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Assassins Blood
By Duane Lamar Kidd

Genre: Horror/Sci-fi

2008 Samurai Fiction Contest Best Ending

 

Many people believe monsters like Hideyoshi and Nobunaga are myths. Two Samurai, one of feudal ways the other of futuristic, have seen the truth of these horrors. Gaiden Hyabusa was the black sheep in a family of Ninjas. After becoming an acolyte, he fled from his family in a quest to become a Samurai. This quest was met with much failure and near-deaths because of his Ninja heritage. One Samurai had praised his family’s exploits however and agreed to allow Gaiden to become his discipline. The Samurai’s name was Ryoku Tanaka and he worked as a freelance Assassin. In return for a Samurai education, Gaiden agreed to help Ryoku with his job, weather it be by luring targets to secluded areas or bribing local authorities to not interfere. As Gaiden learned the way of the Samurai, he also gradually learned the ways of the Assassin and eventually became one himself.

One week after becoming a master, the two decided to complete one last contract together before parting ways. While in the north at the beginning of winter they were hired by a mysterious traveling merchant from Echizen. The merchant wore oversized black robes and a hood, which masked his face. They negotiated in a restaurant in a town called Niyoku. Ryoku was light hearted but business oriented and wore a black kimono. His initials were engraved into the blade of his sword which otherwise looked average. In contrast however, Gaiden was serious but also ambitious and wore a white kimono with black nylon gloves. His daisho was also quite unique, all white handle and Saya. The Tsuba, Seppa, and Habaki were made of silver. The Tsuba featured a flying dragon chasing a running tiger and flying dragons were also engraved on both sides of the blade. “What can you tell us about the person you want killed” asked Ryoku “I don’t know him personally. And I don’t know his name” said the merchant “what I can tell you is that he has long black hair and wears a red kimono” “does he carry and weapons?” asked Gaiden “he carries two Odachi with bright red handles. A fellow merchant, whom he wronged, told me he is a master swordsman” “that’s a good thing to know” said Gaiden “now on to payment” said Ryoku “how will you be paying the two of us?” “I can give you each four bu and five large pieces of flawless topaz.”

The two Samurai were hoping their last job together would be challenging but they never thought it would also pay so well. Ryoku held out his right hand and said “you have a deal, merchant. Just tell us were to find him and we’ll be on our way” “he lives somewhere on or near the southern coast. You might find him either in a village called Ainaka or a small and abandoned castle a little north of it in a small forest. The think that place might be haunted however” “we thank you for your business sir” said Gaiden “we’ll return to collect our payment once the job is done” they both nodded to the merchant as they stood then left to travel to Ainaka. Before they left, Gaiden had gotten two pieces of topaz from the merchant. As they traveled he made both pieces part of his Katana by using one to replace the Kashira and adding the other to the blade.

Once they finally reached the southern village of Ainaka, they immediately began asking about their target using the merchant’s description. Few people knew the man others were very defensive and avoided answering. Another mysterious woman, who held a festive mask to her face lead them to a shadowy area in town. “The man you are looking for in Takuyune, the son of Nobunaga the vampire” “we didn’t follow you here for jokes” Gaiden said “what can you really tell us about this Takuyune” “what I say is true. He is a master swordsman and an all around very powerful being. He lives in a castle north of the village. He summons snakes and monsters there, including Hideyoshi…the werewolf” “I believe we are done hear, jester” said Ryoku in anger “come on Gaiden” they left ignorant of the woman’s information. After an hour or so another man approached them “excuse me are you two looking for a man named Takuyune?” “We are in fact” said Ryoku “we have important business with him” added Gaiden “why do you ask?” “It just so happens that I am under his employ. I would like to help you by taking you to his home” “we would appreciate that” said Ryoku “were and when shall we meet” said Gaiden “I can take you there at night fall. Meet me just outside of town.” The Samurai then parted ways with the man. Soon Gaiden said “Ryoku, maybe that girl with the festival mask was right” “what?” “Well our employer did say the target was a sword master. And that girl said this Takuyune was a sword master. Also she sounded earnest, maybe he wasn’t jesting.” “Yeah right, and how do you explain that guy who said he would take us to Takuyune? He seemed normal and he said he was his employee” “The legends state vampires being capable of a lot of things” “Whatever, all I know is that we have a job to do and this Takuyune san fits the description we were given.”

“Do not go”, said an unknown female voice, the Samurai stopped. “Do not go with that man tonight” the Samurai looked in the direction of the voice to find another woman walking towards them. “Why not?” asked Gaiden “he will lead you to danger, if you go with that man it will be your death” “we are both master swordsmen” said Ryoku “I am sure whatever danger we run into we can handle” they left the woman, though Gaiden was reluctant to, and she quietly said to herself “humans, why so arrogant?” at nightfall, Gaiden and Ryoku met with the man who began to bring them to the castle. Along the way they heard strange noises emanating all around them. Suddenly a large wolf like beast jumped from the shadows and pounced on the man then tore out his throat. “Is that Hideyoshi?” “I don’t care what it is let’s go!” the Samurai ran the rest of the way north seeing horrific figures in the shadows. They ran into the open castle unaware of the fact that they had just entered the vampires trap. The door closed immediately behind them “good evening gentlemen” said a man “my name is Takuyune, I am the son of the vampire Nobunaga” “so she was telling the truth” said Gaiden “I knew it” “Takayune vampire or no, my employer wants you dead I intend to do my job” said Ryoku. Takuyune laughed and suddenly Ryoku rose from the ground and flew across the room through the vampires Mysticism. “Now then, behold my vampiritic army” vampire Samurai emerged from the shadows and surrounded Gaiden “not so fast, vampire” said a demonic female voice. Gaiden looked over to see who it was, there was a woman with a strange futuristic looking sword and female feline demon “I am Mei Tanaka, Shogun of the planet Kinetica year 3111. This is Sai-Roko” “we’ve come to end your evil before it begins” the battle that ensued was more bloody than any battle ever fought in that age. Ryoku and Gaiden survived. But a bigger future was in store for them.