Written by Jason E. Turner
In our last chapter, Ayame found the gravesite of Rikimaru destroyed. After feeling a strange presence, she returned to Gohda Castle to report to Lord Gohda when their castle was suddenly attacked by ronin. There she stood up against Hanzou, but was cut short by a black clad figure in full ninja armor. This figure nearly killed Hanzou. Then, vanished.>
Ayame was stunned. Could this be the swordplay of her old sparring partner? NO. No one could make it out of there alive she thought. She left the castle throne after Hanzou retreated alone into the cold night.
Impossible, she thought. He could not survive. Not without a miracle.
Deep in the bamboo forest, a lone ninja darted and silently moved through the trees with a slight whoosh! each time they passed. At a small, crude shrine, the figure stopped. His name was scrolled on the rough wood of the shrine. As he passed the shrine, he withdrew his sword.
Someone else had followed him. Who was it? He thought to attack but a voice halted him.
“Please, I come in peace. Who are you?”
Ayame gasped. As the figure unmasked his face, she stood in awe.
“No, I am not.”
With jet black hair, he turned to face her closer. A handsome face, with angular features, and a lean frame.
“I am Ryu Soji. I will tell my name only once. I owe that much. But I am known in Japan by another name. The Black Dragon. If you hear the Black Dragon is coming for you, most warriors flee the land. But I always find them…ALWAYS. You are Ayame, of the Azuma Ninja.”
“Why did you attack Hanzou? And how do you know my name? Ryu, please explain.”
His face hardened.
“NO! You will address me as the Dragon. Understand?”
“Yes. But you are rude.”
She withdrew her blades.
He smiled, in amusement. “The Dragon only fights when he feels just.”
Ayame lunged anyway, she thought who is this young sharp tounge?
But the Dragon anticipated. She was knocked back a very, very skillful counter attack.
His place his blade just above her head, in an execution stance. She noticed the ornate and beautiful pommel. It was a Black Dragon, and fierce, like its owner.
“I would advise you not to attack me again. You need to train more. I would offer to spar you, but your attack needs work. Meet me here tommorow if you wish to learn. I am needed at my master’s request.”
My God, she thought. Who could be HIS master? He must fight with magic. Incredible.
With a whoosh, he left her alone with the shrine. Carved on the shrine, in crude, but legible Japanese writing was the words:
‘The Black Dragon has no fear.’