The car continued to drive for some time. Any time I started to move or fight back, someone ended up punching me in the gut. I was lucky I didn’t throw up in my mask. Well, I was someone who didn’t vomit really easily. Even when I caught stomach flu, I could lie crouched in pain for days where a quick vomit would make me feel better. In this particular situation, my high tolerance was a blessing. I spoke up a few times, but I was basically ignored, and if I got too loud, I ended up getting punched again. Eventually, I settled into a sullen silence as I tried to work through what was happening.
After some careful thought, there was only one conclusion in my mind. Gina had finally revealed the blackmail in which I had forced her into sex. That would certainly bring the Yakuza heat on me. They had even mentioned Gina when they snatched me off the street. Worst of all, I had no defense for myself. I had chosen to molest a woman I didn’t even know. Maybe she was just being vindictive because I had turned her down. Could I have avoided this if I had just given her more attention?
The car finally stopped and I was pulled out. I still couldn’t see anything, but I could hear voices. Two men had me by each arm and were dragging me somewhere with the bag over my head, all I could see were shadows. I was aware when we passed indoors, but that was it. Eventually, I was sat somewhere, and my hands were tied down to the chair. They didn’t pull my pants down, so I was hoping they weren’t going to come up with any abstract or miserable forms of torture.
I remained in the room in the dark for nearly two hours. I realized I was alone, but I was pretty sure calling out wouldn’t do me any good. There was one person I could call to though. Netorare hadn’t answered me before, but whatever distraction she had by Netorase had to be resolved by now.
“Netorare?” I asked.
“I’m sorry…” I heard a faint whisper in the darkroom. “As soon as you were grabbed, I came… but Netori sent me a message. She said… don’t get involved.”
Netorare had to be lying, right? Why would Netori leave me here to be tortured?
“Hakaru…” her voice sounded at the point of tears. “I must listen to sister. I lost and thus I am bound to follow her orders. That was the agreement, and it’s now enforced by the greater gods. Netori said that I shouldn’t get involved in earthly matters. She said it will be resolved by another, and I must only watch. Please… be strong.”
I felt a surge of anger and hopelessness. Why was she forsaking me? She was really just going to allow me to be tortured by these goons? This wouldn’t even have happened if Netorase wasn’t a cheating bitch in the first place. This was all their fault, and I was the one who had to be punished for it?
I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was surprisingly warm and comfortable. Netorare was extremely close to me, although I could see her, and I had a distinct feeling even if my mask was off and the lights were on, I still wouldn’t see her.
“I promise you…” Netorare said. “I will make this up to you. I will…”
“If I survive…” I finished bitterly.
Before Netorare could say anything further, the door opened with a loud raspy noise suggesting metal scraping against metal. Her hand on my shoulder disappeared just as the lights were turned on. I could see the light through my mask, but everything else was obscured. Two sets of steps were approaching me until a hand grabbed the bag and some of my hair besides and yanked it off. I gritted my teeth as I felt some hair go with the bag.
I blinked a few times trying to get used to the light, and my eyes finally fell on the person holding my mask. It was none other than Gio. The guy next to him was just a random tough whom I didn’t know. I blinked a couple more times and then shot him a look.
“What the hell, Gio?”
“I could say the same thing.” He said, his expression looking bitter. “After that disaster with Jack, I was thinking I’d be a better judge of character but aren’t you a piece of work.”
“I don’t get it… I didn’t do anything…” I said.
Gio nodded and the guy next to him stepped forward and punched me across the face. I wasn’t a guy who got into a lot of fights, and being punched was extremely painful. I could only grimace as the pain spread throughout.
“You remember my sister, don’t you?” Gio asked. “I can’t believe you’d do that to her.”
Shit… he knows everything. Damn it. Do I keep lying, or do I apologize?
“I-I’m sorry… GAH…” My breath came out as a fist landed in my gut and I let out a gasp. “Fuck…”
“No… no… you don’t get to be sorry.” Gio continued. “Pops is furious. You think me getting my anger out is bad, just wait until pops has at you. He’s going to tear you apart.”
“Look, man… I didn’t know…” I said, coughing. “It was an accident… I… Ahhhh…” This punch made my jaw feel like it was loose.
“Didn’t know? You didn’t know you got my sister pregnant and then told her to fuck off?” He cursed. “You know… maybe if that was it, I could forgive you, but then you hit my sister and try to make the baby aborted. That’s a Yamaki family baby, and you were going to murder it. That shit just ain’t flying…”
What the hell was he talking about? I didn’t get her pregnant. This really was a setup! Before I could voice anything else, the man next to Gio started punching me some more. The pain was awful, I let out screams, but the hits kept coming. I was just starting to think they would never end when the door opened again. This time, There was a bigger group of people coming in.
There was an old man with a cane, a least six toughs in suites, and standing at the very back was Gina. I shot her a glare, but she didn’t seem to be looking at me at all. Rather, she was looking down at her hands and fidgeting.
“Gio… son… I know you want to remove some of your anger, but you need to be careful.” The old man said, moving up to Gio and patting his cheek.
“Damn it, dad, after what he did to sis, this is light.”
“You speak the truth, son… He may be a no-good shit… but he’s also the no-good shit who is the daddy to my grandson.”
Gio made a noise. “You don’t honestly plan to leave this guy alive, do you?”
“Well, that shall remain to be seen.” The old man shrugged, finally turning to me.
“I didn’t get her pregnant!” I growled, finally getting my breath under control. “This is bullshit.”
“You dare!” Gio took a step forward, but the old man raised his cane.
The girl started but then stepped forward. “It was definitely him! He asked me out on a date but he really just wanted sex. He pushed me down, and then when I came to him and said I was pregnant… that’s when… that’s when… he punched me!”
“That’s a lie!” I shouted, trying to move out of my chair, even as pain shot through me. “Why the hell are you lying?”
She shrunk back at my alligations, but all the men in the room only grew more agitated. I wanted to use Dirt Scribe, but it was once a day. I wasted my attempt on Kira, which in turn was blocked by Netorase. The only ability I had right now was True Feelings. Given its failure to give me what I wanted in the past, I had a feeling that True Feelings wouldn’t do anything to help me now. She probably truly wanted to fuck me over.
“You bastard…” Gio pushed forward but didn’t push against his dad’s cane.
The old man looked down at me and pursed his lips. “You got some guts kid, calling my little girl a liar right in my face. I know no one wants to be a daddy, and some men have rage issues, so I was willing to overlook some things as long as you paid your due and swore your loyalty to my family, but you’re making it really hard to forgive you, even if you are a runt.”
As he was talking, a man slipped in and then approached him. He immediately whispered something in the old man’s ear.
“What is that?”
The guy spoke louder and I could hear him. “I said, there is a woman out front. She asked to see you.”
“Tell her I’m busy. Why are you bothering me now? This is family business.”
“She said…” The man looked uncomfortable for a minute. “She used a name. She called you… the bone breaker. She said her name was…”
“Hellcat.” he finished the words, catching the man by surprise and leaving him just nodding numbly.
The old man’s face suddenly froze. It was almost like all the air in the room had managed to vanish, and then he shook his head as if shaking off his daze.
“Damn… now?” The old man seemed completely flustered. “Go, bring her in immediately. Yes, straight here. No delay.”
The guy nodded, turned and then left for the door. As for the old man, he started to straighten his tie and coat. He looked like he was about to see a girl he had a crush on.
“Not now… Move him behind these crates. We have a guest, Look your best.” He seemed really anxious.
Two men grabbed me and pulled my chair so I was facing away from the door. As they were pulling me, one man whispered to another.
“Didn’t boss used to be called Bonebreaker back in his early days?” he said under hushed breath, “Who is Hellcat?
“An old flame…” The other whispered back. “Or some kind of childhood friend, maybe? I heard they were rivals. Her gang wouldn’t fall in line with the Yakuza. She used to cause us hell a long time ago. That’s where she got the name hellcat. He’s in love with her, but I heard she shot him down and settled down herself…”
That was all he had time to say before the door opened. Turning my head, I couldn’t see her or the door, but I could just make out the old man. He raised his hands and then walked out of my sight.
“Pussycat! My… it has been a long time. Why would you suddenly show up at my door? What has it been, twenty years? The last I saw you, we were still teenagers.”
“Hello, Bonebreaker. I’d like to say the visit was casual. Regrettably, that just isn’t the case.” A woman’s voice came out.
The voice felt oddly familiar, but I had been hit so many times I wasn’t sure if I was just dizzy and imagining things.
“Ah… business then. Is there something I can do for you?”
“Of sorts. It seems like you’ve decided to touch my property.”
The atmosphere that started out cordially suddenly turned silent and tense. There were a few moments before the old man responded.
“I thought we had an agreement. I leave your group alone, and you don’t touch what is mine.”
“I haven’t touched that shrine! I still don’t get why you gave so much for us to leave it. I heard you became a shrine maiden too, right? Look, I can’t help that the shrine went under. I was under no obligation to support your little cult.”
“I’m not talking about the shrine. This is personal. This is… family.”
”That man…” He sounded even more uneasy. “I haven’t touched him. Even though he goes around banging any girl and disrespecting you… why the hell did you marry that fucker? Look, pussycat, I got the message years ago. You turned me down. I moved on. If your husband is in trouble, it’s some other guy he’s pissed off over the years. Don’t act like I’m the only man that fucker has cucked over the years.”
“Don’t act so naïve…” The loud steps left him and were getting closer to me.
The two people who were guarding me were looking over my shoulder with their mouths open as hands grabbed my chair. I was pulled out from behind my restraints and spun around. I looked up at the women who grabbed my chair, and the familiarity in her voice finally came slamming home. I had been suspicious. It was too difficult to believe, but it really was true.
“Mother?” I said, my eyes popping out.
“Sweetie…” she rubbed a hand across my cheek, causing me to wince.
As she looked over my body with extreme affection and carefulness, her expression darkened at every bruise she came across. A strange miasma seemed to begin to grow around her, and I could feel the air start to chill in the room. She spun around and shot the group a glare, and several of them gasped or took a step back. The pregnant Gina grew weak in the knees and held the wall to keep from falling over. As for the old man, his face had gone completely white. She was facing a group of nearly ten armed men in suits… yet the person who looked most afraid was the big boss himself!