Chapter 2:

A Small Step

Trial Sense


"Trululu~ Ohayou, Goshuujin-sama ~"Bookmark here

"Trululu~ Ohayou, Kyou wa Ii Tenki desu, Ganbarimashou~"Bookmark here

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"Trululu~ Ohayouu... Ohayouu..."Bookmark here

Suichan's very soft alarm sound has been ringing repeatedly, because I forgot where I put my smartphone last night. After I found it and turned off the alarm, I immediately went right down to the kitchen to make breakfast.Bookmark here

The sound of eggs being fried, the rice cooker screaming is a sign that the rice is cooked. With a little bowl of rice and fried eggs that I had cut into small pieces, I ate in a calm atmosphere.Bookmark here

Today I woke up early, because I was planning to stream test with the Avasisstant I made yesterday. After I washed the dishes and grabbed some snacks from the fridge, I rushed back to my room happily.Bookmark here

"Hopefully today I can talk well..." I muttered to myself as I turned on the PC after placing the snacks on the table. Fizzy drinks, fruit juice and a few snacks are my loyal friends when in front of the PC.Bookmark here

“…”
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"It seems that I've pressed the power button, Why is my monitor still dark?" I muttered after realizing that my computer wouldn't boot normally. With a sense of worry, I checked the power outlet that supplies electricity to the computer, monitor and other peripherals. Nothing unusual. Then, I took my computer off of the table, and opened the case. There was a really strong burning smell that made my chest tight and my worries that were just normal now became panic. And surely, the PSU that's connected to the power source, changes color to black. Immediately, I unplug the power cable from the PSU and disassemble it.Bookmark here

“Sigh, how did this happen…” I said while staring at the unrepairable UPS.Bookmark here

“I need to check the other components. Hopefully it's just the PSU that's the problem."Bookmark here

Carefully, I started to disassemble all the components on my computer, starting from the VGA, RAM, HDD, CPU cooling fan and CPU. After everything is separated and neatly arranged on the desk that I usually bring to study, I'm going downstairs to get the Toolset within the Warehouse. After getting what I needed, I returned to the room to continue checking.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

"Fortunately, only the PSU caught fire." I muttered somewhat relieved after I finished checking all the components on my computer and reinstalled it. “I will ask Konu to accompany me to shop for the PSU.” After I finished changing clothes and called Konu, I immediately went down and headed to the front of the house where Konu was awaiting me.Bookmark here

“Morning Konu, sorry to wake you up so early.” I said after opening the door and saw my best friend was leaning before against the fence while playing on his smartphone.Bookmark here

"Why are you apologizing? I should be the one amazed that you'd be able to wake up this early during Holidays. Let's go!" Konu said after putting the cellphone in his pocket and walking ahead.Bookmark here

"Ah! Konu! Wait!" I screamed as I ran after him.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The scorching heat of the sun, the sound of cars passing by along the road, the sound of individuals doing activities outside the house, therefore, the gust of wind that carried the recent air along my journey to the electronics store had made me realize, I might ask the employee about the components that I wanted to buy, enough to make me feel uneasy. My legs are weak and shaking. Konu, who was ahead of me, felt something was wrong. Suddenly, he turned to me and asked “Remember what happened once we first entered secondary school? If you compare yourself to where you're now, you're far better. Let's stop over there for a moment." He said while pointing at the hill near the school.Bookmark here

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“Iwa-kun, why are you hiding behind a tree like that? Come here!"Bookmark here

“N-no...n-it's okay, I-I rather like u-under this tree…”Bookmark here

"Come on, let's play together! If you're shy like that, I'll pull you over and invite you to play until you forget your shyness!”Bookmark here

That conversation always crosses my mind once I feel scared of the outside world. "How can a middle schooler say that so innocently..." I muttered as I followed Konu towards Ferna hill, the hill that had been our secret place since middle school.Bookmark here

The hill surrounded by large mountains that surrounds the City is a silent witness where Konu and I played together. The hill, as high as 600 m above water level, was quite high if it had been climbed by two junior high school children at that time. After passing through town park and along a reasonably long dirt road by the river, the two of us arrived at the foot of the Ferna hill.Bookmark here

"Why did you invite me here?" I asked after we stopped.Bookmark here

"Because you look worried. Do you remember, I always pulled you here, and we hiked together.”Bookmark here

"Yes, I remember that very well, that you just once left me here alone until evening!"Bookmark here

“Hehe, at that moment I saw a really large snake coiled up around a tree! I immediately ran for my life!”Bookmark here

"So true! You run to save yourself without seeing your friends who you forced to come! You heartless!"
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“Why are you suddenly angry?! If you are searching for the blame, then blame the snake because he surprised me!”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Sometimes, I don't know what you're thinking, Konu. But in the end, you came back here with my mother to pick me up.” I said while remembering the great times (?). After saying that, Konu, who had been silent, suddenly stepped up to the highest of the hill. Silently, I followed him, while enjoying the cool air along the way.Bookmark here

After about a quarter-hour of climbing, the two of us arrived at an old hut. The hut is the secret place for the two of us to play together.Bookmark here

“It wont to take almost an hour to climb this hill. Are our Time-Capsuls still buried within the back, aren't they?” Konu said while walking towards the small Sakura Tree that was behind the Hut.Bookmark here

"Would you wish to dig it?" I said while carrying a shovel that was already quite rusty.Bookmark here

“Whoa, Prehistoric shovel!” Konu said while laughing.Bookmark here

"I didn't expect that we would bring such a lot of stuff here." I said as I took out a cardboard box containing toys, notebooks, some tools like a recorder and a flash drive.Bookmark here

"How many years did we bury the Time-Capsule?" I asked.Bookmark here

“Hmm… 3 years? Can you remember what it contained?”Bookmark here

"No, but it's like we didn't put much stuff in there."Bookmark here

"Ha ha ha! Must be embarrassing stuff, like your math test results back then.”Bookmark here

“M-My previous test results weren't that bad! A-at least, I still ranked 22 out of 40 students…” I shouted while holding back embarrassment.Bookmark here

“Y-You must have put on embarrassing things too, like your Father's Adult Book that you simply took secretly back then!”Bookmark here

“W-W-Why do you even remember that out of all the things we brought here!!! W-We'll know what's in it when I'm done digging!” Konu shouted while digging under the Sakura tree where the Time-Capsule was buried.Bookmark here

A “tug” sound was heard when Konu had dug deep enough. He quickly widened his digging and took out a Silver Iron Box which was rusty and had some holes visible at the top. After bringing him into the hut, Koni opened the box and saw what was inside the time-capsule box.Bookmark here

A white robot figure with a missing hand, a red toy car with a left front tire that has disappeared somewhere, two remotes that I didn't use, and a little wooden box with a padlock and key underneath.Bookmark here

"Do you remember whose it is?" I asked while holding the wooden box.Bookmark here

"Isn't that yours? I believe you carry a wooden box with you everywhere.”Bookmark here

"Huh? Really? I don't recall it at all."Bookmark here

"Then try and open it and see what's inside." Koni said while giving me the key.Bookmark here

Carefully, I opened the lock and saw an old photo that was not intact.Bookmark here

"Eh? Photo? Why did you place the photo within the Time-Capsule?” asked Konu Wonder.Bookmark here

"I also don't know what the photo is. All I could see was my mother who was carrying me and someone beside her. But I don't know who. I used to take this box from my mother's room” I said while observing the Vintage photo. Someone about a similar height to my mother, wearing an identical hospital gown. The more I focus on the photo, I feel in my heart there's something very disturbing and it makes my head dizzy. I put down the photo and held my head, which was already crazy. Like being in the middle of a sea storm that suddenly hit a ship.Bookmark here

"O-oi Iwa! What happened to you?! Here, drink it!” Konu surprised while handing the bottle of drinking water to me.Bookmark here

"T-thank you Kon, I'm fine, just suddenly feeling dizzy." I said while drinking the mineral water and leaning my head on the table.Bookmark here

“R-really? If you actually don't feel well, I'll take you home."Bookmark here

“B-but, what about U-…”?Bookmark here

"Don't give some thought to it! I'll buy it later! The most important thing now is that I can take you home and rest!” Konu said while putting one arm of mine on his shoulder. With my remaining strength, Konu and I made it down the hill, and he called a taxi to take me home. After arriving home, Konu took me to the room and left me to shop for UPS after bringing the medicine. I was lying limp on the bed and fell asleep immediately after taking the medicine.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

"What time is it?" I muttered after waking up while trying to search out my smartphone.Bookmark here

“08:39 son. How are you now?" Suddenly a soft voice sounded in my ear, and it seemed that my mother had come home and was sitting beside me.Bookmark here

“It's better… Ah, welcome.” I said as I got out of bed.Bookmark here

"I made porridge, eat it while it's still warm." My mother said as she handed me a small tray of porridge and a hot drink on it. I ate it and saw that on my desk there was a large shopping bag that said “Mince IT Shop Solutions”. I just glanced at him and inwardly thanked Konu. I promise to repay all of his behavior someday.Bookmark here

After eating, it all up, I got up and searched for the tiny wooden box that contained the photo.Bookmark here

"Are you searching for this?" My mother said while holding the box I was looking for.Bookmark here

"No wonder I've been searching for all this time, it isn't there, it turns out you have it, son. Have you seen the contents?” My mother continued.Bookmark here

“… S-already. I'm sorry for taking it secretly." I said while lowering my head.Bookmark here

"It's okay. I'm glad to see him back. This is one of the most important memories for me.” My mother said, as she opened the tiny box and took the photo that was inside.Bookmark here

“…This is when you were just born, and that I asked the nurse to take a photograph of me at that time.”Bookmark here

“W-who is that standing beside you?” I asked while holding back the trembling and uncomfortable feeling in my heart.Bookmark here

“Ah, it is a fellow labor patient. At that point, I felt lonely because there was nobody I could ask. Then the patient approached me and asked me to talk. The times at the hospital became much colorful due to that person. Although now I've forgotten her name." My mother told me with a touch of sadness crossing her face.Bookmark here

“B-but calm down! Now I do not feel lonely anymore because you're here, Iwa.” She said as she tried to hug me. I swiftly dodged and said “How repeatedly have I told you that I'm not a baby anymore… But don't be concerned, I won't leave or forget you. We are family, so I will be able to always be here, I promise.” I said seriously.Bookmark here

“…Thank you Iwa. You're the best child in this world! Let me hug you only once~”Bookmark here

“ARGGGGGHHHH…! How long are you planning to be like this?! And also … I'M JUST RECOVERED! DON'T MAKE ME SICK AGAINIII.!!!"Bookmark here

That night was an ordinary night for the Hiroto family.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“Yosh, I just need to try and turn on my computer. I ho-“ My mouth stopped as if something was preventing me from continuing. I carefully plugged the power cable into a power source. Hoping that nothing would happen, I tried to press the power button and finally I heard the fan spinning and the monitor of my computer was able to show boot animations again as usual.Bookmark here

After checking that the files and installed applications are still safe, I proceeded to open Nevra and the browser for Test live on Ocii-deo, the most popular streaming platform today. It provides over ten million accounts to be able to join without charge, and is additionally given the liberty to stream any type, as long as it doesn't disturb viewers and violates community norms. After registering and creating an account, all I have to do is sync my Avasisstant with Ocii-deo.Bookmark here

“Okay, now it's in sync well. We'll see if facial expressions and other gestures work well or not." I mumbled while trying to maneuver my hands left and right, nodding my head, blinking, and testing my voice. After everything went well, I decided to debut by making a Live Stream with the title “Ikkun's Adventure — First Debut!”.Bookmark here

Feelings of pleasure, fear and worry enveloped me again. Viewers who are still increasing as the number of followers which are increasing one by one managed to make me more nervous.Bookmark here

“D-Don't lose to yourself Iwa! T-Today is the most vital day of your life, a small step which will get you out of the Introvert zone! C-calm down, they don't know the real you. Only your voice and your Avasisstant are there!” I mumbled trying to cheer myself up. With trembling hands, I pressed the “Live Start” button and started to deal with all the things that were about to happen on my first stream.Bookmark here

“H-Hey e-e-e-everyone! My n-name's I-I-Ik—Ikkun! T-t-th-thanks for watching my s-s-s-tream debut th-this morning!”Bookmark here

“What are you so nervous about, Ikkun? lololol”Bookmark here

"Calm down Ikkun, do some breathing"Bookmark here

“Wow, what's this?! Better stop your stream!"Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Various sorts of comments floated on my screen, whether positive, negative, spam, or stickers. The new thing I experienced in my life wasn't as easy as what I had seen before. The urge to run away from here and end the stream that had only been running for five minutes was intense.Bookmark here

"I can't do this!" I said to myself as I took off the headphones that were on my head, but when I wanted to take them off, I heard a really soft voice say “Just because you're feeling nervous, you want to run away from here? Iwa Hiroto-kun?”Bookmark here

Instantly, I felt the time surrounding me stop.Bookmark here

"Eh? How could he know the real me? And also from her voice, she's a girl! Uh? Am I dreaming?” I mumbled and for a moment I tried to find out who spoke to me like that.Bookmark here

"What is this? Ikkun's avasisstant suddenly stopped. Is it a bug?”Bookmark here

“Did he escape from his computer because that's Freeze's Avasistant? Lololol”Bookmark here

"Come on, friend. Ikkun has no intention of Stream. Unfollow."Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

After I realized I wasn't wearing headphones and saw my Avasisstant Freeze. Immediately I put it back on and activated the Auto gesture mode.Bookmark here

“I'm sorry guys… There was a technical error. It's safe now, hehe."Bookmark here

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“T-thanks for watching my Debut Stream, Ikkfans. I will update the stream schedule in the community post later. Waiting and thanks for the support! Otsu-ikki~!”Bookmark here

“… Finally, I finished streaming. It feels so tiring.” I said after streaming for about 2 hours. “I wonder who the person who knew my identity was… Is she a Hacker? Or maybe it's Koni who changed his voice to a girl's to cheer me up? I'll ask him later! …But, if it's not Koni, then…”Bookmark here

It kept going around in my head, I finally tried to call the gorilla.Bookmark here

“… Hi Iwa, It's unusual you're called, what happen?”Bookmark here

“Did you see my debut stream earlier?”Bookmark here

“…Eh?! DEBUT YOUR STREAM TODAY?! WHY DON'T YOU SAY IT?!”Bookmark here

"Hah?! Haven't you already watched and pranking me with voice change too?! Do you wanna ruin my first debut by doxing me?!”Bookmark here

“Wait…wait… Huh? Pranked on you? Voice changes? Hoi Iwa, just so you know, i haven't opened Ocii-deo since this morning. Besides, i actually didn't know you were streaming today."Bookmark here

“…so, who is playing tricks on me with a soft female voice and knows my true identity?”Bookmark here

"…Hah?! Are you serious? The first day you debuted there was Doxxer?! You're so unlucky, man. Ha ha ha ha"Bookmark here

"I can't say she's Doxxer. She knows my real name. i assumed it absolutely was your doing, but it wasn't. you really don't know. Sorry."Bookmark here

"It's okay mate. But, I'm really curious who the person you're talking about is. You said she was a girl? Don't you ever ask women apart from your mother?"Bookmark here

"That's the matter. And my mom didn't know that I bought Nevra and have become a streamer. So it's totally unlikely that she did it."Bookmark here

"Don't worry, I'll help you find out who's behind the Doxxer. For your safety, Don't stream just yet. Wait until we attend school tomorrow.”Bookmark here

"Okay, thanks for always helping me."Bookmark here

"That's enough. You talk like we've only known one another for a year or two. I'm closing now."Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

With mixed feelings, I put down my smartphone and went downstairs to go to the bathroom. Before I got to the door, my smartphone rang again but this time it was an unknown number.Bookmark here

"…Hello?" I asked in a flat voice.Bookmark here

“...” There was no answer from the other side.Bookmark here

"Hello? Who is this?" I asked softly.Bookmark here

"..." still no response.Bookmark here

“…Alright, if there's no response I'll hang up. Good afternoon."Bookmark here

“…Why are you so cold to me, Oniichan~”.Bookmark here

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"O-onii-chan?! Uh? What kind of joke is this?! And the sound … THE SAME AS THE TIME ON THE DEBUT STREAM?!” I muttered in my heart. I can't believe that she found out my number and called me.Bookmark here

“W-who are you? Why do you k-know my number and my name?! And w-w-why are you c-calling me oniichan?!”Bookmark here

“Ufufu… While this is enough, I hope we will talk again, Iwa Oniichan~”
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“H-Hey! HOL-"Bookmark here

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The connection has been lost. My heart is about to explode. "Who's she? Why is she bothering me for the second time today?” The question kept ringing in my mind. And the strangest thing, why did she call me brother? Is she someone I know? I've never even talked to women. It's highly unlikely that I've ever spoken to or met her in real life. With lots of question marks, I forgot go to the bathroom.Bookmark here


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Real Aire
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