“Come to think of it…… why wasn’t there any progress since the manga adaptation was decided? You have an editor, right?”
“Ah, haha ……, I haven’t heard from him at all …….”
When I asked her about it, she told me that after the decision was made to publish the manga, she had a one-time phone meeting with the editor. After that, the editor gave her a list of several candidates, and she was left alone from there until now.
“Is that how it is?”
“Yeah, the one time I was contacted, he said he couldn’t find a manga artist ……, and he didn’t reply when I contacted him ……. Oh, I contacted the editor yesterday about Kagurazaka-kun, so I’m sure I’ll be in touch.”
We’re eating lunch behind the gym again today.
The weather is still very warm and sweaty, so it’s just as well that the sun is not shining.
“Well, I hope you get a good response.”
“Yeah, ……, if I don’t hear from him after school, I’ll give him a call.”
Mitobe-san chewed on her rice ball as she said that.
When we returned to the classroom, we could hear whispering.
“…… Mitobe said he protected her from the thug.”
“There’s a rumor they’re dating.”
“I thought he was going out with Kyoko.”
“But he’s suddenly become unsociable.”
“Ah, Misuzu-san. ……”
Misuzu, the class president, came over to me.
Mitobe-san looks uncomfortable.
“Is it better if I’m not here? Should I go over there? Kagurazaka-kun ……”
“I’d appreciate it if you’d stay. I might be able to understand Misuzu’s feelings better that way.”
“—uhm, Hayato, well, thank you for accepting the money ……. I’m sorry…… Oh, and a lot of other …… things.”
Misuzu is always cheerful, but her voice was dark.
I don’t know what she was apologizing for, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything bad.
I had promised to go home with her next time, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
“Oh, no problem.”
“Ah, wait, I mean, I want to be friends with Hayato like before, but ……, is that no longer possible?”
I tilted my head.
“Like before? I’m sorry, my mother will be very sad, so I want to stop being ridiculed.”
“I-I can’t believe you think I would do that—“
Kyoko and Tetsuya did not interrupt me.
I continued my story.
“Besides, I’m trying to become a manga artist, so I’ll be busy…”
“M-manga? What are you talking about, Hayato? …… Well, you can’t be a manga artist. –It can’t be…”
Something about Misuzu made her even darker, but I couldn’t figure out why.
“Whatever it is, I am not what I used to be. You don’t need to force yourself to talk to me. You have Tetsuya and Kyoko with you, right? Then you’ll be fine. Then–“
Mitobe and I went to our seats.
She opened her book.
I was thinking in my head if there was any problem with the conversation we just had.
“EEH!? What’s this!”
Mitobe was shouting for some reason while looking at her phone as she left with me.
“Well, I got a reply from my editor……”
She showed me her phone.
The editor who had been in charge of Mitobe had suddenly quit.
It was decided at the editorial meeting that the manga would be published, so it wouldn’t disappear, but a new person would be put in charge of it, and the search for a new manga artist would begin again from scratch. So please don’t interfere.
“After waiting for …… so long, the editor quit ……, but I’m glad you got a new one.”
“Ah, haha ……, well, the new person in charge sent me an email, but the text was very cold ……, and I can’t believe they decided on a manga artist on their own. Ugh ……, -hii!? I got a call!”
Mitobe answered the phone with trepidation.
“Yes, I’m Mitobe. ……. –Ha, yes, thank you very much. A manga artist with animation experience is interested in …… the original work. …… Oh, wait a minute! W-without confirmation, just like that– “
Mitobe then hung up the phone and slumped her shoulders.
With tears in her eyes, she tugged at the hem of my uniform.
“Ugh ……, Kagurazaka-kun, what should I do ……, heh, the editor …….”
It’s okay, I felt bad, but I could hear everything they were saying.
“You’re going to see the editor, right? –Let’s go together.”
My heart was bothering me for some reason.
To be honest, I don’t care if I didn’t draw Mitobe’s manga, as long as an even better manga artist draws it.
[“All you have to do is write the original story.. I’m busy too. …… Haa, why did you let this kid through the editing meeting? ……. He quit, leaving me with useless work. …… understood? Don’t complain because it sells just because that teacher draws it.”]
When Mitobe san heard those words, she looked sad.
I didn’t want to see her face like that.
She looked better when she smiled.
“IIDABASHI is one stop away from our high school.”
Many publishing companies are located here.
We were sitting at a table in a stylish coffee shop in a corner of the city.
Mitobe was shrinking. For some reason, the overbearing editorial sister, Sumire Hiratsuka.
Hiratsuka-san wrinkled her brow and said to Mizutobe-san.
“—-Haa, why is there a student here? This is why I hate student writers. …… Look, you’re about to publish a manga. this isn’t a game, you know? It’s not a club activity, okay? You’re an author.”
Mitobe shrank back, but there was a strong light in her eyes.
“I’m not playing games. He is a potential manga artist. The previous editor…… told me that the writer has the right to choose the artist.”
“It’s not a kid’s game, you know. Just because he’s a little bit good at drawing doesn’t mean he can draw manga. Do you understand? Leave it to the professionals and you’ll be fine. Haa, ……, I’ve made a lot of hits in my life. That’s why–“
The envelope with all my works was still on the desk.
“Wait, Hiratsuka-san! You haven’t even looked at it…….”
“No, no, you haven’t published anything yet, don’t talk so high and mighty about it.”
These words changed Mitobe’s expression.
She looked frustrated and sad.
I don’t want to see that face.
“Excuse me for interrupting, but I’m friends with Mitobe. And Mitobe and I are fellow creators.”
“…… Yeah, don’t get involved in the middle of adult conversations, you’re just a kid, an outsider. I am talking to Mitobe-san about adults stuff.”
I’m not interested in her title.
I grabbed Mitobe’s hand.
“Wha, if you’re going to make out, do it somewhere else…”
I ignored Hiratsuka-san’s words and said to Mitobe.
“…… Mitobe, there is more than one publishing company. Fortunately, the editor told you that you could quit. You didn’t sign a contract, right?”
“Umm, yeah ……, not yet, but …….”
“Then I’ll talk to my dad and try to get it into another publisher. I …… don’t want to see Mitobe looking sad.”
“I-I’ll go anywhere as long as Kagurazaka-kun draws for me–“
Hiratsuka-san looked at us and said with a sigh.
Then she picked up the thick envelope containing the manga I had drawn at Mitobe-san’s request.
“Fu, yeah yeah, I’m busy too, so you can quit if you want—-eh w-wha….. this—-“
She started looking at my manga with great vigor.
“Wait, is this really you?”
“That’s from elementary school. Oh, the one you’re looking at now is from middle school, and the one after that is the one I drew most recently.”
“Y-You’re kidding, right? T-There are a lot of artists who are very good at drawing, but ……, this is a very good manga. I’m not sure how long it takes you to write a name and put in a pen.”
“Mu? Name? What the hell is that? I have no idea, but I can have that done in roughly a week.”
“Ha? You don’t know what a name is? Wait, did you drew this with a pen? And …… this amount and quality in a week …… A-a monster …….”
Mitobe tapped me on the shoulder.
Her face was a little calmer than before.
“U-Uhm, I’m embarrassed. Can you let go of my hand? I’m fine now. I’m fine! T-thank you. Kagurazaka-kun, let’s go. Oh, my dad’s store is near here, let’s drop by!”
“Yeah, let’s talk about the future there. …… I’ll contact my father. …… Oh, he is in Iidabashi?”
As we were about to stand up, Hiratsuka-san let out a shrill scream.
“Wait, P-please wait! no, wait, please! I’m sorry, I got carried away when I graduated and joined a publishing company! If this amazing talent goes to another company, my editor will kill me…”
I got a call on my phone.
It was from my father.
“Ou, haha, you’re my son after all. I’m glad you’re serious about going into painting. I’m just in the neighborhood for a meeting about my next illustration. Wait a minute. ……, here–“
As soon as the phone went silent, my father walked into the coffee shop.
Next to him was a man with an afro.
“Kagurazaka Ares-sensei! T-that, and HII ……, e-editor-in-chief ！！！！！!”
Mitoobe tilted her head.
“Kagurazaka Ares-sensei …… is a very popular illustrator! What are you talking about, Kagurazaka-kun?”
My father is supposed to be a designer. That’s what I was taught from an early age.
An illustrator? Is that so? I didn’t know that because there’s no work of him at home?
“Dad? You’ve been lying to me? It’s …….”
“Huh? I’m an illustrator, but I’m also a designer, so I’m not lying, right? It was easier to get a loan that way in the public eye. Hmm, and this child is the rumored Mitobe-san … What is it, isn’t it a super cute child, isn’t it, my son? The sense of choosing the original, the sense of choosing the bride, is just like me. “
“Hawaawa ……E-excuse me……, hehehe.”
Mitobe-san is confused, apparently she is going to be my wife.
I didn’t feel bad when I imagined it.
“Yes, father, look at my work. I drew a picture of Mitobe’s work. Hiratsuka-san told me she didn’t want it. …… Can you take this to some publisher? Because I don’t know the criteria. ……”
My father grinned and pushed the man with the afro back.
He was a very handsome man.
The man with the afro looks at my work with both hands at great speed.
He finished reading it in an instant, and then he turned into a demon.
“Hiratsukaaaaaa! ！！！！！！！ Are you trying to start a fight? Age has nothing to do with creative drawing! You think he is just a kid and you’re licking your chops! It’s not like you’re not capable of understanding how great this manuscript is, you judged it without looking!”
“Hii-hii, ……, I’m sorry.”
“You idiot! Sorry my butt!! Kagurazaka-kun and Mitobe sensei want to sign a contract with someone other than us, right? What are you going to do about this damage!!!”
“Sorry! Sorry Mitobe-sensei …… and Kagurazaka-kun ……, I apologize for my rudeness earlier ……, I’m really sorry. ……, if you want, I’ll get down on my knees or something. ……, s-so–“
Mitobe raised her hand fearfully.
“U-uhm~ I-If, Kagurazaka-kun, can draw it, I’m fine anywhere. Please don’t get down on your knees, because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I can understand where Hiratsuka-san is coming from. …… Besides, we were going to go ahead with the manga adaptation–“
“—-I don’t care, as long as you can draw your work.”
Hiratsuka-san cried and hung on to Mizutobe-san.
“T-Thank you ……, thank you so much ……, I- I was about to get fired …….”
My dad looked at us with a smile.
“Haha, we’ll have a meeting, but you guys can go home and have a date.”
“Fuun, Hiratsuka needs to be trained again. …… Come to the editor’s office after the meeting.”
“Heeee! I-I’m sorry, but I can’t make it to the …… meeting in time.”
Mizutobe-san had a soft smile on her face.
I can draw Mitobe’s work as an artist.
I could feel Mitobe’s emotions coming through to me.
Relief, joy, and a little anxiety.
I squeezed Mitobe’s hand.
She looked surprised, but not disgusted.
And I couldn’t see any anxiety in her face.
She smiled at me–
Well, I wanted to see that smile.
Just by looking at that smile, I feel fluffy,……, is this a feeling of …… happiness?
“Ah, Kagurazaka-kun is smiling too. Ehehe I’m glad we’re going to be able to make manga together–“
“Yeah, please take care of me, Mitobe.”
As we were leaving the store, my father called out to me.
“You guys are going to be the best manga duo ever! –Hayato, congratulations on your manga debut!”
I turned around and waved my hand, laughing, to tell my dad how happy I was.
For some reason, when my dad saw me do that…
“……Seriously ……your mother was right ……, Mitobe-chan ……, thank you ……, Hayato, you did a great job ……, uuuuoooo …….”
He was crying–