The downtown district of the academy resembles very much like the downtown areas I know of. The upper floors of these buildings has offices, or dormitories. To get here from the main entrance, you would have to take the subway as it’s quite a long walk in and the only roads in the campus are only between the vehicle entrance and the sector where most of the offices in the campus are. It’s almost like walking and the subway are the only way to get around. Running and cycling is actually allowed, but nobody except students were seen doing so because they physically can’t. The subway has entrances at various places around the campus.
As there are only young ladies here wearing the assigned mandatory Mizuho uniform, there are no clothes or shoe shops at all. I see products that are only sold in the campus, like milk with higher-than-usual nutrition and is quite popular, but the quantity stocked seems relative to the number of people in the campus the day before. Handbags with the school’s logo sold here could hold an infinite amount of things and the only weight you feel is the bag itself. The only things you can’t put in are people, and those that could contaminate other things inside easily.
Everything in here looks futuristic, but the things they are made out of is actually available currently. People outside are not using it because of costs, old ways still being practiced, the lack of creativity of it’s application, amongst many other reasons. The reduced differences between people and self-distraction (quite literally) seems to be the main reason that other schools lack that Mizuho produces so many top-grade students and, for companies, and higher chances of demands being met on time for things within their control. I haven’t been to the area where most of the officers are, but I do see skyscrapers in the general direction of those. I can’t tell if those buildings are outside the campus.
Speaking of offices, I’m dropping by the Hatsuya branch office here to see if there’s anything for me since they are the ones who sent me here. The land the office it’s at is about the size of a stadium field, so it’s neither big nor small. The corridors and staircases are as narrow as a normal house. For a company that is well known with many branches and contributes the most to the academy, the building of their branch seems rather small and low-profile. It’s barely larger than the first branch I work at. There’s a carpark at the front, and I see my car that Itsuki drove being parked there. It’s rather small. There’s a warning sign saying that only Hatsuya staff could enter. With the Mizuho uniform designs, this usually means that unauthorised people are those in student or teaching uniforms. Staff of other branches being allowed in are unknown. I don’t know what I’m under as it just lets me in instantaneously with no problems. Well, I don’t know why…
Voice from behind: “How did a student like you get in here? Wasn’t the reader at the building’s entrances supposed to only let the staff who work here… oh wait, it’s you. Didn’t recognize you with your new look. What should I call you, “Kanade Haneda” as in your school records, or the usual “Saeko” you are more familiar with?”
A woman wearing the mysterious Mizuho uniform approached me with a sigh on her face. Only people who are in the highest position of the school or company they are a part of wear them. The staff pass she’s wearing has a slightly different name of Yuko Hisakawa (久川由子) printed on it, which raises my doubt on this is the same Itsuki I know of as there’s absolutely no hints on her being him with that very feminine appearance and behavior. She even knows the name I use here and my actual name.
[Author’s note: From here on, Itsuki in his female form is referred as Yuko. “Other self” still refers to the protagonist, or Itsuki/Yuko if it’s from the protagonist point of view.]
Yuko: “You don’t seem to recognize me, but that’s excusable because of your condition when you last came here and the changes with the new uniform. Don’t worry, I won’t disturb you when I’m like this, but forgive my actions when I turn back. I can remember what I did in either form, so you don’t need to remind me. I don’t know why my uniform is the odd one out from my colleagues or what it means. It wasn’t one of the designs I had either tested or informed of. I mean, what am I wearing now? It’s the most embarrassing thing I have been forced to wear on top of being near-impossible to remove, though I oddly don’t out of place and feel comfortable.”
She doesn’t seen to be aware that she is their leader. When I saw them working the last I was here, they all worked under orders from headquarters or the administrative department of the academy.
Me: “What’s with the name change? Didn’t you say something about having a gender-neutral name not being changed?”
Yuko: “I’m well known enough to not be allowed to keep my original given name when I’m like this without others thinking that I’m crazy to my already confused self-identity. On the official records, I’m seen as two different and unrelated staff, but certainly some people like the director would know about this. Before you ask, the uniform also can’t be removed in the dormitory or for sports activities and I’m not behind this craziness as it dates back far before I was even posted here. Be lucky that I suggested the new designs that are more diversified with many versions and up with the times that is considered a major makeover over the previous conservative design that actually seemed old-fashioned when compared to most other schools at that time, but they went to the opposite end of that scale and now look better than the current counterparts. I would like to tell you more, but even I am kept in the dark on how things work here. There’s something about the uniform around the areas covering the most sensitive parts of the female body that is making everyone campus-wide, including myself, feeling strongly aroused at random times once everyday, but nobody is talking about it and carry on as though it never happened once it ended. It can happen during meetings and important exams too. Only way to avoid it is to be outside the campus when it happens.”
That thing I experienced earlier is considered a daily thing? I don’t get how that helps with scoring top grades.
Me: “You never told me this before, but what exactly have you been doing since working here?”
Yuko: “It’s the same as before, but more specifically for the systems in here. This academy is one of the few places that my company could test out their inventions in actual use. Sometimes, I wasn’t even told what I was programming or report straight to headquarters without giving me enough time to change back and turn up as I was on being contacted.”
Me: “At least I don’t need to show my face to my staff at Powell. By the way, do you know how long I will be here? Nobody mentioned about it.”
There was silence. It seems that she never thought about it.
Yuko: “You are now in the first year of high school, but given that you have already went through two full cycles of high school, your knowledge level being quite high, having “founded” your own company that is now well known, and the possibility of Kotomi not wanting to be a housewife or take care of her future children. It seems that you might be able to skip to third year of college at the end of the year if you can pass it. Any student can take it, but only those at the end of college second year and above would even know what to write upon seeing the questions, but you still have the chance to take the test for your immediate proceeding year should you not pass that. Please at least stay in high school section for at least this academic year. Mizuho exams are known to be quite difficult for the grade level, but with “unique” things that only happen here, not a student has repeated a year in the school’s history since it moved to the current campus.”
It seems that me being posted here indirectly means that my endless cycle of only learning high-school level education is ending and finally move on to college level. Yuko also implies that I would have to take over the role of a mother should Kotomi want children, but not take care of them. Unless Itsuki is the father of the future children in question, how am I going to have them think that I’m their parent too? I don’t want to think about it now: it might be a nightmare for me when it happens that could last for a very long time. So long that they might quietly have it as long as her youngest child needs my care. They might send me back to school when the oldest child is in middle school. Wait… Her children will grow older than me and I would still be a 16-year old girl? Oh why?