Yuki stared for a moment at the three punks that were looking for a fight with him. He looked over at Saki, catching the look in her eye as she stood with Chiharu watching the boys. ‘I thought I was through with those days…’
Chiharu didn’t leave her stance, not willing to let Saki calm her down. “You know these boys?”
“Not so much,” Saki said with some reluctance in her voice. She had hoped to get out of the current situation, but it seemed that fate had other plans. ‘This is something I need to take care of…’ She walked around in front of Chiharu, putting herself between the boys and her. “I’ll deal with them.”
Chiharu had no intention of letting someone take away a fight from her and grabbed Saki’s wrist. “Are they strong?” The look in her eye was the same that had been there before. It was the eyes of someone eager for a fight and new challenges.
“Weaklings huh?” Chiharu's look suddenly faded away in an instant like she had just lost her favorite toy. The deflated expression in her eyes made her sink back, turning almost to a pout. “Well if that’s the case I don’t care. I only want strong opponents.” She turned away, throwing her hand back at the boys, dismissing them and giving them to Saki to deal with.
Chapter 41 – Trouble in Different Packages
The punks took that about how one would expect and moved up several steps glaring at the back of her head. The boy on the right was the first to pipe up in disgust for her tone. “What cha’ say, girlie?”
Saki narrowed her eyes not liking the direction that things were going. She tried to move a little to get in the way of Chiharu, but that wasn't enough to stop her.
Still standing away, Chiharu mouthed off to them uncaring of their hurt egos. “You deaf as well as weak? Said you aren’t worth my time!”
Those words were the last straw for the boys as they charged past Saki, knocking her away. They stood over the tiny Chiharu glaring down at her. She turned around and leaned in glaring back at them, returning the attitude. The four of them growled and exchanged more insults between each other.
Saki pulled herself up off the ground, a little embarrassed by the scene that was developing. ‘So much for keeping her out of it… Doesn’t have tact…’ She began to walk over to the four planning to take care of the problem herself, but that quickly seemed impossible.
“Say that again shorty!”
“I’m not short! You ugly sack of bricks!”
“Ugly?! I’m gonna!” The boy on the left went to grab Chiharu by the hair trying, having lost any patience he might have had before. However, Chiharu didn’t let the kid have a chance as she slapped his hand away. The boy turned defensive and threw a punch at her, but Chiharu was too fast for them. She ducked out of the way and leapt into the air after he finished spinning around. Her foot and shin dug into the necks and faces of the three boys in sequence. They dropped to the ground just after she landed. She then walked off.
Saki pressed her hand to her face seeing how little Chiharu held back against them. Even Saki knew how to restrain her strength against someone (are we sure about that?). Yet she just let them have the full taste. It knocked them out almost immediately and left them a little bloodied in the grass. ‘Great… Well hopefully they won’t be looking for Yuki any time soon…’
As everything started calming down finally, Saki turned back to look at Yuki to make sure that everything was fine. However, they were interrupted by a storm of men in black suits and sunglasses covering the entrance and exit. They seemed to come out of everywhere restraining Saki, Yuki and the strange boy’s arms. The looks in their features, the clothes and the organization made it clear they were serious.
Yuki didn’t try to fight the two men holding him very much, stretching at his arms trying to find the missing Chiharu. “Saki, can you see Chiharu anywhere?”
“No! I can’t see her!”
“What did you do with Chiharu?” Yuki started to strain at his kidnappers. He tried to get his arm freed from their grasps, but they had leverage against him as well as strength that he didn't have. These were trained adults and not amateurs like the school punks he was used to seeing (though there are the assassins too). “What did you do with her?”
A lone man, from the exit of the park, entered with a path being made for him. He walked towards Yuki with the same look as all of the other men. The only difference was the age with wrinkles across his face and his hair was half graying and tied back in a ponytail. “Come quietly and we won’t have to get rough with you,” the mature man said in a clear voice that cut down Yuki’s struggling.
Yuki turned to look over at the man, getting the feeling that he was in charge by the way the others acted. “Just tell me what you did with her!” He had stared down death too many times in the last two weeks that an old man with a rough voice wasn't going to scare him at this point.
The man cracked a smirk from his tired lips, finding the glare from Yuki to be interesting to him. “You’ve got a look in your eye. I like that look, however the girl…is another matter. Everything will be explained in time.”
“You won’t hurt her?”
Yuki couldn't see his eyes, but the tone of the words and the impression that he got from the man told him that he could believe him. He leaned back letting his captors be eased up from his struggling. “Fine, but one thing.”
“Could you grab my manga?”
“Yuki?!” Saki shouted at him in surprise and shock. She couldn't believe that he would say that in front of these people. “How can you care more about those books than your life?!”
“I haven’t read them yet! Well most of them anyway…” The old man jerked his head silently to signal for the three students to be taken away. Yuki had his head turned trying to look at his manga that sat there lying on the grass still. However, the men were quite insistent on him moving, taking the three of them out to the side street next to the park.
On the street were several parked black luxury cars looking like something the government or someone a lot more important than a bunch of students would need. The two men at the doors of the car opened both car doors allowing them to be tossed (man handled in the case of the large student) into the car.
Saki landed on Yuki, who was left on the floor of the car. The car had enough room to move around hunched over and gave them plenty of places to sit. It looked like there were places for glasses and bottles, but it was empty. As Saki got up from Yuki, she looked about the car feeling like they had gotten themselves into something terrible. She couldn't even see the driver through the solid panel that blocked him from their view. “What’s going on now? What have we gotten ourselves into?”
Yuki gave Saki a momentary shrug of his shoulders as they took a seat feeling the car moving. He sat pensive with his hand to face thinking to himself. “They must be yakuza!”
“How did you come to that answer? And why do you look happy when you say that?”
“What?! I’m not happy about this…” Saki stared at him further, not believing what he was saying. He pulled away from Saki. However, he coughed into his hand and tried to turn the subject. “Well they’re probably yakuza. The black suits and organization, the cars and secrecy. Who else do you think it could be?”
Saki’s narrow eyes stared at Yuki still not buying into what he was saying, but she didn't have any better ideas. ‘He’s just enjoying this because he thinks yakuza are cool from his manga…’ She crossed her arms together still needing some convincing. “I don’t know, maybe some private company or military research firm.”
“And they’re working on robots sanctioned by the government and we were caught up in some testing grounds!”
A sigh escaped Saki’s mouth listening to Yuki going on. ‘I’m not sure if he is mocking me or getting excited…’ She decided that it would be best to keep her mouth shut for the rest of the trip. They were already in enough trouble that they didn't understand. She didn't need Yuki making matters even worse for them.
The car ride remained mostly calm for the passengers. Yuki was the only vocal one as he infrequently moaned about his missing manga and hoped that they were not stolen. When the car came to its final stop the locks on the doors popped and the doors were opened. The men looked into the car staring at them giving off intimidating looks.
Yuki exited first, followed by Saki and last by the still unknown male student. They all took a moment to take in the view from outside the car, which had tinted glass. Yuki, naturally, was the first to make a response. “Woah, it's huge! This must really be a yakuza’s base. It’s all traditional looking!”
“Yuki!” Saki said, placing her elbow into his side to shut him up quickly before he made a mistake. She gave a weak embarrassed smile trying to cover up Yuki’s loose lips. The tension from the men in suits felt heavy, almost oppressive.
“What you do that for?”
In spite of Yuki’s comments though, he was correct about the appearance. It was a traditional looking estate that had a very old fashioned Japanese presence. There was a tall wall that surrounded the grounds along with several houses neighboring the large main house. A very large open grounds surrounded it all with thick trees in the back and garden in the front. All of the technology and men in suits made them stand out in a place that suggested the common clothing attire to be a kimono.
The men escorted them into the main house with Saki keeping Yuki’s comments to a minimum. They were left in an empty lightly furnished room with a guard posted at the door. There was only a short table to sit at with a window looking out into the grounds.
“Pretty cool place huh?”
Saki didn’t hold the same opinion as Yuki, getting an unsettled sense of dread. She didn't know what was going on or why they were taken to some place out at the edge of the town. “Cool or not, it still doesn’t explain why we’re here.”
The door opened to the room turning them both. However, all they found was another man in a suit that carried all of Yuki’s manga. Yuki eagerly took it from the man with a polite bow. He rushed off the table with his treasure. Saki tried to start a conversation, but just as her mouth opened the door slid close again. She looked back at Yuki, disappointed by his relaxed nature.
“See! They can’t be so bad. They brought my manga and didn’t even damage it!” Yuki was already poring through a book, starting to lose track of what was around him.
Saki couldn't decide which made her more upset, that he cared more about the manga or didn’t worry about the kidnapping. She marched over to the table bending over to stare down at Yuki casting her shadow over his pages. “How can you read at a time like this?”
“I need something to do.”
“But you don’t know why we’re here!”
“We’ll find out soon enough.”
Saki's shoulders fell, turning into a semi-circle becoming exhausted by Yuki's nonchalant attitude. “But…”
“Here, just sit down and read something. I’ve got shojo!”
A vein popped up on Saki’s forehead as she became insulted by Yuki’s attempt to give her something. “I don’t want any of your crap! What sort of girl do you think I am?!”
Unknown to the two of them the door slid open to the room and someone entered the room. After being ignored for long enough a voice piped up from behind them. “Why are you wasting time on that weakling boy?”
Saki paused in her glaring at Yuki just noticing someone in the room. Yuki’s frazzled appearance was quick to change as he looked around Saki to see Chiharu standing in the room. “Hey! Chiharu! You’re safe!”
“Of course I am.”
Yuki jumped up in front of Chiharu showing his relief and excitement to see her. Chiharu’s disdain for the attention and feeling of being trying like a child made a vein pop up on her forehead. She disappeared from Yuki’s sight, appearing behind him twisting his arm making him fall to the tatami mat in pain. “H-Hey?! What I’d do?!”
“Don’t treat me as though you’re familiar with me.”
“What?!” She twisted his arm further to exercise her point, making yelp in pain. “Alright!”
“And don’t treat me like a child.”
“B-But—Alright! You’re not a child!”
Saki stood up from the mat having recovered from the surprise of seeing Chiharu. She still had a number of questions and she hoped that Chiharu had few answers. “What are you doing here? What’s going on with us?”
Chiharu let Yuki go kicking him to the mat and turned to Saki. She looked up at the older girl feeling a little anger in her stomach, but also begrudging respect. “I’ve been ordered to bring you before the head of the house.”
“What?!” Saki and Yuki said in surprise. Saki looked over at the door, seeing it open with the men in suits for escort.
Yuki pulled himself up from the mat holding his wrist. ‘Head of the house? The head of a Yakuza group. Sounds like fun!’ He walked toward the door along with the male student.
Chiharu waited on Saki as she took a moment longer. ‘Why are we seeing the head of the house? And why is Chiharu doing this? What’s going on?’ Saki could feel the insistence of Chiharu’s look. She reluctantly agreed in silence and joined the others.
The walk through the inner halls of the house made Yuki glow with excitement. Saki managed to keep him quiet, but they were soon brought into a large central room with much of the room partitioned off by bamboo blinds that were rolled down. It presented the room as a more narrow passage. The light held dim in the room from the candles and lanterns about the space.
At the end of the room, seated on a raised section of the floor, in a dark brown casual kimono, was an elderly man. His eyes looked closed, but seemed to be aware of everything. “Welcome guests to the Chinen Estate. I want to thank you for taking care of my granddaughter as well as to apologize for her behavior.” The old man moved his hand to show that he was referring to Chiharu, who stood next to him looking embarrassed and annoyed.
Saki and Yuki’s faces both widened in shock at hearing that Chiharu was a part of the family. Neither of them knew what to say. They simply stood in shock letting the moment pass through.
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