Princess Tutu Fan Fiction ❯ The Madrigal: Princess Tutu and the Secret Six II ❯ Chapter 14
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That Monday morning, Luthor was sitting in his office, contemplating some of his contingency plans, when Dr. Savannah called in with a report. Luthor was quick to pick up the phone, and said, “So, how goes the testing?”
“We have some results for you, Mr. Luthor,” the doctor shot back, and Luthor first had to know, “Have you seen any others snooping the area as of yet?”
“You mean competition?” the doctor asked rhetorically, “No, I have not seen anyone going around that area save for my people.”
“Excellent!” exclaimed Luthor, which surprised Dr. Savannah. He would have expected Luthor to ask for the results firs, rather than beat around the bush with some trivial matters, made even more trivial by the news he had to share. Luthor then asked, “So, what have you found out?”
“You may not like this,” said Dr. Savannah, “but, for the lack of a better term, the oil has to cook a bit longer.”
“How much longer,” said Luthor in a noncommittal voice that did not indicate any distress, and indicated more of a “let's get on with it,” kind of thinking. Dr. Savannah then said, “Relatively speaking, only a short time—about another 4,000 years, and it will be all ready to go.”
Silence was coming from the other end, and the doctor was unsure what to think. He then said, “It is actually good that you found out now before you sunk too much money into it…”
“I have sunk much into this,” Luthor interjected, but not in anger, or even in any agitation. He then said, “When you told me about the aging process of oil, I was prepared for that answer. However, I can make back my losses.”
“How are you going to do that?” asked the doctor. He was more of a scientist, and he had much to learn about business, he would have admitted. “It's simple,” said Luthor, “We go ahead and prepare as if things were well. The only exception is that I take out a huge insurance policy on the project. When it fails, Lexcorp comes out with more than they started, and I come out smelling like a rose. If anyone tries to say that you botched it for me by not reporting the deal with the oil, I shall spin it and make sure your company does not suffer. Trust me; a man has to know how to cut a profit despite problems.”
“Thus, what you are saying is that you are willing for all those people to go through a hardship just to line your pockets?” probed the doctor.
“Since when did you care about something like that?” probed Luthor in return.
“Very good,” said Dr. Savannah, knowing that he had done far worse to people for his own goals. Once they had finished, Luthor knew that his next step was to address the board of trustees in the school. If he could win them over, then buy out the town, a simple theater would be nothing for him at that point. Yes, the Pas De Six was going to pay for its lack of vision.
Johnny was probing around the neighborhood where Gilbert Brooks grew up. It was a rural town of about 3,500 people, not to dissimilar to Kinkantown, but it was one of those towns that was controlled by a powerful church that did not truly have God's work in mind, but sadly abusing its authoritative position to control the lives of the people, and please the families that had all the money. It was not such that the church controlled, but that the families that kept the church open with their money were able to control the people through the church. It was also as such that the families around there were well aware of one another's business, were willing to talk about it with everyone except those of which they spoke, and it was unseemly to do anything that was not acceptable to these families, as preached across the pulpit. Therefore, that pastor was in the back pocket of those families, and he preached what he was told in order to keep his position. What is worse, despite their willingness to gossip, if there was a problem, no one discussed it publicly, lest they give the appearance that they were gossiping. Thus, if there was a real problem that should have been dealt with, then forget it! Places like this, sadly, were psychopath breeding grounds, in that, if someone like that was creeping around, no one would have done anything about it, and the problem would have grown worse. If there was abuse, molestation, criminal activity, there would be no solution, and there would be no telling how some people, especially the youth, would have come out of the other end of things. It was into this that Johnny went in, hoping that he could find out something. If he did, though it may cost him his payday, he would then share the information with the Secret Six. This man had to be stopped at all cost, including a paycheck.
He slipped into town, and immediately stood out like nose zit on a big date night for a fifteen year old. Everyone was conservatively dressed, groomed, and very lily white. Either these people would not know what the word “diversity” meant if it were handed to them, or they ran all those “troublemakers” out of town. Whatever the case, he was getting looks from everyone around as he was walking down the main street. He ignored it, heading into one of the local watering holes, hoping to network, and not knowing what kind of success he would have considering how things were already going. He entered the bar, which had the saloon feel to it of the Wild West, and yet still feeling modern. The bar itself was a bit off center, but it dominated the room. The reason was to allow for room for a stage and small dance floor. The tables and chairs were all wooden, giving the old west feel, along with the paintings, wagon wheel on the wall, wood paneling, and yet still had the neon signs for whatever one's favorite poison was hanging on various parts of the wall. It had the loud, blaring, country music with the redneck feel to it, loud talk, cursing, and smoke that one would figure accompanied such places. However, talk ended for a period of about ten seconds when he entered in. Obviously, everyone knew everyone that frequented the place, so anyone that entered in unknown immediately drew the attention of everyone in the place. This was made worse by the way he was dressed, and his hair. They may have gone to church, but these people obviously did not practice what they preached. Johnny was going to be careful not to ruffle feathers, because, in a place like that, even if they started the trouble, he would instantly be blamed for the trouble there.
Johnny went up to the bar, and tried to use the veteran card to gain some sympathy. He looked behind him, and saw some U.S. Army markings on the bartender's wall, and he figured that he may have an inroad. When he sat at the stool, the barkeep said, “I see the hat! Where did you serve?”
“I served with the Second Squadron, First Cavalry Regiment in the first Gulf War,” responded Johnny, to which the barkeep smiled and said, “Hey, I was in a tank battalion with the Second Armored Division then!”
“Looks like we ate some of the same sand didn't we?” answered Johnny with a smile.
“Sure enough,” said the keeper, “and I know you boys faced some stuff that the press didn't write about!”
“Sure did!” Johnny answered with a smile.
The keeper put out a pint of his finest brew, and said, “First one's on the house, brother! So, what brings you to this hole in the wall?”
Johnny pulled out his identification that also marked his private investigator license, and said, “Actually, I have some business here. Do you know anyone from the Brooks family? Are they still in town?”
The keeper looked around to see if anyone had heard the question, and then leaned forward, saying, “You have to be careful who you talk about in these parts, partner. They are one of the families with money, and considering their past, not much is said, nor does anyone pry into their business.”
This was heading in the right direction for Johnny, because the barkeep was telling more than he realized. “Well, it's interesting you say that, because I believe that one of your own has been around our parts, and…well…let's just say that I need more information on him.”
The keeper leaned in and said, “Is he in trouble?”
“Not yet,” Johnny confided, “But if I can keep him out of trouble, well, that is part of what I am doing.”
“Oh,” exclaimed the keeper, “now that's different. You're trying to protect him?”
“Let's just say that it's from himself if it's what I expect,” responded Johnny.
The keeper leaned in closer as Johnny was working on the beer, and said, “Then you do know something!”
“All I need to do is confirm a few things, and then I need to go from there,” whispered Johnny, “I don't seek to bring any dirt here if all is well. I just need some information.”
The keeper nodded, and then stood up saying, “Yeah, but if the Thunderbolts lose next week, they won't have a good start to the season. You should be pulling for one of the West Coast teams!”
That got a cheer from some of those around, and he said, “I'll see if I can get the baseball game on the tube.”
At that point, the music was coming out of the jukebox, and it seemed to set the mood, with a few dancing, others getting into it, and still others ignoring it altogether. Suddenly, it sounded like Take Me Home, Country Roads was starting on the jukebox, but the singers were different, and yet familiar to Johnny. Many were getting into the music, but others were yelling, “Take that junk off!”
“What's wrong with it?” asked a woman dancing with her date to the music.
“That's that group that has the three fairy boys in it!” said another man from the corner.
“They ain't fairies, Joe,” said another woman, but he retorted, “They do that fairy dance! That means they's homos!”
Another man said, “Hey, one of them is married to a girl in the group! I do believe that the other two date the other two girls.”
“Don't mean nothin'” said yet another man, “Them famous city slicker do all kinds of perverted things. Who knows if they have orgies with each other, and what they do in `em.”
Johnny was getting disgusted with these people already. It was bad enough for their prejudice, but it was worse with all the perverted ways they imagined the Pas De Six would be spending their private time. It made him wonder if they harbored such desires themselves, but said this to fool others, and themselves. However, the way they were acting and talking got him to realizing that this was a place where, if someone had been a male and tried to get into that kind of dance, they would be taking their lives into their own hands. Johnny could not understand that thinking, because his own heritage had learning dance as an intricate part of their storytelling, and ballet was no different, just a bit more involved. He said nothing, but filed this away, knowing it could come up again. He was finishing his beer when a couple of men came in saying, “Hey, who's the commie driving that furrin (foreign) motorbike out here, and don't got the nerve to drive a good Harley?”
Johnny knew what trouble looked like when it would enter the room, and he also knew he wanted none of it. He placed a five on the counter and thanked his comrade, telling him, “I'll just go; I don't want trouble.”
However, it was not going to be that easy. One man stood about 6' 2”, and though he had a belly, that did not mean that he was not fit or strong, for he was both! He had a balding head with the jeans, cowboy boots, flannel shirt, and cowboy hat with the wad of chew. His buddy was almost as tall, similarly clad, but on the skinny-but-wiry side, with yellow and missing teeth. Johnny started to head out, nudging his cap briefly as he tried to go. However, the bigger one put his arm out, stating, “Wait just a minute, Geronimo, I'm just curious as to what you're doing in town, stranger?”
“Wetting my whistle, it looks like,” said Johnny, “and just long enough for me to be moving out of town, if that's okay?”
The two looked at each other, and then back at him, “So, what's wrong with the town. You sayin' that it ain't good enough fer ya?”
“I'm sure it's just fine with good gentlemen like you,” Johnny responded, hoping to leave on a cordial note.
The big one stuck his arm out again, blocking his way, saying, “Not so fast, Tonto! I want to know what you are doing in this town.”
Now Johnny was becoming agitated, knowing this man wanted a scrape, which was the last thing he wanted. Johnny just said, “That's not really any of your business, now is it?”
The big one took that as a challenge, the skinny one egging him on, saying, “Hey, this redskin's got a mouth on him!”
The big one then grabbed his jacked, saying, “You'd better explain yourself boy!”
Johnny had about as much as he was going to take from the ape, and he said, “Sir, what you are doing right now is called assault. Do you realize I could put you under citizen's arrest and have the police called for what you do?”
The two men looked at each other and started to laugh. They then reached into their back pockets and produced badges. On the one hand, Johnny knew that fighting really didn't matter now, because they wanted one, they were the law, and he figured it was better to fight his way out and lay low than to have them beat the snot out of him, throw him in jail, have it happen again, and then suddenly disappear off the face of the earth. Johnny took a chance, and said, “Gentlemen, I am a private investigator and bounty hunter. I know enough about the law to know that your actions right now are not becoming of lawmen, and I will thus have your badges if I have my way.”
The two men then looked stern, and some of the other men started to creep up. However, Johnny did not get this far by being stupid. Without looking behind him, he said, “I would also tell your goons back there to back off.”
The keeper then said, “Leave him alone, Bobby; he's a war vet like me!”
“What war was that,” asked the big one, “Custer's Last Stand?”
Some of the women said, “Knock it off you two; it was months before this place reopened after the last time you did this!”
He shouted at the women, “Hey, shut up—this is none of your business.”
He then looked down at Johnny and said, “I would like to know just what, in the name of common sense, you think you're gonna do about it?”
He got his answer! Johnny shot a ridge hand into the big one's throat, and then cast him across some tables, using his mass as he lunged forward. The skinny one then tried to move in, but before he could blink, Johnny rammed his elbow into the man's gut; hammer fisted his crotch from there, and then flipped his back fist into his chin. The skinny one did not know what to grab, because it came so quick, and hurt so bad. He eventually dropped into a heap. The three goons that had moved in before now rushed Johnny, but he threw himself into them in a flying cross body attack, knocking them all down, and he quickly rolled off, raining blows on all three men hand and foot, leaving them all a bloody mess. Another man tried to come from behind with a large knife, but Johnny spun around in time, blocked the thrust, grabbed the man's wrist, and pulled the man's arm parallel to his body hard. All this was at the same moment Johnny slid forward on his heels and torqued down with his left elbow on the man's arm just as hard as the pull. The man hit the floor face first, and gathered a broken wrist, elbow, and a dislocated shoulder, along with a broken nose. Johnny then kipped up as the big man had regained both his feet and air and produced a revolver. However, before he knew it, Johnny had snatched the top of the gun, getting his flesh between the hammer and bullet, twisting the pistol to the left as he leaned back to the right. The big man had his own gun pointed at him before he knew what happened. Everyone now stood still, and Johnny said, “Like I said, I know the law, and all that you have done is without probable cause. I have one favorable witness behind the bar, and few of the ladies back there. If you want to push it, I'll see to it that you wear prison stripes until you rot! You have abused your badge, and all I am in town to do is to get information on a lunatic that has already killed two people in Fawcett City, and is fixing to leave a body trail unless he is stopped…and no fat goon redneck is going to get in my way!”
Bobby wanted to protest, but he had heard about the killings, and he really could not say much now. However, he wondered how the trail had lead out to this place. Johnny said, “Now you understand, and, if you are the lawman you claim to be, you will let me go and say nothing. However, since I don't trust you…”
He then spun the pistol around in his hand and smashed it into the man's temple as hard as he could as he brought a knee into his face. As he hit the floor in a heap, he tossed the pistol down, and said, “Anyone flinches before I get out the door to get this gun, and I shove it up your behinds and pull the trigger—got it!”
He then looked at the keep, and said, “Sorry about the mess,” as he rendered a salute to his brother in arms, and left. No one dared move for five minutes, and no one dared to try and take it further, for, what good would it do?
Johnny then hopped onto his cycle and headed towards the mental institution. He decided to circle the place a few times, figure out how to get in, look at and copy the records, and then find that family to see if he could gather more information. He did not intend to stay in that town long, lest someone figure out a way to turn things against him and wreck his career and life. One thing was for sure; it was getting interesting.
Meanwhile, back in Fawcett City, where the board of trustees for the school met, there was a board meeting where an important guest was meeting with them. The chairman said, “Mr. Luthor, it is a pleasure to have you with us! To what do we owe this pleasure?”
“Well, to tell the truth, I have a big offer for you,” said Luthor with a big smile, “As you know, I am a great purveyor of the arts, and I love what your school produces. To aid you in this, I would like to offer you a grant of ten million dollars.”
The board began to murmur one with another, and they were actually gleeful. He knew that the trust only had about five million in it, and that he would then have essentially bought the school. He could not understand their joy save that it was a large sum for the school. They must not have realized what such a grant would mean. However the chairman said, “This is turning out to be a great day for Kinkan! We can add that to the one billion dollar grant that the Wayne Foundation gave us this morning.”
It was as if someone had poured a bucket of ice water right onto his head. He stood there with wide eyes and a codfish mouth. He then said, “I did not know Mr. Wayne had enough in his fortune to do that!”
“Actually, he didn't take it from his fortune,” said the chairman, “He took it from the foundation, and basically made us one of his trusts with the foundation. Thus, we can greatly reduce the tuition, and have the aid of the foundation in backing our efforts. That money we save on tuition will bring in more students with potential, and yet allow for better equipment and facilities. Furthermore, Mr. Wayne did give from his own personal fortune about fifteen million dollars in a donation. This school will last for centuries this way, and with your help, it can go further!”
Luthor was boiling now, and he knew he could not retract his offer, considering that he already stuck his neck out on it, and Lexcorp would suffer if he lost face on this now. The only difference now was that he would not be able to control an ant hill on the school despite the money given. He just set the check on the table, turned on his heel, and left without a word. As he headed out to his limo to take him to his private jet, he boiled, and tried to think of as many ways he could destroy Wayne Enterprises as he could. Yet, the biggest thing bugging him was why Wayne had so much interest in that school to begin with. He knew nothing what lay below, and yet he was acting like this. What was going on?