Chapter 23:

Manifested Through Deviated Sight

X = Y

Turmoil within Toshi City developed beyond its limits. The air remained cryptic, and the night permeated with obscurity. The Ruler seized the world, all eyes were on him, and his tyrannical fists were boundless. The untold secrets of the underworld — thriven with blood from unwilling victims, coerced into obeying with dominance — would deliberately be brought into the light by warriors, who possessed incorruptible bravery, ready to venture into the darkness.Bookmark here

Kei Hirojima ran towards the police department within the city, but he stopped by earlier occurring events that Abe and Rei endured. With police partially blocking the street near the apartment, he ran past the barriers and security tape. Many officers stood guard, watching with keen eyes for any intruders or suspicious activity. Walking with confidence, a police officer noticed and approached him. Kei took out his identification card, whilst his lapel had a badge indicating he was a detective.Bookmark here

"Kei Hirojima. A detective from Machira Town." he said assuredly.Bookmark here

"A detective? Oh, you're the detective that called us, right? The Superintendent at our department seems to trust you." the officer responded.Bookmark here

"I've never met him or spoken to him. I called the department and talked to an officer, and he relayed the information that I sent to the rest of the department." said Kei.Bookmark here

They began walking into the apartment together, as the police were still inside securing it. Whilst talking to the officer, they walked up the stairs to the destroyed floor, which had Abe's residence. Bearing witness to the collapsed floor, Kei walked closer to the door before reaching the gaping chasm created by the explosive. The police established a ladder from the level beneath, allowing access to Abe's flat. Kei was intrigued but bothered simultaneously.Bookmark here

"What happened here?" Kei inquired.Bookmark here

"An explosive went off. There were four of them, three armed with guns and one without anything. He was probably the one who carried the explosive and set it at the door. We already took them to the police station." the officer described the situation in great detail.Bookmark here

"How were they stopped?" Kei questioned.Bookmark here

"Two of them with guns had their jaws destroyed and were bleeding heavily. One of them had their head smashed in, and the one at the front was beaten up and lost conciousness. I don't even think he's alive." he said.Bookmark here

Kei began walking out, and he came back with his equipment. He wore plastic gloves and climbed up the ladder, and the other officers helped. He had a duffle bag and a briefcase with him. He inspected the apartment like a hawk gauging its prey, and there were cards marked with numbers indicating potential evidence.Bookmark here

"Rei did all of this. He protected Abe against armed gun men...he's insane now. He's done more than I have in the past five years. Tch! Now's not the time to be thinking about that. There's still explosive residue." Kei thought to himself intuitively.Bookmark here

He went into his duffle bag and brought out an ultraviolet lamp. He waved it around and scanned the sofa, the table, and the kitchen. He entered the bedroom and saw bloodstains on the wall, with chipped teeth on the ground, crushed into smithereens.Bookmark here

"Chipped teeth. Blood against the wall. A face was smashed in. I need to collect all of this. But before I do, pictures need to be taken."Bookmark here

He took out a large, state of the art camera and snapped pictures of the entire apartment, including the hole in the floor. Kei's goal was, ultimately focused, on finding evidence about their connection with a gang and not who the assailants were. He looked at the bedroom window and noticed an empty glass, with crumbs on a plate, and the window having marks with the bedsheets moved.Bookmark here

"The marks, the food, and a glass. Presumably filled with water. Rei and Abe were attacked here. The bed is where they sat."Bookmark here

He walked up to the door and began to test the hinges. He then looked to the left and saw a strand of brown hair.Bookmark here

"Hair, and a long piece, belonging to Abe. They were here hiding, most likely. The smudges on the window, one of them looked out for trouble. I could try to call Rei or Abe to confirm this, but I want to solve the mystery by myself."Bookmark here

After finishing at the crime scene, he left and placed everything in his duffle bag. He was in front of the apartment and decided to look back at Abe's window. Kei took out his phone and decided to call an important person.Bookmark here

With Rei, he and Meya had arrived outside of Risa's apartment. They ran in, advancing to her door on the second floor. The officer was behind them, and they knocked, waiting patiently.Bookmark here

"Is this the girl who you said was your friend? She's a likely target. Let me try." Officer Akashi said.Bookmark here

"Hello! This is the police. We're not here to arrest you." he said.Bookmark here

They waited but could not hear anything. Meya entered a state of high panic, concerned about her friend.Bookmark here

"No one's either in there, or something's happened to Risa..." Rei said apprehensively.Bookmark here

"No...Risa! Open up! Risa!" Meya screamed, and tears flowed down her face.Bookmark here

"Officer, bust down the door with me." Rei spoke with conviction.Bookmark here

"Right...I'll do that. Use your shoulder, okay?" the officer responded. "Three, two, one, go!" he exclaimed.Bookmark here

They hit the door once with their shoulders and broke one of the hinges. Then they performed another shoulder barge against the door and knocked it down. Rei ran inside and looked everywhere, and the last place left uncovered was the bedroom. To his horror, he saw a body hanging from the ceiling attached to a fan. Meya came into the room and felt an emptiness she had never felt before. The officer stood there, staring, wondering how it happened.Bookmark here

"No...Risa!" Meya was awe-struck and dazed. She fell to her knees in complete disarray, petrified and filled with loss. Tears ran down her face, and she lost control of herself and her emotions.Bookmark here

Rei became angry and felt useless, deprived of hope. He punched the wall with his hand in pure rage. He began walking towards the body and saw a note left on the desk. He read it and handed it over to Meya. She stared at it, reading whilst her tears fell onto it. She couldn't bear the sadness anymore as she pouted her lips and continued to cry.Bookmark here

"Calling for backup, over." the officer said into his radio.Bookmark here

"That said 'I'm sorry. I can't take it anymore. Someone's going to come over and kill me. Kazunori's dead. Please share my story, Abe. Meya. Everyone at Act Time. I'm sorry.'" Rei said considerately, knowing Meya was listening. "Thirty...that's how many classmates of mine remain now." Rei thought intrepidly.Bookmark here

Rei kneeled next to Meya, and she looked up to him as she hugged him. Rei, at first, was apprehensive, but then he embraced her.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, Meya. I wasn't fast enough to get to Risa. Abe and Kei are safe. So is Kanda and everyone else." he said with empathy.Bookmark here

"She's gone! There's nothing we can do anymore!" Meya said whilst crying to no end.Bookmark here

"Let's get out of here." Rei said after escaping the hug, staring at Meya in the face.Bookmark here

He put out a hand for her, and she stood up with his assistance. The officer followed them out. Meya had a blank expression on her face.Bookmark here

"I don't get it. Why weren't the police here? It didn't look like anyone tried entering before us..." he asked the officer.Bookmark here

"I don't know. Maybe we ran out of units, or the one that was supposed to be here was stopped or diverted." the officer speculated.Bookmark here

Going down the building and out, they walked towards the police car parked nearby when Rei saw what looked like water flowing from an alleyway. He stopped, glaring at it with high interest. Akashi and Meya noticed, with both becoming curious about what he perceived.Bookmark here

"Rei? What are you looking at?" Meya questioned, with tear marks down her cheeks.Bookmark here

"Nothing. Officer, take her to the station, or back to her house." Rei said.Bookmark here

"I didn't tell you, but I live here now. My parents aren't home. They'll be back by tomorrow. Going there isn't safe." Meya said.Bookmark here

"Okay. I'll take you to the police station. You come as well. Both of you are witnesses in this." the officer said.Bookmark here

"I'll meet with you later. Meya, can you go alone?" Rei said concernedly.Bookmark here

"Yeah...I think I'll manage. Please stay safe, Rei. Where are you going?" Meya said.Bookmark here

"There's something I have to do. Trust me, please. I'll be there for sure." Rei said.Bookmark here

Meya got into the car with the officer, and Rei ran off to the alleyway.Bookmark here

"I didn't get his name, what was it?" Officer Akashi said.Bookmark here

"He doesn't have a name." Meya said, consciously trying to protect his identity.Bookmark here

Rei ran around the corner, and what was water turned into blood, and his eyes were beholders to the situation that turned his mind awry. Examining the incident closer, he walked down the alleyway, witnessing two slumped bodies wearing uniforms. Two male officers sat there, lifeless. Surprising him, breaking his concentration, and causing his heart to skip numerous beats, the phone Abe gave him was ringing. He answered it.Bookmark here

"Rei? Where are you?" Kei said.Bookmark here

"Near Risa's apartment. She's died, and I found two dead police officers around the alleyway." he sounded sorrowful, despondently angered.Bookmark here

"What?!" Kei's face was shocked, in disbelief. He could not speak a single word. "How?"Bookmark here

"She was hung from her fan. She wrote a note and we left it there. The officers looked to be stabbed." Rei added.Bookmark here

"I'll come to you as soon as I find out who was following you and Abe. In front of the window, who did you see, or Abe see?" Kei spoke, scouring information from Rei.Bookmark here

"There was a man in black. I couldn't see his face, but he wasn't wearing a mask. He wore a regular black coat, trousers and shoes. He was there watching us across the road at the intersection." Rei said.Bookmark here

Kei began looking around whilst walking down the street and saw a device thrown into a bush. It was broken in half and was dirty. It was an old modelled flip phone, but it looked new. He picked it up, turned it around, examining it for fingerprints.Bookmark here

"I found it. They used a phone to communicate with the guy that had the explosives, but it's broken. Stay there, I'm coming for you." Kei said with brotherly love.Bookmark here

Thus, Rei, now intending to protect his classmates, and Kei, finding new evidence to unveil the mastermind behind the terrorism against the people they knew, edged ever closer to finding the Ruler of the underworld.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.