No One Like You By: OtakuSailorV

Chapter 20: No Escape?

A sword swung into the wood only a few inches above her head and stuck there for a moment, lodge in place by the wielders force. Yuka jumped, looking up at the blade for a moment in total horror. She hadn't even heard her attacker coming…

With a roar the soldier pulled his blade out from the post and jumped at her. Yuka wasted no time and dodged swiftly around him. An arrow landed right in front of her as soon as she came out into the open though, and she dodged again, this time back behind the somewhat-protective wooden posts. The samurai continued to growl and yell at her as she tried her best to dance away from him. She was doing well so far, but she knew she wouldn't be able to keep this up forever. She needed to find another way out.

Swinging back out into the open, she kept behind the first watchtower so that at least she would only have to worry about one set of arrows finding her. Now if only she could get outside of the soldier's firing range, she was sure she could out-run the heavily armored samurai. Sweat ran down her brow and she wetted her lips in anxious thought. She could do this; she just needed to keep her composure. She could do this…

Another arrow and another embedded themselves in the dirt close to where she was standing. Several passed so close to her in their swift decent that she could feel the air rushing against her exposed skin. If even one of those things hit her again, it wouldn't be good. She must have had bad karma that day, for one did strike, though again it was not very deep. She had been jumping away from the samurai again when one had found its mark in her leg. She let out a hiss, stopping to inspect her mild wound that was already bleeding crimson down her leg.

Cursing to herself as she dodged the wild swings of the samurai, she mentally called out for some form of help. She'd accept anyone's help at this moment. Even… A mental picture of Renkotsu smirking at her passed before her mind's eye and she grudgingly narrowed her eyes. Yes, even from him.

As if in reply to that mental note, she was suddenly swung up in the air, a strong arm lifting her off the ground from behind. Shocked, she watched the ground fade and then come back into focus as she was let down on her feet again. A shadow obstructed her view and she panicked momentarily, believing that the samurai had finally caught her. Maybe one of the other guards had stopped her so that the samurai could get a clear blow. She winced away, but then her eyes made out the shape in the darkness as not one of an enemy but of an ally.

A burst of flame and her eyes narrowed. The fire had illuminated his features and she could not believe how much bad luck she really had that day. Of course it would be Renkotsu to save her now…First Jakotsu and now Renkotsu, would she never live this down?

She had no more time to grumble about it, for her eyes were now following the flames and she watched as they engulfed the samurai, who had run into them head long. A sickening smell rushed over her in a wave and her stomach knotted. She didn't want to watch as the man let out a scream of unearthly pain, but she couldn't take her eyes away.

The flames shot from Renkotsu's mouth again, this time finding their way to the watchtowers. The guards there had not yet left their posts, but were now scrambling to find a way out. One actually jumped over the side of his tower and landed in a strange position on the ground. He did not move once from that position; it took Yuka a moment to realize that the man was dead.

Her mind became wrapped in frantic thought. What a truly horrible way to die…

"Are you ok?" Renkotsu grunted at her. Sweat was pouring down his face and he looked as if he had been in quite a brawl already. He had scrapes and cuts on him, and his clothes were dirty.

"I'm fine." Yuka replied. Her voice had caught in her throat as she spoke though, and her body was trembling violently. She hated to admit it, but she had been truly frightened in those last few moments and she was relieved that Renkotsu was there to protect her now. Or maybe she was glad? Small tears, hardly visible, made her eyes look glassy in the fires that were still eating away at the main gate.

Renkotsu put his gourd back at his side and turned to go, not saying a word to Yuka or even glancing in her direction.

Yuka's heart gave a painful throb and she stiffened, glaring at him obstinately as she held back the frightened tears that were still fighting to get out of her. She would not cry, not out of fear. What was the matter with her anyway? She felt so vulnerable…

Impulse seized her and in the frenzy of emotion she jolted forward, snatching at his retreating form as if she were afraid. And maybe she was…She wasn't sure, she was so lost in this world and so overwhelmed by it. She hated to admit it, but maybe she couldn't handle it like she had thought she could. Her throat closed in a choked sob as she finally let her frustration go. She had been putting up a front the entire time, she didn't want to fight…she didn't want to be alone…

Renkotsu stopped with a jerk as her weight held him back momentarily. Her tiny hands were clutching at his armor with an iron grip. He could see even in the dim light from the fire behind them that they shook. Her body, pressed to his back tightly, quivered and shook. Small sniffles made his brows come together in irritation. Just what he needed, a weepy woman clinging to him.

She wasn't sobbing heavily. No, that wasn't her style. No matter how much pain filled her heart, she doubted she'd ever be able to cry those big, globs of water that most girls her age seemed capable of producing on the merest whim. Her tears were small, but the pain was the same. She sniffed as quietly as she could, for all of her realizations; she was still attempting to act tough.

"Don't go away," she sniffed, hardly knowing what she was saying. She wasn't sure why she was saying them either; it was like some inner voice was speaking in her stead. "Stay here, don't go."

Renkotsu sighed, but allowed her to cling to him and weep. "I'm not going anywhere."

Banryuu whirled about its master's head at an amazing speed. The soldiers that looked on were amazed, for they knew that the halberd must weigh two hundred pounds. That a youth such as this could swing it about so effortlessly left them in awe. Unfortunately, their pause was their end. The halberd swung round and screams wrenched the air as blood sprayed the room. The Daimyou had run off and was cowering somewhere in fear, his castle up in flames and his guards running short. Bankotsu smirked, he wouldn't leave this place until he had killed that fat bastard. To think that they could be done in by a man like him…

Suikotsu arrived; the overwhelming smell of blood had brought forth his more twisted side. The guards that had not fallen to Banryuu were soon faced with the terror of Suikotsu's metal claws.

A large beam, eaten away by fire, crashed down between Suikotsu and Bankotsu with a loud crash. The wood creaked and cracked, the blow pulverized a good deal of the floor. Hopping over the flaming beam, Suikotsu went to his leader with a stern look of displeasure.

"Renkotsu and the girl couldn't be found," he reported.

Bankotsu nodded with a smirk. "That's ok, Renkotsu's probably got the wench with him anyway. Grab Jakotsu and head out. I'm going after the Daimyou," he ordered.

"Bankotsu-no-oo-aniki, the castle will collapse soon. The Daimyou's probably escaped outside with the rest of his samurai by now," Suikotsu replied.

"Tch, no he hasn't. That conceited bastard won't leave this castle without his riches. I told you to go," he gave Suikotsu a stern, cold look before jumping off into the flames with Banryuu.

Renkotsu ran in front of Yuka, circling the castle from a knoll in the forest. He was watching for any sign of stirring from within the flames. He knew that his comrades were around here somewhere, but he wasn't sure where…

Yuka gasped for breath, trying to keep her yukata closed as she ran. She kept thinking that at any moment it would just fly open. The muscles in her leg cried in agony as she attempted to move them. The wound from the arrow was still fresh, bleeding freely. Yuka was glad that Renkotsu had not seemed to notice yet, though she was sure he would eventually due to her obvious limping gait. The warmth of the fire flowed up the side of the hill, brushing the trees with wave upon wave of heat. Some of the dryer trees had already caught fire and were quickly being eaten away at. The smoke got in Yuka's eyes and made it hard for her to keep running. How could Renkotsu keep his pace in these conditions?

Such horrible destruction…Again the smell of burnt flesh rose up, attacking her senses and making her stomach churn and swirl in disgust. She held her breath and closed her mouth, trying to shut out the horrible smell, but it didn't help much. Her head swam and she started to feel as if she might fall over or puke.

The deafening roar of the fire below made Yuka wary of the castle's samurai, whom she was sure, were lurking about in search for them. She stepped on a rock while she was preoccupied and stumbled, hissing as the wound on her thigh gave a sharp pang of pain. Dried blood had hardened around the wound, but with the sudden jerk, the flesh pulled back open and a crimson streak eased its way out.

Renkotsu halted, turning back halfway and frowning as he saw Yuka stumbling to get back to her feet, her leg covered in blood, her kimono stained through completely. She glared at him, daring him to mock her when their eyes met. She expected him to order her to quit lagging, but no remark came, which made her even more uncomfortable.

"What!" She finally blurted out, flushing under his gaze. So she'd been nicked by an arrow or two, big deal…

"You can't go any further," he said more for his own benefit than for hers. He came toward her, inspecting the blotch of blood on her kimono sternly. "Where did you get that?"

Yuka looked away from him, stubborn. She squared her shoulders, "None of your business. I can take care of myself."

He let out a short bark of laughter at that and knelt, pushing the folds of her kimono aside to get a better look at her wound. Yuka immediately flushed and jumped away from him, though the muscles in her leg were sore. She let out a screech of embarrassed outrage.

"Waah! Get away pervert! I told you it's just fine!" Yuka danced aside, holding her kimono closed tightly.

"Stop whining like a child and let me get that bandaged, idiot. Like I really want to see that anyway," he tore a piece of his own clothing into several strips and motioned for her to sit. He looked annoyed.

Yuka's cheeks puffed out in renewed outrage; her mind was alive with anger. "Why you-! I'd rather die than have you doctor me, you fire-obsessed freak!"

Ripping the bandages from his hand, she scooted away from him and commenced in wrapping her wound herself, making sure to staunch the blood flow first. Her eyes were narrowed and she grit her teeth against the harsh flow of swear words that suddenly rose like a wave in her mouth. She wanted to scream she was so frustrated and angry.

"When you're done you should leave. Make your way back to your land of 'Well' or wherever it was you said you came from," Renkotsu grunted, facing back towards the flames of the castle. He seemed to be watching something.

Yuka froze, shocked beyond belief. For a moment she stumbled to comprehend what Renkotsu had said, but before she could even begin to speak he cut her off.

"You'll just drag us down; you're useless," Yuka immediately twitched and was ready to fly off the handle again. "Go back to where you came from."

As he spoke, a cry rose and from the flames of the ruined castle below ran the last remnants of the samurai that served there. They had been guarding some of the innermost chambers of the castle and were frightened when flames suddenly overtook them. Several were beating there clothing frantically as they took off into the woods.

Yuka watched with Renkotsu as the soldiers ran into the woods and began coming their way. Renkotsu looked at her and jerked his arm in a motion for her to flee. "Get out of here before you get killed, wench."

Wow, I haven't updated this in forever, I'm so sorry.

I'm leaving for Florida until the 13th, so I thought I should put up what few chaptersI have completed the night before. Hopefully the small bit of fluff I included will be good for everyone. Hope neither of the characters seem too OOC for anyone...

Oh, as a side-note. Fanart for this fanfiction can be found on my deviantArt account, as well as fanart for some of my other stories as well. Hopefully there shall be more in the future as well, possibly as soon asI get back from Florida I'll have more to upload.

Well, I've gotta finish packing and such, so I'll have to cut it short for now. Ja'ne!

Review Please.