Chapter 35:

Undesirable Memories Resurface

X = Y

Arriving at the precinct, Kei jumped out of his car, apprehensive. But that feeling was submerged by his drowsiness. He left Kanda's laptop, phone and notepad in his car. Walking into the department, he made it to Detective Yasuhide's room and opened the door. Shigeki Takishita was still sitting down, sifting through data and evidence on his laptop. Yasuhide was searching through files and documents alongside Shigeki.Bookmark here

"Kei! You're back!" Yasuhide exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Yeah..." Kei said, sitting down. "Did you call Tatashi Industrial asking for Yosobura Toyoda." Kei asked tiredly.Bookmark here

"I called his landline first, but no one picked up. I tried calling the company, but they were closed. We have to wait until tomorrow. Yasaburo could be anywhere, and we need permission to check their surveillance cameras." Yasaburo added.Bookmark here

"Yeah...Asking the police to chase someone when we have no clue where they would be sounds stupid." Kei added.Bookmark here

"Let's get some sleep. It's really late now. I've found nothing on Kanda's phone. Only those messages he tried sending you." Shigeki spoke, yawning, restless.Bookmark here

"You said you had his notepad and laptop, right? Show me! I want to see what's in it!" Yasuhide exclaimed, his eyes sparkling at the thought of new evidence surfacing, jocular like a child.Bookmark here

"If my suspicions weren't right back then, now they are. The Ruler, I'm assuming Eien Shihaisha, ordered Yasaburo and his generals or men to kill all my classmates, then me and Rei to hide the truth. Yasaburo's an employee of Tatashi Industrial, a higher-up at that. He went into the network, and he got all our information. That was the massive hack that happened a while back. The conversation in the notepad was a massive log of text, and there was more on his laptop." Kei explained anxiously.Bookmark here

"Where's Rei?" Yasaburo added.Bookmark here

"The hospital near the Tekafumo branch. I'll explain later, but he's safe, but Kunio died. It's my fault..." Kei added, now feeling regret immerse his heart, the burden on his shoulders growing.Bookmark here

"It's fine. Don't remind yourself about it. We'll end the investigation here for the night and start tomorrow. There's only so much we can do." Yasuhide spoke re-affirmatively.Bookmark here

"Yeah...But don't you feel like you could have done something, but you decide not to, and then you regret it. You can't it back. Damn! It's just eating away at me now...The regret and remorse..." Kei blurted out, putting his hands on his head.Bookmark here

"I'm overthinking things again...But that's what I always do...Isn't that what makes a detective a good one?" Kei reflected himself.Bookmark here

"You're not the only one who feels like that. I was called here after my day was over and I agreed because I've seen what's been happening on the news, and I wanted to be a part of it. Yasuhide is a close friend, so I couldn't say no. I guess I kind of don't regret it, but it happens to everyone. You're not alone in thinking that way." Shigeki spoke assuredly.Bookmark here

"Oh, you're friends. That's good to know..." Kei added, supporting his face with his right hand.Bookmark here

"That's it for today. Let's go and get some sleep and regenerate for the next day." Yasuhide responded, standing up, all eyes on him.Bookmark here

With such an eventful day over, the sun rising splendidly, elucidating the skyline, enlightening the world below, would bring about hope and grandeur, or would it?Bookmark here

Sleeping restlessly, Kei woke up early in his hotel room, questioning whether yesterday was real or fabricated. Light radiated intensely from the window, obscuring his vision. On his desk, he saw the notepad and laptop that belonged to Kanda, untouched. Glancing at it, he took both and sat down on his bed, still wearing his uniform.Bookmark here

"I haven't changed about three or four days. I guess there's no time for that now." Kei thought.Bookmark here

Kei's phone began ringing, and to his wonderment, it was Superintendent Masazaki Hamabe of Machira Town. Eyes enlarging, Kei grasped the phone, answering it decisively.Bookmark here

"Hello, Superintendent?" Kei wondered, speaking tensely.Bookmark here

"Kanda Haru's body was found floating in a river at the end of Machira Town...Kei..." Superintendent Masazaki spoke sympathetically.Bookmark here

"What..." Kei responded in disarray, disbelief tunnelling through his mind.Bookmark here

"I heard that he was a close friend...I know it's early, but can you come back to the precinct in Machira Town...No, forget I said that. Take your time..." the Superintendent added.Bookmark here

"I can come down...I will. I'll be there as quick as I can." Kei added, saddened by the news.Bookmark here

"Detective Ryotaro Nabeshima is off-duty. Private Investigator Takuyame Kyomifu isn't picking up his phone. We have no detectives anywhere except for you. Are you okay with me calling you back? You can deny it to mourn, Kei." the Superindent replied sincerely.Bookmark here

"Yeah...I'll be there now. I have something I want to show you." Kei stated.Bookmark here

Hanging up, Kei became determined resolutely, taking Kanda's notepad and laptop, running down the hotel to his car and driving off. His duffle bag and briefcase were in his boot, and he sped off, turning the lights and sirens on, in his unmarked car. Machira Town was his target, and the precinct, which he assumed Kanda's body was at, was alluded in a mystique.Bookmark here

8:00 AM. The prisoner, gathered at the Akugawa branch of the Toshi City Police Department, departed from there. Metal handcuffs, unbreakable by human strength, seized their hands behind their backs. A line of police officers, armed with weapons on their waist, created a path to a van, displaying the emblem on its side. There were four other police cars as escorts for the police van, with two officers in each car, including the police van. Hidemasa Toyoma, Masao Ageishi, Shu Kurachi, Naruki Jin, and the other gangsters they caught, including at Abe's apartment, entered miserably, knowing their fate became sealed.Bookmark here

The van drove off, and its destination was a detainment facility akin to a maximum-security prison, catering to criminals whose court dates remain undecided due to investigations advancing on. The van driver ensured they drove down a dual carriageway, allowing a single police car to stay ahead, behind, and beside it, with one for backup. The roads were empty from blockages the police force created, stopping any cars from intervening during the transferal process.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, inside the van, the gangsters began conversing with each other. The gangster's Rei defeated were mute, still recovering from the torment inflicted upon them, the pain never allaying.Bookmark here

"What's up with those four? What's wrong with them? They look miserable...What an unpleasant sight..." Naruki said, directing his hatred towards the mutes.Bookmark here

They began mumbling, creating a sinister atmosphere. The words the mutes spoke were unintelligible. Some were shaking, and another's eyes filled with despair. The other gangsters, resentful towards Naruki Jin, minded their own business, glancing away from the spectacle he pointed out.Bookmark here

"I'm never going to see my wife again..." Hidemasa Toyoma began repeating consistently, rocking sideways, to and fro.Bookmark here

"If I could punch you, Naruki, then I would. You're the reason why all of us are here." Masao Ageishi said fearlessly.Bookmark here

"You could never beat me in a fight! My iaido is far more terrifying than you realise! All for the Eternal Ruler! Yes, him! He will free us from all of this!" Naruki said, his spirit increasing, becoming hopeful, basking in the thought of his saviour, staring up to the van roof.Bookmark here

"He killed all of the higher-ups and chose new ones. He has all the power. If he's dead, then everything will go dark. He took all the power for himself. I've never seen him, because you speak for him, Naruki!" Shu Kurachi responded, rebuking Naruki's claim.Bookmark here

"We were up against a...creature. It's the only way I can describe it." Masao added, changing the subject, staring at the ground, thinking while ruminating.Bookmark here

"What creature?" Naruki questioned harshly.Bookmark here

"It was a man, wearing a hood...He defeated me in a fight...he was too strong. A tiny man with incredible power. His eyes were the worst thing about him. If you look into them, you see yourself dying fifty times over." Masao continued speaking, not terrifying himself.Bookmark here

The atmosphere became more foreboding, their thoughts more unpropitious.Bookmark here

"Is he...No...he may be talking about...that man I saw with the detective...They fought him before me? Good! He's dead! No man can survive an accident like that!" Naruki mused, his face morphing from worry to glee.Bookmark here

"Hey, Shu. Hidemasa. Once we get out of jail, I'll come visit you and your wife some time." Masao smiled, remaining positive and trying to influence their emotional state.Bookmark here

However, umbral creatures were waiting beside stores, staking the area out, informing the shadows about changes. One of these creatures made itself known to the world, leisurely strolling in front of the police car ahead of the van. With his hands in his pocket, wearing his signature checkered jacket, his hood up, and grey trousers with black trainers, he adorned an infamous grin.Bookmark here

The driver at the front stopped the car, wondering who the man was. The van behind stopped, along with the other police cars. One police officer from each car left to deal with the intruder, except for the personnel inside the fourth backup car behind the police van. There were no other civilians around, except four officers on the street and six in their vehicles.Bookmark here

"Get out of the way! What are you doing here?!" the front officer exclaimed.Bookmark here

"What's that?! Someone stopped the van! It's him! Our Eternal Ruler! Eien Shihaisha! Our saviour has come!" Naruki exclaimed, grinning vehemently.Bookmark here

"That detective seemed like a nice guy, but he's the reason why we're going to jail. Man, I heard the court system is relentless. It's going to be impossible to lessen our sentences." Shu Kurachi spoke malcontentedly.Bookmark here

"Yeah... that sounds nice...Masao...Shu..." Hidemasa lifted his head, speaking slightly louder, now expressing a broken, forced, artificial smile. It was nothing short of creepy.Bookmark here

Unable to hear the sounds outside of the van, they were lambs waiting for slaughter to happen. Eien Shihaisha began walking casually towards the officers, who quickly ran up to him. He stopped, raising his head, glaring at them, but grinning exuberantly. Taking a device out of his pocket, he held it up for everyone to witness. It was a rectangular box that fitted in his hand, holding it horizontally. One officer realised what it was, as Eien threw it, and they ducked, jumping out of the way.Bookmark here

"Get down! Now!" the officer behind the first said.Bookmark here

They all jumped away from the police van as the device landed on the windshield of the police van, sliding down. As a presage to oblivion, Eien lifted his hand in the air, then flicked his wrist down, gesturing its detonation to befall. With it, keen eyes on the roof were peering down onto the streets.Bookmark here

"Yeah that sounds nice..." Shu Kurachi added, and the other criminals began feeling hope.Bookmark here

At Eien's discretion, assigned to the explosive, that person pressed a black button, causing the van to explode with the driver left inside and the criminals escorted to the detainment facility. The fuel tank and engine both exploded, adding to the sea of fire, smoke billowing into the sky, sparks flying everywhere. Multiple sonic booms and shockwaves emanated through the air, resonating to all those nearby the sound was audible too, deafening those within its ferocity and vicinity. The breath of life, bestowed upon them, blessing them with vitality, escaped their bodies, entering a new plane.Bookmark here

In an immediate chain reaction, the shrapnel and debris pierced the other cars around the police van, and embers began flying through the air, igniting the other cars, blowing them up, killing the three other officers who remained in their vehicles. An unprecedented situation, an unarmed man carrying a bomb, would never have crossed their minds.Bookmark here

Around the street corner, a general to Eien, and the detonator on the roof, took one last glance, then sprinting away from the incident. Other gangsters, accompanying both men, began running away.Bookmark here

"Excellent, my liege. What all these men were supposed to do, you did, alone. Now I can only hope that you get away, for you do not exist." Osugitachi Ehamame thought, wearing a suit and mask.Bookmark here

On the dual-carriageway, the officers who ducked, covering the back of their head with their hands, stood up. Staring at the fire that blazed across four vehicles, the people inside were already dead to the ensuing explosions. The female officers in the backup car, having front-row seats to testify the eradication of human life, were unscathed, being far enough away from the blast. They exited their police car with circumspect, running around the burning cars and assuring they did not inhale toxic fumes caused by the flaming synthetic material.Bookmark here

"No! Where the heck did he get a bomb like that?!" One of the officers exclaimed, different from the others who spoke.Bookmark here

"Who detonated that bomb! There's only him! Was it a proximity bomb?" Another officer thought.Bookmark here

There were two female officers and another male officer, incapable of restraining their emotions. They began to cry, becoming sorrowful for their friends and peers.Bookmark here

"Get yourself together!" the first officer exclaimed, rubbing his eyes.Bookmark here

"The fire...another flame rising into the sky, being free. No more people. Nothing should exist. I do not exist. They should not know I exist. No more witnesses." Eien whispered to himself, slowly walking up to the officers with his hands in his pocket. "I have all this power, and you will feel like me. No one will belittle the fire or me; people under my command who never disobey me. They listen and are there when I am alone. They do what I want, and they do not fight with each other..." Eien said, stopping abruptly, both in speech and distance he covered.Bookmark here

"Hey! You! Detain him now! Call for backup! Quickly!" A female police officer shouted.Bookmark here

The remaining male police officers, four of them, began running into Eien to engage in battle. Eien put his arms above himself in fists in front and beside his head, his palms facing his enemies. His feet were in the Taekwondo Dwit Kubi Stance (Backward Inflection Stance), and he stood there menacingly, waiting for an attack, activating his Eternal Rule. The first officer grabbed Eien's collar with his right hand and Eien's right arm with his left, performing an Ippon Seoi Nage (One-Armed Shoulder Throw), which Eien allowed, knowing he had absolute command.Bookmark here

Flung into the air, Eien performed a Flying Knee Strike with his left leg, using the momentum from being pulled up, smashing his kneecap against the back of the officer's head, who turned around for the throw, knocking him out. The officer's head acted like a brake, cushioning Eien's movement and holding him in the air. The officer fell beneath Eien, and he performed a Downward Foot Thrust with his left leg, connecting with the officer's head and bringing him down, interposing it between his foot and the floor, annihilating his skull and snapping his neck.Bookmark here

Grinning proudly, Eien lifted his head, staring at the other three officers who stood in horror. He dashed into another male police officer and performed a Twimyo Yeop Chagi (Flying Side Kick), which the officer tried stopping, which still hit his face, staggering him, stumbling backwards. Eien ran up to him, performing an Ashi Barai (Foot Sweep Kick) with his left leg against the officer's right leg, knocking him off balance. Then, he grabbed the back of the officer's head, slamming him face-first into the ground, caving his skull in.Bookmark here

Immediately after, disregarding the officer's life, he turned around, glaring apocalyptically, but smiling insensitively. The other two officers ran in together, with both trying to grab his body and arm. Waiting for an opportune moment, found so effortlessly, Eien ducked, avoiding their arms and performing a Low Spinning Sweep Kick, causing him to fall flat. To the other officer still standing, Eien performed a flurry of punches against his face, causing the officer to bleed severely. Unrelenting in his attacks, Eien knocked out the officer, who fell to the floor, and he continued to bombard him with Jabs, Hooks, and Haymakers, all whilst smiling happily.Bookmark here

Standing up, breathing heavily, he turned around and saw one of the female police officers running up to him. Feeling impervious, Eien stared into her psyche through the portals in her eyes, evoking hesitation within her. She attempted to grab him, but Eien elegantly dodged her, turning his body to the side naturally and performing a Straight Counter-Punch against her face, stunning her vision.Bookmark here

Taking a step forward, Eien performed an Ap Chagi (Front Kick) with his right foot, knocking her chin upwards, then converted it into a Naeryeo Chagi (Axe Kick), slamming his heel down into her face, knocking her head downwards. Finishing the fight against her hastily, performing a Liver Punch with his left fist, then conducting a One-Arm Shoulder Throw, slamming her into the ground, and finally stomping her face in, he crushed her head against the street road.Bookmark here

Smiling, he was oblivious to the officer he knocked off balance, who grabbed him by his arm and kicked his leg, knocking Eien off balance and throwing him to the ground. The officer mounted Eien, who was gazing up at the sky and him. They locked arms, grappling each other, but Eien, unmistakably stronger in power and more versed in technique, performed a reversal, flipping the officer over on his back and strangling him. His finger grip was too overbearing, instantly asphyxiating the officer.Bookmark here

Eien stood up, noticing that one officer was left. She was talking into her walkie-talkie, panicking frantically, her heart about to jump out of her chest. She turned around and tried running, but in a frenzy, she tripped over herself. Turning around, she tried pushing herself off the ground and sliding across it.Bookmark here

"Get backup! Hurry! Please! All the police officers are dead! They're gone! Please!" she screamed, crying for her safety.Bookmark here

Eien ran up to her, indifferent about those he killed, punching her once, then strangling her with both hands, finishing her off. Her body lay there, lifeless, and he was exultant, grinning. His clothes garnered blood, his fists and shoes drenched in it, leaving behind trails and drops on the floor.Bookmark here

The puddles of blood, reflective by nature, mirrored the sky, red in terror, opposed to the tranquil blue colour it adorned. Eien began running away into the shadows of the day, to the darkest region hidden by malice; he vanished without a trace.Bookmark here

Thus, the Eternal Ruler woke up again, disregarding humanity and forcing it to serve him. He took life, and he never gave back what he stole. That was the true nature of this Eternal Ruler, but another lay dormant, ready to awaken as the true Eternal Ruler. One who would build a new kingdom, toppling the previous one in its entirety, introducing genuine justice and morality.Bookmark here

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