Volume 2 Chapter 5
Prisoner of the Golden eagle
Shinjuku Central Park and the former boss
There is an artificial waterfall called Niagara in the Shinjuku Central Park. I’ve always been thinking it’s an embarrassing name, but well, it was surely built with momentum of the current times when such feelings doesn’t exist.
I was stunned seeing people who have been fishing there. They were a party of two, wrapped in bandages.
“Are you alright?” – I called spontaneously. I recognize them. I saw those two fishing on the day of the raid to obtain weapons.
“What the fuck you want? It’s not a spectacle.” – said the younger one, a skinhead in leather coat, scowling at me.
“Cut it out.” – said the older man with the aloha shirt, scratching the bottom of the bandage.
Damn it. It reminded me that others don’t have such good memory like me.
“Oh, excuse me. Are they biting?” – I said. The older one might have recalled me, as he smiled bitterly and said:
“You see it yourself, right?”
Indeed, there’s no way to be able catch something in the park’s artificial waterfall.
“Weren’t you working in Kawasaki?”
“I am on vacation for the last few days. Because of that accident, you know.” – when I said that, the older man seemed to lose interest in me and swung the fishing line.
“Oh, excuse me for interrupting.”
I decided to walk. Djibril is frowning alternately at me and the man. Suddenly the older man called me.
“What is it?”
“If you’re looking for a love hotel, go to Kabukicho. This place is not good for such things. At this hour there’s limited-time sale too. It’s better to hurry. Enlightenment through empathy. The empathy will bring enlightenment. Right?”
“… I don’t know what you are talking about, but thank you.”
“If you are not aiming at mating, you can’t do what you do.”
I walked toward the area called Fujimidai, smiling bitterly. Djibril follows me immediately.
“I wouldn’t go that far.” – I said and wondered if those two were involved in battle. If they were it’s my fault. I put effort to minimize damage among civilians, but I greatly regret it wasn’t enough.
“I probably did a wrong thing.” – I murmured and Djibril nodded.
“They looked like a ruffian and militia though.”
“You mustn’t judge people by appearance.”
I said it in a haughty manner. Djibril reluctantly nodded and said that she thought like that by the way of how they were holding guns.
I looked surprised at Djibril. Even with the headgear I could see a smile on her face. How did she got that?
“It didn’t seem to me like they had a gun. How did you know it?”
“It’s a nice feeling, thinking that sometimes even a human can have a better eye than golden eagle.”
“That’s what I told you, I’m a human. So, how did you?”
Djibril looks proud. Grasping my sleeve she stretched herself and confessed everything into my ear:
“Spots when you can hold a pistol are limited and shoulders of a person who has been using military guns for many years are lowered.”
“I see. That’s an important thing you’ve told me. I have to change the job before everyone’s shoulders deteriorate.”
Djibril had an expression like she was saying: “And you again about that”, but her good mood didn’t seem to change. She spoke with a little indifferent expression:
“There are also people like that in this country, aren’t they.”
“Yeah, but there’s not much of them though.” – I said measuring my words. We went up the stairs.
Fujimidai is in a high place. It seems we have to hurry a bit. There’s no sakura already, but there are other blooming flowers. Djibril stops. She takes a breath looking at the flowers. I see. Those children must have preferred beautiful flowers instead of amusement parks – I thought.
“Watch the flowers” – I said. “I will go talk with my former boss.”
I walk slowly. From what I saw from his back it felt like his hair was slightly whiter than I remembered. The rugged leather jacket didn’t look so fitting on him now.
He was sitting on the bench in Shinjuku Central Park.
“So you’ve come? I always knew that it will be like this someday.” – Lanson said quietly and deeply emotive, without looking at me.
“It has been a long time.”
I approached from behind and bowed. Lanson looks like he’s smiling. Lanson – my superior from the time when I worked in a private military company.
“The elf was saying you’re dead, but I didn’t believe it.”
“It was luck.”
“I don’t think so.”
“It’s true.” – I said and sat beside.
Lanson is watching the multicolored flowers, without looking at me. In the corner of my eye I saw like Djibril was nervously touching and admiring flowers.
“I didn’t expect that you will be in Tokyo.”
“To think that a Japanese will be my savior.” – Lanson said quietly.
I looked to my side at him. It appears he was talking about me.
“Don’t worry. Oh, right. Forgive me for the late report. Every soldier who was with me that time lives. Not even a single one died.”
“You didn’t just save us, but also allies among enemy side, huh? Well done.”
“To be praised by you feels like tickling.”
“Appointment was for tomorrow, but I expected that you will come today.”
“You taught me that. Things you can do today should be done today.” – after Lanson suddenly changed the subject I answered him and he ironically laughed.
“Is that so? Now when I think about it, it looks like a fantasy story.”
“It seems like fantasy. A modern legend – you can say. To think I was teaching you something.”
I look at Lanson’s face from the profile. I want to know what he is talking about. Smiling bitterly I slowly said in different words:
“What are you talking about? It’s not like you.”
Lanson looks at me. The glint in his eye hasn’t gone yet.
“It’s your fault, children-user. Or should I say golden eagle?”
“I don’t care.” – I said, smiling bitterly. I thought he was teasing me.
“So I’ll call you golden eagle then. It’s a strong name. Why that golden eagle returned to the human side?”
“To ask for guidance. And to get the illuminator.” – hearing that Lanson slowly nodded.
“I’ll make the elf deliver your Excalibur. And instructions, huh? With pleasure. If there’s still something I can teach you.”
Aw shucks – I thought. I felt like Lanson got completely old and weak.
I think about what to say. I have to answer him something more concrete.
“It’s not a big thing. So far I’ve been working like mad. I’ve got slightly better results and reached a high spot, but I think it’s thanks to hard work. However I’ve noticed that mere hard work won’t do from now on.”
“And?” – said Lanson slowly. I looked again at him and saw, that he’s been watching flowers and Djibril. I think about what to say.
“I wonder what shall I do.”
“Golden eagle forgot how to fly among humans?”
“I’m a human!”
“No. You’re golden eagle, not a human. Your very existence is right now a fantasy.”
While I keep silent wondering if he’s okay, Lanson speaks:
“Before in Central Asia, I was going to die once. That time I was saved. From all of the people, the one who saved me was my subordinate, who was supposed to be a prisoner in the first place. From away, tens of kilometers away and yet. He easily overcame distance and circumstances.”
“I just had a radio at hand. So what?”
“That’s the fantasy! We saw it. That day reality was devoured by fantasy. Maybe corrosion of reality made by fantasy gave her strength. Shaking in the corner of the room, the elf girl suddenly came back to life and took the lead, taking us from there.” – Lanson was recounting the story calmly with his sunken eyes.
“It’s fantasy! I saw a single man whose strikes have shaken the wall between reality and fantasy. Fists of one man summoned the fantasy. The world’s wall of ordinary life. It’s shaking before the fists of one man. The world creaks by single strike of just one man, who’s hitting with all his might.”
“Stop it, please. I’m an insignificant man.” – I said getting more and more irritated. I thought that’s a creepy way of praising. Lanson spoke like he didn’t know what’s on my mind:
“You just want be like that, don’t you?”
“For argument’s sake let’s say I do, and what?”
“It’s simple. Stop pretending to be a man and just fly like golden eagle is supposed to. Who said you have to concern yourself with human affairs?”
I pondered over what Lanson has told me. He wants to say it in a roundabout way, but in short he probably means to do the same good job as always, when it was going fine.
It’s impossible – I thought instantly. I can’t act as I was up until now. That’s because I know that tactical units I operate are Omar, Ivan, Gini and Djibril. There’s no way I will be able command without worries anymore.
“…I love humans.” – I said faintly.
Lanson ignored me and just laughed scornfully, like he already knew about that.
“Nevertheless behaving like a human is not the way golden eagle should show his love, right?” – Lanson quietly continues, like he wants to persuade me:
“I can just tell you this: you may be able to summon even greater fantasy. You have the power to shake the reality. I don’t know what is going to happen thereafter.”
“If this fantasy makes a good impact on children, then it’s fine.”
“I said I don’t know how it will end up.”
“What to do if you don’t know what is going to happen?”
“Fantasy is a possibility that lies ahead of reality. There are good fantasies and bad ones.”
“So call the good one?”
“I don’t k…”
I interrupted Lanson, rising up from the bench. I can’t stand this.
“No, okay. Enough. I was worrying what should I do. I was thinking about it all the time. I was sure that I’ll find the answer if I ask, since you have much higher position than me and achieved success.”
I looked at Lanson, thinking it’s the last time I look at him.
“But it’s okay now. I’ll come up with something for myself.”
For some reason Lanson smiled. He looked pleased.
“I see. It’s fine then. Golden eagle is golden eagle, not a man after all.”
“I’m a human and there’s no fantasy. But I’ll think for myself.”
I turned away and walked. I said to Djibril let’s go and left.
I didn’t want to admit it, but seeing the superior I still respected falling into some strange religion was disappointing. I thought that in that case it was better not to come.
That’s when the first explosion occurred.
Tragedy in the park
Explosions were loud and consecutive. I sensed that Djibril covers me and with resent pushed her down in the opposite direction, protecting her.
Impact hit our backs like in TV dramas. It wasn’t a shock wave, but debris. I automatically opened my mouth in shock. I couldn’t even make a groan. I can’t open my eyes.
I don’t know how much time has passed. I came to my senses and lifted my head. I had gritty sand in my mouth, since I haven’t shut it. I look down at Djibril. She looked like she was drifting on faint scent of flowers, keeping her eyes tightly closed and waiting for something.
“Are you alright, Djibril?” – when I said it she finally opened her eyes. She got up confused and straightened her clothes. Her headgear dropped, showing disheveled hair”
“I’m alright. I guess.”
Normally Djibril would probably start talking and give me a preaching about how important is my body. Without sparing time for her to preach me I took her hand right away.
“You can stand, right? Let’s hurry.”
Djibril stretched herself and wiped my face with her headgear. I smiled bitterly and said that my suit was new.
“Are they attacking us?”
“Probably. And you have disheveled hair.” – when I said that Djibril bashfully smoothed down her hair with her hand. Without time to smile I look around.
Fujimidai was in a horrible condition after explosions. Broken trees, blown away flowers, burning grass smelling strange. Quite a lot of people fell, some of them looked like they will never move again. We could go across the walkway next to the Tocho, but bridge leading there was ruined.
Cars which were passing below were stuck in traffic after serial collisions and were making loud sounds from klaxons.
I glanced at the surroundings and remembered about Lanson, so I rushed back to the bench where he was sitting. I thought it was the last time I’ll ever see his face, but it didn’t take long and I see him again. Look at me, I’m not golden eagle – saying in my head, I run up to the bench.
As a soldier with long military service, he curled under the bench and it seems he endured explosions. It’s something I learned in this business. A good professional behaves the same way like cowards.
“Are you alright?”
“That’s my line.”
“We have to get out of here.”
“Bridge has fallen. The opposite side is burning. There’s no way but to go toward Niagara.”
I thought for a second about the things Lanson pointed out.
“No. We can’t go there.”
“It’s probably a trap.” – saying that I saw the flames.
Even if explosive materials explode and there is damage made by debris, there is not so much flames. I assumed that for making them there have must been taken some special military measure. It may seem too careful from my side, but I didn’t like the perspective of being sniped from high ground.
Lanson wanted to say something, but he dropped his shoulders.
“If golden eagle says so, then it’s certain. If you, who can go higher than anyone else say that.”
I ignored his words and scanned the area. I’ve already decided I’ll ignore it and think for myself from now on.
I look for the enemy. There’s not a single thing that looks like enemy. They took this place in such a hard way, yet there is no soldier in sight. That’s why it came to my mind that this military action is probably the doing of a minimal number of smart and finesse soldiers.
Those who survived are running toward plaza near Niagara. I want to stop them, but I don’t have nothing of so called persuasiveness.
“So what shall we do then?” – said Djibril, coming closer to me. Seems like she decided not to wear the dirty headgear. I smiled. Well, I guess Lanson is someone who she can show that cute face.
“Now there is a stir at Niagara. It’s best to prevent somehow the sniping.”
“I… don’t have a weapon.” – said Djibril, like she was apologizing. I smiled. I want to stroke her head. Couldn’t restrain myself and stroke her a bit. Djibril fixes her eyes on me, waiting for my word. So I speak:
“There must be something to do. Besides my plan is to someday make you all live without weapons. Let’s have a rehearsal of it.”
Djibril still looks at me and makes a sad face. I smile again, pretending there’s time for it. Still I haven’t came up with a solution, but Djibril haven’t asked about it, she said something else:
“And then you will fly off somewhere?”
“Maybe, but I won’t let you say that the golden eagle didn’t love forests and woods where his wings were resting.”
All those people keep call me a bird, it’s annoying – I thought and ended the conversation. Looking down with one eye at Niagara and withering flames, I slowly started to move.
Words I’ve used may be cool, but I couldn’t look more stupid with a frightened face and dirty suit from the soil. I want to do something cooler than words, but I feel that will end with me dead fast.
I peeked, thinking that I desperately need a bulletproof headgear.
Situation was worse than I expected. At the place I looked at a random shooting spree took place. I made a grimace. Three men wearing white coats with guns. Accurate shooting. Assault rifles? People trying to escape are being shoot from behind, treading on ones that already died, they fall down like a domino.
Can it be called a military operation? – I thought. As someone involved in military or maybe bearing in mind my own life I spasmodically wanted to rage that this kind of thing isn’t a military operation, but even if I justify it, that won’t help people now. So I tried using my eyes and mind to think if there is anything I can do.
Eyes are desperately looking for a clue. Jumbled screams and bellows of people are disturbing calm thinking. I cut myself out from the surroundings and look for a hint, which can even not exist.
In the past a village disappeared because of my instructions.
At that time, soldiers under my command climbed to the high ground and shot to death people, who were trying to escape.
The current situation is a time to start over – I thought. Watching from the high grounds are not soldiers, but me. Starting over, starting over, huh? I smile bitterly. It’s not starting over. Dead villagers remain dead. But that’s because I can’t ignore it now.
From what I see, there are no resources to improve the situation. No weapon. What to do without a weapon? Dispatch soldiers. As a conclusion so obvious for the OO I called Omar.
“Arata, what’s up?”
Omar’s composed voice. It relaxed me a little.
“Is there Ms. Ito around? A bus guide with black hair. Now she probably looks different, though. Or an elegant old woman will also do.”
“I can find neither.”
“It’s an emergency.”
Receiving a call. I switch phones.
“Yes. I understand the situation.”
“I’m glad you bugged my phones. Can’t you transport a sniper into my position right away? If we don’t hurry many civilians will die.”
“That’s out of my jurisdiction, so I can’t give orders. Still I can give a request.”
“Do it at once.”
I look behind. Flames are not going down, but burn more and more.
“However right now there are flames everywhere at my position, preventing any sniping. Before you come here first you have to get through the fire.”
“So I have to cooperate with a fire brigade. That’s also out of my jurisdiction, so I think it will take time.”
“Please hurry. Lives you have to protect are in danger.” – I said.
“Because I speak with a calm voice, don’t think I have no emotions.” – retorted quietly Ms. Ito. At the end her words shiver, which also cooled me down a bit. I see now. Well, that’s true.
“No. Forgive me for getting angry. I’m very grateful for cooperation. I’m going to hurry, so excuse me.”
Call cuts off. I make a sour face. I got the feeling it’s again the matter of jurisdiction. Ms. Ito must have it hard too, but people in Japan are the same.
Situation below indicates that chaos is ending. Those who had luck have escaped, but there are still over two hundred people restrained by the enemy.
Voice is coming from the megaphone. While it says: “We raised to action to follow righteous Buddhist teachings.”, I’ve heard “don’t move”. Woman, who looked like an OL was starting to escape, but she has been shot from behind. There are screams. I look with one eye at the clock. Even if it takes the sniper half an hour to arrive, it’s going to be a rough 30 minutes. I thought that I should have called Ms. Ito earlier, but sending one or two snipers at this time here would have been desperate. I comforted myself that operation requires at least minimum of information.
Enemy is chanting the name of the guru and preaches with unpleasant voice something about Buddhist teachings.
I recall that name. It was the guru we were going to escort.
Enemy undress women and make them stand before him as a shield, continuing the sermon.
By just looking at the scene I have atrocious urge to kill, but at the other hand I was curious what he’s thinking and what’s his objective. Assuming it’s a mere criminal act, the enemy is playing an intelligent game. In that case is this also a part of military operation? Marginal situation. I think about strategy.
I look at the wristwatch. Five minutes has passed. Five more. It seems the enemy is going to barricade himself, but in the meantime he’s shooting curious onlookers. I can’t read any purpose in his action. I need a weapon.
Loud voice is getting through the burning flames. I look behind. Before I noticed, Djibril was already staring there with as a surprised face as me.
There was a Range Rover, flashily running up the hill road through the flames. Japanese police is bold – I thought, but the vehicle has stopped halfway. I saw the blond elf with teary eyes jumping from the inside and running toward me. I’m shocked. My senses are shocked, but the body ran to her. I grab her hand and draw her.
“What are you doing?”
“Lanson said to wait, so I waited. But the fire and everything. I thought you might be here, so…” – said Sophie with runny eyes. “You idiot” – I said to her. Tips of her hair are scorched and frizzled. Her face and body dirty no less than me.
“So… I went to save you.” – says Sofia, restraining her tears. It’s okay, just don’t cry, don’t cry – I said. I look at Djibril.
“Djibril, I leave her to you.”
Before she managed to refuse, I gave her a look that I don’t want to increase uncertain factors any more. Djibril looked angry for a moment, but then she pulled Sophie’s arm and said to go with her to pull her away from me.
“Wait… wait. I’ll fight too.” – said suddenly Sophie. I looked at Lanson. He shook his head in denial to not blame him. I opened my mouth:
“No. It goes without saying.”
“I brought weapons.”
“Take them out at once.” – In a second I changed my opinion and said heartily. Necessity has no law.
“Inside the car.”
When I looked I saw that Djibril was already running through the flames.
“I’ll ask just in case. There’s no illuminator inside by chance?”
“But it is.”
I looked dumbfounded at the burning car. My Excalibur.
Djibril rolled the headgear around her hands and opened the door, carrying baggage from the inside. I take my jacket and put out a small fire, which was spreading. I swore that I will buy one more before leaving the country.
“Now I’m going.”
“It’s too late.” – said Djibril. Great fire took the car and it’s surroundings.
“Well, I’ll prepare that illuminator and information terminal.” – said Lanson in a pitying tone.
Accepting the apology I looked at the weapons Djibril brought. Crossbows and batons. So that’s the extent of legal weapons. I was utterly disappointed. It’s impossible to fight with this against the opponent with assault rifles. Situation hasn’t changed for a better at all.
Bow and elf
I look down at the crossbows which Djibril put effort to bring. Only two. After all fighting with two crossbows is unreasonable. That’s what I felt, however since there’s no other weapon I thought for a bit.
“Impossible after all… I’m sorry.” – said Djibril. She was discouraged as well. I pat her head.
“No, you did great.”
I continued without saying anything to Sophie, who was worrying about her burnt hair.
“We have weapons. Problem is how to use our number advantage to compensate for differences in accuracy, firing speed and range.”
“You don’t say that all those things aren’t enough?”
“War is not so simple. Having edge with one or two units is often sufficient. The important thing is how you make use of them.”
While comforting Djibril I put together my thoughts. Sounds of gunshot haven’t stopped. I have to hurry.”
“If we could at least have an edge in accuracy that might work out though.”
Sophie looked up at me.
“How much specifically?”
“High-angle fire at a distance of 100m, just to have a certain hit at the silhouette.”
I stare at Sophie after what she’s said. Not only me, Djibril is staring with me.
“That’s true.” – said unexpectedly Lanson.
“Greenwood has been practicing crossbow shooting since she came to Japan.”
“I wanted to be like elves.”
Jaw-dropping, completely futile and preposterous effort, but at the other hand I was a bit relieved that Sophie hasn’t changed inside. I was imagining what would I do if she had changed too much.
“I see. It’s a relief that you’re yourself.”
“I was thinking how to take responsibility. I want you to follow me. Would you take a look if you can shoot from there?”
I took Sophie to Niagara waterfall and nervously looked down.
“From here you will lower your head and shoot. There’s cover here, but enemy doesn’t have one. You can fire from high-angle, while the opposite side can’t because of structural nature of his weapon, so logically this spot gives us a clean shot.”
“…As always, great operating.” – said Sophie, looking at me. When I looked back, she joyfully smiled.
“If we can’t keep the hit accuracy this strategy won’t work. That’s what has been troubling me. Problem is that we need a mirror in order to shoot from hiding.” – I said.
Djibril took out in haste a brand new mirror from her bosom. She purchased it at Ameya-Yokocho. It was a hand-mirror.
“Thanks. I’ll buy you a new one next time.”
“It’s, it’s okay. I’m… an adult after all. – said Djibril all of a sudden. Maybe she express like that her nervousness before battle.
“I’m waiting too. For a compact, though. Be sure to buy a new one, Arata.” – Sophie blurted out something with a screw loose. But well… that’s what she always does. Only time when she acted strange was when she cried. Sophie, you have it going on – I think. So in the end we’re going to combine two mirrors and use them as a periscope. I prepared the sniping position.
“You can miss, but just don’t hit hostages. If the enemy use them as a shield, halt fire and change position.”
“Djibril. Take a baton and wait for orders near the stairway. I’ll give instructions if the enemy comes there. There’s possibility that he will climb there to strike back.
“I got it.”
“I shall go too.” – said Lanson as well. He flourishes his telescopic baton.
“I can’t beat you in judgment, but physically I’m still better.” – Lanson said and walked a bit with Djibril. They climbed the steep staircase and hid at both sides, taking standby positions. I take a deep breath. I look at the improvised periscope next to Sophie.
“When you’re ready initiate the sighting shot.”
Sophie connected a hose to the crossbow and started to draw a bow with the force of gas.
Construction was the same as a rapid-fire model I saw in the store in Ikebukuro, but it looked much more powerful.
“I thought you pull it with a cog-wheel.”
“It’s the type of equipment in our company. Don’t touch the string. It will easily cut off your thumb.”
Apparently the strings in crossbows used for sale on Japanese market are strengthened to the limits.
Nodding, I looked at Sophie’s profile. Aiming skillfully, she spoke:
“You know, Arata.”
“What is it?”
“I’m happy we’ve met again.”
While I was wondering if my face turned red, Sophie pulled the trigger. Even from here it could be seen how 100 meters away the surface has shaken by the thrusting of the fired metal bolt. While enemy didn’t know what’s happening, Sophie took correction to the point of impact and released the next projectile.
The arrow pierced the head of one of the enemies. Screams and absolute chaos. Hostages are trying to escape together. The enemy seemed to hesitate on what to do: secure hostages, hide or hit back. Eventually that hesitation gave us a final chance. Puzzled hostages were escaping, so the enemy couldn’t use them as a shield anymore.
Taking the opportunity Sophie fired three arrows during this interval. The second enemy’s chest has been pierced, but he didn’t die instantly, trying to draw out the arrow. Fourth arrow hit the chest again and the second one also stopped moving. One left.
The one who is left is coming here shooting. Bullets impact nearby, but they just scrape off the stone wall. Enemy approached stairs and dashed up. Scattered people were running in zigzag at the plaza before Niagara waterfall.
When enemy finished climbing stairs it was his end. Djibril accurately hit enemy’s spinal cord on the back of his neck and Lanson grabbed his weapon and shoot it in the air. He hanged over on enemy and secured joints of his arms. I called Ms. Ito to arrange remedial measures.
In the end all was accomplished by Lanson and Sophie, so me and Djibril retreated.
Everything went on Lanson’s company record. Investigation also concluded it was generally positive.
I don’t care about achievements or thank you letters. I just felt quite a relief that we were able to make off without being shackled.
Avoiding public notice I walk from Shinjuku Station. My appearance is a bit conspicuous, but it cannot be helped in this case.
I notice that Djibril wears a dirty headgear.
“Shall we buy clothes and change before going back?” – when I said it, walking in silence Djibril looked up at me and slightly nodded. I patted her head.
“If you are thinking about the hand mirror, I’ll buy you a new one.”
“No. It’s just…”
“Black hair is better than blond.” – said Djibril with extreme seriousness, however I didn’t know what she meant.
“I don’t know what is this about, but I suppose your hair hasn’t shrunk Djibril.”
“…I don’t know.”
In the moment I was going to say something, the “acquaintance” has reflected in the corner of my eyes. A company of two fishing visitors, such mismatch with Shinjuku. They were in a much more injured state than before.
“What!? You didn’t go to Kabukicho mister?” – said the older one with eyes taking me for a fool. I kept silent thinking about what to say. I recall his warning. Setting aside who he is, it was certain he knew beforehand that tragedy will occur.
“…That girl is something like my younger sister. Are you okay?” – in the end I said that much. Djibril, who certainly doesn’t know Japanese for some reason is gazing at me accusingly. I pat her head.
“Oh well.” – for some reason the older man said it with a dispirited expression. Is he a cooperator of Ms. Ito? Or maybe an enemy? I decide to tread lightly. If he’s an enemy I’ll have to run away as fast as I can.
Older man looked at me and said:
“Are you ex-JSDF?”
“No. But, well… something similar.”
“Is that so?” – older man said and flicked with a finger box of cigarettes, which he took out from the bosom. He’s holding it between his teeth and smashing the filter. He offers me one as well. I declined, waving a hand. People engaged in military affairs are solicitous about health. They don’t do drugs, cigarettes or alcohol.
Odd looking four people are talking on the side of a road. Older man is putting box of cigarettes in the pocket. That behavior looked like a repose of souls, which gave me a strange feeling.
“The ones who caused this, you know… They desperately hate the guru.” – said quietly the older man, taking cigarette from the mouth. I ponder for a while.
“That’s the opposite from what they were saying during the crime.”
Certainly they were praising the guru and religion – I think, frowning.
Older man looked at me and laughed ironically.
“You’re young, so how about using your brain.” – said the young skinhead. I smiled grimly.
That meant the facts were opposite. Radical followers were terrorizing people, chanting names of guru and god. When leader is socially dead, the organization takes devastating blows. That’s why they did this. Making female hostages naked was also part of all of that. They disposed of few of their military personnel to gain something important.
“In the end it’s the same like blowing oneself and involving innocent people.”
“Well, that’s how others may see it. But you know…” – Older man said, squinching his eyes and with all of his might inhaled the cigarette.
The smoke from the cigarette leaks out from his mouth. I waited till he ends breathing out.
“They were presenting the guru wives and maidens. In the name of religion they believe in.”
“So that’s their revenge?”
So that’s their own fault – I thought. Disgusting. I was really glad that Djibril didn’t understand Japanese. Still I need to keep her away from this. I moved to protect Djibril from those two.
“Don’t be so disgusted. Religion or money. The only difference is what you believe in. Whatever you chose if you’re betrayed it’s the same tragedy. It’s a living hell.”
I stood in front of Djibril and grabbed her small hands, holding my hands in the back.
I knew she swallowed, but I ignored that.
“I understand, but I thought that before you believe in something a bit of a skepticism can’t hurt.”
The older man laughed. He apparently thought that it is the way of thinking of young people.
In characteristic for me way I furrow my brows. The information that we protect the guru was handed to them by Ms. Ito by my suggestion. Thought that it could be me who caused this incident is depressing
“And you, what do you believe in? In the country, or maybe money?
“I work for money, but I believe neither in them, or the country.”
“Is that so?”
The old man for some reason looked at Djibril and smiled slyly. He throws the cigarette on the road and stomps on it with his boots. His bad manners caused a scowl of dissatisfaction to appear on my face.
“Oi, Kajita, we are going!”
The young skinhead called Kajita threw me an angry glare and walked away.
The old man takes three steps and looks at me.
“Till next time, Mr. mercenary. Good shooting skills.”
“For both sides, if it’s possible, it would be better if we won’t meet again.” – I said just in case. The old man smiled bitterly.
“You know it doesn’t work that way. I don’t know about you, but if you breach our territory it will end with retribution. We have a duty and we adhere to it, you know.
“You will only increase the number of causalities”
A carefree response, taking into account that lives are at stake. I furrowed my brows and walked away taking Djibril with me.
Cancellation of contract
It got complicated. I thought about that while changing clothes, buying new clothes in Uniqlo. It seems that Djibril doesn’t like the clothes, because in the end she buys only a skirt, from which she makes a temporary headgear.
“There weren’t any cute clothes?”
“There were some that I could put on indoors, if only Arata saw them.”
Perplexed at what to say, in the end I left the shop without saying anything. Without a word on the way I went to a shop with men’s apparel and bought clothes. In adjacent other boutique I queued in a line with Djibril and bought a pocket mirror. Djibril strongly grasped the mirror and swore that she will take care of it, but I was pensive. I wondered if what the enemy is doing is humane, though the results were great.
I don’t know if at this moment the guru’s protection has any worth. Speaking truthfully as an informant he isn’t relevant to Ms. Ito and family. Rather there wouldn’t be a problem if police took care of him and there is also a possibility that he will start to confess to something that he wasn’t asked by them.
During the shaking of the train to which I entered, I’m thinking about the fishing visitors. I also need to think about them. Only things not making money.
I realized that in front of me sat Ms. Ito.
“No. There were casualties after all.” – Ms. Ito smiled gently and shook her head.
“However I think it ended on a minimal number. The police reached an agreement with your former company that they hired them as a test since a few days ago.”
“Reached an agreement? I understand.”
Well, in that case the police will save face and private military companies developing in Japan will receive a nice achievement.
I nod at that, on which Ms. Ito smiles and says:
“In such times the front line breaks the most often. Though I think that for the Police that is painful. Especially troublesome must be the issue of the crime scene.”
“In this all i would like to know how many more or less people wonder about the magnitude of casualties.”
“You really want to know?”
“No. It would be probably bad for children’s education. I will leave it without asking.”
Ms. Ito smiled a bit and then her expression clouded over.
“Although a trouble appeared.”
“Protection of the guru lost it’s meaning, right?.”
“Yes. He killed himself.” – said Ms. Ito with a tone being certain that it was a doing of a murderer.
“We are cancelling the contract?”
I sighed. The only thing left is the criminal group’s resentment.
“So this is the end.”
I don’t even know how the enemy looks. I felt that I lost to him. Leader of an armed group, betrayed by the guru, conducted many military operations unworthy of praise from the humane point of view, but there is no doubt that in minimal time and labor he achieved excellent results. Ultimately even the main goal that was killing the guru, they managed to achieve without dirtying their hands. In Japan there are also amazing people. I still have a long way to go.
Ms. Ito raised her eyes and staring at me opened her mouth. Curious what she would think about my thoughts. Her expression seemed to me to sympathize with me with all her heart. I have doubts if she has awareness that it was us that came first with this whole proposal.
“We also regret that it ended this way. Partially we also feel responsible.”
“Since even a little then I’m glad.”
I wonder if she understood the sarcasm? Ms. Ito winced and lowered her head.
“I’m sorry. From my side I can say that I’m really very sorry.”
“No, no. Please raise your head. It’s not your fault.”
Ms. Ito raised her head and looked at me with a slightly trembling eyes. Djibril still holds me by my sleeve with all her might. I am probably stuck with creased sleeves at each newly bought suit.
“That’s why we are thinking of offering you at least minimal help.” – said Ms. Ito.
Minimal help, huh? – I thought.
“And specifically, what kind of help?” – I said.
“We want to speed up your departure from the country. We will take care of formalities like preparing a plane and such.”
I calculated in my head how this all looks. So besides the fact they are ruining my sightseeing tour, they still want to drive us out of here. Diplomatic way of saying that you are exiled. Setting that aside, I didn’t have any bad feelings beside the way in which the opponent will reveal himself. I decide to say outright:
“As an expert in military affairs I consider, that tomorrow it will be too late. The enemy started to act. And if so, he probably wouldn’t want to give more time for preparation and will take over the initiative. I mean, that he can carry out an attack even today at night.”
“Then… we have a problem.”
I nodded. Ms. Ito really had a troubled face.
“We are dealing with an above average opponent. Tomorrow there will be an attack at the airport and there will be a disturbance again. I don’t recommend that, taking into account potential victims.”
Ms. Ito looked at me.
“…Privately your concern about the citizens of our country makes me really very happy.”
“That means, that as an organization you don’t have problems with a shootout?”
“No, ah…It’s not like that.”
Poor Ms. Ito, I’m not looking forward to bullying her, nonetheless it doesn’t seem to me that lying would help any of the sides. Thus with a sour face I continued:
“Since there is such a problem, then wouldn’t you consider some sort of aid?”
“What to do…”
“The easiest way would be to escape today. Or transport us to base of Japanese or American military and then leave the country.”
Ms. Ito makes a grim face. Well, permissions issue – she can’t use military. In that case she can probably do something tomorrow at the earliest – I thought. It’s already evening. That’s why I proposed a realistic approach:
“Since you can’t get those, in that case I ask for a consent so we can fight.”
Ms. Ito sighed lightly.
“Can I ask for a bit of time?”
“Of course.” – I said and then sent a message from the phone to Omar and Lanson.
No matter how this cooperation will turn out, I must get my Excalibur.
We got off with Ms. Ito at Kuki.
Ms. Ito always appears and disappears in unexpected times, however she can’t get off from one train to right away catch a next one.
Not far from the station stops a coach. The driver turned out to be Omar.
With a bitter smile I look at the coach. I asked Djibril, which didn’t let go of my sleeve to go ahead and take care of the weapons prepared for tactical units.
Djibril stares at me. When i told her that I will come shortly , she got on saying to not forget about the hand mirror.
I scratch my head wondering if it’s some custom or something. I looked at standing motionlessly Ms. Ito. It seemed that someone came to her too, so I was looking at that, waiting for what she will say. I’m standing like that for 5 minutes, when suddenly from the stopping train poured out passengers returning home. The last travelers entered the convenience store in front of the station.
Ms. Ito looks at me and says:
“I have a message from higher-ups. They will close an eye on this coach. And about conducting battles they aren’t interested about it, but they count a lot on as small as possible casualties among civilian populace. That’s how it looks.”
“I understand. This time it went how it went, but next time I would like a prosperous coexistence.”
It seems my words surprised her, because Ms. Ito looks at me surprised.
“You would accept another mission…?”
“Half of it is lip-service.” – I said laughing.
“Please excuse me for being a miser, but I would ask for an advance payment for the return flight.”
“Alright. I’m sorry…”
“It was our strategic error. After we delivered weapons we didn’t check what the target is doing.”
“The opponent is competent, that’s right. Problematic, but well. That he is capable doesn’t necessarily have to mean only bad things.”
“Please.” – Ms. Ito handed me an unfolded sheet of paper.
“This is from me. After you read it I would like to ask you to not keep it and throw it away. This is a list of the criminals hideouts adresses.”
“Thank you very much. I will get rid of it before I get out of the bus.” – I said and went up the stairs to the coach.
“Omar, what about the driver of this vehicle?”
“I asked politely for him to go home. I shit you not.”
So he just hijacked the bus. I smiled bitterly. So this is what this closing an eye meant?
“Alright. Take us to Tokyo. In the bus I will tell about the operation.”
The bus moved. I sat at the tour guide seat and looked at Ms. Ito who still looked down. I hurriedly averted my eyes.
Enigmatic sore loser
I explained to everyone in a simple way the situation. I said that the opponent already accomplished his mission and next that we are a target, and that we have to start acting alone to reduce damage.
The children listened without much bewilderment, though when I finished the explanation they had an expression as if they wanted to continue listening.
“Anything else?” – when I say that Gini and Ivan immediately raise hands. I permit Ivan to speak. He gets up.
“We didn’t lose, right?”
“Well, before the battle we found ourselves in a position that needs a lot of effort to win from. The enemy by avoiding an encounter with us, defeated our employers – Ms. Ito and family.”
Ivan isn’t satisfied by this explanation. Instead of him spoke Gini:
“Does that mean that the enemy surpasses golden eagle?”
“Politically.” – I said to not introduce disarray among the children. I didn’t say that wielding an authority in military means using politics and diplomacy.
Politics? Ugh. – complained children.
“And what is this reaction” – Frowning I spoke to the microphone putting my hands on the hips.
“Well, our golden eagle is gaining more and more success in military world, but as you know he is a good man. Completely unsuitable for politics and scheming.” – said loudly Omar driving the coach and smiled broadly.
A brutal introduction of me – I thought, but it seemed that a lot of children were of the same opinion, because they were nodding.
I was disappointed.
“In that case it’s enough if he will only take care of military matters.” – said Djibril. All the children nodded with agreement.
“Indeed in this matter our golden eagle is second to none. I see.”
Gini and Ivan satisfied sat on their seats. Quite a biased view, but I didn’t dwell on this topic. Maybe that was the children’s reaction for shock. If I think about it in this way, then I even pitied them.
I want to protect those kids. – thinking, this time I decided to carry out an operation while stuck in this misunderstanding.
The bus is driving in the area of the Kita-Yono station. Looking at an old, high apartment building I order for the vehicle to stop. Right next a Range Rover is standing. Gini with her friends ran in his direction. The girls receive dangerous presents from Lanson.
Dangerous, but I’m very glad for them. Truthfully speaking I would like ammo for that, but life isn’t that good. He didn’t manage to get it. Well, let’s stick that it’s better to attack with difficulties with insufficient ammo, then to be attacked having it.
It seems that today I won’t get enough sleep. I rotate my shoulder, thinking that i will sleep tomorrow in the plane. Omar is staring in my direction, so I point a finger at myself. I turn around, because Omar is shaking his head negatively. It’s an elf, happily running in our direction.
“What happened Sophie?”
“I left the company.” – she said smiling in a white hat. It was the most cheerful smile I saw till now from her, but I didn’t manage to say that. Or rather before I managed to do that from my mouth came a sermon:
“What are you saying. And what are you planning to do now?”
“I managed to find you after all, so now there is no point in staying there. You are leaving the country, right?”
“… I have a firefight in plans before that.”
“So sign me up for it too.”
“Why… listen Sophie. I’m telling you because we are friends. I can’t afford to involve a friend in danger.”
“Oh, Arata. You are my boyfriend, that’s why I’m telling that to you. If a boyfriend is in danger you go to his rescue. At least that’s what I do.”
Omar interrupted the conversation before I managed to make a sentence in english to protest about the definition of friend.
“Ms. Greenwood. It’s dangerous and there is no remuneration.”
“I know about it.”
“I vouch for her abilities.” – Djibril also interjected. And I thought that at least she is on my side. I felt brutally betrayed. I was worrying about Sophie, but Djibril’s betrayal hurt more. Though I didn’t experience it, I wondered if that’s how a father feels, when his daughter stops wanting to bathe with him.
“A lot of bolts and crossbows are left. She will be an additional fighting strength Arata. Even with our improvised grenade launchers.” – she sai, not looking at me.
Did she mean to think radically logical? I look at Sophie. She took off her hat. She has short hair. So she cut the burned blond hair? It really hurt me. Sophie not having an idea about my feelings was waiting with an expression as if holidays and birthday came at the same time. Words fail me.
“Fine, I’m counting on you.” – said Omar with seriousness.
Sophie smiled brightly and shook his hand.No one really asked for my opinion.
^X. And another chapter without any notes. Let’s face it – not many of you read them anyway. And I don’t feel like doing them. Well after volume 2 I plan to do some revisions so I might do that then, also got some side projects to do.