An unexpected...expected return
"Welcome to Tokyo International Airport...Bags can be picked up at Sector G-47...Please visit our gift shops on your way out...Welcome to Tokyo International Airport..."
Brad Crawford was the last person to get off of the nineteen-hour long flight from New York City to Tokyo, along with his youthful ward, Naoe Nagi. He wasn't entirely sure if Nagi got his own little joke, but it didn't matter; they each had their own affectionate familiar names for each other. This was a flight that he had made many, many times over the course of his lifetime, and being crammed into a cabin with the mewling dregs of humanity who either didn't realize how long nineteen hours was or didn't know how to prepare for it served as a reminder of his disdain for them. Judging from the look on his companions face, it served as a similar reminder for him, as well.
They made their way through the airport as quickly as possible; they didn't have any bags to pick up, as they only brought carry-on luggage with them; everything that they needed, they would buy anew. He had made sure to buy the tickets under an assumed name on an on-line passport program; right now, as far as all records show, Jonathan Coachman and Nathan Coachman, his son, had arrived in Tokyo. Now all they had to do was track down Schuldig. He had tried to do it through his old bank accounts, but they had been changed about four years ago. His sight hadn't picked anything up, either; apparently, he had been doing nothing of future consequence for some time. The link from all those years ago had broken down, as he had done nothing to maintain it during his absence. Though, the time had been used most fruitfully, as predicted.
The sights and smell of Tokyo hit him like they did every time he came to this city. It was one of the most vibrant, thriving cities on the planet, and it was also the best organized big city in the world. The streets were too narrow for the herds of people trying to walk through them, while those on bikes skirted them as much as they could, riding the curb between pedestrians and traffic. A vendor next to him was selling eel-on-a-stick; he bought one for Nagi, but personally decided to pass. Certain aspects of Japanese cuisine did not agree with him, and eel was one of those. He would wait until they checked into the hotel before finding a place to eat. The reservations, under the name of Candido, were at a three star hotel in the heart of the metropolis. Nothing too fancy, nothing too isolated, just another place for rich tourists to spend their money, but not for those too rich to not care about the price. Every aspect of this was to be as average and under wraps as possible, and since all of his credentials and Id's were legal, they were also untraceable.
Once they were settled in, he began his search. He had had Nagi search for Schu's paper trail since it had ended, but nothing was coming up. Whoever had hidden it was good; damn good, if they had gotten it by Nagi. Which means he would have to do this on foot, try to find it manually. And to do that, he would have to go to the Yakuza. If anyone knew what was going on here, it would be them, and he knew how to go about getting it from them. But before he did that, he had decided to go with a long-shot plan B. Which was why he was outside of the Tokyo Hall of Records. He was handling this personally; no reason to get Nagi involved. He flipped through the obituaries of the last five years; through admissions into mental health facilities; through arrest reports and active files on violent crimes. All he needed was one name, one picture, to get this crazy idea out of his head. But after a morning of searching every record, it seemed like the most unlikely scenario was true; Farfarello was alive. Maybe Schu had found a way to control him, but either way, it gave him a new name to look for when he went to the bosses. Or, to be more accurate, to their faces.
The sun was setting as he stood outside the last place he had scheduled to visit that day. Despite his gifts of diplomacy and public relations, not to mention a near limitless bank account for bribing purposes, his search had been fruitless. No one knew of either a red-headed German or a one-eyed Irishman, heavily scarred. The Sleeping Prawn was his last chance for this day, and he would hate to go to Nagi with news of a fruitless search; he knew how much he looked forward to this reunion, even though Nagi had not been told that this was why he was out and about. He had told him that it had to do with the papers that had brought them here in the first place, and in a way, that was true. And so, he pulled his shirt straight and walked in the door, the air of professionalism heralding his arrival.
He walked to the counter, where a middle-aged man bowed and offered him Saki and a menu. Crawford slid a 5,000,000 yen note into his hand, smiled, and said in somewhat accented Japanese, "No, my good sir, I do not need a menu, but I do need services of another sort from you. I have somewhat of a formal affair to arrange during my stay, and I need cuisine that will quite simply blow away my competition. German, perhaps, spiced, or maybe some tough Irish meat unevenly grilled." The man slid the note into his pocket and replied, "I'm not entirely sure if we have what you are looking for, good sir. Japanese is our specialty, though we often cater to the foreign palate of specialized individuals."
Crawford smiled. Here, was a nibble, and the fine art of haggling was alive and well in Japan. He reached into his pocket and slid four 5,000,000 yen notes onto the counter. "Your specialty is duly noted and appreciated, but I have specialized tastes and have heard that this is a dish unique to the house; I don't think any other option will satisfy my particular guests." The man's eyes grew wide, and he quickly pulled the money into the lock-box under the counter and slid a card out from an adjoining compartment. "The Irish chef will meet you at this location three days from today if he decides that your event is challenging enough for his standards. He requests that you arrive alone, so he can get to better know your true soul and prepare the perfect cuisine specially catered for your tastes. He will also require a name, so to know what to call you and who to bill for his time; for even if he refuses your banquet, there will be a surcharge for his time, collected then, of an equal amount to what you have tipped me. Agreed? Sir, do you agree?"
For the first time in a long time, Crawford was stunned, if only momentarily. The Irish chef? That was still unexpected, even if it was a possibility. He would have to wait, and he would have to see. "The name," he replied, "is Seer. And thank you for your time." He backed out the doors, hands visible, and contemplated what effects this could have on the future until he got back to hotel and began to brew some coffee. He had much to ponder over these next three days.