The Melancholy of Sougo Tokiwa - Part 4 - The End of the SOS Brigade?

Geiz walks into the club room. It had been a quiet uneventful day where Sougo hadn't said anything too weird in class. He notices Tsukuyomi sitting by the window, reading, as one would expect.

After Geiz seats himself, Oha, wearing a cosplay maid outfit and glasses, serves him tea.

"Thank you." Giez does not comment on Oha's outfit, not wanting to embarrass her.

"You're welcome, master."

Geiz sees Sougo quietly reading a manga. "Studying for today's battle?"

Sougo doesn't even look up. "Today, for sure, I will surpass you."

Geiz shrugs. "If you buy my lunch for me I will be happy to let you win."

Woz-sensei looks shocked. "Giez-kun. How is Sougo going to be a good demon king if you allow him to take short cuts?"

"Wouldn't that be teaching him pragmatism and cooperating with others?"

"What would those two things have to do with being a demon king?"

"Whatever."

Woz-sensei looks sad and distracted.

"Woz-sensei, is there anything wrong? Usually, you're happy and rejoicing, no matter what is going on." Geiz pantomimes Woz-sensei making a proclamation.

"Well, I didn't want to burden you, but it is written in my book that the club will face a crisis today and could cease to exist."

"That would not be a burden to me."

"Even so, I will be counting on your help to avert this crisis."

"And, if I don't, you'll have me kicked out of school for being psychologically unfit?"

"Let's not say unnecessary things. Besides," Woz-sensei looks at the clock, "The crisis starts now."

The door opens without a knock. A tall boy with a pink box shaped camera around his neck enters. "Ooooh? So this is the SOS brigade?"

Geiz raises an eyebrow. "Who are you?"

"What? You have never heard of Kadoya Tsukasa, the one they call the destroyer of clubs?"

"No."

"But, you're in a club."

"Against my will. Up until a couple of weeks ago I was in the go home club."

Tsukasa looks at Woz-sensai suspiciously. "Woz-sensei, are you using you position as school counselor to force this boy to join your club?"

Woz-sensei looks down in shame. "Yes."

"That's amazing!" Geiz looks at Tsukasa in wonder.

Woz-sensei pouts. "Some say that Tsukasa has ESP."

"So, why do people call you the destroyer of clubs?"

Tsukasa smiles with pride. "I am president of the newspaper club. I personally investigate all of the clubs at school to see if they are living up to their charter. You would be surprised at how many clubs are just excuses for people to hang out and use school resources, rather than having a goal."

"Well, that's this one, for sure."

Woz-sensei shoots daggers from his eyes at Geiz. "I thought I could count on you!"

"Well then, my job is done." Tsukasa turns to leave.

"Wait!"

Tsukasa turns around to look at Sougo. "Ehhh?"

"This club does have a goal. It's to help me become demon king."

Tsukasa pulls up a chair and sits down. "Well, the rules on the charters of clubs make no distinctions on the goals being sensible. However, there are details that I need to verify."

"Go ahead."

"Is everyone in the club trying to be demon king?"

"No, just me."

Tsukasa shakes his head. "Wrong answer. For this club's charter to be valid then everyone in the club should have a the same chance to be demon king, regardless of age or gender."

Oha serves Tsukasa tea.

Geiz rolls his eyes. "What if we don't want to be demon king?"

"It doesn't matter if you or the other members plan on turning down the title. What matters is that all of you have the same chance."

Woz-sensei stands up. "Rejoice, for on this day my dear demon king is faced with a new threat to his goal: he must now stop losing to Geiz."

Geiz covers his face with his hand in embarrassment.

"Losing? Is there a series of competitions to obtain this goal?"

Unexpectedly, Tuskuyomi stands up. "The club works in close association with the computer hackers club. We hold competitions in a game that they have created."

"So you are beta-testers?" Tsukasa opens a notebook and takes notes.

"That is not needed. Schwartz-sensei's work seems very solid."

"Oh? Oha-kun's uncle?"

Oha curtsies. "Yes, master."

"Tsukuyomi, do you and Oha participate?"

"No, it would be too easy for us."

Sougo face plants. "Hey, you're making me look bad."

"Well then, I would like to see this competition."

Woz-sensei nods. "Meet us on the roof at five."

Tsukasa drinks his tea. "I will be there."

...

The members of the SOS brigade and Tsukasa assemble on the roof. Oha has changed back into her powder blue outfit.

"So, what goes on?"

Tsukuyomi waves her arm. "This whole area becomes a virtual reality battle field. The participants fight against enemies called Another Manga, who usually have powers that are similar to a character in the manga that they are based on."

"How do you tell what manga they are based on?"

"One clue is that the year of the manga is printed on their forehead. If you need weapons in the fight then all you have to do is wish for them and they will appear."

"Okay. I think I get the gist of this. Will you and Oha participate this time?"

"It is a waste of time, but we will."

"What about Woz-sensei?"

"He is not a member, he is a faculty adviser."

"I see you read up on the club standards manual."

"Of course. It is starting now. We will not be able to see each other."

Geiz nods, happy that he did not have to explain things to Tsukasa.

The roof fades. Geiz finds himself in a dark alley. The heavy fog that surrounds him lifts slightly for him to see a man who still looks like a young boy holding a crossbow. The boy has 1997 printed on his forehead. Geiz looks around and realizes that the alley is a dead end. "So, you have finally caught me."

The boy nods. "It's time for me to deny you, a dark beast, of your tomorrows."

"Wait, Tsukiyono Omi, before you kill me there is something you should know."

"You know my name?"

"It's a long story. I wasn't meant for a life of crime. But I was kidnapped when I was eleven. My father refused to pay the ransom so I was sold to crime boss."

Omi looks visibly shaken.

"Looking back, I wish they had killed me. A boy who is abandoned by his father is without hope, right?"

Omi falls to his knees. His face turns into a blue computer screen, then his body turns into a giant letter "O".

Geiz wanders around and sees Sougo fighting another version of the same Another Manga. Sougo keeps trying to shoot Omi with a gun, but Omi is able to use objects in the alley as shields.

Omi turns into a giant "X" and disappears.

"Why?" Sougo punches the ground of the roof.

Everyone comes back into view.

Giez smirks. "How did everyone do?"

Tsukuyomi pulls out an odd looking tablet from under her tunic. "I can show play back on this. First, Tsukasa-kun."

Geiz looks on as the tablet replays the events.

Tsukasa is confronted by Omi. "Oh? A member of Weiss has come for me?"

"You're not getting away." Omi shoots an arrow but Tsukasa effortlessly dodges it.

Tsukasa holds up something that looks like a playing card, but is hard to make out in the play back. "Clock up."

Instantly, Tsukasa has all of Omi's arrows.

The playback stops.

"Now for Oha."

Oha is confronted by Omi in the alley.

"It's game over for you."

Oha waves her hand and stops all movement for Omi. She casually walks over to Omi and cuts the string on Omi's bow, and then casually walks back.

Omi tries to fire an arrow but is mystified when the crossbow does not work.

The playback stops.

And, now for me.

Tsukuyomi is confronted by Omi in the alley.

"It's game over for you."

Tsukuyomi mouths some unspoken words. "Go ahead."

Omi shoots Tsukuyomi with his crossbow. The arrow hits Tsukuyomi on the forehead, but the arrow is now a toy arrow with a rubber suction cup.

"What?" Omi falls to his knees in despair.

The playback stops.

Tsukasa smiles. "Well, that was fun. I have decided that I will join this club, just to make sure that it continues to be on the up and up."

"Rejoice! For my dear demon king now has four rivals to learn from."

Tsukasa rolls his eyes. "Is Woz-sensei always like that?"

Geiz nods.

Sougo smiles. "Welcome aboard Tsukasa. Can Woz-sensei take a picture of us with your pink camera?"

"It's magenta. Ma-gen-ta!"

To Be Continued!