Written by Kage Karasu
Chapter 5: Sullied Moon
The wind sang its soft song, caressing the night, the moon splashed light under dark places illuminating everything in the path of its rays. The moon was shrouded by a heavy fog, which covered it partly. Gicchi and Rikimaru could be heard walking ahead, their feet laced with the snow underfoot. They crouched and spotted with their cat like eyes two attentive female ninja. They slipped into an alcove to right of them into the shadows. Ayame would take care of this. The moon was scattered upon the glistening river, the ripples of the river were serene. The water was nipping at Natsumi’s delicate skin, she winced as she put her body into it. The water felt one hundred below zero, and it nearly froze her to death. Ayame was beside her dipping her nose under the water, keeping her eyes only on the surface of the river. She gently wading across the stream, leaving small impressions in the water, as if she were stalking prey. She kept a keen eye on the two female ninja before them, they were silhouetted deeply among the eery darkness. Ayame leapt onto the glutinous bank of the still water, she threw a shuriken at a stalk of bamboo. The kuniochi still attentive turned toward the commotion, this would be their last breaths. They crept up to the tree to observe it, examining it closely shrugging their shoulders. Ayame then dashed up the bank and reached the female ninja. Ayame stealthily slit one woman’s throat, the knives sliding gracefully across her neck. It left a deep crimson impression. Ayame as nimble as the wind leapt onto the womans shoulders. She flipped and fell on her back, while she fell she became unconscious. Natsumi guessed that she was used to the carnage, Ayame seemed cunning and was in expertise. The only thing guiding her was her hate and urge to kill. She snatched the shuriken from the tree, and threw the bodies into the river. The thin frail bodies slowly floated downstream and vanished into the midst of the night. Ayame wiped the sullied knives in the icy water, the knives were beautiful without being tainted with blood. It was very diffucult to see its splendor when it was coated with essence.
“Really cool moves back there, you are really talented.”
Ayame gave her I’m happy for you sign and kept walking. Keeping her focus unparallelled and on the beaten path.
” Rikimaru we need to go on, what the heck are you waiting here for, ” ” I want to go to sleep. “
Ayame walked forward while Rikimaru stood behind, Gicchi trailed after her.
” Rikimaru why is Ayame so on the edge ?” Rikimaru peered at her through stern eyes, ” Maybe it is wise for you not to ask questions.”
He said narrowing his already skinny eyes to slits. He walked ahead not looking back once. She followed him into the darkness, and found Gicchi. She could hear the silent whipping of Ayame sprinting by; rustling the leaves and shattering the night, but she could not spot her. Gicchi held his hand out stopping her at her chest, hauling Natsumi. Before them lay a large encampment illuminated with bright candles, there was a large cave leading down into the earth guarded by two heavyset men. The rest of the encampment was set on a large knoll, above the cavern. They began chatting loudly, breaking the silence as glass does. The moon was a very pale yellow with a shroud of mist dimly overlapping it. Rikimaru threw a green and white rice ball over to the right side of the guards. The guards looked at each other in astonishment and walked over to it at a very leisure pace, not caring about what could be on the other side of that rice ball. Rikimaru ran at top speed to both of the guards and bashed their heads together. They didn’t bleed they just fell dead. Rikimari did a ninjutsu sign and slowly stepped back, his gaze not averted from the fallen guards. They had to make a decision, who would search the knoll and who would look over the cavern.
” Alright, Ayame and I will search the cavern. You two will search the knoll, clear ? Let us complete the mission with honor, go, “
Rikimaru said in a deep voiced whisper. Ayame then ran ahead into the eery cavern, little light was shown. She slid along the wall as if she was a cat, peering over corners. Rikimaru ran up to her, they both went separate directions. They vanished into the inky blackness in a matter of seconds. Natsumi looked at Gicchi for a moment, and Gicchi stared back.
” Gicchi I…..”
Gicchi held his hand to her mouth and shut her lips, she said nothing, ” We must go now. ” Natsumi looked hazily into his eyes. Gicchi ran ahead into the night, silently. He climbed into the tree with relative ease. Natsumi nimbly climbed up there with him. The encampment was covered with the sheet of whitness and enveloped by the darkness. But deep in the underbrush a silver light illuminated everything in it’s path, its flames jigged in the composed breeze Red sparks flew from its core, and the guards with the silver hair danced. They clattered clubs together and sang in deep baritone voices. It was dull but slow and composed. It wasn’t like any fire they had ever seen. Natsumi fell into a trance her body fell numb, her eyes still. She couldn’t move an inch. Her fear was immense and she shook with fright. Gicchi suddenly clasped her arm. The pain shot through her arm and it was immense and colossal. So much so, that she nearly fell over. Her reaction time made her slap him, the sound rang loud and hard.
” I’m so sorry it just hurt so much that I…..”
“It’s all right I understand. You’ve got a nice backhand slap ! Ha, Ha, Ha !”
They laughed quietly.
” We need to reach that place and stop the source of whatever it is,”
Gicchi said as he rubbed his face. They jumped down and stealthily ran to the light. The leaves concealed the area a bit, so they jumped in fir tree. Natsumi turned away from the light, but Gicchi kept his eyes focused on the guards. His objective was clear. He had to kill the guards. Taking out his poison dart he shot the guard in the leg. The guard hollered and limped until he finally gave way one minute later, and collapsed. The other guards examined the wound. They ran in different directions, fortunately Natsumi and Gicchi were perfectly concealed in the trees. The guards shrugged their shoulders and went back to their stationary positions. Natsumi and Gicchi flipped off of their trees and stealthily killed the guards. Ayame and Rikimaru then came out of the cave, a small hole in the back of it allowed them to come out.
” How was it in the caves Ayame ? “
Natsumi gingerly questioned.
” What the hell do you think!”
Her pants were ripped and her arm had a small gash on it.
” Oops, I didn’t see. Well did you get any leads ? “
” Nothing, it seems that this encampment was just a checkpoint leading to something. Though we never found any path leading anywhere.”
The bushes rustled and out came a kuniochi and a heavyset man. The kuniochi was heavily muscled, and her hair was short cropped and sky blue, she wore a dress that fluttered in the wind, with a slit down the left side. Her eyes were a brilliant blue that complemented her hair. The whole dress was a radiant crimson, with pictures of flowers placed on it. Arm guards were placed on her muscled biceps, there was a strip of leather across her neck.
The man seemed anxious to kill, as he sifted on his feet. He wore brown baggy pants,. His battle scars were evident on his face. He was overly muscled and his head was a little too small for his body. He seemed arrogant. The kuniochi was beautiful, and Gicchi and Rikimaru stared at her drowsily, and longily. She slowly walked forward, at the pace of a nonchlant person..
” Well, it seems we have some visitors. Let’s give them a warm welcome.”
Her full lips pulled up and a sinister and grim grin appeared on her lightly colored lips. The large man’s muscles rippled and he threw his club at the group. It hit Izayoui and deflected, Rikimaru faltered a bit as it hit his desired weapon. It clanged loudly.
” Let the battle commence. ! ”
Rikimaru poised himself for the next attack. The kuniochi ran forward a tessen in hand. Ayame as ready as ever sprung into action as usual. She swiftly did martial arts moves, swinging her arms in wild motions. But to no avail the kuniochi evaded every one. Ducking and dodging, turning and flipping. Ayame tried to moonsault but while in midair, she counterattacked. The kuniochi simply raised her tessen and slashed Ayame’s abdomen. Ayame winced and dropped to the floor, her blood slowly oozing from her stomach.
” You BITCH ! “
Natsumi had never seen Ayame so hapless. Her body lieing still on the moonlit grass. She clawed at the blades pulling herself closer to a tree in which she could recline.
” Ha, you are not worth dirtying my blade over,”
the kuniochi said as she slowly licked the blade. She smiled sinisterly. Rikimaru was filled with anger, he sprinted at the man and slashed his heavyset arm. The blood stopped while sliding down his arm, and the wound recovered. It closed up ! Rikimaru looked at him angrily, staring him up and down. The man just laughed, and punched Rikimaru in the stomach. Rikimaru coughed and delivered more blows to the man, the man stared in pity at Rikimaru’s futile efforts. To stop the humiliation he just swung his club and smashed him against the tree nearby. The silent warrior was knocked out. Natsumi was behind the kuniochi and the man. The woman stared at Natsumi through the corners of her eyes,
” So, you are still alive? I thought you already croaked. The scorpion poison should’ve finished you off. Humph, no matter you will die here.. ..”
Jade delicately touched her lips and pointed to Natsumi to say Goodbye. Natsumi stood rooted to the ground in a defensive posture, ready for any coming onslaughts. Natsumi thought, so this is the woman that poisoned me. I’ll get her. Jade ran and did a heel stamp ( a ninjutsu move that consists of a kick in which you curl your toes and strike with the heel of the foot.), on Natsumi. Natsumi already prepared, circled around her and got inside of her attack. With daunting speed Natsumi poked a nerve in her leg. The immense pain shot through her leg, and she fell to the floor. Natsumi ready to deliver the final strike, raised her Knives of Destiny. As she brought it down the monstrous man threw Gicchi in front of her axe kick. Natsumi stopped, and while there the kunoichi threw wood-chips at her eyes. It wasn’t painful but it distracted her from her strike. As soon as she opened her eyes Jade, and the monster were out of site. The only trace of her was a body print below Gicchi.
” We’ve got to follow her, “
“We have more important matters to attend to right now,”
said Gicchi as he vaguely made it up on both legs. Natsumi and Gicchi lifted Rikimaru up and carried him back to the village. Ayame limped on Natsumi’s shoulder.
” I told you you would need our help. “
Ayame said nothing, the shadows basked her silence. They would debate what to do when Rikimaru woke up.