Halo Ten: Goyoku:
It was the poor secretary that found the body. She noticed that the CEO’s door was wide open and the light was on. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. That was until she looked inside to greet him. Her screaming filled the empty hall.
Nishino-san was chained down to his leather office chair. Melted gold had been poured down his throat, burning him from the inside out. Credit cards, yen bills and coins, and tax forums were scattered all over the desk. All of the company’s records were scattered all over the room. The boss had a full glass of scotch and his cigar had burned down to his fingers. More cigars were crushed out in the crystal ashtray.
The detective sighed. This was just three days from the last body. He rubbed his forehead.
“God damn it,” he muttered. “This is not good. Not good at tall.”
“Nakamura-san!” a voice shouted. The detective shook his head.
“What?” he asked. His colleagues had concerned looks on their faces. Nakamura sighed and walked over to them.
“What is it?” he asked. The female detective pointed out at the pointed out to the growing group of people were gathering outside. The police kept pushing them back. Nakamura-san walked over for a better look.
“Are they all employees?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said. “Kimura and everyone is trying to keep them out.” Nakamura sighed and rolled his forehead.
“We don’t need this,” he muttered. The police still kept the employees outside.
In the crowd, she stood towards the very back. She already knew what happened. She kept her eyes to the ground. No one noticed her smiling to herself.
Shinra sat alone in the brown room. The clock ticked slowly in the background. Miiko told him to wait there on the bench. Shinra bit his lower lip as he looked around. The receptionist wouldn’t let him ask any questions.
“Just sit and wait,” Miiko told him. Shinra gave up trying to talk. Miiko drew back her finger and took a breath.
“Thank you,” she said. The receptionist took a bow and disappeared through a small door. The doctor sat back, frowning. There was nothing in the brown room to preoccupy his mind. Shinra sat back and sighed.
“Now what?” he asked. The doctor stared up at the ceiling with his arms behind his head.
Emily sat alone in her room. She winced when she heard a high-pitched whistle in her left ear. The tadpole girl let out a loud gasp. She huddled over the desk. The world seemed to fall away from her. Roc’s face came into her head. He smirked at her. His hand inched towards her.
No! Stay away! Stay away!
“Emily-sama!” Taiyou shouted. She saw a pale hand reaching out for her neck. Her screaming drowned out the room. She could feel Roc’s tongue all over her face. His voice made her choke back bile.
“Emily-sama! Emily-sama! Emily-sama!”
Emily lay on the floor, shaking like she was having a seizure. Taiyou held her in his room. His voice couldn’t reach her. The familiar couldn’t do anything but hold her.
Moments later, Emily’s body went still. She breathed heavily.
The tadpole girl slowly drew open her eyes and looked up. Taiyou stared down at her. Emily slowly caught her breath.
“Thank you,” she murmured. Taiyou bowed his head. She looked deep into his brown eyes. Tears welled up in her own eyes.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she whimpered. Tears began to run down her cheeks.
Mariko couldn’t keep quiet about it anymore. She noticed the scars on Anzu’s arms and legs. Her friend tried to hide them with long skirts, jeans, and flowy blouses. Some of the girls in their kendo class started whispering about her.
“Is she cutting herself?”
“How is she doing?”
“Do you think we should ask her?”
“Should we get her some help?”
“Do you think we should tell somebody?”
Maiko had to get to the bottom of this. So she waited for Anzu in front of the dojo in the early morning hours. She wasn’t going to move until her friend showed up. Maiko even went as far as to practice everything she wanted to say. When she was ready, the girl drew back her shoulders.
“Right!” Maiko said aloud.
Moments later, she looked up and saw Anzu walking up to the dojo. Maiko stood up as straight as she could.
“Hello, Anzu-san!” she blurted out. Her friend had an odd look on her face. Anzu had her phone in her hand.
“What’s going on?” she asked. “Why did you call me out here so early?” Maiko clenched her fists at her sides.
“Tell me the truth,” she said. “Are you cutting yourself?” Her friend gave her a strange look.
“What? No!” she was quick to say. Maiko looked around for a quick moment.
“Then why do you have so many scars all over your body?” she asked. Anzu froze for a moment. She took a slow step back.
“Maiko, it’s not what you think,” she said.
“They talk about you in class, you know?” her friend said. “They want to know if they should tell someone or not.” Anzu dropped her shoulders. She didn’t want to come down to this. But the scars on her body seemed to have forced her hand.
“Listen, it’s not what you think,” Anzu said. “Will you please let me explain?” Maiko folded her arms across her chest.
“What is going on then?” she asked. The blood tadpole looked around for a quick moment before she turned her attention back to her friend. She leaned in close to her ear.
“Come with me,” she whispered. Maiko gave her a confused look.
“Why?” she asked. Anzu grabbed her by the wrist.
“Just come on,” she said. She dragged her friend to the alley between the dojo and the other building. (Probably a shop of some sort.)
“Anzu!” Maiko shouted. “What are you doing?” They stopped in the middle of the alley. The blood tadpole let go of her friend’s wrist. She looked around overhead for any cameras. Maiko looked so confused.
“What are you doing? Why are we here?” she asked. Anzu didn’t answer. She set down her bag and unzipped it. Maiko’s eyes widened as she pulled out a knife.
“Anzu-san!” she screamed.
“Relax,” Anzu insisted. “I am showing you why I have these scars.” She held out her left arm. The blood tadpole made one horizontal cut in the middle of her forearm. The color drained from Maiko’s face.
“What are you doing?!” she screamed. Anzu reached into her cut and pulled out a large sword. She staggered backwards to the brick wall, panting. The blood tadpole held up the sword with trembling hands. Maiko’s jaw dropped.
“What… How did…?” she asked.
“I was in Chou Mori,” Anzu said. She took a step forward and nearly toppled over. Maiko rushed over and caught her in time.
“Whoa, easy there!” she said. She helped Anzu to sitting on the ground. Her friend looked up at her. Maiko folded her arms across her chest.
“How long have you been able to do that?” she asked.
“Ever since winter of last year,” Anzu said. She must have taken too much, didn’t she? The blood tadpole started to speak up. Maiko knelt down and covered her mouth. Anzu tried to read what her friend was thinking. The smaller girl held out her hand.
“Hm?” Anzu asked.
“Come on,” Maiko said. “We need to get you to a yakiniku place ASAP!” The blood tadpole blinked at first.
“Huh?” she asked.
“You’re going to need some red meat to get better,” her friend said. Anzu gave him a confused look as she tried to piece together what the other girl was saying.
“Are there any yakiniku places even open at ten in the morning?” the blood tadpole asked.
“I don’t know,” Maiko said. “But I can find some. Besides, my family owns a yakiniku place.” She smiled and winked. Anzu had a dumbfounded look on her face.
“You never told me this,” she said.
“That’s because you never asked,” Maiko said. She pulled Anzu along before she could say a word.
Shinra looked up when he heard the door open. Miiko poked her head outside.
“We’re ready for you now,” she said. The doctor stood up. The receptionist disappeared through the cracked door. The strong scent of incense made his nose burn. Shinra took a step backwards as he covered his nose.
“Gah!” he said. Shinra felt around behind him and noticed that the door was shut. He noticed that the room was dark. The doctor turned his head when heard a match being struck. One by one, black candles were lit on the floor. Salt surrounded them. Miiko stood behind the circle wearing black robes. She held a large leather and black jeweled book in her hands.
“Welcome Kishitani-sensei,” Miiko said. “The ritual will begin now.” More people, or rather ghosts, appeared behind her. Shinra looked at all of them confused.
“Uh… what is this?” he asked.
“This is an ancient ritual,” Miiko explained. “This will return you to your body. You want this chance, don’t you?” Shinra drew his mouth closed. She did have a good point and he wanted to get back to his beloved Celty as soon as possible. Shinra stood up straighter.
“I’ll do it,” he said.
“Good,” Miiko said. “Get into the circle, please.” Shinra walked forward to the salt and candle circle.
“Careful,” one of the ghosts said. “Watch the salt.” The doctor slowly stepped over the ring and stood in the circle.
“Lay down on your back,” Miiko said. Shinra complied. The floor felt cold against his back. Miiko looked left and right.
-Two Hours Earlier-
“You can’t be serious,” Victor said.
“It’s the only way that we do it,” Miiko insisted. “Besides, Vanessa-sama said so herself. We need the younger doctor alive in the living world.” The doctor frowned.
“But how can you even be sure it will work?” he asked. “No one has used the Book of Osiris in centuries. Plus, we have to get the ingredients. And someone has to translate the text. You and I can’t do that.” The receptionist broke into a huge grin.
“What?” Victor asked.
“We could go down to the Elysium Garden,” Miiko pointed out. The doctor frowned.
“You can’t mean…” he said. Her face was inches from his with her eyebrows raised.
“I know you have been sneaking down there for your experiments,” she said. “Am I right?”
Victor’s eyes shifted back and forth. Miiko looked deep into his eyes. The doctor dropped his shoulders.
“Yeah, but…” he started to say.
“But?” she asked. That pause lingered over for what felt like an hour. Miiko started to smirk. Victor threw back his head and groaned.
“Fine,” he said. “But we still need a translator.”
“I’m on it!” Miiko said with a salute.
Miiko opened the book and let it float in front of her.
“Let us begin,” she said. Miiko rang the bell charm around her neck. A middle-aged woman dressed in orange stepped forward to the receptionist’s left. Shinra lifted his head.
“Who is she?” he asked.
“Relax,” Miiko said. “She’s going to be our translator.”
“Translator?” Shinra asked.
“The spell is really old,” the receptionist said. “This book is written in a dead language. There aren’t many of us who can read it anymore. However, I did manage to find one to help us out.” The petite woman in orange bowed her head.
“Hân hạnh được gặp bạn! Bạn sẽ có trong tay tốt,” she said. “Đừng lo lắng.”
“Wait… What did she say? Is she saying Vietnamese?” Shinra asked, lifting his head again. Victor who was standing behind Miiko, frowned.
“Not to worry!” the receptionist shouted. She rang the bell around her neck again. This time, an old man dressed like a fisherman appeared on her right.
“We got a translator for the translator,” Miiko said.
“Pleased to meet you,” the fisherman said, bowing. The Vietnamese woman spoke again. The fisherman listened and nodded.
“We will do our best to get you back to your clammily,” he said. “You are in good heads.”
“Huh?” Shinra asked with a confused look on his face. The Vietnamese woman clicked her tongue and smacked the fisherman on the arm while frowning.
“Oh sorry,” the fisherman ghost said. “My Vietnamese is a bit rusty.” Victor rolled his eyes. Shinra didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Miiko perked up again.
“Let’s get started!” she said. The receptionist held out her hand over the browning and wrinkled pages. Her eyes rolled back into her head as she began chanting. The Vietnamese woman and the fisherman began likewise. The fire from the candles started to flare up and turn black. The chanting started to go faster. Miiko, the Vietnamese, and the fishermen walked around the circle as they talked. The Vietnamese woman threw handfuls of ash on Shinra’s face. The doctor closed his eyes. He tried to spit out the ash.
“Đừng khạc nhổ!” the Vietnamese woman shouted.
“Don’t spit!” the fisherman ghost said. The Vietnamese woman threw more ash on his face and crossed herself. Miiko stuffed a bright red berry into her mouth and started chewing. She trembled at the taste but forced herself to keep going. Victor kept his eyes on Shinra the whole time. The fisherman picked up a ladle and splashed cold water all over the doctor in the circle. Shinra tried not to spit and scream. This was all to get back to Celty. He needed to get back to Celty.
Miiko, the Vietnamese woman, and the fisherman picked up golden knives. Shinra shut his eyes. They each stabbed at the five points outside of the circle. Above his head, hands, and feet. Miiko jumped to her feet. She threw a handful of rice over Shinra’s blood. The flames of the candles grew hotter. Smoke surrounded the doctor. He coughed up something black and spat it out. Miiko didn’t flinch as she wiped away the substance.
“Return!” the receptionist commanded. The receptionist took her knife and made a small cut in her right hand. She threw out her hand. Small drops landed on the doctor’s face. Shinra felt his body floating away before vanishing in thin air. Miiko stepped back and smiled a bit. She’d probably get in trouble but the end justified the means. The end justified the means.
“Thank you gentlemen,” Kitano said. He looked at the Wallet of Greed in the plastic bag. He turned it back and front.
“You’re welcome,” Osamu said, bowing. Kitano turned to Osamu and Daichi.
“You will want to step back,” he said. Osamu and Daichi slowly backed up to the door. The therapist walked over to the altar. He opened the bag and dropped the wallet onto the slot. The altar started to shake as it glowed. Twenty seconds was all it took before it went still again. Osamu blinked.
“That’s it?” he asked. Kitano turned to him with cold smile.
“It will get bigger as we collect the remaining charms,” he said.
“We’ll head back to work now,” Daichi said. Kitano waved them off as he watched the three charms on the shrine. The men bowed their heads and departed. Kitano turned to see Etsuko poking his head in the doorway.
“Kitano,” she said.
“What is it?” the therapist asked. The doctor walked into his office. She had a grim look on her face.
“We have a situation,” Etsuko said in a low voice. Kitano tilted his head.
“Did something go wrong with our projects?” he asked.
“Not ours,” the doctor said. She pulled out her phone and tapped the screen. Kitano leaned in to take a look. Michael was nailed down to his cross, glowing bright red. The therapist turned his head.
“Are you telling me…?” he asked.
“Yes,” Etsuko said. “What do you want to do?” Kitano took a moment to think.
“You know,” he said. “This could play into our favor.”
“How so?” she asked.
“Would you like to take a walk with me?” Kitano asked. The doctor shrugged.
“I have few minutes before I have to get back to work,” she said. Etsuko followed him out the door.
Shinra made it home early the next morning. He chuckled to himself as he thought about the shocked look on her non-existent face. It felt good to come back to life. The doctor unlocked the door.
“I’m home!” Shinra called in a sing-songy voice. Celty ran over and hugged him wildly.
“Whoa!” the doctor said as he tried to keep his balance. She pulled out her PDA and started typing.
[I missed you so much!] Celty wrote. Shinra chuckled as he hugged her back.
“I missed you too,” he said. “I will never leave you again.” The couple didn’t want to let go in the early hours of the morning.
After he had something to eat and bed, Shinra went to bed. He wanted to have some welcome home sex but found himself too tired to even ask. Being dead and coming back to life is exhausting after all.
Around ten in the morning, Shinra’s phone buzzed. He wanted to ignore it but the buzzing wouldn’t stop. The doctor muttered to himself as he pawed around for his phone. At first, he couldn’t see too well without his glasses. Shinra felt around for them and put them on. He noticed he had a new text in his half-asleep state. A confused look came over his face.
“Huh?” he asked. Shinra stared at the series of numbers and decimals on his screen. He fully woke up when he heard a knock on the door.
“Huh?” Shinra asked again. He looked beside him. Celty was still sound asleep. The doorbell started ringing. Shinra frowned to himself.
“Coming,” he muttered to himself. Shinra climbed out of his futon. He made himself look presentable and walked down to the front door. The doctor had a confused on his face. A man with short messy hair stood outside. He had on a white t-shirt and jeans. The man held out his phone. Shinra gave him a strange look.
“Uh… who are you?” he asked. The man shoved his phone into the doctor’s face.
“Did you get this text?” he asked. Shinra had a confused look on his face.
“Text?” he asked. Something suddenly clicked in his brain. Shinra picked up his phone and looked at the screen.
“You mean this?” Shinra asked, showing him the text. The man held up his phone next to his. Both texts had coordinates.
“Well okay,” the man said. “You and I will have to go here for the fight.” The doctor had a confused look on his face.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Oh,” the man said. “I apologize. My name is Sato Taishi.” The older man bowed. Somehow, Shinra wasn’t really surprised by this. He’s heard that name before. In fact…
“You’re one of the other tadpoles, aren’t you?” the doctor asked. Taishi’s face dropped.
“I see you remember that much about me,” he grumbled.
“Why are you here?” Shinra asked.
“We don’t have much time,” Taishi said. “We have to go now.” The tadpole grabbed the doctor before he could say a word. He crouched down to the ground and shot up straight into the sky. Shinra went screaming as they sailed through the air.
The men landed in front of an abandoned warehouse. Taishi took a breath.
“We’re supposed to fight here,” he said.
“So, you can fly?” Shinra asked.
“Yes,” the tadpole said. “That is my power.” Another thought crossed his mind.
“Oh, here,” Taishi said. “I was told to give you this.” The older man reached into thin and pulled out a black croquet mallet.
“What’s this for?” Shinra asked.
“I think you have to fight with it,” the flying tadpole said. “I was just told that I had to give it to you. It came from some doctor.”
“Victor?” Shinra asked with wide eyes. He took the mallet by the handle and incepted it. It was then he noticed the spikes on the hammer.
“Damn!” the doctor blurted out. Suddenly, the warehouse doors ripped open. Shinra and Taishi turned in time with the sound.
“It’s time,” the flying tadpole said. The doctor nodded once. They walked through the open doors.
Nothing but darkness was in sight. Shinra coughed and fanned away the dust particles. Taishi looked around as he chewed the inside of his cheek. The men turned forward when they heard clapping. The pale man in his nice clothes walked forward.
“Welcome, welcome!” he said. “So glad you could make it! Allow me to introduce myself!” The man held out his arms.
“My name is Goyoku, deity of greed!” he said. “Pleased to meet you!” The pale man turned to Shinra.
“Again, I apologize for killing you the other day,” he said. “No hard feelings?” Shinra glared at him.
“You took me away from my Celty,” he said. Goyoku waved him off.
“Details, details,” he said. “We should get down to business.” The pale man reached into the air above his head and pulled out a sniper rifle. He calmly loaded up the gun. Shinra wrapped his hand tightly around the handle of his croquet mallet. Taishi reached down into his pocket for his knife.
“I will grant you three questions before we begin,” Goyoku said. He glanced up at his opponents.
“Question one,” the deity said.
“Why did you kill me?” Shinra asked.
“Ah yes,” Goyoku said. “I killed you because the last fight we had wasn’t hot. Let me explain. You were boring as a mere human. So I figured that if I killed you and you came back, it would be worth my while. I had faith you would. But if you didn’t, oh well.” He put in the last bullet.
“Next question,” the deity said. Shinra’s jaw went tight.
“What do you get out of this?” Taishi asked.
“Entertainment,” Goyoku said. “That first fight just makes it so delicious. Last question.” Shinra stepped forward.
“Are you going to drag Celty into this?” he asked. Goyoku smirked.
“That’s not up to me,” he said. “That’s for my brothers and sisters to decide. Now, we have one hour to fight. You even have to defeat me or time runs out. And don’t worry about anyone coming because of the gun shots. This warehouse is near a dead section of town. Plus, there is a barrier around the building. So I suggest you start running… right… now!”
Taishi and Shinra jumped out of the way. The doctor held his croquet mallet to his chest. One hour of this, huh? He didn’t have any real fighting skills. All he had were his scalpels and his croquet mallet.
“Shinra,” he heard someone whisper to him. The doctor looked up. Taishi flew down to his side.
“Taishi!” Shinra said in a loud whisper. The loud footsteps paced around the concrete floors.
“Waiting out the hour isn’t going to work!” Goyoku shouted. “Come out, come out wherever you are.”
“Right, you know,” Taishi pointed out.
“So what do we do?” Shinra asked.
“Come on!” the greed deity shouted. “Don’t make me waste bullets to draw you out. That would just be lame.” The tadpole sighed.
“I will have to distract him,” Taishi said.
“You can’t…” Shinra said.
“We don’t have much of a choice,” the tadpole insisted. He took a breath. “I will fly out and distract him. You have to go in close to make the kill. Got it?”
“You asked for it!” Goyoku shouted. “You left me no choice! I’m going to have to shoot you out!” More gunfire followed as the deity cackled.
“I’m going to go!” Taishi shouted. The tadpole flew up towards the ceiling.
“Here I am, you bastard!” he shouted. Goyoku smirked.
“I see where this is headed!” he shouted. “But I will play along!” The deity aimed his gun at the tadpole.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Taishi had to keep track of how many bullets were being fired at him. He also needed to keep track of his own body. The tadpole stole a glance downwards along the warehouse. Shinra was running along the high stacks of unused materials. Goyoku turned his head forward.
“Ah-ha!” he shouted. “I see you, doc!” The deity reached behind him and pulled out the handgun he used to kill Shinra the first time they met. Taishi and Shinra were amazed that this man had good eye-hand coordination to be shooting at two targets at once. Taishi was lucky that he had the speed to keep flying and dodging.
“Damn it, how many bullets do you have?!” he shouted. Goyoku grinned as he finished off the bullets in the sniper gun. He tossed away the weapon and pulled out another handgun.
“As many bullets as I want!” he shouted. “I can never get enough!” One shot got Taishi in the foot. He didn’t scream out as he kept flying around. In fact, it pushed him to keep going faster. How long could he keep this up? The tadpole would have to see.
Meanwhile, Shinra figured that it would have to be now or never. He raised his croquet mallet above his head ran towards the target with a battle cry. Taishi frowned and rolled his eyes.
“That wasn’t the plan,” he said to himself. But what did it matter? He could feel time running out. Goyoku turned at the waist seconds before Shinra got close.
The spikes caught Goyoku in the throat. The deity’s eyes widened as he choked. Shinra stepped back, panting. Taishi started floating downwards. Goyoku slowly felt up for the weapon as the realization started to sink in. Shinra could’ve sworn that his opponent was smirking as blood slowly ran down his throat. The deity of greed pulled out the croquet mallet.
“Good… Good…” he managed to say. Goyoku sank to his knees before falling over. Taishi landed next to Shinra.
“Did we win?” he asked.
“I don’t know…” the doctor said. He slowly walked up to the body. Suddenly, Goyoku sat up with the wounds healing in his throat.
“You managed to hit me there just in time,” he said. “But we are done for now. I can say that this fight was much better than the last one. Much better!” The deity of greed jumped to his feet.
“We shall meet again,” he said. Goyoku vanished into thin air before Shinra and Taishi could say a word. Something told them that this wasn’t going to be last time they would see him.
Miiko was helping to clean up the library in the East Wing. She came across the Book of Osiris laying open and face down. The receptionist picked it up and took a look inside. A light lavender piece of paper was pressed inside like a bookmark.
“Hm? What is this?” Miiko asked herself. She gently plucked out the paper and unfolded it. The receptionist read the contents word for word. The color drained from her face when she got to the end.
“Oh no…” Miiko murmured to herself. She turned and ran out of the library with book and note in hand.