The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See Act X - Edo Castle

 


Imperial Garden

Valerie stepped out of the luxury taxi which one of Werner's associates had arranged for her. She'd missed her ride with the other delegates and was worried that she'd delayed everyone on this monumental occasion as the last destination of their journey. She was still somewhat flustered by the fact that Alicia could leave her with such a responsibility. She reasoned to herself that if it was so important, why could Alicia not have dealt with this herself. They were a team and they needed Alicia for this occasion.



She'd walked up a series of steps and down a long walk way of interlocked brick which was framed on either side with beautiful Cherry Blossom Trees. Each brick on this path as legend held it was hand carved by the most skilled stone carvers, and no two were alike. This was done so as to ensure that any malicious spirits (of which historic Japan believed there were many) would get lost along the path should they be seeking turmoil against the Imperial Japanese Dynasty. She marveled at the fragrance as she walked the path oblivious to the fact that everyone who passed through this portion of their walk to the Imperial Garden was watched very closely by the Imperial Guard from one of their many vantage points. On the one hand, the beauty and vibrant pastel colours surrounding her and on the other, sudden death should she take action the Imperial Guard deemed as an attack upon the Emperor or Japan herself. Valerie instead regarded herself as kun to the Imperial Guard, for she too was a guardian ally in their midst.



Valerie found her way to the end of the brick path and she stood before the entrance to the Imperial Garden. One of the Imperial Guards asked her for her proof of admittance which she fished out of her purse promptly. The Guard bowed for her and ushered her into the Garden area which was still a great distance from the Imperial Palace itself. Not to mention a river moat separated the these lands from the palace itself. Valerie wondered if between the Emperor's duty's, he might venture to the windows with his Wife to admire their surroundings.



"The pretty bird gets the cage." Hiroyuki spoke addressing her from behind as he caught up with her.



"Oh? Konnichiwa." Valerie bowed for Hiroyuki who returned the greeting several times.



"..and the honourably righteous bird, the throne. I am glad to see that you made it. I came to ensure that you did not get lost. Perhaps this is a good omen?" Hiroyuki confirmed with Valerie.



"To tell you the truth you're arrival was impeccably timed. Alicia is going to be running late. Something very pressing came up to which she needed to attend. I'm covering for her as best I can but I'd appreciate any help you could give our delegation. I am humbly at your service for your gracious assistance." Valerie pleaded the situation to Hiroyuki who considered the weight that had been placed upon her.



"Alicia obviously has a great deal of trust in you. If I were in the same position, I would certainly feel honoured being given that kind of responsibility and trust by someone such as Doctor Westin. And at the risk of much shame should I fail." Hiroyuki diverged to another point of view that Valerie had taken for granted.



"I suppose you're right. Maybe I just thrive in the pressure, but we can't do this without you. I see why Heylyn asked you to look out for me. For all of us. I'm really grateful. So what did you mean by that statement. The pretty bird gets the cage?" Valerie asked him as they continued walking towards the meeting point.



"Technically it is not a Japanese saying. It comes from a Chinese philosopher. Possibly Confucius though I'm hard pressed to recall. I saw you looking to the Imperial Palace. Most would consider at that point the life situation of the Emperor or any Royalty for that matter. Perhaps even the states-persons of any country. Your favourite scientists. Your favourite movie stars. To be an icon or celebrity in all of the different forms in which it may come. To be the center of attention is to be caged by it in a matter of speaking. Freedom for such persons becomes very differently defined than it is for those of a more inconspicuous existence. That is the price of being the bird whose colours stand out so much from the background. Yes as I stated, the same people again and again are drawn to their duty to the people. Like a moth to the flame. And so the honourably righteous find the throne, or rather, it finds them." Hiroyuki explained to her.




"So we're learning, but I can't possibly imagine what it must be for someone who is part of a legacy that extends for centuries into the past." Valerie offered.



"Likely it has many pressures, for one in such a position must be governed by the impression of what tradition means to the people. The value that people place upon tradition is represented by our Emperor and the throne, right back to the birth of Honshu and Japan itself. How many lands in our world place regard upon their origins that far back? How many can relate with the legend and myth of the beginnings of their very people? There's a difference between what it means to be proud of the history of your people versus hubris. To defy the idea of a God or Goddess. To defy nature herself. To cast aside the other nations of the world as mere beasts. That is the difference between being in touch with your own history versus feeling a sense of privilege that results from hubris with regard to your origins. The Emperor must represent the dignity of our history and our people, while ensuring that Japan is never consumed by the malicious and consuming nature of hubris. Not only that, but being an icon there are many who seek to use the power of that symbol for their own dark purposes. The Emperor is and has likely been embattled many times by different circles seeking to usurp that power for their own. In World War II it was the blood thirsty Generals, those consumed by hubris and who were far removed from the honour of a true warrior. A true warrior is one whose heart protects the innocence around them rather than one who crushes the world seeking absolute rule. True warriors never seek to undermine the honour or reputation of the honourably virtuous for the purposes of hubris or self gain. Yet in this modern battlefield it happens often. As if to be elevated in stature is to denigrate others. Those are not true warriors, but jesters seeking an audience at the expense of another. Yet being on both sides of that coin, we learn. Some learn of this by lesson, and others by chance. Our Emperor and every one preceding him was born with this wisdom. In the eyes of our history, our Emperor is a living God. Wisdom beyond. You in the West might call such people old souls. Hence, through our Emperor and history, we have a rich tradition that binds us." Hiroyuki pondered his statement for a moment.



"...the cage is made up of people who seek to misuse the power of such icons for the purpose of conquest. They form the bars of such a cage. Icons such as the Emperor have few they can confide in and truly trust who'd understand that aspect of their being. For them they must possess insight and patience beyond what many are capable and the courage to stand and speak when none are aligned with their point of view and to persist regardless of obstacle. To be the heart and mind of people and perhaps in that sense, all people. The world is changing a great deal and as it does, people grasp for something that connects them. Something that quells that hidden loneliness of being. A sense of belonging to something greater than themselves alone. Perhaps we are seeing the birth of a merging of traditions? Where the traditions of the world become as one. Where religion and science have a respected place in our progress. Where the individual and the group are valued parts of the whole and none the lesser. As our traditions are consumed they become a part of the tradition of the whole and hopefully none are lost. A difficult transition for human kind wouldn't you say? Perhaps if we ever have to answer the question of who we are to another species that originates from another planet, it is best that we regard ourselves as part of the Earth's whole, rather than one small part of it without relinquishing any one of our individual traditions? That is the importance of our tradition and the future." Hiroyuki's voice decrescendoed and as he finished speaking Valerie saw the glory of the Imperial Garden around them.




"I hope that I didn't miss anything." Bryce approached bowing for Valerie and Hiroyuki.



"I'll say, I can almost taste the ambiance of your conversation." Zheng bowed for them.



"Valerie and I were just discussing a little bit of history." Hiroyuki assured them.



"Well I hope that you saved some good tidbits for us. From the way this delegation has been going I'd hate to be the one whose missed any of our conversations. Let's face it, I have some inspiring points of view from this trip to share when I get back to the lecture circuit." Doctor Briggs announced.



"We discussed aspects of the Imperial Dynasty. A little bit about the nature of the lives of those who live before the public eye. Perhaps a bit about the nature of conflict and the war itself and why tradition is important in the modern age." Hiroyuki summarized.



"I have a point of view with regard to Japan and the war." Doctor Briggs reminded them.



"We discussed the true nature of a warrior being the protector of innocence rather than the conqueror seeking to sublimate the populations of the world into their power." Hiroyuki proposed to the historian Doctor Briggs.




"In my humble opinion as a Canadian who interned in the Tokyo Museum Of Japanese History, and has had the honour of serving under three heads of state, two Canadian Prime Ministers and one American President, I concur with what you're saying. I don't believe that the Japanese Emperor was responsible for the war effort knowing what I know about the situation and history itself. Likely he was cornered between Generals seeking to leverage the opportunity the war in Europe had provided for their own gain and out of urgency seeing as America ceased providing Japan with oil exports under the pressure of ensuring their own oil reserves. A volatile situation for certain. Likely the populace, the Japanese enlisted men and the Emperor were guided into a war of atrocity under the coercion of the Generals who failed your proposal of what makes a true warrior. One who protects and upholds rather than conquers. One who gives as much as they have need. One who wears their own hakama, rather than run off with somebody else's." Doctor Briggs agreed giving his approval.




"Well said Doctor Briggs. Knowing what I know about what transpired from a good history Professor at the Canadian Military University in Ottawa, the Americans who made the decision to drop the Atomic bomb went through a rigorous process to select their targets in order to save as many lives and as many of Japan's ancient temples and historical monuments as possible. The alternative would have been a Marine invasion of Japan which would have cost the lives of an estimated three to four million people without the use of America's newly acquired Nuclear arsenal. He said the blood of lost lives rested solely upon the Upper regimens of the Japanese Military at that point in time. It was the last attempt of an old order to regain power and to use the Emperor as a puppet for the purposes of their conquest. That is what happens when a true warrior loses touch with their sense of virtue and instead pursues a path of hubris. It took many lives and years for their Military Leadership to regain the honour they'd lost by their betrayal of the people. Many of the Generals implied in the war crimes chose Hara-Kiri over the court room to decide their fate. Not to retain their honour as warriors but to escape their fate as the dishonoured. That is how it was told to me." Bryce spoke perhaps trying to break the tension and heal the scars those wounds incurred so long ago.



"Retrospect unfortunately quite often suffers from the myopia of immediacy. It is a great tragedy when two people must come to such bloodshed as a price to their resolve. At least we have reached a common understanding and with that knowledge we may move forward together." Hiroyuki answered.



"With dignity and honour." Doctor Briggs spoke understanding what that meant to the Japanese tradition.



"As long as we make what we understand available to the greater public. You know, through a popular medium? I mean I believe we want the ground broken here to be part of the common knowledge? Of the Encyclopedia Galactica of Humanity." Bryce suggested.




"Come on. You're not going to tell me that you actually entertain the Aetheric interpretation of Quantum Dynamics are you?" Zheng challenged him perhaps more so for the point of banter and keeping their minds sharp.



"My Dear Zheng, it pays to consider insightful work done with regard to the explanation of reality and that includes the Aether. I mean really that work was done as an explanation for the medium of Quantum Causality before the concept of the Planck scale was even considered. I regard the Aether as an early insight into Quantum Electrical Fields and Quantum Electro-Dynamics. Before you have the math of how any particular system works, it is philosophy and nature that gives us the clues intuitively via Synchronicity and thanks to the observations of C.G. Jung. That is precisely what Doctor Sylvia Upadhaya would spend countless hours of her time trying to convince me. It took a long time for me to honestly consider what Sylvia had been trying to explain. I mean in the world of Quantum physics, as soon as you go off on a tangent that appears anything like pseudo science or philosophy, you're ridiculed for quackery. Some of my colleagues have even been quite mean when it comes to that aspect unfortunately but perhaps its for the better in the sense that it is a test of the staying power of any theory. If it can survive an onslaught of scrutiny, then perhaps it is worth consideration and resources to explore. Many String theorists have been through the mill with regard to scrutiny and mostly because it seemingly borders on mysticism and quackery as some refer to it. Unfortunately while so many were bashing the theory they never noticed that some great physicists had managed to work universal symmetry into one of the branches of String Theory, including a theory of gravity. That's pretty much the Holy Grail for theoretical physics. I consider the Aether to be just another step along the way to forming a palatable theory of Quantum Gravity and Quantum Electrical Fields although String Theory may be the bridge for both to formalize a description of gravity. An understanding of the Aether was one of the steps to get there. It was a rung on the ladder, and no rung is the lesser that elevates those who climb it." Bryce made his point.



"Alright. Just checking. I wanted to make sure that you were on your toes after all." Zheng offered him.



"My Dear, if I were any more on my toes, I'd be wearing Prada." Bryce joked.



"I didn't know you had Prada in your wardrobe?" Doctor Briggs remarked somewhat sarcastically.



"Well the truth is that I don't. I'd have to borrow from my wife of course and I'm certain that she'd be quite amused by that prospect." Bryce replied.



"Such amusement as this, in this place of Zen and Shinto beauty?" a man poetically extended his hand to Bryce, as several others pursued his curiosity.



Bryce stood fast for a moment and then extended his hand shaking the hand of the younger man who'd approached him rather than make him look the fool by pointing out that he'd not bowed. Bryce looked upon him, amused perhaps waiting for this Man's courage to overcome his preconceived notions of Bryce's iconification.



"Professor Bryce Maxwell... I presume?" the man queried Bryce.



"Call me Bryce. Please. Not Doctor Livingston though. Bryce if fine." Bryce's face compressed to a forced smile.



"See?" the man looked over to a long haired blond lady who'd just arrived.


The lady upon seeing Bryce began to blush profusely.


"He's just a Man." the other young man spoke addressing her.


"Yes. Somewhat like yourself, though you're just at that point a decade and a half before you arrive at your best years." Bryce replied.


"My best year is the present and my best moment, now." the young man shot back fearlessly.



"You're not just saying that because it sounds good, are you?" Zheng queried the young man who seemed defensive at her appraisal.



"Speaking honestly I'd have to say no. That would imply that I'm beholden to ego and quite simply put, I'm not. Much like time itself. Therefore the best time is always the present." the young man replied unfazed.



"You must be Max Danford. I've heard quite a bit about you." Bryce addressed him.



Bryce had not been lying. Max was a Philosophy student who'd progressed through academics to become a brilliant if not arrogant philosopher. He was one of the few students of Aboriginal origins who'd managed persevere their own way into the schooling system and successfully into academia. Their ancestors would have regarded them as courageous warriors leading the path into the future.


Many of the Aboriginal population of Australia who'd pursued education had opted for the practical path of applied sciences rarely delving or questioning their instructors. Max on the other hand had been a problem for the educational institution from the first days of his education. From that very time, he'd kept them on their toes with questions that seemed well beyond his years. For his courage he'd been rewarded with the reputation of an idol amongst both the students and some of the alumni. The kind of Man who sought the minds and sensuality of women, while many of them had sought his heart. During his first five years of education at the University of Sydney he'd nearly been ejected from the philosophy program five times. Twice for debating his Professors during class or lecture and three times for his own display of thought provoking protest. He'd become the wonderful publicity stunt that Australian tourism loved and the Education system hated. Since graduating from his initial program at the age of twenty four he`d become somewhat of a legend around campus.


He continued his education not being frightened by the intimidation of the system but rather, invigorated by it. He sought to take his Bachelor`s Degree in Philosophy to a Master`s Degree while effectively earning his placement as a Professor. What better way to set an example and become a beacon for his Aboriginal sisters and brothers, not to mention all students in the Sydney educational system. He`d become the subject of adoration of many students, who regarded him as their idol and hero much like Bryce Maxwell had become, pursuing both Quantum Physics and Music as his career path, confronting the physics institution before him.



"Quite honestly Professor Maxwell, I`m struggling with that. I mean becoming an icon for others. In both academia and in the sciences." Max Danford responded humbly.



"Well the only advice that I can offer you Max is not to take yourself too seriously while hoping that others do. Be sincere. Always and you`ll understand why that`s being fair to everyone." Bryce explained.


There was an awkward moment of silence as the two delegations realized they'd awkwardly found one another.


"Also, we're in the Imperial Gardens of Japan. Next time you greet me or anyone else here, do so in the local custom in addition to how you greeted me so that everyone else can appreciate it too." Bryce said firmly to him.


"Professor Maxwell, this is Professor Lana Tibees. You`d probably like her seeing as she`s a specialist in Physics and Complexity theory." Max spoke playfully of his colleague.


"Complexity theory? Perhaps I might be one of her fans. I've read her paper on Emergent Complex Systems and how they correlate to biological systems on a per neuron basis." Bryce replied.



"You read my paper?" Lana asked of Bryce somewhat amazed.


"More than once. Get over it. Its a great paper." Bryce stated, being Canadian.



"Well it appears that you are the Western delegation of which we've heard so much?" asked another person who'd just arrived perhaps trying to keep up with Max and Lana in the midst of the Imperial Garden.



"You're hogging the spotlight Bryce. You too Doctor Briggs. Let us all take part in this delegation will you?" Katya stepped forward pulling her husband by his hand.



"This is the problem with becoming icons in any field as I've been trying to say. In academia icons become both the spokespersons for education and the destroyer of innovation and independent thought." Victor responded.



"I can only assure you that I think independently. I'm in perfect control of my own faculties." replied Maki Ono.



"Professor Ono? Maki Ono? It is so good to see you again. I mean we only saw each other sixteen hours ago at a gig didn't we? That was a great gig by the way. After all, you're an accomplished guitarist not to mention an innovator in the science of Emergent Dynamics." Bryce responded.



"Well it seems that some of us have already met but I'd suggest we formally introduce ourselves to each other so that nobody is left out." Valerie interrupted impatiently and somewhat flustered wresting control of the delegation from Bryce.



Max and Maki both stepped forward to do the honours for their delegation while Valerie and Bryce represented the Western delegation.



A beautiful tiny Japanese Woman stepped forward from behind Max and Maki.



"Doctor Sune Tunagi is a specialist at the University of Tokyo Cancer Unit. She's also a spokesperson for the United Nations Foundation." Maki introduced the Woman who'd just stepped forward as she bowed for the Western delegation.



The present members of the Western delegation returned her gesture and greeting. Max spoke taking the proverbial podium from Maki.



"...and our next contestant is the glamorous and exciting Professor Lana Tibees, a lady in the cutting edge field of Biophysics." Max clapped his hands for her perhaps impersonating a game show or beauty pageant host.



Lana nodded her head first and then bowed, suddenly remembering that they were in Japan. Another lady stepped forward not waiting for her introduction likely to avoid embarrassment at the hands of their would be spokespersons.



"The man behind me here is Doctor Bernard Astoria, a specialist in Computational Biology and reknowned consultant in the field. I'm Doctor Rose Bautista and I'm currently heading the Department Of Medicine at the Manila General Hospital." Rose introduced her associate and herself.



"It is an honour to meet you all for this meeting and delegation. Even the more humorous of you which certainly underlines the reason that so many talented comedians are currently unemployed. Perhaps you should consider a change of career and make room for them in the work place. I'm certain that they would take such matters more seriously and reserve the application of humour more appropriately and strategically." Bryce spoke for Valerie, easing her tension considerably though she retained her current stature.



"You know, coming from anyone else and I'd have eaten them alive. In your case Professor Maxwell I'll consider your point. That's certainly one of the benefits of being a respected icon. When you put your foot down people tend to take you seriously. I concede but I'll remind you that I meant nothing but respect and honour for my colleagues." Max responded to Bryce's suggestion.



There was a moment of awkward tension that summarily passed in the beauty of the Imperial Gardens. Valerie broke the silence, introducing the members of the Western delegation in turn before beginning their meeting. Together as one group they began to stroll enjoying the scenery around them.



"You know why we're here already as I'm sure that you've been briefed by your respective Governments. The nature of this meeting and the purpose for us coming here, to Japan and greater Southeast Asia is to urge you and hopefully to win your support in calling for a new vote with regard to the consideration of the Medicinal Fund Proposal submitted to the Asian Alliance by Tynan And Associates. Unfortunately thanks to circumstances beyond our control, both Doctor Alicia Westin and Walton Norler will not be here for this meeting. I am sorry if that causes any problems but I can assure you that they are both here in spirit and would have been here if not for those circumstances." Valerie spoke professionally beginning the proceedings.


"We're certainly in complete understanding of why you're here. We were briefed both by our respective Governments and yesterday by representatives of the Asian Alliance. I can't speak for all of us, but my biggest point of contention with your proposal and your efforts to have the outcome of a prior vote turned over is related to the fact that proposal came from a corporation. Not only that but one of the biggest in the world when it comes to pharmacological medicine. It is my opinion and belief that the results of the prior vote were in order to protect Asia from the infiltration of its traditional medicine by a western corporation more so than anything." Rose addressed Valerie voicing her concerns.


"Look. You have to understand our point of view. This proposal was put forth by Tynan as Rose already pointed out. We're not against corporations or business at all seeing as most of our research funding comes from big business. Without it we wouldn't have a voice at all and you'd be speaking to different people right now. Beneath this though there's an underlying problem and that's related both to culture and branding as far as I can see it. When the first proposal arrived and I was asked to speculate on the possible ramifications if the vote had passed, I cited that if a Western corporation or any corporation for that matter had managed to put itself behind such a proposal and then to benefit financially from it, we'd see the beginning of an era where our most cherished ideals would become brands and symbols for the purposes of selling products or services. The general public would eventually become blind to issues requiring their consideration and instead follow trends according to brand identification which of course would be controlled by corporations. Tynan's proposal represents the beginning of that possibility. I could for that reason not have advised for a yes vote on that issue. In fact I oppose it completely and publicly as you probably already know." Max spoke firmly about an issue to which he'd prior given much consideration.


"I have to say that I agree with Max on that point and not because the media believes him to be, and I quote, a philosophical hunk. Most of the Cancer research that benefits our unit is funded by corporations whose interest lay in that field. We both benefit from that relationship for the simple reason that it puts Cancer treatments and cures as a possibility in the near future. The problem with the proposal is that it puts a brand directly on that issue despite the fact that the proposal is social in nature. What's next beyond that possibility? The corporate branding of the vote?" Sune added to Max's argument.


"We know that you've had a great deal of success with the prior delegations representing Southeast Asia and for this very reason, we are the last line of defense protecting the Asian Alliance from such a future. If there's any good reason for your seeking to overturn the prior vote, we're the ones that you want to convince and no less than the other delegates you've already charmed with Bryce's presence on your delegation. An obvious move to utilize his credentials and nearly cult like following for the purposes of this vote." Doctor Astoria backed up his colleagues.



Valerie looked to Bryce. He returned her glance with a tilted head and an elevated eye brow. They both at that moment wished for Alicia's presence.


Hunting Heylyn

Heylyn approached the coastline of Honshu flying as fast as she could. Her arms had become numbed by the temperature despite the warmth of the Pacific summer air. Her aetherial butterfly wings were tucked tightly to her body making her appear more like a jet than a butterfly.



Miraculously she'd managed to line herself up with Honshu by dead reckoning alone, slowly correcting her course as she approached Tokyo harbour and her pre-agreed upon meeting point with Monique. She hadn't considered how she was going to approach the harbour without being seen though she'd already been spotted by numerous sea going vessels that had radioed back to Tokyo about the presence of a large bird flying at supersonic speeds. Some of the sailors had even managed to snap pictures of her flight. She'd already become a sensation on various conspiracy media outlets, where she had been identified a UFO, an alien or a part of a secret Government research program. Little did they know that if they'd known the truth, it would have been stranger than any of those explanations perhaps making them the more reasonable of the two.



She tried not to think about that challenge instead focusing herself upon arriving safely. She'd become worried that she might have reached the limits of her abilities, especially with regard to flight. After all, there were inevitably limits to how the SY349 could have affected her or altered her DNA. Heylyn was once again forced to think within her limits, a feeling she'd not confronted since becoming the Butterfly Dragon in the first place and prior to that moment, during her youth in helping Alicia to overcome her self consciousness.



Heylyn quickly descended turning towards the inlet of Tokyo harbour, gradually slowing her speed. Her wings intuitively spread to make up for the loss of speed. After all, altitude and velocity were interchangeable as she'd learned quickly as a result of her avian abilities. Her wings steadied as her descent slowed bringing her into the vision of onlookers on the pier as she approached.



The first person to notice her approach immediately thought back to his childhood. Watching Toho movies until the sun rose during sleep-overs allowed by his parents. He immediately thought of King Ghidorah first though eventually settling upon the idea that he'd seen Mothra. In fact he began screaming that very name at the top of his breath, pointing towards Heylyn's outline against the horizon. Others upon seeing what he'd indicated began following him heralding the outbreak of a contagious social disease, screaming much the same. Some screaming Mothra. Others screaming Rodan and King Ghidorah. The remainder just screaming.



Her wings expanded to their full breadth as she slowed for her landing upon the peer. Her legs strained having been extended for nearly two hours much like a full body plank. Despite her exquisite shape she was at the very limits of her health and body. As she landed her left leg buckled, her knee folding uncontrollably and she tumbled to the concrete rolling several times. Several moments passed as she didn't move. She slowly fell into the daze of unconsciousness from exhaustion and was greeted by an old friend and enemy simultaneously.



"Tired and mired though none the less sired. Perhaps even admired but not fired." the long and snake-like Dragon spoke, his wings folding and wrapping his abdomen much like Heylyn's had a moment ago, disappearing completely from view.



"Just leave me alone. I need this moment. I just flew over a thousand kilometres." Heylyn pleaded with the serpent.



"Twelve hundred. Probably closer to thirteen but I'm no cartographer in so far as geography is concerned. Navigation and elation holds closer relation to my adoration with regard to intellectual and spiritual revelation and is certainly my sensation. True, your wings have long been in gyration in order to maintain your elevation. That is probably the best explanation for your current expiration." Weltherwithsp responded.


"....or was it emanation..." Weltherwithsp continued somewhat playfully.


"Let me sleep." Heylyn responded as her consciousness demanded recuperation.


"I can't. If I did then I'd be responsible for the greatest tragedy during my watch. I could explain butterfly, but it would take the entirety of the existence of your universe to do so and when you'd heard my answer, you'd inevitably ask me what we were talking about in the first place. So trust me when I say that you must find motivation in yourself to keep going. The delegation depends upon it. Norler depends upon it. Monique depends upon it. Alicia depends upon it. Much of the balance depends upon it. Our little conversations depend upon it. What's to come depends upon it. The friction of your predilection is a fiction of..." Weltherwithsp addressed her from her dream state.


"If you use one more word with an ION ending again, I'll turn you into a line of dragon skin purses for my autumn fashion line." Heylyn reacted.


"For my sake I hope that was sarcasm rather than any other kind of chasm?" Weltherwithsp replied attempting to keep their interaction alive and Heylyn conscious.


"Chasm doesn't have ION in it so I guess you're not my next purse, but I could use a belt unless you have anything useful to add?" Heylyn replied steadily healing thanks to the SY349 and her own respect for her body.


"You should know that your friends are close by though your mortal enemy has utilized your most recent escapades to the benefit of his accolades. You are being hunted thanks to the tirade your enemy made. Perhaps now would be a good time to see their vileness repaid in this game of..." Weltherwithsp started as Heylyn interrupted.


"If you say charades, you're a belt." Heylyn responded sarcastically.



"...Spades?" Weltherwithsp did not even hesitate finishing the sentence.


"You really bring out the best in me good friend. I'll always appreciate you for that. Spades is a card game. Much like another card game called Hearts. I was thinking the falsehood of impersonation through the social game Charades and you were alluding to the heart by association with the game Spades. I've learned much not to mention, I've gained some much needed rest." Heylyn replied.


"Actually I meant Parade..." Weltherwithsp responded covering its prior tracks.


"As in a Parade moves...  I'll get moving... thanks." Heylyn awoke and struggled to her feet as the first Police care pulled up.


One of the Japanese Officers stepped from the car using the door as a shield and brandishing a megaphone.


[Please! Remain where you are and you will not get hurt.]

"お願いします! あなたはどこにいても傷つけません。" the officer spoke into the megaphone.


Heylyn got to her feet still in her full body Butterfly Dragon suit. Miraculously she'd healed a great deal and felt much better than she had only moments ago despite lying on the warm afternoon pavement of the pier.


[What did I do? I'm a Chinese nationalist attending a cosplay convention here in Tokyo. I am not doing any trouble.]

"我做了什麼? 我是在東京參加角色扮演大會的中國民族主義者。 我沒有遇到任何麻煩。" Heylyn replied responding in her best Pinyin Chinese, throwing her parents' GuangZhou dialect into the fold.


The Police officer looked to her turning to his partner for a translation. The officer's partner grabbed the megaphone taking the place of the prior officer.

[We do not accept cosplay on the pier or harbour. You are hiding Mothra or a Mothra-like person. You need to come with us legally.]
"私たちは埠頭または港にコスプレを受け入れていません。 あなたはモスラやモスラのような人を隠しています。 あなたは合法的に私達と一緒に来る必要があります。" the officer replied into the megaphone.


Heylyn struggled to understand their reply quickly reaching her limits of the Japanese language. The situation was quickly getting out of hand as another police car arrived pulling in behind the other one on the pier.


A voice blared through on the police radio, barely legible to Heylyn though she'd managed to pick up the fact that a giant butterfly-like girl was being sought for questioning with regard to corporate espionage. Heylyn suddenly realized that news of their incursion into the Cora Hau facility had made it to Honshu. At that moment she had an idea.


"Alright. Mothra it is." Heylyn said as she leapt into the air.


Her wings once again emerged from her back before the terrified officers. Their first reaction upon seeing her take to the skies was to run for their lives. Initially they bumped into one another trying to make it back to the other end of the pier and closer to the mainland. As Heylyn gained altitude they quickly caught themselves and returned to their duty. One of them drew his standard issue .38 calibre revolver and began firing at what he deemed to be Mothra in the flesh.


Heylyn's soft skin was immediately replaced by dragon scale, becoming shiny and metallic. As the other officers joined the first in opening fire, two or three of the rounds fired impacted her body shattering harmlessly. She continued straight up towards the dwindling cloud cover that hovered above the harbour flying as fast as she could.


The officers ceased their firing eventually losing sight of their quarry instead radioing in the details to their headquarters of their encounter with Mothra.


...


Monique upon hearing the blaring sirens stepped out of the Oki Hara Noodle stop. Many police cars had pulled out speeding towards the west pier. Monique searched the skies for anything remotely resembling a giant butterfly but finding nothing even remotely close.


"I guess they found her. Come on Alicia! Where are you!" Monique thought aloud just as a blonde haired Woman turned the corner nearly walking into Monique.


"Hope I didn't keep you waiting. We've got to get the rest of that data to the authorities. Especially to the Chinese inquest into the Forbidden City incident." Alicia didn't waste any time with pleasantries.


"She's the one with the rest of the data that we need. We had to do it that way. I was the only one who knew how to get into the server. It was hard wired access to a specific machine in their building and that was the only one through which we could access that data and copy it in the first place. She has the data. I don't. Speaking of authorities, I think they found Heylyn." Monique said referring to the multitude of police cars that were converging upon the west pier.


"Did you two have another backup plan and meeting place?" Alicia asked Monique looking around at the police cars.


"No. We didn't think that we'd need two backup plans. I'd be willing to bet that she'll try to make it to the hotel though she'll avoid that until she can make it there without being caught." Monique assured Alicia.


"There's a lot of heat on her. What happened?" Alicia pressed Monique for answers.


"One of the alarms went off during our infiltration of their server. We had to split up and make it back to the mainland separately. We managed to get out of the building, only having to take out a few of their security personnel. There were a lot of people outside of the building when I left. If she did fly out of the window, she'd have been spotted." Monique recalled the details of their incursion two hours earlier.


"So whoever set up that blackmail server must have figured out that their database had been compromised. This is beginning to sound more and more like Mr. Zek and Treadwater Island all over again. They probably used blackmail to pressure that politician to call for the authorities to apprehend Heylyn. We can only hope that they haven't connected the Butterfly Dragon to Heylyn's identity. We'll have to assume that her identity has not been compromised. She knows about today's delegation meeting. She'll probably try to make it to the Imperial Castle. We need to get there ASAP." Alicia organized their plans in her head while timing everything that would need to happen in order to obtain Norler's freedom.


"I think that we should spend some effort trying to find her. If you were Heylyn wouldn't you try to contact Councillor Itikara Takahashi directly?" Monique suggested.


"She knows enough to know that any attempt to get near him would exacerbate the situation. The attention would expose his secret and cause him great embarrassment. She'll try for the Imperial Castle. Edo Castle." Alicia considered their options and how they could best help Heylyn's situation.


"There's no attention on us. We can do this low key. We could contact Councillor Takahashi ourselves directly and arrange to meet with him. It's still the early afternoon and the House Of Councillors may have already adjourned for the day." Alicia presented the idea to Monique.


"But if this blackmail data about him could harm him, if we meet with him it may create unnecessary attention for both him and us. If we're recognized by the press, this could hurt the delegation's effort." Monique responded, feeling the adrenaline flowing through her body as Police sirens could still be heard around them.


"We have to try. We have a better chance of getting close to him than Heylyn does and certainly without drawing nearly as much attention. Both Heylyn and Mr. Takahashi are depending upon us. Until we speak with him, the authorities are Heylyn's enemy." Alicia agreed upon a plan of action.


"Sounds like a plan boss... I mean Alicia. Sorry, force of habit." Monique stepped through the door of Oki Hara Noodle Bar, holding it for Alicia.


"No problem. We can grab a taxi from here, and quick." Alicia walked quickly through the door.


"Arigatō!" Monique waved to the Noodle chef who returned the gesture with a bow.


Alicia and Monique left together, first looking for a taxi to get them to the Japanese House Of Councillors and Mr. Takahashi's Office.


Mothra Unleashed

It did not take long for the press to find out about the incident at the Tokyo harbour. A few of the more technically astute investigative journalists eventually pieced it together with the footage of the Butterfly Dragon in flight before a crowd of people on the island of Cora Hau. As soon as that connection had been made, the press for these two events skyrocketed and Japan was now the center of media attention around the world.


For many of the Japanese, seeing this footage and the accompanying dash cam footage from Police cars that had attempted to apprehend the Butterfly Dragon at Tokyo harbour had brought them to their childhood where they remembered being terrified and amazed by a variety of giant monsters that had attempted to level Tokyo. For many of them, this confirmed the Government conspiracy that the movies were attempts to hide the truth, and that these monsters were very real. Others regarded the situation with skepticism, believing it to be nothing more than a media publicity stunt for an upcoming film release.


As those elements clashed amongst the press and the public, the news had taken hold of the world's attention. All eyes were now focused upon Japan and specifically Tokyo where apparently the monster Mothra had been sighted. It was an inside joke that likely would have made even Heylyn herself giggle at its absurdity. Instead, the people of Japan were now terrified of her as the Butterfly Dragon thanks to this association with a monster of the Japanese film mythos.


She had taken herself to an altitude just above the cloud cover of the city and was considering her options. She had no idea about how military equipment worked and if they could track her on radar. If they sent up a jet fighter to intercept her, would the fighter be able to use its missile guidance systems to take her down? She was clearly in a serious situation, having most of the resources of a society like Japan focused upon taking her down.


She had realized during her flight from Cora Hau, that if their mission had been compromised that the perpetrator behind the attack on the Forbidden City and the blackmail of the Japanese Councillor would have the upper hand. Likely that person had used that advantage to put the Japanese Policing resources onto her right now.


Ultimately she had to get out of the sky and back onto the ground undetected, but with much of Tokyo on full alert not to mention the millions of citizens with camera enabled smart phones, she was at an impasse. She knew one thing for certain and that was that she had to act soon before she lost the advantage of being able to blend into the crowd. If she'd landed in a rural area outside of Tokyo and got spotted, she would not have the benefit of the crowd in which to blend herself. If she descended above Tokyo itself, she would draw attention to where ever she'd chosen to land. The clothing that she wore was still clean and she had another outfit in her back pack, which also contained the basic amenities she'd need to clean herself up. She considered this when she suddenly had an idea.


Heylyn proceeded through the cloud cover until she was directly over the Imperial Palace and gardens. There were only occupied tourists, sightseers and the Imperial Guard detachment, not to mention that it was heavily forested in parts which would give her ample time to change outfits and blend in. Ultimately she decided that was her plan of action. Once blended she could find Councillor Takahashi safely and liberate him from the malice of their perpetrator. She assumed correctly that Monique and Alicia were probably pursuing those ends already.


She tightened her butterfly wings pulling them in closer to her body, both to make herself appear smaller and less conspicuous and to allow her the kind of acceleration she would need to achieve in order to be visible in the air for the least amount of time. She tightened up and began her accelerating descent towards the Imperial Gardens.


...


A few blocks from the entrance to the Imperial Gardens, a man sat in a car watching the skies. He happened to look north towards the Gardens and the defensive moat when he spotted what appeared to be a large bird. It was only a spec in the distance but as it descended he could clearly make out the shape of a human body. The body of a woman.


"Mr. Steadman, I've found your quarry. Proceeding to intercept." a man spoke into his headset.


"Excellent. Succeed in your mission and you'll become a national hero of Japan and be able to retire from your hazardous career. In style. When you do, be sure not to do anything with her body. Let the Police find her. She has a very damning cache of data in her possession. She`ll wind up with the blame for our infractions. We'll do the rest to ensure that's how it is interpreted by the Police and public once we know who she is. Her real identity. Did I make myself clear?" Mr. Steadman addressed the specialist he'd hired for this difficult job.


"Very clear. I'm to engage and incapacitate the target, but not to search or close distance to the target once they're dispatched." the man replied.


"Make me proud." Mr. Steadman ordered.


The man's car pulled out and towards the Imperial Gardens. If he'd timed his approach correctly he'd arrive and be into the Gardens a minute before Mothra would reach the surface. Then he'd become the hitman hired to retire her.


Continued in The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act XI


Copyright © 2018, 2020 Brian Joseph Johns

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