It was a Wednesday like any other, remarkable only to those yaoistas who subscribed to From Eroica With Love, because the newest volume was being released. CMX had finally caught up to Princess and the popular manga was being published in English and Japanese simultaneously, and released in Japan, Europe and the U.S. on the same day, a change which had come about mysteriously but to a warm welcome from eager fangirls worldwide.
Eroicafen worldwide accordingly made the pilgrimage to their local bookstores, purchased the precious manga, and returned home to spend the evening curled up with a surly, virile spy and a beautiful, dashing thief. The story, as usual, involved precious artworks, vital intel, flamboyant costumes for the gentleman thief, macho heroics for the grouchy spy, surreal stinginess for the pet miser, and bizarre adventures twining them all together. In short, business as usual.
Until the middle of the volume. Which every fangirl stared at, hardly breathing, and reread with pounding heart, and then slowly turned the page, scarcely daring to hope.
At the next page, husbands, boyfriends, and roommates worldwide suffered temporary hearing loss from the high-pitched shrieks of the fangirls they, in spite of everything, loved.
“If Lois finally got to marry Superman, why not allow Dorian to catch Klaus?” a newspaper editorial commented. Sales of the volume soared as every fangirl who had ever had a passing interest in Eroica flocked to see what they had longed for but never truly expected: the spy and the thief, together, in canon. In love, in bed, and in cahoots.
“Not that we aren’t delighted, Aoike-san,” a Japanese reporter gushed, “but would you mind telling us why? Why after so many years, did you finally give Klaus to Dorian? We all thought it was never going to happen.”
The venerable lady scowled like her Teutonic creation. “I just decided to,” she said grumpily.
Six months earlier
The Japanese man behind the desk was as dangerous in real life as the Eternal Major was in fiction. Even inside his own office he wore sunglasses, as did the similarly ominous suited men aligned behind him. All of them looked forbiddingly at the gaijin woman who sat silently before them.
“You are offering us this extraordinarily profitable contract,” the seated man said slowly. His English was fluent and almost unaccented. “Which I am sure you realize will yield us all sorts of loopholes for our more… clandestine activities, in addition to the legitimate profits. You must have some reason for taking this to us rather than to a company of your own nation.”
The tycoon, whose fannish frustration had fueled her rise to multimillionairess with shady connections, answered calmly. “I understand you’re able to,” she considered her choice of words, “get people to do things. There is something I want a Japanese woman to do.”
She explained, and the yakuza’s poker faces deserted them.
“You’re getting involved in organized crime so you can control what happens in a comic book?” their leader asked, incredulous.
She looked at him for a moment. “You don’t know any otaku, do you?”
The seated man looked at the crazy gaijin for a long time. Then he looked at the contract for even longer.
“Pay a call on this Aoike woman,” he ordered one of his henchmen at last.
The multimillionairess fangirl with underworld connections closed the long-awaited Eroica volume with a contented sigh. How lucky for the world of fandom that the one who had attained her position was a slasher rather than a Mary Sue fantasist.
In the meantime, there was still work to be done. She picked up the phone and dialed a number that had cost her a small fortune in bribes, not to mention threats.
“Mr. Corleone,” she purred. “You’ve been having a bit of trouble with that attorney general lately, haven’t you? Well, I have some interesting photographs of him that just might help.”
She paused, listening to her new associate’s guarded question.
“Oh, I just want a small favor. Do you happen to know if a woman named J. K. Rowling has a horse?”