"Hey, easy now Takuya! What are you doing with that aluminum foil?!" Juntaro cried out in panic.
"I'm wrapping you up and tossing you into the drain. Let see how funny it'll be when you're up to your ass in sewage crap."
Takuya grinned, as he tore out a giant sheet of foil and moved towards the cellphone he was currently residing in.
"Stop! Stop! Okay, I'm sorry! I really mean it!" He begged.
Takuya sighed. "Dammit Senpai, why must you make everything so awkward?" He said as he tossed away the foil and sat down on the benches.
"Hmm? What's up Takuya, your heart rate is higher than normal, and your muscles are tensing up." Juntaro asked with concern as he checked the screening of their bodies.
Clicking his tongue in response, Takuya felt a sliver of embarrassment as he remembered that his Senpai had access to all their internal data within his system.
It never did sit well with him that the bastard can check on their bodies at a moment's notice and, not surprisingly, does this to mess with him.
"I really wish you would stop peeping into our bodies. It's creepy, you know that."
"Well, it IS my duty to regulate you guys' bodies to make sure there isn't any sudden change or abnormality." He retorted in a truthful yet mocking tone of voice.
"It doesn't make it any less creepy."
"Yeah, yeah. Anyway, you're acting weird. What is really going on with you?"
Takuya sighed again, as he tried to think of a way to explain himself. Now that he talked himself into this hole, there isn't anyway easy way to dig himself out of it.
He hesitated, as he thought of how he could say it without the metadata asshole laughing at him about it, but realized that no matter what he says, he would be laughed at regardless.
"I'm worried." He finally manage to choke out the words.
"Whoa, really?" Juntaro eyes widen as he was slightly taken aback by his response. More so, he could see from the look on Takuya's face that he WAS serious.
And that made it all the more hilarious. He immediately burst out in uncontrollable laughter.
"God dammit!! I knew you were going to laugh, you insensitive binary piece of shi-"
"Alright, alright! I'm sorry!" Juntaro quickly interjected, wiping the tears from his eyes. "It's just... that was not what I'd expected from you.
Mister Perfection actually showing a flaw of humanity? Never thought I see the day."
"Dammit Senpai! I'm being serious here! The least you can do is not be such an asshole about it.
" He could feel the anger boiling within him, as he was mere moments away from just picking up the cellphone and chucking it into the wall.
Trying to talk to Juntaro in such a manner really was a mistake, but it was either him or a literal brick wall.
"Okay! I get it. But what's all this about? This really can't be a light matter if you're so serious about it."
Calming himself, Takuya struggled to formulated the words needed to explain himself. His head was a maelstrom of thoughts and emotions that he could just not keep down.
Opening his mouth, only to close again as it dart across his mind only for nothing to come out when he tried to speak.
"Does it have something to do with the girl?" Juntaro finally asked him.
The question made him jumped the moment he read it on his lips.
"It really is, isn't it? Good grief, you kids." Juntaro chuckled as he sighed.
"I-it's not like that! It's just...well..." Takuya stuttered as he tried to explain himself. He then got quiet again, as he thought about it.
The picture of Ryuuko smiling flashed in his head, an image he had unconsciously burnt into mind. Every time he thought about it, a strange feeling of nostalgia swept across him.
It was a feeling, faint yet so strongly it clung to him. A memory of another smile, of another person.
He could not remember the name, face or who it was yet he knew it was of someone he held dear. And every time he tried to remember it; his head would hurt.
"Senpai, why did Artificial take away certain memories from us?" Takuya asked.
"Are you serious? Is this a rhetorical question?" Juntaro scoffed, but as he looked at Takuya, he saw he meant it. Giving a sigh of resignation, he decided to humor him.
"There's no real way of knowing. But, given the circumstances, the hypothesis is that it's a way to mask the fact that we're not in our real world.
It's not just our memories, but all around us the information of any dates or calendars are wiped as well.
By taking away our birth years, our place of birth and even our parents, perhaps... perhaps it's trying to prevent us from knowing how long we've been in this fake world."
"We could've been here for decades. Centuries, even. Not that it matters since, nobody ages, and nothing changes. There's no telling. Just an endless "paradise"." He scoffed.
"Seems kind of stupid and redundant, given the fact that most of the people are already controlled like puppets, and that such a thing wouldn't matter.
"But... how does Artificial determine such memories, like our parents?" Takuya asked quietly.
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
"Do Artificial consider them through our birth parents. Or is it through our known familiar memories?" Takuya continued.
"What if; that said parent was someone who wasn't originally our parent yet was still someone important? And the memory of them were already lost, long before Artificial came for it?"
"Who the hell knows. How this god forsaken world works is anybody's guess." Juntaro sighed.
Takuya snickered at his senpai's nonchalant response. He was right, who the hell knows. Yet, he couldn't help but feel pissed the way the bastard said it.
"Senpai..., I don't want Takatora to die." Takuya suddenly said.
Juntaro flinched the moment he heard those words. As he looked through his screen and met with his underclassman's eyes, he could see the look on his face one that he's never seen.
A look of complete utter seriousness, that even he dare not joke about.
"...None of us do. Her or anyone else, doubly so for her because she's an important piece of the puzzle we've been searching for all this time." He replied carefully.
"Hahaha, of course. But three days, it just isn't enough time. Even though her aptitude is amazing, it's no use."
"That's why I said you should've move faster, beyond the basics. Although, I doubt it would've helped. That's why, I've been working on something."
Takuya's eyes widen.
"No way! Did you actually complete it?!" He jumped with excitement.
"Not exactly. I'm not sure if it'll work properly since I haven't fully tested it. But it should help her and us drastically if it does."
"Holy crap, Senpai! That's awesome! Did you tell the Prez yet?"
"I plan to, although it might be better kept as a secret for now. Considering... you know what."
"Ah, of course." Takuya glanced up, as if searching for something off in the distance.
"Takuya, I'll keep her safe. Her, and all of you, no matter what. That I will promise you." Juntaro assured.
"I know you will, Senpai. That's why I'll be counting on you." Takuya smiled as he slowly got up from his seat. He went towards the practice dummy and pulled out his knives.
"Senpai, when Takatora asked earlier about why Artificial impose the need to isolate us from other people, I couldn't bring myself to tell her.
" Taking a deep breath, he twirled his knives as he took a stance. Then, he vanished.
CLANG CLANG SLASH
The sound of metal clashing rang throughout the gymnasium as the dummy was thrown into the air and was being ripped apart in a blink of an eye by an invisible force.
"Yeah, I didn't think you would keep quiet about it." Juntaro said as he watched the practice dummy explode into a mess of scraps and fabric.
"That it's an act of mercy."
Takuya reappeared again, as if out of thin air. He was out of breath and the knives in his hands were shattered. He looked up as the torn pieces of the dummy rain down on him like confetti.
"This world truly is "paradise"..."