Written by Jason E. Turner
Ayame awoke with two buckets of ice cold water splashed on her body. Standing above her was Rikimaru and The Black Dragon.
Ayame studied Rikimaru. He helped her up on her feet.
“You have seen my grave. It was I who destroyed it. For a week, I was trapped that cave.”
Ayame’s mind flashed back to the fateful night that Rikimaru defeated Lord Mei-oh. Lord Gohda, Kiku, and Ayame watched the snow fall through teary eyes, thinking their comrae dead.
“But I made it, Ayame.”
He gestured to the Dragon.
“He found me. The rest is history.”
The Dragon stepped toward his master.
“I found my then injured master underneath a tree. He was dirty, and bleeding from the head. I took him back to my village.”
Ayame was shaking her head in disbelief.
“When Master Rikimaru was nursed back to health, he told me who he was. I told him of my desire to be a warrior, and he showed me how to be a warrior. But not a samurai..a ninja.”
“That was all I knew, Ryu. I had no honor. I was a killer.”
The Dragon smiled back.
“But I was training to be a samurai for my father. He was a skilled swordsman.”
Ryu’s face hardened.
“But he was very upset when he found out I had uprooted my samurai code, and began to train with a ninja. He was so upset, that he gave up his OWN code and became a ronin.”
“Who was your father?”
Ryu turned his head away in shame.
“You have met him. You see….he is…..”
Rikimaru finished for him.
“That’s why I didn’t kill him. How can anyone kill their own father? I can’t and I won’t.”
Ayame stood baffled.
“He tried to attack Lord Gohda’s castle. He must be stopped.”
The Dragon turned to face her.
“I DID stop him.”
Rikimaru turned alert.
All three drew their blades.
“Out in those trees….”
All three jumped out of sight.
Passing by were 15 of Hanzou’s grey-clad troops.
Ayame was stunned.
He has an army?