With the time spent preparing my club for the festival and helping out my classmates, there are only a few weeks left before the end of the holidays. With Itsuki now having fallen ill, I don’t know how much time I have left. That is, if I were to take care of him.
Mother: “Saeko-chan. I appreciate you taking care of him, but aren’t you supposed to have your break too? He might have been too ill to tell you this, but he wants you to collect documents all the way from somewhere in Hong Kong in his place.”
Aren’t you contradicting what you just said? Having me go to a far-away place just to collect something. But what about customs? For me, things like my thumbprint are exactly the same as Itsuki’s and might cause confusions. As for the passport, well, there isn’t an issue as the thumbprint looks the same and my current name there is reflected there instead of the one from the other dimension, but I don’t know what the person at the counter is doing behind the counter does when verifying my passport or during security checks. I have to call someone from the Hatsuya Institute.
Supervisor of Inami branch: “Oh Saeko! We were waiting for you to call us especially since Itsuki has fallen ill. Anyways, we did some things and you should have no problems passing through the airport.”
Me: “Thank you. Is that all?”
I’ve never been to Hong Kong before, so I’m not sure what to expect upon arriving, or know my way around even if I were given directions. It is, however, not my first time being overseas or in a high-density city.
Supervisor: “One more thing: just last week, the director hinted at a meeting that you are likely to enter another high school right after you graduated from your current school and are in the early stages of studying what could happen and are making the necessary paperwork. I don’t know anything more than that.”
What did you say? Me having to go to high school again? It’s already my fifth year attending high school, and you want me to attend it for nine or more years? That’s far longer than both primary and middle school combined! I reluctantly replied.
Me: “Did you overhear this, or did he tell you personally or at a meeting.”
Imagine, a large conference room meeting discussing about me like I’m some billion (American) dollar “android” so secret that even the “android” itself doesn’t even know anything about the meeting itself. I hate to think myself as an invincible human robot, but sadly, I am. This was during the months I was paralyzed after being cloned and found myself at a massive underground lab inside a liquid-filled capsule that I was floating around and wasn’t drowning in. I don’t know what they did to me exactly.
Supervisor: “I don’t recall where he said it, but he mentioned something about ‘knowing more of yourself’ and ‘reduce distractions by the opposite gender’.”
Guess I won’t know what it is exactly until it draws nearer.
This body I accidentally got stuck into now is permanent and technically the property of the Hatsuya Institute and is able to make me do things against my will, like what Itsuki did to me on my actual birthday last year. I mean, my body is deliberately designed to be helpless when attacked. As a female: I am smaller than Itsuki and could actually give birth to babies and produce drinkable milk if only they were not blocked. Changing clothes takes a long time. I think less of that and more of wanting to love another guy. My hair has to be longer than that of guys, but not too long. With breasts, longer hair, and this irremovable swimsuit I’m forced to wear, I feel very hot in the summer on top of my tighter clothing and my hair being in the way. I don’t know how I’m still healthy and alive despite not eating or drinking for many weeks, or even survived after being cut into pieces. I know it happened because I saw it with my own eyes and felt the extreme pain far beyond what I have ever felt. When I am with Itsuki and meeting someone only he knows (there’s a big time gap since I was separated), they would be shocked that I am his younger sister they have never heard before. Sometimes, he would hold me up like a baby as I’m smaller and lighter than him. Sometimes, he does say the truth about a cloning experiment that went wrong and I was the part of his mind that was transferred to the cloned body. The fact that I’m an attractive girl that originated from a boring guy made them look at the both of us, as though trying to find how we are alike, and yet lead different lives. He never mentioned about me being the founder of the Powell institute though to protect my identity or wasn’t thinking about it at all.
I wonder what was that machine that made me have this body? A cloning machine, or a set of failed teleportation machines? Since I was already a worker of the Hatsuya Institute of some respectable level, I think they became lenient on me over some random intruder (which they were actually expecting). I mean, the way they said it is that I have to do as I was told, but the only thing they did to me was to have me to attend high school numerous times as a student (I don’t age) until they are happy with it, an approximately ten thousand percent increase in my pay on top of my salary from Powell Institute as the founder. The only people from there who are in direct contact with me are Itsuki and Kotomi, both whom I know very well and quite close with. Kotomi would be able to intervene what Itsuki doing to me as mental torture, but she won’t be back from California until the summer of my first year of that school the supervisor just mentioned for her university studies. It’s sad that I can’t change the order by the supervisor.
Anyways, my task briefing seems to imply that I would head to the office in a place called Kowloon (九龍; I had confused the name with the Kuryuu islands when I saw the kanji at first), which is like a central area of Hong Kong, and then head straight back here in Japan with no stops in between. As the time-frame wasn’t specified, I guess I could take my time and come back before the second school semester begins in September.
Security on both sides are quite thight ever since that incident in New York almost six years ago. Not sure if it’s just me, but unlike everyone else, all the airport immigration and security personell totally ignored me. It’s as though I don’t exist. Why am I the odd one out?
So, as we landed into the (name of current airport) on Lantau Island that is about a decade old instead of an older one that is dangerously surrounded by tall apartment complexes. It was already evening when I arrived, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to be around when I arrive. Plus, I don’t know the way there.
My first impressions of Hong Kong was that it had the same atmosphere of a country I went to two years earlier. In terms of things like infrastructure, however, it’s more developed. Sadly, I don’t know much of the place or have any idea where to go now. Try out the food here? Go shopping? Hm? Someone is calling me?
Itsuki: “Sorry to spoil your shopping mood, but there’s someone pointing a sniper riffle at you and his men hidden in the croud around you. If he were to shoot at anywhere besides your main body, you might get seriously injured and some perment mental damage if the bullet enters your head. There’s a parked red and white taxi with the numbers 6374 that is about to be overtaken by a brown double decker bus. Take it and the driver will bring you to somewhere safe.”
Sure enough, there is a bus overtaking a taxi with the said number in front of me. It as though Itsuki is hiding somewhere near me, but he’s still back in Japan. Than that means…
I saw a suspious man in a building behind me across the road holding a long gun with a scope attached. Upon realizing that I was looking at him, he quickly prepared his gun and shot at my head and my legs. The face of an unknown man who shot me was the last thing I saw before my vision blurred. My hearing became muffled and had great difficulty uttering a single word.
I wasn’t able to run for the taxi as my legs are disabled, and my crawling rate is very slow. I could still see the fuzzy colours of the taxi. I knew that the men Itsuki mentioned might take advantage of me being injured. Previous incidents of me being attacked only involved my main body and not the rest.
Suddenly, someone picked me up and lay me on the back seat of a vehicle. I can’t tell if it was the taxi driver, the suspicious men, or one of the people around me. By this time, I blanked out.
Female voice: “Hisakawa-San? Wake up! It’s me, Takagi.”
I opened my eyes and my head feels different. I’m in a one-bed hospital ward surrounded by people, but Takagi and some unknown people from either Hatsuya or Powell institutes are the only ones I could see.
Takagi: “Saeko! I was really worried when I heard you being assassinated. It was on the local news all over. I didn’t know it was you as they called you Gau Chuen Sagongji for some reason until I saw the kanji and your face..”
I don’t know in what way has the bullet affected me. My memories seem to have something missing: The place I recall being shot in the head has oddly fewer people and I was shot by a floating gun by itself. Odd, what is missing from my memories?
Me: “Takagi, what am I doing at a hospital with my head and leg wrapped in bandages? And which hospital am I at?”
Takagi: “At a private hospital in Hong Kong. A company called Fatt Guk Institute brought you in and said that they would help to send you back to Japan. Anyway, two of your club mates have came all the way from their holiday trip to visit you after they heard from the news. They’re outside.”
I only saw Sakurai Kazumi (桜井和美), a classmate I had studying sessions a few weeks earlier, walking in. Next to her are a boutique of… FLOATING FLOWERS???!!!
Kazumi: “Saeko-chan? What’s wrong? It’s just *****-chan.”
Her voice was muffled at the mention of the name. There’s definitely something wrong with me: nobody would muffle suddenly, and I know that flower can’t be floating, but I’m seeing nothing holding it. A ghost?
Me: “The… the flowers are floating in mid-air! And I couldn’t hear the name you just said, seriously. I don’t know why I can’t see it that I’m starting to think that it’s a ghost.”
As though something caught their attention they turned to look at a wall on my right that only has chairs. What is so interesting about that wall?
Takagi: “The only living things she could only see and hear are female humans?!”
Wait, there was someone else standing in the direction of the wall they were staring at? And I can’t see males? What are the exceptions or cure said by whoever they are talking to? Why am I suddenly holding a camera?
Kazumi: “He told you to see if you can see and hear them through an electronic device.”
Unsure, I took a look and… what? This is like telling a myopic person without glasses to look through the screen of a digital camera and be amazed at “the quality” of what they could see through the device instead of with their unaided eyes. I see no difference.
Me: “Sorry. If it worked, I should be able to see males and animals. I mean, I could only see an empty neck collar of what they say is a dog, or for live sports events on TV, the place looks unusually quiet. It’s as though, from my point of view, they had vanished. The state of my damaged brain is as though I have forgotten what non-human females are like and can’t see them. Their actions with a non-living thing from my point of view looks as though there are invisible ghosts interacting with them.”
I myself am shocked that I can’t see or hear what I was able to before I was shot in the head. My damaged brain doesn’t know what I can’t see, but knows that something seems odd based on what I can see.
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