Hint: To Play after pausing the player, use this button

Chapter 4 - A Devil Is Born  

The young prodigy businessman Masato Sanada was in charge of the Sanada Group, a conglomerate rumored to control as much as 30 percent of the world’s wealth.

As a child, however, the only particularly remarkable thing about that future prodigy was that his family was rich. All his grades, aside from PE, were below average, and he was hardly the image of a model student. He brought manga and portable game consoles to school with him, and when his teachers confiscated them, he used his parents’ money to buy new copies for the next day. The comments his teachers left on his report cards made it pretty clear how fed up with him they were. The one nice thing they had to say about Masato was how many friends he had.

Wherever Masato went, a crowd always followed. He was a bit taller than the other kids, his voice was a bit louder, and most importantly, he used his family’s funds to get his peers whatever they wanted. All of that made him seem larger-than-life in their eyes.

That said, his clout at the time began and ended at being the leader of a pack of kids. None of that was indicative of the charisma and global control that would eventually be enjoyed by the young man who came to be known as the Devil of Finance. Unlike Tsukasa Mikogami and Ringo Oohoshi, who were known as marvels even at a young age, or even the likes of Akatsuki or Keine, who became aware of their talents quickly, too, the young Masato had no idea who he was yet.

That all changed during his first summer in middle school.

Masato remembered that day well. He recalled the sweltering summer heat and the flies’ obnoxious buzzing. The choking stench mixed with the thick smell of nature was burned into his memory. His father’s body dangled from the bedroom rafters like a shoddy wind chime that refused to ring.

Masato was the first to find the corpse of his father, the Sanada Group’s third president. The Sanada Group had been struggling the past few years, and Masato’s father had agonized over it. Japan’s economic situation had rapidly declined after the father of Masato’s childhood friend, Tsukasa Mikogami, took over as prime minister. While there was certainly an argument to be made that he was to blame, what really sealed the Sanada Group’s fate was its internal power struggle.

The ringleaders behind the coup were some of the biggest names in the Sanada Group—people whom the Sanadas had looked after for generations. The parties in question declared that the conglomerate’s poor performance was a management issue, and they loudly denounced the Sanada family, splitting the enterprise into two factions. The ensuing chaos caused the group’s companies to fall out of sync, and the Sanada Group all but stopped being able to function as an organization.

That marked a golden opportunity for the Sanada Group’s biggest rival, the Mikasa Group, one it wasn’t about to let slip.

After all, the Mikasas were the ones who engineered that power struggle in the first place.

With the Sanada Group on the verge of collapse from within, it lacked the strength to withstand its rival’s attack, and the battle between Japan’s two largest corporate conglomerates ended in an overwhelming victory for the Mikasas. The Sanada Group’s one lifeline was its market share in the foreign export sector, and when the Mikasa Group seized that, too, the Sanada Group crumbled. Seventy percent of its companies had to declare bankruptcy, and it was reduced to a shell of its former self.

As the Sanada Group’s third president, Masato’s father spent sleepless nights toiling to right the ship. Saving a smaller company would have been one thing; reorganizing a massive corporation in the midst of a downfall was no simple task. Businesses burned through colossal amounts of working capital simply by existing, and that only intensified the greater the size. In the end, Masato’s father’s efforts were for naught, and the debts piled up at a horrifying pace.

However, Masato’s father never whined or grumbled about work around his son. Masato had heard the rumors going around, but when he asked about them, his father simply gave him a haggard smile and told him that everything was going to be okay. He knew that sharing his woes with a child who’d only just entered middle school would solely serve to frighten him. That was part of it anyway. The real reason he didn’t tell Masato anything was much more sentimental in nature. For Masato’s father, maintaining that brave front was his final act of obstinance. It was what let him keep his heart from shattering from the futility of it all as he took his single bucket and bailed the water out of the hole-ridden ship.

He never complained, even when he took his own life.

Masato’s father had no relatives but his child, and in his suicide note, he left Masato some advice about how to proceed. The letter concluded with a simple, two-word apology: I’m sorry.

All of this was beyond a child’s ability to comprehend. Masato could only gaze at his father’s dangling body.

He sat at his father’s feet and stared at him for a long, long time.

Others undoubtedly saw Masato as a sad, grieving child—a poor, powerless boy who’d just lost his only blood relative. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t realize. In fact, it took the household staff a full three hours to notice. Only then did they recognize that Masato wasn’t sobbing or clinging to his father desperately. He simply stared at the man’s corpse like he was trying to burn it into his mind.

Only then did they see the sinister hatred burning in his eyes.

I’ll kill them.

The boy had grown up never wanting for a thing. This was the first time his heart had harbored the craving that was bloodlust. Fueled by anger, Masato got to work immediately. The first thing he did was to completely disregard his father’s wishes and the advice from his team of lawyers. He accepted his father’s inheritance. In other words, he chose to take over the dying Sanada Group as its fourth president.

The people around him, particularly the people who’d laid the Sanada Group low, probably thought he’d gone mad. Taking over the Sanada Group meant acquiring its debts—debts so massive that no individual could ever hope to repay them. The act was tantamount to suicide, especially for such a young kid.

However, Masato made that decision with a plan.

Building an organization from scratch was an endeavor that took unbelievable amounts of work. Businesses weren’t just piles of people and money. They were the aggregate of their history, facilities, personnel, and assets as well as the reputation and trust that having all those things carried. Sure, building a company from the ground up would let him start from a healthier financial position. However, developing it until it was big enough to strike the Mikasa Group down would take time, and Masato couldn’t wait that long. If he delayed, he ran the risk of having one of the targets of his revenge die of old age or from an accident or the like. That possibility was completely unacceptable to Masato. A cleared and tilled field was preferable to an unplowed one, but the Sanada Group was the only weapon Masato had. If he wanted to carry out his revenge, he couldn’t afford to cast it aside, no matter how risky holding on to it might be.

In short, accepting his father’s inheritance was a declaration of war on the Mikasa Group.

However, Masato’s foes thought little of him and failed to pick up on his intentions. They assumed that he’d lost it or reasoned that he was a spoiled rich boy who didn’t comprehend the consequences of the debt. The Mikasa Group and the Sanada Group members who’d betrayed the company for positions at the rival corporation all laughed at Masato. They quickly lost interest in him and didn’t pay the boy any mind.

That condescension proved to be their undoing.

Once Masato took over as the fourth president, the Sanada Group began recovering at an unbelievably rapid pace. The comeback was nothing short of incredible, and three things made it possible.

The first was the size of the conglomerate. It wasn’t much to look at now, but the Sanada Group had cultivated expertise and connections over the course of its long history, and trust didn’t vanish quite the way money did. It stuck around. While diminished, it still remained. It didn’t take long for any companies with strong foundations to get back on their feet under the right stewardship. Masato’s decision to inherit the Sanada Group despite the risks paid off.

The second was the newly reborn Sanada Group’s agility. When Masato came in, he summoned the presidents of all thirty businesses and had them simultaneously debrief him on their respective industries’ best practices, indicators, and current landscapes. And he understood it all. Masato had honed his powers of concentration as a tool of revenge, and doing so allowed him to develop a superhuman skill called multi-listening that let him comprehend multiple conversations at once. In the space of a single week, Masato was able to perfectly copy the inner workings of each of his subsidiary companies’ leaders. Immediately thereafter, he took over the role of president for every business in the group. By personally handling the decision-making for the entire conglomerate, he was able to run the whole conglomerate as a one-man army.

Thanks to its new management style, the Sanada Group operated with the flexibility of a sole proprietorship despite being a major corporation. Whenever decisions needed to be made, they could be determined in an instant without having to worry about people protecting their own skins, getting territorial, or picking fights as a way to climb the corporate ladder. Everything, from simple planning and credit decisions all the way up to cross-company initiatives that would normally take countless meetings to orchestrate, all happened in Masato’s head at the speed it took electrical signals to travel across his brain. The Sanada Group functioned at an unprecedented pace for such a large conglomerate. Naturally, competitors like the Mikasa Group couldn’t keep up.

And the final advantage…was the global financial crisis that started right as Masato took over.

Under normal circumstances, economies operated to a large degree on inertia. In times of plenty, clients often continued dealing with the same trade partners, even if they weren’t totally happy with them. In moments of crisis, though, all of that changed. It did so by necessity. And in a world where turbulent macroeconomic forces made everyone demand change, the Sanada Group’s lightning-fast reaction speed served as a weapon that turned things in its favor. By using the financial crisis as a tailwind to push itself to dazzling heights, the Sanada Group gobbled up the Mikasa Group’s market share like there was no tomorrow.

The crisis took a year to die down, and during that time, the Mikasa Group found itself pillaged clean with no way to resist. It lost more business than it had stolen from the Sanada Group. Shortly thereafter, the Mikasa Group fell apart.

Undoubtedly, it was frustrating for the Mikasa Group’s members. “If it wasn’t for that financial crisis,” they all cursed. Without it, Masato’s blade would never have traced across the neck of the titan that was the Mikasa Group.

Was it really a coincidence that a financial crisis struck when Masato needed it to?

It was like it had waited for him to take over as president before striking. That was pure nonsense, of course. The odds of something like that occurring were so astronomically low that it didn’t even bear consideration.

However, that was precisely what had happened.

There were plenty of causes someone could attribute to the Sanada Group’s revival, but ultimately, there was one true reason. It wasn’t wisdom or talent. It was Masato’s ability to take the ebb and flow of everything that was happening in the world, events too big for any one person to control—what some might call fate—and pull them his way. It was a power that defied comprehension. This inhuman capability bordered on the divine. It was prodigious.

That was why the Mikasa Group fell—because Masato Sanada was unmistakably a prodigy businessman.

Masato didn’t let up his onslaught after the Mikasa Group dissolved. He continued crushing his foes long after it made financial sense to do so, and many of them ended up filing for bankruptcy or dying by suicide. The public denounced Masato for the ferocity of his crusade, and several of his associates tried to talk him down, but his stance was alarmingly stubborn on that issue.

After the Mikasa Group dissolved and all the people who’d driven Masato’s father to his death lost their jobs, Masato changed his targets from the companies to the individuals and tore them down in every way he could. No place in the world where the Sanada Group held influence was safe.

Surely this is plenty.

I’ve taken things far enough.

I think it’s time I forgave them.

Masato Sanada lacked the ability to make such compromises with the pain he carried. His father had sunk into the blackest mud and left Masato an apology that must have pained him to write, and yet the people who’d driven him to that point were still alive. They would rise to see tomorrow’s sun. To Masato, that was unacceptable, and it made him so furious it practically drove him mad.

In the end, Masato continued his dogged assault until every last person involved in his father’s death had fallen into a despair so deep they chose to kill themselves. The exhaustive way in which he dealt with his enemies sent a shock through the entire financial sphere, and the boy was soon dubbed the Devil of Finance and feared the world over.

That said, the only people he was merciless with were his foes. When it came to his employees, he was as magnanimous as could be. The world had plenty of people who were leaders in name alone, but unlike them, Masato never foisted blame on his subordinates. Instead, he took the heat for failures himself. His people revered him, and he returned their faith with love. It resembled the way one treated their family. Perhaps that’s what he’d been craving all along.

After awakening to his talents, Masato made up his mind to walk the conqueror’s road alongside his people, working tirelessly to earn more than anyone else so the employees who adored and relied on him could live even happier lives. The time he spent that way meant a lot to him, and he enjoyed every minute of it.

Before long, though, someone came and stood in the way of his conquest: Tsukasa Mikogami, a young man whose very being struck fear into the Devil of Finance.

“Chancellor Advisor, Chancellor Advisor.”

Masato Sanada heard someone calling for him by the title he’d received during his time in the Lakan Archipelago. It made him realize that he’d fallen asleep in the back of his wagon.

It was only evening, but winter was near, and the world was already draped in darkness. Even the moon’s light shining between the pine needles held a certain coldness.

Masato shook his head to clear away his drowsiness and turned to the person who’d called for him. “What?”

The speaker, the mercenary captain Masato had hired with the help of Lakan’s new chancellor, Shenmei Li, chuckled as he gave his report. “We’ve located a group of infantry marching down the highway to the north-northwest. They’re flying the Republic of Elm’s standard.”

Masato gave him a confident grin. “They’re taking the route we expected, then. How many troops have they got?”

“Roughly twenty-five thousand. It’s a damn big force they’re working with.”

“Makes sense. With the way they tout equality for all, abandoning Yamato ain’t an option for them.”

Equality for all was Elm’s national creed, so writing off the war as Yamato’s problem would have harmed the new nation’s legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. That Elm’s national assembly recognized that fact was a testament to the skill of its elected officials.

“The grandmaster told us to stop ’em, but how are you planning on doing that? Charging from the forest and attacking their flank?”

“Don’t be a dumbass. We’ve only got three thousand. Surprise attack or not, we’d barely slow ’em down. Why would we wanna do that when we’ve got another method that has zero risk and’ll actually work?”

“What’s that?”

“Didja forget? Those guys think I’m an angel.”

With that, Masato took his Qinglong Gang mercenaries and led them from their hiding spots in the woods directly toward the main Republic of Elm army marching across the imperial mountain trail on its way to Yamato.

“Hey, what’s up?” he called out.

“Wh-who’s there?!”

Elch, who was riding with the Elm army’s central company, panicked when he saw the group emerge from the forest. He and the soldiers leveled their rifles at Masato and the mercenaries…

“C’mon, Elch! Don’t go pointing those things at me!”


…but when they realized they were dealing with an old friend, they all hurriedly lowered their guns.

“It’s an angel!”

“What’s an angel doing here?!”

“Didn’t they say he went over to Lakan?!”

“Wh-what are you doing here, Masato? I heard that after you returned from Lakan, you helped the Blue Grandmaster purge the Bluebloods…”

“Sounds like you’ve been keeping on top of things,” Masato said, impressed by Elm’s intelligence-gathering capabilities. “Well, I bailed on him, that’s what. As soon as Neuro started fighting Tsukasa and the others for real, I decided to get the hell out. Figured it was only a matter of time before I woke up dead.”

“I heard you were working for him.”

“You seriously think I’ve got the patience to work for anyone?”

That there was a bald-faced lie. Masato was still cooperating with Neuro. He was here in the northwesternmost part of the empire specifically to stop Elm’s forces. The Elm army had its enemies at gunpoint and let them off the hook.

However, the army could hardly be faulted for that. After all, the only person who knew that Masato had cast his lot completely with Neuro was Shinobu Sarutobi, who’d sneaked into Drachen a few days prior. And Shinobu wasn’t in any position to share that information.

Masato made sure to keep all that to himself as he moved closer to Elch. “If Tsukasa was the only one in danger, I might’ve just said screw him, but Akatsuki and Ringo are over there, too. I’m not gonna throw them to the wolves. That’s why I took the Lakan mercs I hired, sneaked away, and waited here to join up with the Elm reinforcements. I’ve only got three thousand dudes here, so I figured we wouldn’t be much use to Yamato on our own.”

“Well, if you’re here to pitch in, that’d be a huge help. We’d be happy to have you. That’s agreeable with you, right, Commander?” Elch said.

“Of course. In battles, every warm body counts.”

Masato was still seen as one of the saviors among the people of Elm. Elch certainly had no reason to doubt him, nor did Commander Zest. As a result, the two of them offered him their unconditional trust.

“It’s just…adding another three thousand soldiers will put a hell of a burden on our supplies,” Zest continued. “I’m sure you know this, Elch, but supplies are an army’s lifeblood.”

“Don’t you worry about that, my man.” Masato pointed at the mercenaries behind him. They all carried large casks and burlap sacks. “We brought along loads of food and booze we swiped from Drachen when we skipped town. If you wanna load ’em onto your supply wagon, that’d be a huge help. We brought too much for our own carts, so my guys have been lugging them by hand. Judging by the size of the invading army, this war’s gonna be a long one, and we figured there was no such thing as too many supplies.”

“Ha-ha.” Elch laughed. “That’s the Masato I know. Always prepared.”

“A good merchant always gets you what you need, when you need it,” Masato replied.

“That’s a huge help,” Zest said. “I’ll have my troops load up the wagons right away.”

“Thanks.” Masato turned to the mercenaries. “Hey, guys, you all should help out, too. And make it snappy.”

“““You got it, sir.”””

With that, the Qinglong Gang handed their stolen provisions over to the Elm supply squad. There was nothing unusual about the provisions. They weren’t poisoned or rigged with explosives. As such, the Elm troops readily added them to their own supplies.

However, Masato had a plan. Of course he did. Neuro had predicted that the Republic of Elm would send in reinforcements, and he’d tasked Masato with stopping them so that Neuro could conquer Yamato unopposed. Masato harbored a scheme that would let him do just that.

“That’s a pretty huge supply squad you’ve got,” Masato remarked to Elch as he watched the troops secure everything. “Must’ve been a hell of a job gathering up all these people.”

“You can say that again. Not everyone in the republic is happy about launching this big military campaign just to help Yamato,” Elch replied with a nod. “Still, we can’t abandon them. Especially when Tsukasa and the others are still over there.”

“This is Tsukasa we’re talking about, though. I’m sure that before he went and stirred up shit with Neuro, with the empire, he gave you guys a way to cut ties with the Seven Luminaries. He offered it, and you didn’t accept. You sure that was the right call? A whole load of these people are gonna die.”

“We know that.”

Masato being Masato, he knew the sort of person Tsukasa was, and sure enough, that was exactly what Tsukasa had done. By sending Shinobu in to break Kaguya out of jail, Tsukasa had given the Republic of Elm’s newly formed national assembly the option to denounce him and the other so-called angels of the Seven Luminaries. Yet despite that…

“The representatives we selected as a nation got together, hashed things out, and made their call. The Republic of Elm has spoken, and we want to fight this war.”

…Elm had elected instead to save both Yamato and the Prodigies.

It wasn’t a battle anyone forced the country into. The representatives chose this fight because they felt it was the right thing to do, and Elch spoke of that with pride.

A gentle smile spread across Masato’s face as he looked over at Elch. “Damn, Elch. I look away for one minute, and you sound like a real man.”

“……! C-c’mon, don’t treat me like a kid! We’re basically the same age!”

“Ha-ha. My bad, my bad.”

Masato’s smile didn’t fade in the face of Elch’s anger. He was legitimately happy at how much Elch had grown. That growth meant that he wasn’t there as Masato’s student, but as an adult fighting for what he believed in.

Masato wouldn’t have to pull any punches.

“I’m glad I got to see you again,” Elch said. “When you split off after that argument about how to treat Lady Kaguya, I was afraid you might never come back. But I knew you cared about your allies.”

“…Yeah. You’re right.” Masato flashed his canines. “And that’s why I gotta do this.”


“Chancellor Advisor, we’ve finished loading the supplies!”

The Qinglong Gang mercenaries and the Elm soldiers came over to report that they’d finished moving all the new provisions.

Upon hearing that, Masato loudly thanked them…

“Good work! Now hurry up…and start the fire.”

…and gave the order.

As soon as he did, the mercenaries sprang into action. Some threw the torches they held, and others shot flaming arrows. All aimed for the supply squad wagons.

Fire engulfed the wagons in the blink of an eye.


Elch and the others stared in shock, unable to comprehend what was happening.

Beside them, Masato clapped his hands together in delight like he was watching a fireworks show. “That’s Azure Whiskey for you. Burns like a charm.”

“Masato, what are you…? What do you think you’re doing? What the HELL?!”

When Elch finally realized what he was looking at, he grabbed Masato by the collar with rage burning in his eyes.

“What do you mean?” Masato replied unapologetically. “It’s exactly like you said.”


“I never abandon an ally. And my allies are the employees I’ve got waiting for me to come home.”

“ ! You bastard!” Elch raised his fist.

Unfortunately, he’d chosen his opponent poorly. Much like Tsukasa, Masato had his share of assassination attempts back on Earth, and he’d picked up the combat skills necessary for a person in his position. He casually evaded Elch’s punch, countered by grabbing his arm, and performed a one-armed shoulder throw to send Elch slamming into the ground.

“Gah!” Elch gasped.

“Elch!” Zest cried.

“Sorry, Elch, but this is the one thing I can’t budge on. Even if it means letting Lyrule get killed.”

“Lyrule?! What does Lyrule have to do with anything?! What are you planning on doing to her?!”

Neuro was trying to kill Lyrule to resurrect his creator, and when Masato gave voice to that tidbit he’d learned from Shinobu, Elch tried to grab at him again. However, he was still reeling so badly from the throw that he couldn’t get back on his feet.







“Chancellor Advisor, all of us are ready to evacuate.”

“All right, let’s hit the bricks! Everyone, into the forest!”

…Masato shot the briefest of glances at the Elm army, whose members stared in horror at the angel’s betrayal, before beating a hasty retreat into the forest with his troops. They fled so quickly that it was like watching a herd of wildcats.

Naturally, Elch hurried to give chase…

“Hey! G-get back here, you son of a bitch!”

“Elch, no!”

…but Zest pinioned him the moment he tried to head for the woods.

“Commander, why’d you stop me?!” Elch protested.

Deep furrows stretched across Zest’s brow as he gave his answer. “I knew those soldiers looked familiar. That was the Qinglong Gang, the foremost mercenary outfit in all of Lakan. And to make matters worse, more than half the archipelago is woodland. Guerilla warfare in the forest is their bread and butter! I don’t even want to think about how many we’d lose charging in after them!”


Zest’s explanation was enough to get Elch to yield. Now that he thought about it, the massive Qinglong Gang force had surely been traveling right along their flank, and Elch had been none the wiser. The leadership skills it took to facilitate such a maneuver were terrifying to consider. A messy fight in the forest threatened the entire Elm force.

All Elch could do was stare silently at the trees Masato and his forces vanished into.

Rage colored his expression, but it was outweighed by sorrow.


“Looks like they’re not chasing us.”

“Well, that’s boring. I was all excited to mow them down when they came bumbling after us like fools.”

“Old man Zest is no dumbass. He’s not gonna chase us when we’ve got advantageous terrain. Still, make sure you keep up your guards.”

As Masato and his soldiers hurried away from the Elm army, the mercenary outfit’s captain shot Masato a question. “Chancellor Advisor, all we did was burn their supplies. Are you sure it’s all right for us to leave? The Blue Grandmaster told us to stop them in their tracks. Your betrayal broke their morale. Wouldn’t it have been better for us to draw them into the forest and fight them here?”

“No way,” Masato replied. “There’s a time for taking risks, and this ain’t it. Besides, that stunt might not have stopped imperial troops, but against Elm, it’ll put ’em right out of commission.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because they can’t pillage,” Masato explained.

Freyjagard’s and Elm’s respective national policies of survival of the fittest and equality for all respectively meant that the two nations went about war in completely different ways.

For Freyjagard, warfare was a way of bolstering their economy by pillaging their foes and placing them under colonial rule. Wars cost money, but Freyjagard made up for that with the wealth it plundered.

In contrast, Elm espoused the philosophy of equality for all, and that meant it couldn’t ransack, not even from enemies. Doing so would go against the national creed, which applied both on a macro level in respect to Elm’s national economy and on a micro level regarding their ability to procure supplies locally during the war itself. Slowing down an army that believed in equality was simple—all it took was burning its provisions.

“Elch and Zest knew that, so they put their supplies right next to their main force and made sure they were guarded well.”

“But they let you stroll right past their defenses.”

Masato nodded. “Trying to run a long-distance military campaign without supplies spells death. Plus, the imperial army they’re up against is a hundred thousand strong. Even with Yamato, the fight will drag on for ages. The only thing the Elm army can do now is sit on its ass and wait for more supplies to show up.”

“Is there any danger they’ll consolidate what little food they’ve got left among small companies and send them on ahead?”

“And break their army into tiny, useless chunks? If the empire lost to a plan that stupid, it wouldn’t deserve our help,” Masato replied with a shrug. The mercenaries snickered in agreement. “Besides, even if they did do something that stupid, it would be too little too late. We’re about to turn right around to back up Neuro.”

Masato’s words caused the mercenaries to quicken their march. More than half of the Lakan Archipelago’s territory was covered in tropical forests, and as the nation’s finest mercenary outfit, the Qinglong Gang was able to trek through the forested mountains without so much as breaking a sweat. They moved through the trees as fast as others might run down a well-maintained highway. Not even mounted cavalry could have kept pace with them. Yamato was just as forested as Lakan, so this advantage would only grow when they crossed the border. Even if Elch and Zest forced their army onward, Masato and his mercenaries were still bound to reach the battlefield first.

The Qinglong Gang, comprised of three thousand troops, would help drive the final nail into the exhausted Yamato army’s coffin.

For my dream—my avarice.

A memory surfaced in Masato’s mind. It was a recollection of the day his friend and enemy, prodigy politician Tsukasa Mikogami, barred the way on his road to conquest.

“As the stats above show, the levels of wealth inequality brought about by our capitalist economy have already exceeded acceptable bounds. This needs to be remedied as soon as possible, and as a government body with jurisdiction over wealth redistribution, the duty to do so lies with us. As such, we propose introducing a system of universal basic income wherein every citizen is allotted a fixed sum each month as a way to lessen inequality.”

Universal basic income, or UBI, was exactly what it sounded like. It was a program whereby every citizen was unconditionally allotted the minimum amount of money they needed to function. Financing for that system came from two places—a consolidation of miscellaneous social safety nets and a progressive tax on the rich. In other words, it was a policy that used state power to shave away at the fortunes of wealthy people like Masato.

Tsukasa was trying to steal from the Sanada Group.

He was trying to rob them of their riches, just like the Mikasa Group once had. And that meant they were going to fight. Masato had no choice, not as long as the image of his father’s body remained seared into the backs of his eyelids. He refused to lose his family again.

“I don’t show my foes a shred of mercy. But you know that already, don’t you—Tsukasa?”

The cold wind was a harbinger of the winter to come, but Masato’s words carried a greater chill.


Meanwhile, in a maximum-security cell in Drachen…

“So that’s the intruder, huh?”

“Yeah. They say the fallen angel who betrayed the Seven Luminaries caught her.”

“Seems like a whole lot of restraints for a single chick. How many padlocks are even on that door?”

“The fallen angel says she’d slip out with anything less.”

“I dunno, looks like overkill. You could at least let me in there. I mean, how am I supposed to enjoy myself out here?”

“Not a chance. The grandmaster sent us a message from the front as a reminder. He says not to loosen her restraints, no matter what. She might not appear like much, but she’s still an angel. Who knows what she’d do to us if she got free.”

“Tch. This job sucks.”


Share This :


No Comments Yet

Post a new comment

Register or Login