Chapter 3.4: My Family

Surprisingly enough what followed after my introduction into what apparently was the Japanese resistance, wasn’t some sort of celebration party or further information, but instead the room quickly emptied itself with most of the people respectfully bowing to me as they slid past me and away into the elevator.

After mere moments the room was empty except for my mother, the old man that had greeted me at the door, his bodyguards, and myself, and the old man soon walked towards me as well, once again looking me sternly in the eyes before saying “I’ll leave the rest to your family for now, I just want you to know that I have known your father for a very long time, and hope you’ll be able to follow in his honourable footsteps. We will let you know when things get started and we’ll have need of you…”

And with that the old man slightly bowed, nodded to his bodyguards who instantly flanked him, and left through the elevator as well, leaving me and my mother alone.

I turned around towards her and was about to burst out into a million questions, but my mother quickly rose her hand in a stopping gesture, then raised a finger to her lips , looking around the room meaningfully and then waved me to follow her.

We vanished into the elevator as well, but this time we ended up in an area with way higher security level apparently, as my mother not only had to let herself get scanned, but also enter an ID card, a password, a voice recognition sentence, and a drop of blood before the pitch black doors in front of us would open.

Behind the door lay another traditionally Japanese looking Tatami room which was completely empty except for some shrines on the walls, which I quickly realized contained pictures of dead family members of the Fuyu Clan, with even my father’s included.

My mother went into the middle of the room and then turned around towards me, looking at me with a very stern look in her eyes.

Son, I know this is all a lot for you, and you most likely don’t understand half of what’s going on, even though you’ve always been a smart one…at least if you wanted to I guess…..anyways….”

I wanted to chuckle at the last part of my mother’s speech, remembering fully well all the troubles I had caused her in my youth and the horribly stupid things I did back then, and most likely to this day sometimes, but the look on my mother’s face told me that this wasn’t the time for laughter even though we both might have wanted it to be, and so instead I let her continue on undisturbed.

As you know things are about to change for the Japanese citizens of Yu Jing, an Uprising is about to begin, and our family is going to be a part of this, by choice, but maybe not all the choices we would have liked them to be. I know you have always been a fan of the Yu Jing idea of a united Asia, and to be honest, so have I been and even your father to a lesser extent. But this dream is over now; Japan will rise against their oppressor and attempt to become its own nation. This will ruin the dream of a united Asia, but it’s better to stand divided on your own feet, than crawl on all fours in an oppressor’s dream world….or so your father used to say in those last few days…”

Mother….could you please cut the Propaganda short? “ I interrupted her with a brash tone “You know I would have preferred things to end up differently, but I understand what is going on to some extent, and to be honest, I don’t think I have a choice to get back to my old reality, so you might as well give me the direct introduction to my new one….let’s just assume I am fully convinced by our glorious new agenda, it’s not like I have a choice really, and give me the details of how we are involved in this…”

My mother just sighed and turned around, moving her hand in a weird gesture as she replied “Fine, pragmatic as ever I see. I thought bolstering your pride would do you some good, it always did for your father, but I guess you come after me quite a bit as well nowadays…so let’s get straight to the point…”

With that she finished her hand gesture and all of a sudden the floor next to her in front of all the shrines opened up and a giant multi monitored console rose from the opening, taking up most of the dimply lit room and flashing it with multi coloured light as the system booted up and revealed a giant login screen.

Our family has secretly worked towards this uprising as well, not so much for the glorified independence of Japan, we both know that unifying with Yu Jing in a better way could have achieved just as much for our people, but more so because we have a lot to gain from this. As you know we Kuge have lost a lot when Yu Jing took control of our nation, and state sanctions, taxes, horrible laws and general dislike for our people has made business and life harder for us than it ever was, and needed to be. Heck we had a glorious deal with some PanO merchants for combat Geists prepared just a few months ago, only to see it shut down by the government for “reasons of state security” even though we had already started production, leaving us with a big loss both in profit and opportunity….”

Stop…just stop please….I know you love the business side of our family, much more so than father did, but please spare me the corporate details for now….it’s a rough day and I can do without tax return rates and whatnot for today…”

Turning around my mother seemed slightly saddened for a moment, having been stopped in what she enjoyed most, talking about the business tactics of our family which she was mostly responsible for, but she quickly returned to normal and then continued “Of course, sorry, you know I love this stuff…..I’ll give you the extreme short version then….for now at least…..”

With that she stepped aside from the terminal behind her and waved towards it in an inviting gesture.

Getting to the point: With or without our family, the Japanese will rise up against their oppressors now, and this allows our family to gain a lot of influence as well as benefit our people and help make this uprising a success. As you well know our family is not only a warrior family, but like all Kuge families, also a corporation, and we have vastly extended our fields of expertise since you last cared for it….we no longer only produce and sell Geists to our customers, but we also expanded in Remotes of all sorts, weapons to some extent, security services, and some more minor things like consumer electronics, and even our own brand of tasty noodles, a stupid fluke of your father really, but it’s selling surprisingly well, anyways….we also intend to expand into space ship production in the future, mainly because should the uprising succeed, we’ll need to be able to develop spaceships on our own, but that’s for the near future really, and you don’t need to worry about that for now too much…”

Taking a break to catch some air and smirk at me a little she continued. “What you do need to worry about however, is that from this moment onwards, you are the head of the Fuyu Family, and even though we tried to prepare ourselves for the upcoming uprising, with your father’s death, it will fall into your hands to lead us to a better future, not only for our family but also for the Japanese people, if you allow me the Propaganda…”

No sooner had she said those words than the monitors started to change their displays and a Geist in form of a talking Mount Fuyi appeared and somehow managed to bow towards me. “Lord Yasashii Fuyu, it’s a pleasure to see you, if you’d be so kind as to create an account so I can give you full control over your company’s assets?..”

And once again, my day became rougher…..


What followed was another hours long tour into the debts of my families assets guided by my mother’s competent comments and data packages, which I’ll spare to mention the details of…

Suffice it to say that the Fuyu Clan Company has indeed acquired fast assets in different areas, most of which were somehow connected to the military however, and which even included a “household guard” which was more akin to an army really. Apparently all Kuge families had acquired similar forces over the last years under some disguise or other and these forces alongside the standing Japanese Military Ranks in the Yu Jing army would be the driving force for the Uprising if things went well.

It was precisely this reason that my mother had decided to bring me back into the family fold for and make me the head of the family…the business side she could easily have handled herself, and she would even continue to do so in the future, if maybe a little bit more from the backrow, but when it came to military strategy and actually leading our assets in the upcoming times, my talents where just what was missing now that my father was dead…..

I spent the next day or so studying and organizing my family’s assets and business plans, surprised that somehow the ISS hadn’t raided this place and murdered me and all…my….employees along the way, but apparently the sway of the ISS in Tokyo wasn’t big nowadays, and my exact whereabouts had been kept a secret even from the watchful eyes of the ISS, with the help of some Ninja Kagemushas apparently…a feat I would have been upset about was I still in charge of my ISS division…

However I barely had time to familiarize myself with what I had to work with, before the old man, whose name I now knew was “Furukoshima” sent me a message, proclaiming that “It was time”…..

Chapter 3.3: Foxes in the Temple

The Moment I saw my mother standing there in front of me the whole event with my father came rushing back into my active memory and I had to fight hard to avoid tearing up right then and there. Heck normally I would have done so without shame, but one look at the way my mother stood there told me that now wasn’t the time for it, and that important events were about to take place.

So instead I steadied myself , quickly brushed over the Japanese style business suite I only now fully realized I had been dressed into while I was unconscious, whipped my hand over my face just in case some remnants of my long sleep remained, quickly checked my hair in my reflection on the window, and then made the gesture for the door to open, little more than a flick of the finger with intent really.

The moment the door slit above the limousine I was hit by a harsh gust of cold air, only natural since the rooftop of the Fuyu Headquarter building was quite high up in the sky really, and steadying myself against the side of the door I pulled myself out of the car. Surprisingly the harsh wind didn’t seem to bother my mother or her hair much while mine where blowing around out of control, but then my mother always loved to have an air of authority and elegance around her when on official duty, so she most likely had fixed her hair and clothes in place somehow to prepare for it.

Since my mother was still slightly bowed I quickly bowed to her in kind as well, responding with a firm “It’s been a while Oka-san”, and with that we both rose to our full height again, my mother severely smaller than myself at no more than 1,60 meters in height. Since talking was quite hard on the rooftop and spying eyes could be everywhere my mother then instantly turned around and moved towards the rooftop access to the building, a little hut designed in the style of an old Japanese shrine. Yuki quickly came after us while the virtual Raccoon simply had vanished into thin air, and together we quickly entered the elevator that would bring us down into the more comfortable areas of the building.

The moment the elevator doors closed behind us, finally protecting us from potential spying eyes at least for a moment, I moved closer to my mother and gave her a tight hug, which she quickly returned before pulling out of it again, both of us whipping away a little tear from our eyes as we did so. “I still can’t believe it, Otou-san is dead? What happened? How are you coping? Why did no one tell me?”

Before I could rumble on my mother raised a hand in a stopping gesture “I’m sorry Ya-chan, but we couldn’t contact you about it, things are different here now, you have to understand that. Things have been set in motion, things that have been planned for a very long time in fact, and we simply couldn’t risk contacting you, you were with the ISS after all, and some even questioned your loyalty…”

Ignoring the fact that Yuki could barely contain her laughter at my mother calling me “Ya-chan”, I looked at my mother in shock and slight anger, and responded with the same tone in my voice “What do you mean? Loyalty? Were in the ISS? I still AM in the ISS in some way Ka-chan, I’m a bloody General of Yu Jing, heck Field Marshal even as you well know, you even sent me a congratulations card not too long ago if you remember…”

At my mentioning of Yu Jing, something like anger embedded itself on my mother’s face, and with a harsh tone she waved her hand aside in a sweeping gesture “Not anymore son, you are no General of Yu Jing anymore, not even a Citizen by now, your disappearance in combination with your fathers action has led to you becoming branded as a traitor by those in power who had just waited for this opportunity. As you well know they had been suspicious of you ever since you rose in power, and this was just the opportunity they needed. The ISS was already charging your house as you saw the news about your father I’ve been told, if we hadn’t extracted you like we did, you’d now be serving your so beloved ISS as one of their Kuang Shi at best, a fate which might still lie in store for all of us if things don’t work out…”

The realization of what my mother had just said hit me like a truck, I had already expected part of it really, but I didn’t have time to understand the full meaning of my father’s actions and my own disappearance for my life and that of my family and friends. “A traitor….I can’t….I need to…the Emperor! I’m sure I can explain things if given the chance…oh screw it, they never will give me a chance to….I’m doomed….we’re all doo..”

Another harsh gesture from my mother cut me short, quickly followed by her grabbing my shoulder and slightly shaking me before looking me straight in the eyes. “It matters not, we prepared ourselves for the consequences when your father decided to act like he did, and you would have been branded a traitor sooner rather than later anyways, like I said, things have been set in motion…things bigger than you or your father, bigger than our family.”

Shaking lose from my mother I rose my hands into the air in frustration, turned away and walked for two steps before realizing that I was still in the elevator, and then turned back around while throwing my hands down in anger again “What are you talking about Ka-chan? What the hell is going on?”

With a slight “Ding” the elevator stopped and its doors opened, and my question was suddenly answered by someone else outside of the elevator “You’re about to find out former Field Marshal Fuyu…we’ve been waiting for you…”

As I turned around to face the person interrupting my conversation I was surprised to find a short old man with wild grey hair and chin beard, upholding himself with a wooden walking stick dressed in a japanese style business suite not unlike myself standing right in front of me, flanked by what seemed to be two soldiers dressed in some sort of uniform in red and greys which I couldn’t assign to any unit or even army I knew of.

Come with us please, what you are about to hear is important, and we want you to listen closely….”

The man walked away from me with the confidence of someone fully in charge, and towards a traditional Japanese looking door which, after a scan of the man, quickly slid wide open, revealing a long table with several people already sitting next to it, staring at me intently the moment I came within view of it.

Surprised and intrigued by the man’s behavior in my own families building, I followed him into the room, quickly taking in the people already waiting there. It was quite an intriguing crowd, some of the people seemed to come from a military background, while others seemed to be scientists, Kuge Delegates, and some even looked like ordinary citizens from the street, heck I could swear I even spotted a Yakuza or two among them.

They all had one thing in common though, and that was the fact that they stared at me in silence, awaiting my next move.

Please take a seat….”

Everyone was staring at me in anticipation, and as I quickly glanced over to my mother who just gave me a confirming nod, I sighed, and then reluctantly took a seat. “This better be good….I’ve had a rough day…”

And I’m afraid it’s going to get even rougher once you hear what we have to say…”

And with that the doors behind me closed, and my day indeed did become even rougher….

What followed was a several hours long explanation of the events which had recently been set into motion, as well as heavy emphasis on the reasons behind it.

I was shown recordings of Yu Jing Military sending Japanese Troops to their death in wasteful and meaningless ways, mere cannon fodder for the grinder in some cases. I saw recordings of court cases getting ruled in favor of Yu Jing citizens and against Japanese citizens on a regular basis, even though the culprit was more than obvious and evidence clearly showed the Japanese citizen to be innocent. I saw Japanese citizens getting spit at in the street by Yu Jing nobles, carelessly driven over by government official’s limousines during a demonstration, and even worse.

At one point I was even shown a recording of a hunting party made up of flashy dressed Yu Jing officers chasing some poor Japanese girl through the dark streets of her little town with mechanical dogs and hunting rifles like it was some kind of sport.

Propaganda to make me loath the Yu Jing, the sort one would see in the Japanese Areas of Yu Jing every now and then when the ISS wasn’t looking too closely or the Tatenokai was active in the area on that day.

I even saw the incident with Minister Fu Meng Huo which caused my father’s death, but this time depicting the Japanese units infiltrating a complex and blowing it up, as well as my own father chasing and eventually executing Minister Fu Meng Huo for his crimes. He was depicted like a hero of old, bringing retribution to an enemy of Japan, and right afterwards more videos like it where shown, operations by the Tatenokai and Kempei to save Japanese from Yu Jing oppression in all sorts of ways.

To be honest it was enough to make any proud Japanese citizen enraged with Yu Jing and swelled with pride for his own people, but I had seen most of these before, had known about these things for quite a while. It was things like these that made me want to rise in the ranks in the military, to prevent Japanese troops from getting thrown in the grinder for no reason. To maybe one day get enough influence to change things. Though obviously that was all for naught now….

After that one of the Kuge delegates started a presentation, explaining that the Tatenokai as well as the Kuge themselves have had enough of these horrible events, and have secretly plotted to undermine Yu Jing rule in Japan for quite a while now. This of course was nothing new either, everyone in Yu Jing knew that the Japanese weren’t too happy with their current situation and that there were some more violent elements among them actively plotting Yu Jing’s demise, but what was a surprise was the sheere scale of it all that presented itself to me.

From what I could see this was a very large scale operation, spanning several planets, and in some shape or form, almost all of japanese’s society was somehow involved in it, most of all the Kuge families and corporations, my own family among them. Since the Fuyu are a Samurai Clan of old, we have been part of the Kuge pretty much since their founding, though that hardly had much impact on my own life besides my early childhoods education period. In fact by the time I had hit puberty and my “wild phase” I thought I had shaken off this side of me completely, but with my recent rise to power, I had grown more and more connected with those parts of my upbringing again, and apparently it had caught up to me in full swing now….

It became obvious that what had occurred in the days before my disappearance was more than just a period of heightened Tatenokai activity like many Yu Jing intelligence officers had assumed, this was MUCH bigger than that, and it was all confirmed as the presentation came to its end and the old man suddenly stood up again and turned to me, addressing me as much as the crown with a very direct and demanding tone.

Yasashii Fuyu, you saw what we wanted you to see. There has been doubt within our Ranks about your loyalty, and some of us even went as far as to attempt assassination to ensure our cause wasn’t compromised once everything starts for real. But the actions of your family and not the least your own father have convinced us that you surely must be able to see what is the right course of action for yourself, your family, as well as for Japan as a whole….you have seen the atrocities that being part of Yu Jing has brought upon our people, you have seen that this cannot continue, you have seen what we are willing to do to prevent that, what we are about to do …..There is only one thing leftto decide….will you be fighting at our side? Are you willing to serve with us and the true Emperor for the freedom of our own people from the Yu Jing oppression? Are you willing to rise with us from the shadows to lead Japan and its citizens into a brighter future?

As the man mentioned “to rise” my mother suddenly appeared next to him, and then bent down on both knees, holding out a Daisho on a cushion towards me with anticipation in her eyes. I would have recognized that Daisho from a pile of a thousand blades within a heartbeat. It was my father’s Daisho, the pair of blades I had seen at his side ever since I had first seen the light of day.

Apparently not only the full assembly of strangers in the room expected me to join them, but even my own mother was on their side. I was completely out of my depth, surrounded by people who apparently had planned the downfall of the system I had been serving until only a few days ago from my perspective, but as this thought crossed my mind it instantly dawned on my….had been serving….even unconsciously I no longer considered myself a servant of Yu Jing it seemed…the events unfolding and the dramatic death of my father had apparently triggered a change in my thoughts……it felt right to do this….even though I didn’t fully understand why. And of course to be honest I didn’t have much choice…refusing at this point would mean my death obviously, I knew too much, and the armed guards in the corner of the room had become more and more tense as the presentation progressed, following my every move.

So for now, until I fully understood what was going on, I decided to trust my gut feeling and my families decision, and stretched out my hand to pick up my father’s long sword.

I thought about making some sort of grandiose pose or speech or whatnot, most of the room apparently expected me to as well if their anticipating looks were anything to go by, but then I decided against it, and just placed my father’s Daisho at my belt where my own Daisho used to hang for most of my life until now, and just nodded while proclaiming in a commanding tone:


And the room erupted in cheers and people knocking their fists on the table, as well as the guards slightly relaxing. The old man just looked me deep in the eyes and then nodded in approval.

Chapter 3.2: Crossing the red, bright, phantom Gate

Red Bright Phantom Gate.jpg

(In case you were wondering about the odd chapter name…I was listening to this song while writing part of this story, and I liked the line ;-P   Akiko Shikata – Akakushi )

In the days that followed several more assassination attempts had been made on my life, most of which had been stopped before they even really began based on information acquired by Kanren Umibozu and his team, as well as Kabuki Queen and her spy network.

A few of them had been more noteworthy however, on one occasion for example an unknown infiltrator had somehow managed to replace the soap in my bathrooms soap dispenser with highly corrosive acid, a fact which “luckily” my bodyguard/housekeeper Yuki found out before me as she tried to wash some cleaning oil off her hands, only to find her hands missing soon afterwards.

Naturally the amount of complaints and heroic “I saved your arse there didn’t I?” quotes from Yuki following that incident made me almost wish I had washed out my ears before her, but truth be told this one was too close for comfort indeed, and it was never found out who actually had managed to so easily breach my security systems and even remain undetected by Yuki.

On other occasions a bridge had been detonated while my transport was on it, causing several civilian casualties and a brutal headache for me the next morning when I woke up next to Sophotect Akaseni in the Neon-jo’s medical facility, and a group of children walking towards me on the sideways turned out to be a bunch of dressed up crazy koalas, resulting in two dead Bao Troopers as well as a thank you letter of mine towards the “Ten no Bushi” development center that had come up with my enhanced reaction systems.

At first these assassination attempts seemed very odd and a bit “out of nowhere” given that I had always been a big supporter of the Japanese communities within Yu Jing, at least to the small degree I had any influence on these matters at all, and to this day I could proudly claim that I never “wasted” Japanese lives during my operations like so many other Yu Jing officers apparently did when using the JSA Assault units under their command, but these days showed that something bigger was going on in the shadows, something that even assassination attempts on a Yu Jing Field Marshal paled against.

The Spy Information Network was rampant with all sorts of speculations, little tidbits of intel, mention of a black ops mission here, a missing person there, a successful assassination of a Yu Jing official on one side, a suddenly missing Japanese battalion on the other, but nobody managed to get the bigger picture together, or at least not in time before it was too late.

I was about to leave for an emergency staff meeting in the Neon-jo when Yuki suddenly called out for me to “Get your ass in here, you might want to take a look at this”, which I begrudgingly did after realizing that her tone wasn’t so much smug superiority like it usually was, but rather honest concern.

What I saw next would change my life from that moment onwards, as I saw a live broadcast of a group of Japanese men dressed in white funeral garments, next to a flashy dressed woman called Candy-something-something who’s show this apparently was, sitting in a dark traditional Japanese room, their swords next to them as well as a few other Japanese men standing next to each sitting person. The front one of them was holding a piece of paper with Japanese calligraphy on it in his hands, and though it took me a few moments to realize it, it was my father, who uttered the words spoken next.

We, the seven Bushi present here in this room, hereby announce that the assassination of Minister Fu Meng Huo, as well as the explosion destroying most of the Meng Huo Company headquarter, was planned and executed by us.

Minister Fu Meng Huo has continuously caused harm to the Japanese citizens of this nation, his company kidnapping unwilling Japanese inhabitants of Kuraimori and using them for horrible human experiments, and some of his products have been mixed into the water and food system of certain Kuraimori districts without the knowledge of its inhabitants, the side effects of which caused incredible suffering and countless “unexplained” deaths among the affected, all in the name of petty profit.

Attempts to stop this horrible behavior have been blocked by the Yu Jing ministry of commerce and internal affairs, with reasons like “You have no proof”, “It’s for the greater good” or “This has been sanctioned by all required instances” being given, but we ask you, how can the unnecessary suffering of innocent children and citizens be for the greater good? How can an act like this ever be sanctioned by any reasonable institution? What more proof does one need then his own dead child in his own shaking hands?

We say there is no excuse for such behavior, and thus we took action where our country and our fake “Emperor” failed to, we did what was necessary for our people and our future, and now we are here to take responsibility, so that no one else shall suffer for our actions like they did for other’s inaction.

May our sacrifice serve as a warning to those in power who neglect their duty, the Japanese have suffered more than enough; it’s time for change….”

And with this, my father and the other 6 men sitting in the room unsheathed their swords, and committed Seppuku together, the standing men next to them beheading them as they did, cutting right where their Cubes were placed to ensure true death, as was tradition since the advent of Cubes in the Bushi culture when reanimation was not acceptable.

The broadcast then continued with a documentary descriptions of the events that had lead up to this event, as well as some background on each of the men present in the room by the moderator Candy-something-something, but at that point I was barely able to notice my surroundings anymore, blood rushing through my head like a roaring tide, panic and confusion and sadness mixing together into a hurricane of emotions that forced me to drop on the couch, all thoughts of the upcoming meeting forgotten.

I had to find out what the hell was going on and why nobody had told me about this before it happened, I had to ensure that this wouldn’t fall back on me or the rest of my family, ruining my career or my family’s company/family honour…..I had to visit my parents’ home in Japan…talk to my mother to find out why dad had done this…..had to leave before the ISS would come and question me about this….I had to…..and the world went dark.



The next thing I noticed was the scent of some sort of fruit as well as freshly washed clothes, followed by the feeling of laying on something soft which felt oddly familiar and alien at the same time.

Not sure where I was I decided against opening my eyes or making any movement other than what I might have made unconsciously while waking up, and instead tried to listen as closely as possible to my surroundings while trying to feel what was going on with my body as well.

A humming noise as well as occasional shaking made it obvious that I was in some sort of moving vehicle, and if the way the shaking moved me was any indication, I was lying sideways. I tried to figure out whether or not I was restrained, mostly because I expected to be in the custody of the local ISS authorities by now and on my way to interrogation or execution, depending on whomever was doing the investigation and how little trust I had managed to gain in the last few months, but without making any obvious movement it was almost impossible to determine whether I was wearing any sort of cuffs or other restraint devices.

Suddenly some sort of movement seemed to happen right next to me, with my head shifting slightly forward causing some unpleasant feelings of vertigo, and as I strained my ears even more in hopes of hearing anything more useful in my surrounding about what was going on, a sudden almost unbearable loud seeming “I know you are awake O-san…would you mind sitting up? This is embarrassing…” exploded right next to my ear.

Shocked by the horribly loud seeming yet somehow familiar voice right next to my ear, I instantly rose upwards, ending up in a sitting position as I opened my eyes, realizing that I had been laying on a bench in some sort of limousine or transporter all this time.

As I inspected my surroundings a bit better I realized that I had not only been laying on the bench of the vehicle I was in, but apparently my head had been resting on the lap of Yuki, and I could have sworn that her head turned a bit red as I quickly looked away from her lap after realizing that, though I’m pretty sure that must have been my imagination, as I doubt she even COULD get red on her face…

I…I wasn’t…you…you kept wobbling off the bench, so I had to steady your head obviously! Wouldn’t want you to die from falling off the bench after this much effort was made to save you, you know right? It was totally gross by the way, I’ll totally need to clean my clothes after this…”came the annoyed and hasty reply of Yuki right afterwards, but I didn’t much care for it, as I was still too confused and busy taking in what the hell was going on around me.

It’s alright Yuki, I’m sorry for the discomfort I caused you….now if you wouldn’t mind…could you tell me what exactly is going on?” I was apparently alone in the vehicle with Yuki, the driver compartment sealed off from the area I was sitting in with Yuki.

Before Yuki could answer a Racoon “Geist” suddenly materialized on the bench in front of me, only visible to me and those granted access to my Patina obviously, which did include Yuki by the way. The little creature was the all too familiar representation of “Kabuki Queen” I had grown to trust and enjoy throughout those last months and even years.

This time the Raccoon “Geist” (It’s actually more like a Ghost Avatar, but let’s not get into too much details here) was wearing a big straw hat and a giant sake gourd in his hand, and looked around all sneakily and conspiring before whispering “Don’t worry Oyabun, I’ve got you covered…” As it said so it wobbled forwards on the ground and flipped its hat from his head into his hand and presented it in front of me like the Yakuza tended to do in all those old holo flicks while bending down.

I couldn’t resist a smirk, and as the Raccoon saw that it burst out into a chuckle as well and hopped back on the couch, taking a sip from its gourd and tossing the straw hat to the side of the limousine where it vanished into thin air. “It’s been a close call this time! You might think you have fallen unconscious due to the stress of the whole situation, but that was actually the ISS flooding your room with gas to capture you more easily, they already had a team in front of your door waiting to breach and take out Yuki once the gas took care of you. But luckily some of our friends got wind of this setup and I managed to prepare a little “surprise” for the team. Don’t worry, nobody you know got hurt…who knows, they might still be useful in the future….anyways…”

The Racoon made a little pause there to allow me to take in this information, and as a little anger crawled onto my facial expression due to the apparent ambush being laid on me without my knowledge, it continued “I managed to send a warning to Yuki just in time and she managed to escape with you through the window and eventually to one of the automated garbage disposal trucks which I managed to “confiscate”, which brought you to safety. From there it was just a little fake identity, false flight records, a bit of ka-ching here, a bit of ninja-ing there, and a good contact on one of the circulars, and voila…you’re here…”

At the mention of the Circular my jaw almost dropped to the floor. “Wait…what? How long have I been out?!”

The Raccoon just nodded and moved its hand towards the window of the vehicle, at which point it began to slide down, blowing the scent of my surroundings inside with a strong gust of wind, which also revealed that I was in a flying vehicle in the air. “Well….for quite a while to be honest, we kept you sleeping to avoid complications during the transit…you are actually on…”

Earth…..” I cut her short as I took a deep breath and recognized the unmistakably familiar scent of old Earth. Those of you who had the privilege to travel to several planets obviously know of this, but every planet has its own kind of “scent” to it, no matter where on the planet you are, and even though I hadn’t been on Earth for quite a while, the scent still felt strangely nostalgic to me.

The Raccoon continued as I noticed the vehicle quickly started a descending flight pattern “Indeed, to be more precise, Japan. As you might imagine an endeavor like this isn’t done easily, and we had a little help…”

As the vehicle descended further and further, a rooftop suddenly appeared below it as the clouds parted, and on top of it a giant holo logo manifested itself which was all too familiar to me. Mount Fuyi on a snowy day with a blooming cherry tree in front of it…..the Logo of the Fuyu Clan….the Logo I had been bearing ever since I was born.

As the vehicle landed and made a small rotation at the end, I saw a stunning yet very traditional looking female standing there in a modern Kimono, her hands folded before her as she slightly bowed and then nodded at me. “Hello Son….”


Chapter 3.1: When the cicada cry

It was a beautiful afternoon in Shentang, the sun was high in the sky, the cicada’s cry could be heard regularly in the background, and there were even cherry blossoms falling down in my field of view every now and then.

I felt instantly reminded of my youth  as I could have easily been sitting right in my own backyard back then, if it wasn’t for the entourage of sternly staring Japanese sitting right in front of me, watching my every move with distrust and even hatred in some of their eyes. One wrong move from my side would jump them right into action, and I was sure the blades lying on the floor at their side weren’t just for show, just like mine and my associates next to me weren’t.

But maybe I should spend a little bit more time to explain how I had even gotten here in the first place, so the events that will unfold in the next few minutes won’t be too much out of context…..

After the events of the Wotan Blockade where I was tasked with coordinating the few Yu Jing Elements of the Blockade alongside the mysterios Voice of the Dragon who only went by his codename “Masterofmelee”, and the apparently unavoidable breach through the blockade of the Combined Army Infiltrators, all signs indicated a soon to follow invasion of Huangdi (Svalarheima).

Even though my performance during the Wotan Blockade was deemed admirable by the Celestial Emperor and the resulting Imperial Service Investigation Task Force (searching for someone to put the blame on after what some deemed as “another failure”) it was decided that it’d be best for me to vanish from public attention for a while once again, and since it had worked so well the first time around after the Flamia Island incident, I was sent back to “The Neon Dragon”, with the official duty to protect the military and economic preparations in the area, and the inofficial agenda of “staying out of trouble for a while”…

As a General it had been somehow silently accepted that I had been sent for training to the Imperial Service Outpost in The Neon Dragon, but now that I had been promoted to “Shogun” Rank (actually Field Marshal, but due to my japanese heritage someone in the administration department, or at least someone with sufficient hacking skills to disguise himself that way, apparently had found it funny to enter the title as “Shogun” into the registries, and it had stuck…) this no longer was acceptable.

One of the main reasons for that was the simple matter of security…a Shogun of Yu Jing was a valuable military target if there ever was one, and even though I already am accompanied by two very capable bodyguards, I used to live in a simple flat apartment before I departed for the Wotan Blockade.

So by the time I had made it back to The Neon Dragon on board of the “Dancing Panda”, this time having to take the longer route of the circulator until it passed the system again, some adaptations had been made, not only to my living quarters, but also to the way The Neon Dragon would function in the near future.

The Neon-jo, a giant asian style castle relentlessly reflecting the countless neon lights from all around it and former headquarter of the local Imperial Service Branch had been hastily repurposed (or better said was mostly still being repurposed when I arrived) into what would become my official headquarter, with me now being tasked with coordinating all Yu Jing Military and Security Forces present in the area. The Imperial Service Units that had been stationed there mostly remained in The Neon-jo or where sent to smaller outpost stations.

The local Military Barracks would now also fall under my juristiction, and with the increase in weapons production and research in The Neon Dragon which was supposed to happen in the following months, further troops where stationed in The Neon Dragon, including my old JSA Regiment which had followed me here from the Wotan Blockade, resulting in a few very fond memories.

Sadly I didn’t have time to make quite as many fond memories as I would have loved to, as my new responsibilities made days feel like hours and months like days as I struggled to wrap my head around all the tasks a Field Marshal of Yu Jing had to deal with even during times of relative peace, at least officially.

And to make things worse, by the time I had finally gotten used to everything, and had actually found some time to spend with friends and things I’d love to pretend where still my hobby even though I barely got around to them anymore, rumours of a Japanese uprising had started to spread, and for some reason some of the higher officials of the party seemed to think of my name when they heard the words “Japanese” and “Problem” in one sentence, resulting in some unexpected and unwanted sudden attention.

I mean I had thought that by now the fact that diplomacy wasn’t exactly my strongest point had gotten through to those in charge of my assignments, which frankly weren’t too many people anymore as a Field Marshal didn’t have to answer to too many people besides the Emperor himself, yet somehow I had still ended up here on Shentang, tasked with talking to the local representatives of the japanese population in order to find out how much was true about the rumours of rebellion. Apparently it was found that someone of japanese descent would cause less stress during the talks as I’d at least know the customs that had to be adhered when talking to traditional japanese representatives, even though there officially of course wasn’t any such thing left in the Yu Jing society….

Apparently someone had even loudly proclaimed to “Let the filthy dog deal with his dog companions, no true inhabitant of Yu Jing should have to bother with these second rate citizens…”, and to my knowledge that person was now serving the rest of his time on a new assignment on Huangdi, as apparently the Emperor wasn’t too pleased with people like that pouring further oil into the fire, especially at times like this.

Nevertheless, here I was, sitting in front of the japanese representatives, all clad in traditional japanese clothing usually shunned at in other regions of the Yu Jing Empire, their traditional swords resting next to them, just far enough away as to not directly provoke, yet close enough to be used when needed. I myself had been granted the right to bring my own associates, and thus I was sitting there in a mixture of or traditional japanese outfit and Yu Jing General’s garb, specifically designed for the occasion so as to represent my heritage, but also make it clear that I spoke for Yu Jing as a whole and was loyal to none other than the Emperor and the State itself.

Beside me sat Pheasant Agent Kuang Fu Bao, who had stayed in his role as my more or less adjutant ever since I had been promoted, as well as Kanren Umibozu, whom I had brought along for his fast experience in undercover and terrorist matters. He clearly wasn’t too compfortable all slicked up and finely dressed as he was right now, but he had adapted like he always did when undercover, and was eyeing each and every movement around us closely.

Of course officially both of them had just been presented as my assistants, so nobody really bothered to interact with them at all, all eyes focused on me instead.

“So….you have come today to talk to us about…what exactly…Shogun…Fuyu…they call you now if I recall right?”

Almost stunned by their sudden directness without any bells and whistles I took a second to answer, but then resolved myself and answered quickly.

“Indeed that they do, and I have been sent here, as I am sure you already were informed, by the Celestial Dragon himself to inquire about a situation that seems to be unfolding as we speak”

Apparently the spokesperson of the japanese delegates enjoyed my original surprise as the faintest hint of a smirk dashed across his face for a second before it was replaced by his usual stern demeanor again. With a short nod he responded “You are talking about the Tatenokai I presume?”

Straight to the point again, I started to actually like this man even though he clearly didn’t seem to like me too much. “Indeed, there have been rumours of the Tatenokai finally having gained enough strength to start openly rebelling against the Party and the Emperor, and we obviously can’t let such terrorism unfold under the Celestial Dragon’s watchful rulership…”

At my mention of his majesties watchful rulership one of the other japanese representatives suddenly started to snort in disgust, obviously considering my words a tasteless joke. He quickly earned a punishing gaze by the spokes person of the group and fell silent again, but it was clear that some of the people present weren’t exactly fond of out Emperor … “We have heard of these rumours as well, but I can assure you that they are nothing but rumours indeed, the Tatenokai have been quite silent in the last few months. Some claim that this is due to the tightened security and regular search parties for Combined Army Infiltrators, apparently quite a few of them have been captured or killed in those raids as well, instead of actual Combined Army Infiltrators….”

The man seemed almost sad as he mentioned that, but I didn’t get a chance to inquire him about that fact, as suddenly a group of Geisha’s walked towards us, each one carrying a covered plate in front of her which hinted at some sort of food beneath it.

“Ah excuse me Shogun Fuyu, I forgot to mention that I organized a few apperitives for our talks, just a sign of good will for our cooperation in this matter in the near future…”

Before my own alarm bells could ring at the odd way the man had pronounced this just now, Kanren Umibozu was already grabbing my arm hastily to warn me that something wasn’t quite right.

The Geishas had placed the tables in front of us and as they quickly stepped back, they uncovered the lid on top of the table, revealing what wasn’t  traditional japanese sweets or other culinary niceties, but rather a set of chopped off heads, each cleanly cut at the neck by what I assumed was some sort of blade, a Katana most likely by the context…

Disgusted and alarmed both me and my two companions rose to our feet, unsheating our blades as we did so, and with a cruel laugh on their lips the japanese men in front of us did exactly the same, while almost spitting at us in rage “These are the heads of the search party that killed Kempeitai Yumiko Harada instead of the Combined Army infiltrators they where actually supposed to search for….she was my wife! And today, you will pay for your crimes against the Japanese people! And it will mark the rise of our people against the Yu Jing oppressors! Cut them down!!!”

At this all members of the japanese delegation dashed towards us, swords ready to strike, and even the Geishas pulled blades from the back of their Kimonos and came rushing towards us.

Luckily my subordinates were quite capable at close combat and I myself had served in a japanese Domaru unit for quite a while as well, which meant that we managed to easily cut down most of the supposed Geishas before the real threat of the men behind them managed to reach us. These men were apparently real trained warriors instead of the more indirect assassins that the Geishas had apparently been, and I didn’t look forward to the melee that would undoubtly unfold within the next second or so.

Luckily I didn’t have to test my somewhat rusty skills against those stern warriors, as at this point the familiar sound of a heavy machine gun started to ring out across the beautiful garden as my Hac Tao Bodyguard Lu Bu revealed himself a few meters to our side and behind me on a section of old fashioned japanese house wall, peppering the onrushing group of men with a hailstorm of bullets.

Their traditional styled clothes were no protection at all against the high tech bullets that came flying at the men, and in a shower of blood and gore most of them hit the ground instantly. The leader of them miraculously survived the first salvo and came rushing further towards me, hatred and surprise as to his failed ambush clearly shown on his grim face “I’ll take you with me Fuyu, for Yumikooooo!!!!”

His angry shout was quickly silenced in his throat by a blade piercing straight through it from the back, skillfully thrust by my other bodyguard Ninja “Kabuki Queen” who’s flickering silhouette could be seen right behind the man for a split second, before vanishing from view once again. I could have sworn that her helmet display had depicted a grinning racoon as she stabbed the man, but maybe my eyes were just playing tricks on me…..

With their leader dead and the return salvo of Hac Tao Lu Bu ripping through the last remaining members of the japanese delegation, the garden suddenly fell deadly quiet, the only sound being occasional blood drops hitting the ground, and the cry of the cicadas in the background…

Just as I was about to say something my wrist armband suddenly played the urgent alarm sound and a holo echo of Celestial Guard “Shen Jing” appeared in front of me “Sir! We have just found the the japanese delegation in a truck not far away from your location, they have all been killed and branded with Traitor marks and a traditonal letter from the Tatenokai next to them! Sir, whomever you are talking to, they are not who you think they are!”…

With a frustrated sigh I shook off the blood from my blade and sheated it….maybe this time they’d believe me that diplomacy just never worked out for me….