Inside the room, the most noticeable thing was the door frame where the gangster greeting Jingi was written. This was hugely displaced on the wall behind the official desk, and it made one wonder what kind of place this was.
Taiyou stepped up to the desk as he was visiting the place’s boss, Enya Kirisaki.
Enya sat looking up while Taiyou stood looking down.
He was a man that had just reached 30, while the other was a teen still in high school.
They were both men. The only other one there was the loli baba Kohaku, who stood in his shadow like a cat hiding behind him.
「I’m listening, Taiyou Natsuno. You really messed things up, didn’t you?」
「It wasn’t a big deal.」
「I’ve heard you’ve sent most of this town’s outlaws to the hospital already.」
Enya said with a smile. Taiyou didn’t know where that smile came from, but he aimed to find out.
「So why are you here, Taiyou? Are you planning to do the same to our Kirisaki Gang?」
「I don’t want to have to. Well, I don’t have to yet.」
「Then tell me why.」
「I don’t want you to bother my women…no matter what.」
「Aren’t you going to tell me to leave the city?」
It seems that Enya had already heard the story from the other thugs. It had only taken Taiyou a few hours to get rid of the Jagaro gang after beating them up, so he knew what was going on.
Taiyou was silently astonished.
「I guess you heard it already from the other groups telling you what I’ve done?」
「Those guys were just low level thugs, though.」
Enya’s brow twitched a bit.
「So what happens if I refuse?」
「Then I’ll have to show you my true power.」
「So I guess it all leads to that, then.」
「The first choice and the final means. That’s the difference.」
Taiyou took a breath and continued.
「I know about the Kirisaki Group of Oritachi, even knew about them as a kid. Famous, and famously bad. That’s why I don’t want to make a big deal about you. Also…」
「I thought that a man worth his salt could see how much he stands to make or lose.」
Enya simply sat, looking, and saying nothing.
Almost as if he could see through Taiyou…straight ahead.
Taiyou looked back without shrinking back. No way to look scared, no need to look scared.
That’s what he thought as he looked back.
「I see. Well if I accept your conditions, then you must accept mine.」
「Become a brother of mine…」
He was a bit surprised, so his reaction was slow.
He showed a bit of his true nature as he recoiled with a slightly stupid look.
He talked over what had happened with Kohaku.
Unlike those thugs that hung out here and there in town, this was a real yakuza that was all about business, or at least that’s what Kohaku said.
He was her husband, but he trusted Kohaku, as much as he could.
Because of that, Kohaku and he had a detailed discussion, that they should have some exchange of profits with him to make him leave.
If it was just the Kirisaki Group then Taiyou could make do. Even if Taiyou thrashed them, then their bosses would come to get Taiyou and it would mean trouble.
So, he decided to let the problem go amicably.
But all that was destroyed at once by Kirisaki’s words. It had gone farther than Kohaku and he had discussed. Taiyou was lost.
「How about it?」
「How about it…」
「If you become one of us, then you can lead your own group, and your girl will be above them too. Then even if those thugs try to mess with your girls they’ll have protection.」
He frowned and pondered it.
Everything he had heard about the yakuza was pretty much fiction, so he didn’t know if it was true.
However, with what he knew, Kirisaki was probably right, and he could make his plan happen.
「Are you for real?」
「I’m not going to joke around with some high school kid. If I stooped to doing something like that, I’d look like a fool.」
「What is it?」
Taiyou was lost and couldn’t decide.
It was a development he couldn’t settle in his mind.
And as soon as he wondered what he should do,
He felt someone behind him. It was much stronger than Kohaku, who was always behind him already.
Kohaku said nothing. She didn’t even look back.
There was no change from when they entered, just her standing behind Taiyou.
Just that…and that was all.
It made him feel great that he could depend on her that much.
She was his wife, and his friend, and a teacher in a way…this Kohaku.
He remembered all the time they spent together, and he tried to simulate what Kohaku would do in this instance.
His heart was swayed, and he in an instant he regrounded himself. He opened his mouth and said with a jest.
「I don’t care about being your brother, but I do want half.」
He said, and Enya made a strange face, he was surprised that Taiyou had said what he did.
But then he suddenly looked interested.
「You really say what you want. I have my pride as well. I’ll split it 80/20 or else no deal.」
「Don’t you think you’re debasing my pride too much? I’m sorry, but I can’t accept those terms. It needs to be at least 70/30.」
They both stared at each other.
It was a strange conversation – they tried to feel each other out.
After a while, Enya opened his mouth.
「You’re some kid.」
And that was his answer.