What if Tenzen never managed to blurt out where Gennosuke was hidden? What if Oboro really had had enough of Tenzen and her cursed eyes finished him more quickly instead of dawdling?
Although I loved the real ending and was deeply touched by it, I still couldn't but hope it would've ended with Gennosuke's and Oboro's wedding. I am a hopeless romantic after all. It wouldn't have had to be even sweet or syrupy, just that they would've at least married and I could've been left wonderfully relieved and content, geez. I also liked Yashamaru and Hotarubi as a pair, but I'm not trying to bring them from the dead in this story. Maybe some other time. :3
Btw, at the moment I'm drawing a comic out of this. Some pages are already sketched, I only need to pen them. I don't know if I'll finish it, but I could scan them and put them on eg. imageshack or DA. And no, it doesn't look pseudo, not to fear. But it doesn't have as great backgrounds as most Japanese comics either. I don't have patience enough to work on that. ^^'
Watching the fire illuminate its surroundings eerily beautifully was almost hypnotising. While gazing at the dance of lights, she suddenly had a chilling feeling of being observed. Glancing up to the woods she was presented with a familiar figure and face. Recognition hit with a quick flash of past.
"Kyouhachirou-deshou?! Wait, I wish to talk to you. Don't run away! Please!" she pleaded while he had already turned away ready to set off.
But instead of fleeing, for personal reasons he stood awhile there unmoving.
"I remember Kyouhachirou-sama, please." Please listen to what I have to say.
The ninja leaped down from the tree branch silently, only a light brush against the soil under his feet.
"I remember Oboro-sama also, from the first time we met."
"I know you must have seen everything. But please, I beg of you, do not report anything about Gennosuke-sama. My clan has been cut down, as has been his. And Gennosuke-sama is the only one who's left for me; I have no other reason left to live for. I'll take him to some peaceful place and you'll never see the sight of us again."
"To go so far.. I thought that Kouga was Iga's enemy..?"
"I have never thought so. Gennosuke-sama also, can see past the unrelenting grudges between our clans. That's why.."
"I see. Nevertheless, I promise nothing."
"Wait, Kyouhachirou-sama!" But this time he did not halt.
Doubt clouded the youngest Hattori Hanzo's mind, as he hid himself deeper in the forest.
She is right. There is no reason to have the last two representatives battle each other, especially when they do not feel the need and one of them is mortally wounded. The Hattori Clan has for so long kept the peace treaty between the two shadow clans, and to have them destroy each other.. was it all really necessary?
The night had set in by the time Oboro was disrupted again.
Sound of hurried steps was growing in volume.
"Kouga Gennosuke is here!" someone shouted.
All men halted, as they surveyed the scene before them.
"What is this?"
They were scared to the spot, sweat glistening down their temples. Ofuku was the first to break the eerie silence.
"So-someone of you immediately do something, don't just stand there! Hurry up and put his head back!" she shouted with a slightly croaky voice.
"B-but, Ofuku-dono..!" the men stammered, not quite willing to touch the body parts, having superstitious fears about curses and the spirit of the body's owner.
"Fools, what are you afraid of?! This is for Takechiyo-sama, and me, this Ofuku!" she boomed, gaining more confidence and pride as she reminded them and herself of her status.
Oboro was very still, sitting on the porch.
Tenzen had done many things in his life. Probably much more terrible deeds, than trying to slay Gennosuke-sama, but the latter was reason enough for what she was about to do.
She watched all this bustling around him patiently, waiting.
Grandmother had let her understand that he had done many evil deeds in the long life he'd led, and that it was alright, and recommendable to put an end to him. After all she had witnessed and borne, she had to agree. And to think what he would do to the weak, bleeding leader of Kouga, were he to be resurrected.. This time she wouldn't let him. Her limits of forgiveness had far since met their ends.
She kept her eyes all the time trained at his face, unblinking. Nothing could bring her to turn her head away, not even the blood, or Tenzen's terrible expression of pain.
Tenzen's eyes were bulging sickeningly and his mouth shakily formed to make 'O', but couldn't go on further than that. The body began to finally shut down, and the face muscles were once again languid. The other one within him was forced to emerge and as soon as it did, it too had its gaze unwillingly locked into Oboro's intense eyes.
"O-bo-" it managed to gurgle out, wheezing, with its last shreds of strength.
But the 'ro' could never be uttered out, as the jutsu was already undone. Tenzen's head fell into the ground with an empty sound.
This should have been done to him long ago, she came with a sudden realisation, not that much disgusted with herself as she had expected herself to be.
The henchmen were simply terrified, but Ofuku on the contrary was surprisingly unaffected by the display.
"Well, it seems that immortality has its limits too. Rather disappointing though, that he should have went down so easily." And also much relieving that a potential threat for my future wealth has been removed.
"Is Oboro-sama here?" Ofuku peered around somewhat restlessly, her eyes settling on a vague visage of a sitting figure.
Her henchmen moved their torches so that she would better see her surroundings. The light gave them a view of the leader of the Iga in her kimono, wide violet eyes open, looking at no one directly.
"Oboro-sama! Ah, you can see now? W-what happened?"
"I burned their remains, the last two of the Kouga.. it is for the honour of our clan." Oboro stated calmly.
"Oboro-sama.." Ofuku exclaimed, eyes widening.
"Shadow clans sure are scary", someone had the courage to whisper behind his hand, while many others held alike thoughts.
Ofuku instantaneously switched her eyes to the ground, seeing remains of black-grey ashes glowing a little orange-red in the dark, a few sooty kunais and some other metal objects covered in the ash, her mouth curving into a content, somewhat coarse, smile-like shape.
"Ah, Oboro-sama, I must say I am most pleased! To think that the Kouga was defeated. Now I can finally feel at ease. And what is more, we can make our way to the Castle of Sunpu at last."
At first, Oboro did not answer and all waited quietly for her response. Oboro's face held a mask of blankness.
"I will head back to Tsubagakure. You can escort the scroll back to the castle grounds on my behalf," Oboro finally stated.
Shock was making its way through the party of Lady Ofuku and gasps were being swallowed down, to not show unrespect.
"B-but, Oboro-sama, surely you are mistaken? You must not be aware, that you won't be granted all the prosperity and honour if you don't deliver it personally!"
"My clan is destroyed. I no longer have use for such things." I never cared for our clan's win from the start.
"Ah, I'm most sorry for bringing that to your mind! But, about this, are you sure Oboro-sama?" For there was nothing Ofuku better cared for than fortune and might, she could not understand how someone would pass such a precious opportunity to rise in power.
"…I want to be able to rest, finally. Let me be in peace."
Ofuku could not deny her this, and had her servants prepare Oboro for her journey. Oboro declined any guards to accompany her, claiming that she was to travel alone.
She was brought food and water.
"May I have a blanket and bandages? I am rather tired after all this.."
"Ah, are you in need of a doctor, Oboro-sama?!"
"No, nothing that significant", she smiled, in a way she hoped was assuring.
"Yes Oboro-sama!!" the servant cried, bowing deep and at once scurried away to set up on the task. Oboro could not risk the detection of Gennosuke's location and so had to wait till the departure of Ofuku before she would be able to attend to what indeed was behind the stairs.
Gennosuke-sama. Please, hold on just a little bit more, and I'll be there to take care of you.
deshou, isn't that right, is it not so
dono, sometimes higher means of addressing a person than san, sometimes used by high ranked persons who address each other as equals, comes from tono = lord
sama, showing utmost respect for the person you address
I tried to imagine the Japanese way of saying things and fit in some Japanese expressions (I have studied Japanese for a while, and of course from watching anime since I was ten I might have assimilated a thing or two), but I don't know how well I succeeded. For some parts I didn't. ;__;
Also, note that some sentences are simple and childish purely because English is not my mother language. I have studied English in school since I was ten (ppl normally start it when they're 9 but I took French first), because it's one of our compulsory subjects, but I am much better at Finnish of course, having perfect grammar and large vocabulary and so on. As a result the quality differs disturbingly: at some parts I want to express something, but I really don't know how to in English, and in other parts I'm somewhat able to.
In the anime Hattori Kyouhachirou is much more compassionate than in the manga. That's why I've mixed them up a bit. Mostly I'm still following what there has been in the manga, though. (The almost kissing scene and the end are probably the only things I like in the anime) And both in the anime and in the manga, I greatly disapprove of the stupid monster ninjas. Ridiculous. They make the series look stupid and make it look like the whole story was just to show off their monstrous coolness (very questionable at that, I might add). The story feels so feeble with the mutants from the circus. And come on, the jaw of the Tokugawa, what was the point? Although I rather liked the way he resembled nothing like the classic Japanese ideals of him. *evil cackle*
About Oboro burning Kagerou to hide the fact that otherwise Gennosuke would still be missing.. probably not the brightest idea around. I mean, I know that fabric, body fluids and fat burns really nicely and all that, but where did she suddenly get a tinderbox? Well, maybe it was rather ordinary to carry one around, who knows. I'm too lazy to do any background search. If burning a body takes long, then maybe Oboro had more time.. Ofuku didn't come to the temple so quickly, meaning that the distance was longer, or that they didn't notice that something had happened (btw how did they, in the first place? And they seemed to assume that Gennosuke was there. Don't get it. u__u ) and Oboro might have thrown some wood into the fire. I don't even know if wood would make the process faster. How quickly does a body burn in a good fire? Almost all of the water in our body is body fluids, I suppose? Or is it? But when the fat burns, the water cannot hinder it in any way. But then again the water has to evaporate first before the body can totally burn. It's too complicated! I bit more than I can chew, so sry ppl, if the story seems unrealistic.
Sorry about the dots, I don't know why it won't let me have the spaces without them.