Chapter 30:

Sushi with Noodles

The Day I Forgot About You

Neo opened an envelope he had received from Len. Inside, there was a map with notes on how to reach Carolina's laboratory. It was in the western part of the city, just as he suspected. 

He asked for a day off from Uncle, then walked quite a distance until he reached the neighborhood marked on the map.

Looking around, the neighborhood seemed very different from the Union neighborhood, where there were always people going from one place to another, buying things, and waiting for others. In other words, it was much busier compared to that quieter place.

The notes contained instructions that said: first right, straight to the end of the street, turn left, take the second right... Neo was following them, but there was something wrong. There were too many instructions for someone who was already in the neighborhood. To be honest, it felt like it was never-ending.

He started to think he was walking in circles, especially because he had passed by a street with an electronics store about four times and the same café about five times. He decided to follow the instructions for a couple more lines to see if he was indeed going in circles, and it didn't take long for him to realize he was right.

Frustrated, he gave up on following step by step and jumped straight to the end. That's when he discovered something different. There was a hidden flap on the paper with something written in very small letters that were hard to read: "Open only when you've given up."

Without thinking twice, he opened the flap. Inside, there was also a message in small letters: "You fell for your brother's prank, hahaha! All this time you've been walking in circles! I don't exactly know our sister's location, but she said she'd be within the area where you've been wandering around in circles. I'm sure you can find her, especially now that you know the area well. Hahaha."

"Damn it! He fooled me this whole time, I swear I'll get him," he muttered under his breath as he vented his anger on the paper, tearing it into a thousand pieces.

Once he calmed down, Neo started to feel a bit worried. He had walked so much, but he had no idea where his sister could be. To be honest, he didn't remember her very well. It had been a few hours since he started walking, and with his legs aching, he remembered passing by a children's park where there were plenty of benches to rest. So, he headed there.

The sky was a deep blue with only a few clouds. The day was hot, a gentle breeze cooled the air, although it wasn't enough to dispel the heat. All of this combined was making him feel thirsty. An ice cream vendor caught his attention, but he hadn't brought any money with him.

Two children playing in the park, a girl and a boy who seemed to be siblings, decided to ask the vendor for ice cream. They called their mother over, and as she paid the vendor, the two of them argued over who would get the first ice cream.

That scene felt somehow familiar. The heat, the gentle breeze, a few clouds in the sky, arguing over ice cream—it was as if he had witnessed it somewhere or sometime before. And he had, as the children competed with each other, Neo's mind was transported to the past. Years ago. In that same park, he was shorter, holding the hand of a woman carrying a baby and a taller girl beside him. It was just as hot as in the present, and Neo spotted an ice cream vendor.

"Mama, I want ice cream," young Neo said, tugging at the woman's hand.

"'Mama'? So, that's my mother? Why can't I see her face?" Older Neo thought, a bit desperate as he tried to recall her face.

"I don't think it's a problem. What about you, Carolina? Do you want some too?" the mother replied, turning to the girl.

"If this is really my mother, 'Carolina,' then that's my sister, and the baby in my mother's arms is Leo..." Older Neo thought, paying attention to the details.

"Of course, Mom. It's so hot," Carolina replied.

As their mother ordered an ice cream and paid the vendor, Carolina started teasing her brother.

"Who do you think will get the first ice cream? Huh, Shorty?" she asked, trying to annoy him.

Not giving in to her, Neo calmly replied, "It doesn't matter. Who gets it first won't make a difference."

Carolina wasn't giving up on irritating her brother. "If you don't mind coming in second, then I'll take the first one."

His competitive spirit started to ignite. "Not if I can help it."

"I guess Saya was right, I really liked competitions," older Neo thought.

Seeing that she had hit a nerve, Carolina continued, "How are you going to do that, Shorty?"

"Somehow you don't need to know about."

"You think you're smarter than me?"

"I don't think, I know."

Carolina flicked him. "If you were really that smart, you would've dodged that."

He bit her, "And you didn't."

The fight escalated, with the two of them trading punches and pulling each other's hair.

"Both of you stop fighting! If you keep this up, you'll both go without," their mother scolded them, annoyed.

Between getting the second ice cream or going without, it was better to settle for the second. So, they stopped immediately.

Now that they were calm, Carolina's mind was concerned about something strange.

"Hey, Neo."

Thinking she was going to annoy him again, he replied irritably, "What?"

"What if I give you the first ice cream, but you promise me something?" she proposed.

The boy was surprised by her kindness and suspicious at the same time because he was sure that what she wanted was a significant favor, something that he would suffer from for the rest of his life.

"What do you want?" he asked, still annoyed.

"I want you to promise me you'll never forget me."

That surprised him again—just that? It couldn't be that simple...

"Huh? Why? I'll never forget you."


"Yes... Of course, you're my sister."

"Alright, then..." Carolina smiled, and as soon as she had the ice cream in her hand, she handed it to him. "Here you go, then..."

With the ice cream in hand, young Neo became a bit worried. "What if I end up forgetting you?"

Carolina, busy with her melting ice cream, said, "We're siblings. Siblings have a connection that no one else has. So, even if you forget me out here..." She tapped his chest with her finger. "... you won't forget me in here."

"Got it," Neo said, puzzled that she was smearing her ice cream-covered finger on his shirt. "HEY! DON'T WIPE YOUR FINGER ON ME."

She laughed and said, "That's why even if I'm hidden, you can find me. Just follow your heart."

Carolina's laughter that was so close slowly faded away. It was so distant now that he could hardly hear it. The vibrant colors of the park's toys turned into faded colors over time.

And Neo returned to himself, sitting on the bench as the children and their mother left. It felt like only a few seconds had passed. Now that his legs had rested, he could continue his search.

He looked at the park's toys up close. Even though his mind didn't remember, his body felt a sense of nostalgia. He gently touched the slide, feeling like he had slid down it before. The same happened with other toys.

Carolina had always been passionate about her work, which is why she had so many different inventions. She loved building and using technology to make her life easier. Older Neo thought, recalling fragments about his sister.

While the toys had faded, there was a structure near the wall that seemed new. For some reason, he felt drawn to it.

"Follow your heart, huh?" he said quietly.

Approaching, he could see more clearly that it was a small building closed off with several metal doors, a sign reading "high voltage danger."

Neo looked around and didn't see anything using electricity. Why was that there? He became suspicious. He opened the door slowly.

Inside, there was a small flight of stairs. He descended the stairs, and the only light came from the open door. As he stepped onto the last step, he saw a long dark corridor that seemed to stretch into infinity. The open door suddenly closed, leaving him in the darkness of that strange place. His heart started racing, afraid that he might be trapped forever.

When lights near the floor lit up, revealing not only the entire corridor but also the door at the end, a metal door. Approaching it, he saw a small keyboard and a panel that lit up with the text:

"Enter the password."

As he typed, he spoke at the same time:

"Silly sister."

"Incorrect password," a voice said, and an "X" appeared on the panel.

He tried again:

"My dear little brother Neo."

"Incorrect password," a voice said, and an "X" appeared on the panel.

"Man... Now she's got me..." Neo said quietly.

The typing bar blinked desperately for an answer, but the boy in front of the panel didn't have it. He tried to remember more details about his sister, but it was truly difficult. His mind couldn't think of anything.

"She liked working? What else?" he whispered while thinking, pacing back and forth.

"Coffee? People who work a lot usually like coffee... but it can't be that," he whispered while thinking.

Coffee was part of drinks, and what if it was something similar?

"FOOD! THAT'S IT!" he shouted, a spark of inspiration hitting him.

Neo then typed:


"Correct password," a voice said, and the door slowly opened.

"My sister loves to eat, and her two favorite foods are sushi and instant noodles, so the password must be Sushi with Noodles," he explained.

As he finished speaking, the door finished opening, and behind it stood a slightly shorter female figure than him, wearing a white lab coat, glasses, and long brown hair with a braided strand. She was clapping her hands.

"Congratulations," Carolina said, surprised. "You were truly the only one who could find me, but I didn't believe you'd figure out the password too."

"Sister..." Neo said happily, realizing he had succeeded.

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