Chapter Twenty | …now what?

<Piro-kun, are you coming?>

Piro looked up from the ground to see that Largo and Ping were nearly a block ahead of him. It was a miracle he could even see that much in the crowded streets. "A major city at noon," he thought to himself. "Guess that makes it easier to get away."

He sprinted the block to catch up with the others, taking care to sidestep the many pedestrians that were heading to their lunch breaks. Nonetheless, he was bending over and gasping for air when he caught up. He hadn't realized how out-of-shape he was, but there was little that could be done to remedy that particular problem at the moment. He heard a chuckle, and looked up to see the robot covering her mouth trying and failing to suppress a grin.

<Sorry, Piro-kun,> Ping said, bowing. <Shall we get something to eat?>
<Uh…sure,> Piro said, realizing all of a sudden that he hadn't eaten yet. <But, can we? I mean, we're want…> He stopped, feeling the stares of a hundred people walking around him.

<Oh, it's no problem. We just have to make a stop first.>
<Where? To see Tsubasa? I'm sure he can help us.>
<Unfortunately, I am unaware of Tsubasa-sensei's location. We're on our own.>
<Ah…then where are we going?>
<Nowhere special; just a place where I can access the Internet.>
<Uh…okay,> Piro said, feeling more confused than ever.

With Piro now caught up, the three continued to walk further down the bustling street. The cold of the Tokyo winter was less apparent now that they were surrounded on all sides by the life of the city, but Piro still felt a chill of a different sort. He felt the chill of uncertainty, the fear of not knowing what is coming around the corner. A few minutes passed before Piro, deep in thought, ran into Largo, who had stopped behind Ping. Rubbing his stinging nose, Piro backed up and looked at where they were.

Anna Miller's Restaurant

<This place has a Wi-Fi hotspot, Piro-kun,> Ping said, smiling. <Would you mind eating here?>
<That's fine. I just want to know what our plan is.> Piro switched to English to address Largo, saying, "Hey, we're going to eat here; that okay?>
Largo shrugged his shoulders. "Sure."

The three walked in. Almost immediately a waitress stepped forward. <Good afternoon; welcome to Anna Miller's. Can I help you?>

Piro started to ask for a table, but Ping took command of the situation. <Yes, please. Can we have a table for three, preferably away from any windows.>

The waitress looked a bit surprised by the special request, but agreed, leading the three to one of the few open tables left in the busy restaurant. She told them another waitress would soon be by with some menus and asked for patience before going back to greeting customers.

<Okay,> Ping said as soon as the waitress had left them, <now to get to work.>

The EDS put her purse on the table and pulled out a PSP. Ejecting a UMD, she turned on the system and plugged in a USB cable from her earblade into the system.

<So, you're compatible with those things?> Piro asked.
<Yes. It's more limited than the PS2, but I can do what I need to on this.>
<Which is…?>
<I'll explain more after eating, Piro-kun.> Ping explained nonchalantly as another waitress approached the table.
<Sorry about the wait,> she said, bowing. <Here are your menus. Can I bring you some coffee?>

<Yes, please.> Ping said. <Piro-kun, do you want some too? And how about Largo-san?>
<Sure,> Piro said. He looked at Largo, about to ask him; then he thought better of it. <Ma'am, do you carry alcohol?>
<Uh…yes, but just beer.>
<That's fine,> Piro pointed to Largo. <That's what he wants.>
<Alright, I'll be back with your drinks in a moment.>

Ping smiled as the waitress walked away. Putting down the PSP, she unplugged the USB cable and put the PSP back in her purse.

"Well, part one is finished," she said. "You guys know what you want yet?"

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