Moonlight

The full moon shone bright and clear as it peeked through the clouds. A symbol of light, a symbol of peace, a sign of tranquility in the night. The silver light that came through the clouds reflected off the roof tiles of the first division. Across these same tiles, a man shrouded in black, walked.

It was a festive night. The skies were filled with the multicolored display that could only be fireworks, the colorful explosions occasionally giving light to the face that hid beneath the cowl. One could hear the boisterous laughter of men and women, accompanined by the rich sound of music, the sweet smell of well aged wine, in the distance.

He, however, kept silent, clinging to the shadows when he could, and when he couldn't, he did everything in his powerr to make certain that his purpose remain unknown. The only distinguishable feature about him, was the massive blade strapped to his back, bound by a red chain that ran the length of his shoulder. Beside him, seemingly floating in midair, was another, noticeably diminutive figure. So small in fact, that she could easily sit on his shoulder, and still not be very noticeable.

"Almost there?"

"Almost."

As they neared their destination, they passed countless passerby, some of whom, in their inebriated stupor, just let them be, passing by unhindered, undetected. However, as they crowd of departees began to clear, so did their cover. Now, most of whom they encountered were the guards overseeing the ceremony to which they were now headed. Moving when the fireworks paused, they struck silently and tactfully in the darkness.

Their adversaries slumped down noiselessly upon being approached by them. It was as if they had fallen into a deep, deep slumber, but this was a sweet, blissful dream from which they would not awaken until the events of this night had passed. But soon, there was no darkness to hide by, no shadows cast by the fireworks to creep about in. Other, more aware, resilient shinigami, had the wherewithal to resist the spell.

Unfortunately and unlike their fellows, it was these men who would suffer the cruelest fate. No one could know of their mission. All witnesses posed a threat to the secrecy of their task, a commitment that must be fufilled in the darkness and silence. Failure...was unacceptable

Now, a contingent of guards approached the duo with questions, and hands on the hilt of their blades. Surrounding him, they fenced the man in, leaving him nowhere to go, nowhere to escape to, should he attempt to flee. They did not noticed how his companion had vanished.

"You there..." A bulky, heavyset man, apparently the leader, spoke up with the distinctive scent of liquor on his breath. "What business do you have here? And what exactly have you done to my men?"

"No business, fukutaichou-san." The man replied humbly, inclining his head in a bow, keeping his face hidden. "Just a pair of travelers, passing through. As for your friends, perhaps they've just had too much sake to drink? The lot of you were just at a wedding, after all."

"You were present at this morning's ceremony?" The head guard wore a look of extreme skepticism. He obviously didn't believe that this shady looking character was telling the truth. "I'll have to see your papers then, sir."

"My apologies." The man spread his arms wide to show that he had nothing on him. Hr glanced towards him, the foremost of the guards who had surrounded him. The lad was young, barely a century old by the way he was trembling."I seem to have left them in my other coat. Perhaps you could let me go get them-" A sword was brought to his throat, silencing him.

"I didn't catch your name, stranger."

"I never gave it." He replied with a pleasant smile. "Perhaps you'd like to give me yours?"

"Marechiyo Yoshiayamenosuke Nikkōtarōemon-

"My my," The man interrupted suddenly with a slow, shake of his head. "That won't do at all. It's such a long name. Too long if you ask me. I don't think I'll be able to remember it...after you die."

"WHAT?!"

Omaeda fell, spurting blood in three places as he feebly clutched at his neck.

His comrades cried out in dismay, but it was already much too late for their friend. Another fell, his neck twisting itself to the left at an awkward angle. He wouldn't be getting up again. The third managed to draw his sword in time, only for another's to ram into his chest. A fourth tried to sound the alarm, but a palm slammed into his larynx, silencing him, before the strange weapon found his throat as well. Two more slumped to the ground, bleeding from the back of the head, and still another collapsed, clawing at his face. Having witnessed such horrifying display of power, the remaing men fell into disorder and attempted to flee. They hadn't gone more than ten steps before they too experienced a similar fate.

Throughout all this, not a sound was made.

Even as he finished off those who had survived the onslaught, there was silence. Only the sound of chirping crickets pervaded the air, filling the man with a sense of nostalgia as he set about his grim task of disposing with the bodies. Finally, his work done, the man stepped over those still slumbering guards who had succumbed to his spell, and continued onward, his head bowed. Such a pity, really. The good always died young, these days.

"Hey, you sure....you wanna do this?"

"..." He paused briefly, glancing to his companion, who had taken flight from his shoulder during the battle. She was a good deal smaller then he, her voice confirming her identity, the glow emanating from her body, giving her an almost fairy-like appearance flitting about. Though his face could not be seen, he grinned, exposing pearly white teeth. He reached hand out from the folds of his robe, poking her with one finger. He spoke:

"If I recall correctly, this was your idea."

"I....She sputtered furiously, before darting into the shadows once more, her golden glow dimming visibly as she resumed her customary perch upon his shoulder, little more than a dim speck of candlelight in the darkness. "Master, you're such a pain!"

"Relax." He gave her head a reassuring pat before withdrawing his arm back into the shadows. "This is nothing we haven't done before. We just have a bigger target this time, is all."

"'Kay." She relented quietly, gripping his shoulder with her tiny hands. He pulled out a photo of their target for her to see. This was a private job, no questions asked, no answers given. Infiltrate and assasinate the target, then they'd get paid the other half of their already significant sum.

"So....that's him?"

"It is. Yamamoto Shigekuni Genryusai." He held the poster closer to her face, so she could see the visage of their target. "Remember his name and face. It'll only take two hits, but the problem will be getting close in the first place. He's bound to be heavily guarded by them."

"Which is why you brought that, right?" Her gaze strayed to the unwieldly cleaver he'd brought specifically for this mission. There was just a flicker of irritation in her doe brown eyes now. "I don't see why you need him, I'm perfectly capable of handling this myself, you know."

"Jealous, are we?" He inquired pleasantly, flicking at one of her pigtails playfully. "How cute." She shrieked in surprise, darted away, pointed the stinger at him menacingly, lips parting into an angry hiss.

"Nu-uh! Suzumebachi is not jealous! Say that again and I'll poke your eye out!"

"You always refer to yourself in the third person when you're upset." He noted, much to her ire. "And right now, you're redder than a cherry tomato, my dear Suzumebachi."

"Urusei!" She squeaked at him.