"You can't expect me to just... stop!
" Ayatsuri exclaimed, waving his hands in front of the tall robed man who sat calmly behind his desk.
The man sighed, tapping his fingers against the folder that he had pushed to Ayatsuri. "We can and we do, detective Guujin. This matter is of the utmost importance.
" He said, his greying beard moving slightly as he spoke with a quiet nature. "I understand you have been tasked with all matters related to that Westlands criminal organization, but the more immediate threat here is clear.
Ayatsuri scoffed, hand running through his light brown hair. "One man is more of a threat than a deep rooted organization?
" The councilman didn't say it, and Ayatsuri didn't expect him too, but he was probably with the popular opinion that Decay was no more than a myth. Opinions were beginning to sway, but nothing concrete had been set. Ayatsuri felt like he was up against a losing battle.
"Right now? Yes. We suspect the worst. He could be aligned with that same group you're tracking down. The Nara clan has put us on high alert for Kokuei. I can't think of anymore more suitable for tracking down a criminal in the Westlands than you, Ayatsuri.
" The elder man said, pushing the folder forward even more.
Ayatsuri kept quiet, looking at the man and then back down to the folder. "Well... I'm sure he knows a thing or two about Decay.
" The man sighed, taking the folder and opening it to look through a few of the pages.
"We have it on good authority that he hides beneath a crow mask. He's been spotted recently in Sienna.
" The man said, Ayatsuri's eyes widened as he looked to the councilman.
" Akiko had been asking about Kokuei, and he had seen the man in the crow mask
with a Megami some months ago. Were they one and the same? Did Akiko know?
"So I trust you'll be on this first thing tomorrow? You'll find some Nara contacts who might be willing to assist you within the document.
" Ayatsuri didn't respond, his gaze fixated on the front page of the folder's contents. It was a picture of Kokuei. He had all but forgotten what the man looked like, but staring at him now it was like... he had seen
him before. Recently, even. It was like déjà vu. An itching in the back of his mind. "Ayatsuri.
"What? Oh. Yes, yes, yes.
" Ayatsuri clambered, bowing as he shut the folder. "Absolutely.
" The councilman nodded.
Ayatsuri shut the door behind him as he walked down to the lowest level of his house. It was bit more messy than the last time he had company. More blueprints, wood, metal, half-made puppets. Some fuuinjutsu was etched along the walls, one larger circular designed fuuinjutsu was drawn on the floor. It was where the young man meditated.
Placing the folder on a table against the wall, Ayatsuri grabbed his head. His brown eyes staring hard at the photo of Kokuei that he had ripped out of the folder. "Kokuei Nara... Kokuei Nara... Kokuei Nara...
" He bore his teeth, a sort of pain in his head increasing the more he thought on the subject. "I know you... not in the alleyway... where...
" His knees suddenly buckled, a surge of chakra released from his brain. "Oh no... what... what did...
" Struggling to keep his balance, Ayatsuri kept his focus on Kokuei for a few more moments before the detective fell to the floor unconscious."Keep still, Ayatsuri." Kokuei approached Ayatsuri, tendrils wrapped about him as the things constricted him. "Decay... you will tell me everything you know. Or I'll beat it out of you."
Gasping, Ayatsuri awoke, hand shooting up to grab the table he had banged his head against on the way down. "Kokuei.
" He said, catching his breath.
He pulled himself off the ground, head pounding as he looked again at Kokuei's folder. Memories of his lost half-hour flooding into his mind as the seal the tricky Nara had placed was beginning to unravel. "Kokuei.
[ End ]