An anxious Synna reported to the Night District's post office at exactly eight o'clock, even though she was not due until eight-thirty. After three weeks of careful mentorship under a strict Spark, his once-blue fur slowly silvering with age, she did not want to be late on her first day on the job.
She shuffled nervously as she waited for him by the door, her mind cluttered with the thoughts of all that could go wrong. What if she became lost in Underground Tokyo's labyrinth of busy streets, or neglected to deliver someone's newspaper? There was so much to be anxious about, even when she had explored these streets a dozen times under her mentor's watchful eye and wasted no time in learning even the most meticulous of ropes of the work.
Her coordinator arrived fifteen minutes later, unfazed by her effort to arrive early. He unlocked the door and stepped into his office, emerging several minutes later with a canvas satchel full of newspapers, bound into neat rolls by rubber bands.
“Synna,” he addressed her as he dropped the satchel in front of her, “Here are the newspapers. You are to deliver one to each address in the district. You have until twelve to deliver all of the papers and report back to me. Understood?”
“Yes, sir,” the green-coated Shiba Inu replied as she slid the satchel into place across her neck and chest. It was almost a third of her size, but fortunately lightweight. She could feel her mentor's prying eyes on her as she trotted down the hall with the satchel in tow, stepping outside and into the crowded streets of Underground Tokyo. All around her, there were Sparks of all shapes, sizes, and colors, but she knew that the district would be much more crowded later that day, when the nightlife came out to play.
Through the flocks of Sparks, Synna weaved, pausing when she reached the first row of mailboxes. With careful teeth, she dutifully plucked each newspaper free from the canvas folds of her satchel, then slid them into their designated mailboxes. Then, she carried on down the street, the next row of mailboxes already in sight.
She had not made it far when a familiar voice called out to her, “Syn!”
The Shiba Inu paused, surprised to see the pink-and-white Spark trotting towards her through the crowd. She recognized her from her work at the post office. Her name was Hope. While she was younger than Synna, she was also a far more experienced messenger.
Hope smiled warmly as she walked up to Synna, wagging her tail. She paused when she noticed the satchel full of newspapers around the green-pelted Spark's neck. “Oh, today's your first day out on your own, huh?” she asked.
With a timid nod, Syn replied, “Yeah. I'm a little anxious.”
A moment of silence fell on the two as Synna paused to deliver another round of newspapers, carefully slipping them into the awaiting mailboxes. Hope pulled a letter out of her own satchel and placed it in one of the boxes, then closed her satchel and prompted, “Are you going this way?”
The characteristically warm smile returned to the pink-and-white Spark's features with another wag of her thickly furred tail. “I'm going this way, too!” she replied, “If you like, we can go together.”
The invitation surprised the socially crippled Synna, but she smiled softly and nodded nonetheless. “O-okay. Thanks!”
The two continued in silence for awhile, with Synna stopping at each row of mailboxes to deliver newspapers and Hope plucking the occasional letter from her satchel to make a delivery of her own.
“I'm a little worried,” Syn informed her comrade unexpectedly, “What if I get lost?”
Hope smiled. “Don't worry about that. In two weeks, you'll have every street in Underground Tokyo memorized,” she reassured her.
“I hope so,” Syn replied anxiously, pausing to unload more newspapers. It was almost ten o'clock already, but she had delivered three-quarters of the newspapers that had originally populated her messenger bag.
It was then that the red-and-orange Spark trotted up to them, an uneasy expression on his face. “Excuse me,” he addressed the two, both Hope and Synna turning to face him, “I'm looking for a friend and...err...I'm a little lost. Could you tell me where I am?”
Hope beamed. “Of course!”
The shier Synna nodded timidly and began to look around for a street sign, unfamiliar with the name of the road.
Hope looked around. “So, where are you headed?”
“To a nightclub called The Lotus,” he answered.
The name sounded familiar to Syn, but she was uncertain of the infamous club's location.
“Oh, it's not far from here!” Hope responded with a smile, “I'm heading that way now. I can take you there, if you like!”
The red-and-orange Spark grinned and nodded. “That'd be great! Thanks!”
Hope turned to Synna and asked, “Hey, Syn, wanna go with us? Or would you rather deliver the rest of those on your own?” She nodded towards the bundle of newspapers that still occupied the Spark's satchel.
Syn hesitated, then nodded timidly. “I can deliver them on the way,” she agreed.
Hope beamed. “Great!” she exclaimed as she turned and bounded into the crowd with the male Spark at her side. Synna followed on swift feet, the patter of their footsteps drowned out in the noise of the crowds. Her satchel bounced against her chest as she bounded after the two.
Several minutes later, the final row of mailboxes came into view. Synna and Hope had circumvented the entire district on their mail run, the familiar, square shape of the post office visible on the horizon. The Shiba Inu stopped to deliver the newspapers, carefully opening each mailbox door, slipping the neatly rolled paper in, and closing it.
Hope and the red-and-orange Spark waited for Syn outside the post office as she returned the empty satchel to her coordinator. The duo greeted her with cheerful smiles as she trotted outside, pleased to have successfully completed her first assignment with almost two hours to spare.
“Good, now we can head to The Lotus!” Hope cheered as she stood and began to trot down the street. Synna bounded after her with the male Spark in tow.
“I'm Rico, by the way,” the Spark informed them, “Thanks for all your help!”
“You're welcome,” their escort replied, “I'm Hope and this is Synna.”
“Hello,” Syn managed with a respectful dip of her head, her long, off-white hair hanging in her face.
“Hi,” Rico replied happily, wagging his tail.
Hope giggled. “C'mon! Let's go!”