Chapter 1 — In Your Heart Shall Burn
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Edited By Sagedagger

Sorry for the short chapter.

Since an early age, I’ve had an innate attunement for the abused, the exploited, and perhaps more than often, the insane. It wasn’t empathy – it might’ve been something far more sinister, but normalcy was a self-enforced disadvantage of a human’s desire to fit in with his community. No matter how young, how old, or how perfect a human might seem, they have flaws, they have weaknesses, and all of them want something.

Underneath the starry night sky, I jogged through the streets with my head aimed towards the thundering clouds, and entered a certain neighborhood on the outskirts of Tokyo.

BAM!

Simultaneously, two shops on each side of the black asphalt road closed, as the owners clamped down the shutters suddenly. A few men, coiled around together in blankets and huddling before a dazzling fire, stared at me from the distance, as I passed through them.

The weak florescent street lamps illuminating the road I was walking through flickered, as a slightly earthy fragrance flew into my nose. The humidity in the air was sickening, but I powered through it, and ended up near a dimly-lit residential area.

The dirty scenery inside the area made me feel a bit queasy, as I slowed down, and ambled towards an alleyway between two buildings. And as soon as I walked through it, I noticed an empty street filled to the brim with similarly empty cabs.

I slightly frowned due to the weird design contrast of the neighborhood, but eventually decided that something like this didn't warrant my attention.

The dizzying contrast between the two streets separated by the alleyway made me feel quite confused, but it didn’t matter because something a lot more confusing appeared before me…

“Somebody, please! I beg you! Save me!!”

From the left side of the brightly-lit road, somebody began screaming at the top of their lungs.

I hurriedly moved into the street, and looked towards the source of the scream.

Right near a dimly-lit corner of the street, a frightening spectacle was occurring. With a bag hung over her front, a long-statured girl was screeching like a banshee and fleeing through the empty lanes. Using her soft, albeit raspy voice, she repeatedly cried for help, but the people watching from the balconies hurriedly ran inside their apartments, and drew on the curtains.

“Somebody…please!! Anyone!! Ahh!!!” The uniformed girl screamed, her pretty face paling with each passing moment. With trembling legs, she side-stepped a yellow taxi, and rushed to the other side of the street. Her disheveled hair, sticky with sweat, flew over both sides of her shoulder, as she repeatedly looked back and forth – as if a big monster was chasing after her.

I watched while crouched near a car, as she zapped to a corner two meters to my left and the people chasing after her exposed themselves. A mob of obnoxiously dressed men, armed with white sticks, ran after her in a way that neither allowed them to catch up to her, nor did it allow her to escape their view.

The men roared joyously, as they followed her with twisted smiles. The blunt weapons they were carrying slashed through the air, making me frown.

Suddenly, the girl tripped on a rock, and crashed down into the asphalt road face-first. Her sky-blue skirt slid along with his waist, and was torn to shreds. “No…no!! Ahh!!” She sobbed, and stood up while caressing her bloody temple. Even though her face was stained crimson with fresh blood, she remained as beautiful as ever – just in a tad more different, more twisted way.

I moved to a car behind her, and watched as the men finally ‘caught’ up to her.

Like a coterie of vultures gathering around a dead body, the men stepped forward little by little, making sure that the girl was crying and sobbing as loudly as she could before they reached him. Unexpectedly, from midst the rowdy bunch, a tall middle-aged man stepped out – and despite the street being empty , he had half of his face covered by a shawl.

“I had fun chasing you around, little girl~ Don’t you think you owe us something for the trouble we’ve went through to catch you?!” He asked, as he violently rolled up his sleeves with a cackle.

“I never expected such a beauty to live 'ere, boss! She’s soo cute, like a frightened deer runnin’ from a tiger!” A man from the group licentiously smacked his lips, and eyed the girl sobbing her eyes out.

The girl slightly wobbled backwards, and fell once again, exposing the bloody knees that had caused her to lose her balance through the gaps in her skirt.

She was scared. Unimaginably scared. From the tears streaming down her eyes, and how loudly she was sobbing, I understood that it was her first time in a situation like this.

“Ah, those pretty white legs! I can’t even imagine how soft they must be!” The leader sighed, and immediately opened up his zipper in the middle of the street, as if he just couldn’t control himself anymore.

After seeing the disgusting bulge on the man’s white underwear, the girl’s legs kicked up on the air, as she crawled and tried to run away. But unfortunately, the man had already caught her ankle by then.

“Hold it right there! What’s going on here?!” I screamed, and jumped right in front of the two with a single dash. My shoulders heaved up and down, as I stared at the man, who was currently looking at me with burrowed eyebrows.

With a bang, the man threw down the reddish ankle he had grabbed,. My abrupt intrusion, along with the fact that I was wearing the same uniform as their ‘victim’, caught the attention of the other thugs.

“Y-Yori-senpai?! Y-yori-senpai, please don’t leave me here! Please, save me!!” The girl screamed with a broken voice, as she tried to crawl away with a quivering body.

“M-Minako-san?! Is that you?! Fucking bastards, what the hell were you trying to do to her?!” I cried out, and curled up my hands into fists.

I internally counted the men slowly edging towards me, and winced when I noticed my disadvantage. There were four of them, including the leader, while I was alone and unarmed. I had confidence in being athletically superior to most of them, but how was I supposed to win against four of them at once?

“Dumb bastard, you shouldn’t have intervened! Fuck off before I beat you into a coma, self-righteous cur!” The leader yelled, and walked towards me while brandishing his white bat.

Immediately, I swerved to the right, while the bat hit my jacket instead of my torso. Rushing straight ahead, I slid down near Minako, the girl trying to crawl away, and yanked her up from the ground.

“Yori-senpai!! Please…!” With her eyes closed, Minako sobbed, and stood up with my help. She clenched my shirt, and hid behind me while quivering.

I turned around to look at her, and her pitiful appearance, and yelled, “Minako-san, run! Go, go! I’ll keep them busy!”

“B-but, Y-yori—”

“I said, run away! Don’t worry about me!!” I said, and pushed her off towards the other direction of the road.

“Yori-senpai…” Almost as if she were whispering, she blew a breath of hot air on my neck.

“Go!”

With a last look at me, Minako stumbled, and ran away as the men assaulted me. Sounds of empty pockets of air gushing out of my body rang out, as I stood still while they hit me with their bats.

Gradually, Minako’s footsteps began to fade out, as she eventually left the neighborhood.

I grabbed one of the hockey sticks aimed at me, and twisted them with a lopsided grin. In a paltry second, the colorful stick broke, revealing a hollowed out center filled with foam.

“I told you not to overdo it.”

The men quietened down, as they lined up inside the dark alleyway by the corner, and bowed down. “We’re s-sorry, Yori-sama! We did as we were told by Sir Armand!” They softly said in unison, and bowed.

A van, almost shining underneath the light, creeped up to them from behind. All of a sudden, as if like clockwork, the scenery began to change. Men walked up to the rooftops of the surrounding buildings and unmounted the cameras fixed atop the railings. The police blockades around the neighborhood were lifted, as crowds upon crowds of people rushed into the neighborhood with angry faces.

A few uniformed men walked out of the van, and began to clean up the bloody spots on the street. I walked over to the van, as one of its doors opened, and a man wearing a burgundy tuxedo slipped out.

“Don’t you think this was a bit...high-profile, Yori-sama?” The man asked, as his captivating brown eyes stared at me.

The man, aptly named Armand, looked at the uniformed men walking out of the dilapidated buildings nearby, and frowned. He was old, and wrinkled, but there was just something about his caucasian face and attire that couldn’t be ignored…

“This is just the classic ‘kill two birds with one stone’ tactic, Armand. I’ll be on the news for apprehending four dangerous criminals,” I looked over at the delinquents near the van, as they whimpered, “and I’m going to leave someone with a debt they’ll never be able to repay. “ I said as if it was a simple thing, and waved towards them without batting an eye.

Armand edged his chin to his right, and immediately, four black-attired men walked out of the corner, and knocked out the four men in one fell-swoop.

“Now that these four have been dealt with, I feel like I need to clear up something for you, Akihiro-sama. A damsel in distress situation is unlikely to earn you anything more than respect. Love isn’t that easy.“ Armand said, and walked over to me with a bitter smile as old as time.

I waved his concerns away with a small chuckle. “Ah, if only I was doing this for something as worthless as love. I have full confidence in myself, and my ability to identify the mentally deficient, so don’t worry. “

“…I hope you’ll one day stop wasting your time on stuff like this, and live up to the madam’s expectations, Akihiro-sama. “

“Maybe.”

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