World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 55: Job and Duty
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April 22, 9:32 am, Tokyo, Japan
"Are you sure about this?"
Sakura was getting annoyed at hearing that question.
She, Michi, and Bunta were all currently cyber-homeless: that is to say, they were all bumming it in Internet Cafes right now. Thankfully, the place they were staying had rest areas and showers, so it wasn't too bad. However, the cost of new clothes, washing, food, and paying for a night at he cafe was starting to drain Sakura's bank account. It was getting to point where it was starting to stress her out.
Or at least, it would have, if she wasn't already freaking out about the fact that she was being chased by men in black for some shady pharmaceutical company. To be quite honest, she was more worried about that than anything else.
"It's not like we have much of a choice," she said again, getting out of her seat. "We need to wait for Bunta before we make any real moves."
She and Michi were in the cafe at the moment, but were leaving. They exited the cool, air-conditioned building into the humid but subtle Tokyo heat. They sighed in unison, and started to walk.
Meanwhile, Bunta was still working on unlocking all the information they had uncovered from the hard drive. It turned out their cyber security was quite good, and Bunta didn't have the luxury of his custom built computers anymore.
"It's still possible," he said. "But it'll take me a lot longer than it would've."
"How much longer?" Sakura asked.
Bunta had simply shrugged, and turned back to his computer.
"We still have the video though," Michi argued as they walked down the street.
"A video that any good movie studio could copy with enough money thrown at them," said Sakura. She was already sweating through her blouse. Her heat tolerance was really bad.
"Besides, people won't believe a video like that coming from an unverified source like me."
"You're a journalist though."
"The last time I was noted for my journalism was back in college," she said. "If I posted a video like that now, most people would just say I'm looking for attention."
Michi didn't have a response to that.
Of course, if Sakura was still a part of the Yomiuri Shimbun, posting the video would be a viable option. A video like that, coming from an established news source like the Yomiuri Shimbun would be damning evidence.
Pity they were gonna fire Sakura no matter what she did.
Which meant that if Sakura tried to post anything online now, she would just be seen as some random girl trying to get attention on the internet. Actually no: she would be seen as a man trying to push a crazy conspiracy theory all while forcing people to call him a woman. Because in general, the internet just hates minorities.
So that meant they needed more evidence.
Luckily, Bunta was clever enough to record his screen while he was watching the men in black and Jason hold Michi hostage in their apartment. The cameras themselves didn't actually record; they were just there for surveillance because Bunta was paranoid.
But that only showed a bunch of men holding a man hostage in his own home. Sure, they could show who each of the people were, and how they were connected to Neurix, but that would only bring condemnation to those specific people, or that specific branch. Sakura had a feeling that whoever was in charge of all this, they wouldn't hesitate to cut off Jason just to save their own profits.
So again, they needed more evidence. And the only thing they could do for that, was to wait for Bunta to crack the information they got from that one computer. Hopefully, there was something useful in there.
For now, they had to wait. But they couldn't stay still. After all, they still needed to pay for things. Which meant…
Sakura and Michi walked into a convenience store. They greeted the owner, then changed into their aprons.
...they needed to get jobs.
The pay wasn't much, but it would stem the some of the money bleeding from their accounts.
"This sucks," Michi grumbled as he stacked shelves. Sakura was on counter duty, on her phone. They hadn't had many customers yet, but it would probably get busier as the day got closer to lunchtime.
"This is life," said Sakura, scrolling through Twitter. "It's what we're trying to protect."
Michi stopped what he was doing to get Sakura's attention. Then, he simply raised an eyebrow.
Just then a group of teenagers walked in.
"Aaaaah, Mr. Tanaka is such a loser!" said one of the boys. "That old f** is probably jerking off to the thought of teaching us next."
"Dude, not even Mr. Tanaka would want your dirty ass," another replied.
They group chatted loudly as they bought snacks. One of the boys tried to hit on Sakura, which she quickly shut down.
"Oooh, rejected again," the whole group roared with laughter as they left.
"That's what we're protecting, huh?" said Michi.
"They'll grow out of it," said Sakura, half-heartedly. "Things are better than they used to be."
"Well things could be a lot better than they are now!"
Sakura threw up her hands.
"I agree with you?" she said. "This whole thing is- You're not actually mad about the whole 'this is what we're protecting' thing, are you?"
"No, I'm mad because we're here, stuck in some convenience store while a group of scientists are trying to bring actual, living monsters into the world!" he yelled.
Sakura blinked. Michi seemed to realize he had also gone over a line.
"I'm just- I don't-"
Sakura crossed her arms, and Michi deflated.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm just...I wanna do something..."
Michi balled his fist, so hard that Sakura could see the whites of his knuckles. She frowned. What had gotten into him? He hadn't been this passionate about this thing the whole time, had he?
"I get it," she said. "I'm frustrated too, but there is literally nothing we can do right now. We need more evidence."
"Can't we go and find more?" muttered Michi, turning back to the shelves.
Sakura smiled wanly. She knew that Michi didn't actually think they could find more evidence. There was no way for them to go back to the lab, after all. And looking into Jason and his cronies would just be suicide.
Of course, there was the whole police angle left, Sakura mused as she greeted another customer with a bow. But that would be just as dangerous. Not to mention, it didn't seem like there was really much there. If anything, it seemed like they were just being paid off to hide the bodies.
Wait a second…
Sakura looked up, surprised to find an irate old man placing a dirty magazine on the counter. She immediately plastered her face with a pleasant smile.
Once the man left with his purchase, Sakura went back to her thoughts, gazing out the window to watch the people passing by.
The police were hiding bodies, weren't they? She and Michi had guessed that the monsters had broken out of the lab and were killing people, but was that really the case?
Was that really what those bodies were?
Or had Detective Kiritaka spoken some small truth when he said there was a serial killer targeting the LGBT+ community?
Sakura bit her lip. On the one hand, once the doubt had blossomed in her mind, it was difficult to dispel it. If she didn't look into it, it could be a potential flaw in the story she would end up writing.
On the other hand, the risks…
She looked over at Michi, who hadn't said anything this entire time. He was stacking the shelves with vigor that could only come from restlessness. She remembered the look in his eyes when he said he needed to do something.
She could relate to those eyes.
Sakura made up her mind.
"What if there was something we could look into?" she said.
Michi looked up, momentarily confused. Sakura explained to him the gap in their research so far: the connection between the police, the bodies, and the lab.
"All we know is that the police are hiding the bodies and the labs are taking them," she went on. "We can probably get what the labs are doing with the bodies from the stuff Bunta got..."
"But we still don't know why the police are helping the lab," Michi's eyes lit up.
"No," said Sakura, shutting him down. "We would probably get that from the info on the hard drive too."
"What we don't know is if the bodies are just random bodies being taken off the streets, or if they're caused by lab themselves," she said. "And we also don't know how many people have been killed so far."
Michi was silent for a while, thinking.
"Wouldn't that information also be on the hard drive?" he asked.
"If it has to do with the lab, yes," said Sakura. "If it doesn't..."
"Wouldn't that be too big of a coincidence?" Michi asked skeptically.
"Look, there is every chance that this is all the lab, and we'll find evidence on the hard drive," she snapped. "I'm just suggesting something we can do while we wait that isn't stacking shelves."
"Alright, you're right, I'm sorry," Michi grinned apologetically. "We'll look into this. We can do this."
Sakura raised an eyebrow, and Michi rolled his eyes.
"Thank you, Sakura-tan," he said, mock-begrudgingly. Sakura smiled.
"So, how do we do this?"
Sakura thought for a while.
"First, I'm gonna need a whiteboard to sort all the info out," she said. "But I think we should probably start by looking into Detective Kiritaka again."
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