Written by Walter Nwaokolo
Rikimaru took all the ninja items he needed for his mission, smoke bombs, poison darts, and his favorite item, dragon breath. But all the items could not compare to Izayoi, the very soul of the Azuma Ninja Clan, Rikimaru took time to meditate and prepare his mind and body spiritually and mentally for his task ahead, if he was going to defeat the Black Lotus, he must attain pure selflessness, after about 20 minutes of meditation, Rikimaru was ready. Before he left for the mission he went to a worried Lord Gohda.
“My Lord, do not worry about Princess Kiku, I swear I will return her back to you.”
“Rikimaru, please, whatever you do, do not let me lose my daughter this night, you yourself are very vital to me, the castle’s best doctors are treating Ayame, they said she should be fine in about 2 days. I want to hear more good news, be careful and good luck.”
Rikimaru bowed he sheathed Izayoi in his sheath that was strapped behind his back.
“I will bring back the head of Black Lotus.”
With that said Rikimaru dashed off from the castle and into the moonlit night sky, he took a look at the map of where Cherry Hill Temple was located.
“Just a few miles up ahead.”
Within 15 minutes Rikimaru came in view of the large structure of the Cherry Hill Temple, the temple however was unguarded, this made Rikimaru even more reluctant to enter, but he gave his word to Lord Gohda and he entered through the entrance of the temple. A large statue of Buddha stood conspicuously in the large temple, Rikimaru could hear the slight wails of young girl but he didn’t know where it was coming from.
“Kiku! Kiku, where are you!!!”
Rikimaru could hear Kiku’s small voice reply.
Rikimaru suddenly heard something else besides Kiku’s voice, something smaller and faster, something that was whirring, something like a shuriken!!
Rikimaru barely moved his head in time to evade the shuriken aimed at his head, immediately he unsheathed Izayoi, Black Lotus was there, somewhere.
“Come out and fight, Black Lotus!! I know you are here!!”
All remained quiet and still until a voice spoke up from somewhere in the darkness, Black Lotus’s voice.
“So, you have come to kill me and get Princess Kiku, have you? You fool; did you really believe I was trying to avenge Shogun Himura Takauji? That I really wanted to kill Lord Gohda? I will tell who I am really after, the Azuma Ninja.”
“What are you saying? Why the Azuma Ninja?”
“Because you killed my sister.”
Black Lotus flipped from an unknown position in front of Rikimaru.
“You killed my older sister, Kagami, and now I am here to avenge her death, since she died by your hands.”
Rikimaru couldn’t believe it.
“Kagami was your sister?”
“Yes, and I will kill you for killing her, then I will kill the little princess, then I finish off that girl partner of yours that I had purposely spared, and then I will kill Lord Gohda.”
“In the name of the Azuma Ninja Clan, I swear by the end of this night you will be dead, Black Lotus. I killed Kagami and I can kill her little sister too.”
Black Lotus narrowed her eyes and glowered at Rikimaru, she pulled out Nodachi and got in fighting stance.
Rikimaru began to sweat as the battle between him and Black Lotus raged on, the blades of their swords hit each other with such force and speed that sparks bounced off. Black Lotus tried a swiping slash to Rikimaru’s neck but Rikimaru ducked and stabbed upward from his crouched position to Black Lotus’s midriff, Black Lotus spun her body around in time and evaded Rikimaru’s attack, Rikimaru stood up.
“Not bad, you’re a lot better than Kagami, I can tell you that.”
“You managed to put a better fight than your friend, Ayame, impressive, your master has taught you well.”
Both warriors circle each other waiting for the other to strike first they are tired but not yet out of fight.
Black Lotus pulls out a smoke bomb and throws it at Rikimaru, Rikimaru doesn’t have enough time to dodge the bomb before it explodes in front of him engulfing him in white smoke and blurring his vision.
“Now, its time you die, Azuma Ninja, but death is the easy way out, I WANNA TORTURE YOU!!!”
Black Lotus kicks Rikimaru right in the face throwing Rikimaru backwards to the temple floor, his vision is still impaired but he can feel the blood running out from his nostrils and busted lip.
“I cant go on this way or else I will die, I must fight without using my eyes.”
Rikimaru remembered back on his training when Master Shuinsai taught him to fight without using eyesight. Master Shuinsai’s voice fades in Rikimaru’s mind.
“Remember a true Ninja can fight without eyesight, feel the energy of the things around you, become one with your sword.”
“Become one with your sword.”
Black Lotus stood over Rikimaru now; she held her sword up high ready to strike down and deliver the final blow that would end Rikimaru’s life.
“Now you die Azuma Ninja, but don’t worry, everyone you love will be soon joining you in the afterlife!!”
Just as Black Lotus was about to strike, Rikimaru grasped Izayoi and stabbed the sacred sword into the stomach of Black Lotus, Black Lotus gasped surprised more at Rikimaru’s sudden action rather than the sword in her stomach, Rikimaru, eyes still closed but one with his sword, twisted Izayoi and pulled it out of Black Lotus’s stomach, Black Lotus dropped her sword and stumbled backwards, she collapsed to her knees and held her stomach without saying a word, suffering silently in pain.
Rikimaru got himself up again and tried opening his eyes, they were still a little blurry but he was able to make out objects and could see the dying Black Lotus.
“I told you by the end of this night you will be dead and I have fulfilled my promise, tell me, where is Princess Kiku.”
Black Lotus looked up to Rikimaru, her eyes were wide and filled with the utmost hatred for Rikimaru.
“The princess…is tied up, and is…on top…of the Buddha statue’s head.I will see you in hell…Azuma…Ninja.”
“When you get to hell, tell your sister and the rest of the Burning Dawn that Rikimaru sent you.”
Black Lotus stared at Rikimaru one more time and then she fell to her side, dead.
“Farewell, Black Lotus.”