The sliding rice-paper door shifted soundlessly to one side, letting in a shaft of light to illuminate the otherwise-gloom shrouded room. A rack held recently discarded shoes just outside, and the air was full of the scent of lavender incense.

A pair of bare feet stepped onto the tatami mat laid out on the floor, contrasting the pale grey skin tone with the canary-yellow color of the mat. The tatami's pattern was hand-woven: sinous dragons twisted colorfully in embroidered patterns, seemingly dancing with paired swallows.

Both feet were unusually large, seemingly sewn together by long, twisting scars of livid, angry flesh. The bones beneath the skin appeared twisted, wrong, somehow out of place, yet each footstep was sure and smooth.

Ketsuhen Kowareru knelt and bowed his head, facing the darkest side of the room. The Breaker's breath was exhaled as a plume of mist, frost already beginning to form upon his brow where the sweat congealed into ice.

A voice spoke from the shadowed side of the room, motion glimpsed there in the gleam of a featureless kabuki mask. The voice enunciated words of an ancient and debased language, a foul and corrupted tongue that made Ketsuhen wince, yet brought a smile to his lips.

Ketsuhen replied in flawless, monotonous Japanese. "Hai, Oyabun. I have dispatched our men to help with the 'rescue and cleanup' efforts."

There was a muffled sound of black amusement, a sense that vast and depthless eyes twinkled with wicked laughter. The voice spoke again, longer, and drops of blood began to seep from Ketsuhen's ears. The Breaker smile only grew wider.

"Hai. It shall be as you say. All our countermeasures are in place. If any of the old '9th Squad' attempts to interfere again, we will strike."

After that, silence reigned. The kabuki mask gave no hint to any response or reply, but the lingering taint of a predator spread further around Ketsuhen. The Breaker let the silence stretch, then realized the interview was at an end. With an abrupt and deep bow, Ketsuhen stood and went to the door. As he left his Master's chambers, the Breaker's grin was a terrible thing to behold.