Chapter 11:


Half-Paid Heroes

Akihisa's gaze grew steely and he prepared himself for another rejection, only to receive hearty laughter.

At this point, Chris found Ella and held her umbrella over her friend, leaving the Attorney-General to be the only one without any rain protection.

"Guess what, Akihisa? I should have admitted my defeat when I first decided to overturn that law. One of my responsibilities is to protect the human rights of the citizens, including the right to work. By barring your Company and the other companies from being able to do just that, I have violated my right as a politician." The clarity of the Attorney-General's voice had been perfectly audible as the rain started, but suddenly the downpour became an onslaught for a few seconds, drenching the goateed man even further to the bone and making him yell this over the volume of the saddened sky.

The brunette only gave him a silent nod and turned his workers away from the giraffe-like man.
When the Law was re-implemented a few weeks later following the Attorney-General's resignation, the courts which were designated to handle cases involving superpowers could get back to working on these cases.

Ross's case had been publicised heavily, as fights between heroes often did, and so he had no choice but to plead guilty to his charges. In the end, he was sentenced to permanent revocation of his transformative item and imprisonment.

What the redhead didn't expect was that the guard who locked the cell - a man with cropped black hair and a navy police uniform - was so young. In fact, the guard seemed like he was a little too young for his job, but the gaze in his deep brown eyes made him seem much older.

Those eyes gazed into his soul as Ross silently took his place in an empty cell, adjacent to a barred window which pale moonlight streamed through. The hallways all seemed to be made of a blue-grey concrete that blended in with the night sky outside.

Suddenly, the guard broke the silence with a question: "You threatened my sister, didn't you?"

Ross halted for a second. He clearly remembered his attacker was a male with darkness powers and a waiter outfit, who called himself "Heart Hope". That couldn't possibly have been a "sister"...

Now that he observed the guard more closely though, he looked very similar to the "waiter", right down to the way they stood.

...Maybe, this "Heart Hope" really was the guard's sister, with transformative powers? (It was hard to tell due to the variety of possible circumstances that could have led up to such a thing, but that was the most plausible option.)

"It doesn't matter, even if that was your sister. I-I only intended to spite Kirikagura by luring out some of his workers," Ross tried to inject some confidence into his voice, but his lips trembled at the powerful aura this guard exuded.

In one instant, the guard pulled out a necklace with a gem - jet black with a few thin horizontal white stripes - from out of his collar and mouthed some words. Ross grabbed his head as black morphed to white and white morphed to black in his vision during the guard's transformation, which flashed so rapidly it could induce seizures.

When Ross could see properly again, there was the same man, but dressed in the robes of a classic grim reaper. His hair was silver and gleaming in the light of the moon, but now that it had lengthened in his transformation, he resembled an older version of the one he called his "sister".

"The world isn't as black and white as your Company makes it look, huh?" That piercing gaze glowed a bloody red for a second, then the psychopomp disappeared in a puff of smoke.
It seemed like Kirikagura's coughing fits got even worse so as the Company resumed its work, the boss was bedridden. Occasionally, the management would play paper-scissors-rock to check on him...

...they would have, if things in the office, including the staff, didn't start spontaneously levitating.

Gerry Hines