Chapter 34:

Noted What Is Not Forgotten

X = Y

Humans are comprised of five things: experiences, emotions, personality, knowledge, memories. If one of these changes, then the person changes entirely — like dominoes falling, they affect each other.Bookmark here

Inside the precinct, Kei's face remained astonished. The visages put on display, Detective Yasuhide sparked, inflamed by the discovery. Kei began furiously swiping through the phone, finally entering the message application, identifying the failure of a message unable to be sent.Bookmark here

"What is this? It was to me..." Kei said.Bookmark here

"What? What does it say?!" Yasuhide exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Read it to us. It's going to take a while to dig through this data." Shigeki added.Bookmark here

"Go to my house. I'm most likely dead. If not, then it's a miracle. I have a notepad in my drawer. Read it. You're not going to see this if I'm not dead, because this is my phone and I would tell you that the Personal Assistant of my boss is a murderer. Yasaburo Toyoda is his name. Quick." Kei said slowly, trying to comprehending it all. He stood up quickly. "It failed to send!"Bookmark here

"No way! Where does Kanda work?" Yasuhide exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Tatashi Industrial!" Kei said, his eyes widening, heart beating uncontrollably.Bookmark here

"Yasaburo Toyoda? I've heard that name. If I remember, Eisaku Tonegawa is one of the Assistant Manager's, and Yasaburo Toyoda works for him." Shigeki added.Bookmark here

"I left Rei by himself, now something's happened to Kanda? What if something's happened to Rei? I can't expect Rei to come back since he's two hours away from me if he's still there." Kei thought to himself.Bookmark here

"That's crazy because the fingerprints from Naruki Jin's car belonged to Yasaburo Toyoda. He was the one who had the fake name, Haruraki Egiro. We already know about Naruki Jin, but the third set belonged to Osugitachi Ehamame." Yasuhide added excessive information, muddling Kei's thought processes, already occupied concerning Kanda.Bookmark here

"I need to go to Kanda. We'll speak with Yasaburo Toyoda tomorrow. I need to make sure that he's okay." Kei responded.Bookmark here

"We'll search through the rest of the data on his phone. You go and check his house." Yasuhide mentioned, remaining positive.Bookmark here

"Yeah. Contact me if you find anything." Rei said, leaving immediately after, slamming the office door behind him.Bookmark here

On the other side of Toshi City, Rei awakened, his eyes blurry, finding himself lying on a hospital bed. An IV drip in his hand, and bandages around his body, while his entire being was aching. Unable to move, he tried turning on his side, but he was powerless. He could discern other beds around himself, but they were vacant. He was wearing hospital garments the nursing staff had changed him into, whilst his clothes were in a basket beside his bed. A nurse came up to him, surprised and worryingly excited that he awoke.Bookmark here

"Hello! You're awake. The woman that was with you said you were in a huge fight. Do you remember anything? Are you okay? Can you get up?" she continued talking persistently, pestering Rei.Bookmark here

"Yeah...I'm okay...Sore, but okay..." Rei responded, holding his forehead with his hands. "Wait...I remember..." Rei added, retrieving his memories. "Where's a phone line. I need to call someone. Where are the police?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"The police are the ones who brought you here. They wanted to talk you back with them. I'll ask you to come here for you!" the nurse spoke emphatically, skipping away.Bookmark here

"That guy...the boss. Where is he? Arrested? Taken away? Where's the woman and her baby? Everything that's happened, I need to tell Kei and the police..." Rei dwelled on.Bookmark here

A male police officer walked in, and Rei tried to walking out of his bed, ripping the IV drip off. He barely managed, enduring the pain, walking up to the officer.Bookmark here

"Hey...take it easy. The woman with the child told us what happened. You're a hero, you know that?" the officer spoke, smiling sympathetically.Bookmark here

"Where's the gang leader? Where am I? I need a phone. I need to call someone, now!" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Okay...We arrested him and sent him to the precinct. He's in cuffs, and he's asleep. The other bodies in the factory are being cleaned up by other officers. I was the first to be there when I got a dispatch call." the officer responded, examining the situation, becoming apprehensive.Bookmark here

"Where am I now? Which police department? Where's the mother and her child?" Rei bombarded him with more questions, scowling at the officer intensely.Bookmark here

"Okay...calm down. I know you want answers, but you'll get them. The mother and her baby were sent to the Tekafumo branch of Toshi City Police Department." the officer replied, the nurse standing there, puzzled but entertained.Bookmark here

"Tekafumo?" Rei repeated, his face becoming calmer, before speaking in a concerned manner sternly. "I need to get to the Akugawa branch! Near Kyotu Supermarket, where that explosion happened, and that gang attacked. Listen to me, please! I need to speak with Detective Kei Hirojima!" Rei exclaimed, clenching his fists.Bookmark here

" question. Who killed all of those people in that factory?" the officer asked, still cautious.Bookmark here

"I don't know how many are dead, but I defeated them all, including the one I was carrying because he was the boss of that gang for that woman. Her husband was shot by a hacker who was part of their group." Rei replied, realising his anger was unnecessary.Bookmark here

"That is why I can't let you go..." the officer said, whilst Rei fell to his knees fatigued.Bookmark here

The officer quickly grabbed one arm, holding Rei up, who was clinging on to his consciousness.Bookmark here

"Put his down on his bed, officer." the nurse said, guiding the officer to ensure Rei feels safe and comfortable.Bookmark here

"I'll call the Akugawa branch. You're not fit to leave the hospital. The others gang members you beat are in here receiving medical attention. The entire hospital has officers patrolling it, so don't worry about them escaping." the officer reassured Rei.Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah...I think I...need to rest...but the gangs are going to do so much worse..." Rei tried speaking, losing power in his voice, resting and staring at the ceiling.Bookmark here

Kei, now on the other side of Toshi City, arrived at Kei's house. The lights were still on, and the moon was approaching its zenith. He stood outside, knocking on the door. The cold breeze created an aura of uncertainty, and an impending sonata played. Opening the door, Kanda's father stood there, astounded, seeing Kei for the first time in years. He was wearing a blue jumper, black trousers, white socks, and he was balding at his crown.Bookmark here

"Kei?" Ikou Haru, Kanda's father, said.Bookmark here

"Hello, Mr Haru. Is Kanda home?" Kei asked kindly.Bookmark here

"Oh, no, but come on in." You said, speaking with a tired expression.Bookmark here

"Oh, he isn't?" Kei added. "Then it may have happened..." Kei thought.Bookmark here

Kei entered and examined their house. He saw the staircase going up to a set of bedrooms, but a woman exited the living room, desiring to see which guest entered her home.Bookmark here

"Who is it, dear!" Sunoko Haru, the mother of Kanda, said, locking eyes with Kei. "Oh, Kei." Sunoko added.Bookmark here

"Hello. Where's Kanda's room? I'm here on an investigation. You know about the people targetting Metagawa graduates from 2018, right?" Kei added.Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah...His room is the first room upstairs." Sunoko responded, confused.Bookmark here

Kei quickly ran up to his room, taking his shoes off, darting for his desk. His parents followed him inside, and they waited near the door. There, Kei was looking around, opening other drawers.Bookmark here

"Why hasn't Kanda come back home? I thought he was an intern at Tatashi Industrial." Kei asked remaining calm, not panicking Kanda's parents.Bookmark here

"We were starting to get worried he wasn't coming back home, but then you knocked on the door. I was going to call the police, but now that they're here, we don't have to worry!" Sunoko smiled at her joke, trying to lighten the mood.Bookmark here

"I'm just a detective. I used to work as a police officer, but that was only for combat training to protect myself." Kei answered.Bookmark here

"Has something happened to him...Kei." Ikou said worryingly.Bookmark here

Kei turned around whilst looking in a drawer situated in front of Kanda's bed, a part of his desk. The face of gloom, and a desolate expression, worried Kei. He looked at Kanda's parents back and forth, returning to scouring the drawers, searching, rummaging for the notepad.Bookmark here

"I can say for sure that we're protecting him and everyone else as best we can. He will be fine." Kei added.Bookmark here

Like a treasure chest at the bottom of the sea, finding prized jewels worth millions, Kei grabbed the only notepad he could find. There he began flipping through and saw amateur sketches and drawings. However, the dialogue of two people talking, spanning multiple pages, caught his attention. He flipped back to the start, and Kanda's parents began walking towards Kei. Horrified by the words he read, he quickly flipped through the pages, speed reading hectically.Bookmark here

"Ruler: Do you have the list of names? Give them to me.Bookmark here

Yasaburo: Here. These are the children that belong to that class those kids are a part of. They saw us that night burning their house.Bookmark here

Ruler: Kill them all.Bookmark here

Yasaburo: Yes, Ruler.Bookmark here

Ruler: We killed two of them, but the police are in the way.Bookmark here

Yasaburo: I can kill that boy named Kanda anytime. He works in the same department as me.Bookmark here

Ruler: Good. All is going well.Bookmark here

Yasaburo: Naruki Jin was caught. He had the car with him.Bookmark here

Ruler: We will deal with that. Kill the two twins who were witnesses, then the rest.Bookmark here

Yasaburo: Osugitachi will take care of that. Detective Kei Hirojima and the police are nuisances. Rei, his brother, is still missing. We don't have to worry, Ruler.Bookmark here

Ruler: These officials are stupid. We can use the news to our advantage, and they don't know it. The idiots Osugitachi sent to kill that girl have been caught.Bookmark here

Yasaburo: Yeah, but what's the need if I can hack into the network and encrypt these messages?Bookmark here

Ruler: Kill them all. My patience is running low with you generals. Tell Osugitachi to hire more men onto the streets.Bookmark here

It just keeps going on and on! Yasaburo Toyoda. Eien Shihaisha. Osugitachi Ehemame. Naruki Jin." Kei read the messages in his head and thought to himself.Bookmark here

There was one final message at the end of the dialogue.Bookmark here

"There's more than this. It's on my laptop."Bookmark here

He took the notepad and slowly began walking away, hiding it from Kanda's parents. He flipped to the last page, looking around the room for Kanda's laptop.Bookmark here

"Kei? Is there something wrong? What did Kanda write?" Sunoko asked, immeresed in concern.Bookmark here

"Where's Kanda's laptop? I need it for the investigation. Do you want me to tell you the truth or sugar coat my words?" Kei replied.Bookmark here

"Tell us, Kei. The truth, please." Ikou responded.Bookmark here

Kei saw his laptop on top of a large wooden chest. He looked down at the page he flipped to, grabbing the laptop in his other hand. On the final page, Kanda's password for the laptop, and the passwords for every account he owned, were written down. Kei stared at Kanda's parents reassuringly.Bookmark here

"I came here because Kanda's phone was found on the streets, cracked. A girl gave it to the precinct near Tatashi Industrial, and it was transferred to us." Kei replied, showing them his phone, with the background and words visible to him. "He wanted me. He sent me a message telling me to find the notepad, but it failed to send. That's what I'm worried about. I don't know about his status now. I promise that if anyone did something to him, they'll get what they deserve." Kei added.Bookmark here

"There's still a chance he could be alive, Kei?" Sunoko added, thinking positively yet dread shrouded her face.Bookmark here

"Yeah, and I'm betting on it," Kei responded. "I'm taking his laptop and notepad. I'll find him. Don't you worry." Kei added with a serious expression.Bookmark here

"If anything happens, called the Akugawa branch Police Department." Kei continued, walking away, exiting their house.Bookmark here

He saw a police van around the corner and approached it, looking inside the window. There were two male police officers inside the car, and the driver lowered the window. Kei lifted his identification card, showing the officer.Bookmark here

"Kei Hirojima. Are you the ones who were supposed to be surveying the area and protecting a person called Kanda Haru?" Kei asked.Bookmark here

"Yeah. I spoke with Kanda this morning before he left. Did something happen to him?" the officer said, turning around to the other officer. "Wasn't this your day to look over him?" he added.Bookmark here

"Yeah, but there were other officers around this area and at Tatashi Industrial. He should be safe. His parents are also people we have to protect." the second officer added.Bookmark here

"These guys...You would expect to run into people this lazy or incompetent." Kei thought.Bookmark here

"Okay. I'll be going now." Kei said, walking away quickly towards his house.Bookmark here

Kei received a phone call and answered it, now opening the door to his car and entering. He put the phone on the loudspeaker setting and placed it in the phone holder attached to his windshield.Bookmark here

"Kei! We found nothing else in Kanda's phone, other that message he sent you. Was he at home?" Yasuhide exclaimed.Bookmark here

"I have his notepad and laptop, but he's not at home. His parents don't know where he is. I spoke to the officers surverying the area, and he went to his internship at Tatashi Industial. Also, find Yasaburo Toyoda, Osugitachi Ehemame, and Eien Shihaisha. I think they've killed Kanda already, but I'm not sure. I'm coming back to the precinct, but there were messages sent to Eien Shihaisha from Yasaburo Toyoda." Rei explained, acting hastily.Bookmark here

Kei started the car, driving speedily down the streets to the police department.Bookmark here

"Yeah. We will. I'll send the police force to find Kinda. Good luck." Yasuhide said positively, hanging up the phone.Bookmark here

Kei hangs up as two notifications appear. Both were miss calls from an unknown number. His phone began ringing, and it was the same number. He answered it, and the voice was all too familiar, switching on loudspeaker.Bookmark here

"Kei? You there?" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Rei? Where are you? What happened when I left you?" Kei responded, his tone sounding surprised.Bookmark here

"Listen to what I have to say. I'm in a hospital near the Tekafumo branch police department, and..." Rei spoke slowly, but his pace soon increased, informing Kei about everything that happened.Bookmark here

The emotions on Kei's face began twisting, from one concentrated on driving to disquietude.Bookmark here

"What?! Damnit!" Kei exclaimed.Bookmark here

Incapable of feeling the emotions identical to Rei that immersed him into his thoughts, Kei could only sympathise with his brother, lowering his head impotently in defeat.Bookmark here

"Should I come and pick you up?" Kei asked.Bookmark here

"No. You carry on with finding the firefly that started all of this. I'm too weak to do anything, Kei. I'll rest in the hospital, and I'll make my way back to the Akugawa branch tomorrow. This entire time, I've been hiding the pain in my arms. I regret it, and now I'm stuck here. Both my legs and arms are gone. Finished." Rei replied, now sounding sincere.Bookmark here

"What? Why didn't you tell me?" Kei replied, reciprocating his sincerity.Bookmark here

"I don't need you to babysit me. I'm a fighter and making my problems other people's isn't what I'm about. But I'm still going to fight Eien Shihaisha, whoever he may be. Get to the other generals and gang bosses quickly." Rei added earnestly.Bookmark here

"I can't tell him about Kanda. He may be alive, but I don't want to get his hopes up just for them to crash..." Kei thought to himself.Bookmark here

"Yeah. If I can't find anything, I'll continue the investigation tomorrow. Goodbye." Kei said, hanging up the phone.Bookmark here

At the same time during the night, Rei hung up the hospital's phone, slowly, exhausted and frustrated. Disappointed in himself, Rei put his hand against the wall near the telephone box, leaning against, and punching it with a tap, looking down in desperation. Unable to marshal a smile or exhibit anger, resentment was the only emotion he felt.Bookmark here

"What's happening out there...I don't want to stay here! I've been staying with Kei because he has evidence to find these guys, and I have no direction. Now I'm getting attached to him...and that fight with that gang boss was pointless! I already knew everything he told me beforehand without getting anyone killed...Screw it all!" Rei thought, admonishing himself.Bookmark here

Stumbling quietly, with his arms swinging beside him, limping and swaying obstinately, trudging through the corridors and arriving at his bed. Rei slept the night over, with nightmarish thoughts bedevilling his mind.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, at a different abandoned factory near where Eien Shihaisha's blacksmith job was situated, nearby Hasaka's Fits, a man wearing a checkered black and white jacket with a hood, grey trousers, and black trainers, wondered in. Knowing he became concealed by the darkness from the night, his hood was down, and he went into the basement, connected to Toshi City's underground sewage system and tunnels. However, there was a large spherical room that was entirely vacant this time before entering the pipelines. Debris, rocks, and a plethora of metal junk on the floor had dispersed around the room. There were metal grates on the walls allowing water to flow through that room, and into the sewage system, around the perimeter.Bookmark here

There he sat in the centre, on a typical throne made of iron, crafted by his hands, waiting for a sign. Another familiar man arrived, and upon seeing his liege, he bowed before him, kneeling, wearing a black suit.Bookmark here

"My liege. Everything is ready. Yasaburo has killed the one called Kanda and is disposing of his body. I fear this is the end of him." the man said.Bookmark here

"Osugitachi...with fire...end him." Eien spoke cynically, softly, ominously.Bookmark here

"I understand liege, but it would be better if we kept them." Osugitachi responded.Bookmark here

A creepy smile began forming on Eien's face.Bookmark here

"For what reason? Their use has expired. Dispose of them, so the police don't have anything to work with. What have you planned for tomorrow? I shall be joining you." Eien questioned.Bookmark here

"But my liege, your identity needs to be kept secret. I have already hired enough men. You are at the height of your power, and if you fall, then the entire system you perfected will topple over." Osugitachi stated, still kneeling.Bookmark here

"My identity is already a secret. I do not exist in this world. Neither shall anyone else. Has our supplier, and hacker gangs, been found out?" Eien asked, standing up after speaking, smirking.Bookmark here

"No. But guns are scarce. Everything I had I gave to the group at the hotel apartments. There was a route we would take to kill our targets, but someone interrupted it. Flawed it may have been, but executed perfectly, the deed would have been done." Osugitachi explained calmly.Bookmark here

"Do not speak to me about failed tasks. Whenever I am not involved, you return to being failures. Who was the one who brought you three to power? With the fire, we play, and with the embers that fade, they shall all die today." Eien added, glaring into Osugitachi's eyes.Bookmark here

He became hesitant, staring into Eien's eyes. Instilled with fear, frozen by terror, his heart began quaking, conjecturing his infirmity.Bookmark here

The night continued, and the day would soon come to rise. The night terrors, the harrowing events, shadows coming to light would proceed to act once again.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.