I own not Samurai Warriors or Naruto, and apparently not even the idea the two would make a cute couple.

Dedicated to—you!

I won't bother you with any more rubbish—but if you're so inclined, read the footnotes.


The Shadow's Song

Kioji


-Chapter One-

Surrender

Sometimes you just gotta go with it.


This was awful.

She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, wondering just how long she was going to be able to keep this up before someone noticed. Before he noticed. Even as focused and straight-forward as the general was, he was bound to catch on at some point. Especially if she kept vomiting all over camp…

"You—kunoichi—the Sanada call for you!"

She quirked a brow, pretending to have some business kneeled over in the grass besides being sick all over herself. She waved a hand in the air and rose to her feet, pretending to ignore the obvious sneer in the soldier's voice. Like many, he did not approve of shinobi—let alone a woman shinobi, one seemingly favored by the Sanada clan.

Stretching, she rocked on her toes and begged the unnamed gods to ease the rolling thunder in her stomach, to sooth the headache throbbing in her temples.

As she made her way to the general's quarters, she counted the men strewn about—a quirky habit of hers. She didn't like being put off guard.

One, two…three…

Someone spat at her, turning his back on her as he bent back to scratching at his meal. She wiped the mucus from her arm, noting the grit and blood. Probably a victim of pneumonia—the humid weather and unsanitary conditions were getting to the best of men. She didn't bother remembering his face for her revenge, knowing he would probably be dead before winter set in.

Four… one behind the bush there—five…

A hand reached out and stopped her in her path, taking the woman by surprise. She bit down to keep from swearing.

"You are not well."

She almost laughed out loud, suppressing a shiver.

"Whatever gave you that idea?"

Yukimura frowned, uncharacteristically showing concern. He beckoned her to follow him into a tent, one she recognized to be his own.

"So what's up? I thought the old man—"

"Master Shingen did not summon you. I did."

She sucked the inside of her cheek while maintaining a straight face, irritated she made another mistake. He merely looked her over before continuing.

"I am leaving you here. We march out in the morning—"

"What? You're kidding, right? You're leaving me here? I can—"

"You will only get in the way. I have other shinobi guards that will do just as well. Return to your quarters," he stated firmly, leaving no room for argument. She allowed herself to slump her shoulders for a fraction of a second before trying again. He shot a hand up before she could get the first word out.

"While you are here, I want you to observe Katanuma Nobumoto and report back to me when I return."

She chewed on her lower lip, debating whether or not to argue orders. Of course she knew she couldn't, but she wanted to anyway—even if it was just to prolong the conversation. However, her employer seemed to have other plans, giving her the signal to take her leave. She inclined her head in respect and ducked out.

Even Yukimura's tolerance only ran so thick.


The tiny canvas tent she called home sang sweetly in the breeze as the tempest festering on the horizon inched closer. Her hair almost stood up on end with the electric tension in the air, no doubt foreshadowing a wicked storm. There were many like that in this region, almost daily, she reminded herself. So there was no reason she should be so on edge, like something was going to happen.

Knowing number twenty four sleeping soundly beneath a barberry bush was oblivious to her presence, she allowed a tremor to move through her frame. The fever was back, it seemed—and she chewed the last of her herbal tea leaves in the middle of the night to keep from shaking out of her bedroll.

Taking the time to secure her shelter more firmly, the nameless kunoichi crouched low and entered her quarters, diving head-first into her musty pallet to wait for the worst to blow over.

As the rain and wind battered at the fluid walls just barely keeping the weather out, she dreamed about her parents for the first time since leaving her home so long ago. Unlike many young people thrown into the tumultuous world of war and death, she had done so willingly—she embraced the idea of becoming a shinobi—a kunoichi. For in it was freedom. Escape.

Her mother might have cared, if she had been an only child—or at the very least, the only girl. Her father might have loved her if she had been born a man. Or not at all. Of the four daughters he was plagued with, he most ardently liked her the least.

So of course she left home a lot, shrinking her duties to play war with the village children or plunder nature for her fruit. Of course she got beaten a lot, for having a mind and speaking it. And of course when the notion arose that she could simply leave and not return, she did just that—took off with a handful of stolen coins and two mismatched shearing knives.

What had been her name? Kimono? Kichi? Kyoto?

Searing pain shot through her gut, forcing her awake onto her knees as she clutched her stomach, wondering if she was perhaps poisoned. Not unheard of, she thought casually, feeling chilled as her blanket exposed her sweat-dewed skin. She retched, praying something would come up besides sickly noises and disappointment…

Instead of reaching a plateau and diminishing, the pain tightened and intensified. She finally started to worry.

Clawing at her clothes, she wondered if it would be unseemly to stumble into camp for help. After all, she would be met with a warmer reception if she wandered into the enemy encampment. She laughed in her panic, her thoughts flying unbidden to Yukimura. Surely he…

Surely she spent too much time with a temperature to think his continued acceptance of her presence meant anything past a professional interest. When prompted by another officer about why he would allow such a blasphemous creature to serve under him and prance around with so much freedom, Yukimura simply replied she could better profit him if she could do her own thing. Besides, what could he possibly do or say to change her wayward ways?

Another shock of pain flashed through her senses. She realized it wasn't just her stomach crying out in torment; her arms and legs and head started to pulsate with an unfamiliar pain. Her entire body seized and crumpled in sudden paralysis, frightening her more than anything in her short twenty years. Even if she wanted to crawl to her master's feet and beg for mercy—she couldn't.

Choking out a half-felt plea, she tried to belly along the ground to the tent flap, but she soon found her lungs stricken as well. Tears running down her face, she ceased her desperation and accepted the fact she was probably going to die.


Like a burning ash, she slowly floated down from the sky, her eyes wide as she sank beneath a grey-white surface of some kind. She still had no control over her limbs, or else she would be struggling back to the bright light shimmering above, knowing that was life, and stewing below her was a dimming existence called death.

She could see around her even though her eyes were still searching for an answer upward, noting with some relief she didn't seem to be in hell. No flames yet—just wispy, untouchable mist without moisture or pressure.

As the scene before her slowly faded away as she sank, she let go of her phantom panic and settled finally to the bottom. Opening her eyes, she nodded with a smile and admired the pond lined by reeds before her.


Sometimes it rained. Sometimes the colorless sky would erupt in a fury of crimson and gold, illuminating the deep green cattails and silver surface with impressive passion. Most of the time it was silent, with whispering voices drifting from no where over the water.

Well, it could be Botulism.

Bot…tu…

No,… symptoms started in her stomach—and no one else… shows signs…

Bot…tu..li…sim…

She's been checked for … ?

What a funny word. Bottu li sum.

Yes, of course, what kind of operation do you think we run here?

Operation—operation? Like infiltration?

I'm just concerned…don't mean…offend…

Hey,… alright… is going to be alright.

hope…


I'm dead, right?

She stretched out her hands before her, admiring the way the source-less light shone off of her moonlight pale skin. Looking back at the impressive lake before her, she posed another wordless question.

I can't go back, can I? I snuffed it. Dead as a door nail.

She returned to waving her fingers before her face, wondering what Yukimura was doing. Marching out, perhaps? Certainly he wouldn't halt his… operation… just for a nobody kunoichi.

Operation…Bottu li sum…

Who is Sakura? She asked, watching the water finally waver in response. She shook her fist at the trembling waves.

What is Bottu li sum?

Angry and confused, she tried to plant her feet down so she could get into a proper stance to threaten the emptiness. It was almost comical to watch her toes flex and beat the air fruitlessly as she hovered above the ground.

Where am I? Why am I alone?

She shouted, though there was no sound—she shouted.

And then the pond shouted back.


And so I find myself at the ends of the Earth,
hand in hand with my fear.


I've done some research, and Kunoichi, according to the Koei wikipedia, has been referred to by name as Kunoichi in Warrior's Orochi, but since it means 'female ninja,' I highly doubt anyone in their right mind would name their kid that in Feudal Japan. There are some more facts and stuff about her employment-like she originally served Shingen and was given to Yukimura or the Sanada clan or whatnot-that I am uncharacteristically choosing to ignore since I am going to be meshing two unrelated universes together. So-

Kunoichi is not her name.

She is older here, not fifteen as in Samurai Warriors 1. (I have yet to own the third installment, but I'm going to, mark my words...)

I do not promise a lot of updating, but I don't think it'll be a long one. I'm just curious is all, to see if I can do something like this. That's the nature of this work-curiosity.