Ch 55

V 1.0

Hinata Inn Dormitory
Hinata City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Metro Tokyo, Japan
end of January, late Friday afternoon

Keitaro Urashima always knew that Kaolla Su had the potential to be dangerous beyond her development of Mecha-Tama and MolMolTech, but this was the first time he had visual proof of it.

After the mess at the high school had been dealt with, the young ronin had returned to the Hinata-sou by trolley, going over what had happened that day in his mind. Most of his plans to deal with the bullies that had attacked Shinobu-chan had been derailed when he had spoken with the principal and informed about the website with the illegally obtained data from the mobile phones of the three girls involved in the assault. It only took a few moments for Keitaro to realize what had happened; Su had used her MolMolTech supercomputer to hack into and download every email, text message, photo and video stored on the devices, and after scrubbing the names of every other person off the data posted it for every student and staff member at Kanazawa High School to peruse at their leisure, sending them emails and text messages with links to the site. This material was also sent to the Tokyo Police Department in unaltered bulk form to their juvenile and sex crimes units, along with a helpful notice that the website would be taken down after six hours.

True to the hacker's word the website disappeared at the appointed time, and despite the best efforts of the Ministry of Justice Section 9 cybercrimes unit, there was no way to backtrack to the originator. The best that the lead investigator had to tell him was that the website had been set up in the Dark Web in a server tentatively located in mainland Southeast Asia before they got lost in a maze of encrypted servers that bounced through every continent on the planet. Thanking the investigator for her assistance, Keitaro had then rode with Detective Ishikawa and his partner Detective Miyazaki to the high school and met with two uniformed TPD officers in order to pull the bullies from class to take them into custody for questioning.

Refusing an offered ride home by the detectives, Keitaro used the time on the trolley to put his thoughts in order. After seeing how angry Su had looked after hearing the news about Shinobu and Sarah, it was all that he could do to keep her from storming off to her research shed to fire up Mecha-Tama and loaded it up with the energy weapons and mini-rockets it had been previously equipped with before Keitaro had taken over as manager of the Inn. In fact, it had taken a chi-laced shout to cause the islander girl to halt in her tracks. The look on her face when she turned around was totally alien to her; there was no mistaking her intention to hurt those that had assaulted her friend. It had only been the teary-eyed look on Shinobu's face, who had been brought back to the Hinata-sou with her leg wrapped and on crutches, that finally caused Su to calm down somewhat. It had taken some time to get Su to promise that she would not hunt down and hurt the bullies, but after Keitaro finally brought out the big guns in the form of threatening to call her family she finally agreed. The ronin should have realized the blonde islander girl had given in too easily but he had been distracted by Naru's histrionics upon hearing the news and had been too busy keeping her from rushing out to find the bullies herself to see Su turn and walk upstairs to her room, an angry but thoughtful look on her face.

Climbing up the last of the stairs, Keitaro entered the house and said hello to the two young girls in the kitchen. Shinobu could not be on her feet for very long due to her leg injury but she could sit at the table and prepare ingredients that Nyamo would bring to her, then the dusky islander girl would cook the food according to the blunette's instructions. After seeing that everything was going well, he turned and walked out the back door, having been told that Su was in the back yard.

Expecting to find the girl in her research shed, Keitaro was surprised to hear the sounds of grunts and blows coming from the training area of the yard. This was a small grassy patch of ground where the Urashima did some of their martial arts practice, with thick oaken posts set deep into the earth with leather and rope wrapped around the top and middle of the posts, right about where an opponent's head and abdomen would be. Keitaro used the posts for punching practice and Kanako would do punching and kicking drills, but now someone else was kicking the posts as hard as she could.

Keitaro had previously seen Kaolla Su do what could be called gymnastics play on the grass behind the Hinata-sou; handstands, cartwheels, spins, leaping kicks, front and back flips and so on. But now the blonde islander was doing all of that to an oaken post with devastating effect. Each flip and kick and spin was impacting the wooden post with her feet, and it was starting to cause the post to tilt from one side to the other, something that he could only do by using chi to enhance his blows. Looking at her with the limited form of chi sight he had, he could see that while she not at the level of an experienced Urashima-ryu practitioner, Su was using chi to add to her blows and reinforce her body.

After watching her for a few moments, Keitaro noticed two things; Su was performing full force strikes with her bare feet, and instead of her normal abbreviated school girl outfit that she wore at home, she was wearing what looked to be a multicolored sarong, wrapped around one shoulder and around her chest and hips and left loose around her legs down to her ankles. He would have thought that form of dress to be restrictive, but he was apparently wrong as he watched her do three wheel kicks in a row, the fabric flowing loose as she spun around, loose enough to show the white panties she was wearing under it. Keitaro shook his head as he remembered Haruka telling him that it had taken six months to get the blonde islander girl to wear underwear under her clothes when she had first arrived at the Hinata-sou. It had finally taken threatening to cut back her daily banana allotment to finally get the pouting girl to do it consistently, but an increase of panty flashing took its place.

The girl finally appeared to tire and ceased with her kicking, instead starting what looked to be a form of dance, one that looked familiar. The blonde would step forward at an angle and then step back before stepping forward at the opposite angle and back again, swinging her arms back and forth. After a few moments Keitaro finally recognized what it was; the ginga, the fundamental footwork of Caporeira. The Brazilian martial art had been developed by African slaves, and was initially designed to be used by someone who had their hands and feet chained, therefore relying on their feet and legs for striking with flips and handstand spin kicks. The slaves would hide their practice in plain sight by singing and playing musical instruments as they made their deadly martial art look like dancing.

After watching a few minutes and realizing that he had to make the first move, Keitaro finally spoke. "Who taught you how to fight like that, Su-chan?"

The blond girl halted her movement and after a few seconds replied, her back still turned toward him. "Maria Nacimento, one of family bodyguards. She come from Brazil, grandfather taught her to fight but no one take her serious because she was girl. Started traveling, studying fighting in Asia, wound up in MolMol, hear that my family looking for strong female fighters. Head bodyguard Rebecca say no, she too small, only as tall as Sarah-chan." Keitaro could remember how tall the blonde bodyguard was when he met her during Amalla Su's visit; every guard in her team was at least 180 cm tall. "Maria challenge all bodyguard to fight her, she fight them all at once by herself and win. Rebecca hire her as guard, works undercover as close protection when cannot use obvious guards. She see that I like to play, so taught me same fight style as her grandfather." Su finally turned around, a slight frown on her face. "One of reasons I allowed to live in Japan, can protect self," Keitaro suppressed a snort at that; at the level Su fought at, it would take destructive strikes or using chi techniques to take the islander girl down.

"When did she start teaching you how to fight?" Given that Su was fifteen years old she was at a very high level for someone who was not completely dedicated to training.

"Start flips, kicks, spins at age eight, start contact fighting at age ten. She play with me every day, always sing when dancing. Miss that about training. She go back home to visit sick grandfather before I come to Japan, so no say proper goodbye before come here." Su looked sad for a moment before her expression hardened up as she looked at him. "You no come to watch me play, you have something to say to me?"

"You were responsible for what happened to those three girls at school, weren't you?" There was no use in beating around the bush when speaking to Su, so Keitaro decided to ask her straight out.

"Yes." Su was looking up at Keitaro with a defiant expression on her face.

"You made a promise not to hurt those girls." The manager was looking down at the islander girl, his words both a statement and a question.

"I made promise not to hurt them physically. No break promise." Su's gaze was locked with Keitaro, not intimidated in the least.

"You don't think ruining their reputations and possibly their lives doesn't break your promise to me?" Keitaro's eyes narrowed as he spoke.

"No." The glare on Su's face intensified.

"By raiding their phones, you ruined any possible criminal case that could be brought against them. The courts won't accept evidence that was illegally obtained. The police will question and investigate them but have to let them go and then what?" Keitaro asked rhetorically.

"Then they gone." Keitaro blinked at Su's response, who continued speaking. "Teachers at school no care about bullies hitting, stealing, groping other students. Waste of time to tell, then called snitch, tattletale by other students. Only thing bullies understand is pain and fear. Bullies no mess with me, Sarah-chan, Naru-san, Motoko-chan because they know we hurt them. All adults do is talk, they no do anything to protect. Bullies try to hurt me first week at school, took three different fights to stop. If bullies stupid enough attack now, kick to face stop."

"You could have told me…" Keitaro was cut off as Su made an angry slashing motion with her hand.

"You already know! You know what happen with Sarah-chan and she defend self! She no take shit from no one and boys still try things! What do you think happen to Shinobu-chan, no fight, no tell on bullies! Why do you think I always near her, bullies at school eat her alive! Before Motoko-chan help protect, now just me! My fault she hurt!" Su's spoken Japanese was degrading the angrier she got.

"It wasn't your fault, Su-chan." While trying not to show it, Keitaro was taken aback at how angry the islander girl was.

"It my fault! If no rush home to Mecha-Tama, Shinobu-chan no left alone in school! Stupid bitches never attack! I hear what happen to Shinobu-chan, redhead bully about to kick her in chest, in head! THEY HURT MY FRIEND!" Su was panting after screaming the last part.

"Shinobu-chan only person who treat me like normal girl here in Japan. No care if foreigner, no care I talk funny, no care that I too smart, no care my family royal! Everyone else treat me with kid gloves, like weirdo! Even when move to Hinata-sou other tenants no treat me normal, too nervous about family. Granny Hina closest to treat well, but she always busy, then she leave. Not until Shinobu-chan come to live here that I have real friend. No will let anyone hurt her." There was a note of finality in Su's last sentence.

"You went too far with what you did with that phone hack, Su-chan." Keitaro did not have a real problem with Su's protective feelings toward her friends, but with the illegal activities she had done to get retribution.

"You think I use everything I find on those girls?" Seeing confusion on Keitaro's face Su explained herself. "I no just hack girls, I investigate their families too. One family have debt and gambling problems, other family has father who have drinking problem, sometimes abuses wife, police keep quiet for now. Worst information is not illegal, will still ruin lives if come out. Had to look up what burakumin means."

Keitaro went still at the word. Burakumin, literally hamlet people, were the descendants of the lowest caste of feudal Japanese society, people who were considered polluted or tainted by death such as undertakers, executioners, leather tanners, sanitation and slaughterhouse workers and therefore untouchable. Such people lived in separate villages or hamlets, hence the name, and had been massively discriminated against during feudal times, where they had been know as eta, filth. They had been legally considered only worth 1/7 of a person and could be killed by samurai without repercussions. Legal discrimination ended with the feudal era, but social discrimination continued until modern times. Even now burakumin descendants would have trouble with marriage prospects and employment if their background became known. They had also been considered to have criminal tendencies, and as an unfortunate result sometimes did wind up as criminals due to lesser prospects. It was estimated that sixty to seventy percent of the yakuza had a burakumin background, who perversely took pride in the fact that they protected their own from discrimination.

"So what are you going to do with that info?" Su was right, if she released that information lives would be ruined.

"Right now, nothing. They not the ones that hurt Shinobu-chan." Seeing the expression on Keitaro's face harden, Su continued. "Only thing I care about is protecting Shinobu-chan. If bullies no come back to school, no attack again, no use information, no need. I do what I have to protect my friend, Otherwise I make their lives living hell."

"You would hurt innocents in your vengeance?" Keitaro's voice was completely flat.

"These people no innocents. They do something wrong, that why information there." Su gave an uncaring shrug.

"And the one who is burakumin? You would hurt someone with their own ancestry, something they had no control over? Hurt their family?" Keitaro's voice had reached the freezing point.

"That girl is only child of single mother. She work as bar girl, in soaplands, is drunk. She no innocent. She reason her daughter like she is." Su tilted her head slightly. "Let me ask question, who is more important, Shinobu-chan or bully girls?"

"Shinobu-chan, of course." Keitaro did not hesitate in answering.

"We agree. If bully girls so stupid as to attack girl they know is my friend, they deserve to burn. So make deal, I send info packet to bully families, tell them to pull girls from school, send elsewhere, never to return or see again."

"You would threaten families with this? If you did this I could ask you leave the Hinata-sou." Keitaro's face had gone blank. While her actions were not specifically against the Inn rules, the Urashima could ask a tenant to leave for actions or behavior that would bring dishonor or disgrace to the Hinata Inn.

"Then I tell Shinobu-chan that you tell me to leave because I protecting her. That this happened because I make promise to you that I no hurt those girls physically. That I do this so no one hurt her again." Su stared at Keitaro for a moment. "How this different than what you do for Sarah-chan? You threaten school staff, bullying against Sarah-chan stop. I threaten stupid girls, they stop. Not so different, you and me."

Keitaro winced internally. There really was not that much difference between his threatening the school administrators with losing their jobs and what Su was planning to do. The only real difference was that he was doing it semi-legally, abet with massive string-pulling, and Su had done it illegally, for which they did not have any solid proof.

"We make deal, right here and now. You make sure bully girls no come back, I no use info, I consider matter finished. But if they come back, that mean your protection of Shinobu-chan fail, I no longer keep my promise. I deal with them, one way," Su turned around to face the punching post and with a snarled growl executed a high roundhouse kick that knocked the post over to a 45 degree angle in the ground. Turning back Su finished her sentence, panting slightly. "Or the other."

Keitaro stared at the glaring girl for thirty seconds before speaking. The expression on her face reminded him of a phrase he had come across; No beast so fierce. "First, you give me a copy of all the information you gathered on the families." Since everything was electronic data now, there was no way to confirm that Su would comply with a demand to destroy her blackmail material. Seeing her eyebrow rise at the condition, he explained. "I am going to be the one to deal with the families, not you." Su nodded agreement and he continued. "Second, you don't attack them unless they are the aggressors and if you have to fight them nothing lethal or permanent."

"No lethal or permanent unless they going to use first. No risk Shinobu-chan's life for stupid people." Su replied.

The two stared at each other for almost a full minute before Keitaro gave a sigh. "Agreed."

Su relaxed slightly. "Will give you flash drive with data later today. And no tell Shinobu-chan. She too nice, she ask me no hurt people." She turned back toward the post and started to straighten it up.

"Would you do what she says?" Keitaro asked curiously.

Su looked over her shoulder. "I will protect my friend," she said in a tone that was absolute before turning back and pushing on the post again.

Keitaro nodded slightly. "It's almost time for dinner, I'll see you inside." Hearing a non-committal grunt from the islander girl, the young man turned and walked back to the house.


Hinata Inn Dormitory
Hinata City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Metro Tokyo, Japan
end of January, early afternoon Saturday

"Oh my gods, this feels so good," Aki Wakirihara moaned out loud as she slid into a sitting position. Her boyfriend Shinji Kazama sunk down beside her, his face red more from the sensual tone of his girlfriend's words and from the looks that everyone around was giving them than from the ambient temperature. Hikari Horaki however was now the same shade of crimson normally seen only on boiled lobsters.

"You know Aki-san, you could make a career out of being an adult anime voice actress with a voice like that." Sarah McDougal slid into place opposite her, her face getting red from the heat as well.

"If I'm going to be making sexy voices I'm going to be needing help doing it. Interested in helping Shin-chan and me out Sarah-kun?" Aki leered at the girl across from her.

"I'd rather sing in front of class again than do that." Sarah slid down so her chin was barely above the water of the hot spring. Aki had called the blonde on her mobile phone to check up on her the day after the attack on Shinobu at school, since none of the girls from the Hinata Inn had come to school. Hearing that both Sarah and Shinobu were recovering well, Aki offered to bring over their book bags to the Inn, which had been left behind at school since they had been in a hurry to get medical care for the two girls. The American girl was thoughtful for a moment before telling her friend that she needed to speak to her guardian about an idea and that she would call her back shortly.

Ten minutes later Sarah called and told her that she, Shinji and Hikari were invited to the Hinata Inn for dinner as thanks for their help at school, and that Keitaro was arranging for a car to pick them up so they would not have to carry the bags. Aki immediately accepted the invitation, even though Shinji was a little apprehensive about going when he was later told. There was no way that the outgoing girl was going to refuse, especially after being told to bring swimsuits so they could use the hot spring. Shinji had put his foot down however when he found out that Aki had been planning on bringing her string bikini, telling her it was bad manners to cause their host to have a heart attack by wearing swim wear that had last been seen in one of the girl's gravure photo shoots. Aki compromised by bringing her navy blue racer-back high cut one piece, which was able to keep her outstanding assets covered, barely.

Making their way to the school the next day, the couple met the Class Rep there and the trio had been able to talk their way into the locked building by telling the security guard on duty that they were picking up bags for their friends to take to their home. The guard had been reluctant at first, but had changed his tune when Aki dropped the Urashima name and offered to call him to confirm their errand. The pale guard could not open the doors fast enough after that.

Once the bags had been retrieved, Aki called Sarah as previously instructed and less than ten minutes later a familiar minivan taxi pulled up. The cheerful driver identified himself as Jiro and told them on the way to the Inn that not only had the Urashima had cleared everything up with the police so that he would not penalized for his speeding while transporting the four girls to the hospital, he had received a bonus that was equivalent to a day's pay and was now the designated driver with his taxi company for any ride request for the residents of the Hinata-sou.

Greeted at the door by Sarah, the trio was lead to the kitchen where most of the residents were hanging out. Shinobu was sitting at the table preparing food for the dinner later that day with Nyamo was getting it ready to cook, while an older girl with ash blonde hair kept trying to snag pieces of the food and the islander girl smacking her hand away when she was close enough. Introduced as Mitsune Konno but better known as Kitsune, Aki discovered that she was a kindred spirit and started exchanging ribald jokes with her, to the point where Hikari and Shinobu were turning red and Sarah was shaking her head at the inappropriate humor.

The jokes had to stop when a girl with long black hair about her own age came into the kitchen and glared at them. Introduced as Kanako Urashima, the assistant manager of the Inn and sister of Keitaro; Aki would have considered her cute if not for the pissed off look on her face. Kitsune then suggested they adjourn to the hot spring and since Shinobu and Nyamo were done with the food they all agreed. Moving to the changing room, Kanako made sure that everyone was wearing swimsuits before entering the spring since Shinji was there and Keitaro would be joining them later. Aki pouted silently but went along with the order, especially since Shinji was directed to the separate dressing area that Keitaro normally used. Having been to hot springs before, Aki used water as hot as she could stand to shower and clean up with to get her ready for the spring. She was still not able to suppress the moan of pleasure as she eased herself into the steaming water.

"I might have to take you up on that offer Sarah-kun, I heard you're a pretty good singer." Aki had not been in Sarah's class the day she sang, but the rumors about it had swept across the school in less than a day, especially since Sensei Wada had done everything except kidnap her to get to sing in the school choir.

"Don't hold your breath," muttered Sarah. She understood why people liked to hear her sing, but feeling so many strange eyes on her when she did creeped her out.

"What's this about Sarah-kun singing?" Kitsune asked on the other side of the pool. She was wearing a red mini bikini that barely containing her modesty, her friend Naru Narusegawa sitting beside in a more modest black two piece swim suit which seemed to fit a little too tightly. The brunette had been sitting in the living room reading a textbook when the group walked through toward the hot spring and joined them at the fox girl's invitation, but she stayed mostly silently during the conversation. She perked up when the subject of singing came up though.

"Apparently Sarah-kun had to sing in class for an assignment and blew everyone's socks off and the teacher wanted her to join the choral club. She refused and the teacher kept bugging her until someone laid down the law to her." Seeing the confusion in their eyes Aki explained. "After that bully girl knocked out Sarah-kun during a track race, Urashima-san came down to the school and read the riot act to the administrators; some of the other students had been pranking her pretty hard and they had their heads ups their asses like usual. That stopped once Urashima-san had his little talk with them."

"Wait, the same girl that knocked out Sarah-kun was the same one that hurt Shinobu-chan?" Naru was suddenly very attentive to the conversation.

"Yeah, Junko Himura, the bad seed of Kanazawa High. Kimiko Mori is the alpha bitch of the girl gang and girlfriend to the lead delinquent at school, but Junko-chan has a real nasty streak in her. Kimi-chan likes to boss people around and gossip about them, but Junko-chan prefers to get her hands dirty. Junko-chan used to be Kimi-chan's enforcer but they had a falling out." Aki paused for a moment. "It was right after Urashima-san talked to the school administrators and Junko-chan got thrown off the track team actually, Kimi-chan got warned off of messing with Sarah-kun by the school, and Junko-chan didn't take it very well.

"So even after the school told them to stop harassing Sarah-kun Junko-san wanted to continue?" Kitsune asked.

"Junko-chan isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, look at what she did to Shinobu-chan, she knew that she lived at the Hinata-sou with Sarah-kun with the Urashima as her guardian. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together would think that's a bad idea but Junko-chan did it anyway," Aki explained. "Say what you will about Kimi-chan, she's not dumb. She leveraged her position as Hayate-kun's girlfriend to become queen bitch of the school, and she normally doesn't go out of her way to mess with people unless they piss her off."

"So why did Kimiko-san go after Sarah-kun in the beginning then?" Hikari asked. Due to her status as Class Representative the twin pigtailed girl was not very socially involved or knowledgeable beyond overhearing gossip.

"Because Hayate-kun found Sarah-kun to be very interesting physically in the beginning, and tried to get closer to her." Aki smirked. "It wasn't until Sarah-kun threw him face first into the lockers after groping her in the hallways that he finally took the hint that she wasn't interested. But Kimi-chan lost face because her boyfriend was chasing after a gaijin girl with a better figure than her, so she sic'd Junko and her friends on her. That didn't work out so well when Emi-chan got a face full of natto from a booby trap someone set up in Sarah-kun's shoe locker."

"And no one knows who set up the booby trap?" Kitsune asked with a grin. As the prankster of the Hinata-sou, she always appreciated a good practical joke.

"Well, I know I didn't, for all I know the booby trap was meant for me and Emi-chan just had some really bad luck when she opened my locker while holding a cup full of urine." Sarah did not look very upset about what had happened to the other girl. Naru, Kanako and Hikari were frowning during the telling of the story, while Su simply sat in the water next to Shinobu with a big grin on her face. The young domestic tenant had been directed to use the hot spring twice a day to help with her injured leg, and it was healing up nicely as a result.

"I'm sure it was just a wild coincidence." A male voice came from the other side of the sliding paper door separating the wash room from the spring. "Is everyone covered up so that I can come in?"

"Everyone's fine Manager-san, come on in." Kitsune called out, a grin on her face. He didn't do it often but Keitaro sometimes did share the spring with the female tenants, always during the hours for mixed bathing of course. Almost in unison Naru, Hikari, and Shinobu slid down in the water so only their heads and necks were visible, while Kitsune, Kanako and Aki straightened up so their chests were on display slightly above water level. Sarah noticed all this and shook her head as she, Nyamo and Su stayed in place, due to Sarah being mostly underwater anyway and Nyamo and Su not caring one way or the other.

"Good afternoon everyone." Keitaro walked into the spring area wearing knee length shorts and a towel draped over his shoulders. Both Aki and Kitsune were eyeballing him pretty hard as his physique, while not overly muscular or defined, was not anything to be ashamed of. Keitaro had left his glasses in the changing room so he did not see the looks the two girls were giving him, or the glare that his sister was directing at them in return.

"Hey there dork-san. What took you so long?" Sarah asked casually, resulting in all the non-residents looking at her in shock for using such a disrespectful name for her guardian.

"I had to finish up with the police about Shinobu-chan's incident at school. I spoke with the families of the bullies there at the station and they agreed that it would be better for them to attend another school altogether." Keitaro eased himself into the water next to Kanako, who was now looking happier. "And what have I told you about your language, gaki?"

"Not to do it in public and not to use bad words. Neither of which apply here." Sarah smiled cheekily at her guardian. "And before you say it, Aki-san, Shinji-san, and Hikari-san are friends of the family, aren't they?"

"Yes they are." Shock was apparent on Hikari's face for hearing herself referred to as a friend of the Urashima; if her family had heard that they would probably offer her hand in marriage to the young heir. Aki and Shinji relaxed as Keitaro appeared not to be offended by the name. "Doesn't mean you should do it though."

"Hey, I remember when you were just the geeky assistant helping Dad back on the island, you're always going be the Dork to me." Sarah smirked.

"And I also remember your Dad giving you a spanking for deliberately breaking that clay artifact." Keitaro responded with a thin smile on his face. "He said that if you were going to act like a nine year old brat he would treat you like one." Sarah flushed slightly at the memory while everyone either smiled or chuckled at the image of a preteen Sarah running around causing mischief.

"What's this about you talking to the families of the bullies, Manager-san?" Kitsune asked. The fact that he talked them at the police station sounded more than a little ominous.

"It turns out that the girls involved in the bullying incidents all had problems at home that were contributing to it. I talked to the families and gave them options for resolving them, and suggested that their children could do better in school if they had a fresh start somewhere else." Keitaro gave a bland smile that did not fool anyone who looked behind it, especially after they parsed what he said and what he actually meant by it.

Speaking with the families had been easy to arrange. Detectives Ishikawa and Miyazaki had gone to their homes that morning and 'invited' them to come to the station to talk. Their daughters had been released the night before after an extensive interview, but they were not required to bring them along, in fact it was suggested that they stay at home.

Arriving at the station each couple had been escorted to a conference room to find a young man in a plain suit sitting behind a table flipping through some papers in a manila folder, a tall woman with collar length purple hair in business attire casually leaning up against the wall behind him. The couple would be placed in a pair of chairs in front of the table before the detectives left the room. The silence in the room built uncomfortably for a few moments until the young man looked up from the folder, dark eyes behind rectangular glasses pinning them in place. "My name is Keitaro Urashima," the young man stated in a even tone of voice. "I am going to change your life, one way or the other."

Keitaro had then read aloud the contents of the folders in front of him, causing the couple to pale. The Maki family was 25 million yen in debt from horse race and mahjong betting. The husband was actually a well paid middle manager in a construction company, but their compulsive gambling was reaching the point where they were about to default on their debt payments, which is where the yakuza would step in. They would recover their money by coercing the husband to set up corrupt deals with yakuza affiliated companies or force the wife and daughter into prostitution to pay off the debt. Seeing the couple's faces turn bone white from shock and fear, Keitaro then told them what he was going to do. Effective immediately no betting operation or bookie in the prefecture would take a wager from the family and the family would move to a smaller apartment instead of the rather ostentatious home they currently lived in, using the difference in home payments to pay down their debt. Since they would have to move, that would mean that they would have to pull their daughter Eri from Kanazawa High School and move her to another one. Seeing the couple about to protest, Keitaro told them that if they did not seek treatment for their gambling addictions and go along with his suggested debt repayment plan the yakuza would then start with recovery actions, and that some of them had gone into the lucrative organ trafficking market to make back their money from unreliable debtors, especially if they were of rare blood types. The Maki could not agree fast enough after that.

The Nakano family problems were simpler, if more heartbreaking. In addition to working ten to twelve hour days, the husband was forced by his boss to go out drinking with him and his co-workers almost every night. The drinking and stress had affected the husband so badly that he was an incipient alcoholic at this point and anything that angered him at home caused him to react violently, resulting in domestic violence against his wife. The local police officers in their neighborhood had not made formal arrests for those incidents, but it was becoming unmanageable. Keitaro had stared at the husband so coldly that the man was practically a puddle on the floor, crying and begging for forgiveness. Instead the young man made him an offer; attendance of alcohol abuse therapy and couples counseling with no further incidents. In return Keitaro would give him a recommendation to be hired by another company that had a similar job and pay. This company was on the other side of Tokyo, so the family would have to move from their current apartment to be closer to the new job, resulting in their daughter Ami having to be pulled from Kanazawa High and enrolled in another school. By the end of their meeting both husband and wife were on the floor crying and thanking him for his mercy and generosity.

The last family had been a failure, however. Aina Himura had been hung-over and strung out when the two detectives arrived at her rundown apartment and had to be not so gently encouraged to come to the station. She did not even sit down in front of Keitaro before heaping invective and abuse on everyone in the room. He stared at her for a few minutes as she continued her rant; it may have been because she did not get a chance to clean up and apply make-up before coming to the police station but the woman looked to be twenty years older than her actual age of thirty two and was rail thin from methamphetamine use, her once attractive face ravaged by alcohol abuse. After five minutes of nonstop shouting by the woman Keitaro merely motioned for the two detectives to take her away without speaking to her. When Detective Ishikawa asked what they should do, Keitaro suggested that she be taken into custody for a psych and drug abuse evaluation to determine fitness to care for a child, and that her daughter Junko be placed in foster care and evaluated as well.

Once the detective agreed and left the room, Keitaro turned and thanked the woman standing behind hime. Motoko Kusanagi had assisted him in going through the information that Su had handed over to him the day before and suggesting how to run the interviews. The purple haired investigator nodded and walked out of the room wondering exactly how much pull this young man had with her boss Daisuke Aramaki to have her assigned to assist him when she normally worked cybercrime and cyber-terrorism cases. Not that she minded; Keitaro Urashima was a serious young man that looked to be going places and was someone to keep an eye on in the future.

"So those girls aren't coming back to school?" A meek voice asked. Shinobu was sitting on the other side of Naru; it was apparent that there was a slight tinge of fear in her question.

"No." Everyone was distracted by hearing the response in stereo, looking from Keitaro to Su and back again, the later having answered as well, a slight frown on her face. But was the manager who answered the question.

"No, Shinobu-chan. Two of the girls' families agreed to pull their daughters from school and the other one is currently in foster care. You will probably never see them again." Keitaro paused before speaking again. "But if you ever do see them, call me and let me know. And if you are ever in danger like that again, run away and try to get to Sarah-kun, Nyamo-chan, or Su-chan." The three girls mentioned nodded grimly in agreement. "This should not happen again at school; the administrators know what will happen if it does." Now the three non-tenant classmates shivered even though they were sitting in steaming water; Keitaro's voice had the cold certainty of a winter graveyard wind.

Turning toward the three classmates, Keitaro looked at Shinji, who was sitting next to Aki with a slightly wide eyed look at his face and smiled politely. "I'm sorry, I'm afraid we haven't been introduced yet?" The friendly face and voice Keitaro had now was enough to give then all mood whiplash.

"My name is Shinji Kazama, I am a schoolmate of your wards and Aki-chan's boyfriend. I am also a member of the Manga Appreciation Club which Sarah-san has just joined, Urashima-san." The young teen gave as much of a low head bow as he could without going face first into the water.

"Please, call me Keitaro-san. I'm glad to hear you're friends with Sarah-kun and that she found a school club to join." Keitaro gave him a friendly smile. Seeing that Shinji was still looking nervous, he continued speaking. "Relax, contrary to popular belief I don't mess with people unless they give me good reason." The younger man nodded with a fixed smile as he caught the unspoken warning at the end of the sentence: don't give me a reason to get upset with you. "So is everyone enjoying the hot spring today?"

"Yes, thank you for inviting us Keitaro-san. I haven't been to a hot spring since a vacation my family took years ago." Hikari spoke up, having been sitting quietly up until now.

"This spring is so nice I may have to be better friends with Sarah-kun in order to be invited over again." Aki gave a very polite leer at the blonde girl, who ignored it like usual.

"Well, friends of the family are always welcome at the Hinata-sou, so you may wind up visiting more often." Keitaro looked around the spring for a moment and saw that almost all the tenants were present except for a certain brunette. "Mutsumi-chan isn't with you here?"

"Here I am Kei-kun, sorry I'm late, I lost track of time talking to Gidget-san." Mutsumi Otohime strolled into through the door of the wash area with an unconcerned look on her face, wearing nothing but her birthday suit and a towel wrapped around her hair.

"Mutsumi-san! You can't use the hot spring in the nude! Especially during mixed bathing hours!" Kanako's voice cracked like a whip, jealousy apparent to everyone listening. "We have guests!" A slight frown took the place of the usual small smile on the taller bustier brunette's face at the reprimand. Meanwhile Hikari and Shinobu blushed in embarrassment, Kitsune and Su grinned, Sarah rolled her eyes, Nyamo looked unperturbed, Naru turned her face away pointedly, Shinji went wide-eyed for a long moment before squinting his eyes shut, and Keitaro just closed his eyes resignedly. However the last reaction was the most noteworthy.

A wolf whistle came from the last guest. "Oh my gods, someone hotter than me!" Aki had a wide grin on her face. "Hi, my name is Aki Wakirihara, have you ever thought about modeling?"

"All these different men on the street give me their card saying they can help me become a model, but I keep losing them. Oh well." The brunette shrugged unconcernedly. "My name is Mutsumi Otohime, I am so pleased to meet you." She gave a medium bow that caused her bare breasts to sway forward, just in time for Shinji to open his eyes to see it happen. He slammed his eyes closed again, pinching his nose shut for good measure.

"Mutsumi-san, swimsuit!" Kanako was getting seriously upset, especially since the older girl's breasts were almost twice the size of her own and here she was flaunting them in front of guests and her brother! Thank goodness he wasn't a boob man… right?

"I don't have a swimsuit Kanako-chan, I don't need one here in Tokyo." Mutsumi blinked in confusion. "Besides, I don't have anything I need to hide, do I?"

"You're from Okinawa, how can you not have a swimsuit?" Kitsune asked, a wide smile still on her face.

"I don't use a swimsuit at home either. My family's home and the beach nearby is far from the village, so when I swim I usually just strip bare and go into the water." Imagining the goddess in front of him frolicking nude on a tropical Okinawan beach caused Shinji to become lightheaded.

"Well, wear a towel then!" If Kanako would get any angrier she would start frothing at the mouth. How dare this overdeveloped airhead flaunt herself in front of her beloved brother!

"I can loan you a spare suit I have in my bag. You can sit next to me afterwards, I'm sure there's lots we can talk about." Aki heaved herself out of the water and started walking toward the changing room with the other girl. Shinji's eyes got huge as he remembered that Aki's spare suit was her infamous string bikini, but showing that the gods had a truly twisted sense of humor the towel on Mutsumi's head slipped off and fell to the floor in front of her.

"Oh my! How clumsy of me." Facing away from the onlookers, Mutsumi bent forward at the waist to pick up her towel, causing Kanako to choke in outrage and most of the other girls to blush beet red. Keitaro face-palmed at the sight and Shinji's eyes rolled upwards as he lost consciousness and slid underwater.


A/N: *singing off-key* Don't go out tonight… it's bound to take your life… there's a bad moon on the rise… *clears throat* Poor Shinji. *grin*

What some people call an info-dump, I call world building. *grin again* It is a problem that I freely admit to, but I am more concerned with chapters turning into walls of text rather than getting into too much details. Plus it results in a much richer story that expands from what I originally planned when I started the story… five years ago. *shakes head* Keep in mind, I had not planned for Sarah and her friends having a major arc in Japan, but here we are.

That being said, I had a good laugh at the review that said that this story was the Adventures of Sarah McDougal, with Keitaro having an occasional cameo in it. I seriously considered adding Sarah to the FFN story description as a main character, but I did not want to have to keep explaining that this was not a Keitaro/Sarah ship story - I can firmly say that there will be no romance between the two. As others have noticed, they have slipped into a parent/child relationship and I prefer it that way.

One problem I am having is that I am having trouble pairing the various female Love Hina characters with possible male love interests. A lot of this has to do with the original series being a harem story for Keitaro only, but I am not having him set out to have multiple girlfriends – they are making that decision on their own. *smile* This is something I have to think on, since I may have to bring in suitable male characters from other series to fill the BF slots.

Noteworthy reviewers for the last chapter are Ted Hsu, bigdave (I took your idea and ran with it), Mo Eazy (my remarks about the damage in Roanapur being visible from space is now my new Noodle Incident for this story), TenchiSolutionsForAll (got a good laugh from your review), Jack Inqu, Hektols, thundercharger123 (who was reading my story at nearly three in the morning), the unnamed soul who was woken by the story alert and stayed up to read the last chapter and the other reviewer who pulled an all-nighter on a work night reading this story. Shout-outs to the readers who added entries to the TVTropes page, such as Scanlondragon, g3m1n1, Jack Ingu again, TheSinful, and EDP.

This chapter's Most Unusual Place Reading My Story Award goes to Slovakia; one person there read forty three (!) chapters of the story. Runner Up goes to Latvia. A Special Honorable Mention goes to the USA, as someone pointed out that it's pretty unusual in it's own right.

My thanks to my beta readers AZ MII and PCH, and to my FFN beta WalkerofDarkness for their very quick work this chapter.

As of 0130PDT 07Oct16 this story has 324K words, 765K Views, 866 Reviews, 1349 Story Favorites, 1239 Story Alerts, and 61 C2 Listings.

Many thanks to everyone who reads and follows this story. *thumbs up*