Truancy Origins

Truancy Origins by Isamu Fukui

Book: Truancy Origins by Isamu Fukui Read Free Book Online
Authors: Isamu Fukui
struggling to keep up as his brother led the way out of the courtyard and onto the streets. As they walked beneath the shadows of the towering buildings that lined each street, Umasi had to admit that Zen’s idea had been a good one. Umasi for once got a chance to look at every building and appreciate its uniqueness, from its colors to its bricks toits windows and its height. Umasi couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t been too rushed to spare the buildings anything more than a passing glance.
    â€œLook at that.” Zen pointed as they crossed a street.
    Umasi followed Zen’s finger and looked up to see the greatest building of them all—Penance Tower, a massive skyscraper that dwarfed every other building in the City. Catching the morning sun, its distant windows glittered, a hundred times more radiant than flashbulbs. The tower lay at the center of District 1, a government building from which everything from the City’s stop signs to its bridges was managed remotely. Umasi had seen it before, of course—it was so tall as to be impossible to miss. But he had never seen it in such an impressive light, and stood staring at its glittering form for several dumbstruck seconds before Zen yanked him forward and out of the way of oncoming traffic.
    The rest of the trek passed quickly for Umasi, for he saw nothing that could equal the impressive sight of Penance Tower. As they walked, Umasi was uncomfortably aware that some adults turned their heads to look suspiciously at the twin students, but none of them were concerned enough to interrupt their own business to mind someone else’s. Before long, Umasi and Zen arrived at the sizeable Mayoral Mansion. The guard at the gate raised an eyebrow when he saw them, but said nothing, as he wasn’t being paid to ask the Mayor’s sons any questions.
    â€œToday is a Friday. I think Dad is probably working at home,” Umasi realized as they walked across the fancy marble floor of the lobby.
    â€œEven if he is, he’ll just shut himself up in the conference room for hours as usual,” Zen said. “He never comes out until after five at the earliest.”
    They pushed open the polished wooden doors into the foyer of the mansion, and then Umasi froze.
    â€œWhat’s wrong?” Zen asked, turning back to look at Umasi.
    â€œHave you ever been . . . curious about what Father does at work?” Umasi said. Maybe it was the liberating thrill of cutting class, but he found himself feeling unusually brazen.
    â€œHe holds meetings and runs the government,” Zen said, looking away.
    â€œNo, that
is
his work,” Umasi said. “I’m talking about what he
does
at work. He never talks to us about it. He gets nervous and changes the subject whenever we ask. If I’ve noticed it, then you’ve definitely noticed it too.”
    Zen spun around to glare at Umasi through narrowed eyes.
    â€œWhat exactly are you suggesting?” Zen demanded softly.
    Â 
    I ’ve reviewed the proposal.”
    â€œWhat are your thoughts, sir?”
    â€œInteresting, though potentially expensive. We may have to hire additional security guards to make it effective enough to produce results.”
    â€œWell, we do have the budget for it, sir.”
    â€œIndeed, which is why I’m giving it the green light. I want the program up to speed within a week, with initial progress reports the week after.”
    â€œConsider it . . . done . . . sir, did you just hear that?”
    â€œHear what?”
    â€œI could’ve sworn I just heard something outside the door just now. . . .”
    â€œIt’s probably that blasted maid again or something. Now pay attention—you’re too easily distracted.”
    â€œI’m sorry sir.”
    â€œAccepted. Now, I’ve been drafting a little proposal of my own in my spare time.”
    â€œI’m all ears, of course.”
    â€œIt’s

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