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34 Nishigawa Family

The four men stored their outdoor shoes in pigeonhole shelves at the Inn's genkan and stepped inside.

They were instantly greeted by a dolled-up woman in an elaborate red and black cherry blossom kimono. Her face was painted white with pink eye-shadow streaking her lids and black eyeliner skilfully applied near her lashes and brows to make her eyes rounder. Lush lips were painted a fierce red. Her hair was done up in a traditional bun with a beautiful hair comb arrangement of white wisteria dangling down the left side of her head, touching her shoulder.

"Hinata would be a beautiful Geisha too." Eiji thought as a wanton image of his lover in the same outfit and make-up teased his mind and lower region.

This made the woman giggle like a school girl and her eyes dart towards his zipper.

He turned away to hide his embarrassment and keep his cool, casting his eyes about the clean floor boards and shoji panels making a square frame around a central fake pond with red-gold koi swimming about the dark waters. Ferns and native plants gave it a natural decorative border and a feeling of Zen.

He looked around to the building's three split levels that ran the same shape around the pond, so the central area was clear all the way up to the skylight that allowed bright rays of daylight to shine down on the pond.

The upper levels were crowded with beautiful geisha woman in colourful kimono's and painted faces who were flirting with men, forcefully laughing at passing drunken harassment or swooning in the arms of men who shamelessly made out with them on the edges of the levels' red wrought iron balcony rails.

The stench of sweet smelling flowers amongst the unmistakable musk of pheromones released during sex was intoxicating. However, the display of debauchery was an enough turn off for Eiji. The tension from some geisha's limbs as they submitted, along with their fake moaning, made his heart thump painfully. He sympathised for the women playing the role of lover to these beasts.

A hurtful memory of his middle-school days with Hinata resurfaced. It was the time they had started going out. He had gone to the back of their school's gym storage room and saw Hinata suffering sexual violations from the school bully gang. This had infuriated him beyond thinking. His heart was heightened with rage when he learned that Hinata had being suffering the violations for a while in order to protect his honour. He had relentlessly attacked the violators, crippling one and had almost killed most of the others. This rage and mindless fighting ability had convinced his father he was a perfect tool for war.

His father had enlisted him into the navy to bolster his political campaign. If Eiji survived his naval terms, dumped Hinata and married a respectable woman he could retain the family name and status (ensuing days of wealth and societal high life).

Eiji spat on his own name and had added in his own condition. If he was going be a disgrace in war, he'd rather carry that disgrace as a Takaki.

"Takaki-san." Tyne's voice broke through his thoughts.

He nodded and followed the party down a strip of hallway and into a spacious guest room lined with tatami mats and fusuma painted with crane birds in flight or amongst rush reeds.

Eiji let out a sigh. Sounds of a shoji door sliding open made him more alert.
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"Ito." A manly voice carried Kei's name across the room.

Eiji held back his emotions as he quickly assessed the man in a conservative kimono of grey and navy-blue. His face held an impression of harsh life with his sun-touched skin, wrinkles around his forehead and laugh lines to the corners of his thin lips. Light stubble covered his round chin. Mature brown eyes met his with a sense of knowing. The man reminded him of his unfeeling father who was only interested in the bottom line and profit.

Flanking his sides were two men in black suits without any characteristics to make them stand out, as lackeys should be.

"Nishigawa-sama." Kei respectfully bowed before the man.

Eiji's eyes darted to Tyne and Hans. They were being their usual expressionless selves in these situations, but he knew them well enough by now that their minds would be in a flurry as they made their assessments.

"Yah gaijin are the fake Germans, aye?" Nishigawa cackled.

He waved a signal. One of the lackeys closed the door behind them.

Everyone waited for Nishigawa to make himself comfortable one of the floor cushions at the rectangular low table positioned with his back to the elegant floral ikebana displayed on the Tokonoma, brighten with the choice lighting of the room.

"Gents. Why don't yah take a seat. We talk business eh?" He gestured to the other floor cushions along the table.

Eiji held back Kei with a look, making sure they were both towards the end of the table and furthest from Nishigawa. Kei sighed with understanding, especially when he saw that the lackeys remained standing near the door.

"No problems. Let's discuss some matters of interest shall we?" Tyne soberly accepted their host's invitation for no nonsense business talk.