Chapter 18 - Odd Combinations
Happy 2014 Lunar New Year!
Glad I finally have time to finish this, now one more step to Post Amnesia completion WHA HA HA :P
Without further due, let's start:)
16th December, Kyoto, Orimura Mansion, Branch family Apartments
"Even though he has returned to us with no memories, he finished the survival test in five days, and survived three successive local missions and one overseas mission with just the aid of one person for each mission?" Orimura Kanata confirmed.
"Yes." Orimura Jirou reported.
The group is gathered in Kanata's own Washitsu.
With Kanata sitting at his working table, two of his closest accomplices sat in seiza position around him.
Currently present along with him are… Orimura Jirou, and Orimura Shizuna with Kanata having his back facing the rest.
Though his attention is on his desktop, he is clearly listening to Jirou's reports.
"Even though he may not seem much, his survival rates seem to be abnormal. Though the second and third local missions the old man sent him seems to be that of amateur work, he finished both of them each within a day." Jirou continued.
He is the recent returnee Madoka brought back home, the only son of the Main family.
Through some unforeseen circumstances, he has amnesia and Madoka happened to be on scene to bring him back.
In using this opportunity, the old man immediately welcome him back to the family and started his re-education.
He may seem such an important person, but in actual fact, he is definitely someone who does not appear much.
He has no specific talent, he has no charisma, no leadership skills and completely no sense of awareness.
In other words, a total blockhead.
He is a person Kanata deemed to be a less worthy foe from the moment he first saw him.
But now, things are starting to get a little different.
For amateurs, their first few missions will usually take a few days to complete, yet this Ichika from the Main family finished two missions in just one day.
This definitely shows that this fellow may have some level of potential.
"Though he had proven this remarkable feat for a beginner, his first oversea mission was even more amazing, he finished it within two days. With a rather unexpected result."
"Apparently it seems he is involved in some sort of blind hiring case. He's to help some unknown client assassinate some rich family's son."
Blind hiring cases, a common case type in the underground where both client and worker do not know each other, yet work for each other for mutual benefits.
These types are usually one-shot missions.
Once done, client and worker will go each other's ways, never meeting again, making it difficult to get the same client or worker the second time.
In the past anyone beyond age 15 can partake in such missions in the family, now only the selective experienced ones will get that kind of job, and their numbers are few. Kanata thought.
"Not only did he managed to discern his client's true identity, he turned the case around. In deducing that the client's action will affect the global economy, he killed the client instead, and removed any possible traces."
As the saying goes, looks can be deceiving.
Has this Orimura Ichika been masking his true talents?
Or is he just passively able to not show them at all?
"To send him off to these kinds of mission at the very start. What the old man is doing does not make sense." Shizuna said.
"He probably has his own reasons. Maybe he wanted to test Ichika's true potential and stretch them to their absolute limits." Jirou added.
"Maybe… the old man did say that he will make the final decision by next year. But to finish the overseas mission in just 2 days… how on earth?"
"No." Jirou added.
"You have to consider, that his one partner for his missions so far has been members of the Main family. And Madoka herself aided Ichika in two of his missions, his first kill and the overseas."
"If he got Madoka's aid, it might make sense." Shizuna said.
"But even if Madoka did assist, Ichika was the one who made all the crucial decisions." Jirou added.
"It's all reflected in the reports. Apparently Madoka was the one who was against his actions during the overseas mission but for some reason Ichika managed to pull it off."
"Madoka actually let him do as he pleased?"
"Her role is solely support, as ordered by the old man."
"And does Ichika knows about this?"
"No. I don't think so. Well if he does, it will be now after they returned from the mission."
"So… Madoka actually relented to Ichika?"
"Oi don't look at me. I am also having a hard time believing. In considering Madoka's attitude she is more likely to go up against the old man than listen to anyone else. The fact that she even listens to this Ichika makes me shiver."
"How weird, very weird. We are talking about that Madoka, the usual eccentric, emo Madoka. To think that she listens to the very person that is formerly on her own hit list. Just what on earth…"
She's the twin imouto of Orimura Ichika.
Unlike Ichika who was indirectly brought out of the family by the rogue eldest daughter Orimura Chifuyu, by some ill twist of fate, Madoka remained in the family.
As the current oldest child of the Main family at that time, she faced quite the harsh training under the old man during the absence of her two older siblings.
Since the old man could not be satisfied with training his favorite grandson, he turned to Madoka and crafted her into the prodigal child instead.
But due to his extreme disappointment in the actions of his eldest granddaughter, he always regarded Madoka differently compared to Chifuyu and Ichika.
As such, even Madoka began to bear a huge grudge against her elder siblings and had sought to kill them at various points of time.
Kanata did not speak a word.
Even making Madoka able to listen to him, to think that this nobody actually accomplished such a feat…
Turning a vengeful enemy into a valuable ally… just what had happened?
But even if Madoka is with him, no matter how he looks at it, finishing an overseas mission in two days is just plain fantasy.
For a beginner, even with veteran help, he or she will still have some trouble along the way.
In considering the facts, he has only one person to help him, he is on a blind hire case, and he only has one target.
The acceptable estimated time to compete such a mission ought to be at least a minimum of six days.
Yet, this amnesia guy finished it in just two days.
To Kanata, there can only be one distinctive answer.
Though he does not know anything other than the general information of the IS, it is clear that the various unexplainable functions of the machine aided Ichika and Madoka in many ways.
Is the old man trying to explore the limits of using such a machine in missions?
Is he trying to make the IS a new weapon in the family?
If so, how effective is it against the hidden enemy?
Kanata's thoughts are interrupted when he felt something.
Or rather, he felt a heavy pressure pressing down on him.
Shizuna had leaned her elbows on his shoulders and her chin on his head, and Kanata swore not to think of anything about the two soft tissues pressing behind his head.
"Ne. Kanata~." Shizuna called.
"Kite iru no~?" (Are you listening?)
"I said~. What does Akihiro has in mind about this?"
Katana's second true rival, the only other member of the Branch family who is a candidate to be the next Head.
Unlike Kanata himself and the other two of the Main family, Akihiro is the more distant, the ever more cautious of the four candidates.
He the most unpredictable, and probably also the most uncooperative.
Thanks to Madoka bringing Ichika back to the family, the two Branch family candidates decided and agreed on a temporary truce.
Not an alliance, but a truce, somewhat akin to a non-aggression pact… at least until they do something about the new guy.
But judging from how things are progressing for the 4th candidate, he is already likely to get in the high hopes of the old man.
Orimura Ichika was the old man's favourite.
Everyone knows this, all from the stories told about how the rogue Chifuyu ran from the family, taking Ichika with her.
"Akihiro… has no plans."
"Or rather he just has not shared with me any plans that he possibly have."
"He's just going to keep watching from the sidelines… again?" Shizuna said.
"Seems like it." Jirou answered.
"… It'll be interesting if I can dissect his brain. I really wonder what I can find inside his skull."
"Probably walls of brain tissue hiding his thought processes." Jirou commented.
Shizuna then poses a question.
"So what are you going to do about this Kanata? At this rate, the old man will be thinking twice who ought to be the 28th."
"I need some time to think." Kanata responded.
Orimura Shizuna looked at Orimura Jirou, Orimura Jirou to Orimura Shizuna.
I need some time to think.
It means shut up and leave.
The two can only comply.
They got up and they both left the room.
Once the Washitsu fusuma closed tight, Kanata's brain rankled.
No matter how Kanata salvages the situation, there is only one distinctive analysis that always appeared in his head.
Orimura Ichika is the real threat.
At first Kanata dismissed this notion, but it kept bugging him whenever he thinks about the succession.
Now, things are progressing at a rather unexpected rate.
It is because of the old man's influence that somehow Orimura Ichika is now more capable than Kanata once thought?
Or, is it mainly because of the IS? Or the combination of both?
Just wait and see…
There goes the voice of Akihiro in his head.
There is still too much Kanata needs to know before he can possibly act.
Perhaps it is still the best to wait.
But the longer he waits, just how much more will this Ichika improve?
To act or not to act?
That is perhaps the toughest decision any human being would make in their lives.
Near the family dojo…
"Oi." Orimura Kyuuji said.
"Hmm?" Orimura Izumi replied.
Kyuuji indicated with his eye.
Walking towards the dojo is the dubious returnee.
Though no one can clearly see his face because of his facial bandages, they all knew he is Ichika, not only by information, but also due to his recent reputations.
"That outsider, moving around the mansion like that."
"Going to the dojo? I thought the old man is not practicing there today."
"Then who's practicing today?"
"Seishi, Ichiru, Kazuhiko, Yukawa, Mitsuo and Naoki."
Inside the dojo,
A bokken dropped onto the floor.
"I-I give up."
Facing the opposing bokken to his throat, Orimura Yukawa dropped to his knees.
"HA HA HA~! In comparism to your tracing skills, your sword skills still have a long way to go." Orimura Seishi said.
Orimura Yukawa took his own bokken and sat back to the side.
"Tsugi! (Next)" Seishi said.
Orimura Mitsuo got to his feet.
In taking position, he moved around Orimura Seishi.
As Orimura Seishi observed Orimura Mitsuo's footwork, a silhouette appeared behind Orimura Mitsuo, walking towards the dojo.
In realizing the identity of the silhouette, Orimura Seishi frowned.
In seeing Orimura Seishi distracted, Orimura Mitsuo charged.
Orimura Seishi blocked with minimum difficulty.
In response, Orimura Seishi guided his bokken with just his right hand.
He slide past Orimura Mitsuo and sliced the bokken down onto Mitsuo's locked elbows before Mitsuo can react.
Orimura Mitsuo dropped his bokken and went to his knees due to the force.
But in addition, Orimura Seishi spun around, and threw his bokken out of the dojo, fast.
The spinning bokken was traveling in a straight vector when it got sliced into two by a large blue beam katana.
As the two pieces of wood scattered around, it is quite obvious what happened.
In facing the flying bokken, Ichika flashed out [Shiroshiki]'s right forearm frame, equipped it with the blue beam katana and repelled the attack.
After the slice, he merely watched the two wooden pieces scatter and looked back at the culprit.
The spectators' eyes widen at the sight of the partial deployment of the IS, but said nothing.
Seishi on the other hand, regarded the IS as what it is, a weapon no different from a Katana.
Well… he appeared to be in awe of it, but he was not intimidated by it.
"Oh sorry, my hand slipped due to the sweat." Orimura Seishi said.
"So how about this? Staring must be quite boring right? Why don't you work out by a bit?"
A clear sign of provocation.
Ichika merely stared back.
Seishi tilt his head down, closed his eyes, folded his arms and rubbed his right index finger on his forehead.
"I see, it must be due to amnesia that even you forget our language? Well this is a big problem no?"
The spectators from the Branch family laughed.
Ichika walked up the stone stairs and entered the dojo, beam katana drawn.
In seeing the threat, the rest got up, hands on their own bokken.
They can never stand a chance against an IS, but the reaction is more habitual than logical, meaning to say, their muscles reacted before their brain cells can kick in.
Before they know it, they got into combat stance.
But at the instance where they all got in their combat stance, Ichika de-materiazed his IS arm and weapon.
Instead of walking straight to Orimura Seishi, he did something else.
He turned and walked to the corner of the dojo, causing many present to have the '?' on their heads.
Ichika approached the sword stands where many bokkens are arranged neatly, both on and off the wall.
He took one bokken off the walls, tested it with a few swings, and approached Orimura Seishi.
In a few feet away from Seishi, in the sparing square, he stopped.
And he waited, both hands together on the bokken hilt.
A clear indication of challenge.
Orimura Seishi smiled.
And that smile became from happy, to twisted.
"Pass me a bokken!"
At the Main family apartment…
"So the meeting was a success?" Ichirou said.
"Didn't your grandson tell you anything?"
"He is still very reluctant to this whole engagement."
"Well. That's an error from your side." Isuzo Yukio said.
The two heads are currently speaking to each other over the phone in regards to a… certain private issue.
"You sound disappointed Yukio."
"To be honest, I am still quite surprised."
"Hm? In terms of what?"
"Well… for one, how he carries himself."
"There is some element of capability. His manners and behaviour are exquisite, but he seems to have a lack of confidence. He seems to be always questioning his thought processes and actions. Though he does not show it physically I can see it through his… exposed eye. Whatever he is, he is over calculative."
… I might have to step in for real to deal with that, personally.
"His looks are still startling."
"Why? You saw the photos I provided."
"Well… I had braced myself for it, meeting in person it was more than what I can handle. Bandages all over…"
"It was an unfortunate accident."
Well… more like fortunate, since Ichika is now with the family.
"The wound will scar am I right?"
"I am afraid so."
"He will look just like the Yakuza."
"Not everyone is perfect. His looks might be disfigured, but his attitude and skills are up to task."
"Now that I cannot argue... I may not have managed to gauge him, but I trust your judgment."
"If you take off the possible looks once those bandages come off, he is a decent heir."
"I hope so."
"Well, aside from your own feelings, what does Yuriko-chan has to say about it?"
"Come now, don't hide the details."
"She's not speaking to me."
"She is not talking to me. I am not sure how she registered the meeting. Whatever happened inside that Washitsu, it left her…"
"Dazzled?" Ichirou suggested.
"I don't know. Shock?"
"It can't be shock. If it is still about the looks she should have the photos. She had plenty of time to brace herself."
"Well whatever it is, it seems to be something that she did not expect."
"Why does that sound so familiar? Didn't we go through that same feeling when we first met our wives?"
"At least we have something to expect from one another."
"The information I provided should have satisfied the expectations."
"But normally one would want to speak to their parents about the issue after the meeting yes?" "I don't think so."
"Why? The first thing I did once I met my girl is to ask my parents if this engagement is the right path."
"Well… I didn't. I was the – "
"Rebellious boy yes. It seems your grandson had the same feelings."
"Like grandfather like grandson then. Anyways, there is no point in further speculation. I can only see more fruit of their progress after the first date."
"Yes after the first date indeed. Though I seem to suspect that there might be an interlude…"
"Please don't jinx it. We both have enough trouble from our ends."
"All right. I'll call you again to settle matters for the first date."
"… Shouldn't we leave it to the young ones to decide which day to have their first date?"
"Unlike you who had a perfect Miai, my grandson is someone who lacks initiative when it comes to romance. I need to pull the trigger for him. Hopefully this will be the first as well as the last time I help him in this area."
At the Branch Family apartment…
"Oh my… one second the house seems peaceful, then the next time I enter here, it's like you all just had a gang fight. What happened?"
The scene changes from the kendo challenges at the family dojo, to the main hall of the Branch family apartments.
Orimura Shizuna happened to stumble upon a scene that is rarely seen ever since the 27th generation had been all but wiped out.
Upon entering, she saw six of her cousins, who are Orimura Seishi, Orimura Ichiru, Orimura Kazuhiko, Orimura Yukawa, Orimura Mitsuo and Orimura Naoki.
Of the six, three are… well let's not say wounded since they are not bleeding, they are injured with bruises, Orimura Seishi, Orimura Ichiru and Orimura Mitsuo.
The other three are helping apply muscle cream, Zam buk bruise medications and applying bandages, Orimura Kazuhiko, Orimura Yukawa and Orimura Naoki.
"Nothing Shizuna, just a scratch." Seishi said with a smile.
"No, no matter how you look at it, those are actual bruises. What happened?"
From the looks of it, it seems the three main injured personals have quite a very rough fight.
"Did you guys… did this onto each other?"
"No." Orimura Naoki said, he is helping Orimura Mitsuo apply a last set of bandages across the bruised torso.
"Then what happened?"
"He beat them, all three of them." Yukawa said, he is helping Seishi with his right shoulder.
"Hey! We did not lose. If it weren't for that upper slice, I would have won!" Seishi said.
"Yea. If I had paid more attention to that feint, things would be different." Mitsuo claimed.
"We would have beaten him right Ichiru?" Seishi looked at Ichiru.
Ichiru remained silent.
"Oi! Aren't you going to say anything?"
Now Shizuna is at a lost.
Since Kanata is just with her, there is no way he would be responsible for it, Madoka rarely used swords so that is also a no.
There is only one other guy she can think off that can pull something off like that.
"Who? Who are you guys talking about? Akihiro?"
"No. Orimura Ichika." Kazuhiko finished; he is helping Ichiru finish bandaging the waist with a thorough emphasize on the left side.
That Orimura Ichika again?
"So… he challenged the three of you together?"
"Well… Seishi here challenged Ichika originally. Ichika beat him, then Ichiru and Mitsuo wanted a try. Sad to say, they also lost."
"Sigh… this is what you get for challenging someone who you have totally zero info on." Orimura Naoki said.
"""Shut up!""" the three in bandages cried.
What a cozy and comfortable family indeed.
"Speaking of which…" Orimura Seishi said.
Someone entered the hall.
It's a teenager with a bandaged face.
About five minutes ago, Ichika POV
So this is the Branch family apartment main hall…
It really took me quite a while to navigate through the maze of the family mansion.
There are so many buildings that I can hardly tell which is which.
But that will soon change.
As I walked, [Shiroshiki] is helping me create a holographic map of the mansion.
The map is slowly expanding as I ventured into the Branch family apartments, something like what you see in video games where the more you venture, you map is clearer.
Should I get lost again, I can always refer to this personal map, pinpoint my location and work my way out.
Now… why am I heading to the Branch family main hall?
The reason is simple.
I got another job from the old man.
It's overseas, and another blind hiring case… yippee…
The main component for the mission is still the same… stealth.
I am to work for the unknown client, but I still have to keep my true identity secret.
But unlike the mission in France, there are a few additional conditions.
Firstly, I need to gather a group of five, including myself of course, for this mission.
This means that I will have to ask people from the Branch family to help me out, which will make this mission the first time I take command of a group of strangers.
Well… I can't exactly say strangers since they are from my family, but my cousins are still people I don't really know that well.
But I guess this mission can be seen as a first hand opportunity to mix around with my cousins.
I have been sheltered too long under the Main family.
If I want to become the Head, this seems to be a necessary step.
It all started when the old man told me to expand on my circle.
Well… regarding that matter, let's wind back time just by a tiny bit…
I opened the fusuma to the old man's Washitsu.
From the summons, it dosen't look like a job.
I received a note at my Washitsu yesterday after that event.
It was late in the night when I saw it.
It says meet me tomorrow at my Washitsu.
… Since he summoned me from a note, it's definitely shogi again.
After being summoned a few times by the old man I tend to notice that there are specific ways that he summoned me regarding different matters.
If it is matters regarding work, he would get someone like Madoka to inform me that there is work to be done.
But other non-work related matters, like kendo or shogi, he would usually leave a note in my room.
As I entered, what I saw confirms my suspiscions.
The old man, is not working.
Oh when I mean working, I mean he is not doing all the clergy stuff, looking at profit reports and banking receipts…
Instead, he is merely staring to the side out to the garden corridor.
On the table, there are two main items of interests.
They are a prepared tea set, along with a game of shogi, already set up for use.
Ever since I came back, the old man often invited me to play a game of shogi once in a while during the free evenings I have.
These leisure times are rare.
When I had my first game of shogi, I thought it would be a relaxing session.
But, I was clearly mistaken.
The game turns out to be an annoying session of feeling powerless against a better strategic mind.
I found myself staring at the board feeling useless as my grandfather took shogi piece by shogi piece.
As I looked at him when he checkmated me, he smiled happily.
The only thing he said after that was, 'you'll get better'.
'You'll get batter' my ass.
My shogi games after that were no better.
And each time I lost, he would still give me that smile of satisfactory victory.
I have to admit; during the game I even suspected that he was fooling me around, making me lose and toying me just to see me suffer for the sake of leisure.
Thinking about it frequently has led me to believe that the old man might have a hidden sadistic side to himself.
If that was true, I have a rather sadistic grandfather indeed, yay.
Coming back to the present, the old man noticed my entrance.
"Ah good, you're here."
He gestured to the seat directly opposite him.
I can only moved forward and comply.
"What is with that look?"
"Well… I am currently highly reluctant to have this game."
Isn't the reason obvious you old man?
"Well, even if you still cannot win against me, there are still a few tricks you can learn."
Ever since my first kill, the old man has mysteriously changed.
Though he still has that imposing image of discipline, there are small pockets of time where he added sarcasm right in front of me.
And what happened yesterday clearly did not help with that at all.
"Besides, it has been a while since our last game. Since I have a new assignment for you, why not have some fun while I explain the details?"
No, our last game was a day before that mission in France, five days difference is not enough to be defined as 'it has been a while'.
Wait, did he say another mission?
"There is another job?"
"… I am not hearing things right? Are you pulling my leg?"
"No. There is another job I have for you."
Well damn it… no break then. And here I was expecting to have a little break after… never mind.
I have no wish to talk about that particular topic.
"You may start."
I took a pawn piece and started the game.
The old man did the same.
We both spent some time moving the various shogi pieces.
In the first few minutes, not one of us had eaten each other's pieces.
We just moved around three to four pieces, then the old man started talking.
"So, how are you adjusting to everything?"
"I thought you want to talk about my new assignment?"
"That can wait. Must that deny me some time to check on my grandson?"
"So how was everything?"
"Well…" I moved a lance forward.
The old man moved a silver general to guard against my rook.
"Things are really moving at a very fast pace. Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up."
"Hm. A natural opinion considering what you have been through."
That's because you set them all up right?
"So how did yesterday go?" he asked all of a sudden.
You really have to mention it, you really have to mention it do you?
That topic is really something I wanted to avoid at all costs at the moment.
"… Fine." I said.
"So how did you find her?"
You really have to butt it in, you really love to make me feel uncomfortable about this matter right?
I moved another shogi piece, gathering myself to give an answer.
"Well… she's pretty, I'll giver her that."
The old man ate my other knight damn it!
I moved my golden general up.
"She's well brought up."
"See, what did I tell you?"
Ok, that's it.
"No matter what it seems, that does not stop the fact that I am still against it!" I shouted.
The old man appeared unaffected by my outburst.
"How stubborn, oh well, I'm sure your opinion will change in time."
Wait long for that you old man.
"We'll see about that."
Why is everyone capable of reading my mind?!
The game continued.
Soon, we started taking each other's shogi pieces.
As the game progresses, it is very evident that I am at the disadvantage.
"Did Madoka tell you about the 'circle'?"
Is that some kind of code name?
I moved up a knight.
The old man ate one of my lances with his bishop.
Damn… as usual, he's good.
I moved up my silver general.
"A circle is a term for a group. Within that group, there is a leader."
I used my other knight to eat his bishop.
"And those in the circle listens to the leader right?"
The old man used a pawn as bait.
I ignored it and used my silver general to eat his nearby lance.
But indirectly, I just realized that it created a gap in the center.
The old man ended the game with his other lance.
The old man looked at me and smiled satisfactory.
Yes, yes, I know you won.
"Now, for the serious matter."
Ah… mission, mission.
"This new mission I am giving you is about the same as your previous one." The old man resumed talking.
"The one in France?"
Another blind hiring case?
"The condition is the same, stealth."
Why am I not surprised?
"But there is a second condition to it."
"I want you to get several Branch family members to participate."
Branch family members?
"It is about time you make your own circle."
"My own circle?"
In other words, my own group?
"Let me guess, another criteria for me to succeed you."
"You want me to get supporters. But for what? Aren't competing individuals enough?"
The old man shook his head.
"Becoming the Head requires a lot more than personal skill, you need leadership skills as well."
He made a gesture to the whole board.
"Let's say you and I are both candidates to become the next head. This shogi board represents our competition, while the various shogi pieces are our respective circles."
He took the king piece and brought it up.
"In this competition, you are the 'king' of your circle. As the 'king', you have your own set of responsibilities over your group. Looking after your subordinates, ensure that their actions are within control, and of course, ensuring that everyone can get along an maximize their teamwork."
"So… the other pieces…"
I took a knight.
"They are members of my circle whom I must watch over?"
"Yes. Because as the 'king', there must be a number of people who are willing to follow that leader. For a candidate to become the 28th, you must prove your leadership capabilities through your own circle. There is no point in me choosing a Head where he cannot get along with the rest of his family."
He's got a point, as always…
"You have done quite a good job getting in a good relationship with your siblings within the Main family. But that is not enough, you must extend your influence beyond the closeness of your own siblings."
"So… what can I expect from the Branch family?"
"Well, while being far from the actual bloodline, the Branch family mainly serves as the Main family's extensive senses, they are like our eyes and hands." The old man said.
"I got it, while we make all the decisions, they are down to more hands on jobs."
"Almost, but not entirely. Some of the Branch are exceptionally gifted leaders. They can lead minor sectors of the family's conglomerate. However, we will still make the crucial decisions. But yes, they are down to more hands on jobs. Though they play few parts in leading the family, they help the family leaders to coordinate and implement plans laid out by the Main family"
"… Is this something related about what you told me before? About all of us being players of different organizations playing the same game in the underground?"
"Entirely the same logic, but applied more narrowly to our family. So I want you to start making your own circle."
That sounds more like an order than a wish, sigh…
"It will be difficult for you."
I wonder why?
"For you who had returned so late, many of your cousisn had already chosen their side. But you have an triumph card."
"The IS right?"
"If you can exploit your relationship with Dr. Shinonono, the difficulty of gathering supporters will be much, much easier."
Then, as usual, I spent some time to ponder about what the old man said.
As I thought, I needed more answers.
And I soon find myself walking to a place I least expected.
Approaching the fusuma, I knocked.
"Madoka, you there?"
"Hai~. Come in."
I slide open the fusuma.
"You can sit at the table Ichika-nii, I will be with you shortly."
Madoka appeared to be busy at the moment.
Her gaze is on the computer right in front of her, tying away.
There is a square table roughly in the middle of the room surrounded by four cushions, with a tea set not too far from it towards the right wall with her wardrobe.
I soon moved in and sat on the cushion that is the nearest from the fusuma.
Looking around, the items you see in Madoka's Washitsu can be considered extremely normal.
Towards the left, I can see Madoka's working space that compromise of her computer table and desk, a rubbish bin and a bookstand.
However, unlike my own Washitsu, Madoka's Washitsu is rather… unique in it's own purpose.
Upon entering the Washitsu, I can see various stuff scattered around.
I can see newspapers, books, documents lying around here and there.
Madoka's futon was unfolded; she just left it crumpled by the side along with her pillow.
As for her favorite pistols… one of them is right next to her on the computer desk.
The other… is left near her crumpled futon.
Speaking of that pistol, she even left scattered live ammunition around the area near her futon.
Other than that, I can also see scattered pieces of clothes lying here and there too.
Well… they are mainly jackets and shirts.
Thank goodness that there are no undergarments… wait I think I see a bra.
Seriously… please clean up your room.
A soft voice.
But it is not Madoka's.
I can tell since the voice did not come from Madoka's direction.
Or rather, it is coming from her crumpled futon.
Madoka's crumbled futon began to move… from within.
Then slowly, the figure within the futon rose up, pushing the blanket downwards.
All I can see is crumpled black hair and eventually a head belonging to a ten year old.
So she was sleeping with Madoka prior…
So that's why Madoka did not keep her futon.
Chizuru adjusted herself and laid back.
Soon, fast asleep again.
She was dressed in a casual home clothes, a small yellow shirt with a pink bunny pattern.
To make matters worse, she is not wearing anything bottom.
But I don't need to worry about that.
Her small shirt appears to be long enough to cover her upper thighs.
At least long enough to conceal her underwear, and don't ever think that I am going to indulge in whatever color it is.
For some reason Chizuru seems not bothered by all the scattered bullets around her.
Chizuru slept right next to Madoka's pistol in the middle of all the scattered bullets?
Watch where you keep your stuff!
"Ok and done!"
Madoka threw a triumphed fist into the air.
She seems to have completed whatever work she has to do at her computer.
She turned herself and hopped off her chair.
"So Ichika-nii, how can I help you?"
"Oh finally! I could give you a few tips."
"What has the old man told you so far?"
"He just gave me the definition of the circle while playing shogi."
"You just finished the game?"
"I lost, what is there to expect?"
"I see… that's a total of 0 wins and 17 losses."
"That is meaningless information, and please stop writing that in your notebook."
"Why? Your dear imouto wants to know your every weakness so that she can help you~."
"First of all, you did not help me when it comes to shogi. Second, I'd rather have you know more of my bad habits and mistakes rather than meaningless losses such as that."
Anyways why are we arguing about this?
"Coming back to the main topic."
"Oh right! So the old man gave you the definition of the circle. Anything else?"
"He said I ought to start gathering supporters from the Branch family. But I don't know how to or where to start."
"How did your experience go Madoka?"
"Oh? I first just ask a few cousins to join me in some missions."
Asked a few huh…
"So rude. True, I did force some reluctant individuals, but most agreed to join me."
"So you work with them and they just join you? That sounds too easy."
"Of course it isn't like that silly. First, you invite several cousins to join you in several missions. This is where you will judge each participating cousin's worth and value to your needs."
"Judge their worth and value?"
"Well, you are going to need some capable individuals who you can trust right?"
"So first you get to know them, their habits and character and how they function well as a group when they meet critical situations. If they can work well together to get out of any form of crisis, then they are capable individuals whom you can count on to watch your back."
"But not everyone meets the expectations right?"
"Yup, and we got all sorts of reasons for that."
"That goes without saying, what are the common reasons?"
"One, they are no good, two, they are already taken by another candidate, three, they do not want to join any circle."
"They do not want to join any circle? Is that even possible?"
"Yup. You will be surprised Ichika-nii, there are quite a number of our cousins who are neutral to this succession business. Their roles in the family are too independent from the Head to even care about who succeeds who."
"Meaning they do not need a Head to butt his nose into their work."
"How does that work out?"
"Well, the family's intellectual department is one fine example. The role of our cousins stationed there is simple, gather information and preserve data. With enough training and experience, they can do almost everything they are required to do. All they need is someone to tell them what kind of information is needed. There is no need for any Head to butt his nose telling them what to do."
"So by that, they are roughly independent from the Main family?"
"Roughly, though in the end they still listen to the Head."
"So they listen to the Head, but this independent thing is the reason why they do not really bother about the candidates?"
"Yup. But it is still possible to sway them to your cause, thought that requires your own charisma."
"Ok I get it. So those are the three common reasons why people failed to meet expectations. So how did you expand on your circle, who did you approach first?"
"Orimura Chiyo and Orimura Minori. I first asked them out."
"That Chiyo? The same Chiyo who threatened to kill me when I first came back to Kyoto?"
"Yup. Well you can't blame Chiyo for that, she is loyal, it is her good point."
"… Can't argue with that. So who is Minori?"
"A cousin I ensnared from the intellectual department."
"There is definitely something wrong about how you put it."
And the list goes on.
"So how do I start inviting? Other than talking to them straight in the face."
"Prepare a mission, open group vacancies, and see who wants to come. But you need a mission first."
"That's no problem, I got another assignment."
"Ichika-nii, you just finished that mission in France… wait, you 'got' another assignment?"
"Yes. The old man gave me another one."
"… To think that the old man even provided a mission for this… you are far too pampered Ichika-nii. I have to personally search for a mission to start looking for supporters."
I am going to ignore that.
"So I have a mission, what next? The old man suggested I exploit my connection with Tabane-sensei."
"Well, you can get an IS from her. But you will have to get our female cousins. Since you are the only guy who can pilot one."
"Not for long, I intend to do something about that."
"Your choice. All you have to do now is to decide the number of cousins you want to join you. For starters I suggest... five? No, either three or two."
"Ok three then. What next?"
"Go to the Branch family apartment main hall. They have a notice board there whenever a mission is raised so our cousins can form a group. If you publish your mission and conditions there, it's a good start."
And so here I am, in the Branch family apartment.
It's quite spacious, but still incomparable to the Main Building.
I stepped in.
Everyone currently inside began starring at me.
There's the six earlier from the dojo…
They are all staring at me with regarding eyes.
Well… not that it matters now.
I scanned the room.
The notice board used by the Branch family members to notify any new missions of the like.
I soon walked to it.
I can feel all eyes on me, but I did not care.
I was just about to reach it, when somebody came from the side and stood right in front of me.
"Hi~. You Main family members don't usually come here. Could you be lost~?"
She is a beauty, I can give her that.
She appears to be around my age.
She has long wavy brown hair that falls to her waist, smooth soft looking skin, gentle brown eyes and above all, quite the bust size and slender figure.
"No. I am not lost."
"Oh that's great~. For a second there I thought you ventured here while trying to reach another place."
"Well… Madoka has already shown me around." Though I still can get lost somehow…
"Oh? She did? I'm quite surprised."
"And… you are?"
"Ah? Oh sorry. I'm Orimura Shizuna~."
Orimura Shizuna did a pose.
She bent her waist to the left side, closed her right eye, and brought her left hand to her left eye showing a number 2.
What a weird fellow…
"Sa Ichika-kun~. What are you here for?"
"I got a mission. I need some people from the Branch family to help me out."
Orimura Shizuna looked around.
"Any takers guys? The new candidate needs someone."
"As if." "Go to hell." "I already sided with Kanata."
It appears I am very well late in this circle game.
"Well, I am not going to force anyone." I just said.
"I'll just paste this up. Anyone interested let me know. Deadline is by tonight."
And with that, I paste the notice on the notice board, and left the Branch family apartment.
After Ichika left,
The Branch family members gathered to see the notice.
"Let's see…" Shizuna said.
She began reading off the notice aloud.
"Mission in Britain, a group total of five is needed. Mission type highly to be acting as an escort for some unknown package, client unknown, pay unknown but promising. Separate prize in stall if mission becomes success. Plane tickets for five is prepared, plane leaves Kyoto Airport by 1830."
Directly bellow the note is stamped with the family Mon along with the old man's signature, indicating that the old man permitted family members partaking in this mission, along with two other statements for clarification.
"A blind hiring case in Britain?" Orimura Yukawa said.
"An overseas mission off the book? What is the old man thinking?" Orimura Naoki said.
"And the group numbers… just five?" Mitsuo.
"That is less than half the number required for overseas mission if you think about the old man's new rules." Orimura Ichiru added.
No matter how one looks at it, there is definitely something wrong about this mission.
It's not just the blind hiring part, even the group numbers are off the chart.
To the current 28th generation who had gotten used to moving in big groups, going out in small groups for such a mission definitely smacks of something unorthodox.
Even the more so when the old man permitted such a thing.
"Is this… favourism? Even Kanata did not get such a mission when he first started as a Head candidate." Shizuna brought up.
It is no surprise that the old man favours Ichika, but could the old man favour Ichika to this extend?
The old man even ignored some of the rules he implemented himself when it comes to members of the family taking missions.
"I don't know… the old man said he will make the decision by next year… he could be rushing him." Someone said.
All of a sudden, Orimura Jirou appeared.
"Jirou? Since when did you came in?"
"When that 4th candidate went out. De? It looks like things are starting to get interesting."
"Yea… he finally started in gathering supporters." Shizuna announced.
"A little bit too late on that I must say." Ichiru added.
"So other than payment, what's the separate price?" Jirou added.
All the Branch family members looked down.
At the bottom of the notice, there are two clear statements.
The first is,
Known participants already confirmed for this mission – Orimura Ichika, Orimura Madoka, Orimura Kin, only two more vacancies available.
As for the second statement,
Special prize – An Infinite Stratos for each Branch family member who participates in this mission, 3rd generation model frame [Golem IV], personally created by Dr. Shinonono.
"An IS?" Shizuna said.
Infinite Stratos, Abbreviated as IS, they are powered exoskeletons, which were originally meant for out space exploration.
Designed by Tabane Shinonono, they possess technology and combat capabilities far more advanced than any other weapon system, thus threatening to destabilize the world.
An IS is strong, so strong that the first IS, the [White Knight] destroyed 1221 missiles with just a broad sword.
These machines are just that strong that they are highly regarded in world powers.
Why would such an item that defined a world's power just came into the so called 'special prize'?
"Made personally by Dr. Shinonono eh? It looks like Orimura Ichika did had a triumph card after all…" Jirou said.
"Jirou, when you mean triumph card. You mean…" Shizuna enquired
"Yes. What is it that grabbed the old man's attention."
"Hm… well, that makes sense."
"What are you two jabbering about? Explain things where we all understand you bookworm." Seishi said.
Jirou looked like one of his veins just popped.
He looked at Seishi with 100% pure annoyance.
"In seeing that our friend Ichika has the unique connection to the world's peerless genius, the old man would want to exploit such a relationship. For all our own business and enterprise, we have never touched on the Infinite Stratos. If Ichika becomes the Head, our family can start investing in such an expensive but promising subject, it speaks of various opportunities."
Seishi just stared at Jirou with a blank face.
"Do you get it? Or is your understanding of Japanese even lower than simple?"
"I think you think too much. All I can see is that the old man is considering Ichika to become the next Head because of his connection to the peerless genius."
"Isn't that what I just said you brainless moron?!"
"Who is brainless? At least I am better than someone who uses too much brain cells. People who uses more brain cells will only end up ageing faster."
"How can using too much brain cells leads to ageing faster? On what kind of basis do you believe such a claim?"
"The more you think, the more old hair you will grow."
"That is utter nonsense. It's just shows how low your IQ is. All you can ever think about is fight and fight and fight, you fucking lowlife whose existence only troubles people's plans whenever we go out as a group."
Shizuna rolled her eyes.
Here they go again…
Ever since the two went together for a mission, they started arguing non-stop.
Apparently Jirou created some flawless plan using his strong logic, but Seishi's combat rashness spoiled the entire mission.
Forever trying to sort things out through logic, no matter how weak things may sound logically.
That is Orimura Jirou for you.
But such a good brain will not work on a muscle man like Seishi who thinks that strength triumphs over thinking, 'what can your brain do when you can't withstand a punch?' he says.
A connection with the world's most wanted peerless genius.
That is a triumph card indeed.
A rare one at that.
Just what is that fellow –
"Ok fine, to prove you wrong, I'm taking it." Seishi said.
Seishi reached out and grabbed the note Ichika put up.
Everyone looked at Seishi.
"The reward is an IS right? I'm taking it. It will be good if I can use such a baby when I fight."
Seishi pen his name down.
"Hold on a minute! An IS under the hands of a muscle maniac like yourself? As if I will allow that!"
Jirou sized the note from Seishi's hands and penned his own name down.
"Umm… boys? What the hell are you guys doing?" Shizuna commented.
"An IS is said to enhance your biological senses that can help the pilot be more aware of certain facts that people are easy to miss out on scene. If I can get to use that during my own missions, the IS would greatly help me."
"Um… even if you two get the IS, how on earth are you two going to pilot it? As far as what I know, Ichika is the only male who gets to pilot one."
""Shinonono Tabane."" The two replied.
"Oh? Perfect sync! You two do think alike at times."
Seishi and Jirou looked at each other with disgust and turned away.
Their arms crossed and backs facing each other.
Each side still stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the other.
Shizuna started to laugh inwardly.
I really wonder… can this Ichika control the two of them simultaneously?
Now this is something Shizuna wanted to see personally.
Shizuna took Ichika's note, stroked off Kin's name and inserted her own.
"Hey… what are you doing? Kin took that slot already." Yukawa said.
"You stole her slot."
"… What if she retaliates?"
"I have my ways." She winked at him.
Completely the Madoka version of the Branch family, Orimura Shizuna is definitely someone you ought to watch out for.
That very evening...
"Do our cousins have the habit of not arriving early?" Ichika asked.
"Sometimes... Usually the ones who initiated the mission ought to be the one who is early to ensure that the plane tickets are set. The others only bother arriving on time." Madoka replied.
It is 4:30 pm when the twins arrived at the Kyoto airport.
The flight is at 5:10 pm, but there is still no sight of any one from the Branch family.
"I really wonder who will come..." he said.
"Me too. Hopefully not the troublesome ones." Madoka said.
"Oh? Like who?"
"Well... we have Orimura Seishi who is a total muscle blockhead. He never uses his brain at all."
Seishi... isn't he...
"I spared with him today I think."
"Before I posted my note in the Branch family apartment."
Madoka gave me a satisfying smirk.
"So... he is a pro-combative type huh?"
"More than that. he is a battle freak."
Aren't you the same?
Madoka pinched me.
"Ow! What's that for?"
"Oi. At least I know when to stop fighting and start using my head. Seishi is the type who always resort to brute force, to the point that he can affect any carefully planned out strategies."
"Even if you successfully managed to reason with him, he will end up disappointing you. From the moment the action starts, he enters his own world and starts fighting anyone that is capable of fighting, without thinking of the consequences."
"That sounds... troublesome."
"I only teamed up with him once. I don't ever want to team with him again."
To piss off even Madoka, what a guy...
"Well... there's our logic brain Jirou, but he is already part of Kanata's faction."
"From the sound of it you had not met him yet. Jirou is arguably the best thinker in our family. He only thinks about two things. Theoretical and Practical."
"That sounds convenient. Someone with a brain like that would be useful."
Madoka gave me a doubtful stare.
"He is good in nailing down the best options, even in the most critical of situations. But he is unbelieving stubborn."
"Once he has made his decision in regards to how we ought to move, he will stubbornly insist that we stick to it."
"And if we don't?"
"Prepare yourself for a long lecture when we get back home."
"... I guess that is his down point. Is Chiyo another troublesome person?"
"Chiyo? Why bring her up?"
"Hello? When I first came back she looks as if she wants to kill me."
"Ah... Well Chiyo is zealous, I give her that. She is good in what she does if she pays attention to it. The problem with her is that she can get overly protective of her superiors."
"Do I count in her list of superiors since I am your brother? "
"She is not part of your faction... yet. So I can't really say."
She smiled wryly.
"It really sucks to start late in this succession matter."
"Well... at least Ichika-nii has the IS so you have a good card to play."
"Oi... you too as well."
Madoka pretended that she didn't hear that last comment.
"Anyone else I ought to know?"
Madoka gave a disgusted look.
"There's that super annoying Shizuna."
Ichika recalled vague memories of that carefree lady who first greeted him back at the Branch family apartment.
"I met her back then. She seems all right."
Madoka gave him the 'Are you shitting me?' face.
Ichika retreated a step back.
"She always puts on this innocent facade. But she is a devious women who always had schemes inside her head."
"There is this time where I went on a mission with her. It was a five group mission."
"A five group mission? How many per group?"
"From the old man's new rules? Minimum of 7 members."
"Wow... what's the details?"
"Sabotaging a major commercial organization. Some foreign branch who thinks they had the balls to go up against us. Three groups will carry out coordinated assassinations, one will secure escape route while the last mislead the local police."
"So what happened?"
"I was part of the assassination group with Shizuna. The stage was set during one of those formal conference parties."
"So you were meeting with their branch CEO right?"
"Yes. Anyways, halfway while I was speaking to the branch CEO, that Shizuna! SHE!"
Madoka gave a vengeful look, a very dangerous one.
"Woah... calm down. What happened?"
"I was talking to him when Shizuna butt in and suggested annoying things."
Madoka gave Ichika the death's glare.
"She started suggesting some nonsense about joint enterprises, and even joked that I had keen interest in the CEO's son or whatever."
"She purposely gave the killing que faster than we planned. Originally we are supposed to wait until the group that secures escape route reports the ok. But Shizuna gave the que before that happened."
"Wait... aren't you supposed to give the que?"
"Yes... but I am not sure how she did it. Everyone just mindlessly responded to her que before confirming with me."
"Total chaos, we were unable to secure all kills within the moment. Some idiots escaped."
"Isn't chasing them down easy?"
Madoka rounded up on Ichika.
"YOU THINK?! THAT ASSASSINATION WAS SUPPOSED TO BE 100% KILLS ON SCENE!"
Several tourists nearby turned, probably thinking 'what is this girl saying?'.
Ichika raised his hands giving the ok ok calm down message.
"Ok... then how did you resolve it?"
"We chased them of course! Everything went wrong! So wrong! The escape group is forced to join us to take down the survivors! And the group that is supposed to handle the police had to come up with an entirely different story. Shizuna was laughing her ass off when she saw how stressed out I became! That was a high level mission given by the old man. His conditions are quick and clean! Do you think that was quick and clean?!"
"To make matters worse! Shizuna purposely build up the difficulty."
"I was chasing one of the survivors. Apparently he hide himself in one of those high tech base with all sorts of solidified electronic doors. I was almost reaching him to the next room when the power to the whole building went down."
"With the power down, I have to manually open the doors. And do you know how heavy were those doors?"
"THEY ALMOST BROKE MY FINGERS!"
"And do you know who is the culprit? Shizuna! That bitch called me immediately after the power went down and confessed she did it. And it wasn't those sorry confessions. It's the fucking 'have fun with this new level of difficulty Madoka~' confession!"
"I don't know what is going on, but I hope i am not interrupting." a new voice enters.
The twins turned.
Standing there is someone Ichika never saw before.
He had a interesting pair of glasses, black hair that was cut short.
He was dressed in a white jacket, black shirt with a grey skull in the center, and black jeans.
"Jirou?" Madoka said.
Jirou as in Orimura Jirou?
"You are that Orimura Jirou? The logic brain Jirou?" Ichika said.
Jirou gave Ichika an annoyed look.
"I rather you just call me Jirou. Ichika...sama."
He added the sama there as if he was spiting out spoiled coffee.
"What are you doing here?" Madoka asked.
"Your mission." was the answer.
"You are participating in my mission?" Ichika said.
"Yes. If it prevents that Seishi from getting his hands on an IS."
Madoka closed her eyes and gave a dangerous smile.
"Jirou-san~ did i just hear you say Seishi?"
"You heard me right. Seishi is also participating. He hopes to get an IS. I am also participating to stop that blockhead. Who knows what kind of havoc he will unleash with an IS."
Something akin to a huge vein popping can be heard from Madoka.
Her right closed eye is twitching dangerously.
She looked at me scarily.
"... Perhaps using an IS is too much..." was all Ichika can say.
"You are totally right on that." Jirou said.
Now his focus is on Ichika.
"Have you considered the effects of promising a powerful weapon like that as a mission reward?"
"To get some support."
"You could have done it in another way. You are aware that the IS is an overly promising reward?"
"Yes I am."
"In considering the combat prowess of such well defined artificial intelligence, Any individual from the family would want such a prize, you also considered this no?"
"Then did you think ahead that you would draw the attention of so many of your cousins? Most of which who had already joined a circle like myself?"
"And what do you hope to gain? To lure us over?"
"If not, have you also realized that you have indirectly invited cousins who are considerably psychopaths or total blockheads who have high chances of sabotaging your mission outcome?"
This guy is so down onto details, no matter how minor... a logic brain all right...
"Even if you do not seek to lure us over to your side, you are aware then, that if such psychopaths and blockheads sabotage your mission, it would poorly reflect your performance to impress the old man?"
"... I don't know if you are either a genius, or our family's worst idiot."
Ichika chose to ignore that.
Another voice interrupted.
It's a teenage girl's voice, and Ichika already heard this voice before.
It is definitely not Kin... its...
Ichika felt a very dangerous vibe coming from his imouto.
"Shizuna..." Madoka gave a very dangerous look.
"Oh Hi Madoka-sama~! It has been too long since that last mission ho ho ho~."
"Shizuna, get your ass out of here now."
"Don't be so nasty~ New missions like this are good chances to reconcile. Ah... don't worry I have turned over to a new leaf~."
"You mean turned over to a worse leaf." Jirou added.
Another voice, and also one that registered in Ichika's head.
Upon hearing that voice, Jirou's expression turned dark.
"Here he comes..." he said.
Dressed sloppily in a T-shirt, pants and simple sports shoes, and carrying nothing by something that looks like a Katana package, Orimura Seishi really looks like someone unprepared for a journey.
Ichika stole a glance at Madoka.
She really looks like she is going to explode and start rattling her favourite guns at random directions.
It looks like this odd combination really pisses her off.
Ichika chose to step in before things really go out of control.
"Well… since everybody is here, let me introduce myself. I am Orimura Ichika, I am currently using the alias name of Saiyoka. Since you all know who I am, I am going to skip the details. Since everyone is here… wait. Where's Kin? She is supposed to be here."
"Ah~! If you are talking about Kin, I took her slot~." Shizuna smiled.
Kin has been so enthusiastic about getting an IS, so why did she give up her slot… wait a minute.
In considering all that Madoka said…
"You forced her to switch with you right?" Ichika asked Shizuna.
"I don't know what you are talking about~." Shizuna gave him an innocent smile.
Ichika looked at Jirou.
Jirou gave Ichika a concerned look for once.
"Don't worry Ichika-sama, that's how she does things. Don't let her actions concern you so much."
"Ok… then since everyone is here, let's meet up with the client. Or more specifically, the middle man who helped us set this mission."
All five grabbed whatever luggage they brought and followed Ichika.
Ichika took out his instructions note and followed.
They met the middleman at a high class international restaurant.
It is a man called… wait… a lady?
The name is Iso Kimo.
It's definitely female… so the middleman is a middlelady?
Ichika approached one of the counter staff members.
"I am looking for a Iso Kimo."
The staff immediately guide the five over to a six chair table.
And there she is, a lone female dressed in professional business suit.
Suits again… Ichika frowned.
He really hated suits after that bad memory fragment.
The memory fragment is not that clear, all he remembers is a woman dressed in black suit who had continuously hit him hard on the head with a student record book.
That memory fragment really shows up more frequently, Ichika really felt irritated at older woman with suits.
Of course, Onoe Oba-sama is different.
"Hi welcome!" The lady said.
She gestured to the table, already served with food.
The five greeted formally and started eating.
"Which one of you is Orimura Saiyoka?" She asked.
"Me." Ichika said, he started applying what the old man taught him.
"So… in regards to 'business'. What is the next 'job offer'?" Ichika said.
'Business' means mission, while 'job offer' means mission details.
Those were the technical terminologies the old man taught him, since they can't talk about the underground casually in broad daylight.
"The job offer is simple, we are thinking of 'stocks'."
Ichika can feel Jirou and Shizuna studying him.
They are probably trying to gauge his intelligence.
"What kind of stocks?"
Ah… cargo escort.
"From Britain to France."
Europe again like what the old man said.
Isn't it more challenging to escort things out of Britain since Britain is separated from the European continent with the English channel, Celtic sea and Irish sea?
"Instrument of delivery?"
"Provided shares or do we need to purchase?"
So at least the boat is provided.
"Deadline of stock intake?"
"Receive by tomorrow 5 pm British time, will be delivered two days after at Utah Beach."
Too simple... this just sounds too simple.
Ichika could not help but suspect that there is more to it to this mission.
That's that. How is it? Ok? Hope this chapter is all right:)
Thank you all for continue to read this fanfric despite my seemingly hiatus status.
But really... I WANT MORE REVIEWS:(