Chapter 41: One Down, Two to Go
There was quite a scene at the Kaiba Corporation Headquarters that day. The grisly remains of its former (and late) owner and CEO, Seto Kaiba, still lay on the pavement before the main entrance doors. Several news reporters were seen amongst the throngs of people who crowded around the building, where only a handful were selected to cover the situation. Officers of the city's recently established Sector Security were at work while these things were going on. Those outside had to maintain the public from interfering, while others questioned witnesses to gather more information. "Tragedy strikes today in the world of finance and gaming," stated a reporter, "Seto Kaiba, former CEO of KaibaCorp, has committed suicide. Witnesses say that the CEO leapt out of his office floor at approximately noon and yelled out the name of his deceased rival, Yugi Mutou. Sector Security has yet to divulge further information, but... wait, what's this? This just in: the new owner of Kaiba Corp has just been announced. It's..."
"Monte Cristo Hakushaku?" asked Captain Tetsuo Ushio to the count, "That's everything you remember about this incident? Nothing else to add?"
"Yes, Captain. I wish I could be of further assistance to you and your men with this situation." replied Monte Cristo, relieved that he would not spend anymore time with his former high school tormentor.
"Well?" whispered Ushio to a fellow officer. "He passed the lie detector test, sir." replied the subordinate. "Nothing indicates that he had an ulterior motive for visiting the late Mr. Kaiba." Ushio turned his head towards Monte Cristo and then back to the officer. "I see then. Let's try to clean up the mess outside. Hakushaku, thank you for your time. You may go."
Monte Cristo nodded and headed outside the office. "Hakushaku?" asked one of KaibaCorp's Directors of the Board, "We know that this is neither the time nor place, but would you please join us tonight at eight to make the first of your business decisions? Or perhaps you would like to appoint someone to run the company for you?"
"Yes, I would be honored tonight to accommodate your request. I will also announce who shall run this company in my place, although I would still be the majority shareholder and owner. Until tonight then, gentlemen." The count went outside the building and avoided the crowd, despite their persistent hounding, and found solace inside his limo. He took out his cell phone from his jacket pocket and made a brief glance at it. Ah, amazing what technology can do these days. Monte Cristo recalled that prior to his visit with Kaiba, he set up his cell phone to deliver a prerecorded call from 'Mokuba' in order to drive him off the edge. Of course, the number was fixed as to make it seem like it was from Mokuba's cell phone. One down, two to go.
"Where to, Excellency?" asked Rafael. His master replied, "To Joseph Wheeler's estate. I believe it's time for me to make some transactions."
"Very well, Excellency."
At the Wheelers' estate, all was not well. Joey and Mai neither saw eye-to-eye nor talk with the other since the other day. The blonde banker was already on the verge of bankruptcy, along with his reputation ruined from almost having a notorious criminal marry into his family. Without his sister, Joey was nothing more than a pathetic shell of a man. Everything he did in order to gain greater wealth and renown was so that he could get out of his late father's shadow, as well as help Serenity. He was tempted by the bottle of sake he had just placed on his desk in the study. But he would not be like his father, who eventually died of alcohol poisoning a few years ago. He gathered his thoughts as what to do now...
"Mr. Wheeler, Monte Cristo Hakushaku is here to see you, sir." said Wheeler's butler, surprising the hotheaded banker.
"Ah, bring him in."
The self-professed nobleman entered the banker's study, with a briefcase in tow. "Good afternoon, Mr. Wheeler. I'm terribly sorry for the events that occurred the other day." said the count, masking his agenda behind his friendly persona. After shaking hands with his client, Joey offered him a seat in front of his desk. The blonde promptly seated himself in the desk chair, facing Monte Cristo.
"Don't be. My reputation would have been much worse off if that fake aristocrat's identity was revealed after he was married to my sister. Speaking of whom, she has gone missing without a word since that incident."
"I see." said Monte Cristo, feigning sympathy. "At any rate, you still have some money leftover, my dear banker?"
"Yes, I do, Hakushaku. It's not much, but it'll be enough until I can use my 'midas touch' once I get back in the stock market."
There was a brief pause in the conversation. Wheeler was hard at work, thinking of anything else to say, and then he remembered what he saw on the news not too long ago. He put down his pen on top of the 5 bearer bonds he was filled out and said, "Oh, how silly of me to forget to mention earlier, Hakushaku. I was too busy writing out these bearer bonds, drawn on the Bank of Tokyo. Congratulations on your ownership of Kaiba Corp. Too bad about Kaiba, though; I heard what happened to him... Might I ask, what prompted your buying out of the company?"
"Mr. Wheeler, you should know that the only one that can command the Count of Monte Cristo is himself." replied the nobleman. "However, as you and I are friends, I shall let you in on a little secret. You see, the reason why I bought out Kaiba Corp was because... I was bored."
The banker immediately did a double take at this answer. Quickly regaining his composure, Joey said, "I see... Well, then. I have another question to ask, if that's all right with you?"
"Go ahead, my dear banker." complied Monte Cristo, acting as casual as one can possibly be.
Wheeler, curious, asked, "Yes, well, what brings you here today, unannounced?"
"To offer my condolences about the terrible series of unfortunate events that befell you, of course."
"Of course..." muttered Joey, gritting his teeth.
The banker looked back up to his prestigious client with interest. "And?"
"And, because I have come here to finish my business with you today. I see you are just about done with those bearer bonds on top of your desk; as such, I will collect them as soon as you finish filling them out. And you do recall that letter you received from the Bank of Tokyo before our initial meeting? That I have limitless credit on your firm."
The banker paled upon hearing these words. "But, your Excellency. These bearer bonds... I... each is worth $1 billion. And they're for..."
"Do not worry, Mr. Wheeler. I had one of my servants make a $1 billion deposit instead of a withdrawal after our first transaction. You can keep my last $1 billion as a charge for me taking these off your hands."
Joey lost his dignity and pride. "You are too generous, Excellency..."
"Why, you are too kind, my dear banker. Have a nice day." The Count bowed to the banker, who in turned did the same. And with that, Monte Cristo left Wheeler's estate, satisfied that he ruined his former friend. If I know him, and I do, then he'll do exactly what I expect him to do.
A few hours later, Joey was spotted getting into his car with a briefcase in tow. Little did he know that he was being spied upon from a distance. "He's getting into his car, sir." informed one of the men spying on the morally bankrupt banker. The leader called one of his contacts through a secure line. The man on the other phone was fed information. He ordered, "Good. Now follow him. I trust that you and your men know what to do next?"
"Indeed, Hakushaku." replied Boss Lam.
"Then go." said Monte Cristo on his phone. "I have other business to attend to tonight." Both men hung up and went on with that night's schedule. Black cars discreetly followed Joey that evening. Meanwhile, Monte Cristo was preparing to deal with Kaiba Corp's Board of Directors in an hour from now. He looked at the ravishing brunette sleeping next to him on his bed.
"Téa..." muttered Yugi, melancholically. He promptly got up and dressed himself in the ornate and trailer-sized closet adjoining his bedroom. When he returned to the main part of the master bedroom, he saw Téa already up, standing with the covers draped around her naked body.
"Sorry for not waking you up. I thought you might need some more sleep, considering all that what's happened to you in one night." apologized Mutou to his childhood friend and lover.
"Don't be... after what you and I just did this afternoon..." hotly whispered Téa into his ear. Yugi blushed. "I'd better get going now. You're welcome to stay as long as you want. I'll see you tonight." said Mutou in a flushed manner. "Rafael, drive me to Kaiba Corp Headquarters. Now."
"Yes, your Excellency." replied the count's right-hand man, who followed his old friend and master. As soon as they were in the limousine, the valet spoke out what was in his mind, "If the other Ojou-sama knew about her visit... I'm afraid that I won't be able to help you. After all, Excellency, 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'"
"Indeed, Rafael. Which is why I had ordered Valon escort Rebecca to the country house in the T-region. Now, off to Kaiba Corporation HQ."
Later that same evening, Monte Cristo Hakushaku met up and conversed with Kaiba Corp's Board of Directors in the board room. A certain journalist was shown to be covering this event. After the handshakes and other formalities were done away with, the count and the board members seated themselves at their respective chairs. "As the new owner of Kaiba Corp, it is my duty to let you all know about how I envision the future of this company. However, I regret to inform you that I have no actual intention of running this company."
Murmurs were heard amongst the throng of reporters and board members alike. "Instead, I have decided to appoint someone else to act as CEO of Kaiba Corp in my place." revealed Monte Cristo, "Ladies and gentlemen, let us all give a warm welcome to the new president of this company: Mr. Mokuba Kaiba!"
The count outstretched his right arm and pointed it in the door's direction. A young man in his mid-to-late twenties entered the room, anxious but ready. As Mokuba walked across the room, people slowly but surely began to clap in his presence. The news reporter (Mokuba's friend, Kazuki Takahashi) glanced at the newly appointed CEO and nodded in approval. "Big news in the financial world tonight! Mokuba Kaiba, younger brother to the late Seto Kaiba, has been announced as the new CEO of the Kaiba Corporation!" reported Takahashi to his cameraman.
Mokuba promptly made his congratulatory speech and let it be known of his plans regarding the future of his company, especially one particular plan in mind. "And last but not least, I intend to establish a charitable foundation, one that will give back to the people who suffered from this company's previous business practices. Namely, from the military projects and weapons developed and produced during my late adopted father's reign. And from my late brother's machinations regarding the duel monsters card game..."
After the meeting was over, Mokuba had spoken with his old friend and benefactor, Monte Cristo Hakushaku, in a private room. "What an eventful night, Yugi. I'm surprised that you had me to replace my late brother." said the younger Kaiba, who was uncomfortable in his business suit.
"Mokuba, my reason for doing so was because I had complete faith and trust in you taking over from here on. After all, my first choice was Duke Devlin, but he politely declined my offer. As such, you were the only one left who was qualified for this position."
"I get it. It's because of my character." said Mokuba, loosening his tie. "And... I think it's also because you probably think this is one way for me to redeem Seto's... faults against you."
"I'm sorry, but yes." replied Yugi, sadly. "Well, then. I trust you know what to do with things here. Now, let us celebrate this occasion not with the air of gloom and doom, but with the air of fascination and hope."
"Yes, let's." said Mokuba, having regained his cheerful self. Just then, Monte Cristo's cell phone rang as soon as they were leaving the private room. "Yes, Mr. Devlin? What happened? Very well, I am on my way there now."
"Is there something wrong, Hakushaku?" asked Mokuba.
"It appears that an old friend needs my help. I'm sorry to leave earlier than expected, my young friend." replied Monte Cristo, now concerned, "But I must bid you adieu!" After bowing to the young man, the count left the building and had Rafael drive him to his next destination for that night.