Before anyone mentions it, yes, A Feudal Fairy Tale is the sub-title of the Inu-Yasha Manga. But it fits this story, as a lot of it is based from bits and pieces of the feudal lore in there. You'll see.
Hey…For once, I'm using the DigiDestined's Japanese names! I have no idea why…It just sounds better for the Sengoku period. (Usually I use the English dubs, 'cause they're the ones I can identify with) Okay…Not all of them. Yolei's stays the same, because I happen to like it, and I hate the sound of Miyako.
Disclaimer:I don't own Digimon, nor do I own the Japanese Feudal Age. Duh.
A Feudal Fairy Tale
Scroll 1: Young Samurai
Daisuke sighed, popping a crick out of his neck. "How much further?" he complained, tapping his sheaf anxiously.
Ken brushed his black hair back from his dark eyes. "Just a little." he sighed to his brown-haired companion. "Give it a rest, Daisuke. It's not gonna be much longer 'til we get there."
Daisuke sighed again, then glanced behind him at the other traveler. "Takeru, what're you doing back there?"
The blonde-haired young boy looked up. "What'd you say?" he asked quietly in a voice just barely above a whisper.
Ken and Daisuke dropped back to their friend. "What is with you today?" Ken asked, adjusting his sword's sheaf across his back. "You've barely said a thing since we started out. Somethin' bugging you?"
Takeru sighed, shaking his head like trying to get water out of his ears, although her knew that wouldn't get him off the hook. The three of them had been traveling together for almost three years. They were all young samurais, looking for adventure or refuge from the past. They'd trained together, lived together, and fought together. These two knew him better than anyone, and knew when he had something on his mind.
"It's nothing." he said out loud. "Nothing at all…"
"Takeru…" Daisuke grabbed his friend in a full hold around the neck. "Spill it."
"Yeah, 'fess up." Ken laughed, prying Daisuke's arm off Takeru before he strangled him. "What's bothering you?"
Takeru sighed again, brushing his bangs back. "Really, guys…It's nothing important." he muttered. "It's just…we're back in the Yagami domain, right?"
"Sure." Daisuke shrugged.
"And we're heading for the main city, right?" Takeru kept muttering. "Where the Lord lives?"
"Well, of course." Ken sighed. "What's wrong with…Oh…Oh…"
"What?" Daisuke asked, looking between the two. Ken had a very knowing look on his face. "What?!"
"The main city of Yagami's Realm…" Ken said slowly. "Is Takeru's hometown."
"Oooooh." Daisuke whistled, then gave Takeru a wide grin. "Thinkin' of some old sweetheart back home?"
"Sweetheart?!" Takeru exclaimed, turning red. "Daisuke, I left town when I was eight! What makes you think I had the time for a crush?!"
Daisuke nodded. "Good point, I guess…"
"So whaddya gonna do once you get into town?" Ken asked, leaning over to hear better as they continued along. "Go out and see if you can find everybody?"
"Who's 'everybody'?" Takeru said, looking up for the first time. His crystal blue eyes flashed in the sun. "I'm an orphan, remember? I don't have any family."
"Hey, you've got us!" Daisuke laughed, slapping Takeru on the back.
"Yeah, we're family!" Ken added, smiling.
"Get real, guys." T.K. rolled his eyes. "Some family we make. We're not even from the same clan."
"Well, fine." Davis sighed. "So Ken's father's a theologian, you ran away from home, and I'm the youngest son of a retainer. But we're still family!"
Takeru groaned, and for a few moments the three were quiet. Then a slight memory sparked in Ken's mind. "What about your brother?" he finally asked. "Didn't you once say he was still alive?"
Takeru glared angrily. "He left before I did." he snapped. "He could be dead for all I know."
Ken dropped back after that. Takeru wasn't usually mean or snappish, but if you mentioned anything about his family…anything at all…it would set him off on something for one reason or another. Even his best friends didn't know why he was so edgy, it just happened…
"Here we are." Ken announced as they entered the gates of the city. "The head village of Yagami's Realm."
Takeru glanced around. White shacks dotted around them, all across the large, dirt road. A restaurant was open next to them, bustling with people, an inn stood waiting visitors on the other side and a red castle rose in the distance. He sighed inwardly. Not much has changed…
"So?" Daisuke asked. "What'll we do here? Not more demons, I presume?"
"Nope." Ken grinned. "In fact, we may be able to end our travels here."
The others looked at him questioningly. He pointed to a scroll mounted on wall, with black ink reading across the white parchment. "See?" he said. "The Lord around here is looking for a few good fighters. We should apply."
"Fine with me." Davis shrugged. "But if it gets boring, we'll be on our way, right?"
"Of course." Ken sighed. "But it probably won't be. This realm has a knack for attracting trouble."
~ * ~ * ~
"Yes, yes, very good" Taichi Yagami looked over the three young samurai who had entered the application. They'd been surprised when faced with this slightly unorthodox Lord, but had quickly grown to like him.
His brown hair was wild and spiky, but his eyes were gentle and kind, a deep shade of brown. His left arm was useless, it had been rendered so in war. And he was much younger than the other lords, maybe five years older than the three.
He smiled warmly at the three, nodding towards his scribe that set by the wall to the right. "So you three have been traveling together?"
"Indeed." Ken nodded. Daisuke and Takeru, sitting beside him, nodded as well and glanced at each other out of the corner of their eyes.
"And you completely trust each other?" Taichi asked.
"With my life, Lord." Takeru said quietly.
"Me too." Ken nodded.
"We're family." Daisuke grinned. Ken smiled at him, and, for the first time all day, Takeru did too.
"Well then." Taichi laughed, enjoying them. "It's settled then! You're all hired!"
The three samurais smiled wider and glanced at each other excitedly. Taichi clapped his hands together. "I think it's time you met your new commander. Yamato?"
Takeru choked on the name like a bad taste. The door slid open, and all three looked up.
A young man, about the same age as the Lord, stood in the doorway. His hair was blonde and spikier than Taichi, to their surprise. His eyes were a deep, dark blue and stern. He entered silently, giving the traditional bow to the Lord, then turned to the others. Ken and Daisuke lifted their heads expectantly. Takeru stared at the floor.
"Ah." Yagami sighed. "Men, this is our honored commander of the guard, Master Ishida. You'll be under him, of course."
"Of course." Ken and Daisuke chorused, but Takeru kept silent.
Please don't let him notice me, please don't let him notice me… he whispered in his mind.
"Fine with you, Yamato?" Taichi asked, looking back.
"Very well, Lord." the man said, then gazed over the team. "In fact, if you will agree, I would like to start the training right away."
"Of course." Taichi nodded. "Go right ahead."
~ * ~ * ~
Yamato tapped the pole next to him with the wooden sword. "Alright then." he sighed, looking over his latest additions. "I'd like to see what you boys are made of."
Ken, Daisuke and Takeru examined the fake blades with slight interest. Yamato slapped the flat of his own into his opposite palm. "Alright." he exclaimed. "Who's first?"
Daisuke leapt to his feet. "Bring it on!" he exclaimed, leaping into the ring.
Yamato grinned, enjoying the boy's eagerness. But with a few quick moves he sent him flying and landing next to his fellows. "Who's next?"
Ken picked up his wooden sword. "I'll give it a try." he muttered.
Going the defensive, Ken managed to last a good five minutes before Yamato threw him out. Takeru sighed. Hasn't changed a bit.
"Well?" Yamato insisted, tapping the floor impatiently. "Are you coming or what? Not scared are you?"
Takeru sighed, then picked up his sword and stepped into the ring. Ken and Daisuke watched with interest as they faced each other, swords raised.
"Ready?" Yamato asked.
"Whenever you are." Takeru sighed.
The guard rushed forward, and Takeru defended, then struck his own, which was also blocked. And this went on for a good ten minutes, without either stopping.
"Whoa." Daisuke whistled. "I knew Takeru was good…but he knows Yamato's style perfectly."
"Hey, is it just me or do they look alike?" Ken whispered.
Yamato stopped to let them both catch a breath. "You're good…" he panted.
"Of course." Takeru grinned. "I learned from one of the best."
"Really?" Yamato grinned. "Bet he didn't teach ya…this!"
He suddenly swiped his sword forward. Takeru ducked, and noticed his leg coming from the other direction. If you weren't expecting it, it would have either sliced open your chest or knocked your legs out from under you. But Takeru knew these tricks.
As he ducked, he brought his sword back down and struck Yamato's leg. Have this been real, the Guard would have lost everything lower than his knee. He stumbled back, then recomposed himself. "How the…"
"I told you I was good." Takeru grinned, straightening.
"Oh?" Yamato leapt into the air, sword thrusting forward to strike. This trick would work for sure, it never failed!
As expected, Takeru blocked when he swiped downward. He pushed off the banister next to them and landed behind the boy, about to thrust forward into his chest…
To his surprise, Takeru already had the tip of his blade against his throat before he could strike. Yamato froze. In a real battle, if he moved an inch, he would've been skewered.
"We're through now." Takeru said quietly, pulling his wooden blade back and dropping it to the ground.
Yamato sighed. He knew when he'd been beaten. Takeru climbed off the ring to a round of congratulations from his friends. "That was amazing, kid." he said. "Tell me, who did you learn from? No one around here knows those moves but me, so who taught you?"
"You really should be able to answer that." Takeru muttered, glaring with dark eyes. "Who would you teach them too?"
"Nobody." Yamato shrugged. "I've never taught anyone those moves."
"There was one." Takeru's voice had gotten low. Ken and Daisuke stared at him. They'd never seen him like this before. "In case you're forgetting, I do believe you taught them to me…Brother."
Yamato's eyes widened. Ken and Daisuke both jumped. Takeru remained very, very cold.
"He's your brother?!" Daisuke squeaked.
Yamato stared at the boy. It couldn't be…it just couldn't be…but it was…
"Takeru?" he whispered, taking a shocked step forward. "You're…alive…?"
The boy picked up his real sword from the ground, slid it over his back, turned and silently walked away.