And we bring this wild ride of action and insanity to a conclusion (of sorts.)
Part Six: Conclusion?
We called Kaze and gave him the good news. He came over to our office the next evening to thank us and to give us some news of his own. What I expected to be a quick in and out meeting turned into an oddly emotional goodbye, as Kenji insisted the three of us sit and talk over a mug of coffee. Kenji and Kaze went back several years, and whether it was the loss of useful informant, or of a work colleague he respected, Kenji seemed intent on getting some closure.
“Whatever happened last night,” Kaze said as he sat across from Kenji in front of the desk, sipping from his mug, “you two certainly made a mess. The two Syndicates are ripping each other apart, now that their leaders are dead or wounded.”
“Like ork Nobz when the Warboss is killed,” I remarked as I sat next to him in front of the desk, also sipping from my coffee.
Kaze shrugged, “if you say so,” he looked up over his mug, an oddly triumphant glint in his eyes, “the Yakuza are no more, thanks to you.”
Kenji shrugged, “we did the job, nothing more or less.”
Kaze smirked, “perhaps, but the ramifications are far reaching. First you destroyed the world’s Secret Societies, and then you wiped out the organized crime that had moved to replace them and fill the power void. Either directly or indirectly, you two have done much to make the world a better place.”
“I just hope it lasts,” I mused, leaning back a bit in my chair, “I’ve been shot, stabbed, sliced, cut, and annoyed more times than anyone should have to deal with. It’s about time I get back to a normal life.”
“Not to mention all that yin-yang bullshit,” Kenji stated, “you know, the need for darkness to balance the light, and all that.”
I shrugged, “the darkness always wins, but it can be blunted by even the merest flicker of a candle.”
Kaze nodded and smiled at that, finished his coffee, and stood up as he set the mug back down, “well, now that everything is settled, I can finally go into hiding. With no one to protect me, I have to make sure that if there are any survivors of the last three years, they won’t be free for long.”
“We couldn’t have done it without you, man,” Kenji declared, getting up and shaking the former informant’s hand with a big grin, the light glinting off his glasses giving him an air of diabolical glee.
Kaze smiled and turned to me. He shook my hand and bowed to both of us, “I merely did my job. No more or less.”
I smirked at his echoing of my partner’s phrase, “take care of yourself, man. You were a big help, but I hope you don’t mind if I never want to see you again.”
Kaze actually chuckled at that, “you won’t.” He turned to leave, but before he started walking he added, “There is nothing left to see.”
As he stepped out towards the door, I was reminded of the first time I met him, several years ago. Then, in a dark parking garage late at night, he had seemingly vanished in a blink of an eye. He did the same thing this time, too, vanishing from our office as if he had never been there to begin with.
When the door he had left through eased shut, seemingly on its own, I sighed and sat back down in my chair, leaning back and thinking.
“You know,” I said, turning to face Kenji, “I know I complained a lot about the last three years. Aliens, werewolves, criminals; all of it. But I don’t regret any of it,” I looked at the ceiling and coughed, “well, some of it. The heart flutter in Thailand was definitely regrettable. I wasn’t too fond of that loan shark, either. And thinking on it, having Akira help me slay that werewolf was probably a bad idea. All in all, though, we did a good thing, and I’m grateful you were there for so much of it.”
Kenji smiled, “thanks, man. Same for me. It was definitely a trip, but it all worked out in the end,” Kenji frowned, “I am sorry for dragging you into it, though. I had no right asking a married man with a family to fight by my side.”
I waved his apology away, “don’t be. I’ll always be there when you need me, because you were always there when I, and eventually Hanako and I, needed you. Besides, at the end, you had something to lose, too. I couldn’t very well have you going off on your own.”
Kenji grinned and nodded, “fair enough, though I doubt our spouses would understand.”
I snorted, “I’m sure they have their suspicions. We married very bright and intuitive women, after all.”
Kenji raised an eyebrow and looked at me from over his glasses, “having Hanako help with the adventure novels was probably a bad idea, too.”
I chuckled and closed my eyes, savoring the freedom that from now on, only individuals would be trying to kill me, and only if we screwed up, “I’m just glad we don’t have to worry about any of that kind of stuff anymore, except from an editorial standpoint. Now we can get back to regular, boring detective work.”
I heard Kenji get up. Chuckling, he placed a hand on my shoulder. When I opened my eyes I saw him smirking and glancing at me over his thick, round glasses. The light glinted off his glasses again, and his face had a mischievous look as he handed me a thin manila folder.
“C’mon man,” he said, grinning widely, “Things are never boring when I’m around!”
THE END OF “THE AFTERMATH” ARC
THE END OF HISAO AND KENJI- MASTER DETECTIVES!
All good things must come to an end. I consider twelve mysteries plus bonuses a good run. I don’t regret working on this one bit. Heck, it started a new literary career for me.
I want to thank all of my readers for reading and commenting. I also want to especially thank those of you who helped with edits and plot-related conundrums. Mere words cannot describe my thanks, but I thank you.
I’ll still be around, of course. I’m having far too much fun to stop writing and reading. I’m sure I’ll write one-shots and things set in the same setting without all the gunplay (someone recommended a Nakai/Setou dinner party, which sounds like a fine Thanksgiving Special to me
Besides, my crack prequel won’t write itself
See you around, /smokebomb.
Oh, there’s also my non-KS writing, if you’re into that sort of thing (psst, that’s what my tumblr blog is for. When I’m not posting visual novel pics and Warhammer 40K stuff.)