Wuxiaworld > To My Sunflower > 39 New Orders

Their drive eventually took them out to pasteurized fields and clear land of the countryside. Kei drove the car off-road where the rain had eased and into the start of a forest, so he could park it discreetly behind a set of gigantic fir trees.

Everyone welcomed the rest stop as Kei refilled the tank and Tyne fiddled about with the radio in the suitcase at the back-seat.

Kei capped the tank and slammed the boot, making Tyne curse aloud. He chuckled when he struck up a cigarette and leaned on the bonnet to appreciate the crisp fresh air and scent of pine.

He glanced to Eiji and Sean next to him, and offered a stick from his pack with a 'tsk'.

"Thanks." Eiji smiled as he accepted a cigarette and passed one to Sean.

The three of them lapsed into their own thoughts as they leaned on the car's bonnet and smoked.

"It's hard to believe we're at war." Sean sighed.

"Standing next to you makes it hard to believe." Eiji replied with his wry comment.

"You're so much like my Ray." Sean blurted absent-mindedly.

Eiji frowned, wanting to ask more but puffed on his cigarette instead.

"I wasn't trying to be rude back in the bath. Rather, wanting to confirm my hope that I wasn't the only one." Sean sighed again.

"I love the person I love for who they are. Not because of being a type of person." Eiji firmly answered to set Sean's mind straight.

"That's kind of what he said. It's the reason we fell in love." Sean murmured.

"Kei. Need your help here!" Tyne called out.

It stirred a lot of groaning and grumbling from Kei. He obeyed and gave his attention to Tyne and the radio.
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Cigarette smoke lazed about the air around Eiji as Sean shared the story of his love affair with a man named Ray back in Pearl Harbor before the days Japan and the US were at war.

Ray (whose real name was Ryōsuke Kominato) was a navy doctor from a ship that was used to carry goods from the islands and nisei children back to the Mainland. Despite the trade embargoes, some food companies were still able to trade goods in and out Japan through Pearl Harbor. Sean had been stationed as an ensign to the place at the time for training. He met Ray during his R&R at a bar.

"He was alone, smoking his cigarette and drinking scotch. He had a troubled look on his face, it made me curious enough to approach him." Sean recounted the memory with a sigh.

Eiji listened on as he learned of their developing relationship and the coincidences that saw Sean's base close to the medical faculty that Ray was training new Nisei medics who would return to the Mainland with the Imperial Navy. They met by fate and made plans to meet up frequently. In a drunken moment they had paid a celebrant to secretly marry them. It had made Sean the happiest man in the world. Both men vowed to be with each other in whatever way they could when the war was over. Within a few hours of holding a marriage certificate, Sean realized he was holding a live grenade in his hands. He destroyed the certificate and hid his ring at the time Japan planes were bombing his fleet. He saw Ray rush onto a warship that would take him back to Japan's Mainland for good.

"Let's be together after this war is over." Sean revoiced the words his lover had said to him at their last meeting.

"I was given a chance to prove my worth to my country or die trying. Either way, as a lover of men, I have no country once this is all over."

"Why are you telling me this?" Eiji was shocked and worried at the stakes involved with this conversation.

"I heard your promise to Tyne. Can I also ask for help to find my Ray?" Sean pleaded with earnest eyes. "I want to see my love one last time, to know he's safe and well before my life on this Earth ends."

Eiji frowned. What about him made these men believe he could or would be able to achieve an impossible? Weren't they awfully trusting. He wasn't sure what to feel about this kind of respect.

"You're being bold, trusting me with this." Eiji gasped, allowing the rest of his cigarette to die out. "What if I rat on you to the Tonarigumi? You'll be doomed."

Sean chuckled. "I think you won't. There's more risk to you than me don't you think?"

Eiji sighed. The man was right. To be honest, he didn't mind the idea of these men desperate to be reunited with their forbidden Japanese lovers. He had long figured that Tyne's wife was also Japanese.

"Fine. Who am I to deny a man's request to find his love when he gives me the same look as a Tanuki begging for food?" Eiji grumbled his support.

He yelped at the tight thank you hug Sean gave him.

"When you F*ggots stop pussyfooting around, need your help." Kei yelled at them.

He cursed at the firm finger flick Sean gave his forehead.

"Do you dare use the F-word with me, boy! I'll cut out your tongue and fry it up for breakfast!" Sean scolded Kei with a voice that meant what he said.

Kei bulked from the murderous look he saw in Sean's eyes. He realized his offence.

"'Kay." He whispered.

"Can you please stop scaring the hired help Sean. The radio." Tyne groaned as he drew everyone's attention back to the square backpack device that was surrounded by screw-on attachments, electrical wires, long antenna sticks, battery packs, screws and tubes all over the back-seat.

"Those screws and tubes shouldn't be separated from the device." Eiji noted the obvious.

He pushed everyone out of the way and took over with the assembly, his engineering and radio operator skills being put to good use. Within half an hour he had the device operational.

"Eiji's a radio-wiz!" Sean declared excitedly.

"Shuddup." Eiji coolly acknowledged the man's praise.

They all listened to the radio's crackling and beeping from the knob turns by Tyne's fingers. Kei was tasked with holding out a set of rabbit ears connected to wire that was fed into one of the radio unit's socket. Apparently its state-of-the-art technology that allowed a boost for a better signal.

"Can you move it up a bit?" Tyne called out to Kei.

Kei groaned as he stood outside next to the door, holding the rabbit ears antenna straight up in the air.

"That's it! Hold it there," Tyne said to lock onto the clear signal they had, after a few clicks a voice came online.

"Matherson. Right on time." A stern voice of a military man greeted Tyne. "Do you have confirmation?"

"Sir, yes, Sir. I have secured the comic's latest version from the shop at Weisman. Sir." Tyne immediately answered.

Everyone waited for the crackling to return with a voice.

"Good. Report to an asset south of the city and pass them the comic."

The voice gave Tyne coordinates before clicking off. Checking a map, they realized the coordinates was for an area of land along the coast line south of the city. According to the map it was virtually inhabited; no doubt be troublesome terrain for Kei's car.

"Well, at least we won't need to worry about getting looks from people." Tyne saw the bright side.

Eiji frowned with a bad feeling. It made sense to find a rendezvous in the middle of nowhere, but it also left them exposed to underhanded attacks. His instincts were telling him that something tragic was about to happen.

"Do we have weapons?" Eiji soberly asked.

"You sure about this Eiji?" Tyne warned. "We intend to make this tour without blood shed."

"Tell that to the gun pointed at your head should that happen." Eiji coolly responded.

Tyne sighed. "No one gets a weapon, especially you. Don't forget what you are here, Eiji."

Eiji hastily packed up the radio upon Tyne's order and gathered Tama who had finished with her meal and was ready to sleep in the bag.

The mood was foul when everyone resumed their places in the car. Kei resumed the drive further south to their rendezvous point.