Thursday, 4 June 2015

Chapter six (segment four), twenty four years earlier, July, Ryu

I never expected to make friends with Yukio this fast, Ryu thought as they made their way to the mall, or rather the café on its second floor.

Urufu-kun probably wouldn't join them. The last couple of weeks he did his duties as vice president for the Himekaizen Cultural Exchange Club but there was something haunted over him.

Ryu took a few steps more and when they passed some girls from another high school he automatically flashed them a smile. This was part of him. He couldn't help it.

Yukio grinned when the expected response materialised. Ryu wasn't the prince of Himekaizen for nothing.

While the girls whispered delightedly among themselves Ryu took note of how the sweltering heat had removed the last remnants of fresh greenery. What grew now had attained a deeper green, more mature, and he felt how he himself had lost a little bit of innocence. A high schooler now. The next level but it was more than that.

Kuri-chan you're dangerous. Both of you are. And he thought thoughts that were strangely alien to a teenager. Somewhere deep inside I know I'm living in a bubble of youth. If it bursts I'll see the grown up world around it, and you're full of needles. He shook his head and barely remembered to give the girls a mock salute to get them going again.

A few cars passed and only the air-conditioning in them prevented their drivers from looking as lethargic as he felt.

Something new. Something to bring spring back to his mind. Ryu decided he would drop the honorifics between the six of them. It would be a small change but a change nonetheless.

“Yukio, am I friends with all of you?”

Yukio stood still. “Took you a while.” He bit his under lip. “Yes you are. But you're still a rival of Urufu's. I don't like it but that's the way things are.” Yukio looked him right in the eyes. “I've seen how you look at her. Urufu and Kuri-chan might think it's an elaborate joke but I know better.”

For being so observant you're really blind when it comes to Kyoko. Ryu tasted the unfamiliar sound of just a first name. This is what it will be. Urufu blithely ignores the honorifics anyway and it's starting to spread in the club. It would take a while to getting used to though.

“Yukio do you know what he's doing?” Ryu asked and changed the topic. He didn't want Yukio to think too much about the strange pairing constellation between him, his sister, Kuri and Urufu. Hmm Kuri, yes, suits you better than Kuri-chan. Ryu suddenly laughed. Kuri-chan, when you're taller than me. No, Kuri it is.

They were overtaken by the girls they had passed just a little earlier. A couple of them looked at him and when he saluted them they all started to giggle again. Summer uniforms made it harder to pin point schools. They weren't from Himekaizen but without blazers he was at a loss for guessing which school they belonged to.

“I don't know but I'm afraid he's looking for that fourth guy,” Yukio answered belatedly.

The fourth guy. The thought that Principal Nakagawa had ventured out on some strange kind of vendetta felt discomforting. For what they had tried to do to his sister they could spend eternity in the underworld as fas as Ryu was concerned. But they had left that school behind them and now it was all coming back.

“Yukio, Urufu already did something bad, didn't he?” Ryu fell silent as they overtook the same group of girls for the second time.

“Hey, call some friends and join us for karaoke!”

Ryu looked at the girl who had come with the suggestion. Cute with short, dyed hair and on her way to becoming beautiful, and obviously outgoing.

“It would be a pleasure but alas we're already booked by other girls,” he said and bowed dramatically. He grinned all the way to his feet before he rose. “Some other time?”

He received a sparkling smile in return. “Lucky girls.” She dug up her phone. “Some other time you said. Swap email?”

Ah, I walked right into that one. “Sure.”

They exchanged mail addresses while Yukio impatiently studied the procedure.

When they left the girls behind them, for good this time, Yukio snorted. “Prince of Himekaizen. I knew you as the prince of Red Rose. You just can't change, can you?”

Ryu shrugged.

“About that bad thing,” Yukio continued. “Yes but I can't tell you. Made a promise to Urufu.”

They turned around the last corner before they could see the mall.

“You don't have to say anything. I guess he went after the other three.”

Yukio stayed silent in a way that told Ryu he had guessed right. “I wish he shows up one Friday soon. Then we'll know.”

“Yeah we'll know. Not saying I want to know, but yes we'll know.”

Before they went inside Ryu threw a glance at the bike stands. Urufu's ridiculously expensive bike was missing. I wish it was stolen but I guess you're riding it around the city looking where you shouldn't be.

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