Samurai and Ninjas Chap. 29
I do not own Persona or the character's likenesses, sorry everyone. Atlus does. Blame my lack of creativity.
This story takes place towards the middle of the Heian period of Japan. I am not going to be completely historically accurate with this, so do not get all over my back about it. I could, but I am not going to be. How much Personas will play a part in it, I do not know about that one.
A note, I will mainly use first names first, then last names. I know this is the one glaring difference that I am using in respect of their culture, but since I am writing in English… I will write as such.
P.S.: I am switching to the Metric System for distances from now on.
P.P.S: If you noticed that my time and logistics are ridiculously impossible… I would like you to notice that: 1) it's not real. 2) I don't really care anymore about my time and logistics in a battle. 3) I lose track of everything that's going on, and I'm the one writing everything. Even when checking previous chapters, it's very difficult. 4) Come on… I get harped on enough already people.
P.P.P.S: I know that's a lot of Ps, but since there is so many people around Nara now, if you get confused who is where and fighting who… just ask.
Sadly… this chapter has people fighting where I don't want either person to die… What to do? To my reviewers: I don't know who's going to live even with my planned out storyline.
A pair of axes clashed and sparks flew outside of Souji Seta's residence. Two men, a Taira and a Minamoto, were engaged in a duel with each other as they shoved away from each other's weapons; neither lord was gaining any ground. Rain splattered on the orange and brown armor of the Minamoto and the gray of the Taira. Unlike many of the others, they were wearing distinct kabuto that were very unique. An orange one for the Minamoto, and a yellow one for the Taira.
Why were they dueling in front of Souji Seta's residence? Lord Masao Inaba and Lord Shinjiro Aragaki were fighting to gain a flanking advantage for their respective family. Unfortunately, they were the only lords in the Residential District at the moment. Serizawa, Silverman, and Kido had abandoned Masao, and Akihiko had left Shinjiro behind.
Shinjiro had the advantage of being bigger, and having the bigger axe. Though that meant Masao could take a couple of swipes at him, Shinjiro was quick enough to move away from his smaller hand axe. The only weapons that were bigger were Junpei's and Nanjo's long swords, and of course… Lord Tatsumi's studded kanabo.
Masao had charged Shinjiro again, wildly swinging his axe from side-to-side. Masao had to jump away because before he could get close enough to connect; Shinjiro came down with a long swipe of his two-handed axe. Shinjiro's axe seemed to get stuck in the dirt ground for just a moment; it was just enough time for Masao to take a swipe into Shinjiro's left arm. Shinjiro cursed, lifted his own axe out of the ground, and swung it at the Taira lord. Masao had enough time to block the strike of the axe, but the strike itself knocked him off his feet.
Masao rolled away as Shinjiro slammed his axe down, just clipping the left leg edge of Masao's hakama. Masao knew he had to move fast… aim for the neck this time around, cut the throat.
Masao pushed himself up, dodged another sideways strike from right to left that made the air stir and cut through the rain that was coming down in sheets. This was it… Masao's chance… Shinjiro was slightly off-balance and Masao could strike him down.
Masao, slightly shorter, moved closer and with his right hand… attempted a swing with his right hand. The strike never got there. Masao… started gurgling as he was slowly lifted off the ground…
Shinjiro had dropped his axe and grabbed a hold of Masao's throat with his right hand. The powerful fingers of the Aragaki family were crushing the life force of the Inaba family, figuratively and literally.
Shinjiro remembered what Fuuka told him…
Temp. Minamoto Camp on the way to Nara
Shinjiro was holding Fuuka's hands back while they were still traveling towards Nara in the same tent that she was residing in now.
"Lord Aragaki," Fuuka said suddenly.
"Yes?" Shinjiro asked the white-clad prophetess.
"You are going to die in this upcoming battle," Fuuka announced.
"I'm going to die!" Shinjiro exclaimed.
Shinjiro was not amused. He was one of Minato's personal guards, Minako's wife, but also considered physically, the strongest lord of the Minamotos. Shinjiro Aragaki, the oldest of the guards of Minato Arisato, he would not die. He could not die; the Aragaki's did not have an heir yet.
"You will die during the fight to take Nara, Shinjiro Aragaki," Fuuka reiterated.
"Do you know who will kill me?" Shinjiro asked, considering Fuuka seemed to know everything.
"I am unsure," Fuuka said, "It could be a Taira, Fujiwara, or even a Minamoto."
Shinjiro was not amused. That she even mentioned that a Minamoto might kill him was not funny. There were too many lords who were jealous that he was married to Lady Minako. Yet, if he could leave Lord Tatsumi and Souji Seta or Tatsuya Suou to someone else… that would be fine by him.
As Masao's axe fell from his limp hands and he stopped squirming, Shinjiro let a small smile reach his face. He was tired of Masao kicking his shins.
"You will not be the one to kill me," Shinjiro sneered.
As Shinjiro dropped the lord, he looked for someone to act as a messenger. He had taken a chokepoint that would be important for taking Nara and defeating what's really important; the Taira family.
Naoto was not sure that she was going to find anyone, or if she did… who she would find first. She just wanted to find someone she knew. Raidou… Nagi… Souji… she wanted to find them.
"This rain is so annoying," Naoto muttered.
The rain was dripping off her hair and running off her skintight clothes. She would never have worn something like this unless there was due cause… like finding Souji even if she had to fight her way around the city to find him.
She was only thankful that her chest was still bandaged because of injury. Even she would be reluctant to wear this outfit if she did not… Well… she did not want to talk about that. Maybe… if this was not a battlefield and she could find Souji... she did not want to think about it.
Walking down a path where blood had spattered from who knows what sort of battles; Naoto warily gazed from side-to-side. If she knew that the blood was actually Souji's… she would not have taken the news lightly. That was when she spotted another girl with gold headgear on top of short blond hair wearing her own white light skintight armor.
Naoto noticed that the girl had been knocked unconscious. The girl also had two belts of weapons hanging across her chest. The weapons were an array of tools that were similar to Naoto's. As Naoto took a step towards the girl, the blue-haired young woman could see that there was no sort of wounds on the unconscious one. Naoto was curious, however… because she did not recognize him.
Another step and another… Naoto took steps towards her. The blond girl's vibrant blue eyes shot open and Naoto flipped back. Naoto was not expecting her to awake so suddenly. Naoto was amazed that she could even flip back… it must have been on pure instinct.
The girl in white didn't not push herself up… she sort of lifted herself up without any support from any other sources, including limbs. Her knees sort of bent and they lifted the white-clothed girl up onto her feet.
It was then Naoto heard the girl speak for the first time.
The girl looked straight at Naoto and said to her in a monotone voice, "When you fall, you get right back up."
Naoto raised an eyebrow. She asked, "Who… are you?"
The girl responded in the same tone as before, "I am… Aigis." She continued, "You are not a Minamoto."
"So…?" Naoto responded.
Aigis explained, "Then… you are my enemy."
Naoto's dark blue eyes widened as the young woman in white drew a needle out from her neck where it had been lodged and readied it to throw, seemingly at the surprised Naoto. Naoto took a step back as she reached behind her back to protect herself from the young woman named Aigis, who seemed to be a Minamoto.
The needle flew straight and true from Aigis's right hand towards Naoto's neck. Only Naoto's fast reflexes and her preemptive readiness by having her hand on her ninjato allowed the girl Souji fell for to draw the blade and deflect the needle to the side.
With the first needle deflected, Naoto started to close the distance that she had originally created for herself from Aigis. She was a young woman trained by her cousins, and blocked three more needles that came her way. All three needles nearly hit her, however, and Naoto was extremely thankful that her instincts had saved her. As Naoto closed the final quarter-meter and sliced left diagonally downwards, she found her blade blocked by a needle. Aigis was holding a needle and pushing Naoto's ninjato back with a much smaller and thinner weapon.
"What the…?" Naoto muttered, trying to hold in her surprise.
Aigis shoved Naoto's blade up, back flipped up, resulting in a kick to Naoto's chin, and landing perfectly in a sideways position, right side towards Naoto. Naoto stumbled as Aigis drew a different weapon, a shuriken this time. At this short distance, a throw was almost pointless. Aigis could just as well slit Naoto's throat with the curved edges of the tool with a slash.
Aigis made that slash, or she tried to cut across Naoto's throat. The multiple curves of the tool cut small amounts of her blue hair, but the blond-haired woman had missed the shorter Naoto's throat. The resulting extension of Aigis's arm from her slash gave Naoto an opportunity to grab a hold of the Minamoto's, and pull it behind her so Aigis would fly over her shoulder onto the ground. The girl in white hit hard, but rolled through it with light scrapes and a single small hole in her skintight armor.
Naoto took a deep breath as Aigis got up from the throw Naoto had performed. Aigis had a small tear around her shoulder in her armor, but it did not deter her from throwing two needles and a shuriken at Naoto. Two needles were deflected by Naoto's ninjato, but there was no way Naoto could reach that third projectile in time. The weapon made a long tear through both her blue skintight armor alongside her right arm and her arm itself.
Naoto muttered a curse as she dropped her ninjato in pain. The tool had slid deep as it ran through her arm. The peasant was right-handed, and if she had to start fighting left-handed; it might get messy… for Naoto at least.
Regardless of her predicament, Naoto pulled out of one of the few needles that were provided by Margaret. She darted, blood running down her right arm, towards Aigis. Naoto's thoughts were bent on stabbing Aigis with her needle, but Aigis had a needle as well and her thoughts were similar to Naoto's. The needles met each other in front of each girl's chest as metal met metal. The two females stepped back slightly and then clashed again and again. Naoto's needle came down in a thrust from above her left shoulder, but was deflected from a sideways arm bar. Aigis tripped Naoto and threw Naoto to the ground and proceeded to throw her own needle into Naoto's left shoulder, immobilizing the Fujiwara's left arm.
As Aigis stood in front of the fallen Naoto, she drew one last shuriken to throw into the heart of her opponent. With her left arm struck by a paralyzing needle and her right having a long and deep gash along the inside, Naoto knew that trying to use them would be pointless. However, Naoto doubted if Aigis counted on the Fujiwara on using her legs to counter an attack.
Right before Aigis threw her weapon, Naoto twisted her legs so her right leg collided with and grabbed hold of the front of Aigis's legs then her left leg grabbed hold of the back of Aigis's legs and threw her to the ground. The resulting force of this counter was made even more effective because Aigis's head hit hard against the dusty road and a resonating crack was heard.
With great pain and difficulty, Naoto reached over with her right arm and pulled out the offending needle that had immobilized her left arm. As she gritted her teeth, she found that she could move her left arm again, so she could use that arm to brace herself and push herself to her feet.
Only great luck and quick thinking had saved Naoto and she was glad she was still alive. Aigis had a small trickle of blood flowing out of her scalp. Naoto assumed that she might have killed her. It was unfortunate.
"Why were you so set on killing me?" Naoto asked, even though Aigis could not hear her.
Naoto walked past Aigis to where her ninjato had fallen and bent down. She reached down and picked it up, handling it rather gingerly considering her wound on her right arm. Placing it back in the scabbard on the small of her back, she turned back around. She still needed to find Souji… and her cousins, if they were still alive. They better be.
Two women, both wearing blue skintight armor were staring each down. Both of them had vivid and vibrant, yet almost unnatural yellow eyes. They both had bright blond hair, but the younger of the two had a bowl cut, but the older had longer furls that ran to her shoulders. The most telling feature of both of these women, however, was that they had both been blessed by Ame-no Amaterasu Ookami. They were both children of Lord Philemon, next-in-line for the throne of Emperor of Japan. Yet, they stood across from each other as enemies, fighting for different causes and families.
Elizabeth, the one with short hair and the younger of the two asked, "Why are you even here, sister? You already know the outcome of this battle."
"If I can save some lives… and change as many personal outcomes within this battle, maybe I can make a difference," Margaret replied.
"You are ever the charitable and caring one, sister," Elizabeth told Margaret as she then explained, "We already know that Lord Tatsumi is fated to die in this fight." She asked, "Who is it that you are so worried about saving?"
"That is none of your concern," Margaret said, "Lives will be lost, but lives will also be saved."
Elizabeth shook her head. Margaret never shut up about her philosophical drivel.
"How long have you been pregnant with Lord Minato's child?" Margaret's suddenly asked.
"Long enough to know that he will be the new emperor when he is born," Elizabeth answered.
"I hope that it won't slow you down," Margaret smiled. She finished, "My little sister."
"I have to return to Lord Minato, sister," Elizabeth winked as she finished, "Let's not dally."
Instead of charging, the pair walked forward with no visible weapons in sight. What came next was a flash of light and a resounding shockwave that made all of the incoming rain fly skyward and far away from its destination.
After Aigis/Naoto fight
Souji did not expect to run into basically the female equivalent of the leader of the Minamoto family. She was technically not the leader of the family, since she was female after all. She was the matriarch, however, because she was the oldest of the Arisato females. Yet, the twin sister of Minato Arisato stood before Souji Seta with her naginata behind her right shoulder, looking as deadly as any other soldier or fighter in the battlefield as rain drenched the pair of them.
The young woman with short literally orange hair that she had clipped and held back in three places turned to her faithful guardian dog, Koromaru and commanded, "Go find my brother and protect him."
The dog, a large and pure white with incredibly sharp teeth whimpered.
"Shoo…" Minako told her dog, "Go find Minato. I'll be fine."
Koromaru barked at Minako, a reassuring bark. One that meant, "You better win, or else he would never forgive her".
"I understand," Minako seemed to understand the dog as well.
Souji looked at the pair with utter confusion as Koromaru scampered off. He just did not get it.
Minako looked at Souji. If only she had not been arranged to marry such an angry, volatile, and sometimes… even jealous young man, she could have chosen her own. Someone that suited her tastes, that was for sure. It was kind of sad when Lord Amada futilely chased after her like a little lost puppy. If only Lord Sanada was not so socially awkward, but at least he was arranged with an outstanding young woman in society… Lady Kirijo. Yet, here she was, in tight orange and white armor, standing in front of the most famous samurai in the land. They make them good looking too.
It bothered her though, considering that she was a Minamoto and that someone like Souji Seta was a Fujiwara. Not just because of his looks, of course… but also because of his skill as a swordsman. He was said to have been blessed by Izanagi for battle prowess. What bothered her was the fact that there obvious wear from battle in Souji's clothes, dressed in silver hakama with no armor for speed, but Minako could see no markings, scarring, or cuts from previous battles. It was as if he was untouched… or healed by someone outside power.
Minako brushed back a small strand of offending hair that threatened to get in front of her face. It was then she asked the question that was on her mind, "Souji… have you been in a battle with another Minamoto or Taira recently?"
"If that concerns you greatly, then yes… I have," Souji nodded.
Minako questioned, "If I may ask, who?"
"A Minamoto… I don't think she was a lady… her name was Aigis," Souji told her.
Minako did not say anything else. If Souji was attacked by the assassin and lived, then she really needed to pay attention from now on if she wanted to live.
Souji took a deep breath while he calculated the length of the blade on top of the naginata. The leverage and size of the metal haft would give her speed and strength, but the small size of the actual blade would be a disadvantage. After making various calculations, Souji drew the longer blade from his waist, instead of his nodachi.
Minako spun the shaft of her naginata away from her shoulder and then, temporarily placing a second hand on the weapon, she started spinning it across the front of her body until it was a blur. It was a perfect defensive technique for Minako because she could move her naginata around her whole body in one easy motion.
Souji knew that he would have to bide his time because of Minako's defensive posture. Until she attacked the samurai, an attack by him would only result in a counter that could get him killed. He would have to try something else.
"Someone's tentative," Souji taunted, "Scared?"
Minako replied with a smile, "Just trying to think of the best way to kill you."
"Unfortunately, you will not be able to," Souji answered.
"We will find out, yes?" Minako nodded, naginata still whirling past her body.
Souji stayed his ground as Minako finally made the first move. Minako slashed downwards with her naginata, but her weapon was blocked by an upward counter-slash by Souji's. They tussled back and forth, weapons clashing and sparks flying between the pair. Minako tried again to get into Souji's guard by whirling her weapon once over her head than slashing from the right to the left. Souji countered with a left sideways slash that made Minako's hands hurt.
With Minako's hands ringing, Souji drove his right foot into Minako's left shin. She winced in pain and fell to one knee as Souji rolled his sword around once in his hands and prepared to strike. Souji never got a chance to cut into Minako because she used the metal shaft of her weapon to block the sword strike. The parry knocked Souji's sword up slightly, but Souji slashed again. This time, Minako parried the metal shaft straight into Souji's wrists.
Minako's hands may be stinging from the counter of the samurai blade, but Souji's were in incredible pain. The pain forced Souji to hesitate and it was enough time for Minako to use the back half of her naginata to trip the samurai. It gave Minako a chance to stand up and now she was the one staring down at the fallen opponent.
The sword half of the naginata came flying down towards Souji and with the burning feeling in his wrists; the only thing he could do to possibly save himself from a quick death was drop his longer weapon and pull out his lighter, shorter nodachi. Sparks flew as nodachi collided with naginata. Since the nodachi was not heavy enough to gain an advantage on the naginata, Souji rolled through before Minako could slash again. Rolling to his feet, Souji turned around to see that Minako had already charged towards him.
"Damn…" Souji thought.
He had no time to idly curse though. Souji was ready this time around for Minako's strike and as the downward slash came; the samurai slid his nodachi behind the naginata and pulled it safely past him. Pulling the naginata past him in a violent motion drove Minako off-balance again and Souji threw her hard, flipping above his arms onto her back. Minako gasped as she hit the ground; she could feel nothing but the rain drenching her face.
The naginata had left Minako's hands; it had fallen to the wayside when Souji had flipped her. She had stopped moving her arms and legs, but her eyes were wide open and blinking… crying in pain. It made him wonder if she had been paralyzed as Souji sheathed his nodachi and bent down to grab his samurai blade.
Souji turned his head as a female voice called out from behind, "Souji!"
The sight of the short, ruffled blue-haired girl with dark blue eyes melted Souji's heart, but drove great sorrow as well at seeing her on the battlefield. Why was she here? Why did she risk her life when he told her not to…?
"Naoto…" Souji said very softly, closing the distance between them.
If Naoto was surprised that Souji did not notice her apparel; it might have been because he was used to fighting women wearing skintight armor already or…
Souji smiled and said to her, "You look really nice in navy blue."
Naoto shook her head, "You are only saying that because you can see my curves."
"It does look better than a yukata, and… it's raining," Souji winked at her.
"I would say something to you, but I will withhold my comments for now," Naoto crossed her arms.
Souji decided to close his mouth, which was probably a good thing.
Naoto looked past Souji and saw the orange-haired woman in white and orange skintight armor lying on the ground.
"What did you do to her?" Naoto raised an eyebrow at Souji.
"What did I do?" Souji asked, looking incredulous, "She tried to kill me, so I retaliated."
Souji and Naoto locked eyes as Naoto told him, "I was looking for you, you know?"
Souji smiled and responded, "That was not necessary. In fact, I told you not to, remember?"
"And you expected me to listen to you?" Naoto's arms were still crossed.
"Not really," Souji was trying to suppress a chuckle.
"Well… I also came to find my brother and sister," Naoto closed her eyes temporarily as she explained the whole truth.
"I left your brother and sister to fight an assassin named Aigis," Souji explained.
"I just knocked her out again," Naoto told him.
"I blame Lady Margaret," Souji shook his head, "She was the one who knocked her out the first time."
Naoto could not help but to chuckle. The woman who killed demons could not keep a woman like Aigis unconscious for a long period of time; it was just pathetic.
Naoto moved even closer to Souji and their fingers touched. Souji said to Naoto, "Let's find Raidou and Nagi, then we should evacuate Nara."
"What about Lord Tatsumi?" Naoto asked, "You are sworn to protect him."
Souji sighed, "Their next course of action will be to leave Nara and head to Kyoto. Lord Tatsumi will be fine."
Naoto looked doubtful, but Souji nodded in reassurance.
A kilometer and a half away from the Taira camp
Between Naoto/Aigis and Minako/Souji fights
On a horse rode two people, a noble and a samurai. One was a prisoner, and the other… a secondary leader of the Tairas. Why a secondary leader? It was because she was married into the family. Yet, at this moment, she was feelings rather livid towards the Taira family.
Lady Maki Sonomura was tired of being ignored, tired of being left behind, and tired of being cheated on. So… who better to accomplish a little revenge with than someone from another family who wanted something out of the Taira family?
Maki, looking over her shoulder, said to the person behind her on the horse, "Yosuke… do you understand your orders?"
"Kill Naoya Toudou, right?" a young man with brown hair that could almost be considered… fluffy responded.
"I have one more order for you," Maki told him as she swerved the horse around an oak tree.
"What is it?" Yosuke asked as he adjusted his red and white hakama.
Maki explained, "I need you to eliminate Souji Seta."
"Souji?" Yosuke looked a little surprised at the news. He continued, "You want to me to kill the greatest samurai in the Fujiwara family?"
"You want to be with Ayase, right?" Maki questioned, slowing the horse slightly. She said to him, "Just do what I say and you can be with her."
Yosuke sighed, "I understand."
"Alright," Maki said as she felt behind her to see if her longbow was still safely attached. She picked up speed as thoughts of Yosuke driving the two poisoned knives she gave to him into Naoya's heart. The blades were meant for Lady Amano, but she gave them to Yosuke to kill Naoya and Souji. She would have her revenge.
I really hated putting on fights between characters I really like; it's really hard to write them out. If you are worried about the epicness about a certain fight, maybe it is not over?
I'm sorry that it took so long to get another chapter out. Reasons? 1) I started it during finals. 2) Family gatherings 3) Migraines. I had a good Saturnalia, I hope your holidays went well.