Synopsis: Meiakane and Minata travel back to her family home to attend the Anniversary for the Tsunami Disaster in 2011. Here she updates her Father Masaru on her progress and discusses her next move. She also catches up with her sister Amellade.
“So, how did it go?” he asked as he turned onto the freeway. Meiakane let out a deep sigh. “Good and bad” she replied. Minata raised an eyebrow. “Did he have it?” he inquired. Meiakane shook her head, placing her clutch purse on the car floor, before leaning back in her seat. “The asshole didn’t have it” she paused before continuing. “Turns out he gave it to that bitch of a sister of his” she finished, her tone still annoyed. “Shit” Minata cursed. “Where is she?” he asked.
Meiakane turned to face her lieutenant, the scent of his Tom Ford cologne hitting her nose. God he smells good Meiakane thought to herself. “He said she’s in hiding at their safe house called the House of One Hundred Fireflies, somewhere in the Northern Mountains of China”. she replied, closing her eyes for a moment before opening them.
Minata nodded slowly. “I see” he paused for a moment, loosening his navy tie a little bit. “Well, we’ll have to put that on the back burner for now though”. Meiakane raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?” she queried. Minata handed her a rose coloured envelope that was sitting underneath the radio console. Taking the envelope, and inspecting it, she saw that it had her name handwritten on the front in kanji, with the Hayato family seal on the back. “This is a letter from Father” she observed, as she opened up the envelope, taking out a single piece of paper written in kanji.
“To My Dearest Daughter Meiakane, Snow is falling again in Tohokou. Please come to the family home March 11th. I have much to discuss with you. Your Father, Masaru”.
Meiakane pondered over the line: “We have much to discuss” for a moment, before looking up at Minata. “I’m assuming father gave you one too?” she asked, placing the piece of paper back into the envelope. Minata nodded. “He did indeed, Hiroyuki gave it to me this afternoon after our meeting with the Mayor”.
Meiakane looked up at her lieutenant. “Did he mention anything about discussing something in your letter?” her face now in deep thought. Minata shook his head. “No, but my guess is it could be about the ring”. Meiakane nodded in agreement. “Tohoku it is then”.
Shiny alloy rims surrounded by black rolled across the graveled driveway, the small rough pebbles crackling gently against the weight of it all, the black liqueur like shine reflecting the natural majesty of the surrounding environment, accompanied by the gentle hum of the vehicle, the only noise to be heard against the peaceful surroundings.
“We’re here” Minata informed, as he parked the Maserati near the front door of Meiakane’s family home. Picking up her Celine luggage tote, Meiakane opened the passenger door and stepped outside, a wave of familiarity sweeping over her, as she took in the view of the large mansion before her “Home sweet home” she smiled, her eyes scanning the surrounding environment of her childhood home, when she noticed a familiar Audi A4 sedan parked a little further away from where the Maserati was parked.
“I see your sister has arrived” Minata noted, taking out his Hugo Boss overnight bag, as well as Meiakane’s small black Prada luggage case. “That’s a first for her” she observed, before turning towards the large, elegant mahogany doors of her old home. As she was about to knock, the door suddenly opened, revealing a young, slender woman dressed in a traditional yukata, her long liquid black hair elegantly styled into a simple bun. “Welcome home Meiakane and Minata!” the young woman greeted, hugging the eldest daughter of the Hayato family. “It’s good to see you Reina, it has been a while, but it’s good to be home”.
As they moved apart, a gentle shuffling sound reached Meiakane’s ears. Turning around, a gentleman in his late fifties, dressed in a custom made black Armani three piece suit stood before her, his smooth face giving a stern yet content feel, but his strong brown eyes sparkling with happiness upon seeing the young woman. “Hello Father” Meiakane bowed.
“Oh my little Mei-Mei, it is nice to see you my daughter”. he smiled, holding onto his daughters hands gently squeezing them before letting go. “Minata, good to see you young man” he greeted, shaking his hand tightly. “It’s good to see you too Sir” Minata replied, buttoning his blazer. “‘Come, have some tea, we have much catching up to do” Masaru motioned, heading towards his office. “Yes father” Meiakane nodded. “We will take both your belongings to your rooms” Reina intervened, motioning another maid to assist her. “Yes, thank you” Meiakane replied, as she and Minata, followed her father into his private office.
As they both entered the office, Meiakane admired the traditional Japanese furniture laid throughout the office. The back doors were wide open, leading out onto a wooden patio, the rich green shrubbery and trees giving off a somewhat safe haven type of feel around her. “I see you have redecorated your office somewhat father” Meiakane observed, strolling towards where her Father now sat.
In the middle of the office stood a large oakwood desk, with a paper pad taking center stage, surrounded by a set of traditional calligraphy brushes and ink blocks, while a long black lacquered stone plaque with the name “Masaru Hayato” engraved in traditional katakana, while the edges of the table was decorated with small picture frames and various family heirlooms.
“Yes, well sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of change once in while I suppose but I like to have a few reminders of the past with me as well” he replied, as he held up a picture of two little girls dressed in simple black and white Yukata outfits, both holding a Katana each, their innocent little faces grinning in delight at their own amusement.
Her father smiled as he held up the picture towards Meiakane. “You were 8 yrs old, and Amellade was 6 years old when this photo was taken. Your Uncle decided it was a good idea to give you two candy while you were practicing with your Katanas, it took almost the whole day for you all to come down from the ridiculous sugar high”.
Meiakane laughed. “I remember that day” she replied fondly. “Amellade and I nearly destroyed the training area from that sugar high” she laughed, pouring a cup of green tea for all three of them. Maseru picked up another framed photo, this time of a young girl with a stunned look on her face, as a young boy stood next to her, his lips planted firmly on her face, both holding a Katana each.
“This also another favourite” Masaru grinned, turning to his daughter. Meiakane studied the photo; it was of herself and a young Minata when they were six and eight years old respectively. Minata laughed. “And look how cute you were Mei” Meiakane blushed, playfully slapping him on the arm. “Oh shut it you” she laughed. Masaru looked at the duo “And now look where you both are” he remarked, his face filled with pride and admiration. Meiakane let out a small smile. “Well, we do our best father.” she replied, placing a cup of green tea infant of each of them. Masaru nodded. “So, how is that mission of yours going?” her father queried, his face mixed with apprehension and hope.
Meiakane looked up, her eyes locked with her fathers. “I got the location before I disposed of the eldest Son” she paused for a moment, her hands now tightly clasped around her tea cup.
Masaru gestured for his daughter to continue. “But he gave it to his sister who is now in hiding at the House of One Hundred Fireflies.” Meiakane finished. Masaru nodded “Hmm, I see” he concluded. “‘The only thing is” she began. “What is it my daughter?” Maseru asked, his face now of concern. “Well, with Chan now dead, his family, most likely his Father will certainly come after me now, and I’m not sure if I will be able to finish the rest of the task” her voice now of apprehension.
Masaru nodded slowly, “Regardless you have made very good progress Meiakane” her father replied, his mind now in deep thought. Meiakane leaned back in her chair, letting out a small sigh. “”What do you propose father?” she asked, as she studied her father’s expression.
After some deep thought, Masaru raised his head. “‘I think maybe now is a good time to let Ame finish the job” he replied, his brown eyes now filled with a hint of determination. “It would be a good exercise for her, and spending some time in a remote temple might do her some good”.
As she pondered over her fathers suggestion, Meiakane found herself agreeing to her fathers idea. Considering both herself and her sisters busy lifestyle of sorts, maybe a trip to a remote temple would be a good idea. “I know of a Temple near that area where a small group of Shaolin Monks reside, so I will organise for Amellade to go there and finish the last part of the mission’’ Minata chimed in. Masaru nodded in approval.
“Now, with Chan’s father” Masaru began.
Heading towards her old bedroom, Meiakane noticed the door was wide open, the familiar sandal wood scent wafting over her. “Hi Mei” a young lady greeted, closing the door to a large walk-in closet. “I see you bought yourself another hairpin” she observed, noticing a circular shaped hairpin embellished with Swarovski crystals. “Yes I did, I saw it at the department store last week and thought I’d add another one to my collection” Reina laughed. “Of course, it’s not like you have at least a hundred or so other hairpins to choose from” she replied, shaking her head.
Reina bit her lip slightly, a mischievous glint present in her eyes. Noticing this, Meiakane raised an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you’ve got more”. Reina grinned. “Of course I do, I’ll show them to you after dinner” she winked.
Laughing to herself and shaking her head slightly, Meiakane placed her Celine handbag onto her vanity table, as she headed towards her bed. A full black okubo with small embroidered cherry blossoms was laid out on her bed, next to which lay a black lacquered katana decorated with small mother of pearl snowflakes, the hilt was of a deep red colour, with one single ruby placed at the bottom of the hilt. “I chose that myself you know” Reina piped up, as she began preparing the various hairpins needed to do Meiakanes hair.
The eldest Hayato turned to face her personal assistant, as she sat herself down at her vanity table. “You have good taste Reina, I like it” she smiled, undoing her long black silken hair, as Reina began to work her magic. Seconds later, she heard loud giggling from down the hallway. “I’m assuming Amellade is here” Meiakane noted. Reina nodded. “Yes she is. She came here late last night from the United States I believe” Reina replied. Meiakane nodded. “I will have to see her afterwards”.
Reina then leaned over towards the eldest Hayato “So, how is Minata-san?” she smiled. “He is good Reina” Meiakane replied. “So when are you both going to admit you’re dating” Reina smiled, brushing a comb through the ends of Meiakanes hair. Meiakane stared at her assistant. “Wait-what?”.
“Admit it Mei”
“That you’re dating and in love with each other, like in those romantic movies”
”You watch too many romantic movies Reina”
“Come on Mei, it’s so obvious”
Meiakane shifted uneasily in her seat, silently wishing to herself that she were off killing some family enemy instead of being interrogated by her personal assistant who apparently knew more about her love life than she did.
“No it’s not”
“Even your father knows this”
“Oh dear God”
“Don’t worry, your Father approves” Reina grinned, completing Mei’s hair bun with an embellished hairpin.
Meiakane could feel her face burning with embarrassment. At any rate, she wouldn’t be surprised if the entire family board knew as well. Reina hugged the eldest Hayato. “Don’t worry Mei, it just shows you have good taste in men” she grinned.
A small smiled spread across her face. The more she thought about it, the more she realised they were similar to each other in so many ways. “I’m glad you think so Reina” Meiakane laughed. Reina smiled back, as she placed a large blood ruby hairpin with sapphire stones, at the top of the eldest Hayato’s bun.
“There, all done” her assistant grinned, her face filled with pride. The eldest Hayato studied the pin. “I’m impressed Reina” she smiled, slowly getting up from her chair. “Ok, now time for dinner, I’m hungry” Reina encouraged, readjusting her own yukata belt, before opening the door.
“I’ll be with you in a minute Reina, let me see Ame first” Meiakane replied. Reina nodded, as she headed down the wooden stairs.
Standing outside her sisters bedroom, Meiakane could hear her sister and her assistant Yumi giggling away. Slowly sliding it open, revealing her sister sitting at her vanity table, getting her hair done by Yumi. Amellade’s expression frozen in surprise.
“Surprised Imouto?” Meiakane queried, smiling a little. Amellade gave her sister a surprised look. “You hardly ever come to family gatherings Mei, why are you here?”. Meiakanes expression went from pleasant to stern. Typical of her younger sister to assume such a thing of her. In her native tongue, she spoke “Again, white snow is falling in Tohoku”. She replied, closing the door behind her before heading out into the hallway again.