The next day, when Ozumi wakes up, she's emptier than she was the day before. Today they were bound to meet, she made sure all the plans went according to her agenda. All the rest, the sorrows and the pain, she leaves it behind in her temporary room in the cabin.
After getting ready and stepping to the common area, her demeanor changes. She walks with the confidence she had perfected over the years.
The child was removed from John's root shackles after their plan failed. The first phase of the emergency plan wasn't as successful as expected, and in the meantime, Francis is losing his cool. Ozumi has to keep her group in check in order to prevent the panic among them.
The Guild's reputation falls with every loss to the Detective Agency and the previous day was no exception. Before John and Howard can stunt and paralyze for the lack of instruction, Ozumi rises to the occasion and grabs them with an authoritative grip no one can escape. Even with strained relationships, the two combatants would pledge to Ozumi's plan due to the absence of other options or orders from Francis. She is their best chance at winning.
Hours pass and the sun is high in the clear sky. restless energy is starting to settle among the group. Some want to leave, defending that their purpose in that place is no longer. Some want to evade the Detective Agency when they are vulnerable.
To Ozumi, all these supposed solutions are idiotic. Why escape now or try and attack when she knows they will come to them freely. When what they hold, or what their enemies think they hold, is too precious for them to pass on. An obvious trap, just as obvious as the trap the Guild itself fell for before, for the exact same reason. They want to retrieve the child and as long as they believe her location is a cabin in the woods, that is exactly where they will go.
They think the Guild should be in a weakened state, but Ozumi's forces will prove the contrary.
"Why should I even listen to you?" John glares at her. "Last time you tried to take control of the situation, you were more than happy to hurt me, even though we are on the same side. I happen to not follow people I don't trust."
A smug smile breaks Ozumi's expression as she speaks.
"Let me explain to you what is happening at this exact moment with the Port Mafia and Detective Agency," her gaze skims between Howard, John and all the men behind them, no longer hidden in the bushes of the exterior. "A meeting was arranged, at a very public space between the two organizations. They will quarrel and argue for a few minutes, it is basically tradition between them. However, despite their disagreements, they have one thing in common. They desire the Guild gone from Yokohama. Retrieve their biggest threat, that pester of a child, is only the first step. Their methods diverge and they will not come to an agreement, however the Port Mafia will send us a gift. Meanwhile, here we are, ready to run away. Not trusting each other. In alert due to the fact that one might betray the other."
"Can you blame us?" John mutters.
Ozumi raises her hand to her heart and slightly bows to both the men. To all the armed agents in front of her. Her eyes are honest and her words honeyed.
"Trust me with your lives and I shall lead us to victory."
It takes a few seconds, Ozumi's fingers start to twitch, but finally, they nod in agreement.
"For now, all we have to do is wait."
The roles are assigned. Communication is not a problem for Ozumi, she tells no lies, but she might occult some parts of the truth. With careful choice of words, she ellabores a speech and reasonable reasons for them to follow. As long as her orders are obeyed, there will be no problem. Ozumi won't blame anyone who wants to run, to hide, to give up. But don't blame her for what she might do in that situation.
The dire moment approaches.
"We've been doing nothing but wait around all day." John complains. "What makes you so sure anyone will actually appear. Someone worth all this manpower nonetheless."
"Have you ever met Mori?" Ozumi asks.
"Exactly. The boss of the Port Mafia. I happen to know this man better than he knows himself. The way he thinks, his schemes and plans. Always follows the same ways of doing, ever since he claimed his current position. As of this moment, he believes to have the upper hand, as a result that not even his temporary allies know what he is going to do. He will send them together, he is certain that the most feared duo in Yokohama will take care of this with no effort. Let me be clear, their reputation precedes them, I want all these men here in case me and Howard can't hold them."
Carefully, she builds her speech. Carefully threads the half-truths.
"Who are these people?"
"Chuuya Nakahara and Osamu Dazai."
Normally, solemnly the mention of their name would make armies shake in their boots and declare defeat before the action. But to those who don't know them, the reaction is of uncertainty and hesitance. The names don't ring bells, don't change demeanors. Which makes this the perfect crowd for Ozumi.
"However, Mori is an idiot. He suffers of age and some thoughts escape his mind, some variables do not even cross him. He appears to have forgotten all about the times this duo used to be a trio." she murmurs. "And the missing member is no other than myself."
"Oh, so that's why you act so big and mighty. Like you know better. Because you actually do for once. It's a shame you are only now revealing this information." John smiles sinisterly, a smile of a victor.
"Maybe you should have done your homework. The same goes for Mori. The Port Mafia would've prioritized neutralizing me if they knew I was with the Guild."
"You betrayed them." John says assertively.
"All for the Guild."
The wind blows softly. Ozumi shows her reassuring smile to her peers and bites the inside of her lips in attempts to contain the thrill.
"For our mission tonight," Ozumi starts again. "Howard, you will bind Osamu Dazai before he can make use of his ability. He will be the first to appear, always has been. I will deal with Chuuya Nakahara myself. Don't interrupt, don't meddle in, don't endeavor as a hero. In case something happens to me, Howard knows what to do. Now, it's about time, everyone to their positions!" she shouts.
Ozumi followed behind John and Howard behind the trees, protected by a group of armed men and women. Slow and steady as to appreciate the rise of the climax and the breeze of the night.
"The reunion of the century." she mumbles with fury.
Half an hour later, exactly as she predicted, Dazai shows himself first. Wide open, facing the door to the cabin. His back towards his enemies. Clearly he is no fool and Ozumi is aware of that. Always two, three, four steps ahead of his enemy. This time, the Guild is the one with a trump card.
The spotlights turn on. All directed to Dazai who remains calm and collected at the sudden light source and even when the soldiers load and point their guns at his unarmed figure. Not only that, but with an arm attached to his chest with white cloth.
"Pleasant evening, isn't it?" John greets. Howard by his side. "Seems like our official strategist isn't the only one who can make predictions."
Dazai turns around to face the duo, a smug smile on his face. With their backs to Ozumi, she has no idea how they look. Do they have more pretentious smiles than Dazai's,which is hard to compete against, knowing their play isn't over? Or are they keeping it cool until the grand reveal?
"Figures it would be a trap." Dazai says.
A brilliant mind. Brain of a manipulator, assassin and puppet master. However, not even Dazai would calculate for a comeback. And his peer is about to arrive at the scene.
Howard was the first to notice him, high in the air with his ability activated. Such a small figure makes quite the destruction in mere seconds. His gravity makes a path of destruction and takes out all the soldiers easily. They shoot in despair, not sure where to aim.
Chuuya Nakahara in the flesh.
"Let me set one thing straight." Chuuya uses his gravity pull so each of his steps while landing shake the ground. "Once I'm done taking out the trash, you're next, buddy."
He speaks to Dazai, and in response, he swivels his head dismissively.
"Give me a break, will ya?" Dazai sighs. "I knew there was a reason today was gonna suck."
"The hell?" John shouts. "I never heard about this in the strategic forecast!"
"My bad!" Ozumi shouts, calling out to everyone's attention. "I might have forgotten to mention that no amount of weaponry would make a difference."
With a striking smile, Ozumi strides from her hiding spot.
"It warms my heart to know that, after all these years, you two still have a close friendship. Chuuya, Dazai."
Her smile grows as their faces fall in disbelief. The proper reaction.
"It's not possible…" Dazai whispers.
"Oh, you did not think of me as dead, did you? Sooner or later I would come back. I am prone to hold on to my promises after all." Ozumi then turns to Chuuya. "What about you? Aren't you going to say anything?"
"What are you doing?" Chuuya's voice trembles in hesitation. "Why are you here?"
"C'mon Chuuya! More enthusiasm! It has been many years since I have last seen you! Let us do this properly, measure our strengths! Let us have the meeting of a lifetime!"
His crestfallen expression does not budge. He remains paralyzed staring at the woman he used to know.
"How about a little motivation?" Ozumi mumbles. "Howard!"
At the order, Howard extends his tentacles in mass towards Dazai. With no chance to retaliate, his body gets caught and tangled on tentacles until it hits a tree. Howard holds him there.
"Dazai!" Chuuya shouts.
"Even in different organizations, you worry about each other, how heartfelt , however you really should be focusing on me."
As Ozumi's ability activates, the heat rises. She lunges towards Chuuya, extending her arm, a pillar of flames lights from the palm of her hand. The man jumps out of the way, high above Ozumi. The flames hit the trees which burn in bright tones of red and orange.
As she speaks, Ozumi continues to launch pillars of fire towards Chuuya who manages to escape them with his gravity.
"Let's go Chuuya! Let's battle! You are always inching for a fight, right?" Ozumi's smile grows twisted. "I am telling you that I wish for a battle against gravity! Baby, I'm not afraid!"
Ozumi grabs her new whip from her hip. From the handle, the whip lightens with her flames before she launches it in Chuuya's direction. However, he changes the gravity pull of the whip and never reaches him. In the moment her arm deviates with the force of gravity applied to the whip, Chuuya takes advantage to crash into the ground right in front of her. Smoke rises, but Ozumi never falters. In a defensive stance, she prepares for Chuuya's attack. He, however, waits for the right moment to kick her side, his hand still in his pockets. She grunts in pain and steps back.
"Yes. This is it." Ozumi smiles as the pain vanishes. "Although, you ought to take me more seriously. I know you can do better than that."
"I don't want to fight you." Chuuya says, keeping his distance.
His chin tucked in as he peers under the flap of his hat.
"What are you talking about? Am I not the enemy? Do not tell me you turned into a coward while I was gone."
"You didn't used to be the enemy. Actually, I never thought of you as such."
"I leave the Port Mafia to join another secret organization and you think we remain friends? How stupid do you have to be?"
"You never told me you were leaving in the first place. You were a selfish bitch that left without a word. You never even told me about the Guild's offer."
"Hey, I did try. But you were always too busy."
As she finishes her setence, Ozumi leaves her whip on the ground and launches herself towards Chuuya using flames at the sole of her feet as propellers. In a fiery exchange, Ozumi gets closer and closer to him.
"That is no excuse. You could have told you were leaving, no matter how busy me or you were back then."
"You wanna reminisce right now? Then let's think back." Ozumi responds between strikes. "Did you ever make any efforts to see that I would not leave? Because from my perspective, you were done with me already!"
Every hit is more persistent and hotter than the one before. In search of a break, Chuuya changes his own gravity pull to stand above ground. To no avail as Ozumi uses her fire to follow behind him and continue her attacks which he evades and counters with gravity. But the fire starts to get a little too close.
"Maybe you have not noticed, however you, Chuuya, are the only one who is still in the Port Mafia's shackles. I moved on. Even Dazai moved on. However, you are the only one stuck with Mori like a lost puppy you are! This is why you make me sick!"
Ozumi unleashes a powerful fiery pillar from the palm of her hand at a basically blank point. She charges it with every dark and sorrow inside of her and heat continues to rise. At the last second, Chuuya is able to activate a protective shield around him, like a hamster ball.
After that attack, Ozumi stops in midair and faces Chuuya unharmed as she pants for air. The adrenaline keeps her going, but the fire at the sole of her feet grows weaker and slowly descends her to the ground. Chuuya's gaze follows her, not wanting to be the first to evade her eyes, Ozumi tilts her head upwards with a glare as she falls gracefully.
"If you hate me this much, why come back?" Chuuya asks, confusion and disbelief marking his face.
"This city took every last good thing I had in my life until I ran empty." she responds with less intensity than before. "My family was killed in a crossfire that involved the Port Mafia. My sister died due to an explosion that destroyed the only match of bone marrow she needed for her transplant. Her body did not accept the following donation. It reacted against her. Even you and Dazai, the one's I dared to call friends, you both were every bit as crooked as I was. Everyone I knew and loved either died or left. And I was left with nothing. It seems only fair that I burn this corrupted and dangerous city to the ground so no one else suffers from it's curse!" Ozumi spats the last setence.
With the strength she has left, she needs one last move. A final blow to finish off everyone who ever hurt her.
"I never left you!" Chuuya shouts frustrated.
Fire grows and wraps around her arms. Clenching her jaw and preparing for the clash back, Ozumi thrusts her palms to the ground.
"Shut up!" the fire user shouts back.
In seconds, all the vegetation, even the lodge catches fire and burns with her flames. The armed men yelp and cry in fright and in pain as some of them are caught in the fire.
"Come down here you coward!" Ozumi yells.
"Stop this, Ozumi!" Chuuya shouts louder.
"Lady Ozumi, you're taking this too far! I'm ending this." John advises.
Ozumi turns her head to John.
"But you haven't even filled your role yet." She giggles with bloodlust in her eyes. "Oh, well. Since you are rushing me."
She stretches her arm. Her face looks in relief as all the pain leaves her body and her power surges. At the same time, all the people around her fall and curve over themselves. Completely defenseless and weakened.
"What are you doing?" John's words tremble. "Why am I so cold?"
Ozumi doesn't respond, only her laughter grows louder as the flames inside burn and grow, feeding on the natural human heat of all the Guild members around. As Chuuya recognizes the scenery before him, his face becomes dour.
"Ozumi, stop this. Are you going to kill your own allies with hypothermia?!"
"They can always warm up by the fire!" she cackles, knowing full well it wouldn't work, because her body would steal every hint of heat from them.
As her power breeds, Ozumi screeches her teeth and an overbearing cry leaves her throat. Finally, in a soireé of blaze, she unleashes a blast of blue flames. Nothing escapes the wildfire, all the vegetation, every person nearby. It even reaches the height of Chuuya's gravity shield and it might actually break it. At the epicenter of the attack, Ozumi screams, cries and laughs like a maniac who has lost all control.
In her frenzy, Ozumi does not notice Chuuya who launches himself towards her at full speed and with his gravity activated. The sudden pain caused by the impact is the last straw for her to finally fall on the ground unconscious, her skin scarred by her own flames. The fire extinguishes as soon as Ozumi's senses escape from her grasp.
Chuuya stands above Ozumi's body between his legs. Frustrated, he allows his knees to give and takes his hands out of his pockets to grab Ozumi's shoulders.
"Are you finally done?! Are you happy now that you had your fun?!" he shouted to Ozumi's unconscious face. "I hope it was worth the pain you caused to everyone around you, to innocent people. Because while you were gone, I was terrified of what might happen to you and me."
His voice screeched in a mixture of pain and resentment. The grey in his eyes was like steel that pierced her face as he spat all the things Ozumi would never hear.
"You should seek treatment not revenge, you psycho!" he shakes her shoulders. Then, he pauses. "At this point, what you might need is a miracle. That's what you should be searching for. Something to help your lost soul."
If she was awake, maybe Chuuya wouldn't have the courage to say those words. Most likely, she wouldn't let him talk. Because of this, he takes advantage of the time he has.
"Back then, I found a reason to change who I used to be. A reason to start over new. And the reason is you." his expression turns dour. "You helped me more than you think and all I wanted was to help you too, because I knew you were lost. But I'm not helping you this time. I can't."
Gently, Chuuya releases Ozumi and lifts himself up, keeping his hands in the pockets of his pants.
"I'm sorry if I'm part of the reason you turned out like this, but I can't take it away now." he raises one leg around her and turns his back to Ozumi. "You want a miracle? Then make it yourself."
In all truth, he hoped for peace between them. One thing he will never know is why she treated him the way she did when he was the only person who liked her and she was the only one to see him for who he was.
Chuuya makes up his mind that Ozumi could never hurt him again.
But those promises one makes to oneself are fragile and feeble. Those never last long until one changes his mind.
Around him, soldiers and the members of the Guild start to regain consciousness and prepare to face him. Chuuya's fight tonight is not over yet. As only Ozumi is defeated.
That was, by far, the longest fight scene I have ever written. The moment everyone has been waiting for! Ozumi and Chuuya's face off. I mean, not so much because clearly Chuuya was holding back, not wanitng to fight someone important to him. And Ozumi wasn't in control at a certain point. But I hope you liked it and enjoyed the rollercoaster.
If you have any doubts about Ozumi's ability or about anything else, don't shy away from messaging me! I always love to read your theories, questions and assumptions of what might happen next.