Chapter 26:

The wig of fortune and the beloved mask

Sekaunmei: The Fate of My World is at You

—This Zack guy —said Mirena, watching the huge building in front of her—, he works here, you were saying?

—Yes, that’s right! —Eli responded—. Any problem?

—No, no. It’s just that… I’m a bit confused right now.


Grab a product, pass it below the laser, check the price, blah blah blah.

After a week of vacations (and not any vacations, vacations with Mirena), being back at the box of the mart was such a pain in the ass. If it wasn’t boring before, then by contrast it was even more so.

His stomach was already demanding food, but it wasn’t the time yet. Just some minutes more and then…

—Oh hi! —said someone next to him.

—Please form a line on the other side. —He was so boring that he didn’t realized that the female voice was familiar.

—I didn’t know you worked here.

—Huh? —It was then when he came back to earth and looked at his side, and there saw Mirena and Eli—. What the hell are you two doing here?!

—Oh, hey —said a male voice, joining the conversation—, María is back! —The amount of voices and no explanations were driving Ken mad.

—Actually we came here looking for you —responded Eli looking at Zack—. You’re Arthur’s friend, aren’t you?

—You know Arthur? That’s awesome! —responded Ken’s co-worker.

—Wait, what?! —Ken was still very lost. While Eli and Zack introduced themselves to each other, Mirena explained:

—This Zack is the same Zack we were looking for! I told you he was your co-worker.

—Wait, so he’s a…

—So you’re a weeb too Ken? —asked Zack, very surprised due to that sudden revelation—. I can’t believe it! You always seemed so serious that I thought you were into literature, philosophy or something like that.

—He’s your co-worker, how didn’t you know about his tastes? —reproached Eli specifically to Ken, but it worked for both of them actually.

—Excuse me, where are the toys? —asked a costumer.

—Is this box available? —asked another one.

—Argh, to many voices —said Ken with a headache. He took a deep breath and then started to respond to everyone—. Yes, I am. The lunch break is near, so we’ll talk then. They’re in the east area, this guy over here can guide you there. Yes, it is.

The chaos was organized, and Ken could finish his job properly and with relative calm.

Not too cold and not too hot. The wind was stopped by the building itself. The sun was slightly covered by a thin cloud, so the light passed through but the heat did not. The weather in the rooftop was perfect.

—Actually, my girlfriend watches way more anime than me —was explaining Zack to the 3 people seated with him—. She also does cosplay sometimes, but not regularly.

“This dude has everything I ever wanted” thought Ken, munching his sandwich with fury.

—She showed me a very nice-looking character, and since it wasn’t too difficult I decided to make a try and do cosplay of him. The guy was dressed with a normal white shirt and a blue tie, and I already had those. The only thing I was missing was some accessories and the wig. I asked Arthur, and luckily he had one of the same color.

“He doesn’t even know the name of the character” kept thinking Ken. “He’s a normie.”

However, after his talk with Sean, he thought that maybe judge him wasn’t the nicest thing to do. But in the other hand, he couldn’t just change the way he always had been from one day to the other.

“I mean, one thing is dislike and even hate anime, that’s fine, I respect that. But why would you claim to be a weeb if you’re actually not, like if it were something amazing? In the other hand, I should be happy to have a co-worker that is interested in the same things I do… Argh!! This is so difficult!”

While he was having those internal argues, the conversation kept flowing until it reached the important point.

—So, you’re going to the expo as Mask? —he asked to Ken, and he nodded as response.

—Yes, that’s how it looks like.

—Are this two…?

—No, nobody is forcing me! —he cut in, visualizing what he was going to say—. But it’s true that this kind of idea would never come from me.

—Have you watched Sekaunmei? —asked Mirena.

—Yes, of course! Even people that knows nothing about anime has watched or know about Sekaunmei.

—Really? Is that famous over here?

—It is. I guess that’s not the case in your country, María?

—Kind of —she responded vaguely.

—Whoa, time flies —said Zack checking the hour in his cellphone—. It’s time to go back to work. We’ll met at the convention, right?

—Of course, it’ll be a pleasure.

—I can’t wait to see Ken dressed as Mask. And you as Mirena, of course. This afternoon I’ll pass to your apartment to give you the wig.

—Ok, great —said Ken, standing up and stretching.

For some reason, Ken wasn’t nervous about the fact that he was going to do something embarrassing in front of a co-worker. Maybe it was because of how friendly Zack had been, or maybe because he still wasn’t believing he was going to do such a thing, like if the Saturday of the event will never arrive. In any case, he just went back to work, looking forward the next part of the treasure hunt.

The wig was delivered with no inconvenience. Tuesday after the work he was wearing it, seated on his cushion while Eli was cutting it, since it was longer and bulkier than it should be, and it didn’t fit with Ken’s face shape yet. It wasn’t like if she was an expert, but after so many years cosplaying she developed some skills with the scissors.

—So we just need the mask and the knives and sword —Mirena said, looking at the list with three names already crossed out. She didn't take her eyes off the paper for a second, as if she was trying to get information about the last two people just by looking at their names.

—I wonder why this Bobby guy would have wanted the mask to begin with —wondered Eli.

—Maybe he didn’t want anything —he responded—. According to Arthur’s story, he gave the mask to Bobby and he accepted, probably just because it was a gift. I don’t think there is anything deeper in here.

—I hope that’s the case.

—I know it was me the one who thought all this “treasure hunt” was going to be harder, but now after three successes I’m feeling confident.

—I hope you don’t jinx it —added Mirena from the bed.

—I don’t think so, I mean, it would be a very cheap and not funny way of doing comedy.

—You’re definitely going to jinx it.

—What is not jinxed is this beautiful haircut! —said Eli, putting down the scissors and looking at the wig as Michelangelo after finishing his David.

They saved the wig in the wardrobe, next to Mirena’s “cosplay” and then they set their way off to Bobby’s house.

It was a decently big house with an even bigger garage next to it. Its large metal curtain was closed, but some noises and music could be heard coming from there anyways. So, after knocking the main door a few times and receiving no answer, they knocked on the curtain instead.

At that moment, the music stopped. They waited while the noises were still audible, and after some seconds, the curtain began to rise.

The sunlight illuminated the garage and reflected its bright into the metal of the gym equipment. Benches, weights, presses, that garage had nothing to envy to any actual gym in the world. Some guys with businessman mindset would easily find a way to make money with such a place, but that wasn’t the case with the owner of those artifacts.

The stink of sweat was strong inside there due to the lack of ventilation and the tendencies from Bobby to sweat a lot while doing exercise.

Wearing a gray sleeveless shirt, the results of his hard work couldn’t be hidden. And no, I’m not talking about amazing muscles, because he wasn’t in shape at all. I’m talking about the sweat that turned the light gray into dark gray. Even if he tried to clean the sweat with a towel, the evidences were there.

It’s not like sweating after working out is something you should be ashamed of, especially if you’re not in shape and you’re trying to improve. Ken knew that, but he also noticed that this Bobby guy was embarrassed anyways, so he immediately detected him as a person “like him”.

Just like with “normal” people, the ones “like him”, in Ken’s opinion, had a lot of specific characteristic which made them belong to this category. Being embarrassed by completely normal things was one of those.

—Who are you? —he asked. It was very subtle, but Ken detected some panic, probably because of the sudden apparition of two beautiful women. His round face was red, but maybe it was due to the exercise.

Ken sighed. “It’s like looking into a mirror” he thought in pain.

—Hello, my name is Elizabeth. You can call me Eli, or Lisa, or Beth, as you prefer. I’m also Arthur’s friend.

—Oh, Arthur? —His shoulders relaxed a bit when hearing that familiar name. Eli nodded.

—Yes, we’re looking for the parts of his Mask cosplay so this guy over here can use it. We already have the wig and the clothes, and we wanted to borrow the mask from you.

—I’m sorry, I can’t do that.

—Eh?! —Ken exclaimed.

—I told you were going to jinx it —reproached Mirena in a whisper.

—Why not? —asked Eli.

—I-I have my personal reason. Sorry, but I can’t give you the mask. Probably you’ll be able to find one in any store, it’s a very generic design.

—I mean we could try —she said, now talking to the group—, but there is no guarantee that we are going to find the right one in time.

Mirena gave a step forward and talked with Bobby, with her hands in her chest.

— I’m not going to inquire in the reasons. I’ve learned that people in this world, I mean, in this country, tends to have secrets and I respect that. But you don’t have to give it to us now, we only need it for this Saturday. I’m going to cosplay as Mirena, they say that I’m perfect for that. Do you like Sekaunmei? Maybe you think the same.

—Y-yes, I think so —he responded, avoiding the eye contact. Mirena moved forward once more, scaring Bobby and forcing him to raise the face and look into her beautiful red eyes. Maybe it was just Ken being crazily in love as always, but he thought that she was being especially gorgeous that day. Was it on purpose to persuade Bobby? Or it was just her natural talent? He had no idea, but he was amazed.

—It would make me very happy If my cousin and I could cosplay as Mirena and Mask.

“Maybe I’m overthinking it, but did she emphasized the fact that I’m her ‘cousin’ so that Bobby will think she’s single and therefore feel more willing to help us? Am I raising a monster of manipulation perhaps?”

—So please, I promise that we’ll take care of the mask. As long as it is in our hands, it’s going to be more valuable than our lives!

—I think she’s being overdramatic —whispered Eli.

—What do you say? —asked Mirena to finish her argument and approaching her face to Bobby even more.

The poor boy was shaking, sweating and blushed, probably even more than when lifting some weights. However, he said:

—No, I’m sorry. Please don’t insist any longer and leave.

The metallic curtain was closed behind them.

—Oh wow, he really just rejected you —said Ken, feeling an incredible huge respect. Even if he was a bit angry due to the outcome, he respected that guy who, being presumably a virgin, was loyal to his principles and said no to an objectively very cute girl.

That way, the defeated Mirena and her friends went back to the apartment with the hands empty and the first failure in their treasure hunt.