Chapter 15:

Two of a Kind

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[9:07 a.m., August 8th  2048, London, England. Natsumi, a shorter girl with long, blonde hair, and Daisuke, a built, middling height guy, walk past the London Eye with Natsumi humming to herself as Daisuke checks his phone. The two are following a set of GPS directions on their phone which had been preset for them by Takuya back in Tokyo. Hachiro trails them from afar, having found their whereabouts since receiving the call from Karina at 7:44 a.m. London time]

Natsumi [Sighs]: I’m so tired…

Daisuke: Didn’t you sleep on the plane?

Natsumi: I tried, but I couldn’t catch a wink.

Daisuke: What about at the hotel?

Natsumi: You expected me to sleep there?

Daisuke: I mean, I slept there.

Natsumi: Idiot!

Daisuke: Huh? We got into London before the sun even got up, I thought you’d at least rest for an hour like I did. Why didn’t you?

Natsumi: I’d be even more tired like that, you know?

Daisuke: Really? I thought getting at least an hour would be good for you.

Natsumi: I could’ve gotten an hour, but I would’ve been even more tired. Jeez. Why’d they make us take a night flight like that anyway? Couldn’t they have planned things out better?

Daisuke: Well, Shinzo did tell us to wait on standby cause he didn’t know where we’d be sent to after London. We did sign up for this…

Natsumi: Oh shut up with your logic!

Daisuke: I mean, I’m only telling you the truth.

Natsumi [Shakes her head, then skips ahead of Daisuke]: This is fun though, isn’t it?

Daisuke [Thinking]: That was a quick mood shift.

Daisuke: Whad’ya mean?

Natsumi: Oh silly, y’know? Being alone, just us two, all the way across the world, on a top-secret mission. Sounds like something you’d see in an action movie crossed with a romance anime. Oh man, it’s the best, isn’t it?

Daisuke [Thinking]: Weren’t you just complaining a second ago? Well, whatever.

Daisuke: As much as this mission’s stressful, being all the way in London is pretty sick. They’re pretty advanced out here, aren’t they?

Natsumi: No kidding. Who would’ve thought that they’d have a bullet train out here too?

Daisuke: And even the high-rises, I mean God, the Riverside Tower looks like something that they’d build in Dubai, not out here.

Natsumi: Oh, don’t get me started on those freaks in Dubai, how many towers do they have there now? Five? Six?

Daisuke: I honestly can’t remember. I know they were supposed to start construction on the new Skyhigh this year.

Natsumi: Really?

Daisuke: Yeah. It was that Sheikh… what was his name?

Natsumi [Confused]: Don’t look at me – you’re the one who knows this type of stuff, not me!

Daisuke: Ah, I can’t remember. But he’s the one who separated the Emirates and Dubai from the rest of that Arabian supercontinent.

Natsumi: Wait, they’re not apart of it?

Daisuke: Aren’t you the one who always tells me you want to fly to Doha or Dubai? Shouldn’t you have known that at least?

Natsumi: What, I don’t know all these politics and all that! I just know what I know after all!

Daisuke: Whatever, whatever. [Pauses] Anyway, the GPS says that we should probably take the next right.

Natsumi: How far away are we?

Daisuke: It says we’re probably like ten minutes walking distance.

Natsumi: So, in that case, we got time to burn.

Daisuke: Huh? Whad’ya mean?

Natsumi: Don’t be stupid! You know good and well these guys probably won’t be dealing with us until at least 11 a.m.

Daisuke: Huh? Why?

Natsumi: Did you do no research on London before coming here? Do you only know the damn politics and logical things that have to do with everything?!

Daisuke: Huh?!?

Natsumi: London workdays start at 11 a.m. every day! I thought you knew that, and we were just leaving early to get a head start since the place was far away!

Daisuke: Wait, wait, wait, where’d you read that? I don’t remember seeing anything of the sort.

Natsumi: You moron! It’s on the London Entertainment page on their city’s website!

Daisuke: Why would you check that?

Natsumi: Why WOULDN’T you check that?

Daisuke: Because this is a damn business trip, we aren’t just out here for fun! You know that!

Natsumi: But if I didn’t check this, we’d be even more deprived for information. You should be thanking me y’know.

Daisuke: What’s there to thank you for – it’s pure luck that you knew about that.

Natsumi: Coming from the guy who didn’t know that foreign work schedules are completely different from Japanese ones – yeah, good one.

Daisuke: How am I supposed to know that, pre-tell?

Natsumi: I don’t know, leave your room once in a while? Socialize? Interact with other human beings rather than being stuck in your office every single day?

Daisuke: How would any of that help with finding out a foreign countries policy? In fact, I’m better off just searching for this kind of stuff online, am I not?

Natsumi [Pouts]: Well maybe if you poked your head out of your damn cupboard once in a while, you’d actually know about these things.

Daisuke: Again, what point are you trying to make? I believe my way of life is quite ideal, mind you.

Natsumi [Bursts out laughing]: Your way of life is normal? Good one!

Daisuke: Huh? What’s so wrong about it?

Natsumi: What’s wrong with it? [Pauses] What’s not wrong with it? [Laughs] You would’ve been a lost cause if Shin didn’t start talking to you in high school man. You barely attended first and fifth period and skipped so many days because you wanted to hole yourself up at home.

Daisuke: Well, Shin definitely saw potential in me – hell, I’m the one who brought you along for the ride!

Natsumi: Yeah, yeah, but any guy like him would be interested if a girl like me told him they’d be willing to join his band of misfits.

Daisuke [Looks at her, then puts his hand on his head]: What do you even provide that isn’t being an annoying nuisance? Why did I vouch for you back then?

Natsumi [Smiles and throws her arm around Daisuke]: Well, you did, and look where we are – middle of London. I mean, as much as I make fun of you, look at you – got an expensive get-up with some nice kicks, a hot girl by your side [She winks at him] and you’re walking in the middle of one of the biggest metropolis’ in Europe to meet some big shot from Sybil.

Daisuke: Yeah, that’s kinda wild to think about. Honest to God, I thought I’d be doing crypto trading and working a 9-5 for the rest of my life.

Natsumi: You really wanted a 9-5?

Daisuke: Hell yeah I did. I wanted to work some office job. Thought it’d be easy enough.

Natsumi: I mean, you used to be a ball of fire in elementary school, that’s for sure, so I didn’t think you’d want to do something as dull as an office job.

Daisuke: I always had that as a goal but coming to high school and only knowing you was rough as hell. Eventually I decided, screw it, lemme start skipping class and all that. Probably the worst possible decision I could make, but what other choice did I have? We barely had any classes together, and it wasn’t like I could easily make friends with anyone. Sitting at home in front of my P.C. and making money through trading was better than anything.

Natsumi: Well, I guess it worked out. The one guy you managed to bump into was someone who’d change your – and my – life.

Daisuke: What Shin’s done with Eastern’s been nothing short of incredible. He’s incredible.

Natsumi: Hell yeah to that. We gotta make him look good to these guys from Sybil eh?

Daisuke: You bet.

[The two fist-bump and continue walking, following the GPS’s directions. Hachiro continues to follow them from a distance, until they approach the building – a corner unit with a dark alley running parallel to the building – with two tall men in black suits standing at the door]

Natsumi [Looks at the door, then at the two men]: When does this place open?

Henchman 1 [Looks down at her]: You talkin to me?

Natsumi [Smiles]: Yeah, I am. We got directions to this place from someone we know.

Henchman 1 [Looks at the other Henchman and chuckles]: Girl, I’m sorry to inform you, but this isn’t some sort of a fun-time establishment. Did you get sent here thinking it’s a Monty’s Pub? That’s a couple doors down.

Natsumi: Oh no, no, we’re sure we’ve got the right establishment. When do you guys open your doors though?

Henchman 2: Listen girl, there’s no way this is the right place for you and your boyfriend. No chance whatsoever. What’s the place that you’re looking for?

Natsumi: I told ya, I’m looking for this place.

Henchman 1 [Slightly irritated]: You got an address or something?

Natsumi: Yeah, it’s 1750 6th Street. Even the picture on the GPS looks the same as this place.

Henchman 2: 6th  street East or West? The road goes in both directions you know…

Natsumi: Obviously East… why would I be here otherwise?

Henchman 2: I don’t buy it.

Natsumi: What do you not buy? I just asked about when y’all open, that’s it.

Henchman 1: Listen girl, we don’t have time for your games.

Natsumi: It’s not a game man! I’m being dead serious! We were told that this was the place by our boss back home.

Henchman 2: Boss?

Natsumi: Right Dais?

Daisuke [Nods]: Yeah, he told us that it should be here, and that we’d come across people like you at the entrance as well.

[Henchman 1 walks towards him]

Henchman 1: Listen bud, I don’t wanna buy your garbage time games, okay? Go hop, skip and jump to the pub, alright? We’re through with you.

Natsumi: But –

Henchman 1: Don’t give me more bullshit. We played along for a little, now go play with yourselves at Monty’s or somewhere else.

Hachiro [Only his voice can be heard]: We’re here for Lockwood, you damn brutes.

[Hachiro stands in the alley next to the building with a large backpack slung over one of his shoulders, out of view of the two henchmen, Daisuke and Natsumi. The shot pans to him, only showing him smoking a cigar with one of his legs kicked up on the building]

Henchman 2: Eh? Who was that?

Hachiro: I said, we’re here for Lockwood man. Why’re you harassing the damn girl? What’s wrong with you morons? Thought the English would be somewhat courteous, but I guess not.

Daisuke [To Natsumi]: That’s…

Natsumi: Must be, right?

Daisuke: I didn’t know they

Henchman 1 [Appears on guard, then turns toward the alley]: Show yourself.

Hachiro: Fine, fine. [He kicks his leg down and walks forward] You happy now?

Daisuke [To Hachiro]: You came?

Hachiro: Of course, I did, you fucking dork.

Henchman 2: Who’re you?

Hachiro [Points at himself]: Oh, me? I’m just another guy with them.

Henchman 1: How do you know Lockwood?

Hachiro: How do I know him? I work with these two morons after all [He puts his arms around both of them], naturally we know who your boss is.

[The two henchmen appear extremely confused]

Hachiro: What’s the problem? Weren’t y’all just harassing Nats here just a second ago? I think she’d like an answer to her question, eh Nats?

Natsumi: Yeah, I would.

Henchman 2: Wait, wait. Lemme ask again. Who are you?

Hachiro: What, you want my whole government name and all that? Man why?

Henchman 2: Because I’m still lost on how the hell you know Lockwood.

Hachiro: Man, lay off, lay off. Didn’t these two morons tell you that Shin and Karina sent us? Can’t you tell we’re Japanese? Put two and two together you damn lackeys.

Henchman 2: Taiki?

Hachiro: Yeah, Shin Taiki man. I’m with him, alright? Jeez.

Henchman 2 [To the other henchman]: So, these are the guys?

Henchman 1: I guess? I mean, who around here would know who Taiki is?

Hachiro: See? It’s not that hard.

Henchman 1 [To Daisuke]: You Shinobu?

Daisuke: That’s my surname, I just go by Daisuke. But yeah, I’m Daisuke Shinobu.

Henchman 1: Well shit, why couldn’t you start with that?

Hachiro: HUH?

Daisuke: Well…

Hachiro [To Daisuke]: You didn’t tell them that Shin and Karina sent you? What the hell?

Daisuke: Well, Natsumi told me that I shouldn’t be the one talking to people, so she took the lead and talked to them.

Hachiro: And you listened to that?

Daisuke: Well, she ain’t wrong, is she?

Hachiro: Well no, she isn’t, but still… what’s wrong with you? [He turns to Natsumi] And you! Why the hell wouldn’t you start with telling them who you were?

Natsumi: I thought they’d know!

Hachiro: How the hell are they supposed to know?

Natsumi: I don’t know! But I thought Karina would’ve told them!

Hachiro: Rina told them y’all were coming, that’s it! God, no wonder she sent me after you two.

Natsumi: Well… [she looks at the henchman], you got a Natsumi on your list?

Henchman 1 [Suspiciously]: Last name?

Natsumi: Hyun.

Henchman 1: Spelt?

Natsumi: You need it spelt out? Really? Man, y’all really don’t trust me. Fine, H – Y – U – N.

Henchman 1 [Confused]: Yeah, wow. Yeah, that’s you then.

Natsumi: What’s the fuss?

Henchman 1: Nothing… I’m just surprised that you’re a chick after all.

Natsumi: EH? You thought Natsumi was a dude’s name? Really? Actually?

Hachiro [To Henchman]: That’s pretty stupid, I can’t lie.

Henchman 1: Well, you sir [Points to Hachiro] – you have no identification on our list.

Hachiro: Oh, come on ya bastard, I’m the one who got this whole ball rolling, wasn’t I? Imagine you sent these two away, then what? Lockwood’s probably canning both of you, no questions asked.

Henchman 2: You’re with these two, aren’t ya?

Hachiro: Of course, I am. I’m just here to keep watch over them, that’s all. Didn’t have anything to do in Japan for now at least, so Rina sent me out here.

Henchman 1: You gonna see Lockwood?

Hachiro: I’d like to, yeah. Y’all gotta be able to make an exception here.

Henchman 2: We’ll see what Lockwood says. We’ll tell him and see what he has to say.

Hachiro: That’s fine then, yeah. [Pauses] By the way, when the hell do you guys open? That was the first question this dumb girl had for you, wasn’t it?

Henchman 2: Oh yeah, Lockwood said he’d get here by 11:00 today.

Natsumi [Looks at Daisuke]: Told ya! 11:00 starts out here.

Daisuke [Rolls his eyes]: Whatever.

Natsumi [To Hachiro]: What’s the time?

Hachiro: 10:09.

Natsumi [To Henchmen]: You guys got any coffee shops around here? Cafes or the sort?

Hachiro: I saw one on the way, I think it’s a little family-owned place?

Henchman 2: Yeah, there’s the Café at the end of the road, maybe a three minute walk from here or so? If you guys want a pub, Monty’s is the other way like I said before.

Daisuke: A pub? At 10 in the morning?

Henchman 2: What, you guys don’t do that?

Daisuke: Hell no! Liq’s are for the evening man! Come on now.

Henchman 2: Well, shit if I know.

Henchman 1 [Interjects]: Y’all are gonna be back at 11:00 then, eh?

Hachiro: Bet your ass on it.

Henchman 1: Alright. Don’t be late. We aren’t letting Mitch wait on you guys.

Hachiro: Yeah, yeah, don’t worry. I’ll keep track of it.

Henchman 2: Alright then, see y’all around.

[Hachiro, Daisuke and Natsumi turn around and walk towards the direction in which the café was]

Daisuke: So… care to explain why you’re here?

Hachiro: Eh? Whad’ya mean?

Daisuke: Why didn’t either of us know about this before?

Natsumi: Yeah! How come you didn’t tell us man? Were you just tailing us?

Hachiro: Well, that was the original plan.

Natsumi: Aw, did Rina put you up to it?

Hachiro: Didn’t I tell ya already that she did?

Natsumi: There really wasn’t anything else to do in Tokyo eh?

Hachiro: I mean, I don’t think there’s a lot. Hell, even she caught a flight.

Natsumi: Really?

Daisuke: Rina actually went somewhere? I call bullshit there.

Hachiro: Nah mate, she went to meet up with Shin and his group.

Daisuke: Oh really? Man, so y’all just left the old man Tak in Tokyo and took off?

Hachiro: Takuya can handle things out there, don’t stress on that.

Natsumi: He’ll probably just have a bunch of paperwork ready for us when we land back.

Hachiro: Probably, haha.

Natsumi: But seriously Hachi, does Rina not trust us with this mission?

Hachiro: Well, yes.

Natsumi [Shocked]: Huh?

Hachiro: Aw girl I’m just kidding. [Looks at Daisuke] Look, even he wasn’t fazed by that, he knew it was bullshit.

Daisuke: Well, no shit, she sent us first so she’s probably expecting shit from us, isn’t that right Hachi?

Hachiro: Yeah. She knows that y’all should be able to carry the brunt of the work in this. She just wanted me involved as a security measure. Hell, y’all weren’t even supposed to know I was here.

Daisuke: Really?

Hachiro: Yeah, I wanted to keep distance and just scope the area to make sure there weren’t spies from Dread or anyone else that might’ve been suspicious.

Daisuke: Then why’d you come to us?

Hachiro: I couldn’t bear hearing the convo you guys were having. Sure, you probably would’ve gotten in, but those two just sounded like idiots. Little did I know that it was both of your faults.

Natsumi: Hey, are you really gonna blame us for them not knowing who we are?

Hachiro: YES! How the hell could you not tell them who you were or where you’re coming from? Come on now…

[The three arrive at the coffee shop, and Hachiro opens the door. The cashier asks him for the number of seats, and Hachiro holds up three of his fingers, and she quickly escorts them to a table]

Natsumi: So… I assume you’ve got information to share with us?

Daisuke [To Natsumi]: Well, won’t it be information that he wants to share with both us and Lockwood? Right Hachi?

Hachiro: Well, I’ve got some shit that I’d prefer to keep between us.

Daisuke: Oh really?

Natsumi [To Daisuke]: Told ya!

Daisuke [Ignores her]: So, what is it?

Hachiro: It’s info on who the mastermind behind all this is.

Daisuke: Oh…

Natsumi: Wait, wait, where’d Shin get this info from?

Hachiro: They took down the main guy’s former right-hand man?

Daisuke [Slams his hand into the table]: Really?

Hachiro: Calm down, calm down.

Daisuke: That’s huge though, isn’t it?

Hachiro: Well, not when it takes three people, and they barely actually get the guy.

Daisuke: It took three? What the hell?

Natsumi: Which three?

Hachiro: Elec and Drift and it was Yuki finally knocked him down.

Natsumi: Sheesh.

Daisuke: It really took all three of our strongest guys? [Pauses] Are any of them injured though, or are they good?

Hachiro: Ah shit I didn’t ask, but I’d think they’d probably be roughed up a bit at least. Maybe not Yukes though.

Daisuke: So, we’re gonna need this backup then, is what you’re saying?

Hachiro: Well, it’d be a helpful addition to what we already have, that’s for sure.

Daisuke [To Natsumi]: Y’hear that?

Natsumi [Drinking her coffee]: Huh?

Daisuke: These negotiations are gonna have to go well. We’re counting on ya.

Natsumi: Me?

Daisuke [Sarcastically]: No, not you.

Natsumi [Slaps him]: Shut up. Why me?

Daisuke: Uh… you’re clearly our best negotiator, despite how stupid you may have looked in front of those guys back there. Ain’t that the reason Shin sent us here Hachi?

Hachiro: Yeah. We don’t really have room for error Nats. Maybe we can’t get all that we want, but we need some backup at least.

Daisuke [To Natsumi]: Plus, you’re the one who’s been able negotiate deals in the past for us. Remember Melbourne?

Natsumi: Melbourne was like a year ago! You’re basing everything on that?

Daisuke: Well, you were the one who negotiated with that bastard… what was his name again?

Natsumi: Don’t look at me like I’d remember!

Daisuke: Hachiro, you got a clue?

Hachiro: Nah. I remember what happened, but I don’t remember the weasel’s name. We squeezed nearly four times what we could’ve gotten out of him though.

Daisuke [To Natsumi]: All thanks to you!

Natsumi [Pouts]: Well, what can I do? If you guys need me this badly, I’ll do my best.

Daisuke: That’s the spirit!

[Natsumi sips her tea, as Hachiro scrolls through his phone, before he places it down unexpectedly]

Hachiro: Shit I almost forgot, lemme just finish dumping my info on y’all before we have to go meet those guys.

Natsumi [Puts her tea down]: There’s more?

Daisuke: Didn’t you say he was his right-hand man? What else…

Hachiro: The other reason why I said that we shouldn’t be celebrating too early is because this guy’s not the current second-in-command.

Daisuke: Eh?

Hachiro: This guy was the second-in-command, or at least was ‘acting’ as it when shit went down. Over time he’s slowly been pushed farther from that second-in-command seating, but he’s still one of the top dogs with them no doubt.

Daisuke: Just to make sure I’m following correctly; we’re still talking about Dreadknight right?

Hachiro: Yeah, yeah. This guy’s still an elite in the inner circles, but hell, we don’t think he’s second or even third-in-command.

Daisuke: The hell? Really?

Natsumi [Interjects]: Wait, you said he used to be part of the old guard, right?

Hachiro: He was – him and the top dog were the ones who originally started this.

Natsumi: You know who that is or no?

Hachiro: Oh yeah.

Natsumi: Then who is it? We got any info on him?

Hachiro: We’ve got plenty of information.

Natsumi: Huh? Really?

Hachiro: Yeah. [Pauses] Cause this one's the guy Shin’s been chasing all this time.

Natsumi: Wait –

Daisuke [Stands up, surprised, and grabs Hachiro from across the table]: You’re kidding me. There’s no way.

Hachiro: I mean, logically it does make sense. Same guy from all that time ago becoming the head of this empire – it doesn’t really shock me.

Daisuke: Well yeah, but still, that’s huge.

Natsumi: Uh –

Hachiro: He’s strong as hell though.

Daisuke: Oh definitely, and he’s probably only gotten stronger from then.

Hachiro: Yeah. Shit though, hearing that it took three people to take down this other guy made me nervous, especially knowing this.

Natsumi: Uh guys –

Daisuke: Fuck. We really need that backup then, eh?

Hachiro: Oh, you bet. This guy’s a cunning bastard, we can’t leave anything unturned.

Daisuke: Nats should be good for that though.

Hachiro: Oh yeah, that’s fine – right Nats?

Natsumi [Slams the table]: SHUT UP! WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

Daisuke: Eh? You didn’t clue in?

Hachiro: Wait Nats, you don’t know? The guy Shin’s been searching for?

Natsumi: There’s been like a billion people that he’s been searching for! How am I supposed to know which one we’re talking about?

Hachiro: The main one that he’s been tracking since he founded our organization!

Natsumi [Slowly clues on]: Ohhhhh… wait… ohhhhh! Katarov? Really?

Hachiro [Signals to keep her voice down]: Yeah, yeah. He’s the bastard that’s the ringleader of all this shit.

Natsumi: Wow, who knew life came full circle?

Daisuke: Frankly it doesn’t, but this is a chance for Shin to kill this bastard once and for all. Who would’ve thought it’d happen through a human trafficking scandal after all?

Natsumi: They must’ve really wanted that girl then eh?

Daisuke: She’s probably better looking than you, I’ll tell ya that much. [Laughs]

Natsumi [Glares at him]: That’s not funny.

Daisuke: It was funny in my head.

Natsumi: You’re not funny.

Daisuke: I am pretty funny, aren’t I Hachi?

Hachiro: Don’t look to me for help. You’re on your own for this one pal.

Daisuke: Shit.

Natsumi [To Daisuke]: Apology?

Daisuke: Why do I have to apologize? [Looks to Hachiro] Hachi help me man!

Hachiro [Ignores them and continues talking]: Anyway, anyway. Just to let y’all know, there’s two other guys – the second and thirds in command – that y’all should know about.

Daisuke: Names?

Hachiro: Vlar and Fetistof.

Daisuke: Russians?

Hachiro: I’d guess, especially the second guy.

Daisuke: How strong?

Hachiro: Probably strong as hell if they displaced this guy, right?

Natsumi: That’s true.

Daisuke: You got any info though? Or nothing?

Hachiro: Vlar’s newer apparently. He’s the assassin and apparently is pretty damn skilled with it.

Natsumi: You know where he is?

Hachiro: If I had info on the #3 in their group, who’s a damn assassin, which makes it even harder to track him, I’d probably be the most wanted man in Europe, no?

Natsumi: Fair point.

Daisuke: What about the other guy? Fetistof?

Hachiro: He’s a part of the older guard from what it looks like, climbed up the ranks a bit though.

Daisuke: Assassin too?

Hachiro: Nah. Probably just another tough as nails bastard like the other guy was.

Daisuke: Shit. Well, we’ll leave the fighting up to Yuki and them, eh?

Hachiro: Yup.

[Hachiro looks down at his watch, which clocks at 10:52 a.m.]

Hachiro: Shit, shit, we should probably get going. Leave the money and a tip for the waitress, alright? We gotta get moving.

Natsumi: What’s the time?

Hachiro: We got 8 minutes…

Natsumi: Okay, okay. Dais, cover the bill!

Daisuke: Okay, I got it, head on out then!

Natsumi [Her and Hachiro push open the door]: Okay, we’ll see ya there!