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This article, A Bold Scheme: The Best Laid Plans, is property of Kenji-Taichō. Permission is required to alter its content.

The pain of lose...

Kentaro paced the floor of the small shack on the outskirts of Akabira City that had long since been abandoned by whoever had resided in it previously. It was in a seriously poor state of disrepair, with holes in the roof, windows mostly broken and the surface of the wood worn by the years of exposure to the elements without a soul to tend it. Now, the rain dripped noisily through the holes in the ceiling. Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. The same annoying rhythm reached his ears until the young, black-haired Shinigami feared he’d pull his own ears out if it didn’t stop!

Instead, though, he struck a nearby table with enough anger and strength to split it clean up the middle and leave an indent in the floor from the legs. Naibu shook his head slowly. He’d been sitting at the table thinking about their next move and now wore such a face of disguised anger that Kentaro felt like smacking him too. “We need to go after them,” He said again. Thoughts of his actions when he had seen Akiye in danger rushed through his mind anew, and he was beginning to worry he’d never be able to forget them. He remembered though. Her posture may have been confident, but her eyes. Those crimson eyes held in them a fear he couldn’t mistake for anything else. “If you won’t help,” He continued, gaining in confidence, “then I’ll go myself!”

Jinta looked to Riki, both boys obviously scared and somewhat confused. “Go after them how?” Jinta asked with downcast eyes. “How are we gonna get to this Kōhai Tochi – or whatever you call it place? We know nothing about it.” Riki contributed, much to Kentaro’s annoyance. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going with you.” Jinta lifted his head and met his friends gaze before standing and walking forward. “Your my friend for starters, and if she’s this important to you,” He said the last in a whisper in Kentaro’s ear so the others – particularly Harumi from hearing, “then she’s important to me as well.” The two clasped hands and nodded sharply before turning on their heel towards the door.

“Hold up!” Riki was beside them in three steps, a smile splitting his face in two. “Let’s be reasonable here,” He began with a dumb expression, “without me... you two would get lost twenty steps from the door.” They laughed at that, and for once, Harumi felt she was watching the three boys she’d grown up with. “I do hope you three don’t intend to leave me out of this?” She said standing. Three sets of eyes turned to stare at her and then the four of them nodded as one. Chuckling sounded from the spot the broken table lay and when the others turned, Naibu was standing erect with a smile on his face that showed for the world to see what his intentions were. “I was told to protect you four,” He dusted down his clothing which bore some cuts from his last battle before walking towards them. “You all know I was sent here to keep you all out of trouble, but if you plan on throwing yourself head first into it; well... I’ll need to make sure you stay alive.”

The five allies looked one another up and down. Each had made their decision. They would rescue their friend. The stage had been set; the line drawn. Turning towards the door, Kentaro led his friends on their first steps towards rescuing Akiye...

Next Story > Clash of Conflicting Duties

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