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Chapter 157: A Visit From The Law
Upon hearing the doorbell, the duo of black and blue turned towards the entrance in unison. Both of them wore expressions of intrigue as their focused lingered on the door, from which the initial tone’s echo had already dampened back into silence.
Of course, their curiosity was well-justified. After all, seeing how neither of the dark-haired siblings was expecting any visitors, the abrupt appearance of one made Sora and Junichi wonder just who was at the door.
「? Who could that be?」
「Dunno. Let’s go take a look.」
Sora shrugged towards the dark-haired youth’s question, purposefully ignoring the cautious scowl that crept on to his face as she energetically jumped to her feet.
By reflex, the youth wanted to pretend that no one was home as he was incredibly wary towards this unanticipated arrival of an outsider. However, as he had no good way of persuading Sora into going along with his ploy, Junichi found himself with no choice but to stand up and follow the athlete’s footsteps.
And so, with nimble steps, the blue devil arrived at the entrance, undoing the lock without the slightest hesitation as the door flung open.
What entered the duo’s view was the figure of a single woman who, from the light makeup on her developed features, appeared to be approaching her 30s. Her brown hair, which was of a much darker shade than Shiori’s hazelnut locks, was done up in a bun, neatly keeping each strand closely bound to the shape of her head.
As if mimicking this controlled appearance, her body was wrapped in tight-fitting white suit and stockings, making her seems as though she were a career woman. Yet, the sharp light in her eyes informed the youth that this woman could not be likened to such a simple stereotype.
And the slight bulge in her non-impressive chestal region made Junichi even more wary of this individual’s identity.
「Good afternoon, miss. You wouldn’t happen to be Miyazawa Mana, would you?」
Unaware of the boy’s thoughts, however, the woman in white’s lips parted. The strong crimson hue of her lipstick, accompanied by her professional manner of speaking, made the woman give off an aura of maturity that contrasted quite a bit from Roxanne’s brand of adultness.
「Yuppers! That’s me!」
「Knock it off, Sora. Mana’s out right now.」
Unable to stop himself from being appalled by the blue devil’s blatant attempt at impersonation, Junichi brought his palm to his face, chastising the athlete before returning a proper answer to the woman’s question.
Yet, before the woman could respond, the impish 〚Hurricane〛 asserted herself again, her devilish personality coming to the fore as she exaggeratedly pouted in the youth’s direction.
「What do you mean, spoilsport? What are you even trying to do, anyway?」
Completely and utterly taken aback by Sora’s blatant response, Junichi could only stand there, dumbfounded in silence as himself slowly getting irritated by the athlete’s conduct.
Now, as to whether Sora was aware of this dark feeling that welled up inside of the youth, one couldn’t say. Regardless, however, she acted as though she didn’t, an innocent, yet cheeky grin surfacing on her playful features.
「Ahaha. You two are indeed very close.」
Seeing the interaction between the teenagers of black and blue, the woman offered these words while returning a pleasant smile. The expression plastered on her face reminded one of a mother fondly looking over the antics of her children.
That said, there was something about her words that felt…hollow. As though she were only saying them for the sake of pleasantries. As though she didn’t truly mean the words that came from her mouth.
Despite picking up on this lack of sincerity in her tone, however, neither of the students chose to point it out. Because of this, the woman was able to continue unimpeded, her gaze turning towards the blue-haired athlete as she spoke.
「I take it that you must be Miyazaki Sora.」
「Eh?! How’d you know? Hey, Saito-kun! Check it out! I’m famous!!」
Upon being abruptly identified, Sora displayed great surprise, excitedly turning towards the boy as he sought his affirmation. Of course, the way she bounded about may have been considered as cute by many others, despite it being an intentional act.
However, to Junichi, who was well aware of the fact that was all it was, this behaviour only served to annoy him.
And, with his irritation hitting its peak, there was only one possible outcome that could befall the oblivious athlete.
「Knock it off, already.」
Suffering another iron claw to her head, Sora’s torturous scream echoed throughout the apartment, her pitiful appearance induced by the unrelenting pressure her cranium endured. Despite her ability to endure the pain, however, what truly sent a chill down the athlete’s spine was the memories of her past trauma, evoked by Junichi’s frosty words.
With his frosty intonation, the dark-haired youth’s words pierced through Sora’s monstrous endurance, resulting in her continuing to cradle her head in agony even after he had long since removed his hand from her skull.
「Sorry about this. She’s usually not this bad.」
「N-Not at all. There’s no need to apologise.」
Unsure of how to act in the face of the boy’s rapid personality switch from the previous frigid tyranny to the current lackadaisical aloofness, the woman stumbled over her words as she responded instinctively.
Yet, as though attempting to throw her off rhythm again, Junichi’s demeanour subtly changed once again, his eyes narrowing as he focused an intense gaze in the woman’s direction.
「Still, she makes a point. How do you know who she is?」
「From the same way that I know about you, Saito Junichi.」
「………and you are?」
「Oh, pardon me. Allow me to introduce myself.」
Both impressed and somewhat wary of the fact that this woman remained unperturbed by his gaze, the youth finally raised the question that had been on his mind for the last few minutes.
In turn, the woman realised that she had yet to give a proper greeting, prompting her to pause slightly, collecting herself for a moment before giving the following introduction.
「My name is Inspector Sakamoto Maria. Pleased to meet you.」
「Inspector, huh? So a cop.」
「I’m a police officer, thank you.」
Despite maintaining her professional attitude, a slight amount of sass could be felt from the Inspector Sakamoto’s response as she corrected the boy’s comment that was delivered in a seemingly derogatory tone.
Now, some may say that Junichi’s choice of refraining from pleasantries would be a bad move. Rather, many would think that the correct choice for the youth to take in this situation would be to act cooperatively with the law. After all, antagonising them would not only make things difficult for him but might also tip the authorities off to the fact that he may be an entity that has enmity with the law.
And this was precisely the reason why he chose to act contrary to this logic.
From what he could tell, the police thought very highly of the mysterious and elusive individual known as 〔Gun〕. As such, they would assume that the blood and iron mercenary possessed a sharp intellect, and wouldn’t be so stupid as to openly display their distaste towards them in fear of blowing his cover.
Thus, by acting in this manner, Junichi would actually decrease the suspicion towards him—or so were his thoughts.
「Woah~ So, what? Do you go around and fight crime and stuff?! That’s amazing!」
In contrast to the youth’s blatant lack of interest in hiding his contempt, Sora rose up from the ground and approached the officer with sparkling eyes. Her entire being was brimming with enthusiasm, making it seem as though her earlier pitiful display was but an illusion.
Now, whether or not these were the athlete’s genuine thoughts was something that only she herself knew. Regardless, her happy-go-lucky front wasn’t able to affect Junichi in the slightest, as his features continued to be distorted by caution and a tinge of animosity.
「You don’t seem very happy to see me, Saito-san.」
「Why should I be happy that a cop’s barged into my home?」
Maintaining his standoffish attitude, Junichi offered a sarcastic response to Sakamoto Maria, who had pointed out his clear distaste towards her presence. Despite his motives, however, it had to be said that openly displaying his hostility in this manner was still quite a risky move.
「Do you really find officers to be that unpleasant?」
「Maybe if you did your jobs properly.」
「Oya? This isn’t like you, Saito-kun. Did something happen?」
Noticing her friend’s behaviour conflicting with his usual temperament, Sora tilted her head and looked at the boy with curious eyes. From Junichi’s choice of words, the blue devil grasped that there was a story behind the abrasive attitude he adopted, and thus couldn’t stop herself from inquiring further.
That said, what Sora got from her light-hearted request was a response that caused the atmosphere to instantly freeze over.
「I had a friend who was wrongly convicted of a crime by cops. They lost 10 years of their life because of it, while the bastards who made the mistake don’t get any punishment, so forgive me for not exactly being a good host.」
Junichi scoffed, a smile of ridicule flashing across his face as his confrontational gaze towards Inspector Sakamoto was infused with spite.
Of course, considering his motives, one couldn’t claim that this story was legitimate with absolute certainty. That being said, the underlying sentiment expressed in his tale was a different matter, the malice hidden deep within his pupils causing the temperature to plummet at an astonishing rate.
「……you’ve made your animosity quite clear, Saito-san. In which case, I won’t take up too much of your time.」
「Alright then. So what are you even here for, Inspector Sakamoto.」
「…I’m currently conducting an investigation and would like to ask you a couple of questions.」
Trying her best to gloss over the resentment laced in the boy’s words, the policewoman finally stated her business. Simply put, it was a request for a conversation.
However, being the sharp individuals that they were, both Junichi and Sora immediately read between the lines as they came to the following conclusion.
What she was asking for wasn’t just a simple session of questions and answers. It was a full-blown police interview.
Which, of course, implied that Saito Junichi was considered by the police force as a suspect.
「Eh?! Is Saito-kun a suspect?!? Is he gonna go to jail!?」
「N-No, no! Nothing of the sort! I just want to confirm some facts with you so that we are able to examine the evidence and ensure that we bring the criminal to justice!」
In response to Sora’s shock, Inspector Sakamoto also exhibited bewilderment, flustered as she quickly rejected the notion before clarifying her point. Despite the eloquent language used, however, her statement essentially informed the youth that he was being treated as a potential criminal.
Now, as to what he was being charged with, the youth couldn’t say. It could very well be about his other identity as the blood and iron mercenary, 〔Gun〕. It could also be something else entirely. It could be both. It could be neither. At the current time, he didn’t have enough information to make a clear call on the matter.
Nevertheless, upon hearing the inspector’s declaration of delivering justice, Junichi couldn’t help but chortle, mouthing off the following with unbridled derision.
「Hah. Justly, huh? What bullshit.」
「…I understand that you don’t view us in the best of light, Saito-san. However, I don’t believe that all of us deserve such treatment.」
Feeling somewhat uncomfortable from seeing the youth daring to act so abrasive, Sora couldn’t help but call out to him, her voice infused with more hesitance than usual. Before she could get anything else out, however, the officer spoke up, making her disapproval known to the teenager who was showing outright disrespect for the law.
Yet, in the face of her words, Junichi found himself in strong disagreement with the woman before him. As his other persona, 〔Gun〕, the dark-haired youth had found himself face to face with the authorities on numerous occasions.
And from what he saw of them—-especially the higher-ups—-they were all sleazebags. The corruption in certain parts of the law was nigh unfathomable, to the point where he even once had to wipe out an entire division.
Of course, there were some cases where that corruption helped. For instance, it made it relatively easy to influence the police force from behind the scenes.
That being said, the entire system was as crooked as hell. That fact alone was an undeniable truth.
「Rather, if you continue adopting this attitude, then-」
「-then what? You’re gonna take me away? Just because we don’t like each other? That sure is a great way of delivering justice.」
The boy mocked, using the inspector’s own words against her as he cast his cold gaze in her direction. Faced with the hollow eyes that displayed his absolute lack of faith in both her and the police, Inspector Sakamoto felt more frustrated than offended.
As to why she felt this way, even she didn’t know. Was it because she was obviously being provoked by his wordplay that she couldn’t retaliate against? Or was it because her symbol of justice, the law, had caused the youth to feel such distrust?
Either way, since she had a job to do, the woman in white chose to swallow this inner turmoil, holding back her belligerence as she bowed her head towards the dark-haired youth.
「……I know you don’t believe in us, but I beg of you. Please cooperate with our investigation.」
The woman said, her torso bent 90 degrees from her waist as she gave an earnest plea towards Junichi. From her expression to her gesture, the inspector portrayed her sincerity to the dark-haired youth, causing his brow to raise slightly.
Despite the way he had been conducting himself until now, the boy understood that continuing this uncooperative behaviour any more than this may actually get him into trouble. Furthermore, even he couldn’t outright reject this genuine appeal.
Thus, after taking a step back, the boy paused slightly before saying the following.
「*sigh* Alright then. Just don’t fuck it up.」
What ensued afterwards was a small round of questions inside of Junichi’s apartment which lasted for about 30 minutes. Essentially, the inspector asked about the status of the neighbourhood, as well as whether anything suspicious happened at school.
Throughout the session, however, Junichi didn’t fail to notice the woman sneakily inserting questions about his life, which he evaded up until a point. The only really troublesome questions among these were about the following topics: his performance in the faction war, and his alibi over the previous week.
Now, he did not have any problems with answering them, as he didn’t really have much to hide if he just took them at face value. The real issue, however, was that the way the questions were structured attempted to lead him down a certain path.
A path which may have implicated him if he didn’t skilfully steer the direction in a different manner.
A path that seemed to pin him as the mysterious mercenary known to many as 〔Gun〕.
「-tch. She knows.」
Junichi muttered under his breath that night, his eyes glowing with a sinister, sombre gleam beneath the clouded night sky.
「I dunno if anyone else does, but there’s no doubt she believes that I’m 〔Gun〕.」
The youth affirmed to himself once more, his right eye gradually becoming darker as it began to adopt a more crimson hue. His mind was abuzz with countless thoughts, most of them having to do with the sudden arrival of an inspector.
Truth be told, the youth had expected something of this nature to happen the moment the footage of his fight during the faction war was released to the public. That being said, the fact that the law was already at his doorstep was undoubtedly unnerving for the dark-haired boy.
As such, he was currently in deep contemplation, his mind debating internally as to what his course of action would be.
And so, after descending into a long silence, Junichi—no, 〔Gun〕 spoke under his breath.
「Damn it. I’ve got no choice now. I didn’t want to play it this way so soon, but…」
With fluid motions, the boy took out his phone, skilfully operating the device as he looked up several contacts and proceeded to call them.
All throughout the night, the blood and iron mercenary tirelessly worked as he started making the necessary arrangements. In order to protect Mana’s future, as well as his own, he needed to begin laying the foundations now so that he would have the appropriate countermeasures when necessary.
After all, even if he was to get caught, 〔Gun〕 had no intention of going down without a fight.
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