Chapter 14:


The Forbidden and the Gifted

[2:44 p.m., August 8th 2048, Shanghai, China. The gunshot rings out in the room, leaving Aleksander dead on the floor – the sound doesn’t travel any further than the room because of the soundproof and insulated doors. Shin tosses the gun on top of the dead Aleksander, and him, Yuki and Martial walk towards the others, where Electra was already resting next to Ashe and Kohaku, with his leg still in pretty bad condition. Karina goes to get Drift from where he was lying, and the security guard opens the doors again and signals for the group to head out, and that him and the other staff would take care of the mess]Bookmark here

Ryouchi [To Security]: Y’all are really okay with getting rid of a body, eh?Bookmark here

Security: We have to do this shit every once in a while.Bookmark here

Ryouchi: Where do you even dispose of that kind of stuff?Bookmark here

Security: None of your business.Bookmark here

Ryouchi [Sighs]: Fine, fine.Bookmark here

Kohaku [To Naomi]: It’s surprising that they can turn a place around in such a short period of time, isn’t it?Bookmark here

Naomi: There’s a lot of them coming, so it shouldn’t be that hard. [The other staff enter the room] See? Look at that.Bookmark here

Kohaku: Your right… there’s so many.Bookmark here

Naomi: Say, Kohaku… are you okay with that kind of stuff?Bookmark here

Kohaku: What stuff?Bookmark here

Naomi: Y’know, killing people and all that?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh, no, no, I could never.Bookmark here

Naomi: You feeling okay though? You had to watch all of that happen, and you’re probably not used to it.Bookmark here

Kohaku: Oh no, no, no, that’s fine. That’s business after all. I don’t like seeing people die, but this guy was a human trafficker whose part of a group who’s killed that guys – Shin is his name? – [Naomi nods] brother. I don’t like to say that those types of things are deserved, but I can’t really feel bad for someone like that, you know?Bookmark here

Naomi: Yeah, yeah, I get it. That’s good then at least. If you’re feeling weird about anything, just let me know, okay?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Will do!Bookmark here

[The security guard approaches them]Bookmark here

Naomi: Do you want to talk to us?Bookmark here

Security: Oh, no, no. I just need to tell your main guy something.Bookmark here

Naomi: Oh, Shin? He’s over there. [She points to him talking to Martial]Bookmark here

[The security guard walks toward him]Bookmark here

Shin: Could I help you?Bookmark here

Security: You guys are probably gonna fly out after this, right?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah. Why?Bookmark here

Security: We can only give you so much protection. We can’t let you on the plane with any weapons, alright? That’s a breach of international air travel since you’re going through the public international terminal. In the airport it’s fine, on private international flights it’s fine if it’s covered up – but we can’t do it, even if you’re flying domestically through this terminal. Bookmark here

Shin [Looks at Martial, then laughs]: Who does he think we are?Bookmark here

Martial [Laughing]: Ha mate, who knows?Bookmark here

Shin [Looks back at the guard]: Don’t worry man, we’re not taking shit. We’ll go through security and all that as normal people. Don’t ya worry, alright? Just take care of this mess in time for the finance minister to show up, eh?Bookmark here

[The two keep laughing, as the security guard nods his head and walks past them to signal his other staff to keep working. The group then walks out of the lounge, and walks through the terminal, and back outside to the parking area]Bookmark here

Karina: So, mister bigshot [gestures to Shin] … what now?Bookmark here

Shin: Well, we’re gonna have to get a flight out of here and into Petersburg by the looks of it.Bookmark here

Karina: When you thinking of leaving?Bookmark here

Shin: Well, I wouldn’t mind flying out tonight or tomorrow. Whatever works best for y’all. I don’t think Nats and Dais are gonna mind too much, right?Bookmark here

Karina: They flew out yesterday to London, so I mean, they’re probably gonna get out of there tonight into Petersburg.Bookmark here

Shin: You think they should get there before us?Bookmark here

Karina: Well, they have Hachiro, and he’s probably the best at scoping out an area like that for us, so I think we should give them a day or so for that.Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah alright, sounds good.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Shin]: You know, we didn’t get a ton of information from this guy, did we?Bookmark here

Shin: Well, we would’ve gotten more if we didn’t get interrupted because of that minister or whatever. Five minutes to interrogate someone? Gimme a break.Bookmark here

Yuki: Well, we didn’t get any info from him on this guy – Katarov’s – gift, did we?Bookmark here

Shin [Raises his hand towards his mouth in disbelief, then grabs his head]: Shit. Bookmark here

Yuki: You got a good backstory from the bastard, which – to be fair – couldn’t have been fabricated considering the way he talked – he was nervous, but he wasn’t clenching at straws for information. [Pauses] Still, that was likely just a plot on his part – no matter what beef the two had, he’d try his utmost to not give away his bosses trump card.Bookmark here

Shin: Shit.Bookmark here

Drift [Coughs, and Karina looks to him]: Maybe that’s why the people you see in movies and in Hollywood don’t kill their suspects right away then.Bookmark here

Karina: True, but what other choice did we have? If he got a step on us at any point, he’d probably have his way with all of us. I mean damn, look at what he did to you [She gestures to Drift].Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah. Hell, that guy was strong man, Jesus. Bookmark here

Yuki [To Drift]: You and Elec did good though. I wouldn’t have been able to withstand him at full strength, y’all watered him down enough for me to be able to handle.Bookmark here

Drift: Still, we’re fortunate as hell to have you on our side. That guy was a fucking demon man. Bookmark here

Shin [To Martial]: You did research on all of these guys, didn’t ya?Bookmark here

Martial: Of course I did. I didn’t come here empty handed.Bookmark here

Shin [To Drift]: Did he tell you about this stuff before?Bookmark here

Martial [To Shin]: I just gave him a list of names, nothing more. Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah. I didn’t bring the list with me, so I kinda forgot about a lot of the names, but I recognized this guy’s face even back at the warehouse. Whad’ya think about him though?Bookmark here

Martial: Well, I had him as the fourth most troublesome guy on their side. Bookmark here

Shin: Only fourth?Bookmark here

Martial: He was Aleksander, wasn’t he?Bookmark here

Shin: He was.Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, from the information which I had collected for you guys, I had him listed fourth. Katarov’s obviously first though. Bookmark here

Shin: What else did you know about him?Bookmark here

Martial: Not much – the info on all their top five guys was kinda muddy and mixed up, since they’re at the top after all. The most I could get was more or less information that he told us; him and Katarov were part of the group who founded Dreadknight, they brought along other people, and he was probably closest to Katarov before they shot into the limelight in the East.Bookmark here

Yuki: When’d that happen?Bookmark here

Martial: When’d what happen?Bookmark here

Yuki: When they’d take power of those Eastern European countries? Considering they were all separate states not too long ago with all their infighting – at least that’s what I can remember…Bookmark here

Martial: No, no, you’re right there. What really got the ball rolling was when Katarov and him, Aleksander, took down Japan’s hellhound – your brother, right? [He gestures to Shin, who nods at him] That was supposed to be the former states trump card, you see? Although those states never agreed on anything and weren’t a collective as they are now, they realized that all of the people in that area – regardless of country – were gonna rebel against them eventually. That damn rebellion started with Katarov, and fuel was only added to the fire when they took down Ichigo.Bookmark here

Yuki: Why?Bookmark here

Martial: He was the ace in the hole – those countries used him as a threat to deter anyone from rising up, but when he was taken out, who’s gonna step up then?Bookmark here

Yuki [To Shin]: I knew Ichigo was strong as hell, but this strong? Really?Bookmark here

Shin: I didn’t know who he was back then or what the hell it was he did, but I knew he was a tough guy, that’s for sure. The only time I saw him fight once was in a bar when some moron tried to shove a tab onto us – Ichi took on that dude and all three of his lackeys and left them in a heap. Bookmark here

Drift [Interjects]: I heard from Takuya as well that he was an absolute demon on his missions – solo hunter but an absolute terror to deal with.Bookmark here

Shin: That’s my brother man. He was blessed to be that strong, but it led him to such a tough ass lifestyle to provide for us.Bookmark here

Martial [Chuckles]: And yet you jumped back into the same lifestyle he had left, eh?Bookmark here

Naomi: Shin’s mom wouldn’t have wanted him to do that! I’m just saying!Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, she probably wouldn’t have. But she had to move away anyway to provide for me, so me doing this doesn’t bring any danger to her, and I’m old enough to make decisions – whether they’re right or wrong, that should be up to me.Bookmark here

Martial: I like y’all a lot. Exactly my type of group – living on the edge all the time. Shit’s fun, eh?Bookmark here

Yuki: It’s exhilarating for sure.Bookmark here

Shin: I’m only in the business because I got a mission – to kill Katarov. Killing this piece of shit is one thing, but it’s clear that that asshole’s the guy at the top. I couldn’t give less of a rat’s ass unless I take him down.Bookmark here

Martial: Sounds good to me man, I’m just in it for the thrill.Bookmark here

Naomi [Interjects]: Uh, Martial…Bookmark here

Martial: What’s up?Bookmark here

Naomi: Uh, you said that this guy was fourth on your watchlist, right?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, he was fourth. You wanna know the names of two and three?Bookmark here

Karina [Interjects]: Y’know, it’d probably be useful. I could send the names to Hachiro and see if he can tail those two dumbasses as well as make sure they don’t get caught lacking by one of them.Bookmark here

Martial: Gotcha, gotcha. The first guy goes by Vlar, but I don’t have a surname for him. He was a pretty new recruit, but he seems to have shot up in Katarov’s inner circles. He’s probably one of their most coldhearted guys – cold blooded assassin vibes from what I’m seeing, and I can’t confirm or deny if the guy has a gift like Katarov – I couldn’t get information from that.Bookmark here

Karina: That’s number 2? Shit.Bookmark here

Martial: That’s 3. Bookmark here

Karina: 3? Really? What the hell?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah. Not gonna lie, he’s new as hell, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he shot up to two if we were to leave them to their own devices – hell, he’s probably the biggest threat to Katarov’s throne as leader of Dreadknight to be honest. It ain’t that I doubt his loyalty, but he seems to only be in it for power and money. Could be wrong though.Bookmark here

Karina [Shakes her head]: Then who’s two?Bookmark here

Martial: Miroslav Fetistof. He’s one of the masterminds behind a whole lot of their operations – genius informant and diplomat and is also tough as hell from what I’ve heard. He’s one of their original guys too – maybe doesn’t go as far back as Aleks, but he definitely goes back.Bookmark here

Electra [Looks up, taking his arm off of Naomi]: To be honest, that first guy seems more of a pain in the ass than this guy.Bookmark here

Martial: He does, but I’ve heard worse things about Fetistof. Probably because he’s been in the business for longer so there’s more stories to tell. All of his subordinates hate him though, I can tell ya that much. And he’s been uplifted by Katarov – which wasn’t the case with Aleks – he’ll give his all in a fight and won’t half-ass anything for the guy at the top.Bookmark here

Electra: Ah shit, yeah. You know if he’s gifted though? Or just a toughie?Bookmark here

Martial: Supposedly he’s just a tough guy. That’s what I’ve heard at least, but this information’s reliable enough, so I’d trust it.Bookmark here

Karina: Okay, I’ll send both of these names out to Hachiro. [Pauses] Actually, let me just call that boy. He’s probably free right now anyway.Bookmark here

Shin: Hachi’s got long distance coverage?Bookmark here

Karina: He got it the last time we flew to Sydney.Bookmark here

Shin: Ah damn, no way.Bookmark here

Karina: Okay, let me call him and put him on speaker. One sec. [She turns around and opens her phone, and opens to her contacts]Bookmark here

Martial [To Yuki]: Who’s Hachiro?Bookmark here

Yuki: He’s our ace sniper. He’s great at scoping out places and planning a lot of our excursions.Bookmark here

Martial: Oh, a jack of all trades kind of guy?Bookmark here

Yuki: Not quite. He’s kind of shit at fighting or defending himself. He’s great at long distance combat though – he’s got a bullseye for a shot from sniping distance.Bookmark here

Martial: Gotcha, gotcha.Bookmark here

Yuki: Say Shin, you think Sybil’s gonna do anything to help us?Bookmark here

Shin: I told ya before, didn’t I?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, but we’ve never really dealt with them in person before, and it ain’t even Hachi who’s going to deal with them head-on. It’s Nats and Dais.Bookmark here

Shin: I know, I know. Trust those two morons though, they’ll get the job done. Hachiro’s got an important job to keep em alive – they’re important to us.Bookmark here

Martial [Interjects]: Wait, what? You guys are dealing with Sybil?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah we are. Why? Something the matter?Bookmark here

Martial: Oh no, no. I’ve heard good things about them to be honest. They’re a tough group out in England, but y’all already know that. Having them as backup against these guys in the Baltics gonna be crucial ain’t it?Bookmark here

Shin: Well, I doubt they send their entire crew with us, but we’d appreciate some people at least to help out. Cause if they don’t put their foot down, those morons are probably gonna take their land and supplies little by little. Bookmark here

Karina [Turns around and interjects]: Hachiro just answered guys! Hachi, you can hear me?Bookmark here

[She holds the phone, on speaker, in the center of the group]Bookmark here

Hachiro: Yeah Rina, what’s up? What’s the latest y’all got?Bookmark here

Kohaku [To Ryouchi]: Ooo, he sounds handsome, doesn’t he?Bookmark here

Ryouchi [Confused]: Huh? How am I supposed to know?Bookmark here

Kohaku: You can tell, can’t ya? He sounds dignified.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Why, I’ve never heard that voice, but I take it that’s the girl you saved? If so, I appreciate the compliment and I hope you’re doing fine.Bookmark here

Yuki [Yells]: No you dork, that’s not the girl we saved!Bookmark here

Hachiro: That isn’t? What the hell?Bookmark here

Yuki: No, she isn’t! That’s Martial’s sister, Kohaku.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Oh, well then, hi anyway Kohaku. [Pauses] Wait. Who’s Martial? What the hell? Is Shin just making a harem for himself after sending me and Dais out?Bookmark here

Shin: No, you moron.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Ah, good, good. Anyway, who’s Martial? And where’s the girl y’all had to save?Bookmark here

Ashe: I’m here!Bookmark here

Hachiro: What’s your name again?Bookmark here

Karina: Didn’t we brief this before you moron?Bookmark here

Hachiro: We did?Bookmark here

Karina: Shin, didn’t we?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, we did. I’d expect you of all people to remember Hachi. You’re not like the two we’re sending you to tail after all.Bookmark here

Karina: Speaking of which, have you made ground on either of them?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Huh? Wait, wait, tell me who Martial is first. I sure as shit didn’t hear about him before.Bookmark here

Martial: Yo!Bookmark here

Hachiro: Ah, that’s a new voice. You’re probably Martial then eh? Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah boss, that’s me.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Not gonna lie, that’s a weird name, but we’ve got two guys with weird names themselves, so I’ll let it slide [Naomi glances at Drift and Electra]. What’re you there for mate?Bookmark here

Martial: Oh, nothing much boss. They probably mentioned something about an informant to you before…? If that rings a bell, I’m the guy they were talking about.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Ah yeah, I remember Drift mentioning that he had a guy lined up with info on these guys from the Baltics. Your information’s pretty handy, eh?Bookmark here

Martial: Oh it’s not much. I know how much of a stronghold y’all have over the east coast and helping y’all is a two-way street for me after all.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Fair play, getting in with us is bigtime, wouldn’t ya say?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah. Still, I’m in awe at the fact that Shin’s younger than me. Bookmark here

Shin [To Martial]: Y’know what they say, start ‘em early.Bookmark here

Hachiro [To Shin]: Don’t give me bullshit Shin, you’re only doing this for revenge mate.Bookmark here

Shin [To Hachiro]: Fair play, fair play – to be honest though, once we shred this guy to the ground, I ain’t gonna quit.Bookmark here

Hachiro [Laughs]: Well, no shit. You’ve set up quite an enterprise with Eastern, you’d be an idiot to just hand the reigns to one of us.Bookmark here

[Electra, Yuki and Naomi laugh in the background]Bookmark here

Shin: Fair point you make there mate.Bookmark here

Hachiro: So, why’d y’all call me all of a sudden?Bookmark here

Karina: Well, I already said why, didn’t I?Bookmark here

Hachiro: You did?Bookmark here

Karina: Before you went on your little tangent with Martial…Bookmark here

Hachiro: Oh yeah, right, right, about Natsumi and Daisuke, right?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah. You caught up to them?Bookmark here

Hachiro: I just got into London Rina, come on now.Bookmark here

Karina: Really? You just landed? Bookmark here

Hachiro: I didn’t get on the same flight as Natsumi, you know that right?Bookmark here

Karina: Really?Bookmark here

Hachiro: You arranged this schedule for me! I had to transit in friggin Frankfurt for god’s sake! I was in layover for a little over four hours just chilling there, and I just passed through immigration and customs here in Heathrow.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Hachiro]: Well, that’s probably the best choice Rina had, you know that don’t ya?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Oh, there ya are Yukes, I missed ya.Bookmark here

Yuki: Don’t sweet talk me now, you dumbass!Bookmark here

Hachiro: But it’s true, I just got into London. So, I don’t got any leads on anyone at the moment. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find those two with Sybil’s guys soon enough.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Karina]: You sent those two to Sybil, didn’t you?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah, that was the first thing I told them to do.Bookmark here

Yuki: So, they’re probably there by the looks of things, if he’s just getting out of the airport.Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah, provided they didn’t stop anywhere.Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, that would be so like them, wouldn’t it?Bookmark here

Karina: Oh, it would.Bookmark here

Hachiro [Interjects]: Uh, why the hell would you only send those two for this? Bookmark here

Karina: Whad’ya mean?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Like, why did we need to send all of you guys to Seoul and Shanghai for this, but for our first ever in-person meeting with Sybil, we’re sending our two biggest morons?Bookmark here

Karina: To be fair, if anyone can persuade anyone else, it’s 100% Natsumi.Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh yeah, if we’re negotiating anything, I’d want her to do it.Bookmark here

Hachiro: True, but still, why didn’t one of you guys go?Bookmark here

Karina: Ask Takuya about that! He’s the one who said that these guys would be trouble! [She looks at Martial] Didn’t you say the same thing too?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, I told Drift that there’d be trouble out there.Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, so that’s why I cross-checked with Takuya and found he had the same type of info.Bookmark here

Martial: To be fair, I only considered it dangerous cause my fourth ranked guy was present, so I didn’t want you guys to go in understaffed.Bookmark here

Drift: And I mean, it took three of us to take him down.Bookmark here

Hachiro [Interjects]: It took three of you? What kind of steroids was the guy on?Bookmark here

Drift: Mate he was strong as hell.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Stronger than Yukes?Bookmark here

Yuki: Well – Bookmark here

Shin: Yes, he was.Bookmark here

Yuki: Hey!Bookmark here

Drift: Come on now Shin, she was the one who got him after all. Don’t tease her.Bookmark here

Yuki: It ain’t even teasing, it’s just wrong!Bookmark here

Shin: How am I wrong? You beat him after he took both Drift and Elec first!Bookmark here

Yuki: True, but I still withstood one of his punches, didn’t I?Bookmark here

Shin [Shrugs]: Yeah, I guess you did.Bookmark here

Yuki: See Hachi?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Yeah, that’s pretty good, but I already know you’re strong as hell Yukes. [Pauses, while Yuki sulks] Wait… Martial.Bookmark here

Martial: What’s up?Bookmark here

Hachiro: You said this guy was their third strongest?Bookmark here

Martial: Fourth actually.Bookmark here

Hachiro: FOURTH?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeup. I told the others about the other two guys.Bookmark here

Hachiro [Still in disbelief]: I still can’t believe that they’ve got two guys stronger than a guy who was a tough match for three of our guys. Jesus.Bookmark here

Martial: Well, you can rest relieved since I can confirm he’s not gonna be a worry for the foreseeable future.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Y’all got any good info out of him at least?Bookmark here

Yuki: Well, Shin got him to tell us some stuff about his past with the guy who’s running the show behind this.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Oh…Bookmark here

Yuki: It’s the guy Shin’s been hunting down for the past few years.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Katarov? Really?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, that’s what we’ve heard.Bookmark here

Hachiro [To Shin]: Oh, you’ve got a little extra motivation then eh? No wonder you sounded a little more into it than you normally do.Bookmark here

Shin: You bet man. Like I said, I ain’t gonna quit this once I kill that devil, but until I do, there’s no rest on my part – especially now that I’ve got a lead.Bookmark here

Hachiro: But that’s the number one guy I’d take it?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, he’s the top of the food chain for the guys at Dreadknight.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Then that’s probably gonna be the guy we find in Petersburg, eh?Bookmark here

Yuki: That’s what I think.Bookmark here

Martial [Interjects]: Well, it won’t just be him.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Two and three are gonna be there too ya reckon?Bookmark here

Martial: I know the number two guy, Fetistof, is gonna be there. Third’s a wild card, but you can’t count him out of anywhere.Bookmark here

Hachiro: What’s the third guy’s name?Bookmark here

Martial: Goes by Vlar, but we don’t have his surname.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Gotcha.Bookmark here

Karina: Hachi?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Yeah Rina, what’s up? Bookmark here

Karina: We wanted you to keep an eye on those two especially – that’s why we called. Especially the third guy, considering he’s just a wandering assassin.Bookmark here

Hachiro: That’s my job, eh? Watchful eye in the sky.Bookmark here

Karina: You need to make sure that the talks between Natsumi and Sybil go well, alright?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Don’t worry, don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to those two morons, you can count on me in that regard.Bookmark here

Karina: Can you keep a watchful eye on these two guys too?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Sure. Vlar and Fetistof, was it?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, that’s right.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Vlar’s the assassin, eh?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah, he is. Bookmark here

Hachiro: You think they have any leads on us?Bookmark here

Karina: Well, I doubt that they knew we had leads on us – thanks Martial for those [he winks] – so I bet they have some leads that we don’t know about. But in terms of any new information, they may have gained, I doubt there’s much. These guys took care of the first two lackeys, we scared the other moron off – the main guy who we got rid of did have a short time between first seeing us and us getting rid of him, but still, I doubt he got any new information that could blow our cover. Bookmark here

Shin: To be fair, they probably now know that we’re in custody of Ashe then, right?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah, but Katarov probably played his cards so that we’d end up in custody of her anyway, don’t ya think?Bookmark here

Shin: You think he’s that much of a tactician?Bookmark here

Karina: This is the guy who took down your brother, right?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, yeah, but still, why?Bookmark here

Karina: Beats me.Bookmark here

Hachiro: To be fair, you said there were only three lackeys, right?Bookmark here

Karina: Four.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Yeah, four and the one big boss who got outdone. It’s really one of two things, they underestimated us, or they’re trying to incite something.Bookmark here

Karina: I’d bet on the latter.Bookmark here

Drift: Same, I don’t think Katarov’s stupid enough to just show his hand and fold. Bookmark here

Karina: He’s probably trying to egg us on, but I doubt he knows anything about the Sybil side of things though.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Them and Sybil aren’t on good terms right now though?Bookmark here

Drift: Nah, they’re both competing for room on that crowded European landscape. They aren’t at odds, but they’re definitely not friendly with each other. Bookmark here

Hachiro: So…Bookmark here

Drift: It should be a pretty good time for us to step in, I think. If you could relay this information to Nats and Daisuke we should be in the drivers seat.Bookmark here

Hachiro: So, scrap tailing them from afar?Bookmark here

Drift: Well, I’d think you could still do that for the first bit, but you wanna get this info to them as soon as possible, no? [He looks at Yuki and Karina who nod]Bookmark here

Hachiro: Gotcha. It’ll probably move negotiations forward even faster I’d assume.Bookmark here

Drift: That’s what we’re hoping for.Bookmark here

Shin: Plus, we don’t have forever – we’re probably gonna book our tickets out of Shanghai for tomorrow into Petersburg. You probably wanna talk with the guys at Sybil for as long as you can today before y’all have to fly out to meet us in Petersburg.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Oh, we’re turning around fast are we?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, we have to.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Good, good, it won’t be like the mess in Singapore now will it Yukes?Bookmark here

Yuki: That was all your fault Hachi, do not get me started on that.Bookmark here

Hachiro [Laughs]: Really? You’re really gonna blame me for that? Come on now, I thought you’d have matured a bit.Bookmark here

Yuki: Oh, you bet I will.Bookmark here

[Naomi and Electra laugh in the background]Bookmark here

Hachiro: Well, anyway, is that all the info you’ve got to dump on me?Bookmark here

Karina: Yeah. Make sure you meet us in Petersburg with those two tomorrow, alright?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Yeah, we will, don’t stress about that.Bookmark here

Karina [To Shin]: We missing anything?Bookmark here

Shin: Nah, I don’t think so. [Pauses] Oh yeah!Bookmark here

Hachiro: What’s up?Bookmark here

Shin: We saw Higuchi at some place that sells tickets for people like us.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Really? Where?Bookmark here

Shin: When we were in Seoul.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Ha, how was the geezer?Bookmark here

Shin: Same as always. Tried to kill us at first because he didn’t recognize us and it was the dead of night, but all’s well that ends well.Bookmark here

Hachiro: Good, good. [Pauses] Anything else to tell me though? I’ll probably shut off my phone from here on out because I’ll be tailing em for the first little bit before I catch up, and then it’ll be all business from there.Bookmark here

Yuki: Nah, I think we’re good Hachi.Bookmark here

Karina: Make sure you come back in one piece, alright?Bookmark here

Hachiro: Yeah, yeah, don’t worry! Okay, I’m hanging up. See you guys tomorrow then!Bookmark here

[The phone buzzes and then turns off]Bookmark here

Karina: I think he should be good.Bookmark here

Yuki: If he doesn’t run into those two, or Vlar at least, I think he’ll be fine.Bookmark here

Karina: Vlar’s the one that’s got me intrigued and afraid at the same time.Bookmark here

Yuki: Same girl. He sounds deadly.Bookmark here

Martial: Best believe he is scary. As much as I have him third on my danger radar, he’s probably the guy that exhilarates me the most, because he’s so damn unpredictable.Bookmark here

Shin: Well, let’s just hope they won’t run into any of these Dreadknight guys until they reach Petersburg at least.Bookmark here

Karina: Honestly, they probably won’t, that’s just me being a little paranoid.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Karina]: Yeah, I feel you. Let’s just hope.Bookmark here

Shin [To everyone]: Then, should we get going?Bookmark here

Electra: To get the tickets?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah.Bookmark here

Electra: We gonna be flying regularly?Bookmark here

Shin: We told Natsumi and Daisuke before that they should be trying to not only get manpower but weapons from Sybil, so I don’t think we should take anything or waste time trying to take an off-the-grid type of flight.Bookmark here

Electra: Well then, I’m good with leaving it in their hands. Bookmark here

Shin [To Naomi]: Did you find anywhere we could buy tickets around here?Bookmark here

Naomi: Oh no, I was too busy listening to you guys and Hachiro.Bookmark here

Shin: Man…Bookmark here

Ashe [Interjects]: Uh… I found one place that’s just south of the airport. Should be five minutes.Bookmark here

Shin: Aye, that’s a huge help Ashe. [To the rest] Hop in the cars, let’s get to that place then.Bookmark here

Ryouchi [To Ashe]: Could you pass me the location?Bookmark here

Ashe: Sure thing.Bookmark here

Martial [Interjects]: Oh yeah!Bookmark here

Ashe: Huh?Bookmark here

Martial: Oh no, not you, you’re okay Ashe, keep going.Bookmark here

Ashe: Oh, alright.Bookmark here

Martial [Looks at Ryouchi and pats him on his right shoulder]: I was talking about you, ya little guy.Bookmark here

Ryouchi: Huh?Bookmark here

Martial: You ain’t coming with us to Petersburg. You got things to do back home in Guangzhou, don’t ya?Bookmark here

Ryouchi: Dang, yeah, I got courses to pick… But I can always reschedule – I don’t think the school’s gonna mind too much.Bookmark here

Martial: No, no, I don’t think that’s advisable, now would it be? [He gestures to Kohaku]Bookmark here

Kohaku: Ryou, as much as you’d probably wanna come, it’s too dangerous for you, and besides you have other things to do. It’s like God is telling you that you shouldn’t come with us.Bookmark here

Ryouchi: But…Bookmark here

Kohaku: Come on now. You saw how tough those guys were. I know it’ll be best for you to stay back rather than come with us.Bookmark here

Ryouchi: What about you though?Bookmark here

Kohaku: Sure, I’m weak, but I need to come to hold down Maki, don’t you think?Bookmark here

Ryouchi [Sighs]: I guess…Bookmark here

Kohaku: I know you wanna come, but just sit this one out. We’ll bring back stuff for you and visit you in Guangzhou, won’t we Maki?Bookmark here

Martial: Yeah Ryou, don’t worry. Nothing’s gonna happen. Plus, we’ll keep in touch with these guys like we told that guy on the phone. I’m sure more stuff will happen in the future, won’t it?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, best believe that garbage happens all the time – it may not be on this scale, but it’ll happen. Once we come back, you’re free to come occasionally. But you gotta make yourself useful, alright?Bookmark here

Ryouchi: Yeah man, I got that, don’t worry.Bookmark here

Shin: Perfect then. Sounds like a plan.Bookmark here

Yuki [To Shin]: So, nine tickets out to Petersburg and one to Guangzhou then eh?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, that’s what the expenditure should be.Bookmark here

Yuki: Perfect, I’ll send that to Takuya. I’m sure he’ll be confused as all hell, but it’s alright, he’s just sitting in his office anyway. Anyway, we all ready?Bookmark here

Naomi: Yeah, we’re all good!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.