Sorry for the long wait! Finals are coming up and I have to study.
Chapter 5: Disheartenment and Discovery
It was disheartening to see a place that you had called home for several years was gone. The land which the Hinata house was once on now had a grand mall on it. The tall building of the mall was not particularly new; it could be deduced that the mall had been built awhile ago and that the Hinata residence had been torn down many years ago, not just the Hinata residence but also the surrounding neighborhood.
Giroro stood in front of the busy mall, feeling a tinge of emptiness. He had found here with the map the hotel provided and with the help of the clerk at the hotel's front desk. The street's name was still the same but the street itself was very different. In fact, it was not a street anymore; it was a boulevard. It had four lanes on either side of the island, with busy stores on each side. The boulevard would have been a splendid and exciting place for visitors who like to shop; however, it was a harsh reality for Giroro to face. From this, he was once again haunted by the fact that he had been gone for a long time, though it felt as if he had left just yesterday.
Slowly, he turned away from the mall and headed toward the taxi line. Now what? Two days had been spent on the galaxy express. Another three days wasted in the hotel on calling every Hinata on the phone book, only to realize later that Natsumi might not be a Hinata anymore, if she had married. Nine days left, counting today.
He rose his head and looked around him out from the car window. Tall buildings towering above him, making the sky seemed smaller. Nishiwaza tower was nowhere to be seen, even when he had been to the eighty ninth floor, the balcony, of the hotel. Perhaps the Nishiwaza corporation was not the richest anymore.
"Here's the hotel," the taxi driver broke his thought.
Giroro, who was startled, replied awkwardly, "Uh, thanks." Then he handed the driver money and got off the car abruptly.
"Well, have you found anything?" the young lady at the front desk asked Giroro as he entered the front gate.
Giroro shook his head. He had lied to her that he was from another country and that he was searching for someone. He stepped inside the elevator. It was all glass on the side facing out. The cars and the people below became smaller and smaller as the elevator rose.
In his pink hotel room, Giroro sat in front the computer desk, daydreaming. He pulled out the map and tried to see where he should go next. He sighed and pushed the map away from him. Then he pulled the map out again and pushed it away again. He repeated this for a few times until he was defeated by his own thoughts and he grunted in frustration.
Then he resorted to pacing around in the room, his thoughts pacing in his mind as well. He finally decided that he would feel better going outside than staying in this pink room, which was suffocating his masculinity.
Side Six! He quickly took out his map again and estimated the location of Side Six, hoping that it was still there. Maybe he could find some kind of help there. He ran out from his hotel room, rode the elevator down, and ran outside of the front gate, which caused the lady to watch him curiously. He randomly picked a taxi and soon he was on his way to Side Six.
There was a problem. He could not find the old alley. He wandered aimlessly around the block for a while, then when he was about to give up and leave, he spotted something, or rather someone, peculiar. That someone looked like a Pekoponian, yet there was something off. There were two weird projections sticking out from his head. Normal Pekoponians wouldn't wear that, unless on Halloween. Giroro decided to keep a close eye on the person and followed him. He went into alleys after alleys, like a maze formed by the skyscrapers. Giroro pursued him on and on. Then they met a dead end. The peculiar person halted and sighed in relief, thinking that he had finally lost his pursuer. However, when he turned around and spotted Giroro, he tensed up. Giroro scanned the poor creature up and down intently; he was sure that he had to be an alien, though he still had a little bit of doubt. He had to see how he would react.
"Please, what do you want?" the creature begged, looking at Giroro fearfully.
Giroro grunted to make himself sound even more threatening. He demanded, "What are you?."
The creature laughed nervously, "Me? Of course I am Pekoponian, not an alien! LOL!"
Giroro sweat-dropped and muttered to himself, "That just made it obvious." So now that he was very sure, he asked, "Hey, do you know where is Side Six?"
The stranger scratched the back of his head and replied, "What are you saying? Hahaha! I don't know what Side Six is."
Giroro realized that the alien did not understand that he knew his true identity. "I know you are an alien so knock it off. I am a Keronian, now tell me where is Side Six."
The stranger blinked a few times and bursted out laughing, "You should've told me that earlier. You freaked me out! Just follow me." He came out from the dead-end and beckoned Giroro to follow him.
"So you haven't been here for a long time?" the stranger asked.
Giroro nodded solemnly. He had told him that he came here to find someone but since a long time had passed, he could not recognize this place anymore. He had taken off his Pekoponian suit in order to not to be mistaken as a real Pekoponian, and he was relieved that no one recognized him as the former corporal of the Keroro Platoon. He did not want to be recognized, for he knew that everyone would be curious with why he had returned on his own. They would know that his return is not for invasion because Keron has abolished invasion of planets with intelligent inhabitants after the war. At first there was much controversy surrounding the term "intelligent inhabitants," though later it was decided that the term applies to beings that have employed technologies, have mass reproduced to a certain degree, and have controlled the whole planet. The term itself does not matter much actually, for all forms of invasion that affect the rightful inhabitants of said planet are banned. If they wanted to build a military base, they had to do it without drastically interfering the daily life of the inhabitants. Creatures such as Pekoponians would certainly be hard to hide from. The only planets that can be conquered and possessed now without affecting the inhabitants are the ones with simple life form such as microorganisms and the ones with nothing.
Side Six was quite different too. Deserted and empty, with only a few stores open. Tourism to Pekopon had died down because of the worsening pollution of the environment. The faint scent of food flowed out of the remaining restaurants; as Giroro was passing by one of them, its automatic glass doors slid open and a strong scent of a familiar dish flowed out.
The stranger kept talking on and on without noticing that his only audience was deep in his own thought. When he finally noticed, he inquired, "Do you think perhaps that the Space Police can help you?"
Giroro was still deep in thought, though he noticed that the stranger had stopped. He turned to the stranger and laughed sheepishly, "Um, what did you say?"
The stranger frowned a bit then repeated, "Do you want to ask the space police to help you?"
Giroro thought about that for a while. If Poyo and Poyon were still stationed here, then they would probably help him, for they owed Natsumi and the platoon many favors. "Um, sure. Thanks for showing me the way to here. I can go to the police by myself."
"Alright, I wish you luck."
Giroro tipped him a polite nod. The stranger turned around and walked away, and Giroro was alone again.
"We don't have info of Pekoponians, so I am sorry that I can't help you," the young police explained and smiled apologetically. Perhaps Poyo and Poyon had been promoted and assigned to a different planet.
Giroro walked out of the station disappointed and spent the rest of his day in Side Six, wandering around aimlessly.
That night, back in the hotel, Giroro doodled on the note pad the hotel provided. He drew and wrote out his plan to find Natsumi, though he was getting frustrated because it was nothing like the plan for military purpose. He eyed the note pad grudgingly and suddenly became aware of the symbol on the top of the note pad for the first time. A fruit, not just any kind of fruit, it's a peach! Well, what about the peach?, thought Giroro.
He thought hard and finally it flashed through his mind. Momo, peach, Momoka! Giroro peered closely at the peach and read the word on the peach in disbelief. It said Nishiwaza. Fate favored him for the first time on Pekopon, or so he believed.
Thanks especially to Scanty Kneesocks and Andrea for your continuous support! I apologize for certain spacings between the paragraphs. FF does not allow me to skip two lines. There are certain paragraphs that need skipping two lines to avoid confusion. I know the quality has gone down, for I wrote certain chapters with more passion than others. Some chapters are just to get the plot going. Now, if you really don't have much to say, it's okay to not to review.
To Andrea: You picked up one of the foreshadowers that I have dropped in the story without realizing that it was intended to be there. Great job! That means you pay attention. Well, things are in a story for a reason, and I just like to build on my plot and drop a few foreshadowers here and there. Anyways, regarding your request, part of it is already granted since it was supposed to be there, though Tamama is not going to appear.