Chapter 32:

Lives Intertwined

X = Y


Internal conflict, remorse, regret, horror, apprehension, coursing through the mind and soul of Kunio Sai. Detective Kai, and Rei, glaring him down, creating an atmosphere of trepidation. Within the car dealership, at the back reception, he stood there, conniving; Kunio tried formulating a plan of escape, his nerves were a wreck from the memory of a man holding him at gunpoint, blackmailed to give him a car.Bookmark here

"What do I say? The man that came up to me...he wore a blue suit...like a businessman." Kunio thought.Bookmark here

Within his memory, Kunio had a customer who wanted to buy a car four months ago. Initially, he was perceived by Kunio as strange and awkward, wearing plastic gloves overtly. That man was Yasaburo Toyoda, concealing a gun on his belt. He chose a car, and Kunio beamed at the thought of a sale. Elated at first, he took the man to the back, where registration would happen. However, Yasaburo pointed a gun at his head, and no one was around as he stared down the barrel.Bookmark here

"Put down a fake name. Oh, and if you tell the police, then your life will be gone. Keep quiet, otherwise you'll die, and so will everyone else in here. There are people out there, watching you, knowing who you are...Kunio Sai..." Yasaburo said, smiling innocently.Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah...don't shoot..." Kunio responded, petrified, fearing for his life. He ran to the computer, filling in information.Bookmark here

"Let me give you a name. Let me think...ah that's it. Haruraki Egiro." Yasaburo said, smiling, after expressing ponderous thought.Bookmark here

"I did it...the car is yours...don't shoot." Kunio replied, slowly backing away, startled after crashing into a desk behind him.Bookmark here

"Put out your hand. Take this gun. If the police come for you, then attack. Remember, your wife, your child, and yourself. We know." Yasaburo said. "Where are the keys?" he added.Bookmark here

"I'll bring them to you right away!" he exclaimed, terrified.Bookmark here

His mind filled with void, an aeon of nothingness, then pervaded with a vision of Yasaburo, driving away in the car. His heartbeat soared, intensifying. His mind was now traumatised, glaring at the gun, putting it away in his pocket, shrouding it from the world. Bookmark here

In the real world, with the gun in his pocket, he hesitated.Bookmark here

"That was a fake name. You know that. Who told you to put it down as one." Kei asked solemnly, his glare immense, insurmountable.Bookmark here

Kei's phone began to ring, and he picked it up. At that moment, Kunio took out his gun, pointing it to them both, his face enshrouded with fear.Bookmark here

"Don't move! Don't do anything! Put the phone down!" he exclaimed.Bookmark here

Kei dropped his phone and put his hands up. The receptionist, in fear, screamed, running away. Turning around in panic, he pointed the gun at her.Bookmark here

"I said don't move!" Kunio exclaimed, shaking.Bookmark here

Reacting with godspeed, Rei dashed in, grabbing Kunio by the arm and lifting it, the gun now pointing to the ceiling.Bookmark here

"Rei!" Kei exclaimed, concerned for his brother.Bookmark here

"What are you!-" Kunio exclaimed.Bookmark here

Before finishing his sentence, Rei performed a shoulder throw, tossing him onto his back, causing tremors and a roar. Kunio shrieked in pain as he let the gun loose from his hand.Bookmark here

"Don't try it!" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

Rei shifted towards him, putting his left hand on his head, along with his right hand and knee on his body, preventing him from getting up. Kei ran up to the gun and took it whilst the senior manager ran out.Bookmark here

"What's happening here! Kunio!" the senior manager screamed, his worry converted to astonishment.Bookmark here

"Tell us who actually bought the car!" Rei exclaimed, his eyes frightening Kunio.Bookmark here

"My family! They're going to get killed! Protect them and me! We're going to get killed!" He exclaimed, eyes like they were protruding out his socket.Bookmark here

Kei picked up the phone, hearing Detective Yasuhide Ogi's voice. "Hey, Kei! What happened? What's going on! Hello?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, we have everything sorted. This guy had a gun, and he sold the car to that fake name. We have it under control." Kei said.Bookmark here

"Oh, good. Bring him with you if you can. A girl called Hibika Orojo came over with the police that was protecting her. She has someone's phone, and the background says 'Give to the police. Kei Hirojima'." Yasuhide spoke frantically, overwrought.Bookmark here

"Calm down! Shut up! Think! Then speak!" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Detective! What's happening?!" the senior manager yelled, with worry for his staff.Bookmark here

"Hibika? I'll be there." Kei said, turning his head to Rei, walking to him.Bookmark here

"One last thing. The results for the DNA came back. You may want to look at it, because it's scary who they belong to. I'll leave you to it. Good luck." Yasuhide said, hanging up.Bookmark here

"Stop struggling, and speak normally." Rei added.Bookmark here

"What do you know? Tell us, because we can protect you!" Kei spoke calmly, reassuring Kunio, putting his phone away.Bookmark here

"Where are you going to take me?!" Kunio exclaimed.Bookmark here

"How close is your house to here?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"Kei. We need to go back to the police department. It's urgent. We'll find more about their leader because the DNA results came through." Kei added.Bookmark here

"I can't." Rei responded, getting off Kunio. He stands up, and Rei grabs both arms, holding him in a lock.Bookmark here

"What are you doing?" Kei asked.Bookmark here

"I'm going with him and finding the people after his life and his family." Rei said.Bookmark here

"YOU CAN'T! DON'T! THEY'LL KILL US! I'VE SEEN THEM! NO!" Kunio exclaimed; his hope diminished, assuming it was futile for anyone to help.Bookmark here

"Stop struggling. Tell me why. Now!" Rei spoke calmly.Bookmark here

"I've seen people dressed in black, watching me. They know where I live. My family don't know what I've done! He gave me that gun to protect myself!" Kunio shouted.Bookmark here

"Kei, go. Now! I'll sort this out. I'll tell you about it." Rei said.Bookmark here

"How are you going to get back to the police department." Kei questioned.Bookmark here

"I'll find someone! Now go! Any lead we have to the other generals or leader is something we must take!" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Alright, brother." Kei exclaimed, sprinting out of the car dealership to his car.Bookmark here

"Calm down. Who did you sell the car too." Rei said.Bookmark here

"To a man...I don't know his name or who he was, but I could feel his power. He was wearing a blue suit and tie, like a business man." Kunio explained.Bookmark here

Rei turned to the receptionist, who had calmed down but bore a frightening visage like she had resurrected, returning from death's realm.Bookmark here

"I'll take care of him. Forget you saw anything. That's what the detective would want. Let's go." Rei said, walking away with Kunio against his will.Bookmark here

Kunio remained terrified and apprehensive. His heartbeat rose, he became more aware, his vigilance increased. He feared the slightest movement, yet he was quiet. He turned his head around, frightened by everything and anything. In the corner of his eye, Rei noticed specious motion and glared, but it was from pedestrians. He remained cautious, ignorant about the area he was traversing.Bookmark here

"Hey-" Rei tried speaking but was interrupted.Bookmark here

"There...They are here...They are there..." Kunio said, speaking nervously.Bookmark here

"How long ago did they buy that car?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"At the start of this year..." said Kunio.Bookmark here

They were walking down a street when four men approached them beside an alleyway. Another man in black was spying on them, around the corner of a street at a junction ahead. Suspicious, Rei kept his eyes on the man peering around the corner, and he ran away. The men in front began running towards them suddenly, terrifying Kunio. Rei, along with Kunio, ran into the alleyway, hidden from the public. The four men entered, and Rei turned around, letting go of Kunio, who stood behind him.Bookmark here

"Stay behind me!" Rei exclaimed, glancing behind his shoulders, then to the men, malevolently.Bookmark here

Rei reached the first man before he noticed, using his Eternal Rule, punching him in the face, knocking him out. The second rushed recklessly, but Rei perused his movement, analysing acutely. He performed a Tornado Kick immediately, knocking the man against the wall. With the third man fast approaching, Rei had his back turned but used his intuition, quickly performing a Low Spinning Heel Kick adroitly, sweeping the man off his feet.Bookmark here

The body of the third man was underneath him as the fourth man came running in. Rei took a huge step back, and with it, he ran forwards, jumping over the third man on the floor, who stared in terror, as Rei flew over him, performing a 540 Roundhouse Kick magnificently. His foot met the jaw of the man, knocking him out. Rei landed a distance away from the third man, who stood there in anger, staring, as Rei turned around.Bookmark here

Like a ravenous lion, biting its prey by the jugular vein, ripping flesh from a mortal body, Rei hurled himself towards the man, who stood there stunned, watching. With the back of his foot meeting the third man, Rei performed a Twimyo Dwi Chagi (Flying Back Kick), knocking the man out, crushing his jaw.Bookmark here

Rei turns around, glaring at Kunio.Bookmark here

"Your phone! Call your family and see if they're okay. Lead the way, and start running, quickly!" Rei shouted.Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah!" Kunio screamed back horrifically.Bookmark here

He took out his phone, dialling his home number, and someone picked up.Bookmark here

"Hello! Futami! Are you okay?" he shouted into the phone.Bookmark here

On the other end, Futami Sai picked up the home phone, wearing a white jumper with blue trousers, white socks and violet slippers. She had short hair up to her shoulders. Their three-month-old son was sleeping in the living room cot.Bookmark here

"Yeah. Are you still at work? It's getting late." Futami said.Bookmark here

Kunio began running out of the alleyway, and Rei followed. He was running towards the dealership, and Rei became sceptical and concerned.Bookmark here

"Where are we going?!" exclaimed Rei.Bookmark here

"I'm going home by car!" Kunio exclaimed, turning his head around to talk to Rei.Bookmark here

Rei accepted his proposal, though he was forced to. They continued running back to the car park for the employees of Toshi Premium Motors.Bookmark here

"Look outside the house! Is anyone there?" he exclaimed.Bookmark here

She opened the door and looked outside, but the streets were bare. No one was there, and she only noticed the beautiful orange hue of the sky.Bookmark here

"No. I'm looking outside." Futami responded.Bookmark here

"Stay inside! Hide somewhere, please! Protect Higo and make sure he's safe. I'm coming over. I'll explain later, please, Futami!" he exclaimed.Bookmark here

"What's going on, Kunio?" she answered, now worrying for her family.Bookmark here

"Do it, please! Stay on the line while we go there." Kunio said.Bookmark here

After going around the building to the back and entering the car park, only four cars remained. Rei entered Kunio's car, and so did he, as they drove off to his home.Bookmark here

"How far is your house?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"About thirty minutes." Kunio responded.Bookmark here

"Who are you talking to, Kunio?" Futami asked.Bookmark here

"An officer. He's with me, and for a good reason." Kunio replied.Bookmark here

In the rear-view mirror, Rei ascertained a car was following them. Sceptical, he kept his eye on them, but they began to back off. Tailing them, Rei was looking around whilst Kunio was talking to his wife.Bookmark here

"We're being followed. If we carry on, then we're going to take them to your house. But if we don't go, then your family will be in danger. Choose, quickly." Rei spoke sympathetically and calmly.Bookmark here

"I don't know...What do I do..." Kunio said.Bookmark here

"Honey...is everything okay?" Futami said, now cloaked in fear.Bookmark here

"Yeah, it's fine. Just stay calm, Futami." Kunio responded.Bookmark here

Now nearing his house, Kunio turned his head, looking at the rear-view mirror in confusion. The car that was tailing them left.Bookmark here

"They've left us. What are they doing? It doesn't matter." Rei commented.Bookmark here

"We're here!" Kunio exclaimed, hanging his phone up, exiting his car.Bookmark here

Kei followed, and Kunio ran to his house door, knocking and shouting.Bookmark here

"Futami! Open it!" he exclaimed.Bookmark here

The door opened quickly, and Futami stood there in terror.Bookmark here

"What's happening?" she questioned, petrified.Bookmark here

"Get Higo, and come with me. We need to get to the police station! It's the only safe place. Please!" Kunio exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Why? Is someone after us." Futami asked.Bookmark here

"Yeah! Quickly!" Kunio exclaimed.Bookmark here

Futami grabbed a blanket, covering their son, and taking him with her. They exited the house, but to their dismay, despair enveloped them all. A black car parked in front of their home, and four men in suits stepped out. Another man holding a laptop, who spied on them around that street corner near the dealership, appeared. A second car, with only a driver, arrived immediately after. The cars had their number plates covered.Bookmark here

"That's the guy who I saw around the street corner..." Rei thought to himself.Bookmark here

The man with the laptop in his left hand, resting it firmly against his body, took his phone out. It was vibrating, and he answered.Bookmark here

"Bring them to me. I want to deal with them for Ehamame. Do not kill them, Daiju." he said.Bookmark here

The phone hung up, and Daiju Yoshimoro lowered his phone, putting it in his pocket. From his pocket, he took out a pistol, pointing it at the family.Bookmark here

"Get in the car, or the family gets it. Do not say a word, otherwise I will shoot." Daiju spoke ominously.Bookmark here

"Do as he says." Rei tells them.Bookmark here

"Kunio...what's happening...I'm scared..." Futami said, holding her sleeping child, tears coming down her face.Bookmark here

"Do what he says, Futami. We'll come out safely." Kunio said.Bookmark here

"No police...there's no one here. They did this in the night. At the other house, with that big guy, they owned that house. And they couldn't get more people in without the neighbours noticing or people getting suspicious because it was day time. I'll see where we go. I'll protect this family." Rei thought, frustrated by their situation.Bookmark here

They entered the car, and sat in the passenger's seat, with Daiju, the one holding his laptop, pointing his gun at them in the navigator's seat. The other car with four men was tailing them. Futami, still crying, and Kunio, remorseful of his actions, were mortally benumbed. The solitary emotion they felt was terror. Rei remained diligent, trying to find a way out. After driving for half an hour in silence, they arrived at an abandoned factory. The night had fallen, and it was completely dark. The shadows came out to play, and evil lingered, the atmosphere darkening like the ocean's depths. Pressure, unparallel to the seas, could be felt by all who witnessed the night.Bookmark here

"Get out of the car." Daiju said, aiming his gun at them, instilling fear.Bookmark here

The three of them exited the car, and the five gangsters followed. They entered the abandoned factory, and inside, there was a staircase that went down into the abyss. They walked down the metallic staircase, and at the very end, there was a large, spacious, spherical room. It was vacant, but had remains of machinery, though not an abundant amount, primarily being used as a storage room before the factory became defunct. There were approximately thirty gangsters in suits, excluding a man about the same age as Rei, sitting there with one leg over the other, wearing casual clothing. He had an arrogant demeanour to him, smiling guilelessly, ignorant and oblivious, unsympathetic.Bookmark here

"Hello there! You've made it to my home!" the man spoke, smiling forebodingly. "If you think you're leaving here, then you're humour is very dry!" he added, smiling even more. "You're the ones who have been giving Mr Ehamame trouble. He serves our Eternal Ruler, and he will get you if I do not." he said, walking through his men, approaching Rei.Bookmark here

"Who are you, and what are you going to do?" Rei spoke quietly but with anger ablaze.Bookmark here

"Daiju, if you would." the man said.Bookmark here

Daiju pointed his gun to the back of Rei's head, loading it, pulling back the barrel. Rei felt it, but his expression grew more indignant. The other gangster surrounded the family and Rei.Bookmark here

"Who are you?" Rei said, glaring, his eyes wildly tumultuous.Bookmark here

"Me? Yozo Okitsu? Why am I telling you? Because you'll die today. I am the leader of this gang, and there's nothing you can do. We are everywhere! We are powerful!" Yozo said, punching Rei in the stomach unexpectedly.Bookmark here

Taking the punch to his stomach, Rei did not react, nor did he waver. Solid, steady, steadfast, Rei's anger nearly erupted, but he maintained composure. Smiling, Yozo began pummeling Rei like bullets from a machine gun — rapid and unending, concentrating massively.Bookmark here

"Tell me how you knew who he was and his family." Rei said, still unaffected by his punches.Bookmark here

Yozo stopped punching, and his concentrated expression became confused.Bookmark here

"How? That's easy. We wanted to kill you. Daiju is a hacker, and there are more than him. It's easy to find the information of people in this digital world." Yozo replied, smiling ominously again.Bookmark here

"Who is your boss?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"Mr Ehamame. The one who I follow. We have more power than you will ever realise!" Yozo exclaimed, realisation hitting Rei.Bookmark here

"Ehamame? I've heard that name. Osugitachi Ehamame. That's it! We were going to his house, but now we're on a stupid side quest." Rei thought to himself, pondering about all possibilities within his predicament.Bookmark here

"Where'd you get the gun, hacker man?" said Rei, his iris moving to the corner of his eye, trying to look behind himself whilst keeping his head still.Bookmark here

"Why would I tell you?" Daiju spoke, pushing the gun into Rei's head.Bookmark here

"We have connections...even I don't know who they are!" Yozo said, smiling heedlessly.Bookmark here

"There are more hackers like you, right? How are you getting the information?" Rei questioned.Bookmark here

"Ah ah ah! I'm the one who should be asking you things. But once I tell you, can I kill you all?" Yozo said, now circling them.Bookmark here

"Yeah, go ahead." Rei responded, smiling, remaining confident, disguising his detestation.Bookmark here

"Who are you then?" Yozo exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Me? Rei. Hirojima Rei." he added.Bookmark here

"Why are you being such a pain for us? For out Eternal Ruler?" Yozo questioned.Bookmark here

"Tell me this. Was he the one who burnt a house down five years ago?" Rei asked back.Bookmark here

"I don't know. But let's just say yes, he did!" Yozo answered, unpitying, unstirred.Bookmark here

"Why are you answering his questions, boss? I heard rumours that he did it from the higher ups. From Mr Ehamame." Daiju spoke, still holding his gun against Rei's head.Bookmark here

"So you're a higher-up yourself if you know the boss?" Rei added, his vexation persisting.Bookmark here

"Yeah! We're under the generals of the Eternal Ruler! Only they're allowed to meet with him! They're the ones who gave us guns! Oops, like at that! I've told you about them. Daiju! Do it!" The child-like Yozo exclaimed.Bookmark here

Within that moment, Rei shifted his body, activating his Eternal Rule. He grabbed Daiju's arm, moving his hand away instantaneously, and with the other, both hands on his arm, he snapped it in half. Then, he performed a two-handed shoulder throw, and Daiju landed on his back, screaming in pain. Yozo began backing away, in slight terror, now with an evil, angry smirk.Bookmark here

"Get him! Kill them now!" Yozo screamed.Bookmark here

Now thirty-seven gangsters stood in front of Rei and freedom. Surrounding the family, Rei swore to protect them. The thirty men, further away from them in a large group, began rushing in. The five around Rei tried jumping him, leaving Kunio and Futami. The first tried punching Rei, but Rei grabbed him by the arm, throwing him to the ground. Kunio and Futami began running towards the staircase; however, Daiju stood up, aiming his gun with his left hand towards the family. Two bullets rifled through the air, and one pierced through the back of Kunio as he fell face-first.Bookmark here

"Kunio! NO! KUNIO!" Futami exclaimed, kneeling, the baby now crying in her hands.Bookmark here

Daiju adjusted his arm, hobbling over, limping, aiming at Rei. He fired four rounds at him, but his hand was shaky. Two of them pierced the same gangster, who fell, bleeding out. The other two missed. Yozo sat down back on his seat, ostensibly bored, his legs crossed, watching the carnage ensue. A pool of blood, forming around Kunio, portended the end of his life. Flipping his body around, he stared at the ceiling and his wife. Tears, dropping relentlessly, soaked his clothes as she put her hands on his face. He smiled, reassuring her, not saying a single word, as he passed. His eyes became lifeless, and his head rocked to the side, with his eyelids closing. The baby, like his father, fell asleep once again.Bookmark here

"NO! KUNIO! NO..." Futami exclaimed. "Come back to me, Kunio!" she yelled, her sadness became infinite.Bookmark here

Rei, enrapt and engrossed in his fight, devastated the remaining four around him. Rei saw the bullets and heard the gunfire. Shrewdly and with excellent foresight, Rei realised that he was out of ammunition when Daiju pulled the trigger desperately, but nothing occurred. Daiju unloaded the magazine and scoured his pockets.Bookmark here

"This gun was already used?! I don't have another magazine! Only six rounds were left in it. I've waste them all!" He thought to himself, despairingly.Bookmark here

Looking at the body of Kunio, the puddle of blood glistening under the light that was working, he ran towards Futami. Meanwhile, Rei was dodging them, moving closer to the stairs. He knocked out the third gangster with a punch to the face, then performed a palm strike into the fourth man's face. He grabbed him by his arm, throwing the fifth man then performing downward punches on their necks, suffocating them. Rei turned around and saw the torpor body of Kunio, deducing what happened. Rei's focus became impeded by that abhorred sight, encircled by the men, now being kicked and punched.Bookmark here

"No! NO! I couldn't save him! What about the woman?! What is he doing to them! We have to get out of here!" Rei exclaimed within his thoughts, desperate to get our for their sake, now ignoring his needs, acting altruistically. Bookmark here

Rei did not fall. With his might, he stood indefatigably and brave, unwavering. He began enhancing his focus, his eyes now locked onto a single enemy. They hesitated, and, utilising a shin block, his momentum in his battle progressed. The gangster, becoming tentative, was reluctant to fight for a brief moment. Opportune, Rei seized that gangster's arm, throwing him into the other gangsters, towards the door, toppling them like bowling pins. He ran through the gap into open space, punching the other gangsters and creating space for himself. In total, he knocked out three of them with punches, and three with that thrown gangster, avoiding their hands which tried to pull him back in the process. Twenty-five men, including boss Yozo, and hacker Daiju, were left. To ensure that they are unconscious, Rei runs up to all of them, punching them in their throats with a straight punch.Bookmark here

Daiju ran towards the mother, with the baby in her hand. Rage indignantly engulfed his mind and body, kicking the mother over while she was mourning and crying.Bookmark here

"YOU'LL PAY FOR DOING THAT! I KILLED HIM! NOW I'LL KILL YOU!" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

He continued to kick her in the stomach and legs, stamping on her sides as she lay there, enduring the pain. Her priority was shielding her child, and Daiju never laid his breath on her son. Bleeding from her legs and arms, bruised, she continued enduring the brutal torment inflicted to her by the embodiment of savagery.Bookmark here

She screamed in pain continuously, which caught Rei's attention. After jumping through the gap, making certain those gangsters he knocked down were inert, he made it to Daiju. Inattentive, Rei snuck up on him, performing a flying armbar on Daiju's left arm, snapping it on the elbow joint. Daiju shrieked in ascendant pain, falling to the ground, whilst Rei performed a kip-up. Rei grabbed him by his cloth collar, while he writhed on the floor in pain, and slammed him headfirst into the floor, like a spear, cracking his skull. He ceased making any noise, nor making any movement.Bookmark here

"Amazing...He's strong...This is so much fun...watching someone better than you fight, and I didn't even know he could do this. I thought it would be easy...but he's taken so many of them out." Yozo thought, his fascination enrapturing his heart.Bookmark here

Upon looking at the body, ascertaining Futami was breathing, he was kicked in the back, stumbling forward. He turned around and saw the remaining men. The child began to cry in her arms, and he heard a nursery rhyme recited from Futami's mouth, calming the baby, and eventually stopped crying.Bookmark here

"Hushabye, Hushabye! My good Baby, Sleep! Where did my boy's baby-sitter go? Beyond that mountain, back to her home. As a souvenir from her home, what did you get? A toy drum and a sho flute."Bookmark here

Now, filled with resentment, devoid of hate, wanting to help the woman who lost her family, relating to her, the form of the Eternal Ruler possessed Rei — the embodiment of justice. Tranquillity, clarity, nobility, exemplified, rising to a new plane.Bookmark here

"She lost her family, beaten to the ground. Like me...I can't take it. I will not let you do what you want anymore..." Rei thought to himself. "The Bushido...my Bushido. This is what Master Seijiro was talking about..." Rei mused.Bookmark here

Thus, the battle between finding the Eternal Ruler, against all odds, the chances of victory being slim, grew into one about self-progression and development. Learning from his past, applying it to the present, Rei grew stronger — not physically, but spiritually. Harnessing his power, concentrating, this would not be his final battle. Bookmark here

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