Chapter 30:

They Require Each Other To Coexist

X = Y

In the most unexpected places, cataclysmic events, the re-writing of destiny, characters ignoble, malicious actions, result in tethered hopes, destroyed rancorously, neglecting the beauty of life. Human ignorance, the definition of humanity, and the heart itself, bounded by enigmas mysterious to man, innately vitriolic, yet capable of the opposite, would all be tested cogently, strenuous on the psyche, demanding on the body, inequitable to the mind.

Upon departing Café House with Rei, Kei's phone began vibrating in his pocket, causing his leg to vibrate, producing a tingling sensation that felt unnatural. Wiping the sprinkles and cream for his lips, he answered the phone, placing it next to his ear.

"Kei! Are you okay? You haven't called in ages, and you've been at Toshi City for a while!" Urika Arashi, his adoptive mother, exclaimed amiably, concealing her concern.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm working now, trying to find the person who blew up the apartment with an explosive." Kei replied in a light-hearted tone.

"I saw that on the news! Are Meya and Kanda okay? They said you're all targets! I was so worried something happened!" Urika exclaimed.

"I'm fine. Did the police come over? I'm sure they shouldn't because I'm a detective who works for them. Everyone's safe. Abe, Meya, Kanda...but some of our friends didn't make it, mother." Kei spoke calmly.

Hearing the words 'mother', Rei looked at Kei with revelation, wondering who could replace their mother. At first, the sentiment that his biological mother was still alive resonated within him, evoking hope and relief, but shortly after, realising it was preposterous, he smiled, lovingly reminiscing about his parents, felicitous to have been birthed by them.

"I saw that too. Take care of yourself, Kei. I'll let you get back to work." Urika responded, merry in attitude.

"Bye!" Kei exclaimed, hanging up the phone, placing it in his pocket.

"Who was that?" Rei asked.

"Our adoptive mother. Not just mine. Father's friend adopted us, along with his wife, who's now our father and mother by law. You should come and meet them sometime. They're the family I've been staying with the past couple of years." Kei stated.

"They adopted me? How?" Rei responded bemusedly.

"I asked them to, and they agreed to it. They filled in the paperwork, but you were still missing so it didn't affect them. It's up to you now." Kei spoke directly to Rei.

"Yeah, we'll see. I already have a home up near the mountains. But I'll see..." Rei responded.

"Mountains?" Kei exclaimed with a surprised expression. "You've been up there this entire time?!" he gawked.

"No. You wouldn't have found me anyway. I was moving from place to place, here and there. Enough about that. Were are we going now?" Rei, switching the subject, asked stolidly.

"We have search warrants for Naruki Jin and Osugitachi Ehamame. It's basically gives us permission to search a place, and intrude, or break privacy rules, to collect material." Kei responded informatively.

"As long as it gets us closer to those four that wrecked our house, I'm alright with doing anything." Rei responded sternly.

"Good to hear! Let's go! We'll use this opportunity on foot to see if anything suspicious is happening. Who knows, maybe we can find some more clues!" Kei responded, minding his day jocularly.

On a quaint street, with limited footfall, stood old-fashioned homes, lined-up close together, purportedly unrefurbished in years. Rei and Kei approached a house, boarded windows, unable to peer into the house, plants were growing without restriction, and the house, mainly comprised of wood, began rotting away, displaying a vile green hue.

"Is this the kind of house that guy lived at? It looks cheap." Rei commented.

"Yeah, but no one would be suspicious. This entire street looks so old." Kei replied, glancing around. "I see why no one would buy this house. It's big, but it looks haunted. The last person who owned this house was Naruki Jin."

Taking the key to the door out of his pocket, Kei slotted it in the keyhole, turning it quickly and opening the door. The creaking door hinges, like claws against a chalkboard, opened, shrieking in their ears, providing a supernatural, spine-tingling ambience. They both stepped afoot, passing by cobwebs and insects that lingered after the house became abandoned.

Though the interior looked modern, the condition of the inside was poor. Everything, covered in dust, and there were holes in the wall and the furniture. They surveyed the bottom floor, peering into the living room, kitchen and storage closets.

"We'll search the bottom of the house first." Kei stated, blowing away dust on the living room table and placing his duffle bag down.

He brought out two pairs of plastic gloves, handing one pair to Rei. They both put them on.

"Anything you can find, tell me. Search though everything, but leave it how you found it." said Kei.

"Yeah. I'll try. This place feels disgusting. We're getting out of here quickly." Rei replied

Searching through drawers, cabinets, the derelict furniture, everything on the ground floor, nothing conclusive was found. The brothers moved to the second floor, searching through the bedrooms, leaving no stone unturned.

At Tatashi Industrial, with the sun setting magnificently, the sky, an orange tint, and twilight on the horizon, Kanda, inside his arid, torrid office, was about to finish his shift.

"I still haven't seen my Assistant Manager's personal assistant today. If I'm going to find out why he wrote those messages and who to, then I have to take a risk. But that so much hassles and effort." Kanda thought to himself.

Meanwhile, inside the CCTV room, a security guard is sat there, staring at all the screens, displaying every public room within the building, corridors, and the area surrounding the building, including the car park. A person familiar to Kanda entered, closing the door slowly. He was wearing a blue tie, a blue blazer, shirt, trousers and shoes, with a brown belt. He had shaved sides and a faux. The security guard turned around, wondering why he entered.

"Mr Toyoda?" the security guard questioned.

"Your shift is over for today. You can go home." Yasaburo Toyoda said, smiling, reassuring the guard.

"Really? But my shift isn't over yet." the guard replied.

"Yeah. Someone else is here earlier than. They had a schedule change, and they can take over for you now. You'll still be paid the same amount. worry not." Yasaburo responded, hiding his sinister smile.

Footsteps, singled out by silence, were fast approaching Kanda's office. He heard them clearly, whilst sat in front of his computer, preparing himself for the worst. His mind, ripe with the attempt of his hack, began playing tricks on him, possibilities and eventualities tearing through his conscious.

His phone, which had a protective cover on the back, began ringing, distracting him for a second. Breaking his train of thought, now fixated on his phone, he read the contact identifier. It was Yasaburo Toyoda, his boss's assistant. The call disappeared, and the vibrations ceased.

His eyes widened, realising the reason behind the call, remembering the messages he saw yesterday. His heart, pumping ferociously, his ears red and numb, his arms were quivering like a metronome, his body heavier than steel.

"Hurry! Quick! This is it! I'm going to get it. Kei. I could never find Rei. Meya. My parents. My life!" Kanda thought fatalistically.

He picked up the phone, quickly trying to send a pre-made message to Kei. Upon pressing the send button, it failed. Glancing at the top left of his phone, he saw that no signal was available. Panicking, he switched his phone to silent, putting both it and his headphones into his pocket.

Yasaburo Toyoda peered into the room, entering, whilst Kanda composed himself, staring at his computer, pretending not to notice.

"Kanda? I thought you weren't here. I tried calling you, but you didn't answer." Yasaburo said, smiling kindly.

"Mr Toyoda? Hello. My phone was in my pocket, and I was working." Kanda replied, masking his fear.

"Can you come with me? There's something I want to talk to you about." Yasaburo said, smiling.

"Oh, okay." Kanda said, smiling back, standing up, and walking with him.

Whilst walking down the corridor, they were strolling towards the staircase.

"Where are we going?" Kanda questioned, dread creeping upon him.

"You'll see, Kanda. It's for your hard work." Yasaburo responded.

Terrified, Kanda got his phone out as they passed other employees and rooms hosting conferences amongst higher-ups.

"No signal...Is it like that for everyone or just my phone? I received a call from him, and then he must have hacked my signal somehow." Kanda thought.

They reached the stairwell and began descending the building to the ground floor.

"You're using your phone while we're walking downstairs? The youth seem to be attached to them, right?" Yasaburo said, turning around, staring at Kanda. "What are you doing with it now?"

Staring at Yasaburo, Kanda became wholly petrified. Harrowing thoughts shook him, and the fear he imbued within Kanda created panic. He smiled, trying to alleviate himself of any trivial matters.

"I was checking the charge on my phone. I charged it two days ago." Kanda responded.

When they reached the fire exit to the car park, Yasaburo pulled out plastic gloves from his pockets, putting them on like a surgeon. Kanda could do nothing but stare, reducing suspicion towards him. Those harrowing thoughts came back, and fear enveloped him. Yasaburo turned around, blocking the fire exit, a single door frame filled with glass, glaring at Kanda, smiling.

At the moment Yasaburo turned around, Kanda launched himself into him, barging him with his shoulder. Reacting instinctively, Yasaburo tried protecting himself by blocking with both hands, but Kanda pushed him through the fire exit door, both on their feet. Kanda ran past the gap between Yasaburo and the door, brandishing a knife from his pocket.

In front of the door was an opaque fence, and leftward was a dead end. Kanda ran to the right, through the narrow, long walkway to the car park behind the building, and turned around in horror, seeing Yasaburo brandish a knife. Catching up to him quickly, Kanda took a right turn at the corner of the building, entering the car park. There, he grabbed his phone from his pocket, throwing it over the opaque fence, onto the street, and Yasaburo was oblivious.

Eventually, right next to the corner of the building, where Kanda emerged from the walkway to the exit door, Yasaburo grabbed Kanda by his left arm with his left hand, dropping the knife in his right and pulling him back. Instantly, he covered Kanda's mouth with his right hand and put him in a chokehold with his left.

At that moment, Yasaburo applied as much pressure as he could, and Kanda began to lose consciousness. His sight began to blur, the feeling in his body became numb, and memories of his life flashed before him.

"This is it. Goodbye. Mom and dad. Rei, Kei, Meya, Abe, Rise, Kazunori, everyone at school. Everyone at home. Everyone at my job. You'd better get him for me, Kei." Kanda thought.

He took his last breath and made one last wish, falling to the floor, lifeless. Smiling triumphantly, Yasaburo picked up his body and put it over his entire shoulder. Staring at the ground, Yasaburo picked up his knife, sliding it into his pocket, and carrying Kanda to his car.

"Don't worry, Kanda. No one will know. I'll fix you up. I need to dispose of the body before anyone notices, but it will be difficult. Just like him, maybe my time has come. Losing my life was inevitable." Yasaburo mused himself, thinking sinisterly, smiling.

Inside Yasaburo's car, with black tinted windows preventing the public from gazing in, he placed Kanda's body in the passenger seat. He entered, closing the door and patting him down. Slowly, initial tranquillity became panic, turning to fright. Searching his pockets, he only found keys.

"Where's his phone?! He had it with him! Did he leave it in the building? Did he drop it? Think, it could be anywhere! I can't go back! I have to get rid of him now!" Yasaburo thought.

A woman dressed fashionably was walking down the streets in high boots. Upon stumbling across a phone on the floor, she glanced at it, eventually succumbing to her greed and picking it up.

"Who's phone is this? Why did they leave it? It's all cracked. It's unusable!" she exclaimed, talking to herself aloud.

Pressing the button on its edge to turn it on, she read the home screen, and plastered above the cracked screen, black letters on a white background, were the words 'Give this phone to the police! Kei Hirojima'. Her eyes widened, recognising the name, she began walking with haste.

Earlier in the day, when the sun passed its zenith, the brothers exited Naruki's home. Unsuccessful with their findings, Kei was carrying his duffle bag and briefcase. They began walking towards the car, conversing with each other.

"That was a complete failure. There was nothing. Naruki Jin probably took everything with him!" Rei exclaimed. After calming down, a thought arose, becoming prevalent. "Wait. After I escaped death by the roof, I saw a car behind the warehouse. What was that?" Rei inquired.

"Oh, the car. They brought it to the police department. I still have to gather evidence from it. We can go there now instead of going to the other generals house. Naruki Jin is also being escorted to the precinct too." Kei responded.

"Perfect. Sounds goods to me." Rei responded, smiling evilly.

Surprised at first, smiling later, Kei felt a familiar feeling: a sense of brotherhood. "That evil smile works well on you, Rei."

"I'm not evil. Stop that." Rei responded seriously.

"I guess I can't make jokes like that with him now. Maybe in the future." Kei thought to himself.

Entering the car, driving back to the police department, the brothers were making their way, slowly edging closer to the truth.

Thus, Kanda, who enjoyed life surreptitiously, had the sword of death slit his thread of life. Leaving behind a final wish, his will and intelligence scintillating lustrously, the hopes and dreams he carried, and the lives of their friends now rest on the brother's shoulders.