Yuuto woke up with an aching headache partly from all the drinking he had done.
His aching head was most likely because of the kick to the head he received.
Was it the next day already? He couldn’t tell as there were no windows in the room.
He rubbed his temples with his hands that were still handcuffed. It was enough to lessen the pounding ache so that he could sit up and try to think clearly.
As he sat up the uncomfortable metal cot creaked in protest.
Looking around the dimly lit room, there was nothing out of the ordinary, bare walls, a desk with a face towel next to a steaming hot bowl of water, and an old man sitting in a chair next to him.
Nothing out of the ordinary, just a small room and an old man sitting next to him… wait a second.
The old man sitting next to him looked to be in his early 60s and was staring intently at Yuuto. He was resting his chin on his hands that were also both relaxing on top of a carved cane that had a dragon carved for the handle.
Yuuto and the old man stared at each other in silence for several more minutes before the old man spoke.
“Hello Young Man. It seems you’ve had a bit of trouble lately,” said the old man.
Before Yuuto could reply he was interrupted, “Don’t talk. I don’t need your long-winded life story or your excuses and complaints on why the world has wronged you. You are here because you have racked up large amounts of debt to several influential people, who you are unable to pay back. How that came to be, does not matter to those you owe that money to. Now I…am here to perhaps help you with your problem. That is if I deem you physically fit and mentally stable enough. I can’t have a nut job working for me, it would cause problems for both me and the customers. If everything checks out, then I’ll be able to take care of the debt for you. In return, you would then be an indentured servant, working for me until you have completely paid off your debt. What do you think?”
“Who are you? You want me to work for you…what are you going to do if I refuse to cooperate with you?” asked Yuuto.
“I am Kentaro. If you refuse, I will have to hand you over to your creditors. You should know the Yakuza are not kind to those who borrow vast amounts of money and are unable to pay it back. To make sure they don’t suffer any losses you would be doing many unsavory tasks and ‘odd jobs’. Some that could cause you bodily harm.”
“What sort of job will you be having me do to pay off such a large debt?”
“My wife and I run a small host and hostess club. You will work as a host in the club Winter Night. That is if we both come to an agreement.”
“What is it that you need me to do so we can reach that agreement?” asked Yuuto.
“There’s no need to hurry and rush things just yet. I’ll leave you for a short time so that you can think it over. You should freshen yourself up with the towel and warm water in the basin. There’s aspirin and a jug of water with a glass to help you get over your hangover. When I return we’ll start your test. You can decide then or anytime during the test if you want to stop and or decline my help,” said Kentaro as he used his cane to stand up and walk out the small room’s door.
The door shut with an audible click of a lock being turned back in place.
Yuuto rose from the cot and hobbled over to the table with the water basin and jug of water.
On top of the towel an aspirin and a key, most likely for the handcuffs.
For over a minute he fumbled with trying to pick up the key. After several seconds of poking at the hole with the key he was able to unlock the handcuffs.
Rubbing his sore wrist, he then bent over and untied the rope from his feet as well.
Now that he could move freely he felt much better.
He poured a glass of water and popped the aspirin into his mouth, washing it down with the glass of water. This caused his head to throb in pain even more as the body was re-hydrated.
Grabbing the hand towel, he dipped one end of it into the steaming water of the basin and started scrubbing his face clean.
He soaked the towel again and wiped down his neck, shoulders, and under his arms.
Dipping his hands into the water, he ran his fingers through his hair trying to sort the messy hair.
Yuuto lifted his arms and sniffed himself to see if he smelled any better. He shrugged to himself, he couldn’t tell if he did or not.
He poured another glass of water and drank this one more slowly. When finished he walked over to the cot and plopped back down onto it and laid down so he could stare at the ceiling and contemplate his options.
Ten or twenty minutes had passed while he thought about the recent events. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard footsteps in the hallway coming back towards the room.
Yuuto decided right then that he would try to escape when the old man opened the door. He walked over to the door and waited for it to open.
When the door was unlocked and was opened wide enough, he jumped out into the hallway and got ready to run.
Before he could step more than two feet forward a cane shot out and jabbed him in the stomach and whacked him on the head.
The jabs forced him to his knees, making him clutch his gut while he tried to catch his breath with shallow breaths.
Running seemed like a bad idea now.
“Not a good start, if you’re trying to wear my patience it’s working. If you’re done horsing around, we can go and get the test started, or I can hand you over to the Yakuza,” said Kentaro. He waited for a response from Yuuto but when there was none he continued speaking.
“Doctor Doi, would you please pick him up so we can be on our way to the gym.”
Someone behind Yuuto grabbed under his armpits and lifted him onto his feet.
He had been too busy trying to escape to notice that someone else had come with the old man.
Yuuto was being half carried half dragged by Doctor Doi down the small dimly lit hallway.
They stopped abruptly when they reached a closed-door which was quickly opened by the old man revealing a staircase leading underground.
They continued to descend the stairs and entered a large dim room. Doctor Doi let go of Yuuto and flipped a few switches on the wall turning on the room’s lights.
There was a large variety of exercise equipment at the back of the large room.
The majority of the room was wide open so that you could play many different types of sports or have a large group of people doing exercises.
The large room was currently empty and eerily quiet.
“I will leave you in the capable hands of Doctor Doi who will be taking care of your physical tests. When you’re done come back to the room for the interview,” said Kentaro before turning around and walking back up the stairs.
While doing some stretches Yuuto asked, “What exercises do you need me to do doctor?”
“Well, to tell you the truth I’m not a doctor. It’s just one of my many hobbies. It’s true, I try to fix people up when they get hurt while training in the gym or the club. But the truth is I’m just a physical fitness trainer, who is just trying to keep everyone in shape. Due to my hobby, I got the nickname of doctor.”
“I see… so you have an interest in helping others stay healthy,” said Yuuto, unsure what else to say.
“I guess you could say that. I’m more interested in practicing my skills and experimenting on things, cutting them open, and seeing what’s inside. Although it is quite hard to put everything back together. I still have to work on that part.”
Yuuto started to inch away from Dr. Doi after he became aware of his exotic hobby. He was ready to run if he tried to do something strange.
Dr. Doi noticed the movement and the change in Yuuto’s expression.
“Oh don’t worry, I’m not an evil genius or mad scientist that would slice you open and do weird experiments on you, although I’m sure they would be fun,” said Dr. Doi while rubbing his hands together and examining Yuuto with his eyes.
“Well, back to business. For the first task, get into a pushup stance and hold a plank pose for 2 minutes. We will begin when you are ready.”
Yuuto knelt and got in position before looking over to Dr. Doi.
“The time will start now.”
A beep was heard from the stopwatch in Dr. Doi’s hand as he pressed a button to start the timer. When the stopwatch beeped again, the 2 minutes that felt like an eternity were over.
“Now, stand up and squat your bodyweight twenty times.”
Yuuto was able to complete the squats quickly and easily.
“For the rest of the exercises, we need to move over to the back of the room where the equipment is. I need you to do twenty unbroken pull-ups,” said Dr. Doi as he pointed to a pull-up bar on the other side of the room.
Yuuto walked over to the bar and jumped up and grasped the bar. Using a wide grip, his hands were spaced out at a distance wider than his shoulder width. He struggled to do all twenty but finished it successfully.
“Now go to the rowing machine. See if you can finish 500 meters of rowing in 90 seconds or less.”
Sitting down at the rowing machine, he placed his feet on the footrest and strapped them in.
He tested the straps to see if they were tight enough by moving back and forth a few times.
Picking up the handle, he got into position with his chest out, lower back in, and keeping his core muscles tight and arms out straight.
He waited for Dr. Doi to set the distance and resistance.
At the word ‘go’, he started to row in good form, arms out straight and letting his legs pull the weight first until the handle was past his knees where he then used his arms to pull it the rest of the way to his mid-body. And reversing the process going forward and repeatedly doing it over and over again until the machine read 500 meters.
He was able to complete it in 89.4s.
“You can rest for 3 minutes. Then I’ll have you do the last test. You will have to run a mile under 9 minutes.”
Unstrapping his feet, Yuuto took a small blue water bottle that was handed to him and took a drink of what seemed to be an energy drink.
Yuuto took three minutes of rest, then got on the treadmill and waited for Dr. Doi to set the timer.
Yuuto pressed the start button and was off running at a decent speed.
After a short warm-up, he pressed the button to turn up the speed and was able to run the mile in 8:46.9s.
“You’re no superhuman but you’re physically fit enough. You can go to the men’s locker room on the right and use the showers to clean up. There will be some clean clothes in one of the lockers that you can change into after your shower. I believe they will fit you just fine. When you’re done, we can go back to the old man so you can have your interview.”
After showering and changing Yuuto walked back to the small room with Doctor Doi.
The old man was sitting on the chair inside the room and was reading a newspaper while he waited for Yuuto to finish his physical tests.
Standing up from the chair he pointed to a booklet and an answering sheet on the desk and commanded, “Answer the questions honestly.”
He then sat down on the bed to let Yuuto use the chair and desk.
Yuuto looked at the title of the test: Standard testing for mental disorders and other problems.
When Yuuto finished 30 minutes later, Dr. Doi graded the test and handed the old man the results of the test.
“It looks like you’re a normal human being but that’s not much of an achievement because humans are a crazy and dark-minded species. It seems you’re a bit naive but we can work with that.
Since you are both physically and mentally fit, I will allow you to work for me. That is if you are willing to accept the conditions set forth. What will your choice be?” asked Kentaro.
“I’d rather work here then be pawned off to the Yakuza. I have no other choice but to accept.”
“Then read this contract and sign it.”
A one-page contract along with a pen was handed to him.
Yuuto took his time as he slowly read every word to see if there were any scams or disagreeable conditions.
After finishing reading the front, he turned it over to see if there was any more text but the back was blank.
Summarized what the contract wanted of him was to work as a host for the club until his debt was paid off.
When his debt was paid off, if he wanted, he could stay employed or retire.
He would share a dorm room with other hosts. A bill for staying in the room and the cost of food would be added to what he already owed as monthly rent.
If he tried to escape or started to slack off and stopped cooperating, he would be given over to his creditors. He quickly read it over again and then signed the document.
Doctor Doi picked the paper up and handed it over to Kentaro.
“I will let Doctor Doi escort you to the room you will be staying at while in training. You will be able to meet your new roommates who I hope you will get along with and not cause any problems. Tomorrow you will join the other trainees and start physical training, along with daily class lessons on how to be a proper host. If you pay attention, you will have an easier time later on.”
With that, he left the room carrying the contract in his left hand.
“I guess I should congratulate you on joining club Winter Night. Let’s get headed to your new room and say hello to your new future co-workers,” said Dr. Doi as he slapped Yuuto on the back.
They walked through a maze of hallways and stairs until they were several floors above the gym and the small room.
The current hallway they were walking in was wide enough for two people to walk side by side, and its length stretched out long enough to have multiple doors on each side leading to different dorms.
This floor was lively with different noises coming from each room.
They stopped walking at the end of the hall in front of the last door on the right side of the hallway. Dr. Doi stepped forward and opened the door while motioning Yuuto to go inside.
As he entered the room, he could see two bunk beds before him, one on each side and further into the room an old couch was sat in front of a mini-fridge that had a flat-screen TV placed on top of it.
“Everyone, this is your new roommate Yuuto. You all know the schedule and how things work around here so bring him up to date, and please do get along with each other. Now if you’ll excuse me I left some of my experimental dissections unattended, and I have to get back to them,” said Dr. Doi in a hurry to leave the room.
Just before he left the room he turned around one last time and looked at Yuuto while saying, “One last thing I should remind you about Yuuto. Don’t try and escape, it never ends well.”