There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 5: Raiders of the Lost Artifact
Volume 4: The Newly-Built Ancient Ruins
On a certain day, when the sakura flowers had been replaced by green leaves and a restless mood seemed to pervade the city due to Golden Week being just around the corner, a top secret discussion was taking place inside a certain office building in Kasumigaseki1.
The huge windows commanded a splendid view of Tokyo’s skyline, and everything in the room, including the black leather sofas and long marble table, was clearly of top quality.
An older man with greying hair and wearing a suit was sitting up straight, facing two unique-looking individuals who seemed slightly out of place in this setting.
One of them was a macho man in a wheelchair. His black hair was cropped short, there was an eyepatch over his right eye, and he was wearing a high quality black suit. This man was none other than the Oyabun of the Stranger mutual benefit society Tsukimori-gumi and boss of the dark secret organization Tsukuyomi, Tsukimori Tsuyoshi.
Behind his wheelchair stood a cute girl with blue eyes and blond hair tied in a ponytail wearing denim shorts and an anime T-shirt. She was looking around the room curiously while fiddling with her cloth-wrapped kodachi2. This was Tsukuyomi’s ninja and representative hinyuu3, Christina Najeen.
“Let me get this straight,” said Oyabun while taking out a packet of Strawberry♡Milk flavored chocolate cigarettes. When he put one into his mouth, Chris immediately lit it up for him with a lighter. He took a deep drag of the sweet smoke and exhaled.
“So, this is basically a plea bargain, right? We will smuggle ourselves into the Principality of Marineland and steal the Artifact in their newly-found ruins. We’ll do it on our own initiative, and the Japanese government is entirely unrelated. When we bring it back, then you’ll give my guys Japanese nationalities. Is this correct?”
“Your words, not ours.”
“You can dispense with the purposely vague word choice. No one’s eavesdropping.”
Oyabun’s annoyed comment evoked a wry smile from the suited man.
This man was an agent from the Japanese government. The other day, the relevant agency had received word from a highly respectable source about the existence of an Artifact found in the Principality of Marineland. This was information about an extremely powerful relic left behind by espers long, long ago. Espers were valuable, but Artifacts were equally so, and the government wished to get its hands on this item no matter what it would take.
However, negotiations with the Principality of Marineland quickly broke down. During the process, Japan learned that non-espers could not even enter the ruins in the first place. There was a mysterious barrier that repelled even drones.
Consequently, the Japanese government — though it wasn’t clear who brought the idea up first — decided to use the only esper whose identity and location they knew, Tsukimori Tsuyoshi.
According to the information gathered from the dramatic Tanioka-gumi mass arrests six months ago, Tsukimori Tsuyoshi possessed the ability to strengthen himself. He had been completely unscathed after jumping out of a plane, his body was tough enough to be impervious to bullets, and he had the strength to swing tanks around. Supposedly, he was part of the reason for the 70/30 Incident, with the aftereffects from then having reduced him to a life in a wheelchair.
This was a highly dangerous man who stood at the top of a gigantic organization composed of Strangers and the remnants of the recently disbanded Tanioka-gumi. In the same vein, he was also a man with plenty of exploitable weaknesses. The problem of Strangers was a prime example. After all, many of them no longer had a place to return to in their home country and therefore could only continue living in Japan, even though the very act of doing so was breaking the law. Their stay could not be approved. The ultimate solution would be to obtain Japanese citizenship, but that, too, could not be approved.
In the first place, it was incredibly difficult for foreigners to gain Japanese citizenship. Let alone applying for naturalization, even gaining a spouse visa through a sham marriage was difficult. Not that this stopped them from trying, with “trying” being the operative term.
In order to gain naturalization in the normal way, there were six conditions.
- To have stayed in Japan for five consecutive years.
- To be at least 20 years old and to possess the legal capacity to represent oneself as determined by the legal system of one’s home country.
- To have good behavior.
- To be able to support one’s own living expenses, either by oneself or with the aid of family.
- To discard one’s original nationality.
- To have no intention of subverting the country of Japan.
These were the six conditions.
Thing was, most Strangers hadn’t been here for three years, let alone five.
Many of them were as yet under 20.
As for their behavior — especially in light of what they’ve had to do to stay alive — could hardly be deemed “good” in the legal sense.
Just like that, a large majority of the Strangers had already failed three of the six conditions by default. They would be immediately turned away at the door with a smile should they even approach an immigration office.
Even if Tsukimori Tsuyoshi himself possessed the military strength to subvert the state, he was the head of an organization that was practically filled with skeletons in the closet. There was no reason to not exploit them when he had such blatant weaknesses.
By dangling the bait of “we’ll be flexible with providing citizenship to the Strangers in your organization” in front of him, the services of the other three espers of undetermined identity — codenamed Ninja, Guitar Fatty, and Telekinetic Bastard — could also be acquired as a super affordable four-for-one deal. Well, Telekinetic Bastard had already left Tsukuyomi, but that information hadn’t reached the Japanese government yet.
“Pretty convenient terms for you, huh? We’re talking about illegally entering a country and stealing a national relic, and yet you’ll be shoving all the dangerous parts to us but claiming all the credit if we succeed. If we fail, I suppose you’ll be turning a blind eye, right? I’ve heard that Japan is bad at negotiations, but now I’m relieved to find out that you guys do know how to use such dirty tactics.”
Oyabun’s sarcastic remarks only managed to evoke a cool response from the suited man as he looked down at the documents in his hands.
“You know, it really depends on who we’re negotiating with. And we had determined this tactic appropriate when dealing with one such as yourself, Tsukimori-san. You know about all the criminal activities associated with your subordinates, I assume? Illegal overstaying, illegal employment, guitar theft, assault… should I identify the names of who performed which crime, in case you aren’t familiar?”
“……No, it’s fine.”
Oyabun made a sour face.
Seeing that, the suited man decided to double down now that he had the upper hand.
“Upon success, we’ll, ah, even consider putting in a word regarding the criminal records. I assume you will be accepting this request, yes?”
In response to Oyabun’s reluctant nod, the suited man smiled, stood up, and held out his hand.
“I’m glad to hear it. Doing business with someone as wonderful as yourself is truly a pleasure, and we hope to continue this rewarding relationship for years to come, Tsukimori-san.”
“Rewarding for you, that is.”
Oyabun’s tone was resentful as he reciprocated the handshake with a weak grip. By now, the suited man was certain of his overwhelming advantage, especially after having obtained Oyabun’s verbal commitment.
“Since you’re heading back, would you want me to arrange you a wheelchair-friendly car?”
“No need. I’ll get back by myself.”
Oyabun took earphones out of his chest pocket and put them on, stood up, plucked his wheelchair up with two fingers and threw it over his shoulder, then tore the door off of its hinges on his way out. Chris, who hadn’t said a single word from start to finish, followed along behind him.
After staring for several dozens of seconds with his jaw on the floor, the suited man finally muttered to himself.
“Weak and sickly my ass. What a monster he is.”
◇ ◇ ◇
As soon as he left the office building, Oyabun slipped into an alleyway and flung the wheelchair away as he collapsed, vomiting up blood. Chris retrieved a bottle of water from the storage compartment of the wheelchair and handed it to him, worriedly stroking his back.
“Geez, you really are pushing yourself too hard. Was there really any need to do that? Using your body strengthening for just that short a time is already unimaginably strenuous, isn’t it?”
“It was necessary. First appearing docile but then finishing off with an impactful show of power was the appropriate strategy to use back there. If we seem far too strong, then they’ll eliminate us for fear of being unable to control us. If we seem far too weak, they wouldn’t even give us the time of day. Balance is important in everything. So then, did you see anything?”
While helping the shivering Oyabun into his chair like supporting a newly born gorilla, Chris recounted the information that she had gleaned.
“I didn’t see anything top secret. Apparently that room isn’t used to hold any super important meetings. However, that man is using his work computer to look at porn during work hours. His preferred genres are —”
“Don’t tell me, don’t tell me. I have no interest in the strike zone of a full-grown man… Wait, no, scratch that. That is still information that I can use. Tell me later so that I can add it as a negotiating chip.”
“Ehhhh, what do you think you’re making a high school girl say out loud? You pervert!”
“You were just about to tell me yourself, weren’t you? That aside, good work today. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to continue relying on you. I’m useless the way I am, so you’ll have to go to Marineland with just you and Miyama alone. Think you can handle it?”
“No problemo! I can go, I can totally go. When should I go? Tomorrow?”
“You have school tomorrow. Go to school. Hmm… Golden Week4 is coming up. Go then.”
Man and girl disappeared into the hustle and bustle of Tokyo while continuing to plan out an ancient ruin heist.
◇ ◇ ◇
At the same time that a weak and sickly macho middle-aged man was destroying a door in an office building in Kasumigaseki, Duchess Kaburagi was in the underground bar Ama-no-Iwato in Kita-Senju, Adachi City giving a briefing on the plan for retrieving the Artifact from the Marineland Ruins. Shouta-kun, Touka-chan, and Kuma-san were all at the table, listening seriously. Ig, who had opened a can of coffee beans, was seriously throwing the beans at Kaburagi-san one by one. Apparently, this monkey just wasn’t going to get used to Kaburagi-san no matter how much time passed.
I was busy spying on the meeting in Kasumigaseki with clairvoyance as I watched over the briefing here and wrestled with Ig for the coffee can.
“—Therefore, it is under a request from Grand Duchess Ermentrude Bates of the Principality of Marineland that we will be heading to Marineland during Golden Week to go retrieve that Artifact. Any questions?”
When Kaburagi-san opened the floor, Kuma-san was the first to raise a question.
“Is there really no way for non-espers to enter those ruins? Even with the help of a PSI drive?”
“I’m afraid not. The barrier surrounding the place is so powerful that even Sago-san’s telekinesis cannot break through.”
“Ah, if it’s impossible for Sago, then it’s just outright impossible. What a pity.”
Kuma-san sighed heavily while backing down, looking really disappointed. Clearly, he also really wanted to go.
Sorry, Kuma-san. We can’t very well let a former detective in; the risk of you discovering that everything is made-up is just too high. And at the end of the day, this is an event meant for high schoolers, and we want to focus on that. Miyama alone is enough to fulfill whatever demand there is for middle-aged guys.
After Kuma-san, it was Shouta-kun’s turn. While still puffing on his banana-flavored chocolate cigarette, he raised an arm lazily.
“If Master is going, do we even need to be there? Not that I don’t want to do this.”
“Sago-san still isn’t fully recovered. He’ll be in charge of looking out for the stone giant mentioned in the legends which would supposedly activate when the ruins sense intruders. Therefore, the task of actually entering the ruins falls to you, Touka-chan, and Ig. I’ll remain aboveground to provide support and back-up where needed.”
“Hold on, is that true? Master, you sure you’re all right? You’re not pushing yourself, are you?”
“……Not a problem.”
And so that was the setting. In actuality, I would be dedicating myself to the hosting of the event using telekinesis, and Kaburagi-san would be helping me with that.
Touka-chan didn’t have any other questions. In contrast to the stormy development on the Tsukuyomi side, the Amaterasu briefing ended just like that, without any noteworthy issues. Then again, we had already settled things with Marineland and given proper notice of what we were doing and when we would be doing it, so there really wasn’t much room for any surprises this early in the game. Shouta-kun and Touka-chan had already moved onto discussing what they should bring, and Kuma-san was already giving them advice, such as reminding them to dress warmly as underground caves could get quite cold.
With this, the introduction of both Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi was over.
Tsukuyomi would be seeking the Artifact so as to obtain peace and a place to belong for their Stranger members.
Amaterasu would be seeking the Artifact so as to secure a dangerous item and to permanently banish the World Shadows threatening the world.
There was but a single Artifact.
Would Tsukuyomi be able to steal it, or would Amaterasu be able to secure it?
Come one, come all, the curtains are rising!
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.
1 Kasumigaseki is a district in Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo, Japan. It is the location of most of Japan’s cabinet ministry offices. The name is often used as a metonym for the Japanese government bureaucracy.
2 A smaller katana. Presumably the one she broke in Vol 3 and has been carrying around since.
4 Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays within seven days. In combination with well-placed weekends, this can become a 5~7-day-long super weekend. In 2019, this coincided with the new emperor’s ascension to the throne, creating a 10-day long holiday.