“You don't have to give me that look.” I grit my teeth. How couldn't I look at this person that way? He was a traitor. He betrayed everything that mattered to us. We wanted the world together, and he threw that away. “Aniki... what would he think of us if we went through with this?” I clench my hands, and it is enough to draw blood. “The whole reason we decided to do this was because we wanted to be like him!” I wanted it all. The fancy clothes. The car. The friends with money, and resources to spare. I wanted the world. I wanted everything. “What we did? It was the same thing he did at our age. He glamorized the yakuza, and now look at us? We made the same mistake he did.” He shakes his head. He can see clearly now. I growl, and that's when I tear my shirt away. The tattoo on my back. The jade serpent. The sign of my pact with the Tojo Clan. “We're not killers, and he never wanted us to go down that road.” The orphanage. The sunflowers. It was home but now it was gone. “You don't get to decide that for me!” I lost a brother that day, and I had to live with it. What I had become. He was right. Sorry, dad. ***I wipe the blood away from my face. “You should think again before you shake down people around this neighborhood. This is not a forgiving place for trash like you.” The thug was on the ground. He was bleeding. I toss a wad of cash onto him. That's when I kick him one last time. “Pick yourself up, and get a doctor. I don't need another corpse to clean up.” Kamurocho. It was the place where you could buy anything. Whether it was a life, or everything you ever dreamed of. You could find it here. There was somebody to cater to your every need. Whether it was legal or illegal. The police had no power here. It was a den of wolves. That was when my cellphone started ringing. The smartphone was a present from my boss. “What do you want, oyaji?” “Deku-chan! It is so nice to hear your voice!” The voice on the other end had something unhinged to it. As if the person on the other end wasn't entirely sane. “Is it done...?” He really, really wasn't. “He learned his lesson. You know, I thought you quit this life when you started working legitimately? What was it? Did the life of a construction worker lose that glamorous appeal?” There is something sarcastic in the way I say that. I knew the truth. Majima Constructions was just a way for him to cover up the shadier aspects of his life. He could only stay away from the Tojo Clan for so long. It would always call him back. “I have no idea what you are talking about Deku-chan! I love this life! It builds character! There is nothing like hard work to make a man the best that he can be!” I snort. He never changes. The One-Eyed Demon. Goro Majima. “I need to take a break, boss. There is somebody I have to see.” I haven't seen her in ages. Well, not since we played by the beach when we were kids. “Haruka-chan, huh? You know she is quite popular now. A popstar, and all that. You think she might need some help with the paparazzo?” I roll my eyes. This was just like him. The boss would see an opportunity, and he would capitalize on it. It would be lucrative. Protecting a celebrity. “No, you know she can take care of herself. The Dragon of Dojima doesn't raise weaklings. Besides that, if you involved her in any of the Tojo Clan's activities you know he would break you in half.” I shake my head. The bastard never learned the easy way. He always had to drag things out. “Ah, that would be great~” His tone didn't betray him. He would love to fight the dragon again. “Kiryu-chan was something else...” I shiver in revulsion. “You have a wife.” “Oh, please. This is different Deku-chan.” The boss chides me. “It is a matter of pride. In this life battle is everything. The strong seek out others like themselves in order to eat them. In order to test their limits.” “Is that why you went undercover as a hostess?” He chuckles. “No, that was just for fun.” I groan. He was impossible. There was a silence. The mirth was lost. “Go see your sister. I won't bother you.” “Thanks.” *** I rap my knuckles against the door. A five-star hotel. Something that only my sister could afford on an honest wage. I had to beat that money out of my targets. Haruka Sawamura. Daughter of Kyohei Jingu and Yumi Sawamura but in the end the former was a scumbag, and her mother died saving the only person my sister dared call her father. I hear the shuffling of feet, and that's when the door unlocks. I see her for the first time in two years. My sister had grown into a beautiful young woman. Nothing truly extraordinary about her appearance but there was a refinement in that simplicity. No outlandish hair colors, or extra features. It was like taking a look into the past before quirks appeared. Her black hair, and dark brown eyes weren't something you saw a lot today. Her skin was fair, and free of blemishes. You could tell she spent a lot of time outside. Outside of the limelight, my sister wore a sweatshirt. Probably because she went jogging this morning. Now with quirks you would see people with pink skin, and pink hair. Heck, I didn't even have a quirk and if you looked hard enough you could see something unnatural in the coloring of my hair. At first glance you would think it is black but upon closer inspection you could see the turquoise. My eyes were that same shade of bluish green. A couple of freckles dotted my face, and I wore an expensive suit. A sign of my "employment" if you wished to call it that in the Tojo Clan. I had to look the part. Her face brightens up, and before I could say anything she quickly grabs me. I am enveloped in her arms, and after a moment of shock? I return the hug. “Hey, squirt. You're as short as I remember.” My sister breaks away from the hug, and pouts. That's when she playfully punches me in the arm. “I am not short!” The popstar gives me a nasty look. “You're only a centimeter taller than I am!” “Yes, and that is a centimeter more than you will ever be.” I wear a cheeky grin. “Face it, I will always be taller than you! It is your destiny to remain forever beneath me!” “Jerk.” My sister grumbles. ”Come inside, I made tea.” I smile, and for once it isn't forced. *** “So, how are you going to do it?” I knew immediately what she meant. I scratch the back of my head, and mumble as I write some notes in my sketch book. “It isn't easy. You know our father had to fight his way out of the Dojima Family.” “You're not in the Dojima Family.” I stop writing, and look up from my sketchbook. I pick up the cup in front of me, and sit down. I drink the tea. It was sweet. Just like how she always made it. “It is even worse with Goro Majima. You know how crazy he is.” I knew that you didn't just leave the yakuza. It wasn't that easy. At the very least I would have to hand one of my fingers to the boss. “He is not a bad guy. At least that's what dad always said.” Haruka looks away from me. “Sure, the guy is soft when it comes to women but when it come to his soldiers?” A shiver runs down my spine. The bastard was ruthless when it came to his men. He would discipline us with his own bare hands if he had to. “Well, that is another story. I don't want to get buried in cement, and made into the foundation for some building in a vacant lot.” My sister frowns, and she grabs my hands. “You could ask dad for help--” “No.” I reject the idea immediately. I already owe the dragon a lot. “He already covered for me when I...” I clench my hands, and grit my teeth. “...when everything went wrong.” My sister slumps in her chair, and I could see the emotions bubbling underneath her skin. A flash of rage directed at me, and then it quickly became shame. “He wanted to save you.” There is something cold in her voice. It was uncharacteristic of her. “He did.” I crack. My voice loses whatever confidence it had. The guilt was fresh in my heart. Kinslayer. There was no way I was going to see those pearly gates. “I need to fight him. I need to beat him.” “Do you think that you can do it?” “I am not sure.” The Mad Dog of Shimano. How many times had that monster challenged and fought the Dragon of Dojima? He was one of the most dangerous people in Kamurocho. You don't just face that man, and expect to get out easy. It was life or death with him. There was no middle ground. “I am more afraid of him than I am of those super-villains you hear in the news. Goro Majima could face a hundred of the Tojo Clan's best soldiers, and slaughter them all. What am I against something like that?” My boss was a legend. Just as much as a monster as my father once was. “You made a promise, Deku...” “I know.” I wouldn't break that vow. “I will do it.” I had to be ready. *** I felt the sand between my toes. The beach where I spent my childhood. I turn around, and I see it. The Sunflower Orphanage. The same as I remember it. No one was living there anymore. I walk towards it, and make my way to the door. I see the etchings on the side. Where we would measure our heights. My brothers and sisters. We were competitive. Always trying to better than each other. There was one of us who always had to be the best. He had a fiery temper, and an ego to match. The only person with a quirk in our family. I smile. “There are a lot of good memories behind these walls.” I hear a voice behind me. “What are you doing here?” “I could ask the same of you.” I see him, and he was wearing that same tacky Hawaiian shirt. He was stern as always but his apparel didn't suit his attitude. “You drive taxis now. Your kids have grown up, and left you.” “That's a good thing as far as I am concerned. It means they don't need me anymore. It means they can stand on their own, and make something of themselves.” It was every father's dream to see their children grow into adulthood even if it meant losing them in the process. “There are things that you never taught me. I am going to learn them.” I turn around, and face him. He flinches for a moment as he is reminded of someone else. “I want to grasp hold of my life, and take control of it. This time I will do it the way I was supposed to.” “Nishiki...” Kazuma Kiryu meets his son for the first time in years, and he can only think of the friend he lost so many years ago. “Why now, Deku?” “It has to be now. I waited two years already. I can't wait any longer. I have to throw away my dream, and become a man. I have an obligation to fulfill.” My vow. This was just the first part of it. The second part would come later. I had to break free, and save her. “Is that so?” The Dragon of Dojima cracks his knuckles. “Are you going to be able to back up those words?” I turn around and face him. I raise my fists to my face, and prepare myself. “Don't hold anything back.” ***Millennium Tower. The place of beginnings, and endings. Where Yumi Sawamura hid ten billion yen, and where Akira Nishikiyama met his end. Where that money fell upon the streets of Kamurocho, and gave Shun Akiyama a future after he lost everything. It's where I would sever my ties to the Tojo Clan. This was my beginning. If things didn't go as planned? Well, it would be my tombstone. I get out of the taxi, and before I even make it ten feet I hear my father again. “If you die, and you make your sister cry again? I won't forgive you this time.” There is no hatred in his tone. No malice, and no bitterness. It was a simple fact. He wouldn't forgive me if I lost this fight. “This isn't a death sentence. It is my rebirth.” I turn around, and give him a smirk. “Just watch me, dad. I am going to become stronger than you ever were.” The dragon eases into his seat, and he gives me a strangely proud look. I open the doors, and make my way inside. I climb the flights of stairs, and I don't bother to use the elevator. When I reach the top I see my boss. He was smoking a cigarette. His leopard jacket, leather pants, and steel-tipped boots revealed a flashy disposition. As always he wore his eye-patch. He didn't even bother to turn around. He was looking at the moon. “It's nice tonight, isn't it? The view up here is always great.” “Yeah, you can say that again.” I stand beside him. “You know you could have just cut that little finger of yours off. It would have been easier.” No, that wasn't true. “Just tell me something... would you have really left it at that?” “Of course not. I would have beaten you black and blue. You're not an idiot, Deku-chan. That's what I like about you.” He drops the cigarette, and crushes it beneath his heel. “Are you ready? You know there is only one way you can break an engagement with me.” I tear my shirt away, and throw it aside. The mad dog does the same. “Your tattoo is finally finished, and now you want to leave? You're a yakuza whether you like it or not. It is in your blood. I know it. Kiryu-chan knows it. Why don't you?” “Oh, I know. It is just that there is something more important than what I want.” My friends. My family. If it's for them? I would throw away my dreams in a heartbeat. I wasn't just some schmuck who answered to an oyabun. I was a dragon now. That meant I had responsibilities. I had duties. I had an obligation. That meant more to me than anything else. If I have to sacrifice my ambitions so I can see their future? Alright then, take them all! I don't need anything else. A dragon would be eaten, or a demon would be disemboweled. There was no other way. I move, the roof shudders, the windows in the skyscrapper crack, and the air crackles. My fist barely misses the mad dog. The one who holds my leash chuckles as he back-flips away, and lands on his feet. "Not bad." He reaches behind his back, and grabs his tantō from his belt. He unsheathes the blade. The shadowblade. I could feel the animosity radiating from it. It had tasted the blood of so many that it was warped in design. A distortion of what it once was the knife was now, for lack of a better word, demonic. It hungered for more lives. It took upon a supernatural countenance. It did not lose whatever edge it had, and it would never break. You did not need to sharpen it. I could not let that knife so much as graze me. "It has been a while since I used this. You better not disappoint me, Deku-chan!" I am a blur as I cross the distance between us, and tackle my boss. Ｇｏｒｏ Ｍａｊｉｍａ Ｐａｔｒｉａｒｃｈ ｏｆ ｔｈｅ Ｍａｊｉｍａ Ｆａｍｉｌｙ I couldn't lose this fight. If I did that meant death. He launches a kick towards my ribs, and I block with both of arms. My arms buckle but they don't break. I hold my ground. I slide backwards from the force of the kick. He hit like a freight train. He cackles like a mad man and dashes towards me. His speed wasn't human, and I could swear that I could see after-images. He broke past the speed of sound years ago. Now there was no telling how fast he could be. "Hey, Deku-chan! You shouldn't let your thoughts drift like that!" I feel a stabbing pain in my right shoulder, and by a hair's breath I avoid losing my arm. The shadowblade leaves a parting gift, and now I was bleeding out. I swear, and back away. "Come now, you can do better than that--" I grasp hold of the wound, and force it closed. There was steam that began to rise up from the wound as my blood evaporated around it. The mad dog tilts his head. "I thought you didn't have a quirk, Deku-chan? You shouldn't be telling lies like that." He frowns, and prepares another attack. "No quirk, it is a technique I picked up. Accelerated healing. I can't keep it up for long though. It gets tiring after a while." I smile, and prepare another stance. "Oh, you should teach me that some time. It could be useful." He circles around me like a vulture. Yeah, right. He wasn't expecting me to walk away from this alive. I could see it in his eyes. I snort. I let a bit of my brother show in my features. "You shouldn't look down on me like that. You will regret it." There is something predatory that awakens within me. The person I used to be comes to the surface. "I might just leave you in tears. I am cruel like that." "That's what I am hoping for, Deku-chan." I stomp the roof of the Millennium Tower, and every window in the building shatters. It catches Goro Majima off guard, and I don't waste the opportunity. The moment he loses his footing I pounce. My fist collides with his sternum, and sends him careening through the air. He flips a few times before crashing into the railings on the rooftop. He bounces off of them, and hits the ground. I jump, and prepare to slam my elbow against his back. I am not fast enough. Goro Majima rolls out of the way, and gets back up. In a flash his tantō carves through the air, and leaves a laceration across my face. The wound wasn't serious enough to warrant wasting any effort on healing it. I had to reserve my energy for the rest of the fight. I wipe the blood out of my eyes. Th mad dog is already in front of me. I back away the moment his knife would have cut open my throat. I almost died. What a monster. Now I know why the dragon was so wary of him. I sweep my feet, and take his footing. I had to keep attacking his legs. His agility was his strength. I had to impede his movements. I swing my fist upwards in an uppercut the moment he is in the air. It collides with his jaw, and he flies upwards. He readjusts himself mid-flight, and throws his tantō at me. It pierces my left foot, and pins me to the roof. "Now this is what I am talking about!" The One-Eyed Demon was in a state of utter euphoria. He hasn't had a fight that was this exciting since Taiga Saejima escaped from prison! I reach to pull the knife out but Goro Majima is already on me. A left hook leaves me dazed, and that's when he knees me in the stomach. I nearly retch. I growl, and slam my forehead against his face. His nose breaks, and he backs away. He forces it back into place with a snap of his fingers, and begins to cackle like a hyena. I pull the knife out of my foot, and slash across his chest. I miss any vital arteries but leave him bleeding. He backs away. A pause. "You really do take after your father." He presses his finger against his chest, and tastes the blood. I look at the tantō. A look of disgust mars my face. There was something fundamentally wrong about it. I toss it back towards Goro Majima, and he catches it out of the air. We are both blurs. He slashes at me, and he leaves his mark all over my body. My fists collide against his body, and break his bones. There is no end in sight. Neither of us would accept defeat. We are bruised, and we are bloody. In that moment we are as one. In this deadly dance of death? We are brothers. I catch the knife in my hand, and clench on it tightly. I launch a kick at his left side but the mad dog is only fast enough to block with his left arm. It gives, and breaks. I tug on the tantō, and slam my forehead against face again. It was even harder this time. I head-butt the demon again. Again, again, and again! I hold onto the knife desperately as blood runs down my hand. I bring him closer, and grab his face with my remaining hand. I slam his face against the roof, and it finally gives. The skyscraper could only handle so much. The building begins to crumble. As we fall through the roof and soar deeper into the building our fight doesn't end there. Goro Majima doesn't lose. He gets even. The knife is buried deeply into my stomach, and he drags me down with him. A straight punch hits his solar plexus and ruptures blood vessels. He slashes at me, and I block with my left arm. The knife stops at the bone and clangs against it. We hit the lobby at the bottom of the building, and everything begins to collapse around us. We are soaked in blood. "I have to hand it to you. I don't even think Kiryu-chan ever fought me like that." The mad dog is panting like his namesake. He collapses on the floor. "You're a crazy bastard!" "I am the crazy one?" I shake my head. "Yeah, oyaji. Whatever you say." I am still standing. I won my freedom. *** This graveyard. I had to come back here. I was on my way now. I was covered in bandages, and aching all over. However, it felt as if this was how it was supposed to be. I earned this. I was a civilian. I wasn't a yakuza anymore. "I did as you asked." I stand in front of the grave. "It won't be long now." The vow I made wasn't finished yet. I had a long road ahead of me. I place the bottle of sake in front of his tombstone, and pour some into a cup. I drink in his name. My brother. Ｋａｔｓｕｋｉ Ｂａｋｕｇｏ Ｉｎ ｌｏｖｉｎｇ ｍｅｍｏｒｙ ｏｆ ｔｈｅ ｏｎｌｙ ｂｒｏｔｈｅｒ Ｉ ｅｖｅｒ ｈａｄ． Ｙｏｕ ｗｅｒｅ ｗｈａｔ Ｉ ａｓｐｉｒｅｄ ｔｏ ｂｅｃｏｍｅ， ａｎｄ ｉｎ ｔｈｅ ｅｎｄ Ｉ ｅｃｌｉｐｓｅｄ ｙｏｕ． Ｉ ｗｉｌｌ ｎｅｖｅｒ ｆｏｒｇｅｔ ｙｏｕ．  This is not an ending. The vow remains. I hear whispers of strange things among the yakuza. A mad man who wished to erase quirks from the face of the planet. The cries of a young girl who was desperately reaching out for help. I am reminded of my sister. I pursue what leads I can find.  This is not an ending. The vow remains. I decide to visit her. I made a promise to her son that I would wake her up in his stead. Now that he was gone. I would decide where to go from there.