(I said I’d get this done in under a week, but that’s before I knew it was 26 pages…lucky for me it’s Golden Week fufufu).
So here’s my recap of Pray in the Abyss Chapter 9, and if you’re able, please support Yamane Ayano-sensei and the Finder series by purchasing a copy of the original chapter and Volume 7 when it’s released this August :)
The Short Version
Akihito discovers exactly what depths he’ll “sink” to in pursuit of a story.
The Longer Version
Beginning where the previous chapter left off, Akihito declares that if Asami needs it, he’s willing to go find out who leaked the information to the press about Sudou’s underhanded dealings. We know Akihito means it because he’s got his hand pressed against his chest, Oath of Allegiance-style.
But Dear Leader Asami isn’t very enthusiastic about Akihito’s proposal.
Asami is concerned about Akihito’s safety if he gets himself into this any further, especially because Sudou has been about as calm and rational as a chicken on fire since his exposure in the media. Oh, and it’s thanks to Akihito’s own photographs that part of this scandal was exposed in the first place. Akihito realises Asami is referring to ~that night~ he took photos of Kouyama outside the hotel with that girl…
Luckily for Akihito, Asami is extremely entertained by the idea of Aki “watching” what happened that night at the hotel.
Akihito storms off to the kitchen as if that’ll do anything to defuse his embarrassment. With Asami leaning in the doorway watching him, Akihito goes through their drinks and starts soliloquising about Sudou and his motives. If Sudou was so afraid for himself that he even cried, why did he continue to do underhanded things, digging himself deeper into a hole?
Akihito says that it looks like Sudou — and Asami — are really good at making a lot of enemies. Asami says it’s for that reason that he doubts the source of the report.
(Sure, Asami, that’s why things have been going so perfectly for you lately. I’m sure that’s also why you selected Sudou to run Club Dracaena in the first place, because his eyes shone with such trustworthiness cough cough).
But Akihito’s a journalist, so he can’t help but directly ask the
stupid hard questions.
Asami also shares his opinion that Akihito currently looks like a naughty little kid returning after running away from home. So Akihito sheepishly implies that the only reason he didn’t come back was because he “lost” the front door key. Which: kinda accurate.
Not pausing for a beat, Asami says if that’s the case, they’ll simply get all the locks changed tomorrow.
Back to business, Asami tells Akihito that as soon as he learns anything about the source of the leak, he should contact him immediately.
Apparently discussing all this intrigue is the perfect segue into some soulful gazing into each other’s eyes, and possibly Wall Sex Round Two — though the scene fades to the next day before we get to see any action. (Personally, I just hope Aki had time for that long-awaited shower).
The next day, Akihito admits to himself that it looked like Asami didn’t really want him to get involved in all this, but even though the old bastard didn’t say it, he probably expects Akihito to get the job done.
So the next step in Akihito’s brilliant plan is to talk to the man who made Aki go take pictures at the hotel that night while he spent some quality time in the nearest public bathroom: Mitarai.
Mitarai is all “pish tosh”. While he says it was expensive to pay off the source, he’s adamant that the report is reliable and true value for money. Also, would Akihito give up chasing these leads down already? He’s throwing Mitarai’s job security into jeopardy — he has his dog to provide for, after all!
And that’s when a flower pot falls from the sky and barely misses braining Mitarai.
Though it seems Mitarai is shaken up enough by his near death experience with plummeting tulips to admit that, actually, he could have sworn someone tried to push him when he was waiting on the train platform the other day…
Akihito suggests he go to his source and reconfirm his information, but Mitarai waves him off and tells Akihito that he should be more worried about himself — and that if he doesn’t show his face at the magazine office soon, he’ll get sacked. (Though considering he won his job back even after his nonconsensual sojourn to Hong Kong and Macau aka the entirety of volumes 4 and 5, I wouldn’t be too worried if I was Akihito).
Akihito watches dubiously as Mitarai leaves, though it soon becomes clear exactly why Akihito wants Mitarai to touch in with his source: Aki has bugged the man’s phone. Or his person. It’s a bit unclear when or how, but let’s just assume that Akihito is a technology ninja, shall we?
Anyway, a few minutes later Mitarai calls his source, and Akihito listens in on the phone call…and the identity of this mystery person is!?
Even though he now has the information he promised to get for Asami, the same random impulse that had Akihito trying to swim breaststroke from Hong Kong to Tokyo makes him decide that it’s a good idea to go meet with Sakazaki by himself.
Now, I’ve always kind of thought of Sakazaki as a detestable but perversely entertaining jerkwad who pops into the story from time to time to either move the plot along, or throw a wrench into the works. Not anymore. This guy is about to become Enemy Number 1 on my list of Viewfinder villains who deserve to be on the receiving end of Asami Ryuuichi’s guns and/or fists. Like, repeatedly.
Why? Well, the next part of the chapter was kind of spine-chillingly awful to read, so I’ve decided to soften the blow (no pun intended) for myself by converting it into a fairy tale. Fairy tales make the pain go away, okay?
Okay, so it’s a really shitty fairy tale. I warned you!
In the bathroom of Sakazaki’s club, Akihito washes his mouth out and thinks of vomiting. Don’t worry, Aki, I just did that for the both of us.
Still, Akihito got what he came for: Sakazaki all but tells him the missing girl, Aoki Mayu, is at Sudou’s call girl club, whose address he also gives away. Oh, and he also apparently took a picture of Akihito blowing him. For posterity, presumably.
Akihito marvels at how Sakazaki can so easily sell out the people he knows so long as it benefits him. Sakazaki doesn’t reply, so Akihito somehow thanks him for the tip off with a straight face and makes to leave. But before he can get through the door, Sakazaki has one last piece of advice:
OK, wait, that guy is terrifying? Do I even want to know what someone who just sexually coerced a young kid into giving him head thinks is so scary about that wannabe idol Sudou?
Sakazaki also suggests Akihito not get any further involved in this messy business, or else it’ll be all but impossible for things to resolve themselves peaceably. Yeah, I’m sure Akihito is just going to let all this go after degrading himself like that — and recording the whole thing on his voice recorder. Seriously, Aki? Do you really want lingering proof of what happened in the middle section of that “meeting”?
As he pulls on his beanie and ventures out into the cold night, Akihito thinks to himself that although it was for his work, for the information he needed, he really doesn’t want to experience something so humiliating a second time. He checks his watch and sees it’s an hour before his 9 o’clock check-in time with Asami, but decides not to visit the other man’s office in case that would be too bothersome. Besides, he’s not sure he can face Asami right now. (Why do I have a terrible, terribly ominous feeling that Akihito deciding not to see Asami now is going to end as disastrously as his decision to follow Fei Long to that parking lot in Volume 3?)
Instead, he decides to use the extra hour he has to pay a visit to the call girl club Sudou’s opened, little realising that he’s being a lot less stealthy about his movements than he thinks. Though how he misses Kuroda stalking him when the man’s eyelashes are practically a shining beacon is beyond me.
Really, Kuroda? You expected a flower pot to fall from the sky, and for Akihito to visit Sakazaki and whore his mouth out for the sake of a story? Considering your prophetic powers, maybe I should hire you to make:
3 Totally Valid Predictions for Pray in the Abyss Chapter 10
(most likely coming out in October 2013 — yes, that’s a six-month hiatus, but we shall persevere):
1. Just before Akihito enters Sudou’s club, Kou appears out of nowhere and marches Akihito off to his neurosurgeon friend. The doctor discovers the tumour in Akihito’s brain that caused him to act like such a f*cking idiot this chapter and promptly removes it.
2. Just before Akihito enters the neurosurgeon’s office for his follow up appointment, Takato appears out of nowhere and takes Akihito to see his shaman friend. The shaman discovers the evil spirit that caused Akihito to act like such a f*cking idiot this chapter and promptly exorcises it.
3. Just before Akihito enters Sudou’s club, he receives a call from his mother, who orders him home to Yokohama. There is no denying that woman anything, so Akihito leaves Tokyo and while he’s gone Asami fixes everything and Sudou dies in a tragic forklift accident and everyone is happy again. Pretty please? ._.