Warning(s): Character death and implied shounen-ai, if you lean that way.
Note(s): Phrases in bold are spoken in English, while those in italics are only emphasized or are thoughts of characters.
Length: 1,777 words
A very lengthy author's note(s) at the bottom.
The sun's light had been nothing but blinding to Yukimura as he, on a wheezing horse, darted through the thick foliage, aimless as he was, searching for the bleakest sign of life. He had been, for the past hour, traversing over a marsh of torn limbs and puddles of blood, hearing the snap of bones under his steed's pounding hooves. His determination would not regress; he continued on his search, the slightest trickle of sweat being his only deviation.
He had far passed the flourishing forest, its green having been ruthlessly turned to a stark red hue, making his way into a decimated village. The devastation made him cringe – houses were burnt to the ground and reduced to an unsightly pile of grey, bodies were equally ravaged and splayed across the partially paved roads. He decided to go on foot, whilst carefully inspecting for any familiarity among the casualties. He had, in the deepest recesses of his mind, been wishfully thinking that the prideful smirk from that one person could still exist at a time like this.
He hardened his grip on his spears as more bodies greeted him as he ventured deeper into the village. Corpses, both from the young and old, were scattered all over, as if mere live stock. A sliver of blue cloth he caught underfoot pulled his attention wholly, further fueling the ominous thoughts he was harboring that very moment. Upon closer inspection, as he had meticulously noted, there had been partial embroidery of gold, bearing a vivid resemblance to that of the Date Clan's crest. In his grasp, the cloth had crumpled as his eyes frantically scanned for more signs, even the slightest motion from the limp bodies.
His usually prepped up facade had managed to reorient itself to an unrelenting squint, a grimace under the dire circumstances. He wanted answers, and the answers he must find with haste. Further into the village's complex he marched. Everything had remained soundless, save for that tiny, audible squall from a direction not far off from where he stood. His eyes instinctively darted towards it source, and at that same instant, he found Kojuro clinging onto an aging doors handle, a desperate attempt to stand, or at the very least, call Yukimura's attention.
"Kojuro-dono!" his voice echoed through the hushed remnants of a battlefield as he adeptly rushed to the injured man's side. Brief seconds before he had reached him however, Kojuro had collapsed shortly after mouthing an almost silent 'Masamune-sama'. This had brought on more questions for Yukimura, who was now in an even greater state of panic. His spears had dully slipped from his clammy hands, them having profusely sweating from frustration – he needs to, he has to find Masamune.
He dutifully propped the valiant, loyal confidante and right hand man against the wooden walls of the still upright house before he retraced a fresh trail of blood. He surmised that it were from Kojuro, who had been bleeding profusely from a gaping wound to his side, a clean and deep cut from a blade evident. Perhaps, it would lead him to where Masamune was.
The trail had been more or less visible, only just an addition to the stale puddles of dried browns and some blacks. It had gone on indefinitely, with him having found new and escalated awe for the older man. Kojuro-dono must have walked.. Yukimura thought dryly that walking would not have been a viable, more so a doable option in Kojuro's more than battered state – he bit down on his lip, hard enough to draw blood, as the gravity of the sacrifice by the former sunk down like a rock. Kojuro-dono probably limped his way through. Masamune-dono must still be..
It was not apt time for imaginings.
He dragged his feet wearily as he had been stunned still by the sight of many men in blue uniform spread lifeless, eyes rid of all glint, across the forest floor. He had been naive. There is not the littlest chance that a stolen last breath would peer through anyone, not with their heads decapitated, limbs expertly torn and frail bodies mercilessly pierced. He willed himself, the palms of both his hands clashing against the solid handles of his spears once more, to disregard all the on-coming premonitions, regardless if they spelled the truth, and possibly the answer he had been seeking through and through.
Masamune-dono couldn't be-
It had been late when he realized that the trail ended, it becoming invisible, camouflaged by the myriads of a variety of red. He lifted his gaze up, only to have himself gaping at the sight. The previously red and blue was now riddled with black. He cupped his mouth with a hand, a previously well-handed spear gracelessly clanking against the ragged ground. He surmised that the Dokuganryu that he knew had snapped, dealing an equally devastating murder of cold blood to his adversaries.
He heightened his pace, all the while he was taking notice of the greater concentration of fallen enemies. Masamune-dono must be close by. His eyes trailed the field. It had been clear in his memory, how that glistening crescent moon stood atop Masamune's head, crown and glory on its own. He had initially thought that finding it would be quite an easy task, but he had been wrong.
The livened sky had gruelingly masked itself with a dark shade of purple and mild splotches of red. If not for his flaring pair of spears, not even a blink of faltering light would grace his path.
The dead didn't have any evident effect on him anymore with apparent contrast earlier, where he had almost retched at the sight of a man's opened torso, only to be credited to Masamune's expertly executed and used six swords. Now he had, for the most part, only graced them with a raised brow, still perplexed by the atrocity. He could only imagine Masamune mocking him. They were both born at a time when a warrior, regardless of expertise and experience, would only be struck dead at the very instant that they decide to take pity or even take a second's glance upon those felled in battle.
He trudged forward, his red boots made even redder by the countless carcasses that he had kicked about, mostly accidental, in the absence of a dominant guiding light. Despite the very fact that all he saw were limited by the scarce light provided by his spears, there was this one trinket, though very small in size, caught his attention. Masamune-dono's eye-patch. The next chain of actions was not willed by him, instead, by his reflexes. He dashed at no particular direction, his focus being tuned in high.
His sprint had not lasted long before he haphazardly tripped over a foreign object blocking his path. He blinked wearily at the darkness, only to find a lone figure whose back had been resting beside an outgrowth of bamboo. The blue suit made it distinct – it was one too familiar, too often seen. "Ma-masamune-dono.." was all he had been able to say.
His eyes widened. Akin to the soldiers he had seen and walked over, Masamune was not in a greater state – the suit too often worn with pride had been reduced to tatters, the conspicuous helmet was nowhere to be seen. Unable to fully access the amount of damage to the man's body, he cautiously backed away a notable distance. This action, perhaps, had brought a strained smile to the man's lips, albeit weak and one easily over-looked.
"You clumsy oaf." It had all been a murmur, a ghost of the pride-laced and ever booming voice which had belonged to Masamune. Nonetheless, it had been audible and frail sounding to Yukimura's ears. "I've been waiting."
"Masamune-dono, wh-what happened?"
"I was unable to protect my own men." The sentence had ended as a croak, unwanted, as a dribble of blood trailed down his chin. "Tch," Masamune spat, an equally large amount of blood escaping forcefully from his mouth.
Yukimura was unable to look the man in the eyes, for he was about to tell a blatant lie. "If it brings you any comfort, Masamune-dono, I'll gladly tell you that Kojuro-dono is now in capable hands." That, he did not know for a fact, as he left his entourage behind at a considerable distance, for he himself wanted to rush to the aid of Masamune's Army just as soon as they heard the distressing news.
There had been a flash of hope in Masamune's eyes, albeit only momentary for he knew better. "Kojuro took a bad hit for me. I doubt he'd be-"
"He'll be alright! Kojuro-dono.. he'll be alright." He had meant the words to be comforting, but Yukimura's tone proved otherwise. "Masamune-dono, you'll be alright too. I'm sure that help would arrive soon."
"I can't wait that long." Masamune's voice had been low, regardless, the particular hardness had been enough to stir Yukimura. "Take this." He lifted his left arm gradually, the open cuts across the length sending an unconcealed grimace across his face, his hand clenched around a protruding piece of gold. "A token to the end of our rivalry."
"What do you mean by that, Masamune-dono?" The moment he felt the cold object against the palm of his hands, it dawned on him. It's a part of the crescent moon adorning Masamune-dono's helmet.
"You will pierce me here." Masamune's hand had clumsily fumbled for his chest, his index finger slowly drawing near its left side.
The question why never occurred to Yukimura, instead he mouthed through now gritted teeth, "Who did this to you, Masamune-dono?"
"Revenge is not for you, Yukimura," he'd said with unparalleled subtlety which had never graced his speech, not as far as his memory could recall. "Now, do it."
"Why do you ask me of this task, Masamune-dono?" It came out, bereft of all emotion, only hints of unfathomable grief present.
"I will only allow myself to fall by your hands."
Only darkness had resided in the sky, a depressing companion serving as nothing but an ensemble with Yukimura's tumultuous emotions. He had lost count of the men he had felled in battle, neither did he care. Often, he'd give an opponent one swift blow which did not bear any considerable weight to his conscience. It had always been the survival of the fittest or kill or be killed which he understood wholly and with no questions asked.
But as he dragged a spear with freshly-drawn blood trailing off its tip across untainted ground, he bitterly asked himself, Why does the death of this one man by my hands send me to tears?
Reviews are forever loved.
Note(s): I have only been playing Sengoku Basara 2 Heroes for about a week or two and I'm not really well-versed with the rest of the franchise. Although, I might start on the manga soon. So, I'm just hoping that the fic turned out well despite this fact. :)
I am so not a fan of character deaths. ; n ; (But the first plot that popped into my head was one with character death. I feel lame. OTL)
Also, I could probably type out an aftermath story (or an alternate ending :D), if this fic turns out well-received (of course, through PMs and/ or reviews, since I'm not a big fan of silent readers. But of course, they are also well-appreciated~). Until next time! :D
What does RnR or RandR mean? Sorry for sounding so newbie. I'm guessing that both mean Read and Review, but I'm not too sure. OTL