|“|| Nobody knows we exist and it's going to stay that way.|
– Shizuka Hattori
|Masanari Black Flowers|
|Name||Masanari Black Flowers|
|Group Type||Mercenary group|
The Masanari Black Flowers (マサナリ・ブラック ・フラウァーズ Masanari Burakku Furauaazu), abbreviated to MBF or simply Black Flowers, is a mercenary organization founded by Masanari Hattori and run by the Hattori Clan. Their base of operations, Ueno Castle is located deep within the Valley of Broken Spirits. They are often hired for jobs such as bounty hunting, reclaiming stolen property, location missing persons and even assassinations. However, due to their high morals, they do not accept any jobs that involve harming or wronging the innocent. They are known to have alliances with guardian spirits, dragon hounds and archaeopteryxs. The group is currently led by Ryuji Hattori and his intended successor is Shizuka Hattori, his granddaughter. The group remains in an eternal struggle with the remnants of former rival clans now reformed into fellow mercenary groups: the Golden Hollyhocks, the Four Diamonds and the Blood Serpents.
List of known agents
Agents are each given aliases or code names under which they operate.
- Shizuka Hattori (Spear Hanzo) and Azreal
- Keiji Hattori (White Raven) and Huginn
- Kenji Hattori (Black Raven) and Muninn
- Odette Blanc (White Swan) and Cygnus and Will-o'-the-Wisp
- Melissa Tang and Beowulf
- Johnny Boyd and Cedar
- Ambrose Phillips (Merlin) and Quetzacoatl
- Cross and Ahool
- Archaeopteryxs (mounts)
- Dragon hounds
- Teresa Hattori (deceased)
- Ryushi Hattori (Gray Dust, deceased)
- Konohana (disappeared after Ryushi's death)
- Kenshin Hattori (Demon Hanzo) and Arachnia (both expelled)
- Hanzo Hattori (deceased)
- Masanari Hattori (deceased)
As a sophisticated mercenary organization, the Masanari Black Flowers have various classification systems for organizing their agents, assignments, etc.
The MBF have an eight level ranking system applied to all agents. An agent's current rank level is displayed on their badge based on the number of flower petals and arrows filled in on the black flower emblem. Guardian spirits, dragon hounds and archaeopteryxs have their own specific category and are not identified based on a badge.
- Level 1: Initiate (one petal)
- Level 2: Advanced Initiate (two petals)
- Level 3: Shinobi (three petals)
- Level 4: Elite (four petals)
- Level 5: Hunter (five petals)
- Level 6: Elite Cross (six petals)
- Level 7: Shadow (six petals and one arrow)
- Level 8: Grand Master (full badge - six petals and two arrows)
- Spirit (guardian spirits only)
- Guard (dragon hounds only)
- Mount (archaeopteryxs only)
Archaeopteryxs are organized under their own three categories based on their physique and physical ability. However, some archaeopteryxs are not categorized, such as Kiwi as he is flightless.
- Speed: Speed archaeopteryxs are characterized by their sleek bodies and intense flight speed. They are primarily used for travel.
- Power: Power archaeopteryxs are characterized by their robust and burly physique and large size. Though they are the slowest flyers, they possesses the greatest physical strength and are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
- Stealth: Stealth archaeopteryxs fall in between speed and power and are characterized by their physical strength and excellent flight speed. Though speed and power archaeopteryxs are technically faster and stronger, respectively, stealth archaeopteryxs combine the best of both. Most possess a dark plumage and their slim bodies and speed make them perfect for stealth and infiltration. They are considered the best type of archaeopteryx as their size, strength and speed makes them optimal mounts for travel and battle.
Jobs accepted or taken by the MBF are labeled under three categories based on color:
- Category BLUE: also called Cat-BLUE, assignments are basic "protection" jobs. Agents assigned to these jobs are required to protect a specific individual, group of individuals, object or location from any threats for the duration of the job.
- Category YELLOW: also called Cat-YELLOW, assignments are "retrieval" jobs. Agents assigned to these jobs are required to retrieve a specific person or object and return it to the client. In other words, YELLOW assignments are bounty hunting jobs.
- Category RED: also called Cat-RED, assignments are the highest level jobs and are "assassination" jobs. Agents assigned to these jobs are required to eliminate a target or targets specified by the client.
Agents are a equipped with a variety of gear and each individual contains equipment specific to them. Beyond that, they all possess similar, basic equipment. Their most important item is their badge. These badges are assigned to each agent to signify their identity and allows them access to both the base and various other sections of the base based on their level. Outside of their standard or personal weapon equipment, agents are also equipped with visors that allow them to connect to the systems back at Ueno Castle and communicate with other agents.
Originally founded by Masanari Hattori, eldest son of Hanzo Hattori, following the clan's exile from the Tokugawa Clan, the Masanari Black Flowers, often abbreviated to MBF, has acted as a secret organization of mercenaries for centuries. Due to the secrecy and measures taken to keep the clan's location safe, the MBF have operated for many years without the public being aware of their actions. Their most notable allies are the guardian spirits, mystical creatures with elemental powers that are often partnered up with agents; dragon hounds, a breed of domesticated and wingless dragons; and the archaeopteryxs, reptilian birds that serve as mounts.
The group makes their home in Ueno Castle located within a mystically hidden hollow mountain in the Valley of Broken Spirits. Because keeping their location and identities secret was a top priority, agents - who, then, were all Hattori Clan members - operated very low tech with nearly no means of technological communication in use to avoid the possibility of their systems being hacked. For several years, the MBF remained very low-tech, but with the aid of twins Keiji and Kenji, they were highly propelled into the technological age. A jet was even built, but this remains used only for emergencies and the archaeopteryxs remain their primary form of transportation.
Eventually, it became clear that the Clan Wars began taking its toll on the clan, resulting in their need to expand and recruit more members in order to keep their clan alive. Agents do not necessarily have to be members of the Hattori family, but they must pass a test to be admitted. Agents are grouped in eight different levels with 1 being the lowest at Initiate and 8 being the Grand Master and are trained in various styles of combat before finding their own style to specialize in. After completing their training and being cleared for field work, agents adopt a code name or call sign in order to protect their identities. In addition, agents are partnered up with a guardian spirit, with whom they train and carry out missions with. Each agent is given a badge, with their basic information, to signify their status. Similar badges are also given to allies and only those with the badge assigned to them may have access to MBF headquarters and resources.
While the MBF only accepts morally "good" assignments, they do not label themselves as heroes due to the fact that they still require payment for their services and have no qualms about killing. Their most common clients are various groups of law enforcement and rich associates. During these missions, the Masanari Black Flowers do not accept the responsibilities or any repercussions for the contracts and clients must accept all possible blame for the job when they hire agents.
As with the customs of the Hattori Clan, leadership of the group is held by family head of the Hattori Clan. Traditionally, leadership is passed down to the first born son. The current head is Ryuji Hattori with the current heir being his granddaughter, Shizuka, who inherited the position from her brother after his death.
Eventually, the Hattori Clan were not the only ones to turn their focus to mercenary work. The remaining clans of Oda, Tokugawa and Takeda turned their group into their own mercenary organizations - the Blood Serpents, Golden Hollyhocks and Four Diamonds respectively - with all four clans fighting over jobs and territory. Because of the nature of their work and the Clan Wars, the Masanari Black Flowers maintain a high amount of secrecy in the existence of their group, location of their base and the identities of their members. This secrecy is ensured by the actions of Muninn, a guardian spirit who actively uses his memory manipulation powers to alter the memories of members who either leave or betray the organization and all uninvolved individuals that come in contact with agents during missions.
- The Masanari Black Flowers are named after Hanzo Hattori's son, Masanari, and the black flower in the crest.