Last Hope - Chapter 5: Motives

"I have a favor to request of you." "Which is?" "Kidnap me."
Veepo, Online Chat Group

Kai: (11:36PM) That was the best vow I've heard.

Ayu: (11:36PM) Aww! Killoran is so sweet. His words touched my heart.

Kai: (11:37PM) I'm not talking about that loser. The vamp was hilarious, lol.

Ayu: (11:37PM) Are you serious? She creeped me out!

Riku: (11:37PM) That footage, alone, is proof that she's a demon. How could they continue the ceremony when she was acting out? Fools!

Nat: (11:38PM) How are you guys not freaking out over that bullet catch? That was insane :O

Haru: (11:38PM) IKR! Killoran is such a badass!

Kai: (11:39PM) Eh, it wasn't that great.

Ayu: (11:39PM) Honestly, I'm shaking. That whole wedding was wild. Nothing like I imagined it would be.

Haru: (11:39PM) What do you mean, it wasn't that great!?

Riku: (11:40PM) It wasn't that great. What's so hard to understand about that?

Kai: (11:40PM) It was a V-T bullet. He could've stood there and let the bullet hit him and nothing bad would've happened to him.

Riku: (11:41PM) Kai is right. It would've been more cool if he stopped an actual bullet that's fatal to humans.

Haru: (11:41PM) Moron! Do you want him to lose his fingers!?

Ayu: (11:41PM) I still can't believe the vampire walked away from his kiss! How could she?

Nat: (11:42PM) Poor Killo-san. How embarrassing!

Kai: (11:42PM) Can't blame her. His breath probably stinks.

Haru: (11:42PM) [Eye roll emoji] What do you have against him, Kai?

Kai: (11:45PM) For starters, he's a pathetic tool.

Haru: (11:45PM) It's irrational to hate someone you don't know.

Kai: (11:45PM) I agree.

Haru: (11:45PM) And yet, here you are, hating on Killoran, even though you've never met the guy.

Kai: (11:48PM) What makes you think I haven't?


Location: Interrogation Room, Hakone-Yumoto.
Time: 1:00AM, 16th February 2072.

He jerked upright, panicked, but his wrists refused to budge. Something sharp and cold dug into his skin. He looked down and saw there were handcuffs holding his hands to the table. There were several wires hooked up to him and black belts were strapped on the upper and lower part of his chest, and around his bicep. An opened briefcase and a laptop rested on the table in front of him. Joined beside him were two men, Sharugo and Sora.

That was when the door opened and slammed shut, making the man jump a little with the only slack he had.

"I am Officer Midori," a middle-aged man spoke crankily. He gestured towards the other men in the room.

"And I presume you've acquainted yourself with my colleagues, Detective Takeshi and Agent Killoran. We are here to interrogate you. Do you understand?"

The man nodded slowly.

"Please stay still when answering questions," Sora demanded.

"What is your name?" Officer Midori asked, as he seated himself into the chair opposite him.

"Yoshida Reo."

"What was the incentive for your attempted assassination of Hamasaki Naishinnō Denka during the wedding ceremony?"

Reo turned his head to look directly at Sharugo as he answered.

"It's what Killoran-san wanted. I followed his set of instructions."


Location: Izakaya Pub, Ltd.
Time: 3:25PM, 16th February 2072.

Initially, Reo didn't want to become an assassin but his circumstances left him with little to no choice in the manner. Overtime, he learned to detach himself from his targets. Mostly he preferred not to think of them, but when he did, it was as if they were already dead - walking meat bags waiting to be dispatched to the butcher. He thought of them as meeting their destiny and he was merely the conduit. Everyone had to die sometime, and he convinced himself that it was a good way to go. No illness, no drawn-out goodbyes. They were just happy and oblivious one second and gone the next. Simple. Convenient. Painless.

He took a sip of his beer. The door chimed, grabbing his attention. A 6'5 tanned man with an athletic build entered the tavern, his brown eyes scanning his surroundings until they landed on the assassin. At first glance, he looked like a mean and tough fellow. Reo couldn't believe that such a man would request for his assistance. However, moments later, it became clear that he was an emotional wreck.

"I can't do this," he told the assassin, while running his fingers through his jet-black hair. He quaffed the shot of whisky in one gulp, grimaced, and ordered another.

"I'm not ready for this. I don't personally know her, yet they expect me to wed the king's daughter! It's ludicrous! How can one believe an arranged marriage will solve wars? It's a simplistic childish fantasy!"

"I understand where you're coming from," Reo sympathized with the distressed man. "Have you spoken to anyone else about this?"

"Alas, I cannot bring myself to admit this to anyone in my life... They would surely be disappointed in me. In their eyes, I would have failed a vital mission. I can't risk tainting my reputation over this..."

Reo chugged the last remains of his beer.

"So, what do you want me to do about it?"

"Eliminate the bride today."

He raised an eyebrow. "Today? You should've approached me earlier... I would've had more time to plan the-"

"Don't worry about it. I've already figured that part out for you. Here-"

Reo was handed a lanyard containing a golden plastic card.

"That's an invitation to the wedding. Turn up at the address I'll give to you and show this card at the entrance. The security will let you in. Don't be too hasty with your attack. I suggest waiting halfway through the pastor's lecture, as this will be the time when people will least suspect it. Aim for her head. One clean shot to the brain is all it takes for a quick and smooth kill. There will be a lot of commotion. Use that opportunity to make your escape whilst people are busy fussing over her. Do you understand?"


Location: Interrogation Room, Hakone-Yumoto.
Time: 1:25AM, 16th February 2072.

Sharugo was frozen to the spot, as he listened silently to Reo's tale.

"You wanted me to do this, Killoran-san. I was going to reject your proposal, but then you offered me a vast sum of money that I couldn't turn down. I have a family of seven to feed, most of whom are children... can you honestly blame me?"

"Are you sure that it was Agent Killoran who approached you?" Officer Midori asked with a puzzled expression.

"There is no mistaking it. It was him, down to the last detail. His voice, his appearance, his build - everything. He has a distinct appearance and he does not look like your average Japanese citizen. How can I possibly confuse him for someone else?"

"According to the lie detector, he's been telling the truth so far," Sora said, as he read the squiggly lines across the laptop screen. White light reflected onto his face, illuminating his small frown. There was clear doubt in his eyes, as he second guessed himself.

"Then again, how accurate are these machines? For years, sociopaths have passed these polygraph tests with flying colors."

"I'm not a sociopath! I swear on the lives of my children that I'm telling the God's honest truth," Reo said firmly.

"You have also consumed alcohol. That's another factor we must consider to your testimony," Sora pointed out.

"Fair enough. Bear in mind, I am not a lightweight drinker."

Sharugo gazed at the table, as he stroked his chin, seeming lost in his own thoughts. Officer Midori stared at the agent for a moment, before he shook his head in disbelief.

"This makes no sense to me."

"I don't understand it either," Sora murmured. "Why would Killoran-san request for a public assassination, and then save her at the last minute? Something doesn't add up here."

Reo sighed in frustration. "That baffles me too. Perhaps he had a change of heart. I don't know. I only know of my main objectives, which were assigned by him."

All three heads turned to look at the agent with their judgemental stares.

"Is this true, Killoran-san?"

Sharugo gulped, his throat felt dry. His heart was pounding heavily against his chest. He took a deep breath, as he tried to calm his nerves. This was it. The moment that he was dreading, but he knew it was inevitable.

"There's something I need to confess," he said quietly.


Location: Aokigahara Forest.
Time: 2:12AM, 16th February 2072.

Seraphina wandered into the forest. It was her favorite place to go if she was in a lazy mood to hunt, where she would stumble across a corpse and feast upon it. This time, however, she wasn't feeling particularly hungry. She wanted to get some fresh air and be far away from the ancient church, from her parents and, most of all, away from her newlywed husband. In the distance, she noticed some seemingly black boulders. With her enhanced night vision, she was able to spot that the giant boulder had scales on it.

As she neared towards the scaly boulder, she realized that it was a black dragon, the color of the night, which was not a coincidence, but merely a function of his multi-chromatic skin. He had stuck in his head underwater, sipping from the cool lake. Seraphina approached the creature from his rear.

"Hey, Draku."

Startled, his body jolted forward and he fell into the lake. He caused a ginormous splash, soaking Seraphina from head to toe with cold water. She split her wet bangs apart with her fingers, glaring at the dragon with annoyance. He rose to the surface, as his body floated in the water, and he looked at her with his large, yellow eyes in surprise.

"Princess Hamasaki! You scared me!"

"You're supposed to be the scary one here, buddy."

She slumped down on the boulders, as she was wringing her hair with her bare hands, squeezing the water out. Draku had returned to the land and he shook himself furiously, wagging his huge tail around, as water sprayed everywhere and rained down on Seraphina. She gave him a cold stare.

"Oops," Draku said sheepishly. "My bad."

She rolled her eyes.

"I have a favor to request of you."

"Which is?"

"Kidnap me."

Draku burst out laughing, as wisps of smoke and low fire were escaping from his nostrils. "Ahh, nice try, Princess! I'm not falling for your trap. I know you're hiding hunters behind those trees and bushes!"

He paced around the woodland area, poking his big head around every nook and corner.

"You should all just come out already, I can hear you!"

"No, it's not like that-"

Draku stretched out his wings and breathed fire, an explosion of vibrant colors that illuminated the blackness of the night, with the glowing flame shooting upwards like a water fountain. His action silenced the vampiress, who thought it was the most beautiful sight to behold.

The moment didn't last too long, as the dragon began yelling all over again.

"Well, guess what, you foolish scallywags! I am a dragon of high class! I am not like the others that will steal your princesses and fight your princes. Oh, no! I'm much too wise to partake in those shenanigans, and I have better things to do with my time like eating and sleeping! So, kindly leave me alone - unless you seek to face my hot wrath!"

"Draku!" Seraphina hissed. "You're making a fuss over nothing." She slouched down with her hand resting on her chin, as she seemed gloomy. "I've been forced to marry a human, despite my protests. I'd rather be taken away into your lair, than waste another second with him."

"When was your wedding?"

"Approximately three hours ago."

Draku huffed through his nostrils. "And where was my invite?"

"Trust me, you're lucky you weren't there. It was awful."

Draku stared at the vampiress for a moment, his yellow eyes seeming brighter with his curiosity. Then he crept closer to her and sat beside her on the boulder.

"Your wedding should be the happiest day of your life, Princess."

"Do I look happy to you?!"

Her loud, snappish response made the dragon flinch nervously. Draku tittered and he attempted to keep the ambience light between them.

"Well, not in this moment, exactly... but it's nothing that a good rom-com and some ice-cream can't solve." He paused in realization. "Oh, wait. You cannot have ice-cream! That is a tremendous shame. It is one of my favorite treats, alongside mosquitoes and worms."

Seraphina looked up at the night sky. There were no stars. No light. No hope. She sighed in dejection.

"It's not fair... if I walk away from this sham of a marriage, my kingdom will turn against me."

Draku gave her side a gentle nudge with his head. "Perhaps you should smile. You'd look prettier."

She turned to look at the creature, whose magnified scaly face was inches away from hers. Then she grinned, an open-mouthed smile to reveal her set of one inch fangs. Instantly, he backed away, his eyes doubled in size, watching her in terror as she licked her venomous teeth with her tongue. She gave him a sadistic smirk. It felt satisfying to intimidate something bigger than her.

"Oh my! I'm surprised that you even landed a husband with that vile look of yours."

For a moment, it seemed like Seraphina would shoot lasers at the dragon through her eyes. Draku chuckled nervously, sensing that he made the wrong comment. Quickly, he tried to salvage the situation.

"But erm... On a positive note... I'm sure you'll scare him away in no time."

"Scare him, huh?" Seraphina's eyes twinkled in delight, as if a light bulb had switched on behind her pupils.

She jumped to her feet eagerly. "Oh my god, that's it! You're a genius!"

A combination of mischief and insanity were lighting up her pale features, as she cackled with laughter.

"I'll pretend to be a psychopath, so he'll have no choice but to divorce me!"

"I'm sure you won't have to do a lot of pretending."

She gave him an icy glare. He hastily retracted his statement.

"Uh, I mean, yes, that's an... interesting ruse. I hope everything goes well for you, Princess."
Published: 4/1/2019
Bouquets and Brickbats | What Others Said