The Rising Sun & The Morning Calm Ch. 29byvinkb©
Thanks to all for reading and commenting...and for sticking with this for going on three years! Please keep leaving your comments, it really gets me writing.
Night was falling, and at his home, Saburo was not weathering the increasing desperation of his situation well. "I have to get to them before they leave Japan!" he fumed. "It will be impossible to take them out once they return to the States. Not with so many of us missing!"
"How about we check his home again, Boss?" one of his men suggested hesitantly.
"[Bagayaro]!" he roared back. "Do you think my brother would make it that easy for me and just camp out in his apartment?"
"Well, if he's the one behind what's going on with our guys disappearing, maybe he's feeling overconfident and returned home."
Saburo was about to plant his fist into the man's face, when he stopped to consider the idea. "He did leave Seoul early," he conceded slowly.
"I don't know, maybe it's worth a shot," another ventured.
Seeing as how they had no other plan, this would have to be their last ditch attempt or Saburo could pretty much give up on ever destroying his brother. "Very well. Let's head over there."
bagayaro: you stupid asshole (Japanese)
Shinnosuke knocked on the door of Noboru's study and opened the door a crack. "Noboru-dono, may I enter?"
"Please." Noboru gestured towards a chair across from his desk.
"I'm just a little worried about Genzo. Are you sure it's okay to have him separated from Linnsa like this?"
"The very last thing I think it is is okay, but I can't put Angela's sister in jeopardy simply to spare his feelings. Until this is over, nothing can be left to chance."
"But you trust him enough to have him here while we set the trap," he observed. When Noboru merely looked at him without saying anything, he muttered, "Oh no..."
"Shinnosuke, I can't be worrying about Genzo while we're trying to trap Saburo. After giving it some thought. I believe we should lay our trap at the office. There are too many people here who could be hurt if something went wrong and as much as possible I'd like not to create a scene. The first time Saburo struck, he was only interested in creating enough of a diversion to take Angela. This time he is looking to kill. My headquarters are deserted at this time of night. It would be safer to go there. And no, Genzo will not be joining us"
"Has he gotten the good news yet?" Shinnosuke asked, wincing.
"Not yet, but I will tell him." Noboru couldn't help a small smile at Shinnosuke's sigh of relief.
"What about Sang Nam? He still thinks we'll be here when it's done."
"We'll let him know when all of it is over. We''ll return here when it's done so it will make no difference in the end."
Across the way, Ryo had a pair of binoculars focused on Noboru's apartment. "See any activity?" Saburo demanded impatiently.
"They're definitely back," Ryo reported excitedly. "Noboru, his woman and a bunch of his guys."
"Fine then. We'll hit them tonight after they've gone to sleep. There are just enough of us to make us even with his group. If we can only kill one of them, focus on the woman. It would hurt just as much as killing him." He narrowed his eyes as he surveyed the last of his supporters. "I trust you will all give your last breath to see this raid a success?" A round of nervous nods and assurances followed. "[Yosh]. It ends tonight. There will be only one Nagamori left after tomorrow-"
"[Matteh]!" Ryo shouted. "They're all getting ready to leave."
"Everyone is going out the door...no!. Your brother is...stopping Genzo from leaving?"
Saburo's brows drew together. "What is going on?"
yosh: good (Japanese)
matteh: wait (Japanese)
nani: what (Japanese)
'[Dono]! You cannot be serious!"
"Genzo, what we are about about to do is probably the most singularly important task to date in my life, but in order to successfully implement this plan, I cannot leave anything to chance."
Forgetting himself, Genzo loomed over Noboru, a shaken look on his face. "You don't trust me?" I'm to just sit idly here while all of you go to fight?
With everything else that he had to consider, why did this have to be so hard? "I do trust you, Genzo. With my life if need be, but it has been difficult for you to maintain control lately, and if it were not of the utmost importance to me, you would most definitely be accompanying us."
Noboru placed a hand on Genzo's shoulder, gently, but with a firmness that defied any further objection. "I know this is not easy, and I will not order you to do as I say. Rather, I am asking you, as a friend, please do as I request."
Unable to think of anything to say in reply, Genzo took a step back and stared at the floor, his fists clenched.
"[Onnegai]..." Noboru repeated softly. At Genzo's resigned nod, he thanked him with a small bow and left to join the rest of his party.
sonna: but (Japanese)
onnegai: I beg of you (Japanese)
"He's definitely leaving Genzo behind!"
Saburo's mind worked furiously. "He can't be leaving for the States. They're not taking any luggage with them and there's no way that he'd leave Genzo behind."
"Should we go investigate why Genzo was made to stay?" Ryo asked.
"No." Had they had their usual numbers, Saburo would have insisted they discover the reason for Genzo's omission, but as it stood, he couldn't take that gamble with just the five of them. "We'll follow them wherever it is they are headed to right now. [Ikuzo].}
ikuzo: let's go (Japanese)
Linnsa had spent most of the day with Sang Nam trying to act casual despite the knowledge that her sister was somehow going to deliberately place herself in danger. Assuming no one would be so stupid as to strike during broad daylight, she figured she would bide her time until night fell. Knowing what was going to happen, she made sure to stock up on plenty of calories. There was no way for her to know how strong her ability was or if she could even control it, but if it could make a difference, she wanted to be ready to pack as much of a punch as possible.
Probably owing to the fact that he was the sole person assigned to keep her safe, Sang Nam was not even the slightest bit flirtatious with her, keeping watch for anything dangerous.
"So, I guess when this is over, it's goodbye then," Linnsa observed.
Sang Nam was seated on the windowsill, looking out as dusk began to creep across the sky over Shinjuku. "Perhaps," was all he said.
"You seem preoccupied today." He turned away from the window at her comment. "Is everything okay?"
"Huh? Yeah, everything's fine." His gaze went back to the window
"Because you seem like you're waiting for something."
Sang Nam tried to wave it off. "No, not at all."
"Well, then there's nothing keeping you from taking me to join my sister, right?"
"What?!" His eyes snapped back to meet hers.
Linnsa walked up to him slowly and instinctively, he shrank away from her, flattening himself against the window. "Okay, Sang, we can do this one of two ways. Either I can zap you unconscious and take Noboru's address from your wallet, or you can take me there voluntarily in which case you'd still be conscious in the event that something terrible happens. At least then you could still be of some help, instead of just passed out on the floor." Holding her palms a few inches from his ears, she looked at him with deadly seriousness and asked, "So, what'll it be?"
Sang Nam glanced warily at the hands hovering just above his ears. "Anyone ever tell you that you're kind of scary?"
"No, but I bet you won't be the last one. Now be a good boy get your keys."
"Ah, [shi bal]..."
shi bal: shit (Korean)
Unable to do anything but pace, Genzo walked back and forth across Noboru's apartment. Forcing himself to sit down, he racked his brain for anything to distract himself with. Thinking back to the picture of Linnsa and her sister, he attempted to focus on trying to understand why he felt a sense of familiarity when he saw it but he came up with nothing. As he stood up, he gave a low growl of frustration when his ears picked up the sound of a pair of footsteps with which he was all too well acquainted. "[Jigao...]."
He watched in disbelief as Linnsa opened the door and entered, followed by Sang Nam. "Where is she? Where's my sister?!" she demanded impatiently.
"She-she is not here." A wave of anger washed over him. "Sang Nam, you were supposed to keep her away from any of Noboru-sama's known locations! Are you out of your mind?"
"Listen, man. It was either I bring her here or she threatened to give me electroshock therapy. I figured that rather than let her come alone, I could at least make sure that she was safe on the way!"
He couldn't help but feel relieved to see her. The day he had spent apart from her had nearly driven him mad, but he had to try to make things right. "Linnsa, please go back with Sang Nam. It is not safe here."
"My sister is using herself as bait for some sort of trap and you're telling me to look after MY safety?!"
"How did you know that?!"
She glared up at him, breathing heavily. "That's not important. Now tell me where they went!"
"Linnsa, I...I cannot."
At his refusal she took a step closer to him and just looked at him for a moment before saying, "If you don't tell me where they went, I will never speak to you again."
At that moment, he understood why Noboru had felt it wise to separate him from Linnsa. He was now torn between opposing requests from the two most important people in his life and his heart sank at her ultimatum. Even Sang Nam's expression registered that he thought the tactic a low blow. "Linnsa," he pleaded, "please do not make me do this."
"Never...again," she repeated stonily.
"Genzo, don't!" Sang Nam shouted. "She can't knock both of us out! Even if she takes one of us out, the other can still protect her! Don't say anything!"
She was serious, he had no doubt of it. The thought of never seeing her or being able to speak with her ignited a desperation inside him that he had never known.
As if reading his mind, she narrowed her eyes and warned, "Don't make me hate you, Genzo. Don't make me hate you for real..."
That was all it took for him to break. "Linnsa, I will take you to her, but you must allow myself and Sang Nam to go with you to ensure your safety." When she nodded, he hung his head as guilt descended upon him. "Sang Nam, we must get to Noboru's office headquarters. There isn't much time."
Sang Nam shook his head in resignation. "We are going to be in so much trouble for this," he muttered. As they ran out the door, he glowered at Linnsa. "Aren't you going to ask me what I want on my tombstone?"
jigao: no way (Japanese)
Seated at the head of the large conference table on the top floor of his office, Noboru sat with his elbows on the desk, leaning his forehead on interlaced fingers. The centuries old feud with his brother would end tonight and he needed to steady his mind for the fight that would come. Letting out a slow breath, he opened the case that held his last hope and removed first the gun, then each tiny bullet. Taking the loading clip in hand, he inserted each ampule with a resolute click, as if each round promised that much more assurance of their winning. When he had finished, he slid the clip into the gun and drove it home with a last sharp slap to the butt. Without looking up, he said quietly, "Are you certain you are ready for this?"
Angela shouldn't have been surprised that he had known she was watching him from the doorway. "I'm not afraid of him," she answered. Walking over to where he was seated, she stood next to him and studied his face. In their brief time together, she had never seen him look so collected or determined. Every action he took seemed measured without waste of effort. "Let's get this over with." Surveying the empty streets below, devoid of the usual throngs of their human traffic, she remarked, "You're not too worried about drawing any attention to what's going to happen here tonight?"
"I have many friends who occupy positions of importance in the Tokyo Police Department. They will see to it that the fallout is kept to a minimum."
"You've thought of everything, haven't you?"
He stood up and for a long time, they simply looked at each other, as if imprinting their faces in their memory one last time. Taking her in his arms, he hugged her fiercely, breathing in the smell of her hair, remembering the first time he'd lost her all those centuries ago on the shores of Pusan. "[Sarang hae]," he whispered, afraid to say anything more.
"[Sarang hae]," she echoed back.
Both stood there silently, unwilling to be the first to break their embrace.
sarang hae: i love you (Korean)
"Boss, this has got to be a trap," Ryo warned as they approached Noboru's office. "Why would they come here in the middle of the night?"
"I don't care if it IS a trap," Saburo snarled. "This ends tonight. If this is my only chance for revenge, then I'll take it, trap or no trap." He gazed at the mirrored surface of the building to the lighted top floor. "Get ready to go in."
Noboru waited tensely for the first indication that Saburo had arrived and when the power suddenly cut out, he knew that it was time. "Be careful, my love," he admonished. "No unnecessary risks." Pocketing the case which held the detonators, he kissed her hurriedly and left the room.
Joining the others outside, he nodded to them, signalling for them to hide themselves. "[Hajime]."
"[Yosh]," they murmured in unison.
hajime: let's begin
yosh: good, yes
"Why is the entire building dark?" Linnsa shouted in a panicked tone as they drove closer to Noboru's building.
"Saburo must already be inside," Genzo surmised. "It is possible that he cut the power in order to prevent security or fire alarms from being triggered."
"Well hurry up and get us inside!" She didn't even want to think what was happening to her sister. "[Unnie], I'm coming," she promised.
In the passenger seat next to Genzo, Sang Nam met his eyes and both had the exact same thought - both Angela and Noboru were going to be beyond pissed when they showed up.
Angela was grateful that her mutation afforded her such good night vision. The only light was from the street lamps and signs outside and she would have had a hard time finding her way. Her ears pricked up when she heard something off in the distance. Dropping to the ground, she crawled underneath the conference room table and peered into the darkness. Straining, she was able to make out a few faint voices. "...split up and find her...whoever finds her first, kill her..." She shuddered at the statement, recognizing Saburo's voice. Her own heartbeat thudded loudly in her ears as she tried to calm her breathing. Noboru would be there to protect her. She had to trust him.
The sound of glass crashing caused her to start. One of Saburo's lackeys had been discovered. Through the chairs, she saw a pair of legs enter the room. As it moved further from the door, she silently inched closer to it. Ready to make a break for it, she was barely able to contain a scream when a body came flying in, crashing atop the table, followed by the one who'd tossed him. From the sound of the damage being done to the wood above her, they were fighting in their animal forms. Not wanting to be crushed when the table collapsed, she bolted into the hallway. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that one of the floor to ceiling windows now sported several holes from where chairs had been thrown. She prayed no one had been below when they hit the pavement.
Noboru jerked his head up at the sound of fighting breaking out and hastily removed the first detonator from the case. Palming it, he ran in the direction of the noise and found two men in their lycanthropic states brawling atop the ruined remains of his conference table. The one on his back was Heishiro, and whoever it was on top, it was not his brother. Taking careful aim with both hands, he shot a round into his back and pushed the detonator. The attacker's back muscle contracted at the explosion and he whipped around, snarling at Noboru. Heishiro took the opportunity his distraction presented and kicked him across the room.
Leaving Heishiro to finish his fight, Noboru slipped out of the room to find the next man and his ears honed in on a commotion near the elevators. Shinnosuke was grappling with black and white wolf. His opponent got in a bite to his shoulder, drawing a growl of pain. Raising his arm high, Shinnosuke raked the side of his face, taking out one of his eyes, causing him to disengage from his shoulder. Staggering backwards, the half blinded man was unable to see Noboru kneel and take aim. HIs shot landed in his left hamstring and as soon as he had fired, Noboru detonated the second round. The wolf let go of his damaged eye upon sensing the odd pain in his leg. "Finish him," Noboru ordered, before removing the third device.
"With pleasure," Shinnosuke leered through his teeth.
As she cautiously tried to avoid the fighting around her, Angela wondered if Saburo was in his human form or his mutated state. Still crawling, she again checked over her shoulder before bumping into something. A chill raced down her spine when she heard that unmistakable voice.
konbawa: good evening (Japanese)
neko-chan: kitty (Japanese)
After administering the antivirus to the last of Saburo's henchmen, Noboru had two rounds left. He hoped he would only need one, but the extra dose was there in case anything went wrong. His aides had fought Saburo's to exhaustion. Unable to maintain their animal appearance, they were more easily subdued in their human forms. All that was left now was Saburo but his brother was proving difficult to find.
"Looking for this?"
Turning around, Noboru saw Saburo standing in front of one of the window panes. With him was Angela, a knife at her throat.
Saburo laughed. "History repeats itself. Why is it that you're always losing your women to me?" When Noboru took a step towards him, he clucked his tongue in warning and actually pressed the blade into Angela's neck.
Even in the dark, Noboru could smell her blood. "Stop or I will kill you!" he swore.
"No you won't," his brother returned smugly. "She may survive if I slit her throat but she won't survive the swan dive out of this window, even if she does shift on the way down."
[Don't be frightened], he told her silently. "Saburo! This is between the two of us! Fight me, man to man. Leave the others out of this." Throwing a katana to Saburo, he then held out his own sword as a challenge to duel.
Saburo sneered. "Your memory must be going in your old age, [oni-san]. I told you before I don't buy into that [bushido] crap." He kicked the sword contemptuously back at Noboru.
"No, Saburo. I remember quite well," he countered. Dropping his left arm which held his katana, Noboru drew the gun and aimed a shot at his brother, firing before Saburo could react.
The tiny bullet entered Saburo's chest, but in the dim light, Noboru couldn't be certain that it had in fact entered his brother's body. As he prepared to fire a second shot, Saburo looked at him and then down at the small hole in his shirt. "Really, ni-san. Bullets? You know that this will do you little good." Laughing, he began to transform and when he'd finished he grabbed Angela by her throat and lifted her off the ground. "Watch closely. I'm going to enjoy this."