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Prologue

中旬秋夜の夢'

A Mid-Autumns Night’s Dream

It was Autumn in Tokyo. Supreme Boss of the Sumiyoshi-kai, Shigeo Nishiguchi, left his luxurious home in the Roppongi Hills area, being driven by chauffeur to the organisations main entertainment venue, Kabukicho DX, a notorious strip club owned by his gang. It was a chilly day. Shigeo had a long, thick black coat on top of a black suit in typical yakuza style. His grey hair was swept back off his face, his hair receded a couple of inches. His chauffeur took the normal route, driving through the heart of Shinjuku, a busy place at the best of times. Today was no exception, and the traffic moved slowly. Shigeo stared out the tinted window of the black Mercedes, lit a cigarette and breathed in the fumes deeply.



They stopped at a set of overhung traffic lights, the light swaying on the seemingly very thin wire that stretched across the street. The light was fading fast, and the lights of the traffic light cast an eerie red light on the road. The streetlights and neon adverts had not come on yet either, only this solitary traffic signal. Shigeo did not like waiting. This red seemed to drag on forever. Finally, the red changed to yellow. The chauffeur began to accelerate, when a man fired three shots into the driver’s window, killing him. Shigeo leant forward, putting his hand on the driver’s shoulder. The driver simply slumped forward, blood soaking the white shirt. A woman somewhere behind them screamed at the gunshots. Shigeo reached for the revolver he kept in a chest holster under his jacket. As his hand went for it, his door was opened, and a black gloved hand pulled him out. Shigeo was pushed to the ground, kept on his knees by the pistol in his face. The man holding the pistol was a young man with hair that hung either side of his face. His hair was blonde, and he wore sunglasses, despite the light. Still holding the pistol, the young man put a cigarette in his mouth, then took out a Zippo lighter and lit it. He took a drag and blew out the smoke without removing the cigarette from his mouth.





He looked down at Shigeo. Shigeo looked back up at him. Anger burnt in the old man’s eyes and heart. The kid only smiled, and squeezed the trigger.












I



水の波紋'

Ripples in the Water



The phone beeped. Sen woke with a start, fumbling for his phones. He looked at the screen with bleary eyes.


















Sen groaned and rubbed his face. He didn’t want to get up. It was his day off, his only day off. And now he was being called to some bar in the middle of the night and he had no idea why. The muscular man stood, stretching his arms and clicking his back. He was getting old, or at least that’s what his bones said. He ran his hand over his tattooed arms, swirling patterns of smoke and waves, writing streaking down each bicep. On one arm, a dragon coiled around the muscles, its ugly head glaring off of Sen’s chest. On the other arm, a deep red tiger prowled, its tail flowing onto the shoulder, its head ducked just above the elbow. The two creatures snarled at each other, never letting go of the stare.


Sen dressed in his usual work attire. A black suit, black shoes, black tie and a white shirt. Typical yakuza. He slipped on his under arm holster before his jacket, the Desert Eagle held there fitting comfortably. On his calf, under the trousers was a 12 inch military knife, something he’d held onto after the war. His crow footed eyes looked himself over in the long, chipped mirror that leant against the wall of the tiny, messy bedroom. Sen straightened his tie, adjusted his jacket, and left. His keys were already in his jacket pocket, as always. On the way out, Sen grabbed a packet of American Lucky Stripes from a side table. Before he’d left the door, one was in his mouth, hand in pocket reaching for the lighter he always had there. By the time the door had been shut, the cigarette was lit, and Sen was taking a long, deep drag. A Chinese woman that lived across the hall opened her door, standing in her nightie and hair curlers, shouting some incomprehensible, whining mass of words. Sen waved her away and quickly descended the stairs.


Outside, it was a crisp night. Perhaps I should have worn a coat tonight, Sen thought as he felt the chill. I don’t have a coat, Sen thought again, annoyed by the fact. The street he lived on was empty. A dirty newspaper page floated down the street, disappearing into the swirling steam flowing from the manhole cover in the middle of the road. He unlocked a small, heavily graffitied garage door, sliding it open with a lot of noise. Inside was largely bare, a metal cupboard, a set of work drawers for tools, and a covered up motorcycle. From atop the drawers Sen picked a pair of black leather biker gloves, the type with holes in the knuckles. He grabbed at the sheet covering his bike and whipped it away quickly. Beneath, the shining vehicle caught the orange light of the street lights, illuminating it like fire. Its bulky body gleamed, obviously very well taken care of. A Triumph Rocket III, imported from Europe some years ago. Not an easy thing to get through customs, but when you had connections in both the Yakuza and the Army, things went a lot smoother. Still incredibly expensive though. One of the few things of any value that Sen owned at all. That and his weapons. He checked an expert eye over the vehicle, looking for any scratches, bumps or leaks. The slightest fault or change since he’d last checked it. It all looked fine.


He unclipped the saddle bag at the rear of the bike, over the back wheel. Flipping the leather cover aside, he checked its contents: four extra magazines for the Eagle, one Chinese QBZ-95 assault rifle and three clips for it. Another keepsake from the Army, you could say. Sen rubbed the corners of both eyes with his thumb and forefinger, and yawned. He wanted to go back to bed, but he knew he couldn’t. A man could never really rest in his line of work. He rolled his bike forward into the street, the lights reflecting on it growing more dazzling. He closed the garage door and moved back to his bike. He lifted his leg over, the beast bouncing slightly as it took his weight. He fired up the ignition and rolled into the night, disappearing as the paper had done into the steam from below.