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Author Topic: Scapegoat (Chapter 10/END)  (Read 11480 times)

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 3)
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2007, 11:48:03 PM »
I have to agree with Aichan being perverted sometimes, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to go about writing that so I gave her a more rational/quiet(okay.. maybe not that quiet) role. I was conflicted in the beginning but what the hell, I've already started xD

Hmm, all I can say is.. those two are gonna be facing lots of trouble when I've squeeze all the humor out of me.

*goes back to typing chapter 4*

Offline ChiruChaCha

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 3)
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2007, 12:45:25 AM »
I have to agree with Aichan being perverted sometimes

o.o when?

Interesting beginning for the fic, I like TakaGaki and there's not much of it on the net so I'm looking for some fluff there xD

Btw, I read the title as "Spacegoat" instead of "Scapegoat" at first and I was like wtf?! XD

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 3)
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2007, 12:51:39 AM »
Oops, I think I phrased it wrong..  :banghead:

I meant, I agree that Ai does seem like it, not that she is.. or something like that. I can't think straight when I haven't slept all night (It's almost 9am ;_;)

Btw, I read the title as "Spacegoat" instead of "Scapegoat" at first and I was like wtf?! XD

LOL.

There really isn't much of takagaki centric fics, so I finally snapped and did one. :D
« Last Edit: August 17, 2007, 12:52:49 AM by inDeceit »

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 4)
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2007, 03:25:51 AM »
Chapter 4

“You finally took revenge eh?”

“He deserved it, after all that he has done to me. An eye for an eye, so they say.”

“Are you not afraid of his men hunting you down? They’re probably on the search right now.”

“Impossible. I had a scapegoat. It’s likely they got rid of that kid on the spot and closed the case then. After all, killing is child’s play to them.”

“That’s not what I heard on the streets though.”

“What are you implying?”

“They’re still searching for the killer.”

“That doesn’t concern me. I’m not a suspect anymore.”

“Yes, but the kid might rat you out. Ever thought of that?”

“… She did see my face..”

“You’re such an amateur, Marukuma.”

“What do you suggest I do then, ‘Oh great one’?”

“Oh my, trying to make me an accomplice?”

“It’s not your first anyway.”

“True.”

“So?”

“I say, eliminate all evidences. But remember, you did not hear this from me.”

“As always.”

-----

Nightfall finally came when Risa awoke from a long and dreamless slumber. Her headache was gone too, thanks to the painkillers. However, she was still a little sleepy from the pills’ side effects. She sat on the bed lethargically but it wasn’t long until a question began nagging at her. <i>Where’s that Takahashi woman?</i>

Taking a good look around the dimmed room thanks to some light seaming in from the outside, Risa couldn’t even see her own hand clearly let alone figure out if her caretaker was still in the room. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, she was about to stand up when she felt something fuzzy touch her feet. It couldn’t have been the tatami mats that carpeted the floor. Curiosity getting the better of her, she gently prodded the  material with her toes. Whatever it was on the ground stirred slightly and all but caused Risa to shriek out of surprise until she mentally slapped herself. “There’s no such thing as the boogey man!” She muttered as softly as she could.

Taking a good look at the figure on the floor, Risa heaved a sigh of relief. Once again thanking the outside for shedding some light on what’s really down by the bed, literally. It was only Ai fast asleep with a thin blanket wrapped around her. She was curled up, trying to make the best out of the sad excuse of a blanket.

“She really should splurge a little on necessities..” Risa murmured and bent down to wake the sleeping girl. “Oi. Wake up.” She shook the other’s shoulder gently until finally some response was given.

“Huh?”

“Get on the bed.” Risa ordered.

“Wha?” Ai wasn’t sure if she heard her right.

“You took care of me all day, and I’m not that heartless to have you freeze to death on the ground. So take the bed already.” She then bent down and pulled the older girl up by her arm.

“What the- Ouch! All right, all right. You’re gonna rip my arm off if you keep pulling like that.” Ai retracted her arm and climbed onto the bed as ordered. “But.. What about you? You’re injured.”

You didn’t really expect our little thief to be that generous, did you?

“Right here of course.” Risa pats the spot beside Ai and promptly shifted to lie down.

The ticking of the clock could be heard loud and clear as both girls lied back to back on the single bed. It was too awkward for both of them to go back to sleep again. For Ai, she had never shared a bed with anyone before or even been unnecessarily close to someone physically. So naturally, it was slightly unsettling regardless of whether the warmth next to her was indeed comforting.

Risa one the other hand, she was having another headache. She did not believe that she just spontaneously invited someone to share a bed with her, nor did was she convinced that she went soft on the other girl not long ago. She was bothered by the kindness experienced throughout the day as well. No one in their right mind would actually be willing to help anyone suspicious looking let alone a thief, so why did Ai do it? The older girl was nice to her despite the occasional petty verbal exchange, even better than her own mother ever was. Frankly, Risa was touched by the act of kindness. It was a first, that’s for certain.

Preoccupied with their thoughts and speculations, the two girls were caught unaware by the Sandman and gradually succumbed to sleep.

-----

Just moments after the crack of dawn, Risa was served with a rude wakening. She was being crushed by the weight of another person and also held in a death grip. Those were in no way healthy for her wounds and bruises. While attempting to free herself, the alarm clock went off.

As usual, Ai would strike at the clock in order to turn it off. However, there was a certain somebody’s face in the way and took the blow instead. Rubbing her nose, Risa took the liberty to turn off the alarm on the other’s behalf. It was a routine for Ai to wake up once the alarm was silenced. She slowly opened her eyes and saw a blurred figure right in front of her. She blinked once. Twice. The third time was unnecessary when she practically flew up from the bed screaming and scrambling against the wall.

“An’ a Good Morning to you too.”  Risa greeted sarcastically at the panting girl who had just woken up in frenzy.

“G-good Morning.” She greeted back cautiously. She then asked, “Did I uh.. Do anything? You know.. before I woke up?”

“Other than attempting murder on me with your assets, no.”

“Oh Good. I mean! I’m sorry about that.” Ai apologized sheepishly. Looking at the clock, she quickly shuffled out of bed and into the washroom leaving a bewildered Risa still sitting on the bed.

After 10 minutes of stoning, Ai finally returned to the room changed and about to go out. “I really have to be heading out now so.. You can lock up for me whenever you decide to leave, okay?”

“Where are you going?” Risa asked, slightly bothered with having to be alone.

“The cafe. I’ve to go to work.” Ai answered while putting on her shoes.

“Wait! I’m coming with.” Came an instant reply.

“What for?”

“I.. uh.. I’m hungry. Yeah, that’s it.” Risa’s stomach conveniently started to growl.

“Oh right, you haven’t eaten since God knows when.” Ai lowered her head to think for a minute. “Go wash up and I’ll wait for you downstairs then.”

Risa nodded and hurried into the washroom as if her injuries were never there to begin with.

Shortly after, the two girls left the apartments for the café. The rest of the journey was quiet. There weren’t any small talk along the way, not even the smallest of arguments, a lame comeback or two or any conversation at all other than a “Look out!” from Risa when Ai started daydreaming and nearly crossed the street at a red light. Seems like there really weren't anything for them to talk about unless they were in a situation.

They arrived at the café safely in the end. The tension between them however, kept Risa from being aware of her surroundings and caused her to bump into a tall man when she tried to enter the building after Ai. Risa looked up at the man who had his face shadowed by a hat and apologized. The man simply looked down at her as if searching for something before he turned away and left. Although taken aback by the man’s creepy behavior, Risa shrugged it off and went into the café.

Opposite the café, the same man stopped and took off his hat. He stared intensely at the girls inside through the glass windows, a sly grin building on his face.

“What luck. It’s her.”


 :imdead:

Offline JFC

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 4)
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2007, 05:43:53 AM »
Quote
“You finally took revenge eh?”

“He deserved it, after all that he has done to me. An eye for an eye, so they say.”

“Are you not afraid of his men hunting you down? They’re probably on the search right now.”
So this murder was an act of vengeance?  Against who, and for what reason? Who are "they" and who did they kill that this person felt the need to have revenge?


Quote
“Impossible. I had a scapegoat. It’s likely they got rid of that kid on the spot and closed the case then. After all, killing is child’s play to them.”

...

“Yes, but the kid might rat you out. Ever thought of that?”

“… She did see my face..”

...

“I say, eliminate all evidences. But remember, you did not hear this from me.”
Well, with this type of thinking, these guys must be gangsters. By the sound of it, they're used to having the authorities on their case a lot.


Quote
Risa murmured and bent down to wake the sleeping girl. “Oi. Wake up.” She shook the other’s shoulder gently until finally some response was given.

“Huh?”

“Get on the bed.” Risa ordered.

...

“But.. What about you? You’re injured.”

You didn’t really expect our little thief to be that generous, did you?

“Right here of course.” Risa pats the spot beside Ai and promptly shifted to lie down.
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. ;D


Quote
Just moments after the crack of dawn, Risa was served with a rude wakening. She was being crushed by the weight of another person and also held in a death grip.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... Aichan was holding Risa while they were sleeping! :wub:


Quote
While attempting to free herself, the alarm clock went off.

As usual, Ai would strike at the clock in order to turn it off. However, there was a certain somebody’s face in the way and took the blow instead. Rubbing her nose, Risa took the liberty to turn off the alarm on the other’s behalf.
:lol: Oops.


Quote
It was a routine for Ai to wake up once the alarm was silenced. She slowly opened her eyes and saw a blurred figure right in front of her. She blinked once. Twice. The third time was unnecessary when she practically flew up from the bed screaming and scrambling against the wall.

“An’ a Good Morning to you too.”  Risa greeted sarcastically at the panting girl who had just woken up in frenzy.
Guess Aichan must have forgotten that Risa was there. :P

Knowing Aichan it was probably a low, manly scream too. XD



Quote
“Did I uh.. Do anything? You know.. before I woke up?”

“Other than attempting murder on me with your assets, no.”
Her "assets"? Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.  :twisted:


Quote
They arrived at the café safely in the end. The tension between them however, kept Risa from being aware of her surroundings and caused her to bump into a tall man when she tried to enter the building after Ai. Risa looked up at the man who had his face shadowed by a hat and apologized. The man simply looked down at her as if searching for something before he turned away and left.
The fact that he was concealing his face with his hat should probably be suspicious enough, since it's a sign that he probably doesn't want to bee seen/noticed. The way he looked up and down at her is even more suspicious, if for no other reason than the fact that it makes him look like a perv.


Quote
Opposite the café, the same man stopped and took off his hat. He stared intensely at the girls inside through the glass windows, a sly grin building on his face.

“What luck. It’s her.”
Shit, he's looking for Risa. What's worse, he saw that she arrived with Aichan, which means he'll be out to get rid of her as well. :scared:

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 4)
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2007, 01:17:02 PM »
Someone will be 'gotten rid' of for sure, but there's nothing to worry about that. Much.
Aichan however.. I'm afraid of what I'm gonna do to her >_>

Facing a writer's block now  :cry:
Meanwhile, I'm writing a sci-fi fic until I get ideas for chapter 5 @__@

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2007, 03:16:12 PM »
Horrible chapter  :angry:

Chapter 5

Half a day had gone by since the duo entered the café. Risa sat in a booth with a cup of water while Ai spent her time busy serving customers without a break.

“I’m glad I never took a job..” Risa remarked and took a sip from her straw. The day seemed to be passing by rather poorly for her however. There’s no argument between them that she came to enjoy, there’s no teasing of the older girl, there’s nothing at all. Risa was bored. She raised her hand and called for Ai.

“I’m hungry.”

Ai’s eyebrow twitched slightly. “What would you like?”

“Something cheap.” She replied after looking through her wallet.

Looking down at the girl for a few seconds, Ai spun on her heels and headed for the kitchen. When she returned, she placed a plate of spaghettis in front of Risa.

“Hey! This is not cheap!”  She stared at the inviting meal.

“On the house.”

“Huh?” When Risa looked up, Ai had already left to serve another customer. <i>What was that about?</i>

----

5pm came relatively quick. One had finished her shift and the other was done clearing her plate. The two left the café shortly, with Risa tagging along again. Ai decided to take a shortcut through the park.

“You look well enough.” She spoke, trying to start a conversation to ease the painful tension.

“Hmm.. Yeah..” Risa replied, slightly distracted.

“So why are you still following me?” She stopped under a tree and turned to the younger girl.

“I can’t follow you?” Came a reply, avoiding the main question.

“No.. But don’t you have other things to do? Like.. Go home?”

“I.. I have no home.” Risa answered, looking away from the older girl.

“What do you mean ‘no home’? You ran away or something?” Ai pressed further.

“No. I mean, I’m an orphan. Nobody wants me, I have no home to go back to, I sleep on the streets. Get the point?” Risa rambled on, then she stopped and sat on the ground, leaning against the tree they stopped by. She frowned at having to mention her life.

Ai’s heart sank a little at the thought of the girl sleeping under bridges, all cold and alone. She wondered how it’s like being an orphan. “I’m sorry. Then.. those wounds..”

“I suppose you’d want to know about that. Must’ve been bugging you all night and day, huh? That’s why you were so quiet before?” Ai nodded shyly.

“No harm telling you, I guess.”

Eager to know the story behind Risa’s predicament, Ai quickly moved to sit down beside her.

“Can you keep a secret?” Ai nodded again, this time with a determined frown on her face.

“I hope so. Just so you know beforehand, I’m a thief.” That confession made Ai gasp loudly.

“You’re a WHAT?!” She suddenly yelled.

Knowing that it was a bad idea to have revealed her identity, Risa freaked at the outburst and hurried to clamp her hands over Ai’s mouth. “Shhh!!! You’re going to get me arrested like that!”

“But you’re a thief!” The older girl all but shouted, prying the hands off her face.

“Yes, and I’m a thief that doesn’t want to go to jail!” She retorted, a look of worry and irritation crossing her face. “Do you want me to go to jail?”

“N-NO!” The other hung her head, feeling slightly ashamed. “..Of course not.. I have no reason to want you imprisoned.”

“I’ll trust you.. For now.” Risa said with pseudo suspicion in her voice.

“Trust? Does that mean we’re friends?” Ai looked up, a little hopeful.

“Whatever” The thief responded, not taking the other seriously. Friendship was overrated. “So, as I was saying…”

Ai spent the next half an hour listening to Risa’s story from 2 days ago. The younger girl recalled everything from how grand the mansion looked, the smell of tobacco within the rooms, the bastard that made her have to run like crazy and finally how she managed to save herself from the ‘mafia’, so she calls them.

----

Meanwhile, only a few feet away from the two girls, said ‘bastard’ had been quietly listening in on them from behind a tree. He had been following them ever since they left the café.

“Shit, this isn’t good! Someone else knows.”

The man grumbled, lowering the weapon he held in his hands. He knew he was unable to strike at the point of time. Clenching his fist, he retreated from the park for a change of plans.

----

There were lots of gasping and yelping from Ai throughout the account, as if she was watching an action film.

“So, that man.. he framed you?” She asked, incredibly intrigued by the story.

“Yeah, pretty much.” Risa sighed.

“Do you think they’re still searching for you?” the other asked, feeling thrilled and afraid all at once.

"Probably.”  Risa answered, trying to hide the worry in her voice.

“That means you could be in danger right now!” Ai concluded, becoming more aware of her surroundings.

“Relax.. I doubt they’ll show up here. A group of men walking around with weapons isn’t exactly subtle.” Risa assured the other, patting her on the shoulder.

”But but but.. they could.. shoot you from afar or just run in and carry you off.. like in movies!”

Risa’s jaws dropped. She sighed and grabbed Ai by the shoulders, looking sternly into her eyes. “This is reality, my dear. That’s not going to happen.”

Ai was about to go on with her ‘but’s again when Risa hardened her glare. She lowered her eyes and turned away. “I’m just worried.”

“There is no need to. You hardly know me, remember? Don’t get yourself involved.”

Ai shot up after hearing what the other had said. Apparently, she’s not really that clueless about everything, “Actually, I’ve been involved the moment I picked you up from the dumps. And… you’re my friend now. Right? I can't abandon a friend in trouble.”

“Friend?” Risa had many feelings and thoughts going through her right now. She was shocked, confused, touched even. Someone wanted to befriend a petty thief, that’s a first. She looked at Ai with uncertainty. “You were serious?”

“Of course I was serious.”

“But why? I’m a thief! And I’m sure you should at least hate me after yesterday. I’m not exactly the most grateful person on earth.”

“Sure, I hate how you irritated me with your backtalk.. but no! I don’t hate you!”

“I was irritating.. That’s nice to know.” Risa mused quietly.

“I know you’re a nice person! So, can we at least try? At least you’ll have someone to watch your back.” Ai pleaded. She was sincere about trying to befriend Risa. There was something about the girl that called out for companionship, and it was this familiar calling that made her feel the need to comply.

“You’re going to regret this. I know you will.” It was Risa's way of accepting this friendship. She felt herself fall back slightly when Ai lunged at her with a friendly hug.

“Can I know your last name?” Her arms were wrapped loosely around her new friend, eyes focused on the ground.

“No.” came the other girl’s reply, but Ai just chuckled for she already expected that answer.

For a long time in many years, Niigaki Risa smiled from the bottom of her heart.

----

In the main hall of a familiar mansion, a meeting was taking place.

“We couldn’t find the girl, young master.”

“You incompetent idiots!”

“We’re terribly sorry.”

“Get out! Get out!”

”But-“

“Don’t you dare come back until you’ve found her unless you have a death wish!”

“Y-yes Sir.”

A group of men in suits hurried out of the main hall, leaving the ‘young master’ alone in his seat.

“She won’t get away for killing my father.”

----

Oh noes, the world is out to get Risa @___@
Ai has made Risa's problem her own as well.. :o
They are doomed.
And I screwed up this chapter.

Offline JFC

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2007, 07:30:59 PM »
Quote
Risa sat in a booth with a cup of water while Ai spent her time busy serving customers without a break.

“I’m glad I never took a job..” Risa remarked and took a sip from her straw. The day seemed to be passing by rather poorly for her however. There’s no argument between them that she came to enjoy, there’s no teasing of the older girl, there’s nothing at all.
Awwwwwwww...already Risa misses having Aichan's attention. :wriggly:


.
Quote
“I’m hungry.”

Ai’s eyebrow twitched slightly. “What would you like?”

“Something cheap.” She replied after looking through her wallet.

Looking down at the girl for a few seconds, Ai spun on her heels and headed for the kitchen. When she returned, she placed a plate of spaghettis in front of Risa.

“Hey! This is not cheap!”  She stared at the inviting meal.

“On the house.”

“Huh?” When Risa looked up, Ai had already left to serve another customer. What was that about?
Awwwwwwwwww...Aichan buying Risa spaghetti! :wriggly:


Quote
5pm came relatively quick. One had finished her shift and the other was done clearing her plate. The two left the café shortly, with Risa tagging along again. Ai decided to take a shortcut through the park.
Through the park? Uh-oh. :O


Quote
“So why are you still following me?” She stopped under a tree and turned to the younger girl.

“I can’t follow you?” Came a reply, avoiding the main question.

“No.. But don’t you have other things to do? Like.. Go home?”

“I.. I have no home.” Risa answered, looking away from the older girl.

“What do you mean ‘no home’? You ran away or something?” Ai pressed further.

“No. I mean, I’m an orphan. Nobody wants me, I have no home to go back to, I sleep on the streets. Get the point?”
:cry: :k-sad:


Quote
“Can you keep a secret?” Ai nodded again, this time with a determined frown on her face.

“I hope so. Just so you know beforehand, I’m a thief.” That confession made Ai gasp loudly.

“You’re a WHAT?!” She suddenly yelled.

Knowing that it was a bad idea to have revealed her identity, Risa freaked at the outburst and hurried to clamp her hands over Ai’s mouth. “Shhh!!! You’re going to get me arrested like that!”
Strange, and Risa's supposed to be the "freak-out" queen of H!P. :lol:


Quote
Meanwhile, only a few feet away from the two girls, said ‘bastard’ had been quietly listening in on them from behind a tree. He had been following them ever since they left the café.

“Shit, this isn’t good! Someone else knows.”

The man grumbled, lowering the weapon he held in his hands. He knew he was unable to strike at the point of time. Clenching his fist, he retreated from the park for a change of plans.
Shit, now he's going to want to get Aichan too. The death of some orphan thief probably wouldn't draw much suspicion, but 2 girls at the same time? Not good if you're trying to be discreet.


Quote
“That means you could be in danger right now!” Ai concluded, becoming more aware of her surroundings.
...

You hardly know me, remember? Don’t get yourself involved.”

Ai shot up after hearing what the other had said. Apparently, she’s not really that clueless about everything, “Actually, I’ve been involved the moment I picked you up from the dumps. And… you’re my friend now. Right? I can't abandon a friend in trouble.”

“Friend?” Risa had many feelings and thoughts going through her right now. She was shocked, confused, touched even. Someone wanted to befriend a petty thief, that’s a first.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!  :wub:


Quote
“She won’t get away for killing my father.”
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...so the person that was killed was the head of a family and/or gang. No wonder the other guy framed Risa for it. If they knew that HE was the one who did it, it'd be an all out gang war.


Quote
And I screwed up this chapter.
Seemed ok to me. :)

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline ChiruChaCha

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2007, 12:12:34 AM »
I like how you're writting TakaGaki moments, it's cute yet not too rushed. And yeah, the chapter was fine, I don't normally read sci-fi fics and I'm reading this so I think you're doing a pretty good job  ;)


Offline lil_hamz

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2007, 06:32:56 AM »
First of all..... THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!! For writing a TakaGaki :heart: story. I've been wanting to read a fic starring them for ages. Can you tell they are one of my top 2 pairings yet? :wub:

So far, I'm loving all the action, suspense and occasional sappy moments. Bring them on I say :lol:

Quote
“I know you’re a nice person! So, can we at least try? At least you’ll have someone to watch your back.” Ai pleaded. She was sincere about trying to befriend Risa. There was something about the girl that called out for companionship, and it was this familiar calling that made her feel the need to comply.

I'm wondering if the familiar feeling is due to the girls knowing each other from before, or am I reading too much into things again XD Anyhoo, keep up the good work. This is one story that I check for updates everyday :)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2007, 06:34:09 AM by lil_hamz »

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2007, 09:11:11 AM »
^Your comment makes me happy ^___^
Or maybe it's a feeling Aichan herself had once o.o or something

I typed this at work  :lol: -gets shot by my boss-
It's short.. :o

Chapter 6

It’s been a week since Takahashi Ai made a new friend, and the bond they had grew tight quickly. Life went by peacefully for them, but there were always some exceptions. For example, the consequences of daydreaming in the bath.

2 days ago.

”Ai-chan?” Risa called out from behind the bathroom door, but there weren’t any response. Assuming that her friend had not heard her, Risa knocked again.

“Ai-chan? It’s over an hour, you’re going wrinkle up!” She scolded, hoping the older girl would at least say something. Still, there’s no response.

Risa started to worry and she was not about to wait and find out that her friend might have drowned in the bath. Taking in a deep breath, she held a tight grip at the doorknob.

“I’m coming in!” She was ready for anything, but her heart said otherwise. Risa’s hand fell from the knob and she stared dumbfounded at the image before her once the mist cleared. Whether her heart was pounding a few thousand beats per minute due to shock or something else, it was hard to tell.

There her friend was, lying in the tub with half her face in the water and breathing out bubbles on the surface. Not to mention, very.. very exposed underneath. Ai was flushed from her neck up, any longer in the bath and she would’ve been cooked.

“Ohmygod.. didn’t anyone ever tell her never to soak  in the bath for too long?!”

What would anyone do in such a situation? Hurry and get the poor girl out of the tub of course! But Risa wasn’t just anyone.

She started panicking, throwing her hands up in the air trying to think of something since the obvious solution refused to register in her head. She was close to ripping her hair out when common sense finally hit her. She hurried towards the edge of the tub and pulled the plug. The bathwater slowly drained away, revealing the rest of the unconscious girl.

“HOLY-.. She’s naked!”  She screamed, blushing madly and instantly turning around to face the wall.

Apparently, she’d forgotten about the fact that a person had to be nude when they soak in the tub. Once again, the thief was in a dilemma. She really did not want to touch or see her friend’s naked body (A/N: or does she? xD) since she felt like she was taking advantage of her.

“Maybe if I slapped her, she’d wake up and get out herself!” Risa considered, and was convinced that her plan might actually work and she could avoid body contact with Ai. Still with her head turned, Risa  started patting Ai on the cheeks, hoping that she’d wake up. Obviously that did not work. Risa was afraid of hurting her friend therefore, her pats could hardly kill a fly let alone wake someone.

There was no choice but to carry her out after all.

“I’m trying to save her, so there’s nothing wrong this... Right?” She kept telling herself that while searching for a towel to cover Ai’s body. She finally found one and tossed it over the unconscious girl.

“Besides, it’s not like I don’t have what she has..” Risa’s eye twitched a little when she lifted Ai out of the tub. She came face to face with something she doesn’t even want to mention and turned away again. “Okay.. maybe she has a little more of what I have…”

Risa forced her blush to go away and concentrated hard on getting them back into the main room. The rest of the day was spent waiting for Ai to wake up so she could tell Risa where the hell she kept the clothes.


Unfortunately for Ai, she’s not always so lucky to have someone rescue her whenever she passes out.

Ai had been out buying dinner for the night and managed to grab the last two bentos left in the Family Mart. Although not satisfied with her purchase, she had to make do. Risa on the other hand, was definitely going to make a fuss about her meal.

It was nearly 7 in the evening when she left the store, and the crowd on the streets was beginning to disperse slowly. Soon enough, the path home that Ai took daily became deserted. Uncomfortably deserted.

Unlike the usual nights that she would take this path, tonight felt a little unusual. She had the feeling that someone had been watching her ever since she left the main street, and her intuition was right.

Just as she turned a corner and only a few steps left to the apartment building, a man in a trench coat and baseball cap jumped her from behind and covered her face with a piece of cloth. There was a strange smell to it that Ai couldn’t figure out but before she couldn’t think further, everything blanked out.

----

Back in the apartment room, Risa had been silently watching the neighborhood from the balcony. She thought of food, how much she liked her eyebrows, more food, and a certain some--

“Huh?”

Her thoughts were cut short when she heard some shuffling going on from downstairs. She bent over the balcony railings and could see a man dragging something away from the apartments. At first Risa thought that it was just thrash that the man was handling, but her perfect eyesight proved otherwise.

“Ai!”

Offline lil_hamz

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2007, 10:15:15 AM »
First to comment! See, I said I check for updates everyday :)

TakaGaki in the bath was so adorable :wub: Aw....don't be so shy Risa. It will only be a matter of time before you get to "see" more XD

And I like your eyebrows too :heart:

Oh no! The baddie man caught Ai :cry: Quick, save her Risa!!

Offline JFC

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 5)
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2007, 01:33:41 AM »
Risa "rescuing" Aichan from the tub = :wriggly:

But :OMG: the guy has grabbed Aichan!!!

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 6)
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2007, 03:29:11 PM »
 :mon scare:

Chapter 7

“Damnit!!”

Risa scolded the air as she sped out the front door and hurried down the stairs. She was almost a second too late when she arrived at the entrance, but was lucky enough to catch the shadow of the man turning a corner. Risa started giving chase. The man shifted to carrying Ai over his shoulders and broke into a run as well.

The pursuit did not last long when the man ran straight into an abandoned warehouse by the river. Risa caught up soon after and rushed in without a second thought. The warehouse was small and crowded with construction materials. It was dark too, with the exception of a dimmed ceiling lamp. Strangely, there was no one in sight when Risa stepped in.

*BAM*

Risa spun around immediately at the loud noise only to find that the warehouse’s door had been slammed shut. Standing in front of the only escape was the same large man who had captured Ai. He was tapping a revolver against his palm and smirking.

“I’ve finally got you.” He spoke up in a sinister voice.

“Who are you?! And where’s Ai-chan?!” Risa demanded. Her only priority now was to get Ai safely away from this place.

“Me? I’m just like you. A criminal. No need to worry for your friend though, she’ll be joining you soon enough.” The man grinned wider and cocked the gun’s hammer. He then pointed it straight at Risa, whose expression changed from anger to fear at the sight of the gun.

“Wha-? What are you doing?!” She backed up a few. Her lips went dry as she faces the man and her legs were on the verge of collapsing.

“Isn’t it obvious?” The man replied calmly and the first shot went off.

Risa fell back into a pile of cement bags from shock and was surprised to find herself unharmed. Apparently the man had aimed at the roof instead.

“Scared, eh? And that was only a test shot. Shame, I thought you would be braver. ” He lowered his arm and faced the gun barrel at Risa. 

“Doesn’t matter anyway. It’ll be over soon.”

She had to think quickly, or both she and Ai would die and Risa wasn’t about to let someone she cares for get hurt. Not even once. Reaching for the bricks just beside where she fell, she picked one up and tossed it at the man with all her strength. Unfortunately she only managed to hit his stomach, but that was enough to catch him by surprise. The man bent over and screamed in pain.

With the man distracted, Risa took this chance and charged at him, knocking him down to the floor and causing him to drop the gun as well as his disguised.  She stood over him, realization dawning over her when she saw the man’s face. It was badly burnt and at least ¾ of his face was no longer skin. It reminded her of…

“You!”

The man groaned from the impact, but managed to let out a smile. “So, you do remember me?”

“What have I ever done to you?!” Risa yelled, anger rising in her as she remembers the man from that faithful night in the mansion.

“Nothing, of course. But I can’t risk letting anyone who knows about that night to live.” The man swiped Risa by her ankles with his leg and got up quickly to fetch his revolver.

Unfazed by the attack, Risa leaped forward and wrapped her arms around the man’s leg. His movement was hindered. Growling at the girl by his feet, he raised his free leg in attempt to kick Risa away but she caught on and grabbed the other ankle with her free hand. The man lost his balance and fell forward, hitting face first on the ground.

<i>I have to get to that gun first!</i>

Seeing the man lying motionless on the floor, Risa jumped to her feet and ran towards the gun but she least expected him to be up again so quickly. He grabbed her wrist and stopped her in her tracks. Risa turned around to face him and was pulled up by the collar.

“Hah! You’re just a weakling. You may have escaped that night, but not this time.” He laughed loudly and held Risa by her throat, tightening his grip with every kick she tried to lay on the man.

On the other side of the room hidden by shadows, Ai laid unconscious against the wall. The chemical she inhaled earlier was weak and only managed to keep her in a coma for so long before the yelling and gunshots disturbed her enough to wake her up. Her eyes were reluctant to open at first, but the moment she caught sight of Risa struggling in mid-air, her eyes shot open.

<i>RISA!</i>

Her senses were tripled and she looked around the room anxiously for anything offensive. The first object she noticed was the same brick Risa used and after some difficulty, she managed to stand up. Picking the heavy brick up, she ran towards the man and attacked him directly at his head. He screamed and dropped Risa, stumbling back against a shelf that held various tools.

“Risa! Risa!” Ai cried, letting go of the brick and rushing to her friend’s aid. Risa could only cough and gasp for air, however Ai was glad that her friend was at least still alive.

“Bitch..” The collision to his head was hardly effective at knocking him out. The man ignored the pain and picked up a wrench that had fallen on the ground when he knocked against the shelf and advanced towards the pair. It was too late when both girls were aware of the danger approaching them. The man had already dealt a heavy blow to the side of Ai’s head, sending her to the ground with a pool of blood gathering.

Risa nearly went berserk at what had just taken place within seconds. Gritting her teeth and trying to hold back her tears, she remembered the revolver that had fallen earlier and turned back to search for it. The instant she found it, Risa turned around and shot at the man without hesitating. The bullet lodged itself directly in his shoulder and sent him into a fit. Risa did not hold back on her second attempt but the gun refused to go off. She had forgotten to cock the gun again! Taking his opportunity while Risa stops to ready the next shot, the man fled the warehouse leaving a trail of blood behind.

“Stupid!” Risa growled and tossed the gun aside. She did not care if the man had escape, her friend was more important. She ran towards Ai, the worry on her face gradually became tears.

“Ai-chan!” Risa cried, praying for her friend to at least open her eyes. It was useless.

“It-.. It’ll be all right! You’ll be fine! So hang in there Ai-chan, please!” She assured the unconscious girl, hoping that she could hear her. Risa lifted Ai up and carried her bridal style out of the warehouse, running as best as she could to find the nearest clinic or hospital.



:cry:

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 7)
« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2007, 06:13:51 PM »
Two chapters in a day?!  :banghead:
thisisbad ;_;

Chapter 8

 It took several hours of surgery for Ai to finally be out of danger. Luckily the blow did not warrant death, but Risa couldn’t help but remain worried.

<i>The doctor stepped out  into the hallway once the operation was complete, yet his expression was grim. Risa bolted towards the doctor from where she sat, pulling at his coat.

“How’s Aichan?! Is she going to be alright?!” She all but shouted, alarming the doctor a little.

“Your friend is out of danger for now, but I can’t say when she would wake up nor what would happen after. There are chances of blindness considering how she received a such a fatal blow next to her eyes…”

“I..I see..” Risa was too upset to say anything else. “Can I.. go in and see her?”

“Of course. Just don’t agitate her condition.” The doctor warned and walked off, leaving Risa to gather her thoughts in the hallway.</i>

-----


She was now seated by Ai’s bed, holding on to her cold hands. Around them were IV tubes, wires and a heart-rate monitor that had been beeping steadily since Ai came out of the operation room.

“Hey…” Risa greeted, despite knowing that the older girl was incapable of replying. She felt her hidden feelings surface at the sight of her friend. Feelings that have developed surprisingly fast, but are nonetheless there although she had refused to recognize it up till now. Perhaps because this may be her last chance? She hoped not. If it was fate that had set up this meeting between them, it will be too cruel to ruin it so soon.
 
<i>Aichan...</i>

“I’ve told you, haven’t I? You’d regret befriending me, but you insisted on it..” She looked at her friend who had her face blocked by an oxygen mask and her head wrapped in bandages.

<i>It’s all my fault that you’re in this mess…</i>

“And look at what happens? How can you ‘watch my back’ when you’re in this state? Some friend you are..” Risa tried to joke, but she ended up with tears threatening to fall from her eyes.

<i>I shouldn’t have dragged you into this…</i>

“Yeah.. some friend. You made me feel something I haven’t felt in a long time, and before I could even confirm if it was real, you pull this stunt on me?” She frowned, forcing out a bitter laugh.

<i>You made me feel wanted for once, do you know that? </i>

“You can’t just leave me hanging with doubts... not now…” Risa muttered, mock anger in her voice.

<i>I… You… I don’t want to lose you… </i>

“So I’m begging you, please wake up soon.” Risa pleaded, lowering her head so that her forehead touched Ai’s hand. No sooner, her tears began to fall freely.

----

Risa had fallen asleep by the hospital bed without knowing it until she felt a tap on her shoulder. She swatted the hand away, not wanting to wake up from a dream where Ai was perfectly unharmed and they were back on regular doses of petty arguments.

She felt the tapping again. Irritated, she turned around violently and stared at whoever it was that had been disturbing her. Her fierce glare weakened at the sight of two men in black suits, both looking intimidating.

“Who-“

“Niigaki-san?”

“How did you-”

“We need you to come with us.”

“Why?“

“You’ll know soon enough.”

“But Aichan! I have to-“

“Your friend will be fine if you cooperate with us. Or else…”

Risa looked at the two men suspiciously. She did not need to deal with any more problems than she already had been burdened with right now. For the sake of Ai, she gave in to the men’s request.

“Alright. But if she loses even a strand of hair, you’re going to be in for a lot of pain.”

“…” The men exchanged glares then led Risa out of the hospital and into a black Mercedes saloon parked behind the building.

She was pushed into the back seats and came face to face with a man in a suit, likely to be only 5 years older than she was. He appeared very stern and had an air of professionalism to him.

“So, you’re the one who stabbed my father?” The man was oddly calm.

“Who?” Risa replied, confused by the man’s questioning.

“That night, at the mansion. A murder.”

“So it was your father he killed…” Risa was enlightened by the new discovery.

“He?”

“The real murderer!”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he tried to kill me last night!”

“That, I do not care.”

“But-“

“You will tell me who this ‘real murderer’ is!” He snapped suddenly, sending Risa jumping from her seat.

“I.. I don’t know who he is.”

“Then I can’t believe you and you will have to pay for your deed.”

“What? Wait! I know how he looks like! His face was badly burnt and he’s tall! Incredibly tall! But that’s all…”

The man was deep in thought, unsure of who the description matched.

“M-master Yoshio!” A man from the front passenger seat spoke up.

“What!?”

“That sounds like Marukuma.”

“Marukuma?” Risa can't help but repeat the name, feeling curious.

“That man couldn’t pay his debts, his wife committed suicide and about his face.. never knew how that happened. Was probably out for revenge when he killed the old master.” The man up front had a vague explanation, but that was enough.

“Ah, him. He had it coming for not paying his debts. So, he was the murderer?” Yoshio looked back at Risa.

”Y-yes!” She exclaimed, feeling slightly relieved for some reason.

“Then we’ll be after him.”

“Does that mean I can go?” Risa looked at him hopefully.

“No.”

“What?!”

Yoshio had a sly smile on his face, then he looked at Risa for the last time before the car drove off.

“We need you as bait.”

Offline JFC

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 8)
« Reply #35 on: August 21, 2007, 08:07:32 PM »
Chapter 7

Quote
She was almost a second too late when she arrived at the entrance, but was lucky enough to catch the shadow of the man turning a corner. Risa started giving chase. The man shifted to carrying Ai over his shoulders and broke into a run as well.

The pursuit did not last long when the man ran straight into an abandoned warehouse by the river.
Abandoned warehouse? Not good.


Quote
“I’ve finally got you.” He spoke up in a sinister voice.

...

The man grinned wider and cocked the gun’s hammer. He then pointed it straight at Risa, whose expression changed from anger to fear at the sight of the gun.

...

 the first shot went off.

Risa fell back into a pile of cement bags from shock and was surprised to find herself unharmed. Apparently the man had aimed at the roof instead.
The roof? What kind of games is this guy playing?  :?



Quote
“Scared, eh? And that was only a test shot. Shame, I thought you would be braver. ” He lowered his arm and faced the gun barrel at Risa.
Yeah, let's see how brave you are when you've got a gun pointed at your face.  :mon annoy:



Quote
She had to think quickly, or both she and Ai would die and Risa wasn’t about to let someone she cares for get hurt. Not even once.
Awwwwwwwwwww... Risa cares about Aichan!  :wub:


Quote
Reaching for the bricks just beside where she fell, she picked one up and tossed it at the man with all her strength.

...

With the man distracted, Risa took this chance and charged at him, knocking him down to the floor and causing him to drop the gun as well as his disguised.  She stood over him, realization dawning over her when she saw the man’s face. It was badly burnt and at least ¾ of his face was no longer skin. It reminded her of…

“You!”
Wait a sec, so she recognizes him? That would mean that there must have been sufficient light in that mansion's hallway for Risa to be able to see him. It would also mean that the guy went into that mansion without a disguise (dumb move, since if he was spotted they would have linked him back to his boss).



Quote
On the other side of the room hidden by shadows, Ai laid unconscious against the wall. The chemical she inhaled earlier was weak and only managed to keep her in a coma for so long before the yelling and gunshots disturbed her enough to wake her up.
I'm guessing that it was morphine.



Quote
Picking the heavy brick up, she ran towards the man and attacked him directly at his head. He screamed and dropped Risa, stumbling back against a shelf that held various tools.

“Risa! Risa!” Ai cried, letting go of the brick and rushing to her friend’s aid. Risa could only cough and gasp for air, however Ai was glad that her friend was at least still alive.

“Bitch..” The collision to his head was hardly effective at knocking him out. The man ignored the pain and picked up a wrench that had fallen on the ground when he knocked against the shelf and advanced towards the pair. It was too late when both girls were aware of the danger approaching them. The man had already dealt a heavy blow to the side of Ai’s head, sending her to the ground with a pool of blood gathering.
NO! AICHAN!  :mon scare:



Quote
Risa turned around and shot at the man without hesitating. The bullet lodged itself directly in his shoulder and sent him into a fit. Risa did not hold back on her second attempt but the gun refused to go off. She had forgotten to cock the gun again! Taking his opportunity while Risa stops to ready the next shot, the man fled the warehouse leaving a trail of blood behind.
Shit, assuming that his boss doesn't have him shot on the spot for not getting the girls, the guy might come back with help next time (seeing as how they injured him). 



Chapter 8

Quote
“How’s Aichan?! Is she going to be alright?!” She all but shouted, alarming the doctor a little.

“Your friend is out of danger for now, but I can’t say when she would wake up nor what would happen after. There are chances of blindness considering how she received a such a fatal blow next to her eyes…”
Aichan...:cry:


Quote
Risa had fallen asleep by the hospital bed without knowing it until she felt a tap on her shoulder.

...

Irritated, she turned around violently and stared at whoever it was that had been disturbing her. Her fierce glare weakened at the sight of two men in black suits, both looking intimidating.
Shit, they found her. :o



Quote
“Niigaki-san?”

“How did you-”

“We need you to come with us.”
They know her name? These guys must either be cops/govt agents or they work for the family of the murder victim, since the guy that actually killed him doesn't have any reason to find out her name, seeing as how he's been tailing her and Aichan for the past few days.



Quote
“Your friend will be fine if you cooperate with us. Or else…”

Risa looked at the two men suspiciously. She did not need to deal with any more problems than she already had been burdened with right now. For the sake of Ai, she gave in to the men’s request.

“Alright. But if she loses even a strand of hair, you’re going to be in for a lot of pain.”
Ok, this shows that they probably work for the family of the murder victim.  They're likely not working for the killer because they wouldn't have bothered to wake Risa up.  They would have just killed both Risa and Aichan right there in the hospital room and then snuck out. If they were cops, then they would have mentioned having one of their men stand guard and watch over Aichan while they spoke with Risa.



Quote
The men exchanged glares then led Risa out of the hospital and into a black Mercedes saloon parked behind the building.

She was pushed into the back seats and came face to face with a man in a suit, likely to be only 5 years older than she was. He appeared very stern and had an air of professionalism to him.

“So, you’re the one who stabbed my father?” The man was oddly calm.
Bingo, it's the son of the victim.  I wonder why he had them bring her to him? Is it that he wants to personally see (and then kill) the person who killed his father?


Quote
“So it was your father he killed…” Risa was enlightened by the new discovery.

“He?”

“The real murderer!”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he tried to kill me last night!”

“That, I do not care.”
Right now all he cares about is payback for his father. If Risa's not the one, then she's no longer of any concern to him.


Quote
“You will tell me who this ‘real murderer’ is!” He snapped suddenly, sending Risa jumping from her seat.

“I.. I don’t know who he is.”

“Then I can’t believe you and you will have to pay for your deed.”

“What? Wait! I know how he looks like! His face was badly burnt and he’s tall! Incredibly tall! But that’s all…”
If these guys ARE part of a gang, then they've no doubt had dealings with other gangs in the city/country. If one of them is good with names/faces, then Risa's description should be helpful, considering the unique look that the man had.



Quote
“That sounds like Marukuma.”

“Marukuma?” Risa can't help but repeat the name, feeling curious.

“That man couldn’t pay his debts, his wife committed suicide and about his face.. never knew how that happened. Was probably out for revenge when he killed the old master.” The man up front had a vague explanation, but that was enough.
Chances are he got in some other trouble at some point, couldn't pay up, and his face is the result of that.



Quote
“Ah, him. He had it coming for not paying his debts. So, he was the murderer?” Yoshio looked back at Risa.

”Y-yes!” She exclaimed, feeling slightly relieved for some reason.

“Then we’ll be after him.”

“Does that mean I can go?” Risa looked at him hopefully.

“No.”

“What?!”
EHHHHHH? Why not?  :stunned:


Quote
Yoshio had a sly smile on his face, then he looked at Risa for the last time before the car drove off.

“We need you as bait.”
Oh shit.  :shock:
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 08:08:53 PM by JFC »

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline lil_hamz

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 8)
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2007, 10:33:55 AM »
Quote
Two chapters in a day?! 
thisisbad ;_;

No this is good  :D Yo made me a very happy person today  :P

Ai-chan might go blind???  :cry: :cry: :cry: This is so sad.... but that means Risa gets to 'help' her with everything. And you know when that happens, skin contact and maybe more is inevitable XD

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 8)
« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2007, 11:02:08 AM »
^ you just helped me come up with an idea for the last chapter :o

hehehe  :glasses:

nothing pervy, mind you. I'd die if I write pervy things.. :|
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 11:07:06 AM by inDeceit »

Offline JFC

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 8)
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2007, 08:07:56 PM »
^ you just helped me come up with an idea for the last chapter :o

hehehe  :glasses:

nothing pervy, mind you. I'd die if I write pervy things.. :|
Damn. :banghead:

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline inDeceit

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Re: Scapegoat (Chapter 9)
« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2007, 09:12:25 AM »
I almost forgot.

Chapter 9

Niigaki Risa was left stranded up in the mountains, one of the many tourist spots in Japan. It would’ve been logical being up here on a romantic date or for some sightseeing, but just standing around in the cold just as the sun was setting? Life was out to get her. Risa shuddered against the breeze, and moved to sit herself on a bench by the bus stop facing the entrance. Seconds ticked by slowly as she stared at her wristwatch, wanting to get this whole mess over with.

Only an hour ago, the men that brought her here had briefed her on what she had to do as bait. She didn’t know how, but they managed to figure out that this Marukuma guy had recently been living discreetly in a cabin within the area and would more or less appear eventually, especially if he was injured. They stationed Risa right at the clearing that would be the first place seen by anyone attempting to climb the mountain. Yoshio’s men were instructed to hide somewhere, ready to ambush their target anytime. Being only lackeys, these men soon grew lazy and ended up playing poker behind a tree instead of keeping watch.

“Stupid… freaking… damn that Yoshio.”

Risa murmured incoherently to herself, looking around the place and a little on the edge. The men under this Yoshio were like some sort of covert group compared to the brutes she faced on day one. Were people in the triad getting smarter now? Does she even want to know? Risa shook her head and stayed still on the bench, her body tensing up from the cold. Her thighs were kept closed tightly and she blew into her palms repeatedly to keep warm. What thin clothes she had on were of no help in keeping out the chill. She made a mental note to go shopping next time.

Nightfall had arrived and the skies were covered in stars. Yet, the wonderful sight couldn’t calm her nerves. Risa was afraid of Marukuma, knowing that she already had it difficult in fighting him off the first time. If she had to get physical again tonight, she had better start praying. An unknown amount of time had gone by during Risa’s reverie, but a set of footsteps shuffling about on cobblestones snapped her out of it. Her body jolted from surprise, anticipating the arrival of whoever it was. <i>For the sake of Aichan</i> kept running through Risa’s mind, psyching herself to be fearless just for tonight.

If she remembered correctly, Yoshio’s men would jump out the moment they recognize their target. A large familiar figure soon appeared from the slope, revealing himself to indeed be the man that is currently sending Risa the chills. He looked awful, ragged and pale under the light from the lampposts. The man was clutching onto his bandaged shoulders, breathing heavily until he noticed a feminine figure sitting on the bench.  Curiosity led him to lift his head, only to send a rush of adrenaline and rage into his being.

“You!”

Risa stiffened and backed up against the bench. Marukuma started advancing towards her, his face distorted in anger with a penetrating stare from his bloodshot eyes. Pain forgotten, he stretched out his arms in preparation to grab the young thief. Risa started panicking, annoyed that all that chanting she did in her head earlier were for naught. She griped onto the edge of the bench, unsure of what to do under the stress. The man she hates and fears was taking wide steps of doom towards her, increasing the pressure even more.

“Heh, yeah… me. Again. You really are obsessed with revenge, aren’t you.”

Risa spoke, her nervousness making her say things she is starting to regret now. Her breathing quicken as she forced herself to calm down on the inside. Suddenly relaxing her grip, Risa jumped up and blindly bolted to her right just as the man lunged towards the bench, crashing into it in the process.

He quickly recovered from the fall and started giving chase. Finding herself closing into a dead end, Risa slapped herself on the forehead. She backed up against the railings surrounding the cliff and could only helplessly watch herself get cornered by her soon-to-be killer. There really was nothing she could say now to save herself. Marukuma finally got to Risa, smiling a sinister smile the moment he caught her by the arms and lifted her from the ground. The surprise lift sent her shrieking, the scream echoing throughout the mountain peak.

“Got you now. Your friend’s next once I throw you down.”

He tilted Risa’s body over the railing. Never quite believing that one’s life would flash by during dying moments, she changed her mind. She remembered Ai’s unconscious body still lying in the hospital, the possibility of her going blind, and the idea that she would have no one to take care of her if that happened. No, Risa’s not about to die now.

“You asshole. Stop threatening me with Aichan already!”

She pulled her knees up and kicked Marukuma in the chest, but too bad that it was a useless attempt. It felt no different from a poke to the large man. Risa cursed in her head. Where did all that strength from cycling go in the time of need?! She struggled ineffectively, trying to delay her fall into the tides below. Her body grew tired gradually. That was until he staggered back without warning, letting go of the girl in his clutches. Lucky for gravity, Risa fell towards the ground instead of backwards into the ocean. She sat on the ground with legs sprawled out and stared at the motionless body in front of her, surprised by his random act of mercy. He laid on the cold ground with eyes wide opened and his mouth agape. He was dead.

A group of men in suits came running towards them not long after. Risa recognized one of them as the guy in the passenger seat this afternoon. He grinned and patted his gun.

“Silencers. Got to love them. But thankfully you screamed, or it could've been too late.”

He explained and apologized for the delay and offered to help Risa up, but she declined and leaned back against the railing. The rest of the group was busy clearing the scene of the crime.

“Well, the young master offers his thanks. I hope your ordeal is over now.”

Risa smiled weakly, knowing that it’s only half solved. She didn’t bother questioning the man about his boss, which will forever remain a mystery to mere commoners like her. They were quick with their task and left soon. Risa released the breath she had been holding in for a long time, quite certain that there’ll be no more trouble with the triads and dangerous people from now onwards.

Looking up, she at last notices that star filled night sky. She made a second mental note to bring Ai up here sometime, knowing that she would definitely love the sight. However, Risa’s thoughts ended on a less than relieved note.

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