“Tsugumi, is everything okay?” She’d been uncharacteristically quiet through the whole rehearsal, and had a focused look on her face.
“Hm…” She didn’t seem to notice and kept thinking.
“Oi, Tsugu. You there?” Tomoe waved her hand in front of Tsugumi’s thoughtful face.
“Uaaah, sorry! I completely spaced out. What were we talking about?”
“Tsugu is here~” Moca said sarcastically.
“Eh? What did I…?”
“You looked a bit… serious.” Ran spoke again.
“Really serious. It wasn’t like you.” Tomoe nodded in agreement.
“Is… is that so…? Um… why don’t we run through it again..?” She tried to dodge the question.
Ran offered a small smile. “Actually, why don’t we call it here? Himari, is that okay?”
“Huh? Me? Why are you asking me?” She replied, slightly confused.
“Well, you are our leader, after all.” Ran said with a small laugh.
“Oh! Right! Um… Tsugu, are you okay with that?”
Tsugumi looked down a little. “Oh. Sure, I guess.”
“Alright. I’ll go tell Marina-san we’re wrapping up a little early. Tsugu, why don’t you come with?” The red-haired tomboy drummer motioned her over.
“Eh? Ah, sure, I guess…” She followed her out of the room, and as soon as the door closed Tomoe spoke up again.
“So are you gonna tell me what’s up, or…?”
“Hm? What do you mean? I’m fine!” She put a smile on her face, but it was clear that she was still thinking something.
“Come on, Tsugu. We’ve been together practically all our lives. We all have. It’s obvious that something’s up. If you don’t want to tell the group, then you can at least start with me, yeah?”
“Well…” She looked down again with a pause.
“Don’t tell me… you’ve fallen in love?” She teased her, knowing that probably wasn’t it.
“N-no! T-that’s n-not it at all!” she waved her hands in a panic, “It’s just… I’ve been thinking about our sound…”
“Yeah. It’s just...since we heard Roselia play at Future World Fes… I don’t know. It just doesn’t sound as energetic.”
Future World Festival. A 3-day event held in Japan where the best bands in the world are invited to play in a concert. Performing there had been Roselia’s dream for some time, and, after the Bang Dream! competition, they were invited. All expences are paid for by the event, including 1 guest per performer. The Roselia girls invited Afterglow to come with them.
“Ah, that one. That was really one hell of a show, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. It was…”
“You know, the funny thing is that I was thinking the same thing. After hearing them play like that… I can’t help but feel like we’re lacking something.”
“You… you really feel that way?”
“Yeah. Didn’t say anything because I thought I was the only one, but I’m glad I’m not alone on this one.” She turned to Marina at the front desk briefly. “Hey, Marina-san, we’re packing up.”
“Eh? Already? But you have half an hour left on your reservation.”
“Yeah, but we don’t think we’re gonna do anything productive at this point, so we’re calling it quits a little early.”
The two turned around and headed back to the room, when Tsugumi spoke up again. “Hey, Tomoe-chan? Can we keep this just between us?”
“Between us…? I mean, sure, but you’ll have to tell them eventually. We all noticed that something was up.”
“I know, but… I don’t think this is a good time. Maybe tomorrow.”
“Alright. Tomorrow, then.”
“Sure.” She but her hand on the back of her head. “I don’t know why you’re treating this like a big deal. You telling the others your opinion. It’s not like you’re confessing your love or something.”
Her face flushed red for a moment.”I-I know that, but… still…”
“Oh? So you do have a crush after all!”
“I-I do not! Well, actually I do, but that’s not the point!”
She let out a small laugh. “Alright if you say so.” She glanced down at the shorter brown-haired girl. “But who is it on?” She teased.
“Um… um…!” Her eyes darted around a bit. “C-coffee!”
She flinched, realizing what she just said. “Y-yeah! I… I really like coffee…”
“...man. I know that everyone has their own quirks, but I think that one definately takes the cake!” She smiled and laughed.
“Let’s go eat cake~! To Yamabuki Bakery~!” The slow-speaking Moca announced from a little ways down the hall, followed by her marching past them.
“Guess it can’t be helped.” Ran sighed. “Been a while since we’ve all hung out outside of school, though.”
“All right! To the bakery! Eh! Eh! Oh~!” Silence. “Oh come on! I thought you guys were gonna do it with me this time!” There was a light laughter from the group as Himari complained to them.
The five were walking towards the station, Moca happily munching on some rolls as they walked.
“Hey guys? I want to write a new song.” Tsugumi announced suddenly.
“A new song?” Ran asked, turning towards her. “What about?”
“Bread~!” Moca called out from behind them, holding up a roll before bringing it down to take a bite.
“I… I’m not sure. Something… powerful, maybe? Big and grand?”
“Powerful, huh?” She placed her hand on her chin, starting to think. “What brought this on?”
“Oh, it’s uh… nothing. I just thought that we could put something new on for our next show.”
She turned, separating from the group to head home. “I’ll put some thought into it. Why don’t we talk about it more tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow… alright. That sounds good.”
The group split ways and went home for the night.
“Tsugu, I’m heading up to the others. Do you wanna come with?” The sun would be setting soon, so Tomoe thought she’d make the offer.
“Oh! Yeah, just give me a sec…” She gathered her things and walked with Tomoe to the roof where the others were watching the sun just as it began to set.
“Hey guys, there’s something I need to say.” She looked sheepish as the others turned to look at her.
“What is it, Tsugumi?” Ran asked.
“Well… do you remember Roselia’s Future World Fes. performance?”
“How could I forget? It was absolutely breathtaking!”
“Well…” She sighed, “I’ve been thinking that we don’t have the same kind of… energy as they did. I think… I think we could do better than we are.”
“Tsugu…” Himari started.
“Tsugumi, I didn’t know you felt that way. But if I’m being honest… I’ve kind of been thinking the same thing.” Ran spoke with a small smile.
“But Afterglow is Afterglow, and Roselia is Roselia.” Moca protested. “What’s wrong with that?”
“Moca, what I think we’re trying to say is that we’ve been inspired to make Afterglow a better version of ourselves.” Tomoe walked over to her.
“...sure, I guess…” Moca put her head down.
“Well, Himari? It’s your call.” Ran and the others turned to her.
“What are the odds that we all had the same thought?” Himari said with a slight laugh. “Besides, I have some ideas for that song you mentioned, Tsugu! Uh, if- if that’s okay…”
“That’d be cool, Himari!” Ran gave her a bigger smile. “Alright! Let’s go write a song!”
“Alright! Eh! Eh! Oh~!...” Himari thrust her fist in the air before trailing off. “Oh, come on guys! If that wasn’t the chance to do it, I don’t know what is!”
The girls laughed as they started running down the stairs, where they ran into Yukina Minato, the leader of Roselia.
“I wondered what all that shouting was about. Of course it’d be Afterglow.”
Ran paused. “Minato-san.” she spoke coldly to the girl she deemed her rival.
“So you’re going to write a new song?” Yukina replied.
Yukina offered a small smile before returning to her usual cold expression, and turned around and waved as she walked away. “Save me a ticket.”
The Afterglow girls hadn’t planned on doing a live, but they agreed amongst themselves to do one as part of their improvement.