Come With Me Now- The Third Interlude
Most people would have thought Itsuko Muramoto was a slave. Sometimes she did. Born twenty-eight years ago into poverty in the small village of Mazushi, Japan she had been the fifth of ten children, hence her name, Itsuko, which translated in English as Five. Her father had sold her to the Yakuza when she was eight years old. “Too many mouths, not enough food,” had been his only explanation. Katsurou Ryouichi, the head of the family, referred to with deference as Oyabun, had taken her under his wing and with is guidance and that of her Kyodai, big brothers, she had trained as an enforcer for the family Ryouichi, the largest faction of Yakuza in Japan.
She learned early to shut the fuck up and do as she was told. To do anything else led to beatings and starvation when she was small and later the punishments took other forms that were less pleasant and designed the help her remember the hierarchy of her family. Five was at the bottom of every ladder, an orphan that lived and survived at the pleasure of Oyabun Ryouichi.
One of the most painful reminders of this had been the irezumi tattoo that Oyabun Ryouichi had ordered her to receive when she was ten years old. Through the years each failure in the eyes of Oyabun had led to another irezumi session performed not with the modern needle and ink but rather with the wooden blocks and ancient tools that had been used in centuries gone past. Oyabun as a great believer in the importance of tradition. To call this method of tattooing torture was to be kind. By the time Five reached thirteen years of age she no longer made mistakes that called forth the wrath of Oyabun Ryouichi, but she had already been irrevocably scarred.
Rather than mourn the loss of her beauty she embraced her scars and went back to the man who had started her ink all those years ago. “I want to show on the outside what I am on the outside.” He had looked at her young pubescent form and nodded solemnly, knowing exactly what she wanted, what she needed, what she was. It had taken another five years to finish her tattoo but when she looked in the mirror now she knew that for any that saw they would know her true soul when they beheld her.
She had become Doragon Shenshi, Dragon Warrior.
She was master of the katana, and the sai as well as being a Budokan master. Oyabun had been adamant that weapons were to be considered a luxury. The true warrior could dominate their opponent with their will and body alone. When she was not out working for the family she trained and focused on building her skills. There had been almost no time for anything else, with one exception.
Oyabun Ryouichi’s son, Katsurou.
Oyabun Ryouichi had been the driving force of negotiating the creation of TruBlood, and had made a fortune manufacturing synthetic blood for vampires. Many in the family had been shocked when the great revelation had taken place, but not Five. She had known for a long time that vampires walked the earth. She had been born to them and sold to them, and had lost her one true one love Katsurou to them when their affair had been discovered. Oyabun had banished his son to America, making him the president of the Yokonomo Corporation on that continent.
Five eagerly listened for tidbits about her beloved and when she heard the Kyodai laughing over, ‘Mr. Gus, Jr’ her heart had ached for her long lost love. She had made him failure to his father, and now his actions had disgraced him in the eyes of their Yakuza family. She had been lost in despair when she got a call from Katsurou late one night. He had been so excited about finding a cure for the Hep-V that had poisoned the source of the family income. He was sure he could save the business and regain his honor. “My victory will be so great that Father will finally allow us to marry!” She had been so happy that night. It was the last time she had heard from him.
She knew from listening secretly to Oyabun on his calls that Katsurou had just disappeared with no trace. She was sure it had something to do with the vampire that he had made a deal with, the Northman. Her suspicions were confirmed when a year later she started seeing commercials for NuBlood. Her desire to avenge her lover became her only focus in this world as she planned and bided her time.
Finally, after years of waiting, she was rewarded one night standing guard outside Oyabun’s study when overheard a phone call from a vampire in the states named Felipe DeCastro. Twenty four hours later she boarded the Yokonomo private jet with an elite team of four other Yakuza warriors. Together they made five.
She took it as a sign.