- January 29th, 2010
"I see. If someone as powerful and involved as Certy is aware of what two of them actually are...it would be hard indeed for things between them to deteriorate into the kind of protracted conflict you're hoping for."
Drop by drop Shingen sucked the cooling tea from the straw inserted into his gas mask through a tiny opening.
It was almost impossible to take him seriously when he looked like what he looked like now. As the teacup went near empty, however, he said to Izaya in a solemn voice:
"Let me give you a suggestion."
"If you wish to start something like a war in Tokyo to awaken Certy's head by stimulating her soul...wouldn't it be more effective than trying to involving her in an 'other people's war' if you just centered the conflict around her body to begin with?"
Shingen's words were nothing but coldness and cruelty, yet they triggered a smile at the corner of Izaya's mouth. "That's the plan." The latter replied in a whisper.
Nobody knew what kind of face Shingen had behind that gas mask upon hearing this. Nothing but blood-chilling silence reigned in the semi-dark room.
Izaya chose to break the silence, not because he was afraid of it.
"But really...this time things are interesting. The leaders of the three parties get along peachily, yet each harbors a secret...spice that up with a little bit of venom...well, I did the spicing, admittedly. All those factors intersecting with each other...those almost ideally timed mutual revelations of secrets...speaking of timing, wouldn't it be just dreadful if they didn't realize what each other really was until they were knee-deep in an all-out war?"
"...You yourself are what's truly dreadful."
Namie muttered, but Izaya pretended not to hear.
Shingen, meanwhile, sorted out Izaya's words in his brain and began to comment in that ever-pretentious tone.
"Ah, I see. A spice of venom accumulates upon itself, misunderstanding breeds misunderstanding...indeed, there are things in this world that can't be dismissed as mere contingencies, such as human nature."
Even if he never intended to be, Shingen was already part of this chain of contingencies*. Whether Shingen was aware of it we do not know. He simply announced in a condescending manner:
"Okay, it's about time I went home...but you, information broker, keep something in mind."
"What is it?"
"Not all chains of contingencies proceed in the direction of the worse."
"But really...you are an incorrigible weasel."
Shingen said flatly as he slipped his feet into his shoes.
"I've been looking up stuff about you these two days...you were behind that gang war here two years ago, right?"
"Which one do you mean?"
"The one where you had two teams of youngsters...Japanese version of Color Gangs, I figure? You were buddy-buddy with both of them and comfortably danced back and forth between the two...keeping your hands clean while reaping every bit of profit selling information to both sides."
Shingen laughed drily in his gas mask as he looked back at Izaya's lighthearted smirk.
"Not just that. You told the young girls who worshipped you to approach the gang boys...my source says the entire thing came to an end because one of those girls was critically injured."
Shingen paused for a moment before making a sarcastic yet educated guess.
"I would say that was your work as well. Did you from the very beginning order that girl to let herself be kidnapped and injured by the opposing gang? Not that I can fathom how any girl would obey an order like that."
Silence took over momentarily.
Izaya deliberately avoided a direct answer. Instead he started talking pointedly about the girls in question, smiling.
"Saki and her friends...are delicate beings. That's what's so lovely about them."
"Your pathetic puppets, you mean. You've been doing stuff like this since high school, right? 'That guy knows nothing about true love,' - is what Shinra has always said about you."
"I don't wanna be lectured by that freak with a fetish for headlessness...but anyway. Saki and other girls have all been victims of violence from their families or lovers. Pretty severe levels of violence at that, too..."
As if reviving the girls' past pains in his head, Izaya continued with a tranced expression on his face mixed with notes of compassion.
"But even so, they cannot hate the ones who abused them. Cannot despise them. These girls are lost like that...making them especially easy to use. They're not really in love with the families or boyfriends concerned...they put their faith in them. All I did was shift their faith to me. If I wanted them to die, they would probably have gone ahead and died...even if they had doubts."
"Wow. You sure make it sound easy-peasy. Now I almost think playing with others' faith is an elementary school level task."
Shingen expressed his shock and appreciation, and was further confirmed of what a complete scoundrel the young man in front of him was.
Just as Shingen wondered how many lives had been ruined under the shadow of that smile, there was a sudden change in Izaya's tone as he said,
"You know what... a leanan sídhe is?"
Shingen's eyes widened at this question.
"No, nothing. A leanan sídhe is a fairy in Irish or Scottish folklore, right? Said to seduce and kill the male she falls in love with."
"Correct. She would seduce a male, and if he accepts, give him talent but eventually take his life. If, on the other hand, he refuses - she would be his slave fairy, until he changes his mind...that's what Saki and the other girls are like."
Shingen felt tempted to agree with Izaya.
True, if one of those girls fell in love with a guy - whether they bestowed talent upon him or not, the chances that he'd end up miserable were fairly high.
"But now Saki is Kida-kun's girl again. That's why Kida-kun is going to have to give up part of his life like the fabled poet...he had to do that before, he will still have to from now on."
As Izaya lamented the fate of this teenager named Kida, Shingen was silent for a while.
The union of his own son and a certain "fabulous creature" came to mind.
He issued a word of rebuttal -
"But...for the poet, is it really a misery to be giving up his life?"
Izaya simply smiled dismissively and gave a small sigh.
"If he's really and truly in love with that fairy...shouldn't it be called happiness?"
"To accept everything she brings, including the impending misery...is that not a form of happiness?"
[ENDNOTE CONTAINS SPOILERS]
*Shingen was the one who cut off Certy's head twenty years ago with Saika. He later sold Saika to Anri's parents, who owned an antique shop.
[/ENDNOTE CONTAINS SPOILERS]