Chapter 8: Task At Hand
Seisho made his way down the street as quickly as he could. He’d slow down now and then to look around but would then keep on running.
He was currently in the eastern part of the city, having gone a several kilometers from his home. Had he realized beforehand he would be going so far, he probably would have taken his mother’s car.
Seisho came to a stop to catch his breath. He looked around as he wiped his forehead.
“Should be the right way,” he muttered.
Seisho has been speaking just to himself, so when he got a response, it surprised him.
“And where exactly are you going?” Someone asked.
Seisho whirled around and was shocked to find Juto standing on the sidewalk near him. While Seisho was still trying to breathe normally, Juto was calm and relaxed.
“Mr. Juto!” Seisho blurted. “What are you doing here?!”
“Trying to figure out what you’re doing,” Juto replied simply.
“No, no, no, no,” Seisho uttered, waving his hands and fidgeting erratically. “You aren’t supposed to be here.”
“And why not?” Juto asked.
“You just aren’t!” Seisho cried. “Please leave!”
Juto just peered at him. He didn’t seem to be upset but he was instead eying Seisho curiously. He wasn’t giving any indication he was going to leave either. Seisho sighed.
“Listen,” he begged, “I can’t tell you what I’m doing here. To be perfectly honest, I’m not even completely sure what I’m doing here just yet. It’s like what I told you; sometimes I get calls to do things because I’m part of the Koujin family.”
“No one called you,” Juto pointed out, sounding confused.
“Not like that,” Seisho sighed. Seisho was shifting his weight from one leg to the other over and over as if standing still was impossible for him. “I’m sorry I can’t explain any more or any better. And I don’t have the time to argue right now.” He lifted his hands up to Juto. “But please, I have to do this and you’re not a part of it.”
“You’re not making any sense,” Juto sighed. “I thought when you said you might have family business from time to time, you meant like actual errands for your family.”
“I’m sorry,” Seisho apologized again. He started to turn to go back the street again. “I really can’t-”
Juto grabbed his arm to stop him. “Kid,” he suggested, “just slow down. What’s going on?”
Seisho looked down the street in the direction he was trying to go. He winced and tried to pull away from Juto but Juto just tightened his grip and held him easily in place.
“Mr. Juto,” Seisho complained.
“You can ‘Mr. Juto’ me all you want,” Juto told him. “What’s the hurry if you don’t even know what you’re doing?”
“I don’t know!” Seisho whined, trying desperately to pull away. “But I have to go!”
Juto furrowed a brow with a dull look in his eye. He gave Seisho’s arm a good tug, pulling him backward. Seisho seemed to stumble a bit but Juto held him upright with ease. He put Seisho in place next to him and faced him seriously.
“Let’s try this again,” Juto muttered. “What are you doing here?”
Seisho winced again. He put both hands on the sides of his head and growled in frustration as he leaned his head back. He clutched his hair and clenched his teeth. He seemed to be trying to hold himself back, but then faced Juto again.
“The Koujin family is charged with keeping balance,” he explained, speaking very quickly. “Since I was born a Koujin, I can feel when I’m needed somewhere. Everyone in my family is like this. That’s why I have to be an energy user and why I have that power I showed you. So I can do my job. I can’t tell you any more because outsiders can’t know about our abilities and this has nothing to do with you so it won’t make sense anyway!”
Juto seemed to have trouble following what Seisho was talking about. Seisho tried to turn down the street again but Juto wouldn’t release him so he didn’t get very far. Seisho growled again and looked at him angrily.
“What?!” he yelled. “What do you want? What am I supposed to tell you so you’ll let me go?”
Juto seemed a bit taken back by Seisho’s reaction. Seisho was usually very submissive and Juto couldn’t remember him even raising his voice.
“Kid, take it easy,” he attempted again.
“I can’t,” Seisho argued. “I have something I have to do and you’re not letting me!”
Juto looked him over, seemingly contemplating what he was going to do. Before he came to his conclusion, someone else walked towards them. Seisho was directly in front of him, and so he came to a stop.
“You’re in my way,” he said gruffly.
Seisho turned and looked at the man. He had short brown hair and brown eyes. He was a few inches taller than Seisho and had a strong build. There were two men behind him that came to a stop as well. One was tall and slender with orange hair and light blue eyes. The other had long, blue hair and green eyes. The man with brown hair was dressed somewhat formally with a dress shirt and black pants. The other two were wearing casual attire with t-shirts and jeans.
Seisho focused on the man now in front of him. He recognized his face. A picture of this man had been sent to Seisho a week before.
Juto glanced at him too, seemingly annoyed. “We were here first,” he pointed out.
“Mr. Moya,” Seisho remembered.
Juto looked to be surprised that they had met someone Seisho apparently knew, but he wasn’t as surprised as Yorik was. He gave Seisho a bewildered stare.
“…And you are?” he asked simply.
“We haven’t met,” Seisho said, turning to face him completely as Juto’s grip on him loosened. “But I believe you are acquainted with a friend of mine by the name of Carston Vicsom.”
For an instant, Yorik’s face flashed with surprise. But then he grunted and looked at Seisho angrily.
“You left Turnston,” Seisho noted. “But seeing as I’m here, you must still be causing trouble.”
The man behind Yorik with blue hair glanced at the other with a questioning look. His confusion seemed to be matched by Juto. The two of them were being left out of the meaning behind the conversation. The other man behind Yorik just stood there calmly with an emotionless expression but kept his eyes on Seisho.
“What is he talking about?” the blue haired man asked.
“None of your concern,” Yorik snapped.
“It might be,” Seisho corrected. “If you forced him to work with you like the others.”
“And that is none of your concern!” Yorik returned harshly.
“The crap you talkin’ about?” Juto interjected.
Seisho and Yorik did not look away from each other. The man with the blue hair glanced at Juto but then back at Yorik again. The other man stayed silent and observant.
Yorik then chuckled and folded his arms.
“You are not a Vicsom,” he observed.
“No,” Seisho acknowledged. “My name is Seisho Koujin. The Koujin family has different responsibilities from the Vicsoms.”
“And they sent you here to interfere with my work,” he said.
Seisho hesitated, peering at him.
“No, not exactly,” he said. “I don’t think I’m actually here for you. You must still be the Vicsoms’ responsibility.” He looked Yorik over again. He added slowly, “I think I’m here because of someone connected to you.”
Yorik snickered. “You make even less sense than they do,” he noted.
“I’ll say,” Juto muttered. “And I don’t even know who you’re talking about.”
Yorik looked at Juto finally. He started to look away again, but then did a double take.
“You,” he gaped. “You’re an Ikasu, aren’t you?”
“That’s right,” Juto answered. “Juto Ikasu.”
Yorik smiled slyly. “Oh, so you’re Juto,” he said. “Well, well. What a pleasure to meet you.”
Seisho realized what was about to happen, and looked at Juto desperately.
“Mr. Juto,” he began, “you don’t-”
Yorik took Seisho by the arm and yanked him towards the man with orange hair.
“Kuji,” he instructed, “please wait here with the boy while I speak with Mr. Ikasu. And do keep an eye out for Lukan. Monroi, come with me.”
The man, Kuji, obediently took Seisho’s arm. Seisho watched as Yorik put a hand on Juto’s shoulder. He started to turn Juto, inviting him down a nearby alleyway.
“This is a quite advantageous meeting,” Yorik commented. “I am working on something grand, you see. A movement that will be sure to interest energy users, especially those like yourself.”
“Mr. Juto!” Seisho attempted again as Yorik lead Juto forward.
Juto glanced back at Seisho but continued on with Yorik down the alleyway. Seisho put a hand on his head and winced helplessly.
The blue haired man looked at Seisho and Kuji for a moment, looking unsure of what to do.
“Monroi,” Yorik called sternly.
Monroi hesitated still. Kuji nodded at him. Monroi sighed and turned and followed after Yorik, leaving Seisho alone with Kuji.
Juto pulled away from Yorik, getting Yorik’s hand off his shoulder. Yorik just smiled at him and held his hand up to his chest.
“My name is Yorik Moya, by the way,” he introduced himself.
“And what business do you have with the kid?” Juto asked him.
“None,” Yorik muttered. “You see, this Vicsom family he spoke of disagreed with the cause I am fighting for. They attempted to get in my way. They created a lot of trouble for those that follow me, and so I decided to move my operation here.”
They reached the end of the alleyway. The area opened up to a larger alley that seemed to be mostly loading bays for the businesses surrounding them. There were isolated there as the only things in the area were dumpsters and crates.
They came to a stop and faced each other. Monroi stood at the end of the alley. He just stood there watching them. Yorik lifted a hand to Juto.
“Your family was one of the reasons I decided to come here,” he explained. “My movement will benefit all energy users, and so where better to go than the home of the Energía Company?”
“And this ‘movement’ is?” Juto asked him.
Yorik held his hands out to his sides. “Centuries ago,” Yorik began, “energy users ruled this world. We rightly stood above those who did not practice energy control. They knelt before us. We were leaders, generals, rulers, kings! It was up to the energy users of that time period to decide how strong to become. What energy to use and how to use it.” He lowered his arms to his sides again and his expression became a bit angry. “And what are we now? Mere entertainers. Athletes. Nothing compared to what we used to be.”
Juto’s eyes narrowed as he seemed just as puzzled as ever. Yorik held a fist up to him.
“Worse still,” he insisted, “we are being restrained by their laws, their rules. We are given limits. We are told by the laws created by non-energy users how strong we can become. How long we can train. They make those decisions for us.” Yorik extended two fingers upward. “Only two members of the current Body are energy users. How can we assume that this government we follow has our best interests in mind?” He lowered his arm again. “My movement will take control back from those who don’t deserve it. Energy users should be making the decisions for energy users. Not let it be put in the hands of normal people.”
Yorik held his hands out again.
“We need to stand together,” he announced. “We can change it so we have no limits. No rules. It is time we take our world back!”
Juto listened to his explanation curiously. Yorik waited for his reaction. Juto eventually folded his arms and cocked his head to the side a little.
“That’s your movement?” he asked. “Well that’s stupid. No wonder those people disagreed with you.”
Yorik seemed a bit taken back. Juto shook his head at him.
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed,” he mentioned, “but energy users today are more than happy with the way things are now. Why should we bother to change anything?”
“Are you telling me you are ‘happy’ with all this?” Yorik demanded. “Abiding by their terms?”
“You seem to like history,” he told him. “So you know the reason energy users aren’t in control today is because non-energy users rose up against them. The only ones who could become energy users were the rich and rulers of the land. They weren’t rulers because they were energy users, they were energy users because they were rulers. The energy users were the ones too restrictive and power hungry back then, so the normal people rebelled. The energy users lost and energy control became banned. It was almost completely wiped out. It’s only been in the last two hundred years or so that it’s became accepted again.”
Juto shrugged. “You think the Body will just allow us to make our own rules?” He continued. Juto waved a hand, motioning around them. “Even here in Vigor City, only about twenty percent of the population is energy users. And that’s on the high end compared to most other places. We’re outnumbered, and so a vote like that will never get passed.”
Yorik sneered. “So you’re afraid,” he said. “The chance of failure keeps you in your place. You won’t try for anything greater.”
“Afraid nothin’,” Juto growled. “I just don’t see what the point would be. What rules are so restrictive that I need them changed?”
“Tell me,” Yorik challenged, “when do you think you’ll hit the power limit? Fifteen years? Twenty or more if you take it slow, maybe? Do you think when you get to that point you’ll just willingly retire like the rest?”
“I don’t see why not,” Juto offered. “If I’m as strong as any other energy user, no need to get any stronger.”
“You disappoint me!” he snapped. “Don’t you have any pride? Any vision? Don’t you know what you could be?”
“I am a master of Skryu,” he pointed out, shrugging. “What more could I want?”
“So you’re content to just stand by as they decide what we can and can’t do!” he accused.
“Yes,” Juto said plainly. “Yes I am.”
Yorik’s expression seemed to be a mix of disappointment and anger. The two men looked at each other firmly; neither looking as if they would back down from their positions.
While the two of them were having their discussion, Seisho was left alone with Kuji back on the street. They had only stood in silence until Yorik and Juto reached the end of the alleyway.
Kuji looked down at Seisho. “You shouldn’t have confronted him directly,” he scolded.
Seisho looked up at him, a little surprised. “I didn’t mean to,” he assured him.
“My name is Kuji,” he told him, carefully releasing him. “I had the unfortunate honor of being one of Mr. Moya’s first acquisitions.”
“You’ve been with him since Turnston?” Seisho asked him.
Kuji nodded. “I met your friend Mr. Vicsom,” he said. “He helped many of the others to leave Mr. Moya’s control.”
“Why are you still here?” he inquired.
Kuji looked down the alley towards Yorik calmly.
“That is… personal,” he admitted. “But I do not agree with what he wants to do, nor do I think he can even succeed.” He looked back at Seisho. “Mr. Moya will eventually fall. When that happens, I want to be there to witness it. I will stay by his side until then.”
Seisho frowned at him worriedly. Kuji nodded at him.
“But I am not his puppet,” he went on. “If you, like Mr. Vicsom, will stand against him, I will assist you with whatever you need.”
Seisho looked down the alley briefly. “How many followers does he have?” he inquired.
“There is only one man remaining from the time in Turnston,” Kuji noted, “apart from my wife and I. Two more were found on our way here, and since we have arrived in Vigor City, Mr. Moya has brought in four more.”
“So nine total,” Seisho observed.
“Yes,” Kuji acknowledged. “Of these, only two follow him willingly. The others should be able to be persuaded to leave. They will need your help and protection from Mr. Moya. If his efforts fall apart again, with luck he will not try to start once again.”
Kuji waved a hand at him, starting at Seisho’s head and moving down to his feet.
“You are a beginner,” he noticed. “In Mr. Moya’s group, there are only two that have reached the master status, myself included. Even so, the others are much more experienced and have more energy. Avoiding fights should be a priority.”
“Always is,” Seisho agreed. “I will help in other ways.”
Kuji glanced down the alley again. “I have heard of your Mr. Ikasu,” he said. “It would not be good for him to align with Mr. Moya. Mr. Ikasu will now be in his sights. You must do whatever it takes to help him stay out of his grasp."
“I will,” Seisho promised nodding. He smiled. “Mr. Juto won’t cooperate with him easily, I’m sure.” He started to turn to go down the alleyway. “I’ll see if I can-”
Before Seisho was able to finish, he felt a strong force ram into him. It knocked him off his feet and pushed him into a nearby building. He cringed on impact. When he to his senses again, he realized he had been grabbed by a tall, muscular man with dark brown hair and black eyes. He had Seisho by his jacket’s collar and was glaring down at him angrily.
“Lukan,” Kuji observed, turning slightly to look back at them. His voice had peaked slightly in his surprise, but he still more or less maintained his emotionless exterior.
Lukan chuckled darkly, glancing back at Kuji.
“You were sloppy if you didn’t know I was so close,” he said. “You will not turn on Master Yorik.”
Lukan lifted Seisho up off the ground and backed away from the building. He then rammed him back into it, causing Seisho to let out a faint cry as he hit.
“And you will not help them,” Lukan told Seisho firmly.
This had happened in the time Yorik and Juto had had their conversation. They had been standing there in silence for a while before Juto laughed.
“You finished sizing me up?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “Or do you actually have the guts to try and face me?”
“Pardon?” Yorik asked innocently.
“I’m not stupid,” Juto said. “You’ve been trying to gauge me since we walked back here. I ain’t agreeing with you, and you ain’t happy. The kid said something about you forcing people to help you. I think I’m safe to say that your movement wouldn’t have anyone standing behind it if you didn’t bully them into it.”
Yorik smiled slyly. “If that’s what it takes to change the world,” he said. “Whatever is necessary. I can’t do this alone so I take ‘no’ as an answer. Everyone has something, don’t they? They all have some sort of weakness. Whether it be a dark secret, some sort of debt, their reputation, maybe even a person. Something that can be used to… motivate them.”
“I’m not that easy,” Juto defended. He widened his stance a little. “And I am not afraid of you.”
Yorik let out a laugh and put a hand on his chin, looking mockingly thoughtful.
“Most weren’t,” he admitted. “But that did not last long.” He widened his stance as well and lifted his arms. “Let us at least make sure you are going to be worth my time.”