Io lounged against the sliding door of the villa. With reluctance she lowered her mask and looked at Dai. It had been a long time since Daiskue had met with her. The last time she'd demanded the head of the ninja who's taken her arm. He'd shown her mercy, had offered her people safety and funds to start life anew. She owed him much, but she would repay, with celaring his clan's name. She looked up ad smiled as his wife sat a bottle of sake down on a tray. "So Lady Kyoko, what can I expect, willmy sons die?"
"If I had my way only Rin would." Io smiled darkly and Dai chuckled.
"Hard to believe he was once your betrothed." Dai said, she sneered annoyed.
"Yes, could you imagine a Mistress like me married to the man who took my arm." She touched the prosthetic. "I'd kill him in two days."
"Perhaps you would like Jin." Dai smiled. "He's a powerful Ninja, obeys commands and leads better than I do."
"Jin would be a good edition if I thought he'd marry a cripple." Io sighed. "Enough, I dont need to marry to solidify my clans standing with yours. We will merge after I prove your clan is innocent."
"As is planned." Dai rubbed his face. "I trust you Kyoko, as I should have so long ago. I cost you so much, by my ignorance."
"As long as my subordinates have protection and safety, I will forgive and forget." Io lifted the small cup and rose it. "To the future."
"The future." Dai and his wife mirrored and they all drank.
Io was redressing when Sakura slammed into her rooms. "What were you thinking, I barely made it away before Jin started demanding to know where the Ninja's went. I told him we had protection and spoke to Kyoko. Theyre upset, come fix this. It was your idea."
"Easy love." Io smiled softly and touched her face. She swept her hair up into it's easy flowing design. She applied a soft spatter of makeup and stood up. She walked from the room with a grace she hadnt possessed in a while. She stood at the balcony and looked down at the ninjas in the center of her brothel. She waved to her girls and a few surrounded her. "Make sure they are comfortable, but hidden. Take all the things that distinguish them as ninja. There cant be any in this district."
"Lady Io." Jin called up and she grinned.
"Are you the leader tonight Jin?" She asked.
"Yes." He nodded.
"Well then, I will need you to remove all evidence of your ninja gear. Hide it, and become clients, or even whores. Hide in plain sight. Our mutual friend will come later and discuss business with you." Io said. "Until then you are all welcome to seek solace with my girls. My home is yours, but be warned, they are deadlier than they look."
As she turned she smiled, Jin had leapt up and was standing next to her. "I uh, I came earlier but you were out."
"Yes, Sakura and I met with Kyoko before she went out. She said she had a lead and was following it. Then Sakura came and told me Mitsuki was here with you. Kyoko came after and informed me of the other things." Io smiled and leaned closer. "So you came to see me?"
He looked away and huffed before nodding. She grinned and waved a hand. "Well then." She looped her arm around his and tugged him down to her suite. Inside she settled the doors closed. "You will stay here, where no one dares to come."
"I'm sure I can-" He turned and she jerked him over to her. Her arm sliding around his waist.
"Here youre safe, us leaders need to stick together." She smiled. He looked down and her hand lifted she smoothed her fingers over his mask. "Can I?"
He covered her fingers with his gloved ones and he backed up. At the table he gripped the edges and unclipped the harness holding his sword to his back. It hit the floor and she watched as he unearthed weapon after weapon. He set a small blade on the table beside her bed and looked back at her. He tugged his hood down and she smiled as she saw the short cropped black hair. He lifted his shirt and tugged the mask off. She felt her eyes widen at the sight of his bare face. He had a small black goatee that coated his chin. Across the left side of his face a scar slid down his cheek and over his lips. His dark eyes sank into her and she moved across the room to him. Her hand lifted tracing the scar. He exhaled shakily and she stepped back.
She settled onthe bed and looked over the myriad of scars on his chest and arms. She'd seen them before, but now she slid the edge of her kimono over revealing the bandages she kept wrapped aroundher stump. "I'll let you look, but only because you let me see your face." She said and tugged the bandages loose. They fell away and she looked away from the stump, it was mottled with the burn scars from where she'd been cauterized. The rest were scars from when it had gotten infected, and when she had tried to stab herself. Angry with the state of her injury she'd attacked herself with a throwing knife. Jin stepped forward and his hands smothed over the angry scars.
"Youre the most beautiful woman I've ever seen." He said and she looked up to find their faces closer than they had ever been. Before he could shut her out again she surged up, connecting them in a kiss. She grinned as he deepened the kiss. One hand sliding to her neckt o tilt her for the perfect angle. Oh yes she was right about Kazuma Jin