The story behind that name has already been told. Until the duo that makes up the Mangaka are dead, the story will live on, continuously growing.
The story of Ashirogi Muto is intertwined with many people, not just two. Though it started at that number. But as the two met new and different people, a web of connections grew. If their influence wasn't spread by a face to face meeting, the works of Ashirogi Muto were the conductor for many.
Millions were influenced by Money and Intelligence, Tanto, and most recently, PCP: Perfect Crime Party. And millions more will be influenced as the time goes by.
One such individual was influenced like all the rest. But unlike the childish and innocent immolations of many fans, born from the actions of the characters within the pages, this person took it upon himself to try what the protagonists Makoto, Minoru and Mai never dared to try…
He broke into the bank and left a single note behind, the wealth unscathed.
His words, a simple phrase, would shake the writer half of Ashirogi Muto for weeks to come.
His words caused Takagi Akito to struggle to create the same level of quality of good chapters from before the incident occurred, until eventually – weeks later – his partner Mashiro Moritaka was able to snap him out of his slump.
But unknown to all, but this copycat was something truly sinister that lay just beneath the surface.
And Ashirogi Muto had just jumped head long into a ticking time bomb.
His words echo still in the Mangaka's ears.
I got in. – Sigma
A deadly and sinister voice that whispers at every corner, at a flipped page, a scribbled word. Every hour and every day, the writer is tormented still. A foreboding in his writing, unnoticeable to all except himself.
I got in.
And more will follow, if they don't listen to the piper's demands.
I got in.
Heed the piper.
He is calling.
The Strange Chapter
Doumoto Makoto, Tokunaga Minoru and Annojyou Mai walked into the darkened room.
"Perfect Crime Party… I have been waiting for you." A malevolent voice rang from darkness.
Makoto closed his eyes, Minoru froze and Mai gulped quietly, quivering.
"Sigma. We're here. Tell us what you want."
The figure shrouded in darkness known as Sigma smiled, white teeth shining dangerously. "You're smart… figure it out, PCP-mina-kun~!"
The note from earlier flashed into the PCP members' minds.
"You got in…" Mai murmered and Sigma sniggered creepily.
"Did you like my little performance~?"
Makoto's arm slashed through the air, a thunderous expression on his face. "No!" came the harsh reply. "You took our good name and smashed it!"
Sigma laughed again, cruelty in his tone. "Good name? What good name?" the dangerous grin was back. "You don't have a good name. You're just brats playing horrible tricks on others for your own sick enjoyment… I like it… it's why I helped you…"
All three flinched back, the venomous words stinging like salt pouring into wounds.
"But enough talk about your petty criminal deeds, you know the rules… it's time to play another Game."
All three flinched again, going pale in the face, minds flashing to the note they had left to their rival, Akechi.
They all shared a look and nodded, reluctant and desperate.
One final game, one last Perfect Crime…
Makoto as the leader announced, "We accept your Challenge." But it was a mere formality. They had no choice. It was either that or die.
Sigma smiled, chilling in it's brightness. "Then disappear… and let your dear Akechi find you… before it's too late…"
And then they are alone.
Mai sits down with a shuddery sigh and Makoto and Minaru look at eachother, dread filling all three of their chests, their hearts sinking to their stomachs.
Makoto clenches his fist and glares at his white knuckles.
We could die.
Hattori rocked back, floored.
This newest arc… it was so hardcore, it had sent his heart racing.
The two boys who made up the secret team writer-artist duo Ashirogi Muto sat patiently but nervous as their editor and dear mentor struggled for words.
Hattori cleared his throat, shuffled the stack and let it settle, opened his mouth then closed it. He cleared his throat once more and shuffled the stack again.
"Well…" he coughed slightly, still overwhelmed. "That was… wow…"
Takagi and Moritaka shared relieved grins, somewhat mellower and more strained then their usual brightness, a major warning sign that something was amiss…
But so deep was Hattori in his shock, he never noticed until it was far too late…
"Well, this round is perfect, a great way of tying in your response to this imposter! Takagi-kun, I'm glad to see that you have regained your flair, and a major thriller mystery! I can't wait to see what happens next!"
The trio stood, clasping hands with large smiles on their faces. Two fake, one genuine.
"So next week, same time?" Takagi asked for the two of them.
Hattori nodded. "Yeah, keep up the good work!"
"Thank you Hattori-san for all the help you have given us."
The editor felt a chill run up his spine. For some reason… those words… they sent a chill up his spine. Like they were a final goodbye, not just a spur in the moment thank you.
"Eh? Why are you thanking me? I haven't done anything!" he said this weakly, hands up in the surrender position, praying to any kami that would listen that he was wrong…
Moritaka smiled weakly and that smile caused Hattori's dread to worsen. "But you have… more than you know." He murmered. "Takagi, lets go before we miss our train." Takagi nodded jerkily. "Y-Yeah…"
And the two hurried out, leaving a worried editor behind.
"So… Takagi-kun seems to have come back to his normal self!" Miura said. Hattori nodded distractedly.
"Yeah…" but something was off. He knew it was.
He watched from the office window as the small dark haired figure of Moritaka paused and glanced back up at the editorial building, before at Takagi's urging, left towards the direction of the railway station.
Hattori's frown deepened. Kami… please don't let this be what I think it is… he prayed silently.
Without his consent, his mind flashed to the final words on the page, the words that sent hi reeling and now filled him with unmeasured dread.
WE COULD DIE
A week later, and the duo who made up the Mangaka Ashirogi Muto….
…never showed up…
And Hattori was left with the chilling conclusion that something horrible had happened, and his boys were tangled up in something deadly, with Death's scythe hanging over all their heads.
….Find Ashirogi Muto….