Jagoan had made up his mind, and the first person he wanted to call was Aurora.
It had been a few days since he had last seen her, and he felt a pang of guilt for not following through on his promise to supervise her training. So, he dialed her number, and she answered quickly.
“Master Wade, why do you have time to call me?” Aurora asked, sounding surprised.
Jagoan couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm.
“I called you because I have good news,” he replied.
Aurora’s voice brightened even more as she asked, “What good news? Are you coming to my house to guide me in training? You promised me a long time ago!”
Jagoan chuckled. “It’s almost as good as that… I recently invited a martial arts master to come to Aurous Hill and hold a training class. It will cover everything from the basics up, and it’s a rare opportunity. If you’re interested and have the time, I’d love for you to come and participate.”
“Really?” Aurora’s voice was filled with excitement. “Master Wade, isn’t martial arts supposed to be a secret practice only passed down through martial arts families and schools? How can I, Aurora, have the chance to learn it?”
Jagoan laughed reassuringly. “Not only do you have the opportunity to learn, but you’ll also learn from the best and most complete martial arts mentality I know of,” he said.
Aurora couldn’t contain her excitement. “Master Wade, I’m 10,000 times willing to do this!” she exclaimed. “When and where do I start the registration process?”
Jagoan smiled. “This isn’t an external recruitment, so there’s no formal registration process,” he explained. “But don’t worry, if you’re willing to participate, I’ll make sure to reserve a spot for you. I’ll give you the specific address once the time is fixed, but I can tell you now that it will be in Aurous Hill and not too far from your home.”
Aurora let out a scream of excitement before calming down. “By the way, Master Wade,” she asked, “how long will this training take? If it’s going to be a long time, I’ll need to prepare in advance. I’m also starting school soon, so I need to plan around that.”
Jagoan took a moment to consider before speaking. “The first stage of training will take at least six months. During that time, you might not be able to come home every day like you do when you go to school. The training will be quite intensive.”
Aurora’s response was quick and confident. “That’s not a problem! Even though I study in Aurous Hill, I mostly live in the school dormitory. I only go home on weekends, and sometimes I don’t even do that if my parents are busy.”
Jagoan chuckled and said, “Well then, as long as your father doesn’t object, we’re all set.”
Aurora couldn’t help but laugh and asked, “Why would my dad object? If he knew that you arranged this, he might never want me to come home again!”
Jagoan smiled, unaware of Aurora’s unspoken thoughts. “Your father adores you… I’m afraid he won’t want you to go.”
“No way!” Aurora exclaimed with a grin. “My dad will be 10,000% supportive of this!”
Jagoan couldn’t help but smile. “That’s great… So we have an agreement, and I’ll contact you in advance with all the details.”
Aurora agreed eagerly, “Okay, Master Wade! By the way, is there anything I need to prepare in advance?”
Jagoan shook his head. “All the basic necessities will be provided. But if you have any personal items you want to bring, feel free to pack them. The accommodation here is pretty good, with standard hotel rooms and separate dormitories for men and women. It’s all set up to be as convenient as possible.”
Aurora smiled. “Got it, I’ll pack some clothes!”
“Perfect,” Jagoan replied. “And if you need anything else while you’re there, just let the on-site coordinator know. They’ll do their best to accommodate you.”
“Thanks, Master Wade!” Aurora said before ending the call.
Jagoan took a moment before dialing Jagoan Ito’s number.
Jagoan was engrossed in embroidering when her phone rang. She grinned when she saw that it was Jagoan calling.
“Hey, Master Wade, what’s up?” she asked cheerfully.
Jagoan paused for a moment before asked, “Are you at home right now?”
Jagoan nodded, still smiling. “Yes, I am. You can come over whenever you want.”
“Great,” Jagoan replied. “I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.”
Jagoan set aside her embroidery and got up, already planning for Jagoan’s arrival. “I’ll prepare some tea for us to enjoy together when you get here…”
Jagoan quickly interjected. “Oh, no need to trouble yourself… I just wanted to tell you something in person.”
Jagoan wasn’t deterred. “Well, you can still have some tea while we talk.”
Without waiting for Jagoan’s response, Jagoan added, “Just drive safely, okay? I’ll meet you at the garage in fifteen minutes and pick you up.”
Jagoan said, “I’ll just ring the doorbell in the basement when I arrive… It’s no trouble at all for me to come down and greet you.”
Jagoan shook her head, her expression serious. “I couldn’t let you do that… Welcoming you home is one of the greatest pleasures I could ask for. My mother always said that a woman’s happiest moments are when she greets the man she loves at the door…”
She trailed off, realizing she might have said too much.
After a moment she added, “I’m sorry, that sounded silly… Please don’t be offended, Jagoan. It’s just a quirk of mine…”
Jagoan didn’t reply, but he did offer a gentle reminder. “Just come down in twenty minutes, okay? No need to wait around in the basement.”
Jagoan smiled. “Don’t worry about me, Jagoan. You focus on driving, and I’ll be ready when you get here.”
As Jagoan drove, Jagoan set an alarm for fifteen minutes and quickly sent a voice message to her father, Yuhiko Ito.
She said, “Mr. Wade is coming… So please ask Odo-san and Tanaka to stay outside for a while and come back after he leaves.”
Yuhiko had been much more relaxed since coming to Aurous Hill, and he often went out to exercise with his friend, Tanaka Koichi. Today, they were playing golf in the suburbs with Yuhiko’s younger sister, Ito Emi.
While waiting for the water to boil, Jagoan changed out of her Japanese-style furisode yukata and put on a casual jumpsuit. She quickly fixed her hair and checked her appearance in the mirror.
When the timer went off, Jagoan grabbed her phone and headed down to the basement. As she did, she listened to the voice message from her father.
Yuhiko’s voice came through, playful and teasing. “I thought Mr. Wade was here and you wanted me to come back right away… But if you don’t need me tonight, just let me know. Tanaka and I can book a room at the hotel!”