Volume 2 – Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu, Sono Ni
Chapter 1 – The Correct Way to Steal a Moped II (Part 1)
His looked pretty modest. On the other hand, hers was quite a sight.
An extra-spicy prawn croquette burger, a green apple pie, a mango-banana milkshake, a double serving of French fries, and to top it all off, twelve spicy chicken nuggets that were being sold ‘this summer only’.
She would never be able to finish all of that.
Yet Yuuko refused to hold back. Suizenji would have to pay for all this anyway, she thought. Suizenji, on the other hand, simply took out his wallet without a single word of complaint and declared in a voice that was loud enough to make anyone in the line in front of the counter turn to look at them:
“What a very robust appetite you have there, Asaba-kun! If only your brother had a tenth of that!”
Even the lady behind the counter laughed at her. Yuuko gave Suizenji the blackest scowl she could manage, but he looked quite unperturbed as he added to his order enough food to feed an elephant. With a fistful of napkins and a tray piled so high it was almost embarrassing, she began to climb the narrow staircase, kicking at the heels of Suizenji’s enormous basketball shoes as she went. The first floor only had a row of counter seats by the window, the second floor was the non-smoking floor, and the third was the smoking floor.
They had already confirmed that her brother and Iriya Kana were sitting at the corner of the third floor.
Yuuko thought he had gone farther out of his way than was necessary. It was in between meal-times now and there weren’t many customers, so he didn’t need to go up to the third floor as there were empty seats everywhere else. However, that was also the reason why her brother chose to sit in the smoking section on the third floor. He probably wanted to minimize the probability of running into a classmate from school or having to sit next to customers with noisy kids.
Suizenji was walking ahead of her, but he stopped once on his way up the narrow flight of stairs to give way to two customers making their way down. Yuuko also plastered her back onto the wall, as she hid the heaped-up tray behind Suizenji to let them pass her by. The cord of a single ear bud from his earphone dangled from his bag right in front of her, prompting her to stuff the it into her ear. The signal from the wireless microphone was strong despite coming from the corner of the smoking section on the third floor and she could her everything rather clearly.
Her brother was saying something.
—but I’m really sorry that it got a little weird just now. The movie ended halfway through, and a fire truck came, too. Jeez, the replacement movie ticket they gave us in apology isn’t of much use as well.
—ah, erm. This town seems to be particularly concerned about things like that. If there’s a slightly strange smell or if someone placed a suspicious-looking bag in movie theatres, department stores or train stations, or in any place where large groups of people gather, police patrol cars or fire trucks will come by almost immediately.
Come to think of it, just before the movie ended, there were people running around near the back of the theatre, weren’t there? I wonder what that was all about.
The microphone then picked up an exceedingly cheery voice approaching them from the edge of its working radius. “Sorry to keep you waiting!” that voice said. “Here is the UFO pizza, limited to this region only, for order tag number four!”
Suizenji placed his tray on a four-person table right at the back of the second floor before sticking a hand into his bag and adjusting the frequency for the wireless transceiver that his microphone used. Once he was seated, he launched into a very clear explanation as to why Yuuko had called Iriya Kana ‘the girl who cries a lot”.
It is likely that Special Correspondent Iriya was not crying, he said.
“Then what was that? I saw it, you know, my brother going out of his way to bring a handkerchief out today when he rarely does—”
“Special Correspondent Iriya probably had a nosebleed again.”
Suizenji sank his teeth into his first hamburger. While still chewing with his mouth full, he explained that Iriya Kana was very new to the club. Today was Sunday, and the first time she turned up at the clubroom was after school on Thursday. In the three days she had been enrolled in the club, Suizenji had seen her suffer nosebleeds on several occasions for no good reason at all.
“—is she ill?”
Suizenji already had his hands on his second burger.
“Perhaps. —however, you would know after observing her for a while that she only suffers nosebleeds when she gets emotional or worked up over something.”
What’s that supposed to mean?
Yuuko thought that he might as well have been describing a manga character. Suizenji pushed the remaining half of his second burger into his mouth and swallowed it all without needing to chew on it very much.
“Let’s move on to the matter of Special Correspondent Iriya filling in a Club Application Form.”
Yuuko had a straw in her mouth as she unwillingly started telling her story. She told Suizenji about the Club Application Form with Iriya’s name, the club she was applying for, and her reason for wanting to join.
Suizenji laughed from deep within his throat as he reached for his third burger. Yuuko was beginning to feel full by just watching him eat. Does he intend to go into hibernation after this? This was her first time seeing someone who had such a healthy appetite.
“It’s natural that Special Correspondent Asaba would not show that to me. —but for Asaba to keep that form in between the pages of a dictionary would mean that he was clearly trying to hide it. You returned it to where it was so he wouldn’t know that we know, I hope?”
Yuuko nodded in affirmation.
“Ah, and someone with the name ‘Shiina’ affixed her stamp on the form, too.”
“Well, the Club Application Form had boxes for an ‘Advisor’ and a ‘Homeroom Teacher’ to put their stamps in, right? The ‘Advisor’ box was empty, but the ‘Homeroom Teacher’ box had a stamp that said ‘Shiina’.”
Suizenji was in the midst of biting into his third burger, but his mouth stilled.
“—Shiina, as in, Shiina Mayumi? The one in the infirmary?”
“Who else? There isn’t any other teacher in our school with that name.”
Suizenji’s gaze became distant. He seemed to be engrossed in thought.
However, Yuuko did not think that the ‘Shiina’ stamp on the form would be of that much interest. Iriya Kana probably thought that any teacher would do, thus she had approached the one who seemed the most agreeable—that’s all. She was far more curious as to why Iriya Kana would fill in a Club Application Form for a guerrilla group like the Journalism Club. One could say that it was a twisted attempt at writing a love letter to her brother, but submitting a form like that would come off as strange no matter how you looked at it.
“The Journalism Club isn’t a formal club, so why the Club Application Form?”
“Ah. Special Correspondent Iriya probably didn’t know.”
“Didn’t know what?”
“That the Journalism Club is a guerilla group.”
Yuuko thought to herself, How is that possible? She felt a sudden wave of irritation.
Yuuko was a field hockey player. Since the team wasn’t very competitive and there were only a few members in it, there was a high chance that she would be put on the team and be able to play in prefectural tournaments without the need for a qualifying round. That was how Gii persuaded her to join. However, as how things usually were, the minority would often be subjects of persecution. Even the discrimination that the Africans faced under apartheid would pale in comparison to the unfairness of the division of the school grounds between the clubs for practice. In contrast with the appearance that the school tried to keep up, the clubs did not receive equal treatment. Yuuko remembered feeling frustrated every time someone said to her: “We had a club like that?”
On the other hand, the Journalism Club’s notoriety was no trifling matter. They only had three members; four, with the addition of Iriya. They were a guerilla group that unlawfully occupied empty clubrooms to carry out club activities. Despite that, even if there were students in Sonohara Middle School who had never heard of the school’s field hockey team, there wasn’t anyone who hadn’t heard of the Journalism Club, and the head of that very club was sitting right in front of her now. Yuuko, as a member of the oppressed, could feel her fury mounting.
If he wants to be a guerilla that much, he should just go to Tel Aviv and plow the mine fields, she thought.
A tiny palm slammed on the table.
“She must have known! I saw in the news that children would dig out mines from mine fields and throw them into lakes to catch fish! What thoughts do you have about that?”
“W-What are you talking about now?”
Yuuko, through gritted teeth:
“How can it be possible for someone in our school to not know about the Journalism Club?! Anyway, you all have a lot of nerve to be throwing your weight around despite being an unofficial club!!”
Suizenji knitted his brows. He couldn’t see what she was getting at. Just to make doubly sure that he was not the one who had gotten the wrong idea, he decided to go back to square one and start his story from the very beginning.
“—hang on, Asaba-kun. You see, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that Special Correspondent Iriya didn’t know that our club was technically, not a club.”
“She just transferred to our school.”
Just then, a voice which had been silent since the beginning of the meal could be heard over the earphones: Iriya finally deigned to speak.
—why do you ask?
—ah, erm, like I said, that person who called himself Enomoto said that he was sort of like your elder brother, but is he really your brother? When Kawaguchi said that you had a brother that worked in the Japanese Self-Defense Force, was he referring to Enomoto? Have you really been living with him all this time?
—I mean, you see, he always calls you ‘Iriya’, doesn’t he? I’ve always found it strange that he doesn’t call you by your first name despite being your elder brother. Er, in other words…
—a-ah, I’m sorry for asking such weird questions. It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it.
Suizenji strained his ears to hear as he pressed a middle finger on his ear bud.
He had known that she had a brother in the Japanese Self-Defense Force, but it was his first time hearing of an ‘Enomoto’. That raised a number of suspicious questions.
One. If they had a normal brother-sister relationship, it was indeed strange for ‘Enomoto’ to address her by her surname. He wondered what ‘Enomoto’ meant when he said, “I’m sort of like her elder brother.”
Two. Why does Asaba Naoyuki know that Iriya Kana’s brother was called ‘Enomoto’, and what he usually called her? Does that mean that Asaba Naoyuki had met this ‘Enomoto? If so, when, where, and under what conditions did they meet?
“—Asaba-kun, do you have any recollection of the name Eno— w-what is that look on your face for?”
Yuuko’s eyes were wide and her mouth was agape. Her tone was completely different from before.
“—she’s a transfer student?”
“—that girl called Iriya Kana.”
All the dots in Yuuko’s mind were finally connected and everything suddenly made sense.
Her school couldn’t have that many transfer students.
“Then… then… could it be that the girl whom my brother brought into the shelter was actually…?”
Suizenji looked appalled.
“Harh? You didn’t know? The girl with your esteemed brother right now is Iriya Kana, the other party in the ‘Incident at the Shelter’ a few days ago.”
Yuuko didn’t know.
She did not speak to her brother, but since they went to school every day she would have heard that rumor even if she didn’t want to; the rumor that the person who obsequiously follows Suizenji around actually attempted to sexually assault a classmate. It was the talk of the school, and a topic of discussion even in her class. They said that he, amidst the confusion during the anti-air raid, brought a female transfer student into the shelter and—
She couldn’t believe it.
She could scarcely believe that strange girl was that ‘female transfer student’ in question.
Meanwhile, Suizenji was laughing his ass off.
“Didn’t you hear it from Special Correspondent Asaba? Don’t you two talk to each other? I thought it was odd at first, but did you really follow those two around without knowing that?”
She thought he had finally stopped laughing, but Suizenji’s shoulders began to shake with laughter once more as he continued:
“—well. Something like that happened, after all. Special Correspondent Asaba probably wouldn’t let his younger sister in on all the details of something like that, would he? But I’m sure you have heard the rumors, at least? What an embarrassing faux pas indeed! To think that that Asaba would bring a female classmate into the shelter to—ow.”
He had been doubled over with laughter, and Yuuko had whacked him soundly on his head.
“W-What are you doing?”
Pulling the ear bud out of her ear, Yuuko rose, kicking her seat.
“L-Let’s not resort to violence here, alright? Hey!”
And Yuuko started to rain blows on Suizenji, not caring if her fists landed on his head, his back, or his shoulders.
Suizenji hurriedly sat up.
“Let go of me!”
Just as Yuuko raised her voice at him, from the earphones:
—what’s wrong? What’s a wiretap?
He almost let that one slip by him.
Suizenji had leaned over the table to grab Yuuko’s hand, but he froze in that position. He pushed the ear bud deeper into his ear as he strained to listen.
“I told you to let go of me!!”
Yuuko tried to pull her hand away but Suizenji didn’t budge, nor did he even blink. He was completely focused on the sounds coming from the earphones, listening as intently as a soldier at a listening post in a submarine.
—if you need the washroom, it’s over there. Uwa, hang on, what’s wrong?
There was a sound of chair legs scraping violently against the floor, and the sound of a paper cup filled with ice falling on the floor.
“We’ve been found out,” Suizenji murmured.
Yuuko looked alarmed.
Suizenji abruptly rose to his feet and grabbed at his bag. He started to walk away from the table, pulling Yuuko along with him. Yuuko didn’t understand what was happening.
“What is it, what’s going on?!”
Ignoring her questions, he continued walking. When he was halfway down the narrow stairway which led to the third floor his earphones started to crackle with static, and shortly after that his receiver lost all reception and all sound through the earphones ceased. Despite knowing that it’ll probably be of no use, Suizenji paused in his steps and switched channels on his receiver. Just like he thought, it proved to be of no use. His back-up wireless microphones were pulled offline one after the other, and he even lost feedback from the position tracker he had installed on the sole of Asaba’s sneakers.
“But, you know,”
A sublime smile appeared on his face.
“It seems that all around me are women who would make extremely capable soldiers.”
Yuuko finally realized what was going on.
“They found out about, what, the microphones? Did they notice them?”
“What a pity,” said Suizenji, but there was nary a hint of regret on his face.
When he came back from the washroom, Asaba found Iriya bent over and writing something, with her nose almost touching the table. Before Asaba could ask, “What are you doing?” she placed a finger on her lips and held out a napkin.
Written with a ball-point pen:
“You have been wiretapped. Stay silent and come with me to the washroom.”
“What’s wrong? What’s a wiretap?”
Iriya’s arm shot out, presumably in an attempt to muffle his voice by covering his mouth, but Asaba, out of surprise and sheer reflex, shook himself free. Iriya then grabbed on firmly on his hand and starting walking off while pulling Asaba along with her.
“If you need the washroom, it’s over there. Uwa, hang on, what’s wrong?”
Iriya whipped around roughly and once again placed a finger on her lips. She was telling him that it was not a good time to speak—that, at least, he understood, but he did not know why, nor did he understand why he had to follow her to the washroom.
It was as if a switch in her was flipped on; Iriya’s movements became as quick as a machine’s, like the time she dragged him into the shelter.
Without taking no for an answer, she pulled him into female washroom, which was dirty and narrow. There were three cubicles and two washbasins in it and luckily for him, the washroom was empty. Despite his objections, she had him follow her into the nearest cubicle before throwing something in her hand into the bowl and flushing almost immediately after. It was something round and white, like a shirt button.
“What did you throw in just now?”
“Place both your hands on the cistern.”
You’d be sorry if you do not do as I say—said the expression in Iriya’s eyes. Overwhelmed, Asaba did as he was told; he placed both palms on the cistern and stood there with his legs apart. Iriya began to mercilessly pat him down. Asaba thought of the body searches he sometimes saw policemen do in movies he had watched. Iriya then pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and began to go through its contents. It did not take her too long to find something like a shirt button hidden in a card slot, and she threw that into the bowl, too.
“Turn and face me.”
Without warning, she lifted his T-shirt all the way up to his chest in one swift movement.
“Uwaa!” Asaba yelled, instinctively.
However, Iriya’s expression was unchanged; she looked dead serious. Asaba stood there with his shirt peeled off while Iriya searched the front and the back of bare upper body carefully, her face so close to his chest he swore she could have licked him all over.
“Take off your pants.”
“Y-You must be kidding me!!”
W-Well, I guess I did get a look at your breasts at that time, but I-I was only doing what I was told and I had no other choice, plus Iriya, you were unconscious anyway! W-Wait!! Not my pants, not my pants!! Nooo———!!
“Here they are————!!”
With Yuuko tucked under one arm, Suizenji burst into the washroom on the third floor.
The washroom on the third floor was unisex, and when he threw open the door he found that it was a narrow room with its own bowl and washbasin with no place to hide, and it was empty. The door wasn’t locked, but it was possible that some people would go in and forget to lock the door behind them. Fortuitously, there was no one inside. It seems that the gods occasionally do their work, Yuuko thought.
“Nng,” Suizenji groaned.
“Hey, let go of me, put me down, what on earth are you thinking, you idiot! We’re finished if they notice the wireless microphones on them, right? It’s no use chasing after them now, isn’t it?!”
“Oh no, I’m not going to give up here,” Suizenji muttered.
“—Special Correspondent Iriya, let’s see what you are made of.”
Yuuko was still screaming at him to let go of her and put her down, but Suizenji, with Yuuko still tucked under his arm, turned to his right and broke into a run.
She saw it.
She also peppered him with questions while at a distance so close that their noses were almost touching, and he had no idea why she was asking them. Did anyone you didn’t know approach you lately? Where is true capital of America? Did you receive any calls to your home in which the other party did not speak? Which two people in the Warren Commission were not human? Have you ever thought that there was a person inside one of those drink vending machines? State three reasons why you might think the MJ-12 documents were counterfeit.
Asaba emerged from the female washroom on the fourth floor looking like someone who was no longer able to face this world as he adjusted his belt. Iriya continued tugging on his hand as they ran along a narrow corridor, past similar looking doors.
At the end of the corridor was an exit, and behind that was an emergency staircase covered in rust. Iriya left a ‘contraption’ on the door before running down the emergency staircase all the way to the ground floor with Asaba behind her without stopping to catch their breath. At the back of the building was a long, narrow bicycle parking lot that was walled in on three sides by other buildings, and the side that was open faced an alleyway which led to the main street.
In one of the shadows that the buildings cast across the bicycle parking lot, Iriya stopped to think for just a second.
“Monitor our surroundings. I can do it in 100 seconds—I’ve had practice after going back.”
100 seconds? Practice?
Asaba could think of nothing else to do except to look out for her as he was told. Iriya knelt on the patchy asphalt road and unzipped the fastener on the black bag that had never once left her side since the start of the day. Inside her bag was a laptop, connecting cables, tools, and other devices which Asaba did not recognize, all stacked together neatly.
Parked right in front of her was a scooter.
Iriya drew a dagger from her back. She had to reach deep into her uniform to pull it out, and it was a dagger that was in obvious violation of the Firearms and Swords Control Act, with para-cord wrapped tightly around its grip. It gave Asaba the chills just by looking at it.
Swiftly switching to a backhand grip on the dagger, Iriya thrust the tip of the blade into the nose of the scooter, and the dagger cut open the FRP polymer cowl cover like cardboard. She then connected her laptop to the exposed immobilizer using a cable and fired up a code breaker on her laptop. With the computational speed of a military-grade computer, the code breaker carried out an exhaustive key search on the immobilizer and broke the password lock by brute-force.
Iriya shoved a flathead screwdriver into the keyhole of the scooter to forcibly turn the cylinder lock, switching the main switch to ‘ON’.
She then got on the seat and straddled the scooter, turning the handles with all her might to break the handle lock. With the brake lever in her grip, Iriya pressed the ignition button.
The engine started, almost at once.
She didn’t even need 100 seconds.
Somewhere above their heads a commotion had broken out. As Asaba dazedly raised his face to look up, he saw the ‘contraption’ affixed on the backdoor on the fourth floor doing its work. The hose on the fire extinguisher was wriggling about like a snake, spewing white smoke as it whipped around violently.
“Get on, quickly!”
A scooter carrying two people hurtled along the alleyway. The cloud of flame retardant settled, and Suizenji, now completely white from head to toe, stood rooted to the ground at the emergency staircase on the fourth floor. He bellowed:
“Spectacular!! Not bad at all, Special Correspondent Iriya!! This is what I would expect of those worthy of being journalists!! Let me once again welcome you to Sonohara Radio Wave Newspaper!
Meanwhile Yuuko, who was still tucked under his arm, was caught in a coughing fit.
“Stupid jerk———!!” she railed at him.
“I’m leaving!! Let go of me! Somebody help me, kidnapper———eek!!”
The stream of abuse she was hurling at him quickly morphed into a shriek as Suizenji sprinted down the emergency staircase at so great a speed that she was unable to keep her eyes open. He then cut through the bicycle parking lot, dashing along the alleyway and onto the main street.
From the corner of his eye, Suizenji could see the scooter 50 meters ahead of him, fleeing at top speed against the traffic of a one-way street.
Putting on a surgical mask he pulled out from his pocket to hide his face, he crossed the street in three bounds with Yuuko still under his arm. She, on the other hand, was struggling wildly and screaming at him to let her go and put her down, to no avail. No matter how you looked at it, Suizenji looked exactly like a kidnapper, as Yuuko had so aptly put it.
It wasn’t a situation in which he could say that he was too embarrassed or too shy to touch her. If he wasn’t clinging on to Iriya’s waist for his dear life, he would have been thrown off the scooter. Every time Iriya swerved left and right to switch lanes, the already unstable scooter would lean dangerously on its side, and his bottom would slide off the slippery seat. He could feel Iriya’s dagger scraping painfully against the side of his cheek. On top of all that, his face was buffeted by Iriya’s wind-whipped hair, rendering him unable to see much of whatever that was around him. Asphalt rushed by at a dizzying speed just below his sneakers, and the white lines on the road danced left and right as they flew past. It made him think that they were going at a speed of 200 kilometers per hour.
All of a sudden, a klaxon horn tooted behind them. A pursuing motorcycle was already on them, just 30 meters behind. It mercilessly crushed a garbage bin as it leapt sideways from an alleyway, and its rider leaned into the curve to forcibly counteract the centrifugal forces acting on him, which prevented himself from getting thrown off. The motorcycle was a Honda Super Cub and it looked like it aged rather well. Its rider had hidden his face behind a surgical mask.
Asaba also thought that he saw someone on the pillion of the motorcycle, but Iriya’s hair was blocking his vision so he couldn’t take a good look.
—I know that exhaust!
Asaba tried to look back. He struggled to shake free of Iriya’s hair, which threatened to enter his mouth if he was not careful, and attempted to see for himself the source of the sounds of an engine which he found so familiar. However, Iriya chose that moment to throw the scooter on its side to steer left, and the scooter leaped into the air to mount the curb and barreled into a narrow alleyway. She cut across to the next street and made a right turn before opening the throttle all the way in one go again.
There was a series of toots from a klaxon honk and an old man sank down onto the sidewalk, petrified, before letting out a string of curses and throwing his cane.
Their pursuers were fast, and they couldn’t shake them off. The Super Cub was, perhaps, an arm’s length or a horse’s length away, and every time Iriya made a turn the Super Cub closed in on them.
“Don’t think you can get away———!! Ora ora ora! What’s wrong, Special Correspondent Iriya? How can you be a fully-fledged journalist if you are this slow———?!”
“I don’t want to do this anymore———!! Stop the bike and let me get off———!!”
The motorcycle continued to chase the scooter.
The summer heat pounded on them, the hot air as heavy as clay. Even though they haven’t left the city center too far behind, there were no longer any tall buildings around. The storefronts of the shops started to look crude and popping up in the spaces between residential houses was the occasional paddy field or vegetable plot. All of these flew behind them as they whizzed by. Suizenji was laughing, and Yuuko was screaming stop the bike and let me get off, and the Super Cub stealthily caught up with the scooter.
It was clear that Iriya wasn’t familiar with the roads in the vicinity, and if Suizenji so desired he could have overtaken them, but he chose to remain close behind them like a vengeful ghost.
Iriya then switched from a westward road to a southbound one. Suizenji guessed what she was thinking and grinned to himself. That road led to the shopping district, and after that would be a residential district. She probably planned to make a couple of rounds in residential district while making loud, clamorous engine noises so that someone would inform the police, and she would take advantage of the ensuing chaos to make her escape, he thought. He wouldn’t let her—zooming across a railway crossing and beating a red light, Suizenji continued to ignore Yuuko’s cries of stop the bike and let me get off as he single-mindedly tailed the scooter. Every time they made a turn at the corner the roads seemed to narrow. Iriya barely managed to avoid a truck parked on the road shoulder and as they glanced past the truck the scooter’s right rearview mirror flew off and rolled behind them on the road. The road started to slope gently downwards, and at the end of the slope ahead of them was a bridge over the river that coursed through the city, an irregular crossroad, and a—
And the scooter fell over on its side.
At least, that was how it looked like at that point of time to Suizenji.
Truth was, Iriya had thrown her weight sideways and steered the scooter so forcefully to the side that it seemed like the scooter had tipped over. It was an extremely reckless move considering the speed they were going; the tires momentarily lost traction and the scooter’s rear wheel spun about wildly, but Iriya managed to right the scooter at the last possible moment to take a right turn at the crossroad.
And that was all Suizenji was able to see.
If Yuuko was not on his pillion, he might have been able to pull off the same thing as Iriya did. However, he was distracted by the extreme measures Iriya took to run away from him, thus he didn’t react as quickly as he usually did. To think that a stray dog that was hurrying out of Iriya’s way would block his path and lead to his ruin… In the end, the Super Cub which wasn’t able to do much continued straight on the crossroad, brushing past the crash barriers and leaping into the air to clear a ‘No Fishing’ sign. Suizenji soared through the air, and Yuuko soared through the air.
“I was so very blessed today———!!”
The summer sky that was nearing sunset was a sight to behold.
The scooter slowed, and when Asaba finally looked behind he saw a majestic column of water rise up from the surface of the slow-moving water.
“They fell in! They fell in! They fell into the river! Hey Iriya, are you listening to me?”
Asaba had no idea what he should say or do, so he simply said “they fell in” again and again. They had been inching forward at a rather slow pace on the scooter, but Iriya briefly glanced at the remaining rearview mirror on the left before opening the throttle once again.
At the sudden acceleration, Asaba’s “they fell in” turned into “uwaa!!” as the scooter carrying two people sped down the road along the river.