My Hero - Chapter 8 - One Less Enemy
Kawamitsu took a moment to be certain that he was completely focused before stepping into the holding cell. Moments ago, he had been talking to Yoshimitsu, who called him from a payphone in Setagaya to tell Kawamitsu that he'd be running a little late and so he should go ahead with things. And so, Kawamitsu entered the holding cell of Jean-Luc Roi Mikel de Garonne, the man who had been hired to kill his friend and master.
De Garonne rose from his seat at the bed upon seeing the door open. Kawamitsu, alone, closed the heavy metal door behind him, the cold sound echoing through the recycled air. He made his way towards the small table against the wall, sitting down with a sense of purpose.
"Please," he began, sounding very formal, "Have a seat." He motioned with a hand to the other seat at the table, keeping his eyes on the assassin.
De Garonne looked over at him with tired eyes and replied, "I'm fine over here, thanks." He then sat back down on the bed, it's old springs creaking as he did.
"Very well," said Kawamitsu, deciding it best to choose his battles wisely, "Look… You know why I'm in here, so let's just make this quick and easy, alright? Who hired you?"
De Garonne paused for only a second before answering with a tone of regretful amusement, "You know I can't tell you that."
Kawamitsu let out a brief sigh, having already known it would come to this. He had a long night ahead of him.
"The sun's been down forever now! Where is she?" fretted Xiaoyu as she paced around the park bench. Yoshimitsu sat there, trying to look as relaxed as possible.
"Xiaoyu, sit down," he said, his voice deep and soft, "You're going to draw attention." As he sat there with his arms propped up on the backrest and with his ankle resting on the knee of his other leg, he looked over his shoulder casually. Xiaoyu stopped and looked over at him, giving him a slight glare.
"Draw attention? But there's no one here!" she waved her arms around the dark, empty park as she continued to pace around the park bench.
"Just… Sit down." Yoshimitsu, leaning forward, took Xiaoyu by the arm and pulled her down on the bench to sit next to him, "We should appear as casual as possible. Anyone could be walking around here and look over at us, and if they saw you pacing back and forth- panicking- it would look odd. They would look at us and see two suspicious characters." He then wrapped an arm- his non-robotic one- around Xiaoyu's slender shoulders as if to put her at ease. He had re-donned the light weight jacket, with the hood over his head, and Xiaoyu found it easy to relax against the warm fabric.
The two were silent for a long time. So much so that Yoshimitsu could hear the soft beating of Xiaoyu's heart mixed with the gentle rustling of leaves in the wind. Strangely wanting to break the silence, Yoshimitsu groped his mind for something to talk about.
"Umm… Xiaoyu, you were in the last King of Iron Fist Tournament, yes?"
"The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4?" she asked, clarifying, "Yeah, I was. I didn't see you there. Did you get far?"
"Well, to be honest, I wasn't too concerned with the tournament itself. I mean, of course I wanted to win," he said, sitting back down, "But I knew I could get the money another way." Xiaoyu smiled, remembering all that she had heard about it.
"You stole it! I remember hearing about that. Heihachi must have been furious. How did you get away with it?"
"It wasn't easy, that's for sure. Lifting the vault up with the helicopter wasn't too hard, but escaping was no small feat. And it didn't help when I got distracted by-" He stopped himself, remembering.
"What?" asked Xiaoyu, looking over at him with curiosity.
"Nevermind," replied Yoshimitsu, as his thoughts went back to that night, only a few weeks ago. As Yoshimitsu was making his escape from the Mishima compound after having the Mishima vault airlifted by the Manji Clan's helicopter, he noticed one of the tournament's competitors, a man named Bryan Fury. Fury appeared to be injured somehow, and things didn't look good for him. Despite the fact that the two had been mortal enemies, Yoshimitsu knew in his heart that leaving Fury to die would not be the right thing to do. And so, he took the unconscious man to Dr. Bosconovich's lab, where he now rested.
Xiaoyu thought for a moment, and then looked over at Yoshimitsu again, asking, "Hey, Yoshi… When you rescued me, back at the Mishima Zaibatsu headquarters, I was trying to talk to Heihachi Mishima, but the Tekken Force guys seemed hell bent to keep me from him. Why do you think so?"
Yoshimitsu nodded, realizing that there was still so much that Xiaoyu didn't know. He debated with himself on whether or not he should tell her before saying, "Xiaoyu, I think the Tekken Force might have been trying to cover something up. You're not really too involved with the underworld of this city, so it would make sense for you not to know this. A rumor has been floating around the past couple of weeks, and I think it's about to be released to the public soon. That night, when your friend Jin Kazama won the King of Iron Fist Tournament 4, there was a massive explosion. Xiaoyu… There's been talk that Heihachi Mishima died in that explosion."
Xiaoyu looked away suddenly to keep Yoshimitsu from seeing the look of worry on her face. She felt as if her only chance to help the Mishima family was now gone, and it made her feel a sting of defeat. As she thought about the death of Heihachi and the eternal struggle that was now left to fester in the bitter hatred between Jin and his father Kazuya, she found herself holding back the tears that were building in her eyes. Yoshimitsu looked over at her, troubled at the idea of something he said making such a bright young woman so sad.
"Xiao, I… I've been so busy trying to find Kunimitsu that I haven't been able to take the time to look into the matter, so I can't say for sure that it's entirely true. It's just what they're saying," he offered, reaching to place a comforting hand on her shoulder when his acute hearing suddenly picked up a faint sound nearby.
Yoshimitsu stood up quickly, scanning the tree line. His abruptness caused Xiaoyu to look around as well.
"Is she here?" she asked quietly, forgetting about the Mishima tragedy.
"I don't know…" answered Yoshimitsu, his sensors completely focused. Xiaoyu's eyes wandered around more, and as she turned slightly to look over her shoulder, she let out a startled shriek. Yoshimitsu spun around to see the woman they met earlier standing only a few feet away from them on the other side of the bench. She had apparently been observing them from the nearby bushes.
Yoshimitsu stared at her, and as she stepped into the orange glow of the park light above them, he could see her face much more clearly. He was stupefied, having once thought that he might never have seen her face again only to see it before him now.
Kunimitsu slowly began to make her way out onto the stone path, and Xiaoyu took a step forward to get a closer look.
"Stand aside, girl," quietly ordered Kunimitsu, brushing passed Xiaoyu as she walked towards her lifelong enemy- and now friend- Yoshimitsu. Xiaoyu stepped aside clumsily, unable to tear her gaze from the woman whom Yoshimitsu had been searching high and low for. She didn't quite know what it was, but Xiaoyu couldn't ignore the bitter taste in her mouth.
"Kunimitsu," began Yoshimitsu, relieved and flustered all at once, "You're… alive! What…? Where have you been? Kunimitsu, I…" Yoshimitsu felt like a fool, and his soft babbling made Xiaoyu resent this woman's presence even more. What was so special about her to make Yoshimitsu act that way?
"Hello Yoshimitsu. It's been about, what, eight months or so? It's nice to see you," Kunimitsu smirked a little, and it brought out her graceful age a measure more.
"I've been…" Worried? Crazed? Frustrated? Insane with determination? "… looking for you," stated Yoshimitsu, who crossed his arms in an attempt to hide his uneasiness. He almost liked it better when she was trying to kill him, not when she was standing there so coolly, her eyes laughing at him.
"So, who's your little friend?" asked Kunimitsu, nodding towards Xiaoyu.
"I'm Ling Xiaoyu!" piped Xiaoyu, eager to get a word in. She knew what she was feeling was childish, but she didn't care at this point. She'd been through too much to let this vixen show up and steal away whatever shred of friendship she had formed with Yoshimitsu.
"Xiaoyu here has been assisting me in my search for you," added Yoshimitsu, taking a step forward.
"Oh really?" Kunimitsu turned to look at Xiaoyu, their eyes meeting each other willfully, "A thanks is in order then, isn't it?" She bowed slightly to Xiaoyu, who instinctively bowed lower in reply.
"It was nothing, really," she stated before walking over to Yoshimitsu's side, "Well, should we get going? We don't want to stick around too long or those-"
"Look out!" suddenly shouted Yoshimitsu as he dove down, bringing Xiaoyu down with him.
In the time it took for them to fall, Kunimitsu contorted her lean, flexible body to the side to avoid the bullet that went flying passed her. Yoshimitsu got to his feet, dragging Xiaoyu with him and the three took refuge in the nearby bushes.
"What was that?" asked Xiaoyu anxiously.
"Quiet," said Kunimitsu, dismissively, as she gazed out through the bushes they were crouched in. She could definitely hear a faint sound through all of the rattling of the wind-swept leaves, but she couldn't pinpoint it. She then looked over at Yoshimitsu, who silently showed her three fingers and pointed at various locations in the trees across the stone path.
The two of them tensed their bodies and, like springs, they bounded out of the bushes, leaving Xiaoyu puzzled. They both ran towards the trees in a zigzag pattern, like wolves closing in on their prey.
A few shots were fired by the hidden assailants, but the two Manji ninja, like the silent killers they were, dodge them all as they neared the trees. Kunimitsu leapt towards one such tree, and the man who had been hiding behind it- a shorter, stalky man in night camouflage- stepped around the tree to greet her. He was about to fire off another shot, but Kunimitsu kicked the gun out of his hand and, as soon as that foot touched the ground, she used her other leg to knee the man in the stomach.
While those two continued to fight, Yoshimitsu saw another assailant- similarly dressed to the other one- up in the tree branches. Yoshimitsu, with inhuman agility, leaped up to the lowest branch, reaching it with his powerful hands. The man in the tree fired a shot, hoping to knock Yoshimitsu down, but his shot missed as Yoshimitsu, like an acrobat, swung his legs and lifted himself up on the branch. He then quickly made his way closer to the other man, who was in the frantic process of trying to climb down. The man managed to jump from the tree and, after a clumsy landing, scrambled to his feet. However, Yoshimitsu then bounded from the tree and, with a downward slash of his sword, killed the man instantly.
Yoshimitsu held his breath during the mere seconds it took for the blood to sputter from the man's dying body, and Yoshimitsu's prized blade was soon drenched in the slippery, warm redness. With a quick twirl of his robotic wrist, like a dark windmill, Yoshimitsu splattered the stone path in an effort to get most of the blood off the blade. Yoshimitsu, a demon in that moment, looked over at the third man, who was hiding in a nearby bunch of bushes. Even from his place of concealment, the hired killer could see the smoldering red glow of the eyes on Yoshimitsu's oni mask, and the entire site of the demon and his bloody blade was too much. The man wasted no time in his retreat, running as fast as he could through the trees and out of the park.
Xiaoyu could see this all clearly from her own hiding place behind the bushes, and it sent a slight chill running down her spine. She hadn't seen Yoshimitsu like this, and she wondered if that feral violence had always been there or if it was Kunimitsu who brought it out of him. Yoshimitsu, returning to stand beside the park bench, glanced over at Kunimitsu, who returned with her own bloody dagger. Xiaoyu emerged from the bushes and regarded them both with a new sense of awareness for their ferocity. Yoshimitsu swallowed, not really liking the look he saw on Xiaoyu's face.
"Anyway," began Kunimitsu, her voice eerily bright and casual, "Back to what you were saying, Ling. I agree. Let's get out of here."
"What do you mean 'they weren't human'?" asked Aikuchi, sitting up a little more in his dark leather office chair. He placed an elbow on the green felt top of his mahogany desk, using his arm to keep his head propped up, "You mean you found her, but she wasn't alone? There were two others with her? Who were they?" He paused. "No, just return. Yes, that's too bad about the others, but there's nothing we can do… We'll just have to look into it then." He ended the call and set his phone down on the desk, going over the short conversation in his mind and what it all meant.
Aikuchi then let out a heavy sigh, not wanting to believe that his men had failed yet again to take out Kunimitsu. She had gotten away with hundreds of thousands of yen, and that was not a deficit that Aikuchi's small crime firm was able to handle for much longer, despite the extra bit of breathing room they had gained from the larger Black Pheasant Syndicate's downfall.
Aikuchi leaned back in his large desk chair, rotating the chair back and forth slowly as he tried to think about his next move. He knew very well that, if Kunimitsu had made contact with her former leader, Yoshimitsu, there was virtually no hope of him getting his money back. However, the identity of the third individual intrigued him. The assailant on the phone, just returning from a failed attempt in the park, had mentioned that there was a "young woman" with the two Manji ninja. Who was she? Perhaps, Aikuchi thought, there could be a way to make use of her.
With a new sense of determination, Aikuchi picked up the phone, contacting that assailant again. "Listen. It's not over yet. That girl you said you saw with Yoshimitsu and Kunimitsu… Yes. Find out who she is."
"Well, I'm certainly pleased to see you've returned safely, and with Kunimitsu!" said Dr. Bosconovich, glancing over at Yoshimitsu from his seat at his desk.
Yoshimitsu, leaning against a surgical table in the center of the main lab room, looked down at the cold cement floor. Not wanting to put two much stress on Kunimitsu and Xiaoyu, he had them retire for the night. There were so many questions he wanted to ask Kunimitsu, particularly about the trouble she's in and how it can be resolved.
"Yoshimitsu," Dr. Bosconovich began, "I know your thoughts are occupied with many troubles of late, but I thought I'd let you know that the development of your new suit of armor is coming along quite nicely."
"Oh?" inquired Yoshimitsu, sounding a bit tired, "That's great news. Thank you." He then paused for a moment, remembering his brief conversation with Xiaoyu in the park. "Umm… Dr. Bosconovich? Has there been any progress with… the man I rescued? Bryan Fury?"
Within a few minutes, Dr. Bosconovich and Yoshimitsu had moved to the deepest reaches of the laboratory to a small room where the man in question was resting in suspended animation, recovering from his wounds.
Yoshimitsu looked down at Bryan Fury, wondering at how such a troubled soul could still look so angry, even in sleep. His silver hair only added to the gauntness of his facial features, making him look all too menacing.
"He's a tricky one," Dr. Bosconovich stated, looking over diagrams and charts, "He's a cyborg like you, yes, created by my long-time rival Dr. Abel. But he's far less superior to your design- if I don't say so myself- and so his recovery has been difficult."
"Is there anything we can do to speed up the process?" asked Yoshimitsu curiously.
"Well… There is something. I've been developing a perpetual power generator. As soon as it's complete, I could use him as a model for testing it? It could be just the thing he'd need to continue living."
"Good," replied Yoshimitsu, looking over the readings on a nearby regulator.
"Yoshimitsu… I must say, I'm still a little confused," admitting Dr. Bosconovich, looking over at his old friend though his glasses, "Bryan Fury, once an INTERPOL agent, was transformed into this relentless monster who's only capable of destruction and, by proxy of his creator, has a distinct hatred for you. Why do you want to save him?"
"Kunimitsu was no different," began Yoshimitsu, meeting the gaze of the old doctor with his own, "If I was able to get through to her, perhaps I can get through to this man? We could use an ally or, at least, one less enemy."
"I'm not so sure," added Dr. Bosconovich, cautiously, "Let's just… be careful."
"Of course," answered Yoshimitsu, not wanting to worry too much about it, "This won't be a problem, really. Besides, I have more pressing concerns to focus on. Like this assassin… De Garonne. Kawamitsu wasn't able to get much out of him, from what I've briefly heard… I should look into it immediately." Dr. Bosconovich chuckled a little, shaking his head.
"Old friend, you should at least get a few hours of sleep before diving into another debacle!"
Yoshimitsu sighed, just now starting to feel fatigue.