Once again, Moshe reached for the doorknob, and once again he hesitated. Every time he would resolve to wrap his hand around the knob, he would detect that wave of murderous intent emanating from the other side of the room, which made him wonder if there was death awaiting him once the door was opened. As a former mercenary and current Shadaloo operative, Moshe was no stranger to being ambushed by enemy contingents, but he always trusted his employers to have good enough judgment to ally with people that wouldn’t stab them in the back on a whim.
Even though he currently worked under the globally-despised warlord known only as “Bison,” who insisted that everyone who approached him refer to him as “Master Bison” in anticipation of his inevitable conquest of the world, Moshe didn’t think he would need to subjugate the man who was supposed to be Shadaloo’s honored guest who would bring them into a new age of prosperity. Ever since the arrival of the mysterious Pandora box, the stories about their guest’s fighting ability became less like an accurate account and more like some kind of twisted ghost story, ripe with tales of resurrection, betrayal, and revenge stemming almost from birth. Moshe wouldn’t have believed it if Bison didn’t vouch for the guest’s claims with tangible evidence.
“The door is open,” a quiet, deep voice said from the other side of the door, telling Moshe that whatever awaited him was aware of his presence. Keeping his right hand tucked behind his back so that he could reach the spare pistol that he kept hidden from plain sight within a small opening in his blue Shadaloo uniform, Moshe turned the doorknob and carefully opened the door, expecting his guest’s private guard on the other side with their guns aimed for his head. Instead, Moshe saw was a lone Japanese man, dressed in a white suit with his dark hair slicked back into a singular point, sitting quietly at his desk watching something on his computer monitor.
As Shadaloo’s honored guest turned to face Moshe, he revealed a peculiarity with his right eye: it was a brilliant shade of red, much like the eyes of Bison’s sworn enemy Akuma. Bison had theorized that there was a relationship between Akuma’s Satsui no Hadou and the mysterious power that their guest wielded, but he gave no orders to Moshe to investigate the similarities. Instead, all Moshe had to do was make sure that Kazuya Mishima and his arrogant smirk would safely receive the gift that Shadaloo prepared for his G-Corporation that was at war with their mutual enemy, the Mishima Zaibatsu.
Not that we really need an alliance with G-Corporation now that we’ve neutralized the Zaibatsu’s leader, Moshe mused to himself as he put both his hands behind his back, letting go of his hidden pistol now that he was sure that they were alone. Currently the Zaibatsu is under the leadership of Jin’s underlings Gordo and Williams. Without their true leader, we could probably overtake them in less than two days: the only reason they still exist right now is because Lord Bison wants to toy with them…like a child pulling apart a bug’s wings.
“Sit down, lieutenant,” Kazuya motioned to the chair in front of his desk.
“Yes, sir,” Moshe nodded his head slightly before obeying his guest’s request. Bison gave strict orders to obey Kazuya as loyally as Moshe obeyed him, and Moshe wasn’t anywhere close to ready to defy a direct order.
Noticing that Moshe wasn’t making himself comfortable, Kazuya’s smirk widened into a wicked grin before turning his monitor towards the Shadaloo soldier so that he could see what he looking at. Moshe expected Kazuya to be watching something along the lines of children being tortured, or women being ravaged: something terrible that would go in line with Kazuya’s reputation as a heartless monster. Instead, Kazuya was watching something considerably less revolting: footage of a teenager with a hairstyle similar to Kazuya’s own, with the exception of the thick bangs hanging down from his face. The youth was wearing the dark blue school uniform of the Mishima Polytechnic School that Shadaloo once tried to encroach upon, talking to several other students with a shy smile on his face.
“Do you recognize this boy, lieutenant?”
“Jin Kazama, the leader of the Zaibatsu,” Moshe replied without breaking protocol of showing the utmost respect to his superiors. “This video was obviously taken several years ago when he was still a ward of Heihachi Mishima, Shadaloo’s former ally.”
“It was a simpler time back then,” Kazuya mused as he leaned over to watch the video stream once again. “Before Jin became the leader of the Zaibatsu, he was of no threat to me: it wasn’t until he started cultivating the Devil Gene that I started paying him any kind of real attention. There were times, I admit, where I considered approaching him, telling him the truth about why I was never there when he was growing up…but business came first. Business always comes first, doesn’t it, lieutenant?”
“We all have duties we must perform, sir,” Moshe replied honestly as he fought the urge to gag at Kazuya’s obviously false chivalry. The Mishima blood feud might have been something that Shadaloo only recently began studying, when their world merged with the Mishima’s world, but Moshe did plenty of research before traveling to the Antarctic base of G-Corporation with the rest of the Shadaloo caravan. The Mishima feud in the modern era began when Heihachi Mishima threw his son Kazuya into a ravine, believing that Kazuya could climb back up, he would be worthy of inheriting the Zaibatsu. Rather than create a worthy successor, Heihachi instead created a demon cloaked in the body of the man, with Kazuya taking his place as the Zaibatsu head at the conclusion of the first King of Iron Fist tournament and then plunging the world into chaos.
The blood feud had now spanned three generations, with the once-peaceful Jin Kazama becoming as ruthless as his father and grandfather and taking control of the Mishima Zaibatsu up until Heihachi and Kazuya allied themselves with Shadaloo and used their combine resources to bring him down. Even though Heihachi had since broken away from Shadaloo to take control of the Zaibatsu after a dispute over Bison’s methods, it didn’t change the fact that grandfather and father had teamed to put an end to a son that could have lived a fulfilling life if not for the blood feud. When Moshe asked Heihachi what the feud was over, Heihachi merely replied that it had gone on for so long that he no longer felt any malice towards Kazuya and Jin. They were in the way, and needed to be dealt with: that was the justification of who was supposed to be the most sensible of the Mishima clan.
Chilling stuff, to be sure, and thinking about it made Moshe’s pistol all the most tempting to use.
“Why are you watching this, sir?” Moshe finally asked as he remembered the brutal battle he witnessed at Jin’s defeat, where he and Heihachi stood watch while Kazuya and Bison picked apart Jin in what could only be described as an extremely unfair fight. Even though Kazuya was Jin’s father, he did things to Jin that day that no father should ever dream of doing. Why would he be watching clips of Jin’s innocence if not to laugh at how naive his son could really be?
Kazuya’s smirk faded and his expression hardened as he answered Moshe’s question. “I like to consider myself an expert at revenge, lieutenant. Many years ago, I experienced my first taste of fulfilled vengeance when I tossed Heihachi off of the same ravine he tossed me from, and since then I’ve made revenge my life’s work. Everything I do is in the name of vengeance…but this is the first time I have been able to look at revenge in hindsight. With Heihachi, I had a justifiable reason to hate him…but my son, the extent of my hatred for him goes no further than that he had something that I needed, and he refused to give it to me.”
“…far too late to show remorse when he’s dead by your hand,” Moshe growled as his hands trembled. It’s no wonder Bison wished to ally with this man: Kazuya was every bit as heartless and cruel as him. There wasn’t a day that went by where Moshe wished he could just take his wife Illyana and walk away from Shadaloo with a bullet in Bison’s head, but Moshe stayed loyal to Shadaloo due to the massive debt he owed them. But Kazuya…Bison would no doubt be upset if Moshe attacked Kazuya, but any kind of punishment he’d receive would be more than worth the satisfaction he’d get from ridding the world of a devil like Kazuya Mishima.
A sinister chuckle rumbled from Kazuya’s throat as he watched Moshe tremble with rage. “…that’s right. Bison told me that you still cling to your morals, which is why he’d made you his aide. You’re the conscience that Bison doesn’t have,” the Cold-blooded prince said while he reached for his red silver-studded combat gloves sitting on his desk. Pulling them over his hands, Kazuya rested his chin on his wrists and pressed further. “Bison also told me that you hate him with every fiber of your being, and he cannot wait for the day you finally snap and make your move. I’m sure it bothers you how he parades your wife around as his personal weapon…and I’ve also heard rumors. When she is resting in her recharging station, it is said that Bison allows that preening ninja of his to come into the room and-”
“That’s enough…sir,” Moshe growled as he fought the urge to reach for his hidden pistol and put a bullet in Kazuya’s brain. The tales of Kazuya’s fighting prowess were on par with the reports Shadaloo collected on Ryu, and Kazuya could even boast about taking Ryu to the very limit. Moshe was no Ryu, but he’d be willing to go into the emergency room if it meant giving Kazuya a reminder of what respect meant, even to underlings. His loyalties were to Bison, not Kazuya, and given Bison’s twisted nature, he would be more in line to reward Moshe for dealing with Kazuya rather than punish him.
Be better than that, Moshe reminded himself as Kazuya continued to glare at him. He is only trying to prod for weaknesses. Be better than that. You are a professional first.
It was here that Moshe noticed something jutting out from underneath the desk calendar that Kazuya was resting his shoulders upon. Pulling it out from underneath the calendar, Moshe looked at the picture and realized that it was of a woman: quite beautiful, with raven hair and smooth, pale skin. Given that she was not facing the camera, Moshe could easily deduce that she was not aware that there was a photo taken of her. “I recognize this woman,” Moshe said out loud. “Why do you-”
“None of your concern,” Kazuya hissed as he quickly snatched the picture from Moshe’s hands and placed it in his jacket pocket. Kazuya seemed so collected and sure of himself, like a tiger about to pounce on its prey, but as soon as Moshe found that picture, the Shadaloo lieutenant noticed the shift in Kazuya’s expression. He was on the defensive now, like an animal cornered by hunters. For a supposed devil made flesh, for a brief flash Kazuya seemed very much like a human.
Before either of them could say something else on the matter, Moshe’s radio buzzed to life, calling the Shadaloo soldier to attention as he pulled it from his belt and spoke into it. “This is Lt. Sheffer. What is it?”
“There’s an unknown civilian approaching the camp, standing at 50 yards outside the northern perimeter. Orders to engage?”
With those quiet words, Kazuya stood up from his seat, staring out the window of his office where the northern perimeter was in plain sight. Again, Moshe took note of the expression of concern on Kazuya’s face, giving him yet another reason to believe that maybe he was wrong about Kazuya. “Wait until I get there before acting. I will personally give the order to the troops once I arrive. I will be over there shortly.”