In a high school in Shibuya, a girl with long black hair was sitting on the roof, contemplating. She was wearing her faded green blazer and skirt, and with a brown school bag. She was feeling upset, as she was emotionally hurt. Two girls in school uniforms, one with short blonde hair and one with bleach blonde hair and a red highlight streak on the right side of her hair, appeared.

"Aya?" Ran asked.

Aya sniffled, "Hi…"

Ran asked her, "You okay? You left, before we got to talk to you."

Aya sobbed, "I'm fine."

Miyu asked, "What happened with Rei, this time?"

"Oh, no, it's not Rei, this time… It's someone else… or something else…" Aya explained, "You see, I was happy to find a friend, like you guys, but she's not what I thought."

Ran and Miyu sat down, as Ran explained, "Oh, okay. Tell us."

Aya explained, "Well… Have you ever heard of Maidens for Hire?"

Miyu cheered, "DO I? Miyu heard great new stuff about these Maidens for Hire. Miyu thinks of renting one."

Ran huffed, "Screw that. Those are hella-expensive. 3,000 Yen a month, Mom and Dad wouldn't even raise my allowance."

Aya explained, "Well, about that, this girl I met… she was a senior, just like us, and she was happy for me… However, she was not what you think."

Aya Hoshino, a girl in Hounan High, explained the entire story of how she met a girl that enrolled here. This, of course, leads to a really huge adventure for Hoshino.


Maiden Universe #18


GAL for Hire:
Aya's NEW Best Friend


Two weeks ago…


Aya was walking home from school, as she was heading to the train station. A man in long brown hair and a business suit appeared, as he approached her. He asked, "Excuse me, Miss Hoshino?"

Aya asked, "Huh? Who are you?"

The man said, "We haven't met. My name is Ohara Sanjiro, or Sanjoin, for short. I happen to represent a fiscal company that works on guaranteed service."

"What is it?"

"It's a very unique company we run. It's called Maidens for Hire."

"You mean the same Maidens for Hire that provides services, using rental androids?"

"The very same."

Aya turned away and huffed, "Not interested."

He explained, "But, my dear, you are turning 18, real soon… Are you a high school student?"

"Senior. I'm a clincher for valedictorian."

"Ah, a brilliantly gifted child. I have my reasons that you may need a Maiden for Hire, in your expert knowledge."

"Absolutely not!" Aya complained, "I don't want to spend 2,500 Yen a month on them! Mom and Dad wouldn't let me own one! You know how it is, when you are learning responsibility?"

"Of course not, Hoshino. But responsibility is a fact, and also a tip. You are responsible for owning and renting one, but the Maiden will work the job, for you. They are sentient beings, and obey their every command. They are human, like us, only crafted to be like us."

Aya snorted, as she whispered, "No."

She stated, "There's so much I can learn from a Maiden for Hire, Butler for Hire, or even how to learn to raise kids, but I am under NO circumstances that I want one. Ever!"

"Miss Hoshino…"

"DON'T Miss Hoshino, me!" Aya barked, "Owning a Maiden for Hire is my decision. And I am NOT accepting one!"

"Or does your boyfriend?" Ohara asked.

Aya gasped, "How did you-? You know my Otohata-kun?"

"Ah, yes. Rei Otohata. I offered him a choice of owning a Maiden for Hire… but he, too, declined. Oh, well."

He then gave Aya a pamphlet and said, "Here. If you ever change your mind, feel free to give me a call. Otherwise, I can't help you. Owning our Maidens for Hire is your choice."

He left, as Aya was confused, "Weird. He offers me a pamphlet, and leaves… and he knows Otohata? Wait… Are Maidens for Hire spies? No… It's not it."

The train arrived, as Aya put the pamphlet in her pocket. She went in the train, as Ohara was watching from far away. He said, "She doesn't know…"

XXXXX

At Aya's house, she tossed the pamphlet away, as she was on her bed. She said, as she was exhausted, "It's weird… But it's nice to hear about these Maidens, more often. I don't think I want one… at all… Otohata wouldn't ask for one, either. The guy's stone cold, but he's uber-hot."

She lied on her pillow, as she whispered, "I don't like Maidens… I just cannot say it. I hate Maidens for Hire. They are so unique, but they are like outdated computers."

As she relaxed, meanwhile, in downtown Shibuya, a Maid in a pink outfit was greeting to people, as a girl in short blonde hair, in a Hounan High School uniform, looked on. She turned away, as she said, "She's in trouble… Getting cloudy…"

The clouds were starting to grow big, as there are possible rain showers, coming up. And that can be a problem for Maidens for Hire, most of the time. The blonde girl held her blue umbrella up and ran home. The Maiden went inside, as rain started to fall.

Back in Aya's house, she was doing her homework, as she started to doze off. She woke up, and then said, "I was too worried about the rain… It is a rainy day…"

She continued, until she fell asleep.

XXXXX

The next day, Aya was walking to Shibuya, as she was looking around. She knew that her friend, Ran Kotobuki, would arrive, shortly. She figured that she stayed late, because she got busted for her homework. Aya then looked around, as she spotted a Maiden in pink. The Maiden bowed to her and greeted her, "Hello…"

Aya whispered, "Huh? Who are you?"

The Maiden said, "I am Maiden for Hire Model #359SR. My name is Susie."

"OH!" Aya gasped, "You're a real life Maiden for Hire?"

The Maiden said, "You are beautiful, Aya Hoshino."

Aya gasped, as she asked how she knew of her name. The Maiden said that she has her name in the databanks. Aya figured that the man, Mr. Ohara, got her name down. She explained, "I'm so sorry. But I was offered a Maiden for Hire, only to refuse to accept one. I can't afford one, before college. Plus, I'm good, on my own."

"But Maidens, Butlers, and Children can care for people. We even help those that want to learn, motive people, teach people facts, do their chores, and more importantly, give guaranteed service. You cannot decline Maidens for Hire. We're special."

"I… … … I can't. I don't want one. I cannot say."

She walked off, apologizing to Susie. She left, as Susie started to flicker her eyes in blue and red, as she said, "A primitive girl… with her cellphones… and her iPods. She must have one. Everyone wants one."

Aya runs off, scared of Susie, the Maiden that was greeting her. She ran as fast as she could, until she bumped into the blonde girl. They dropped down, as the girl moaned, "Ow… That hurts."

Aya said, "I am so sorry. I, uh, forgive me…"

The girl asked, "Miss Hoshino?"

Aya ran off, without responding, as she said, "Miss Hoshino… I wonder what is going on."

The girl stood up, as she held her arm, "Ouch… It felt like something broke off of me. She's in a hurry to study…"

Back in another part of the city, Aya panted, as she was lying by the wall. She whispered, "Maidens for Hire… I hate them. I don't like them… I cannot say that to that Maiden for Hire. I'm scared…"

"You're scared?" A male voice asked.

A man in brown hair, wearing a black uniform, said, "You okay, Aya?"

"Rei…" She whispered, "Oh…"

She hugged him, as he asked her, "Something wrong?"

Aya said, "I… I ran into a Maiden for Hire… and it scared me."

"You had that problem, too? It's just a robot."

"I don't care. This man offered me a chance to own one, but…"

"I see… You wouldn't accept it? I turned them down, too. But it's okay, Aya. There's nothing to be afraid of. These girls are nothing but fake gals… and are simply built to be this way."

"I know… But I hate going near one. I'm too afraid of owning one, since I could be destroying her… Otohata-kun, do you think I am irresponsible?"

"What do you mean?"

"It's… Well, my parents would accept one, seeing they can help me study more, if not going to hang with Ran and others, but they are too expensive."

"Aya, that is 2,500 Yen a month, an apparently, that would be about 30,000 Yen."

"Yeah… and that is too much, even for Ran…"

"Exactly."

He petted her head and said, "Look, I have to go. There's nothing to be afraid of. You can accept the Maidens for Hire, one day."

He walked off, as Aya was sad. She then whispered, "I just can't. I always want to be brave, but not this time. Maidens for Hire are the one thing I cannot accept."

She walked home, as the girl in blonde was whispering, "It is so… huh?"

She was eavesdropping on Rei & Aya's conversation, as she nodded, "Right. I believe that this Susie needs a talking to."

She went back to the building that had Susie, as she was greeting to the people. The girl called out, "HEY! You, Maiden for Hire!"

Susie winked, "Hello, friend. Welcome to-."

"Cut the crap!" The girl yelled, "How dare you traumatize Miss Hoshino! What did you even say to her?"

The Maiden giggled, "I only greeted her. That's all. If you don't mind, you're being rude."

The girl huffed, "I guess you're right. I can talk to her, tomorrow. She goes to my school, I think…"


The next morning at Hounan High, Aya was walking up to the 3rd floor, as the girl was waiting for Aya. She called to her, as Aya asked, "Oh? You're the girl from the other day."

She bowed, as she said, "I'm so sorry that I ran into you."

"I know." The girl said, "It was an accident. If you don't mind, we should talk about that day."

Aya walked past her, as she said, "Sorry… I have to go to class."

The girl nodded and said, "Right. Lemme get to homeroom, too."

She whispered, as she held her hand to her chest, "Hoshino… I remember you…"

She went to her class, as well, as she was worried about Aya.

XXXXX

At lunch hour, Aya was sitting alone, under the tree. The girl arrived, as she said, "Miss Hoshino?"

"Oh, you again." Aya said, "You wanted to talk to me?"

"Yes. It is about that Maiden you ran into," she said, "Miss Yamazaki told me about it, since she was avoiding her and Miss Kotobuki, today."

"They knew?!" Aya cringed, "I… I'm sorry. I mean, I told them, and I said that I just needed time to shake things off."

"It's alright. I know your problem. You hate Maidens for Hire, do you?"

Aya confessed, "Yes. I do."

She sat down and said, "We have time. You wanna talk?"

"Sure… It's just, before Hounan High, I had a bad experience with a Maiden for Hire, when they were introduced. I even learned of how Maidens were created, to replicate humans. I am okay with it, since robots are cool, but a human-like robot was scary… as she is sentient."

"What happened?"

"When I was 15, I got to meet with a Maiden for Hire, and she greeted to me. But afterwards, I wanted to ask for a picture, but a guy approached her, and he stroked her in the butt. It was horrendous… At first I thought it was a dirty tactic, but that Maiden struck him."

"Apparently, these Maidens are not to be touched, if not on Pleasure Mode. You know that. This mode is for the age of 18. What they did was subdue the pervert, in a defense protocol."

Aya shook her head and said, "No… It's worse than that. That Maiden… she stopped the pervert, but…"

She cringed, "I think she killed him. He just didn't stop breathing."

The girl gasped, as she said, "Oh, no… Is that why?"

Aya said, "I'm okay now. Since then, I cannot go near one, ever… I'm afraid that they'll attack me, too…"

The girl said, "Perhaps it could be a chance that the guy is alright. The Maidens for Hire follow the three rules…"

"Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics? I get it… But…"

The girl held her hands and said, "You need someone to talk to. I'm here for you. Aya, we can talk, right?"

Aya nodded, as she explained, "I am sure. I'll tell Ran about it, when the time is right…"

The girl left, as Aya asked, "WAIT! I want to know… Who are you?"

The girl said, "My name is Katase… Maiko Katase…"

Maiko walked off, as Aya's eyes widened, remembering another Katase… Kazuki. He was the same guy that dated Aya, until she dumped him, for trying to ditch her dog tag of friendship, created for herself, Ran, & Miyu, and because he doesn't like how Aya is dressed; and that he once hacked into the school's file, late at night, to be number 1 in Hounan High, only for Ran to caught him, in the wrap.

"No… Katase… It cannot be…" she whispered, "Could she be…?"


To be continued…