78 – Enter the Dragon
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Mt. Fuji.

A snowstorm, with a wind chill cold enough to freeze water within a few seconds, let alone skin.

But there, a man stood unaffected. His perfectly honed body was bare, revealing rippling muscles littered with scars. And his wild mane of dark hair drifted in the wind.

Almost as if he was a force of nature himself, the snow avoided the man. No, it melted before it came into contact, a heatwave around the man creating a gap in the fierce snowstorm.

But despite the feral appearance, he delicately held a smartphone to his ear, listening to a call with a polite expression. After hearing the report, he nodded and said, "Is that so?"

"That's right, Patriarch! Those Torabu bastards are moving in on our territory and attacking our strongholds! I'm at Nirvana right now and- Oh my god, they're here alre- Kuh!"

The sound of gunfire and clashing steel echoed from the other side of the line.

Shin Seiryuu smiled and waited. Soon enough, a familiar voice echoed from the other side.

"Yo."

Shin chuckled, a gravelly sound that shook his whole body. "Another ghost come to get revenge? No, I suppose you were a ghost from the beginning. Isn't that right, Maji Yuurei?"

Silence, and then a calm voice continued on the other side of the line. "I heard you were the one who sent the order to take out Maki and her husband."

Shin's smile widened, turning into a feral grin. "That's right. I heard from my men that you cared for her a great deal. Enough to where your vengeful spirit might return if they suffered a tragic end. While a pity I missed their child as well, it worked, did it not?"

"...You really are insane."

Shin chuckled again. "That's amusing, coming from the legendary Mad Dog and One-Eyed Demon."

"Tch. Talking with you makes me sick. But my Boss told me to pass on a message."

"Oh?" Shin nodded, amusement on his face. "I'm assuming this is a new one considering that I ripped apart your last 'Boss.'"

"Tonight. I'll meet you at the top of the Eternal Tower. Prepare yourself, because I'm going to beat the crap out of you for ruining my vacation."

Shin blinked. "Vacation?"

Maji chuckled. "Yeah. Vacation. Wash your neck and wait, you bastard. You're going to get what's coming to you soon enough."

The line went dead.

Seeing that, Shin shrugged and stared off into the distance.

It was dark, and the snowstorm obscured visibility. However, Shin's sharpened senses weren't affected and he stared off into the distance.

Since it was dark, the glittering Tokyo cityscape was clear to see. And among that, there was a glowing golden building that stood above all the rest.

Was it his imagination?

As he stared at that place, he felt someone... No. Some*thing* stare back. A terrifying presence that went beyond even him. A being with depths that Shin could only guess at.

A shiver went down his spine. Even so, Shin grinned. "So be it. Let us see if I can surmount this tribulation... or if I will fall and become yet another nameless soul in this plain world."

Reaching down to pick up his long discarded coat, Shin threw it around his shoulders like a cape and then started jogging down the mountain.

-----AI|IA-----

The streaming studio in Myth Inc. Around 6 PM and just after Rin's dance and singing lessons following her stream.

Because winter drew near, it was already turning night, with the cityscape painted in dark hues illuminated only by the fluorescent city lights.

Beta frowned and crossed her arms, her orange eyes flicking between her father and Rin. "You wish to drive Rin home, Father?"

John nodded. "It's been a long day, and you've done a lot of work for me recently Betty, so I figured I'd get you some alone time."

Beta's frown deepened. "This is odd. You are acting odd."

Rin laughed. "Don't be like that, Eldest Sister! I think Mister John is right! You drive me home a lot already and do a lot for me and Hana, so you should take some time off for yourself!"

Beta paused and said, "Normally, I would agree. But..." She stared at her father.

He was hiding something. Beta knew him enough to tell that her father was concealing something from her. That he planned to do something in secret after heading off for the night.

John noticed her staring and blinked. "What? I thought you'd appreciate the space to enjoy your new, ahem, 'hobby.'"

Rin blinked and tilted her head, looking at Beta. "Hobby?"

Beta flushed and then narrowed her eyes. "Father. You are aware that I can make your life much more troublesome, are you not?"

"Eh?" Rin frowned and said, "Why would you do that, Eldest Sister?"

Beta paused, turning a deep red. "T-That is..."

John laughed and patted Rin's head. "Don't you worry your cute head over it, Rin. Betty's just going through a phase right now."

"It is *not* a phase, Father!"

Rin blinked, looking even more confused.

Seeing that, John chuckled and said, "Why don't you get your stuff ready and head down first, Rin? I'll be down in a bit. Just something I gotta tell Betty before we head out."

"Okay, Mister John! Ah, but take your time! I told Mom that we might be back late."

John shook his head. "It'll just be a sec."

Rin nodded and then walked over to the elevator. After opening it, she walked inside and then turned back around, waving at Beta.

Beta waved back, a faint smile on her face.

And then the elevator doors shut and Rin vanished, heading back to the first floor.

That left just Beta and John.

Beta stared at her father, carefully examining him. "Speak the truth, Father. What do you intend to do tonight?" She frowned and said, "Did you not wish to reduce your impact on the world and allow things to settle? If you step out now-"

"Relax, Betty." John smiled and said, "I'm not planning to do anything crazy or cause trouble. I just have some... private matters to attend to."

"Private matters that you cannot tell your beloved daughter?"

John flushed and then coughed. "It's... not really something that I can say in polite company."

Beta rolled her eyes. "Please, Father. As if there is anything you have done that would faze me."

"Oh really?" John smiled. "Then you don't mind knowing that your dad's going to play with his dragon all night in a private building to let out some stress?"

Beta paused. And then she turned a deep red, stepping back and pointing at John. "T-T-That is what you meant by private business?!"

John shrugged. "Well, since Yue isn't around, I haven't really-"

"Stop." Beta covered her face and said, "I have heard enough."

"Hey!" John frowned and said, "It's only fair that you get embarrassed too, right? I mean, what with you ordering all of those-"

"FATHER!"

John laughed and then waved. "Then I'll be seeing you, Betty. Tell Alphy that I'll be back tomorrow and to not stay up too late."

Beta nodded, her face finally cooling down.

The elevator arrived again after John pressed the button to call it back, and then he walked inside.

Beta sighed and then looked up at John. "Have a..." She paused, unsure of how to phrase it and desperately tried to avoid thinking about the one time she walked in on her father and Mistress Yue. "Ahem. I will... see you tomorrow, Father."

John waved. "Take care, Betty. Ah, and when you have fun with your new purchases, make sure to cast the appropriate privacy-"

Beta flicked her wrist, causing the elevator doors to slam shut.

John's muffled laughter echoed from within, and then the elevator started heading down.

Standing alone in the streaming studio, Beta huffed and walked over to the computer. "Father truly is the worst example of a father there is."

Making such crude innuendoes and even suggesting that Beta cast formations to conceal her hobbies...

"As if it is something that shameful." Beta sat down at the computer and then clicked on a folder that she recently created. But then she paused and carefully glanced at the elevator.

With a slight cough and a blush, Beta quietly cast a few privacy formations.

Just in case.

N-Not that there was anything she had to hide. But...

Yes. J-Just in case...

-----AI|IA-----

John arrived at the first floor and smiled as the elevator doors opened.

It seemed like Betty was still a bit too pure after all, considering how easy it was for him to disorient her with just some vague innuendo.

But that was good. It meant that she wouldn't realize what he was doing until it was over... and maybe not even after that.

Of course, considering all went well.

'But it never does, John. It never does.'

John's smile faded at hearing the voice.

A chuckle echoed in John's mind and then Titor's voice called out in his head. 'Don't worry. I'll stick to the plan.'

"You'd better." John muttered as he walked out of the elevator. "Otherwise we might actually need to become John Titor and change worldlines."

'Heh. You worry too much. But I'll make sure to keep an eye on your beloved daughters and make sure they don't catch on... and finish making those reservations. A day trip, right? Weekend?'

*That's right.*

'Got it. Ah, and they're looking at you by the way.'

John looked up and saw Rin waving.

"Are we going now, Mister John?"

He smiled and walked over. "That's right. Did I keep you waiting long?"

"It's fine!" Rin smiled and turned towards the front desk. "I was chatting with Miss Asako! Did you know that she likes Sailor Luna?"

"Is that so?" John shifted his gaze to Asako, standing behind the front desk.

The Seiryuu Heiress flushed and crossed her arms, throwing up a fierce glare. "S-So what if I like Sailor Luna? Got a problem with that?"

"No. But you've got a surprising cute side too, huh?"

"E-Eh?" Asako blushed. "C-Cute?"

Rin beamed. "Isn't she? Miss Asako's like Alpha nee-chan too!"

John chuckled and said, "That gap *is* a bit endearing."

Asako huffed and crossed her arms. "You're lucky you've got too pretty a face to mess up, Mister John."

John smiled. "Oh believe me. I'm well aware of that fact."

As well as all the trouble it caused in the past.

Rin glanced at Asako and frowned. "Miss Asako. You can't threaten Mister John like that! He's your boss, isn't he?"

Asako paused, thinking. "That's true. And I do owe you... but damn if seeing that annoyingly eye-catching face again so soon doesn't piss me off."

"E-Eh?" Rin blinked. "Miss Asako...?"

Asako froze, realizing that she let her true self slip.

John bit back his laugh and then started walking. "Come on, Rin. We shouldn't keep you out too late."

"Oh!" Rin adjusted her bag and said, "Coming, Mister John!" She waved at Asako and said, "Good night, Miss Asako! See you tomorrow!"

"Have a good night, Rin! *And go fuck yourself, asshole.*"

John chuckled at the creative way to get around Rin's presence and then walked out the front door, Rin trailing behind him.

-----AI|IA-----

"Have a good night, Mister John! And thanks for dropping me off!" Rin waved, letting out a bright smile.

John waved back from inside his black BMW and said, "Rest easy, Rin. And don't stay up too late tonight playing games with Alphy."

"I won't!"

With that said, Rin turned around and walked to her front door. Standing there, she started rummaging around in her bag for her keys. After fumbling for a bit, she managed to find them and open her door. Walking inside, she turned around to wave one last time.

John smiled, raising his hand.

And then Rin shut the door.

The moment she did, John's smile faded and he felt a tinge of irritation. "Just when things were starting to settle down..."

There were watchers nearby. And considering that the Torabu clan should be under tight wraps with Kai and the others at the moment, that could only mean that the presences he sensed were Seiryuu.

Were they there because of Rin and Sakura's connection to that guy? Or because they had been seen with Kai?

Either way...

"Tough luck."

They'd be in for a rude awakening if they thought they could even get within an inch of Rin and her mother's house.

John cracked his neck and then shifted his car back into drive before heading off into the dark.

But not back towards the office. Instead of rounding the corner and taking the road back to Roppongi, he headed towards the city outskirts.

As he did, he turned on the stereo to play some music. Since the car got wrecked by Alphy last time, John had fixed it up and made some additions, so there should be songs already loaded-

*We are fighting dreamers-*

"Nope."

*Jibun wo~!*

"Not that."

*Oshiete yo-*

"Too serious."

*Ponpon-*

"Absolutely not."

John frowned and spammed the next button. "Come on. I couldn't have listened to only anime songs... right? Where's the Eurobeat? Gotta be here somewhere...?"

*ONE PUUUUUUUUNCH!*

"...Ah screw it. Good enough." John sighed and focused back on driving.

As he did, he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and stared off into the distance.

It was snowing. And not just a light snowfall either, but the starting of a fierce snowstorm.

Despite that, there were oddly no cars on the road. As if everything was set up just for a dramatic encounter or a scenic climax.

John scoffed. "As if I'd play along with you."

If the world planned on derailing his plans, then he sure as hell wasn't about to play nice and follow along with what it wanted to happen.

As if responding to his thoughts, the music changed.

[Play Sorairo Days]

John smirked at the nostalgic song and then focused.

Soon. Soon, he would finally be able to relax and focus on just idling the days away operating the idol agency and doing speedruns.

But first...

-----AI|IA-----

"Yo, Boss!" Maji waved, grinning as he stalked over.

Saji followed after him, cracking his knuckles. "So we're ending it in one blow then, Boss?"

John glanced at the two and sighed, running his hand through his hair. "I would have preferred another day or two to get things ready... but we might as well." Saying that, John took a look around his surroundings.

He had arrived in front of the Eternal Tower in Kamurocho, parking his BMW off to the side and covering it with a few protective formations.

John stared at the towering building covered in golden lights. "So this is that annoying guy's headquarter, huh?"

Maji cackled and said, "Only Boss could call a demon like that an annoying guy."

Saji smiled and adjusted his green overcoat. "Compared to someone like Boss, Shin Seiryuu must really seem to just be an annoyance, bro."

"I got it, I got it! Still funny though." Maji shook his head and tucked his hands into his usual snakeskin coat.

John frowned. "Funny to you, maybe. But do you know how much trouble I've gone through because of that guy since I got here?"

Directly or indirectly, that Shin guy was responsible for all the chaos stirring around because he went around wantonly committing terrible deeds to gather negative karma in a mad attempt at getting heavenly tribulation.

And because this world didn't have heavenly tribulation, the moment that a convenient person like John came along, it was trying to push things for him to resolve the issue. Probably to exact karma directly and take him out.

"Isn't that right?"

"Hm?" Maji tilted his head. "Ya say something, Boss?"

"Don't worry about it." John cracked his neck and started walking forward. As he did, shadows started flickering behind him, forming men in black suits.

As if expecting the situation, Maji and Saji fell in step behind John, off to his left and right respectively.

John glanced back, frowning and said, "Where's Kiri?"

"Kiri-chan?" Maji shrugged. "He said he thought Boss might be worried about his daughters, so he headed back to the office to keep an eye on them."

Hearing that brought a faint smile to John's face. "Heh. That guy doesn't change, huh? It's unnecessary, but I appreciate it."

"Yeah, it's a shame." Maji sighed. "Kiri-chan's going to miss out on all the fireworks."

John flicked his wrist, changing into a black suit with gold cuff links. Adjusting his collar, he said, "It's fine. There's only room for one dragon tonight anyway."

"Hm?" Saji glanced over and said, "...You acknowledging Shin then, Boss?"

John chuckled. "What do you mean? A snake like that doesn't even come into my eyes. I'm talking about me."

At that time, another group of men poured out from up ahead. And they were led by a familiar pair of figures.

"Friend! Long time no see!" Kai waved, a broad smile on his face.

John scoffed. "Shut up and just keep walking. You're lucky I was already planning to settle things otherwise I'd beat you black and blue for causing this mess."

Kai flinched and let out a sheepish smile, rubbing the back of his neck.

As for the other familiar face...

"Tch. I knew you weren't an ordinary kid." Minato Miyamoto stood off to the side. Like all the other men tonight, he was dressed in a suit. But unlike everyone else, he was also wearing a stylish fedora and was armed to the teeth in knives.

John paused and then he let out a long sigh. "Why am I not surprised?"

Was *everyone* he had met up until this point related to the yakuza in some way?

Minato rolled his shoulder and said, "Well, I do owe you for helping Yuri out... but when we're all said and done here, we need to get together for drinks." He glanced at Maji and said, "Seems like you've got some interesting stories to tell, 'Mister John.'"

"Trust me, I'm looking forward to that as much as you guys are. Hell, I'll rent out a place for us guys to just relax after all of this. But first..."

John stopped and looked up at the Eternal Tower.

The others stopped and did the same.

An dramatic cut, like from a movie.

John standing in the lead, with his legendary Yakuza officers behind him.

Kai and Minato off to the side.

And then a crowd of around a hundred men waiting for their words.

John flicked his sleeves, causing his cuff links to fly off. The golden dragons bounced along the ground with a soft *ding*.

"Let's go."

John walked forward, taking confident and unyielding steps. The wind and snow picked up as he did, lightly ruffling his golden hair.

And the glass doors to the Eternal Tower slid open.

"Huh?" A Seiryuu member in a suit and with a barely concealed gun turned to look at John. "Who are..." He trailed off, seeing the men following behind John.

"Yo!" Maji grinned, whipping out his knife and twirling it around his right hand. "Hope you're insured, because we're here to collect!"

Saji sighed. "Bro. Your jokes need work."

Maji spun around and threw up his hands. "I'm rusty, alright? Gimme a break!"

The Seiryuu member quickly pulled out a radio and said, "They're here! Tell the Patriarch and send reinforcements!"

Kai walked into the main lobby and pulled his knife out. Cracking his neck, he glanced at John and said, "You don't mind if I run wild, do you, Friend? I've got a bit of a history with this-"

A gunshot cut through the air.

Kai's eyes grew wide.

But not because he was shot.

John stood in front of Kai, his hand held out and clenched in a fist. Shortly after, a grating sound filled the air, and then black powder spilled to the ground from John's fingertips. The bullet, completely scrapped into iron dust.

He sighed and brushed his hand off against his suit. "You talk too much, Kai. Get at least as good as Maji before you start doing that."

Maji laughed. "Told ya, Kid!"

The Seiryuu member's eyes widened, frantically swiveling in their sockets. To his credit though, he didn't panic and quickly raised the gun to fire again.

But-

"Kuh!"

-John slid forward, hands tucked into his pockets, and kicked the man in the chest.

A casual gesture. One that should have shoved him to the ground at most.

But instead of that, the Seiryuu member was sent flying through the air before landing at the foot of a fancy stairwell leading up.

Maji whistled. "That was pretty slick, Boss!"

"Yeah, yeah. I don't have the time or patience to deal with these grunts." John walked over to the center of the main lobby towards a fancy looking elevator covered in gold-leaf and then pressed the button to call it.

Kai coughed. "I don't think that will work, Fri-"

*ding*

John turned around and raised an eyebrow. "You were saying?"

"...You really have a way of making things work, don't you, Friend?"

John leaned against the back of the elevator and then glanced at his generic shadow servants, as well as Maji and Saji. "You know the drill, so stick to it."

"Ooh, this will be fun." Maji cackled and started heading towards the stairs.

Saji chuckled. "You say that now, bro. But do you think your old body can climb all these stairs?"

The Torabu men following Kai and Minato glanced around with uncertainty after John's men started moving.

One of them stepped towards Kai and said, "What should we do, Patriarch?"

Kai waved his hand and said, "It's just Kai. And what else? Like my friend said, we're cleaning house. Follow his men's lead and clean out the trash."

"Sir!"

With that, the Torabu men left as well.

And then it was just John with Kai and Minato.

John glanced at the two and said, "So... you coming up? Or not?"

Minato glanced at Kai. "Kid?"

Kai looked hesitant and then shook his head. "I'll leave that man to you, Friend- No, John." He tightened his grip around his knife and said, "Teach him a lesson. For everyone."

John frowned. "Yeah... No."

Kai blinked. "What? Wait, don't tell me you-"

The elevator doors slammed shut. Shortly after, it started rocketing up at a dizzying speed. Well, to an ordinary person.

But to John... and presumably to Shin as well, it was just a convenient one.

A soft chime. The elevator doors opening. And then, a howl of wind.

The elevator opened up to the rooftop. And it seemed that the snowstorm had become a full-on blizzard.

In the midst of that, his back turned to the elevator, was Shin Seiryuu.

Like John, he wore a neatly tailored suit that emphasized the man's meticulously crafted muscles.

"You've arrived."

Shin turned around, his shaggy black hair shifting, but not with the wind. Instead, it moved from an invisible heatwave radiating off of him, like in the eye of a storm.

"Damned straight I've arrived." John walked out of the elevator and said, "Do you know just how much trouble you've caused me?"

Shin shook his head. "I do not. Though that ghost mentioned something about a... vacation, was it?"

"That's right. A vacation. MY vacation. And my perfectly planned peaceful days. All of them, ruined because of events YOU set up."

An amused smile crossed Shin's face. "Is that so? Then I suppose you've come for retribution and my life."

"Oh no." John shook his head. "That's what the world wants. But that's not what I want." He came to a stop, a few paces in front of Shin. A distance that both could cross in a single bound.

Shin's smile turned into a feral grin. "Then what do you want?"

"All I want right now..." John reached over to his shoulder and then ripped off his shirt, revealing a golden dragon on his back, clutching a jade moon. "...Is to beat the ever living crap out of you to blow off steam."

"Bold words. Then..." Shin ripped off his shirt as well, revealing an azure dragon. "I shall oblige. Show me just how powerful the man who tamed the- kuh!"

John pulled his fist back from Shin's torso and spun around for a heel kick. "You talk too much!"

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