We’ve secured a chance to gain connections with the business world.
However, there’s no way that we’ll be able to get anyone to invest money in our project if they just go in with no idea what we’re doing.
It’s become a standard practice since I entered this world to prepare in advance, the most important thing there is to do.
A room in a building within Kabukicho’s center.
On this particular night, I was alone in this place.
I visit this cabaret club two or three times a month when I need to think.
Although this business is becoming obsolete, it’s still in high demand, especially among the elderly.
They’re inseparable in the world of politics.
A familiar black-clad boy welcomed me and quickly guided me into the restaurant.
“Is Mika here?”
“Yes, she's at work. She told me that you’d be here soon.”
“It turned out to be right. Please come this way.”
I was shown to the VIP room at the back of the restaurant.
In the room, there were already a few bottles and some snacks.
It’s clear that preparations are already underway even before you arrive at the restaurant.
“Please wait a moment, sir.”
The boy bowed his head and left the room.
As I silently sat down on the luxurious sofa, a wave of exhaustion washed over me.
I didn't even have the energy to reach for my drink, so I just leaned back against the backrest.
I sighed deeply, a little surprised at myself.
I haven't had a good night's sleep recently.
The pressure of the Human Resource Development Project that I was suddenly put in charge of and the heavy responsibility that lurks behind it.
It’s a life-threatening job that I cannot afford to fail even in the slightest.
We have a good idea of where the educational facility will be located, but we don’t have enough funds to secure it, nor have we found the right educators. In addition, we’ll need a lot of manpower to operate the facility.
It’s also necessary to gather a group of well-spoken individuals and to brainstorm a system to prevent them from leaking information to the outside world.
Naturally, more money is needed for this.
“Money, money, money or…”
The opportunity to receive funding has been provided through Sakayanagi, but what will actually happen is not yet known.
“I don't know what’ll happen…”
I closed my eyes, unable to stand the oncoming drowsiness.
Biting the difference between my body and the hard fabric of my office, I lay down to rest. I wonder how much time has passed since then.
A minute, an hour.
When I opened my eyes to wake up unexpectedly, I saw a face peering at me from the side.
Familiar large eyes and lips.
The way she always looks at me.
“Are you awake?”
“...How long have I been asleep?”
I lifted myself from the couch and poured myself a glass of whiskey to wake myself up.
“Maybe 10 minutes. You must be very tired.”
Only 10 minutes. But I felt a little lighter in those 10 minutes.
“Do you want me to make you some tea or water?”
“No, I feel better when I drink something like this.”
Mika nodded in amazement, added some more alcohol and wiped the water from the glass in a familiar manner.
“I have a favor to ask you.”
“That's the first thing you get up and talk about? Why don't you forget about work for a minute?”
“No, I don't think so.”
The glass in my hand is clenched in a natural grip.
“I know your work is important to you.”
“There’s no line between important and unimportant work. Nothing’s allowed to be unaccounted for.”
For me, even picking chestnuts out of a fire is an important task.
“It's hard being a politician. From what I see on TV, they're falling asleep in the Japanese Parliament, they're accused of corruption, they're accused of philandering, and so on. There are very few people who seem to be doing their jobs properly.”
That's how the world of politics looks to the average person, huh?
The ruling party and the opposition party are supposed to be doing their job which seemingly comprises of them shouting abuse at each other like children.
“It's good for me. As long as the top echelon is sane, there’s no room for me.”
With so many old politicians in power, I’m able to take advantage of the few open seats.
“I think you’d make a great politician, Atsuomi.”
She says, gently placing her palm on my thigh.
“How can a woman who knows nothing about politics say that?”
“I don't know anything about politics, but I do have a good eye for men.”
Mika, beside me, moved to Tokyo right after graduating from junior high, and after moving from job to job, she threw herself into the world of cabarets. With her good looks and unassuming attitude, she quickly worked her way up to the number two spot at this bar.
She met me when she was looking for a restaurant to entertain a member of the Japanese Parliament, and we developed a relationship.
We were lovers for a while, but that was a long time ago.
We haven’t broken off the relationship at the time not only because of the physical aspect of our relationship but also because she was a capable person in her field.
Knowing how to use her weapons, Mika had close relationships with several men who were at the core of the ruling and opposition parties. Mika is a young, beautiful woman who’s capable of only adult relationships that don’t harm her family. Politicians have many secrets. The more secrets one has, the more one wants to tell them, and the heavier they are.
Politicians are wary of smart women. On the other hand, they’re less cautious of women who aren’t so quick on the uptake.
If a woman responds with a knowing but unknowing “huh” when any secret is divulged, pillow talk will be encouraged. If you are a little too flippant and say something unnecessary, you don't have to worry if the other person doesn't remember.
But this Mika is different. She had no knowledge, but she had at least a little bit of intellect.
She knew that every politician's statement was worth money, and she knew how to record it in any way she could.
And it all started when she demanded the number one position and money in exchange for her help.
And not only to take down the number one, but also with the hope that she would be thoroughly destroyed. In response to the obvious price, I drugged and eliminated the woman who was number one at the time.
I’m sure if she’s now somewhere getting a small fortune by dealing with dirty customers.
Since then, the relationship has deepened and both sides have maintained our hold on each other.
“I'd like to get to know some of them.”
I laid out on the table the photos of the seven people I’ve picked out from the business world.
“Do any of these faces look familiar to you, or do you think you can pull some strings?”
“I don't know. I don't think any of them have shown up at our establishment… but I think I've seen this guy at one of our sites… Wait a minute, let me check. What's his name?”
As if to jog her memory, Mika called somewhere on her cell phone.
“Oh, hello, Sophia? I have a question for you… Do you know a customer named Sonezaki-san?”
After a while of chatting among friends, Mika ended the call and nodded.
“Bingo. There was a big customer who was crazy about Sophia.”
“Well, that's a good thing. Can’t we use it to our advantage?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“This Sonezaki is married with two daughters in middle school. It's natural for a wealthy man to play with women, but he wouldn't want his family to know about the affair.”
“Simple as that.”
“As for the rest of the people, hit them as hard as you can.”
“And one more thing. I'd like you to get close to Sasada as well. He seems to be getting himself into a position of some sort these days. I'd like to get a hold of one or two of his weaknesses.”
“...Sasada, right? Why?”
Mika's face didn’t hide her disgust at the mention of Sasada's name.
“I don't like pricks who touch me without permission, do you?”
“Are they crazy about you?”
“He's even offered me money if I spend the night with him.”
“That's good. Give him what he wants. I'll extract more money than he expects.”
A weapon no man could ever have. It's a simple and effective strategy.
“How much will you pay me?”
“Results will be what you expect. Have I ever made you a promise I didn't keep?”
“Okay. I don't like this, but I'll make it work.”
“And don't forget to take care of Naoe-sensei. He thinks very highly of you.”
“...I don't know.”
For the first time, Mika's expression turned dark.
“It’s kind of… hard to see his true heart no matter how many times you get close to him.”
She took a hand towel and started to fold it at random.
This is a habit that Mika resorts to in order to distract her mind when she is talking about something she doesn't like.
“He’s an old man in my eyes, but he has an aura that contradicts that.”
“Just as you’d expect. You’re just like Naoe-sensei.”
Don't be fooled by his old appearance.
“Be careful. I don't want you to get swallowed up.”
“I can't tell you how many guys I've given that to.”
I took a handful of bills out of my wallet and put them in a mess on the table.
“Are you leaving already? I've got time.”
“I'm sorry, but I don't have any to spare.”
Drinking and women are just indulgences, nothing more, nothing less.
They will come with time.
The important thing now is to execute the project perfectly and make a name for yourself in the Naoe faction.