In the silence of night a sword is swung in a graceful arc, curving and swirling with lethal beauty. An aristocratic figure ducks the attack, smilingly secretly to himself. A girl stands before the lord, two shining blades in hand, demanding retribution for his crimes. The lord has no fear though, for he is certain he shall never fall from the pedestal of power he has created. The mere girl before him would soon die by his arrows, and her head would be a permanent warning to his enemies.

With aged practice he fits a long arrow to his bow, pulling back the string to seal the girl's fate. In a sudden flash, in the most agile of movements, silver streaks across the night as the girl's second blade stabs into the lord's stomach. He sinks the ground, his eyes wide as he realizes that all his marksmanship had never stood next to the girl's immense power, though the reality of his defeat is still beyond his grasp.

"How could I have lost?" he whispers to the night. No answer solaces him in his last moments alive. Death, the girl Ayame knew, sometimes had a gentle touch and freed the soul from the confines of the body. For Lord Bizenya though, death would show no such mercy. Bizenya's corruption and greed had won him nothing but a lonely and meaningless end, his soul not permitted to move onto its next reincarnation.

Ayame stood back and looked over the dying Lord. His blood melted into the snow, marring its beauty. He had been twisted and manipulative, yet in death's unforgiving arms he still contemplated why victory was not his.

"You stole from Lord Godha, how could you have won?", Ayame asked, receiving no rebuttal from the corpse.

She shook her head silently and walked over to the former Lord. Kneeling, she examined his clothing. Woven from the finest of silk's and decorated with the finest and most explicit designs, Ayame happily used the elegant cloth to wipe off her swords. In the end all his riches could not save him from the fate he deserved, and the beauty of his clothes were reduced to rags in Ayame's eyes. With utmost care she cleaned her swords using the delicate silk and sheathed them again, having them held comfortably at her back.

Unconsciously, she pulled out her grappling hook and in a fluid motion was pulled through the air, landing on top of Bizenya's home. She looked around Bizenya's estate and shook her head, thinking what a shame it truly was. Such a beautiful place to have belonged to such an evil man.

Snow gently drifted through the air and Ayame took a moment to admire it. It never seemed to snow where she was from, and the tiny white crystals intrigued her greatly. The Lord's roof, with all its expensive tiles and decorations, could not compare to the beauty of the snow that now covered it. A thin sheet covered every expanse of Lord Bizenya's estate. Ayame looked behind her at the former Lord and was pleased to find his dirty blood was now covered over with pure whiteness. In fact, in every direction she turned she could see nothing but the white expanses. She was breathless.

Ayame was so enchanted by the snow that she did not notice the time. Ten minuets had passed when a figure jumped onto the roof with her. Ayame was startled out of her reverie.

"What are you doing, Ayame?", the figure asked, moving towards the slight girl. She glanced over in irritation before focusing again on the sky.

"Rikimaru, you're getting slow. I found that arrogant leech before you did," Ayame criticized. Rikimaru let out a sigh of frustration before collecting himself.

"I had to go back and take care of the hidden archers you missed. How could you have overlooked them?" he asked sternly.

"I took care of all the archers", Ayame said deftly, all though in her mind she retraced her steps and wondered which ones she could have missed.

"Not the ones behind the entrance wall"

Opps. Ayame mentally grimaced.

"I've told you over and over that Bizenya's best defense lies with his hidden archers behind his estate walls. Ayame, that could have been a fatal mistake," Rikimaru warned, shaking his head at Ayame's carelessness.

"Ok, so I missed some archers, but I did kill Bizenya," Ayame told him proudly, pointing behind her. Rikimaru looked over and studied the body on the ground.

"He's been dead for ten minuets now," her partner pointed out, judging from the amount of snow covering the corpse. He looked at Ayame for explanation, but she simply shrugged.

"Come on 'Maru, lets get going. I've spent enough time in this leech's estate," Ayame said casually and began to walk to the edge of the roof.

"You were watching the snow during that time, weren't you, Ayame?" Rikimaru asked, not moving from his spot. Ayame spun around and faced him, placing her hands on her hips defiantly.

"So what if I was? I got the job done, and I got it done fast," she said confidently and turned around again.

"You're a ninja Ayame. You cannot be so quick to act, or so thoughtless, and then be so slow to leave," He rebuked.

"Being quick is what got me here Rikimaru, so why can't I sit and watch the snow fall in between all the blood shed?" she said vehemently and then fell silent.

When next she spoke there was a slight tremor in her voice. "And it's no surprise I like snow. It's white." Ayame whispered, her warm breath forming clouds on her lips.

Rikimaru was taken aback. "I apologize Ayame. A true ninja should appreciate the white of snow when they have seen the red of blood." He said empathetically and joined her at the edge of the roof. Ayame smiled and leaned back, allowing herself a moment of weightlessness before she jumped.


Poppy-Chan: Even I thought this chapter was boring. But if you're hungry, horny, or both, go check out the next chapter, which is filled with poisoned rice and a sexy Ayame running for her life, and maybe taking a dip along the way.

Ayame: *Looking scandalized* You would mar my reputation for reviews?

Poppy-Chan: Damn skippy.