The source of the gossip was the roommate of Bright.
“Can’t believe that bastard is defending someone like that!” His roommate screams in public, his face is red and his neck is bulging. Despite being so furious, he was actually obeying Bright and not using that insulting form of address.
“Who pissed you off?” His companion asks.
“Who could it be?! It’s that sexually inept dude in my dormitory!”
His companion is speechless, “what are you so angry about?” Keep making a ruckus, and I’ll kill you at the round of 100.
His momentum breaks for a moment, “I… I just can’t stand them trash joining together, it’s fucking disgusting!”
“Oh——” The spectators came across some good scoop.
Bright is now enjoying the fruit of his treating his roommate with hostility.
Due to the gossip, Billy, that short-haired ginger teenager did not go to the training room as promised. Bright looks a bit resigned, but then turns his thinking around, it’s better to stealthily return the favour than acting friendly out in the open. It’s better for the both of them. He met Billy afterwards, and he’s spending time with number 56, looking fine enough, and so he’s no longer worried.
Not soon afterwards, he no longer has the time to worry about others, when the show assigned agents to the top 100 contestants.
The one in charge of him is a short lady dressed in Gothic, aged 25-30, in a smokey makeup with thick mascara. Her lips and fingernails are all black.
“I’m Ococo, your agent. You can call me Oco or Coco.” She introduces herself formulaically. Then she throws a few inspiring statements at Bright.
“If you want to be the Champion, you need a Backer.”
“Forget who you are, what dreams you had; you’re a property of the show now.”
“Only commercial property that obeys has value.”
Ococo is afraid. She is always afraid, but she has learned to mask that fear, with thick makeup, bizarre clothing, and if all else fails, a shot, then no one will tell.
She’s always been told she’s a scaredy-cat since she was little. Who can she blame? Maybe society. You can blame everything on society. That Dad was sacked and gave up his life was society’s fault, that a sugar daddy took Mum was society’s fault. That her brother died in Season Three was society’s fault.
As the drugs made her relax it also made her hard to concentrate. She blinks, clearly adapted to this half-fused sensation of reality and hallucination.
Since the first season of the reality show, she has worked for it. She has a lot of experience. Experience enough for her to deal with the show’s atrocious criminals, murderers, psychos——oh, did this make it sound as if there’s no more such people outside the show?
In any case, she’s a workplace woman who’s seen her fair share of the world. She could definitely deal with number 199 fine. She tells herself that repeatedly.
She now feels as if the person she is facing is not the same one as listed in the data. The moment she finished speaking, there’s suddenly a strong emotion emanating from his expression. Do forgive her being unable to discern what kind of emotion it is as her consciousness is hazy, but she feels as if in the wall of the storm, or in the embrace of a tiger, about to rip her into pieces.
Silence envelops the two. When Ococo thinks he wouldn’t respond, the man speaks.
“I’ll consider it.”
Consider what? Finding a backer? Forgetting yourself? Or obeying quietly?
But, that’s the correct thing to do. It should be so.
She thinks so in her stupor.
“Thanks what?” Ococo is a bit surprised.
“Telling me the bare truth honestly.”
“This is what I have to do.” And all that I am able to do.
“Then, please take care of me from now on.”
What Ococo has said has left Bright with no choice but to confront his fate.
He recalls diligently what he can and rethinks them over and over again, chiselling them in his brain.
The life story written in the novel goes thus.
There was an Outsider called Bright. He participated in the Killing Gauntlet Reality Show, fighting for the championship to become a free man. He successfully defeated everyone, becoming the shiniest star this season. Though he did not acquire the right to live freely; even the champion was property of the show.
He later met the antagonist of the story, a certain aristocrat from the Inner City, who saw him as an interesting toy, and tried to tame him. This is of course resisted by Bright, and yet the resistance was futile, and it only made the game more exciting, bringing more pleasure to the aristocrat.
Unsurprisingly, Bright utterly lost, becoming a tool. The City is technologically advanced, so the aristocrat maintained Bright’s state at his most youthful when modifying his body. The side effect was that Bright’s life expectancy was halved, which nobody cared because they would not stay interested in a toy for that long.
If we consider the timeline, then it’s currently the seventh season. The protagonist Bottom appeared at the twenty-fifth season. Every year is one season. It’s 18 years from now. That protagonist has probably only just learned to speak. Will he be waiting for his salvation while enduring his inhuman torture?
He can’t be sure of many details in the novel, but he is sure of one thing.
The antagonist is nicknamed ‘Gentleman’ Pervert——He remembered it so clearly if only because the name was so reflective of the person.
Bright isn’t so naïve as to think he just has to diligently avoid the antagonist. As the world’s setting, such as it is, is like that, there’s tens, hundreds, thousands more gentlemen waiting in line once he dodges that one. This City gobbles people up hierarchically. The Citadel devours the Inner City, while the Inner City devours the Outer City, and the Outer City devours the Outside. He’s at the bottom of the food chain, and anyone can manipulate his fate.
If it’s going to be like that, he might as well go actively hang onto a thick thigh.
Yes, he is seriously considering the advice of ‘find a Backer’ offered by the agent.
His heroism is literally just skin deep. In his soul he’s an everyday mortal that can accept living in ignobility; a mortal that fears, that winces, that flees. Anything is fine as long as he doesn’t become that sensitive fleshlight still capable of shame and embarrassment.
Of course, this is all stuff after he becomes the Champion. Now his worries lie with getting into top 50.
First a short-term goal – to live on.
Not long after the second episode is finished shooting, the first episode has aired.
Bright only has two scenes. After all he coiled up in a tree almost the whole way through, without much to see. That his face got screen time was thanks to the Beauty and the Beast that happened to be having sex under his neighbouring tree. As he was forced to spectate as a background of this CP, it emphasised the passion of their emotion and ecstacy.
In a sea of comments one-sidedly adoring the appearance of the Beauty and clamouring about wanting to fuck him is several that comments on Bright.
“Hahaha, his face snapped me out of it in just a second!”
“I think Beauty fits with his appearance more. Will there be a 3P later?”
Ococo analyses each and every audience comments for Bright.
“It’s better than I thought. Your specs are good, and the audience reception is largely positive.”
Bright is suspicious of that, and his sight lands on a few of the comments, “hypocrite! I want to fuck his ass!”, “I hope the beasts fuck him to tears before tearing him apart”…
“For a newcomer it’s already a blessing to have any kind of attention. You have to at least become somewhat familiar in the first few episodes. Popularity is very important in deciding whether you can advance in the latter stages,” Ococo finishes explaining, before switching her tone, “though I don’t recommend you interacting with that CP further. The audience will develop a stereotypical first impression of you.”
“I agree on this point.” He isn’t willing anyway.
“You have to think about what characteristics you have that makes the audience remember you. Something like the nicknames the contestants give you.”
“… Any hobbies?”
“Does loving nutrient mixture count?”
“…” Ococo is thinking, sure is hard to be an agent for the star this season.
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