Written by Kage Karasu
Chapter 3 : Winter of Scarlet Snow
Gicchi sheathed his sword as spoke ,
” So I finally get to meet the great Emegawa Hidemechi it’s an honor to meet you sir.”
Gicchi payed his respects by putting his heavyset right arm across his chest and bowed deeply. “
Ah, so you are Takuya’s son, how has Natsumi been doing in her ninja training ,”
Emegawa said with great amusement.
” Honestly I think she should be Shidoshi Kuinochi, that’s my opinion. “
Natsumi beamed at Gicchi because of his kind words, she wondered if she was that skilled. The door noisely swung open,
” NINJA, “
the guard hollered . The gaurd saw Natsumi’s knives and immedietly rushed her. She hurled the shuriken at the guard as it gleamed brightly in the light of the candles. It whistled through the air, and hit the collar of his shirt, the force made him fly backwards and he was pinned to the wall, he was attached to wall by his collar.
” P,ppplease don’t kill me !”
The guard held his hands out
” Good, shot you really were trained well ,”
Emegawa remarked. Natsumi didn’t avert her gaze, her attention stuck towards the hapless guard.
” Okay I won’t kill you if you don’t flap your big mouth to any of the guards. No as a matter of a fact you will stay here with me, your worst nightmare. And you will learn to not be so willing to beat on a defensless little girl. “
Natsumi made a very soft voice and flicked her finger back and forth. Gicchi could here something coming closer, the door slowly opened a pair of guards came running in. Natsumi and Gicchi were pressed up against the wall, their bodies melted into the shadows.
” Our compound is under attack by the Silver Fang Clan, a woman with abnormally silver hair and green eyes is their leader, many of our guards are dead. We need another ninja to fulfill this task.”
Natsumi gasped it was Ginko. Emegawa smirked,
” Well , we’re in luck we have some, “
Gicchi said. They stepped out of their hiding places, the guard still hung up by his collar.
“Can, anybody get me down ?”
” Shut up, you’ll give our position away,”
said Natsumi. The guard shut his mouth quickly. Emegawa blew out the candles, the silence of the night was broken every five seconds or so when you could hear a light thud, or the sound of the cries of the weak and the dieng. The door slowly opened up. Natsumi could not see her hand in front of her face, but her ki allowed her to spot the lone ninja. She took out the pair of sai she had pilfered and stabbed the ninja, she could hear the ninja’s body collapse. More ninja had come in and they all took turns killing them it was a sinch. They could here no more people coming so Gicchi reluctantly turned on the candles. There was a heap of bodies and a ton of blood sprawled out on the once clean floor. They walked out into the night the wind whipped at their hair, the wind had become less serene during the time they were in that shack. Up above them the female ninja that the guard spoke of was standing with her arms crossed looking down upon something, 7 other ninja were lined up near her. The group walked around a corner and found a whole army of samurai and ninja, they spread halfway across of the whole village, the other ninjas stood beside her looking out into the legions of enemy ninja and samurai. They all had silver hair. The kunoichi bellowed
” We are at the dawn of a new era, this is only the beginning of our accomplishments. Taking over this little weak town was a sinch, now we move on to the Kurakagi Suzume Ninja Clan, then Gohda Castle ! We will rule Japan, nobody can stop our grand scheme ! “
The whole army cheered, their loud noise stirring the night, making the crickets feel as though they were on total mute.
“Oh no we need to get back to the village, “
Natsumi sprinted off into the darkness, everyone including the guards followed her. Natsumi swept away the bushes to her village.
People were packing things while Takuya trained little children in the secrecy of the night, he watched as they did an assortment of kicks, katas, and hand techniues. Gicchi confronted Takuya ,
” Father, we have just seen Ginko she is making plans to come here.”
Takuya haulted his class and said with deep remorse,
“We know, that’s why are moving, one of our assassins came back and told us, that they didn’t find Emegawa, or either of you.”
Why didn’t you tell me that Emegawa was my father ?!”
” Because I thought it would effect you too greatly so if you would just kill him nobody would know but me, god, and Emegawa. “
Takuya stopped talking and stared in astonishment at Emegawa.
” My lord how have you been, where’s the mistress.”
Emegawa spoke and said.
” I have no idea where she is, she was kidnapped while I was knocked unconcious , I don’t deserve to be a man. “
” Don’t ever say that you aren’t a man, because even men make mistakes.”
Takuya put his strong hand on Emegawa’s shoulder Emegawa looked up from his remorseful postion. Takuya smiled down on him, Emegawa reluctantly smiled back. . Natsumi interrupted their conversation,
” Sorry for interrupting your little conversation but where will we be moving to ? “
Takuya slowly turned around his narrow slit for eyes made him look as if her was sneering but that’s just the way his eyes were,
” We will be moving into Gohda Territority.”
” But, Ginko might be trying to trail us we need to find a safe haven for the moment, “
” They don’t have the know how, their spies aren’t that skilled , “
Takuya cackled. They all laughed histerically but Natsumi was still and felt a little uneasy, she was a little anxious because she had not seen or heard of the troops, it had been nearly two hours since they had left the helpless village. Takuya stood on a hill above, held out his hand and spoke,
” As you know we will be moving, into Gohda Territory. Now prepare your steeds, and pack your kagos. Be prepared in about half an hour, also we have a visitor, Lord Hidemechi. ,”
Takuya held his held out as to point towards Emegawa. Emegawa smiled bitterly for he did not want to speak at the moment. He reluctantly bowed, the entire village did as such, with blissful expressions on their bony faces. Takuya resumed his converstation,
” Also we need guards to protect us, who wants to stand watch. “
It was so quiet you could here a pin drop, and the crickets were the only things natural that you could actually here. Takuya hand picked two guards one was slinky, the other masculine. They both ran to their homes , and picked up their staffs. They were polished to a magnificent finish, both of them gleamed in the light of the moon as if they were made of steel. Natsumi watched in awe as they secured the staffs to their sturdy backs. About 20 horses and 20 men came galloping down a pathway towards Takuya. He waved his hand as to guide them, toward a clearing in a meadow. A ton of kagos filled with children, and their parents and occasionaly pets. Minutes later a kago, strolled in front of them. Natsumi climbed into a luxury kago, filled with fine Japanese cuisine, pillows, green tea and tatami . Natsumi climbed into the kago with the two samurai, Emegawa, and Takuya, they all sat on tatami. The kago was in the front of the line. They had left as soon as everybody had everything they needed. Everyone wore kimonos so they could blend in because they would be moving down a commonly used gravel road , used by police, tax folk , and immagraters. It was the quickest route they knew of , if they would have found a more secretive route they would have done otherwise. The outside was beautiful, the wind softly sifting through the leaves of the canopy above. Natsumi stared dreamily outside into the canopy, her eyes suddenly caught a swift motion . A red blur crossed her path, Natsumi eyes tightened. Her body began to feel tense. Suddenly she could feel her mind and her spirit slipping away. She slumped to the floor, she was paralyzed and knocked unconcious .
She woke up in a cold sweat, and jumped up. Her father layed his hand over her stomach a heated towel placed on her forehead.
” Wh, what happened ? ”
” You were poisoned, “
Takuya said as he picked up the needle. Natsumi grabbed it, and looked at it. She put it down beside her. One of the women had come in to prepare tea for her. The women made her take a sip, it was bitter but the woman said it would cure her ailments. They had reached a checkpoint in the road, a guard stopped them in their tracks.
” What is your destination, and purpose.”
” We are traveling for a wedding, in Gohda Territory,”
said Takuya with bravery.
” Let me check your ID and you’ll be set.”
Takuya handed him a slip of paper, showing his indentification.
” Go ahead sir. “
The guard bowed with his right arm across his chest. The gate opened slowly, making a high pitched screech as it went along. Natsumi sighed a sigh of relief. They passed through the checkpoint with ease.
It was an hour later before they reached their destination deep into the forest, the new spot was a sight to behold. A river flowed gently down a winding stream , and in that stream there where large fish that were not scarce, next to a tree where wild juicy red apples grew. There was an abundance in herbs, perfect for their poisons and antidotes, this was an ideal spot for their village, on a hill above the village a vibrant cherry tree hill sat as still as the sky. Natsumi decided to walk up the hill, she asked Gicchi if he would like to come along, he unreluctantly agreed. This would be her chance to tell him her true feelings. It was a splendor to the eye. She saw something gleam in the moonlight. She walked slowly over to it.
” I’ll stay down here and check this out.”
Gicchi scanned the area. It was a pair of claws, attached to a pair of rotten hands. Its face was covered with a mask of some sort of cat, demon, she found more of these. In some places she even found heads right next to the bodies, some of them were heads of crows, or cats and she even found a dead hound with a shuriken embedded into it’s chest, it was like a graveyard. She walked past a small river leading into some kind of cavern, and down a waterfall, up to a large cherry tree at the summit of the pink hill. She resided besided it, looking into the stars thinking of what could’ve happened to these people. Her ki and her adreneline pumped, she did a richoet jump off of the tree. Two kuni came crashing to the ground she did a split, and brought her knives of destiny up to her face, the pair of kuni came crashing to the knives of destiny, the knives collided. Natsumi jumped backwards, the ninja dashed and hit Natsumi’s weapon. Gicchi was still downhill. Natsumi did an inside cresent kick, and as she spun did an outside crescent kick. The ninja countered by kicking her leg up which , in turn made Natsumi’s leg lift above her head. Natsumi landed on her back. Suddenly the knives of destiny made an act of its own, Natsumi became enraged with the thirst to kill. Natsumi leapt up, and front flipped her knives coming down struck the womans’ shirt, not her chest . She did some sort of stance. Both of her eyes turned one single color, green. The fight went on for hours. Natsumi finally went out of her daze. Neither she or the ninja was harmed. Then a long sword struck her back , she had begun to bleed. She at first did not notice the ninja’s face but his sword, the scabbard was so beautiful, a piece of dangling orange thread hung from the back of it, the blade forged of what seemed like stainless steel. She quickly turned around. It was a male ninja, with beautiful but deadly silver hair, and muscles just as deadly as his mane. He held a blank gaze, and wore metal tabi boots, a scar on his left eye.
” Ah, a ninja don’t you see these heads here, common sense should tell you to get the HELL OUT’A HERE.”
The ninja that said this was a kunoichi with a ponytail bun with two strands of her brown hair coming off of a metal band. Her beauty rivaled Natsumi’s her eyes fierce, but exotic, and serene. She wore baggy pants, and a sort of turtle necked T- Shirt. Her muscles rippled, and her body was divine, everything followed perfectly. She had a sharp tongue, and a whole lot of sass.
“Who, are you anyway, “
” Why should we tell you WANABEE GEISHA !”
” Now why would you talk about yourself like that. “
remarked Natsumi with a smirk on her face. The ninja said as she held her hands on her hip. This ninja’s sass was pissing Natsumi off.
” We might as well tell her Ayame, she’s gonna’ die here anyway .”
“I’m Rikimaru leader of the Azuma Ninja, and this beautiful woman is Ayame.”
Ayame was tired of all the talking and ran towards Natsumi out of nowhere Gicchi stepped in front of the assault. He shoved Ayame against the tree with a bang! Rikimaru’s eyes narrowed with his sword in hand, he rushed to Gicchi. Their swords collided in beautiful swordplay, techniques were avoided, dogded, and struck. Their skill was matched, but in the end Rikimaru defeated Gicchi, he lifted his sword above his head and said,
” Izayoi, I believe in your might. “
As he said this it seemed like the sword responded to his every word. Natsumi stepped in,
” WAIT, your Lord Gohda is in danger. !”
” What do you mean,”
questioned Rikimaru. Rikimaru, stopped his strike.
” Ginko a kunoichi is trying to take over Japan, with legions of ninja and samurai. She made an attempt to attack our ninja village but we moved before she came and that is why we moved here. She said Gohda Castle is next. “
” Don’t listen to her Rikimaru, she is just trying to make us vunerable so she can…..,”
. Ayame snickered after Rikimaru said this.
” Ayame, she is not lieing I can sense it.”
” Alright I will bring you to Gohda castle to speak to Lord Gohda, follow me.”
” Hold on, “
” Who did this ?”
Ayame gave a backwards wicked glance to Natsumi. Natsumi knew it would take some time to get acquainted peacefully to Ayame. Rikimaru swiftly ran into the quiet forest to Gohda Castle, Ayame unhastily trailed after him. Natsumi looked at Gicchi and they both shrugged their shoulders. They were off to Gohda Castle to meet Lord Gohda himself.