Chapter 32:

Chapter 32 - One surprise after another.

Vehemence 激烈


The next day I decided that Takumi’s hair needed to be cut. Of course, I asked him first if that was okay. He agreed with me. I called over Sayuri during our lunch break and asked her the favour. She was really good at it.Bookmark here

“Well, I had a lot of practice thanks to you Ayumi.”Bookmark here

She smiled and took out the scissors from her bag. We were outside. I had brought a chair on which Takumi could sit on. He had been with me since I woke up this morning. Even in my classes. We had to be quick to not be late to our afternoon training. Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Takumi. Sayuri is a really good friend of mine.”Bookmark here

I tried to calm him down and brushed his hair. Sayuri and the others had introduced themselves, but he still hadn’t come out of his shell yet. Bookmark here

“How short would you like your hair to be?”Bookmark here

Sayuri asked him and bent forward a little to make eye contact with him.Bookmark here

“I don’t know.”Bookmark here

“That’s fine. How about we go this short?”Bookmark here

She held a strand of his hair between her fingers and showed him how much she was going to cut away. He looked at me and I nodded my head. We were ready to go. Sayuri started cutting his hair and I watched. Something was rustling in the tree next to us. I looked up and expected to see a bird or a cat but something else was laying on a branch.Bookmark here

“What the hell are you doing up there?” Bookmark here

I walked closer and lifted my eyebrows.Bookmark here

“Taking a break.”Bookmark here

“Taking a break?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. And watching you while taking a break.”Bookmark here

She chugged down her can of beer and threw it over to me. I caught it and gave her an evil look. Bookmark here

“You know what. Never mind.”Bookmark here

I said and walked back to Takumi. He was looking concerned that I moved away from him. Bookmark here

“Oh, also I’m watching them.”Bookmark here

Toshiko pointed over the fence of shrubs that was next to us. I went on my toes and looked over. My eyes caught a glimpse of something terrifying. I opted out to ignore it.Bookmark here

“Oi Nina, look who’s doing the same thing as you.”Bookmark here

Toshiko yelled out loud and caught her attention. She looked over and smiled at us. Haruto was sitting on a chair, and she was holding a pair of scissors in her hand. The only detail that was different was that Haruto was wearing a neck brace. Did she finally manage to break his neck? Was he even still alive? His eyes were closed as usual. Bookmark here

“Nina, you know how to cut hair too?” Bookmark here

Sayuri was excited to see them. Nina gave her a proud nod of her head.Bookmark here

“She’s been cutting my hair since we got together.”Bookmark here

Haruto had opened his eyes and looked over to us as well. My mouth dropped open after hearing what he said. Bookmark here

“Since you got together? You’re a couple?”Bookmark here

I asked perplexed. Bookmark here

“Yeah. Wasn’t it obvious?”Bookmark here

He asked me nonchalantly.Bookmark here

“Yes and no.”Bookmark here

I shook my head in disbelieve.Bookmark here

“It makes sense now. That explains why Nina is always hitting Haruto.”Bookmark here

Sayuri was nodding her head in agreement.Bookmark here

“Wait. Does it?”Bookmark here

I questioned her.Bookmark here

“Also, it’s been bothering me. Why the neck brace? Did you hurt yourself, Haruto?”Bookmark here

I questioned him next.Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s because he tends to fall asleep and move his head. With the neck brace, I won’t have to worry about accidently snipping his ear off.”Bookmark here

Nina answered for him. It made me nervous. They both continued with the haircut of their designated costumer. Toshiko jumped down from the tree and was hanging around me. She was making Takumi nervous. And me too.Bookmark here

“Do you need anything from me?”Bookmark here

“Finally, you ask. And yes. I need you to come with me. You won’t be having the afternoon training with the rest of the group. There is no point in it if you can’t bring Xykoss out.”Bookmark here

She was finally acting like a teacher again. I agreed with her and asked Sayuri if she could take care of Takumi until the haircut was done. Toshiko told her to bring him over to us when she’s done with him. According to her, we were going to the Department of Miscellaneous Research and Development. She wanted to introduce me to someone. I threw the empty beer can into a bin and followed her. Bookmark here

“Ayumi, how are you feeling?”Bookmark here

“I’m fine.”Bookmark here

“You sure? You don’t seem fine at all.”Bookmark here

She stopped walking and turned around to get in my face. I averted my gaze.Bookmark here

“Yes, I’m fine.”Bookmark here

I tried to push her away, but she was resilient. She, in return slapped my forehead.Bookmark here

“Ah, why are you so stubborn? Look, I’m not going to lecture you. I agree that what you did was a bit out of hand and that you seriously need to get rid of the intention or idea of killing people from inside of your head.”Bookmark here

Her index finger was vigorously poking my forehead. It started to hurt.Bookmark here

“I wasn’t there so I don’t really know what happened. Yu told me the details, but you were a good portion on your own in that fight. But whatever happened, however you’re feeling, don’t let it defeat you. But don’t ignore it either. Turn it into your strength and learn from it.”Bookmark here

I listened quietly to her words. Her voice was soft.Bookmark here

“You wanted to be useful and save people, right? If you still have that goal in your heart, then don’t get lost. Now is the time to show the world how brave you are. Take all of your disadvantages and worries and turn them into power. And of course, use it wisely and efficiently.”Bookmark here

My hand twitched. It was always astonishing to me how Toshiko knew what I wanted to hear the most and what the right words were in these types of situations. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry.” Bookmark here

I bit my lower lip. I felt embarrassed for being dejected. She forcefully slapped me on my back and gave me a big smile. Her whole existence reminded me of the dazzling sun. She was warm and welcoming.Bookmark here

“Oh, and go and see Yu as well. He’s probably really worried about you. But his pride won’t let him come and ask how you are doing. He might be blaming himself as well. Go and cheer him up after we’re done here.”Bookmark here

We had entered a different building. The walls and doors were made out of steel. Toshiko placed her hand on a sensor and the door opened. Everything looked high-tech. The ceiling was high. Big LED lights were lighting up the room. They made the room feel even colder. A woman with a choppy bob and bangs was standing next to one of the many work benches. Her hair bled from a lavender to a lime green. She was wearing a long, white lab coat and underneath our uniform. But instead of a pair of trousers, she had a pencil skirt on and some heels. What caught my attention was her sleek bionic arm. Bookmark here

“Riri, I’m here and I brought her with me.”Bookmark here

Toshiko joyfully said out loud and walked over to her. She was busy with something else and ignored her. Someone else was behind the work bench. Bookmark here

“Ah, Akihiko. Aren’t you done yet?”Bookmark here

The woman was upset about something. Her eyebrows were frowning. The one who was behind the work bench was Shiraishi. His head popped up and he nodded his head. The woman glided her hands over what seems liked a keyboard and a translucent screen popped up. A game of shogi was in play.Bookmark here

“Shiraishi, what are you doing here?”Bookmark here

I walked over to him. Bookmark here

“Oh, Akihiko is the nephew of Yukimura Riri. That’s her.”Bookmark here

Toshiko answered for him and pointed at that woman who was biting on her painted fingernails. Shiraishi stroked my head and then left without saying a word. Bookmark here

“Kei, are you good at shogi?”Bookmark here

The woman’s voice was firm. Toshiko shook her head and waved her hands in disagreement.Bookmark here

“Anyway, I brought Mochizuki Ayumi with me.”Bookmark here

“I never told you to bring her to me. I refused to help. Each one of you has been coming to me one after the other. It’s a bother. I don’t want to do it. Even he came to me and asked for the same favour.”Bookmark here

She started clicking her tongue. The screen showed that she had lost the game. I could see a vein pop out near her throat. Bookmark here

“Oh, come one. It’s not even a big deal for you.”Bookmark here

“Ask someone else. There are plenty of people in this department. The last person I was willing to do it for was Takumi. And I’m glad that he’s finally back.”Bookmark here

Toshiko blinked several times.Bookmark here

“How do you know he’s back? We haven’t told anyone yet.”Bookmark here

“What are you talking about? He’s standing right next to that girl.”Bookmark here

Toshiko and I turned our heads at the same time. I had to blink several times too. She was right. Takumi was standing right next to me. But since when?Bookmark here

“Takumi! What are you doing here? I thought that Sayuri was cutting your hair?”Bookmark here

And by the looks of it, she had failed. Half of his hair was short, and the other half was still long. And having another glance at him, I could see someone holding onto him. It was Sayuri who was breathless. She was hiding behind Takumi’s body.Bookmark here

“Takumi. I told you not to run away from me.”Bookmark here

She pouted and crossed her arms. Nina and Haruto had come after them. Before they could explain what had happened, something else interrupted us. The sound of an explosion and people screaming that there was a fire. The woman sighed out loud.Bookmark here

“What the hell are those idiots doing?”Bookmark here

We ran out and saw from the windows that the explosion happened outside. I opened the window and had a look. It smelled of burned chemicals. Someone who was passing by us told the woman that an experiment had gone wrong. Bookmark here

“Toshiko.”Bookmark here

I called out to her but was surprised to see her grinning.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. He’s got it.”Bookmark here

Takumi jumped out of the window. We were on the third floor. He was surrounded by beads of water floating in the air. The sound of his kalimba could be heard and a faint murmur. A giant whale made out of water appeared in the sky. The sun’s light was scattered into million pieces. That was definitely his Paroxys. He made different motions with his hand and the whale dropped to the earth. It was like a tsunami and with its landing, the smoke and flame disappeared. He was standing in a puddle, his clothes drenched. Water was dripping from his hair strands. He looked up and smiled at me. All I could think of was one word and someone else said it out loud for me.Bookmark here

“Amazing.”Bookmark here

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