Sorry it's been two weeks since my last update. I've really fallen into a slump with this story. It's not that I don't know where it's going (because I do), but lately I've just barely felt motivated to write for it. Fortunately, I have a few chapters in reserve, just for situations like this.
I've got other stories that I really want to get to, but one of my personal rules is not to try and carry two multi-chapters at once, which means It Began With a Question has to wait until this one is done.
I just urge all of you to stick with me. I've never had to abandon a published story before, and I'm not about to start now. Please review, even if you don't like what you're reading. If nothing else, it'll get me motivated to get this story written faster so I can move on to better things.
And here we go...
After doing this, he dies painlessly.
Light checked over all the details. It was almost scary how simple this all was. He wondered why he had never tried this before. It would certainly be more effective than relying on Demegawa or even Takada to relay his message to the world.
His messenger appointed, Light sat down and began writing on an ordinary sheet of paper.
Yamamoto stifled a chuckle. "Is this really what you were like back in those days? Haha, wow."
Ryuzaki paid no attention to Yamamoto's jibe, but focused on the screen. There was a man on the screen, holding a gun, having apparently taken over the Sakura TV studio by force and demanded to speak. But despite this boldness, he was trembling. There was a piece of paper in his shaking hands. That paper gave Ryuzaki a bad feeling.
"I have a message from Kira," the man finally said.
Taro gulped. Uh oh.
The man on the TV cleared his throat, and began:
"I am Kira. I want it officially known that I have returned. To those who doubt that this message is legitimate, I will now inform you that the man delivering this message..."
The man began to shake uncontrollably.
"...will d-die of a h-heart attack w-when he is finished sp-speaking."
Taro jumped up. "How could he do that? Doesn't he realize the panic that will cause?"
Ryuzaki shook his head. "Most likely he has thought of that. Either that, or he doesn't care."
Kira's messenger continued. "This man's death will be painless as a reward for his cooperation. But he is a criminal, and criminals cannot be allowed to live in my world.
"To the police, in case you have any thoughts of stopping this man from speaking, I remind you that my quarrel is not with you. I judge those who the law cannot reach, and I want to work with the police as much as possible. But if you try to interfere, you will be my enemy, and the enemy of the people, for standing in the way of a truly crime-free world."
"What are we going to do, Ryuzaki?" Yamamoto said.
Ryuzaki clenched his fists. "For the moment, nothing."
"That's right," Ryuzaki said. "He's made it very clear that anyone who interferes is an enemy of the people."
"But that's not true!" Taro yelled. "Kira can't speak for the people!"
"But there are those who would let him," Ryuzaki reminded him. "If we try to stop this broadcast, the people will probably side against us."
"But they'll definitely side against us if Kira keeps talking!" Taro insisted.
"I never said we would let him do all the talking," Ryuzaki said. Then he spoke into his computer, which was sitting on the table beside him. "Patch me through to Roger."
"Roger?" Taro asked.
"My assistant," Ryuzaki explained. "He's in Japan at the moment, and we just might be able to enlist his help."
Kira went on. "I also wish to make it clear that the murders which were carried out in my name other the past few months were not committed by me. They were the work of another impostor, who has managed to gain my power. I have given those people back their lives."
"WHAT?" Taro exclaimed. Could he really convince people that he could bring back the dead, as well as kill? After the resurrections, how could they not believe him?
"Calm down, Taro," Ryuzaki said, sipping a cup of coffee.
"But he's lying!"
Ryuzaki rolled his eyes, as if to say, "Duh."
"And at this rate," Taro continued, "he really will convince people that he's a god!"
"Contrary to the many rumors I have heard, I was never dead or gone. I have kept silent for the past three years, in the hopes that evildoers would choose not to commit crimes on their own. But the world has obviously not learned its lesson, and so I will remain here, for as long as it takes, to insure that our perfect world comes to fruition."
Our perfect world, Taro thought with disdain, the choice of words not lost on him.
"But I bring great news to you people," Kira proclaimed. "The traitor, L, is finally dead. For too long, he has poisoned our world with his subversive propaganda. He would rather let crime continue than allow our world to be cleansed. But now he can no longer harm you. Even he could not hide from me forever."
Ryuzaki tapped his fingers impatiently, not liking where this conversation was going. Finally, his computer chirped. "Yes, L?" the voice on the other end asked.
"I need you to link me up to the Sakura TV broadcast on my signal."
"Very well. Stand by."
"But Ryuzaki," Matsuda asked, "are you really going to speak as L? I thought we were going to hunt Kira in secret."
"That may not be possible now," Ryuzaki said. "Defeating Kira will do no good if the people still believe in him, and it will be even harder to oppose Kira after this. I must speak. If L remains dead, then Kira wins, but..."
Taro smiled, suddenly realizing what Ryuzaki was saying. "But L is alive, then their 'god' is a liar."
Light watched from the safety of his hotel room as the broadcast unfolded. So far, everything seemed to be going exactly as planned, as Kaneko made his closing statement.
Smiling, Light picked up the remote to turn the television off. Suddenly, however, the image changed. Instead of the Sakura TV studio, another view greeted him. Just as familiar, but far more threatening.
The white background, and the calligraphic L.
"It brings me great sorrow that I must acknowledge that Kira has indeed returned," L's voice said. "But I promise you, that he will not be here for much longer."
Near, you bastard. He stared at the page in the Death Note containing Nate River's name. How are you still alive?
"It seems that Kira has decided to make some rather personal attacks on my character. I want to first counter with an attack of my own. Perhaps some of you remember, during my first message to you, that I denounced Kira as 'evil?'"
Wait, that's not Near, Light realized. The truth hit him like a thunderbolt. So, that's your game is it, Ryuk?
"I still maintain that to be the truth, although I know some of you have a different opinion of the matter. So instead of offering you a philosophical statement, let me give you something a little more concrete. Kira, whom you just heard pronounce me dead not 5 minutes ago, has lied to you. L is still alive."
L, ever the master of drama, paused. Damn you, Ryuzaki, Light fumed. I should have known you would be resurrected too. Ryuk did want to have his fun, after all. You got me this time, but the people trust me more than they trust you.
"I do not wish to let criminals go unchecked," L insisted. "I believe in justice. But Kira does not represent justice. One person deciding what is right and wrong, without a leash, is not justice. Kira alone does not have the right to decide what justice is, and we must not let him continue to run our lives.
"And Kira...I look forward to facing you again. I have failed to stop you for a long time, but your reign is about to end." The transmission cut off.
Light clenched his fist. Ryuzaki being back would be a problem. But there was something else going on here...
"Justin," he said, turning to the shinigami, "could you erase names from any notebook you wanted?"
"What do you mean?" Justin asked.
"If Ryuk wrote a human's name in his Death Note, would you be able to erase it?"
"No," Justin said. "It's forbidden. A shinigami cannot write a name, or erase one, in any notebook but their own. If we could do that, we could easily kill another shinigami simply by erasing all the names in their notebook."
"Right," Light smiled. "Now Ryuk wrote my name, so he might have erased that himself. But if what you told me is true...how could Ryuk have erased Ryuzaki's name from Rem's notebook?"
Justin paused. It shouldn't be possible. Unless...
Light finished. "Humans are not bound by the same rules the shinigami are. There's another player in this game. A human who has one of the death erasers, probably Ryuk's. In fact, since Ryuk never told me about the eraser, this human may have had it the whole time, and used it to bring both me and Ryuzaki back, as well as all of those fake Kira victims. I underestimated Ryuk. He really thought this whole thing through."
This won't be easy, Light thought. I still don't know Ryuzaki's real name, and now there's also the owner of the eraser. If they're working together, there's a chance Ryuzaki has the notebook, which means he'll be able to kill me. I have to find them both as soon as possible.
One thing's for sure. I won't make the same mistake I made last time.
He walked over to his computer and began typing a message.
"What are you doing?" Justin asked lazily.
"In the end, I lost because Ryuzaki's successors learned about his death, and caught me off guard," Light said. "But now, I know all about that little orphanage in England where he grew up, and about the kids who live there. There won't be any successors this time. Ryuzaki will be the last L."