Part 63: A Moment's Respite
After the initial surprise of the stream suddenly cutting out, Mao switches over to news sites for up-to-date information. The situation is still somewhat unclear, but it seems like they've failed to blow up Tokyo Tower. However, the girl who was taken hostage has vanished. It's entirely possible that she's still being kept as a hostage. Amongst all this, Mao finds herself worried over something.
I'm pretty sure I heard Rinny's voice...
She could hardly believe it herself, but Mao is confident that she wouldn't mistake the voice of a close friend. That makes the unread messages she sent all the more concerning.
BGM: Chilling With Sidekicks
06/16 (SAT), Night
Things get crazy at Tokyo Tower thanks to the police and fire brigade's arrival. We are able to make our escape while the police are busy arresting Yu's comrades. Fortunately, we could get out via the emergency staircase with relative ease thanks to the flood of people entering the place. Once out, we make our way back to our base in Yokohama.
Oh... Thank you.
She hands me a bag filled with fast food. A burger and fries, to be precise. Next to her sits a bottle of alcohol she got from a convenience store. I take a bite of the comically oversized burger. The viscous ketchup and warm meat fills my mouth. The overwhelming flavors are somehow more delicious than I remember. Maybe it's due to how tired I am...? Come to think of it, this is the first thing I've eaten today. My heart's still racing from all that's gone down. I guess I never had time to think about, let alone actually get some food.
Yu hasn't been arrested, as expected.
Ain't no one who can get away from me like that gonna get caught by the police.
Odette munches away on her burger and fries while she responds. I figured her palate would match her taste and knowledge for coffee, but nope. She just seems to love the act of eating. There's something pleasant about the glee with which she does so. Especially when you factor in that this is her third burger.
Gotta hand it to ya, your acting wasn't half bad.
If something needs to be done, then one simply has to do it.
That explain your bravado?
...It hurt less than I anticipated. Care to give it a shot?
Nah, I'm good. Can't promise that I wouldn't fire back.
I wasn't able to get Yu's regret card. He's turned out to be a much tougher opponent than I had assumed. I did get to hear about his past, though. I'm finally able to understand the foundation behind his and his organization's beliefs.
How're things looking after that little speech of his?
A good chunk of the Internet is discussing his past right now. Of course, most of the people are calling him out on it. From what I can see, there are plenty of people who sympathize with him, too.
It's safe to say his stream worked. All the news channels are reporting on what happened today. While it's fortunate that there were no victims, the influence it's having on the world at large can't be understated.
Fate has plenty of work on its plate once he gets eliminated.
If things get reworked so that he died during a suicide attack on the Yamanote line, then it's likely that both his attack on Amecha and what happened today will be undone. Society's become far more alert due to the recent string of attacks. People are even starting to feel bad for the perpetrators after seeing Yu's stream. His actions, instilling fear in a great number of people, have no doubt affected society as a whole. Will that be undone through his elimination as well? We won't know until it happens.
The question now is what to do since he got away. Ain't easy to track him down, either.
None of my connections know his location. NULL's Japan branch is all but dead at this point, but he still has a bomb at his disposal. He only needs the one to claim a significant number of lives. Today's events won't stop him.
He'll make his move tomorrow.
What makes you say that...?
I swallow a chunk of my burger before continuing.
Yu said that we'd settle things with fate tomorrow morning. He wouldn't say that and then stay put.
That's all he said, though. I don't know what he's got planned...
Chances are he'll go for Tokyo Tower again. Pulling it off while they've got security up the ass there'll have way more impact.
I figure that to be the likely scenario, myself. His beliefs are steadfast, yet they don't tie into his desire for me to kill him. He's been oddly focused on the idea of settling the score with fate, too. What does he mean by that?
We'll make our way to Tokyo Tower early in the morning. That's our best course of action given the limited information at our disposal.
Both myself and Odette nod in agreement.
We take some time to rest up after we finish eating. Unfortunately, I can't go home now that we know Yu plans on making his move tomorrow. Well, I'm probably best off not going back anyway. Odette took care of Tokyo Tower's security cams, but the police may come to question me on the off chance there's footage of me. I've still got a gun on me, so they'd probably arrest me on the spot.
Today was a whole new experience for me. It's left me absolutely exhausted. Thinking back, it's a miracle that I came out of it unscathed. That's how crazy it was.
There is a public bathhouse about twenty minutes away on foot, so the three of us make the trek to get washed up. Sure, I build up a bit of a sweat on the way back, but considering the state I was in before the bath, it's worth it. Once we return, we go straight to sleep. We're going to be getting up just as early as we did today. What's more, tomorrow's likely to take even more of a toll on us, considering we don't know what Yu's planning.
Odette falls asleep first this time. Probably because she was drinking. But knowing her, she'd probably spring right up if you even thought about approaching her. I wouldn't be surprised- not after witnessing her fight with Yu this afternoon.
BGM: Two Crossing Paths -S/I V/S-
Are you still awake?
You should get as much sleep as you can.
That's all he says before he covers his face again. I want to thank him for accepting the role he took on today, but I hold my tongue. We're just using one another for our own benefit. He didn't do it for my sake. This is the same guy who took babies as hostages. I can't forget that.
Just as I try to fall asleep, he poses a question to me in a hushed tone.
Do you think it's a sin to kill others?
A question that doesn't even need an answer, at that. Even so, I reply with a nod.
Then, do you also think it's a sin to eliminate others in Divine Selection?
I'd say that... yeah, it is.
Both Naomi and myself treated it that way whenever we talked about Divine Selection. But now Naomi's gone. I don't have any choice but to commit that sin if I want to get her back.
I don't see it that way. Eliminating someone the way we do simply puts them back on their initial path. Surviving this through to the end and stepping off that path may, in fact, be the one true sin. Although I suppose that would make the act of eliminating others a sin in retrospect.
His own statements are contradictory.
What are you trying to say?
I've found myself thinking about it lately, is all.
His response doesn't even come close to answering my question. He doesn't say another word, though. I realize something important just as I'm about to fall asleep, though. The Alan I've come to know isn't the type of person to say a thing like that. In that case, why would he let me see this other side of him? I just can't figure it out.
06/17 (SUN), Early Morning
We go back to Tokyo Tower the next morning. Unsurprisingly, the observatory is closed off. Only the aquarium and a small number of shops are still open. Hard to blame them, considering what happened. They might have failed, but anything involving hostages, gunshots, and a hostage who goes missing is a big deal. I say that as someone who actually knows what went down, too. But really, the biggest surprise to me is that they didn't shut the entire place down. I guess it might be their way of saying they won't give in to terrorism.
BGM: A Dot on a Piece of Paper
He ain't gonna get much outta whatever he tries to pull in this state.
It won't stop him, though. He wouldn't mention settling things with fate if he didn't have something else planned.
Try and think. Is there anywhere else he's likely to turn up?
He poses his question in a composed manner. There is a certain strength behind it, too. Nothing like the weak side he let slip yesterday. I honestly don't know, though. Times like this demand that I think things through from the beginning. Starting with the connection between me and Yu.
Naomi was at the core. He took her life at Amecha. All for the sake of making me eliminate him. I'm still not sure why he wants me to do it. However, I'm sure he left me a hint within that speech of his yesterday. Become a hero through death... Giving one's life to accomplish something earns one the title of hero. That's what he was saying. Why am I the one he's so focused on, then? There are others who could eliminate him, so-
A spark of fire lights up my mind all of a sudden. Fire like the one that engulfed us both back then. The fateful exchange that it overheard us have. You won't become a hero. You're not even human. You're just a puppet. I was the one bold enough to proclaim that to him with my dying breath.
Don't tell me...
My thoughts lead me to the most logical conclusion. One that proves to be the closest to finding the answer I've been looking for. I turn to face Odette and Alan.
Let me handle this alone.
I'm gonna settle things with fate myself.
Did something come to mind?
I look Alan in the eyes and nod firmly. It's obvious they'll say no to me. I can't explain my reasoning, though. They'd get a hold of too much of my information if I do. Actually, they'll probably come along even if I give them a vague explanation. There's no guarantee I'm right, but it's not like they have any other leads. They don't have much of a choice. I can't let them come, though. I won't be able to reach the answer I'm looking for if I don't do this on my own.
Whatever. Go for it. That ain't the face of someone who's gonna bail.
He peers deep into my eyes before offering his consent. A brief pause follows before he closes his own eyes and continues.
We'll do our own digging. As of now, our alliance has ended.
Heh. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a kick out of working with you two.
H-Huh...? Are you sure...?
Let's assume you plan to flee. Do you think you would be able to escape us?
Good. That's the attitude I expect from you.
You sure have gotten snide, haven't you?
Says the person responsible for it.
When next we meet, we shall be enemies.
We never weren't enemies, bud. We just held hands for a bit.
I can feel my heart racing. Working together with those two was strangely exhilarating. Following that, the three of us go our separate ways. Being able to work together with those two as equals has given me strength. I always thought we belonged in different worlds, but that's not the case. They may outclass me when it comes to physical prowess and combat ability, but I proved that we can stand toe to toe when it comes to our determination.
Let's do this.
Those words represent my determination.