Episode 11 - Go, Asuka! Reach for the top! - Is the eleventh episode of Loveairaharune's first fanseries, Pretty Rhythm: Melodic Dream.
Somehow, Asuka still cannot pull off a Prism Jump. Amane is now forced to deal with her conflicting emotions - She wants Asuka to get in, but at the same time, doesn't. Will she lend her friend a helping hand?
"What should we do?" asked Yumeko.
"I don't know," mumbled Amane.
"We have to get her to do it... somehow," replied Sayuri.
The three of them were quiet.
"Are you going to go to Pretty Top today?" asked Asuka.
"Um... yeah. Why?"
"Can I come?"
The two girls walked on in awkward silence. But this, of course, wasn't anything really unusual. It's always been like this. Ever since we were young....
"Is that it?" asked Asuka after a while as she pointed to a silvery grey building.
"Oh, yeah," replied Amane. She smiled slightly. "That's Pretty Top."
They both walked towards it silently.
"Hey, it's those girls again."
"It's Miyamoto Amane and her pathetic friend."
"Actually, Amane's just like her friend. What kind of professional performs with an amateur in public?!" There were several laughs.
"Heck, that gold haired girl is so snobby. Flipping her hair like she owns the place," muttered another girl.
"Her smiles are sickening."
"Must have got that from Amane."
Amane kept her head down, and walked faster.
Pathetic, immature idiots, thought Amane. She walked onwards with her face clear of expression.
As soon as they were out of the hallway, Amane turned to Asuka to make sure she was okay.
"Just ignore those idiots," mumbled Amane. "They don't matter."
Amane sighed, and said, "Well, we're at the practice room now."
"Where do you wanna start?"
"Maybe the rink?"
Amane sighed once more. This is so frustrating. She won't respond to anything I'm saying. This is gonna be awkward. And boring too. But I guess it was always like this.
"Hi, Amane-chan!" called Yumeko as she rushed in, along with Sayuri. "Hi Amane!" called Sayuri.
"Hiii!" replied Amane, relieved that they were finally there.
"Ohh, Asuka-chan's here too! Hi there, Asuka!" called Yumeko.
"Heyyy~" replied Asuka, finally smiling a little. "What are you guys doing here?"
"To help you out," said Yumeko. "We want you to join our team, right, Sayuri?"
"Y-Yeah!..." said Amane as cheerfully as she could.
"Well, come on, let's get practicing then!"
"This dance is easy! How can you guys not manage to do that twirl?" questioned Asuka as she twirled around gracefully. Meanwhile, the 3 other girls were stumbling around...
"Ow! You idiot!" yelled Yumeko. But she smiled at Sayuri to show she was only joking.
"You're the idiot!" replied Sayuri, pushing Yumeko over with a smile.
"Talk about yourself!"
Then they started laughing and shoving each other.
"Um...." went Amane sheepishly.
"Geez, those girls always messing around," said Asuka as she shook her head. "GUYS! WE SHOULD BE PRACTICING!" she yelled.
"Okay, okay," said Yumeko with a grin. She gave Sayuri a last little shove.
"Okay, getting back to the twirl part," said Amane. "We still have to practice-"
"That's easy! Just put your hand back and turn your heels!"
Who told you to interrupt? thought Amane.
"That's cuz you're a pro!" said Yumeko as she gave Asuka a joking shove.
"You're really good at it," agreed Sayuri with a smile.
"I know," replied Asuka.
"Well, we haven't gotten the hang of it yet, so you can move on to memorize the next part of the dance," said Amane cheerfully. "And then you can help us out once you've memorized it."
The four girls sat on the seats with towels on their necks.
"I'm so tired," said Yumeko, leaning onto Sayuri.
"Well, so am I!" said Sayuri as she playfully shoved Yumeko's head away.
"I'll go out to get a drink," said Amane. While Asuka gave her a brief nod, the other two didn't seem to notice. Amane got up, and left the training room.
"Amane-chan!" said Aira cheerfully as she saw Amane walking down the corridor. "How's practice going?"
"O-Okay I suppose!" said Amane as she tried to smile back.
"Is Asuka-chan doing alright?" asked Aira.
"Yeah, she's fine," said Amane. "But I just don't... see much success..."
"I don't really... see a future with this."
"I just can't feel... the aura. Or radiance. Whatever you call it."
"Is it... Asuka-chan?" asked Aira carefully.
"I.. suppose? I'm not quite sure," said Amane hesitantly. "I just don't see any aura in her. It was different from when I met Yumeko and Sayuri."
"There must be something missing then," said Aira. "And I guess that to help her, you have to find out what it is."
"Yeah..." said Amane, looking down.
"Amane-chan.. is there anything wrong?" asked Aira.
"No, I'm fine! Just thinking," she said cheerfully.
Amane was taking the train back home after the chaotic practice. Staring at her feet, she thought...
I have to help Asuka do this. Right? Because I'm her friend.
But at the same time.... I don't want to. Prism Shows belong to me. And I don't want to have to share....
Oh gosh, why am I so selfish?! Prism Stars aren't supposed to be like that.
But remember what happened? 3 years ago?
A vision of her younger self came into her mind. A tall, skinny 11 year old, wearing glasses and a ponytail. Sitting in the playground, alone, as she watched all the other kids play around happily...
Amane put her face in her hands. No, I can't go back to there. I need to forget what happened, and just move on.
But... what should I do?...
Asuka was walking home on her own.
How can I do a Prism Jump? I just don't know how.
I don't know how to do anything. It's always been Amane who's the smart one. She's always been ahead of me.
Asuka sighed, and stared up into the evening sky. Amane always loved Prism Shows. But what about me?... Did I truly love them too? Or was I simply trying to be like her?
Asuka looked up, and then saw a girl standing in front of her. A girl with dark purple wavy hair, wearing a pink T-Shirt and hairtie. And a fierce expression.
"M-Mia-sama! It's such a great honor to see you here, Mia-sama! You're so cool-"
"Eh?..." Asuka stared back at her, dumbfounded.
"You really think you have the right to speak to me, a girl like you?"
"Do you even know why you can't jump?"
"I... no. I don't get it at all. I'm better at dancing, skating, than all of them. But then why-"
"That's the problem with you. You think you're better than them. So you don't try. You don't try to improve. You just stay stuck there. I really.... can't stand people like you! People like you... don't have any right to enter our agency!" Mia ended her sentence angrily, and pointed a finger at Asuka.
"Ah- M-Mia-san..." mumbled Asuka, with tears gathering in her eyes.
"You're useless! Amane doesn't deserve to be stuck with someone like you!" With that, Mia ran down the alleyway and disappeared.
Asuka dropped her bag onto the ground, and stared at her feet, her tears finally falling.
I'm just... I shouldn't have even tried..
"I'm back!" called Amane as she entered the house.
There was no answer, but the sound of her brother clicking away at his mouse.
"Probably playing minecraft again," mumbled Amane with a smile. "And this means mom isn't home."
"Hey!" yelled Amane. "Mom isn't home, right?"
"Yeah. She's gone to visit grandfather's place again, and then she's going for some family reunion dinner with dad," mumbled Akio absent mindedly.
"So she isn't going to be home till late?!" asked Amane excitedly.
"Yeah. She even left dinner for us," answered her brother. Then he quickly put his earplugs back in and continued gaming. "Aw, crap! I died."
"So many gamers these days," said Amane. She grinned and headed back into her room.
"UGH! Today's been exhausting," groaned Amane to herself as she flopped back down onto her bed. "But I'm glad too. These days won't last forever. Soon, mom'll start coming home regularly again, and she'll imprison us once more. Then I won't be able to do Prism Shows any more..." Amane sighed in frustration. "She always stops me from doing what I want..."
"If that happens, then my friends will continue on without me. And that's so unfair. After all, I'm the one who loves Prism Shows the most...." Amane quickly stopped that thought. "What am I even saying? Of course I want my friends to continue on, and progress on... whether I'm there or not. But I'm just... I'm just so jealous."
Amane sighed. "Prism Shows were what saved me. I don't think I can just quit like this..."
"I don't know what I should do..."
Just as Amane was finishing off her math homework, she picked up her phone, and saw a message.
"Huh? A message? But nobody really contacts me... darn, is it mom nagging on about my homework again?" Amane grumbled as she typed in her password.
"Asuka? Why has she sent me a message so suddenly?" Amane quickly clicked on the message.
I'm going to quit Prism Shows.
"Huh?...... Asuka-chan... wants to.... quit?"
Why? typed Amane.
Within a minute, Amane got a response.
Because I'm so bad at it.
"Ehh?...." Amane stared down at her phone, unsure of what to do.
"Kore tte fantajii? Anata to no randebuu
Jiri jiri atsui shisen tomadou
Atama kura kura kura kura...." Music started coming out of Amane's laptop.
"Oh, I must have forgotten to switch my iTunes off... huh? Shuwa shuwa baby?..."
Memories started coming back to her.
"Asuka, what's your favourite Prism Show song?" asked Amane.
"Eh?! I don't really know!"
"Come on, you must have a favourite!"
"I don't know the names of them..."
"I'll sing a few for you then. Here we go... "Yeah! So sweet, so sweet, so cool, so cool..."
"Oh! That song!"
The two girls started singing in unison. "Shuwa shuwa shuwa baby!" They both laughed.
"We were so happy back then," mumbled Amane, a smile forming onto her face. "We always talked about Prism Shows. I never forgot the smile on her face when we started singing."
"Asuka is my friend. And I think I have to help her this time..." Amane started typing away on her phone.
"I sucked when I first started. I couldn't dance or skate properly, unlike you. But on stage, to do a Prism Jump - You need to let your heart go free. Then your aura will come out. Through practice, your aura can get stronger."
Amane smiled at her phone, pleased with what she'd done.
"Let my heart go free? What does that mean?" said Asuka as soon as she saw the message.
? typed Asuka. But there was no answer from Amane.
"Ugh, she isn't responding."
"I still have no idea what she meant..." Asuka lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling. "How do I get an aura? What am I even meant to do?"
The next morning, at school.
"Amane..." mumbled Yumeko as she walked over. "I'm so tired. I didn't sleep last night..."
"E-Eh?" replied Amane with an exasperated laugh on her face. "Why?"
"I was going to the mall with Sayuri and Aiko, then I got home at like 10:00. Then I gamed and skyped the whole night.... ughhh I'm tired," groaned Yumeko, flopping down on Amane's desk.
"Of course..." said Amane with a grin. "Did you even do your english homework?"
"Oh, CRAP! WE HAD HOMEWORK?!" yelled Yumeko.
"Oh no," said Amane, stiffling a laugh. "Need help with yours?"
"YES! DEFINITELY! I'M COUNTING ON YOU, SENPAI!" said Yumeko as she slapped her friend on the back.
"Yeah, you're my senpai! Seeing as you always do your homework and you always get A+ in everything....."
"Not always," replied Amane.
Just then, the swishing of golden hair caught Amane's eye. "Asuka?"
"What did you mean last night?" asked Asuka.
"Oh, you mean... that message I sent?" asked Amane cautiously.
"What message?" asked Yumeko.
"I told her last night.... that to do a Prism Jump, you need to let your heart go free and get an aura..." explained Amane.
"Get an aura? Hmmm..." Yumeko thought for a few seconds. "I suppose that it means.... to shine."
"But how?" asked Asuka. She looked at her feet. "I tried and tried yesterday, and I still don't understand.""
"I suppose that 'get an aura' means different things to different people," added a voice.
The three girls whipped their heads around in surprise.
"Whoa, what are you trying to do?! Be a stalker or something?" asked Yumeko.
Sayuri answered with a smile. "Yeah! I'm a stalkerrrrr."
"Sayuri, so you think 'getting an aura' means different things to different people?..." asked Amane hastily to change the subject back.
"Well, yeah. Everyone is different, so...."
Amane thought for a few moments, fighting that little voice inside her....
I don't know what to do.
Yes, you DO know. You're just too selfish to take the first step.
Remember what happened? 3 years ago?
If you are just going to leave someone like this, you wouldn't be any different from her.
Amane opened her eyes with a gasp.
"Amane, are you okay?" asked Yumeko.
"I'm fine," said Amane hastily, quickly pulling a smile. "Asuka... I think I've found your answer."
To be continued