Chapter 5: The Yamazaki Corporation
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon, Pokemon Conquest
Rating: Young Adult
Amy and I were invited to join Yusaburo Yamazaki, the Yamazaki Corporation’s Chief Operations Officer, into their shipping warehouse. This is where the alleged contraband had been stored. I was surprised that Yusaburo had let us in so easily, considering that obtaining these goods were very suspicious. Either he is not aware that the shipment raised flags on our end or he is setting us up for a trap.
“I’m glad that the two of you can join us,” said Yusaburo as he led us to the warehouse. “Especially you, Prof. Ginkgo. As a warlord family, my brothers and I have been very curious about this super-computer thing you’ve been working on.”
I was flattered that he knew about my latest project. Naturally it was all the buzz in the latest PokéSci Journal issue, with my bust on the cover. The photo shoot was annoying, but I guess that’s something I would have to get used to if I plan to have a high profile.
“Actually, it’s not a super-computer,” I said. “The program I used to create the database is very basic, so that its functionality can be replicated on any computer. That way all of our universities, affiliates, and law enforcement agencies can use it.”
“But they’re all connected to one large server, aren’t they?”
“While the University of Pokémon Studies has a very extensive library, the software is independent for any group that uses it. That way anyone can add, modify, and analyze anyone they choose for their own needs. Of course, you can update an entire library from one system to another, granted you trust the other operator, but evaluating who to watch and who to trust is still judged solely on one’s intuition.”
I noticed that Amy walked briskly with a tense frown on her face. She must have been angry about something, so I asked her.
“It must be nice to talk about that kind of stuff around me when I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said. “All this talk of super-computers and databases makes my head spin.”
“I’m sorry, Amy, I didn’t mean to mock you or anything–”
I gasped as Amy stopped in her tracks and faced me with only a few centimeters’ distance between us.
“Don’t call me that in public, Shuichi!” she said, using my first name in retaliation.
“My apologies, Ms. Chien,” I said with a sigh.
“That’s Officer Chien to you!”
Yusaburo, who clearly had no idea how else to react to our aside, led us into the warehouse and to the boxes in question.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It was already mid-day, and most of the employees had already gone home since their shifts began early morning. Still, for some reason there was a guard down practically every aisle accompanied by strong pokémon. I knew that the Yamazaki Corporation was a large business and was also known for their security detail, but I didn’t know what that entailed. Yusaburo did the honors of opening one of the large, thin boxes for Amy and I to see.
Inside the box were ten ceremonial lances, each carefully lain so that they looked uniform and pristine. This would explain why the boxes were all long but thin because they should not tatter themselves during shipment. Still, however, the Yamazaki Corporation had at least fifty of these boxes from our reports, and were verified by Yusaburo when we asked him about it. That’s five hundred lances.
“What exactly are you planning to do with these lances, Mr. Yamazaki?” I asked bluntly.
“For what other reason?” he said casually. “We’re giving them to our security staff for our upcoming customer appreciation festival. Our company doesn’t have the budget to train and arm all of our security, since there are so many of them, but we got these at an unbelievably low price.”
For a large company, the Yamazaki Corporation is surprisingly cheap, considering that they boast about their security detail.
“How exactly do you plan to arm all of your security guards with lances without proper training? If something were to happen at this festival, they could get themselves killed!”
“I’ll be training the officers myself once they are all issued,” said Yusaburo. “But mainly the lances are to intimidate any threats. As you probably know professor, the very presence of guards is enough to prevent most crimes.”
What he says is true, but even the most dangerous of criminals will see through this facade and I was worried that many lives could be lost if there was in fact a threat.
“Of course, when it comes down to it, the pokémon are the real fighters,” continued Yusaburo. “Our security guards are trainers with decent combat skills, not trained warriors like my brothers and me. Pokémon are very useful tools, aren’t they?”
I can’t believe this guy. Not only does he have no respect for his security detail, but he thinks of pokémon as tools. Warlord or not, Yusaburo Yamazaki has a really lousy personality. Amy stayed relatively quiet, despite the fact she was supposed to take the lead on this case, but because he was interested in me specifically, I had most of his attention.
“How could you have so little respect for them?” I shouted.
Yusaburo was taken aback as some of the security guards approached us. Amy tried holding me back as I caused a scene, but my anger could not be contained.
“Pokémon are tools? Trainers are tools? Is that your warrior’s way? People like you make me sick!”
“What’s wrong with thinking that?” said Yasaburo slyly. “We use them by paying them and they are satisfied with just that. They are simply part of our extensive budget as expendible employees.”
“I’ve heard enough! People like you have to be stopped!”
“The warrior’s way is not with words, but with action. You want to stop me, you’ll have to force me.”
Yusaburo released Floatzel, a water pokémon that stood on two webbed feet and had fins for hands. He then ordered Floatzel to attack me whether I was ready or not. Floatzel charged at me at high speed, preparing its fin to strike like a dagger.
I quickly released my own Politoed, a frog pokémon, along with my item ball. Without command, Politoed saw his opponent and fired a hydro pump at Floatzel to prevent it from hitting me. As the two pokémon abruptly calmed after the brief quarrel, I held my weapon, Ginkgo no Kusari, in both hands in an attack position.
Ginkgo no Kusari is a modified kusarigama. While the long chain length remained the same, the two sickles on either end were replaced by fan-shaped blades, painted bright green to look like ginkgo leaves. Lady Erika had this weapon forged specifically for me when she decided that I would become her vassal.
“Well, you’re quite an interesting fellow after all,” said Yusaburo. “I thought it was strange that a mere pokémon professor would be interested in warlords, but now it makes sense. The professor himself is a warrior!”
The security guards and their pokémon took their own aggressive stances in order to challenge me, but Yusaburo waved them down, as if saying he would take care of it. The guards backed down and made space for us. Amy also kept her distance.
“I’m happy to know you wield a kusarigama for a weapon, Prof. Ginkgo,” said Yusaburo. “I have mastered a variety of weapons, but kusarigama is still my favorite. Allow me to fight you with my own.”
Yusaburo released his own kusarigama from his item ball. His, however, was a classic model with a sickle on one end and a ball-shaped weight on the other. I’m not very good with weapons, let alone kusarigama, but typically that weight will be the end he uses to try and disarm me while the sickle will be used to hack at me.
As I prepared a length of chain in my left hand to strike at him at mid-range, he dashed down the aisle away from me. His Floatzel followed, as did my Politoed. Some might think this is a coward’s move, but he was probably smart enough to look for open space instead. He may be a warlord, but he knows not to have a battle like this inside a warehouse where all of his company’s assets are stored.
I chased him down with a tiny smile, considering that I actually might change my opinion about him. He may be a jerk to his employees, but he’s not entirely barbaric.
I followed him to the loading dock, where all the trucks were parked for the day but still had space for us to battle. I stopped and rested to catch my breath because getting out this way was a fairly long distance. My opponent was not very pleased.
“Tired already, Professor?” he mocked me. “I guess you really are all bark and no bite. So tell me, who’s your warlord? Or are you just another ronin?”
I couldn’t tell him about Erika. I couldn’t risk getting her in trouble just because I brought this upon myself.
“That’s none of your business, Yamazaki.”
“Well that’s too bad,” said Yusaburo. “If your master were one of our affiliates, I would be obliged not to kill you.”
Yusaburo spun the weighted length and the sickle length at the same time. I never tried that before because both lengths would be significantly shorter and I wouldn’t have control over either end when I hurled them at my opponent. What was he thinking?
Meanwhile, his Floatzel spun its two tails in the same fashion, like propellers from behind. They were very well coordinated, almost in perfect synch.
Politoed stepped from side to side as if he were dancing. This was his normal way of preparing for another water strike. So that’s the plan. Looks like I’ll have to trust Politoed to take the lead this time.
Yusaburo hurled one end of the chain directly at me while his Floatzel fired a bubblebeam attack. I didn’t know which end he threw at me, and the bubbles prevented me from seeing them clearly. I quickly switched to a defensive position and used my blades like shields. Politoed fired small water gun shots in quick succession at the bubbles so that they would dissipate before hitting me. Yusaburo’s chain approached faster than I could see, but it curved away and headed straight for Politoed!
Politoed was not prepared for the strike and I couldn’t react fast enough to protect him, but clearly the sickle-end of his kusarigama swooped in and slashed his stomach. The wound wasn’t serious because there wasn’t enough momentum, but my pokémon still flinched out of fear.
“Politoed, get a hold of yourself!” I cried to my pokémon.
The Floatzel dashed up to me and slapped me with its powerful fin. I fell to the ground, ginkgo no kusari still in my hands.
“How pathetic, you let your guard down,” said Yusaburo. “This is why I don’t get too attached to pokémon or other people. They make you weaker every time you stop and think about them.”
Yusaburo returned his Floatzel and turned his back on me. I was still pinned to the ground.
“Where are you going, huh? Weren’t you going to kill me? To protect your honor?”
Yusaburo waved his hand as if to refuse something.
“You’re too weak for me to care about killing you, Professor,” he said. “Killing you would be more detrimental to my reputation than actually getting killed by you. After all, I’d still be alive to regret it.”
He was challenging me. He said that even while putting aside his weapon. He wanted me to attack him again? My thoughts told me not to attack, but my feelings could not be denied in this moment. I got up and charged at him from behind, both fan-shaped blades in my hands for a melee strike. Forget the fact I was a professor. I wanted him to hurt. I wanted him to regret ever thinking I was pathetic.
But before I could make a decisive blow, a familiar weapon blocked my attack. A shakujo, the priest’s staff. Kanon Aizawa, the woman I had to battle when I first followed the path of a warrior, used one. But Aizawa is no longer here. This shakujo and its wielder were very different.
The staff itself still had a large ring at the end, but only had three smaller rings linked to it. Shakujos typically had an even number of rings on them, representing some kind of balance in the rituals they were used for; not to mention it kept some kind of balance physically.
The wielder was a priestess, wearing the traditional garments and short black hair. She was still relatively young, about my age, perhaps. Why she would be protecting Yusaburo is beyond my comprehension. As I stared her down, holding tightly to ginkgo no kusari, she backed away from me and gasped.
I gasped too. Looking at her was like looking through a mirror. Despite our clothes and our figures, her face looked exactly like mine.