Chapter 5:

Case 5 - Remnants of what was once beautiful

The Dejected Detective

“The voice in my head, it’s talking to me again”.Bookmark here

Okazaki flinched. “Since when?” He respondedBookmark here

“When I was in hospital last time, before I woke up”. Bookmark here

Okazaki took in a deep breath but it wavered as he realised the situation. “Oh god not again.” He took a seat by Minagawa’s bed and held his head in both hands, running his fingers through his hair. “You think this has anything to do with Sosuke’s sudden appearance?” He asked. Bookmark here

“I don’t know. But the last time I heard that voice…” Minagawa struggled to finish his sentence. Okazaki placed his hand on Minagawa’s shoulder.Bookmark here

“It’s okay, Atsushi. It will pass, for now you need to rest.” Minagawa looked back at his boss, clearly shaken. “Thanks, I’ll figure something out.” Okazaki nodded and stood up. “I don’t have to be back for another half hour, you want me to make you anything?” He askedBookmark here

“I’m tired, not suicidal” he taunted. “Not tired enough to show proper respect I see”. Okazaki opened the door and was halfway out of the room. “Cap. If, if I don’t beat this thing”Bookmark here

“You will” Okazaki interrupted. “IF I don’t win. I can’t go through what happened last time, I’m not strong enough to survive that again. Do me one last request. If I lose to that side of me… kill me, please”.Bookmark here

Okazaki didn’t know whether he was going to punch Minagawa or tear up, so he chose to storm out and slam the door. He slid down, his back against the door as he sat there worrying about what the future would bring. Bookmark here

It was raining heavily. There was a report that a typhoon was set to hit the region a few days back. Though some weather mages managed to stop the tidal wave, remnants still poured down on the streets. Bookmark here

The doors to the WWO office whipped open, and a younger Okazaki walked in covering his head with his jacket. “It’s really coming down out there, huh?”Bookmark here

“You didn’t use an umbrella, Mr Okazaki?” asked one of the front desk operatives. Bookmark here

“Ah, no, I left my stuff at my desk last night” He put his hand behind his head and chuckled to himself.Bookmark here

The worker behind the desk didn't quite know how to say “You’re an idiot” to a higher up, so he used his secret technique, fake laugh!Bookmark here

Okazaki bowed quickly, a bit too quickly, his headache shouted at him. As he winced at the pain he floated past the desk to his destinationBookmark here

“Oh, I believe Mr Honsho was looking for you!”Bookmark here

Okazaki couldn’t stop his flow and waved behind him to acknowledge the info.Bookmark here

Okazaki was in his future office. But at the desk that would be his, was the district chief, though at that moment he was still a captain, and Okazaki’s direct superior. Bookmark here

“Honsho senpai, forgive my impatience, but…” he noticed the boss was looking past him, so he followed the trail… it was out of the window, at one of the female office staff, who was picking something up… in a tight skirt. Okazaki looked at his boss again who was blushing and smiling, much like a pervert would. “Y’know boss, if the district chief walked in here, he’d have a stopwatch, ready to time how long it took you to empty your office” His disappointment was immeasurable, and Honsho’s day was well and truly ruined.Bookmark here

“Apologies, Souji. I called you in here to discuss the recent meeting I had with the board of directors. Apparently our District chief is replacing Ms. Erika as one of said directors due to her stepping down for her retirement. This’ll mean that we are without a district chief for now”. Bookmark here

“Ah so they decided on the replacement already? I’m going to miss Ms Erika, she used to bring treats in whenever she visited.” Okazaki reminisced of some of the gourmet sweets she had brought in from time to time. Rumour was that she even made her own wedding cake, it was so good that she even had the priest asking for her hand in marriage. Bookmark here

“Yes, well the reason I called you in here is for the details on the chief’s replacement. It seems they’ve found a suitable replacement from this office.”Bookmark here

“Really?! There hasn’t been a chief from our branch in over twenty years… this person must be amazing.”Bookmark here

“You could say that”Bookmark here

“A true leader, worthy of having hundreds of agents at their beck and call!”Bookmark here

With each word, Honsho started to become more and more smug.Bookmark here

“So respected that even his higher ups look up at them. A true warrior for peace, law and prosperity!”Bookmark here

“Indeed!”Bookmark here

“I, I can’t wait to meet this person!” Okazaki was so excited he forgot all about his migraine for a secondBookmark here

“Well, you have already met him”Bookmark here

“Oh? Do tell, who is it?!” Okazaki was ready to enshrine the new chief in glory. Ready to etch his name into the annals of history, forever remembered as the great, glorious…”Bookmark here

“It’s me!” Honsho said happilyBookmark here

Okazaki’s excitement fell to the ground and smashed into a thousand pieces. His hand slipped on the nameplate of the immortals, leaving a huge slice in the middle.Bookmark here

“...eeeehhhhhhh?”Bookmark here

Order cruisers pulled up just outside the local shrine, the scene ahead was blocked off to the public with a powerful barrier, powerful enough to obscure sight of the horror behind it. Okazaki stepped out of the vehicle and opened the door on the other side of the car. “This storm isn’t letting up at all is it, Honsho Senpai?” The chief of the WWO stepped out.Bookmark here

“The cold rain must be nice for your migraine Souji” He responded. “Actually, just the sound of it smashing against the ground is making the pain ten times worse…” he whispered, the chief continued to smile as he didn’t hear his Kouhai and didn’t feel like asking againBookmark here

The two approached the edge of the barrier, while Okazaki held the umbrella spell over the pair, Honsho gained access to the inside. Onlookers tried to catch a glimpse of the trouble further on but all they saw was Okazaki’s disgusted glare, trying to get them to scram. But on the inside, it was all business. Bookmark here

The local police, forensics teams, as well as a few witnesses were present. But in the centre, a couple lay lifeless. It was a heartbreaking scene, but unfortunately it wasn’t the only occurrence Okazaki had seen such brutality. The pair were noticed by one of the officers further in, she was talking to a witness, bowed and waved our agents down.Bookmark here

“Thank you for arriving on such short notice, Sir Honsho, Sir Okazaki” she bowed once again and the two reciprocated. Bookmark here

“What’s the situation?” Okazaki asked. “Two victims, both locals. Only witnesses we have didn’t see the culprit, they just heard a few screams. One saw a car drive off but couldn’t name the make or the driver.” After gaining approval, the three passed a further barrier blocking anyone not authorised from entering to preserve the crime scene. “Victims were hit, hard enough to run straight through them. We’re pretty certain it was a mana bolt but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.”Bookmark here

Okazaki looked down at the bodies, he squatted down looking for anything out of the ordinary. “Have the blood tests been done?” Honsho asked. Bookmark here

“Yes sir, they are being processed at the moment. They had been thinned a little in the rain but we managed to get a sample each”.Bookmark here

Okazaki unconsciously followed the conversation and glanced at the pools of blood. Something seemed off. “Excuse me. Have these bodies been moved?”Bookmark here

“Not to my knowledge, why?”Bookmark here

“If not, then that means you’ve got a third source of blood over here. Rain is flowing away from here, this isn’t from the victims”. Bookmark here

The third sample was taken with haste. The identities were revealed, the pair were a loving couple from the area, one son. The third, a rogue Izumi family member that the order had records of. He was excommunicated a few days before this attack. Bookmark here

Honsho used his ability to show a visualisation of the scene prior to their arrival, all based on the evidence they had found. The pair were walking down the street, laughing and smiling. They had turned around and seemed to be talking to a third person on site. Suddenly a fight broke out but the pair were no match and the man fell. The woman soon after. But, Okazaki noticed something that made him feel like his heart was being ripped out. The woman was reaching out for something… someone. When he looked around at the scene he could see traces of footprints using the Instinct spell #2 sight. The footprints were small.Bookmark here

Okazaki ran as hard as he could in the direction the prints left, leaving the others in the dust. When they tried to follow, Honsho advised them to leave him to it, he knew what he was doing. Bookmark here

He caught his breath at a crossroads. Now, the rain was so hard that it washed away the prints as soon as he saw them. Unable to locate the right road to take, he exhaled loudly. The chase was over he thought, but in the corner of his eye he noticed a boy grabbing the arm of a man desperately, only to be thrown off. The boy tried to get the attention of a few others but they took no notice of him. Trying to find a respite away from the rain he stood underneath a tree but the branches didn’t stop the rainfall, nor could they stop his tears. Bookmark here

Okazaki approached. The boy was sobbing, cowering from the rain and apologising frantically. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry” I didn’t mean for this to happen!” his legs gave out and he covered his head with his hands. The blood rain was mixing with the tears running down his face. “It’s all my fault… it's all my fault…” Silence. “Help me”. Bookmark here

Okazaki held his umbrella over the boy’s head, and he looked up wondering what had happened to the torrent. The rain continued to fall, the translucent umbrella kept the boy safe. “are you okay?” Okazaki asked. The boy sat trembling in tears, curled up in a ball trying to hide away from everything. He stared at Okazaki.Bookmark here

“It’s okay. I’m an agent for the WWO, my name is Okazaki Souji. What’s your name, kid?” Okazaki showed his badge during his introduction and let the boy hold it.Bookmark here

“M-Minagawa, Atsushi” the boy timidly responded. His tears continued and he cowered from his saviour as he still didn’t trust him. Bookmark here

“I’m not going to hurt you Atsushi. I’ve just got a few questions for you, is that alright?” He kept his distance while trying to calm the young Atsushi down. The boy noddedBookmark here

“You don’t live around here do you?”Bookmark here

The boy shook his head. “They were taking me to the shrine”Bookmark here

“Who were?”Bookmark here

“My mother and father… but, he, he ki, he” the boy couldn’t finish his sentence. All that flowed were the tears, the boy was hysterical. Bookmark here

“Calm down, I’m here you are safe. Did you see the person who did this to your parents?” Bookmark here

The boy once again shook his head. “My mother was looking at me, shouting run! Run!”Bookmark here

“Then what happened?”Bookmark here

“I don’t remember, that man was behind us. I can’t remember what happened past then, the next thing I remember is seeing my father, he wasn’t moving… my mother was crawling to me, I didn’t know what to do so I ran to try and get help”Bookmark here

“So that’s why you were pleading with the people passing by.”Bookmark here

The boy nodded again. “Mister, are my parents okay? Are they going to make it?” Minagawa asked hopefullyBookmark here

Okazaki realised at that moment that this was the single most difficult sentence to say. He wanted to burst into tears, but he couldn’t make this orphaned boy feel any worse than he would do, if it was even possible. He gathered all of his strength and clenched his fists, he couldn’t look the boy in the eye. “I’m so sorry, kid. They’re gone.”Bookmark here

Minagawa seemed to accept the words, but his tears continued and he leant forward, his head touched the ground. The wimped became a wail of sorrow that Okazaki didn’t have the strength to stop. Bookmark here

Okazaki had met up with Honsho later on, accompanied by Minagawa. They drove the orphan to the WWO for further questions. He was sat at Okazaki’s desk, watching the chaos of the hive-like office. People zoomed past here, there and everywhere, talking, laughing and working through the cases they had with their colleagues. It was a strange kind of calm that the wounded boy couldn’t quite explain. Okazaki returned to his desk.Bookmark here

“Sorry about that. My boss is a huge complainer, always better to do what he says to avoid the headaches. How you holding up kid?”Bookmark here

Minagawa looked at Okazaki but did not answer, he continued to read the book he was given by one of Okazaki’s colleagues. Okazaki was never great with kids, he couldn’t think of the next thing to say. What can you say to a kid who just lost his parents? Wise cracks won't help, being serious’ll only makes him feel worse. It was a conundrum he wanted to solve, but when he couldn’t his escape tactic activatedBookmark here

“I’ll go get us some snacks” Bookmark here

As the agent overworked his mind on the way to the machine, his migraine flaring up, a weak voice stopped himBookmark here

“Do you have magic?”Bookmark here

Okazaki turned back, Minagawa was looking at his book stillBookmark here

“Like, birthright magic?” Okazaki asked as he walked back slowlyBookmark here

“The ones that other people don’t have” the boy respondedBookmark here

Okazaki smiled, “I do.” He used his magic, forming a toy airplane in front of his face. “I can make anything I can think of” He gave the plane to Minagawa who examined it briefly. “What about you? Any hidden weapons I should know about?” Bookmark here

Minagawa looked down at the ground “My father said that I shouldn’t tell people from here about having one. You’ll take it away if I do”Bookmark here

“He did, did he? Smart man, but you’ve already told me you have one”Bookmark here

Minagawa didn’t say anything. His tears returned, “I don’t want it anymore. I hate magic… if it wasn’t for magic my parents would still be here”Bookmark here

Things were heavy. But Okazaki’s magic activated again. He handed the boy a necklace. Minagawa looked bewilderedBookmark here

“Your mother had one like this when we found her, it was broken. But that's the beauty of a magic young man. Some things can’t be returned to what they were before they were broken, but, I’d like to think that, even if they’re gone, we can remember the little things like this necklace… and they’ll live on” He slipped the replica over Minagawa’s head, placing a memento of his past closest to his heart.Bookmark here

The boy couldn't contain his emotions. Okazaki activated a talisman, forming a giant pizza, steaming and enticing. “Now then. All this agent stuff is busy work, I’m starving. How bout you?”Bookmark here

The boy finally smiled. He nodded and one final tear fell like the rains that once haunted him. From his office, Honsho looked on at the pair, smiling contently.Bookmark here

A few days later, Honsho called Okazaki into his office. It was a regular occurrence; they had been partnered up when Okazaki was first added as an agent. He casually closed the door and grabbed a drink from Honsho’s personal stash. Bookmark here

“Go ahead, take one” he said sarcastically. Okazaki held his drink up and winked.Bookmark here

“So, what do you need me for this time boss? Cause if it's another angry skirt, I’ll go get the cuffs myself”Bookmark here

“Very funny. Sit down son, this is a serious talk”. Okazaki took the hint and sat on the sofa against the wall. He looked at his boss expectantly. Bookmark here

“You remember me saying that Ms Erika was stepping down? And that the District Chief Yonezawa was taking her place?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I remember that, and?”Bookmark here

“Do you remember that I will be taking the spot of District Chief?”Bookmark here

Okazaki didn't react for a second. Then the glass bottle he was drinking from cracked “THAT WASN’T A JOKE?!” Okazaki experienced a self induced jolt of migraine pain as he almost shot through the ceilingBookmark here

“Eh? You thought I was joking? Well sorry to burst your bubble but, it's the truth. I’m sorry I wont be able to go on missions with you anymore. I know it will be tough without me…” he wiped away his tearBookmark here

“It’s tough WITH you…”Bookmark here

The two had been bantering for about an hour in their “serious meeting”. It was time for the big newsBookmark here

“Truth be told, Souji, I’m going to miss this. I’m going to miss being in this office, I’ll miss helping those in need. I’ll miss my brat junior” Honsho admittedBookmark here

“Don’t be” Okazaki responded abruptlyBookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

Okazaki smiled happily “Just make sure you visit. Cause if you don’t I’ll start missing my annoying boss”Bookmark here

His boss smiled back.Bookmark here

“When I do, I won’t be talking to an agent, Souji. I’ll be dealing with Captain Okazaki Souji”Bookmark here

Okazaki looked on, shocked.Bookmark here

“It’s a lot of paperwork, and you won’t get to go on many missions, if any at all. But I know you are the best person to lead those people. Wear the title proudly, son. You’ve earned it.” Bookmark here

Okazaki hugged his friend. “Thank you, sir. I won’t let you down”Bookmark here

As the hug and the meeting ended, Honsho had one last requestBookmark here

“Oh, and do me a favour.” He askedBookmark here

“I’m not deleting your files” Okazaki quippedBookmark here

“Already done”Bookmark here

“Why am I not surprised”Bookmark here

“That kid, the orphan. Make him an agent, take him under your wing. And hopefully this office won’t be missing a good conversation for long” Honsho walked out of the office, and the new captain took in the air. Imagining what was to come.Bookmark here

Soon after, the rogue Izumi family member was identified. The WWO tried to locate him, however he was rather tricky to find. When he was found it became evident why he had become so elusive, he was excommunicated and murdered. Buried in a shallow grave, torn apart for his crimes. Bookmark here

Minagawa was taken in by his grandparents. Due to him being a witness, he was at the office quite often but there wasn’t much more he could say that he hadn’t already. Despite that he seemed to like being there, like it was a safe haven. He got comfortable around the staff and became close to Okazaki. It was a few months later that he revealed his birthright magic. The staff were rightfully surprised but he explained that it had awoken about two years ago. Bookmark here

Minagawa would continue to visit as a guest for a while longer. It was up until his grandparents had followed his parents, after he buried them he trained hard to become an agent. He and Sosuke were around the same age and bonded quickly, but they fought a lot. Okazaki was surprised they wanted to team up due to the amount of fights between the two that he needed to stop. It didn’t matter what the subject was, they’d be at each other’s throats like a pair of young lions fighting for control. Captain Honsho got promoted to district chief, meaning Okazaki moved up. Originally he hadn’t wanted Minagawa to become an agent, but who could blame him? Okazaki thought. After all, it was the Izumi who killed his parents, and the specific member was on the run for a while. He was found about three years later in his shallow grave, they couldn’t even give the kid justice. Minagawa was upset when finding the killer dead, he struggled to find meaning in it all, what it was for. He was distant for a long time, and put up barriers so that people couldn’t get in close. Those barriers even kept Okazaki out. But the more time he felt that strange calm, the more it became precious to him. Bookmark here

The raid on the Takehaya compound had been successful, all henchmen had been arrested and the area was stripped apart for evidence. Nothing had shown up just yet, Danzo was a smart man, finding dirt on him was not an easy task.Bookmark here

Kagari was patrolling the area. As he walked around the perimeter he saw the other agents. Ryusaki was casually sat with the criminals who were detained, one tried to make a run for it but he met a swift kick to the nose, knocking them straight back to their original position. The kick was so quick it didn’t look like she took her eyes off of the book she was reading. Bookmark here

Prisma was manning the door to the warehouse, he bowed to Kagari as he passed and Kagari returned the gesture. Inside was Murata, trying to help loosen a crook’s jaw with electro therapy. Kagari agreed with his instincts to avoid that room for now. Bookmark here

Reo had opened his pantry of snacks, with each menacing glare he took a bite. Kagari wanted to tell him to get some work done but Reo was annoying to deal with sometimes. Luckily, it seemed like his gaze and sinister snacking was terrifying the people they needed to interrogate. Bookmark here

Hattori was the last one. He was checking, sector by sector, for any evidence or clues that Danzo may have hidden around the compound. Each time he had completed an area he would do his trademark pose… no literally he trademarked it, so that no one else could look as intelligent as he. Kagari just thought it made him look like he had really bad constipation. Bookmark here

Once the check had been completed he returned to the centre, using a talisman to summon water and a towel, he wiped away his sweat caused by the afternoon rays. It had been a long few hours, but it was coming to its end. He placed the water down on the table beside RyusakiBookmark here

“My, finished already, dear Kagari?” She askedBookmark here

“Almost, Hattori and I have one last place to check then we can go back. Any luck with these guys?” referring to the prisoners.Bookmark here

“A few marriage proposals but nothing incriminating. It seems that this Takehaya fellow is a smart one” Bookmark here

“He’ll have slipped up somewhere. If not him, one of his gang. Don’t worry Ryusaki senpai, we’ll have the bad guys soon!” His determination was on his sleeve as he lifted his fist as a sort of celebrationBookmark here

My, that’s reassuring to hear!” she responded. “How are mute and sparky doing?” her usual ladylike tone became an irritated groanBookmark here

“I don’t think they have anything. I’d go over and ask but Prisma keeps telling me that it's a bad move, in hand gestures.” The two giggled to themselves.Bookmark here

Kagari pumped himself up, “right then, let's get this done and then I can go see Minagawa senpai” Bookmark here

“Good luck!” Ryusaki waved him off with a smile, Kagari bowed. His eyes now trained on the last section of the compound they had to check, Danzo’s office Bookmark here

“Save the best till last” Kagari muttered to himself. Bookmark here

The twisted magic spell had acclimated to its new host, and Danzo’s pain had dissipated slowly though some remained as sharp aches here and there. He had been left on the ground inside the octagram, passed out and woke up a few hours afterwards. When he did wake he sat in the corner processing the past day and working out the kinks of his new power. His uncle dropped by earlier to check on him but he didn’t stay long on account of his business with the boss, some urgent meeting about the state of his region. Danzo didn’t really take much notice, he couldn’t, his focus was solely on the power he housed. Bookmark here

Soichiro ventured down to the new Takehaya lair. Danzo was still sat in the corner, his new spot, and was watching the magic flow as he let it eke out slightly.Bookmark here

“Get up. The boss wants you to use it properly.” Soichiro was a hostile man, he used to worry Danzo. But right now, it was like he was in another world, his mind was functioning differently. He had no fear, maybe it was the powerful magic at his disposal, but Danzo felt immortal.Bookmark here

Takehaya stood up and followed his leader. Their destination held three of the Izumi family’s newest members. Bookmark here

“These are?” Danzo askedBookmark here

“Doesn’t matter. For now, these people are tests 1-3. Use your magic. If they all fail I’ll have others sent in.” Soichiro answered coldly. The test subjects suddenly regret their optimism on this task, they’d have ran out of the building if they didn’t think Soichiro would wipe them out the second they moved out of position. Bookmark here

“Sir Soichiro, I don’t think”- once again he was cut offBookmark here

“I told you it doesn’t matter. They will tell you their magic, you will use yours on them. If they are all failures you will knock on the door and inform the men outside, they will bring three more.” Bookmark here

Soichiro walked closer to Danzo, so that he was face to face with him. “The boss wants three, so until we have three family members with twisted magics, you do not eat, sleep or even think about stopping. You will fine tune this power tonight, because if you don’t I’ll never hear the end of it from the boss and Akagawa… and that means you will be so far in the ground, you’ll come out the other side. Am I making myself clear?!”Bookmark here

“Crystal.” Danzo responded. Soichiro left the room, slamming the door shut. Danzo faced his new test subjects. Their fear peaked.Bookmark here

“You’re not really going through with this, right? I mean, we’re family” #1 pleadedBookmark here

Danzo looked torn, he took a deep breath… “no. Not my family”Bookmark here

The three realised their fate. Danzo’s arms were enveloped in a smoke like miasma, his twisted spell activated.Bookmark here

From the outside, all that could be heard through the night, was bodies dropping, and knocking on the door.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.