Even So, We Are Living in the Present - Chapter 69
Chapter 69 – Now It Is Time to Depart
Roughly a week after the application was submitted, Yuu was able to acquire a passport.
Out of concern, Natsume and Tomoya also obtained passports and agreed to travel to the U.S. together.
It was a Saturday, a week after everyone got their passports.
This was the day before Kyosuke and Yuu’s apartment contract was to be terminated.
In the early morning at 5:00 a.m.
A chauffeur hired by Sakura’s father was driving a luxurious white pearl limousine.
Before long, the car arrived at the Saiki residence, where Kyosuke, Yuu, Tomoya, and Natsume were awaiting. It was rigorously kept off the narrow road that passed in front of the house, and the car was waiting for them further ahead on a field path.
“… This is my first time seeing it.”
The first person to spot the body of the car and mutter that was Yuu.
Then Kyosuke seconded in agreement. Under the meticulous guidance of the driver, the four of them stepped into the luxurious car. Once aboard the car, Kouki was already seated in the front seat, waving joyfully to the members who would be getting in the back.
As they waved back, Kyosuke and Yuu settled in the rearmost seat, and the two Saiki siblings sat side by side in front of them. Thus, the ride began, and the interior of the car was serene and soft, free of road noise. The music playing was classical music in a relaxing tune.
If the ride lasted for a long time, it was likely to put them to sleep.
“We are now heading to a private airstrip near Sakura’s father’s headquarters. That is where we will be boarding and taking off.”
Everyone listened in silence to Natsume’s explanation, which was swiftly assembled, and gave their nods. However, Kyosuke immediately opened his mouth to raise a question.
“How long does it take to reach there after we get on the plane?”
“Roughly half a day.”
The one who replied was Kouki.
There should be a certain distance between Kouki and Kyosuke. Nonetheless, Kouki’s voice resounded throughout the car at a perfect volume. It was as though he was speaking through a microphone.
“Oh, what a powerful resonant voice.”
“U-Um, we put the built-in microphone through so it can be heard in the backseat.”
Natsume’s words, which were delivered in an admiring tone, were greeted by Kouki with a shy smile before reaching Kyosuke in a pleasing resonance.
About 30 minutes after departing from the Saiki’s household, they arrived at a large-scale property owned by the Sakura Zaibatsu.
Since it was early in the morning, Yuu and Tomoya were asleep on the way.
Right next to the parking lot where the limousine had parked, two scary-looking security guards stood on both sides of a gate with a “No Entry Except by Authorized Persons” sign hanging on it.
After the driver informed the guards with an earful, they politely opened the gate and invited them in. There was also a guard stationed behind the gate, and he led Kyosuke and the others to the place. As they followed the guard, through the forest-like exterior, which at first glance resembled nothing more than a series of endless trees, a paved path leading from the gate extended to the back of the house.
According to the guard, a sturdy fence encircled the perimeter of the forest, which was the size of a golf course, with the gate at its center. Judging from this, it was apparent that despite being a fairly broad area, the property was highly restricted and privately owned.
Continuing down the path before them, the five of them walked along, followed by the security guard. Once about ten minutes had passed, yet another massive gate obstructed their path.
“Here is the boarding gate, including the airstrip, and the person in charge will guide you from here.”
Having said that, the security guard contacted someone over the radio. Within moments, the gate automatically swung open on the inside.
“Have a good day, sir.”
“Thank you for the guidance.”
Kouki offered his thanks to the guard who bowed to him, and the five of them proceeded to step into the rear of the gate.
“Wow, big brother, it’s an aeroplane!”
Once inside the premises, Tomoya excitedly pulled on Natsume’s clothes and gestured to a huge jet plane that met his vision as he followed the suit-wearing guide.
“You look so thrilled, well, we’re going to ride in that thing.”
“I’ve never been on a plane before.”
Tomoya beamed at his older brother’s gentle response. As they approached the boarding gate, Kyosuke found a familiar figure standing there accompanied by a man in a suit.
He was Sakura Mitsuaki, the head of the Sakura Zaibatsu. Although this man was the father of Sakura Kouki, this would mark the first time Kyosuke had actually met and talked to him since seeing him at the theme park.
“Father…” Kouki muttered stiffly. Despite voicing his opinion and learning about his father’s feelings over the phone, he was still more tense than happy to face his father.
Dressed in black suits and sunglasses, they were likely to be bodyguards, two exceptionally stout men with eyes that were unreadable yet seemed to be attentively observing the situation. As if protected by them, the one standing in a set of gray suit, which was recognizable for its upscale quality at a glance, was Kouki’s father, whose impression was much different compared to what Kyosuke had seen at the theme park.
“Nice to meet you, I guess.”
Mitsuaki greeted the five visitors in a dignified fashion. Aside from Kouki, each of them made a small bow.
“Welcome. Since everything is ready for takeoff, let’s have you make your appearance right away.”
Kouki raised his voice to his father, who was inviting Kyosuke and the others into the plane. All eyes turned in that direction as they brought their feet to a halt.
His father’s mild tone returned the question in his voice. Catching the full attention of everyone there, Kouki lowered his gaze in embarrassment.
“… Thank you…”
“No big deal. It’s one of the few things my child wishes for.”
As he replied, the palm of his father’s hand gingerly stroked Kouki’s head who was downcast. Kouki became rigid at being stroked for the first time. Eventually, the gentle tone of his voice dissolved the tension.
“Come on, you ride along too.”
Once the hand was withdrawn, Kouki lifted his head and responded gleefully.
“Sorry to keep you waiting… this way.”
While holding back a sense of joy, he reservedly stepped onto the plane. Kyosuke and the others watched him smilingly, requested their baggage to the guide who had brought them here, and stepped onto the plane after Kouki.
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