The identity of the anonymous e-mail sender is revealed and a few more answers to why Kato is so interested in Anna and Tsuzuki. Plus, Haruka plans to get rid of Kato for good. Violence ahead.
February 18th, 1982. Kato had lived in the village outside of Tokyo for five years now. The people didn’t ask any questions when he first came there. They just welcomed him with open arms. Kato found that quite strange. “/These people are nice,/” he thought. “/Too nice./” Still, it was quiet. That’s all he needed.
Kato had just gotten up for the morning when there was a knock on the door. The man looked up confused. “/Huh?/” Kato thought. “/Who the hell is that?/” He walked over to the door and slid it open. An old priest stood on the porch. He had on his robes and everything. Kato recognized him right away.
“Harada-sama,” he said. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you,” his former boss said, calmly. Kato raised an eyebrow at him.
“Why?” he asked Harada didn’t answer at first.
“May I come in?” he asked. Kato looked stoic. Something told him that question had only one answer to it. The former priest sighed.
“Fine,” he said. “Come in!” Harada smiled at him modestly.
“Thank you, Iwao,” he said. The old priest went inside. Kato looked uncomfortable as he slid the door shut behind them.
Harada sat at the dining table. Kato sat in front of him and sighed.
“What do you want, Harada-sama?” he questioned. The old priest didn’t flinch.
“Come back home, Iwao,” he pleaded.
“No!” Kato said. “I can’t go back!” Both men knew why. Harada looked on with sympathy.
“Iwao,” he said. “You can’t keep blaming yourself for their deaths. It wasn’t your fault!” Kato shook his head.
“I could have saved them!” he said. “I had the power to do it.” Harada looked at him oddly.
“What do you mean?” he asked. Kato became nervous. Should he confess his talent to his former mentor? Might as well…
Kato lowered his head closer to Harada. “Have you ever wondered why all of our sick and dying got better so quickly?” he whispered. The old priest looked at him confused.
“The spirits healed them,” he reasoned. Kato shook his head.
“No,” he insisted. “I healed them.” Harada didn’t believe him at first.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. Kato looked nervous. He would have to show him. The former priest swallowed a bit.
“You remember when you got that burn on your hand five years ago?” he asked in a low voice.
“Yes,” his former mentor answered. Kato froze again.
“Show me your hand,” he whispered. Harada did so slowly. His hand was right in front of his former student. Kato took in a deep breath. He held out his own hand and shut his eyes. The man chanted his breath lightly. Instantly, the burn scar healed away. Harada looked on surprised. He stared at his former student. Kato nodded.
“Yes,” he replied. “I am a healer. Midori and Michiko’s illnesses rejected my powers. As a result, they died and I couldn’t save them. My hope for redemption is to save another… someday…” Harada watched him touched. That was Kato’s logic.
May 2009. Haruka had enough. She saw Kato as a threat to her mission of killing her granddaughter. Time for back-up. The old woman took the Bullet Train out to Kobe. She knew a good friend all the way out in her children’s birthplace. This wouldn’t take long. Haruka knew her old school friend well.
The old woman made it to the port city. She looked around. Ah, just like the old days. Haruka ran away here back in the early fifties after Juriko’s death. She met a local boy there and fell in love. Two years later, they were married. Then, the kids were born. Great memories. Haruka shook herself back to reality. Enough happy memories! She had work to do. If she was correct, her friend would be outside of the city still. Haruka grinned to herself. “/Time for a little reunion!/” she thought. The old woman teleported out of the city.
She came to the quieter part of Kobe. Haruka looked around. Same as ever. Good for her. Made things easier. The old woman continued on her path to the little local grade school.
Narusawa Hitomi lived a quiet life. She taught kindergarten to make ends meet. She lived in the room above the schoolhouse where she worked. At first glance, Hitomi looked like a normal woman. But, she had a dark secret to her. You see, Hitomi was really a kitsune with five tails in a human form. Not only that, she used to be an assassin as well. But, Hitomi is ashamed of her past. So, she is atoning for her crimes, by teaching the children. However, the past couldn’t let her go.
Hitomi was dismissing the children for the day when Haruka came up to the school. When the kitsune saw her, she grew a pale grey. “/Oh no!/” she thought. “/Haruka’s back!/” The old woman made it to the teacher when the last child had gone home for the day. She smiled at her old friend.
“Hello Hitomi,” Haruka greeted her. “It’s been a long time.” Hitomi lowered her head.
“Yes it has…” she mumbled. Haruka looked on at her.
“Aw, what’s wrong?” she asked. “You’re ashamed of me, aren’t you?” Hitomi didn’t answer.
“What are you doing here?” she asked softly. The old woman smiled at her.
“Can we take this inside?” she asked. Hitomi looked away some.
“Sure…” she mumbled. What could she say? Her old friend wouldn’t listen otherwise. Both women went inside. Hitomi led Haruka upstairs to her room. They sat on the bed. Hitomi stared at her for a moment.
“Okay, what do you want now after so long?” she asked. Haruka grinned at her.
“I have a job for you,” she said. Hitomi shook her head.
“No!” she said. “I stopped killing a long time ago! I won’t go back to that life! I won’t!” Haruka looked at her kindly. She gently took her by the hand.
“Oh come on Hitomi,” she pleaded. “We’ve known each other since our school days. You would do me a world of service with this one last deed. Please! I’ll leave you alone for good afterwards. Please, it’s all I ask.” Hitomi looked away nervously. That was the thing about Haruka. She could be so persuasive…
“Okay,” the kitsune sighed. Haruka smiled at her wickedly. She pulled out Kato’s picture. The teacher looked on with her.
“This is the target?” she asked.
“Yes,” the old lady said. Hitomi looked confused.
“Why?” she asked.
“Let’s just say, he’s an old pest that needs to be dealt with soon,” her friend answered.
“How soon?” the kitsune replied.
“Tonight, tops!” her friend answered. Hitomi sighed. What choice did she have? She was indebted to Haruka after all…
The kitsune sighed again. “Fine!” she said. “It will be done!” The old lady grinned at her old friend.
“Very good,” she said. “Your pay will be delivered in a nice huge sum, okay?” Hitomi nodded grimly. She just couldn’t escape if she wanted to. Haruka had her trapped that way.
Meanwhile, Anna got another e-mail. This time from someone called firstname.lastname@example.org. She turned to the boys.
“Hey,” the woman spoke up to Tsuzuki and Hisoka. “I got another message!” The Shinigami looked up and hurried over to the computer. They looked alone with her as she opened the message. The trio read together. This e-mail read:
Your grandmother sees you as a threat. She fears and loathes you. Be on your guard. She will do anything to have you killed. For you have the power to match and overthrow her. That is why she hates you. The only way to defeat her is to survive. Survive by all means necessary.
No signature, of course. Anna turned to the boys.
“What do they mean, I’m stronger than my grandmother?” she asked. “I thought my powers were locked up. How is that possible?” Both boys thought about that for a moment.
“Ask them,” Hisoka suggested. Anna shook her head.
“No good,” she replied. “Tried it with the first message, it bounced right back with an error message.”
“Ah,” the younger Shinigami answered. “So now what?” The other two went silent. The boys had a guess as to who had been sending her the e-mails, but did they have the proof?
In a remote internet café downtown, Kato logged out of Yahoo mail and deleted the new account. Good work, so far. He sat back from the computer. Ah, Japan made technology easier for old-timers like him. The little tech juniors were so helpful too. They just helped the “newbies” without any questions. Good for him. It all fit into his plans.
This whole thing was his great scheme. He made a promise to himself. Wrecked with guilt over Midori and Michiko’s deaths, Kato promised himself to help the next soul he got emotionally attached to in need. At first, it looked like a pipe dream. The former priest gave up hope at one point. Then in March of ’83, Daisuke and Anna came along. Baby Anna reminded him of Midori. So much so that his promise came back to life. From then on, Kato gave it his all to keep Anna and her father safe from Haruka. (There was another reason, but that comes later.)
Even when Daisuke and his daughter left, Kato’s mission still went on. He set father and daughter out in Kimoto Manor with a good sum of money. Daisuke refused at first. Yet like old Haruka, Kato could be quite persuasive. The young man took the house and the money in the end.
The mission didn’t stop there. After Daisuke’s death, Kato planned to push Anna to get revenge against her grandmother. He waited for ten years to do so. Then that April this year, the old man flew out to San Diego to pay Anna a visit. He healed all of the scars in her mind and told her some of the truth. That started her quest.
When she got killed, Kato was there too. He had good friends at the police station for this. The old fox convince them that Anna was his niece and they should give him her backpack. Easy task complete. Now, how to get the body and bring her back from the dead? Both answers came easy. Kato used the police to obtain Anna’s body. Next, he used his former priest status to gain access to the legendary Hell Stone. Once Anna was in the funeral home, everything was almost set. He couldn’t just bring her back from the dead all alone, too easy. Enter Tsuzuki Asato. He fit into the plot perfectly. From there, Kato acted in the shadows by sending Anna anonymous e-mails and giving her money in Niwa Midori’s account. All too perfect, really.
Now, time to call it a night. Kato got out of his seat, packed up his bag, and headed out for the night. Oh yeah, the former priest was careful to cover his tracks. He went to different internet café every night and deleted his fake accounts afterwards. Couldn’t risk getting caught, now could he?
“Good night, sir!” the boy at the desk told him. Kato nodded and waved as he left. He made sure he spoke to no one at all either. Can’t get too friendly in one place at all. Discretion was the key here. He knew that all too well.
Kato decided to take a taxi to the graveyard tonight. He never did like the subways at all. The old man just loved seeing the city at night. So many memories…
Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted. He sensed someone next to him. The man quickly became defensive. The old woman turned her head and saw him. She smiled wickedly.
“Hello Iwao,” she greeted him. Kato didn’t speak. Haruka pressed onwards.
“Not in a talking mood, huh?” she asked. “Alright, I’ll talk then. I know what you’re doing. I don’t like it.” Kato didn’t look up.
“Why Haruka!” he said at last. “I have no idea what you’re getting at!” The old woman gritted her teeth.
“Don’t pull that with me!” she yelled. “You’re ruining my plans!” Kato laughed to himself. Haruka became angrier.
“And what the hell is so damn funny?!?” she barked. Kato stopped laughing and turned to her.
“I know you killed Juriko,” he said. “I have no proof. So, this is the next best thing for a little payback.”
“What?!?” Haruka snapped. Kato grinned still.
“Sorry Haruka, you and Muraki just won’t get your way!” he topped. “Even death won’t stop me from carrying out my promise to my wife and daughter.” Haruka really wanted to scream now. Right then, the taxi pulled up. Kato rose to his feet and turned to the old woman.
“Good night!” he said in a mocking tone. Then, he got into the cab. As it drove away, Haruka grinned to herself.
“/Death, huh?/” she thought. “/I’ll have that arranged real soon!/” She walked away into the night. Kato rode all the way to the cemetery. He thought ahead to if he was caught and killed as well. This morning, he sent a letter and instructions to a dear old friend back in the second old village. He could rely on her any day. She had to pull through on through on this plot. Anna and Tsuzuki needed her to. “/Don’t fail me!/” Kato thought. “/I want to rub it in Haruka’s face through death!/”
Kato made it to the graveyard. He got out and paid the driver. Once the cab drove off, the former priest began his heartbreaking voyage to his wife and daughter’s graves. He brought food and candles with him. Painful memories of being helpless flooded his mind. He couldn’t understand it. He had saved many people from death before. Why couldn’t he save his own family? Was it divine punishment for playing god? Nah, it can’t be! So what was it? Why couldn’t he use his powers when he needed them the most? Why, just why?
Kato made it to the graves. He lit the candles and left the food. The old man sat back some. Thirty-two years. So long already? Kato looked at the headstone. He drew in a deep breath.
“Midori, Michiko!” he said. “I love you and I will atone for not saving you before!”
“That is so sweet to hear!” a familiar woman’s voice cooed. Kato pulled out his knife from his jacket and leapt around ready to attack. To his surprise, Hitomi stood before him in the form of Michiko with a gun pointed at him. The old man looked confused. He hadn’t expected this at all. “Michiko” smirked at him.
“Honey, it’s been so long!” she said in sweet and mocking tone. Then, the sweet-faced assassin pulled the trigger.
Silence. Kato slowly sank backwards to the ground as his eyes slowly drew shut. Hitomi wiped down the gun and disposed of it before she left. She did her job, now she could go back to her quiet life. Kato Iwao lied dead at seventy-five near his family’s graves.