Mine (pronounced "mee-neh", meaning "Beautiful Sound") Kotobuki is a bird that can never leave her cage. She is never seen, nor heard, and for good reason.
Her father, Shingen Kotobuki is the head of the largest Yakuza branch in all of Japan, and while he loves his only child and daughter dearly, to reveal her to the world as his successor would only mean certain death for her, and not because of his power, or of his status--but of the color of his daughter's skin.
Mine is the product of unconditional love from her Japanese father, and her African-American mother, Xaya. This alone marks Mine as a "blemish" on a powerful family and culture that believes the whiter your skin is, the more "beautiful" and "pure" one truly is.
But, when Shingen decides that his daughter no longer needs to live in the shadows, and names Mine as his successor, it becomes open season on Mine's life. Determined to honor her father's wishes, regardless of the threats against her life, and the enemies she makes, Mine begins her ascension to power, violently carving a place for herself in a world that has none for her, and with a little help from a few "friends of the family", as well as the discovery of a long-lost brother, Mine will come to find that she does hold a place in the world---
Even if she's the only one standing in it.
He leaned in and lowered his voice.
“I…wanna go somewhere private with you,” It only took Mine a full second to realize what he meant—a love hotel.
True, she’d never been with a man in that sense before, and was still a virgin, but if it were Takumi, then she knew she could trust him. Unable to trust her mouth, Mine nodded and increased her grip on his hand. He smiled softly at her as headed back towards Pallet Town where they hailed a cab to Shinjuku, but specifically, Kabukicho—also known as Tokyo’s red light district. At night, there were couples, single leery businessmen, and women who worked in host clubs coming and going, and the streets were always packed. Mine walked closer to Takumi, realizing she was feeling a bit more scared than usual, but this would just be the most perfect way to end their date, and she knew she’d be lying to herself if she said she hadn’t even thought of Takumi that way.
She was so lost in her thoughts that the abrupt clap of thunder from overhead caused her to jump. The skies appeared to open up, and everyone scattered for refuge from the rain. Takumi didn’t seem the least bit fazed and pulled her along.
“C’mon, Mine,” he said hurriedly. “The hotel is just around this next corner.”
As he pulled her along, something in her that wasn’t excitement slowly began to creep up her throat, especially when she noticed they were in a more rougher part of Kabukicho. What awaited her around the corner, however, wasn’t one of Shinjuku’s most beautiful love hotels, but something of a dead-end street with three abandoned buildings on each side. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, she managed to smile at him.
“Looks like you got us lost, baka.”
The way he grinned at her might have suggested she was right, and he was feeling pretty silly about it, but when he placed his hand on her shoulder, and roughly shoved her backwards onto the wet pavement, Mine knew she was in serious trouble. She looked up at him, about to tell him off, but could hear footsteps approaching. As if they’d came from the shadows, seven men were suddenly surrounding her, each carrying some form of weapondry, from a led pipe to a pocketknife. They all looked like the thuggish guys that hung around in those stupid Bosozoku gangs that ran around riding their motorcycles, wearing fake chains, sporting outrageous hairstyles, and terrorizing the streets.
“This her?” a gruff man with his fat belly hanging over a pair of jeans with chaps asked. “Ain’t muchta lookat.”
Takumi snorted. “Idiot. Of course this is her. Kotobuki Mine—the only living heir to the Kotobuki-gumi. Well, not living for much longer anyway.”
Destroyed was the only word Mine could think of for how she felt on the inside. She’d loved Takumi for the longest, and he’d always seem to have her best interests in heart, so why?
“You…!” Mine’s lashed out at him, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt, only to have her hands yanked behind her back and forced onto her stomach by one of his henchmen. The slimy feeling of the dirty, wet concrete against her face was almost as nauseating as the taste of dirty water and blood in her mouth. Takumi placed his foot on her head and grinned at her.
“Sorry, babe, but what could I do? These guys—my guys—have a bit of a beef with your daddy. We’d been waiting for the day when word got out about your old man’s heir. Funny how we all thought it would be a man, but instead, it’s you,”
With his foot still crushing her head, he kneeled down. Mine could see him smirking at her out of the corner of his eyes.
“Just a half-breed bitch. You’re an embarrassment to all that the yakuza stand for Mine, and we won’t stand by and let you make a mockery of it.”
“But you guys aren’t even real yakuza!” she spat out as she thrashed beneath his foot and the man using his knee to keep her arms pinned. “Punks like you know nothing of what it means to struggle for honor! You’re just no good street thugs!”
The man wielding a knife stepped forward. “You bitch…”
Takumi shook his head and waved him off. “Now, now, we gotta do this right. She knows she’s outnumbed. Best weapon she’s got on her is that pretty mouth of hers.”
There was a collective round of chuckles that made her blood run cold. If any one of these bastards even tried…
“Let’s take her inside,” Takumi moved his foot from her head and watched as his partner yanked Mine roughly to her feet. The fact that she couldn’t even look at him told everything about how deeply he’d hurt her. Too bad. “We’ll contact her father and…”
Mine abruptly whirled around and in a move that could have only come from years of judo, grabbed the man behind her and flipped him clear over her shoulder before making a mad dash for it. She could hear Takumi swear and the men give chase. She rounded the corner, sliding on wet pavement as she came to a total dead-end in the same alley she’d been led down before. Staring up at the rain torn sky with tears streaming down her face, she placed her hands against the brick wall, her hands clenched into fists. How? How could she have been just so...
At the sound of footsteps behind her, she whirled around, her brown eyes grazing over all seven of her assailants, but never once breaking away from the man standing in front of all of them. Again, she wondered to herself how she could have been so blindsided, but she knew how—she’d loved him. B
acking up against the wall like a cornered animal, Mine lowered her head and prepared to take her final stand as Takumi approached her, his bleached hair sticking to his face and placing a gun directly between her eyes.
Fuck the ransom—he’d waste her here, and report back to his boss as soon as he could. It was obvious she was well-trained, however, there was little she could do with a gun pointed at her, and from this close of a range—mainly because even though she’d been trained for these situations, the girl probably imagined she’d never find herself in such a position. But it his betrayal that was making it harder for her to act on the instinct she’d honed ever since a little girl. Again, too bad for her.
"Don't take this personally, Mine-chan."
Mine stared down the barrel of the semi-automatic, breaking into a cold sweat that had nothing to do with the freezing rain. She listened to Takumi cock the gun, wincing as he dragged the cold metal slowly down the bridge of her nose, covered in that sun-kissed caramel covered skin he so loved about her, before shoving it in between her full, dark lips, and judging by the smug look gracing his features, the innuendo was far too obvious—clearly reminding him of...other acts he would have liked to tried with her if things had been different.
If Takumi were to be totally honest with himself, he knew he’d miss the time they had spent together, but not much else could be done. After all, she was a great friend, but a dangerous woman, and business was business. Perhaps when he was an old man, he would reflect fondly upon the memories he’d made with her, there certainly wouldn’t be any reminiscing this night.
He’d barely squeezed the trigger when the sound of thin metal cutting through the rain resounded, and he could hear the screams of his men from behind him. He yanked the gun from Mine’s mouth and turned to see five of his seven men cut down into bloody bits, with pieces of shuriken—the infamous “ninja stars”—protruding out of the their throats and foreheads. Before he could even make a move towards his accomplices, a thin, metal chain suddenly appeared from the darkness, wrapped around the ankle of the man closest to him, and yanked him straight upwards into the sky. There was a horrible slicing sound before eviscerated bits and pieces of flesh rained down from the sky and scattered amongst the alleyway.
Takumi backed up in pure fear as his remaining henchman visibly shivered, firing blindly into the darkness before he watched two more shuriken flash right by him and sever his hands holding the large shotgun. He was still staring at two bloody stumps, shrieking in horror when a third one got him right between the eyes, and he fell dead at Takumi’s feet.
Mine could only watch in abject horror as Takumi turned to her hate and blood contorting his features as he raised and aimed the gun at her.
“You bitch! I’ll…!”
The sound of steel tearing through flesh at an almost lightspeed sound was the last thing Mine heard before she watched Takumi’s freeze…and seconds later, watched as his head separated from his neck entirely. It rolled just behind a nearby trashcan as his body fell to the ground, dead. Mine scrambled off the ground, all but shrieking, only to see a shadowed figure jump down from one of the two roofs that flanked the alleyway. Mine prepared to run, but with her back against the wall—literally—she knew she was all out of options. If she had been screwed earlier, now she was royally fucked.
“And this is what you get for lying to daddy about where you were going,” the strange figure chuckled. Mine’s eyes widened at the purely female voice. A woman? As she emerged from the shadows, stepping into the alley’s only light, Mine’s eyes widened in both shock and refusal to believe what she was actually seeing.
A Kunoichi—a female ninja. And not just any Kunoichi. With her dark skin, vivid purple eyes, and legendary style of finesse while killing, Mine knew she was standing in the presence of none other than Moriizuka Tenryu—the legendary, Kuro no Kunoichi; the Black Kunoichi.
Tenryu approached Mine, extending her hand out to her with a smile. Nice to see she wasn’t the only dark face in Japan, though after thirty-something years, she knew better. But apparently, Mine did not.
“Kotobuki Mine, my name is Tenryu,” she helped Mine to her feet, easily reading the shaken look in her soft, brown eyes. “Not sure if you’re aware of it, but the day your father announced to the oyabun of Japan’s most powerful families, it became open season on your life. What I’m curious to know is just how deep your stupidty actually runs.
Care to enlighten me?”
Mine bit her lip, a scathing reply on her tongue, but Tenryu shot her down quickly.
"What? Did I piss you off because I’m wrong in thinking you’re a total fucking moron? If so, feel free to tell me, but since I am not, allow me to offer you one more piece of advice," Here, Tenryu began to lead Mine out of the alley, to where a familiar, luxury car belonging to Mine's father, was awaiting the both of them. Tenryu paused just short of opening the car door and stared up into the storm-torn skies.
"You are the heir to the Kotobuki-gumi. That means you will have suitors who will try and court you for all of the wrong reasons. If you're going to love, Mine," Tenryu turned her vivid, amethyst eyes on the young woman, and Mine could very easily see she was speaking from personal experience. "Love carefully. Now, come,"
Tenryu opened the door for Mine, all too ready to get out of the rain, especially given what it was doing to her hair.
"Your father is expecting us."