A New Master

Written by Skarsnik

Shiunsai saw the dead body of Kurosama laying at his feet. The corrupt master of the Azuma sect clutched the ancient blade, Izayoi, in his cold white hand. Shiunsai was exhausted, and colapsed to the ground, trying to regain his breath. Summoning what little strength he had left, he stretched his hand towards Izayoi. His hands clasped the blade, and he wrenched it from the cold body of the traitor, Kurosama. As Shiunsai held the ancient sword of the Azuma sect, he remembered the tradgedy that had brought him to this point…
Shiunsai was practicing his Kata in one of the dojos of the Azuma village. The sun was just beginning to set as the Masters young son, Tatsumaru, called to him.

“Shiunsai! The master wishes to see you!”

Shiunsai shook his head in regret that Tatsumaru had to call his father by his rank, and could not simply call him father.

“Coming Tatsumaru.”

Shiunsai abandoned his practice, and left towards the house at the top of the hill in the village. As he walked to the top, he heard somthing creeping after him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tatsumaru run almost silently through a thicket of bamboo trees. Shiunsai smiled to himself as Tatsumaru tried to sneak up behind him. He pretended not to know that he was there, until the last moment when Tatsumaru struck with a kick, and Shiunsai reacted by dodging the attack easily and sweeping Tatsumaru over with a kick of his own. Shiunsai dropped a smoke bomb and dissapeared in a cloud of gas, leaving Tatsumaru laying on the grass, completely beweildered. When Shiunsai reached the Masters house, he knelt on one knee. “

You wish to see me, Master Kurosama?”

“Yes,”

the master replied.

“A gaurd at Lord Gohda’s castle was murdered today, with a golden arrow. There was a scroll around the arrow, addressed to you.”

Kurosama revealed a scroll from behind his back, and handed it to a puzzled Shiunsai. Shiunsai read the scroll to himself.

“Shiunsai,
you have no chance against us. My clan has already infiltrated yours. You are no longer safe in your own village. The Azuma will die come nightfall. All of their work will be burned in the ashes of their own village. The reign of Gohda is over, and all will make way for Darktiger, Lord of the Kumani ninja. All will cower before him, and on the thirteenth day of his reign, Lord Mei-Oh will arise, and the world will be swollwed in eternal death, with only those who serve the great Lord Mei-Oh sha ll live. There is no point running either, there is no escape. You cannot stop this, but my warning is not without reason. I warn you because your true father is not who you believe, but your true father is the one who leads us into alliance with Lord Mei-Oh. If you seek sanctuary in the darkness, then come meet us the shrine located in the Bamboo forest of the Raven. If not, you will die with the rest of your pathetic ninja.”

Shiunsai lifted his head and looked up at his master.

“I have read it Shiunsai. I know what it says. I seek you out because I need you to help me. Take my son and your student, Rikimaru, to Gohda castle. Seek refuge there. I will go to confront this force in the shrine they speak of.”

“But master, they said there is no escape. Why don’t you take all the ninja to the shrine to attack them?”

“Shiunsai, do not ever undermine my authority! If I take all the Azuma ninjas to the shrine, we will not be able to attack with stealth, and the apparent traitors among us will attack us and we will be crippled. No Shiunsai, I will go alone, and you will go to Gohda castle. Now hurry, it is almost nightfall.”

Shiunsai began to walk out of the house when Kurosama called after him.

“And Shiunsai, don’t tell any other ninja of your mission. You never know who is loyal.”

With those words in mind, Shiunsai leapt out of the house, and onto the rooftops of the Azuma village.

Shiunsai swept along the rooftops like a shodow caught in the wind, and made his way to his house. When he arrived, he swung down off the roof and moved inside the house. He silently crept towards the back wall were there was a hidden compartment, known only to him. Inside were several things that his father had left to him. Shiunsai now wondered who his real father was. He thought on it a moment, then shook his head, and focused on the task ahead. He reached inside the compartment and retrieved a scroll his father had left him. It had magical powers, and increased the users speed multiple times. He also took his fathers talisman, a power talisman that increased strength and resiliance. With these items hidden on his body, he shut the secret compartment and walked to a shelf nearby. From the shelf he took several shuriken, and a handful of smoke bombs. Satisfied he was prepared, he left to find Tatsumaru and Rikimaru. Shiunsai first went to where Rikimaru could be usually found training and, by a stroke of luck, Rikimaru and Tatsumaru were both there, training together. Shiunsai crept up near the two young ninjas, and whispered to them.

“Rikimaru, Tatsumaru! Come here!”

Rikimaru was startled, and spun around ready to fight. When he saw his Master, he relaxed and ran over to him. Tatsumaru followed.

“I’m glad you are safe. I feared you would be hurt.”

Shiunsai said. Rikimaru asked

“Why would we be hurt? We were only practising in the Village.”

Shiunsai shook his head and replied

“Listen to me, both of you. What I am about to tell you, you must not tell anyone else. Do you understand?”

The boys suddenly grew serious, and nodded in agreement. Shiunsai then recounted the happenings of the day.

“And now that you know, I must ask a favour of you both. I need you both to continue to Gohda castle, alone. I want to follow our Master to the shrine to help him. You have both been trained well, and can make it on your own.”

“But Shiunsai!”

Rikimaru exclaimed.

“Master Kurosama said you were not to follow him!”

“Rikimaru, listen to me. I must do what I believe is right. I would give my life for our master, but I cannot follow orders that would get him killed. If all that I do is follow orders, I am no longer human, but just a drone of the master. Now I must make my own choices, just as you must make your own now to, Rikimaru. I ask you to do as I say, and go to Gohda castle as the master asked.”

Rikimaru looked down at the ground, and simply nodded his head. He pulled up his mask over his mouth, and dissapeared without a word. Tatsumaru watched him go, and said goodbye to his long time friend Shiunsai, and vanished after Rikimaru. Shiunsai followed them with his eyes until they were no longer visible, and disappeared into the night, on his way to Raven Shrine.

Shiunsai arrived at the shrine about half an hour later. He had trailed the Master Kurosama all the way from the village, but was surprised to see Kurosama traveling with a strange ninja. Shiunsai has never seen the ninja around the village. He wore a black uniform, with red designs on it. He wore a mask of a bird of some kind. He also carried a single blade. His long dark hair flowed behind him as he flew through the forest to the shrine. Shiunsai watched the ninja follow Kurosama into the building that contained the shrine. Shiunsai crouched low as he moved towards one of the windows in the wall. He looked through, and saw that the stranger was not there. But, this was not the most shocking thing that Shiunsai saw. For there, kneeling in prayer to the dark gods, was Master Kurosama. Shiunsai leapt through the window and yelled out in rage.

“You will die Kurosama!”

Kurosama opened his eyes in shock, saw Shiunsai and drew his sword.

“so, the Azuma ninja decided to show up after all. Well, will you be joining us, or do you choose to die.”

“I am no the one who will die, traitor!”

“Well well well, big words for a small ninja. You really think you can beat me? LETS FIND OUT!”

Then Kurosama drew Izayoi from its sheath and dashed towards Shiunsai, who reacted by sidestepping the attack and swept Kurosama off his feet. This bought enough time for Shiunsai to use the Talisman of Power. Kurosama was up on his feet, but could see the strange power emanating from his rival. Scared, Kurosama called out for some guards, and four ninjas in black uniforms sprung out of no-where. One jumped from behind Shiunsai, but the wily ninja simply spun through 180 degrees and threw on of the shuriken at the throat of his assailant. The lifeless ninja fell to the ground clutching his throat, and Shiunsai turned to face the rest of his enemies. Kurosama singled them forward. Two of the ninjas wielded deadly katanas, and struck out at Shiunsai. Shiunsai used his armoured gloves to deflect the blows but was still driven back by their lightning blows. Then, summoning the strength from the talisman, Shiunsai dealt one of them a deadly blow to the head. The second ninja continued his assault, bu t he was no match for Shiunsai one on one. After Shiunsai killed him, the third ninja drew a weapon that Shiunsai had never seen before. It was like a chain whip with a deadly blade on the end. The ninja began to move as though he was dancing, with the whip-blade flowing through the air like a mesmerised dragon. Shiunsai saw he was out of striking distance, so he threw a shiruken, but it was knocked out of the air by the ninja. Shiunsai was surprised, but threw another five towards the deadly ninja. These to were knocked down, and Shiunsai saw that shirukens were not the answer. Then he got an idea. Shiunsai used the lightfoot scroll to dash forward with such speed that the ninja never saw it coming, and was struck down and killed before he could react. Then Shiunsai turned his gaze on Kurosama. Kurosama drew back slightly, but raised his sword, Izayoi, ready to attack. The two rivals lunged forward at the same instance, and were locked in deadly combat. Slashes and thrusts flew from the hand of Kurosama over and over again, but Shiunsai matched the blows perfectley, blocking them with his armoured gloves. Shiunsai finally manged to throw Kurosama off balance by grabbing his wrist and pulling him forward, but Kurosama used the momentum to flip over his opponents head. Shiunsai spun around to see Kurosama making a slash for his head. Shiunsai did a back-flip kick and knocked Izayoi out of Kurosama hands. Kurosama made a dash for his fallen blade but, just as he recovered it from the floor, he turned to see a fist come flying down, to send him to the underworld. With his dying breath, Kurosama utterd

“Your father….is….Oni…ka….”

With that, Kurosama coughed up his last blood, and died at the hand of Shiunsai… Shiunsai stood up, after having regained his thought. He started to walk away when he heard a laugh behind him. He turned, and there stood the stranger in the bird mask. He started to laugh harder as he threw his mask away, to reveal he was blindfolded, but could still see.

“Well done. Ha ha ha. Very well done. You performed exactly as I predicted. But now you must die.”

Shiunsai could do nothing but lay down his life, for his energy was spent. The stranger rushed forward when Shiunsai saw a lightning fast dart fly past his head and into the throat of the masked stranger. The strange assailant fell to the ground, clutching his throat. Shiunsai saw Rikimaru, standing with a blow gun to his mouth. Rikimau said,

“Tatsumaru went to warn Lord Gohda of the demon, Mei-oh, but I couldn’t follow orders I knew you were going to get killed, otherwise I would just be a drone, of the new master of the Azuma ninja.”

Shiunsai smiled. “Thank you Rikimaru. I owe you my life. But our work here is done. Lets leave.” The two Azuma ninja left the shrine, and as they did, a voice said

“Curse you Rikimaru. We will meet again, and when we do, it is your turn to die.”

With those words, Onikage vanished into the night…