What’s Led Us to Where We Are Today
“Yamato,” Mashiro said with a stern expression, “I want to know… about your family.” As she look at Yamato, Mashiro had an intense stare, which soon transformed itself into yet another sad expression from the fawn-haired girl. Her eyes lowered and she looked down. “There’s just so much I don’t know about you, and it’s been bothering me this whole time we’ve been married. I was wondering whether or not I was really suited to be your wife since we haven’t talked to each other about our families very much. That’s why…I want to get to know you better, for both our sakes.”
Yamato’s eyes widened when he finally understood the situation. His expression relaxed and his arms came down to his sides. “Mashiro…” He looked down with his own sorrowful expression dawning his face. “I never knew… that you felt that way. I’m sorry for not noticing sooner. Please forgive me.”
I didn’t see any signed of concern for me, not even once, he thought. Perhaps it was because I never check on her this whole time, or even turned around in the mornings when I left for work. I always saw a smile on her face as she waved at me. Damn it all… It was all my fault for not being a good husband to her even though I promised on the day of our wedding.
He sighed, continuing his thoughts.
Man… I still don’t know why I even said those words, but I knew I was pretty happy to at least say something like that for someone else’s sake, and it turned out to be for Mashiro. But should I have told everyone that day that I would be giving her a false sense of joy? And what did Kuni meant by wanting to give me true happiness, anyway? I still don’t get it. Is there a purpose for this, or what? What is it that he’s trying so hard to do for me? Well, not that he’s actually trying that much since he’s a lazy bum, but still. He could have to me more about his intentions. If he had done that, I wouldn’t have been dragged into this mess in the first place. I do have to admit that it was mainly because of me that he pitched in, though.
I guess it’s up to me now to get myself, along with Mashiro, out of this fake marriage. But before I can do that, I have to be honest with her.
After finishing his inner point of view, Yamato glanced up and stared strongly into Mashiro’s eyes. “Alright,” he said, “I’ll tell you. About my family. You see, I was raised by my mother for most of my life. But when I was eighteen, she passed away. That was about five years ago. At that point, I had already graduated from high school with Yuta. You and the girls were probably about to start your last year of high school by then. At any rate, I was preparing to go to college within a few months, but… It was during the summer three days before my birthday.”
July 17, 1999
An eighteen-year-old Yamato Kougami was on his way towards the college he was going to go to during the fall semester of that year. He had always dreamt of becoming a physics teacher for quite some time now, and he was proud of the occupation he had chosen before his graduation with his friend, Yuta.
Within a few minutes, he stopped and gazed at the large building that was several meters away from where he was standing. His mouth opened and his eyes widened in astounding awe and amazement at the sight. He could not wait until he could finally take his designated classes there in a few months.
“Man,” Yamato breathed, “I can’t believe I’m almost in college… It’ll be a long ride, but I’ll be able to work my way towards being a physics teacher in just five years. I bet Mom will be happy when she hears this. I better go tell her about it today.”
He walked forward, crossing the street once the light turned green, and went around the corner. As he made his way towards the hospital his mother was staying in, he felt as if someone had blessed him with the chance he had. It seemed too good to be true since he had been living a great life; he even went to school with his friends and was into baseball while also focusing on his studies every year. He and his friends had also met a rare member in their group, and their new companion was a girl who was on her way with Ren to their third and last year of high school. However, she had transferred after the past school year had ended.
Too bad Airi won’t be able to keep Ren any company this year, Yamato thought. He doesn’t have many friends outside our group, and neither does Airi, but the get along pretty well. It’s kind of refreshing to see them understand each other, actually. I hope she’s having fun at her new school after the next trimester starts. She might make a new friend or rival there, but I’ll have to ask her about it later on. Plus, it’s for Saeki’s sake since he’s been working late at night on his scripts. It’s a bit of a pain to keep checking up on him, but he’s also hopeless when it comes to love. If he keeps thinking about her all the time, he won’t be able to get out of his depression. Honestly, that guy… He’s too lovestruck to think about himself nowadays.
Then, Yamato smirked to himself.
Ah, well. It kind of helps get me going since he gives me a job to clean up his place. It’s not s bad when I think about it. I hate to admit it, but I feel bad for him. If anyone could get him back outside for any pastime activities, it’d be Kuni, Takao, and Airi. Maybe Yuta, too. I just don’t get how he finds Yuta’s jokes funny. He rids them of any sense of humor, so it’s like having Ren’s deadpan expression all over the place.
He looked directly in front of him and walk almost at the entrance of the hospital. Then, a smile crept onto his face. “Well, looks like I’ll at least be able to say hi to Mom before she has to have the nurses take care of her.”
Soon, he was inside the building. He walked to his mother’s hospital room, knock and opened the door.
“Excuse me for the intrusion,” he pardoned himself as he walked in and closed the door.
A woman who was looking out the window turned towards the auburn-haired high school graduate’s direction and smiled at him.
“Ah, Yamato,” she kept smiling as she greeted her son. “I’m glad you’re here. Why don’t you have a seat next to me? We can talk as much as you want until it’s time for you to go.” She had weary eyes and a tired expression spread across her face. Her breathing seemed slower than usual and she closed her eyes for a bit.
Yamato’s eyes widened and he quickly ran towards his mother’s side. He had a firm grip on the bouquet of roses in his right hand.
“Mom!” he shouted. Within a few seconds, he was already by the woman’s side. He placed his hands on her shoulders. “Are you okay? Does it hurt anywhere?”
Yamato mother shook her head with the same smile she had not too long ago. She smiled right away as she lifted her head gradually to look at Yamato’s face. “No. I’m just a little exhausted, that’s all. You don’t have to worry about me, Yamato. I’ll be okay.”
“But…” Yamato hesitated with a worried look on his face.
His mother kept smiling as she gazed at the auburn-haired young adult in front of her. “I’ll be fine.” She put her hands on Yamato’s and gently took hold of them, bringing them away from her shoulders. “You should think more about yourself, my dear son. Just look at you. Your face is so full of panic that I’m not sure I’ll be able to rest properly and recover in time to see you go off to college. Where’s the happy grin you always showed me? I’d rather see that than having you get so concerned about my sake.” She let go of Yamato’s hands and rested her head on the pillow on the bed. “You’re my son, remember? You’re stronger than you think you are, so I always want to see you smiling. I don’t want to be sad, Yamato. I only want you to be happy. That’s my wish.”
“Mom…” Yamato understood his mother’s feelings. He had always known that she didn’t want to trouble him, but it only made him care about her even more. After all, they were family. She was all he had left in the world they lived in, and other than that, only his friends were his remaining support to keep him living. He nodded sadly and sat down in the chair next to the hospital bed. “I know.” He brought himself to smile and held out the bouquet. “I got these for you. They’re your favorite, so I wanted to give them to you before going home today.”
Yamato’s mother smiled once more as she looked at the bunch of roses. “My, they’re very lovely, Yamato. If only I could hold them… My arms and legs have been getting weaker lately, so I don’t think I have enough strength to take them from you. It’s almost time for me to rest, anyway. I’m sorry.”
This time, Yamato shook his head. “No, you don’t have to apologize for anything, Mom. I just wanted to give you something since I won’t have much time to visit you after I go off to college. Oh, yeah,” he added as he smiled warmheartedly at his mother. “I saw it on my way here. You know, the college I picked for my first choice. I can’t wait to get in. I’ll study a lot and become a great teacher in the future. You can count on that.”
“So, my little boy has finally grown up and decided to go off to college,” his mother responded in a relaxed tone of voice. She closed her eyes, revealing an eye smile. “I’m glad. You’ve been wanting to apply to Jouin College (定因大学 Jouin Daigaku) for a while now. It’s a good thing you were accepted short afterwards. I’m proud to see you head towards your dream, and I hope I won’t ever forget this happiness for the remainder of my life. I love you, Yamato.”
Yamato could sense a foreboding feeling welling within him. It was as if something was going to happen right before his eyes, and he did not like what he had felt. He blinked, retreating into his thoughts.
What is this? Even though Mom’s congratulating me, I don’t even feel as happy as I should be. What in the world is going on? Don’t tell me that she’s going to…
Yamato’s mother saw the troubled expression on her son’s face and said, “Yamato? What’s wrong? You don’t look well. Is something the matter?”
“Mom,” Yamato called out to his mother while looking down. “Are you… going to…” He trailed off, knowing what was going to happen.
So, this is it, huh? He thought. It’s about time to say goodbye and soon… I won’t be able to see her again.
Yamato’s mother smiled tenderly at him. “I’m sorry, Yamato. It looks like I couldn’t hide it from you, after all.” Her breathing slowed a bit more as she closed her eyes. Then, she opened them and looked at Yamato once more before saying farewell to him. “But… If there was anything I could have done to prevent your sorrow, there is one thing I must say before I go to the netherworld. I should have told you about your father a long time ago. It was because of me that you didn’t get to grow up with him by your side. However…” Her eyes lowered as she thought back to the memories she had with Yamato’s father and smiled at the remembrance. “He was a good man I didn’t think I would fall in love with. I don’t regret meeting him because… If he hadn’t been a part of my life, I would have never had you. You were the gift he gave me before I… Well.” She sighed, staring at the ceiling. “That’s all I can really say about him. Please try to understand. I was the one at fault back then, not your father. He really was a good man to this day, and I’ll never think badly of him.” She glanced at Yamato and continued. “Thank you… for being born my son, Yamato. I’ll always love you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope that you will find that special someone one day to share your happiness, sorrow, and emotions with. I’d like you to get married and have children one day so that you can forget about me and live out your life without regrets. Can you promise me that you’ll find your own happiness…?”
Tears formed in Yamato eyes and he nodded, closing his them. “Yeah…! I promise! I’ll always love you, too, Mom… So…” He opened his eyes and faced his mother with a smile forming on his face. “I’ll keep smiling and be happy, for your sake.” His voice was breaking, but he still tried his best to put on a happy face as tears kept rolling down his cheeks. “Thank you… for everything you’ve done for me up until now… Thank you… Mom…” After that, he couldn’t help but burst into tears, crying in front of his mother.
She smiled back and tears also formed in her eyes, dripping down her face like a waterfall. Shortly afterwards, she closed her eyes, and the heart rate monitor on the other side of the hospital bed stopped. Yamato’s eyes widened before he broke into more tears. Within a few seconds, he had called for help from the nurses and told them of his mother’s passing.
Back to the present, Yamato finished the rest of his family background.
“I never knew who my father was,” he continued. “My mother always told me that he was a good person and that he had died when I was a kid. However, I soon found out on the day of her funeral that it wasn’t true. The morning after she died, my grandmother told me that my father wasn’t dead, and that he was still alive. She had visited him from time to time, along with my grandfather to check on him. Whenever he asked them to let him see my mother, they would refuse and tell him to give up on her. They stopped going after she died, and I would come see them from time to time. To be more precise, he was the reason why I decided to apply for a job at the school I currently work at. He still is, though, of course, and I’m positive that he’s forgotten about my mom.”
Mashiro frowned. “But… Are you sure of that? Maybe he hasn’t actually forgotten about your mother as you suspect. It’s too early to assume something like that without knowing what he’s buried down in his heart.”
Yamato shook his head. “No, I have a strong feeling that he probably didn’t care about my mom, and that he tossed her away when she was pregnant with me. I’ve tried many times to get closer to him, but it seems like he’s put up an overfriendly and caring image. He’s the principal of my school, Mashiro.”
“Eh?” Mashiro blinked. “Your father’s the principal of the school you work at? But I…”
“Anyway, what about you?” Yamato asked, turning away from the matter. “What’s your family like?”
Mashiro looked down like before, but decided to reveal her familial background to her husband as she had wished to get to know one another better.
“What I’m about to tell you is something that’s similar to yours,” she began. “To be honest with you, Yamato…” She looked up and gazed into the auburn-haired man’s eyes. “I don’t have any parents.”
Yamato’s eyes widened when he heard that. “What?” He certainly did not expect to find out about Mashiro that way, but he knew it was true.
However, Mashiro only nodded firmly, matching her expression. “My parents died when I was thirteen in a car accident, so it’s been over ten years since they passed away. I was also left to fend for myself and take care of my younger sister back then. She was only eight, and we were orphans. But… One day, Kun Kun walked up to us and took my sister and I in his care. He took us to his home in Shinjuku and provided a home, along with daily meals, for us. At first, I didn’t trust him when he tried to be nice at his house. But soon, I quickly accepted his kindness and opened up to him the day he crossed our paths.” She smiled fondly, thinking back to that time. “It was a winter day, but when he told us it would be okay, it felt as though all the ice had melted, and it became warmer.” She looked up and kept smiling, but it was more casual this time. “I ended up getting scholarships, and eventually enrolled in Seishin Academy. If it wasn’t for Kun Kun, I wouldn’t have made it to where I was. There’s just one thing that I keep thinking about, though.”
“What is it?” Yamato inquired attentively. He felt a sense of nostalgia within him when Mashiro had mentioned his baseball coach and was able to relate to Mashiro somehow.
Mashiro frowned once more, having a distant expression. “I can’t remember anything about my parents or sister besides that incident. My parents’ face and names don’t even appear to me whenever I try to remember them. And my sister… I can only remember the day we met Kun Kun. After that, however, I can’t even remember anything else about her. I was diagnosed with amnesia before the end of my third year at Seishin Academy. I know something happened to cause it but I don’t remember the event. Sophie, Airi, and Lia probably remember what happened, but I didn’t ask them about it because I wanted to move on from that time. Kun Kun also knows, but…”
“He’s probably keeping it from you for your sake,” Yamato figured. He was still as grim as ever. “And I’m sure the others are doing the same thing because they care about you, Mashiro. You trust them, right? I’m sure they mean a lot to you, too, so you’re both helping each other one way or another. Your bonds are stronger than a person who doesn’t know that would understand. Everything’ll be okay as long as you have each other. The same goes for me and the guys. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to move on from my mom’s death.” He grinned and added the rest. “They’ve always been there for me, so don’t worry about it and keep smiling. I like you the way you are, and I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t. You’re my wife, you know? I promised to support you, and vice versa. So, I’m here for you. We’re family, after all. That’s what marriage is about, right? Supporting your family.”
Mashiro nodded and smiled softly. “Arigato, Yamato. I’ll continue to support you, as well. I’m your wife, so I’ll help anyway I can.”
“Yeah,” Yamato answered. He felt better after talking with Mashiro and a warm yet clear sensation filled his heart as he saw his wife’s smile.
I wonder if this is what caring for your spouse feels like, he thought. Whenever I see Mashiro, I become happier knowing that she’s here with me. But. Could it be more than just caring about your one and only family that makes me so… loving? I’ve never felt this around anyone before, so what exactly is it? I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s like a waltz that never ends, or a seasonal change of some sort. Either, it’s like a rechargeable battery that doesn’t die out for some reason.
Inside the bathroom, Yamato sat inside the bathtub, which was filled with warm water that wasn’t too hot. He thought to himself as he soaked in the water.
Mashiro’s parents are deceased and her sister’s nowhere to be found. At least, that’s what she can remember, anyway. She doesn’t even know if she’s still alive, and it’s like the only person who knows is Kuni. Sophie and Airi might also know where she is, but I’m not sure if they can provide enough information to get them to reunite with each other. So, I guess the only choice I really have is to ask Kuni. I’ll do that tomorrow morning before noon. For now, all I can really do is find out more about Mashiro’s past before she suspects anything.
While Yamato was still thinking to himself, Mashiro was laying on the bed on her right side. She stared off into space before closing her eyes and falling asleep shortly after.
—The following day—
Yamato opened the door on the right entrance of Long Island and stepped inside.
“Kuni?” he called out. “You here?” He scanned around the area, searching for the bar owner.
As anticipated, Kunihiko came out from the kitchen with his usual expression. “Yamato, what can I help you with today? You’re pretty early, and I mean earlier from last time when you came to check on Saeki.”
“There’s something I need to ask,” the auburn-haired man told the IT company CEO. “It’s about Mashiro.”
Kunihiko tilted his head to the side. “About Mashiro? Why don’t you ask her yourself? She is your wife, isn’t she? There’s really no need to come to me about her, you know.”
“Yeah, I know,” Yamato replied. “There’s just something that been bothering me since yesterday. We talked about each other’s family, and I told her about my mother and my father. I heard her side, as well, and I thought about what she’s had for a while now.”
“What Mashiro’s had for a while?” Kunihiko asked. “Care to elaborate on it while we’re here? I can’t help you if I don’t know what you really want, Yamato.”
A staid expression crossed Yamato’s face as he stared at Kunihiko. “I want to know… about Mashiro’s amnesia. She said that she was diagnosed with it years ago around her senior year at Seishin Academy, but she doesn’t remember what caused her to lose her memories. She doesn’t remember much about her family, either, so I thought you might be able to explain more about it since you and the girls know something about it.”
Kunihiko sighed and frowned. “So she’s told you about her family, huh?” A conflicted expression replaced the perplexed one he had a few seconds before. “Well… I’m sure she’s already mentioned about the time she met me, but anyway.” He started explaining about the next matter. “When Mashiro and the girls were at Seishin, there was a large battle in which all of the third-years had to protect the school from a criminal organization that was planning to attack a factory in the area. All of them had a special weapon or more to go along with their abilities and since Seishin was a school that was built for the sake of helping others around Japan, this came in handy against any adversaries that threatened society. The seniors immediately tracked down the factory and went there to disable the detonators that were implanted all inside the building.”
Four years ago, on the night of March 1, 2000
Airi nodded, a stern expression on her face. “Shiro, we’ll go and take out the ones we find first. You and Sophie go ahead and take out the rest.”
“Right,” Mashiro nodded back. She had a red uniform on with a blazer over a white, long sleeve button-down shirt and a red flared skirt that was about the length of a miniskirt/school uniform one. She also wore white thigh-high stockings and brown knee-high lace-up boots and carried two thin long swords, one in each of her hands. “Let’s hurry. We don’t have much time left to disable and destroy them.”
Another girl nodded, on with short green hair and brown eyes, carrying a large tambourine that didn’t have a drumhead in her left hand. Her right hand was empty, and she smirked. “Don’t you worry, Mashiro. We’re the most powerful students in our school and we have a duty to protect the world from danger. It’ll be a giant piece of cake.”
Mashiro frowned. “Yes. But don’t forget that this is the last mission we’ll have before graduation, which is in less than two more weeks from now. Our school may be one that finishes the school year a bit earlier than other schools, but we still have to go through with this and protect the other students and citizens in Japan who aren’t involved with Rose Blade.”
She ran ahead at a rapid speed, and the other two follow after her to back her up.
Airi sighed. “Well, that’s basically how it is. We are an elite combat school, after all. Immense training to become the strongest fighters against evil. It may sound cliché, but we really are doing what the slogan says.”
The green-haired girl narrowed her eyes in irritation. “Get to work, Airi. We’ve got to hurry on this. Who knows what’ll happen if we don’t do our job properly.”
“It’s not like I’m trying to stall for time, Lia,” the light purple-haired girl argued. “Anyway, you know it’s the truth. Plus, we’re already running towards the factory at this moment! Aren’t we carrying out our mission already?!”
A cruciform appeared on Lia’s forehead, and she shouted, “We’re only going there on foot right now! We haven’t come across the path of a detonator yet, you idiot! Someone needs to knock some sense into your head every once in a while, so just focus on finding them and deactivating as much as you can.” Her composure returned to normal and she added, “Besides, this might be the last thing we ever try to do if they blow up by the time we get there.”
Airi sighed. “I know. It’s not like I’m happy about it, either. This could be the end for us and all of Shinjuku if we can follow the principal’s orders.”
They hurried and within less than a minute, they were already at the entrance of the building. Lia and Airi glanced at each other quickly and nodded before heading inside. They soon found detonators all around themselves, and prepared their weapons, splitting up to different parts of the factory; Airi pulled out a long silver pole that extended itself from both ends, hitting the detonators on her side, while Lia beat her tambourine in the air, creating a musical flow that swiftly malfunctioned the ones in the entire area. It soon spread over to where Airi was, and disabled the rest. Shortly afterward, Sophie came in with a large hammer, running past them to where Mashiro was. The light purple and green-haired girls’ eyes widened and they understood what it meant.
Shiro! Airi thought.
Mashiro! Lia’s shouted inside her mind at the same time.
After realizing that Mashiro was in danger, Lia used her tambourine and began ringing it several times as she and Airi ran to find Sophie and Mashiro. The light purple-haired girl’s pole extended left and right, breaking the detonators it smashed as they continued to make their way through.
At that time, Mashiro and Sophie were in the last room all the way to the end of the building. There was only one detonator left to inactivate. As Mashiro took a few steps ahead, Sophie stopped.
“Wait, Mashiro,” the turquoise-haired girl said. “It could be a trap. This one might have more than enough power to create an enormous explosion here than the others. Who knows what will happen if we decide to deactivate it now.”
Mashiro frowned, and a very severe expression was on her face. “But if we don’t do anything, we will endanger the lives of everyone else in the city. We can’t just let Rose Blade have their way with the people here, Sophie.”
“I know,” Sophie sighed, “but we can’t be reckless about it. Usually, the last part of every mission we’ve had was to check to see if something was wrong with the way it was set up. We aren’t really doing that right now.”
Mashiro glanced at her best friend before smiling to reassure her. “Don’t worry. Things will all be fine once we’re done here.”
Sophie stared at the fawn-haired girl for a moment, and knew there was nothing she could do to stop her best friend from completing the mission they were assigned. “Mashiro…” She glanced at the floor and nodded with a trusting smile when she looked back at Mashiro. “Un. I know you’ll be okay, so I’ll leave it to you.”
Mashiro closed her eyes and smiled back. “Thanks, Sophie. It’ll be over soon, so we can have fun afterwards. I promise.”
She turned her attention at the detonator and took a step forward. Then, she held both of her swords out, and crossed them together, piercing the machine. It let out a small spark of static, seemingly having been disabled. Mashiro pulled out her swords and turned around. Just as she and Sophie were about to leave the room, something they did not expect to happen shocked the both of them. They quickly turned towards the direction of the detonator. What they saw in front of them was static it was shaking and smoke came out from it. It rocked back and forth rigorously; the girls’ eyes widened. Sophie had a horrifying premonition from it and rapidly glanced in Mashiro’s direction.
“Mashiro!” she shouted.
Right after she called out the fawn-haired girl’s name, the detonator exploded, blowing away the objects in the room, burning them without any warning. After it ended, there were bits and pieces of machinery, boxes, and some other things that were sprawled out on the floor.
Sophie was coughing, covering her mouth her right hand for a couple moments. She opened her eyes and continued to cough a little more as she scanned the area around her. Within a few seconds, she saw Mashiro’s unconscious form laying on the floor where she (Mashiro) had been standing not too long ago. Sophie’s eyes widened and she rushed over to her best’s friend’s side.
“Mashiro!” Sophie was frantically checking the fawn-haired girl’s tattered body as she held Mashiro’s body close to her. She soon calmed down, checking the side of Mashiro’s neck with her index and middle fingers. Then, she felt a pulse and sighed, relieved that Mashiro was still alive. Although there was dust and tiny, broken grains of gravel on the fawn-haired girl’s uniform, hair, and whatnot, all that mattered was that Mashiro was safe and sound.
Soon enough, Airi and Lia came in and found the two who had gone ahead of them. They could hardly believe what they saw. Airi’s body dropped down and she was on her knees. Lia understood what had happened from the sight and her shoulders slumped. Everything that happened that night was reported to the Shinjuku police and staff of Seishin Academy within a phone call from Lia’s cell phone. The event was explained to the authorities, and the third-year students were thanked and apologized to for their hard work. It soon became known as the Abandoned Factory Incident, and journalists and news reporters had gotten hold of what had happened. Although not fatally injured, a few of the students who were recovering in the nearby hospital had external wounds or memory problems. They were still fine, however, due to Seishin Academy’s illustrious feat of training the students enrolled there to withstand such casualties. Without the bravery of the students who travels all the way to the factory and risked their lives to immobilize the detonators that were inside, Shinjuku would not have had a single survivor. It was thanks to those who participated in doing something for the sake of others that Shinjuku, and its people, still exist today.
“Along with some other students who were involved in disabling the detonators,” Kunihiko continued, “Mashiro was one of the victims to have had any signs of memory loss. There were also others who had some wounds and injuries, but no one was killed thanks to them. It’s an incredible story that made Seishin Academy even more famous than it was many years ago when it was first built. If Mashiro hadn’t been the one to draw her swords, the timer would have went off and blew all of Shinjuku away. Sophie and the girls still regret not having been able to protect her from getting hit by it sooner. It took less than a second to explode right in front of them and hit Mashiro. As for her memories and family, she hasn’t been able to remember anything besides the day I encountered her and her younger sister.”
Yamato listened on for any more details. “So, what happened to Mashiro’s sister? There has to be something that she must want to tell Mashiro. I’m sure she would want to see her again, too. The two of them are family, after all.”
“You’re right,” Kunihiko answered. He smiled moderately as ever before and explained further. “But she can’t for Mashiro’s sake.”
The auburn-haired man blinked. “Huh? Why is that?”
Kunihiko let out a sad sigh and looked down. “Even if they were to meet face-to-face, Mashiro wouldn’t be able to remember her. I’m sure by now that her memory of that day has faded away completely. Ever since that incident, Mashiro’s forgotten about those who were related to her, and the doctor who were in charge of the injured students said that those with memory problems would eventually forget everything about what their own family members looks like, and even their personalities. There has been nothing we could do to prevent that, but Mashiro knows that something is missing from deep within her mind. She wants to remember, but she can’t even though she’s tried to.”
“You mean…” Yamato trailed off, having another bad feeling about what he was told. “…Mashiro might never be able to remember who her sister and parents are…? Not even once…?”
Kunihiko nodded gravely. The answer was just as clear as the strong look in his eyes when he gazed at Yamato’s stunned state. “Unfortunately, yes.” He then smiled, as if to say that it was alright. “However, I can tell you this: Mashiro’s sister is safe and living well at the Kanzaki residence which is located in a hidden village not known to many outside the countryside. I can tell you the address, but maybe it would be better if you and Ren looked more into Sophie’s family. But even so, it would be tougher to gain access to their home. Sophie’s grandmother rules over the village and is a very notorious figure. How about you wait for a little while before you decide to head off to where her family lives? And when you do, make sure to get Ren to come along with you. He’s her fiancé, and they might not let you into their household without someone who has a connection to her.”
Yamato nodded and had a solemn expression on his face as he understood the meaning of the CEO’s words. “Alright. Don’t worry about it. I won’t be hasty and go there right away. Besides,” he added, “it isn’t time for something like that yet, so I’ll just head home after getting some stuff from the supermarket. Thanks, anyway, Kuni. I’ll see you later.”
“Have a good trip back home, Yamato,” Kunihiko replied. He gave a small wave with his left hand and bid the younger man a few more parting words. “Don’t forget to check up on Mashiro. Also, you might want to stop by Saeki’s to get him some stuff. Airi’s helping him out with his next script, and they’ve been working on it together after breakfast. Just bring them some groceries so they won’t forget about having lunch later on.”
“Got it,” Yamato grinned.
After that, he turned around, headed out, and walked to the supermarket for the things he needed to purchase, and started his grocery spree. He was going to have a great time there since it was like a haven for him and he could not help but keep his smile on his face when he arrived in front of the store.
Inside Takamasa and Airi’s apartment, the lovebirds were sitting at a table near the living room furniture, and were happily enjoying planning out the current script for Takamasa’s current work. With the scriptwriter’s laptop in front of them, the continued to add to the numerous amount of pages.
“Ah, it’s almost finished!” Airi exclaimed with a bright smile. She was wearing glasses as she commented on the next lot of pages. “This goes by faster when we’re both working together, doesn’t it?”
Takamasa nodded with fulfillment at the nearly finished script. Then, he turned to his right and looked at Airi with a gratified smile. “It’s all thanks to you, my dear. If you hadn’t asked to help me with it, none of this could have been done so early. And we’re just in time for…” He leaned in closer for a kiss, closing his eyes as his lips were about to reach Airi’s.
The light purple-haired girl did the same and slowly leaned forward with her eyes closed. Just as their lips were about to touch one another’s, the doorbell rang. The both opened their eyes instantaneously at the same time and quickly pulled back. Takamasa grimaced with irritation, while Airi averted her gaze towards her right, flustered by what had just happened.
Takamasa sighed and got up from his seat. “I’ll get it.” He walked to the door and opened it. The next thing he knew, Yamato was right in front of him with filled grocery bags in both or his hands. “Yamato? What are you doing here?” he asked, puzzled by the appearance of the married man.
“I came here to give you guys some stuff,” the auburn-haired man replied. “Kuni told me you and Airi were working on your next script for the current drama that’s been airing for two weeks now. Since the series is nearing its third week, I bought some stuff for you guys in case you forget to eat lunch together later on. You’re almost done, right? Go ahead and take these.” He held out two of the bags in his right hand, which were soon in front of the scriptwriter’s face.
Takamasa frowned with narrowed eyes, but took the plastic bags, anyway. “Thanks for the concern, but you were interrupting something important here. By the way,” he considered, “how did you know we were almost done with it? Every room here is soundproofed, so there’s no way you could have heard anything outside the walls.”
“What?” Yamato asked with baffled eyes. “I just had a feeling you’d be finished with it soon. Two heads are better than one, you know.”
Takamasa smirked. “As expected of a high school teacher. You haven’t changed one bit since you went to college, but that’s one of the great things about you.”
“What can I say?” Yamato shrugged with his usual, broad grin.. “I like that about myself, too, so I appreciate the sentiment you’re giving me.”
Takamasa laughed. “Ahaha. Don’t get too full of yourself there, bub. You’ve still got a long way to go before you can catch up to your elders.”
“And since when did you care about your age?” Yamato asked a bit angrily. His tone was milder than it was before Mashiro and Sophie’s arrival. “You’ve never said anything like that until now.”
Takamasa grinned. “Guess it’s just me. You’ll understand someday, young man.”
“Now, you’re starting to sound like Sophie,” Yamato narrowed his eyes; they felt sore from seeing the sight in front of him. “Friends are nice and all, but sometimes, it’s a little disturbing to see what rubs off onto the other.”
Takamasa frowned in disappointment. “You just don’t understand the kind of friendship writers and authors have with one another, Yamato. That’s why you think it’s a turn off.”
“I don’t even want to understand the point of your friendships with other writers,” Yamato retorted. His eyebrows furrows and he sure wasn’t going to listen any further before leaving.
Around the same time, Mashiro had gone outside the apartment she and Yamato were living in, and was wandering around, glancing from side to side as she walked further ahead. She searched around for a few more seconds before ending up in front of a large building. The entranceway was that of a school’s and she stepped forward through it, staring at the academy while blinking at the sight of the large structure it had.