A week passed, and the contacts with their Swedish counterparts grew more sporadic. Apparently the third years in Sweden were busy partying.
Ryu didn't understand fully what was going on in Sweden late May, but Urufu-kun promised that the third years spent most of May and all the few school days in June in a frenzied haze as graduation grew closer. The haze resulting from large amounts of legally questionable alcohol.
Skype conversations with their first and second year contacts only confirmed what he said.
A long summer was looming closer in Sweden, and most of the students there were openly concerned about being scattered for over two months. For the graduating ones this summer would see most of them split up permanently. As far as he could understand they had no club activities to build continuity with, but apparently a few in the exchange club planned to stay together during summer break.
One of them was even headed for Japan mid-July and wondered if they could meet up. He was a bit taken aback when told about final exams, but early August presented an opportunity.
On the Japanese end things were progressing smoothly, and Urufu-kun was planning something for late June together with Kuri-chan.
Summer solstice held some special meaning for people in Sweden, and both of them wanted the members of the club to have a shared dinner outdoors. Kuri-chan even went as far as saying that voiding that was tantamount to sacrilege in Sweden.
Ryu shook his head remembering the spectacle at the amusement park. There was still a lingering impact from it on their class and the club, but Kuri-chan and he were both somehow elated above mere rumours. And now he knew she had the experience to back her claims.
He went in search for the second one with experience enough to back all claims and found him in their club room. Urufu-kun sat on the floor playing with one of his gadgets.
"So, Urufu-kun, what's up?" Ryu said to announce his arrival.
Urufu-kun flipped open the lid to his laptop and it flashed alive in a second.
'You sure got expensive taste. Never even seen one of those.'
"I'm setting up the Skype call, but this time we'll need a projector."
Urufu-kun fished out a compact device from his bag.
"That's a projector? Looks like wireless speakers."
"Yeah. Wireless. Love it. Projector's built in." Urufu-kun was setting up the box with the eyes of a child in a candy shop.
"Why?" Ryu asked. He sat down on his feet and studied Urufu-kun.
"You'll see. OK, people we're ready. I'll call Sweden."
Shortly afterwards a face surrounded by blond hair waved at them from the wall. "Ready?" the projector blared.
"We're ready in our end. You can run your presentation," Urufu-kun answered in English.
On the wall the face was replaced by a white screen, and then the screen wasn't white any more.
The Japanese exchange student stood by it. The word 'Welcome' was replaced by its counterpart in kanji with the help of some computerised graphic trick. "Superb," she said in Japanese. "Could one of you go on stage so I can finish the rig here?"
Urufu-kun waved at him, and Ryu obediently walked to the wall.
"Wow! A looker! Cute but too much of a kid for me," the projector said in her voice.
"You just get over here and I'll show you kid," Ryu responded. It was just the kind of challenge he couldn't avoid accepting.
"Cheeky little boy. You some kind of class prince over there?"
"More like the Prince of Himekaizen," he said. It wasn't just bragging, and he was always aware of how much attention he attracted.
"Then my prince, why don't you stand there and pose a little while I finish the rig here. I promise to pretend to be very impressed with you and all that. If you want I can swoon a little as well."
Ryu grinned. An entirely honest grin this time. If that girl had really been here he'd have been more than a little interested. Girls usually didn't make fun of him that way.
"Rika, just tell me when you're done in Sweden and we'll have the club members inside for the presentation," Ulf said into his microphone.
Ryu shook his head. 'First name basis with a Japanese upperclassman on another continent. And no honorifics. I wonder how long those are going to survive in the club.'
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