What am I supposed to do now?
That was what I thought as I walked out of the university. I was meandering through my last year and needed to make my final project, but had no clue about what to do.
I wanted my own company, yet I never liked Business Administration. I had only chosen it because it seemed like the logical step to take in addition to that many articles mentioning it was a path that could diverge into many branches. Even if I didn't like it, it still could be useful.
And there I was, aimlessly roaming around the yard. I was going to get nothing out of it, so I headed off of the campus onto the streets to take a refreshing walk.
What was I thinking? The cars flying above me never let me concentrate. But there was no park nearby to escape from them. I had to conform with the noisy streets full of merchants selling their creations. I felt bad for them. Most of them seemed genuine, trying to earn a living, but there was no more room for entrepreneurs.
It was the thirty-second century. The world was practically out of resources and space. Our planet only thrived because of asteroid mining. It was the only way to gather resources. Without it, we wouldn't have survived.
Luckily, scientists found a way to travel between planetary systems in a matter of days, hours, or even minutes. It opened the opportunity for people to escape to other planets as soon as they were habitable. But even if they were, it still was a risky decision. They had only been colonized for a couple of centuries at most or governed by other species.
I knew there were many obstacles I had to overcome. First of all, I needed to graduate. And for that, I needed to make a final project that showed my skills to administrate a business. It would've been easy… if I hadn't procrastinated for three years.
Nothing's coming to my head! Come on, brain. Be useful for once!
As I walked on the sidewalk in front of old-looking buildings, I saw a particularly colorful, digital sign hanging on the door of one of them. I stopped to read it.
Manager needed? It doesn't even say for what.
"You are stepping on litter that needs to be collected," a feminine voice said behind me. It was a SweeperBot, trying to pick up something I had stepped on.
I moved aside, but no garbage appeared beneath my foot. There's nothing.
"On the sole of your shoe."
I lifted my foot to see under the shoe and there was chewing gum stuck on it. Who the hell dropped this?! I just bought this pair!
I sat on the stairs of the building. Disgusted by the thought of touching something that someone had in their mouth, I searched for something to peel it off. I found nothing.
"I can take it off without damaging your shoe," the robot said.
They have been busy improving their speech, huh? I couldn't even tell it was a robot when it talked. Still, I don't trust their delicacy towards humans. But I have no other choice.
I sighed. "Go ahead. Just be very careful—"
Without even finishing the sentence, the robot started vacuuming the chewing gum. It was not damaging my shoe, but the gum wouldn't come out. It stopped after a few seconds and stood still on the sidewalk, completely silent.
Suddenly, it started vacuuming once again. The noise was much louder. My leg was being pulled harder and harder.
"Calm down! You're going to—"
My shoe came off my foot and got stuck in the opening of SweeperBot's vacuum pipe because it didn't fit. The vacuuming stopped.
"The litter has been gathered," the robot said. "Please remove the shoe from my pipe."
Oh, it actually did it.
I grabbed my shoe and the SweeperBot left to continue cleaning the streets. Before putting it back on, I inspected the bottom. There was a hole in the middle of the sole. Are you freaking kidding me?
"Hey, are you here to apply for the job?" someone asked behind me. It was a blonde girl, probably around seventeen years old.
"You didn't see the sign? We are looking for a manager."
"I saw it, but it's very vague. A manager of what?"
She smiled before grabbing my arm and pulling me inside the building.
"Hey! What are you doing? I didn't even say I'm looking for a job."
The interior had a vintage style from the two-thousands. The walls were quite torn and some of the floor tiles were broken. Rotten wooden stairs led to the second floor. Dim lights barely illuminated the hallway.
This is the Trading District for you.
The girl pulled me into a room with a huge shattered mirror. Another girl with green hair was dancing in front of it. Her movements were quite adorable.
"Risa, another applicant arrived!" the blonde girl said.
"Really?" the green-haired girl beamed. She stood in front of me."Do you want to be our manager?"
Why is she making puppy eyes?
"Wait, wait, wait," I interrupted. "First of all, I never said I wanted the job. Second, this place looks horrible. And third, where's your guardian?"
"Hey! Be more considerate of our home," the blonde girl scowled.
I looked around the room. There were two futons on the floor, next to two suitcases. And that was it. Eh?
"Where's your guardian?" I asked again.
"We don't have one. We are old enough to take care of ourselves," the blonde girl answered with confidence. Meanwhile, the green-haired girl—Risa—timidly hid behind her friend.
"So, it's only the two of you," I confirmed.
I shouldn't get too involved in this. But…
"Then what do you want a manager for?"
"We are forming our idol group!" the blonde girl shouted. Risa supported her with a reassuring smile.
I let out a deep breath. "First of all, I haven't heard that term in ages. Second, you should go home. This district is very dangerous."
I turned around to head out, but the blonde girl stood in front of me and blocked the exit.
"First of all, stop talking like that. Second, I just said this is our home. Third," —she pulled Risa in front of me, who started making puppy eyes again—"we beg you! You're the third applicant in a month!"
Only three in a month?! Well, judging by the sign, that's reasonable.
Curious, I asked, "What's the pay?"
"None!" the blonde girl smiled.
With a poker face, I walked around her and headed to the front door. Why was I hoping for a miracle?
"We want to be the best idols in the country!" the blonde girl shouted. "No, in the world! We haven't stopped practicing since we were little and we won't stop. This is our life. We just need an opportunity."
I sighed. "Look, girl. I'm sorry. The world is unfair. Everyone is looking for opportunities, but not everyone finds one. Even if you do, it might be worse than doing nothing. I tell you from experience."
"So you simply gave up?"
"You haven't seen the real world yet—"
"Stop saying that! I'm tired of hearing it. People always tell us that we don't know anything about life, while you know nothing about us. You're just afraid of failing."
"I never said I gave up. And yes, I'm afraid of failing. Because you only get one shot in this world. Once you fail, people will only see that and not your successes."
"You had a bad experience, huh?"
"You could say that."
"Then work with us. We might only be sixteen, but I assure you we are mature. We want to devote our lives to being idols."
I stood still, my hand ready to turn the knob of the door. She really wants to go forward. Meanwhile, I keep running away from opportunities, whilst others would die to even get one. Sadly, this won't work.
"I admire your determination, girl. But I'm sorry. I'm not qualified to manage an idol group. As I said, I haven't heard that term in ages. I know nothing about it."
"We will teach you! We just need someone to get us advertising and venues!"
"Even if you teach me, people know little to nothing about idols nowadays. So, you will likely fail if you don't have something unique, something big, something… galactical. Galactical…." I grabbed her shoulders as an epiphany hit me and shook her. "I'm a genius!"
"Stop shaking me."
"You said you want to be the best in the world, right?"
"What if I told you that you need to be the best in the galaxy?"
She stared at me, perplexed. "I'd say you're crazy. But that sounds like a fun challenge."
"Excellent! I will use you for my final project!"
"Don't use the word 'use'. It's weird."
"I just need to learn what an idol is."
Edited by RedPandaChick
After chatting with the girls for a couple of minutes, I had to leave because my next class was about to begin. I told them I would come back later in the evening. Not only was I lucky to find an opportunity like that, but the university was only five minutes away on foot. Transport and time were not going to be a problem. However, wandering through the Trading District didn't give me much confidence. It was known for being one of the most dangerous districts, if not the most. Police were rarely seen around, giving street merchants—or colloquially called Dreamers—a chance to sell their creations even though it was illegal to sell stuff on the street without a permit. No one knew why the district had been forgotten by the local government. Many theories floated around. The one I heard the most suggested that the government took fees from the sales made inside
I sat on the cold floor, troubled by how things were unraveling. Sanae and Risa sat in front of me. I reached for the glasses in my pocket but felt fragments instead. Oh no. I took the glasses out followed by many pieces. The slim frame was intact, but the glass—actually bio-polycarbonate—was shredded. Only a few bits still hung from the frame. Isn't this material supposed to not break?! This is what happens when you buy the cheapest brand… "What's that?" Sanae asked. "My glasses. I was going to use them to research idols and write my project's introduction…" "Aren't they supposed to never break?" "I bought cheap ones,
The only thing I had heard about idols was their astonishing popularity a thousand years ago. I didn't know what happened to them, nor was I curious about it. But, since I was going to be the manager of an idol group, it was essential to know about it. I skipped the first result explaining what an idol was and tapped on the article beneath. The website loaded instantly and I began reading. As I had heard, their popularity hastily declined over the span of a century. There wasn't one exact reason why it happened. Instead, many factors played a role. Morals, climate change, pandemics, and political conflicts between countries impeded their international growth. However, the drop that spilled the glass was the creation of humanoid holograms. Humanoid holograms had become incredibly realistic and cheap enough by the
Before heading to Sanae's and Risa's place, I visited my friends, who I remembered had a Huma. We all lived in the same apartment block, so it wasn't much of a detour. Once I arrived at one of my friend's, I rang the bell by pressing the button on the panel next to the door. A tornado whirled in the room for a while before he finally opened the door. He hid behind it. "What's up?" he panted. "Hey. I just wondered if you still had that Huma—" He took his arm out to shut my mouth with his hand. What's wrong with him? Wait, is he naked? "Not now, I'm busy," he whispered. Unable to speak, the voice of a woman came from insi
The girls queueing up looked at me as I climbed the stairs. A few of them seemed eager and nervous. Others were accompanied by older people, probably their parents. And some even were deadpan. They must be one of those people that show no expression when they are nervous. I walked into the building, where a few more girls stood in line before the door of Sanae's and Risa's room. Butcher stood still with his arms crossed next to the stairs leading to the second floor. "Hey, Butcher. How's it going?" "Good morning, young man. I'm keeping an eye on the queue in case someone tries something." "Did anything happen?" "No." "G
A few candidates later, a redhead girl stepped inside. She was tall and wore a long ponytail. Her green eyes were behind a pair of round glasses. Her glasses are quite stylish. I repeated the same procedure as always. Her name was Aki Akane. She was a nineteen-year-old Japanese citizen. "Okay, Akane. Tell us about yourself." "Sure. My name's Aki Akane. I'm nineteen years old and I study Design at Saitama University." Oh, that's surprising. "How did you find out about the auditions?" "I was walking by and saw the sign yesterday." "And why were you interested? Why do
The weekend arrived. Sanae, Risa, and I were nervous and excited to see the girls. Soon, the first one arrived: Celeste. She knocked on the front door and I received her. We walked into Sanae's and Risa's room—which was about to turn into a dance studio. "Thank you for coming," I said. "Thank you for choosing me! I don't have the words to thank you enough," she bowed. "It's fine, you don't need to." Sanae and Risa approached us, but someone knocked on the front door again. Akane and Adachi stood together outside. I thought Adachi was going to be late. "Please come in," I said. "Thank you, gentleman," Akane replied as she steppe
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