"Let me get this straight Yagami.  You want me to rough up Yashiro and Shermie?"

    Iori was not a happy camper.  His performance in the Ultra tournament had been disappointing, especially considering the caliber of opponents that he'd been facing.  This should be a cake walk.  Instead, he had dropped two of his three matches.  What made this all worse was the fact that Kyo's lap-dog, Shingo, had a better record than him.  He knew for a fact it wasn't because the other fighters were better than him.  Just as no style was better than the Yagami Clan's, no fighter was better than the Yagami prodigal son.  No, there was another factor involved.
    It was the Orochi factor.  While the blood riot did increase his strength and speed dramatically, he lost all semblance of control while under its effects.  He was reduced to nothing more than an animal while in its throes.  Iori knew that to lose control was to lose the fight, no matter how powerful you are.  If he was to turn his fortunes around, it was clear that he'd need to reduce the Orochi's influence over him.  He'd need to somehow distract the demi-god.
    Which was where this man came in.  He was the only person he knew of that could resist the Orochi's influence.  Not only that, but he hated the Orochi clan, was a Yakuza, and completely, utterly insane.

    "That's right Yamazaki.  Do you need for me to go over the details again?" said an exasperated Iori.

    This conversation had gone on for entirely too long.  Iori could not afford to be seen in the same place as Ryuji Yamazaki, and now the dullard wanted to quibble over details?   With an effort Iori suppressed his anger and summoned the rest of his dwindling patience.  Iori tried to shrink back into the shadows, in the hope that if someone saw the two of them speaking, he wouldn't be noticed.  That was impossible for Yamazaki, however, as the man was the size of a small mountain.

    "Yeah, as a matter of fact, I would.  You want me carve up those Orochi freaks," said Yamazaki with a leer, "and you're going to pay me to do it?"

    Ryuji giggled uncontrollably for a bit.  "Oh man, I'd do that for free, but since you're going to pay me, I'll make sure to kick their asses so hard that the Orochi itself is going to have my shoe print on his butt."

    -What makes you think you'll survive this job, nutcase?- Thought Iori to himself.  That brought a smile to his lips. Good, the better to manipulate Yamazaki with.

    "As a matter of fact, yes.  I want you to do as thorough a job as possible on those two.  If one of them dies, well, tough luck, right?"  said Iori in a rather unconcerned manner.

    Ryuji giggled his confirmation.

    "The important thing is that you get the Orochi's attention.  He needs to know that he's being targeted through his followers, so make sure that you make an example out of those two."

    "Ok.  Not that I really care, but why Shermie and Yashiro?  They aren't even in the tournament.  It's not like messing them up would keep you from losing any more than you already are." noted Iori's potential hiree.

    "SHUT UP!!  I'm not hiring you to think, Ryuji.  I'm hiring you to do a job.  Now you can either do that job and be silent, or you can keep wagging your tongue and risk my anger.  I'm not about to be questioned by the hired help!" growled Iori.

    Yamazaki's mouth slowly spread into a grin.  For a brief moment, Iori was certain that this was going to become a violent situation.

    "Sure.  I'll be a good little soldier and do the job.  Yes massa.  Right away massa."  -and after I'm through with them, maybe you'd like to have an accident with some powertools?-

    The two men stood there for a moment, looking at each other, each attempting to gauge the other's true intentions.   They then turned away from each other, each intent on their own separate agendas.  Treachery was the only thing that their two hearts held in common.

To be continued....