48 Hours a Day
Chapter 41: Tokyo Drift XI
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
At 3.00 am somewhere in Tokyo.
The rumble of engines broke the silence of the night.
More than a dozen modified cars in eye-catching colors lay silently in front of a shop that had gone out of business a long time ago. A group of street racers in punk clothing with their provocatively dressed arm candies were rambling away as they waited for someone.
Five minutes later, the person in question appeared.
A blue Subaru Impreza WRX stopped in front of the dumpster. The driver swung the door open and got down off the car, walking towards the group.
The group immediately stopped in their tracks as if they were startled. None of them dared look at him straight in the eye! Half a minute later, someone finally shouted, “The f*ck! Itō Ken! What the hell is with the high-beam?!”
“Sorry! Sorry!” The one called Itō Ken apologized as he turned back to his car and turned off the headlights so that everyone could see the face of this newcomer.
The guy had a head full of unruly green hair and a glacial expression. Out of all the people in front of him, his eyes fixed on only one person. “Kentaro Inoue! Why the hell did you ask me to come at this hour? It’s real late!”
“Oh, nothing urgent, except the title Kosoku Ryusei has a new master,” said the guy in a jacket while lying on the roof of a car with his eyes closed. A girl next to him seductively fed him grapes.
“Whatever! You’re just the guy I defeated.” Itō Ken scoffed.
“Asshole! Who are you to look down at me?! I’m not the same person I used to be!” The jacketed guy opened his eyes like a tiger who had just awakened, angry, confrontational. “This time, I bet on all the dignity of men that I will not lose to you again!”
As if he sensed the sentiment the other guy was imparting, Itō Ken’s coolness thawed a little. He was silent for a little while and then said, “I understand, Inoue-kun. Then let’s talk with our speed.”
At that, both guys entered their cars. The girl who was with Kentaro Inoue walked to the front of the vehicles, and as the crowd cheered and whistled, pulled out her bra and threw it into the air.
When the brassiere touched the ground, both vehicles charged forward simultaneously.
Itō Ken and Kentaro Inoue were old rivals. Both of them were from pretty good families—their fathers had business dealings with each other, with both the boys were best friends who grew up playing together since childhood. As a matter of fact, it was Kentaro Inoue who had pulled Itō Ken into this circle. As Itō Ken’s skills continued to grow, he soon surpassed his close friend, Kentaro Inoue, making him feel as if his reputation was threatened.
To cut the long story short, their friendship did not survive this test, and they gradually drifted apart.
Throughout the years, Kentaro Inoue had challenged Itō Ken but had lost more races than he had won. Itō Ken had never once looked down on his friend as Kentaro Inoue would frequently come up with improvements, whether in racing or technique. This posed a threat to him.
For these reasons, Itō Ken had to stay on edge and give 100% of his effort.
“Come on. Let me see what you have learned this time!”
Itō Ken thought to himself as he stepped on the gas pedal.
Both cars alternatively overtook each other, gaining the lead.
All of a sudden, his eyes widened! Out of nowhere, a mustard van appeared at the crossroad in front like a ghost in the dark!
Shit! Why was there a car at this hour of the morning?!
Itō Ken could feel cold sweat beading on his forehead. It was too close, too fast for him to react! At once, he realized that this was going to end tragically in a fatal crash and that the Kentaro Inoue driving next to him must be just as shocked and devastated.
But what he witnessed next was something that he would remember his entire life. The crappy van did not seem to want to slow down, but charged towards him like an angry bull!
The cars were less than 500 meters apart when he L300 suddenly pulled a strange drift. The van did a sideways slide at the inertia!
Their doors were less than 1 cm from bushing each other!
The hairs on Itō Ken’s entire body raised on its ends. But from the corner of his eyes, he could see the L300 driver piloting the vehicle with only one hand on the steering; the other one busy fumbling for something.
As they passed each other, Itō Ken was able to get a better view of what the driver was holding.
He felt his mind went blank.
“What the hell?!” Itō Ken cried out involuntarily.
How could he be rummaging for a piece of chewing gum at a time like this? But what happened next was more unbelievable, as the L300 accelerated and shot part his WRX! They had almost run out of road, but the run-down van did not look like it was going to turn around!
Instead, the L300 tunneled and disappeared into a narrow valley about the width of the van, leaving the two cars in the dust! The cars slowed down until they finally stopped. Itō Ken and Kentaro Inoue got down from their cars and looked at each other in dismay.
“Do you still want to continue?” Itō Ken asked after a while.
“We can’t even beat a delivery van. What’s the point of continuing?” said a defeated Kentaro Inoue. “Keep the Kosoku Ryusei 1 title. I’m planning to quit this group, go back, and carry on the family’s business.”
“… Actually, I was also getting ready to study in Europe after I’m done with this race,” Itō Ken confessed.
“Really?” Kentaro Inoue had not seen this coming and immediately felt embarrassed. “Speaking of which, it’s been a while since we’ve talked about things like that.”
The boys shared a look before asking each other in unison, “Do you want to go get a drink?”
Unbeknownst to him, Zhang Heng had caused a man to let go of his car racing dreams, nor was he aware that because of him, two friends rekindled their friendship.
To him, it was just a repetition of the daily routine of delivering goods. Tokyo was reputed as the capital of drifting, with the most significant number of car tuning enthusiasts in the world. And like the game’s background introduction said, these guys are mostly active at night! Whenever Zhang Heng went out on his rounds, he would often encounter these street racers.
Most of them, like Itō Ken and Kentaro Inoue, were hobbyists always looking for an excuse to participate in some ‘manly showdown.’ Zhang Heng did not have time to snap at their heels. He only overtook them because he was in a rush.
This was already the ninth month since he started learning to drive. He had only just completed the drifting practice that Takeda Tetsuya had set up a month ago. His driving skills had advanced from level 1 to level 2. Besides that, his car tuning and maintenance skills had progressed to level 1. This car was completely different from when he first drove it. The core configuration inside had been completely revamped. Only the shell of the L300 remained untouched.
Unlike the other drivers who were so afraid that no one would know that their cars had been modified, Zhang Heng did not paint the exterior of his vehicle in bright, glaring colors. For all intents and purposes, it was also because of his limited funds.
To buy accessories alone, he had to take up a second job. Takeda Tetsuya introduced him to a small junkyard owner, where he purchased all the parts he needed for cheap. But even then, it took him four months to get the L300 to what it was now.
The Zhang Heng today was not the same as he was nine months ago. He was now able to deliver all the goods one hour in advance.
He was returning to Kurahara Seafood when he spotted thick tolls of smoke from across the street.
Realizing that something had happened, he stopped the car by the road and called the fire department as he picked up the recurve bow he kept with him for self-defense.