Disclaimer: I don't own stuff. Capcom does. Blame it all on them.

Chapter 1

Walking walking walking. Always with the walking.

Ryu stopped on the road and stared for a few minutes. He brushed a few blue strands of hair from his eyes, and blinked.

Horses. Real. Fucking. Horses.

Ryu glanced at the rest of the scene. Abandoned cottage on the side of the road. Ryu had used it more than once, that was why it was abandoned. The door was open, and nobody was coming up or down the road.

It'd be easy to steal the horses. But they were horses. They'd been under good care at some point, but clearly not within the last two or three days.

Ryu's mind automatically invoked Rule #1 of Piracy and General Theivery: The bigger the theft, the more you need to know. Ryu walked up to the door, and opened it. Two men in Wyndian armor were tearing up the place.


The men turned, a little slow on the draw. There was a pause. Ryu looked at the pair of them, as they looked at him. He was already reaching for the knives instead of the sword when he started seeing details.

The armor was to ornate for proper Wyndian knights. Solid gold helmet crests, with the ornate sparkle of jewelry instead of just a patterning of gold leaf. The Wyndian crest was forged into the armor in solid silver instead of just painted on. There were no eccentricities about the armor, the two suits had only been fitted to the men. They didn't wear the armor as if a second skin.

Ceremonial Gaurds. This is gonna be easy.

Ryu smiled as he pulled out the knives. The Gaurds looked at each other, then at Ryu as they drew their own swords, taking picture perfect forms straight for the training halls. To anyone else, they would have been frightening. To Ryu, they were a pair of idiots who had never seen combat beyond sparing with wooden swords.

Ryu edged towards the one on the left.

Ryu had put down the wooden sword and picked up a real one when he was seven. He managed to kill someone dressed exactly like this pair that same day.

The guard swung his sword, and Ryu blocked with his left while putting his right in the guard's throat.

Ryu knew exactly how to win because the damn fool was using a sword. The ceilings were to low for overhand, he had to swing sideways. The idiot couldn't even get the swing right. He didn't move into the blow. If he had done that, at least, Ryu would have had to block with both hands. There wasn't any force behind the blow, especially when taking it closer to the hilt rather than at the tip. Once inside the man's swing, Ryu just had to get past the armor: the throat.

Ryu kicked the guard in the chest while slipping two fingers over the cross of the knife. There was a squelch as the knife came out, and the guard tried to gurgle as he fell over.

The guard was dead. The other had merely moved to look at Ryu, not actually moved forward. The Ceremonial Guard were a highly trained, highly disciplined bunch. Couldn't fight there way out of a paper bag, though. To worried about discipline and honor to actually learn how to fight. Ryu felt no pity, only disgust.

This one actually moved to make his attack: a lunge. Ryu side-stepped, and put his left into the man's elbow, then stabbed into the left-armpit.

Still, taking down an armored target took skill. And Ryu had taken a gambit. He wasn't if the man had any under-armor. Given his compatriot didn't protect his neck, he assumed no, and he got lucky. He hit only cotton and flesh.

The man stumbled forward, Ryu's knife still in his armpit. The elbow wound had only been a slash, breaking the skin, drawing blood. Ryu hadn't gotten lucky there, he hadn't even reached sinew. The guard only grunted as he hefted the sword with one hand. He could barely hold the thing up.


Ryu lunged forward, shoving the sword out of his way and ramming the guard, bowling him over. There was another grunt as he landed on his bad shoulder.

The man couldn't even get up one-handed. He was trying to pick himself up with both hands while Ryu grabbed his compatriot's sword and slammed it into the back of his neck, between the helmet and the top of the back plate.

Why were they here, though? Ceremonial Guard didn't leave a manor for any small reason, special "tax collecting" sessions aside. He thought a moment. The cottage had three rooms. The first time he hide out here, he knew better, and found the best hiding spot he could on short order. Then he thought about how he had gotten up there, and thought better of searching up there... yet. He walked into the back room with a slightly-less-than-casual step, putting the heel of his boot down first to get that nice thud on the floor boards. The backroom was a bedroom. Only people who could afford guards used it, and generally they had enough money to plan their route so that they reached a town before nightfall. It's not safe in these parts after the sun goes down, afterall.

Ryu snickered at that.

Then he heard the creak. It was from him, he had stopped. Infact, he knew precisely which board had made that creake. Laden knew he had spent enough time up there to figure out which boards did and didn't. Whoever it was, they were lighter than he was and didn't know which ones did and didn't make a sound. Ryu made another few steps, away from the door, acting as though he didn't hear anything. If this person was running from the guard, they were probably just as stupid as them.

A second creak: they were almost coming out of the hiding spot. They must have rushed into it once they found it, that was one of the more obvious ones. Ryu took care when sneaking to the door, and then he listened. He just heard the thud of the trap door as the person put it down. He waited a good ten-seconds before he walked out into the front room to see them trying to drop themselves onto the the table in the corner. They were facing the corner so that they could and catch the window sill with their feet, but... she, definately a she from the legs, was entirely to short. Ryu wondered whether he should mention that her skirt was caught in the rafters.

"Need some help?"

She dropped with a thud onto the table, and turned around, holding a kitchen knife out infront of her. Her clothing wasn't the best, but Ryu suspected that was from running through the woods, especially with the long skirt. Her hair was a little tusseled, but the golden blonde still showed through, and her sky-blue eyes were wide with both surprise and fear.

Ryu didn't bother with drawing the knife. He held back at stabbing women, even if they tried to stab him first.

"Hey, don't worry. I'm not gonna try anything. My name's Ryu."

She still held the knife infront of her. "Nina. My name's Nina."

...To be continued. And stuff. Maybe. If/When I feel like it. Lord knows I've aborted writing stuff before.