“We have bought all your debt… Even your verbal promises. We will shoulder everything. You will not be targeted or pressed by debt collectors, and you will be able to walk around freely.”
Three people sat in a small room composed of walls and a thin divider.
A man dressed in black spoke with a plain and monotone voice, but to the man in front of him, what he was saying was extraordinary. His enormous debt would be wiped.
The man dressed in black stopped for a moment, before facing the man in front of him once again.
The latter seemed hurt, and his arm was bandaged, but his sad and frustrated expression stood out more.
“Your relation to our agency’s idol ends here. You must never see her again, and not talk to her even if you happen to bump into her accidentally. Also, you must never say anything about her to another person, no matter how trivial you think it is. If you do…”
The injured man shook with fear.
“We will immediately seek reimbursement for your debt, and leave the collection to specialists, of course. We will also seek the appropriate reparations if your actions have negative effects on her career as an idol. Do you understand what all of this means for your life?”
The injured man did not try to meet the gaze of the man dressed in black.
He awkwardly turned in his seat, and looked at the third person in the room with a pitiful expression.
“B-belle, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for anything bad to happen so…”
“Stop it Donny.”
But the third person, Belle, shook her head.
“I am Agate, not your Belle. That is what I’m going to be from now on, so forget about the past.”
The injured man, Donny dejectedly lowered his head.
Some feelings of pity started welling up inside of Belle’s heart. She did like him at some point, and she supported him from the bottom of her heart.
It pained her to see how far he had fallen.
That day when the mysterious monster attacked the casino and Donny abandoned her, whatever they had between them was lost.
She was ready to die when she was faced with that mysterious monster, but miraculously survived.
Being saved and meeting that person was nothing short of a blessing from god.
She was so elated after leaving the casino, that she carelessly told everything to her producer, including her relationship with Donny, which she kept a secret.
The producer, the man in black, was concerned. Agate being saved by the mysterious sorcerer truly was an epic tale and wonderful good luck, but he was more focused on the bad than the good. Agate not only had a boyfriend, but one whose behavior was shameful. To Belle, who was going to be even more active from then on, he was nothing more than a hindrance, a cancer that had to be removed. The producer proposed that they should break up as soon as possible, and he would even pay for him to go if necessary.
If this incident did not happen, Belle would have been very troubled by her producer’s proposal. Could she really cut ties with her boyfriend for the sake of her career? But now, it was something that was necessary for her to be able to move on. She had no intention of continuing their relationship the way it was, and wanted to settle things. If anything, she felt bad about her producer giving her his full support in this manner.
“Donny… I wanted to stay with you and help you, but I can’t anymore. Do your best without me, I won’t ask you to cheer me on anymore.”
Said Belle, as she looked directly at Donny, who upon listening to her resolute tone, said nothing more and silently signed the document that the man in black handed him.
It was a contract that consolidated the man in black’s proposal.
This freed Donny from the debt he had accumulated via gambling, and forced him to stay quiet about Belle’s real identity.
From that day forward, they would both move on with their lives, separately.
Donny said as he left the room, so quietly that he did not know if anyone heard it. Belle silently nodded.
Belle let out a sigh of relief after Donny left the office.
She was relieved that the problem she had ignored for so long had come to an end, but there was also a touch of sadness.
Still, this was not the end, it was in fact a new beginning.
“I am so sorry for the trouble I caused you.”
“I do not mind as long as you pay me back with your work.”
The producer remained composed, even as Belle apologized. He was probably upset, but did not show it.
It was all for the sake of Belle’s, or rather, Agate’s activities as an idol, and Belle decided she there was something she had to do.
“So about the next job…”
Said the producer, but was interrupted by Belle.
“Producer, I want to make a new song.”
“I’m thinking about writing the lyrics too. No, please let me write them.”
Up until that point, Belle had been proactive when it came to training and business activities, but more passive when it came to fundamentals like the course of her activities as an idol, or what songs she sang. It could be said that she was focused only on overcoming the hurdles right in front of her, and not carving out her own image as an idol.
Up until this point.
“Have you decided what you want to sing?”
Songs that idols sang had a theme.
The original troubadours did not sing just for the sake of it. They would travel to various countries and sing about the beautiful scenery they would see in their travels, and talk about the preciousness of love. People would hear their songs and picture the sights they sang about, allowing them to picture places that they would never see and people they would never meet.
They were not just proud of their voices, spreading beauty through their songs was an important job.
But just as important as this, was the choice of theme.
“Yes, I’ve decided.”
Belle nodded strongly.
After this, Belle canceled her planned live events and suspended her activities as an idol.
She spent the next month training to be a songwriter, and her days struggling to be a creator were beginning, as was her path to becoming a true idol.