Chapter 9:

Three Overheating Idiots Go Fishing

Why Does Nobody Find Us Attractive?

A scorching summer day had hit, and Juzo, Nikko, and Reina found themselves at a shrine. Reina's head was being messed with from the heat, and she had no idea what they were doing.Bookmark here

"Why are we at a shrine?"Bookmark here

Juzo lifted up his shirt to wipe the sweat off his forehead. Bookmark here

"To try and cool down."Bookmark here

Reina rubbed her temple, trying to get her brain to function properly.Bookmark here

"Shouldn't we go into a building with A/C?"Bookmark here

Juzo gave her a confused glare.Bookmark here

"We literally have spent the last half hour trying to find a place with A/C, but they were all full. Are you alright?"Bookmark here

Reina shook her head.Bookmark here

"Brain melted."Bookmark here

"Understandable."Bookmark here

The group sat down under the covered section of the shrine, the shade giving them a lifeline. But the hot air still beat down on them, and the unrelenting sweating continued. Both Nikko and Juzo had stripped off their shirts, and Reina was barely conscious. Nikko couldn't stand the heat any longer.Bookmark here

"Juzo, I'm dying. I can't… it's too hot."Bookmark here

"I know. There has to be somewhere with cool air, but where?"Bookmark here

Reina mumbled something.Bookmark here

"Ocean… cool…"Bookmark here

An idea popped into Juzo's head.Bookmark here

"That's it, Reina! The ocean breeze might cool us down, and I know a good place to go. It's a fishing spot that I've been to with my family, it's pretty good."Bookmark here

Nikko was delighted with the idea.Bookmark here

"Yes… anywhere but here."Bookmark here

Juzo got up and put his shirt back on.Bookmark here

"Come on, the bus ride will be a bit. Let's not waste too much time." Bookmark here

The two slowly crawled up and trudged after Juzo. A short walk to the bus stop seemed to last hours, as every heavy breath was a struggle. The bus ride was no better: twenty minutes in what felt like an oven. The bus driver did have an air conditioner, but it was so small and weak that it barely helped keep the driver cool. But the conclusion of the torturous ride was salvation: the ocean. The bus brought them to Ku Island, where Juzo was leading the group to a fishing pier on the bay. On the way to the pier, the group stopped at a nearby fishing shop to rent out some equipment. Walking through the doors, the trio were met with paradise: an air conditioned building. The three took a moment to bask in the cool air. Nikko stood in the middle of the store with his arms spread wide open.Bookmark here

"Ahh, finally. My will to live has been restored."Bookmark here

The shop owner standing behind the counter was confused by their bizarre behavior.Bookmark here

"Are you guys here for a reason?"Bookmark here

Juzo snapped out of his daze.Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah, sorry. Can we rent out three rods and get some lures?"Bookmark here

"Alright, let me go get the stuff."Bookmark here

The shopkeeper walked into the back room for a couple minutes, emerging back with three fishing rods. After handing them to Juzo, the shopkeeper led him to the fishing lure section. Juzo picked out a few lures and went back to the counter to pay. Bookmark here

"Hey dumbasses, come pay for your stuff."Bookmark here

Both Nikko and Reina stared blankly at Juzo.Bookmark here

"Ehh?"Bookmark here

Juzo glared at them.Bookmark here

"What, you thought that I would pay for you? I'm not your dad."Bookmark here

Nikko and Reina trudged up to the counter and hesitantly pulled out their money and paid for the equipment. With everything ready, they made their way to the pier. It wasn't too busy, as about a half dozen other people were fishing. The trio set themselves up at an open spot near one of the corners. Juzo and Nikko didn't waste any time to start throwing out their lines, but Reina's attention was elsewhere. Bookmark here

"Hey, I'm going to look around the area for a bit."Bookmark here

Juzo waved her away.Bookmark here

"Whatever, just don't distract me."Bookmark here

"Okay, I'll be back in a few minutes."Bookmark here

As Reina walked away, Juzo leaned over to Nikko.Bookmark here

"She already paid for all the equipment, why is she leaving?"Bookmark here

"Dunno. Maybe she's seasick."Bookmark here

"You idiot. Seasickness happens when you're on a boat, near the sea."Bookmark here

"Well, I've never been on a boat, so how would I know?"Bookmark here

"Just shut up. Your stupidity will scare the fish away."Bookmark here

The two continued their fishing peacefully, but Reina was on a mission. While walking off the pier to a nearby convenience store, she scoped out the other fishermen. Most were older men, but one was a boy around her age sitting on the opposite corner to Nikko and Juzo. He had a kind-looking face and was in decent shape, and that caught Reina’s attention. To avoid suspicions, Reina continued to the convenience store and picked up some drinks. On the way back, she decided to take her shot.Bookmark here

"Hello."Bookmark here

The boy turned around and seemed happy that she was talking to him.Bookmark here

"Oh, hi. Do you need something?"Bookmark here

Reina held out a drink to him.Bookmark here

"Well, it's a hot day today. I wanted to make sure you stay hydrated."Bookmark here

The boy was taken aback.Bookmark here

"You mean that's for me?"Bookmark here

Reina nodded. The boy gladly accepted the drink.Bookmark here

"Thank you so much! You're a very nice person. Are you here fishing too?" Bookmark here

Reina tried to make a cute face and act vulnerable.Bookmark here

"Actually, it's my first time trying to fish, so I don't really know what to do. Do you think you can help teach me?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, of course! Just bring your stuff over here and… oh my god!"Bookmark here

Right behind Reina, things began to become hectic. Nikko had finally gotten a bite, but whatever was on his line was causing a lot of trouble. Nikko had gotten to his feet to fight back against the fish, but nearly lost his footing. Juzo caught him and helped hold him down as Nikko desperately tried to reel the fish in, but still the fish refused to give in. Juzo came up with a plan.Bookmark here

"Hold the bastard steady!"Bookmark here

Suddenly, Juzo dove into the water. Both Reina and the boy ran over to see where Juzo jumped. When they peered over, they were met with a scene of Juzo trying to wrestle a large fish in the water. After some struggling, Juzo had wrapped himself around the fish, preventing it from swimming away. Seeing that Juzo had a hold of the fish, Reina reported to Nikko.Bookmark here

"He's got the fish! Reel it in, Nikko!"Bookmark here

Bracing himself, Nikko began reeling in his line, using every ounce of strength just to keep a stable posture. He was struggling, and Reina noticed that Juzo was still wrapped around the fish.Bookmark here

"Juzo! Let go!"Bookmark here

Juzo complied, and let go. The moment he did, the fish tried to dart off, but a mighty pull from Nikko ripped it back. Nikko hastily tried to reel it in, and soon the fish broke out from the water. Nikko hauled his prize onto the pier to inspect the challenger who fought so ferociously. The fish was a sea bass that was about a meter in length. Nikko marveled at the specimen.Bookmark here

"Wow, you're one strong son of a bitch."Bookmark here

As Nikko admired his fish, Reina checked on Juzo, who had swum towards the ledge of the pier. The pier was over nearly two meters above the water level, so Juzo couldn't get back up.Bookmark here

"Can someone help me?"Bookmark here

"You're too far. I'll look for something to pull you up with."Bookmark here

Reina quickly looked around, but didn't see anything that could be used. She decided to ask the boy for help, who was inspecting Nikko's fish.Bookmark here

"Do you have anything we can pull Juzo back onto the pier with?"Bookmark here

"Something thing to pull someone up with? Oh, I have a rope in my bag, I'll go get it!" Bookmark here

The boy quickly ran over to his bag and pulled out a rope. He tied one end to a post and threw the other end over the ledge. Juzo climbed the rope back onto the pier, and was met with an ecstatic Nikko.Bookmark here

"Juzo, get over here! Look at this guy!"Bookmark here

Juzo scrambled to his feet and checked out the fish.Bookmark here

"Huh, it's impressive that this guy was kicking your ass."Bookmark here

Nikko lightly punched Juzo.Bookmark here

"Yeah, whatever. Thanks for helping. Hey, Reina, can you get a picture of us and the fish?" Bookmark here

Reina took out her phone while the boys posed with their bass. Reina gave them a thumbs up after the picture was taken, and Juzo took a moment to talk to the fish, placing his hand on its flopping body.Bookmark here

"You were a worthy opponent, my friend. May you live a long, healthy life."Bookmark here

Nikko helped Juzo pick it up, muttering a final message as well.Bookmark here

"Goodbye."Bookmark here

The two threw the fish over the ledge back into the water, much to Reina's surprise.Bookmark here

"Hey, what are you doing!?"Bookmark here

Nikko looked perplexingly at her.Bookmark here

"What are you talking about? We're not planning on eating any of our catches, so we release them. What did you think we were gonna do with the fish?"Bookmark here

"I don't know."Bookmark here

Their conversation was interrupted by the boy standing nearby.Bookmark here

"Holy crap, that was so cool! Diving into the water and wrestling the fish, that was badass! And I've rarely seen anyone wrangle in a fish of that size here! Who are you guys?" Bookmark here

Juzo stuck his hand out first, to which the boy elatedly shook. Bookmark here

"I'm Juzo Kawahara."Bookmark here

Nikko followed his lead.Bookmark here

"And I'm Nikko Murano. You can call me the Fish God, if you want."Bookmark here

The boy was overjoyed to meet them.Bookmark here

"My name is Toshiharu Ichioka. Can you guys teach me your skills?"Bookmark here

Nikko slapped Toshiharu's shoulder.Bookmark here

"Of course! I'll teach you everything I know!"Bookmark here

"Thank you so much!" Bookmark here

Nikko sat down with Toshiharu at the ledge and began trying to explain his nonexistent advice to his new student.Bookmark here

However, Reina wasn't pleased with Toshiharu's sudden obsession with Nikko and Juzo.Bookmark here

"Hey, wait a minute. I thought you were going to teach me…"Bookmark here

Toshiharu didn't hear anything she said, as he was too absorbed listening to Nikko's nonsensical rambling. Bookmark here

"Dammit! Why can't I catch a break?"Bookmark here

Juzo noticed that Reina was upset, so he went to check on her.Bookmark here

"Did Nikko steal your crush?"Bookmark here

Reina sighed.Bookmark here

"I guess he is more interested in fishing than girls."Bookmark here

"Maybe if you were cuter he'd pay more attention to you."Bookmark here

Reina slugged Juzo hard in the ribs.Bookmark here

"Don't talk to me like that. But maybe you're right…"Bookmark here

Juzo realized that his joke was ill-timed.Bookmark here

"Hey, talking like that won't accomplish anything. I was just making a joke, I'm sorry if I hit a nerve. But you gotta keep your head up if you wanna find what you're looking for."Bookmark here

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Thanks for the pep talk, coach. Next time, try and keep the insults out of it."Bookmark here

"No, I don't think I will. Not my style. Anyways, if you want, I'll teach you fishing. We still have some time left."Bookmark here

Reina smiled.Bookmark here

"Yeah, I'd like that."Bookmark here

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