Book four: Chapter one, 2016, rainy days

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Midsummer'sday, 2040, late morning


Christina tugged at Kyoko's sleeve. "Bad idea."

"Huh?" her friend said.

"I wouldn't go inside the boat house right now. Let's talk loudly and make some noise first," Christina suggested.

Beneath them seawater glimmered in the sunshine and the boat house wall was speckled with mirror shaped reflections of the sun dancing around to the broken rhythm of the waves under the dock.

Around them seagulls greeted the summer's day, and any other time Christina would have regressed to childhood for the joy of showing her best friend what the Swedish west coast was like in summer.

Now, however, she needed to make certain they made a ruckus before something really embarrassing happened. Christina had good reasons to believe her daughter was inside letting someone else explore her body for the first time.

"What about a short swim?" Christina said. The sound of bathing people nearby should wake anyone up, and if her kid was stupid enough not to get the message, then the entire party could walk in on the pair as far as Christina was concerned.

"Now?" Kyoko asked, but she was already getting out of her dress. Like most of them she wore her swimsuit underneath.

Moments later Christina watched how Kyoko hit the surface with a shriek. That's your wakeup call kids. Make good use of it.

Her kid insisted on bringing her boyfriend since a couple of months, which in Christina's world was the same as planning for her sex-debut. As a mother she didn't mind at all. He was painfully shy and could need all the help he got from his girlfriend. In a way, but for very different reasons, he was a bit like Ulf.



Chapterone, 2016, rainy days


Ryu frowned and left Stockholm Haven café. Ai-chan had left half an hour earlier, but he needed to wait for his sister to finish her job.

Noriko pointed at the police car on the other side of the street. There had been one every day for a week since some idiots with more muscles than brains from Red Rose Hell threw a homemade bomb into the café.

Despite the seriousness of the affair Urufu couldn't help but guffaw when he disarmed the bomb on the floor. Something about Molotov-cocktails made of plastic bottles and diesel was apparently hysterically funny.

Nonetheless the police came and picked up the gang after the guests in the café went out en masse and beat them down into the street. That was also the moment when the student body of Irishima high finally sided with them and made open enemies of Red Rose.

During that week late autumn gave way to early winter, and Himekaizen slowly started boiling with anticipation for Christmas and the second term final exams, as was the case for most schools in early December. Simply put the students felt the presence of year's end closing in, and Ryu was no exception.

But there was also something he hadn't experienced before. The ambiguous sensation from being part of tearing down Red Rose Hell.

Those were his thoughts when Urufu caught up to them.

"Noriko?"

"Yes?" she said and turned her eyes from the patrol car to Urufu who had called out to her from behind her back.

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