the end, it became quiet again. The light in the hall was dimmed. Reina and Kaede trembled. You could almost feel their excitement. There was a crackling in the air. The judgement was imminent.
Tsunku joined them. In his hand he held a small object. It was a silver key with narrow white wings at the tip. With this he turned around so that his back was to the finalists. Then he lifted the tiny object up and acted as if he was unlocking an invisible lock.
And miraculously, something happened. The air in front of the headmaster distorted and a black fissure appeared right in front of him. This gap in the dimension widened quickly and at last a golden eye with a green pupil could be seen. 
The two Kenshuusei must have felt a certain fear. At least Kamiko realized that they had retreated a few steps back. Tsunku, however, made no effort to repair the fissure that had appeared. On the contrary! He raised both arms in the air as if he wanted to pray to the strange eye. For a very long moment the eye looked around in reality. One could not read what emotion it was supposed to reflect.
But suddenly it spotted Reina and Kaede and the pupil narrowed abruptly as if it focused its gaze on the two people.
Every single viewer had held his or her breath. They watched this surreal moment with excitement.

Without warning a lovely, soft voice sounded like out of nowhere:

"Kaga Kaede. Morning Musume."

Without delay, the ground shaking cheers broke out for the umpteenth time, which had caused the training hall to tremble so often on this day. All spectators celebrated the Kenshuusei who had been smiled at for years. So long Kaede had to be patient. Day after day. month after month. She trained obsessively over such an eternal period. And in the end, it paid off. Tears flowed relentlessly down the cheeks of this otherwise sturdy personality. She cried and roared so heartbreakingly. She would have loved to put her arms in front of her face and get down on her knees. But then she would have let poor Reina fall, which she wanted to prevent more than anything else.
Nevertheless, the sheer joy and relief could be seen in the face of the old-established Kenshuusei. Makino Maria shouted unconditional congratulations to her and probably would have loved to jump over the parapet to embrace her old and at the same time new comrade.
The clapping of the spectator rows continued for a long time. Only when Tsunku lifted his arms and gave the sign to slowly calm down again, it became silent once more and the tension gradually returned. Only the restrained sobbing of Kaede could be heard.
The eye again fixed the two Kenshuusei. Kamiko became aware that it was probably now completely focused on the second person.
Then the ANGERME member smiled contentedly into herself and leaned back. Since more than a year Kamiko was in the Haven. She had experienced many ups and downs. A failed mission was followed by a successful one. One great acquaintance chased the next one. She had found wonderful friends. And in addition there was a group for her to which she could fully confide in.
In the beginning it was very difficult for her not to know anything about herself or her past. Again and again she had found herself desperately trying to recover memories that were not there. In the end she had to realize that she would probably never get old thoughts back.
But after she had met this girl... no... got to know her, she realized that it wasn't about which memories you had lost. It was about filling the emptiness that was in you when you entered this world with new stuff. 
Her eyes wandered to Rikako. With positive experiences.
She looked at Murotan. With funny moments.
She looked at Kassa for a brief moment. With difficult decisions.
Then she devoted her attention to the center of the action again, while she thought: Yes! This girl had shown her how to not only survive this world. She had also shown her, Kamiko, how to enjoy this world. It wasn't just a competition between patients. It was much more than that. And Kamiko was curious to see what other entertaining adventures she would have with this strange being with the sweet, innocent grin. She was really looking forward to it.

The hall was immersed in absolute silence. They all stared at the centre with eyes wide open. Everyone awaited the judgement.

And then it happened. The voice that spoke with such supernatural purity, soft and imperious at the same time, sounded again for the very last decision:

"Yokoyama Reina."

"Morning Musume."


End of the 1st arc: "My name is Yokoyama Reina"

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#26 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 16 January 2020 - 04:15 PM

2nd Arc: "The Queens of Haven: Morning Musume"


Chapter 26: The World of God




Steady echoes of water drops could be heard in the darkness. The cool air in the cave was softly felt on the skin. Slight goose bumps became visible, while the pitch black silhouette of the only person in this place moved forward thoughtfully and pushed deeper and deeper into the structure. Her breath rattled because the effort it took to explore was slowly becoming apparent.

Eventually, the shadow suddenly faded away, as a soft, sonorous hum could be heard from afar. The person's muscles tensed suddenly. She was in the home stretch. Right in front of her must be what she had been looking for. Finally!
Right away she started the small descent that abruptly stretched out before her. The senses of the figure were sharpened to the utmost. Every wrong move on the wet rock could mean the end. After all, the metre-deep fall into even deeper darkness, while one slid step by step over the razor-sharp stalagmites, would be a fatal event.
Every jump contained feline elegance. Quiet. Deftly. Careful. Little by little, the person found her way... ...until finally, a faint glint appeared at the far end of the cave. Meanwhile, the distant hum had grown into a much louder buzzing.
Now the sound was clearly identifiable. It was a kind of power generator. The light source itself consisted of two large floodlight racks, which were provisionally attached to the stone walls and pointed to the location of the generator.
The stranger gathered her remaining courage and entered the platform where the object that did not fit into this location was placed. With the help of the light it was now easily recognizable that the person must have been a woman. But her face was not visible, because she had pulled a hood deep into her face.
Slowly she approached the power generator. With caution she sensitively frisked it from top to bottom. During this process she mumbled incomprehensible words to herself. Apparently she was thinking about something very specific. Or was she looking for something?
Finally she turned away from the device and looked around in a jerk. The woman gave the impression that she was not yet satisfied with what she had discovered. Her footsteps echoed softly back from the ceiling of the cave. Near the generator she had spotted something that had been hidden before. Now she wanted to have a closer look at this somewhat.
In the shadow of the floodlight, far behind the generator, was a provisionally installed control console. Obviously it was not technically up-to-date, or at least the flickering of the software on the previously hidden black screens, when the woman started pressing a few buttons, suggested it was so.
A slight beeping sound began, signaling the computer was booting. The stranger was astonished, as she remembered this station as active. But if the control console had not booted up at all, how could she manage the necessary processes from here?
An annoyed sigh could be heard. Logically, the woman needed a password to view the computer's data. She had already expected it, but it still bothered her, as the way here had already demanded all concentration.
Almost carelessly she typed in the first attempts, each time with an "ERROR! WRONG PASSWORD!" at the end of the input. The woman shrugged and grabbed under the hood with her hand towards her face. After a few seconds she pulled out a headlamp that was attached to a strap. She had worn it around her own head until just a moment ago, so that she could at least move rudimentarily in the darkness. But the light of the lamp was so weak that it would never have been noticed from far away.
For a short time she fiddled with the object. Suddenly a holder opened, which had been processed into the lamp, and the woman joyfully grasped into it. Finally a very small, cuboid object appeared. It had the size of a fingernail.
Determined, the woman placed the piece she had brought with her on the console. Then she took another close look at the headlamp, until she finally discovered an equally tiny button on the side. She immediately tapped on it.
At first it seemed like nothing was happening. The cuboid object lay still and motionless on the console, which didn't make a move either. Nevertheless, the woman slowly stepped back to the button and watched intently the screens, on which the inscription "ENTER PASSWORD" still appeared, almost provocatively.
For a long minute nothing happened. Then suddenly the first star symbol appeared in the password input field. Number two followed. Finally the third star. And so it went on minute by minute. The woman counted a total of 26 star symbols after she was sure that her placed object had done its job successfully.
Confidently, she clicked the Enter button to confirm the password. And lo and behold! It worked! The blue screen flickered several times before it finally glowed constantly. Countless folders were visible next to various switching mechanisms, which were probably used to control the system. The excited inhaling and exhaling of the woman was almost drowned out by the computer's roaring fan.
Which folder should she click on first? There were no significant names to be read. Only combinations of numbers and letters could be recognized under the small icons. Randomly she typed her way through the mass of data. After some time she finally found a promising text file:

"Hello!Project Online v.1.0.1"

Triumphantly, the woman opened the file and, full of tension, began to explore the subject matter. The table of contents had a gigantic structure with many upper and lower points. The file administrators reported on planning work or the realization of theoretical concepts. The woman realized that possibly a part of the conception of Hello!Project Online was written down here. She hastily searched for keywords that might lead to something interesting. Then she noticed point 10.1.2 in the table of contents: The selection of patients.
The woman swallowed heavily and scrolled down to point 10.1.2. The text literally burned itself into her memory:

"As mentioned above, in point 5.6.1, the exact choice of a patient's behaviour has the highest priority. Healthy girls should be avoided at all costs, as they could falsify the data collected for the Observer. In cooperation with the state, the appropriate groups of persons are filtered under exclusion of the public and assigned priority ranks (10.1.4) via nerve tests and behavioural pattern studies. Physically weak or limited persons must be sorted out from the beginning by legal means, as they could suffer a psychological shock in the event of successful rehabilitation (more on this in behavioural study 12.1.1). If one or more promising candidates have been found, a request will be made to the local institutions as well as to the state to take immediate transfer measures. The law supports the official action."

Without hesitation, the person continued her search. Curiosity overrode every other kind of feeling.

"Prio ranks are considered to be a direct comparison of which girl is most suitable to be included in therapy. Several factors play an influential role. The nerve tests and behavioral pattern studies serve as the main focus and determine the final rank. However, the reports from the facilities and institutions as well as the police files can also be used for a more precise assessment. Here, it is always decisive in which mental state the patient is in at the exact moment of the behaviour pattern study, as this is used as the central point of analysis and all results, both past and present, are evaluated there.

A faint bang sounded. The woman had just struck the dashboard of the console with her fist in a rage. It seemed as if the text excerpt set her in a negative mood. But she did not allow herself to be put off and continued her investigation. In front of her was the diary entry of an assumed employee of this factory.

"The year is 2022. We have finally made it. A virtual room dedicated to total mind control. We must not reveal it to the public. Humanity may not be ready for it. But I can hardly believe it. We created a second world. We're almost God. And it feels so real. I want to spend my life in it. No binding on any duties. No stress with the family. No trouble with the boss. Luckily, I have the morning shift tomorrow. So I'll just pretend like I have some maintenance to do. But it's perfect. I just want to live in this beautiful world. Our new reality."

Right beneath there was an entry written a few weeks after the first one: 

" They do not understand me. None of them understand me. Julianne. Tony. Sam. My colleagues. No one feels what I feel. This world is a gift. A gift of our time. No one could have completed it a hundred years ago in such a miraculous way. But we have. I have done it. It doesn't matter how much lifetime it takes. It's worth it. It's worth it. Why can't you guys understand that? We're all chosen here. We just have to let it happen. We have to give ourselves to this fantastic world. forever."

A later entry in the diary was already somewhat gloomier:

"Why are they doing this? Why these girls? I have dedicated my whole life to the exploration of virtual space. So I should be granted the right to live in this world. Not these bitches! Those freaks from hell! It's almost as if Lucifer himself corrupted and took over the world of God to dump his filth. Was my work in vain? Julianne? You left me. You took the children. But I didn't care. Because I had my own baby. But now... now what? I'm not allowed to walk on the green meadows anymore. I have to make way for those... those monsters!"

The woman turned her attention to the last lines:

"Today is my last day. The work is finished. A perfect world has been created. They say that they thank me and that I have earned my retirement well. Do they really believe that I do not realize what is going on? I'm being pushed out. From my own project. Because I'm uncomfortable. Because I ask questions. Because I don't accept. They claim I did a good job. But they know nothing. Because I've done really good work. And that was taken away from me. The pure has been contaminated. Black now feeds the White. Today is my last day. I have lost everything. There is no longer any meaning to my existence. The Kingdom of God, the Garden of Eden, I have found it. But everything around it is supposed to burn. Burning bright. As the devil and his demons like it. Don't they? You like fire. The ashes. And the darkness! The darkness is supposed to hunt you. Until you all stew together in cries of pain..."

The woman didn't move. This diary was too horrible to read. Unfortunately, no author's name could be found. The writer had been through a lot. It was obvious.
She suddenly freed herself from her rigidity. A noise in the distance caught her attention. Were there voices? In this place? Impossible! Yet she crouched in the shadows, right behind the generator. Before that, with a smooth movement and short hand grips, she had shut down the console and put the small, cuboid object into a bag. But it took an uncomfortably long moment before the blue shimmer of the screen, the high beeping of the modules and the roaring of the fan came to an abrupt end.
For a moment, all that could be heard was the humming of the power generator. Just as the woman was about to look around the corner, she dashed back into her hiding place at lightning speed. Two men's voices echoed to her, apparently only a few meters away.

"What are we doing here? It's an old goddamn installation. I don't even know why this stupid generator is still running."

It was a man with a pretty corny voice and a very worn accent. His partner, however, had a deep, serious tone:

"The bald farmer said earlier that he saw someone going into the cave. We have to investigate that."

The man with the accent answered with a groan:

"Man, that could just be any wanderer, no? The way here is blocked anyway. Don'tcha think you're overreacting a bit?"

The other did not answer directly. As it sounded, he walked across the platform. Ultimately, he examined both the generator and the console. The woman could watch the man from her dark corner. He was now literally standing in front of her, a few inches separating them. His shape resembled a giant. If he should get to grab her, he made short work of her, that much was certain. But his attention was firmly focused on the console. His hand stroked the keyboard while his gaze slowly glanced over the screens.

"Well? Did'tcha find anything?"

His comrade joined him. It was a short, stocky, bald man.

"There was someone here. I know that now for sure."

Shocked, the smaller one turned to his partner.

"What'tcha saying? Someone was here? That'cha impossible! The steel door was locked. And there's no other way out, no? Unless someone is tired of living and is trying to cross the rocky slopes. But who'shh that crazy?"

The taller one bit his thumb thoughtfully. Then he started mumbling while still looking at the console:

"Yeah... tired of life... crazy... I'm not sure those are the right words."

His comrade hesitated:

"What'tcha mean?"

But the giant did not go into it further. Instead, he turned around. In panic, the strange woman pushed herself as far as she could into the dark corner where she was hiding. The eyes of the tall man crossed for a tiny moment with the eyes of the intruder. But apparently he didn't realize it, because without further ado he stepped back into the floodlight and waved to his colleague as a sign that he should follow him. Finally he spoke:

"We must report this to headquarters and consult on how to proceed. Maybe we just close this place down completely. Then we'll have no more trouble."

The smaller one joined him and agreed with jubilation:

"You'resh absolutely right! "All this is just a pile of junk, no?"

Then the taller one had to laugh unexpectedly.

"Isn't everything in this world a pile of junk?"

Slowly the voices began to drift away. The woman could not even understand the answer from the person with the accent because of the generator humming.
Carefully she peeked out of the shadows. Relieved, she breathed out. She hadn't expected to meet people at this abandoned station. So the place seemed to be more dangerous than expected.
Nevertheless, a slender smile could be seen in the depth of the hood. Her palm opened and the small, cuboid object was shown again.
For a brief moment she lingered in place. Finally she put the tiny object back into the headlamp, put it on and made her way back along the stalagmites. It was supposed to be an exhausting way home. But quietly one could hear the soft voice of the woman, who was soon swallowed by the deep darkness:

"I hope you got it all... Reina?"

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#27 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 27 January 2020 - 03:35 PM

Chapter 27: Be Yourself




The thunderous noise of the masses still resounded deafeningly through the training hall. Yokoyama Reina's eyes sparkled with bliss while she was led, supported by Yuhane, to the benches under the spectator stands. A cluster of people surrounded her. Everything seemed so dizzying and distant. The young girl saw Hashisako Rin shouting happy words to her. But because of the many voices around her, she was unable to understand the smallest one. Slowly Reina felt her feet again. Whether it was the sharp pain that kept erupting jerkily or the dizziness of her whole body, which had such an enormous load taken off her shoulders, she couldn't tell exactly. She only knew that she had taken a big step in the right direction. Her rehabilitation had now finally begun.

"Yokoyaaaan! You were great! Let me hug you!"

Puzzled, Reina looked around. Yokoyan? Who called her by that name? Then her eyes widened. Morning Musume had just stepped down the audience and came straight at her. While Makino Maria had grabbed Kaga Kaede, her former Kenshuusei comrade-in-arms, it was Oda Sakura who had called for the younger one and now came running straight towards her. In a stormy manner the petite arms were thrown around Reina's neck. Immediately she heard the sweet voice very close to her ear:

"Now you are one of us! Congratulations!"

The other members of the grouping also came closer. They all laughed and clapped. Although they were by no means larger than the Kenshuusei, they still had an appearance that did not appear from the same planet. Every single presence, as different as they were, shone brightly and brilliantly. Even as she was released from Oda, Reina noticed the pleasant tingling in her chest. A radiant smile magically appeared on her face. Finally, she had the chance to be amongst the greats of the academy and did not have to fear that she would collapse again. She was ready for her new grouping. A happy grin brought her out:

"Pleased to meet you. My name is Yokoyama Reina!"

A girl with short hair and a playful look tapped her on the head with the palm of her hand. Then the slightly hoarse voice sounded:

"You're an idiot! We already know who you are. It's more important that we introduce ourselves to you two again."

The speaker threw a wink to Kaga Kaede before she continued speaking:

"I am Kudo Haruka! If you have problems, worries or needs, you'd best come to me."

Supported by a broad grin, the short-haired girl pointed at herself with her thumb in a self-confident manner. But then she was rustically interrupted by the youngest in the troupe.

" No, no, Duu! If anyone is the perfect person to talk to here, then it's clearly me, Haga Akane!"

With her arms outstretched and her flowing brown hair, which lovingly framed her face, she presented herself to the two newcomers.
Suddenly another person pushed in between. She had put on a stern face, which emphasized her angular features.

"You two should hold your breath for now. I think these two are having thoughts other than memorizing your names right now."

Haga Akane blew her cheeks in indignation.

"Eriiii... don't be so..."

But the young woman named Ikuta Erina did not engage in any discussion. Instead, one of the smallest but oldest ones stepped forward to join Reina and Kaede. In the meantime, the latter, after she had freed herself from Maria's constraints, had also taken a seat on the wooden bench. The older one spoke to both of them laughing:

"I have watched with great amazement the way you have mastered the third test. I believe we will have much fun together at the front."

Kaede looked up in surprise.

"A-A at the front? Really?"

Reina's expression formed a single question mark.

"What do you mean? Front?"

Maria jumped to her comrade's side explaining and said loudly:

"The front forms our main line of attack. When we step into our formations, it is this subgroup who strike first with their agility and boldness. Right, Ayumin?"

Ayumin was the nickname for the leader of the front line of Morning Musume. Her real name was Ishida Ayumi and she was regarded as a great artist of movement within the Haven. Among the Kenshuusei it was even said that her level of knowledge of energy was the highest that existed in the castle. Up to now Reina did not know how to classify such statements, since she only had Murotan and Goto Maki available as direct comparisons. And these two were already pretty decent calibres.
All of a sudden, Reina noticed an unprecedented shimmer on Kaedi's face. Eventually, she heard the excited whisper of her:

"Join the front line of Morning Musume... I can't believe it... It's amazing!"

Then the younger smiled. Even though she herself was so excessively happy because of her success, it seemed all the more wonderful to her that her comrade was finally getting her dream, which she had pursued for so many years, fulfilled. Only another girl with a rather knobbly nose and an interesting accent interfered:

"However, before you can join us, you have some training to catch up on. It won't be easy."

Her name was Nonaka Miki and she was called 'Chel' for short.

"I think there's a really big party tonight, don't you?"

The voice belonged to one of the greatest of the bunch. But not only her stature was remarkable, but also the length of her black hair seemed to be unmatched. It almost reached her waist and made a sweeping arc at the end. She was known by the name: Iikubo Haruna.
The girl next to her nodded her head eagerly up and down while her dog-like gaze glided enthusiastically through the crowd. She too was a Haruna, Ogata Haruna.

"In any case we have to throw a party for our bambinis. It's a duty, right Leader?"

The loud, croaking voice belonged to the mood-loaden Sato Masaki, whose eyes were turned expectantly towards the leader of the group. Fukumura Mizuki smiled lovingly, stroking her wavy, full hair and then nodded in agreement.

"We'll do that. But first we must prepare the ceremony."

Akane's face brightened at once.

"Oh yes! This is going to be great! New clothes after all!"

Reina didn't understand anything for a long time. Ceremony?
Oda Sakura seemed to be able to interpret her new comrade's facial features correctly. Without even hearing a question, she answered playfully:

"Every time Kenshuusei join a group, a big ceremony is held in their honor. It is a celebration of entering the first REHAB grade."

Reina nodded as a sign that she had understood.

"This ceremony will take place right away tonight?"

Ishida Ayumi nodded laughing.

"So it is! You will be cleaned and then led into the throne room where we will officially welcome you, together with Tsunku, the teachers and all the castle residents, as new group members.

Kaede faltered.

"We're getting cleaned up? What does that mean?"

Kudo Haruka laughed teasingly.

"Well, Kaga. They'll slowly and gently peel the cloth from your body and will use a sponge and foam..."

Kaede's face turned redder with every word. Suddenly the speaker was interrupted by Iikubo Haruna.

"Stop, stop, stop! You'll scare her unnecessarily. The whole process isn't that perverted."

Thoughtfully, the tall, slender figure tapped her chin with her index finger.

"Okay, admittedly there may be the odd indecent touch... but other than that..."

Completely horrified, Kaga Kaede stared at her. All Morning Musume members laughed amused.
Before the troupe could calm down, more people joined them. They were ANGERMEs Murota Mizuki, Kamikokuryo Moe, Takeuchi Akari, Kasahara Momona and Wada Ayaka, as well as Juice=Juices Miyazaki Yuka and Kanazawa Tomoko. The arrivals were also accompanied by Country Girls Yamaki Risa and Tsugunaga Momoko.
Murotan was as always the first to shout out loud:

"Kaga! Yokoyama! Congratulations! You two were great."

And again Reina found herself in stormy embraces and masses of hair on her face. The queen of chaos was followed by Kamiko, who gave her a hearty hug and a dazzling laugh. Honest joy was visible in the black-haired woman's cat-like eyes and Reina returned the gaze with shimmering bliss.
Meanwhile Kanazawa Tomoko had grabbed Kaede's hands and happily jumped up and down with her. She shouted all the time:

"You've done it! You've done it! You've done it!"

Finally she gave her former Kenshuusei comrade a long hug and spoke:

"I am so proud of you! You've really earned it."

Makino Maria stood right next to them and grinned over head and ears. It was Miyazaki Yuka who finally addressed both grouping rookies with her clear pronunciation:

"Your performance earlier was really incredible. I'm looking forward to seeing you both in action."

Wada Ayaka agreed with her.

"The Haven should be proud to have attracted such great people."

A mischievous laugh rang out from the third leader in the bunch. Tsugunaga Momoko winked at the two previous speakers.

"Let us not be so formal. They were fantastic. And I am glad that they have now started the long road to rehabilitation. So I'll have something of yours for a long time to come when you visit me at Café Buono."

Reina didn't know if this was really a compliment, but she still wrung a charming smile from herself. Momoko's companion, Yamaki Risa, bowed before them.

"I would also like to offer my congratulations. I wish you much success in your future endeavors."

Kaede and Reina nodded politely in thanks before a loud voice interfered:

"You have passed. Fair enough! You deserve all the praise for that. But if we meet on the battlefield, we won't be friends, I can tell you that much!"

Shocked, the two turned their attention to the red-haired Takeuchi Akari, who looked at them in a challenging manner. Wada Ayaka smiled amusedly.

"Take, you scare them."

With wide eyes the ANGERME leader looked at Reina and Kaede.

"You mustn't misunderstand her. Our hothead likes to talk about a battlefield. But actually she's talking about the big tournament that's already in full swing.

Reina frowned, while Kaede opened her mouth wide with amazement.

"To-To-Tournament? Do you mean...? We're not going to...?"

Now Fukumura Mizuki also joined the conversation. Again, a gentle smile adorned her face while she gave away motivatingly:

"You got it right, Kaga. I've already registered you as potential participants in the current Clairydance competition."

Reina silently formed the words: Clairydance. What was that? What was this tournament about? But she didn't have to ask herself another question. Kaedi had turned to her immediately and stared at her excitedly.

"Reina! Maybe we can take part in the Clairydance Tournament! Isn't that great?"

With a slightly twitching eye and an uncertain smile, the person addressed replied:

"Y-yeah... great... what's a Clair-?"

But she interrupted her sentence in the middle of it when she realized a gentle tap on her shoulders. She promptly turned to the side and looked into the hazel eyes of Kasahara Momona, the person she had met in the corridor before the exam. Reina's features relaxed. Then Kassa began whispering to her in her low peeping voice:

"Thanks for the encouragement you gave me back there. I thought about what you said. I don't want to hold back anymore. I don't want to please anybody anymore... and... and..."

Reina beamed at her and even exposed her slightly protruding canines. Then she hugged the ANGERME member and whispered joyfully in her ear:

"Tell it to her! Tell it your mentor! I want her to see what a great person you are."

When the two of them parted from the embrace shortly afterwards, Reina noticed, for the blink of an eye, how Kassas eyes fixed Kamiko, who was having an excited conversation with Wada Ayaka, before the gaze were abruptly directed back at the new Morning Musume member. Then Reina laughingly raised her eyebrows and understood.

"So that's how it is... Kamiko is..."

Kassa nodded jerkily with her lips pressed together. Reina gave her a sly look. Then she said in a clear voice:

"Be who you are. Show it to her. She will understand and accept you, I am completely convinced of it."

Kassas eyes began to water slightly but finally a slight smile appeared over the reddened cheeks. The full, round lips, already showing what an incredible beauty the young girl would become, formed a dreamlike half-moon, its soft crescent tips pointing towards the sun.
Reina spoke with a mischievous undertone:

"You are so cute when you smile. Everyone can only like you that way."

Immediately Kassa started to turn pure red and the hearty laughter of her newfound friend could be heard throughout the hall.

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

#28 JAKOzZ


    7th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 28 posts

Posted 30 January 2020 - 12:37 PM

Chapter 28: Icy Gust of Wind




"From today on, this is your home! Welcome to Morning Koohii! The mansion of Morning Musume!"

The eyes of Reina and Kaede sparkled while Ishida Ayumi, affectionately called Ayumin by everyone, led them through the living quarters of their new comrades. It was a dream that had become reality. Reina still couldn't quite believe it and after ten steps she had to pinch her arm each time to check that she didn't wake up in the Kenshuusei dorm again.
A huge table made of oak wood was the first thing that was targeted. A snow-white tablecloth lay on it and it was laid with all kinds of fruit in bowls decorated with silver and gold. Even the one or other ruby could be seen in specially made sockets. Just as magnificent were the plates and cutlery, neatly lined up in front of each wooden chair, which, by the way, were covered with transparent rainbow-coloured fabrics.
Reina could no longer stop being amazed. Here she lived from now on? That was far too much. And until now she had only seen the dining room and the hallway, which was no less impressive with its enormous purple wardrobe and the mighty marble shoe closet.

"Back there are our bedchambers. Each one of us has a room for herself. Number 810 is for you, Kaga. 811 is for you, Yokoyama. You can bring your luggage in there later. But first, I would like to show you the most important rooms."

While Ayumin gave them the instructions, one by one the other team members also entered the villa. While they were still completely excited and full of energy they tried again and again to find a reason, no matter how trivial or even strange it was, to be allowed to meet the newcomers. In the kitchen, Nonaka Miki, called Chel, was wandering around aimlessly, as she, at least in her opinion, was desperate to cook for tonight. Although she probably didn't like the fact that they would all already be in the throne room at the ceremony, where there was clearly enough food. In the dining room Iikubo Haruna had looked for her toothbrush, but could not answer the question when she could have left it in that very room. And in the toilets there was even a rather strange or even unpleasantly embarrassing situation, as Sato Masaki and Makino Maria at the same time urgently wanted to urinate and apparently did not care that both Ayumin and the newcomers were still looking around in exactly this room.
All in all, the mansion made an almost royal impression. Reina felt overwhelmed by all the glitter around her. But now she was curious to get her own room. She separated from Kaedi, who stopped in front of the door of number 810. But the younger one didn't have to walk for long. Right next to Kaedi's room was the entrance to number 811, which was painted yellow. Hesitantly Reina reached with her hand for the knob in front of her. When she touched it, she felt the familiar coolness on her palm again, just like on the first day of her arrival in the Haven.
One could hear the soft click as she opened the door. Immediately, it burst ajar and light shone into the still darkened room. The curtains were drawn. But the brightness that flooded into the room from the hallway was already enough to determine the size of Reina's new living space.


The young girl made an impressive whistle. Then she entered slowly. The room was large. In her opinion, there was no better way to sum it up. A gigantic canopy bed was right in the middle of the room. Nevertheless, she had enough space to the right and left of it to be able to do a proper cartwheel. At the foot end of the bed, after a gap that could fit a person of Reina's stature at least twice, there was a wardrobe that reached from one wall of the room to the other as well as from the floor to the ceiling. With huge eyes, Reina stared at him through the semi-darkness.
Finally she went straight for the window and tore the curtains open with a powerful jerk. Instantly, bright sunlight flooded the room. And finally everything was visible. The bright yellow walls, the chrome desk next to the window, the white nightstand by the bed with the extendable commode, the blue beanbag next to the door, and the magnificent mirror with silver ornaments on the edges that was the clear heart of Reina's room.
The new Morning Musume member had her mouth wide open, but nothing, not a sound, came out. Stunned and blissful at the same time, she stood in the middle of her new home, unable to make a single movement.

"Reinaaa! This is incredible!"

At once the person addressed jumped up and looked towards the entrance. There stood Kaede, whose perplexity was still written on her face. It almost seemed as if she had been rushed to her comrade to share these waves of feelings of joy and dreaminess with her.
Without saying another word, Reina ran towards Kaede and embraced her with all her heart. They had arrived.





The wind roared strongly. The cold winter air was finally noticeable. Around the castle, December was normally a rather autumnal month. Snow was not to be expected. And it could also happen when and then that you were more likely to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, while you had to protect yourself from icy gusts.

Inoue Rei liked this interlude of the seasons. When the weather didn't know which way to go. As soon as it reached this status, it automatically felt human to her. As if someone was sitting up in the sky and controlling all this.
Unexpectedly Rei smiled to herself. She imagined a clumsy trainee who was completely overwhelmed by the many buttons and levers that controlled the various weather functions. Yes, that's how it had to be. Both the deep winter and the high summer were well structured and easy to handle. Either it was cold or it was warm. Autumn and spring should also not be a big problem. With the first one, you simply turned the wind force up to full power. With the other one, one simply gave people a little pinch of warmth so that the flowers could bloom. But what was done during the transitions? How did you manage the change from autumn to winter? From spring to summer? Did they simply adjust parameters in a more extreme direction? Is summer just the more extreme version of spring? Was winter simply seen as a more uniform autumn? When Rei thought about it that way, it actually made sense somehow. For a weather professional, the change was definitely no problem. They probably knew exactly how to set the temperature, the precipitation or the wind strength, so it must have felt like a real weather change for the people in this dream world.
She pulled the jacket she was carrying closer to her. She liked the cool air around her, even though her body showed exactly the opposite. But that was not bad. Rei had often disagreed with her body. For example, her body had decided far too often to let parts of herself grow longer than Rei would have liked. So she thought that her fingers and her arms, but also her skinny legs were all much too long. In comparison, she was very lean and flat. But her greatest attention was focused on her neck. This also did not want to stop sprouting up into the air. Yet she was not so tall to be able to justify all these measurements. With her 1.59m, there were definitely taller Haven inhabitants, even if she could not be called small at all. And she knew that, with her fifteen years of age, she would definitely make up an inch or two. Still, she did not like what her body was doing to her.
As if by chance, or perhaps her body wanted to respond stubbornly to her self-reflection, a strong wind blew up and whipped her long, dark hair, which otherwise fell gently over her narrow shoulders, directly into her eyes. Quickly she tried to pull the single strands out of her face with her hands. Then she mumbled softly:

"That's right. I shouldn't always be so hard on myself."

Like the surroundings had heard her, the gust of wind stopped abruptly and it became quiet around the girl. After a short time of silence, however, she heard a distant call:

"Rei! There you are!"

The addressed person looked over her shoulder down the hill on which she was sitting. A slight smile formed on her narrow lips.

"Ayapan, what are you doing here?"

The person, her full name was Hirose Ayaka, had finally reached the runaway. With heavy breath she leaned on her knees and gasped for breath. Meanwhile Rei watched her amused.
Ayaka was the exact opposite of her body stature. In terms of size they were not far apart, even though the arrival was a little smaller. But from then on any similarities already stopped. Hirose Ayaka was sturdier in stature and seemed more corpulent than Rei at every single part of her body. No matter if it was the arms, the stomach, the face, the legs or even the breasts. Ayaka possessed more everywhere. But one could by no means call her fat. Rei liked these slight curves on her friend and they made her attractive in her own way. Compared to herself, Ayaka was a real woman. At least Rei felt that way. And no matter if Ayaka possibly complained about her own body stature, she would probably never show this. Because she was a strong personality who had the right word for each of her team members. But she needed to, after all, she was the leader of their grouping, Kobushi Factory. Rei admired her leader since they had joined the Kenshuusei together. They had gone through a lot together and finally they had landed here, united.

"What are you doing out here? It is cold! You'll catch your death!"

Rei grinned boldly when she answered:

"If death hasn't reached us yet, he's welcome to try it out here, at this wonderful sight. I'm ready to give him a good smack in the mouth."

Ayaka returned the grin but then she frowned and became serious.

"I was with Yamagishi at the Supremes earlier. A month ago, the Kenshuusei were attacked here, on the foothills ...and almost got them all killed.

This news should have shocked Rei, but instead she just lowered her head and thought about what she had said. Grief flashed in her eyes and she knew that Ayaka was thinking of the same thing as she was at that very moment. 
Memories from over a year ago entered the girls' memories. It was the time when they had first learned about the Hunters. At that time they themselves had still been Kenshuusei. They were about to make their debut as a new group.
A newcomer, Okamoto Honoka was her name, had left the castle one evening. She had been strongly rebuked by her teachers during the day, which she apparently hadn't handled very well. That's why she had left the castle. All groupings, even the Kenshuusei, had gone in search of her. Rei remembered that it had been a cool night. The icy winds resembled those she had just felt before Ayaka had come to her. But back then, she could not enjoy the winds. Under almost panicky time pressure and sweaty faces, they had searched the whole area. But she was simply not to be found. Days had passed. Still there had been no trace. The ceremony for Kobushi Factory had to be postponed. Rei had reproached herself. Like everyone else of the Kenshuusei. They had all been sure that they should have noticed. They should have stopped Okamoto. But they had closed their eyes and ears and didn't listen to the young girl's lamentation.
Then, one night, Rei remembered, as if it were yesterday, they had heard a bloodcurdling scream from the distance of the castle grounds. It had been shrill and unidentifiable. Terrifying. The Kenshuusei had all gathered at the tower window to see what had caused the noise. Something black and hooded had lain outside the castle gates on the flat steppe. Nothing around it. Rei remembered the sight exactly. It had been horrible. Because there, wrapped in black, moth-eaten silk, Okamoto Honoka had lain. ...dead.
Rei swallowed hard. The next day was to be their debut ceremony. Right after the funeral. They learned that the girl was attacked by a Hunter. A sinister figure who brought death and misfortune. If you met it unprepared, alone and afraid, you could never escape it alive. What sounded like a horror story told around a campfire on a cloudy night had become reality. And the Hunters never stopped. So they were told, before they were accepted as full members of the Haven two hours later.

"This time there were no victims."

Rei had heard Ayaka's voice but still looked emotionlessly at the green meadow ground. She answered weary:

"There are always victims. ...even if they are not dead."

The Kobushi Factory leader remained silent for a short moment. Finally she answered:

"Kamikokuryo Moe was with them and did everything she could to save the Kenshuusei. In the end, it was Morning Musume who expelled the Scouts."

Rei took notice.


Ayaka nodded softly.

"Yes. Apparently the Hunters were trying to find out something. But why they revealed themselves remains a mystery for the time being. Perhaps they saw an opportunity to weaken the castle by wiping out our spawn."

Rei looked at her comrade with a frown. Then she turned up her mouth thoughtfully.

"It is strange that they assumed the Kenshuusei would travel over the hills alone. A group member could have watched over them at any time. Of all days, it was not so at that time. Why?"

Ayaka narrowed her eyes.

"I assumed that the encounter with Kamikokuryo had been rather accidental. She hadn't been assigned to guard duty. So you're right, the Scouts knew exactly what they were going to attack that night."

Meanwhile Rei kneaded her lips strained with thumb and forefinger.

" For how long have beings from the Hunter tribe been able to move around our lands so undiscovered? Since we formed a group a year ago..."

"this has never happened before", Ayaka finished the sentence, "you are absolutely right and that makes me suspicious. We must be careful. Maybe Haven isn't quite as safe as we always thought."

Reis eyes wandered carefully to her leader. For a brief moment, no one spoke a word. Suddenly, another icy gust of wind blew across the area and tousled the hair of both girls. In the end they were a ball of dishevelled hair, ears and nose on both sides, which caused them to burst out laughing. And finally they went back to the castle together.

Kishi kaisei - Wake from death, return to life. /// Aanakorobi yaoki - Fall seven times, get up eight.


Nito o ou mono wa itto o mo ezu - One who chases after two hares won't catch even one


I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu - A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean.

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