Book three: Chapter six, 2016, three schools

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Midsummer'sday, 2040, breakfast


"Think they'll be surprised?"

Yukio groaned silently. Surprised wasn't exactly the word that came to mind. "Man, you have a way with words," he said instead of answering the question.

Ryu grinned impishly and poured himself another cup of coffee, or whatever substituted for coffee here. Swedes drank their traditional coffee from large mugs poorly suited for the black gold, and as a result it was weak and strangely sour.

Swallowing another mouthful of the swill Yukio decided he had enough. Tea, he'd have tea instead. For some reason there was an abundance of flavoured tea that surprised him.

Land of coffee, and you drink horse piss, but I'd be hard pressed to find as many variants of tea back home. He grinned. Strange people. You're strange all of you.

"They shouldn't be," Yukio said. "We've given them enough hints to guess what's about to happen."

With a nod Ryu leaned back in his chair. "Some people are rather dense. Remember the fallout with Red Rose?"

He was right. Some people were really, really dense. It still surprised Yukio how far their adversaries had allowed things to go south before they reacted. Looking back he was grateful for that incompetence. At the time he'd looked up on Urufu and Kuri like some kind of divine beings, but in reality they'd been badly out-gunned from the start.

"Yeah, I remember. No way I'd help them with something like that today."

"Them? If I recall Kuri did most of the damage." Yukio saw Ryu look around to make sure Urufu didn't overhear them. "Urufu was livid when he found out."

With a sigh Yukio admitted Ryu was right. Still, in the end Urufu helped his girlfriend inflict as much damage as possible unto what had transformed from a bad memory to an enemy.

"I'm happy it's all behind us," Yukio said and rose to make some tea.



Chapter six,2016, three schools


"This is from me," Kyoko said and reached over the table with her bag.

The small karaoke booth barely had room for all eight of them, but Kyoko really wanted to spend some time with their extended inner circle before they all went to Stockholm Haven café where the rest of the club were headed.

Noriko took the offered bag in her hands and looked inside.

"What is it?" she asked.

"A little something from Yukio and me," Kyoko answered.

By her side Yukio frowned and shook his head. "Don't accuse me of that atrocity. Wallet, my participation was strictly limited to my wallet," he said and grinned.

With a squeal Noriko opened up the bag and quickly ripped through the gift-wrapped box inside.

"It's so... so... green!" she said, but her eyes glittered and she was already digging up her phone from a pocket. "I always wanted one of these," she continued and firmly planted her phone inside the skin.

It really was as intrusive to the eyes as Yukio had said.

"Happy birthday!" Kyoko said, and her eyes glimmered just like Noriko's.

"Ryu, we decided that to be a cool as Urufu you have to look as antique as Urufu," Yukio said and took the verbal baton from Kyoko.

Both Nao-sempai and Ai-chan gave him questioning stares before they glanced in Urufu's direction.

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