This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
It was a very stormy night. Autumns are not supposed to be so stormy, but heavy rain was pouring down, accompanied by frequent lightning and thundering. If God were in control of the weather, then He was very angry this night.
An old man watched the heavy rain through window, looking tired and sad. After a while, he moved away from the window, took a bottle of extremely fine whisky, and poured some into a glass. He set the glass on his desk near the lamp, the only light source of the room. Yet, the dim light wasn’t hiding the old man’s sad face. In fact, his emotions were highlighted.
“Damn Katsura girl,” he whispered, after finishing and reloading his drink. Certain flashes of his memory jumped up to haunt him: a huge fall from the top of the tower, the destruction of the sword he desired… “DAMN!!!” he yelled and threw the glass to the ground, shattering it. He panted heavily as he was absolutely furious.
The door swung open and a young girl in kimono stepped in. “What makes you so angry, Mr. Mikado?” asked the girl.
Sanzen’in Mikado turned his furious eyes on the girl. “You were not performing!” he barked as he pointed a finger at her. “You were supposed to keep an eye on your President, but look at what she has done to me!”
The girl smiled. “Hina is not a girl I can control,” she said calmly. “If things get out of my control, there is nothing I can do to stop your… humiliation.”
“The Hell it was, and now everything is over!” roared Mikado. “I have lost the sword. I have lost the key to the Garden. I have lost my chance. Oh, my poor girl, Yukariko…” He was actually sobbing as he mentioned his daughter’s name.
The girl in kimono stepped forward. “May I suggest that not all chances are lost?”
“What do you mean?” asked Mikado, half-laughing.
The girl pulled out an amulet from within her kimono. “We still have this King’s Jewel,” she said softly. “We can open the Garden Gate with it.”
Mikado snorted. “Only the rightful owner of the Garden Gate can open the path with it, and the Katsura girl…”
“Hina is not necessarily the one to open the Gate for you,” said the girl, interrupting Mikado.
Mikado was stunned. He stepped around his desk considering the girl’s words, and suddenly he understood what she was suggesting to him. A moment later, a small grin appeared on his face.
“Then do it,” he said as he pointed a finger at the girl again. “Failure is not an option this time.”
“It never has been,” said the girl with a dark smile.
It was late September. Autumn Festival was near, and everyone was looking forward to it. Shops were busy with Autumn Festival promotion campaigns, and booths were setting up on the plaza in the shopping district. It seemed that the Festival had already begun.
At the centre of the plaza, a stage was being set. A certain person in a red Rangers costume was fighting with a “monster”. It was, of course, not a real monster, but an actor in a monster costume. The two of them were rehearsing for the coming hero show, titled “The Guardian of Justice! The Fascinating Silver Red”. A lot of people were watching the rehearsal, and they often cheered for the hero. Silver Red was said to be the guardian of the district, and was an extremely popular figure among adults and children.
Among the many people heading towards the stage to see their hero, there was a girl with blonde twin-tail, and a boy with blue hair. The girl, who was in her school uniform, was dragging the boy, who was in a butler suit, along.
“Move quickly, Hayate!” shouted Sanzen’in Nagi cheerfully. “We have to move up front or we are not seeing Silver Red!”
“Yes, I understand, milady!” exclaimed Hayate, who was amazed by his lady’s enthusiasm. Nagi was not a girl who was eager with outdoor events and festivals, as her only interests were manga, anime and games. Maybe Silver Red was part of Nagi’s world.
As they moved closer and closer to the stage, they came across with more and more people. Hayate the combat butler took up the responsibility to protect his lady by fending off people who were pushing against Nagi. Several people went flying without even knowing why. With some efforts, Hayate and Nagi finally reached the forefront of the crowd.
“Yes, here we are!” said Nagi happily, and she gave her butler a sweet smile. “Thank you, Hayate!”
“It… it is nothing, milady,” said Hayate as he smiled back, slightly panting.
“This is not good, Nagi, Hayate-kun!” said a voice nearby. Nagi and Hayate looked around and saw Katsura Hinagiku, the Student Council President, frowning at them with her hands on her hips. “You can’t force yourselves through the crowd like that. People might get hurt.”
“But I want to see Silver Red closely,” said Nagi, without much guilt in her words.
“What about you? You must have forced your way here as well, haven’t you?” asked Nagi.
“I have been here since an hour ago,” said Hinagiku, still frowning. “There wasn’t anyone here.”
“Oh…” said Nagi absentmindedly. So her strike-back at Hinagiku was not successful.
“Why are you here, Hinagiku-san?” asked Hayate.
Hinagiku blinked. “Well, we are…” she began, but she looked uneasy.
“We are here to see how the Autumn Festival preparation is going,” said a voice next to Hinagiku. “Hakuou Academy is one of the main sponsors of the Festival, and the Student Council has the duty to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Hayate turned to the girl who answered his question. It was an elegant girl with purple hair, who was slightly shorter than Hinagiku. “Oh, Aika-san, hello,” he said with a beam.
“Hello, Ayasaki-kun,” said Kasumi Aika, the Vice President of the Student Council.
Nobody noticed the relieved expression on Hinagiku’s face. She was here not only to check out the Festival preparation, and she did not want Hayate to know about it.
“Go! Go! Silver Red!” yelled Nagi as she saw the hero in costume fighting the monster. Everybody turned their attention to the fight on stage. Soon Hayate found that something was wrong.
“Why are his skills so poor?” he asked as he frowned.
“How rude, Hayate!” snapped Nagi. “He is an actor, not a fighter like you!”
“It’s not like that, milady,” said Hayate as he shook his head. “Last time I saw the show, Silver Red was also acting, but his skills were much better. And besides…” he began, but he suddenly had the feeling that the rest of the sentence was a bit too unreal. “Well, anyway, I wonder if the actor for Silver Red has changed.”
Aika gave Hinagiku a slight nudge in the arm, who blushed.
About half an hour later, the rehearsal was over, and the actors returned to the dressing room. The crowd cheered for them passionately, but the crew were so tired they could not really respond.
Once in the dressing room, Silver Red removed the helmet and revealed a man of about 30 years old. “Hoo…” he exclaimed as he buried his face in a towel. He was sweating heavily.
“Nice work, Taro,” said an assistant with a clap on his shoulder. “They crowd love you.”
“It is extremely exhausting,” said the actor Taro weakly, emerging from the towel. “I tell you what, for a moment on the stage, I hoped that I remain injured. It is just too hard to act in this costume.”
“Don’t say things like that,” said the assistant, clapping his shoulder again. “You are a man, Taro. If you can’t stand this, then what about the girl who helped us out when you were injured?”
Taro smiled. “Speaking of the girl, I haven’t thanked her yet.” He looked up and saw a much smaller costume hanging in the closet. “Is that her suit?”
“Yes,” said the assistant with a nod. “She returned this to us today, and asked us to incinerate. But the girl who came with her – the Vice President, I guess – told us later that she has changed her mind. Girls are sometimes quite strange, huh?”