Written by Kinytzu.
Chapter 1: The Traitor
The samurai runs lightly down a hallway in Gohda Castle. He is wearing clothes similar to Tachibana Jubei’s, as he is Jubei’s younger brother. The samurai turns a corner and jumps back. A woman in a light pink kimono is padding quietly down the hallway to her room. The samurai, not wanting to be seen, hides around the corner — almost like a ninja. The woman in the kimono turns around and scours the empty hallway. She looks concerned for a second, but continues to pad into her room until sh e disappears from the samurai’s sight. The samurai breathes a sigh of relief and walks lightly down the hallway to a room at the far end. He opens the sliding door to the room and sees Princess Kiku, Lord Gohda’s 8 year old girl, sleeping in her bed soundlessly. The samurai creeps in and stares in amazement at the girl.
“Soon you’ll be with me, Kiku,”
he whispers reaching a hand to stroke her long dark hair.
Then he quietly pulls down her covers and removes her from her bed carefully. He snatches one of the blankets and wraps Kiku in it. Then he leaves the room and exits the castle.
(9 years later)
An eleven year old girl in a Japanese school uniform with strange green eyes and shoulder-length orange hair runs up to the shrine. Her magic-like eyes sparkle in the afternoon sun as she enters the shrine. Her guardian, Tatsujin, is sitting on a straw mat, eating sushi.
The girl calls.
The gaurdian, Tatsujin, looks up from his plate of sushi.
” he replies, gesturing for the girl to sit down in front of him.
The girl, Tendou, sits down and waits for Tatsujin to speak.
“I have a gift from your mother. She gave these claws to me before she died to give to you when you were two. Since you are… well, they’re yours.”
Tatsujin tells her.
Tendou gazes up into Tatsujin’s dark grey eyes. Tatsujin hands her a pair of gloves with claws attached. Tendou takes the gloves and stares at them. They are brown and the claws are shiny silver. She looks back up at Tatsujin.
“They were Mother’s?”
she murmurs softly.
Tatsujin nods and stands up.
“Your father was a skillful samurai — and a kidnapper. He stole Lord Gohda’s daughter, Princess Kiku, and left her in a forest near here when you were only three. In retaliation, Lord Gohda sent some of his guards to come, and they took your father’s life away. I was one of your father’s most trusted friends, and I tried to protect your mother. She knew what was coming and gave me her claws. She told me to give them to you, and the door broke down. Masami told me to run to the shrine with you and lock the door. I did as I was told and looked back just in time to see a guard slice her from shoulder to waist. She died instantly, and I’ve never forgiven myself for running. But at least I saved you… you should’ve been my child. If you were my child, Masami would still be alive and you would never have been in danger!”
he cries, clenching his fists.
Tendou’s eyes widen in horror.
“You’ve always tried to be a father to me!! But it’s not working, I loved my father! Even if he did steal that Kiku girl! You’ll NEVER be a father to me, so stop trying!!!!”
she yells, and runs out the shrine.
Tendou sits on the roof of her house. She’s always felt rather safe up there, even though the roof is quite slippery. She stares up at the round yellow moon. She can the craters on it clearly and the night sky is a deep blue, almost black.
Why does Tatsujin always try to be my father? She wonders sadly, rocking back and forth. It’s like he hated my father — some trustworthy friend. If only Mother was still alive… then she could —
she cries, slides down off the roof and runs over to the shrine.
Tendou silently opens the door. She creeps in a few paces, then stops. Someone is lying on the ground, and two ninjas are standing over it. One is a female with sharp knives. The other is male and he wields a katana. Tendou bites her lip, knowing who the person on the ground is. She gathers up every single bit of her courage and yells.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
she screams at the top of her lungs.
The two ninjas turn in surprise. Tendou stands her ground, but has a deep feeling in her gut that she’s going to die. To her relief, the ninjas jump out an open window and disappear from sight. Tendou sadly walks over to the body on the ground. Tatsujin is lifeless, and she would have been surprised if he actually moved. Tendou falls to her knees and weeps. After a few minutes of weeping, she hears someone come into the shrine and walk over to her.
a familiar voice says softly.
“I’m going to kill them two ninjas.”
Tendou replies, standing up.
“I am sure you will. But you must learn ninja arts. Only a ninja can kill a ninja. You start tomorrow.”
Bushi tells her, then he walks out of the shrine.
“I will avenge your death, Tatsujin.”
Tendou says flatly, then follows Bushi out of the shrine.
Chapter 2: Training
Ayame sits weeping by Kiku’s bed. She has been crying for days, and Kiku’s bed sheets are semi-soaked.
“I will murder whoever killed you, Kiku.”
she mutters, balling her hands into tight fists.
“We don’t know if she’s dead yet.”
replies a voice.
Ayame looks up. She’s used to Rikimaru coming in and surprising her. But it isn’t Rikimaru.
“We killed the kidnapper years ago. His name was Tsuyosa. We killed his wife, Masami, as well, just in case she was hiding Kiku. But all other relations are dead. All except his daughter, Tendou.”
Sekiya tells Ayame.
“Well I’ll murder her instead!”
Ayame growls, wiping her eyes.
Then she stands up and rushes out the door.
“Come on, Tendou! You can do better than that!!”
Bushi yells as the eighteen year old slips from the roof.
But at the last moment, Tendou forward flips and grabs the second roof. She hoists herself up and continues to run along the roof. She flips over the next three gaps, then does a moonsault off the last roof into the lake below without making a splash. She doesn’t come up for breath. Instead, she hides in the reeds and takes out her own reed pipe to breathe. Then she comes up on the other side and runs into the bamboo forest.
“Where should I go now?”
says Tendou quietly.
She decides on the path to her right. Sure enough, a man is standing there with his back turned. She isn’t allowed to kill anyone because they’re villagers. She spins around to the front of the man and pretends to slash his throat. He falls to the ground and tries not to move. Tendou drags him into the bushes and continues along the path. She hides behind a cluster of bamboo trees and looks out using her pocket mirror. A man is standing in the middle of the path, clutching a boken. He is facing her, so she doesn’t move until he turns away. Quick as lightning, Tendou runs quietly up to him. She pretends to scratch him on the back of the head and does a fake stab into the throat. The man mouths ‘damn’ and falls to the ground. Tendou drags him behind a cluster of bamboo trees and runs along the path. A man with a pair of boken is guarding a waterfall. Tendou knows he won’t turn around, so she climbs silently into a tree. She does her best jump and jumps down onto the man. He collapses to the g round, and she pretends to break his neck with a twist of her legs.
“Ow! Not so hard next time!”
he mutters, and Tendou throws him into a clump of bushes. Then she runs through the waterfall into a small cave lit by lanterns.
Bushi is standing with his back turned. As a joke, Tendou pretends to slash his throat. He turns.
“I always love a good joke.”
He hands Tendou her claws. She had been wearing a pair of brown gloves with no claws.
“Are you ready for your final test?”
Bushi asks her.
“I was ready years ago!”
“Then I expect you’ll come back alive.”
“There is a village in the mountains where Lord Gohda keeps some of his stock. Go up and kill every guard. Destroy some of the stock, then take the rest back to me. Our stock pile is running low, so it would be a perfect idea to take some stock from that obscene Lord Gohda.”
“I’ll come back alive, alright.”
“You bet on it.”
Ayame watches from a roof as the ninja enters the village.
“What was she sent here for?”
she wonders, unsheathing her knives.
“Well, I’ll just have to teach her to not go prying.”
Then she jumps down off the roof and follows the ninja.
Tendou pauses and looks around before she enters the room. She is sure she killed every single guard, but you can never be too sure. She walks in and almost gasps in amazement. There are bags of wheat and rice stocked in the room. Tendou walks over and picks up a bag of rice and a bag of wheat.
“These are quite heavy.”
she murmurs softly.
She picks up to more random bags and sets off out of the house to the cart she came in. She loads the cart with the four bags and tells the rider to get back to the village as fast as he can. The rider obeys and races back down the mountain.
says a female’s voice.
“Thieving from Lord Gohda, are we?”
Tendou turns sharply. She sees a figure in purple attire walking out from behind the stock house. Tendou smirks.
“Oh, you really blend in with the darkness.”
she says sarcastically.
The figure walks out fully and is showered with moonlight. She has dark brown hair which is up in a high ponytail and is wielding a pair of sharp-looking knives. She has dark eyes which are flashing in anger.
“Watch your tongue. I might just cut it off!”
she growls through clenched teeth.
“Shouldn’t you have a fork and a knife?”
The girl lashes out, missing Tendou’s head by a few inches.
The girl lashes out again, missing Tendou by a few inches.
Tendou replies, her eyes widening.
“Ooh, I should just kill you right now!!”
the girl growls, balling her hands into fists.
“Well, where’s the fun in that?”
Tendou points out.
The girl glares hatefully at Tendou.
“Be thankful I didn’t kill you in that shrine!! My name is Ayame — you remember that name, because you might want to know the ninja that slaughters you while you’re sleeping!!”
the girl growls angrily, then she runs off.
“Someone had indigestion,”
Tendou mutters, then she starts back down to her own village.
Chapter 3: The Truth
Tendou was sitting down on the straw mat in the shrine, studying special stealth techniques, when a scream was heard from outside. A body fell against the sliding doors, ripping a hole because off the body’s weight. The body was a woman’s, most likely in her thirties. Tendou stood up in shock. A girl in her twenties walked in. She had long, dark hair that lay matted at her waist. She wore animal skins. She reminded Tendou of a wild-woman — she’d seen a few when she was fourteen. She didn’t have major weapon, only a partially blunt dagger. Tendou would be able to hold her off easily if she attacked.
“Who are you?”
Tendou asked abruptly.
The girl looked at her own dagger, then at Tendou. Without warning, she dashed up to Tendou and tried to shove the dagger into her throat. Tendou pushed her back easily and knocked her to the ground. The girl’s eyes widened in surprise. Tendou quickly pulled on her claws.
“I said, who are you?”
Tendou said rudely.
The girl looked at her dagger, which was on the ground behind Tendou. Then she spoke.
Tendou’s eyes widened.
“You’re the girl that was kidnapped, aren’t you?”
she asked the girl.
The girl shrugged.
“I dunno. I went to sleep in my bed in the castle. When I woke up, I was surrounded by wolves.”
She pulled her grubby face into a smirk.
“Do you know where my castle is?”
Tendou didn’t exactly trust the girl who claimed to be Kiku. So she kicked the dagger further behind her and held her claws at so called Kiku’s throat.
“It’s about a few miles to the east.”
she growled, picking the girl up and shoving her in the direction.
“If I find you back here again, I’ll kill you.”
As the girl rushed toward the castle in the distance, Tendou had a look at a woman. She had silky black hair and full red lips. Her hair reached her shoulders, and it had a kinky look to it. The woman’s eyes were closed, she Tendou couldn’t see what her eyes looked like. Suddenly, the woman’s eyes flashed open, and she looked up at Tendou. Her eyes were bright blue with a funny star-shaped purple ring around the pupil. She blinked once and spoke.
“Is… is your name Yumi?”
Tendou shook her head.
“No. It’s Tendou.”
“Oh… if you see her, tell her that her mother loves her and she’s dying.”
said the woman.
Tendou suddenly realised that the woman was blind.
“What is your name, Miss?”
replied the woman, then she stopped breathing.
Ayame looked up and saw a girl enter the room. She looked into the girl’s eyes and realised how familiar they were.
Man, thought Ayame. She looks…
the girl cried.
The two girls hugged each other tightly. Then Kiku pulled a small bell out from the pocket of her animal skin cloak.
“I still have my sister’s bell.”
Tendou broke open Bushi’s door and killed two samurai with a flick of her claws. Then she strode into Bushi’s room. A man with what looked like pre-mature grey hair was standing over a body with familiar brown hair and eyes…
“No!! What did you do?!!”
The man turned. He had a pale red scar down his right eye and was wearing a dark grey ninja mask.
“Young woman, you shouldn’t go walking through other people’s houses at this time of night.”
he said, his eyes narrowing.
Tendou glared at him
“Yeah, neither should you!”
she growled back, flexing her hands.
The man’s eyes widened at her quick comeback. He unsheathed his sword.
“Then we’ll see who’s prying and who’s not.”
The he lept at Tendou and slashed her across the chest.