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23 Chapter 23 Im Kita Duran

    The moment of truth arrived a few days later. Duran felt he wasn't prepared enough as he packed his Loar guitar for his fight.

    Winning the challenge would come down to his musical experience. If he wasn't good enough, he would fail without mercy with the entire school as witness.

    It didn't help that his thoughts were also filled with Isao's attack. He hoped his senior was recovering well and made a mental note to check on him later in the day.

    'Ready Nii-san?'

    Himeko stepped into his room and made herself comfortable on his bed. At first glance, she seemed relaxed and carefree as always.

    'I guess.'

    He was unable to calm the nervous twitch in his hands, which were further aggravated by his dark thoughts.

    Was it arrogant of him to believe he could make music happen in an institution that denied and discouraged it? If he had won a club what else would he have to fight against? He was certain just having a club wasn't going to be enough to ensure its continual existence. The Otaku Machima Club's disbandment was proof of this. He would have to follow through with a serious purpose for the club's survival.

    'Nii-san. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can do this.' Himeko reassured him with a seriousness unlike her.

    He stared at his sister, accepting her reassurance. Of course, it wasn't just for himself he was fighting for. He had to believe he could pull off the best performance of his life and win his peers over. No point in thinking otherwise.

    'Hai!'

    He grabbed his bag and armed his guitar to his back. They both left his room for school.

    They filed through the school gates at the same time as all the other students. Obvious chatter and glances were fired Duran's way as they made their way to their classroom block. He was relieved that no one had approached him.

    'Duran! Hime-chan!' Aki called out to them from the top of Block-B's entrance. He came bounding down the steps to them.

    'You look ready to rumble eh?' His eyes sized up Duran's guitar.

    They made their way to the footlockers and exchanged their shoes. Duran made light chit-chat with his friends in attempt to distract his roulette of nervous thoughts. It worked for a short-lived moment.

    He soon found his mind wandering back to those dark places as they made their way to their classrooms. His body moved with automaticity through his whole morning routine; his mind and mood occupied with this upcoming responsibility.

    He was oblivious of  his friends' concern and the teasing from other classmates. Especially oblivious of the Student Councils' watchful eyes on him. Before he realized it, he was standing in the school hall with his classmates for morning assembly. His guitar on his back ready and waiting to go.

    'Students. Stand attention!' A teacher called everyone to order as Principal Kimura made his way to the center podium on the stage.

    The podium mic cracked and hissed for a split moment as he pulled it closer toward himself. It drew Duran out of his thoughts and toward the stage.

    His mind fell into a trance by his principal's run-of-the-mill announcements and weekly accolades. He heard Saski's name mentioned with favour on one of the announcements, but everything else escaped him.

    'Kita, Duran! Approach the stage!' There was no warmth to his principal's words.

    The school hall ignited with a buzz of whispers.

    'Silence! Kita, here, now!'

    Duran stepped out of his line and gingerly made his way up the stage. Doing his best to block out the burning stares and glares from the students. His heart pounded feverishly as he approached his principal.

    'Calm down, calm down. You can do this.' Duran muttered in his mind.

    He was doing his best to keep his nerves and racing heart at bay. But he felt dwarfed by the man's authoritative presence. A flurry of dark and horrid thoughts raced through his mind to stir up more nerves.

    'You could fail. You could lose. Give up now and go home. You could be forgiven...'

    Could he be forgiven for failing or for giving up?

    He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

    'You can do this Kita-kun! I know you can,' a boy cried out from the crowd.

    It made the silence thicker than before, but his heart's racing eased a little.

    'Silence! I won't tolerant deviant behaviour. This deviant boy dares to suggest that he can lead a music club in this school! To challenge his cockiness, he will play for you now. All freshman have to submit a ballot vote to your homeroom teacher by the end of the day. Yes, for a music club. No, not for one. Kita-kun's performance being your motivation.'

    Duran swallowed a nervous gulp at the curt glint in his principal's eyes and nasty smirk to his lips.

    'The floor is yours Kita. Don't go beyond three minutes or you will fail.'

    Duran unpacked his Loar and portable amp. He suited up and prepared himself for his performance.

    This was it. There was no going back now. All he could do was play what he knew best to the best of his abilities.

    'This is Miyavi,' he said to the anticipating audience with deep breath.

    The first pluck of the G-string pulled his racing heart together. He soon found his nervous fingers working for him as they raced over the guitar strings; plucking, pulling and banging percussion against the Loar's face.

    His stance became stronger and powerful as the song took over.

    He was calling to his army and leading them into a battle with fierce conviction. No one was left behind or left out. His fingers keep playing out his defiance until the message was clear.

    'I'm Kita Duran. I am not afraid to fight for our music!'

    His battle came to rest after a couple of minutes.

    The assembly erupted into warm whistles, cheers and feverish clapping not even the principal was able to calm down.

    Duran stood still, soaking in the energy.

    'Kita! Back to your place!' Principal Kimura sneered.

    It took him a moment to register the command. When he did, he returned to his place as quickly as he could.

    He was grateful it was over and prayed he was a success.
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