I don't own The Legend of Dragoon, any of the characters except Ian Takahari, or the Choose You Own Adventure book I got the concept of kuji from.

It was late at night when the assassins came. I was asleep at the family dojo when the sound of someone creeping up to the bed awakened me. As a ninja, I had been trained to wake up at the slightest unusual sound, and other family members would know not to sneak up to me.

The assassin was dead before he realized I was awake, as I also kept my katana near at hand at all times. After lowering the limp, bleeding body slowly to the floor, I performed an advanced kuji technique to teleport to the dojo's roof. There I saw several more assassins creeping clumsily to a window on the lower floor of the building.

Enraged, but keeping my senses, I cast a spell turning the clumsy assassins to ice, then threw a handful of shurikens to shatter them.

Something very bad was going on. Assassins rarely managed to get this close to a family of ninjas unnoticed. One had almost snuck up on me, and if my parents had slept just a little heavier than usual…

I whirled, drew my katana, and leapt through the nearest window. What I saw confirmed my worst fears: bodies strewn on the study floor, enough to account for the entire family.

Except for me. The assassins either thought the one in my room had gotten me, or else the assassin who had spotted me hadn't had a chance to tell anyone. I didn't care which.

I vaulted to the upper level of the room. "You assassin scum!"

They looked up in shock. "We missed one!?"

"Unlucky for you. Let's see how you do in a fair fight!" True, it was about ten on one, but they were clearly amateurs.

Without waiting for a reply, I somersaulted through the air to land behind them. Dodging a slash at my head, I swept my sword around to decapitate the man who attempted it.

"Pathetic." I parried a leg cut, knocked the man's sword out of his hand, and stabbed him through the heart. Noting another man readying a knife for throwing, I raised my left hand and moved it through a kuji pattern. The result was immediate: he dropped dead from heart failure, the knife clattering beside him.

"That's three of you, and I haven't even been touched. You want to give up? It won't save you, but it won't be as painful." One of the remaining seven rushed at me. "Guess not." Using another kuji technique, things began to get bizarre. As far as the assassins could tell, there were suddenly seven of me. They at first apparently dismissed it as an illusion, but in the last moment, they realized that the "illusions" were actually connecting.

When the bodies collapsed to the floor, I allowed myself to rest. The technique I had used had increased my speed to an incredible velocity. The problem was that it used my own energy reserves, and they were almost exhausted.

Looking around the dojo in grief, I knew it was time to leave. I retrieved the Scroll of the Nine Hands and a few other essentials, then left without looking back.

After a few hours on the run, I finally stopped by some bushes to sleep. When I awoke, I was in another world…

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