Chapter 2:



"What?" "’Died on the field’? Is he some type of soldier now?" "I don't understand mom, you told me he was something like a talent-spotter."

"T-That's true but it doesn't mean he isn't involved with dangerous things."

Masuyo calmed his mother down and then mused at her for a moment, deciding to go to the kitchen and prepare some tea for her. "Here." he extended the cup.

"T-thanks" she accepted the tea with a still faltering low voice.

"Are you feeling a bit better?"

The mother looked up to her son, her eyes seemed about to let out tears, but she nodded: "Yes..."

The woman started to explain what happened: she received a call from the A.M.A. telling her about her brother's disappearance, and that he was most likely dead.

"Aren't those guys being a bit hasty saying that he died?"

"He wasn't joking around, the man on the phone told me they have a way of knowing it."

"What else did he say?" Masuyo raised an eyebrow.

His mother hesitated for a moment. "He said... ‘if you want more details, you should send Masuyo to the address you have’."

"So that's it, I'll go there to prove he's talking bullshit."

"Hey, don't be so reckless about this!"

"How come?"

"I don't know for sure what happened but judging from how your uncle was acting last week, it can't be something good."

Masuyo stared at the floor, "You're right..." then abruptly raised his head: "And that's why I have to look into this."  his fists were now clenched, "I'm sure he's not dead... but something bad can be happening and I have to help him."

"I see." Mrs. Hirano gently hugged him, "But take some days to think better about it... I have a feeling that if you go there, you won't come back so soon."

"Okay." the boy murmured while gladly accepting the embrace.

No matter how he looked at it, Masuyo had to go to that address, it was only natural wanting to deny the surreal statement as soon as possible. "There's no way he's dead." 

The next day his resolve didn’t change, and neither did it change on the following day when he was already fed up with the waiting.

“That’s it, I’m going there tomorrow.” he thought to himself while leaving his classroom.

"Bam." Masuyo bumped into another student, "What...?" he shook his head and looked at the boy in front of him: Genki Kaneko from class 2-A. He had slightly below average height and a pretty cute face complimented by his short ponytail, making him be often picked on for looking too feminine.

“Oh, I’m sorry for this M-Masuyo.” Genki apologized, bowing.

“You don’t have to apologize. I was the one spacing out.”

They stared at each other for a moment and a weird silence formed between them, "It looks like he wants to say something, but if he doesn't say it, I'll get going." “Well, bye then.” Masuyo resumed his walk.

“W-wait just a moment!” 

The older of the two boys stopped once again. “What?” he turned to Genki.

“Hmm...” Genki hesitated. “I-I’m sorry for your uncle... I know that he was important to you...”

“What? How did you…?”

“Your mother told mine… I’m sorry for prying!”

“So, she had no qualms telling one of her friends, huh?” Masuyo sighed, “I see.”


“You don’t have to worry about that. Genki, my uncle is fine so we’ll be fine.”

“Yes! I’m sure you'll see him soon enough Senpai!”

Masuyo cracked a small smile “’Senpai’, huh? You're calling me that again?” “Okay, bye Genki, stay healthy.” he waved at the boy and headed to the stairs.

Genki gave him a thumbs up and smiled saying: “Don’t worry about it, I’m the right man for this!”

On his way home, he thought about the boy who had just talked to him. In Masuyo’s eyes, Genki Kaneko was just the son of his mother’s friend and, because of it, they ended up talking sometimes. “I don't know if I could call him my friend. I’d say we have a standard relationship for our ranks.” 

It was true that they called each other by their first names but it was because Masuyo didn’t really care about being called by it, and Genki insisted that Masuyo did the same to him. It happened when Masuyo was in his second year, and Genki, in his first, the boy was getting mocked because of his appearance until Masuyo scared off the clowns.

“Are you alright, Kaneko?”

“Yeah!” the boy hesitated for a moment, “But actually no!”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“I want you to call me by my first name, Masuyo-Senpai!”

“I'm not following you, why did you come up with this all of the sudden?”

“It’s not sudden! I already call you by your first name! It’s only fair you do the same for me, Masuyo-Senpai. We’ve known each other for some time, right? We’re friends, right??!” Genki insisted, getting his face closer to Masuyo’s at every exclamation.

“Well, I don’t mind.” Masuyo turned his face to the side while Genki’s eyes glimmered, “But I have a request as well.”

“What is it Masuyo-Senpai?”

“Stop calling me ‘Senpai’.”

“Huh?” the boy tilted his head, “I should call you Hirano instead?”

“Of course not, it’s just Masuyo. I’m not suited to be called that.”

“Be called what? ‘Senpai’?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“But you are a Senpai, and a good one. You’ve just helped me!”

“Anyone would have done it.” Masuyo passed through the boy and headed to his class.

“You are wrong” Genki looked at his Senpai’s back and said with an almost inaudible voice “Not everyone would’ve done it, Masuyo.”

After remembering that conversation, Masuyo thought to himself: “Genki Kaneko really is a good boy, he deserved more credit.”

Arriving home, Masuyo was firm on his resolve, he told his parents about his decision to go to the A.M.A., and they only sighed in return:

“We imagined you would be like this.” his father spoke.

“I’m heading there tomorrow morning.”

“Okay but be sure to get some rest.” his mother advised.

“Right.” Masuyo headed to his room.

“Wait, come here!” it was his mother again.

“What?” he stopped before the woman.

“You’ll probably not see us tomorrow so…” she held his face and kissed his forehead.

“Don’t forget to call us.” Mr. Hirano stated.

“Hmm…” the boy didn't reply properly, he only accepted their gestures of goodbye.

As expected, the next morning Masuyo got up early. He quickly got ready and left his house while murmuring: “I’ll be back soon enough, father, mother… and I will find him.”

He had called the A.M.A. and informed his decision to go there the previous night. Instead of waiting for the boy to arrive, a weird-looking car was standing by in front of Masuyo's house.

“Are you Hirano-san?” the driver asked.

“Hmm... yeah..." the boy stared at the vehicle, "But just call me Masuyo.”

“Okay, Masuyo-san. Please get in the car and prepare yourself for some speed.” the driver smiled playfully.

Masuyo’s house was already near the outskirts of town, but his destination, the A.M.A. headquarters, was even further from the center. It took them 30 minutes to arrive there, blasting through the landscape of groves, residential buildings, and ocean at super-high speed due to the velocity of the special car, and the adroitness of the driver whose name was:

“Addaneye Varon, but you can call me Adda. Nice to meet you, Masuyo-san” the chauffeur introduced himself after stopping the car.

“Nice to meet you too…” Masuyo's head was a bit fuzzy from the travel.

After getting out of the car, the boy was amazed by the size of the property before him. it was even bigger than his school: having a garden filled with diverse vegetation and different types of buildings. Masuyo was sure he saw a field from there.

“What exactly is this place?” he asked while contemplating the view,

“You will find out soon enough.” Adda smiled as he started to usher the boy to the main building.