The rain fell in sheet around her plastic covered body. She looked like a walking replica of the food stand on the corner of the "Broken Hearts' hotel.

'Good, warm noodles'.

She smiled under her hood. She owned a room in the building, near the heart of the city, seven blocks away from the infamous Shinjuku station. She continued walking, not letting the poisonous liquid 9if you could call it that) fall under the clefts of her plastic coat. Fourth Street, Fifth, Sixth.almost there. The cars went by, splashing water all over the toxic grime and filth-covered sidewalks. Dealers were spread all over this area normally, selling all they could, trying to scratch a paltry living off the bootleg hardware's that rarely worked. Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth.the 'Blind Rose'. Smoke rising from ventilation tubes at the base of the building hid a half-lit blue neon sign from the street. The door was in the back, concealed by the imposing dark alleyway covered in trash. She walked around the back, thankful for the overhang the guarded the alleyway from the acid rain that fell from the illuminated dome's surface. She reached the door and stopped. Slowly, Mareille walked in, a feeling of disconnection hitting like a ton of bricks. The food stand reappeared in her mid as the creaking door to the next world slowly opened.
'Really good noodles.'

A single blue strip of neon ran above the length of the bar, elucidating the whole room save for a small corner in the back left side of the bar. The place somehow felt like a different world, it was like walking from the Real world into a rectangular piece of living Parallel. There was a saxophonist playing under the blue light, familiar mirrored lenses over his eyes welcoming Mareille with her reflection, a hat-sitting top down underneath him. Smooth, dark notes emanated from his black and gold sax, catching the neon as it moved and shooting warped fractions of what seemed to be a light, lost forever in the shadows of time and finally unleashed, only to be recaptured once more. Two men sat at the back of the room, two tables over from the murky corner, faces lit by the red light emanating from the ends of their cigarettes as they puffed away in the shadows. One other man lingered in the room, sitting on a faded barstool at the left end of the bar; a bottle filled with brown colored liquid sitting in front of him, a small brandy glass half concealed in his thick, disfigured hand. It was Him. It was the Samurai.

Mareille walked up to him, slowly, cautiously, still naive about his existence or what he was about. It was her reason for being here. Apprehension suddenly took hold. She stopped. What if.what if all she had read was true. What would she do then? Slowly, she forced it all down and continued walking towards the daunting figure sitting at the dark colored, faded ingot. The bartender reached for another glass and set it down as Mareille seated herself. She caught a glimpse of metal on the man's arm. She realized it was a cybernetic implant, model TL-009.402, Azatlan Enterprises. Based out of Mexico, Azatlan was the world's leader in bioengineering and medical studies. They were soon shut down for manufacturing illegal implants; that was two years ago. There were rumors the company had reformed under the protection of Yunagami Corp., but no one knew if they were true. The arm was hastily pulled away; apparently, the tender had noticed her looking. A clear liquid was poured in her glass with the other arm, a pure human one, but these days, who could tell. Since the destruction of DEUS, androids were hunted and destroyed; they were feared by the human race, even though one saved them all. Yuna.

"What do you want?" It was more of a statement, the hard, monotonous voice piercing the silence. His scarred face was half hidden by his long, shaggy black hair. It fell down to his chin, the back tied into a ponytail. The black and gold, worn leather handle from his signature sword could be seen rising from beneath his ponytail. He continued to drink from his glass; Mareille could see his hands more closely now. See the scars over scars, the chunk taken out of his index finger, the tarnished gold ring on his third. The cerulean neon glow reflected in his eyes; they, too, were black, and were of a depth unknown to the common person. He, again, repeated his question.

Mareille sat there and sipped at her drink, unusually strong. She was about to answer, but the apprehension came over her again. 'Come on.answer him.'

"Are you.really.Him? The Samurai, I mean." She did not mean it to come out that way; she meant it in all sincerity. Apparently, he had noticed the apprehension in her tone. His eyes were directed towards her, he took another sip, then set the glass down.

"Your afraid of me aren't you." His head never moved, he kept looking straight. "You found information on the Net about me, stories about a ghost in the night, stealing the last breaths from men, as well as women and children, never leaving a trace of himself, clean murders, no evidence of crimson death left behind. Stories of the wandering Samurai, his life left in ruin after the Restoration, wife murdered, child slaughtered like a lamb at the altar. Tales of unending hate and rage, tales of a man hell- bent on claiming the lives of guiltless individuals who were allegedly clean of any blood, but were in reality covered in the blood of millions of innocent people, the very people whom I was hired to 'protect'." Sarcasm graced this last word. "That's what you have come to hear, right? You've come to hear these accounts validated, to make sure of your suspicions so you can tell everyone you know, perpetuate the rumors." His tone was still monotonous, his voice still hard. He picked up his glass and drank again, draining it of any substance before refilling it again. Mareille was taken aback; she sat there in shocked silence, drinking her drink. She had not expected to hear this from the man whom, she heard, had brutally slaughtered innocent political officials and their families. He was captivating her with every moment she sat there. The saxophonist continued to play behind them, the slow notes emanating from his instrument completing the scene, like a piece of film work complemented by the perfect score.

"You have no idea." The door opened and closed. Heavy footsteps could be heard through the room, boots on wood-covered concrete floor. "He's here." The footsteps continued. "Turn around and don't move." Mareille obeyed him, keeping her head faced straight, never moving.

The new man walked behind them, boots stopping with a thud. Mareille continued to drink, intrigued by this new visitor. Slowly, his voice pierced the dark silence.

"It's been awhile." He turned his head towards Mareille, noticing her features: shapely, but cut from marble, beautiful and dangerous, personality like a soft pillow made of coiled snake. "Who's the girl? A little young, isn't she, Kazuo?"

A gun apparated in front of the man's face with astounding speed. The Samurai had reached down and pulled out one of his twin guns, Satan'sBane. It was black from barrel to handle, crimson cross completing the grip. The barrel aimed directly between the man's eyes; the Samurai never moved his head, his arm never faltered, his hard, cold voice never wavering.

"What the hell do you want, Taro?" The gun in the same position. The man named Taro just smiled. "I'm not allowed to visit my only living kin." The Samurai stood up and turned towards his rival, his hard face intensified by the fire illuminating the dark, empty space of his eyes. His voice reflected the feeling in his eyes. Mareille turned with him, watching the two anxiously. She noticed the man looked nothing like the Samurai; his eyes were a deep azure, hair dark brown and cut short, spiked up all over. He was nearly a foot taller than the man standing in front of him, and muscular at that.

"I have no kin." The Samurai reached up with his free hand and unsheathed his sword, slicing downwards in a fatal effort. Taro pulled his sword out from a hidden area underneath his long, dark coat, blocking the attack as he ran to the side. The Samurai aimed his gun to his immediate right and began shooting, following the man without moving his head. Suddenly, he disappeared in front of Mareille, gun forgotten on the floor, reappearing beside Taro, silver steel shooting towards his midsection, nearly connecting sharp, double-edged steel with flesh and blood. Taro blocked, sliced downwards, attempting to catch Kazuo off guard, but he was too quick. In the time it took to make one powerful move, the Samurai had blocked one and made another, each twice as powerful as Taro's single motion. Mareille watched the two men fight with incredible speed, hardly able to keep up with them as they moved across the floor, slicing, blocking, parrying, doing all that was necessary to stay alive. It was incredible to her; the Samurai had lived up to her expectations as the perfect human weapon. However, suddenly, her thoughts changed with one single move.

Taro and Kazuo were at a stalemate, both swords struggling against each other, trying to fly away from the blade keeping them from reaching their targets. Taro then smiled and reached behind his back, pulling a small gun from nowhere. A single shot rang through the building, a small hole left in Kazuo's shoulder. Blood ran down and covered the floor beneath him, but the Samurai never faltered in his stance or strength. Another shot filled the space, blood running from his chest. Kazuo went down quickly, feigning injury, spinning, sweeping his foot across Taro's legs. The man fell to the ground, gun flying from his left hand, sword still clutched in the right. Kazuo jumped on top of him like a ferocious tiger leaping upon his kill. Taro brought his sword to the Samurai's midsection, Kazuo leaving his own sword on the ground and reaching for his other gun, the Almighty, all in one swift motion.

Together, they stayed like that, Marielle watching intently, silently wishing for neither to be killed in anyway, but knowing only one was going to walk away alive. Blood dripped from Kazuo's wounds; falling onto the neck and chest of the man below him, sweat pouring from both men, each waiting the right time to strike, ready to die. Taro looked intently down the barrel of the gun pointed in his sweaty visage, terrified of the deadly lozenge hurtling down it ant any moment. Kazuo sensed his fear; he knew Taro was not ready to die.

"I have no kin." Kazuo looked deep into Taro's eyes. "My family died with allegiance to the Restoration: mother, father, brother, including myself. I am no longer connected to my former life. I died and was resurrected as the Samurai. The days of my house are over as long as they place their hope and faith in the hands of filthy executioners. " Taro's face no longer hid his fear. The gun trembled in Kazuo's hand, which was now covered in blood.

Endless seconds went by, each lasting as long as a life age. A solitary gunshot filled the room, pieces of wood flying into the air. A hole was left in the floor, adjacent Taro's head, centimeters from his face. Beads of sweat rolled down onto the ground.

"Go and tell your filthy employers what you experienced here tonight. Tell them as long as I live, there will be a reason to sleep with an eye open. And I plan to live a long time."

Kazuo stood up and replaced the Almighty and Satan'sBane, and walked over to where Mareille currently stood, enraptured by what she witnessed. The Samurai cleaned his sword on the bar towel sitting on the table next to his fallen seat, and sheathed it once more. He swigged down the last of his drink, amazingly left intact, and turned to Mareille.

"I think you can make up you own thoughts about me now." He then turned to leave, Taro still lying on the ground, shaking with fear. Mareille standing in her same spot, wanting to know more and more about the man she just witnessed. The saxophonist still playing on the makeshift stage, blue light refracted in the grooves of his instrument, shining all across the room. The door to the outside world slowly opened, and with one last look, the legendary Samurai left the 'Blind Rose', disappearing into the poison rain, retelling old tales to the fading city, and smoldering new ones deep into the night.