Yuko had called me to her office as if there was something important to talk about that gardener and wanted to bring me away as if I would encounter something bad if I didn’t.
Yuko: “There you are! I’ve some shocking news for you: That gardener you spoke to earlier was the high school principal of me and Kotomi. He looked like this and had visible health problems when I graduated.”
Yuko pointed to an old man in a photograph, which doesn’t look like the young female gardener I saw earlier.
Me: “Are you sure that’s the same person?”
I’m trying very hard to not be distracted by Yuko’s appearance: there’s a noticeable change of the colour scheme since I last saw her here, and she seems to be wearing black stockings that covers her legs completely. I’ve also noticed that the staff working here has their uniforms changed, though different from Yuko, who is the supervisor but she claims that she isn’t and there aren’t any for this branch. She also holds the same rank as everyone else. She seems to not want to talk about her obvious unexpected new appearance that I have seen for the first time only right now.
I don’t see how this academy produces the best people academically and athletically with absolutely no failures (in fact, most scored close to full grades) despite the high level of difficulty, increased sensitivity at the body’s weak points, visual distractions and movement restrictions. I’m guessing that since nobody is complaining, they could be mentally unaware of it and their body trying to make comfortable with it to reach a normal level that, if the restrictions and distractions are lifted after a long-enough period, they would be surprised to find themselves to do better than expected or their competitors. I’ve seen people at the swimming pool swimming in the same outfit as they would wear for work/studies instead of a swimsuit. Also, everyone I’ve seen in Mizuho, seemed to be always stress-free, happy, and friendly. With Yuko and her increased freedom of expression for being classified as a supervisor (though she repeatedly claims that she’s not). I’m thinking it means that Yuko is able to criticize what Mizuho does and knows the campus secrets, but still couldn’t talk about it to others, with me being the odd exception.
Yuko: “Well, I haven’t confirm it yet, but she mentioned the name of the high school Kotomi and I went to, and even described about Kotomi in detail. From what I see, he could also had been working for Hatsuya a long time ago. What’s quite new was Kotomi being brainwashed or hypnotized as a child to make her forget what was done to her, and make her forever love someone when the conditions to trigger it happened. The brainwashing seem to have worked, but flashes of it might appear in her mind, along with the possibility of not knowing what those flashes of memories means. Since Kotomi was first attracted to me, I knew that her mind and body are not in sync with each other.”
Me: “So, is there anything else about that principal?”
Yuko: “Well, that dead body of him discovered after graduation has been verified by the police to be him, but noted that he seemed a lot older for his age. I can’t think of how that’s possible without any involvement of time traveling or age accelerating methods. If time traveling is involved, surely there’s a rule about not letting the younger self see or even know about the older self. The one you met earlier is younger than the dead body. I don’t know how he knew about the Mizuho uniform, but it did cause confusion with his daughter. Also, he seemed to be living here permanently and when he goes out, he never ever takes off the Mizuho uniform except the one time to prove his daughter that it was him. He mentioned a “colleague” of him, who has been working at Hatsuya for far longer than Kotomi’s uncle. Unless our high school principal left Hatsuya Research before electronic database of Hatsuya staff replaced paper-based ones in the mid to late 1990s, records of him having worked at the company do not exist in the electronic database if he had left before the conversion, or, since the conversion is manual and the prioritization is to the new employees back then, he could have left during the conversion before his turn came.
The 1990s? When I first used the internet in those days, I just entered primary school and didn’t know until later on that the internet as we know now had only just started and things like cassette tapes and typewriters quickly being phased out.
Me: “So, from what year do you suppose he came from, and how did he die?”
Yuko: “Well, apart from heart failure with old age, we couldn’t find any signs that he was attacked or drugged. Things that we also found, but not made known to the public was money with an unknown era name. Other things we found too had advanced technologies ahead of our time, but we couldn’t use it due to the security measures on it or trying to access data that does exist from where he came from, but not our present time. It’s very hard to access an internet of a specific time that is not the present and expect it to work. It’s like bringing a 2009 car into the 1930s, but spare parts not existing and incompatible fuel even though it says gasoline, not to mention the design alone attracts attention. As the uniform seem to freeze the wearer’s original age, he could have lived longer than the age of that dead body, but mixing that with time travel, and the age-freezing feature itself introduced not long ago enough to tell the difference, it’s hard to confirm my theories. It’s also hard for me to tell an old person’s exact age when they are in their sixties or older without asking a personal era-specific question, assuming that they don’t time travel.”
Author’s note: Sorry for the delay and the shorter-than-usual story part. Something is happening in my life and I have to sort out my priorities.