Chapter 8:



The evening sun sets within the fiery sky, and the warm rays cast upon the windows of the Tokyo Prefectural Police Department. Inside of the building stands that same mysterious and unnamed man that was present for Kenta Kiyama’s interview regarding the Special Operations Task Force not too long ago. He paces to and fro, across the room, at a hastened pace. The fading sunlight ricochets along the furniture surrounding him. His right hand rubs his hairless chin as his left arm supports the bent elbow. Bookmark here

Vexed and incoherent mumbles pour out of his mouth without rest. Then, as his nervous pacing brings him towards the bulky, mahogany desk situated to his left, the man reaches towards the desktop - breaking his anxious form. His unintelligible mumbling has ceased, for all of his attention is brought to the desk beside him. Bookmark here

There, a pile of sharp, red darts sit jumbled in a messy pile. Taking one dart between his slender fingertips, the man rolls it against his touch. The metallic needle projects a glint from the overhead lighting into the man’s shaded eyes. The man rolls the dart into his palm, where he grasps the fragility of the dart within his clutch. In an instant, the man turns sharply around, and faces the wall waiting behind him.Bookmark here

Unleashing an aggression hidden under his anxious demeanor, the man throws the small dart harshly across the room and towards the far wall. A circular dartboard innocently pinned against the targeted wall watches as a red object comes soaring towards itself, but just misses a short distance to the left. Atop the dartboard lays a picture of an unknown person showered with previous darts thrown its way.Bookmark here

Hearing the door close suddenly, the man turns swiftly around to face the noise. Just in front of the now closed door stands Nao Watanabe, Chief of Police. An expression coated with disappointment and seriousness washed upon the Chief's face. “Now is not the time for your shenanigans,” Nao warns, walking towards his large leather chair. The mysterious man rolls his eyes at the remark behind his sunglasses, and finds himself sitting in one of the rigid, red leather arm chairs.Bookmark here

“There’s an old criminal group resurfacing, and they’re making a rather substantial comeback,” The Chief begins as he situates himself in the black chair, “They call themselves The Tokyo Pistols.” The man perched in the red seat raises his eyebrows as he desires for his comrade to continue. Sighing to himself, Nao opens up one of the many manilla folders established on his disorganized desk. Bookmark here

Clearing his throat, Nao begins reading off of the paper in front of him: “Twelve accounts of arson, fourteen accounts of assault and battery, and four accounts of murder - in which all of the victims boil down to the same description.” The man subconsciously starts wiggling his left foot attached to the leg that is swung over his right knee. “Which is…?” The man presses the Chief, questioning what the description of the victims was.Bookmark here

“Blue eyed, white-haired, female college students - all within the surrounding provinces of and including Minato City.” The strangely specific answer confuses the man, visibly proven by the immediate stoppage of the shaking in his foot. “They don’t just have a preference,” Nao continues, bringing the man in on his thought process, “They have a target.”Bookmark here

“I agree,” The man affirms, sitting up from his relaxed position, “There’s no way that’s some mere coincidence. These guys are after someone specific, and they’ll kill anyone who fits her description.”Bookmark here

Nao nods his head at the man’s mindful words. Bringing his gaze back down to the papers in front of him, his eyes scan the documents. The man in the red armchair places his elbows on top of his knees, as his right knee softly yet rapidly bounces in place. “Do you think the accounts of arson are linked to the girl?” The man asks as he watches the Chief eye his papers. Bookmark here

“It’d be wise to assume so,” Nao responds, not straying his sight from the reports, “They must’ve gotten a lead regarding the whereabouts of their target, and are taking every measure to ensure this girl meets her end - even if a few civilians are killed in the crossfire.” The Chief sighs as he sets his hands on his face - shielding the anxiety and tiredness his guard let slip through. Bookmark here

“This group…” Nao starts again, slowly removing his coarse hands from his aging face, “They were involved in the complete destruction of our former Special Operations Task Force - lead by the deceased Takashi Shimizu. Despite me not getting along with Takashi after everything that’s happened between us, he was one hell of an officer. Takashi managed to kill off nearly all of their population in his attack that night.”Bookmark here

The mysterious man scoffs and sits up - turning his head away from the praise, “I don’t care what that guy did. He’s a prick, through and through.” While shaking his head, Nao sucks in his lips and scrunches his eyebrows. Peeking up at the man under his brow, Nao scrutinizes the remark: “Putting our personal feelings aside, Takashi Shimizu was a stand out officer.”Bookmark here

Rolling his eyes behind his sunglasses, the man falls back into the rigidness of the leather chair. “His death was brought on by the Tokyo Pistols, so a strong officer like himself falling to these criminals is concerning. Do you see my point?” Nao asks, questioning his comrade’s apprehension of the situation at hand.Bookmark here

The man nods begrudgingly, “The strength of this gang far succeeded our finest officer in past time. Now that they are resurfacing, their current strength is unknown, and has more than likely doubled due to their passion for revenge towards us for killing most of them.” Nao grins at the man’s understanding. Touching his fingers together, the Chief brings his fingers together in thought.Bookmark here

“Our main priority will be locating their target before they do, and finding out why they are after this specific girl.” Nao commands, strategizing a plan in his mind - as the man in front of him begins bouncing his leg. “What kind of connection does this girl hold with the Tokyo Pistols? Are they after her because of Shimizu’s attack, or a completely different reason? Is she an ally of the police department, or an enemy?”Bookmark here

Through the Chief’s ramblings, the phone on his desk begins to ring. Reaching his large hand over to the phone, he presses a button that stops the noise. “Yes?” Nao asks rather passive aggressively, having just been in deep thought. “Mr. Watanabe, Ms. Hagimoto is ready for you. Just let me know when to send her in.”Bookmark here

“Send her in, thank you,” He presses another button, hanging up on his receptionist. “Daitan?” The man queries confusedly, “Why did you send for Daitan?” Nao looks at his friend as a small, knowing smile lurches upon his face. “That is because you are to head this assignment, while Ms. Hagimoto handles Case 202.”Bookmark here

The man’s mouth drops in shock, just as a knock at the door reverberates through the wood. “Come in, Ms. Hagimoto,” Nao commands, allowing a short brunette woman in professional attire to enter the room. Bowing to the men already present, Daitan speaks up, “Hello, Chief Watanabe. I believe you sent for me?”Bookmark here

Watanabe grins and nods warmly to the woman, “Yes. Please, sit,” He offers, using his hand to point at the open armchair next to the mysterious man. Daitan nods her head, and follows her superior’s orders. She sat straight in the firm chair, not slipping into a state of comfortability like the man next to her. Clearing his throat, Nao brings his fingers to a clasp before he addresses the small meeting.Bookmark here

“Ms. Hagimoto,” He begins, looking to the woman directly, “I’m sure you’re aware of how proud I am of your loyalty to the Tokyo Prefectural Police Department. In moments of true disaster and calamity, you prove time and time again your devotion to this force.”Bookmark here

Ms. Hagimoto smiles at the praise, “I greatly appreciate the sentiment, Chief Watanabe,” She thanks Nao, shortly bowing her head to the man behind the desk. Nao smiles again before continuing, “That’s why, Ms. Hagimoto, I intend to promote you to lead Case 202.”Bookmark here

Daitan’s face drops in shock, much like the man next to her had a few minutes prior to her arrival. “Case 202?! That’s… that’s…” Ms. Hagimoto stutters as she attempts to find suitable words to describe her feelings towards the proposal. “That’s perfectly within your domain of talent - considering your relation to the case and the connections you had with the criminal.” Nao finishes for the incomprehensible woman. Bookmark here

The man to Daitan’s right crosses his arms as he stares at the wall to his own side - not wanting to hear the new change of power for the case he was previously heading. “I don’t think… I mean, me? I’m just a detective in the narcotics division. Do you really believe that I-”Bookmark here

“I believe you are a strong police officer, Daitan. I also believe you are to do as you are told by your Chief, yes?” Nao demands in a domineering tone, causing a stammering Daitan to become increasingly more nervous in the presence of her superior. “Yes, of course Chief Watanabe!” Daitan corrects herself, bowing her head.Bookmark here

“Please excuse my insolence and poor judgement of personal character. I will take on this case, and do so to the best of my ability! I won’t let you down - you can trust me, Chief Watanabe!” Daitan respects, keeping her gaze to her lap. Meanwhile. Nao smiles at the sudden change of demeanor in his subordinate, “Great,” He condescends the woman, “I’ll brief you tomorrow on your new role. You are free to leave for now, Ms. Hagimoto. Thank you for your time.” Bookmark here

Standing up straight, Daitan brushes off the back of her slacks before bowing once more to Watanabe. In haste, she exits the room with a rapid heartbeat. As soon as the door clicks shut, Nao relaxes back into his leather chair with a heavy sigh. Rubbing at his temples, he shuts his eyes.Bookmark here

“I know you’ve been working diligently on Case 202,” Nao begins, addressing the elephant in the room, “However, with the resurgence of the Tokyo Pistols, we need our strongest officers on this case. Even with our emotional attachments to Case 202, it is imperative to have our priorities in check.” The man stares ahead to the man sitting behind the desk. Bookmark here

Uncrossing his arms, he exhales his own sigh, “I understand, sir,” The man assures, “Who knows, maybe the two cases are connected somehow, and I’ll have Case 202 back in my jurisdiction.” A sly smirk washes upon the man’s face - thinking over the possibilities this new opportunity could lead to. Bookmark here

“Now, your first assignment is locating the target in suspicion,” Nao strategizes, collecting the manilla folder holding the criminal reports associated with the criminal gang, “We need to find this girl before the Tokyo Pistols do. It’s your responsibility to find out how and why this gang is going after her. She must be someone of high importance for a retired gang to resurface so suddenly and this hungry for blood.”Bookmark here

Handing over the now collected material, the man accepts the paperwork. “You are to survey and protect her while we uncover her connection to the Tokyo Pistols,” Watanabe continues, bringing his hands back to their clasped position, “Once we find out her true nature, and where her heart lies, it will be on your command whether the target lives or dies.”Bookmark here

“I’m starting to warm up to this case, Watanabe.”Bookmark here

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Meanwhile, inside an abandoned apartment building just on the outskirts of Minato City, a group of three men and three women scatter about an open and destroyed lobby. Cracked drywall is displaced around the entirety of the establishment, and the rotten smell of mold engulfs their respective respiratory systems. Bookmark here

One of the individuals kicks a plank of wood - driving it a few feet away from its original position. Another figure holds a white jug of an unknown liquid, as she wanders about the space she finds herself in. “Leiko,” The wood-kicker calls out in a commanding tone. The girl holding the oversized canister looks to the person who called her name.Bookmark here

His back is facing her - forcing her to stare at the thin, black ponytail that traces the man’s spine. Keeping his gaze on his surroundings, the man calls out an order, “Begin.” With that short word, Leiko nods her head - despite the man not being able to see the movement. At once, she uncaps the jug, and begins pouring out the clear liquid all over the floor that encompasses the lobby.Bookmark here

As Leiko fertilizes the floor, another man makes his way over to the seemingly demanding, ponytail-possessing individual. “Riku,” He says, gathering the ponytail man’s attention, “This is the thirteenth place we’ve been to in the past month. How sure are you that she’s gonna turn up at this point?” The presumed Riku looks to the questioning figure, darting his sight over to meet the man’s impatient eyes.Bookmark here

“We will scavenge every last apartment building in Minato City until we find her,” Riku dictates, speaking lowly and seriously, “Is this not a priority for you, Katashi? Because if it isn’t, there’s no reason for you to be standing here. I recommend seeing yourself out before this whole place gets lit up.”Bookmark here

Katashi rolls his eyes at the remark, proceeding to cross his arms in defiance. “Obviously this is a priority for me, Riku,” He states so obviously, “All of our parents got wiped out - not just yours. That’s the whole reason we’re here, isn’t it?” The questioning stance Katashi holds makes Riku glance at the man, before continuing to drift through the dismantled residence.Bookmark here

“Listen,” Katashi begins again, more light with his tone as he catches up to a walking Riku, “All I’m trying to say is, we should try to move on to a different strategy. What are the chances that the police are just waiting for us in the next building we go to burn down, and kill us all?! If we want to catch them, we need to think and move differently.”Bookmark here

“I agree with Katashi,”Another male voice speaks up from across the room, “We need to realize that it’s not just us going after them, but the police are hot on our tail, too. Changing strategy now will bode well for us, Riku.” Riku stares at the interrupting male in thought, pondering his friends’ input thoroughly.Bookmark here

Leiko continues to sparingly pour the liquid across every inch of the floor - purposefully saving enough to ensure she covers it all. Another two women appear from a gaping hole in the wall, leading to the next room over. The black-haired girl dusts the remnants of drywall off of her black long sleeve, and joins the debating males in the center of the room. The dark brunette saunters over to the other side of the room - continuing her inspection.Bookmark here

“Hey,” Greets the black-haired woman, “Nothing upstairs, just roaches and dust. We ready to head out?” The three men greet the woman with different expressions: one with a small smile, one a deadpanned glance, and the other a nod. “Rika, we are going to change strategy once we head back,” Riku says to the female, “Is that okay with you?”Bookmark here

Rika smiles as she puts her hands on her hips, “I know we’re twins and all, Riku,” She says warmly, “But you don’t have to check in with me for every call you make. We appointed you the Captain, not the both of us.” Riku heaves a sigh as he crosses his arms, gaging the lobby once more with his eyes. Bookmark here

“Alright,” Riku declares, “Group brainstorming time back at the house once we get back. Okay?” A sound of affirmation and compliance sounds out from the remaining group members surrounding Riku. Leiko empties out the last of the liquid, and chucks the bottle across the room.Bookmark here

“Takara,” She calls, “Lighter, please.” The dark-haired brunette fishes out a purple lighter from her jacket, and hands it over to the blonde girl in front of her. Throwing a smile her way, Leiko strolls over to the group in the center of the room - Takara in tow. Igniting the lighter, Leiko Leiko straps a piece of tape to the switch to permanently hold the flame. Looking at Riku, she waits for his command.Bookmark here

“Sooner or later, Junko Fukumoto’s head will be ours,” Riku declares seriously, boosting the morale of the encircling group, “She’ll pay for what she and her father have done - not only to us, but to hundreds of other innocent families.”Bookmark here

Riku takes the lighter from Leiko’s grasp, and holds it in his own. With his back to the exit, he says, “To Hell with the Task Force, and to Hell with the Tokyo Pistols.” Cranking his arm backwards, Riku throws the fire towards the other end of the room. As the object is airborne, the other members of the Tokyo Pistols head towards the door in a full sprint. Shortly after their lead, Riku follows after them.Bookmark here

Smiles lace their faces as the walls and floors behind them ignite into monstrous flames. Laughter emits from their stomachs as they race each other for the exit. The ceiling above them begins to collapse, and the walls alongside them cave in. Just reaching the exit, they all leave the burning building with exuberant expressions. The individuals turn around to bask in the gruesome flames that overtake the night sky above. Bookmark here

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