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Hiko’s mind jolted back to the present when the doorbell rang. He realized that Tationy had already left the room, while he was lost in memories of the past. No matter how many times he relived those moments, he still found himself wondering how it all ended up like this. As he moved out of the room, descending the stairs he could hear a loud voice, one he recognized as belonging to Katsu Kari. The other voice, softer and calmer was Tationy. “Mr. Kari, it would be in your best interest to release your hold on me. You will not like the consequences of such a bold action.”

“Tell me where he is.”

Hiko hit the bottom step and turned into the entryway, “I am here, uncle.” The hard angry gaze of Katsu pulled away from Tationy and rested on Hiko. “Tationy is not mistaken, you will not like the consequences if you continue to hold her like that.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“That is right.” There was a power struggle as the two gauged one another and Katsu finally relinquished his hold on Tationy. Hiko watched her as she left the two alone, not a hint of emotion on her face, though he was certain she would break down once she was alone.

The tension was heavy as the two men stood in their respective spots continuing to stare at one another. Finally, Katsu broke the silence, “Where have you been? Did you have something to do with this?”

“My family and I were waiting out a storm in Garvator with minimal cell reception. I received some messages from other Kari explaining what has transpired just before we boarded a plane, but we only recently arrived on Shimragata. I have not had an opportunity to delve into the matters regarding this situation.” Hiko turned and began to walk and Katsu followed close behind.

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Out on one of the balconies away from Tationy and the children he sat and spoke with Katsu. “Have you accessed the damages we have taken?”

“It is extensive. Including women and children, the surviving Kari from Bridgeport number only in the fifties.”

“How many executives of the Kari Foundation survived?”

“Only eleven.”

“My father?”

“No word.” There was a pause in the conversation, “What were you doing in Garvator?”

“I had a family vacation planned for some time that Tationy, Kazuma, and I were going to take. Seiji and his son Osa invited us to go to Garvator with them to watch the aurora. So we did then from there we were going to head here for our vacation.”

“Is Seiji with you? I have heard rumors that the Shima were hit as well.”

“He left, asked if we could watch Osa. Something about business he needed to attend to. We have not heard from him and Osa is still with us. I should have Tationy try to call him, see if she can reach him, while we handle matters with our family and business. Was Zen among the survivors?” Hiko made note that Katsu seemed to be scrutinizing every word Hiko spoke, which told him he did not trust or believe for that matter that he was not involved.

“He was.”

“Have him initiate a lock down on all Kari businesses and homes in Bridgeport. Have our people go in and clean out all of our assets, get everything here as soon as possible. We will resume business here on the island. You understand the situation is at its worse. We need to know if the Shima were hit. If so we need to lock down their assets. This attack is on a massive scale, one of our competitors perhaps, the Ishi or the Waichia. I want all of them off the island, by force if necessary. The only people that have safety here are Kari and Shima. Any Kari not associated with the business itself need to be called in to assist.” Hiko paused as he stared at Katsu, “I understand from my father that you were removed from the Kari Foundation. Considering the situation, I believe that would be a waste of your skills. Deal with matters involving the Shima, but assist Zen. It will be important that we minimize the stoppage that this damage has caused.”

“Did you have anything to do with this?”

Hiko gave his uncle a hard stare, “What purpose would it serve for me to hurt my own company? I am at the top of the food chain in this family uncle. I have everything I ever wanted, power, influence, controlling interest in both the Kari Foundation and the Shima Corporation, not to mention ‘Tearra’ on my arm. Do you really think I would jeopardize everything I worked to obtain?”

“You think yourself ‘king’ of the Kari….”

Hiko interrupted the words of his uncle, “She picked me that makes me the ‘king’ of the Kari.”

“You took her by force. I do not believe for a moment, what the two of you have is real. None of the Kari are going to see you as their ‘king’.”

Hiko chuckled, “Coming from a man like you, who plotted to kill his own son for the title. I assure you uncle, I will be much harder to kill and I do not care if they see me as their ‘king’ I would rather they fear me.”

Katsu stood and backed away, “You did do this.”

With a brief smile Hiko stood and responded, “You are mistaken uncle. I do not control the Saitama.”

Katsu yelled angrily, “Then who does?”

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A voice near the door caught their attention, “Forgive me for interrupting.” Perhaps it was her timing, but Hiko noticed how the eyes of Katsu went rather wide as he turned his attention sharply toward Tationy. The prospect amused him to know that his uncle, rather quickly had deduced that the Saitama were controlled by the very queen who could make or break a Kari man. He had always heard about the deductive reasoning of his uncle, but to witness it firsthand, Hiko had to admit that he was rather impressed. She moved toward him with grace and elegance and Hiko leaned down slightly, so she could kiss him on his cheek and without hesitation she did so. “Mr. Kari.” She spoke as she turned her attention toward Katsu, “Your voice can be heard throughout the house, the consequences of disrupting my family will be severe, I suggest you refrain from raising your voice further.”

Hiko smirked, “Isn’t my future bride quite fearsome? I only made the mistake once of coming home late for dinner.”

Tationy laughed softly as she exchanged knowing looks with Hiko, “Well you are only the king of the castle when I am not home. The queen is the one with all the power.” She paused a moment as she looked toward Katsu, “Isn’t that right Mr. Kari?”

Perhaps he was analyzing the situation, Hiko was not certain, but there was a long pause before Katsu finally responded, “That tends to be the case.”

“The two of you were in the middle of talking business, yes?”

“Ah.” Hiko responded.

“I do not have much time. Kazuma keeps me rather busy and now that Osa is around, I can see myself chasing him all over the place. However, if you need me for a few hours to help with any administrative needs, I have worked with Zen.”

Hiko laughed, “We may need you, there are not many that can handle Zen.”

“Handling Kari men is my favorite pastime.”

With a smirk Hiko responded, “I can attest that you are amazing at it.”

“We are probably making Mr. Kari uncomfortable. Would either of you like some tea?”

“That is not necessary, I do want you to try and reach Seiji if possible.”

“I will try to call him.” She paused, “The two of you play nice, keep your voices low.”

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The two Kari men watched her departure neither saying a word until they were certain she was out of earshot. “The two of you are perfect and polished, your deception will convince most anyone. However, I am not just anyone.”

“True, you were once believed to be the reincarnate of Kazuma. So you of all people should have known that so-called son of yours was not him. So why were you pushing for him to be it?”

“Spite.” Katsu responded. “My brother, your father, thought that I was ignorant to the fact that he slept with my wife and bore her a child.”

“You intended to watch his rise as Kazuma and then his fall.”

“It would have been the best revenge. So I will ask you again, did you play a part in this?”

“You already know the answer.”

There was a moment of silence between the two as Katsu offered his hand to Hiko, “My brother thinks you killed his son. Seeing the pain and agony on his face, made me delightfully giddy. If he survived, I wonder what expression he will have on his face now.”

He accepted the hand, “My father is the reason you were ousted from the company?”

“That is right. You and I are not that much different, I was always a disappointment as well.”

“I will be frank, the Kari can flourish or parish. Truthfully I couldn’t care less which at this point as long as I have my ‘queen’ and my sons.” He noticed how Katsu eyed him when he said ‘sons’, a word he purposely used to let Katsu know that Seiji Shima would not be returning. “There is only one thing left to secure my kingdom and that is the unwavering loyalty from Rin, Hisoka, and Ryozo. The three Kari that will have riches and power beyond their wildest imaginations. I have already chosen the three. My question for you uncle is whether or not your ambition is too great to be contained because frankly I will not tolerate anyone trampling on my kingdom.”

“Are you telling me I would regain my position among the Kari with you at the helm?”

“That is exactly what I am saying.”

“If my brother is still alive, he will not allow that to happen.”

“Loyalty is important to move forward, if we are fragmented we fall so I give you my word, you do not have to worry about my father.”

There was a pause in the conversation and Hiko could tell that Katsu was considering his words. “I will see what I can find out about the Shima and speak with Zen.”

“Good, I want the two of you to meet back here at seven and be prepared to work.” Katsu offered no response as he gave a brief nod of his head and departed the house.

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Hiko looked for Tationy, ultimately finding her in the last place he would have expected her to be. She had jumped noticeably and he realized it had nothing to do with her being scared, but because she had been caught. “Why do you keep going in there?” She offered no response as she nervously brought her hand to her face while the other twirled her hair. “Are you afraid I am going to hurt you again?”

“You were so angry with me, what if I make you angry again?”

He bowed his head, “You won’t.”

“Let’s be realistic Hiko everyone gets angry. Sometimes it is as small as saying hurtful words, but we both know you…”

“I have been seeing someone.” He did not mean to blurt it out, in fact he never intended to tell her.

“What do you mean?”

He sighed, “After it happened a friend of mine who happens to be a psychiatrist, confronted me. I have been seeing him every week since.” Hiko could tell she was trying to wrap her mind around it. “It has been…” Hiko paused, “It has been difficult for me, but we have been working on my triggers and my feelings of inadequacy. He wants both of us to attend sessions. He thinks, it could be beneficial for us. I kept telling him I did not want you to know.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I didn’t want you to think less of me then you already do. I know you have been really resistant about seeing someone. That pharmacy you have is not healthy. Will you attend with me?”

“You really have been seeing someone?”

“Ah.”

“Alright, I will attend with you.” Hiko thought the reason she was agreeing was mostly because she wanted to see if it was in fact true. He could not really blame her after how savagely he treated her that night and he could not help, but think back on the moment his friend Oji Waichia confronted him.

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Tationy and Hiko had been together for four years, by the time he assaulted her. His longest relationship and hers. When he brought Tationy to Shimragata it was with mixed feelings. He was struggling with keeping her as his woman or selling her and putting his family in their place.

With a heaviness he sat across his long time friend, Oji Waichia whom had been on the island of Shimragata for the same reason as many others. He was there to make a purchase from Hiko’s auction. The night of the auction, much to the surprise of many a particular item had not been available. That item a twenty-three year old virgin girl, who Hiko had been showing off around Bridgeport and calling his girlfriend for four years. After the auction Oji had asked Hiko if they could speak because he seemed agitated. They had known each other since they were kids and there was only once in that entire time that Hiko had such a pained expression upon his face.

“Are you going to talk to me?”

“Are you asking as my therapist or my friend?”

“I am both Hiko, whatever you say to me stays in this room. I think the last time we spoke, was when you were upset over Tationy refusing to move in with you. She had wanted to live on her own which you had taken as her not wanting to live with you. What was that, three and a half years ago?”

“You know it was.”

“She had a busy few months back then, starting out as a receptionist for the Kari Foundation. Answering the beck and call of Zen Kari to make sure everything was exactly as he wished it to be. Not to mention when she had time available she put in two weeks at that restaurant she was working. The two of you practically lived together during that time. You told me then that you felt she was avoiding her parents and your first real fight as a couple was over the fact that she did not want to live with you. She tried so hard to explain to you that she wanted to be independent and not rely on every single person in her life. I know you accepted it, but did you ever come to understand her feelings?”

“I don’t know.”

“You pulled away from her the last year or so. Started working more and spending less time with her. The closer it got to this day and the auction you started shutting her out and she still remained at your side. She is an amazing woman, don’t you think? How difficult was it for you to keep from having sex with her?”

The way Hiko bowed his head told Oji that something had changed between him and Tationy. There was guilt in that single motion of his body. “My father, Sesiago’s father were using her for their little game to find out which firstborn is Kazuma. I was not about to play their game. So I thought, I would use her. Flaunt her in front of every Kari. Put her right out in the middle of it all. Finding out she was a virgin was just the icing on the cake. I knew when I was done with her and I had put my family in their place that I was going to sell her. There was such a pull around her. I came so close so many times to giving in. Every time I told her we were going to wait until we were married she was so disappointed and before I knew it, I was in love with her.”

“Yet you still intended to sell her.”

“I tried putting a distance between us. She is Tearra and as Tearra she is going to choose her king. That is how it works. That stupid tradition.”

“You were afraid she would not choose you.”

“She didn’t. She slept with Sesiago. He is her king and I am the monster Rin. I raped her.” Even though Hiko covered his face he could not hide the emotion in his voice. “She lied to me. She stood right there and said nothing happened and I felt the anger bubbling within me. How could she? How could I? Why did she choose him? I realized that none of it matters because none of us have any control over what happens. This is how it was meant to be. I feel so foolish for thinking I deserved her. I never had a chance.”

“Did you hurt her?”

“Ah and I had one of my men discard her like she was nothing. When I went looking for her, she was already with him. I hate him so much. Why couldn’t I have been Kazuma?”

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Oji appeared to be unfazed by Hiko’s acknowledgement that he had assaulted Tationy as Hiko stood and paced. “What makes you think you are not Kazuma?” Hiko made a sound of annoyance. “Have you tried to win her? Have you completely given yourself over to her? You and I have been friends forever and I felt you were holding back these four years. How can you even talk about not being Kazuma, when you never even tried. You went out, you played house, you went through the motions. Any time you felt something, you pulled back from her. I think you never gave yourself the opportunity to be loved by her.”

“It doesn’t matter. She is with him now and I did something so horrible to her, she would never be able to forgive me.”

“Why did you do it?”

“She just kept saying nothing happened. In four years, I can read her body so well. She was lying and I felt so betrayed. What gives me the right to feel that way? I was going to sell her. Am I mad because she let a man have her before I could sell her or am I mad because she gave herself to him? I don’t even know.”

“You know.” Oji responded, “You loved her and she cheated on you just like Luna did. You reacted the same way you did then, except this time, you didn’t let your men have her. You wanted her to feel pain like she made you feel. It is not an excuse or justified. What you did is unforgivable.”

“I know.”

“What will you do?”

“Delve in to work until the police come. Continue to be the monster I know I am.”

“You are not a monster, but you do need help. Your family is as messed up as they have always been and the whole lot of you, are hung up on this old nonsense that no one else cares about. It dictates every action all of you make. For now, focus on yourself, Hiko. Work out your feelings, deal with what you did, and more importantly decide whether or not you want to continue to live under the oppressive traditions of the Kari and when and if those police come for you, carry yourself with dignity and accept the punishment for your actions.”

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The memory left him tense as Hiko closed his eyes a moment, before he reached out and grabbed Tationy’s hand pulling her toward him. He had not intended to be so forceful with her, but he wanted her close so he could say something that he had been trying to say since she came back into his life. Her freehand pushed against his chest as he rested his to her shoulder. “I am sorry. I am so sorry. I thought, when Moromari came to see me that he was going to kill me. I remember thinking how justified it would be considering my behavior toward you. I know what I did was unforgivable, but I will try every day to show you I will never hurt you again.”

There was silence from Tationy until she asked, “Moromari came to see you?”

“Ah.” Hiko responded as he leaned against the wall and noticed how her eyes braved to meet his. He sighed noticeably as he reflected on what transpired after he left Shimragata.

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It started with him taking the advice of his oldest friend. Even though he had told himself he was going to delve in to work, he actually did not return to Bridgeport. In the desert, far away from his troubles he thought he would be able to let it all go, until the man called Moromari Saitama stood before him. Hiko knew that his eyes betrayed him, widening slightly. During the four years he had been with Tationy, he had expected this man to come and see him, but not once did he ever stand before him. The true power the Shima had, was with the Saitama that served as their dogs of war. It had been that way for thousands upon thousands of years. “Have the Shima ordered my execution?”

“Not as of yet.”

“Then why is the war dog of the Shima standing before me?” Hiko was certain he already knew the answer, this was about Tationy.

“You took my niece to Shimragata and she came back a different person, covered in bruises, and standing at the side of the one called Sesiago. Explain yourself.”

“I do not answer to you.”

“That is true, the king of the gods answers to no one.”

Hiko peered at Moromari, “You are mistaken.”

“I am not. You never wondered why it was I did not come before you during those four years?” Hiko mauled it over as Moromari continued to speak, “The Saitama knew you to be the king of the gods, regardless of what your family believes. The Kari only see tradition and recognize the one that embodies Kazuma the most. That person is not always the true incarnate of Kazuma. You did not want her, cast her aside, and she had no place else to go and no one else to turn to, so she allowed Sesiago to keep her.”

Hiko had always been told he was Rin so he argued with Moromari, “Rin raped Tearra. I….” Hiko choked on the words.

“I am aware of your behavior toward her. It is only because you are the king of the gods that you live right now. Time is limited, they are moving quickly.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your blood moves against you. Your father, Tadayoshi, plots in the shadows and has amassed a number of your kin to stand with him and against you. He intends to have his true son ‘crowned’ as king and you he intends to terminate. Tationy will be taken as the prize of the Kari. Those that bare the mark of Kazuma are no longer your allies. You need to tie their hands.”

“How am I suppose to do that?”

“You need to command Tationy to hide from the Kari.”

Hiko shook his head, “She will not listen or trust me.”

“She will. Even if you make her tremble with fear, if you tell her to do something, she will do it. She may not understand why, but her body knows you as Kazuma. Regardless of your actions toward her, she will feel pulled to do as you wish.”

“So I send her away, then what?”

“Then we destroy the Kari. Once she is away from them, we will use Sesiago’s feelings for her and manipulate him into giving up everything. This will show weakness in the eyes of the Kari, will it not?”

“It will get him killed.” Hiko stated and then paused when he noticed the look in Moromari’s eyes, “You want him dead.”

“As long as he lives, he is a threat to your kingdom.”

“If he is not Kazuma, why is he a threat?”

“He was the only person among the Kari, capable of breaking the bond between Tearra and Kazuma. It is not because he is Kari or even Shima, it is because he is descended from Kisho Nakamaru, the master manipulator. He was the only person capable of driving that wedge between you and Tationy. It does not excuse your own actions, but he pursued her knowing she was yours. He only felt bad for doing so after she was hurt and that is only because in his own way, he is a good person. However, he still stands in the way of you obtaining everything.”

“I am not killing him.”

“You may change your mind…”

“I will not.”

“Then I will do it, but one way or another he will die.”

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Hiko turned away from the Saitama and considered his words. “I will play no part in the death of Sesiago.”

“You say that only because you do not wish for her to hate you more.”

“What you want is never going to happen. Even if we topple the Kari, then what? Tearra will never see Kazuma, if I am him.”

“Certainly that is a possibility, but the Kari can no longer be allowed to do as they wish. You of all people should be acutely aware of this.”

“Who exactly do you work for?”

Hiko made note that there was a long drawn out pause before Moromari responded, “You investigated her father did you not?”

“That drunk only knows how to bet on the ponies.”

“My brother is many things, but he and I are the direct descendants of the Emperor of Aslann.”

“Yet, he holds the name of Tylo and you the name Saitama, why?”

“Our father understood the plight of being both Tylo and Saitama, so we were separated when we were small and I was raised by our grandfather Boré Saitama and Miroku was raised by our father, Soti Tylo. The curse of the Tylo clan is a heavy one and my brother, Miroku was not capable of carrying its weight upon his shoulders. Regardless, the Saitama have actively served the Lords of the Shima, but there was another long ago that they devoted themselves to.”

“You are talking about the Prince of Aslann.”

“Old fairy tales, if people only knew how our families cling to such outdated history. Regardless, even though she is unaware of our devotion to her, we serve the only strength that remains among the Tylo, Tationy. She does not understand the power she has over the Kari, Shima, Saitama, and Tylo. Under the same banner, the two of you could unite a kingdom, but it does require a war to be waged. Just think about it. Come and see me at Perlato, if you decide to fight for your kingdom.”

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Hiko gave the conversation between him and Moromari little consideration at the time.

Returning to Bridgeport he never imaged he would cross paths with her. He was driving through the hills to the home he had foolishly bought for the two of them during their four years together, though he had never told her as much. There she was, obviously upset and walking. The part of him that loved her, pulled his vehicle to the side of the road and the part of him that wanted to keep her all to himself, told her to get in his car.

When she failed to comply he had grabbed a hold of her. It hurt him, seeing her knees buckled, feeling her tremble at his touch, seeing the scared look in her eyes. He could not keep the anger from bubbling over as he yanked on her arm trying to get her to get in his car. She saw him as a monster, willing to do whatever and take whatever he wanted, so he told her to get in or he would make her. He refused to be gentle when all she could see is an evil man consumed by power. He told himself it was better this way even though he should have apologized and begged for her forgiveness.

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Hiko told himself that if she refused to get into his car, he would be forced to be that monster he told himself that he was. When she got in, he thought back on the words of Moromari, and wondered only briefly if he might have been right. Would she really do anything he asked of her? He really had no plan. Having not expected to see her, he just drove. Wherever the road would take them. Even though the first few days they did not even talk, he just kept driving and thought about how he had failed her and ruined them.

She had finally broke the silence when she asked, “Why did you do it?”

Hiko knew exactly what she was asking him despite, the response he gave her, “Why did I do what?”

“Rape me?”

He considered her question. He could have told her the truth about how hurt he was and how he lashed out with his anger in a way that was not appropriate. How he never wanted to hurt her, but he believed none of those things would make a single difference. So instead he said, “You slept with my cousin and then lied about it, you deserved worse then what you got. How can you call it rape, when you were wet throughout it?”

She had not responded to his words. She did not protest and say she was not wet. She did not argue why it was rape. She did not even insist that she didn’t deserve it. All of those things concerned him because it told him that she felt that she had it coming. It only made him feel worse that he had damaged her already destroyed self-esteem. Finally, she spoke, “Were you really going to sell me?”

He had struggled so much with whether or not he was going to go through with selling her. He had developed feelings for her and the part of him that loved her had wanted to keep her for himself. It didn’t matter, in the end whether or not he said yes or no because her question after would always be the same, “Yes.”

“Did I mean anything to you?” Hiko had expected that question and he paused for some time thinking about how he wanted to answer it, “Why can’t you answer me?”

Telling her the truth didn’t matter, that is what he told himself. “My father warned me to be careful around you. He kept talking about falling and becoming a monster. I am already a monster.” He moved his hand from the steering wheel to her leg, which caused her to instantly tense and he responded like any Kari man would. “I like that look on your face.” He saw the panicked look in her eyes through the rearview mirror and added, “Thousands of years this tradition has been taking place. A Tylo woman is brought to the Kari and the elders of this family play their little game to see which of the firstborns is the heir to Kazuma’s kingdom. You are not the first and you will not be the last.” His hand slid further up her leg and she quickly placed her hand on top of his to stop him and Hiko felt a chill travel through his body. Her soft touch, flashed him back to that first kiss they shared and he quickly pulled his hand away. “My father thought he was being smart when he manipulated me into stopping into that restaurant you were working. Sesiago might be ignorant to the game those old fools play, but I knew the moment I saw you what their plan was.”

“What do you mean?”

“My father and Sesiago’s have been manipulating this situation from the beginning. You just happened to attend a party for Sesiago’s birthday, yeah right.” He could not hide the hurt from his voice, though he doubted Tationy noticed.

“Suemeli, was really nice and invited me.”

“I am sure she failed to mention she is my father’s lover. I am guessing that Iashi played a hand in you and Sesiago getting together. He is uncle Katsu’s right hand. They call him the ‘hand of God’ because it was once believed by these old Kari fools that Katsu was the reincarnate of Kazuma. There is no such thing as coincidence upon the island of Shimragata.”

“What you did, was that all a part of it as well?”

Hiko glanced at her only briefly, she was not capable of hiding the emotion in her voice. “You disappointed me. You were the first time in years that I had considered not going through with an auction and then you slept with him. How could you spread your legs for Sesiago? Was I not good enough for you?”

She never responded to his question and it bothered Hiko that she felt that she could ask him why he did something and he was expected to respond, but she could not offer him the same courtesy.

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During their trip, he had made several calls to Moromari, who contacted his men to set up a place for her in the desert. The Saitama in the area had worked quickly, leaving her the deed and money in the house. When they finally arrived to the small place in the desert, Hiko was apprehensive about leaving her alone as he stopped his car and the two exited the vehicle. “Where are we?”

He did not answer her question, simply gestured toward the home behind her. “It is bought and paid for. Deed is on the table inside.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Do not call anyone. Do not go back to Bridgeport. If I find out you did, I will come and find you.”

“Hiko, aren’t you at least going to explain? Don’t you think you owe me that much?”

He had paused trying to decide whether or not he wished to answer her question, “If any Kari come looking for you, run. There is money in the house.”

“Why?”

“You really have no idea what my father had planned for you? I do not know if I should feel sorry for you or pity. My father and Katsu will send people to find you. If they find you, I cannot guarantee your safety.”

“What about Sesiago?”

Inwardly he was angry that she had asked about Sesiago and he could not hide the annoyance on his face. He should have said nothing at all, but instead he responded, “If he gives me what I want, he can have what he wants. Don’t you want to know if he really loves you?” Tationy could never understand how hurt Hiko was saying those words and watching her face as she mauled over whether or not Sesiago loved her.  He was so irritated that he turned his back to her and left without saying anything further.

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Had he known at that moment she was pregnant, he never would have left her instead he foolishly told himself it was for the best. The coming months, he and Moromari plotted and planned out every little detail regarding the destruction of the Kari and even the Shima. It all centered around Tationy, but first and foremost they had to bring down the so-called ‘king’. He was not surprised when Sesiago showed up at his house, barged in, and demanded to know where Tationy was. “What makes you think I know where she is?”

“Don’t fuck with me.” It was evident that Sesiago was angry as he gave Hiko a hard stare. Hiko ignored it and continued to do his work on his laptop. “You have been holding it over my head for months now. Tell me where she is.”

“Everything has a price Sesiago, are you sure you are willing to pay it?”

“Is that what this is about? You want my shares of the Shima Corporation?”

“Those shares would benefit me greatly and that is my price for the information you seek, but not the price I was referring to.”

“Don’t talk in code. Say what you mean Hiko.”

“It would be in your best interest to let her go.”

“So you can have her?”

“She is not property.” Hiko responded, “That is the problem with the Kari, every last one of us sees her as a possession.”

“Don’t talk like you care about her after what you did.”

Hiko had paused in his typing the sting of Sesiago’s words brought back that night so vividly into his mind. He thought about what to say at that moment and all he could think of was saying anything that would hurt Sesiago, “If I am such a bad man, why did she leave you and go with me? Your ‘woman’ ran away from you, what does that say about you, Sesiago?” The pause after his words told him that what he said to Sesiago left its own bitterness. It made Hiko feel a small bit of happiness knowing that Sesiago was wondering to himself if Tationy felt anything for him. “The price for her location is your company. Give it to me and I will tell you where she is. However, I am not responsible for the price you pay after that.”

“Fine. Draw up the contracts and I will sign it over to you. You better not be lying, Hiko.” There was a heaviness as Hiko considered the final outcome of this play. Sesiago was choosing her over his family and company, it would not sit well with the Kari. His weakness would get him killed. He could have come right out and told him, but he doubted it would have mattered. Sesiago would still have chosen her and Hiko could not help but to wonder if he would have the strength to do the same.

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Truthfully, he hoped that he would never see either of them again he thought that they would run off and marvel in the moment of love and romance. Then, Hiko got an unexpected phone call. “Sesiago, why are you calling me?”

Sesiago had told him to just listen that he did not have a lot of time. Explained briefly about meeting with Miso Yamada and how she had betrayed them. That the Kari had come and they were on the run. He explained that Tationy was pregnant that they would not be able to keep up a pace that would allow them to escape and how he understood now what Hiko was trying to tell him. The price for love was his life. He begged Hiko to protect her and Hiko silently listened to the emotion in his cousins voice. Even though he did not kill him, he was just as responsible because he did not stop it from happening.

“I will be there as soon as I can. I promise, I will protect her.”

To Be Continued

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