Masuyo was almost back to the entrance hall where he had met Yoko and Masanori when he started to hear their voices:
“Okay, I guess that’s fine.” it was Yoko Oomori’s voice, “I don’t know why you’re insisting so much, Sute-chan, but I won’t ask anyway.”
“Thank you Oomori.” a bland voice followed; it was probably from the girl named Sute.
“Hey, hey! There’s no need to bow, it’s not even up to me and it isn’t a big deal anyway.”
“Either way, thank you.” she repeated. Masuyo entered the room in time to see the short Sute in front of Yoko, drawing back from her bow while the woman with braided hair was smiling with a bit of embarrassment.
“Masuyo-san.” there was another person in the room, an elegant chauffeur was standing near the double-doored entrance while holding a bag, “Please come with me.”
“Actually, Adda-san…” Sute walked to the man and whispered something to him.
“I see…” Addaneye Varon said, “If that’s the case then I’m leaving him to you, Sute-chan.”
“Thank you, Adda-san.” the girl bowed and then observed him leave the building.
"Hmm?” Masuyo could only surmise that something was a bit off, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
“Masuyo, you prefer that people call you only Masuyo, right.” the girl wearing a hood went to him with a sentence that was a fusion between question and affirmation.
“Yeah.” Masuyo looked at Sute’s eyes, they were apparently devoid of emotion but, for a moment, the boy was almost sure to have seen a glimpse of shine.
“You can come with me.” she said while turning around, heading to the entrance.
Masuyo followed the girl. They passed through the main building and headed to the front part of the garden, from there, they turned right and started going towards the residential buildings.
“It’s a beautiful garden, right?” the girl broke the silence, “Especially the peonies.”
“Do…” she murmured the beginning, “...you like peonies Masuyo.” then said the rest aloud, it was another half affirmation and half question coming from her.
“I can say yes, my school had tons of them. They were a delight to see at the entrance.”
“Yes, that’s right…” Masuyo stopped for a moment and looked at the girl, “Wait, is it fine if I call you just Sute? I don’t know your last name.”
“Koizumi.” she said promptly.
“My last name is Koizumi, but please call me Sute.”
“Sute-chan? Just like Yoko and Hisoka?”
“No, I’d rather you just call me Sute, please...”
“Okay.” the boy uttered, and the silence between the two returned as they entered one of the residential buildings and made their way up to the third floor.
“It’s here.” Sute stopped in front of a door and took some type of card out of her pocket, it was thin, somewhat metallic, and had a picture of Sute on the front.
“I thought the chips were enough for identification.” Masuyo said while looking at the girl using the card to unlock the door.
“These are not for identification, unlocking the door is the simplest thing they can do.” she opened the door for Masuyo, “You’ll receive your tomorrow, I guess…” she stopped and stared at the apartment for a moment, “... for now, Hisoka-kun is probably going to send you the information he forgot to tell.”
“Okay, but if my card is only coming tomorrow, how can I unlock the door?”
“Hmm... this room is different than the one you were supposed to stay in today…” Sute thought aloud, “If you need to do something that requires a card you can knock on my door.” her emotionless eyes looked at Masuyo.
“Where is your door?”
“I’m in this next apartment.” she pointed at the door to the right of Masuyo’s, “But our apartments are integrated, so you can knock on the integrated door.”
“Yes, integrated. The door on your living room leads to my living room.” she explained, “But if this is a problem, then…” she stretched her hand "You can have this." showing Masuyo her card.
“Oh! You don’t have to do this, Sute.” he glanced at the girl and then to his apartment, “I’m probably just going to sleep for the rest of the day, so I won’t need the card.”
“Okay.” Sute retracted her arms. “The beds here are really soft.”
“Good to know…” Masuyo passed the threshold, “I’m going to see how it is then.”
“Hmm…” the girl looked at him as he started to close the door.
“Thanks for everything.” Masuyo closed the door… or so he thought because it stayed ajar: “Hmm?” he looked at the ground, Sute’s foot was preventing the door from getting closed. “I’m sorry, Sute!” he opened the door a bit.
“No problem, Masuyo.” she retracted her foot, “There’s just one more thing…”
“One more thing? What is it?”
“My number?” Masuyo tilted his head, “You mean my phone number?”
“Yes.” she nodded.
“Well, okay...” he didn’t know why she would want that, but it wouldn’t hurt to give her his number, “Here it is.” he showed the girl his cellphone screen.
“Masuyo’s number.” Sute murmured while adding the boy’s number to her phone. “Thank you, Masuyo.” she bowed and headed to her apartment.
Masuyo closed the door and analyzed his new home: a huge apartment with 2 bedrooms (one with a single bed and the other with a double bed), 2 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 balcony, and 1 living room. He went straight to the balcony and looked at the landscape before him: he could see parts of the garden and the other buildings. It was a beautiful view, although not as beautiful as the one in front of his apartment door, from where he could see part of the ocean.
“Hmm...” he noticed something strange, Sute and Masuyo had apparently taken one of the longest, if not the longest, paths to get to the residential buildings. “Well, whatever. It was good to contemplate the garden...”
“BE BE.” Masuyo’s phone vibrated, calling for his attention. The boy picked the phone from his pocket and looked at the call he was receiving: “Good morning, mom.”
“Good morning, Masuyo-kun, how are you?” his mother asked.
“I’m fine. But I’ll have to work here for a year.”
“Hmm..." Mrs. Hirano sighed.
"Don't worry mom. I'm sure it'll work out fine." the boy assured, "Why don't you tell the reason you called?"
"Well, I just wanted to see how you were doing! Besides, a man named Adda passed here some time ago, he picked the bag you forgot and some other things you left here.”
“Hmm…” “I don’t think there’s much to pick besides clothes.” “I see.”
“Now that your room is virtually empty, the fact that you’re leaving us is finally sinking in…”
"I'm not leaving you, mom. And I can probably drop by sometime."
"You sound like my brother."
"Yeah, and I'll visit you with him soon enough."
"I hope so..." the woman murmured, making a hush descend over the conversation.
"Hmm..." Masuyo cleaned his throat, breaking the silence, “Leaving that aside, how are you and father doing so far?”
“We are fine… just don’t forget to call us, okay?”
“Okay... huh?" the boy felt something weird, "I'm sorry, but now I have to go, mom.”
“Okay... take care of yourself, Masuyo-kun.”
“You too.” with this final utterance he hung up the call.
Masuyo returned the phone to his pocket and looked at the balcony right next to his, he was sure someone was looking at him from there, but it was vacant, “Hmm, it’s probably nothing.” he concluded after staring at it for a moment.
“Bi bi bi.” a sudden sound caught the boy's attention, “Bi bi bi.” it came from a wall a few meters from him. Masuyo followed it to some type of screen that was attached to one of the walls.
“New messages from Kubo, swipe up to see.” he read what was on the screen. Masuyo approached it and swiped up to find a voice message from Hisoka:
“Oh, hey Masuyo! I heard that this is the room you ended up with! A pretty nice one, huh?! Anyway, this Utablet here is basically a controller for your room, you can do everything with it (minus unlocking the door, pretty crappy device, huh?), and it’ll receive all the information you need for the moment like your schedule for the day or your classes (we promised that we’d educate you, right??!) Anyhow, for now, I’m marking some archives about the Ozanne incident from 12 years ago, but that’s because it’s a standard procedure. This story is quite boring (who wants to study History anyway?!). Well, that’s it for now! Don’t forget that you can take detach the Utablet from the wall by pressing the little black button to your right!”
Masuyo pressed said black button and grabbed the screen, it was an interesting device: although electronic, it was malleable, allowing itself to become something like a TV remote controller or a tablet. “Huh, a very specific type of use...” the boy murmured while playing with the Utablet.
He started to flip through the archives Hisoka was talking about: “If he said it’s boring, who am I to doubt him?” he then walked to one of the bedrooms, the one with a single bed, and put the device on a desk, ignoring what he was supposed to study.
Masuyo checked the closet and saw that his clothes were already there, “Wow, these guys are fast.” then jumped onto the bed and closed his eyes while sighing: “Starting tomorrow I can’t lose more time, I have to start looking for him…” with that, he fell asleep.
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