Disclaimer: Saiyuki doesn't belong to me.
A/N: Thanks to all reviewers! Much obliged for your comments :) I hope you enjoy this chapter
Y - - - - - Foundation, Tokyo
"Well?" He smiled as he sat down, the ever-present cigarette dangling from his lips.
"How are things going?"
"Marvellously… Shinaka flew out yesterday and she's confirmed that it's the one. No problems there."
"Oh?" she purred, tapping her long nails on the desk-surface, "Then how do you explain this?" She slammed a newspaper on the desk and crossed her arms, daring him silently to challenge the facts. Nii drew it towards him and glanced at the front page.
"Famous Archaeologist dies at Excavation Site! Police are Investigating," he read out loud. He shrugged. "Accidents happen, Milady."
"Accidents?" she repeated, with barely contained fury. "I thought I expressively said that there were to be no unexplained deaths or accidents, Nii. I told you, I cannot afford to have my Foundation linked with any of this."
"We won't be," he replied confidently. "When they perform the autopsy they'll find out that he died due to a chest infection which he neglected. Poor Sir Archibald was prone to these kinds of maladies but tended to treat them as being nothing of particular consequence."
She leaned back and watched him, eyes narrowed.
"He refused to cooperate," Nii explained, "and unfortunately, he threatened to 'expose our nefarious plots to the highest authorities' as he put it." His eyes gleamed behind his glasses. "As you put it yourself, we can't afford to be linked to this, so we had to eliminate him."
"I hope our agents have not made any foolish mistakes, Nii."
He took out a thick file and handed it to her. "The full report, ma'am."
"Another time, I want to be told about this before, not read about it in the newspaper. Understand?" Nii nodded. She flipped through the report before placing it on her desk. She looked squarely at the scientist. "I hope you know what you're doing, Nii."
He cracked his knuckles thoughtfully. "Does anyone?"
She chose to ignore that. Instead she rose and walked over to one of the various shelves in the spacious office. Nii followed her with his eyes. She was attractive in her own way, and despite the fact that she was not a tall woman, she emanated power and authority. It went with being the heiress of such an empire, he supposed. He had seen her reduce one of her chief executives to tears and enjoy every minute of it. A hard woman, and an ambitious one.
She drew a file and came back to the desk, sitting so as to face Nii.
"This is the third we've managed to acquire… any traces of the last two?"
"Not yet, but we'll find them."
"What about the boy?"
"My little Ryou is shaping well."
"My little Ryou?" she raised her eyebrows. "Dear me, is Nii going soft in his old age?"
Nii laughed as he stabbed out his cigarette. "He amuses me. Far more than any experiment I've tried before. I think I've grown more fond of my little puppet than of any bunny I've had before."
"Dammit! Can't you be serious for once?"
"Life's too short for that. What exactly did you want to know?"
"How is the training going?"
"He's very bright, though of course, not yet up to my level. He obeys what I say without question, and I believe that he's perfectly loyal to me." Nii grinned. "All in all I'm satisfied."
"Hmm...If you say so." She glanced at a couple of notes. "What's this about letting him go out alone? I thought that the whole point of this was not to let others influence his thinking process."
"Bless you, I don't send him out to socialise!" Nii laughed and shook his head. "Don't want him to acquire any strange ideas. But he must learn that there's a world outside these four walls, and the sooner he hates it the better."
Catching the puzzled look on her face, he sought to explain. "People on the outside look at him strangely because he's a gaijin. Blond hair and violet eyes in Japan? Plus, I send him to the darker areas of the city where he will encounter only hostility. Feeling lost, out of place… that will make him cling closer to me and what I represent. He'll appreciate this place and its safety. Out there isn't easy." He took out his cigarette case and offered her a cigarette, which she declined. The dark-haired man lit one and inhaled deeply. "He doesn't enjoy the experience, but I've told him he needs to do it to improve his scouting skills. He then writes a report on what he's seen, people he talked to, where he's gone to and the time he spent in each place. Koryou can be quite observant when he wants to."
"He might not be telling the truth. And he might get hurt, especially in these kind of places."
"He's adept at protecting himself. I've also planted a little bug in his shoes, so that I can follow his movements." He grinned. "Much as I trust my little rabbit, I prefer making sure that he's completely truthful."
She nodded her approval. "Very well. But have someone shadow him, just in case. We don't want anything to happen to him after all this trouble."
"To hear is to obey, my fair lady," Nii replied, giving a mock bow. She sniffed disdainfully.
"Have you traced the fourth one?"
"Not yet. But he'll turn up sooner or later, I'm sure of that… He's an important pawn in this game." He crossed his legs and waited.
Her next question took him by surprise.
"What's it in for you Dr Nii?"
"What's it in for me?" he repeated thoughtfully. He chuckled suddenly. "I tag along for the entertainment value, of course."
She drew back in her chair, and glared at him. "Are you making fun of me?"
"Never." He ran his long, slender fingers through his hair. "I like challenges, milady, and this is the most intriguing thing I've come across so far." He smiled disarmingly. "Plus, this job comes with a lot of fringe benefits."
Her eyes gleamed with sudden understanding. Smiling, she rose from her chair. "Why have I the feeling that you haven't told me everything, Nii?" she purred.
"Why, you hurt me." He watched her as she moved, like a hawk eyeing its prey. "I've never lied to you, my dear."
"And you'd better not start now," she whispered throatily as she grabbed him by the front of his shirt and pressed her lips to his.
Police Station, Tokyo.
He took a sip of coffee and frowned. "You're sure he's not faking?"
"I don't think so, sir. He would have tripped with all the questions we've asked so far." The police officer glanced over at the sleeping figure. "He just said that he was hungry and that he wasn't sure where he came from. The kid gave us his name readily enough, but had no clue to what he was doing there, or where his parents were. Just said that the angel said he'd call for help, and then we turned up."
"The kid was pretty confused at that point. I guess he might have imagined something while he was delirious." The policeman shrugged. "He was running a slight fever; the nurse gave him some junior aspirin for till the doc sees him."
The sergeant rubbed his temples. "Have you checked to see if he's one of the children reported missing?"
"Yes, sir. But there were no matching descriptions."
"How'd you find him?"
"Some kid phoned the police saying there was a boy lying in the street. Whoever phoned got scared and hung up real quick when we started asking questions, just gave us the street name and said we should hurry if we didn't want to find a dead body instead of a live one."
"Hmm…" Sergeant Walks glanced down at his notes. "Well, unless someone reports him missing, or he gets his memory back there's little we can do." He pushed his chair back and stood up. "I want him given a full physical checkup. Get asocial worker to talk to him." He wrote something down in his file. "They'll probably arrange to put him in foster care or in one of the children's homes." He paused before leaving. "What did you say he said his name was?"
Koryou walked hurriedly quickly through the dark streets, trying to make up for the time he had lost. Why had he made that stupid phone-call? He hadn't been authorised to do any such stupid thing. Damn! He'd seen junkies lying in the street, grown men beating each other over a prostitute and on one memorable occasion a shooting. But he'd never even thought to call the police. Then, he trips over a silly little kid lying face down on the street and he calls the police. The police! Why?
The kid had just looked at him, like a whipped puppy and he… Oh heck. Just how would he explain that?
He thrust his hands in his pockets and walked faster.
He hoped Nii wouldn't be angry.
I can't believe I've updated this quickly. ;) Excuse all this back-story, but it's all part of the plot. Please leave a comment, I like to know what people think :) Thanks for reading!