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Involved

After chatting with the girls for a couple of minutes, I had to leave because my next class was about to begin. I told them I would come back later in the evening.

Not only was I lucky to find an opportunity like that, but the university was only five minutes away on foot. Transport and time were not going to be a problem. However, wandering through the Trading District didn't give me much confidence. It was known for being one of the most dangerous districts, if not the most. Police were rarely seen around, giving street merchants—or colloquially called Dreamers—a chance to sell their creations even though it was illegal to sell stuff on the street without a permit.

No one knew why the district had been forgotten by the local government. Many theories floated around. The one I heard the most suggested that the government took fees from the sales made inside the district. Not only from Dreamers, but from all kinds of shady businesses.

It was an entirely different world compared to the rest of the country. People avoided passing by it at all costs, making it a good place to collect your thoughts because of how little noise there was—provided you could suppress the fear of being mugged.

Maybe it's not a good idea… No, I won't run away anymore!

I arrived at the university and headed to my lecture located in the smallest building on the campus. No one had arrived yet except for the professor—who I secretly had a crush on. She was sitting at her desk, reading a book.

Now's the time to impress her.

"Professor Fuku!" I greeted her.

"Miyahara. You seem more joyous than usual."

She noticed it right away! She really cares about me!

I nodded. "Yes. Because I finally know what my final project will be about."

"And what is that?"

"It's a… surprise!"

I can't tell her yet! It hasn't even been an hour since it happened. I'm not confident enough.

"Really? What a bummer. Well, I'll look forward to tomorrow, then."

"Wait, what? Tomorrow?"

She nodded. "The deadline for your project's introduction. You didn't forget, did you?"

"O-Of course not! It's almost ready, actually. So please look forward to it!"

I thought it was next week! But I didn't forget. And it's almost ready because it will be done by tomorrow, so I'm not lying to her.

"Sure," she said with a gentle and soothing smile.

Three of the remaining nine Business Administration students arrived at the classroom. The program was practically dead due to the world running out of space and resources. There were even rumors of the program being closed soon. No businesses searched for a business manager. When a business lost its manager, it would be replaced by an associate or someone with close connections.

"Professor Fuku, what do you think about the rumors of the program being closed?"

She seemed surprised. "I try not to care about them. If they close it, they close it."

"And what's your stance on it?"

Thoughtful for a moment, she replied, "I'd say they weren't looking ahead. Earth might be full, but more planets with new opportunities are on the horizon."

I smiled. That's what I wanted to hear.

"Oops. I shouldn't be talking like that about my employer and alma mater. Naughty Miyahara, you always make me say things I shouldn't. Please go to your seat. The lecture will begin shortly."

"Sure!"

The lecture was fun and instructive, as usual from any lecture Professor Fuku gave. The rest of the lectures for the day were boring and hard to understand. Especially math. I already hated the subject and the professor only worsened it.

Finally, I was free for the evening. I had no time to lose and headed straight to the weird girls' place. Even if it only was a five-minute walk, I looked for information about idols on the QNet—classically known as the Internet—using my glasses. They were cheap, so I didn't mind if they got stolen.

I arrived at the ancient building and put my glasses in the front pocket of my pants. The sign had already been taken off, which made me strangely happy. I stepped inside and stood in front of the door. I tried to turn the archaic knob, but the door wouldn't open.

It's locked. Wait. They said this was their home, so they could be—

"Hey, you," a raspy, stupidly deep voice growled. "What are you doing here?"

I turned around to see a bald, muscular giant standing on the rotten stairs. A monster with tattoos that could easily kill me with his pinky. How do the stairs support its weight?!

He walked down the creaking stairs and approached me.

"S-Sorry. I was looking for the girls that live here—"

Out of the blue, he clasped my neck with his huge hand.

"You even admit you're a creep, you creep."

I couldn't neither breathe nor speak. He lifted me from the floor and walked to the front door. He opened it with his other hand and tossed me onto the sidewalk downstairs. I landed on my back, leaving me unable to breathe for a moment.

That's going to hurt tomorrow…

"Don't come back."

I sat on the ground, slowly catching my breath. But I have to…

"Gorō!" the blonde girl shouted. "What happened?"

She and Risa arrived behind Gorō.

You took your damn time…

"Sanae, I got rid of a creep," he cutely said.

Huh? Where's the threatening voice from a second ago?!

Sanae looked at me. "He's not a creep. He's our new manager."

"Manager? You finally got one?!"

She nodded with a smirk. "Sorry we didn't tell you—Hey!"

Gorō squeezed Sanae, lifting her from the ground. "I'm so happy!"

"I know, but let go of me! I can't breathe!"

"Oh, sorry."

He gently lowered her to the floor.

"So go and apologize to him," Sanae said.

"But what if he really is a creep?"

"He's not."

We just met and she already trusts me so much.

"He looks too weak and cowardly to do something like that."

"Hey!" I yelled.

"But only cowards would do something repugnant like that," Gorō replied.

"Now that you say it… Just don't worry. Even if he tries something, we'll kick his butt out. And we'll call you."

Gorō nodded. He walked down the short stairs and offered me his hand. I reluctantly grabbed it and he lifted me like a feather.

"Sorry, young man. I'm just protecting the girls."

"Yes, and you're doing a great job… Call me Kaito."

"Nice to meet you, Kaito. Call me Butcher."

We shook hands.

"Nice to meet you too, Butcher. Wait. Butcher? Is it because… you 'butcher' people?"

"No. I'm just a butcher. I deliver meat to many stalls and restaurants in the area."

"Oh, I see. Nice to know that."

Suddenly, he slapped my back so hard that I was unable to breathe again.

"Come on, you shouldn't keep the girls waiting any longer."

You're the one that tossed me to the ground like a pile of trash!

"Sure, I won't…"

Shaking, I walked upstairs and stepped into the building.

"Why is there a hole in your shoe?" Risa asked as I walked past.

"I'll tell you later…"

I entered their home and sat on the only chair in the room. I calmly inhaled and exhaled to recover from what had just happened. Sanae and Risa soon appeared.

"I wouldn't recommend sitting on that chair," Sanae said.

"Why?"

Out of nowhere, something snapped beneath me and I fell backward to the floor.

"Because one of its legs is broken."

Are you kidding me?

They both approached and grabbed my arms to help me stand up.

"Are you always this unlucky?" Sanae joked.

"No, I'm not."

"Maybe you ran out of it when you found us," Risa giggled.

"Maybe."

"So, what news do you have?" Sanae asked.

"First of all, we should introduce ourselves properly."

"You keep saying 'first of all'."

"Yes, I can't help it. I've been saying it ever since I remember," I replied. "My name is Kaito Miyahara. I'm a fourth-year student of Business Administration at Saitama University."

"I'm Sanae and she's Risa; aspiring idols!"

They made a cute pose. I stared at them judgementally.

"Why are you staring at us like that?"

"Is that all? You won't say your full names? Mention where you study?"

"About that…," Sanae giggled.

Oh no. Here comes the unexpected turn.

She scratched her head. "Those are our full names."

"And we have never been to school," Risa added.

I sighed. Don't ask, Kaito. Don't get more involved than you should. You're here just to use them for your project. I mean, work together.

"Fine. You said you're sixteen, right? You're old enough to sign a contract."

"About that…," Sanae giggled again.

"What now?"

"I doubt we are even legally registered in the country."

I facepalmed like never before. I took the deepest breath and exhaled as slowly as possible to calm myself down.

What am I supposed to do now? Not only would I lose points in my project, but it's also illegal! As soon as we draw enough attention, we will be inspected and I'll go to jail without a doubt.

"I guess you don't… know your parents," I said.

They shook their heads.

"Well, there's no going around bureaucracy, leaving us with three options."

"What are they?" Sanae wondered.

"We give up."

"Never."

"I supposed that much. The other two options are; getting someone to be your legal guardian or we find your parents. None of them are easy."

"Both are impossible. They require DNA tests."

"And?"

"Our parents only left a letter when they abandoned us in this district. It said to never get our blood analyzed because it would give us many problems."

It sounds more like it would give their parents problems. And it happened many years ago. We can't know if they have changed their minds.

"I already gave you the options we have. If you don't take one of those, it's over."

Sanae and Risa glanced at each other, clearly troubled. They had run into a cliff on the first day they had found a manager. I couldn't blame them.

"Do we have to decide now?" Sanae asked.

It's not like I have time. I need to write the introduction of my project for tomorrow.

I sighed. "I'll give you some time. But you must decide soon."

They both jumped at me and hugged me.

"Thank you!" Risa said.

"You're the best!" Sanae added.

"Yes, yes. Now move away. This could be easily misunderstood."

They laughed.

What am I getting into?

Edited by RedPandaChick

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