I’m on my last days.

And what little I had left needed to be dedicated to the buyout. Alphonse Megami was coming soon, and I needed my attention there, focused entirely on preparing for his arrival, not sitting here with this broken man.

Everything hinged on Megami…

If Coppersmith ever knew…

But I was coughing now, pushing down against the desk again to steady my shaking shoulders. The handkerchief was held against my lips, and the metallic taste revisiting my tongue silenced any desperate hope that I wouldn’t see fresh blood on the stained fabric.

“But all of it, everything that you’ve done…it doesn’t particularly matter anymore, does it, Mr. Andrews? Karma is, after all, a bitch.”

Coppersmith stood up straight in front of me, straightening his tie as well. A cool smugness descended upon his stony features as he glanced down upon me with the sort of power that comes only with complete self-righteousness.

“As it turns out, I don’t even need to lift a finger to remove you from the picture…you’re just going to collapse all on your own. And after I’m done burying you, as I did with my son…I will not rest until your legacy is wiped clean, and the true inheritor takes his place…”

I glared him down with renewed understanding as he walked back across my office towards the door. As he placed his hand on the doorknob, he turned one last time to face me, his face a disgusting mockery of sincerity.

“By the way, Cole...conserve your strength. Take it from an old man – it wouldn’t exactly do wonders for morale if you dropped dead while roaming the halls.”

Chapter 27



Three Days Later

The tension was palatable in the air, constricting around our throats with every passing day. As the days ticked by, Cole conserved his strength, revising the preparations over and over. We ultimately settled on entertaining our guest in the penthouse for an intimate meeting – just the three of us.

Cole still hadn’t told me much about the mysterious businessman. It was only through prying that I learned his name at all – Alphonse Megami, the head of the large and powerful Megami Corporation.

Suddenly, things made sense. Of course I knew the Megami Corporation. They weren’t a major player stateside, but their name was stamped on a lot of consumer grade electronics, appliances, and other various things like that. They didn’t have much of a presence here, but they could benefit from setting up shop here in New York…but why an e-commerce agency?

Clearly they weren’t after the marketing department... Megami wanted Cole’s secret weapon, the one Hunter had left him when he died.

“I need to know more about him,” I told my billionaire husband over sautéed cod during dinner one night. “If I’m going to help you convince this guy, you’re going to have to educate me. I can’t improvise properly with little to no information.”

Cole took a bite of his seasoned fish, chewing a few times while he thought. He swallowed, and then chased the bite with a sip of wine.

“Our guest is a very powerful man,” he started to explain. “He was born Alphonse Robinson and raised in Harlem many years ago; he was but a young boy during the Second World War. This was, of course, prior to the Civil Rights Movement, and his schooling was somewhat complicated…but the boy had a keen eye for business. Unfortunately, opportunities were not very open to him here, but he found a place that would accept him – Tokyo.”

“Wait, Megami isn’t Japanese? He’s black?”

“That’s right,” Cole answered. “You see, Japan in the world after World War II was seen as a bastion that stood against the dominance of white culture in the world. While African Americans faced social injustice here, Japan offered something else. Acceptance. Opportunity. It offered a place in society – a proper place.

“When Alphonse Robinson was old enough, he found a way across the world. Arriving in Japan, he lived on the streets briefly before securing a foothold in Japanese society, gradually overcoming the language barrier and integrating. He was a bit of a novelty at the time – the runaway black student who had come to Japan to learn.”

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