Your headquarters were situated nearby your house, hidden above a printing shop that also belongs to your organisation. Making your entrance in the building, you smiled when the perfume of fresh paper stroked your nose and greeted your coworkers disguised as employees, passing behind the counter and making your way through several shelves until your reached the backdoor.
If the printing shop was rather small and old-fashioned, the space hidden behind was roomy, extended on several floors and fitted with the last high-technologies.
Arriving in front of him, you gave Kenma a beaming smile.
« Hey, Kenma ! Thank you for the ID papers… here, catch ! »
You threw him one of the cupcakes Nishinoya brought for the breakfast, and he lazily raised a hand to catch it.
« Thank you. They’re waiting inside. Be prepared, Big-Boss doesn’t seem in a good mood today… »
« He never is, » you muttered angrily.
You were about to knock at the large wooden doors of your Big-Boss’s office when somebody burst out of the room, almost running straight into you. You immediately recognized the sulky face of Oikawa Tooru and couldn’t help but smile. Apparently, Daichi did tear him off a strip.
« Why did you tell him that I didn’t inform you for this morning’s meeting ?! I told you like…. Nine hours ago ! » he groaned.
« Oh ? Must have forgotten… You’ve been scolded ? »
« I’ve just been through hell ! »
« I’m so sorry to hear that… »
You tried to not giggle and grin from ear to ear, but it was really getting hard.
« You little… I’m never breaking in your house again ! » Oikawa whined as if it was a threat.
« Wow, that sure showed me… » you replied in a mocking voice while passing him and entering the room.
Daichi’s office reflected his own personality. Sober, pared down, nothing superficial, and yet this characteristic was incredibly disturbing, intimidating. A large wooden desk protected by a green blotter, few pens in a pot, a lamp and a comfortable chair. The rest of the office was furnished with spotless bookcases.
You carefully closed the door behind you, quickly looking at the people present. Elena was standing on your left, greeting you with a cute smile, the only other person here being Daichi, whose eyebrows knitted together.
Gifted with a broad stature, Sawamura Daichi didn’t change much since his high school years. He still had those thick eyebrows frowning over dark and deep pupils, and the black suit he was wearing was fitting his complexion. But if he was physically rather unchanged, his aura and presence grew stronger.
« Well, since Agent 9-K finally decided to honour us by her presence, I can start the briefing now, » he said, and Elena gently patted your shoulder to keep you from retorting.
Daichi pressed a button on the remote he had in his hand, and a giant screen lowered behind him and lightened up as several pictures appeared. Few maps, and what looked like crappy photocopies of ID papers were soon displayed. There was also a photo, centred on the screen, a headshot of a young man with spiky hair.
« Let me introduce you your new target. »
Elena pulled a face at this.
« A kid ? » she asked.
« Don’t be fooled by his juvenile appearance. He’s in his early twenties, just like you. »
Elena and you exchanged a look before looking at the screen again. The young man didn’t look familiar or dangerous, he couldn’t be a member of any organisation. Then why the hell was he involved in some mafia’s affairs ?
« Who is he ? » Elena asked.
« Hinata Shôyô. » Daichi replied. « A volleyball rising star. »
« A sportsman ? » you said, stunned. « What do you want us to do with a… volleyball player ? This is absurd, this boy isn’t a threat. »
« The purpose is optional and you know it. Tokyo already paid us a good price for this job. »
« Tokyo ? » Elena parroted.
« What’s the job precisely ? »
The whole story behind this commission sounded ridiculous. You both knew that you weren’t supposed to ask questions, that you should just take the money and do the job, but you were usually paid to eliminate rivals or threats, not… kids. Seeing you so sceptical, Daichi sighed and pressed another button on his remote. Hinata’s headshot faded instantaneously, replaced by press articles dating from few years ago.
« Did you ever hear about The Crows ? » Daichi asked.
« Sure. They’re our main rivals here, in Miyagi. » You said.
« Exactly. Contrary to us, who are recruited and raised in Russia before being sent throughout the world, The Crows were born in Japan, so they always considered that we were encroaching on their territory. Plus, it appeared that we both finance our business the same way apart from our customers’ payments. »
You were surprised that Daichi actually talked about it to you. Aside from your own wages, he never said anything about the financial machineries of your organisation.
« Illegal sports betting. » He finished.
« Hence the link with Hinata Shôyô, right ? » Elena asked.
« Right. Several years ago, another star player was about to be discovered by the general public. He was called the Little Giant, and he played here, in Miyagi. Miyagi’s team was weak before his arrival, so when people heard that the next match for the prefectorial qualifiers will oppose Miyagi against Tokyo, everybody bet that Miyagi would lost. Everybody except one man, who placed a bet on Miyagi’s victory. One against one hundred. Miyagi won, thanks to the Little Giant. »
« Wow, this man should be rich by now ! » Elena gasped.
« He is. This man was nobody else than The Crows’ former leader. »
« So… The Crows’ leader somehow knew that an unknown star player was going to turn the tables and took his chance to get rich thanks to the money of the bets. » You assumed. « Sounds clever. »
« Exactly. If Hinata Shôyô is implied today, it’s because a lot of people nickname him the « Second Little Giant ». Contrary to the real Little Giant who stayed unknown until his first real match as a professional player, Hinata has been spotted during his third year of high school and is already given media coverage. History repeats itself. »
« So everybody’s betting on Miyagi’s being the winner because they think Hinata will miraculously lead them to the victory like the Little Giant did in the past ? » Elena asked.
« That’s it. Tokyo isn’t really pleased with the idea of being eliminated in the first round again, that’s why they paid us to make sure that Hinata won’t stand on the court during the next match. However, this commission has a special clause. »
« A special clause ? »
« The Crows became rich because they knew a star player was going to play. We’re going to become rich because we know a star player won’t. »
« What do you mean ? »
« You’re going to take care of him, but not before the bets are closed. After everybody placed their money on Miyagi’s victory, meaning the day of the match. Tokyo and me will be the only ones wagering on Tokyo’s victory and therefore we will scoop the pot and share. »
« Oh, I get it ! » Elena shouted. « People are going to gamble on Miyagi because of Hinata but once they’ll learn that he won’t play, they will want to change their bet, so we have to wait until the stakes are closed to kill him, or else, everybody is going to bet on Tokyo instead and the gains are going to be scant… »
« But are we sure the match is going to be hold if a player is shoot down the day before ? Wouldn’t it be cancelled ? » you said, raising an eyebrow.
« It’s up to Tokyo to bribe the jury. The match between them and Miyagi is in two weeks. Agent 8-I… »
« Yes, Sir ?! » your blond friend smiled, standing to attention.
« I’m counting on you. You’re my eighth best infiltrator and informer… I need to know where this boy lives, where he practices, when and how he’s going to reach the gymnasium. Everything that your partner, Agent 9-K, will need to fulfil her mission. »
« Alright ! »