When he reached home, he saw a man looking around by the door.
Sales? Upon taking a closer look at the man's face, a name appeared in Masashi's head.
"Father?" It felt awkward saying this noun again after several hundred years.
"It's Masashi, you're finally back." Hirota Katsutoshi was delighted.
"When did you come here?"
"This morning, but no one answered the door."
"Kazumi should be doing grocery at this time. Come on in first."
Masashi poured a cup of tea for him then turned on the TV.
"I heard that you had to stay in the hospital for an injury, is that true?"
"Yes, but that was the past. I am very well now."
"I am really sorry. I was out of the country for business at the time. I only learned of this when I came back." Katsutoshi looked apologetic.
"There's no need to mention it. What are you here for today?"
"Nothing special. I got a few days off from work so I came over to see you. Are you doing well?"
"Kazumi and I are doing well. Thank you." Masashi said calmly.
It was difficult for him to have any feelings for a stranger. Their conversation was polite but had no warmth.
Just then, he heard the turning of the door. Masashi knew that Kazumi was back.
The door opened and Kazumi came in with a bag of items.
"Kazumi, father is here to see us." Masashi said to her.
Kazumi's face turned pale as soon as she saw Katsutoshi on the sofa.
"Long time no see, Kazumi. How are you doing?" Katsutoshi said with a smile.
"Get out! Get out of here now." Kazumi sounded extremely angry.
"Kazumi, how can you speak like that. He's our father." Even though Masashi had no feelings for this father but that was too much.
"I told you to get out, didn't you hear?" Kazumi yelled then threw her bag at him.
Masashi was shocked. He had never seem her in such a state.
Is this the same Kazumi that was normally quiet and indifferent?
"It looks like I should leave." Katsutoshi walked to the door.
Masashi followed him out.
Katsutoshi sighed and said. "It looks like Kazumi still haven’t forgiven me for leaving you. But, what else could I have done."
Masashi felt something strange but he didn't think much of it. "I think Kazumi just can't accept it for now. I will talk to her after she calms down."
"Thank you, Masashi. You really grew up. I will stay in a hotel nearby these few days. Give me a call if something happens."
After he returned inside, Kazumi's doors were shut.
He had to order take out for lunch then.
After lunch, he told her through the door that food was left in the kitchen, but there was no reply.
Let her calm down by herself. Masashi thought.
He didn’t know where to go as he walked on the street. Too bad that Hei and Changan were in the U.S. or they could have gone out for a drink together.
Something suddenly came to his mind and he entered a bookstore.
"Hello, how can I help you?" The receptionist asked politely.
"Do you have any books on stock investment?"
"Yes, please follow me."
Masashi followed her to a corner full of books on investment.
He randomly picked about ten books and entered the reading room.
Masashi adjusted his breathing then began flipping through the books. His speed was increasing by the second and before long, he finished a book and went on to the next one.
The book became printed in his mind. It was an ability he discovered when he was bored.
When he adjusted his mental state and focus on reading, he could memorize all the words and pictures vividly.
Soon, the whole stack of books were finished printing. Masashi went on to take another stack of books. He finished all the books on investment in just three hours.
After organizing the information in his head, he came to a conclusion about all these analysis theories and techniques, complete bullshit.
The spread of internet gave consumers a lot more choices, but the core of investment didn't change. Many of these so called new techniques were just lies.
It was better to just research a company's condition, assets, and debts.
But where can he get these information? He could give a call to Sakura Mion but he didn’t want to get in contact with the gang.
Then he saw an entertainment mall and an idea came to his mind.
Following the memories of the previous Hirota Masashi, he opened up the webpages and quickly researched a lot of information on listed companies.
Since there were so many publicly traded companies in Japan, he only researched a small portion by dinner. The whole thing would take a week.
Fortunately, it was summer vacation so there was a ton of time.
Kazumi was making dinner when he returned home. She looked as indifferent as always, like nothing had happened.
After dinner, Masashi entered the kitchen and talked to her. "Kazumi, I want to have a talk with you."
"If it's about that person, then don't bother me."
"Kazumi, he's your father."
"I don't have this kind of father." She bit her lips and she was shaking.
"Tell me, what really happened?" Masashi felt it was not as simple as he thought.
"None of your concern." She calmed down and went back to her room.
Masashi continued the research for the next several days. He couldn't think of a way to deal with Kazumi so he had to wait for mom to come back and ask.
One afternoon, he saw Hirota Katsutoshi backing out of the house as he returned home.
Kazumi charged out after him, holding a knife.
Masashi almost doubted his vision. He couldn’t have imagined a girl like Kazumi would do something like this.
There was no time to think. He ran over and grabbed his sister.
"Let go of me. Let go of me…" Kazumi struggled.
Masashi couldn't take it and slapped her.
"You're all scumbags!" She ran back inside holding onto her cheek.
"Can you leave first? It's not the time to talk." Masashi was feeling annoyed.
"Fine, we will talk after a day or two." Katsutoshi left.
Upon entering the house, the floor was ravaged and full of broken items.
"Kazumi, can we talk?" Masashi walked to her room.
However, there was no reply coming through the door. He had to give up after a while.
Things were definitely more complex. He took out the address Katsutoshi gave him a few days ago.
9PM. Masashi arrived at the hotel Katsutoshi was residing in. The receptionist told him that Katsutoshi hadn’t been back yet.
"Do you know what time he usually comes back?"
"I am sorry, but we don't know."
"Are their any bars nearby?" Masashi remembered the smell of alcohol on Katsutoshi.
"There are three bars nearby. The closest one is only 400 meters away. You should see it if you take a right and walk straight."
After a bit of walking, he saw the bar.
The inside was dimly lit. Figures were twisting their bodies along with the screeching metal music.
A girl in translucent underwear and bra were dancing around a pole in the center stage.
The atmosphere reminded him of an animal farm.
"Nii-san, first time here?" A bunny girl walked over.
"Have you seen a man in a suit, wearing a gold colored frame glasses, about forty years old?"
"There are so many men like this here. Buy me to a drink and we will go look for him one by one, ok?" She thought Masashi was being shy.
"I am not here for sex. Help me find this man and the money is yours." Masashi slapped 10,000 Yen on the table.
"Wait here for a bit, I will go ask other people." Bunny girl immediately ran off.
By the time Masashi was on his third glass of alcohol, she came back.
"There's a man that looks like your description. I can bring you over but you can only peep through the door. I will be in trouble if you anger a customer." Bunny girl stared at the money on his hand.
Masashi finished the glass then stood up. "Let's go."
Bunny girl brought him to a room then lightly opened the door.
He could hear a man and woman's laughter and knew he found the right person. Masashi pushed open the door at once.
"Ah. Who are you? Who let you in?" The woman sitting on Katsutoshi's lap screamed.
"What, what happened?" Katsutoshi asked drunkenly.
"How can you be like this. Didn't I tell you not to interrupt them?" Bunny girl yelled.
"So it's you, Yoko. I will tell the manager."
"No, Haruko. I don't know this brat. I…"
"The two of you shut up. I know this man. I am here to bring him away." Masashi carried Katsutoshi up.
"No, he's my client. How can I let you take him away like this."
Then she stopped talking after Masashi threw her 20,000 Yen.
Katsutoshi threw up twice on the way back to the hotel. Masashi would have thrown him on the streets if he wasn't their father.
Katsutoshi came to his senses for a bit after Masashi put a warm towel on his face.
"Who… are you? I seem to have seen you before."
Masashi laughed coldly. Such a good father that couldn't even recognize his son.
"Did you forget? I bought you a drink in the bar."
"Oh, is that so. Thank you. You are a nice person."
"There seems to be something troubling you. Want to talk to someone?"
"How… can I.. have anything… troubling… I am so happy… Haha…" Katsutoshi laughed.
"So there's really something troubling. You can try and say it out. It will make you feel better."
"Yes, of course. Because I have tried it. Just say it and you will feel better." Masashi slowed down his tone.
"But…but I can't… say it." Katsutoshi was struggling.
"Why not. Just say it. You will no longer feel troubled. There is no one else here. No one will hear what you said." His voice sounded charming.
"Don't worry. No one will hear it."
"I… I deeply regret…"
"Right, continue. Slowly."
"I… I did something sorry to my… daughter… My wife separated with me because of this…"
After half an hour of broken description, Masashi learned the truth from this man.
For a moment, he wanted to kill him.
"I… I really didn't want to. I didn't… I don't know what happened to me on that day. I really didn't want to…" He kept repeating this line.
Masashi smiled coldly as he looked at the man. "Don't worry. I will help you atone for the sin."
Kazumi looked at the clock after she woke up. It was already 2AM. She fell asleep during her crying.
After she left the room, she saw the living room had been cleaned and a note on the table. "There's food in the kitchen."
Kazumi felt a bit of warmth within.
I said something terrible to him today. She felt a little bad and ran to Masashi's room. Then she heard a voice through the door.
"Is it Akamatsu Ryuichiro? I am Masashi."
"I want you to take care of a person, Hirota Katsutoshi. Male, in his forties. Go search for the rest of his details yourself."
"Don't kill him. Don't beat him. I just want you to castrate him. I want him to become the last eunuch of Japan. Don't leave any traces, I don't want any trouble."
"Thank you in advance." Masashi hung up the phone.
Kazumi's heart was beating very fast as she heard it. She had never seen this side of Masashi. And it looked like he had already learned of everything. Did mom tell him?
Then he heard Masashi made another call.
"Mom? I am Masashi. Sorry to bother you so late."
"Mom, let's divorce that man. Japanese law allows a couple to divorce after living apart for two years."
"Mom, don't lie. I know everything."
A long moment of silence.
"Don't worry. That beast didn't come to us. Kazumi told me."
"Mom, don't cry. I will take good care of Kazumi. I won't let her get hurt again."
"We will use your surname after the divorce. I don't want that man's name."
"Mom, we will be by your side no matter what happens."
"Take care. I know, we will take good care of ourselves."
"I am hanging up. Bye."
The room was silent again.
After some hesitation, Kazumi knocked on the door.
"Kazumi, you are still awake so late?"
Kazumi didn't respond and just looked at him.
"You must be hungry. I will go reheat the food." Masashi thought she was still angry.
Kazumi suddenly ran over and hugged him, then buried her head in his chest and began crying.
Masashi didn't say anything and just stroke her hair.
"Thank you, nii-san."
This was the first time Masashi heard her call him by this. He smiled. "Baka, you're my sister. You should be hungry. Let's go eat first, ok?"
Masashi went to the kitchen and reheated the food. Kazumi stood behind him quietly and watched.
Whether the students like it or not, summer vacation was finally over.
Something that had to be mentioned was Naoko sensei who had only became a teacher for half a year suddenly resigned and left the school. There were many versions of the reason for her resignation. Some thought she went home to marry, some thought she changed jobs, and some even thought she ran away with a man. For a while, the male teachers who were aiming for her felt really down and didn't have any energy for work.
Masashi was also puzzled by her leaving since she never said a word about it. Then he decided to take a look at her in a few days.
Looking at all the younger faces in the welcoming ceremony, everyone realized they had become senpais.
"Do you see that girl? Looks pretty good, and has a great body. I wonder what's her name."
"I think that one is prettier, the one with long hair."
"That boy is cute."
"Go away, you are two years older than him."
"Freshmen these days sure develop nicely. I've decided. That girl is mine. Don't fight with me."
"Who gives a shit about you. I've decided on her."
Second and third year students usually fought for beautiful freshman girls were each year. Especially guys who still had no girlfriends.
During class, the teacher called their names one by one. When he got to Masashi, he stood up. "Teacher, I have changed my name. I am now Gennai Masashi. Please don't mistake it again. Thank you."
"Ok, Gennai-kun." The teacher felt a bit awkward.
The others started talking about him but he continued reading novel like he didn't hear them.
After class, someone was looking for him.
Is it Kazumi? He went to the entrance of the classroom and saw a girl in a new school uniform instead.
The girl bowed respectfully when she saw Masashi. "Hello, Hirota-san."
"Who are you?" Masashi thought she looked familiar but couldn't remember.
"Have you forgotten? I am Nagakawa Rumi, the granddaughter of Nagakawa Kyuujirou."
"What? You're Rumi?" He stared at her face and found them to look very alike.
She was wearing kendo uniform and wrapped her hair to a bun like a boy when he last saw her. The pink colored skirt of the school uniform and putting down her hair made her appear delicate and at the same time strong willed. Plus, her face was very fair to begin with, which attracted most of the boys to peep at her.
"I am sorry. I couldn't recognize you at once. Didn't you go to school in Hokkaido? Why are you here?"
"Because I want to stay beside Hirota-san to learn kendo from you. After asking for permission from my father, I transferred here." She bowed again.
"Is that so? You are coming here by yourself?"
"Yes. Father believed this is an opportunity to train myself. So no one else came with me."
"It's hard for a girl to go so far away by yourself. You can come find me any time you feel like. I have the responsibility to take care of you since you are Nagakawa's granddaughter."
"Thank you, Hirota-san."
"Oh, and I changed my surname. I am now Gennai Masashi. Please don't call me Hirota again. And don't add san. Just call me by my name."
"That would be impolite. Can I call you senpai?"
"Whatever. Where do you live now?"
"I rented a house in Go-Chome. This is the address." She handed Masashi a hand drawn map.
"Good, not far from my house. Come have dinner at my house tonight. I will also show you the way to my house. Wait for me after school for a bit."
"I will be bothering you tonight then."
"Don't talk with honorifics. I am only a year older than you. People will find it weird."
After returning to the classroom, the boys surrounded Masashi.
"Masashi, is that your girlfriend?"
"No, just a friend."
"Yes." Masashi yawned.
"Are you close to her? Can you introduce me to her?"
"No, Masashi, introduce me to her. I still don’t have a girlfriend. I beg you."
"Go away. You will just scare her with that face of yours."
"You think you're handsome? You look just like a perv."
"Masashi, can you tell me her name?"
"You don't even know her name? She's Nagakawa Rumi, the most popular girl among the freshmen. She's also a kendo bishoujo. You can give up now."
Masashi ignored these guys and napped on the desk.
Kazumi came over in the afternoon break with bentos.
"Nii-san, this is your bento. I made your favorite shrimp tempura. Do you like takoyaki tomorrow?"
"Sure, I like anything you make."
"Really?" Kazumi seemed very happy.
"Of course. Oh, yeah, I will bring a friend home for dinner tonight. Make some preparations."
"Boy or girl?" Kazumi was bewildered. Masashi had never brought any friends home before.
"Oh. Is that so. I understand." She gave him a weird smile.
"What are you thinking, you little girl. She's just a normal friend. She came here to go to school alone, so I have to take care of her." Masashi knocked her head with a finger.