Back at Hannouji Academy
“It's been four days, AND NO CALL!?” shouted Gamagoori.
“Be patient, Gamagoori. More than half of those four days she did spend flying.” replied Kiryuin.
“What I'm worried about is the trouble she could get into. Why, of all places, would she go to Los Angeles? It's not like there's much left after what happened.” Jakuzure said, jumping into the conversation.
“I'd be more worried if she had went to New York City; they've had riots there ever since the incident. Even a mandatory curfew hasn't stopped them; it's a Madhouse over there!” replied Inumuta.
“Still pigs, even after we helped to save them they're still ungrateful.” Kiryuin added with disgust.
“Then, what of Hannouji Academy? Are we still planning to rebuild?” asked Gamagoori.
“Well of course, Gamagoori. We may not have Life Fibers to construct Goku Uniforms anymore, but we still have an institution to run. We will pursue other methods, once we figure out what is available for us to extract. Until then, all uniforms are standard uniforms with our new emblem embedded in the right shoulder, and on the upper-right torso. As for the abilities of the uniforms, until we can figure a different method of constructing Goku Uniforms, you're stuck as you are, but each and every one of you has your own strengths within; you must bring those out yourselves now.” Kiryuin replied.
Just then, Mitsuzo, the butler, came in. “You have a phone call, miss.”
Kiryuin stood, and followed Mitsuzo into the next room. She picked up the phone.
“This is Satsuki.”
“Hey, what's up?” asked Matoi's voice. Satsuki laughed a bit.
“We were just talking about you.” Satsuki replied, smiling a little.
“No wonder my neck itches. Anyway, I made it here, and I've noticed one thing.” Matoi said.
“Oh? What would that be?” Satsuki asked.
“Pretty much...everyone here hated Revocs. A lot of people also refer to me as 'Comet Girl'. I guess I'm a bit famous already.” Matoi replied.
“I'm not surprised. Revocs' role in the recent market plummeting is causing a major market crash, among other things. However, that isn't my top concern at this moment. How are you doing? Are you making it okay out there?” Satsuki asked.
“I'm doing okay for now. I'm planning on heading southwest, towards a city named Carlsbad either tonight or early in the morning. I don't know what I am searching for, but I'll keep in touch from time to time. Oh, say hi to the guys for me; I gotta go because this jerk behind me keeps telling me to hurry up. I'll talk to you soon.” Matoi replied before Satsuki would hear Matoi start to shout, and then she hung up. “Good to hear from you...” Satsuki said, though Ryuko wouldn't hear a word.
Kiryuin would return to the council room, and sit down. “More tea, miss?” asked Mitsuzo.
“Yes, please. Also, try to track Ryuko's location, if you can.” Kiryuin replied.
“How is she?” Gamagoori asked.
“She's managing, or so she says. She's heading down to a 'Carlsbad' either tonight or early tomorrow morning, her time. I really think she's just trying to forget all of what has happened; her and Mako were very close and I know she still hurts.” Kiryuin replied.
“I looked up Carlsbad on Google Maps, and also found an interesting article.” Inumuta added.
Inumuta would bring his laptop over to Kiryuin, and everyone else would crowd in and look.
“ 'Local Professional Skateboarder, Tony Hawk, dedicates newly opened skate park to the Special Olympics, after nearly five years of inactivity on the Pro Circuit.' “ Kiryuin read aloud.
“Take a look at the background. Doesn't something seem familiar?” Inumuta asked.
Kiryuin smiled. “Heh. I see the logo of Revocs, completely covered in graffiti.”
“No, not that. Look at the people.” Inumuta said.
Gamagoori was the first to notice. “WHAT THE HELL!?!”
Kiryuin had a nonplussed look on her face as she too found the one odd person in the background. “How is this even possible!??”
Inumuta had it projected onto a much larger display, and Mitsuzo immediately dropped the teapot, which shattered. “It can't be...”
Kiryuin glared at the image before them, the tea cup in her hand shattering in her grip. She growled. “Rrrrrr...”
“Lady Satsuki!” shouted Gamagoori, Jakuzure, and Inumuta.
Kiryuin's anger began to boil. Soon, she blew a fuse. “HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!?!!!!!?!!”
Kiryuin grabbed the cords, and ripped them out of the wall, alleviating the room of the image of Ragyo Kiryuin, standing behind Tony Hawk with her hand on his shoulder.
It was right then, she thought of Matoi. She turned to Mitsuzo. “We need to find her, we need to find Ryuko!”
“I'm already on it.” said another man's voice.
That man stepped from out of the shadows. “Sanageyama?” asked Kiryuin.
“Hello to you too, Lady Satsuki. I planted a GPS tracking device on Matoi's luggage at the airport. The tracking satellites aren't exactly working at full capacity, but I've been able to track Matoi's movements up to about four hours ago. However, she indeed was on her way to Carlsbad when something happened. Likely, she either discovered the device and took it off or it fell off after something happened, like perhaps getting hit by a moving vehicle.” replied Sanageyama.
“In that case, we need to track her down. If Ragyo is still alive, she may go after her.” Kiryuin said.
“I looked up the same article. The article isn't recent. That skate park in particular has been open for two years or more. I believe she was there to try to convince certain companies that make clothing and shoes for extreme athletes to join up with Revocs and was utterly denied.” Sanageyama replied.
“I still don't like it. Something isn't right. I've been feeling these vibes since not long after the incident. I don't like Ryuko being out there by herself. The world is still full of pigs, and though she may be famous, that makes this even more dangerous.” Kiryuin said.
“I've felt an ominous presence over Japan ever since the incident. I might not be able to see what it is, but if there is anything to be said for certain, it is that the Life Fibers that once tried to cover our planet and destroy it, aren't finished with their plans.” Sanageyama replied.
“See if you can continue tracking Ryuko. I'd feel better knowing that there's a way to know where she is. It'd be so much easier if she had a cellular phone.” Kiryuin said.
Carlsbad, Tony Hawks' house
“Thanks again for inviting me to dinner!” Ryuko exclaimed, having gotten the call from Tony to see how things were, and inviting her over.
“Not a problem! Anytime. Hope you like fish.” Tony replied, as his who-Ryuko-assumed-was his wife sat a platter of fried catfish on the table. Ryuko was thrilled, as she really enjoyed fried food.
Soon after she started eating, memories of dinners with the Mankanshokus came flooding back, as would tears. This was noticed as Ryuko began weeping.
“Are you okay dear?” asked Tony's wife.
Ryuko looked up, and wiped her tears away. “Is it the food?” Tony's wife asked.
“No, it's just some painful memories. The fish is excellent.” Ryuko replied, before excusing herself.
As Ryuko was washing her dishes, Tony's wife came into the kitchen, and placed her hand on Ryuko's shoulder.
“Is everything okay?” she asked.
Ryuko rinsed her dishes off, and placed them in the drainer before facing her. “I cared much for someone. She...” Ryuko started before she started weeping again.
Tony's wife would embrace Ryuko. “It's okay. She's in a better place now.”
Later, as Ryuko was about to leave, Tony would ask if she wanted to stay for the night. “It isn't a burden at all; we have plenty of spare bedrooms.” Tony added.
Ryuko smiled. “Eh, what the Hell? I don't mind the hospitality, and your wife's cooking rocks. I'll stay.” Ryuko replied.
But that night, more memories would flood back into Ryuko's mind as she slept. Not just of Satsuki, and the Mankanshokus, but of...
'No, don't! Please, no!! FOR GOD'S SAKE, STOP!!!!”
Ryuko sat up in bed in an instant, screaming 'SENKETSU!', and instinctively reaching forward, at an empty portion of white wall.
Ryuko shuddered, and stood up, noticing then that she had urinated herself. “Oh, great....”
Ryuko half-sleepily wandered around, looking for the restroom, finding after twenty minutes of wandering. She washed herself, and changed her nightclothes, before heading back to bed, bumping into Tony as he was up for a midnight snack. “Ryuko! What are you doing up?” Tony asked.
“Had a bad dream.” Ryuko sleepily replied.
“Oh. Sorry about that. Hope you sleep better. Good night.” Tony said, as he walked down the stairs and out of earshot.
Ryuko found her bedroom, and slowly slipped back under the sheets, finding they were wet too. She threw them off, and slept without them.
She'd end up having the same bad dream, and would wake up, screaming 'SENKETSU!', once again instinctively reaching forward at the wall.
“Oh, damn it...why can't I let this go?” Ryuko asked, cursing herself as she lie back down. The sun was rising, and it was about 7 AM, so Ryuko decided to rise, and get started on her day. She wasn't sure if Tony was going to let her stay another night, so she got her things together, and took the sheets down to the laundry. Turns out, she didn't just urinate in her sleep...('oh gross!')
Tony's wife was upstairs, making breakfast. She turned her head to face Ryuko as she entered the kitchen. “Morning, Ryuko! Hungry?” she asked.
Ryuko smiled. “Sure! After your awesome dinner last night, can't wait to have your awesome breakfast!”
She smiled. “I hope you like cheese fritters!”
Ryuko had never had cheese fritters before, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ryuko sat down at the table, but was instead invited upstairs, to a smaller dining room, one that was meant for two, and only two. Ryuko sat down, and Tony's wife sat across from Ryuko, plates of cheese fritters in hands as she sat those down as well.
“Would you like some orange juice?” she asked.
“Yes, please.” Ryuko replied, and she poured some for Ryuko.
“I heard you screaming last night. Do you have bad dreams of what happened?” she asked.
Ryuko was about to taste a cheese fritter when she was asked that question. Ryuko sighed. “There's a lot more to it than just what happened to Mako, and her family. In truth, I've been through a lot over the past year and a half, starting with my dad getting murdered, and then ending up fighting to save humanity, all to have my best friend, and the only real family I've ever had, get killed by idiots trying to take over the world while they thought the world had been weakened. But there's more to it than that. I've lost a lot. Friends, family, almost my sanity...” Ryuko explained, before finding Tony's wife's hand holding her own. “I know that you've had it rough, but that's why you're here, to start anew. You're still young, and the world may be a dark, scary place, but when you have the support of good people like me, Tony, and your other new friends, it isn't so bad.” she said, and Ryuko felt relieved.
Ryuko took a bite of the cheese fritter, and was in paradise. As she ate, and loved every bite, she took a look at her, and noticed how much she looked like Sukuyo Mankanshoku.
After they had finished eating, she took Ryuko down to the back patio to sit, and talk more.
“So, Ryuko, do you plan on staying around these parts for a while? Or are you planning on traveling around a bit?” she asked.
“I like it here, honestly. When I left what remains of Hannouji Academy and Hanno Town, I really didn't leave much behind. My few friends, my loved ones, my sister, but I couldn't really stand living there. I figured that if I left for another part of the world, I could get a true fresh start, but something, like the gnawing of spider fangs on the back of my neck tells me that something isn't going right, and I've been having these feelings for about a month now. It's also when I started having these nightmares of past times...” Ryuko replied.
“Hmmm...I don't know what to make of what had happened to you. You've obviously been through much more than most could handle, and remain sane. As for these nightmares, when you wake up, what is it that you scream?” she asked.
Ryuko almost didn't want to answer, for several reasons. But she explained as best as she could, who and what Senketsu was.
She looked at Ryuko almost as if she couldn't believe her ears.
“Huh. I'm not one to pay much attention to the news or anything like that, but I did hear something about a 'Comet Girl'. Thinking it was just more bullshit about aliens invading the Earth, I ignored it. But now I get it. That company, Revocs made me want to be sick. Oh, they were such tools. I'm glad something was done about them.” she replied.
“Is it okay if I use the phone?” Ryuko asked.
“Why, of course! But...you don't have a cell phone???” she replied.
“Nah, never had a need for one. But I guess if I'm gonna be out and about around here, it might be a good idea.” Ryuko said.
She would show Ryuko the phone, and she would call Satsuki.
Back at Hannouji Academy
It had been nearly two weeks since Ryuko had called, something Gamagoori wasn't pleased about.
“Relax, Gamagoori. We can't expect her to call in every day. She's not five, you know.” Kiryuin said.
“I know, but even so, she could call at least every three or four days.” Gamagoori replied.
That's when Mitsuzo walked in, and handed the phone to Kiryuin. “You have a phone call.”
Kiryuin picked up the phone. “This is Satsuki.”
“Hey, what's up?” asked Matoi.
Kiryuin smiled. “Good to hear from you again.”
Gamagoori looked over at Kiryuin. “Can I talk to her?”
Kiryuin nodded, but put her hand up.
“So, I made it to Carlsbad okay, and I've made a few friends, mostly those who absolutely hated Revocs, but they're really cool people.” Matoi said.
Kiryuin smiled. “Good. I'm just glad you're okay. Here, Gamagoori wants to talk with you.”
Gamagoori walked over, and was handed the phone. “You hanging in there okay, Matoi?”
Ryuko was easily heard laughing on the other end. “Never better, Gamagoori. In fact, I'm having fun. Birdman's wife's cheese fritters and her friend fish are awesome! It's like...” Ryuko started, before Ryuko began weeping again. “Matoi? What's wrong?” Gamagoori asked, before Ryuko went hysterical. Then, another woman's voice came on the line. “Sorry, but Ryuko's not able to continue this conversation.”
Kiryuin immediately had Gamagoori hand her the phone. “Miss, whomever you are, Ryuko has been through a lot. She cries over her lost loved ones often. I hope you're not too burdened by her.”
“Who am I speaking with?” asked the woman.
“My name is Satsuki Kiryuin, formerly the President of Hannouji Academy, and more importantly, Ryuko's older sister. Who am I speaking with?”
“I'm Gabrielle, Tony's...well...most people regard me as his wife, but we're not married. I guess you could say we're in a domestic partnership.”
“Tony, as in Tony Hawk?” Kiryuin asked.
“Yep, the one and only. Apparently, he and Ryuko met at the skate park nearby the highway, after she had skated an amazing line to prove herself to some local thugs.” Gabrielle replied.
Kiryuin didn't understand what it was Ryuko had done, but apparently, she had impressed Tony enough to let her stay with him.
“I see. Just...don't let anything happen to her.” Kiryuin said.
“I can't make any promises, but as long as she's here in Carlsbad, she has friends here. Oh! Looks like Ryuko is on her feet again. Looks like she wants to talk. Nice talking to you, Satsuki!” Gabrielle replied, before apparently handing the phone to Ryuko.
“Ryuko, are you okay?” Kiryuin asked.
“I'm fine, just...I have bouts like this. Where I just cry from the pain of the loss uncontrollably. I'll be okay.” Matoi replied.
“Very well. I hope you make it out there. Maybe one day we'll be watching your skate videos.” Kiryuin said.
“I don't know if I'm that good. But we'll see what happens.” Matoi replied.
Kiryuin smiled. “Take care, Ryuko.”
Matoi laughed. “Same to you, Satsuki.”
Kiryuin hung up after that. “What do you mean, her skate videos?” Gamagoori asked.
Kiryuin placed the phone back on the table, and Mitsuzo wheeled it away. “Apparently, she had met Tony Hawk at the same skate park he had dedicated to the Special Olympics, after she had skated an amazing line, to impress some local thugs. I never knew she could skate, but I'm not surprised. After all, she does have the perfect build for it, and apparently, skill to match.”
That's when Jakuzure came in. “So, miss Matoi has found herself a career, has she?”
“And where have you been, Jakuzure?” Gamagoori asked.
Not that it's any of your business, Toad, but I've been wanting to take a vacation myself. I figure if Matoi can, so can we. So, I planned a six day, seven night stay at a nice four-star hotel in the heart of the French Quarter of fabulous New Orleans.” Jakuzure replied.
“New Orleans? I never knew you were interested in such a place.” Kiryuin said.
“Are you kidding? I have cousins that live there. I love the culture, the food...I'm thrilled to be going, sad that it won't be for Mardi Gras, because I'd love to have beads thrown at me for showing off my assets from the jesters and girls on the parade floats.” Jakuzure replied.
“Did you just admit that you'd bare tour breasts in public, just to get some lame old beads?” asked Sanageyama's voice, whom apparently had been in the room the whole time. “You know you can be arrested for that.” Sanageyama continued.
“They're not lame, they're a symbol of the New Orleans customs and culture.” Kiryuin replied.
“Huh? How did you know about that?” Jakuzure asked.
“I've done my studies on American History and Culture. That's why I wasn't too fond of Ryuko's choice in destination when she said she was in Los Angeles. The whole Hollywood scene is full of pigs, and I would just hate to see her caught up in that mess. But seeing as how she has found other interests, I've no qualms about her decision.” Kiryuin replied.
“Whatever. I'd hate to see Jakuzure in some American jail, being fed scraps because she chose to do something foolish.” Sanageyama said. “Well, I'm outta here. Gotta take care of business.”
“Lady Satsuki, do you think Matoi will be alright?” Gamagoori asked.
“I have a feeling, that there's someone out there, who is looking after her, and it isn't Mankanshoku, or her new friends.” Kiryuin replied.
Kiryuin had no idea how right she was...
Carlsbad, the hotel
After another couple of hours, Ryuko got the whole story behind Tony and Gabrielle's relationship. Ryuko decided to go back to the hotel, and would get a call later that evening, asking if she'd like to tag along with him while he tutored some kids who wanted to learn how to skate. Ryuko was up for that, and accepted his offer. They'd meet up at the skate park where they had first met, but Ryuko wasn't the only one there...