Chapter 16:



After thanking Adda for the ride, Masuyo found himself in the middle of Kitoyama. It didn't take long for him to see the incredible line to enter the “FuturingTech Arcade” but he ran past it, going to the beginning of the line where the staff members of the building were ushering the tourists through FuturingTech Building's gates.

“Hey… Mi… Miyamura-san!” Masuyo called one of the employees after reading his shirt. “I have… business to take care of.” he showed his card to the man, who looked at it for a moment and then smiled:

“Of course, Hirano-sama! You can enter at the time you please!”

“I wonder what that guy saw…” Masuyo looked at his card while cutting the line and entering the perimeter of the FuturingTech Building. “That said… this thing is pretty useful…”

“Masuyo Hirano, seventeen years old.” a robotic voice announced from his side. It looked like he had just passed a scanner.

Masuyo walked through the outside part of the property, which had various attractions to the visitors, especially for the kids, and entered the four-story building where the main arcade part was, not realizing that two pairs of eyes were watching him from afar.

The FuturingTech Arcade had all different types of things. From classic arcade machines, passing through ones with improvements and modifications, to completely new inventions made by the FuturingTech team. It looked like they ran wild with their imaginations to create those things.

“And they have no shortage of virtual reality stuff…” Masuyo looked at all the available attractions, “I wonder if this technology could have something to do with the dives…”

The boy kept walking while resisting the urge to admire the place. He had something more important to do, “Yes, prove that he is alive. That's why I'm here.” Masuyo walked towards one of the staff members and showed his card: “Hey, can you get me into the laboratory?”

“Oh! Of course sir!” the woman jumped back after reading his card, “Come with me.” she abandoned her occupation and ushered Masuyo to the second floor, where a walkway led to the lab part of the building. There, a tour guided common tourists through the public parts of FutureTech's laboratory.

“By any chance do you know where I can have information about the ID chips?” Masuyo asked the woman while following her.

“What?” the woman stopped and tilted her head, “The ID chips?”

“Yes, FuturingTech is the one that made them, right?”

“What?” she tilted her head again, “FuturingTech produces tons of wonders, but that's not one of them, sir.”

“Crap... it looks like a simple staff member like her doesn't know about this…” “Oh! It was my mistake! Thank you very much... Ms.” Masuyo said while joining a group of tourists.

“O-Oh! It's just my job!” the woman blushed. “There's no need to say this to me, sir!” she bowed and made her way back to the other building.

Masuyo started to follow the tourists without raising much suspicion until a guard stopped him: “Hey sir, are you sure you're supposed to be with that group?” he gave Masuyo a serious glare, “Because if you're lost I can usher you to the right place.”

“Hmm…” Masuyo picked his card and showed it to the man, “No, I'm pretty sure I am where I'm supposed to.”

“Oh, sorry sir!” the guard took a step back, “I was just confused by that coat! Go ahead and enjoy your tour.”

Masuyo turned to the group of tourists. They had stopped and were all looking at him, whispering:

"Who is that guy?"

“He was stopped by that guard!”

“Are our lives in danger?”

“Is he some sort of criminal?”

"Maybe we should call other security members..."

“Shit!” Masuyo quickly showed them his A.M.A. card: “Everything is fine, let's continue the tour!”

“Ooh!” they exclaimed at the same time. "I'm sorry!"

"Thank god." Masuyo sighed in relief.

The tour continued as they passed through a door with an ID scanner, leading to an indoor area with courts.

“As you can see, this is where FuturingTech tests some of their physical enhancements and robotic technology!" the woman leading the group pointed at the courts, where humans with cybernetic parts competed in various sports against machines.

“Hi everyone!” a man on a lab coat approached them, “I'm the one in charge of this division! My name is…”

“Excuse me!” Masuyo interrupted him as he passed through the group of tourists while showing them his card, “Excuse me!”

“Who dares to interrupt…” the man started to complain until he read Masuyo's card: “Oh, Masuyo-sama! How can I be of help?”

“Hmm…” Masuyo pondered for a moment, “I need to go when the files are stored... the confidential ones.”

“Hmm... I'm afraid I can only guide you to the 'System' department. They are the ones to take care of this sort of stuff.”

“That should do it.”

“Okay, then follow me!” the man started to go around the courts and Masuyo followed him. The two passed through a bunch of tourists and headed to a staff elevator.

“Good morning Mr. Kobayashi.” a robotic voice greeted the man when he entered the elevator.

“Masuyo Hirano, seventeen years old.” the voice announced when the boy followed him.

“Okay!” Mr. Kobayashi uttered when the door closed, "Now I just have to do this... Execute code zero point one!" he ordered, and a hologram appeared with a 10 digit keyboard. The man started to type on it.

“Four... zero... zero... two... eight... nine... two... two…” Masuyo followed the code with his eyes.

After Mr. Kobayashi finished typing, the elevator started to go down, into a subterranean part of the building that wasn't disclosed to the public. They stopped at the two negative floor and the door opened to reveal a huge corridor.

“It's the second door to the right.” the man indicated the door with one hand and then returned to the elevator, “Now, if you excuse me, sir, I have to go back!” he bowed and let the door close.

Masuyo gulped as he started to approach the door carefully. For some reason, the subterranean part of the building sent chills down his spine.

The door opened automatically when he stepped in front of it, and it led to a small hall with some armchairs, an aquarium, an empty counter, and a transparent door. It seemed to lead to the working place of the "System" department. Masuyo could see blurs resembling people working on their computers.

The boy tried to open the door, but it was to no avail. “Shit! Looks like it needs facial or digital recognition... Oh, but it looks like a card can do the job…” Masuyo analyzed the locks on the door, “Where can I find one...?” he looked around the hall until he fixed his eyes on the counter.

Searching through the counter. it didn't take long to find a card with the name of the clerk absent at the moment. Masuyo grabbed the card and quickly used it to unlock the door. "Yes! Now I'll finally make sure he's alive!" he started to open it and tried to take a peek, but someone pulled him away from the door.

“You weren't supposed to be here 'Sir. Masuyo-sama'.” someone mocked him.

“What?” “Let me g…” he tried to scream, but a soft and small hand prevented him from doing so.

“Stop yelling, you idiot!”

“Aargh!” Masuyo struggled, and the opposition failed to hold him, so he grabbed the person's arm and used an attack to throw his raptor to the ground while screaming: “I'M ABOUT TO FIND OUT THAT HE IS ALIVE! YOU'RE NOT GOING TO STOP ME N…” he raised his fist to punch the person but stopped when he saw someone he knew scowling at him: “Sute...?”

“Are you done?” the usually bland and dry voice had an angry tone now. Even with her emotionless eyes, her voice and scowling expression made it clear that she was very mad at Masuyo. The girl pushed him away and brushed her clothes before standing up.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Masuyo asked while observing the girl. Instead of her usual sweatshirt, she was now wearing casual clothes: jeans pants, and a long sleeve shirt.

“I’m obviously trying to prevent you from doing anything more stupid!”

“What? I…”

“Tururururu!” a voice drew near them, interrupting Masuyo.

“Come here!” Sute pulled Masuyo and they both hid behind the armchairs.

“Oh, man! It’s so good that now we don’t need our cards to go to the bathroom!” a man passed through the automatic door while using his cellphone and headed to the counter, it was probably the clerk. “Huh?” he stared at the counter, “Where is my card?” and started to look all over it.

“So, you stole his card!” Sute scowled at Masuyo while whispering.

“Of course! I need to get into that room!”

“Aaargh, you really don’t know what you’re doing.” Sute stood up, “Give the card back to him.”

“Of course not!” Masuyo stood up and showed his A.M.A. card to the clerk: “I’m sorry but I need your card.”

“Oh! I’m sorry sir! You can have it!” the clerk’s eyes shone with blue.

“What are you doing??!” Sute cast a furious gaze at Masuyo.

“What am I doing?” Masuyo gave a skeptical look to the girl, “I’m here to prove that Kisho isn’t dead!”

“Ugh.” Sute smacked her head, “Even if you find out that the ID chips can be removed without killing the user, it doesn’t mean that he’s alive.”

“That’s the best chance I’ve got since I entered the A.M.A.! Why are you stopping me now??!”

“The problem is not you coming here, but that you were too hasty! Do you have any idea of the mess you left behind?!” Sute rummaged her pockets and picked the mind eraser, showing it to Masuyo: “I had to clean it all!”

“Look here, Sute.” Masuyo tried to calm his voice while staring at the girl, “I have nothing against you. I really haven’t! But now you’re standing in the way of the one and only reason I decided to join the A.M.A.!”

“Yes! But we can come back in better conditions…”

“I don’t want to know!” Masuyo growled, “I’m sorry! But you can’t possibly know how I’m feeling! Maybe you’re just a chi…”

“SHUT UP!” Sute slapped Masuyo’s face preventing him from talking any longer. The girl jumped on him, and they both fell to the ground, “Now, give me the clerk’s card!”

Completely dumbstruck by what happened, Masuyo held his slapped cheek and let the girl rummage his pockets until she found what she was looking for. “What is this?” the boy looked at his hand to see something wet on it, it was probably Sute’s tears.

“Here.” the girl quickly stood up, gave the clerk his card, and "took a picture of him". Sute put the mind eraser back into her pocket and started to pull the still unable to speak Masuyo to the elevator.

“Masuyo Hirano, seventeen years old.” the robotic voice announced as usual. “Sute… Koizumi, fifteen years old.” the voice continued.

“What the he…?” when the elevator door opened Masuyo could see most of the people leaning against a wall or seating on benches asleep. 

“You idiot… don’t you know that this stupid coat raises suspicion?” Sute started to pull the boy through the corridor while hiding her face and wiping the tears.

Still stupefied, Masuyo didn’t pay much attention to the girl, he kept looking at the dozens of people sleeping.

“You didn’t even bring your mind eraser! Just how dummy can you be?!” Sute started to mutter.

“Okay! That’s enough!” Masuyo finally recovered his senses and got rid of Sute’s hands. “You’re the one that told me to come here!”

“Yeah, but you weren’t supposed to come unprepared! On the next day!”

“Even ‘unprepared’ I’d say that I went pretty far!”

“You went further than you should have!” Sute pointed at all the people sleeping near them, “You should’ve AT LEAST brought the mind eraser!”

“Well, I don’t think it would’ve made much of a difference!”

“What?!" the girl clenched her fists. "Don’t think it would’ve made much of a difference'??! Even with my efforts, I’m sure you compromised us! Don’t you know that they have a scanner in every corner??! They were probably watching you the whole time!”

“Oh! So it looks like your mind erasing wouldn’t do it either!”

“Of course not, we’re already screwed! We should’ve come here with a special device to deal with it!” Sute shouted, “I’m sure you know someone capable of making something that would suffice!”

“WHAT?” Masuyo growled.

“Your resentment is so big you can’t go to her even for this??!” Sute yelled at him.

“Shut up, girl! I have no idea of what you’re talking about. You were my problem here! You are the weirdo here!” Masuyo’s words made Sute take a step back, “At times you seem obsessed with me, saves me, and now you suddenly what? Want to give me a lecture or something?! We’ve been working together and I’ve been respecting you, but you should know your place, kid!” Masuyo started to turn around and head to the elevator again

“Aaaaah!.” Sute tried to stop Masuyo with all her might, but she only managed to make him lose his balance, making both of them almost fall to the ground.

“Careful you two.” a female voice uttered while preventing Sute and Masuyo from falling.

“What?” Masuyo looked up to see a woman with a toothpick between her teeth. She had red hair tied in a ponytail and was wearing tank tops and jeans shorts.

“Wow! If it isn’t Masuyo Hirano!” the woman smiled and looked at the boy with her vibrant eyes. “And…” she turned to the girl, "...Sute..."

“Sute Koizumi.”


"Sute Koizumi." she repeated.

"Oh." the woman glanced at both of them again, “I see…”

“What are you doing here, Abayomi?” Sute asked.

“Just some undercover job. Maybe something similar to you two.” Abayomi put her hands on her waist and looked at all the people napping near them, “Maybe not so similar right, kid?” she looked at Masuyo.

“Who is she calling a kid?” Masuyo scowled at the woman, “Anyway, I don’t have time for this.” and showed her his A.M.A. card.

“Oh! Your card is kinda cute. You want to see mine?” Abayomi took something from her pocket and showed it to Masuyo, it wasn’t an A.M.A. card per say, but it had the same structure, probably the same purpose as well.

“What?” the boy looked dumbfounded. He showed his card to the woman again, but it was to no avail.

“You're the type to not pay attention to your classes, kid.” the woman put the card back in her pocket, “The MR only weakens with time, which means that some adults can’t be deceived by this little trick. The mess you caused here shows you didn’t know that. You’re lucky no one here seems to be able to withstand it.”

“What? Are you a diver as well?”

“Not a diver, kid. I’m just a woman helping out when she can… and when she gets properly paid.” Abayomi smiled, “Nice to finally meet you! My name is Abayomi Etter. I’ll take over from here. You can just go back to school... oops, I meant unity seven.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I have something to do.” Masuyo headed to the elevator.

“C’mon, Masuyo!” Abayomi Etter stopped the boy, “I know you want to investigate what happened to Kisho, he’s your uncle after all! But you’re getting in my way now.”

“You should listen to her, Masuyo.” Sute advised.

“Yes, do as your…” Abayomi looked at Sute, “...friend says and go back. If I find anything useful I’ll be sure to let you know! I’ve got a feeling we’ll see each other again very soon.”

“This woman is a pain in the ass! Geez!” Masuyo freed himself from Abayomi, “Thank you very much but I’ll get going now.”

“These kids…” Abayomi smacked her head with one hand while shaking it negatively. “Ain't that right, Sute Koizumi-chan?” she searched in his pockets with the other hand.


“Can you call Adda, please?”

“Yes.” Sute looked for her phone while Abayomi picked a cylindrical thing and pressed it against Masuyo’s neck.

“Wha…?” the boy tried to exclaim but his consciousness was already fading.

“Oh my. This boy made me use one of those goodies.” Abayomi looked at the cylinder in her hands, “But well, he’s all yours now, Sute.”

Real Aire
Taylor Victoria
Kerry Kamiya
MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon