Soft Spoken Brutality Chapter 7



Rize’s perspective. 2 days and less before chapter 6.

Leaving the cafe prior would have been a very satisfying or very frustrating experience, a cup of coffee and a sack of meat. Or just the former. Whilst the cafe and their customers were of course strictly off limits, at least when taken at face value, there were always those they knew, or those around the various locations close to the cafe. 

Despite the constant reminders by the manager in regards to my eating habits. My perception of his stern demeanour being forced or a facade had led to a practical disregard for anything that he said, hence my attempt at targeting Kaneki. Yet this time I was shaken, a sense of absolute fear had taken control of my extremities. All encompassing, all powerful, overpowering and supremely real. The killing intent exuded by the manager was this time fully directed at me. 

“Rize-san, a word if you will” he stated, in a voice that almost seemed forcefully tranquil. Perhaps he doesn’t realise his killing intent and how it has entirely permeated the small zone that surrounded us. If I were to look around, I would surely identify other ghouls hurriedly leaving and even those working at this little sanctuary would have been surprised to see their guardian suddenly stirred. 

“Manager, what would be the matter?” I drop all matter of honourifics, as if I am to die, I would do so without grovelling. I also subtly note his intentional omission of the usual warm greeting in favour of our much more. What I was not expecting was a his direction for us to talk inside. An idea sprang into my mind at that very moment. 

“Manager.” I deadpan, feigning a sense of confidence, this being my only chance at retaining my life. 

“Who stands to lose more from me making a scene?” I hint in a voice with arrogance befitting those fools from the 11th. The manager being of an entirely different caliber of strength, and this being broad daylight, my blind look into the twilight sky being one based entirely on desperation. 

What I don’t notice is his tensing, or at least not immediately. “Is that a threat?” was almost whispered.  That was part of the high stakes communication that prevents the disclosure of information tries to ensure a misstep on the part of the weaker by reinforcing the gap in strength. He knows my fear, the minute I abandoned the use of his last name meant the shedding of familiarity in favour of caution. Perhaps even terror. This advantage of mine was minute, temporary and most importantly futile.  

“It would be unwise of you to cause any more trouble than you already have.” a sense of confusion dawns onto me. My inactivity since entering the ward was legendary for my appetite, yet the manager claims something had already occurred due to my person.

“I see you have returned to reason Rize-san, not the first time you have abandoned it for your own trivialities.” his annoyance being obvious and overbearing, especially considering how much I had miscalculated in regards to his temperament and what that could have cost me.

Silently I followed him, to the sitting room in the back of Anteiku, “please, sit.” 

The sound of coffee being poured into antique cups was the only echo that permeated the silent. A current and relative peace that was slowly being approached and threatened by the tension relating to the future of my situation or even life. 

“Do you not realise the consequences your actions carry? The people they may affect? The occurrence of the recent past: it has already attracted many unwanted detractors.” I frown; ‘many’? That was something that was most certainly unexpected, if not worrying. 

“Manager, I would assume that you are referring to investigators?” my silent hope was that it was simply a few doves, slipping into another ward to redirect their search; that would be incredibly easy. His long face seemed to suggest otherwise…

“Investigators? You know as well as I do Rize-san, that the 20th ward falls well into its own expected boundaries. There are investigators at Anteiku; their families. What would lead you to believe it is investigators that I am worried about?” the no-nonsense tone of voice conveyed the almost sardonic desire to illustrate his irritation. But perhaps my nervousness is finally getting to me, affecting the way I’m perceiving his posture.

————————————

What was increasingly obvious was the disparity of information held by the two ghouls. As one could see the difference in experience was amounting to a significant advantage, at least in this particular interrogation. A facade is something all ghouls, due to the human society they inhabit, possess or are able to utilise; an undoubtedly extremely useful skill.Yet the ability to accentuate emotions and differentiate the skill of the user, that is what truly separated those who thrived from those who survived. 

Kuzan; the manager, he was humble enough to understand the necessity of those skills and the implications they carried for himself and those whom he protected. 

Yet the path to achieving paramount skill, that required an inordinate amount of patience- 

Every calculated movement had to be followed by another statement, one must always be reading their opponent to succeed in the conflict of mind and body. The victor would be one to walk away with a sense of control and superiority; the loser left doubting the integrity of their information and thought process. 

Humans who along similar lines had attempted to study this traditionally ghoul art, out of some kind of perverse fascination or spite. They had yet to realise that the ordinary survival instinct that consumes and drives those possessed to extreme lengths, for it is not even second nature. It is so primary, that many lose their original identity in the face of the threat of being discovered. 

Rize, her purple hair disheveled, her posture rigid and most importantly her breathing slowed. It was a valiant attempt to get herself under some semblance of control. Yet due to the imposing authority and the critical eye with which he regarded her, his silver hair only contrasting with his dark and sharp eyes. 

“I understand your familiarity with the ghouls of 11th ward, even your association with Kameshiro Matasaka in the 6th…” this line of thought was obviously a simple reiteration of the known facts. A matter  that wasn’t actually a matter. 

“What do you know of the Aogiri Tree?”

———————

The night of chapter 6: Rize’s perspective. 

The discussion with the manager, whilst most certainly unpleasant, was perhaps somewhat necessary given the circumstances in which I had become embroiled in. Of course as any ghoul would or wouldn’t know, my temper and patience have their limits; if faced with someone whom it is possible to eat. Yet they do say that danger makes you re-evaluate. 

Due to this being the 20th ward, and the manager’s strict warnings about hunting and not causing trouble. I have remained meal-less for an extended period of time. Yet despite the physical discomfort and mental fatigue I experienced, there was a certain feeling of satisfaction, for I had seemingly finally found a place where I enjoy staying more than hating its inhabitants. 

Perhaps the manager realised this, yet the man just seems more cruel and callous to me by the minute. I silently smirked, finding irony in the fact that: if any of my thoughts were to be voiced, I would be ridiculed. The manager? ‘Cruel’? Yet undoubtedly that was what he was, for otherwise he wouldn’t put a ravenous ghoul like myself as an enforcer for order. 

This was the greatest irony in my life, probably even more than befriending Ken. For I have often played with my food before, yet this is the first time I’m made to ensure no one plays with theirs…

 



References

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