Halo Three: Daichi:
I am pretty.
That is not something to brag about. They don’t take me seriously because of my looks. My mom and grandma think that I just have to be pretty. They pictured me as a model or an idol singer. Grandma went on and on about how she would like to see me in movies. But just isn’t me. I am more than just pretty.
I love numbers. They have fascinated me since I was three. Because of this, I majored in mathematics. My mom and grandma didn’t say anything but I could see it in their eyes. Disappointment. They just wanted me to just be pretty. Even in grade school, girls would get into physical fights over who would marry me. Thinking back, it makes me want to vomit.
The only three people that take me seriously are Kitano-sensei, Osamu, and Mari-san.
I looked up at Osamu across the table. “Hey, Osamu.”
“Hm?” he asked.
“What’s going to happen next?” I asked. He just shrugged his shoulders.
“Come on, man,” I said. “Aren’t you curious to know?”
“I guess,” he said. I frowned to myself. I can never figure him out. We barely talk at all when we work. It kind of drives me crazy. In a way, Osamu is like me. We both are misunderstood in a way.
Suddenly, we heard a knock on the door.
“Come in!” Osamu shouted. We turned to see Kitano-sensei walking in with a mask on his face.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” he greeted us.
“Good morning,” I said. I quickly bowed. Osamu gave him a wave.
“Got more orders for us?” he asked. I couldn’t tell if Kitano-sensei was smiling or not. He reached into his coat pocket.
“We have a special order from quite the young lady today,” he said. Osamu and I took a look. My partner whistled.
“Whoa,” he said. “Is she coming already?”
“Yes,” Kitano said.
“How soon do you need it?” I asked.
“Right now,” he said. “I need you to get started right now.”
“Yes sir!” Osamu and I said. Kitano-sensei has this strange charm to him. I will get more into that as we go along.
“Very good,” he said. “I will leave you to it.” Kitano-sensei bowed. He turned and walked out of our lab. I turned to Osamu. He just got straight to work. I shrugged and did the same. I will try to get to know him one day.
Keiichi rubbed his forehead. Shirley titled her head.
“Why did I do this?” he asked. Week after week became a headache. Her “papa” wasn’t going to let her go.
“Something wrong?” Shirley asked. Keiichi shook his head.
“No, no,” he said. “It’s fine. Everything is fine.” He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He wished that Arisu was here. She would know what to do.
Keiichi looked up when his phone rang. His stomach dropped as he had a guess who was on the other line.
“Hello?” he asked.
“Keiichi-kun?” a woman’s voice asked on the other line. A confused look came over his face.
“Mom?” he asked.
“How have you been?” his mom asked.
“Uh… fine,” he said. “Is everything okay?”
“Of course! Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Um… no reason,” Keiichi said. He looked over at Shirley. The erotic dancer sat across from him, silent. Probably shouldn’t tell mom about some youngish girl who could be trafficked and drugged like the other women.
Keiichi let his mother talk his ears off. His mind went off to Lala Land. The man’s eyes stayed on Shirley. She wasn’t the only who needed his help. Keiichi sighed to himself.
“I should probably check on Nanami today,” he muttered.
“Excuse me?” his mother asked. Keiichi shook his head.
“Nothing,” he said. “Just a friend of a friend. She’s having problems.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” she said. His mother went on chattering. Keiichi began thinking of ways to get her off the phone. If this kept up, she would never let him go.
“Listen mom,” he spoke up. “I have to go. I have to study for a test. Goodbye.” Keiichi hung up before she could say another word. He noticed Shirley staring at him.
“Uh… did you finish your homework?” the college boy asked.
“Uh-huh,” she said. Keiichi sighed and dropped his shoulders.
“Right…” he said to himself. Both just hung there in silence. The college boy’s eyes shifted left and right. Part of him wished that Arisu was here to help him.
My family is important to me. They have buried themselves deep into my life. I guess that would happen for being the only man of the house. So I have to take care of them. My sisters are named Hana and Chiyomi. Hana is in high school while Chi is about to finish junior high. Why is this knowledge relevant. Let’s just say that Hana got herself in a bit of a jam before the start of the school year. And because of that, our branch got a new associate.
I looked up when I heard a knock on the door. I turned to see a man in a nice suit and glass. I frowned behind my gas mask.
“Flowers are over that way,” I said pointed with a gloved hand to the right. He sheepishly walked into the room. I glared at him as he kept walking. This guy. Morita was his name. You know, it would be easy to kill him and dump the body. But I can’t do anything that would draw unwanted attention to our game. That’s the part that makes want to kick myself.
Morita gave me a sheepish look as he picked up the first big white flower. I watched him like I was a store clerk watching a suspicious customer.
“How many am I supposed to take today?” he asked.
“Eight,” I said. The look on my face could’ve killed him if he saw it.
“That’s it?” Morita asked.
“Is that a problem?” I asked. I stared at him for a few seconds, tops. He sighed and dropped his shoulders.
“Fine,” that bastard muttered. I watched as he walked out of the room. Seven more trips later and he was gone again. He closed the door behind him. I clicked my tongue stuck up by middle finger.
“Damn dude, why are you do hurt on him?” Osamu asked. I lowered the sprayer in my hands.
“You know what he is, right?” I asked.
“Yeah,” my partner said. I looked up at him through my mask.
“He shouldn’t have turned my sister,” I said. “So now he has to pay for what he did.” I could see Osamu trembling as I said that.
“That’s cold, man,” he said. I didn’t say a word and went back to work. Anything for family.
The tadpole stared at the carnage in front of him. Knives sat on the table covered in blood. Two small hammers sat in front of him too. Bloody little pins too. Mikado sat there, trembling. Nothing. He couldn’t feel anything when he stabbed himself in the hands. No matter how many times he hit or stabbed himself in the hands, there was no pain at all. Mikado stared down at his hands. The skin covered and blood seemed to laugh at him.
“What… What is this?” he asked. Mikado could feel bits and pieces sanity breaking away in his brain. Was he laughing? He couldn’t tell if it was in his head or out loud.
“Mikado? Mikado!” Masaomi shouted behind him. The blonde shogun ran over to his friend with his jaw on the ground.
“What is this?! What did you do?” he asked. Masaomi picked up Mikado’s hands. So many cuts all over them. He noticed that his friend had cut his pinky almost down to the bone. Tears welled up in Mikado’s eyes.
“I can’t feel it anymore,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt.” Masaomi could feel him trembling.
“Shhh, shhh, shhh,” he whispered. A tear ran down Mikado’s cheek.
“What am I going to do?” he whispered. The tadpole could barely move his left hand. Masaomi looked down and noticed how swollen it looked.
“Can you even move this?” he asked. Mikado shook his hand. Masaomi poked at the swollen parts. His friend didn’t react.
“I can’t even feel when you poke me,” he said.
“You feel me poking you, right?” Masaomi asked. His friend nodded. The blonde shogun drew back his hand.
“Do you want to go to the hospital?” he asked. Mikado quickly shook his head.
“Look man, you can’t leave your hand like this,” Masaomi said. “We have to get you to a doctor or something.”
“I don’t want to see her there,” the tadpole boy said.
“Who do you not want to see?” his best friend whispered. All of the color drained from Mikado’s face.
“Asato-sensei,” he managed to whisper in a choked up voice. The boy was trembling as soon as those words escaped his lips. Masaomi grabbed him by the cheeks.
“Okay, where do you want to go?” he asked. Mikado hesitated at first.
“Shinra’s place,” he said at last.
“Alright,” Masaomi said. “We’ll go there.” Mikado lowered his eyes.
“Thank you,” he whispered. His best friend took him by the injured hands.
“We’ll clean up everything when we get back. Just don’t try to mutilate your hands any further, okay?” he said. Mikado didn’t speak as his friend led him out of the apartment.
So why am I here? The answer is simple, really. I just want to be taken seriously. I want to be more than just a pretty face. I have my hands and my brain that I am proud of. Kitano-sensei gets me. He treats me as such. Osamu does the same.
I looked over at my partner.
“Is everything set?” I asked.
“I have just cut the last herb,” Osamu said.
“Good deal,” I said. Everything was going well this evening. Our latest batch of Voluptas flowers were being delivered. We were going to see how this next round of the game was going to unfold. Our first guest would be coming down to our lab in a few minutes.
“Seven deadly sins,” Osamu spoke up.
“Hm?” I asked. He lowered the scissors.
“Seven deadly sins, three beggars, and the four horsemen,” my partner said. “They will all come and the Whore of Babylon will lead us to the Woman in Red. Then it all comes to an end.”
“You have been studying, haven’t you?” I asked. Osamu shrugged.
“Might as well,” he said. I couldn’t argue there.
High heels clacked down the hallway. She smiled to herself under her large black and pink hat. The receptionist whistled as she walked by. Her silver heart locket felt heavy around her neck. Tonight would the night for her freedom. How long has it been? Decades? Centuries? It didn’t matter. She was here now.
She stretched her neck from side to side.
“I don’t get out much,” she said to herself. It felt good to be in the living world again. But first, she had to have a little procedure done. Two male interns spotted her as she walked by. They started blushing and whispered to each other. She smirked to herself.
I still got it!
She came to lab 528 and knocked on the door. She waited in the hallway.
“Who is it?” a voice asked on the other side.
“It’s me. I’m here for my appointment,” she said. She took a step back as the door slid open. Daichi greeted her with his gas mask on.
“Oh, you’re here,” he said. “Nice to meet you, miss.” Daichi took a quick bow. He looked up to see her with her eyebrow raised.
“Which one are you?” she asked.
“Oh!” Daichi said. “Where are my manners?” The man stepped forward into the hall and took off his gas mask. She whistled when she saw his face.
“Ho!” she said. “And what is your name?”
“Hajime Daichi,” he said. “Nice to meet you.”
“Do you know who I am?” she asked.
“Yes,” Daichi said. “We both do.”
“We?” she asked.
“Yeah, my partner and I have been told to expect you,” he said. “Do you want to come in?” She broke into a catlike grin.
“Never thought that you would ask,” she said. Daichi put his gas mask back on and backed into the room. She followed him inside.
Mikado made it back home. He looked at his bandaged up hand. Both of them would be fine in a few days. Shinra did a good job of stitching his pinky back together. Mikado understood why the gangsters in Ikebukuro all came to him. His brothers and sisters would be in the same boat too. How far had they gone to try and feel pain? Mikado winced just thinking about it.
“What do I do?” he asked himself again. That’s always been that question ever since he learned the truth. More memories would be coming back soon. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to know what happened to him in all of those months in Chou Mori. Or what happened in the previous timelines. How many timelines were there?
Mikado shook his head.
Those questions would be the least of his worries. He couldn’t stop thinking that something really bad was coming. It had been quiet over the last couple of days. Too quiet. Mikado’s stomach turned as he remembered the visions that he had earlier this morning. He had seen a woman holding a red apple with a black serpent around his neck. She held out that apple towards him. A strange fear gripped him and wouldn’t let him move. Her cold eyes locked on him. She didn’t have to speak to scare him. But yet something seemed so enticing about her.
Suddenly, Mikado stopped in his tracks. He turned his head.
No one in sight. At least, not anyone physical. Mikado’s eyes slowly shifted from left to right. He probably should run right now.
Wait… what is that smell? The tadpole boy took a sniff. A hint of cinnamon teased his nose. Cinnamon mixed with… Mixed with… Was that fruit?
Mikado whipped his around head. A tall, pale woman stood behind him, inches away. He could see the darkness surrounding her. Her curves heightened the red flags in his head. This woman smiled as she giggled.