World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 47: Threats and Set-Ups
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April 17, 10:15 am, Tokyo, Japan
"Michi? Who's there?" Sakura asked.
He didn't answer. All Sakura could hear was the sound of shuffling.
"Michi? Hello? What's going on?"
Her heart was pounding harder, faster. What was going on? They found him? What did that-
She froze, eyes going wide, staring at the downpour going on outside. No...it couldn't be…
"Masao Watanabe," said a cool, masculine voice. "I believe this is the first time we've formally met."
Sakura felt like someone had grabbed her heart, forcing it to stop. It was hard to breathe, like her body wouldn't listen to her. She gripped her phone tightly.
"That's not my name," said Sakura through gritted teeth.
"Well, I mean legally, your name is still-"
"No, it was changed legally as well," said Sakura as calmly as she could. "Didn't you do a proper check on me before barging into my life?"
The man on the other line said nothing, and Sakura felt like she could breathe a little again. Right, the other side was human as well. That meant they weren't all-powerful, they weren't gods. They could be beaten.
"Still, it seems you have the advantage over me," Sakura went on. "I don't think I know your name."
"Tachikawa," said the voice, a hint of annoyance coming through. "Jason Tachikawa."
It was him. The foreigner.
"It seems you do know who I am," said Jason, suddenly smooth again. "Then again, I suppose I should expect as much from a liar."
Sakura dug her nails into her palm, tightening her fist. This Jason really knew how to get under her skin. She forced herself to take a deep breath, calming herself down.
"I have no idea what you are talking about, Mr. Tachikawa," she said pleasantly.
"Ah, is that so?" he said, also in fake politeness. "In that case, please forgive the intrusion into your boyfriend's place. We tried your apartment, but no one answered."
"I've been busy with work," Sakura replied.
"Work? I heard you got fired."
"I quit, actually."
They exchanged veiled barbs for a little while, feeling each other out. From the way he spoke, it looked like they already searched her apartment. That meant they had her laptop, and everything on there.
"There have been rumors going around that you're investigating Neurix," said Jason. "As a faithful employee of theirs, I feel like we should talk in person to correct any misinformation you may have...heard."
"Are you willing to go on the record?"
"How professional of you," he said sarcastically. "Truly unexpected from the man who pretends to be a woman to sneak into a lab."
Sakura raised an eyebrow. Not that Jason could see it.
"I have no idea what you are talking about," said Sakura. "I've never pretended to be anyone but myself. Except in my middle school play. I was Cinderella."
Sakura could practically see the sneer of contempt.
"Meet us back at your boyfriend's place in one hour," he said. "Or he'll be coming along with us."
The line went dead.
Sakura watched as her phone screen showed that she had just ended a call with Michi. She looked out to the rain once more.
This Jason character was bad news.
Sakura looked back at her phone, and opened the recording app. She opened the latest file.
"Well, I mean legally, your name is still-"
She listened to the recording of the call. He had basically admitted his name and who he was working for.
But the call had been from Michi's phone. With the existence of voice change apps, he had all the plausible deniability he needed.
Not to mention, there was a very high chance that his name wasn't actually Jason Tachikawa. Who would reveal their name in a situation like this, over the phone?
All that said…
"Meet us back at your boyfriend's place in one hour."
Sakura narrowed her eyes at this point. Jason had mentioned her 'boyfriend' a couple of times. At the time, she had brushed it off as some weird provocation. She was sure that Jason was both homophobic and transphobic to the point where he didn't even know the difference between the two.
But that said...if Sakura's hunch was right…
The rain was settling down a little now. Enough that Sakura could walk through it with her umbrella. She took it out of the rack, and set off, phone to her ear.
Doooot, doooot, dooot…
Come on...pick up…
The line connected.
"Sakura?" said a suspicious voice. "W-"
"I have the power to create illusions," said Sakura immediately, and grinned.
The person on the other line went silent.
"It's only been half an hour, Michi couldn't have cracked yet," he said. "But-"
"Bunta, they gave me one hour to go back and talk to them," said Sakura, walking as fast as she could towards the train station. "That was ten minutes ago. I can send you the recording if you want."
Bunta went silent, and despite her annoyance with his paranoia, Sakura was relieved.
They hadn't gotten Bunta. She wasn't sure how, but Bunta had escaped.
She had suspected it when Jason started calling Michi her 'boyfriend.' Despite the venom – or maybe because of it – Sakura suspected that Jason thought he was actually her boyfriend. But why? It wasn't there was evidence that Sakura actually lived with him.
Unless they mistook Bunta's things for hers. After all, Michi and Bunta were living in an apartment for two.
But they would only think that if they had no idea that Bunta existed. Which must mean that he escaped before they could find him.
"Alright, what's the plan?" Bunta sighed.
Sakura boarded the train back to Michi's apartment while she spoke on the phone with Bunta. Turns out that he managed to escape because his cameras warned him that people were coming.
"But stupid Michi forced me to go, saying that I was too important and that he was disposable," Bunta confessed. "That stupid little..."
He grumbled a little more, making Sakura raise an eyebrow. But no, she didn't have time to dig into this potential good news for Michi.
They needed a plan to rescue Michi.
And for that, Sakura and Bunta needed to know exactly what their weapons were.
"First off, my illusions," said Sakura. "They have no idea what I can do."
"Okay, but what can you do?"
She listed off her limits:
- She could create pretty much anything, but nothing larger than a car, otherwise the illusion would break after a few seconds, and she would get a very bad headache and nosebleed.
- Her illusions needed to be simple; the more detailed, the less she could focus on talking, walking, or any other activity. Ideally, something small and simple would be the best.
- For now, she could only do inactive objects. Moving/living objects required concentration that left Sakura sweating and gasping the entire time. Plus, she could only keep it up for about ten seconds.
- It was easier to 'disguise' and object with an illusion, than to create an illusion wholecloth. That is to say, it would be easier for her to make a potted plant look like an antenna, or vice versa, instead of creating an illusion of a potted plant out of thin air.
- Her illusions lasted one hour, at most. For larger object, the longest was 40 minutes. 30 if they moved. At the time of effect, anyone could interact with them as if they were actually there. However, the illusions would not show up on cameras.
"On my end, we've got seven hidden cameras," said Bunta. "Two outside, one in the alleyway behind the apartment, one above the front door, and the other three covering different angles in the living room."
"Wait. There were cameras in the room I've been sleeping in?"
"Is this really the time for that?"
He had a point, but Sakura made a note to bully him about it in the future.
Once Michi was safe.
"Don't you have anything else we can use?" asked Sakura. The train was getting close to her stop. She checked the time; she had about twenty minutes left to get back. She should be able to make it back in time. Barely.
"Like what? A computer virus that can explode in real life?" Bunta snorted. "You know you need a permit just to get a blade, right?"
"Okay, so what exactly can you help with?" said Sakura, patience running thin. "It's not like you can tell me what's happening in the alleyway; I don't have an earpiece or anything."
Bunta fell silent.
"Michi was right," he muttered. "I should've taken my life more seriously."
People on the train turned to look at Sakura. She didn't care. She was done being quiet.
"This is no time to regret paths you didn't take. Instead of wishing you were smarter with your decisions, how about you use that big, paranoid brain of yours to tell me what exactly I can do to save your not-boyfriend!"
Silence. Sakura could feel the surprised and cold gazes from all the people around her. She noticed one high school girl giving her a discreet thumbs up. She had no idea what that was for.
"Right. Michi needs me," Bunta muttered.
"That's right," said Sakura. "He needs you to save him. How can you save him?"
"There is a way," said Bunta. "But I need you to help me. Do you still have your mace?"
"Always," Sakura replied. "But I can only spray one person with it."
"If all goes well, you won't have to."
April 17, 11:13 am, Tokyo, Japan
Jason rummaged through the couple's drawers, looking for something, anything. All he could find was some very gay underwear. He threw them aside in disgust.
"What did you expect to find in a gay man's drawers?" said his captor dryly. "Security in your own sexuality?"
Jason gave him a nasty look, but the damn f***** didn't even blink. He probably got off to getting abused by other men. Pervert.
"If you actually told me what you're looking for, then maybe I could help," said his captor. He was bound, on his knees in front of his small table in the living room, while two men in black pointed guns at him. And yet, he still had the nerve to act calm and cool. He was really getting on Jason's nerves.
The worst part was how...normal this place looked. If Jason didn't know any better, he would say a normal couple lived here. He would've guessed that they guy was obsessed with computers, while the girl was into make-up or modeling or something, based on the mannequins and clothes in the bedroom.
But the fact that he knew what sort of people lived here gave him the creeps. Who gave perverts the right to pretend to be normal? Shouldn't they flaunt their perversions here, in private? Why keep up the act in their own home?
Jason supposed he would never understand degenerates.
And speaking of degenerates...
When the hell would that manwoman get here? The sooner that freak got here, the sooner he could leave this pervert's paradise.
As soon as he thought about the person they came for, one of his subordinates informed him of someone approaching the apartment. Jason walked out of the bedroom to check who it was.
He grinned as he saw Sakura walking up to the apartment.
"Should we shoot, sir?" asked one of the men in black.
"No, wait until she's inside," said Jason. "We don't want the neighbors making a fuss. Also, gag him."
Minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Jason nodded at one of him men, who went over an opened it.
Sakura Watanabe walked in, arms raised and phone in hand. Immediately, everyone raised their guns.
"If you shoot me, everyone will know about Project Chimera," she said, just as the door behind her closed.
Jason's eyes flickered over to the phone in her hand, then did a once over. Damn, she really was quite pretty. He curled his lip as he discarded these thoughts. He needed to focus.
The company came first. If anyone was to find out what they had been up to, it would cause a lot of trouble. Not that Jason really cared. But if there was trouble that he, Jason Tachikawa, could have prevented, then it would mean getting fired.
Not to mention, this...woman...was a journalist. One that had been scouted by one of Japan's top newspapers. She probably had some contacts, even if she was no longer with the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Jason realized that if she actually knew something, then she would probably be able to use that information in a way that could be troublesome. Which meant Jason needed to know...
...How much did she really know about Project Chimera?
He flattened his face into a smile.
"Well then, Watanabe-san," he said, gesturing to the seat on the other side of the table from him. "It looks like we've got a quite a bit to discuss."
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