Chapter 19 : Head Honchos
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“Where are we?” Al asked.
“Han’s place,” she said.
It didn’t take long for Al to notice that most of the artwork and features were Chinese and not Japanese. For a second he wondered if Han would mind them just shoving into his house like this but then remembered that Shiori was with him. She had gotten a portkey in a moment’s notice while everyone else had to wait and get official authorization.
He hated favoritism but he had to admit that hers was coming in handy.
They hadn’t told anyone where they were going because it would just raise too many annoying questions.
She grabbed a set of car keys on the table before leading him out the front door and down a few flights of stairs. They arrived in an underground parking lot. She clicked his keys and a car across the lot beeped.
Al’s mouth dropped open. It was beautiful. A silver Aston Martin V12 2014. Han clearly wanted to be James Bond.
“Want me to drive?” he asked hopefully.
“Not a chance,” she shot him down.
They both got in and Shiori started up the heavy duty engine that roared like a kitten. She drove out of the parking lot and they were instantly hit by the bright neon lights of downtown Tokyo.
Even though it was about half-past nine in the evening, the place was alive with activity. Hundreds of people walked the streets, all the shops were still open and the night life was only just getting started. It was an amazing sight but Al couldn’t help feel that a person could so get swallowed up and lost by the massive metropolis. The city was like a living thing.
They continued past the shopping district and headed towards Tokyo Tower.
After another ten minutes of driving, they reached what looked like a financial district of Tokyo. It was full of huge glass and steel towers and skyscrapers. In the centre, Tokyo tower was lit up like a giant metal Christmas tree.
Shiori pulled into a side street and turned off the engine.
They both got out of the car and she locked it with a click of the keys. She pulled out her wand and gave it a wave causing a wheel clamp to materialize around the front tire and a parking ticket to pop up on the wind screen.
“Nice trick,” Al smirked. He’d have to remember that one. Parking in London was a nightmare.
“Albus...don’t forget where you are. Once we are in there, ignore everything you see. All the glamour and beauty, just pretend it’s not there and don’t for one second trust them,” Shiori warned.
Al nodded. He wasn’t stupid enough to underestimate the All Seers.
They walked back onto the main road and towards the busy city streets.
“There it is,” she said.
“That?” Al asked, pointing to a small, run down building that looked abandoned. It was lodged in between a pair of skyscrapers and had construction tape all over it which probably said: Condemned.
“No, that,” she said, pointing to the skyscraper next to it.
Al looked a little confused for a second.
“What were you expecting; a dungeon with a secret entrance?”
“Err...yeah...” he admitted.
“The cloak and dagger days are long gone, Albus. Now the best place to hide is in plain sight.”
She led the way. They crossed the busy street and walked towards the lobby of the skyscraper. Al instantly spotted several armed guards, all wearing security uniforms. They were standing around talking next to a large desk just in front of a bunch of metal detectors.
Just as they began to approach the revolving doors to the lobby, one of the guards turned and picked up a phone. He then looked up and eyeballed Al and Shiori before putting the phone down.
Al and Shiori walked into the lobby and up to the guards. They didn’t say anything and instead just moved aside so that they could walk passed without going through the metal detectors.
They walked over and got into one of the elevators.
The doors closed. Neither of them had to push any buttons, the elevator was being controlled from somewhere else. Judging by the time it took, they must have gone all the way to the top of the building.
When the doors opened Al found himself face-to-face with the man he had seen in the I.I.A. picture.
He look exactly as he had then, wearing a white suit and dark shades that obscured his eyes completely. This time however, he was carrying a samurai sword that was sitting in its black holster. Something inside Al’s gut told him that that sword had ended a lot of lives.
The Seraphim looked at Shiori then bowed. She returned his gesture.
The Seraphim held out his hand, as if asking for payment. Shiori pulled out her wand and handed it to him. Albus didn’t have a wand to give but The Seraphim wasn’t appeased. He stared at Albus and continued to hold his hand out.
Albus sighed, he knew what he wanted.
He pulled the H&K USP .45 out of the back of his trousers, made sure it was safe and handed to him while Shiori’s eyes went wide in shock.
“Where did you get that?!” she hissed.
“The police gave it to me,” Al shrugged.
“Tell ya later.”
The Seraphim moved aside to allow Albus and Shiori to pass.
The floors were polished marble and exotic plants hung from the ceiling. Just in front of them was a large wooden double door. Not the type of thing you’d expect to see in a modern building.
They only had a chance to take a few steps forward before the doors opened.
Al was immediately stunned by her beauty. The picture did not do her justice. Her long, platinum hair fell down to her mid-section and she wore a white gown that hung loosely on her body but still managed to show off her curves. Her dark brown eyes were locked on Shiori and joyous smile was plastered all over her face.
“Shiori, it’s so good to see you!” Ariel said heartedly, walking towards her. “You’ve grown so much, you look absolutely divine...but of course, how could you not?”
Shiori didn’t bow and she was not smiling. She simply nodded her head slightly and said: “Ariel.”
Her buoyant face turned to Albus.
“And you’ve brought us a guest. Albus Potter, congratulation on the second task. We were very impressed with your performance,” she smiled.
“Come,” Ariel said, turning around and leading through the wooden doors.
Inside was a long corridor, decorated in the same way as the room before only this one had several large and very comfortable looking sofas on the side.
“Shiori, you can wait here. We won’t be long,” Ariel said.
Shiori didn’t object. She simply gave Albus one more pleading look that was her way of begging him not to be enticed by them.
“Why does she have to wait here?” Al asked.
“Because she has no wish to speak to us and so we won’t force her to,” Ariel said simply. “You, on the other hand, came here for answers.”
Ariel walked down the corridor towards a second set of wooden double doors. Al followed her, suddenly feeling quite vulnerable.
The double doors opened by themselves and Ariel stepped through. Behind them was a huge open room that resembled something you’d see in ancient Greece. Pillars made of marble, exotic plants, silk fabrics draped across the walls and even an indoor fountain that followed freely into a large pool in the centre of the room.
The pool was being heated somehow because there were giant clusters of steam rising from the surface. It looked a lot like the hot spring that was outside Scarlet and Blakely’s place.
Albus had to admit, the All Seers lived in style.
“Thank you, we decorated it ourselves,” Ariel said causing Al’s heart to skip a beat.
Suddenly it was so obvious.
“You’re a -”
“Mind reader? What gave me away?” Ariel grinned.
She gracefully walked over to the heated pool and knelt down next to it. She picked up a large gown off the floor that was similar to hers only this one was dark red.
“My love, we have a visitor,” she said softly.
“I know...I’ve so been looking forward to meeting you, Albus Potter...” a seductive voice said, coming from inside the large pocket of steam.
Albus couldn’t actually see her but it could have only been one person.
A few seconds later, a woman, just as beautiful as Ariel stepped out of the pool. She was soaking wet and completely naked but didn’t seem to care. She made no attempt to hide her body from Al, who tried desperately to look away. It was only then that he noticed Saya was actually wearing a dark red, satin blindfold over her eyes.
Of course, he got the distinct impression that she had no problems with her eyesight.
Saya walked over to Ariel who gently slipped the gown onto her body. The way they moved and touched, the proximity of their bodies, it was obvious; Saya and Ariel weren’t just partners in crime; they were lovers.
Once she had tied her gown off, Ariel walked away and took a seat in a strange looking deck chair that had cushions all over it. Next to it was a bowl of fruit and a cocktail which she started sipping.
“Come here, Albus, let me look at you,” Saya said smoothly.
Albus hesitantly walked over and she studied his features through the blindfold. She stopped when she reached his face.
“Such beautiful eyes,” she breathed. “They say, the eyes are the windows to our soul.”
“Is that why you wear a blindfold?” Al couldn’t help asking.
Saya laughed with pleasure. “It helps me concentrate.”
“Everything. The past, the present, the future.”
Al’s jaw opened in astonishment. “You’re a seer?”
“No...we don’t look into crystal balls, read tea leaves and make hokey predictions, Albus...I watch fate, twining its strands around the lives of everyone in this world. Destiny is a living thing and you can watch it at work...if you know where to look.”
It all made sense. Of course the All Seers were just as powerful, if not more so than the rumors had said. A mind reader and future seer, working together could accomplish anything. They could never be surprised, never be lied to, never be betrayed and know exactly when and where to act.
“We’ve been watching you for a very long time...” she said causing Al’s pulse to race.
“Did you think your father was the only one in this world with a destiny?” she chuckled lightly to herself, amused at his adolescence. “There are many destinies in this world, Albus, and all of them begin with a single choice. Sometimes, that choice is so small and insignificant that it can barely be called a choice at all and sometimes, it’s a decision that you’ll never forget. Very soon, you’ll have to make yours.”
“What choice?” he breathed.
“We can’t say, it’s your choice to make.”
“Don’t be frightened, Albus,” Ariel said, “we know you’ll make the right decision.”
Albus only just picked up on the fact that they always referred to themselves as we. As if they didn’t exist as individuals but were actually two parts of a single entity.
“Some people would call that true love,” Ariel said, reading his thoughts. “One soul, inhabiting two bodies...” she looked at Saya with nothing but happiness in her eyes.
Saya smiled, somehow knowing that Ariel was looking at her.
“Your future is still clouded...I can only see bits and pieces because your fate isn’t yet final. But...I can show you what I’ve seen...if you wish?” Saya asked.
Albus’s heart pounded like a drum inside his chest. Did he want to know what the future held for him? Maybe it was best not to. What if it caused him to act differently which put others in danger? But then, what if it showed him a way to protect them?
Ariel smiled in delight and Saya looked impressed. She moved closer to him and Albus didn’t back away. Before he could react, she pressed her lips to his. It was a gentle kiss that seemed to carry incredible power inside it.
Al’s eyes shot open. Something was happening!
Suddenly, like a portkey, he was ripped away from the room.
Then he was standing in the Hogwarts Astronomy Tower. Severus Snape was next to him with his wand raised at a defenseless Albus Dumbledore.
The green light shot through the air and Dumbledore tumbled from the tower.
He was jerked away again, only to find himself inside the Great Hall.
Voldemort’s spell collided with his father’s as golden streams of light erupted around them.
He didn’t have time to see Voldemort’s body hit the ground because he was blasted away again. This time he found himself in a room at St. Mungo’s. His mother was there, exhausted and smiling as she handed a small bundle to Harry.
Two pairs of emerald green eyes met for the first time.
“Hello Albus...I’m your father...” he whispered.
He was ripped away again, arriving in a corridor in Hogwarts. He was twelve years old, extending a hand to a frightened Scorpius Malfoy who had been knocked onto the ground.
Then he was fourteen, his pinning a sixth year’s shoulders to the ground as he laid one gloriously brutal punch after another into his face, taking Scorp’s revenge for him.
“The Hogwarts Champion is Albus Severus Potter!”
He was standing in the Paradise Atrium, watching the horrified looks of the students as Watanabe read out his name.
He was pulled away again, this time finding himself in a desolate wasteland. It looked almost as if the earth had been scorched clean of color. The sky, the dirt, everything was polychromatic.
To his left, Scarlet screamed as a ball of fire engulfed her body.
Then the wasteland was gone and Albus was looking at himself. He was holding the Tri-wizard cup in his hand.
Everything changed for a final time.
Albus was in an empty open room that had broken bits of pipe and metal all over the place. On the floor, Shiori lay in a pool of her own blood. Bullet holes had riddled her body.
He saw himself knelt over her, a gun in his hand. Then he saw his own face. It was covered in blood that was gushing from a wound in his forehead.
A wound in the shape of a lightning bolt.
Suddenly he was back. Saya was in front of him, gazing at him through the blindfold. Ariel was still sat on her deck chair, breathing heavily as if she had just had sex.
“What...what was all that?!” Albus breathed.
“The future...the past...some of the things that have led you to this point,” Saya nodded.
“Yes,” Saya looked away. “An ugly part of the future that I don’t want to see come to pass.”
“But...” Suddenly Albus felt a biting, stinging pain in his right shoulder. He pulled his sleeve up and his eyes went wide. “What the hell is this?!”
There was a moving dragon tattoo on his arm. It was different to the Toko Clan tattoo because it was missing the dagger but this dragon seemed a lot more alive than theirs did. It was twisting it’s self around like a snake and baring its teeth.
“Just a little something to remember us by...” Ariel smiled, sipping her drink.
“I don’t need any help to remember you two!”
“You’re sweet,” Ariel laughed.
“You do see our dilemma though, don’t you,” Saya said seriously. “It appears that Shiori’s life may be coming to an end very soon...that is unacceptable. We want you to save her.”
“Shiori is more important to the future than you can possibly understand, Albus. If Saito’s bloodline is destroyed, this world will follow,” Ariel added.
“What do you mean...Shiori’s going to...save the world someday?!” Al blurted, rubbing the stinging tattoo on his arm.
“She’ll do much more than that.”
“Why me? Why can’t you two save her?”
“Because your fate is undecided. You future can still change and therefore, you can also change others. We are not in the habit of asking favors, Albus, but we must ask this of you...please save our daughter...” Saya actually did sound as if she were begging.
“Saya adopted her after her parents died,” Ariel informed.
“She has no love for us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love her. She must be saved, Albus, promise me you will try,” Saya pleaded.
“We’ll give you whatever help we can,” Ariel added.
“But in the end, it may come down to you and you alone.”
Albus couldn’t believe this. The world had certainly taken a turn for the surreal. The two most powerful criminals in the world were asking for his help, Shiori was some kind of chosen one and it looked like he would win the Tri-wizard cup and end up with the very same scar that his father has.
For some reason, his little speech that he spouted off to Shiori at the party entered his mind. What he said about doing the right thing and protecting innocent people no matter what. He had meant every word of it.
“I’ll do what I can. It might not be very easy to protect her though, she doesn’t exactly like me much,” Al said.
“Don’t be so sure...” Ariel winked.
“Thank you, Albus. I’d advise you to keep an eye on Scarlet as well. She’s not out of the woods yet either,” Saya said, removing the blindfold and showing her deep blue eyes for the first time. “All the champions are in danger and I have no doubt that this affects Shiori’s fate, so we should focus on the problems at hand first.”
“Which are?” Al asked.
“The Toko Clan and the rogue Toushi of course,” Ariel said.
“Katsumi,” Al nodded.
“Shiori is incredibly powerful but Katsumi is older, has had more training and is vastly more experienced than her. She’ll need your help to defeat her,” Saya informed. “The Toko Clan...well, that maybe a bit more tricky this time around...”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve seen the tattoos,” Ariel said.
“Yeah, but -”
“Those are no ordinary tattoos, Albus. Someone, of very impressive power and intelligence has designed those tattoos with the sole purpose of blocking our vision,” she explained.
“You can’t see their futures?!” Al asked, looking worried and stunned.
“Quite ingenious. We’d love to know who invented them,” Ariel remarked.
“However, they don’t completely obscure our sight,” Saya smiled.
“We still saw the Salem Witches being attacked.”
Al suddenly clocked it and felt rather stupid for not realizing sooner.
“You sent me the message!”
“And party? Why did you say Shiori was in danger when that guy was clearly there for me?”
“If you hadn’t shown up at the party, that deranged lunatic would have gone to more extreme methods of getting revenge. We felt it prudent to simply have you deal with it then and there,” Saya said.
“It hardly hurt your reputation,” Ariel chuckled.
Another obvious, but hard to spot fact had just come to light.
“You made the Daily Prophet right those articles about us,” Al said, spelling out the truth.
“We do hate to see good people get bad press,” Saya smirked.
“And no one is going to shed any tears when you kill Katsumi.”
“You just said that -”
“I said Shiori would need your help to defeat her. You will help her by killing Katsumi for her.”
“Don’t you want to?” Saya asked with raised eyebrows.
“I...I don’t take any pleasure from killing!” Al growled.
“Oh, yes you do,” Ariel smirked darkly.
“That rage inside you is very powerful and you enjoy using it to punish evil people. There is no shame in feeling good about dispensing justice,” Saya said proudly.
“Of course, there is a big difference between the law and justice...”
“Funny statement, coming from you two,” Al hissed.
His anger only seemed to excite them.
“We disobey the law -”
“We do not disobey justice,” Ariel said.
“Unlike your father...”
“What?!” Al barked.
“He used to fight for what you do, Albus. Good, honor, love, justice...now, he’s a slave to the law...he’s forced to let known criminals go just because there isn’t enough evidence...you wouldn’t let that happen though, would you Albus?” Ariel said, almost teasing him.
“That’s what we like about you, Albus. The big difference between you and your father is quite simple...he has limits, you do not,” Saya ginned.
There was more evil in her smile than he’d ever seen before.
Al could have attacked them both right then and there but he wasn’t going to and they already knew it. That’s why they were provoking him.
Saya sighed and nodded to Ariel. They had had their fun.
“There is a club called the Snake Pit in downtown Toyko. Shiori knows where it is. That’s where you’ll find Katsumi. How long she plans to stay there, we don’t know,” she said in a slightly bored tone.
“Thought you couldn’t see her?”
“We have eyes and ears everywhere, Albus,” Ariel said happily.
“Like the mole at Hokkaido? The I.I.A. said -”
“The I.I.A.” Saya laughed, “they are more corrupt than we are! We like to tease them with false information occasional. It’s fun to watch them chasing their tails. As for our mole, well, you needn’t worry. Our ‘mole’ has been looking out for you since the moment you arrived at that school.”
Saya walked over to Ariel’s deck chair and lay down next to her, allowing Ariel to stroke her hair. This was a signal that their meeting was over.
Albus stood up, giving them one last cautious look before heading to the door.
“Oh, Albus,” Saya called out. “Do keep in touch,” she winked causing Ariel to laugh.
Al didn’t even want to know what she found so funny. He walked out of the double doors and back down the corridor.
Shiori was waiting for him. She stood up immediately.
“You don’t want to know...you know where a place called the Snake Pit is?” he asked.
“That’s where we’re going.”
They walked towards the elevator and The Seraphim handed them back their things. He bowed once again to Shiori before the lift doors closed.
They stood in silence as the elevator travelled down. Al scratched his arm where the tattoo was itching a little.
Shiori noticed. Her eyes filled with fury and she ripped his sleeve upwards, revealing the moving dragon tattoo.
“You let them mark you?!” she said in outrage.
“What? No! I just...she did this weird thing to me and then this thing was suddenly on my arm!” he didn’t want to tell her what he had seen of her future.
“Albus, this is a cattle brand! It means you belong to them now! With that, they can find you anywhere in the world!” she screamed, looking ready to punch him.
“I didn’t know! It was just there all of a sudden!”
“I told you not to trust them!”
“What else did they do, what did they tell you?!” she demanded.
“They said that Katsumi is at this place; the Snake Pit and that we’d stop her together,” he said quickly.
Shiori turned away, seething with rage. “I never should have brought you here!”
Al wanted to say something else but the words wouldn’t come. Was it true? Did he really belong to the All Seers now?
More importantly, could he change Shiori’s future?
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