Chapter Twenty-Two: War Declaration:

November 17th, 2010.

Aiguo sat with Tsuzuki and Anna in their living room. The shinigami held the baby.

“Why are you back?” he asked. Aiguo pressed his fingertips together.

“Things have gotten worse,” he said. “The giants are trying to come through the gate.” The couple’s eyes widened.

“What do you mean?” Anna asked.

“The gate’s breaking down,” the mob boss said. “We don’t much time. We need to test the key!”

“That key has a name,” Tsuzuki said sternly. “It’s Kirika-chan.”

“Whatever,” Aiguo said. “We don’t have time. Hand over the baby.”

“No!” a voice shouted. Daiyu marched into the living room. The boss gave her a funny look.

“And who are you?” he asked.

“I am her aunt!” the girl snapped, folding her arms across her chest.

“You do understand the gravity of the situation, right?” Aiguo asked.

“I don’t care!” Daiyu shouted. “I know all about you. She’s just a baby. I won’t let you take her!” Aiguo rubbed his forehead.

“I’m afraid you have no choice,” he said. “The giants are breaking through the gate.”

“You are lying!”

“I wish that was.” Aiguo sighed. “Most of my staff are out of action.” Tsuzuki held the baby to his chest.

“How are you sure that Kirika-chan will save us all?” he asked.

“We don’t,” the mob boss admitted. “Which is why we need to test the key.”

“No!” Daiyu shouted. Aiguo waved her off.

“Isn’t there another way?” Anna asked.


Tsuzuki held Kirika-chan to his chest. “Then we can’t give her to you.”

“You don’t understand what’s at stake?” Aiguo asked.

“Yes,” the shinigami said. “But we will find another way.”

“There is no time.”

“We will try. A baby should not be subjected to torture like that!”

Aiguo turned to Anna. “Do you agree?” He hoped that she would see things his way. Anna grabbed her husband by the shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I side with my husband and our guest.” Her tone sounded uncertain with the trembling in her voice. Aiguo pressed his hand to his forehead.

“This is most unfortunate,” he said. The mob boss lowered his hand. “You leave me no choice but to take her by force.” Daiyu pulled out the pins from the bun on top of her head. Tsuzuki gritted his teeth. Suddenly, Aiguo’s phone rang.

“Excuse me,” he said. “Hello?”


Anna sat biting her lip. She was positive she gave the right answer. Still, it didn’t sit well with her. Kirika-chan didn’t deserve to be turned into a lab rat. But Tsuzuki wanted to adopt her. What am I doing? Still, Anna couldn’t turn back now. Aiguo hung up his phone.


“I must go,” Aiguo said. “Excuse me.” He bowed and rose to his feet.

“Come back here!” Daiyu shouted. Aiguo stopped at the door and turned his head.

“We’ll talk later,” he said. The mob boss walked out the door.


Back a motel, Katsumi awoke to his phone ringing on the nightstand.

“Yeah?” he asked in a tired voice.

“You remember that job I told you about?” Aiguo asked on the other line.

“Babe, who is it?” Miki asked, lifting her head.

“The boss-man,” Katsumi whispered back.

“What does he want?” she asked.

“Yeah,” her boyfriend said on the phone, motioning her in closer. Miki leaned in for a listen.

“Well, looks like you are needed after all,” Aiguo said. The couple grinned like hungry animals.

“When can we start?” Katsumi asked.