In the Shadows
Chapter 8 - Perception of Deception
Right as this was shouted by an intruding voice so suddenly, Lei shot up and flailed his arms.
Hwoarang began laughing hysterically, and then threw the pillow he had just hit Lei on the head with square in the detective’s face. “Rise and shine sleeping beauty.”
“Hwoarang!” Lei exclaimed, “I’m going to get you for that!”
Jin rolled his eyes as he departed from the bedroom, to see what appeared to be Hwoarang and Lei having a patent pillow fight.
“Welcome to my life,” Jin sighed with a slight shake of the head in the process of making his way to the kitchen.
“You woke me up before my alarm went off!” Lei shouted, before hitting Hwoarang in face with his pillow. “No one disturbs my sleep!”
“Then go sleep outside in the streets, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it!” the redhead shouted back before he then hit Lei in the face with a pillow as he forcefully swung it. “Then maybe you’ll be run over, and do us all a favour!”
“Knock it off you two, you’re going to break something,” Jin scolded from the kitchen.
“Yeah, knock it off, Wulong,” Hwoarang smirked.
“Ugh! You’re lucky I don’t have my gun...”
“Speaking of which, why don’t you have your gun?” inquired Jin in the process of cabinet rummaging.
Lei sighed in remembrance of just how he’d lost it... “It was lost in the mirror house.”
“Dare we try crossing that subject again?” Jin sighed, raking through the cereal cabinets.
“No, that’s alright,” Lei remarked in a tone of voice bearing the same sarcasm as Jin’s previously had. He then looked down as his watch alarm went off, pressing a small button to silence the incessant beeping. “Anyhow, I need to get going.”
“More top-secret super-cop stuff?” Hwoarang laughed following. “Hurry up then. Wouldn’t wanna be late to pre-school. The teacher might set you in the quiet corner.”
“I’m guessing you’d know that last part from experience,” Lei smirked while putting his shoes back on.
“Actually, I would,” Hwoarang grunted. “You got a problem with that?”
“No, I’m just surprised you actually made it that far in school.”
Jin sighed. Again. “You know, I remember my mother would always tell me you picked on the person you secretly liked the most...”
Hwoarang and Lei both shut up.
“Well, I’m leaving,” the detective stated directly after tying the band back into his long, raven strands of hair. “You’re right about one thing, hothead. Being late at my job is not an option.” He was about to say ‘get a job and you may actually know that’, but then he remembered Jin’s statement and only rolled his eyes again instead. “See you guys later.” I hope...
After Lei had departed, Hwoarang looked back at where Jin was pouring his milk into the cereal bowl to join the Frosted Flakes. “You don’t actually believe he’s really going to a case meeting?”
Jin sighed. Yet again. “Of course I don’t...”
As Lei pulled his police car into the Mishima Zaibatsu’s leveled parking lot, he started to feel a little nervous about this whole situation... Not that he already wasn’t to begin with, but that’s just the way things were. No matter how bad they were, they could always get worse.
In the ten minute gap it took Lei to find a parking spot, before walking all the way to the front offices, he spent the entire time contemplating the mysteries that had yet to unfold. Or rather, trying to unfold them. This brought back recent memories what Lee Chaolan had told him much earlier that morning... On how unfolding the mysteries could quite possibly unfold his own death. Lei couldn’t help it. That was his job.
“May I help you, sir?” a young, female secretary asked at the front desk.
“Yes, I have an appointment with Dono Lee regarding a case I’m investigating.”
The Japanese woman nodded. “Oh yes, I remember you from the other day. Dono Lee has been expecting you. You can meet him in the lunch room right now, actually. Go to floor eight, and you shouldn’t miss it.”
“Domo,” Lei replied, before heading for one of the many elevators placed further back.
Gods how he hated this place.
It brought back all those disquieting memories from the second Tekken tournament. Memories of he and Jun coming here together. Lei had never made it this far that final night of the tournament... The Mishima Zaibatsu was where those final matches so long ago had been held... Yet someone else had made it this far. Jun had. And it didn’t take a genius to guess what had happened between her and Kazuya in this very building...
Yes, Lei hated this place.
And it was so very red... Near to every inch of the carpet was for sure.
The elevator doors parted on the eighth floor, as Lei took his leave and stepped out into the large hall. Thankfully, the small cafeteria appeared to be right in front of him, so he wouldn’t have to spend one hell of a long time searching this vastly large facility.
When Lei came to the translucent double doors, he was first met off by a set of tall, buff security guards dressed in your classic black business suits.
“Not so fast there,” the one standing to Lei’s right spoke. “Is Dono Lee expecting you?”
“Yes, he is,” Lee Chaolan himself answered, appearing behind the glass.
The guards straightened up upon Lee’s appearance, as Lei fought the urge to emit a sarcastic chuckle for some reason. Lee already had this whole damn city wrapped around his little porcelain finger, didn’t he?
As one of the guards opened the door, Wulong nodded his thank you before stepping inside to join Lee.
“Ah, right on time, I see,” Lee stated, holding his gloved hands together behind his back while walking across the large area. “I like that in a person. Being late is clearly unacceptable, while being early makes you seem so... desperate, wouldn’t you say?”
“What are we doing here?” Lei asked, as he and Chaolan reached one of several rather lavish booths neighbouring the zaibatsu’s large exterior windows.
“I thought we could chat over lunch. It gives us more of that old business appearance,” stated the silver-haired man, who then took a seat. A woman dressed in classic secretary attire placed two crystalline glasses of wine in front of the two fighters shortly afterwards.
Lei only sighed with a nod, before then taking a seat across from Lee. “So may I ask you something?”
“That depends on what it is,” Chaolan remarked, “But, go ahead, and I’ll be the judge of if it is or isn’t appropriate.”
Lei already couldn’t stand this guy... Not that he could even during the second tournament though, either. “What did you mean last night... when you said I may not have to worry about Fury anymore soon enough?”
“Surely you aren’t that slow at thought,” Lee remarked, taking another sip from his wineglass. “There’s no such thing as being on Kazuya’s naughty list and living to get off of it.”
“Right...” Lei replied, also taking a sip of the red wine before looking out the window to his right. “If either of you think you can just put a price on Fury’s execution, you’ve got another thing coming.”
“I never said Kazuya did.” Lee grinned.
“Listen Lee,” the long-haired fighter began in a stern voice, setting his wineglass down on the table, “I will not be made a puppet, and I do not like that tone of voice you keep speaking to me in.”
“You will learn, Lei-san, that sometimes those puppet strings are the only things holding you from falling right to your infinite death.”
“I don’t have to learn anything,” Lei retorted to this. “I just want to get this over with so I have to spend the least amount of time in your presence and this terrible place as possible.”
“Ah, food’s here,” Lee stated rather offhandedly, “I just love fugu-sashi. At the high price of it, one should. Yet, I suppose it’s not high in my eyes.”
“Great. Now how do I know this isn’t poisoned?” Lei asked with a flustered sigh. “Remember what they always say: I want to eat fugu, but I don’t want to die...”
“You’ll just have to take my word on it,” Chaolan remarked with a shrug. “Trust me; I would’ve poisoned the wine first.”
Lei suddenly went pale, when he realized he’d already partook of the wine.
Chaolan elicited a slight laugh. “I’m being honest here. Nothing’s poisoned, and the fugu chefs are as skilled as they come. Besides, I still need your help, so I can’t kill you... yet...”
“Charmed,” Lei remarked, beginning to go ahead with eating the gourmet food. He couldn’t lie that it looked rather delicious at that, and normally, he wouldn’t have this kind of money to throw around if it had been coming from his pockets.
“So tell me, detective,” Chaolan began between bites of food. “How can you hate a glorious place such as this?”
“Bad memories,” Lei replied, simply enough. “That’s one thing money can’t yield.”
“I suppose never having experienced the joys of a no-limit platinum card, you wouldn’t love money the way I do. After all, not being able to get what we want instead yields to twisting our thoughts to rather be made into disdaining what we want,” stated the Silver Devil.
Lei sighed. He understood this perfectly. Not having what you want can make you hate it and those who do have it just to make it seem less desirable, so you yourself won’t feel as bad about not having it. This was, at many times, the same case with people rather than objects... “Still, I have never once had the desire to be rich.”
“I know. Better not to waste your time dreaming about the impossible,” Lee assured in remarks.
“Actually, I wouldn’t agree with that. We’re making more impossible things possible everyday.”
“Point,” Lee responded with a smile. “So, I gather you didn’t tell Jin and Hwoarang you were meeting me here?”
“Of course not.”
“Good. I was afraid you’d have trouble with them, being followed and all.”
Lei’s brows furrowed at this. “You knew?”
“I’m surprised you didn’t. Just because someone’s not right behind you, it doesn’t mean they’re not watching you,” clarified Lee.
“Jin and Hwoarang are obviously not very happy with me at the moment, though...” Lei said with a sigh. “I don’t like having to lie to people.”
“I suppose that’s just a trait of your character. Thankfully, it’s not one of mine,” the silver-haired man remarked.
“So what exactly are we supposed to do after we finish eating in here?” questioned Lei, once again sounding impatient.
“Just go to the ol’ CEO office on the very top floor. You’ll just have to stay for a little while, you know, make it look like you’re actually questioning me about the Kazuya and mafia and so on,” assured Lee in response. “Your little recordings and photos are also up there, so I’m sure you’ll be wanting those back.”
Lei nodded, looking slightly embarrassed regarding this issue yet again.
Even having one other person who knew his biggest secret was horrible enough. The fact that it was Lee Chaolan was twice as horrible, and the fact that Kazuya knew as well, hell, three times as horrible.
A little later, the two elegant fighters were once again heading back to the elevators. Lei began to get a rather uncanny feeling when he noted the way the guards were looking at him... That classic ‘don’t you even think about it’ look... If it was ‘don’t even think about trying to pull a knife out on our almighty master Chaolan’, then this was okay, because Lei of course wasn’t going to do this. If it was ‘don’t even think about escaping’, then yes, he needed to feel uncanny about it...
“Well, up we go,” stated Lee as the elevator doors closed.
Lei didn’t say anything, and only let out yet another exasperated sigh of the sorts while leaning against the elevator’s red interior.
“You sure are sounding pessimistic,” Chaolan said with an alongside chortle.
Lei nodded with a shrug. “I’m actually usually the opposite and quite the optimist. I know they always say hope for the best, but plan for the worst, yet I realize how I haven’t done that enough in my life. Maybe that’s why so many people tell me I’m too careless...”
“Indeed. Hard to believe the saying ‘you can’t win them all’, when you have won them all. My life never really started down that path in the first place, so I’ve always put just as much or more thought into planning for the worst rather than best outcome.”
The elevator then reached the top floor, as the two fighters stepped out and preceded to Lee’s office. Though it was still really Kazuya’s, one could say.
“More questioning again?” what appeared to be yet another tall guard ask.
Lee nodded. “Everything will be taken care of, indeed...”
The guard nodded, and spoke something into a walkie-talkie while turning around.
Chaolan lead Wulong to the large office doors, before opening them as they soon entered directly afterwards. The silver-haired man then shut the double, wooden doors back in proper place, and began ambling over to the CEO desk.
“About what you were saying before, I suppose that’s what makes you a good businessman then,” stated Lei, who was now looking around the rather colossal office room. “It seems for everything, there’s always two ways to looks at something.”
“Good or bad, obviously,” Lee remarked. “Black and white terms...”
Lei gave another shrug, now leaning back on the office desk. “It just depends on how you look at things in life.”
“That depends on how much light you have in your life, though,” Lee sighed, looking down at the carpeted red floor.
“That’s why you have to be your own sun. Remember, the sun does not rise to set, it sets to rise,” Lei assured with a brighter smile.
Lee suddenly grinned. It was rather... derisive... “Now I know why Kazuya’s so intrigued by Fury, the same way I am by you.”
Lei’s smile immediately melted at the sudden change of tone in Chaolan’s voice. “Huh?”
The taller man moved over a couple steps, to where he was standing right next to the suddenly bemused detective. He leaned in to what was definitely crossing into Lei’s personal space, as he whispered into his ear. “Looks like you decided to do the unfolding after all...”
Though very, very startled, the second Lei felt Chaolan’s hand on his face and lips on his ear, he backed away in apparent hysterics. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? And what are you talking about?”
With his hands behind his back, Lee began a steady pace forwards towards the other fighter, who chose not to recoil even a bit. Then, in what seemed like a lightning-fast motion, Lei found he wasn’t even standing anymore.
His back was on the desk...
“Can’t you see, Lei Wulong?” Lee mused as he held Lei’s elbows to the desktop. “You’ve fallen right into a premeditated trap...”
“You heard me.”
“If I were you, I’d get the hell away from me right.. now..” Lei ordered in a stern voice.
“And if I were you, well, let’s just be glad I’m not...”
Lei’s caramel eyes grew huge. This hadn’t been Chaolan’s voice...
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