“He takes the ball… he dribbles… and he scores!” a young boy shouted after performing said acts, “Yeeeah!” he raised his hands in celebration.
“You can celebrate all you want, but the game isn’t over! Besides, I’m still leading the score.” a young man talked to the boy.
“I don’t care, brother, you’re bigger than me, so my scores should count more!!”
it was afternoon, using their shoes to delimit the goals, the young man and the boy were playing soccer barefoot in a park. A couple of meters from them, two women were sitting on the grass while chatting, and watching the game.
“Nice score, Masuyo!” the older of the two, one with a short ponytail, shouted to the boy. She then resumed talking to the other woman: “That’s so interesting! I don’t think we have that here… at least I’ve never eaten it. I’m definitely going to try and make it when we go back.”
“I hope you enjoy it! I’m also looking forward to trying your recipe.” a tanned and younger woman gave the other a beaming smile.
“Just don’t forget that it goes better with hot chocolate. It’s a tradition for us.” the older woman returned her attention to the game.
“And he scores again! He’s sure to be the best in the world!” the young Masuyo glorified his skills.
“I think that you’re too full off yourself!” Masuyo’s ‘older brother’ crossed his arms, “So, you deserve this!!” he dashed forward and caught the boy by his legs, turning him upside down.
“Heeey!” the boy struggled but wasn’t able to break free.
“Haha!” the young man laughed as he lifted Masuyo, “Who is the best of the world now?” he was now looking at the boy’s eyes, who were in the same height as his.
“Hmm…” Masuyo hesitated, “You are…” he murmured.
“I didn’t hear you.”
“I said that you are.” the boy said.
“I’m sorry, Masuyo?” the man shook the boy, "Your voice is too low."
“You are!” Masuyo shouted.
“Wroooong!” the young man shouted in response while putting the boy on his shoulders, “We’re both pretty bad! I’m just not as bad as you!”
“Hey, I’m not bad! You’re the only bad player here.”
“I don’t know, Masuyo…” he started running, “I can only agree with you if you manage to get off of my shoulders.”
“But you’re asking for something too difficult!” the boy said while grinning, the wind blowing by his face. They continued like that for half an hour until the young man put the boy on the ground:
“Now you have to say that I’m the best!” he demanded.
“Okay… you are… the best…” the young man said between pants, “... at being on my shoulders.” he completed.
“Hmm.” the boy frowned, “That’s true too, but not what I wanted.”
“That’s what you’ll have today.” the man said while trudging to the women, “Should we go now?” he asked them.
The younger woman smiled at him “Of course! There’s a recipe I want to try today.”
After passing by the supermarket, the four arrived at a Japanese-styled house, its location being near one Daiken, and the property being just big enough to have the main building and a storehouse on the part of the yard that was behind the main structure.
“We’ll be at the kitchen!” the younger woman shouted to the boys, who were in the yard, “I’ll try to do Hirano-san’s recipe, so please look forward to it!”
“Oh! It’s a special recipe from the Hirano family?” the young man asked.
“Yes, a special Spring Chirashizushi with hot chocolate from the Hirano family!!”
“Haha, from the Hirano family, huh?” he laughed, “Okay, we’ll look forward to it, right Masuyo?” he looked at the boy.
“Uhum.” Masuyo nodded.
“Okay, so let’s play some more while we’re waiting.”
They started to play while waiting for the meal, after some minutes, the scent of the delicious food numbed their bodies: “Knock Knock Knock.” a woman hit the wall to call them.
“Knock Knock Knock.” she did it again.
“Knock Knock Knock.” “Why is my body not moving?”
“Knock Knock Knock.” “I wanted to try that food again…”
“Knock Knock Knock.” Masuyo woke up in his new apartment and looked through the window, it was afternoon now.
“Knock Knock Knock.” he had the impression of smelling some Spring Chirashizushi being prepared…
“Knock Knock Knock.”
“What is this noise?” the boy finally noticed it didn't come from his head.
“Knock Knock Knock.” “Masuyo, are you awake?” someone called for the boy.
“Huh?” he was still groggy from sleeping when he looked for the source of the sound.
“Masuyo?” the voice was somewhat muffled and came from the front door. Masuyo got up and out of the bed, he headed to the apartment's entrance.
“Hello, Masuyo.” a bland voice with a dry tone greeted him when he opened the door, “I thought that you might have been hungry after all this time.” she was holding something in her hands.
“Hmm...” the still dazed Masuyo scratched his head and look at the girl’s hands, she was holding a bowl and had a plastic bag hanging on her wrist.
“Can I come in?”
“Hmm…” the boy looked at the girl with his mouth hanging open. She was wearing thermal gloves, and although still using a sweatshirt, Sute had an apron over it and wasn’t wearing its hood, which let her face be more visible, “Uhum.”
The girl entered the apartment murmuring “I’m sorry for the intrusion.” and headed to the table. She put the bowl on it and went to the kitchen, picking two mugs.
“It’s hot chocolate.” Sute said when realizing Masuyo was staring at the thermos flask.
"Hot chocolate." she repeated, pouring the steaming liquid into the mugs.
“Yes..” Sute walked to the boy and handed him a mug, “You don’t like it?”
“Hmm…” Masuyo stared at the mug for a second, “Yes I do.” he accepted it. The boy gazed at the bowl for a moment, “Could this be…?”
Sute sat on a chair and waited for Masuyo to seat in front of her to take off the lid: “I hope you enjoy it.”
Masuyo looked into the bowl, believing that, somehow, it would contain some type of Spring Chirashizushi, “Huh?” but to his surprise, it had yellowish and puffy little balls.
“You’ve never eaten it, Masuyo? It’s…”
“Cassava bread...?” Masuyo murmured, “That’s what it is, right? Some type of bread made out of cheese.”
“Yes, have you eaten it before?”
“Yeah… my mother made it for me sometimes, she likes to try foreign recipes.”
“I see.” the girl looked into his eyes, “And do you like it?”
“Hmm… I don’t think that I’ll have a problem eating it.” he picked one of the puffy breads and thanked Sute.
They remained silent while eating and sipping until the girl asked without taking her eyes off of the food: “Have you seen your schedule for tomorrow?”
“No, I was sleeping until now.”
"Was... was the bed to your liking?"
"I guess so."
"Have you watched your television? There's a great show recorded there."
"No, as I said, I was sleeping until now." Masuyo munched his food, "You waked me up." he added.
“Hmm... so, what will you do now?”
“What’s up with this girl?” “I have to look at some files.”
“Kisho’s?” Sute was stared at the boy.
“Yeah, that Masanori guy promised he’d grant me access to it.”
“I don’t think Satou-san will be back today…” she munched another Cassava bread, “... the one in our unity that can let you see the files is our leader.”
“And that would be Hisoka?”
The girl nodded, and between some more bites: “We can go look for him after we finish eating.”
Masuyo looked at her with a bit of distrust, "What's with this 'we'?" but it was not like he could complain with the girl that fed him. “I just have to check on something.” the boy said while standing up.
“Huh?” Sute tilted her head as she observed Masuyo go to one of the bedrooms. The boy came back with a tablet in his hands, he typed Kisho Nakai on the search tool but couldn’t find a thing.
“This will only have what Hisoka or another person allows it to have.” Sute explained, “Besides, have you watched your classes?”
“I told you that I slept until now.” “Besides, that's not why I came here for.”
“Hmm… You seem lazy.” Sute said as if it was only normal to assume it after the boy failed to find anything related to Kisho.
“Probably, I’m not very dedicated to studies these days.” Masuyo tried to search about Kisho again.
“Let’s look for Hisoka...” Sute abruptly changed the subject with another half question, half affirmation.
“Hmm...Yes.” he took his eyes off of the Utablet after another failed attempt, “Where is he now?”
“I’ll take you there.” the girl got up while holding the last yellowish ball with her mouth, “I’ll just clean here.” she reached for the mugs.
“You can just leave it that way, I don’t care.”
Sute’s hands hesitated with his voice, but she continued anyway: “It’s no good to have an untidy place.” she picked the bowl and the thermos flask. “Thank you, Masuyo.” after bowing, the girl opened the front door: "I’ll be back in some minutes, so please wait for me… Excuse me.” she left the place.
While waiting for the girl, Masuyo tested what the device called Utablet could do. Beyond being like a tablet and a remote controller for the TV, the tests revealed that it could also turn on and off all of the household appliances.
After trying different things, the boy sat on the couch and looked at the tablet version of the device, specifically at an icon of a small female figure. “Juria-chan?” Masuyo read the name of the application as he tried to open it.
“This application was blocked by an administrator. Please request permission from one of the administrators to unlock it.” a text box appeared on the screen.
“Huh.” Masuyo closed the box and started looking at the files Hisoka had talked about earlier: “Maybe I should give it a read if I’m waiting anyway.” but when he was about to play the first video he heard a knock on his door:
“Knock Knock Knock.”
Masuyo reattached the Utablet to the wall and headed to the door. After opening it, he looked at the short girl before him: thermal gloves and apron nowhere to be seen now, she was wearing a different sweatshirt from a few moments ago and had returned to her usual stance of hands in the sweatshirt’s pocket and the hood covering her head.
“Let’s go Masuyo.” Sute said with glazed eyes looking at the ground, “Their apartment is upstairs.”