Disclaimer: I hate these things but… I do not own LH, if any parties wanted it removed, I will do so gladly.

Rise of Samurai

Prologue

ByUesugiKenshin

Clang! Slash! Clang! Whoosh! Clang!

Sounds of an intense swordfight rang throughout the mid-afternoon day, the two contestants unwilling to give ground to the other. They fought on with the same passion as if their lives were depending on the battle.

Finally one of the contestants got the upper hand as she saw an opening in her opponent's defense. She swung in an arc, a perfect strike that hit dead on to her opponent's sword hilt. The blow completely fazed her opponent as his sword was flung aside.

"Now do you yield Urashima?" Motoko asked bringing up her sword to his neck and giving him no chance of running for his blade laid two feet away.

Keitaro looked at the distance from his hands to the sword, and then back to the blade held threateningly to his neck; he knew the battle was over.

"I yield sensei." Keitaro replied humbly, his mind trying to analyze what had gone wrong, he was sure he was doing well.

Motoko removed her blade from her student's neck and sheathed it in one arrangement, a testament to her great sword skills. She broke into a grin, something she did rarely.

"You did fine Urashima, your defense was adequate, and your offense has improved greatly," she pointed out to Keitaro how he had matched up to her standards, "you just forget to defend yourself against my counter-attack, a warrior needs to know a balance of both offense and defense."

"Yes, sensei," Keitaro repeated after Motoko finished her observations, he saw now that his hilt was open to an attack as he swung to strike her head.

"Control the berserker within you Keitaro, you would have made a remarkable samurai, but I am trying to teach you my Gods' Cry School techniques and we specialize in defense. Our sword is for defense of the weak, never for aggression."

Keitaro nodded in agreement, a tinge of blush came on both parties as the compliment about him making a remarkable samurai came out of Motoko's mouth. She never had planned on saying those words but they just happened.

"Well, we should get dinner and then finish one more duel for the day, I will see if my words have soaked into that thick head of yours by then," Motoko said gaily, she was happy that now she had a decent sparring partner.

'If he continues to learn at this speed, Keitaro…'

A flash of revelation shot across the delicate features of Motoko's face, 'when did I start calling Urashima, Keitaro?'

The feeling of queasiness wormed into Motoko's stomach, she hadn't felt like this since the first time she met Keitaro, but it was only a cold then. Now she wasn't sure what she really felt about the landlord. A cloud of discursion floated above Motoko's head as she continued to the kitchen.

Keitaro being a man, and complete dunce to women's feelings, walked on oblivious to what was playing out in Motoko's head.

'I make a remarkable samurai?' Keitaro mused, 'Urashima Keitaro, daimyo of Hinata house. It certainly has a nice ring to it…'


"Hey there lovebirds, how was 'training?'" Kitsune called out while making parenthesis with her fingers and winking at Motoko as she saw the two swordsmen come into the kitchen.

Motoko flushed, even though she knew Kitsune would insinuate something like that, she couldn't help herself. She tried to hide it by turning around and faking a cough, the poor cover-up attempt not unnoticed by several members, including Naru and Kitsune.

'Motoko and Keitaro have become closer, ever since he asked her six months ago to help him concentrate for the Toudai examination, maybe I should speak up about…' Naru never had the chance to complete her thought as Shinobu began to blubber about Kitsune's implication.

"S-s-sempai?" Shinobu looked like she was about to have bawl her eyes out, tears already beginning to obliterate the dam holding them back.

"No, no, Shinobu!" Keitaro exclaimed, trying to calm the poor girl, "We aren't doing anything of the sort."

He shot eyes of dagger at Kitsune, who turned around trying to avoid his eyes. 'Well well… the training has given him a spine, the old Keitaro would have just blushed along with Motoko,' and Kitsune ended her surveillance of the new Keitaro.

The tension in the air was thick, some residents irritated with another, only Su was unaffected.

"I'm hungry!" She whined, which effectively crack the tension and provided enough comic relief to get the residents laughing again.

"All right Su, we shall get you something to eat," Shinobu spoke as she came out with her hands full of dishes, each a culinary perfection.

She placed a dish in front of each resident before getting into her own seat.

"Itadakimasu." Everyone replied, and began to dig in.

"Shinobu, your food is great as usual." Keitaro lauded the Hinata chef, a blush forming over the blue haired girl as she squeaked out a thank you.

The rest of the dinner was an enjoyable setting, Keitaro asked Shinobu and Su how they were doing in junior high, and Kitsune cross-examined on how well Naru and Keitaro were ready for the upcoming examination. Keitaro and Naru looked at each other and laughed out loud, remembering how the last time when Mutsumi visited, she showed them a watermelon shaped like a turtle.

'Look how happy they are,' Motoko thought miserably as Keitaro mentioned another tale from Okinawa and Naru filling in the spots where Keitaro had forgotten, 'I can't ever become part in Keitaro's heart like how Naru has. '

She continued her dinner in silence, the food tasting like sand even though it would be almost acceptable in a five-star restaurant.

'Maybe it was never meant to be Keitaro and I,' the forlorn thought nailed the last bolt into her dinner and she stopped eating.

"Excuse me, I am done eating," Motoko said mirthlessly as she placed her chopsticks down.

"But Motoko, you haven't touched your dinner more then a couple of bites, was the food that bad?" Shinobu asked, her inner self-cursing that she had done something wrong.

"No, no, I am just not hungry," Motoko answered quickly, she knew that she had almost upset Shinobu, "Keitaro?"

"Yes, Motoko-chan?" Keitaro looked up, finishing the last line in his story to the rest of the gang.

"I expect you to be at the roof top after you're done."

"Yes, sensei," Keitaro knew that she was serious so he decided not to call her by her name.

Motoko brought her dish to the sink and deposited it in the basin, then she proceeded to the rooftop, alone with her demons.

Naru remembered her earlier thought and decided to voice a defense, hoping to see what Keitaro and Motoko really did for training, "Keitaro?"

"I must be popular today," Keitaro attempted to break the strain the Motoko left behind, "And what can I do for you Misses Naru?" He said in mock seriousness.

Despise the fact that she was trying to be serious herself, she couldn't help but burst out laughing, Keitaro trying to act serious was as funny as seeing a drunk dog run into the wall.

When she caught her breath, she asked her question, "Keitaro, do you mind if I watch while you and Motoko train?"

Keitaro blinked, his surprise apparent as the sunrise. Naru had never shown any interest in his training and suddenly she wanted to see a training session.

"Why?" his tone was guarded, he was not in the mood for surprises and he didn't want to be blasted into the atmosphere by a Naru punch if he did something wrong.

"Oh, just that I am curious…" Naru tried to pass the request off like an everyday occurrence, she had seen the flash of annoyance across his brown eyes. If she pressed any harder, she could alienate him.

"I see," Keitaro answered after a long consideration, "I guess it wouldn't hurt but you could get hurt..."

"I will be fine," Naru flashed a huge smile at him and all his doubts and queries disappeared in an instant.

The rest of the residents were too focused on the request that Naru made that they did not see the huge grin appearing on Su's face.

Now is the perfect time to test out my latest invention, the Aeon, Su chuckled softly, trying to not attract unwanted attention.

"I am done!" She cried out and jumped out of her chair to retrieve the machine.


Slash! Slash! Slash!

Motoko executed three perfect upper slashes, bringing her total up to one hundred since she reached the rooftop on her own. Finally she began to feel like herself, with a sword in her hand, she pushed aside all her thoughts of Keitaro and only thought of the blade.

As she placed her arms in resting position, her vacant mind began to fill up with the images of Keitaro once more.

"Damn it!" Motoko shrieked.

"Rock Splitting Sword!" She launched a chi attack, hoping that it would bring peace to her mind, but it was towards the stairs that Keitaro had just reached the top of.

Keitaro saw the chi racing towards him, he could have easily dodged the energy but right behind him was Naru, and she wasn't immortal like him. He raised his arms into an X, hoping that his defensive position would shield him and Naru.

Motoko looked horrified as her careless attack was racing toward Keitaro, there was no time to cancel the chi, and it was already out of her hands to do anything but watch. What she wasn't expecting was Keitaro's own chi to get stronger. She felt his chi pulsating off of him in waves.

'What is going on?' Motoko wondered in bewilderment, 'that chi…it was on a level that even surpassed a Grand master of the Gods' Cry School could ever muster, and this is coming off of Keitaro!'

The Rock Splitting Sword's chi just reflected off Keitaro's crossed arms and continued to the sky where it dissipated.

"K-Keitaro… how?" Motoko's mind still not working.

'There was no way the Keitaro could control his chi like that with so little experience,' Motoko continued towards her student when she saw that he wasn't only fending for himself but Naru was behind him with her face in fear.

The explanation went off like fireworks, Motoko's mind found the piece of the puzzle that was missing.

It was love…

The pang hit her like a semi-trailer being hit by an incoming locomotive. Keitaro was trying to protect someone that he cared deeply about, and his life force came to the rescue.

'He was trying to protect Naru-sempai from harm, he could have easily dodged the attack, I am sure of it, but then Naru would have been left in the wake. Would he have done the same for me?' Motoko was sure the answer would be a yes, but not the same powered chi she had just witnessed.

"Are you and Naru-sempai alright?" Motoko finally found her voice.

"Yes, and what was that for Sensei?" Keitaro knew that he was out of line, but he was furious that his own sensei would be so careless.

"I-I am sorry," Motoko whispered quietly, "I wasn't thinking…"

It was difficult for Keitaro to see his sensei so depressed, but he was also still angry with her. Conflicting emotions ruled the teacher and the student.

Naru decided to speak up, the situation not to her liking. She had just come to confirm that nothing was happening between Keitaro and Motoko and this happened.

"I-I am alright you two," she was still shaken up, "Don't worry about me, I wasn't harmed, just go on and do your training."

Teacher and student both looked up at each other, and nodded. The third party acknowledged that she was all right so they decided to start the duel.

Keitaro and Motoko stepped back until they were some distances apart, then they looked each other in the eye. They both bowed and raised their sword into a combat stance. They proceeded to take three steps toward each other until their blades touched each other at the tip. They both crouched down to their knees, this would be where a judge starts them off in a real duel but they skipped that part and got back on their feet.

Keitaro made the first move by bring up his sword, trying to place a strike on Motoko's shoulder, but was easily countered. He continued his offensive and went to strike toward her neck. Motoko saw that Keitaro was taking the aggressive stance, and decided to wait until he was tired to make the counterattack.

Naru was amazed, Keitaro was holding Motoko in a defensive stance, not allowing her to switch to offense. In reality, Motoko was about to make the counterattack the moment Keitaro showed any fatigue.

And Keitaro was definitely starting to feel the fatigue on his arms, all his offensive wasted on nothing. He saw that Motoko suddenly moved out of her shell and began to make calculated strikes. He barely put up his sword before blocking the first blow but by then her sword was aiming for another point.

Keitaro jumped back a couple of feet, hoping that he would get enough of a breather to place up a decent defense. That was not the case, Motoko had seen his mediocre footwork and jumped right with him.

'Keitaro, have you not listened? Or is your anger toward me overruling any sensibility?' Motoko noticed that his first blows were full of malice, and she was saddened that Keitaro was still holding the grudge.

She aimed for his left side, deciding the end the duel, she could see that his arms were shaking and that his breathing had become irregular. He looked like he was on the verge of collapsing.

Out of blue, Su popped out with her Aeon invention.

"Hey Keitaro, looky here!"

"Huh?" Keitaro turned toward Su's voice, losing all concentration on the duel. He didn't even mount a defense against Motoko's blade coming into his side. He felt a flash of pain as the cut went deep, but that wasn't the only problem.

Su decided to launch her invention at the same time, the blue beam hitting Keitaro as he disappeared in a flash.

All that was left of Keitaro was his blood dripping onto the rooftop.

"KEITARO!" Naru screamed as she rushed to the spot where her love was a moment before. She didn't know who to hate more at the moment; Su or Motoko.

Motoko stared at her blade, the blood still dripping off the katana like drops of red tears that the blade was crying.

No, NO! Motoko's mind cried out, she had killed Keitaro!

Motoko ran over to Su, the foreign gaijin girl looked like she was in shock, if the situation wasn't so grave, one would laugh at the shock on the normally gay girl.

"Su!" Motoko shook Su, trying to get her attention, "What did your invention do? Su, answer me!"

"W-what?" Su was finally shook out of her reverie, "Where is Keitaro?"

"Su, your invention did something to him, now what does your invention do? Motoko cried, if Keitaro wasn't treated soon, he would bleed to death.

"This thing?" Su pointed at the Aeon, and Motoko nodded, "It is a time machine…"

"Time machine? Where is Keitaro now Su?"

Su looked at the display on the Aeon, and she read off the numbers, "It says that Keitaro was sent to September 15, 1599. Japan."

'1599? 1 year before Battle of Sekigahara!' Motoko's mind raced, it was the worst time for Keitaro to be sent, and Japan would be shred asunder as the greatest civil war in Japan's history happened within one year hence.

"Su, is there anyway to send another person …" Motoko never got to finish her question, Naru's shriek stopped her in mid-sentence.

"No, NO!" Naru was radiating anger, "You're not going to save him you bitch, not after what you did to him!"

"Su!" Naru turned to the girl still holding the Aeon, "how long before you could send me to save Keitaro?"

"Naru-sempai…"

Naru didn't even acknowledge Motoko's saying her name.

"NARU-SEMPAI!" Motoko bellowed, she knew that Naru's anger was clouding her judgment, if something would happened to either of them before they got back, Naru would not be able to defend the hapless Keitaro with her fist against the ronins or the samurais.

"What!" Naru hissed in spite.

"If it is 1599, how will you defend yourself and Keitaro against ronins or samurais when he is wounded?" Motoko reasoned with Naru, "Your fist won't be enough and what happens if he can't move before the actual battle has begun? Please Sempai, let me get back Keitaro for you, it was my entire fault!"

Naru's spite broke down against Motoko's validity in her voice and the reasoning she presented.

"Alright Motoko, but if you fail to bring him back, I will come after you." Naru's voice was cold as steel, not betraying a single doubt what she would do if Motoko failed.

Motoko nodded, "Su, could you send me back to the same time and place where Keitaro was sent to?"

Su handed over two chips that looked like poker chips, she explained what they were to Motoko, "These are retrieval chips, push the left button and it will give me the signal to bring you back, the right one is a communication module, but it has only one minute before it runs out."

"Thanks Su," Motoko placed one chip into her gi, and the other into her palm, "I am ready."

"Roger!" Su flipped the switch and Motoko disappeared in the same blue flash that Keitaro disappeared before.

Suddenly the Aeon began to sputter and sparks flew out of the machine as it rebooted itself.

"Su!" Naru cried, "What happened?"

"Something terrible," Su whispered as she fiddled with the controls, "I can't get back Keitaro or Motoko for one standard year, the earliest I could try is September 15, 1600 when the war has already started.

"Su, send me back as well!" Naru shook the girl hoping that she would comply.

"No, I can't Naru…" Su looked back at the older woman, "If I send you back, I can only bring back one person later on, the maximum is two for transport and two for retrieval."

"No…" Naru crumpled, she couldn't stand being away from Keitaro for one year and the uncertainty of him being dead or alive almost broke her heart.

"I'm sorry Naru, I am sure that Motoko will bring him back." Su consoled the crying girl.

"Keitaro…" Naru croaked, while crying on Su's shoulders, "Please come back…"


A/N: Like or dislike? Thank you for reading and please leave a review at or leave me a line at to my email, urnoseknows(at)gmail(dot)com

A thank you to my prereader Peacemaker. I am grateful for all the mistakes that have been correct, I hope the draft wasn't pure hell trying to read.