Chapter Ten | Change in character

The secretary pointed the two women towards a couple of chairs in the lobby.

<Please wait there,> she said softly. <Again, Usaka-san will be with you shortly.>

Kimiko followed Megumi to the chairs. Megumi took a seat, with Kimiko following suit. Kimiko started to breathe heavily, thinking of the last few interviews she blew.

Megumi placed her hand over Kimiko's, looking at her recruit. <Nervous?> she asked.

Kimiko nodded.

<Don't be. Usaka-san can be a bit harsh, but he's just a big softy.>
<Really?> Kimiko asked skeptically.
<Yes, really.> Megumi laughed. <Don't worry. He's probably more concerned with making a good impression on you than anything.>


Usaka walked towards the elevator, buttoning up his suit jacket while his secretary talked to him.

<Usaka-san,> she said. <You have Director Sonoda of TPCD on Line 1; a representative from the Assassin and Ninja Guilds on Lines 2 and 3, respectively; field agent 368 on Line 4 and agent 521 on Line 5.>

Usaka didn't look at the secretary, but finished buttoning his jacket and took out a comb to straighten his hair. He stopped in front of a mirror to better do his work, and then addressed the concerns brought before him.

<Tell Sonoda that Sony Enforcement isn't cooperating with his department after the debacle they forced us to go through last night. I told him not to cross Sony.>

<Yes sir; and the others?> the secretary said, taking notes.

<The Assassin Guild's dead operative is not my concern anymore. He got in our way and was after one of my operatives to boot. I don't care if it is Master Tsubasa on the phone. The Ninja Guild won the contract they were bidding for, you can tell them that.>

<Okay; and your operatives?>

<368 can go ahead with his operation as soon as the police clear out of there. Tell the same to agent 521.>

<Yes sir.>

<Is there anything else?>

<No sir; thank you for your time.>

<It's not a problem,> Usaka said as he put his comb away and walked the rest of the way to the elevator. <As soon as you give the respective parties their messages, make sure to tell them I apologize for not dealing with them directly.>

<Certainly sir,> the secretary said, bowing.

<Oh, and you can take the rest of the day off after that. Tell little Aoi-chan I said 'hi.'>

<Thank you! Thank you very much sir,> she said, surprised.

<Don't mention it. Have a nice day,> Usaka said as he closed the elevator doors.


Traveling down the elevator shaft, Usaka tried to think of the best possible way to approach Nanasawa-san. It didn't take the length of the minute-long ride for him to get ready for his first encounter with his new Idol.

The elevator doors slid open, and Usaka Ian strolled out into the main lobby. Spotting Megumi, his eyes shifted to the nervous-looking woman sitting next to her. He smiled as he walked over to Kimiko.

<Good morning,> he said as he bowed. <I'm sorry for keeping you waiting. My name is Usaka Ian.>

He extended his hand for a handshake. Kimiko stood and took Usaka's hand and smiled as she shook it.

<He has a firm handshake,> she thought as she said, <My name is Nanasawa Kimiko. It's nice to meet you.>

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