Warring States: American in Ruin | Teen Ink

Warring States: American in Ruin

June 16, 2016
By kuma429, Frisco, Texas
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kuma429, Frisco, Texas
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Author's note:

This is the second edition of Warring States: America in Ruin.  The first version had parts that were vague, so I clarified certain aspects of the story and expanded certain ideas.  


This was a submission for a school contest, although not my first idea for submission.  After scrapping a story about an assassin as well as one about high schoolers cooking, I faced a dead end.


In my English class, we began to read Beowulf, and when I was reading, I found several graphic passages concerning the fights Beowulf partook.  Seeing that such graphic material was read in school, I decided that an action-oriented story would fit my writing style best.  


This is the culmination of that contest, which I happened to win.  I strive to mimic the style of anime and manga, as well as realistic accuracy.  There are definitions for certain Japanese vocabulary words that readers might be unfamiliar with.  


This story is one part of a greater epic.  More material will be coming soon.  Stay on the lookout for the second book!


Enjoy the second edition of Warring States: America in Ruin




The Author

As the 50th United States President was sworn into office in the year 2065, foreign investors from East Asia called for the immediate payment of all loans taken out by the United States Government.  The United States Government scrambled to find cash. In a controversial ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Federal Government filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  Congress failed to agree on a repayment plan, and soon the foreign investors brought in their armies to collect repayments.  The United States Federal Government dissolved into chaos, with local authorities struggling to protect their homes from domestic unrest and foreign invaders.  Soon, foreign investors from around the world sent armies to collect past dues.  Worldwide, democratic governments gave way to chaos, leading to either the rise of warlords or dictatorships.  Monarchies resumed full control of their governments as parliaments fell apart.  Dictators strengthen their control and gained even greater support from the people.  The many interest groups worldwide took to arms and fought against the governments and other interest groups in a struggle for power.

The author's comments:

Kanji: Chinese characters adapted for the Japanese language.

There was a soft ding as the seatbelt sign lit up alongside the ever-present “No Smoking” sign.  The captain cleared his throat over the intercom.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is currently 6:30 pm at Los Angeles International Airport,” the captain spoke over the intercom.  “It is currently cloudy with the temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Please fasten your seatbelts as we begin our descent.  Flight attendants prepare for cross check.” 
Tojo Sugarawa slowly opened his eyes, and sighed heavily.  Being indifferent to travel, he would usually rest on the plane before arriving at his destination.  It was ten hours from Narita to Los Angeles, and Tojo planned to sleep for seven to eight hours.  He only slept for 3 hours, none of them continuous. 
Usually, he flew first class, as all travel costs were paid for by the contractors.  Tojo would get a ticket in the mail and all information regarding food and lodging.  However, these contractors must have been short on cash; he was sitting in the back of the plane in a coach seat, with loud children surrounding him.  Tojo wondered how any child had been able to survive the trans-pacific journey without a nap or
He was supposed to meet his contractors by 7:30 pm, assuming that his flight was on time, but when everyone had cleared the plane, it was 6:50 pm.  He grudgingly took his carry-on baggage out of the overhead compartment and exited the plane.  Relieved to leave the plane, Tojo suddenly remembered that he had checked bags to pick up.  He groaned at the fact that the baggage claim was seven gates down.  He quickly walked towards the baggage claim, which was busy, but clearing up.  Frustrated, he scoured for his bag, but was unable to find it.  He looked to his left and saw a middle-aged man with a golf bag, his bag. Tojo hurried over and tapped the man on the shoulder.
“Excuse me, sir,” he said in English, “I believe that you have mistakenly taken my bag.”
“The hell you want?” the man turned around angrily.  “This is my bag.  I’m a big deal in the golf world.  Don’t think you can steal my stuff.  I know a saboteur when I see one”
“I don’t believe you can read or write Japanese, sir.”  Tojo politely stated.  “Turn the tag around and you will find my name written on it.”
The pro golfer turned the tag around and stared at Tojo’s name written in kanji  and English.  He immediately turned a bright red.
“I am so sorry for taking your bag, sir.”  The man handed the golf bag to Tojo.  He smiled, and walked off, muttering curses under his breath as he struggled to find his own bag. 
Relieved over the resolution of this conflict, Tojo exited the baggage claim and felt the dry heat of the Los Angeles night.  Gunfire erupted in the distance.  Armed policemen stood at ready for anyone who wished harm towards the airport.  Tojo observed several Armored Warrior mechas, or AW’s, stationed around the airport.  Damn, Tojo thought to himself, they are taking this war seriously.
Early on in the conflict, the local governments mobilized to protect public transportation and transportation centers.  It was soon declared that all transportation centers were neutral zones: airports, train stations, ports, subway stations.  Although observed by most warlords, several factions who held less power occasionally attacked these neutral zones to stir up trouble. 
Tojo waded through the dreary crown, until he saw a man in a black suit holding up a sign with his name in English and Japanese.  Tojo navigated through the sea of people until he approached the man with the sign.  He was standing next to a black car, which appeared to be brand new.
“Mr. Sugarawa, I presume,” the man with the sign asked.  He extended his hand.  “May I take your bags?”
“I presume you are my benefactors,” Tojo smiled slightly.  “Please be careful with the golf bags.  I don’t want anything to be bent or scratched, repairs are expensive.”
“Sure thing,” the man said.   “By the way, my name is Charlie.  I will be your guide during your stay.” Charlie motioned towards the car. “That’s Richard.  He will be driving you around town.” 
Charlie put Tojo’s bags in the trunk, and opened the door.  Richard was sitting in the driver’s seat, wearing a Kevlar vest over his LAPD uniform.  Tojo and Charlie entered the car, and they soon drove off towards downtown Los Angeles.  Tojo closed his eyes and leaned against the window. 
“We’re really excited to have you come over,” Charlie said.  “We heard that you were the best.  We’ll be able to solve our problems with the other warlords without a fight.” 
Tojo opened his eyes, slightly annoyed that he had been woken up for insignificant conversation. 
“Oh, is that so?”  Tojo said sleepily.  He began to doze off as the car hit traffic.  He needed some sleep before he got into the meeting.  He checked his watch.  It was 7:30 pm.  He took out an onigiri  and ate it.  He dozed off as the car stood idle in traffic.  He needed some energy for the meeting with his benefactor.

So began the “Warring States” period of western history, aptly named by Chinese invaders as a comparison to their own historical “Warring States” period.  Major cities in the United States and Europe became warzones as people fought for the resources available.  Wealthy investors, politicians, military leaders, crime bosses: these people became the warlords who fought for control of urban areas.  The pre-existing governments, once reigning sovereign over their populace, were now on equal footing with criminals and citizens alike.

The author's comments:

Onigiri: Literally, rice ball.  A Japanese snack consisting of rice shaped into triangular or cylindrical shapes, and wrapped in seaweed.

Ochoko: A small, cylindrical cup used for drinking sake, a fermented rice wine.

Odaichi: A Japanese long sword, originally used by Calvary due to its long length, but is now relegated to ceremonial use.  They typically have 4 or 5-foot-long blades.

It was 8:15 when the car rolled into the police station.  Tojo opened his eyes as Charlie opened the car door.  The lights inside the parking garage were bright. 
“Mr. Sugarawa, we have arrived at LAPD Headquarters.”  Charlie was holding Tojo’s bags.
“Thanks.  I’ll take the golf bag,” Tojo replied, as he stumbled out of the car.  He swiftly took the bag from Charlie and landed on his feet.  Charlie and Richard clapped as Tojo stood up. 
“Wow.  So that is what a MERG agent can do,” Charlie said in awe.
“I just tripped, that’s all,” Tojo replied.  “Let’s get this meeting started so that I can get something to eat.”
Charlie and Tojo entered the building as Richard went to drop off the car.  As they traveled down the hallways and corridors of LAPD headquarters, Tojo observed how heavily armed everyone in the building was.  This was some serious business, he thought to himself. 
Charlie and Tojo entered an elevator and ascended to the 8th floor.  They exited, and entered a small conference room.  A woman was talking to another officer as both of them entered.  She had brown hair tied in a ponytail, and had just taken off a Kevlar vest.  She turned around surprised.  She hurriedly approached Tojo. 
“You must be Mr. Tojo Sugarawa,” the woman said.  “I am Rachel Lewis, LAPD Commissioner.  It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”  She smiled and shook Tojo’s hand. 
“You must be Mr. Conrad Lewis’ wife, I presume,” Tojo said.  “I was contracted by Conrad, not his wife.  May I speak to him now?”
The room went silent as Tojo’s words left his mouth. 
“Please, sit down,” Rachel said in a somber tone.  “I guess the MERG office didn’t inform you on the recent tragedy that has occurred lately.”  She wiped a tear from her cheek.  “Johnson, start the slideshow.”
The lights dimmed down, and an image of a male police officer appeared on the projector screen.  Charlie handed Tojo a folder carrying the mission debrief.  Rachel stood up and began to speak. 
“This is the late Conrad Lewis, my husband.  He was the former LAPD Commissioner, and was responsible for contracting you for this job.”  A picture of a burned and charred police AW appeared on the screen next.  “Conrad was killed in the line of duty last week on a patrol.  When we arrived, his remains were undistinguishable.  We believe that the hit was carried out by this man.”  An African-American man appeared on the screen.  He was bald and clean-shaven. 
“This is Lawrence Thompson, a warlord who operates in Compton.  He is more commonly known on the streets as Lemon T.  Conrad was investigating possible drug smuggling associated with Lemon T’s Citrus Crew.”  The next slide showed a picture of several police officers surrounding a stash of what appeared to be cocaine.  The officers were smiling, probably happy that they had a big drug bust.
“Last month, several officers intercepted this shipment of cocaine.  However, when we examined the cocaine, we found something very interesting.”
The next slide showed several mechanical parts in the bags of cocaine.
“We found these things inside the cocaine shipments.  We were unsure what they were, so we gave all the parts to the engineering department.”
Charlie placed what appeared to be a rocket launcher on Tojo’s lap.  “This is what our guys found near the crime scene.  It appears to be some sort of hi-powered laser cannon.”  Tojo struggled to lift the cannon off of his lap.  Charlie resumed talking.  “This sort of weaponry could take out the whole Los Angeles area. 
“This cannot fall into the wrong hands, otherwise more people will end up burning to death like my husband.” Rachel angrily said.    “We need you to eliminate everyone and everything in the Citrus Crew headquarters.  We also would like you to apprehend Lemon T as well.  If he gets in your way, you have my permission to ki— “
“Wait up,” Tojo interrupted.  “are you forgetting what I am?”  Tojo threw the laser cannon on the table and stood up.  “I am a MERCENARY, not a tool for justice.”  He walked around towards Rachel.  “I also expected a first-class seat on the airplane.  Instead, I flew COACH, which cost me FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!  If you want to avenge your husband, kill Lemon T yourself.  I was told that I needed to clear out some AWs and vehicles, not clear out a whole compound of thugs.  Arrest the man yourself.”  Tojo had passed the point of patience.  His energy was wearing out.
“Well, we would arrest him, but every single squad that we have sent out has been eliminated.” Rachel sighed with frustration.  “We need to put an end to this before Lemon T kills every officer in the force.” 
“Ok ok ok,” Tojo replied.  “Let’s talk about payment.  My starting price is $3,000,000.” He sat back in his chair, putting his feet on the table.
“WHAT?!?”  Rachel yelled.  “I was aware that our original contract was only $2,000,000!  What kind of upcharges are you talking about?”
“Well, Rachel,” Tojo said, “I was told that I would get a 1st class seat, but I flew coach and got three hours of sleep instead of eight.  That’s $50,000.  Next up, we have a standard upcharge for overnight missions.  That will be $10,000.  $5,000 dollars will be charged for food and lodging.  So, currently, we have 50 plus 15 plus 5 which is $70,000.”  Tojo did some mental math.  “Oh, there is the $20,000 service charge for handling, and a $15,000 upcharge for “no survivors.”  Tojo took out a bottle of sake from his bag, and an ochoko  cup.  He poured the sake into the cup, and set the bottle on the table.
“OK, Mr. Sugarawa, how much would it cost for you to kill Lemon T?”  Rachel asked, slamming her hands on the table.
“Two million dollars,” Tojo quickly replied.  He drank the sake from the ochoko cup.  “That’s standard upcharge for killing off big name figures.  Read terms and conditions on the MERG website.”  Tojo set down his ochoko cup. 
“Deal,” Rachel said, and extended her hand.   “By the way, what is the handling charge?”
Charlie whispered to Rachel, “Probably it’s some stupid upcharge that he made up on the – oh  sna – !”
A sword blade was pressed against Charlie’s cheek.  It began to bleed slightly as he flinched.  Tojo held a 5 and ½ foot long odaichi , or Japanese longsword, in his right hand.  The four-foot blade easily extended across the conference table.  Charlie stood against the wall whimpering at his near-death encounter.
“The charges are not stupid.  They guarantee a 100% success rate.”  He noticed Charlie kept staring at the sword against his cheek. 
“This sword is worth more than both of your lives, combined.  It can slice through steel like butter.  One flick of my wrist, and your head would fly clean off.”  Tojo re-sheathed his sword, and placed it back in his golf bag.  He put the bottle of sake and the ochoko cup back in his bag, and smiled at both of them.  “Well then, it seems that you don’t need to give me any weapons.  Good night.”  Tojo bowed to Rachel and Charlie, and then proceeded towards the door.  He opened the door and then stopped.  He turned and faced Rachel. 
“By the way, Rachel, I expect all payments to be transferred to my Swiss Bank Account at least one hour before I begin my mission.  Here’s my card if you need it.”  Tojo flung a business card at Rachel.  She caught it between her two fingers. 
“Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean that I am weak.  I caught Conrad’s eye because I was the best AW pilot in the police force.  Don’t forget that, Mr. Swordsman.” 
“Just pay me, ok?” Tojo annoyingly yelled back as he exited the conference room.  The conference doors shut loudly behind him. 
Rachel and Charlie stood silently in the conference room.  Blood spewed down Charlie’s face.  Rachel was livid and red in shame.
“This guy is for real,” he said, wiping off blood with a handkerchief.  “I heard MERG was expensive, but this guy will eat our budget for breakfast.  The online reviews did place him as the highest ranked MERG agent available.” 
“I told you that we needed to recruit the cheapest one available,” Rachel said annoyingly.  “We can’t possibly afford Tojo Sugarawa.  He’s known as the MOST EXPENSIVE MERG AGENT ON THE MARKET!!!  If we pay him, I can’t get the new AW-32 which by the way, is on sale.”  Rachel began to recount her victories and accomplishments as a AW pilot.
“Well, he is also known as the most reliable MERG agent.  He has a 100% success rating.”  Charlie sighed.  It was difficult working with Rachel, who cut budgets to fund her prized AW.  Having a natural affinity towards piloting the Armored Warriors, Rachel had always utilized her position in power to obtain the best equipment for the AW squads. 
Charlie held his handkerchief to his still bleeding face and walked out the conference room, attempting to avoid Rachel’s scathing criticism over his budgetary opinions calling for a balanced budget.  He appreciated working with Conrad better than Rachel.  Sometimes, he wondered how Conrad handled his wife when he was alive.  No matter, Charlie thought to himself.  There was a war to win on the ground.  Charlie grumbled over the fact that Tojo ruined his previously unblemished face.  The handkerchief was now a dark red color, with Charlies staggering towards tissue boxes in an attempt to stop the bleeding.  It was a very deep cut.
“MEDIC!” Charlie cried out, stumbling towards the doctor’s office.  A trail of blood followed Charlie into the room, and the door shut.  The hallway was silent as everyone stood in shock at what they had witnessed.  After five minutes, janitorial staff began to mop the floors, and normality resumed.
* * *
Tojo found Richard waiting downstairs in the main lobby.  Tojo rummaged through the case file and found a card, throwing it towards the police officer.  “Take me here,” he said.
Richard led Tojo to the car, and drove him to the hotel, which was in downtown LA.  It was about 9:00 pm when Tojo finally checked into his room.  He was given a room on the 3rd floor, the highest floor.  Tojo was relieved that he wouldn’t have to listen to hotel patrons making noise late at night while he tried to sleep.  Tojo traveled slowly up the elevator.  When he finally arrived, he walked down the hall until he reached his room, number 367.  Tojo saw the stairwell two doors next to his room.
“I’ll be able to make a quick escape in case of fire,” Tojo said to himself.  “Let’s hope that no pyromaniacs are staying here.”
He chuckled to himself as he swiped the keycard, entering his room.  Placing his bags on the floor, Tojo flung himself on the bed.  He closed his eyes, and rested for several seconds before his cell phone rang.  Slightly annoyed, he picked up. 
“Moshimoshi, Tojo desu?”  He switched from Japanese to English.  “Yes this is Tojo Sugarawa.  I’m working right now, so — wait, is that you?”  Tojo put on a genuine smile for the first time that day.  
“You’re in town?  I didn’t know that the famous Boris — let me correct myself; Brian Michelson was in town.  By the way, I didn’t get any food on the plane here, and I need some food.  You know any good places within walking distance from the downtown Fairfield Inn?  A sushi place?  Great, I’ll meet you there.” 
Tojo hung the phone up.  He opened up the mini-fridge and put the sake in it.  It fit perfectly.  He placed his golf bag inside the closet.  Taking a chain and a lock, he wrapped the chain around the door handles, and put the lock around the chain, taking the key with him.  Afterwards, he took his wallet, cell phone, and keys with him and exited the room.  Traveling down the slow elevator, Tojo walked onto the downtown Los Angeles streets towards his first good meal of the evening.

Out of the darkness emerged an elite band of mercenaries.  Composed of former special forces members, former hitmen, and former generals, these elite soldiers formed the Military Engagement and Retaliation Group, commonly known as MERG.  Decentralized in every way possible, MERG was based in Japan, which remained relatively untouched by the unrests of the western world.  These elite militants were the best money could buy, and became a powerful tool used by the warlords to wage war.  Cities were conquered and destroyed by MERG personnel.  Expensive but reliable, MERG soon became the foremost independent mercenary group of the Warring States Era.  The men and women of MERG soon became legends among warlords and citizens alike.  Every major conflict during the Warring States periods would list at least one MERG agent as a major participant.

The author's comments:

Takoyaki: A popular Japanese street food snack, consisting of minced octopus meat stuffed inside pan-fried pancake balls.  Served with Takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire Sauce) and topped with seaweed and dried fish.

Tojo walked into the Edo Sushi Bar around 9:23 pm.  He looked around and saw a muscular bearded man sitting down, waving towards him.  Tojo smiled and walked over to the table.  The bearded man smiled. 
“Hello Boris, it’s nice to see you again,” Tojo smiled as they both gave each other a hug.  “What brings you here to Los Angeles?”
“Stop using my Russian name, remember, I am Brian Michaelson.”  Brian grabbed a bottle of vodka.  “This vodka is quite good.  It comes out of Poland.”  Brian offered Tojo a glass.  “Sit down and have a drink.” 
“I’ll only take one glass,” Tojo replied as he sat down.  “I want some sushi.  I hear that this is the best sushi in the downtown area.”
“Why yes, it is,” Brian said.  “I came here last week while I was adjudicating some cooking show.  It’s pretty darn good, and it doesn’t hurt the wallet.”  Brian took a swig of vodka.  “This stuff is pretty strong.  It is 57% alcohol.”
Tojo placed the empty glass of vodka down on the table.  “Yes, this is pretty darn good vodka.”  A waitress placed several pieces of shrimp sushi on the table.  Tojo picked up the sushi with his hands and began eating before he stopped.  “I’m paying.  Don’t forget that.”  He resumed eating the sushi. 
“Bro, remember that I make millions of dollars.  Eat to your heart’s content.”  Brian poured himself another glass of vodka. 
“So do I,” Tojo paused for a moment.  “Man, you made a successful transition from military service to civilian fame.”  Tojo interjected.  “I wish I could easily do that.”
“When I was a boy, I had a passion for cooking.  I would cook with my mother and would hunt with my father.  When I was drafted into military service, I became a Spetsnaz Marine Commando, as I was the best swimmer in town.”  Boris poured more vodka into his glass.  “I practiced my cooking when I wasn’t doing my job as a frogman.”
“You were stationed in Kamchatka when I met you,” Tojo replied.  “Your cooking was on point.”  Tojo ate the final piece of sushi, and placed the plate aside.  “The sushi here is on point.  I would like some more, please.”  Several more plates of sushi were delivered to the table.  Tojo began to eat some more.  “I like how the chef’s put wasabi on for you.  It’s as if I’m in Tokyo.”  
“Anyway, once I retired from military service, I went to Switzerland and opened a small food stand.  It became really popular, and I soon got enough money to open up a restaurant in Zurich.  I soon got two stars in the Michelin Guide, and I soon became world famous.”  Brian poured the last of the vodka in his glass.  “I left Boris Mikhailov in Russia, and became Brian Michaelson.”  Brian stared absently into the bottle. 
“What’s wrong with being famous?”  Tojo asked through a bite of sushi.  “Sometimes I wish I could have a normal job, have my kids live normal lives with normal parents.”  Tojo finished the last plate of sushi.  “You probably make more than I do, with a clear consciousness.”
“You know what I liked about being a frogman?”  Brian asked Tojo.  “I served my country for years, without recognition.  Soon, I got tired of having nobody to talk to, and I became a cook, which I wanted to be all my life.”  Brian passed the empty plates to the waitress.  “But now, after years of isolation, I have to talk and socialize with EVERYONE I meet.  Sometimes, I wish that I could go back to swimming and diving in the dark of the night, placing mines on ships, and watching them explode and sink.”  Brian sat back in his chair and sighed.  He looked up as Tojo happily took a plate of takoyaki  from the waitress.  “You’re still eating?  Damn, they must not have had any food on the plane.”
“They did have some sushi, but it was really bad.  Probably American made.  However, I never pass up takoyaki,” Tojo smiled as he broke a pair of chopsticks.  “My mother makes the best takoyaki out there.  It reminds me of my childhood days, which were much simpler.”  Tojo paused.  “It’s difficult to be a MERG agent.  Sometimes your clients are nice, others are rude.  Occasionally, a client can’t pay up, and we all eat a little less.”  Tojo put on a somber face.  He set down the chopsticks, and drank some water.  “My grandfather talked about how he hoped that we as children would never have to face war.  Yet here I am, fighting on the streets of the Los Angeles, making my living as a mercenary.  This whole thing is one big gang war.”
Tojo stared off towards a couple drinking at the bar.  “Me and my wife are so busy.  We travel so much nowadays, that we don’t have much time to have a nice date.” 
“Man, me and my wife are always busy running the restaurant,” Brian replied.  “You should find something that both you and Nami can do together,” he suggested.
“Well, we have something in mind, but synchronizing our schedules is quite difficult,” Tojo replied.  He looked down at the empty plate, and sighed.  “Thank’s for the recommendtation
“Don’t use my Russian name.  Technically, Boris Mikhailov doesn’t exist,” Brian whispered. 
“You were a frogman, so nobody knows that a Boris Mikhailov ever existed.”  Tojo laughed.  “You might as well be a fictional character in some book.”
“Sure sure, whatever you say.  By the way, say hi to Nami and the kids for me,” Brian mentioned.  As Tojo brought out his wallet to pay for the meal, the waitress brought back the check with Brian’s credit card in it.  As Tojo stood up in the most serious manner he could (which wasn’t very serious at all), Brian laughed while signing the receipt.  Tojo and Brian would always fight over the check whenever they met.  Tojo paid for most of the meals, but occasionally, Brian would sneak the check right past him.  He shook his head in disbelief and exited the restaurant.  It was a relief that he was able to find a friend even during times of war. 
* * *
Tojo returned to the hotel and sat down on his bed.  He opened the mission folder that Rachel gave him.  Looking over the assets of the Citrus Crew, Tojo noticed that the Citrus Crew sold a LOT of blenders.  They were ranked best value by Consumer Reports for five years in a row.  Lawrence Thompson had no criminal record.  Tojo was wary about the ethics of the mission, but as a MERG agent, he left his morals at home.  Tojo looked at his invoice.  Two million dollars had been transferred to his Swiss bank account. 
“Well, they paid me, so that’s OK.”  Tojo took his glasses off, and turned off the light.  He quickly fell asleep in the warm bed.  Call time was at 4:00 pm, but preparations for the mission too most of the morning.

MERG agents fought for order, chaos, good, and evil; their ideals were driven by a desire for money and money alone.  Although many had morals, the necessity of money repressed their consciousness.  The name MERG was feared throughout the world by both lawful and chaotic forces, and rightfully so, as one agent of MERG could level a whole city.  It was also said that every single agent of MERG held a secret power, comparable to that of a god or goddess.  The source of such powers had yet to be discovered in the states.  However, those who claimed to have seen such powers were discredited by the rest of society and the American scientific community…

The author's comments:

Kahō kiri: Tenryū no ikari: translates to English as Downward Cut: Heavenly Dragon’s wrath (下方切り: 天龍の怒り)

It was 5:00 pm, and Richard drove up to the headquarters of the Citrus Crew.  Outside on the other side of the street was a billboard with a blender on it, advertising a new blender.  Surrounding the headquarters was a concrete wall, with a laser gate protecting the entrance.  Tojo was in the back seat, with his odaichi in his hand.  He was dressed in the traditional garb of a samurai.  Richard, in full combat wear, turned around and faced Tojo. 
“I’ll try to pick you up around 7 to take you to the airport, ok?  You got your bags, yes?” 
“I am leaving the golf club bag and my carry-on luggage with you,” Tojo replied, “And I shall take my odaichi and this satchel.  It contains some equipment that I might need.”  Tojo opened the car door. 
“Make sure you give us a detailed report after we extract you.” Richard told Tojo just as he walked out.  Tojo paused and checked his phone. 
“Remind Rachel to pay the other $3,000,000 as well as include a $500,000 late fee.”  Tojo closed the door to the car and approached the gate.  Rolling his eyes, Tojo placed his hand on the gate’s keypad.  There was a purple flash around the keypad, and the laser gate went down. Tojo bowed to Richard as armed guards exited the building and began shooting at Tojo.  Drawing his sword, Tojo dashed towards the front door of the headquarters.  He cut down guard after guard with incredible dexterity and speed, so much so that it was almost impossible to trace the path of his sword.  When Tojo reached the door, he waved towards Richard and walked into the building.
“Damn, he really is the best at what he does.”  Richard sighed and picked up the police intercom. 
“Message to nest.  Scabbard has unsheathed knife.  Scabbard has unsheathed knife.  Feed and wash the elephant, and prepare to release in 90 minutes.”
“Copy that,” the dispatcher said.   “And by the way, Richard, you don’t have to speak in code.  The swordsman doesn’t carry a radio or any hi-tech stuff.  He wouldn’t know that we were communicating.”
Richard started the car and drove off.  “True, true.  He dresses like an old-fashioned samurai in combat, even though he is pretty young.”  He got as far from the Citrus Crew’s headquarters, stopping at a food truck a couple blocks down.  He purchased the best hamburger he had eaten his entire life.  Even in his old age, Richard would continue to discuss that hamburger, citing it as the epitome of American food and culture.  Little did he know that it was made by foreign hands.
* * *
Tojo opened the front doors, and was surprised that they were unlocked.  He took one step into the building, and all the bells and whistles went off.  The lights changed from bright white to flashing red.  Men pulled out whatever weapons they could find: submachine guns, magnums, shotguns, automatics, baseball bats, golf clubs, lead pipes.  They began to randomly shoot Tojo, without setting up any barricades or taking cover.  Those with melee weapons charged towards the swordsman.  They were instantly cut down.  After slicing down t, many went behind office doors, using them as cover. 
“Why do you take cover?”  Tojo asked.  “I don’t have a gun.  Fools.”  Tojo sliced one guard in half, the impact slicing through several other doors, killing those behind them.  “Well, let’s hope that the fight gets harder.  I came all the way to LA to have some FUN!” 
It was silent as Tojo arrived in what appeared to be the breakroom.  All the guards behind him were dead.  It appeared that they were ill-prepared for what lie ahead of them.  He saw a coffee machine sitting on the table, with what appeared to be a freshly brewed pot of coffee.  Tojo approached the coffee machine when a man with a magnum appeared from the closet and aimed it at Tojo.
“You are going nowhere, fool.  Now, DI—,” The man stopped speaking as his upper body fell to the floor.  The coffee pot, now in two pieces, fell to the ground and shattered.  Tojo looked down at the spilt coffee and sighed. 
“Damn.  I wanted some caffeine.  Oh well, at least there is water there.”  Tojo walked over to the water cooler and grabbed a cup of water.  He drank 4 cups of water before picking up his sword and exiting the room.  He approached the elevator and pressed the up button several times.  While he was waiting, he looked at a map of the headquarters.  He noticed that the main offices were surrounded by warehouses and loading docks. 
“Well, I got two hours before I get picked up.  I’ll check out the warehouses.”  Tojo stepped outside and was greeted by gunfire.  More men surrounded him from behind.  Several were shot by their own comrades, as Tojo easily dodged the bullets. 
“I only need to expend 2% of my power to kill this fodder,” Tojo slid his glasses up and drew his sword.  He slashed his sword at those in front of him, each one falling in combat.  Those who were behind him attempted to flee, but Tojo turned and slashed his sword behind him, and they too fell in combat. 
Tojo sheathed his sword and approached the warehouse.  He noticed a food truck parked by one of the loading docks.  It appeared to sell hamburgers.  He walked through the open bay door and noticed the large number of appliances stored in the room. 
“Hmm, what an interesting cover.  Kitchen appliances hiding drugs, weapons, or something else?”  Tojo took a package from an open container.  It appeared to be some sort of blender.  He opened it, taking out a one blender, complete with user manual and smoothie recipes.  He took apart the blender, and reassembled it in a matter of minutes.  “What a fancy blender.” Tojo muttered to himself.  He heard footsteps approaching, and picked up his sword.  Several men approached him, holding guns. 
“Hey, you gotta pay for that blender!”  A bearded man held up a pistol and aimed it at Tojo.  However, the man found that he was unable to pull the trigger; his right arm lay on the floor.  He turned around and saw that the rest of his men were lying on the ground, bleeding to death. 
“Don’t point these things around, man.  They can kill people.”  Tojo handed the man his arm, and placed a hand on his chest.  “2 Amp Strike: LETHAL!”  A purple flash surrounded Tojo’s hand.  The bearded man fell to the ground, smoke coming from his open mouth.  “Take that advice with you to hell.”  Tojo re-sheathed his sword, and continued to move on.
There was a light coming from an office on an upper floor.  Tojo heard two people laughing in the office.  “Bingo,” Tojo smiled.  He darted towards the ladder, leaped onto the balcony, and kicked the office door open.  He immediately drew his sword and saw Brian and an African American man sitting at a desk.  They were shaking hands until Tojo entered.  The African American man drew out a gun and pointed it at Tojo. 
“What are you doing here?”  Tojo yelled towards Brian.  “Do you know who this man is?”  Tojo was shocked and confused. 
Brian pushed the man’s gun towards the ground.  “This is Lawrence Thompson, also known by his stage name Lemon T.  Him and I just made a deal where I would use his kitchenware in my restaurants.”  Lemon T waved his hand at Tojo.  Tojo gave him a cold stare, and Lawrence took the gun off of safety. 
“Is this some sort of cover, Boris?  I thought you were neutral,” Tojo said in disgust.  “This man deals drug, kills innocent men, and produces laser bazookas!”
“Excuse you!”  Lemon T stood up angrily, pointing the gun at Tojo.  “Unlike you, I am an honest man, who made his wealth by honest means.  I make the greatest kitchenware in the world!”  Lemon T smiled happily.  “Because of my wealth, I became a warlord out of necessity.  Look at my record, its clean.”  Lemon T paused.  “Also, check out my mixtape.  It’s fire.”
Tojo paused for a moment, thinking.  “Explain the Laser Bazooka that the LAPD showed me.”  He pulled out his phone and showed Lemon T a picture of the Laser Bazooka. 
Lemon T observed the picture of the laser bazooka and smiled.  “Oh, that piece of junk.  It was a part of a highly experimental stovetop.  We put one burner together, but it was difficult to control.  I am surprised that anyone was able to weaponized that!”  Lemon T laughed and sat down.  He placed the gun back on the desk. 
Tojo looked at Lemon T with suspicion, and checked his phone. He frowned, and put his phone back in his bag. 
“Those guys at the LAPD have yet to pay me their $2,000,000 to kill you,” Tojo said to Lemon T.  “I’ll wait until they pay up.”  He sheathed his sword and sat down next to Brian.  “I want to hear your story, Lemon T.  I have one hour before I kill you, regardless of whether those LAPD fools pay me on time.”
“I’ll make some margaritas with this blender,” Lemon T put a blender on the table.  “This is our latest model that we are planning to put on the market.”  Lemon T. took out margarita glasses and placed them on the table.  “Well, speaking of margaritas, while I was dropping fire mixtapes in college, I worked at a bar and the blender I was using just wasn’t cutting it.  Plus, I had an engineering final project to do.  So, I borrowed some parts and began to make my own…”
* * *
Lemon T, Brian, and Tojo were all laughing together.  They had finished several margaritas, and the desk was a mess. 
“So after I perfected the cooling system, I became the leader in refrigeration systems as well.”  Lemon T sat back in his chair satisfied.  “All the men who run my factories are from the Compton neighborhood.  Management is made up of honest men, and all the other workers are former gang members who I gave legitimate jobs to.” 
“Why do they have guns, then?” Tojo asked.  He checked his phone, and saw a notification from his Swiss bank account. 
“Everyone has guns here in America.  2nd Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms,” Brian replied.  “You should do some research before you get on location.  Also, there is another guy who went by Lemon Tea, a gang leader.  He was killed last week, though.”
“Crap,” Tojo yelled.  “Their checks bounced! What is going on here?”  Tojo stood up and slammed his phone on the desk.  “Those LAPD scrubs didn’t pay me after all!”  Tojo picked up his sword and phone.  “Nice to see you again Brian.”  He turned towards Lemon T.  “As of now, I have no reason to kill you, Mr. Thompson.  I hope that we resolved our misunderstanding.” Lemon T stood up and shook Tojo’s hand.  “No problem, sir.  You can take a blender for free.”  He walked towards a back room.  “Wait here.”  He closed the door and rummaged for a blender. 
“Well, that’s great,” Tojo exhaled heavily.  “At least I get a free blender. Now, I’m going to give the LAPD a piece of my— “
A scream was heard in the back room, and a large mechanical arm burst through the room.  The body of Lemon T was in the palm of the large hand.  The walls crumbled to reveal a AW with LAPD markings on it.  Massive sirens went off throughout the warehouse. 
“I don’t know, man, they were my contractors,” Tojo replied.  “Get out of here man, before you get killed.  Trouble is up ahead.” 
“Stay safe, man,” Brian shook Tojo’s hand.  “Here’s a medallion for my restaurant in Zurich.  Stop by sometime with your family.”  Brian took out a pistol and c***ed the gun. 
“Thanks man,” Tojo replied.  He put the medallion in his bag as Brian fled towards his food truck.  Tojo drew his sword and screamed at the AW.
“WHAT KIND OF JOKE IS THIS?  WHERE IS MY MONEY, YOU LOUSY AMERICANS?”  The AW stepped back and the c***pit opened.  Rachel Lewis stepped out with a microphone. 
“That’s no way to talk to a woman, Mr. Swordsman.  Did you really think that we would actually pay you?  MERG agents have bounties on their heads in the states, and your capture will secure my place in LAPD history,” She laughed at Tojo.  “Thanks to your quick work, I will also gain control of all of Lemon T’s former territory and assets!  You just helped build my retirement fund.”
“Woman, do you understand what you have done?”  Tojo jumped down and landed on the ground, in front of the AW.  “By not following through with payments, you have voided the contract you had with me.”
“So what?” Rachel toyed with her hair.  “It doesn’t matter who dies or who I double cross.  Anything to increase my power, I shall do.”  She got back into her AW, and its foot rose over Tojo.  “You simply fell into my trap, and now, you DIE!”  The AW foot fell fast, and Rachel waited for the screams to follow.  Instead, she noticed that the AW foot had not touched the ground.  A voice was heard from underneath the foot. 
“MERG Rule number one: MERG agents, when under contract, are to leave their morals behind them,” Tojo held his sword against the foot of the AW, kneeling so as not to be crushed.  “When not under contract, a MERG agent is free to take action as he or she deems fit.”  He flung the AW off of his sword, and it fell onto its back.  “You deliberately gave me false information concerning my target debrief.  You wasted my time in useless meetings, giving me information I should have received before arriving here.  You even failed to act as responsible hosts.”  He approached the AW, which had risen back onto its feet.  “Most of all, you have no respect for life.  It is your job to protect life, yet you extinguish the life of the innocent without remorse.”  Tojo pushed his glasses up and raised his sword.  “Pain and suffering is the punishment for your transgressions!”  He darted quickly towards the AW and struck the armor.  However, the blade failed to slice through it.  Rachel in her AW took Tojo by the leg and flung him into the warehouse.  A large hole was formed as Tojo landed among several refrigerators.  Many of Lemon T’s subordinates scattered as Rachel began to mow them down with a AW-sized automatic rifle.  Many vehicles and people were crushed by the cartridge casings left by the massive gun.   
“Who are you to speak of morals?  I am Justice!” Rachel yelled.  “We will restore order and peace to Los Angeles!”  She laughed just as the radar picked up a small object moving quickly towards her.  Tojo kicked the AW and landed on the ground.  It stumbled slightly, but remained balanced.  Rachel aimed the gun towards Tojo. 
“You cannot possibly hope to cut through this armor.  Not even a laser bazooka can dent this AW.  Give up and die right now.” Rachel spoke in a condescending tone.  “You had guts to fight me, but it was hopeless from the start.  You brought a knife to a gunfight.  How stupid can you be?”
Tojo began to laugh hysterically.  “Guts?  You seem to think that willpower is useless.  It must be because you never harnessed its raw energy.  My spirit is stronger than yours by at least tenfold!”  A purple aura surrounded Tojo as he spoke.  He put his sword on his shoulder. 
“Every individual’s spirit can gift that person a special ability.  Some gain some sort of superpower, such as flight or x-ray vision.  Others are gifted with the powers of transformation, ranging from a barbeque grill to a fearsome bear.”  Tojo pushed his glasses up.  “However, a select few are given the power to handle the elements.”  The aura surrounding Tojo manifested itself into what appeared to be purple bolts of electricity.  “I was gifted with the ability to manipulate electricity.  With years of physical and mental training, I gained the ability to transfer my power to a weapon of my choice.”  Purple sparks of electricity surrounded his sword. 
“That is just a bunch of myth and legend that you Japanese from the east pulled out of your butts to scare us.  You can’t fool me with your tricks.”  Rachel’s AW pulled the trigger of the gun. It was empty, and she threw it aside, pulling out a knife.  The gun landed in the streets, blocking traffic.  “You must be jamming my visual sensors, or creating some sort of illusion.”
“Do you really want to see what jamming your visual sensors looks like?”  Tojo leaped and placed his hand on the head of the AW, where the visual input sensors were located.  The head of the AW began to glow with a purple luminance.  Tojo leaped down behind the AW, then looked towards the sky.  He slid his glasses back into place, and jumped into the sky for the finishing blow.
“Five.” He counted as he ascended.  As he reached maximum height, he began his descent.  “Four…”
Inside the AW, Rachel could only see a blank screen as the AW’s emergency power went online.  She kept pressing buttons to refresh the visual output, but in the red light of the c***pit, the screen remained unchanged.  “The AW was at 80% power.  It shouldn’t be on emergen–”
Suddenly, she found herself alone on the rainy streets of Los Angeles, save for a young girl crying for the loss of her dog.  Rachel then found herself standing next to the same girl, who was crying over bruises given to her by bullies.  It soon became apparent that the events Rachel was experiencing in were events from her own memory, experienced in the third person.  Each event proved to evoke greater emotional pain than the preceding ones.  Overwhelmed with fear and grief, she yelled out with angst and anger. 
Suddenly, the environment turned a dark purple, almost as dark as night.  She tried to escape.  There were no exits.  She asked the heavens for an answer.  There was only silence.
Rachel then found herself standing in front of her husband’s burnt AW.  Behind it was a Citrus Crew warehouse.  She ran over to the burning AW, and released the emergency release valve.    Conrad Lewis stared Rachel in the eyes. 
“Where are we?”  Conrad asked Rachel.  He coughed some blood out onto his blood-stained uniform.  “I thought I was dead.  I last remember a bright light and my body burning up.”
Rachel hugged her husband.  “We are at Lemon T’s base.  I avenged you.”  A tear streamed down her cheek.  “Don’t worry, the medics are coming soon enough.  We’ll bring you back to life.  This is our second chance!”
“Lawrence?  Why is he dead?”  Conrad looked his wife in the eye.  “Don’t tell me you attacked his headquarters just to gain his land.”  Conrad began to bleed heavily, as his leg had been pierced by the shrapnel of the impact.
“It doesn’t matter, Conrad.  You are still alive.  I can save you, and we can go and retire in Fiji together.  No more fighting, no more war.  We can start the family we always wante–”
Conrad put his finger on his wife’s lips.  “I’m sorry, honey, but it looks as if I am being projected by your mind.  I was burned to a crisp by the laser-bazooka on my AW exploding.  I can’t come back with you.”
Rachel’s voice broke and she burst into tears.  “I’m sorry, Conrad.  I wanted to escape the battlefield after this.  I wanted to escape the now painful memories we had in battle.”  Rachel held his hand as the tears fell on her pants.  “I did this so that you wouldn’t have to die in vain.” 
“No.  I’m sorry that I died on you and your dreams,” he said wearily.  “Even war is no excuse for violence fueled by hatred, especially when the people we swore to protect are harmed.”  Conrad struggled for breath.  “Remember, Rachel, that I will always love you.”  Conrad closed his eyes for the last time. 
As Rachel returned to reality, the tears ran like a river.  She cried tears of guilt, angst, regret.  There was weeping and gnashing of teeth as she struggled to control the movements of the AW.  The tears prevented her from seeing Tojo descending from the sky towards the AW, sword drawn.  However, she was able to hear Tojo’s voice, and the number zero appeared on the screen.
“Kahō kiri: Tenryū no ikari !”  Tojo yelled, swinging the sword from the left across the chest of the AW. 
Inside the c***pit, Rachel saw the visual output screen go static.  She then felt a retching pain across her body.  Then, everything turned black.  
* * *
Rachel awoke with the cold blade of Tojo’s sword on her chest.  She looked towards her left arm and screamed in shock.  There was nothing there but a stub where her arm had been.  It had been bandaged, but it was still bleeding.
“Realize that I only used about ten percent of my full power.  Had I used even five percent more of my full power, you would have been dead.”  Tojo took the sword off of Rachel’s chest, and wiped off some of the blood with a towel.  He re-sheathed his sword and sat down on a piece of concrete.  He took out a bottle of sake and began drinking. 
Rachel sat up, bracing herself with her right hand.  Looking down, Rachel saw her mangled right leg tossed aside, replaced by a bandaged stump.  She lay in the shadow of her AW’s legs, the torso and left arm lying separately on the ground.  Bracing herself against the detached arm of the AW, Rachel called out to Tojo. 
“Tojo, why did you spare my life?”  She winced with pain as the bleeding resumed.  “What happened to me in the AW?”
Tojo stopped mid-sip, turned around, and stared Rachel in the eye.  His eyes were a deep purple color.  “Your life is gone.  You will never pilot a AW ever again.  Your warlord status will likely be revoked by superiors.”  He took a sip of sake, and continued.  “Killing you would be easy: no responsibilities, no consequences, no regrets.  Living, however, requires facing the due consequences for your actions.”  His eyes began to glow with the same purple color, and darkness surrounded both of them.  “I did not spare your life.  I created a new life for you: an eternal nightmare!”
Tojo’s eyes returned to their normal brown.  He slid his glasses up his face once more, and smiled.  “As for the memory thing, I went to Harvard Medical School for neuro-surgery.  I simply used my electricity powers to excite your memory banks, creating a “virtual reality” in your mind.  Medical School allowed me to navigate where your memories were.  I simply activated them into overdrive.”  Tojo sighed as he finished his sake.  He put the cup and sake bottle back in his bag.
“What about my husband?”  Rachel asked.  “Was that really him?”  Tears of pain and sorrow streamed down her cheek.
“That you shall never know,” Tojo stood up.   “I’m only charging you $2,000,000 for this job.  Think of it as an off-contract mercy clause.”  Tojo bowed to Rachel and walked towards the exit.   Richard drove by the car, and Tojo waved him down.  He took the bag out of the trunk and put it in Brian’s food truck, which was parked near the exit.  The food truck drove off towards the airport. 
“Are you okay, Mrs. Lewis?”  Richard asked as he ran towards Rachel.  He paused as he saw her face frozen with fear. 
“His eyes,” she repeated.  “I saw the soul of a real warrior in that man.  There was no indication that there was any fluff about chivalry or anything like that.”  She coughed some blood as Richard carried her to the car.  “That man is a killing machine, deep down inside.  I would not be surprised if there was a demon inside of that man.  Richard placed Rachel in the back seat, and drove off.
“It has been a long day, Ma’am,” Richard replied.  He sighed as Rachel bled on the seats, still writhing in pain.  He would have to have them replaced again.  Richard sighed as he felt his wallet ache from the future refurbishment costs.

Tojo stepped off the train at the Ōmiya Station in Saitama.  He took a taxi cab back to his house.  It was 8:00 pm local time.  Dressed now in normal civilian clothing, Tojo rummaged for his keys in his backpack.  Finding them, he unlocked the door and stepped into his house. 
“I’m home,” Tojo yelled.  He immediately smelled fresh rice, and followed the smell to the kitchen.  He saw his wife frying some tonkatsu pork. Tojo immediately put his bags down and ran to his wife.
“Nami, I’ll finish cooking,” he said as he attempted to take the frying pan away from her.
“Tojo, I’m cooking.  You’ll make me spill oil everywhere!”  She wrestled the frying pan away from him.  “Relax honey, you probably are tired from the trip.” Nami smiled as she took out several of the tonkatsu out of the frying pan, placing more in to cook. 
“Thanks,” Tojo replied, taking off his suit jacket and tie.  “I was able to get $3,000,000 from this job.  I think that’s pretty good.”  He sat down at the table and poured himself some tea.
“Yeah, it is,” Nami said, placing the rest of the tonkatsu onto the serving plate.  She turned off the stove and served rice.  “I’m just glad that you came back safe.”  She reached across the table and kissed Tojo. 
“I never break any promise that I make,” Tojo replied.  “Now, I’m hungry!”  Tojo picked up the chopsticks and began eating the tonkatsu.  “This is good!” he replied with a full mouth.
“It’s a good thing you married a woman who can cook, otherwise you would be dead already,” Nami said.  Tojo cherished these small moments with his wife, as they were so few in number.  The both laughed the night away as the sun set on Japan.
Nami and Tojo slept peacefully, without the fear of invaders knocking at their door requesting payment.  Tojo reminded himself that no matter how brutal the fighting proved to be abroad, the nuisances were all to keep the family he cherished safe at home. He fell asleep five minutes later.

Brian was going through security at the airport.  As he stepped through the body scanner, he was pulled aside by a TSA officer.  He pulled out a blender from his bag. 
“Sir, I would like to know what this is.”  The TSA officer, named Philip, was not amused.
“It’s a blender, one of the last of its kind.  It is NOT a weapon.  In fact, it is very fragile, so don’t break it.”  Brian smiled weakly at Philip.
“Why do you need a blender in your carry-on, sir?”  Philip was getting upset. 
“I don’t check in luggage, typically, as I don’t bring my whole kitchen with me when I cook.”  Brian rolled up his sleeves.  “If you had muscles like mine, would you carry your kitchen sink with you?  NO!”  Brian picked up the blender and smiled. 
“Thanks for your interest in the Citrus Crew blender line.  Here is a catalogue containing our products.  Call this number for a special discount.”
Brian handed Philip a Citrus Crew Product Catalogue and his business card, took his blender, placed it back in the carry on, and walked off towards his gate in less than ten seconds. 
Philip was approached by another TSA officer.  “Get back to work, Philip.”
“Boss, is it just me, or does every foreigner that passes through here get stranger day by day?”  Philip simply shook his head.  “A German guy tried to sell me a blender!”
“He was Russian, fool.  Couldn’t you tell by the Spetsnaz tattoo he had on his arm?”  The chief walked off, leaving Philip bewildered and confused. 

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This book has 4 comments.

kuma429 said...
on Aug. 20 2016 at 11:48 am
kuma429, Frisco, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Thank you for feedback!

on Aug. 19 2016 at 7:47 pm
Chrissiana1320 BRONZE, Hypoluxo, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It isn't what you can do with your strength, but how you chose to use."

-By me, I think.

It is an interesting piece! I loved how details in your writing made everything come to life, just like Jtatsu said.

kuma429 said...
on Aug. 15 2016 at 1:33 pm
kuma429, Frisco, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Thanks! You'll be seeing more of "Tojo-San" and his companions soon!

on Aug. 15 2016 at 12:55 pm
Jtatsu PLATINUM, East Brunswick, New Jersey
26 articles 0 photos 77 comments
I really enjoyed this piece! I especially appreciate your use of details; they really made the story come to life. I could easily picture this as a real anime or manga. Your characters were well developed and believable, and I liked all the different angles you described Tojo in-it makes him all the more relatable. Good job!