Chapter 1 –
" Hey, Takuya, where are you going?"
Takuya looked round. Standing behind him was Arei Tara, one of his co-workers at the Akuzura Gaming Company.
" I'm going up to see the big man himself, Mr Akuzura," grinned Takuya. " At his personal request."
" Really? What have you and Chisa been up to this time?" asked Arei dryly.
" Nothing! Chisa doesn't even work here anymore…" replied Takuya. " I haven't done anything wrong. He probably just wants to congratulate me on all my hard work."
" Ha, yeah right," said Arei. " See you later Takuya."
" Bye Arei."
Zoe was the receptionist of the Akuzura Gaming Company, and she too had been mysteriously summoned to Mr Akuzura's office.
" Maybe he fancies you!" exclaimed Rin.
" Ew, no way!" shuddered Zoe. " With any luck he'll be offering me a pay rise."
" Or maybe he's going to fire you," put in Kiya.
" I hope not," smiled Zoe. " Well, I better go up there. Bye!"
" Bye Zoe," said Kiya.
" Good luck!" added Rin.
Takuya took a deep breath, and raised his hand to the door of Mr Akuzura's office. He knocked, and his hand went straight through.
" Damn paper doors," he growled, before sliding the door open. The elderly Mr Akuzura was sitting at his desk, and standing right in front of him was Zoe.
" Ah, Mr Kanbara, I see you've broken my door," Mr Akuzura gave him a wide smile. " Miss Orimoto gave me a lovely box of choccies!"
" Suck up," Takuya muttered. Zoe glared at him.
" I'm sure you're both wondering why I brought you here today," Mr Akuzura paused. " Wow. I sound important. Anyway, our story starts three years ago. A woman named Mrs Minamoto was found at her home with severe burns all over her face and arms. Now, she is scarred for life. She blames Koji Minamoto, her stepson, but he has always protested his innocence. Right now, Koji is on his way to the Tokyo Outpost Prison in Kyoto, to stand trial."
" So?" interrupted Takuya.
" So you two have been selected to take Koji there." finished Mr Akuzura.
" What!" they exclaimed.
" You heard me," he nodded. " And it's no mistake. You have been specially requested by the head of Tokyo Outpost Prison, Junpei Shibayama."
" Junpei…" echoed Zoe.
She and Takuya exchanged horrified glances.
" J.P.!" they cried in unison.
" He – llo Zoe!"
" Oh, hey J.P."
" Oh Zo – e!"
" I was wondering if you wanted to go out with me?"
" No way! I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and Takuya Kanbara, and that's saying something."
Ninth grade, sports day.
" Oh man! I am so going to win this race!"
" Ha! In your dreams J.P."
" Whatever Takuya."
The race begins.
" I knew it! I'm winning! This is the greatest moment – ah!"
" Hey J.P.! I told you you wouldn't win! Trust you to trip!"
Takuya and Zoe looked at each other again.
"Oh God," muttered Zoe.
" So get packing you two," said Mr Akuzura. " Koji and his Police Escort will be arriving in half an hour. It's a long way to walk to Kyoto."
" We're walking!" shouted Takuya
" I'm not going to bother being surprised," said Zoe dully.
" Oh quit complaining you two," laughed Mr Akuzura. " You are each being paid quite a bit for your troubles."
" That's the least of my worries," muttered Takuya.
Koji and his escort were nearing the Akuzura Gaming Company. The police, all armed with guns, chattered away, but Koji remained silent. They would be travelling a quarter of a mile behind him and his two 'companions', so there would be plenty of time to escape. He wondered what this 'Takuya' and 'Zoe' would be like.
Koji looked round. Standing beside him, unnoticed by the incredibly dense police escort, was his twin brother.
" Koichi, what are you doing here?" whispered Koji.
" I'm here to rescue you!" replied Koichi.
" Not here, it's to dangerous. I'm surprised these guys haven't noticed you. I know you're in a police uniform, and they're really thick, but still…"
" But now's as good a time as any!" argued Koichi.
" I will escape, in time. Just give me a chance to have some fun first," Koji grinned. " Now get out of here!"
When Koji arrived at the Akuzura Gaming Company, Takuya and Zoe were waiting outside. He took one look at them and raised his eyebrows in disbelief.
" Hello, Mr Kanbara and Miss Orimoto," said the head of the Police Escort. " We will remain a quarter of a mile behind you, in case you need any assistance."
" Um… thanks," replied Takuya uncertainly.
They set off down the street, and all Koji could think about was how much fun he was going to have…