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Chapter 11 Main Chapters Chapter 12

Interlude 11

Kazuki looked about his room. Where had his models gotten to? He wondered if Mitsuki Sanada or Dee moved them around while cleaning. Perhaps it was Kumu who moved them.

His models had been missing from the synthesis world for a brief time, until he managed to find them in a box with his name on it. Ostensibly it was left over from when he moved into the Sanada household ten years ago, but he knew it was really another odd consequence of making this universe by combining two others. Also in the box was his personal digital assistant. Kazuki couldn't recall why his desktop computer was already in his room in the synthesis world and these things weren't, but it hardly mattered.

Kazuki finally managed to find his models hidden in a storage area. He put them back on display were they ought to go.

Surveying his room, Kazuki decided that it needed something more. He wondered briefly if it were possible for him to get a model of Hartzenen. Hartzenen was his nickname for Core Robot Unit 1. Kazuki was aware that there would be no place in the world that sold Hartzenen model kits, and he let out his breath.

He had a fair bit of experience making models, so he began to wonder whether he could make one without any aid from a kit. Hartzenen was a subject he was very familiar with; he had observed it for a long time in his visions, seen it directly in the parallel world, and had fought in it for a good deal of time. If there were anything he could make a model of, it would be Hartzenen.

The first thing he'd need would be a lot of white plastic. Plastic was good because it was strong yet moldable. Where could he find some? Kazuki began to wander about the house to find some.

His search was frustrated; not by Mitsuki Sanada saying, "Kazuki, if you don't stop annoying people by wandering aimlessly, I'll make you start working," although she did say that. He was not finding any white plastic, at least not in the quantities he needed, and now he didn't dare set foot outside his room.

It was only now that he had an inspiration. White styrofoam would work just as well. Kazuki recalled that there had been white styrofoam packing peanuts in the laundry room, for some reason he couldn't recall. How could he get there now, though? Maybe he could lower himself out of the window using the walkway between this house and Yayoi's. Then he could get in the front door and sneak around Mitsuki that way.

Only once Kazuki was hanging several feet above ground did he remember that the last time he had tried this, the landing had been uncomfortable and slightly painful. The walkway between the Sanada household and the Yayoi household was right outside his window, and seemed inviting for lowering oneself to the ground, but it was much harder in practice. There also wouldn't be any way to reenter the house except the front door, and he had forgotten his key. Hopefully the key was in his room, but it had been missing for a few days now. Without the key, he'd have to get someone to open the door, and if it were Mitsuki Sanada, she'd upbraid him for his carelessness in losing the key. If he couldn't find his key himself, he'd rather tell Uncle Sanada or Aunt Akane than Mitsuki Sanada.

"Kazuki," Yayoi's called to him from above. He nervously turned his head and replied, "Uhh, hello." Yayoi was standing on the walkway, looking curiously at the sight of him hanging off it.

"While I approve of a physical fitness regimen," Yayoi informed him, "I think that perhaps the gym would be more convenient."

His embarrassment gave him strength as he heaved himself up onto the walkway and stood upon it.

"Kazuki," Yayoi unexpectedly asked, "would you care to join me at my house for lunch?"

Kazuki was startled; she always cooked and ate at their house. He didn't know what would happen if neither of them showed up for lunch.

"Thank you," Kazuki decided, "but I'd better find my key."

"I'll help you," she offered.

Kazuki lowered his head to get through his open window, but misjudged and impacted it. Yayoi advanced. "Are you all hurt?" she asked.

"No, I'm fine," Kazuki said. It was a minor bump, which was why he had been silent. It prompted him to say, "How do you manage this every day?"

"It was easier when I had the door there," Yayoi admitted.

They both entered his room through the window, and the search began. Yayoi took an unnaturally long time searching every part of the room, as though she didn't traverse it every day and know every part of it. Kazuki was the one who found the key under a pile of papers. Yayoi eyed the papers suspiciously.

"Kazuki, by any chance," she began. Kazuki nodded and handed them to her. "On time; I'm impressed." It was impressive, so she decided to say nothing about him losing his keys.

"Yayoi," Kazuki said to her, "I was thinking about making a model of Hartzenen. I'm going to have to make it from scratch, and out of styrofoam, but it should be fairly good."

"That sounds interesting, Kazuki. Perhaps I could help you with what I recall of piloting it," Yayoi told him. "Thank you!" Kazuki told her.

"Yayoi!" Mitsuki Sanada yelled querulously from the kitchen downstairs. "I thought you said the ingredients were just in your pantry! I can't be responsible for your share of the food!"

"Oh, my," Yayoi moved towards the window, "I can't let your lunch be late. Thank you for responsibly completing the homework."

"Thank you for doing your best in teaching," Kazuki told her. As she went through the window and onto the walkway, Kazuki left his room to go to the laundry room directly.

He searched diligently but couldn't find the bag of packing peanuts. They probably were here at some point, he finally decided, but they were probably moved a long time ago and he hadn't noticed. There was the faint sound of Dee playing fetch with Kumu in the yard, and Akane calling them in for lunch, but Kazuki didn't notice it as he tried to think of some other material to use for the model. Perhaps laundry detergent would suffice somehow.

Opening the detergent container, he examined it. It wasn't as chunky as it sometimes was. Perhaps there would be some way of making it stick together. He poured some into his hand and squeezed it. Opening his hand, he examined the result, which was still just a lot of powder. He froze in fear as he saw Mitsuki's face watching him curiously. She would be angry with him, or worse, laugh at him!

Kazuki relaxed as he realized it was Mitsuki Rara. His luck had held again.

"Kazuki, what are you doing?" she inquired.

"I was trying to find something white to use as a part of a model," he told her, feeling this was a lame explanation.

"I don't think that will work," she smiled. Mitsuki Rara stifled a laugh, but at least, Kazuki told himself in disappointment, she had tried to stifle it. "Yayoi told me you were making a model of Hartzenen," she continued. "I got to be very familiar with it while I was piloting it, so I could tell you if it were accurate or not."

"Thank you!" Kazuki said.

"Lunch is ready," Mitsuki Rara informed him. They both proceeded to the dining room.

Mitsuki Sanada, temporarily alone in the dining room, considered Kazuki's fascination with models. It was totally pointless. The models couldn't do anything that the real things could do. His model of a tank couldn't even move its treads, let alone fire its gun. Kazuki's models just took up space in his room and time in his life without giving him any benefits.

She didn't want to encourage this behavior, yet she couldn't help wondering: where could she get something red so Kazuki could make a model of her robot, Unit 2?

Chapter 11 Main Chapters Chapter 12