Gears rotated and pistons contracted in Aeryx's back as she moved. Liquids traveled through transparent pipes and tubes that spread all throughout her back. Colored wires hung down and stretched as her HoloForm gradually turned on from her shoulders to her hip, hiding the mechanical parts under bare skin that was soon covered by Aeryx pulling down her tank top.
I need to go before she—
Her head snapped to the left and she looked at me with one of her eyes. I jumped back and pulled the door but didn't close it so as not to make any noise.
My heart was beating at three hundred beats per minute. Did she see me?
Out of nowhere, Tomokazu's voice sounded through my glasses. "What is it, dear friend?"
We tried our hardest to relax for fifteen more minutes before walking back into the venue. Aki and the girls returned for the sound check, while I headed to the actual storage room to help Aya and Tomokazu check the merchandise. It took more time than we expected since we had doubled the quantity compared to our previous concert. Luckily, everything looked good and, two hours before opening the doors to the public, the TOTOT staff assembled both their and our stalls at the entrance of the venue. One hour remained when the sound check was done. Everyone returned to their green rooms to have one last meal before the concert. Aeryx and her band even called us to spend some time with them. Of course, the girls were ecstatic to do so, but it didn't feel the same for me knowing she was a robot. Even Aki acted somewhat off when she talked with her.
"H… Hello?" I stammered, standing around a hidden corner of the venue. "Kaito, long time no see!" Chiharu replied. "Are you so excited to hear my voice that you're shaking?" Nothing more than a whistle reached my ears. Although my heart wasn't beating fast, every beat felt like a punch. When I least expected it, my biggest fear returned. "Knock, knock. Is anyone there?" Chiharu joked. "What do you want?" I retorted. "My, my. What's up with that growl? You should know to be polite toward your threatener at your age." "Can you afford to say that on a call?" "I can afford to call you, Kaito. It doesn't matter what I say, no one can
Somehow, I was back at HQ. It felt like a normal day as I walked down the sidewalk and climbed the short stairs to the entrance.Even though the reception area was already relatively empty, it was even emptier today. The sofa and plants were gone.As confused as I was, I still headed to the main office, just to find out it was empty too.Now worried, I stepped back and into the art department, just to find the same emptiness.Where is everyone?I turned around and jogged upstairs to check every room, to no avail. There was not a single object or soul to be seen.Finally, I entered the dance studio. Weirdly enough, everything seemed normal inside, but neither Satō nor the
The more Mr. Mochizuki explained his plan, the less I wanted to hear it. My silence made him realize I wasn't buying any of it, yet he insisted. His smile turned into a frown. "I know it doesn't sound like the smartest thing to do, but I assure you it'll give us more information than if we didn't do it, meaning you'll also get answers to the questions you have also." I glanced at Aya, who stood next to the bed and looked at me pensively. Even though I wanted to do it, it didn't seem like the best thing to do. At the same time, the window to take advantage of her fragile mental state wasn't going to last much longer. "Do you think you can do it for us?" Mr. Mochizuki asked. My mind wouldn't stop giving me reasons not to do it the more I thought about it, so I simply s
A few minutes had passed when the door opening beside me woke me up from my thoughts. One of the two nurses that had entered Chiharu's room stepped out and walked away. It didn't seem like anything serious. Mr. Mochizuki took advantage of me coming back to reality to say, "I'll give you some time to relax. There are some things I need to take care of anyway. I'll see you later." "Sure," I replied. Once he was gone, I asked Aya and the nurse from earlier to help me stand up and walk back to my room. The pain had weakened a lot by the time I lay down on the bed, yet the nurse gave me a quick check-up and glued the sensors back onto my body. The nurse asked me to relax before leaving, then Aya did the same, but worries about practically everything kept bugging my mind.
Dozens of reporters flooded the entrance to the hospital. They didn't block the door—because it would've been illegal—but people still struggled to walk in and out, especially if they were a big group who were with their families. The lower part of my chest would tighten every time I got agitated, so I stopped peeking out to take a deep breath. Mr. Mochizuki approached and asked, "So, do we have a deal?" "What's in it for me?" "Not being sued for disobeying the instructions from the authorities," he smiled. We stared at each other in silence until he laughed. "I'm joking. Your part is that we won't bother or spy on you ever again. Pretty good, huh?" "Something tells me you'll have to do it again sooner or later."<
To summarize, Mom and Dad were obviously far from happy since I had hidden things from them. Despite trying my hardest to apologize, they wouldn't even let me talk. Although the rest of the team couldn't hear me being scolded like never before, my red face probably gave away my embarrassment. Fortunately, no one said anything, except for Aki, who kept chuckling at my side. It took six whole minutes of them ranting before I was able to say a word. The only way for me to calm them down was to promise them I was going to spend the next three days resting as the doctor had instructed. Once that was over, we spent the entire trip back home discussing the plans for the upcoming album. Two hours were far from enough to come up with a course of action, but the sun had already hidden behind the buildings of the city by th
My parents and I stayed at the bridge for another hour, looking at the ships taking off and talking about good memories. They then drove me around the city to take me to other places I used to frequent in the past, including my schools and the restaurants we used to eat at as a family. During dinner, Mom came up with the idea of giving a surprise visit to Takuya. I was up to the idea of teaching him to always be prepared for unwanted visitors, but as a fellow apartment owner who hated surprise visits, I couldn't do that to him. I also wanted to pay Aya back for what she did for me when I moved out. Dad agreed with me, so he sent him a message behind Mom's back. However, we had to be clear that he couldn't make it obvious that he knew we were coming by making everything pristine. To our surprise, he did a good job