Sister Princess Saturday Report! No. 23 – He Walks Among Us

“There you go, Dear Brother,” Sakuya said, putting the finishing touches on the guest bed. “The bed’s all ready for your friend.”

“Thanks, Sakuya!” Wataru replied. “I really appreciate it.”

“No problem,” Sakuya said. Wataru walked toward the window and looked outside; while his mind was elsewhere, Sakuya leaned over to Karen. “Has he been spotted yet?”

“No,” Karen whispered. “Big Brother said his friend would be arriving via the boat. Chikage has been stationed at the dock all day, but she hasn’t seen anything yet.”

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Karen said.

She was correct to use such a tiresome, cliched saying. Wataru received an email from his friend, Akio, informing him that he was going to visit Promised Island. What Wataru did not know is that, like so many other people on Promised Island, Akio’s aim was to sacrifice him — Akio sought the powers of the Sister Princess for his own means. I imagine, Dear Reader, that you feel some ire about being told this rather than seeing Akio’s motive play out organically through the narrative, but I assure you that it was not as interesting as all that, as I am sure you will notice as the story continues.

The Sisters had their agents posted throughout Promised Island, but recent events had thinned their ranks, so their coverage was not ideal. (If you will recall, Dear Reader, Aria, Kaho, Rinrin and Yotsuba had all perished. Do not worry if you fear your memory is becoming faulty; I had to look up their names to remember them, as well.) On the south side of the island, a lone figure dropped down from above. He had a giant fan on his back, which he used to fly over the island and descend to the ground. He touched down and dashed into a forest. He looked around for a few minutes until he spotted a tree with a large X carved into it. The young man leaned against the tree and folded his arms against his chest.

“The spotted owl flies high over the sky,” a voice whispered into his ear.

“But if he’s not careful, the golden eagle will capture him,” the young man whispered back.

“It’s good to see you, Master Akio,” Mami said, fidgeting with her pigtails.

“Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what you think,” Akio replied, sneering at Mami. “Let’s cut to the chase: How has your mission been going?”

“Umm,” Mami said. “It’s been going OK . . . four of the Sisters are dead!”

“As pleasing as that statement may be to me, there are two things wrong with your statement,” Akio said. “Would you like to hear them?”

“Not particularly,” Mami said.

“One: The Sisters did not die by your hand,” Akio said. “I may not have come to Promised Island in person until now, but my intelligence is still up to par. I know how and why each Sister died; you had nothing to do with any of them. Two: The systematic murder of the Sisters is not your mission. Pray tell, do you remember what your mission is?”

“My mission is to watch over Wataru and get him to hate his Sisters so that it will be easier to get him on your side to sacrifice him,” Mami said.

“Very good,” Akio said. “Have you made any progress on your mission?”

“Maybe a little bit?” Mami said.

“I’ve read the reports,” Akio said. “You have done nothing.” Mami flinched slightly. “Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going to punish you. Yet. I’m giving you one more opportunity to fulfill your mission. Can you do that?”

“I can try,” Mami said.

“Don’t set me up for such an obvious reference,” Akio said. “Just do your job. I’ll be leaving now. If I don’t arrive at the docks soon, then people may become suspicious.”

Akio ran away and disappeared into the woods. Mami lingered a few seconds longer, shaking her head. Truthfully, she was no longer interested in fulfilling her duty. It seemed like an amusing lark when her older brother had first proposed the idea to her, but now it was no longer fun. Wataru had endeared himself to Mami through sheer stupidity — friendship by attrition.

“I wish I hadn’t agreed to this stupid mission in the first place,” Mami said. “All I want to do is sit around in my room and play video games all day. Is that so wrong?” She looked down at a squirrel running on the ground as if seeking a response. The squirrel ignored her, as squirrels are wont to do. Mami sighed and trekked back to the mansion.

“Still no sign of Brother Mine’s friend,” Marie reported from the top of a lighthouse. “I . . . no, wait, I think I see Brother Mine, and he has someone with him!”

Wataru did indeed have someone with him — that someone was Akio, who had leaped into a boat he arranged to have parked on the other side of the island, which he then drove to the docks. Wataru greeted him jovially and walked him to the mansion. It took all of Akio’s strength to resist chuckling in an evil manner, but he managed it somehow.

“Hello, there!” Sakuya said, running up to Wataru and Akio. “Is this your friend?” She linked arms with Wataru and glared at Akio when Wataru wasn’t looking.

“Yep, this is my old friend from school, Akio!” Wataru said.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you all,” Akio said. “But if I remember correctly, didn’t you say you had 13 sisters, Wataru? I see only nine girls here. Wherever could the rest of them be?”

“They’re all on vacation,” Wataru said. “If I had known sooner that you would be coming, I would have asked them to stay and meet you! I actually tried to get in contact with them, but they haven’t been answering their emails lately. They must be having a great time on their vacations!”

“Yes, I imagine they’re all having a wonderful time,” Akio said, smiling. Sakuya and Karen looked at each other knowingly. Neither of them trusted Akio’s smile. Akio pretended not to notice and walked past them both. “Where will I be staying?”

“I’ll show you to your room,” Wataru said. He and Akio stepped into the mansion.

“I don’t like his aura,” Chikage said. “There is a darkness deep within him that I do not trust. We should be cautious.”

“I’m with you there,” Karen said. “We’ve been fighting far too much lately. The stress of resurrecting our goddess is getting to us. This is just the focus we need to become one unit again. I don’t know what this stranger is planning, but his plans won’t be executed while I’m alive and breathing.”

That evening, Akio was set up in the guest room, working on the computer. He tapped away lightly at the keyboard, sending messages to his minions spread across Promised Island. Yes, somehow this idiotic island is important enough to house both a cabal of sisters attempting to resurrect an ancient goddess, and a ring of spies sabotaging that resurrection in favor of their high school-aged ringleader. I too could not believe it at first when I read the notes.

“Those girls have no idea what they are getting into,” Akio said, putting the finishing touches on his message. “They think they have the upper hand because this island is their home, but they are sorely mistaken. I have put much preparation into this operation. They cannot fathom the surprises I have in store for them . . .”

Akio then gestured toward the closet. Why he was talking to himself a 3 a.m. and why he gestured toward the closet when there was nobody in the room with him is beyond me; actually, I’m not certain why I even have notes regarding this event. Perhaps Akio is so narcissistic that he wrote down his every movement for future generations to soak in. I’m sure you’re all interested in this.

Frustratingly, the closet door slowly opened but did not reveal what was inside, because it was too dark. And for once in his life there was a detail about his personal life Akio did not bother to note. It’s almost as if he purposely crafted these notes to provide the most annoying, insipid cliffhanger imaginable. A truly cruel man he is.

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